David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900
Showing posts with label Norris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norris. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Portrait of My Mother

                                              Portrait of my mother, Marilyn Norris Shoemaker,
                                              as painted by my Aunt, Jeanne Norris Crago.
                                              circa, 1968.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday - Grandma and Grandpa's Wedding Announcement

 I could hardly wait for Treasure Chest Thursday this week to share the newest addition to my collection of treasured family heirlooms.  The difference between this and other items I have shared in the past is that this one is brand new; at least it is to me!

Today, I have posted the wedding announcement of my maternal grandparents, Leland and Gladys Marling Norris. Up until this week, I never knew this article existed. Not only that, until my mother read this newspaper clipping, she wasn't aware that her parents had had a church wedding.  She had always just assumed they had recited their vows in front of a justice of the peace. So, it was quite a surprise to read that they were married at the Presbyterian church in Elkhart, Indiana and then had a wedding supper at the home of my great grandparents. 

I have to thank Genealogy Bank for giving me the chance to own this treasured bit of my family history.  I hadn't looked at their website for a couple of years and this week when I discovered they now had the Elkhart, Indiana newspapers available, I knew I had to get a membership.  Within the first 10 minutes of researching, I found this wedding announcement. I also found an article pertaining to their marriage license and my grandmother's bridal shower.

I discovered another fact while searching within the pages of the Ekhart newspapers.   My great grandfather, Ralph  Marling, who was a moulder by profession, also happened to be the financial officer of the moulder's union.  Pretty exciting news for someone who makes her living at being a bookkeeper!  His name is mentioned numerous times during the newspaper's coverage of the union's strike in Elkhart.  My great uncle, Chet, is not left out.  His marriage announcement and several articles detailing his World War I army service are included.

This is just further proof that family history research cannot be done with just one website, at one time, and even when you think you are "finished" with a branch of your family tree, you can always discover something new, wonderful, totally unexpected! You never know when you might find a new "treasure"!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Military Monday - NCR Norris Men in the Service

The above article appeared in the monthly magazine that was published by The National Cash Register Company in Dayton.  It states:  "World Wars I and II - Top picture shows L.V. Norris, of Polishing-Plating Department, as a Corporal in World War I.  Above left: Pfc. Edgar M. Norris, son of L.V. Norris, enlisted in the Air Force in February, 1944 and is now a gunnery instructor of B-29's at Clovis, N.M. Right: Corp. Donald L. Norris, another son, is somewhere in Germany with a medical detachment.  He has been overseas since September, 1944 and has seen many of the father's old camping grounds.  The boys are brothers of Jeanne Norris, Telephone Exchange."

I have written previously about NCR and it's importance to my family and to my hometown.  Each month NCR distributed a magazine that detailed not only the business news, but also information about the employees and their families. I am lucky enough to have several of those books and newsletters in my collection.   I have always loved this particular article, which discusses my grandfather, two of my uncles, and my aunt who all worked at NCR along with both of my parents.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Carnival of Genealogy - There's One in Every Family

This post has been submitted for the 100th Edition for the Carnival of Genealogy subject "There's One In Every Family". The carnival is hosted by  Creative Gene.

"There's One in Every Family", or at least, I would hope so.  In this case, I'm talking about family portraits. Yes, I would agree that most people dislike having their picture taken and that includes me. Usually the statement, "let's take a family picture" results in moans and eye-rolling.  Sometimes, it may even evolve into the gnashing of teeth and ripping of clothing!  We may try to avoid it like the plague, but it is interesting to note that when people are asked what items they would try to save from flood or fire, a great many of them would say, "family photographs".

I can say myself that for the past few years while I have been researching my family history, there have been few discoveries that have pleased me more than those that involve the finding of a family photograph.
For example, for years the photo you see above hung upon the wall in my maternal grandparent's home, but I didn't appreciate just how much this picture would mean to me. The Norris family portrait was taken, probably on Christmas Eve, 1962, when I was just a few months old.  (I'm on the far right side of the photo, sitting on my father's lap.) It's far from the "perfect" shot my professional photographer husband would be happy with, but to me it is priceless. Sure, my mother is looking away from the camera, as is one of my cousins, but this precious portrait offers a glimpse into a very special time in the life of my mother's family.  My grandparents are obviously thrilled to have all their children and most of their grandchildren present with them on a happy holiday evening.  The children, excited to be with cousins and anticipating the presents that await them, are clearly enjoying themselves.   They may have complained about stopping the festivities for picture taking, but thankfully, they sat down long enough for the photo.
 In subsequent years, the family grew larger.  Grandchildren married and my grandparents became great grandparents.  It became difficult for the entire family to get together. The large events became fewer and far between and sadly, the Christmas Eve dinners came to an end. As always happens in life, family responsibilities change and become more complicated. Children and grandchildren grow up. 
 After my grandparents passed away, we still tried to have the occasional family reunion, but we seldom took formal family portraits.
As of this writing, eleven people in this photograph are no longer with us. I treasure each and every memory I have of them, and I am grateful that those are many in number. I carry this portrait, and many others, in my heart.  I truly hope that when it comes to a family picture such as this, there really is "One in Every Family." 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Aunt Grace was a Diva?

Aunt Grace Norris Bailey

A Page from the Scrapbook

I thought I knew quite a bit about my Great Aunt Grace.   A few years younger than my grandfather, she graduated from college and became a school teacher, eventually being voted into the Kettering (Ohio) Teachers Hall of Fame.  She married my Great Uncle, Harrison (Red) Bailey and they built a house on land ajacent to that of my grandparent's.  Though they remained childless, they shared their home with their "family"; a beloved succession of bulldogs.  Her name was quite fitting for a woman who carried herself with an air of style and elegance.  Yes.  I thought I knew quite a lot about this woman. That is, until yesterday when my mother brought me a box full of mementos that had belonged to Aunt Grace and I learned something quite surprising. My aunt was a diva.
There in the old box, among the scattered postcards, photographs, and blueprints, I found an old, dusty, ragged scrapbook.  Inside were pasted newspaper clippings detailing recitals and appearances where Aunt Grace performed as a singer.  The articles called her a "dramatic soprano".  Under each clipping Grace had lovingly described the event, listed the songs performed, and even detailed  what she had worn, such as "a peach taffeta dress" and "an orchid chiffon". Even though my mother remembered her aunt singing in church occasionally, she had no idea of the scope of her singing career and we were both surprised as we read of her accomplishments.   Several pages into the book, on  the side of the page she wrote, "been having a terrible time with my throat this winter so haven't been able to do much. Don't know if it will ever get better." On the following pages there are a few other clippings and then underneath a church program she wrote, "Solo at church one evening.  Got through it all right, but don't know how it sounded to listeners".  Then, on the page following the clipping that I have attached to this post, she wrote "Ralph Thomas gave another recital on June 2.  He was quite angry that I did not sing but finances said NO! and so did Dr. Sullivan, my nerves are very bad.  This Fall I hope to study earnestly - I can notice my voice is getting rusty."

 After this, the scrapbook ends.  Did her voice fail her? Was this the reason why her career went no further?  Was this when she decided to become a teacher?  How I wish I had known about this portion of her life!  How I wish she was here now to answers these questions and so many more!  I am very grateful that she never threw this scrapbook away and I wonder if there were times when she opened the book to remember those days.  The box has revealed many treasures that I will share in the future, but I had to begin with this discovery and the revelation that my Aunt Grace was a diva!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Harry and Elizabeth Norris and the Routsong Family

My great grandfather, Harry Norris, holds my grandfather, Leland. Standing next to him is his wife, Elizabeth Routsong Norris. Surrounding them is Elizabeth's family, the Routsongs.  Unfortunately, the family members are not identified.
Dayton, Ohio, circa 1899

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mystery Monday - Who in the World Was Leland?

My Grandfather, Leland Vincent Norris

My grandfather's name was Leland Vincent Norris.  I never thought too much about his name until I began my digging into my family roots.   It didn't take too long to discover that the Vincent in the name was in honor of is uncle, Vincent Norris, who had been born in Frederick County, Maryland, and who came to Montgomery County, Ohio along with his brother, Harry.  Both brothers married ladies whose families owned farms; one in Van Buren Township in Montgomery County and the other in Beavercreek Township, Greene County, although they were actually only just a couple of miles away from each other.  After marrying into these farming families, the Norris brothers moved onto those properties and lived and worked with their in-laws.
As I looked a little further into the family history, I could not locate any of my grandfather's ancestors who shared the name "Leland" with him.  After finding no leads in either the Norris or Routsong families, I decided that my great grandparents may have simply chosen the name because they liked it.  I kept that opinion until I made another discovery.
I had always known that my grandfather's cousin, Dwight Barnes, middle initial was "L", but it wasn't until I found his World War II draft registration form that I discovered his middle name was "Leland".  I feel like it's too much of a coincidence that these two shared the name of "Leland" without there being some type of significance to it.  Who was the original "Leland" and why would the two Routsong sisters feel strongly enough about him to name their sons after him?  It is a mystery that continues to confound me!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Grandma and Grandpa's House

It wasn't a big house. It had two small bedrooms and one even smaller bedroom, a tiny bathroom, a living room, dining room, a kitchen, and a basement with a big furnace that had ductwork that to this little girl looked like the arms of a giant monster. Later, a two car garage was built next to the house, although I can't ever remember there being two cars kept there.  It had a front door, a side door, and a back door, which I always thought was odd since there was very little space from one to another. The door pictured above was the side door which led out into a beautiful yard,  the upper portion of which was actually owned by my great aunt and uncle. That yard was just perfect for the family picnics we had every Labor Day.  On that day, it was filled with croquet games, the passing of baseballs, chairs, tables full of food,  and tons of Norris family laughter.  The backyard contained a cement porch where evenings were spent making conversation....and ice cream. Across the driveway from the backyard were grape arbors, gardens, and apple trees; one of which contained a handmade swing on a branch that wasn't too stable and always swayed up and down along with the "swinger".  It was land that remained from a substantial amount of farmland that had belonged to my great great grandfather who was an very early settler of the township. Through the years, that land had been divided among his children and this portion had belonged to my great grandmother, Elizabeth Routsong Norris. My grandfather, Leland Norris had, after living in various other locations in Dayton, come back to this land and built a home here. As Van Buren Township and eventually the city of Kettering, had grown up, it was very rare to see a home surrounded by as much land as they had. It wasn't overly large, but it was much bigger than the suburban yards we were used to and I thought it was fantastic.  My great aunt and great uncle lived just up the hill on the side yard and we would visit them often and delight in seeing the giant goldfish in the small outdoor pond in their backyard.  As a child, I never appreciated the gift of  growing up in such a wonderful atmosphere and it flew by much too quickly. After my grandparents passed away, I think most of us hoped that someone in the family would be able to buy the house and the land, but the real estate in that area of the city was far too valuable and none of us was able to make the purchase.  Seeing the house in the hands of someone else was very difficult, especially when almost immediately, they began to renovate the house, both inside and out. It was even harder when my great aunt died a few years later and her home and the remainder of the land on the side of the house was sold. Shortly thereafter, an extremely large, modern home was built on the land and obscured the view of my grandparents house from the highway.  The new house sits directly on our old "croquet field" and the field of apple trees in the backyard had to yield the way for crop of new and expensive homes. 

A couple of years ago, my mother gave me an envelope full of my grandparents important papers.  Inside I found the mortgage book that my grandfather kept showing all of his house payments.  It includes the date stamped for the final payment.  It's one of my favorite keepsakes, along with the pictures my husband took of my grandparents home before we left for the last time. No matter how many people move into and out of that house, for me it will always be "Grandma and Grandpa's". 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Madness Monday - The Auction, The Yearbooks, and Me

  One day last week, a sign was put up in the front yard of a neighbor who had passed away a few weeks ago. The sign gave notice that an estate auction would take place on Sunday.  My first thought was how many cars would be parking on the street in front of our house and what a nuisance that was going to be.  I didn't give going to the auction myself a second a thought. I have been known to be a pretty mean bidder on the "online auction" websites, but, while my father was almost an auction "professional", I have never enjoyed standing out in the sun all day long waiting until the item you want is put up for bids. So, Sunday came and as I thought, the onslaught of cars, trucks, and people began early.  The auctioneer's microphone echoed throughout the neighborhood and the hours passed by.  I watched people loading items of various value and size into their vehicles and finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I casually mentioned that maybe we should have gone down to just "check out what was going on".  And before I knew it, off my husband and I went to "see what we could see."
Things were winding down quite a bit by this time, and I wandered away from the crowd into the garage to take a look at what might be left.  The first table I came to looked interesting as I found a box with some books.  I opened a small grade school yearbook from my elementary school from two years after I had moved on to junior high school.  I recognized many teachers and some students who were slightly younger than I.  The next book I found was what created what I would call my "auction madness".  It was a 1943 Fairmont High School Yearbook. Underneath it were yearbooks from 1945 and 1946.  Fairmont is the school from which my mother and her family graduated and I knew the possibility existed that I might find several relatives within the pages of these books.  I quickly started turning pages and within two minutes, I was thrilled to discover two portraits of my uncles. 
 They both graduated in 1943 and I had never before seen their senior photographs. 
They are both so young in these pictures and it's shocking to think that in just a few months, they had both entered into the service of their country.

I knew before going any farther, that I had to have this treasure box of books.  I was afraid to leave the books, so when my husband finally found me, I told him that we needed to find out what to do so we could bid when the time came.  He started watching how things were done and then quickly registered and received our bidding number. I suddenly realized I had no money and I had to leave him standing by the box while I ran home to scrounge up some money. This entailed borrowing from my children and stealing from the "wedding and vacation fund", but I could not let someone else have those books.  Running back into the garage, I started guarding the box so no one else could even look at it.  Other bidders were standing next to certain things in the garage as well, so I figured I was now just moving into full auction mode along with the bidding veterans.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity,  the auctioneer made his way into the garage, along with an entourage of people just trying to get a bargain.  He wasn't going to take each item individually because by now, this man was hot, tired, and anxious to get done with things.  He took the entire table and ask for the highest bid and whomever made the high bid got their choice of anything on the table.  The bidding started and my husband was right in the middle of it. My dad would have been proud of him!  We were the top bid at $5.00 and I grabbed my books.  There was another pile of books right next to the yearbooks and I got those too.  They consisted of some magazines regarding the Kennedy assassination and the opening of Disney World, along with a couple of local history books.  After getting the books home and having more time to study them, I discovered numerous photos of my uncles, cousins, and friends. The books are in pristine condition and I am very thankful to have them in my possession.  As an extra surprise, I also found inside the magazines I bought two Dayton Daily News front pages; one regarding the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the other documenting the Battle of Midway! Jackpot! It doesn't get too much better than that.
 So, yes, I may have let "Auction Madness" get the better of me, but sometimes a little madness can be a good thing!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Interview with Grandma

video In 1984, my mother bought a very small audio cassette recorder and began to hide it during our various holiday family gatherings. At the time, we all teased her about recording us as much as she was, but now, I am so thankful for those recordings. We eventually purchased a video recorder, but those audio cassettes contain many wonderful times and voices that were no longer with us by the time the video technology arrived. One of those voices belongs to my grandmother, Gladys Marling Norris. Grandma spent quite a lot of time in our home during those years and one day my brilliant mother decided to sit down with her and ask her questions about her life. It was and remains one of my greatest treasures. I have converted many of those old cassette tapes to CD's and MP3 files. In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to share a portion of one of those interviews here. So, here's to my mom and both of my grandmothers. I am who I am because of you!

Please be patient. The video takes a few minutes to load.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - The Monument at the Triangle Park Bridge

Anyone who knows me could tell you that am a victim of gephyrophobia, which in layman's terms in the fear of crossing bridges. So, it would be very unusual for me to feel sentimental about a bridge, but this one is a little different.  If you live or have visited Dayton and have crossed the Ridge Avenue Bridge over the Stillwater River to get to Triangle Park, you will know the bridge of which I speak.  This one is special because it was dedicated to Battery D, 134th Field Artillery, 37th Division, my grandfather's unit during his World War I service.

In 1927, when it became obvious that the previous bridge was no longer safe, the city began building a new bridge and a committee was formed that decided this bridge should be dedicated to Battery D. It might seem like an unusual decision, but Triangle Park was the temporary home to about 200 men  who arrived on July 15, 1917 to be trained for service to their country.   It was here that they stayed for about a month, preparing for their eventual move to Camp Sheridan in Alabama and more intense training before being sent to France and the War. 

I first read about this bridge dedication in a series of articles about Battery D by the late Dayton Daily News writer, Roz Young.  My mother had taken a great interest in the articles and Roz sent her a handwritten letter with copies of pages of the book she had referenced in the article.  I didn't see this letter or the articles until many years after they had been written.  When I saw a photograph of the memorial, I had to visit the park and the bridge and see them for myself.  I wasn't disappointed.

At the exit of the bridge on Ridge Ave., located on the right side of the road, is located the granite marker; listing all 200 names of the men of Battery D. 

A list of all the relevant dates of service and engagements of Battery D are included on the monument.
On the opposite side of Ridge Avenue sits this cannon, captured from the German army by the men of Battery D.

Of course the first thing I did was to find the name of my grandfather, Leland V. Norris.

It gave me a great sense of pride to see his name engraved on that memorial.

Dayton is a city of many rivers and numerous bridges. Many are older and unsafe and during the last couple of years bridge replacement has become a priority.   I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the taking down of the Ridge Avenue Bridge and it's dedication to the men of Battery D.  For most of those in the younger generations, World War I is something they see a little about in the history books and it doesn't have much meaning to them now.   A few years ago, something hit the monument and severely damaged it.  At the time, the city repaired it and placed it back on it's base.  I sincerely hope that it will be kept in it's place if and when a new bridge is installed, but if recent history is any indication, that may not be the case.

So, today, I am being sentimental about a bridge and about the men who camped by the Stillwater river so many years ago.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - NORRIS - Uncle Junior and the NIT Championship

My Uncle, Leland "Junior" Norris  ready to shoot in this UD Yearbook photo.

Last Wednesday evening, as I was seated in the University of Dayton arena waiting for the beginning of the N.I.T. first round game between the Flyers and the Illinois State Redbirds, I couldn't help but think about my uncle, Leland "Junior" Norris.   For three seasons in the early 1950's my Uncle Junior played guard for the University of Dayton. He scored 1,009 points and was known for his two-hand set shot.  In 1951 and 1952, the Flyers played in the championship game of the NIT in Madison Square Garden in New York City.  The press in New York loved my uncle and gave him the name "Humphrey" because they thought he resembled the  character "Humphrey Pennyworth" from the cartoon "Joe Palooka". 

 Unfortunately, the University of Dayton did not taste victory either year; defeat coming at the hands of BYU in 1951 and LaSalle in 1952.  But, that didn't stop Dayton from being a basketball town and in 1962 and 1968, they were the NIT Champions.  Ask just about anybody associated with college basketball and they will tell you that Daytonians love their basketball and the University of Dayton Arena is a great place to play.  When Uncle Junior played basketball, they didn't play in a large arena. It was a much more intimate game then and I'm sure it felt like the team was carrying the whole town on their backs when they made those trips to Madison Square Garden.  I wasn't born then, but I wish I had some type of time machine to go back and experience the excitement there must have been in this city at that time.  Growing up with Uncle Junior I always knew that something special had happened back then.  There were pictures on the wall at his home of his playing days and when I visited the arena I could see his face on the Flyers "Hall of Fame" wall. 
Another yearbook photo, Junior being interviewed on WHIO Radio

As Thursday's game went on and the crowd cheered each basket and booed every botched call, I watched the faces of our current players and thought about Uncle Junior and how those men might not be there in that arena if not for him and those great teammates of his that helped to make the University of Dayton basketball program what it is today.

After his graduation, Uncle Junior became a teacher and a coach and in later years, he ran for and was elected Clerk of Courts of Montgomery County, where he served the people from 1976-1888. 

The following years took their toll on my dear uncle and he battled heart trouble and other illnesses and on 27 December, 2006, Uncle Junior passed away. 
I sure do miss him.

On Wednesday night the Flyers won that opening game of the National Invitation Tournament.  With any luck, the University of Dayton will go to Madison Square Garden one more time.  
And I'll be thinking of Uncle Junior. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Norris Dahlia Gardens

Last week, Family Stories author Caroline shared a newspaper photograph of her grandfather holding a rose with 63 inch stem. It reminded me a an article that I have about my own grandfather, Leland Norris.   This photograph appeared in the "John Montgomery, Farmer" supplement of The Dayton Journal on Tuesday 6 October, 1936.   The caption underneath the photo reads, "In the above photo Leland Norris of the Norris dahlia gardens is shown working with his plants.  The particular variety he is inspecting is the Jane Cowl.  In the lower picture is shown the Full Moon, a yellow variety."  (click on the pictures to see a larger version)

My maternal grandparents lived on the west side of what is now Kettering, Ohio.  Though not a farm, they had enough land to raise a nice garden to help sustain the family through the depression.  While he worked at the National Cash Register Company, my grandfather also found it necessary to devise other ways of making money to help feed his family of 6 children, his wife, and his mother.   One of these ideas was to raise dahlias for sale. One would think that during the depression, you wouldn't be able to find anyone who could afford to spend their money on flowers, but luckily, my grandparents lived quite close to the "affluent" area of Oakwood, which was located just a few miles from their home.  Many of his customers seemed to be residents of that area.
Growing up I had heard talk of his "dahlia" fields, but when I found this newspaper article, I could see for myself how extensive the business was.  I had never heard the term "Norris dahlia gardens" until I read the caption on the article, but it must have been known as that at the time.  I don't know how long he had the gardens, but I do know that he had quite a "green thumb" and in his yard grew vegetables, grape vines, and flowers of just about every type imaginable.  Unfortunately, the "green thumb" is one family trait that wasn't passed along to me.  But, isn't it nice that when I see something beautiful, like dahlias, I think of my grandpa?  I think that is one of the nicest legacies he could left me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Gladys, Jeanne, and Don

I am a litle late on my Wordless Wednesday post, and it's not going to be completely wordless, but here goes!  This is a photograph of my maternal grandmother, Gladys Marling Norris, and two of her children, Beatrice Jean and Donald Leroy.  As far as I know, my aunt never went by the name Beatrice and was always called Jean.  For most of her life, she spelled it Jeanne.  My grandmother doesn't look very happy with whomever is taking this picture. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fearless Females - Grace Norris Bailey

Today's prompt from Geneabloggers suggests we celebrate Women's History Month by sharing information about our Fearless Female relatives.   Today, I have chosen my maternal great aunt, Grace Naomi Norris Bailey.  My Aunt Grace was a true lady and a career woman at a time when that wasn't too common.  Born 9 February, 1906 to Harry and Elizabeth Routsong Norris, she was the only daughter and the youngest of their two children.  After graduating from high school, she went to college and received her degree in education. After college, she married Harrison "Red" Bailey on 23 September, 1938 in Kettering.  She continued teaching and she taught in the Van Buren Township/Kettering, Ohio school district until her retirement.  It wasn't long after her retirement that she was inducted into the Kettering Teacher Hall of Fame. 
Aunt Grace and Uncle Red did not have any children of their own, but instead shared their love with my aunts, uncles, and cousins and especially with the bulldogs they cherished so much. They always had at least one bulldog and usually there were two. I used to be scared of them because they would tend to "slobber" all over me whenever we would visit!  Their home was situated next to my grandparents property, so we could just walk up the hill to get to their house.  They had an outdoor pond long before it was popular to have one and we would delight in seeing the goldfish swimming around the lily pads. If were were lucky, there would be a couple of frogs hiding in the greenery too!
 Aunt Grace loved to play bridge and she was involved in many organizations around the Dayton area.   She even got into politics when the city wanted to widen the street in front of her house and take away several feet of her property.  She and her neighbors began a small group that protested the action and her they appeared on the news and in the newspaper, but sadly they weren't successfull at stopping "progress".

Several years before she passed away, she asked me if there was anything in her home that I would want someday.  I told her about a cedar chest I had seen in her attic on one occasion. She said "Oh, that old thing?" and she gave it to me then.  I posted a picture of it on one of my Treasure Chest Thursday posts.   Everytime I see that chest, I think about Aunt Grace.  She wasn't the kind of Aunt that smothers you with hugs and kisses, but I never doubted that she loved me.  When Aunt Grace died, many of her former students, some elderly then themselves, came to her funeral and told us what a wonderful teacher she had been.  When you can touch lives like that, I think it's the best legacy you can have.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Portrait of Great Grandma Norris

The beautiful lady in the photograph above is Elizabeth Routsong Norris, my maternal great grandmother and the portrait and the obituary underneath are my Treasure Chest items for this Thursday.
The portrait was kept at my grandparents home, although I never saw it hanging on the wall. It wasn't as commonplace in years past as it is now to keep photos of deceased family members on display and I didn't actually see this photo until I was an adult. It now hangs in my mother's home, in it's original frame, in extremely good condition considering it's age. Libby, as my great grandmother was called, was the daughter of Henry Mathias Routsong and Clarinda Swadner. I have written about them in some earlier posts. She was married to Harry Norris 26 June, 1898 in Van Buren Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. They had two children, my grandfather, Leland Norris and his sister, Grace Naomi.
On the occasion of her death, the family was given the obituary above, laminated in heavy plastic with the newspaper's name stamped as well as the date of publication. Every one who has ever researched their family history will know how valuable something like this is to have.
So, once again, my treasures today are photo and document related. They truly are priceless!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Surname Saturday - Rowe Family of Emmitsburg, Maryland

Frank Rowe and Leland Norris, Sr.

Marriage Announcement of Effa Norris and Frank Rowe

Retirement Newspaper Announcement

Obituaries of Frank and Effa Norris Rowe

Gravesite at St. Elias Lutheran Cemetery
M. Frank Rowe was my grandfather's uncle, by marriage. He was married to grandpa's aunt, Effa Norris Rowe and they lived in Emmitsburg, Maryland. My mother recalled visiting her great Uncle Frank when she was a teenager during the one visit she had made with her parents to Maryland. By the time she had made the trip, her great Aunt Effa had passed away so she had no memory of her.

When I began my research on my mother's family, the first place I looked was in the Maryland census records because my great grandfather had migrated to Ohio from Frederick County.

It was a little tricky to find Frank Rowe, because, I discovered, his first name was actually Marion. After quite a few frustrating moments, I finally got the message that his family routinely used their middle names and not their legal names. So, on some legal forms, he was "Marion Rowe" or "M. Rowe". Once I figured this out, it became a little easier to find him.
Through the various census years, I discovered that Frank was a storekeeper and a shoemaker and was considered one of the prominent businessmen in the community. Another important source I was pleasantly surprised to find was the Emmitsburg.net website where photographs and stories of early Emmitsburg are plentiful. It was during one of my searches to that site that two photographs of Rowe's Shoe Store turned up! They are a little out of focus, but to me, they are very precious.
Continuing my search for Frank and Effa, I decided to check some Frederick County newspaper records and I happily found a remarkable amount information. Two of the most valuable were their marriage announcement and the news of Frank's retirement.

The story of the wedding, from The Frederick News, 24 December, 1898, reads:
Miss Effie Norris, daughter of Joshua H. Norris, and Mr. M. Frank Rowe, both of Emmitsburg, were married at the bride's home on December 22, Rev. Chas. Reinewald officiated. The bride was attired in a handsome brown traveling gown, with hat and gloves to match. A sumptuous dinner was served immediately after the ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. Rowe went to Washington and Baltimore and returned home Saturday evening.

The story of Frank's retirement reads:
M. Frank Rowe Retires at 86
Emmitsburg Shoemaker Had Plied Trade 65 Years at Same Stand
Emmitsburg: 65 years at the same stand is an enviable record of Emmitsburg’s oldest business proprietor, venerable, M. Frank Rowe, who last week announced his retirement.
Mr. Rowe has plied his trade, shoemaker, at the same location, on West Main Street, that is a familiar location to both old and young residents of the town, beginning his trade under his grandfather, James A. Rowe. The younger Mr. Rowe was taken into the concern as a full-fledged partner at the early age of 21. That was in 1887.
A native son of Emmitsburg, Mr. Rowe recalls that his grandfather had the distinction of making boots for the cavalry of officers when they were engaged in conflict at Gettysburg. He imparts the boots then sold for $16.00 a pair. At that time the concern ----and cut the patterns for the custom made footwear.
Not content with shoemaking alone as a business, the energetic Mr. Rowe opened a grocery store in the same building 14 years ago at age 72. He continued operating the store until until the past week when he suddenly decided to sit back and take it easy.
At 86, the enterprising Mr. Rowe has a keen sense of humor and is an active conversationalist, well versed in current events and possesses a keen memory of events of long ago.

Frank and Effa had two daughters, Mae and Frances.
Effa died in 1945 and Frank followed her in 1953. They were buried in St. Elias Lutheran Cemetery. Thanks to a wonderful Findagrave.com volunteer, I have photos of their gravesites. I also learned through that person that Frank and Effa had had a third daughter, Pauline, who died as a baby.

The only photograph I have of my great great uncle Frank is the one above where he is standing outside my grandparent's home with my grandfather. I am still trying to find a way to contact the children or grandchildren of Frank and Effa's daughter's, but so far, I have had no luck. I am very pleased with what I have learned so far, though, and I'm going to keep on searching!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Grandpa Norris and the Stingray Bike

The pictures above are still photographs taken from an 8 mm home movie. It is also one of my favorite memories of my grandfather, Leland Norris. My brother had received a purple Stingray bicycle for his birthday and my grandfather decided to ride it, pipe and all. I don't know how many years it had been since he had been on a bicycle and he didn't stay on it very long, but while he was riding, he was awfully proud of himself! To this day, when I think of my grandpa, this is usually the first thing that comes to my mind.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Holocaust Witness

This letter written to my grandparents from my Uncle Donald Norris during World War II needs no further words to explain the horrible sights he witnessed. We Must Never Forget!