The end of another year

So here we are again at the end of another year. This one just happened to suck more than most, so I am glad that a new one is starting soon. Although, the next four years here in the U. S of A. are going to be the most ridiculous in history. Can’t wait for the circus/freak show to start.

No one answered my challenge of last year regarding comments and feedback. That’s a disappointment. But apparently I have acquired readers who aren’t even related to me. Welcome, I hope you find some interest in my posts. At the end of the year I also like to change things up, so I am using a new theme. That’s about as crazy as it is going to get.

You might have noticed that I stopped posting my calendar posts, those were temporary to get folks to remember my website. Which I am updating this week also. (Hopefully, soon, they will get some better templates for the software, because they are all pretty dated and hokey looking and I am not in the mood to learn the intricacies of CSS to make it all better.)

I had some good finds in the family tree to share this year, even though I really didn’t do a lot of intense research. The majority of it was newspaper related, as more and more newspapers are being digitized, which has really helped me flesh out several of my family lines. I love newspaper research!

There are stories in the pipeline, but, some are on hold needing research, or just figuring out how to tell the story well. This week for me is about chilling out, after all I am on vacation.

Have a great New Year!


Is Almira’s mother Cornelia?

In my ever vigilant search for information on Almira Johnson Brooks’ parents, I have come across an interesting puzzle.

Almira’s death certificate/registration indicates that her parents were Catherine and Samuel with no last name (we do not know who gave the information). Almira and John Brooks’ son John, jr. has his mother listed as Almira Johnson on his death registration, with no indication of who gave the information. Another child of theirs has Almira’s surname as Johnston. So it has always been assumed by me that Almira’s mother was Catherine _____ Johnson/Johnston.

Something interesting popped up when I was looking into this matter recently. In the 1840 and 1841 city directories for Albany, New York, Diana/Dinah (Smith) (Brooks) Little is living at the same address as a Cornelia Johnson. Cornelia is also found in the 1840 census and, as would be expected as they are living in the same household, she is listed right after Diana Little in the entries.


Then Cornelia disappears. Meaning I can find no further record of Cornelia in Albany. At all.

When I first created my ‘directory’ database for all the relevant surnames of my Albany ancestors, I was looking for patterns, and I did this by sorting the information on different parameters. That’s when I found the entries for a Cornelia Johnson at the same address as Diana Little (along with her son John and his wife Almira). My first thoughts were that Almira Johnson Brooks, had a sister Cornelia who was also living with the Little/Brooks family. And these thoughts stayed pretty much the same until recently, when I decided to check the 1840 census for Cornelia.

When I found her entry, I was a little taken aback, because both Diana, and Cornelia are listed as 50-60 years of age, a little old to be a sibling to Almira. Could this mean that Cornelia is actually Almira’s mother? Why else would an elderlyish women with the surname of Johnson be living with Almira’s mother-in-law?

If Cornelia is Almira’s mother, then her father Samuel probably had died before 1839 and it is possible that Cornelia died by 1842, as no further record can be found for her after 1841 (yet).

It is an interesting puzzle waiting to be solved.

March 3, 1943 Lizzie to Dick and Dad


Casa Traude Arizona

Dearest Dick: will write you I get so home sick to hear from you and see you.

How are all of your family and where is your boy that is in the Army My Bob is in Algeras Africa I have had two letters from him he was shipped across the 3 of October all the rest of the children are OK. accept Joe and he is still sick but a lot worse than he was when you and Jess were here.

How is Jess I am going to write her.

I am sending you a picture of Pats two children and  Bonnies baby and one of Jeanne she is almost grown the picture of Jeanne isnt very good but you can tell what she looks like anyway I will put a cross on[?] Bonnies babys picture and the other two are Pats babys.

Dick I sure wish you could


come to see us. This old war has made things hard for us and I think it is going to be a lot harder before it is over.

I am sure having a tuff time and Joe sick so I cant work. I have give up all hopes of him ever being wll so I just have to make the best of it.

Donna & family are in Clifton Ariz her husband is on the defence work they have rented their home in Phoenix and bought them n a 27 foot trailor house to live in they come home real often and I am so glad we get so lonesome.

Well I must close I have to go to the store I do hope you will ans? I love you with all my heart send us a picture of your self iff you have one to spare bye bye with love Lizzi.

NOTE: I am not sure who Lizzi is in relation to Dick and Dad. Relation, friend. She is not a sibling to Dick because Dick had no sister named Lizzi or Elizabeth, only a Lydia. (Lydia was married to a Charles William; they had a son Charles jr. and possibly a daughter. It also appears that they always lived in Ohio. So…not Lydia).

ALSO NOTE: My old man insists on getting credit for noticing that Casa Traude is probably Casa Grande. I never said it wasn’t : ). I write what I see.

Love at first sight?

Clarence John and Myrtle Hamm, newlyweds.

My father remembers being told, when he was younger, that his parents had met when Clarence was injured in a train accident and Myrtle was taking care of him at a hospital in Marshfield where she was working as a nurse.

He didn’t have any more details than that. So for the past 15+ years I have waited patiently to find the newspaper article that would mention this accident and give me more details. Thankfully, the Oconto County Historical Society is currently making great efforts to digitize the Oconto County newspapers, and I have found some great articles in the past. A recent check of their progress gave me the answer I have been seeking:

The Gillett Times, v27n50, Gillett, Wisconsin, Thursday, August 4, 1927, page 1.

The article certainly confirms that Clarence was in a train accident, and he was sent to the Marshfield hospital, where Mrytle would have been working at the time, (she had graduated from nursing school in May of that same year.)

It is believed that Clarence received a pretty hefty settlement from the railroad and this is probably the money he used to start his own business. A bowling alley.

The Gillett Times, v28n15, Gillett, Wisconsin, Thursday, November 29, 1928, page 1.



Here is a matchbook saved by the family from the bowling alley.

It is said that because Clarence’s venture started not long before the crash of 1929 and folks no longer had extra money to spend on luxury outings, such as bowling, the business didn’t last very long. But, I have no proof of that yet. I guess I will have to dig a little deeper.

In 1931, a little over 3 years after they met, Clarence and Myrtle ran away to Illinois and were married at the court house. Was it love at first sight? Only they know, and they aren’t talking.

April 16, [1943?] Lois Shepard to Dick & Dad

This is Lois Shaw Shepard, wife of William A. Shepard (my grandparents), writing to her parent’s-in-law back in Ohio…


April 16, [1943]

Dear Dick & Dad

Bill left this morning for Redman, Oreg. & won’t be back  till tomorrow nite. Then Monday he goes to Walla Walla, Wash. for a few days. Busy guy. K. W. & I’m here outside playing. The weather is always so nice & it is so nice that they can get out.

I received your letter of the 14th today. Glad to hear from you. Was surprised to hear about Herman. I hadn’t hardly thot of him going I guess. What is Ruth planning to do? So many are going I guess it is only to be expected.

I really should get busy & clean house. Also wash my hair. Then I have to call the electric company to4317052338_999e828a64_z

fix my stove. I turned the oven off the other day and it doesn’t come on any more. So I can’t bake. And I want to make mince meat pie.

Evelyn is taking the kids pictures in Bill’s helmet & gas mask. They think it is fun.

Dick you don’t need to send any of those things as I don’t need them & they would only take up space. Unless you could send a few of Kenny’s toys. There is one thing go to the .10 cent store & get me some knives & a couple of table spoons. Silverware is a thing unheard of in the stores here. I have 4 spoons & forks but no table knives. We use Kenny’s for a better knife. One of Bills men built us a table that does very


Let me know what those telephone calls were & I shall send the money. I have a phone in case there is any need to call me ever. The number is 1139 J.

Well-I must get busy. Write and let us know about Herman. Bill will be surprised to hear about him.


I don’t know what Lois is referencing regarding her brother-in-law Herman. There is no letter in the grandparents boxes for that time period from Dick & Dad.

March 20, 1943 William Shepard to parents…


Pendleton Field Ore.
March 20, 1943

Dear Mother & Dad

Forgive the lack of letters, but Ive been very busy. Working 18 to 20 hours a day the last week. Lois didnt get many letters & she telegrammed as you did. Dont worry, I just didnt have time. I have a fleet of about 100 trucks & fighting vehicles with 130 men to take care of. I have my own garage to keep the trucks & reconnasaince cars & jeeps up. We service & check them every 1000 miles. There isnt any other officer in my section to help me, so I have quite a job keeping everything going. In addition I also keep a fleet of dump trucks on a construction job. I have enough work to keep five men busy.

How is everything at home? I’d like for the war to be over so I could come back & relax. The next best thing is for home to come to me. Im looking forward to you & Lois coming out to see me. We can find a place to live even tho it is high rent. You can have a nice visit while you stay because this country is beautiful.

How are you Dad? Put in a word or two in the next letter. Ill close to work

Your son