What about the ex…

A case of researching the ex-spouse to solve a mystery.

I have known that my paternal Grandfather Clarence John had been married previous to my Grandmother Myrtle for many years. I even knew that they had had a daughter together. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to find the name of his first wife, which happened while I was going through newspaper articles from Forest County, Wisconsin. In the paper was the announcement that Clarence had married in Illinois to Esther Edwards. (My father had at one time known her name, which he had found out when an uncle of his died and she or her daughter was mentioned as a beneficiary, but over time he had forgotten it.)

For my father, finding out that Clarence had a wife previous to his own mother, Myrtle, was quite a big shock, as was the fact that he had a half-sister he never met! Clarence had done a pretty good job of keeping it a very closely guarded secret from his own children, but everyone else in the family knew her and their daughter, and had even kept in touch with them over the years.
The big questions I wanted to answer were: when did this first marriage end, and where? To do this I first needed to find out more about Esther, because research on Clarence hadn’t helped. During earlier research attempting to pin down when they might have been divorced, I had found her in 1930 living with her father and Marie (the half-sister) in White Lake. The census did indicate she was divorced, but, I still didn’t know where or when. I had tried to find a divorce for them in Forest County, but no luck. I decided to continue the search further ahead in time, so I went to the 1940 census. Bingo! There she was in White Lake, with Marie, only now she is married to an Oscar Christenson and they have two daughters of their own. This was excellent news, because, usually, on these later marriage records there is a question regarding any previous marriages. As my niece lives in Antigo I asked her to drop by the register of deeds office and see if she could find the marriage in question. A few days and a text later, there it was in black and white: previously married to Clarence John, divorced October 28, 1923 in Merrill, Lincoln County, Wisconsin, the answer to both of my questions. Now I could also breath a sigh of relief, because my grandfather had definitely not been married when he met my grandmother.
Marriage certificate for Esther and Oscar.

But of course it didn’t stop there. My first thought was, “Wow, only married a year and a half-ish. What went wrong?” The clerk of courts in Lincoln county informed me that they had divorce records from 1926 and on a little late for me. So I searched ArCat (the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives Catalog) then contacted the UW Stevens Point Area Research Center, (which holds records from Lincoln County) and asked them to sent me the case file for Clarence and Esther John/s from Lincoln County. Four days later it arrived.
The file isn’t big. Probably because Clarence never showed up in court to contest the petition or testify, even though he had been summoned to do so.
Here is the complaint:

Esther E. John vs. Clarence John
1. That she and the defendant were married at Waukegan, Ill., on January 10th, 1922; that she has been a resident of the State of Wisconsin all her life. 

2. That there has been born as the issue of said marriage, one child, a girl, named Gertrude Marie; that said child is now nine months of age. 

3. That beginning shortly after said marriage the defendant began a course of cruel and inhuman treatment towards this plaintiff and that some of his acts are as follows: That three months after said marriage he struck her in the face with his fist and caused her to have a black eye; that he repeatedly struck her [‘and kicked her’ is marked out]; that he has sworn at her frequently and called her indecent names and accused her of infidelity and has slandered her by telling untrue and indecent things about her character.
      That ever since said marriage, the parties hereto made their home with the parents of the plaintiff on an agreement that defendant was to pay one-half of the expenses of running the household and furnish the wood; that he failed to carry out this agreement; that he failed to provide her with sufficient money to support herself and said child and she was obliged to look to her father and mother for sufficient funds wherewith to maintain and clothe herself and said child and was also obliged to use a part of her savings which were on deposit in the bank at White Lake, Wis; that she had an edowment insurance policy made payable to him on which a premium became due shortly after said marriage and he refused to pay the same and she was obliged to pay it out of her savings; that at Christmas time, 1922, he gave her no money wherewith to purchase necessitites for any Christmas remembrances and she was obliged to use her own funds for such purpose; that shortly before March 1st, 1923, he was abusing her and continued the same for a period of about one week, [‘when he left home and she did not know his whereabouts for two or three days’ – lined out] and finally on March 1st, 1923, he left her and they have not lived together as husband and wife since said date; that he is lazy and when he does get work, he cannot hold a job on account thereof; that a part of the time he runs a Jitney line; that after March 1st, about May 1st, she was obliged to enter a hospital in Antigo on account of sickness and previous to that during March and April while she was sick at home he did not call on her or see her or inquire about her condition, so far as plaintiff knows, and saw her only once during all of the time she was in said hospital; that he refused to pay her doctor bill or store bill or hospital bill until compelled to pay the doctor’s bill by law, and she was obliged to pay the store account and nurses’ bill and paid $70.00 hospital bill for the time she was in said hospital at Antigo.

4. That defendant is a strong and able bodied man and has earned at common labor, $3.50 per day and while in his Jitney business earned at least $5.00 per day net; that plaintiff has had some training as a clerk and stenographer and is capable of earning good wages but on account of her recent sickness will not be able to secure a position for a period of about six months; that she has, at all times, kept her marriage vows; that since his desertion of her, on March 1st [1923], she has been obliged to  a part of the time, pay for the care of said child; that she has not sufficient money or means of her own wherewith to carry on this action or support said child.
5. That plaintiff’s maiden name was Esther E. Edwards; that no prior action of divorce has been commenced or is now pending between the parties hereto.
     WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment for a divorce from the bonds of matrimoney existing between her and the defendant; for custody of said child; that defendant be required to pay the attorney’s fees and costs in this action and provide a suitable amount weekly, for the support of said child; to repay her the $70.00 which she paid the Antigo hospital; for the restoration of her maiden name and for such other and further relief as may be just. (here is the whole case file in pdf)

The divorce was granted on October 24th (not 28th as Esther indicated on her marriage certificate, a minor quibble). They weren’t officially divorced until a year after that date though.
Esther and Clarence were married in early January of 1922. Gertrude Marie was born in early August of 1922. Which means that Esther could quite possibly have been pregnant when they married. I do not know if Marie was premature, by about a month, or not. So, if they did marry because she was pregnant, it is quite possible that they married for the usual wrong reasons, and as so often happens in these cases, it didn’t work out for them.
I have a hard time believing that my Grandfather would behave in such a manner. Granted, I never knew him. But nothing I had ever heard about him indicated he would commit these kinds of acts.  However, one has to remember when reading this testimony that before the advent of no-fault divorce in the United States, a divorce could only be obtained by showing one party to be at fault in the marriage. It meant that one spouse had to plead that the other had: committed adultery, abandoned the family, or (one I have seen in many divorce cases in my years at the archives), committed cruel and inhuman acts, which usually included physical, mental and verbal abuse, even if none of this occurred during the marriage. Many American lawyers and judges were advocates of no-fault divorce because they wanted to eliminate the need for perjury in the court by the parties involved in the cases, where they wanted out of a marriage for a variety of other reasons that weren’t deemed acceptable in court. By 1985 all but New York had adopted some form of no-fault divorce, it wasn’t until 2010 that New York finally passed a no-fault divorce bill.
So one does have to take these early divorce testimony records with a grain of salt. He could quite possibly be guilty of some of these charges, including his failure to pay bills. He was the oldest son, so he was probably a bit spoiled, and he was barely in his mid-20s at the time of his marriage, and divorce, so he might have had some growing up to do yet.

For me the mystery is finally over. One case solved, of the many remaining. In fact, comparatively speaking, this one was a piece of cake, once I settled down to solving it. Of course now I want to know all about this Jitney business!

A little update…

Our ancestry all boils down to DNA.

Well, I know that at least one person reads my blog, my old man was complaining because it had been a while since he had seen anything new. Yes, it has been a month or so. But folks are usually busy with the holidays and have no time for such minor matters, including me.

For the new year I am putting forth a challenge to my readers, of which I am sure there are 1’s – post any future comments on my blog, even if it is to say this post sucks, or ‘hey’. I dare you.

I will no longer be informing folks of a new post on Facebook. Become a subscriber to my blog and you will get emails telling you there is a new post. Or visit it once a week to check it out.  I double dare you.

I decided for my first post for the new year that I would mention a few updates to my research and miscellany.

jensgenealogy updated 1/24/2015, with changes happening much more often in the future; now being hosted through my dropbox account, so delete those old website links of mine, they are outdated and useless. (By the way if you click on the little tree image by a name it will bring up a small tree chart.) Right now the surnames link isn’t working, I will work on that.

Flickr – a few new images have been added, some video, comments. I am still waiting for family to add their comments to images they see on the site, like who’s who, what’s what. Come on, I triple dare you.

It’s all there folks, pictures, family trees, etc. all you have to do is ‘click’ or ‘tap.’

No big news on that front. I have now added my mother to the pool, familyfinder results have come in. Here is her ethnic breakdown map:

I am intrigued by the Norwegian and Middle Eastern results in both my Grandfather and Mother. Research, so far, shows no such ancestors in our tree.

My grandfather William Shepard and cousin Robert Cain have both passed away, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing happens to their samples.

My forays into communications with distant cousins over the last year or two have resulted in ‘nada’. No one wants to talk to me and it appears that the thought of DNA testing has them shaking in their boots in fear. Not really sure what that is all about. But, it’s hard to move on with one’s research when others don’t want to share or talk to you. All that aside, I will continue with my efforts, you never know what the future holds.

Samuel Johnson who married Elizabeth Fox and was living with Almyra Johnson Brooks in Burlington, Vermont, was the son of John Johnson and Margaret Fing. So not a brother of Almyra, possibly a cousin.

The death record for Christina Johnson Warren of Albany, New York indicates that her parents are Thomas Johnson and Catherine Dunlap. So, not a sister to Almira Johnson Brooks as I was hoping.

The William Buchanan who was in the Civil War was not our William, further research and, finally, a pension record proved initial conclusions incorrect.
Other than that, the year will be interesting, for me anyway. I have several new surnames to pursue and another trip to Salt Lake City coming up in July. I have many leads but can’t really flesh stories out without more research, so I can’t blog about much of any of it yet. A little frustrating to say the least.
Here are some hints regarding future posts: Quakers, slavery, Loyalists, beheadings, incest, royalty…
Be seeing you on the interwebs, jen

A generation gone…

On Monday, December 15th my last grandparent passed away. William Atkinson Shepard, jr. He was 94 years old. Only few weeks short of being 95.

Bill, as he was known by family, was the son of William Atkinson Shepard, sr. and Rachel Hays. He was born in Ohio spending his formative years there and first saw my future grandmother, Lois Shaw, while sitting in church one day.

He joined the US Army Air Corps (which eventually became the United States Air Force), on June 12, 1942 during World War II.

Bill and Lois had 5 children. The first, William Gerald, didn’t live but a day after being born. Lawrence Alan died in a car accident in 1978 after being hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

I am sorry that I didn’t know my grandparents better, but travel and distance made it difficult. My favorite memory of my grandfather is his stories, he was a great story teller, certainly not a skill I inherited. He would open the trunk in the attic of their house on Sugar Hill in Maine and pull out stories of Brer Rabbit and that briar patch and read them to me and my brother and sister.

Like my grandmother he donated his body to science.

I can’t really find the words to memorialize my grandfather with, but I do have pictures. So here are a few of my favorites. Starting with Bill and Lois looking so young, starting their life out together.

Grandfather and Grandmother with Sue and Ken, the eldest two.

This is grandfather in Korea.

My favorite picture of me and my grandfather, this would have been about 1963.

Lazy genealogists…

A cool tree you can find at: http://www.bespokecustomgifts.com/personalized-gifts/Type-of-Gift/Artwork/diy-peacock-family-tree-personalized.

A lot has changed in the 15 years I have been pursuing our family’s history. Many resources are easier to find and access, digitization of records has improved greatly, and more people than ever have jumped on the genealogy bandwagon.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that all these folks want to research their family’s history, and I want to encourage anyone who is interested to dip their toe in the water. But the problem is the majority of these newbies seem to think all they have to do is copy the data from one person’s tree to their own and violà they are done. Sorry, but true genealogy is actually hard work. But work that us true genealogist really enjoy.

The only reason I bring this up is, first I find it extremely annoying to see more and more of these trees online and second, this is lazy genealogy for which I have no patience or respect.

Case in point. I am trying to prove that Thomas R. Stackpole, my 3x great grandfather on my Shepard side, is indeed the son of Richard and Margaret Stackpole. To do this I have been researching land records for Harrison and Marion Counties in Virginia/West Virginia where Richard and Margaret were living during a certain time period. I was hoping to find land records related to Richard and Thomas that might connect them. Well I didn’t, but I did find a land record from 1852 showing Richard and Margaret selling their property which was located on the Teverbaugh River in Marion County, but they were living in Tyler County at the time the deed was created. The 1850 census shows them living in Marion County. (This census also has a son Thomas living with them, but the age doesn’t quite match, so I have never been sure that this was my Thomas.) So sometime between 1850 and 1852 the Richard Stackpole family picked up and moved to Tyler County.

Thomas Stackpole married Lydia Lemasters in Tyler County in 1851, a daughter, Dorcas, who had been listed in the 1850 census record, also married in 1851, to a Christopher Sees.

In 1854 in Marion County, John Stackpole is selling land he inherited to a Richard Stackpole, jr. Neither of these two persons are as of yet connected to Richard, sr., but the fact that one of them is a junior and the property being sold is on Teverbaugh River in Marion County, and John lived in Tyler County, makes a strong argument that Richard, sr. is indeed their father and he had died by 1854. The 1860 census appears to meld these different bit of data together even closer. Margaret is living with Dorcas and Richard is no where to be found. A few pages away in this same census we find John Stackpole, Dallas LeMasters(my 2x great gramps), whose daughter Lydia married Thomas, Thomas Stackpole and other Lemasters families, all related. Putting all these bits together is making for a very strong argument. But, there is still more work to do, only now all in Tyler County.

What has all this got to do with lazy genealogy? Well, I am working hard on the research to try to make the connection and will continue to do so until I am satisfied with the results whatever they may be. All of the trees that I keep finding online for Richard and Margaret have merely copied someone else’s tree, and all have the same exact incorrect information, which includes his death, with no apparent effort to actually do the research themselves. Lazy. Not only lazy, but these trees make for a useless resource for helping others with their research.

This is just one example. I don’t have the time or the energy to list all the others.


In all the research I have done on my ancestors I have only run into one who shares the same October 31st birthday as me, Clayton Webb, my 4x great grandfather on my mother’s maternal side, born in 1779. The only other ancestor who comes close is my paternal grandfather Clarence John, he was born the 29th.

General Clayton Web has been written about by our Shaw relatives in their ancestor books and in the Riggs book put out by Alvy Ray Smith a few years ago, and I don’t really want to give a synopsis of his life – at least not at this time. I though I would just share his will, which I acquired earlier this year, and found a little different from the usual wills I have read from our ancestors:

Last Will and Testament of Clayton Webb
Filed April 22, 1850
Re-Recorded Vol. 1 Page 335

Be it remembered that I Clayton Webb of the County of Hamilton and State of Ohio being in the fifty third year of my age in perfect health and of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament (any other I have not made)

1st I direct that my beloved wife Jane have the sole direction as to the place and manner in which my body shall be interred

2nd I direct that all my lawful debts should I leave any at the time of my decease be punctually paid, after which

3rd I give and bequeath all my estate both real and personal amounting by estimation to five thousand dollars to my beloved wife Jane, believing her fully as capable of acting with judgment and impartiality in the distribution thereof among our children as I am or would be should I survive her, I am led to this step from the following reasons —

1st I have full confidence and ever have had in her fidelity economy industry judgment and affection for our children
2nd It has been by her exertions as well as mine by laboring hard for thirty two years that we have acquired what little property we have, and I have always thought it a hardship where both have equally strove to obtain an independence so necessary in the decline of life that any distinction should be made on the death of either —
3rd From long experience in settling up estates and making divisions among the heirs I am led to believe that generally speaking there is not that ardent and lasting affection in children towards parents, that parents have towards their children. How often have I seen families of children go by the ears in presence of their widowed mother before the corpse had scarcely time to rest in the grave. How often have I seen mothers wheedled out of the small pittance allowed them by law and turned out of doors by unfeeling children; and although I now apprehend no such conduct from my children, I think it my absolute duty to remove the temptation.
4th I further will that should my wife Jane after my decease think proper to intermarry with any person (which I think very impobable) the person so intermarrying with shall have no control over nor inherit any part or parcel of the property herein bequeathed, and should there be any law or usage that would make such person’s claim paramount to this my last will and testament whereby he might inherit possess or control for any period of time the property herein bequeathed then this my last will and testament to be null and void to all intents and purposes

I also request my son-in-law John Magill to advise with and assist his mother-in-law in all matters and difficulties that may arise or grow out of the execution in this instrument of writing —

To the care and protection of his mother I comit our little son John now about ten years old the only one of our children who is not of age–

Written with my own hand without cosultation. In witness whrereof I Clayton Webb the testator have herunto set my hand and seal this eleventh day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two.

Signed sealed and acknowleged
in presence of us who have
subscribed in presence of each

J H Gerard
J M ?han [can’t read signature, too light on photocopy]
Henry Debott

Clayton Webb ss1

I was amused by his point in his 3rd reason for giving his wife Jane the power of monetary distribution. But I was especially please by the respect he had for, and the power he was willing to give to, his wife with no prejudice whatsoever regarding her sex. A very 21st century man.

Clayton died April 8, 1850 in Hamilton County, Ohio. After many years of faithful service to his country as a soldier, judge, county commissioner, and member of the Ohio legislature as Senator and Representative.

Building Clayton was conducting Ohio State business in, as a Senator and Representative in the 1820s.

Brother in arms…

Mary (Schaal) and Augustus C. Johns, (I believe this
 photo was taken at their home in Minnesota),
early 1900s.

My g-g-grandfather Fredrick William John had a younger brother Augustus, (who went by the surname Johns after he arrived in America). He was also a soldier in the Civil War. In fact he enlisted August 13, 1862 with Company F of the 21st Wisconsin Infantry, under the command of Col. B. J. Sweet. He was living in Oakfield, Dodge County, Wisconsin at the time. His brother F.W. didn’t join up until several years later.

Augustus, a cooper by trade, had only been in America a year when he met and then married Maria Schaal in Dodge County in 1856. When war broke out in 1861, according to his wife Maria, Augustus enlisted because of their deep belief in the inherent evilness of slavery. She recalls his leaving:

“We had just built us a 5 room cottage but the upstairs was still un-plastered. My husband left me with this cottage, a cow, a few chickens, and three children, the eldest a little over four years old. My husband was so afraid he would miss the train, that was to take him to war, that he sat up all the previous night!”

Not only was she now alone to take care of the homestead, but she was three months pregnant at the time.

The 21st organized itself in Oshkosh to start its journey to the front. They arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, by way of Chicago and Indianapolis, on September 13, 1862 about noon. As the enemy forces were marching upon Cincinnati and Louisville, they were ordered to report to Gen. Wallace at Covington, Kentucky, so they quickly crossed the Ohio river, at which time they were assigned to the 3rd division of Gen.Wallaces Corps and proceeded to take positions in the trenches. The 21st was at that time 960 strong.

On their arrival at Cincinnati, Col. Sweet reported to Gov. Solomon of Wisconsin that “everything in the way of equipping the men seems to be in a state of uncertainty and confusion. We have no tents. They cannot give us any here.”

In fact, the 21st was organized so quickly that the men hadn’t even had time to practice drills in their rush to the battlefield. And they had no tents, no clothes, no guns. While the Union Army was in a hurry to recruit men to fight the war, they didn’t seem to be well prepared to arm and supply them. It was a good thing they brought their own rations, otherwise they wouldn’t have been eating either.

The next morning the 21st was going to be sent to the front two miles away. Col. Sweet was hoping that they would have a few moments to drill the men “and teach them the whole art of war.”

After arriving at Covington’s front, they spent their time changing positions twice over the next few days and sitting around in the trenches. On the 17th were then ordered to report to Louisville, Kentucky. They were to report to General Sheridan, who was commanding the Army of the Ohio. They remained in the area until October 1st. The men were marched to the trenches at 3:00 every morning and stayed until 6 am, changing position from one side of the city to another over the course of their stay. It was at this time that they finally obtained tents and were now thoroughly equipped for field duty. However, because of the constant marches, trench duty, the company paperwork and organization of the regiment, they had only been drilled three or four times.

Their assignment now was to the 28th Brigade commanded by Col. John Starkweather, part of Rousseau’s Division.

On October 1 they proceeded to march to route out the rebel army from the state of Kentucky. Eight days of intense heat and very little running water. at the end of which they engaged in the Battle of Chaplin Hills. They arrived at the battlefield about 4:00 in the afternoon on the 8th of Oct where they were immediately ordered to take position in a cornfield at the extreme left of the line of battle, a battle which was in the midst of action and had been for some time. General Jackson’s Division was in the immediate front of their position. Many of the 21st were shot down while getting into position, the bullets passing through the front and hitting whomever was behind. Because of the Jackson line in front of them they were unable to fire back at the enemy, unless they wanted to decimate their own troops. Eventually, as the battle progressed, the 21st was facing the enemy line and fired, it was “only when overpowered by superior numbers” did the regiment commense its retreat behind a new line of battle.

After this battle over the next month they marched to Lebanon, Kentucky, and then on to Bowling Green. From Bowling Green they headed to Mitchellsville Station, Tennessee, then on to Nashville, at which time they set up camp. Then on December 26th they marched with the army in its advance upon the rebels who were at Murfreesboro 30 miles from Nashville.

On December 30th while the army was taking position at Stones River the brigade of which the 21st regiment was a part was positioned on the extreme left flank covering the Jefferson Pike. At 7:00 in the morning, as the brigade train was approaching, it was attacked from the rear by Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry which consisted of about 3500 men. The Union regiment lay in two lines nearest to the point of attack and immediately proceeded double quick by the left flank down the road past the train to drive the revels from the line, but not before twenty one of the wagons were driven off and set on fire. The 21st at once formed line on the side of the road for protection of the trains which passed on. Wheeler’s cavalry charged upon the regiment but was unable to dislodge them and fell back out of musket range. The Union army was finally able to place some battery in a convenient enough spot to cause the rebels to retreat in haste and confusion. But, not before they were able to take 64 sick men, teamsters, and conveyances from the brigade train. One of those men captured was Augustus.

Augustus was, at this point, being listed in the rolls as “prisoner at Jefferson on 30th of December 1862” until September of 1863, at which time he finally shows up as “in the hospital at Stevenson, Alabama.” It appears that he was a prisoner at least through May of 1863. The records do not indicate when he was released, nor when he entered the hospital, but at least by September he is now free from imprisonment with the rebels and recovering in a hospital. It is possible that he was part of a prisoner exchange between the two armies as there is no indication that he was ever in a particular prison during the war.

Augustus continued his service with the Union Army until he was mustered out at the end of the war.
The following excerpts are from Maria’s interview:

“And news of big battles came. My husband was in Murphysboro, Chattanooga, Atlanta, and marched with Sheridan eastward to the sea. We had always written each other once a week, but now all news of Sherman’s army ceased and I heard nothing from my husband for weeks. When a letter came from my husband, I used to put it under my pillow and pray to the Father not to let my babes become orphans as I had been. When I nursed my baby, the hot tears rolled down my cheeks and my baby looked up as if she wondered why I wept.

My husband drew $13 a month as a soldier. Of this he kept $3 for his own use, and sent me $10 every month. Also, he washed shirts for the other soldiers who did not like to do such work, and who did not save their money. These shirts would get full of vermin and had to be washed in boiling water. My husband got 10 cents for each shirt he washed. All that he earned this way, he saved up and sent me a $50 gold bond and a gold ring that he purchased with these savings. He wrote that the food the soldiers got was not good. “I get only cow tail to eat”, he said. So I sent him a box of food once, but the freight on it was $9, which I found hard to pay.

Still with Sherman, my husband marched to Washington, and was mustered out. He came home by way of Milwaukee, where he bought a cheap linen duster to protect his cloths. The night I expected him, I never went to bed. When he got in at the station, he started right for our cottage, and the neighbors said his feet never touched the ground, because he flew to his family. He was neatly shaved and clean — cleanest of the whole company that returned. I had just lain down when the train pulled in, and the children ran in to say, “There is a soldier coming.” A moment after that, my husband came in with the children clinging to him. My little 2 year old, Flora, who had never seen him, was clinging to him, too! Then, for the one time in my life, I fainted!!!”

Marie never mentions Augustus’ capture in her memoirs.

During the month of travel to the battle that would imprison Augustus, he also served as a Provost Guard, these were the military police of the Union Army during this particular war. On the field they were also the security detachment for Division and Corps Headquarters. They protected Headquarter’s units, provided men to guard captured Confederates on their way to the rear, and provided security against Confederate guerrillas and raiders. In Augustus’s case he was probably handpicked by his CO as a temporary measure to fill in a spot as needed. The position was a well respected one by the Union troops.

Cherry pickin’…

Fred Hamm

Because I knew so little about my great grandfather Fred Hamm, I have spend an inordinate amount of time over the years trying to figure him out. In the course of my search into the details of his life I have filled in quite a few gaps. My latest foray in this endeavor was trying to learning a little about his life in his last years.

Fred is buried in Bailey’s Harbor, Door County, Wisconsin. According to one of his obituaries he had been working at Martin Orchards before his illness. This was the, if not one of the, largest cherry orchards in the world. The cherries were definitely world renowned in the early to mid 1900s. Martin Orchards is located about 4 miles outside of Sturgeon Bay and covers over 700 acres, (or at least did in the early part of the 1900s). Fred had been in Door County for about 11 years before his death, maybe he had answered one of these ads that was placed in the local paper:

While Fred was working at the orchard in the mid 1940s World War II broke out, and after the US became involved German prisoners of war started arriving in Wisconsin. One of the places they were sent was Martin Orchards.

Here is a picture of prisoners arriving at the train depot in Sturgeon Bay. They were going to be harvesting cherries, apples, and potatoes and helping out with other field work. Apparently the POWs picked a little over half a million pails of cherries in Door County during their stay. 
I wonder what Fred thought about these Germans and if he ever spoke with them.
Dale and I took a trip up to Bailey’s Harbor a few years ago in the hopes of finding Fred’s grave, but we had no luck. It appears that there is no headstone for him at the cemetery.

Life in motion…

I was going through my video files recently and thought to myself, “Jen, why are you keeping all these videos and not doing anything with them?” So Self and I decided to post them all on my flickr account, for everyone to enjoy or not. After all they are homemade videos the curse of family gatherings where everyone groans “Not again!!”

The videos are all pretty short no longer than 3 minutes, as that is the time constraint anyway at flickr. There is one of my niece, when very young, backyard entertainment, Obama’s visit, parents, and others.
So have fun. Meanwhile, I am still working on trying to get more interesting items into this blog, but research isn’t panning out, or I have hit a road block or two.

By the way the user name is bumanns. Enjoy!

Patience is a virtue…

Although I have to admit, I am not a virtuous person. In this case the patience I have lacked hasn’t mitigated the length of time is has taken to finally find a photograph of one of my ancestors. A photograph I have been looking forward to seeing for the last 15 years.

This is what patience looks like

This folks is a picture of Hartley Shepard. And a big hug and thanks goes out to my cousin Doug Shepard for sending this to me.

He also send me a picture of two other Shepard family members. One is of a daughter-in-law, the other is James Shepard who was 20 years younger than his brother Elza, my ancestor.

You will notice that the background in the above two pictures is the same. Here’s some interesting pictures to see:

These are unlabeled pictures in our own collection. I believe that the couple on the right is William Buchanan and his wife Margaret Mobley, Jane Buchanan’s parents. Jane married Elza Shepard. I have no idea who the other gentlemen is.

The following unlabeled family images are also daguerreotypes, possibly taken around the same time. The gentleman sitting in the chair looks a lot like James Shepard in the picture above:

I have to say this post was a long time coming. Thanks again Doug and thanks to your Aunt too.

Looking over the family tree…

This morning I was looking over my family tree chart to get a feel for how it was looking these days,  (and I must say, my efforts have filled it out pretty well in the last few years), when I realized that my great great grandparents Elza Shepard and Jane Buchanan were second cousins. Susan Smith, who married Hartley Shepard, was the daughter of Catharine Atkinson, William A. Buchanan was the son of Rebecca Atkinson, sister of Catharine. Susan’s son Elza married William’s daughter Jane.

That also means we descend from James Atkinson and Margaret Brown twice. Not an unusual occurrence at all, but one I just realized.

Elza Shepard and Jane Buchanan, 2nd cousins, my great great grandparents on my maternal size. They are sitting on chairs that are on an incline. Hilly country in West Virginia.