Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: George Rinsel


In memory of 
George Rinsel
March 6, 1845 in 
the 54th year of his life

It took over 165 years for Georges stone to deteriorate but thanks to digital photographs he may be remembered for much longer.

George Rinsel is buried in St. Vincents Cemetery, Latrobe Pa.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Whiskey Wars!

      I don't know if I've mentioned it before but early in our married life my spouse and I started a decades long ritual of reading to each other at bedtime. Lately we've been focusing on two old books about Pennsylvania we found going through 'stuff' at my mother's house.
     Just last night we read about the cantankerous Pennsylvanians demonstrating against the act of 1791 tax levy on distilled liquors. The Whiskey Insurrection was quite large here in old PA. Pennsylvania had recently ended long years of boundary wars with multiple countries and states. They had their "dander up".
     "A horse could carry only four bushels of grain across the Alleghenies from western Pennsylvania to eastern Pennsylvania, but could carry the product of 24 bushels in the form of whiskey. And on the return trip bring salt, sugar and iron. Distilling whiskey was a major industry. Western Pennsylvania contained more stills than any other area in the United States and therefore heavily taxed."
     This was the new government's first real test. The book tells "For three years Washington temporized with four Pennsylvania counties, because he feared that a call upon the militia to uphold the government would be repudiated, and that the Constitution, thus shown to have no hold upon the people's affections, would perish in mockery and derision.". George Washington and his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton didn't intend to ignore any defiance against laws enacted by this new congress.
     A group of people calling themselves "Tom the Tinkers" went through the countryside intimidating people who paid the tax. They would smash or "mend" stills and leave intimidating notes posted on trees and posts. It was called "mending the still".
One law abiding citizen had  the Pittsburgh Gazette print the long, wordy diatribe the 'Tinkers' left him. Large numbers of people against the tax boycotted services of even clergy and physicians who were for obeying the law. Some houses were burned and militia sent to protect some of the officials.  I,also, read somewhere that a good 25% of the distilleries in the US were actually in western Pennsylvania..
     On August 1, 1794 a mass meeting of 7,000 armed insurgents was held at Braddock's Field. The president "himself led an army of 15,000 men as far as Bedford ...to suppress the disorder. Secretary Hamilton accompanied the troops to the scene of the disorder." People refusing to comply were arrested. Conferences between state and federal representatives restored law and order.  Men from both sides went on to be appointed and/or elected to political positions.
     There are 26 historical markers throughout southwestern Pennsylvania memorializing this Insurrection and the meetings and confrontations that occurred here. See this site for more information.
quotes from: C.M. Bomberger; Twelfth Colony Plus. Jeannette Publishing Company, copyright 1934.

Matrilineal line

In response to Randy at Genea-musing my mother's line:
(My mitocondrial DNA line:)
1) Neva Waltonbaugh 1929
2) Neva Davis (Davies) 1909
3) Neva Cochenour 1880
4) Catherine Frew 1862
5) Eliza Duff (McElduff) 1831-34? *(see our RIP blog on finally finding her headstone!)
6) Margaret Myers ?
And here this line ends.
It is a different perspective doing it this way.
I have not had a DNA test done but plan to do so.
(Hint: we found many of my female ancestors looking for and finding the males.)
On my mom's side many lines go back to the 1600's 'domestically'!
We're working on finding and verifying.
Right now we're concentrating on verifying back to Revolutionary War Patriots.
Thanks for the challenge though, it opened up my genealogy in a different light and , also, renewed my desire to find Margaret Myers and verify her and find her family history.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Surname Saturday: Finding Frews

As I have gotten older I tend to procrastinate but when I get started I can go 'full tilt boogie'.
We have only been able to look for family grave monuments on weekends. I took the phone number of a much visited cemetery with me one day this week and made a personal call on the road. We have been unable to find one of my direct ancestors graves. I was somewhat certain she was in  this cemetery but after finding so many of my family here but not her or her married name we began to question if my memory of my trips here with my grandmother as a child had been correct.
In speaking with a lovely lady at the office I was verified that she was in the cemetery and given her exact lot number. Luckily  we were able to visit within a day or two. I went to the office, spoke to the same lovey lady and obtained a map with a star at her general spot and the names on the stones surrounding her. We drove to the section as I eagerly anticipated this discovery. When we arrived there wasn't a second row of stones immediately behind the first but a long row of beautiful rhododendrons in all their adult and healthy splendor. We pulled the car over to an appropriate spot and started to walk to the first row.
Yes, we found the name of the stone directly in front of my Eliza. But no second row! We walked over toward the beautiful bushes. Gently pulling apart the branches we saw several stones inside the surrounding bushes and surrounded by several branches were large jewel weeds one could not see from the road, they blended in so well.  I had to walk around to the less dense side of the bush to sneak into the group of bushes. It felt like being a kid again playing making a cabin under a bush just under a group of trees. My husband being much taller was able to bend around some branches and see into the greenery. He hollered, " it's Eliza."
We gently removed all the dead branches and moved the branches we were able to without any kind of tools or hurting the plants. We, also, removed the 'passed their prime' and dying jewel weeds so you could see the one facet of the monolith without trimming the rhododendrons.

Her stone was larger than I thought it would be. A nice monolith. She had died before her husband and this was a lovely choice. He was a tailor and must have done well to purchase such a lovely stone.

Her inscription was not on the face or the back of the stone but on the side  facet. It indicated she was the wife of J.G. (I have his info as James G.) but his inscription is missing. The office had his name as being in this lot grave # 2.

No wonder we hadn't found her after so many attempts to find her! 

She was near the original entrance in one of the first areas of the cemetery. When I began to plot all my many relatives on the map I found Eliza was in the section next to her daughter and son-in-law who are with his parents. More relatives. As I continued I found for over 120 years my family has been burying members here  all in sections in a line from front to back of the cemetery. You could walk a straight line through these sections of this huge cemetery without getting worn out.

First of all it's so lovely to be able to get info from the office.
Second I told the lovely lady in the office this is a lovely very well taken care of cemetery. A very pleasant one to visit.
And last but not least I want to mention how great this staff member was at helping me.
This wonderful, beautifully maintained for over 160 years, cemetery is the West Newton cemetery and my experiences here have made me want to sale my plots and stones and buy ones in this one.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Doing the 'Happy Dance'

We kept hitting a brick wall on my husband's fathers side of the family. Even with the internet and all the sites for family trees and document sites we just couldn't find his Dad's family to verify or disprove all the 'word of mouth' info we had..
His grandmother had several children with different 'husbands'. We found info on her family because she came from a large prominent family but her relationship with my husband's grandfather was not verified. We had documents of two of her children that noted him as the father using his last name but couldn't find him anywhere.
Rumor was he was 'from' Canada. Another barrier.
Finally we had a chance to travel near the area a marriage between them may be documented. We found a place to park very close to the courthouse, everyone was open and friendly to us. The registrars office was homey and welcome. Most of the computers were being used. Just a very good experience compared to others we've had.
Then we found his grandmother's name and started pulling up the documents. Whoa! We found a marriage application and marriage between his grand parents. So it did happen! We almost did the 'Genealogy Happy Dance' right there in that office.
We had heard vague good and bad things about his Dad's family. But now we know it wasn't because of an illegitimacy stigma.
When we got started looking at the application document we were in shock. Not only had they applied but the names of his grandfathers parents, their birthplace and that they were deceased at the time were noted. His grandfathers place of residence and his occupation were marked. Were these items fact? We would have to verify.
There were multiple 'eye openers' in the first few lines. The document was filled in by hand and being a copy was in places hard to decipher. They did not give access to the originals so we had to rely on the computer copies and the enlargement on screen.
Immediately we noted that three things on the left side of the document , the male applicant's side,  were not at all what we had heard. The surnames were not what we expected. His grandfather's name was either misunderstood by the person doing the documentation or just not what we had been told for years. Did his grandfather have an accent or was not fluent in English? Maybe French Canadian? Then in scrolling down we found my husband's surname was listed as his great-grandmother's maiden name. We were told at one time his father had a falling out with his dad and changed the spelling of his last name. The problem being the grandfather's name on the document is the last half of his mother's maiden name, the confusion gets more complicated and our happy dance moment is a whole new set of info to search for and verify.

My husband's surname is Kayhart. We were told his grandfathers name was Earl Kahart and that Earl's son added a y to his surname. What we think is  found is Earl K. Hart on this document.  J.K. Hart listed as Earl's father and possibly Mollie or Millie Kayhart on the mother site. Earl's place of birth is hard to read. But looking at the father's place of birth it  looks similar to it and more like Ontario!?  But are those words after each of these places  shorthand for Canada? The only possible C on the document to compare it to is on the females Dad's occupation. It  appears as though he was a carpenter. And what was Earl's occupation? Only more mysteries to unravel.
        What does it look like to you? 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The destruction of Old Brush Creek Cemetery.

We were checking out old cemeteries that had a common family name, that occurred often in my family's past, listed as being interred there. We visited an old cemetery with many old stones.

At least 50% of the monuments in the cemetery were purposely knocked down.  
 The quote on this stone indicates it no longer matters to these departed souls. How apropos!

 This pile was at the back of the cemetery and an all too often site these days.
 The large clumps seen here are where one or more monument(s) are knocked down and strewn about making mowing and 'weed whacking' hard to do without causing equiptment and monument damage. Toward the front of the cemetery a  section of multiple rows are all strewn about making upkeep unsafe for equipment and the caretaker's walking. We'll return in the late winter, early spring when no plants are grown up to attempt to at least read some of those stones.

At the end of the cemetery I started to walk toward the front entrance and spotted these two old slate stones still upright with a white substance applied in a manner as to read the carvings. At first I thought some one wanted to record the info and that rain had caused the dripping patterns. But as I walked closer I realized it was not either of the two methods we've seen on occasion used for this purpose. I thought, 'No, that can't be spray paint..." but realized when I touched it that was exactly what it was. I should have understood because of the violent destruction we saw upon entering the site that spray painting wasn't out of the question. I just hadn't excepted the depth of the other destruction, so wasn't ready for another form.

Why? What pleasure or feelings of achievement could these two types of destruction give someone to do such a thing? And because some of the dislocated monoliths were quite large it must have been done by a group of people or someone armed with motorized equipment to do the destruction.
I know many people feel cemeteries are not where the deceased are and so are really useless to them but many family members honor their loved ones at these last resting sites. (I being one of the latter) The cemetery will most likely never be repaired and will become another discarded site because of the difficulty to maintain it with such recklessness strewn about. It saddens me that this kind of destruction is pleasant to someone.
Can someone help me understand this blatant disrespect? It has no redeeming value. It's not art, not self-expression...to me serves no purpose. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finding Your Ancestors using GPS

Yesterday we took an early trek up north to find the cemeteries where my husbands grandmother, grandfather and great-grand father are buried. We hit a gold mine. But that's not what I'm blogging/posting about.
On our way home we left the GPS on and noticed green patches on the screen. You could tell by the road configuration whether these green sites were parks or cemeteries. We decided to stop at one cemetery and check out the names with a drive through for later exploration. On our way out I saw a name from my families past. It ends up there are several stones for this family there.
So you can use the GPS screen just to find unexpected info or to find a cemetery you have vague directions to.
Just a tip for others if they could use it. Happy Hunting family tree genealogists!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Mrs. Emma J. Hawk

Finding the obituary of a Great, Greataunt, can be very rewarding to verify what you know and also open up many more branches to your family tree. Finding information on females can be daunting and obituaries can be very informative, unlike the census records they are found on before they are married. 
In this case I found her married name and her surviving children and brothers and also the married name of a surviving sister.
One curious thing is that she died at her daughters home, who has the same married name of Hawk.

New Castle New, Thursday, November 9, 1944, Page 2, Col.3

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Word Wrap 19th Century Style

Susana Eliza Fry

Susana : Eliza Fry.
Died March .3 . 1842
Agd' 10 Mon.ts

Ridge Churches Union Cemeteries, 
Westmoreland County, Pa

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: John W. Fox

What does this monument represent? Do the different aspects of the stone indicate this man's profession, his group affiliations, his religious beliefs???

In driving through this cemetery one notices there are a lot of monuments with this cylinder on top but none are with the scalloped edges. My first impression was they looked like some type of roter. Was he a machinist late in life? Do the plaques for the stats indicate something specific about him? The stone, also, has four steps on each of the sides. Was he an architect, a draftsman, a builder or hoping to get to the stairway to heaven? And why does the monument have two sides for names but only has one side is etched. Did he have another person that was to be buried with him and didn't make it or never got the stone done after the interment?
This stone is one of the large stones in the cemetery and is in a section of other large stones. It's unique so most likely custom for his wants. There are a lot of other Fox stones in this cemetery and are clustered together as seen with families. This man is not with any other Foxes.
We did some research on this man and found that at one time he's listed as working at a stone quarry. Ok, so that would be were he became familiar with types of stones used in monuments? Maybe. Maybe he picked the actual stone to be used at work.
Another census has him working as a gardener. 
He is noted as being divorced in one census and the next a widower. One census has him head of house hold with his daughter living with him. 

Does anyone have a clue as to what the different aspects of this monument represent?  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Captain C. F. Mitchell

Captain C. F. Mitchell
Greensburg, Pa., January 24.- Captain Chauncey F. Mitchell, Greensburg's oldest citizen, who on last Tuesday celebrated the ninety-third anniversary of his birth, died at 4 O'clock yesterday afternoon in a chair at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Wineman. Captain Mitchell had not been ill and his death was unexpected. Captain Mitchell was born in a log cabin in Greensburg, January 17, 1818 and except two years spent in the west and 30 years in Somerset, always had lived here. Printer, newspaperman, soldier, and adventurer, Captain Mitchell led a life full of activity. When a boy he took up the printer's trade in the office of Murcury News in Pittsburg, now the Post. The old Ben Franklin press was operated by hand. This was in 1831. In 1854 the young man had risen to the position of editor and established the Somerset Democrat in Somerset, Pa. which he edited until 1861. He then enlisted in Company A, Pennsylvania Reserves, and went to the front. He served for three years in the army and took part in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Seven Days' Battle in the Wilderness and others. The last battle he fought was at Gettysburg. He was also a "forty-niner" having left with a large number of Westmorelanders for the gold fields of the Pacific coast. Six grown children survive Captain Mitchell, one of whom is Walter Mitchell, cashier of the Mellon National Bank of Pittsburg.

The Pittsburgh Press- Jan 24 1911
Page 17 column 4

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Surname Saturday: Frew

I keep hitting that 'brick wall' genealogists talk about with the name Frew.
In researching my maternal genealogy I find my second great grandmother's maiden name was Frew. Her parents were Eliza Duff (6 Jan., 1834- 28 Jul., 1891) and James G. Frew (1 Apr.,1928-21 May, 1898).
Census show James G.'s parents are most likely James Sr. and Jane unknown.
Jane Frew with her chiildren appear in multiple SW Pennsylvania census with Jane and then James G. as household heads. James Sr. is questionably absent until he reappears living with a daughter,  her husband and children when he is in his twilight years.
Jane's and James(Sr.)'s children are: David (1825), James G. (1828-1898), Hannah (1831), Isabella(1834), and Nancy(1835).
I found another couple James and Jane Frew in Blount, Tennessee that parallel the ages and lives of this Pennsylvania couple but no link to them.
I can find many references to Frews in records but this is as far back as I can link my Frews.
Is anyone researching Frews and has found links to Westmoreland, Fayette or Allegheny counties in southwestern PA.? I know Eliza and James G. Frew's daughter is buried in West Newton, Pa with her husband and his parents, the Cochenours.
I would love to share what info I have found. Is anyone searching the Frew family?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Petting Parties?

Petting Parties? Problems in cemeteries 80 some years ago. 
Were a group of people gathered in the graveyard stroking their dogs and cats? LOL!
In papers today we see vandalizing and drinking in cemeteries. Back in the 1920's kids didn't have the availability of cars like today. Yet in this story some were misusing both cars and the cemetery. 
This was on the front page of the paper so important news at the time. Why else would the caretaker been given authority to arrest the petters?
Those familiar with the term 'petting' in my generation think of it done in the family car borrowed for a date or double date. "Parking!" 
In 1925 what would these petting parties have looked like? A bunch of kids sitting around the maintenance building/cottage 'making out' and getting to 'first base'? 
Don't you just love the flair these old newspaper stories are written with?
And what stories would we hear if cemetery monuments could talk! 

Greensburg Daily Tribune, Thursday July 9, 1925, Page 1.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sentimental Sunday

              Happy Birthday, Mom. This week was the first time I couldn't spend her birthday with my Mom.  Every year we always sang Happy Birthday around birthday cakes,( Mom's favorite: German Chocolate) and,  my Dad's favorite, vanilla ice cream.  The whole family came, kids, grandchildren, great-grand children and even some kids from the past. We'd all eat, sing Happy Birthday and cut the cake. Dad always doled out the ice cream.
              Everyone would stay late hanging on to the last bit of conversation. It was always hard to leave 'home' even though we saw each other frequently. We always got caught up in talking and sharing and the time just 'got away'. Those times are over now. No more hanging out at Grumpa and Nonnie's for the grand kids and great-grand kids; no more going home for the 'kids'.

              Happy Birthday, Mom we all miss you so very much and were so lucky to have had you in our lives. We are all better people for the experience.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A collision with the past

Over the Independence Day celebration an old family friend and neighbor died. She and her husband were the last of the Italian couples that lived on the street I grew up on. My family had gotten together to sort through some of my Mom's things at her house that night. It so happened Josephine's family were all there with her because she had a change in her status that day. Luckily we just 'happened'  to be across the street and were able to see her one last time.
At the funeral home and funeral we got to see many 'kids' and some of the parents who no longer live in the neighborhood. It was bitter sweet. Together we were all reminiscing yet saying goodbye to an era of a lifestyle we lived in. It was final.
We grew up on Orchard Ave. Within 5-10 min. of walking distance to downtown yet the neighborhood had everything a kid could want. We were truly lucky. That was said to me repeatedly those few days.
The street had many young couples with 3-5 kids about the same age range. The grade school sat at one end of the street and in the summer time the playground was in 'full swing'. A set of trained college kids ran each playground with crafts, games of skill, physical and mental; and a regular talent show with the band wagon equipped with a sound system. All the playground standards: the huge big kids swings we stood on to pump  them as high as possible (trying to 'go over the top'), the little 'baby' swings, the monkey bars, the sliding board, the merri-go-round (where we played 'dropped it: picked it up) and the sand box. We played Volleyball, badminton, kickball, the carom pool table that fit perfectly over a 55 gal. drum, whiffleball and Basket ball. In the winter the firemen flooded the basketball court so we could play ice hockey..... We had a lot of flat surfaces to bicycle and some really steep hills to fly down. We 'hung out' on the wall in front of my house at the end of the block. All the parents, of all nationalities, watched out for all the kids. We had outside sleep-overs, neighborhood 'fire hall' street fairs with gambling for the adults, bingo for the moms and rides for the little ones. My favorite thing to do was run through the huge woods, quiet and cool yet so much fun. And when I was done I could sit in the crotch of the mulberry tree and eat all the reachable berries.
To get to the point share your memories with your past friends and families as well as those new members. Give them the good memories to continue passing them along. (ie. I bought my toddler grand-niece a pair of frog wellie boots and promptly taught her to splash in the little mud puddles!)
Most of the neighborhood parents and some of the 'kids' are now Resting In Pennsylvania and in all of our thoughts and memories.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lt. Col. Pomeroy, more info on a revolutionary patriot!

When we first saw the Lt. Colonel's gravestone we smiled and chuckled at the 'Indian killer' reference.  But having lived here in one of the first thriving states in the colonies and being hungry for that time period's history we know a little bit about this areas 'indian' attacks.

To give you a quick overview... first of all most of the people that came to the Quaker State (PA) came for the religious freedom and the ability to make it on their own and possibly own land. As Philadelphia grew and more people moved west the exposure to the native American nomads grew.
Understanding that this is a broad overview here it is: Most natives viewed this great, vast land as a gift of abundance to be utilized and taken care of for all people. They fought with other native tribes to retain the ability to utilize this mother earth. So there was violence among the natives long before the white man came.
During the French and Indian War and following through the Revolutionary War, many of the Indian raids that killed settlers were brought about by the instigation and collaboration of the French or British commanders.
The attack on the Westmoreland Co. seat of Hannah's town July 13, 1782 was just that. Working with the British, about 60 Canadian Rangers and  100 Seneca Indians fighting; under Guyasuta, attacked the small fort during the Revolutionary War. A young girl died trying to protect a child. (to see more about the death of Margaret, Peggy, Shaw and the Hannah's town raid see "Hannah's Town" a book  by local historians Helen Smith and George Swetnam, written in 1973 during Hannastown excavation. "ISBN 0-913228-06-0".) This was part of a multi-day raid on this area. Most attacks occurred during the summer because of the harsh winters and tracks in the snow led to the culprits. See, also,   http://www.starofthewest.org/hannastown/index.cfm

At that time settlers carried rifles to work their fields and always feared attack from the stealth natives. The Revolutionary War was fought on all fronts including in the backyards of the settlers, who were defending their family(s). Every few miles a family would be the voluntary "block parents" or block house, a safe haven during raids. My ancestors being inhabitants of this area had one such block house not far from where I've lived most of my life.

Pomeroy was one of the magistrates of Westmoreland Co. and  established the county seat at "Newtown", now Greensburg, PA.

His older brother, Thomas Pomeroy is said to have been the first white child born in Lancaster Co, a county between Philly and the Westmoreland co. area . Thomas left early July 21, 1763, to hunt for food for his wife and two children only to return to find a band of Indians had killed and scalped his wife and children. A women named Mrs. Johnson survived the attack. She "had an broken arm, her skull fractured and the scalp torn off her head." From History of the Cumberland County, Counties of Franklin and Cumberland Co.

So one can understand why after surviving the French and Indian War and having been commander of Fort Ligonier in 1777 ( taken from the French in the war)   he could have become "popularly known as the Indian killer". As commander he may have been labeled for actions at that time.

Fort Ligonier on Forbe's Trail, was the only major fort  on the way to Fort Pitt. (Fort Pitt was, also, originally French and known as Fort Duquesne.) Pitt gave  access to the very important Ohio river and thus access north to Canada and south to the mouth of the Mississippi.) Lewis and Clark had a their keel-boat built here before their trip west and of course George Washington was frequently in the area.
 Ligonier was just west of the difficult to navigate Allegheny Mountains at the gateway to the rolling hills of southwestern PA and in the area of many killings of settlers. To go west settlers had to pass through this  glacial gorge so it was the hub of much activity.

People didn't have the communications we have today so many of the natives and settlers only understood that the others had to be 'stopped'. This was self preservation on all sides.

All this history found from researching the inscription on an interesting grave marker.

Other sources: Old Westmoreland, the History of Western Pennsylvania during the Revolution. by Edgar W. Hassler. Fort Ligonier Museum site.   http://fortligonier.org/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Revolutionary War Veterans

As we celebrate our great nation's independence we would like to remember some of those who risked all and fought for that precious gift. 

The United States of America

 Here are a few of those soldiers buried in Old Salem Church Cemetery  in New Derry, Pennsylvania: 

IN memory of
Thomas Anderson
who departed this life
April 30th, 1828
aged 103 years.

John Barnett
served in the
 war of
the revolution.

In memory of
William Bell
who departed this life
Nov'r 21st 1828 in the 73rd
Year of his age.

Zebulon Doty
Rev. War

memory of
Uriah Matson
died June 6th, 1826 in
77 year of his age..

John Pomeroy
Revolutionary veteran
Lt. Col.of militia
Indian killer
m. Hannah Graham.
( More on Lt. Col. Pomeroy will follow in another post. ) 

Moses Stuert
born 1722
died July
28 1790.

To all those who fought for our freedoms let us remember them as we celebrate.
Thank you for our freedoms!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Update; Rufus Davidson C.S.A.

On a previous post about Rufus Davidson (Confederate soldier buried in Westmoreland County Pa.) I stated that he was with the 2nd Maryland Cav. and wondered why he was buried here. And now a little bit more to the story.

While searching newspaper archives on Google News Archives http://genealogy.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=genealogy&cdn=parenting&tm=3&f=11&su=p284.9.336.ip_p504.1.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//news.google.com/archivesearch  I came across a story written in the Greensburg Daily Tribune dated April 6 1920 called Veteran,

Veteran Has Had Rough Winter
Rufus Cassius Davidson, lone Confederate veteran living in this section, is slowly recovering from injuries he sustained last fall when his faithful and trusted old horse kicked him in the ribs, landing a cork of the shoe on the spot where a Yankee bullet, in the battle of the Wilderness more than fifty years ago, found lodgement. Then the old horse squeezed his master against the side of the manger and would have killed the veteran if help had not arrived. The flu, too, attacked the hardy veteran and confined him to his home in Orchard avenue most of the winter. Slowly recuperating the former member of Stonewall Jackson's and later of Early's cavalry, stimulated by balmy spring weather, has been able to walk about the streets in his section of the town during the past week.
      A Daily Tribune reporter recently had a most interesting chat with tho Confederate veteran. " Yes, I had a mighty close call and I put in my toughest winter, but I am slowly coming back and I expect to work my garden lots again this summer" the veteran said. comrade Davidson belongs to Captain George A. Cribbs G.A.R. post and was particularly distress at the death of his personal friend Col. James Reed, for many years, one of the most prominent men in Westmoreland county G.A.R. circles.
     During the chat with veteran Comrade Davidson said he served two years and six months in the Second Maryland Cavalry under General Early. This regiment did much raiding to harass the Union army as well as to get foods. "ah yes, I well remember our regiment riding into Fredericktown in "That cool September morn which the poet Whittier so prettly described, when the boys caught sight of Barbara Fritchie waving 'Old Glory', a beautiful American flag from an upstairs window in her home. Up went rifles to shoot the flag from the woman's hands, When Barbara shouted, 'Shoot if you must, this old grayhead, but spare your country's flag, she said'."
     This defiant challenge from the gray haired patriot touched Stonewall Jackson, who thought that if conditions were reversed, hundreds of Southern women would unfurl the 'Stars and Bars' in the faces of Yankee soldiers in perfect safety and he ordered his men to "March On."
     Comrade Davidson is a native of Washington, D.C., and he was driven to enlist in the Southern army when a lad sixteen years old through police persecution in the Capital city. He served two years and six months and participated in many of the big battles that were fought on Virginia soil including Gettysburg. He says the cavalry to which he belonged had a most wholesome respect for General Phillip Sheridan.
     Comrade Davidson has been a resident or Greensburg for thirty years. He always marches with the members of Captain George A. Cribbs G.A.R. post in this city on Memorial and other G.A.R. occasions. One son, Mack, is a member of the Field Artillery branch of the army and he is doing duty down on the Mexican border.

Link to story;
If link doesn't work copy and paste to your browser

I find it very interesting that he participated with the G.A.R. and I bet that they had some great conversations among themselves about the war.
This story is even more interesting to me because he lived just a short distance from my home and his wife later died just a few houses away.
Rufus was born abt 1845 and died before 1931 when his wife Anna E. Davidson died. Both are buried in the Union cemetery, Greensburg, Pa.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sentimental Sunday; My Dad

Found these pictures reminiscing about Fathers Day, and decided to post about my dad, John.
My dad in 1939, a young man in service to his country.

My dad in 1953 holding me, and doesn't look like hes aged a day even after 6 months of a colicky baby.

Happy Fathers Day, you were the best. Miss You.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corp. Harry Furry

This marker evoked so many questions, I kept going back to it. John and Catherine Furry had a son and named him Harry. He died at 22 years of age. He attained the rank of Corp. in WWI and most likely died because of his service. Such a sad and short story.
On the lighter side did his superiors and his fellow soldiers, as well as, his subordinates have a field day with  his oxymoron of a name? I many times come upon a marker and see a name that causes me to wonder... the new Mom is handed her beautiful bundle of joy and decides to name this sweet, tiny bundle... WHAT? Harry Furry!
Did this name make him stronger, like in the Johnny Cash song "a boy named Sue"? Or...?
Both my spouse and I have histories of being teased because of our last names so the question comes through our experiences. Just reliving these feelings, we wonder what Corp. Harry Furry endured because of his parents choice of his given name.
We can all recall someone with an unusual name. My husband went to school with a girl named Holly Wood,. I was in class with a Candy Cane. Now do I have you thinking about his name?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday:

Harmony Cemetery, Fayette Co., Pennsylvania

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review of "the Generations Project" on BYUtv

In our spare time we catch an episode or two of "The Generations  Project". Ours being a site regarding those Resting In Pennsylvania we noticed almost every episode, if not every one, has a walk through a cemetery looking for ancestors grave stones.
This show has ordinary people looking into their family tree, for a multiple of reasons. It follows through to various sources and means to find their quest. Similar to "Who Do You Think You Are?" it moves through the process of the search, revealing good and bad answers. It shows how the quest changes the person seeking their family history. These individuals are not famous and therefore we 'ordinary folk' can more readily identify with their situations. We recommend this show to anyone interested in their or other's history.
You can find it at:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mystery Monday: Would you want to know why these three people are buried together?

George H. Waltonbaugh and Bessie Harvey Waltonbough were my maternal great-grandparents.  They had three children in 1913 and Bessie was pregnant with the forth when George suddenly died. The two oldest were twin  boys at nine years of age. George Richards married widow Bessie in 1916. They had two children:  George Boyd Richards, Jr. (1917- 12-6-1957) buried in Arlington Cemetery; and Ruth Richards (1923-1951). Ruth died in a fire in Washington, DC at 28 years old. This Ruth White is most likely Ruth Richards. None of the family records I have acquired show Ruth married.
Family records have George Boyd Richards Sr.  "killed by a truck when his children were very small".
In 1929 Bessie married John C. (Jack) Reed. George Richards Jr. was 12 and Ruth would have been 6 years old.
So George Waltonbaugh was Bessie's first husband with whom she is buried here. Ruth was her daughter by Bessie's second marriage to Mr. Richards. Bessie's last husband was 'Jack' Reed, thus her last name at the time of her death.
If I had stumbled upon this gravestone without knowing my family history I'd be intrigued..... Even so there are still unanswered questions. Where is Mr. Richards buried? Where is Mr. Reed buried? And did Ruth marry a Mr. White before being killed in the fire? Another question is why is the WWII flag holder placed here? Was Ruth working for one of the branches of  the service in DC and thus a veteran? George Boyd Richards Jr. is buried in Arlington so is it here for Bessie's son's service to his country? He served in many places during his service career and died on tour in France. What qualified him for an Arlington burial? Or was it  just placed here by mistake? (All the questions) .Don't you love cemetery mysteries? More to come....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Rufus Davidson

Buried in Union Cemetery, Greensburg, Pa.
A Confederate Soldier

PVT Rufus C. Davidson served in the 2nd Maryland Cavalry
a group of partisan rangers
The 2nd Maryland Cavalry was under the command of Harry Gilmore and was affectionately known among the men as 'the band".  
More can be read about the 2nd Maryland cavalry at

   Wonder if he was killed during a 'raid'; here, and they gave him a 'proper burial' even though he was a rebel. What was he doing here in Greensburg, did he die at a skirmish or in a field hospital? Who was nice enough to give him a cemetery plot and arrange for/get a headstone. Or was he related to some one in the area? Brothers fought brothers in our civil war...Or did he live here after the war? This calvary regiment kept very few muster rolls and records...after they were rangers!

It will be interesting to find out more about this man. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Robert Niccolls

I guess in 1834 " Do Overs" would not be practicable. I wonder if the stone carver was told that senior is not abbreviated (Sen) and then squeezed in the little r or did he realize he didn't have room?

This stone of Roberts wife, has the Sr. carved correct. where the stones carved at the same time by the same carver and realizing that the word senior did not fit, corrected it on Marys stone? I believe this to be the case.

I love the mystery found in cemeteries, not only with the deceased but with the stones.
Carving these stones in the 1830's would have taken a lot of skill, muscle and time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Military Monday: George W. Gibbs

George W. Gibbs, soldier in Co's B & H 28th Regt. Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

George was first mustered into Co B, 28th Regt. on June 28 1861 as a musician. Transferred to Co H on April 29th 1864 and discharged July 20 1864. (History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5; prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature, by Samuel P. Bates.)Pages 442 and 465.

George is found along with his family, wife Catherine M. and children Margaret, William H., Joseph, Morris, Rebecca E., Elizabeth C., and George W.,  on the US Federal Census, June 1900, Westmoreland County, Mount Pleasant Borough, Enumeration District 120, Sheet 5A.  I believe Morris to actually be Maurice L. who is listed on the other side of this marker 1893-1972

George is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Mt. Pleasant Pa.

George W. Gibbs
1835 - 1902

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sentimental Sunday; Visiting Graves

After four months I finally was able to visit my mom's grave. We had the "grave side' services at the chapel in the cemetery because of a snow storm. It seems to always rain or snow for our family's graveside services. Mom was a very dedicated and productive soul. She went from high school into nursing school and worked at the same hospital her whole career. We were all born in that hospital and that's where she spent her last 3 days, surrounded by her loving family
Last Sunday we did a round of grave visits. Every stone, every grave tells a story. It's part of history. It's not macabre. I took pix with my android if I could just figure out how to put them on here...
'...as long as someone remembers you live forever...'.