Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert

I know very little about my ancestors from Mexico. In this post, we will begin to explore what little bit I do know about them.

I'll start with my grandfather, my most recent connection to Mexico. Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert was born on 8 August 1937 in Mexico. He was the second of four children born to Gilberto Cardenas Ortega and Enriqueta Frida Luebbert Schulz.

Enriqueta was Gilberto Cardenas Ortega's second spouse. His first spouse was a Texan. Her name was Virginia Placida Johnston. Gilberto also married a third time to a woman named Amalia Tristan Vera.

Enriqueta was also married a total of three times. Her other spouses names were Carlos Zolezzi Cavazos and Antenor Buenrostro. I do not know when she was married to either of these men as it does not seem they had any children together.

Through all of his parents' secondary marriages, Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert had four half-siblings. Their names were:
  • Theresa Antoneta Cardenas
  • Daniel Lawrence Cardenas
  • Amalia Cardenas Tristan
  • Gilberto Demetri Cardenas Tristan
Perhaps his parents' troubles in staying with one spouse influenced Gilberto in his own relationships as he was married six times in his life.

As far as I know, his first marriage was to my grandmother. In his late twenties, Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert married Barbara Rowena Hitchcock.
Enriqueta Luebbert Schulz, Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert, and Barbara Rowena Hitchcock
at Gilberto and Barbara's wedding reception. Provided by Thomas Cardenas.
Together, they had three children.
  • Gil Enrique Cardenas
  • Jorge Cardenas
  • Krystal Rowena Cardenas
Since I do not know when he married which spouse, I will simply list the remainder of his relationships in no particular order.

Gilberto married Soledad Medina. Together, they had at least one child.
  • Enriqueta Cardenas Medina
Gilberto married Hortensia Aguilera. Together, they had at least one child.
  • Gabriela Cardenas
Gilberto also married Violeta (last name unknown) and Guadalupe (last name unknown).  He later remarried Hortensia, who remained his wife until he died.

I do not have any photos of Gilberto's other spouses, and I have only seen one or two photos of my dad's Mexican half-siblings. (My dad also has two other half-siblings from my grandmother's second marriage.) I wish I knew more than just some colors and numbers in Spanish so I would feel more comfortable contacting my relatives South of the Border. Until I learn the language though, I leave my brother to do most of the Mexican research.

I only met my grandfather once. We spent a couple of days together in 2010 while on a road trip from North Carolina to Pennsylvania with my aunt (his daughter) and her family. We spent most of those days sharing our love of World Cup Soccer watching it on television in the hotels where we stayed. We did send a few emails back and forth, but I wish I had asked him more about his life and relationships. That aspect of his life and his reasons for marrying/divorcing so many times is probably something I'll never be able to figure out or understand.

Gilberto died the year after I met him on 11 October 2011. He is buried at Jardines del Recuerdo. My brother managed to get this photo from one of Gilberto's brothers, Raul Cardenas Luebbert, last year for me since I needed proof of my grandfather's birth and death dates for my Daughters of the American Revolution application.
Photo of grave of Enriqueta Luebbert Schulz, Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert,
and (currently) three other people. Copyright, 2014
  • Brittany Jenkins, grandchild
  • Gilberto Cardenas Luebbert, self
  • Thomas Cardenas, grandchild
  • Tombstone photo taken Spring 2014

Saturday, February 21, 2015

James C. Campbell and Sarah A. Campbell

This Monday, February 23, would have been my great-great-great-great grandparents' anniversary. For that reason, I have decided to write about them this week.

James Columbus Campbell was born 25 October 1824 in Georgia. His wife, Sarah Ann Higginbotham, was born 25 November 1828, also in Georgia.

The couple got married 23 February 1843 in Elbert County, Georgia. Together, they had (that I know of) 13* children. Those children were:
  • Lucy J. Campbell, born about 1846
  • Mary E. Campbell, born about 1848
  • Martha L. Campbell, born about 1853
  • Sarah Frances Campbell, born about 1853
  • Susan M. Campbell, born about 1855
  • William E. Campbell, born about 1857
  • John H. Campbell, born about 1859
  • James Steve Campbell, born about 1861
  • Albert C. Campbell, born about 1866
  • Ida Ann Campbell, born about 1868
  • George Letcher Campbell, born about 1870
  • Robert L. Campbell, born about 1871
  • Mose Campbell, born about 1878
The reason for the relatively long period between James Steve Campbell and Albert C. Campbell is, of course, none other than the US Civil War.

James enlisted 15 July 1861 in Elberton, Georgia as a Private with either Captain J. C. Burch and Company F of the 15th Regiment Georgia Infantry. He enlisted "for the war unless sooner discharged." I found this funny, because most people listed simply "for the war." The clarification he added at the end of his enlistment period somehow adds character to James for me.
Taken from Service Records
In January and February 1862, James is listed as absent from war due to "sick leave."
Taken from Service Records
The story gets more interesting as in March and April, James is listed as being "absent with wagon."
Taken from Service Records
I don't know what happened during that time he was sick with what seems to be a stolen wagon, but in May and June of 1862, he is present again in the war.

I lose track of James after June of 1862. That is until he shows back up in the 38th Georgia Infantry, Company F. His actions between June and September of 1862, when he enlists in the 38th, go mostly unmentioned in records. I do find it interesting that this time when he enlisted with Captain Thornton, he signed up "for 3 years or during the war."
Taken from Service Records
In January and February 1863, James is listed as being "home on furlough." By March 1863, though, he has returned to battle. From March 1863 until April 1864, James continues to show up as "present" with the 38th Georgia Infantry.

He followed them to Gettysburg. He was listed as one of the wounded on 1 July 1863. He appears in 1 Division General Hospital at Camp Winder in Richmond and General Hospital No. 9 shortly after Gettysburg.
Taken from Service Records
On 6 June 1864, James is listed as being at Jackson Hospital in Richmond with a disease I don't understand. It says
"V. S. R. Arm 
Mi. B." 
Taken from Service Records
I assume "R. Arm" means "Right Arm," but I don't know what "V. S." stands for, nor do I know what "Mi. B." stands for.

Whatever it was, he returned to duty 27 June 1864.

Then, on 22 August 1864, James gets promoted to 2nd Sergeant. Apparently, this was a bad move for James because one month later, on 22 September 1864, he gets captured at Fisher's Hill, Virginia and becomes a Prisoner of War.
Taken from Service Records
He was held at Point Lookout, Maryland. Even though he was captured in September, he doesn't make it to Point Lookout until 27 November 1864 from Harpers Ferry.

James was released 4 June 1865 having taken the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

After the war, life seems to have returned relatively back to normal for the Campbell family. They were farmers before the War, and they were farmers after the War. Other than the fact that the value of his real estate and personal estate were cut in half in 1870 compared to 1860, James seemed to return to a relatively normal life.

James died at the age of 68. According to his wife's pension application, James died 8 May 1893 of typhoid fever.
Taken from Sarah's Widow's Pension Application
Sarah died in 1903. They are buried at Holly Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in Bowman, Elbert County, Georgia.

*The 1900 census lists that Sarah was the mother of 12 children, 9 of which were still living in 1900. I have found 13 children for the couple. I have also only found one child so far who died before 1900.

  • 1860 Ray's District, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1870 Ray's District, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1880 Ray's District, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1900 Goshen, Elbert County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1902 and 1903 Confederate Widow's Pension Applications (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia (accessed on Fold3)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jesse J. Findley and Clara R. Findley

With today being Valentine's Day, I figured I would take this opportunity to share the love story of my favorite couple, my grandparents, Jesse and Clara Findley. I grew up with my grandparents, and they served as my role models for how a married relationship is supposed to be.

Me and my grandparents. I seem to be about five years old here.
Provided by Ryanne Cardenas.
I realized, though, even though my grandfather had once told me the story of how he met my grandmother, I had never asked my grandmother her side of the story. (The "story" I got from my grandfather consisting of only two sentences: "I met her at a grocery store. I was working there.")

Here's the more in-depth story I got out of my granny:

Jesse and Clara first met at Banner's Grocery Store, which was located in Duval County, Florida. Jesse was working as a bag boy and shelf stocker at the time. Clara, who was from North Carolina, was in town for the summer with her Mom and Aunt. Some of Clara's family, who were local to the area, were familiar with the bag boy at the local store. They got the two of them together on a fishing trip, and that was when the two "really got to know each other."

They saw each other several times over the summer. Clara told me about one time they went skating together. She said she didn't know what they were planning to do together, so she wore a skirt. When she realized what was on the agenda, she said, Jesse's family took her to Sears and bought her slacks to wear.

Clara left at the end of the summer to go back home. (Something about all of this makes me think of the song"Summer Lovin'" from Grease.) Jesse and Clara stayed in touch though. They called each other frequently.

Then, at the age of 16, Jesse approached his parents, Jesse Lee and Rosemary Findley, and requested they allow him to drop out of school and join the Coast Guard. They agreed and signed the required forms so he could enlist early.

This is a photo I took of a plaque hanging in my grandmother's living room.
This is a photo of Jesse Joe as a young man in the Coast Guard.
It is the youngest photo I have of him in uniform. Provided by Thomas Cardenas.
His first tour of duty was at New London, Connecticut. Contact with Jesse was slim at this point in his military career. After that tour ended, Jesse went back to his home in Florida. Clara visited him on occasion after he made it back home. Jesse's second tour, however, was in Alaska, and he was on a ship for 18 months. She said he wrote to her regularly. She thinks she still has some of the letters in her possession. I hope to get scans of these letters for future posts when I visit her next.

Jesse posing with the Block Island sign. Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas.
Clara said the two of them officially started "going steady" in 1959 or 1960. That would have made them both about 17. I asked when they got engaged, but she said she couldn't remember. I asked if she remembered how Jesse proposed, and she said, "Yeah. He gave me a ring." I feel like she's probably leaving a few of the details out, but it's rather hard to get personal information out of her, so I didn't push it.

She did tell me an interesting story about her engagement ring which I didn't know. She said her engagement ring had a 3/4 carat blue diamond that was (or perhaps is) 75 years old. I love antique jewelry, so this caught my attention. She told me I had seen her ring before, but I told her I couldn't remember it, and I definitely knew I hadn't heard the following story about her ring before.

When she told me the age of the diamond in her ring, I asked her if there was a story behind the stone since she made sure to mention the age of it. She said the stone was from Jesse's dad's dad's "Sunday ring." The ring had been passed down through the generations, first to Jesse's dad, and then finally to Jesse. She told me Jesse's dad never really wore the ring. Jesse, on the other hand, wore it from time to time. Then, when it came time to propose to Clara, Jesse decided to take the blue diamond out of the ring and put it in her engagement ring.

I love that story! I told her I want to see the ring again next time I visit her, especially now that I have heard this wonderful background information.

Nancy, Clara, David, and Jesse Findley. Seems to be taken about 1968.
Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas.
At the time of my grandfather's death, my grandparents had been married 37 years. They went through a lot together. Jesse spent 30 years in the Coast Guard, and Clara served as a devoted "Coast Guard wife." They moved several times during his time in the military. They even made it back to Alaska together.

This is a photo I took of a plaque hanging in Clara's living room.
It states she was the President of the Fort Macon Coast Guard Wives Club in 1978.
(They misspelled her last name.)
Getting to witness their relationship during the last decade and a half of my grandfather's life, I really got a chance to see what a loving and supportive marriage looks like. I'd be happy if my marriage ends up even half as great as theirs was.

  • Clara R. Findley, self
  • Jesse J. Findley, self
  • Photos taken by me are from June 2014
  • Other photos were provided by Thomas and Ryanne Cardenas