Saturday, March 28, 2015

Robert Richerson and Frances Isabelle Richerson

Robert Richerson was born 6 December 1876 in Dallas County, Missouri. I have a lot of Missouri roots on both of my parents' sides of the family. I wonder not only what took so many people to Missouri, but also what kept people living there.

Robert was the ninth (or 10th) of 11 children born to James Washington Richerson and Arena Burselia Bowman.
Clipping from 1900 census showing the newlyweds living with Robert's parents
I only have 10 children so far for Arena, and according to this census, it looks like she had one die early. I haven't found the name of this child yet.

He married Frances Isabelle Skaggs on 3 November 1899 in Dallas County, Missouri.

Robert and Isabelle had the following children:
Clipping from 1910 census
Here's a clearer list of the names of the kids:
  • William Parker Richerson
  • Thomas Arthur Richerson
  • James Dolan Richerson
  • Irene F Richerson
  • Edna Florence Richerson
Robert and Isabelle led a relatively uneventful life. They lived in the same town almost their entire married life, and they seemed to be simple farmers. Since they lived in the 1900's mostly, there are no agriculture censuses for me to check online to see what they may have farmed. I wish I knew more about this family. I think a trip to Missouri is in order to get a better grasp on them and their circumstances.

  • 1900 Washington, Dallas County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1910 Washington, Dallas County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1920 Washington, Dallas County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1930 Washington, Dallas County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1940 South Benton, Dallas County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Queen Ellis' Bible

This week, instead of highlighting a couple or family, I thought I would highlight a genealogical document. I chose my mom's mom's mom's mom's family Bible.
Queen Ellis' Bible
Queen Vistie Snipes was born 10 January 1899 in Union County, North Carolina. She married Clyde Ellis on 5 April 1914 in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The Bible was printed in 1924, so this would have been her Bible as a married woman.
Copyright dates found on second page of bible
Queen didn't fill in any information on her parents or grandparents in this Bible, but she did complete the Children's Register pages with all 13 of her children's birthdays. Here is what she included (I have left all of her original spellings as she wrote them):

  • James Clarence Ellis, born 11 January 1915 in Chesterfield, South Carolina; married Ola Mae in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Virgil Vernon Ellis, born 6 June 1917
  • Albert Ellis, born 18 April 1918
  • Robert Ellis, born 8 June 1929
  • Arthur Fred Ellis, born 17 July 1921 in Gastonia, North Carolina; married Marie Conner in 1962
  • Jessie Roberta Ellis, born 21 November 1922 in Gastonia, North Carolina; married Everett M. Grimm on 2 February 1960 in Dinsmore, Florida
(Side note: I find it interesting that Jessie Roberta, my great-grandmother is listed as marrying Everett Grimm instead of her first husband, my great-grandfather, Gerald Dean Richerson. I wonder if Queen didn't approve of their relationship.)
  • Dorothy Ellis, born 23 March 1924 in Gastonia, North Carolina; married Warren H. Hall on 11 November in Lancaster, South Carolina
  • Clara Ma Ellis, born 17 January 1925 in Gastonia, North Carolina; married Veto A. Vespoint in York, South Carolina
  • Earl Dugar Ellis, born 17 September 1927 in Gastonia, North Carolina; married Renee
  • Margaret Mae Ellis, born 23 July 1931 in Charlotte, North Carolina; married Don E. Penninger in Lancaster, South Carolina 
  • Mikie Berry Ellis, born 27 September 1933 in Charlotte, North Carolina; married Francis White
  • Franklin D Ellis, born 29 October 1936 in Charlotte, North Carolina; married Faye Dowell on 28 August 1960 in Statesville, North Carolina
  • George Emitt Ellis, born 22 November 1939 in Charlotte, North Carolina
I love seeing how the first child was born in South Carolina, followed by several who were born in Gastonia, and then seeing the family finally settle down in Charlotte where my grandmother eventually was raised. I always find it fun to follow the families as they grow to see where they move to raise their kids.

I love old Bibles, and this is a great one. I think it's fantastic to be able to see my great-great-grandmother's handwriting as she wrote out the names of her children, made notes in the margins of the text, and tucked newspaper clippings inside which were important to her. Plus, the fact that this is a large Bible (measuring over a foot long), it gives insight into the role religion played in Queen's life.

My favorite part of her entire Bible, however, is a completely non-genealogical page I found inside: The Family Temperance Pledge.
Family Temperance Pledge page from Queen's Bible
Being that this bible was copyrighted in the early 1920s, the topic of alcohol and alcohol consumption was a controversial one. I found this page added a touch of character to the Bible that I wasn't necessarily expecting otherwise. This pledge provides a list of 12 rules or ideals by which the family is agreeing to follow:
Family Temperance Pledge
Rules 1-6
  1. Moderate drinking tends to drunkenness, while total abstinence directly from it.
  2. It is said on reliable authority that in recent years one boy in five becomes addicted to drink by the time he is 21 years of age.
  3. Intoxicating drinks can do no good as a beverage, and there are always safer and surer remedies to use in case of sickness.
  4. The idea of moderation is full of deceit, and our estimate of the power of our own will is usually a mistaken one.
  5. The drinking habit is the cause of the larger portion of the misery, poverty, and crime in our land.
  6. Both science and experience prove that even moderate drinking is injurious to health.
  7. Eternal interests are often forfeited through drink, for the Bible declares that no drunkard shall enter heaven.
  8. The Bible pronounces no blessing upon drinking, but many upon total abstinence.
  9. It is easier to keep a pledge publicly, solemnly given than a simple resolution.
  10. The pledge protects us from the solicitations of friends, and removes us from the temptations of the saloon.
  11. Persons miscalculate their ability to drink in moderation, and become slaves to the drinking habit before they are aware of it.
  12. Intemperance obstructs civilization, education, religion and every useful reform.
To me, more fascinating than the existence of the page at all is the fact that it isn't a "completed" page. No one signed it. Is that because Queen was indifferent to temperance? Is that because she was opposed to temperance? Or did she simply not want to mark a beautiful page in the Bible unnecessarily? My grandmother, who currently has possession of her grandmother's Bible, may know the answer. I will need to ask her about her grandparents' views of alcohol next time I speak to her. 
Queen Vistie Snipes Ellis
Provided by Thomas Cardenas
  • Queen Vistie Snipes Ellis, 1915-1962, The Holy Bible, Hertel's New Standard Alphabetically Indexed Bible (Chicago, Illinois, USA:  The John A Hertel Co., 1924); privately held by Clara R. Findley.
  • Photos of Bible taken June 2013 by Brittany Jenkins
  • Photo of Queen Ellis provided by Thomas Cardenas

Saturday, March 14, 2015

John Threadgill

Another blog I keep is called Patriots Remembered, which is focused on Patriot Ancestors of members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. For my first post on that site last month, I decided to highlight my own Patriot Ancestor in the DAR, John Threadgill (or as the DAR spells it "John Threldkeld"). Since he is obviously, also in my family, I have decided to share my post from that blog on this one.

The following is an excerpt from the Veterans' Day speech I gave at my husband's school this past November. I've added some relative clippings from his and his wife's pension applications. He is, of course, an already "proven" Patriot, so any woman who can prove that she descends from this man can be admitted into the Daughters of the American Revolution. After the speech excerpt, I will provide some further information on his immediate descendants.
"John Threadgill was the fourth child of John and Anabel Threlkeld.  He was born on the 17th of November 1750 in North Carolina.  He and his brothers and sisters were the first in their family to be born on American soil.  His grandfather, Deodatus, who had French roots, traveled from England to the colony of Virginia, by way of Bermuda, just as the Virginia Company and several others had in those days.  John’s father, who was also named John, was born while Deodatus was in Bermuda. 
Now, Bermuda was a great asset to the colonies during the Revolution, providing ships, salt, and gunpowder.  Some say they were so supportive of the American cause that, were they not so far from the mainland, they would have become the 14th colony to join the fight.  So, maybe John was persuaded to fight for the Revolution because of his Bermudian influence, or maybe, since he came from a line of goldsmiths and watch makers, he felt compelled to defend his home which mostly depended on merchants and traders, or maybe there was another reason, but John enlisted in the Continental Army in September of 1775.  He served in the 2nd Virginia Regiment under Colonel William Woodford, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Scott, and Captain Richard Meade.
Excerpt from Mary Cob Threadgill's widow's
pension application describing John Threadgill's service.
Excerpt from John Threadgill's pension application
where he recounts his service in the American Revolution.
Before we get to the battle in which John fought, a little backstory.  Up until this point, Virginia had been pretty quiet.  Most of the action prior to this had taken place in the northern colonies, like Massachusetts.  But in Virginia, there was a road, called the Great Road, which came up from North Carolina and served as the primary route for transporting tar, pitch, and turpentine to the Chesapeake Bay where the British kept and repaired their ships.  This area was also important in the transport of food and livestock to northern colonies and to England as well. 

The port town of Norfolk was where the British fleet often took anchor gathering supplies and forces.  Colonel Woodford saw the importance of this region to the Loyalists.  The American Navy was still a new endeavor, but the British Navy was strong, making this port town impossible to attack from sea.  Great Bridge, a nearby town, was the only landward passage into Norfolk and, therefore, was Lord Dunmore and the British Army’s Achilles’ heel.  For this very reason, Colonel Woodford decided to attack. 
But Lord Dunmore wouldn’t go down without a fight!  Hearing of the rebel forces moving in on Great Bridge, Dunmore moved his troops to meet them.  Dunmore’s first encounter with the patriots happened about 10 miles outside the town where the Princess Anne militia was waiting.  The British, with double the men in their army compared to the militia, easily defeated them causing them to retreat into the swamps.  After that small victory, no doubt Lord Dunmore knew there was no way these rebels could take his town! 
These small skirmishes went on for 11 days.  During this time, both sides were recruiting forces.  The British even had a unit consisting of runaway slaves on their side thanks to martial law which was passed just a month prior.  The British were able to gather the strength of about 670 men.  And a “deserter,” a slave from the Marshall household, a well-known Patriot family (who helped organize the Culpeper Minutemen and who gave us our first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court), told the Loyalist troops that Woodford only had 300 “shirtmen” gathered at the village of Great Bridge.  But the Patriots had in fact recruited around 900
On the morning of December 9, 1775, the British troops marched out from their fort and began crossing the bridge to attack the Patriots’ breastwork, which was positioned on the southside of the causeway.  The Patriots were hiding in the trenches nearby on the island and opened fire on the British soldiers.  Unlike in previous battles where the soldiers would shoot early and miss their targets, these rebels waited until their targets were about 50 feet away before shooting and then retreating further into the wood to the breastwork where more forces were waiting.  The battle itself only lasted about 30 minutes, but the result was incredible. 
Which side do you think won? 
The Rebels! 
The rebel victory at Great Bridge proved to be key in the goal of American Independence.  It was, obviously, great for patriotic moral.  With 102 British men killed or wounded and only one rebel wounded (in the thumb!) in the battle, the win was decisive.  Any doubts that a win was possible were quickly put to rest.  It also persuaded some citizens who were undecided in betraying the crown to join the cause.  It also prompted the Fourth Virginia Convention and the first open public debate on Independence.  It enabled rebel forces to advance to Norfolk, which was later burned, and forced Lord Dunmore and the Loyalists to ultimately abandon Virginia, which was a valuable resource for supplies, leaving all of the area’s goods for the patriots.  (This, in itself, became key to the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781.)  And lastly, it elevated Colonel Woodford, commander of the 2nd Virginia Regiment, so much that it influenced Patrick Henry, commander of the 1st Virginia Regiment and already famous for his speech where he said “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!” to leave the military and become the first Governor of Virginia. 
Thanks to my ancestor, John Threadgill, and others like him that fought in the Revolution, I’m an American, and I’m very grateful for that.  I’m grateful to all the veterans who came after him too and everyone who has helped defend this great country and who has fought for our freedoms."
John Threadgill's signature as found following
his personal statement in his pension application.
The following photo is a clipping from John's pension application. It references a family "prayer book" and provides a list of John and Mary Threadgill's 13 children.

As of this writing, Daughters have successfully joined the DAR under the following children of John and Mary:
  • Elizabeth
  • George
  • Howell
  • Lucy
  • Randall (spelled "Randle" in the pension application)
  • William
This means, each of the following children would be considered a "new child" for this Patriot (which is a great accomplishment in the organization):
  • Ann
  • Jane
  • John
  • Martha
  • Mary
  • Sarah
  • Thomas
Keep in mind that some of these lines may not contain living descendants. But so far I have not followed out these remaining lines to see how they develop. That's a post for another day.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Josef Reaber

Josef Reaber was born 9 March 1874 in Pilsen, Bohemia to Johann and Maria Reaber.
1855 Map of Bohemia
Found in the David Rumsey Collection
Josef married Christine Konecny on 17 April 1908 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. They had an arranged marriage. Josef knew Christine's father, Johann, before the marriage was arranged.

Together, they had one child, Rosemary Christine Reaber, who was born 22 January 1910 in Chicago. The following is one of only two photos I have ever seen of my great-great-grandfather.
Josef and Rosemary, 1924
Photo provided by Thomas Cardenas
Now, I remember talking to my great-grandmother in 2000 for research on an autobiography assignment I had at school. I interviewed her and my grandmother (Rosemary's daughter-in-law) to get information on our family. Being the overachiever that I am, I said I couldn't know who I was until I knew those who came before me. Little did I know, this one assignment would spark a new hobby of genealogy.

I remember Rosemary saying her parents came over from Bohemia. Since her passing, I have come to learn that her mother was from Vienna, which was not part of Bohemia. I also remember her saying that their last name used to be "like 15 letters long." According to her, it was shortened upon arrival in America.

Up until my brother found this notebook in our great-grandmother's possessions, I had only known of a few spellings of Rosemary's last name, all of which were fairly similar phonetically: Reaber, Reba, Ribar, Ryber, Rybar, and Ruban. The following, written by my great-grandmother, shows yet another spelling of her last name and also mentions possibly another time her name was changed long after they'd been in America.
Notes written down by Rosemary for her granddaughter, Nancy
Provided by Thomas Cardenas
Continuation of notes written by Rosemary for Nancy
Provided by Thomas Cardenas
So now, Rybash is added to the list of alternate surnames for my great-grandmother's family. My favorite part of this story is the stark difference between Josef and Christine's attitudes toward the principal's error. Christine is almost disgusted that the name was misspelled, while Josef, who liked the misspelled name, decided to adopt it completely! One day I hope to find out what the true surname and spelling was, but for now I'm left with these alternates.

Another interesting thing about my great-great-grandfather is his occupation. He was a chemist who worked at the stockyard of Armour & Co., a local meatpacking plant. According to The Encyclopedia of Chicago, Armour was "Chicago's leading industrial enterprise and employer" by 1880.
Armour & Co.
Josef was responsible for the oils and oleo (or margarines) the company produced. Armour refused to let any portions of their slaughtered animals go to waste and manufactured many difference products from the "leftover" parts of their slaughter.

The following clip from the notes of Rosemary state he had "the gift of taste" and "in one day he knew what caused the product to go rancid."
Continuation of notes written by Rosemary for Nancy
Provided by Thomas Cardenas
I have yet to come across any kind of information regarding Josef's level of education, but since I have a Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry, I like to think he had more than just a gift of taste. Josef is the only other person I have come across in the family with a science-related job.

My brother, Thomas, also came across another gem in our great-grandmother's possessions. It was a small memory book completed by our mother. In the short book, our mother wrote down Rosemary's responses to several questions about her upbringing and family. Here are Rosemary's recollections about her own father, Josef.
Clipping from a book called "For My Grandchild"
as written by Rosemary's granddaughter, Nancy
("Grandma" is Rosemary.)
Based on my great-grandmother's memories of her father, I think I would have liked Josef very much.
Josef and, I assume, his wife, Christine
Provided by Thomas Cardenas
Josef died in July 1959, I assume, in Chicago. He is buried at Saint Boniface Cemetery which is located in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. He and Christine share a tombstone with Christine's parents, Johann and Anna Konecny. One day, I hope to visit the cemetery myself. I have been to Chicago before, but not with the knowledge of my own history there.