Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rosemary Reaber's Scarlet Fever

Rather than highlight a person or a family in my tree, this week, I thought I would highlight a story from my tree.

My great-grandmother, Rosemary Christine Reaber Findley, could tell the most amazing stories. She is the person who gave me the genealogy bug (even if she never officially had it herself). Even though she lived just 30 minutes down the road, I didn't meet my great-grandmother until I was in high school. She was about 90 and living in a nursing home.

I don't remember if my autobiography (which turned into a short personal genealogy) sparked the first meeting, or if it was shortly after our first meeting that I was assigned the project, but I decided to interview her about her life and our family to get some background information on the people who came before me. We became instant friends!

I would often accompany my grandparents on their trips to see her, and I would listen to her stories from her childhood. My favorite of which being the story about her scarlet fever.

Rosemary told me about how she had beautiful long, curly hair as a child. She told me when she was coming up in middle school, though, all of the men were "coming back from the War" (World War I) with young, beautiful French girls. She said she envied the beautiful women and their short haircuts.
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She asked her mother if she could cut her hair to resemble these beautiful women. Her mother flatly said "No." But Rosemary didn't let that stop her. She said, one day, after school, she made a detour to the local salon and had her hair cut against her mother's wishes.

Her mother was furious. (She supposedly had quite the temper.)

Not long after this incident, however, Rosemary came down with scarlet fever. In the course of the illness, she ended up losing most, if not all, of her hair. I can't find any reference to this being a symptom of scarlet fever, but I wonder if it was a reaction to whatever treatment she was given as a result of the illness. Still, I can only imagine what it must have been like as a teen losing her hair.

Rosemary got over her illness, and her hair finally started growing back in, But, instead of growing back in curly as it had always been, it grew in straight! 

Her mother, obviously remembering her prior act, said, "That's what you get for having disobeyed your mother!"

Rosemary's hair never did regain its old curl. She, therefore, scheduled frequent perms to keep her hair curly all the way up until she died.
School photo of Rosemary
  • Photo of Rosemary provided by Thomas Cardenas
  • Rosemary Reaber Findley, relation: self

Saturday, April 18, 2015

George W. W. Threadgill

The following is a repost from my Civil War Souls blog.

In my last post, I wrote about my 4th great-grandfather, James Campbell. This time, I chose another 4th great-grandfather. James Campbell was on my mother's side of my family, but George Threadgill is on my father's side of my family.

George Washington William Threadgill was born 11 September 1822 in Anson, North Carolina. His parents were David Howell Threadgill and Mary Slaughter. In 1842, he married his first wife, Mary Post. Together, they had (at least) eight children before Mary died in 1858. Mary was from Georgia, and by 1850, the couple is found living in Marion County, Alabama. He's listed as a farmer.
Clipping from 1850 census showing George and Mary's family
Not long after Mary's death, the Civil War broke out. At least George's oldest child should have been out on his own, but George still had a pretty large family to support. At some point, George remarried. He had a second daughter named Lucy in 1861. I am unsure who Lucy's mother is, but I think it may have been Mary Reed, one of George's other wives. I don't know much about Mary Reed, or even when the two got married, but if she is Lucy's mother, that is the only child I have found for this couple.

In 1860, he has moved with his family to Bibb County, Alabama. Here is a listing of his farm description from the 1860 Agriculture Census.
Clipping from 1860 agriculture census
It shows George as having 6 acres of "improved" land and 74 acres of "unimproved" land. It places the cash value of his farm at $100 and his "farming implements and machinery" is valued at $10. The 2 represents the number of working oxen he owns.

By the time George signed up for the War, he had changed occupations from farmer to millwright. George enlisted in the Confederate States Army on 7 April 1862 in Randolph County, Alabama. He enlisted for three years or for the duration of the War.
Taken from Service Records
Company F was officially mustered in on 30 June 1862. They left the camp at Falling Creek, located near Richmond, on 18 August 1862. From there, they marched to Richmond and took a train to Louisa Courthouse. From there, they headed out on foot with the Army of Northern Virginia to engage in the campaign which resulted in the Battle of Manassas. The company not only participated in the Battle of Manassas, but they also were engaged in the capture of Harpers Ferry and the Battle of Sharpsburg.
Taken from Company Muster Rolls
According to his muster rolls though, George didn't get to participate in any of this activity. He is listed as being "absent" from the company. Here, he is shown as being sick in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Taken from Service Records
He is in Raleigh through the June 1862 muster roll, but in July 1862, he has moved to Selma, Alabama.
Taken from Service Records
I lose George between July and December 1862. I can't find him listed in the muster rolls available online. Then, on 1 December 1862, without seeming to have fought at any point in the War, he is back in Raleigh, North Carolina being discharged.
Taken from Service Records
His discharge papers provide a little extra information about George and his illness.
Taken from Discharge Papers
I love these types of documents because they provide a physical description of the person. It says George was 43 years old, he was 6-feet tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and black hair.

His medical condition listed in his discharge papers was chronic rheumatism and scrofula.
Taken from Discharge Papers
So, not only was George experiencing pain from the rheumatism, but he had tuberculosis in his lymph nodes. Since he was listed as "sick" pretty much the entire time he was enlisted, I wonder if George was experiencing symptoms before he even joined the Army.

George married his final wife, Elizabeth Flowers, on 23 June 1864. Together, they had five children bringing the total number of children I know George fathered to 14.

George lived to be 87 years old. He died 15 September 1909 in Marion County, Alabama. He is buried at Whitehouse Cemetery in Marion County, Alabama, and even though he didn't seem to serve in any actual battles, he has a military tombstone.
Tombstone photo submitted by rebekahpaw on Find A Grave

Saturday, April 11, 2015

John M. Hitchcock and Mary Roberts Hitchcock

Today, I thought I would tackle a family I know very little about prior to the 1850 census: my Hitchcock line. John Matthew Hitchcock was born about 1805 in Georgia. His parents were Jesse and Lucinda ("Lucy") Harris Hitchcock. (Lucy was the first slave owning ancestor I have come across in my family, but I'll save her for another post.)

On 4 September 1845, John married Mary Roberts. She was born about 1816 in South Carolina. I do not know anything about her family as of yet. (I really haven't even tried looking yet simply because a common name like "Roberts" worries me - particularly when it's before 1850!)

The only children I have been able to find for this family so far are:
  • Louisa Hitchcock
  • Jesse Hitchcock
  • Lucy Ann Hitchcock
  • John Hitchcock
  • Overton Hitchcock
  • Joseph Columbus Hitchcock
Clipping from 1850 census showing Hitchcock household
Clipping from 1860 census showing Hitchcock children in household
The only issues with this list of children is that Louisa and Jesse were born in the mid-1830's which was before Mary and John were married. While I know this did happen from time-to-time back then, the likelihood of it happening that long before their marriage is fairly low.

I have, so far, not found records of John marrying a woman prior to Mary. I have also not been able to locate any proof of the mother of Louisa and Jesse in any records.

As I said before, I know very little about this family before the 1850 census, and unfortunately, the parents of this line died in the 1870's. John died 16 March 1870 (despite appearing in the 1870 census as still being in the household) and Mary died 14 July 1875. Both died in Polk County, Georgia.

This family still requires quite a bit of research, but I'm hoping the fact that I don't know of a Revolutionary War Patriot on this side of the family that I could submit to the Daughters of the American Revolution will only further my quest for answers on this branch.

  • 1850 Militia District 986, Paulding County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1860 1083 District, Paulding County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1870 19th District, Paulding County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Georgia Marriages to 1850 (accessed on Ancestry)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Charles O. Stephens and Ethel O. Casto Stephens

I have seen a lot of posts this week from one of the Facebook groups I follow. It's a group centered around one woman's blog about her Casto relatives called Casto Connections. That got me thinking about my own "Casto connection," my great-great-grandmother, Ethel Ona Casto.

Ethel was the sixth (or seventh) of eight children born to Mason Raspburn and Rachel Francis Ferguson Casto. She was born 31 August 1892 in Benton County, Missouri. (I told you I had a lot of Missouri roots!)

She married Charles Oliver Stephens on 4 January 1920 in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri.
Charles and Ethel's Marriage License
Charles was the son of John Thomas and Maggie Packhurst (or Parkhurst) Stephens. He was born 14 February 1894 (although his death certificate says he was born in November).

Since Ethel is my Casto connection though, I'll mostly focus on her.

The 1900 census is the first time we see Ethel appear. She is surrounded by a bunch of Castos! She's living in Williams, Benton County, Missouri. Her Uncle George Washington Casto is living right next door, and her grandparents, Hiram and Sarah Casto are living next door to them. (Her grandmother Sarah's maiden name was also Casto.)
Clipping from 1900 census
Clipping from 1900 census showing the rest of the kids in Mason's household
In 1910, she's found still living at home with her parents and her sister, Lydia. Her grandparents have also moved into the house with them.
Clipping from 1910 census
*Notice Sally Casto had 12 children! I can't even imagine that!

Charles and Ethel show up together in the 1920 census. They are living in Sedalia, renting a room or apartment from Rosa Hayes. I don't know who this Rosa Hayes is, but one of her sons, Ross is listed as being a "locomotive fireman" and Charles is listed as being a "fireman roundhouse." Then, after their occupations, it says "Katy." I wonder if these two boys worked together on the Katy railroad, which ran from Missouri to Texas.
Clipping from 1920 census showing occupations of people living in Rosa Hayes' house
Rosa Hayes (head), Ross Hayes (son), Lloyd Hayes (son), Ida Shumate (niece), Charley Stevans (head), Ethel Stevans (wife)
As far as I can tell from the census records, Charles never liked to stay in one place. He always rented homes, never buying. He constantly moved to new cities, though he stayed in Missouri most, if not all, of his life. I wonder if Ethel was the one to keep them from leaving the state.

Together, Charles and Ethel had at least four children:
  • Joy Decimund Stephens
  • Marion Oliver Stephens
  • Isabella Rebecca Stephens
  • Robert David Stephens
*I've also seen mention amongst other researchers of a child named Ruth Stephens I don't know when Ruth was born. I can't find her in the household in the census and I haven't found a birth or death record for her yet.
I don't know much about Charles or Ethel's married life or their life past the 1940 census. I know Charles fought in World War I, but that particular War is not (yet) an area of expertise for me. I hope I can find some more stories for this side of the family soon.

Charles died 4 February 1957 at the VA Hospital in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. His cause of death was recorded as brochopneumonia due to multiple liver abscesses and bacteremia.
Clipping from Charles Stephens' death certificate showing cause of death
Ethel died 6 February 1968 in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri. Cause of death is presently unknown as the death records online only go to 1963.

Charles (and I assume Ethel too) is buried at Union Cemetery in Pettis County, Missouri.

  • 1900 Williams, Benton County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1910 Williams, Benton County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1920 Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1930 Mokane, Callaway County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1940 Fulton, Callaway County, Missouri U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Charles O Stephens Death Certificate (accessed on Missouri Digital Heritage)
  • Katy Railroad Historical Society
  • Marriage License, Charles O Stephens and Ethel Casto (accessed on Ancestry)