St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Friends of Friends Friday: Flocking to Feed the Poor in 1897 at Marshalsea in Pittsburgh

Reading old newspapers can be quite entertaining.  Today, I ran across a great article from December 24, 1897.  The article tells us of the spirit of giving to the poor in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 24, 1897, page 2


An Enjoyable Time that is Promised the Unfortunates.

The 710 inmates of the city farm at Marshalsea will not be forgotten by Director George Booth and Supt. George Linderman.  Everything will be done to give them a good time.  Confined in the building are about 43 children.  These little ones on Christmas eve will hang up their stockings to see what Santa Claus will bring them.  The usual Christmas exercises will be held at the home on Christmas eve and the several hundred inmates with two or three hundred others will be ushered into the large chapel in the evening. 

An excellent program has been arranged for with Supt. Linderman as director and Dr. Charles Owens as manager, Miss Agnes M. Wenzel will be pianist of the occasion.  The performance will consist of vocal and instrumental music, with a few recitations.  Following is the program:  Anthem, "O, Little Town of Bethlehem:, chorus: recitation, "Orthodox Team,: Miss Lillian Shade, vocal solo, selected, Miss Louise Loomis; tableau, "Angels' Watch,: Misses Whan, Phillips and Symers; vocal solo, "Queen of the Earth,: Alex. Chas. Owens, M.D.; tableau, "Ten Virgins," Misses McNulty, Sowers, Whan, McDermott, Flanagan, Campbell, Harvey, Trimble, Horner Phillips, vocal duet, "Lover's Quarrel," Miss Emma Fox and Mr. Frank Bell; dialogue, "Mr. and Mrs. Thompson," Misses Lillian and Florence Shade, duet, violin and piano, selected, Howard Arbogast and Miss Wenzel; tableau, "Peak Sisters," Misses Whan, Phillips, Sowers, Symers, Harvey, Horner, McNulty, Flanagan, McDermott, Campbell, Trimble, Patterson and Mrs. S. E. Shade; vocal solo, selected, Miss Louise Loomis; tableau, "A Young Man's Dread," Miss Minnie Sowers, piano solo, selected, Miss Agnes M. Wenzel, duet, "La Chatelain," Misses Lillian and Florence Shade; Christmas carol, chorus.

A real Christmas dinner will be served to the inmates on Christmas day.  It will consist of 1,000 pounds or roast turkey with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, celery and pickles, bread, butter, tea, coffee, apples, oranges and candy.  Of the 710 inmates of the home and hospitals 380 are insane.  These will be entertained just as well as the more fortunate inmates during the day.  The insane inmates will not be allowed to leave their wards, but they will receive their candy and presents as well as their share of turkey.  The director said that the people living around Marshalsea enjoyed the feast as well as the inmates.  The young women and men flock to the home of Christmas day and act as waiters.

 Seven more articles on the Poor House from old Pittsburgh newspapers have been uploaded for your researching pleasure.  Check it out.

Ahh, genealogy.  Kind of gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling as we Americans continue to assist those in need.  Merry Christmas.

Update: Marshalsea was built in 1893 in Southern Allegheny Co on the old George Neal Farm in/near S. Fayette Twp. It was renamed Pittsburgh City Home and Hospital at Mayview in 1916.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Pauper's Secret

Secrets are a part of our lives.  With our ancestors, some secrets certainly include what happened to them.  If our searches of today are successful, evidence can sometimes be found to reveal some of those secrets.

Enjoy the newest addition to our Pittsburgh Past--  the Poor House Articles.  Perhaps a clue to one of your beloved will leave you speechless.

Seven new articles have been uploaded to our Pittsburgh Past, One Page a a Time site.  We have many more waiting in the wings. 

Here is one excerpt from March 1, 1872-
.....The deaths were Hugh McHard, age 60; Mary Dougherty, 68, Cathering Mulholland, 75; Laura Beggs, 5 months; Rachel Johnson, 5 months; Charles Armstrong, 27; Phoebe Franks, 45; Conrad Miller, 40, The causes of death were: apoplexy, 1; old age, 1; whooping cough, 1; consumption, 2; pneumonia, 1; inflammation of the lungs, 1; asthma, 1.....

And another from May 8, 1882-
...Years ago Thomas Mulaney had a happy home, and managed to support his family in a comfortable way. Many pictures in memory of the domestic happiness of those days now cheer the old man in his declining years. Death finally broke up the family circle, taking his wife first and all but two of his children afterward. Then darker days came upon him. Losing his corporal vigor, and the increasing infirmities of old age settling down upon him, he was no longer able to work. One daughter and a son had drifted away to distant points, and he had no knowledge of their whereabouts. At last, when he was on the verge of starvation he was taken charge of by the authorities and sent to the Allegheny Home.
This was about three years since, and he was then about eighty years of age. About a year ago he learned in some manner that his son ....

Check it out.  You'll love finding the secrets of the paupers.

Ahh, genealogy.  The desire to uncover the past keeps on going even as I prepare my heart and home for the holidays. 

©2012 AS Eldredge

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friends of Friends Friday- Allegheny Co, PA Poor House

While this census information is not from the stereotype definition of slave, it does reflect the poor, the insane, the sick, and workhouses from Allegheny County, PA. 

Just today, we have updated our Pittsburgh Past, One Page at a Time to include the 1860-1940 census for Woodville Hospital.  Alternate names used over the years also include:

Allegheny County Almshouse
Allegheny Hospital for the Insane
Allegheny County Home for the Poor

The location for this institution is noted as S. Fayette and Collier Twp in Allegheny Co, PA.

In looking at the names on the list, I wonder about the men, women and children. Times were tough and I suspect, there was not much hope to be found within the walls of the institution.  As many of the names on the lists were paupers, there is not much to be found on their deaths or final resting spots.  Rest gently and know you are not forgotten.

While looking at our Pittsburgh Past, be sure to check out Morganza, which was first incorporated by the commonwealth as the House of Refuge in 1850.  One reader recently commented on the information we have posted on Morganza with the following words:

I don't recall seeing any other genealogy site with as many articles and documents about Morganza as the Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project webpages, and I appreciate being able to get some sense of what life, as difficult as it was, was like there for my gg-uncle at that time.  I am grateful for all of the hours of hard work everyone has put into the Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project webpages and look forward to the next time new information has been posted. -MM

Ahh, genealogy.  Small prayers go up from around the world today for those frightened, innocent youth in Connecticut and remind us that lost innocence of children due to tragedy remains a part of our society.  Rest sweetly.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: A Grave Decision

Ever wondered where some of your beloved ancestors could be?  Ever know someone was in a graveyard, but since they had no stone or it has weathered, you have no rock solid proof?

Just like all cities across the land, there are forgotten and destroyed cemeteries in Allegheny Co, PA.  Take, for instance, the Allegheny City Home which was established in 1844.  Its first site was in Shaler Twp.  The home moved to O'Hara Twp in 1871 according to the Carnegie Library.  The cemetery which was mainly used for the home was destroyed during the construction of Rte 28. 

So, what's a family genealogy buff to do?  One suggestion is to look at the census records for the poor house, workhouse and insane asylums of the area to see if any familiar names were there.  There is always the chance the graves, which were most likely unmarked, no longer exist. 

One of my genealogy buddies (or buddette?) was gracious enough to transcribe the names from the Allegheny Co Poor House and Workhouse censusus from 1850-1910.  These names are now on our old Pittsburgh Newspaper Project and can easily be found.

Go here to see the list.

Ahh, genealogy.  While we can't always find absolute evidence for all of our blood, the past can be just a grave decision based on circumstantial evidence.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Monday, December 03, 2012

Hot Diggity, It's a Novel!

Who knew that I could write a novel in 30 days?  Not me. 

It's a novel, folks.  Ok, so it needs some serious editing and some finishing, in one way or another, of some characters, but it tis a novel of over 50,000 words so far!

I took the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month and won!  Note my new badge on the sidebar.

Bear with me as I add the finishing touches to my creation and then, I shall be ready for some praise and critiques from some of my faithful readers. 

I hope to be back writing more snippets on the family and genealogy soon.  There are also a couple of completed genealogy projects or those with ties in Pittsburgh that I have to add to Exploring Our Pittsburgh Past, One Page at a Time.

 In the meantime, enjoy the holidays! 

Ahh, genealogy.  No rest for the weary fingers or telling the tales of our genealogy.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday: A Book for All Seasons

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month?  I found this bit of information in mid October and was goaded in to participating in the contest.

It is a simple contest.  Just write 50,000 words in one month.  There are a few rules to follow but it seemed like fun.

My family encouraged me to write the story of Prohibition and the Low Country.  My maternal blood comes from that area and I have heard plenty of stories of events that allegedly happened during Prohibition.  To make it all work for me, I knew I was only aware of portions of stories from many different sources and I would have to improvise.  I took time to locate newspaper articles regarding some murders in the area of Hell Hole Swamp.  I also found court proceedings and devoured each one with a growing interest.  Family members shared lore with me.  A few kind folks who are of the blood line of other families in the area shared some of their tales with me as well.

Here I go.  I am off to the races.  While my story is set during Prohibition and I borrowed some basic ideas from the newspapers of the time, the resulting work of art is completely my imagination in full throttle.  Who knew that writing dialogue could be so challenging?  As of today, while my family sits and watches me continue my novel and try to reach the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month, I am thankful to them.  They have barely complained about the laundry, the dust, the cold dinners, and listening to me ask their opinions on a story line or character.  What they have done is encourage me.  Every day I am asked repeatedly how many words have I written.

I will finish this contest soon.  As of this morning, I am close to 42,000 words.  When I am done with this project, I will be back to share more interesting tidbits of the families and lore that I adore.

Be thankful for your family, the ones who smile and give you hugs, and the ones who smile at you in your memory.  It's all part of our history.

Ahh, genealogy.  Now who is next to be killed or implicated in the murder of the decade during Prohibition.  I only wish someone had bothered to give me the family recipe for their brand of liquid gold.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Genealogy Buffs Fight for Georgia Archives

The recent news about the closing of the Georgia Archives by Secretary of State Brian Kemp is appalling.  Thanks to Mr. Kemp, the great state of Georgia is now the ONLY state in the union not to have public hours for research.

The battle cry for support has gone out, and fellow researchers are starting to respond. 

Ironic in all this is that just yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal signed a proclamation to designate October as Georgia Archives Month. 

Following is a list of action items for those who are interested in keeping genealogy alive in Georgia.  In doing so, not only are the residents of Georgia served, the thousands of visitors from out of state will continue to be served as well.   While there has been an ongoing project to digitize the information, many years of scanning remain.

From the Friends of Georgia Archives and History:


Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has announced that the Georgia Archives will be CLOSED to all public access beginning November 1, 2012. He cites as reason the requirement for a 3 % budget reduction for all state agencies. Secretary Kemp has chosen to take the required cut of $750,000 entirely and only from the State Archives. In addition to the elimination of public access, staff reductions concerning the ten remaining staff are planned and will also be announced soon. 

This action further cripples an institution that was among the first state archives established (1918), has won many awards for its programs and state-of-the-art archival facility, and has been a respected leader in archives, government records programs, and research use. Over the past decade, however, the Georgia Archives has been eviscerated by regular budget cuts, reductions in staff and reductions in public hours to 2 days a week. Now Secretary Kemp wants to eliminate even those few hours of access for Georgia’s citizens, making Georgia Archives the only state archives without public access hours. 

Tell the Governor, the Secretary of State and the Georgia Legislature to reverse this devastating decision. Write, call or visit and ask them to: 

Restore a minimum of $1 million to the Georgia Archives budget to return its operations to 5 days a week of public access hours and eliminate projected staff reductions.

Reverse the Secretary of State’s proposed budget cuts to the Archives by November 1 to ensure uninterrupted service to the public.

When you write/call or visit, focus on a few of the points below. Put this in your own words, and use your own examples, particularly if you are a citizen of Georgia: 

Points to make in letters/phone calls or visits

1. The Secretary of State was directed to reduce his budget expenditures by 3%. The entire sum needed to accomplish that has been taken from the Archives budget alone and will result in the termination of all public hours. The proposed “access by appointment…limited based on the schedule of the remaining employees” effectively denies access based on “reasonable time and place” for inspection of public records as required by Georgia law.

2. Points to make regarding the importance of access to government records for accountability and legal purposes:
• This deprives citizens of regular and predictable access, as mandated in the Georgia Records Act, Title 50, Chapter 18, Article 4, section 70(b) of the Georgia Annotated Code that all public records “shall be open for a personal inspection by any citizen of this state at a reasonable time and place, and those in charge of such records shall not refuse this privilege to any citizen.”
• It is contrary to the practice of government transparency by depriving citizens of predictable and ready access to the records that are essential to providing evidence of government accountability.
• It deprives citizens, as well as Georgia’s own government, of access to records needed to support due process of law. The Georgia Archives holdings have been used for a range of court cases including land claims, boundary disputes, utility right-of-way, and claims against state agencies.
• Access to records is essential to avoid costly litigation that will result if records cannot be located or accessed.

3. Points to make regarding the importance of access to government records for research
• As the Civil War Sesquicentennial begins, researchers need access to the historical record in the Georgia Archives to provide accurate, factual evidence of that experience. Many of Georgia’s governmental records were destroyed during Sherman’s March; closing the Archives similarly deprives Georgians of access to their heritage—but this time the fault does not lie with an invading army, but with Georgia officials themselves.
• The Georgia Archives holds records actively sought by genealogists and family historians; in particular, they provide essential evidence for African-American history and genealogical research not available in many private historical collections.
• The Georgia Archives has been an essential resource for environmental research and activities including efforts to reintroduce the American chestnut tree in the state and issues relating to pollution.
• The Georgia Archives has been the site of research for television and films, including the popular NBC series “Who Do You Think You Are” segments with Paula Deen and Spike Lee, as well as Emmy award-winner Ben Loeterman’s documentary “People v. Leo Frank.”

Governor Nathan Deal
206 Washington Street Suite 203, State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: 404-656-1776 

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle
240 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334 TEL: 404-656-5030 FAX: 404-656-6739 

Secretary of State Brian Kemp
214 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334 Phone: 404-656-2881 Fax: 404-656-0513 

Individual Georgia legislators: find specific legislators via Society of Georgia Archivists site:

If you’ve signed an online petition, that’s helpful, but direct contact is even more effective. For Georgians, a visit to your local legislator will have even more impact. There has been a great deal of attention on radio, newspapers, television and the Internet. In a democracy, however, nothing speaks to the governor or elected officials like direct contact from individuals. Speak up for the Georgia Archives.

Write, call or plan a visit today!
Please send copies of your letter, information on contacts, or any questions to:
Coalition to Preserve the Georgia Archives Co-Chair Kaye L. Minchew:

Includes representatives of:
Friends of the Georgia Archives; Association of County Commissioners of Georgia; Georgia Salzburger Society, Greater Atlanta Chapter; Society of Georgia Archivists; Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board; Georgia Genealogical Society; Georgia Professional Genealogists; Association of Professional Genealogists, Georgia Chapter; Cobb County Genealogical Society; Troup County Historical Society; Georgia State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution

For updated information go to:

Note:  It was announced earlier this week that only three positions will remain--  and they are all management.  How can the state let the knowledge base of the other workers go?

Ahh, genealogy.  I am thankful for any support you can give.  Without the past, we have no future.

©2012 AS Eldredge 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Motivation Monday: Let's Change the World, One Document at a Time

Remember the old slogans used in the past to start a movement?  Remember "Feed The World" or "Yes, We Can"?  Perhaps, now is the time to start changing the world of genealogy in how items are placed online.

Recently, I wrote about finding a new cousin only to see his family tree was what I had worked on with other cousins.  If you missed it, read it at

Have you ever wanted to reach out and strangle all the family seekers who just clone the information they see online?  I know I have.  I've been known to email folks who have taken my information or my writings and asked them to please, pretty please source their information.  Some have taken the hint and others have just ignored my pleas.

Many sites online do say they haven't documented the information found.  To me, that is like buying a house or car unseen.  How many people willingly do that? 

In writing the post on Seek and Ye Shall Find, Maybe, I was pleased to see the comments sent on this subject.  (A big thank you to those who sent them.)  One of the comments from Katherine suggested Ancestry and those other sites ask for sources.

I love the idea, but I'm not sure how it could work or if they are really interested in documentation.  It would be a big project for all family researchers to source the information.  Perhaps, there could be a separate tier for those genealogy buffs who are true researchers and document their information.  Maybe something like Family Trees Plus or Sourced Trees.  It shouldn't be too difficult to program a section for documentation or sources, especially for the old pictures.

Perhaps, we should start a ground movement to those sites who have genealogy information, like Ancestry or Find a Grave,  to create a separate tier.  Thoughts, anyone?

Ahh, genealogy.  As for me, I will look at the information placed online by others, but will only include it in my information if it has been sourced.  Or better yet, only if I can trace their sources.  Just call it being curious, or is it the scientist in me?

©2012 AS Eldredge

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mystery Monday: Another Way Found to Search Your Civil War Kinsmen

The old saying "There's more than one way to skin a cat" takes on new meaning today for researchers who look around Pennsylvania. 

The History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 by Samuel P Bates has long been a major source for information for genealogy buffs to research their kinsmen who were in the War of the Northern Aggression.  The book is great for looking up the rosters and histories of the units formed in Pennsylvania.

Now, there's another way to search the book.

Recently, a friend asked if I would be interested in taking his compilation of the units formed, where the units were organized by town and county, the length of enrollment time, the date of organization, and the page number of where this information is found in the Bates book.

Having wondered from time to time what units were formed in the general area in which my Pennsylvania kinfolk lived, I thought this information could be of value to others.

The information is live now and can be found on my ongoing Pittsburgh Newspaper Project.  Check it out at and then click on the PA Volunteers Regiment Location tab.

Ahh, genealogy.  Skinning the cat in genealogy sure can open new lines of thought.  A special thank you to Jerome D for providing the information he gathered and to Lynn B for her rapid fire transcription.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Seek and Ye Shall Find, Maybe

Ever remember playing hide and seek as a child?  It appears to me that genealogy and searching for our beloved of old are similar to that favorite childhood game. Yesterday, after writing the post on Uncle Charles, I found the name of one of his children online.  There wasn't much information given other than the name and approximate year of death.  Holding my breath, I emailed the owner of the private tree and asked if she was the one for whom I was searching.

The reply came back later, and she was.  After eagerly accepting the invitation to view the private tree, I saw no new documentation.  I added a few pictures and obits to the tree and asked for any documentation.

My newly found cousin has informed me he received the maiden name of a grandma from his grandma which led him to the family tree that I assisted in putting together with another cousin.  And then, I see information which also appears to have come from yet another cousin who I assisted with her research.

While I am sure this is my guy, I am also disappointed not to have unearthed any more documentation.

So, I am thankful to make another connection to my great grandmother through her brother, but strangely disappointed that the research used is my own.

This seems to be a recurrent issue in the world of genealogy.  Family seekers sniff out the information on the internet without going through the extra work of documenting it on their own.  Of course, my big irk is when I see blogs I have written placed as comments on other people's trees with no acknowledgement as to the origin of the data.

Be a great family seeker.  Look at the internet information and use that to begin your search.  Use the information to go back and document everything you can.  Help fill in the gaps.  Make the corrections.  Credit the folks who provide information by using their url and name.  Love knowing you have family members to discover.

Ahh, genealogy.  Got to wonder how many people just clone the information and just don't care.  As for me, I try to document everything and love making connections to family of the past.  Who knows when a favorite recipe or story of old will come to light?  I have been fortunate over the years to have heard stories from cousins about my direct bloodline that help bring them to life.  That is my goal and the willingness to share stories of the shared past makes me thankful everyday.

©AS Eldredge 2012

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Charles, Is This You?

Is this the final resting spot for Uncle Charles?

Evidence on hand includes:

  • the 1940 obit for his sister which states her brother Charles is still living
  • birth year on tombstone corresponds closely with my Charles' birth in Allegheny Co, PA
  • middle initial on tombstone in Woodlawn Cemetery, Allegheny Co, PA,  is correct
  • Charles was married according to his father's Civil War pension file

    Have been trying to contact descendants of this Charles to see if they can connect the dots: Edith Malanos died 1986 in Broward Co, FL
    Evelyn Difatta died 1968 in Pittsburgh area; her husband died 1983 in Westmoreland Co, PA

    Ahh, genealogy.  It's one mystery after another.

    ©AS Eldredge 2012

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Talented Tuesday: Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon

Have you ever felt an "aha" moment when you finally connected the dots between families in your past?  It appears that every will, every probate, every land transaction I come across in the old Pittsburgh area leads me to connect dots or relationships between early families in the neighborhood.

Just the other day, I posted a connection between Adam POTTER and Henry POTTER.  To my surprise, a cousin of mine emailed to tell me she also had a connection to Adam POTTER as a named guardian in a will.

Here is her excerpt:  ..."my greatx5 grandpap Charles McMILLEN, who I think is a brother or nephew of our Thomas McMILLEN and Margaret (McMILLEN) HENRY, had two daughters, Mary McMILLEN(b 1800) and Elizabeth McMILLEN(B 1799), and the sisters grew up to marry two brothers, James OBNEY and William OBNEY of Robinson Twp.  These guys had a younger brother named Richard McClure OBNEY who lived in N Fayette Twp, and when Richard OBNEY died in 1852, he named ADAM POTTER as the guardian of his minor son, Sanford OBNEY, who later died in the Civil War 1862."

JoAnn also likened our genealogy search to the game "Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon", where movie buffs try to link Kevin Bacon to other actors by identifying movies which tie the actors together.

So, I thought that we could do that as well.  The rules had to change a bit as our family is not in the movies.

The rule change is simple in this version of the game.  I will connect my family to Kevin Bacon using movies and film locations, instead of just actors.

Here it goes:

Kevin Bacon  to Brad Pitt in Sleepers (1996)   --  No. 1
Brad Pitt to Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black (1998)    -- No. 2
Anthony Hopkins in the Silence of the Lambs (1991)   --  No. 3
Silence of the Lambs partially filmed at Morganza in Washington Co, PA  -- No.4
Land for Morganza sold by Wesley GREER  -- No. 5
Wesley GREER's sister in law, Marguerite CLARK is my 2C3R  -- No. 6

Ta da!

And just so there is no confusion, I do relate to Art CLOKEY who gave us all that wonderful character, Gumby.  Or rather, I am related to Joseph CLOKEY who adopted Art.

Ahh, genealogy.  Who knew it could be so fun or hip?

©AS Eldredge 2012

Such a BAD Boy, Chewin' Tobaccy and Lying

"He's such a bad boy, " the poor distraught mother cried as she talked to the local magistrate. "He's been chewing tobaccy and lying.  I can't handle him."

While I don't know if those exact words were ever uttered by a mother in distress, I do know the sentiment was a familiar one in the history of Morganza.  It was known that parents up in the Allegheny and Washington Co areas of PA did threaten their youngsters with the punishment of having to go to Morganza.  I wonder how many children were scared straight....

Morganza.  Just the name of this reform school is enough to send chills down the spine of the local residents.  While I am unaware of any of my family members being sent there "for their own good," I am fascinated by it.  I can't imagine the horrors that happened there and my heart aches for the lost youth of the time.

Morganza was first incorporated as the House of Refuge in 1850 in Pittsburgh.  Youth were sent there for various reasons, but there was no need for any conviction of a crime.  Apparently, testimony from a distraught witness was enough for the "sentence" of going there to be reformed.  How many poor children went there?  How many parents sent their child there if they couldn't put food in their mouths?  I imagine it's enough to break your heart.

As the House of Refuge grew, it was decided to purchase land and get the youngsters away from the city.  Perhaps farming would be encouraged.  Land was purchased from Wesley GREER (a kinsman of mine thru marriage) and plans were made, and buildings were built.

According to a 2007 email from a great grandson of Wesley, the land was purchased from the MORGAN family.  The claim to fame for the MORGAN family is Aaron BURR stopped at the farm and spoke of his intent to overthrow the government.

I first became aware of Morganza as I traveled from Pittsburgh down to Washington Co as I was researching my roots.  I saw the building as we drove down the road and asked many questions about it.  Most of the responses seemed to begin with a heavy sigh.

As many readers are aware, a group of volunteers has been painstakingly going through old Pittsburgh newspapers to find marriages and deaths.  While involved in this work, one volunteer contacted me to say she had found many mentions of Morganza in old newspapers.  This sparked my interest as I recalled driving by the old buildings which haunted my memory for months.

We started actively looking for mentions of Morganza or of those associated with the institution in the newspapers and then we decided to add the census information we could find.  All of this information can be found on our Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project Updates.  

Ahh, genealogy.  Some of our past breaks our hearts, one name at a time.

Herron, James T, Morganza, Jefferson College Times, Vol XLI, No 1, March 2008.
Photo by P. Thomas 

©AS Eldredge 2012

Monday, August 06, 2012

Walking With the Dead at St Clair Cemetery

Last night, the phone rang and the cheery voice on the other end of the line made me smile.  But then, I always smile as I talk with my dear beloved cousin who is as addicted to genealogy as I am.

He had news.

Our beloved family cemetery, the St Clair Cemetery, is in the news again.  There will be a self guided walking tour on September 15 from 9 am to 1 pm.  The Mt Lebanon Historical Society will once again talk to visitors about many of the early residents of Lower St Clair and Mt Lebanon.

Of course, many conversations will be about my dearly departed.  Just wish I could be there to share the stories with the visitors.

Ahh, genealogy.  Walking in the past.  What else is there to say?  Oh yes, let me know if any more of my living kin show up!

Update:  The good folks at the Hysterical Society tell me my 4g grandpa will be there in full Revolutionary garb.  Ok, so it's someone who will portray him.  What fun!


©AS Eldredge 2012

Monday Madness: Got The Fever But No Body Found

Looking out the window at the overcast skies, it seems like a perfect day for running around my mind to see if I can pull together some more facts as I continue the search for good ole Uncle Robert.  As soon as I exhaust the paltry information I have, it's time to search around the internet to see if any other documentation can be found.   Arrgggg, it's Monday Madness alright.

Robert W HENRY(1827-1869) was born in Allegheny Co, PA, and was the brother of my 2g-grandma.  Robert was a godly man and eagerly went in to the ministry.  As a child, he and his family were members of the Associated Reformed Church of St Clair, which eventually became the Mt Lebanon UP Church.  In fact, two of Robert's grandfathers were founding members of the church and so many of his kin are spending eternity resting quietly in the St Clair Cemetery.

Robert received his DD in theology after completing his schoolwork and quickly found a church in Ohio.  He is found in the 1850 census as a clergyman living in Springfield, Clark, OH.  He returns home to marry a childhood friend, Mary Emma MATTHEWS in November 1851.  They are married by his childhood minister, the Rev Joseph CLOKEY. Ahh, CLOKEY, now he's an interesting man that we will have to examine later.  I surmise that Mary Emma's family, James MATTHEWS (abt 1795-aft1850) were probably members of the same church.  At the least, they did live in the neighborhood.

Robert and Mary move to Philadelphia where he pastored a church during the War of Northern Aggression (as mentioned in his nephew's Civil War diary).  Robert is also found in the City Directory in Phile with a house address of 850 N 7th.

In the spring of 1869, Robert applies for a passport.  What I haven't found is any evidence of a passport for his wife.  Was she included on his or was she not going over to Europe for a tour?  I find it difficult to swallow that she would have been left behind on this trip of a lifetime.

Now to a bigger mystery in the affairs of Robert.  He dies of Yellow Fever while visiting in Alexandria, Egypt.  This is verified by news of his death in the Presbyterian Banner.  The Banner made no mention of his wife.

Mary continues to live in Phile after the death of her beloved and teaches at a college.  Unfortunately, she has a stroke and falls in the bathtub on December 26, 1881.  Her death information has been found in Philadelphia, and her obit has been located in Pittsburgh.  Her body is brought back to Pittsburgh for the funeral and the burial.

Where are they?  Her obit tells us her father is deceased, and I have yet to determine when he died or where he was buried.  I suspect he is either at the St Clair Cemetery or the Mt Pisgah UP Church Cemetery as those were the two closest Presbyterian churches and cemeteries closest to his residence.  The HENRY clan is all buried at St Clair, but her tombstone has not been located.  To be fair, the early records for St Clair are all gone and many of the early headstones are damaged or gone.  I know where the HENRY clan is buried.  I know where Robert's parents are buried.  I know where his siblings are buried, but where are Robert and Mary?  Was Robert buried in Egypt or would his body have been brought home?  Would Mary have been buried with her family or with her inlaws?

Mary had at least one sister as determined by the 1850 census.  The sister was Harriet V MATTHEWS.  As they were living with one Emiline MOORE, I suspect Emiline could have been the eldest child of James and his wife, Margaret.  Either they all died before 1860, or they relocated, or they married.  I can't find any evidence of the family.

Robert and Mary had no children of their own, but I think of them often.  Did he resemble his sister in his looks?  If so, I can easily imagine his looks as I have a picture of her in my possession. 

I wonder if or when I will find them.  In the meantime, I think I'll sit and reflect as these gray clouds swarm outside the window.

Ahh, genealogy. I will guess that these storm clouds gathering would have been minor in comparison if his lovely bride had not been included on the voyage.

Sources:  RW Henry passport application
                         1850 Federal Census
                         1880 Federal Census
                         1867 Philadelphia City Directory
                         1868 Philadelphia City Directory
Pittsburgh Commerical Gazettep Dec. 30, 1881
Family Bible
History of the St Clair United Presbyterian Church of Mt Lebanon, PA 1804-1904, pg 29

©AS Eldredge 2012

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Potter, You Say?

Stories about the olden times and the settling of America are fascinating.  Ok, so maybe some of them are more fascinating than others, and some comments from the readers can catch my attention.

Recently, I wrote about little Isabella POTTER, the daughter of Henry POTTER.  As written about in some early history books of the area, little Isabella was captured by the Indians at the tender age of 10 and lived "a life of drudgery" before she was released.  As I researched the story sent to me by a cousin of mine who is directly descended from Isabella, I realized I had a double connection to little Isabella.  Now, they are both by marriage, but can you imagine the stories told 'round the old fireplace at night?  Can you imagine how Isabella and her clan most likely did not like or trust the Indians?  Can you imagine what they felt when they were rescued?

Back to the moment at hand. Little Isabella grew up and married Robert BIGHAM.  Among other children who I have not researched, they had a son, Robert, and a daughter, Jane.  The son, Robert, was born in April 1805 in Moon Twp, Allegheny, PA and married Jane GLENN (1812-1889.)  Jane is my 1C4R.  In other words, she and share a grandpa--  Her paternal grandfather is my 4g grandpa, who is buried at the St Clair Cemetery in Mt Lebanon, Allegheny, PA.

Just to add fun in to how I relate the family, I also have a cousin, Rachel DICKSON (1820-1909) who married Robert POTTER (abt 1815-1887.)  They are both buried in the Chartiers Cemetery, Allegheny Co, PA.  Rachel's grandfather is the same man who is the grandfather of Jane who married Robert and my 4g grandpa.  Robert POTTER is the son of Adam POTTER, who I suspect is the brother of Henry POTTER.

So, to the kind person who commented they were related to Henry POTTER and asked how I was related, I hope this answers your question.  Now, how are you related?  And what fun facts or stories can you add to the genealogy branches?
Read the original post here

Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914, pg 412-413
Personal email from S. McFeatters 3/2012
Cushing, Thomas.  History of Allegheny Co, Chicago: A Warner Company, 1889 
Larimer, Rev Bob. A 200th Anniversary of Noblestown
Allegheny County Will Book 3
Probate Index, Holmes Co, OH

©AS Eldredge 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

1849 Letter- Love is a Diamond in the Mud

Today seems like just the perfect day to sit and go through some of the thousands pieces of papers I have collected over the years while on the hunt for my past.

In my findings today, is a letter from July 1849 in which my 3g-uncle, the Rev. Robert W HENRY (1827-1869) writes to his first cousin, Margaret D FORSYTHE (1831-1919).

To set the scene, Robert is off studying to become a Presbyterian minister, and in his own words, "spent nearly all the day in digging out theology."  This is how he explains his lack of writing to his loved ones.  Robert tells us he has been preaching, or trying to preach, for almost every Sabbath.  He tells us he is happy.  His letter quickly turns to theology before he realizes it and changes the subject.

I find the third paragraph interesting---

...But, you will say, "I hate sermon letters" if I continue thus, and therefore, I forebear, I do not wish that my letters should be a bore in any particular.  Well, Cos, how is Mr. Fletcher?  Is he still paying such close attention to you? Has he still a claim upon your affections? And has he laid his heart and hand and fortune and all, an offering upon the altar of your will, and at the shrine of your beauty? Has he inquired of you?........ This love is a strange thing, it seems like the enchantment of the Sorcerer, or an influence of the evil spirit, it is always brooding over the hearts and frequently crosses the roses that are blooming there, to wither and die away, like the beauty of the setting sun, for its fruits are mostly disappointments and cares.....Loving is a dangerous thing. But it may not be so with you. I would not discourage you in the least. My own experience, in part, should not be taken as an infallible index in love.....I have looked for too much perfection where there could be no hope of finding it. For to look even for comparative perfection in a lady, would be to look for a diamond in the mud........

Wow.  Sounds like Uncle got burned!  I wonder by whom?

While I will never know the answer to that question, I do know he did find his perfect lady in the form of Mary Emma MATTHEWS, who he married in Allegheny Co, PA, in 1851.  Their time together was cut short when he died in Alexandria, Egypt, while on a voyage to the Holy Lands.  His lady died of a stroke while taking a bath and drowned in 1918.  They had no children.

As for Margaret, it is safe to say that the Mr. FLETCHER mentioned did not inquire of her as she married Joseph RYBURN in 1858.  They had four children and died in McLean Co, IL.

Ahh, genealogy.  These glimpses in to the lives of our ancestors remind us that they, too, lived, laughed and loved.  So much for just the name, rank, and serial number.  I need them to "come alive."

©AS Eldredge 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Remembering WW1 Thru the Eyes and Words of 1918 Warriors: Thanks Mrs. Schiller

Last May saw the beginning of uploading a series of old newspaper articles from the 1918-1919 time frame which were originally published in Pittsburgh by one of their cracker jack reporters who spent time in France with the troops. These articles were transcribed by my geni-buddy Lynn B. 

Thought you'd enjoy seeing one of the articles as we get ready to honor the women in our lives.  After reading this article, check out the other 50 or so we have found at

You're sure to be needing your hanky, or at the least, an American Flag to salute and a mama to hug!

Jan. 19, 1919
Charles J. Doyle
Special Correspondent of The Gazette Times in France
Mrs. William Bacon Schiller Works Every Day in Hospital – Many of Her Patients Heroes of Old Eighteenth Who Fell in Terrific Combats.
Paris, Jan. 17. – (Delayed) – Fifteen months of tireless work nursing American doughboys finds one of Pittsburgh’s most prominent women, Mrs. William Bacon Schiller, still smiling at her post in France.  But her labors of mercy are almost finished now, and she is planning to leave for home in a few weeks.
That was and suffering bring out the finest qualities is strikingly shown in the case of Mrs. Schiller.  She is the wife of the president of the National Tube Company, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation.
About 18 months ago Uncle Sam issued an urgent call for volunteer nurses.  Among the patriotic women and girls who heard and heeded that call was Mrs. Schiller.  Although she always had been accustomed to every comfort that ample means and an assured social position could give, this mother of three fine boys volunteered and was accepted.
Mrs. Schiller knew nothing about nursing when she placed herself at the disposal of her country.  In fact, she knew practically nothing about hospital work.  But all this has been changed, and when I saw her today in her strikingly becoming nurse’s garb, almost engulfed in bandages, dressings and other surgical paraphernalia, it was quite evident that her capability had been developed into splendid harmony with her devotion.
She was busily engaged arranging medicines for the morning round of the hospital as I entered and we had our talk while she worked.  I tried to induce Mrs. Schiller to tell me some of her remarkable experiences during her long term in France, but she evaded any personal touches and insisted on dwelling exclusively on the great work done by others.
Mrs. Schiller, I learned, has been “on the job” for six days a week since she came to France, sometimes seven, but she evidently feels fully repaid by the appreciation shown by the gallant Yankees.  She spoke of having attended a number of Pittsburghers, mostly members of the Eightieth Division.  While she avoids allusions to her own part of the work being done at the hospital, she is ready enough to talk of “the boys.”
A visitor to the hospital who sees Mrs. Schiller as she goes about her work, looking in every way the typical Red Cross nurse, finds it hard to realize that she has a son old enough to be in the service.  This is the case, however, Morgan Schiller being an ensign in the Naval Aviation Corps.  The mother had hopes that her boy would be sent to France and they could enjoy a happy reunion, but he was instead detailed to Seattle.
The hospital where Mrs. Schiller has been giving her time and labor is one of the finest operated by the American Red Cross in France.  It is known as No. 1, and is located about three miles from the center of Paris.  It is an imposing structure, designed to house a magnificent college, but had not been completed when the war started, and the building was turned over to the Red Cross.
While walking along a corridor of the big building I noticed a ward furnished by the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company.  One of the many comfortable cots was donated by Mrs. Henry W. Oliver of Pittsburgh, whose name appears on a neat plate above the bed.  Lying on this cot was a smiling doughboy, Private Harry Seymour, who told me he was a farmer from New York state.  He has been occupying this cot since October 28.  He received a severe shell wound in the leg, but has so far recovered that he is able to walk on crutches.
Although the government changed the designation of the old Eighteenth Regiment, N.G.P., to the One Hundred and Eleventh Infantry, there is a sentiment and pride in the old organization that leads to the use of the old name by the thousands of Pittsburghers over there who have followed the career of the regiment during the past year.  The old Eighteenth say great fighting at a number of critical points, and the importance of the achievements of the Pittsburghers and the whole Twenty-Eighth Division is partly indicated by the long list of heroes who gave their lives in France under the Stars and Stripes and the flags of the Allies.
Among the good people of France, particularly the surviving defenders, the memory of the Pittsburgh fighters will be forever recalled by the names of Chateau Thierry, Fismes, St. Mihiel and the Argonne Forest, all desperate conflicts where the sterling Keystone State guardsmen contended and fell in valorous exploits.  At present the infantry and artillery are divided by hundreds of miles.  The doughboys are, with the division headquarters, billeted near Toul, 200 miles east of Paris, while the artillery, which recently operated in the Belgian sector, has been moved to the area between Paris and the seacoast.
About a month ago the Twenty-eighth Division was ordered into Germany to form part of the army of the occupation.  One regiment was already on its way to Luxemburg when the first orders were countermanded and it was brought back.
Sergt. Allen McCombs, 927 Beech avenue, North Side, Pittsburgh, an athletic youngster who was a member of the old Eighteenth, is a fine specimen of the type of soldiers that constituted the regiment.  Almost fully recovered from a machine gun wound in the leg, Sergt. McCombs and I met in the beautiful Red Cross hospital where, he said, “a man couldn’t be sick if he wanted to and didn’t want to leave when he got well.”
Sergt. McCombs is a graduate of the Scottdale High School, where he played on the football eleven.  After leaving school he took a position with the Pennsylvania Railroad and joined the Eighteenth as soon as he was old enough.  He was leading a platoon of Company I in rushing a nest of machine guns during the terrible fighting in the Argonne woods when he went down with a bullet in his leg.
“But one day’s treatment since I was struck is worth all the hardships we went through,” said the sergeant, who has all sorts of vivid tales of the actions of his division.  When he recovered sufficiently he was given clerical work in the hospital, where he seems to be a prime favorite with patients and nurses.  In the parlance of the doughboys, the handsome soldier “has it pretty soft.”
Private John Danknichy, aged 21, a flaxen-haired Slavish boy of McKees Rocks and Esplen, is another who is manfully upholding the traditions of the old Eighteenth.  He is recovering from a severe machine gun wound in the thigh received near the Aisne River.  It was an exceedingly ugly wound.  When located by the stretcher bearers it was found difficult to get him to a first-aid station, but because of the seriousness of the case they started back through a heavy shell fire.  For a time he lay between life and death, but the wound is now healing and he is able to walk with a cane.  John was an employee of the Pressed Steel Car Company.

Ahh, genealogy.  Here's to you, Mrs. Schiller, and all the other women who have served America and our veterans.  I like to think you were there nursing my grandfather when he was wounded and gassed in France.
©2012 AS Eldredge

Enlighten My Soul with History

Historical facts should not be a burden to the memory, but an illumination to the soul.  – Lord Acton(1834-1902)

History is fascinating, although most students in school don't quite agree with the sentiment.  How much can we learn about the past, our past, by digging into old documents as our country was being formed?

A cousin of mine and I have been hard at work digging and digging to try and uncover the definitive proof of the family of our Margaret McMillen (1762-1849).

She was born in Washington Co, PA, and died in Lower St. Clair, Allegheny, PA.  While there is no mention of her father's name, she did name a son Thomas McMillen, so we suspect that was most likely her father's name.  We have located three Thomas McMillens in the neighborhood, so trying to pin it down has been a struggle.  One is the brother of the good Rev. John McMillen, and one is an Irishman who came much later than the birth of our Margaret.

The other one is probably ours.  My cousin has been busy at the courthouse in Pittsburgh looking up land deeds, wills, and just generally scouring the countryside for any more leads.  Yep, JoAnn, you've done a superb job of looking into almost every dark crevice in Allegheny Co.

The one good lead we have is that Margaret's son, Thomas M HENRY, was named as an executor for his uncle Thomas McMillen, who lived in Robinson Twp.  So we know where he lived along the Piney Branch of Peters Creek, and we know he died in 1831.  Too bad, he didn't mention his sister in the will written in 1829.  Those mentioned in the will are his wife Mary, Mathew McMillen, John McMillen, Wm McMillen, James McMillen, Samuel McMillen, Joseph McMillen, Ebenezer McMillen and Anne McMillen.  According to the will, Ebenezer is not yet 21.

Also from the Union Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Robinson are:
McMILLEN John 79 1840
McMILLIN John 60 1853
McMILLIN John 84 1922
McMILLIN John Y. 3 1899
McMILLIN Joseph 45 1852
McMILLIN Margaret 79 1898
McMILLIN Margaret 59 1918
McMILLIN Mary78 1844
McMILLIN Sarah 80 1926
McMILLIN Thomas 76 1831

Just last night, JoAnn sent a new lead from A List Of Persons Names Exonerated On The Frontiers of Washington County for Being Distressed By The Incursions of Depredations of the Indians.  Of course, a Thomas McMILLEN in Robinson Twp is mentioned on this 1789 document.  Reading the names on the list is almost like looking at my family tree.  So many familiar names are there. What was interesting to note is these men on this list did not have to pay taxes due to the damages they sustained during Indian attacks.  Can you imagine this happening today?  Can you imagine how bad it had to have been?

This little tidbit sent me on a journey this morning to learn more about the Indian attacks suffered by these early settlers.  What I found in Boyd Crumrine's History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882) made my hair stand on end.

Not only were there many instances of Indians attacking settlers, there were instances of men from Virginia who tried to "draft" the Pennsylvania men in to their militia.  Now, to be fair, that little southwestern part of Pennsylvania was fought over by both Pennsylvania and Virginia.  I just didn't realize the extent of the literal fighting, burning and killing by other settlers that accompanied that fight.  Not only did the families of southwestern PA have to suffer Indian raids, they also suffered from the men of Virginia.

I also was enlightened to learn how the settlers attacked the peace loving Indians just "cause they were there." Interesting reading if you like history.

Onward genealogy buffs to the next lead of enlightenment.

Ahh, genealogy.  Just can't top Lord Acton's words- Historical facts should not be a burden to the memory, but an illumination to the soul.  

©2012 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Remembering First Wives of the Past

 When researching the past, it is always fun to find more than one woman that your ancestor called "wife."  It is more than frustrating to not document much more than that.

In the last few days, my research has unearthed more first wives of cousins or of uncles who seem to have just been "forgotten" when it's time for a burial.

For instance, just this week, a new friend, Mary B., was gracious to send a pic of the grave of Goodman Y COULTER in Melrose Cemetery, Bridgeville, Allegheny, PA.  How much fun it was to see it standing proud and tall in Allegheny Co, PA.

Note the name of the wife, Julia  Yes, they were married in 1852 and had a good life together, along with three children.

But where is the first wife? Hmmm?  Sure, she died in 1851 after about 25 years of wedded bliss and 8 children with Goodman.

Good ole Euphemia MIDDLESWARTH COULTER is buried just down the road at the Bethany Presbyterian Church with her family and several of her children.

Here is Euphemia's obit:

Died on Friday the tenth of consumption, Mrs Euphemia wife of Goodman Y Coulter, of South Fayette Twp, Allegheny Co, PA and daughter of the late Moses Middleswarth, elder at Bethany Church.  She left a husband and seven children.  Member of Bethany church for 13 years.

Obit of Julia McKOWN COULTER

Everybody knew Goodman COULTER. His widow, Mrs. Julia MCKOWN COULTER died
on the 22d. She leaves three daughters, Mrs. Euphemia HERRIOTT, Mrs.
Margaret A. NESBIT, Mrs. Annie C. FRYER.

To date, the obit for Goodman has not been located.  It will be interesting to read it when it does surface.

It's another day for a total head scratching as the evidence for not one, not two, but three wives shows up on the computer screen for an uncle. That is, according to three different censusus.

William Wiley HUNNEWELL was born 1848 in Allegheny Co, PA.  He joins the military off and on again from the time of the Civil War up til about 1874.  He lives in Eau Clair, Wisconsin, for a number of years, with the first documented time of the 1880 census.  In this census, he is listed as having a wife, Angeline.  Angeline is born in Wisconsin of German parents.

In 1883, there is a birth of a child, William, who is baptized in November 1883.  There is no record uncovered of the death of Angeline or of this William.

In  Mar 1884, a newly divorced (Feb 1884) Alice G SWIFT marries William.  (As a note, Alice was born in NY, but her family removes to Wisconsin.) All this is from the Wisconsin records.  William and Alice stay in the area until about 1897 according to the city directories.

In 1900, they resurface back in Pittsburgh.  There is a son, William, who is said to have been born Jan. 1885 (according to his military draft registration.)  Alice dies, but I have not located a definitive death date or place of burial for her in Allegheny Co.
Update 2 Oct 2012:  Alice's final resting spot has been positively identified in Allegheny Cemetery, Allegheny, PA.  Her death date is 3 April 1914.

Alice Swift Hunnewell
Emma Hunnewell
William W. remarries a much younger Emma by the 1920 census.  They die just months apart in 1931 and are buried together in Pittsburgh.  So where is Angeline?  I suspect she is buried in Wisconsin.  Where is Alice?  Rumor has it she is buried at the Allegheny Cemetery, but I have yet to document this information. Update 2 Oct 2012:  Alice's final resting spot has been positively identified in Allegheny Cemetery, Allegheny, PA.  Her death date is 3 April 1914.

William W's obit:
HUNNEWELL- At West Penn Hospital, on Saturday, October 3, 1931, at 11 am, William W, husband of the late Emma Hunnewell of 301 York Way. He was a member of the Post No. 3 GAR. Remains at the home of the Ferguson Wood Co., Forbes St at McKee Place, Oakland.  Services will be held on Tuesday, October 6, at 2:30 pm. Post No. 3, GAR and all other members of GAR and friends invited.-

So, who are the two Williams born in 1883 and in 1885?  Are they different or are they the same?  I haven't been able to follow the one born in 1885 after the 1920 census.  He has two daughters with his wife, and like so many, they disappear after the 1930 census.  Did they marry?  Did they die?  Do they have blood descendents?

These are just two examples in my own family.  I'm sure you genealogy buffs have many similar instances where finding the first wife is a challenge.  Those women were there and a part of the early lives of our kin.  Most likely, they died young in childbirth or after an illness.  In any event, as we remember our moms this weekend, let us not forget all the moms and wives of the past--  even if you can't find them.

Ahh, genealogy.  Gotta keep scratching that itch.

Genalogical Excerpts from the Pres Advocate Oct 4, 1838-Oct 24, 1855, pg 130
Bethany Presbyterian Church Records found online at
McDonald Outlook, Feb 1, 1902
1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 Federal Census
Pittsburgh Press, June 5, 1931
Pittsburgh Press, Oct 5, 1931
Eau Clair Leader, June 24, 1905

©2012 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: And They Fought and They Won "Over There"

Just a quick note for you World War I genealogy buffs who have roots in Western PA, with an emphasis on Allegheny County. Yes, the wonderful men of World War I are all gone now and we visit their tombstones.  Perhaps, it's time to read more about what they experienced.

Six more World War I articles which were found in old Pittsburgh area newspapers and transcribed by my geni-friend Lynn have now been uploaded.

Relive the past in the 38 articles which provide a great look in to the 1918-1919 timeframe.  Maybe your past will come alive.  Maybe that special tombstone in your family will take on more meaning. I know mine did as I found my grandfather's name.

And just to keep you panting for more, there will be more articles uploaded in the next few days.

Check it out.

Ahh, genealogy.  "Over there, over there."  Yep, our doughboys went over there and didn't come back until it was over, over there.  Kind of an American tradition, don't ya know.

©2012 AS Eldredge

My Kin Signed the Declaration of Independence-- Nearly

This morning, another cemetery list from my dear old Allegheny County, PA, was uploaded to the net.  So, forget everything and concentrate on any new directions that any finds will lead me.

The list of Melrose Cemetery in Bridgeville was a special treat as I did find several names and was able to fill in some blanks.  Off I went on trying to document more fun facts.

I found something new.  Real new.  Ok, maybe it happened back in 1776, but it was new to me.  I almost have kin who did sign the little ole document signed back in '76 which we all revere today.


Well, my uncle Thomas McMillan HENRY (1791-1873) married one Eliza CLARK (1799-1882).  I've been trying to see if she ties into another CLARK line I have from the area, but so far, no evidence to be able to confirm or to deny.

Back to today.  I ended up trying to find new leads as to the whereabouts of Uncle Thomas and his kin.  I already had documented he sold the land he received from his father, John HENRY, in 1840. I guess that is when he and Eliza removed themselves to Pulaski Twp in Lawrence Co, PA.  Lawrence county became their final home and they lived happily there until their deaths.

I also knew they had five children.  So far, so dull.

Now to the fun stuff---

Their only daughter, Caroline Cornelia HENRY (1836-1922) married one Hugh McKEAN in 1859.  Hugh is the son of John McKEAN and Mariah POMEROY. 

Now to the confusion---

According to some family trees found on that favorite site of ours where we all go look, they are related to the Thomas McKEAN who signed the Declaration.  Although, in looking at those trees, I can't figure out the connection, nor the documentation.

So, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't true.  But it sure is fun to think about.

Ahhh, genealogy. Almost related to some other famous people.  Almost, nearly.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Monday, May 07, 2012

Facing Court Martial Twice and Still a Great Believer

How many military personnel have faced a court martial over the years?  While I don't know the answer, I do find it interesting that my 4g-grandpa was under the command of a soldier who lived it, not once, but twice.

In searching for more information on the duties of one of my American Revolution patriot grandpas, I stumbled across an interesting story on his commander. 

Just to set the scene, let's go back to the year 1779 and the Second Pennsylvania Regiment.  My 4g-grandpa was a private in this company during the Revolution and is mentioned as being present at Valley Forge. 

As history has taught us, while there were no battles at Valley Forge, the winter of 1777-78 was a time of hardship for the American patriots.  My grandpa is just one of the many who was sick (according to the muster rolls) during his stay there.  Much has been written on Valley Forge, and it is fascinating to read the stories. 

The Captain of my grandpa's regiment was one Jacob ASHMEAD(1742-1814) who was from Germantown, PA.  When he assumed command of the 2nd PA Regiment, he was charged with recruiting soldiers and forming a light infantry company.

During the attack on Stoney Point, the men of the Light Infantry Brigade were to maintain silence.  ASHMEAD apparently felt his adrenaline go high, and shouted.  For this he faced a court martial and was found guilty of disobeying an order. One of the other leaders on the fateful night at Stoney Point was "Mad" Wayne ANTHONY, who received a medal for the victory of that battle.

ASHMEAD was also later arrested and faced a second court martial for disobeying an order, of which he was acquitted. Interesting in itself as both charges originated with the same man.

In reading the entry which was in the Orderly Book, I find it interesting to note that another officer tried to "excite" the soldiers under ASHMEAD's command and have them not obey the orders.  I wonder what reaction my grandpa had.  Did he fall in to the trap set by the other officer or did he believe in ASHMEAD and his patriotic zeal for America?  While I don't know the answer, and never will, I do know that my grandpa fought under his command.  Can I imagine the scene?  Sure. 

Part of being a family history seeker is to learn all there is about the time and place where ancestors lived.  Learning a bit more about my grandpa's commander makes my grandpa come more alive as I imagine his struggles with wondering which was the right course to take with the Continental Army's commanders.  Did he stand up and shout support for his commander?  I like to think so.

Learn more about Captain Jacob ASHMEAD and his involvement in the Continental Army at the NWTA, the Northwest Territory Alliance.  There is a wonderful 2008 article in the NWTA Courier which provides the details of the court martials.

Also of interest is that there is a definite tie between an ASHMEAD family of Germantown from that era and Dr. Benjamin RUSH, who signed the Declaration of Independence. I haven't taken the time to determine how Jacob ties in to Benjamin. 

For more reading on Jacob ASHMEAD, go to the Historical Society of PA and look at their collections.

Ahh, genealogy.  Those early believers in freedom just make me warm and fuzzy all over.

Moran, Donald, The Storming of Stony Point, Sons of Liberty Chapter, NSSAR,
VandePolder, Brian, Captain Jacob Ashmead has a Very Bad Year 1779, NWTA Courier, Sept/Oct 2008, pg 6-7
PA Archives
Orderly Book of Captain Robert Gamble, 1779

©2012 AS Eldredge

Living in the Past in Pittsburgh

Another new project is coming up soon and will be available for all you genealogy buffs to view.  It will take some time, but I suspect that my handy dandy volunteer-friend and I will be hot on the trail to get the info up as soon as possible.

While waiting for this new index which was transcribed a number of years ago by another volunteer, who would like to see his work online for all, take the time to check out what has been accomplished to date on the Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project.

In addition to the marriage, death, and divorce indexes, there are also some World War I articles, a newspaper account of Co. E from the Pittsburgh area during the Civil War aka the Recent Unpleasantness, and any names located from the House of Refuge aka Morganza.

In the snippets corner, links to published Washington County 1895 property owners, early marriages, Morganza history, death dates from the PA Dept of Health, military personnel links, and more can be searched for those elusive kin.

Our area on old World War I articles is also slated to be updated before Memorial Day.

So, grab a cup of your favorite cruising beverage, grab your pen and paper, and drop on in to see if your genealogy past can be brought up for the future.

Oh, and a hint about the project---  it's on the Civil War and searching for PA units.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Recently, one of my dear cousins was a presenter at a genealogy conference held in York, PA.  Since I was unable to attend in person (just my spirit was there), dear sweet Frank was kind enough to grab the handouts for me.  I've been reviewing these and look forward to seeing if any of the hints will be beneficial as the search for those elusive kin continues.

Cousin Frank's topic was on creating a family history book.  After reviewing his notes, I find myself wanting, yet again, to take the time to create a book that future generations can read when they have a need to find their roots.

I've been asked to do this by several kin and I just haven't done it.  The main reason is the information uncovered changes so rapidly that the alleged book would be out of date when it is published. Seems like a familiar lament in the world of publishing.

If you decide to create a family history book, please consider the following as "must-have."

  • Table of Contents with each major and minor family surname.
  • Every name index.
  • Source everything.
  • Names, dates, marriages, deaths, grave locations, all children found.
  • Add pictures of homes, people, graves, family plots, wedding announcements and obits.
  • Have an appendix with wills.
  • Have an appendix with land records.
  • Tell the story of the area(s) in which your family lived or migrated.
  • Tell the story of why they migrated.
  • Include family lore, but be sure to acknowledge whether it has or has not been documented.
  • Did I mention source EVERYTHING?
Ok, so maybe writing a family history book isn't in the immediate future.  Maybe, I'll just continue writing these genealogy tidbits which have been discovered about the family of long ago.  That way, I can entertain my readers without the standard "who begat who", and rather, focus on WHO the beloved ancestors were.  And, maybe, just maybe, I'll publish some of my favorite GeniTales for my kin to keep on their coffee tables.:)

Ahh, genealogy.  Tis always wonderful to sit and reread genealogy tales of the past.  Many times, they remind me of the next step I need to take. That is, after I say a prayer of thanks for what my beloved family did, however big or small, and for their dedicated faith in God.

©2012 AS Eldredge