Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday’s child: Salina

B. daughter of
Daniel & Margaret E.
died March 31, 1848.
Æ. 9 Yrs. 6 m. 11 D.

Sleep on sweet Child & take thy rest
God called the [sic] hence he saw it best.

Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mr. Eaton and his consort

In memory of
Consort of
who departed this
life Dec. 26, 1838
Æ. 72 years & 16 days.

Although I have read that on gravestones of this period “consort” refers to a wife who died before her husband, leaving him a widower, Joseph Eaton’s nearby marker reveals that he died in 1825. I have found similar examples in this county. Are we backwards in Ohio?

Joseph Eaton was a Revolutionary War veteran who “emigrated from the State of pennsylvania.” His gravestone names four generations of Eatons before him, but the last line cannot quite be read. Looks like his 2g grandfather emigrated from ________ in 16__. 1686, perhaps? 

Here rests the remains of
who departed this life
Feb. 8, AD 1825.
Aged 59 years.
He emigrated from the State
of pennsylvania, AD 1805.
he was the son of
David, Eaton;
which was the son of
John, Eaton;
which was the son of
Joseph, Eaton;
which was the son of
John, Eaton;
who emigrated from

Cheshire Cemetery, Townhouse Section, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Epitaph: When I lie buried deep in dust

Memory of
who died
Jan.12.1830: Aged 70
years 2 months & 13 days.

When I lie buried deep in dust[,]
My flesh shall be thy care;
These withered limbs with th[ee I trust]
To raise them strong and fair.
Cheshire Cemetery, Townhouse Section, Delaware County, Ohio

Saturday, July 24, 2010

1880: When John Met Fannie

In 1997 a favorite uncle researched and wrote a short memoir of his grandmother, thirty typewritten pages not for publication, but for family. This is no ordinary memoir because this uncle, a retired English professor, constructs a narrative from letters found in the attic of the old family home, instantly transporting the reader back in time.

Here is excerpt from this narrative “made of commonplace events experienced or suffered through by ordinary people”:

Born December 18, 1856, Fannie Harlow was nearly ten years younger than her sister Auzella. At some point Fannie went out to Ohio to visit or to live with the Birds [, Ozro and Auzella]. Perhaps she went to help Auzella keep house after little Lucy was born. It is possible, though not probable, that with Ozro’s aid she obtained work at the mill in the finishing room with the other women. At the mill, perhaps, but more likely at her brother-in-law’s home, she met a young mill supervisor named John Voller, and English immigrant. The two ambitious papermakers, Ozro and John, must have been friends and, possibly, even rivals at the workplace.

What more could I learn by examining the images of census records?

In June 1880 John Voller was a boarder in the home of Sarah Bridge, who lived next door to the Birds. Not only would Ozro and John have been acquainted through work, they were neighbors. 

There is more though, and this is where a simple research tip comes into play: Turn the page.

Turning to the very next census image shows that Fannie was living in the Bird household at census time. And, Uncle, according to the 1880 census, Fannie did indeed work in the paper mill. 

Now my imagination is caught in a chicken-or-egg dilemma.

Did John and Fannie meet first in the mill, or did they meet at home? Did John first catch a glimpse of Fannie as she hung sheets on the line to dry? Were they introduced one evening during an after-dinner stroll? Those details, not captured in Fannie’s letters, are lost forever.

In the end, what is important is not exactly how or exactly when John and Fannie met, but that they met—and that my dear uncle had the foresight to save the story for his daughters and for generations to come.

“Fannie Voller: A Memoir in Letters” is a family treasure.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday’s child: Infant Spong

The stone lies broken under a mature black walnut tree in Oller Cemetery, marking the grave of an infant who died nameless in 1835. No date of death, no age.

Memory of
an Infant
son of Absolum &
Mary Spong born
Oct 17, 1835.

Oller Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, July 18, 2010

No more may fear to die

C.C. Janes (d. 1870), most likely the son of A.A. and Caroline, is buried in new Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio.

May 12. 1870
30 Yrs 6 Mo.
& 12 Ds.

The epitaph reads, 

Dust, to its narrow home beneath.
Soul, to its rest on high.
They that have seen thy look in death
No more may fear to die.

Curious about the source of the epitaph, I turned once again to Google. C.C.’s epitaph is the second verse of the poem “Calm on the Bosom of our God” by early 19th-century poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans (b. 1793, d. 1835):

Calm on the bosom of our God,
Fair spirit, rest thee now!
E’en while with us thy footsteps trod,
His seal was on thy brow.

Dust to its narrow house beneath!
Soul to its place on high!
They that have seen thy look in death
No more may fear to die.

There is no gravestone photo (darnit!), but Felicia’s Find A Grave memorial does have a drawn likeness of the poet and a short biography.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday’s child: Sarah

Sara Shultz (d. 1841) and her sister Mary Shultz (d. 1848) are buried in Winsor Cemetery, a tiny country cemetery on the northern edge of Delaware County, Ohio. 

As I was leaving the cemetery last weekend, I noticed their simple markers, side by side. I thought I snapped both—separately and together—but all I can find now is Sarah’s marker.

of H & S.
died Jan
19: 1841:
Aged 20 ds.

Where are their parents? Not at Winsor, but perhaps someday soon I will find them in a cemetery not too far from their baby girls.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Maybe yes, maybe no: Part 2

If Arnold Aldrich (b. 1796, d. 1854) is my 3g grandfather, then his wife, Anna Marie, is my 3g grandmother. Today, the first time my daughter has come cemetery hopping with me, we found her grave, shaded by a large walnut tree, at the back of tiny Winsor Cemetery in rural Delaware County, Ohio.

The marker was next to impossible to read. (The photo is impossible to read. But that probably says more about my photography skills than the condition of the marker.) 

We sat in the shade of the walnut tree studying her marker long enough to feel confident that we read it correctly. A bit of aluminum foil and a soft paint brush confirmed our reading.

Wife of
Arnold Aldrich
July 4, 1856
In the 54th year
of her age

I cannot say whether my daughter shares my feelings, but even if research fails to show that Arnold and Anna Marie are my 3g grandparents, they are for now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday’s child: Laura

It was a beautifully sunny day in Central Ohio. Walking through recently restored Big Darby Cemetery (look at those straight, white markers!), I came upon a small, bright white marker. A child’s marker.

Feb. 28. 1875.
4 Ms. & 4 Ds.

Laura’s parents, Orlando Walker (b. 1849, d. 1916) and Missouri Walker (b. 1846, d. 1926), are buried nearby. The back of their double marker reveals their nicknames: Uncle Buck and Aunt Zue.

Just for fun, compare my photo to a pre-restoration photo on Find A Grave.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Taken by the Indians

After snapping a photo at Big Darby Cemetery for a Find A Grave request, I stopped at nearby Foster Chapel Cemetery to check out the gravesite of Jonathan Alder (b. 1773, d. 1849), the “first white settler in Madison County” (Ohio). That explains why the school district in the area is named for Alder, right?

Maybe so, but the story is a tad more interesting than “first settler.”

When he was eight years old, living in Virginia, Jonathan Alder was kidnapped by Indians. The Indians, a small group of Shawnee from Ohio, brought him back to Ohio where he was adopted by a Mingo chief and his wife, who had recently lost their son.

There is much, much more to Jonathan’s story. Raised by Indians, married an Indian woman, reunited with his biological family, married a white woman, fought in War of 1812.

Hasn’t Hollywood heard of this guy? What a story!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Maybe yes, maybe no

I find it difficult to ignore an Ancestry leaf. Often the hints lead nowhere, or at least nowhere new, but recently a hint led me down a new path, er, branch. To make a long story short: I learned that a gentleman who is quite possibly a 3g grandfather is buried in a cemetery less than 30 miles from here.

Practically my backyard!

All week I planned my visit to Shoup-Thompson Cemetery in northwestern Delaware County. I would pick up any unclaimed photo requests from Find A Grave, pack a cheese sandwich and bottled water, grab a brimmed hat, and hit the road. The gravestone kit is always in the car: brushes, garden clippers, cheap aluminum foil, soft towels, water, and bug spray.

If life were a movie, this would be the foreshadowing part. When I arrived at Shoup-Thompson, I parked in the shade near the old part of the cemetery. Leaning against a nearby tree was an illegible, broken grave marker. Go ahead, tease me. His marker may be so weathered that I cannot read it—if it is even here.

Starting to walk the rows of old stones, I was feeling hopeful. Field ... Smith ... Perry ... Henderson. But the longer I walked, the less hopeful I became. Arnold Aldrich (b. 1796, d. 1854), where are you?

Finally, I noticed a broken stone under an old maple tree at the back of the cemetery, just steps from the Scioto River. The stone originally showed two names, but only one remained: Rebecca Aldrich. Had the other name been Arnold?

Yes, I was sure of it.

The death day and year was right, the age at death was right, and Arnold had had a daughter named Rebecca.

[Dec. ]29, 1854
58Ys, 8. Mo, 10 Ds.
AGED 19 Years

Was Arnold Aldrich my 3g grandfather? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Sitting under the maple tree, listening to the birds and other country sounds, I realized that “Maybe yes” is good enough for now.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...