Funeral Card Friday – Burial Arrangements for Paul Hoffmann

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So I’ve defined “funeral card” pretty loosely today – this is the receipt for the funeral arrangements for my great-grandfather, Paul Hoffmann, eighty years ago this week (and reblogged on Sunday). Peter Schaeffer, a fellow church member riding in the first car when Paul Hoffmann drove into the path of an oncoming train in Bucyrus, Ohio, seems to have made the necessary arrangements to have the bodies returned to Fairbury for burial.

Interestingly, Wise Funeral Home is still in operation in Bucyrus and has been since 1845. According to the online Inflation Calculator, the $125 paid to Wise in 1933 is equivalent to $2187.50 today. It is difficult to make comparisons with Wise’s current price list, since I’m not sure what would constitute “crepe cloth casket full trimmed; outside box and personal service.”

I’ve uploaded images of newspaper accounts of the train accident from the Bucyrus News-Journal on my vital statistics page. These accounts can never capture the sorrow that befell the family, however, when 55-year-old Paul was killed so unexpectedly.

Thriller Thursday – Winston Churchill

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There is always a thrill in discovering a famous relative. In this case, the relative in question is Winston Churchill – can’t you see the eerie resemblance?! Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, born November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, was my half eighth cousin three times removed. I even visited Blenheim in 1994 while on a semester abroad program during my junior year at Sewanee (The University of the South). This was long before I discovered my familial connection to the Prime Minister through his American mother, Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome. Jeanette’s 6G-grandparents were William Gifford and Elizabeth Grant. William and his wife Patience Russell were my 10G-grandparents (William – Hananiah – William – Joshua – Ann – Joseph Davis – Cornelius – John – Lucinda Blanche – Carl Ozro Wilson – Blanche – Theodore Montgomery – me). Interestingly this means that Winston Churchill was also 6th cousin twice removed to another of my famous relatives: Lizzie Borden.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Joshua Ousley Montgomery

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One of many family graves seen during last year’s visit to Mansfield, Illinois, was that of Joshua Ousley Montgomery, a first cousin twice removed. Grandson of my great-great-grandparents John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery, he was born February 3, 1893 in Mansfield, to Thomas Milton and Frances May (Hoover) Montgomery.

His World War I draft registration from June 1917 lists him as “Joshua Oozley Montgomery,” age 24, of medium height and build, with light blue eyes and light-colored hair. In the four censuses in which he appears, he is enumerated with his parents. By 1930 he is listed as divorced. Cousin Janet Alvis indicates that his wife was a Leona H. Brooks, born about 1902, and that Leona and Joshua married May 6, 1922.

Janet has also provided the following obituary information for Joshua on the Find-a-Grave website:

Joshua O. Montgomery, 44, World War veteran and life-long resident of Mansfield was instantly killed at 10:50 pm Sunday, March 28, 1937, when he was struck by a car two mile east of Mahomet on Rt 150. Services were conducted in Mansfield Wednesday afternoon with burial in Mansfield cemetery. 

He was born on a farm near Mansfield, the s/o M/M T. M. Montgomery. He had just started construction of a home near his parents’ residence in Mansfield. Besides his parents he leaves two brothers: Fred of Chicago and Thomas of Mansfield; three sisters: Bertha Thomas, Stella McIlvain and Hattie Hannah, all of Mansfield. He was unmarried.

Railroad Crossings

agnette:

Mom reminded me that 80 years ago yesterday, her grandfather Paul Hoffmann, Sr., was killed when the car he was driving was struck by a train. I posted about this and other train accidents in our family in one of my earliest posts here.

Bucyrus Again

Originally posted on Ahnentafel:

Bad luck with trains tends to run in our family. Within a span of twenty-five years, four different family members came too close to passing trains, twice with fatal results.

My grandmothers made up the more-fortunate half of this catalogue. Grandma Montgomery’s incident is the one I know the least about. I know she and her mother were riding in a car that was actually struck by a passing train, and I’ve since learned that Grandma always bore a scar on her forearm as a result.  Thankfully, both Grandma Montgomery and Grandma Wilson lived to tell this tale.

Grandma Hoffmann was the luckiest of the four, although her story was no less frightening.  A neighboring farmer was taking Grandma, her mother, and her sister Marilyn into town.  They were riding in an enclosed, horse-drawn wagon, with Lena and Marilyn in the back and Grandma on the wagon seat with the driver. …

View original 521 more words

Amanuensis Monday – The War News Is Sure Terrible

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Sometime in the early 1940s Grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery wrote to her sister Mildred. The letter is partially lost now but somehow found its way back to Grandma in an envelope addressed to her mother, Sophie (Roberg) Wilson. This is the same envelope that contains a number of recipes from a “Mrs. Dickinson.” Grandma and Grandpa and their children were living in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where Uncle Gene (Alwin Eugene, born in November 1940) was apparently doing his fair share of tumbling and falling. The letter is full of family news and inquiries but touches on the horrors of war. It was also baking day – what I wouldn’t give for Grandma’s bread recipe!

[no postmark, return address, or stamp] Addressed: Mrs. Sophie Wilson, Winner, S.D. 628

[two pages missing; remaining pages labeled “3.” and “4.”]

…radio. I’m sure glad you write for Mamma as I know its hard for her to write. Hope she doesn’t have to work as hard as she did last winter. Yesterday was Pearl’s little girl’s birthday wasent it. I wanted to send her something but I didn’t think of it in time.

Do you still have the girls at your house. Am glad Herman has a new job.

Where did Monte fall from read it in Maude’s card. Alwin has fallen a lot he has a sore eye most of the time lately. I don’t know what’s wrong. He must have hurt it.

Be sure and tell Mamma & Lester hello from us all. Glad Lester likes school so well. What subjects does he take?

The war news is sure terrible. Even thinking about it makes you shiver.

We would like to take a trip up to Denver. Do you know if Clara is still there? Esther didn’t say.

I am baking bread today so must close & get busy. Am afraid it’s too cold in here as I let the fire go down.

With Love & Best Wishes May God bless you all. Blanche, Lawrence & children.

P.S. No we haven’t seen any of Carrolls. There are lots of S.D. cars but 14 or 15 thousand people in Scottsbluff, You seldom see many you know.

[at top of page 4:] I canned around 200 qts so that helps some.

Census Sunday – William Montgomery, There You Are!

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There is irony in the fact that the line I’ve had the least success in tracing is my own paternal Montgomery line. I currently hit the proverbial brick wall with my 3G-grandfather, William Montgomery. Born February 19, 1802 in Pennsylania, his parentage is as yet unknown.

That was the paragraph I had written earlier today. I probably would have continued on to talk about how a fairly common name like Montgomery, and no specific city for beginning my search, complicates matters. But in reviewing sources on Ancestry.com I discovered something brand-new (to me): baptismal records for Old Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia – and there is William – the February 19 birthdate that appears on his tombstone, and a baptismal date of March 21. These particular records still don’t list William’s parents – but this gives a whole new avenue for the search!

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So, to continue with what I already knew before today…

William married Mary Ann Extell on September 27, 1827 in Pleasant Mills, Gloucester (now Atlantic) County, New Jersey; William was 25 and Mary Ann 18. According to their marriage record, William was from Batsto and Mary Ann from Pleasant Mills.

The 1830 census finds the family in Fairfield, Cumberland County. Their location in 1840 is uncertain (tracing census records prior to 1850 when each individual began to be enumerated individually by name is always trickier). By 1850 the family has moved westward to Clark, Ohio; William and Mary Ann are now joined by John, aged 20; Samuel, 18; David, 16; Thomas, 14; Mary E., 10; Susan, 8; William, 5; Joseph, 3; and Edward, 7/12.

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William appears in only one more census, again in Clark, Ohio. Another child, Sarah (age 6) has been added to the family; other children had apparently been born but hadn’t survived. On October 6, 1868 William died in Lynchburg, Ohio. He is buried in Lynchburg’s Masonic Cemetery.

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Sympathy Saturday – Death by Senility

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Charles Wilson, my 3G-grandfather, was born August 13, 1831 in Louisville, New York, the son of John Wilder Wilson and his (as yet unknown) first wife. By 1850, 18-year-old Charles was living in the household of Charles Willard, an innkeeper.

About 1857 Charles married Lucy Bridges Taylor, also from Louisville. They were enumerated in Louisville in the 1860 census, along with their 1-year-old son, Wellington David (“David W.”) Wilson, who had been born November 27, 1859.

By January 1867 the family had begun its slow progress westward; in that month a second son, Oric Edward, was born in West Union, Iowa. Enumerated in the 1870 census in Madison Township in Buchanan County, (about 33 miles from West Union), the family added another son, Samuel Warner Wilson, on January 6, 1873.

Charles, Lucy, and their two younger sons were still in West Union in 1880, where Charles was working as a butcher; Wellington David, my 2G-grandfather, had married in 1879 and was enumerated in Eden Township (18 miles distant). He continued to migrate in tandem with his parents and brothers, though they never again lived in the same household. By 1885, Charles and family had moved to Knox County, Nebraska; in June of that year they were enumerated in Niobrara Precinct in the 1885 Nebraska State Census. In another 10 years the family had moved some 270 miles north, to Roberts County, South Dakota. There the family was enumerated in 1900 in Long Hollow Township. About a year later Lucy died.

In April 1910 Charles was enumerated in the home of his son Samuel, by now married and with a son of his own. Charles lived only another three months after the census enumeration, dying on July 18. On his death certificate his doctor indicated he had been attending Charles since June 1. Charles was just shy of his 79th birthday, but his cause of death is listed as “senility,” one of many age-related causes found on old death certificates.  At least it wasn’t “decrepitude” or “senile gangrene.”

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