Saturday, May 24, 2014

Remembering Theodore Clarke and Phelps Long this Memorial Day

Dear Grandparents,
Last fall I wrote a post listing the family members who had served our country. Today as we begin to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend, I want to write about two family members who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

My 2nd great uncle, Theodore William Clarke, served with the First Nebraska Infantry fighting for the Union during the Civil War. He was an unlikely soldier and most of what we know about him comes from the more than forty letters he wrote home to his mother Lydia Hornell Clarke and sister Mary Elizabeth Clarke Newton. The letters have been carefully preserved and handed down through the generations.

Theodore or "Trit" as he was nicknamed by the family was an unlikely soldier. Born about 1838 in Michigan, he was working for the telegraph company laying wire across Missouri and the Nebraska Territory when the war broke out. On July 15, 1860 he writes home stating, "I am in the employ of the Western Union Telegraph Company. We are engaged in the construction of the Pacific Telegraph running from Saint Louis to San Francisco in California... We're going along the Missouri River as far as Omaha City and then across to Fort Kearney... which is as far as we shall get before cold weather sets in." He is anxious for his little sister Molly, my 2nd great grandmother, to understand where he is and write August 5, 1860 from near Nebraska City, "It is about 60 miles from here to Omaha City and 180 from there to Ft. Kearney. By allowing about 5 miles for every working day you can look on your map and see anytime where I am."

Theodore William Clarke
from tintype in my possession
Though he is busy with work he is not undecided about who should win the Presidential Elections of 1860. Writing September 21, 1860 he states, "Why Lincoln's the man of course and if the territories and Kansas and Nebraska had a voice in the coming election Douglas would hear a noise that would make him stuff his ears with cotton and send him to visit with his mother for the next four years at least."

Trit stays with Western Union and they complete the line to Ft. Kearney, he learns to become a proficient telegraph operator and feels that he is making good money doing so. However, the situation changes when word of the secession of the southern states reaches the Nebraska Territory. He enlists as a 'fifer' or musician with the First Nebraska Infantry explaining to his mother on July 16, 1861, "I can never have it said that I who have no one dependent on me and nothing but my life to loose stood back in this hour of our country's peril and remained an inactive spectator."

His words turned out to be prophetic. Theodore spent more than 18 months with the First Nebraska, surviving the Battles of Ft. Donelson, and Shiloh before dying January 7, 1863 in Van Buren, Missouri.
Like the majority of the Union casualties, Theodore died not of wounds but of disease probably of something like pneumonia.
Battle of Fort Donelson fought February 14 through 16, 1862.
Picture created by Kurz & Allison 1887
www.lincolncollection.org
I wish I could report that family members can visit Theodore's tombstone and place flowers their each memorial day in remembrance of his sacrifice. Unfortunately, his final resting place is unknown. When ever I visit Arlington National Cemetery, I like to imagine that our Trit is one of the 'unknowns' honored there.

My cousin Phelps Wilson Long, Jr. gave his life not in a national catastrophe but in a global conflagration. The 1940 Federal Census finds Phelps as a 16 year old, living with his family and attending high school.
His father Phelps and mother Martha Allen Long were running the family department store in Tallahassee, Florida. Little sister Shirley was in the sixth grade. An older cousin Lindsay Pappy also lived in the home.

1940 U. S. census, Leon County, Tallahassee, Ward 2, Florida, population schedule,
Page 2, penned, lines 31-36, house number 1016, Thomasville Rd., digital images
Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 24 May 2014);
citing National Archives microfilm roll: T627_597; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 38:3.
After High School, Phelps went off to the University of Florida in Gainesville and joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. Probably no one anticipated the changes that would effect the family and nation in the next couple of years.

Phelps is fourth from the right in the bottom row of the  University of Florida
Seminole Yearbook image from www.ancestry.com
The first year following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor did not go well for American forces. Many young men like Phelps felt an urgency to do their part for the war effort. Phelps enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was sent to New River, North Carolina for training.
Private Phelps W. Long, Jr.
copy of photograph in possession of his sister. Used with permission.
Phelps' unit was eventually sent to the South Pacific to take part in the battle for Bougainville, a strategic island that had been held by the Japanese since 1942. His unit, the 3rd Marine Division was given the task to take the hilly area around the Japanese field artillery. One of the most difficult positions to take was an area called "Helzappoppin Ridge". The Marines attacked there on December 12th. It wasn't until the 18th that coordinated attacks allowed the American troops to capture and control the ridge. Phelps was killed on the 16th.

His death left a huge hole in his tight knit family. My grandmother Hazel Allen Cone (his mother's sister) said that his mother never recovered from his loss. She died a mere five years later at age 47. Talking with his sister Shirley Long Collins last month is Tallahassee, she said that her father never got over Phelps death either. I could see the sadness over of the loss of her brother that remains with Shirley to this day. Phelps' parents paid to have their son's remains returned to Florida for burial.

Hopefully, we will all take time among the picnics, boat rides, cookouts and other festivities to remember those whose sacrifices have secured our country and way of life.

Love,
Cecily Cone Kelly

P. S. For family members - Phelps W. Long was my paternal grandmother's nephew and my father's first cousin. Theodore Clarke is on my paternal side, the brother of my 2nd great grandmother.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Colby Allyn Kelly Propes!

Dear Grandparents,
Today we are celebrating our daughter Colby's 31st birthday. I'm home sick and didn't want to expose her little ones, Cooper and Cassidy to the crud. I baked her favorite angel food cake, and sent it with Ed over to her house. I thought I would also share the story of her birth.

In 1983, Ed was a Lieutenant Commander in the U. S. Navy, who had returned to his Alma Mater the United States Naval Academy, and was teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Department. As it is again this year, it was Commissioning Week, a week of parades, celebrations, dances and, of course, graduation and commissioning.

As a Surface Warfare Officer, Ed was invited to attend a reception honoring the midshipmen who had chosen Surface Line for their initial duty assignments. Then Captain (later rear admiral) Tom and Mar Beth Paulsen were hosting the midshipmen, their families, surface officers stationed at the academy and their wives at their quarters in the yard. I was very pregnant but not due for three weeks so being a 'dutiful' Navy wife I found a lovely silk frock designed carefully by Omar the Tent Maker, very flat comfortable shoes and hauled my bulk to the Paulsen's.

Anyone who has known Mar Beth, will remember how beautifully she decorated her homes. Lovely antiques, seemingly priceless oriental carpets.... I was afraid to sit anywhere for fear that I would never be able to get up again without several officers or midshipman having to come to my rescue. I think Mar Beth was a little nervous too! She seemed to follow me around continuing to ask if I was alright. I just knew she was terrified that I would sit on something and break it or worse yet my water would break and ruin one of those lovely rugs. Admittedly, I was looking at things through pregnancy paranoia. You know how self aware you can be when you are nine months pregnant.

Naval Academy Midshipmen celebrating their graduation and commissioning.
Image from wikipedia
Tired of making trips to the ladies room, and feeling my feet swell in the heat. I persuaded Ed to take me home, assuring him that the Paulsens would only be relieved at our departure. Squeezing into our 1972 super beetle Volkswagen, where I could hardly reach to depress the clutch now that I had to have the seat back so far to accommodate my girth, we headed for home. Stopping to rent a VHS of the "Blues Brothers" for what we anticipated would be a short evening followed by a night of tossing and turning. We sat down on our well worn sofa to watch the movie, me with my feet elevated on the antique Japanese hibachi we used for a coffee table.

Elwood and Jake Blues and the Bluesmobile
image from wikipedia
Now any of you who have watched "Blues Brothers" starring Dan Aykrod and John Belushi know that this is a very funny movie. I did not watch too many scenes before a hearty belly laugh broke my water! A quick call to our obstetrician and we were on our way to Anne Arundel General Hospital at that time located in old town Annapolis.

I was prepped and wheeled into the operating room for my already agreed upon second c-section. It was twenty minutes to midnight on May 21st. The doctor looked at me and asked whether I wanted our baby to be born on the 21st or 22nd. Figuring it was better for them to take their time with the surgery I chose the 22nd.  Baby girl Kelly arrived at 12:19 am.

Notice I said Baby girl Kelly. Ed and I had picked Colby Allen Kelly as the name for a boy. Colby and Allen were the maiden names of my grandmothers who had lobbied long and hard for great grand children and unfortunately not lived to see them. We had left selecting another girls name for after graduation. Remember, we thought we had three more weeks to decide. An exhausted and exhilarated Ed, went home to care for Amanda, summon the relatives, and we decided to wait to name our new baby girl.

Outside forces have a way of butting into life when least expected. While the nurse was examining me three days later, an image Al Schaufelberger, one of Ed's company mates at USNA flashed on the television screen across the room. The sound was muted during the examination so I did not hear what had been said. I called Ed and suggested he look at the television. Much to our sorrow and dismay, the news was very bad.
Lieutenant Commander Albert Schaufelberger, the senior U. S. Naval representative at the U. S. Military Group, El Salvador had been assassinated.
LCDR Schaulfelberger meets the press just days
before his assassination. Photograph from wikipedia
Al had lived is the same neighborhood in Chula Vista, California and we had seen him as Navy schedules allowed. He made a great abalone Parmesan. His death came as quite a shock. As Ed was the only one of his company mates stationed at the Naval Academy at the time, Navy Public Affairs asked him to make comments about Al to the local newspapers and television stations. This even included being interviewed on our front lawn after Colby was brought home.

Back to baby girl Kelly... things got to be so hectic, that we never had the time to hash out different names for our new baby. Finally, the woman in charge of name registration appeared demanding to know, "What are you going to name this critter?" So Colby it was... with a concession to Ed of changing Allen to Allyn which he thought sounded more feminine.  Oh, and critter stuck too, as a nickname with a similar change to a 'y' in "Crytter".
On left, Cecily, Colby in arms of maternal grandmother Betty Werst Cone
 coming home from the hospital to 230 Chatham Lane, Annapolis.
On right, Ed and big sister Amanda holding newborn Colby.
Photographs from my personal collection.
Seven years later our paths were to cross with the Paulsen's again. Ed took command of USS Thorn DD-988 in Charleston, South Carolina. Thorn was attached to Cruiser Destroyer Group 2 commanded by none other than Rear Admiral Paulsen. I like to think that they did not associate the sophisticated Commanding Officer's wife with the very pregnant junior officer's wife they had met in Annapolis. I always thought if my water had broken at the Paulsen's Ed would have had to leave the Navy.

Rear Admiral Thomas D. Paulsen, Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 2
attending wreath laying ceremony at a Polish memorial. 27 Jun 1990
Online Public Access for the National Archives
Admiral Paulsen is next to the man in the red shirt.
I think you would be very proud of your grand daughter, as she is a very special Crytter.
Love, Cecily

P. S. We'll also be remembering Al this Memorial Day.

Telling My Story - Throwback Thursday - Prom 1967

Dear Grandparents,
In addition to telling your stories, I'm trying to ensure that the stories of my life are passed on to my children and grandchildren. Hopefully, they won't have to look so hard for them. Several different media outlets have designated "Throwback Thursdays" as a day to share photographs and stories.
Cecily Louise Cone with date Edward William Kelly circa April 1967
Rancocas Valley Regional High School Prom
photograph from my personal collection
This photograph of Ed and I is from his prom. We had only been dating about a month and believe me neither of us would have imagined that we would marry. Prom was different in those days, no limousines, fancy hotels and restaurants. The dance was held in the gymnasium of the high school. A prom committee spent hours transforming the space to be "An Evening in Paris" (okay, I admit it took a stretch of imagination). I may be wrong about the theme but hopefully some RVRHS 1967 graduate will correct me. I'm certain that Ed doesn't remember.

I would not have spent hours shopping for a designer dress and dropping several hundred dollars. My mother made my dress (I should admit here that she majored in clothing and textile design at Oregon State). My two big splurges were shoes dyed to match the dress and having my hair professionally done. I wasn't really happy with the way it looked and combed most of it out before the dance.  Little white gloves were a must.

Ed came in his mother's car to pick me up. He had purchased a lovely corsage of yellow orchids, that I still have dried in an old hat box. It looks better in the photograph. I should really throw it out. Wasn't he handsome in his rented white dinner jacket?

Dinner was served in the gym. I expect someone tried to spike the punch but I didn't have any. It was bright red and I was terrified I would spill it and stain my dress. The evening ended about midnight. There was no hotel suite for a cozy overnight. My parents would have killed me. I wasn't even allowed to go to the shore for breakfast the next morning. It wouldn't have worked out anyway... Ed had to be at his job selling shoes at Terry's Shoe Barn, in Rancocas Woods the next morning.

Still, we had a good time and continued to date.... in fact next month we'll have been married 43 years! Still love you, honey.

Love,
Cecily Cone Kelly

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hazel Bynon Allen Cone

Dear Grandmother Cone,
How I would love to be able to talk with you! Recently, on a trip across country, we stopped in Tallahassee, Florida to meet your niece Shirley Long Collins and her daughter Allen Collins Heitz. As one does when meeting people one doesn't know, we picked a restaurant, exchanged make and model information on our cars and set out. Ed and I arrived at the restaurant first, he secured us a table and I set out for the parking lot to try to identify my relatives. Three likely candidates approached but as I started to ask about their identities, they said, "Oh, you are an Allen. We would have recognized you any where."

You always encouraged me to make time to stop and see Allen relations as we were driving across country. Mostly, I was too shy to approach people I did not know albeit relatives. I'm largely over my shyness now and make an effort to meet relations whenever I can. You said that the Allen's were lovely people and you were right. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and they brought wonderful photographs for me to see.

This is one of the great photographs that Shirley shared with me.
Hazel Bynon Allen
cropped copy of photograph in possession of niece Shirley Long Collins
used with permission
I had never seen a photograph of you as a child. There were no indications on the reverse side of the photograph as to where or when it was taken. My guess is that it was taken in Knoxville, Tennessee. I think you were between four and six, which would mean that it was taken between 1900-1902.

1900 Census showing Hazel Allen in the home of her father
Chester B Allen with mother Ida M and brother Chester D.
Enumerated 28 June 1900 by William J. Han?, Knoxville, Ward 11, Tennessee.
Image from www.ancestry.com
Because Trude and Rusty are redheaded and there were redheads on both sides of our family, I always wondered who's hair color was closest to yours. This photograph makes me think that Trude's hair color was closest to your own.

One of the other remarkable parts of this photograph is that it shows you before you lost your eye. I know you were self-conscious of your prosthetic eye. It never made any difference to us and it was years before we realized that you had lost an eye. In fact, I have to look at photographs to remember which eye it was. Shirley remembered how traumatized her mother had been that she had been responsible for your loss. Her daughter Allen, though she never met her grandmother Martha, remembered that they were always cautioned about the danger when using scissors.

It is so much fun to see you as a child, I'm going to have a framed enlargement made of this photograph! I promise to look up relations whenever I have the chance, especially Allens.

Love,
Cecily

P.S. I think I also recognize the cheeks.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 14 Edward Ebert Kelly

Dear Ed,
I don't know exactly how to address you. Though I have been part of your son Ed's life since 1967, I only met you twice. Mr. Kelly seems a little too formal so I hope you don't mind if I settle on Ed. Today would have been your 88th birthday. You left this life so early, in 1987 at just 61. I don't know how many of your family will pause to remember you today. Leaving too early really sums up your life, doesn't it?

There were a lot of early leavings in your life. Born the fifth of six children of William Joseph and Alice Mae Hanna Kelly, three girls, followed by three boys, you were the middle boy. Following the typical Irish family naming pattern, you were to be named for your maternal grandfather Edward Everett Hanna. Unfortunately, the clerk who was registering your name misspelled Everett and you became Edward Ebert Kelly.

Your father worked as a weaver in a cotton mill. In the 1930 Federal Census the family is living at 5320 Westminster Avenue in Philadelphia. No photographs of the house where you lived have been passed down but www.realtor.com describes the address as a single family home built in 1925, 2 stories with 1,108 sq. ft. on a 2,200 sq. ft. lot. By our standards today, 1,108 sq. ft. for a family of eight would seem very crowded conditions. Probably 3 bedrooms, one for your parents, one for your sisters, and then the one you shared with your brothers. Things were tough, it was the middle of the depression. There were plenty of Kelly and Hanna relatives in your West Philadelphia neighborhood so you were really part of an extended clan.

Things became a lot tougher for your family when your father died September 17, 1939. You were only 13.
There is some mystery surrounding William Joseph Kelly's death. The family lore said that he was killed in a bar room brawl. We ordered his death certificate from Philadelphia last year and it says that his body was found in the street having suffered severe head trauma. As far as we know, all of the people who knew what really happened are gone now so we won't have the answers here.

Soon, most of the family had gone to work. Your sisters Marie, Alice and Dot were all working at least 16 hours a week as cotton winders in a rubber factory. Your brother Bill is the only one who was listed as having worked all 52 weeks of the previous year. The family was living in a rented row house at 663 Conestoga Street in Philadelphia. The monthly rent was $19.
This image from www.trulia.com shows the typical row house on Conestoga Street
Aunt Marie often told stories of how difficult the situation was. She said that the electrical meter in the house required coins to run, so if no one had money there were no lights.The family often depended on help from the local Catholic Parish.

We do not know how long you were able to remain in school. I know that Marie had to leave high school after two years to go to work. Alice left high school after 1 year. Dot left high school after 2 years. Your older brother only finished 8th grade. The 1940 census says that you had completed 7th grade. That would have been normal for your age. When you enlisted in the Army, July 21, 1944 the record shows that you had 4 years of high school. It also states that your civilian occupation was "pressmen and plate printers, printing."
That information matches with our knowledge of your many years working for the Philadelphia Bulletin.

You really hit the jackpot when you were stationed at Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Your son Ed was stationed at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey from 1974-76 and it is a beautiful place to live. How different it must have been from the old neighborhood in West Philadelphia.

Private Edward Ebert Kelly, U. S. Army
Photograph signed "With all my love, Eddie'" presumably to
Pauline Haas his future wife. Image from author's personal collection.
The war was over before you could be shipped overseas and you returned to Philadelphia. We hope to learn more about your time table when the "Pennsylvania, Veteran Compensation Applications, WWII, 1950" database is completed at www.ancestry.com. So far, they are only beginning to publish the images for surnames beginning with H.

The story of how you met Pauline has been lost. We know that you lived in the same neighborhood. Two years younger, she would not have been in your class in school but you may well have attended the same school. You did not attend the same church, you being Roman Catholic and she Protestant. Were there local dances or parties, did you have friends in common? In any event, you married October 25, 1947.
Newly married Edward Ebert and Pauline Nelda Haas Kelly
Photo from author's personal collection.
Your nephew Dan Foley, provided us with a photograph of your wedding party.
From left Marie Kelly Beaumont, Louise Haas Watson, Pauline, Ed, Bill Kelly and Jack Kelly
You settled into a house on McKinley street and had two boys in quick succession. You continued to work running presses at the Philadelphia Bulletin Newspaper mostly working the graveyard shift. My Ed remembers he and Russ being held by their Mom while you said goodbye for a while the first time. A couple of years later there was a reconciliation and a move to Rancocas Heights, N.J. and three more children Patty, Bobby and Doreen. Unfortunately, the reconciliation did not last and you were soon back in Philadelphia on your own.

Ed holding sons Russ and Ed circa 1951 on McKinley Street
You left too early to participate in the raising of your children. Pauline did a terrific job on her own. I'm glad that you reconciled with the children shortly before your death. Still I can't help but think about all you've missed. My Ed was still hurting from your absence when I met him. He has made his own children his top priority. It's a shame you didn't do the same because all of your children turned out pretty special.

Cecily Cone Kelly


Monday, March 31, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 13 Accused witch Sarah Noyes Hale

Dear Grandmother Sarah,
Since 1980, Americans have noted Women's History Week and since 1987 National Women's History Month. The focus of the month is to honor the achievements of American women. For family historians, the emphasis is on telling the stories of female family members. Yours is one of the more interesting stories in our family tree.

The Noyes family from which we are descended comes from Cholderton, Wiltshire, England.
This map of Wiltshire, with its relative location in England
is from www.en.wikipedia.org
The family is found on a "1545 list of taxpayers for the benevolence of Cholderton in the county of Wilts." A very thorough history of the Noyes family can be found at www.noyesgenealogy.net. Your grandfather William was a graduate of University College at Oxford and became rector at the church in Cholderton in 1601.  William's ministry continued for twenty years until he was called to be Attorney General for the King.

Your father James, was the eldest son of his father's second marriage to Anne Parker born 22 October 1608. Born into an educated family, James was also sent to be educated. He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford, 22 August 1627. It must have been expected that James would follow his father's footsteps into the ministry but he left university when he was called to teach at Newbury, Berkshire, England. He married your mother Sarah Brown, daughter of Joseph Brown about 1633. I imagine you were named for her.

This was a turbulent time in English history and we do not know what was the spark that led James, Sarah, your Uncle Nicholas and cousin Thomas Parker to decide to immigrate to Massachusetts. We do know that 26 March 1634 they boarded the Mary and John at Southampton and the ship was detained until all took the oath of "Supremacy and Allegiance" to the King. First settling in Ipswich, the family had moved to Newbury by the time you were born 21 Mar 1655. Your father had also settled into his perhaps predestined occupation, minister.

I wrote 'the family had moved to Newbury" as if Newbury was just another town down the road. In fact, your father, Uncle Nicholas and cousin Thomas Parker were among the first settlers there. Your family helped to carve a new community out of the wilderness. Are you surprised that the house where you grew up still stands?
This photograph of the Rev. James Noyes House was taken for en.wikipedia.org in 2012.
The house was built about 1646 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Headstone for Rev. James Noyes who died 22 October 1656
Sarah did not have long to get to know her father.
In 1679, an event took place in Newbury that may have influenced your life. Elizabeth Morse was accused of practicing witchcraft. Three times she was condemned to die but each time she was reprieved. She was eventually allowed to return to her home where she lived out her days. Since witches were often hanged or crushed by stones, she probably considered herself fortunate. However, the rest of her life was not spent in freedom. According to an article published in the Newburyport News 28 October 2006, "She was forbidden to travel more than 16 rods (264 feet) from her property unless she was accompanied by a pastor or a deacon."

At 29, you became the second wife of widower Rev. John Hale 31 March 1684 and step-mother to his four children. The daughter of a minister, stepping into the role of minister's wife probably seemed very comfortable. We do not know if there had been earlier opportunities for marriage. Four boys were born in quick succession as you became an integral part of the Beverly, Massachusetts community and your husband's ministry.

Six years after your marriage, John was called to serve as a chaplain to the militia during Massachusetts' unsuccessful campaign to capture Montreal from the French. It was several months from the time of his departure until the battered and defeated force returned. Nearly 1,000 men had been lost. Waiting for word from your husband must have been nerve wracking.

In March of 1692, the minister of the church at nearby Salem, Samuel Parris, suggested that John help him observe the "strange behavior of a group of girls claiming to be tormented by evil spirits." Did John confide in you the horror he had felt as a child when he witnessed the hanging of convicted witch Margaret Jones in his hometown of Charlestown in 1636?

How shocked you both must have been on November 14, 1692, when 17 year old Mary Herrick accused you and the ghost of Mary Etsy of afflicting her. Many who have written about this time in Salem, believe that these accusations against you helped end the hysteria associated with the witch trials. Public opinion did not support the accusations and you were never arrested.

It is difficult for us today to understand how you felt about witches and their demonic powers and acts. Today most people do not believe in the existence of witches but there are also people who proudly declare themselves to be witches and participate in covens. Knowing that people were being put to death as witches would have made the accusations terrifying. It turns out that merely having been accused of witchcraft is sufficient to have your name included on the list of people from whose descent qualifies one for membership in the "Associated Daughters of Early American Witches." I expect that you would not be pleased that people think you were a witch.

Love,
Cecily Cone Kelly

For family members; Our descent from Sarah Noyes Hale is as follows:
Rev. John and Sarah Noyes Hale's son Rev. James Hale
Rev. James and Sarah Hatahway Hale's son James Hale, Jr.
James and Elizabeth Bicknell Hale's daughter Joanna Hale
Eleaszer and Joanna Hale Warner's son Thomas Warner
Thomas and Rhoda Hopkins Warner's daughter Joanna Warner
Naaman and Joanna Warner Cone's son William Warner Cone
William and Eliza Utley Cone's son Frederick Naaman Cone






Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Maternal Ancestors' Motherhood

Dear Grandparents,
March is the month when modern Americans celebrate Women's History Month. Genealogy friend Lisa Alzo has for the last five years provided a list of 31 blogging prompts to celebrate Women's History Month on her blog The Accidental Genealogist. One of her prompts seems interesting to explore today.

"Make a list of your direct line maternal ancestors beginning with your mother. So you will list your mom, her mom, her mom's mom and so on, back as far as you can. Now figure out how many children each female ancestor had. Did the females in your direct maternal line tend to have the same numbers of children each generation? Did they have more? Less? Were they prolific or are there few children born to each woman? Is there a pattern emerging?"



My mother, Betty Lorraine Werst Cone, was born in Spokane, Washington in 1926. She gave birth to four children, three girls and a boy. She was 24 when I, the oldest, was born and 30 when my younger brother arrived. We four were stair steps, one child born about every two years. My sisters and I were born in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon. Even though my family was living in California, my mother returned to Portland for the birth of her 2nd and 3rd daughters. My brother was born in Whittier, Los Angeles County, California. I guess it was too difficult to transport three children to Portland for the duration of the pregnancy especially since I was in first grade.
Sitting in birth order Christmas Day 1958 La Habra, California.
From left: Mom with brother Rusty in lap, Trude, Peggy,
 and me in my paternal Grandmother Hazel Allen Cone's lap.
I have two daughters the first born when I was 30, the second at 32. My sister Trude has one son born when she was 39. My brother Rusty has two children. His son was born when he was 25 and his daughter when he was 26.

My maternal grandmother, Ada Grace Colby Werst Branchflower, was born October 21, 1902 outside Kirwin, Phillips County, Kansas. Grace had two daughters with her husband Cecil Oscar Werst. Betty, my mother, the oldest, was born in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington. Cecil died in October 1927, so Grace was staying with her sister Madge Colby Massey in Pendelton, Oregon when daughter Helen Louise Werst was born in 1928. Grace was 23 when Betty was born and 25 at Helen's birth. Helen is the mother of two children, Ronald Andrew Pearce was born in Portland, Multnomah Coumty, Oregon and Jill Louise Caldwell was born in Whittier, Los Angeles County, California.

Ada Grace Colby Werst Branchflower's Grandchildren 
circa 1965 Hacienda Heights, California
from left: Trude Cone, Cecily Cone, Leslie 'Peggy' Cone, 
Ron Pearce, Rusty Cone, in front Jill Caldwell
Mary Elizabeth Hugunin, my maternal great grandmother, was called Mamie. According to family legend, she was born on leap day, February 29, 1868 in Edgefield Junction, Davidson County, Tennessee. Records list her birth as February 28th. She and her husband William Wallace Colby were married October 16, 1884 at her parents home outside Kirwin, Phillips County, Kansas. Mamie and W. W. were the parents of five daughters: Ethel May Colby 1887, Edythe Pearl Colby 1888, Marguerite 'Madge' Colby 1890, Pandora Blossom 'Pansy' Colby 1892, and Ada Grace Colby 1902. Three of the daughters were childless. Ethel had a son Van Epps King who died at age 21 and a daughter Irene King.
From left Mary Elizabeth 'Mamie' Hugunin Colby with daughters Marguerite 'Madge', 
Pandora 'Pansy'  and in front Ada Grace Colby at Pine Lawn Farm 
outside Newberg, Yamhill County, Oregon circa 1912.
My second great grandmother, Sarah Amanda Gibson, was born February 1, 1845 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee.  She married Van Epps Hugunin January 8, 1865 in Edgefield Junction. They were the parents of two daughters and a son. First daughter Mamie was born in Edgefield. Their son Walter Hollister Hugunin was born November 15, 1871 in Johnston, Rock County, Wisconsin home of the Hugunins. Daughter Grace was born May 10, 1879 outside Kirwin, Phillips County, Kansas. Grace was the mother of William Eugene Bissel who died at six months. Walter had two girls and two boys. When I was selecting names for my children, I compiled a list of grandmothers' names including Sarah Amanda. My husband and I eventually picked Amanda as the name for our first daughter. It was not until I visited Sarah's grave in the 1990s that I realized that she had gone by Amanda.
Sarah Amanda Gibson
Elizabeth Jane Jones, my third great grandmother, was born May 2, 1821 in Tennessee. She married Newsom Gibson December 29, 1840 in Davidson County, Tennessee. I found the family in the 1850 Federal Census still living in Davidson County with daughter Martha Gibson age 9, son Henry Gibson age 7, daughter Amanda Gibson age 5, son Newsom Gibson age 3, and Josephine Gibson age 0.  A family Bible also reveals a son Joshua Gibson born 1846 who died the same year. She gave birth to six children in the ten years after her marriage. She was more fortunate than many in that time as all but one of her children lived to adulthood. Elizabeth is the end of my known direct maternal line. I continue to search diligently for her parents.

In looking for patterns of fertility, they are difficult to discern. Elizabeth had the most children in the days when birth control was not generally practiced. I do not know if Amanda lost babies between her widely spaced children. Mamie had four girls in quick succession and my grandmother always said that she, the youngest by 10 years, had been a surprise.   My grandmother probably would have had more children if her husband had survived. My mother always said that she and my dad planned to have four children. My husband was a career Naval Officer and I figured with his deployment schedule I could manage two children but not more. Sometimes life circumstances limit family size.


I know, dear grandparents, that you have the answers to these questions and I try to be patient in waiting to find them here. Any clues as to Elizabeth Jane Jones' parentage would be most appreciated. Just saying....


Love,

Cecily Cone Kelly