Thursday, June 25, 2015

Longest Marriage in my family Tree

Dear Grandparents,
Last week a friend posted a photograph of her parents who celebrated the 50th anniversary of their wedding last Saturday. That kicked off a discussion of which of my ancestors had the longest marriage.

The first couple that came to mind, was my paternal grandparents, Charles Newton and Hazel Bynon (Allen) Cone. They were married 4 September 1926 in Memphis, Tennessee and she died 18 July 1980 for just under 53 years of marriage.

Copy of  Marriage License for Charles N. Cone and Hazel Allen issued 31 August 1927
Memphis, Tennessee from the author's collection.
My paternal great grandparents beat that record. Frederick Naaman and Helen Brown (Newton) Cone were married 29 May 1889 in Worthington, Minnesota. She died 20 January 1950 so they were married just under 61 years.

Certificate of Marriage for Frederick N. Cone and Helen B. Newton
dated 29 May 1889. The marriage was performed by Franklin L. Fisk, Pastor of the Congregational Church
Worthington, Minnesota. Original in author's possession.

A maternal first cousin once removed, Juanita Werst, and her husband, Ralph Silver, were married 12 September 1936 in Wallowa, Oregon. Their marriage lasted until her death 17 September 2001, a total of 64 years, 11 months and 19 days. Information about their marriage comes from her obituary which was published in the LaGrande (Oregon) Observer and is posted on Find A Grave Memorial #80539585.

My son-in-law Chris' 3rd great grandparents, Thomas Crammore and Sarah Caroline (Dismukes) Phillips, seemed to take the record. They were married 30 October 1851 in Meriweather, Georgia and their marriage lasted until his death 4 May 1921 in Henderson, Texas. They were married 69 years, 5 months and 15 days. (, Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978, 2013.) An index listing this marriage is also posted under Meriwether County, Georgia Marriage by Groom 1851-1875.

These are all envious records and all involved dates into the 20th century so I certainly did not expect to find the marriage of longest duration in my family tree beginning in the 17th century. After all, life expectancy had increased dramatically, right? Yet the longest lasting marriage among my ancestors began with the uniting of Ebenezer and Hannah (Ayer) Belknap 25 February 1690 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The marriage lasted until his death 17 November 1761, an astounding 71 years, 8 months and 2 days.

I know, you are skeptical! There really are several sources of documentation.

David Webster Hoyt provided the lineage of the Ayer family in his "The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts" published by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1897. He lists on page 39 the descendants of Nathaniel Ayer including: 52 Hannah, "b. Dec. 19, 1672 [Hv]; ;m. Feb. 25, 1690-1 [Hv], Ebenezer Belknap. She d. Nov., 1779, almost 107 years old. [Hv]"

Under a chapter entitled Remarkable inftances of Longevity in "The History of New Hampshire: Comprehending The Events of one complete Century and seventy-five years from the discovery of the River Pascataqua to the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety" written by Jeremy Belknap, D.D. published in Boston, 1813, one finds, "In Atkinson, Ebenezer Belknap died at the age of 95, and his wife at the age of 107 (page 190).

The exact years, months and days of marriages provided are part of the genealogy software I use, Legacy Family Tree 8.0. There are a series of statistical reports that list, among others, "Longest Marriages by Century." It is a great tool (but I can always use your help!).


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Betty Lorraine Werst Cone would be 89 today.

Dear Mom,
Happy Birthday! Before the last five years of your life, I think we all expected you to be here celebrating this day that would have been your 89th birthday. Unfortunately, dementia robbed us and you of this celebration. It's been two years since you left us and slowly, very slowly, I am beginning to recapture the loving and supportive mother of my childhood. At the same time, letting go of seeing you in such a debilitated state.

For most of the nearly nine decades of your life, you were so vibrant.

Betty Lorraine Werst on left with mother Grace (Colby) Werst and sister Helen Werst
circa 1928 either Spokane or Pendleton, from author's private collection.

With her Grandfather William Wallace Colby at Pine Lawn Farm, Newberg, Oregon
circa 1935 from author's private collection.
As a coed at Oregon State College, Corvallis circa 1948
You were justly proud of being the first person in your family to graduate from college. Earning your degree in Home Economics with a major in Clothing and Textile Design and a minor in child development. That minor was put to good use during the 1950s when you and Dad welcomed four children to your family in six years.

Cone Family in LaHabra, California circa November 1956
from left back row Cecily, Chuck holding Trude, Betty holding Rusty and Peg in front
The sixties brought big changes for our west coast family. Moving to Willingboro, New Jersey was completely out of everyone's comfort zone. But you took it in stride, joining PTA, Community Concerts, the Home Economics Council and herding your four children to adulthood.

Cone Family in Willingboro circa 1963
From back left Betty, Chuck, Cecily, in front Rusty, Trude, Peggy
The seventies were busy, graduations, weddings and a move to Charlotte, North Carolina. The south.... another completly different climate and culture for a girl from the Pacific Northwest. Once again you bloomed where you were planted.

Wedding reception for Ed and Cecily United States Naval Academy Alumni House June 11, 1971
Proud Mom at Rusty's Naval Academy Graduation
Annapolis, Maryland June 1978
Wedding of Trude and Kees Schipper Willingboro December 1978
From left Chuck, Ed, Cecily, Trude, Kees and Betty.
Cone-Gorman Wedding June 28, 1979 Medford, New Jersey
From left Peggy, Trude, Betty, Chuck, Patty, Rusty, Cecily and Ed.

Betty at home in Charlotte 
The eighties brought the arrival of grandchildren, four in three years, and the dawn of Betty Cone's World Wide Moving and Health Care Services. Your children all benefited from your help with new babies, drives across country, packing and much more.

Grandchildren Kristen and Bobby Cone with Betty in Allen, Texas
Betty with granddaughters Colby and Amanda Kelly in Charlotte, North Carolina
The loss of Dad in October 1992, was a blow I can only imagine but you found a way to go on with life, have fun and still be there for friends and family. Keeping track of a family spread from Europe to California was no easy task. You visited all of us, found a new love at home and welcomed another grandchild.

At Peg's and Hugh's wedding in Roswell, New Mexico 1993
from left Betty, Cecily, Trude, Peg, Hugh, Paul, and Rusty
Trude, Rein and Mom in Amsterdam 1994

Doing Tai Chi in her seventies.

The last time with all four kids.
Back from left Peggy, Hugh, Trude, in front Cecily, Betty and Rusty
Golden, Colorado circa 2012
As much as we miss you, we are also relieved that you are no longer suffering.
Happy Birthday Mom!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Trude

Dear Grandparents,
Lots of things have happened in our family on June 16th. My 9th great grandmother, Alice (Richards) Bradford, was born in 1627;  9th great grandfather, Thomas Orton, married Margaret (perhaps Pell) in Windsor, Connecticut in 1641; and widowed 7th great grandmother, Elizabeth Janse (Douwz) Van Eps, married Teunis Pieterse Viele in 1693 in Albany, New York.

Image from U.S Dutch Reformed Church Records from Selected States 1660-1926

The family event that I remember most was the birth of my little sister, Trude Lorraine Cone. My family was renting a house in Los Nietos, a little town south of Whittier, California when my mother was expecting. Both my sister Leslie and I had been delivered by family friend Dr. Walter Brodie at Emanuel Maternity Hospital in Portland. Both sets of grandparents were in Oregon and our Dad was spending quite a bit of time at sea with the U. S. Navy. It was decided to take the family back to Oregon to await the delivery. Dad took leave and accompanied us north. I do not remember if he drove us (mother did not yet have a driver's license) or if we flew.

Dad had hoped that Trude would arrive before his leave was up and he had to return to the ship. As we all know, babies arrive on their own schedules and Trude had her own schedule from the beginning. Dad had to leave before she arrived on June 16th weighing 8 pounds 14 ounces.

Trude in her Mother's arms circa June 1954, Newberg, Oregon
Her red hair made an immediate statement and she has been making unique statements ever since.

Trude circa 1955 LaHabra, California
From left sisters Leslie "Peggy", Trude and Cecily at home in LaHabra circa 1959
Trude fell in love with dance and as a graduate of The Julliard School has pursued dance and the study of movement in a very successful career, Her sisters were not similarly talented and pursued their careers in other fields.

Celebrating her 18th birthday at home in Willingboro, N.J.
A much loved daughter, sister, wife, aunt and mother, Trude has conquered living in another culture, becoming fluent in Dutch, having a successful career in Holland, having a special needs son, Rein, and being widowed and finding another love. She has remained close to her siblings and nieces and nephews. An unabashed free spirit, she remains a delight in our lives. Happy Birthday!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Celebrating Anniversaries

Dear Mom, Dad and Ed,

Happy Anniversary! We share June 11th as our wedding anniversary. I do not know exactly you selected the eleventh as the date for your wedding, except that it was a Saturday. I do know part of the motivation. It never seemed to bother Dad that Mom was almost a year older, but it did bother Mom. Each year from June 8th (Dad's birthday) until June 23rd (Mom's birthday) you were the same age.
Charles Newton "Chuck" Cone, Jr. and Betty Lorraine (Werst) Cone
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Portland, Oregon
June 11, 1949
Photograph from author's private collection

Ed's and my motivation for selecting the 11th was much simpler. We were joining perhaps seventy-five U. S. Naval Academy Class of 1971 graduates who would marry in the two weeks following their graduation June 9, 1971. A lottery was held among the classmates and date and time were selected based on what was left when it was your turn. Wedding ceremonies began at 1:00 pm on Wednesday the 9th and continued on the hour in the main chapel and on the half hour in the smaller chapel downstairs. Ed selected 1:00 pm on Friday the 11th. It was an added bonus that it was also my parents wedding anniversary.

From left: Chuck and Betty Cone, Cecily (Cone) Kelly, Edward Kelly, Pauline (Haas) Della Penna and Carmen Della Penna
U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
June 11, 1971
Photograph from author's private collection
June 11th turned out to be an auspicious day to marry. Mom and Dad were married for more that 43 years before his death in 1992. This year Ed and I are celebrating our 44th anniversary.

A very special day for us, after 44 years, 2 children, 2 grandchildren, 8 dogs, 24 moves, living on 3 continents, we are still in love and looking forward to many more anniversaries.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad - Chuck Cone would be 88 today!

Dear Dad,
Happy Birthday! How many miles we all have traveled since you left us 23 years ago. We think about you nearly everyday and about the big and small ways you influenced our lives. You taught us so many things.

You taught us unconditional love. We always knew that you loved each of us. We knew what was expected of us... to be productive members of society, to be honest, trustworthy and loyal. We knew that we would hear from you if we slipped up and we would have done anything to not disappoint you.

You taught us love of country. Your dedication to our nation, through your service in and love of the United States Navy, was clear to all. I remember the first time I saw you cry. We were watching the funeral of President John F. Kennedy and the funeral cortege. I knew you were a staunch Republican but understood that day that patriotism goes beyond party politics. I'm certain that you did not vote for Kennedy but you were none-the-less grieved by his assassination.

You were only sixteen when you enlisted in the Navy and had to get your very reluctant mother to sign permission. With the  Grant High School class of 1944 behind you, boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Training Center was your next stop. The Navy remained an important part of your life until you retired in 1982. You enthusiastically followed your son's and son-in-law's Navy careers and would be so proud of your two granddaughters who served, one in the Navy and the other in the Air Force.

You taught us your love for music. Though none of us inherited your perfect pitch, we all enjoy many types of music and dance. Two of us play instruments, and Trude has made dance her life's work. I loved singing in the Presbyterian Church Choir in Mount Holly with you. We fondly remember the Thursday night Barbershop Quartet practices at home. Each time we hear barbershop harmonies, we are once again transported to those long ago evenings in Willingboro.

You taught us the importance of involvement in community. From heading civic associations, coaching basketball, serving on school board committees, you made it clear that our communities were our responsibilities. We could not complain if we were unwilling to become involved. We needed to be part of the solution not the problem.

You taught us the importance of education. Each of your daughters, as well as your son, knew that we were expected to work to our ability in school. We knew that if we qualified, you would pay for our undergraduate education. We probably didn't yet know that you had gone to work while still in school to help your fiance pay for the remainder of her senior year in college. Or that working those hours, led to neglecting your own studies so that you had to attend summer school and graduate after her.


Perhaps most importantly you taught us that marriage is about love and respect. We never doubted your love for your wife and our mother. Your daughters learned by your example how gentlemen treat ladies and your son learned how to treat women with respect. We learned that marriages take energy and devotion and we have all had successful marriages. That is quite a statement in this day and age when more than half of all marriages end in divorce.

We have learned to go on without being able to talk to you. We miss that, but we know that you exalt in our triumphs and mourn our tragedies. We know you would love playing with your great grandchildren that are about to number five.

There are so many more memories...

PS... We also learned to drive to the front of the parking lot from you... whenever it works and we find that front row parking spot we send you an extra thanks. It worked for me today at Home Depot.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Remembering Theodore W. Clarke and Phelps W. Long, Jr. Family members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Dear Grandparents,
These days Memorial Day is not just a day but a three day weekend and the start of the summer season. Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in the 1970s. I like BBQs, pool parties and picnics as much as the next person, but I also do not want to loose sight of what Memorial Day was meant to honor.

Postcard of first official Memorial Day held at Arlington National Cemetery 1868
Image from the Library of Congress Chronicling America Collection.

The tradition of service runs deep in our family. My daughter, niece, husband, brother, father, uncles and grandfathers all served. These lines can be traced back to the Revolutionary War and beyond to the French and Indian War, King Phillip's War etc. Two of these family members made the ultimate sacrifice; Theodore William Clarke and Phelps Wilson Long, Junior.

Fifer Theodore Clarke of the First Nebraska Infantry, Company C
Image is reverse of tintype in author's possession.
Theodore enlisted in the First Nebraska Infantry June 6, 1862. His letters to his mother and sister explain that he felt strongly about two things, preserving the Union and ending slavery. He lived through two of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War; Fort Donelson and Shiloh, only to die, probably of pneumonia, January 7th, 1863. Theodore's younger sister, Mary Elizabeth (Clarke) Newton, is my 2nd great grandmother.

PFC Phelps Wilson Long, Junior, US Marine Corps
Image from collection shared with author by his sister, Shirley Long Collins.
Phelps had graduated from High School in Tallahassee Class of 1941 and enrolled at the University of Florida at Gainesville. He joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and seemed destined for a normal college experience. All of that ended December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Phelps enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and fought at Guadalcanal and then Bougainville with the Third Marine Division. He was killed in action on Bougainville, Solomon Islands, December 16, 1943. He is the son of my paternal Grandmother's sister Martha Marinda (Allen) Long.

Both of these family members had their lives ended far too soon. They did not get to experience the joys of marriage, parenthood and growing older. They left behind families who were devastated by their loss. Tomorrow on Memorial Day, let us remember them and their sacrifices. They should not be forgotten.


Monday, April 20, 2015

The "shot heard round the world" responding to the Battles of Lexington and Concord: James Clark

Dear Grandparents,
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts celebrates Patriots' Day annually on April 19th, honoring those who fought and gave their lives at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, deemed to be the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Many of us learned as school children Ralph Waldo Emerson's tribute to these patriots written to celebrate Independence Day in Concord, 4 July 1837.
The first stanza is inscribed on this Concord Monument 
The Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here the once embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe in long since silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

After the battles, word of the British attack and the subsequent casualties spread through out the colonies. Israel Bissell, a post rider from Massachusetts, was charged with the effort to carry the news as far south as Philadelphia. He rode through towns, villages and hamlets shouting, "The war has begun." He reached Norwich, Connecticut by 4 pm on April 20th. Soon 4,000 Connecticut men were assembling ready to march to the relief of Boston and Massachusetts. Among them, my sixth great grandfather, James Clark of Lebanon.

Acting as Captain of a company of militia raised from Lebanon, he marched with them to the relief of Boston arriving in time to participate in the Battle of Breed's Hill, once known as the Battle of Bunker Hill. He went on to participzate in the Battles for Harlem Heights and White Plains in New York. 

Long after the war, it was decided to erect a monument to those who fought at the battle. The cornerstone for the monument was laid 17 June 1825 in a ceremony conducted by the Marquis De Lafayette. According to Emma Lee Walton, writing in The Clark Genealogy: Some descendants of Daniel Clark of Windsor; 1639-1913 published in 1913, "When he was 95, a special escort was sent from Boston to Lebanon to bring him. He was a distinguished guest and was kissed on both cheeks by General Lafayette, who said, 'You were made of good stuff '."

James Clark (Moses 3, Daniel 2, Daniel 1) was born 15 September 1730 in Lebanon, the son of Moses and Elizabeth (Huntington) Clarke. He married Ann Gray 20 January 1757 and together they were the parents of five children, Jacob, Malinda, James, Jr., Moses and Anna. After Ann's death in 1767, he married a woman named Keziah and with her had three additional children, Wealthy, Earnest and Augustus. Keziah's children died in childhood, including Augustus who died while his father was away fighting. James died 29 December 1826 in Lebanon and is buried in the Old Cemetery.

I know many others of you were involved in our struggle to win independence from the British. I hope to discover and write your stories also.


P. S. for family members Cecily Cone 11 (Charles 10, Helen Newton 9, Mary Elizabeth Clarke 8, John 7, James Augustus 6, James Jr. 5, James 4, Moses 3, Daniel 2, Daniel 1).