I have been involved in Family History and Genealogy since before I was born. One of my favorite pictures is of my mother getting ready for an afternoon of cemetery transcribing just four days before my birth!
The Richland County Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society held its Christmas potluck luncheon last Saturday. Sunda Peters, the President of OGS read this fascinating obituary to us:
Susie Swartzentruber, 92
Susie Swartzentruber, 92, 9526 Salt Creek Road, Fredericksburg, died Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, at her home.
She was born in Orrville on Feb. 4, 1921, to the late Samuel and Susanna (Miller) Yoder and married Raymond L. Swartzentruber on Dec. 16, 1941. He died April 27, 2000.
She was a member of the Old Order Amish Church.
Surviving are children, Elle (Levi) Troyer of Bellville, Levi (Iva) Swartzenbruber of Apple Creek, Paul (Naomi) Swartzentruber of Navarre, Clara (Albert) Weaver of Danville, Sara (Wayne) Miller of Millersburg, Emma (Dan) Troyer and Albert (Katie) Swartzentruber, both of Apple Creek, Atlee (Ruth) Swartzentruber of Fredericksburg, Iva Swartzentruber and Ray (Gertrude) Swartzentruber, both of the home, David (Sara) Swartzentruber, Susan (Alvin Jr.) Hershberger and Aden (Susie) Swartzentruber, all of Fredericksburg; 88 grandchildren; 10 step-grandchildren; 292 great-grandchildren; 53 step-great- grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; and two step-great-great-grandchildren.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by children; Annie, Fannie, LizzieAnn and Reuben; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; four step-great-grandchildren; brothers Roman, David and Christian Yoder; and sisters LizzieAnn Mast, Sara Mast and Emma Schlabach.
Funeral services were Friday, Nov 22 at the residence, with Bishop Nelson D Yoder officiating. Burial was in the Hershberger Cemetery, Salt Creek Township, Wayne County.
Spidell Funeral Home in Mount Eaton handled arrangements.
City directories can provide such a rich snapshot of the neighborhoods of our ancestors.
Just look at this lovely old directory from Sacramento City, 1851.
Another beautiful example from Cleveland, Ohio, 1837.
But, I have one really big problem with city directories; not a single one of my ancestors lived in a city. Therefore, these really are of no value to me.
Just last week, I went to the headquarters of The Ohio Genealogical Society, which is just six miles from my home. I'm there often, but not often enough. Friends from Indiana were headed home after the Thanksgiving holiday, and they had never been there. Would we like to meet up?
Of course! I arranged for them to have a tour from one of the most knowledgeable staff members I know; Missy Derrenberger. I always tag along, for I learn things I didn't know I didn't know. This day was no exception.
As they marveled at the holdings at this wonderful library (one of the ten largest genealogical libraries east of the Mississippi), I only listened in occasionally. I've heard it before. I'm there all the time. But, this time, Missy was instructing them on the value of county directories.
I have to be honest. I have never given them a second thought.
When I returned home, I began to think about them more. So, I returned on Saturday to talk with Missy.
Shelves of county directories are available at OGS.
A few years ago, she and another volunteer learned that a large collection of these directories were going to be thrown away. Through a series of correspondence, they made the trek and returned home with hundreds of copies.
The directories cover the years 1915-1921, stop for awhile, then begin again in the 1930's. They have consistently been published now since the 1950's.
There are several differences between these and the city directories.
The cover of the Mercer Co., Ohio Directory - 1915.
The title page of the Trumbull Co., OH Directory - 1936. It states the townships that are covered in the directory.
Shelby County, Ohio - 1936 County Directory
But...look at the priceless differences in what you find in a county directory. Look at the entry for ALTEPETER, Paul W. His wife Herschema is listed, as well as Martha (age 1), Geo (age 2), and Phil (age 4). I can't remember what the "T" stands for, but he is employed at Gibson Grain Prod, and lives at 54 Road 27 RD 4, Sidney, Ohio.
City directories don't typically list the family members and their ages. At least none that I've ever looked at.
Richland County, Ohio - 1995-96 County Directory
As we come a bit closer to our time period, we notice that even phone numbers are given, Look at the Andrew M. Troyer family. They live on a farm and have no phone. (My guess is that they are Amish, for this is a typically Amish name in an area where many Amish families live.) His wife Fanny A is listed, along with a number of children. The numbers after their names are not their ages, but their birth years.
I can see that I have a lot more research to do, which includes a lot of backtracking. I honestly have not known too much about county directories. When the word "directory" is brought up, I have just automatically thought city directory. It appears I have been wrong.
The Ohio Genealogical Society houses these directories only for this state. I must now see if there are some available for the areas of Appalachia I must search in.
Mr. Kerry comes from a family of artists. I envy their talent. As a matter of fact, I am covetous.
First in my mind is his beautiful sister, Gay Nickle Lauritzen, who is deceased. She was so talented with her hands. We were so saddened when she lost the use of her hands, and everything else on her body through the ravenous ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
It is somewhat difficult for me to look at these photos without a lump in my throat. I terribly miss this talented woman.
His sister Charm possesses a beautiful talent, as well. I ran across two sketches she did of the grandparents of his mother, Shirley Elma Rhoades.
Francis Clement Nickle
Nellie Rhodes Nickle
See what I mean? I couldn't even begin to draw a picture of someone and have it resemble that individual.
Every one of Mr. Kerry's siblings possess some degree of this talent, which I believe came through his mother. Many of the grandchildren are blessed with it, too.
I guess I was standing in the wrong line when that particular talent was being given out...
Dad was in the Navy. What he learned there never left him.
Chester Lee Clemens, US Navy
He often said you could judge a man's character by his shoes. Some of the young men I dated did not meet dad's standards, for their shoes were unkempt.
I recently came across dad's old shoe shine box. I had never given it much thought, for it was just something I saw him take with him whenever we traveled and wherever he moved.
Chester Clemens' shoe shine box
As I examined the items within it -- the brush, the Kiwi polish, the daubers, the soft buffing cloth -- I realized that the last person to touch those items were dad. He kept his shoes highly polished, no doubt learned from his Navy years.
Dad was a young hillbilly boy from Kentucky, married with three young girls and working in the West Virginia coal mines when he received his draft notice. He was the only one drafted from the camps.
He lived with us for a few years before he died, and each day he dressed quite smartly, made his bed so a quarter could bounce on it, and paid attention to his shoes. Those Navy years never left him. Never.
In his later years, people said that my father reminded them of Colonel Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken Fame. They were both from Kentucky, and had that same twinkle in their eyes. Sometimes, my dad would grow a goatee, just like Colonel Sanders. That really clinched the look!
It would be great to enjoy a piece of the Colonel's chicken tonight, but a nice talk with my dad would be even better.
It's a big weekend of celebration here in Ohio. It was 200 years ago on 10 Sep 1813 that the Battle of Lake Erie was fought and won by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.
The War of 1812 is sometimes glossed over in the annals of history. I don't remember it being taught in school, for it seemed like we jumped from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. I may be wrong, but that's how it seemed.
Let's look at some history:
It was sometimes called America's Second War of Independence.
The key players were the British, the Americans, and the Native Americans.
Johnny Appleseed was living here in northcentral Ohio when the threat of the war was close. He ran barefoot 26 miles to a neighboring town for help.
Britain was fighting Napoleon in Europe needed more soldiers. This led to impressment of American sailors, i.e. they were "pressed" into service for the British Navy.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a young man from Rhode Island, was given command of 19 vessels, and learned that the British were patrolling the western waters of Lake Erie. Our ships were much smaller than the British ships, but Perry went looking for them. When he learned where they were, he sailed right into them.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry
A battle ensued for two hours. Perry had enlisted the aid of William Henry Harrison, who sent 100 Kentucky riflemen. The Kentuckians remembered the massacre on the River Raisin where many of their own were killed. They were all too happy to join Commodore Perry. Nearly 20% of the men on Perry's ship, the USS Lawrence were made up of African Americans.
At the end of those two hours, nearly all of Perry's men were either wounded or killed, and though his ship went down, he refused to surrender. He climbed into a rowboat and sailed toward the USS Niagara and continued the fight against the two largest ships belonging to the British. Eventually, the British surrendered and Perry captured the remaining vessels.
We now controlled the Great Lakes!!! Commodore sent the following message to his General William Henry Harrison:
"We have met the enemy, and they are ours. Two Ships, two Brigs, one Schooner & one Sloop. Yours, with great respect and esteem." O.H. Perry
U.S. Schooner ARIEL, Put-in-Bay, September 13th, 1813.
In my last I informed you that we had captured the enemy's fleet on this lake. I have now the honor to give you the most important particulars of the action.
On the morning of the 10th instant, at sunrise, they were discovered from Put-in-Bay, where I lay at anchor with the squadron under my command. We got under way, the wind light at S.W., and stood for them. At ten a.m. the wind hauled to S.E. and brought us to windward; formed the line, and bore up. At fifteen minutes before twelve, the enemy commenced firing; at five minutes before twelve, the action commenced on our part. Finding their fire very destructive, owing to their long guns, and its being mostly directed at the LAWRENCE, I made sail, and directed the other vessels to follow, for the purpose of closing with the enemy. Every brace and bowline being soon shot away, she became unmanageable, notwithstanding the great exertions of the sailing master. In this situation, she sustained the action upwards of two hours, within canister distance, until every gun was rendered useless, and the greater part of her crew either killed or wounded. Finding she could no longer annoy the enemy, I left her in charge ofLieutenant Yarnall, who, I was convinced, from the bravery already displayed by him, would do what would comport with the honor of the flag. At half past two, the wind springing up, Captain Elliott was enabled to bring his vessel, the NIAGARA, gallantly into close action. I immediately went on board of her, when he anticipated my wishes, by volunteering to bring the schooners, which had been kept astern by the lightness of the wind, into closer action. It was with unspeakable pain that I saw, soon after I got on board the NIAGARA, the flag of the LAWRENCE come down; although was perfectly sensible that she had been defended to the last, and that, to have continued to make a show of resistance would have been a wanton sacrifice of the remains of her brave crew. But the enemy was not able to take possession of her, and circumstances soon permitted her flag again to be hoisted. At forty-five minutes past two the signal was made for "closer action." The NIAGARA being very little injured, I determined to pass through the enemy's line; bore up, and passed ahead of their two ships and a brig, saving a raking fire to them, from the starboard guns, and to a large schooner and sloop from the larboard side, at half pistol shot distance. The smaller vessels, at this time, having got within grape and canister distance, under the direction of Captain Elliott, and keeping up a well directed fire, the two ships, a brig, and schooner, surrendered, a schooner and sloop making a vain attempt to escape.
Those officers and men who were immediately under my observation, evinced the greatest gallantry; and I have no doubt that all others conducted themselves as became American officers and seamen. (www.usni.org)
Both sides met to bury the dead and recite from the Book of Common Prayer at Put-In-Bay on South Bass Island. Perry's Victory Monument stands proudly on this island, reminding us of the battle that took place nearby.
For those not familiar with Lake Erie, it is the most shallow of the five Great Lakes, and the storms that can happen in an instant can be devastating. I am amazed at how this battle was won.
Today, the pensions associated with the soldiers and sailors from this war are being digitized at the National Archives. It takes money, and all are welcome to contribute: http://www.preservethepensions.org/