Monday, February 20, 2012

Love my little Kentucky library!

Week #8 – Genealogy Libraries Week 8 – Genealogy Libraries: Genealogy libraries (and dedicated departments in regular libraries) are true treasures in the family history community. Tell us about your favorite genealogy library. What or who makes it special?

I LOVE the Minnie Winder Room of the Genealogy Department of the Ashland, Boyd Co., Kentucky library!!!

Each time my sisters and I go "genealogizing", our pathway takes us there.  Though our destinations make take us elsewhere, we always make a special point to stop in Ashland, for we never walk away emptyhanded. 
Their collection covers a tri-state area, including eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio, West Virginia.  There are also collections covering parts of Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

We have grown with this genealogy department since it was in a smaller room "up the hall a piece" into the modern room that houses it now.  The staff is phenomenal.  The collection is phenomenal. 

Now we all know the bounty of resources available in Salt Lake City, Allen County, Indiana, New England Genealogy and Historical Society, etc.  But sometimes, you just have to go local.  We have found many useful items and sources that didn't seem to be located anywhere else.

Love those little libraries!

Those wonderful historical documents!

Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

The challenge for last week's "52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy" kind of got pushed to the wayside, for I was involved in preparing to teach six classes at the 16th Annual Family History Jamboree in Dayton, Ohio.  I thought about it all week, but I truly ran out of time.

But, I must respond to this one!

One of my ancestors is Asbury Alburt Moore.  He was born and raised in Grayson Co., Virginia, and moved to Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio with his family and most of the neighborhood in the mid-1800's. 

He fought in the Civil War.

My mom spent many years trying to find out where Asbury, her great-grandfather was buried.  He died at the National Military Home in Dayton, but that was really all she knew.

I sent for his pension file many years ago.  The day it arrived from the National Archives, it was raining cats and dogs.  The file was so large I had to carry it into the house using both arms.  I didn't care about the rest of the mail, but I didn't want that pension file to get wet!

I spent the next week digging through that file.  I didn't care what else in the house got done.  My kids fought.  I had hair growing on my dishes in the sink.  The laundry began to stack up.

I didn't care.

Asbury had been married to a woman named Catherine.  They had a large family, then it looks like they may have divorced.  This was all news to me, for the pension file listed a new wife and a whole new family.

Asbury had been injured in the Civil War when he slipped on the ice under a wagon in Tennessee.  A load of wood had fallen into his lap.  The next several years were spent in applying for an "invalid" pension.  I thought it mean "invalid" pension. 

Years were spent writing letters back and forth to the government.  Character references were sought, each one saying, "Yep, he was a character.  One of the most dishonest and ill-natured men ever."

Good grief. 

Finally, the government gave him his answer.  No.  How much of an invalid do you think you are?  You had a whole bunch of kids after your injury in the War.  You weren't that much of an invalid!

There are two different death certificates for Asbury.  One states he was divorced.  Another states he was married.  This new wife was quite a bit younger than he was, and I believe when he became older and infirm, she placed him in the Military Home.  When he died and had a tiny bit of money and belongings, she showed up again.

The pension file opened up a whole new world about the characterization of Asbury Moore.  Sometimes we like to think of our ancestors as heroes and very genteel in their nature.  Some are not.

To my delight, I learned just a couple of weeks ago where Asbury Moore is buried.  Someone placed a BEAUTIFUL photo of his headstone on  He is buried in Soldier's Circle in Greenlawn Cemetery, Portsmouth, Scioto, Ohio.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sunbonnet Sister

Week 6 – Family Heirlooms: For which family heirloom are you most thankful? How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?

I'm not quite sure how I ended up with my mom's bonnet.

When my mother or her mother got ready to do their outside work, on went the bonnet.

It was a homemade bonnet, and if I looked around hard enough I could probably find the pattern they used to cut out their bonnets.  They all came out looking pretty much the same.
The bonnet mom used the most is on the right.  The others were made for various events, like Pioneer Day.
A closeup.

Mom would spend hours and hours in the garden, so she needed the protection from the heat.  She would be out there very early in the morning, before the rays of the sun would beat down on her.  She would return in the evening, after the sun was no longer a threat.

I can still picture her bent over the half-acre of vegetables that were the envy of the neighborhood.  Once, after my dad had made a fresh run to Canada when the smelt were running, Mom decided to make more room in the freezer in readiness for the new catch of fish.  She removed several packages of smelt, and just like the Native Americans, she would put a small fish into each hill of corn, beans, etc.

Little did she know that every cat in the neighborhood would find their way to her garden and try to get those little smelts!

It didn't matter.  Mom was from the hills of Kentucky and knew how to raise food, no matter what disaster befell.  She had that garden going again, just like all of the rest of the gardens she had planted before. 

All while wearing her bonnet.

Women don't wear bonnets and hats too much anymore.  But, my sisters do.  And, so do I!
Me and Mr. Kerry! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two Young Mountain Folks Get Married

Today would have beent he 80th wedding anniversary of my parents.

I am fortunate to have the journals written by my mother in the 1970's, so here is her account of their wedding day.  I have transcribed it exactly as she wrote it, so if you're not from eastern Kentucky, or thereabouts, it might be a bit of a challenge to read.  She was only able to attend school until 8th grade.

Part 1:
Ida Stevens Clemens’ Personal Journal Writings

Written by her own hand during the later years of her life – probably 1970’s

So we was a happy family and mother always like to fix a good dinner and invite all our friends in Mrs. Watt Hillman always had Christmas dinner with us for about 12 or 14 years straight.

My dad never did no his birthday for sure so he made him a birthday the 6 day of November and mother & I had him a surprise dinner we had friends already there when he came home from work he was about 37 years old when he had his first birthday dinner.

When I was about 18 years old I had made up my mind to be married so my mom & dad told me I could get married and my cousin Burl Stevens and Blanch Newland got married on the 28 day of January and on Sunday my Husband to be Chester Lee Clemens and I went up we was all ready to take off.  too my uncle Eddie’s to a Wedding dinner so we all had a good day and went out for a walk and took some pictures of the lime stone mines where my father worked so we came home that Sunday night and Clemens ask my dad if we could get married so he said yes so the next morning my darling went to town Olive Hill Ky and got my wedding dress.  He got a very pretty one navy blue with a tan stripe in it it sure was pretty and he got me a nice scarf too so we was all ready to take off.  We wanted to go to morehead KY and be married by the Judge {?} in rowan co. 

We didn’t have no car but Richard & Alice Newton to go and drive the car and be or witness so we was on our way by noon {12} the weather was ice and plenty off mud and no good road at Lawton at the time in 1932.

Clemens had to put the battery in the car so he didnt no how and go up under and got battery watter in his eys and he took like he had been crying all day and people would ask him if he was hurt be cause he was getting married we was late getting back for we had got stuck in the mud and Clemens had to get out and pust so we looked like mud dobers when we got home all our friend was there really work on us.  They carried Clemens down to the store on a poll and they all fell down and the poll held them down there and Clemens just sat there and didn’t get of the poll so we finlay did get down to the store and we bought candy to treat our friends on and then they bought us pillows.

So this was our wedding night of Feb 1th of 1932 at Lawton Ky in carter co.
So the next day.  We went to visit his folks who lives near by in a place called Todd town at Lawton Ky.  So we lived with his folks about three weeks.  And then came back to my father home and lived up stairs till we got our house built.  We builted a small too room house and went too house keeping for our selves the 29 of march 1932.  On my dad farm he helped he started the too room and house and finished it up put a kitchen & electric and weather bording on it and built a barn and lived there about 5 years Clemens got 2.00 a day for 10 hours.  That was 12.00 a week we got along pretty good dad gaive me a cow she was a young Jersey.  We bought our furniture from Clemens sister Nellie tabor. 

Part 2:

Ida Stephens Clemens married Chester Lee Clemens, Feb 1 1932.

We went to more head Ky to be married it was on a Monday we got back to my dads after dark people was all ready there to sarahnaid us we ait our Supper a _____ it was so cold & snow & mud and Ice Alice & Richard Hillman took us in  his dads old chev car.  The Boys all carried Clem down to the Store on a big pole thay fell down with the poll and Clem just set there and thay couldent get up.  We treated them with candy & cigars. And that Bought us a pr of pillows.
Part 3:

Wedding Day   Feb 1 1932

We were married on a mondy in morehead Ky in Rowan co it was a cold day muddy & some Ice & Snow.  Richard Hill & his wife Alice took us to morehead in Clem Father old 27 chev car.  Clem put the Battery in the car and got acd in his eyes he look like he was crying all day.  We had a late meal in Shouder Ky

When we got home it was dark the neighbors was there to bell us. That beat on dishpans shot off Guns and rode Clem on a pail down to the Store they fell down and Clem just sit on the rail and thay couldint get up.  We all finley arrived at the Store we Bought candy & cigar and treated ever one and thay Bought us a pair of pillows for our bed.  Chester walked to Olive Hill and got me a dress for the wedding & a Scarf he Started about 4 AM in the morning and was back before 8.AM.  My dress at  the neck line.  He wore a Navy Blue Surge Suit.  We stayed all night at my dads House in Lawton Ky a big 7 room house up the Hollow behind Watt Hillman Store.  We had a big dinner at my mom and Dads House the next day and we went down to Chester mom & Dad House the next day we Stayed at my mom and Dads House till we went to House Keeping the 29 of March 1932.  We builted us a nice too room Houe.  We had 1 bed 1 dresser a big pot belled Stove in one room.  The kitchen.  We had a cook Stove a big round table and a dish Shelf.  And Clem Bought us a big Sow Hog so we had our meat for the next winter.  We had a garden & caned & dad give us a young Jersey cow.  Clem didn’t make much at that time he only made .20 pr Hr 12.00 a week to live on he worked 10 Hr a Day
Chester Lee and Ida Stevens Clemens, shortly after their wedding in 1932
Chester and Ida in 1982, 50 years later

I am also fortunate to have a personal history written by my dad during the 1970's.  Here is his story of their wedding:

As I mentioned before I met my boss’es daughter after I came back from school at Berea College, in Berea, Ky and after about two years we decided to get married, and a funny thing happened, neither of her parents wanted us to marry, but I perposed to her one Sunday afternoon and we both asked her parents if it was O.K. with them and her father finally said yes but her mother never would agree to it so I went to Olive Hill the next morning and got our marriage license and we got Richard Hillman to drive us to Morehead, Ky. And we were married by the Justice Of Peace and when her Father came in from work that afternoon and found that we were married, he said he felt a little left out because we didn’t let him know that we were getting married so soon and didn’t invite him to our wedding and he said that, I felt bad, about but we were afraid he would back on his agreement but I will say that I could never have had a better pair of in-lawsif I had searched the world over, they treated me like I was their own son and I feel that I can never repay them for being so good to me.  He even helped us to build a small house on his property and that is where our oldest daughter Fern was born and Jean was born there two years later.

They had everything going against them and everything going for them.  They married during the Depression, but according to Mom they never knew a Depression was even going on.  They "made do", having learned that trait from both of their own parents.  They raised a family.  They became addicted to cigarettes, like everyone else of that time period.  Dad worked in the coal mines, then was the only one in the coal camp drafted to go into the Navy and on to Pearl Harbor.  Mom stayed at home and raised three little girls on mostly beans and cornbread. 

They taught me a lot, probably without ever even knowing it.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!