Tuesday, September 25, 2012

O is for Orrseltie Dircks

This lady from  Holland was my 8th great grandmother.  Her story may have been lost in time, but I have tried to tell it now from the research facts that I have located about her.

Orrseltie  was a passenger to New Netherlands (New York today) on board the ship "De Moesman", (The Market Gardener).  Twice widowed, she traveled here alone with her two children: one age  2 years and another child age 10 months, and arrived May 1, 1658.  A transcript of the ship's record states, "DIRCKS, Ursel aus Holstein, eingew, mit 2 Kindern 1658".   While enroute to join her third husband, Orrseltie (also known as Ursel) Dircks ordered some new clothes from Anthony de Lorme, at the corner of Goldweighers and Broad Streets, New York, on April 23, 1658 and received an advance of money in silver and gold.

Orrseltie Dircks was the daughter of Dirck Volkertsen and his wife Christine Vigne.  Dirck was born in Bergen, Norway in 1595.    Orrseltie's exact  birth date is unknown, but may have been around 1630.  She is said to have come from Holstein in Prussia, an area which would be modern day Northern Germany.  Some researchers describe her as "a young daughter from Hamburg.”
I wonder how differently Orrseltie  found her life to be when she left the Netherlands to come to America to marry for the third time in her young life. Some have said she was a well to do Dutch woman.   This painting Woman with a Pearl Necklace by Johannes Vermeer  around 1662–1664 shows us how Orrseltie may have dressed and appeared   while living in Holland. 

She was married twice before coming to America.  Both men died  within a few years of their marriages to her.  Her first marriage was to Jan Hendricksen of Hillegersberg, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.  They were married on October 25, 1653 in the Netherlands.  Together they had a daughter, Annetje, who was born about 1654.  Jan died, leaving young Orrseltie a widow.

Orrseltie, who was also called Ursula, next married Teunis Jacobs.  Their intention to marry was published on August 29, 1655,  "Teunis Jacobs, a young man from Beeckum, living at the Pannekoestratt and Orsel Dircks, widow of  Jan  Hendricksen, living at Nieuwe Vogelsang”  in the Netherlands.   Orrseltie's luck with marriage wasn't much better with Teunis!  They were married long enough for her to have one child with him before he departed this life when he was about the age of 25.

After Teunis died Ursula  made plans to come to America to marry Anthony Jansen van Westbrook who was living in  Albany, New York and also in Flatbush.  Westbrook was a well established land owner and business owner at that time. 

Ursula  and  Anthony Jansen van Westbrook married about 1658.  They operated a tavern and resided at Flatbush on Long Island and at Albany, New York. The wilderness of Albany and living behind the confines of the stockade for protection from Mohawk Indian attacks  must have been a culture shock for Ursula.  Accounts are found reporting their travel up and down the Hudson to maintain their establishments.  Their names appear in over 125 colonial records between 1658 and 1678.

  "Nieuw (New) Amsterdam, recently called New York (Nieuw Jorck), and now retaken by the Netherlanders 24 Aug 1673".

On Nov. 30, 1662, Antonis Jansen paid for the use of a small pall (casket) , and on June 11,1664, he again paid for the use of the pall, (Burial records of the First Dutch Reformed Church at Albany, 1654-1862, published in The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, 1932-1934) The names of the two children are not given.   Ursula  had two children at the time she sailed to America, but it is known that Annetje, thought to be the daughter of Jan Hendricksen,  Ursula’s first husband,  survived and later married to raise her own family.   At least two children of Ursula Dircks and Anthony Jansen van Westbrook survived.  They were  Dirck  and Johannes Westbrook. 
By this account Orrseltie Dircks Hendricksen Jacobs Westbrook  was the mother of at least  five children.   
They were:
1.  Annetje, born about 1654 and thought to be the daughter of Jan Hendricksen.
2.  The 10 month old child (born circa 1657) who made the voyage from Holland to New Amsterdam, thought to be the child of Teunis Jacobs. No further information is known of this child and may be one  for whom the casket was bought.
3.  Another child (born after 1658) for whom a casket was bought.
4.  Dirck  Westbrook, born circa 1660.
5.  Johannes Westbrook, born October 9, 1665 in Albany, New York.

Anthony Jansen,  the son of Jan Teunissen, the first sheriff of Brooklyn, (now New York), was from the village of Westbroek in Holland.  He was the only person who adopted the surname "Westbrook" when he was required to distinguish himself from other contemporary Anthony Jansens when the British gained control of the colonies.  Anthony Jansen van Westbrook signed his full name shortly before his death and it is recorded in the Flatbush Town Record, May 11, 1672.

Orrseltie Ursula Dircks Hendricksen Jacobs Westbrook died around 1702 in Kingston, New York.  She  was the  mother of Johannes Westbrook  who married Maddelen Decker.   They were the parents of Sarah Westbrook who married Cornelis Van Aken, who had a son Abraham, who married Catrina Rosenkrans.    Their daughter Sarah Van Aken  married Elias Middaugh  and had a daughter named Elizabeth who married Henry Van Wey.  Henry's daughter, Harriet Van Wey, my  great, great grandmother, married Frederick Hughes.  

Orrseltie was my 8th great grandmother.  I am glad that she made it to these shores or the history of this family would not be! 

                                               This page and all contents © 2012 Cynthia H. Smith
                                                          Email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

N is for Nana, Salome Knecht

     It is difficult to think of someone who died at the young age of 22 years as a grandmother!   Yet she was the mother of three children before she died.

Salome's  grave stone is located at the Moorestown Cemetery, Moore Twp., Northampton Co., Pennsylvania in the old yard at Salem Church.  It is a flat white stone with her name clearly and easily  readable.  It stood as a beacon among a field of beautiful pink flowers  on the spring day when I located the grave.   Salome was only 22 and 1/2 years old when she died December 16, 1825, just three weeks after the birth of her son Charles.  Her stone is in the same row as those of her parents.  It is visible from a distance and is in the lower  center of the graveyard.  The stone is inscribed  in German. 
 Salome Gunkel ehetran van George Gunkel 
Geboren den 28th Mertz 1803  
Gestorben den 16 December 1825 
Alt 22 Yaren 6 Monat und 18 Tagen.  

Which translates  Salome Kunkle, wife of George Kunkle, born  March 28, 1803, died Dec. 16, 1825. 22 years, 6 months and 18 days.

The birth record for Salome Knecht is located in the  Moorestown Church records.  The record states;   Knecht, Salome, born May 28, 1803, baptised July 3, 1803.   Parents are Leonhard Knecht and his wife Christina.  Sponsors are Peter Stekkel and wife Maria.  

        Grave stones of Salome's parents, Leonard Knecht and Christina Schott Knecht.

When she was 19 years old,  Salome married George Kunkel on April 7, 1822.  She soon became the mother of three children born very close together.   They were:  Lea  who was born Dec. 17,  1822, Katherine who was born  Oct. 8, 1824,  and Charles who was  born Nov. 24, 1825.  Salome died soon after the birth of Charles, most likely from complications of child birth.   "The KNECHT Family History, 1702-1987," by Linda Klosek,  provides proof that Charles is the son of George & Salome (Knecht) Kunkel.    Charles  was baptised  on  December 18,  1825 by Rev. Mendsen at the  Salem Lutheran / Reformed Church, Moore Twp., Northampton Co., Pennsylvania.  His mother died on Dec. 16, 1825.  It is likely that he was baptised the day she was buried.

Salome's father provided for these children in his will, 1836.  In the will,  Leonard Knecht states, "Salome who had been  intermarried with George Kunkle  who  since departed  her life,  her share I give  and bequeath  unto  her  two  children  Charles and  Catherine."   Lea  had since died.  

It is  amazing that  the infant Charles  survived after the death of his mother!   Some unknown woman had to have nurtured and fed him.  Whomever she was we  are thankful to her for  providing Charles  with life sustaining  nutrition.   Salome's  son  Charles  was the grandfather of Estella, whom you met earlier.
                                                       This page  © 2013,  Cynthia H. Smith
                                                       Send email  to chsmith47@yahoo.co

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

M is for Maria Barbara Miller

Two year old Maria Barbara Miller arrived  in Philadelphia in the arms of  her parents, Bernhardt and Eva Maria Miller on  September 19,  1749.   She traveled to the new world  from Bödigheim, Germany first down the Rhine River to Rotterdam and then aboard the ship  "Patience" to cross the ocean.  From the book, "Pennsylvania German Pioneers, A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals In the Port of Philadelphia" by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, it is learned that the child was one of 270 people who had made the journey aboard the ship "Patience" from the the Palatinate & Duchy of Württemberg regions of Germany. 

Her parents, Bernhardt Müller  and Eva Maria Müllerin (who may have been his cousin) were married June 9, 1747 in Bödigheim.  Maria Barbara was born nine days later!   Her baptism  record  from the church in Bödigheim says that she was born between 1 and 2 in the morning on June 19, 1747.  Maria Barbara Miller, became known as Barbara throughout her lifetime because of the old German custom of a child being called by their middle name.  In old German naming patterns, the first name was a "church" or "baptism" name, so children would have been called by their middle name.   Here is a photo copy of her  record of baptism from the church in Bödigheim, Germany, supplied to me by another researcher.

Given the opportunity for a fresh start in the New World, and to cover the stigma of their love affair before marriage,  Bernhardt  and Eva Maria  changed Barbara's birth year to 1751 when they got to America.   No one seemed to be the wiser for it, 1751 is the date recorded on her gravestone!
Soon after arriving the Bernhardt Miller family settled in Northampton County Pennsylvania.  Bernhardt,  who was a bauern (farmer) in Bödigheim and planned to continue making a living in agriculture here, had received a patent for 87 acres of land in Williams Township, near Easton, Pennsylvania from the Penn Family.  Barbara grew up there with her eight siblings, who were George, Henry, Bernard, Valentine, Elizabeth, John, Jacob, Eve and Frederick, all  born in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. You can read more about the Miller clan.

When she was 20 years old, Barbara married Paulus Brodt. He was  born September 19, 1733 in Lixhelm, Lorraine, France.    Barbara and Paulus had ten children.  Mary, Barnet, Frederick, Conrad, Margaret, Michael, Catherine, Anna Rosina, Jacob and Susanna.  But soon after Susanna was born Paulus died in December of 1782; he was 48.   He was a tanner and transported his hides up and down the Delaware River.  It is said that he died as a result of a boat accident.

With ten children to care for, Barbara soon remarried to  William Gruver.  He was born in 1733 and is reported to have lived to be  108 years old.  Together Barbara and William had five children. They were Johannes, Daniel, Elizabeth, William and Maria Barbara. 

Surviving the ocean voyage to get here  and raising 15 children  was  enough for one woman to accomplish in her lifetime!  She lived to be 77 years old and was buried  at  the Forks Cemetery -  The inscription  on her gravestone reads:
                                GRUBER, Barbara, b. 1751,  d. 20 Mar. 1825 
Maria Barbara Miller Brodt Gruver is my great, great, great, great, great  grandmother!  She became the ancestor  of thousands of descendants.   I am a descendant of her daughter Susanna Brodt who married Christopher Illick.  It just so happens that Ronnie is  a descendant of her son Johannes Gruber.  I have calculated that that relationship makes us seventh half cousins, once removed.   Gotta love genealogy research... never know what you will find out! ♥

                                       This page and all contents © 2012 Cynthia H. Smith
                                                    Email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

L is for Lois

My mother, Lois, turned 90 in March.  We celebrated her day with family and friends bringing her their love and kisses and many good wishes.   Isn't she a cutie?

Lois Marie McEwen  is the daughter of Homer McEwen and Eliza Long.  (You read about Eliza earlier.)  Lois  grew up on a farm outside of Richmond, Pennsylvania where she was born.   She attended a one room schoolhouse until the 8th grade, than graduated high school at Bangor, Pennsylvania.  She attended  college at Asbury College in Wilmore,  Kentucky  for two years where she met my dad, Richard Hughes who was studying for the ministry.

She  always took great pride in being a minister's wife.    I have always felt that the people of the churches where my dad was the pastor truly loved Mother.   She was always serving as Sunday school teacher, women's leader and youth leader.   She has held many leadership roles in the Methodist Church Women's Organizations.  She has a very lovely  voice and often led or sang in the various choirs at the different churches.

You can visit  my web page,  See How They Grew for the story of all the places we lived  and  some pictures of  Lois and her family.

Here  she  is with her great granddaughter Madeline,  her granddaughter Sarah and her daughter.... yes that is me, Cindy. This picture shows Madeline's Maternal Family.  Now that is an interesting concept.  What do we know about our maternal forebears?  It is unique in that  it only climbs the female branch of your family tree on your mother's side.

As a tribute to my mom I am going to show our maternal family  tree.  We share this tree with just a few  select people:  my sister Sharon, my sister Deb and her daughter, Laura.

Our Maternal Family Tree.

Madeline Elizabeth Hammond,  who is the daughter  of

Sarah Elizabeth Smith, who is the daughter of 

Cynthia Marie Hughes, who is the daughter of  

Lois Marie McEwen,  who is the daughter of

Sarah Eliza Long, 1899 - 1987,  who was the daughter of  

Ella Mae Heffner, 1871 - 1945, who was the daughter of 

Ann Eliza States, 1832 - 1896, who was the daughter of 

Catherine Mumper,  1808 - 1888, who was the daughter of 

Elizabeth Jane Kiner,  1791 - 1875,  who was the daughter of 

Anna Maria Hartman 1757 - 1848,  whose mother's name is unknown to me at this time.   More research for me to do.

Lois is the mother of  five children, Steve, Sharon, Cynthia, Deborah and Richard.  They have made her the grandmother of  nine, Kara, Aaron, Tim, Mark, Richard, Sarah, Laura, Jacob, and Mark.  And now she is the beloved great grandmother of seven little ones, Abby, Madeline, Owen, Henry, Luke, Matthew and Benjamin.  We all love you Mom!

                                              This page  © 2013,  Cynthia H. Smith
                                            Send email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

K is for Kunkle, Estella May

Born on March 1, 1878, Estella was the daughter of John Henry Kunkle and Sarah Jane Fehnel Kunkle.   She was 18 years old  when she married the than 21 year old Arthur Smith (son of Edmund and Camilla Engler Smith ) on May 10, 1896.  They were married by  Rev. W. J.  Andres in Bath, Pennsylvania.  Art was a farmer who rented property  to raise crops and also had dairy cows.

Estella  became the mother of  thirteen  children,  all born at home, and for which the only time she ever  saw the doctor was when he came to the house for their births.  The doctor was paid $5.00 at each delivery.   She was 46 when her last child was born and never entered a hospital until she died.  Two of her sons, Emmet and Herbert died at an early age.   


Here are the first four of  Estella's children.  The oldest, Emmet Edmund was born August 3, 1896. (Arthur always said, the first baby could arrive any time, but the rest each took  nine months!).  Helen May, was born July 25,  1897.   Herbert John, came along on August 19, 1899  and Ronnie's grandfather,   Russell Valentine  was born on  September 19, 1900.   These four would be considered a large family by today's standards.



 The next five children were all girls.  The family continued to grow with the birth of Eva Camilla, on August 15, 1902.  Hilda May, arrived on  October 24, 1905.  Another daughter  Marie Kunkle  was born on February 2, 1907.   Dorothy Eliza joined the family  October 6, 1908.  And then  Florence Anna, born  June 28, 1910 when Estella was 32 years old. 

Maybe she thought she was  done having children  by then.  Aunt Eva remembers that her mother did all her cooking and canning on a wood burning stove.  She baked fresh pies and cakes every day.  They didn't last very long since it took at least two to feed her large family at meal time.   Estella was busy with household chores and raising children.  There was plenty of work for all the children to do on the farm. The girls all became mighty fine cooks with their mother teaching them.  And someone had to haul in the wood to keep that stove going!

But babies were still to be born to Estella and Art.  Her tenth child, Franklin Arthur was born  July 27, 1914.  Soon after twenty year old Emmet was injured and died in a thrashing machine accident in 1916, Lillian E.  was born on June 19.    Estella was still changing diapers when she became a grandmother for the first time when Helen's daughter Eva was also born in 1916.

Lester Charles was born  August 19, 1918, the year Herbert became ill with pneumonia and died at the age of 19. Russell  and Beatrice gave her  three more grandchildren, Clarence, 1919,  Arlene, 1921, and Margaret, 1922  before  Estella's last child, Walter, was born May 22, 1924. Baptism records for all the children were found in the church records book of St. John's Lutheran Church, Bath PA 1876 - 1928.   The picture below was taken some time in the 30's.

The following newspaper article, circa May 10, 1954 was found in a scrapbook at a flee market  in April, 2003.


Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Smith of Georgetown, Sunday Celebrated 58  years of marriage.  Mr. Smith holds daily employment at the Keystone Dehydrating Co. and Mrs. Smith does all her own household chores, works in the  garden and plants flower beds.
They  enjoy taking short trips through the country, with short stops to visit  relatives and friends, but most of  their pleasure is brought  when their children  and their families visit them  Sunday afternoons they say.
The couple was married May 10, 1896, by the late Rev. W. J. Andres,  in the parsonage of the Lutheran Church, Bath.  They are now members of the St. John's Lutheran Church, Nazareth.
They are the parents of thirteen children.  Mrs. Helen Williamson, Lester and Walter of Nazareth,  Russell, Bath,  Mrs. Eva Bartholomew, Quakertown,  Mrs. Hilda Werkheiser of Blairstown, NJ,  Mrs. Dorothy Gerhart, Easton, Mrs. Florence Fehnel,  Allentown,  Mrs. Lillian Spohn,  of Tatamy, Franklin of  Mt. Bethel.  Three children preceded the couple in death, two sons, Emmet and Herbert  and one daughter, Mrs. Marie Bilheimer.  The couple have  21 grandchildren and 10 great grand children.  The Smith's will celebrate their wedding anniversary  May 16,  by entertaining their children at a family dinner.

                 These pictures was taken at the celebration of their 58th wedding anniversary.

Estella died on Christmas Day, 1966 at the age of 88.  She and Art  had been married  70 years!!!!   They were devoted to each other.  Four years later Arthur passed away at the age of  95.  According to the 1940 census neither she nor Art went to school after the sixth grade. They lead remarkable lives  and are still held in high esteem by those who remember them.

                        They are buried in Greenmount Cemetery, Bath, Pennsylvania.

                                              This page  © 2013,  Cynthia H. Smith
                                            Send email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

J is for Jennie

Hummm....  so what was your real name, and by the way,  what really was your birth date?  Ronnie's great grandma  has really been an enigma  and maybe one of the most challenging  ancestors to research.

Jennie's  family was from Hazard, Pennsylvania, a community of hard working families, where most of the men were metallic ore miners like Jennie's father.   Beatrice Graver Smith said her mother was  Jennie Lauer, daughter of  William Lauer and Amanda Anewalt.  Part of the problem of finding records  for Jennie was the spelling of  her father's last name, Lauer or Lower,  or various variations.   But then there was also the problem of  her given name.  Was it Ellen or Jennie or  Genevieve? 

Her marriage license to Wilson Graver  says her name was  Ellen J. Lawer  or Lauer.  Both spellings appear on this document.  This  shows her birth date as June 19, 1882.

The first census record in which she is ever listed is the 1900 census. Here she is listed as Ellen J. Graver, the 17 year old wife of Wilson Graver. She never showed up on a census with her birth family.  She wasn't born yet  for the 1880 census and the 1890 census records were all destroyed in a fire. 

Jennie had just turned 16 years old when she and Wilson were married on the 4th of July, 1898.  She was expecting their first child Helen who was born  6 months later on January 4, 1899.  When Jennie was 17 years old she became the mother of Beatrice, born January 16, 1900.  The rest of her children arrived in rapid fire order.  Baby Arthur was born and died in 1902.  David   was born on  December 14, 1904 followed by  Naomi I. on  March 17, 1906 and  Ida A.  on December  23, 1907.  That is six children in seven years.  Can you imagine having six children to take care of by the age of 23?   Jennie must have been worn out!  She was kept busy  taking care of all these children. And then along came Thomas in June 21, 1911.   Life was hard for Jennie!

And at some point in time Wilson left.  Why?  I have not been able to locate a 1910 census record for members  of  the Wilson Graver family except for  daughter Beatrice who was living with her uncle,  J.  David  Graver and his wife Annie in  East Allen Twp.,  Northampton Co.   Beatrice says that her  father left the family  in 1912 and moved to Ohio to live.  However,  since Thomas was  born in  1911, (conceived November, 1910)  maybe they were separated for a time and then got back together.  By 1918 however,  Wilson was in Ohio as evidenced by his draft registration in Lorain, Ohio.  Jennie had to find a way to provide for  her children and Beatrice said they were scattered, living with different family members.

In 1920 three of the children were  listed as "inmates"  in the Ebenezer Orphans Home in  Thompson, Seneca Co., Ohio on  the 1920  Census. 
Naomi Graver       F      14y       Pennsylvania
Ida Graver             F      13y       Pennsylvania
Thomas Graver     M      9y        Pennsylvania
This is not far from Lorain, Ohio.  Maybe Wilson took these three children to Ohio with him.  Ida and Naomi were deaf so maybe it was to provide them with a better education.   Wilson may have gone to Ohio  for work.  He was a bricklayer by trade.

Sometime around 1923 Jennie relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana and started calling herself  Genevieve.  She married Whitney Moore  on  April 16, 1927 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The marriage license  gives her name and birth date as Genieve E. Lauer,  born June 19, 1884.   Jennie was 43 years old.  Or maybe she was she was 45 since she shaved 2 years off her  previously recorded birth year of 1882. She was 5 years older than Whitney, or maybe that was 7 years.  Oh, Jennie, I wish I could have known you!

This is a transcription of the obituary of  Jennie Ellen (Genevieve) Lauer Graver Moore  which appeared in  the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette  on Sunday, Dec. 4, 1932.

Mrs. Genevieve Moore, 48,  of 1314 Wells Street died of heart disease at her  residence about 7 o'clock Saturday night.   Born in Bowmanstown, Pa, the deceased had lived in Fort Wayne approximately nine years.  She was a member of the Ben Hur court No. 15.  Surviving are the husband, Whitney Moore;  two sons, David Graver of Akron, O., Thomas Graver, a member of the United States army stationed at Ft. Hayes, Columbus, Ohio;  four daughters,  Mrs. Ira Zeek (Helen) of Wilkes Barre, Pa., Mrs. Russell Smith (Beatrice) of Bath, Pa. and Mrs. Lloyd Braun (Naomi) and Mrs. Murvin Chester (Ida), both of Fort Wayne;  a brother Grant Lauer of Bowmanstown, Pa., and a sister, Mrs. Oliver Stehly of Fort Wayne, and nine grandchildren. 

Interestingly, daughters Ida and Naomi and her older sister, Amanda Lillie, were also living in Fort Wayne.  There was love in this family!  Jennie had difficulties  holding her family together, but neither she nor Wilson lost touch with them over the years.  

She is buried in the  Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery,  Adams Township, Allen County, Indiana.  Rest In Peace Grandmother.

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This site may be linked, but not duplicated in any way without consent. The copyright on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material.

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to see. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Immick... I is for Sarah Immick

Someone once said what mattered most of all was the dash between the years.  There is more to the story of Sarah E.  Immick  than is told here on her tombstone in the Three Church Hill Cemetery in Lower Mount Bethel Pennsylvania.

Sarah E. Immick, the great, great grandmother of my husband Ron,  was the daughter of Aaron Immick and Catherine Morey.  She was born in November of 1845 and even though her parents were  living in  the  Mount Bethel Pennsylvania area I can't find a baptism record for her.  She  died on April 7, 1924.   So what went on  in that dash between her years?

Sarah  was the second of four children  in her family.  Her older sister Adelaine married and remained in the area, but younger sister Susan and brother Ruben moved to Michigan after they married.   Sarah married Samuel Frey  of Lower Mount Bethel, PA  on November 24, 1866.  Together they became the parents of only one child, a son Isaac, born January 14, 1868.  In the three census records of 1870, 1880 and 1890, Sam is said to be a farmer.   So  Sarah  must have done the typical chores of a farm wife and mother during those years.  When Sam died April 6, 1900 they had been married 33 years.

So what was special about grandmother Sarah? (That's her standing on the porch with granddaughter Edna.)  I have been saving this!    In the late 1800’s the telephone came to Lower Mount Bethel.   Households subscribed  to the phone service and rural homes were connected via party lines with several households on a line.  When the telephone  first arrived in the rural neighborhood there  was a need for  someone to  operate the switchboard to connect the calls of telephone subscribers. This was the perfect job for a lady to do in her home.  She could take care of her daily housework activities while listening for a call to come in.

Sarah Frey was the first telephone operator  for the exchange on the Belvidere - Martins Creek Highway.  The switchboard  was in her house located on the  Belvidere - Martins Creek Highway.   As a recent widow Sarah  had the time needed  to stay by the switchboard waiting for calls.  She was a technology pioneer,  taking on a tough job  that required skill and confidence.  And as a rural telephone operator she was on top of all the news in  the neighborhood too!

                      Here is granddaughter Edna with her grandmother Sarah Immich Frey, circa 1910.

                                             This page  © 2013,  Cynthia H. Smith
                                            Send email  to chsmith47@yahoo.com

Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.