Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Y is for Camelia Engler ... WHY?

WHY?  Well for one thing I don't have a Y grammie, but  why not talk about Camilla and how I went about researching her story. It is always a challenge to find a women's birth name and determine the names of her parents.  Often her maiden name is lost and it takes some detective work to search for records that will provide clues to the names of her father and mother.

Camilla is Ron's great, great grandmother Smith.  Her name had been passed on to me in the Smith family reunion records kept by his grandmother Beatrice Graver Smith.  This awesome picture of Camilla at work in her garden was given to me by her granddaughter and namesake, Eva Camilla Smith Bartholomew.

I knew her last name had been Engler, but I did not know her father's first name. Using the online obituary index for the Easton Newspapers available at the Easton Library in Easton, Pennsylvania,  I located an obituary for Camilla Smith in the Easton paper on microfilm.  The date for the obituary was a close match for her death date, April 7, 1922.  The obituary provided good clues in the hunt for her family.  Among her survivors was one brother, Frank Engler of Carlton, Oregon. 

Using that information I searched Heritage Quest online for a census record.  I was looking for a family  named Engler with a daughter named Camilla and a son named  Frank.  Searching all Englers in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania area on the 1860 census, I finally found the family of  Michael Engler, age 53, Bethlehem twp. Northampton Co., PA.  Camilla is listed as a 14 year old in this family (this age fits for her birth date of October 6, 1845).  Her brother Frank is listed as  Franklin, age 10.    I also learned that Camilla's mother was named Dorothea.  Additional  internet research, for an obituary for Micheal Engler  proved  that Dorothea's  maiden name was Kocher.  VIOLA!!!  Found another  "Grammie"  tree to climb and so my research efforts are never ending...  but on to the story of  Camilla.

By 1870 Camilla was married to Edmund Smith.  Like her, he grew up on a  farm.   Both of their  families  were hard working German speaking people known  as the Pennsylvania Dutch.   Pennsylvania Dutch  was spoken in their homes  through out their lives.   Some of the older members of the family still have the "Dutchy"  accent in their voices today.   Speaking English was a noteworthy  item on census records.  The 1900 Census  reports that Camilla could not write or speak English, but could read it.  Also it is learned that she was the mother of two living children in 1900 and  that she and Edmund had been married for 30 years, which figures to a marriage date circa 1870. 

I have not located a record for their marriage.   However they are listed  as sponsors at a baptism in 1868, so they were a couple by then.  On the 1910 census record, Camilla reports that she was the mother of three children.  Burial records at  St. Thomas church, Altonah cemetery  show an infant, Edmund Smith, who died in 1871. This could very likely be their son.  The baby's grandparents, Valentine and Caroline Smith,  are also buried in the Altonah cemetery.  

Camilla did have two other children.  Her son, Arthur, who married Estella Kunkle,  was born on October 18, 1874.  Camilla's daughter,  Florence Mae,  was born May 11, 1879.  At a time when women had one baby after another, as we have seen with so many of the grandmothers whose stories I have told here, I wonder  why Edmund and Camilla only had three children.

Edmund and Camilla Smith   instilled strong religious values in their children, Arthur and Florence.  They enjoyed attending the Moorestown Reformed Church once a month for a high German  service.  Uncle Franklin once told me that he remembered when he  and his father and mother attended those services with them.     Camilla lived to be  77 when she died  in 1922.   Edmund died  three years later at the age of 90.

They are buried in  Greenmont Cemetery on Rt. 248 in Bath, Pennsylvania.   Her name is spelled COMELIA on  her gravestone.  Don't know WHY.

 Edmund H. Smith Sept. 27, 1835 - Dec. 18, 1925.  Comelia  Smith  Oct. 6, 1845 -  Apr. 6, 1922.

                                           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.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

X is for XXI - 21 children of Sarah Johnson McEwen

                       "There were 21 McEwens and they all went west, but ours."

That was my grandfather's reply when I asked him what he knew of the McEwen family history.    Since he was an only child, and his father and grandfather were also,  there  just weren't  any older  aunts, uncles or cousins to ask for an oral history. 

My challenge was to determine where those 21 McEwens had gotten to!   In my ensuing research I discovered fellow McEwen descendents, Bruce McEwen  and Margory Gerold, who are also researching the McEwen family.  I learned that the McEwens of Northampton County,  Pennsylvania had  migrated westward to Seneca County,  Ohio in 1823.  My family and I  were excited to attend the 100th McEwen Reunion in Ohio  and  reconnect with long lost McEwen cousins. 

And so the almost forgotten story of my great, great, great, great grandmother, Sarah Johnson McEwen slowly began to unfold.   She was the mother of 21 children!!!   WOW!  I only know the names of 16 of them.  Sarah's first daughter was Margaret and then came John, my 3x great grandfather.  Mary (also called Polly), Henry, William, Betsey,  Sarah,  Robert,  James, Elmira, George,  and Samuel were all born in the Mount Bethel  area of Northampton Co.,  Pennsylvania before the family pioneered to Ohio in 1823.   Permelia (Milly) McEwen (1823),  Rachel McEwen (1824),  Anna McEwen (1826),  and Martha McEwen were born in Ohio.  There were several other children whose names are unknown, but their existence is evidenced by  census records and other documents. 

Grandmother Sarah Johnson McEwen was born on New Years Day in 1785, the daughter of John Johnson and Jerusha Kitchen.  Her family was part of the Scotch Irish settlement at Martins Creek known as the Hunter Settlement in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  Birth records for the Presbyterians from this area for that time period have not been located even though  many have searched for them.  However Sarah is mentioned as the wife of William McEwen in her father's will and we are able to connect the generations through that document. 

It is believed that Sarah and William McEwen  were married in Northampton County,  Pennsylvania about 1803.  William was the son of  John and Margaret Herin McEwen who were living in  Berwick, Briar Creek Township, Northumberland County (later Columbia County) when he was born November 8, 1775.   He  had come to Northampton County from Columbia County to learn the trade of blacksmithing when he met Sarah and they were married.

More than a dozen kids  and twenty years later, they pioneered west to Seneca County,  Ohio where they were one of the first families to open up this territory for settlement.  Sarah's son James was only about 5 when they moved to Seneca County,  Ohio.  Later he shared  his memories of that journey.  James said,  "We came here in the fall of 1823 and brought with us one half ton of hay, which we made at New Haven.  With this hay we kept four horses and two cows all winter.  There was plenty of picking in the woods all winter in 1823.  Father entered the southwest quarter of section twenty-seven, in Clinton, and put up a cabin there and a blacksmith shop.  My parents had twenty-one children altogether, of whom sixteen were then living." *  

It is thought that they made that trip in Conestoga wagons.  Imagine that!!  All those children, pulling up stakes, traveling  less than twenty miles a day (we make the 500 mile trip from Northampton County, Pennsylvania to Columbus, Ohio  in about nine hours today) to take up house keeping in the wilderness!   And Sarah had at least four more children after arriving in Ohio.  She must have been a women of great strength and character.

At some point Sarah's oldest son John returned to Northampton Co., Pennsylvania to marry his sweetheart, Anna Houck.  My first post was about Anna and John and their family.  Oral history told to my grandfather, Homer McEwen by his parents and grandfather proved to be the link that connected the Pennsylvania branch with their cousins in Ohio.

William and Sarah are buried in the  Rock Run Cemetery, Sect. 4, Eden Twp., Seneca Co., Ohio.  The cemetery is not far from the place where they lived.   You may wish to read more about the McEwen family on my webpage, William McEwen, Pioneer to Ohio.

*James'  story is taken from  History of Seneca County : from the close of the Revolutionary War to July, 1880 : embracing many personal sketches of pioneers, anecdotes, and faithful descriptions of events pertaining to the organization of the county and its progress   Springfield, Ohio: Transcript Print. Co., 1880, 717 pgs.

                                                         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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

W is for Wilma Jane

Wilma Jane Estep Ferris is not a grammie of mine,  but she wet nursed my dad, Richard Hughes,  when he was an infant, so she needs a little credit here for helping to sustain and nourish him. 

Great  Aunt Wilma, who  was born July 9, 1900, was  my grandmother  Zip's closest sister age wise.   They were the youngest daughters of Charles and Helen Estep of East Troy, Pennsylvania.   They attended elementary school together in East Troy and after graduating there, both girls went to school for nurses training. 

Here is Wilma on the right with her younger sister Zilpha, nicknamed "Zip".  This picture was taken about the time the girls were middle school age, maybe in their early teens.  I love their dresses and the big bows.

Wilma met Curzon Cady Ferris  after  her family had moved to Elmira, New York.  This was about the time the sisters were doing their nurses training at Robert Packard Hospital in  nearby Sayre, Pennsylvania.   They were  married September 1, 1920.  Zilpha and her finance, Richard Hughes  witnessed the ceremony.

"New York, County Marriages, 1908-1935," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XV5S-LM9 : accessed 14 Nov 2012), Curzon C. Ferris and Wilma J. Estep, 1920.
Wilma and "Tony" (as Curzon was know by) settled into  marriage raising a family of four boys.  Curzon Cady Ferris, Jr. was born November 5, 1921  four days after Zilpha had given birth to Richard Lyle Hughes, Jr., my dad.   Both young mothers were  working as practical nurses and helped each other out  with child care.  When meal time came around both boys were were nursed by which ever sister was providing care, thus "wet nursed."

Charles Earl, known as Chuck was born August 24, 1924.  Next was Arthur  in 1930 and then James in 1933.  The family made their home on Lockhart Street in Sayre, Pennsylvania.  Her granddaughter, Becky says she wasn't much for gardens and household chores, "she was a terrible cook except the cherry pie...  running joke in the family was, if a diner sign advertized 'Like Gramma's home cooking', we didn't stop."   Becky says she was just a  "Plain Jane"  for sure.

Wilma enjoyed spending  time with her family , especially her sisters.  Together they belonged to the WCTU,  researched the family tree and joined the DAR.

Wilma and Tony Ferris were married 49 years when he passed away on September 2, 1969.  Wilma Jane lived to be 87 years old.  She died January 20, 1988, the last of her family to cross over to the promised land and join her grandmother Sarah Angeline Scott   as  Grandmother Scott had written that she would meet us all in Heaven one day.  My father traveled out from Ohio to attend the funeral of his beloved aunt and spend cherished time visiting with his Ferris cousins, whom he dearly loved.
I think of Great  Aunt Wilma every time I make a jug of sun tea on the front porch on a bright sunny day.   She and Curzon are buried at Tioga Point Cemetery, in Athens, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

                                         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, November 9, 2012

V is for Harriet C. Van Wey

A note from her obituary states,  "She was born on the spot where the Tioga Junction Depot now stands,  a mile and a half from where she died."  Harriet was born October 18, 1822 at Beecher's Island, Tioga Co., Pennsylvania.  You can read  the Blog post for the VanWey Homestead here.

VanWey homestead rendering circa 1850
Harriet C. Van Wey  was the daughter of Henry Van Wey and his wife Elizabeth Middaugh, a daughter of Elias Middaugh.  The Van Wey and Middaugh families were of Dutch descent and were among the first  families to settle in the area  of Tioga Co. Pennsylvania.    Her older siblings were Phoebe, Sally, Hannah and John.  While she was raised in a family of mostly girls, she became the mother of a large brood of boys.  

When she was twenty - five years old Harriet married Frederick Hughes  on June 17, 1847.  Her first child, Henerietta was born several years before they were married. Once married,  Harriet and Frederick didn't waste any time enlarging their family.  Benjamin was born May 23, 1848 followed by Betty in 1850, Phoebe in 1852, George in 1853 and Frank in 1854.  Charles Frederick arrived in 1856, then came Simeon (my great grandfather) in 1858.  A little girl Harriet was born in 1860, but died young.  The family was rounded out with the birth of three more boys, John in 1861, William K. in 1864  and Frederick Jeptha in 1865.  I think it is safe to say that Harriet had a full time job  taking care of her family.

It is said that this picture was taken about 1884.  Funny none of the daughters were invited to be in the picture!  The "boys" in the back row are Frederick, Frank, Charles, Simeon, John and George.  In the front row are William K., Harriet, Frederick and Benjamin.   The brothers were often referred to as the Hughes boys even into their adult years.  They are remembered as a lively bunch and I am sure Harriet had her hands full raising them.

The stories Daisy Miller recorded in her recollections of her father (William K.) and uncles   provide a wonderful glimpse into the past.  Daisy says, "All the boys slept in double beds, 2 by 2, in a large room over the kitchen, hot in the summer, warm in the winter.  Each oldest boy took into his bed the youngest.  The big farm house had a porch at the front and back with large rain barrels to catch the warm rain.  The boys used them in warm weather to take baths."  

Harriet and Frederick bought property on Button Hill where Fred started a lumber business that prospered as the family grew.  The boys were kept busy and  Harriet and the girls provided a hardy hot dinner at noontime.   But Sundays was a day to relax.  The boys liked to go to the pasture where there were many horses and colts of all sizes.  They took off all their clothes and raced bareback - and bare - no danger of being seen from the road, as the pasture was hidden by hills and woods. 

Daisy tells that the  brothers played jokes on each other constantly, but Sim played one on himself.  One Sunday in Spring, the boys, after riding in the pasture came upon a hen sitting on eggs in a nest. The eggs looked clean and fresh.  Sim said, "Now I'll show you boys how to suck eggs."  He grabbed one from under the hen and throwing back his head, broke the egg on his teeth and swallowed the contents - the  egg had been too long under the hen.  Sim learned a lesson and his brothers never let him forget it. 

Harriet lived a long life.  She died  September 17, 1904 at Mitchel's Creek at the age of 81.   She and Frederick are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Tioga.  At the time of her death, in addition to her twelve children, she was also a grandmother of  forty-six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.   My great grandfather was Simeon who married Fannie Westlake.  You must have had a wonderful sense of humor, Harriet,  to have raise  that bunch of boys!

                                      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.