Tag Archives: Story telling

In Honor Of My Dad’s 101st Birthday!

me & dad

Me & Dad 

My Dad was the person who influenced my life the most while growing up. He showed me unconditional love, even through all the craziness of my teen years. I never really appreciated him until after he was gone. In honor of this remarkable man, this blog is to celebrate his life on what would be his 101st Birthday.

 

Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born in Pettis County, Missouri, August 18, 1915. He

Douglas&Lenoard - Restored - Use

Douglas & Leonard 1918

was born the same day that his Uncle who, was blind, died. He was name after this uncle. He was the 8th of 11children born to Charley Hughes. They lived on a farm in rural Missouri, raising all their food, cows and award winning horses. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s they were fortunate enough to not suffer as others did because they were basically self-sustaining. They shared what they had with others in the community and I believe this is where my Dad developed his giving spirit!

Dad at 18At the age of 15 two events influenced his life. The first was he paid 25 cents and got his first drivers license. He said “In those days there was no driving or written test, as long as you had the quarter you got the license!”  He was always proud of the fact that in all his years of driving he had only received 1 ticket. The second event was when his family was living near Lexington Missouri. He along with his brother Leonard and two brother-in-laws Mitchell and Virgil where riding in a wagon going to town. A neighbor came out and an argument broke out between Virgil and the man. This man drew his gun and shot Virgil between the eyes, killing him instantly! This haunted my Dad his whole life.

In 1934-35 my Dad participated in the Civilian Conservation Corp implemented by CCC Camps DadPresident Roosevelt. He served in Lake Tahoe, California. Here he learned to work with wood and stone masonry. These skills helped him the rest of his life. During his lifetime he worked as a horse trainer, as a farmer, as a coal miner, he worked on the railroads, as a butcher and for the last 19 years of his life he worked in the construction field.

 

dad, mildred, lolaHe was married 3 times; the first time was when he was 22 years old in 1937. He married Mildred Shockley and they had a son Benjamin. Unfortunately Benjamin died at 2 months old from Typhoid and his mom died 3 weeks later from the same thing. My Dad was devastated. He married a second time in 1944 to Mildred McQuillen. She had a daughter name Loretta whom my Dad accepted as his own.Mom, Dad, Bro & Sis They never had children and I don’t know what happened but they divorced sometime before 1948. The third was my Mother, Emmajane Smith in 1948. My Mother had a son, Gordon and once again my Dad took him as his own. My sister Mary Leella was born in 1951 and I was born in 1955.

We left Missouri when I was 11 months old and moved to Southern Arizona. When I was 12 years old my Mother had a mental breakdown and the next 7 years were pure hell! My Dad refused to have her committed and he took care of her even through our moves back to Missouri for 2 years then out to California for 5 years. He showed me that you don’t give up on people because the situation is not ideal. He showed strength of character and resolve that I have always admired.

Dad and my oldest son.

In the Fall of 1973 my Dad went to the doctor for a cough that wouldn’t go away. After many tests and x-rays we were told he had lung cancer. He had surgery to remove his right lung then endured several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy. He lived for 9 months and he passed away at home on June 24, 1974. He was 58 years old. This was 42 years ago and I still think about him every day. I still strive to be the kind of woman, wife, mother and Grandmother that would make him proud. I know that I am proud to be his daughter!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Charley Hughes, Death, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Hughes, Memories, Missouri, Story telling, Uncategorized

“I Can’t Correct That!”

treeI recently reconnected with a cousin, “Alice” that I haven’t seen in about 28 years. She was so excited to hear about all of the Family History I written about and the Genealogy research I have done. During our conversation she told me that she really didn’t know much about her maternal Grandfathers side of the family. I told her I would see what I could find.

I started researching and within 3 days I received an email from a cousin of Alice’s. “Jessie” told me that her maternal Grandmother was Alice’s Grandfathers sister. We exchanged photos and information. I was able to get the two cousins in touch with each other. It was a great feeling.

That is until about 2 weeks later when I went to look at Jessie’s family tree. She had not Leola Belle Hugheschanged any of the erroneous information she had posted. You see, Alices Grandfather “Sam” was married to my Aunt Leola, my Dads sister. They were married in 1924 and they had two children, Charles in 1925 and Irene in 1930, Leola died in 1932 from Typhoid Fever. Sam then married Lea in about 1935 and they had two sons. In Jessies tree she only had Sam married to Lea and they had 4 children, those of Leola as well as Leas.

errorsWhen I contacted her about it I was told that “I can’t correct that! No one in the family knows that Uncle Sam had been married more than once. It would be a big scandal!” So she was leaving her tree as it was. I can only hope that she changes her mind about this in the future.

Pondering

I guess I have a hard time with anyone wanting to purposely keep wrong information in their tree. No matter what the reason. To me Truth is Truth whether you like it or not. I also don’t understand how this situation could be a scandal. I think it is a great dis-service to future generations to not know the whole truth.

I might be a little strange but I believe the unexpected in a Family Tree is what makes it more interesting. All the twists and turns, the surprises, the rebels and the saints give my tree character.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Corrections, Cousins, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Memories, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized

“Hot Topic” Genealogy

HottopicsIt is always amazing to see how much society has changed in the last few hundred years. What is the “norm” for today was taboo a century ago and what was accepted 200 years ago seems unimaginable today. Throughout history there has always been a “Hot Topic” in each generation. Topics such as the Suffrage Movement, Religious Freedoms, Slavery, Prohibition, Wars etc. Today we are hard pressed to find out how our ancestors felt about these issues or if any of them actively supported or opposed them. Unless our ancestor was “famous” for their stand we may never know.

We can make assumptions on some of their beliefs by how they lived. Take for instance civil war battlesthe Civil War. If your ancestor fought for the North, you can assume they were anti-slavery and if they fought for the South they were pro-slavery. Also if they owned slaves you can assume that they believed in it and if they didn’t they were opposed. Some of the “topics” were not so obvious.

If we are lucky we can find membership information, letters, affiliations or other documents that can provide a glimpse into our ancestors’ stance on the issues of their day. However, most of us will never find these gems. We are left wondering if they had any opinion at all. This brings us to our own time in the genealogical timeline.  We have so many “Hot Topics” today that in a hundred years our future generations will wonder where we stood and why.

New scans15I am of the belief that I want to leave as much information for our future generations as possible. Not only about our ancestral line but also of the times in which we live. I have started writing about some of my beliefs, my stands on social issues and any participation’s I have had for or against those issues. To be quite honest I have picketed for one issue and I have picketed against another. I have participated in rallies and marches. I have appeared on local and National television, radio programs, been a Conference Speaker and featured in magazines and newspapers as an expert on one issue. I want my Great Grand-kids to know their Great Grandma held strong opinions on certain subjects and she wasn’t afraid to let others know how she felt. I am trying to be fair and explain both sides of the issues and express why I chose the side I did.

 

What “Hot Topics” do you have an opinion or belief on? Have you gotten involved fighting for or against that Topic? Think about leaving your experiences behind for those coming after you.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, Hints, History, Hot Topic, How-to, Memories, Next Generation, Personal Stories, Story telling, Uncategorized, Write Your Story

What’s In A Name?

Whats in a nameHave you ever wondered why a parent would name their child a certain name? I do all the time. However I am guilty of giving my children “different” names myself and I am asked why all the time. Researching my family’s history, I have discovered that I am not alone in this. I have a first cousin 5x removed born in 1803 North Carolina who was named Wiseman Fisherman Loving. I have tried to no avail to figure out why he was named this. Were his parents hoping that he would grow up to be a wise man and a great fisherman? Was his father drunk the day he was born and just spouted out the name? We may never know.

PeregrineWhiteRock

My 9th Great Grandfather born in England in 1616 was named Resolved White. He came to America aboard the Mayflower with his Father William and pregnant Mother Susanna in    1620. I can only assume he was named this because his father was “Resolved” to make it to the New World. His younger brother was the first child born from those on the Mayflower and he was born on board the ship in Plymouth Harbor. His parents named him “Peregrine”!                                                           Do you suppose the first thing his mother saw after giving birth was a Peregrine Falcon?

William Brewster hsMy other Mayflower Ancestor, my 10th Great Grandfather William Brewster was also born in England in 1567 and traveled aboard the Mayflower with his wife Judith and 6 of his 9 children. My 9th Great Grandfather was named Jonathan, a very common name. However, the last 4 children born were named Love, Patience, Fear and Wrestling! William Brewster was a Protestant who along with others of his faith had to flee to Holland to escape persecution from the King of England. Perhaps he named his children after the struggles he was having before coming to America. He must have experienced Love, Fear, Patience and Wrestling while making the important decision to come to the New World.

There are some names I just can’t figure out. Like my Great Grandmother Asenath Walt born 1863 in Missouri. Was hers a family name? I haven’t found any evidence of that. Was it a popular name during that time? Who knows?  My 4th Great Grandfather Axel Heath Page was born 1785 in Virginia. Was he named for a wheel Axel?

As for my own children at least I can give an explanation for their names.   My oldest son is

Dad at 18

Douglas Age 18

named John Pleasant after my Grandfather. Pleasant was my Great Grandfathers name so we called him “Pleasant” until he reached 18 years old and he decided to go by his initials. John Pleasant Smith was the only Grandparent I ever met so I named him in honor of this wonderful man. My youngest son is named Starr Douglas. My beloved father Douglas died when I was 19 years old so I wanted to name him after my dad. I also wanted his name to be unusual like his brothers. I couldn’t think of anything. When I was about 8 months pregnant I was watching TV and a Senator came on whose first name was Starr. I thought “Starr Douglas” …it fits! He is proud of his name and has lots of fun telling people “Yeah my Mom was a hippy” My daughter’s name is Jerusha Jane. The tradition in my family is my middle name is Jane, my mother’s name is Jane and the name goes back to a great-great Grandmother named Jane. Knowing my entire life that I was expected to name any girl I had by this name I thought of every possible combination of names and nothing sounded right to me. When I was 12 years old I went to see the movie “Hawaii” where Julie Andrews played a missionary’s wife and her name was Jerusha. Jerusha Jane I loved it. I had that named picked out for 10 years before I got to use it.

I love unusual names and finding a treasure trove of them among my Ancestors has been so much fun. How about you? Do you have unique names in your tree? Do you know why they were named that? Feel free to share those names and why they were named that with me! I would love to hear them.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Genealogy, History, Mayflower, Names, Personal Stories, Pleasant Smith, Write Your Story

Explaining Why I Refused To Be Like Them

Over the last 50 years so much of our culture has changed that it is almost impossible to remember how things used to be. If this is so for us, how much more will things change in the next 50 years? I am not just a Genealogist, I am also a Historian of sorts. I believe that I have a responsibility to my descendants to tell them how things were when I was growing up and how it impacted my life and the decisions I have made.

wpaMO320I was born in Missouri but my parents moved our family to Arizona when I was 11 months old. They bought a house outside the Tucson City limits in a new sub-division just north of the Papago (Tohono O’odam) Indian Reservation. I attended the newly built Mary Lynn Elementary School that was about 3 blocks from our home. It was a very diverse school, as a matter of fact Anglo kids were the minority. I grew up with friends of Native American, Hispanic, African American, Chinese and Anglo ancestry. We all seemed to get along very well.

At least that was at school. At home I experienced a totally different atmosphere. Both of brownie troopmy parents were born and raised in Missouri. I do not know what may have happened in their lives to make them this way, but they both were the most racist people I ever knew! Every joke told at home was racist. Remarks were made about people in the grocery store or at the gas station who were “different” from us. I was so confused. According to my parents ¾ of my friends were sub-human, but according to my experiences 100% of them were MY friends! It was very frustrating.

When I was 12 years old our family moved back to Missouri. I was in shock! I had never seen a school with all white kids before. I felt so out of place. I listened to my older relatives talk and I realized they all felt like my parents! At that point I determined it must have just been the way they were raised. I can remember one incident where an Hispanic boy started school and he ended up in my class. I was so happy! I spent his whole first day talking to him. At the end of the day I was given a note to take home to my parents. It was a warning that if I continued to fraternize with this young man I would be suspended from school! My parents laid down the law and I begrudgingly submitted.

Over the course of the next 7 years we moved first to California, then after the death of my Dad we moved back to Tucson. During our time in California I guess you could say I became a “rebel”. I once again had friends of diverse races and to my parents horror I even dated some!

me & George 1987

Me & George 1987

The reason I want to share these experiences with the future generations is I believe I learned a valuable lesson in having to make a decision to not accept my parents racists views. I understand that try as we might, we can not legislate tolerance or acceptance. It has to be a change of the heart and a love for our fellow man, no matter what their ancestry is. This stance has not always gone over well, especially with my mother. 30 years ago, after I became a widow with 3 children, she disowned me because I married an Hispanic man. We are still married and I do not regret the decision I made. I now have 9 beautiful Grandchildren, 3 of them are white, 2 are half-black and 4 are half gypsy. We are one big, very happy, loving family!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Genealogy, History, Memories, Personal Stories

Part 2: My Mother was Superstitious –A Month of Tales from the Dark Side

superstitions moonGrowing up our lives revolved around superstitions. My Mother had one for every occasion or event, everything from the fear of Friday the 13th to dropping a knife on the floor.  I know that my Mother wasn’t the only person to hold to these superstitions but to this date I have never met another person who believed as many or as strongly as she did. I thought I would spend this month leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my Mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs.  I will post a blog every Friday and Tuesday and I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

Superstition #2:  A bird in the house is a sign of death

Me at 12 years old.

Me at 12 years old.

For my 12th birthday all I wanted was a parakeet. I had always loved birds and as a young girl I even cut out pictures of birdsand pasted them in a scrapbook. My favorite was the Mountain Bluebird. When I told my parents what I would like my Dad immediately agreed. He felt it would be a great experience for me as I would learn to be responsible for the care and feeding of the bird. My Mom had other ideas. She believed that having a bird in the house was bad luck. They were an omen of impending death to someone in the family. Why would we want to invite something like that into our home? Her reasons for not having a bird far outweighed my reasons for wanting one. I was devastated.

blue-parakeet

“Red” Bird

When I got home from school on my birthday, which by chance was January, Friday the 13th, I walked into my bedroom and there it was, a brand new shiny bird cage with a beautiful blue parakeet singing away inside.  I was so happy I cried. My Mom came to the bedroom door and with a very serious voice informed me that the care and feeding of the bird was all my responsibility and at no time was I to let it out of the cage. I had a hard time deciding what to name the bird so after much thought I named him “Red”.

Over the next 2 months I taught Red how to wolf whistle, say “pretty bird” and “hello”. I realized that since I got the bird my Mom no longer came into my bedroom. It was like suddenly I had some privacy and freedom. Knowing that she avoided my room I began to let Red out of his cage and let him fly around the room. I would practice my clarinet and Red would come and sit on the end of it and look up inside the instrument as I played.

Car pink & Gray 1955 Chevy Belaire

This was the type and color of our car!

About the same time that I got Red my parents made the decision to move our family to Missouri. They put the house up for sale and it sold faster than they anticipated. So at the end of March we packed all our belongings into a U-Haul trailer and hit the road. From Tucson AZ to Independence MO it was about a 1200 mile trip. My Mom didn’t want us to bring Red but my Dad over-ruled her. So with Red, sitting comfortably in his cage settled into the back seat between me and my sister we began our journey.

Tularosa-New-Mexico-Map-SWe were in New Mexico, somewhere between Tularosa and Carrizozo, traveling through some mountainous roads when we came over a mountain incline a little faster than we should. The next thing we knew the trailer began to weave from side to side. My Dad tried to correct it by jerking the steering wheel the opposite direction but this only made it worse. I don’t know how long the hill was but we weaved from side to side almost all the way to the bottom, at one point almost going over the edge of the mountain. When we got close to the bottom of the hill we were actually facing the wrong way. My Dad decided to drive back up the hill instead of turning around. When we reached the top he stopped. At this point the trailer fell off the hitch!

It was at this point that I thought to make sure that Red was alright. I saw the cage sitting between me and my sister, the top had popped off and one side had caved in and Red was nowhere to be found. I began to panic looking everywhere. I looked towards the front seat and I saw my Mom sitting there shaking and crying hysterically. Then I noticed, sitting on the top of her head was Red. My Mom was so upset she didn’t feel him there. I slowly reached up and grabbed him placing him back in the damaged cage and placing my pillow over it.

It took about 30 minutes before another vehicle came by and it just so happened to be a man in a truck with a heavy duty jack. He stopped and helped my Dad reconnect the trailer and we were on our way. My Mom was uncharacteristically quiet for the rest of the day. When we stopped for the night my Dad helped me put the birdcage back together and he suggested I leave Red in the car for the night. When I went into the room my Mom was sitting on the bed and she told me what had happened was entirely my fault because we had to bring that D@#n bird. She wanted me to release him before the next morning. Thankfully my Dad stepped in and convinced her to let me keep him although nothing could convince her that having the bird in the vehicle did not cause the accident.

So what did eventually happen to Red? About a year later I had let Red out of his cage in my room so he could get some Red's grave 2exercise. I was sitting on the couch in the living room practicing my clarinet and my Mom asked me to play a song from the Hymnal that she kept in the bookcase. She got up from the couch and instead of going straight to the bookcase she opened my bedroom door so she could take yell at my sister to get ready for school. She then closed the door, retrieved the Hymnal and sat down next to me. I played the song and when I was done my Mom took the book and got up to put it back. I looked down on where my Mom was sitting and there was Red, dead with a broken neck! Apparently he flew out when my Mom went in my room and we hadn’t noticed. He must have seen the clarinet and decided to sit next to me so he could enjoy the music. My Mom swears that she never saw him there. I buried him in the back yard.

Along with this Superstition my Mother had all the regular ones too. You know like:

your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you.If your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you.

white horse

You lick your right thumb push it into your left palm and hit it with your Right fist for good luck when you see a white horse.

Dead potted platNever say thank you to a person if they give you a plant as the plant will die.

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

Come back on Friday for the next installment of “My Mothers Superstitions  – Tales from the Dark Side.”

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Family History, Genealogy, Halloween, Missouri, Superstitions

Charles “Boy” Combs Jr – Died of his wounds 4 years after the Civil War

Charles "Boy" Combs

Charles “Boy” Combs

The youngest of 8 boys born to Charles and Abigail (Reavis Brassfield), Charles “Boy” Combs Jr. came into this world on the 28th of August in 1843. His family lived in Indian Creek, Monroe County, Indiana. Since he was the last child and because he was named for his father he was given the nickname “Boy” and he was called that his entire life. His family was what could be considered well to do for that time period. In the 1850 Census the farm the family owned was worth 3000 dollars. Most of the land Charles Sr. had received was for his service in the War of 1812.

“Boy” grew up on the farm along with his older brothers and they learned all there was to know about planting, harvesting and taking care of all the animals. His parents were both educated and could read and write and they made sure their sons received the same kind of education.

In May 1858, Abigail passed away leaving Charles Sr. alone to raise his 8 boys. By October of that same year Charles Sr. married Anna McLaughlin who herself was a widow. Within a year there was one more son born to this family.

The Civil War started on the 12th of April 1861 and most of “Boys” older brothers enlisted quickly. “Boy” had always admired his father for his service during the War of 1812 and he too wanted to serve his country. On the 12th of March 1862 at the age of 19, “Boy” enlisted in Company B, Indiana 27th Infantry Regiment and marched off to War proudly wearing the blue uniform of the Union Army. Shortly after enlisting, “Boy” and his Regiment saw action in 3 battles. One was in the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia) Campaign, and then they fought in the engagements of Front Royal and Winchester. The 27th saw action at Cedar Mountain in Virginia in August 1862.

Colonel Silas Colgrove

Colonel Silas Colgrove

On September 16, 1862, the Regiment Commander Colonel Silas Colgrove joined forces with General George B. McClellanand his “Union Army of the Potomac” and confronted General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Virginia. The next day the Regiment joined forces with Major General Joseph Hookers Union Corps and mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank that began the Battle of Antietam, and the single bloodiest day in American military history. “Boy” was injured during this battle along with 9539 other soldiers. Over 2000 Union soldiers were killed.

“Boy” was taken to the Fredericks Hospital to recuperate. There were so many injured soldiers from both sides of this battle that nearly the entire town was turned into Hospital Wards. After a few weeks “Boy” was able to return to his Regiment and thankfully they did not see any more action for the remainder of the War. On the 4th of November 1864 after the fall of Atlanta, reorganization took place and the veterans of the 27th were transferred to the 70th Indiana under Colonel Benjamin Harrison. On the 9th of September 1865 the War ended and “Boy” returned home to his family.

On the 8th of March 1864, while still serving in the Infantry, “Boy” married his childhood sweetheart Mary Carmichael. “Boy” never completely recovered from his wounds that he received in the Battle of Antietam. He spent the next 4 years fighting a reoccurring infection. He and Mary went on to have 3 boys of their own. William Thomas “Billy” Combs was born 17th of August 1866. Twin boys were born on 19th of December 1867. One was never named and he died on the 22nd of December 1867. The second boy was named Robert and he died on the 21st of January 1868.

Charles Boy Combs hs

“Boys” father Charles Sr. died on the 28th of February in 1866 and “Boy” was willed 40 acres of land. He began to do his own farming and raised his own animals. Finally at the age of 25 “Boys” infection got so bad he could no longer work. On the 2nd of January 1869 Charles “Boy” Combs Jr died of his wounds. He is buried along with his parents and two sons at the Combs Family Cemetery in Buena Vista, Monroe County, Indiana.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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