Tuesday, January 22, 2019

#52 Ancestors - I'd like to meet ....

I have a few ancestors that I would like to meet, each for different reasons.

First, I would like to "meet" my great-grandmother Nancy Jane Wiley Hill Hacker Hill.  Technically I have already met her, but I was an infant when she died so I don't remember.  She had a reputation for being a strong independent woman.

Jane Hill (center) with friends showing her independent spirit

Nancy Jane Wiley was born 5 August1875 to George Wiley and Susan Mumford.  She was born and grew up in Clark County, Illinois.  On 21 July 1895 she married Charles Taylor Hill in Clark Co.  They had 3 children, Jessie (my grandmother), Victor, and William.  Her husband C.T.  had a bit of wanderlust and would leave for months at a time to seek his fortune.  This left Jane to raise 3 children by herself.  By 1913 she had clearly had enough as she divorced him on grounds of desertion.  Jane remarried in 1917 to William "Stanley" Hacker but they were divorced less than 4 years later.

During this time, Jane lost her middle child, Victor, who died in France during WWI.  She never stopped grieving his loss.    In order to make ends meet, she worked as a cook at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri for a while.  A few years later, she moved to Toledo, Ohio to start a new life.  Because she was a middle-aged single woman, there were few opportunities for her so she took in boarders to help pay the rent.  Family lore said she was also known for bathtub gin during Prohibition.

I would like to meet her and thank her for all of her hard work and perseverance.  I like to think that I inherited her strong independent will.

Jessie, William, Victor and Jane Hill

Second, I would like to meet my 9th great-grandmother Mary Bliss Parsons.  Mary was born ca 1626 in England to Thomas Bliss and Margaret Hulins.  She came with them to the colonies when she was only 9 years old.  In 1646 she married Joseph Parsons in Hartford, CT.  He was a prominent man in the community, serving as selectman and surveyor of highways.  He was one of the first settlers in Northampton, MA.  It was there, in 1656 that Mary was accused of witchcraft.  Her husband Joseph proactively sued the accuser Sarah Bridgman for slander and won.  Unfortunately this accusation haunted Mary and in 1674 she was imprisoned in Boston for suspicion that she was a witch.  Thankfully she was acquitted and released.

Through all of this ordeal, Mary and Joseph had 12 children, 8 of whom survived to adulthood producing numerous descendants.  She died in 1712 at the age of 86.

I would like to meet Mary to learn how she felt when the townspeople turned against her, not once but twice.

Mary is my qualifying ancestor for ADEAW

Finally, I would like to meet my third great-grandmother Matilda Grass Shuey.  Matilda is one of my brick walls.  I have been searching for years to find her parents.  I simply want to meet her and ask who they were.

Matilda on the left with her family

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sentimental Sunday - One Hundred Years ago today....

My father was born.  Yes, he would have been 100 years old today had he not left us much too soon.
So in tribute to his life during 69 of these years, I am dedicating this post to him.

Donald Edward Ormsby was born on 30 December 1918.  His parents were Harold Basil and Jessie Marie (Hill) Ormsby.  He was born in Casey, Illinois.  When he was just over 3 months old his father died.  A few years later his mother moved to Toledo, Ohio with the boys.  She remarried and had five more children. 

Donald Ormsby with his father in early 1919

Don grew up spending time in both Toledo with his mother and in Casey with his paternal grandparents.  He attended schools in both places at various times.

Dorr school in Toledo, OH - Don seated at far left in 1930

Donald Ormsby wearing his Casey High School sweater

On 13 December 1941 he married Nadine Darling.  They had a son Larry and were divorced a few years later.

Nadine and Donald Ormsby in 1941

In 1942, he joined the Army Air corps.  He received a medical discharge in 1943 before seeing any combat.

Donald Ormsby 1942

After his military stint, Don attended the Internationl Training Institute in Chicago where he learned the skills necessary to repair large appliances.  He moved back to Toledo and opened a business, Efficient Refrigeration with a man named "Red" Richards.  This business was in the building that had been Collingwood Bottled water company, and they soon realized that the bottled water business was better for them.

Original Collingwood Water Company building on Prescott St in Toledo, OH/

On 4 January 1950, he married Ruth Steinbrecher. 

Ruth and Donald Ormsby in 1950

Don and Ruth had 2 daughters - myself and my sister Robin.

Don with wife Ruth and children Larry, Robin and Kim in 1981

Sadly, he died of complications of aneurysm surgery on 2 July 1988.  He was only 69 years old.

Dad, we still miss you.
Donald and Ruth Ormsby 1988

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wisdom Wednesday - My first institute!

In looking over my blog posts for the year, I realize that I never published this one.  So, better late than never :-)

In July I attended my first Genealogical Institute.  This was something that I had wanted to do for a few years, but could never fit it into my schedule.

An institute is a week-long course on a given topic.  The course is coordinated by one instructor, but there are usually several "guest" instructors lending their expertise.  There are several courses happening at the same time.

The course I chose to start with was on Pennsylvania Research.  It was offered at LaRoche college in Pittsburgh.  This is a small private college and our institute took over for the week.

We began with check-in on Sunday afternoon.  Our accomodations were dorm rooms and we ate in the school cafeteria.  We had a welcome session on Sunday evening where we got to know the instructors and fellow students.

Classes began first thing Monday morning and continued all day with a couple of small breaks, and a break for lunch.  In the evening, we could work on homework (yes, there was homework!), attend some optional genealogical lectures, or just mingle with other genealogists.

There are also some informal get-togethers of other groups while we're there.  For example, people who had completed ProGen study met for lunch one day.

One evening I took a walk around campus.  It is in a lovely hilly area north of Pittsburgh.  And, as a bonus, there is a cemetery on the grounds.

We finished at noon on Friday.  I came home that week a little tired, but having made new friends, and ready to dig into my Pennsylvania families. 


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Society Saturday - The Suffragists

At a recent fundraising luncheon for another DAR chapter in the area, we were entertained by Annette Baldwin who portrayed several suffragists in "The Long Road to Victory".

She began as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and talked about how women in 19th century America had no rights of their own.  She told of meeting Susan B. Anthony and planning the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.

Then, a quick costume change (while she continued to talk), and she became Susan B. Anthony.  As Susan, she told us how she had tried to cast a vote but was arrested and fined for doing so.  She gave portions of each ladies' speeches in their own words.

Next, she moved into the 20th century and portrayed Alice Paul.  As Alice, she told us about the Women's March in Washington in 1913, the silent pickets outside the White House, and being jailed at Occoquan Workhouse.

Finally, she spoke as Carrie Chapman Catt.  Carrie used different approaches with each state based on their political climate to help pass the 19th Amendment and later founded the League of Women Voters.

It was a nice overview of several suffragists.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 15

Well, those were the last letters that I have from Henry.  He must have returned to duty, because in November, his parents received this telegram:

Deeply regret to inform you that it is officially reported that Private Henry Steinbrecker Infantry died Oct. seventeenth of wounds received in action.

His body was returned home and he is buried in the Pettisville Lutheran Cemetery near his parents, grandparents, and brother John.

There was a small write-up about him (along with other Fulton County Casualties) in the Standard History of Fulton County, Ohio.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 14

More letters asking about the harvest and school.  Henry is still apparently with his second company although it is hard to tell if he has left the hospital and returned to duty.

He had some pictures taken in uniform and is sending them home.

France Sept. 15, 1918
Dear Parents,
Will try and write you a few lines this Sunday morning and sure is a lovely one could not wish for a finer morning. No doubt you people are all going to church today, sure would enjoy it very much if I could be with again and hear one of Rev. Bunge’s sermons for I have not heard a good sermon for a long time. I intend to attend the services here this morning but they not like our Minister.
Had some photos taken of myself and will enclose three in this letter mail one to Marie and the others you can have unless you want to give Wills one but don’t forget one belongs to you Arthur.
I am fine and dandy getting back to myself again weighed 173 a few days ago that is nearly my average weight again.
Hope you will get them O.K. I will send some of them to Rosa for I have three of them left over.
How is everybody by this time and is Grandmother able to up the same as usual don’t for to tell her that I send her my Best Wishes.
Do you hear how Coles’ and Clara and their families are getting along this summer. How do you like school by this time? I bet you are studying like a good fellow. With Love and Best wishes.

France Sept 19 1918
Will try write a few lines before going to dinner as it is nearly time to eat once again. I would like to have dinner with you folks again but this is impossible just now so we will have to wait a little longer. Come to think of it Lorenz had another birthday if I am not mistaken he is 20 yrs. Old now. Is he still working in Hammond?
Hope you folks are all enjoying the best of good health the same as I am.
You need not be alarmed if you do not hear from me so frequently as you have in the past month or so. You should have received at least two (2) letters each week in that time. Also some photo’s last week in a letter hope you have received them O.K. had some taken that perhaps you would like to get a glimpse of me. You must not expect to see a model of anything of that sort for it is just my own self the same as always A little more fleshy then I was about four weeks before that, this short rest helped me a great deal and I weight nearly as much as other summers and feeling fine so you must be a real good boy.
With love and best wishes

France Sept 27, 1918
Dear Parents & Arthur,
Friday afternoon and have nothing else to do just now so I thot perhaps you would be glad to get a few lines from me for a change.
Hoping this will find you all well and happy the same as I am at present. I sure would be glad to receive a letter from you, for it is a long time since I got a letter from any one. I expect to get where some of my mail is in a few days, and sure ought to have quite a bunch of it by this time.
I suppose you are going to school and studying like a good fellow. How are the parents getting on this summer? I hope the rheumatism is not bothering them so much this summer as usual.
Do you get to see Wills very often? Give them my best wishes, I will try and write them a letter in a short time for news is quite scarse with me at present.
Suppose you all had a ood time at the fair this year I wish that I could have been there with you. I want you to be careful and not eat too much turkey for Thanksgiving. With Love and Best Wishes to all.

He must realize how long the mail takes, because he is asking about the Thanksgiving turkey and it is only September.

Again, note the censors mark in the corner.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Military Monday - Letters from Henry part 13

The next few letters are about everyday things.  Henry asks about the harvest and gives Arthur some advice about school.  Remember, Arthur was the youngest of his siblings and would be  twelve years old in 1918.

Arthur Steinbrecher (1906-1989)

France Sept. 5, 1918
Dear Parents & Arthur,
How is the world using you all by this time!
No doubt you will be going to school by the time this letter reaches you. If you study real hard you will soon finish the country school and then you can go to high school and study for some professor. How would you like that.
Do you have any melons this year? If you do don’t forget to eat some for me. And also pumpkin pie. What ever you do don’t over eat for it might make you sick.
I suppose you have threshed the grain by this time and had a good yield.
This pen is getting stubby the ink don’t want to feed at all. I wrote a letter to Rosa and told her if she did not need the money that Dad has from me to let Father use it another year.
But if she needs it I suppose it belongs to her for she comes first in that.
How is Grandmother by this time same as always I suppose.
News is getting scarse with me whatever you do, don’t eat too much chicken for thanksgiving dinner. Will quit for this time. With love and best wishes to all,

He mentions his sister Rosa.  She was 2 years younger than he was and had been married for 8 years to Fred McQuillin.   All I could find was a picture of her in 1980 age 88.

Rosa Steinbrecher McQuillin (1892-1980)

France Sept 8 1918
Dear Parents
Sunday noon just had dinner and so you know I am all set till this evening.
Only wish I could enjoy one of those real home cooked meals again for they sure would hit the spot. I see in the paper that joy riding on Sunday with the auto’s was to stop in order to save gasoline for the army trucks here in France.
So I suppose you will have to ride your bicycle instead.
What are you doing to pass all of your time?
Bet you are working like a real man, digging spuds, cutting corn, and helping the neighbors thresh.
I am busy resting for the present but this is about to an end again and then it will be a different story. For my wound is nearly healed up.
Have a little sore throat and they wanted to remove my tonsils, but I will keep them a little longer, unless they trouble me too much then out they come.
I am going to an entertainment this afternoon at one of the wards, have to go and spend some of the time for it is too lonesome staying in the town all day long.
How is Rosa and her children getting on this summer? Bet they are growing like a weed, and Fred is he ale to keep working all time. The first time you see them don’t forget to say hello for me.
With love and best wishes,

France Sept. 12, 1918
Dear Parents & Arthur
Hope you are all well and happy the same as usual, only you might be a little more busy now then you have been for several months. for it is about time for the school to open again so it is dear old school days once more, how do like the walk to school each morning and back in the evening? I bet you don’t walk but ride your bicycle.
Hope you have a real good teacher and all mind him well for you know what usually happens to the naughty schollars they have to do extra study after school hours and that is not very nice.
How is the Ford doing by this time, and has Father learned to drive it yet? I bet he is a real speedster.
How do you go to church on Sunday for I see in the papers they want the people to stop using their motor on Sunday to save gasoline.
How is the weather this time of the year around there? Hot enough to make anyone loke for a shade tree I suppose it is not so hot here any more. Rained nearly all nght. Last evening we were at the movies at the Red Cross and when the pictures were about half finished the electric current went of and we had to go back without seeing it all. So you see they put one over us that time.
With love and best wishes,

Of course, the letters are all censored (note the stamp on the bottom corner of the envelope), so there isn't a lot of details about where the troops are.