Saturday, June 22, 2019

Society Saturday - Honoring our Military

The National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots is pleased to be able to present awards to our military trainees.

We offer medals to local JROTC and ROTC programs which are presented around the country by individual chapters.

In addition, we present awards to the military academies.  I had the opportunity to present two of these in person this year.

First, was the award at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  I was the invited guest at the Color Parade.  It was wonderful to see all the Midshipmen march by.  This was followed by lunch and the actual award ceremony.  DFPA awards a sword to the Midshipman that Excels in Knowledge of Naval Tactics.  This year's awardee was Midshipman Yash Khatavkar.  He plans to attend Stanford for graduate studies and go on to become a navy pilot.  He also received an award from the USAA for Community Service.

Midshipman Yash Khatavkar, NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy, Presenter from USAA

The following week, I traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to present an award to the Air Force Academy.  First, we toured the academy grounds where I saw the beautiful chapel and the visitors center.  We also watched the Thunderbirds practice their flyover for the actual commencement ceremony later that week.  We award an eagle and eaglet statue to the Cadet who Excels in all aspects of Political Science.  Our awardee was Cadet Lucas Beissner who also plans to attend Stanford.

NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy, Cadet Lucas Beissner, Colonel Cheryl Kearney

DFPA also presents awards at the Coast Guard Academy, West Point, and the Merchant Marine Academy, but I was unable to attend those this year.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Society Saturday - Wreath Laying for Jennie Hodgers/Albert Cashier

The Jennie Hodgers Tent (chapter) of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War conducted a wreath laying ceremony to honor our namesake - a unique individual who served her country.

Albert D.J. Cashier in November 1864 - from

Jennie Irene Hodgers was born in December 1843 in Clogherhead, Ireland.  She emigrated to the United States when she was young but very little is known about her early life.  When the Civil War broke out, she took on the identity of Albert D. J. Cashier and mustered into Company G of the 95th Illinois Infantry on September 7, 1862.  Albert and his unit fought in approximately 40 battles.  He was captured at Vicksburg but managed to escape.  He mustered out on August 17, 1865.

There were over 400 documented cases of women who disguised themselves as men in order to help the Union cause.  The reasons are varied - some felt a patriotic duty, some wanted the adventure, some wanted the $13/month pay (twice what a woman could make).  Because the enlistment physical examination was often cursory or even non-existent, it was fairly easy for the recruit to simply cut her hair, put on a pair of slacks, and talk with a deeper voice.  These women fought bravely alongside their male counterparts, then returned to their former lives as women after the war.

Jennie/Albert was different, though.  He continued to live as a man for the rest of his life.  Albert moved to Belvidere, IL, then to Saunemin, IL where he did odd jobs such as a farmhand, janitor, and lamplighter.  He retired to the Soldier and Sailor home in 1911 but was moved to the Watertown State Hospital when his mind deteriorated in 1913.  There, an attendant discovered his biologic gender while giving him a bath.

When word leaked out that a veteran was actually a woman, the US Government charged him with fraud in order to collect a pension.  Fellow soldiers from the 95th rallied to his defense and testified that Albert was indeed their former comrade and he was allowed to continue receiving his pension.

Albert Cashier died on 11 October 1915.  He was buried in his uniform with full military honors.

The wreath laying ceremony was held in the Sunny Slope Cemetery in Saunemin, IL. 

Taps are played by Master Chief Mary Arvidson USN(Ret)
It concluded with the playing of taps.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Society Saturday - Visiting the Order

As National President of the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, I was invited to attend the banquet of our male counterpart, the Order of Founders and Patriots of America.

Virgina DFPA President Wanda Russo, OFPA Governor General Richard Wright, DFPA National President Kimberly Nagy
Both groups have similar membership requirements requiring an unbroken male line to a colonial founder of our country with a Revolutionary War patriot along the line.

Their annual meeting was in Richmond, Virginia.  I took advantage of the location and arrived early to spend a few days at the Library of Virginia to work on a couple of brick walls.

The banquet was at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond.  The evening started with a parade of flags representing all the state chapters of OFPA.

Color Guard in Uniform

Following dinner, there was an awards presentation, and of course, opportunities for photos.

The ladies at the dinner - mostly wives plus 2 DFPA members

Representatives of Virginia and National OFPA and DFPA

The Governor General of the Order and I are attempting to increase collaboration between our organizations and we are looking forward to future opportunites for joint ventures.

Monday, March 04, 2019

#52 Ancestors - Bachelor Uncle

Lyman Hill was my great-great-Uncle.  He was the brother to Great-Grandfather C.T. Hill.  He never married, and I don't know a lot about him.

Lyman was born on 25 August 1871 in Clark Co, IL.  He was the third son of William Dennis and Sarah Ellen (Forester) Hill.  His older brothers were Harry Oliver Hill, born 1867 and Charles Taylor Hill, born 1869.  He also had a younger sister, Maude, born in 1880.

Lyman can be found living with his parents in 1880 and 1900 in Clark County.  In 1880 they were in rural Johnson township but had moved to the town of Casey by 1900.  We lose track of Lyman after that - until 1913, the Marshall Herald  runs this on November 19 -

So, we're not sure where he has been for 10 years, but family lore states that he was off to seek his fortune - perhaps in the Alaskan gold rush.

At some point around 1917, he was down in Rush, Arkansas with his brother C.T. working at the Red Cloud mine.

I was able to find a couple of newspaper notices about him trading land lots to his sister Maude (now married to William Kimlin) in 1926.  This would most likely be a result of their inheritance from their father William D Hill who died in 1925.  The two older brothers had already died.

Lyman again appears in 1940 where he is living with his sister, her husband and their daughter Doris in Casey.  The census notes that he had been living at the same house - 108 Adams St - in 1935 as well.  Of note, this is the house that William D. Hill owned when he died.  I have been unable to find Lyman in the 1910, 1920 or 1930 census.

The last mention of Lyman in the newspaper is in April 1954 when he quit claims a deed to his sister for land in Johnson Township - the rural land owned by their late father.

Lyman died on 24 May 1954 and lies buried in Slusser cemetery, Johnson township, Clark County, IL near his parents, brother Harry, and 3 of his grandparents.

Monday, February 25, 2019

#52 Ancestors - At the courthouse....

I first started researching my family in 1977 - this was long before the internet.  Back then, we had to research in libraries, archives, and courthouses.  I still enjoy researching in courthouses - you never know what gems you'll find there.
Marion County, AR courthouse

A few months ago, I took a research trip to Yellville, Arkansas.  I was traveling with my second cousin who had done a little research but all online.  At the Clerk's office we met "Miss Martha" who let us into the vault.
The records were truly in a vault

My cousin was excited to actually touch the record books. 

And I enjoyed all the miscellaneous records - not to mention the smell of the old documents!

I can't wait until my next trip to a courthouse!

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