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I'll try to post site updates, new information, or about life in general as things happen. ~ Deb
|Posted on July 12, 2016 at 11:10 PM||comments (1)|
For a year and a half, I worked at Isett Heritage Museum in Huntingdon, PA. In many ways, it was an ideal job for this genealogy loving history buff! I loved being surrounded by the local history items and daily reminders of days gone by.
One of my favorite pieces in the collection was an unusual pillow, hand-crafted and hand-stitched in 1905 by the students at the Marklesburg Normal School. The pillow had been donated to the museum by Elaine Fisher in memory of her mother, Grace Irene (Morningstar) Fisher (1927-2011). Irene was the daughter of Howard Dewey Morningstar (1898-1957) and Sarah Grace Stone (1903-1973).
In 1905, during the summer session, 52 teachers in training created a very special keepsake of their time at the Marklesburg Normal School in Penn Township, Huntingdon County, PA. During the school year, the Marklesburg School housed grades one through eight, and was opened to young adults who wanted to further their eduction over the summer months. The Normal School was affiliated with Juniata College.
Each soon-to-be-educator signed the pillow in stitches, and some included their hometown too. The signatures on the pillow include:
You can learn more about other students and instructors of the Marklesburg School by clicking on the link.
This special pillow is a lasting legacy of not only a special group of young men and women, but of an unique education program that operated within the Woodcock Valley.
Two years ago, my son and I were fortunate enough to attend a public auction in Marklesburg, where they sold a box of teacher's manuals and student books from the Marklesburg Normal School. Being a former teacher, book lover, and history buff, I couldn't pass up the books. Many of the books have local names inside. I will write about them in a future blog post.
Are you wondering about now how many jobs I've had? LOL I have finally found my forever job - accounting is for me!!!!
|Posted on August 1, 2015 at 8:55 PM||comments (1)|
So, I'm sure some of you are probably wondering if I am still alive - the answer to that question is: "Yes, I am!"
The winter was quite rough for me. First, my desktop computer crashed where I housed all of my genealogy and family photos. Thanks to an external hard drive, I only lost a handful of names from my family tree database. The computer experts were able to salvage my hard drive and encase it, so that I can use it as an external drive on my laptop to access my photos. Unfortunately, I did lose all of my genealogy e-mail contacts.
Then, this spring, my long time e-mail address provider, pennswoods.net shut down, forcing me to get a new e-mail. Unfortunately, I couldn't even contact everyone to let them know I had a new e-mail address due to the computer crash! So, anyone trying to contact me at email@example.com - please use the contact me button to the left for my new e-mail address.
Given all of my technology issues, I just haven't been doing a lot of genealogy work lately. I have been collecting items to share, but just haven't found the time to put them up. I have been working almost every weekend to top things off.
I finally had a Saturday off today, and my son and I hightailed it for a nearby auction! The auction was for the estate of the late Bonnie Brumbaugh Frijters. I first met Bonnie when I did my student teaching in the Juniata Valley School District. I was drawn to her estate sale by a family history book. Traveling to auctions with my 6 year old son in tow is never easy, but if you arm him with enough snacks, I can usually get a few good hours out of him.
Today's haul secured two new history books for my personal collection. The first book was Genealogy of the Descendants of Theobald Fouse (Fauss) Including Many Other Connected Families by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh and John Garner Fouse, published in 1914.
The second book I purchased was Recollections of Bygone Days in the Cove, Volumes 1-11 by Ella M. Snowberger published from 1933-1943.
Both of the books are valuable research tools for anyone with family ties to the Woodcock Valley. The Fouse and Brumbaugh families both had ties to the Morrison's Cove area before moving into the Woodcock Valley.
And, I couldn't leave the auction without one of Bonnie's paintings. Bonnie was quite an artist and musician. She loved all of the arts. Being a cat lover, this was the perfect piece of artwork for me to bring home.
|Posted on March 4, 2015 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
I often go to eBay and just type in a specific search relating to local history to see what comes up. Some days are just luckier than others. In mid-February, I found a photo that was eerily familiar to me. At the time, I couldn't explain why, but the price was right and I bought it. I took a look at what else the seller had for sale and found some other old photos that had great subject matter and I bought several more.
The photo that eerily caught my eye, Mary (Anderson) Snively
I continued to wait anxiously for my purchase over the next several days and continued to reflect on why the photo seemed so familiar to me. After several days of not receiving any shipment confirmation, I contacted the eBay seller. It turns out she had sent me an e-mail, which I had not received, telling me she had more photos from the same estate to post. Through e-mail, I found out that the previous owners of the photos had moved to Florida, and she put me in contact with them.
After a reply e-mail from the previous owners of the photos, it became quite clear why the photo was eerily familiar to me...because she was a member of my family! Meet Mary (Anderson) Snively, whose photo was already on my website! No wonder she seemed so familiar!!! Through e-mail correspondence, I found out that all of the photos posted on eBay were most likely related to the Anderson family. So, I contacted the seller and purchased all of the remaining photos to share here in hopes that they can all be identified some day.
The photos belonged to Eva Margaretta (Stone) Thompson (1904-1996). She was the daughter of an unknown Stone father and Anna Eleanor Anderson (1879-1968]. Her mother then married Raymond Orland Rinker (1885-1968]. Together, they had four more children. Eva married William C. Thompson (1901-1984), and they had ten children.
Eva Margaretta (Stone) Thompson and her mother, Anna Eleanor (Anderson) Rinker
The lineage starts with the oldest portrait of Henry Anderson (1842-1910) and his wfie, Mary Jane (Grubb) Anderson (1841-1918].
Henry and Mary Jane (Grubb) Anderson
Eva's mother, Anna Eleanor, was the youngest daughter of Henry and Mary Jane. It is believed that most of the photos in the Eva (Stone) Thompson Family album are most likely from the Anderson side of the family. Only a few of the photos were labeled or known, and indications are that they are probably related to the Anderson side of the family.
So, what is my connection to these people? My great, great grandmother, Ruhama A. (Anderson) Norris (1846-19194) was the sister of Henry Anderson above. AND, my great aunt, Sarah Blanche (Fisher) Rinker (1889-1975) married Leslie Frank Rinker, a brother of Raymond Orlando Rinker. See why I love genealogy so much - especially in the Woodcock Valley? I am connected to this group of photos on both my father's maternal and paternal sides.
What makes this find even more interesting is that Ruby (Shirk) Keller shared some of these exact same photos with me in her album, Ruby Shirk Keller Collection, including this photo of the Anderson Family.
The Anderson Family
Also included in some of Ruby's photos were a photo of Anna Eleanor (Anderson) Rinker and a Stone family. The original owner of the family would love to learn more about who Eva Margaretta Stone's father might have been. Could he be in one of Ruby's photos?
I am thrilled to take possession of these photos, but would be ecstatic if others could help me identify some of the unknown photos. At least two of the photos appear to be sisters with their spouses and children. If you have information, please comment or contact me.
|Posted on January 12, 2015 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
It has been a while since I've blogged; I never meant for it to be so long! I'm still alive and well. 2014 was a rough year for me personally, but it was also a year of wonderful new beginnings.
After teaching for 15 years in public education, I decided I would never last for 15 more years. It was a promise that I had always made to myself - that if it ever stopped being fun that I would get out. It was time to get out! I found myself no longer liking the direction public education was taking me, I was being bullied by a supervisor who personally hated me, and I had a son about to enter the public school system, so it was time for me to make my exit. On June 13, 2014, I made my resignation official and spent a few days enjoying life and pondering my future.
As I job searched, I had been envisioning myself in an office setting doing computer work. However, by the end of June, I had secured employment in a surprising turn of events with just a letter on a whim. Knowing my love of local history, I decided to send a letter to Isett Heritage Museum to let them know of my availability, thinking perhaps I could get a job for the summer until I found a position in an office setting. However, little did I know, but Isett Heritage Museum was looking for a full time person to work beisde their office manager! It was a match made in Heaven! I started my new career on July 3, 2014. I am now surrounded by local history and history in general on a daily basis. It is just a dream come true! I never thought I would get paid to do something I love so much!!!
On Thursday, January 8, 2015, I was working at Isett Heritage Museum, and waiting with much anticipation on some new items to arrive at the museum. You see, it is not at all unusual for new donations to come in. However, I knew about these items in advance and it was like Christmas day as I waited for them to arrive from Montana. If you have followed my blog posts, you know how much I love to research the Isett family. So, it was with such eagerness that I anxiously awaited the arrival of a Civil War sword that had been passed down through the Isett family!
The sword was made in 1862 by Mansfield & Lamb of Forestdale, Rhode Island. The sword was most likely carried by Matthew G. Isett (1838-1863), who served as a 1st Sergeant with Co. C of the 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry. He was killed in the Wheatfield during the Battle of Gettysburg. We know from a letter written by local survivors that they removed his body from the battlefield, and most likely took his sword with them at that time. Matthew's brother, George Washington Isett (1844-1915), was also wounded in the Wheatfield that same fateful day. It is quite possible George brought the sword back home with him when he was discharged due to his injuries.
Matthew G. Isett
Along with the Civil War sword, the family members also brought an antique Isett family photo to put on display along with the sword. The photo is of Matthew Isett's younger brother, John A. Isett (1851-1919) and his wife, Rachel (Walb) Isett (1851-1935). John and Rachel had two children: Gertrude and James Guy. It is from James Guy Isett that the founder of Isett Heritage Museum decends.
John A. and Rachel (Walb) Isett
It is amazing to me that a Civil War sword can survive the test of time and remain within a family such as this one has done. We can only assume that it was Matthew Isett's since he was a first sergeant and his brother George was only a private. However, there is no markings on the sword other than the manufacturer's mark to prove the theory. The oral history has not survived either other than it has been passed down through the family. Legend has it that a uniform also exists, but it has not surfaced so far. Regardless, it is a cherished piece of American history that will soon be on display at Isett Heritage Museum - a place where I am now proud to call home!
|Posted on June 22, 2014 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
The Huntingdon County Historical Society held their first Civil War Living History Weekend on June 7 and 8, 2014 at the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds. The event hosted various reenactment groups including members of Company C of the 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company C of the 125th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Battery B Artillery from Boalsburg, Dr. Hayden portraying a Civil War surgeon, the Aughwick Civil War Roundtable, and Irvin Myers the auther of "We Might as Well Die Here."
I have visited Gettysburg countless times, but have never really been to a living history event or even any sort of reenactment before. So, this was all new to me. My son was eager to visit with just the mention of guns. It was hard to explain to an almost five year old what the Civil War was all about. He wanted to know who the bad guys were. I just explained it as there were no bad guys; just men with a difference of opinion trying to work everything out. It was a sad time for everyone.
Here is a photo of my husband, son, and local reenactor, Bob Stewart.
I was most excited to see men in uniform representing Company C of the 53rd P. V. I. Many of my ancestors fought in this company, as did many others representing the Woodcock Valley. You can learn more about this company by visiting my Company C of the 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry page.
The flag for the 53rd at their encampment.
Mike Espenshade with Company C of the 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry spent many hours at the Historical Society trying to learn more about the men from Huntingdon and Blair Counties who joined Co. C of the 53rd back in 1863. He and his men have a genuine interest in learning more about the men they portray. Their encampment was a popular spot for visitors who stopped to talk to the men and share information about their family members who had served with Co. C of the 53rd. For me, two immediate names come to mind: Samuel Wilson Norris and Matthew G. Isett.
Members of Co. C of the 53rd P. V. I. enjoying a moment of camp life at lunch time.
One piece of history on display from the Huntingdon County Historical Society was the GAR roster from Co. C of the 125th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, often referred to as the "Bible Company." I never realized how deeply rooted in Huntingdon County history this company was prior to the Living History weekend.
The sign-up roster for Co. C of the 125th was on display during the Living History Weekend compliments of Karl Lang. The roster shows the local names.
After seeing the public interest in the local names of those who served in "The Bible Company," I have started a page dedicated to Company C of the 125th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The page will chronicle the company's formation, movement, and battles, as well as list those who served in the company with some personal information on as many as possible. As always, photographs are welcomed. The photos can be linked to the individual names and group photos can be included on the page. If you have photos to contribute or additional information, please complete a Roll Call form for Co. C of the 125th. I also created a new photo album titled Faces of the 125th PVI that contains photos and letters of the men from the 125th.
Finally, no Civil War Living History Weekend would be complete without the sound of cannons filling the air. I think this was probably one of my son's most favorite parts of the event. The men of Battery B did such a great job of answering his 50+ strange and completely random questions.
Overall, the Civil War Living History Weekend was very successful. There is already another one in the planning for 2015 that will hopefully be bigger and better with calvalry and more hands-on activities and exhibits. The goal is to then make this a biennial event.
|Posted on May 27, 2014 at 6:20 PM||comments (3)|
On Saturday, May 17, 2014, I took my son to his first public auction. I knew I would be on borrowed time with an almost five year-old in tow, but I was drawn to the local history books on the sale bill. To my surprise, he did incrediby well entertaining himself with his iPad, a new little friend he made in the auctioneer's grandson, and amusing the crowd around him. He quickly got into the swing of things and even tried to buy some things he wanted!
Thankfully, the local history books went up for sale very quickly, and I was able to get the book I really wanted by Albert Rung, which was volume I of Rung's Chronicles of Pennsylvania History. Next up, I bought my son a Tonka toy grader, which bought me a little more time.
As we were previewing the auction items, there were two other items that I knew I could not leave without. One was box K of photos and the other was photo album T. We waited and waited for them to be sold, and my son's ADHD was starting to kick in. I knew I was on thin ice, so I went and asked the owner to move them up to be sold quickly before those around me staged a revolt.
You see, in June 2010, I attended the estate auction of Charles Johnson in Entriken, where I purchased his obituary collection. However, there were many boxes of photos sold that I did not get. I earlier told my tale of woe and regret at losing out on the photos before I started this website. Well, guess what...the box of photos I had really wanted resurfaced, alive and well, and still intact! It had to be mine!!! One of the photos in the box was labeled with my maiden name of Fisher, which is still a mystery work in progress. This time, I got the box of photos, and while most are unknown, they will eventually be scanned and shared here.
The other item I knew I had to have was the one photo album that was almost completely labeled. I immediately recognized all of the names in the album as belonging to the Woodcock Valley. I paid a premium price, but I had to get this album to share with everyone. After purchasing it, I asked the owner how he had come by it. He said someone had brought it into his shop wanting to sell it; presumably a family member.
The photo album is a black album with black pages most likely dating from the 1920s or 1930s. It contains photos of the David S. Johnston family. David S. Johnston was born in 1839, a son of William and Elizabeth (Shultz) Johnston. He married Hannah Mentzer. Hannah was born in 1851. David died in 1925 and Hannah in 1939. They were the parents and grandparents of the following:
1. David Elliott Johnston was born in March 1871 and died in 1947 in Huntingdon. He married Bessie Woods, 1880-1960. They were the parents of:
It is uncertain which family or home this might be. The house is very large, and the children's ages do not quite work out correctly to be any of the Johnston children we know of. Perhaps there are more children or grandchildren than I know about.
Here was another interesting photo, where the images were imposed over what appeared to be a newspaper article.
Marjorie (Shollar) Lewis Pratt and Helen C. Johnston, cousins
To see the entire Johnston Photo Album collection, click on the link. Every photo in the album is included except for a few photos of the interior view of the house above and some landscape views that were not labeled. If a photo is not identified, then it was not labeled in the book and the person is not known. As always, if you have additional information on the family or can identify a photo, please feel free to comment on this blog post or on an individual photo!
|Posted on February 21, 2014 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
Riverview Cemetery is a large cemetery located in Huntingdon Borough. The cemetery is maintained by borough employees. If you are lucky enough to find the caretaker, you can sometimes luck out and be allowed to visit the office, where you can view the origianl burial cards. The cemetery sits atop a hill over looing Stone Creek and is the resting place for some of Huntingdon's most notorious families.
The cemetery is a maze of gravestones that covers several city blocks. The roadways are narrow, steep, and confusing. The tombstones sometimes are just as confusing to newcomers, because at first glace, they appear to be turned every which way! Due to the size of the cemetery, no one has ever really taken on the monumentous task of transcribing the entire cemetery. One student did a portion of the cemetery for part of his Eagle Scout project a number of years ago.
It has always been a goal of mine to transcribe the cemetery, but it is an undaunting task. It would be much more realistic to be given access to the records and to type those up rather than trying to read the tombstones. Fortunately, so many records are now available on-line through the generous donations of others and sites such as Find-a-Grave and Billion Graves.
This week, Larry Wilson, shared two Excel spreadsheets with me that list over 8,000 burials in Riverview Cemetery. I am not quite sure where he acquired this list, but he granted permission for me to share this information with others. So, I created a Riverview Cemetery transcription page on the website to share his information.
|Posted on February 2, 2014 at 9:30 AM||comments (0)|
Over the last few months, several of our members have been submitting aricles relating to surnames specific to the Woodcock Valley to the Family Histories area of the website.
This page is broken down by family surname. So far, here are the entries available:
Thompson and Forshey Families
Family Historical Record by Isaiah Thompson, 1915
If you have a thoroughly researched family history story that you would like to share, you can e-mail it to me for inclusion on the Family Histories page.
|Posted on October 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
Recently, I put an e-mail out to all of my fellow Isett researchers when Family Tree DNA announced that they were lowering the cost of their Family Finder DNA test. Valene Woolridge and I have communicated over the years about her husband's connections to the Isett family, and she decided to do testing on several members of her family, including her husband.
I was ecstatic when I realized that Valene's husband was submitting a Family Finder test. He descends through Charlotte "Lottie" Regina Young, a daughter of David and Mary J. (Isett) Young and a granddaughter of Simon and Caroline (Beamer) Isett. Simon Isett (1806-1877) was a son of Jacob and Sarah Isett. Jacob Isett was born in 1780 and died in 1853. Jacob Isett's parents are unknown. Jacob resided in the Sinking Valley and Frankstown areas of Blair County.
I was hoping so hard that Robert Woolridge's Family Finder test results would either connect him to my husband, a descendant of James K. Isett (1813-1863), or to a fellow researcher who descends from the immigrant son, Jacob Isett (abt. 1725-bef. 1790). Sadly, Robert's test results did not show a connection to either Isett line. However, Family Finder test reults are very "hit or miss" once you get past third cousin status. So, there could still be a connection, but it just was not picked up due to genetic distance.
HOWEVER, even though I am DNA cursed, all was not lost!!! Robert Woolridge also did a y-DNA test. Interestingly, just like in my own testing experiences, he had no y-DNA Woolridge matches. His Woolridge line dead ends with Stephen Woolridge (b. abt. 1800), who lived in Franklin County, PA. Members of his family eventually moved to Blair County, PA. Robert's y-DNA did match some Ginter family members. Here is where it gets interesting!
I know one Ginter, who attends my church. So, I asked him for some family information, and he was able to give me enough to get me started. On a whim, I started researching his line and the Ginter family in Huntingdon and Blair Counties in PA. In Huntingdon County, I quickly found myself in a geographic area that I am familiar with that relates to my mother's family. As I continued my research on the Ginter family, all of a sudden, the light bulb went off in my blonde head! My third great-grandmother's name was Angeline Ginther (1839-1920), who married John Kinch (1831-1894). Here I was in the same geographical area, and I just knew her name was Ginter, with Ginther as a variation!!! Sure enough, I researched her line, which I had somehow avoided up until this point, and found that her father was John Conrad Ginter (1791-1865), who connects to the man from my church and the people Robert Woolridge is matching from the Ginter family.
To make a long story short, it turns out Robert Woolridge and I are related (somehow) through Ginter blood! Here I was hoping for a connection to my husband or my long time research friend, and it turns out I am the one related! Not only am I related to Robert, but I am also related to the man in my church with the last name of Ginter! Through this process, I have came in contact with other Ginter researchers who have ties to Huntingdon and Blair Counties, and also to Bath County, Kentucky. The Ginter family is large and complex. We still do not know Robert Woolridge's exact spot in the Ginter family, but we will continue to research and look for clues. I greatly appeciate receiving Valene Woolridge's permission to share her husband's test results and how they took me full circle with DNA testing. We are all in amazement by this turn of events.
Is the Isett family still my nemesis? Yes! Do I still consider myself to be DNA cursed? Yes! However, this is has been one amazing DNA journey, and it is rather awesome how this one turned out!
|Posted on September 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM||comments (0)|
Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Anita Palmer. Her father, Albert F. Breitweiser, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps at Camp S-61 Diamond Valley in Huntingdon County.
Albert joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in September 1933 and worked three terms of six months each before leaving the CCC. At first, he worked as a laborer at Diamond Valley. However, when the camp leader found out he had been an Eagle Scout and was well versed in first aid, he was put in charge of the camp hospital!
Albert Breitweiser is shown in the photo above in his hospital uniform, on the stairs of the camp hospital.
Albert kept a note book full of names and addresses of those who he worked with, or who visited the camp hospital. Many of the names on the list include enrollees from Erie and Pittsburgh. There are also some local names.
I have added the names from Albert's journal to the list of Civilian Conservation Corps Workers.
In 1983, Albert was interviewed by the Erie Times newspaper about his experiences working for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Anita also shared other photos that were in her father's collection from his days at Camp S-61 Diamond Valley. You can see the photos in the Civilian Conservation Corps Photo Album, along with other submitted photos from the various camps in Huntingdon County.
In closing, much appreciation goes out to Anita for sharing her father's photos, memories, journal, and history. If you know someone who worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, anywhere in the US, please share his name using the CCC Roll Call form. I am always happy to add new names and photos!