Monday, December 29, 2014

This photograph of a Christmas Tree has been a bit of a puzzle for me over the years.  I came across it when I was sorting through some of the boxes from my grandparents, David and Iva Johnson.  Right away I noticed the small banner with the star hanging on the wall.  This indicated that it must have been sometime during the Second World War.  But no one in my grandparents household went off to war then, so where could this have been?  Grandma Johnson had several brothers-in-law that were in the service, but only two of them were married to her sisters during the war--Jack Crabtree and John Marsden.  Then again, it could be from Grandpa Johnson's side of the family, but who?  Grandpa and his brother John were both in WWI, Alfred was in the army during the 1930's but not during the war.  Then it dawned on me--maybe its from one of his aunts who did have son's in the war.  Perhaps Hazel Walz. 

So, I put the image on Facebook and asked my cousins--specifically a Marsden and a Walz.  Sure enough, with a bit of discussion amongst several of Hazel Walz's grandchildren it was confirmed!  The tree was at Hazel Walz's house in Grass Lake, Michigan.  Her son, Victor Walz was the first of three of her sons to serve their country during that conflict. Cousin Margie Walz had the banner that belonged to Aunt Hazel showing three stars!

Isn't social media amazing sometimes.  I've been invited to attend the Walz Reunion next summer.  I hope I can make it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Family Traditions......Quilting, Reunions and such!

Today. I'm preparing for a trip back home to Michigan and am filled with much excitement.  I was home last fall for my sisters wedding and was happy to see many members of my family, mostly immediate relatives at the time.  However, on this trip, I'll be able to visit with a larger group of my relatives because I'll be attending the Carley Family Reunion for the first time in more than twenty years. 
At the wedding, I was able to have a wonderful conversation with my great-aunt Esther Carley Marsden.  Esther is my grandmothers sister.  When my great-grandmother Anna Smith Carley was living, all of her descendants were presented with a homemade quilt shortly after their birth, my sisters and I included.  But over the years some of these precious family made quilts have come up missing.  The whereabouts of my quilt--who knows, I can't remember seeing it since before high school.  This subject came up in our conversation and aunt Esther said that she had just finished a quilt.  I was thinking in my head--"Boy would I love a quilt made by aunt Esther."  As we talked I asked if we could make arrangement for her to make me a new quilt.  She said we certainly could talk about forward....I return to Pittsburgh and put this all in the back of my head.  Then last month this box arrived at my door.  It contained this amazing quilt from aunt Esther.  Wow!  just my favorite colors too--shades of purple, lavender and blues.  Now I have one of those beautiful handmade pieces of history in my home.  Picture above is a snapshot from about 1955-56 that shows a gathering of family members tying a quilt in at my great-grandmothers dining room.  Shown are (l to r) Richard Wetzel, Sandy Grinnell (little girl), Iva Carley Johnson, Clara Carley Hanchon, Ila Carley Hartley, Joyce Carley Wetzel, Mike Wetzel and Anna Smith Carley.

Each time I look at my new quilt I'm reminded how much the women of the Carley family have always given each of us such love and care.  Thanks aunt Esther.  BTW: she will be 90 years old soon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

--Independence Day and American Patriots--

It is Independence Day and I can't help but to recall the wonderful family gatherings we had on this day as a child.  My parents and the five of us younger kids would often find ourselves at Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bob Wetzel's for a day of picnicking and game playing.  Particularly vivid is 1976 and the Bicentennial.  I remember being glued to the television to witness the celebrations that where happening around the country, Valley Forge, Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York.  Remembering the wagon train that set out from each state to head to Valley Forge--the organizers from Michigan had stopped at my elementary school and had all of us sign our names on a long scroll that they would take with them, so our names would be present at the celebration. Above is an image of President Gerald R. Ford, also a Michiganian, at Valley Forge that day.

Since that time, I have learned the names of 12 of my ancestors that fought on the side of Independence during the American Revolution.  So today, I would like to pause and honor these patriots: 

  • Elihu Allen of  Vermont, Captain Nathaniel Smiths Company and Captain James Brookings Company.
  • Andrew Balsley of New York, Captain Robert McKeans Company. 

  • John Bees(e) of New Jersey, Captain William Bond's Company. 

  • Edward Slocum Burling of New York, “Fighting Quaker Slocum Burling” of the Westchester County Malitia. 
  • Gideon Dunham of Connecticut, 5th Connecticut Line.

  • Nathaniel Grinnell of Rhode Island, Captain Daniel Vaughn's Company.

  • Thomas Galusha of New York and Massachusetts, Captain Eleaser Curtiss Company, Captain Isaac Bostick's Company, and Captain John Warner's Company. 

  • Levi Hickox of Massachusetts, Captain Lebbeus Ball’s Company. 
  • Eldad Holcomb of Massachusetts, Captain Samuel Thrall's Company.

  • Alexander McCreery of New York, Captain Humphrey's Company.

  • Jeremiah Reams [see also REEMS] of North Carolina, Colonel Allen Jones Regimen

  • Josiah Risdon of Vermont, Captain Nathaniel Smith's Company and Captain Tehan Noble's Company.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Discovery of Sarah Ann Galusha Young's Maiden Name!

For a long time I have been unclear as to the maiden name of my great-great-great grandmother Sarah Ann Galusha Young. The mystery has been resolved, at least in my mind. For over twenty years, I have referred to notes shared with me by an long gone uncle who provided me with the surname of Kelly for Sarah. Since then I have been looking for some document to verify the Kelly surname. Then when I found my gggrandmother, Ida Jane Galusha Hagaman's death certificate from 1939 sure enought it had her mother named as Sarah Kelly. Not long ago, I discovered that Sarah had also had a son named George A. Galusha who died in 1903 in Waterloo Township, Jackson County, Michigan. His death certificate gives his mothers name as Sarah Sweet. OK, someone was wrong here!
Today, while searching for documents related to Sarah's first husband Giles Galusha on Fold3, I think I have found the answer. Giles Galusha died while he was serving as a volunteer during the Civil War. Pension records that are posted on Fold3 confirm that Sarah's maiden name was Sweet. In fact, the records include so much more, they were married on 17 Sept 1851 in Woodstock Township, Lenawee County, Michigan by Rev. Henry Eastman, a Presbyterian clergymen. What a great discovery!
Giles Galusha (c1826-1865) & Sarah Ann Sweet (1833-1879) were the parents of at least 3 children:
1) Mary Galusha (sometimes Mariaetta or Mary Etta) (1852-after 1920)
wife of Amos White of Cement City, Jackson County, Michigan.
2) Ida Jane Galusha (1856-1939)
wife of George Henry Hagaman, who lived in Liberty, Leoni and Grass Lake Townships in Jackson County, Michigan.
3) George Alanson Galusha (1860-1903)
husband of Anna, who lived in Grass Lake and Waterloo Townships in Jackson, County, Michigan.
Giles Galusha died on 4 Jan 1865 in a soldiers hospital in Murfreesboro, TN and is buried in the Stones River National Cemetery.
Sarah Sweet Galusha remarried after the death of her first husband to Isaac S. Young. Sarah died in Somerset, Hillsdale County, Michigan on 19 Jan 1879 and is buried at the Somerset Center Cemetery.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Parentage of Jacob Hagaman (1816-1874) discovered

After years of searching for the parents of Jacob Hagaman I have recently been successful! Jacob Hagaman was my great-great-great Grandfather and one of the hardy souls who ventured west to settle in Michigan from the State of New York around 1855. Years ago I discovered the graves of Jacob and his wife Elizabeth in the Somerset Center Cemetery just behind the Somerset Center United Methodist Church. But trying to trace their ancestry has not been so easy.

Searching the census has been successful recently. I knew that my great-great Granfather, George Henry Hagaman was born in Litchfield, Michigan in 1857 and therefore confirmed with the 1860 Census that the family was living in Michigan. However, some of his older sibilings were listed as being born in New York--specifically 10 year old Mary. Searching for them in New York had not been very successful--for whatever reason I couldn't find a match even with attempting the various spellings of the name until finally this year I discovered them listed at HAGARMAN in Macedon, Wayne County, New York. Then to my surprise was a listing for the dwelling next to Jacob and Elizabeth for a John and Esther HAGARMAN. Looking at their ages, I concluded that indeed they could be his parents so I went further down the trail of looking for more info on the couple.

After searching the Wayne County (NY) Historian's page, I discovered that John and Esther were buried in the Walworth Cemetery in Wayne County and that Esther had executed a Last Will and Testament before her death in 1868. I requested a copy of this will and the wonderful folks at the Historian's Office sent me a photocopy within a few days. Here is the text of her will:

Last Will and Testament of Esther Hagaman

I, Esther Hagaman of Walworth, Wayne County and State of New York aged seventy years and upwards and being of sound mind and memory do make publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner following—that is to say—

First—I give and bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Jane Hagaman three hundred dollars. – To my other daughters Julia Monfort, Anna Maria Pratt, and Mary Duncan each the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars.

Second—I give and devise to my Grand Daughter Mary Hagaman daughter of my son Jacob of Litchfield Michigan, one feather bed.

Third—I give and bequeath all the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate goods and chattels of whatever kind or nature to all my children sons and daughters in equal proportions share and share alike.

Lastly, I hereby appoint my son Henry Hagaman of Sing Sing N. York executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time made.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of December 1860—

Esther Hagaman

The above instrument of one sheet of paper was at the date thereof signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Esther Hagaman as and for her last will and testament-in the presence of each other have subscribed our names thereto as witnesses—
Daniel Hoyt Walworth Wayne Co NY
J. R. Jones Jr. Walworth Wayne Co NY

Office of the County Historian, Wayne County, New York
Will Book L-1, page 389

So there is the proof I have been looking for..... "Mary Hagaman the daughter of my son Jacob of Litchfield Michigan. " I find it very interesting that not all of Esther's children are listed in her will and particularly that the daughters are the primary benefactors of the estate. Are there more male sibilings other than Jacob and Henry? We'll have to stand by on that one.

Thank you to the wonderful people at the Wayne County (NY) Historian's Office for posting the various indexes and tools on their website ( This was a huge help to me.

Jacob Hagaman (1816-1874) and Elizabeth (Bernhart) Hagaman's (1818-1890) children were:

1) Anna Maria Hagaman Hinkley (1846-1916)

2) Mary Hagaman Dailey (1851-aft. 1920)

3) Julia Hagaman Dailey (1853-1883)

4) George Henry Hagaman (1857-1939)

Known children of John Hagaman (c1780-1858) and Esther Hagaman (1784-1868) are:

-Jacob Hagaman, migrated to Michigan

-Henry Hagaman, lived in Sing Sing, New York

-Rebecca Jane Hagaman, lived in Walworth, Wayne County, New York (never married)

-Julia Hagaman Monfort, lived in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York

-Anna Maria Hagaman Pratt, lived near Arcadia, Wayne County, New York

-Mary Hagaman Duncan, (nothing known about her)

-Jane Hagaman, who died as an infant.

I would be delighted to hear from descendants of any of the Hagamans to compare finds.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the founding of Grinnell, Iowa

Yesterday while I was browsing through a few newspaper folders at the archives where I work, I discovered an 1854 issue of the Pittsburgh Christian Advocate, the official newspaper of the Methodist Episcopal denomination that covered western Pennsylvania, western Virginia (now West Virginia) and Eastern Ohio. Being very familiar with Methodist history in W. Pa., my interest was piqued to browse the issue because there certainly would be something in the paper that would be cool to read. I got to the bottom of page 2 and there it was--a notice of Josiah B. Grinnell's adventure in the west and the formation of Grinnell, Iowa. Many of members of the Grinnell clan will remember that it was Horace Greeley that said, "Go west young man" to Josiah B. Grinnell. Interesting that a notice about the activity of a Congregationalist minister would be covered in this western Methodist newspaper!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

James T. & Fannie M. (Randall) Grinnell of Convis Township

How wonderful it is to use the web when searching for information on your ancestors. You never know what you will discover.

Several months ago, I googled my great-grandfathers name--James T. Grinnell--and to my surprise I found a posting on a bulletin board. The person wrote that her family had something of interest to a descendant. So, I sent a message off to the author of the posting. Turns out that her mother had salvaged a group of correspondence from an auction years ago and were interesting in tracking down a family member to give the collection too.

I'm happy to report that Darla (the author of the bulletin board posting) directed her neice, Ashley to send the package of letters to me. They arrived two weeks ago and it has been such fun reading and sorting these treasures out. In all there are over 65 individual letters that were sent to James and Fannie over the time period of 1869 to 1892. Most of them were from relatives that moved away from their original home in Convis Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. Some of these relatives ended up in Kansas and Wisconsin. Additionally, James received letters from old school chums who were living in Oregon and Washington. Not only were there letters in the bunch but also a speech James had delivered at the Grange Hall in 1875 and a short composition on "Conversation" that Fannie had composed as a school girl.

What a treasure trove! I am so honored that Darla, Ashley and their family placed these valuable family archives in my care. I will attempt to transcribe and post some of the more interesting letters in the future. Until then, I hope you all will join in my excitement.

Pictured above is the James and Fannie Grinnell family taken about 1897. Here is a little bit about them:

James Talcot Grinnell (1850-1933), son of Ezra Grinnell and Charlotte Murray,
he married on December 16, 1875 Miss Fannie Maria Randall (1857-1933), the daughter of Theodore Randall and Maria Detterich.

Their Children were:

Eva Maria Grinnell Walkinshaw (1877-1965)
Amos Randall Grinnell (1880-1942)
Floyd James Grinnell (1882-1972)
Charlotte Arena Grinnell (1885-1938)

Harry Duane Grinnell (1892-1972)

Donald Ivan Grinnell (1895-1971)