Listening To Gravestones

While at the cemetery I did not recall Dr. Ladd. However my Granddaughter Nicole insisted that we take this picture. She said if it was a Ladd it must be family. She was right.

While at the cemetery I did not recall Dr. Ladd. However my Granddaughter Nicole insisted that we take this picture. She said if it was a Ladd it must be family. She was right.

One of the many things we did on a recent trip we took back to my hometown was to visit a couple of cemeteries. Since my wife’s family has been in the area since the 1700s and mine came to this area in the mid-1800s, it is a safe bet that you will find family in a high number of cemeteries. All of the stories you are about to read came from the Riverside Cemetery in the city of Plattsburgh, New York. We had gone there to try and find my Great Grandmother Bessie Bonnett LeClair’s gravesite. While we were there, we had many family members in residence vying for our attention. So for my wife, granddaughter, and myself the cemetery seemed to come alive, but perhaps it has always been so but I just never listened.

 

I wish in the above picture I had stood next to the Dr. Jedediah Ladd memorial stone so you could see how big it is. The stone stands out in this cemetery as it is one of the largest on the grounds. Jedediah Ladd is my wife’s first cousin three times removed. His father was a farmer. After Jedediah had finished with high school, he was to work on the family farm for a few years. Jedediah’s working on the farm may have been because his brother was 11 years younger than he was. In March 1875 Jedediah took up the study of medicine at the local practice of Dr. Nichols. The following March in 1876 he entered medical school in Burlington, Vermont from which he graduated in 1877. At that time he went into practice with Dr. F.H. Cole and was to work in the Plattsburgh area for about eight years. Jedediah then moved to New York City some 300 plus miles away in late 1885. While there he joined the staff of the Presbyterian Hospital where he stayed for 35 years, returning to Plattsburgh in 1920 due to ill health. It was stated in a newspaper article that he did take a postgraduate course while in New York City. Still by today’s standards a very fast track to becoming a medical doctor. His ill health was to overtake him in 1926 when he died at the age of 76. A newspaper article about his death noted that large multitudes of people attended his funeral as he was very popular.

This was obtained from the New York Library Digital Collection at no cost. This is where Dr. Ladd would spend 35 years of his life working.

This was obtained from the New York Library Digital Collection at no cost. This is where Dr. Ladd would spend 35 years of his life working.

 

The back gravestone is for baby Maynard Bonnett who died at six months. The front stone that simply reads Mother is my Great Grandmother Bessie's gravestone.

The back gravestone is for baby Maynard Bonnett who died at six months. The front stone that simply reads Mother is my Great Grandmother Bessie’s gravestone.

 

The life story of my Great Grandmother Bessie Barney Bonnett LeClair is still a work in progress. Bessie was born in 1882 the daughter of Mary Guyette and Solomon Barney. She married Abner Bonnett at the age of eighteen in 1900. She was to have six children in ten years. All lived to adulthood except Maynard who died just reaching six months old. Maynard died of pneumonia according to his one-sentence death notice in the newspaper. Her marriage to Abner ended in divorce. While I do not have the details I have copies of letters, Abner wrote to Bessie pleading for a reconciliation, stating “My wild oats are all sowed.”

This is my Great Grandmother Bessie at age 16.

This is my Great Grandmother Bessie at age 16.

August of 1918 was a very busy month for Bessie. She married William LeClair and gave birth to a baby boy. In a letter Bessie wrote to her oldest daughter fifteen days before her death, she stated that her baby was “getting fat” and would be seven weeks old in three days. She also wrote about a mutual friend who’s son died in the army. They have just brought his body back and that he died of “this new disease, Spanish Influenza.” She also spoke about painting and papering her residence. She was to die from this new disease on October 21, 1918. I do not know the name of her new baby or what was to happen to him. I have not as of yet been able to get any firm information on her new husband, William.

Plattsburgh newspaper dated ten days before the death of Bessie. Note the headlines on the right hand side all deal with the Flu outbreak.

Plattsburgh newspaper dated ten days before the death of Bessie. Note the headlines on the right hand side all deal with the Flu outbreak.

The gravestone of my wife's parents.

The gravestone of my wife’s parents.

Robert and Doris Monty Lyon are my wife’s parents. Robert served in the U.S. Army during World War Two in Italy. While in Italy he collected a Purple Heart Medal for “not keeping my rear end down.” This was something he found very humorous, and he was not seriously hurt. He also collected a Bronze Star of which he never spoke. When the war was over, he married Doris and went to work and school and earned himself a law degree from New York University. It was at this time they moved from the New York City area to Beekmantown, N.Y. some 300 miles north which was Doris’s hometown. He was very busy for some years setting up his law practice in a small town where he did not know anyone besides his in-laws. He even worked on the family’s dairy farm to help with expenses the first few years. A measure of his success was that the city and county courts and the county clerks office all closed early so all who wished could attend visitation hours at the time of his funeral.

From left to right, Doris Monty Lyon, daughter Sandra (my very young wife) and Robert Lyon. This was Sandy's 2nd birthday party.

From left to right, Doris Monty Lyon, daughter Sandra (my very young wife) and Robert Lyon. This was Sandy’s 2nd birthday party.

Doris was the daughter of a dairy farmer and knew her way around a farm. In fact, that is how she met Robert. Robert had come north on a camping vacation and spotted Doris driving a tractor and just had to meet her. She was, however, a very talented person who had graduated Normal School and became a teacher at the age of 17. Her first teaching assignment was a one room school house. The house my wife grew up in was an old gas station with an apartment above it, located in the country. It was Doris who remodeled this into a home. She did all of the carpentry work herself and most of the plumbing. They had a family friend who was an electrician do the electrical work. When Doris finished, they had a nice three bedroom home.

Archibald's gravestone. Born 1883 died 1925.

Archibald’s gravestone. Born 1883 died 1925.

Archibald Guyette died the same day William Jennings Bryan died. It seems the famous lawyer laid down to rest after dinner and died, so peacefully his wife who was reading never noticed. My distant cousin’s death was not to be peaceful. Archibald and a friend were a passenger in a Hudson Coupe that according to witnesses was being “wildly-driven” at a high rate of speed on the “new concrete highway” at Beekmantown.

This is as close as I could get to the type of car Archibald was riding in from the various reports.

This is as close as I could get to the type of car Archibald was riding in from the various reports.

According to Nichols Fesette who was following behind, the Hudson veered off the road and into a ditch. The impact of hitting the ditch popped open the passenger door throwing Archie out into the air only to be stopped by a fence post. The car then took off at a high rate of speed leaving Archie laying on the ground. Mr. Fesette got Archie into his vehicle and drove him to the hospital. The Hudson ended up in a ditch with its wheels torn off just a little ways up the road. Archie was to die at the hospital in considerable pain the newspaper account says. Strange as it may sound a coroner’s inquest was held and the ruling was that the coroner, “exonerates of any blame” the driver in the death of Archibald Guyette.

Monty family gravestone.

Monty family gravestone.

The Monty family has been in the area for over 200 years. The first were French Canadians who fought for the colonies during the American Revolutionary War. They settled in this area starting their family farms. The names on this stone all following that tradition of farming. Edward O Monty and Joyce Monty Smith were siblings of my wife’s mother, Doris. Joyce like Doris went to college and became a teacher.  She was to teach many years in Baltimore, Maryland.  Young Edward was not to go to college but went to work on the family farm after he graduated high school. It was, in fact, complications of injuries from an accident he had on the farm that ended his life in 1975. Edward’s wife Betty Levitt was to work as a nurse for most of her life. She was a nurse in the New York State Prison system for many years and 22 years an emergency room nurse. Betty and Doris were to die within 24 hours of each other after living across the road from each other for decades.

Edward O Monty son of Edward and Ruby Monty. He was the one who stayed on the family farm. This is his high school graduation picture.

Edward O Monty son of Edward and Ruby Monty. He was the one who stayed on the family farm. This is his high school graduation picture.

Picture of Ruby Gonya Monty holding her infant daughter Joyce. Standing on the left hand side of the picture is Ruby's Mother-in-law Emma Craft Monty.

Picture of Ruby Gonya Monty holding her infant daughter Joyce. Standing on the left hand side of the picture is Ruby’s Mother-in-law Emma Craft Monty.

Edward S Monty my wife’s grandfather was a dairy farmer all his life. He was 75 when I first met him in 1968 already having suffered through numerous heart attacks. He had been told many times to slow down. But each day he and his son Edward O, would go to work on the farm. In1972 while operating his tractor in his fields he turned off the tractor and slumped over in his seat, he had finally slowed down. I cannot say he was an easy man to get to know. I can say with certainty that it took him over three years to warm up to me. Edward was also a justice of the peace in Beekmantown for years. A story that is often told in the family about Edward and his son-in-law Robert Lyon while amusing also shows the character of these two men. Robert was caught speeding and was brought to the local justice of the peace, who happened to be Edward O Monty. He was quite surprised to see his son-in-law being brought in. However, the state trooper was even more surprised when he found out the relationship between the two men. The trooper wanted to drop everything, but Edward would not hear of it. Robert who was an attorney and could have made things very complicated and even gotten the ticket dropped only said guilty when asked how he would plead by his father-in-law. A hefty fine was levied.

A very young Edward S. Monty. He was 75 when I first met him.

A very young Edward S. Monty. He was 75 when I first met him.

My Great Aunt Nancy Shedrick Frederick, and her husband gravestones.

My Great Aunt Nancy Shedrick Frederick, and her husband gravestones.

I was able to find the grave markers of John and Nancy Shedrick Frederick. Nancy is the half-sister that I never knew my grandfather had. My great aunt was born in Canada in 1870. She arrived in New York sometime after that when her mother Marceline married my great grandfather about 1880. I was able to find some of her descendants and relations, and we had some nice conversations by telephone. They had promised me that they would get back to me with information and possibly some pictures. That was months ago, and I have heard nothing from them. Too bad because I was learning about a whole new branch of the family tree that had been unknown, at least to me. You can read about this discovery in my post titled “A Drowning in the Saranac River.” https://mooregenealogy.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/a-drowning-in-the-saranac-river/ One of Nancy’s pallbearers was Homer Ladd, a cousin of my wife. He now resides a few rows over from Nancy.

Gravestone of Homer Ladd and his second wife Helen. Homer served on the Police force with John Frederick husband of Nancy Shedrick. Homer is a cousin to my wife.

Gravestone of Homer Ladd and his second wife Helen. Homer served on the Police force with John Frederick husband of Nancy Shedrick. Homer is a cousin to my wife.

Homer Ladd was a member of the Plattsburgh Police force from 1924 to 1929. The newspapers of the time chronicle many stories of his police work. The stories run from chasing rum runners, investigating armed robberies, helping injured people, to the daily routine of police work. One story I found interesting was when a group of “mischievous lads” broke into a residence and raided the ice box. Homer was able to give chase and caught three of the boys. They were brought to the police station and “after a lecture” were allowed to go home. I can’t help but wonder how that would be handled today.

Homer Ladd at St. Armand's Beach standing next to his Essex.

Homer Ladd at St. Armand’s Beach standing next to his Essex.

 

Homer later took a job as a prison guard for a couple of years at Sing Sing Prison. After that, he owned a diner for a while in Strafford Conn. and Schenectady, New York. Homer made his way back to Plattsburgh, where he eventually operated a fuel oil business until he retired in 1960. In his retirement years, he would spend the summers in Plattsburgh and during the winter he would live in Florida.

Blaine Gonya was to suffer the loss of a son and a brother in World War Two.

Blaine Gonya was to suffer the loss of a son and a brother in World War Two.

World War Two is not understood today as to its’ scope and the pure destruction and misery that it came with. This branch of the Gonya family cousins to my wife would shoulder some of the hardship that came with this war. Harold Gonya was born December 29, 1912, to Blaine and Nellie Gonya. Just three days after marrying Gladys Picard he joined the army on February 19, 1941. Events would soon overtake this couple as the U.S. was plunged into war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Harold was to take part in the Normandy invasion and was killed in action on July 13, 1944. The War Department notification was received by his wife, and I am sure soon after his parents Blaine and Nellie also learned of his fate.

This is Leo Gonya with his mother Delphine Poland Gonya. This picture as well as a few other came from the collection of Carl Gonya.

This is Leo Gonya with his mother Delphine Poland Gonya. This picture as well as a few other came from the collection of Carl Gonya.

A name that is not on this gravestone is Leo Gonya. Leo is Blaine’s brother. Leo was born July 1891. As best as I can find out, he started to work on ships sometime after 1920. Leo was to spend the rest of his life working on ships and was to die while at sea. He was to be declared missing in July 1943 and finally declared dead in 1945 and was awarded the Mariners Medal. You can find both Leo’s and Harold’s name listed on the newspaper in the picture below.

Clinton County had only a population of 54,006 in 1940. A casualty list of 304 people shows the suffering done by the people of the county. Several family members are listed.

Clinton County had only a population of 54,006 in 1940. A casualty list of 304 people shows the suffering done by the people of the county. Several family members are listed.

 

However, the tragedy of this family is not over yet. Gladys Gonya, Harold’s widow, was to die of a heart attack at the age of 34 on June 10, 1947. She had attended a birthday party for her father the evening before. Gladys left the party not feeling well and did not report to work the next day. A concerned friend upon learning she was not at work went to her place to check if everything was alright. There she was discovered dead at the same residence she received notice of her husband’s death in France three years previous. Gladys was as much of a casualty of World War Two as were many others, that were never posted on any newspaper casualty list.

I recently read an excellent post about the difference between a genealogist and a family historian. In short, they said the genealogist job was to collect the facts and know what and where the records were that contained them. They were to be concerned about dates of birth, death, marriage and details of that sort. The family historian was the teller of family stories and the history of the times both worldwide and local. They had great grandpa’s medals and the family picture album. I firmly believe that being just one is not enough. Unless you are willing to combine the two, the job is only partly done. It is like building a house but not putting on the roof. I have spent the better part of this post telling you about family stories. While I did not want to bore you with sources, I would like to give you a small idea of the facts it takes to tell your family’s story. Please consider just one generation of Edward S Monty family.

Please click on picture to make larger.

Please click on picture to make larger.

Please click on picture to make larger.

Please click on picture to make larger.

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It’s A Fort, How Could We Miss It?

That is me on the left and Carl Gonya on the right, with our tourist map. We each had a different thought on where we were. I am sure the map was not done to scale.

That is me on the left and Carl Gonya on the right, with our tourist map. We each had a different thought on where we were. I am sure the map was not done to scale.

 

It is very unlikely that Francois Monty my wife’s 4th great grandfather or Joseph Bonnett my 5th great grandfather had ever met, but they sure did cover the same ground. In fact, it could be said that they had perhaps the most defining experiences of their life in and around the same place. That place was Fort Chambly located in the province of Quebec, Canada. This meant that a genealogy road trip was in order. My wife, granddaughter, and I headed to Point Au Roche, New York which is just outside of Plattsburgh, New York. We have relatives who live there and timed the trip so we could meet up with my wife’s cousin Carl. Carl is the keeper of family history and chief historian. From here it is just a short easy drive (in theory) to Fort Chambly. One border guard who could not understand why we wanted to go to Fort Chambly (“it is too small”) and not Montreal, one stop at a Canadian post office (I also collect stamps), one bee sting (my wife), and having to turn the car around many times as we got lost, made this a not so easy drive. But we did finally arrive at the fort.

The outside of the fort. The fort is restored to look as it did in 1750.

The outside of the fort. The fort is restored to look as it did in 1750.

Inside the fort. Hard to see here but they left markings of the footprint of the previous wooden forts on this site. They did a great job restoring the fort to it's appearance in 1750.

Inside the fort. Hard to see here but they left markings of the footprint of the previous wooden forts on this site. They did a great job restoring the fort to it’s appearance in 1750.

Fort Chambly was first named Fort Saint-Louis which was a wooden fort, and its construction was overseen by Jacques de Chambly, who was an officer of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. It was built for protection from the Iroquois and as a staging area for invasions into Iroquois territory. Fort Chambly was part of a string of five forts and over 1,200 soldiers that Louis XIV sent to Canada. In 1709 Governor Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, concerned about a British Invasion ordered that a stone fort was to be built. The fort has been restored to its 1750 appearance which is how Joseph Bonnett would have viewed it.

A picture of Louis XIV, who had the forts built and sent men to Canada. I am glad he did. His decision  in 1666 made it possible to meet my wife.

A picture of Louis XIV, who had the forts built and sent men to Canada. I am glad he did. His decision in 1666 made it possible to meet my wife.

 

This is also very much like the fort that Jean Monty a Marine private sent to Fort Chambly from France would live in and around from about 1727 until his death in 1755.  Jean Monty, would father at least 14 children one of them being Francois Monty born in 1736. Francois would marry Josette/Marie Bergevin, and they would have at least 16 children. While Jean Monty did buy some land, he stayed in the military and is believed that he and his family lived inside the fort. We have no record that he ever built a house or homesteaded on his land. By this time in his life, the troops stationed at the fort were small in number, and he had achieved the rank of sergeant. Evidence shows that Jean Monty was held in high regard. One example would be the naming of a street after him in Chambly in 1989 and also a street is named after his wife, Marie Marthe Poyer, at the same time.  Jean’s son Francois also was to be held in high regard but for a different reason. Fort Chambly was captured by American forces and briefly held from October of 1775 to the spring of 1776.  Francois joined the American army in 1775 and served in Col. James Livingston’s First Canadian Regiment until 1781 attaining the rank of 1st Lt.. Lt. Monty was to perform many duties in the service of his new country. Because of his contacts in Canada, he was sent there to obtain information on British forces and make contact with American Partisans in the Fort Chambly area. He was to be wounded in his left leg in the Battle of Quaker Hill on August 29, 1778. The wound was severe enough that he was awarded an invalid’s pension in 1794. Francois Monty also was to receive land about 1200 acres all in upstate N.Y. near Lake Champlain. He elected to sell all or most of this land. He settled in what was known as the Point Au Roche Patent adjoining what was to become known as Monty’s Bay, on Lake Champlain.

Left to right is Carl Gonya, my wife Sandra Lyon Moore, both are direct descendants of Jean and Francois Monty. Far right is our granddaughter Nicole who is a direct descendant of both the Monty and the Bonnett family line.

Outside Fort Chambly. Left to right is Carl Gonya, my wife Sandra  Moore, both are direct descendants of Jean and Francois Monty. Far right is our granddaughter Nicole who is a direct descendant of both the Monty and the Bonnett family line.

Joseph Bonnett’s time at Fort Chambly was less enjoyable than Monty’s family. Joseph appears as a Drummer of the 2nd Regiment of New York troops under the command of Col. Goose Van Schaick stationed at Fort Chambly, on Jan. 2, 1776.  Next records show he joined the military in Seth Warner’s Regiment with his residence listed as Brattleboro, Vermont. This group was known as the Green Mountain Boys or Troop. He was to take part in the Battle of Saratoga and served actively in the army until taken prisoner in the Lake George, N.Y. region on Oct. 11, 1780. I do not know exactly where but it was during the October 1780 British raid on Ballston, New York. Joseph was then marched about 180 miles to Fort Chambly where he was to remain a prisoner for the next 28 months. The British treatment of its prisoners was at best harsh, and I am sure that Joseph did very well to survive. In his papers, it states he was held for six months without relief in a dungeon. While touring the fort I asked about this. I was informed the fort had no dungeons but that most likely he was put into a munitions’ storage hole which would certainly seem like a dungeon. Joseph was finally exchanged as a prisoner of war in January of 1783. While the war ended in 1783 Joseph re-enlisted and we have service records for him into 1786. In June of 1783, Joseph was to receive a gift deed in Barnet, Vermont from Obediah Wells which read in part to ” adopted son Joseph Bonnett late of New York City.” I still do not know the exact relationship between these two men.  Joseph married Tamma Johnson about 1784, and they had at least seven children. Joseph was to spend the rest of his days living and raising his family in Vermont. He was placed on the pension roll in 1818. Joseph died in 1824.

I highly recommend that if possible you visit where your ancestors lived and worked. I could not help but feel the pull of past family history as I toured the fort. I will never fully understand the toil and sacrifice that was made by my ancestors just as generations into the future will not be fully able to understand our tribulations. But I do try, and I hope they will also try in the future to understand us.

Where my wife's ancestors owned land and farmed. All around Lake Champlain.

Where my wife’s ancestors owned land and farmed. All around Lake Champlain.

This is the view of Monty's Bay. We ate at a little ice cream shop / restaurant, and this was the view we had while we ate outdoors. This was taken when we got back from our trip to Fort Chambly just after the sun went down.

This is the view of Monty’s Bay. We ate at a little ice cream shop / restaurant, and this was the view we had while we ate outdoors. This was taken when we got back from our trip to Fort Chambly just after the sun went down.

If this were all that happened on our little genealogy road trip, it would have a very productive trip. However, Carl Gonya ( the family historian) had more surprises for us. He showed us many family heirlooms some that are that are well over 150 years old. Many pictures were taken of these items. Carl’s his gift of pictures in the hundreds many taken over 100 years ago all loaded on a flash drive was incredible. We also got scans of a family Bible that was printed in 1844. Just holding the bible itself was inspiring. We also took a few side trips into cemeteries which hold the grave sites of family members. So if you can, get up from your computers and take a genealogy road trip.

 

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To Heck With New York, I Am Off To Texas

Left to right Minnie O'Brien in the dark dress, and Irene Harris Fesette in the white dress.

Left to right Minnie O’Brien in the dark dress, and Irene Harris Fesette in the white dress.

 

The title is a paraphrase of the Davy Crockett quote after he lost his election to Congress in his home state of Tennessee and then headed off to Texas and everlasting fame. In this case, it is four people related by blood and marriage who have been kept in a box for decades making the journey. Well, at least their picture is.

Genealogy research can be very frustrating and sometimes downright nasty. We all work long hours on our family history many times without results or recognition from our family. So I guess we should not be surprised when we do research that is unasked for that people can be indifferent and downright impolite. The reason for the research was so I could return two photographs to the family. The pictures of Bertha Burnell, Herbert Fesette, Minnie O’Brien, Irene Harris Fesette, have been stored in a box of photos belonging to my wife’s parents. I have over the last few years worked at getting the nonfamily photographs home to their proper families. Most of the time when the family is found they are appreciative of the effort made and of course to be getting the pictures back into their family. But not this time.

When I call a family, I have a high degree of confidence that I have the right family for the photographs. In the case of these photos several different census records, one death certificate and over 13 different newspaper articles between the years of 1917 to 1987 gives me good cause I had the right families. So for slightly less than a year I made the effort to contact the families by phone. Countless messages left on machines and with people went unanswered. When I did contact the family, they just were not interested or said they never heard of the people I was talking about. While perhaps some may not have heard of these people I am certain that is not true for all. One conversation went like this; ” you must have the wrong Fesettes we spell our name with just one s. We have nothing to do with the Fesettes that use two”. I replied, “yes I know they only have one s in their name.” To which they said, “Oh, well I have to get dinner now, goodbye” and the phone clicks off. So I then turned to the family trees on Ancestry.com and sent emails to the trees that had this family showing. Then I waited. I was finally contacted by a lady from Texas that had these people in her tree as cousins. She offered to post the pictures and will return them to a family member that has a closer relationship if they contact her. I accepted her very kind offer and had or soon will send her the pictures. I will also send her some of the research I have done for her use or for the person who claims the pictures.

Herbert Fesette and Bertha Burnell

Herbert Fesette and Bertha Burnell

 

While this does not have the happy ending, I was hoping for. The pictures, do have a home and a hope that they will find a closer relation. I have many more pictures to try and return and will start work on the next one soon. While this blog does not show it, I find this fun to do and a little challenging. Sometimes it recharges your genealogy batteries when you step away from your family for a while and clear your mind by working on a different genealogy problem

 

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Finding Joseph Bonnett, In A Gopher Hole

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I have been using a genealogy website called Genealogy Gophers for a while now with excellent results. Also, I have noticed that it has appeared in some of the genealogy magazines I read as a top website for genealogy research. Many of you may have already heard about this site, but I am sure many have not. Also, I know there’re many websites vying for our attention, and this one may have been lost in the crowd. While I have reaped much information from Genealogy Gophers, I would like to tell about just one ancestor.

It was on a whim that I entered Joseph Bonnett’s name on this site to see what would come up. The Bonnett family is from my mother’s side. Just another French Canadian family as far as we knew without money or extensive land holdings. They held occupations such as farmer, tinsmith, plumber, and taxi driver. It felt like a sweet victory when the results of Joseph’s search came up. Among Gazetteers, town histories, Index of Revolutionary War Pensions applications, was a book. Not just any book but a book about him and his family. This book went into great detail so much so that I know more about him than I know about my two grandfathers. I think that is amazing considering that Joseph is my 5th great grandfather. I was to learn much information about him such as he was at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 and many more skirmishes until he was taken a prisoner in 1780. He was taken to Chambly, Quebec, Canada and held three years until his release in January 1783 when he was exchanged. He re-enlisted and served even after the war ended in September of that year. The book also contains  information on his marriage and children. The book is well sourced with numerous copies of records used which made for easy checking of the facts.

This U.S. postage stamp was issued in 1927, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga. Joseph Bonnett took part in this battle. The design is based on the painting by John Trumbull.

This U.S. postage stamp was issued in 1927, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga. Joseph Bonnett took part in this battle. The design is based on the painting by John Trumbull.

According to the Genealogy Gophers website they started with an initial load of 80,000 books from Family Search. They now have well over 100,000 digitized books and are indexing them on an on-going bases. They have gathered thousands of genealogy books from other sources on the web and are searching for more. They also state they follow copyright laws and rights of authors are protected. This site is very fast and in the results you get the source plus a partial view of the page with your search terms highlighted.   You can click to read the page or pages and even download it as a PDF. The best part of all this is that it is free. That’s right completely free. The link to their website is: https://www.gengophers.com/#/

It could be well worth your time to go to this site and give it a workout. You also may find some fantastic information about your family. I have made this a go-to website for me. It has added much new and helped to confirm old information on my family history.

The picture below shows Joseph’s 4th great grandson’s name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. From the American Revolution to current history this is all part of the family’s story. A story which is part of the fabric of our American history.

My cousin's name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

My cousin’s name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

 

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Friends The Keepers Of Memories

Back to camera my wife Sandy getting a hug from Betty while Shirley watches.  “Now that I have opened that bottle of memories they're pouring out like wine, crimson and bittersweet.”  ― Ellen Hopkins, Impulse

Back to camera my wife Sandy getting a hug from Shirley while Betty watches.
“Now that I have opened that bottle of memories they’re pouring out like wine, crimson and bittersweet.”
― Ellen Hopkins

 

A few weeks ago my wife Sandy was contacted by old friends (two sisters) that she has not seen since childhood. They had discovered each other on Facebook a few years ago but now the opportunity to meet face to face after all these years was possible. So my wife and I drove to nearby Syracuse to meet at the deli restaurant The Brooklyn Pickle. So over great sandwiches and conversation time seemed to disappear. Before we knew it, the afternoon had gone, and it was time to say our goodbyes.

Left to right. Betty Graves Martin, Sandra Lyon Moore, and Shirley Ann Graves Harris. "A time of Time it was, and what a time it was, it was  innocence, a time of confidences"... Bookends  P. Simon, 1968

Left to right. Betty Graves Martin, Sandra Lyon Moore, and Shirley Ann Graves Harris.
“A time of Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
innocence, a time of confidences”…
Bookends
P. Simon, 1968

On our drive home my wife was surprised at the memories her old friends had of her mother and father. Memories that she did not herself recall. One of the sisters was a few years older, and would at times babysit for my wife’s mother. She told how my wife’s mother (a school teacher) would help her with math and school work. Taking them shopping for school clothes, trips, and many other events that my wife could not recall. In those few hours my wife was to learn much about her parents and in particular her mother that she had forgotten or never knew. We spent hours talking about this over the next few days. I started to think about how our friends know so much about us as we do them. In many cases much more or different things than our cousins or even siblings. I came to the conclusion that old friends are an ignored source in our genealogy research. Memories of other old friends started to make their way into my thoughts.

My good friend Gary Short. "Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don’t understand." ~Robert Brault

My good friend Gary Short.
“Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don’t understand.” ~Robert Brault

 

Gary Short was my friend from grade school through high school graduation and too few years beyond. We had so many adventures together growing up that it would read like a slightly watered down Tom Sawyer. The picture above shows Gary holding a book we had both read that we borrowed from the public library. We used to go the library often to find books to read. Gary was from a large poor family. He worked hard to finish high school and earn his X-ray technician certificate. I was well aware of his situation, and I admit that I looked up to him and all that he accomplished.  Before I moved away from my hometown, we made plans to meet in four to six months, since he was taking a job then in a hospital nearby the town to where I was moving. It was the last time I was ever to see him. From what I was able to find out well after the fact was, he developed problems with addictions and ran into trouble with the law. Gary died in 1988 he was only 36. His obituary listed 26 nieces and nephews as well as 23 grandnieces and grandnephews. I hope they hear some of the earlier stories about Gary so that they will perhaps someday learn the good things about him like the stories I have. However, the stories he knew about me are now lost.

Pauline Bonnett Deloria my grandmother, family friend John Curtin, and my sister Veronica with her new doll.                             "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival." C. S. Lewis

Pauline Bonnett Deloria my grandmother, family friend John Curtin, and my sister Veronica with her new doll.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.”
C. S. Lewis

 

John Curtin was a family friend. He always seemed very old to me. But in checking out facts for this post, I discovered he was 61 in the picture above. Since I was 12 when the picture was taken, I guess to me he was old. He was a retired brakeman for the D&H Railroad and had many stories he shared. His humorous prayers before family holiday meals were legendary. We had a steel bar that was installed in the doorway between the living room and kitchen in our house in which I used to do chin-ups. One evening several of us were doing chin ups when John decided he was going to do a few. He gripped the bar and with a great effort started to raise himself up as his trousers fell around his ankles. Good times. A few years later I was asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral.

 

James Davis on left and myself on Jim's wedding day. We were best man at each other's wedding. "But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away." ~Dinah Maria Craik, A Life for a Life, "Chapter XVI: Her Story," 1859

James Davis on left and myself on Jim’s wedding day. We were best man at each other’s wedding.
“But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” ~Dinah Maria Craik, A Life for a Life, “Chapter XVI: Her Story,” 1859

James Davis was one of the most brilliant and funniest people I have ever known. More importantly, he was my friend. In many ways, we were total opposites. He was a staunch conservative and I a liberal. This was at the time of the Vietnam War, Hawks, and Doves. We agreed on nothing political. However, that was not important to us. What was important was trying to win a point in our many debates. We were both working our way through school and worked in a large retail store called Grandway sort of the Wal-Mart of its time. I recalled one Christmas the store’s Santa Clause was very late in getting back from lunch. A special education class was there to visit with Santa. Jim was pressed into service to play Santa Clause. I decided to stay close by and watch so I could tease him about this later. The one thing we liked to do is to find something we could use to tease each other. So the sight of this reluctant college football player in a Santa suit was too good to pass up. However as he approached this excited group of special education children, Jim disappeared, and Santa appeared. This is the only was I can explain it. Jim did such a great job that was like watching a great actor work on stage or in a movie. The children loved him they squealed and laughed and had a great time. He spent about a half hour with them.  After he had gone back to the employee lounge to change out of the Santa suit, I went back there to tease him a little. However, I found him slumped against a wall crying like a baby. He turned to me with tears running down his face and said “all those dollars spent on the military we should find some to help them.” I did not say anything to him that I had planned to. Instead, I tried to cheer him up. Also, I never brought up his statement to him in our future debates. Besides, I always knew how big his heart was. My friend’s great heart gave out on him a few years ago. I got the chance to tell his children this story about their father and a few others they did not know.

 

Virginia Rice with my grandson. "Friends are relatives you make for yourself." ~Eustache Deschamps

Virginia Rice with my grandson.
“Friends are relatives you make for yourself.” ~Eustache Deschamps

Virginia Rice was like another mother to my wife and I and a grandmother to my children. We had just rented an apartment, and her apartment was across the common area from ours. At first, my wife was concerned that this might cause problems since we had three very young (all under the age of 6) children. However those fears were soon dispelled, and she quickly became a part of our family. Before long no family gathering was complete without her being there. For a long time every Friday night we would order take out food and play the card game Pinochle. We have many fond memories of her skill at this card game. Everyone wanted her as a playing partner. My daughter thought so much of her that she is Godmother to one of her daughters. Perhaps someday I will have the chance to tell one of her descendants about this World War Two veteran, card playing, Polish food junkie, funny and deeply religious person.

 

My advice to anyone doing family research is to try and find old friends if possible of the people you are researching. Even with people you think you know well. Old friends can share stories you may know nothing about. By talking with these people, you may learn surprising things that most likely you would never know. If you dig a little deeper, you will have an enhanced story.

 

 

 

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A Drowning in the Saranac River

Saranac River. This is just around the bend from where Herbert fell into the river and very close to where Herbert was found.

Saranac River. This is just around the bend from where Herbert fell into the river and very close to where Herbert was found.

The weather in Plattsburgh, N.Y. had been pleasant for several days in April 1964. Herbert Frederick age 76 decided to take advantage of the weather and do some yard work. It was a pleasant 55 degrees as he was raking the lawn and waved to a neighbor that was driving by at five p.m. This was the last known time anyone would see Herbert alive. The lawn ended in a 15-foot drop into the Saranac River that weaves through the city of Plattsburgh. All that was found was the rake and Herbert’s glasses on the thin lip of land at the river’s edge. Fifty-two years later this tragedy would help break down one of my genealogy brick walls and introduce me to people in my family tree that I had no idea of their existence

However, I will have to go back eighty-one more years from 1964 to the birth of my Grandfather, Willis Deloria. He was born to Joseph and Marceline Deloria. The question that I never could find a satisfactory answer to is who was Marceline before she married Joseph and took the last name of Deloria. I can recall my mother telling me that she was an Indian and as a result I was 12% Indian. There may be some truth to this as my DNA test shows 2% Native American ethnicity. Years of research later has given me no information to confirm this and in fact, my Native American ethnicity may have come through my maternal grandmother’s line. But that is still not a proven fact. Marceline’s maiden name was said to be Shadrick or Shredrick depending if you are looking at my grandfather’s marriage or his death certificate. Other facts about Marceline that were either not clear or unknown were dates of birth, death or marriage. Most records say she was born in Canada, but none show where in Canada. I have found Marceline in only two U.S. census the 1880 and 1900. They have vastly different birth years and different countries of birth. I decided to go for a tie-breaker and ordered my grandfather’s U.S. Social Security application. I felt confident that this would give me the information I needed. I waited six months to get the copy in the mail. After I looked it over I was even more in the dark and if possible even more confused. It gave Marceline maiden name as Frederick.

Soc Sec

 My grandfather’s Social Security Application. I have no idea why his mother’s maiden name is listed as Frederick.

 

I started to review the records I had on my grandfather. That is when the names of the witnesses for his marriage came into sharper focus. They were Herbert Frederick and Lenora Gerow Frederick. Here was the name Frederick, and Lenora was my mother’s middle name. I had to find out more about these people. This was when I discovered about Herbert’s drowning in the old newspaper articles that can be found online through newspaper archive sites. I read how his son Armand called the police and then went into the fast moving river that was at least four feet deep and very muddy. He lost his footing several times and had to come back to shore. Soon hundreds were involved in the search and still Herbert was not found after a full days search.

Marriage Cert 2

 Here Herbert Frederick is listed as a witness to the marriage of my grandparents.

 

Herbert’s grandsons stationed themselves on a bridge down river to keep an all night vigil on the second night that Herbert was missing. At 5:15 a.m. they spotted the body. The search was over. I also learned who Herbert’s parents were, and this was the break in my brick wall. In Herbert’s obituary, I noted his mother’s maiden name was Nancy Shedrick. The name Shedrick was very close to the maiden name I was given for my Grandfather’s Willis Deloria, mother Marceline.

Where Herbert's grandsons kept their all night watch.

Where Herbert’s grandsons kept their all night watch.

I was able to find an obituary for Nancy dated May 24, 1928. Listed in the surviving relatives were a half brother Willis Deloria and a half sister Mary Bushey, my grandfather and great aunt. Once more in my genealogy research I have found close relatives that I never knew of their existence. I was also to discover that Nancy had another sister Martha. I sent away for Nancy’s death certificate to see what additional information I could gather. With the death certificate  I learned that Marceline was married to a Joseph Shedrick and had two daughters Nancy and Martha before she married my Great Grandfather Joseph Deloria and had two more children my Grandfather Willis and Great Aunt Mary. I also learned her maiden name was Obin not Shadrick, Shedrick, or Frederick. I was able to find other records that show that Marceline and her little family came to the United States from Canada in 1878. Nancy was to Wed John Frederick, who became a city police officer in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The online newspaper archives are full of stories of his exploits. They had three sons of which one was Herbert, who witnessed his Uncle Willis’s wedding.

522a0001

Nancy Shedrick Fredrick, death certificate.

 

I was able to find two descendants of Nancy, and they confirmed many facts for me. They also told family stories of Nancy and her police officer husband that had me laughing out loud. They were to try to send me some pictures but almost two months have passed, and nothing has arrived yet. I do hope that I hear from them. I have opened a new door in my genealogy search. By opening this door, I now see many more doors that have yet to be opened and new hidden family history waiting to be discovered.

Here I am with my Grandfather Willis Deloria.

Here I am with my Grandfather Willis Deloria.

Descendants of Marceline Obin

Generation 1

1. MARCELINE1 OBIN was born in 1842 in Canada. She married (1) JOSEPH SHEDRICK. He was born
about 1824 in Canada. She married (2) JOSEPH DELORIA. He was born about 1824 in Canada.

Joseph Shedrick and Marceline Obin had the following children:

i. MARTHA2 SHEDRICK was born about 1866. She died on 18 Sep 1923 in Plattsburgh,
Clinton, New York, USA. She married Joseph W. Frederick.
ii. NANCY SHEDRICK was born in 1870 in Canada. She died on 23 May 1928 in
Plattsburgh, Clinton, New York, USA. She married John J Frederick. He was born in
1864 in Beekmantown, Clinton, New York, USA. He died on 11 May 1943 in
Plattsburgh, Clinton, New York, USA.

Joseph Deloria and Marceline Obin had the following children:

i. MARY2 DELORIA was born about 1878. She married (1) FRANK BUSHEY. She married
(2) ALBERT LAJOY.
ii. WILLIS DELORIA was born on 12 Aug 1883 in West Chazy, New York. He died on 11
May 1954 in Plattsburgh, New York. He married Pauline Mary Bonnett, daughter of
Abner Wallace Bonnett and Bessie E Barney, on 27 Sep 1918 in Plattsburgh, New

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The Magic Of Photographs

My father Charles H Moore and his sister Ethel Moore Hunter. Between 1941 and 1943.

My father Charles H Moore and his sister Ethel Moore Hunter. Between 1941 and 1943.

Photographs of people, places, and events can be an exceptional aid in our enjoyment of working on our family history. I have in the past written about some of my finds in family pictures. I am the first to say I have had some great luck with obtaining these photographs. Distant cousins and genealogist have been very kind in assisting me in my search. I am planning to put them together in a family album book. My hope is that they will not be scattered and lost over the expanse of time.

I am still trying to get pictures of ancestors that seemed to have not stood in front of a camera. Perhaps their pictures were thrown out or lost or may be sitting somewhere in an antique shop for sale. My parents seem to have no early pictures. Most likely this was due to hard times and the families needing to spend what little money they had elsewhere. In this digital age, pictures are quick and economical. However I question how many are being printed, which I believe is the best way to preserve them.

Sister and brother. Elzada Moore and Charles H Moore. Elzada was named after her Mother Elzada Dakin who died in 1920.

Sister and brother. Elzada Moore and Charles H Moore. Elzada was named after her Mother Elzada Dakin who died in 1920.

The two pictures above are the earliest pictures I have of my father, Charles Moore. I know they were taken after March 1941 and before Dec. 1943, as he enlisted in the Army in March of 1941 and shipped out to England in Dec. of 1943. He is pictured with two of his sisters. I would never meet Elzada and would only see Ethel toward the end of my father’s life. These are two of the prized pictures in my collection. My hope is to obtain a few more before I print the family album.

The picture below is a mystery photograph. It was given to me a few years ago when I visited the Potter County Historical Society located in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. It is labeled Sylvania School, Costello, Pennsylvania. Not only is the location right it also appears about the right time frame to show my father’s family or even himself. However, while most of the children are named sadly not any of the Moore family. Going left to right in the first row sitting boy number 2 and 3 just say, Boy Moore. In the second row standing the third child is identified only as Moore. For all I know I could be looking at my father, uncles, or at least cousins. Perhaps someday I will cross paths with the person who has all the names.

In this picture you have three boys with the last name of Moore. However no first names are given for them. Most everyone else has a full name. This is a school class in Costello, Pennsylvania.

In this picture you have three boys with the last name of Moore. However no first names are given for them. Most everyone else has a full name. This is a school class in Costello, Pennsylvania.

I will be very busy looking for old family photographs. I still have on my side and my wife’s side of the family uncles and aunts, grandparents, and cousins to hunt down. I will offer this to all of you who have a vast collection of family photographs you should be very thankful for that treasure. I will also say to share what you have. These photographs do no one any benefit by being stored away. It is when we open and share them that the full value of these pictures become realized.

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