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

 

Posted in Lost and Found | Tagged , , , , , | 33 Comments

Finding Joseph Bonnett, In A Gopher Hole

stock-illustration-17260467-groundhog[1]

 

 

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.

 

Posted in Lets Talk | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments

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.

 

 

 

Posted in Whats in a Picture? | 44 Comments

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

Posted in Lets Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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.

Posted in Lets Talk | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Discovering Lost Family History

The parade ground at Fort Ticonderoga.

The parade ground at Fort Ticonderoga.

The first time I can recall the surname Barney, being part of my family’s line was when I read it in my Grandmother’s obituary in 1975. Barney was the maiden name of my grandmother’s mother. One reason was between the deaths of husbands and divorces my great and two times great-grandmothers went through five surnames. They were LeClair, Guyette, Barney, Douglas, and Bonnett. Of course in 1975 I knew little or none of this. Of these surnames, I have a direct lineage from the Guyette, Barney, and Bonnett line. Over the years, I have researched these lines and have added greatly to my family tree.

Here I am trying to look my best for the camera.

Here I am trying to look my best for the camera.

This week I was able to gather much new (to me) information on the Barney line. Thomas Barney, my fourth great grandfather, was a Captain in the Revolutionary War commanding 200 men from Vermont. In fact, his war records show that he was with the Green Mountain Boys when they took over Fort Ticonderoga from the British without firing a shot. Fort Ticonderoga overlooks Lake Champlain just before it empties into Lake George in New York State. Capturing Fort Ticonderoga is considered our first offensive action in the Revolutionary War. This deprived the British of the command of the waterways that could be used to send armies and supplies down from Canada. Also, all the cannons in the fort about 100 of them would be sent to General George Washington just outside of Boston. Thomas Barney was also to take part in the capture of Crown Point, the battle of Bennington and was present at the surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York.

I clearly remember the effort it took to get this picture. For some reason it seemed very important to me. I have a little better understanding now.

I clearly remember the effort it took to get this picture. For some reason it seemed very important to me. I have a little better understanding now.

All this information and much more was not known to me in 1962 when my parents took me and my sister to see the fort. I was eleven at the time and even then loved to read about history. The pictures in this blog were taken on that trip. As I walked the fort, I had no idea what an important role my family had played here. Near the fort, I spotted this historic marker and felt compelled to take a picture of it. I was to learn later that I had ancestors who took part in this battle also. They included a first cousin a Captain Samuel Dakin, who was killed in this battle. He was part of a contingent of troops from Massachusetts who joined Major General James Abercrombie 15,000 man army. Unfortunately, Abercrombie’s leadership was not competent and, as a result, the English suffered a terrible defeat.

Thomas Barney was from my mother’s side of the family. Samuel Dakin from my father’s side. I have thought about that fact a few times. Here we were two hundred years later visiting the place that they fought and bled, completely unaware of this fact. All this family history lost in the preceding generations. When people ask why are you so interested in genealogy I can tell them about Fort Ticonderoga and its’ place in American history and its’ place in my family’s history. In so many ways so many times both are the same.

Posted in Lets Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Great Loves Live On.

Willis Deloria with Pauline Bonnett Deloria holding Charles Moore.

Willis Deloria with Pauline Bonnett Deloria holding Charles Moore.

Willis Deloria and Pauline Bonnett Deloria were my grandparents. They were married in 1918 when Pauline was just over the age of 15, and Willis was 35. It was the first and the last marriage for each of them. Willis died in 1954 when I was three years old. Pauline was to live for 21 more years. Their marriage like most was a celebration of good times and the enduring of bad times. They had five children starting in the 1920s and ending in the 1930s. Then came the Great Depression.

From all accounts, they had what we would call a good marriage in which great love was in evidence. They never had much money, and I am sure the Depression was a major factor. Willis found work in a foundry, bakery, and was a general laborer. Sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s he had to retire due to health reasons. However, newspapers stories show a family that was active and doing well. I have read about parties attended and given and winning a contest for the best doll at the local playground and family outings.

My Mother Veronica Deloria Moore and me, Charles Moore. 1951.

My Mother Veronica Deloria Moore and me, Charles Moore. 1951.

This picture shows me with my Mother at two weeks of age. She was the second child of my grandparent’s five children. Mom also married an older man. My Dad was 16 years older than my mother. Dad died in 1966, and my mother lived to 2007. She missed him everyday

My wife Sandra Lyon Moore and our first born Charles.

My wife Sandra Lyon Moore and our first born Charles.

The picture above shows my wife with our first born, Charles Henry Moore lll, on his first day at home. We will have two more children. Charles was to be held by his grandmother Pauline the day before she was to suffer a fatal stroke.

One of my favorite pictures. My son Charles and his wife Melissa in a happy moment after the birth of their first child.

One of my favorite pictures. My son Charles and his wife Melissa in a happy moment after the birth of their first child.

Here is Charles with our daughter in law and his wife Melissa celebrating just hours after the birth of their son Charles the Fourth. I now have four grandchildren. Charles and Melissa have two sons, and my daughter Pamela has two daughters.

My grandparents gravestone. At the bottom you can read "Great Loves Live On".

My grandparents gravestone. At the bottom you can read “Great Loves Live On”.

When I was younger, I went many times to visit my grandfather’s grave with my grandmother. I would often wonder about the epitaph “Great Loves Live On”. I can recall thinking that it would die when my grandmother died. I only equated the epitaph with my grandmother’s long widowhood. It would be many years before I took in it’s simple yet profound message. We all are a result of love. We owe our existence and so much more to our ancestors. The intimate feelings that formed their unions vibrate through the years. Even if we do not know who they are. Some of the truth of that epitaph is in evidence in the pictures above.

Posted in Lets Talk | Tagged , , , , , | 48 Comments