Friday, October 30, 2009

Great Grandma Jennie

In my post about turning 40, I mentioned that I did not have any pictures of my dad's grandmother Jennie Olivia Shipp Graham as a younger adult. (40 is younger, right?!) The only photos I had were either of her as a teenager or in her older years.

That all changed this week, and I've "found" a whole branch of Graham's that I did not know much about. That is going to change in the near future, too.

My mom gave me an address for a cousin of my dad's who was supposed to have a bunch of Graham family photos on CD. She got it from my Grandma June Graham. So I wrote a letter to a first cousin one time removed that I didn't know I had. I introduced myself and asked for a copy
of the CD.

It arrived yesterday, and I am so excited to see these photos. I've got to share a couple, just because it addresses the "hole" in my photo's that I mentioned earlier this week. My grandfather is Donald Lyle, the little guy on Jennie's lap. Check out those outfits!

Grandpa was born in 1916 when Jennie was 35. He looks to be around 1 in this photo to the right, which puts Jennie at around 36.

I'm tickled at this "stairstep" picture of the Graham kids outside. I have a lot of "stairstep" shots of my Osgood aunts/uncles, but this is a first that I've seen of the Grahams. Another thing I like about this one is that they are outside in front of an orchard. Guy was a pretty successful and renowned apple farmer, so its pretty neat to see the family in front of some of his trees. This photo has my Grandpa Don labeled as being two years old, so Jennie is in the 36-37 year old range.

My newly found cousin gave me the address of her brother who has been collecting information on their branch of the family tree, so I plan to write to him and ask for a copy of his information. The CD has lots of photos of all of Guy and Jennie's kids and their families. I'm very excited to make this new connection---its like a slightly belated birthday present!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Billy Fox

Among the stacks of papers my mom gave me that she had collected on her family's history was this note. It was written in my grandmother Lucile's handwriting. It reads like an obituary--I don't know if grandma copied it to have for herself. I haven't found the obit in any Kansas newspapers yet. Grandma was one of William's older sisters. Recall from my "Turning 40" post that William was the third son to pass away as an infant. I remember my mom telling me that her mom told her that some neighbor kids had whooping cough and that they thought he caught it from them.

William Wesley Fox, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Fox was born April 22, 1934 and departed this life March 17, 1935 at the age of 10 months and 26 days. He leaves to mourn his departure his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Fox and seven sisters, Elnora, Myrtle, Lucile, Roselma, Minnie, Lillie and Mildred. His Grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. M.E. Sampson of Lincolnville and a host of other relatives and friends. Two brothers, John and Walter preceded him in death.

Billy was a loving baby and during his short stay had won a place in the hearts of all who knew him.

"A precious one from us is gone, a voice we loved is stilled;

a place is vacant in our home which never can be filled.

God in His wisdom has recalled the boom his love had given and through the body slumbers here the soul is safe in heaven."

Card of Thanks

We wish to thank those who were so kind to us during the illness and loss of our dear one.

-Mr. and Mrs. William H. Fox and family

Monday, October 26, 2009

40 years old

On this day forty years ago, I was born. The year I turn forty is 2009. The President is Barack Obama, and the country is at war with terrorists around the world. (Or at least we used to be). We also are in a global economic recession, some commentators say its the worst it has been since the great depression. I'm married to a chemist by training, executive by life's happenstance. He works for a French company as the Vice President of U.S. Operations out of our home. We have 3 kids aged 10, 8 and 15 months. We are getting ready to move into a bigger house. Overall, I feel blessed.

Turning 40 can be traumatic for some. On this day, it has put me into a contemplative mood and made me think about my female ancestors. What were their lives like when they turned the big 4-0? I decided to look at my four great-grandmothers and see what life looked like for them at my age.

Florence Martha Partridge Osgood
Florence turned 40 in the year 1915. The President was Woodrow Wilson. The world was at war, but the United States was not yet engaged. The Lusitania had been sunk in May of that year by Germany. Model T Fords were popular...the 1,000,000th was manufactured that year.

In Marion County, Kansas, Florence Osgood was busy. She was the wife of a hard working farmer Clark Osgood. This is a photo of the Osgood's, although I am not sure of the year.

At the age of 40, Florence was the mother of nine children. Her kids ranged in ages from 19 to 2. She was not done having babies--a year later she would give birth to my grandfather, Everett Harlan Osgood. She would go on to have an eleventh baby, a daughter, who would die at the age of five months. But at the age of 40, she would not know of this heartache. She was probably too busy!

Jennie Olivia Shipp Graham
Jennie turned 40 in 1921. Warren Harding began his short Presidency that year. Charlie Chaplin's famous silent move, "The Kid" opened in theatres. Babe Ruth was wowing crowds with home runs in baseball parks nationwide-he would set a record of 137 career home runs shortly after Jennie celebrated her 40th birthday.

Jennie was the wife of Guy Graham, a fruit farmer who had become an expert in horticultural affairs in the state of Idaho. During his career, he was the state horticultural inspector, the
commissioner of agriculture for the state, as well as a legislator in the state house in Boise. In 1921, Guy was also on the Board of the Idaho State Fair Association.

When Jennie turned 40, she had borne 8 children. One, a daughter, Dorothy, had died as a five year old. Like me, she had a one year old baby. This was Jennie's youngest child. Her oldest
surviving child was nearly 14. The family lived in Fruitland, Idaho.

The Idaho Statesman reported that at the end of July, 1921 (which was just a couple weeks after her 40th birthday), the family went on a short vacation to Payette Lakes with the Bossen and Bishop families.

It seems that life was full for the Graham family when Jennie was my age.

Alice Nerissa Dutton Shelton

My great grandmother Alice turned 40 in the year 1935. Bob Hope made his radio debut that year. Amelia Earhart was making records in aviation. The board game Monopoly hit the market for the first time. The country was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt was early into his first of three terms as
President. Life was hard, especially for farmers.

Alice was the wife of farmer Ira Shelton. Ira was employed as a farm manager. He managed a 200 acre farm for $1 a day and a place for his family to live.

Alice had her children when she was young. By the time she turned 40, her two children were nearly adults. Her son Richard had married the year before, and her daughter June was 15.

Alice was an extremely hard working woman. According to her daughter, she would pick apples in local orchards each morning. She could pick more apples than anyone, and then come back home at 11 a.m. to cook lunch for all the hired help.

The family's income did not allow for any extras--just money for basic needs, which the one dollar a day hardly covered. Her daughter June writes, "Mother never felt we were poor and did everything so we wouldn't feel it."

One entry in a journal that my Grandma June wrote is interesting to me, given my background: "If Dr. Reynolds came by and ask if she'd go to help deliver a baby, she'd grab a clean apron and go. Dr. wanted her to start a maternity home in Emmett but she didn't do it." It seems that my great-grandmother had some natural talent for midwifery, even if she did not have the formal training. (Actually, family lore says that Alice's own grandmother was known to be a midwife in the 1800's) Given June's perception of the midwife as someone who did not have any formal training and would just go with nothing but a clean apron, its no wonder she was a little concerned at my decision to have two of my three babies at home with a midwife!

I never knew Alice, but I think I would have liked her a lot. She died in 1959.

Lillie Pearl Sampson Fox
Like Alice, Lillie Pearl turned 40 in 1935. While Alice was in Idaho, the Fox family lived in Kansas. This photo of her was from her teenage years--I only have pictures of her at this age, or much older in group shots.

Lillie was the wife of farmer William Harrison Fox. The family raised hogs, chickens and sold graded eggs. She loved to bake angel food cakes, tend garden, and raise houseplants. She braided her waist length hair and wound it on the back of her head every morning. She baked bread and had wonderful Christmas celebrations at her house.

The year Lillie turned 40 was a year of heartbreak for her. She had to bury her youngest child, a son. William Wesley Fox died at the age of 10 months on March 17, 1935. She had buried her two other boys as well: John Delbert in 1915 (3 months old) and James Walter in 1929 (1 week old). I have a heart rendering note written by Lillie's daughter, Lucile, about William Wesley. Space does not permit in this post, but I'll share it soon. All in all, Lillie Pearl birthed 10 babies and raised 7 daughters to adulthood.

In thinking about the lives my great-grandmother's led, I cannot help but feel that I have it easy. While the world was different for each of them in 1915, 1921 and 1935, I can still identify with life's struggles, heartaches and joys. They all had to work physically so much harder than I do--they had to be extremely strong an resilient women. Knowing this, I feel fortunate to know that I hold a piece of each of them in me. On days when I think I have it rough, I can reflect on that and draw strength from it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amelia, his wife

In the never ending battle for paper organization of my genealogy "stuff," I ran across a death certificate that I received last summer from Topkea, Kansas. I was so thrilled when I got it, but had trouble reading it at first. I put it on my table and it sank into the paperwork and got lost. Until the other day.

I've blogged a few times about my great-great-great grandfather on my mom's maternal line, Karl Kline. This is about his wife, Amelia. What I can gather about her life from what little family lore I have, the sparse census records, as well as some reading on life for women as Kansas pioneers, she had a tough life. I'm not ready to blog about some of those details, as I'm still working on some of the research.

Amelia survived her husband by about 17 years, passing away on July 28, 1923. They are buried together at Highland Cemetery in Marion, Kansas. I put the death certificate up on my Facebook page and solicited some help in reading the document from my friends.

One of my new Facebook friends is also a descendant of Karl and Amelia. I had seen her posts on family history bulletin boards and websites, but didn't know who she was. I did a little digging and realized we were related...her mother was my great-grandmother's little sister. So my new friend and I are first cousins, 2 times removed. She still lives in the area that Karl and Amelia lived in. I'm hoping we can collaborate more in the future on our mutual family lines. She gave me some interesting insight into Amelia as part of the death certificate deciphering.

Some of what was reported on the death certificate confirms information I had before. Here is what I learned about Amelia from her death certificate, with much thanks to my friends and family on Facebook for some additional insight:

  • She was born in Germany. Some earlier census records report it as "Prussia," which by 1923 had become part of Germany.
  • At the time of her death, Amelia lived with her youngest daughter, Daisy, and her husband George Powell. In fact, George is the informant for the death certificate.
  • Her maiden name was Windel. It asks for her father's name it says "Don't know, Windel" I've seen the name spelled elsewhere as Wendel, as well. Where it asks for the mother's maiden name, it also says "Don't know." My new-found cousin tells me that Amelia did not speak much English, so it was difficult to get information from her on her ancestry. (Did Daisy not speak German?) Perhaps this wasn't considered important by them at the time. I know many people who don't seem to think their stories are important. (How wrong they are!)
  • She died a week after her 81st birthday.
  • Her cause of death was central stenosis, a heart valve disorder that involves a narrowing or blockage of the opening of the mitral valve, which separates the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart. She suffered from this disease for 2 years, 3 months and 10 days.
Karl and Amelia have captured my interest for some reason. I have a lot more to share about them, but its too soon yet. I am still in the process of learning and gathering information. I was thrilled to connect with my new cousin who also is a granddaughter of the Kline's. Are there any more of you out there?

Here's the actual death certificate:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Memory - funny times in Idaho

This post isn't going to be free flowing narrative. Just a collection of memory snapshots of funny things that happened to me as a kid while on vacation in Idaho.

  • One afternoon I was at Grandma & Grandpa Osgood's house. I remember being inside the dining room with my mom, my aunt, grandma, and maybe even my little sister. If she was there, she was pretty young. The men were outside doing....I don't know. Man stuff. Anyway, my brother came walking in with a dead mouse in his hands. The women freaked out! Apparently, Grandpa Osgood told my brother to bring it in and show it to us, knowing the kind of reaction it would get. Grandpa was a real jokester, I'm told.

  • Grandpa and Grandma Osgood both wore dentures. Grandpa had this ability to "pop" his teeth out while still in his mouth. I remember him joking around with my brother, chasing him around with his teeth popped out. It was real funny to me. Of course, I wasn't being chased! I probably would have been scared to death if it had been me!
  • Grandma & Grandpa Graham had a 3 wheeler that they would let us kids ride. I didn't do it a whole lot, but my brother did. Characteristically, he would drive fast and nutty. I remember Grandma telling afterwards (well, maybe hollering at him), that he was driving like a "bat out of hell!" He just laughed it off.
  • I also had a cousin who lived up in Idaho. She was a year older than me. Her sister was a couple years younger than me. When I got older, I would go and spend a couple days up at their place. That was a lot of fun. My cousin lived on a big farm that her dad, my uncle, ran. One summer it was thick with grasshoppers. I was not used to big bugs like that, much less in biblical proportions! My brother was up there as well that time. Typical boy, the bugs didn't bother him. My cousins were unaffected as well. I was the only one who had an issue with the beasts. Well, they saw the chink in the armor and decided to taunt me with the bugs. We were in the house, and they brought one in and put it out towards me. I ran into the bathroom, thinking...aha! I'm safe! Not so. My brother put the bug underneath the door (there was an unusually large space) and that dang bug literally came flying right at me. Well...maybe not as bad as that. But it sure seemed like it then.
  • Listening to Bill Cosby's "Chicken Heart" album with my cousin and getting freaked OUT. I can still hear the rhythm of the chicken heart...
  • Taking a walk outside in the evening with Grandma Graham one time. She started singing, "I'm in love with the man on the moon...." It was nice. But I thought it was strange that there would be a man on the moon...didn't they come back home?
  • "Washing" my hair with fresh chickens' eggs. I thought that it made my hair really nice and shiny. How nice of Grandma Osgood to let me use 4-5 eggs to do this.
For my Graham and Osgood relatives---what funny memories do YOU have? I've invited you all before to comment and few have taken me up on it. But seriously--please leave your comments here. It's a great way to get all the memories documented in one place. I'm starting to feel like the tree that fell in the forest but didn't make a sound because no one was around to hear it. Or maybe they heard it, but didn't mention it to anyone.....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Grahams of the Borders - Ne Oublie!

My family traces its Graham line back to Robert Graham, who was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1749/50. Although born in Northern Ireland, Robert was of Scottish descent. There were many of these Scots-Irish families in Northern Ireland. Like mine, many of them migrated towards the colonies and heartily participated in the American Revolution. It's a very interesting history, and one of the triggers to my personal family history obsession.

Still, I wonder: just what brought Robert's ancestors to Ireland from Scotland? I've done only a small bit of research on Scottish/English history. I've also been in touch with the genealogist from the Clan Graham Society, Nellie Lowry.

There was a group of Graham's who inhabited what was termed the "Debatable Lands" between the Scottish and English border. They who lived there were known as "border reivers." It's Nellie's opinion that my Graham's probably come from this border area.

The following are excerpts from Nellie's article about the Graham's of the Borders in the Clan Graham News, Vol. 14, Number 2 Summer 1998:

"By 1552 the Debateable Land had already been partitioned between England and Scotland. Scots Dyke is the modern name of the dividing line. This border was closely watched every night by many men. The Grahams of Netherby and Mote made their "fair livings" by the service of having their horses ready and keeping the night watches of the border.

In 1583 there appear to be three Graham clans in this tiny area:

Grahams of the Leven lived on the banks of the Lyne from Solport to its junction with the Esk. These were "great riders and ill-doers to both the realms".

Another great clan of Grahams—the Grahams of the Esk—occupied the banks of that river from the Mote Scar, where the Liddel joins it, down to the sea. There they feuded with the Story family and took their land.

Out west, on the edge of the Debateable Land, dwelt the Grahams of the Sark, English on this side of the stream, Scottish on the other.

According to family tradition, the Grahams had been banished from Scotland and settled along the banks of the Esk and Lyne Rivers (just north of Carlisle) and from there into Northumberland. By the middle of the sixteenth century they were 500 armed men strong under William "Lang Will" Graham of Stubhill, to whose son, Fergus of the Mote, arms were granted some three years later. By the end of the century it was estimated that Rob Graham alone commanded 2,000-3,000 men useful to England.

Not only did intermarriage and self-interest enable the Grahams, from their base in the Debatable Lands, to be useful to England or to Scotland at will, but their loyalties seem to have been curiously divided even among themselves!

The Borderers were happy to fight each other for their own ends; their natural cussedness would become evident. They might be led, but on no account would they be driven, least of all by officialdom to whom they were naturally allergic. It was often difficult to know on whose side a particular surname might be operating. Thomas Musgrave wrote "They are a people that will be Scottish when they will and English at their pleasure." The Grahams were known as a clan with a soul above nationality and an eye directed almost exclusively to the main chance. They obeyed no master unless it happened to suit them.

Since 1548 when the young Queen of Scots set sail for France, the Border had been the scene of constant bloodshed and pillage by rival factions. Robbery, murder, blackmail and kidnapping; the Grahams indulged in them all....

...The Grahams had lots of friends: in 1597 two notorious thieves, Jock Graham of the Peartree and Will of the Lake of Esk, were sent to the Queen's gaol here, yet the gaoler kept them in his house, and the next day, his friends came and took away the prisoners, having horses ready, while others with guns and dags lay in wait outside the city gate, to shoot any who should pursue, and followed to protect their retreat...

...Finally the Grahams saw the handwriting on the wall and tried to appease the government but when James I came to the throne, he showed the utmost zeal and determination in uprooting the landed families of Liddel, against whom he naturally bore a grudge. He arranged for their passage to Ireland from the port at Workington, County Cumberland, England to Roscommon, Ireland at the expense of the county.

The whole sept of the Grahams, under their chief Walter, the gude man of Netherby, was exported to Ireland. The reason stated was because they had been troublesome on the Scottish border. The sept at this time consisted of 124 persons, nearly all bearing the surname of Graeme or Graham. Their land was forfeited, and was sold in 1629 to Richard Graham, second son of Richard Graham, of Plomp, son of Matthew Graham of Springhill, beyond which it is impossible to trace the present family of Graham of Esk and Netherby.

Not all of the troublesome Grahams were deported to Ireland. Many had taken refuge among their friends and relations and many had defenders in the family. Even the Earl of Montrose came forward to protest the arrest of his cousin in the borders.

Since they were exported to Ireland in 1606, they were not long in the Cumberland area, yet many of the Grahams didn't stay in Ireland a year. Some came back to the borders, others went into Scotland, some to Yorkshire and Northumberland and others to the New World within a few years. All tried to hide their identity and some even changed their names! The Border Reivers were not "nice guys". They seemed to get into lots of trouble in the few short years that they lived in the area."

It's a fascinating history, and one I plan to learn more about in the future. Not only do I want to learn about the history of this place and its people, but one of my long term research goals is to trace Robert Graham's ancestry further back. My dad has taken a Y-DNA 67 marker test and has had his results submitted to the Graham DNA Project. As more Graham men have their results submitted, the more likely we will be able to make some of these ancient connections.

For further reading:

Monday, October 12, 2009

John N. Osgood....who are you?

Ebay struck again. Now I have another Osgood mystery on my hands.

I bid and won a photo of a "John N. Osgood." I don't think he is a direct ancestor of mine. The last John Osgood in my direct line died in 1725. But I went ahead and bid on the item, thinking that if I did win it, perhaps I could find out who he was. At the very least, I could upload the photo to and hopefully help another family researcher out there.

I have a book on CD-Rom entitled, "A Genealogy of the Descendants of John, Christopher, and William Osgood." It was compiled by Ira Osgood and tracks the descendants through 1890's. It's a pretty good resource, but I find it a little difficult to navigate as a PDF document. Being over 500 pages, its hard to quickly browse for specific information.

Be that as it may, I looked "John N. Osgood" up in the index. There is one listed, born on 26 March 1843 in Bradford, Maine. He was a soldier in the Union army and died in a hospital in Hampton, Virginia on 15 Sept 1864. (Interesting side note--this John's brother in law died of starvation at Andersonville prison).

Could this be that John? I don't know much about dating photographs. (Perhaps I need to contact the Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor.) It may be that this photo was taken prior to 1864.

There were three original Osgood immigrants to the New World in the 1630's: John, Christopher, and William. All Osgood's in this country can trace their ancestry back to one of these three men. John's family and William's family both came to America aboard the same ship, "Confidence" in 1638. They were probably related, although there are various explanations as to exactly how. The John N. Osgood in the book was a descendant of William Osgood. I am a descendant of John Osgood. Even if we assume this John and the John in the book are the same...the exact relationship is still unknown since the relationship between the immigrant John and William are not known.

Of course, I am very open to other identifications of the man in this photo. Do you know who he is?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flossie's family

My great grandmother on my mom's side was named Florence Martha Partridge. Everyone called her "Flossie." She married the son of Jesse Clark Osgood, Jacob. He went by his middle name, Clark.

Flossie was born on August 30, 1875 in Woodburn, Illinois. Her mom was an English immigrant named Elizabeth Palmer. Her husband was named Rufus Partridge. She was the third of seven children.

Up until this week, I only knew of three of these siblings: John Palmer Partridge (b. 1868 d. 1880); Rufus E. Partridge (b.27 Aug 1872 d. 31 May 1957); and Seth Pendelton Partridge (b. 3 May 1879 d. 29 Sept 1882). Of these four, two of the children did not survive until adulthood. I don't know (yet) why this is. A subject of future research, I suppose.

Anyway, I've been using since the beginning of the year. Recently, they added this "member connect" feature where people who are researching the same individuals as you are can attempt to contact you through the Ancestry website. I've sent a few messages out, but never heard back from anyone. Yesterday, I got a message of my own about Flossie.

The sender is researching her husband's family. Flossie is his second cousin. She was happy to get photos I had posted to my Ancestry profile for Flossie and offered to give me the information she had on her family of origin. As it turns out, she has a record of 3 more siblings: Herbert James Partridge (b. 14 Dec 1882 d. 1947); Robert Henry Partridge (b. 23 July 1886 d. 1945); and Harriet Evelyn Partridge (b. 20 Oct 1889 d. 11 Jun 1918). Great Grand Uncles and Aunts I never knew I had! Nice! To reciprocate, I've sent this person information on Flossie's mother's family, the Palmer's.

I don't know much about my great-grandmother Florence Osgood. I'm hoping that perhaps some of my Osgood cousins (or second cousins) can comment here to give us some idea. Don't be shy, now!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Memory - the new Graham place

When Grandpa retired, he and Grandma Graham bought a smaller place in Fruitland. I'm not sure of the exact date, but I think it was the early 1980's. It still had a small orchard, although I don't know if Grandpa actively farmed it. It also had an oval dirt path that went around the buildings. There was a nice yard on one side of the house. I remember having some really fun badminton games there.

I was told that the house itself was a mobile home. It seemed pretty permanent to me! Parking was behind the house, and you would enter through a sliding door in the back. Coming from Southern California, my brother and I marveled at the fact that Grandma & Grandpa left the keys to their car in the ignition. We would never consider that where we were from. (People in our neighborhood would even steal an inflatable easter bunny from a little girl if it wasn't nailed down. But that's a story for another Monday!)

There was nice decking that went up to the back door, and led down to a game room. When you walked inside, the living room was on the right and the kitchen on the left. In between, was a small counter that a few people could sit at for quicker meals or less formal times. Like the old house, Grandma was in the kitchen a lot. Many of my memories of her are of her in the kitchen. If you went to the left through the kitchen, there was a utility room on the next left. That was another place Grandma spent a lot of time in. She often would spend a lot of time doing everyone's laundry while they were visiting.

Heading straight, however, was the dining room. When we all were visiting, this is where we would have meals together. Grandma and Grandpa used to have a big dalmatian dog named Pepper. At mealtimes, Pepper would sneak up next to you and try to get scraps. It kind of freaked me out to have a big dog be so demanding. Our family just had a little white mutt of a dog named Penny. She stayed outside and did her thing. (You can see Penny in the picture at the top of this post).

Going down a small hallway was a bathroom and two bedrooms. This is where we would stay. Mom and dad would get one room, and us kids another. There were two beds in there that wold accommodate us all. I remember these clown pictures on the wall in our room. In the closet were stacks and stacks of paperback books.

On the other side of the living room was Grandma and Grandpa's room. I don't think I ever went in there. I do remember hearing the radio on in there at really late hours. I vaguely remember someone telling me that Grandma listened to the radio all night.

The coolest part about Grandma & Grandpa Graham's place was the GAME ROOM. A whole room dedicated to fun and recreation! It had a big pool table that the men would play on. I would give it a try from time to time, but never was any good. I was always kind of embarrassed to try in front of the older relatives there. There were times when Grandma's brother, Uncle Dick Shelton, would come. He, Grandpa and Dad would play together and drink beer. When my brother got a bit older, he joined in. There was a refridgerator out there and I remember seeing cases of "Pabst" or "Hamm's" in there. I also remember them talking about "Billy Beer." This was referencing President Carter's brother, Billy Carter, who had his own beer label. I don't think I actually saw the beer, but I think maybe Grandpa had a sign our something. Or maybe they were just talking about it. They never got drunk or anything, they just enjoyed the time together playing and enjoying a few cold ones. Funny what things stick in a kids' memory.

The game room also had its own pinball machine. That was my favorite part. I don't remember what it was called, but it had clowns on it. You didn't need to put quarters in the machine for it to work. They also had a shooting game, but I never played that. There was a small bed out there, and a 1/2 bathroom. You could literally spend the day out there. If you got bored, there was an 8 track stereo with dozens of 8 track tapes. Now, it was a bit "out" of style then, but not too bad. At that time, cassette tapes and vinyl were the most popular formats for music. But the 8 tracks worked, so we could listen to music and play pinball. That was fun.

That was pretty much the limits of my experience in that place. I never really explored the land. I'm pretty sure there was a barn, but it wasn't a place I ever went. The last time I was there was when Grandpa died in 2001. I brought my second baby, Isabelle, with me. She was still too little to leave home.

I'd love to hear some recollections of my Graham relatives of the place.

Let's reminisce! Leave a comment with some memories of your own.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who was Jesse Clark Osgood?

I'm a loyal listener of Lisa Louise Cooke's genealogy podcast, Genealogy Gems. In one of her past episodes, she interviewed certified master graphologist Paula Sassi. I was intrigued by how much information Paula was able to glean about Lisa's grandfather by looking at some of his letters written during the great Depression. So I just had to take the plunge and see what Paula might show me about an ancestor that I have some writing samples from.

His name is Jesse Clark Osgood. He was born in March 1837. His mother died when he was a baby, and his father remarried several times. From what I've learned, he was very close to his mother's family, and they took care of him as he grew. The 1860 census lists him living with his uncle and his occupation as a farm laborer.

He was a soldier for the 26th Massachusetts infantry during the civil war. One of my aunts located four of his letters written to family members that are held in a special collection at the Louisiana State University library. If you've read this blog from the beginning, you'll know this is one of the things that lured me into the exciting world of genealogy.

I sent Paula the letters and here is what she says they reveal:

"The following report is based upon the handwriting of your great-great grandfather, Jesse Osgood.

His writing shows that he was schooled in the typical copybook writing of the time and the form level indicates that he was a traditional person who adhered to the standards of his generation. He functioned at an above average level of intelligence and was logical and future directed in his thought process. He was motivated by both business and social interaction and had very good manual dexterity. His energy and drive improved with time. [Note: this is from the 4 Civil War letters analzyed.]

It is interesting to note how he developed during his time as a Union soldier. In his letter dated June 22, 1863, he speaks of not feeling well and his writing reflects this in the smaller size and tension evident in the script. However, as he gained in experience and improved in his health, he actually developed into quite a vital man. His letter from Morganza, dated June 18, 1864, shows that he had good energy and probably enjoyed staying busy. He could be a very reliable and hard working individual who took his responsibilities seriously. His writing shows both dominance and care and I believe these are the two words that best describe him. He was working as a nurse and could be firm, yet understanding in the way that he administered to the seven men assigned to him.

His writing also shows some stubbornness and a tendency to be opinionated, but this could also be the natural formations of the writing of this period. He was an extrovert by nature and could gain in energy by interacting with people. His letter hints at this because, even though he could not be with his family, he mentions everyone each time he corresponded. He also provides evidence of the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” He talks of the fruit quite often and his writing shows that he maintained his energy and zest for life even during wartime. Other words that describe him are friendly, outgoing, energetic, assertive, caring, proud and honest.

Overall, he was quite traditional and both proud and humble with the ability to move forward in his life and take things as they came. He probably was pretty easy to get along with, but could take a stance if he felt he was right. He also was able to take people under wing and most likely grew into an admirable patriarch of your family."

From what I know about him, Jesse continued in the health care field by becoming a dentist after the War. He was the first dentist in Florence, Kansas, when he moved there in 1872 with his wife and son, Clark. (My great-grandfather). He later took up a 'tree claim' southeast of Florence and West of Cedar Creek. Later he bought a farm southeast of Florence, most of his time was spent at his profession of dentistry. He would often load his equipment in his buggy and go to his patients, often times getting paid in farm produce. He died in May 1918 of chronic Bright's disease.

I know there are diaries kept by Jesse that are in the hands of some of my Osgood relatives. I'm not sure who has them, but hope someday to be able to learn more about Jesse through these later writings. If you are the Osgood who has the diary, I hope you would please consider sending them to me. Even a copy is okay. I want to transcribe them and share them with the rest of the family. I encourage any Osgood's out there to share anything you know about Jesse in the comments section.

I hope you all have found this handwriting analysis as interesting as I have. I think I may have Paula look at some other ancestor's handwriting too...