Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Post/No One Walks Away

W.W. Cooper of Co. E, Palo Cemetery Michigan

     Memorial Day is almost here and my thoughts are on my family members who did not survive their war, but also on the history of the holiday itself, though it seems odd somehow to call what should be a solemn day of remembrance a holiday.  Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day, a day when families trouped to cemeteries to decorate the graves of their Civil War dead, north and south.  The custom evolved spontaneously in response to the horrendous losses suffered in that war, observed at different times in different places.  It was Union General John Logan, in his General Orders No.11 given in May of 1868, that declared May 30th a day for, "strewing flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion." The confederate states however, eschewed the "Yankee" holiday and it was not until after World War I that they would accept May 30 as Memorial Day.  Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and several others still observe a Confederate Memorial Day.

     Returning now to my ancestors who gave their lives during the Civil War and whose existence was unknown to me before I began my family research, which also strikes me as odd.  How quickly the pride and grief that must have enveloped their families is forgotten in just a few generations.

William Cooper- cousin, age 28, born at Wayne County, New York and enlisted in Michigan.  William was killed at the Battle of Gains Mill Virginia, leaving his parents Peter and Catherine Wiggins Cooper and a young wife Sarepta Johnson.  He died a month after his and Sarepta's second wedding anniversary.

Charles M. Garner- cousin, age 28, born at Cayuga County, New York.  He died at Salisbury Prisoner of War Camp, North Carolina  leaving parents Jeremiah and Clarinda Wood Garner, wife Mary Conley and two children; Harriet and Albert.  He probably never saw his son Albert who was born seven months before Charles died of malnutrition and diarrhea in the camp.

William H. Lead- cousin, age 18 born at Manchester, New York.  He died of "congested lungs" at Fort Magruder, Virginia.  William left his mother Cornelia Wheat, his father Samuel Lead having died five years earlier. William enlisted with his cousin George Hackett, also age 18.  Two teenagers who thought the war would be a grand adventure until the bullets started flying.  George would survive the war.

Daniel J. McGarr- cousin, age 18 born at Cayuga County, New York.  Daniel died of disease on-board a hospital ship between Yorktown and home in New York.  He left parents John and Mary Kelly McGarr.

Daniel McGarr- cousin, age 22 born at Cayuga County, New York. He died of typhoid and malaria at Fort Gains, Washington D.C. leaving parents John and Hannah Kilfoyle McGarr.

Michael McGarr- cousin, age 20, born in Kilquade Parish, County Wicklow Ireland. He died at New Bern, North Carolina of dysentery leaving parents William and Mary Doyle Mcgarr. 

     The young McGarr men were obviously not brothers, but cousins, the sons of Irish immigrants who came from the province of Leinster and settled in the Auburn, New York area.

     I know I'm forgetting somebody, probably several somebodies, and undoubtedly others I have yet to discover, but I'm thinking of you all today, and my other relatives who fell in different wars. And not just you, but the ones you left behind, and the senseless tragedy of war in general.  Rest in peace.

credit for blog title to Stevie Nicks

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stepping Into The Past

Abandoned building at Willard

     Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog that mentioned the Willard Asylum, located on Seneca Lake in New York.  When Willard Asylum for the Insane opened it's doors in October of 1869, it's goal was to provide humane care for the mentally ill who heretofore had been warehoused in jails and poorhouses.  Like many other state hospitals in New York it was closed in the 1990's, but not before the original brick buildings had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.  Which sort of implies you can stroll the grounds and view the old can't.  With the exception of one day a year when tours are offered.

My son and I in the cold spot
     When my son and daughter-in-law told me they were going, and asked if I would like to join them, I jumped at the chance.  I love anything historic or spooky and Willard, which is reputed to be haunted, offered both!  I don't know of any ancestors who were confined there, though a person who murdered an ancestor was, and the neighbor of another was likewise committed (see first link).  Saturday dawned hazy, hot and humid, and we were on our way before noon.  The closer we got to our destination, the thicker the traffic became, the result being we were forced to park on a hill almost a mile from the site.  The tour didn't exactly come off as planned, a much larger crowd than expected showed up this year, there weren't enough we made our own tour via a conveniently low window missing it's glass.  We stayed only a short time inside the crumbling brick building, but there was a heaviness about the room we stood in, and in a hallway so long we couldn't see it's end stood a rusted gurney at an odd angle. Tres creepy.  As temperatures outside soared into the mid 80's, an extremely cold spot near the window chilled us in more ways than one--even my eminently practical son agreed something was up with this building. 

     After returning home, my thoughts drifted to a long ago cousin who was employed as a cook at the King's Park Asylum on Long Island, NY.  I've never understood why a young woman from Shortsville, NY would travel all the way to Long Island, 358 miles away, to be a cook in an asylum?  But that's what Anna O'Neil did.  She can be found in the 1900 census of that institution's employees, living in one of the cottages or dorms on the property.  Several years ago I read about Anna's death in 1901 from an unspecified illness.  The article said her family had received word that Anna was quite ill and they should come at once, that would have been Monday the 12th.  Her mother left on the first train, but on Wednesday the 14th, a telegram arrived in Shortsville conveying the sad news of Anna's passing.  I want to believe her mother, Mary O'Hora, made it to Anna's bedside before death took her, but I'm not sure.

     I've also always wondered what Anna's cause of death was.  At first I thought something like typhoid, but then Sunday night I found a death notice in the Brooklyn Eagle that claimed she had died "under an operation".  Now I wonder if Anna's appendix had become infected, or even ruptured, that could account for such a rapid outcome.  I know I could just order her death certificate from New York State, but the budget here at Ellie's Ancestor's doesn't allow for orders of distant cousin's death certs at $22 a crack.  Closer ancestors are first in line, so for now Anna's death will remain one of life's little mysteries.

ps-- I took the photo at the top of the blog using my "smart" phone, that damnable phone does one thing well...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Blog Photos Restored

     Yesterday I wrote about my dismaying experience with a "smart" phone.  After many hours mourning the loss of my blog photos and futile attempts to locate them, they have been restored!  Not by me, by my youngest about 5 minutes.  

     What he did is go to Google+ and locate the photo page.  Once there he clicked "more",  found "trash", selected all my photos there, and then clicked "restore".  Voila, they were back on the blog where they belonged, to my utter relief.  This is why you encourage them to go to college...


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some People Should Never Mess With Smart Phones


     I never wanted a smart phone.  I never wanted any cell phone at all until my youngest son left for training to serve in Iraq several years ago.  I knew I would not be able to leave my house until his return unless I had access to a telephone, so I acquired one.  Not a smart phone, just a flip phone but it served it's purpose and also provided comic relief when my kids cracked up over the garbled texts they received from me.

     A few weeks ago my husband decided we needed new phones, and so I am now the proud owner of a smart phone.  Actually I am the perpetually frustrated owner of a smart phone.  I don't understand the icons, I can't see the tiny print or texts, and I'd like to fling it into the driveway and back over it a couple times.  I have also discovered that app is the most overused word in the English language. The worst trick of this demon phone however, has been to tamper with my blog.

     I was playing with the thing one day and noticed hundreds of photographs.  There were photos from my blog, documents, photos I had deleted, census images--I had no idea how they got on my phone?  (I never said I was a techie)  Well, that can't be good I thought, they must be using all sorts of space, I don't want them on my phone, so I began deleting them.  The next day I took a look at my blog and freaked out.  There, where photos should have been, were instead boxes with  minus signs.  After a quick internet search, I discovered "smart" phones can do that.  That vindictive phone had deleted the photos not just from itself, but from my blog!

     I will now be spending the next few weeks months restoring my blog.  I publish this as a warning, don't let this happen to you.  In the immortal words of Catherine Aird, "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday's Photo/Eva Cornelius Rosekrans

     This is one of the photographs I found when I sorted through my mother's belongings after her passing several years ago.  Many were of family members and most were photos I'd never seen before.  In fact, I'd never seen the album that contained them before; it was stashed on the top shelf of her closet.  Mother's life was a sad one, she lost so many loved ones in her childhood and early adulthood that perhaps this album was part of a painful time she wanted to put behind her.  And perhaps that's why she never shared it with me.

    A few of the pictures in the album, like the one above, were of people completely unknown to me.  On the reverse of this one is written, "Mrs. Rosekrans", nothing more.  Last summer I took the unknowns to a gathering of Mom's sisters and brothers to ask if they could identify the individuals pictured.  I didn't know of any Rosekrans in our family, but my uncle recognized the woman in the picture as Eva Cornelius Rosekrans.

     This morning, I did a search for Eva and found her as a child living in Marion, New York in Wayne County.  Mom's family was from Wayne County, but miles away at the extreme eastern end.  I then did a Google search for--"Eva Cornelius" Rosekrans--and eight results came up, six of which were in English.  The first one was about the Rosekrans family of Erin, New York and stated, "The Rev. Clyde Rosekrans, member of the Central New York Conference of the Methodist Church, held pastorates at several appointments.  Before entering the ministry he operated a grocery store at Elmira Heights.  He married Eva Cornelius, who after their marriage also became a Methodist minister."  Could that be her?  Elmira Heights is pretty far from Wayne County, down near the Pennsylvania border.

    The second hit was the Australian version of Ancestry, that got me nowhere as did hit number three, it was just a list of sorts.  The next hit was the one that convinced me that the Reverend Eva was the right lady, it was her obituary--

     Mrs. Eva Rosekrans, 53, of North Rose, Wayne County died Saturday Oct. 27, 1951 after an illness of a few months.  Survived by husband Rev. Clyde A. Rosekrans; daughter Mrs. Helen Messing of Pine City, NY; sons Philip and Neil Rosekrans of North Rose; four grandchildren; mother Ada Cornelius; sisters, Mrs. Eynor Scofield, Mrs. Murray Weysten; aunt, Mrs. Lydia Hall of Poughkeepsie.  Mrs. Rosekrans was pastor of the Brown Memorial Church Syracuse, before assuming the North Rose charge in June, 1951.  The burial will be in Scotchtown Cemetery in Erin, New York.

   It all fit, North Rose is right next to the town Mom grew up in, and Eva was apparently buried in her husband's family plot in Erin.  Mom must have had the picture because her Lash grandmother, who raised her, was of the Methodist faith.

     The Reverend Clyde survived Eva by twenty-two years and remarried at some point; his obituary lists a wife Mildred. He is also buried in Erin, the tombstone they all share is below.   I'm glad to see Eva got top billing.