Heart of a Southern Woman

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Albert Speer, First Identified Nazi in the Family—52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #47




My maiden name is Helen Spear Youngblood, named for my grandmother Helen B. Hogue, and her husband Edwin Spear Youngblood, also named for his mother Clara B. Spear. I was always proud of the name Spear. As a child, living in Cherokee Indian territory, I was sure it must be an Indian name, both Spear and Youngblood! I was only mildly disappointed to give up my romantic notions when I realized they were both names of German origin! Youngblood started out as Jungblut, and Spear was spelled variously as Speer, and Spier at least.

When I thought of Germans, I thought Oktoberfest, colorful costumes, dancing and polkas, and of course beer!  Obviously, I knew about Hitler and Nazis, but they were nightmares that I tried not to think about! I had Jewish friends, I knew about the Holocaust. Surely, no one in our family would be/could be a Nazi!

Just this week, my sister called with a request. She had heard a report, and read an article about a man named Albert Speer who was a Nazi who worked with Hitler, an architect. She wanted me to research and see if he was kin to our Speers. It only took a few minutes! I had already done a lot of research on our Spear line, and knowing some about his family from the reports, and from Wikipedia, it was easy to see that he was our fifth cousin. The relationship chart looks like this:

Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer (1905 – 1981)

is your 5th cousin 1x removed

Albert Sydney Speer (1872 – 1946)

father of Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer

Charles Henry Speer (1845 – 1917)

father of Albert Sydney Speer

Edward Speer (1817 – 1885)

father of Charles Henry Speer

Peter Speer (1789 – 1865)

father of Edward Speer

Gerrit Jansen Spier (1753 – 1828)

father of Peter Speer

Jacobus Spier (1714 – 1797)

father of Gerrit Jansen Spier

Hendrick Jansen Spier (1760 – 1850)

son of Jacobus Spier

Jacob Speer (1788 – 1858)

son of Hendrick Jansen Spier

Edwin Speer (1822 – 1861)

son of Jacob Speer

Clara B. Spear (1851 – 1931)

daughter of Edwin Speer

Edwin Spear Youngblood (1882 – 1943)

son of Clara B. Spear

Cecil Hogue Youngblood (1910 – 1988)

son of Edwin Spear Youngblood

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood 

Oh my gracious, I will never think of my name the same again. I hate that it has been tainted this way. It is interesting however, this man, our cousin. Albert wasn’t just a Nazi, he became the Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich! He knew Hitler personally, were they friends? Apparently so, in his own memoirs he admits that he and Hitler were “closest of friends”.

 In an article in Wikipedia, we learn that Under his leadership, Germany’s war production continued to increase despite considerable Allied bombing. After the war, he was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Nazi regime, principally for the use of forced labor. He served his full sentence, most of it at Spandau Prison in West Berlin.”

A movie was actually made about Albert! A BBC documentary, titled,The Nazi Who Said Sorry” and can be seen on You Tube and is included here in this post. Both at his trial at Nuremberg, and after his 20 years of incarceration, when he was released, in 1966, Albert did state that he was sorry, that he was full of remorse for what the Nazi’s had done to the Jews. He steadfastly denied that he knew about Auschwitz and some of the worst atrocities against the Jews. Most scholars  do not believe him, and it is very hard to believe.

While his remorse does not in any way excuse what he did, it does make me think. He wasn’t given a choice when first recruited as an architect by Hitler. At least, his choice would have been to accept or to die a traitor. But to succeed in such a stellar manner that he became the Minister of Armament and Hitler’s close friend—well, that has to be a choice!

 Albert was released from Prison in 1966.  In 1970 he published his memoir, Inside the Third Reich, which you can buy as a movie at this link.  It is a terrifying movie I would not recommend.  and in 1976, Spandau: the Secret Diaries. Albert Speer .  

Born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer on March 19, 1905 in Mannheim, Baden, Germany, Albert married Margarete Weber in 1928, and together they had five children, three sons and two daughters. They remained estranged , the children and their father all of his life. He died in London on  September 1, 1981. 

Whether or not Speer knew of the Holocaust, or whether or not he was truly remorseful remain huge controversies among the scholars. It doesn’t seem possible to me that he would not have known everything from what I have read, and  most “experts” doubt his innocence also. As a family member, I would be very pleased if that were true. This is  history in our family. We had many American members of our family fighting Hitler. History is history. Unfortunately,  there have been many happenings in history which we as a civilized society should disapprove of. However, like slavery, they happened, and only the study and understanding of the issues gives us a chance not to repeat such terrible acts.

If you are interested in  further reading you might consider: 

(Original German edition: Speer, Albert (1975), Spandauer Tagebücher [Spandau Diaries], Berlin and Frankfurt am Main: Propyläen/Ullstein Verlag,ISBN 978-3-549-17316-9, OCLC 185306869)
  • Speer, Albert (1981), Infiltration: How Heinrich Himmler Schemed to Build an SS Industrial Empire, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-02-612800-1
(Original German edition: Speer, Albert (1981), Der Sklavenstaat : meine Auseinandersetzungen mit der SS [The Slave State: My Battles with the SS], Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, ISBN 978-3-421-06059-4, OCLC 7610230)

 You can find these and many more in the Wikipedia article at this link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Speer

This gallery contains 1 photo.

R.J.Reynolds—52 Ancestors in 52 Week #46



Richard Joshua, Sr. Abram, and Harbour.  standing, from left...Walter and Will .about 1915 From the Patrick Reynolds Collection; no copyright.abt.1915

The Reynolds Brothers abt. 1915: Standing from left: Walter and Will Neal; Sitting from left: R.J.–Richard Joshua, Major Abram,, and Harbour. From the Patrick Reynolds Collection, no copyright


How is it that we can go all our lives knowing all about someone, even visiting their historic homes and learning about them, and not know we are related to them? That has happened to me several times now in my genealogical journey. I am always very surprised to find certain paths to kinship, and I always wish my mother were still alive to share my discoveries. She knew a lot about the family, and she had a love of and zest for history. She would have practically swooned at some of the people I have learned we’re kin to–especially the ones like Henry Cary who designed the Colonial Capital Building in Williamsburg, or Nicholas Martiau, or Peyton Randolph! They give our family tree a luster, a breadth and depth we didn’t know existed!
This week, one of my cousins, Betty Spangler Smith, contacted me with a consultation about our Virginia Harbour family. They are a family that I’ve only gotten to know on paper, but I knew that they took us back to Wales. Betty and I put our heads together and dusted off some of our knowledge of this family.
Reviewing the Harbour family yesterday led me to a discovery that I had “flirted” with before, but had just never taken the time to explore in detail. That discovery was that my 5th great-grandfather, Abner Harbour, 1730-1778, was also the 2nd great-grandfather of Richard Joshua Reynolds, the magnate and founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, making R.J. and me third cousins!
Now, a lot of you are possibly wondering why this is such a big deal to me. Tobacco isn’t even a product considered healthy anymore, certainly not important in our society these days. But I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, my maternal grandmother was from Patrick County, Virginia, and I had an Aunt who lived in Winston Salem, North Carolina, so I grew up touring the magnificent Tanglewood Park and the Reynolds’ estates when open to the public. I even spent most of a week exploring inside what is now Graylyn International Conference Center when I was about eleven years old! Neither I nor my Aunt who took me there had any idea there was a family connection!

Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, the Reynolds Tobacco Company and American Tobacco Companies were arch rivals, but tobacco still accounted for huge parts of our economy. As a child, all I knew was that my Dad smoked all the time, as did most people I knew, and that tobacco had been important since the white man’s arrival in America. Every single year, my family packed a basket with sandwiches for supper, and sat on the curb of a huge boulevard in downtown Richmond, to watch the Grand Illuminated Tobacco Parade, the largest parade and only nighttime parade in the Southeast at the time! It was the kick-off to the amazing Tobacco Festival which took over the city like Mardi Gras does New Orleans. What a rush it was to a young child! The lights, the noise, the music, the balloons, the clowns and of course..Joe Camel of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the most thrilling to me, little Johnny Philip Morris, whom I now know as an adult actor with dwarfism whose real name, was John Louis Roventini. He became the famous voice of Philip Morris Tobacco, and was known as a “living trademark”. Less than four feet tall, maybe that’s why I loved him, he was my size as a child. Yet he strode confidently down the avenue always in tune with his perfect B-flat toned chant: “Call for Philip Morrrrriss!” I can hear it now! Those were exciting times, about 1952-9, the war was over, and we baby boomers were everywhere having fun! We didn’t know tobacco killed.


R. J. Reynolds left his father’s tobacco farm and factory in Patrick County, Virginia, and set up his own company in the nearest town with a railroad connection. That happened to be Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he bought his first building from the Moravian Church. He soon bought out any competitors and produced 150,000 pounds of tobacco in his first year! (Source of this history: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Wikipedia,)
“The company produced 25% of America’s chewing tobacco. 1907’s Prince Albert smoking tobacco became the company’s national showcase product, which led to high-profile advertising in New York City’s Union Square.  The Camel cigarette became the most popular cigarette in the country. The Reynolds company imported so much French cigarette paper and Turkish tobacco for Camel cigarettes that Winston-Salem was designated by the United States federal government as an official port of entry for the United States, despite the city being 200 miles (320 km) inland.  Winston-Salem was the eighth-largest port of entry in the United States by 1916.”
“At the time Reynolds died in 1918 (of pancreatic cancer), his company owned 121 buildings in Winston-Salem.  He was so integral to company operations that executives did not hang another chief executive’s portrait next to Reynolds’ in the company board room until 41 years later.  Reynolds’ brother William Neal Reynolds took over following Reynolds’ death, and six years later Bowman Gray became the chief executive. By that time, Reynolds Co. was the top taxpayer in the state of North Carolina, paying $1 out of every $2.50 paid in income taxes in the state, and was one of the most profitable corporations in the world. It made two-thirds of the cigarettes in the state.”
I knew Reynolds tobacco was big, but this history still astounds me, and helps me understand why Winston-Salem businesses like their banking company of Wachovia, and their lawyers became some of the biggest in the country.
William Neal Reynolds, brother of R.J., had taken over the company after his brother died from Pancreatic cancer.
In 1924 he turned the presidency over to Bowman Gray.
It’s hard to believe that this one family, one small farm in the mountains of southwest Virginia, in Patrick County, Virginia, could parent two of the largest companies in the United States, but R. J. Reynold’s nephew, the son of Major Abraham David Reynolds, Richard Samuel Reynolds founded the Reynolds Metals Company in Louisville, Kentucky!  By 1938, they were headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, and interacting with members of my family in business and education, without knowing that we were family.
Back to Winston-Salem and RJ Reynolds and the tobacco company, I want to show you some pictures and tell you about an interesting personal experience on my part.

R.J. Reynolds and his wife Katherine built an estate in Winston-Salem, NC,  that is now a museum of American art called the Reynolda House. I hope you will think about taking a trip to see this beautiful sight, with its exquisite pieces of American art and time period furniture. You will be so glad that you did! 

Nearby you can explore the beautiful Tanglewood Park, with its action-packed activities for the family! You can fish in two stocked lakes, ride the paddle boats, play on tennis courts, swim in the Aquatic Center, hike trails, ride horses, golf, tour gardens, and picnic in the shelters! I have been there several times over the years, and it is beautiful! Tanglewood was the estate of R.J. Reynolds’s brother, William Neal (also our 3rd cousin) and his wife Katherine Reynolds.

There is another historic estate connected to the Reynolds, known currently as Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston Salem. They also host weddings and special events. “The mansion was built in 1927, and is a large and rambling Norman Revival style mansion. It is 2 1/2 stories and is faced with yellow Randolph County stone. It features an irregular slate covered a hipped roof pierced by roundheaded dormers and ornamented brick chimneys with multiple flues. It is set on grounds designed by noted landscape architect Thomas Warren Sears. Associated with the house are a number of contributing outbuildings including a garage-guest house and “farm” complex. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.”
I love this stone mansion! Here’s some more history you might enjoy, I cannot tell it better! “In 1912, Gray moved his family to Winston to take up his new position of vice president and director of R. J. Reynolds, picked by Reynolds himself to head the company’s finance division. In 1924, he was promoted to president of the company to succeed William Neal Reynolds, and in 1932 he became the chairman of the board of directors. Gray’s brother James Gray, Jr. would also become president of R.J. Reynolds.
Between 1927 and 1932, he and his wife oversaw the construction of Graylyn, their 87-acre (350,000 m2) estate in the countryside surrounding Winston, across from R.J. Reynolds’ estate Reynolda House. In 1932 when they moved into Graylyn, Gray and his wife donated their former house for use as a church.[1] Two years after moving to Graylyn, Gray died of a heart attack while vacationing with his family aboard a ship off the coast of Norway. He was buried at sea.
At the time of his death in 1935, he left $750,000 worth of stock in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to be used for a cause beneficial to the community. His brother, wife and two sons would eventually decide to donate it to a medical school willing to relocate to Winston-Salem. Wake Forest College, then located in Wake Forest, N.C., eventually agreed to move its two-year medical school and expand it to a four-year curriculum, partnering with N.C. Baptist Hospital. Bowman Gray School of Medicine opened in 1941.  

 The move of the medical school later inspired members of the Reynolds family to lead efforts to bring the rest of Wake Forest College to Winston-Salem, which occurred in 1956. Today, Wake Forest University, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are key drivers of the region’s economy and have national reputations.

Years after Gray’s death, Graylyn the home, was donated to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, where it served as an academic psychiatric hospital facility until 1959. In the 1970s, parts of Graylyn were used as off-campus student housing. In 1979, the main house hosted the Wake Forest University “German House.” There is an underground tunnel connecting the main house to the large guest house (the “French House”). It was not until 1980, after a fire burned the top floor of the estate, that the president of the university announced the property would be restored to its original condition and used as a conference center.”
This is all so very interesting to me, because I live very close to Wake Forest, NC, and of course have friends and relatives who live in Winston-Salem. I have friends who work in the Baptist Hospital there and some who’ve attended the esteemed Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
Even more interesting to me, is that I know Graylyn mansion very well! When I was a girl of eleven, all full of Nancy Drew courage, I had the opportunity to be at Graylyn everyday for a full week! I was free as a bird to wander the halls and look in the nooks and crannies. This would have been the summer of 1960, so just after they stopped housing psychiatric patients there. That summer they were having some model classrooms for teacher training purposes. My aunt, Mrs. Janey Bell Kerse Sommers (see blog post) taught children then called Emotionally Disturbed. They were generally children with family problems who were average or above average in intelligence, but who weren’t succeeding in school, weren’t learning because their behavior was so poor, they were often suspended, sitting in the Principal’s office, or in time-out. Temper tantrums led the list of manipulative behaviors. Many also had learning disabilities, therefore they needed a special teacher to unlock their learning abilities and teach them to read and do math so they could function in the world. My aunt taught these children. Later she became the supervisor of all Special Education Classes in Forsyth County Public School System in Forsyth County, NC. That summer I was visiting when it was arranged she would teach the model class of these students, some of her own from the school year. I was actually thrilled to get to observe, and she gave me the run of that incredible mansion, because there was hardly another soul around.
I would like to share with you as well, that I admired my aunt’s work so much, that I ended up teaching Emotionally Disturbed children also! I got my education, but I never forgot the techniques and amazing ways my aunt worked with her students as long as I taught. But look at that house–Graylyn Mansion, and oh, can you imagine being eleven and having the chance to explore it. I was sure it was haunted! I would stealthily creep up the stairs, half afraid I’d hear or see something, and half disappointed that I did not! LOL That experience shaped my life in so many ways, now I might just take the time to go back and stay there as an adult. Wish you and I could go together and explore Graylyn the way I did as a child, wouldn’t that be fun!
It was so much fun to discover my kinship to R.J. Reynolds and his family.
LOL, thanks for sticking with me, and if you are family, tell me how you like being kin to the Reynolds or share any ol’ little thing you’re little heart desires. (in a Southern mood, LOL) Until next week!

Richard Joshua Reynolds (1850 – 1918)
is your 3rd cousin 3x removed
father of Richard Joshua Reynolds
mother of Hardin William Reynolds
father of Mary Polly Harbour
father of David Harbour
son of Abner Harbour
daughter of Moses Harbour
daughter of Joyce Harbour
son of Nancy J Houchins
daughter of Walter Thomas Houchins
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse -


This gallery contains 11 photos

Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #45



source: commons, wikimedia.org Andrew Jackson

I always knew I was kin to Andrew Jackson; it’s something my father was very proud of, since it was through his mother’s family. My mother, on the other hand, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, always hedged her words carefully, indicating that he might not be the relative of whom we’d be most proud! Now I know why she’d say that. I believe politically, I’d agree with this President’s policies, but personally, I kind of doubt we’d like each other. He was known to have a temper, to even be violently explosive at times! Gracious! How could someone like that become President?
Well, he was a war hero, active in politics for years, and truly, the first “populist” President. He and his supporters formed the Democratic Party! He was the first President not born in wealth, the one the people could identify with, and him with them! Let me start at the beginning, for a brief synopsis of his interesting life.

Andrew Jackson trivia

source: galleryhip.com

Andrew Jackson was born on my birthday, March 15, but over 180 years earlier, in 1767. Tragically his father died in an accident just before Andrew was born. Andrew’s father was also Andrew–Andrew Bennett Jackson and his mother was Elizabeth Hutchinson. The parents had emigrated from Ireland, but were of Scots-Irish descent and devout Presbyterians. Andrew’s older brothers, Hugh, age 2, and Robert, age 3, came to America in 1765 with their parents. Andrew was born in what is now Waxhaw, South Carolina, but both Carolinas claim him, as his birthplace was only about 18 miles south of Charlotte, NC., right on the line between North and South Carolina! At the young age of 13, Andrew acted as a courier during the Revolutionary War, as did his brother Robert. Andrew’s oldest brother Hugh fought and died in the War. The younger boys were captured by the British, imprisoned, and made to serve as servants to the British officers. One story states that Andrew was ordered to polish an officer’s boots, and when he refused, he was slashed with a sword, forever scarred on his hand and head! By the time their mother secured their release, Robert and Andrew had come down with smallpox, and Robert soon died! By the end of the year of 1781, Elizabeth died also, of cholera, which she contracted as she nursed American soldiers with that disease. So, the Jackson family  came to America pursuing religious freedom, and economic stability, and within years, all were deceased except Andrew, who became our 7th President! Some people crumble under such adversity, some are honed by fire, I would have to say, Andrew succeeded brilliantly but with a sad and very rough beginning.
As he matured, Andrew taught school, and eventually became a lawyer through his education in Salisbury, NC. He then moved to S.W. North Carolina, which is currently part of Tennessee. In fact, Andrew Jackson is credited with helping found the town of Memphis, Tennessee.

Battle of New Orlans, with General Andrew Jackson, www.history.com

Battle of New Orlans, with General Andrew Jackson, http://www.history.com

His legal work began to earn him a stellar reputation in Tennessee, and among other honors, he was elected to the Continental Congress of 1796. It appears that his highly respected leadership in the War of 1812 propelled him to National fame. He was known as the person who led the troops that saved New Orleans. Then even though he defied the orders of his superiors, he went to Florida, fought and conquered the Spanish and the Seminoles, and won Florida for America! That earned him significant fame and recognition.


source: proactvoice.wordpress.com, Clear and Present danger: The Corporation is Systematically Sucking the Lifeblood Out of America

source: proactvoice.wordpress.com, Clear and Present danger: The Corporation is Systematically Sucking the Lifeblood Out of America


In 1824, he ran for President against John Quincy Adams. All together, there were four candidates, and no one got enough votes to win. The House of Representatives appointed John Q. Adams as President, and Andrew Jackson was furious, feeling like the voices of the people had not been heard. At that point he vowed to rid the country of the electoral college, a sentiment I’ve shared a time or two!

Andrew Jackson quote-it-is-to-be-regretted-that-the-rich-and-powerful-too-often-bend-the-acts-of-government-to-their-own-andrew-jackson-92179
Andrew Jackson was elected President of the People; the first of the Democratic party, in 1828. He was the first President to open the White House to the public. He investigated the administrators of Government controlled agencies like the postal service among others. It did not make him popular among the insiders, who thought their positions and power were secure. Jackson even called the Second National Bank a monopoly, and vetoed a bill passed by congress extending their charter for another four years. He diverted the money to banks in the States. The people loved him, and readily reelected him in 1832. The other politicians didn’t like him half as much, accusing him of being rude and manipulative. On January 30, 1835, a man named Richard Lawrence attempted to assassinate Andrew Jackson, but his gun misfired! This was the first attempt to kill a sitting President in our country. Lawrence was an out of work house painter. He said he blamed Andrew Jackson, for his loss of work, due to his dealings with the bank, and that only if Andrew Jackson died would money flow again!

When Andrew Jackson retired from his Presidency, he retired to his Presidential home in Nashville,Tennessee, named “The Hermitage”. Today the home is a beautifully restored piece of history we are told, and I for one would like to visit there. Although it tends to rank third behind Mount Vernon and Monticello for numbers of visitors, it is considered just as significant and beautiful as the others.
Just as Andrew Jackson’s personhood and Presidential practices were controversial, so are his genealogical ancestry records. For years, most experts named our 6th great-grandfather, Dr. Joseph Jackson, 1690- 1765 in Londonderry,Ireland, as the grandfather of our President. His father Andrew Bennett Jackson, 1737 is not in question. However, many more recent genealogists have made the case for one Hugh Jackson and his wife Elizabeth Creath as the grandparents of President Andrew Jackson. The Andrew Jackson Foundation which maintains Hermitage presents both lines of ancestors and states that the proof is still not conclusive to either line. In the second line, Andrew remains our 1st cousin, because the second ancestral line only changes the father of our grandfather David, not the brotherhood of him and Andrew Bennett. This family was surely well-connected, because earlier I wrote a blog post about David Jackson, my fifth great-grandfather, Uncle to the President (his father’s brother) who fought in the Revolutionary War with President George Washington, also a cousin of mine.(see this blog post)   From http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/30167-President-Andrew-Jackson-belonged-to-haplogroup-I1, “Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), the seventh President of the United States, most probably belonged to haplogroup I1 based on results from the Jackson DNA Project. His genealogy shows that he is descended from Richard Jackson (1505-1562) from Killingsworth, Eske, Yorkshire, England. Several members (e.g. 93323, 188015, 222633) of this lineage have been tested and they all belong to I1-M253.” Our Hogue family who married into the Jackson family is also in Haplogroup 11, how interesting!

According to our family tradition, this is my/our relationship with President Andrew Jackson:


Andrew (7th Pres.) Jackson (1767 – 1845)

is your 1st cousin 6x removed

Andrew Bennett Jackson (1737 – 1767)

father of Andrew (7th Pres.) Jackson

DR JOSEPH JACKSON (1690 – 1765)

father of Andrew Bennett Jackson

David Jackson (1730 – 1811)


Mary Jackson (1754 – 1800)

daughter of David Jackson

Hugh (twin) Hogue (1788 – 1880)

son of Mary Jackson

Hugh Jackson Hogue (1825 – 1870)

son of Hugh (twin) Hogue

Robert Fulton Hogue Sr. (1850 – 1924)

son of Hugh Jackson Hogue

Helen Blanche Hogue (1881 – 1964)

daughter of Robert Fulton Hogue Sr.

Cecil Hogue Youngblood (1910 – 1988)

son of Helen Blanche Hogue

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser

You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood 


This gallery contains 12 photos

Lewis Jacob Youngblood, 1846-1919, Civil War Cavalryman–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #44



Lewis Jacob Youngblood was my great-grandfather. My direct Youngblood cousins are all descendants of this man, and we are a large group. Some of us have known each other all of our lives, while others have just met in the last year or so. Lewis and his wife Clara B. Spear  not only have great-grandchildren, but 5th great-grandchildren living as of the date of this writing, November 4, 2014. It is so exciting to have cousins come together to share their knowledge and memorabilia from Lewis J. Youngblood, so that all the current and future descendants  may enjoy knowing about their grandfather. 

Although none of us alive today  actually met Lewis Jacob Youngblood,  we knew some of his children, and we heard the stories of his life, so we know a few things about him. We know he must have been brave, because as soon as he was 18 years old, he joined the New Jersey Cavalry, and fought throughout the rest of the Civil War. We know he was smart, because after the war, he worked as a tax collector for the federal government–dreaded in the South! I imagine he must have had a toughness about him, as his move to the South after the Civil War and his buying a farm in the Petersburg, Virginia area, earned him the title of “carpetbagger”.  This was the derogatory name applied to the many northerners who moved South after the Civil War with all their belongings in carpetbags. They came for the opportunity to buy land which had become cheap from people who had become poor because their Confederate money was worthless,  and their huge farms often couldn’t be worked without slave labor.  His community didn’t like him we are told. When he went to church at Gary’s  Methodist Church, no one wanted to sit near him and would usually move to a different place in the church! Feelings from the Civil War ran deep, and he was a Yankee in Rebel territory.


Lewis was the son of  Jacob Youngblood, 1807-1869, and his wife Mariah Charlotte Cooper, both of whom were born in New Jersey, USA.  Jacob’s father, John H. Youngblood, was the first Youngblood emigrant to America, in this line. He arrived from Germany where the name was spelled Jungblut/Jungblot. We are looking forward to the day when our genealogical research identifies John’s parents and place of birth.  Mariah Charlotte Cooper is often found spelled Maria or Moriah as well.  However, family stories clearly identify her as Mariah.  In fact, Lewis Jacob named his first daughter Mariah after his mother of course, and his second child, a son James Cooper Youngblood, again after his mother. 

Jacob and Mariah had six children including Lewis Jacob, the focus of this story.  They were James C. Youngblood, 1841-1897, Emma born in 1844, Lewis Jacob 1846-1919, Laura E. born in 1851,  John J. born in 1853, and Hattie born in 1858. These childrens’ stories will be told at another date.  

As we know, Lewis joined the Union Armed Forces when he was eligible to do so at age 18.  He must have been a skilled horseman, because by then, the Union was testing their Cavalry recruits for superior horsemanship.  They would have to concentrate on fighting, handling their horse had to come second nature to them.  We know from his military records that Lewis enlisted as an 18-year-old Private in the New Jersey Cavalry, 2nd Regiment, Company E.  From records gathered on ancestry.com, we can not only see that he enlisted on 5 September, 1864, but that he mustered out on 29 June, 1865 at Vicksburg, Mississippi.  The source of this information is the Register of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War 1861-65, and  Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.  Original data: Data compiled by Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA from the following list of works.Copyright 1997-2009, Historical Data Systems, Inc. PO Box  Duxbury, MA 02331. 

Furthermore, we can actually find out  in what battles our grandfather fought .  We learn that the 2nd Cavalry of New Jersey participated in many battles before Lewis was old enough to join their ranks. Exactly seven days after Lewis joined his Cavalry, on Sept 12, 1864, his Cavalry was engaged in a battle in Memphis, Tenn.! He was 18 years old, and only one week in the Cavalry.  Was he excited, scared to death? I cannot imagine! The following information lists other battles Lewis participated in and tells us the story of their experiences. 

-Fought on 12 Sep 1864 at Memphis, TN.

- Fought on 13 Sep 1864 at Memphis, TN.

- Fought on 5 Oct 1864 at Memphis, TN.

- Fought on 24 Dec 1864

- Fought on 26 Dec 1864

- Fought on 28 Dec 1864 at Egypt Station, MS.

- Fought on 18 Feb 1865 at Mississippi.

- Fought on 28 Apr 1865 at Clayton, AL.

(also known as the NJ 32nd Infantry)
Second Cavalry.-Col., Joseph Karge; Lieut.-Cols., Marcus
L. W. Kitchen, P. Jones Yorker Majs., Frederick B. Revere,
Peter D. Vroom, Jr., Philip L. Van Rensselaer. This regiment
was recruited in the summer of 1863 and left Trenton for
Washington on Oct. 5 of that year, reaching the capital on the
following day with 890 men. On Oct. 17 Co. A was attacked by
Mosby at Fairfax, Va., and the company was routed, the captain,
with 2 sergeants and 1 private being taken prisoners and 1
corporal wounded and left on the field. Being transferred to
the southwest, the first skirmish of importance took place at
Iuka, Miss., where two companies of the regiment encountered a
force of the enemy and drove it through the place, losing 1 man
killed. On Dec. 6, a change in the plan of operations in that
quarter having been determined upon, the regiment was
transferred by steamer to Columbus, Ky., whence, on the 15th,
it proceeded to Union City, Tenn., where it was placed in the
cavalry brigade commanded by Col. Waring, of the 4th Mo.
cavalry. In Jan., 1864, the command moved forward rapidly
without encountering the enemy in any force, but meeting and
dispersing small gangs of guerrillas, until the 2nd Jersey,
having the advance, came into collision with and routed a force
of hostile cavalry near Aberdeen, Miss., the same evening
occupying Prairie Station and destroying an immense quantity of
corn, together with cotton and other property belonging to the
Confederate government. The regiment, still advancing,
skirmished for some hours with Forrest’s cavalry, finally
reaching the vicinity of West Point, about 100 miles north of
Meridian, where Sherman’s cooperating column had already
arrived. The following day it was also engaged and on Feb. 22
it participated in a fierce conflict at Okolona. On April 10,
Maj. Yorke, with 300 men of the regiment, was sent against the
enemy in the vicinity of Raleigh, Tenn., some distance north of
Memphis, and coming up with the hostile force bravely charged
into its midst, driving it into its brigade camp, after
inflicting severe loss in killed and prisoners. The regiment
also participated in the fight at Bolivar, Tenn., and lost in
the engagement 2 killed and 6 wounded. The conduct of the
regiment in the disastrous affair at Guntown, Miss., both in
the main action and on the retreat, was creditable in the
highest degree, but it suffered heavily, losing 8 officers and
130 men out of 17 officers and 350 men taken into action. On
July 11, with other troops, it moved in search of the enemy
encountering him at Port Gibson, Miss., and losing in the
combat which ensued, through alleged mismanagement, 2 men
killed and Lieut. Braun, 26 men and 2 guidons captured. Two
days afterward, at an early hour in the morning, the enemy in
some force made a sharp assault upon the Union picket line,
pressing it with equal vigor along the entire front but the
assailants were promptly met and after an hour’s fighting were
driven in confusion. Being ordered into Arkansas and
disembarking at Osceola, the command crossed a swamp some 18
miles in length, the mud and water reaching to the saddle-
girths of the horses, to Big lake, where after some brisk
firing a Confederate train consisting of some 18 wagons, loaded
with over 900 stand of arms of approved pattern, together with
11 prisoners and 2 commissioned officers, was captured.
Reaching Verona, Miss., on Dec. 25, the command at once charged
gallantly on the enemy, who was completely surprised and
offered but a feeble resistance, most of them escaping into the
timber under cover of the darkness leaving as spoils, eight
buildings filled with fixed ammunition, estimated at 30 tons,
5,000 stands of new carbines, 8,000 sacks of shelled corn, a
large quantity of wheat, an immense amount of quartermaster
stores, clothing camp and garrison equipage, a train of cars
and a large number of army weapons which had been captured by
Forrest from Gen. Sturgis during the latter’s disastrous
expedition in June. The regiment also participated in the
fight at Egypt Station, in which 74 men and over 80 horses of
the 2nd N. J. were killed or wounded. The regiment returned by
steamer to Memphis, having lost during the entire expedition 19
men killed, 69 wounded and 2 missing, and 155 horses and mules
killed or disabled. The regiment was finally mustered out on
Nov. 1, 1865. (This was also known as the 32nd N. J.
Source: The Union Army, vol

Source Information

Historical Data Systems, comp. American Civil War Regiments [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

Original data: Data compiled by Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA from the following list of works. Copyright 1997-2000
Historical Data Systems, Inc.
PO Box 35
Duxbury, MA 023.

This is all very exciting, and quite amazing to find in my opinion, but we have more! Lewis kept his saber that he used in the Cavalry, his Spencer’s Repeating Rifle, and his original discharge papers from the New Jersey Cavalry of the Civil War, signed at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and dated 29 July, 1865. He gave these items to his sons, James Cooper Youngblood, 1875-1935, and Lewis H. Youngblood, 1889-1953. They in turn passed these treasured historic items down to their children! One more generation, the heirlooms were passed down again, and yet they survive and remain in the family! I had the opportunity to touch the discharge papers last weekend when visiting my cousin, Kay Youngblood Fuller who is the owner of this 149 year old document! Her sister, Susan Youngblood Rawls owns the rifle! Lewis H. Youngblood III owns the saber! Lewis, Kay and Susan have generously provided pictures for us so that we can all share in the treasures left by our great-grandfather! It is quite exciting to me, to look at these pictures and imagine our grandfather’s hands touching these items as well. The weapons may have saved his life, we don’t know. If not, we would not have been born, because he didn’t marry and start building his family until after the war! Our lives hung in the balance of his skills on his horse, with his sword, his rifle, and in his courage. I have never liked the idea of war. Having grown up a Southerner, it is hard for me to think of being glad this man may have fought other relatives of mine and that they might have hurt each other. Such conflict, can you imagine if you were alive at that time, and your family were split as we know happened? Very sad. 

 I included the pictures of the weapons and the discharge papers  with the soldiers’ pictures so that you could see how they were worn and used. The Spencer’s Repeating Rifle was made in Boston I have learned, and was the Northern Weapon. the Sabers were more often used by the Yankees as well. They were not real sharp on the sides of the blade, for they were not designed to slice the flesh, but almost as clubs to break arms and ribs! The ends were sharp however, allowing the soldier to stab his opponent.  There are two very interesting articles written about the Cavalrymen where I found this and a lot more information in Wikipedia and they can be found at these links:

“List of Weapons in the American Civil War” and  “Calvary in the American Civil War”

Having these heirlooms in the family is an amazing treasure. We can see, touch, and learn so very much about our Grandfather and our history through these objects, awesome! Before we part, I want to list Lewis Jacob Youngblood and his wife Clara B. Spear’s children for you. Then I want to include relationship charts for the owners of these historic items as well. I am happy to do this for anyone in our family, just let me know if I can help. 

 Lewis Jacob Youngblood and wife Clara B. Spear had nine children, all born in Petersburg, Virginia. 

Mariah Youngblood b. 1871, married Wade H. Temple

James Cooper Youngblood, 1875-1935 married Georgeanna Rodgers

Mabel Youngblood, 1878-1957, married Rudolph Beck

Ella Youngblood, b. 1880, married Edward Stanley Parker

Edwin Spear Youngblood, 1882-1943 married Helen Blanche Hogue

Gertrude Youngblood, 1884-1965 married Frank Bonner McCann

Clara Youngblood, 1887-1904, died age 7

Lewis H. Youngblood, 1889-1953, married Lillian Moore

Russell Calvin Youngblood, 1895-1958 married Martha Tally


Lewis Jacob Youngblood (1846 – 1919)
is your great-grandfather
son of Lewis Jacob Youngblood
son of James Cooper Youngblood
Kathryn Anne Youngblood Fuller  and sister Susan Youngblood Rawls
You are the daughters of James Cooper Youngblood -
Lewis Jacob Youngblood (1846 – 1919)
is your great-grandfather
son of Lewis Jacob Youngblood
son of Lewis H. Youngblood
You are the son of Lewis Howerton Youngblood, Jr
Lewis Jacob Youngblood (1846 – 1919)
is your great-grandfather
son of Lewis Jacob Youngblood
son of Edwin Spear Youngblood
You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood -


 How about a longer line, this may be one of the longest so far. 
Lewis Jacob Youngblood (1846 – 1919)
is your 5th great-grandfather
son of Lewis Jacob Youngblood
daughter of Edwin Spear Youngblood
daughter of Helen Marie Youngblood
daughter of Grace Marie Webb
daughter of Vicky Lynn Wingo
daughter of Tracy Jarvis
You are the son of Courtney Pender

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Youngblood, James C. 1841-1897, My Great Grand Uncle Is Found! –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #43


James C Youngblood has been missing ! (Only from my family tree!) I didn’t have him in the list of children born to Jacob and Mariah Charlotte Cooper Youngblood, and now that I have added him, I have only found him in one other family tree in Ancestry.com, which tells us he is not well-known!  Of course, this makes me wonder how many other “children” I might have left out of the large families popular in days gone by! I hate to think of it! My own husband’s great, great-grandfather was left out of  the line of Holshouser children born to his family, and his whole line of Holshousers were not invited to the extended Holshouser reunion for 25+ years, until a wise genealogist “discovered” his line! It can make a huge difference! Because of this personal experience, I have generally tried to be very careful to pick up all the children in a family, and to try to get them in the correct order. It is not easy, and not always possible! Censuses, wills, all help, but they are not panaceas! 

John H. Youngblood, born in Germany in 1780, my third great-grandfather, was our first American immigrant in this family line. He came over and settled in New Jersey, in the town of Frelinghuysen, Warren County.  He married Mary whose maiden name is unknown. We have not been able to trace his parents or his town of origin either. I have them as having only two children, which is very unusual those days. Their children were Jacob Youngblood, 1807-1887, and Elizabeth Youngblood, b. 1810. Elizabeth married one John Case and together they had eleven children. Jacob Youngblood, her brother, from whom I descend, married Mariah Charlotte Cooper and they had six children it now seems. Their six children included:  

We have a Youngblood family group on facebook where we share pictures and discuss all kinds of things including dna and genealogy. It is helping us get to know cousins far and wide. Almost everyone in our group at this point, is a descendant of Lewis Jacob Youngblood above. Recently, I found the gravestone of Jacob Youngblood and his wife Mariah on Billion Graves.  I could plainly see that there were two other names on the stone, and planned to figure out what it said, and who they were, but I was so excited, I went ahead and placed the picture on Facebook in our family group! It was then that my eagle-eyed cousin, Kay Youngblood Fuller, immediately called my attention to it, asking “Just who is that James C. Youngblood whose name is on the stone? ”  I was like, ” Hmm…I don’t know! ” I had assumed it was a child of his, but when I checked his family, there was no James C!  The interesting thing is, Kay Youngblood Fuller’s  father was James Cooper Youngblood b. 1917. and her grandfather was James Cooper Youngblood, b. 1875!! They were both children of Lewis Jacob Youngblood b. 1846–the brother of this James C. Youngblood. Yet, James C. Youngblood was the son of Mariah C. Cooper, where the name came from, did he not have children? We know he married, because his wife is buried with him, it says so on the stone. In fact, it says Jacob died in 1887, his wife Mariah Cooper in 1869, James C. in 1897, and his wife Mary Frances Lawrence in 1908. James C. was 56 years old when he died, yet, he and Mary had one child born in 1880 I believe, named Frank! 

James C. Youngblood ended up being an interesting person to get to know. Part of that is because I was with my cousin Kay Youngblood Fuller, and we researched him together! On his US Civil War Draft Registration Records, available on ancestry.com, we find James C. listed as a “law student” at age 22 in 1863.  According to the U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, James C. Youngblood enlisted in Company E, New Jersey 1st Infantry Regiment on 27 June, 1863. It says he mustered out on 24 July 1863, at Trenton, NJ. This is available on Ancestry.com, provided by the register of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865. One Month! Only one month? Good job if you can get it! I’ll have to see if I can find out more about this in further research. 

On the 1880 Census, James C. is listed as a lawyer,  is living with his wife Mary Frances Lawrence, at 356 Madison Street, Morris, New Jersey,  and they have  a 3 month old son named Frank!  Also living with them is his mother-in-law Hannah Lawrence,  his own sister Hattie Youngblood, age 21, and a cook named Rosa McDonald. I assumed Frank was the child of Mary Frances Lawrence and James C. Youngblood, but look beside his name on this census. It looks to me like it sas “McD son”–is he the son of James C. Youngblood and his cook, Rose McDonald? ! I did try tracking Rose McDonald, and on the 1920 census she has a son named Frank McDonald. However, our Frank has married, divorced  and moved to Michigan by 1920. 

Youngblood, James C. 1880 census

 Of course, all the 1890 censuses burned, and James C. died in 1897, so what happened to Frank? We find Frank alive and well, living with Mary Lawrence  at the age of 20 on the 1900 census!  In 1910, we find Frank in Philadelphia, working as a mechanical engineer, and living as a boarder with the Westbrook family, by then his Margaret Lawrence  had also died. 

I did find a passport for Frank. Here we learn that his full name is  Francis (Frank) James Youngblood. Apparently  named for both his mother and his father. He was born March 14, 1880, in NJ, and has Hazel eyes, an oval face, and dark brown hair.  He is living in Boston at this time, 1909, and he is 29 years old!

Youngblood, Frank, passport


 In 1918, we find a  Draft Registration Card for WWI in the US for one Frank J. Youngblood. His nearest relative is listed as Lina May Youngblood. (Thanks to Aquilla and Cathy Meder Dempsey for their help deciphering this.)  They are living in Philadelphia.  I found  later records , one listing a Francis J. Youngblood married to a Lina May in 1920. Another lists a Frank J. Youngblood with a sister named Lina May! Amazing! I have come to believe that this Registration Card is not even for our Frank! By 1920 he was divorced from Lillian May (very close!) but living in Wayne Michigan! Its so confusing! This is when you have to remember that all research is a process, as you gather and sort information. I would have just left this out entirely, but in my first post, before I corrected it, I had asked for help,a nd I appreciate those who responded, greatly! We shall see where all this leads. 

Youngblood, Frank, Draft Registration Card for WW1

 On the 1920 census, we find Frank working as the automotive mechanical engineer he is, in an automobile factory in Michigan! But how sad, he is divorced! A bit more research comes up with a marriage certificate to one Lillian May Shallow in 1910, with a divorce from her in 1912. As far as I can tell, they did not have children. On the 1930 census Frank still lives in a hotel in Wayne, Michigan, alone, and still works as an automotive, mechanical engineer.   James died in 1934, at the age of 54, in Essex, Ontario, Canada. It appears he had traveled there on business and had only been in the country 4 days according to his death certificate. A friend was the informant, and did get his father correct, his place and year of birth and other things. He died of tuberculosis, which it says he’d had for 3  years! I am shocked that he was allowed to continue working, and to travel between the US and Canada! How sad to have the line end this way. Obviously Frank and his Father James C. were intelligent and talented, one a lawyer, and one a mechanical engineer. It’s sad that he did not have children for us to get to know! 

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Harry Langhorne Houchins, Blind, Extraordinary Banjo Player! 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #42




Harry Langhorne Houchins was born May 11, 1887 according to his death certificate. However, according to his U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card, he was born January 20 , 1887.  It always amazes me how the official documents in our lives can disagree! We know that he died  26 Feb. 1973 because several people I know attended the funeral. 

Harry  was my maternal Great Uncle and  I remember him well. From the time I was five, I remember his coming to visit every so often. He would sit on the front porch, play his banjo and sing, and I would sit at his feet and say “again, again, again!” I adored him! Uncle Harry was blind. For a long time, he was the only blind person I knew. He used a cane and got along very well! I now know that Harry came down from the mountains of Virginia, to Richmond where we lived, to join his cousin John Watts Spangler, called “Babe” on his regular radio show on radio station WRVA . Harry wasn’t one of the regular band members who played on the show, but he was a regular substitute, a tribute to his talent. The regulars included John Watts Spangler known as Babe, and the Old Virginia Fiddler, Dudley Spangler, also called Babe, Charles Langhorne Spangler called “Tump” and Dave Pearson.   J.W. Babe and Tump were brothers, Dudley and Harry were their first cousins! Music ran in the blood of this family! Dudley married Tump and J.W.’s sister, read their blog posts on the links above along with  the others. They were characters and yet quite accomplished–all of them.  

Harry never looked like the young man on the cover of this album when I knew him, He looked more like the man playing the banjo on the video with Jason Harris. He had white hair, a white beard, and was about that same size. Yes, he often wore a cap like that too! That could be my great Uncle Harry, but it is not. Watching this man play the banjo makes my heart ache for my Uncle Harry, who has been  gone for over 40 years now. He was quite a presence.

Harry was the son of  Walter Thomas Houchins and Evelyn Langhorne, both of whom I have written about in the past. His sister was my grandmother Kate, Katherine Steptoe Houchins Kerse. His mother died in childbirth when Harry was just 13, he’d be blind by 16–what a life. Two of the most significant people in his life, maybe more, were blind from a disease that is still evident in some of our family, retinosis pigmentosa. It causes people to go blind often at a very young age. Harry’s mother was going blind when she died at age 34, her father James Steptoe Langhorne, and her sister Fannie Langhorne Spangler (mother of Babe and Tump) were blind also!  James Steptoe  Langhorne, like Harry, went blind in his teens. 

Right after their mother’s death, the six living Houchins children were scattered out among different family members or friends. Evelyn died in 1900, her father in 1905. The kids’ father abandoned them, moving out-of-state, remarrying, and having another child by  1902, and a second by 1905. On the 1910 census, Harry can be seen living with his neighbor and lifelong friend, Joseph Hall.  By 1920 he is living in Rockingham, North Carolina with his father, his stepmother who is his same exact age, Dad is 65, Stepmom Lena is 32, Harry is 32, Lena’s daughters are Pearl–17 and Lucille–15 years old.  By the 1930 census he is still with his then 75-year-old Dad,and  his 42-year-old stepmom. Pearl has left the home, but Lucille apparently got married at 15, like her Mom and her husband and 9-year-old daughter are living with them. By the 1940 census, the children have left the home, and Dad Houchins died in 1937. Harry and his stepmother Lena Elliott Houchins are both 53. I wasn’t yet born, and they had lived a lifetime! So, when I was six years old in 1955, Uncle Harry was 68 years old. He lived until he was 86 years old! I remember visiting him several times, and once meeting Lena. My mother told us Lena was his housekeeper! She never mentioned that she was his stepmother. I never knew she had children with my grandfather Walter Thomas Houchins until I did the genealogical research! More family secrets. But I suspect the real secret is that they never actually got married. I have never been able to find a marriage certificate for Walter Thomas and Lena Elliott. But they lived together 37 years, so they certainly had a common law marriage! 

 While playing the banjo was Harry’s fondest past time, he also was trained by the Commission of the Blind to weave rugs, and to read braille. He enjoyed both of those things. He listened to a lot of books on tape later in life. Our home, and those of our Aunts, Uncles, and cousins were filled with scatter rugs, very colorful, woven by Uncle Harry! In her book, Both of Me, by Harry’s niece Mary Stuart  (Mary Stuart Houchins,actress and  daughter of Harry’s brother Guy), wrote that when she was ten or eleven, in the late 30’s, Uncle Harry came to see her family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and lived with them for a year! She says he jumped aboard a moving freight car with his banjo and a farm boy friend of his and traveled from Virginia to Oklahoma! Can you imagine, being blind, yet brave and or stupid enough to jump aboard a moving freight car! We certainly know he was a risk taker!  I remember my Great Uncle Harry fondly, and I can’t hear a banjo today without thinking of him! Sweet memories, joined by research, make the best stories. 



Harry Langhorne (blind) Houchins (1887 – 1973)
is your grand-uncle
father of Harry Langhorne (blind) Houchins
daughter of Walter Thomas Houchins
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse -









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Gustavus Ang Voelkler, Another Stellar Musician, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #41

1 Comment



“Gustavus”, “Gu-sta’-vus!”, I wish you could hear me say this, because I think of his name as being said with a guttural German accent, with a deep baritone voice, and a great deal of dignity! Why I think of him this way I do not know, because I never met the man, but I heard about him, and I know he was highly respected in the family! Gustavus Ang Voelkler was born in 1834 in the Kingdom of Saxony, whose King John he swore allegiance to, before he came to America in 1864. I am not sure where in Saxony he was born, nor have I been able to identify his parents! He arrived in America in 1864 and settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, along with his wife Louisa Voelkler, b. 1836 in Saxony, and two of his seven children. His oldest child and daughter, Helen Marie Voelkler, 1849- 1914, became my great-grandmother, and her portrait, seen above, hung in the dining room of my parent’s house, all of my life! She married Robert Fulton Hogue, b. 1850, of the Hogue family from Scotland, a family I have written about often. His son Ludwig, born in Saxony in 1861, grew up to be a dentist in Pennsylvania! They all overcame the culture shock of moving to America, leaving behind the German language and daily life there, and melding, indeed thriving here in America. The other children, born in America, were: John F. Voelkler, 1866;  Louisa, called Lizzie S. Voelkler, 1868;  Ernest J. Voelkler, 1870;  Max Gustavus Voelkler, 1872, ; and Julia Voelkler, 1876. I have pictures of Gustavus’s wife Louisa, his daughter Helen Marie, and his daughter Lizzie. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of Gustavus, I wonder if we can tell what he might look like from his descendants’ portraits?

I say thriving because that is what they obviously did! Gustavus was an extremely talented musician, a pianist and vocalist, among other things. He arrived in the States in 1864, and by 1870 can be found teaching music at the Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania!  The short obituary I found says that he served as the principal of the music department at Dickinson, so obviously his talent and managerial abilities were  recognized! There is a book titled History of Lycoming College and Its Predecessor Institutions–Williamsport Academy, Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport Dickinson Junior College, by Charles Scott Williams.  You can read it online and even download it at this link: https://archive.org/details/historyoflycomin00will .  Gustavus Voelkler is listed in this book as being part of the Music Faculty starting in 1870 as far as I could trace.

Dickinson Seminary, Williamsport , Pa, Gustavus Voelkler, completion 1850 History of Lycoming College...


Gustavus A. Voelkler, Obituary

Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, Saturday, Nov. 24, 1900.

Vol. 143, Issue 147, pg.4, Source: GenealogyBank.com.

“TAMAQUA, Pa. Nov. 23.– Professor G. A. Voelkler, aged 66, died at the residence of his son-in-law, Victor Fisher, today. Deceased was well-known in musical circles and until recently was principal of the musical department of Dickinson Seminary, at Williamsport, resigning owing to ill-health. He was born in Germany where he received his musical education.”

As it turns out, his daughter Louisa, called Lizzie, became a music teacher at the seminary herself when she was an adult! She obviously followed in her father’s footsteps! I have also found listings in the City Directory that show that Lizzie and Gustavus taught students in their homes. Just two weeks ago, I wrote a post about Marie Kerse Maher, another talented musician and teacher. She was on my mother’s side, and the Voelklers are on my father’s side, so no wonder my brother and sister and my daughters are talented musicians vocally and instrumentally! Actually, we have many musicians in the family, I will list posts about them below. Too bad those musical genes skipped some of us! LOL

On Tuesday afternoon, July 19, 1893, according to the article seen below,  from the Wilkes-Barre Times in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Issue 1087, Page 5,  we see that Gustavus Voelkler won first prize  in a concert , a Saengerfest, or Songfest.  He performed the piece “Waldeinsamkeit” which means Forest Solitude which is a poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson and put to music. I have included the words by Emerson, and a recording from youtube.com of  Helene Lindqvis and Philipp Vogler singing! Vogler/Voelkler, could they be kin, I will have to investigate!


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Waldeinsamkeit (Forest Solitude)

I do not count the hours I spend
In wandering by the sea;
The forest is my loyal friend,
Like God it useth me.

In plains that room for shadows make
Of skirting hills to lie,
Bound in by streams which give and take
Their colors from the sky;

Or on the mountain-crest sublime,
Or down the oaken glade,
O what have I to do with time?
For this the day was made.

Cities of mortals woe-begone
Fantastic care derides,
But in the serious landscape lone
Stern benefit abides.

Sheen will tarnish, honey cloy,
And merry is only a mask of sad,
But, sober on a fund of joy,
The woods at heart are glad.

There the great Planter plants
Of fruitful worlds the grain,
And with a million spells enchants
The souls that walk in pain.

Still on the seeds of all he made
The rose of beauty burns;
Through times that wear and forms that fade,
Immortal youth returns.

The black ducks mounting from the lake,
The pigeon in the pines,
The bittern’s boom, a desert make
Which no false art refines.

Down in yon watery nook,
Where bearded mists divide,
The gray old gods whom Chaos knew,
The sires of Nature, hide.

Aloft, in secret veins of air,
Blows the sweet breath of song,
O, few to scale those uplands dare,
Though they to all belong!

See thou bring not to field or stone
The fancies found in books;
Leave authors’ eyes, and fetch your own,
To brave the landscape’s looks.

Oblivion here thy wisdom is,
Thy thrift, the sleep of cares;
For a proud idleness like this
Crowns all thy mean affairs.


You can hear this read aloud at  http://www.repeatafterus.com/title.php?i=1342&p=t


Newspaper article re. Songfest of  1893 where Gustavus A. Voelkler won first prize!  See source in body of post.



Not only was Gustavus Voelkler a talented musician, but I believe he must have cared a great deal for his family, because I have learned that his family did, his children. I have been told that his son Max  was a favorite uncle of my uncle Fulton, son of Helen Blanche Youngblood, grandsonof Helen Marie Voelkler and  and Robert F. Hogue. In fact, I  understand that my great-uncle R.Clay Hogue visited them often while growing up. Later, in his young adulthood, when Clay decided to attend medical school,  the other Voelkler children got together and paid his way to medical school! What a sacrifice that was, what an incredible way to show your love and committment to family! All the evidence I can find indicates that Gustavus Ang Voelkler was a good  man, a talented man, and an ancestor one can claim with pride. 


Gustavus Ang Voelkler (1834 – 1900)
is your 2nd great grandfather
daughter of Gustavus Ang Voelkler
daughter of Helen Marie Voelkler
son of Helen Blanche Hogue
You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood

Gustavus Ang Voelkler

Your 2nd great grandfather,   Birth May 1834 in Sachsen,Kingdom of Saxony   

Death 23 Novermber 1900 in Tamaqua, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania

Other posts about ancestors or descendants with great musical talent:

1.  Marie Botto Kerse Maher- the Magnificent Musician–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #39

2.  “On the Tweflth Day of Christmas my True Love Gave to Me, Twelve Drummers Drumming…”

3.  “On the Ninth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to me…nine ladies dancing…”

4.  The Spangler Old time Fiddler Musicians, Babe, Tump, and Dudley



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