Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Vreeland, Hartman My 7th Great Grandfather and a Founder of the State of New Jersey! –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, # 40

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Hartman Mickelson/Michielse Vreeland was famous in his own little world, and he was my 7th great-grandfather! He was one of the founders of the State of New Jersey! In fact, he is credited with being “the first white man to settle in what is now the city of Passaic“, New Jersey. He actually purchased from the Lenni Lenape Tribe of the Algonkin nation of Indians an island in the Passaic River, now part of Acquackanonk Park where he settled. In Passaic there is a plaque honoring Hartman and thanks to the Passaic County Historical Society, I can now see it and learn about my own grandfather! 

“This tablet is erected to the memory of Hartman Michielse. 
The first white man to set foot in this county, 
who on April 4, 1678, settled on this spot then known as 
Meneheniki Island, which he then purchased from the Indians.”

Isn’t that amazing! The blood of a true pioneer runs through my veins, and my sister and brothers’ veins, my children and grandchildren and cousins! Wow! Hartman’s father, Michael Jansen Vreeland was born in Zeeland, Netherlands in 1610 and died in Bergen, New Jersey, in the American Colonies in 1663. Hartman himself was born 1651 in New Amsterdam, New York and died in Bergen, NJ in 1707. He was a wealthy man as was his wife, Maritje Braecke, 1652-1724.  He and Maritje had 13 children together! He was a skilled wheelwright, a man who made wooden wheels for carts and carriages, although his wealth was inherited according to The History and Genealogy of the Vreeland Family, 1999, by Nicholas Vreeland.

But what a sad time in history for the Native Americans who already lived here,  whose rights of ownership were totally ignored by the Monarchs of England. Look at this bit of history provided by William Winfield Scott, City Historian of Passaic, NJ, Passaic County Historical Society Publication, Sept. 1, 1929:

For perhaps twelve hundred years, previous to A.D. 1678, the Lenni Lenape Tribe of the Algonkin nation of Indians was considered the owner and possessor of all land now included in the limits of the present city of Passaic.  As is well-known in process of time Charles II, of England, ignored the title of the Indians by conveying all land in New Jersey to his brother, the Duke of York, and from him through mesne conveyances, East Jersey became vested in the Lords Proprietors, who granted patents or deeds for the lands, but not until there was produced a deed from the Indians. 

 The first white man to settle in what is now the city of Passaic was Hartman Michielse, who, by deed, dated April 4, 1678, purchased from the Indians an island in the Passaic River, now  (1929) part of Acquackanonk Park, in the First Ward, where he at once settled. 

Adjoining the island were two contiguous tracts of land containing nearly three hundred acres, purchased from the Indians by Christopher Hoagland, a New York fur dealer, in May 1678, and by him conveyed to Hartman Michielse on February 16. 1679.  The latter subsequently divided the same with this three brothers, two of whom settled thereon.  This land was known as the Point and is today (1929) covered by huge mills, business houses and dwellings.  Hartman’s objects in making these purchases were to establish upon the island a fur trading post with the Indians, and, by acquiring the adjacent land, to protect it from competitors.  He was so well satisfied with his purchases that he set about to interest, in addition to his brothers, ten other men, all of Communipaw (Jersey City), fourteen in all, in the purchase of an adjoining tract of thousands of acres called Acquackanonk, which embraced not only all remaining land now comprising the city of Passaic, but included the present cities of Clifton and Paterson, for which a deed was obtained from the Indians, dated March 27, 1679.  The name Michielse became Vreeland, and (members of) this family for many years were the largest real estate owners in the county. 

 From a legal standpoint, deeds from Indians conveyed no title to the land, the real title, as held at present, being derived from the English Sovereign, who claimed it by right of discovery and conquest.  The only right the Indians posses was that of occupancy, but with no title to the fee.  In the United States Supreme Court, Chief Justice Taney held, in the case of Martin et al. vs. Waddell, as reported in 16 Peter, 347: The English possessions in America were not claimed by right of conquest, but by right of discovery.  According to principles of international law, then understood by the civilized powers of Europe, the Indian tribes of the new world were regarded as mere temporary occupants of the soil; and the absolute rights of property and dominion were held to belong to the European nations by which any portion of the new country was first discovered.”

When I read this last paragraph, I thought, oh my gracious, way to “spin” the conquest of the Indians! How very sad not to take responsibility for one’s actions! It makes me so very proud that my grandfather bought the land from the Indians! 

seal of Descendants of Founders of new JeerseyNow I’ve learned that since I am a direct descendant of one of the citizens of New Jersey who settled there before 1702, I am eligible to become a member of the “Descendants of Founders of New Jersey! Touch me…LOL…I was already eligible to be a member in the Grande Dames of Virginia–those with family in the colonial days of Virginia. Now, New Jersey also, and settlers on the Mayflower!  I am not the bravest person in the world, it amazes me that I come from such incredibly adventurous stock! I will have to brave-up to live up to their legacy!

Evelyn Ogden, PhD, has provided a revised and updated book published in 2011 titled  Founders of New Jersey, Brief Biographies by Descendants. It is available to be downloaded as a pdf at this link.   Biographies are included for  the people listed below, of whom, I am pretty sure I am related to six or seven more families! That’s what happens when your family is present at the beginning of settlements and the population is limited. 

Biographical entries include:

DAVID ACKERMAN (1653 – 1710/24)

THOMAS ALGER (16XX – 1687) 

OBADIAH AYERS (1636 – 1694) 

GUILIAEM BERTHOLF (1655 – ABT. 1726)

JOHN BISHOP SR. (1621-1684)

THOMAS BLOOMFIELD SR. (16XX – 1685)

ROBERT BOND (1596 – 1677) 

RICHARD BORDEN (1595/6 – 1671)

ALEXANDER/SANDER BOYER (1618-1661)

JAMES BOWNE (1636 – 1695)

GEORGE BROWN ( 16XX -1717/8)

JAMES BROWN (1656-1715/6) 

MATTHEW CAMFIELD (1604 – 1673) 

CALEB CARMAN (1644/5 – 1693) 

ROBERT CARR (1614 – 1681)

JOHN CHAMBERLIN (1687-1739) 

RICHARD CLARK (C. 1613 – 1697)

WILLIAM CLAYTON (1632 – 1689)

ROBERT CLEMENTS, JR (C 1634-C 1714)

FRANCIS COLLINS (1635 – 1720)

JOHN CONGER (C 1645-1712)

CORNELIS WILLEMSE COUWENHOVEN.

THOMAS COX (1620 – 1681)

JASPER CRANE (1605 – 1681)

DAVID DEMAREST (1620 – 1693)

ROBERT DENNIS (C. 1619 – 1683+)

DANIEL DOD (C.1649 – 1701+) 

CORNELIS DOREMUS C 1655-1715)

SAMUEL DOTY (1643 – 1715)

GAVINE DRUMMOND (1659 – 1724)

JONATHAN DUNHAM (1639/40 – 1702)

NICHOLAS DUPUI (1634-1691) JOSHUA ELY (16XX– 1702)

DAVID FALCONER (1630-1713)

EDWARD FITZ-RANDOLPH (C.1607 – 1675/6)

THOMAS FRENCH (1639 – 1699) 

HANNAH FULLER (1636 – AFT.1686)

WILLIAM GIFFORD (1615-1687)

THOMAS HAND (C. 1646-1714)

RICHARD HARTSHORNE (1641 – 1722)

MATTHIAS HATFIELD ( 16XX – 1687)

JOHN HAVENS (C. 1635 – C. 1687) 

REV. OBADIAH HOLMES (1606/7 – 1682) 

HENRY JAQUES (C. 1618-1687)

JEFFERY JONES (C.1643 – 1717)

ISAAC KINGSLAND (1648 – 1698)

FRANCIS LINLE (LINDSLEY/LINDLEY) (16XX – 1704) 

HENRY LYON ( 16XX – 1703) 

SAMUEL MARSH (C.1620 – 1683)

WILLIAM MATLACK (1648-1738) 

SAMUEL MOORE (C.1630 – 1688) 

THOMAS MORRIS ( – 1673)

JOHN OGDEN (1609 – 1682) 

GEORGE PACK (C. 1634-1704)

JOHN PANCOAST (PANCKHURST) (C. 1630 – 1694)

REV. ABRAHAM PIERSON (1611-1678)

JOHN PIKE (1613 – 1689/90)

RICHARD PITTENGER (PEWTINGER) (ABT 1645 – 17XX)

ELIZABETH POWELL (1677 – 1714)

BENJAMIN PRICE (1621-1712) 

JOHN PRIDMORE (PREDMORE) (1661-1702) 

JOHN READING (1657-1717)

WALTER REEVE (1650/57 – 1698) 

EDWARD RIGGS (C. 1614 – 1668) 

THOMAS SCATTERGOOD ( 16XX – 1697)

JOHN SCHENCK (1670-1753)

THOMAS SCHOOLEY (1650 – 1724) 

ANDERS SINNICKSON (C. 1651 -1699)

GILES SLOCUM (C. 1623 – 1681) 

JOHN SOMERS (1623/24-1723)

JAMES STEELMAN (JONS MANSSON) (1660/70 – 1734/35)

ROBERT STILES (1655-1728)

RICHARD STOUT (C. 1615 – C. 1705)

CAPTAIN SAMUEL SWAINE (SWAYNE) (C. 1620 – 1685)

JOHN THROCKMORTON (1601 – 1684) 

MARTIN TICHENOR (C.1615 – 1681)

ROBERT TREAT (1622/24 – 1710) 

CORNELIUS (TEUNISSEN) TUNISON (1694 – 1775)

JOHANNES UPDIKE (OPDYKE) (1651 – 1729)

LUBBERT GYSBERTSEN VAN BLARICUM (C.1601 – C.1655)

CORNELIS VAN VOORST (C. 1580 – 1638) 

WALING JACOBSE VAN WINKLE (C.1650 – C.1729) 

HARTUIAN “HARTMAN” (MICKIELSEN) VREELAND (1651-1707)

JOHN WARD ( – 1684)

JOHN WARD (C. 1625 – 1694)

THOMAS WARNE (C. 1652 – 1722)

BARTHOLOMEW WEST ( 16XX – C.1674)

JOHN WINANS (WYNANTS) (1640 – 1694)

BARNABAS WINES (1628 – 1715)

JOSEPH WOODRUFF (1676-1742)

WILLIAM WOOLMAN (C.1625 – 1692)

JOSHUA WRIGHT (BEFORE 1633-1695) 

ROBERT ZANE (1642-1694)

 

For those who like to see the relatioship charts, and I do, this shows my descendancy from Hartman Vreeland:

Hartman Vreeland (1651 – 1707)

is your 7th great grandfather
son of Hartman Vreeland
son of Dirck Vreeland
daughter of Dirck Vreeland
son of Metje Vreeland
son of Jacob Speer
daughter of Edwin Speer
son of Clara B. Spear
son of Edwin Spear Youngblood
You are the daughter of Cecil Hogue Youngblood
I know that several genealogical bloggers I know will find their ancestors here, Clements, Moore, Ackerman, Wright, Price, Clayton, and Fuller just to name a few! I can hardly wait to see if you have recognized your ancestors on this list! Until we meet again, Helen

 

 

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

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Ali and Annie Colage of Marie B. Kerse Maher's studio and Ali and Annie for boog post

First photo is from the Richmond Times Dispatch showing Marie Kerse’s music studio in the year 1909, second shows sisters left to right, Ali Holshouser Orcutt and Annie Holshouser in 2014, talented musicians themselves who might have inherited their talents from their great-great Aunt Marie! Ali and Annie play piano, percussion, violin, saxophone, bells, and they both sing beautifully.

Marie Botto Kerse Maher was a twin and my great-aunt. I wrote about her twin sister Kate who died at age 17 week before last and you can find that story at this link to the post titled Kate Kerse, Twin and Young Artist Dies at 17 –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #37. What a duo they must have been growing up! Think of all the passion and joy such talented artists would bring to the family. They must have been recognized in their church and community as well, as the stained glass window depicting sisters was dedicated at their church when Kate died. Apparently Marie played the organ there at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on a regular basis. Now, a hundred years later, I  am thinking about them and trying to preserve their stories for our family.

Marie, 1878-1961, was the daughter of James Kerse, a Sergeant on the Richmond City Police force and his wife Mary Catherine Botto. I have written of these families before and you can find links to them and others about the family below. This post is about Marie, one of four children, whose baby brother Andrew Leo Kerse died  at age one when she was 9, and whose twin sister died when they were 17. She was no stranger to death when her mother died and Marie was only 28 years old. She married Joseph Franklin Maher in 1913, when she was 35, had one child, Joseph Jr. at 36.  Both of her parents were gone by her age 43. That is a lot of loss in a lifetime. I wonder if her music sustained her, or just kept her so busy, that she didn’t have time to think! 

I know her music kept her busy, because I have found a treasure trove of information about her on genealogybank.com from the Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper in Richmond, Virginia. The picture of her studio in 1909 shown above was one of the treasures found there!  I never met this great Aunt of mine and it was so much fun to get a glimpse inside her home and studio! 

Marie Kerse Maher ad for music lessons

I found an interesting pattern when searching for articles about Aunt Marie. From 1903, when she was 25, until her death in 1961, she operated a music studio out of her home!. Granted, she had a nice home in downtown Richmond, but it is reported that she had over 100 students some years! Every Fall you could find an article about her school starting and the need to register. Every June, you can find an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch about her recitals! She awarded medals and recognized her students liberally. Many were recognized for their talents in the newspaper. As I perused the articles, I was interested to see  pupils from some families I recognized. In 1903, she was teaching two of her own Botto nieces, Kate and Marguerite. There is also a Josie Clements in this article. One of my  genealogy researching cousins is Elizabeth Clements Mims, I suspect this student was in her family. Another family connection is the Bickerstaffs, and there in the review for 1912, you find students named James and Anne Bickerstaff! There are Spindle and Hancock students as well, all names I recognize. How much fun is that! There are other names I took note of. One name that was very interesting to see, was in 1905, Joseph Maher was Marie Kerse’s student–ten years later he became her husband! Took him long enough!

The recitals were obviously elaborate.They were held at venues like the Thomas Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond, and other Halls around town.  There were all kinds of performances as you can read in the articles below, it was amazing. My sister Anne remembers attending one of the recitals when she was a young child of six, shortly before I was born. She remembers that it was held at the luxurious Women’s Club in Richmond, and that our Aunt Gwendolyn Youngblood Tucker took her to the recital, my father’s sister! (the other side of the family, seems curious?). She also remembers something I find amazing, that our mother made her a coat and bonnet out of a wine red velvet! Anne still remembers Mother talking about what an important event the concert was. Anne was the first of four children born to our Mom who worked full-time–I don’t remember her ever sewing! Anne remembers Aunt Marie fairly well, and says Marie was always good and kind to her. I found this picture of a coat and hat very similar to that which Mom made for Anne in 1947. 

velvet coat, marron

I never met our Great Aunt Marie, and was surprised when my research showed that I was 12 years old when she died! She was well known in my home town, why had I never met her? In fact, my sister and I both took piano lessons, but not from her. My older brother and sister sang beautifully! Musical talent apparently runs in the family. It didn’t take much asking around until I began to hear that of course, once again there had been a split in the family! I am genuinely surprised, because I had always thought it was only my father’s family that did that, not my Mom’s. It seems they were just quieter about their estrangements! I learned there were several “incidents” that played into the split relations. I found one in the newspaper archives!In 1915, Marie apparently sued her brother Thomas P. Kerse, my grandfather (my mother’s father) and the courts made him sell some land I assume they had inherited from their mother Mary Catherine Botto who died in 1906. She had inherited the property from her mother, Marie and Thomas’ Grandmother, Catherine Botto Raffo who died shortly before her in 1903– she was a business woman who owned several properties around Richmond. Earlier I had learned that Mary Catherine’s brothers, Marie and Thomas’ Uncles, had sued each other over the property they had inherited,  forcing the sale of  five prime properties in Richmond.      

Kerse lawsuit bet. Marie and Thomas

Apparently there was another reason for the falling out, so much so that Thomas forbid his children to have anything to do with their Aunt Marie or their cousin, her son Joe, how very sad! Or maybe Marie is the one who did the forbidding, I really don’t know, all I know is that we didn’t know each other. Anne says she does not remember seeing Aunt Marie after she was about 7 years old. The other story that I have been told by several family members, is that when James H. Kerse, my great-grandfather,  father of Marie and Thomas, died in October, 1921, even though Thomas, his wife Kate and their six  little children  had taken care of him for many years, Marie inherited the house.  James probably thought Thomas and Kate would be fine on their own and thought he should take care of his daughter. According to the story, Marie  demanded that they move out  even though they were living there one year after James’s death when their own 8 year-old son Thomas Jr. drowned in October, 1922.  Kate was pregnant with their seventh  child by January 1923, when Marie made them move. So much stress, it had to have compounded the emotions.

Regardless of the cause of the split in the family, Marie was obviously a very talented musician. Perhaps she was temperamental and high-strung like many artists are. She was also a very busy business woman when few women were professionals! She was an entrepreneur who ran a music studio out of her home, and had over 100 students enrolled year after year! I find it very interesting that we come from a long line of professional women. In this line especially, Catherine Botto Raffo, born 1825 in Italy,was a professional businesswoman, owning property and collecting rents. Her daughter Mary Catherine Botto Kerse, b. 1858, took over for her. Mary Catherine’s daughter Marie,b.1878,  is the talented musician and business owner herself! Kate, b. 1883, Mary Catherine’s daughter-in-law, Thomas’s wife, was a professional nurse, and before 1915 had a business where she and her partner sold jewelry and did watch repairs. All six of her daughters were educated and worked as realtors, teachers, and social workers! Our generation of women has continued this professional  identity as teachers, financial advisors, psychologists, nurses, etc. We have been told women didn’t work until after WWII and the 1950’s. Well, in our family, we come from a long line of women intrinsically motivated towards professions which makes me proud. 

Besides having her elaborate recitals covered in the newspaper,  Marie placed regular  memorials to some of her loved ones in the newspaper on the anniversary of their deaths. She wrote them poems as you can see in my post about her grandmother, Catherine Revaro Botto Raffo. She posted for her mother as well. But one amazing thing I found, was a memorial she published for her twin sister. It was amazing because the name we had from the records at St. Patrick’s Church were different from the name published in the newspaper, given by Maire.  The church said her sister Kate was named Kathleen Kerse. the memorial left by Marie for her sister, named her as Katherine Vernoica Kerse! I wonder if the middle name was a typo on the part of the newspaper. But my sister nor myself ever heard the name Veronica or even Victoria being in our Kerse  family, much less Vernoica!  Katherine however, is a popular name in our family, every generation has one or more, and I’ve never known anything but good things about any and all of our Katherines, Kathryns, Catherines, Kates and Katys! I’m going to have to do some more research for Kate.

Marie Kerse remembers twin sister

 

I am including articles from the Richmond Times Dispatch archives from Genealogybank.com, although I know they are hard to read.  I believe some family and friends will be interested enough to be thrilled to find these clippings here. They are much easier to read on genealogybank by the way, the problem is in my photography of the articles! Thank you for joining me in my family reminiscing, please share yours with me. 

 

 

 

Former blog posts about the Kerse and allied families:

1. Kate Kerse, Twin and Young Artist Dies at 17 –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #37

2. Catharina Revaro Botto Raffo–My Italian 2nd Great-Grandmother–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #36 

 3. Kerse (Kearse, Kierce, Kearsey) James H. — Irish Cop, Yachtsman, Animal Lover– 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge

 4. Thomas Philip Kerse– Irish Cop like his Dad–52 ancestors in 52 weeks!

5.    Thomas Philip Kerse Captains the Lady Jane! 52 ancestors in 52 weeks

6.    Five Generations of Women, Daughters, Mothers, and Grandmothers   (About Katherine Steptoe Kerse, Thoma’s wife)

7.   Eight-Year-Old Drowns! 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks #4

8.   Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood, My Mother, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #33

9.    Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, 1923-2002, Brillance and Joyfulness Dimmed by Altzheimers-52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #23

 

 

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Pearce, Richard, 1590-1666, Brings Lots of New Cousins into My Life–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #38

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King John,_Magna_Carta, commons.wikimedia.org

King John of England signs the Magna Carta–source– commons.wikimedia.org

 

Genealogical research is always amazing and enlightening to me! I’ve been pursuing it for about four years, and it has been one of the most rewarding, challenging hobbies I have ever had. Adding my dna testing to my research just opened the doors to incredible new discoveries! One thing that has amazed me, is that as I expand my tree and search my dna matches on ancestry.com, I have discovered that I am related to almost everyone I know! LOL  I live on a cul-de-sac, and am related to at least four other families who live on this same street! Some kinships have come through DNA, some just through expanding my family tree. When you come across names of neighbors and friends like Vorhees and Hollingsworth, you know you just have to check it out! Sure enough, I am kin to those neighbors! Not necessarily close kin, LOL We can prove it by dna and written records! Can you believe it! ? It blows me away as well! I recently met a nineteenth cousin! I have gotten so that 5th and 6th cousins seem like close kin!  LOL 

Recently, I’ve been helping a friend Sharon research her family tree. She is a Pierce by birth, and we have enjoyed researching and filling out her tree together! I had no idea where our exercise would lead! In her tree we ran across a Baird, then a couple other names that I thought I recognized, and sure enough, they were in my own tree. We learned we were related, but weren’t sure exactly how.

As I studied her Pierce/Pearce line further, I realized I had seen some of the names before.  I had helped another friend complete some of his family tree, and yes, he had this same line of Pearces in his tree–Thomas Clayton from Greensboro, NC! We had already learned that through his Pearces, he was kin to our mechanic and friend, Jack Strickland! On ancestry.com, I got an email from a man named Donnie Bunn whose Pearce line matched Thomas Clayton’s exactly! Not only did we now have four people knowing each other and kin to each other, but Donnie ‘s family was part of the family who founded a small town near me, the town of Bunn, North Carolina. How very interesting to learn that the Bunns and the Pearces were part of the same family! I soon learned there were many Pearces in the area, and even a Pearce’s Church Road nearby! But wait, through ancestry.com, I met another Pearce researcher, one Tony Pearce, again the same line, and lo and behold, he was a friend of my friend Sharon! What a small world, they had no idea they were related! Sharon is from Pennsylvania by the way, the others are from this area, or at least North Carolina. So, now there were how many? Five I believe who all were cousins with the same Pearce line, although some of the lines didn’t  join each other until 1590! LOL  Richard Pearce, born 1590, came to America from England in 1647 settling in Rhode Island. While Sharon comes down from his son, Capt. Michael Pearce, Thomas comes down from his son Richard, as do Donnie, Tony, and Jack. What a small world! 

But the piece de resistance for me, the ultimate shock and joyful surprise, was when I finally realized I had never checked my dna to see if I was related to the Pearce family–this line of Pearces, and my dna said I was! It took quite a bit of research for me to prove that indeed, this was the very same line of Pearce’s from which Sharon and the others also descended. To be quite honest, it blew me away! So, what–that makes 6 of us who have the same Pearce line that I know, and makes cousins out of us all! Thomas and I have been friends since college–about 47 years!  Now we discover we are cousins! LOL And Sharon–we are neighbors, gardeners, and became friends ten years ago over our mutual love of daylillies! The others are newer friends and acquaintances, now cousins!

 I had approximately 300 dna matches to the spelling Pierce, and  150 to Pearce, many of which were the same match for both spellings. But one match immediately caught my eye, because it was francielou! Francielou is the owner of a tree on ancestry.com–my ONE and ONLY dna match to my Italian Bottos! My Italian Bottos were kin to the Pearces! –along with my Rosas, Devotos, Brignardellos, and more! LOL My friends had some Italian ancestry  also! Not only that, Francielou had taken the Pierce/Pearce line, the exact line as Sharon’s, and extended it all the way back to the 1100’s, including many Royals in the line. Now we were kin to King Henry II and III Plantagenet through the Pearces and through my Italian  family! Awesome!  Her Royal Highness Mary of Lancaster Plantagenet, 1320, was in the line, and King John Lackland Plantagenet, King of England who signed the Magna Carta was now a grandfather of all of us–Sharon’s and my 21st! Now that was a find! All in a day’s work, okay, several days work–but it is so much fun, and so rewarding! 

Here’s wishing you similar adventures in exploring your family tree! Let it open new doors for you and introduce you to many delightful new people! 

consanguinity

source: linealarboretum.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Kate Kerse, Twin and Young Artist Dies at 17 –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #37

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Stained glass window dedicated to Katie Kerse

 

This beautiful stained glass window was dedicated to Katie Kerse, twin of Marie Kerse, pronounced Kearse, who died at age 17, in 1895. She died of a burst appendix.  Kate  was a very talented artist, and her sister Marie was a talented musician, a pianist.  It is not a coincidence that the stained glass window dedicated to Katie  at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, depicts sisters Martha and Mary.  This window is not only appropriate because it honors the twin sisters Kate and Marie, but also because  Martha and Mary begged Jesus to raise their brother Lazarus from the dead. Kate and Marie had a little brother, Andrew Leo , who died at 13 months old, in 1887. The twins would have been 9 when that happened, a very impressionable age for young girls to lose their baby brother! As good little Catholic girls, don’t you think they spent time asking Jesus to bring their little brother back to life ? I suspect they did.

Even though Kate was my Great Aunt, because she died so young, the  family living now knows little about her. We know she was an artist, a painter, whose work was admired by family and friends. Unfortunately, no one in the family has a piece of her work today. However, this stained glass window hangs in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, reminding us that a lot of people loved her.  Her sister Marie played piano beautifully, and played the organ for her church for many years, another good reason to know that the window honors both sisters.  I will write more about Marie  in a separate post.

Unfortunately, there is confusion surrounding the correct date of birth for the twins.  The 1880 census found on ancestry.com, shows the twins at one month old, living with their mother and father, Mary Catherine Botto Kerse,and James H. Kerse in the home of their grandparents–James’s parents, Robert E. and Margaret Kerse.

Name: Kate Kerse
Age: 1m
Birth Year: abt 1880
Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1880: Richmond, Henrico, Virginia
Race: White
[daughter of James Kerse and Mary Botto Kerse, granddaughter of Robert and Margaret Kerse
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Marital Status: Single
Father’s Name: Robert Kerse
Father’s Birthplace: Italy
[Richmond, Virginia, USA
Mother’s name: Margaret Kerse
Mother’s Birthplace: Italy
Neighbors: View others on page
Cannot read/write:Blind:Deaf and Dumb:Otherwise disabled:Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Name Age
Robert Kerse 45
Margaret Kerse 40
James Kerse 23
Robert E. Kerse 19
Maggie Kerse 12
Lillie Kerse 10
Leo Kerse 5
Mary Kerse 22
Marie Kerse 1m
Kate Kerse 1m
View
Original
Record

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Knowing that the Kerse family had been active in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, I called the church and discovered that they had records going back this far and further. Making my request in writing,  I soon learned that Kate’s name  was truly Kathleen.  The church records stated:   “Citation Information Transcription of text Detail Listed parents of Kate and Mary, twins, as James H. Kerse and his wife Mary Catherine Botto. Their written records state they were born on 17 May, 1878, baptized on 25 June, 1879, and Kate died at age 17.”  The church records also state that James H. Kerse and Mary Catherine Botto married  on November 27, 1879, over a year after the twins were born! Born in 1878 or 1880, interesting conflict.

There is another part to Kate’s story that is serendipitous perhaps, or perhaps a direct result of Kate’s work from heaven on behalf of her family–what do you think? Kate’s brother, Thomas Philip Kerse was my grandfather. After losing Kate to infection from her burst appendix, the family was terrified when their only living son Tom came down with the same condition! They hired a private duty nurse to care for him around the clock at the doctor’s suggestion. That nurse was a young woman named Katherine Steptoe Houchins, already engaged to marry another man, but fated perhaps to fall in love with Tom! Katherine was also called Kate.  She helped Tom get well then married him , becoming my mother’s mother, my grandmother! Tom and Kate had seven children, one son and six daughters. They have twelve grandchildren, 15 great grands and twelve great-greats still new to the world!

Life stories are so very interesting, as our families are. With all the twists and turns we are reminded that life is an adventure, with different stories for every individual! I wish I had known Kate, I wish she had lived to be a part of our life! I wonder what it might have been like to have an artist in the family, perhaps encouraging other artists! We never know when we have lost a loved one at a young age, just what we’ve missed by not having them in our lives to learn from, to love, and to be loved by them.  Angels surround you Katie Kerse, and keep you always.

 

St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, --available on facebook

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, –available on facebook

 

 

 

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Catharina Revaro Botto Raffo–My Italian 2nd Great-Grandmother–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #36

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Mirror from Revaro family in Italy

“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall…tell me your stories, tell them all!”  (by Helen Y. Holshouser with prompting by sister Anne) This beautiful mirror hangs in my sister’s home today in 2014.  It has been in our family for  almost 200 years, maybe more. It belonged to my second great-grandmother, Catherina Revaro, born about 1825. I do not know where Catherina got the mirror, or how long it might have been in her family, but we are told it is a family piece from Genoa, Italy where she was born.  We have an oral history story passed down in our family about Catharina.  Mother always said that Catherina, called Catherine in our family, was the daughter of a wealthy family in Genoa, Italy. They had a large department store there and in Rome perhaps. Catharina was a student in a private girls school, located  in a convent. However, she had fallen in love with a boy named Luigi Botto!  They supposedly left Italy together, coming ultimately to Richmond, Virginia where they married and had two children, James Lewis Botto 1857-1923, and Mary Catherine Botto, 1858- 1906, who married James Kerse and became my great-grandmother.  Catherine married a second time to Nicholas Raffo in 1866, and had another son named John Francis Raffo, 1867-1951.

I have always loved all things Italian, perhaps this line of relatives explains that trait or propensity! In fact, it was pursuit of knowledge of this, my Italian heritage which originally got me started in genealogical research! I quickly learned that they were not easy to research, because a lot of the records were written in Italian and/or Latin! However, after many years of working on this effort, and help from other researchers, I have put together this picture of the Italian branch of our family. 

My first effort was to prove just how my great grandparents came into the country! My first find was a family of Bottos (I did not have her maiden name Revaro at the time.) who arrived on July 18,1844, on the ship Constantine in the port of New York from Genoa, Italy! I was so excited! On board you can clearly see the family with Joseph Botto, 38, Marie, 36, Luigi 12, Catharina 14, Benedict 10, Maria 8 and Giacomino! Wow, what a family! Luigi at 12, matched the 1832 birthdate I had. But weren’t they very young to be marrying? And the whole family was with them! Hmm, didn’t quite jive. But it was all I could find, in this my first week of ever doing genealogical research! I still thought this must be my family. Maybe this was Luigi, and Catherine was elsewhere, or maybe the other way around. Or maybe they were already married, a shotgun wedding?! LOL Obviously, I needed more information. This is the Constantine’s passenger list for you to see:  

Botto family on ship Constatine, July, 1844

source: ancestry.com

 

I decided the family above could not be my Bottos, when I followed them to Kentucky, then when I actually met on ancestry some of their descendants, living in Boston, Massachusetts, I learned  this was their family, not mine!  Back to the drawing board, I found many Louis Bottos,  and few Catherines. But finally, I found this document, and I believe it fits better than most, the ship’s passenger list includes both a Luigi Botto age 26 and a Catharine Botto age 20, on board the ship Switzerland, arriving in 1855! That would be perfect timing for them  to get to Richmond,Virginia and have two children in 1857 and 1858!  However, if the marriage certificate below is correct for them, they should have been in Richmond by 1853! Oh dear, this is the way genealogical research works, just search, and search, and eliminate and search some more! 

Botto ,ship passenger list with Luigi and Catherine

source: ancestry.com

source infomation for passenger list for Luigi and Catheribotto

source: ancestry.com

 

Keeping this, I went on to research more and see what I could find.  I knew that Catherine had married a second time because she had a son named John Francis Raffo that I could see on the censuses. So I searched for both Raffo and Botto information. Finally i found a marriage certificate on ancestry.com for Nicholas Raffo and Catharine Botto also Catharine Revaro, father Anton Revaro! There was her maiden name! Alleluia!  

Name: Catharine Botto
[Catharine Revaro] 
Gender: Female
Age: 43
Birth Date: 1823
Marriage Date: 7 May 1866
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Father: Anton Revaro
Spouse: Nicholas Raffo
FHL Film Number: 33620
Reference ID: p 90

 

It wasn’t long before I decided to take my DNA through ancestry.com, which showed I was 5% Italian in my ethnic makeup. Cool! That combined with knowing Catherine’s maiden name, helped me learn much more about my family, including meeting  cousins and other people researching them! One of those folks was a researcher who spoke Italian and Latin and researched original records even from the Vatican! I was very impressed! Diane ended up finding the birth certificate of  my great, great grandparents, Louis Botto and Catherine Revaro. On the certificate you will notice that her name had been anglicized to Rivers, and his was written as Botte, typo or a name change, I am not sure. I already had the date of the Raffo marriage from censuses, and the date on the Botte marriage certificate agrees. However, the Botto name appears on censuses and many other records. the ages and dates of birth don’t match for Catherine, but this doesn’t overly worry me as I find this often the case.  This gave me his parents names as well! My Italian roots were growing! 

Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940 about Catharine Rivers

Name: Catharine Rivers
Gender: Female
Age: 22
Birth Date: 1831
Birth Place: Italy
Marriage Date: 3 Sep 1853
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia
Father: Andrew Rivers
Mother: Mary
Spouse: Louis Botte
FHL Film Number: 31855
Reference ID: p 1 # 39

 

So, we have Catherine Revaro coming to Virginia from Italy and marrying Lewis Botto in 1853,  naming their children James Lewis and Mary Catherine Botto.  In 1866, Catherine married for the second time. I have not been able to ascertain what happened to her first husband, however,  no death notice, find-a-grave document, no military record that I can find! There are other Louis Bottos in the United States as well.  In the Richmond City telephone directory of 1876, Catherine is listed as Catherine Botto, widow of Louis Botto! In 1876, she was a widow all right, but the widow of Nicholas Raffo who had died in 1873! Catherine ‘s first husband must have died, besides being listed as a widow in the phone directory, when Catherine herself dies in 1903, we can find an obituary in the Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper that states that a “solemn requiem mass” was said at her funeral at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the church where the family attended for years. She would not have been thus honored if she had divorced. The Catholic Church would not have allowed it. 

 

Obituary

Mrs. Catharine Raffo

Mrs. Catharine Raffo, mother of Mr. James L. Botto and Mr. John F. Raffo, of the fire department, and Mrs. Mary C. Kerse, wife of Sergeant James H. Kerse, of the First Police Station, died Saturday morning.  Her funeral will take place Monday morning at 10 o’clock from St. Patrick’s church. The interment will be in Mt. Calvary.

The following gentlemen will act as pall-bearers:

Honorary-Richard M. Taylor,

H.M. Smith, Junior

Dr. David Coleman

Dr. W. H. Scott

John Frischkorn

John Mann Jr.

Joseph H. Webb

Edgar Shine

Active:

F.J. Purrater,   Anthony Griffith,

Claiborne Epps,  Andrew Donald,

Frank Overman,  Peter Gonella,

Captain W.B. Whitlock,

James Burke

Raffo died April 25, 1903, at the residence of her son-in-law, James H. Kerse.  2612   East Grace St.

MRS. CATHARINE RAFFO

The funeral will take place Monday morning, April 27th,  at 10 o’clock, from St. Patrick’s Church with a requiem mass.

Friends invited to attend Interment Mt. Calvary.

Washington and New York papers please copy.

 –published in the Richmond Times Dispatch, April 26, 1903

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

Catherine Botto Raffo's funeral announcement, Apr. 28, 1903, The Richmond Times Dispatch

–published in the Richmond Times Dispatch, 1903 

 

Five years after her death, her granddaughter Marie Botto Kerse, my Great Aunt, wrote this tribute to Catherine which was published in the Richmond Times Dispatch as well, in 1908:

In Memoriam

In sad but loving remembrance

of my devoted Grandmother,

Catherine Botto Raffo

who died five years ago. 

April 25, 1903.

Every year the good God calleth

some loved one to endless rest,

and our hearts, though filled with anguish, 

can but cry, “He knoweth best.”

But a year and distant cometh,

when we tread the vast unknown, 

we shall find our ransomed loved ones,

seated ’round the great white throne.

Marie B. Kerse–genealogybank.com, Richmond Times Dispatch

“Loving remembrance of my devoted Grandmother”! Those words say a lot about Catherine Botto Raffo! How interesting. I’ve been thinking of her children. James Lewis was born in 1857, his sister Mary Catherine in 1858, they were only 9 and 8 years old when their mother remarried. Had they known their Dad at all? Then their stepfather dies when they are 15 and 16! After her marriage in 1866 to her second husband Nicholas Raffo, her son John Francis Raffo is born in 1867. His father dies in 1873–at six, he probably only had hazy  memories of his father. Those are rough  events in young lives. The Civil War was waged during their childhoods, Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy! What must they have seen and heard! 

Yet, we know that John Francis Raffo grew up to become a firefighter, then chief of the Richmond City Fire Department, spanning a fifty year career with them!  One of John Francis’ great, great-grandchildren sent this picture to me, which I treasure. Yes, his descendants are alive and well and going strong.  I am regularly in touch with one of them on facebook, and another I have met in person. (more of that at a later time) Among them are soldiers, a priest, and many other s including genealogists. This is a line of descendants any mother would be so proud to call her own! 

Raffo family

left to right in this photo of the Raffo family taken on their front porch in the Churchill area of Richmond, Virginia: 1. John Francis Raffo, Jr. (Jack) 2. Nicholas Coleman Raffo 3. Frank McLaughlin Raffo 4. John Francis Raffo 5. Mary Margaret Finnegan Raffo (Minnie) 6. Anita Raffo 7. Catherine Raffo Beaty 8. James Coleman Raffo 9. Anna Raffo Eagle 10. Mary Margaret Raffo (Minnie) abt. 1918 Churchill, Richmond, Virginia, USA, given to this author by Coleman Raffo, 2014

Catherine’s daughter Mary Catherine Botto married James Kerse and became the mother of my grandfather Thomas Philip Kerse.  She had four children in fact,  but two of them died young, Andrew Leo in infancy and  Kate, the twin of Marie, died at age 17 of a burst appendix.  In fact, because Kate died of a burst appendix,  when her brother Thomas Philip came down with appendicitis in his early twenties, the family hired a private duty nurse to take care of him. That nurse turned out to be Katherine Steptoe Kerse,  who married Thomas Philip and became my cherished grandmother! They went on to have seven children, twelve grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and so far, 4 great- great- grandchildren!  We have several college professors, lawyers,  building contractors, teachers, and firefighters! Catherine can be proud of this line of her daughter’s.

Now James Lewis Botto was very different from his sister and half-brother it seems. He was a local politician, and owned a night club in downtown Richmond called  St. Helena’s.  He was married with six children, four sons and two daughters. Both daughters married men of excellent standing from great families in Richmond. The father and two of his sons went to jail. The father, James Lewis,  for only 3 months for bringing illegal liquor into the state to sell at his club during prohibition! A rum runner in the family! The other son, William Joseph Botto, a policeman forced to resign, went to jail only 30 days on this same charge, but then he was charged with domestic violence in 1914, assaulting his wife!  He left his wife and disappeared. She had him declared dead after several years! In 1930, he disclosed who he truly was, just  before he actually died in a hospital in New York! It is hard for me to believe this happened in my own family! Another son,  John Francis Botto went to the penitentiary for 15 years for attacking a 13-year-old girl! Good gracious–what happened in this line of family?! As bad as this seems, we must remember that four of the six children in this family turned out to be excellent citizens, it is not right to judge them poorly  on the merits of their father and two brothers! However, it is curious, just how is it that some siblings make such bad choices with their Dad, and most make great choices. The heirs of this family were all female, so the Botto name from James Lewis’s line died out, there are descendants, just not with the Botto name. Since he was the only male heir of Luigi Botto, his line of Bottos did not continue. 

I knew we had Italian ancestors, my mother talked about it a lot. But I did not know they were alive and that I could have gotten to know them while growing up!  What a shame to miss knowing family until you are in your sixties! I have a clue as to why this might have happened .  Catherine Botto Raffo died in 1903, having outlived both husbands by many years. We were told that Catherine was an excellent money manager, and indeed, when she died several things were published in the Richmond Times Dispatch giving us a glimpse into her business acumen. As a successful business woman, she had amassed  a fair amount of property. I don’t know how she left it, or if she even had a will, but according to the paper, in 1907, John Francis Raffo sued his half-brother James Lewis Botto et al (did that include my great-grandmother Mary Catherine Botto Kerse? Probably.)  I don’t think that is all that unusual however, heirs who inherit equally–one or more want to keep the property, others want their money for their share perhaps. Whatever the situation,  John Francis Raffo sued and the court ordered that the lots in downtown Richmond be sold, and the money divided.  I imagine that caused great division within the family. Perhaps the Raffos and Bottos no longer spoke, how sad. What would Catherine think? Would she focus on the positive, the many descendants who’ve done well, been responsible and active citizens. Or would she just be devastated about her one son’s family and the  two of his sons who got in so much trouble! What an interesting family, wish I knew more, perhaps I will learn more one day.  Finding interesting stories like these, and meeting living cousins, discovering lines of relatives you didn’t even know existed, that’s what makes genealogical research so exciting!  

Che cosa hai intenzione di fare sulla famiglia ? Loro amore ! What are you going to do about family? Love them! --Helen Y. Holshouser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Max Alexander Holshouser, Family Man and Extraordinary Craftsman–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #35

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Max Alexander Holshouser was born September 2, 1949 and turned 65 years old this week! I am blessed to be his wife of 43 years this December, 2014.  We have two daughters, Margaret Anne Holshouser, originally called Maggie who decided she wanted to be called Annie about age 14;  and Ali–Alexandra Kathryn Holshouser  now married to Greg Orcutt with three children. Our family has been blessed a million times over by the presence of our intelligent, quiet, strong, independent, mild-mannered, Max Holshouser! Max grew up in rural North Carolina in the small town of  Richfield.  He played baseball and football, fished and studied.  Max attended NC State University where he excelled in woodworking and majored in Industrial Arts Education. He first worked in industries more than education, among other things designing machines as a mechanical designer and draftsman.  However, in 2001 Max returned to the classroom  at Wakefield High School in Wake County, North Carolina where he taught CAD Drafting, Engineering, and Architecture for twelve years. While working in the professional world, Max raised two daughters and  took care of a disabled parent, his Dad, the last seven years of his life. Max taught Sunday School, lead the youth group, and lead family camp retreats for his church at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church. He served as a Legislative Chairman for almost every PTA in every school his children attended, until he stepped up to serve as President of the Wake County PTA Council, helping coordinate conferences and volunteerism throughout Wake County, North Carolina. Unfortunately, at fifty, his wife became disabled with heart disease and again he found himself  the caretaker.  All of these trials and tribulations,  joys and adventures are part of Max Holshouser for sure, but he has another dimension to him that only people who get to know him realize–he is a craftsman with boundless talent! His abilities have brought immeasurable joy to our family and to others. He has gifted many of his accomplishments over the years, and I just have to tell you about the incredible talent Max Holshouser possesses, or better yet, show you!  Happy Birthday my cherished husband, this is a tribute well deserved! 

 

 

While he was a student at North Carolina State University, Max made an executive desk as his design project for his senior year. It was made from mahogany, and was beautiful.  It was  6′ long,  3′ wide, and 30″ tall. The drawers slid in and out with total ease, and the wood was satiny smooth! I loved it! We moved it from apartment to house to house, with the rooms becoming smaller and smaller, and our children increasing in number, we just did not have room for it. Max gifted it to his sister for use in her upholstery business showroom in Myrtle Beach, SC. Unfortunately, in 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit and flooded her house and business, destroying the beautiful desk! That hurricane had much worse effects on the family than the loss of this desk, you may want to read about it in this post.

Max's six foot, executive, mahogany desk, made while a student at NCSU, 1970-71. DSCF9732

 

We married at Christmas in 1971. Max had been working on a rocking chair he was making for his niece Leslie. I remember it well, because, not only was it lovely, but he had to finish it on our honeymoon in order to deliver it by Christmas, 1971! Recently, we received a picture of our great-great niece using the darling rocking chair Max made 43 years ago!

 

DSCF9734 Amanda's daughter in rocker made by Max in 1971.

 

1972-1974, Max continued to make furniture, but he also started producing beautiful stained glass pieces. We lived in a modern apartment, and Max made furniture in primary colors to fit our lively, 1970’s decor! We had  red shag carpeting, and faux fur cushions made by his sister Brenda Holshouser Goodman to fit the modern chairs he made! The chairs were black and white, and Max made geometric cubes for tables to match! We had a green and yellow decorative dividing wall between our living and dining room, which lit up softly at night, all designed and built by Max! On the wall was a what-not shelf in lime green that spelled out the word LOVE! How romantic a gift from my new husband! Thank heavens we loved primary colors, because a friend and artist, Dennis Anderson, had given us a wedding present of two  6′ x 4′ canvas panels he had painted bright green in geometric shapes! It was the 1970’s! I always felt cheerful with that furniture!

 

DSCF9736Max made this what-not shelf, spells LOVE, for Helen in 1972.Notice LP album sand designed and built by Max as well.

 

 

Max gifted my parents with many lovely items over the years, and his own parents as well. In 1974 Max made an ottoman for my mother to match a  chair she had asked his sister to upholster.  Brenda upholstered the ottoman  to match! In 1973, the ottoman was white, now in 2014, my parents deceased, we own the ottoman which is still strong and sturdy and now covered in red by our talented Brenda of course!

 

Max's ottoman made for margaret Youngblood, 1974, upholstered by Brenda Holshouser Goodman. Max's ottoman built in 1974, still in use in his home in 2014, 40 years old!

 

While he was in college, Max worked for a company that created and installed stained glass windows in churches. He enjoyed working with the glass so very much that he continued to create things throughout his life. In 1974  he worked on several stained glass lamps that he then made more of and gifted to our parents, and our sisters and brothers. The first green one went to my parents and now hangs in  my daughter Ali’s home. The red one went to Max’s parents, but now hangs in our living room as they are also deceased. We have another blue stained glass lamp which was made originally for Max’s parents as well. It now sits proudly in our living room. I remember watching Max create the mold to shape the stained glass globe around! It was amazing to watch it come together. Over the years he made a transom window for some friends, and many small stained glass sun catchers. What a creative man!

 

DSCF9589 DSCF9788 DSCF9790 DSCF9596

DSCF9796blue stained glass globe

 

There is so much more I want to show you, I’ve hardly begun! I’d like to show you his string art, and his cross stitched designs that we have loved for many years! There are the decks, stone patio, and sheds he’s constructed!  Then there are the toys: trains, planes, puzzles, and Noah’s Ark among others! Come back for chapter two! Isn’t it amazing how many gifts God gave this man, my husband Max?! Some people sing, some dance, some are great orators, Max is an artist, an artisan, an awesome man! Happy Birthday honey, I love you with all my heart.

Click here for Part 2,  Max A. Holshouser, Toys, Baking, and String Art!

Click here for Part 3 of 3: Max A. Holshouser, Designer  and Builder of Decks, Stone Patios, and Other Projects Large and Small

 

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W. Thomas Houchins, An Ancestor Gone Wrong –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #34

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MOD, lover's Leap

Patrick County, Virginia, photo by Helen Y. Holshouser

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I’ve written about many incredibly talented individuals with brilliant minds, and great leadership  qualities. However, in every family, there are a few members you don’t hear about.  That’s a good description of my great Uncle Tom Houchins. As a child, I knew all my great aunts and uncles who were Houchins, my mother’s mother’s family, who were also the children of Evelyn Langhorne–from a wealthy and influential family in Virginia before the Civil War. At least I thought I knew them!  I was in my late teens before I realized that there was another Great Uncle I had never heard of! He lived in Florida while we lived in Virginia, so it was easy to keep him unknown to young kids growing up. What amazes me is that my Mom  was one of six sisters who were very close, and very family oriented. They kept up with their own Aunts and Uncles, and therefore we knew them and our cousins as well! How could it be, that I learned as an adult that we had this petty criminal , irresponsible playboy, and business success all wrapped up in one, in our own family! Kudos Mom, as a mom of the 1950’s, you did your job of “sheltering the children” well!  In recent years, of course, I’ve  talked with my cousins as adults, and we realize our mothers were all aware of our great Uncle Tom’s exploits, but none of them told us–talk about a code of silence (!) and he wasn’t an axe murder or anything! Want to know just what he did do?

Some of it is almost funny, some is sad, some terrible! Take your pick, because you are the only judge. Thomas,  was born William Thomas Houchins 14 June, 1890, in Patrick County,Virginia, a beautiful,  mountainous area of Southwest Virginia. On the 1900 Census we can see the whole family intact for the very last time. Little did they know when the census was taken in June of 1900, that by October, their loving mother, aged 34, would be dead, and their father would leave them for another woman and to start a new family!  Four more months of oblivious childhood–then the reality of a hard life, a different life would set in! They had lived at one time with their grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne. But he was not well, was blind, and would die within three years as well, so what were these children to do?! You can see on the census, six living children out of nine, as their mother died birthing twins in Oct.1900. (see blog post re. Evelyn here)  Another sister,Virginia Myrtle had died at age 2, about six years earlier. Katie, their oldest child and daughter at age 16 was my grandmother. Was she panicked when her mother died and her father left? Grief stricken I’m sure!  Her sister Julia was 15, Harry was only 13, but would be blind with the family disease by 17. Then there is Wm.Thomas, our  subject of this blog, at the tender age of 9, days before his tenth birthday! His whole world was going to come crashing down around his head! There were two little boys, John and Guy, ages 4 and 3 respectively, did they even remember being a family?

Houchins and Langhorne, Eve, 1900 Census, all family

1900 Census : Souce, Ancestry.com

I knew three of them fairly well. My grandmother died before I was born unfortunately,  and Guy died when I was only five. (now I know all of their descendants, my siblings and cousins! )  Great Uncle John and his wife Aunt Josephine lived in Staunton, Virginia where she taught at the school for the deaf. I remember visiting them often as a child. Uncle John was always mannerly and kind to me. Great Uncle Harry was blind when I  knew him, but he would come see us and stay for days. He would sit out on our front porch and play his banjo and sing!  I would sit at his feet and beg him to play more! more, more! Great Aunt Julia lived in Richmond where we did and we saw her often. When her grandson Billy Pat, who was just my age came to visit, I would get so excited! We would swim, and play and just got along famously. Aunt Julia herself was a lawyer–the first female ast. district attorney in the state of Va. Sometimes she scared me to death! She could freeze you with one look! LOL I’m sure that served her well in the courtroom! In actuality, she was a sweet, kind woman who would do anything for family.  I never knew my Great Uncle Tom existed, until 1966 or 7, when I was a Junior or Senior in highschool. That summer my parents went to visit him and took my younger brother with them! My brother would have been about 12 probably. While I was shocked to learn I had another great uncle alive and successful in Florida, I paid little attention. You see, this was the first time I was allowed to stay home alone with my older brother and sister while our parents were gone away for a week! A week! We had a ball, and thought little of whom they were visiting , I’m sorry to say! I now know my uncle was dying. I suspect Mom knew, and wanted to visit him one last time!  So sad to have been an oblivious teenager! He died in 1968, with no children, but an interesting life.

Thomas was 10 when his mother died. A wealthy close cousin,, Lady Astor, Nancy Langhorne, swoooped in and sent him to military school to continue his growing up! You’d think that would do it! On the 1910 census, taken on April 16, we can see that he is enrolled in the army and is stationed at Fort Myer Military Reservation in Alexandria, Virginia. He is listed as 23 and single on the census.  Did he lie, or is that a typo? We know that  in April of  1910, he would have been only 19, turning twenty that June! We are also told by family members that he had married one Martina Ruth Bowie on January 11, 1910, when they were both 19 years old!  Then we find the US Army Register of Enlistments where we find that Thomas was dishonorably discharged on October 26, 1911. Oh my gracious!

The only way to fill the years in between 1910 and 1930 when our couple is found in Chicago, is to listen to family stories. Thomas’s niece, the famous Mary Stuart of TV fame, wrote about him in her memoirs, Both of Me. She says he was known to have “shot a revenuer”  in the mountains of Virginia and that he joined the army to escape punishment! He would have been a teenager, home from military school, where would he have been living? So, he joins the army and we find him there in 1910. He also gets married that year. We are told in the family, that he deserts the army and heads off to who knows where, but wait, his wife is not with him. Apparently he is going to meet her, when he gets drunk, and marries another woman, becoming a bigamist! All before he is 20! This kid is in trouble–shooting, desertion from the army, now bigamy!

But he has an ace up his sleeve! He has a loving sister who is an attorney! And sure enough, his sister, only 5 years older, but married and living in Richmond, Va. by then, a ripe old age of 25, comes to his rescue! My Great Aunt Julia  helps him annul his bigamist marriage, she works with the army to get him his dishonorable discharge with no prison time,  and it seems there were no charges pending from the rumor that he “shot a revenuer”!  My suspicion is that this older and wiser sister of his also gave him her famous glare, and told him to grow up and fly right–did he?

The next census I can find, 1930,  shows my great Uncle Thomas living in Chicago, with his wife Lillian–in fact, they are listed as Thomas and Lilian Anglin, not W.Thomas Houchins and Martina Bowie, his wife! Wow! I would never have found them of course, except for family stories, not given by any of the sisters, but pieced together through the cousins when we were all over 50 and our mothers were gone! They took these secrets to their graves!

I learned that indeed, they changed their names, legally or not I do not know, but I doubt it..and there is more to the story! What name did he choose? Thomas Smith, or Jones, oh no — Anglin–Thomas Anglin–how sad! Thomas Anglin was his first cousin who lived in Oklahoma! The real Thomas Anglin was a State Senator there in fact–another of the good guys! The real Thomas Anglin  was the son of Pocahontas Houchins and her husband John B. Anglin, also from Patrick County, Virginia, who had moved to Oklahoma. I wonder if he knew? I wonder if our Aunt Pokey knew when  she died in 1927! Wouldn’t she have been furious at her nephew, her brother’s son, a criminal –that he would dare to take her famous son’s name! Can you imagine the family feuds that might have erupted! No Thanksgiving Dinner family gatherings for them! Apparently, it never happened!  Our Thomas Anglin and wife Lilian  lived peacefully and prosperously it appears! By the 1940 census, we find him and Lilian living in Dade County Florida, in Coral Gables! This is where my Mom, Dad, and brother visited him in the late 1960’s! They had a business school there that they owned, and apparently it was very successful! “Buyer Beware” rings in my ears! Of course,  we didn’t have computers  in the  years when he was alive. I understand that their school had a great reputation! He and Lilian never had children. I wonder , did they feel guilty; live in fear of being discovered?  It’s hard to believe–in the midst of attorneys, State Senators (in Virginia as well), actual revenue agents hunting moonshine stills, educators, and so on, how do you get one like this?  You could say he was  scared by his mother’s death and his father’s desertion at his age 10, that he was hurt severely, and perhaps so. It may be that something happened in military school to a young boy of 10–18–that’s a tough way to grow up! However, his brothers and sisters did just fine it seems. We will never know, but wow–what a discovery of a sad and eccentric member of our family! What a journey he had.

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Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood, My Mother, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #33

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Kerse, Margaret Steptoe

Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood

Kerse sisters at Nancy's wedding

Five sisters participate in their sister Nancy’s wedding to Bob Guthrie in 1943. He was a pilot and was killed over France in WWII. l to r, Katherine Kerse Buck with husband Roger next to her.The next two adults are Guthries, she is Cilla Guthrie, sister of the Groom. The child is the flower girl, Claudia Burnett Williamson, daughter of Julia Louise Kerse Burnett standing with her. In the middle you see the bride Nancy Langhorne Kerse and her husband Bob Guthrie. Next is Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood, with an unknown man next to her. The last sister shown is Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, and behind her on the end is Cecil Hogue Youngblood, Margaret’s husband, my father.

Kerse Sisters, improved picture

l to r, Katherine Langhorne Kerse Buck, Julia Louise Kerse Burnett, Evelyn L. Kerse Anderson, Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, Nancy Langhorne Kerse Goodell and last is Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother, Margaret Steptoe Kerse (pronounced Kearse) was born February 21, 1918.  She was the fourth of seven children born to Thomas (Tom) Philip Kerse and Katherine (Kate) Steptoe Houchins. Kate was a nurse in a time when women traditionally did not have careers. Tom was an Irish Police Officer like his father. Both came from wealthy families at one time.  In the beginning of the marriage, Tom had a gentleman’s gentleman to care for him. The family always had a cook and nanny to care for the children. They had a small yacht called The Lady Jane from which they swam and had their friends over for parties. Their father and grandfather held tours and dinner excursions on the Lady Jane to raise money for charities in the Richmond area where they lived. You might enjoy a blog post about the Lady Jane written earlier, by clicking on this link. 

Lady Jane, boat belonging to Thomas P.Kerse

The Lady Jane

Mom was only four years old when a tragedy, her first (her mother’s fourth or fifth) hit the family! Mom’s older brother Bucky (Thomas Phillip Kerse Jr.) drowned in the James River!  He was only eight years old, and Mom was half his age! She remembered it well however, and talked about it her whole life, so we knew it was a defining moment for her. Because of his drowning, she made sure we were all excellent swimmers, and she never let us go down to the James River, so close to our house, without adult supervision! That was her strictest, and one of her few rules!  You can read the story of  Bucky’s drowning in this blog post if you’d like. Mom’s mother Kate, my grandmother, was only 10 when her own little sister died. She was seven when their family home burned to the ground!  Kate was 17, with five younger living siblings, when her mother, Evaline Langhorne, died in childbirth, and her father deserted the family to create another one. She must have been a strong woman, to have become a nurse while living with relatives, her siblings scattered, living in a city 300 or more miles from her beautiful mountain home where she was reared, in Patrick County, Virginia. These were the life experiences she brought to her own family, my mother and her siblings! 

Mom and her sisters attended Catholic schools and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church where the whole family was involved. Mom used to say that one or the other of the seven of them was often in trouble, and had to kneel and pray for repentance so often that their Mom sewed kneeling pads inside their skirts so that their knees wouldn’t get so sore! 

The depression hit in 1929 and my grandparents lost all their money, yet had to take care of their children!  In January 1930, more tragedy hit the family. My grandmother Kate was shot in the head by one of her patients! He had been in a coma, and upon regaining consciousness, he thought she was the enemy, or that she was going to hurt  him, and he grabbed a gun, one long in the room that no one knew was loaded. He shot my grandmother, then he died a few hours later, not knowing what he had done undoubtedly!  But the family suffered, she didn’t die, but was forever maimed, not quite herself as the inoperable bullet affected her speech and thinking ability. My mother was 12 years old when this happened! Gracious!  If we think of the time line of Mom’s life, age 4 her brother dies, age 11 her family loses money in the depression, and by age 12 her mother is shot and brain damaged. I am not sure just what was going on with her father during all of this, we heard little about him when we were growing up, even under direct questioning! I got the impression that he was pretty much absent, at least emotionally, and the second oldest sister, Katherine, aged 14 when her mother was shot, apparently took over the mothering/management duties for her four younger sisters. With all this adversity, the family could have been totally disrupted, instead, the sisters grew closer! You can see in the pictures above, they were often together. That continued all of their lives, so that their children, us first cousins, grew close also.

With this childhood in mind, what do you think my mother’s adult life might be like? Mother and her sisters were all intelligent women. Three of the five sisters finished college, Mom attended college for two years, She did not finish for various reasons, lack of money, war was looming on the horizon, and it may not have seemed that important at the time, although education was always important to her philosophically. I remember when she died and I was thirty, only a couple months from graduating with my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, I was devastated hat she died before I finished, because I knew how much it meant to her! My sister also earned a Master’s degree in Reading and Education, like Mom and her sisters; we were determined to be able to make a living. 

Mom was 21 when her father died, I’m sure that affected her concentration at school, and probably made her think she needed to be at home taking care of her Mom. I wish I had realized all of this growing up, I’d love to have talked with Mom about it. Somewhere between their father and mother’s deaths, the family sold the yacht to a local judge, and they all left the Catholic Church! Leaving the church must have been a momentous decision! I did ask my mother about this a time or two, and she always said she told my Dad that she would become a Methodist like he was, if he promised to go to church every Sunday and to raise his children in the church! He must have taken that seriously, because that is exactly how we were raised! There is only one question, it just so happens that I realize now that Mom and her sisters left the Catholic Church earlier for the Presbyterian Church just down the street from where they lived. Was this due to the influence of teenaged friends, convenience, a crisis of faith?  (That would certainly be understandable!) Just after her father died in 1939, Mom met and married my father, and my older sister was born in 1942, just before her Mother died in 1943.  One would think she had her new husband for support when her mother died, but unfortunately he had already joined the army preparing for WWII duty. She had a new baby, and shared an apartment with some of her sisters whose husbands were off at war themselves. They were together when their sister Nancy’s husband was shot down in his plane over France and killed. 

Mom showed what a strong woman she was all her years. She went out and got a job, using the typing and business skills she’d learned in college. Mom made sure her daughters could type as well, so that we would be prepared to get a job if need be.  She typed well, fast, and accurately.  She typed her way right into the mortgage business, ended up getting her real estate license, and had a successful career in realty and mortgage. From age 24 to age 37 she had four children, two girls and two boys. We would have run her ragged, except when Dad came home from the war, they moved in with his mother who had recently lost her own husband. Grandma stayed home with us kids once we were in school, so that Mom could work. Mom was a rare breed, a true career woman in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s! 

When I was a young child, b. in 1949, Mom always walked about two miles back and forth to catch a bus to work –sometimes we walked with her! When she was 36, my sister was 12, my brother 8, and I was 6. My younger brother had not been born yet! Thirty- six and she finally learned to drive a car! She surprised us all when she bought her own car after passing her driver’s test! I remember, it was an old, rounded, 1954 Chevy, brand new at the time of course! She was so proud of that car, and my older sister was so proud of her!  We lived on a hill, so our driveway was steep. One afternoon, a neighbor named Nancy and I both got in the car to wait for Mom to take us to Brownie Scouts! We must have been playing around and knocked off the emergency brake or something, because suddenly the car was rolling backwards down the hill! At that time, there was nothing across the street but woods and a creek. I remember that Nancy and I both jumped out of the car, and ran into the house screaming, “Momma, Momma, the car is rolling backwards down the hill! Momma, momma…!” LOL By the time we all got outside, of course, it was across the street, in the woods, all the way into the creek! Her new car!  LOL  Mom didn’t fuss at us, didn’t cry, just said something about being more careful and not being in the car without her! 

Mom was very creative and playful when she had the chance. She and my Dad played bridge every week with different friends. She created doll clothes, and played cards with us. My sister remembers how she loved to make special treats for the neighbor children at Halloween! She would dress up in a costume to deliver the treats at the door as well. I have pictures of her in a Halloween costume with my older daughter Ali. Unfortunately, she had passed away before my youngest was born. We loved hanging out with Mom, because she was fun! 

Ali age 4 , 1978, Halloween with Grandma Margaret

Ali Holshouser age 4 with Grandma Margaret Kerse Youngblood, 1978, Halloween

I remember that sometimes we would find Mom up alone, in the middle of the night, just sitting in the dark and quiet. I asked her once why she did this, and she said she was “practicing for when I am an old lady and blind!”–thus walking around in the dark!  I now suspect she was seeking some alone time in a household with 7 people including 4 children, a demanding husband, and a mother-in-law! During my genealogical reseach I have also learned that there was an inherited disease that caused blindness that ran in her side of the family. Retinitis Pigmentosa had blinded 15 people in earlier generations! 

Unfortunately, when Mom was just 50 years old, she had a severe heart attack, I ended up doing the same when I was 50–not the inheritance I wanted! My sister had gotten married a couple years before Mom got sick, my brother one year before, and I was a sophmore in college. My younger brother was only 12. Mom had to quit work, and quit driving, and had her wings severely clipped. It hit my youngest brother the hardest of course since he was still at home! She lived for 12 years however, dying at age 62, after nine more heart attacks! 

Mother was highly respected and liked by her boses, coworkers, neighbors, and those at church. She was friendly and always tried to help others.  She was a natural born leader who taught Sunday school, organized Bible School for the children, and generally took care of everyone and everything. In fact, she served as Superintendant of Sunday Schools at our church for many years! She also had liberal leanings politically, and taught her daughters to follow along through modeling. She worked at the polls because she believed in the right to vote so strongly. She also believed in Civil Rights for people of different races long before it was a popular subject. She believed it was important to take care of those who were poor, who had less than you. She thought it was a sin to have money in your pocket if another person was going hungry. I try to be like that today. Mother put her beliefs into action, cosigning loans for people who needed help buying a house or car. Delivering food and clothes, she was a busy woman. She was a free thinker, very open minded, and almost a bit bohemian.  When she died, the church was full of mourners singing her praises. We heard story after story of how she had helped someone or another, how she had changed their lives for the better! The church even placed a stained glass window in her honor in the women’s Sunday School Class! What an honor! 

Obviously  I loved Mom dearly, she was individualistic and special. We were lucky to have her! 

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Spangler, Mary Josephine-Poet in the Shadows of Her Famous Husband and Brothers—52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #32

MOD, lover's LeapMary Josephine Spangler lived from the 14th of September, 1887- until the 7th of March, 1970. I would have been 21 the week after she died. Plenty old enough to have taken the chance to know her and some of my first cousins, 2x removed who lived in the mountains of Virginia, while I lived in Richmond, Va. –but I did not know of them! How sad! These were the children of my great grandmother’s children! She had died in 1900, they came along about 1882- 1892,  my grandmother’s first cousins. My grandmother, who knew them, died before I was born in 1949. Home from the war, four children and a mother to care for, my Dad was busy keeping up with his own 3 sibling’s families and my Mom worked full time (unusual for women of the 1950’s) and was busy keeping up with her five sisters and all of our cousins there! We had a full life, so we didn’t realize what we were missing! Fast forward 65 years, and here we have our first joint family reunion, with two families of my great-grandmother, descendants of two sisters: Fannie and Evelyn Langhorne. How exciting! We discovered a lot to love about each other, a lot we had in common, and some differences. We left the reunion, wanting more!

Fannie and Evelyn were two of nine children of James Steptoe Langhorne and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro. Evelyn married Walter Thomas Houchins and had nine children of her own, with three dying in childbirth or early childhood. Fannie married Wallace Wolford Spangler and had six children with him. There were lots of cousins in our huge family!

Spanglers and Vippermans, 1915, may 16.

With stars in the family like the Spangler musicians– John Watts Spangler called “Babe” and dubbed the “Old Virginia Fiddler”; Dudley Spangler, also a recording star fiddler called “Babe”; Charles Langhorne, Tump, a fiddler and a state legislator—it’s easy to see, why a quieter, female, sister, Mary Josephine Spangler, who was a poet, might get little attention! After all, she was busy raising four children of her own, while her well-known husband Dudley played and sang for the masses! At our Langhorne family reunion, I had the absolute joy to see and get to know three of her children!  They are Margie Spangler Cartwright-92, William Wallace Spangler, 91, and Bernice Spangler Irvin, 84. They are all full of enthusiasm, knowledge, and generosity! They brought recordings of their Dad and Uncle Babe singing and playing for us to hear, which was wonderful! But they brought a special treat as well. They brought poetry with them, poetry that their mother had written and poetry that Margie had written and made into a song! I hope to share that with you in another post.

This is a poem by their mother, Mary Josephine. It is called simply, “Mayberry Virginia”. There is a true community nearby called Mayberry, where life was very simple in the early days. It is in fact, where Andy Griffith first visited and got his idea for the name Mayberry for the small town of his television show.  In this way, and in others, this poem is a marker of history, and shows that Mary Josephine was paying close attention to current events when she wrote it in the 1930’s. You see, the poem is also about the coming of the Blue Ridge Parkway to that area of Virginia. President Roosevelt and Congress approved the building of the Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina to provide a scenic trail for sure, but also to put hundreds, even thousands to work as the country was recovering from the depression. Work in Virginia started in 1936. The very end of the poem refers to an electric dam, and to Danville. One of our Langhorne cousins, Lucy Lea Rudd, shared with me that the Dams her Aunt Josie was speaking of are on the Dan River and were built in the 1930’s. They are in a canyon that runs from Vesta, south of Meadows of Dan, and Mayberry. Lucy said  that her father worked on them, which is why she knew they were built in the ’30’s.  How’s that for a bit of eye- witness history! Thank you Lucy Rudd! T he dams are owned by the city of Danville according to Lucy, and people have to have permission to go down to them. Mary Josephine knew all of this, and put it in  a poem! Well done my cousin!

 

“Mayberry Virginia” ©

 by Mary Josephine Spangler, in the second part of the 1930’s,

 

National-Park-Guide-NCs-Blue-Ridge-Parkway-PH1RIU63-x-large

National-Park-Guide-NCs-Blue-Ridge-Parkway-PH1RIU63, ravel.usatoday.com/destinations/story/2012-07-12/National-Park-Guide-North-Carolinas-Blue-Ridge-Parkway/56155918/1

Three cheers for Mayberry Virginia,            

With roads of every kind,

Some go to the east; some go to the west,

And some ore the mountains wind.

 

The scenic highway’s coming,

Room for every soul,

We will not have to push or pull,

Just let the car wheels roll.

 

Blue_Ridge_Parkway, commons.wikimedia.org

Blue_Ridge_Parkway, commons.wikimedia.org

Our cattle will soon by traveling,              

Thru tunnels under ground.

The old jersey cow with the bell on,

Won’t even make a sound.

 

Crossroads will be bridged,            

Up toward the sky so far,

That when the planes fly over,

They’ll wonder what they are.

 

Then when our children start to school,

Underground or overhead,

None at the crossroads,

Will be found hurt or dead.

 

Graves now dot the hilltops,

But there will be no new ones then.

We all will live, I am quite sure,

Three score years and ten.

 

This road will take you to the mill,

That’s just around the bend.

Where buckwheat, corn, and wheat are ground,

Which ere you choose to send.

 

And when the northern tourists come,

That is seeking to get fatter,

We’ll stuff them up on buckwheat cakes,

And let them drink some batter.

 

Cold water is always flowing,

From mountain, hill, or lowland,

So when Miami tourists drink,

They’ll say, “Oh my, ‘tis grand!”

 

The Appalachian Trail comes by,

From Maine, to way down South,

But these tourists rarely stop to drink, no matter rain or drought.

 

Danville will hard surface,

Five miles, it is no sham.

500 men will hit this trail,

And build an electric dam.

 

 

Buck, Spangler and Houchins, Three Cousins who are Geophysicists as Well! –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #31

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This past weekend at the Langhorne Family reunion, I heard wonderful family stories and renewed relationships with many family members I hadn’t seen in years! I am looking forward to sharing some of those stories with you. One of those is about three cousins, all of whom are geophysicists! Two of these cousins are alive and well and were at the reunion, one is deceased, but his daughter was present giving us a glimpse of him I suspect.


I think it is remarkable that we have three geophysicists in our one branch of the Langhorne Family! All three descend from their shared great or 2nd great grandparents– James Steptoe Langhorne and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro. There must have been some strong intellectual genes in that family!

 

A geophysicist is a scientist who studies “the branch of geology that deals with the physics of the earth and its atmosphere, including oceanography, seismology, volcanology, and geomagnetism.” (click for source)

 

In our family, Roger Buck, PhD teaches and leads research at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. This is what Roger says on his profile page for the Institute where he works: “I believe theorists need to get out and see where the data come from. In recent years I have been fortunate to participate in such diverse field work as collecting rock samples for radiometric dating in Egypt and in the Mojave Desert, diving on the Reykjanes Mid-Ocean Ridge in a Russian submersible, and helping with GPS surveys on Iceland.”  Pat Spangler, PhD, is retired from the University of Florida, and thus his title is now Associate Professor Emeritus of Geology. Pat and Roger met for the first time at the Langhorne reunion this past weekend! They have both published extensively and have traveled the world teaching and researching! Their stories of Ethiopia, Australia, and the Pacific Ocean are amazing! Earthquakes! Earthquakes under the ocean!
At the reunion was another cousin from Oklahoma, an attorney in her own right, Sarah Houchins Stuhr. Her Dad, Guy Maurice Houchins Jr. is deceased now, but lo and behold, he is our third geophysicist! He served as a “Geophysical Engineer for Amoco Corporation all of his career. He retired as the Manager of Exploration Systems, responsible for exploration, computer application development, and seismic data processing.” –from a personal letter written by Guy M. Houchins, Jr. July 20, 2004, and provided by his daughter. The way they talk, it sounds like they all pretty much researched similar things, and I stand amazed at their abilities! Along with other family members, they speak well for our ancestors. As the children and grandchildren of sisters, their relationships look like this:

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)
is your 2nd great-grandfather
Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
Katherine “Kitty” Elizabeth Langhorne Kerse (1916 – 2005)
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
Walter Roger Buck IV, Ph.D.
You are the son of Katherine “Kitty” Elizabeth Langhorne Kerse

 

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

is your great-grandfather

Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne (1854 – 1936)
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler (1885 – 1983)
son of Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne
Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD
You are the son of Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler –

 

 

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)
is your great-grandfather
Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
Guy Maurice Houchins (1897 – 1954)
son of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
Guy Maurice Houchins Jr.
You are the son of Guy Maurice Houchins

 

 

Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD (1934 – )
is your 2nd cousin 1x removed
Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler (1885 – 1983)
father of Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD
Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne (1854 – 1936)
mother of Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler
James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)
father of Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne
Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
Katherine “Kitty” Elizabeth Langhorne Kerse (1916 – 2005)
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
Walter Roger Buck IV, Ph.D.
You are the son of Katherine “Kitty” Elizabeth Langhorne Kerse

 

 

 

Walter Roger Buck IV, Ph.D. (1955 – )
is your 1st cousin 1x removed
Katherine “Kitty” Elizabeth Langhorne Kerse (1916 – 2005)
mother of Walter Roger “Bucky” Buck IV, Ph.D.
Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)
mother of Katherine “Kitty” Elizabeth Langhorne Kerse
Walter Thomas Houchins (1854 – 1937)
father of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
Guy Maurice Houchins (1897 – 1954)
son of Walter Thomas Houchins
Guy Maurice Houchins Jr.
You are the son of Guy Maurice Houchins

 

 

Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD (1934 – )
is your 2nd cousin
Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler (1885 – 1983)

father of Daniel Patrick Spangler PhD
Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne (1854 – 1936)
mother of Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler
James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)
father of Frances (Fannie) Eunice (blind) Langhorne
Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
Guy Maurice Houchins (1897 – 1954)
son of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
Guy Maurice Houchins Jr.
You are the son of Guy Maurice Houchins

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