Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Honoring the College and University Level Teachers in Our Family, Past and Present

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Teachers teach all other professions

During the months of September and October, 2015, we’ve been honoring and recognizing the Educators in our Family Tree, past and present. I am presenting quite a few educators in today’s blog post. I am sure that there are many more whom I either have not identified, or did not know. Please feel free to comment and tell me about those I have missed so that I can either include them here with a correction or write an addendum.

It just so happens that I had the blessing in my life to teach children with behavioral and emotional issues in first  through sixth grade right out of college. After being at that level for three years, I moved to the Junior High level where I taught students aged 12-16, they would be classified middle and high schoolers today.  When we first moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1980, I had the opportunity to teach Interpersonal Communication at North Carolina State University for 3 years as a “Visiting Lecturer”. Most of you know, with my BA from Greensboro College and my MA in Clinical Psychology from Chapman College,  I went on to become an individual and family therapist for twenty years after that.  My point is to say, having taught at the different levels, and known so many teachers over the years, I can say that teaching is challenging at all levels! The challenges are different for sure, but the ultimate goal  is to educate, and every single level is needed to create success at the next level! We cannot skip any level of development and learning and expect to have a well-educated person! As the saying above aptly states, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions!”  Nothing could be more true! Why then don’t we make the salary of our CEO’s!  I’d vote for that!  It’s past time the importance and value of our teachers be more highly recognized by our States and National Government budget makers!

We have amazing people in our family–I hope you will enjoy “meeting” these people  and knowing just a bit about what they do and where they teach, if you want to be in touch with any of them, let me know and I will ask them to get in touch. I am presenting them in alphabetical order by first name, we are family after all!

Carol E. Winters, 2013Carol E. Winters, PhD, RN, CNE (Doctorate, Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Educator) my cousin through the Scottish Hogue family, is currently a Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  She is the Director of the MSN Nursing Education Concentration–she teaches Graduate level nurses to be Nursing Educators! Carol served as the Dean of the School of Nursing at Hawaii Pacific University in Hawaii for 16 years before returning home to North Carolina.  Carol has a BA in Christian Education from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC, then an M.S. in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.  Not only has she these teaching , leadership accomplishments, but so much more! She is a published author, has been a hands-on nurse of obstetrics, and since 2009, has been a Faculty Advisor for the NFLA, Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, a national organization sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society jointly with the Elsevier Foundation. There is so much more I could tell you about this dynamic woman who happened to be my college roommate and friend of almost 50 years! We only discovered our cousinship last year through my genealogical research!  She has three children, five grandchildren, and has done vast amounts of volunteer work in her communities, and served and led many committees.

 October 1, 2015,–Carol Emerson Winters was honored as the 2015 Nurse Educator of the Year by the NCNA, the North Carolina Nursing Association! CONGRATULATIONS! AN HONOR WELL DESERVED! congratulations in gold

My Hogue cousin, Dee Horn, has tutored College level     Dee Horn also   English at two  different colleges over the years. I have known many college level tutors. When I was at NC State University I quickly learned how invaluable they were to many students–like those who had learning disabilities, some who were blind, and  even some who were valuable sports team members who needed extra help to keep up with academics during their physically demanding playing and practice seasons. We take our hats off to one on one teachers! 

Donna Miller 3Another Hogue cousin  Donna Miller earned her degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught Business Education  at the High School level, in Business Schools, and at Community Colleges.  Life, marriage, and children took her from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In Norwich, Connecticut, for 23 years, she taught at a business school and served as an Academic Dean!  After retirement, she worked  part-time at Three Rivers Community College.  

When I asked Donna about some memories, she  said several things which I wanted to share.  One was a simple teaching technique but fun: “I liked making the students think about what they were doing. Sometimes I would purposely make a spelling or grammatical error on a test and then tell the students that they would get extra points if they found it.” That’s the kind of thing that adds an extra challenge and a bit of fun for students!   She went on to say: “It’s the one profession where students have actually come back and said, ‘Thank you for believing in me,’ or ‘pushing me,’ or ‘making me realize that I can do . . . .’  When you are finished teaching, you know that despite some of the negatives (there were stressors), you feel that you have done something positive with your life.”  Oh yes! I know a lot of the educators we have profiled feel this way, and it is why we admire and love them so!  When a teacher’s philosophies so resonate with you, you know you’d love to have that teacher for yourself, or for your children, and you know with certainty that they are a GREAT teacher! 

My first cousin James Goodell, great-great grandson of Goodell, James McClainJ.Steptoe Langhorne, has taught computer sciences for many years at Menlo College in Atherton, California. He studied at the University of Freiburg located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  He currently serves as President of the Goodell Corporation, a family real estate school and business his father founded.

Youngblood, LarryLarry Youngblood is one of our multi-leveled/multi-talented teachers as well! For years he has home schooled his grandchildren through all the levels of education!  Having studied at Texas A&M University Larry  has taught at Private Catholic Schools, Business Schools and Universities.  For several years now, Larry has been the Administrator of the International Youngblood DNA Project researching the  different family lines of Youngbloods evidenced by their dna.  He is currently writing a book about the Youngblood/Jungblut/Jungbloedt families. Thank you Larry! 

Pat Spangler, PhD, my second cousin, son of Charles Langhorne Spangler and Kittie Cockram Spangler, grandson of  Fanny Langhorne, and Great Grandson Spangler, Pat, PhD 2014of J.Steptoe Langhorne is a geophysicist in a family with three close cousins who are/were geophysicists! What honor he and they bring to our family!  You can read a previous blog post featuring them  at  Buck, Spangler and Houchins, Three Cousins Who are Geophysicists as Well!   Pat Spangler, PhD, is retired from the University of Florida, and thus his title is now Associate Professor Emeritus of Geology. Pat has published extensively and is highly respected in the academic community as well as in his family community.

Rick White, PhD, Donald Richard White, Professor, 3x gr grandson of James Steptoe LanghorneI am thrilled to introduce to many of you, our cousin Dr. Rick White, PhD, Chemist. Rick is the second great-grandchild of James Steptoe and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, same as James Goodell, Roger Buck IV, PhD and I are. Pat Spangler above is their great-grandson. Rick is a Professor of Chemistry at St. John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida after a twenty plus year career in industry. He has also taught at Florida Southern College, and at the University of Tampa. He earned his PhD at the University of Florida and did post doctoral studies at King’s College in London. (At the time of his post doctoral work, the school was called Queen Elizabeth College, but Margaret Thatcher consolidated the colleges in the mid-1980’s and it became King’s) Rick has three sisters by the way, more cousins for us to enjoy. Another extremely accomplished professional, Rick has over 25 peer-reviewed publications, and over 200 internal company reports from his time with industry.

Rick worked for over twenty years for Procter and Gamble. Twelve of those years were spent in their Food and Beverage business before moving to their Health Care business where he worked for another ten years! He was an analytical chemist, supporting all aspects of product development, from inception to launch. Some of the products he worked with included brands you will recognize like Folger’s Coffee, Pringles Potato Chips, Citrus Hill Orange Juice, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil, Crest Toothpaste, and Vick’s cough and cold remedies! Just think, from now on when you pick up one of those products, you will know that our DNA is part of the brain that helped develop them! We are very proud to be related to you Dr. Rick White!

Voorus House, Dorothy Pearl

Voorus Home in PA

Robert Voorus, 1891-1985, my cousin through the Spangler and Hogue families, had brothers and sisters  who were featured in the earlier educator posts. Robert worked in the Library of Congress as a young man. When he moved back to Pleasantville, Pennsylvania he taught at a Business School in Oil City, Pennsylvania. He is remembered by family as an excellent educator. 

Roger Buck,III was a master’s level Marine Biologist. He spent Buck, Walter Roger Buck, IIImost of his professional life researching for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, which is now part of William and Mary College for their Oceanography Concentration.  Roger not only researched heavily, but he taught at William and Mary College and earlier at Duke University. With all of his major accomplishments, Roger, my Uncle by marriage to Katherine Langhorne Kerse, was a kind and genteel man who raised a son and a daughter who both earned their  PhD.  His son, W. Roger Buck IV,  became an educator and research scientist as well, while his daughter Tyler Buck is a financial analyst and advisor with her own company.

Roger Buck, IV,PhD, my first cousin through the Kerse, buck, Walter roger Buck IVHouchins, Langhorne families, is a Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University in New York. His speciality is earthquakes and he researches through Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.  He has traveled the world lecturing and researching as he says, from “collecting rock samples for radiometric dating in Egypt, and in the Mojave Desert, to diving on the Reykjanes Mid-Ocean Ridge in a Russian submersible, and helping with GPS surveys on Iceland.” What amazing adventures this cousin has experienced!

I just want to make a couple observations regarding our families. The Langhornes were a wealthy family from England. But James Steptoe Langhorne became blind, several of his children, grandchildren and more, were blinded by the same inherited disease, his only natural son drowned at age 16, and after the Civil War, he was land poor and devastated!  Wouldn’t he be amazed and gratified that his grandchildren and greats would grow to be such good and educated people, and educators! He and his wife Elizabeth started a school and a Sunday School in Meadows of Dan, Virginia both of which were very important to them. We have carried on that philosophy–because it is imbedded in our DNA?  It is interesting!

The Hogues emigrated from Scotland, the Youngbloods from Germany, while the Voorhees originated in the Netherlands.  They fought in our Revolutionary War and our Civil War and many others. They were honorable people who supported their new country, but most of all, the Voorhees and  Hogues were Presbyterian Ministers and educators. It is amazing to me to see the traditions and/or the DNA at work in such a continuing fashion.

 What accomplishments for all of us to be proud of, and thankful for! Thank you our family members who educate all of us– for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your hard work! We honor all of you as you have honored us!

Teaching quote, wisest-mind-george-quote

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Honoring High School Teachers in Our Family Tree, part 2

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In this the second part of honoring the  high school teachers in our family, I have some more very interesting people to introduce to you!  One is a retired English teacher so that I’d better watch my dangling participles! Continuing in alphabetical order by last name we’ll be saluting a science teacher first.

Holshouser, MarthaMartha Powell Beck Holshouser, wife of my husband Max’s first cousin, John Alton Holshouser, is a retired Science teacher who was married to a farmer. She worked on the farm and helped raise prize-winning  show cattle, as well as reared three wonderful, smart and kind sons– all married, some with children of their own! Besides her busy schedule and teaching responsibilities, Martha has helped organize the Holshouser family reunion for 4o years!

In 1973, Martha graduated from Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina. She then taught for 30 years! Fifteen of those years were spent teaching science at Erwin Junior High School, and 15 at East Rowan  High School. Both schools are located in Salisbury, North Carolina.  Martha taught science all of those years! She taught Physical Science, Earth Science, Environmental Science, and Chemistry! I know Martha well, and she is a doer, a go getter. I bet those students who had her for a teacher knew they were blessed to have such a knowledgeable teacher. She is an enthusiastic person  whose positive spirit is catching!  Congratulations on a wonderful career and family and thank you for teaching our leaders of tomorrow how to problem solve! 

 

Sharon Lynn was my friend first, we were neighbors and SAM_1981gardeners together when we discovered our kinship though my genealogical research! We are cousins through my mother’s family, Beard, Reynolds, and Pierce through the Houchins, and the Clements all the way back to Jamestown! Sharon is a retired English teacher married to a retired Woodworking teacher. However, although they are retired from teaching, both of them work full time. Sharon went back to school after retirement and earned her CNA so that she could work with seniors, helping them remain in their homes. Sharon is a force to be reckoned with!  Intelligent, creative, energetic even driven at times, she is dedicated to her clients and works diligently to make them happy and comfortable.  It is easy to see why she still has former students who call her and ask for her advice. She lives here in North Carolina, taught in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and  West Virginia, and has students calling her from California!  She is a strong advocate who goes the extra mile to help students and friends through life, as well as school. Sharon is a talented craftsperson also, making wreaths, cloth flowers, quilts, and costumes among other things. She and her husband facilitated the staging of  plays and events for their church for many years. Over the years, they have kept a sick parent in their home and have helped support and care for their chronically ill adult son . The old adage, “ask a busy person” comes to mind when I think of my dynamic cousin Sharon! 

Teaching English, punctuation matters

 

Nicklin, Stephanie Williamson editedMy younger cousin Stephanie Williamson Nicklin is the next teacher I want to honor. Stephanie is my first cousin once removed through the Kearse, Houchins, Langhorne family lines. Her Mom Claudia was my first cousin with her mother and my mother being Kearse sisters. Stephanie comes from a family of educators with her father a teacher and principal, and her sister plus many cousins and Aunts and Uncles being teachers. Stephanie lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia which is where she teaches Biology in the High Schools. She is assigned to different schools as a part-time instructor. Just think of all the more students whose lives she touches that way! She has two teenagers at home, and a husband who is a leader and instructor on the SWAT team of the police force.  

Young female teacher teaching human anatomy at biology class

–source, depositphotos.com

I know Stephanie well, and I take my hat off to her every day! She is a friendly, strong, smart, and kind individual whose enthusiasm and energetic approach to life never seem to wane!  The students of Virginia Beach are so lucky to have her influence in their lives, although they may not realize that until later in life. I stand in awe of her ability to organize so well and cope with the dangers of her husband’s career while coping with teens and her own career. Way to go Stephanie, you rock! The sign below is one she loves, and that tells us just about all we need to know about the positive person she is–one who builds people up, doesn’t tear them down!

Self worth

 

Spangler, Betty Smith croppedBetty Spangler Smith is the first of two Spanger/Langhorne family member cousins I want to acknowledge.  Betty is a retired Latin and Spanish teacher in High School who taught full time 33 years, and has been substituting for the last seven!  She taught Latin levels 1-5, and AP Latin as well as Spanish levels 1 and 2.  She also taught an Introduction to Foreign Languages class. What a rigorous career!  What a great opportunity to expand the minds, abilities, even the worlds of so many students! Research shows that learning a foreign language is good for our brains–creating new learning pathways. We also know it allows us to communicate with many other cultures at home and around the world. Thank you Betty for giving our children this opportunity–for training our leaders of tomorrow!

Spanish, factspy.net

Betty is also an excellent genealogical researcher. I had the opportunity to hear her speak at a family reunion last year and loved it! She told of the history of the family, and anecdotal stories for all of us to enjoy. It was so great to see this dedicated teacher in action!

Betty is also  the supervisor of the Credit Union at her old high school, a job she really loves! She explains, “We are the only high school in our district that has a credit union! I work with 4 students who get community service time for helping me, and they get banking experience, so it’s a win-win situation for all! The kids I have are juniors or seniors and since we have some days of no customers, it really gives me a chance to get to know the 4 who work with me.”  You know she is a genuine, caring teacher when you hear her say, as I did the other day, that it almost makes her cry to think of not interacting with students everyday when she truly retires again- possibly next year! Your influence will go on forever dear Betty. 

My own mother required me to take Latin in High School. She impressed upon me the importance and helpfulness of learning this classical language in developing my vocabulary and knowledge of words. I have Mom and my Latin teachers  to thank that I now know these Latin phrases and enjoy using them!

Latin phrases, latinsuitcase.com

 

One thing anyone who knows our family, from one end to another, has to admit is that we have incredibly talented, intelligent, and dedicated  people in our group. The fact that many have chosen education for their careers, only speaks more highly of our values. Epitomizing those character traits is Spangler, Harriet Ann Caldwell, Otto wifeHarriet Ann Caldwell Spangler who retired after 35 years of teaching all levels of High School Mathematics! She taught 7 years in Kentucky, and 28 years in Florida!  Harriet actually taught Physics as well, but her favorite was always geometry with algebra running a close second!  Harriet’s leadership skills were well recognized as she served as the Math Department Chairperson for many years at Newberry High School in Alachua County just west of Gainesville, Florida.  What a career! When I look back at my own High School career, geometry was one of my favorite subjects as well, and I loved my math teachers all the way through school. I have no doubt that Harriet Spangler inspired many, many students to make the most of their lives. Teachers are our first line counselors, guidance counselors, and instructors–when are we going to let them know how strongly we value them!

Spangler, Harriet and Otto, chuck's parentsWhen I asked Harriet about how she and Otto met, she told me such a sweet and touching story, that I thought I’d share her words with you! 

“Otto and I were high school sweethearts.  We met on the tennis courts near my home when I was 13 and he was 14.  He was there playing with a friend and I too was there with my girl friend.  It started pouring down rain, and his friend offered my friend a ride home, and Otto offered to take me home on his motor bike.  He sat up on the tank and I sat behind him.  By the time we got home, his shirt was soaked, so I invited him in and mother dried his shirt by hanging it in front of the oven.  We listened to 45 RPM records, and talked while it dried.  Otto tells that when he went home to eat lunch, he told his parents that he met the girl today that he wanted to marry.  It took a few more years to convince me.  We were married when I was 19 and he was 20, and had been married for 57 years when he passed away.  Fifty-seven wonderful years.” 

Harriet and Otto attended Carson-Newman University near Knoxville, Tennessee.  Since her husband was a year ahead of her, Harriet decided to quit college–NOT!  She decided she needed to finish college in three years so that she could go with him when he attended seminary in Louisville, Ky! She went to summer school and carried some heavy loads of classwork–they both graduated in 1958! Harriet graduated with honors!  That same drive and determination carried her though life in raising her family, teaching her classes, and in helping Otto with his ministry to their community. What a wonderful woman and a wonderful teacher—whose life sets an example for us all! 

Together she and Otto raised three children, Chuck (Otto Jr.), Elizabeth, and Victor,  who have become the kindest, most considerate adults who could ever make a parent proud! Otto was the Baptist Campus Minister at the University of Florida. When he died recently, there was an outpouring of love for him and for Harriet that was awe inspiring and let us know just how much this couple has touched their whole community. Harriet continues to lead her family through their grief, and to keep the faith she and her husband believed in so strongly! Harriet shared this video with us recently via facebook, and I thought it a blessing to share with all of you as she has blessed so many. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of  our high school teachers! It is surely not enough, but please know it is worth more than diamonds to our youth and our society!  We are thankful to God for your gifts and your talents and for placing you with us and in our world!  As we honor more educators, we will turn the spotlight on our Principals and on our Professors and Instructors in our colleges and universities.   How exciting! 

Teachers, Golden apple award from Center for reseach in learning and teaching, crlt.umich.edu

This gallery contains 13 photos

Honoring the Middle School Teachers in Our Family!

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Teacher saying excellent

Highlighting the eighteen Special Education and Elementary Educators in our family in the last post was so much fun! I  got to know more about some cousins than I had ever known before!  I hope to continue that joy by focusing on more family members who have chosen to serve our society by teaching in Middle School, High School, as Principals and in our Colleges and Universities! We are blessed by these individuals who not only enrich our family, but make our society a better place! Thank you so very much!

Middle School usually covers sixth through eighth grades in the United States. When I was a young teacher, it was called Junior High and usually included 7th, 8th, and sometime 9th graders. My husband Max and I both taught in Junior High Schools for brief periods of our career. We are included in other categories however, as is my cousin Kay Youngblood Fuller who did teach in Middle School, but became a Principal and will be included there. I personally think Middle School aged students are the toughest to teach! They are just moving out of that childhood stage where they are generally fairly easy to motivate to behave and to learn.  By the time most teens reach  15 or 16, they seem to mature a bit, begin to think about college, and are sometimes more goal oriented. (I know I am talking in general!) Middle schoolers are wonderful and unique, in that they have one  foot planted squarely in childhood and the other rebelliously in teenagehood! They love to discuss the big world issues, and can be very wise, but bring out the crayons and legos…and they are instantly transported to those “live for the moment” children! It can be a delightful, trying age, and a challenging teaching assignment!

Williamson, Rebecca Jayne Stodola croppedOne of my 1st cousins once removed on my Mother’s side (Kearse, Houchins, Langhorne) is Rebecca Jayne Williamson Stodola. Becky teaches in middle school now and has an illustrious record of her work!  Becky’s father was a high school teacher and principal, and her sister Stephanie teaches also and will be profiled later !  Their Mom was a nurse, but Claudia served as a substitute teacher as well.  What a blessing they have been to our family and to our society.!

Becky Stodola earned her Masters in Education at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, after earning her undergraduate degree at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. She started her career teaching Pre-Kindergarten at Church of the Savior Day School in Roswell, Georgia for three years. Then she spent four years teaching Reading and Creative Writing at the Marietta Sixth Grade Academy for the Marietta City Schools. This vibrant young woman continued her career with ten years of teaching English, Language Arts–Literature, Composition and Reading for  all grade levels at Woodstock Middle School and Mill Creek  Middle School for the Cherokee county School District.  During this time she was also a wife and mother of her lovely daughter Miranda. Along the way Becky  received the Kiwanis GEM –Goes the Extra Mile–award in 2004! It didn’t surprise me then when I heard that she was one of the teachers who voluntarily stayed with many children overnight when they could not get home due to a severe ice storm! Wow!

Becky  also received the  Cherokee County Educational Foundation IMPACT Grant this year! Her superb work was recognized when she was chosen  New Teacher of the Year for MSGA, in 2002-03, and again  for MCMS for  2015-16! We are so proud of you Becky, your immediate and your extended family.  Thank you for your service just doesn’t seem like enough!

Noelle Roberts Kitchen is a cousin through my Kitchen, Noelle RobertsSpangler/Langhorne line. She teaches 7th grade Language Arts at Cramerton Middle school in Cramerton, North Carolina about forty miles west of Charlotte. Noelle is starting her ninth year teaching this year! At only 32 years of age, that seems remarkable to me! Noelle is married and has two daughters who keep her busy outside of school!  Noelle says she knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was still in high school.  She ran track and was very athletic, soon beginning to stay and help coach the other athletes. She loved helping them reach their goals, and went to college thinking she’d become a physical education teacher.  She graduated from Western Carolina University. Then– epitomizing the whole purpose of these blog posts on the importance of teachers–she took an English Class in college from a Professor Gastle, loved the writing and reading, and decided with his influence that she would become an English teacher!  Don’t we wish we could count all the teachers who have made these kinds of life altering influences on their students. Good Teachers ROCK!

Noelle is thankful to all of the teachers who influenced her greatly along the way, and she now states unequivocally, “I hope to always help children find their way the way I was helped.”  She credits many of her teachers, but goes on to relate that Mr. Gastle, was the speaker at her English Honor Society induction. When she started her student teaching,  she was nervous, and went to him with many questions, one of which was, “What should I do if a student asks me a question for which I do not know the answer?’  He readily told her that might indeed happen, and his suggestion was to  use it as a learning opportunity, and find the answer together. He told her that generally, the student will remember that experience more than  thinking gleefully that he “stumped” the teacher.  Thank you God for wise teachers!  

Noelle readily credits her family influences also for gifts that make her a good teacher. Gaining the love of independence from her mother and leadership skills from her Dad has served her very well. She has identified her organizational skills as being nurtured especially by one grandparent, while crediting another for her love of coaching and one more for teaching her patience!. She loves teaching  as part of a team, and states that her team teacher says  that “she is the fire starter, and I am the peacemaker.” How wonderful to recognize the importance of both, in fact all of these skills,  and how lucky for their students!

Developing this thankful heart for the good influences in her life, and the love she has received spills over into more of her philosophy of teaching.  Noelle says, “I teach students not only to help them learn academics, but to help them learn to be a good person as well. I don’t believe kids can reach their potential when they haven’t had their basic needs met. One of those needs is being loved. Every student I teach hears the words, “I love you” on a regular basis, and it is the truth. I love the kids I teach. If they don’t remember a thing I’ve said all year, they will remember that “my teacher cared about me and wanted the best for me.” In closing, Noelle shares this story with me which I think you will enjoy hearing also, as it is what we all want for our students and for ourselves!  

“Last year I had a student who was really struggling. He was in therapy for all the trauma he experienced at home, and acted out in school often. When he wasn’t acting out, he tried to sleep in class. From the start I knew my hands were going to be full with him. I showed him time and time again throughout the year that I was there for him, I was on his side and he could count on me. He is a student who needed very much to hear the special words, ‘I love you,’ and ‘I want what’s best for you.’ At the end of the year another student started to yell at me in class! Before I could even speak, the child I had been worrying about all year hopped up out of his desk and told the boy, “You can’t speak to her like that!” He said “you better respect her (Noelle, the teacher) because she respects all of us!” I intervened before things got heated, but I knew at that moment I had made it clear to that student that he mattered. He was important to me and in turn I was important to him. This year this same child has brought his problems to confide in me. Sometimes a good teacher is all a kid has in this world. That is what I aim to be every day.“

teacher quotes from the heart

Our family is so blessed by the inclusion of teachers like Becky Williamson Stodola and Noelle Kitchen Roberts!  They represent us so very well, make us all proud, and personify what is best about all teachers!  Thanks you two, for being such GREAT teachers!

 

There are several other middle school teachers in our family, but they also taught or lead at other levels and will be recognized there. The next installment will honor our high school teachers. I would love to hear your reaction to these stories, and your meeting or being refreshed on the lives of these two great teachers, or the ones from my last post.  What a joy to have these folks in our family!

 

 

 

 

 

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Honoring the Teachers in Our Family

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School is starting again this week for millions of children around the USA and the world. What a perfect time for me to tell you about some of the teachers in our family tree. I can count almost forty teachers in just a couple of generations!  What a legacy they are leaving, what an example they are and have set! I am so proud of each of these educators, and so pleased to be counted among them and related to them!

Teachers are so important, how is it that we, as a society forget that, or neglect them sometimes?  All it takes is to send your 5 year-old child or grandchild off to school under someone else’s control, influence, and guidance all day, to realize just how important they are! As the years progress, not only do we count on teachers to socialize our children, we count on them, depend on them to actually educate them! We want our children not only to read, write and do math, but to learn to think critically and solve life’s problems well! We might also hope they learn a sport and sportsmanship. What about a foreign language? Art, music, theatre, calculus, geometry, history? Yes, we want it all–and we don’t want our teachers to complain that they are poor or to act out in any way!  Wow! Tall order!  I am proud to say many men and women in our family have chosen this noble profession!  

This post will highlight family members who have chosen Special Education and Elementary School Teaching for their career.  The next couple of posts will  feature Middle and/or Junior High School teachers then climb the ladder through High School, and meet the Principals are in our family tree! There are also family members who’ve taught in our business schools, community colleges, and Universities as well! All of these educators represent a  great deal of brain power! 

Special Education Teachers are teachers who teach children with cognitive and/or developmental impairments, learning disabilities, and behavioral  and emotional difficulties that impede learing. They are courageous and magical! 

Kerse, Janey Bell

Janey Bell Kerse Sommers

Previously I wrote a blog post about my Mother’s sister, my Aunt Janey Bell Kerse Sommers! She was a teacher of students with behavioral and learning problems. She spent over twenty years dedicated to helping them do the best they could do, then became the Special Education Supervisor for all of Forsyth County Public Schools, Forsyth County, N.C.,  mentoring other teachers along the way. You can see her story “Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, 1923-2002, Brilliance and Joyfulness Dimmed by Alzheimer‘s” by clicking on the title.

Helen Y. Holshouser, about 48 years old

Helen Y. Holshouser in 1997

  What is amazing to me, is that even though Janey Bell Somers had no children of her own, she inspired several generations of young people to teach and to learn. She motivated me to teach students with special needs–in learning, in behavior, which I did for seven years before I became a family therapist. I taught children in elementary school at first, then I moved to a Junior High where I had children ages 12-16 in my classroom . Their academic skills ranged from about 3rd grade to 9th grade, and I prepared individualized plans for each student at their level in each subject!  Every day we worked on social and behavioral skills and goals as well. One student got angry while in time out, and set our classroom which was in a mobile unit (trailer) behind the school, on fire! Another time a student attacked me physically and took me backwards, over the sofa where I was seated, onto the floor! One student hot-wired and stole my car! (He brought it back after a brief joy ride!) LOL, no wonder I had a heart attack at age 50!  I was challenged everyday with these students, and cared for them deeply. 

Youngblood Kerr, Susan

Susan Youngblood Kerr

One of my younger cousins is still teaching Special Education– Severe Behavioral Needs Children, now in her 33rd year! Susan Youngblood Kerr who lives in Missouri with her husband and three children,  has two Master’s Degrees, one in Special Education and one in Educational Leadership. She served as a Language Arts teacher to General Education students for several years and worked for others at the Middle School level. Susan was honored when one of her former students got in touch with her recently with a heartwarming message: (This from a student she had in 1985. He was from the projects–no dad–she never met his mom.)

“Hi Young lady well so nice to hear from you. I was unforgettable– I hope that’s a good thing. how’s your family doing? fine I hope. they have the greatest mom in the world but you already know that. well I’m doing great myself –just retired last year from the Navy after 20 years of service. I live in Japan with my lovely wife and 3 beautiful kids. yes who would ever think me a husband and a father! well for what it is worth I’ve always known that you cared about us kids even then. when I think about any teacher that cared and made a difference in my life, you are #1 on my list and I mean that from the bottom of my heart!  so you see you did make a change in a little boy’s life, but now I’m a man. thanks and God bless.” 

Wow! The above brings tears to my eyes–what a great tribute! 

 

Nichols, JonathanRemarkably, we have another young cousin, also through the Langhorne line, who taught students with behavioral and emotional difficulties!  Jonathan Daniel Nichols is my second cousin, and he taught in Maryland. He is smart, caring and well-respected.  He continued a family tradition he didn’t even know existed when called to teach the most challenging students.  We especially need men to serve as role models for this population of students. I am so proud of him.

Special Education seems to be a calling for many in our family,Houchins, Mrs. John L. Josephine Ellis Bell as we had a Great Aunt Josephine Bell Houchins who taught deaf students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, Virginia for many years. I remember how interesting it was to go and visit her and her husband my Great Uncle John Langhorne Houchins, and see her talking with the students in sign language. During breaks I was mesmerized to watch the students gather with their friends and engage in animated sign language chatting just like we did between classes at school, only they were quieter but more expressive.  

Jamie Beck SkinnerAnother Youngblood cousin, my second, once removed, Jamie Beck Skinner is a Special Education Paraeducator at Abingdon Elementary School in Abingdon, Maryland. While the teacher leads a group activity, Jamie might be giving another student private reading lessons. She is truly a para–beside–educator who teaches where and when the teacher cannot. It makes it possible to reach some students, to prevent melt-downs, to teach to certain strengths and weaknesses not possible with only one teacher in the room! What a blessing a paraeducator in the classroom is! 

Goodell, Mary, edited from weddingIt’s hard to believe, but in our immediate family system, I have another cousin who is a Special Education Supervisor! She serves the people of New Hampshire!  Mary Casey Goodell is a dynamic, dedicated educator who has been mentoring other Special Education teachers for many years now!  So, two supervisors of Special Education, and eight special education teachers in one family, pretty amazing!  I wonder if there is a call to serve others embedded in our dna?

Elementary School Teachers

Those who teach kindergarten through fifth grade work with children as they meet a great number of their developmental milestones, socially, physically, and intellectually.  Teachers and parents are the ones who help mold and shape us at these formative ages. My sister Anne Youngblood Prince Anne Y. Prince, 2015has retired now after teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth grades in both public and private schools for over 36 years!  She earned her Master’s Degree in Reading at the University of Richmond (Virginia).  Most of her teaching career was spent guiding fourth graders at St. Christopher’s School, a private Episcopal school for boys in Richmond, Virginia. Anne was highly dedicated to her students and was an excellent teacher who was always thinking about, training for, or putting into practice her myriad skills to give her students the best education possible. You couldn’t ask for a kinder, smarter, more successful teacher. She taught long enough to teach the children of some of her students who were so proud to have their children in her care. 

Youngbloods, Liz, and her children, Mary taylor, Susan, and Lewis IIIOne of Anne’s mentors was Elizabeth Walker Youngblood, wife of Lewis Jr. and mother of  Mary, Lewis III, and Susan. As described above, Susan is now teaching for her 33rd year! What a great influence Liz was for her children and many others.  Liz and Anne, my sister,  taught fifth grade at L.L. Beasley Elementary School in Prince George County, Virginia at the same time, and my sister remembers her as creative, skilled and highly motivated to do an excellent job.   I remember Liz also as a wonderful, firm, kind, and very intelligent woman.  Unfortunately, she is the second teacher in our family taken ill by that crushing disease Alzheimer’s! Liz also served as an assistant principal  as well in a school in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

My sister Anne tells an interesting story about how she first met Elizabeth Walker Youngblood in 1952.  Anne was in fourth grade at Bon Air Elementary School, and was her classroom’s representative to the Red Cross School Committee. Elizabeth was the Red Cross School Coordinator for all the schools in Chesterfield County,Virginia.  Liz sat right down beside Anne and introduced herself as the fiancée of her cousin!  (Her husband Lewis Jr. was our father’s first cousin.)  “Let me show you my ring. I just got engaged to your cousin!” Elizabeth was so kind to ten-year old Anne, that they became friends for life and then coworkers.

My first cousin once removed, Susan Youngblood Rawls, Youngblood, Susan Rawlstaught fifth grade for ten years at Crestwood Elementary School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  She is now the Director of a preschool. Energetic, enthusiastic, and smart as a whip, she is quite amazing! How lucky are all the little children, all the families who enter her school! She will help get them started in the right direction, will help lay the ground work for their happiness and their learning the rest of their lives!  That is one tall order and a major accomplishment! 

Lauren Ruby editedLauren Ruby, daughter of Jamie Beck Skinner and another Youngblood cousin, teaches Kindergarten at Taneytown Elementary school in Carroll County, Maryland. Do you remember the poem by Robert Fulghum that reminds us what we need to succeed in life we learned in kindergarten? Well, that’s Lauren– preparing her students to succeed in life and in school! A tall order that she handles with aplomb! 

Kindergarten all I ever needed to learn

Maryrose Youngblood, my first cousin once removed in my wonderful family tree, taught fourth grade like my sister for many years in Highland County, Virginia. These Youngblood women– we are hard workers, and we are directors at heart and by dna!  Kind, efficient, smart…Maryrose was an outstanding  teacher. 

Youngblood, Marshall daughter kathy Lee Pack 2015Kathy Lee Pack, daughter of Marshall Youngblood Lee and Robert Lee, has been teaching at the elementary school level in Florida for 31 years this year!  All of those years were as a 4th grade teacher until the last two when she changed to second grade! Kathy has four adult children and grandchildren to keep her busy. She is my second cousin once removed, and a Youngblood woman through and through. By that I mean she can handle a room full of 30 restless 6 year olds and make them feel good about themselves because they chose to complete their math assignment while she was reading with a small group! 

A cousin through the Voorus, Hogue, and Spangler family lines, Vorus, BessieBesse B. Voorus was born December 12, 1893.  Miss Voorus was graduated from Pleasantville High School and received her bachelor of arts degree from Slippery Rock Normal School. She was an elementary school teacher for over 43 years, teaching in both the Oil City and Meadville School Districts in Pennsylvania.  One of her great nieces remembers her mother talking about having Bessie as a teacher and her encouraging them to learn about Geography especially.  Wouldn’t it have been a surprise to realize a little girl you taught in elementary school would grow up to marry your nephew and her children would be your great nieces and nephews! 

Besse taught for forty-three years  and died in 1992 at 98 years old! Can you imagine what she witnessed in her lifetime!? The things she witnessed and was able to teach her students–she lived through horse and buggy days to automobiles and rockets to the moon! She saw cooking with wood to gas, electricity and even microwaves! Television didn’t exist in her childhood, but later became a huge part of our lives! Talk about having to be adaptable! Just to live successfully she had to be willing to change, grow, and adapt–weren’t her students lucky to have such an experienced teacher and a versatile one! 

Vorus, Dorothy Pearl VorusBessie’s sister, Dorothy Pearl Voorus Hogg was a teacher also, teaching in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Her husband was also a teacher who will be featured as well.  Dorothy and Calvin had six children of their own, can you imagine how busy this lady was day in and day out! . She began teaching in a one-room school-house with all grades together, and taught long enough to enter a modern elementary school building in the 1950’s and into the early ’70s! This kind of longevity always inspires me. 

Lena Voorus is the third sister to teach in the Elementary Voorus, Lena had a stroke, very sweetSchools of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania! Born in 1889, Lena died in 1978 all in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, Lena had a stroke and became wheelchair bound. Her sisters took care of her and stayed supportive of each other. Her great nieces and nephews remember her as sweet and kind, a great tribute. What’s amazing to me, is that these women, born in the late 1800’s, at a time when women didn’t generally work outside the home, went out and got their education, and worked at a profession. That takes a lot of courage and fortitude, good for them! 

Julia Houchins Patterson

Julia in the 1940’s

My Great-Aunt Julia Houchins Nichols became an attorney. However, she was only 15 in 1900 when her mother died. Her father soon deserted his six children and moved out-of-state. Thank heavens the children did have a guardian angel and grandparents nearby. Nonetheless, never one to let grass grow under her feet, Julia went out and got a job teaching.  The story goes that Julia, only a teen still, went to apply for a teaching job in the mountains of southwest Virginia in Patrick County, where she lived.  The person interviewing her asked her what she could tell him that would impress him and make him think she was smart enough to teach. She told him she could tell him exactly how many boards for lumber he could get from any sized tree.  She had caught his attention, and he pointed to a tree outside the window and said “Okay, tell me how many boards could you get from that tree? Julia solved the problem aloud, and her reasoning and math skills so impressed the man, he hired her on the spot! Later she told family that she was so thankful that her family member, I’m not sure who, had worked in a sawmill, so that she had learned this skill. I’m sure she was an excellent teacher, she had four younger brothers to wrangle with after her mother died, children didn’t scare her! Julia lived from 1885 to 1969, another witness to travel by horse to travel by rockets to the moon! She served as the very first female Assistant District Attorney in the State of Virginia. Julia was a force to be reckoned with, and was highly loved by her family and still is today by grandchildren who are now grandparents themselves! 

Eight Special Education teachers, and ten Elementary Education teachers–what a group to be proud of, but they are not all of the educators in our family!  In the next post I will tell you about our Middle and High School teachers as well as our  Principals, and College Professors! What a legacy they are creating or have left for our family.

 It’s Fall– “time to go back to school”– it seems that teachers  hear this call in their souls!  

Teacher , Thank-a-Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How the American Civil War Affected This Southern Woman and Many of Us–150 Years Later!

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–This blog post was originally written for and published on the blog “Worldwide Genealogy~A Genealogical Collaboration,” which you can access at: http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/03/how-american-civil-war-affected-this.html

 

–from ancestry.com depicting Rebel vs. Yankee in Civil War

At my current age of sixty-six years, it was mostly my 2nd Great Grandfathers, eight in number, who fought in the Civil War. That whole generation was affected–those born in the 1830’s and 1840’s and dying in the war or after 1880. I remember how surprised I was to look at my family tree and realize that. I had put a little picture beside all the folks who fought in the war, and when I looked at my pedigree, there they were, all lined up–my 2nd Great Grandfathers!  One young 1st Great Grandfather lied about his age and entered the war early, and a couple of elderly 3rd Great Grandparents served as well, but mostly this was a tragedy for my 2nd Great Grandparents, who, thank heavens, had children before the war, or after, so that here I am, a product of all eight of them.

“The Civil War” as we call it in America, was fought between April, 1861 and April 1865. Many issues entered into the conflict, but the overriding matter of the day was slavery, especially the expansion of slavery into the western areas of the growing United States. Altogether, eleven  Southern States of the United States seceded, decided they no longer wanted to be a part of the United States of America, but wanted to join together as the Confederate States of America, often called the Confederacy, the South, or the Rebels. The United States forces were called the Union, the Yankees, or the North! After four years of battles, burning, and destruction, Wikipedia reports http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War that there were an “estimated 750,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. One estimate of the death toll is that ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40 died.” We genealogical researchers in America have all probably noticed the many, many widows and fatherless families on the 1870 and 1880 censuses due to this terrible war. 

The Confederacy lost, the slaves were freed, and the South had to slowly rebuild and learn a new way of life.  After the war, almost everyone in the South was poor, their confederate money was no good.  Even the plantation owners were “land poor,” unable to afford to hire their former slaves or other workers to work their large fields!

This is the world in which I find my 2nd Great Grandparents living. For some reason, this was a shock to me. Until I started my genealogical research in 2012, I cared little for history, I am sorry to admit.  A person with a Master’s Degree, I did poorly in history classes, as they only meant dates and event names to memorize to me. Why didn’t someone ever explain to me that my family was there? It wasn’t just the movie “Gone With The Wind” that I should have modeled my scant knowledge of the Civil War upon–of all historical events. Did my parents really not know that their 1st Great Grandparents fought in the war, or was it that they were so busy surviving the depression and World War II, that history paled in comparison. Now that I am more aware, I am trying to correct that situation by writing stories of our ancestors and how they participated in and were affected by historical events. Now I know, that their participation in those events, affected me and my family’s choices in life, experiences in life…let me give you some examples:

Robert_E._Lee, public domain Wikicommons (1)

Robert E. Lee, public domain, Wikicommons

Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, the former Capital of the Confederacy, with statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and JEB Stuart adorning our major thoroughfare, Monument Avenue, one could not help but feel a sense of pride in being “Southern.” Stories were everywhere, and the pride of being Southern lay not in the reality of the war, but in little girls’ visions of verandas and sweet tea, white gloves and hoop skirts! It had nothing to do with slavery, especially since even in 1960, when I was eleven years old, blacks were pretty much completely segregated from whites.  As a white child, I didn’t know it should be different, I am sorry to say. By the time I was six, I knew the “Rebel Yell,” which we used to summon our playmates when we went outdoors to play. The South was highly glorified of course. As I grew up, I learned that there was so much more to the story, of course.  My genealogical research helped me truly understand.

One of my four maternal 2nd Great Grandfathers  was Robert Kerse, an Irish emigrant arriving in America in  1850 at age 18.  He married and had three of his ten children by 1861, then fought in the Civil War as a Confederate, protecting his own city of Richmond, Virginia.  His one and only horse was shot out from under him! Right on Fold 3, a genealogical site for military research, I can find his muster roll sheets, and letters from his superiors attesting to the fact that his horse was shot out from under him in battle, and that his claim against the US government after the war, to get a new horse, should be honored.  Oh my gracious!

Robert Kerse– in the U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865
Name:
Robert Kerse
Rank at enlistment:
Private
State Served:
Virginia
Service Record:
Enlisted in Company B, Virginia 2nd Infantry Regiment.
Sources:
Index to Compiled Confederate Military Service Records

Another maternal 2nd great grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne, called Steptoe, was blind, but owned a huge, 13,000 acre plantation in Patrick County, Virginia. His family stretches back to Jamestown. He did not fight in the war obviously, but he did have the experience of having the Yankee forces steal his horse! The story, involving Steptoe and his daughter Fannie  was originally told to me by my cousins. (cousins found through genealogical research) brothers, and Fannie’s grandsons: Harvey Langhorne Spangler and Dr. Daniel Patrick Spangler, PhD)     

“At the time Miss Fannie Langhorne was ten, and the Civil War was being fought, Stoneman brought his Yankee army from Tennessee down what is now the J.E.B. Stuart highway. In passing they annexed one of Mr. Langhorne’s horses which happened to be his favorite. He, though blind, accompanied by his small daughter Fanny, insisted on following the army to Stuart in search of his horse. There the captain agreed to allow him to retrieve his horse if he could recognize him. Mr. Langhorne set Fanny to hunt the animal. After walking down the long line of horses hitched to the racks along the road and back again, she was unable to find him. On her return, however at one side, away from the rest, she saw her father’s mount and immediately squealed in delight. Mr. Langhorne was led over to a tall roan mare, not his, but near the one Fanny had discovered, and told to see if that were his. Fanny squealed to the contrary, but Mr. Langhorne turned to her and said, “You don’t understand the joke”. Then his hand was placed on another, his own; this time he said, “This is my horse, but not my bridle”.   (If you’d like, you can find this story here: http://www.mtnlaurel.com/mountain-memories/406-fannie-langhorne-spangler-an-interview-from-1935.html) That took courage and audacity, on his and young Fannie’s part!   

My third maternal 2nd great grandfather, William W. Stoops also served in the Civil War. He served in Company G, 21st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry.  It was made up of older men who could not do the long marches so it was a cavalry that stayed close to home to protect railroads, bridges, and mines.

My fourth maternal 2nd Great Grandfather was an Italian Immigrant, Louis Botto. It looks like he arrived in America perhaps about 1844, and he and his wife, my grandmother, Catherine Revaro Botto, had their first child in Richmond, Virginia, in 1857. I believe he had a brother named Frank Botto, and we can clearly see Frank registered to fight in the Civil War. Unfortunately, although I can find Louis Botto in the 1860 census, I’ve yet to find him anywhere else, except that his wife is listed in the phone book as the widow of Louis Botto and by 1866, she has remarried.  I wonder if Louis was killed in the war? Did he get sick and die? Did he leave the family, as I find Louis Bottos in several other areas of the country? I still have a ways to go in my research to prove this.

While part of my mother’s family traces back to Jamestown, the founding colony of America, as you can see, my family is a melting pot of nationalities. So as I grew up “basking in the glory” of being a “Southern Belle” (not really, not from age 12 on), what about my paternal side?  I did realize, as I grew older,  that my father’s side of the family were Yankees.  Not only that, when I started doing my genealogical research, I discovered that my father’s  Grandfather, my first great grandfather, Lewis Jacob Youngblood, 1846-1919, fought in the Battle of Petersburg,Virginia, as part of a New Jersey Cavalry Regiment!  After the war, he came back and lived in Petersburg where he had fought, because supposedly he “thought it was such a beautiful area.”  This past year, one of my cousins’ found Lewis’s discharge papers from the Civil War!  I got to see them as well as his sword, and his gun, all owned now by different cousins!  Kay Youngblood Fuller, my cousin, owns not only his discharge papers, but found his own journal which explains that he was an IRS tax collector for the Federal Government, and that he readily foreclosed on farms, and often bought them himself–farms in the Petersburg area– when recovering Confederates were unable to pay! What a way to get revenge on your enemies! He was a carpetbagger! My own Great Grandfather was a carpetbagger! “In United States history, a carpetbagger was a Northerner (Yankee) who moved to the South after the American Civil War, especially during the Reconstruction era (1865–1877), in order to profit from the instability and power vacuum that existed at this time.”   –http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/carpetbaggers-and-scalawags–also the source for this illustration below:

carpetbagger-AB

One cousin told me that when Lewis moved to Petersburg, he joined the local Methodist Church, Gary’s Methodist Church.  They say he was so hated, that when he came into the church and sat down, the whole congregation stood up and moved to the other side of the church! My poor grandfather and his siblings had to grow up this way! How would Lewis Jacob  feel to think that 100 years later, he had a great granddaughter who prided herself in her Southern heritage!

Youngblood, Lewis Jacob, discharge papers from Civil War

-for pictures of Lewis Jacob Youngblood’s rifle and sword from the Civil War, see my blog post at https://heart2heartstories.com/2014/11/05/lewis-jacob-youngblood-1846-1919-52-ancestors-in-52-weeks-44/

 

Hugh Jackson Hogue, 1825-1870, Pennsylvania is my 2nd great grandfather on my father’s side, and is of Scottish descent. He, along with his son, my great grandfather, Robert Fulton Hogue, 1850-1924, also fought at the Battle of Petersburg, and Robert came back to settle there as well! Robert was underage, only 15,  when he joined his Dad in Petersburg, and served as a bugle boy, a water boy, and took care of the horses. In later  years,  Robert’s daughter, Helen Blanche Hogue married Edwin Spear Youngblood, son of Lewis Jacob Youngblood, both children of Yankees who relocated to Petersburg, Virginia, both families members of Gary’s Methodist Church.  Had the fathers met in the war, or did they meet in church when being shunned by others?  What would it have been like to grow up in a small southern town, a yankee revenue agent for a father, just after the Civil War? How is it that Edwin  and Helen’s son married a Southern girl from Richmond, Virginia? Of course, she was only partially a  “Southern girl”–she, my mother, was Irish and Italian also, and proud of those heritages.

My other two paternal great grandfathers did not participate in the Civil War, one, Edwin Speer whose ancestors hailed from the Netherlands and Germany,  was too old, with the next generation too young. The other was a German emigrant, Gustavus Voelkler who only arrived in America about the time the Civil War was ending. Lucky them.

Again, the melting pot is evident. Dad’s family includes Scots, Germans, and Netherlanders mostly. Mom’s English, Irish, and Italian mostly. It always amazes me! The Kerse’s of Ireland, were originally the DesCearsais family of France!

One hundred fifty years from now, 2015, will be the year 2165. It’s possible I will have a 2nd or 3rd great grandchild who is my age by then. What will I have done that they might discover that will affect the way they think of me, or the way they think period, the way they regard history? Wow, that’s a humbling thought, yet now I know that my ancestors affected history, they fought, they struggled, they were there. They have affected me by sharing their beliefs, their courage and strong wills, their desire to make a difference–traits I feel in myself today!  

Would I have been a Confederate or Yankee if I were alive during the Civil War?  If I were a child, of course, I’d have done whatever my family did, and possibly been a southern Confederate. However, after all these years of being proud of my Southern heritage, I could never support slavery…so I suspect I would have been a Union sympathizer if not an outright flag waving Yankee! I see this same type of civil strife continuing everyday of my life. Our country in 2015 is about as polarized between the Democrats and Republicans as it was in 1861! Some even think we’re moving again towards a Civil War! While I feel very strongly about my political views, would I pick up a gun and shoot someone over it? I can’t imagine!  I might get angry at a neighbor or family member who believes so very differently from me– that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their right to have those views, just not to force them on me. Having strong beliefs can lead to conflicts, broken families, even wars, I see it in my own family, and in our world.

What might your descendents think of you, of your lifetime? –our lifetime? It’s a lot to consider, but our genealogical research leads us to these questions.

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Remembering American Slaves by Name, Part II

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slave names

–www.slideshare.net

slave names engraved on hand

–www.pinterest.com, search for image

The Slave Name Roll Project, started by Schalene Jennings Dagutis, strives to create a searchable resource for genealogical research of ancestors who were slaves in the United States. By asking descendants of slaves and slave-owners,  to collect and submit  names of slaves of their ancestors to this project, the hope is to collect as many names as possible, making them all more searchable and accessible to descendants.  There are only a few main resources to find the names of slaves. The slave schedules only had numbers of slaves. But some courts required the listing of slaves by name for property tax purposes. The other main place to find the names of slaves, is in wills.  People actually willed their slaves to their children!  Everytime I realize this, it makes me sick at heart. I will never understand how one of my relatives truly thought it was not only all right, but a good thing, to own slaves –to enslave another human being and  rationalize it in your mind! But it happened on a large-scale in the United States, until we fought a war over it and the slaves were freed. It took at least another one hundred years for African-Americans to begin to gain their civil rights.

Virginia showing Warwick County on map

Warwick County, Virginia, source: familysearch.org

 

My eighth great- grandfather, John Langhorne arrived in the Virginia Colony sometime after the mid 1600’s.  He and his wife Rebecca Carter married in England in 1665. John established a family home in Warwick County, Virginia, which served five generations.  In his book, The Virginia Langhornes, Appendix V, page 309,  James C. Langhorne gives a list of 36 slaves, first names only, who belonged to the Langhorne family, and were enumerated on the Warwick County tax lists between 1783-1785. By 1783, three generations of Langhornes who had lived in the home at Warwick County were gone. John’s great-grandson,William Langhorne  1721-1797, my 5th great-grandfather, would have been the head of the household  at that time. That means we’ve not yet found a lot of names. I will continue my research and see what I can find. I wanted to go ahead and get these names submitted so that they would be available for family to find.

Cumberland_County,_Virginia

Cumberland County, Virginia, source familysearch.org

 

In this same appendix, James C. Langhorne lists 80 more slaves who belonged to the Langhorne family who lived on a plantation in Cumberland County, Virginia.  These names were collected from Cumberland County tax records and estate records between 1784-1797. James C. Langhorne makes a note of telling us that names appearing more than once are not duplicated.  We know that  Maurice Langhorne, 1721-1791 was the first of the family to  relocate to Cumberland County in the piedmont of Virginia, away from the coast. He was my fifth great-grandfather, and  according to  tax records he bought thousands of acres of land in Cumberland, establishing himself as a successful plantation owner. The only way he believed he could be a successful planter in the late 1700’s, was to use slave labor to work the agricultural endeavors.  Among those slaves, are these now identified by James C. Langhorne if only by first names. I take my hat off to James, not many authors of genealogy books include the family slaves! It is a commendable thing that he does.

 

I found the illustration of Isaiah 49:15 very fitting for this situation. Men in  17th and 18th century America might have neglected the names of their slaves, but it seems God did not. As we find more and more names to place in the Slave Name Project, it seems God is giving the names to us, as He was holding them in the palm of His hand all the time, as promised.

slavery quote by Abraham Lincoln

From The Virginia Langhornes by James C. Langhorne we find this list of names of slaves owned by the Langhorne family, from Warwick County, Virginia, 1783-1785:

Adam,  Ann,  Bedford,  Ben,  Bob,  Cloe,  Cuddy,  Cupid,

Dinah,  Eliza,  Fanny,  Flora,  Frank,  Freeborn,  Grace,  Jack

James, James Read,  Jerry,  Judith,  Lawrence,  Lucinda,  Lucy,

Nanny,  Paul,  Peter,  Phillis,  Rachel,  Roger,  Sary,  Sylvia,  Sue  

Tom,  Venus ,  Will    

Also from The Virginia Langhornes comes this list of 80 more slaves belonging to the Langhorne family  in Cumberland County, Virginia between 1784-1797, gathered from estate records and County records:

 

“Abba,  Abraham,  Absolam,  Agga,  Alice,  Amy,  Ann,  Anthony, Archer,  Belley,  Betty,  Bob,  Caroline,  Cate,  Charles B. Smith,  Cland,  Damond,  Daniel,  Daphne,  Davy,  Dick,  Edmond,  Emy, Fanny,  Flora,  Frank,  George,  Hannah,  Hannibal,  Harry,  Isaac, Jack,  Jackson,  Jacob,  James,  Jane,  Jenny,  Jesse,  Jim,  Jimmy,  Jocie,  Joe,  John,  Johny,  Joicey,  Jubar,  Judy,  Juliana,  Julius,  Let,  Lewis,  Lucy,  Margery,  Misse,  Molly,  Moses,  Nancy,  Natt,  Ned,  Patty,  Peter,  Phillis,  Polly,  Rachel,  Reid,  Rhoda,  Robin Byrd,   Roger,  Rose,  Sally,  Sam,  Sarah,  Shepherd,  Sue,  Sukey,  Tom,  Violet,  Will,  Wiltshire,  Yorick “

What a blessing to be free, I wish you and your loved ones that blessing always!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meadows of Dan Baptist Church Burns Down!

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Meadows of Dan is a small town on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Patrick County, Virginia. It sits at the mouth of the Dan River which runs down through North Carolina. My great, great-grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne (called Steptoe) is credited with naming this town when he took up residence there about 1840. He and his wife, my Great-Great-Grandmother, Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro inherited a 13,000 acre plantation! They had slaves to help them run the house and the agricultural part of the plantation. They built a grist mill, started a school, and taught Sunday school from their own home. I descend from their daughter Evelyn, one of Steptoe’s eight children. Unfortunately, Steptoe was blind, inflicted with retinitis pigmentosa, the hereditary disease that stole the sight of his mother, several of his siblings, children, grandchildren, and continues in the family today.

Steptoe’s daughter Frances, called Fannie married Wallace Wolford Spangler and they raised their six children right there in the Meadows of Dan while most of the other grandchildren went elsewhere. When we had a Langhorne family reunion last year, it was the Spanglers who gave the tours and led the singing since they were the accomplished musicians from years gone by ! (If you check the right column of categories, you can find many stories and music videos about the Langhornes and the Spanglers.) While all of the grandchildren are gone, many of Steptoe’s Great-Grandchildren, Great-Greats and more still live in the area. 

During the Langhorne reunion last year, several of the family attended church services at the Meadows of Dan Baptist Church. We all went to the church cemetery where Steptoe and Elizabeth are buried, as well as Evelyn, Fannie and some others, including Evelyn’s child Virginia. This beautiful church and cemetery rests on land that once belonged to the Langhorne’s, Steptoe and his brother William who donated the land for the church, and even built the first log church there. When you walk in the cemetery and into the church, you can feel a sense of roots–this is  where our family lived, this is where they walked, 175 years ago! 

Also in this same church cemetery, are the graves of the Langhorne slaves. Yes, they are segregated, but they are present in the same church cemetery which lends credence to the stories of the Langhornes being kind to their slaves and treating them humanely. I am working on another post about the slaves, gathering their names for the National Slave Name Roll Project which was recently started by Schalene Jennings Dagutis. Over the years, there have been some controversies surrounding the “slave meadow” as their area has come to be called, started by an article of that name that can by found in the online mountain journal by Bob Heafner entitled The Mountain Laurel. I discuss this in more detail in the next post. 

Over 100 years ago, the members of the Meadows of Dan Baptist Church built a new church–the lovely white one seen in the pictures above. Last night that church burned down!  Thank heavens, no one was hurt.  Apparently the fire was caused by the furnace malfunctioning. Already the minister of the church is reminding the public that the church is the community, not the building. They will rebuild and be stronger than ever. 

When I learned that the church was on fire– I was shocked, even moved to tears! Then I was surprised that I had such strong feelings for a church just barely known to me really, as family history. However, I realized that I had gotten to know many people, many cousins,  in that community in the last couple years–I knew it would be painful to them, and part of what I was feeling was sympathy, empathy, the desire to go and be with them, to comfort them. I have to admit, being steeped just now in slave research, I wondered if there was malice involved, or anything to do with the controversies of the slave meadow. As it turns out that was all fantasy on my part, it reflects what I was studying in another era, arson is NOT suspected in this situation, but a wiring or other electrical problem unfortunately. The blessing comes in that no one was hurt by such a huge fire!  If you look at the very last photograph above (click to enlarge), you will see that three crosses appeared in the fire. A citizen of the community took this picture, Angela Grubb. What does it mean? Was it real?  What do you think, I’d really like to know. 

What a heart breaking event for many, many people, members of the church, and others with ties to the community.   I am praying that from the ashes something better will arise, with God’s help. Amen. 

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