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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“E” is for Evie, Eve or Evelyn, our Grandaughter

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Evie and Grandaddy Max, try out her new rocking horse made by Max.Easter, 2015

Evelyn Noel Orcutt is my youngest grandchild – the youngest of three, Liam 7, Katy 3, and Evie 15 months, who belong to my daughter Ali-Alexandra Kathryn Holshouser and her husband Gregory Alan Orcutt.   Pictured above with her Grandaddy Max, my husband, who made that beautiful mahogany and oak rocking horse for the children for Easter, 2015.

Evie is just coming into her own as a little person, not just a baby. I love to see her playing games with us like when she is in her high chair and throws her sippy cup onto the floor for the 10th time, and says “Oh-oh! “ so convincingly as if it were an accident!” Someone picks it up, and within a second it is back on the floor, as long as someone is playing! She laughs and giggles..oh my gracious, is there better food for the soul than the sound of a child’s laughter?

Evie has quite a genealogical history behind her name, as do many in our family. Her paternal grandmother, whom she adores, is named Evelyn Kaye Brown, called Kaysie. Grammy Kaysie, to the kids, is full of energy and joyful fun!  Kaysie’s maternal grandmother was also an Evelyn, her name was Hulda Evelyn Haslop Marcelle. Evie’s relationship chart to her looks like this:

Hulda Evelyn Haslop (1895 – 1977)

is your 2nd great grandmother

Constance Marcelle (1920 – 1991)

daughter of Hulda Evelyn Haslop

Evelyn Kaye Brown (1948 – )

daughter of Constance Marcelle

Gregory Alan Orcutt (1971 – )

son of Evelyn Kaye Brown

Evelyn Noel Orcutt

You are the daughter of Gregory Alan Orcutt

On her maternal side, Evie has a Great Aunt Evelyn, also called Evie by the family. Her whole name was Mary Evelyn Langhorne Kearse. She was the oldest of seven children and my mother’s sister. She also has  a third great grandmother named Evaline or Evelyn Langhorne. Their relationship chart looks like this:

Evaline Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

is your 3rd great grandmother

Katherine Steptoe Houchins(1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980), sister of Mary Evelyn Langhorne

daughters of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood(1949 – )

daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse

Alexandra “Ali” Kathryn Holshouser (1974 – )

daughter of Helen Spear Youngblood

Evelyn Noel Orcutt

You are the daughter of Alexandra “Ali” Kathryn Holshouser

Kerse, Evelyn

Mary Evelyn Langhorne Kearse

Isn’t that an interesting legacy, at least 4 Evelyn namesakes , two from her Father’s side of the family and two from her Mother’s side.

Actually, there are more Evelyn’s in our tree I am sure, but perhaps the most important one is her relationship to Eve of Adam and Eve! Truly, I have gathered together, with the help of other researchers, our family line from Eve Orcutt, b. 2013, to Eve born about 4020 BC! I cannot print the ancestral line in this post, because I have it in a notebook, and it takes up about 22 pages. I have not had it checked by a Biblical scholar, but I would truly like to have that done one day.  I put it together as a gift for Evie and for our whole family, and it feels awesome to I look at it. If you have a strong desire to look at this information, leave me a message in a comment and we’ll see what we can do. 

I’d love to hear about your own name legacies in your families, who are you named for, do you know? Is there a story? I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

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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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Present at the Birth of the Our Country, William Langhorne, 1721-1797, –52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #25

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St. Johns Church, Richmond, Virginia

St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia

Newspaper archives make genealogy come alive! They make history come alive! That’s one reason I love my subscription to genealogybank.com. The articles I have found there have made my ancestors real for me! Normally searching the archives for specific relatives, the other day, on a whim, I opened genealogybank .com and entered the family name I was currently researching, Langhorne, then entered “oldest” to search for the oldest articles they had on the family. Bingo! Several small things from 1771–came up, but then I found this– the first real newspaper article. It came from the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg Virginia, Issue 1234, pages 2 and 3, Saturday, April 1, 1775.  It is an article about the gathering  of the Delegates of the counties in the Colony of Virginia at a Convention held at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia,from March 20, 1775-March 27, 1775. During this meeting the Delegates chose their representatives to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. More about the Second Continental Congress itself in a minute, but let’s look at this local, Virginia meeting first.

Second Continental Congress

A depiction of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775 from Wikimedia commons.

Look who was present just among the  Virginians — George Washington (my fourth cousin), Thomas Jefferson, Peyton Randolph, John Tabb, Robert Lawson, John Nicholas, Bartholomew Dandridge, Thomas Walker, Richard Bland, James Mercer, Carters, John Harvie, Thomas Mann Randolph, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Henry Taylor, Archibald Cary (my first cousin), James Scott, Henry Lee, Richard Lee, Thomas Nelson, Patrick Henry, and many more.  Most important to me in this moment, is that my  fifth  great-grandfather, William Langhorne was present at this immensely important meeting with all these august leaders of our colony of Virginia, where they charted a course for our future! He had actually been present at all of the Conventions in Virginia so far.  This one however, is when Patrick Henry gave his famous speech saying, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The delegates  not only elected Virginia’s representatives to the Second Continental Congress at this meeting, but they laid out a plan for Virginia to fight the Revolutionary War, how it would raise the armies, organize them, arm them, and how the citizens would help with everything from ammunition, to conserving wool to make clothes for the soldiers! The detailed plans they made are clearly laid out in the newspaper article below. Chosen to represent the Colony of Virginia at the Second Continental Congress were the Hon. Peyton Randolph, Esq. George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Edmund Pendleton, Benjamin Harrison, and Richard Bland, Esquires. (this can be seen in the write-up from Saturday, March 25, 1775)

 

Screenshot 2014-06-23 13.23.32 Screenshot 2014-06-23 13.24.18  Screenshot 2014-06-23 13.25.00

 

This explanation from Wikipedia about the Second continental congress explains it much better than my paraphrasing could do:  The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the summer of 1775, in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met between September 5, 1774 and October 25, 1774, also in Philadelphia. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally towards independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. By raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties, the Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the United States.

When the Second Continental Congress came together on May 10, 1775 it was, in effect, a reconvening of the First Continental Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, and the delegates appointed the same president (Peyton Randolph) and secretary (Charles Thomson).[2]Notable new arrivals included Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and John Hancock of Massachusetts. Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses; he was replaced in the Virginia delegation by Thomas Jefferson, who arrived several weeks later. Henry Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph, but he declined. Hancock was elected president on May 24″

 This is not a story about the Revolutionary War, but about getting ready for war, getting ready for independence and the amazing feeling we can get when we realize this was not just statesmen and their rhetoric, but our grandfathers, our cousins. You might want to read a former post Genealogical Find of the Day where I wrote about this same William Langhorne and his service as the Aide-De- Camp to Marquis De Lafayette. He was a busy man in those years, yet he married Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook and had  nine children to carry on his legacy, a legacy of service and leadership. I may never experience a July 4th celebration again without thinking of our grandfather William Langhorne, and all the men who were brave enough to declare our independence, craft our Constitution, and fight for our independence! Thanks to all of them! 

 

Maj. William Langhorne

Birth 1721 in Gambell, Warwick, Virginia, United States
Death Sep 1797 in Gambell, Warwick, Virginia, United States

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Lady Astor, Nancy Witcher Langhorne –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks-17

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Lady Astor, Nancy Langhorne 2nd cousin twice removed

 

Lady Astor, Nancy Witcher Langhorne,b. 1879, was recognized as the richest and most powerful woman in the world in the 1920’s and 30’s.! At one time however, her family was poor–almost bankrupt after the Civil War. They lived in a four bedroom home with Mom, Dad, and eight children in Danville, Va.  Her father, whom my mother always knew as Cousin Chillie, Chiswell Dabney Langhorne, went to work with the railroad and made back his fortune. Soon he had built a huge mansion called Mirador near Charlottesville,Virginia,  for his family. 

Mirador, home of Chiswell and Nancy Witcher Keene Langhorne

Mirador, unidentified photographer

Langhorne, Chiswell home in Danville,Va.

The Chiswell D.Langhorne home in Danville, Virginia

 

When Lady Astor (1879-1964) was a child, she was an ordinary child it seemed. She played with her four sisters and three brothers like any other child. By her late teen years, she began to show the development of her own drive, courage, and determination. She was only 16 when she accompanied a traveling preacher up into the mountains to help Appalachian children who could not always get to school, learn to read and write . She went even though her family was afraid for her to go. When she returned home, Nancy and her sister Irene were sent to New York to finishing school. At 18 she met and married Robert Gould Shaw II. The marriage ended within four years, amid acrimonious charges on all sides! They had one son named  Robert Gould Shaw III  born of this marriage. Nancy , divorced and with a child moved back home to Mirador.

  Langhorne Astor wedding

 

By 1905, Nancy moved to England along with her sister Phyllis. There she met and married Waldorf Astor, a wealthy politician. Her father- in- law, gave them for a wedding present, a huge estate named Cliveden in Buckinghamshire overlooking  the river Thames. They also had a lovely home in London! Nancy decided to  get into politics when her father-in-law died, making her husband leave his position in the House of Commons  because he inherited his father’s title, 2nd Viscount Astor, which mandated his  taking a seat in the House of Lords. Lady Astor decided to run for election to fill her husband’s seat, and in 1919 became the first woman to be seated in that august body! Thus began an adventure that would have exhausted the best of us!

Langhorne, Astor, view from the Thames

Cliveden Estate from the Thames River, photographer unidentified

 Langhorne, Astor, Clivedon Estate

 

 

Lady and Lord Astor had five children between 1907 and 1918, then she joined the House of Commons. She was known for her witty, sarcastic responses, which sometimes brought her praise, but more often criticism!  As WWII approached, ,she was seen as a Nazi supporter, and she was until the war actually started, when she reverted to supporting her adopted country. She and Winston Churchill were often at odds, represented by this frequently repeated quote, “Winston, if I were married to you I’d put poison in your coffee”….”Nancy, if I were married to you I’d drink it.”  She said other things however, that I truly admire like “Real education should educate us out o f self into something far finer;  into a selflessness which links us with all humanity.”

 

You can learn more about Nancy Langhorne Astor in many reference books, and in many books.  One I particularly like is called Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia, by James Fox. If you want to know more about these five young women , known for their beauty, who became models for the Gibson Girls, you would enjoy this book. 

 

One thing I’d like for you to know  is that Lady Astor was someone my mother looked up toTherefore, I grew up regarding her with awe as well. I grew  up in Richmond,Virginia. My mother worked  downtown, and being a history buff, she often walked us over to the Capital Building and Governor’s mansion. While learning other things about Virginia’s history, we never failed to walk to the place where a portrait of Lady Astor, Nancy Langhorne, was displayed.  Mother often repeated the stories of Lady Astor’s help in our family and her accomplishments on the world stage! I never met her, but my mother’s mother did.  Not only did she know her, my grandmother Kate’s  life was majorly affected by Lady Astor’s good graces!

First let’s get straight how we are kin to Lady Astor. Our common ancestor is my third great grandfather, Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne, 1790-1854. Henry married twice and had  thirteen children in all. One of those was my 2nd great-grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne, b. 1822.  One of his brothers was John Scarsbrook Langhorne, b. 1817. John Scarsbrook Langhorne was the father of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne, b. 1843, whom mother called “Cousin Chilie”.  Chilie was the father of Nancy Langhorne, Lady Astor. So this makes her my 2nd cousin twice removed. . The chart makes it clearer:                  

 

Nancy Witcher “Lady Astor” Langhorne (1879 – 1964)  is your 2nd cousin 2x removed

Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (1843 – 1918)  -father of Nancy Witcher “Lady Astor” Langhorne

John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1817 – 1886) -father of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854) -father of John Scarsbrook Langhorne

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905) -son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline Langhorne (1866 – 1900) daughter of James Steptoe Langhorne

Katherine (Kate) Steptoe Houchins (1883-1943)   daughter of Evaline Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)  -daughter of Katherine Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser, You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

 

My grandmother Kate Houchins’ mother Evelina or Evelyn Langhorne Houchins died in childbirth in 1900, at the young age of 34. She left behind six living children. It appears that their father deserted them, as within a year he was living out-of-state, married to another very young woman, and soon had two other children by her. Grandmother Kate was the oldest of her siblings at 16! The youngest was only three, Guy Maurice Houchins, b. 1897.  Grandpa Steptoe was blind with the family disease, and he and his wife felt too ill and old to take care of six children. After the Civil War, they were also land rich, but financially poor. Steptoe died in 1903. What was to become of these six children? In swoops Lady Astor, wealthy at this point, remembering childhood fun with her cousin Evelyn no doubt, and arranged everything! She set the 3 youngest boys up with a local family, Mrs. Tweat,paying room and board until they were old enough to go to boarding schools–military schools for all three boys except my Uncle Harry who was blind. He went to board with a neighbor,  the Joseph and Nora Hall family, with whom he’d been friends all his life.  My grandmother Kate was sent to live with a Langhorne cousin in Richmond,Virginia, while  her sister Julia married young to Frank Patterson Nichols Jr.  Lady Astor paid for their education as well, nursing school for Grandmother Kate, and law school /apprenticeship for Julia! Lady Astor made a direct mark and effect on our family, for good of course, and my family still remembers her generosity. 

Nancy Witcher Langhorne of Virginia was an impressive woman! She had the personality that usually elicited strong feelings–love and admirtion, or hate! She was not one to be middle of the road. 

I want to remind readers that we are having a Langhorne family reunion in the Meadows of Dan, Virginia, August 1-3, 2014. Please get in touch with me if you want to participate. helenholshouser@gmail.com I would love to see  you there! Helen

 

 

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

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My Uncle, my mother’s big brother, drowned when he was only 8 years old! The picture above is one of only two I have of him , and he looks much  younger than eight. His name was Thomas Philip Kerse, Jr. but they called him Bucky. 

My maternal grandfather, Bucky’s father, Thomas Philip Kerse, (pronounced Kearse) b.1884,   was the son of an Irish cop and an Italian businesswoman.  I understand he was passionate about life–as the Irish and Italians have a reputation for being!  His wife, Katherine Steptoe Houchins, born in 1883 in Patrick County,Virginia, was a nurse and the granddaughter of a “Virginia Langhorne”– a name associated with old money and old Virginia families.   Although he was a police officer, like his father and grandfather, she had the reputation as the stronger one, the steadier one. Together they had seven children–one boy and six girls. For my grandfather to lose his only son–any child of course–had to have been devastating!  My mother was only four years old when her brother drowned, but she talked about it all of her life, so I know it impacted her life experiences and perceptions immensely. We lived only a half mile from the James River, near where he drowned, but  Mom’s strictest rule was that we NEVER go to the river without adult supervision!

The drowning must have seemed even worse to my grandfather because he was a boatman –a Captain!  He was a police officer in Richmond,Virginia, but he also owned a yacht in which he took parties on excursions–and held events for charity. He raised his children on the water–making sure they were all good swimmers. We grew up listening to stories of the family’s adventures on-board their marvelous boat “The Lady Jane”. In fact, according to the newspaper articles above, Bucky drowned right in front of his family, but they had no idea the tragedy was going on as they were having fun at a social gathering! Can  you imagine how wracked with guilt they must have been–how haunted by all the  “If only…” and “I should have…” thoughts and questions?  The newspaper says my grandfather was was “prostrated”!  Their beloved son drowned–life can throw wretched things our way.

And what of the 14-year-old boy who was with him? He was a child himself, out for a day’s fun with a friend. My mother said he tried to keep Bucky above the water, but the hook that the sailors had thrown to tow them in, had caught Bucky’s clothes, capsized the little dinghy, and Bucky’s friend Henry was in danger of drowning himself! My mother never mentioned him by name, and I never knew his name until during my genealogical research, I looked up the incident in newspaper archives on genealogybank.com. So, I looked further–and sure enough, I could follow Henry’s life through the papers of Richmond,Virginia–he excelled at school, married, had children, and held many applauded volunteer leadership positions in Richmond,Virginia, where he died in 1963.  Did he always remember? Did he speak of it?

If we look at the  U. S. Censuses, as we genealogy folks are apt to do, we can find even more pieces of the story. We can clearly see that the two families are living across the street from each other when the boating accident occurs–the boys were neighbors and friends, but we can also see that by the 1930 census, they had both moved away–to different parts of town. New starts? bad memories–who knows?  

We also see a bit of other interesting information on the censuses. Henry’s father and mother were German–they had only come to America in recent years. The accident was in 1922– WWI, where we fought the Germans was just over in 1918– were there hard feelings among the ethnicities of the German, the Irish, and the Italians? I never thought of any of this until I started researching my family’s genealogy–perhaps if I had, I could have asked some questions.

After all is said and done, I’d like to think that my Uncle Bucky was his friend’s guardian angel perhaps–helping him move forward through his life, and that he watched over his parents and sisters as well. 

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James Steptoe Langhorne- Born into Wealth and Privilege, moved into a Life of Trial and Tragedy—52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, #3

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James Steptoe Langhorne– 11 September,1822– 4 December, 1905 –was my maternal 2nd Great Grandfather.  The Langhornes were our “claim to fame” as far as our family relations! At least that is what we were raised to believe! My mother was one of six girls, and three of them carried the Langhorne name as a middle name, Mom carried Steptoe as her middle name—and named one of my brothers Langhorne as well!  Now that I have done a few years of research, yes, the Langhornes were impressive as a family, but we are blessed with a rich heritage of ancestors.

Lady Astor—Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor was probably the most famous Langhorne.   She is my second cousin, the grandchild of Steptoe’s brother John. In another post I’ll explain how helpful she was to my family directly.

Today, I want to tell you a bit about James Steptoe Langhorne. Before I do, I want you to know that we are planning a Langhorne reunion in June, 2014, in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and are hoping to include as many Langhorne descendants as possible—but especially the descendants of James Steptoe Langhorne! (If  you are reading this and are a Langhorne descendant, please get in touch at helenholshouser@gmail.com)

Originally, the Langhorne family was from Wales. The first in our line to come to America was John Langhorne, who arrived in Warwick, Virginia –the Royal Colony—in 1666 with his wife Rebecca Carter. They built a 2000 acre plantation with a home overlooking the James River, and named it Gambell.  It was located where the city of Newport News, Virginia is today. 

Fast forward, 100 years to his namesake John Scarsbrooke Langhorne, who was born in 1760 on the very same plantation, Gambell.  By the time this John Scarsbrooke Langhorne died, he owned several plantations, and his son Henry increased their holdings significantly. According to family history, Henry let his son James Steptoe Langhorne choose one of the plantations, and after touring them all, James Steptoe, age about 22, looked out over the 13, 000 acre “Langdale” plantation in Meadows of Dan, Virginia , and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen! In fact, he is credited with giving that area its name, Meadows of Dan—located in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Dan River. He chose to settle there, but was blinded by retinitis  pigmentosa – an inherited  family disease– within just a couple of years—and never  actually saw his beloved land again!  MOD, lover's Leap

Langhorne,  James Steptoe Langhorne, portrait           Langhorne,  portrait of Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne

James Steptoe Langhorne, called “Grandpa Steptoe” by his grandchildren, married Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro and together they had eight children, and adopted at least two more.  Of course, on a 13,000 acre plantation in 1822 Virginia, Grandpa Steptoe owned slaves. It doesn’t matter how abhorrent and embarrassing this practice might be to me today, it is a part of our history. Most of the area around the plantation was settled by small independent farmers of Scotch Irish descent. James Steptoe Langhorne and his wife are credited with the gifting of land and money to found  two churches in the area, and indeed, they are buried in the cemetery at Meadows of Dan Baptist Church, one of these churches. According to family history, they also held Sunday school and regular school classes on the plantation for area children. My understanding is that Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro was a very devout woman who was dedicated to her Sunday school outreach.  

 Langhorne, James Steptoe's Grave Marker

When Grandpa Steptoe’s first born son, Henry Ellis was sixteen, 1849-1865, he drowned in a pond on the property. The story was told to me by one of my cousins who still lives in that area, Harvey Langhorne Spangler. Apparently, one of the horses had a bad case of colic, and the common practice to help heal the condition, was to help a horse swim off the cramps. Henry Ellis we are told took the horse into the millpond with that very intention! Unfortunately, he did not realize just how deep the pond was, and he and the horse were soon in trouble, unable to stay afloat or climb out of the water! Steptoe was right there, but blind long before this, he couldn’t see exactly what was happening with his son.  Still, he dived into the pond to try to save his Henry!  We are told that Grandpa Steptoe dived again and again trying to find Henry and bring him to safety! Tragically, by the time Steptoe did find him, Henry was gone—the end of an all too shortened life! Blind, one son drowned…what else?

Langhorne Mill 5

During the Civil War there was an incident, where the Union Army came through the Meadows of Dan. In 1935, Steptoe’s daughter Fannie, (Frances Eunice Langhorne who later married Wallace Wolford Spangler and became the parents of Tump Spangler whom  I wrote about before,  here if you’d like to see it:  https://heartofasouthernwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/the-spangler-reunion-part-2-charles-langhorne-tump-spangler/ ) gave an interview about this very thing that was written up by Charles F. Adams  in a local magazine called The Mountain Laurel.

 “At the time Miss Fanny 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! (This story was originally told to me by brothers, and Fannie’s grandsons: Harvey Langhorne Spangler and Dr. Daniel Patrick Spangler, PhD)       

Horses in Civil War

 There are many other stories, but one dearest to my heart, is Steptoe’s loss of his daughter Evelyn, my great grandmother. Married at just 15, with seven children already, one dead, Evelyn died in childbirth in 1900 as did the twins she was birthing!  I have written of this tragic event in an earlier blog post which can be found by clicking on this link:  https://heartofasouthernwoman.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/one-tragic-day-in-october-a-true-story/

Before she died, Evelyn was going blind with the family disease, one of her sons was blind, Fannie was blind, as were many others who were afflicted by this terrible family disease!

My own maternal grandmother, Kate Houchins Kerse, Evelyn’s daughter,  was living with Grandpa Steptoe and Grandmother Elizabeth after her mother died, when alas the house burned to the ground! What else could happen to this family!  

I wanted to know more about Grandpa Steptoe’s history and personality, and I learned that he was a loving man, committed to his family and his church.. He was also an angry man at times—ruthlessly ejecting “squatters” from his land! His morals were high, his sense of right and wrong perhaps rigid at times. Born into wealth, but living through war and family tragedy, he is an interesting ancestor, my 2nd great grandfather– I’m proud to be kin to him. 

I’m also pleased to be partof this 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge! It is encouraging me to get the stories down onpaper as I have been wanting to do! Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow of “No Story Too Small”for leading us in this challenge! http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/george-debolt-old-school-baptist-minister-52-ancestors-3/          Helen

 

 

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