Saturday, March 15, 2014

Society Saturday, Opium and Southworth Gammons

Southworth Gammons, my 4th great grandfather was born in Middleboro Massachusetts in 1769.  He died on July 25, 1827, suddenly, it is written, by opium. Now that caught my attention and I just had to learn more.

At the beginning of the 19th century, opium was used as an everyday remedy for common ailments. Even President Harrison was treated with opium in 1841.  During the Civil War the Union Army used opium, a predecessor to morphine. They treated conditions such as malaria, known as "ague".

My 2nd great grandfather, Philip Roesch, who served in the Civil War wrote in his diary that he suffered from the ague and was put on a ship with others that were sick.  He wrote, "The person at my head,  and to the left and right side of me rolled over in death, yet I continued to get well".   Now I realize that he too was most likely treated with opium.

Other ailments treated with opium included rheumatism, diarrhea, excessive drinking, and even childbirth.  So now I can include my great grandmothers and great aunts for they too might have treated? Opium was known as "God's Own Medicine".

I wonder how many ancestors were treated with opium and perhaps even died because they became addicted?

The acceptance of opium was so general that societies gave awards for growing the poppy and medical practitioners were among the prize winners. It wasn't until 1879 that a growing number of doctors documented the dangers of addiction with opium use.  It wasn't classified as a dangerous drug until 1920.

So where does this lead us?  Remember the Wizard of Oz and that massive field covered in poppies.  Poor Dorothy, the lion, and the scarecrow all fell asleep. I guess they had a massive overdose of opium. That witch really was wicked. The book was written in 1900, 20 years before opium was declared a dangerous drug. 

Oh well, the Wizard of Oz is still a good movie.  Just close your children's eyes and ears as Dorothy and the gang run across the opium field.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Forrest Has Been Found

In August of 2007, I wrote:  Forrest was rumored to have moved somewhere out west with his wife. We are told that his mother did not like his wife.  When Forrest and his wife wanted to return home due to financial problems, he was told  you can come but your wife, Marie, (marriage 1926) can not.  Forrest was never heard from again. 

For the last seven years I have been searching for my grandfather's brother, my great uncle Forrest. Finally, I have found him, perseverance has paid off.

Forrest was 5'8" tall.  He lived at one time with his wife Marie on 31 Jefferson Road, Scarsdale, NY. It appears that he and Marie had no children.  In 1938 at the age of 37  Forrest, listed as a widower, joined the Merchant Marines. In 1943 he became a seaman on the SS John Catron, a Liberty Ship, working as a wiper right until 1955 to the age of 54 when this search ends. 

A wiper is the most junior crew member in the engine room of a ship. The role of a wiper consists of cleaning the engine spaces and machinery, and assisting the engineers as directed.

The SS Catron ship construction began on September 3, 1942 and launched on July 11 1943.  Its' fate was to be scrapped in 1972.




Liberty Ship Construction began in 1936

In 1936, the American Merchant Marine Act was passed to subsidize the annual construction of 50 commercial merchant vessels to be used in wartime by the United States Navy as naval auxiliaries. The number was doubled in 1939 and again in 1940 to 200 ships a year.
 

 Merchant Marine Act of 1936 The Merchant Marine Act of 1936, provided for establishment of Federal training for merchant marine officers. The U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps was officially founded March 15, 1938 under the auspices of the U.S. Maritime Commission, chaired by Joseph P. Kennedy (father of President John F. Kennedy), a position taken over by Admiral Emory Scott Land.

Initially, training of cadets was given aboard government-subsidized ships under the direction of shore-based Port Inspector-Instructors. In February 1942, administration of the training program was turned over to the Coast Guard, but in July 1942 it was given to the War Shipping Administration.

In 1941, the requirements for appointment as cadet were:
American citizen between 18 and 25
Good moral character, unmarried
Between 5'4" and 6'4," in height
Meet Navy physical requirements
Meet requirements for sight, color perception, speech and hearing
At least 15 high school credits
Good teeth, good feet, good posture
The U.S. Merchant Marines are made up of individuals who work on U.S. civilian-owned American flagged vessels that are responsible for transporting services, goods and people to markets outside the country, for the purposes of commerce.


Duties


An ordinary seaman works two four hour watches a day, seven days a week. His duties include the following:


Upkeep — Painting, cleaning, and polishing of ship bright work; the collection and disposal of garbage; maintenance and repair of various types of equipment
Cargo — Handling ropes and wires; storing and securing of items; assisting with the movement of cargo on and off the ship.
Lookout — Standing watch both in port and at sea.Other Duties — Assisting with any aspect of the ship's operation and maintenance that the superior Seamen or Officers feel is necessary.

In the United States Merchant Marine, in order to be occupied as a wiper a person has to have a Merchant Mariner's Document and STCW certificate issued by the United States Coast Guard. Because of international conventions and agreements, all wipers who sail internationally are similarly documented by their respective countries.

Never willing to give up, I will continue my search to discover the rest of his life. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Moving On Is Hard To Do

It was six months ago that I lost the love of my Life.  My husband Merrill passed away quietly at home on June 26 2013. Since then, I sold our home of 35 years and moved to a one level two bedroom two bathroom home that is easy for me to care for. It is in a lovely adult community that includes a clubhouse and an opportunity to meet new people and enjoy the many activities, 

There still isn't a day that goes by without shedding a tear.  But I am blessed with four children that give me great comfort.    They have been, and still are, with me every step of the way and I know this has been hard on them as well.  All we can do is love and comfort one another.

I have been diligently trying to put one foot in front of the other.  I dipped my toes into the water and hope to start a genealogy group next month within my new community.  The word is out and it appears that there is a genuine interest among many. I am hoping that will help me resume doing something I genuinely enjoyed and help heal the hole in my heart.

What brought me here today was remembering a poem I wrote years ago.  I would like to share it with you.  It is called.

Eternal Love

Yesterday our love was young
I think of all the songs we'd song
learning of each others ways
What happened to all those lovely days?

Today our love is deeper yet
since the first day that we met.
Four children now throughout the years
along with gladness and lots of tears.

Tomorrow our love grows stronger still
and every day still brings a thrill.
Alone again with memories past
and yet new journey's do we cast.

Into eternity my love went
oh how lonely my days are spent.
Wait for me, I'll join you soon there
our greatest love in heaven we'll share.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Obituary of The Love of My Life


I have strayed away from writing in my blog this year.  Two weeks after celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, Merrill was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.  My heart is boken, life will never be the same without him.  I cry every day.  I haven't had much interest in writing at all for genealogy was something I shared with my husband.  My focus is looking forward to building a new life for myself.  There is always a battle going on within me, heart vs head.  I must listen to my head to make the right decissions for the future.  It became important to me and our children to turn this negative situation into a possitive one for not only us, but for Merrill as well.  On September 28 we will doing a walk in Boston for Unite to Fight Pancreatic Cancer.  Our team has been working hard and have raised a little over $6000.

#1 Have a yard sale
  must clean out 35 years of stuff - done
#2 Put house on market
    sold in four days
#3 Find a new home
    purchased
#4 Pack and move
    in process.
#5 purchase new furniture
    Done

I am just going to write off 2013.  I don't see myself having much if any free time, with moving, settling in, then the holidays and Christmas shopping. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Magdalina


Mrs. Crouch, 93, Dies at LeMars on Jun. 23, 1851
Civil War Veteran's Widow Came to U. S. in Sailing Vessel

LeMars, Ia.--Special--: Mrs. Magdalena Crouch, widow of the late Andrew W. Crouch Civil War veteran, who would have been 94 years old June 23, died Sunday morning here at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Harold Pew, after suffering a stroke Saturday night.  She was the daughter of Mathias Roesch and Magdalina Jehle.

Mr. Crouch, who was the last surviving member of the Grand Army of the Republic post here, died in January shortly before his 96th birthday.

Mrs. Crouch was born June 23, 1851, in Aachen, Germany. She came to the United States at the age of 5 in a sailing vessl with her parents, who settled in Wisconsin.

On September 15, 1871, she was married to Mr. Crouch at Potosi, Wis. The following year they homesteaded 10 miles north of Sioux City in Plymouth county, where they resided until 1901 when they retired and moved to LeMars.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Methodist church in LeMars, Rev. J.J. Share will officiate. Burial will be in the LeMars cemetery. Her grandsons will be pallbearers.

Survivors are a son, O. W. Crouch, Hinton; five daughters, Mrs. C. C. Hauff, Merrill; Mrs. H. Van Dyke, Sioux City; Mrs. W. F. Douglass, Hampton, Ia; Mrs. A. C. Lemon, Moscow, Idaho, and Mrs. Pew of LeMars; three half brothers, Otto, Charles, and August Roesch, all of Lancaster, Wis.; 19 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and a great great grandchild.

Four grandsons and three grandsons-in-law are in the military service. They are Lt. (jg) Dean Lemon and V-12 Student Ralph Lemon, both in the Navy; Maj. Guy H. Todd in France; S. Sgt Richard Pew in England; Sgt Donald Douglass in Pacific area; Pfc. Richard Stillinger and Raymond Hodapp, both in the United States. S. Sgt. William E. Bergman, a great grandson-in-law, was killed May 29, 1944 in Italy.

Magdalina and Andrew Crouch
celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary
with their children

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday Child - Milton Otto Roesch


Milton was born on October 15, 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Otto Roesch and Mary Belle Pierce.  Sadly, Milton died on July 5, 1908 at the age of six.  He is buried in Hillside Cemetery, Platteville Grant County Wisconsin.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - What Makes Me Me

I can't help but become sentimental when it comes to uncovering the secrets that lead to who I am.

Where did that strawberry blonde hair come?  Why do I rub my two fingers together?  Who was left-handed in the family that I take after?  Why does my sister have thick hair and I have thin hair?  What about those idiosyncrasies?  Where in heaven’s name did those come from?

It’s fun to locate pictures of our ancestors, but those pictures are black and white and leave much to the imagination or yet to be discovered.   Certainly no home movies were left behind to validate information.  We can only rely on what an elder in the family remembers or what we find in more current cousins that we meet along the way. 

Only through meticulously researching the past are we able to uncover those long hidden secrets.

Let’s start at the beginning.  I have two children, a son and a daughter that have red hair.  In the winter it is quite auburn but in the summer it lightens up to a more of a strawberry blonde.  My mother’s side of the family had red hair and I always assumed that was where it came from.  My husband’s mother was adopted.  Her birth mother died of TB at a very young age.  After researching his maternal birth grandmother’s side of the family we actually met some of his cousin, who much to our surprise had strawberry blonde hair.  We also discovered from the adoption papers that his material grandmother was a southpaw.  My husband was born left-handed but was trained to use his right hand.  Today he is ambidextrous.  Our daughter with the strawberry blonde hair is also left-handed. 

Strange how I rub my first and second fingers together, especially when riding in a car.  Never really paid much attention to it until others pointed it out.  Come to find out my dad peformed this habit on a daily basis, and his father before him.  Recently I discovered I have a daughter who also inherited this feat.

These are just a few of the miracles of DNA that I have uncovered.  What can you find?

Names, dates, and places are the first things we discover.  Then we find pictures and cousins along the way, sometimes simultaneously.  Then the personal side of what makes us who we are. Who we look like, the talents, personality, traits and habits we inherit that make us who we are, are some of the most fascinating discoveries of all.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Accepted At Last

The Florida Historical Society's main office is located in the old Post Office in Cocoa Village, Cocoa, Florida.   I remember going into the post office with my grandmother as a child.  It is a big impressive building. 

Florida Historical SocietyMy mother donated some old photographs of the Cocoa and Eau Gallie area.  They asked her to write about her life as she remembered it which they published.  She was a Roesch afterall.  Now my family history was beginning to intrigue me.  Inside the front entrance of the FHS hangs a plaque with my mother's name engraved upon it.  My sisters and I were happy to make this happen for her to leave a lasting memory of her existence to the history of this area.

When I became interested in genealogy, every March while in Florida visiting, I spent time in this formidable building asking questions, sharing information and researching my Roesch history.  Every visit starting with the first visit frustrated me to no end.  Sometimes, I hate to admit, it really made my blood boil and my hair would stand on end.  I never felt welcomed and was made to feel intellectually inferior when it came to my family history.  Seems they thought they knew more than I did, especially when they told me I was pronouncing my family name Roesch incorrectly.  If you were to ask my husband he would tell you I embarrassed him on more than one occasion, most likely half-a-dozen times.  I just couldn't help myself, this was important to me.  Assuredly they weren't looking forward to my visit every March, but they were always gracious and I tried, I really tried to be polite. 

It was in March of 2008 that I stopped in for a last visit prior to my book, "Forever Laced" being completed for publication.  Two very important things happened.  First, Ben DiBiase, the Educational Resources Coordinator brought out a file box from the archives. He untied the cover and to my surprise lifted out correspondence my grandfather had written in 1932. The letters were found in the Roesch House in Eau Gallie that the FHS now owns and is part of the Rossetter Museum.  These letters along with responses were very important to see.  It put his life story into perspective for it showed how hard he was trying to find work during the depression.   

Then the man who always seemed to me to be a know-it-all, who refused to believe how to pronounce my family name walked in.  He sat at the table with us and asked in the softest voice I had ever heard him speak, "What was the relationship between your grandfather, William Philip Roesch and John McAllister?" I had uncovered his name and the relationship while researching the history of the Roesch family and felt quite satisfied to tell him, John was my grandfather's uncle.  This was a question, he as a genealogist hadn't been able to discover.

The following year I returned with books in hand and donated two for their library. This time I was made to feel truly welcomed and treated with respect.  I was surrounded by those I had spoken with for so many years asking me of all people questions about the Roesch family and how it related to the history of Eau Gallie.  Finally, I felt accepted as one of their own.  I'm home at last.  And by the way, he now pronouces the name correctly, Ray-shh.

As a final note, my great grandfather, William Russell Roesch was the founder of the newspaper named the Eau Gallie Record.  I was able to convince his grandson, my uncle Clyde, that the collection of newspapers, some over 100 years old now in his custody, should be donated to the Florida Historical Society for safe keeping before they completely disintergrate. 

Ben DiBiase accepted these newspapers , 'Eau Gallie Record', 'Melbourne Times' and the 'Cocoa Tribune' stating in his letter written August 14, 2012, "Again, I want to thank you for making this donation possible,  these papers will be of great use to researchers in the future.  In fact, I have already received research requests from people who are interested in the history of Eau Gallie and would like to see these newspapers. He graciously included two CD's with digitally scanned copies of the newspaers, one for me, and one for my uncle.  Now we can enjoy these for a lifetime.









Thursday, January 17, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Radio & Edgar Allen Poe

It was 1972 we were living in Concord, New Hampshire.  I was a housewife raising four children the youngest only twelve months old.  I loved listening to the radio as I went about doing the things that a young wife and mother do around the house.  No time to sit and watch TV but the radio was always on.

Being a lover of books, especially old books, something being announced on the radio caught my attention .  Someone was selling five books containing ten volumes about Edgar Allen Poe.  The asking price was $25, a rather hefty sum for us at the time where every nickle counted, but I couldn't resist.

I made the call to the woman who was selling them and told her I would be by later that day to purchase them.  That afternoon I collected my treasure and brought them home. 

Later that evening, after the children were bathed and put to bed, I sat down with my new purchase  and examined them with great care.  Some of the pages had never been slit apart so you couldn't see what was written in between.   Whomever owned these books not only loved Poe but loved poetry in general.  It was also clear that he loved distinguished American Literati.  A chapter in the book gives information about many authors that includes a sample of their handwriting.

The book had every story and poem that Poe had ever written.  To my surprise, inside each book were many newspaper clippings mostly about Poe but some of other poets as well who all mention Poe in one way or another.  One clipping read: "Author of 'Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight' Dies; aged 89", (1939) Rose Hartwick Thorpe, victim of heart attack. 

The oldest newspaper clipping I found was dated 1918.  "Hard Work Wins", Sir Fredrick Taves, a noted British Surgeon, said that hard work counts far more than brilliancy.  Brilliancy, like genius, is an accident.  It is born, not made. The world would be a dull, flat plane intellectually if it did not throw up brilliant people.  Hard work would never have given us Shakespeare, Beethoven, Keat, Heine, Poe, of Shelley. Woe to them who expect brilliancy alone to give them the success that is worthy and enduring.

Poe was a struggling writer whos works were rejected again and again but he worked hard and persevered.  In 1933 an article "Poe in an Informal Mood" stated, Poe was very far from being the stark, solemn, unsmiling figure that so many picture him.  he could even laugh at himself.  When he had won the hundred dollar prize in 1833, and Mr. Latrobe, one of the committee of award, asked the unknown young writer what else he had for publication, he replied that "he was engaged on a voyage to the moon".  He then apologized for his excitability, which he laughed at himself.

All that I find, all that I see, all that read, not only puts Poe into a previously unknown perspective for me, but also gave me information on all the other brilliant writers of that time.  I'm so glad I was listening to the radio that day.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Team Member Nomination

Thank you to Bettyann Schmitt for nominating my blog for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.  She may be fairly new to the world of blogging but she is most definitely off to a roaring start. 
http://rhinegirl.blogspot.com/2013/01/ive-been-nominated.html  I most certainly enjoy reading her blog and appreciate the articles that she shares with us all.  As she states, we learn from each other.

Members of the Geneabloggers nominate other members who have followed their blogs, leaving comments, and in general supporting their fellow bloggers.





According to the rules, I've got a whole week to nominate other members. But it won't take me that long.  This person has been writing a blog for some time now.  What makes her stand out is that she is one of the first to jump in to be a good Samaritan, to which I have been on the receiving end.

Annmare Novick - Skipping Down Memory Lane http://genealogymemorylane.blogspot.com/

I also nominate this person for her energetic entusiasm.

Bettyann Schmitt - http://rhinegirl.blogspot.com
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