Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Amanuensis Monday" The Tragic Death of Eben Algar Richmond

When Eben's father-in-law, Thomas Warren Pierce died on Jan 23, 1910, Eben grieved for him and had become despondent. Seven months later he shot and killed himself with a fatal gun shot wound to the right temple.  He was discovered on the third floor of the Thomas W. Pierce Hardware store in Middleboro between 9 and 10 a.m., lying face down, Monday morning on January 23, 1911.

Eben had worked at the Pierce Hardware store for 20 years and since the passing of his father-in-law was responsible for the conduct of the store. 

Eben played the piano and the cornet.  The last song he played on the piano the Sunday night before he died was "Now The Day Is Over".

Eben is buried in the Pierce family plot in the Central Cemetery, Middleboro, MA.

Middleboro Gazetter, Friday January 27, 1911

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Marriage of 1865, the 111th Carnival Of Genealogy

The subject of the 111th Carnival of Genealogy is Autumn Weddings, featuring weddings that took place in the autumn months of September, October, or November.  Thanks to Jasia at Creative Gene for sponsoring the COG.

Taken on their 70th
Wedding Anniversary

My great great grandfather, Philip Roesch returned from the Civil War and to his sweetheart Helen Jennette Cardey. Three months later, on September 7, 1865 she and Philip were married, near Boise Creek in the town of Potosi at the home of the bride's parents.  Coincidentally, September 7th is my my birthday.

Philip recalled in his memoirs, "It was a rainy day and there was no bridge over the creek.  It took some time and effort, but finally I managed to get across and the wedding proceeded on time."

Years later, on their 60th wedding anniversary celebration with family and friends Philip concluded the event by saying, "So this is our 60th wedding anniversary.  It rained the day we were married so one should dispel any significance in the omen that a rainy wedding day means bad luck."

Newspaper accounts of the event told of how the "grant County Pioneers" celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with 200 dinner guest, under the friendly shade of trees at tables on the lawn at their home.  It was noted, "Mr. and Mrs. Roesch were still happy and hearty despite the vicissitudes of life."

Celebrations continued for this much loved couple year after year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Once Upon A Time - A Century Old Secret

To better understand this story, read:  Amanuensis Monday - Once Upon A Time

There was this century old  family secret. No one could tell. What was the secret?  Why was it a secret.  It was all such a puzzle. What happened to Herbert?  I've known about this mystery my whole life.

When I began researching our family history, I brought my 82 year old Aunt over to my home, to pick her brain; scan the pictures she brought with her and to share my work to date with her.  She asked me, "Maybe you can find out about my mother's brother, Herbert, and what happened to him."   Could I ever solve this century old story?  I thought this was an impossible task.  But that all changed in October of 2010 because of a chance discovery.

My great grandparents, Mary Catherine Wilber Pierce and her husband Carl Z Pierce were separated shortly after their daughter, Mary Ann, my grandmother, was taken away from her by her in-laws. Carl never knew that his wife was expecting another child when she left and moved home with her mother.  Mary, afraid that her in-laws would also take this second child from her, kept this fact a secret.

On April 11, 1900 she gave birth to a son she named Herbert. Family stories indicate that her mother, Nellie, delivered him.  The census taken in June of 1900, just shy of two months after Herbert's birth, shows Mary Catherine still living with her mother.

Her in-laws, Thomas and Mary Besse Pierce had warned Mary Catherine that they would make her life miserable if she ever attempted to regain custody of their grandchild. Why they felt so strongly we will never know for sure. Mary did not forget the threats made upon by her in-laws.   Mary Catherine proved her bravery by moving forward and petitioned the court.

On May 26, 1900, when Mary Catherine was only 19 years old and Herbert was six weeks old, she went to court alone to face her in-laws in an attempt to regain custody of her daughter.  She lost her battle and her life was changed forever.

The outcome of this court hearing changed the family dynamics for the next 110 years. Mary Catherine was not going to take the chance that Herbert would also be taken away from her by her in-laws. She gave Herbert away to her mother to raise in order to keep him. She must have loved Herbert very much to take such drastic action.  She surely felt that this would be the only way to keep her son close.  She was determined that her in-laws were not going to take Herbert.  (His birth was not recorded)

All during Herbert's life his birth mother was always nearby watching over him as he grew.  Herbert never knew he was being raised by his maternal grandmother.  He was always told he was adopted.

Mary Catherine and her husband Carl reunited and had two more children.  But once the cover-up was done, it became impossible to undo and the decision was made to keep this secret forever.  But as we know, secrets are made only to be unveiled.  ( Eventfully the marriage did end in divorce.)  Read:  Rainbows and Flowers, vs. Black Clouds and Weeds

Last October, 2010, a chance discovery of a old picture that was posted on the Town of Middleboro's website gave me the clue I was looking for.  Under the picture of a diner was the owner's name, Herbert Thompson.  Then there it was, a comment by the grandson of Herbert and a facebook logo.  I quickly typed a message and sent it off.  Amazingly, he answered almost immediately.  It took a little convincing that this was not a scam.  He was living on the west coast, I live on the east coast.  The first week in December of that year he flew out to meet me.

You can only imagine the joy we both shared.  The missing branch of his family tree is no longer lost. He in turn told me about his grandfather's life and how he was always told he was adopted and never knew who his parents were.   We continue to keep in touch with him and his family.  And yes, he has met my Aunt and other family members.

This century old secret is now revealed, and the truth has brought peace to many, and to my 90 year old aunt.  Herbert passed away in 1989 at the age of 89.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Once Upon A Time

In 1898 (my grandmother) the first born child of Mary Ann Wilber Pierce was wrongfully taken from her  by her in-laws, Thomas Warren Pierce and Mary Ann Besse.  (Mary Ann Besse was the mother of: (Little Girl Lost Has Been Found )  Mary Catherine was only 19 years old and separated from her husband, Carl Z Pierce when she took her in-laws to court to get her baby back. (You may want to read about Carl:  Rainbows and Flowers, vs. Black Clouds and Weeds )

The courts refusing her petition led Mary Catherine to make a devastating life-long decision out of fear. What happened to Mary and Carl's second child, Herbert, that she secretly bore while they were separated?    That 100 year old mystery I solved a year ago this month. Herbert died in 1989 but I found his grandson and together we joyfully celebrated. Today we are the best of friends that cousins could ever be.  It was the most remarkable genealogical journey event of my life.  I can't wait to share it with you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NASA and Phillip Osborne Roesch

Oleander Hotel

 Phillip Osborne Roesch loved repairing radios as a young man with Buzz Creel and he always remained curious about how they worked.  Being the intelligent man that he was, Phil built upon his experience working in maintenance and repair of the electrical systems in the Oleander hotel that sat on the corner of Pineapple Avenue and Eau Gallie Boulevard.

All his past experience prepared him for the most interesting and challenging job of his lifetime.  In 1951, at the age of 34, he obtained a position with RCA, a subcontractor for NASA, working at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  In seeking out an explanation of what he did, Phillip replied as if it could be understood, "I calibrate the equipment used to calibrate the monitoring instruments that are used to record the missile telemetry and other in-flight information and support activities."

It was always a top secret when and what time military missiles were to be launched.  NASA certainly didn't want the Russians knowing this information or anyone else that might have an interest.

Base Where Phillip Worked

A very rare picture of Phil at work
 Phil was involved with Cape Canaveral from the very early beginnings of space exploration.  There were various times he would be sent "down range" to Antigua, West Indies; Grand Turk, Ascension and other islands to monitor missile activities in that corridor.  Part of the monitoring was to pinpoint the recovery location of early pre-man missions of returning monkeys.  The first to return home safely on May 28, 1959 were Able, a rhesus monkey, and Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey.  These animals were launched to study the biological impact on man during space flight.

One page out of three of his resume
 It was on May 5, 1961 the first manned Mercury spacecraft lifted off with Astronaut Alan B. Sheppard that lasted a total of 15 minutes.  These missions took place during Phil's first 10 years of employment.  Phil, as Communication Manager, ultimately supervised a staff of 19 technicians and radio operators, directly in maintenance and operation in a number of communication center facilities.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shopping Saturday - Radio Sales & Repair

My Uncle Phillip Osborne Roesch had his own repair business with his best friend Buzz, but that all changed after a tragic accident  See:  Inconsolable

He then went to work for Allen's Radio Sales and Service, then finally with Cain's where he was in charge of radio Repair.  His experience with radios will lead him to the most important job of life with RCA in Cape Canveral, Florida.  That story tomorrow:  NASA and Phillip Osborne Roesch

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday - The Best Thank You Ever

Last March, my daughter and her family came to stay with us for a week in our condo in Florida.  This was the surprise I found when I looked down from our balcony.  People from the nearby condo's were all cheering and applauding.  It was the best thank you I have ever received.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Society Saturday - Ghosts!

"In October 2008, a team of psychics toured the Rossetter House, the   Roesch House, and the Houston Family Cemetery.  Join us for an exciting tour where we will share with you the "impressions" that the psychics told us they received on this historic property.
This Ghost Tour is for entertainment purposes only.
Bring your camera - you never know who might show up!"

Jillian is the site manager of the Rossetter Museum on Highland Avenue in Eau Gallie, Florida.  My great grandparents home, the Roesch House now serves as the museums headquaters where my ancestors pictures hang on the parlor wall.  

Roesch House my great grandfather,
William R Roesch built in 1901
(photo 2008)
Jillian told me that the psychics told her that a woman died in the Roesch upstairs bedroom.  I told her no, that was not the case.   My great grandmother Ada died in their farmhouse on Aurora Road in Eau Gallie and their daughter, my great Aunt Lena died in Titusville.  The Rossetters purchased the Roesch house and used it for storage.
Touring the Pioneer Houston Cemetery

Ghost tour in the dinning room
of the slaves quarters that became the first home of
Ada and William Roesch

The Rossetter House addition
 attached to the former slave quarters
and first home of Wm. Roesch, sits directly accross
the street from the Roesch House

Roesch House on the left, the way it looked in 1901

It was said that Susan E. Houston Stewart was laid to rest beneath the ancient oaks of the family plot in 1909.  According to old family records, "she carved her own tombstone of coquina rock".
I recently discovered through old newspaper articles of the time that Susan Houston Stewart, who married John Carroll Houston IV, have three children buried here beside her.  I have passed that information on to the Historical Society.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Funeral Card Friday -The First Time I Experienced Death

Malcolm Leroy Smith
 I was a little girl when my grandfather, Malcolm Leroy Smith, died of a heart attack on August 17, 1953.  The only thing I remember about that day is my father coming home early from work.  I sat beside him on the couch and noticed his face was red.  He had been crying, but he didn't let me see that.  I was only upset because I knew he was.

 I didn't know or understand what death was; I was just turning nine.  It was the first time that I had experienced that word. Anything other than that it was an uneventful day.  I never heard or saw anything else related to my grandfather's passing.  I just went about my business of playing and being a child.

There are only a few things about my grandfather that I remember.  In my mind's eye I see him standing on the front porch with his cap on.  I remember the story of his dog, Brownie, who was hit by a car and my grandfather had to shoot him to put him out of his misery.  I remember sleeping over at my grandparents home.  I would sleep on the couch in the living room.  My grandparents would sit in the dark, smoking their non-filtered camels, until I fell asleep.  I can still see it today, not them, but the red tip of their cigarettes dancing about in the dark. 

A few days before my grandfather's death, the company my father worked for, the Geo. O. Jenkins Co., held their annual outing for their employee's.  It eventually became a family event and I too would attend.  There was barbecued chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon.  A band would play and I would dance the polka with my dad.  And games, lots of games and door prizes.  But this outing in 1953 when I was nine was only for employees.  My dad caught the greased pig. My mom won the women's 50 yard dash and the cracker eating contest.  My mom and dad won the egg passing contest.  My Aunt Bertha and Uncle Tony were there too, Tony worked with my dad.  They won the needle and thread race.

So what does an outing have to do with my grandfather's death?   On this day, August 20, 1953 not only this story about the outing appeared, but also my grandfathers obituary, both on the same page. Read more about my grandfather:  Heartbreaking Misfortunes

Only one error in this notice, his father's name was Joseph, not James.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday - The Ills of Children

One of the biggest fears  mothers had was when their children became ill with a cold. How could a parent tell if it was turning out to be pneumonia and their child could possibly die. Today with modern medicine, penicillin, our children are healthier for which I am very thankful.

 I came across this ad in the newspaper, "The Indian River Advocate" dated January 6, 1899.  The picture alone says it all.  Mothers are told in this ad that Pe-ru-na will save their childs life.  In 1899, I would have bought it too.

Dr. Hartman offers his advise to parents on the treatment of colds and coughs.

Learn to guard against colds.  Nearly all the ills of children begin with  taking cold.  If your child catches cold don't wait a moment before attacking that cold.

To the ignorance or neglect of parents is due the fatal termination of many children's complaints.

If you are not informed as of the proper course to pursue to drive off a child's cold, write to Dr. Hartman and ask for some of his free books which contain some of the most pertinent facts about colds and coughs.

The article gives testimony. 
Dear Sir:  "Your medicine saved my baby's life.  We stopped all treatment but yours and now he is a beautiful baby boy.  It was certainly a miracle".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday's Child - A lost Eye

Mary, birth name Maria Anna was born in Baden, Germany in 1856 and was the daughter of Mathias Roesch and Magdalena Jehle.  The others were born in Potosi, Wisconsin  and are  the children of Mathias and his second wife Juliana Hodapp.  Sophia Luella b 1863, Charles b 1865, Louis b 1868, Otto b 1870, and August b 1874.

If you look closely at  Louis, you will notice a problem with his left eye.  He was kicked in the head by a horse and lost his eye.  Later, he received a glass eye.  His eyes were blue.

Here is a picture of Louis as an adult wearing his glass eye.  He certainly is handsome.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - William & Druzillah Smith

My maiden name was Smith and after being teased my whole life, example "sure your name is Smith" and no I'm not related to the Smith's down the street, or up the street or in the next town, I must admit when I married I was happy to change it to something else.  Just one too many Smith's in the world and therefore very difficult to trace your family line.

That being said, I really wish I could trace this line better than I have.  My great great grandfather, William G. Smith married Druzillah J.Gray. They had 10 children. We drove up to Hollis, Maine and found their gravestones in Hillcrest Cemetery.  William has an American legion post 73 G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) flag on his grave.   I also discovered he served in the Civil War. Buried beside them is their daughter Florence. Read: /2011/07/suffer-little-children.html  Unfortunately, I am stuck right here, I don't know any more than that or who is parents are.

I was fortunate to meet someone on the Internet who was a descendant of one of his children, sister to my great grandfather, Joseph Smith and she provided the pictures to me for which I was very grateful.  The first thing I noticed was his thick head of hair and hairline, just like my grandfather, Malcolm Smith (son of Joseph) had.

Just recently I discovered the parents of Druzillah J. Gray.  Her father was Luther Gray (1801-1880) and her mother was Hannah Ciessy, born 1803, death date unknown.  Druzillah died of hepatorenal syndrome, almost always fatal unless liver transplantation is performed. Senility (Alzheimer's by today's standards), plus nephritis (inflammation of the kidney), hepatic cirrhosis (inflammation of the liver, not uncommon in that era if lived on a farm) and cirrhosis (enlargement) also common diagnosis if lived on a farm, which they did.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Judge Rosch, Son of an Immigrant

Surpreme Court Justice, Joseph Rosch
Born1879 - Died 1967
 The Kingston Daily Freeman, Saturday Evening, October 22, 1921

Joseph Rosch, Jr.  was born at Wurtsboro, Sullivan county on December 9, 1879.  He received his early education in the public shools of Wurtsboro.  From 1896 to 1898 he attended high school at Middletown, Orange county and during that period, while not in actual attendance at schoool, he worked in his fathr's blacksmith shop. (Read about his father, /treasure-chest-thursday-blacksmith.html) In September, 1898, he entered the Buffalo Law School from which he was graduated in May 1900, with the degree of L.L. B.

After his admission to the bar, Judge Rosch practiced for a time at Wurstsboro and later at Port Jervis.  About seventeen years ago he moved to Liberty, where he had a most successful general law practice at the time of his appointment to the supreme court bench by Governor Miller in January of this year, ( 1921). 

Judge Rosch married Ethel Bruce Forsyth of Ontario, Canada, and they have three children, Eugene, 17 years old, Ethel Winifred, 12 years old and Joseph Alton, 10 years old.

Socially, Judge Rosch is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Sullivan County Bar Association, the New York Historical Association and the Republican Club of New York City.  Fraternally he is a member of Mangaup Lodge, No. 816, Free and Accepted Masons of Liberty, the Odds Fellows Lodge of Wurstboro and the Liberty Tent of Knights of Maccabees.

Joseph Jr was a Supreme Court Justice, Albany, New York,  He was President of the New York State Bar Association
ALBANY, March 31--Former Justice of the New York State Supreme Court Joseph Rosch died today in Albany Medical Center after a brief illness. He was 87 years old.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Follow Friday - Discovering Cousins

Diana and Kathryn

It never ceases to amaze me discovering new cousins and being able to share family history together.  But also learning about each other and the direction that life takes each of us that connects with what went on before. 

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting my first cousin 1x times removed, Diana Lewis Burgin, the daughter of Ruth Burgin (see story "Talented Tuesday - A Child Prodigy", the story of the little girl who became a famous violinist /2011/07/child-prodigy.html).  Diana has the most beautiful violin tattooed on her wrist.  She says she can still hear her mother yelling downstairs to her "Diana, that is a B sharp"as she practiced the violin.

Diana kneeling before
her great grandfather Emil A. Posselt
She drove down from Boston to meet me at the Central Cemetery in Middleboro.  It was here that I showed her where her grandparents were buried. Ida Lewis Pierce who married Emil A Posselt both rest in the Pierce family plot.  Around this granite stone lay markers with just the initials of nine family members  She had looked before but couldn't find them.  We are both great great granddaughters of Thomas Warren Pierce and Mary Ann Besse.

Then we made a call to a gentlemen who maintains the cemetery records.  He offered to meet us there to show her where the remainder of her family was.  Low and behold, there were no markers for five members, but all were around this one particular stone. 

This beautiful stone etched with violins for Emanuel Ondricek (Diana's Uncle) was placed there by a student who respected the talents and teachings of this man.  Diana now plans to place a stone for the others that rest there.

Diana teaches Russian at the University of Mass, Boston. She also has a website where she shares the remarkable Burgin history, http://www.dianaburgin.com/, if you would like to learn more about this branch of the family tree.

Diana is in the process of writing a book about her mother and the interesting world of music in which her mother lived and the talented people within it.  We plan on keeping in touch.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Anita the Artist

Telegraph Herald

Anita O. Schaefer

POTOSI, Wis. -- Anita Odessa (Roesch) Schaefer, 92, of Potosi, died Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, at ManorCare Health Services, Dubuque.

Private family memorial services were held. There will be a gathering in her memory this summer in Potosi. Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road, Dubuque, is in charge of arrangements.  She was born on Sept. 8, 1918, in Boice Creek, daughter of Lake and Edna (Thomas) Roesch. She was the youngest of three children.

Lft to rgt: Best Man Ralph May,
 Husband Victor Harold Schaefer
Wife Anita Odessa Roesch
Maid of Honor Jen May 

She married Victor Schaefer on May 14, 1937, in Chicago. They soon moved back to Lancaster, and then in 1941, to her family's home in Potosi; he preceded her in death in 2005. Together they raised four children Anita's life centered on family, friends, art, antiques and the Potosi community. She loved gatherings of family and friends, hosting many of them at her home, the last being the family Christmas gathering in January 2008. That spring she broke her hip and moved to Sunset Park Place, Dubuque.

She was an active member of St. Andrew's Altar Sodality for many years, serving as president at one time.  Known for her artistic talent, Anita joined the Lancaster Art Club in the early 1950s. With the support of her husband and children, she participated in many art shows and university art classes, won many awards and made numerous friends.

Anita displays her paintings
Secondary to her art, Anita spent considerable time collecting and restoring Roesch and Schaefer family antique furniture. With the many other antiques she collected, Anita furnished the three-generation Thomas/Roesch/Schaefer family home. Card clubs and reading were her favorite entertainments. She enjoyed euchre games with family, winning games with her usual mischievous smile during her final weeks at ManorCare.

Surviving are her four children, John "Dick" (Ruth), of Potosi, Beth (Norman) Schultz, of Weston, Roger (Celeste), of Shreveport, La., and Michelle (Richard) Smith, of Dubuque; 15 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

She also was preceded in death by a son-in-law, Edward Kruser Jr., in 1989; a sister, Gwendolyn Kaltenbach; and a brother, Keith Roesch.

Her family is left strong in their appreciation of her love and support through the years. Her sense of family bonds and memories will serve as a lasting memorial.

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