Dad’s Wisdom: Navigating This Cascade of Grief – 52 Ancestors #336

It looks like we are, hopefully, emerging from this miserable pandemic and it’s great to see people going about their lives, joyfully. Almost like nothing ever happened, or is happening. I hope they, we, aren’t engaging in risks that we will come to regret.

That said, this past 18 months, give or take, has been an utter living hellscape. It’s been a cascade of one grief event on top of another.

How do we even begin to navigate this into the future? How do we overcome what we’ve lost and will yet lose? Graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays that will never happen? Not just stolen by death, but also by estrangement.

What does that future look like without our family members? Without closure for so many unnecessary and unexpected deaths? How do we navigate a divided country and world – cleaved clean in half not just by a virus – but the politicization of that virus and science?

And what do we do about families that are irrecoverably fractured – even if they haven’t died in the physical sense? They are still dead to us – removed and permanently alienated by irreconcilable differences. That’s an entirely different kind of pain than death – maybe even worse because it’s by unilateral choice. People and relationships tossed away, like soiled masks.

I can’t help but recall my ancestors divided by severe religious differences – think the 1755 Acadian Expulsion in Nova Scotia, the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in France, the Holocaust in the 1940s in Europe and the edicts removing the Jews from England in 1290 and Spain in 1492. Today we marvel at these historic differences, but entire groups of people characterized the “other” as enemies. The result being that the weaker group was expelled, their property confiscated, and the people often murdered.

These last few months feel like a mass casualty event with more than 600,000 dead and that’s just in the US. It’s also not counting Long-Covid or the effects of living under lockdown and fear for 18 months. I’m positive I’m not the only one who feels this way.

That’s not considering the other, comparatively minor losses – well minor as compared to Covid. Lost jobs, school disruption, not seeing friends and family, church, weddings, missing conferences, just being able to socialize.

I’m not going to detail my personal losses, but trust me, there are many – including both close and more distant family.

In the Past

Twice before in my life, I’ve experienced what I would view as cascading grief events – defined as events that arrive so fast that you can’t recover from one or more before the next ones occur and pile on top. Think of a many-layered cake.

These layers could be deaths that happen close together or other life-altering and fork-in-the-road events.

In my case, one cascade series included the death of my sister, my (former) husband’s horrific stroke which, in addition to him of course, dramatically affected both of my children and the household income. That was followed shortly by the illness of my child and the death of my beloved step-father.

Another cascade series of grief events included the deaths of both of my brothers just a few months apart after concurrent battles with cancer, followed shortly by my nephew.

During this past 18 months, between Covid and other things, the number of family members lost is approaching 20 and that doesn’t include friends and their families. My husband lost his oldest and best friend.

I fear we aren’t finished yet. One of my close family members is gravely ill and her brother just died a month ago. My God, will this ever end?

Not to mention events that should have been celebrations have turned out to be anything but. This past month has been awful, just when I thought we were about finished.

Other people must be overwhelmed too. It’s like we’ve been in a war with a microscopic virus, then we began battling within our own ranks.

As I see other people out having fun, I want to be carefree like that too. While the pandemic is receding, at least somewhat, the grief and shock of what happened in the blink of an eye during the past 18 months have not. Someone said to me today that seeing people acting like nothing has happened just causes them to feel even more isolated in their grief.

Life will never be the same, or even close, for millions of people.

How do we cope?

WWMAD?

So, I have to ask myself, how did my ancestors deal with situations like this? Many of them buried several children and they, themselves, survived pandemics of typhoid or worse, Bubonic Plague. Many, if not most had multiple spouses due to death. The church registers are full of deaths attributed to “the Pest.”

In the 1600s, war raged for 30 consecutive years in Germany, killing millions and depopulating much of the country.

WWMAD? What would my ancestors do? It seems like I’m always looking backward for inspiration and grounding.

I mean, they managed to make it, or I wouldn’t be here. Surely I have some of their mettle in me!

Memories

I didn’t know my biological father as an adult. He passed away when I was a child.

I was very fortunate that my mother married a wonderful man who earned the name, “Dad.” He was everything a father could have been, and more.

Dad was a quiet man, which was probably a good thing because my mother and I were not. He used to tell us we chattered like chickens.

I adored him. As a late teen and young adult, he was my advocate and constant cheerleader. As I age, I grow to appreciate him and Mom even more and look back across their lives to search for parallels.

It’s not like I can ask for their opinion or advice anymore. I guess that’s why we spend as much time with family as possible, so we are able to “hear” the answers and their voice in our minds as we navigate shark-infested waters later in life.

My Mom experienced at least one cascade of grief when both of her parents died within a couple of years, and she and my biological father separated, followed by his death. As jolting as that was, it’s also normal for parents to die before children.

My Dad’s situation, on the other hand, was another matter altogether.

Dad was a Rock

Dad married his first wife in 1950. Three years later, a son joined the family, and five years later, a daughter, in July of 1958.

Everything seemed perfect on the Indiana prairie farm, but it wasn’t.

Martha gradually became ill. It started with her skin and slowly began to affect her mobility.

Linda, the baby had something “wrong” as well. Linda never learned to sit up as babies normally do, and two days after Christmas in 1959, she died of pneumonia at 17 months of age.

Dad and Martha had taken Linda to the hospital on Christmas Day. Dad was never, ever OK with Christmas after that, but he hid it well. That lasted right up until I had to take my daughter to ER on Christmas morning one year.

There were always tears at the holidays that Dad tried to hide. He spent a lot of time in the barn, alone, “checking on things.” Of course, now I know what he was doing.

Dad didn’t tell me for a very long time – and then he gave me Linda’s crib blanket when my daughter was born. I think that was his most valued possession and I will treasure it to my death. That is the language of love.

He once nonchalantly explained, passing through the kitchen, that when he married my Mom, he got his daughter back – although clearly, no one could ever replace Linda. What he meant was that he had a place for the daughter-love to go😊

And I had a father to love too.

Martha’s Decline

Over the next few years following Linda’s death, Martha became increasingly ill. Dad was very worried, and with cause. Eventually, Martha was diagnosed with a very rare, fatal disease – Schleroderma. He carried a short newspaper article about it in his wallet for years. Martha was apparently one of the early people diagnosed and they allowed research on her body after her death. Today, it’s treatable, at least somewhat, but still not curable. Then, there was no treatment or relief. Just slow progression.

Dad added an inside bathroom, built a frame around the tub, toilet, and bed to help Martha.

Dad explained to me that Martha had “turned to stone – from the outside in.” Schleroderma is a disease where the autoimmune system replaces normal tissue with thick, dense collagen. And yes, it begins on the skin and works its way inside, then slowly through the other organs until it kills you. Her death certificate says she died of renal failure and had Schleroderma for 2 years – but Dad said she had early symptoms before Linda was born.

That might well have contributed to Linda’s health problems too.

For years, Dad watched Martha suffer. He farmed, took care of their son, and increasingly, Martha too. He became an overworked, grief-stricken, caregiver. He knew Martha would never “get well,” even though he didn’t know how long she would be with him. He hoped against hope for a very long time, but eventually the inevitable became clear.

The chronic stress was taking a toll on his health too. He developed bleeding ulcers that required 8 or 9 emergency surgeries over the years to save his life. His belly looked like he had been in several sword fights – and lost.

In 1962, his mother died. By this time, Martha was only 40 years old, but in significant pain and nearly immobile. Dad bathed and fed her, propping her up and tried to keep her comfortable.

Their son was 10 years old.

Dad told me that he was “OK” so long as he could talk to Martha, but as the illness consumed her, she became less and less cognizant and eventually, she lapsed into a coma. The machines kept her going artificially, at least for a while.

Dad finally removed the machines – a final act of kindness. In his words, “she was already gone.”

On a late June day in 1968, instead of plowing and farming, Dad sat by Martha’s side as she passed from this world – only 45 years old.

He buried the second person in the family plot he had purchased a few years earlier when Linda died.

Their son did not cope well with his mother’s illness or death. In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder if Martha already had the beginning of the disease when she was pregnant with him. His life, too, was unexpectedly short.

The 1968 Cliff

Dad was 48 years old and had spent almost his entire adult life married to a spouse he loved deeply, but who would slip away from him inch by inch as he bore silent witness for someplace between 10 and 15 years of their 18-year marriage.

This is the definition of living Hell. Also of love.

Oh, the irony.

Dad was a farmer, an occupation that is a 24x7x365 job. You don’t get vacations or breaks. Ever.

He told me one time that was probably a blessing, not a curse, because it occupied his mind and forced him to go on.

He also had a son to raise who had watched his mother deteriorate for his entire life.

Other men would have succumbed someplace in that nightmare, but not Dad.

Now that Martha was gone, he had a decision to make. He chose donuts!

Donuts 

I met Dad after he joined Parents Without Partners after Martha’s death, sometime around 1969 or 1970. Dad found himself living alone and reached out for human companionship. I’m sure those walls closed in on him after a while.

Dad navigated those grief-filled waters by giving back. He fixed everything for everyone. He would finish his chores on the farm, change out of his “farm clothes” and drive to town. He bought boxes of donuts and dropped in on people with a snack and tools to fix whatever was broken.

There were enough people in the Parents Without Partner’s Club that he visited each household maybe once a month or whenever someone needed help with something. Often, the homeowner asked him to dinner in exchange. Everyone benefitted.

And – he developed a crush on Mom. I probably gained 10 donut-pounds and our house was never more well-maintained😊

Wedding

Mom and Dad’s wedding in September 1972

Mom and Dad were married in September of 1972 at Judson Baptist Church, the little neighborhood church on the corner. Before they married, Dad talked to his son who was hospitalized, and me – kind of asking our permission.

Dad got a wife and daughter, Mom got a husband and son, and I got a Dad and brother. We were all happy – our little blended family.

Life was good once again on the farm. However, there were reminders everyplace. I would ask about something, and the answer would be that Dad made it for Martha, or that baby photo was Linda. I didn’t realize how painful those questions must have been for Dad.

But I surely do now.

Every Memorial Day, as well as other times, Dad would slip away to the cemetery. I think he went to talk to Martha and Linda. I bet he talked with Martha before asking Mom to marry him. I surely am glad that she agreed😊

Dad’s Wisdom

While my losses over the past 18 months or so are different than Dad’s, grief salad is still grief salad. Dad also never had to deal with social media hatefulness or a pandemic on top of everything else, thankfully.

His Hell lasted for roughly 15 years. This has been much shorter but involves more people. Grief can’t really be compared.

Dad didn’t have the opportunity to recover from one event before the next one arrived. Those events were connected and overlapping, possibly due, at least in part, to Martha’s horrific illness.

Fifteen years of living in a constant state of grief is an overwhelming burden for anyone to bear. I still can’t believe it didn’t consume him. If his bleeding ulcers are any indication, it nearly did.

Yet, he never talked about it. I had NO IDEA of the magnitude of what that man withstood and somehow recovered from until after he was gone and I began looking back, piecing things together from tidbits in my own search for answers.

In 1993/1994, I too was incredibly overwhelmed with my spouse’s stroke, two children who were not doing well, one who left the family, Dad’s terminal illness which made Mom a wreck. I did talk with Dad from time to time, even though he was hospitalized, drifting in and out of consciousness and I was trapped in another state.

Thankfully, I was able to visit him in person towards the end. Dad was still Dad, bemoaning the fact that he was not healthy enough to help me with my situation. He was also a realist and knew exactly what was happening.

Truth be told, he helped me far more than he knew:

  • Dad told me to take care of myself – because you can’t take care of anyone else otherwise. He would surely know.
  • He told me to put one foot in front of the other every day and just keep moving forward. Some days, that defines success.
  • He told me to rebuild my life with the tools I have at hand – because no one is going to do it for me. He assured me I could do it. I wasn’t convinced.
  • He told me that this “chapter” would end and I would be happy again someday. At that moment, I seriously doubted that I would ever be alright.
  • He explained that anyone who isn’t good to me isn’t worthy of me and it doesn’t matter who in life you’re talking about. That also applies to children and animals. He was dead-on right.
  • He told me to find small things that bring joy and wonder, because they lead to more joy and wonder. I can’t help but think of him looking over his fields and sitting outside under the tree.
  • He told me not to look backward – that the future is not in that direction, the past can’t be changed, and it would only make me sad. And that is not taking care of myself.
  • He told me that either I would consume “it,” integrate “it,” and go on in spite of “it,” or “it” would consume me. I’m pretty sure “it” is grief. Although maybe “it” is generic.
  • He told me it comes down to sink or swim, and the decision is mine to do either.
  • “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” He never swore in front of Mom, so this piece of wisdom was reserved for when she was not present. I still laugh when I hear this.
  • He told me it’s OK to be tired, and discouraged, and to take a break. But DON’T GIVE UP.
  • Never give up.
  • He assured me several times that I could do anything I set my mind to.
  • The damaged places become the strong places. As a teenager, he used to show me welds on farm machinery to prove his point. He explained about iron and fire, something about the strongest steel being forged in the fires of Hell. I just rolled my eyes. He laughed and gently pecked me on the head with his finger, saying “don’t forget.” At that time, I had absolutely NO IDEA what he was really telling me. I get it now, in spades.
  • The last time I saw him, he told me he was proud of me and always had been. I felt like I was failing miserably at the cascade of grief events that I was navigating poorly. He assured me otherwise.
  • He gave me a tattered, folded copy of Invictus, also out of his billfold, folded and tucked behind my picture. I was trying not to cry in front of him, but that did me in.
  • He said, “Don’t ever forget that I love you. I’m the luckiest man on earth to have two wonderful wives and two wonderful daughters.” I wondered aloud about his miserable years watching Martha die. He told me that he had been honored to be able to care for her, that he loved Linda, and that they had gotten him to me and Mom. And he loved us beyond this lifetime.
  • Love is forever.
  • And, “I will always walk with you.”

And he has too. Like, now, for instance.

The Transition

We both knew he was leaving soon. I thought I would die. My heart was crushed, then, as it has been recently, but I kept repeating his words over and over to myself at his funeral. He gave me hope for the future, and at that moment, I had none.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that his interminable sense of humor showed through then too. He was literally late for his own funeral. I laughed and cried at the same time. How is that even possible?

After the funeral, I went back to the farm and dug up a few phlox plants and ferns that live in my yard today, having moved twice and multiplied prolifically.

Dad’s ferns have filled my garden, just as his love fills my heart.

Dad is with me every time I look at these with joy and wonder and remember his ferns beside the house at home.

These would make Dad happy. They make me happy, and I’ve passed them on as well.

Thank You Dad

Never give up, he said. I need to hear those words in the darkest of nights. Never give up doesn’t always mean staying on the same path. Sometimes it means to row steadily – but in a different direction.

Family is not always about blood, but about who we choose to spend the future with – who we choose to love and integrate into our lives. Who we choose to cherish – and those who cherish us.

Clearly, I survived what I came to call the “Decade from Hell” – the 1990s.

That’s when I began making care quilts for others with my wonderful friend Connie who had also lost a child.

I eventually moved and remarried too, a decade later, just like Dad had.

I re-immersed myself in genealogy, then genetic genealogy as my youngest child transitioned into adulthood.

Yet, here I am again, awash in an avalanche of concatenated grief events – overwhelmed by the immensity, depth, and duration of it all.

Maybe this is one of those “rhythm of life” things. Waves in the endless ocean.

Perhaps grief is a season.

The Path Forward

I find myself seeking out and following Dad’s wisdom once again. It seems timeless and ageless. I’m not at all sure that he was talking to the me of that time and place. It feels like he was talking to a future me that would need to hear his message.

I’m still making care quilts and writing articles to help people. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to stop researching my ancestors or writing anytime soon.

And I’m absolutely focused on looking forward and creating a modified future – although grief events keep rearing their ugly heads like blood-seeking sharks. I will survive this too.

Once again, I’m not going to remain where there are constant reminders. It’s time for this chapter to close and another doorway to open.

I’ve begun the process of cleaning out, purging, throwing away, giving away, and selling things. I’m finding the process cathartic even if it’s a bit overwhelming. How did I accumulate so much stuff? And what do I do with all of these genealogy files? I’ll figure it out.

I’m going to step into the next chapter, someplace else, lighter and less burdened. There are so many things I won’t be doing any more that I haven’t enjoyed for a long time. The pandemic has made me reconsider a lot. 

There will be a rebirth, a new beginning. The Phoenix rising from the ashes of the old.

One of the pandemic’s gifts has been that we now realize that we can work from just about any place with a decent internet connection. One less thing to bind us and one more avenue to free us.

Thank you, Dad, for your incredible example of courage and resilience. Your life-well-lived lessons in the face of adversity are ever so much more effective than any words could have ever been.

But mostly, thank you for choosing me as your daughter, being my forever Dad, and walking with me.

I love you.

Happy Father’s Day.

Two Rudolf Muellers Born on the Same Day in the Same Year in the Same Place – What? – 52 Ancestors #335

Seriously – only me. This would only happen to me. And I thought three Michael Kirsch’s living in the same village were bad.

We’ve been following Rudolph Muller’s life where we found him as an adult in Grossheppach, Germany.

click to enlarge images

In the Grossheppach records, cousin Wolfram in his one-place study of Grossheppach had discovered information indicating that Rudolph was from Switzerland, and more specifically, Stein am Rhein.

Wolfram also discovered a notation that Margretha, Rudolph’s wife, was from Kanton Zurich.

They were naturalized in 1662 and became citizens of Grossheppach.

Of course, this left us with many questions and only breadcrumbs reaching back to Switzerland.

Questions

The information in the Grossheppach records was recorded many years later. As genealogists, we’re all familiar with official records that contain incorrect information. I can’t even begin to tell you how many rabbit holes I’ve been down with those.

So, was Rudolph and Margretha’s information correct? If so, what more can we discover? Canton Zurich is a big place. Why was there no more specific information?

Before we continue to unravel this unbelievable puzzle, I need to thank several people, without whom this would NEVER have been solved:

  • My cousin, Tom
  • My cousin, Pam
  • My cousin, Wolfram
  • My village cousin, Chris (I’ll explain about village cousins in a separate article.)
  • Henry, the Stein am Rhein historian

And for the record, only Wolfram is related on this particular line. I’m just blessed with knowledgeable and generous cousins.

I’ve tried to give appropriate credit where credit is due, but there were probably 100 emails flying back and forth, so if I’ve omitted or confused credit for something, I just apologize in advance. In some cases, two people found the same thing about the same time because they are just that good!

We also unraveled more information about Margretha, Rudolph’s wife during this same exchange, but that will have to wait.

In the beginning, it looked like there wasn’t much of a mystery.

Famous last words…

It Looks Like Tom Solved the Riddle

From Tom:

I found a baptism of a Rudolf Muller, son of Jacob Muller and Ursula Muller on 8 Feb 1629 in Stein am Rhein Evangelical Church.

Hot diggity Tom. Great find. Rudolph Muller was born on February 22, 1629. From the Grossheppach records, we thought he was born about 1630 so this fits perfectly.

I sent this on to cousin Wolfram who speaks German as his native language.

From Wolfram:

Where is the baptism from?

I can translate for you the 4th entry incl. headlines. It is clearly readable:

Getauffte Kinder, im Jahr  // baptized children in the year

    1. DC. XXIX. I/ 1629

Monat und tag deß empfangenen Tauffs. / Namen. / Vatter. / Mutter. / Tester. //  Month and day of the baptism / Names. / Father. / Mother. / Godfather(&-mother)

    1. / Febr. / Rudloph. / Jacob Müller. / Ursula Müller. / H. Benedict Gulding[er]: Ellisabeth Win(t)zin. // this I do not have to translate 😉 But what is clear, the surename of the mother Ursula was also Müller. So her Father was “Müller”.

So, if this is the baptism record of Stein am Rhein, then it looks really quite good! As long there are no other Rudolph Müller in this book, either before (then the parents have to be checked or a later record Rudolph Müller (1640 latest).

Yes, we surely do need to check for another baby by the same name, but what are the chances? Rudolph isn’t a terribly common name. Plus, it’s not even preceded by Johann, so it’s even more unique.

It does bother me a bit that in the Grossheppach records, he’s mentioned, at least in some cases, as Johann Rudolph Muller. But not much. Often men were called by their middle name throughout their life, and of course, Muller and Mueller were interchangeable. Johann s the official first name of probably 90% of the German babies born during this timeframe, so he would have been called by his middle name. Even if his first name wasn’t actually Johann, the people in Grossheppach might well have assumed that it was.

A Marriage

In the meantime, Tom unearthed more:

I found a 1616 marriage also for this person’s parents.

Jacob Muller from Turbenthal

Ursula Muller from Nussbaumen

7 July 1616 in Stein am Rhein

I’ve gathered the family group: Jacob Muller and Ursula Muller, their marriage and the baptisms of their children.  There is no further evidence that they stayed in Stein am Rhein.

Perhaps they all relocated to Germany.

If this is your crew, I will translate them for you.  Let me know what you think at your convenience.  Exciting though!

I’m was happy, basking in family discovered, and I would remain happy for a few hours, right up until I checked my email again.

Pam’s Discovery

Cousin Pam who studied overseas was searching at the same time and found a transcribed record in a German local family book about Stein am Rhein. Local historians often volunteer their time to create these documents. Bless their generosity is all I can say.

click to enlarge

Rudolf Mueller born on February 22, 1629. That’s wonderful, confirmed Tom’s work, and would save Tom from translating those children’s records.

But then, Pam found another record from the same place that looked promising.

Hans (short for Johann) Rudolf Mueller.

Wait? What?

This is not the same family that Tom found?

This Johann Rudolph Mueller was born and baptized on May 22, 1629, in Stein am Rhein to different parents.

OH NO.

We really do have two babies by nearly the same name, in the same place, born three months apart – just like Wolfram mentioned. Is he psychic?

How is this even possible?

Hiccup

I skipped the hiccup which made this situation even more confusing.

The original records that Pam found showed the two babies born on the same day, but attributed to different parents. It appeared to be an erroneous entry in the family book, but as it turned out, the error was in the baptism date, not the record itself.

Yes, there were actually two babies born with the same or very similar names to two Muller/Mueller families.

I’m only showing the correct records here because I don’t want to confuse anyone else.

Trust me, we were very confused and so was the historian, Henry, who had compiled the website. He was kind enough to go back and check the original records.

Of course, since Tom had found the marriage of the parents Jacob Mueller and Ursula Mueller, I made the logical deduction that was the correct entry, and the entry for George Mueller and Magdalena Schnewlin was in error.

Wolfram Finds the Second Baptism

As it turns out, there WERE two babies by the same name, baptized in the same place, and they were both in that original record on the same page in the church book. Wolfram spotted it.

O.K. This is now really difficult and I am not sure, if we can surely say who was our Ancestor Johann Rudolph because the other baptism is below in line 13. With the parents Jörg Müller and Magdalena. This is really a pity. Furthermore according to the online family book neither the one nor the other has married. So for a definition there would be a marriage-record needed or some documents of local authorities which shows who has moved (if something like this is available at all…)

Wolfram

Tom concurred. Finding the marriage document of Rudolph Mueller or Hans Rudolph Mueller or Muller to Margretha/ Margaretha whatever her last name was would be crucial to determine which baby was our Rudolph Muller. Or was either baby our baby?

Now, I’m doubting everything.

The Census

From Wolfram:

I can’t get this topic out of my head. I checked the online family book of Stein am Rhein again. Henry Straub, who created the book included sources for the data. And on the page of the one Hans Rudolph Müller who was born in May 1629 (father: Georg Müller) he noted a “Bevölkerungsverzeichnis” as a source for the baptism, which is basically a CENSUS. And not only one but three. As I read correctly they are from 1634, 1637 and 1640. This source has not been noted with the one which was born in February 1629 (father: Jakob Müller). That indicates for me, this second one was not alive anymore even there is a minor option, that this family has moved away after 1630. So the probability seems to be high, that the first-mentioned (born in May and father Georg Müller) is the Johann Rudoph Müller we are searching for.

I think it is worthwhile and I will get in contact with Henry, the Stein am Rhein historian, and ask about his opinion. And I think he will be happy to have another connection outside of Stein am Rhein.

Henry Digs Deeper and Hits Paydirt

Henry, the historian replied to my email asking about the dual entries showing both baby Rudolph’s born on the same day.

Dear Roberta,

It seems that I made a serious mistake: there is only one Hans Rudolf Mueller (Müller) born/baptized in Stein am Rhein May 22, 1629, to Georg (Jörg) Mueller and Magdalena.

So far I can not say what went wrong (and might never find out).

There were two Rudolf Müller born in 1629 one “Rudolf” bapt. February 22nd and the “Hans Rudolf” bapt. May 22nd. The error was that I made a wrong connection to the parents.

The family of Jakob Müller and Ursula Müller apparently left Stein am Rhein, they were not registered in the census of 1634.

The 1634 Census

Henry provided the census record information.

Important other sources for Stein am Rhein exist, a kind of early census, made from 1634 till 1702. Georg (Jörg) Müller, his wife and children (still alive and not yet married) were last recorded in 1643:

“Das Dorf (hamlet, village) Hemishoffen

Nr. 8 Jörg Müller H
Hans – dienend
Magdalena Schnewli
Christen  –  dienend
Rudolf –  dienend
Anna

«dienend» indicates that they were not living any longer in the household of their parents. With other words that their parents had only a small farm and could not feed a larger family. The following census (1650) only contains the recently wed Hans Müller, his wife Anna Fischer(in) and their child Margret (1 year old).

Oh, this is heartbreaking. I can’t help but wonder what happened to Rudolph’s parents and where he lived. Who raised those children? Where did they go?

There are no further records in Stein am Rhein concerning Jörg Müller and any of his 3 other children.

Emigration (or immigration) were not always a one-step move; if nothing important (birth, marriage, or death) happened, no records were made. Unfortunately shortly after the 30 years’ war (1618-1648) in many of the parishes in Germany records were not kept or the precision is missing. Sometimes also the new arrivals preferred not to reveal much about their past.

If you like to have copies of the original records, please let me know, I recorded many documents with a digital camera.

Henry

And, of course, all if this is happening as the Thirty Years War raged throughout Europe. It’s amazing that there WAS a 1643 census AND that it still exists, along with church records from that timeframe.

Hemishofen

Jorg, short for George, lived in house number 8 in Hemishoften, literally, right next door to Stein am Rhein on the Rhine River.

The old buildings in Hemishofen are well-preserved today.

Hemishoften was probably just a wide spot in the road paralleling the Rhine, then as now.

This little hamlet is too small to have its own church, so the people who lived there would have traveled the mile or so to the church in Stein am Rhein.

At that time, these properties would have been the “cheap seats,” in part because they were outside of the city walls where no protection was afforded the residents. Any marauding soldiers approaching on the Rhine would have made quick pickings of isolated farmers with no protection.

It stands to reason that if they were already poor, and something happened, Jorg and Magdalena would not be able to support their children. But is this the right family?

Or, was our Rudolph the son of Jacob and Ursula?

Jacob Muller and Ursula Muller’s Family

Tom made me laugh with his next comment.

The only “saving grace” if you can call it that, is that if you find nothing else, it will make another interesting story.  THIS IS REALITY GENEALOGY AT ITS BEST!

Is that ever an understatement. How do you tell a super confusing story without it being super confusing?

Tom was already on this, unraveling the threads.

I mentioned yesterday that I gathered all of the records for the family: Jacob Muller & Ursula Muller.

The baptism of Anna Muller in 1622 indicates that Jacob Muller was then living in Biberach. An important point.

The death of Rudolf Muller, son of Jacob Muller of Biberach on 24 May 1629 (the year labeled the Pest Year), solves your problem.

Your Rudolf would seem to be this family: Georg Muller & Magdalena Schnewlin

Indeed, Tom solved this puzzle. Given that Jacob’s son, Rudolph died in 1629, five days before our Rudolph was born back in Stein am Rhein – our Rudolph must be Johann Rudolph Mueller, the son of George Muller and Magdalena Schnewlin. The couple living in Hemishofen in 1643, without their children.

Stein am Rhein

Now that we’ve confirmed that our Rudolph was indeed born ar at least baptized in Stein am Rhein, let’s bask for a minute in the beauty of this village on the Rhine River, located on the border between Switzerland and Germany.

Rudolph would have walked these very streets and seen these exact buildings as he grew up.

According to Wikipedia, in or about 1007, Stein am Rhein was a sleepy fishing village on the Rhine River. However, it occupied a strategic location where major road and river routes intersected. Emperor Henry II moved St. George’s Abbey to this location and granted the abbots extensive rights over the village and its trade so that they could develop it commercially.

This endeavor was quite successful. During the Reformation, the abbey was taken over by Zurich. Today, the abbey, 3 churches, the castle, city walls, tower, and gate along with many historic buildings remain and are extremely well cared for.

By JoachimKohlerBremen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54243437

By JoachimKohler-HB – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87543300

Rudolph’s ancestors may have lived in this village someplace. It’s actually very unusual that they lived in the countryside, especially during the war. People were either merchants or farmers. German and Swiss farmers lived inside the city wall and tended their fields outside. The city walls provided protection from invaders.

To a poor peasant boy who probably seldom got to town, Stein am Rhein would have been a sophisticated city and full of magic. I can’t help but view this through the eyes of an awed child as he entered through the city gate, above.

By JoachimKohler-HB – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87853275

The beautiful town hall.

By JoachimKohler-HB – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87858781

These frescoes are original. Imagine what they looked like when Rudolph visited these shops.

By JoachimKohler-HB – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87852766

By JoachimKohler-HB – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87862549

I supposed it goes without saying that I desperately want to visit Stein am Rhein. Of course, I say that about all of the locations where my ancestors lived.

You can enjoy more photos, here.

By Hansueli Krapf – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7084348

The Rhine passes the quaint village of Stein am Rhein, providing lifeblood. But Rudolph wouldn’t have sailed away on the Rhine River. Instead, he would have struck out overland for Grossheppach and a new life.

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Jacob Dobkins and the Battle of Kings Mountain – 52 Ancestors #334

The temperature peaked someplace in the 90s on the Friday before Memorial Day in 2012, and the humidity was stifling. No one else, except one runner, was crazy enough to be hiking on Kings Mountain that day.

If Jacob Dobkins could fight for his life here, I could certainly hike in the heat.

I hiked the Kings Mountain National Military Park battlefield trail which the park service has conveniently marked with signs. There was also a cell phone audio tour where visitors call a phone number, enter the stop number, and a recording explains what happened there.

My ancestor, Jacob Dobkins, who we think was living in Virginia at that time served at Kings Mountain.

The decisive battle occurred on October 7, 1780, and amazingly, only lasted for a single hour. For some, though, it was a lifetime.

Jacob Dobkins

Jacob Dobkins was born in 1751 in Augusta County, Virginia to Captain John Dobkins and Elizabeth. I have not been able to confirm Elizabeth’s surname.

At Kings Mountain, Jacob would have been 29 years old, married to Dorcas Johnson for just over 5 years, and had 2 or 3 small children at home.

We don’t know a lot about his early life, other than he grew up and lived on the frontier.

In 1773, Jacob was found in Fincastle, Virginia on a delinquent tax list. It’s possible that he had moved on which is why his taxes were delinquent. However, Fincastle County, Virginia included a huge territory – land surrounding the Clinch River in what would become Tennessee, part of western Virginia, and what would become the state of Kentucky. Who knows where Jacob actually lived.

When Jacob Dobkins and Dorcas Johnson married on March 11, 1775, they lived in Shenandoah Co., Virginia.

Jacob’s Revolutionary War pension application says that in 1779 he enlisted in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. After the war, he appears on the 1783 tax lists in Virginia, then in the Shenandoah Co. Virginia census in 1790. He is living in Jefferson Co., Tennessee by 1792 when he sued John Sevier, also a veteran of Kings Mountain. John was at that time a member of the House of Representatives from North Carolina and would become the Governor of Tennessee in 1796.

Jacob bought land in Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1795, but by 1802 had purchased land in Claiborne County where he spent the rest of his life.

A humble man, Jacob never owned more than a log cabin – yet he and 1000 other men collectively changed the course of history.

Jacob passed away on March 4, 1833, an old man, with a Revolutionary War pension. Jacob’s pension application does not state that he was at Kings Mountain, but he is listed in Pat Alderson’s book, The Overmountain Men as has having served in that battle.

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive roster.

The Over Mountain Men

There’s a difference between militia units and men who enlisted to serve in the Revolutionary War. It’s certainly possible to be both and it’s clear that some men who fought at the Battle of Kings Mountain were indeed enlisted.

A depiction of the gathering of militiamen at Sycamore Shoals prior to the Battle of Kings Mountain, from 1915.

Militia units were assembled locally to protect the homes and property of the community. Militia service was unpaid. Men provided their own gun and supplies and were obligated to show up and practice on the muster field where they lived.

Sometimes men from militia units did enlist in the war but being in the militia did not necessarily equate to military service. Militiamen stayed home unless there were extraordinary circumstances where they were called to action or unless they joined the military. Men who enlisted did not stay home, but they did visit from time to time.

By Brian Stansberry – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7033099

The Over Mountain Men gathered in several locations prior to departing for King’s Mountain where they would coalesce on October 7th.

Before my trip to the Kings Mountain Battlefield Park, I didn’t realize that militia units from different locations had stayed together and fought together during that conflict. That does make sense since those men had trained together and understood their commander well. If you’re wondering about your ancestor and Kings Mountain, look for evidence of other men from his community having fought there.

I also didn’t realize that the Over Mountain Men were primarily Scotch-Irish and that they had planned to stay neutral until Patrick Ferguson, the Loyalist/British commander, threatened to “come over the mountain and lay waste their land and homes to fire and sword.” Not only did Ferguson threaten the men directly, but their wives and children. That was a very, very poor choice.

Hence, Ferguson inadvertently gave birth to their name, in part because they did indeed come from “over the mountain,” west of the Appalachians, the colonial boundary.

As the ranger said, those mountain men were born fighters and they were angered into action. Especially since the battles of Buford, known as Buford’s Massacre, and Camden had been so horrid. The British slaughtered men on the battlefield under the flag of surrender.

As the Over Mountain Men charged up the side of Kings Mountain, they shouted Buford…the leader of the massacred men.

Never underestimate the power of enraged, determined people. Not only did they win the battle, decisively, but they turned the tide of the war and showed the British that they could and would win.

The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive inflection point in the Revolutionary War.

Patrick Ferguson’s “Advantage”

Patrick Ferguson was so confident of his superiority over those backwoodsmen that he isolated himself on the top of the mountain with no defensive plan. He simply planned to shoot the men as they crested the hill. He did shoot a few, but what he didn’t anticipate is the sheer number – almost 1000 – men who were charging like Indians, not like the regimented English soldiers in formation.

The Over Mountain Men swarmed Ferguson with no warning, from every place all at once.

Ferguson’s hilltop “advantage” soon became a problem, and then turned into a trap from which he and his men could not escape. The British and their Tory supporters fell, and even after they surrendered, many died at the hands of the Over Mountain Men in retribution for what they had done to Buford and at Camden.

Some Tory soldiers were killed on the battlefield and others were lynched for treason. Then, within a day, the mountain men dispersed, disappearing back into the silent hills from whence they came….never to be forgotten. Names included Campbell, McDowell, Edmondson, and others.

My ancestor’s brother, Nathaniel Vannoy from Wilkes County, North Carolina was present as was his sister’s husband, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, depicted below leading the Patriot militiamen back home after battle.

By Don Troiani – Allan Jones personal collection, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93842148

Reverend George McNiel, the “elderly” minister, age 60 or so, another ancestor, accompanied the Wilkes County men as a volunteer chaplain. Sadly, his services were needed, although there is no comprehensive list of who died on either side.

Comparatively few fatalities occurred to the Over the Mountain Men, but many Tories died that day.

The Battlefield Path

The path today at Kings Mountain is paved and circles the actual battlefield which is on top of the mountain. Locations of interest are marked. The circular path is at the base of the hill.

Come along for a walk. Bring a cold drink – it’s hot😊

Glancing up the hill, above, and along the paved pathway, below.

The ranger told us that the land has been logged since the battle and the original forest was much more mature. The soldiers reported that they could see each other clearly through the trees, so the undergrowth is a function of regrowth.

Some of the area was craggy and remind me of the pictures of the Scottish highlands. Our Scotch-Irish ancestors probably felt very much at home. Many of the Highland rebels left Scotland after the 1745 Battle of Colladen Moor. These men and their sons were born fighters, ingrained in both their blood and culture.

Men were buried on Kings Mountain where they fell if they were actually “buried” at all. Anonymous fieldstones were marked with honoring plaques later, as we see below. Paths up and down the hillsides lead to the graves. Men were killed all over the hill, not just on top.

It’s hard to believe this beautiful, tranquil location was the site of such a monumental battle. Although, I can feel their presence in the silence.

Countless men lost their lives here and many more were wounded. It’s amazing that such a decisive battle was won by only 1000 or so backwoodsmen, virtually untrained, pitted against highly-trained soldiers and their backcountry brethren.

Nooks and crannies on the walkway hold stones marking fallen soldiers.

Today, on Memorial Day, we honor these men and their service. This is the Appalachian version of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with many more whose graves have been lost to time.

As I proceed around the mountain, the hillside becomes significantly steeper, and the woods deepen. These signs placed along the pathway were immensely helpful.

Can you imagine seeing red-coated men charging at you with bayonets?

The Patriots were longhunters, armed only with hunting rifles. Similar men had been slaughtered just weeks before. No one really expected this to be different.

The Over the Mountain Men charged the British three times and faced those bayonets. By the time bayonets were useful, the guns themselves were not.

Were they brave or foolhardy?

That third charge was successful.

The grave below is that of Major William Chronicle.

Rain

It rained the night before the battle. Wet leaves mute and absorb sound.

The Tories were confidently waiting but didn’t expect to be ambushed in silence. The Over Mountain Men had the advantage of understanding nature. They left their horses tied a mile away and approached on foot, like Indians. They fought the Indians on the frontier, but they had also learned from them. Very effectively, it seems.

Their final approach up the hill was with full-fledged war screams. The Tories found it every bit as disconcerting as did the Europeans when the Indians descended on them with war whoops.

Today, the only sound is the slightly babbling brook.

Up this hill they ran – shooting and shouting and whooping. “Buford,” they screamed with all their might.

Today, birds chirp. But on that day, the men from Virginia, North Carolina, and the area that would become Tennessee joined forces to survive the advance and crest the top of Kings Mountain. They fought their way up that hill, tree to tree. The bark was literally shot off the trees by the Loyalist’s guns.

Yes, into that horrific assault from above, the Over Mountain Men still continued to advance.

Would these men have ever dreamed that they turned the tide of the war and therefore the fledgling nation, tree by tree, as they inched up that hill? Today, the possibility for any 1000 people to have that kind of a profound effect seems nearly impossible, but it wasn’t then.

I’m sure those men never even pondered the idea that someday this would be an honored battlefield, or that their descendants would come here to honor them, their service and sacrifice, and to be with them in whatever small way we can be. That this place would one day be peaceful was incomprehensible on that October day.

Back then, there were no honored battlefields. Only bloody farmers’ fields where men were wounded and died. Honor and commemoration would come much, much later.

The Over Mountain Men were stubborn to a fault. They didn’t take orders well, if at all. Their commanders understood this – because they too were one of those men. Each man was instructed to be his own officer and do the best he could.

Family Against Family

Not everyone agreed that the colonies should become their own country. Some believed that revolting against England was wrong, for any number of reasons. Like during the Civil War that followed some 80 years later, the populace was divided.

The hardest part of this battle was probably that it turned family members against each other. In some cases, brother against brother. It’s told that one man, a Tory, was injured and asked his brother-in-law, a Patriot, for help. The reply he received was to ask his friends.

In many ways, this battle wasn’t really about sovereignty, it was about what Buford had done, under the truce flag, to the Patriots in two earlier battles. It was about Ferguson’s threat to destroy the homes, family, and farms of the formerly neutral men of Appalachia. It was about revenge and justice.

It was not a good day to be a Tory, or Ferguson.

Colonel William Campbell

Colonel William Campbell, from Augusta County, Virginia rallied the Over Mountain Men to return after they had begun to retreat and to charge the Tories once again.

He was known to the Loyalists as the “bloody tyrant of Washington County” due to his harsh treatment of Tories, but was a hero to the mountain men. He instructed them to, “Fight like Hell and shout like devils.” He was promoted to General in 1781, but died shortly after of a heart attack.

Somehow my Campbell line is related to his line, but I have been unable to identify exactly how. It’s certainly possible that my Charles Campbell was at Kings Mountain with his kinsman, Colonel William Campbell whose father’s name was also Charles Campbell.

I ponder this possibility as I walk. I can’t help but wonder how many of my ancestors fought, here, at Kings Mountain.

This tree has grown over a large rock. Was this rock a fieldstone serving to mark the grave of a quickly-buried soldier?

The previous photos were all taken at the base of the hill and slightly ascending.

Hilltop

Beginning here, the photos are from the top of the hill. This is where Ferguson and many of his men were killed. They thought that they could simply wait there for the Over the Mountain Men and pick them off with bayonets as they crested the hill. Their bayonets were “high” and did not have the effect they wanted. Bullets travel much further than bayonets and red-coated men made great targets.

On the top of the hill, which was cleared at the time, today stand two markers.

This monument is the Centennial Monument, built in 1880 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle.

This stone does not mark a grave, but honors Colonel Asbury Coward who planned the 100th Anniversary celebration and raised the money for the commemorative statue.

We are now looking down the hill. The mountain men charged up this hill, towards Ferguson’s soldiers and Tories waiting for them, about where I’m standing.

Who Was a Tory?

It was difficult to tell who was who, well, except for the English soldiers who wore those distinctive red coats. Ninety percent of the Loyalists, known as Tories, were friends and neighbors.

Emotions ran perilously high. Family members felt betrayed and couldn’t understand how their kinsmen could feel otherwise – strongly enough to want to kill them.

The Tory Oak in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, also known as the Cleveland Oak, was the tree in which Colonel Benjamin Cleveland hung at least 5 Tory traitors in 1779, three of whom had attempted to kidnap him.

Pretty much, a Tory was someone on top of the hill trying to kill you. Once there, it was almost impossible to tell the difference.

Is an unknown soldier buried under some of these rocks?  The dead had to be buried someplace here – their graves now lost to time.

The Tories and the English soldiers were pinned on top of the mountain. Some Loyalists attempted to either escape or switch sides, but I fear their lot had already been cast given that they had already shown their true allegiance. A “conversion” under duress is likely not genuine and the Over Mountain Men knew that.

But what would those men, on either side, have done if they discovered the person they were trying to kill was a family member or neighbor?

US Obelisk Monument

This beautiful white granite monument on the top of Kings Mountain is a smaller version of the Washington Monument.

Plaques on the sides list the commanders and known dead Americans. You can read documentation about the battle, here.

The plaques honor the fallen at Kings Mountain. I was so hoping for a complete roster of all the men who participated in this battle, but no such luck. Historians have been piecing this information together for years.

This beautiful white monument is located in the center of the top of the hill.

This nearby stone honors Colonel James Hawthorne who took command after another officer was wounded. However, this is one of the LEAST remarkable things about James Hawthorne. This man was made of steel and grit.

Ferguson’s Demise

Engraving depicting the death of British Major Patrick Ferguson who was shot from his horse, but he didn’t actually fall off entirely. With his foot still in the stirrup, he was dragged to the patriot side.

According to Patriot accounts, when a militiaman approached the Major for his surrender, Ferguson drew his pistol and shot the man. Probably not a good idea.

Other soldiers reacted in kind and 7 or 8 musket holes later, Ferguson was dead. Many, many men reported that they had fired the fatal shot. Militia accounts said his body was stripped of clothing and the men urinated on him before burial, near where he died. The militiamen hated this man who had wrought so much indignity and pain.

I don’t know who marked Ferguson’s grave, or when, but initially it was marked only by a pile of stones.

Major Patrick Ferguson isn’t very likable. He recruited Tories from among the residents of the Carolina backcountry and commanded several devastating Revolutionary War battles.

He’s not a hero by any measure, but we must give the devil his due. You can’t help but respect Ferguson. He embodies all that people love about the Scotch-Irish – the same traits that the Over the Mountain Men used to defeat him.

Ferguson was bullishly stubborn. His elbow was shattered in a previous battle by a musket ball, and he learned to ride with his other hand, write with it, fence with it, and used a silver whistle to command his men since he didn’t have the second hand he needed. He had to hold on to the reins with something. Obviously, that last stubborn shot he fired, surely knowing he would be killed immediately as a result, was fired with his one good hand.

Patrick was a one-armed commander in the Battle of Kings Mountain but never considered himself in any capacity disabled.

He was also a bit of a renegade, and the more established commanders basically abandoned him to face the Over the Mountain Men alone. Maybe they thought, “so much the better,” if Ferguson were killed, but little did they dream the magnitude of that victory would also mean their defeat.

There just seems to be some karmic justice lurking in that situation.

Ferguson famously traveled with two women, both named Virginia, leading to many untoward jokes about his ability to remember the right name in the heat of the moment, so to speak. One Virginia died on the mountain with him and was buried in the same grave.

One escaped, the Over the Mountain Men parting ranks to let her through. I can’t even begin to imagine how those women wound up on that hilltop.

Some reported that it was as Virginia escaped that she told them Ferguson was wearing a red and white plaid shirt. His men could easily distinguish him, but after that prize piece of information, so could the Over Mountain Men.

The location of Ferguson’s death is marked on the top of Kings Mountain.

Ferguson’s grave is nearby in a “can’t miss it” location right beside the path.

Marked with the original cairn and now a stone as well, it’s actually quite beautiful.

You know, the great irony is that Ferguson, born in Scotland, was probably related to at least some of these men.

The Over Mountain Men are Victorious

This stone, tucked away down a little path, commemorates the service of Colonel Frederick Hambright, a German born Patriot who urged his men to continue fighting after Ferguson famously claimed that “all the Rebels from hell” would be unable to drive him away.

Clearly, Ferguson was mistaken, as proven by Hambright and his men.

That Night

Imagine the night after the Battle of Kings Mountain.

Men of both sides would have been terribly on edge.

They would have been trying to rest, as best through could, among the moans and groans of the wounded. Men probably died during the night.

Neither side knew what the morning would bring, and both sides were afraid of each other. Other than the men in red coats, it was difficult to determine who was on which side.

The Tories/ Loyalists/Redcoats knew the Whigs/Patriots/Over Mountain Men would like nothing better than to hang them. The feeling was clearly mutual, based on past behavior at previous battles.

The Over Mountain Men knew that Loyalist reinforcements couldn’t be far behind.

Neither contingent could move under the cover of darkness.

I’d wager no sentry fell asleep that night – and neither did most of the other men.

Even burying the dead would have been risky.

The Tory/Loyalist Prisoners

It was reported that the militiamen had captured more than 700 Loyalists, be they English soldiers or Tory sympathizers. By the time they reached the Moravian settlement of Bethabara, near Winston-Salem, three weeks later, they had 300 prisoners, and by early December, only 130. A month later, they had 60. What happened to the missing men?

Some were likely hung. Some found a sympathetic ear among relatives or neighbors and were paroled or simply allowed to go home. Some could have been wounded and either left behind or died someplace. The Moravians reported that some escaped. More than 200 were reported to have been consigned into the Patriot militia but had since defected and rejoined the British to fight against the Patriots another day.

Returning Home

The British clearly hated these men who would not be subdued.

Hearty, brave, and having succeeded against all odds, the Carolina backwoodsmen and the Over Mountain Men returned to their homes, crossing the high mountain range through snow.

They would wait for the next volley from the British, prepared to meet them once again where they must. But the tide had turned, thanks to the incredible bravery of 1000 out-gunned, untrained, angry, Patriots.

The Battlefield Today

In order to protect the battlefield, it had to be purchased and then designated a National Historic Landmark. This occurred in 1930 when President Herbert Hoover, along with 70,000 people, visited Kings Mountain.

From the location above, marked by a rock, Hoover gave a speech that set the wheels in motion for the park today.

Hoover’s speech, above, marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain.

I can’t even begin to imagine 70,000 people gathered at Kings Mountain. Seventy times as many people as there were 150 years earlier on that same day.

Kings Mountain

This then is the story of Kings Mountain, a narrative not only of military victory but the tale of a vendetta “paid” as well.

After winning this battle, these mountain men, not soldiers, but fathers, husbands, and brothers turned around, returned home, and resumed their life on the frontier. It was fall – time to lay in meat for the winter and chop wood for the stove.

They needed to tell the wives and mothers of the men who would not be returning – those who remain on Kings Mountain. The community would help those widows and families survive.

This make-shift army of volunteer men changed the course of history and shaped this country in a way no others ever would, vanquishing their enemies who laid waste to their kinsmen under the flag of truce.

It’s ironic that we don’t even know the names of the men largely responsible for America becoming a democracy as opposed to continuing as subjects of the British crown.

Had the British and their Tory compatriots not angered these men into a boiling rage, who knows, we might live under the British flag yet today. That trajectory changed, thanks to the utter bravery and sheer stubbornness of a few hardy backwoodsmen, the Over Mountain Men, brandishing axes, knives, and hunting rifles in the face of soldiers with bayonets.

Jacob Dobkins was probably among those stalwart men. Perhaps your ancestor was too.

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Camstra Burials: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way – 52 Ancestors #333

In last week’s article, The Camstra Trail, I was gifted with the beautiful miniature photo of Douwe Baukes Camstra and his wife and subsequently found the burial location of the couple, at least in general terms.

It’s interesting how publishing something like that opens the floodgates. Well, maybe not floodgates in this case, but definitely the faucet.

Three things happened.

  • Another photo of Douwe surfaced
  • We found the burial locations of Douwe Bauke Camstra who died in 1869
  • We found the burial location of his father, Bauke Douwe Camstra who died in 1866

Douwe’s Actual Burial Plot

As it turns out, I actually HAD more information about Douwe that had been previously provided by Yvette Hoitink. Of course, I made this discovery right AFTER I hit the publish button.

Yvette unearthed a letter written almost a century ago.

Ybeltje Camstra – a granddaughter of Douwe Bauke Camstra wrote in May 1923:

“My grandfather was somebody of fairly large mental gifts. He appears to have been a good mathematician, in that we had in our family an antique silver tobacco jar with an inscription, which read that this tobacco jar was given to him for important services, rendered to the City of Leeuwarden; these services were regarding calculations that he was required to do. This tobacco jar disappeared during the theft that took place in Maartensdijk around 1895, which is a shame.”

On 12 May 1846 the family Camstra settled in Leeuwarden. For years, the family lived in the house at the Grote Kerkstraat nr. 262. From this marriage were born six children, while the family Camstra-Kijlstra also took care to raise a niece Anna Elisabeth Camstra.

Also in the house lived Catharina Proost, school teacher, charged with teaching the children. Servant was Berbertje Koopal.

The couple Camstra-Kijlstra lies buried on the old Cemetery at the Spanjaardslaan in Leeuwarden, section 3, row 26, nr. 11.

There you have it. If I were Douwe’s direct descendant, I’d be placing a FindAGrave request for a photo – even if there is no marker and even if he’s currently sharing a grave with a few of his neighbors.

Yvette provided additional information about Douwe too.

After he married, Douwe B. Camstra was first head teacher in Drachten for several years, but was later appointed arrondissementsijker [district calibrator].

He was joint founder of the “Selskip foar Fryske Tael en Skrifekennisse [Society for Frisian language and writing knowledge]” and for many years was a member as “earste skriuwer [first writer]”. Douwe also wrote Frisian novellas, of which 12 were published in “Idu[…]” and “De Swanneblom.”

In regards to his appointment as district calibrator in Leeuwarden we find the following in the Resolutiën van Burgemeesteren der Stad Leeuwarden [Resolutions of the City Leeuwarden]:

28 February 1846 – Was read a resolution of the Provincial Executives of Friesland of 24 February 1846 nr. 29 regarding information about the transfer of district calibrator D.B. Camstra from Heerenveen to Leeuwarden, to replace the fired assistant calibrator G.M. Cahais, as well as determining the time for the calibration of the measures and weights, over 1846 and all the Cities and Municipalities of the province etc. This resolution has already had the required effect, so was decided to consider as notification.

By C messier – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51124679

Douwes Bauke Camstra would have been very familiar with “The Waag,” or weigh house in Leeuwarden where all types of goods were weighed, located on the canal center city, a few blocks from where Douwe was born.

Speaking of a Descendant

My cousin, a descendant of Douwe, dropped me a note immediately after he read last week’s article. He had been gifted with a copy of the same photo in 2013 along with another one of Douwe apparently taken a few years later.

Courtesy of cousin Glenn

Douwe looked to be a bit older and his black eye seemed to have healed. So my speculation that Douwe might have been blind was clearly wrong. Now I wonder if what we thought was a black eye was an artifact of very early photography.

These two photos provide secondary confirmation of the identity of this man.

Burial Location of Bauke Douwes Camstra (1779-1866) and Anna Elizabeth Jonker (1778-1856) 

I surmised in the article that since Douwe Bauke Camstra and his wife were buried in the Spanjaardslaan cemetery in 1869, that his parents were surely buried there too. That seemed reasonable, given that his father only died three years before Douwe and since there was no other cemetery in Leeuwarden following the 1827 edict that burials could no longer occur in churches and churchyards for sanitation reasons.

Then, I received this from Yvette:

About Bauke’s burial place, all the way back in 2013, I did a research report for you with the inventory of the estate of Bauke Douwes Camstra, created on 21 July 1866, after his death.

Among the estate was:

“Graves: Four graves at the churchyard in Goutum, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grave from the church in row 18, with the two grave stones, valued at fl. 20 Deducted for maintenance and prohibition to open the two graves in which the deceased will be buried within 20 years.”

So Bauke was buried in Goutum just south of Leeuwarden. I once had a McDonald’s picnic dinner there and sent you a photo.

Yvette to the rescue once again, and my bad for not rereading the Camstra reports. The great irony here is that I was very excited about receiving that picnic photo from Yvette at the time and remember it well.

Courtesy Yvette Hoitink

I even managed to find the photo on my computer.

Yvette continues:

They owned 4 graves on the churchyard in Goutum, a small hamlet just south of Leeuwarden. They owned graves 4, 5, 6 and 7 in row 18.

Of course, this begs the question of who was intended to be buried in the other two graves, and if anyone in the Camstra family actually was ever buried there. I also thought his wife predeceased Bauke. I need to do some more reading and digging. Actually, what I need to do is write their own individual ancestor articles where I review everything.

That has to be on the north side since the south side doesn’t have 18 rows. I made a guess that they started counting the rows from the tower and indicated the location of these graves on the Google Map.

Yvette even marked their grave locations.

Google Streetview drove by the churchyard as well, but the trees were so full of leaves you can hardly see anything.

The estate bill included a provision for maintenance of the graves of Bauke and Anna Elisabeth for 20 years, so that’s long gone by now as many graves are cleared in the Netherlands after 20 years, I do not think these graves are still there. There is a small chance that they still exist because this was an owned grave, not a rented grave.

The graves at the Goutum cemetery are listed at Graftombe but the Camstra grave is not among them so it was probably cleared.

You can see the area where they are/were buried from the street beside the church. They are near the rear of the church, just the other side of the trees.

Why Was Bauke Buried in Goutham?

OK, so my logic was sound, but it was also wrong.

It made perfect sense that Bauke was buried in the only cemetery in Leeuwarden when he died. It made sense, especially since his son was buried there three years later.

In fact, now I wonder why Douwe wasn’t buried in Goutum with Bauke.

Furthermore, why WAS Bauke buried in Goutum?

After all, Bauke was a deacon in the Grote of Jacobijnerkerk Dutch Reformed church in Leeuwarden, just down the street from his home. He didn’t attend church in Goutum.

The beautiful new Leeuwarden cemetery park was just across the bridge, outside the city wall, much closer than Goutum.

This doesn’t make sense, at least not at first glance.

The church in Goutum (Buorren 23) is just south of Leeuwarden, about 3 miles as the crow flies from Bauke’s home church. Bauke would certainly have been familiar with the churches surrounding Leeuwarden.

My bet, at this point, is that Bauke was NOT in favor of being buried in a grave outside of a churchyard. There were gravesites available at the church in Goutum, and Bauke took advantage of the opportunity to purchase four. I think this comes under the category of, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Bauke found a way to be buried in a churchyard, even if it wasn’t his home church or even inside the city of Leeuwarden. It didn’t matter. The churchyard in Goutum is where he rested until at least 1886 when his 20 years was up.

Were it not for the purchase noted in Bauke Douwe Camstra’s estate record, we would never have known.

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

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Genealogy Research

The Camstra Trail: A Little Box with a Photo – 52 Ancestors #332

The day started out just like any other day, but THIS day would hold something very special.

Hi Roberta,

I’m writing you from the Netherlands. I don’t know where you live. Your name came up in my search for the offspring of Douwe Baukes Camstra. I think you are offspring of his sister Lijsbeth. I have a little box with a photo of Douwe and his wife Iebeltje Egberts Kijlstra taken on their silver wedding in 1856! I want to give it back to their relatives.

This is a picture of it:

Can you help me? Do you know other relatives? If not, you can have it. Do you want it?

Do I Want It?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Of COURSE I want it – assuming it’s my relative.

First, I had to scurry off and search my genealogy software. Was this, indeed my family member?

Could I possibly be this lucky?

Holding my breath…

Oh my gosh – this IS the brother of my ancestor! I didn’t know his middle name, and I have a different spelling for his wife’s name, but it’s definitely the same couple.

This is so exciting!!!

I asked Marga where she found this treasure.

The little box belongs to my mother, but she doesn’t know where it comes from. We don’t have any family in the north of the Netherlands. I put a picture of it on Facebook and it is many times shared, but no reactions at all. I found on the internet that there are not many people left in our country with the name Camstra…

In the box there is a little paper. It says: “Ybeltje Kielstra en Douwe Baukes Camstra beiden geboren +/- 1810 bij hun zilveren huwelijksfeest in 1862.” Which means: Ybeltje Kielstra and Douwe Baukes Camstra both born +/- 1810 at their silver weddings party in 1862.

The date 1862 is wrong because it was in 1856.

Marga took this scrap of information and began searching, trying to find if they were related to Douwe. She fleshed out his vital information, including his parents.

Marga had clearly done her homework. I just have to say this – it’s incredibly confusing when Bauke Douwe Camstra names his first and second sons both Douwe Bauke Camstra. The first son died, but I digress.

I replied to Marga, then I tried to wait patiently for her response.

The internet/Facebook somehow bollixed things up and my reply to Marga went AWOL. Even though I could see it from my end, Marga couldn’t.

Two days later, she queried, “You’re not interested?”

You’re Not Interested?

OMG YES I’M INTERESTED!!!!!!

Thankfully, Marga received this second message and posted the envelope.

Longest 3 weeks of my life.

What if it got lost in the international mail? The mail here in the US has been taking weeks to months for some items mailed in the same county – let alone from across the ocean.

Where was it?

Would it EVER arrive?

“Be patient,” I told myself, over and over.

I did not receive the patience gene.

One Cold February Day

Finally, one cold mid-February day, almost a month later, a small envelope arrived.

I mention the envelope was small for two reasons.

First, I laid it aside in the pile of junk mail because I was expecting something larger. Who wants to sort through junk mail when you’re impatiently waiting for something VERY precious?

Second, truthfully, I didn’t expect something THAT small. It’s miniature.

Did I mention that I adore miniatures???

The little box itself is about 2.5 by 3 inches and it’s less than half an inch thick. Maybe closer to a quarter inch.

When I was sorting through the mail later, I squealed with excitement, because there it was.

I opened the envelope carefully and saw a face that looked at least vaguely familiar. Was my ancestor a female version of him, minus the beard? They shared the same parents.

Lijsbeth Bauke Camstra married Hendrik Jans Ferwerda on February 19, 1829 in Leeuwarden. Hendrik was a school teacher and they lived their married life in Blija, about 13 miles (22 km) away, near the sea.

Their first child was Bauke Hendrick Ferwerda, born January 26, 1830. He married Geertje Harmens DeJong who passed away before Bauke remarried and the family immigrated to America, settling in Indiana.

Some siblings don’t look at all alike and others are dead-ringers for each other. Did my ancestor, Lijsbert Baukes Camstra, born March 13, 1806 look anything like her younger brother, Douwe Baukes Camstra, born on May 15th of the following year? If so, did she pass it on?

I don’t know. You can be the judge.

Douwe Bauke Camstra pictured beside his great-nephew, Hiram Bauke Ferverda, at right. Hiram was about 15 years older than Douwe in this photo and his hair is not grey. It looks like Douwe might have been blind in his left eye.

Douwe would be my great-great-great-great-uncle. I believe this is also the earliest photo of any family member.

The Camstra Home

Douwe and his sister Lijsbeth, both with the middle name of Bauke, Camstra were born in this home, in Leeuwarden.

Camstra home in 2014

Yvette Hoitink, Dutch genealogist extraordinaire, located this property for me in 2012. In fact, you can see my very first glimpse for yourself in this short YouTube video that Yvette recorded while walking down the street. You can hear the church bells ringing in the background.

I’ve since been to Leeuwarden myself, but there’s nothing like that first glimpse on the other side of what you believed to be an insurmountable brick wall.

Whoever would have guessed that another 9 years later, a Camstra family photo would surface in an unrelated family in the south of the Netherlands and make its way to me in America.

Of course, I had to find out more.

What Happened to Douwe Bauke Camstra?

Douwe died in Leeuwarden on August 20, 1869.

We don’t know where he lived, but it certainly could have been in the very house where he was born.

The clock tower and the gardens were at the end of the block, quite conveniently located. In fact, the Camstra home was convenient to pretty much everything in Leeuwarden.

The Camstra home was located at Grote Kerkstraat 33, shown below on Google maps today.

Tresoar, the present-day regional archives where Douwe’s father’s Pleasure Garden was located was just a couple blocks down this street in the direction we’re looking, and what turns out to be Douwe’s final resting place was across the moat ringing the old city.

Yvette also filmed the location of the Pleasure Gardens in this video.

Cemeteries

Cemeteries work differently in the Netherlands (and the rest of Europe) than they do in the US, even back then.  Real estate is at a premium, especially dry land. You really didn’t want to dig a hole and have it fill with water. Coffins aren’t supposed to splash.

People were buried on the terps, raised areas built for churches, then the plots were reused a few years later. How long? Well, that depends on the location and the circumstances. In many cases, family members shared grave spaces with other family members. If the grave was abandoned, then some years later, often roughly 20, someone else was buried in the same space.

If the original inhabitant hadn’t entirely returned to “dust” yet, no problem.

A small ossuary building allowed whatever remains remained to visit with their neighbors and continue their degradation stacked, respectfully, together. Most cemeteries in the Netherlands have an inobtrusive little building for just this purpose. No one thinks anything of it.

This little Ossuary is found in the church cemetery in Wolsum where Hiram Ferwerda lived for a few years.

Originally, the Leeuwarden cemetery would have been inside the fortified city walls, of course, beside that church tower in what is today the parking lot.

This map from 1612 shows the church and detached church tower at far left, although other records tell us that the decrepit church was demolished in 1595 or 1596. The “yard” surrounding the church would have been the cemetery.

It’s also worth noting that the Dutch Reformed Protestant church is shown at right, at the other end of “Grote Kerkstraat,” or Great Church Street.

This 1664 map shows the remains of the church, along with the churchyard in front of the bell tower. I can’t help but wonder if the little house at the base of the tower is either the caretaker’s home, or the ossuary, or both.

The red arrow points to the Camstra home. You found a church or a cemetery no matter which direction you walked. Churches, old or contemporaneous, at either end of the street.

By Ymblanter – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40571285

The Protestant church, already several hundred years old by that time was a couple blocks east of the Camstra home. There were burials inside the Protestant church, Grote of Jacobijnerkerk, in crypts and in the floor, but I find no record of external burials. Surely they existed. People had to be buried someplace and churchyards were where cemeteries were located. Only the wealthy were buried inside the church, in the floor. There is space around the church on the old maps. Precious space inside the city walls was never wasted.

A royal interdiction in 1827 put an end to the unhygienic burials in and beside churches. Communities had to seek more suitable locations to bury outside the cities. In Leeuwarden, the “new” cemetery at the Spanjaardslaan opened in 1833. Of course, it’s now called the “Old City Graveyard,” but it certainly wasn’t the oldest. The churchyards were far older.

The residents were reluctant to give up their churchyard burial practices, but a Dutch landscape gardener designed a beautiful cemetery that would function as a park in addition to being a cemetery. Located on the old dwelling mound, Fiswerd, once a monastery, the beautiful, quiet cemetery allows visitors, then and now, to leave the busy city behind.

Entering these gates, between the skulls on the top of the fence, the park doesn’t much resemble a cemetery as we perceive them today.

The peaceful essence that the landscaper had in mind to lure those Frisians away from their church graveyard can still be felt today.

Trees, grass, and landscaping are found everyplace.

But where is Douwe?

The cemetery was designed in 5 “departments.” The first was for the rich middle-class and nobles. Many graves had impressive monuments which remain today. Needless to say, those graves weren’t reused. The second department burials weren’t quite as dignified but still wealthy. The third area consisted of people we would probably consider middle class, but no nobles. The fences in this area are the most ornate though. Go figure.

The fourth area is the furthest from the entrance. Many people buried here could not afford stones, so they had a simple wooden cross, or perhaps a common, uninscribed stone for several burials. The fifth is the most recent and the cemetery is now closed to new burials.

You can feast your eyes on beautiful photos, here.

As you might gather, the Camstra family was relatively wealthy. Douwe and Lijsbeth’s father, Bauke Camstra owned that beautiful home, just a few doors from the ducal residence, as in Duke of Orange, now a museum. Plus Bauke owned another property AND the Pleasure Gardens.

I fully expected Douwe to have a memorial stone, perhaps a large one.

The known burials are searchable, here.

There are indeed four Camstra burials, but not Douwe☹

This was the ONLY cemetery in Leeuwarden at that time, so Douwe is assuredly, or was, buried here. Maybe in one of those unmarked, or shared, graves., although that seems odd, given what we know about the family.

Perhaps his grave is one that had a monument that, over time, sunk.

Perhaps Douwe was not as wealthy as his father.

Wait? What?

Wait….his father.

Was Douwe buried in the grave previously occupied by his father?

As it turns out, no, Bauke Douwes Camstra, his father, died on May 24, 1866, not quite three years before his son, which means he’s buried someplace here too. Bauke’s wife, Anna Elizabeth Jonker, Douwe and Lijsbeth’s mother died in 1856, so she’s nearby as well.

Bauke Douwes Camstra was unquestionably wealthy, so there is really no question that he was not buried in section 4 of the cemetery. I can’t help but wonder if, somehow, he obtained special dispensation to be buried in the old churchyard beside his Pleasure Garden. But then again, the Dutch are sticklers for rules and organization – so I’d bet not. If they let Bauke do that, then they’d have to let everyone do that. Besides that, Bauke worked, at least for a time, for the municipality.

Well, then, what about Douwe’s grandparents? Was he buried in their graves?

Nope, the last one of his 4 grandparents died in August of 1830, so they aren’t buried in this lovely park. They probably rest beneath the parking lot in front of the clock tower, today, or maybe in the churchyard of the Dutch Reformed church down the street.

My ancestor Lijsbert Baukes Camstra, probably carrying her son, Bauke Hendrick Ferwerda, about 9 months old, would have stood here too, with her parents and siblings as she buried her last grandparent. I was probably standing not only on their graves, but walking in their footsteps.

If they are buried at the protestant church a few blocks away, that’s OK, I visited there too.

Because the grandparents were the last generation of burials before the new cemetery was opened, they would never have been removed. They were, however, eventually bricked over if in fact they are buried in either location.

Good Heavens, I walked on them, probably ate fair food on top of them, without giving it even a thought. Because we don’t “reuse” cemeteries here, I should have, but never realized I was literally “visiting” their graves as I celebrated “Orange Day” when I visited the Netherlands.

Talk about oblivious. Also, talk about perfect. I hope they have a sense of humor!

My DNA is all over Leeuwarden, or maybe I should say in the earth surrounding the old churches and cemeteries in Leeuwarden.

Lighting the Way

We don’t know exactly where my ancestors Bauke Douwes Camstra (Dec. 28, 1779 – May 24, 1866) and his wife, Anna Elizabeth Jonker (Dec. 30, 1878 – 1856) are buried in this lovely cemetery park in Leeuwarden, but they are unquestionably there.

We can, however, trace their life’s path.

We can start at their home at the red arrow, walk west to the cemetery, now a parking lot (red star) in front of the clock and bell tower where they may have buried their parents. We can visit Bauke’s Pleasure Garden (red star), now the pristine City Gardens and Tresoar archives, and walk to the Durch Reformed church (red star) to the east of their home where they worshiped and Bauke Camstra was a deacon.

This church is where their lives were celebrated at their funerals.

Ironically, 152 years after Douwe Bauke Camstra died, in 1869, it was the “little box with a photo” that allowed me to find him, and his parents, in the beautiful old cemetery.

Come along for a stroll in this video and visit the final resting place of the Camstra family.

Update: I family note records that the Camstra-Kijlstra couple is buried in section 3, row 26, number 11 of the cemetery.

Thank You!

A huge thank you to Marga, her mother, and Yvette.

None of this could have happened without Yvette’s original discovery and subsequent research or Marga’s determination to return the photo to a family member, combined with her and her mother’s generosity.

Thank you! Thank you!

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Disclosure

I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Products and Services

Books

Genealogy Research

Mother’s Day is Hard – 52 Ancestors #331

Mom at age 18.

Ok, I’m just going to admit it. Mother’s Day is hard for me. Really hard.

Wish I could just sleep all day and wake up on Monday after it’s all over hard.

And to be clear, my difficulty with this day has absolutely NOTHING to do with my children. Thankfully, they remember me and always do something nice.

My son and family gave me Dahlias for my garden, always a favorite, last weekend and I’ll see my daughter and her husband on Sunday.

I do really look forward to seeing my family, but underneath the smile I wear that day, the tears are brimming at the surface.

And when no one is looking, they spill over.

My family will never know, because I won’t tell them or say anything, to anyone. I try desperately to hide this, to conceal my tears until I am alone. I’m good at this, having perfected it for years now. I really don’t want anyone to ask, “What’s wrong?,” because, truthfully, I’d sound like an idiot saying “Mother’s Day.” And then, they would just feel bad too, and I certainly don’t want that, especially since they are going out of their way to make me happy on mother’s special day.

But that’s just it. It’s my mother’s special day too, and she isn’t where I can reach her.

Recently, however, more than one person has confided in me how difficult Mother’s Day is for them. And I suddenly realized – I’m not alone.

I have such conflicted, polar opposite, bittersweet feelings about Mother’s Day and I’ve felt like that was “wrong.” That I was somehow being ungrateful for my wonderful kids and my incredible mother.

In reality, it’s something else entirely.

If you’re one of my kindred spirits, you’ll understand immediately, and if you’re not, perhaps this will help you understand that beneath the smiles of mothers on Mother’s Day resides a grieving daughter.

Grief is always, always, intertwined with love.

Tied Up with Other Things

For me, Mother’s Day is tied up with other things too.

My Mom had a stroke in mid-April the year she died. I won’t go into detail, but the two weeks it took her to pass over were utter living hell.

I was called at work that morning – the call everyone dreads. I left immediately but was facing a significant drive.

When I arrived a few hours later, Mom had slipped into a coma. I had quickly packed a suitcase before leaving. I knew, from what my sister-in-law had told me that the situation was critical and I’d be staying.

When I arrived in Indiana, the trees were just beginning to bud and bloom.

Mom finally passed away on the last day of April, and we buried her a few days later.

The cherry trees, dogwoods, redbuds, and other flowering trees fully unfolded and bloomed in their full glory. They were stunningly beautiful those two weeks I stayed in Mom’s apartment, visiting the hospital every waking hour, holding her hand, talking to her, and waiting for her transition.

At least there was some beauty there during that extremely difficult time. I needed that nourishment for my soul. Thank God for my daughter who took time off work to come and be with me, at least for part of the time.

The day Mom passed away was cold, dark, stormy, and grey. It felt good to let the cold rain soak through my clothes into my skin, seep into my shoes and run across my face, mingling with my tears that wouldn’t stop. Part grief, part relief that it was finally over.

Rain, the crystalline tears of angels, watering the earth. Sustenance, bringing about life and beauty, even in the midst of death.

To everything, there is a season.

The day we buried Mom was a beautiful spring day. She was finally, finally at rest.

I remember waking up the morning of her funeral and realizing as I made my way out of sleep-fog what day it was. What a horrible sense of dread. I just needed to get through it – to somehow just place one foot in front of the other and survive that day. 

Coming home after the service, a few hundred miles further north, the trees were just beginning to bloom there.

It was kind of like Mom followed along because she knew I’d need beauty and as much comfort as I could find in the following days.

Stunning blossoming trees will forever be equated, in my mind, with Mom’s final springtime journey to meet our ancestors.

On Mother’s Day, that year, I rented a U-Haul, finished cleaning out Mom’s apartment,  closed the door for the last time, and brought my share of her things home.

Worst Mother’s Day ever.

At home, my daughter helped unload the truck. Had to be a miserable day for her too. At least we had each other, but we don’t talk about it.

It wasn’t until I lost my own mother that I understood my mother.

Looking Back

Mom lost her mother, suddenly, when she was 37, and then her father when she was 39. She had already been divorced, not by her own choosing, her fiancé killed in WWII, and then my father…well that’s another story entirely.

Let’s just say Mom’s life had been filled with heartache and tragedy. There she was, alone, without either parent, or a husband, raising me as a single Mom in a time when women just didn’t do such things, all before her 40th birthday. Her birthday, which happened between Christmas and New Year’s must have been miserable that year.

The deck was stacked against her in every conceivable way possible.

By all reckoning, Mom should not have “made it,” but she did. Not because of other people, for the most part, but in spite of everything.

That’s the woman who raised me. A tower of inspiration – but I just knew her as Mom. I never saw that until I was older and wiser. And maybe, just maybe, I began to see her in myself.

The Grieving Daughter

I never realized or understood that my mother was a grieving daughter.

How could I have missed this, you might wonder. Well, I wonder that too. Just like me, she never let on. Never told me how much those “days,” like Mother’s Day, her mother’s birthday, and her mother’s death day bothered her.

She kept it to herself…until one fateful day.

I could still just kick myself.

I don’t remember when this happened exactly, but Mom was in her 70s. As many other people do, I gauge when things occur by which house they happened in, or who was around at the time.

But first, before I tell you what happened, let’s step a bit further back in time for perspective, into the late 1980s and early 1900s.

Genealogy Adventures

Original bar in the former Kirsch house in the 1980s.

Mom, my daughter, and I spent many years traveling about during our genealogy adventures.

Mom wasn’t a genealogist, but she loved to go along and bask in the essence of the places where her ancestors lived. We talked about what our ancestors did in those locations, their lives, livelihood, and challenges.

Of course, it was the genealogy research and information that were the foundation of those stories, plus a few oral history tidbits passed down along the way.

Sometimes the information we unearthed was much juicier than the “official” stories.

Mom always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. “Everyone is human,” she would say. Like when we discovered that her grandfather had neglected to get divorced from his first wife until after he married her grandmother, or that her great-grandfather had a none-too-complimentary story in his past too.

Kirsch House building about 2005.

Mom and I scouted out our ancestor’s homes and gravestones.

Mom visiting her great-grandparents, Jacob Kirsch and Barbara Drechsel in Riverview Cemetery, Aurora, Indiana.

We found their churches, and often baptismal and other dusty church records in leather-bound creaky books as well.

Mom in front of the Presbyterian Church in Rushville, Indiana.

We visited them all, on multi-generational trips that included my daughter, then in grade school. She didn’t enjoy those trips nearly as much as Mom and me, but she was always a good sport. I’d wager she feels differently about those trips now that she’s an adult and her grandmother has passed on.

Mom reflected in the window at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Aurora, Indiana.

Pictured here, reflected in the church window, Mom always wanted to go inside and pray where her ancestors worshiped. She knew that most of the important events in their lives took place in the church. Baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and funerals. Churches represented family and community.

Even today, I can see Mom sitting in the front pew in the silent, vacant Lutheran church in Aurora, Indiana, alone, head bowed, with the light streaming in through the stained-glass windows, splashed across her shoulders.

I didn’t cry at the time, but I surely do remembering it today.

Yes, Mother’s Day is hard.

I miss her.

Later Years

In Mom’s later years, after Dad died, she no longer went along on genealogy adventures. Truthfully, my life changed dramatically about that same time, and I no longer traveled either. I’m certainly glad we made those trips when we had the opportunity.

After Dad’s death, Mom’s focus was on her missionary work within the church, and her Avon route which was her way of visiting people, many shut-ins, and ministering to the needs of people who didn’t realize that’s what she was doing. Truth be told, that WAS her quietly-delivered mission.

Those “customers” thought she was coming to bring them an Avon book and see if they needed any Avon products. No one ever thought to ask why she returned again and again, like clockwork every other week, even when the answer was consistently no. Mom knew that most of those people could afford little.

Sometimes they would order something small. There’s no way Mom ever made any money driving to obtain the order and deliver the order on a 69-cent tube of Avon-brand chapstick. Not to mention she always gave those customers the “sale” price and a hefty discount. I saw her books after her death. Mom never made any money on Avon – period. In fact, she lost money every year. But making money wasn’t at all her purpose.

Mom always carried the same tan canvas bag, for years. The sides and handles were cracked and worn from the thousands of times she carried that bag with an Avon book and whatever she was delivering from her car into that particular house that day.

In reality, while she was the “Avon Lady,” Mom was bringing far more, including companionship and or perhaps the weekly tape recording of the church sermon for those who couldn’t attend. When the little country church didn’t have a recorder, she bought one, and tapes too. Then she bought tape players to leave with the people she visited so they could listen to those recorded sermons. All of that was from “the church” of course. I’m not sure anyone but me ever knew. The only reason I knew is because I had to teach her how to duplicate the tapes – one recorder and tape for each household. 😊

That canvas bag might also hold a dish she had cooked, sometimes frozen lunches for the week, groceries, medicine, clothes or whatever she thought they needed or could use. Mom always seemed to have “extra” of everything that she needed to get rid of, or at least that was her story to them.

She was checking on her “customers” without them having to feel awkward, asking if they needed anything picked up “on the way,” and notifying their family if something seemed “off.” She called each customer at least once every week, on the week she didn’t visit – and sometimes more often.

She knew about their families, illnesses, medical conditions, woes, and their joys too. She knew everyone’s child’s name, grandchildren, and every pet on the place, past, and present. She grieved with them when someone died and celebrated happy events. She was constantly attending funerals, weddings, and baby showers, often giving people rides

She was literally on the road or calling people every single day, in all weather, regardless of what else was happening.

Mom was responsible for saving more than one life.

And I can’t even guess how many animals she saved over the years.

Mom no longer had time to “waste” on genealogy. That would be left to me at some future date.

I realize now that Mom knew this was her “last chapter,” and she chose to write it as a legacy of service – until she literally physically could not continue anymore, at age 83.

Mom’s Avon career, after retiring as a bookkeeper, lasted a quarter-century and longer than any of us thought possible. Through a broken back, broken ribs, and pelvis broken in 3 places – in three separate accidents. The last time, she tripped over a picnic table and fell at an Avon picnic. Her biggest concern wasn’t her own health, but what her customers would do without her, and who would look after them. We didn’t think she would recover – but she did AND was back on the road in just a few weeks. Everyone, including the physicians, was dumbstruck.

She was nearly unstoppable and exceeded everyone’s expectations.

One of Mom’s customers took this picture of her final delivery at their house on her last day as an “Avon Lady,” less than a year before she crossed over. They gave it to me at her funeral.

Mom’s “retirement party,” while a celebration to many, was a bittersweet day indeed for her. She was oh-so-grateful, but she was also incredibly sad.

I was the one who sat with her in the car as she cried. She wiped her tears, freshened her Avon makeup (of course), put on Avon lipstick, stiffened her now-stooped back, and told me, “Alright, let’s go inside.”

No one ever knew how much she dreaded the next chapter.

Her Avon customers, family, and church friends honored her with a reception, a dinner, and incredibly thoughtful gifts.

Mom knew her life was changing, and she didn’t much care for the direction. She was also moving an hour away, close to my brother and his wife, as she was becoming increasingly frail and needed assistance. Her memory was also failing. We discovered later that she was having small strokes.

I had hoped Mom would come and live with me, but she was independent to the end and wanted to stay within driving distance of her home church and the people she had come to love so much.

Thankfully, I went home more often in those last few years and helped her as much as I could. At least, as much as she’d let me. Lord have Mercy, that tiny snip of a woman was stubborn!

It was during this time that I came to realize what had been happening her whole life.

The Obituary

When I drove home for the weekend, I often took my latest genealogy documents and finds along to share with her. We had long ago sifted through everything she had.

It was also during this time that she tested her DNA and I was able to share those results with her as well. Of course, compared to what we know today, those results back then seem quite primitive – but nonetheless, she was enthralled. In fact, Mom told me in her last few months that I should “do that,” meaning make DNA understandable and meaningful to people.

At the time, I dismissed her advice as a “mother thing.” Mothers have to say nice things about their kids, right?

During one of those trips, I took a folder I found at home holding several things that I think my great-aunt, my grandmother’s last living sibling, had sent me a few years earlier when she realized I was interested in genealogy.

Among those items, as Mom and I sorted them, was a newspaper clipping of her mother’s obituary.

I still remember that exchange so clearly, sitting at her kitchen table.

“Mom, look, there’s a picture of your parents in the choir on the church float.” I wondered if she had ever seen that before.

“And look here,” I continued, “it’s your Mom’s obituary.”

I had never seen my grandmother’s obituary before and had kind of assumed that because they lived in a tiny town, there wasn’t one. I never thought to ask, because surely, Mom would have saved a copy if there was one to be had. She certainly saved any variety of other things interleafed in the pages of the family Bible.

Mom was sitting across from me at the table and looked up.

I saw the tears well up in her eyes, before she even glanced at the papers I had spread across the table.

Then she reached for the yellowed obituary.

Like a dolt, I blurted out, “I’m so sorry, Mom. I didn’t realize that would upset you. I’m sure you’ve seen this before and I would have thought you would have been OK with this now.”

How could I have been so tone-deaf?

I didn’t mean it the way it came out, but exit my mouth it did.

What she said to me was a gift though and helps me so much today.

“Honey, you never get over your mother’s death. It’s never OK.”

She knew that one day, I would learn that first hand. So did I.

It’s Never OK

I didn’t expect her to “get over” her mother’s death, but she surely had seen that obituary before, right? And it couldn’t have taken her by surprise. It didn’t occur to me in that moment that maybe there was a reason WHY I had never seen that obituary. Why she didn’t have a copy.

I was truly mystified at her immediate reaction, going from pleasantly chatting and looking at photos to tears in about 3 seconds flat.

I asked, “I realize that Mom, but doesn’t it get easier with time?”

“No,” she said, “it doesn’t. Sometimes, in fact, it gets harder.”

My heart ached for her.

“Like when, Mom?”

“Like her birthday, and Christmas when no one is looking, especially late on Christmas Eve evening after everyone else goes to bed, and her death day. And on Mother’s Day.”

I had never really thought much about those, although I was certainly grieving my Dad’s death. It was fresher though, and her mother had passed away 40ish years before. It never occurred to me that it was still so raw for her.

But then again, I had never lost my mother. I had no point of reference.

Then I suddenly realized, all those years I had been making a big deal about Mother’s Day, she was silently grieving. She smiled at me as I gave her gifts, brought flowers, and did nice things, but wept when I wasn’t looking.

She was my mother, but she was also always the daughter whose mother was gone.

Mom, being held by her mother.

She stilled missed and grieved for her mother.

I hope my presence made Mother’s Day at least somewhat easier for her – although I did have to send flowers a few years when I couldn’t visit in person. Now I desperately wish I had. I know my brother and his family didn’t.

The church always had a Mother’s Day luncheon, but she came home to an empty house after Dad was gone if I wasn’t there.

Somehow though, her grief at her mother’s absence was disconnected from me – and from anything that I could have done. She simply grieved her mother at that same level – forever.

Grief is the price we pay for love. Love with no place left to go. No mother to go and see on Mother’s Day.

The greater the grief, the deeper the love.

After Mom’s Death

When my stepfather died in 1994, the man I loved as Dad, I planted a memorial tree for him – something that would go on living.

When I later moved to a new place, I planted a weeping pine tree for Dad there too. I also transplanted some of his ferns I had dug from the old farm place to plant in my new garden.

I love Dad’s ferns. They are happy here and have done quite well – peeking out already this spring.

Now, I’m digging those ferns for my kids so they’ll have some too. Pass the love on, and the ferns too.

I fully intended to plant a tree for Mom, but that simply didn’t happen, at least not intentionally. But something else did.

And it’s perfect.

The Little Tree That Could

Planting my perennial garden and the landscaping in my new home took a long time – in part because I did it myself to spread the cost and work across multiple years. Mom passed away while that was in progress.

A friend of mine worked at a plant store/nursery. They threw plants out that were dying and they couldn’t sell. They didn’t care if she took them home, so she sometimes salvaged something for me. Most of those did die, but some did not, and let’s just say I had a huge canvas to paint. I might have been a little over-exuberant in terms of the landscaping. 😊

One day, I came home to find this truly pathetic little tree leaning against the side of a too-big pot with only a little dirt sitting in my driveway. It was about 2 feet tall and consisted of about 2 branches and a few scraggly leaves. A Charlie Brown tree if there ever was one.

At the nursery, the tree’s original pot had fallen over, the dirt knocked away from the roots, and the roots dried out. In the garden community, this is known as “bare-rooting” and generally, once the plant’s bare roots are dry, the plant dies. Especially a tree.

So, this little tree was thrown on the trash heap, nearly dead. It was hopeless so no point in wasting time trying to save something that would die anyway. Even if it lived, it couldn’t be sold because it would be deformed and ugly. Trash heap.

Except, my friend noticed that a few leaves on a couple of branches were still alive and green a few days later, so she put the little tree into a pot, watered it with some fish water from the coy pond, and brought it over to me.

We agreed that it probably wouldn’t make it, and if it did, it was likely not to be very attractive, so I planted it on the perimeter of the property. If it died there, no problem. It was in the wildlife greenbelt area anyway.

I don’t remember exactly when this occurred, but it was about the time Mom passed away, maybe even that year. I did not, at that time, associate it with her passing.

Time Passes

That little tree survived. The next year, it had maybe two or three branches with a couple of blooms. I had forgotten about it, truthfully, and had no idea what kind of tree it was. It turned out to be some kind of crabapple, maybe.

The following year, it grew a little more.

The tree struggled and survived, reconstituted itself, then became beautiful, I couldn’t help but think of Mother each spring as it joyfully sprang to life – exactly when I was feeling blue.

A few years later, it was, amazingly, 3 or 4 feet tall and began to fill out. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for rescued anything, and this little tree was no exception. It had survived despite the odds.

Now, I would be crushed if my little tree died.

It blooms every spring when I need it most, as I pass the anniversary of my mother’s death and head into Mother’s Day.

Every year, the tree is a little larger and more beautiful.

Today

This is the 15th Mother’s Day that Mom’s been gone.

As I took my walk around the yard today, the little forlorn, forgotten, abandoned tree on the trash pile has blossomed stunningly. Don’t you think? Just like Mom did.

Other “landscape quality” trees in my yard have come and gone, but not this one. It’s a survivor, having grown substantially taller than me. It’s maybe 20 feet tall now, about half at tall as the pine growing behind it.

The little tree that could, and did, in spite of everything.

Mom’s legacy. This tree reminds me of her. In fact, it has come to represent her triumphs.

Mom’s tree.

Full Circle

Earlier today, I picked up two care quilts from my friend, Pam, who quilts the care quilts that I make.

Mom accompanies me on this journey.

She is with me in the late nights while I make the quilts. They are delivered for quilting in her now-repurposed Avon bag. Of course, Mom’s bag stays with Pam while she quilts the quilts. Then, Pam returns them to me in Mom’s bag, ready to be finished and sent to the intended recipient.

It’s a small thing, but Mom is with me and her legacy lives on in every care quilt.

Today, I took Mom’s bag and one of those care quilts with a somewhat helix-shaped fabric outside for a walk around the yard, to visit her tree. As Mother’s Day approaches and I move through my personal challenge of mid-April to mid-May, I seek beauty, solace, and peace outside.

God is in the garden and Mom is in the tree, the quilt, and the bag. Actually, Mom is in me too.

It just seemed appropriate, with Mom’s tree and Mom’s bag and the quilts that Mom’s legacy has inspired in multiple ways to take this picture to honor Mom on Mother’s Day.

The Message

I’ve really been struggling this spring, approaching Mother’s Day. A number of things have converged to make the situation more difficult than normal, including this past pandemic year and 7 Covid deaths in my family. That’s not counting my husband’s best friend, other friends and acquaintances, and their families. Yea, it’s been a rough year.

As I was trying to decide whether or not to actually publish this article, I found something remarkable. My husband had just removed an old TV to be recycled from an area that we haven’t used as a family room in more than 15 years.

As I walked back inside, I noticed something bright and yellow laying on the floor. I bent over to pick it up.

I have absolutely no idea where this came from. We never, ever had Christmas in that room or even in this house with Mom. Also, there is no tape on this tag, nor is it bent. It’s pristine and was never used.

Regardless, this little gift tag became unearthed from wherever it was and fell to the floor where I couldn’t help but find it. A message from Mom – in her own shaky handwriting.

I need more Kleenex.

Gratitude

I’m very grateful for so many things in addition to this Angel gift tag. Ironically, this little tag is a HUGE gift itself.

I’m incredibly grateful for Mom’s fortitude and her perseverance.

My God, that woman was strong.

I wrote about Mom this year on the day she passed over and posted it on my Facebook feed, although there are only a handful of people left who knew her. Maybe I was actually talking to myself, or her.

Mom has been gone 15 years today. How is that even possible?

Thinking about Mom, I realize that she instilled what I consider to be her good qualities in me, by example. I’m not sure, at all, that others or society considered them to be her good qualities.

She quietly swam upstream, trying at the same time not to get swamped or drown. She danced as a career, bought and owned her own home, raised a child as a single Mom, and in a quiet way, told society with their biased, restrictive norms about what women could and should do/not do to go to hell. Except, she wouldn’t have said Hell because it wasn’t ladylike.

She knew she really couldn’t rock the boat too much or she wouldn’t survive. Hence, her constant, and ironic, comment to me. “If you would just behave…”, which still makes me laugh.

No mom, I don’t, and won’t, and neither did you. Pushing the envelope is never comfortable.

Thanks, Mom, for your strength and bravery. Your example of quiet defiance. “And yet, she persisted.” I see you when I hear those words. Because you did, steadily, maybe in the hope that if you were quiet about it, you’d get less pushback. But you never stopped.

Guess what, Mom, you succeeded.

I miss you so much. You would be proud of the progress we have made. And we’re not done. Your legacy lives on.

It’s odd to be grateful to have loved so much as to grieve forever.

Love never dies. Neither does grief.

So, Mother’s Day is hard.

But in a very strange way, I wouldn’t want it not to be.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and thank you, for everything.

Who was Patrick aka P. L. aka Alonzo aka Lon Lore? – 52 Ancestors #330

Seriously, I don’t know.

This man is a mystery.

Why can’t I let this go?

This man is like a ghost slipping in and out of the periphery of the Lore family story, popping up here and there shouting “Boo” and then running off again, laughing.

HE WILL NOT LET ME REST!!!

Awww, the curse of the obsessed genealogist.

I don’t even know P. L. Lore’s name, and everyone, but everyone in this family had nicknames. I think P. L. is the same man as Lon, who might be the same man as Alonzo, except neither the initials P. nor L. are A. for Alonzo. Not to mention, in one place, the name of Patrick is given. I’m flummoxed.

Why can’t I have a normal family????

How Did This Happen?

Originally, some 15 or 20 years ago, I noticed P. L. Lore’s name in the same general place and time with my Lore family in Warren Co., PA. He’s not the only mystery person there, and I didn’t think too much about it because there WAS at least one other unrelated, as proven by Y DNA, Lore (Loree, Lour) family who lived there at about the same time.

But then, everything changed.

Perusing old newspapers, I found this in Rushville, Indiana, while researching my great-grandfather, Curt Lore:

  • October 2, 1903

What?

Curt’s brother was P. L. Lore?

And Curt had a motorcycle?

And he strapped his brother’s bicycle to his motorcycle and rode home 99 miles?

And they lived to tell the tale?

Lord have mercy.

Well, truthfully, a 1903 motorcycle looked an awful lot like a bicycle with a motor, so it’s probably not as dangerous as it sounds. Just no pedaling.

But still…

No, just no. 1000 times no.

There’s no room in this story for a mystery brother.

I mean, where was this brother on the census?

Oh, yea, this is my family – the people who had absolutely NO compunction about census accuracy.

Let’s set the stage and see what we can find.

You’re not going to believe this.

Antoine Lore and Rachel Levina Hill

If P. L. Lore was the brother of Curtis Benjamin Lore, known as Curt, then at least one, maybe both, of P. L. Lore’s parents had to be Antoine Lore, also known as Anthony Lore in the US, or Rachel Levina Hill.

If P. L. Lore was only a half-sibling, he would likely have been a brother through Anthony, given the same surname, but that’s not a given either. Anthony died sometime in or after 1862 and if Rachel had another child after Anthony’s death, without remarrying, the child would carry the Lore surname. That’s unlikely for a number of reasons – but then – so is this entire scenario.

The last census where we find the family together is 1860, before Anthony died sometime between 1862 and 1868. Rachel was ill, according to the family oral history, and died not long after along with Curt’s younger sister. The children, with one exception, were cast to the winds after their father’s death, “to raise themselves,” according to Curt. The family was terribly poor, a fact we see reflected in the 1870 census where Rachel is living with another family, with only one of her children, and has not one dime to her name.

I wrote about Curtis Benjamin Lore, here, here, here and here.

Anthony Lore seemed to have actually tried to not leave any records. That could be because he was actually a river pirate, drowning on the Allegheny River – as family lore stated. Or maybe he was just a poor farmer. Poor people left few records.

We do know something about the Lore family, thanks to the two census records which I’ll get to in a minute.

The only tidbit of information we have about the man who just might be P. L. Lore, and the only reason I knew about him at all, was a story told by Eloise, Curt’s youngest daughter who was born in 1903 and lived into her 90s. I knew her but didn’t ask nearly enough questions.

Eloise provided the following information, orally:

Curtis Benjamin Lore was born in 1860 or 1861 in Pennsylvania to Benjamin Lore whose wife’s name might have been Elvira or Elvina. Benjamin was a river pirate who drowned when Curtis was about 10 or 12, so about 1870 to 1872. Curtis also had a younger sister and a brother, “Uncle Lawn.” Curtis had come to Indiana in the 1880s as a well-driller and met Nora Kirsch while drilling for gas wells near Aurora, Indiana.

The spelling of “Lawn” is mine, because that’s exactly what it sounded like when she said it.

Ok, let’s take this apart, item by item.

Statement Accuracy/Comment
Curtis Benjamin Lore was born in 1860 or 1861 in Pennsylvania… This is the information from his death certificate, but according to the census, he was born in 1856, in Pennsylvania. That move to Indiana took half a decade off his age.
…to Benjamin Lore whose wife’s name might have been Elvira or Elvina. Curt’s father was Antoine in Canada but was Anthony in the US. Curt’s mother was Rachel Levina Hill according to her 1815 birth record in Addison County, Vermont. She married Anthony in 1831 in Starksboro, VT.
Benjamin was a river pirate who drowned when Curtis was about 10 or 12, so about 1870 to 1872. Anthony died sometime after his 1862 application for citizenship and before 1868 when he could have become a citizen. If Curt were 10 or 12 when his father died, that would have been in 1866-1868, which fits Eloise’s story perfectly.
Curtis also had a younger sister and a brother, “Uncle Lawn.” The census confirms the sister.
Curtis had come to Indiana in the 1880s as a well-driller and met Nora Kirsch while drilling for gas wells near Aurora, Indiana. True!

Let’s Look at the Evidence

“Lawn,” more likely “Lon” as found in later records, if he was older than Curt, would be reflected on the 1860 census with the rest of the family.

I initially expected to find Curt on the 1870 census, but not on the 1860 census, believing Curt was born in 1861. However, finding Curt on the 1860 census is how I discovered his actual birth year. You can’t be in the 1860 census if you aren’t yet born.

click any image to enlarge

The first census where we find Anthony Lore is 1850. He and Rachel had been married for 19 years by this time, and based on the ages and places of birth of their children, had only recently moved from New York to Warren County, PA. We don’t know where they lived in New York, although the descendants of their son Francis say he was born in Chautauqua County, near either Chautauqua or Jamestown, NY.

That’s only about 30-35 miles from where they settled in Warren County, so that would make sense.

This is so frustrating though. How can someone just disappear for almost 20 years? Anthony managed to avoid the 1840 census taker. They lived in a very remote, rugged region of Warren County, and his son, Francis, was literally the first white settler in Iron River, Wisconsin – so I’d presume wherever Anthony was living in 1840 was in essence “off the grid.” Not to mention, if he really was a river pirate, he probably didn’t want to attract attention.

The family is still in Warren County in 1860.

There’s Curtis on the census in 1860, bigger than life, age 4. You’ll notice there is no P. L. Lore or P. anything. Neither is there an L name. However, there is a Tunis which is likely short for something, probably Antoine. Tunis is never found again and likely died.

We know that Anthony is alive in 1862 when he applied for citizenship, but never returns in 1868 when he would be eligible. Apparently, Anthony died between 1862 and 1868. Obviously, before the 1870 census.

The Civil War happened in the middle of the 1860s, of course. Some of the Lore boys would have been old enough to serve and at least two, Franklin, and Francis did. That war was a great disruptor. It’s possible that Anthony’s death was related to the war.

In 1870, Curtis Lore, age 14, is living with the Morrison family – confirming his birth year of 1856. According to what Curt told his daughters, he “hired out” and supported himself from the age of 10 or 12, which would suggest this father died about 1866-1868. In1870, Curt was working as a farmhand.

We find Rachel and the youngest daughter, age 1 in 1860, living with the Farnham family in 1870.

Where are the other children?

  • William Henry would have been 31, so certainly married by this time, or on his own. I don’t find him on the census, but I found his wife and children living with her parents.
  • One Franklin Lore is found, age 27, in Forest County, PA.
  • I can’t find Francis, who was sometimes known as Frank, but he was living as we find him later. Why the devil did Anthony and Rachel name two sons Francis and Franklin? Seriously? Were these boys twins?
  • Nathaniel had died before 1860.
  • Mariah was married to Stephan Farnham, the son of the family Rachel was living with.
  • Tunis is not found in 1870 or after.
  • Mary and Minerva have two separate line entries of the same age in 1850 but neither one is entered in 1860. I don’t know where they are. I do know that Minerva did marry Harry Ward. Is it possible that they were twins and Mary died?

I created a table to track the various family members. Note that there is room for at least 6 children who likely perished before the census could record their existence.

1850 Census 1860 Census 1870 Census 1880 Census Comment
Anthony Lore b 1805 40 laborer b Canada 45 farmer b Canada D 1862-1868
Rachel b 1815 married 1831 39 b VT 45 b VT R.L. 54 b VT living with Elisha Farnham age 50 D 1870-1880
Missing 3 children gap
William (Henry) b May 3, 1838/9 12 b NY 21 b NY Not found but wife and children living with her parents D 1914, m first wife Eliza Davis abt 1865
Missing child gap

 

Franklin b 17 b NY, 1862 Civil War Erie Co 27 b NY, Forest Co., PA May be a sheriff in 1896 D 1936 buried in Petrolia (Civil War vet card)
Francis J. b Dec. 5 1843/4 (f) 5 b NY (m) 15 b NY 1862 Civil War Erie Co In Butler Co., PA in 1881, Wisc before 1883 D 1913 Bayfield, Wisc m 1879 Coundersport, PA to Loretta Hannah Butler
Nathaniel 5 b NY
Mariah b June 27, 1846 4 b NY 14 b NY Age 24, married to Stephen, child age 3 M in 1862 Elisha Stephen Farnham, 1892
Missing child gap
Tunis (m) 10? b PA Not found Not found Not found
Mary 2 b NY Not found Not Found Not Found Is this the same person below or did she die?
Minerva b July 22, 1848 2 b NY Not found Not found 31, married to Harry, child age 10 born in MI M Henry Ward bef 1870 D 1921
Francis Brewer 60 b France No known relationship
Adin (A. D.) b Oct. 20, 1852 8 b PA missing 28, married with 2 year old M Sophia Morley D 1913 Erie Co.
Simon (Solomon) b May 4, 1854 6 b PA Not found Not found M Candace Cummings abt 1882 D 1914 Erie Co.
Curtis b April 17, 1856 4 b PA Age 14, with Morrison family Married with children Married 1876 to Mary Bills
Missing child gap

 

Marilla 1 b PA Margt 12 b PA Not found She was reported to have died
Potential Children
P. L. Lore Not found
Alonzo Lore b 1861 Not found 19, Crawford Co., laborer with Wells family, parents born Canada

If there was a P. L. Lore, or an Alonzo Lore that were brothers to Curt lore, they would have either been one of the missing children, likely between Curt and Marilla, or born after the 1860 census. Rachel would have been 45 in 1860, so it’s possible that she had another child, or even two.

If so, where were they in 1870 and why were they not with Rachel. They would have been age 10 or under.

Curt’s obit in 1909 isn’t much help. It says 4 living brothers and one sister. I can confirm 5 living brothers, plus P. L. or Lon or whatever his name is, if he was still living. None of Curt’s siblings had traditional obituaries that provided names of relatives.

For some time, I thought that perhaps A. D. Lore, or Adin, was Alonzo or Lon by another name. However, A. D. is accounted for in 1900, living with his wife and two children, plus an adopted child in Crawford County, NY where he lived until his death in 1914. So he’s not a candidate.

Let’s Check DNA

The first thing I tried to do was take a shortcut.

I’ve added both P. L. Lore and Alonzo Lore as children of Anthony Lore and Rachel Levina Hill in my Ancestry Tree, hoping to form a Thruline with someone.

No dice.

However, I do have 27 matches with descendants of Solomon, Adin (A. D.), Mary Minerva who married Henry Ward, Maria who married Stephen Farnham, Francis Lore who moved to Wisconsin and William Henry Lore who had 4 families.

But no matches with anyone who descends from P. L., Lon or Alonzo☹

I need to introduce you to one more person.

Who is Mary Frost?

I was hoping against hope that one of Mary Frost’s children would turn up on my ThruLines.

Mary Frost married a Lore man.

The Warren Mail newspaper on Sept. 16, 1884 shows:

In Glade, September 6, 1884, at the residence of the bride’s parents, by Rev. Samuel Rowland, Mr. L. L. Lore to Miss Mary V. Frost.

Is this actually P. L. Lore? Typos are easy and P and L are close on the keyboard.

Let’s fast forward to 1909 and I’ll show you why I think this is P. L. Lore.

Mary Clark died in 1909 and had a will dated in 1904. She had 2 children, one of which was a Henry Lore, the other was a daughter, Pearl Lore Haser. Mary’s probate is as follows in Warren Co.:

June 26, 1909, in the estate of Mary L. Clark, deceased, on the petition of Fred Clark of Warren Co., Warren Boro, that she died on May 8, 1909, at 10:25 AM testate, that at the time of her death she was a resident of Warren Co. and that her last will bears the date January 30, 1904, and by which deceased nominated and appointed the petitioner executor thereof, that she left her surviving a husband, the said petitioner and children as follows:

            Pearl Lore Haser, wife of Harry Haser of Warren Co., Pa.

            Harry Lore aged 15 years of Warren Co. (so born 1894)

the only heirs of said decedent and petitioner asks to have the said will probated.

  1. Pay just debts and funeral expenses
  2. Give to husband…all my estate, real, personal and mixed of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situate.
  3. Husband Fred Clark executor.

Signed in front of Mrs. Flora Davis and R.C. Davis

In 1912 we find the following in the orphan court records:

Estate of Mary L. Clark decd – June 24, 1912 at orphans court petition of R. H. Winger, guardian of Harry R. Lore, a minor child of Mary L. Clark, setting forth:

  1. That on June 7, 1909 your petitioner was appointed guardian of said minor
  2. That your petitioner has in his hands funds of said Minor to the amount $220.21 and that the said minor has no other property of any kind. That since the appointment of your petitioner as guardian as aforesaid the minor has lived with his Aunt Mrs. Ella House in the Borough of Warren and has been employed by the Hamond Iron Company and has supported himself.
  3. That during the last winter the said minor was sick for some time and unable to work, that after he recovered and commenced work again, on January 24, 1912 while sliding down hill, he met with an accident in which one of his legs was broken; that he was at once taken to the Warren Emergency Hospital where he remained until April 11, 1912.
  4. That while he was sick during the last winter and since he came from the Hospital on April 11, 1912, he boarded with his aunt the said Ella House for a period in all of fifteen weeks and that the said minor has not funds with which to pay for said board except said funds in the hand of the said guardian and that Ella House charges $4 per week for said board.
  5. Your petitioner therefore prays that this court authorize and direct him to pay to the said Mrs. Ella House from said funds the sum of $60 for said board.

June 12, 1912, court so ordered.

The 1910 census shows Ella M. House born in 1873. We initially find Ella in the 1880 census with her parents and her sister, Mary L. Frost in Warren Co. as well.

  • James L. Frost, 32, a laborer born NY
  • Margaret 25 born Pa, father Pa, Mother NJ
  • Mary L 9 born Pa, father NY and mother PA (born 1871)
  • Ella M. 6 (born 1874) born PA, father NY and mother PA. (matches up with 1920)
  • Cora 4
  • Flora 2

Mary Frost married L. L. Lore – so now we’ve come full circle.

And, P. L. Lore has something to do with Fred Clark.

P. L. Lore and Alonzo Lore Timeline

I’m resorting to my tried and true timeline method to see if I can sort through the P. L. Lore mystery, or at least organize the evidence. I’m adding Alonzo to the timeline as well.

  • 1880 – Alonzo Lore in the Crawford County census, age 19, so born in 1861. The only other Alonzo Lore I can find is in the NJ Lore family. He’s not the right age and otherwise accounted for.
  • 1884 – Warren Mail newspaper on Sept. 16, 1884 – In Glade, Sept 6, 1884, at the residence of the bride’s parents, by Rev. Samuel Rowland, Mr. L. L. Lore to Miss Mary V. Frost.
  • February 1886 – Pearl born to Mary Frost and her Lore husband.
  • 1887 – Mary Lore is sued by C. Lauffensberger
  • April 4, 1887 – A dead baby was found in the river by fishermen. L. Lore speared “something” which turned out to be the body of the child that was about 6 months old. He brought it to the surface and testified in court about what occurred.

Is this actually P. L. Lore? If not, who is L. Lore?

  • September 1893 – Henry R. Lore born to Mary Frost and her Lore husband according to the 1900 census and Mary’s 1909 will and later probate where his age is given.
  • Warren County, Newspaper – Dec. 26, 1894 – P. O. Lore of Erie spent Christmas in Warren, the guest of J. L. Frost, East Warren

That O. looks like a typo. J. L. Frost is Mary’s father.

  • 1894 – The Erie City Directory shows P. L. Lore as a carpenter.
  • January 7, 1895 – Maria Schatzle leased land to R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore for oil drilling.
  • March 1896 – P. L. Lore is sued by Maria Schatzle to force him to perform on a lease contract for oil/gas drilling.
  • May 1896 – Maria Schatzle files a lawsuit against R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore.
  • November 4, 1896 – P. L. Lore and wife, Mary, sell 1/10th interest to H. J. Muse
  • November 26, 1896 – P. L. Lore sells half of his share to Mary Lore
  • 1896 – Mrs. P. L. Lore whose name is Mary is sued by W. J. Muse for debt.
  • 1897 – P. L. Lore is sued twice for debt by Fred Clark, whose wife in 1909 is Mary Frost who has two Lore children, Harry and Pearl.

Yes, I know you’re scratching your head. So was I. Just hang on.

P. L. Lore Oil Drilling Lawsuit

  • January 1895 – Maria Schatzle leased land to R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore. She is noted as “of Warren Co.” and both of the leasees were “of Erie Co.”  The verbiage is shown below in Maria’s lawsuit.

In May 1896, Maria Schatzle files a lawsuit in Warren Co. against R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore saying:

  1. That upon Jan. 7 1895 your orator entered into a contract with the defendants in writing, a copy attached hereto annexing and marked Exhibit A wherein she leased to them certain lands for oil mining purposes and wherein she became a partner with them in said mining operations; that she has performed her part of the contract but that they have altogether neglected to carry on the operations as intended, to her great damage, and are playing “Dogs in the manger.” (Dogs in the manger means a person who has no need of or ability to use a possession that would be of use or value to others, but who prevents others from having or using it.)
  2. Your orator is informed and believes that the defendants started to drill a 3.5 inch hole, inadequate in size for the development of oil, upon the property described in Exhibit A. The usual depth of oil wells in the vicinity being 1433 feet. After one year and about 3 months they have only drilled to the depth of 4 to 6 hundred feet, though often requested to complete the same.
  3. Defendants by color of that lease, Exhibit A, are holding the plaintiff’s land in restraint of business and to her great injury.
  4. Your orator duly notified defendants to surrender the land referred to in exhibit A and they have refused and neglected to do so. See Exhibit B served on date it bears and upon both defendants.

Your orator prays:

  1. For an injunction to compel defendants to proceed forthwith to perform the duties on their part to be kept and performed or to surrender claim to the property and for cancellation of leave Exhibit A.
  2. That a decree for an account be made between the parties.
  3. For an injunction to discover whether or not any such conspiracy as described in section 5 exists or existed and if so the name of the party or parties thereto.
  4. Further relief.

Sworn March 25th, 1896

Exhibit A

This agreement made the 7th day of January 1895 between Maria Schatzle of Glade Township, Warren Co. PA, and P. L. Lore and R. P. Dodsworth, both of Erie, PA of the second part.

Witnesseth that the said party of the first part in consideration of the sum of $1 (one dollar) paid by said second parties the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged as well as the stipulations, and agreements hereinafter contained, does hereby grant bargain demise and lease unto the said party of the second part their heirs, assigns and for the purpose of operating for and obtaining there from oil, gas and other minerals and of saving and transporting the same, the following described piece of land, situate in the township of Glad, County of Warren, State of Pa, bounded as follows to wit:

On the North by lands of Henry Conam, east by lands of Mr. Frost, south by lands of Levett W. Clark and on the west by lands of Dr. R.B. Steward containing 20 acres.

Said second party, their heirs and assigns, shall have full free and exclusive possession of said premises for all the purposes of this lease including the erection of all necessary or convenient buildings and structures, with the exclusive right to lay pipes for the transportation of oil and gas and to erect and keep tanks for the storage thereof, together with the rights of way and of water courses and the right to lay, use and maintain water pipes and to utilize the water on said premises and adjoining lands of the first party for operations under this lease.  Second party to have the right to subdivide and sublease the premises or any part thereof.

Second party shall not unnecessarily interfere with the use of the said premises for agricultural purposes by first party and at the expiration or surrender of this lease shall have the right to remove all structures and property by second party placed hereon.

This lease is for the term of 20 years with the right of renewal and if at the end of that time oil or gas is still produced from said premises in paying quantities. Second party is to render to first party one-eighth of all the oil produced from said premises and one-eighth of the net proceeds of all gas obtained and sold therefrom.

The said parties of the second part shall have the right at any time, at their option, to surrender this lease to said first party and upon such surrender shall be released from any obligations thereunder.

It is hereby mutually understood and agreed by and between the parties to this agreement that the said Maria Schatzle of the first part shall be entitled to an undivided one fourth of the working interest in the first well drilled on the premises herein before leased. In consideration of which interest the said party of the first part agrees to pay to the said parties of the second part the sum of $100 when the first well shall be cased and a further sum of $100 when the first well shall be completed.

Signed and witnessed January 8, 1895

On November 4, 1896, P. L. Lore and wife, Mary, sell 1/10th interest to H. J. Muse as follows:

Whereas P. L. Lore by an instrument in writing under his hand and seal bearing date the 4th day of November 1896 and duly acknowledged by him before Samuel G. Allen, notary public, granted and assigned for a valuable consideration to him paid unto William Erhard, Fred Clark and George Erhard an undivided 1/10th of a certain leasehold estate situate in Glade Township Warren Co, PA of land owned by Maria Schatsle or Maria Schatzle bounded north by land of Henry Cobham, east by land of Lavett W. Clark, south by land of Levett W. Clark and west by land of the late R.B. Stewart, containing 20 acres more or less and the same leasehold which said Maria Schatzle or Schatsle granted unto R. P. Dodsworth and P. L. Lore by an instrument in writing dated January 7, 1895 duly recorded in the office for recording of deeds in Warren Co, PA in deed book 76 page 540 and 541 in which instrument the said lands are inaccurately bounded on the east by land of Mr. Frost and whereas said interests of William Erhard and George Erhard have become vested in H. J. Muse by purchase and a sale upon writs of execution upon judgment against them. And whereas the interest of Fred Clark has become vested in said H. J. Muse by purchase and assignment in writing and whereas P. L. Lore by an instrument in writing dates November 26, 1896 recorded in the aforesaid office in deed book __ vol __ page ___ granted his share unto Mary Lore said interest at the date thereof being known and understood by said grantee to be the undivided one half of said leasehold less the 1/10th of said leasehold which had theretofore been conveyed by said P.L. Lore to William Erhard, George Erhard and Fred Clark subject to the interest of the grantor of such leasehold in the working interest in the first well to be drilled upon said premises as specified in said original grant, now, therefore we the said P. L. Lore and Mary Lore, his wife, do grant and confirm unto said H. J. Muse, his heirs and assigns the undivided 1/10th of said leasehold subject to the interest of Maria Schatsle in the working interest in the first well to be drilled and completed upon said premises being the 1/4 thereof and in all benefits of the said base creating it.  Recorded August 28, 1897.

Then we find the deed where P. L. Lore sells his share to his wife, Mary, as follows:

Know all men by these presents that a P. L. Lore of Warren, Warren Co, PA for valuable consideration to me in hand paid by Mary Lore at and before the unsealing and delivery hereof the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged and have granted bargained, sold, transferred, assigned and set over unto the said Mary Lore all my right title and interest in and to all that indenture of lease from Maria Schatsle to myself and R. P. Dodsworth bearing date of January 7, 1895 which lease I am now operating and together with my right and title in and to all the personal property located thereon thereto attached or in anywise appertaining…to have and to hold the said interests unto the said Mary Lore and unto her heirs and assigns forever.  Signed Nov 26, 1896, and recorded May 7, 1897.

However, that last deed says Mary Lore, but NEVER says she is his wife. Clearly, based on the preceding deed, Mary Lore is P. L. Lore’s wife. It’s still a very odd combination of deeds.

Ok, I think that the link with the Frost land, the Clark land, and Fred Clark pretty well cinches that P. L. Lore’s wife is Mary Frost who eventually marries Fred Clark.

I suspected that Mary was P. L. Lore’s widow, but there’s a twist, of course…

Alonzo Lore

We find a Mary Lore divorcing Alonzo Lore in Warren Co. in the following court record:

  • February 3, 1898, Book 59-49 Mary Lore libellant vs Alonzo Lore respondent. Subpoena files and returned unable to find respondent.
  • February 8, 1898 – Alonzo lore is served in Warren Borough.
  • April 9, 1898 – Libellant bill of particulars filed. Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore (I hunted for this in the courthouse in Warren County which they could not find due to remodeling. They were to mail when remodel was done, but they didn’t.)
  • April 11, 1898 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore – Case heard and respondent not appearing.
  • April 12, 1898 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore – Respondent files answer.
  • April 13, 1898 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore – Divorce granted.
  • 1901 and 1903 – Mary Lore vs Alonzo Lore fees finally paid.

Who the heck is Alonzo Lore?

P. L. Lore Gets in Trouble

As fate would have it, P. L. Lore is in court on EXACTLY the same day, in the same courthouse as Alonzo Lore when Alonzo was being served with divorce papers. What are the chances? Are P. L. Lore and Alonzo Lore the same man?

Alonzo’s wife, Mary, filed for divorce in February 1898, filed a bill of particulars on April 9th and the divorce was final four days later. That’s the fastest divorce I’ve ever heard of.

  • April 9, 1898 – P. L. Lore was arrested April 8th, charged with larceny and brought before Squire Meacham. He gave bail in the sum of $50 for his appearance at the June term of court.

  • June 9, 1898 – P. A. Lore is on trial for larceny as we go to press this (Thursday) morning.
  • June 16, 1898 – In the larceny case of Patrick Lore finished Thursday, defendant was found not guilty and the prosecutor ordered to pay the costs.

Wow, that must have been some trial. It took a week.

Patrick Lore. We have a name, except there is no other Patrick Lore in the county, ever. Is this the right name?

This is getting even more confusing.

What else can we discover about Mary Frost? Maybe there’s something there.

Mary Frost Lore Clark

Mary Frost Lore Clark is buried in Oakland Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Fred Clark is buried in the same cemetery, having died in 1941, but he has a stone. His only child is noted as one daughter named Mary born September 23, 1897 and died on September 23, 1898. If this is his child, then either he was married before Mary Frost (Lore) or this was their first and only child and was born before she divorced P. L. Lore.

Note that P. L. Lore signed over half of his rights to that mining contract to Mary on Nov 26, 1896, and it was recorded May 7, 1897. If this is the same Mary, she would have been five months pregnant with Fred Clark’s child when that deed was signed.

The 1900 census shows Mary and Fred Clark in Brokenstraw, Warren Co., PA. She was born August 1871, is age 28 and has been married for 2 years which suggests before April 1898, which is the exact month Mary Lore divorced Alonzo Lore and P. L. Lore was prosecuted for larceny, but acquitted.

According to the census, Mary Frost Lore Clark had given birth to 5 children, with only 2 living. One death was probably Mary Clark in 1898, and the other two babies would have been born to Mary and P. L. Lore between Pearl and Harry.

Daughter Pearl born in February of 1886 is living with them as is Harry, born in Sept of 1893.

Whoo boy!

I’m guessing there was a LOT, and I mean a LOT of drama surrounding the Clark/Frost/Lore families in Warren County between 1895 and 1898. It’s amazing nobody shot someone else.

A records search of all Lore names that begin with P gives us 4 males with P names, Philip, Peter, Paul, and then one with Payne as a middle name.

The closest and only P. L. match is Phineas L. Lore. This Phineas was born in 1872, which is too late. Phineas is well documented in the NJ group. Clearly, P. L. Lore is not Phineas, so that door is closed.

I have not found any P. Lore in the 1880 – 1910 census in Warren or Erie Co., PA, or anyplace close. Maybe there are additional records in Erie Co. where it was stated that P. L. Lore lived. 

Quandry

For the past two decades, I figured P. L. Lore wasn’t our line – but I couldn’t forget about him entirely. Between no P. L. or Alonzo Lore in the 1860 census as a child of Anthony and Rachel, along with Rachel being age 45 in 1860 – P. L. simply didn’t seem to fit. Nor was there a P. L. Lore in the records of “Uncle Stanley” who lived locally in Warren County in the early 1900s, a grandson of Solomon, and recorded a great deal of family history that would not have otherwise been available. He correctly documented Curt Lore’s two marriages, long before we, in Indiana, descended from the second marriage, knew anything about the first one.

But then, those pesky newspaper articles referring to Lon and then P. L. Lore as Curt Lore’s brother surfaced, along with Eloise’s stories of Uncle Lon who she thought was named Alonzo.

They can’t all be true.

Can they?

Did P. L. Lore become Lon Lore in Indiana?

One way or another, it looks like P. L. Lore’s wife, Mary Frost, had enough of him. He signed half of his share of that oil and gas well over to her. They sold one-tenth of their interest to Mr. Muse who sold it to Fred Clark. She married Fred Clark in what appears to be short order after Mary divorced Alonzo Lore. Mary Lore appears to have had a child with Fred Clark the year before she officially divorced P. L. Lore – if indeed P. L. is the same person as Alonzo and Mary is one and the same.

Otherwise, if P. L. and Alonzo aren’t the same man, we know that Mary Lore DID divorce P. L. Lore, but we don’t know when. They were living in Warren County at that time so that’s where they would have divorced. Mary is married to P. L. Lore in November 1896 when they sign a deed together and he signs property over to her, and Mary had been married to Fred Clark for two years by the 1900 census taken in April of that year. That pushes their marriage to April of 1898, which is when Mary Lore divorced Alonzo. That’s after the baby, Mary Clark, was born, but before she died.

Did P. L. Lore leave and head for Indiana to join his brother’s well drilling operation where no one knew about his somewhat checkered past? Curt Lore had a past himself. He left one wife and family and married a second wife before divorcing the first.

Those Lore boys were pretty wild. Their eldest brother, William Henry Lore had four families, and it’s unclear whether or not they all knew about each other. Or, put another way, his descendants were certainly surprised to make that discovery. We still don’t know what happened to one wife who disappeared, and there are questions about two of his daughters who may have been institutionalized…but I digress.

Did P. L., Patrick or Alonzo Lore simply leave and become “Lon?”

  • Rushville Newspaper – September 8, 1903 – list of unclaimed letters in the post office includes P. L. Lore.
  • Greensburg Standard newspaper – October 2, 1903

  • Rushville – August 22, 1905 – Lon Lore left today on a business trip to Cincinnati.
  • Rushville – November 8, 1905 – P. L. Lore of Cincinnati among those who came home to vote.

Apparently, P. L. Lore had moved to Cincinnati. Perhaps he is looking after business interests for his brother.

  • November 6, 1906 – Curt and Lon Lore who have been working on the Indianapolis and Louisville traction line, near Scottsburg, returned home to vote today.

Curt and Lon must have returned to Scottsburg and were probably living there, at least temporarily. On January 7, 1907, the newspaper reported that Curt Lore “who has been employed with the…interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.” No mention of Lon, and Curt was ill with both Typhoid and TB, although the newspaper doesn’t mention that until January 22nd.

Connect the Dots

  • I think we’ve connected the dots and it’s safe to say that P. L. Lore in Rushville, Indiana, with Curt Lore, identified as his brother in the Greensburg newspaper is indeed Lon Lore.
  • It would be an incredible coincidence if the L. L. Lore (probably a typo) who married Mary Frost in 1884, and the P. L. Lore who came home from Erie to visit Mary’s father at Christmas in 1894 wasn’t the same man.
  • It would be remarkable if this P. L. and Mary Lore who were involved in the land transactions and lawsuits involving both the Frost and Clark boundary lines, and Fred Clark isn’t the same P. L. Lore who after being sued signed half the rights to the oil and gas well to his wife Mary a two years later.
  • It would be even more remarkable if this wasn’t the same couple who sole one-tenth of their interest in the oil well to Muse who sold it to Fred Clark.
  • It would be pretty unbelievable if that Mary Lore isn’t the Mary Lore who married Fred Clark about 1898 and had two Lore children living with them in the 1900 census.
  • The biggest hurdle to overcome is the name P. L. Lore in every other Warren County record (excluding typos) and Alonzo Lore in the 1898 divorce proceedings. However, L might stand for something that sounded like Alonzo. These records may have been reindexed or recopied, too. Alonzo’s wife, Mary, was finally able to serve him with divorce papers on the exact same day in the same courthouse as P. L. Lore, whose wife’s name was Mary, was tried for larceny. That would be some coincidence, but those two men might not be the same.
  • And for P. L. Lore’s former wife to just happen to marry Fred Clark after signing property rights to him – that’s no coincidence.

So yes, if I was P. L. Lore aka Alonzo Lore, striking out for the oilfields in Indiana where my brother owned a drilling company might just sound like a wonderful idea.

I do wonder what happened to Lon, by whatever name, and his two children. I found absolutely nothing about his children.

Oil drilling was a dangerous occupation, and I suspect those roughnecks were pretty lax about safety measures, at least by today’s standards.

The last we hear about Lon was in 1906 when he was apparently living in Rushville and working with Curt in Scottsburg on the train line between Indianapolis and Louisville. That’s about the time that Curt Lore got sick, very sick, with both Typhoid and Tuberculosis.

According to Eloise, Lon stormed out after he sat on a pin that her sisters, Edith and Curtis, “always devils,” put in the horsehair sofa especially for him and “he never came back.” Perhaps the girls didn’t like him.

It’s truly sad that Lon left when he did, because just a couple months later, Curt and his family desperately needed help. Not only then, but for the next three years as Curt slowly became weaker and died.

Maybe his departure when Curt got sick wasn’t a coincidence either.

I wonder if Lon knew how sick his brother became, or that Curt died. Did he leave because he knew Curt had TB? Maybe because Curt couldn’t manage the drilling and construction projects anymore? It seems that Lon could have helped him a great deal.

I’d hate to think that Lon actually left because Curt wasn’t useful to him anymore. He worked for and with Curt for at least three years. Staying to help wouldn’t have hurt him – unless, of course, maybe he became ill too. After all, those two men had been living together.

Maybe Lon died before Curt. According to Eloise, Uncle Lon simply disappeared and they never heard from him again.

What happened?

Finding P. L. Lore?

I was bemoaning P. L. Lore to my friend, Maree, who often sends me tips and hints.

Sometimes she wades through the weeds I’ve already waded through, sometimes different weeds, and occasionally, she hits the jackpot – or at least a hint that leads to a pot of gold. She’s more patient and thorough than I am and I’m ever so grateful.

In this case, Maree turned up something VERY interesting!

She may, in fact, have found our P. L. Lore.

Maree found a death certificate for a man named P. L. Lore in Florida in 1917, a decade after he disappeared from Indiana.

Florida doesn’t seem very likely, but then again, we really have NO idea where Lon went. I wasn’t very hopeful because I’ve been on so many wild goose chases with this family.

One thing is for sure, I should have learned long ago to expect the unexpected.

At first glance, when I looked at this record, I focused on the cause of death, the date, his age which is kind of close, and pertinent information like his parents.

When finding all of his vital information entirely missing, I thought “how odd,” and looked further.

His death occurred at the Florida Hospital for the Insane and he was buried in the hospital cemetery. He’s listed as married, but no wife’s name is given.

Fifty is a round number for an age, and I’d wager that it was someone’s best guess.

He died of chronic kidney disease, interstitial nephritis, but had never been seen by the doctor until the day he died. That’s very strange.

Interstitial nephritis can be associated with tuberculosis or syphilis – and can also cause mental changes, psychosis, confusion, or in the terms of 1917 – insanity.

P. L. was married, but his wife or family did not come to retrieve his body. Perhaps they simply couldn’t, or perhaps there was more to that story.

Is this him?

I was desperate to find out more.

Believe it or not, Patrick, Patrick L., and P. L. Lore aren’t actually common names, so I started digging again.

In the 1913 and 1914 City Directory for Jacksonville, Florida, I found an entry for Patrick L. Lore, a well driller.

A well driller. What are the chances of another Patrick L. Lore being a well-driller, given that this is such an unusual name?

There’s the name Patrick again too, just like that newspaper article from Pennsylvania all those years before.

In 1915, 1916 and 1917, he’s listed at 19 Lackawanna Av, wife’s name Ella.

In 1918, Ella is listed as the widow of Patrick L. Lore, so we’ve probably found the correct person that died in 1917.

One fly in the ointment might be that Jacksonville is some 200 miles away from Chattahoochee, but the only insane asylum in Florida at that time was in Chattahoochee.

These puzzle pieces seem to make sense. Beyond this reconstruction, I don’t know that we can ever connect the rest of the dots. I can’t even find all the dots.

However, I did find one more.

After compiling this information, I went back once again and searched the Warren County, PA, census for 1870. P. L. or Lon would have been about 9 years old at that time, if my theory is correct.

This time, I searched for any “Patrick” with no surname. I didn’t see anything that looked terribly interesting, but I read every single record anyway. Then I found him.

Maria Lore had married Stephen Farnham. They had a three year old child. Living with them was Pat Lannagan. Pat Lannagan, age 9, so born in 1861?

Census taker: Who’s that, over there?

Maria: Why that’s Pat Lannagan, my little brother. He’s 9.

Census taker: Writes “Pat Lannagan,” says goodday, and moves on to the next house.

Lannagan could actually be Lonnigan. Either way, certainly, “Lon” could be the logical nickname of either. Not to mention, nicknames don’t have to be logical – especially not in my family.

I think we’ve confirmed the identification of and found the final resting place of Curt’s brother, P. L. Lore, by whatever name.

I believe that Patrick, P. L., Patrick L, Pat Lannigan, Alonzo and Lon were one and the same person. I still don’t entirely understand Alonzo, unless Lannigan was actually Alonzo misstated or misspelled, or vice versa.

In the 1870 census, Pat Lannagan was living with Maria, his sister, but we found Alfonzo in the 1880 census working as a laborer. In 1884, L. L. Lore married Mary Frost – and you know the rest of the story. This all adds up, finally.

This adventure was anything but easy.

We’ll likely never discover the rest of P. L. Lore’s story – although you know, given what few pieces we have – it’s bound to be one humdinger. I keep hoping for a DNA match that can perhaps fill in some of those blanks.

I’ve (finally) laid “Uncle Lon” to rest by creating a memorial for him at FindAGrave.

_____________________________________________________________

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Curtis Lore: White Plague Times Two – 52 Ancestors #329

According to the Rushville, Indiana newspaper, Curt Lore, my great-grandfather, had been sick for at least a year before he died in November of 1909. According to his death certificate, he had been ill for three years.

Curt had escaped death so many times in the past.

But not this time. After previously surviving Typhoid combined with Tuberculosis, the White Plague, named for the signature pallor of those afflicted, Curt’s condition worsened, and the Grim Reaper spirited him away at 7:20 on Thanksgiving evening.

Oh, the horrible irony. Thanksgiving.

Maybe Curt was thankful to be out of his never-ending and increasing misery.

This painting, created in 1886, shows two people suffering from tuberculosis and their living conditions.

We don’t think much about TB today.

In the 1800s, TB, also known as consumption, killed about one-fourth of the population of Europe. Between 1880 and 1910 – it killed one-third of the people between 15 and 34, and half of those between 20 and 24. For some unknown reason, it seemed to be more lethal to younger people, but maybe younger people were more likely to be risk-takers and socialized more.

It’s believed that 70-90% of the urban population of Europe and the US were infected, and about 80% of those who developed active cases died. TB was surely something to fear and nothing to mess with.

Under the very best of circumstances – living in an English sanitarium that resembled a resort for the wealthy with lots of fresh air, food, and amenities – more than half of the people who contracted TB were dead within 5 years. And most people did not live in the best of conditions. They made do with whatever their family could provide to alleviate their symptoms and care for them. If they happened to be the breadwinner, the family as a whole suffered immensely.

Before treatments became available, one-third of infected people died within two years and another third within five. The hallmark of Tuberculosis is slow, miserable disease progression marked by fever, chills, weight loss, no appetite, night sweats, fatigue, headache, intensive coughing accompanied by bleeding in the lungs and difficulty breathing. In the end, the actual cause of death is often multiple organ failure.

Tuberculosis sanitariums opened in the US in the late 1800s with 115 offering more than 8000 beds by 1904. I’m actually surprised that Curt didn’t go to “recover” in one, although maybe the family couldn’t afford that approach. I didn’t know Curt in person, of course, but based on what I do know about him, he was an orphaned roughneck oil-field cowboy made good. I would think he would have resisted anything that even hinted of vulnerability or weakness, probably literally until his last breath.

It was believed that open-air shelters, regardless of the temperature, and rest in a horizontal position improved health, and that was likely the treatment Curt received at home.

He did actually improve time and time again, going back to work, until eventually his body was simply too overwhelmed and worn down.

Medical treatments, if you can call them that, were beginning about then and were akin to torture. Based on their descriptions, which I’ll spare you, I’d wager that the treatments themselves killed as many patients as the disease. Curt probably missed that by just a couple of years – which was a merciful blessing.

TB is contagious and caused by a bacterium. It’s transmitted in close living conditions and made worse by unsanitary practices such as spitting on the streets, a then-common practice, and sharing personal items such as drinking vessels.

Families, of course, were the most endangered, especially spouses who slept together. Coughing and sneezing spread the disease. People often became ill slowly and symptoms generally didn’t appear until months or years after exposure.

Only antibiotics could potentially have saved Curt, and they wouldn’t be available until the mid/late 1940s. Vaccines followed in the 1950s and 1960s, half a century too late.

Some people developed latent TB. They initially became infected, but their body fought it off and the disease became dormant, either forever or until their immune system became weakened because of some other reason or old age. Of course, back then, those people would have been thought to have been “cured” by whatever “tonic” they had been taking.

Snake Oil

Tonics, also known as patent medicines or more aptly as snake oil were everyplace, preying on the frightened, ill and unwary.

Know what’s in Dr. King’s New Discovery for Consumption? Morphine and chloroform. Didn’t cure you, but at least you stopped coughing and fell asleep.

Of course, these testimonials published as stories in the local papers made people subject to every snake oil salesman within sniffing distance.

Ingredients in Shiloh’s Consumption Care? Chloroform, heroin, and cynanide. Now there’s a curative solution.

Add in a Reverend and a druggist hyping the product, and why WOULDN’T you believe in these cures – one right after another.

What’s in Warner’s? You don’t need to know. Trust me. Just pay up and take it so Mr. Warner can become even wealthier.

These are just a few of many Consumption ads that ran in just one day’s newspaper in Aurora, Indiana in 1888. Small-town America was full of sitting ducks for patent medicine. People desperate to be cured would try anything.

Know what was in Piso’s Cure? Cannabis.

You might not be cured, but you were happy and got your appetite back.

I can’t help but wonder if the sicker people got, the more of these elixirs they took, possibly together. Maybe these toxic cocktails mercifully hastened the inevitable.

Treatments

Tuberculosis patients in the early 1900s when Curt was ill were often lined up in beds on porches, in all weather, to sleep.

Patients slept outside or in open-air tents. Tuberculosis, the leading cause of death in the 1880s, put Colorado on the map with its “huts” lining the mountainsides.

Some even slept along the walkway outside St. Thomas Hospital, along the River Thames in London, with the houses of parliament in the background.

If the disease itself didn’t do you in, or the morphine, heroin, cyanide and chloroform didn’t kill you, you would die of hypothermia.

Latent TB

I have to wonder if Curt actually had latent TB and his bout with Typhoid in early 1907 caused it to awaken. The timing was right and we know he was dreadfully ill and not expected to live.

During Curt’s final illness and after his death, Nora would have been terribly worried about her own health and that of her four daughters and son-in-law. Her sisters had come to visit as well.

Would other family members become ill? Would they unknowingly pass it on to others?

This sounds all too familiar today.

John Ferverda

John Ferverda, Nora and Curt’s son-in-law would develop Tuberculosis in the late 1950s. John had married Edith Lore in 1908, almost exactly a year before Curt died. John helped Nora care for Curt and remained close to his mother-in-law for the rest of her life.

All those years later when John was diagnosed, the family was told that his lungs were scarred – leading the doctors to believe he had actually had TB before at some time.

John was admitted to the Irene Byrum Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Fort Wayne for treatment. He lived there as an inpatient for a year or two – not only for his own health but to protect others.

I remember vising this HUGE facility as a small child. We walked across a seemingly endless parking lot into a cavernous reception area or hall, and my grandfather,  Pawpaw, was wheeled out in a wheelchair to see us. He was too weak to walk, and any movement at all made him cough and spit blood into a handkerchief.

I desperately wanted to climb on Pawpaw’s lap, but I wasn’t allowed to touch him or even see him up close. I was able to visit with him from a few feet away and I still remember the joy on his face as we played distant games like peek-a-boo and a modified version of hide-and-seek.

I couldn’t WAIT until Pawpaw came home – except I was never allowed to touch him again. Nor was I allowed at his funeral.

This is my only picture with my grandfather – obviously before he was diagnosed. He died about 4 years later. Tuberculosis stole so much.

Anyone who was exposed to TB when my grandfather was ill had to be x-rayed regularly and take tuberculosis tine tests. Those weren’t so much painful as they were frightening, waiting for results.

And heaven forbid that you coughed.

I still remember my grandfather coughing horribly and struggling to breathe. It sounded like he was gurgling and it was obvious he was in pain.

Mother and I had to get chest x-rays every six months for years after his passing.

Did my grandfather’s affliction begin in Rushville, all those years before, helping Nora care for Curt?

It’s certainly possible, but we’ll never know.

Let’s join the Lore family after Curt’s passing and see how they’re doing.

Late 1909

Nora was probably quite torn. I’m sure she had to be glad, on some level, that Curt’s terrible suffering was over. He died on November 25th, Thanksgiving evening, and she buried him a few days later on what was probably a cold grey fall day.

Nora had to figure out how to support three children. What was she to do?

She was probably completely exhausted after all of those months of caregiving, broke, and in shock.

Christmas would descend upon the family shortly. Did Nora decorate a Christmas tree in an attempt at normalcy for the girls?

In years past, Nora would have gone home to the Kirsch House in Aurora for the holidays, and I’m guessing she did that year too.

Nora’s sisters and parents were suffering too. The last couple of years had been absolutely brutal.

  • In addition to Nora’s years-long ordeal and Curt’s eventual death, Nora’s sister Carrie’s husband was institutionalized with syphilis. Worse yet, he had given it to Carrie. He would die in July of 1910.
  • Nora’s other sister, Lou’s husband had committed suicide on Halloween in 1908 at the Kirsch House.
  • A few months earlier, Nora’s grandfather had died.
  • Nora’s aunt’s daughter, Nettie Giegoldt, died in Aurora in September of 1908 at 26 years of age – of Phthisis Pulmonalis – yet another name for Tuberculosis. According to her death certificate, she succumbed after two years which means she would have become ill in late 1906.

Is there any possibility that there was a connection between Nettie and Curt who both developed symptoms at about the same time?

According to the newspaper, the family had gathered in Aurora for Christmas in 1906.

I don’t know if Nora went home to Aurora in 1909 to simply grieve among her already-suffering family, or if the sisters and family took strength from each other.

But any red-blooded widow with three dependent children whose mother was living would have gone home to mother – at least for a while.

Mother is always mother, and there is always comfort there. If for no other reason than you can cry, and she can take care of whatever needs to be taken care of, at least for a respite. You don’t have to be strong every minute of every day.

Christmas that year must have been brutal at the Kirsch House. I hope they had a lot of wine, that’s all I can say.

Nora was no longer “interesting” fodder for the newspaper’s socialite column, so we know much less about her life during this period. One thing is for sure, THAT life was over.

Nora probably didn’t stay in Aurora long after the holiday. As tempting as it would have been to simply remain in Aurora for an extended visit, or maybe forever, she had business to attend to in Rushville.

Nora needed to find a different place to live. She had to pack and move. She needed to find some kind of employment. At least two of her four children needed to attend school.

Daughter Curtis would have been 18 and I suspect, but don’t know, that she dropped out of school to help care for her father when he was so gravely ill.

I’m sure Nora’s parents made sure those girls had at least some semblance of Christmas in 1909, even if Nora couldn’t. After all, Eloise was only just 6 and Mildred 10. Santa would still have been visiting and leaving gifts for the girls. Hopefully, they were able to forget about everything else, at least for a little bit.

Good German food, eaten together at the family table would have been salve on everyone’s injured soul.

Nora and the girls probably came home on the train between Christmas and New Year to set about putting their life in some semblance of order. She probably set the girls to packing their things. Maybe she positioned moving as a great adventure!

I’d bet Nora welcomed a change of scenery and a new beginning.

What would that new, vastly different, normal look like?

Another Change

The Rushville newspapers continue to reveal threads in the tapestry of life of the Lore family.

  • January 3, 1910 – John Ferveda who was recently transferred to cashier at the local office has been given the agency at Silver Lake in the northern part of the state and will leave here in the next few weeks.

John received a promotion. That’s the good news and the bad news, both.

This move had to be extremely difficult for Nora and Edith both. To have her oldest child move away so soon after Curt’s death, although I’m sure it wasn’t’ entirely unexpected. If there’s one thing Nora learned, it was to roll with the punches.

It would be a terrible irony that John Ferverda would eventually die of tuberculosis too, half a century later. Bookends of their marriage.

  • January 10, 1910 – Mr. and Mrs. John Ferverda went to Silver Lake, today where they will reside permanently. Mr. Ferveda will be the Big Four agent there.

A week later, Edith had departed too, waving goodbye to her mother at the depot. I don’t know, but I’d bet Edith and John had been living with Nora since their wedding.

Silver Lake

John and Edith settled into the small farming community of Silver Lake in northern Indiana, complete with the train depot, a small Methodist church, one school, and an all-purpose hardware/drug store.

The depot in Silver Lake, where John spent the next several years as station agent was located beside Edith and John’s home. I remember this building as a child, visiting my grandparents. Today the depot, along with the train tracks are gone.

Silver Lake was a “one-horse” crossroads town, a block or two in each direction. They lived about where the buggy is in the distance on Main street, on the left-hand side.

The view today from the exact same location.

Edith and John purchased a home beside the depot and never moved.

“Driving” down Main Street, I still recognize a few homes, including theirs which looks much different today.

After the fast-moving social life followed by the difficulties in Rushville, perhaps Silver Lake was a quiet respite for Edith, and for Nora when she visited too.

Rushville and Silver Lake were about 110 miles apart. I don’t believe either family had a car yet, so they would have taken the train to visit from time to time. If I remember correctly, Mom said that the station agent’s family rode for free.

New Beginnings

Back in Rushville, Nora was coping and making the necessary changes as Edith settled into Silver Lake.

  • March 9, 1910 – For sale one street sprinkling outfit, consisting of wagon, tank, gas engine, pump, etc., formerly owned by Curtis Lore. T. Arbuckle, agent

This is heart-wrenching – clearly Curt’s estate. Perhaps the only thing he had left. I wonder what happened to his horses. I’d guess they were sold during his illness to pay bills. Horses were probably easier to sell than a sprinkling outfit.

The Rush County records are listed at Family Search, but none are online yet, so I requested Curt’s estate records by writing an old-fashioned letter. I checked with the Rush County clerk’s office and they indicated that there was no will, probate or estate for Curt when he died, although the sale of the sprinkling outfit by an agent suggests otherwise.

  • April 15, 1910 – Mrs. John Ferveda of Silver Lake is the guest of her mother Mrs. Curt Lore and family in west First Street.

Nora had moved to First Street by April.

The 1910 census taken a few days later shows Nora living at 324 W. First Street and working as an “agent” in the “dress goods” industry. I wonder what that means, exactly. Nora reported that she had not been out of work. Daughter Curtis, 19, is shown as a dressmaker in a store.

I’m relieved to know that Nora is employed and that Curtis is helping out as well. I never knew exactly what happened to Nora during this time.

  • May 17 – 25, 1910 – Lost a child’s red hat Sunday afternoon. Finder please return to Mrs. C. B. Lore 324 W. First Street.

I bet the red hat belonged to Eloise. Was this a special hat or were they just that poor?

  • July 3, 1910 – Joseph Wymond, husband of Nora’s sister, Carrie, died. There are two official reports, one being a death certificate from the sanitarium in Lafayette and one being a coroner’s report in Dearborn County. The coroner’s report says he died of a gunshot wound, supposedly self-inflicted, and his death certificate says he died in Lafayette at the Wabash Valley Sanitorium after a residency of 8 months, of Bright’s Disease. Bright’s Disease was a kidney disorder common among syphilis patients. Bright’s Disease was Carrie’s eventual official cause of death too, in 1926.

Both of those things cannot be true.

Nora told of how Joseph’s family managed to swindle Carrie out of Joseph’s rather substantial estate. Joseph Smithfield Wymond’s father owned the Wymond Cooperage Company that spanned two full blocks in Aurora.

Heartache on top of heartbreak. Clearly, when Carried married him in 1902, he either didn’t have the disease, or he didn’t know it. I don’t know if Wymond had been cheating on top of giving his wife the disease that would eventually kill her, but the family thought so.

This entire situation was spoken of in hushed tones in the family, even decades later. Having “marital relations,” even with your husband, was considered “dirty” in Victorian times. Carrie’s situation, when it was discussed, held tones of outrage, pity and grief. Suffice it to say the Lore family and their descendants despised the man.

Carrie certainly needed the money from his estate after his death. It’s not like she could work, at least not in Aurora. Who would hire her for anything knowing of the disease she carried – not to mention her own deteriorating health.

And yes, EVERYONE in Aurora knew that always-cheerful Carrie had contracted that dread disease from her husband who was a well-known son-of-a-rich-man riverboat gambler and man-about-town. Mom referred to him as “a slick Dandy,” an epithet spit between clenched teeth. I didn’t know what that meant, exactly, for the longest time, but I could tell by her tone alone that it was bad, very, very bad.

Just a few months after Curt’s death, we find him mentioned in the Rushville paper again.

  • August 10, 1910 – List of Old Settlers who have died in the past 90 years – Curtis Lore, 50.
  • Goshen Democrat, August 10, 1910 –  Mrs. W. R. Coverston will entertain at bridge tonight for her guest, Mrs. C. B. Lore of Rushville.

Nora’s best friend’s husband who also worked for the railroad had been transferred too. I’d wager that Nora visited her daughter and her best friend on the same trip given that they were only living about 50 miles apart in northern Indiana.

The first anniversary of Curt’s death came and went. Of course, the newspaper doesn’t’ report when people visit the cemetery. But they did, apparently, print letters to Santa.

  • December 21, 1910 – Dear Santa, I want a set of furs, an English doll cart, an Indian suit, a sled, big doll, a raincape, new dress, set of dishes, a Christmas tree, a picture book. I am seven years old. Your friend, Eloise Lore

At least she didn’t ask for her Daddy back.

Eloise had just turned 7.

1911

  • March 7, 1911 – Mrs. John Ferveda of Silver Lake is the guest of Mrs. Curt Lore.

Edith came home to visit her mother often.

  • March 31, 1911 – Mrs. C. B. Lore was a visitor in Indianapolis today.

I’m really glad to see that Nora is getting out and about.

Why might she be visiting Indianapolis? Nora’s uncle, John Kirsch, lived in Indianapolis and didn’t pass away until 1927, so she might have visited him. After the 1910 census and by 1915, Nora’s sisters Carrie and Lula, both widows, were living in Indianapolis. Indy gave them a chance to live without the stigma of “what happened.”

Or, maybe Nora had friends there or simply needed to get away.

  • April 4, 1911 – Mrs. Curt Lore will entertain a small company of friends at her home on West Second street this evening, honoring Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen who formerly resided here.

The West Second address may be a goof from years of habit.

Curt has been gone for 17 months and it looks like Nora is finally doing something with friends.

  • April 18, 1908 – Easter Sunday in Rushville – Reading – “Daisies in the Meadow” by Mildred Lore at the First Presbyterian Church.
  • May 5, 1911 – Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained the Five Hundred club this afternoon at her home in West First Street.
  • May 8, 1911 – C. D. Torr of Indianapolis was the guest of Miss Curtis Lore yesterday.
  • May 10, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore visited in Indianapolis today.
  • May 15, 1911 – Mrs. C. B. Lore entertained the 500 Club at her home this afternoon on West First Street.

Nora seems to be trying to get back to normal, visiting and playing cards, and the younger girls are doing normal things for children in Rushville. Curtis is, of course, the daughter named for Curt.

  • June 3, 1911 – The following Children’s Day Program will be given at the First Presbyterian church tomorrow night by the members of the Sunday School. Recitation by Eloise Lore – “Naughty May”
  • June 8, 1911 – Mrs. John Ferveda of Silver Lake is the guest of her mother, Mrs. Curt Lore. (This newspaper NEVER spells Ferverda correctly.)
  • July 13, 1911 – Mrs. Nora Lore has gone to Silver Lake, Indiana for an extended visit wither daughter, Mrs. John Ferverda.
  • August 16, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore played Lohengrin’s wedding march as the bridal party came down the stairs.

I can’t help but harken back to Nora’s own descent down the steps at the Kirsch House, into the parlor when she married Curt in 1888. I wonder if Curtis realizes she is providing the music for the reenactment of that scene between her parents.

  • August 23, 1911 – Mrs. Nora Lore of West First Street is entertaining with a house party this week. Her house guests are Mrs. Perry Wymond, Mrs. May Fisk, Miss Ida Kirsch of Aurora and Mrs. Will. R. Coverston of Goshen.

I suspect Perry is actually Carrie because the other women are Nora’s sisters and Mrs. Will Coverston is Nora’s best friend. I believe May is actually Nora’s sister, Margaret Louise, “Lou.” This “house party” looks just wonderful and I hope that Nora enjoyed this gathering as much as I suspect she did. This warms my heart. These three sisters have been widowed and the fourth, Ida, won’t marry until 1921.

I think a “house party” aka an adult slumber party is exactly what the doctor ordered for these ladies. It seems they might have visited at this particular time in order to attend the local fair.

These 1911 articles indicate that Nora’s widowed sisters are still living in Aurora, likely working for their parents at the Kirsch House.

  • August 23, 1911 – (regarding the fair) Notable among the local exhibitors in the handiwork department were…Miss Curtis Lore.

Curtis is now 20. Among other activities, she embroidered and crazy quilted. Curtis embroidered her name in the block of a crazy quilt that Nora kept until her death in 1949.

This crazy quilt eventually went to Curtis’s sister, Eloise, then to Mom when Eloise passed away, and now, it’s mine.

  • August 23, 1911 – Mrs. Nora Lore is entertaining Mrs. Perry Wymond, Mrs. May Fisk and Miss Ida Kirsch of Aurora and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen. (In 1930, Will Coverston was 64, wife Ethel and lived in Elkhart. Ethel would have been 35 in 1911.)
  • August 26, 1911 – Regarding the fair and money winners – Premium award in the following departments… Women’s Department – Miss Curtis Lore, 21 first, 28 second place awards.

Curtis obviously had an amazing number of entries that took prizes. It looks like the payment was $1 for first. It’s ironic that the newspaper article is about how the fair was the best ever, but it’s going broke because there are so many high premiums to be paid. That’s the equivalent of about $28 for each first-place entry, for a total of $588 in today’s money.

I’m quite impressed at all those awards. I surely wish they had told us what Curtis entered in which categories. I wonder if those 49 items she entered were related to her dressmaking? What better advertisement?

I’m cheering for Curtis!!! I’m glad she had such a successful year at the fair.

This photo from the summer of 1911 at Winona Lake provides another clue as to what the Lore women did that summer, including Nora’s sisters from Aurora.

I don’t know who the child at left is, but Curtis Lore is the young woman standing at left, holding her skirt. By the way, these are swimsuits of the day. Maybe swim dresses would be a better description.

“Aunt Cad” is Nora’s sister, Carrie Kirsch Wymond.

The woman sitting in the water is unknown, although I wonder if she is John Ferverda;s sister.

The woman with the straw hat behind Aunt Lula is unknown too.

Aunt Lula is Nora’s sister, Margaret Louise “Lou” Kirsch Fiske.

Edith is standing in a black swimdress.

Mildred is playing in the water, but Eloise isn’t pictured.

I’m guessing Nora took the picture and Edith (later) wrote the names on the photo.

Everyone is laughing and smiling and joyful. This looks like a lovely retreat, and I’d wager there was picnicking together on the shore as well while the kids splashed in the water nearby.

  • September 22, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore who has been ill for several days was much better today.

Uh oh.

I just hold my breath now every time there’s a newspaper report that someone is sick – especially a young person – and in September. It’s not flu season.

  • October 5, 1911 – Miss Curtis Lore who has been ill for some time is greatly improved.

Whew! What a relief. I was afraid this was the beginning of that same emotional roller-coaster ride, starting all over again. But why had Curtis been ill for some time? Is there something else wrong?

  • October 7, 1911 – The following program was rendered at the Havens school on Friday afternoon in honor of the birthday anniversary of James Whitcomb Riley. Recitation of “The Raggedy Man” by Eloise Lore.

The Visit

  • November 22, 1911 – Mrs. George Aultman and Mrs. Nora Lore went to Rockville today for a 2 days stay.

Ella Aultman was Nora’s neighbor, just a few doors away. While on the surface, this looks like a “fun jaunt,” it was anything but. The State Tuberculosis Sanitorium was located at Rockville

Curtis had contracted tuberculosis from her father and had been admitted. Now we know what was going on.

Curtis, who had improved briefly in October was clearly worse in November. We don’t know when Curtis was admitted to Rockville, but was sometime between October 5th when she was improved and November 22nd when her mother went to visit.

Nora must have been heartsick. And terrified! First her great-niece Nettie died after being ill for two years, then Curt, and now Curtis is ill with the same scourge.

Courtesy Indiana Historical Society

Of course, I knew about this already, but it’s heartbreaking to see this begin all over again as I read the old newspapers. I can’t help but wonder how Nora kept the fear from entirely consuming her.

This scenario was all too common. The newspapers and death records a hundred years ago are full of articles about families where several people became ill and often died from diseases that we have cures for today.

I wonder what, if anything, Nora told young Eloise and Mildred about what was happening to Curtis.

  • November 29, 1911 – Thanksgiving Program at Havens Building – The Recitation – The Bill of Fare by Eloise Lore

This Thanksgiving must have been particularly difficult for Nora. It was the second anniversary of Curt’s death and Curtis was in a sanitarium.

No mention of what they did at Christmas in the newspaper this year. There’s also no Santa Claus letter from Eloise who had just turned 8, either.

Would Nora have gone to Aurora, or perhaps to visit Curtis, or both?

1912

  • January 11, 1912 – Benefit exchange on behalf of Miss Curtis Lore to be held Saturday, January 13 by the young women of the First Presbyterian Church. We will have good things to sell if you want to buy. If you do not want to buy, give your money anyway as a free-will offering.

These articles are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Not only is Curtis clearly gravely ill, but Nora is obviously struggling, perhaps even to put food on the table. The young people at church, Curtis’s friends, are stepping up and trying to help. Bless them.

Edith is married and living in Silver Lake. At least she’s safe there, but Curtis was her best friend.

Is Curtis still in the Sanitarium, or is she at home? Is she improving? I hope.

How Nora put one foot in front of the other every day, I have no idea.

The community very clearly gathered around this family.

  • January 22 & 26, 1912 – The Greensburg News ran this article.

The Rushville paper carried several similar articles.

Ironic that it’s in this article that we discover exactly when they moved from Greenburg to Rushville, which means that Curtis was actually born in Greensburg on March 8,  1891. In addition, the Aurora, Indiana newspaper on January 9, 1890, carried a notice that Miss Carrie Kirsch visited her sister, Mrs. Curt Lore in Greensburg the previous week. On January 23rd, Jacob Kirsch, Nora’s father had visited as well.

Attempting to find additional information, I tried a new resource and discovered Curtis Lore’s actual birth announcement in the Greensburg newspaper.

  • January 27, 1912 – The benefit for Miss. Curtis Lore last night at the Portola attracted large crowds at all the performances. The program was well received and was one of the best given here for some time. Tonight a change of pictures will be made with the exception of “The Awakening of John Bond.” By request this feature film dealing with a fight on tuberculosis will be shown again tonight. Charles VanCamp will repeat his feature song, “Buckwheat Cakes.”
  • January 30, 1912 – The second benefit for Miss. Curtis Lore will be given Friday night. The management announces that any of the tickets out for the show given last week will be accepted as this second benefit. It is planned to make the program as attractive as last Friday and special music and pictures will be included in the program. The Jackson school orchestra has consented to play and Charles VanCamp will put on another character song.
  • January 31, 1912 – Friday night the second of the benefit shows for Miss Curtis Lore will be given. The VanOsdol orchestra will render a program and other special music will be given, besides three reels of pictures.

You have to give these young people credit – they are doing their best. A fundraiser and two benefits. I’m impressed!

We still don’t know if Curtis is at home or at the Sanitarium.

  • February 1, 1912

  • February 2, 1912 – The second benefit to be given tonight at the Portola by the Emanon club for Miss Curtis Lore, promises to be attended by even larger crowds than last Friday.

Either these shows are great or people’s hearts are large – or maybe both!

  • February 5, 1912 – The benefit show by the Emanon club for Miss Curtis Lore netted $60. The young women are well pleased with the result.

At 10 cents each, 600 people contributed. In 1910, there were 355 households in Rushville, which means every household, on average, contributed 17 cents. And that’s just the second benefit. We don’t know how much the fundraiser raised, or the first benefit produced.

They tried, Lord knows, these young people tried. The funds from that second benefit, equivalent to about $1700 today, probably made a huge difference to Nora and made Carrie feel very cherished and loved.

  • February 7, 1912 – Curtis Lore, age 21 years daughter of Mrs. C. B. Lore of West First Street died late this afternoon after suffering with tuberculosis for several weeks. She took treatment at the State Sanitorium near Rockville for some time but did not improve. She is survived by her mother and 3 sisters.

Curtis’s decline and death was much more rapid than her father, Curt’s, had been.

  • February 8, 1912 – Last Sad Rites Will be Performed Tomorrow Afternoon – Funeral services of Miss Curtis Lore …First Presbyterian Church of which deceased was a member.

Curtis had died at home. At least she was with her mother.

But Nora. Oh Good God – poor Nora.

  • February 9, 1912 – The funeral services of Miss Curtis Lore were held this afternoon at the late residence in West First Street, conducted by the Rev. J. B. Meacham. Burial took place in East Hill cemetery.

Given that Curt’s funeral and Curtis’s both were held at home, that must have been the custom of the day. I’d wager the entire town came to pay their respects.

  • February 10, 1912 – Mrs. W. R. Coverston of Wabash attended the funeral of Miss Curtis Lore here yesterday.

Nora would have desperately needed her friend’s presence.

I’m sure Nora’s sisters and parents would have been present too, although, strangely, that’s not mentioned in the newspaper.

20 years, 10 months, and 29 short days.

Two years and not quite three months after Curt died. This means that Nora has been living for almost 5 years with a family member ill with TB, unless Curtis wasn’t ill the entire time.

This must have seemed like déjà vu – and I’m sure Nora was terrified for her other children.

Judging from Curtis’s death certificate and the date this doctor began treating her, Curtis probably came home from the sanitarium at Christmas time, after about 5 weeks of treatment, knowing she would not improve. Poor Nora. Poor Curtis. This family experienced so much grief and loss.

Until I saw her death certificate, I didn’t know that Curtis even had a middle name or initial. I bet the L stood for Louise, her aunt, who probably sponsored Curtis at her baptism, but I’m just guessing.

Curtis’s death certificate says she had been ill for 6 months and that would track back to August 1911, when she was winning all those awards at the fair and probably about the time she was at Winona Lake with family members too.

I’m so glad she won those ribbons and had that last wonderful summertime lake visit with her sisters and aunts. It would be her last.

Nora’s Great Regret

Eloise told Mom that Nora felt just awful and never forgave herself for the circumstances under which Curtis lived in her final weeks – and died.

When Curtis first became ill, she wanted to go out west with her boyfriend’s family, “for her health.” The western climate, “clean, cold mountain air,” was believed to be the best for TB patients. Nora did not allow Curtis to move. She wanted her child with her. Any mother would.

After Curtis died, Nora always wondered if she had allowed her to go, if she would have lived. Guilt is an evil, unrelenting lifelong companion.

But that’s not all.

Recall that it was believed that sleeping outside on a porch, in fresh air, no matter the temperature, would improve Tuberculosis symptoms and restore health. In fact, the colder, the better.

Curtis pretty much lived on the porch that winter and was understandably miserable. Nora brought her food, but she was too sick to eat. It was winter in Indiana. Horribly cold. Nora stayed with Curtis on the porch. Desperate to help her daughter, Nora would have done anything to save her, but Curtis died anyway.

Love was not enough.

Nora was fully aware of her child’s misery and never forgave herself, even though she was lovingly providing the standard accepted and medically recommended treatment. If she had not, and Curtis died, then Nora would have been considered negligent. There was no “winning” for either Nora or Curtis.

It was only many years later that Nora, along with everyone else, came to realize that living and sleeping in the cold did nothing curative for TB. So Curtis suffered for nothing. Nora came to wonder if the cold had hastened Curtis’s death and wondered if she might have lived had she NOT been exposed to the cold.

When Eloise told me about Curtis sleeping and living on the porch, in the winter, I was shocked. Eloise herself, still a child, had been traumatized by all of the surrounding events. I could tell that even telling me, decades later, bothered her immensely. Her eyes took on a very far-away, pained gaze as she talked.

Sleeping and living outside was the prescription of the day and Nora, at that time, believed it was Curtis’s only hope. I’m sure that Nora would have gladly traded her own life for Curtis’s if that were possible, but that’s not a choice we get to make.

It’s somehow ironic that it may have been that porch that saved the rest of the family from infection. Miraculously, neither Nora, Mildred, or Eloise contracted TB from either Curt or Curtis.

If Curtis had been sick fifty years later, she would have taken a long regimen of antibiotics and probably lived – or at least stood a fighting chance.

I’m not sure when this photo of Curtis was taken, but she doesn’t look quite adult here.  Fortunately, the family had this picture of better times where Curtis looks beautiful and happy.

And, of course, this adorable baby picture. There’s no doubt this is Curtis. Those ears!

Edith, my grandmother, told my mother that not only was Curtis named for her father, Curtis Benjamin Lore, but she absolutely adored him. That feeling was mutual. Ironic that he walked away from his first family, children included, but clung so tightly to his second.

East Hill Cemetery

For the second time in 27 months, Nora would pass beneath this archway at the entrance of East Hill Cemetery, accompanying the casket of a loved one.

The casket would have been loaded from their home onto a wagon pulled by a team of horses. The wheels would have creaked as the procession moved slowly through town, the horses’ hoofs echoing and carriages following.

I’m sure Nora had visited many times since Curt’s death. Perhaps she came to talk with Curt as she grew ever more concerned that Curtis would be joining him.

On a cold, bleak, winter day, Curtis was buried beside her father. Her suffering finally over.

Nora would be buried beside them both, 37 years later.

Three identical stones in a row.

The Next Chapter

Nora didn’t have much time to grieve. Grieving was a luxury she could no longer afford.

Nora had to pick herself up, dust herself off, again, as best she could, for the sake of her young daughters, and put together some semblance of a life.

A month later, Nora had a new job and opened the door to the next chapter of her life.

What lay on the other side of that door?

Something rather startling that absolutely no one expected.

Join me soon for “Nora’s Surprise.”

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Curt Lore: Knock, Knock, Knocking at the Door – 52 Ancestors #328

1908 ended in Rushville, Indiana with Edith Lore marrying John Ferverda in November, “quietly,” the same day as they obtained their license, in the home of the Presbyterian minister.

For socialites, Nora Kirsch Lore and Curt Lore, this turn of events for their daughter was quite out of character. Why on earth did Edith and John marry in this manner? And no, in case you’re wondering, there wasn’t a baby on the way.

Perhaps it was because Curt was out of commission for several weeks in 1908 when he had typhoid and nearly died.

Perhaps an unfortunate suicide within the family had made the couple decide that sooner was better than later.

Or, maybe there was more to the story.

What was happening in Rushville in the Lore family?

Rushville in 1909

Postcard courtesy Indiana Historical Society.

Never doubt for one minute that Rushville was a fast-living high-stakes horse-racing town.

This birds-eye view from 1909 clearly shows the racetrack beside the creek, in the flood-prone area. Rushville was built around racing.

Courtesy Indiana Historical Society

That horse racing track was quite large in comparison to the village itself, perhaps reflective of its outsized influence on the citizens. Much of Rushville’s early development was thanks to “horse money.”

Curt and Nora lived in town, raising their four daughters, but Curt’s racehorses were boarded someplace nearby. This postcard, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, shows a typical horse farm. Indeed, for all we know, one, or some of these could have been Curt’s.

Even today, the area that was originally the horse-racing track is still quite large when compared to the rest of the city and dominates the landscape.

The courthouse is marked with a red star, then the First Presbyterian Church where Nora and the girls attended services, and finally, on West Second Street, the location where the Lore family lived.

Panning out a bit, further to the left, we see the East Hill Cemetery. Curt Lore built a mausoleum there for the Reed family in 1907. It was the last stop for Rushville citizens.

Curt himself had cheated the grim reaper in 1907. In January, he came down with typhoid. For weeks on end, the newspaper reported that he was very ill and not expected to survive. Imagine reading that if you were his wife or daughters.

John Ferverda was a pallbearer in January for a typhoid victim, probably a friend of his future wife, Edith.

The river had flooded, contaminating wells with sewage. Nora sent the girls to their grandmother’s in Aurora, preparing for the worst.

One daughter, Curtis, remained at home to help care for her father.

Did the other daughters, especially the two youngest children, realize they were being sent away to spare them the agony of witnessing their father’s death?

On March 18th, Curt was still reported to be the same, but then, on the 21st, the newspaper reported him to be out riding. Not on a horse, I’m sure, but in a buggy. Then again, a week later.

Glory be! Curt had triumphed in his battle against the Grim Reaper.

On June 10th, Curt seemed to be functioning again. He applied for a position as the superintendent of light and water that he did not get. He still, however, retained the city’s street sprinkler contract, but on the 11th his horse died.

Curt still retained his spunk, mixing it up with the local Marshall and got himself arrested in June. This is the only record of Curt actually getting into legal trouble, although I suspect he stepped quite close to that line regularly.

Life continued for his daughters and Nora like normal. Social outings, card games, meetings at the social club, church – all reported in the local newspaper. Thankfully, for me.

In October 1907, Curt bid on and was awarded bridge repair contracts. That apparently worked well, because he was awarded additional contracts in May of 1908. In June, he purchased a “large cement mixer,” so he was apparently planning on doing more construction and bridge repair.

At that point, we were beginning to see less of Curt in the newspaper, but in September he was visiting Knightstown on business and in October 1908, was involved with a political parade.

We also find fewer mentions of Nora in the social columns. Of course, one might surmise that because her grandparents were ill and passed away and because her sister’s husband met with an untimely and tragic death on Halloween that perhaps Nora was otherwise occupied.

Everything seemed pretty much normal, if somewhat quiet…right up until the extremely subdued November wedding of Edith and John.

Normally, the Rushville newspaper social column tells us who is visiting whom on the train, especially during the holidays. Not one peep about any of the Lore family. Nada. Nothing.

What was going on?

1909

  • January 27, 1909 – John Ferveda got several encores with his singing act.
  • February 1 and February 10, 1909 – C. B. Lore is in very poor health at his home on West Second Street.

Uh oh, now we know. Curt’s sick again.

  • April 15, 1909 – Nora Lore to Curtis B. Lore, part lot 5 in the original plat of Rushville, $1, etc.

Based on a later entry where Nora sells this lot, I suspect that this transaction is reversed and Curt deeded the lot to Nora. Curt is transferring assets to Nora.

  • May 14, 1909 – Newspaper states that John Ferveda (sic) is the operator at the Big 4 Station in Rushville and had at one time an assistant in the office in Carthage. Carthage is about 15 miles northwest of Rushville.
  • June 1, 1909 – Misses Curtis and Mildred Lore went to Aurora yesterday to be the guests of their grandmother for several weeks.
  • June 17, 1909 – Children’s Day will be observed at the Presbyterian church next Sunday. The Sunday School will render interesting exercises in the evening: “That Little Word of Don’t” – Eloise Lore
  • June 21, 1909 – Misses Curtis and Mildred Lore returned Saturday from Aurora where they have been the guests of their grandparents. Their sister, Eloise, who has been visiting there several months accompanied them home.

The girls are growing up. Curtis is 18, Mildred is 10 and Eloise is just under 6. Caring for a family in addition to Curt’s apparent illness must have been extremely difficult for Nora. Edith was married, but she and John helped Nora.

  • June 23, 1909 – Carrie Wieman of Aurora is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore and family on Second Street.

Carrie Kirsch Wymond was Nora’s sister. The daughters of the Kirsch family had been on the receiving end of grief for months. Margaret’s husband, Todd Fiske killed himself on Halloween the fall before.

Carrie’s husband was increasingly ill with syphilis which was probably quite the closely guarded family secret. Sadly, he had given it to her too.

  • June 26, 1909 – Curt Lore who is also in the business, is oiling in Main Street between First and Second. He heats the oil before applying it and says that it will last longer. The summer will probably come and go and all the streets in the downtown district will never be oiled, if the weatherman continues to oppose the movement. The rain is not injurious to the oil, but stops the work and it cannot be put on while the streets are wet. An almost continuous rain fell for 48 hours shortly after the improvement was tried in front of the Daily Republican office and did no harm.
  • June 29, 1909 – Tim Hiner and Curt Lore were busily engaged today oiling Main Street between 2nd and 3rd.

Curt is back at work! He recovered AGAIN. This is amazing!

  • July 13, 1909 – Rushville Daily Republican – Edgar Lore of Shelbyville is the guest of his uncle, C. B. Lore and family on West Second Street.

This is a fascinating record because it gives a name to one of Curt’s nephews. I wonder if this is Lon’s son. Census and Ancestry research don’t show this Edgar in Shelbyville or nearby. There is an Edgar in Butler Co., PA who may be related. The mystery remains about Curt Lore’s brothers and their families, but this is one more puzzle piece. Maybe someday a DNA match will help answer the questions about Curt’s family.

  • July 14, 1909 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond is the guest of C. B. Lore and family on West Second for several days.

I suspect that Carrie was no longer living with her husband, all things considered.

  • July 18, 1909 – Edger Kirsch returned to Shelbyville today after spending a few days with C. B. Lore and family.
  • July 28, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Russell Payne, Mr. and Mrs. John Ferveda, Miss Curtis Lore and George Kelly have established a camp a short distance north of this city.

I wonder what camping in 1909 was like? I never even considered that my grandmother even MIGHT HAVE camped.

FamilySearch offered this photo of camping and cooking, and I found a book written in 1909 about the same subject.

  • Martin Kirsch and son Edgar of Shelbyville spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Lore and family in West Second Street. They made the trip on motorcycles.
  • August 17, 1909 – C. R. Morgan of Alexandria is relieving J. W. Ferveda, Big Four operator. Mr. and Mrs. Ferveda while on their vacation will visit relatives in Aurora and Leesburg.

Edith and John spent their vacation visiting both sets of parents.

  • August 27, 1909 – Of course the I. & C. officials did not know that George Kelly and Miss Curtis Lore had spent the afternoon together on the fairground. But the car was crowded and the officials thought that the very last one had got on that could ride. Miss Lore was the last. George stood and watched the car pull out and wished there had been room for one more. And now their friends are having a lot of fun out of it.

We know that Curtis Lore had a boyfriend from my grandmother’s stories, but we’ve never known who he was. The boyfriend’s family apparently moved “west” as in to someplace like Arizona. Curtis wanted to go along, at that time, to improve her health. Nora said no, and always blamed herself for what happened to Carrie after he and his family left. Nora regretted that decision for the rest of her life.

Was that boyfriend George Kelly? I suspect so. I do not find any George Kelly in Rush County in the 1910 census, so he could have been “the one.”

  • September 1909 – Joseph Wymond, Carrie Kirsch Wymond’s husband is committed to the Wabash Valley Sanitorium near Lafayette, Indiana where he would eventually die of his “affliction.”.
  • October 20, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen arrived last night to be the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Curt Lore in West Second Street.
  • October 21, 1909 – Mr. and Mrs. Ed. L. Beer entertained at 6 o’clock dinner last evening Mr. and Mrs. Will Coverston of Goshen and Mrs. Curt Lore.
  • October 22, 1909 – Mrs. Will Coverston has been the guest of Mrs. Curt Lore on West second street and went to Anderson before returning home to Goshen.

It seems that the Coverstons continued to be close friends of Curt and Nora. They had likely came to say goodbye to Curt and help Nora.

White Plague

You see, Curt had tuberculosis.

I’m amazed given the contagious nature of this disease which was untreatable before antibiotics that so many people came and went.

  • November 17, 1909 – C. B. Lore who has been ill for several months is very low at his home on West Second Street.
  • November 26, 1909

Curt died. He had cheated the Grim Reaper so many times before. In 1907 and 1908 and even earlier in 1909. But not this time.

The Grim Reaper came calling, knocking on the door, intending to collect. Sadly, there was no escaping, not even for seemingly invincible Curt Lore.

Curt was only 48 years old, or so this and his obituary both say.

Ironically, even with this death certificate, there is still uncertainty about when he was born, based on the 1860 census in Pennsylvania which tells us he was born in 1856.

It’s pretty hard to be in the 1860 census if you weren’t born until a year later.

Perhaps Curt had not been entirely forthcoming with Nora. Maybe once he had subtracted 5 years off of his age, it was just easier to remain “younger” than face the music of an angry wife.

Yep, born in 1861 it was. No one would ever know – at least not until genealogists started digging. Pesky great-granddaughter, anyway:)

Family

It’s worth noting that the obituary mentions several things and omits others. Curt’s father is noted, for example, but not his mother who outlived his father. It mentions that Curt had four brothers. That’s true, but he had at least one more and possibly two that lived to adulthood.

He also had one sister who positively outlived him.

This family is incredibly difficult to unravel due to the combination of a lack of records and becoming so fractured and scattered after both parents’ deaths.

Curt was making his way in life on his own from about the age of 12 or so.

But perhaps most interesting is that there is no mention of children other than his daughters with Nora.

Three Years

My grandfather and my great-aunt used to talk about Curt’s illness. His death certificate tells us that he had tuberculosis for about 3 years. This article mentions that he has been quite ill for the past year, which equates almost exactly to the time when Edith and John married. Perhaps now we’ve solved the mystery of why they married “quietly.” Curt was becoming increasingly ill. Perhaps the young couple realized he wasn’t going to get better, so there was no pointing waiting to marry. He wasn’t going to be able to walk Edith down the aisle, nor pay for a wedding – ever.

Three years tracks back to about November of 1906, give or take. That was the fall that Edith was in business college, assuming she actually did attend in Indianapolis.

In early January of 1907, the newspaper reports that “Curt Lore who has been employed with the Indianapolis, Columbus and Southern Interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.” Sounds like he was no longer working at that job. Maybe now we know why.

This also tracks back to almost exactly the time that Curt contracted typhoid, in January of 1907.

Curt managed to beat typhoid, but unbeknownst to us, it appears that he beat BOTH typhoid AND tuberculosis at the same time. I can’t even begin to imagine the fortitude required to beat not one, but both diseases.

He worked through the next two years – sprinkling the streets, repairing bridges, and otherwise earning a living. I’m sure Curt simply tried to work through his misery until he was simply too sick to get out of bed.

Having recovered from simultaneous diseases earlier, I have immense respect for this man’s stamina. Sadly, he simply wasn’t able to do it again. His body was ravaged.

According to family members, when Nora realized how ill Curt really was, and the eventual prognosis – she quietly approached the city fathers and ask them not to award Curt more contracts. She was concerned about the legal ramifications if he were to die with a half-fulfilled contract. It’s not like she could repair bridges herself.

Nora once told my Mom that she thought Curt contracted TB when he went to Kentucky on horse business.

Curt lived fast and died relatively young.

Following Curth’s death, Nora’s life would become immensely more difficult. Their daughters at home were Curtis, 18, Mildred 10, and Eloise 6.

Curtis, named for her father, adored Curt and helped Nora care for him.

Daughter Edith, Curtis’s sister, and best friend was married of course, but lived locally and could help her parents.

The two youngest girls were sent to their grandparents in Aurora during Curt’s illness. Probably both to protect them and because Nora simply could not do any more. Caregiving is incredibly difficult and all-consuming, especially when taking into consideration that Curt was carrying a lethal disease and quite contagious.

Now we know why any mention of the couple ceased in the newspaper. Their social life ceased too – not just because of the illness itself and care requirements. Everyone in Rushville would have known to keep a safe distance.

Their Address

The 1900 census does not give a street address for Nora and Curt, so it was only through his death certificate that I was able to discover where they actually lived.

The map shows the location, given that “West” begins at Main Street. I can’t read the last digit of the street address, but it’s clearly 421, 427, or 429. Based on the other numbers on the same certificate, I believe it’s 421.

The property has to be the one outlined in red above. The houses to the right are 417-419 and the house to the left is 431, so too far west.

This earlier 1879 map shows the same property along with the depot and nearby warehouses. This makes sense, especially considering their good friends were station-masters and Edith, their daughter, married John Ferverda, the railroad station agent.

Regardless of which address was theirs, the house stood on this piece of land, and it looks like they had an extra-large backyard, extending onto what is now the lot 424 First Street, behind 423 Second Street.

It’s here that Curt and Nora lived for at least a decade, probably closer to two decades, and most of their married life.

While those properties hold contemporary buildings today, the neighbor house, at left, looks like it was probably standing when Nora and Curt lived next door.

  • November 27, 1909 – C. B. Lore who died Thursday evening held a $1000 policy in the State Life of Springfield, Mass. The funeral of Curtis B. Lore who died of tuberculosis on Thursday evening will be held at the home in West Second street Sunday afternoon at 2:30, conducted by the Rev. J. F. Cowling. Burial will be in East Hill Cemetery.

Curt would be buried in East Hill, like the rest of the Rushville folks, near the mausoleum that he had built just two years earlier.

I am very glad that Nora had this life insurance policy, but it would not last long. Ever darker times were ahead. However, first, she had to bury Curt and probably pay some large number of overdue bills.

There’s no record of Curt working beyond summer, and he likely could only work less and less as he became increasingly ill.

It’s interesting that Curt’s funeral was not in the Presbyterian Church, although his obituary said that he was a member. Perhaps he was a member in name only to placate Nora.

Curt’s father’s family had a traumatic emotional journey due to differences between Catholicism and the Protestant faith, literally severing the family, cleaving them clean in half like a religious saber. Curt’s father left the family and left Canada after his mother died. I doubt he ever looked back.

Curt’s avoidance of all churches may have been a result of those family experiences and a deeply ingrained suspicion of everything church-related held by the Lore family for generations.

Driving Up and Down Second Street

Wanting to see as much of Rushville as I could, I “drove” up and down Second street on Google, looking at homes. Second Street isn’t very long, extending left to right (west to east) on the north side of the courthouse, below.

Their home is the red star at left, and the courthouse at far right.

Would Curt and his family even recognize Rushville today? I think so. There’s a lot new, but the courthouse was build in 1896 and hasn’t changed much. Curt was certainly in this building a lot.

Driving down Second Street towards their house, then turning around and looking back at the courthouse gives is a peek, if you ignore the vehicles, at what the town might have looked like back in the day.

Many of these buildings in the downtown area likely stood when Curt watered these streets before they were paved. The courthouse is at right two blocks in the distance.

Turning around and looking westward on second, we pass by the Knights of Pythias Hall where Curt attended meetings.

The first actual homes today begin in the 200 block of West Second.

Most homes are gone and have been replaced by more contemporary buildings, but a few remain.

Looking west from Second and Harrison into the area that today remains residential with vintage homes. Curt and Nora lived about 2 blocks further west.

I love this house. This wasn’t where they lived, but they certainly would have passed by. Their home had to be spacious because they had 2 servants living with them in 1900, plus 4 children, and Curt was a successful businessman.

That old 1879 Rushville map shows that the area where the 400 block of West Second is today was at that time a warehouse and the train tracks were laid right down the side of what is today Second Street. The depot is shown too, near the stockyards. I’m sure that there was some sort of industrial or animal noise at all times. If I close my eyes, I can hear it.

In 1900, Nora and Curt’s neighbor was the railroad agent, so this location makes sense. Edith married John Ferverda, the station agent, so I should be extremely grateful that they lived where they did.

A lot changed in Rushville between 1879 and 1900 as well. At some point, those tracks down the street were removed and the warehouse replaced with homes.

It’s also possible that the houses have been renumbered sometime between 1909 and today. I’ve seen that happen more than once, and it plays havoc with dealing with early original records and trying to find current locations.

Google Maps shows that the entire 420 section of West Second appears to be gone now, replaced with a contemporary home and garage. The brick house on the left is probably where their house stood.

The house on either side looks to be original.

Standing in the street where they lived, looking downtown at the courthouse, I realize just how small this town was. Curt probably walked many places, or took the buggy, of course. Curt’s daughters are shown in the buggy with one of their horses, below

Two of the Lore daughters with horse and buggy near Rushville.

Standing in this very place on Second Street back in their day, horses would have been clip-clopping, carriages creaking perhaps, and the train whistle in the distance. You would have been able to hear people talking, especially in the hot summertime with windows open. Maybe smell dinner cooking too.

Now, Nora and the girls would have to navigate without Curt.

Burial

  • December 14, 1909 – East Hill Cemetery Company to Mrs. Nora Lore, lot in cemetery, $35

This lot was Curt’s burial plot and where Nora would eventually be brought home to rest by his side as well.

My very sad mother beside Nora’s grave, not yet covered with grass, at left, beside C. B. Lore’s stone

Mom is standing by Curt’s stone in the cemetery, probably not long after Nora was buried in 1939.

Moving

Before the spring of 1910, according to the newspaper, Nora and her three girls would move from where she lived with Curt on West Second Street to 324 West First Street.

The house was smaller, cute as a button, and certainly less expensive to rent.

Plus, Nora may have needed a change of scenery. While moving was difficult, the fact that they didn’t own the West Second Street property probably made the move easier.

At least Edith still lived in Rushville, and John would have helped his mother-in-law.

In fact, it was here, in this house, that Nora received a visitor.

The Visitor

John Ferverda was sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee and visiting with Nora, when someone knocked on the door, asking for Curt.

Nora told the young man standing there, hat in hand, that Curt had, unfortunately, passed away.

Curt was well-liked with a charismatic personality and had hundreds of acquaintances, given his broad spectrum of business dealings. Nora assumed, of course, that this caller was another business associate dropping by to say hello or see what kind of horse-trading might be in order.

This young man was different. He shuffled, hesitated a bit, and a wave of disappointment visibly washed across his face. He was crestfallen.

This man, you see, had come to find his father.

I’d wager that was one incredibly awkward moment. A tongue-tied young man standing on this porch at the door, probably wishing he was absolutely anyplace else – face to face with the grieving wife – neither one of them knowing exactly what to do or say.

Nora invited him in, and they sat at the kitchen table and talked, but she took that conversation to her grave.

It wasn’t Nora who revealed this incident – nor was it ever spoken of while she lived.

It was John who told Edith and her sister, Eloise. One of them told my mother years later.

Mom and Eloise were under the impression that this son was previously unknown to Nora and might have been from Kentucky. Somehow the dots were connected and it was presumed this son has been fathered when Curt was involved with racehorses in Kentucky sometime after Nora and Curt were married.

So Nora discovered that Curt caught more than tuberculosis in Kentucky. Or, at least, that’s what everyone thought. Apparently, judging from this information, Curt had visited Kentucky regularly for decades.

Well, Did He or Didn’t He?

Before I discovered Curt’s marriage in Pennsylvania, Mom was certainly unaware Curt had been previously married, let alone still married when he married Nora in 1888. Imagine her shock!

Was this man knocking on the door Curt’s son from his first marriage, Herbert Judson Lore, who would have been age 30? Kurt Lore and Mary Billings are given as Herbert’s parents on his death certificate in 1968.

Herbert looks incredibly like Curt. I can see my mother in his face too. No DNA test needed here.

Neither my grandmother, Edith, nor her sisters, Eloise or Mildred had ANY IDEA they had a living half-brother who only lived about 140 miles from Eloise.

Was the man at the door Curt’s son that I’ve never been able to locate, John Curtis Lore, born January 20, 1881?

Was he Curt’s son Seldon B. Lore, known as “Sid,” born in June of 1886 and found in 1904, as a laborer in Oil City, PA?

Or, was this yet another young man?

If the young man had been born after Curt and Nora were married, he would have been 22 or younger that day he stood nervously on Nora’s porch, looking for answers.

Digging Deeper

One John Curtis Lore who lived in Kentucky registered for the 1918 draft giving Mary Galliland as his next of kin. Mary Bills, Curt’s first wife married Allen Galliland after their divorce in 1888. In 1900, Herbert J., John C., and Seldon B Lore were living in Warren County, PA with Mary and Allen and their half-sister, Alta Gilliland. In 1910, Mary and Allen were living in Cowlitz, Washington with Alta, but the boys were on their own. In 1918, Mary was living in Crewe, Virginia.

John Curtis Lore certainly seems to be Curt’s son, but this record is from 9 years after Curt died. Who knows where John was living in 1909 or 1910 when that young man appeared on Nora’s porch.

What happened to John Lore?

The May 1, 1924, Franklin County, Pennsylvania newspaper tells the story.

Tragedy seems to follow the Lore family like an ominous ever-present dark shadow. An 11-day old baby? His poor wife.

Is this the same John Lore? The name is slightly different.

There’s a lot of incorrect information in this article, but I found this man’s death certificate based only on his death month and year. His nickname was apparently Jack or was misrecorded on the delayed death certificate.

John died of tuberculosis too. How heartbreaking. Even more tragic, his young wife, Annie Jewell Cox Lore died in May 1927 of tuberculosis as well. The children were raised by their Cox grandfather.

Hmm, given the circumstances, I’m doubting if John Curtis Lore or his wife have a tombstone, but let’s take a look.

I didn’t find them, but I did find that child buried in that same cemetery 42 years later.

That baby, born just days before his father’s demise was James Harold Lore, according to FindAGrave.

John’s son also died at age 42 in a motorcycle accident, striking a truck.

Tragedy seems to have run generations deep.

Forgiveness

Nora forgave a lot while married to Curt, like the fact that he was still married to another woman when they were married in 1888, assuming she discovered that fact.

Nora certainly stuck by him through thick and thin. Multiple business ventures, that embarrassing horseracing scandal, a lawsuit or a few, then multiple illnesses.

Regardless of all that, I do believe Curt was Nora’s true love with his infectious impish smile, curled locks, and piercing blue eyes that melted her soul.

My grandmother, Edith, spoke of Nora’s intense grief surrounding Curt’s death. Nora wanted to be buried beside him and with the Lore surname on her stone, even though she eventually remarried.

She would join Curt in the East Hill Cemetery almost exactly 30 years later.

It would prove to be a very long 30 years.

So, what happened to Nora?

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I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

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Edith Lore Blossoms: Floods, Typhoid, The “Beauty Bunch,” a Scholarship…Plus a Plot Twist – 52 Ancestors #327

The newspapers of the early 1900s often reported on the social lives of their local residents. Thank goodness, for researchers today, that they did.

There’s so much to glean about these family members – sometimes by what IS said, and sometimes by what isn’t. I’ve learned so much about my grandmother, Edith Lore, and her parents, Nora Kirsch and Curtis Benjamin Lore, a self-made man and jack-of-all-trades.

A great deal has been revealed in these old black and white pages. I wrote about unexpected discoveries in Outside the Pale: The Lore Family’s “Remarkable” Life Revealed Through the Newspaper and Curt Lore “Shoots Wells” With Nitroglycerine and Dynamite.

We left the Lore family in 1906, when their eldest daughter, Edith Lore, was graduating from high school and turned 18. 1906 was a year of polar opposites with a few curve-balls thrown in. Let’s join the family and see what was going on.

Unidentified Connection

The social scene in Rushville was sometimes reported as far away as Indianapolis, Indiana, about 40 miles distant as the train runs.

  • April 1, 1906 (Indianapolis, Indiana newspaper) – Miss Bertha Helm entertained a number of friends Saturday evening in honor of Mrs. J. F. Wymond of Peoria, Illinois who is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.

Of course, I have to wonder who Mrs. J. F. Wymond was, and how she is connected to Nora. Randall J. Wymond, it turns out, was the vice-president of the Peoria Cooperage Company and his business address was Aurora, Indiana, where Nora was born. He married Mabel Criswell in 1884. Nora’s sister, Carrie, married Joseph Smithfield Wymond, the brother of Randall. Perhaps the society column got the initials wrong or another one of Nora’s friends married a Wymond.

Sometimes these articles raise more questions than they answer and I run down every imaginable rabbit hole.

Commencement

Edith Lore, oldest child of Curt Lore and Nora Kirsch graduated from high school in the spring of 1906.The Indianapolis paper tells us that Gladstone Barrett is class President, Anna Meges Vice-president and Mertha Monjar Secretary-Treasurer. The class colors are royal purple and gold. A few weeks later, the Indianapolis paper carried this article about the commencement.

For most young ladies of that time, graduation would be the end of the line for education, but, surprisingly, not for Edith.

A few days later, Edith was already employed.

  • May 31, 1906 – J. B. Workman, the tax ferret, recently employed by the city of Rushville, has a force of young ladies at work in the Recorder’s office at the court house, copying mortgage records. Those who are at work are. <names omitted>, Edith Lore.

As a genealogist, I could go to Rushville and if the old mortgage book still exists, at least some of those records recopied into that book, I’m guessing, would be in my grandmother’s handwriting.

But Edith, born a hundred years too early, had larger ambitions.

Scholarship

The local newspaper carried a fascinating article:

  • June 15, 1906

Edith, my grandmother, won a 6-month scholarship to Business College in Indianapolis.

What?

Seriously?

I never heard A PEEP about this!

For any female to aspire to attend college in 1906 was amazing in and of itself – let alone with a scholarship.

Did she attend? I would presume that she did. I certainly hope so.

I can’t imagine Edith wasting this opportunity, especially not after specifically seeking the scholarship.

The Central Business College

The Central Business College became the Indiana Business College in the 1940s, located at 802 North Meridian. Established in 1902, it was represented as, “A modern business-training organization. This beautiful college home, located in the heart of cultural downtown Indianapolis – with its spacious commodious classrooms, its numerous and convenient transportation facilities and its various other accommodations presents an attractive appeal to young people who are ambitious to prepare for business careers.”

Amazingly, this building, now apartments, still stands. It’s really not the leaning either – Google maps.

When I saw the large building at right, above, down the street on Google Maps, I thought it looked familiar. Sure enough, it’s the library, and I’ve been there. Of course, I had absolutely NO idea that my grandmother went to college just a block away, and probably lived in that building or nearby while she was attending.

The Business College is the building in the lower left corner that resembles a church.

If walls could only talk.

Edith, who would turn 18 in August, was apparently used to traveling by herself by train – but living in a big city is something else entirely.

The question remains – did Edith actually attend the Business College in Indianapolis?

We know because of what we find out later that there was a backstory going on at home.

If Edith attended, beginning immediately in mid-June, then she would have been finished mid/late December, perhaps just in time for the holidays.

If she did attend, she must have returned home with her eyes open and full of lively discussion about Indianapolis, the big city.

Living away, alone, changes you and opens your eyes to possibilities you would never see otherwise.

There is enough time for Edith to attend college in Indy, but barely.

1907

  • January 4, 1907 – Miss Edith Lore has returned from a visit with relatives at Aurora. Her mother will return later.
  • January 5, 1907 – Greensburg Review: Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughter of Rushville after a visit here, the guests of Miss Stella Wise, have returned home.
  • January 9, 1907 – Curt Lore who has been employed with the Indianapolis, Columbus and Southern Interurban line at Scottsburg has returned to this city.

Apparently Curt found a job after his earlier challenges and illness. Those words “has been” are troubling. Is this a nice way of saying he lost that new job? What is going on? This is very unusual for Curt.

Typhoid!

  • January 22, 1907 – Curt Lore is quite ill at his home on west Second street, being threatened with typhoid fever.

Curt must have become sick after his return on the 9th and before the 22nd. Typhoid is a disease associated with consuming drinking water contaminated with human fecal matter and it’s often fatal. Ironic that Curt is the man drilling the wells for the city of Rushville to have clean water – although he could clearly have been exposed elsewhere.

Symptoms include severe headache, cough, extreme fatigue, abdominal cramping and distension, plus a range of other, more severe, symptoms. Typhoid can last from weeks to months. Generally, if the person is going to live, the fever begins to subside in the 4th week. That’s weeks, not days. Four long weeks. Holy cow!

Typhoid is highly contagious and risk of death without treatment with antibiotics is about 20%, generally in the third week of infection. Of course, they didn’t have antibiotics in 1907, so either the disease ran its course and you lived, or you didn’t. It sounds like a horribly long and dreadful ordeal.

Curt must have been miserably ill. He actually hadn’t been well since the fall, so typhoid was on top of whatever else was wrong. Later, we will learn what that “something else” is.

  • January 25, 1907 – John Ferveda pall bearer for Miss Maude Foust who died of typhoid followed by pneumonia.

Apparently, Rushville was having a typhoid epidemic.

This is the first mention of John Ferverda, Edith’s future husband, in Rushville. We don’t know when John was assigned to the depot there, although we know that he didn’t begin working for the railroad until 1904 and he was in Carthage for some amount of time.

Indeed, Rushville homes were still using outhouses and associated cesspools which was contaminating the drinking supply.

This graphic illustrates the contamination cycle.

This situation in Rushville was probably exacerbated by flooding.

An article on January 17th from Evansville regarding the severe floods stated that the conditions haven’t been worse relative to flooding since the great flood of 1884. “The present high stage [of the water] is backing the water up into the downtown sewers, and an epidemic of typhoid fever has resulted in some sections.”

Another report on January 18th says that the Ohio River is between 10 and 35 miles wide, resembling an ocean. Holy moley.

Of course, this means that Nora’s parents and sisters living in Aurora, at the Kirsch House, just a few blocks from the Ohio River were dramatically affected – as were her grandparents.

The local Aurora paper reported:

The city was entirely cut off from railroad or traction connection with the outside world, although the telephone and telegraph wires were still working. People can only get in or out of the city by boat. The last train to arrive had to feel its way along tracks covered in several places by water. The telegraph office is surrounded by water and has to be reached by boat.

That telegraph office was the depot beside the Kirsch House.

The city gas plant shut down because of the shoot and there is serious danger of a shortage of oil. Danger has been further enhanced by the toppling over of the big Standard Oil Tanks undermined by the flood.

Meanwhile, the waters continue to advance and the whole business section of the town has been invaded. About 1800 in all were rendered homeless by the flood, but those whose homes are still high and dry are generously throwing them open to the refugees. Great suffering is threatened in case of a sudden cold snap.

This picture of the 1937 flood in Aurora shows the magnitude of flooding in river towns and cities.

The Kirsch House where Nora grew up was about half a block behind the photographer.

This photo was taken from the intersection of Second and Bridgeway. You can see the same buildings.

Main Street in Aurora during the 1884 flood. Flooding occurred regularly.

Lawrenceburg, neighbor town to Aurora, that unlike Aurora had a levee, expected during the 1907 flood that if the levee was breached, the entire town would be under 6-9 feet of water. Rain was falling in torrents with gale force winds as the men attempted to reinforce the levee and keep it from breaching during the night.

Rushville too was directly on the Flatrock River, and if the rivers were flooding throughout the region, they were flooding in Rushville too. A Rushville article dated January 3 states that the “entire lowlands is flooded” with the water covering many roads and that the water is within 2 or 3 feet of houses in several places.”

These 1913 photos of flooding in Rushville, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, gives an idea of the what flooding in Rushville looked like when the Lore family lived there.

Rushville resembled a lake. Even the railroad undergirding became mucky and unstable, causing the timbers and rails to twist.

You can see the current and waves in the water. Imagine how cold this must have been in the middle of winter. Looks like meat and grocery delivery was a service as well – just not during the floods.

The rains continued for weeks, explaining how and why typhoid was introduced in the winter of 1907 in Rushville.

  • February 22, 1907 – Miss Edith Lore is suffering from the grip at her home on west Second Street. Her father, Curt Lore still continues ill.

We learn that both Edith and her father are ill, and I’d assume that they both have the grip, another word for flu. But that’s not the case.

  • February 25, 1907 – Miss Leah O’Neil entertained at six o-clock dinner Sunday the Misses Lucile Wilson, Fanny Gregg, Zelma Cox, Harriet Vredenburg, Curtis Lore and Lenore Wooden.
  • March 4, 1907 – Curt Lore of West Second continues quite ill.
  • March 6, 1907 – Misses Edith, Eloise and Mildred Lore left yesterday for a trip to Aurora. Miss Edith will enter a business college in Cincinnati.

Wow – so much to unpack in these articles. Business College, again, but this time in Cincinnati. And Curt is quite ill and has been now for weeks, since before January 22nd.

I suspect that the reason that these 3 daughters went to Aurora was so that they would not contract typhoid, or perhaps because Nora didn’t want the girls to see their father die, or both. Nora very clearly had her hands full.

But where was the fourth daughter, Curtis? Why didn’t she go to Aurora too? Curtis, by all reports, was extremely close to her father. Our family history says that Curtis helped care for Curt, her namesake parent. She remained in Rushville while Edith left to go to school and took the two youngest children with her. Curtis would have been 16 on March 8th. Some 16th birthday.

I find it interesting that Edith went to business college in Cincinnati, not in Indianapolis. Did she decline the Indy scholarship? Did she attend in Indy and then also in Cincy? Mom said that her aunt Carrie paid for Edith’s college in Cincy. Does this imply that Curt and Nora were having financial difficulties? That’s certainly possible, given that Curt has been very ill and unable to work.

This photo of Eloise taken at the depot in Aurora is labeled 1907, so I strongly suspect it was taken during this visit.

Eloise and Mildred in 1907.

Edith lived with her grandparents at the Kirsch House, located beside the depot, and took the train to Cincinnati each day where she attended business school.

  • Mrs. Wymond, of Aurora is visiting her sister Mrs. Curt Lore on west Second Street. Mr. Lore who has been ill some time continues about the same.
  • March 7, 1907 – Mrs. Joseph Wymond of Aurora who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. Curt Lore on west Second street returned to her home yesterday afternoon.

If Curt was desperately ill, why was Nora’s sister visiting? Perhaps she came to take the girls to Aurora, although Edith was old enough to supervise her younger sisters.

Perhaps Carrie was helping to care for Curt. If he was bedfast, with intestinal symptoms, Nora probably needed all the help she could get.

Or perhaps she came to support her sister.

  • March 8, 1907 – Curt Lore of west Second Street is in a precarious condition, with little hope for recovery.

Given this, Nora probably asked her sister to come and take the girls so that they didn’t see their father pass away. Curtis, however, remained by his side.

Oh no!

  • March 16 and 18, the same notice – Curt Lore of west Second street remains about the same.

Curt is hanging on by a thread. It seems that typhoid is doing what oil wells, nitroglycerine and dynamite couldn’t do – lay Curt low.

Curt had been ill for over two months now and it appears obvious that the consensus is that he won’t survive.

But Wait…

  • March 21, 1907 – Curt Lore of west Second street was able to be out riding this morning.

That man is amazing. Three days ago, he was still given up for dead. This man, I swear, has nine lives.

  • March 22, 1907 – Clyde Clumber of Silver Lake has succeeded John Ferveda at the Big Four station. Mr. Ferveda is located at Rushville.

Does this mean that John was being transferred elsewhere? With Edith gone, studying in Cincinnati?

  • March 30, 1907 – Curt Lore was able to be uptown again today.

I didn’t expect to see this. Curt has obviously escaped the grim reaper and is on the mend. Close call!

Edith Receives Honors in Cincinnati

  • May 8, 1907 – Miss Edith Lore of this city who is attending school in Cincinnati has been highly complimented by the faculty of the institution.

Edith has been in school 2 months. I wish this article had provided the name of the institution.

Some creative googling with city directories shows that there are three candidates for business schools that Edith might have attended.

The Bartlett Commercial College was located near the Union Depot at 641 W. 4th, which would have been the closest distance to walk from the depot. The Mueller School of Business at 6th and Vine and Nelson’s Business College at 7th and Elm.

Edith learned office skills, specifically shorthand and administrative skills, along with bookkeeping.

I wish those academic records were available today.

  • May 10, 1907 – Daily Republican, Rushville, Indiana – Jacob Kirsch of Aurora, who has been here this week at the home of his daughter, Mrs. C. B. Lore and family, of West Second Street, returned home yesterday.

This is the only visit by Jacob that I found. He would have had a difficult time getting away from the Kirsch House even though he was clearly retirement age – 66. I wonder if there was an occasion or if he just decided to visit. Perhaps because Curt nearly died and he wanted to support his daughter.

Curt Goes Back to Work

Just a month later, Curt appears to be ready to go back to work.

  • June 10, 1907 – There are two applicants for the position of superintendent of the city water and light plant made vacant by Oliver M. Ong’s resignation. Curt Lore and T. Melville Greenlee are both aspirants for the position.

Interesting that after his recovery, Curt is now hunting for a job. I wonder what he was doing before and how the family managed financially while he was so desperately ill.  Maybe Jacob Kirsch delivered money.

Curt did not get the job, but that didn’t keep him from working. Although, life’s deck of cards seemed to be stacked against him.

  • June 11, 1907 – Quite a loss sustained by Curtis Lore yesterday when one of his horses which he drives to his street sprinkler died from some unknown cause.

This is the second horse that dropped dead on Curt, 18 months apart. The first one was on a farm though, so Curt wasn’t personally involved.

About this time, Curt must have felt like if it weren’t for bad luck, he would have had no luck at all. He must have been crushed and felt defeated.

  • June 24, 1907 – Mildred Lore of West Second street has returned home from several months visit with relatives in Aurora, Indiana. She was accompanied home by her sister, Miss Edith.

This was 3 months after Edith left to attend business school. Mother said that Edith’s Aunt, Carrie, paid for Edith’s schooling. Was this the extent of Edith’s college education?  Was there more schooling yet to come?

Mildred was born in 1899, so she would have been 8 years old. How was she able to visit Aurora for months on end? What about school?

Arrested!!!

  • June 25, 1907 – City Marshal Price arrested Curt Lore this afternoon on West Second street on a charge of provoking an officer.

Oh my! This man is full of surprises!

  • June 26, 1907 – Lore Trial Will Come Up Monday – City Marshal Declares that Lore insisted on Making Provoking Declarations – Curt Lore was before Mayor Cowing this morning, charged with provoking an officer and his trial was set for next Monday morning. F. J. Hall appeared for him. The case is the outcome of an altercation between Lore and City Marshal Price. The controversy arose over a statement Lore is said to have made to Price declaring that the city officials only made arrests to secure the fees. This incensed the officer and after repeated demands of Lore to refrain from making such a statement, he was placed under arrest.
  • July 2, 1907 – Special Judge Will Hear the Curt Lore Case – The trial of Curt Lore who is charged with provoke on City Marshal Price was again postponed yesterday in Mayor Cowing’s court, and the case will be heard Friday morning by Special Judge George Young. A constable will be sworn in to fulfill the city marshal’s duties in making up a jury.

Was a special judge required because Curt or the Marshall was friends with the judge?

  • July 3, 1907 – Miss Curtis Lore of West Second street will go to Aurora Saturday for a visit with her grandparents.

I need a scorecard to keep track of where the girls are. Even though this extended family lived in separate towns, they remained very close, despite distance. This was probably facilitated by the fact that both families lived very close to the depots in Rushville and Aurora. The granddaughters spent a great deal of time with their grandparents and aunts at the Kirsch House. Their great-grandparents, Barbara Drechsel Kirsch’s parents were living as well, with Barbara Mehlheimer Drechsel passing away in January of 1906 and George Drechsel in February of 1908 at age 85.

Maybe they went to visit their grandparents because Nora didn’t want them at home during the trial. Curt Lore seemed to be a bit hotheaded and I’d wager, he was swearing a bit. Nora certainly would NOT have wanted her girls hearing that.

  • July 5, 1907

The court sustaining the motion means that the judge agrees with the motion. Quashing an indictment means that it is made void or invalid.

This is over. I guess hiring attorney Hall was worth the money for Curt. Nora was probably furious with him.

This episode leaves me with two thoughts. First, that perhaps Curt wasn’t entirely “right” after his severe illness, or maybe there is more to this story that we’ll never know.

Never Mind – Nothing to See Here

My second thought is the remarkable contrast between this drama involving Curt and the next entry about his wife who, the same day, is apparently playing cards and trying to act as if nothing has happened. “Nothing to see here. Just men being men. Carry on.”

  • July 6, 1907 – A delightful time was spent Wednesday afternoon at the Social club when Mrs. Oliver Dale entertained the 3 card clubs. A three course luncheon was served. Mrs. Curtis Lore won the honors for the Five Hundred.

Five Hundred must have become a family tradition. Mom played with her mother, Edith, and I played with my Mom.

  • July 9, 1907 – Curt Lore was in Greensburg this morning on business.
  • August 3, 1907 – Mrs. J. R. Whyman (is this Wymond?) of Aurora, Indiana is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore on West Second Street.

I suspect this is Nora’s sister, with the initials mistyped and the last name misspelled.

  • August 3, 1907 – Miss Eloise Lore, daughter and Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Lore returned today from 6 months stay in Aurora.

Wow – 6 months. That’s a VERY long time to be away from home, especially for a young child. This is odd.

  • August 9, 1907 – Misses Curtis Lore and Lucile Meredith are the guests of Miss Pauline Coverston at Goshen.
  • August 19, 1907 – Miss Curtis Lore will play piano at the Star beginning tonight.

The Star appears to be a movie theater where films are shown. This entry appeared under “Amusements.”

  • September 5, 1907 – Festival Queen Voting Lively: First Day Marks Many Nominations and Many Votes are Cast

At first, I thought of this as trivial, but then noticed the prize – a piano. Clearly NOT trivial, but Curtis isn’t in the lead.

Edith had returned home in June. The youngest daughter, Eloise was sent to Aurora as well in February, about the time that the Typhoid epidemic hit and returned home in August. Both Curtis and Mildred, the middle daughters, seem to have remained at home.

Building Bridges

By October, Curt was bidding on bridge repair contracts and traveling again.

  • October 7, 1907 – There were two bridge contracts awarded. The building of the Hinchman Bridge was let to Curtis Lore at $828.
  • October 9, 1907 – Curt Lore made a business trip to Indianapolis and Columbus yesterday.
  • October 11, 1907 – Curt Lore has received the steel for the construction of the HInchman bridge and work will begin immediately.

How did Curt know how to build bridges? Bridges and oil wells don’t seem connected. Apparently Curt became a contractor, either intentionally or accidentally during this time.

If money could be made, Curt, the consummate entrepreneur, figured out how and executed on that plan.

Courting

By November 1907, we know that Edith was at least flirting with John Ferverda. She sent him a postcard with her photo on the front. This at least suggests that she is living back at home, and her schooling only lasted for three months.

  • November 20, 1907 – Curt Lore, the contractor, has just completed the excavation for a vault being built for Theo. Reed at East Hill cemetery. It will be constructed of concrete and have nine receptacles for caskets in it. The vault will be located on the side of a hill in the new part of the cemetery.

Ok, add mausoleum builder to Curt’s lengthy resume. This substantial building still stands today.

  • December 18, 1907 – Miss Estelle Brehm, of Spokane, Washington comes this week to spend the holidays with her cousin, Mrs. C. B. Lore in West Second Street.

Estelle Brehm, born in 1884 in Chicago, is the daughter of Nora’s mother’s sister.

  • December 19, 1907 – Dear Santa Claus: Please bring me a doll, a go-cart, a sled, some candy and oranges. Your friend, Mildred Lore

1908

This oh-so-cute photo is labeled “Mildred and Eloise, Rushville, 1908.” Given the winter scene, I’d suspect it was January or February. I surely wish I recognized one of those houses today.

Of course, I have to laugh. Is Mildred sitting on a sled? Maybe she had been good and Santa delivered!

  • January 24, 1908 – Mrs. J. S. Wymond of Aurora is here the guest of her sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore in West Second Street.
  • February 26, 1908 – George Drechsel, Nora’s grandfather, died in Aurora and was buried on the 28th. There is nothing in the paper to indicate that either Nora or her sister went home to Aurora and attended his funeral, but I bet they did.

The Watson Beauty Bunch

Based on various newspaper articles, it appears that there were two groups of women called the “Watson Beauty Bunch.” The first group was disbanded on February 8, 1908 where it was reported that “they got their last pay envelope and an honorable discharge this evening.” However, that certainly wasn’t the end of the line.

The “Beauty Bunch” appears to have been reconstituted shortly thereafter with new women. Edith Lore was a member of the second group which was formed in an effort to garner publicity and get candidate Jim Watson elected.

  • March 12, 1908

  • March 20, 1908 – In a local minstrel talent show that packed the theater, we find “the Misses Curtis Lore and Mabel Condon played piano for the various acts and songs.”
  • April 2, 1908 – Watson Beauty Bunch:

Edith’s schooling paid off in that she secured a high-profile position with Jim Watson’s political campaign. Today, we might look askance at this characterization, but in the time and place where she lived, being part of the “Beauty Bunch” would have been far more exciting that what the other young women in Rushville were doing.

These young ladies were able to travel and meet exciting people.

Watson had a crew of young women, stenographers, who wrote his flyers, probably his speeches, and worked as his staff to get him elected.

By reading this newspaper account of Watson’s nomination, we can share in some of the heady atmosphere of that day as Edith pinned badges on supporters at Watson’s headquarters. How she must have loved the energy generated by doing something she believed in.

She must have been so excited. This next article conveys some of that electricity, even 113 years, almost to the day, later.

The Watson Beauty Bunch group photo was published many times.

The Watson Beauty Bunch would have been considered very sexist today, in essence exploiting women, and not for their benefit. I don’t know how Edith felt about this, then or later – although she often told stories about this time to her family. For Edith, these seemed to be “the good old days.” My mother mentioned this, and never in a negative context, simply as something interesting involving her mother’s involvement with politics before women even had the right to vote.

Edith and the other “Beauty Bunch” ladies experienced some amount of notoriety and their involvement was exciting and unique for that time.

This experience shaped Edith. In 1920 and 1921, she focused on obtaining Indiana’s ratification of the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote, then registering women the following year and working the polls. She provided a welcoming, friendly face at the polling location, explaining the voting process to women uncertain about how to vote that first time.

Edith clearly believed in what she was doing and she made a difference. Maybe a bit of Curt’s tenacity and “can do” attitude rubbed off on her.

I smile and think of her every single time I vote. I’m grateful to her and the other women who advocated for that right.

Based on this next short article, perhaps these ladies felt that they were involved in something larger than themselves – that they were able to be recognized contributors instead of remaining invisible and anonymous.

  • March 17, 1908, Indianapolis Star

Mother said that James Watson wanted Edith to accompany him to Washington DC to work for him permanently, but she declined – a decision she always regretted. Watson, a Republican, was defeated in his 1908 bid for Indiana governor after resigning his seat in the House of Representatives to run for governor, but continued to be very influential in politics, eventually returning to Washington in the Senate.

Edith married John Ferverda just 10 days after James Watson’s defeat. I wonder if those two items are in any way connected.

It’s sad that in 1908 the extent of these women’s acknowledged contributions were as stenographers and eye candy.

Another perspective would be that while Watson certainly couldn’t help how women were socially perceived and the institutional discrimination that existed at that time, he was giving credit where credit was due, allowing those typically marginalized to the shadows to experience some limelight. I can’t speak to his motivation, but I’m certainly delighted to have this information about an extremely interesting and inspirational chapter in Edith’s life.

Her skills opened doors and her example paved the way for others.

A stenographer was “one who transcribes,” according to Wikipedia, “such as a secretary who takes dictation,” often in shorthand.

Edith’s stint in business school wasn’t really about business at all, but focused more on secretarial skills that were supportive to those in business. Few jobs or career opportunities were available to women at that time, and stenography was one that was.  The barrier to entry was apparently “business school.” Even secretarial jobs required skills and training beyond what most women were likely to possess. Today, people who fill these types of positions are more aptly called administrative assistants. They were often the glue that held everything together.

Despite the restrictive nature of these positions, it was this skill set that saw Edith’s family through the Great Depression. Aunt Carrie would have been very pleased that her investment reaped life-saving benefits for her niece, years after Carrie had passed on. Perhaps that early scholarship had, indeed, been life-changing.

  • April 2, 1908 – Story covering the convention: Miss Mae Bebout and Miss Edith Lore of this city…officiated at headquarters, pinning Watson badges on all who entered.
  • April 9, 1908 – The Watson Beauty Bunch will have a “Dissolution Dinner” at Whitehead’s Saturday evening.

Building Bridges

Then as now, road maintenance begins in the spring, just about Easter time, and continues through late fall when the ground freezes.

  • April 18, 1908 – Easter Sunday reading at the First Presbyterian Church by Mildred Lore: “Daisies in the Meadow”
  • May 7, 1908 – Curt Lore was in Connersville yesterday evening on business.
  • May 25, 1908 – Mrs. C. B. Lore and daughter Mildred left Saturday for a visit with relatives at Aurora.
  • May 28, 1908 – A number of contracts were awarded…C. B. Lore was successful on the Rudy Arch, $214, Booth bridge $514, Kennedy bridge repair, $410 and Kiplinger, $750.

The Library of Congress shows this drawing of the Kennedy Bridge, built in 1881. Curt repaired it in 1908.

Of course, today, drivers don’t even realize they are crossing a body of water.

  • June 5, 1908 – Miss Ethel Walker of Shelbyville is visiting Miss Curtis Lore this week.
  • June 6, 1908 – Curt Lore who was recently awarded a number of bridge building contracts went to Cincinnati today where he purchased a large cement mixer.
  • June 7, 1908 – Curt Lore was in Connersville yesterday evening on business.

I can’t help but wonder what Curt was doing in these various locations where he traveled regularly throughout his residence in Rushville.

  • June 10, 1908 – C. B. Lore has returned from a trip to Columbus and Indianapolis
  • June 10, 1908 – C. B. Lore who purchased a large concrete mixer at Cincinnati this week began work today on the Booth bridges, south of this city.

Frog Hunting

  • June 12, 1908 – Took Wagon Along to Haul Greenback – Party Went Frogging But Horse Did Not Suffer Hauling Bagged Game. – In a frog hunting party that started in a spring wagon but only captured six of the green backs last night along Flatrock were <names omitted>, John Ferveda and Edith Lore. The usual catch for a small boy is 50 frogs in one night, but this throws no discredit on the party as it was not a good night for greenbacks.

So John Ferverda took Edith on a frog-hunting date??? In those long skirts?  And she married him anyway! Must have been true love!

Maybe they weren’t really concentrating on those frogs…hmmm.

Summer in Rushville

  • June 13, 1908 – Recitation at Presbyterian Church by Eloise Lore – “The Party”
  • July 2, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore will go to Lake Tippecanoe tomorrow to spend a two week vacation with relatives and friends.

If Edith spent two weeks at Lake Tippecanoe, she clearly wasn’t employed someplace.

  • July 3, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore went to Lake Tippecanoe today for a visit with relatives.

I’m unclear as to who, but I think someone in the family owned a cottage on the lake.

  • July 9, 1908 – Ed Kirsch has returned to his home in Burnsides, Kentucky after a visit with his sister, Mrs. C. B. Lore in West Second Street.

This is Ed’s only visit that I’ve found. Nora’s other brother, Martin, apparently never visited or if he did, it didn’t get reported in the paper.

  • July 27, 1908 – Miss Chloe Ferveda has returned to her home near Lake Tippecanoe after a visit here with Miss Edith Lore.

Aha – perhaps Edith’s visit to the lake was to spend time with John Ferverda’s family.

  • July 18, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore has returned from a visit with friends at Lake Tippecanoe.

Chloe Ferverda is John Ferverda’s sister. Was the family checking Edith out as possible in-law material? Is that why Edith visited Lake Tippecanoe?

  • August 5, 1908 – Miss Curtis Lore will go to Aurora next week for a visit with relatives.

Curtis would have been 17 years old and probably traveled on the train by herself. When she stepped off the train at the depot in Aurora, she was literally on her grandmother’s doorstep.

Amusement Park Summertime Fun

We don’t think of our ancestors a century ago visiting amusement parks, but they did. In fact, that was the beginning of that summer tradition.

  • August 10, 1908 – Misses Curtis Lore and <names omitted>, of this city were in Indianapolis yesterday. They visited Wonderland and Riverside Park.

These two amusement parks were new at that time. Riverside opened in 1903 and didn’t close until 1970. Wonderland, a trolley and water themed park, shown below, opened in 1906, was raided for selling illegal liquor in 1911, and subsequently burned.

I can’t imagine visiting an amusement park wearing those long multi-layered dresses.

  • August 29, 1908 – Misses Mildred and Eloise Lore returned Friday afternoon after a visit with W. R. Coverston and family at Goshen.
  • September 23, 1908 – C. B. Lore is at Knightstown on business today.
  • September 24, 1908 – The new Republican headquarters on the ground floor of the K of P building are the most adequate ever secured. County Chairman Charles A. Frazee is in charge and Miss Edith Lore is officiating as stenographer. Drop in and do a little dictating, is the slogan; talk it over and pass your hand around. Everybody made welcome.
  • September 25, 1908 – Mrs. Theodore Bosse of Aurora is the guest of Mrs. C. B. Lore.

Mrs. Theodore Bosse was “Aunt Lou,” Nora’s aunt, her mother’s sister who was widowed and had remarried on May 3, 1908 to Theodore Busse/Bosse in Aurora. I’m sure Nora was thrilled to see her aunt who arrived with Nora’s mom, Aunt Lou’s sister.

  • September 25, 1908 – Mrs. Jacob Kirsch visiting her daughter Mrs. C. B. Lore.

Tragedy

Nora’s mother, Barbara Drechsel Kirsch was having a tough year. Her father died. Barbara’s daughter, Lou, and husband, Charles “Todd” Fiske, had come home to live. Todd had lost his job as a civil engineer, a situation he found devastating, forcing the couple to return to the Kirsch House to live. A few weeks later, on October 31st, Halloween, tragedy struck. It’s a good thing Barbara visited Nora when she did.

  • October 15, 1908 – Circuit court allowances – Edith B. Lore – court stenographer $8.00

I had no idea my grandmother was a court stenographer, recording trials by taking shorthand, a specialized skill.

  • October 28, 1908 – Night Parade for Saturday Republican Rally – Fireworks Committee – Curt Lore.

On Halloween evening, October 31, 1908, Todd Fiske, husband of Nora’s sister, Lou Kirsch Fiske, committed suicide by shooting himself in the courtyard at the Kirsch House in Aurora, Indiana.

November 5, 1908 – Seymour Indiana Tribute

Three days later, on November 3rd, the Indiana election was held in which James Watson was defeated. While the Watson Beauty Bunch had apparently been officially disbanded, meaning they were no longer paid – they continued to appear in at public events and are mentioned often in the newspaper. They participated in parades, riding floats, performed readings, and were generally front, center and visible.

Edith must have been extremely disappointed with the outcome of the election. Not to mention heartbroken for the grief her family was experiencing as a result of two deaths.

A double whammy, especially since the girls spent so much time in Aurora with their grandparents and aunts.

  • November 9, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore left this morning for a visit at Aurora.
  • November 10, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore went to Aurora yesterday for an extended visit with relatives.
  • November 14, 1908 – Miss Edith Lore returned today from a visit with her grandparents in Aurora.

Did Edith have news to share with her grandmother or was she simply going to participate in the funeral? Where was Nora and the other Lore daughters? Why didn’t they travel to Aurora?

Is something else going on?

  • November 15, 1908 – Fine musical program rendered at the First Presbyterian church Sunday might was a quartette…John Ferveda, tenor.

I never knew my grandfather sang, outside the general choir, or that he was a tenor.

The paper has consistently misspelled his name in every entry. Goes to show the value of searching for variants of names.

Surprise Wedding!

Three days later, we find at least some answers.

  • November 17, 1908 – A marriage license was issued yesterday evening to Miss Edith Barbara Lore and John Whitney Ferveda.
  • November 18, 1908 – Miss. Edith Barbara Lore and Mr. John Whitney Ferveda were quietly married at the Presbyterian church parsonage in North Harrison Street last night by Rev. J. L. Cowling.

No one in the family ever knew that this wedding was “quiet.” Edith was assuredly not pregnant, so that wasn’t the reason. Their first child wasn’t born for more than 7 years.

If this wedding had been being planned previously, there would have been invitations and the entire event would have been a social happening in Rushville. The Lore family was well known.

Why was did the marriage occur at this time, in the parsonage and not the church, and “quietly?” Why subdued with no celebration? The same day as the license was issued? A Tuesday. Did they decide to get married on the spur of the moment? Did they tell ANYONE in advance?

Did her parents and sisters attend? Clearly, her aunts and grandparents did not.

This is so out-of-character for this family. Why?

And what about John Ferverda’s family?

  • November 21, 1908

Why is this article titled, “Left a Deep Impression?”

I suspect that quietly married meant that it was a private, not public, service, with just the bride and groom and perhaps her parents.

I wonder if, given Edith’s father’s illness that they simply couldn’t afford a wedding. That may well have been true, but perhaps there were other factors involved too.

The suicide three weeks earlier surely affected everyone in the family. Jim Watson lost the election. Edith married just 10 days later. Did Edith have other plans had Watson won? Did Todd’s suicide make Edith realize that life was short and perhaps she should marry her love?

Maybe some combination?

We’ll never know.

Or perhaps it was quiet for another reason.

John Ferverda’s family was Brethren, so they would not have been pleased about this marriage. Was the “quiet” wedding an effort to spare his family, or for his family’s disapproval not to be made public by their conspicuous absence at a wedding?

John wasn’t the only Ferverda brother to marry outside the faith and inform his parents later. The Ferverda family had met Edith during her summer visit. Edith’s stenography, attending college and Beauty Bunch membership would have rubbed against the grain of expected female behavior within the Brethren faith.

John and Edith could have married at the Kirsch House, but then again, given Todd’s untimely death, that wasn’t such a good idea either.

The other tidbit in this article is that Curt drilled the first gas well in Greensburg. I wonder when? We know he resided in Findlay, Ohio but had been drilling in Greensburg for several months when he married Nora in January of 1888.

Research in newspapers and historical books indicates that 1889 and 1890 were years of intensive gas drilling in adjacent communities. I would guess that the gas well is what prompted the family’s move to Greensburg between 1888 and 1890.

Reception

Four days after her wedding, Mrs. Edith Lore Ferverda hosted her friends. That “Mrs.” is a coveted status symbol, so important to note.

  • November 23, 1908 – The Watson Beauty Bunch were entertained by Mrs. Edith Lore Ferveda at her home in West Second street last Saturday evening.

This was probably Edith’s wedding reception, of sorts. The newlyweds didn’t even have time for a honeymoon – even a short trip. Nothing was mentioned in the paper.

By now, with the newspaper announcement, everyone would have known that Edith and John had married. They were living with her parents, at least temporarily. Even though today, we don’t know what was happening behind the scenes – trust me – everyone in Rushville did.

For now, we fade to black for the next few months.

There was more going on than met the eye.

In the frozen depths of the 1909 winter, we’ll find out exactly what…

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