Archive for the ‘Genealogy’ Category
It’s in the telling.
Family heirlooms are valuable because the family thinks they are valuable. The value is generally not measured in dollars and cents … the value is measured in feelings. In remembering. In hearing the story, and telling the story, and then hearing it again.
The family is a part of the story, you see, so the sense of belonging, of support, of family is created, enhanced, and increased through the story.
Most families do not have earthly riches, but all families can have family heirlooms that grow in value over the generations as the story is told. And re-told.
Here’s the story of our rocking chair.
Edna Mildred Lee Boring was born March 14, 1895 near Maitland, MO. She was the daughter of Norman Ernest Boring and Frances Emaline Miles Boring, and, importantly, the first granddaughter of Alban and Elizabeth Piles Boring. Six more grandchildren followed: Cecil (1897), an infant that died unnamed (1899), my Grandmother, Juanita (1900), Joe (1902), Lena (1907) and Lucy (1913).
Alban Boring holding his son Norman Ernest Boring. Circa 1878.
Elizabeth Piles Boring, circa 1920.
Norman Ernest Boring & Frances Emaline Miles, in their wedding photo. 1893.
Norman Ernest Boring
Cecil Alban Boring and Edna Mildred Lee Boring. Circa 1899. This is not the chair, and I have no idea what they are wearing!.
Edna Mildred Lee Boring and Cecil Alban Boring, circa 1899. Still not the chair!
Juanita Elizabeth Boring, my grandmother, would have been the third Boring grandchild to have used the rocking chair. And, no, this is not the chair. 1901.
Upon the occasion of their first Grandchild’s first Christmas (1895), Alban and Elizabeth Piles Boring bought a child’s rocking chair. That chair stayed in the grandparents’ home, and was used by all seven of their Grandchildren, including my Grandmother, Juanita Elizabeth Boring Mowry. Eight Great Grandchildren would have also used that chair. When Grandma Boring (my Great Great Grandmother) died in 1955, the family decided to sell her possessions to the family members in a private auction to pay her funeral expenses. It was a family affair, taking care of family business.
My father wanted to buy that child’s rocking chair – perhaps because he had a 3-year old daughter that would have been a perfect size for it. He paid what was to him a large sum of $10 to bring that chair home. It remained a part of our family home, used by both my sister and I, and was a continuing favorite of visiting pre-schoolers, as the rocking chair was just right for them.
When Velda and I moved to California and started our family, the chair soon followed. We took the chair to a photographer with our firstborn, Christopher, and captured this image in 1986:
Christopher Andrew Mowry, sitting in the chair. 1986.
This week, we took Christopher’s firstborn, the delightful Miss P, and captured her sitting in the chair, just as she does when she visits Grandma & Papa’s house.
The chair is now 121 years old. I’m sure it’s worth a dollar or two … probably more than the $10 that it cost in 1955. However, the value of the chair cannot be expressed in dollars and cents.
Still, it’s the most valuable piece of furniture I’ve ever owned.
Your Family’s Stuff
Digitizing Family Photos
Here are pictures of my mother and each of my grandmothers … to the extent of the archive. Click on the photos to read the captions where I identify the relationship with each.
Here you see my mother, my two grandmothers, my four great grandmothers and one great step grandmother, seven of my great great grandmothers, and two of my great great great grandmothers.
Letha Marie Shull Mowry, my mother. 1987.
Ruth Mary Decker Shull (1906 – 1977), my mother’s mother. My Grandmother.
Juanita Boring Mowry (1900 – 1987), my father’s mother. My Grandmother.
Cora Samantha Baugher Shull (1882 – 1976), my mother’s father’s mother. My Great Grandmother.
Matilda Rebecca “Tillie” Swartz Decker (1880 – 1946), my mother’s mother’s mother. My Great Grandmother.
Mary Effie Barrett Mowry (1880 – 1936). My father’s father’s mother. My Great Grandmother.
Mary Elizabeth Haynes Mowry (1902 – 1970). My father’s father’s father’s second wife. My Great Step Grandmother.
Frances Emaline Miles Boring (1875 – 1955). My father’s mother’s mother. My Great Grandmother.
Martha Ellen Mast Shull (1856 – 1915). My mother’s father’s father’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Samantha Cook Baugher (1853 – 1931), my mother’s father’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Ruth Alice Morgan Decker (1841 – 1900). My mother’s mother’s father’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Mary Ann Skaggs Swartz (1851 – 1927). My mother’s mother’s mother’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Irena Norman Mowry (1848 – 1937). My father’s farther’s father’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Elizabeth Hannah Milla Keith Barrett (1853 – 1940). My father’s father’s mother’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Elizabeth Piles Boring (1826 – 1928). My father’s mother’s father’s mother. My Great Great Grandmother.
Mary Cyphers Cook (1832 – 1901. My mother’s father’s mother’s mother’s mother. My Great Great Great Grandmother.
Elizabeth McDonald Morgan (1796 – 1866). My mother’s mother’s father’s father’s mother. My Great Great Great Grandmother.
My Father And My Grandfathers
Here’s my Great Great Grandfather Alban Boring (far left, white hair) along with my Great Uncle, his grandson, Cecil Boring (4th from the left, standing like a lumberjack). 1912.
Logging with horse power and then making lumber with steam power (I think!?!) … that’s labor to celebrate.
Here, I believe, are pictures of my father and each of my grandfathers … to the extent of the archive. Click on the photos to read the captions where I identify the relationship with each.
Here you see my father, my two Grandfathers, my four Great Grandfathers, seven of my Great Great Grandfathers, and five of my Great Great Great Grandfathers.
My father, Robert Eugene Mowry (1927 – 1985).
Wilbur Henry Mowry (1899 – 1970), is my paternal Grandfather, and namesake.
Lee Edison Shull (1908 – 1987) is my maternal Grandfather, and namesake.
Oscar Mowry (1869 – 1958) is my father’s father’s father. He’s my Great Grandfather.
Norman Ernest Boring (1873-1953) is my father’s mother’s father. He’s my Great Grandfather.
Artemus Clyde Shull (1879 – 1944), on right, is my mother’s father’s father. He’s my Great Grandfather. Here he’s shown with his family, from left, Cora Baugher Shull, Gordon Shull and Lee Shull (my Grandfather, with the open mouth).
James Woods Decker (1877 – 1948) is my mother’s mother’s father. He’s my Great Grandfather.
William Henry Mowry (1842 – 1916) is my father’s father’s father’s father. He’s my Great Great Grandfather.
Henry Barrett (1850 – 1934), the father of my Grandfather Mowry’s mother. He is my Great Great Grandfather.
Alban Boring (1840 – 1915) holding Norman Ernest Boring (1873-1953). My father’s mother was a Boring. Alban is my Great Great Grandfather, and Norman Ernest is my Great Grandfather.
Phillip Patterson “PP” Shull (1842 – 1930) is my mother’s father’s father’s father. He’s my Great Great Grandfather.
Jacob Albert Baugher (1842 – 1913), the father of my mother’s father’s mother. He’s my Great Great Grandfather.
James Benjamin Decker (1838 – 1883) is the father of my mother’s mother’s father. He’s my Great Great Grandfather.
Carodan Leroy Swartz (1851 – 1907). Picture taken in 1894. He is my mother’s mother’s mother’s father. He’s my Great Great Grandfather.
Abraham Mowry (1814 – 1892) is the father of my father’s father’s father’s father. He is my Great Great Great Grandfather. Parenthetically, this photo is only believed to be him … it was found unlabeled in my Great Grandfather Oscar’s house following his death. The photo print is very large, 16×20, and it is known that Abraham served in the Union Army (under his son, my Great Great Grandfather William Henry Mowry, who was a Lieutenant).
John Wesley Norman (1825 – 1904) is my father’s father’s father’s mother’s father. He’s my Great Great Great Grandfather.
Noah Mast (1812 – 1897) is the father of my mother’s father’s mother’s father. He’s my Great Great Great Grandfather.
Fayette Cook (1829 – 1900) is the father of my mother’s father’s mother’s mother. He’s my Great Great Great Grandfather.
This is my Great Great Grandfather.
From Past and Present, Nodaway County Missouri, Volume I, 1910, B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, IN, pages 560 & 561:
William Henry and Irena Norman Mowry
Among the honored veterans of the Civil war, in which he bravely defended the stars and stripes, and one of the successful farmers of Hughes township, Nodaway county, is William H. Mowry, in whose life record there is much that is commendable, for he has been found true to duty in every relation, whether of a public or private character, and while energy and unabating industry have been salient features of his career, he is equally well known for his uprightness and the honorable methods he has always followed and for his loyalty to any public trust reposed in him.
Mr. Mowry was born in Washington county, Maryland, September 28, 1842. He is the son of Abraham and Mary (Burkett) Mowry, both natives of Washington county, Maryland, where Mrs. Mowry died, after which Mr. Mowry in the fall of 1865, moved to Mercer county, Illinois, and lived there until 1879, when he came to Nodaway county, Missouri, and here spent his last days, dying at the home of his son, William H., of this review, when about seventy-nine years of age. He and his wife were the parents of four children, of whom William H. was the fourth in order of birth. He grew up on the home place and received his education in the neighboring schools, and in the fall of 1865 came to Illinois and in 1879 to Nodaway county, Missouri, locating on the farm where he now lives and where he has since resided, his place being one of the best improved in Hughes township. He bought eighty acres upon his arrival here, which has since been the scene of his endeavors, making him a very comfortable living all the while.
Mr. Mowry, in 1862, enlisted in Company G, Seventeenth Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry, in which he served very faithfully for two years and nine months, participating in some of the great battles of the war, under Phil Sheridan. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Chancellorsville, but was paroled ten days later.
Mr. Mowry was married in Mercer county, Illinois, January 10, 1867, to Irena Norman, who was born in Mercer County, Illinois, September 10, 1848. She is the daughter of Wesley and Mary (Jones) Norman; her father was a native of Indiana and her mother of Virginia. They came from Indiana to Mercer county, Illinois, where they lived until 1881, in which year they came to Nodaway county, Missouri and settled in Hughes township, where they spend the remainder of their lives, Mr. Norman dying at the age of eighty years and his wife at the age of eighty-five. They were the parents of four children, of whom Mrs. Mowry was the oldest.
To Mr. and Mrs. William H. Mowry seven children have been born, namely: John, Oscar (ed note: my Great Grandfather), Stella (wife of John L. Kime, of Polk township), Everett, Mable M. (wife of M. M. Wiles, of Hughes township), Frank and Thomas B.
Lieutenant William Henry Mowry. This photo, preserved as a tintype, is probably the oldest photograph in our family’s collection.
Little Girl, back when she was a Little Girl.
Little Girl said something important today.
Little Girl isn’t so little these days … she’s home from college now, and working at a day care business here in Santa Clarita. She’s now in charge of the kindergarten; a promotion she recently earned. My Little Girl is doing very well these days.
Her kindergarteners don’t call her Little Girl, but I do. And I always will.
In her room at the day care, she decorates the walls with a variety of stuff. She’s got a “me display” that includes pictures of her family. There’s a picture of her niece, Payton, among others.
Little Girl relayed a conversation she had with a kindergartener in her charge, and it brought a smile to my face. Twice.
Kindergartener: Who’s that?
My Little Girl: That’s my boyfriend, Eric.
Kindergartener: You’re not married?
My Little Girl: No, we’re not married.
Kindergartener: But you have a baby? You can’t have a baby if you’re not married.
My Little Girl: No, that’s not my baby. That’s Payton, she’s my niece. She’s my brother’s baby.
Kindergartener: Oh…. You have a brother?
My Little Girl: I have two brothers and two sisters.
Kindergartener: You have two brothers and two sisters?!!??
My Little Girl: Well, my two brothers are both married. And their wives are my sisters-in-law. They are my sisters.
OK, so I love this Kindergartener. Can’t have a baby if you’re not married? Love it.
The big idea here, though, is Little Girl describing her relationship with her sisters-in-law. They are sisters.
They were all 3 in the weddings for the 2 that are married, and I’m sure that Lauren will have her sisters in her wedding (whenever that might happen).
Isn’t that the way that it should be?
Here’s Little Girl … the blonde! … and her two sisters. That’s the very important mother of my Granddaughter on the left, and MrsMowry on the right. 2006.
A database of Missouri’s original land purchasers is now available online. Land purchases are shown from 1831 – 1969. This land was originally donated to the state by the federal government, with the proviso that it be sold to settlers for $1.25 per acre. Profits from the sales went to the state.
Noah Mast, my Great Great Great Grand Uncle (!) was one of those purchasers … in 1850 he bought 195 acres in Nodaway County for the princely sum of $244. This easy to use database is available here. You can order a copy of any land patents for a dollar and a self-addressed envelope with each request.
This picture of Noah is one of the oldest in our family collection; it’s from a tintype. Tintypes were commonly used circa 1860-1880.
Noah Mast, 1812 – 1897, gentleman farmer and owner of a comb later in life.
Yesterday, I wrote about how people become citizens today.
My newly found cousin, Robyn, reminded me that our ancestor took a somewhat different route to citizenship.
Phillip Patterson Shull, our Great Great Grandfather, served in the 37th North Carolina Company E, Lane’s Brigade, Wilcox Division, Army of North Virginia, under Generals Robert E Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Yes, my Great Great Grandfather – known by his family as “PP” Shull – was a member of the Confederate Army. He enlisted at the age of 19, and served 1861 – 1865 as a private. We don’t know much about his service, but we do know that he was captured in 1865, and became a prisoner of war.
On May 29, 1865, President Andrew Johnson signed an executive order for amnesty for the POWs who would take an oath of allegiance.
This is the script for the Oath required of POWs that desired their freedom. My mother still has the original, nearly 150 years later.
On June 20th, Phillip P Shull took that oath. We have no evidence that our ancestor ever owned slaves, but with this oath, he swore that he would not own slaves in the future.
On August 16, 1865, Phillip again swore his allegiance to the United States of America, and this was confirmed by three signatories in Watauga County, North Carolina.
As a fine upstanding citizen of the United States of America, Phillip left North Carolina and moved to Skidmore, MO. He eventually married Martha Ellen Mast, and they raised 8 children.
Here’s the Shull family reunion, circa 1920. There are 3 generations in this photo. My grandfather, whom I’m named for, is in the front row, 2nd from the right: Lee Shull. My Great Grandfather, Artemus Shull, is seated, 3rd from the right. PP Shull, my Great Great Grandfather and former confederate soldier, is seated, wearing a hat, 5th from the right. His wife, my Great Great Grandmother Martha Ellen Mast Shull, is standing behind him, 4th from the right.
Becoming A Citizen
My Great Great Grandfather Baugher wore a chain on his vest, with his retractable brass toothpick attached. It’s a scary looking thing. The toothpick, I mean.
This painting was done by my Great Great Aunt Alma Shull Parsons, and was given to my Mother and Father as a wedding present. It’ll never hang in a museum, but what a treasure!
The last time I visited Mom, we agreed that my next visit would include a session where we identified family heirlooms. Mom would tell the story. Sis would write the description. I’d take a picture, and then I’d combine those elements into one document. That way, we would always know what’s what, and what belonged to whom.
Simple, yes? Not really. You’ve got to find the time. I live 1,800 miles away. Sis is 200 miles away. Not. Simple.
At long last, the planets had aligned and we were ready. Mom proceeded to trot out a diverse lot of, uh, stuff. Let me be clear that we’re not talking about items with a high dollar value. We are talking about stuff that had been handed down from previous generations … like a brass toothpick owned by my Great Great Grandfather. Things that no one outside of my family would ever care about! But, oh my, what stuff Mom has!
I was amazed at how much I learned. You see, I’ve sat around Mom’s dinner table and talked about our ancestors. She’s got books and books and 3-ring notebooks of pictures and written records and birth certificates and service records and … STUFF … that we have discussed for hours.
We’ve got the family pictures and family tree documentation pretty well in hand (I hope).
Now, however, we’re learning about physical objects that rarely see the light of day … and now our entire family gets to know their story!
Pictures of my two favorite items are below. As you can see, it’s not about the monetary value, it’s about the family stories. The only way for you to capture those — the ONLY way — is to talk to your family members about what they know while you still have access to them. You never know when you’ll move away, or they’ll move away, or tragedy will strike and communication just won’t be possible anymore.
Find the opportunity to talk to your family members about what they know. You’ll find that the old stuff that’s lying around just might take on a whole new meaning for you when you know the history of each item!
Pocket watch? Not from my family!
This collapsible pocket shot glass was handed down, but we don’t know who owned it originally. Alas … but it sure does illuminate a fun heritage!
This graphic of a guardian angel (sorry for the poor photograph!) hung in the home of my Great Grandparents, James Woods and Matilda Rebecca Swartz Decker. It now hangs in Mom’s home.
Knowing Velda’s love of angels, Mom made this counted cross stitch of a Guardian Angel for Velda years ago, and it’s hung in our home since. I didn’t understand it was the same image as the one that hung in my Great Grandparents’ home until Mom told me last week!
This photo is of my Grandmother Baugher’s Aunt & Uncle. Don’t know exactly who they might be. The photo was probably taken in Nodaway County, Missouri, in the early 20th century.
We now get some historical perspective on how my ancestors believed a yard should be treated. If you read Get Off My Lawn! a few days ago, you know this is a current subject near and dear to my heart. If you didn’t read that article, you can do so now.
See how the couple tended their yard, I mean garden? And by tending, I mean how they let it grow. A couple of more years, and they won’t be able to get in the front door. They’ve already anticipated that, so they’ve moved their living room furniture out into the yard.
And I thought yard care was difficult. Thanks, Aunt & Unc, now I know how easy it can be!