Friday, January 24, 2014

52 Week Challenge: #2 Julia Maria Mosher Gaffney


 Julia was the youngest child of Walter Mosher and Eliza Magee Mosher.  She was born on the 10th of February in 1841 in Leroy, Lake County, Ohio.  Lake County butts up to Lake Erie and is quite close to Pennsylvania.  Julia had two older brothers, Hugh Wesley Mosher and Norman Goodwin Mosher, both of whom fought in the Civil War.  There were two other children born to Walter and Eliza, but Marintha Mosher and Lucian Mosher did not live to adulthood.  A cousin of Julia's was also raised in her family home, Sally Mosher's father, Henry had died and Sally made her home with Walter, Eliza and their family.

I don't know much at all about Julia's youth.  Her grandparents lived close by, as did many aunts and uncles.

A gentleman by the name of Patrick Henry Gaffney came into Julia's life, and a romance ensued.
"Family traditions and stories can often be, well, a bit far from the truth sometimes.  It is interesting to learn the bits and pieces of the true course of events, and put them up against the lovely family stories.
A favorite family story is one of my Maternal Grandmother's Grandmother and Grandfather, and how they met and fell in love.
Growing up, we were told how our Grandfather Patrick Gaffney was befriended by the two brothers of our Grandmother, Julia Maria Mosher.  Her brothers were Norman and Hugh Mosher.  They had both fought in the Civil War, for the Union side.  The story goes that after the war, as they were making their way home to Leroy, in Lake County, Ohio, they happened upon a Southern Gentleman in Virginia.  They became fast friends, and encouraged their new friend to come along with them.  [Some cousins remember hearing that this Gentleman (our own Grandfather Patrick Gaffney) had fought for the Confederate Army during the War Between the States.]  So, Patrick decides to go along with Norman and Hugh, back to Ohio.  The trio at last reached Leroy.  When Julia meets Patrick Gaffney, it is apparently "love at first sight" for both of them.  They married not long after.
As I began trying to research our Gaffney line, I came across several documents that began to clarify some of the details of our own "family fairy tale." 
Patrick Gaffney and Julia Maria Mosher were married on the 31st of December in 1859.  Hmmm, a few years before the Civil War began.  Many of the documents that I have found state that Patrick was born inIreland, so while he may have had the manners and bearing of a Southern Gentleman, he was apparently an Irishman.  Some information leads me to believe that Patrick came to Painesville with some of his siblings, at least with a brother Edward/Edwin.  They were in the boot/shoe making business together.  Norman and Hugh may have made a new friend in Patrick whenever they met him, and they may have brought him home.  Quite possibly Julia and Patrick did indeed fall in love at first sight. . . .  At least I like to think that they may have!  
It is good to have a few fairy tales in our family stories, and to have bits of mystery that provoke our imaginations! "  2011 by D.Biggs

The  photo above is presumed to be the wedding photo of 
Julia Maria Mosher 
Patrick Henry Gaffney
What a handsome couple!

The top entry of this above document is the Wedding Record for Patrick and Julia.

Julia and Patrick had eight children that we know of: 
William "Will" (my Great Grandfather)
Mary Eliza "Aunt Liz"
Henry P.
Katie Estelle
Cora May
Walter Stephon Douglas.
The sons Edward, Stephon and Henry P. were all born in the mid 1860's
and all died prior to 1870.  
They are buried in the North East Leroy Cemetery.

This is a photo of Julia (on the right) with 2 of her
daughters, Cora and Katie Estelle.

In 1897, Julia's husband, Patrick, was hospitalized with mental illness.
He was in the Newburg State Hospital in Cleveland.  It was there he died in 1901.
I can only imagine the strain and the pain Julia must have went through.

In May of 1904, Julia and Patrick's eldest child, William suffered the loss
of his wife, Ettie Flood Gaffney.  Will and Ettie had a little two year old
daughter, Evelyn Frances Gaffney, my Grandmother.
Evelyn went to live with her Grandmother Mosher in Painesville.
She lived with her Grandmother for six years. 
Evelyn often spoke of those years with Julia and said that they
were the happiest years of her life, until she met and married
my Grandfather, Frederick August Dostal.
She felt wrapped in love and completely cared for.
She said that her Grandmother was unselfish with her love and with herself.

On the 18th of March, 1910, Julia Maria Mosher Gaffney
passed from this world to the next.  
Among those who mourned her loss, was a little eight 
year old Evelyn, who had now lost her 2nd mother figure in her
short little life.

The legacy of love that Julia passed to her children and to Evelyn
lives on and on through passing generations.

Julia is interred in Evergreen Cemetery next to her husband Patrick.

Winter In Texas . . . . .

January 7th, 2014, sunset view from our trailer

One of Bob's favorite things about Texas, next to our Kiddos and GrandKiddos being here, is the weather in the winter!

We have our cold days, even below zero, 
sometimes snow or sleet.

In early December of this winter, we had a sleet storm.  There was tiny bits
of snow mixed in, but what you see is sleet.

 Grizz gets excited and romps around like a pup, grabbing his leash and
trying to chomp at Bailey or Bob's flanks!
He LOVES snow and winter weather!

Sleet does not deter Bailey from being on "squirrel  alert!"
There are tons of squirrels in the park, so she doesn't relax much if she is awake.

It looks like Bob is trying to encourage Bailey to hurry along!

The poor Silverado! The door was frozen
 shut for a few days!  We stayed very cold
for nearly a week--unusual for here.

Cold, yes . . . .  but oh so beautiful!

Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the cold is usually pretty short lived.
As you can see, we were right up to shorts weather in
a short bit.

This was such a lovely evening . . . . the sun was showing off
God's works of art!

Nearly at that magical time between day and night . . . . .
I love the colors of dusk, the softness and the depth, 
it's as though every color is magnified.


Last night we had a freeze again---it was down to 16 degrees this morning.
And, tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 60's and on 
Sunday, the 70's . . . . . Then another cold front comes in on
Winter in Texas . . . . . 

Until later Y'all!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Teeny Bit of Biggs Family History: 52 Week Challenge: #1 Green Biggs

A few steps into the past . . . . .

Bob and our grandson Mace beside the memorial stone for their Great Grandmother and Great x3 Grandmother Olive Young Biggs, and her son, little Almer Biggs.  This was in Floral Hill Cemetery outside of Hoopeston, Illinois.

As I work through our families' histories, every so often, I come across relatives that I am researching that take a special hold in my heart.  That was certainly so with Green and Olive.  They had captivated me even before I knew much about them.  So often, events in the lives of our ancestors, how those events shaped their lives and their responses to them, touch our lives even today and add a bit to who we are.  

Green Biggs was born to Reuben Biggs and Olive Wilson Biggs on January 12th in 1835. Reuben and Olive were separated at the time of Green's birth, and they were divorced the next year. Both Reuben and Olive were living in Fountain County, Indiana at the time of his birth, but Olive was living with her parents when Green was born. Records show that on the 8th of November in 1836, Olive Biggs married Benjamin Jones in Fountain County, Indiana, but it does not appear that Olive and Benjamin took little Green to live with them. Green was raised by his grandparents, John Wesley Wilson and Lydia Ellen "Lida" Green Wilson and can be found with them in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census.  On the 13th of May in 1856, Green married Mary Goings in Clay County, Indiana. They were only married briefly, and divorced in 1860.  I have a transcription of their marriage, and in Green's military enlistment interview, he states that he is divorced.

Green's gravestone was in 3 levels, This level shows his military Company and Regiment.

According to Green's Military Service Records, Green was a farmer by trade---following in his father's footsteps and his father's before him. I was able to order the Military Service Records for Green from the National Archives.  It was amazing to read all the documentation enclosed.  Green Biggs was in the 60th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry and the Indiana Veteran Volunteers, in Companies D and K during the Civil War.  His health was effected by his time of service in the Civil War.  After his discharge from the Union army, Green met and married Olive Young, the daughter of Jesse Young and Sarah Jane VanCamp Young.

Above: the front side of Green and Olive's marriage license and Below: the back side, with the note from William Glaze.

Green and Olive were married on the 20th of April in 1865 in Rossville, Vermillion County, Illinois. On the back of their marriage license, is a note written by Olive's brother-in-law, William Glaze, stating that Olive had lived with them in the Vermilion County, Illinois area for about 3 years.  Green and Olive's union was blessed with 5 children (that we are aware of), 2 of them a set of twins. Their children were: William Sherman (26 Feb 1866 - 1 Jul 1927), Jesse Grant (26 Sep 1867 - 20 Feb 1955), Elias Martin (28 Aug 1869 - 12 Jan 1940), and twins Almer (15 Sep 1878 - 14 Mar 1882) and Alma Jane (15 Sep 1878 - 7 Apr 1946).  (Green's obituary also speaks of a son, Francis, but I have found nothing at this point concerning him---it may have been and error in the information given to the paper.)  

The small headstone for young Almer Biggs.
Olive Young Biggs and Almer Biggs grave marker
Green apparently got "Kansas Fever" and took his young family by wagon westward. The twins were born along the way in Missouri Valley, Iowa. They family ended up in Prairie Dog, Kansas. They lived in a sod home, by the river.  Shortly after arriving, Green's wife Olive became gravely ill with what turned out to be cancer. She ended up having to take the twins and young Elias and go back east to Hoopeston, Illinois to her sister and brother-in-law's home (William and Isabell Glaze). She would have the care of her sister and doctors.  She died there a short time after arriving, and little Almer, one of the twins, just four years old, died a few months later of diphtheria. Green must have been heartsick, plus had his hands full with the daily care of the home and the older boys and trying to "prove up" on the land.  The west was still fairly wild and the challenges were daily for the little family group. It appears as though Elias and Alma Jane stayed east with Olive's family, not returning to the west with their father.  Green's son Jesse was later interviewed by a reporter for the Journal and Courier, the Lafayette, Indiana newspaper about some of his memories of life on the prairie. 

A close up of the engraving on Olive's side of their marker.

Green's grave marker is straight ahead, just to the left.
Green Biggs' grave marker in Armstrong Cemetery

Green eventually ended up moving back to Indiana. His health was failing him as time moved on, losing all of his hearing in one ear and much of his hearing in the other. His pension file includes reports from his physicians, they state he had much suffering from heart issues as well. Green Biggs died on the 27th of October in 1918 in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. He was 83 years old.  He is buried in Armstrong Cemetery close to his son Jesse Grant Biggs.

Bob, his brother Ed, and our grandson Mace . . . .
some of Green Biggs and Olive Young Biggs descendants.

Till next time . . . . .