Tuesday, March 25, 2014

52 Week Challenge: #10 Etta E. "Ettie" Flood

Etta E. "Ettie" Flood

Ettie Flood was my paternal Great Grandmother.
The Mother of my Father's Mother.

As a family, we know very little of Ettie, we know of
no photos of her.  
Her story is short, but fraught with pain and

Little Ettie was born at home in August of 1867.
Home was in Lake County, Ohio and her parents were
Franklin Flood and Jerusha Kirby Flood.
I learned from her father's Military Pension
file that her Grandmother, Julia Ann Rossman Kirby
attended her birth.  (Julia was said to be a nurse in the
Military Pension file of her son, Oscar.)

Ettie had one sibling, a brother,
Eugene Franklin Flood, who was about 10 years her junior.
Ettie's father, Franklin, had fought in the Civil War
and was wounded at the battle of Rocky Faced Ridge, losing
about 2 inches from one of his legs.  The injury
never healed properly, and Franklin soon  found himself
in the Dayton National Home for Soldiers.
Franklin died on the 14th of February, 1880.  Ettie
was just 12 years old, and her brother just 2.
In the 1880 United States Federal Census, Ettie and Eugene
are not listed with their mother, and I have not found them
living with neighbors or relatives as of yet.
What a difficult time for this little family.  The pension that
Jerusha received was very small, making day to day life
quite difficult for them.

I find Ettie next in marriage records.
On the 25th of February in 1885, Ettie married
John Purtell/Purtil.  She was just 17 years old.

The marriage documents (left side) for John Purtil and Etta Flood.

With the help of a very sweet volunteer in Painesville, we
found that Ettie and John divorced in December of 1895.
I have a copy of the divorce file.
Ettie filed, and won the case, retaining the right to 
return to her maiden name.  She filed for gross
neglect.  John had ceased to care for her, and she charged him
with drunkeness, he had stopped working and had lost all that 
they had. She had begun to rely on her own family for sustenance.
(Information from the divorce file.)

In January of 1896, on the 16th, Ettie Flood married
William H. Gaffney, my Great Grandfather, the son of Patrick H. Gaffney
and Julia Maria Mosher Gaffney.
They were married at home (most likely the Gaffney/Mosher home) in
Leroy, Lake County, Ohio.  The Reverend R. J. Hibbard was the
officiating minister.

The marriage documents for William Gaffney and Etta Flood

William and Ettie had 4-5 children between 1897 and 1903.
Two of these babies died at birth,
Katie Estell died in her infancy, only 2 months old
and little Frances lived a bit longer,
but was not yet a toddler, being very young when she died.
Only one of their children lived to adulthood,
my Grandmother, Evelyn Frances Gaffney, born in 1902.
How heartbreaking, to lose so many sweet little babies . . . . .

The end of May in 1904, Ettie became ill.  She
had Grip, or La Grippe.  Merriam-Webster Dictionary (online)
says of grip:  "grippe: an acute febrile contagious disease . . . . . Influenza."
In a few days, Ettie was dead, leaving a 
grieving and heartbroken husband and a little 2 year old
who didn't really quite know where her Mama was.
(A note here: my Grandma said that her first recollection was
not really a memory, but a sense . . . . . a sense of deep sadness.)

Grandpa Will buried Grandma Ettie in Evergreen Cemetery
in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio.

Perhaps the Lord felt it was time to relieve Ettie from the pain of loss,
 . . . . time to hold her close, perhaps for her to hold her
babies and to give her
eternal comfort.

Two of Ettie's very cute Great Great Grandchildren visiting her grave site in Ohio.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

52 Week Challenge # 9 Anna Christina Carlsson Carlson

Anna Christina Carlsson

Anna Christina was my Mother's Father's Mother.
Grandma Carlson.

Anna was born on the 28th of August
in 1870.  She was born to
Carl Johan Carlsson and Johanna
Charlotta Petersson.
Carl and Johanna were living in  
Sankt Nicolai, Nykopings, Sodermanland,

This is a screen shot of Anna's Record of Birth. It is written in Swedish, and the writing is faint in
some spots. Anna is the 2nd listing, and her parents' names are the 3rd and 4th listings right across from her name,
under the heading: Forsamling.

Anna had 2 elder brothers that we
know of, but more research is needed
on the family during the 1800's in Sweden.
(How I wish I knew how to say more than
"Good Day," "Welcome," and "I Love You!")

Anna married Klas Oskar Carlsson in Sweden
circa 1891-1892.
I have not found the record for their marriage
as of yet.

Shortly after their marriage, Klas Oskar (known as
Claus Oscar, Oscar or C.O.) immigrated
to America---to Chicago, where he had several
siblings who had already immigrated.  
Klas Oskar immigrated in 1893, found work and 
secured a place for the family to live, and
sent for his wife, Anna, and their tiny 
daughter, Ellen Marie Olivia.

Anna came to America with little Ellen, who was 
not quite 2 when they left Vadsbro in Sweden 
on the 20th of April in 1895.

Photo taken circa 1895

In the photo above, 
Anna Christina and Ellen Marie Olivia Carlson, just before
joining Klas Oskar in Chicago.

Anna and Oscar Carlson (Americanized names)
had at least 8 children.  Only 4 of their children lived to 
adulthood: Ellen, Florence, Evar (my grandfather) and 
Edwin was 5 years old and playing by the side of the
curb of the road, and was kicked in the head by
the horse of the milkman.  He died soon after.
Olga and Rudolph were twins.
Rudolph died of pneumonia before he was 1 year old.
I believe that Olga died of Scarlet Fever.
Aunt Ellen remembered there being a black 
wreath on the door as a notice to others.
And the baby of the family, little Esther, died before
she was 1 year old, again of pneumonia.
How difficult for Anna and Oscar, the death of
even 1 child is beyond traumatic, but they lost 4 within 
a very few number of years.

In the mid 1920's, Anna and Oscar moved north,
to Amber Township in Mason County, Michigan. 
Their eldest daughter, Ellen, had just suffered the loss of 
her husband, and his mother, with Ellen being 
the care-giver to both.  Ellen had lost a great deal of
weight, and her health was at risk, so her family, including her
younger brothers, Evar and Herman came north
to help out on the farm that she lived on.
The Techloff Farm became the Carlson Farm, 
Old Homestead.

Photo of the Carlson Farm, ca. 1970. Old Homestead is painted on the barn.

Anna was a very social person, involved in her church
and with the Ladies Aid groups there, as well
as in her community.
Throughout her life she kept in close contact with her 
family back home in Sweden, as well as her
family in Chicago.  Family was of utmost importance 
to her.
Anna loved to laugh, and to have a good time . . . .
passing that joy along to her children 
and the generations that follow.

A photo of Anna and her son Evar at the World's Fair in Chicago.

The Carlson family.
In the front, seated, Oscar and Anna.
In the back, from the left: Herbert, Ellen, Evar and Florence.

Anna Christina Carlsson Carlson died on the 9th of March, 1937.
The cause of death was Chronic Vascular Hypertension and
Auculer Fibrilation causing a Cerebral Hemorrage (information
from Anna's Certificate of Death).

Anna is buried beside her husband, Claus Oscar
and their family in Brookside Cemetery 
in Scottville, Michigan.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Life in Our 5th Wheel . . . .

Bob and I will mark our 9th month of
living in our RV this month.
We often get asked if we are
"still enjoying it."
Yes, yes and yes!!!!

We are so grateful for the opportunity to make 
this decision . . . . .
It fits us just right.

Family ~ Ah, family!  One of God's greatest gifts!

We have been able to spend much more
time with our children and grandchildren . . . . 
we will be going to Indiana this spring to spend
time with Bob's Mom, without having to turn around and
head home because of work.
We look forward to spending time with 
family that is scattered hither and yon in this
amazing country  . . . . .
and to be able to see friends that we have
not had the opportunity to see in way too long!

We have been able to slow down, 
and live at a less stressful speed, to enjoy
the moments that each day brings.

As far as living in a small space, we really do 
enjoy it.  I still cook, we eat out less.  And who
can beat a meal cooked out over a wood fire????  (In the photo above,
I am making hash browns with onion and jalapeno
to be added to Migas that I was making
for breakfast.  Yum!!!)  I do have a convection/microwave oven.
I am still experimenting with the best way to cook various things
in my convection oven.  (It only goes up to 425 degrees, so 
I bake some things a bit differently.)  

The above photo is in my kitchen, I have a few very special family
things that I put out each time that we set up.
It is a daily joy to see a few things that remind us of our
parents and grandparents, as well as our kiddos and grandkiddos!

As Bob and I discussed the possibility of this change in our way of living, 
we spoke of the things that we did not want to give up
in the moving from a house to an RV.
For myself, genealogy and quilting were up there at the top, as well
as cooking.  This winter, Bob and I figured out how to set
up a "sewing center" for me----it takes a bit of floor space in the 
kitchen, but works great!  Above are some "mug rugs" that 
I made, here in the 5th wheel, as a gift.
Trying to figure out what to do about a computer and genealogy
area was rather tricky.  We tried one fold away table 
that really was just too large for the livingroom (that became
my sewing table).
One evening we went to the local IKEA store with Heather, Kevin, the boys,
and Kevin's parents, Calvin and Marsha.  Kevin and I were both
looking for something to resolve laptop using issues.
We looked and looked at all sorts of possibilities, when Marsha
said, "What about this smaller sized ironing board?"  
Bob wanted to be able to have our bikes to ride, to 
walk more and to read more----
maybe take up fishing eventually.
Well, we found perfect cruiser bikes for us, and a carrier for
the back of the 5th wheel.  Bob loves riding---
I am trying to build up my "knee power" slowly, he can
ride circles around me . . . . . literally!!!!  :-)
And we both keep our Kindles busy with reading.  Bob just re-read
"Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly and is reading
Charles Krauthamer's new book.

Grizz and Bailey delight in any walk we might want to take,
and they certainly benefit us all!  

And so, as the sun sinks slowly in the west . . . .  .

~ Chuckle ~

We send you all big hugs!

Till Later . . . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

52 Week Challenge # 8 Clara Belle Stetler Biggs

Clara Belle Stetler,
Bob's paternal Grandmother.

Clara Belle Stetler was born on
the 16th of August in 1880
 to Simon Peter and Esther Edith Koup Stetler.
The Stetler family was living in Clay,
Howard County, Indiana.
Clara Belle was the next to the
youngest of her siblings, and had the
nickname of "Clarrie."
According to the 1940 Census, Clara had
an 8th Grade education.

Clara married Elias Martin Biggs on
November 2, 1897 in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County,
Indiana.  Elias was the son of 
Green and Olive Young Biggs. 

Clara Belle Stetler Biggs

Clara and Elias lived in Warren County, Indiana, in Green Hill, a
small town in Medina Township.  
Clara Belle and Elias' marriage was blessed with 9 children.
Clara was widowed at 59, but did not remarry.

I am told by grandchildren who knew Clara, that she loved
her flowers and that she was quick to smile.
One recalled her being a wonderful cook, and 
how they loved her beans!
But most of all, they remember her love,
her gentle ways with them,
her protective spirit encircling them.
She loved to sing the old hymns, and at least one of
her sons, used to think of her
every time he heard or sang
"In the Garden."
She was deeply loved by her children
and by her grandchildren, a gift without measure.

Clara in the center (noted as Mama) and 5 of her children.

Clara Belle had a particularly 
interesting habit that her grandchildren
recall with smiles . . . . .
She smoked a corncob pipe.
However, she only allowed herself
to smoke after all the chores were done. 
One grandchild recalls her 
and her pipe while she was fishing,
another special love of hers.

Clara Belle Stetler Biggs died May 29, 1957 in Green Hill,
she was 76 years old.
She is buried by her husband Elias in 
Davis Cemetery in Green Hill, Indiana.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lake Arrowhead State Park

While we were visiting Jason and Kerry
and the Grands in Burkburnett,
we camped in Lake Arrowhead State Park.
It was about 30 miles south and east of
Burkburnett, to the south of Wichita Falls.

We really enjoyed it there!
I think that it was the solitude that made
the park so nice for us!  
The RV spots are in circles, or cul de sacs,
with 6 spots per circle.
We had our circle to ourselves most
of the time that we were there!

Above is our campsite--the only trees were the short mesquite trees in their winter mode,
the only green on them was the mistletoe!  

This oil derrick was across the road from us, it was often the only sound we heard!
Burkburnett's nickname is Boomtown, and has derricks all over!

The park service has cut in paths to make getting from one spot to another easier.
They also have a few trails.

Danny fishing---not even a bite this particular morning.
Danny has a passion for fishing and he came out to spend a night with us.
We went down to the lake the next morning for him to fish,
and for us to explore a bit.

As you can see in the photo below, Lake Arrowhead is extremely low. 
We asked one of the park employees about the  lake, they said that it was 
at 24%, or 17 feet down. So sad!  So many dead fish along the dry
bottom.  The area of Wichita Falls is in an extreme drought,
in fact, they have begun cloud seeding this month.

Above is the main pier in the State Park.
Danny told us how the water used to be close to the pier walk way.

This Canada Goose (yes, that is the proper term :-) ) was one of many
in the area where we had stopped.  I kept getting closer and closer to it
and taking photos . . . . . . 

It was not a happy goose, squawking as it took off . . . . .
See it's feet tucked up behind it?
He escaped me in the water . . . . . . enjoying it's solitude.

In the photos below were some of our neighbors there at the park!  
Prairie Dogs!  They have a very large Prairie Dog Town there
in the park.
These little guys chirped and barked, ran to their holes,
wagged their little tails in alarm . . .  .
all showing their general displeasure with us being in the area!

They were so fun to watch . . . . running hither and yon, disappearing down 
their tunnels, and then another would pop up in another 
hole nearby!

These little guys and their tunnel openings were everywhere!

 They were very alert little critters . . . . . the one above
looks like he is giving me the "evil eye!"
Isn't he cute!!!!

One of the reasons that they are so alert, is in the photo below . . . . . .

Hawks were plentiful in the park, as their prey was also plentiful . . . . 
snakes, prairie voles, prairie dogs . . . . . .

Isn't it beautiful?  

This little fella above says "So long from Lake Arrowhead State Park!!!!
Come see us!!!"

The dry prairie grasses were so pretty, you can even
see them beginning to green-up!


               Till next time . . . . . . .

Monday, March 3, 2014

52 Week Challenge # 7 Caroline Meyer Dostal

The story of Caroline Meyer Dostal's life that I know
has been handed down to me through
my Grandparents (her youngest son and his
wife) and my Father and my Aunt.
I am going to pass along her story, as it has been
told to us.  Much of it has no formal
documentation, but it is her story, nonetheless.

This painting of Caroline was done from a photo of her.  

Caroline Meyer was born in what she called "Western Prussia" (now Germany)
on March 24, 1855.  It is believed her parents were 
Ludwig Meyer and Anna Gustina.  Caroline had at least
one sibling, an older brother, by the name of John.

Caroline's life was jolted by tragedy as a child.  Her mother
died when she was quite young.  Her father
remarried, however Caroline's step mother did
not give love and acceptance to Caroline.

Caroline's young world was about to suffer an even greater
loss.  She was an adolescent when her father
died, leaving her an orphan in the eyes of her step mother.
Caroline was sent out into the world to make her
own way in the world by her step mother.

Caroline's brother John had already left home and was on
his own, so she decided to set out to find him.

Caroline was found in tears by a kind Polish woman.
This lovely woman took our Great Grandmother home with
her, bringing her into her own family.  Caroline
became part of the family, learning to speak Polish while there.

Caroline Meyer Dostal, circa 1922, with one of her rose bushes.
Eventually, Caroline met and married Karl Dostal,
 our Great Grandfather.
(They would have married circa 1876-1878.)
Together they worked very hard to build a life for themselves and
their children.
Caroline and Karl worked for wealthy land owners, I believe for 
most, if not all, of the time that they were in Prussia.
Caroline worked in what she called the "Big House."
She cooked and did cleaning for the land owners.
Her days were long and filled with hard physical labor, just as
Karl's were, out in the fields.

Caroline spoke of making dinner for the family in the Big House,
then coming home and fixing dinner for her own family,
locking the children in the house for safety and
going back up to the House to clean up and get the 
next days' food begun.

Caroline and Karl had contact with Caroline's brother John.  He had
immigrated to America, to a place called Ludington,
Michigan.  Caroline and Karl decided to immigrate as well,
hoping for a better life and future for their children.  
Caroline said that John sponsored them, and they
immigrated in 1884.  

Caroline and Karl Dostal (seated), their daughter Helen (between them), and their son Fred (our Grandfather)
on their farm in Amber Township, Mason County, Michigan.
They entered America at the Port of New York, it was before Ellis Island, and so must
have been Castle Gardens. 
Once again, Caroline had deep sorrow come into her life.
When Caroline and Karl left Germany, they had three 
children, who were, of course, traveling with them, Emil, Herman and Amelia.
The travel in the ship had many difficulties to deal with,
not the least of which, was illness.
Upon arrival, many were quarantined, Caroline said the children were 
separated from the adults.  She was separated from her children
at some point before she left the ship.  
Caroline was told that two of her children had died, Herman and 
Amelia.  She asked to see them, to hold their little
bodies.  She was denied any access to them.  Emil was 
reunited with his parents, without his brother and sister.
Caroline was in a panicked state, as I can only imagine---to be told
of the loss of two children, and not to have the opportunity to hold them once again.
Caroline told how the rumor was that many young children 
who came into port with immigrating parents were taken and sold
to people who wanted to adopt children, especially those
children with blue eyes and blonde hair.  She said that she felt deep in her
heart that is what happened to her babies. . . . . that her mother's heart
would know if they had died.

Great Grandma Caroline bringing milk up to the house---my Father said he walked that path many, many times.

Caroline said that they spent about three months waiting for the
quarantine.  While there, Caroline actually was
able to help with some of the immigrants coming in, as not only did she speak
German, but she also spoke Polish.

They made their way to Ludington, Michigan, reuniting with Caroline's brother
John and his family.  How wonderful the reunion . . . .

According to the 1900 census, Caroline said that she had had thirteen children,
yet in 1900, only five were living.  The children that we know of were:
Amelia, Herman, Emil, Otto, Charles (died in Michigan of Bright's Disease), 
William, Frederick and Helen.

From the left: Caroline and her children: Helen, Fred, William, Otto and Emil.  circa 1923.
Caroline and Karl eventually were able to purchase their own
land and farm the land, having their own livestock and home.  My
Grandmother Evelyn Dostal loved to tell of the great kindnesses that Grandma
Caroline showed, and how she loved children, going out of her way
to be especially kind to them.  (She had personal knowledge of that importance. . . . .)

Grandma Caroline feeding the chickens . . . . .
Caroline wanted all of her children to be able to have a life that was easier than
the ones that she and Karl had lived through.
This is an excerpt from her obituary,

"She was richly content, declaring that her life had yielded her richer blessings
than she ever expected.  She had lived to see her wish fulfilled for
her children, all of them educated for ?? life work, happily married, and
prosperous.  She declared that, though she would be happy to remain longer with 
them she felt that life for her was finished and was content to go."

Above excerpt from The Ludington Daily News, February 12, 1928, 
Page 1, Column 7 and Page 8, Column 3.

Caroline (front and center), her son Otto to her right and his wife, Frieda Schudlich on the left. To Frieda's left, we believe is her sister.
Caroline Meyer Dostal passed away on the 10th of February in 1928.
She died just six hours after the birth of a little granddaughter, Jean Dostal.  Caroline was too 
ill to be able to receive the information.

Caroline Dostal is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Ludington, Michigan, across the 
street from Lake Michigan.  She is buried next to her husband, Karl, and 
is surrounded there by her family.

The love and kindness, not to mention strength, that Caroline showed 
lives on through her descendants, keeping her legacy alive.

This is a photo of Caroline Meyer Dostal (Grandpa Fred Dostal's Mother) and
William H. Gaffney (Grandma Evelyn Gaffney Dostal's Father).  Both
Caroline and Will lived with our Grandpa and Grandma Dostal on the Dostal Farm in Amber.