A Search For My Family History

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Location: "The Mother Lode" region, California

I retired in 2002, and I'm still loving it!

Friday, April 29, 2005

A Blast From The Past

Brother Rick & Me about 1964- Posted by Hello
The idea for this posting comes from a fairly recent post by christian v.. It also incorporates some thoughts from an email I received several years ago.
Some memories of growing up in the early 1960s:
You could play outside, or just sit on the curb, until either a meal was served, or it was time to get ready for bed. (Yes, we were taught about strangers with candy but it wasn't a common reality.)
We built tree forts, played hide-and-go-seek and freeze tag. There were hula hoops and skates that required keys to affix them to your shoes. Penny candy really cost a penny! A run through the sprinkler was a treat. Playing cards were clipped to the spokes of one's bike to make a cool sound.
You could go home for lunch during the schoolday, and bring friends. Mom's (mostly) didn't work, and usually didn't drive. Why bother, there was only one car!
Girls had headbands and bobby pins, and a bit later there was lip gloss!
You were wary of the dangers of the wringer attachment on the washer. Television was a sacred thing... only Mom & Dad were allowed to touch it.
You might not like your teacher, but you respected him/her. One's parents never ever took sides against a teacher.
On the downside, freezers needed a weekly defrosting, unless you were the type of people who only needed ice.
TV dinners tasted of cardboard... well some things never change.
Restaurants were all closed on Mondays, and grocery stores were all closed on Sundays.
Sunday morning broadcasting consisted of only religious programming. (I did love "Davey and Goliath.")
Jello salads were plentiful, and (I believe) considered one of the food groups.
Telephone lines were shared, and called party lines. This was only a good thing if your neighbor was a gossip.
Lunchmeat was either bologna or olive loaf. Don't offer up Spam, that was baked with a pineapple slice atop, and served for dinner!
Women frequently wore both curlers, and a mumu to the store.
Smoking was allowed everywhere. People even smoked in the grocery store! This was another good reason to wash your fruit and vegetables upon arriving home.
Last, but not least, if you were real bad, there was the belt!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Legend That Is Susie ' Fairchild '

This is actually Eliza Webster (Webstar!) Posted by Hello
Off topic once again!
Yesterday, one of my favorite blogsites susie had a celebrity visitor- Rosie O'Donnell...
How cool is that?
Susie's comments have now soared to over 100 for that single post! * update- the tally has now grown to 127 *
If you haven't seen her site yet, you should.
What does Eliza Webster (pictured) have to do with this?
Not a damn thing!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Here's To Distant Cousins!

Amelia Cook Conaway- courtesy of Len E. Posted by Hello
While searching the message boards on, I recently found a distant cousin!
He's been kind enough to share gravesite photographs from Maryland, and much information of which I was previously unaware.
This photo, for instance, is the tombstone of a common ancestor of ours, Amelia Cook Conaway. She was my GGGG-Grandmother, born August 1780. She died June 14, 1865 in Carroll County, Maryland; and is buried in the Ebenezer U.M. Cemetery in Winfield, Maryland.
To most, I suppose, gravesite photgraphs might seem macabre. In ancestry search, these are quite valuable.
Due to environmental pollution, many grave markers are becoming unreadable.
There are many "Lost Cemeteries." One such cemetery was known as Adam's Garden, and was the family plot of Adam Shipley III and his wife Ruth Tevis (or Tivis.) The markers are long gone, and the land is now occupied by Springfield State Hospital near Sykesville, Maryland. A monument was erected on this site in 1984.
What I'd like to know is what happened to the bodies? Are they lying somewhere below the Hospital grounds?
I hope they're resting in peace!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Could This Be Husband # 2 ?

George Arnold & Carrie Shreeve Posted by Hello
Although George Arnold is written on the backside of this old photograph, I've been unable (so far) to identify him. Many young men during this time period went off to WWI and disappeared from record. As far as I know, Arnold may be his middle name.
Carrie Louisa Shreeve is another story. She was the daughter of my Great-Great Aunt Keturah Louisa Shipley and her husband Jabez G. Shreeve.
Carrie was born March 30, 1887 in Carroll County, Maryland. She was an only child, so George is definitely not her brother.
Carrie married J. Wilson Zepp about 1907, and he subsequently died in August 1918.
Her next husband of record was Charles Walter Oursler. They married sometime after 1930, in Maryland.
Both the 1920 and 1930 census' show Carrie as widowed, but since there is a 10 year gap between the two census, it's entirely possible there was another marriage during that time.
She was obviously a lovely young woman, and suitors were probably plentiful.
Carrie died in June 1983, and was buried next to her first husband J. Wilson Zepp.
I met her husband "Charlie" Oursler when I was a young girl, but I don't recall ever meeting Carrie.
I have 3 or 4 photos of Carrie, but no pictures of either of her known husbands (although they could possibly be among my "Unknown Photos" collection.)
It's not wise to speculate about these matters, but it sure looks like this is a wedding photograph to me!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

About Retirement

Margaret Kaufman Campbell, abt. 1802 - 1880 Posted by Hello
I was recently searching census records, and suddenly realized- back in the olden days, people rarely retired!
While tracing one gentleman through the decades I noticed he'd been working on the railroad for many years. His final census entry (at the age of 76) showed him living with his widowed son-in-law, and still showed him employed by the railroad, as a security guard.
Some people love their jobs and intend to work until they drop, but I believe most of us plan on retirement at some point (usually as soon as possible.)
Although I was divorced about 11 years before retirement, and therefore lost half my assets, I was able to retire on schedule.
How you ask?
Pay off all debts, especially credit cards! Credit cards are just legalized loan-sharking. I keep only two, and pay the entire amount owed upon receipt.
If your employer has a savings plan available (especially if they match a percentage of your investment) you should invest. As you (hopefully) receive raises over the years you need to up the percentage you're investing. If you job jump, roll that puppy over.
Think! What do you intend to do with your retirement? Travel? Kick back and go fishing? Are you happy where you are, or do you want to relocate?
I found a site yesterday which I enjoyed. There were quite a few questions, but the results were interesting. findyourspot gives you something like 25 locations where you might like to live. Due to my answers, all suitable towns happened to be located in Alaska, Montana and Colorado. I currently live in California...
Don't count on Social Security! 'Nuff said.'
As you get closer to retirement, you'll need to estimate a monthly budget. Don't forget the little things that add up, like haircuts, manicures, magazine subscriptions, Christmas and birthday gifts, and those emergency (and costly) home repairs.
So how does Margaret (pictured above) enter into this subject matter? She went to live with one of her many sons as she grew old. Now that is something I refuse to do!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

At Least Somebody Came By For A Visit

Lone deer in front of the garage- Posted by Hello
I have two blogsites which I update frequently. It seems my (few) fans look at either one or the other, but not both. Hey, I'm happy to have any readers whatsoever! Bless you all.
This story is a duplicate of today's story on my Sierra Vistas site. Although this is a tad off my usual 'style' for this blog, I wished to include it.

Allow me to preface this story with the fact that I've been suffering from both allergies and neck problems for the past week, and been self medicating with both NyQuil, Advil, and most anything I can get my hands on-
My sister-in-law called real early yesterday morning and left a voicemail informing us that she, her husband and two other family members were running late, and they wouldn't be here until noon.
I happened across this message while waiting for my morning coffee to appear, around 9:15, and was flabbergasted. I didn't remember making any plans whatsoever!
Could I have actually held a conversation with someone while under the effects of the previously mentioned medications and not remembered?
Horribly embarassed, I woke my husband, gulped some coffee and roared into motion. I showered, swept, dusted, vacuumed and tidied up the bathrooms.
Since most of our guests choose to spend the night, I made up the guest bed as well.
Noon came and went.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm also came and went.
Now I have one sister, and if she were this late I wouldn't be surprised. She's been to our home 5 or 6 times, and gets lost every time! One Christmas, she called late and lost as usual. She didn't know where she was, but she did say it was snowing... it wasn't snowing here! The last time we got together she called en route to inform us she'd left extremely early (for once.) We were elated! She called again, about 15 minutes after she should have arrived and said "we're almost there, which Yosemite exit do I take?" We live somewhat between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe... sister was only 2 hours late that time.
Anyway, about 3:30 I fired off an email to sister-in-law, asking where they were (and mentioning we'd been expecting her special deviled eggs as well.)
It turned out sister-in-law has been sick, stressed, and had meant to dial the other SierraBella and Mr. SierraBella in their lives. (Who would think with such an uncommon name this could happen?)
All I can say is at least my house is clean...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Say Cheese... Please?

Ellen Campbell Murray, 1839 - 1918 Posted by Hello
Born Ellen Campbell, in Athens County, Ohio, in 1839. She was my great-great grandmother.
She became a teacher and later moved to Carroll County, Maryland, sometime between 1860 and 1870.
She married Samuel Murray on October 9, 1869.
Ellen appears to be the only one of her eight siblings to leave Ohio. I wonder just how this marriage came about.
Was she deemed a spinster schoolteacher and had an arranged marriage forced upon her? Both her father, and father-in-law (to be) came from Ireland, perhaps there is a connection there.
Her future husband was a farmer, and not likely to travel to Ohio on a lark. (ROADTRIP- hitch up the buggy and let's go!)
I do know that Ellen's parents met, and married, in a section of Frederick County, Maryland, which later became Carrol County.
An entire segment of my Lescalleet family also moved to Ohio, from Maryland, in the same timeframe.
Samuel Murray's mother was Ann Lescalleet, so my best guess is the families kept in close contact after the move. I like to imagine the families had some kind of get-together, maybe a wedding, reunion, or even a funeral, bringing about a meeting of the two.
Ellen passed away during the influenza pandemic, in 1918, bringing an end to her story.
I do wish, however, there was at least one photo in which she was allowed to crack a smile.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Me & "Monkey Muggs" Posted by Hello
Since I appear to be the oldest blogger poster around, I'm betting none of my readers will know who this monkey is! (I don't mean the one in the hat.)
Oh, we're not related either... just roommates for several years.
J. Fred Muggs was a baby chimp who appeared on The Today Show in the early 1950s to boost sagging ratings. He appeared, along with Dave Garroway for 13 weeks and was well loved by the audience.
I didn't know this until I just now Googled his name. One article, dated about 1998, claimed he was still living!
I doubt whether I watched The Today Show at such a young age, heck- I don't watch it now.
My toy is now long gone, but not forgotten. Here's to you Monkey Muggs!

Monday, April 11, 2005


Dad & Ted in the washtub, about 1940- Posted by Hello
I'm unsure whether this photo was posed, or whether this was truly a bath.
My grandmother's house was old, in fact it still had the (disabled) gas fixtures high on the walls from the pre-electric era. This home on Cottage Street in Rochester, New York, also had at least one bathroom.
This picture may have come from their previous residence on Wyndham Road, which I don't recall ever visiting.
The manner in which the boys are hiding their faces leads me to believe it's a bath... but dear God where are those bubbles coming from?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Take My Wife... Please!

Edward Campbell, 1843 - 1924 Posted by Hello
Edward Campbell was born in Ohio, fought in the Civil War in the 32nd Infantry, Company K, and later became a farmer.
He didn't marry until about 1916, when he was 73 years old!
As a child I'd heard tales about a Great-Aunt Cora who was considered the family hillbilly, or as my Grandmother said "Hill William." This woman supposedly ran around barefoot, played fiddle and smoked a corncob pipe!
While researching the family, I've always kept my eyes open for anything on a Cora, and finally found her about a year ago.
She's actually my Great-Great Aunt through marriage.
Cora E. Bailes was born in 1881. She married a Samuel C. Kelley in 1897, had two sons, and was widowed sometime around 1910. Cora married Edward Campbell at the age of 35, (he was 73.) They had one son together, Edward Jr., who supposedly died when the bus in which he was riding rolled off a mountain.
I have a great number of 'unknown' people in old photographs, so I just might have a picture of Cora, but I don't recall any photos of a barefoot woman, playing a fiddle and smoking a corncob pipe. Darn!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

NOT A Happy Camper!

Mrs. Dewey, Harris Ferry, West Virginia Posted by Hello
Darn these photos!
I have pictures of a Mr., Mrs., Coleman and W.M. Dewey. All were labeled Harris Ferry, West Virginia. I have no idea who these people are.
Coleman, being an uncommon name, was the moniker I chose to begin the search. Would you believe it- there were two Coleman Deweys to be found in Harris Ferry in the same general time period!
From what I've read, the process of photography (in those bygone days) required one to sit, perfectly still, for a long period of time. Therefore one rarely sees a smiling portrait. A smile can falter during this long procedure, therefore the subjects were directed to keep a straight face.
When I spend a great deal of time trying to research these photos, I imagine, should I look into a mirror, this is the same expression on my own face. I too am not a happy camper!