Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On My Way!

Coat of Arms of the Stuart Princes of Wales (1610-1688)The long-awaited (by me, at least) Colorado Family History Expo in Colorado Springs is finally almost here! I'm making my way there by car, bus, plane and - mini-van!

This Friday and Saturday, June 1st and 2nd, hundreds of family history enthusiasts will gather at the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs. The Expo will open with a keynote address by Don R. Anderson, Senior Vice President for FamilySearch. 

With the theme of "Your Family History Starts Here!," there will be literally dozens of learning opportunities for the attendees over the course of two days. With presentations ranging from beginner (Let's Get Started! with yours truly) to experienced (English, Swedish, Cherokee, German, to name a few specialties), there is something for everyone. Whether you're a beginner, or you've come up against a brick wall, or are looking to extend a line, this is the place to be.

Holly Hansen, President of Family History Expos, and an ultra-experienced genealogist, will present the closing keynote. Her addresses are always a special treat, as she shares some of her personal research experiences.

The classes are great! The company is fabulous! Come join us!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Thornton

Daniel Thornton
1837 - 1898

Daniel Thornton was born on December 12, 1837, in Lubec, Washington County, Maine. His parents were David and Mary. He was a seaman at the time of his registration for the draft at the beginning of the Civil War. He subsequently served in the 12th Regiment, Maine Infantry. On October 15, 1879, he married Annie Louise Huntley in Cutler, Washington County, Maine. In 1880, they were living there and had an infant daughter, Hattie. In the Washington State Territorial Census taken in May 1887, Daniel was living in Port Gamble, Kitsap County. He was a woodsman. His wife was not listed in the census, though it says he was married. Port Gamble was the home of the Pope and Talbot Lumber Mill. Daniel died on August 28, 1898, and is buried in Port Gamble. His widow was enumerated in the 1900 census in Port Gamble.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

In Memory... Memorial Day, and more family

Originally called "Decoration Day," Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 when General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued his General Order No. 11. The first observation of the Day was 30 May 1868. On that date, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Today, we observe Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. 
Decoration day crowds at cemetery in Kirkwood, from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views
Decoration day crowds at cemetery in Kirkwood, via WikiCommons

The original order suggested that we "gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor.." This year, we will seek out the graves of some of the souls who bravely served us, particularly during wartime. It's never too late to say "Thank you."

Not to be forgotten from among the individuals in my family file, the men listed below also died while serving during the Civil War.
  • Myron Emery Avery (1845 - 1864) 6th Regiment, Indiana Cavalry
  • Andrew M. Clark (1834 - 1863) 121st Regiment, Ohio Infantry
  • William R. Coryell (1842 - 1864) 21st Regiment, New York Cavalry
  • William M. Cowger (1845 - 1862) 13th Regiment, Kansas Infantry
  • Edward Hays (1842 - 1863) Indiana
  • Abraham S. Kibler (1809 - 1863) 53rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry
  • James Thomas Lindsay (1846 - 1865) Kentucky
  • Harrison Runyan (1845 - 1864) 13th Regiment, Iowa Infantry

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Memory... Albert D. Gibler

At just 19 years old, Albert Delbert Gibler enlisted to serve in the Union Army on August 15, 1862. He lived in Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, the son of James David and Sarah Margaret (Sams) Gibler. He was my husband's second great-granduncle.

Albert was enlisted as a private in Company I, Iowa 34th Infantry Regiment on October 15, 1862, when it was mustered in. Below is a record from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors website outlining the service of his unit.

"Organized at Burlington and mustered in October 15, 1862... SERVICE.-Sherman's Yazoo Expedition December 22, 1862, to January 2, 1863. Chickasaw Bayou December 26-28, 1862. Chickasaw Bluffs December 29. Expedition to Arkansas Post, Ark., January 3-10, 1863. Assault on and capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post, January 10-11. Moved to Chicago, Ill., with prisoners January 17-February 5. At St. Louis, Mo., till April 1. Guard prisoners to City Point, Va., April 1-20. Moved to Pilot Knob, Mo., and duty there till June 3. Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., June 3-10. Siege of Vicksburg June 10-July 4. Expedition to Yazoo City July 12-21. Occupation of Yazoo City July 14. Moved to Port Hudson, ..."
Siege of Vicksburg by Kurz & Allison
By Kurz & Allison [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

According to a family history, Albert died "of a chill of the brain in an army hospital." His service record says he died of disease on July 27, 1863, at Port Hudson, Louisiana. I add Albert to the list of brave souls to be honored and remembered for their service to our great nation.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Memory... Isaac Gothard

Isaac Gothard was my Grandpa Epps' great-grandfather. Isaac was a free person of color with a twin brother, John. They were born in Indiana and lived in Iowa, but Isaac's life ended at the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia.
Andersonville Prison
By John L. Ransom [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On July 1, 1863, both Isaac and John enlisted in the 3rd Iowa Infantry, Company B. They were living in  Westfield, Fayette County, Iowa. I do not know exactly when Isaac began his service, but the information below is from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors website showing the areas in which his unit served until the time of his capture.

"Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 5-10. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Assault on Jackson July 12. Duty at Vicksburg till November. Moved to Natchez, Miss., November 18. Return to Vicksburg December 16, and duty there till February, 1864. Meridian Campaign February 3-March 2. Veterans on furlough March to May. Non-Veterans on Red River Campaign March 10-May 22. Fort DeRussy March 14. Pleasant Hill April 9. Pleasant Hill Landing April 12-13. About Cloutiersville April 22-24. At Alexandria April 30-May 13. Boyce's and Wells' Plantation May 6. Bayou Boeuf May 7. Retreat to Morganza May 13-20. Mansura May 16. Yellow Bayou May 18-19. Non-Veterans mustered out June, 1864. Veterans moved to Cairo, lll., thence to Clifton, Tenn. March to Ackworth, Ga., via Huntsville and Decatur, Ala., and Rome, Ga., May 5-June 10. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign June 10-September 8. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Chattahoochie River July 6-12. Leggett's, Bald Hill, July 20-21. Battle of Atlanta July 22."

Isaac was captured on July 22, 1864, at Atlanta, Georgia. He died on October 5, 1864, one of approximately 45,000 Union prisoners to die there. I honor Isaac Gothard for his willingness to defend the principles of freedom.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

In Memory... John Topping

Battle of Antietam
By Unknown author; Kurz & Allison, Art Publishers, Chicago, U.S.A., via Wikimedia Commons

Looking through my family history database, I found that I have just one direct ancestor who gave his life in the line of military duty. I only looked at the Civil War to the present. I have several who served, and some who died, during the protracted revolutionary conflicts. I have written previously about John Topping, who was my third great-grandfather.

With Memorial Day approaching, I wish to highlight John, again. Here is a synopsis of his military service. 

John enlisted on August 18, 1861, at Madison, Wisconsin. He was living in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, at the time. He enlisted in Company G, 7th Infantry Regiment. He was serving with the same unit when he was killed at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

From the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors website, here is the service rendered by John's unit up until Antietam:

"Duty in the Defences of Washington, D. C., till March, 1862. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-16. Advance to Falmouth, Va., April 9-19. Duty at Falmouth and Fredericksburg till August. McDowell's advance on Richmond May 25-29. Operations against Jackson June 2-11. Reconnoissance to Orange Court House July 24-27. Expedition to Frederick's Hall Station and Spottsylvania Court House August 5-8. Thornburg's Mills or Massaponax Church August 5-6. Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Fords of the Rappahannock August 21-23. Catlett's Station August 22. Gainesville August 28. Battles of Groveton August 29; Bull Run August 30; Chantilly September 1 (Reserve). Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Battles of South Mountain September 14; Antietam September 16-17. At Sharpsburg, Md.,..."

Many, many more men died that day. I am thankful for their courage, devotion, service and sacrifice.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Hodge

Zephaniah Hodge
1845 - 1939
photo courtesy Hava Hoyle
Zephaniah was born August 5, 1845, in Pennsylvania to John and Julia A. (Evans/Ivans) Hodge. He was a Private in Company B of the 126th Infantry from the state of Illinois during the Civil War. In 1890, he lived in Umatilla County, Oregon. He filed for his pension from Washington State in 1907. He married twice, once to Phoebe Rynearson in Pennsylvania. He then married Mary Jane Tate in Washington. He had several children. He was a resident (inmate) at the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil, where he died on May 5, 1939.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Man's Journey - Part IV


The Fire (circa 1906)

I think I told you somewhere above that we lived about three miles east of Caldwell, so even with a team of horses and a heavy wagon, it probably didn’t take us too long to make the trip to Caldwell.

One day, Papa had to go to town to get some work done at a blacksmith shop. He took me with him. A small stream runs through Caldwell. The blacksmith shop stood on the northeast side of the stream, which was called Indian Creek, and a large livery stable stood on the southwest side of Indian Creek. I really can’t imagine how many horses were lodged in this building, but I would think there may have been 20 or 30.

While we were at the shop, a fire broke out in the livery. To me, it was quite a sight. We were probably about 200 feet from the fire. Of course, there was no fire department as we now have. I was more interested in the action. There were horses running in all directions. Men were going into the stable and loosing the horses or leading them out. Anyway, as soon as they would get a horse out, he would break away and run back into the fire. From later references, I would guess that nearly all horses stabled in the barn died.

Some time later, perhaps a couple of days, we went back to town and they had stacked all of the horse carcasses in a huge pile and were burning them. You can only imagine the stench. I suppose they could have buried them.

alfalfa (photo courtesy wikimedia commons)
It was about this time that near tragedy struck. Since no one had too many dollars to spend for hired help, the local people would trade hours. Example: if a neighbor had haying to do or grain to thresh, Papa would put in a day or two or maybe several days, helping to get the work done; and then the group would move on to another farm. During this time, Papa would be building up credit hours for when the time came when he would require help on our place. Since most places (farms) were approximately the same size, I imagine they all came about even. The men were always fed at noon, so Mama would sometimes go to help prepare the food, because there could be from 10 to 20 men to feed. Not all women could do this, probably because of a large family or a large number of livestock to care for.

This incident occurred when we were all at a neighbor’s place putting up alfalfa hay. I think I mentioned above the large ditch, or high line as we called it, running through the area feeding branch canals. From an educated guess, I could say the high line was 14 to 16 feet wide and, of course, very deep – five to eight feet. The farmer had built a waterwheel, what for I do not know, downstream; and close to the wheel the farmer had made a bridge (foot) by placing a couple of 12” planks across the ditch.

example of a waterwheel (photo courtesy wikimedia commons)
Bill was about two and I was about five. We were both curious about the waterwheel, so we both walked out onto the plank (bridge) to get a closer look. Bill put his small hand on one of the buckets and didn’t let go. The wheel dragged him under the water and over the top, and when he came up, still hanging onto the bucket, he was able to grab the edge of the foot bridge and hang on, choking and sputtering. All I did was stand there, scared to death. I can still see Bill hanging over that plank coughing up water. One of the men was close by, so he came running and pulled Bill up out of the water. I understand that he told Mama later that he had witnessed the whole thing and was ready to give us a hand if we had gotten into real trouble. I don’t remember anything more about that incident.

Bill’s 1st haircut (Fall of 1907)

I’m sure I didn’t mention this incident anywhere in this report, but I witnessed the dastardly act and the affect it had on our mother.

Scissor-for-paper As you know, you Uncle Bill had very curly red hair, and for some reason, Mama wanted to keep him looking like a little girl? During threshing season, she had to go to town for supplies. One of the threshing crew sat Bill down on the wash basin stand and cut all the long curls off as well as the braid which was always tied with a ribbon. I don’t know where Papa was; maybe they both went to town. Anyway, when Mama got home and saw Bill, she just about flipped. I’m sure she could have killed the guy right there. It was a bum joke and maybe she should have killed him. She did save the braid and some curls for years.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned several times that economics was kind of tough. We seemed to always have plenty to eat, but very little money (I guess here that the barter system was pretty much in effect).

Of course, I can’t remember what my parents did for recreation or entertainment. I remember one year we went to Boise. The Scottish people were putting on a big wing ding and some girls doing the sword dance and Highland fling. Also on that trip, Bill and I were outfitted with boots (black) with a red top and a tassel at the top of each boot. I can imagine that we outgrew them rather rapidly.

The water springs

There is a lot of natural hot water coming out of the earth around Boise and extending east and north into the Sun Valley country and the Salmon River. Mama had a number of relatives living in that area, having cattle ranches and dairies. I remember only one visit to the area, but I’m sure there were several. We would go by train to Gooding and from there to Ketchum by stage, and we were picked up in Ketchum by some member of the family to go to their place.

A to B: Caldwell to Sun Valley

The one thing I distinctly remember was the hot water springs. They had a log cabin – or house – which had two springs (large) bubbling out of the earth (guessing, I would say they were about 10 feet apart). One was boiling hot and the other was ice cold. I could stand on the edge of these pools and watch the men wash their milk cans in the hot water while you could get a nice cold dipper of cold water form the other pool. In Boise, they had what was called a natatorium or large covered swimming pool filled by hot water springs.

Caldwell train depot - 1907
An aunt

I’m sure we visited other relatives in Boise, but there was only one person that I remember, a woman, or girl, who had a deformed back, the result of falling out of a swing located on the front porch of their house. Mama could not let me near that swing for fear that I could be injured.

Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library
I don’t remember Papa going on any of these excursions except the time we went to Boise and got the red-topped boots, but I guess someone had to stay home and look after things.

Whenever a circus came to town (Caldwell), we would always go. I saw Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show a couple of times. He looked like the pictures of him, and he always rode a white horse.

Of course, there was the County Fair each year, but I believe I should go into that faze in the next era of this narrative since I was involved to some degree.

to be continued...

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Man's Journey - Part III

Now that I have all of the above written, which was probably unnecessary, I’d better get on with the story.

The Runaway

National Archives photo
As near as I can figure, it was March or April 1906, so I was just past my 3rd birthday and Bill was nine or ten months old. Mama had to go some place so she hitched up a team to the buckboard. Being early in the spring, the horses had not been worked too much during the winter months. Consequently, they were extremely frisky and wanted to run, and run they did. Mama had placed me on the right side of the seat with Bill in the middle. Mama was a strong young woman, but it was an impossibility to hold two kids with her right arm and control the runaway team with the other (left arm). Anyway, it wasn’t long before we hit one of those culverts that, due to the weather, was partly out of the ground. You can imagine what happened to old buckboard. By this time, Mama was hanging onto Bill, and I was up in the air someplace. When I came down just in front of the rear wheel, I landed in a mud hole. Somewhere in that brief moment, I hit something on the left side of my head. I don’t remember much for a while. How Mama got the team stopped and turned around I’ll never know, for some reason I never asked her in later years.

We got back to the house okay. Papa was out in the field and Mama yelled and hollered for him to come quick. They stood me on the table to look at the wound. I guess it was pretty bad, because Mama suddenly said “There is his brains,” but it later developed that my skull was not penetrated; so, it must have been my white skull that shocked her. I don’t remember anything more about this incident. There were three outstanding things I remember – 1- horses running, 2- sitting in the mud hole, 3- standing on the table.

I don’t remember too much that was happening until Bill started to walk. At this point, things are quite jumbled. There were a lot of thing happening, but I don’t know in what sequence.

Chewing Tobacco

Union Leader Cut Plug
Joe Mabel(
There was the incident of chewing tobacco. Most men and some women chewed tobacco as well as smoked, so one day I go a hold of a piece of leather strap and decided to make a plug of chewing tobacco. Of course, Bill had to have a piece, so we took it out to the chopping block. Bill wasn’t much taller than the block, but he managed to hold the piece of leather so I could divide it with the ax. Fortunately, the ax was very dull except for a small area on the back side. I missed the strap and hit the back of his hand. The blade angled across the back of his hand, cutting off the first finger just above the joint.

You can imagine the screaming and hollering that ensued. The tip of the finger was hanging by a thin strip of skin. We both made a dash for the house. Mama immediately replaced the cut off tip and bound it with a cloth. We didn’t have such things as bandages and adhesive tape. I have no idea if she sterilized in any way, nor do I know if we went to the doctor. Anyway, the finger grew together okay, but it was always a little crooked. At this point, I would say that Bill was about one and a half years old and I would be about four.

Bill and the Runaway

Canyon City Mural (Grant County, Oregon scenic images) (graD0100)
Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons
Papa would go to town {Caldwell, Idaho} once in a while. He normally used what we called the lumber wagon, because he had to haul stock feed, coal and other heavy items. Whenever he returned from one of these trips, he always brought us some chewing gum. I can never forget standing at the corner of the shack with Bill and looking up at Papa waiting for him to toss the package. He looked like he was 10 feet in the air to two little guys, but as far as I know, he never disappointed us.

One day, he drove in and we were not there to meet him. He left the team standing still hitched to the wagon at the corner of the house. The lines were tied to the brake handle (yes, there were brakes on wagons). Papa went someplace. At this time, Bill and I showed up to get our treats. Since Papa wasn't there, Bill proceeded to climb up into the wagon. He could just about see over the side boards. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden, the horses took off running, around the barn and then around the hay stacks. The horses were running hard, making a short circle around the hay stacks, so the dust was flying and so were the chickens and anything else in the way. I don't remember how Papa got them stopped, but I shall always remember Bill's little head sticking above the dashboard, hanging on for dear life.

to be continued...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

One Man's Journey - Part II

Oregon 1903
I don’t know exactly what Papa had when he traveled the 150 miles (approximately, since the road is now changed) from La Grande to Fort Boise. But I do know (was told) he had the dray wagon loaded with household goods and food for the animals and himself.

He had four horses and one cow. The trip took him a little over three weeks. The roads were not much more than trails. We can now cover the same distance in three hours. How he made it by himself will always remain a mystery.

Since I was very young at this point, I couldn’t tell what was going on, and it is hard to tell just when I began to remember incidents. Bill was born in Boise on July 23, 1905, so I think that is just about the starting point at 2-½ years old. There is one incident in particular that makes me believe this.

[When recording the information in this story, I have always referred to my little brother as Bill. He was a very large baby – 11 lbs. 12 oz. at birth. Someone suggested he be named the Duke. someone else suggested the Colonel – and as you know, he was always called Colonel. I have used Bill because it’s shorter and will continue to do so.]

First, I think I should tell you that Papa and, of course, Mama either homesteaded or purchased land three miles east of Caldwell, Idaho, approximately 25 miles west of Fort Boise and one mile north of the railroad tracks. I don’t know if the buildings were on the place when he got it. The buildings consisted of a tar paper shack, two barns and a privy; but, I can’t remember where the privy was located (or the well). I do remember the shack was a one room affair. I remember the location of the bed, kitchen range and table. We had two chairs that I can remember. (I have started a picture of the house and its environs and hopefully I’ll get it finished to help explain the details).

First Memories

For a little over 2-½ years, I had been king pin of the place. I had gotten all of the attention, so naturally, I must have been somewhat concerned when suddenly a fat redhead kid showed up and who sat on Mama’s lap where I had been sitting. It must have been enough to shake anyone up. I was very, very lonely. I don’t think I showed my disappointment too much, neither did I try to harm my new little brother.

As far as I can remember, the shack (house) had only one window. It was located about the center of the wall on the west side.

My mama was setting in a rocker with the baby. I was setting in a child’s rocker (Mildred’s) facing her. The western sun was streaming through the window and there were a number of flies buzzing lazily around. That was the moment that whole world had deserted me. From that time on until his death, Bill was part of my life.
Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. This view shows an irrigation ditch which supplies . . . - NARA - 538378
via Wikimedia Commons

While he was growing, things were happening to me. I’ve always been fascinated with water and to keep me out of the various irrigation ditches, Mama fastened an empty five-gallon kerosene can to me. The fences were built with barbed wire, usually two to three strands. I would put the can over the lower strand and then crawl under the strand of wire. Well, that didn’t work too well for me since I couldn’t go anywhere.

Mama raised quite a few turkeys and a number of geese. Those guys would peck me just about where a belt crosses one’s back; I still have the scars. As fast as I could run, I couldn’t get away from them.

The turkeys were not so lucky. They were fenced in a small area in the yard. I was able to get into the enclosure. Unfortunately, my loving methods were fatal for the little turkeys. That was the first time I remember being spanked. (HARD!!)

I used to visit a lady across the road who had a nice raspberry patch and she could make good cookies, too. She may have been a widow because I never saw a man around. One day, we were picking raspberries and she started to beat the ground. She had found a rattlesnake coiled in the shade. She then showed me where she had been bitten on her hand and the marks the snake had made with his fangs. She was treated by an Indian who used a chicken feather to spread some liquid on her arm, which had swollen almost to the bursting point. Probably later visits were confined to the house and the cookies. (Maybe more about rattlesnakes later.)

At this point, things were happening pretty fast for a couple of little boys, so it is hard to keep things in order. In order to tell you the next story, I think I should say a few! words about “Buckboard”. Maybe you already know, but I couldn’t find a description in the encyclopedia. I mentioned this vehicle somewhere above. I don’t think it is the same buckboard mentioned above unless Papa trailed it behind the wagon on the trip from La Grande, and that would be very unlikely.

Whoever invented the thing probably didn't have too much material to work with since it amounted to four wheels, two (2) axles, a floor attached to the axles, a seat which could be anything from a flat board to something that had a low back and sides to it. There were no springs. The sides and back of our seat had 4-6 inch pieces across the sides and back to prevent sliding off the back or sides. You weren't supposed to fall off the front of the seat.

It was pulled either by one horse or two. If only one horse was used, a pair of shafts were attached to the front axle. If two horses were used, then a tongue (wooden) was used. When shafts were used, only a single tree was necessary to fasten the tugs to. Our buckboard was used with two horses so a tongue was required, a yoke to hold the tongue up and a double tree to fasten the tugs to be able to pull the contraption. Actually, the vehicle was quite light, so normally only one horse could be used.
Buckboard Farmington Hills Michigan

to be continued...

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colorado Family History Expo - Coming Up!

It's coming soon! And it promises to be great! Don R. Anderson, the Senior Vice President at FamilySearch, will give the keynote opening address following the theme "Your Family History Starts Here!" On Saturday, I will share my "Let's Get Started" presentation, a great jump-start for beginning genealogists. Many, many other qualified speakers and researchers will make presentations geared for researchers of all levels.

If you, or anyone you know, are in the Colorado Springs area, this is the place to be on June 1st and 2nd. Family History Expos puts on a fabulous genealogy-related event - every time! And, the price is right! The banner above is a link to info about this Expo.

I frequent the "Ask the Pros" booth, so seek me out. I'd love to meet you; and - we can take a picture. ;p

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Humphrey

Frank M. Humphrey
1890 - 1926

Frank M. Humphrey was born February 18, 1890, in Missouri. His parents were Thomas and Mabel Humphrey. They lived in Kidder, Caldwell Co., Missouri, in 1900 and 1910 (Thomas died between the census enumerations). In 1920, he lived in Kidder with his wife, Lela M. (Jewell), and his daughter, Hope. Frank died on October 12, 1926, and is buried in the Kidder Cemetery.

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