Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Harry Slater

My maternal grandfather Harry Slater is the young man with his cap perched on the back of his head sitting right behind the guy on the left in front in this photograph taken in Severy, Kansas, sometime before 1915.
[Courtesy of Olive Kennedy]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Verlinda Stone (1692 - About 1740)

William Stone named his second daughter Verlinda after his paternal grandmother, Verlinda Graves Stone, whose husband (also named William) had served as governor of Maryland in the 17th Century.

Verlinda married Joseph Harrison in about 1715 in Charles County, Maryland, and when he died late in 1727 he named three children in his will, Richard, Joseph* and Tabitha.** Verlinda and her father William were two of the named executors, along with Thomas Matthews, the husband of her sister Mary.
["Maryland, Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999," images, FamilySearch ( https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24310-12965-6?cc=1803986&wc=M15K-SPJ:146535701,148432001 : accessed 07 Apr 2014), Charles > Wills 1704-1733 vol 3 > image 127-28 of 166; citing Hall of Records, Annapolis.]

Only four year later Verlinda's father died, leaving a will providing for his widow and children, including Verlinda, who was to receive some property and have the debt she owes to her father forgiven, except for "twenty five pounds Sterling to purchase a neagro [sic] which is to be in her mothers possession and to her use during her natural life and at her Death is to return to my Son Richard Stone and his heirs[.]"***

["Maryland, Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999," images, FamilySearch ( https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24310-13010-0?cc=1803986&wc=SNYZ-DPK:146535701,148432001 : accessed 30 June 2015), Charles - Wills 1704-1733 vol 3 - image 151-52 of 166; Hall of Records, Annapolis.]

Verlinda not marry again and we have her own will, dated December 4, 1739, and proved the following February. In her bequests to her children, she disposed of slaves and personal possessions like a number of pieces of walnut furniture, looking glasses, items of silver like a snuffbox and spoons, and a gold ring, all of which testify to the fact that she was a woman of substance.

["Maryland, Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999," images, FamilySearch ( https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-24310-13010-0?cc=1803986&wc=SNYZ-DPK:146535701,148432001 : accessed 30 June 2015), Charles - Wills 1704-1733 vol 3 - image 151-52 of 166; Hall of Records, Annapolis.]

Verlinda and Joseph both died relatively young. In contrast, her mother Theodosia Wade Stone died in 1749 in her 82nd year.

*Joseph Hansen Harrison, whose daughter Nancy is my paternal fifth great grandmother.
**A second daughter named Elizabeth (who is still a minor) appears in her mother's will and I assume that she was born after her father's death. It was Verlinda's expressed hope that Elizabeth would choose to live with "my well beloved sister Theodosia Stone" until she came of age.
***William's wife and other children, including other married daughters were bequeathed enslaved persons but not Verlinda. Perhaps this is because as a widow, he was concerned that she would re-marry and her property would be controlled by her new husband. William expressed definite concern in his will and a codicil that Thomas Matthews did not have any claim on the bequest to his daughter Mary.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Drive: Currey

Here it is, our brand-new 1961-62 Toyota Land Cruiser* sitting proudly in the front yard of the Currey's desert house in Ocotillo. This is the vehicle I first learned to drive, off-road in the Imperial Valley, and it was a beast! You just knew you could go anywhere with it.**

[From my personal collection]

Dad bought it from John A. Rose's Toyota dealership in Mission Valley and he loved how well-built it was. (He enjoyed pointing out to people how every cotter pin--and other loose part--had its own little chain attaching it to the car so it wouldn't get lost if it fell out on a rough patch of road.) Of course he chose a red one.

*I don't remember exactly what year, but my guess is based on the style of the rear view mirror, the lack of the tiny rear corner windows added in later years and the fact that the yellow/black California license plate was changed to black/yellow the next year. The car was so new that its tags hadn't arrived from the DMV yet.
**One summer we even used it to pull our 21-foot Boles Aero trailer to Oregon and back. I'll have to hunt out a picture of that.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

School Days: Slater/Currey

I'm kneeling in the first row, fourth from the right, in this First Communion picture taken just over 60 years ago at St. Rita's School here in San Diego.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Family Friday: Webb

The five surviving Webb sisters, My maternal great aunts Mildred (1900-1973), Luella (1896 – 1991), Pheobe (1898 – 1965) and Rose (1903 – 1988). In the middle of them is my grandmother Anna (1891 – 1973). The men, from left to right, Mildred's husband Louis Siemsen (1897 – 1975) and their son Alan Siemsen (1925 – 1993) and my grandfather Harry Slater (1888 – 1956). The missing Webb sister Nora Nielsen died in February of 1955.
[Courtesy of Olive Kennedy]
Apparently the building that the group is standing in front of, Fawn Hollow Tavern, was infamous in its day. However it closed for good in 1952, so they weren't there for a drink.
Fawn Hollow Tavern was located in Hell’s Half Acre, an area of saloons and brothels that were rough even by today’s standards. Holding the nickname “Bucket of Blood,” patrons would fight just for entertainment, and it wouldn’t matter if you won or lost. There is even the occasional rumor of bodies buried out back and never talked about again. 
Fawn Hollow Tavern closed its doors on December 31, 1952 at the stroke of midnight when the liquor license belonging to then-owner Mrs. Mickey Garrett expired and the city council refused to renew it based upon the establishment’s bad reputation. The end culminated as a result of an incident where Deputy Sheriff W. J. Calhoun, responding to reports of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, barely survived with his life after being severely beaten and left for dead in the parking lot.
If some photos on Flickr are to be believed the building is still standing although it's lost it's porch in the intervening years.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Great News: Freedmen's Bureau Records To Be Digitized and Made Available Online Free!

By now you've probably heard of the announcement from last Friday* that 1.5 million records from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen's Bureau) will soon be available online free. It's estimated that these handwritten documents, which provide invaluable documentary sources of information for the four million newly freed people, ** will be completely digitized by late next year in time for the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington.
[Illustration showing an African American soldier at his wedding in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Contributor Names: Waud, Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891, artist; Created / Published:1866.Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. ]

Tennessee, Lebanon, Wilson County, sent to Freedmen's Bureau Headquarters, 
Washington, DC, M1875, roll 4. National Archives]

But getting all these records online is only the beginning. Until they've been indexed it will be difficult and time-consuming to hunt for individuals.*** If you're looking for a worthwhile project to spend time on, you can help by going to this website and becoming one of the Project's volunteers.
To help bring thousands of records to light, the Freedmen’s Bureau Project was created as a set of partnerships between FamilySearch International and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro­-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), and the California African American Museum
Tens of thousands of volunteers are needed to make these records searchable online. No specific time commitment is required, and anyone may participate. Volunteers simply log on, pull up as many scanned documents as they like, and enter the names and dates into the fields provided. Once published, information for millions of African Americans will be accessible, allowing families to build their family trees and connect with their ancestors.
I was one of the thousands of volunteers who helped get the 1940 U.S. Census indexed and online in an earlier joint project. It was expected to take a year, but we got it done in five months!****

I'm looking forward to getting involved in the Freedmen's Bureau Project too.

*Which appropriately was June 19th, the 150th Juneteenth.
**"The Freedmen’s Bureau made records that include marriages and church and financial details as well as full names, dates of birth and histories of slave ownership." (quote from The Guardian article referenced above.)
***To date only a very few records have been indexed.
****It was very interesting, getting a view into people's lives from over 70 years ago. And given some of the handwriting of the census takers, there was also an element of puzzle-solving.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Working on Wednesday: John Lippitt (About 1740 - 1823), Storekeeper and Rebel

Not only does history give us a choice of how to spell this maternal sixth great grandfather (Lipit, Lippit, Lippett), since both his father and one of his sons were also named John* it can get pretty confusing sorting out exactly which John Lippett is being referred to in records.

[Maps from Carey's American Pocket Atlas; Containing The Following Maps... With A Concise Description Of Each State. Philadelphia: Printed For Mathew Carey, By Lang and Ustick, 1796. Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

We think John was born about 1740 in Scituate, Providence County, Rhode Island and was around 27 when he joined other Rhode Islanders who moved to Berkshire County in western Massachusetts around 1767, by which time he had married Mary Aldrich (1741-1820) and the couple had at least two daughters including my direct ancestor Orinda** born in 1762. (John and Mary eventually had six children that we know of.)
[A history of the county of Berkshire, Massachusetts, in two parts, the first being a general view of the county, the second, an account of the several townsy Field, David D. (David Dudley), 1781-1867; Dewey, Chester, 1784-1867; Berkshire association of Congregational ministers (Berkshire County, Mass.) 1829. Source: Internet Archive, original source: Allen County Public Library]

The next information we have about John comes from a September 9, 1959, article in the North Adams Transcript from which we learn that the house that he built in 1767 was still standing at that date.***
[Ancestry.com. North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: North Adams Transcript. North Adams, MA, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.]

Our ancestor served only nine days according to published records. Another of our ancestors Peter Worden also served at the same time, so there must have been an emergency which called men out for such a short period.
[Massachusetts soldiers and sailors of the Revolutionary War, Massachusetts. Office of the Secretary of State, Wright and Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 1902. Source: Google Books .]

In the first Federal Census in 1790, the list is in alphabetical order so we don't know who John's neighbors were.
[Ancestry.com. 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.]

The 1800 U.S. Census appears to be enumerated household by household and you can see that Peter Worden lives fairly close by.
[Ancestry.com. 1800 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Second Census of the United States, 1800. NARA microfilm publication M32 (52 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. ]

With the 1810 U.S. Census, we're back to seeing records that are alphabetized. We don't know if the only John Lippitt listed as the head of household is the father or the son.

John doesn't appear in the 1820 U.S. Census, perhaps because Mary died early in that year and he may have been living with a married daughter. He died on November 15, 1823 and is buried in a cemetery near Adams in Berkshire County.

*There's also reason to believe that his grandfather and great grandfather (and possibly several more generations) were John Lippetts too.
**In 1782 Orinda married Richmond Worden, the son of the local Baptist minister.
***The house is described in a 1938 article in the same paper as "a large square structure, now considerably changed."

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

San Diego Views: From the California Building

Thanks to the caption below these two photos, we know where the almost-19-year-old Harold Delbert Currey* went on that Saturday in 1921 and what he saw.
[From my personal collection]

Now housing Balboa Park's Museum of Man, the tower of the California Building is once again open to the public.

*He was born on December 31, 1902.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Bernice Evangeline Grenfell (1902 - 1980)

I'm resting on my laurels today. In case you missed my posts last week honoring the 113th birthday (on June 17th) of the mother who raised me, you can find them here: one, two, three, four, five, and six.
[Bernice at Mission Cliffs Gardens on April 16, 1922, photo from my personal collection]

Learn more about Mission Cliffs Gardens, where the above snapshot was taken, in this video:
[Profiles San Diego's Mission Cliff Gardens, a once-popular and world-famous park that experienced its heyday in the early 20th Century. Produced and edited by Andy Tolley.]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Celebrations: Summer Solstice 2015

Today we celebrate the Summer Solstice in Northern Hemisphere. In this snapshot my best friend Bonnie's Aunt Janette Trainer (1904-1980) shows how to keep cool on a hot summer day.
[Photo courtesy of B. Poppe]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Celebrations: Fathers Day

Here's Harold D. Currey, the father who raised me, in a photo taken during the summer of 1951, somewhere on our way to the Black Hills of South Dakota.
[Color slide from my personal collection]

This image always makes me smile!

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Drive: Bernice Evangeline Grenfell Currey

Just because...not everyone has a photo of their Mother driving a Farmall Cub.*
[Undated slide photo most likely taken in the early 1950s from my personal collection]

*In case you're wondering, that's the spring tooth field cultivator on the back.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Memento Mori: Speed the Galapagos Tortoise

The San Diego Zoo announced yesterday, June 19th, that Speed has died. And another link to the past is gone.
[Photo: San Diego Zoo via Los Angeles Times]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

This Week Is for Mother--Day Six: Bernice Evangeline Grenfell (1902 - 1980)

Although the Great Depression left Bernice and Harold, like so many others of their generation, with a deep-seated fear of a recurrence someday, the Curreys' already conservative attitude toward money meant that they began the era with no debt, the means to produce a lot of their own food (including seafood because of their boat), and because Harold continued bringing home a paycheck meant that they had cash to spend.

Work continued on the homeplace and during the 1930s they added another three lots to their property bringing the total to about 2-1/2 acres by the end of the decade.

Their boat got some upgrades too.

Bernice's grandmother, left a widow for a second time in 1925, lived alone in her house on 69th Street until sometime in the early 1930s when she moved in with the Curreys who installed her in what had been intended as their living room.* And after Grandma Stanton died in 1935** that room remained a bedroom.

In 1935 the patio got a fireplace (and the first sign of Bernice's new nickname "Min" later expanded to "Minnie"***). Also a new Dodge truck found its place in the new garage, replacing the Pierce Arrow, and it was soon adapted for camping.

Next they built a barn, turning their back two vacant lots into pasture for the cow. (The building in the background was a neighbor's garage.)

In 1938 they built a new house at the back of their next door lot but facing 69th Street, originally intended as a rental, but it became the home of Harold's parents.

Sometime in the late 1930s they sold their boat. After Harold's friend Herb committed suicide, owning a boat didn't seem as much fun. So instead  in 1938 they got themselves one of those trailers that were just beginning to show up on the roads around America. (Note that the trailer has been christened "Minnie IV" in honor of Bernice's hated nickname.)

And they traveled around the west during their vacations, visiting Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Pacific Northwest in the next few years.

And I'm going to leave Mother there, during the happiest times of her life. The story of her life during World War II with the loss of Junior in the last months of that war I'll save for another time.
[Photo taken by Junior probably about 1940, all photos from my personal collection]

Bernice Evangeline Grenfell Currey (1902-1980), the mother who raised me, told me once that she would have like to have been a farm wife. She certainly wasn't afraid of hard work.

I would like to have been her biological daughter.

*Which is why it has a gorgeous cobblestone fireplace on its east wall, something I never understood as a child.
**At the age of 86.
***Mother hated that being called that but it made no difference because that's what Harold insisted on calling her for the rest of her life. The name came, not from the lady mouse as you might expect, but from the wife in the popular comic strip The Gumps.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Family Friday: Currey/Grenfell

It's Dad's handwriting here, but it's pretty clear the sentiment is Mother's. (Poor Junior, he got just the top of his head in so many of these snapshots.)
[From my personal collection]

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

This Week Is for Mother--Day Five: Bernice Evangeline Grenfell (1902 - 1980)

As I promised in my last post, here are some photos* of the things Bernice did in the years between 1922 and 1929.**

During a camping trip to the Lagunas while Junior was still a toddler, Bernice tried her hand at making pine needle baskets, which she got quite good at.

Sometime around 1925 everyone went to Mission Beach! (I've no idea who the woman on the right is.)

In June of 1926, Bernice posed with Junior who was wearing his first pair of long pants.

Rabbits! Did I mention rabbits? Well, along with their garden Bernice also kept chickens, ducks and rabbits.

In November of 1927 the family went fishing in a rowboat and caught something. On the home front the new living room was added on.

After Harold's best friend Herb bought a boat, he decided to follow suit in 1928. Like their home, improvements were made to their craft through the years.

The house project for 1928 was a new garage.

The wood that Harold is cutting up is for the beautiful cobblestone fireplace in the new living room (in the background). The garage was added to the south side of the house to access Brooklyn Avenue.

During this time, the Curreys also went camping, not only in Mexico (more than once), but also to Laguna Mountains, Idyllwild, and Warner's Hot Springs, most of the time with the rest of the Currey tribe.

To this point they hadn't discovered the desert and when some friends took them to Anza-Borrego for the first time, they didn't see the appeal. If one wanted sand, the beach was obviously the place to go.

Here's Bernice looking happy in 1928. And she's more stylish than usual here too.

So today we've seen how the Bernice and her family flourished in the 1920s. Tomorrow we'll take on the 1930s, the Great Depression years. Because Harold had a job the entire time (although not in his trade) they did much better than the average American family.

(To be continued)

*All photos are from my personal collection.
**I've decided that there's too much to put in one post--the barn, cow and bungalow court will have to wait until tomorrow.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.