Monday, January 7, 2013

SNGF: About Those Houses

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings blog throws out a challenge every Saturday for some Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, or SNGF. I try to do as many as I can but as a relative newbie don't make it as often as I would like. This weeks is right up my alley because it's about family homes. Here's what he said in his blog post:
1) Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 January 1913 - 100 years ago.
2) List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible). Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?
3) Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post

I've decided to change up Randy's challenge a tad and talk about three houses that were occupied by ancestors in 1913 and list all the relatives who called each their home at some point in their lifetimes.  I chose these because they are houses that held each family through at least two and sometimes three generations and 1913 is a good confluence year for them. They are:
1) the Zeller and Kelly family residence at 89 West Main Street, Frostburg, Maryland
2) the Eckhart and Kelly family residence in Eckhart Mines, Maryland, and
3) the Williams family home in Ocean Mines, Maryland.
So here goes!

1) the Zeller and Kelly family residence at 89 West Main Street, Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland
This house was built in the 1840s on the main thoroughfare of the town, also known as the Old Pike, The National Road, and the Cumberland Road. Built in the first couple of decades of the 1800s, the National Pike was the first road west paid for by the federal government.

This is a photo taken in the early 1900s in the general vicinity of the Zeller and Kelly house to document the National Road. The house would probably have been on the right.

We have the house history going back to its origins, but for this exercise, here are the ancestors and families who might have lived there in the decades before and after 1913. Here's the house as it was recently in October of 2012.

1. Helen Gertrude Zeller, my grandmother, born in this house 6 Aug 1894, and died there 13 Feb 1985. She left the house to my Dad, Francis Patrick Kelly. She married John Lee Kelly on 30 Sept 1913 in Frostburg, Maryland. She inherited the house from her father, Gustav Zeller. Grandma and Grandpop lived there with all six of their children:
Helen Lee Kelly Natoly 1914 - 1989
Francis Patrick Kelly, Dad, 1916 - 2007

Bernard Michael Kelly 1918 - 2007
John Delbert Kelly, living
Christiana Kelly Fraley 1923 - 1993
Louise Kelly Chaney 1924 - 2002
As you can see Grandma was living in the house in January of 1913 but not yet married to Grandpop. That would come later in the year in September, and the babies started arriving the next August right there in the house
2. Gustav Zeller, my great grandfather, born 3 Feb 1858 in Allegany County, Maryland was the first in the family to own the house. He died 3 Dec 1927. He married Moretta Workman born 3 Apr 1880 and died 24 Mar 1946. I don't know if they both died in the house but if I had to guess, I'd guess that they did. They lived in this house with all five children. The boys left after marriage but Grandma, the apple of GGF's eye never left the house.

Charles Sample Zeller 1880 - 1966
Adelbert (Bert) Zeller 1883 - ?
Gustav William Zeller 1884 - 1964. He owned a house across the street and down three houses.

Helen Gertrude Zeller, Grandma
Anna M. Zeller Mar 1882 - Sept 1882
There was always a full house at 89 West Main Street, and many ancestors lived there for a while after they were married or between houses. My family lived there one summer while the new-to-us house was getting ready. During the Great Depression a few traveling salesmen boarded there as well.

2) the Eckhart and Kelly family residence in Eckhart Mines, Allegany County, Maryland

This is the house where my Grandpop John Lee "Lee" Kelly 1892 - 1969 was born, and the photo was taken last year with one of the many remodels in progress. Uncle Delbert Kelly tells of walking from the house at 89 West Main Street, above, to this house maybe 2 miles east on the Old National Pike, as a young boy of six or so, to visit his grand mother, Christiana Eckhart Kelly 1861 - 1932, who scared the daylights out of him. After the long walk downhill he would enter by the front door to sit properly for a visit in the front parlor on the stiff leather chair! Afterward, Delbert and Grandpop took the trolley back up the hill to home.
Here are the ancestors who lived in this house:
1. Christiana Eckhart Kelly 1861 - 1932, most likely born in this house to her parents, John Eckhart 1831 - 1917 and Mary Myers Eckhart 1837 - 1909. She met and fell in love with my great grandfather Francis Patrick Kelly 1854 - 1932. Yes, you have not been fooled: Dad and his own grandfather were named the same! 

By 1913 they had a house full of kids:
Mary Kelly 1880 - 1949
Eugene Francis Kelly 1888 - 1986
Margaret Ann Kelly 1909 - ?
Edith Bridget Kelly 1891 - ?
John Lee Kelly, my Grandpop, 1892 - 1969
Dora Elizabeth 1894 - 1962
Francis Patrick Kelly Jr. 1897 - 1946 (yes, another Francis Patrick Kelly!)
Also living with the family at the time of the 1910 US Census was Christiana's father, John S. Eckhart 1831 -1917 who was the great grandson of the town founder, George Adam Eckhart 1729 - 1806. I can only imagine which other of my ancestors lived there and am willing to bet there were more than three.

3) the Williams family home in Ocean Mines, Allegany County, Maryland.

Ocean Mines, known locally as simply Ocean, sits in the George's Creek Valley. Ocean Mine Fields were one of the richest coal mine fields in Western Maryland. The little mountain town of Frostburg sits at the top of the George's Creek valley where the Ocean Mine Field runs and this house is perhaps three miles south of Frostburg.
My great grandfather Daniel Williams 1852 - 1920 and his wife Jane Price Williams 1862 - 1939 called this house their family home and would have been living there with most of their eight children in January of 1913. Daniel was born in Wales, was a miner or collier there, and worked in mining when he came to the rich coal fields of the George's Creek area. Most anxious to purchase his own home and settle down, as were the vast majority of miners there, it was not possible at the time to also purchase the mineral rights. So that's why the mining company ran a mine shaft right under the house! And the house eventually sank!
Here's the list of the kids living in the home in 1910:
James Henry Williams 1882 -1936
William Williams 1884 - 1964
Thomas Williams 1890 - 1951
Joseph Williams 1895 - 1948
Cambria Williams, my grandfather 1897 - 1960
Charles Williams, Aunt Betty's father, 1899 - 1979
Aunt Betty and her parents also lived in this house. She remember stories of hearing the miner's voiced under the house as they worked the min shafts! Spooky!

So those are my hand-picked and often loved homes of the ancestors. I do hope that you are not too bored by my rambling SNGF adventure!

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