Thursday, October 31, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: A new found cousin and a photo of our 2nd great grandmother!

Nancy Ann(e?) (Troutman) Workman
(1826 - 1882)

There she is: my second great grandmother on my paternal grandmother's side! Ask me if I'm happy, go ahead:) This picture is my newest treasure!

I've always wondered what Dad's mother's grandmother looked like. I especially liked to think about it because Nancy was my Grandma's grandma. I was on yesterday and noticed a new "shaking leaf" hint so I clicked on though to find this photo of her posted by user, "frostburgmd". Of course I recognize the user name immediately as a short form of Frostburg, Maryland, and the home to plenty of my ancestors. As a matter of fact, all the Troutman and Workman ancestors going back to just after the American Revolution lived down the hill and just a stone's throw from where Mom lives right now.

I could hardly wait to message that user, but first I saved the photo of Nancy to my files... and backed it all up.

Look at that dress and hat! Am thinking that this is a studio picture that must have been taken before 1882 when she died. My guess, and I'm never too good at this, is that she's what, maybe 40 years old. So 1860-something?

Her daughter was Moretta (Workman) Zeller (1859 - 1846), and here she is, below.

Moretta (Workman) Zeller
(1859 - 1946)

She looks all dressed up and quite stylish as well. Moretta's daughter was my dearly beloved Grandma Kelly, and here she is as a young girl in another great hat.

Helen (Zeller) Kelly
(1894- 1985)

So new-to-me Cousin Jack and I are all busy messaging back and forth, comparing notes and talking about maybe having lunch in the spring when I travel east again. We might even get my brother to take his big truck back up in the woods in search of the old Workman Family Cemetery! Yeah, that would be fun!

Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cleveland: The Trout Club

I have a lot of very lovely memories from my childhood, and am especially fond of the time my family spent at a trout fishing club called Pine Lake Trout Club. Dad had a corporate membership through Johnson Plastics (see post from yesterday about Johnson) and then, I think, a private membership when he took a new job in 1960, with another plastics manufacturer in Stow, Ohio.
I remember fishing with Dad there, as does my brother. We both, to this day, like fishing and have many wonderful memories of it, both with Dad as well as in our adult lives. There's even a photo of Mom fishing as well as a couple of her Dad fishing too, which I posted earlier to this blog. This family just loves to fish:)
I also remember us going there to select and cut down our Christmas tree at least one year. Somehow we got transported deeper into the surrounding woods and wandered until we could all agree on the "perfect" tree. Then back to the Lodge to warm up before the fire while the hired men chopped and readied it for us to take home. I think it must have been the best tree we ever had! Now, all of those pine trees are gigantic, as you can imagine, because it's over 50 years later.
So there was the fishing at the Trout Club, but there was eating too. They served, and still do, outstanding cuisine, and on this recent trip I had a Chilean Sea Bass in the Dining Room that might make you weep with joy! But let me tell you about the Lodge first. It's such fun!
The PLTC has no liquor license, therefore the members each have a locker for their chosen adult beverages. Mixers are supplied by the club. I always loved the personal and corporate locker doors because each member could have it decorated any way she or he pleased. Some of the corporations have a corporate theme but the personal locker doors have it all going on! Here are some images of what we saw on Saturday afternoon of our recent trip. Click on these two to get the full effect!

Wild, right? Some of the doors haven't been decorated yet and you can easily spot them in these pictures. I decorated a door for Dad, and from what I remember now. I'm thinking that when he left Johnson Plastics he must have gotten an individual membership because it was just about the time we moved to Hudson that I painted a door for his locker: a jumping rainbow trout on the outside and the Three Graces (three naked ladies) on the inside. As I think about it now, that was a pretty sophisticated concept for a high schooler! Now a days "anything goes" on the locker doors, from actual objects, collages, assemblages, and even some old fashioned painting. I'm still fascinated by those locker doors:)
The Lodge is what the bar is called. It's a very cozy room where members go to have a drink or eat a casual meal. And Especially in cooler weather, it's a welcoming place. Check it out.

Here's Mom and my sis-in-law sitting by the fire on a cold and rainy Saturday about lunch time.

The walkway between the Lodge and the stream.

On Sunday the weather was perfect. We went back to the Pine Lake Trout Club after another round of looking at the old places we lived, which we'd visited in the rain on Saturday. On Sunday we got to see them all over again but in beautiful October sunlight. We ended up staying in one of the cabins at the Trout Club, with a wonderful fireplace, two baths, and a fully equipped kitchen. My brother commented that he was perfectly happy and could just go on and live there. Me too!

Sunday afternoon I wandered the grounds getting in touch with that little girl in me and watching the fishermen at play. No one was overly serious about it all. They were well equipped, no doubt about it, but even so were obviously there to relax and enjoy the surroundings. I had to wonder what these folks (all men) did for a living... and if there were any serious women members who love to fish as much as I do?

On the flight back to San Diego from Cleveland I happened to sit next to a guy who lived close to the Trout Club. He'd been there as the guest of someone and was glad that I mentioned it because he had two sons and thought it might be the perfect place to enjoy some quality time with them. Yes, it's exactly that kind of place. He also told me that there are other trout clubs in north east Ohio: one near Pine Lakes and four more neat the Blue Hole. Really! Who knew!
Yeah, if I lived in the area the first thing I would do is join Pine Lake Trout Club!

The pond at the Pine Lake Trout Club on a beautiful October Sunday afternoon.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cleveland: Dad worked at Johnson Plastics, now where was that?

I've written before about how we moved from the little mountain town of Frostburg in Western Maryland in 1952 so that Dad could pursue a better executive position at a plastics plant. You can read about those times and our move here and here. Mom, who usually looks beautiful and very happy in photos, both then and now, somehow looked sad or perhaps worried. Here she is below, first on the start of the journey from Frostburg, Maryland and in the next photo, just after we landed in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

See how this picture tells a story: we're leaving Frostburg for Ohio.
Mom looks sad or worried, Dad looks happy and excited, and there I am holding Dad's briefcase and pretty thrilled.

Mom now living in Chagrin Falls, standing next to my tricycle. The rental house was at the top of a big hill leading down to the village, so maybe she was worried I'd try to coast all the way down;)

And here she is, below, with her usual smile.

1942, with Uncle Delbert Kelly.

So my brother and I were emailing in plans for this very recent trip to Cleveland and wondering about the old Johnson Plastics plant where Dad worked. Where was it, exactly? Luckily, I thought, I had a photo of one his old business cards, so I checked it out and this is what I saw.

So off I went trying to find a street address, because as you see, all it gives is a post office box in Chagrin Falls. That's not going to help us!

I called the library in Chagrin Falls to see if they had any old phone books or directories from the 1950s. None. Tried to search "Johnson Plastics Corporation" on Google but that was a dead end. What to do? Then I remembered that I like genealogy and it might help to start thinking about this as a genealogy problem and not a missing persons problem:)

Using one of my newspaper subscription web sites, I searched for "Johnson Plastics" and found a series of articles from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about an incident in 1958. It was fascinating reading and when the dust bunnies that had accumulated in the deep corners of my mind shook themselves out and cleared, by gosh I remembered something vague about it all. Here's how the first article, dated June 26, 1958, began:

Pickets' Bullets Chase 7 Youth
Five pickets around the struck Johnson Plastic Co. in Chardon, mistaking seven teenagers in a car for strike breakers, chased the youth and fired three rifle shots at them last night, said Geuga County Sherriff Louis Robusky said.

Yeah, I do remember that: pickets striking the plant trying to unionize without luck, then shots fired. There were five articles in all running from June 26, 1958 to October 8, 1958. The articles drew out the facts and the story painted a picture of some rough action on the part of the pickets. The newspaper reported that they were convicted and sentenced by October.

But where was the plant? The first article mentions that the teens were driving on Munn Road. The second article running on June 28, 1958 mentions that the plant was on Stafford Road. So off to Google Maps and Satellite View to look at the corner of Munn Road and Stafford Road. Humm! That looked like the plant! Now I used Street View and placed the "little man" right at the corner. Yup! That's the plant!

OK, now this might not sound like a whole lot of fun to you, but my brother and I have very fond memories of that plant. Dad took me to work with him a number of times. I got a tour of the plant, which always fascinated, and a bunch of plastic toys and hula hoops to take home, which they made right there. Wasn't overly impressed with the plastic pipe or flooring;) Plus, both my brother and I fished for sunfish in the pond on the premises, and we both love to fish! Great fun!

On Monday of this last trip, I had to jet off home, but brother took on the task of hunting down this plant we thought might be at the corner of Munn and Stafford. Here's what he emailed me a few hours later:

I swear, I shouted “that’s it;  that’s the plant” as soon as we came over the hill and saw it.  Even though it looked all new(ish) and well maintained, I could see the original in my mind as soon and we saw it.  No question about it.  And we saw the Johnsonite sign, I knew the reason we couldn’t find anything about it when we searched on-line.  Remember me telling you Mr. Johnson may have been a chemist or something because I saw all the hits on “Johnsonite” when I searched for Johnson Plastics? 

So it all fits together now.  We solved the puzzle.  Really wish you could have been there for the final discovery.

 Me too. And here's the photo he took.
Yes! That's the plant for sure. And how nice for us that they choose to keep the original blue and white color scheme so that we could more easily recognize it! This adventure was really "our kind of fun"!

Dad at his desk, before we moved to Ohio and Johnson Plastics.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cleveland: The ugly part of change, at least to me

When we moved from the little mountain town in Western Maryland of Frostburg in 1952, we landed in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It was near Dad's work and the loveliest little town you'd ever want to see. Don't believe me? Check the town web site here. See what I mean? Every building has that Colonial design and flavor about it, and some date back to the founding of the village in 1845. Cute, cozy, charming: those were the words my sis-in-law and I used from the back seat to describe what we saw on our recent visit to Cleveland.

After a short while, and I have to ask Mom exactly how short but I think it was about a year, we moved to the bedroom suburb of Maple Heights. Mom and Dad bought their very first house for about $20,000, as I remember. So of course we had to visit Maple Heights on our trip to Cleveland last weekend! The houses were all there and just as tidy and well-kept as ever, but much older, 50 years having passed since we lived there. You can tell the area homes were all part of a post WWII building boom: all Cape Cod style and almost identical in size and floor plan. Here was ours, below.

Grandpop Kelly (John Lee Kelly 1892 - 1969) on the right, me holding baby brother on the front steps of our house in Maple Heights.

Our house, this photo taken on our last trip to Ohio in 2007.

As we drove from downtown Cleveland to Maple Heights there came a point when I saw my old library, now a senior center, and I knew exactly where I was. Next stop was my old elementary school: Saint Wenceslas School. What a sad sight! It was all boarded up and there was a "for sale" sign out front! First the demolished the nun's residence and the candy store on the opposite corner disappeared too. Now this!

Here's the video I took on the spot as my brother navigated around. As you can, see it was a rainy day.

Saint Wenceslas parish was a heavily ethnic neighborhood full of hard-working Polish, Czeck, and Hungarian folks. I was the only "Irish" in my class, so I was a minority and knew it because the sisters who taught there made a point of it on a few occasions. (Here, we could start with the nun stories, but I'll pass on that for now. And yes, there were hard rulers involved!) As you've probably guessed, it was a heavily Catholic neighborhood back in the 1950s.

The church year drove the local lives of those kids who attended Saint Wenceslas. Celebrations and processions, first communions, confirmations were all milestones in our little lives, and the big guns were Christmas and Easter. I remember clearly going with Mom downtown to shop for Easter hats at Higbee's Department Store. That was fun!

There were other events that were kind of spooky for a little girl: word spread that every girl or woman was not to be alone with one of the priests. "Do not go into the priest's rectory alone under any circumstances," my good friend told me. I didn't understand then but I do now. Click here for more info. A sad shame.

Classes for us Baby Boomer were gigantic by today's standards and the 48 students in my class was not an unusually large number. Some classes easily reached 50 students. Those poor nuns really earned their pay. Somehow we all learned.

I got sad, I have to tell you, when I saw the old boarded up school. It was as if a part of my young life had been boarded up and closed out. I would never be able to go in that school with its attached church in the future, never be able to see the old classrooms, never be able to walk those halls.

Well, that's life: we live it and then it passes into our personal history.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cleveland: A city changing while I was gone

This isn't the city I remember: river on fire, too many poor people all unemployed, polluted Lake Erie, boarded up buildings littering downtown, plants closed. That was the Cleveland of the more recent past, the one with the bad rep.

The Cleveland in my mind's eye from the 1950 was prosperous and aspirational in all aspects. Families grew and moved to better and better suburbs with larger homes and better schools, each increasingly distant from the city center. Downtown was where you went for big-time shopping and museums. Mom bought the furniture for our new house in Hudson at Sterling, Linder and Davis, downtown. I went on the bus and then the trolley to the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland of my youth was a good, solid place to grow up.

But this city of Cleveland in present day was, what? Completely redone. Downtown full of lofts, 20 and 30-somethings popping into cafes with their Mac Books. Is that a software development company I see in the Rockefeller building? Good restaurants and corner bars, all with a vibe and personality of their own. New towers going up, newer stadiums, and of course, that destination unrivaled by others: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Cleveland had a new personality. But pirogues and brats were still on her menu.

We stayed at a centrally located hotel right downtown, the Marriott Residence Inn Downtown, a historic hotel built in the last decade of the 1800s and now redone and symbolizing what Cleveland was and what it is now. We enjoyed the buffet breakfast in what must have been the grand ballroom, bedecked with fine stained glass windows, two in the ceiling and a bunch over windows. An arcade occupied one part of the hotel footprint and it was fun to walk down a balcony that in olden days held offices for various professionals, now mostly empty. The arcade main floor, and if you aren't familiar with their function in such cold weather locales then click here, holds a small and busy luncheonette, a chocolatier, a olde time barber shop, and numerous small but fascinating shops. It took me right back to the 1950s when Mom and I "went downtown" on the bus and trolley to shop.


The new Marriott Residence Inn that was the old Colonial Hotel.
(Photos courtesy the Marriott web site.)
Two of our old neighborhoods stayed exactly the same, excepting the new builds around the edges. We found Chagrin Falls and Hudson to be pretty much as we left them in 1964, with the addition of malls, larger stores, a supermarket or two, and of course plenty of new restaurants. The old stores had changed hands no doubt, and new ones took residence in their place.
Two ladies drinking tea at Sterling, Linder and Davis.
Courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project.
The big Christmas tree at Sterling, Linder and Davis.
Courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project.
I love to think about the flash and excitement of going downtown to see the big department stores in the 1950s, especially at Christmas time. If you are a fan of that holiday staple, "A Christmas Story", you'll be all too familiar with The Higbee Company and their store windows. The Cleveland Memory Project has a dandy selection of images from all the department stores and you can find them on their main page for the "Golden Age of Downtown Shopping". Just use the menu at center to find your favorite store.
The Terminal Tower still takes center stage on the square, but the Higbee Company is gone. I was thrilled to see the big brass sign still in place on the side of the building next to one of the display windows.
We all talked and talked as we drove around, about the old times and memories from childhood. Nice to hear Mom's version of events that I half remember. Even my brother remembers shopping for furniture with Mom for the new house in Hudson.
Sure, Cleveland has changed, but I'm liking her quite a bit now. She's getting back to that up-and-coming spirit I remember so well. I could see myself living there, either downtown with all the young people and the cafes but probably out in Chagrin Falls or Hudson, my old turf. More about those next time.
The Halle Department Store's Japanese Tea Room,
our favorite lunch spot. I still remember the children's luncheon special with all the little compartments for food, when I was happy to eat my spinach because it came in a little ceramic hen!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cleveland: Maybe you can't go home again, and maybe you can

Just spent the last weekend in Cleveland. Why Cleveland? I grew up there, my brother and sister were born there. Mom and Dad moved us there in 1952 when I was four years old so that Dad could take a good management position with lots of opportunity in the plastics industry. So we moved from the little mountain town of Frostburg in Western Maryland that I so often write about. It was quite a change and we enjoyed every moment of our Cleveland adventure. Mom and Dad moved us back to Frostburg in 1964, the year I graduated high school in Hudson.

There's so much to share that it will take a couple of posts to get it all covered. There were two highlights for me: Mom telling stories about us when we were little as we drove through the old neighborhood where I attended elementary school, and going to stay at the Pine Lake Trout Club.

I took a ton of photos and some videos too. They are already a golden treasure to me. And yes, I already have them all backed up all over and in the cloud:)

This post is just to say "Hi" again and let you know what the upcoming topic will be. Guess the theme is serendipity. There was this guy.... Oh, I'll tell you later. Life surely is amazing if you just go out there and live it!
Scenes from the Pine Lake Trout Club

Thanks, Lynnie for these photos:)

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Monday, October 7, 2013

DNA Monday: Stuff, random and otherwise

My DNA test results from 23andMe are continuing to work to connect me to new DNA cousins. And some interesting projects are in progress over on GEDmatch. Additionally, a tip off from the medical results from has helped me solve a personal medical mystery. These are exciting times, my friend!

DAR soon to accept DNA: Hey, check this blog post out from The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell about the big news that the DAR is going to be accepting DNA evidence for membership approval... along with the other usual stuff they want. As Judy sharply points out, they are only taking Y-DNA, which is a guy thing. Please read her blog post because this is a very big deal (at least to me) and marks our changing times.

The Basics of DNA testing for genealogy: If you are wondering about DNA for genealogy, here's a wonderful blog post by DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy, and you can see it here. Here is a lovely beginner's guide to the topic and while I know a bunch of stuff covered in this post, it was really good to have a re-check to make sure my understanding was clear. Thanks, Roberta!

A new GEDmatch project: Got an email from someone named Vivian because we matched through GEDmatch and 23andMe. She sent the same email out to a couple of hundred people telling them about their shared connection and letting us know that if we were interested in participating, to reply to the email. I replied, of course. Why wouldn't you want to?
In a couple of days she sent a rather long email letting us know that she'd found a sub-group of participants who all had Quaker ancestors. One of Mom's brick wall ancestors married a mystery man named Waggoner and that was one of the surnames included in the list. I just about stumbled over myself in crafting a quick reply!
This Waggoner guy has us stumped, but good. Sarah Wooden (1810 - 1870) married the mysterious Mr. Waggoner, had a daughter from whom we descend, that being Sarah (Waggoner) Whetstone (1825 - 1880). Presumably Mr. Waggoner died or otherwise made himself scarce such that Sarah Wooten then married Peter Yeast (1808 - 1851) in 1829. On his passing she married Phillip "Major" Durst (1817-1888) and they owned a whole big bunch of land together in what is now Garrett County, Maryland.
We know nothing about Mr. Waggoner and it's about to drive us (Mom and I) crazy! Maybe this DNA study group will give us a hint. There were very few Waggoners in what was then Allegany County around 1825 when Sarah Jr. was born and most of those were residing a ways east of where Sarah lived. Other researchers have suggested to Mom that Sarah wasn't married to Mr. Waggoner at all and that she was a "grass widow", meaning left in the grass where he lay with her. What Mom has found is that her marriage record to Peter Yeast states that her name was at the time of the marriage "Sarah Waggoner".

My medical mystery: I feel like one of the older ladies sitting on the porch chatting about their aches and pains in writing this:) Just to say that a clue for the 23andMe DNA test has uncovered a medical mystery that has been bothering me for a very long time. K304E: that's my mismatched gene. That was all I needed to get going and do a lot of googling to find what ails me. Science is amazing!!

Yours truly and Grandma Williams, Emma Susan (Whetstone) Williams (1897-1956)

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Friday, October 4, 2013

This one's for you, Molly!

My niece, Molly has expressed an interest in some of the family photos posted here, and she and I were chatting about those early pictures of Mom. They are wonderful and so expressive of Mom's personality and we both love them and her:) So this post is for you, Molly! And anyone else who cares.

This is Mom's mother, Emma Susan (Whetstone) Williams (1897 - 1956). Molly, she's your great grandmother. A very, very sweet woman.
Here's Emma with little Virginia. Love this picture!

That's Mom as a baby with her parents, Emma and Cambria "Camey" Williams (1897 - 1960).
I remember him as a big bear of a man whose arms would embrace me in a bear hug.

This is a cropped view of the above picture showing Mom and her mother and father better.

Look how cute she is!! Sitting out in a field.
This might have been taken at Mom's grand parent's home, the Whetstones, that's Joseph H. Whetstone (1858 - 1939) and Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" (House) Whetstone (1865 - 1947). Mom can show you where their "farm" used to be.
Mom with her "terrorist" uncles. Just look at them and you know that they're up to no good!

That's Mom on the right with her sister, Dorothy "Dot" (Williams) Conrad (1920 - 2007).

Mom and an unknown dog. We love animals, don't we?

This is Mom's all-time favorite picture of herself, with a kitten. For a very long time she "accused" me of having this photo, then one day I found it in one of her albums! Seriously, I kept telling her I didn't have it;)

Looks like this was taken on the same day as the photo of Mom with her uncles.
This one might have been taken on the same day too because Mom has that wonderful hair bow! There the grandkids are with their Whetstone grandparents.
Mom in the church choir, First row third from left. Her sister, Dot, is on the end and Mom's good friend Mary is between them.
Mom's high school photo, senior year. Ask her about her hair! Think she's still upset about it:)
Mom, on the left, with her mother Emma, her sister Dot, and her brother Camey, Cambria Williams Jr.

Hey Molly, you'll love this one: Mom on her 21st birthday! And you were there for her 95th!

Mom about 1945-ish, Easter Sunday, and sporting an impressive hat. Taken by Dad at the Castleman Bridge. Look at those legs!

Mom and Dad out with friends.
Mom fixes my hat on Easter Sunday, about 1950.

 We leave Frostburg Maryland for Cleveland Ohio. 1952.

Mom in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, after 1952. She's not too happy to be there.

That's my brother there so this is about 1955 or 56.

Mom and Dad in Ireland about 1986.
Mom in Wales.

So Molly, I have a ton more but this will do for now:) Here's a hug (   ).