Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ancestry Saturday: Family Tree Convergence

One cemetery in Northwest Ohio has the burials of relatives from both branches of my kids' family tree--their mom's and their dad's.  Since neither their mom or dad lived in Northwest Ohio, that's happening against some pretty narrow odds.

The kids' third great grandmother on their mom's side, Mary Jane (Daniels) Brooks, died in 1920 and is buried at Weaver Cemetery.  Her family migrated to Southern Wood County in the late 19th century.

Not far away in the same cemetery, their dad's side has a burial too.  My first cousin, 3X removed, McClelland Smith is buried there.  His grandfather, Laban Smith, was my fourth great grandfather.

My second great grand uncle, David F. Platte, is buried a few miles north of this location too.  More convergence.

Making this convergence all the more unusual is that Bloom Township in Wood County isn't near anyplace that should be considered the roots of our family.  The oil industry in this part of Northwest Ohio was likely the magnet for all this convergence, but it's unusual nonetheless.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ancestry Saturday: Until Next Battle Anniversary

My goal won't get fulfilled.  Wednesday's 101st anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie will pass without my quest for a firmer sense of a connection met.

Last month, I wrote of my hope of connecting the George Platt listed as a seaman on the Brig Niagra and wounded in the Battle of Lake Erie with my third great grandfather George F. Platt who was in a Pennsylvania Regiment that was deployed at Lake Erie.

I struck out on my quest for records at the historical societies in Venango and Clarion counties. My letter to a fellow Platt researcher has gone unanswered.  I'm awaiting a military file from the National Archives. 

I'm still looking, but it's going to be some future anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie before I fulfill my goal.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ancestry Saturday: Generational Overlap

This obituary would have been helpful if I had found it two years earlier than I did, but it's a great confirming piece nonetheless.

Charles Harper's family is recited for three generations in here.  My kids' fourth great grandfather on their mom's side had quite a 91-year life and this obit covers it well.  It's as extensive as any I've seen.

It's the stories that make it even more interesting.  Charles Harper's life not only tied into Ohio history but also our family history.

The obit says Harper "hewed the timber for the first Broad Street bridge in Columbus." 

It's not real clear when that was, but it is quite an interesting historical tidbit nonetheless.  It's made all the more interesting since my kid's grandfather worked in an office building in the early 1990's that overlooked that same bridge.  He could watch the bridge be rebuilt in the 1990's from his corner office.

The obit also said, "He hewed the timber and was a contractor for a large part of the material in the old state penitentiary."  That same penitentiary had a brutal fire in 1930, a major historical event in Ohio as 322 inmates perished. 

Sadly, Charles Harper's great grandson, Richard Harper, was incarcerated in the old penitentiary and would die in that same fire.  Richard would have been uncle to my mother-in-law, though he died before she was born.

Today, Nationwide Arena and the Arena District of Columbus sits where the old pen sat.

His fourth great grandkids have visited his grave.  Now, they have some landmarks to remember him by too.