Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ancestry Saturday: Shot Tower History Has Family History

Today, my kids and I stopped by the Shot Tower at the former Fort Hayes in Columbus. We've not stopped for a couple of years. It was a history refresher in more ways than one.

Fort Hayes' Shot Tower invokes a lot of history for the nation, Ohio, and Columbus. It's a source of family history for our family too.

It was begun as a military post in 1862. Though I can't find anything with certainty to say it happened here, shot towers are where lead shot was manufactured to help the Union win the war. Molten metal was dropped into a pool of water and the result was a ball used for ammunition.

It continued as a an Army facility.

Then, in 1905, my great grandfather Elmer Armstrong was, in his own words, "quartered in the shot tower" during his "first week of military service" which began 26 Jan 1905.

It wouldn't be his last time stationed at the shot tower.

The facility became an Army Reception Center, the first place recruits went to start their service to the war effort during World War II. Elmer Armstrong came out of retirement to command the Center at Fort Hayes.

So, he both started and ended his long career spanning five decades at the Fort Hayes shot tower.

Today, it's still standing and serves as a school. Lots of history.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ancestry Saturday: More Genealogy Memories

She had a room just for growing plants. She couldn't hear very well or see very well, but she was so happy to see us every time we visited. We sure posed for a lot of pictures with her.

A U.S. senator, one my grandfather didn't much care for, stopped by her 90th birthday party.

We bought her a new toilet seat at the mall before visiting one year. I remember her funeral and her burial too.

My Great Grandma Sallie (Bernard) Naylor was my other still-living great grandparent about whom I can recall sketchy memories. She died January 29, 1975 when I was eight years old.

Just as I wrote the other week, I'm the source for future generations of my family looking to learn personal memories of past generations.

I can fill in the memories with forty years of knowledge since.

Her Clintonville neighborhood home in North Columbus had a solarium where she kept a wide variety of plants. She had bad hearing most of her life, and was legally blind before she died at age 90.

We had visited her three times that I can remember and once met her at Salt Fork Lodge for her 90th Birthday party. U.S. Senator John Glenn just happened to be at Salt Fork at the time and stopped by for a hello. Glenn was a Democrat and my grandpa was a Republican.

One of our Columbus visits, I traveled with my grandparents and we stopped at Lazarus at Northland Mall. Neither Lazarus nor Northland Mall exists today.

My memory of her burial helped me find her gravestone without the need for a list almost 40 years later.

Future generations can just ask. I'm their source for family memories.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ancestry Saturday: The Right Reitenauer?

I found a copy of the book "Genealogy of the Ridenour Family" at the Ohio Genealogical Society library yesterday. This book has been a source for information/references on my fourth great grandparents David Reitenauer and Catherine Fiscus in the book "Ancestors are Forever." Pages 131 and 132 had a great find!

Part 5 of the five-part book has a 1910 letter from John Spratt Wrightnour who wrote a book titled "The Ritenour Family: It is of German Origin" and who has a great deal of information on David and Catherine.  Much of JS's book came out, though,  before his 1910 letter.

You'll note that his 1910 letter seems to correct his error in the book about David descending from Henry (son of the oft-cited Nicholas who came to America in 1739). Instead, he cites a cousin who had first-hand contact with David Reitenauer and indicates he came from Germany. He cites 1763+/- as a birth year, which matches others' research too.

The piece is not rock solid proof, but it sure is compelling evidence.

If this is correct, then it makes it that much more likely that my 4GG David was either a brother or son of Michael Reitenauer, father of Pennsylvania Governor Ritner, solving another mystery.