Thursday, January 29, 2015

Today in Willow Creek History – 21 January 1944

Photo from National Archives

On 21 January 1944 Jessie Tucker Agard writes in her journal that her husband Arthur Agard and Willow Creek neighbor Paul Vann have gone to John Rice’s to the 4th War Loan drive. That drive was probably in Trumansburg. 

“During World War II, the U.S. Treasury conducted “War Loan Drives”, set periods of time during which an onslaught of entertainers, radio programs, posters, newspaper ads, articles, magazines, and short films urged Americans to purchase as many war bonds as possible to help fund the war effort. And the money was needed---on November 19, 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that the war was costing the United States $250,000,000 a day. There would ultimately wind up being eight numbered War Loan Drives during the duration of World War II, with the eighth and final one being dubbed the “Victory Loan Drive”. Similar War Loan Drives had been conducted during the first World War---but whereas the propaganda for those campaigns relied largely on posters and newspapers, during World War II a coalition of actors, comedians and singers would help lead the way.” [Jack Benny in the 1940s]

On the home front two days prior, Arthur and Jessie’s son-in-law, Louis Tamburino traveled to Utica, NY for his physical test. He passed and is now officially in the Navy.  Six days later he is in Sampson, NY for naval training.  

The Village of Trumansburg did its part for the war effort. According to A History of Trumansburg by Lydia Sears, the town of Ulysses surveyed available rooms to house evacuees of bombed metropolitan areas. The silk mill was used by the defense industry, emergency mass feeding plans were put in place, and collections of scrap metal, rubber, silk stockings, tin, copper, rags and paper were encouraged.  Food and gas rationing was in place.

Just north of Trumansburg the Seneca Naval Station, later called Sampson was constructed employing 17,583 people. The majority of those required housing. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today in Willow Creek History – 11 January 1944

On 11 January 1944 Jessie Tucker Agard documents:  Had macaroni and cheese; trying to observe meatless Tuesday. Her husband, Arthur and son Bill went to Trumansburg to a meeting at the school. Farm accounts.  FDR spoke at 9 to 9:30. Very good. Spoke against strikes. Said the whole problem could be summed up in one word, “Security” – solution for problem.

The next day Jessie made applesauce and noted she had to be careful about the amount of sugar used. In the afternoon she went to the Red Cross with seven other women from Willow Creek to make surgical dressings.  She was proud to have made 127 surgical dressings that day.  Her neighbor, Ruth Vann loaned Jessie a library book, All that Glitters. In return, Jessie loaned two of her Agatha Christie books.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Navigating the Past: Sailing into the Future

The latest New England Regional Genealogical Conference E-zine is available at its website 

The conference will take place April 15-18, 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island.  Registration is now open - early bird ends 28 February.  Hotel rooms are going fast.  Conference organizations have developed another great program with interesting and knowledgeable speakers.  Are you registered yet? We are.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

John England of Stafford, VA - the continuing saga

Genealogy is fun because when you solve one mystery, one or two more takes its place.  And that is what happened this week when two Stafford County historians visited us so we could show them what we believe is the site of the John England (1755-1851) homestead.  

Exploring the root cellar of England house site
They were delighted to see the well and then the depression where the two room ~18 x 29 foot frame house stood. The depression indicated this house had a root cellar. The front door stone was located, and position of walls was determined. An essay by an England family descendant mentioned the 2 x 2 ft rose quartz stones used for the foundation, and indeed those stones were found.

Stafford Historian Jerrilynn Eby MacGregor
documenting terraces
“You just made my day,” she exclaimed.  There in plain sight, though previously missed by us, were terraces cascading down the hill towards the river. “Keeper of the knowledge” for Stafford County, Jerrilynn Eby MacGregor and her husband Rick have been documenting terraces found in Stafford County. She said this terrace would be either the 19th or 20th found so far.  She explained that terraces were in vogue in the early 1700s, and so might predate the England family’s ownership of the property. First mystery of the day: She thought she knew who owned the land during that time period, but who exactly built, resided there and had enough money for slaves to build these terraces?

On to England Run where there are two dams that have us stumped as to their use. The first possibility was a mill, though Jerrilynn couldn’t find enough evidence that one existed on the only flat surface downstream.  To confuse things, the dam was made partially of concrete, an expense not likely to be incurred for a family gristmill, which brought us to our second mystery.

We walked a fair ways to what we believe is the England cemetery.  A concern was raised that the cemetery was located too far from the house. Jerrilynn told us usually burials were just out the back door. And that whites and slaves might very well be buried in the same location, though with some sort of separation. We spent time shuffling leaves with our feet desperately looking for some sign of a house – a depression, pile of bricks, etc. Nothing.  We kept in mind that since the Union soldiers had marched through this area 150 years ago, any rocks or bricks might have been removed to build fire pits. Our third mystery presented itself, and different scenarios were suggested. Maybe the first male to die wanted to be buried on a high point overlooking the river.  Jerrilynn gave us a homework assignment – in April we are to comb that area looking for daffodils.  If we find any, that might be where a house once stood.

In the meantime, we are going back to the drawing board regarding the England family, and the land on which their property stood.  Hopefully there will be more to the story at a later date and that some of these mysteries will be solved.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Eugene L. Shepherd (1877-1958) Chemung County, NY

Portrait of Eugene L. Shepherd - 1912
Chicago Portrait Company

I love bad weather days since it forces me to stay inside and puts me in the mood for cleaning out and reorganizing.  This cold snowy morning I decided to work on archive boxes and files not touched for a while (years?).

A few years ago we visited my cousin who was preparing to move.  She presented me with all her mother’s family photos and memorabilia.  I accepted the material even though her mother is not in my family line. I accepted the material because I didn’t want it to go astray. With those documents and photos I developed a family history for my aunt. She was delighted with the information I had found on her family.

Although I have had this material since 2011, it wasn’t until this morning that I really looked at the large, 14 x 17 inch framed photo of a young man.  For the first time I noticed the elaborate frame, and then read the metal plaque on the back:

“Know ye These Presents Certify That”
This is an heirloom portrait of
Eugene L. Shepherd
Made from a photograph taken in the year
1912 and faithfully portrayed by the
artist in a manner and quality befitting a work
to be passed on to future generations as a
priceless heirloom.  Done at the studios of
Chicago Portrait Company in the City of Chicago,
County of Cook, State of Illinois, U.S. A.
       E.H. Boese
        Art Director

I did a little research on the Chicago Portrait Company. They had quite the business going, though the “portrait” in my possession is nicely done and the frame quite impressive.

I shouldn’t have this item. It belongs to someone in the Shepherd (Shepard) family, and so that is my next task. To find a descendant of Eugene L. Shepherd that would love to have this photo of their ancestor. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Irish in Connecticut

This morning I worked on my to-do pile and came upon the latest issue of The Shanachie, the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society newsletter (Vol. XXVI, No. 4, 2014). I had been keeping it for just this occasion - to share the information on my blog. 

This issue is a goldmine for anyone with Irish ancestors living/working in Connecticut during the 1800s.

The newsletter lists Irish workers on the Danbury & Norwalk Railroad, maritime workers, ship carpenters, sailors.  And then there are the Irish women who worked in the carpet industry in Enfield, CT.

For those who have Irish ancestors living in Connecticut, a membership in the Connecticut Irish-American Society is well worth the coin.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Smiths in Ulysses, Tompkins County, New York

Following my post regarding the Jacksonville Community Church history I received a request for Smiths in Jacksonville.  Although I have not started transcribing this history yet, I did honor this request and scanned through the manuscript looking for Smiths. There were quite a few in the early years, not so much through the 1920s and 1930s.  I thought I would share that list on my blog in case anyone else is looking for Smith ancestors in the Town of Ulysses area during the 1800s.

Smiths in Jacksonville Church History

1826 Incorporation
Smith, George – First Trustee

Partial List of Members – First Class
Franklin (expelled)

Second Class
Robert L.
William F
Mary E.

Third Class 1842-48
Elias H.

Officials 1845
Jared H.
Robert L
Stephen (Mecklenburg)
Henry (Enfield)

Kennedy’s Corners 1849

Rumsey’s Corners 1849

1856-57  Class Two




R.L. Smith, pastor

P.B. Smith (Phil) appears through 20s, 30s
As pastor and trustee

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nunn Monograph – Done!

Cover Photo for Monograph
Harry Nunn and his family

A long time coming, but the monograph on my Nunn family line is done.  The three parts were printed on Friday; Front Matter – 10 pages, Manuscript – 86 pages, and Index – 3 pages.  I brought the seventeen copies home and checked through each one making sure pages were printed, table of contents and index pages were correct.

Today I printed six ivory parchment paper pages for each of the seventeen copies that delineated the sections.  I call them “pause” pages, since the reader can pause and know another section is about to start. I also feel the different texture of the parchment adds a nice touch.

The monographs are now in a box ready to go back to Postnet to be soft cover bound.  While that is being done I will ready the padded envelopes with printed labels so I can send the monographs along to family members. 

And one last thing.  I still need to write a cover letter to go with the monographs, and that seems to be the hardest part.  Been mulling over what to say. How do you condense seventeen years of work into a few sentences?  I’ll get it done.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Genealogy Goals 2015

First, a quick review of 2014 goals:
1.   Finish Tucker monograph;
2.   Attend NGS Conference in Richmond;
3.   Continue supporting HFFI through file management and photo archive project;
4.   Continue management and content addition to FRGS website;
5.   Continue digitizing marriage licenses for City of Fredericksburg;
6.   Finish transcribing diaries of Jessie Tucker Agard;
7.   Continue blog posts;
8.   Continue Random Acts support for Genealogy Club of Newtown.

Revisiting my 2014 goals, I realized I accomplished six out of eight, which isn’t too bad a record. After connecting with my new Nunn cousins on New Year’s Day 2014, I put the Tucker monograph aside, as well as transcribing the diaries of Jessie Agard, to finish the Nunn monograph. 

The Nunn Monograph is done. I am presently in the process of getting it printed and bound. Employing the PostNet office just up the road to print the 86 page drafts saves me time and money. The manager is checking into cost of binding. I have a list of those who want a copy.  I plan to mail out these copies early in the New Year Yea!!

2015 Genealogy Goals
1. Finish Nunn Monograph and distribute copies;
2. Transcribe, add photographs, print, bind and distribute Jacksonville Church History manuscript to the church and the Ulysses Historical Society;
3. Attend NERGC in Rhode Island;
4. Continue researching the Tucker family line;
5. Continue transcribing diaries of Jessie Agard;
6. Maintain England Family Cemetery and research who might be buried there.