Sunday, February 26, 2017

Richard Bailey (about 1735 – about 1811), Revolutionary War Soldier

Climbing My Family Tree: Betsy Ross style thirteen colony flag (public domain)
Betsy Ross style thirteen colony flag (public domain)
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Richard Bailey is my 5th great-grandfather. I don’t know much about his early life yet, but I know enough to write about his life in America.


I’ve seen indications in other people’s trees (1) that he is Irish and left from Ireland to come to the British American colonies, (2) that he is Irish and that he left Ireland to go to Scotland before going to the American colonies and (3) that he is Scottish and first left Scotland to go to Ireland before coming to the British colonies on North America. I haven’t yet been able to determine which version is more accurate, although I’m leaning toward further investigating number three first for the following reasons. The first records I found of him in the colonies were tax records for Londonderry, Chester County, Pennsylvania where he is listed as a landowner in 1773 and 1775, owning 13 acres. However, we also know that he was not a rich man because he was given a discount on his taxes, with the notation “poor & gone”. A later tax record told me that he was a weaver by trade, and later records of his sons indicate that they were Presbyterian (a Reform church based in Scotland), and had been born in Ireland. All of this together tends to indicate that Richard Bailey likely lived in the county of Ulster, in what is now Northern Ireland, before emigrating to colonies (the county of Ulster in Ireland was substantially settled by lowland Scots in the 1600 & 1700’s for reasons I’ll get into in a later entry if it becomes relevant). While the Scots emigrated to the North American colonies throughout the 18th century, there were years in which such emigration was heavier (1717-1718, 1727-1728, 1740-1741, and 1771-1773) and, for which, therefore, historians could trace to a certain root cause. Approximately 25,000 emigrants sailed from Ulster alone to ports in the New World between 1771 and 1773, and the majority of them settled in Pennsylvania. This exodus was caused by a combination of the precipitous decline of the linen manufacturing trade since 1770, increasing unemployment, extortionate rents, and the religious persecution of the Ulster Scots by the Church of England.


Richard Bailey moved to the colony of Pennsylvania, in Londonderry Township, Chester County, with his wife Mary [Wilson] and his children, looking for a new and better life. (Londonderry was named after Londonderry, Ireland, in the north of Ireland.) They would have crossed the Atlantic Ocean below decks in steerage as they were likely not rich, given the discount notation for his taxes in 1773. I’ve previously described in other entries the difficulties of crossing the ocean in steerage. It was a long hard voyage crammed in the hold of what were usually trading vessels on the return trip to the colonies. They would have shared the hold with dozens to hundreds of other people, depending on the size of the ship, the food would have been poor, and there was often sea sickness and other illness – all of this during a trip which could last eight to twelve weeks at that time. We know that Richard and Mary’s trip was not an easy one as their oldest daughter, Nancy, who was only about four years old died on the trip and was buried at sea (about 1770-about 1773). The other children who accompanied Richard and Mary were John Bailey (22 May 1768-25 November 1853), William Bailey (about 1771-24 July 1828), Mary Bailey (about 1772-?), and Jesse Bailey (4 October 1773-? – my 4th great-grandfather on my Mom's side).


Richard and his family probably arrived in Pennsylvania around the end of 1773, as the winds of revolution were rising. The tax records show he bought property in Londonderry Township of Chester County, about fifty miles west of Philadelphia. The Scots-Irish had little love for the British and were almost unanimously in favor of independence. Richard Bailey did not join the Continental Army, (or if he did, I haven’t found it yet), perhaps because he had a young family to support. However, he did join the Chester County militia, where he served as a private in Capt. John Ramsey’s Company in the second Battalion commanded by Col. Evan Evans. Capt. John Ramsay’s Company was raised out of Londonderry Township. Records in the Pennsylvania Archives show that he served at least from 1776 through 1778 and that the Second Battalion under Col. Evan Evans fought at the Battle for Trenton (NJ), and the Battle of Brandywine. The Battle for Trenton occurred after Gen. George Washington’s famous crossing of the icy Delaware River in the dark night before the morning of Christmas Day 1776 (remember the painting which shows General Washington standing up in the boat?). General Washington commanded the combined forces of the Continental Army and the Pennsylvania militias and defeated a garrison of Hessian mercenaries and captured nearly all of them with little loss of life on the American side. It was a huge morale booster early in the Rebellion, and allowed the Americans to overturn the psychological dominance gained by the British troops in the previous months. The battle gave the Continental Congress new confidence, as it proved colonial forces could defeat regulars and increased re-enlistments in the Continental Army forces.


The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton December 26, 1776, by John Trumbull
The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton December 26, 1776, by John Trumbull
(in the public domain)
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The Battle of Brandywine didn’t go as well.  It occurred on September 11, 1777, near Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, and involved more troops than any other battle in the Revolution. Gen. George Washington led the American forces and General Sir William Howe headed the British Army. After the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for 11 hours, the British Army defeated the Americans and forced them to retreat towards Philadelphia but, due to the British’ lack of cavalry, most of the American Army as able to escape.

Climbing My Family Tree: Map of Battle of Brandywine
Battle of Brandywine
Map prepared by the USMA History Dept (in the public domain)
Click to make bigger

When he wasn’t fighting in the Rebellion, Richard Bailey returned to living and working his 13 acres in Chester County. Richard and his wife had two more children during the course of the Revolutionary War: George Bailey (abt 1776-?) and Richard (abt 1778-abt 1850). I know the Baileys stayed in Chester County through at least 1780, as I’ve found him on the tax rolls for Londonderry, Chester County in 1780.

Richard and his family moved from Chester County to the area later named Baileyville, PA in about 1790, according to the History of Centre and Clinton Counties. At that point, Centre County had not yet been formed and the land Richard bought was then in Franklin Township, Huntingdon County, PA. The History of Baileyville, a history created for the 80th anniversary of the Baileyville Community Hall Association, states that on February 27, 1798, Richard bought a 300-acre farm from Henry Drinker.  In the Pennsylvania Septennial Census for Franklin Township, Huntingdon County, taken in 1800, Richard Bailey is listed as a weaver.

Climbing My Family Tree: Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, Huntingdon County, 1800, Richard Bailey
Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, Huntingdon County, 1800, Richard Bailey
(found via Ancestry.com)
Click to make bigger

Centre County was formed on February 13, 1800, as the result of "an act erecting parts of Mifflin, Northumberland, Lycoming and Huntingdon [counties] into a separate county" and calling it Centre. The lands that Richard had bought thus became part of Ferguson Township in Centre County (which abutted a now smaller Franklin Township in Huntingdon County). The History of Centre and Clinton Counties (published in 1883) says of Richard ”He bought extensive tracts of land and resold them in part, thus gathering about him a number of settlers, who erected their habitations immediately about, forming in time quite a hamlet, which in his honor was given the name of Baileyville. He is spoken of as a man of strict integrity, closely confining himself to his pursuits and winning the esteem of his fellow men. His children were five sons and one daughter. John, married to Nancy Charlton, had fifteen children, of whom three are living, namely Ephraim, George, and Mrs. Hannah Glenn; William, married to Jane McBride; their only living offspring is Mrs. Robert Glenn; Jesse to Jane McClelland, of whom W.H. Bailey is a descendant; George to Polly McClelland; their offspring are Perry and Mary Ann; Richard died childless; Polly married David Meek and removed to the Western States.” (The History of Baileyville also notes another daughter, Nancy, who died while crossing the ocean.)

Climbing My Family Tree: Centre County PA, approximate area where Baileyville was founded is circled in red
Centre County PA, approximate area where Baileyville was founded is circled in red
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Richard died around 1811; he was buried in the Graysville Cemetery in Huntingdon County. Per his memorial on Findagrave.com, his gravestone says he died in 1812, but his will was probated in 1811. I haven’t figured out yet when his wife died. The History of Baileyville indicates that she died in 1807 but Richard’s will was drafted in 1808, and he made detailed provisions for his wife Mary in his will, which indicates that she was alive when he had the will drafted.

In addition to taking special care of his wife, Richard left bequests to each of his children, a grandchild, and his son-in-law. He did sign his name and did not use a ‘mark’, so he was able to write. Richard’s will is as follows (transcribed as written, including capitalizations, spelling, and lack of punctuation) with the places where signatures were are encapsulated in parens:

In the name of God Amen I Richard Bailey of the town of Furgison in the County of Centre and state of Pennsylvania (yeoman) being in Perfect health of body, and of sound mind memory and understanding (Blessed be God for the same) but Considering the uncertainty of this transitory life to make and publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner and form following Towit Principally and first of all I Commit my Immortal soul into the hands of God who gave it in my Body to the Earth to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner at the direction of my Executors hereinafter named and as to such worldly estate where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give and dispose of the same in the following manner. Viz First it is my Will and I do Order that all my just debts and funeral expenses be justly paid and satisfied as soon as can be conveniently after my decease. Item I Give and Bequeath unto my Dear Wife Mary Bailey the use and privilege of the Dwelling House we now live in for and during her natural life together with all my household furniture and Kitchen utensils at her own disposal Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my two sons William Bailey and George Bailey their Heirs and Assigns forever all that part of my Plantation whereon we now live and Occupy to be Equally Divided between them according to Quality and Quantity they paying my just debts their out and also paying on to my Other Children and Legaties the several sums of money to them Respectively bequeathed in Three years after my Decease and likewise paying onto my said wife the sum of Twelve pounds yearly and every year for and During her Natural life for her maintenance and support and it is my will and I do order that my sons William and George Bailey is to provide and keep for my said Wife One Milch cow for her own use and provide and find a Horse for her to Ride when she may Choose and also to Cut Hawll and Chop all the fire word that shee may stand in need of Ready to put on the fire and also to let her have any part of the Garding to plant or sow what she pleases and likewise to sow for her own use one half Bushel of Flax seed as long as she may Chuse Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my son John Bailey his Heirs and Assigns for Ever all the Land he now has in his possession being part of my second plantation be there some More or Less likewise I Give and Bequeath unto my son John Bailey the sum of Forty Pounds Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my son Jess Bailey the sum of Twenty-two pounds Ten shillings Item I Give Devise and Bequeath my son Richard Bailey the sum of Twenty-two pounds Ten shillings Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my soninlaw David Meek the sum of five shillings Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my daughter Mary Meek the sum of Ten pounds to be Laid out in clothing for herself as she may choose Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto my Grandson Richard Bailey son of John Bailey the sum of Five pounds to be laid out in Schooling and Cloathing of the said boy Item I Give Devise and Bequeath unto George Bailey my son all my Live Stock of cattle of every sort that I may or am Possessed of at my decease And lastly I Nominate Constitute and Appoint my son John Bailey and my friend John Gray of Huntingdon County to be the Executors of this my last will and Testament here by revoking all other Wills Legacies and Bequests by me heretofore made Declaring this and none Other to be my Last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal this twentieth day of April in the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight 1808

N B the interlining done}
Before signing }                                                       (signature:         Richard Bailey)

Signed sealed published and Declared by the said testator as his last will and testament in the presence of us who in his presence and at his Request have subscribed as witnesses.

(Signature: Robert Gardner)
(Signature: William Gardner)


 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Obviously, I would like to know more about the early life of Richard and his family. I would also like to solve the mysteries concerning when he and his wife died exactly, if possible. And I would like to fill in the gaps in what I do know about his life in Pennsylvania. If you think I've gotten something wrong, or you have details to add, or a hint you think I'd like to explore, please leave a comment below or send me an email at the address contained under the Contact Me tab above. I know there are at least two other Bailey families in the Centre County/ Huntingdon County/Mifflin County area at the time as I kept running into other Bailey families with differing kids in my research (and I think that one of the two is of German descent, not Scots or Irish). Trying to make certain that my data followed one person & his family was not always easy so I may have made mistakes despite the care I took. (Given that the same names are repeated in descending generations following each child, the multiplicity of records stays confusing for the next few generations.)                                                                    
If you're wondering whether your Baileys and my Baileys match, I've done a DNA test with AncestryDNA and I've tested my Mom there as well, and I know my cousin John had his DNA tested there too. I've also loaded Mom's and my test results onto GEDmatch. So if you've done your DNA testing we could try to see if we match, if you want. Contact me!


18th-century tax records, Chester County Pennsylvania, http://www.chesco.org/1729/18th-Century-Tax-Records; The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania, by Waylon Fuller Dunaway, University of North Carolina press, Chapel Hill, 1944 (pp. 30-32, 39, 46-48, 155-157.); http://xpatnation.com/irish-american-participation-in-the-revolutionary-war; http://www.ulsterancestry.com/ulster-scots.html; http://www.electricscotland.com/history/descendants/chap1.htm; The Ulster Scots, http://www.motherbedford.com/Irish4.htm; “A Tempestuous Voyage at Sea and a Fatiguing One by Land”: Ulster women in Philadelphia, 1783-1812 by Sarah Riblet, an honors thesis in history, presented to the faculty of the Department of History of the University of Pennsylvania, 2014, http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1216&context=curej; Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, reprinted under the direction of Charles William Stone, Sec. of the Commonwealth, edited by John B. Linn and Wm H Egle, Vol. XIV, Harrisburg: EK Meyers. State Printer. 1890, https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=QD8OAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA96; Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution: Associated Battalions and Militia, 1775-1783, compiled by William Henry Egle,  https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=QD8OAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en&pg=GBS.PP1 ;  Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Genealogical Research Databases, database online, "Record of Richard Bailey", Ancestor # A004744, http://services.dar.org/Public/DAR_Research/search_adb/?action=full&p_id=A004744; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Brandywine; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton ;”Explaining Pennsylvania’s Militia” by Thomas Verenna in The Journal of the American Revolution (June 17, 2014), https://allthingsliberty.com/2014/06/explaining-pennsylvanias-militia/; Centre County GenWeb Project, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pacentre/centre.htm; The History of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania, by John Blair Linn (1883 Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts. Press of J.B. Lippincott & Co, Philadelphia); The History of Baileyville, the town, the Iron Works and the Railroad, 1790-2013, produced by the Baileyville Community Hall Association in conjunction with its 80th Anniversary Celebration October 5, 2013, Diana Albright, Project Coordinator; Will and testament of Richard Bailey (Centre County Pennsylvania, Will book A, page 68); Richard Bailey, Find A Grave Memorial # 67441, https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=67441379&ref=acom

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Don Snyder's Fall


Climbing My Family Tree: The Story of Don Snyder's Fall
The Story of Don Snyder's Fall
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I’ve written before about my Mom’s uncle Don (see 52 Ancestors: #7 Don B. Snyder), but when I wrote his profile I didn’t know this story; and when I learned of it, I knew I must share it!

I found out about the story of great-uncle Don's fall in the packet of family history information recently sent to me my mother’s cousin, RM. In an envelope within that folder I found a handwritten letter from Don to his sister Phyllis, written in 1995 and a typed letter from the Mayor of Arapahoe, NE, also from 1995, enclosing photocopies of two newspaper articles from the Arapahoe Public Mirror, one contemporaneous and one from June 18, 1936.

I had wanted to reprint both the stories, and the picture, from the newspaper along with the letters, to let you discover it as I had, and give you more of a personal flavor of great-uncle Don, but I’ve not gotten a reply to my request to the Arapahoe Public Mirror giving me permission to do so, so I’m just going to tell you the story instead.

June 1936 was in the middle of the Great Depression, and great uncle Don was 18 years old. By that time, he had begun making a bit of a name for himself while boxing as a featherweight in local and regional (paying) matches. In the sports page of the Findlay Republican Courier on February 4, 1935, the paper noted “…Don Snyder, another Findlay Boxer who scales around 120 pounds, is matched with the Hooded Phantom of Fostoria for three rounds….” But now I know why I didn’t find any articles about his boxing in 1936!

Now, let me digress for a moment to give a little historical background to provide some context for this story.

In the Great Depression, approximately 15 million men were unemployed, and many young people dropped out of school to help their parents earn money to support the family. Many people traveled across the country trying to find work as their farms were foreclosed upon and local businesses were closed, and their savings disappeared in the bank crash that caused the Depression, often hopping on freight trains or hitchhiking to the places they hoped to find work. By the 1930’s, riding the rails was an established practice, albeit very dangerous and illegal. Hitchhiking was legal and slightly safer, even if it was more uncertain as to whether a person could find a ride a ride to their destination, or find someone willing to risk picking them up at all.  One of the programs that Pres. Roosevelt instituted in order to break the economic paralysis of the depression was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was a public works relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942, for unemployed, unmarried men, 18 to 25, who were dependent welfare support. The CCC provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The men were required to sign up for six-month terms (they could re-up, with a cap of 2 years) and were paid $1 a day, with $25 a month required to be sent home to support their families and $5 a month distributed to the men for incidentals. The CCC provided shelter, food, clothes, and medical care, as well as evening vocational and academic educational programs, during the term the men worked there. Pres. Roosevelt intended that when the economy bounced back, these young men would have both skilled labor experience, experience working with a team and basic education, and be easily able to find work at regular jobs. Local economies also benefitted from local CCC camps as they produced and sold food and other supplies to the camps, and the states received federal monies to administer the program. Over the course of the 9 years the program operated, the CCC men created much of the infrastructure of our country: they planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, built 46,854 bridges, 3116 fire lookouts, 318,076 erosion check and flood control dams, thousands of campgrounds,  and a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas. They also fought forest fires; and constructed trails, lodges and related facilities in more than over 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks. A lot of their work is still in use today, 80 years later.

Climbing My Family Tree: Rudolph Wendelin CCC Art,
Rudolph Wendelin CCC Art,
Rudolph Wendelin Papers, Library and Archives, Forest History Society, Durham, NC, USA

On Thursday, April 9, 1936, Don Snyder, along with 40-some other young men from Hancock County, Ohio, applied to join the Civilian Conservation Corps. This likely meant that his father and he were unemployed. He was one of the 40 accepted. The first two months of an enlistee’s life was usually served at an Army base for initial training, conditioning, and discipline, and then they were sent to various projects throughout the country for a period ranging from a few months to the duration of their term. Occasionally, the CCC boys, as they were often called, were allowed to go home for a visit. Don was sent to work in a CCC camp in Nevada, and in June 1936, he and a buddy from the camp, Norman Cole, were riding a freight train on a return trip to Ohio. The freight car they were riding was a few cars behind the engine. He told the newspaper, in 1995, that since the slate from the steam engine was hitting them, Don had suggested that when the train next stopped, they go back a few cars to escape the slate (I can’t find anything that explains what that means – maybe it means the wheels of the engines were kicking up rocks that were hitting them?).

Shortly past midnight, on June 14, 1936, the train slowed as it pulled into Arapahoe, Nebraska. It was a very dark night, and Don was unable to see anything out the door of the freight car. While the front of the train was in Arapahoe, the freight car that Don and Norman were in had stopped on a railroad bridge over Muddy Creek, just west of town. Don didn’t know this and thought that they had stopped in a railroad stockyard, and started to climb out of the car, intending to move to another further back. But when he jumped out of the car, he fell approximately 30-40 feet to the bottom of the creek bed below, landing across a downed tree! His friend, Norman, discovering what happened, ran into town for help; he gratefully discovered people just leaving a dance that had ended around midnight, and recruited help to go back to the creek and help Don. The rescuers carried Don into town. He was cared for at Dr. J. P. Pattin’s office and then Don and Norman were taken to the Park Hotel. X-rays taken showed that Don had four broken ribs, a chipped pelvis, an injured kidney, and other internal injuries.

Climbing My Family Tree: Aerial View of Arapahoe, NE city line and Railroad Bridge
Aerial View of Arapahoe, NE city line and Railroad Bridge
All rights to Google Maps
Click to make bigger

The town council, who Don referred to as the town fathers, visited him in his room at the Park Hotel, told him that he had fallen 40 feet, and that they would take care of things and that he did not have to worry. When Don wrote the mayor in 1995, he noted that those were very bad times in the country and that the kind, benevolent people told him not to worry because they would take care of everything, and they did! Don and Norman stayed at the hotel recuperating under the care of Dr. Pattin. On Thursday, June 18, 1936, he was declared to be recovering satisfactorily and was released from the hotel. Don and Norman left immediately, continuing their trip home to Findlay, this time hitchhiking.

The Arapahoe Public Mirror ran a story on Don’s fall on the day that he left town, June 18, 1936, titled “CCC Boy Injured in Fall from R. R. Bridge”. Below that story was a small entry, titled “Card of Thanks” which stated, “I wish to take this means to thank those who so kindly assisted me following the accident last Saturday evening near the Muddy Creek railroad bridge, especially Mrs. Gilbert, Leo Anderson, Joe Breinig and Dr. Pattin.” It was signed Don Snyder and Norman Cole.

****

I can’t imagine hitchhiking nearly 1000 miles back to Findlay Ohio with three cracked ribs, a chipped pelvis, and multiple internal injuries. He must’ve once been one tough guy, or, really wanted to be home.

Great-uncle Don long remembered that town which took care of him during those hard times. In the years after the Great Depression, Don rode through Arapahoe NE three more times on a passenger train, but always in the middle of the night. He never saw the bridge from which he fell, and always wondered about it. Fifty-nine years after his fall, he wrote the mayor of Arapahoe, asking for a picture of the bridge, and explained what had happened to him there.

This was the mayor’s response:
Climbing My Family Tree: Letter from Arapahoe NE mayor to Don Snyder, July 31, 1995
Letter from Arapahoe NE mayor to Don Snyder, July 31, 1995
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July 31, 1995
            Don B. Snyder
            3260 Schneider Rd. #119
            Toledo, OH 43614

Dear Mr. Snyder:
I was pleased to receive your letter of February 23, 1994 and May 26, 1995. It was certainly interesting, but must’ve been a hectic few seconds while you fell the 30 feet in addition to what you thought would be approximately 4 feet from the boxcar to the ground.

Upon receiving your letter, a friend and I went to the Muddy Creek railroad bridge and measured the distance from the top of the bridge to the edge of the stream. We found that distance to be 28 feet, although the depth at the bottom of the water may be 30 feet. The measurement was taken on the northwest side of the bridge. This bridge lies about 100 yards to the west of the corporate limits of the city of Arapahoe.

I also asked the editor of the Arapahoe Public Mirror if she would examine the issues of the Arapahoe Public Mirror from June 18, 1936 and see if an article had been printed. Shortly thereafter, she informed me that she in fact found the article printed on June 18, 1936 as you stated. I have enclosed a photocopy of that article as well as a copy of the recent article that was printed on June 15, 1995. The picture that accompanies this article was taken on the south side of the bridge as it was too muddy on the north side due to the recent rains. The color pictures that I am enclosing were taken with my camera, also from the south side of the bridge and one is from the Arapahoe city limits looking up the railroad tracks towards the Burlington Northern railroad bridge over Muddy Creek, previously referred to as the Muddy Creek Bridge.

I am pleased to provide this information to you and seek no remuneration.
Sincerely,
(signature)
Howard T Davis
Mayor
City of Arapahoe
PO Box 57
Arapahoe, NE 68922


I didn’t receive the pictures the mayor took that he said were enclosed in his letter to Don, other than the one that was included in the newspaper article which I can’t print,  but here is a photo of what is probably the same street-level view from the city limit as the mayor referred to in his letter, taken by Google Maps. Other than this, it looks like most other railroad bridges over creeks that you may have seen. For mental comparison, remember that there are approximately 10 feet per story in a building, so the bridge was at least three stories above the creek bed (if I get belated permission to print the photo or the articles in my blog from the Arapahoe newspaper, I will edit this article to include it/them).

Climbing My Family Tree: View from Arapahoe NE city limits towards railroad bridge over Muddy Creek.
View from Arapahoe NE city limits towards railroad bridge over Muddy Creek.
All rights to Google Maps, Street View.
Click to make bigger

Don was so excited and happy when he received the return letter from the mayor that he wrote his sister about it.

Climbing My Family Tree: Don Snyder's August 7, 1995 letter to his sister Phyllis (Snyder) Fry
Don Snyder's August 7, 1995 letter to his sister Phyllis (Snyder) Fry
Click to make bigger


Aug. 7 ‘ 95
Toledo Ohio

Hi Sis:
Perhaps you remember the time I came back from Nevada (not Oregon) and fell from the train in Nebraska (southwest corner). Well, I wrote the mayor of Arapahoe not long ago trying to get a picture of the bridge. The “town fathers” (council) came in my hotel room telling me they would take care of things. Also that it was 40 feet down that I fell. Now I guess it’s more like 30 feet. But of course it could fill in a bit in 59 years.
Anyways some time went by (I’d offered $30 for some pictures) but I was disappointed as I hadn’t heard from them. And then the letter came Friday. A real nice letter from the mayor, pictures, and two clippings. I was so happy to hear from him I just had to have copies made. These are for you. Some people probably wonder why I care. Well, there I was lying injured in a creek bed in near total darkness. Well over 1000 miles from home thinking I was going to die before help arrived. You just don’t forget that too easy. The guy with me, Norman Cole died last December in Dayton Ohio. I’m going to send his widow a copy. I visited them twice.
Things are fine here. Florence bought a new Buick so I bought her car. It’s a Buick Regal ‘81. Two years older than my Chrysler. Mine has 147,000 miles on it. Hers 65,000 and it always sit in her garage. Now I’ve got to get rid of mine.
No trips planned. Like to get to Fla. in Oct. But just an idea. Maybe I’ll take a run up to see you and bring Florence. Take care & all that. Love youDon’t say that much to anyone but when I do I mean it.
                                                                                          Don.

The city of Arapahoe seems like a fine town, full of caring, wonderful people. They went out of their way to help a boy far from home, during a time when few could afford to support their own family let alone a stranger. I’m glad they chose to care for my great-uncle Don. 


________________________
http://travelnevada.com/adventures/32876/ccc-in-nevada; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_Conservation_Corps; https://archive.org/stream/civilianconserva48unit/civilianconserva48unit_djvu.txt; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/photo-gallery/ccc/; http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_07.html; http://erroluys.com/greatdepression.html; http://erroluys.com/greatdepressionarchive.htmlNew Contingent of CCC Monday” Findlay Morning Courier, 10 April 1936, p.20; “CCC Boy Injured in Fall from R. R. Bridge” Arapahoe Public Mirror, 18 June 1936, p. 1; “Long drop from freight car remembered” Arapahoe Public Mirror 1995 (June 15, 1995,); 31 July 1995 letter from Howard T Davis, mayor of Arapahoe, NE to Don Snyder (photocopy in my possession); 7 August 1995 letter from Don Snyder to Phyllis Snyder (original in my possession).


Monday, January 2, 2017

By The Numbers

Happy New Year, Everyone!

This year I am not going to do New Year’s resolutions or intentions on the blog. Of all the intentions I set out in a post last January, I completed one: my photography 365 Project. In doing that project, I found that I had very little time for genealogy, and now I am craving more time spent on it. Consequently, I’m hoping to be able to write up more ancestor profiles, and other tidbits, this year, too. I’ll be working on the ancestor lines at the points where I got stuck the last time through, so we’ll see where that takes me. Hopefully, I’ll make more headway this time as more records have been digitized.


Just after Christmas, I received a manila envelope from one of Mom’s cousins, R. (F.) M. Containing a folder of genealogy material, letters, and pictures, from her mom’s side of the family – which is the side we share. I’ve been having so much fun going through it, and trying to see where the information fits into my tree!


One of my brothers recently asked me how many direct line ancestors I had found. I had to tell him I didn’t know without turning on the computer and counting. Ancestrydotcom counts how many people I have in my tree, but since I do a lot of collateral research that doesn’t actually help me determine how many people have I have found in the direct line. [Aside: I don’t understand how people who only research their direct line ever find their direct line people; most of the jumps in generations I’ve been able to make have come from research I’ve done on brothers and sisters of my direct line ancestor.] But now I can answer him here!


Yesterday, I saw a post on the blog Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches on tallying up your family tree, in which she explained an easy way how to do that if you use ancestrydotcom. So, this morning I tallied my direct line ancestors, and this post is for you M! I chose to include only those ancestors I am certain of. On some of my lines I’ve got some possibilities that I’m exploring, but until I am more certain, I decided not to include them in this tally – maybe in 12 months I can do a year-end tally and if they made the cut, my percentages will go up.


MATERNAL SIDE
(This is using Mom as a starting point, and thus the “parents” listed are my grandparents; so each one of these numbered levels would be one level greater, or higher, from me and my brothers.)
Generation
Actual Number
Number Found
percentage

Parents

2

2

100%

Grandparents

4

4

100%

Great-grandparents

8

8

100%

2nd great grandparents

16

16

100%

3rd great-grandparents

32

12

37.5%

4th great-grandparents

64

8

12.5%

5th great-grandparents

128

0

0%

6th  great-grandparents

256

0

0%

7th great-grandparents

512

0

0%

Total

1022

50

4.89%




PATERNAL SIDE
(This is using Dad as a starting point, and thus the “parents” listed are my grandparents; so each one of these numbered levels would be one level greater, or higher, from me and my brothers.)
Generation
Actual Number
Number Found
percentage

Parents

2

2

100%

Grandparents

4

4

100%

Great-grandparents

8

8

100%

2nd great grandparents

16

16

100%

3rd great-grandparents

32

17

53.13%

4th great-grandparents

64

5

7.81%

5th great-grandparents

128

0

0%

6th  great-grandparents

256

0

0%

7th great-grandparents

512

0

0%

Total

1022

50

5.08%


Obviously, I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’ve only been doing it for about four years, off and on. Looks like I've got lots more years of fun to come!



P. S. For those of you curious as to how many people overall are in my Ancestrydotcom tree, here are my tree stats: 2374 people, 7776 records, 569 photos (only a small proportion of the photos are of people, unfortunately).