Showing posts with label Faucett Sarah E. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faucett Sarah E. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Reason to Celebrate--17 Becoming Acquainted With John

I considered myself one of the lucky ones when my Grandma Ganus moved to a small house on Main street in Sanford, Colorado. What was so good about living on Main street? There were several good things, one being that we could sit out front and watch people come and go. In a small town like Sanford where life was slow and simple, knowing who was going where and with whom could be big news. Lucky for us, Grandma's crab apple trees provided the perfect perch for us and provided a little cover because we could watch without others realizing that we were watching. It could have also provided a snack at the same time, but every year,  I tried, I really tried, to like the sour crab apples in those trees, but even with a good salting, I just could not eat them. Even now, it makes my mouth pucker just to think about biting into one. 

But the truly best part of living on Main street was that it meant a prime seat to the big event of the year, the 24th of July parade!!!

I loved being in Colorado for the 24th of July. The 24th of July, 1847 was the day the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley and so it is a day of celebration for members of the LDS church, everywhere. Most of the early inhabitants of the cluster of small Southern Colorado towns were either descendants of pioneers who had first settled in Utah and then were sent on to the San Luis Valley or descendants of a Southerner who fled there after joining the LDS church.

My parents, brothers and myself outside an old pioneer
house in Sanford Colorado 2012
In Colorado, the 24th celebration actually lasts an entire week. The activities are spread among the small neighboring towns of LaJara, Sanford and Manassa due to the high density of Mormons in those small little farm towns.The celebration includes parades, a pageant, rodeos, activities such as three-legged races, pie eating contests, dances, ballgames, etc. A carnival always comes to Manassa and an afternoon spent there includes a mouth-watering hamburger. It is quite the celebration. You can read about the history of the celebration and see details about the most recent celebration HERE. We loved going as kids and it continues to be a wonderful tradition today. 

Southern Colorado was selected as a place for the Mormons to emigrate to in part because land was reasonable and there was access to water. (1) When the first group of Southerners arrived in 1879, there were only about 160 living there. (2)  That group of Southerners, like those who would follow them, arrived poor and fairly ill-prepared for the harsh winters and short growing seasons they would experience. Other Mormons were sent from Utah to settle there to help the Southerners with the transition. Latinos who were living there first helped both groups through the difficult adjustment.


Colorado, San Luis Valley, Mormons, LDS, emigration, Southerners, 24th of July, Celebration, Pioneer Days
Map showing the location of Conejos County Colorado
The following description of Manassa appeared in the Salt Lake Herald in 1879:
"The city of Manassa, so named, is situated in Conejos County, seven miles north by east of the county seat on ranges 9 and 10, township 34, north of New Mexico, principal meridian. A more beautiful location would be difficult to find, the site being selected with judicious foresight for agricultural and pastoral enterprises, and the settlers cannot fail ultimately to realize fully the most sanguine hopes of those now building the city. 
........The streets of the city are six rods wide, with streams running on either side, the immediate intention being to plant shade trees, according to the system established in Salt Lake City. Many of these streets are already occupied by the Mormon families, who at the present writing number 156 souls who are living in tents and temporary buildings. (3)
John and his family were among the sixth group to emigrate to Manassa from the South and by the time they arrived, 8 years after the first group, the town had grown considerably due to the large number of Mormon converts who had fled from the South.

By 1889, a  few years after John and his family arrived, almost a thousand people were living in Manassa, most of whom were Southerners. There was half a dozen stores, a log church and although initially most all of the homes were log, the log homes were slowly being replaced by small frame homes.(4)

Eventually, the Ganus families would have their own homes. As this early Manassa Map shows, "Frank"  (my Great-Grandfather William Franklin Ganus) had a home on Peterson Street (Lot 10) and "Father Ganus" and John Ganus were a couple of streets away on Smith Street (Lot 40).  (5)




Adjusting to a different climate can be physically hard. At 7,690 feet, Manassa is approximately 6,447 feet higher than John's home in Georgia. John's family likely experienced some of the effects of that altitude change which for some includes fatigue and headache at first. In addition, the humid climate of their Georgia home was replaced by a much drier climate. The Ganus family had to learn to grow and eat different crops from what they were accustomed to due in part to the high altitude and short growing season. All of these issues presented challenges for John, as well as the other Southerners.

Whenever groups of people converge from different areas of the country and world, they bring with them the illnesses of that region and such was true for Manassa. Measles, smallpox, diphtheria, and mumps were just a few of the illnesses that plagued the valley. The Ganus family knew the heartbreak of losing family members to illness in the years that they were there and it seems to have especially taken a toll on the little children of the Ganus family. John and Olivia experienced the heartbreak of burying four grandchildren during the time in Manassa.

The first Ganus child taken was John Thackason Ganus and Mary's son, Morgan L. Ganus who was born 20 Oct 1887 and died 1888. The following year John T. and Mary lost another child, John William, who was born in 1882 and died in 1889.  Then in 1890, William Franklin Ganus (Frank) and Sarah Faucett (Sally) buried their son, Parley L. Ganus who was born on 18 February 1889 and died 2 February 1890. One year later, Frank and Sally buried their only daughter, Blanche E. who was born 16 Feb. 1891 and died that same year.

Old Manassa Cemetery, Manassa, Colorado 
As I visited the Old Manassa Cemetery several years ago, I stood in that little abandoned cemetery and imagined the grief the Ganus family felt each time another child passed away. Four times they brought one of their little ones to be buried, four times they dug a small grave and four times they said goodbye.

The Ganus family had come to Colorado for safety, and although they were safer from physical and emotional harm, illness found them. 

When I stood in front of my Grandma Ganus' house as a child, all those many years ago, and waited for the floats and horses to pass by, I wish I had known more about my ancestry and the price they paid. I wish I would have understood the sacrifices that were made, the hardships they endured and all that was given so that I could have the life that I have. I am sure I still would have appreciated the front row seat at the parade and the juicy hamburger at the carnival, but just maybe I would have felt all the more reason to celebrate. 




(1) Mormon Colonization of the San Luis Valley, Colorado, 1878-1900.  page 50
(2) sic p. 49
(3) "Mormon Manassa, " Salt Lake Herald, May 22, 1879, page 3, accessed on Utah Digital Newspapers,  https://digitalnewspapers.org/
(4) "Manassa Matters," Salt Lake Herald, Dec. 8, 1889, page 14, accessed on Utah Digital Newspapers, https://digitalnewspapers.org/.
(5). Portion of map from the back pocket of "The Life and Ministry of John Morgan," Arthur Richardson, Historical Research Nicholas G. Morgan Sr.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2017, All rights reserved

Friday, July 8, 2016

Photo Friday--Blanche Elmina Faucett

William F. Ganus
Sarah E. Faucett
Elmina Ganus
This photo is of my great grandparents, William Franklin Ganus b. 1853 Georgia and Sarah E. Faucett b. 1864 Georgia and their daughter Blanche Elmina Ganus. I assume she was named after her grandmother who was Elmina (Bowers )Faucett.  

Blanche was born 18 February 1891 in Manassa, Conejos, Colorado and died September of that same year. She was buried in the Old Manassa Cemetery outside of Manassa, Colorado. She was their only daughter. 
Old Manassa Cemetery
Outside of Manassa Colorado 
















Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Sisters, Two Stories

As I looked at the pictures of Bertha and Gussie Fricks, I was taken by how much the sisters looked alike, in fact at first I wondered if they were twins. But research would show that they were born two years apart. Bertha was born about 1885 and Gussie was born about 1883. Daughters of Ramsey Fricks and Emma Faucett, the girls grew up in Walker County, Georgia and were sisters to Carl Fricks, whose story I shared here.  

In the picture, the girls wore very similar dresses and both wore their hair pulled up on top of their heads in the Gibson Girl style. Did their dress just reflect the current style for young girls, or did they have the same taste? Perhaps we see the common tendency of a younger sister to imitate the dress and style of an older sister.  

family history, genealogy research, ancestors, research, sisters, Oklahoma
Gussie (Fricks) Brummitt
genealogy, family history, Walker County, Georgia, Bertha Fricks, Gussie Fricks, Faucett, Ramsey Fricks
Bertha (Fricks) Lamb

















I wonder if they were close. Not having any sisters of my own, I used to think about how wonderful life would be if only I had a sister. I imagined that we would play together, share each other's clothes and at night, when we were supposed to be asleep, we would giggle and whisper secrets in the room that we shared. As much as I loved my brothers, I knew that having brothers was not the same deal. I would like to think that Bertha and Gussie had a close loving relationship, although I don't really know. 

In my research, I could see other similarities between the two girls.  They married within two years of each other and both married in Walker County, Georgia. Interestingly enough, both girls married men quite a bit older. Gussie married a man 10 years her senior and Bertha's husband was nearly 7 years older than she was. Each had only one child, a son. (I shared Gussie's story here.)

Whatever similarities existed between the two girls, there were also some striking differences. At the young age of 16, Bertha married Sam Lamb on the 22nd of July 1900. Although several years older, Gussie actually married two years after Bertha. Bertha and Sam's son, Jesse Wallace Fricks, was born about 1902. Gussie and her husband John Brummitt would have a son three years later. 

The most striking difference though was the length of Bertha's life which sadly was considerably shorter than Gussie's. 

Bertha didn't live long enough to appear on a single census with her husband and son.  Dying before her son Jesse was two years old, she missed out on so much. She didn't experience growing old with her husband, nor seeing her son Jesse marry and have children. She never knew the joy that grandchildren bring.

Sadly no death certificate exists for her and not even a Find-A-Grave entry helps identify where she was laid to rest. Thankfully, a short article appeared in the Walker County Messenger, a newspaper for LaFayette, Georgia.  The following entry was published on Thursday February 26, 1903:
"On the 14th inst. while the shades of night hung over our sleeping valley the angel of death entered the home of Mr. Sam Lamb and snatched from his bosom his dear wife. Two short summers ago she stood by his side a beautiful blushing bride full of life and vigor; but soon the much-dreaded monster, consumption, with its cold hands laid hold of her body and finished its deadly work. The deceased was the daughter of Mrs. Ramsey Fricks. In this, the saddest hour of their lives, we offer sympathy and trust that the Good Master will at last lead the bereaved to a sweet home where no sad farewells are heard."   (1)              J.B. Cagle                                                                                                                                                                         
Only 18 years old and with so much ahead of her, Bertha succumbed to the awful disease, consumption, known today as tuberculosis. She left behind her husband of two years and her young son. Two sisters and two stories, but one story was much too short. 


(1)  LaFayette Georgia Walker County Messenger 1902-1905, image 218, February 23, 1903. Accessed on Old Fulton New York Post Cards, October 24th, 2015.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Boxing and Crying

Those who have been following my blog are probably well aware that my grandpa, Heber Monroe Ganus, was orphaned at a young age.  Being a pivotal point not only for my grandpa but for his descendants as well, it is a point of reference for so many of my stories here.  If you haven't been following, you may want to read a little about the brothers and what happened here and here.

Because grandpa was orphaned and lived in several homes, we know little about his early life, so finding a few recollections of his childhood, no matter how brief, is a blessing. I found some stories about my grandpa and his brother Orson in a most unexpected place.

family history, genealogy, Sanford Colorado, Alamosa Colorado, Faucett, Ganus, orphan
Ernest and Heber 
On a recent visit to Brigham Young University (Go Cougars!) I visited their library and decided to take a look at an autobiography of Olive Elmina Faucett Christensen who lived in Alamosa, Colorado. I didn't know anything about Olive because I haven't worked much on my Faucett line, but knowing that my great grandmother was a Faucett and that she had lived in the Alamosa area for a time and knowing that her mother's name was Elmina, I was sure there was a link between her and Olive. I hoped that maybe there would be some mention of their ancestry, but was delighted to find instead a few stories that no governmental record can provide. This find underscores the value of learning all that you can about extended family. You never know what other treasures you might find in the process.

When Grandpa Heber's parents died, he and twin Orson and their older brother Ernest remained in Oklahoma for a time with their father's family but a year later went to Colorado to live with their mother's family. Orson went to their mother's brother, Thomas, Heber went to her brother Alfonzo, and Ernest went to Sally's oldest sister, Mary Haggard.  Both Thomas, Alonzo and Mary lived in Sanford so, although the brothers were split up, they lived relatively close to each other. Olive was Thomas' daughter and Orson became like a brother to her.

Olive's autobiography [1]  is a wonderful rambling of memories from her childhood as she recalls everything from how they made their beds, to milking cows and raising chickens as well as local events such as dances and ball games. While her book is difficult to find, if you would like a peek into life in rural Conejos County Colorado in the early part of the 20th century, locating a copy to read is worth the effort. I will be sharing several of her recollections of Orson and Heber over the next few blog posts.


In one account, Olive provided a brief look into what became a regular evening activity for Orson and Heber. Olive shared:
"One time Papa got Orson some boxing gloves for Christmas, things really got going then. Heber would come down from Uncle Fon's and everybody would get them to boxing.  Heber was a little tougher than Orson, but they would really box. Orson would hit and cry and hit and cry.  Then as the kids grew up they got a larger set of boxing gloves and boxing went right on down the line.  After supper men and boys would get out in the yard and box."

Other than the crying part, the story warms my heart.  It's good to know the boys got together in the evenings and "played," which in this case meant boxing each other's ears. Hopefully between the tears, there was also laughter and bonding. Because it became a repeated event and they later got larger gloves in order to continue the activity, I tend to think it was something they enjoyed doing together.


Orson Ganus, Heber Ganus, twins, orphans, Southern Colorado, boxing
The twins
Orson and Heber Ganus 

[1] Autobiography of Olive E. Faucett Christensen, written January through December 1957, Artcraft Printers, Alamosa, Colorado


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Brothers, Three Roads - Part 1

Ernest William Ganus, Heber Monroe Ganus
Ernest and Heber
Unknown date
They weren't little boys anymore and life had taken them in very different directions.   Two brothers, tossed and shaped by tragic circumstances, took opportunity to pose for a picture.  Ernest Ganus, the oldest of the sons of William Franklin Ganus and Sarah E. Faucett was born 23 May 1893 and was seven years older than his brother Heber.  It is unknown why Ernest and Heber posed together for the picture without Heber's twin, Orson.

I find myself feeling a little pang of sadness at the thought of one of the brothers missing and while I really won't go so far as to compromise the integrity of the photo by photoshopping Orson in, I confess part of me would like to. While the picture seems incomplete,  it is nevertheless a great picture of two brothers and the only picture I have of my grandfather at that age. Today however, I turn my attention to Ernest.

Although the Ganus family arrived in Oklahoma about 1897, well after the initial land rush, they witnessed a great deal of growth and change occur as Oklahoma went from sparsely populated Indian Territory to communities that boomed with the discovery of rich crude oil and the promise of work. Oklahoma officially became the 47th state in 1907.  Ernest was a young man of 14 at the time and I wonder if he and his brothers understood the significance of that historic day when Oklahoma became part of the United States?

Ernest attended school until his father's death in 1906, when he was just 13 years old and  I have wondered if he quit school to work and help with the support of the family.  Undoubtedly it was difficult to for his mother Sarah to support three growing boys in 1906,  but her struggle to provide was short lived.  In 1909, just three short years after husband Frank's death, Sarah died, leaving the three boys orphaned.

I suspect that initially the twins leaned on sixteen year old Ernest for assurance and emotional security. Harsh experiences such as these propel children into the adult world of survival and worries that are typically shouldered by their parents.

Sadly, none of the relatives were able to take in all three boys for any length of time and so the little security that they felt in being together was soon shattered.  The boys appear on the 1910 Census in both Okmulgee with Uncle Roderick Ganus, their father's brother, and a few months later with their mother's sister, Mary Haggard, in the small farming community of Sanford, Colorado.  Mary, herself a widow at the time, could only keep the boys for a little while and then they were each sent to different homes.

Still little boys, Heber and Orson were unable to provide for themselves and would remain in the care of others for quite a few more years.  But at 17 years of age, Ernest was nearly a man in the world's eyes and soon set out on his own. Although his brothers remained in Sanford, Colorado, Ernest soon returned to Oklahoma where his life would take him on a very different path.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Tula's First Child's Casket"


Ola's casket
“Tula’s first child’s casket,”  was penciled on the back of the faded and well worn picture.  Dirty brown smudges on the once white border, made me wonder how many others had held this picture and felt Tula's loss.  Had they also wondered just as I did,  just who was Tula’s first child?

image
Photo Taken by Kurtis Shawcroft
Used by permission
When I initially came across this picture and before I had really become acquainted with Tula,  I felt a sadness just knowing that she had lost a child.  But the feeling deepened once I researched Tula and realized that the sweet little tow headed Ola shown in the pictures shared in an earlier post was in fact, Tula’s first child.  It was Ola who laid within this child sized casket piled deep with beautiful flowers, Tula’s final gift to her sweet little girl.  Once again Tula faced heartbreak as she buried yet one more family member.  Ola was laid to rest in the Alamosa, Colorado Municipal Cemetery on the 25th of November 1902, next to her father Charles, just four years after his death.

According to an anonymous contributor on Findagrave, Ola died of spinal meningitis in Salida, Colorado on 23 November.  Although living in Salida at the time, Tula took Ola “home” to be buried in Alamosa.  By the age of 29, Tula had buried her mother, her father, her husband and her child and I can’t imagine the depth of her grief.  

The picture of Ola's casket was among the scant few pictures in my grandmother's suitcase and so I realized that Tula must have sent this picture to her sister, my great grandmother, Sarah Faucett Ganus, who then lived many miles away in Oklahoma.  Once again, Tula reached out to her sister and I wondered,  did Sarah write her back?  How I wish I had the letters those two may have exchanged.   

And with this finding, yet another question surfaced.  Why was Tula and Ola living in Salida rather than in Alamosa where they were living when Charles died?  I will share more of their story in my next post.    

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Okie from Muskogee


I clearly remember singing with great enthusiasm  "I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee," to a new girl in school who had just moved to our little California town from Oklahoma.  Although I didn't know much about Oklahoma at the time, we had all heard the Merle Haggard song played on the radio and it seemed somehow appropriate to serenade our new classmate with the popular tune. Little did I know then that they might as well have sung it to me, as I have my own Muskogee, Oklahoma roots.

Sarah E. Faucett, Orson Ganus, Heber Ganus
Sally with twins Orson (L) and Heber (R)
It was there that  forty-five year old widowed Sally Faucett Ganus passed from this life on March 17, 1909, leaving behind  three young sons. Sally and husband, Frank, had moved to Oklahoma approximately ten years earlier from Manassa, Colorado.  Seven hundred and thirty miles from her nearest blood relative, Sally was, in many ways, quite alone.  Because Frank had preceded her in death three years earlier, their children, sixteen year old Ernest and eight year old twins, Orson and Heber, were now left orphaned.  I’ve always wondered who was at Sally’s side in her final moments?  Were her children there?  Were there others?  Was there someone there to embrace her children and dry their tears?

Although she was my great Grandmother,  I really know very little about Sally Faucett Ganus.  I don’t know any of the little details about her that could help me to envision her as a person.  I don’t know what she liked to eat,  what she liked to do with her time and I have never heard a single story about her.

I was glad to find a microfilmed record pertaining to her death at the Family History Library.  I learned that G. H. Bloom’s funeral home records from Muskogee, Oklahoma are among the few to survive from that time period, so I did feel fortunate that they were microfilmed and that there was an entry for her.  However, as is too often the case, the find left me with as many questions as answers.

image

It was disappointing to note that Sally’s record was the only record on that page that did not indicate the cause of death.  Was her death sudden and the cause unknown?  Her son, Heber, recorded in his life history that she had requested before her death that her sons be sent back to live with her brother in Colorado.  That suggests to me that she had some idea that her death was imminent.

I also noted from the record  that her body was shipped to Okmulgee for burial.  It troubles me that I have no idea where in Okmulgee she was buried, and no one else seems to know either. While there are a few early Ganus family members buried at Little Cussetah Cemetery in Okmulgee,  she is not listed among the dead there.

Sarah Faucett
Sally Faucett Ganus
“Cemetery Records of Okmulgee Oklahoma,” published by The Genealogical Society of Okmulgee, Oklahoma in 1974, included a survey of a small family cemetery located northwest of Okmulgee, called Berryhill Cemetery.  Among the six people buried there is “W. F. Ganus.”  His date of birth and death match the known dates for Sally’s husband “Frank” or William Franklin Ganus, my great grandfather.  Jessie Ganus, daughter of Robert Lee Ganus (Frank’s brother)  is also buried there along with four Berryhills, with whom we have no known connection.  Attempts by family members to visit that cemetery have been in vain.  The little burying ground lies on private land a short distance from the road and signs stating “No Trespassing” are clearly posted at the fence.  Efforts to contact the current land owner for permission to access the cemetery have failed.  So, many questions remain, including why was Frank buried there and just where is Sally? 

As genealogists, we all seem to feel driven to find our ancestor’s final resting place.  Standing at their headstone and reflecting on whatever small bit of information we may know about them somehow helps satisfy that inner need to be close to them, to connect to them, to honor them and to acknowledge that they lived and that they mattered.  And so, I continue to look for Sally, my Okie from Muskogee.


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

But . . . . What Happened to Marthy?

Notes found among
my Grandma's belongings
As I scanned the list of those who had migrated with my Ganus family from Georgia to Colorado in December of 1886,  I could not help but notice that Marthy was not listed.  Family lore indicated that my Great Grandfather Frank Ganus had married sisters, and since his deceased first wife Matilda Roberts’ only sister was Martha Emma Roberts, I assumed that they meant her.  An entry in the J.J. Pledger Murphy Journal indicated that Marthy Roberts had cooked dinner for them on October 22, 1886,  prior to the Ganus family leaving for Colorado on December 2, 1886.  Not only did I take note that Marthy was still alive and present  at the end of October, but also that she was still a Roberts at that time.  I guess it is possible that she had married her widowed brother-in-law Frank Ganus and then died between October 22nd and December 2nd,  but somehow I didn't think so.

The scant penciled notes on scraps of paper, on the backs of old envelopes and scribblings on torn pieces of notepads continued to encourage me to dig deeper to either prove or disprove their varied claims.  Because my grandfather had been orphaned at such a young age and had not been reared near other Ganus family members, I recognized the fact that his limited knowledge of his family meant that we in turn knew very little about the extended Ganus family.  I assumed that some of what he had believed to be true was likely shared with him by his older brother Earnest.  While Earnest was seven years his senior, Earnest was only sixteen years old when they were orphaned and sent hundreds of miles away to live with their mother's family, the Faucetts.  While some of what my Grandpa believed about his Ganus family proved to be fact,  I wasn’t so sure about this piece of information.

Besides wanting to prove or disprove the claim that my great grandfather had married both sisters before marrying my Great Grandmother Sarah Faucett, I wanted very much to know what happened to Martha Emma Roberts or Marthy as she was called.  Marthy was another character that intrigued me but I knew very little about her.  Sisters, Mary Matilda born in 1856 and Martha Emma born in 1857, were born to Nicholas Roberts and Mary E. Meadows, who were married  the 23rd of February, 1847, in Madison, Georgia.  Nicholas and Mary's family had consisted of six children, James N., Joseph, William B., and Thomas E. Roberts and then the two girls, Mary Matilda and Martha Emma. 

The girls' father  had  followed their mother in death, leaving the girls orphaned by 1866. The guardianship papers filed in 1869 in Floyd County, Georgia where the family had lived, indicated that the girls were to be bound to John D. Green for their care and while Marthy is found in the John D. Green’s household in 1870, Matilda, however, was living in a household consisting of her and her three older brothers, James, Joseph and Thomas.  By 1880 Matilda had married Frank Ganus and was living in Haralson County, Georgia and Marthy, a single woman,  lived alone next door.  Apparently the girls had been separated long enough and while their marital status differed, they chose to remain as close to each other as circumstances would allow. But soon things changed. Matilda died and Frank left with daughter Ollie and the rest of the Ganus family for Colorado.  But what happened to Marthy?  Where did she go? 

Marthy seemed to have just disappeared.  I could find no record of a marriage or a death in Georgia.  There were many Martha Roberts on census records, but none of them seemed just right and of course I considered the fact that she possibly was married and had a different surname, yet I could not find a marriage record for her in the general area.  Off and on I would search for Marthy, but always I would eventually put her aside out of frustration. Yet, I couldn't seem to leave it alone and curiosity kept bringing me back, feeling the need to know what happened to Marthy?  There was no indication that Marthy had gone west with others in 1886 and yet I could find nothing that indicated that she had died around that time period either. Where was she?

Then one day while waiting for one of our daughters, I decided to putter on my computer for a few moments. Doing a general search on the main page of Familysearch, I put in only Marthy Roberts and  her approximate date of birth.  I was totally surprised when a record popped up for an Alabama death certificate!  The index showed "Marthy Roberts", born in Georgia, her mother was listed as a Meadows and her father Nicholas Roberts---it was a great fit, but definitely not where I had expected her to be. Some of my family had bobbed back and forth across the Alabama/Georgia border at varying times, appearing in Cleburne or Calhoun, but Marthy had died clear up in Marshall County.  What had she been doing there?
Aunt Marthy Roberts and brother Joseph Roberts
Martha E. Roberts
and brother J.O. Roberts
 
I obtained a copy of her death certificate and noted that it indicated that Marthy Roberts was single, had been a nurse and that she died of Tubercular kidneys contracted in Georgia.  I decided to consult message boards to see if there were others researching the Roberts family in Marshall County, Alabama and found a sweet woman that not only knew something of Marthy and her history, but was generous enough to share a picture of her as well.  That was the frosting on the cake!

This Roberts descendant told me that Marthy had never married and so when she had become sick, she had gone to her brother’s home in Alabama and had died there.  She told me that Marthy was buried in Union Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Marshall County,  so I consulted the website  Find a Grave where I found that R. Bailey had generously taken a picture of her headstone and had placed it on the website.  I am so grateful to the many volunteers on Find a Grave such as Mr. Tidmore who created the memorial and R. Bailey who took the picture, who so generously give of their time.  I did notice that the headstone appears to be a little more recent but was obviously contributed by loving family and I was touched by the tender inscription—”Aunt Martha Roberts.”

Aunt Martha Roberts grave
Martha Robert's Grave
Union Grove Baptist Cemetery
Marshall County, Alabama
So finally I knew at least some of what happened to Marthy.  I have found nothing to support the story that she ever married my Great Grandfather.  I do think that the two sisters were extremely close as long as they both lived. I know that Marthy became a nurse, that she lived in Georgia for the majority of her life and that, when her health began to decline, her brother generously took her in so that she did not die alone. 

Once again, I was able to piece all of this together thanks to many generous volunteers, beginning with FamilySearch indexing volunteers, a descendant that shared with me Martha’s picture and what she knew of her story and finally Mr. Tidwell who took the time to take a picture of her headstone and upload it to Find A Grave.  Thanks to a wonderful community of genealogists, I finally know what happened to Marthy. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013

Friday, September 7, 2012

Revisiting sources--the case for Mary M. Chisenhall

There is definitely wisdom in revisiting the documents and notes that we have in our files and I know that,  but I find myself often procrastinating that task for another day.  The hunt for new clues in new resources is exciting and with it I feel renewed hope that this time I will find something that will ultimately break down that solid brick wall of mine. But the reality is, each time I reread the material in my files, I am doing it from a slightly different perspective, having grown in my knowledge and understanding about my ancestors and their families and so, in a way, the material is new or at least seen in a new way.  

Recently I  pulled out the Journal of John Edward Metcalf who served a mission for the LDS church to Georgia in the 1880's.  One of my cousins, Darlene, located this journal online early in our research as we initially scoured the internet to see what we could find about John Monroe Ganus and his life.  John M. Ganus and several members of his immediate family are mentioned numerous times in John Metcalf's account.  It has been years since I read through this journal and I realized that I have forgotten  many of the details. John Metcalf's descendants have graciously shared a transcribed typed copy of his journal online which can be found here: http://www.metcalfwaslin.org/album/history/jejr_jnl.htm

This journal does not contain as much day to day information about individuals' lives, as does the John Joseph Pledger Murphy journal that I have mentioned in earlier posts, but it does provide some information that cannot be found anywhere else.  The following is an entry from this journal:

April 1882
Thursday 13th-Called up to go to Sis Mary Gamus and Administered to her baby who was very sick the Lord releaved it from pain We also Blessed & Named it at the same time But it gradually got worse til death which occured at 5 PM.  We also Blessed another of thier chidren stayed all night at Bro John Ganus.

William Franklin Ganus
William Franklin Ganus
The question is, just which Mary Ganus was he referring to?  Initially I was unsure, but over time, I have learned more about the two Mary Ganuses that are candidates and their children.  Although I continue to look for additional information to back up my assumption, I feel fairly confident.

William Franklin Ganus married Mary Matilda Roberts about 1879 in Haralson County and they had a daughter in 1880 named Martha Olivia and a daughter born in 1881 named Mary E.  By the time Frank moved to Colorado in 1886, his wife, Mary Matilda, had died and although he had  their daughter, Martha Olivia, with him, there is no further mention of  daughter Mary E. Could the baby have been Frank Ganus and Mary Matilda Robert's daughter, Mary E.? 

John Thackason Ganus also married a Mary. John T. and Mary M. Chisenhall married about 1878.  Church records indicate that they had a child named Walter Scott who was born 24 March 1882 and this child was not with them when they arrived in Colorado either. Could the baby that died been Walter, son of John T. and Mary M Chisenhall ?


John Thackason Ganus
John Thackason Ganus
While both Marys are possibilities as they both lost young children that were born in the same time period and appear to have died in approximately the same time period, I believe that it is more likely that the Mary mentioned in the journal was Mary M. Chisenhall.   I have found that Mary Matilda most often was known as "Tilda" and in the 1880 census, she is recorded as Matilda.  John Metcalf then mentioned in the journal that he stayed the night with John Ganus,  and it seems more likely that he stayed with the younger John, husband to Mary M Chisenhall.   Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a grave for either of these Ganus babies.  This journal records the only reference found to this date of this baby's death. 

Whenever I look at pictures of John Thackason Ganus, I think of all that he and Mary endured.  I've heard that he had 12 children, and so far I have found records for 11.  Of the 11 that I am aware of, six died as children.  John and Mary buried children in Georgia, Colorado and Oklahoma.  While conditions for childbirth and after care for mothers and babies are not ideal throughout the world today, they certainly have improved and I wonder if their children would have survived with today's knowledge and care?

William Franklin Ganus had his share of troubles as well.  He and his first wife, Mary Matilda,  lost one of their two children.  Then, following Tilda's death, Frank married  Sarah E. Faucett and they lost 3 of their 6 children. Frank buried children in Georgia and Colorado. 

I am amazed at the challenges that people faced back "in those days."  It was difficult just to survive.  But I guess the reality is, people continue to face hard things today, although the details of those challenges have changed.  I remember hearing a man say once that our life is full of challenges and that every day we face a series of problems. Our life story is made up of the details of how we face and solve those problems.  Being able to see and understand our ancestor's problems is essential in writing their story.  

As I recently reread the Metcalf Journal for the first time in several years,  I was reminded of the importance of continually revisiting what I know, or at least what I think that I know. Because I've continued to research my Ganus family over the years and have learned more about them and their families, when I reread the things that I have filed away,  I seem to see more and understand more, which in turn helps me in my search for more.  I have known that for some time really, but it's always good to be reminded. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lemon Pie and Carrie

I've been thinking a lot lately about the subtle ways in which our ancestors' lives influence our own. There are many small things that trickle down through the generations, influencing our traditions, family activities and foods, often without us even realizing it. Our lifestyle, religion, and career choices, as well as our foods and recreational activities can all be influenced by those that lived generations before and similarly our choices will influence the generations that follow. Sometimes by evaluating our traditions, we can find clues about our heritage.

When I met and married my husband, it was interesting to see the differences in our food preferences. While he and I liked a lot of the same foods, there were foods that I liked and considered practically a staple that he had not eaten much, if at all.  Although I grew up in the west, some of my family's favorites are actually more commonly found in other areas of the U.S.  My family liked nothing better than a meal of fried chicken, cole slaw, and biscuits.  While my mother-in-law was and is a good cook,  I don't know that she has ever fried a chicken or fixed biscuits. My family loved soft, flakey biscuits and had them frequently with meals.  Mom always fried up the chicken crisp and golden in a black cast iron skillet.  Consequently, when my husband and I married, a cast iron skillet seemed like an essential item for our gift registry.  My husband didn't quite see the need but went along with the idea anyway.  I had always loved a wonderful corn pone pie (casserole) that my mom made. My sweet husband wanted to know exactly what was a corn pone anyway?  How could he not know?  We really did not have a meeting of the minds when it came to what constituted a "special breakfast" either.  He had always been a waffles and syrup kind of guy.  I had always loved ham, biscuits and gravy for breakfast more than any other breakfast.  He could not imagine having biscuits and gravy for breakfast and I could not imagine why it seemed so strange to him. It was not until I began to do family history research that things began to fall into place and I began to understand.  You see, both of my parents have family lines with southern roots.  Between my parents, I have ancestors that lived in Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.   Looking back, it is evident that without even realizing it,  our ancestry influenced the foods my family ate and loved.


Roderick Monroe Ganus 
Some things are handed down so subtly that no one seems to know their origins, while other things have been passed down with a story . My Grandma's lemon pie came with a bit of a story although I didn't know it as a kid.  But oh how I loved my Grandma Ganus's lemon pie. Her pie was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  I've been told that Grandma's lemon pie recipe actually came from my Grandpa's Aunt Carrie and I just happen to know that his Aunt Carrie held a special place in his heart so it makes that pie recipe extra special. Carrie Melinda Davis married Roderick Monroe Ganus on 27 January 1905 in Oklmulgee, Oklahoma. They lived in Oklahoma for their entire married life and raised their family there.  I have very tender feelings for Roderick and Carrie because they were the ones that took in my Grandpa Heber Ganus when he was orphaned at the sweet young age of 8.  Grandpa Heber's father William "Frank" Ganus died in 1906 and  just three years later in 1909, his mother Sally Faucett Ganus died, leaving her three sons, Earnest, Orson and Heber all alone.  Court records indicate that the oldest brother, Ernest, who was only 16 at the time,  requested that his father's brother Uncle Roderick Ganus be appointed as Administrator of their mother's meager estate. In the court proceedings, Earnest appeared with his two younger brothers Orson and Heber.  In my mind, I can see the three young boys in court feeling so lost and alone, mourning the loss of their parents and wondering who would care for them. The thought breaks my heart.  In his life history, my Grandpa Heber indicated that Roderick took him in and that his Uncle Robert took in his twin brother, Orson . Grandpa didn't say where the oldest brother, Earnest went to live. The young twins, Orson and Heber lived in Oklahoma with their father's brothers  for a year before going to Colorado to live with their mother's brothers to fulfil their mother's (Sally Faucett Ganus)  death bed request.  In his history, Grandpa said of Roderick and Carrie, "These people didn't have much money, but they were good providers and made a good living for their families."  The reality was, times were hard for those Oklahoma Ganus families and so I know it was a huge sacrifice for them to have another mouth to feed.  I feel such gratitude for Roderick and Carrie because they took in my grandpa when he so needed their loving care. It's always amazing to me that I can feel such love for people I've never met.

Carrie Melinda Davis Ganus
and Emmett
I can't help but think of the goodness of Roderick and Carrie when I fix Grandma's lemon pie. What foods do you eat that might have been influenced by your ancestry?  How will your choices influence future generations?


         Carrie's Lemon Pie Filling 

2 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 1/4 c. warm water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp butter
small amount of shredded rind. 
3 eggs (save white for meringue)

Cook in double boiler until thick.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Top with meringue.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

They lived in Manassa, Colorado?

It was a surprise to learn a few years ago that the John Monroe Ganus family had lived in Manassa, Colorado for almost 13 years.  I knew that they had lived in Georgia and that they had eventually moved to and settled in Oklahoma.  I also knew that my grandfather, Heber, along with his two brothers,  Orson and Earnest,  had been sent to Colorado from Oklahoma  to live with his mother’s brother when they were orphaned . But  my first clue that the John M. Ganus family had lived in Manassa came when I was researching at a local archive and had a chance meeting with a woman whose ancestors had also lived in  Manassa.  This woman shared a map with me entitled “Pioneer Map of the First Survey of the Town of Manassa in Conejos Co.,  Colorado , Showing the lot location of the original owners and residents of this settlement.”  

 Below is a copy of a portion of the map of original lot owners for Manassa.  Notice that John Monroe (shown as “Old Father Ganus”) and Olivia lived on lot # 40, as did their married son, John T. and his wife Mary (Chisenhall) .   Frank Ganus  and wife Sally (Faucett) lived on lot# 10. John and Olivia’s younger sons, Roderick, Newton and  Robert were not married at the time and would have been living with their parents, John or “Old Father Ganus” and Olivia .

 Portion of map from in the back pocket of
"The Life and Ministry of John Morgan"
Arthur Richardson, Historical Research
Nicholas G. Morgan Sr. 

As a follow up to my last post, I have corresponded with the woman who submitted the Old Manassa Cemetery information to the website, "Findagrave," and she indicated that she had a copy of the sexton records for that cemetery and that the following information was recorded for the Ganus babies buried there:

 Ganus, Blanche E.  16 Feb 1891   1891
Parents:  W. Frank Ganus & S. E. Faucett

Ganus, Parley L.   18 Feb 1889  2 Feb 1890
Parents:  W. Frank Ganus & S.E. Faucett

Ganus, Morgan L.   20 Oct 1887   1888
Parents:  John T. Ganus  &  Mary M. Chisenhall

Ganus, John William   1882   1889
Parents:  John T. Ganus   Mary M. Chisenhall


As always, the  more answers I find, the more questions I have.