Showing posts with label Ganus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ganus. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fireflies and Grandpa Ganus

 Sapulpa Oklahoma family history ancestry genealogy Ganus
Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus
The memory exists in my mind much like a magical dream.

We were visiting my grandparents in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and my parents had gone out for the evening.

It was getting dark and my Grandpa Ganus and I went into the backyard of their small rented home to see the coi in the little fish pond. As a young child, I was fascinated by the orange fish and loved watching them dart in and out of the green plants and vines. Grandpa and I watched them for a bit, while it grew steadily darker outside. When it became too dark to see anymore, we started to go back in the house when I saw the small flicker and flash of tiny little lights that would glow momentarily and then disappear. My grandpa explained that they were fireflies or lightning bugs. Growing up in California, I had never seen fireflies before. Grandpa went into the house for a minute and when he came back out, he had a mason jar for me to catch a few of the magical little creatures in so I could see them up close.

For the next little bit of time, Grandpa and I caught fireflies. Whether real or imagined, in my mind's eye I can see us laughing while chasing and catching the fairy-like bugs. But that is all that I remember of that night. I don't remember what we did after that or anything else that we did on that visit to my Grandparents.

Grandpa died a few years later and living several states apart,  I really never got to spend much time with him or to get to know him very well.

I do know that we had time together a few other times though because there are a few photos that catch those times.

Hazel Mickelsen Ganus, Heber Monroe Ganus, Colorado, genealogy, ancestry
Grandma Hazel (Mickelsen) Ganus and
Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus
along with my brother, myself and a cousin

grandparents, Heber Monroe Ganus, genealogy, family history, memories, hospital
My parents, Grandpa Heber Monroe Ganus and
Grandma Hazel Ganus, my father's sister, my
cousin and myself (sitting on Grandpa's lap) 
  
A couple of years ago my husband was in a store and found a little mason jar that had little glowing fireflies in it and so he bought it for me. The fireflies are powered by a battery in the lid and they glow off and on much like the real thing.  I love to have it sitting on my desk as a reminder of a very special memory that happened so many years ago. Do you have things that trigger memories of grandparents? 

memories, fireflies, ancestry, family history, genealogy


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2018, All rights reserved

Monday, January 26, 2015

Searching for Perry

It has been over a month since my last post about the Perry family.  While I am not going to share all that I found on each family here, I am willing to share with anyone that has an interest. You can contact me using the "Email me"  link on the main page.  I will say that I feel a little disappointed with what I found, or should I say, what I did not find.

While I knew it was a long shot, I had hoped that as I researched down through the generations, I would eventually find Ganus and Perry families living near each other or some evidence of a close relationship.  In my family we have three generations of family members using the name Perry as a first or middle name and the story is that years ago there was family of significance with that name.

Therefore I was excited when I discovered that my second great grandmother's sister had a child who married into a Perry family. However, it does not appear that the descendants of my second great grandmother, Olivia (Rainwater) Ganus and her sister Frances (Rainwater) Bailey, ever lived close to each other even though Olivia and Frances chose to live close to one another during much of their married lives in both Alabama and Georgia.  One of Frances' daughters married a Perry and they eventually migrated to Oklahoma, as did Olivia's children, however the Ganus family was generally in the Oklmulgee County area of Oklahoma and the Perry family ended up in the Comanche County area, a distance of nearly 200 miles.
Map:  Federal Census Bureau Map 

On the maternal side of my family, my Grandma Hostetter provided a glimpse into the relationship between her family and her mother's sister's family in her journal. She documented a trip her family took from their home in Colorado to an aunt's home in Utah. Although the two families never lived in close proximity to each other, her journal entries helped establish the fact the two families remained in contact. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no journal or any letters exchanged between family members exist for either the Ganus or Perry family and there seems to be nothing to suggest that the descendants of the two families were aware of each other, at least certainly nothing that warranted the naming of children after the other. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I would love to hear from you.
Charles F. Perry, Hubert Perry, Huey Perry, Sam Crenshaw, Mary Ann Ayers Perry, Gerushia Laura Perry
Mary Ann Ayers Perry, along with her children
Courtesy of descendant, David
A descendant of Mollie's shared the above picture with me. He regretted that the photo is in such poor condition, but it is exactly as he received it.  It is always icing on the cake to have a picture.  I am thrilled that the photo exists and that he generously shared the photo with me and allowed me to in turn share it with you. Thank you David!

Back row, left to right:  Charles F. Perry b. 1886,  twins Hubert and Huey (source unsure of which twin is which), last man is likely Sam Crenshaw (Gerushia's husband).  Bottom row: First two women are likely in-laws, then Mary Ann (Ayers) Perry and Gerushia Laura Perry b. 1884.


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ernest's Final Return to Oklahoma - Part 5

The winds howled as dark clouds of dust and dirt churned and boiled across the wide open plains.  A layer of grit seemed to cover everything in site, both indoors and out. It was the "Dust Bowl" and Ernest Ganus and his family were smack in the middle of it.

Dust Bowl from Wikimedia Commons, Public DomainCrippling drought combined with over-farmed and over-grazed land resulted in dust storms throughout Oklahoma, as well as other neighboring states.  At times the dust and dirt were so thick, the sky was completely black.

In 1930, Ernest, Goldie and daughter, Louise, were living in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and according to the census, Ernest was working as a laborer on the highways.  Between the dust storms and the crippling effects of the Great Depression, I suspect his work dwindled away to little if anything at all.

Whether the mounting financial and emotional stresses played a part in their marital discord, or there were simply differences that could not be resolved, some time during the next few years, Ernest and Goldie divorced and for a time, Ernest was alone again.

Several years later, Ernest met and married Laura Etta Henson, daughter of Jeff Henson and Lucy Ann Sharp.  Then, much like the characters of John Steinbeck's novel,  The Grapes of Wrath, which depicted the plight of those fleeing the dust bowl,  Ernest and Laura joined the hundreds of thousands of dust bowl refugees and headed for California.

In 1940, forty-two year old Ernest and forty year old Laura appear on the US Federal Census living in Los Angeles, California.  Employers successfully lured desperate job seekers to come to work in the fields of California while Hollywood portrayed a land where everyone prospered and thrived in a near tropical climate.  Consequently, the impoverished headed to California with great hope for a better life.

As if he had not already endured his share of heartache, once again Ernest would be hit hard by loss. On the eighth of December, 1942,  Laura died of cancer, leaving Ernest once again, all alone.

By April of that year, Ernest had followed the migrant trail to Tehachapi as is evidence by his registration form for the "Old Man Draft."  On the form he indicated that his place of residence was "Kirschenmaan Camp- Tehachapi, California."

Housing for Oklahoma Refugees, California, Dorothea Lange, Library of Congress
Housing for Oklahoma Refugees, California
Dorothea Lange, Library of Congress 

Approximately 122 miles from his last known residence in Los Angeles and almost 1,500 miles from Okmulgee, Ernest "fit the mold" of the "Okie" on a quest to find employment.

Some  Oklahomans flocked to the areas near Tehachapi to look for work. The sheer number of migrant workers living in makeshift camps created growing concern among many locals. Crowding, inadequate supplies and lack of sanitation often made the camps a dangerous and unhealthy place to live and many communities took steps to close the camps.  In addition, many that had come for work became disillusioned as it became evident that those seeking work greatly exceeded the number of available jobs and that in many cases the pay could not cover even their most basic needs.  For whatever reason, Ernest did not remain in California for long, but once again, returned home to Oklahoma.

At this point the trail goes cold and I know little about the years that follow. I do know that in the early 1950's, when my grandfather, Heber Ganus,  Ernest's younger brother, was suffering from poor health and was advised to go to a lower climate,  he too returned to Oklahoma.  Although Ernest did not have much, he shared what he had and Grandpa lived with him for a short time until Grandma finished the school year as a teacher in Colorado and could join him in Oklahoma.

Ernest lived alone for the remainder of his life.  At the age of 62, suffering from emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis, he was admitted to the VA Hospital in Bonham, Texas.  According to his death certificate he died on March 3, 1956, at 5:40 in the morning of an acute heart attack.  Ernest's body was returned to Oklahoma and he was buried in the Okmulgee County Cemetery near Laura.

Ernest's final resting place was Oklahoma, the place where he had last been with his parents, the place where he had married Goldie and had been with his children, the place where he had met and married Laura, the place where brother Orson had lived for a time and a place where brother Heber had returned as his health failed.....Oklahoma was "home" and Ernest too had returned one last time.

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Bane of My Existence

I have often called my hair the "bane of my existence."  If ever there was wildly stubborn hair, that's mine.  I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated I was growing up in southern California in the 60's and 70's when stick straight hair was in. Mine chose instead to flip and curl and in some places, stand straight out.
robert Ganus, Roderick Ganus, Newton Ganus, John Monroe Ganus, John T. Ganus, William Franklin Ganus
John Monroe Ganus and sons
L-R  Top row  Robert, Roderick M., Newton L.
bottom row  John Monroe, John T., William F. 
Nephi Glen Hostetter
Nephi Glen Hostetter
While I will never appreciate the unorganized wildness that I fight with every day, I did have an ah ha moment one day as I was looking through my genealogy pictures. 

One look at my both my maternal and paternal grandfathers' and great grandfathers' wavy hair left little doubt that I had come by my hair naturally and that instead of making me stand out, like I had always felt, it actually helped me to fit in---fit in with the family.

So that began my quest to find other things about me that actually help me to fit in with my ancestors.

 I had to laugh once when I received an email from a newly found distant cousin and he asked if I had ever noticed rather pronounced ears in my family.  Yes, I told him---and with that we began an exchange of ancestor pictures back and forth, proof positive that our families shared more than surnames.  I was delighted to know that while I had always thought they were Ganus features because my Grandpa Ganus had those ears, this cousin was actually a Rainwater cousin and so it made me feel connected instead to my Rainwater family.

What other things?   What about personality traits?  I hate someone beating me off the line at a stop light---I know, I know, I'm way too old for that one, but it was fun to learn from my mom that her father had been the same way.  While I am not sure that there is a gene for such a thing, I delight in knowing that I share this with a grandfather that I never knew .

I giggle each time I find a new Ganus connection and learn that their ancestor was known for their spunk.  I shared some stories showing Addison's spunk in a previous post, but I've also been told that John's sister Martha was very spunky and that at times, so was my great great grandfather John Monroe Ganus.  Do I see that in myself?  Well let's just say that as much as I struggle with my hair, my spunk can be an even bigger problem.

I will never love my hair, but I must confess that some days it does make me smile as I realize that it connects me to them and somehow that helps.   What physical and personality traits have you inherited?

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Walking where my ancestors walked

It seems only fitting that my first blog entry should follow a trip to southern Colorado where several generations of my family lived at one time and many relatives currently live.  It was a wonderful trip taken with my husband, my parents and my brothers to see the sites from my parent’s childhood as well as the places that my ancestors lived, worked and worshipped.  While growing up, we would travel every summer from our home in California to the beautiful San Luis Valley, where we would play with cousins and do what country kids do and we loved it.  We played in Uncle Lou’s barn, we gathered eggs, we milked cows, I drove a tractor for my cousins as they baled hay, and I learned to outrun a cantankerous sheep.  In the evenings, the families often gathered to eat together and then the kids played kick the can and hide and seek and other childhood games while the adults sat and visited.  It was a wonderful place filled with loving family and it was heaven to me.
Old Richfield Church

This trip was very different from those childhood visits.  While we did visit family, we mainly visited sites from my parent’s childhood.  We were able to see the old abandoned church where my mom attended as a child.  Both of the homes where my parents were born still stand.  We saw what is left of my grandfather’s sawmill and the filling station where my other grandfather workedFor many of the sites, only a portion of the building remained, serving as a place mark for those ancestors’ lives, reminding us that they had really been there.   

I loved the trip and I was reminded of why we as genealogists need to step away from the books and microfilm readers occasionally and walk where our ancestors walked and imagine what it was like when they were living.  It’s there that we feel the very closest to them and learn something that books can’t provide. 

We visited the museum located in Sanford, Colorado and I was so glad that we did.  It is a small museum, but packed with pictures, newspaper clippings, books and all kinds of memorabilia.  I saw pictures that I had never seen before of grandfathers and others who had lived and died before I was even born.   The volunteer that was there was so kind and helpful.

One of my favorite stops, and the last thing that I will mention in this post, was our visit to the Old Manassa Cemetery.  I love old cemeteries and this one is definitely that.  Most of the burials are from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and it is located outside the small town of Manassa, Colorado whose population hovers around 1,000 people.  We knew that we had family buried there and were anxious to locate them.  Inside the gate is a lengthy list of unmarked graves located within the cemetery, but there was no listing for the headstones that still exist, so we walked the cemetery.  Among those listed on the plaque for unmarked graves were three Ganus babies, one belonging to my great grandparents, Sarah E. Faucett  and William Franklin Ganus , and two belonging to my great grandfather’s brother,  John Thackason Ganus and his wife Mary M. Chisenhall,.  Only Parley L. Ganus, son of Frank and Sarah, had an actual headstone there.  As I stood before his little grave, I couldn’t help but think of his parents who had also stood on that very spot.  I could imagine their grief as they buried their little boy just a few weeks shy of his first birthday.
Parley's headstone

I wish that I knew more.  Why did Parley die?  In fact, why did all four of those Ganus babies die? They all died within four years of each other, most during the cold winter months, which can be unbearably cold in the valley.  Did the deaths of those four babies contribute to my great great grandparents, John and Olivia Ganus and their five sons, Frank, John, Roderick, Robert and Newton and their families all moving soon after to Oklahoma?   I know that even if I find the answer to those questions, I will still be left wanting to know more.  It seems that no matter how many questions are answered, there are always more and so I keep searching.  In this blog, I plan to share the things that I learn about my ancestors and about research and I know that in the process, I will learn more about myself.