Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers and Grandmothers

ancestry familysearch Mickelsen Ganus Sanford Colorado genealogy
Hazel Mickelsen Ganus
Mother's Day is the perfect day to recognize some of the mothers in my ancestry. Each made a difference to those who knew them during their lifetime, as well as those who followed. Each left a legacy of love, strength and perseverance.

My Grandma Hazel Mickelsen Ganus was in born in1900 to  Rasmus Mickelsen and Elsie Marie Cornum. We loved her fried chicken and lemon pie and knew we could always count on having it at least once when we went to visit. Grandma taught school before marriage and continued until their children were born. When my Grandpa Ganus began to have health problems, she returned to teaching school. I remember being confused by her stubborn determination to not get an electric washing machine and how fearful I was when I helped her do laundry using an old wringer washing machine. I just knew my hand was going to get caught in that wringer! One of my favorite memories of her is a time when she came to visit and she and I sat on the bed and talked long after others had gone to bed. She was a widow for 31 years.

ancestors generations McDaniel Hostetter Colorado genealogy
Mary Leone McDaniel
Hostetter 

Grandma Maud McDaniel Hostetter was born in 1902 to William J. McDaniel and Mary Maralda Shawcroft. She married Nephi Glen Hostetter in 1921 and they had nine children.  She raised a large family and always had a large garden. She was passionate about genealogy and instilled in me (and other family members)  a love for those who have gone before. She loved to write and left many stories of her life which have served to inspire and lift her many descendants. Grandma was a wonderful cook and had a gift for making those around her feel loved. She was a master story teller and loved to tell the stories of her ancestors, but she also loved to tell fairy tales and could really make the stories live. She became a widow when she was 57 and never remarried. She died at the age of 89.

genealogy family history Faucett Ganusl family legacy
Sarah E. Faucett Ganus
Great Grandma Sarah E. Faucett Ganus was born in 1864 to James Merritt Faucett and Elmina Bowers in Cassandra, Georgia. She lost her mother when she was 14 years old. A few years later her family left their home in Georgia and migrated to the vastly different climate of Manassa, Colorado. There she met and married widower William Franklin Ganus. No stranger to heartache, she buried two of their children in their first few years of marriage, including their only daughter. In 1897 she and husband Frank packed up their children and belongings and moved to Oklahoma. She was widowed at the age of 42 and was left with three small children to raise. She died just a few short years later at the age of 45.

genealogy family history Shawcroft McDaniel families stories
Mary Maralda Shawcroft
McDaniel 

My Great Grandma Mary Maralda Shawcroft McDaniel was born to John Shawcroft and Anne Marie Jensen in 1876 in Fountain Green, Utah.  Her family moved to southern Colorado where she met the love of her life, Will McDaniel whose family had moved there from Tennessee. The community celebrated the marriage of the popular and well loved young couple. When she was 29 years old, their five year old son Elbert became ill and died. Five months later, while still grieving the loss of her son, she lost her husband Will in a work accident. She never remarried but moved in with her parents and cared for her two small children.  She took in laundry, cleaned the church or did whatever work she could find in order to earn a little money. Refusing to give into discouragement about her situation, it is said that no matter how difficult, she never had a negative thing to say about life or others. She took every opportunity to serve and help alleviate the suffering of those around her.

My own mother is thankfully still living and has always been a great example of a woman who loved being a wife and mother. She has always loved a challenge and has never quit learning. She is an incredible seamstress, an excellent cook and has literally made hundreds of quilts for those who needed to know someone cared.

As I look at these women and the challenges they each faced, each has been an example to me. Each played an integral role in who I am and what I believe. Each did their part in teaching the generation that followed about finding joy, living in faith, serving others and working hard.

In addition, I have learned from my these sweet women that life for them, just as it is for me, was full of up and downs. Sadly many of the downs, which include loss, are readily apparent, while the ups are only known if they were recorded by either them or others in their life.

What will our descendants, several generations removed, know about us? Will they have to rely on a few sparse documents or will they have the stories of our lives, told in our own words?

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Friday, May 6, 2016

Foto Friday- the Immigrants

Photos without names trouble me. Their faces seem to haunt me, to call to me, asking me to give them a name and tell their stories. My hope is that by sharing these un-named photos that someone will recognize them, help me identify them and hopefully I can then find and tell their story.



I love this picture and for that reason, I included it on my main page . To me it screams immigrant and I am wondering if it is one of my Danish lines. Again, the photo is totally unmarked. While all are equally solemn, I noticed that everyone except the father is looking into the camera. Maybe having the picture taken wasn't his idea of a good time.

What do you think? Is the scarf on the mother's head indicative of their culture or was she just having a bad hair day?

Whoever they are, I would love to be able to save their name with their picture and better yet, learn a little about their story.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

But Wait! There's More!

Thinking that I had found all that was available about Sanford Rainwater, I put his file away and moved on, but he remained in the back of my mind. There was so much I still didn't know about Sanford and it bothered me. It was almost as if he was nagging me to keep trying.

The slot for an informant on Sanford Rainwater's death certificate had been left blank and that discovery had troubled me. By all appearances, he had spent his last days/weeks/months and years... alone. I first shared his story HERE.

After his divorce following about six years of marriage, Sanford Rainwater and his ex-wife Alice Atkinson Rainwater took up residence in completely different parts of the state. Alice initially returned to Mills County, Texas where some of her family still lived and Sanford moved for a time to Sherman, Texas but ultimately moved 750 miles to settle in Aransas Pass along the coast north of Corpus Christi. Sanford's daughter Minnie married and lived with her husband and
children in Parker County, Texas which was 400 miles from Sanford, a sizable distance in those days.

Denotes some of the counties where Sanford, Alice and their daughter Minnie lived

Sanford's only known sibling, Mary seemingly disappeared following the 1880 census, and Sanford's father, John Rainwater, died in 1890. Sanford's mother, Bargilla, lived with Sanford from the time of his divorce until her death on the 24th of October 1919.  So it appeared that for the remaining 21 years of his life, Sanford had been alone, far from any extended family.  My heart ached for him.

Aransas Pass, Texas, Ancestry,Family History, Sanford Rainwater
Aransas Pass, E.P. Chambers, April 10, 1911, No. 2,  Wikimedia Commons, Original LOC
Sanford Rainwater lived in Aransas Pass from 1920 until his death in 1940 




And then a discovery in a newspaper changed a great deal of what I thought I knew about him. Quite by accident, I stumbled onto first one and then several more newspaper write ups in the Aransas Pass Progress which referred to a Sam Rainwater.

I had taken note that Sanford was listed as Sam on his death certificate, but I had originally dismissed it without much thought, regarding it as information likely provided by someone who didn't know him and therefore didn't know what name he went by. After all, there wasn't even an informant listed on his death certificate, and other basic information such as his address was left blank. Additionally, he was listed as Sanford on every census entry during his entire lifetime. Census entries revealed that while there were other Rainwaters living in the area at the time, none were his close family and none had names even remotely similar to either Sanford or Sam. Everything seem to indicate that Sam Rainwater's death certificate was for "my" Sanford Rainwater. Eventually further research would confirm that.

As I searched the newspaper collection to see if there were other entries for Sam Rainwater living in Aransas Pass, I was pleasantly surprised to find more entries and it became apparent that Sam and Sanford were one and the same. I was excited to find entries that helped me to learn a few more details to round out the last years of his life.

Among other things, I discovered that Sanford was not as "invisible" as I had initially assumed. I learned that light hearted things he said sometimes found their way into the local newspaper. People have always liked to have fun with the Rainwater name and such was the case back then as well. The first mention I found was in the March 31, 1935 Aransas Pass Progress newspaper and simply stated:
Sam Rainwater, rejoicing over the shower. Well why shouldn't a Rainwater?
Then on August 25, 1938 he was quoted again. This time it said:
SAM RAINWATER: I never heard a storm going as fast as the one that's suppose to be near Haiti right now. Well, I don't care where it hits, just so it don't hit here!
One final trivial entry was found in the July 20, 1939 edition of the Aransas Pass Progress and was located under the "Have You Heard?" column.
.......Sam Rainwater has a pair of scissors which have been in use for over a 100 years........ 
Apparently news could be  s l o w  some days in Aransas Pass. That last entry made me scratch my head and wonder if there were really reporters who looked for that type of news or exactly how they came by that type of information? It reminded me of an Andy Griffith episode where Opie and his buddy Howie skulked around town, eavesdropping and listening around corners for any little thing townspeople said and then included it in their school newspaper.

While seemingly trivial in content, these simple entries nevertheless make me smile as they confirm that Sanford or Sam as he was apparently known, held a place in his community. People knew who he was and his simple quips and details about his life sometimes found their way into the local newspaper. Maybe Sanford was different from the man I had initially envisioned.

While fun to find, these entries essentially served to confirm that he was there and that others knew him.  I discovered several other entries which provided more significant information, information which made all of the difference in what I now know about Sanford,  information which I will share in upcoming posts.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved