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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nellie Viola Custer

Miss Nellie Viola Custer was born 13 Dec 1901 in Clinton, PA
on 16 Oct 1922 in New Cumberland WV she married Thomas Burns Purdy who was born 1 Dec 1869 in Clinton, PA

They had four children: all girls

Elsie Odell
Edna Blanche
Fannie Mae
Mable Phyllis

Nellie died on 15 Feb 1972 in Monaca, PA
Thomas Burns Purdy died in 1949

They both had other spouses He had one that died before they were married and she married after his death.

Thomas Burns Purdy and first wife she might have died in childbirth, but I have not confirmed this as of yet. 

Nellie's parents were 
Clarence P Custer born 2 Apr 1870 in Clinton, PA, died 22 Apr 1959 in PA
Martha E Spruger born 9 Nov 1879 in PA,
died 9 May 1928 in PA.
They were married on 4 Apr 1901 in Clinton, PA
They had 6 children

I have not found any connection between my Custer line and Gen George Armstrong Custer.

But I shall continue to dig.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Friend Of A Friend SGRO Line

Ralph Sgro came to America in 1901 from his beloved and beautiful Country San Vito, Bari Puglia, Italy where he was born on 19 Sep 1890 Father is unknown at this time and the only information we have on his mother is her name Elenora Maria Ciraco. 

Ralph started singing in the choir at church and became  a well known Opera singer. 

San Vito, Italy

The route he took to America
In 1950 he made a trip back home and sailed on the SS Conte Biancamano

Dining room on SS Conte Biancamano

Passenger list 1950 SS Conte

Departing from America heading to Italy 1950 on the 

He flew to Italy this time

I believe he went back to Italy these two times for the death of his parents. I of course, can not prove this theory at this time and I can not seem to find any records.

He flew on TWA

He was devoted to his church and he traveled frequently to sing in Opera, plays, shows.

Ralph died Aug 1970 possible in New York City. He was 79 years old.

If anyone has more information please post a comment or contact me.
Thank you ever so much.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

They Were Pioneer Women Part One

By the year 1869 when the first transcontinental railroad was finished, over 350,000 pioneers had taken the Oregon Trail to start a new life. Many of these were women and most were accompanied by children. From the very first wagon train on, women would see and experience hardship like none they had ever imagined. They would also find out how strong a women could truly be. Husbands often made the decision to start life over in the west without ever asking whether the wives thought this was a good decision or how it might affect them. Some wives did have say though, and in a few instances, women not only influenced their husbands to go, but a few traveled westward by themselves.

Before heading west, many women often spent their day doing nothing more than visiting, needlework, and the occasional gardening of flowers. They had married men who were established as businessmen in the towns they then lived in. They never dreamed these same men, entrepreneurs at heart, would listen to tales of gold and prosperous green land west, and decide to pack up their families and head out themselves. Others were not from as wealthy families; their men were laborers, and already working the land, they themselves working alongside them. Neither type was in most instances prepared for the hardships that lay ahead.
The lady who took her husband's hand and followed him into the unsettled West was quite brave and courageous. Although she may have supported her husband in the move she was often terrified for his and her family's lives. Life in the West was not extravagant and, oftentimes, lonely. A pioneer lady spent her days working hard on the prairie, making a fine home to raise good children which spoke to the great legacy she left behind. All of her devotion was to God and family. However isolated she was, she did find socialization with other women at quilting parties and at church.
Women had many children to help with chores on the trail. Most of her children, especially the girls, were illiterate. It wasn't until the middle 1800's that school became an option for her children. Her children learned skills and hands on training on the prairie. The Bible was the authority taught in the family. That obligation was shared by both parents. Some men left the spiritual education up to their wives. Unfortunately, some pioneer women could not read. Her most important knowledge was the skills of running a large household, sewing, crocheting, mending, darning, cooking and raising small children.

Fashion, of course, was different than in the city. Gone were the pioneer lady's days of silk dresses and bustles. Those she left behind in the city. Now, her dresses were made from cotton and shortened a bit in length due to all the dirt and mud. However, she did spruce up for parties by adding ruffles to her dresses. Any fabric left over, no matter how small, she collected for a later time to make quilts with other pioneer ladies.

Before a family could head west, first the wagon must be packed. This task fell normally to the woman of the house. A list would be prepared, household items that they would no longer need or deemed unable to be carried along, would be sold off first, to help pay for the trip. This would be the first of many heartbreaking hardships. Most women would soon realize that personal possessions did not mean as much though, as the more basic supplies soon came to mean life itself. Once this was done, the wagon would be packed. Clothing and furniture were packed, but food was the main item to be gathered. This would have included mainly staples, such as beans, coffee, flour, salt, a cow to be milked, and dried meat. As they traveled, many families would run low on food, and it was common to slaughter and eat the oxen they had brought along to start their new life over once they arrived at their destination.

Furniture that was originally packed from the items not sold, such as a favorite rocker or chest, would often be discarded along the way, as they would come to rivers that needed to be forded. The extra weight could not be risked, and an item a woman had packed and thought necessary was soon piled along the trail as nothing more than trash.

In addition to the hardships of the trail, the pioneer women, imbued with modesty, often had to endure a humiliating lack of privacy. Between campsites, they sometimes used their long skirts to shield a companion from inquiring male eyes. In camps, they sometimes turned to flimsy canvas latrines. At the occasional watering holes, available to men as well as women, they had to wash the rags that had served as sanitary napkins.

As wagon-trains rolled westward through the desert landscape, the women often had to ration their use of the limited water, knowing it first had to answer the thirst of the pioneers and their livestock. Then, should there be a spare tubful, a woman might make it serve multiple purposes—washing dishes, washing clothes and bathing children in the same water.

With the poor sanitation and the punishing environment taking an inevitable toll on the health of the pioneers, the women became the principal caregivers, treating the sick, setting broken bones, amputating limbs, delivering babies.

In the end, pioneer women would leave more than discarded furniture along the trail as they traveled west. Many buried not only one child, but also several. A child could fall out of a wagon and quickly be run over before anyone could even react. Husbands killed during accidents were also not that exceptional. Pioneer women themselves also perished. Typhoid and cholera traveled quickly through many wagon trains, killing at random. Indian skirmishes did occur, but not as many as one might think. Most Indian skirmishes were with the settlers who had reached their destinations. Babies were born in the roughest conditions. Many died and the women would not only have the heartbreak of the infants death, but also of having to leave behind the body in a place that they                                                     knew they would never again see.

Pioneer women were not always ‘women’. Girls learned to grow up fast, and if not, were forced to. Marriage as young as 14 and 15 was very common. Once a family had reached their destination, hired hands that had accompanied these families west often married into the family. The idea of a familiar face for a neighbor in a strange land was often enough for a father to give permission for his daughters to marry, even at such a young age. Mothers also would welcome their daughters as neighbors over some stranger.

Once they did reach their destination, the work was far from over. A house would need to be built, and as many arrived in the late summer or fall, that meant that this work often would be done in the cold of winter. Women quickly learned to wield an ax right alongside their husbands. At the first sign of spring, a garden would need to be planted. This was hard work and the women often did much of this themselves. After trees were cleared and stumps removed, the ground would need to be worked up. This often entailed heavy work behind an ox or mule. After the planting was done, water would need to be supplied. This was besides water for cooking, cleaning, and washing that they were already hauling each day. Pioneer women also had to deal with rodents, marauding animals, including bear and coyotes, and lions. Indians were also a concern, and some did fall to their deaths by the Indians' hand. Where were the men when all this was being done? Working the fields or mining were the two most usual occupations. They had their hands full and their remaining work, which there was plenty of, fell to the women and the oldest children if there were any. These women battled mosquitoes, bugs, sand, heat, and farm pests. Primarily wives and mothers, raised and nursed children, cooked daily meals with what was available, canned local fruits and vegetables, made jellies, pickles, and cat sup, washed the laundry outdoors on a rub board and ironed with heavy cast irons heated on an open campfire.

The women did all the laundry, sewing and mending

Women did chores including feeding the animals and churning butter
cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children

Women helped their menfolk in fields too

I am doing this in two parts. This first part is to give you some history on what a pioneer women's life looked liked. The second part will include my ancestor's who were pioneer women.

They Were Soldiers, They Are Kin

As I have plugged away at my Family History I have found many hero's. But none that could ever fill a soldier's boot.
I have a very strong love and devotion to my country, these United States of America. I know it's in my blood as it was in their blood. I would like to honor all my ancestor's who fought in the many war's through out the generations of our beloved land. 

 My ancestors have fought in every war our Country has seen.
My 4th Great Grandfather Jacob Amick was a soldier in this war

Glen Robert Amick was a Pvt in WWI  my first cousin x2 removed

Harley David Amick entered WWII on 05 Sep 1942 my first cousin x2 removed.

Calvin Bliss my 5th Great Grandfather was in 2 wars the Revolutionary War  & The War of 1812

Orsamas M Palmiter my Uncle of wife of my 4th great Uncle Civil War

Richard Peterson was in WWI Aviation Section Signal Corp.
He is a nephew of a husband of a niece of husband of first cousin 3x removed

William Small was Enlisted in Co. D 7th Reg MN Vol in the Civil War
He is related to me by husband of sister-in-law of first cousin 3x removed

He was the Husband of my 5th great Aunt

Wyant Vanderpool He was the 2nd great grandfather of husband stepdaughter of 2nd cousin 3x removed

Harold Arthur Littlefield WWII

Harvey Nuten Propst WWI husband of my 2nd great Aunt

My first cousin 2x removed

These are only a few brave ancestors who stopped their lives for years to go fight with the understanding they may never return home or see their loved ones again. 
That's a scary ordeal.

Because they gave their lives for me
I will say The Pledge of Allegiance to our FLAG, I will treat it with respect and I will shake hands with every man that wears a uniform serving our Country and thank them. 

Joseph Arthur Lile Spanish American War he was 21

John Porter Couch 2nd Great Uncle Serviced in WWI

James Baird Couch my 2nd Great Grandfather Civil War

Baxter McKnight

Capt. William Wheeler Woodworth

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Them Old Phone Numbers

In the early days of phone service, you'd call the operator and ask to be patched through to a particular line. This system was first questioned in 1879 by Alexander Graham Bell's friend, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker of Lowell, MA. The town was suffering from an epidemic of measles and the doctor quite sensibly suggested that if the town's phone operators fell ill, replacement operators would struggle to run the system. Numbers instead of names was seen as a better solution which, as you all know, is the system we still use today.

My grandparents phone number when they lived on their farm was 4375 N 2 long n a short crank, R pick up ear piece and crank handle on the side for operator Ruth & Fred Kubberness lived in Arlington, SD

The Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell is credited with speaking the first words by telephone on March 10, 1876: “Mr. Watson —Come here—I want to see you”. To call his assistant sitting next door, Bell didn't have to dial a number: there were only two phone sets in the world at that time.

Americans who were to encounter the problem of 7-digit numbers sooner that any other nation, found a mnemonic solution to the problem (it was generally believed back then that 7-digit numbers were hard to memorize): the first three digits were replaced with letters some word started with. For technical reasons no telephone number in the US started with 1. For historical reasons zero was always used to call the operator. As a result, any American telephone number could start with any figure but 1 and 0.

Mnemonic rules were in use in London and Paris until mid-1960s. At first Americans adopted the LLL-NNNN format (three letters, four numerals). After becoming aware that it was running out of words beginning with the needed three letters, New York introduced the LLN-NNNN format in 1930 with all the other cities following suit in 1947–48.

The phone and how it was hooked up.

 Automatic dialing was possible with a rotary dial telephone set. Prior telephone models were directly connected to the operator or had a magneto (a rotating handle on the right hand side spinning which you also connected to the telephone girl). Telephones with a rotary dial were a rarity. They were only installed in high-ranking officials’ offices (200 lines in the Kremlin and 20 lines in the Russian Council of People’s Economy). This sort of a telephone set was called “vertushka” (“whizzer”). These days this word is remaining in the Russian language to denote a direct government phone in a kingpin’s office, although modern “whizzers” have either a push-button dial or none at all.

My mom's number growing up was 5710 J when they lived in Sioux Falls, SD and they had to share a line with their neighbor's down the street.

 Originally you would just lift the earpiece and flash the “hook” a few times to gain access to an operator.  You would place a call by request, example: “Sarah can you connect me to Bill Miller on Pinebrook Road”.  The first “phone numbers” were actually a mnemonic system that mixed words with numbers, e.g. TREmont 3106.  Dashes and brackets were not generally encouraged at that time.

 Starting in the 1940s, area codes were first used by long-distance operators to establish long-distance calls between toll offices. The first customer-dialed direct call using area codes was made on November 10, 1951, from Englewood, New Jersey, to Alameda, California.

There were many different kinds of phones and it depended on your income and your location.

The Bell System was the system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone Company and subsequently by AT&T, which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984, at various times as a monopoly. On December 31, 1983, the system was broken up into independent companies by a U.S. Justice Department mandate.
The colloquial term Ma Bell (as in "Mother Bell") was often used by the general public in the United States to refer to any aspect of this conglomerate, as it held a near complete monopoly over all telephone service in most areas of the country, and is still used by many to refer to any telephone company. Ma Bell is also used to refer to the various female voices behind recordings for the Bell System.

So what does our ancestors phone numbers tell us about them?
I have a coppy of a link above that will help you find out more information about your ancestor's phone number.

When I was a teenager these are the phones we had hanging on the wall in our kitchen Mom made sure that one had an extra long cord on it.

This was a teen line my Dad had added for his work number. He was a truck driver for Consolidated Freight Ways. His number was 701-222-2033
This was our main phone and the number was 701-222-2049

There's lots of history in the telephone.
They have changed greatly over the decades , from practical to frugal and just ridiculous Here's some photos of some.  

I had the white one in my first place as an adult.

This was my first Cell phone.

I really enjoyed researching the phone & number. I learned a lot my ancestors.

My grandmother Dorothy who lived in Stockton, CA had the phone number HO (HOward) 31833

My Uncle Ed & Aunt Dolly's was HO (HOward) 520 & in later years 1405

My Aunt Dot & Uncle Jim's was 209-478-7948 

There's wonderful discoveries in every little corner just have to shine the light to find them

Good luck in your treasure hunting.