Monday, April 20, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Queue of Quants


“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for Queue of Quants. Since no one who attended my grandparents’ funerals had names beginning with Q, I grabbed this opportunity to showcase the lovely cards sent by my mother’s coworkers:  Quants. In other words – TEACHERS.

Can you spot which ones were sent in 1963 and which ones in 1990?





Don’t quit now.  Are you in a quandary?  If you’re quick, you’ll enjoy some quirky and quotable quips at the A to Z April Challenge.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: P is for Pauline


“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for Pauline Wysong. She attended the funeral of my maternal grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis in November 1990.

She probably attended everyone’s funeral. In August 2014, she died at the age of 105 outliving three children, a husband, and everyone she walked in with at my grandmother’s funeral. Myrtle (Breeden) Hatfield and Pauline were in college together and both taught school. Myrtle was Maxie/Maxine Van Hyning’s step-mother. Maxine and Lettie were good friends; Maxine’s husband Jack was a pallbearer at the funeral for Lettie’s husband. And they all attended Fields United Methodist Church.


Pauline was born Olive Pauline Miller in 1909 in Page County. Her father was a car repairer for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. Next door was my great-grandmother’s brother Ulysses Jollett and his family, so no doubt Pauline became a longtime friend of the family.

Pauline attended Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Dayton and then Harrisonburg Teachers College where she graduated likely in 1928.  She married Frank Louis Wysong in 1929. They raised six children. Her home on North Fourth Street in Shenandoah sold just this year.
 
108 N. 4th Street, Shenandoah, Virginia
snipped from Google Maps

Pauline Miller Wysong
1909-2014
(photo from Kyger website)
The people who signed Pauline’s online Guest Book shared sweet and funny memories:
  • Former students praised her talent and skill at teaching.
  • A former substitute teacher appreciated Pauline’s encouragement.
  • A family friend loved Pauline’s caring personality and zest for life.
  • One person was grateful she got to see Pauline play the piano in the last few years of her life.
  • Great-grandchildren called her “Granny” and will always remember the warmth of her kitchen, her cooking, her books, and the polished wood of her house.
  • They also will remember how “famous” their great-grandmother was because she was always recognized on the street by students she taught 20 or more years before.
  • And here’s the funny one: the family still laughs about the time Pauline got pulled over by the police for driving 60 mph down the big hill in the center of town.

Knowing all that makes me wish I had known Pauline too.

For more Pontificating and other Pieces in Print, Pop over to the A to Z April Challenge.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: O is for Ollie


“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for Ollie Dinkle Coakley Rucker. She was my grandparents’ sister-in-law, married to my maternal grandmother’s oldest brother Everett. Everett, baby brother Joe, and sister Rosalind sent flowers.

 









Seeing Ollie’s signature in the 1963 Guest Register for my grandfather’s funeral caused a momentary mental jarring. She signed “Ollie and Everett Rucker.” My entire life everyone in the family always referred to them as “Everett and Ollie.” Everett and Ollie are coming to visit. We’re going over to Everett and Ollie’s. Did you know Everett and Ollie moved?

See – it sounds so much better than “Ollie and Everett.” 

Ollie was born in 1902 to James and Annie McGlaughlin Coakley. She was one of seven girls and two boys. For a time, the Coakleys lived in Broadway, Rockingham County, Virginia before moving to the Ashby district around Dayton. (Here’s a funny family story:  Ollie had a sister named Willie who married a man named Shirley. I bet that confused a lot of people much of the time.)

When Everett and Ollie married in 1921, he was working for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. They left Shenandoah and moved to Washington D.C. before 1928, judging by the social column of the Richmond Times Dispatch article in 1928. Everett and Ollie visited his parents Joseph and Sudie Rucker.
 
Richmond Times Dispatch Aug 26, 1928
from GenealogyBank.com


According to the 1930 census, Everett was working as a mechanic for the railroad. He retired from Union Station in 1962. They moved back to Shenandoah and lived in the house where Everett and my grandmother had grown up on Fourth Street.

Rucker House Fourth St, Shenandoah, VA  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Rucker house on Fourth Street, Shenandoah, Virginia

Everett and Ollie had four children, two boys and two girls.

I have lost the memory of what Ollie looked like exactly, but she had full dark curly hair. She was sweet, just a sweet lady. Likewise Everett was a kind man. Many years ago I was contacted by a Rucker researcher who sent me copies of letters she received in reply to her inquiries about her ancestors. One was from Everett who promised to pass along whatever information he could.

Everett and Ollie are buried in the Methodist Church Cemetery in Shenandoah in a Rucker family plot. 

Ollie Rucker tombstone http://jollettetc.blogspot.com


You are under no obligation, but it would be obtuse for me to obstruct your odyssey to the A to Z April Challenge.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sepia Saturday: Good Times with Mr. Lee

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.



This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features men at work. This photo postcard of the employees of the Seaboard Supply Company shows that workplaces are often happy places, especially when an employer regards his workers as family.

Seaboard Supply Co.  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Mr. Lee front and center
Helen Killeen Parker second from right on the front row

There is even a child in the picture.

The back of the card speaks highly of the boss, Mr. J. W. Lee.

Seaboard Supply Co.  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com

“Every time I look at this picture I only wish I could go back over the wonderful times I had. I will never forget the Seaboard Supply Co. and Mr. J. W. Lee for the good time he gave us. May God bless him.”

The card is not signed, let alone addressed. Maybe it was sent to my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker who worked there for a while. Or maybe she wrote it herself in reflecting on the past. However, there are 2 X’s at the bottom of the photo; the one on the right is beneath Helen’s picture. The X on the left denotes someone I don’t know. Maybe she sent the card.

Seaboard Supply Co.  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Helen is second from right
The second photo card is probably from another year. That is Mr. Lee with Helen to his left. Why were these women singled out for a photo? Maybe they were the secretarial pool.

What was Seaboard Supply? In 1930, Helen was a stenographer for a plumbing supply company. I’m assuming that was Seaboard.  Seaboard is a common name in the Hampton Roads area where we live. There was the Seaboard railroad headquartered in Portsmouth, and the name has been attached to roads and businesses nearby.  But there are national companies with the name Seaboard too. So whether Seaboard Supply was one of those or simply a now-defunct local business is a question left to be answered.

See who else is working at Sepia Saturday. Ladders and hard hats are optional.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: N is for Nair


“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for Rev. Robert Luverne Nair. Of all the signatures in my grandparents’ funeral Guest Registers, this one made my jaw drop and my eyes pop out of my head. The good reverend is actually family, but he’s so distant that I must wonder if my grandfather and his sisters actually knew Robert Nair as a cousin or if it was just coincidence that he was somehow a friend of the family. I know he did not deliver the eulogy, but possibly he served in some way.

But how he was family is interesting to me. Robert was the great-grandson of Margaret Jollett Nair, half-sister of my 2X great-grandfather James Franklin Jollett (making Robert my half third cousin once removed). In the mid-1860s Margaret and her husband Peter Nair and family left Page County for Highland County and then Rockingham County. They raised 14 children.

Their son Robert Franklin and his wife Susannah Hess lived in Rockingham County. They along with several children are buried in the Linville Creek Church of the Brethren Cemetery. However, their son Benjamin Harrison Nair followed two older brothers to Iowa. Why they moved is not known.

Nevertheless, by 1910 Ben had met and married his wife Edith Faye Thomas. They raised five children, including Robert, in Greene County, Iowa. Whether they ever returned to Virginia for one of those Jollett Reunions I always heard about is the question. Somehow I doubt it. According to an account written by a Nair descendant, Margaret Jollett Nair never saw her family again once they left. If SHE did not return, I find it difficult to believe her children or grandchildren would have made the trip.

I have found little else about Robert beyond the 1940 census. Apparently he finished school and must have received some education to become a minister in the United Brethren Church. His obituary provides this information about his career:

During his 45 years as an active pastor, Nair often served multi-church charges. Beginning in 1951, he served Evangelical United Brethren churches in the Cumberland area, including Antioch, Calvary-Bethel, Mt. Clinton and Hardy charges. In 1960 he was appointed to Shenandoah Station, and after the Methodist-EUB merger to Potomac Park-Ridgely in 1969. He served Mt. Airy-Poplar Springs Charge from 1975-1979 when he moved to Dawson. In 1985 he moved to Emmanuel in Cumberland, then to Emmanuel-Bethel in 1992, from which he retired in 1995.

There it is!  If “Shenandoah Station” was the wording the Brethren church used to mean “charge” or “district,” two terms I’m more familiar with, then Robert may indeed have been pastor at the EUB Church in Shenandoah, the church where my grandparents once were members.    

I have met so many fifth cousins that I’ve concluded it’s possible and probable to be pals with people you don’t know are cousins. Maybe that’s how it was with Robert Nair.

Card sent by Rev. Ed Garrett
and family 

Lest I neglect the niceties, all neophytes, newcomers and novices are welcome to navigate the numerous news, narratives, novels and notes at the A to Z April Challenge.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: M is for Manspeaker


“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for the Manspeakers, George and Anna Martha. Anna was my grandfather’s first cousin, sister of Ben Davis, and aunt to the girls who also attended my grandfather’s funeral in 1963. In the Guest Book, the Manspeakers’ names appear immediately after Anna’s younger sister, Nora Hart.

When George and Anna married in 1923, he was a widower with two young daughters. He and Anna had three more girls. Even after marriage and having children, Anna continued to work in the garment factory where she had worked in 1920. George was a brick mason by trade. Perhaps he built their home in Martinsburg, West Virginia. While the house is not for sale, you can tour it on Zillow, which incorrectly dates the house from 1956. Another realty site gives a more accurate estimate of 1926.


Manspeaker house in Martinsburg, WV
snipped from Zillow

Probably the most eventful thing that ever happened to the Manspeakers happened to George’s niece Irene. Single and age 31, Irene gave birth to a baby boy in June 1939. Yet a day later, the baby was dead.  And the cause? “Violence at the hands of some person or persons unknown.” Manner of injury:  contusion and strangulation.

Am I the only one who is suspicious? Irene was the informant, yet she claimed not to know the father. This could be one juicy story to ferret out.


Avoid malady and malaise but be malleable to being mesmerized by the maelstrom of magniloquent and mellifluous myths and metaphors offered by the mavens of the blogisphere at the A to Z April Challenge.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wordless Wednesday: Men of the Eastwind #15

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Unknown sailor on USCGC Eastwind 1946 or 47  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com


When my dad was stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Eastwind in 1946-47, he took pictures of his shipmates during tours to Thule, Greenland but didn’t provide names.  Maybe the family of these sailors will find my blog and share their story.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.