"Let me see generation times, will we hear children singing rhymes? Sweet memories gone by..."

15 October 2013

Photo Problems

Blogger is having some issues displaying images on the blog.  I will try to go back an re-upload them as time allows!

10 September 2013

The Family Inventor

My heart is low, my heart is so low
As only a woman's heart can be
As only a woman's, as only a woman's
As only a woman's heart can know
--"Only A Woman's Heart" by Eleanor McEvoy

So, this is one of my more random finds while googling ancestors' names.

Below is a patent granted 146 years ago today to John Aaron Belvin, Jr., a cousin of my 3rd-great-grandmother Lucy Atkinson Fleet.  John invented a "new and useful apparatus for the use of females during menstruation and weakness of the womb" which he called a "catamenial guard and supporter".


A few choice excerpts:
"The nature of my invention consists in providing a guard for the use of females during menstruation, and at the same time a support for the womb in its weakened state during that period."
"The part A forms properly the womb-supporter, and acts on the lower part of the abdomen, the elastic straps producing a gentle pressure, sufficient to hold up the womb in its natural position without incommoding the female."

"It will be noticed that the whole weight of the truss bears upon the hips, thereby relieving, in a considerable degree, the female of the pain experienced by her during the critical period."

"The parts are constructed "of boiled-oil silk, a light, soft, and impervious material, and which does not chafe or irritate the skin of the wearer."
Why the term "catamenial guard and supporter" never caught on is beyond me.

25 August 2013

The Missing Sword

Ann am Bruxelles a chaidh innse In Brussels it was told
Gun robh Frangaich tigh'nn nam miltean That the French were coming in their thousands
'S cha bhreug huam gur h-i an fhirinn I tell no lie but the truth
'S iomadh fear bhios sint' gun deo Many a man will be stretched out without breath of life

Illean chridheil, bitheamaid sunndach Brave lads, let's be merry
Seasaibh onoir ur duthcha Stand for the honor of your country
Fhad' s a mhaireas luaidh is fudar As long as lead and powder last
De rud chuireadh curam oirnn? What could worry us?
--"Bonaparte" (Traditional)

On last week's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?", Chris O'Donnell's family history journey led him to discover a sword from the Mexican-American War that his great-great-grandfather donated to the Smithsonian.  As it happens, I've been searching for an old sword from my family's history, but so far with no luck.

This brief article appeared in the Alexandria Gazette 176 years ago today:

Mr. Herman Boschen, of Richmond, has presented to the State of Virginia the sword which his grandfather carried at the battle of Waterloo.  The old sword has been in the Boschen family ever since the memorable battle occurred.  It has been placed in the State library with some relics of the late war.

Herman Boschen was the brother of my 3rd-great-grandmother Leonora Boschen Siegel, so his unnamed grandfather who was at Waterloo would be my 5th-great-grandfather.  The article mentions the sword being in the Boschen family, but there's a chance that the sword could have come from his maternal grandfather.

I have no direct proof (yet!), but I believe Herman and Leonora's maternal grandfather was Lorenz Paul.  From what I know so far:

1)  Last year, I found Lorenz's obituary from 1873 while researching at the Library of Virginia, which I mentioned in an earlier blog, Richmond Day Trip.  It talks about his service at the Battle of Waterloo:

Death of an Old Citizen. - Mr. Lorenz Paul, one of the oldest German citizens of Richmond, died Monday night of congestion of the lungs, in his seventy-seventh year, leaving six children and many grand and great grandchildren, besides a large number of friends, to mourn his loss.  Mr. Paul was one of Blucher's troops at Waterloo, and survived that terrible fight to lay himself quietly to rest in another country, where the shock of battle has been but lately stilled.  In the battle of Waterloo he received a special mark of honor from his sovereign for distinguished services.

2)  The obituary states that Lorenz was survived by six children.  From census records, Lorenz's known children were Herman, Clara, Wilheminia, William, George, and Emma - six total.  But, one of those six, his daughter Clara, had already passed away before Lorenz, in 1864.  So my ancestor Christina could be the sixth surviving child.

3)  Christina immigrated to the U.S. with Lorenz Paul's family, arriving in New York on June 14, 1839.  Lorenz is the right age to be Christina's father, but his wife Charlotte would have been rather young to be her mother - though not out of the realm of possibility, given the time period.

4)  Christina Paul married John Boschen on October 19, 1842 in Richmond, Virginia.  John Boschen owned the plot in Shockoe Hill Cemetery where Lorenz and Charlotte Paul are buried.

5)  Lorenz appeared in some records with his name anglicized to "Lawrence."  My great-great-grandfather, Charles Lawrence Siegel, was likely named for Lorenz.

On my genealogy to-do list the next time I visit Richmond is to try to find a will for Lorenz Paul, and see if Christina Boschen was named as one of his children.

Which leaves the mystery of what became of the Waterloo sword.  Herman Boschen donated it to the State Library, which is now the present-day Library of Virginia.  The LVA says that they don't have any swords from Waterloo in their collection, nor do they have any record of it, and suggested that I try the Virginia Historical Society.  I did contact them, but the VHS doesn't have it either.

So if anyone knows of any museums in the Richmond area that might have such a sword, please let me know!  I'd very much like to find my 5th-great-grandfather's sword.

29 July 2013

Presidential Pardon

May the spirit so strong in the shadow and storm
Hold fast to what is right
And surely as you breathe the gentle air of peace
This land shall shelter in the light of love
This land shall shelter in the light
--"Land Of Light" by Roy Gullane

In July of 1865, my 4th-great-grandfather Elijah Baker, living in Richmond, Virginia, applied for a presidential pardon after the Civil War.  That petition was granted 148 years ago today, and a "full pardon and amnesty" was issued by President Andrew Johnson.

Elijah was a well-known business man in Richmond, and the owner of "Baker's Premium Bitters".  According to his advertisements, these bitters cured a wide variety of ailments:  dyspepsia, nervous headaches, deranged liver, ague, diarrhea, and malarial troubles.

For Diseases which arise from the Stomach and Bowels, BAKER'S PREMIUM BITTERS are peculiarly adapted, while in the incipient stages of BILIOUSNESS, NERVOUSNESS, COUGHS and COLDS, they are superior to all other remedies.  The fact that a single bottle has cured ague and fever of six months' standing, and relieved nervous headache which had resisted all sorts of remedies for years, are proof sufficient that they possess healing virtues rarely found in medicinal preparations.  So simple and effectual are their operations, and yet so certain are their beneficial results, that all who try them once ever after adopt them as the great panacea for all ills.

I'm not sure of his reasons for applying for a pardon.  I've found little evidence that he was directly involved in the conflict, beyond selling some cords of wood to the Confederacy.  His only son, Dabney Baker, did enlist in the Confederate army, though his service was brief.

Certainly Elijah suffered some losses, though, from both sides.  In March 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis declared martial law in Richmond, placing the city under the command of General John Winder.  His first order was to forbid liquor sales in the city, and soon after, Baker's Bitters were seized.  I'm not sure how long this lasted, but his business did continue after the war was over.

In October of 1864, two of Elijah's horses, which he claimed were valued at $7,000, were taken during a raid by the Union army.

In October last, when the Yankee raiders, under Command of Cortz, came up as near Richmond as Majr Christians farm, they met my team + self on the road + deprived me of my two + only farm horses, they were as good + as valuable as any in the Country + not being able to replace them, my farming interest suffered but little short of my first loss.

During this month however I succeeded in capturing two of the enemys horses at + on my farm beyond White Oak Swamp + have brought them out of their lines + into Richmond.  Their value though is not by half of those I lost, but hope to use them at my other place nearer Richmond + within our lines.

Elijah Baker's petition for amnesty was filed on July 18, 1865:

I most respectfully represent that I am a Virginian by birth, am now in the 56th year of age, was always most decidedly opposed to the Rebellion, and did nothing of myself to bring on the War.  I have never borne arms against the United States, and the only assistance I ever rendered the so called Confederate cause was such as I was of necessity compelled to render in consequence of my being a resident of a Southern State.  Like most of the Southern people, I have been greatly injured in my pecuniary interest by the actings and doings of the Government of the so called Confederate States.  I am sincerely glad that peace has been restored and hope that we shall never again have a repetition of the scenes of the last four years.  I consider myself a Loyal Citizen of the Government of the United States and shall do all in my power to support and sustain the same.  I have taken the oath of amnesty mentioned in your proclamation of the 29th May last, as will appear by the annexed certificate.

I consider my estate worth over twenty thousand dollars.

I was the owner of 15 slaves at the date of the emancipation proclamation of the late President of the United States, to whose emancipation I consent, and I do not desire that slavery shall ever again exist in the State of Virginia.

No proceedings have been commenced, to my knowledge, for the confiscation of my property or any part thereof.

I most respectfully ask that the pardon and amnesty mentioned in your proclamation aforesaid of the 29th of May last may be extended to me.

So many years after the fact, it's impossible to gauge how sincere Elijah was, but it is worth noting that the notary witnessing his oath was his son-in-law, James Wood.

Ten days later, on July 29, 1865, amnesty was granted:

Whereas, Elijah Baker of Henrico County Virginia by taking part in the late rebellion against the Government of the United States, has made himself liable to heavy and penalties;

And whereas, the circumstances of his case render him a proper object of Executive clemency;

Now, therefore, be it known, That I, Andrew Johnson, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in consideration of the premises, divers other good good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant to the said Elijah Baker a full pardon and amnesty for all offences by him committed, arising from participation, direct or implied, in the said rebellion, conditioned as follows, vix:  This pardon to begin and take affect from the day on which the said Elijah Baker shall take the oath prescribed in the Proclamation of the President, dated May 29, 1865;  and to be void and of no effect if the said Elijah Baker shall hereafter, at any time, acquire any property whatever in slaves, or make use of slave labor;  and that he first pay all costs which may have accrued in any proceedings hitherto instituted against his person or property;

And upon the further condition, That the said Elijah Baker shall notify the Secretary of State, in writing, that he has received and accepted the foregoing pardon.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed my name and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

17 July 2013

Summer of '63

Awa' wi' fame and fortune, what comfort can it gie?
And a' the airts that prey upon man's life and liberty
Gie me the highest joy that the heart o' man can frame
My bonnie, bonnie lassie when the kye come hame
--"When The Kye Come Hame" (Traditional)

It was fifty years ago today that Pop Pop and Mom Mom signed the papers and officially purchased the farmhouse and lands in Carroll County.

From my dad's recollections:
"May 1963, Mom & Dad finalize plans to purchase a dairy farm in Carroll County.

Finishing the sixth grade at South Shore Elementary, having studied farming that spring, I knew there was lots of work to do in farm life.  My brothers and sisters thought that it would be nice to live on a farm.  Mom & Dad nurtured this idea by telling them the good things about moving to a farm.  I was very skeptical, telling Bob & Jerry there would be lots of work every day.  Milking cows early in the morning was much different than the great kids' life we experienced living right on the Severn River.  Our own private beach, swimming area, speed boat, fishing and crabbing, and public beach very close by.  My brothers and sisters enjoyed a wonderful life style that would soon change dramatically.  Playing little league baseball for the final time, my season's end was cut short due to moving to the farm in late June 1963.  I missed playing in the all-star game at third base.  I was twelve.
We went to the farm on a couple of weekends before the final move to get an idea on actually how to properly milk the cows.  The old farmer and his wife and sister did all the work, his name was Louis Shulley.  I think they could sense early on that this was going to be a big cultural change for us kids.  They probably laughed at us knowing we were not accustomed to hard, physical work.  They were right.  Immediately right off the bat, Dad had to literally pull Bob, me and Jerry out of our beds at 4:30 AM to milk the cows.  It wasn't long later that Steve joined the fun.
During those years, we didn't think at all about what God's plan was for us, in our lives at that time.  Many years later, I think all of us now understand and appreciate Mom & Dad's plan for their children.  The country was in turmoil over civil rights and the Vietnam War.  The discipline of farm work kept us too busy to get involved in many other things that could have been bad for us.  We managed to create our world of getting into mischief.  Of course, Bob was the leader in this department.  (That's a joke, Bob.)  Aside from Bob's propensity for unusual parking (truck down bridge embankment), John's breaking a new tractor in half, Jerry's joy of riding the rear wheel of a tractor, Steve's thirst for gasoline, Diane & Joanne's complicity in the death of a poor innocent rooster.  Mike was too young to get into trouble.  In spite of it all, we turned out OK."

Below are some of the documents from when Pop Pop & Mom Mom purchased the farm.  I omitted some of the more legal-ese ones.

This Deed made this 17th day of July, in the year nineteen hundred and sixty-three, by LOUIS D. SHULLEY and LOUIS E. SHULLEY, his wife, of Carroll County, in the State of Maryland.

Witnesseth, that for and in consideration of the sum of ten dollars, and other good and valuable considerations, the said LOUIS D. SHULLEY and LOUISE E. SHULLEY, his wife, do hereby grant and convey in fee simple unto NOAH D. DOTSON and GLORIA C. DOTSON, his wife, of Baltimore City, in said State, as tenants by the entireties, their heirs and assigns, all that tract or parcel of land situate in the Sixth Election District of Carroll County, Maryland, containing 57 acres of land, more or less, and being the same land conveyed unto the said Louis D. Shulley and Louise E. Shulley, his wife, by deed of Benjamin F. Crowl and Annabelle M. Crowl, his wife, dated October 2, 1950, and recorded among the Land Records of Carroll County in Liber F.A.S. No. 202, Folio 367, etc.

Together with the buildings and improvements thereon, and all and singular, the rights, roads, ways, waters, streets, and alleys, as now located and used, privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, or in anywise appertaining.

To have and to hold the above described parcel of land unto the said NOAH D. DOTSON and GLORIA C. DOTSON, his wife, as tenants by the entireties, their heirs and assigns, forever in fee simple.

And the grantors hereby covenant that they will warrant specially the land and premises hereby intended to be conveyed, and further covenant and agree that they will execute such other and further assurances of the same as may be requisite.

Witness the hands and seals of the said grantors.

This Purchase Money, Real Estate and Chattel Mortgage made this 17th day of July, in the year nineteen hundred and sixty-three, by NOAH D. DOTSON and GLORIA C. DOTSON, his wife, of Baltimore City, in the State of Maryland, mortgagors.

Whereas, the said NOAH D. DOTSON and GLORIA C. DOTSON, his wife, by their joint and several single bill of even date herewith, stand indebted unto WESTMINSTER TRUST COMPANY, a body corporate of the State of Maryland, mortgagee herein, in the just and full sum of Twenty-two Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars ($22,500.00), to be due in one year from the date hereof, with interest from the date at the rate of six (6) per centum per annum, payable monthly;  which sum is in part of the purchase price for the hereinafter described real estate;  and whereas for the purpose of more effectively securing the payment of said indebtedness, according to the tenor of said single bill, these presents are executed.  At any time the principal and interest may be reduced or extinguished.

Now therefore this Mortgage witnesseth, that in consideration of the premises, and the sum of one dollar, the said NOAH D. DOTSON and GLORIA C. DOTSON, his wife, do hereby grant and convey in fee simple unto the said WESTMINSTER TRUST COMPANY, its successors and assigns, all that tract or parcel situate in the Sixth Election District of Carroll County, Maryland, containing 57 acres of land, more or less, and being the same land conveyed unto Louis D. Shulley and Louise E. Shulley, his wife, by deed of Benjamin F. Crowl and Annabelle M. Crowl, his wife, dated October 2, 1950, and recorded among the Land Records of Carroll County in Liber F.A.S. No. 206, Folio 367, etc.

And being further all and the same land conveyed unto the said NOAH D. DOTSON and GLORIA C. DOTSON, his wife, by deed of the said Louis D. Shulley and Louise E. Shulley, his wife, of even date herewith and intended to be recorded among said Land Records immediately prior hereto.

And the said mortgagors hereby bargain and sell unto said mortgagee, its successors and assigns, the following described personal property situate on the above described real estate:

Side delivery rake
Grove Wagon
Massey-Harris Tractor (1958)
Massey-Ferguson #65 Tractor (1959)
Oliver-Crawle Tractor
Set of Tractor Chains
Oliver Combine
Ontario Drill
New Idea Mower
Oliver Corn Planter
Vesta Culti-Packer
Massey-Ferguson 4-Bottom Plow
Oliver Horse Plow
Papec-Foilage Harvester
Alcoma Hammermill
New Idea Corn Picker
McCormick #45 Baler
Oliver Mounted Crop Sprayer
Oliver Cultivator
Disc Barrow
1954 Ford Pick-up
Sauder Bros. Blade for Massey-Ferguson Tractor
Oliver Manure Spreader
160 gallon Mojnier Bulk Tank
3-unit Delaval Milker
3-can Milk Cooler
Feed Cart
175 Chickens
2 - 52 gal. Electric Water Heaters
Television Antenna
Monarch Combination wood and electric stove
20 Milk Cows

A few months back, when I came across these papers and sent copies to Dad, his first comment was, "The heifer was Grace!"

23 June 2013

Exploring Southwest Virginia

Bhuail uaigneas m'intinn
Loneliness strikes my spirit
'S mé ag amharc ar an reilig
As I look at the cemetery
'S mé ag meadhradh ar dhaoine
And I'm thinking about the people
Istigh ann ina luí
In there sleeping
Fir a's mná óga
Men and young women
Seandaoine 's páistí
Old people and children
Muintir mo mhuintir
People of my people
'S cairde mo chroí
And friends of my heart
--"Thíos Chois Na Trá Domh" (Traditional)

It seems I can't take a vacation without researching the family tree somehow.  This year, we made the long drive down to southwest Virginia, where my grandfather's family hails from.

Day 1:

A day spent mostly in the car, a l-o-n-g drive finally arriving in Coeburn, Virginia.

Our first stop was the Edwards Family Cemetery in Herald, on the border of Wise and Dickenson Counties.  Buried here are the two grandfathers of my great-grandmother, Savannah Edwards Ramey.  Both served on the Confederate side of the Civil War.  First we found her maternal grandfather, John Wesley Hamon.  He has a new Confederate marker that uses the spelling Hammonds.  Then we found John Friel Edwards, her paternal grandfather.

Pvt John Wesley Hammonds
Co C E 25 VA Inf CSA
1844 - 1919

John Wesley Hamon

John Friel Edwards
Pvt Co A 51 VA Inf
1844 - 1913

John Friel Edwards

Day 2:

This was our only full day in the area.  With some help, we located the Dotson Cemetery on the top of a mountain in Pound in Wise County.  It's located off a private driveway up to a house, where other descendants of the Dotsons still live today.  Here we found my great-great-grandfather Nathan Alexander "Alec" Dotson, and his parents, William and Celia Dotson.  As a side note, the date of birth on Alec's stone is incorrect; the birth register for Russell County shows that he was born on December 13th, not November 13th.

Up the steep road

Made it to the top!

N. A. Dotson
Born Nov. 13, 1854
Died Feb. 27, 1921
Resting in the hope of a glorious resurrection

William Dotson
Born Aug. 6, 1803
Died Sept. 26, 1893
Age 90Y.1M.20D.
Celia, wife of William Dotson
Born Jan. 6, 1821
Died Mar. 19, 1888
Age 67Y.2M.13D.

Next stop:  the Hibbitts Cemetery in Dickenson County, up another steep drive.  I knew from death certificates that my great-grandfather Walter Dotson and his mother (Alec's wife) Lucy Jane Dotson were buried here, but I wasn't sure if they had markers or not.  Happily, it turns out that they do, located fairly close together in the cemetery's northwest corner.  Walter's stone is also incorrect;  per his death certificate from Kentucky, he died on February 11th, not November 25th.

(Note the sloping ground beyond the cemetery gates)

Walter Dotson
Born Nov. 4, 1896
Died Nov. 25, 1939
The gift of God is eternal life

Jane Dotson
Nov. 29, 1857
Dec. 17, 1949
Faithful to her trust even unto death

Continuing north through Dickenson County, we visited a few small cemeteries where Swindall relatives are buried.  Our last cemetery to visit was the Swindall Cemetery, very close to the Kentucky border, where my 3rd-great-grandparents, John Wesley & Mary "Polly" Swindall rest.  They're the parents of Jane Dotson.  (Confused yet?)  I wrote a blog post about John for Memorial Day last year, as he served in the Union Army during the Civil War, hence his military stone.

John W Swindal
Serg Co K 39 KY Mtd Inf
Jun 13 1826
Sep 17 1900

Polly Swindall
Sep 15 1834
May 12 1907
Asleep in Jesus blessed sleep
From which none ever wake to weep

John & Polly Swindall

Afterward, we took a side trip over to Jenkins, Kentucky, where my great-grandfather Walter Dotson died from his injuries after being struck by a car.  One of my goals is to find some account of the accident.  The library there was small and had few historical records for the area, so we journeyed back into Virginia to visit the Wise County library.  I went through a few rolls of microfilmed newspapers, but wasn't able to find anything, not even any obituaries for other ancestors.

Day 3:

After mostly nice weather on Monday, Tuesday was pouring rain all day long.  Venturing back into Dickenson County, we visited their library.  Newspapers were limited here, so nothing about Walter, but I was able to find an obituary for Lucy Jane Dotson in The Dickensonian from December 23, 1949:

"Aunt Jane" Dotson

Mrs. Jane Dotson, widow of the late Alec Dotson, of this county, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Hibbitts, at Jenkins on Saturday of last week.  She was one of the oldest women in this section of the state, having reached the age of 94 at her passing.  Her death was attributed to pneumonia.

She is survived by the following children:  J. B. Dotson, member of the Board of Supervisors now residing at Coeburn;  Mrs. Mary Hibbitts, Jenkins;  Mrs. Fronie Buchanan, Jenkins;  Mrs. Bessie Buchanan, Darwin;  Noah Dotson, Darwin;  and William Dotson of Pound.

Funeral services were held at the home of Noah Dotson at Darwin on last Sunday, with the Rev. Mr. Adair of West Virginia in charge.  Burial was in the family cemetery at Hibbitts' Gap.

Our last stop was the Wise County courthouse and historical society, but we were running out of time, and couldn't dig too far into the records.  I did buy a copy of Between Brothers at the historical society, as it includes John Friel Edwards, John Wesley Hamon, and John Wesley Swindall in it.

There are so many more stories to tell, but everyone in southwest Virginia was friendly and welcoming.  From talking to folks we met (either by getting lost and needing directions, or by visiting the local Mountain Rose Vineyards), it seemed all the people we spoke to were distant relatives or knew of people in the family tree.  We were even told of an upcoming Dotson family reunion! If only Wise County were closer...

For some of the more entertaining tales of our trip (and we have some good ones!), you'll have to talk to Dad.  He tells them better than I do.

14 May 2013

"Little Duck"

D'fhág mé slán ag na daoine 'tá fágtha
I said farewell to the people left behind
'San talamh a rugadh mé
In the land where I was born
D'fhág mé slán ag daoine istigh i mo chroí
I said farewell to the people in my heart
Sin mar a bheas chóiche
I'll never see again

--"Sailing Away" by Moya Brennan

I remember someone once telling me that between Picarello and
Paparella, one meant "Little Lamb" and one meant "Little Duck" in Italian, but they couldn't remember which was which.  Well, according to Ancestry.com, Paparella is the one that means "Little Duck".

Today marks the 129th birthday of my great-grandfather, Raffaele Paparella.  Just recently, I found a copy of his Italian birth record from Corato!  I've had a fun time trying to decipher it, though, and I'm still missing some of the names.  Old-style handwriting is hard enough to read in English.

A very rough transcription and translation:

L'anno milleottocentottantaquattro, ad di diciasette di Maggio, a ore antimeridiane dieci e minuti quindici, nella Casa comunale.  Avanti di me ___Antonio___, Uffiziale dello Stato Civile del Comune di Corato è comparso Paparella Domenico, di anni quaranta, contadino domiciliato in Corato il quale me ha dichiarato che alle ore pomeridiane sei e minuti ___, del di quattordici del corrente mese, nella casa posta in via ___ al numero sette, da Bucci Peppa di Michele, sua moglie, contadina, seco lui convivente è nato un bambino di sesso maschile che egli mi presenta, e a cui da il nom­e di Raffaele.  A quanto sopra e a questo atto sono stati presenti quali testimoni ___ Francesco, di anni quaranta, contadino, e ___, di anni sessanta, contadino, entrambi residenti in questo Comune. The year one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four, on the seventeenth of May at ten-fifteen in the morning, in the municipal House.  Before me ___Antonio___, Officer of Civil Status of Corato appeared Domenico Paparella, age forty, a peasant residing in Corato who told me that at six in the afternoon of the fourteenth day of the current month, in the house placed at number seven ___ Street, by Peppa Bucci di Michele, his wife, peasant, living together with him, was born a male child that he introduces to me, to be named Raffaele.  To the above and to this act were present as witnesses Francesco ___, age forty, peasant, and ___, age sixty, peasant, both residents of this municipality.

From Raffaele's Social Security record, I had his parents' names as Dominick Paparella and Josephine Bucci.  Domenico and Dominick obviously match up, but his mother's first name is different.  Perhaps a nickname?

Going back through the records for Corato, I found the marriage record for Raffaele's parents, dated 1872.  As this one is entirely handwritten, it'll take me a lot longer to transcribe and translate, but it confirms that Domenico's wife's name was Peppa Maria Bucci.

Raffaele arrived in New York on October 23, 1920.  He had left behind his wife and two young daughters, who would follow him to the U.S. seven months later (see earlier blog).  According to his immigration record, he was joining his cousin, Luigi Maldera, who was living at 128 Nott Street in Trenton, New York.  I guess Raffaele was still working on his U.S. geography.  Under identifying marks, it says that he had a "mark on the face."

From Aunt Jo's memories of her father Raffaele:
"My father was a hard worker also.  He worked at the Crane Co. where they made tubs, sinks and toilets, when the depression came the factory closed, and it wasn't easy, he then found a job on a farm, picking beans and other vegetables, for 15 cents an hour 10 hours a day for $1.50.  He would ride his bike to Morrisville bridge then picked up by the farm truck, to PA farm. ... My father would bring vegetables home that were not perfect to sell, it was good because we had no money to buy them.  He always made wine every year.  We wanted to help him, but we helped by eating the grapes. ... At night after supper around the table, he would tell us stories of Italy and teach us Italian songs we all enjoyed."  

Raffaele and his wife Maria would have three more children born in the U.S. before Maria died from pneumonia on March 2, 1932.  According to Aunt Jo, Raffaele needed help with his young children, and so he was married again in November of 1932 to Maria Luisa Mangione, a widow with a daughter of her own - Aunt Mary.  The couple had two more children together, Marie and Joseph.

Some of Uncle Joe's memories of his grandfather Raffaele: 

"Grandpop was much more approachable and friendly than Grandmom ever seemed.  And he could converse in English, albeit with a heavy accent.  We would go over on Sunday afternoons to visit, and to visit them was to visit the whole neighborhood...  The Busulieri's, the Petroni's, the Lamarca's (sp?) etc.  Everybody sat out on the front porch on Emory Avenue.  Other Aunts and Uncles were always there visiting too.  I remember that Grandpop always sat at the head of the kitchen table and had a bottle of his homemade wine on the floor alongside his chair.  He would always offer a glass of wine to us kids, too.  And we always drank wine out of little plain juice glasses, no fancy wine glasses for our family.  My Dad always talked about how Grandpop tested him on one of his early courting visits to see if he could handle the wine, but he didn't realize that Dad was the designated refiller of the wine bottle for his own father and had plenty of experience."
Raffaele Paparella passed away at the age of 82 on June 29, 1966 at his home in Trenton.

P.S.:  I've also been searching for a birth record for Raffaele's first wife, Maria Lotito, so far without any success.  There are two girls of that name in the records for 1889 in Corato, but the dates and parents' names didn't match.  I've checked the years before and after, but still no luck.  The next step is try searching other places near Corato, so that might take a while.

02 May 2013

Statesman, Lawyer & Soldier

I know in my bones, I've been here before
The ground feels the same though the land's been torn 
I've a long way to go, the stars tell me so 
On this road that will take me home
--"Going Home" by Mary Fahl

Today marks the 168th birthday of my 3rd-great-grand-uncle Henry Aaron Atkinson, born on May 2, 1845 in Richmond, Virginia, three days before his father's 30th birthday.  Henry was the third child of my 4th-great-grandparents, Henry Allen and Grace Elizabeth Atkinson, and used "Junior" to distinguish himself from his father, even though their middle names were different.

On March 14, 1862, just a few weeks shy of his 17th birthday, Henry enlisted in Captain Parker's Company of the Virginia Light Artillery - with his parents' consent, according to his muster-in roll.  He was discharged in October of that year "by reason of ordinary disability," and received $63.20 in payment for his service.

Capt. Parker's Company
Light Artillery

Company Muster-in Roll

"with parents consent"
Henry then enrolled at the University of Virginia for two years, before dropping out and reenlisting on March 1, 1864 - this time in Company F of Virginia's Third Cavalry Regiment.  Two months later, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, he was shot in the left thigh and captured by Union forces.  He was first sent to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, DC, and transferred to the federal prison in Elmira, NY in July of 1864.  He was held there until being paroled in February of 1865.

3 Cav. Va.

Company Muster Roll


"In hands of enemy since May 8th 64"
Henry returned home and resumed his studies at the University of Virginia law school, where he was a member of the debate club and the president of the Jefferson Society.  He graduated in 1866, and first worked in a partnership with B. H. Berry.  About two years later, their practice was dissolved, and Henry began to practice law on his own.

On November 4, 1868, Henry married Belle Virginia Dobson (possibly his second cousin) at Waterview Plantation in Gloucester County, VA.  The couple had five children:  Margaret Belle, Henry Dobson, Lucy Clair, Ethel Walker, and Marmaduke.  His youngest son was likely named for well-known defense attorney Marmaduke Johnson, with whom Henry worked on several cases, including the murder trial of James Jeter Philips.

In 1870, Henry was elected Commonwealth's attorney for Henrico County, a position he held for four years.  One interesting tidbit from the Richmond newspapers in 1872:

Difficulties at the County Court-House. - On yesterday, as we are informed, a personal difficulty took place at the county court-house between Messrs. Henry A. Atkinson, Commonwealth's attorney, and W. F. G. Garnett, Esq., a lawyer.  From the best information we can obtain, Mr. Garnett approached Mr. Atkinson and spat upon him, telling him at the same time that he meant it as an insult.  Both gentlemen retired to the court-house yard, and were preparing for a fight, when the sheriff interposed and prevented hostilities.  Subsequently, as we are informed, Mr. Atkinson visited Mr. Garnett at his room, and producing a cowhide, inflicted upon the latter several severe blows.

The next paragraph in the article relates how Mr. Garnett also got into a fight with the Henrico County sheriff.

In 1880, Henry was elected to the Virginia State Senate, where he served for two terms.  During his tenure, he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and of the Yorktown Centennial Committee.  Along with William Mayo, Henry represented Virginia when establishing the Potomac River's dividing line with Maryland.

In 1884, Henry established a new law practice with S. D. Davies.

He was also involved with several fraternal societies for a time, including the Masons, the Royal Arcanum, and the Knights of Pythias, of which he was a Grand Chancellor.  Eventually, he left the Masons when he converted to Catholicism.

His son Henry Dobson Atkinson became a dentist, and Marmaduke became a doctor, serving as a surgeon with the British Royal Navy during World War I.  His daughter Lucy was a writer for various newspapers, and was Richmond's first woman reporter.  She was also a regent for the Old Dominion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the oldest chapter in Virginia.

Henry Dobson Atkinson married Mary Goodwin on May 29, 1901, but tragically, both contracted typhoid fever, and passed away within days of each other in November of 1902.  Their 7-month-old daughter, Mary L. Virginia Atkinson, was then adopted and raised by her paternal grandparents Henry and Belle.

Henry passed away on May 29, 1914 at the age of 69.  His wife Belle survived him by four years, passing away on March 2, 1918.  They were interred in the historic Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, marked by a beautiful angel monument.  The Atkinsons' family plot faces the grave of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and both share a lovely view of the city of Richmond over the James River.

We have loved them during life, let us not abandon them until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord.

Statesman, Lawyer & Soldier