Monday, March 24, 2014

52 Ancestors #12: Three Hammon sisters born in March

If you have 15 children, there will obviously be several born in the same month.  Of the fifteen children born to my great-grandparents Levi Byram and Martha Jane Belnap Hammon, three girls were born in March.

Lettie, Robena and Ethel Hammon

Lettie (or Letty) Matilda Hammon was born on 13 March 1883 in South Hooper Utah.  She was the 8th child born to Levi and Martha.  Two of her previous siblings had died as infants and a third sister passed away just a month before she was born.  A brother died just two weeks later. So when Lettie grew up with only three older siblings.

Six years and two additional children later, Betsy Robena Hammon was born on 25 March 1889, also in South Hooper Utah.  She went by the name Robena and was known to my mom as Aunt "Bean".   Then an additional seven years and two more children (one of whom died as an infant) happened before Ethel Hammon was born on 16 March 1896 in nearby Roy Utah.

I can only give dates and facts here as I don't have my family history books with me.  But I'll come back later and fill in some details.

Lettie Matilda Hammon 

Lettie lived most of her life in Roy Utah.  She married Jesse Stoker on 10 July 1900 when she was only 17.  They had eleven children.  After Jesse's death in 1942, Lettie married twice more before she passed away on 24 September 1975 at the age of 92.

Betsy Robena also spent her life in the Weber County, Utah area. She married Lance (Lancelot) Greenwell on 14 November 1906, also at the age of 17. They were the parents of 7 children.  Robena died just a few days after her sister Lettie, on 2 October 1975 in Roy, Utah.  She was 86.  I wonder if there was a close connection between these two women.  Robena wrote a book about her grandparents that is a tremendous resource for our family (and is at home!).

Ethel Hammon McEntire
on her 50th wedding anniversary

Ethel stayed close to home, too, and lived in Roy or Ogden her entire life.  She married Horace McEntire on 19 December 1917 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They had also had a large family of 6 or 7 children.  Ethel died on 17 May 1987 in Ogden Utah.

The family often got together for picnics and reunions.  I have a couple of group pictures that I enjoy. The first one is probably from the early 1900s, maybe 1908-1910 as my grandfather is the little boy on the left and he was born in 1898.

Levi Byram and Martha Jane Belnap Hammon and family
Front row: Martha, Levi, Polly
Middle row: Glenn, Jane, Lettie, Frank
Back row: Amasa, Rhoda, Robena, Ethel

 Here is a picture from the 1940s which I love as it shows my grandfather as a man with his siblings.

The three men are Amasa, Glenn (my grandfather) and Frank Hammon.  The sisters are Robena, Janie, Ethel, Lettie, and Rhoda.  I am so grateful that my family has recorded these times together so I can look back and know there was love and joy in the times they had.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #11: Walter Allen Brooks

This is the week that technology failed me!  I am at our "winter" home without all my family pictures and my usual scanner.  My attempts to get the scanner here to work have taken me through the hidden worlds of IP addresses, wlan connections, etc.  All to no avail.  So with the able, but low tech, help of my cousin Mariruth and her trusty iPad, I will tell you about my beloved uncle:

Walter Allen Brooks

My father's brother, Walter, was born on March 29, 1924.  They always loved how that was exactly 5 years and 5 days before my father was born.  Walter is the son of Walter Caswell Brooks and Ruth Autry who I wrote about just a few weeks ago here.  Walter was born in Russellville, Pope, Arkansas.  Though the son of a farmer, his family also prized education.  His parents were older (Ruth was 32 and Walter C 50) and naturally so were his playmates.  Ruth home-schooled him so he could start second grade at age 6.  He continued on this accelerated path, graduating from Russellville High as valedictorian at age 17.

World War II was on but Walter was deferred to attend college at Arkansas Tech.  Through a specialized Army training program, he did his medical training in three years, graduating in 1946 from the University of Arkansas medical school.  The following year another important event occurred with his marriage to Marilyn Rose Gulley of Quanah Texas on July 12, 1947.  Walter then served in the Army and was stationed in Arabia, bringing him many mementos.

This photo is his medical school graduation pose.

After returning to civilian life, Walter did a residency in surgery and then opened a practice in Marilyn's hometown of Quanah in 1955.  Walter was very active in both the medical and civic communities and was a well-known presence in both Quanah and the Texas medical association.  But I'm sure he would agree that his greatest accomplishment was his two daughters, Rebecca Ann and Mariruth. Walter loved family and always seemed happy and full of life to me.  In fact, he seemed larger than life.  I knew my father looked up to him as a mentor and friend.  I loved to visit Quanah and travel in the truck with my uncle.  He was in the car as we drove to my wedding and gave me the greatest smile and hug.  

Walter Allen died peacefully on 20 April 1997 in Quanah.  It was unexpected but I remember that he just took a nap and didn't wake up.  He is buried there with his wife, Marilyn, who passed in 2011.  We miss his twinkling blue eyes and big smile.

Walter's baby pictures are filled with family.  I have a letter his father wrote him in 1929 telling him to be a good boy.  Though his father died when he was only 17, I'm sure he would agree that his namesake did just that. I will try to put some of these up next week after my tech support son comes to visit.  But here's a last look at a beautiful baby who grew up to serve so many in a special part of Texas.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

52 Ancestors #10: James Nelson Hackett

We are ten weeks into the challenge from Amy Johnson Crow to blog about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  This is make and break for me - it's starting to seem tiring but I learn something every week so I plan to press on.  I usually try to post on Sunday night but it was busy with a run to the airport yesterday so I'm taking this gorgeous Monday morning to write about my husband's great-grandfather:

James Nelson Hackett

Known as Jamie to family and Jim to friends, he was born on 1 March 1878 in Smethport, McKean, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest of four children born to George Hackett and Ormanda Burt.  Jamie spent his entire life in McKean county and made his living as a farmer with a fertilizer sales business on the side. He was not a big man.  His World War I draft registration card describes Jamie as being 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall and of medium build.with black hair and brown eyes.

It is fun to read various reports of James Hackett in the McKean County Miner, the local paper.  Here is the notice of his wedding to Doris Laura Drake.

This wedding date continued for the next two generations as their daughter Gladys married Nelson Palmer on the same date in 1928 and her daughter, Dianne married Alan Wetjen on this day in 1960.  It was warm weather for all of them!

James and Doris had two surviving children, Leo and Gladys.  Gladys is my husband's grandmother. Two daughters, Opal and Pearl, died as infants.  Jamie was a life long Methodist and involved in the community as a charter member of the Grange. He was physically active, even climbing a tree at age 75 to shake the hickory nuts. (His son-in-law, Nelson, was too nervous to do it himself!)

 After Doris died in 1958, James lived another 11 years on his own.  Eventually he would spend the winters in Butler PA with his daughter Gladys because she worried that he would live on oatmeal (which he loved but he would never wash the dish afterwards!).  His last days were spent in a "rest home" in Smethport where he died on 8 April 1969.  Both James and Doris are buried in Smethport's Rose Hill Cemetery.

Even though James stayed in the same area his entire life, his posterity has traveled far and wide, from Africa to Tahiti, and points between.  I wonder if he would have liked to travel too.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

52 Ancestors #9: Whittleseys Born in March - But Maybe Not Related!

As I was searching for Norton ancestors born in March, I was happy to find not one but two Whittlesey siblings with March birthdays.  According to the records I have, my husband is related to the Connecticut Whittleseys.  This is a distinguished family with a lot of research ready for me to include.

Here's what I know:
Phil's grandfather, William Wellington Norton, is the son of Asahel Wellington Norton and Martha Sampson. Martha was born in Elmira, New York to Joseph and Azuba Sampson.

Here's what I thought was true:
Azuba Sampson was born Azuba Shipman Whittlesey in the year 1827 in New York.  It is the two siblings of this Azuba who were born in March; Susan in 1824 and Elias 1828.  And that's where things fell apart.

As I looked at details of Azuba Shipman Whittlesey's life I saw links to a baptism record in Saybrook, Connecticut in 4 July 1819.  This was followed by a marriage record, also in Saybrook Connecticut, to a James Hildreth on 1 August 1837.  But my Azuba Sampson would only have been 10.

What to think?!?  Obviously there are two Azubas.  From census records of Azuba Sampson (who is sometimes called Zuba or even Aguba), 1827 is repeatedly the birth year.  Also, the same records consistently indicate she was born in New York.  However, she does show the middle initial W and has parents born in New York.  In fact,  the 1850 census lists a 10 year old named William Whittlesy (different spelling).

I am now fairly sure that our Azuba is NOT the Azuba Shipman Whittlesey we have so long thought to be ours.  So no birthday posting about her siblings and LOTS more research to do.

But I don't want to leave this Norton  birthday week without a shout out to the incomparable

Emily Grace Norton

Artist, humanitarian, and world traveler - Happy 24th Birthday this March!