52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: In The Cemetery

Intertwined among the branches of my family tree lies a story. It is a remembrance of how grandparents helped grandparents find a place of eternal rest. They were neighbors from a farming town…Bloomington, Osborne County, Kansas. Like all good neighbors, they cared for one another.

When Amos Howell Boultinghouse died in 1893, the Civil War veteran was placed in an unmarked grave on a piece of land near Bloomington. When his wife Mary Magdalina Kraemer passed in 1901, she was placed beside him. Family members would say, “Grandpa and Grandma B are buried near the fence.”

More than 50 years later in 1944, Amos’s son Lafayette Boultinghouse become aware that the U. S. government provided markers for veterans. Paperwork and proof of military service had to be provided. When approved, the marker would be shipped to the veteran’s family. On a fall day, Lafayette meet the train to receive the tombstone…”Amos Boultinghouse…55th Ill. Inf….Gone”. His grave was located near the fence and the footstone laid to rest with Amos.

When Mary died, there was no marker for her. She lay unknown for over 80 years. Her great great grandchildren who lived in the county had a reunion in the 1990’s. They decided that Amos’s and Mary’s grave would be located and a proper tombstone installed for them both.

Finally, Amos and Mary had their resting place honored.

Amos and Mary are part of my Grandmother Isabella Boultinghouse’s story. It would be her husband Andrew Earl Storer’s family that added to the story. In 1900, Wash and Sarah Storer (my grandfather’s parents) sold 5 acres of their farmland to the Bloomington Cemetery Association. The cemetery was to be laid out in plots, drives, and paths.

May all who rest there be honored for their contributions to the communities that they loved and served.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Brick Wall

Dear Grandma Rhoda, You remain a mystery to me with little trace of your footprints left behind. How could you just vanish? What became of you after the death of your husband, Daniel Boultinghouse?

You left behind a marriage record and a visit to the county probate court. You survived your husband’s leaving for duty during the War of 1812. At that time, you cared for Daniel’s children from his first two marriages. You named your son Amos after your father. Your children were nine years old (Matilda) and five years old (Amos) at the time of your husband’s and their father’s death. That’s it…I have hit a brick wall.

I will be checking the 1830 Census and beyond to see if you are a tick mark on a stepchild’s entry. I wish you could guide me to more information about you. I want to draw out more details so I can paint a clearer picture of you and your life. I wish…I want…I hope.

Love, Your Granddaughter

Note: Rhoda Howell was my third great grandmother, married to Daniel Boultinghouse. It is speculated that she was born in Tennessee… unknown year in the 18th Century. She married Daniel on 31 January 1813 in Illinois. Her year of death and place of burial are unknown. Women at that time in history left little in the way of paper trails to follow. I wish…I want…I hope.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Bald (Faced Lie)

How did she keep her secret so hidden? It had to be obvious to what the true was. It was actually a bald faced lie. The convent educated bride was claiming an untruth in front of a priest and county clerks.

Maria Magdalina Kraemer migrated from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. No ship manifest has come to light with her name as a passenger. Parentage unknown. Year of emigration unknown. Residence in Manhattan unknown. A mystery left to the ages.

Educated by nuns in a convent school, Maria excelled in needlecrafts and sewing. Somehow she met an Army private from Illinois who was stationed at Fort Columbus outside of New York City. How were these two introduced? How were they chaperoned during their courtship? Why did she agree to marry and be relocated to the plains of Illinois? The year was 1843, and Illinois had been a state for less than 25 years.

The bald faced lie: on her marriage license, she declared that she was 22. In reality, she was 15. With the declared age of 22, a parent’s or guardian’s permission and signature were not required. Did she try to conceal her real age somehow by dressing to look older? Did she have no guardian to stand up for her? A mystery left to the ages.

Together, Maria and Amos Howell Boultinghouse shared 50 years of marriage. They were the parents of eleven children. Married less than 20 years, Amos would reenlist in the Union Army. They would be parted by the Civil War with Maria running the farm. After the War, they would move onto Osborne County, Kansas. They are my second great grandparents.

Some might say that nothing good can come from a bald faced lie. Perhaps, there are exceptions.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Pet (Project)

Deciding to travel around the country, my cousin Melvin Storer was a one man family history information gatherer. He started in the 1970s after retirement with just a notebook and a pencil. No computers, no Ancestry, no Family Search…just himself, his organizational skills, and a notebook. He was going to put together a family tree using his own research skills.

Locating as many cousins as he could, he mailed out questionnaires to them…102 questions that covered all the basic facts plus hobbies, occupations, locations of other cousins. When he received word of another unknown to him cousin, he sent a letter and form to them. He was devoted to the finding of family members.

When he could, he would fly to various cities in different states to do one-on-one interviews. He figured he got to see different parts of the country to meet his relatives. He did this for several years and piled up bonus miles for the purchase of the next ticket. He carried all his research in a briefcase that was his companion on each flight.

One day, he was headed out on another flight accompanied by that briefcase. He left the briefcase by his chair in the lounge and wandered up to the window to order a snack. When he came back, the briefcase was gone..stolen…all his records and notes taken. Melvin suddenly lost all desire to continue with his journeys and research. Along with the briefcase, his zest for discovering family history was stolen.

When I decided to do family history, I took along the spirit of my cousin Melvin. Using a computer, Ancestry, Family Search, and various vital state records, I would find those cousins along with grandparents, uncle, and aunts. DNA would also introduce me to more cousins. I would piece together a tapestry of family history. Melvin would be proud to know I found from the Storer line our 9th great grandfather who was a passenger on the Mayflower. Here’s to you, my dear cousin…I inherited from you a passion for family history.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Should Be A Movie

Eddie Muller on Turner Classic Movies introduces the audience to film noir…black and white films…use of flashbacks…intricate plots. Eddie would have interesting comments on this film noir as it were…The Case of the Elusive Wife. The storyline would be shrouded in secrets that only the actors/players know. The audience is left wondering just who was this character is and how does she truly fit into the story.

Let’s give some background to this story. My second great grandparents were James Nickel and Mary Emily Weaver. They were Ohio natives who came to Osborne County, Kansas, in 1878. Mary Emily died in 1903 while James lives until 1923. It is all recorded in the history of the county. End of their history…well, not so. Another person never mentioned, never explained pops up.

She appears in James’ obituary as his second wife. What?!? It appears she has four daughters, her first husband is deceased, and she is from Lowell, Massachusetts. Who is this Josie Meserve Dixon? How did she find her way to Kansas? Why is she never mentioned…anywhere, any time, except in James’ obituary? The weekly county newspaper gives no mention of her as it did all the other little social goings on in a small farming community. But wait…she moves back to Massachusetts after she is widowed a second time. In James’ will, he left her land in Osborne County, but she has never paid the taxes on it. Her estate is sued for the money. If not paid, the land goes back to the county. The story ends…

The elusive Josie Dixon…never really mentioned, never really acknowledged by our family. The ending fades to black.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Solitude

In solitude, she scanned the prairies for any sign of his homecoming. He had gone out with his military company to look for restless and warring Indians. He had been appointed by the governor to be a captain to this company. Yet for her, solitude in waiting and worrying were taking its toll.

She was alone, but not alone. She was a mother to his stepchildren while she awaited the birth of her own child. Her responsibilities were crushing…taking care of the kitchen and garden, managing livestock, overseeing the homestead. She prayed that no harm could come to them if Indians discovered she was alone. After all, her stepson Joseph had gone out to check on livestock one morning and was murdered by these people. She waited in solitude.

She had married Daniel Boultinghouse just last year on 31 January 1813. On that cold day, they had exchanged promises to love one another in good times and bad. This anxiety she felt this day was part of the days that were ridden with worry. She seemed all alone…in solitude, trying to glue her family altogether.

The day did come when she spied him coming across the grasslands with his son. He was coming home to be their protector and provider. No longer was she in solitude for now she would be coupled with her beloved Daniel.

Note: Rhoda Howell was my third great grandmother who waited for her husband Daniel Boultinghouse to return from duty in the War of 1812. They were pioneer settlers in the Illinois Territory.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Starts With A Vowel

Almina Nickel was a farm girl from Ohio as she was born in Williams County in 1872. She lived with her parents, Jim and Mary Emily, along with her sister and three brothers. Just an ordinary girl with ordinary dreams, just a young school girl…until an adventure beckoned her family.

Her grandfather John had made a proposition with her father. It was now 1880, and John’s wife had passed away. He was getting antsy and filled with a desire to move on. Would Jim and his family be willing to join up as a team and take a wagon train to Kansas? The Homestead Act was offering 160 acres free to any applicant if the land could be settled within five years. Why to eight year old Almina that sounded astonishing…where was Kansas? A life on a wagon train seemed like a magical tour to Almina, but the family had been warned that the trip would be long and unrelenting. If they could make it to Kansas, grandfather John was willing to finance the move and the land.

They made it to Osborne County, Kansas, in that year. Before them, spread grassy plains. A few buffalo still remained…powerful giants grazing as they witnessed the young girl studying them. Vast farmland welcomed them. A one roomed schoolhouse awaited Almina along with children to meet as friends.

The years passed, and Almina was 19. She married a local farmer whose family had settled in Osborne County several years before hers. Her husband was Washington “Wash” Storer, and they became the parents of eight children. Her third and fourth babies were twins (a boy and a girl), and they were born in a cave on the farm! Their two story farmhouse had yet to be built.

Through the years, Almina loved to bake, crochet, and quilt. There was always a tin of sugar cookies waiting for visitors in the pantry. She belonged to a monthly quilting club, Riverside Busy Bee Club, where she and her lady friends gathered together for lunch, chitchat, and sewing. She learned to drive the family Model T. She was a wife and mother known for her hospitality to neighbors. She especially enjoyed having young people visit. In her final years, the widowed Almina lived in California with her daughter.

Almina Nickel Storer was my great grandmother. Her baby boy twin born in a cave was my grandfather Andrew Earl Storer. And so, A is for Almina.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Light A Candle

Light a candle so a loved one can be remembered. Light a candle so a loved one can be honored. Light a candle so a loved one can pass on her legacy.

For my 9th maternal great grandmother, Mary Beckett, who came from England to marry Mayflower passenger George Soule…Mary, thank you for your steadfastness.

For my paternal grandmother, Anna Mroz, who emigrated from Poland with $9 in her pocket and could not speak English…Anna, thank you for your courage.

For my maternal second grandmother, Maria Magdalen Kraemer, who came from France and married her husband at age 15…Maria, thank you for your faith in God.

For my maternal great grandmothers, Sarah Almina Nickel and Naomi Ruth Stevens, who were Kansas pioneer women…Sarah and Naomi, thank for your your resourcefulness.

For my third maternal great grandmother, Rhoda Howell, who braved Indians and uncivilized frontiers…Rhoda, thank you for your perseverance.

For my maternal grandmother, Isabella Mary Boultinghouse, who mastered needlework and quilting while mastering the role of a farmer’s wife…Isabella, thank you for your pursuing your talents.

For my mother, Merna Mae Storer, who married her wartime sweetheart and raised a family of three children…Mom, thank you for your example of love, kindness, and sweetness.

For all my grandmothers, who paved their ways in this world according to their beliefs, talents, and resources. For all of you, I light candles.

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Membership

His was the first name I found to research and investigate. I really wanted to honor him with a membership in this lineage society. I would just link it all together, and bam…I would become a member. Then, it got complicated.

My 4th great grandfather, Joseph Boultinghouse, was born in New Jersey in 1740. Records indicate that he served in the 4th New Jersey Militia in the Revolutionary War. However, and it is a big however, he was a deserter. Another however, he earned a land warrant for his service. After the war, he started a state militia group in western Pennsylvania before moving into Ohio and Illinois. So what exactly is his story?

Greatly interested in joining the DAR, I started to dig around in their files to see if anyone had joined on his name. No one. I would have to start from scratch to make inquiries to see if he could be claimed as a patriot. It would be a tough battle to put the pieces together. Did I have the patience to proceed?

Three years ago, I did join the DAR. I discovered that I had a total of nine grandfathers who served in the Rev War. I gained membership by using the easiest grandfather to prove. Meanwhile, Joseph remains waiting in the wings to see what can be done about his good name. Time will tell. Is membership in this society just waiting to honor his name?

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Gone Too Soon

Darn it…I missed out when he was alive! He was born the same year as my grandfather so the possibility exists that I could have known him and not just about him. My great Uncle Jack was quite the person I wanted to know. If he would have lived longer, but he was gone too soon.

The events in his life seem exciting, adventuresome, and risk taking to me. I have researched him and know about him from records and pictures. But…I have never heard him speak to tell his life tales in his own words. I have never met him so as to ascertain his character and demeanor. I have never looked into his eyes so I can study what lies within his spirit.

What I do know is he was a Kansas farm boy who loved horses. He was a real live cowboy in Wyoming. He was the roustabout on an oil field. He was a wagoner in the U.S. Army in World War and stationed in France. He was the manager of a wildlife preserve in Nebraska. He was an arms expert for Remington Arms during World War II, when he died in Colorado. He loved coming back to Kansas and going hunting and fishing with his dad. He died at the age of 46 with cancer. Gone too soon.

He was my grandmother’s big brother, and she adored him. He was a small town acquaintance of my grandfather. As a child and teenager, my mother saw her uncle only a few times. She could tell me little about him. Gone too soon.

My great uncle Jack was born Edward Ralph Boultinghouse in June, 1896, in Osborne County, Kansas, and passed on in May, 1943. Uncle Jack, I have a lot of questions for you. Gone too soon.