Friday, December 26, 2014

Faiths of Our Fathers

Growing up, my immediate family members were all Southern Baptists. I knew, of course, that there were other kinds of churches, but it wasn't until we took a trip to New Jersey to visit my grandma's side of the family and we visited their church on Sunday that it occurred to me that my own family would attend a truly different kind of church.

Back then, I was mildly scandalized by this. I started asking questions, like, "What is the difference between their church and ours?" The answers I got seemed as perplexing for the adults providing them as they were for me to understand.

"Are they going to hell for going to a different church?" (No, of course not.)
"Then does it matter which kind they go to?" (No, I suppose not.)
"Then why don't we go to that kind of church ourselves?" (Um...look at that, it's your bed time!)
"But what does it all mean!?!"

For a 12-year-old theologian in training, trying to figure out the differences between your family's various religious traditions can be scary and disturbing; but for a 42-year-old family historian, it can be a very useful tool for understanding what ancestors you never met might have been like. By studying the types of churches they belonged to, you can develop some guesses about what they believed and how they behaved.

Here's a quick tour of a few of my family's religious traditions, based on what I've been able to learn so far.

The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians

While I don't know yet precisely where the early Callin folk came from, it is probably safe to assume that my ancestors were part of the migration of Scotch-Irish Protestants to Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. Because they were in the midst of the French and Indian War and Pontiac’s Rebellion, they were frequently in conflict with the tribes who lived along the frontier - especially in Pennsylvania, whose pacifist Quaker leaders had made no provision for a militia.

Most of these people identified as Presbyterian, and their theology typically emphasized the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of grace through faith in Christ - all of which sounds familiar to this former Southern Baptist. However, they tended not to hold to some of the more severe notions of "purity" - like refraining from strong drink, fighting, and behaving bawdily - and I suspect their behavior had as much to do with driving a wedge between them and their puritanical neighbors (the ones running the local colonial governments) as any theological differences.

It is interesting to note that I haven't found any ancestors who identified as Catholic, yet. The only actual Irish ancestors I've identified so far - the Greenlee family - came from Armagh, and identified as Unionists and Protestants. So even though they came to the States in 1846, during the Great Potato Famine, they had more in common with the Scots-Irish Callin families who were already here than with the large numbers of Irish Catholics immigrating at the same time.

The Pennsylvania Dutch

My paternal grandmother's families included the Witter, Shriver and Piper families - all of whom seem to have been early German settlers in Pennsylvania - the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch. The Witter and Piper (from "Pfeiffer") families settled in and around the Amberson Valley for several generations before spreading out to settle in Kansas.

The Frey family (on my maternal grandmother's side of the family) were also from an area near the borders of France, Switzerland, and Germany, and they certainly Lutherans - though they came over 100 years after the true "Pennsylvania Dutch" families arrived.

The Pennsylvania Dutch maintained numerous religious affiliations, with the greatest number being Lutheran or Reformed. Many were Anabaptists as well, but I suspect my ancestors were probably Lutheran, based on the churches mentioned in the documents I have found. Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone" - the doctrine that scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith.

Most Reformed churches denied the belief of the Catholic Church defined at the Council of Trent concerning authority coming from both the Scriptures and Tradition. Needless to say, that denial was why the Catholic nations of Europe drove members of these churches out.


Back on my paternal grandfather's side, the Hales family seems to have been part of the Methodist-Episcopal church; my 4th great grand uncle, John Hales, was received into the ministry in 1820 in Baltimore, and was located with a church mission in Illinois in 1825. My 2nd great-grandmother, Alice Ava Hales (on of My Sixteen), was buried in the First Methodist Church in Fostoria, Ohio one hundred years later, in 1942.

My paternal grandmother's great-grandparents, Aaron and Hannah (Bender) Murray, were charter members of the Methodist church organized in Stark, Kansas, in 1886. The Benders were Swiss Mennonites and Germans, driven from the Pfaltz by Catholics and settling in Pennsylvania in the pre-Revolutionary days. The Murrays arrived from Scotland just after the American Revolution in the 1800s. It seems clear that whatever faith the families brought with them, once in America, they found the Methodist message to be very compelling.

Most Methodists identify with a conception of free will through God's grace, as opposed to the theological determinism of absolute predestination of the Calvinist traditions prevalent in Reformed or Lutheran churches. (Yes, I cribbed that from the Wikipedia article.) If you think about that, the severe character of Calvinist churches must have seemed as oppressive to the second and third generations raised under that philosophy as the Catholic and Anglican churches seemed to the original Calvinists. I imagine that the refreshing notion of free will and grace caught up a number of my ancestors during the many Revival periods that swept the country over the years.


Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island and the first Baptist church in America. He was a questioning theologian who famously ran afoul of the puritan-run colonial government in Boston, and became a champion of the idea of separating church and state. One of the original members of that First Baptist Church that Williams formed in 1638 was an ancestor of my maternal grandmother.

There is a lot of room in 350 years of history for things to change; one of the things that changed was the nature of the Baptist churches - which, partly because of their insistence on not having official, established doctrines, were prone to splits and schisms. One of the most divisive issues in American history was slavery, and in the mid-1800s, many Baptist churches tore themselves apart over the issue of abolition. The Southern Baptist Convention formed in 1845 in Atlanta, Georgia, following a split from northern Baptists over the issue of forbidding Southern slave-owners from becoming ordained missionaries.

In the 1940s, around the time my grandfathers were growing up, the SBC had begun to move away from their historical and regional positions, but change takes time, especially in a theology based on individual conscience.

Modern Times

Both my maternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather were ordained Southern Baptist ministers. In the early 1980s, my parents hosted a little Southern Baptist church in our garage, until they raised money for property and a worship building in our neighborhood.  My sister's husband has even done mission work, taking my nephew with him on trips to build a church in Latin America.

Just in that narrow group of people, all of whom agree to assume the same religious label, you can see wildly different approaches to life and theology. That individuality is the legacy of those original Baptist churches, which insisted on each individual having to find their own path to salvation. That's a tremendously democratic, American idea.

Looking at the religious history of America, it's easy to point to the oppression and conflict that drove the original groups to flee their homes, and even easier to point out the hypocrisy of the groups that showed the same kind of oppression to those who came here after they did. But after they arrived here and attempted to create their own versions of heaven on earth, you can see how most church-based communities either evolved to be more inclusive, thriving ecumenical groups - or retreated into insular, intolerant backwaters. Even today, there are secluded communities of Amish, Mennonites and Pennsylvania Dutch in Pennsylvania, though many (like my ancestors) eventually struck out to mark their own path - both physically and geographically.

That's why I value the notion shared by the original Baptists - and founders like Thomas Jefferson - of separating church and the state. When it came time to create a government designed to represent the will of the people, they wisely left out the usual religious language of God and Divine Will that could be seen in so many other charters and constitutions of the time. They realized that it was far too easy for religion and government to corrupt each other, so instead, they argued to make government a neutral arena where your religion would neither be held against you nor imposed on anyone else.

Because the United States chose to become a place where anyone with an idea could speak publicly about it without fear they would be arrested, it became a place where many did just that. Revivals swept the land during the so-called "Great Awakenings" - times when new ideas, and even whole new religions, sprang up.

Growing up, my elders spoke about those revivals fondly and wistfully, and the churches I grew up in frequently held week-long "revivals" - but if you go read about some of those early versions, there were some pretty wild and radical ideas being spread along with that "old time religion" that the elders recalled. Without the buffer of neutrality between government and some of the established churches, I wonder how far some of those revivals would have gotten before blasphemy laws and notions of "corrupting the youth" shut them down. And without that buffer of neutrality, I wonder whether all of my ancestors - with their different backgrounds, beliefs, and "bawdy" or beatific behaviors - would have been able to get together at all.

I suppose if they hadn't, I wouldn't be here to wonder.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Photo Feature: Christmas at White Bear Lake

Merry Christmas, from c.1938!

This is the Holmquist family in the festive living room of their home in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.  William Arvid is seated, with his wife, Hilder; their three children - Ruth, Arvid Wesley ("Bud"), and Lillian ("Lil") behind them.

William Arvid was born in Sweden in the 1880s, arrived in the U.S. around 1910, and married Hilder in St. Paul. Hilder was born in New York in 1888, her parents having immigrated from Sweden around that time. Bud was the grandfather of my lovely bride.

Here's hoping your holidays are warm and cheerful!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Me No Go; Me Can Die First

In 1776, the American revolutionary colonists built several forts to defend the western banks of the Hudson river, one of which was located at Paulus Hook. After suffering defeats in New York City, the rebels abandoned Paulus Hook and the British occupied it. The fort was a naturally defensible position that guarded the gateway to New Jersey.

In mid-summer 1779, a flamboyant 23-year-old Princeton University graduate, Major Henry Lee, recommended to General George Washington a daring plan to attack the fort, in what became known as the Battle of Paulus Hook. The assault was planned to begin shortly after midnight on August 19, 1779. Lee led a force of about 300 men, some of whom got lost during the march, through the swampy, marshy land. The attack was late in getting started but the main contingent of the force was able to reach the fort's gate without being challenged.

Frederick II
(from Wikipedia)
They surprised the British, taking 158 prisoners, and withdrew with the approach of daylight. Despite retaining the fort and its cannons, the British lost much of their control over New Jersey. Lee was rewarded by the Second Continental Congress with a gold medal, the only non-general to receive such an award during the war.

Among the prisoners were a number of German soldiers, known as Hessians. Like other German princes were doing, Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel (a small independent country in northern Hesse) had leased 22,000 Hessian troops to his nephew George III of Great Britain to fight against the rebels in the American revolution - for about £3,191,000. They came not as individuals but in entire units with their usual uniforms, flags, weapons and officers.

General Washington needed to find some place to board a growing number of these prisoners, so he paid a visit to John Jacob Faesch of Mount Hope, New Jersey. Faesch, originally from Holland, came to the colonies around 1766 and in 1772 had built the Mt. Hope furnace. He took sides with the colonists on the breaking out of the Revolutionary war, and large quantities of cannon balls for the American army were cast at his furnace.
Erbprinz Regimental colors

While Faesch had the honor of entertaining him at his house, General Washington arranged for Faesch to take 250 Hessian prisoners to board in exchange for their work in chopping wood in Faesch's coaling job. (Making charcoal for the furnace, in other words.) Faesch erected five log houses for them, and for the four years from summer 1779 to the close of the war in April 1783, they lived and worked for him, assisting in the American war effort.

At the close of the war the British had a certain number of days to gather up these hired soldiers, and they were required to pay for every one they did not return to the old country. Among the 250 men was Leopold Zindle, who had been captured in Lee's attack on Paulus Hook.

Leopold was almost certainly a private with the Erbprinz Regiment, born in Essingen. According to writings from other Hessian soldiers, back in Europe they were told they were needed to defend the American Colonies against Indian incursions. Only after they arrived, did they discover they had been hired to fight against the American colonists, rather than the Indians. Some may have taken that deception more seriously than others; some might have gone so far as to adopt the now-independent colonists' side as their own, rather than return to serve the whims of a monarch who would sell their services under such pretexts. Around 5,000 of the 30,000 soldiers sent to fight the colonists elected to stay in the newly independent country after the war.

William F. Wiggins, who knew Leopold very well, and was at his funeral, related this incident1:

When the British officer visited Mt. Hope for the purpose of getting these men he commanded Zindle to go with him. Zindle replied, "Me no go; me can die first." This so aroused the officer that he drew his sword and struck Zindle in the breast, breaking the weapon in three pieces -- one remaining in Zindle's body, one in the officers hand and one falling to the ground.  Zindle still persisted in saying "Me no go, me die first." This occurred in the presence of a large crowd, and seeing the resistance which Zindle made, and the many friends he had, the officer was obliged to retreat to save his own life.

Just a few years later, Leopold married Anna Margareta Schaak in the Zion Lutheran Church of Oldwick at Mount Hope. Their son Charles eventually had a daughter named Mary Elizabeth who married a bloomer foreman (iron worker) named Samuel L. Tuttle. Mary and Samuel were the grandparents of John Jackson Tuttle, one of "My Sixteen," which makes Leopold my 6th great-grandfather.

Leopold died in 1820, an old man who was respected in his community. Presumably, he never returned to Germany.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Photo Feature: Del Trible

In the spirit of "No-Shave November," this week's photo features a fine, extravagant moustache, and a mysterious piece of my family's past.

According to the inked inscription on the back, this is Del Trible of Glendale, Ariz:

However, I have no record of this or any Trible in my family tree. He could be an old friend of the family, a distant cousin, a teacher, or a pastor. I hope someone out there can tell me which!

As always, feel free to comment below or drop a private note to callintad at gmail dot com.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Love and Loss in Old New York (and New Jersey)

Joseph Frey led a short but interesting life.

Born in Germany, in the mid-1820s, he came to settle in New York, probably during the 1830s or early 1840s. His birthday is listed on various documents as ranging from 1823 to 1828, and his birthplace is usually listed as either "Baden" or "Wurttemberg", but other sources say his parents may have been from a small French town near the Swiss border, or that he was born in Switzerland.

These were very difficult times for working class people in Europe. Between successive revolutions in France, uneasy relations amongst the old Empires, and terrifying epidemics - particularly cholera - sweeping through the increasingly crowded and unsanitary cities, a young man looking across the ocean might have been strongly attracted to the relative prosperity and peacefulness of the United States.

Once settled in one of the German speaking neighborhoods around New York, that young man would have become part of the story of that young, still experimental nation. He would have seen the growing stream of immigrants from Ireland pouring through New York Harbor during the so-called Potato Famine of the 1840s; he would have seen politicians arguing about Westward expansion; and and he would have heard about threats of war from Britain, France and Mexico. Without records or writing from Joseph's point of view, I have to assume from the evidence available that he found his place in America, and decided to invest himself in it.

When President Polk maneuvered the U.S. into war with Mexico, Joseph enlisted as a private in Company A, 5th Regiment of Infantry, New York Volunteers. He signed up for a 5 year term on 3 December 1846, but was discharged honorably after 11 months and 24 days on 27 November 1847 after the relatively quick American victory at Mexico City.

On March 11, 1849, he married Elizabeth Horn in the Lutheran church in Williamsburg, New York, and they began raising their family; Frederick (1851), Maggie (1853), William (1856), Theodore (1858), and the twins, Edwin August and Edward (1859).

As a veteran soldier, and a member of a close-knit community in a burgeoning New World city, I like to imagine that this would have been a happy and hopeful decade for Joseph and Elizabeth. Despite the growth of the anti-immigrant sentiment in the 1840s and 1850s, people like the Freys were learning how to thrive in the "melting pot" of New York. Joseph was listed in the 1860 census - along with Elizabeth and the children listed above - and identified as a brush maker, which implies that he was literate and educated, and moderately well off.

And then there came another war.

Enlisted in Captain Robinson's Company of New York Volunteers on 6 September 1861, Joseph re-enlisted 15 November 1863, and was discharged and mustered out with the Company on 21 June 1865. His pension records say he contracted seriously debilitating rheumatism during his time in service, and while he and Elizabeth had two more children - Augusta ("Gussie", b. 1865) and my great-great grandfather, Emil Adolph Carl (1869) - his health would never fully recover.

In 1870, Joseph had taken his brush making profession back up, and his older sons and daughter seem to have been helping with the house and the business in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York. But his condition seems to have deteriorated so that some time around 1876, he had to move into the Soldier's Home in Washington, DC - where he died in February 1877, barely 50 years of age.

Frey family, about 1903
from left: Edna, Emil, Bessie, Amelia
(front) Grace, Marjorie
By 1880, Elizabeth had moved the family to Newark, New Jersey, probably to be near her brother's family, and the Freys lived at 103 Congress Street for many years. Young Emil met Miss Emily Amelia Opp, whose family split their time between a cottage in nearby Paterson (about 15 miles from Newark) and Dansville, in upstate New York.

Emil and Amelia were married around 1894 in Dansville, and settled back in Newark. They had six daughters: my great grandmother, Edna (1895), Elizabeth "Bessie" May (1897), Blanch (1899-1900), Marjorie (1900), Grace (1902), and Theresa "Tessie" Decker (1908).

I have the impression that Emil found a second family in the Opps.
Jacob Opp

Amelia's father, Jacob, was a veteran of the war, just like Emil's father. He worked as a locomotive engineer, which might account for his family seeming to simultaneously live in two towns separated by nearly 300 miles. For example, in 1900, Emil and Amelia and their girls show up twice in the Census records - once in the home of Susan Opp (Jacob's widowed mother) and once in their own home in Newark. Interestingly, the two records were enumerated only about a week apart - one on the 1st and one on the 9th of June - suggesting that they were recorded both while visiting Dansville AND after their return home to Newark.

These years seem to have been happy ones for Emil. He worked as a grocer and (according to a Frey family tradition) as a Borden's milk delivery man. It isn't clear what caused the tragic loss of little Blanch before her second birthday, but the other girls seem to have all been healthy and the family seems to have prospered. Sadly, Emil and Amelia would not see their twentieth wedding anniversary.

Frey daughters, about 1909
(clockwise from left) Edna, Theresa,
Elizabeth, Marjorie, Grace
In 1910, Jacob was listed in the Census records as living in Emil's household, where he apparently lived out his days. He succumbed to pneumonia in July 1913, only a few months after Amelia died, in March of that year. At this writing, I am just shy of my twentieth anniversary myself; I know how I would feel if I lost my lovely bride right now. If my impression of their relationship is correct, Emil then immediately lost someone who may have been like a surrogate father for an even longer time. Then, as if that weren't enough, Emil's mother, Elizabeth, died in 1914 of Bright's disease at the age of 86.

This all seems to have been too much for him. Emil's older daughters, Edna and Bessie, began working to support the family, and they took care of the younger girls. By 1920, Edna was married to Alfred Tuttle; Bessie was working as a legal clerk, living with the other girls in a rented house on Fourth street in Newark while they attended school; and Emil was an inmate in the Essex County Hospital Center (also called Overbrook hospital) in Cedar Grove.

My grandmother, Edna's younger daughter, recalls visiting Emil in the hospital. She told me, "We used to visit him every Sunday, and take him fruit and treats. I was very young then of course." She would have been 11 years old when he died of pneumonia in February 1936.

Today, approaching 2015, I have to wonder if it might have been possible to do more to treat Emil; if we could go back armed with a better understanding of the mind and brain, would we be better equipped to help him, and get him back home with people who loved him? It's hard to know what his life was like those last 16 years; I haven't found records that could describe his condition or diagnosis, and the hospital itself shut down in 2007. It is now a favorite haunt for so-called urban explorers and ghost hunters - thrill seekers more interested in playing up the "spookiness" of old buildings than understanding what life was like for the patients.

At least his life was bookended by heroic people. From his father, the devoted soldier, to his self-sufficient daughters, Emil Frey seems to have been surrounded by love, strength, hope, and joy for most of his life. I will leave it to you to decide whether that lessens or sharpens the tragedy of those last years.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Photo Feature: Mystery Girls

These two mysterious young siblings present a real challenge for this week's "Who The Heck Are They?"

With no inscription except the studio name - "Oates" - I can only hope that someone out there might recognize them. I would guess from the similarities in their noses and chins that they are sisters; perhaps someone will recognize the watch worn by the girl on the left?

As always, if you have any clues to offer, the comments are below, or you can email me at callintad at gmail dot com.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

When Things Got Serious

Reposting to mark Pearl Harbor Day - for those who have read this before in my other blogs, I added some details and photos.

Bobby enlisted in the Army 26 July 1941 at Camp Blanding, near his hometown of Winter Park, Florida.

Sgt. Bob Callin, c.1944
He did well in training, and ended up applying for a special school, hoping to become a pilot. The Army being the Army, he had to agree to taking a bunch of tests and special classes to qualify, and there was a pretty good chance he wouldn't be selected for pilot school... but he decided to go for it.

The specialty training include aircraft engine mechanic courses at Luke Field, located southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The class was difficult, but Bobby was smart, and he didn't spend a lot of time and energy getting wasted after hours and on weekends, like some of his friends did. He preferred spending time at a church he had found. A church that hosted "mixers" on Friday and Saturday nights. Church mixers that had girls at them.

That is where he met Nancy.

Bobby and Nancy went out a few times, usually with Nancy's best friend -- whose name was Bobbe! -- and one of her boyfriends. Nancy was only 17, but Bob (it was too confusing having two "Bobbies") had also met her parents at the church, and they trusted him. Bob had even been to their house for Sunday dinner a few times.

Things were going just swell (his words, not mine). Bob and Nancy liked each other quite a lot, but she was still in high school. And being in training for the Army, he didn't know for sure where he would end up next. It was technically peacetime, but the Army was building up. There was talk of the trouble across the Atlantic, even though most Americans thought it was best to stay out of it.

They decided not to worry about it, and to take their time. It was a mature decision. And then Bob was selected for a special class he in California. He would be back after a few weeks, but maybe this meant he would get to learn to fly! So, he said goodbye to Nancy and promised to write to her often.

Not long after that, America was attacked, and everything changed.

Nancy's brother, Richard Witter -
a TSgt in the Philippines
There was confusion; there was fear. There were a lot of things happening all at once. Nancy's letters to Bob were frantic; she didn't know where he was, or if the rumors were true that California was next. She hadn't heard from her brother, a Technical Sergeant stationed in the Philippines. All she knew was that she loved Bob, missed him fiercely, and wanted him to be back safe with her.

By the time Bob managed to get a letter through, things had calmed somewhat. People at least knew the basics: the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor; the U.S. had declared war. The West Coast was not under attack. Nancy's brother, Richard, was safe for the time being, though he would be wounded in a sniper attack and end up the war as a guard at the POW camp in Papago, AZ.

Bob had also been turned down for officer training and pilot school. But this would turn out to be good news, because, as a high-scoring mechanic, Bob would spend the rest of the war at Luke Field, maintaining the trainers for the pilots of the P-38's.

The AT-6 - training aircraft like those
Bob worked on at Luke Field.
And so, on the 28th of June, 1942, Bob and Nancy were married.

You could argue that without December 7, 1941, they might not have decided to wed. It's possible that without the shock of war, and the fear of losing each other, they might have drifted away and only been pen pals. But some things are meant to happen. After all, Bob did eventually learn to fly.

But that's another story altogether...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sample-More Meats - a Businesswoman's Story

Note: I'm making some assumptions to turn all of these disparate facts I have into a story. If you find mistakes, comment or email me, and I'll update it!

Albert C. Huff was born in Ohio just 6 years before the beginning of the Civil War. His father moved the family to Savonburg, Kansas, not long after it was founded in 1879. There, Albert met and married Rosa Edith Murray. They raised seven children in Savonburg, but somewhere around 1905 or so, the family felt the pull to move to the Arizona territory. Based on the post cards and letters between Glendale, Arizona and Savonburg, they didn't all move at once, but by 1910, most of the clan appeared on the federal census records in Glendale.

Perry Huff was the eldest of Albert and Rosa's seven children. He and his wife, Pearl, along with two of his three sisters, Bertha and Iva, and their husbands, were the probably the first to relocate. Perry started a meat market on Glendale Avenue in partnership with his brother-in-law, Bertha's husband, Roy Sample. It was one of the first businesses in the young town: the Huff/Sample Meat Market.

This post card addressed to "Miss Merl Huff" (my great-grandmother!) appears to have been written by Perry - based on the greeting "Hello Sis" - it shows the meat market, and possibly its owners. The "R.S." at the bottom may refer to Roy Sample, on the left; Perry ought to be the other man in white to the right of the slicer; and "Bill" might refer to the other man to the far right. [1]

Sadly, Perry's young wife, Pearl, did not survive to see his success. She died in 1907, possibly in Las Vegas, New Mexico, during the move from Kansas. Perry and his infant daughter, Doris, were living in his parents' new Arizona home by the time of 1910 Census, but the family's correspondence indicates that his health was giving out, too. When Perry died in 1911, Doris was sent back to Kansas where she was raised by Pearl's mother, Lucy Enos.

Harry More and Iva Huff
possibly a wedding photo
After Perry's death, Perry's other brother-in-law, Harry More, took over the business. The Sample & More Meat Market thrived, and so did all of the young Huff families living there in the young state of Arizona.

Harry and Iva had a son, Phil, who was born in 1909. Roy and Bertha had Thelma in 1909 and a boy named J.L. in 1914. By this period, Albert Burton Huff (everyone called him Burt) had moved to Glendale, and he and his wife Mary had four little girls: Maurine (1908), Maxine (1910), Bruce (1917), and Ezell (1919) - who would grow up to have quite a few adventures of her own!

After President Taft signed the bill establishing Arizona's statehood, Phoenix became the new state capital, which spurred growth in the surrounding towns, as well. Glendale grew, along with the Huff families, and they were all part of what changed the area from a wild frontier into something more like a city.

Scan of original "meat tray" - order form
for Sample & More meat market [3]
It might not seem that wild when you're looking at some old photos of a butcher shop and reading a list of babies' birthdays, but it's worth remembering that between the births of young J.L. Sample and Bruce Huff, General Pershing spent a year trying to catch the Mexican outlaw, Pancho Villa - and there was every chance that chase could have turned north into Arizona. The migrating Huffs also had to come past the famous Fort Apache on their 1,200 mile journey from Kansas. Located not quite 200 miles to the east of Glendale, it operated until 1924, when the native Americans were granted U.S. citizenship - even after that, the possibility of unrest and some kind of "Indian attack" of Old West lore was a real, potential threat in the back of their minds.

In spite of the risks of frontier life, Arizona was also a place that was looking ahead. After having removed parts of their original constitution - containing things like direct election of senators, womens' suffrage, and other reforms - things which were delaying the passage of their statehood bill, Arizonans turned around and put those parts right back in a referendum election, effectively making the Huff sisters voters earlier than many of their contemporaries in the rest of the country.

Parade down Glendale Ave. c. 1915
And so it goes - a simple photo of a parade of old cars down an empty street under a big desert sky turns out to be a story about brave, ordinary people, carving a home out of the dirt, setting up shop, and trying out the wonders of a new age while living in the setting of the old one. Knowing that these people came to the area in covered wagons barely a decade before, and built all of this in the heat and the dust, with the possibility of death from outlaws, displaced indigenous people or unnamed diseases around every corner makes this a triumph.

Bertha, Thelma, and J.L. at Roy's gravesite
Life being what it is, though, Bertha and her two youngsters lost Roy just before Christmas in 1918. [2] This seems to be when Bertha began to take charge of more of the business, and by the time she re-married in October of 1920, she was described in the local newspaper article about the event as, "a well-known business woman and property owner in Glendale,"

The man she married, Earnest Kinman, was a well-liked and outgoing friend of the family. His best friend was my great-grandfather, Dick Witter, who had only married Bertha's little sister, Merle, a couple of years before - before getting himself drafted and going off to join the Army, of course.

Harry More would pass away in 1925, and after that, his widow Iva moved on to California with Phil, leaving the meat market to Earn and Bertha to run. By the time Bertha died in 1965, the wild west was 100 years in the past, the pioneer families were all but gone, and meat markets were being replaced by supermarkets. But along the way, the family had grown, loved, lost, fought, and eventually become a small background part of history.

As we all do, if we're lucky enough.

Aunt Bertha and Uncle Earn

Albert C. Huff

1. My identifications of the men in the post card of the Meat Market are pure speculation. I am guessing based on what is on the back of the post card. The Glendale Arizona Historical Society has a photo of Roy outside the market with an Albert Huff, but they identify Albert as Roy's father-in-law. I think the man in the photo is actually his brother-in-law, Albert Burton (who went by "Burt"); Burt's father was Albert C Huff, and this is what he looked like:

2. Despite the timing of Roy's death, and his eligibility for the draft, I don't have any indication that he served in the war. Of course, his brother-in-law, Dick Witter, did - but that's a different post!

3. The scanned "meat tray" above is of an original sheet saved by my great-grandmother, which was photocopied by her daughter, Nancy Witter Callin, and annotated with the historical notes you see in this picture. I used her notes as a sort of timeline for putting this essay together, and filled in other facts based on official records, post cards, and letters.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Photo Feature: Vernon Tuckey

This week, I have a picture of a baby from the "Who The Heck Are They?" collection.

The inscription, in ink, says "Vernon Tuckey", and the studio name printed in the lower right corner is "L. Wilson." But as helpful as that may be to someone else, I have no idea where this person might fit on my family tree. I have no "Tuckey" folk, and don't recall hearing any mention of the name.

"Vernon Tuckey"

If you recognize little Vernon, please let me know - either comment below, or drop me a note!