Friday, April 29, 2016

Indiana Ettingers

Mildred Ferguson was born to James and Eliza (Callin) Ferguson in 1837. She was the third of what would be eleven children.

That was the year Martin Van Buren succeeded Andrew Jackson as President of the United States. It was also the year that an 18-year-old Queen Victoria took the throne in England, beginning the 63-year reign that we call the Victorian Era today. Closer to home, Michigan was admitted as the 26th state that January, and the city of Chicago was incorporated.

It is unlikely that baby Mildred knew all of this was happening. Her life would have been that of the pioneer farmer's daughter. She and her two older sisters would have surely been busy with chores and tending the growing number of siblings around the farm. At some point, though, her life was uprooted along with all of those brothers and sisters, as the family moved west to Auburn, Indiana.

In 1850, Mildred would have been 13 years old. That year, Vice President Millard Fillmore was sworn in as President after the death of Zachary Taylor. California was admitted as the 31st state. And the "Compromise of 1850" forestalled a civil war, to the relief of many.

The Ettinger family was a numerous bunch, with many branches throughout the Midwest, including a large number who lived in Richland county, Ohio. The family we are looking at today originated in York county, Pennsylvania and came to Scott township in Sandusky county, Ohio, in 1837.

Daniel Ettinger and his wife, the former Catherine Jacobs, arrived in Ohio in time for the birth of their youngest son, William J Ettinger (1837-1920). Daniel eventually settled in Lexington, and taught school in Troy township. He was considered a very intelligent and communicative teacher, and an above average mathematician.

William would have grown up mainly in Lexington. Some time between 1850 and 1860, he left Ohio for Indiana. He would have turned 18 in 1855; perhaps he knew some of the people who had moved west, as the Ferguson family had done just before 1850. However he got there, and whatever motivated him to go, on 8 March 1860, William Ettinger married Mildred Ferguson in DeKalb county, and they set up a home in Auburn before they moved to Waterloo, where he worked as an undertaker and cabinet maker.

Over the following twenty years, the family lived in DeKalb county, and William and Mildred raised eight children; three sons and five daughters:

  • John Clark Ettinger (1860–1927)
  • Clara Ettinger (1862–1931)
  • Flora Ettinger (1866–1941)
  • Lyda Ettinger (1868–1950)
  • Catherine "Cassy" Ettinger (1870–1959)
  • George Daniel Ettinger (1873–1961)
  • William Hurben Ettinger (1879–1933)

The two eldest children did not leave any surviving children of their own, but they led interesting lives. In fact, I found the Indiana newspapers to be very well represented in the database, which is where I learned a great deal about this family.

In January 1911, Mildred was reportedly very ill, and the family gathered together - but I don't know precisely when Mildred died. Years later, in 1920, William's health also failed, and he died in the home of his daughter, Cassy Faucett, at the age of 83, hailed as one of the oldest citizens of Waterloo. 

     1. John Clark Ettinger worked in Waterloo as a boy, and was a fireman in the grist mill operated by Duncan Bros, at the corner of Van Vleck and Sheridan streets.  He left home and began working as a fireman on the Chicago and Alton railroad, until he became an engineer. About 1917 he developed diabetes, but he lived a careful life and regained his health and was able to run on the railroad until a few weeks before his death in January 1927.

John married Mary Magdalene Schlemm (1870–1936) on 26 February 1890, in Sangamon county, Illinois. John and Mary lived in Springfield, Illinois, and she remained in their home after he died. 

     2. Clara Ettinger grew up in Waterloo, and married in June of 1893, at the age of 21. Her husband was Charles H. Rude, who ran a business in Tecumseh, Michigan, about 100 miles away. The young couple moved to Tecumseh, and two years later, they had a son: Harry Ettinger Rude (1895-1918).

Lightening strike at the Rude house
The Waterloo Press, 18 Aug 1910
According to newspaper accounts, Charles abandoned his family when Harry was only six weeks old. In 1900, their family still appeared in the U.S. Census, living in Tecumseh; but in 1910, Clara Rude appeared in Grant, De Kalb county, Indiana, with Harry and her widowed uncle: William's older brother, Reuben Ettinger. At that time, she apparently worked as a dressmaker, but later accounts indicate that Clara and Harry had to rely on relatives for their support, with Harry living for a time with Clara's sister and brother-in-law, Cassy and Dexter Faucett. (This may have been related to the 1910 lightning strike that hit the house Clara, Harry, and Reuben were living in!)

Harry was actually born September 30, 1895, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, but there is some question as to when his parents returned to Michigan and when they separated. He grew up in Indiana, for the most part, attending high school in Waterloo. After completing a course in civil engineering at what is now Northwestern University, he was employed as civil engineer on Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. He enlisted on November 5, 1917, in Chicago, and was assigned to the Medical Corps and was sent to training at Ft. Riley, Kansas. He contracted pneumonia and died on January 5, 1918. He was buried in Waterloo.

Clara eventually moved in with her sister's family, and died at the Faucett home in November 1931. After Clara's death, the Faucetts and her brother, William Hurben Ettinger, sued Harry's estate for $2,000 and $1,500, respectively, to compensate for their expenses incurred over the years. Harry's estate was an insurance settlement from the government.

Next week, I'll look at the Faucett family in more detail, show that their home was used for more than hosting funerals, and see how many Ettinger descendants we can fit into one post!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Reubenites, part 6: Finally!

At last, after many weeks of searching, we arrive at the end of the McNabb line...only to find more mysteries!

Mary Ellen McNabb (1871-1940) was not named in the Callin Family History. There is a possibility that this could be the person I was looking for in the post from a couple of weeks ago; the "Ella, married, dead" who is mentioned in the CFH. (After all, I never found a birth record for "Nancy Ellen" and can't be sure that the record of her marriage to Frank E Hazard is connected to our family of McNabbs.)

For now, I'm sticking with the assumption that "Nancy Ellen" is the four-year-old Ellen listed in the 1870 Census, and that Mary Ellen is another person.

Here's what I know:

  • Michigan Birth and Christenings Index lists "Mary E McNabb" born on 2 February 1871 to Reuben McNabb and Mary.
  • Michigan Death Records list "Mrs. Mary M Streeter" born Febraury 1871 (in Indiana), parents Reuben McNabb and Mary Ferguson; death occurred in Battle Creek, Michigan on 21 April 1940.

Some other interesting things about the Death Record:

The information was provided by Mary's "niece," Mrs. Clarence Hyde. You might remember her as Mary Mable McNabb, the daughter of James M. McNabb from The Reubenites, part 1. She probably knew that her father had been born in Indiana, and that Reuben had moved the family to Michigan after most of the children were born, which would make listing Indiana as Mrs. Streeter's birthplace an understandable mistake.

It also lists Mary as the widow of Lewis Streeter, and states that Mary had been a member of the Battle Creek community for 10 years. I was not able to find any evidence to say when Lewis died, or how long they were married. Mary is described as a retired actress, and there is no evidence that she had any children.

But there's more!

Some other researchers claim that Mary was married in December of 1900, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to a Charles W. Menges (1875-1915). There is a family by that name living in Milwaukee in 1900, with a son named Charles who is the right age. There is a couple by the name of Charles and Mary Menger (sic) living in Milwaukee in 1905 (with a 14-year-old Charles Menger, who might be Charles's son from a previous marriage), as well as a Charles and May (sic) Menges living in Chicago in 1910.

When I went looking for an obituary for a Charles Menges in 1915, I found several newspapers describing a massive steamboat accident (the Eastland) which killed about 1,200 people. One of those identified was a "Lieut. Chas. W. Menges":

Found on

I'm going to have to leave things there, for now, but if any of you has a marriage certificate that could tie this story together, I'd love to know about it! Until I see evidence that Mary Menges was the former Mary McNabb, I won't know for certain.

Oliver Otis McNabb (1874-1931) presents his own set of questions. The record of his birth I found was only an index record in the Michigan, Births and Christenings Index, 1867-1911. It says his mother's name was Rebecca, but since I can't examine the original, I don't know where that comes from. It could be anything from an awkward family secret to a misprint.

Oliver grew up in Grand Rapids, and as a young man he worked as a teamster and a porter. In 1898 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served in Company L of the 19th Infantry Regiment. His records indicate that he served during the first part of the Spanish-American War.

According to An Abbreviated and Incomplete History of the 19th Infantry Regiment:

During the Spanish-American War, the 19th was one of the first units dispatched. Transported by train to Mobile and then Tampa, on July 21st the regiment boarded the USS Florida and USS Cherokee to set sail for what was then called "Porto Rico." They spent a year in Ponce performing guard and provost duty, then sailed to New York where they boarded trains to the west coast. On July 27, 1899 they sailed for Manila.
The regiment was broken into company-sized units and participated in many battles with the Insurgents before returning to the U.S. in 1902. 
Oliver was discharged in April of 1899, which probably means he saw duty in Ponce, but got out of the service before the Regiment shipped to the west coast.

A few months after his discharge from the Army, on July 4, 1899, Oliver married Margaret Maud Schravenrand (1875–1953) in Grand Rapids. The marriage did not last long, as Oliver moved to Detroit in 1902, and the couple's divorce was granted in Kent county on 16 January 1903.

The Michigan Divorce Record indicates that the couple had one child at the time of the divorce. Maud remarried in September 1904 to John E Nieboer (1870-1936), and according to the 1910 U.S. Census record for their family, they had two daughters: Margarett (age 4) and Hellen (age 9). There are no records which state plainly that Helen is the daughter of Oliver McNabb, but the evidence strongly suggests that she is. It is also apparent that John Nieboer raised her, and that Oliver was probably not part of her life.

Oliver moved out to California, where he can be found in the 1910 Census married to Elizabeth (b. 1876) and living in San Francisco. In 1920, they had several boarders lodging in their home, but no children; and in 1922, 48- year-old Oliver's health had deteriorated to the point where he was moved to the Sawtelle Veteran's Home in Los Angeles. Records show he had partial paralysis in his right leg. By 1930, he Elizabeth were divorced, and the following year, he died, and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery.

(One more tantalizing clue: Oliver's obituary mentions his "loving sister, Mrs. Mary Streeter" - which implies that her acting career may have unfolded in San Francisco. No evidence to support that, though, I'm afraid.)

Maud and John had remained in Grand Rapids with Helen and Margaret. They had three more daughters; one of whom died in infancy in 1910. John died in 1936, and Maud in 1953.

     1. Helen J. Neiboer (1900-1988) was born 28 September 1900 in Grand Rapids. When her mother married John Neiboer, he evidently adopted Helen. She married Ralph David Wheat (1897–1991) on 6 October 1920. Ralph was a core maker in a steel foundry in the 1930s. They raised a family of four children: two sons and two daughters.

     a. Marjorie Elaine Wheat (1921–1998) married Alvin F Hayward (1920–1999) on 17 June 1944. He was a World War II veteran, having served from  22 July 1942 to 4 December 1945.

     b. Donald C. Wheat (1924-2013) married in 1946, and at the time of his death, he and his wife had two sons and a daughter, eight grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren (with two on the way).

     c. Joyce Carolyn Wheat (1927-2011) married John Milo Maat (1920–2002) on 24 January 1948. John was a farmer all his life, and was a veteran of World War II. They have three sons, still living, and had a daughter, Carol Jean Maat (1950–2001).

     d. Karl David Wheat (1931-2004) was a veteran of the Korean war, having serving as a Private First Class in the Marine Corps. He was buried at the Ft. Custer National Cemetery in August, Michigan. His wife survived him.

And there you have it: the last of our McNabbs (that we know of)! There are a lot of gaps I wish I could have filled in, but the records either weren't where I expected them to be, or had mistakes that I couldn't trust. Maybe one of you lovely readers will recognize someone from these posts and drop a note to help me sort it all out. You can comment below or email my Gmail (callintad at gmail dot com).

Next week, we'll be back in Indiana with Mary (Ferguson) McNabb's younger sister, Mildred (Ferguson) Ettinger.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Reubenites, part 5: The Twins

As we carry on constructing the descendants of James Callin, I'll be updating the Page "Project: Revising the CFH" (linked in the "Pages" section on the right, if you're on a desktop). If you're new to the blog, that should help give you some context. Right now, we're looking at the descendants of James Callin's great-granddaughter, Mary Ferguson and her husband, Reuben McNabb. 


The Civil War was three years in the past, and the United States was still putting itself back together. In the spring of that year, the House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson, and the Senate later acquitted him of their charges. On July 28 the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution legally (if not actually) guaranteed African Americans full citizenship and equal protection in the United States due process of law. It was also an election year, which would see Ulysses S. Grant win the White House.

But on 17 October, the family of Reuben McNabb would grow by two as his wife, the former miss Mary Ferguson, gave birth to twins: Marcus Ebenezer and Martha Jane. The twins would have been a year old when their nine-year-old sister, Eliza, died in the fire recorded in the Callin Family History. They would have been very small when their eldest brother, George (the CFH calls him Washington) went back to Indiana to marry. And they were very young when Martha got married.

Martha Jane McNabb was sixteen years old on 26 June 1885 when she married Hiram Warner Sheren (1859-1923). This was a full year before her older sister, Nancy Ellen, was married.

Martha and Hiram had a son the following August, and named him Barnie. In March of 1891, Martha had another son, Robert Ray, but she soon died, and by 1893 Hiram had married Cora May Sanborn (1871-1952). Hiram and Cora had four more sons and three daughters. (Since Martha's two sons were direct descendants of James Callin, I'm only including them in this post. If the family asks me to, I'd be happy to share whatever information I can find about the other siblings.)

     1. Barnie Sheren (1886–1966) started out working as a pressman, operating a printing press for the R Smith Printing Company in Lansing, Michigan. He and Hazel Belle Field (1888–1970) were married 30 October 1909 in Lansing, and in 1910, they were living with her parents on Logan Street.

By 1914 the couple had moved to Hornell, in Steuben county, New York; this is where their daughter was born. Barnie accepted a commission in the 4th Infantry of the New York Guard in 1918, and transferred to the 4th Battalion of the Michigan Army Reserves in 1920. Barnie took a job managing a Standard Oil station, which is where he was in 1924.

Barnie and Hazel divorced in September of 1925. The records don't say precisely what happened, of course, but Hazel married Raymond R Rittgers that same month, according to a Michigan marriage record (which listed her name as Hazel Sheren and indicated her parents' names). This marriage was short-lived, however, as Hazel remarried to James Thomas Prentiss Eddie (or Eddy - records vary) in January 1928.

Barnie married Doris in February of 1926, and they divorced in 1931. He married Edith Morrison (1888–1962) in 1933. In the 1930s, Barnie became a grocer, and he and Edith lived in Lansing until they died in the 1960s.

     a. Thula Irene Sheren (1914–2005) was born in May 1914 in Hornell, New York, and she was named after her aunt (her father's half-sister, who lived from 1904–1987) Thula married Robert Henry Wright (1907–1982) and they had a son and a daughter who are still living. Thula and Robert were both buried in the Lakewood Cemetery in Holland, Ottawa county, Michigan.

     2. Ray Robert Sheren (1891–1960?) is another puzzling individual. Hiram and Cora and four children appear on the 1900 Census. Barnie (age 13) and Ray (age 9) are clearly older than the 7 years that Hiram and Cora had been married at that time. Also, the 1900 Census asks women how many children they have had, and how many are living (to track infant mortality rates); Cora's responses are that she had 3 children, and 2 living, which would be Verda (age 4) and Glenn W.W. (age 9 mos.). This is how I concluded that Ray must have been Martha Jane McNabb's son.

From this point, while I have a few records, they may or not be related to the same Ray Sheren, as the name appears "Ray Robert" or (most often) "Robert Ray" and the birthdate varies. For the sake of this post, I'll assume that they are our "Ray" from the Census.

First, there are World War I and World War II draft cards to consider. The WWI card lists Ray Robert Sheren, born 17 March 1889 in Michigan, residing in Washington DC. The WWII card lists Robert Ray Sheren, born 17 March 1892, residing in Detroit.

The 1940 Census lists a Robert R Sheren, age 47 (so, about 1893), married to Genevieve C. Sheren, age 40, and living in Detroit. Genevieve's 20 year old son, Bruce C. Merritt, is also listed in the household as Robert's stepson. Further research indicates that Genevieve Cornell married Kenneth T. Merritt in 1918, and they had their son Bruce Cornell Merritt in 1920, then divorced in the late 1930s.

Next, there is a Wayne county, Michigan, divorce record for a Robert R and Hazell Sheren. (Detroit is located in Wayne county.) This record is dated 26 April 1937, and says the couple was married 13 August 1929 in Ohio. For all my different searches, I could not find any Census records for 1920 or 1930 that might have stitched this story together, but there are a few U.S. City Directories results that show Robert either by himself or with Hazell or Genevieve in Detroit during their respective marriages.

My best guess from all of this is that Ray moved out of his father's home as soon as he was old enough, went to Detroit, and found work as an assistant chemist (according to a 1910 City Directory). He then found himself in Washington DC during the years of the Great War, and returned to Detroit in the 1920s. I suspect he met and married Hazell while he was living in Detroit, but married her in Ohio for reasons unknown. Then, after their divorce in 1937, he married Genevieve, and while it is hard to say from the evidence whether they stayed married for long, the last trace I see of Robert is from the U.S. Social Security life claim he filed in 1959 (which, incidentally, listed his birthdate as 17 March 1894).

Marcus Ebenezer McNabb lived either at home with his parents, or roomed with one of his brothers until he was thirty years old. He worked as a machinist to support himself. His twin sister and his mother died within a few years of each other (1891 & 1895), and it was only after that he married Sarah Elizabeth McKelvey (1874-1905) on 5 November 1898.

Marcus and Elizabeth had a baby boy in October of 1899 who was stillborn. But the following October, they had a little girl, Thelma Ruth. Another daughter, Dorothy, followed in 1903, but after the birth of their third little girl in 1905, Elizabeth died on 27 April.

I haven't been able to find records that piece together what happened next, but the next appearance of this McNabb family is in 1920, when teenagers Dorothy and Delores appear in the household of their uncle, James M. McNabb.  Marcus himself died in 1937, after being struck by a car. I assume that he must not have remarried, but I can't find them in the 1910 Census to say whether they all stayed together, or if the girls stayed with Marcus's siblings.

     1. Thelma Ruth McNabb (1900–1989) was only five years old when her mother died, and I don't know any more than that about her childhood. She married George Reeder (1893–1938) on 27 October 1921 in Reed City, Osceola county, Michigan. George was a veteran of World War I, enlisted in June of 1918 in Michigan's 85th Division.

The couple had three children, a son and two daughters, before they divorced in 1937. George hanged himself the following year, according to the Michigan Death Records database, and he was buried in Reed City. Thelma had remarried on 28 May 1937, wedding Fred Kenneth Bailey (1898-1952). They two daughters in 1939 and 1942, but divorced in 1947. Fred died a few years later. Thelma married a Mr. Beall, and she was buried under that name in the Fairplains Cemetery in Grand Rapids after her death in 1989.

     a. George Melvin Reeder (1924–1990) enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving from 24 March 1943 until 16 February 1946. I am pretty certain he married and raised a family, but I can find no records or obituary, so I will reach out to whomever I can find in Ancestry and Find-a-Grave to see if they would like to share more information.

     b. Arlene Ellen Reeder (1925–1993) was born on 14 December 1925. She would have been 11 years old when her parents divorced, and 12 when her father died. She married in February 1944, and had three children when she divorced in 1950. As far as I can tell, her first husband and their children are all still living. She remarried a Lester Lee Tritten (1925-2002).

     c. Thelma Elizabeth Reeder (1934–2014) was only four years old when her father died, and her mother was already married to Fred Bailey. She appeared on the 1940 Census as "Thelma Reeder," but when she married Raymond Earl Davis (1933-2001) in 1952, her name appeared as Thelma Elizabeth Bailey. She and Ray had two daughters and a son, who are still living.

(I'll note here that her obituary and some other information I have seen says that Thelma's parents were Herbert and Thelma (McNabb) Crandall; the only information I was able to find in the available records says that a Herbert Crandall died in Michigan in 1939 - which could mean I have some updates to make here in the future.)

     d. Karen Kay Bailey (1939–2010) married twice; both husbands are still living. She had two sons and a daughter, also living, and the Social Security Death Index lists her as Karen Kay Allison.

     e. Marcia Suzanne Bailey (1942-2002) married Gail H. Christensen (1939–2009), and they had a son and a daughter, still living.

     2. Dorothy V McNabb (1902–1994) appeared in the 1920 Census with her sister, Delores, living with their aunt and uncle, James and Helen (Sider) McNabb. Dorothy worked in a factory as a machine operator. In 1930 and 1940, she lived with her cousin, James and Helen's daughter, Mabel McNabb Hyde, with her husband Clarence and their family. In 1940, Dorothy's occupation is listed as a punch press operator. I imagine that with her work experience, Dorothy may have been among the millions of women who ran the factories during World War II. She lived to be 92 years old, and died in Grand Rapids, where she was born.

     3. Delores R McNabb (1905–??) seems to be another McNabb mystery. First, like her aunt Martha, Delores married at the age of 16. Her husband was 26-year-old Edward Manuel Wortinger (1895-1969) on 25 October 1921; they divorced in 1923. I don't know if this is related to the reason they parted, but in 1930, Manuel was serving a sentence in the Upper Peninsula State House of Correction and Branch Prison in Marquette, Michigan.

There is some confusion in the records, but I think it's safe to say that Delores married John C. "Jack" Visser (b. 1905) in January 1924, and they were only married for about a year. Then she married Edwin B. Briggs (1898-1950) on 9 November 1925. I don't know what happened from here; Edwin appears in the 1930 Census listed as "single" in his widowed mother's household, and there are no more records to tell me any more about Delores.

Another user on Ancestry lists a son for Delores, a Patrick J. McNabb (1922-1988); but while records do show a man by that name with those birth/death dates, and they list his mother as "Ruth D Wortinger," his father is listed as a Patrick F McNabb. It's plausible that he is Maneul Wortinger's son, and that the person filing the paperwork in 1988 didn't know that, but I will need to keep digging to prove the connection to my satisfaction.

There are at least another dozen people still around in the next generation; and many of them have grown children and grand-children. So perhaps there are more answers to be found.

I hope so!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Reubenites, part 4

Sometimes, no matter how hard we squeeze, we can't get enough information to be certain about what we know. When that happens, we do the best we can with the information we have, make our best guess, and use plenty of "uncertainty" words so that those who come after us know not to trust the facts that we aren't sure about.

The Callin Family History (CFH, for short) tells us the bare minimum about the children of Reuben and Mary (Ferguson) McNabb. We have looked at George Washington & James M (part 1), William C (part 2), and John Goldsmith McNabb (part 3). Next on the list, the CFH only tells us this:

Eliza, burned to death at age of nine years.
Ella, married, dead.
We also have to remember that for this family the CFH is not entirely reliable, since it refers to George only as "Washington" and it doesn't name John at all. Being the skeptical fellow that I am, I'm going to treat the records I find with suspicion. First, I looked at the 1860 Census, which shows Reuben and Mary still in Jackson, Indiana, with these children:
George W McNabb 4
James M McNabb 2
Eliza J McNabb 3/12
Then in 1870, they are in Chester, Michigan:
George Mc knab 15
James Mc knab 11
William Mc knab 9
John Mc knab 6
Ellen Mc knab 4
Martha Mc knab 1
Marcus Mc knab 1
This tells us a couple of useful things. First, it tells us Eliza's birthdate (in 1860), and confirms that she was no longer in the family in 1870, which fits with what the CFH tells us about her fate. Then, it tells us that Ellen (or Ella) was born in 1866. (And, hello, John! There you are, too!)

With that information, I went looking for a marriage record. The only one I found was for a Nancy E McNabb, born about 1867; the marriage took place in Chester on 7 May 1886, and the groom's name was Frank E Hazard (or Hazzard). The bride's age and the location fit, and the middle initial could well be "Ellen" or "Ella," but I was not able to find any other records that definitely tie this marriage record to our McNabb family.

I did find a Frank E Hazard the same age as the one in the marriage record in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the 1900 Census. If this is the same Frank Hazard, the Census indicates that he remarried to a lady named Estella in 1897. Subsequent records (later Census records, death records, etc.) show that this couple had three daughters, and that Frank lived until 1957.

That could well mean that Ella/Ellen grew up, married Frank in 1886, and died before 1897, but I have not been able to find a record to show that. My guess is that she died before they had any children, but we should still be on the lookout for evidence either way.

Now, dear reader, while I realize I spent many words telling you how little I know about this person, I feel like I should give a full post to the Twins, Marcus and Martha; Marcus's descendants, in particular, have proven to be full of surprises...and they left a lot of records to sort through!

Which I hope to tell you all about next week!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

My New Book: Tad's Happy Funtime

This week, after a lot of preparation and revision, my first novel is out: Tad's Happy Funtime is available on Amazon.

While not strictly a "family history" book, it is about my childhood, my time in the U.S. Air Force, and life with my family in Maryland. It is based on a collection of my personal favorite posts from my blog, also called Tad's Happy Funtime. (The origin of that name is explained in the introduction - which Amazon let's you read as part of their preview.)

Available on Amazon
If you decide to grab a copy (the ebook version starts at a dollar!), please leave a review on Amazon to let me know what you think. Once it gets ten reviews, that opens a few more doors for me to promote it.

And thanks for sticking with me while I've tried to balance this project against Mightier Acorns! Your patience is always appreciated.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Reubenites, part 3: Goldsmith

Fair warning: this post may well turn out to be an April Fool's joke on us all.

Such is the nature of dealing with unreliable records! Let me explain:

Back in February, I said in the post The Mysterious McNabbs that there were two people named "John McNabb," both of whom claimed to be the son of Reuben and Mary (Ferguson) McNabb. As I said then,

I am inclined to believe that the second of these - John Goldsmith McNabb - is the actual son of Reuben and Mary McNabb, based on the birth dates. There is a 6-year-old John McNabb listed in Reuben and Mary's family in 1870, and the strongest evidence says that he would be that John McNabb.
I still believe that, and so we'll explore the descendants of John Goldsmith McNabb today; but it may well turn out that we unearth a clue later that forces me to change my mind. If that happens, then I will feel like a very special April Fool!

In case you don't feel like re-reading that whole post, here is my description of the family we'll start with today:

John Goldsmith McNabb was...
... born 24 December 1864 in Auburn, De Kalb, Indiana. He married Ida Ann Sack (1872–1953) in 1894, and they had four children - the first in Wisconsin, and then the others in Michigan - before heading out to California in about 1905. They had two more children after settling in Chico, California, both of whom died in infancy (one in 1907, one in 1912). The couple then divorced in the 1920s. Eventually, John applied for a life claim on his Social Security in January 1943, and died that December in Alturas, Modoc county, California. His Social Security application lists his parents: Ruben McNabb and Mary Furgson.

John appeared in the 1940 Census, living in Alturas and working as a salesman. He was not married, so it is probably safe to assume that he never remarried after his divorce. Ida appeared in 1940, living alone in Durham, Butte county, California. In 1945, she is listed in the city directory for Chico/Oroville as the widow of J.G. McNabb, and after her death in 1953, she was buried with Theodore and Kathryn - the babies who died in 1907 and 1912 - under the name McNabb; so I think it is safe to say she did not remarry, either.

Their four surviving children were:

1. Dores Rosalie McNabb (1894–1992) was born in Wisconsin on 20 June 1894. When she graduated school in Chico, she found work as a stenographer in a lawyer's office. She married Carlyle Conrad Roberts (1894–1981) about 1921, and they raised five children together. He worked as an oiler in a power plant, and she continued to clerk, at least during the 1950s. His family was among the early California pioneers, starting with his mother's family, the Stanfords, who settled in Shasta County from Butler County, Missouri, in 1857. His father Benjamin Franklin Roberts came to Shasta County from Mechanicsville, Penn. around 1871.

Dores and Carlyle started their family on the Middle Fork of the Feather River in a quaint PG&E community called Las Plumas which has since been inundated by Lake Oroville. Around 1937, the family moved to Paradise, Butte county, California.

     i. George Franklin Roberts (1922–1998) enlisted 5 November 1942, and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, earning the Bronze Star. He was married after the war in 1947. After his father's death in 1981, he may have taken in his mother, as she died in Calaveras county, where George and his wife lived, and where George died in 1998. His wife is still living.

     ii. Lewis E "Bud" Roberts (1924–2007)  grew up in Paradise, California, and graduated high school in Chico. He enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 10 December 1942. According to his obituary, he was discharged in 1945 as a Technical SGT (E-7) at the age of 21. He flew 35 missions over Europe in a B-24 Bomber as a Radio Operator/Top Turret Gunner, with the 458th Bomb Group in the "Princess Pat". He survived the B-24 crash in France with a full load of gasoline that was being hauled for Patton's Tank Force, and a forced landing in Belgium, with two engines feathered landing at a P-47 fighter base during the Battle of the Bulge. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal with clusters, European Theatre Campaign Medal and WWII Victory Medal. Bud also served several years in the Naval Reserve as a Radio Operator until he contracted polio in the early 1950's. He retired from service with the State of California in 1984 as a Senior Communications Technician. He was also a ham radio operator for over 65 years, "W6ZFJ".

Bud married Jennie Lee McCandliss (1925–2001) in 1946, and they raised two sons and a daughter who are still living.

     iii. Earl Stanford Roberts (1930–2011) started a career with the California Division of Forestry, Department of Natural Resources as a seasonal firefighter in 1947, when he was 17 years old. He achieved Eagle Scout in 1948.

In December 1950, Earl, along with his childhood friends Hugh Jared and Bill Brill, enlisted in the Navy and took Basic Training in San Diego, Calif. He and Hugh were assigned to the Seabee’s Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 8, “Highball the 8 Ball”. Earl served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,  Port Lyautey, French Morroco, Fort St. John, Newfoundland and was discharged in September 1954 at Quonset Point, R. I., Rank Chief Electrician.

His career with CDF continued after discharge. In 1959, he was chosen from among the top employees for a special assignment at Squaw Valley, California, providing fire protection for the 1960 Winter Olympics. In 1965, he moved to Modoc County and served 19 years as a forest ranger. Earl retired in 1984 after 35 years.

At the time of his death, in 2011, Earl left behind a wife, three daughters, and a son, all living, as well as five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren..

     iv. Helen Rosalie Roberts (1931–1976) married Andrew Kenneth "Ken" Hodges (1929–2012) in March 1953. Ken was drafted into the military out of high school and served his country honorably as a member of the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He returned to Chico following his discharge and met Helen. They raised one daughter, who is still living.

     v. Jean Margaret Roberts (1933–2013) grew up in Paradise, and attended Chico High School where she met her future husband. They were married five years later in December 1951. They had daughters, one of whom is still living. After her husband completed a degree at Chico State College the family moved to Woodland in 1959 where they spent the next 14 years. They then moved to Sacramento where she worked at the UC Davis Medical Center.

In 1992 both Jean and her husband retired and moved to Brookings, Oregon.

      a. Joni Lee (Sheldon) Paulsen (1956–2006) was born January 27, 1956, in Chico. She graduated Woodland High in 1974, then attended Chico State University. Joni lived and worked in Austin, Texas from 1978 to 1987, and in 1987 she moved back to Woodland where she met and married her husband. They were wed in 1993 and have two daughters. The family made their home in Woodland and on her beloved island of Kauai.

Joni was very active in her community. She headed the Paulsen Foundation, creating a College Scholarship Fund for local students and she served a term on the Yolo County Fair Board of Directors.

2. Forrest Stevens McNabb (1897–1987) joined the National Guard at age 17 and pursued Poncho Villa, according to one obituary. After serving three years, he joined the U.S. Army (on 5 August 1917) and served in Germany and France in World War I.

He married Laura Louise Frederick (1907–1983) in 1927, and they settled in Durham, Butte county, California, where he farmed through the 1930s. Laura worked for 20 years as a licensed vocational nurse at Enloe Hospital.

When the Second World War broke out, Forrest worked as a machinist foreman at McLelland Air Force Base for two years and then at Tetreau Garage. After the war, he served as the United States Postmaster at Durham from 1949 to 1967.

The couple had two daughters, one of whom is still with us. Lorraine was the elder daughter:

     i. Lorraine Elinor McNabb (1928–1991) married Carroll Myron "Bud" Hansen Sr. (1925–2003) on April 12, 1947 in Durham. Lorraine was a florist at Laughlin's Flower Shop for 13 years. Her husband, Bud, served with the U.S. Army during World War II and received the Purple Heart. He farmed most of his life, retiring in 1991, when Lorraine died. Bud then moved to Wayland, Iowa, in 1994 with his son's family.

 The couple raised three sons and a daughter. Their youngest son died several years ago: James William Hansen (1970–2007).

3. Esther Margaret McNabb (1899–??) graduated from Chico High School in 1920, and went to work as a nurse in the hospital in Chico. She spent most of the 1920s working in Oakland, and the 1930s in Modesto as a superintendent at the Lillian Collins hospital. In 1940, she was working at Nevada County Hospital County Home For the Aged in Nevada City.

After 1940, I can find no more records for Esther. Mathematically, it is unlikely she is still with us, but if she was, she would be 117 years old - and I'm pretty sure her name would have turned up a news article or three about that.

4. John Gerald McNabb (1901–1983) married Leila D Masterson (1898–1976) in Reno, Nevada, on 14 April 1935. The couple set up house in Chico, in the house where Leila and her widowed mother had been living. They do not appear to have left behind any children of their own.

John Gerald is occasional documented as "John G McNabb, Jr." though he and his father clearly did not share a middle name.

For the Record, if you want to know more about the other John McNabb, here are the details I was able to find:

John C McNabb was born on September 20, 1860, in Indiana. He married Inez M. Atkins (1880–1935) on December 25, 1912, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He died on December 1, 1932, in Battle Creek, Michigan, at the age of 72, and was buried in Augusta, Michigan. They do not appear to have had any children.