26 July 2015

Abstract of Death Record of Emma (Gibson) Calkins Waggoner Boll, 1898-1975

This abstract was contracted from a professional researcher by a Calkin's cousin --

Death Record 
Source: L.A. County D/R  D1975 0021735
Decedent: Emma Boll
Personal: Female, Cauc, Widowed, 76
Address: 110-D W Maple, Glendale, CA
DOB: 9-3-1898                   POB: KS
Occupation: Companion, 20 yrs
Industry: Mary Gower, Companion
Father: C.L. Gibson, b. KY
Mother: Ella Gurwell, b. KS
In County: 32 yrs
In California: 43 yrs
Citizenship: USA
DOD: 5-7-1975, 8:55pm
POD: Glendale Convalescent Hosp; Glendale, CA (409 W Glenoaks Blvd)
SSN: 565-09-9843
Spouse: -----
Informant: Walter D. Calkins, 110-D W Maple; Glendale, CA
Disposition: Cremation, Westwood Memorial Park
Funeral Director: Westwood Village Mortuary
Cause of Death: Metastatic Carcinoma of breast, 18 mos
Contributing Cause: Left Carcinoma of breast, 2 yrs
Other: -----
Autopsy: No
Emma Gibson Boll was my great-aunt on my mother's paternal side.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

25 July 2015

Dutton Letters, part 6: The Death of Harvey Dutton

This is a letter from Harvey James Dutton's daughter Norma (Dutton) Mack to her cousin Effie Mae (Ricketts) Kern -- 
Springfield, Mo.
Jan 27, 1928 
Dear Cousin Effie,
     I received your letter and what a comfort it is to know wherever Papa went he was loved and respected by all.  I have had such nice letters from his friends in Zephyrhills.
     It was a shock to us when we got the telegram of his death as Gertrude had a letter that was written on Saturday and he was just fine and having such a good time for the weather had been good all fall.  On Sat. he ate something that did not agree with him but on Mon. he wrote to Rowena and said that he felt a little sick on Sat. but was all right on Monday.  When he wrote Tuesday afternoon he (papa) walked 5 blocks and played dominoes all afternoon went back to the hotel ate a hearty supper and went calling in the evening.  That night took a couple of pills went to bed but had to get up before day to go to toilet--but was the first one of the boarders out to breakfast--he said he did not want anything to eat--but wanted his cup of hot water (which he always had) said he had a pain in his left side.  Mrs. Hart (the Hotel Lady) said she would get the hot water bottle.  Papa got up form the table started for the reception hall went about three steps and fell dead.   They picked him up but he was gone.
     Write again and I will answer.
And so the great man dies.  He body was returned to Springfield, Missouri, and Hazelwood cemetery next to his wife and sister.  Click here to see his FindaGrave Memorial.  His newspaper death announcement and obituary are here.  There are many, many other posts on this blog about the great man.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

24 July 2015

Dutton Letters, Part 5: Uncle Harvey Dutton Writes Nephew Lyford Kern the Catholic

I love this letter.  Out of all the Dutton letters that Linda has shared with us so far, this is the one I enjoyed the most.  In my introduction to the Dutton letters, I wrote that perhaps the most rewarding experience for a family historian is to learn the presumptions he made about his ancestors based on his research were found in fact true.  This letter was that confirmation for me.  Remember you can click on the pics to enlarge them.

This is Harvey J. Dutton, age 88, writing to his grand-nephew Lyford Kern, age 21, son of Harvey's niece Effie (Ricketts) Kern.  Lyford converted to Catholicism and became an ordained priest.
Zephyrhills, Fla.                                                    Nov. 13, 1924
Dear nephew,
     Dilatory as usual in answering letters.  Perhaps if I had a typewriter the novelty of using one, or rather learning to use one might make letter writing less of a task.  Was very much interested in what you said in letters of Sept. 8 about your visit home, high water from some same.  Snapping sweet corn, helping neighbors threshing, etc. but while you gave yield per acre you omitted to give numbers of acres or price per ton, which would have given me some idea of the profits of  "specialty farming."
     You see, I am very much interested in how your folks are prospering on their new farm. Your mother wrote me that they hoped to make arrangements to meet the unpaid balance (what it was I never knew) without giving a mortgage.  Hope they succeeded for a mortgage is anything but a cheerful companion.  As I have said before, I do not care to discuss Roman Catholicism.  But do not for a moment think that I consider your claims for said church borne out by the facts as recorded in the history of the early churches.   However, the efforts of any organization to correct former bad practices is to be commended.  Referring to your last letters I will say that had I answered before election I might have expressed some anxiety as to the result.  Not that I had any fears that Davis or LaFollette would be elected, but that they might carry enough states to throw the election into congress which I looked upon as almost a calamity, foreseeing the result.  But the people have spoken & in no uncertain terms.
     So you were for Davis.  Isn't that another departure from your early training?  Seems to me all the Kerns were Republicans or Prohibitionists.  I believe George Ricketts was a Democrat.  Well!  Clarence wrote me that he should support the renegade Republican, LaFollette.  Another source of regret to me.  Another case of influence of environment.  Labor unionism.  Well!  He may be proud to be numbered with the tail-enders.  And you, I suppose, are elated with the idea of being counted with the solid south.  Shame on you, George and Clarence too.  But I have one consolation.  The rest of my children are living up to their early training & they are voters too.  Three of them helped to carry Missouri for Coolidge.  I lost my chance to vote by coming away before the election & depending on a friend to send an absentee ballot which he failed to do.  Just received a letter from Bertha, who writes "I suppose the result of the election suited you.  It does us."  Was shocked that Clarence is a Socialist.  She writes further that LaF. "cooked" himself with his course during the war. Clarence writes that he admired LaF's course in congress during the war.  Which of the two, Clarence or Berta, is the better American?
     Must either wind up as put off further writing till another day.  Speaking of your chum Tom Dillon and Roberta, you say you guess you can trust him with her.  Is Roberta really so dangerous?  Liable to lead him astray, corrupt his morals, is she?  From my acquaintance with her I had formed a different opinion.  As I owe her a letter, shall have to warn her.
     Left Sprg. Nov. 15th Arrived here 18th.  Nicely located.  Brought a comrade with me, so I have a roommate.  His first trip south.  Health is good.  Eats fair.
     Should be glad to hear from you whenever convenient.
     H.J. Dutton
Clarence (Dutton) was Harvey's son.  Bertha (Dutton) was Harvey's daughter.  George Ricketts was Harvey's brother in law, married to Harvey's sister Laura, and Lyford's grandfather.  Roberta (Kern) was Lyford's sister.

Eighty-eight years old, and a mind as sharp as a whip.  God I love this man --
  • Fondly remembering midwest farming, he opens on Lyford not giving him the requisite information to understand everything about how his family is doing on the new farm.  Mean-spirited?  No.  Just an old senior saying "Don't hold back on account of my age, don't discount my mind, son."  Since the next paragraph is about his parents might needing to take out a mortgage, it might also be true he was wanting to know if he needed to help his niece financially.
  • His remarks about the Catholic church also seemed to be pointed and sarcastic, but inoffensive. He holds back any overt counter-fire, choosing the subliminal so as to stay true to his own beliefs but not to hurt.
  • As repeated over and over, the Duttons are devout Christians (primarily in the Methodist tradition), including strong advocates of the abolition of slavery and the prohibition of liquor, and thus they were conservative Republicans.  This is what Harvey keeps harking back to with comments such as the young generations "early training."
  • When Lyford says he supported the Democrat Davis in the '24 presidential election, there is backstory.  The Democratic south was still in part beholden to the KuKluxKlan, and the first party nominee was Alfred Smith, the Governor of New York.  But to the south he was a "Northerner" and he was, gasp, CATHOLIC!  So the Democratic south rejected him in favor of Ambassador John Davis from West Virginia to be the Democratic nominee.  So Harvey is taking the screws to his Catholic nephew "elated to be counted with the solid south."  Hehe.
  • But the Republicans too had internal struggles, the progressive brand of Republicans in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, enticed Sen.Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin to make a third party run.  This is what worried Harvey, that the Republicans would split their vote and make way for the segregationist Democrat which is what happened in 1912 when a third party run by Teddy Roosevelt opened the door for Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
  • Harvey's son Clarence, a tradesman cabinet-maker, was pro-union so supported the progressive LaFollette.  Clarence would say to his father that his "early training" was still true to moral issues, leaving Harvey the only opening of calling Clarence a "socialist."
  • Harvey refers to Bertha versus Clarence based on their opinion of La Follette's antiwar stance during World War I (and desire to pay Germany reparations after).  Clearly liberal.  Harvey a conservative, and veteran and hero of the Civil War, clearly sides with Bertha. 
  • We continue to see Harvey's wit in the closing paragraph where he deliberately twists his grand-nephew's words about his sister Roberta dating a friend, and threatens to tell Roberta what Lyford didn't say. 
Eighty-eight years old.  Standing up for himself intellectually.  Proud, confident, but inoffensive. Witty.  Tongue in cheek.  Great, great letter.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

23 July 2015

Dutton Letters, Part 4: Uncle Harvey Checks In

Springfield, Mo                      Feb. 8, 1923
Mrs. Effie Kern
Eureka, Ill.
Dear Niece -- Yes, I find it much easier to put off writing than to get right down to business.  Then I have been somewhat Handicapped with a sore eye for a couple weeks but eyes are alright again.
Glad to get your letter also one from Roberta a few days later indicating that her sprained fingers did not prove serious.  Hurrah for Scoville.  Hope his success will prove an incentive to renewed effort.  We have had a remarkable winter so far.  Not a bit of snow until Sunday morning Feb 5 and then just a little flurry but the temperature dropped to 5 above Monday night. 3 or 4 inches of snow fell but it is almost gone now.  Today is bright sunshine.  Temp now 11 a.m. 42 in the shade north side of house.
Folks all well as usual.  I am gaining very slowly.  Manage to get around the house without cane or crutch but cannot go up or down steps without help of cane or crutches.  I take a little outdoor exercise every a.m. and p.m. & am truly thankful that the weather has been such that I could do so.  Have just come in from a trip around the block.
I think I shall have to ask you to excuse a short letter this time as I wish to write to Roberta while the "spell" is on.  Hope you will write again soon.  Can you give me Madge's address?
Sincerely yours
H.J. Dutton 

Harvey James Dutton (1836-1928) was 87 when this letter was written,  Sounds to me like the elderly gentleman had decided to sit down and catch up on his letter-writing.  Effie (Ricketts) Kern was Harvey's niece by way of his sister Laura Ella (Dutton) Ricketts.  Roberta (Kern) age 17 and Scoville (Kern) age 15 were Effie's daughter and son.  We have determined "Madge" is Margaret Owen, Effie's cousin, and Harvey's niece by way of his late sister Julia Owen.

Tomorrow we continue with the chronicles of the Dutton Letters with an absolutely great letter where Harvey gives us a peek into his head writing about religion and politics to his Catholic nephew.  Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

22 July 2015

Death of Julia (Dutton) Owen, cont'd. (Dutton Letters, part 3)

This is a transcription of a letter from Harvey James Dutton to his niece Effie (Ricketts) Kern, daughter of Harvey's sister Laura Ella (Dutton) Ricketts, on the occasion of the death of Harvey's sister, and Effie's aunt, Julia (Dutton) Owen.

We read yesterday that Julia's daughter Mabel considered bringing her body back to Metamora, IL to be buried in the Norman Dutton family plot, but the plot is full.  So the decision was made to bury her in Harvey's family plot in Springfield, MO, where the remains of Harvey's wife Victoria already lays.

We also read that Harvey was taking the death of his sister hard.
Springfield, Mo  Nov. 11th. 1920 
My dear niece and family,
You have doubtless been informed of the sudden death of sister Julia.  No doubt you were greatly shocked by that news.  It was indeed a shock to us for while we knew she was very sick, were led to believe there was no special danger.  Julia seemed to be enjoying her visit so much.  Had visited with Elva several days and a week ago yesterday I went with her over to Gertrude's.  She intending to stay a few days.  That evening about 6 o'clock Gertrude telephoned Norma that Julia was awful sick and wanted her to come over.  We went right over.  Took Elva with us.  Called a Dr. an osteopath, and that suited Julia although she objected to calling any Dr.  Said she was sure she would be all right by morning.  Thursday morning she seemed quite a little better. (I should have added it was a case of indigestion)  As Gertrude's baby was quite unwell, Julia was brought back here to Norma's, and while all pain was relieved, her breathing became labored and pulse irregular Sunday.  While she seemed no worse as she did not improve as we thought she should, called another Dr., an Allopath.  He said the cause of her shortness of breath was the condition of her heart.  Later on he said it was asthma.  I cannot give all the particulars.  Monday about 10 a.m. Rowan wired Mabel and Madge that their mother was very sick.  She died 1:30 p.m. Monday.  Ed and Mabel arrived Tuesday 7:00 a.m. Funeral Wednesday 10 a.m. Burial by the side of my wife in Hazelwood Cemetery here.
A great disappointment to me.  Plansa all changed though I think I shall go to Zephyrhills, Fla. May go next week.  Kindest regards to all.  Shall be glad to hear from you.
H.J. Dutton
Elva (Dutton) Mack, Nora (Dutton) Mack, Gertrude (Dutton) Cover are all daughters of Harvey Dutton.  I finally figured out who "Madge" was, Margaret Owen, sister to Mabel Owen, both daughters to Julia.  Rowan Mack was Nora's husband.

Here is a pic of the Dutton family plot.  Lousy picture, only showing three of the eight graves and the memorial, but it is the best one I have.  That middle grave belongs to Julia's husband James Owen. Remember you can click on pics to enlarge.

Here is a pic of the marker for Harvey Dutton and his wife --

And next to him the marker of his sister Julia --

Tomorrow we will continue with part four of our chronicles of the Dutton letters.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

21 July 2015

The Death of Julia Owen (nee. Dutton, 1847-1920), The Dutton Letters, part 2

Julia (Dutton) Owen was the daughter of Norman and Nancy (Smith) Dutton, and the half-sister of my 2xg-grandmother Louisa (Dutton) Walker.



                                                                         Metamora, Ill
                                                                         Nov 9, 1920
Dear Effie,
     I'm afraid I was rather sudden with my sad news, but I called you as soon as I got Mabel's telegram.  I had just gotten a letter from Mabel this eve.  Saying her mother had one of her old spells of indigestion.  He cousin Elva had written her and she was quite worried.
The telegram was phoned me from Peoria as near as I can remember.  It was something like this: "Mother died Pm. Buried Wednesday in Uncle Harvey's lot in Springfield."
Doesn't it seem like a horrid nightmare?  I.m so glad we had such a nice visit this summer -- who of us thot it would be the last.
I must write to Mabel, and some others.
JULIA EMMA OWEN: "May your days be filled with happiness and all your shadows fly away." Aunt Julia
Effie Mae Kern (nee. Ricketts, 1881-1952) was the niece of Julia (Dutton) Owen through her sister Laura Ella Ricketts (nee. Dutton, 1854-1887).  We have not yet discovered who is Myrtle Ellis.

Friday a.m. 
Dear Myrt,
We are home from our sad journey and just feel stunned -- I am enclosing the letter I received from Elva Mon a.m. just before I wrote you.  Then we sent a telegram for them to view immediately mother's condition.  I could not help but be uneasy and we got a wire about 11:30 saying the Dr said her heart was bad and we had better come.  we left at 1:15 and she died about 1:30 but of course we didn't know it until we got there.
I'll always feel they should have let us know sooner altho the Dr assured them she would be all right.  Of course it was our first thought to bring her to Metamora but I seemed to remember mother said there was no more room in Grandpa Dutton's lot and Uncle Harvey wanted her buried where he will be and her name will be put on his monument where Aunt Lou's already is and also Uncle Harvey with just the space for dates left.  And after all she will be among her own people.  If we had intended to stay here for always of course I would have brought her here.  But of course Ed and I want to be cremated so she would have been alone here too--So I guess it was best after all--but it was hard to leave her away down there.  Uncle Harvey is all broken up over it all.  They were to have left for Florida next Monday.  How thankful I am!  If it had to be that it happened before they went.
Write to Madge -- of course she would have liked to come but it was out of the question. The flowers were beautiful and I never heard a better funeral sermon,  I can't write more now.  Will write to Effie soon.  Wish you would send this to her and Elva's letter too.
Write to me when you can.
With love, Mabel
This letter came down to us through Effie's estate.  The letter from Elva was not included among this bunch, I don't know if Linda has it.  Elva Mack (nee. Dutton, 1867-1952) was Harvey's daughter and would have been writing from on location.  I am not sure who Madge is yet.

My son Ralph and I have visited the Dutton family plot in Metamora a couple times and it is indeed full.

Tomorrow I will complete this story line with the letter from Harvey, and a look at the memorials.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

20 July 2015

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Letter of Mother Nancy (Smith) Dutton to Son Harvey Dutton (Dutton Letters, Part 1)

The following is a transcription of a letter written by a mother Nancy Dutton (nee. Smith, 1808-1868) to her son Harvey James Dutton (1836-1928).  I have chronicled a great deal of Harvey's life herehere, and here to name just a few of my posts on the man.  He was a scholar, a hero, a gentleman.  He cried over the lifeless body of my 2xg-grandfather when he died in service.  I am proud of my Dutton ancestors and Harvey is one major reason why.

This is an actual transcription including all errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.  Brackets are used where text is illegible.
                                                                     Metamora   Jan  18  1863 
Dear son Harvy we received your kind letter in answer to A[  ] but as we had answered your other, we concluded to wait a few days, but I cannot wait any longer, and if our letters do pass on the road, it is not much  matter for we do want to hear from you so often.  There are so many changes lately and for some reason there is but little to be heard that can be relied upon.  That if we get any news it is not certain but that it will be contradicted in a few days, you have heard no doubt of Rosencrance big fight at Murfersboro the papers give him a decided victory and some of the folks about here have had letters from the 51 and Milton Kingston has lost a leg by a shell, Jim Stivers and Henry and Will Taylor are in the regiment, but we have not heard anything from the 17th for three weeks and the report was here that the 108th had been all killed but 17.  But that is not credited but they have not been heard from since they left them--this which was in about a week after your father was there.  Norman Richards is in the 77th company H capt Keedy and Isaac Groves is in the same Will Kerrick and Phil Gallop also, the 104th were taken prisoners and paroled and sent to Columbus Ohio, for Emma Trembels husband was in the regmt and he wrote to Em that if he had money he would come and see her, and she wrote to Jim Brady and he got the money and he sent it on, and I have not heard whether he had come yet, his name is Bangs.  Em is teaching school out east almost to Indiana, one of Mr. Stivers sons was brought home a corpse, his father went about the same time that your Pa went for Horace but could not get to the regmt for some cause and came home, but in a few days, his corpse came on the cars he was in the 51th, three brothers went together, others are experiencing the same heartrending trials that we have, four weeks from the day that Horace was buried San Kingston was brought here and buried he lived near Panola was at El Paso and was taken sick died in two hours, he was so bad that he could not get home only three miles, so sudden a death has not been known for a long time  I do not know as they know what was the cause for he has been a healthy man. 
We think of you every day and hope you may be kept from all harm put your trust in the Lord and do your duty in the fear of the Lord and you will have peace of mind and an inheritance hereafter  farewell 
                                                                         Jan 25 
Another week has passed since I have laid aside my pen and there are several incidents transpired in one week, news from the army and the return of Lieutenant Briggs he has resigned and come home sick, but he is getting along now, and Geo. Everett has been home on a visit he had got a wound in the leg that disabled him and he was sent to Keokuk and he came on home.  I guess never stopped, he stayed two weeks, and went back.  I have not heard from him since.  Newton Mcpeely is in the fourth cavirly and stationed at Columbus Ky  I want you to write you your genl is now and your col too, for we look for something in the paper to hear of your whereabouts, the papers state that genl Steel and Gorman and Hovey have engaged largely in cotton speculation and the war will not end as long as officers can make money as they do now.  How much [       ] to expect this war to last and [           ] And there must be an end of the war [           ] when our men are called home and quit fighting the The generals are awful mad about the proclamation they had an information meeting in town but I believe there was not much done, and we have not heard much about it since for the next day it was accertained that John Clark had the smallpox and several had been to see him and they were badly scared and Stevenson was one, I do not wonder I should think that they would fear the judgements of heaven would be sent against such treasonable sentiments as are uttered daily  Ed Nelson was here a few days agoe he had just received a letter from Will and a read part of his letter to us  He says that they call the 108th "a secesh regiment" For most of them are opposed to the proclamation and said that he would not have enlisted if he thought it was going to free the negros [      ] aint he and Ed read a part of your letter, quite a contrast I think.  Julia received a letter from cousin Arthur a few days agoe he has sent his picture to Almira and he is a fine looking young man he belongs to the 19th Ohio battery and likely at Vicksburg by this time we have heard from the 17th lately all well but a great many of the new boys are sick John Kindig is dead he died at youngs point of Eyrasipelas buried on the bank of the river.  This letter looks so bad that it was a great mind not to send it but I could not write it over again.  Almira will write you soon and Julia will next time so you can burn this soon as you read it if you can 
                                                                        N Dutton
Notes and Comments --
  • I am struck by all the names mentioned of their friends, neighbors and acquaintances.  Imagine being a descendent of one of these ladies or gentlemen and discovering the transcription of this letter?  Imagine all the potential letters out there where mine and/or your ancestors are mentioned in passing?
  • By the time of this letter, at the extol of his comrades, Harvey Dutton had been promoted from Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant. He would be promoted two more times finally exiting the war as a Captain.
  • Horace Dutton was the first of the Dutton boys to enlist in the Civil War.  Sadly he died from illness less than three months after muster.  His father Norman drove a wagon all the way from Metamora, IL to Memphis, TN to retrieve the body so it could be buried in the family plot.
  • The Duttons were devout Christians, active in the Temperance movement, Sunday School Associations, and of course the Abolitionist movement. As was documented here and other places, Nancy's husband, and Harvey's father, Norman Dutton was a conductor on the Underground Railroad.  This worldview clearly colors what Nancy thinks and says of those who oppose the freedom of African-Americans and the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • These were central Illinois folk.  Evidence is southern Illinois leaned toward sympathy with the south, and central and northern Illinois sympathized with the north. We do see some evidence that some people were in the war for what they thought were reasons other than slavery.  Northerners would say "Preserving the Union."  Southerners would say "State's Rights."  But the specific issue both these turned on was slavery.  I would think it was naive for folks to think otherwise.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

19 July 2015

Dutton Letters: An Introduction

I have been procrastinating writing this entry into my blog for over a week now.  Not because it is anything negative!  But because I am at a loss for how I want to craft my words.  My emotions have been crowding out my ability to think logically.

This blog has paid me back time and time again.  Distant cousins googling their ancestors or their surnames or whatever; they find me and write me, then they offer to share (some are only interested in what I can give them, but we won't mention them). Such is the case with "the Dutton letters."

As my regular readers know I am particularly proud of my Dutton ancestors.  After reading my blog I was contacted by a descendent of the Duttons -- Linda, a 3rd cousin once removed.  She said she had a lot to share.  Boy howdy!  She had family artifacts!  Letters, pictures, and more.  All I had to offer her was my research.  She was happy to get it!  She blesses me, and we have become friends, albeit 2200 miles apart.

She sent me the first batch of family letters.  Yes, she sent them to me, via registered mail, the ORIGINALS!  God bless her!  Mostly from the 1920s, one or two as late as the 1940s, eleven in total.  The only original she did not send me was an 1863 Civil War letter from my 3xg-grandmother Nancy Smith Dutton to my 2xg-uncle Harvey Dutton.  She plans on donating that to a museum, so she sent me a photocopy and a transcription.  I will take it!  Thank you!!!

The loss for words has returned.  So have the tears of joy.  Yeah, I am an emotional guy, so what.

Over the next several days I will be posting pictures and transcriptions of all these letters, beginning with the Civil War letter tomorrow, on the occasion of the blogging prompt "Amanuensis Monday." All the letters deal with family relations, which could explain why they were kept by Linda's parents and grandparents.

Understandably, I have read the letters, and two things jumped out at me.  The first is kind of hard to explain.  We as genealogists and family historians talk about the happiness of the finds and the discoveries, especially the difficult ones that we had to work our hardest to get through the figurative "brickwall."  But I think I have discovered something even more rewarding -- the confirmation that what I presumed about these people was correct.  Let me explain.  We all create images in our heads of these people as we research them.  Who they were, what they were like, what they believed, why they made the choices they did, etc.  As long as we don't promote our presumptions as fact, it can actually aid in research.  But then, to actually read in their own handwriting and their own words a confirmation that the presumptions I made about them were correct?  The feeling is indescribable.  Nothing else like it!  "Rewarding" does not say enough.  It fills the researcher with joy.

The second thing that jumped out at me in these letters is these are real people just like us, doing what they need to do and what they want to do.  They work and they relax, experience highs and lows, illnesses and well-being, losses and triumphs.  Too, too often when we do this research, these people becomes names and dates -- static, objective, without identities.  So wrong.  These are living people, progressing in real time in their daily lives in their era, living subjectively, and full of identity and individualism.  Time and custom might restrict how well we are able to get to know them as persons.  But they never were less.  They never are less.

Linda says she has more, she just needs to find the time to gather it all.  If you are a Walker relative of mine in all likelihood she is your cousin too.  She is not just blessing me by sharing, she is blessing you too.  From all of us Walkers to you cousin Linda, thank you.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

15 July 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Elsie Rue Hall in 1884

Elsie Rue Hall Surpluss (1883-1957) was my great-grandmother.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker