Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Hefley and Stegman

Here is the wedding announcement of my grandparents, Lee Hefley and Irene Stegman

Marriage Announcement in The Downs Times September 5, 1940

Stegman - Hefley
Two of Downs' most popular young people, Miss Irene Thressa Stegman, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Stegman, and Lee Earl Hefley, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hefley, of rural Downs, were united in marriage on August 31 at the Saint Peter and Paul church in Cawker City, Father Wahlmeir using the single ring service at low mass, Saturday morning at 7:00 o'clock.
Miss Irene was lovely in a street length dress of sailor blue. She wore a matching picture hat with black accessories. She carried her rosary.
The groom wore a suit of dark green. They were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Ahrenes, young friends of the couple. Close relatives were also in attendance.
Irene and Lee are both Downs high school graduates. She, of the class of '36, and he, of the class of '35. She has been employed as clerk for the past three years. He has been employed by the Metz Packing Company for the past two years.
Immediately after the ceremony they started for a brief wedding trip, which took them to various points in Nebraska. They returned home Sunday evening. The happy couple have rented an apartment at the Hotel Lipton. They are receiving congratulations from a large circle of friends.

The funny story behind my grandfather wearing a dark green suit is that he was colorblind and the salesman told him it was black. My grandmother was not happy when she saw him in his green suit. But, when he explained what happened she calmed down.

They were happily married for 53 years.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Military Monday - Civil War Ancestor - Whitson Hefley

Whitson Hefley is my Union ancestor. He was born about 1830 in Montgomery County, North Carolina but moved to Montgomery County, Illinois sometime before 1837.

He married Elizabeth H. Eckler on August 3, 1849 and they had one child, Frances Luella Hefley born May 5, 1853. Elizabeth died September 20, 1854 and Whitson remarried Louisa Catherine Lipe on Christmas day December 25, 1856. They had one child William Arthur Hefley born February 18, 1858 in Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois.

Whitson Hefley enrolled in the Civil War on August 15, 1862 in Irving, Montgomery Co., Illinois, by L. R. Slaughter for three years. He was mustered into service as a Sergeant on September 4, 1862 at Alton, Illinois in Company D, 126th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers by Lt. Curtiss.

The126th Regiment was initially in charge of guarding Confederate prisoners being held in the State Penitentiary at Alton, but when the prisoner were moved on November 20 the Regiment moved down the Mississippi River by the steamer B. M. Runyan  to Columbus, Kentucky. From there they marched to LaGrange, Tennessee and had duty there till January, 1863. From there  4 Companies were on duty at Jackson, Tenn., and 6 Companies at Humboldt, Tenn., from January to March 25; then at Jackson till May 25, 1863.The companies then moved to Vicksburg, Miss., May 25-28, and fought in the Siege of Vicksburg May 28-July 4. They then moved to Helena, Ark., July 24. Expedition against Little Rock, Ark., August 1-September 10. Bayou Fourche and capture of Little Rock September 10.

Whitson was in the Civil War for 14 months. But, according to his discharge papers he was "unfit for duty sixty days" and "Has done no duty for four months." So it looks like he became sick around June of 1863. In June of 1863 according to records Whitson and his unit were at the Siege of Vicksburg  from May 28 to July 4, 1863.

According to the book: The Big Book of Civil War Sites, Morris Book Publishing, 2010, Ulsses S. Grant began his siege operation on May 25 and had all lines of supply, reinforcements and communications successfully cut from Vicksburg. Grant intended to blast his way through by using mines and tunnels and by late June he was ready. I wonder if Whitson helped dig the tunnels? Is that when his sickness started? Working in dark, damp conditions with other soldiers? On June 25, 1863 the powder was fired. The entire top of the hill was blown off and a crater 50 feet wide and 12 feet deep was created. The Confederates had already moved back and immediately started shooting. Hand to hand combat followed but the "Illinois infantrymen attempted to stay in the crater, throwing up a hasty wall in front of them and forming in a double line of battle to keep up a continuous volley fire of their own." If Whitson was still well he would have participated in this fight. On July 4, 1863 the Confederates surrendered Vicksburg.

I do not know when Whitson was sent to Jefferson Hospital in St. Louis Missouri. On July 24 his unit went to Helena, Arkansas which is also on the Missouri River, so he may still have been with them there. Most likely he did not participate in the Expedition against Little Rock, Arkansas. He probably continued sailing up the Mississippi to Jefferson General Hospital in St. Louis. But, this is a guess on my part.

Whitson's Certificate of Disability for Discharge states that he was "born in Montgomery County, North Carolina, is 33 years of age, five feet ten inches high, Light complexion, Blue eyes, Light hair, and by occupation when enlisted a Blacksmith. During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty sixty days."    "...and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of Chronic Diarrhea and great emancipation, -Has done no duty for four months. Is not a fit Subject for Invalid Corps."
U.S. General Hospital Jeff Barracks Mo. Oct 15, 1863
Discharged this 16th day of October 1863 at St. Louis Mo.

It then shows that he would go to Irving, Montgomery Co., Illinois.

I had never heard of "Invalid Corps" before so I looked it up here. It says in April of 1863 the U.S. War Department created a Invalid Corps of men who were or had been in the Army. These were men who had been disabled in some way, by either by weapons, disease or accident. They would serve in a non-combat capacity, such as a cook or in a hospital. Whitson was so bad he could not even do this.

I also looked up chronic diarrhea in the Civil War and I learned that bowel disorders killed more men on both sides of the war than battle. It is sad that they had no idea what caused it or how to treat it.

Whitson was at the U.S. General Hospital Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri while he was ill. When I looked this up I learned that this was the largest Federal hospital in the country with over 3,000 beds. It was strategically located near a major city on a vital river and railroad transportation system. I could not find any information about the conditions of this hospital, but if it was like other hospitals during the war, the surgeons and nurses did what they could for the soldiers with limited supplies and education.

In his pension papers are an affidavit from his family physician William P. Marshall of Hillsboro, Illinois. He stated on the day Whitson came home from the army on October 18, 1863 he was "suffering from a very severe and unusually protracted attack of chronic diarrhea a disease which said Hefley must have contracted in the Army as he had there but-just returned home and the chronic character of the disease indicated that it was of long standing." He stated that Hefley died early the next day "on or about the 19th day of October 1863 at 4 OClock A.M."

He left a widow and two children ages 10 and 5.

One year later Whitsons brother Levi Liberty Hefley(I love his name) was drafted into Company H, 8th Infantry Regiment Illinois on 27 Oct 1864. Levi was 27 years old. He served one year and was mustered out on October 26, 1865. He was married at this time and I'm sure this was hard on the family, especially knowing that Whitson, his brother had died in the Civil War.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Christ Stegman

I have to say I was very surprised when I found the following article on my Great Great Grandfather Christ Stegman. I know that Christ Stegman left Pfeifer, Russia in 1875 and settled in Pfeifer, Kansas. He married Apollonia Basgall in 1881 and they had 10 children.

This was printed in the newspaper, Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, on October 26, 1900 in Kansas.

Stegman Winds Himself Up. The case of a man who does everything himself.

The case against Christ Stegman, convicted in Ellis County of forging a bond has been appealed to the Supreme court. Stegman brought suit against a man, but failed to prove the charges and had to pay the costs, which amounted to $66. He gave bond for the sum with him as the principal and the name George Konrad attached as security. Konrad declaired he had never signed the bond and pronounced it a forgery. Stegman was convicted of forgery in the third degree and sentenced to three years and six months in the penitentiary. He then appealed the case.

I wonder if this is one of the reasons my Great Grandfather, Adam Stegman was said to have nothing to do with his father?
I would love to learn more about this case. I was unable to find any other articles about this.
Did he spend time in jail? What was the suit for that he brought against a man? Why did he forge a document? Did the Kansas Supreme court take the case and what happened?

I'm not quite sure how to find these answers. Should I contact the Ellis Co. Courthouse and ask if they have the records? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, since I am asking for help, I found this article using GenealogyBank and saved it. I cannot figure out how to make it a JPG so I can upload it to my blog. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Sarah Killins Flanagan

Photo taken by my husband's cousin Bruce.
This is my husband's Great-Grandmother, Sarah Catherine Killins who married James M. Flanagan in 1865.

Sarah was born in Canboro Twp., Ontario, Canada in 1837. She died in 1892 in Pennsylvania and is buried in a remote cemetery.

She is buried with her father and step-mother, John Street Killins Sr. and Catherine Stringer Killins.
Photo taken by my Husband's cousin, Bruce.

Her husband is buried in a Catholic cemetery with the name spelled Flanegan.

Oral history says since he married a Protestant he was buried in the outer part of the Church grounds.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shopping Saturday - The Telesca Bowling Alley

My husband's grandfather, John Telesca along with his two older brothers Joseph and Connie Telesca, owned and operated a bowling alley at 535 East Drinker Street, Dunmore, Pennsylvania.

It was called “The Telesca Bowling Alleys.”  The bowling alley had four lanes, a card room, billiard tables, upstairs apartments, two stores in the front, and possibly a dance section.  A son of Joseph Telesca worked there as a child. I spoke with him over the phone and he told me about the bowling alleys and his memories there. He set pens, took reservations for billiards and was sent home around 6 p.m.  Brunetta (Joseph’s wife) ran the shoe store up front and Donato would help her look after it, but he was not allowed to ring up any purchases. Jack (he called John Telesca by his nickname) and his wife Elsie lived in the apartment closest to the street so when a customer wanted to buy something Donato would run outside and holler for Aunt Elsie to come down to ring up the customer. 

The 1927 Scranton City Directory lists John and Connie (Camnio) Telesca living at 535 Drinker Street.
1927 Scranton City Directory, Pennsylvania

We visited Dunmore in 2000 and visited the building on 535 Drinker Street. It was a plumbing store. We went into the store to look around. We told the owners that my husband's family had owned the building and it had been a bowling alley. I showed them the 1927 Scranton Directory and they were surprised, they knew nothing of the history of the building. The front of the building where the store(s) were, was their showroom and was crammed with plumbing supplies. They let us go upstairs where the apartments had been and look around. It was now one unfinished room where they stored extra supplies.
535 Drinker Street, Dunmore, Pennsylvania

The “Telesca Brothers” contracting business was also run out of the same building. According to Joseph's son their motto was: “from foundations to decorations.” 

It was exciting to see and be in the building of my husband's ancestors. To know that they lived and worked there helped us feel connected to them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Donato Telesca - Atto di Nascita

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

Tracing my husbands line of Telesca's required me to spend many hours at the FHC looking over Atto di Nascita (Birth Records), Atti di Matrimonio (Marriage Records), and Atto di Morte (Death Records).

The fact that I do not speak or read any foreign language was quite a handicap. I purchased the book, "A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors" by Lynn Nelson. I would not have been able to do any of the Telesca research without this book.

This is a copy of my husband's Great Grandfather, Donato Telesca's Atto di Nascita or Birth record from Avigliano, Italy.
1868 Birth Record for Donato Telesca
Here is my transcription to the best of my ability. Blank lines are what I could not decipher.

In the year one thousand eight hundred sixty-eight of the 23rd of the month of September at the hour of thirteen in the room ___________    ________  Angelo Telesca, Mayor and officer of the vital records of the town of Avigliano Region of Basilicata appeared Giuseppe Telesca son of the late Donato age twenty six bricklayer (mason) citizen residing in Avigliano the same has presented us a male ____  ____ ____ in the masculine, declared of _____ born _____ twenty-three of current month of September at the hour of ten _____ wife Angela Maria Loruso ____living in his house ________________________________ ________________________________________ name of Donato
These declarations ___________________________ of Domenica[a] age twenty-four, and of Leonardo Santafioro son of the late Domenico age fourty six, farmer, resident living in Avigliano ____________
A Telesca

From this record I learned that Donato Telesca was born on 23 September 1868 in Avigliano, Italy. His parents were Giuseppe Telesca and Angela Maria Laruso Telesca. Donato's grandfather was Donato Telesca and he had passed away.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How did I miss that?

Last night I was organizing my digital records (a slow process - but I'm trying) and I got distracted (like I usually do) and started looking at my husband's Great-Great Grandfather's 1910 census record.

1910 US Census, Barr Township, Cambria Co., Pennsylvania
What I realized after looking at this, was that this was showing his second marriage. I did not realized he had been married twice. I wanted to bang my head against a wall because this is a classic example of me not analyzing information that I have. At some point and time I saved this but did not really look at it. Which really does me no good. I love finding new information, but I know I have documents that still need analyzing and I'm sure I have new information sitting in my files just waiting for me to look at them again. Oh, if I could only get organized!

So after realizing James Mikel Flanigan was married twice I headed over to USGenWeb and went to Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen have done a great job of keeping the site updated with valuable information. I was able to find a marriage record for James M. Flanegan and Catharine Hefele. They were married in 1895. His first wife Sarah Catherine Killins Flanigan died in 1892. James Flanegan is buried at St. Nickolas Cemetery in Barr Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Neither of his wives are buried with him. His first wife is buried in a remote cemetery and I do not know where his second wife is buried.

I contacted my husband's cousin and he had not realized either that James had been married twice and he too had seen the 1910 census. (Okay, that made me feel better.) He said he will get the marriage record next time he goes into town.