Thursday, August 18, 2011

Unmarked! Mystery Photos - Fern Runyan Collection

These are photos from the collection of my maternal grandmother, Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan. All are postcards except for the first two. All are completely unmarked, which is a rarity considering my grandmother had hundreds of photos that were all identified on the backs.

Five ladies. Very thin paper photo, not regular card stock. 3 1/2" x 5"
None of these ladies look familiar or similar to persons in other marked photos.
Portrait of man on card stock 3" x 4"
No clue to identity.
Portrait of two men. Postcard 3 1/2" x 4 1/2".
Looks like the man on the right is black or mixed race.
Both may be of mixed race. Completely baffled on this one too.
Little girl in front of house. Postcard 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Girl and house both unfamiliar.
Young Woman in a neighborhood setting.  Postcard 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Wedding dress? Person and place are presently unknown.
Portrait of a young girl. Postcard 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Possibly a Newby? Needs to be compared to marked photos.
Full length portrait of two men. Postcard 3 1/2" x 5 1/2"
Totally unfamiliar faces.
As always, all comments are welcomed! Any comments that might help to date these photographs will be appreciated. I'm hoping to get a few familiy members to check these to see if they can help with identification.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Have The Wrong Beulah Smith!

Beulah Smith, wife of Samuel Darling vs Beulah Smith, wife of William Darman - Salem County, New Jersey

Several years ago I received an e-mail from a distant Darling cousin. I found out later that it's contents were copied and pasted from yet another Darling cousin after I did some searches and found the identical note on a message board. This is the exact message I received (copied and pasted verbatim; italics mine):

"I have info on Beulah Smith Darling her grand mother Grace Tyler named Beulah in her will and named her mother .Grace left to her daughter Ann Smith she was m to Mark Smith in Salem she listed her two grandaughters to granddau Rebecca Tyler Smith,Bedding,Bureau, and silverware,to granddau Beulah Smith bedding, silver tablespoons marked P.E.A. and a tenplate stove and rag carpet now at Mark Smiths she also stated she wills her rights to the farm which she bot of Mark Smith,being his life estate in same,in trust to pay the profits arising from same to dau Ann Smith which income is not to be under control of her husband Mark Smith oct 16,1824"

A second entry to the message boards by the same person adds just a little more information:

"This the info on the will 1822,Jan 17 Tyler Grace,Salem.To my executor,my right of the farm which I bot of Mark Smith.being ,his life estate in same, in trust to pay the profits arising from same to dau.Ann Smith which income is not to be under control of her husband Mark Smith.To granddau. Beaulah Smith,bedding,silver tablespoons marked P.E.A,and a tenplate stove and rag carpet now at Mark Smith's Exec.John G Mason.Wit James Newell,Ebenezer Smith and Maskell Mulford. Proved Oct 16,1824"

Then, there was the "other Will" (again, message posted by the same person):

"This is another will Feb 27,1807 David Smith to his wife Mary , house and lot in Salem where I now live and a lot on a new st fronting John Tyler's. to hannah Carpenter Ellet and Maria Ellet 100 pounds each to nephew Steven Smith 300 pounds Elizabeth Fogg 25 pounds to Neices Beulah and Attila Smith house and lot on the creek,In Salem to Elisha Smith 15 acres of woodland. to nephew David Smith remaindre og me estate Exec Mary Smith Bro William Smith and nephew David Smith wit Jesse Bond,John Redman,and John Ellet proved mar 30, 1807"

I originally cast these carelessly typed notes aside because too many things were just "not right". My ancestor, Beulah Smith, was born in 1823 and married Samuel Darling around 1844. The first five of their ten children were born in or near Salem County, New Jersey. The first Will above was written a year before my ancestor was born and the second Will was proven over a decade before she was born. Normally, I wouldn't have bothered with doing any follow-up research on something so unlikely, but it bothered me that these Internet messages were going to mislead others. Add to that my curiosity concerning the names Beulah and Attila! Beulah and Samuel's oldest daughter had many names in the various records found for her throughout her life: Artilla, Atilla, Artmezy, Misha, etc. I am convinced she was named after Artemisia Newell*, a neighbor of Samuel and Beulah's in 1850 and that Artmezy and Misha are derivatives of that name. Artilla or Atilla may have been a second, or middle name. Those are not the most common names and it made me curious; were these recycled family names and could all these Smith families of Salem county be connected? A bit of research turned up strong evidence that Grace Tyler was not the grandmother of my ancestor.

The Will cited does indeed mention a Beulah Smith, daughter of Mark and Ann Tyler Smith. Ann Tyler was the daughter of Samuel and Grace Ambler Acton Tyler. Grace's maiden name was Ambler. She was a widow at the time of her marriage to Samuel Tyler and her previous married name was Acton. However, as research would indicate, Grace's granddaughter Beulah Smith (b. 1818) married WILLIAM DORMAN (or DARMAN) and they and their children can be found in Gloucester Co., NJ in the 1850 census. Their two youngest boys are Mark and Samuel, named for Beulah's father and grandfather.  Beulah DARLING (b. 1823) is likewise found in the 1850 census in Salem Co., NJ with her husband Samuel and three sons. 

The genealogy of the family mentioned in the Will of Grace Tyler can be found in the book "The History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony, NJ" on pages 279 and 280. Fenwick's Colony (a Quaker colony) was located in Salem county. Grace Ambler Acton Tyler's parent's were Peter and Elizabeth Ambler and it was they who were the likely original owners of the silver tablespoons marked "P.E.A.". It clearly says in this history that Grace's granddaughter Beulah married William Dorman (Beulah R. and William Darman in the census and in the marriage record dated 9 Feb 1841 in Salem Co., NJ).

Excerpt from "The History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony" by Thomas Shourds, pg. 280 "Tyler Family"

The other cited Will of David Smith appears to tie into this same family. It is highly possible that these Smith families, including that of my ancestor, are all related. More research is in order.

*Samuel and Beulah named their first born child William "Newell" Darling and the name Newell is passed down once again to William's grandson Lawrence Newell Huckleberry. It is also interesting to note that a James Newell is a witness in Grace Tyler's Will.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ancestor Approved!

Ancestor Approved!

I am humbled that this secondary blog of mine has recently become a recipient of the Ancestor Approved award which was initiated by Leslie Ann Ballou of  Ancestors Live Here   in order to show appreciation for those who write the blogs we read and enjoy. Thank you Liz of My Tapley Tree... and it's Branches  for bestowing this award!

The rules of this award specify to list ten things I've learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened me.  As the recipient I am to pass the award along to ten other genealogy bloggers that I feel are also deserving of it! Since I received this award once for my blog Old Stones Undeciphered I will reuse the body of that blog and name ten new bloggers to pass this award on to. (Any recipients who don't want to use the black and white version can go over to Old Stones or any other blog with the reward and use the color version.)


*When I got so busy with less exciting things in my life,  I took a break from serious research for almost 2 years. When I forced those encumbrances aside and came back  to what I love to do most I was surprised stunned to find the Internet had exploded with a gazillion new databases and I was overwhelmed with all the new sources of information  and new clues for me to follow!

*A woman I'd never met, shipped me a package of genealogy on her great grandfather who I strongly suspected was connected to my lineage in some way. I nearly peed my pants when I opened the package and a photo of him slid out! The photo was identical to one in my family's collection! It was of a Civil War soldier, unmarked and unknown. We kept it because we knew he was family but didn't know who he was. This woman's great grandfather was my great, great grandmother's brother!

*I'm surprised that blogging has opened up so many new avenues...very surprised! I thought I was just creating a place for family to come someday (if they EVER get curious about their ancestors...sigh!) and read stories about their kin...see photos and documents. I just wanted to leave something that would make their ancestors REAL.....real people, with real lives....and something more interesting than a hard to understand, boring, dry genealogy report!

*I have been surprised many times when someone has contacted me from a query I put on the Internet 10 years ago...or more!

*I was surprised to find that now when I read all those BEGATS in the Bible, they are actually interesting! I used to skip over that part!


*Humbled when my sister-in-law Rose entrusted all the family photos and documents from her side of the family to my safe keeping.

*Humbled when my great half-aunt Myrtle, at my timid request, shipped me the huge stack of her mother's letters (my great grandmother!), that were written during the depression years, for me to photo copy.

*Humbled at the generosity of genealogists everywhere who love to help and give their time. Humbled to have received this award from my peers!

*Especially humbled when once I had just a few minutes to search an older section of cemetery for my 4th great grandfather and I knew I'd never find his grave in the short time I had. So many rows of stones!  I got to the middle of the third row and I suddenly stopped and I said a small prayer...."Lord, you know who I'm looking for and you know how much time I have, please guide me!". I opened my eyes and I looked over my shoulder....about two dozen stones back and about four or maybe five rows over, my eyes fixed on a stone. I couldn't possibly read it from that far but I pivoted and walked all the way to that stone without taking my eyes off of it, and there  was my ancestor and his wife next to him!! THAT is humbling! THAT is a miracle!


*Every day that I read the blogs of others I am enlightened about something. I am inspired as well. I read of a database I didn't know of, a source for clues I'd overlooked, always something!

Passing it on...

Sharn's Genealogy Hints  Sharn
Glimpsing The Past  Angie
Into The Light  Renate
Mariah's Zephyr  Vicky
Marksology  Kenneth
Nebraska Roots and Ramblings  Ruby
Roots and Stones  Jenn
Adventures in Genealogy  Deb
Genealogy Frame of Mind  Karen
TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History  Travis

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aged Couple Fatally Burned - Noah And Lydia Sweigart Runyan

This may be new news to a few Runyan/Runyon researchers out there. In the 15 years I've been doing research on the Indiana Runyans I have not once seen this story circulated. I found this clipping searching the newspaper archives at Footnote.

The Fort Wayne Evening Sentinel. 
Tuesday, April 25, 1905.


Noah Runyan Blistered Trying to Save Wife---Both of Them Will Die

     Muncie, Ind. April 25 - Mrs. Noah Runyan, 73 years old, was fataly burned, her husband perhaps fatally injured and their granddaughter, Miss Hazel Lamb, painfully injured in a fire today as the result of Mrs. Runyan's apron catching fire from a natural gas stove while she was preparing breakfast at her home, eight miles south of this city.
    Seeing his wife's clothing aflame, the aged husband did his best to put out the fire, and finally succeeded but not until she had been burned beyond recovery. In his effort to save his wife Runyan was so seriously burned that it is doubtful if he can recover. Miss Lamb was seriously burned trying to save her grandparents.

Noah died over a year after this accident. Lydia was Noah's second wife. Noah was a great grandson of Benjamin and Rebecca Barton Runyan, my 5th great grandparents. Noah, Lydia and Noah's first wife Ann Hewitt Runyan are all buried in the Batson Cemetery, Liberty Township, Henry Co., Indiana.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Case For Milton Runyan


Much of the early Runyan lineage has been well researched and documented over the years and I have documented my complete line from our earliest ancestor to arrive in America to my mother where the Runyan name "daughters out". (See my blog over at "Old Stones Undeciphered" entitled "Uh, Oh Dad!")

But, to put it simply, Milton deserves a family. I don't know if his only son survived, but that shouldn't matter. Why have all the Runyan researchers ignored or overlooked this man? He's been there all along. None-the-less, in all the years I've been climbing my tree, of all the Runyan researchers I've met, I've never seen Milton placed in a family by any of them.

So, I am here to help Milton along and to put this small accumulation of evidence out where anyone doing a search may find it. I need more proof but the evidence I have points to Milton being a brother of Michael Runyan, my great, great grandfather and the first born child of Noah and Anna Barnes Runyan.

My lineage from Noah to my grandfather Lawrence
I will start with the 1830 census of Hamilton Co., Ohio because Milton was born in 1828 and Noah and Anna clearly have two boys (clue #1) under the age of five living in their household, one of those is Abraham. My ancestor Michael is the third boy and not born until the end of 1831. 

In 1840 this Runyan family is living in Montgomery Co., Indiana. By this time there are four sons. Two are the age of Milton and Abraham (clue #2) and two are the age of Michael and James.  

In 1850 the family is back in Hamilton Co., Ohio - Colerain Township. Milton is now age 22 and living with an unknown family of the surname Sparks just two residences away (clue #3) from Noah and Anna. His occupation is that of Cooper, same occupation as the head of household, Sparks. Abraham and Michael are also Coopers. Their father Noah is a Blacksmith. Milton is the only child not living with (his alleged) family. 

On December 29, 1857 Milton marries Celia Jane Woollen, first cousin to Michael's mother in law (clue #4). In 1859 Amos Henry Runyan is born to that union.

In 1860 Howard Co., Indiana - Liberty Township we find Milton, Celia, "Henry", and Celia's mother, brother, sister and a brother-in-law living in the same household.

In 1870 Henry Co., Indiana - Spiceland Township, Milton is now living with his alleged brother Michael (clue #5) and Michael's family. Milton is a Cooper and INSANE. Celia is still in Howard Co. with her mother and son "Amos H."

On December 8, 1870 Milton's name shows up on a Henry Co., Indiana list titled  "Allowances at December Commissioner's Court", whatever that means.

Celia Jane dies on March 2, 1871. She is recorded as buried in Spiceland Friends Cemetery although no stone has been found.

And here's where my information comes to a halt. I have not found Milton or his son in any census after 1870. I have not found a record of death for either of them. Noah and Anna Runyan lived to 1880 and beyond and Milton is not listed in their household. He may be in a home or an asylum if living but I have had no luck in finding a far.

Rest in peace Milton...I will dig until I have your proof. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

LOUISA TYREE: More Sources Required

Louisa's birth parents, will I ever know for sure?


To help bring clarification to yesterday's post I thought it would help to have a visual aid. 

Louisa is clearly of an age to be either the youngest child of David Sr. or the oldest child of William. She is 28 years older than Sam and Sarah and 16 years older than Rebecca.

My great grandfather, Oliver Wallen, rarely mentions the Tyrees in his diary and that fact has always seemed odd to me. Actually, Oliver didn't mention a lot of things that I'd have considered important, such as marriages and births of close family members, etc.

I have not been able to locate a birth, marriage or death certificate for Louisa...and then there's her missing an e-mail received on March 10, 2003 from my cousin Connie Borgren: "Grandma swears that she went to the cemetery and Louisa had a headstone. Mom could not find it when she was there in the late 90's and in one of the letters in grandma's stash, there is mention of it not being in very good shape."  [Pollard-Gregory Cemetery in Denton Co., Texas]

I've studied the skimpy clues I have until I'm cross-eyed. I've got to come up with some new sources somewhere! And I will.

UPDATE: This mystery has been resolved! See the story over at my other blog "Old Stones Undeciphered" by clicking here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday's Mystery: The Parents Of Louisa Tyree Wallen

Louisa Tyree Wallen
(My paternal 3rd great grandmother, always known as "Grandma Wallen" in Oliver's Diary)
b. February 1830 - d. bet. 1813-1814

Kyles Ford, Hancock Co., Tennessee
Home of the Wallens pre 1852

NOTE: For this new blog I have created my own Monday theme: "Monday's Mystery". I have chosen Mondays to post clues and evidence collected in my research for various family members where I have not (yet) been able to provide certain proofs.

Who were the parents of Louisa Tyree?

For years cousin Charlie (Charles Homer Wallen) and I were sure Louisa was a daughter of David Tyree Sr. However, I have recently found clues in my great grandfather's diary (diary of Oliver Morton Wallen) that point to David's son William and wife Lucy Osborne as her parents. The 1840 census for both William and his father David show them living with females in their household that fit into this age slot. William actually has two 10 to 15 year old females in his household at that time.

Louisa Tyree married Jesse B. Wallen circa 1848/49. Jesse's family lived in Kyles Ford, Hancock Co., Tennessee just a couple of miles south of the Blackwater, Virginia area of Lee Co.  Jesse and Louisa are found in the 1850 Hancock Co. census (taken Dec. 7, 1850) with a 7 month old child.

Wabd, Rockcastle Co., Kentucky
The Wallens, Tyrees, Bloomers and other families from the same general area between Blackwater  and Kyles Ford, appear to have migrated together to Rockcastle Co., Kentucky in 1852.

After his wife Lucy Osborne died circa 1854, William Tyree married the widow Martha Kilgore Francisco. They lived very close to Jesse and Louisa's farm in Wabd, Rockcastle Co., Kentucky.
(Wabd, I found out, is pronounced "Webb" by the locals). 

In fact, the Wallens and Franciscos shared a small family burying ground

Martha left the Francisco farm in charge of her son-in-law and oldest daughter, Andrew D. & Mary Jane Francisco Baker, and went to live with William in his home just a short distance away.

My great grandfather Oliver, grandson of Louisa and Jesse, wrote in his diary: "Oct. 15 – Went to Mt. Vernon. Met grandma Wallen’s cousin Sam Tyree, wife and two little daughters at H. C. Gentry’s. They all promised to come to my house tomorrow." and "Oct. 16 – Jess staid with us last night. He and uncle Billy went to church. Grandma and Ola came over early. Sam Tyree, Wife and two daughters, George Gentry and wife and Rebeca Gentry came at ½ past 10 A.M. Uncle Billy and Jess came back for dinner. Papa came afternoon. We all had a real nice time." Sam was son of David Tyree Jr. and was living in Laurel Co., Kentucky at the time of that writing (1904). Laurel Co. borders Rockcastle Co., where Louisa and the rest of the family lived, on the southeast. While Sam was in Rockcastle Co. he and Louisa got together with Sarah Tyree Gentry and Rebecca Tyree Gentry - daughters of Jesse Tyree Sr. who married Gentry brothers. They all met at Oliver's home along with other family members and spent the day together. It is certainly fact that Sam, Sarah and Rebecca are all first cousins. Later on the same day of the cousin reunion at Oliver's: "Grandma went to Mt. Vernon with her cousin to be gone a few days."

On February 18, 2003 I was contacted by a distant cousin, Connie Borgren, who is also a 3rd great granddaughter of Louisa. Her mother and grandmother had done research on the family in the mid to late 1900s. Connie shared with me their notes and letters. These writings indicated that Louisa died in 1913 or 1914 in Cooke Co., Texas and indeed the last we find of her in the census is in 1910 when she is found living with her son D. T. "Uncle Tom" Wallen. These notes also state that Louisa told of having a sister Sarah who also married a Wallen and went to live in Arkansas. Bingo! Another clue pointing to Louisa as a daughter of William & Lucy Tyree. David Tyree Sr. did not have a daughter named Sarah. However, William and Lucy did have a daughter named Sarah and she married James Wallen, a cousin of Jesse's. James and Sarah Tyree Wallen left Kentucky and lived out their lives in Howell Co., Missouri, not Arkansas; however, Howell Co. is right on the border of upper Arkansas. Sarah also had a sister Elizabeth who married her husband's brother John Wallen. I think the reason this was not mentioned by Louisa is that John Wallen died early in the marriage and Elizabeth married John Sowder to whom she was married for 40 years before Louisa died.

With the diary entry and the statement of my cousin's grandmother combined with the rest of the evidence, I am quite convinced that Louisa is a first cousin to Sam, and Sarah and Rebecca and that she is the daughter of William and Lucy Osborne Tyree. If she were David Tyree Sr.'s daughter she would be their Aunt. My great grandfather called someone an Aunt only if she were actually an Aunt or a great Aunt. He never called a cousin an Aunt or vise versa. There were times he called an unrelated person a "brother" or a "sister" if they were a member of a congregation, but he was very distinct about actual family relationships.

UPDATE: This mystery has been resolved! See the story over at my other blog "Old Stones Undeciphered" by clicking here.