October 6, 2015

147 Year Old Breedlove Civil War Diary

Wayne Breedlove with JWB diary

The Caretaker

Pictured above is my 2nd cousin, once removed, Wayne Breedlove who generously brought the John W. Breedlove diary with him from Florida when he visited us last week. Wayne’s father, Othel Breedlove was the man who ‘rescued’ the diary from obscurity decades ago. Wayne found it in his dad’s camper, tucked away on a shelf in a bag of some sort.

diary 01 and shell

Reunited Mementos

It was just by chance the colors of the conch shell matched the tablecloth so well last Sunday. The shell is just as old as the diary though, and it was a reunion for it to be with the diary because John Breedlove had brought it home with him from the east coast as a benign memento of his wartime trek with Sherman’s army on their ‘march to the sea’.

John enlisted as a Sgt.  on August 13, 1862 at Steelville, Missouri and was placed in Company E of the 32nd Regiment, Missouri volunteers when he mustered in October 18, 1862 under Capt. Clark.

Wayne, Kathleen, Jack, Dave and Marilyn

The Breedlove Descendants

The five people in this picture are all descendants of John W. Breedlove. They are: L-R – Wayne Breedlove, Kathleen Rice O’Neill, Jack Harbeston, Dave Yates, and in front, Marilyn Scott Tank. Also attending were Kathleen’s mother Anna Helmick Rice, and of course, myself.

I hope to add more detailed information about the contents of the diary as we get a better look at the pages. Wayne is planning to scan them and then give each of us the digital images for our records.  When I get them, I will share some of them with all of you.

diary 02 first page

Wayne Breedlove and Carol Yates Wilkerson.jpg

Wayne Breedlove and Carol Yates Wilkerson

14 June 2009

The Home Friend 1909 – Ohio Carriage Mfg Company


The automobile was still in its infancy, and the United States was no where near as dependant on oil as it is 100 years later in 2009.  H. C. Phelps was a master of persuasive advertising, encouraging his customers to “cut out the middleman” and buy directly from him via the United States Postal Service.

Purchasers of the 1910 model were assured they were getting the up-to-date models, not shopworn ones that had sat in third party displays waiting to be sold. Even then, this mode of transportation had its “lemons” it seems.

Can’t you just imagine your ancestors excitement when their new well-built buggy arrived at the post office? With 125 styles to choose from, it would have taken all winter just to decide which one to buy!

Source: Learn more about “The Carriage Trade” by Thomas A. Kinney at Google Book Search.

Great Olympia Train Wreck 1959 Revisited

Olympia Depot Demolished By Runaway Train

It was 51 years ago today that 12 of 15 boxcars full of plywood began their crew-less  runaway journey from just south of Tumwater, Washington to the city of Olympia where they crashed into the Union Pacific Railroad depot, killing one man and injuring about twenty others.

I was eight years old at the time when the Great Olympia Train Wreck happened on March 13, 1959.  Even at that tender age, I remember the shock of learning that the Union Pacific Railroad depot I had visited many times was now just a shambles and we would never be going there again.

We Paid To Potty In Those Days

Mom and I (and probably my brother Dave too) would stop in the railroad depot when we were in downtown Olympia and I remember that the waiting room seemed very open and immense.  It may not have been so large, but rather that I was small.  Mostly likely, our purpose for being there was to use the ‘public facilities’.  Of course, this was the era when society still had to contend with “pay” toilet stalls.  You inserted your dime and hoped the investment paid off with a clean toilet.  The implication was not always the reality though.  Thank goodness those days are over!

Chance Turns Into A Miracle

It was just a miracle that more people weren’t killed or injured in this accident.  The one fatality, Kenneth Dilley, was tragic, but by some twist of fate no automobiles were hit at the numerous railroad crossings between Tumwater and Olympia.  And, a red light that stopped cars on 4th Avenue and Adams turned that moment of chance into a miracle for those inside their vehicles.


Personal knowledge of Carol Yates Wilkerson 13 March 2010

The Great Olympia Train Wreck – The Daily Olympian, Saturday March 13, 1999 (saved newspaper article in Yates family archives).

A runaway train derails in downtown Olympia, killing one, on March 13, 1959.  HistoryLink.org Essay 7929   (photo included)

Just a footnote: As a genealogist, I take more notice of surnames than maybe most people.  The name of the telegraph operator that was killed was Kenneth Dilley.  My sister-in-law Kathy has Dilley’s in her Needham family tree;  another name that caught my eye was Gene DeSpain, City of Olympia Engineer in 1959.  My husband Jim’s is descended from the DeSpain family in Des Moines County, Iowa.

They Rocked: Music Of My Teen Years

It was the 60's man!

It was the 60's man!

My life has always been influenced by music. My parent’s loved the music of the 40’s and 50’s, and by the time I was a teen, I could choose my own tunes to listen to. Yeah, it was on the radio at first, along with 45’s, but then came LP’s and we were thrilled not to have to get up every few minutes to change a record.

Tim Abbott of Walking The Berkshires has started a great meme asking readers to list the 10 most important music albums of their teenage years.

Since I became a teen in 1963, my music choices will begin with…who else?

1. The Beatles! Although Please Please Me was their first album for that year in the US, I can say that almost every album they released was my favorite, as was almost every song. I think you will agree that there has never been, nor ever will be a musical phenom like the Beatles. Our whole world was changed by their ‘sound’, their politics and the clothes they wore. As you read my list, keep in mind that The Beatles newest album for every year was always a ‘must have’. My favorite Beatles album would be Revolver.

2. 1964: and I was off to high school, and feeling very grown up. I wasn’t, mind you, but I thought I was! The Beach Boys were making us all wish we had long blond hair and knew how to surf. I wished I could just fill out a bathing suit top. 😉 It is almost impossible to choose just one album for any of my teen years because so much good (IMHO) music was being written and sung then. Choice number 2: Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. I’m not going by year anymore…so…

3. Choice number three would be The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle. The beautiful and imaginative wording made us look at our world a little differently. A later favorite of mine was Bridge Over Troubled Water.

4. Diana Ross and The Supremes brought us the Motown sound, when we didn’t even know what “the sound” was until then. Most often about unrequited love, it was right up the alley of any teen girl trudging her way through puberty.

5. Most people would probably include Elvis in this list, but even though I liked some of his music, and he was an important artist in this era, I was more influenced by albums like Credence Clearwater Revival as we got ourselves more and more involved in the Vietnam war.  Fortunate Son from Willy and the Poorboys summed up the feelings of many teens as they saw their friends being drafted and dying too young.

6. All the hippies, and hippy-wannabes were drawn to albums like Fresh Cream and Disraeli Gears. I even made my own way to Haight-Ashbury to see if it was something for me. Nope! I was never cut out to be a “doper”.

7. by 1965 we were enjoying the sounds of The Who from their album My Generation. Most of us with limited incomes could never understand the bashing of guitars onstage, and for me, it kind of took away from any respect I might have had for the band. I liked their songs though!

8. We can’t forget the folk songs of Joni Mitchell like Clouds. We will never look at clouds the same way again, will we? (Or birds, if you saw Jurassic Park!)

9. 1968 seems to be a peak year, with the Tet Offensive going on in Vietnam, and one of my husband’s favorites was Amboy Dukes: Journey To The Center Of The Mind (1968)

10. 1969 was the last year I was a teen. Chicago Transit Authority will always come to mind for me as kind of an inside joke for my husband and I. He and I met in May of 1970 and lived in sin :::gasp::: for a few months before we married in September. He brought some of his albums to the house one day and put Chicago on to play. I was appalled and told my girlfriend/housemate that “Eww, ick, he likes country music!”. Truthfully, I was hearing it from another room at the other end of the house, but as I know now, Chicago is anything but country.

What were your favorite albums from your teen years? You can join in this informal meme and do your own and link back here. :) I would like to see what music influenced your lives.

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