August 4, 2015

A Festival of Postcards: Wheels

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Jim and I are going out of town for a few days on a car trip, so I want to leave you with a recent post. I’m participating in a genealogy carnival A Festival of Postcards, with the topic this time of “wheels”. You may not see many actual wheels in this picture, but it was taken in Springfield, Missouri in 1909 when my Grandfather Will Yates was just a young man. That’s him on the far right with the white neckerchief around his neck.

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I believe this picture was taken at a railroad repair yard (hence, the wheels connection).  Grandpa was writing to his father Jim Yates in West Plains, Missouri and the short note reads, “Hello how are you all down there? How is the corn. Write to me. W. Yates”.

This photo is special to our family because it is the earliest one we have of Grandpa Will. I have never seen any baby or childhood pictures of him, but times were tough and our family wasn’t anywhere near wealthy. Grandpa was born March 14, 1892, so he would have been around 17 years old when this picture was taken. That may seem young now to be out working, but I bet he had been working for a few years (or all of his life in some way) even before that.

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The above photo was taken around the same time. Looks pretty dapper, doesn’t he? For a little added “wheels” the photo below is my dad at age two in the car they rode in when the family came to Washington state. Take note: There was no windshield on the car in this picture, or for that road trip either. Grandma must have been a saint!

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Dad’s WWII Love Letter To Mom

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Eighty-nine years ago today my dad was born in West Plains, Missouri to parents Will and Minnie Smith Yates.  Although Dad passed away in 1996, his life lives on through letter and photos from his past. This letter was written on the eve of his 24th birthday and he was feeling “pretty old”.

He and Mom had married in Seattle at her parent’s home on Queen Anne Hill, and way back in the 1980’s Mom and I took a trip down memory lane by going back to that house. It just so happened that the owner let us come in and look around on that sunny summer day. Mom was thrilled as she showed me her old room upstairs, and even more so to have me see the marble front fireplace which she and Dad were married in front of on February 5, 1944.

Dad’s love letter of March 15, 1944 was written from Quillayute NAS where he was working after coming back from a tour with the Navy in New Calendonia. As you read in the letter, housing was at a premium, but they did eventually find a little one room place in Forks so they could be together instead of Mom living with her parents. Mom said that place was so small they could stay in bed and reach out and light the woodstove!

I have to say, I don’t remember my dad ever calling Mom “Darling” when we were around…

Thinking of you on your special day Dad, and missing you lots.

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Finding Ancestors Using DAR Chapter Webpages

If you’re like me, I bet you try almost every way and means to find your ancestors. Voting records, tax records, newspaper subscription records, etc.,  but have you ever thought to look for your ancestors by checking DAR Chapter websites for them?

I will use my own Chapter website as a ‘for instance’. I live in Washington State, but the DAR Chapter I joined was in West Plains, Missouri. That probably seems a bit strange, but it happened that way because that is where my Grandmother Minnie Smith Yates was born and our cousins still live in Howell County even to this day. One of my older cousins wanted me to join there since she was helping me with documentation for my Patriot Capt. Thomas Poindexter. So, while I live in WA state, and I am an associate member of the local Elizabeth Ellington Chapter of the DAR of Bremerton, WA, my main Chapter is in Missouri for sentimental reasons.  I belong to the Ozark Spring Chapter of the DAR , and have since 1998.

With that explanation in mind, you might consider that other ladies have joined in much the same way. Not always of course, but it is something to consider as you look for connections. Keep in mind, not all DAR local Chapters have web pages, but more and more do, and it is worth looking for them on the main DAR webpage.  Currently, there are over approximately 3000 Chapters in the United States and abroad.

On the left sidebar of the National DAR site click on “become a member” and a drop down menu will appear; then click on Chapters at the bottom of that menu list. I have included a link to the state and local Chapters here also.  Once you have found a Chapter in the geographical area of where your ancestor lived, try checking their Patriot List for surnames that might sound familiar.  Below is a list from the Ozark Spring Chapter.

Patriot Ancestors:


Allison, Alexander NC Lawson, Randolph VA
Allison, William NC McMahan, William PA
Carpenter, Benjamin VT Morgan, Joseph MD
Coolbaugh, Moses PA Newberry, Samuel VA
Craig, David NC Norman, David SC
Dowden, Clementias PA Olinger, John C. VA
Gentry, Nicholas PA Pease, Abner (2nd Lt.) NY
Hardy, Phineas NH Poindexter, Thomas NC
Harrison, James NC Poppleton, Samuel NJ
Harmon, Charles VA Thomason/Thompson, John NC
Hensley, William VA Turner, James SC
Holbert, John NJ Walker, James CT
Howle, Alexander SC Walker, John NC
Howle, William GA Yadon, Jacob VA

As you can see, my own Thomas Poindexter is in this list, but I also see the name of another one of my ancestors, James Harrison. That gives me a clue that even though I’m not a member of this chapter through that particular Patriot, someone else is. In that case, I would go back and check the site map and find the contact information, click on it and send an email to them asking for more information.

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I hope this article has been thought-provoking and helpful to you. I am a proud member of the DAR.

My National Number is 0783288

(This is not an offical DAR recognized site.)

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Tombstone Tuesday: Confederate Burial in New Jersey

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For this Tombstone Tuesday, I think it’s only fitting that I should acknowledge the death of James Barnard Morrison so close to the date that he died, June 12, 1864.  Yes, it was during the time of the Civil War and yet, part of me feels bad that he had to die so far from home, at Finn’s Point National Cemetery in New Jersey. (I have the roster of those who died there if anyone needs a lookup).

James was the son of John and Molly (Deatherage) Morrison who, at the time the Civil War began,  resided in Roane County, Tennessee. John’s mother was Mary Barnard, hence the middle name. James was my 3rd Great granduncle. His wife, Anna Holmes was a sister to my GGG-Grandmother, Deborah Holmes who married Miles Yates. Deborah later divorced Miles and married James B. Morrison’s brother William Deatherage Morrison.

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The children of Debby Holmes and Wm. D. Morrison

James B. Morrison was a Private in Co. B, 5th TN Cavalry (CSA)(McKenzie’s). James’ widow, Anna,  left Tennessee in 1885 with her nephew, Gideon J. Pillar Morrison (pictured far left in the above photo) and his family. They all moved to Howell County, Missouri to homestead.

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The Gideon Morrison Family

The Gideon Morrison family were also accompanied by James W. M. Yates and his sister Myra.  James and Myra were the half neice and nephew of Gideon. No doubt they were brought along for many reasons. Our family story has it that Jim and Myra Yates didn’t like their step-mother so they might have seen it as a way to escape that household.  Gideon and his wife Martha Jane (Edgemon) might have agreed to have them along since they had five small children to look after. Jim would have been around 21 years of age, and Myra just two years younger.

* Just a side note about Finn’s Point Nat. Cemetery: At the time I was just getting information about the cemetery (1997) and buying the roster of names it was when Andrew Cunanan committed one of his murders, killing William Reese and stealing his truck.

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