November 25, 2014

Do You Have Favorite Family Members?

Minnie Smith age 12

Are there favorite family members you like to research or write about?  Until someone else posed this question, I hadn’t really given it much thought just who I seemed to write about the most.  I think about several of my ancestors quite often though, and wish that I could have met them.

Minnie Smith Yates

I’ve written about my two grandmothers before in Growing Up Grandma-less where I explain how much you lose when you never get to know your grandmother.  I think about my Grandma Minnie Yates quite often, especially now that I have two granddaughters of my own. What would I have learned from her? I wonder…

Donald, Helen, Joan, Jeane and Joyce Moline

My maternal grandmother, Helen Nordgren Moline, had a very short life, but she left us with a mystery.  Well, several mysteries.  She was killed by a hit and run driver as she stood on a corner in Seattle in September of 1929.  At the time, she was already living away from her husband, two adopted children and three biological daughters.

In 1930 Grandpa Moline and the three girls are living with another young woman in the house, presumably the adopted daughter.  But where was the adopted son Donald Moline?  And, why two adopted children when they had three girls? Did Grandpa want a boy so bad to carry on his name that he wanted Grandma to keep having babies till she ‘gave him one’, and when she had my mother, the youngest and another girl, did they decide to adopt?

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There are plenty more people for favorites in Jim’s family too:

Henry Skaggs, one of the “long hunters” who ( I was told) had an unnatural relationship with his granddaughters.  He’s not my favorites because of that, just the long hunter part because he was one of the pioneers who went into Kentucky with men such as Daniel Boone.

My husband Jim is a descendant of Henry Skaggs through Henry’s marriage to Susan Scott. Their daughter Nancy Skaggs married Peter DeSpain. Of that union a son, John DeSpain married (3) Mariah Perkins. John and Mariah’s daughter Mary Elizabeth DeSpain married John W. Whitmore, a Medal of Honor recipient in the Civil War. The DeSpain and Whitmore families settled in Des Moines County near Pleasant Grove, Iowa.  Peter DeSpain and Nancy Skaggs had 19 children.  I know she probably had no choice, but I sure admire that woman!

Mariah Perkins DeSpain

Who are your favorite ancestors? Let me know by leaving a comment, please.

Two Upcoming Centenarian Birthdays In Our Family

Herb Harbeston

Two Hundred Years Of Living

We are delighted to say that we’ll have two people in our family turning 100 this year!  First, is my cousin Fran Prantl Harbeston’s widower Herb Harbeston who will turn 100 on May 20th.  Here’s what his son Jack wrote about his father:

“When Herb was born, in 1910, the average life expectancy was 47 years, so he has managed to beat the odds, to put it mildly.  To give you an idea of the changes Herb has seen in 100 years, consider that when he was born women couldn’t vote, there was no social security, no income taxes and no big government.”
“Homesteads of 160 acres were free, you just had to live on the land for five years and improve it.  Transportation was by horse and wagon, and trains.  Herb’s mother, Becky and her sister Millie both homesteaded in the Colombia [River] Basin about 1890.  Becky and her first husband homesteaded a wheat ranch in the Palouse, near Pullman.  Becky had to give up the homestead when her husband contracted TB, and went back home to Brandsville, Missouri, to die.  Millie settled south of Quincy, near what is now I-90, and eventually moved to Vantage where her husband operated the ferry across the Columbia River.”

“In 1932, with a wife and child, and another on the way, with no vocational skills and an unemployment rate pushing 50%, Herb migrated to Washington, staying first with Millie, and then a series of farms, which included herding sheep.  That was nearly 80 years ago. ”

May 2000 Birthday Gathering

Ten years ago (has it really been that long?) we all gathered together for a celebration of Herb’s 90th birthday, along with his sister-in-law Tracy Prantl Richardson‘s 86th.  Tracy passed away in 2007, and she is missed by all who knew her.

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Opal Breedlove Hudson

Our other centenarian is my cousin Opal Breedlove Hudson who resides out on the Washington coast in an assisted living facility.  Opal is the daughter of  Sarah Ellenor (Forrest) and Thomas John BREEDLOVE.  She was born in July of 191o near Brandsville, Missouri.  I hope to attend the celebration for Opal this year too.  We’re waiting for more definite details on dates and location.

 

Allene Moore Chapin 1915 – 2010 Newspaper Woman

Allene Moore Chapin pg 1

Her brother Dick Moore called her Mary Allene, but when she and I first began to share family information she instructed me to call her Allene.  Allene will always be thought of in my mind as one of those “grand gals” with spirit and the spunk to speak her mind.  Sadly, I never got to meet her in person, but we had many spirited phone calls, during one of which she told me my voice sounded like my Grandma Minnie.

Allene was one of the few cousins I could talk to about grandma who knew her as their aunt.  Allene was one of those people who would make you feel like family from the first moment you met.  No fussing around, just come on in and sit a spell.  I loved to listen to her speak with that fine Missouri sing-song twang I remember so well from my Grandpa Will Yates and his side of the family.

As one of the founding members of the Ozark Spring Chapter of the DAR, Allene was instrumental in having me join their ranks.  It was for sentimental reasons that I joined that chapter instead of one here in Washington state.  Allene wanted to be one of the ladies who signed my application for membership as a tribute to my grandmother.  As it turned out, I wasn’t able to join through her Patriot because there needed to be more documentation, but I was able to tell her of a few “new” ones, including my Captain Thomas Poindexter.

When I said “spirited” to describe Allene it was our conversation about the “Oglethorpes” that I remembered.  Many years ago Allene, Pauline Pond, and Ruth Dixon put together a family tree of sorts from what they knew and remembered hearing from their ancestors.  When I began looking for my ‘Oglethorpes’ in Clay, Overton and Jackson, Tennessee I soon found out that there were no Oglethorpes of any kind there.  What was there were the Osgatharps and they had been in that part of Tennessee for generations.  I had to send her tangible proof of the family name so she would believe me! Once she had that though, and found that our line connected to Richard Osgatharp/Osgathorpe who had served in the American Revolution, she was accepting of the name change.

A wonderful lady has passed from our midst, but she will never be forgotten. Even if you don’t know her I hope that you will take a few minutes to read her obituary by her son that was extremely well written . I’m adding the two pages as thumbnails. Please click on them till you get them to the size to make them more easily read.

Page 1

Page 2

Rest in Peace Allene

Yates Kin Mosaic

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1. Yates & Edgmonds making sorghum, 2. JKP Yates with grandchildren, 3. JKP Yates singing master, 4. Jim Pentecost & Jim Yates, 5. Myra & Lydia Yates, 6. Jim & Mary Smith YATES, 7. Cerilda, Myra & Jim Yates, 8. JESP, 9. Harvey L. SMITH family, 10. Eleazer Smith, 11. Anna Breedlove & Jasper O. SMITH, 12. John, Roy and Lydia Barnett

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