Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thriller Thursday - James Harvey McHatton

From the San Jose Mercury Herald, April 13 and April 15, 1901:


J. H. McHatton Loses His Life Today in Distressing Accident.

J. H. McHatton, an elderly rancher who resides on the Parr ranch near Campbell, was instantly killed by a freight train shortly before noon today.

McHatton, who is 70 years of age, was crossing the tracks of the narrow-gauge railroad in a buggy, when the rear car of a freight train struck the vehicle, hurling its unfortunate occupant fully twenty feet from the track. When help arrived he was dead.

The accident occurred close to the San Jose Brickyard, and it is presumed Mr. McHatton was returning home from a visit to Campbell. There are several tracks at this crossing which is used as a switchyard, and McHatton, seeing that the engine was attached to the further end of the train of freight cars, attempted to cross evidently thinking it was going in the opposite direction.

The car was backing at a moderate rate of speed, and struck the rear portion of the buggy, demolishing it.

The body was placed upon the car which caused his death, and conveyed to the narrow-gauge station in this city, where it was taken in charge by Coroner Kell.

The men in charge of the train were C. Acre, F. Pattensky, F. Brunloge, L. Fate, F. Sykes and Ed Miller.

A few moments prior to the accident, McHatton's son, who was going toward his home on a bicycle, passed his father on the road and saluted him. A few moments after his arrival, he was shocked to receive word of his father's death.

An examination at the Morgue disclosed that McHatton had struck on his left side as that portion of his body is considerable bruised. No bones were broken, so far as can be ascertained, and it is thought that the force of the fall was sufficient to have caused death as McHatton weighed over 200 pounds.

An inquest will be held on the body at 7:30 this evening.


McHatton - In San Jose, April 13, 1901, James H. beloved father of Mrs. S. M. Pathoal, Mrs. R. L. Parker, Tell M., M. and Archie McHatton, a native of Kentucky, aged 69 years.

Testimony at Inquest.

The railroad men who were in charge of the train, all yard or switch men, were put on the stand. The testimony of all agreed. F.N. Brundage stated that the train consisted of five box cars and one flat car, the latter being in front. They were being pushed to the brick yards, the engine in the rear. Brundage was on top of the box car nearest the forward end of the train. The crossing, he said, is the most dangerous on the road as it is in a "V" shape and moreover is hid by trees on both sides. He
saw the man in about thirty or forty feet of the track. Witnesses realized the danger, signaled the engineer to stop and set his brake. The man on the car next to him set his brake also. The man in the rig now saw the train and stopped for a second. His horse appeared to became frightened. (Cut off) .. bruises on the body where it had come in contact with something and those who examined it claimed that the fall caused it. Attorney's Morehouse and Hoehner conducted the examination of the witnesses on behalf of the family of the deceased.

Could Not Hear Well.

Deceased was a native of Kentucky. He came to California eight years ago and bough a ranch back of Mount Hamilton. Since locating there his wife died and since then Mr. McHatton has been living with his son T.M. McHatton, who is ranching near Campbell. He had been to San Jose yesterday on business and was returning to his son's place when hit by the train. The funeral will be held at 3 o'clock this afternoon at the first Christian Church. Interment to-morrow on the ranch near Mount Hamilton. (Cut off)


A Tribute Paid to His Memory by a Friend.

A friend of the late James Harvey McHatton pays the following tribute to his memory.

"Mr. McHatton was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 8, 1831, and in his school days was fortunate in having James G. Blaine for a teacher. He moved to Missouri in early manhood and taught school there during the war. A little later he began the practice of law, in which he was most successful, serving as City Attorney in Lexington, Mo. for six years. In 1892, together with a part of his family of six children, he came to California and to San Jose.  He owned a ranch in the hills back of Mount Hamilton and was familiar figure to many as he made frequent trips back and forth from the mountains to the home of his son with whom he lived near Campbell.

"Four years ago, the companion of Forty years of happy wedded life died, and it was a frequently expressed wish of his that he be allowed to rest beside her, very near to nature's heart. There he was buried by her side April 16th, in a picturesque spot in the hills several miles back of Mount Hamilton.

"For forty-five years he was a faithful member of the Christian Church and it can truly be said he lived a conscientious and upright Christian life. Cheerfulness, a happy trait, made up a large part of an altogether well-rounded and generous nature, and he seemed always inspired with the spirit of hopefulness. His fondness for children was deep-seated and abiding. It was his habit to visit often the school in the neighborhood in which he lived and he was never too busy to gladden some childish heart or tell a pleasant story to the little ones.

Mrs. Willie Parker, Mrs, Mollie Pathael and T. M. McHatton of this city are the surviving children, who reside here, two other sons living in the east.

"Truly, 'a mighty man in Israel has fallen'--fallen but not defeated."

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Percival & Kruszka

Yesterday, was my 31st wedding anniversary. But since Wedding Wednesday is today, I thought I would be opportunistic and blog about my wedding. First I want to say it was the most spectacular fall day.

Sept 28 1979
DH and I did a lot of things wrong on our wedding day. First, we spent part of the day closing on our new house in Canton. First up was the inspection. That appeared to go well, and DH and I  thought closing would be a breeze. We couldn't have been more wrong. Apparently between the time they called us to tell us what to bring for closing and when we closed they changed the rules. Instead of bringing an insurance binder (a document that verifies that the house is indeed insured), we were told AT CLOSING that wasn't good enough, they needed a copy of the actual policy. DH and closer argued about this the entire time of closing. No, we would not get the keys to the house (even though they had our hefty down payment in hand) until they had that insurance policy. He didn't care that we were getting married that evening and had better things to do.
October 2008

So back to DH's parents' house where he was living between the sale of his home in Brownstown and the closing on our new house in Canton. DH calls the insurance agent whose office is at 13 Mile and Dequindre, the title company where closing took place was at 12 Mile and Northwestern, a distance of 15 miles and Friday afternoon traffic. Our wonderful then agent, Conrad, told us not to worry, he would get that insurance policy over right away, just to concentrate on our wedding.

I'm sure I ate breakfast and lunch that day. Well, maybe. Honestly, I can't remember much except for the horrific tantrum my DH had when he came back to his parents' house with the keys to our house with a nasty note attached by the closer. Now, I have to tell you here that I had never seen my DH angry before. His mother gave him a pillow to throw. At the time I was appalled but now I see that throwing something innocuous like a pillow allowed him to vent without harming anyone or anything. By this time, it was well into the afternoon, so I had my soon-to-be DH drive me back to the house that my roommate and I were renting so that I could prepare myself for our nuptials. I had some trepidation at this point, but was more excited about actually getting married and we had the keys to our house, so onward and all that.

Around 6 pm, the bridegroom picked the bride up at her home, and drove her to the church. I'm serious. It was just a small family wedding, so there was no big deal. We got there early. Big surprise. This after all was the guy who was half an hour early for our first date! Father Finnigan had us sign our marriage certificate, he signed, and then we waited for the rest of the party to get there. My folks, DH's parents, my sisters, my brother and appropriate in-laws, and our best man. Actually we waited for my matron of honor, because her husband got lost. Finally, everyone was in place and the priest started: "Anne and Mark ..." and I waited for him to name the rest of the bridal party, but no, he got DH's name wrong! Stop, I said, his name is Bernard, not Mark. (Really what else can go wrong?) With the names straightened out, The RIGHT man and I were finally legally and irrevocably married.

The reception was a small one and included our best man and his date, the aforementioned family members and my roommate. It proceeded without incident and my sister, Diane surprised us with a chocolate wedding cake.

We spent our wedding night at a local Holiday inn. The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we were headed back to my house, when I discovered I had neglected to bring my house keys. And we realized we hadn't checked out of the hotel. DH dropped me at my parents' where I made a quick call to my roommate who was working that day, he drove back and checked us out and then we were back in the car to the bank she worked at and then home to retrieve my keys, then back to the bank where she worked to give her keys back, before heading over to our new home. Somehow we got my double bed with frame to the new house. And I'm not sure why, but we didn't set that bed up in the master bedroom, but in one of the extra bedrooms. Since DH had a queen bed, we knew that would be in our master bedroom.

You know, they say it's bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other the day of the wedding before it actually takes place. I never understood that. However, since our day was a bit on the sucky side, I feel like we got it all out of our system in one fell swoop. Really, if you can survive a day like that, you can survive just about anything. Would I change anything about the day we got married. For sure, that jerk who treated us like crap at closing would have been hung by his thumbs, but I wouldn't change anything else. After all it's such a great story to tell.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Day Is It?

Today is day 11,323. Or maybe I should say month 372. How about 31 years? Starting to make sense? Thirty one years ago today, my DH and I started our great adventure together. And it has been a great adventure.

In honor of that anniversary, I am taking the day off and hopefully DH and I have found a nice cozy place to spend our 31st anniversary.

Be sure to check out Wedding Wednesday tomorrow - you'll get the whole story of that day 31 years ago!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, September 27, 2010

Something ELSE Altogether

Every so often you come across something so blatantly wrong, you have to comment. The other day, I was referred to this blog not because it was well written, but because this person is advocating violating Ancestry's Terms of Service. Not that I am so enthralled with Ancestry myself, the service is not perfect, but to post entries on your blog advocating printing photos for free, or "sharing" time on Ancestry, well, I just have to comment. Is this what we are teaching people new to genealogy and genealogy sites? Now, this person has no profile you can click on, she does not post your comments even if you make them. I wonder why someone hasn't caught this blogger before. Not only is she violating Ancestry's TOS, but she has monetized her blog and runs ads for Ancestry on the side. Please take this as an example of what not to do.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - August Zimmeth

From the Iosco County (Michigan) Herald, July 17, 1925:

AUGUST ZIMMETH.  August Zimmeth of East Tawas died Friday, July 10, cause of death being due to old age and asthma.  He was 86 years old at the time of death. August Zimmeth was born at Lancaster, NY, and has been a resident in Iosco County for 60 years.  Mr and Mrs Zimmeth had eleven children, but only five survive him.  They are Joseph Zimmeth, Mrs G Whiteside of Grand Rapids, Mrs S Whiteside of Detroit and Mrs John Ochsenfeld of Detroit, besides his aged wife. The funeral services were held on Monday from St Joseph Church, Rev E A Brogger officiated, and the remains were laid to rest in the St Joseph Cemetery.
August, Charles & Augusta Zimmeth circa 1896

Two interesting things - first the obituary say five children survive him, but they only name four! The one they missed is the youngest son, Charles (Charlie) who also lived in Detroit. August is my great-grandfather and Charlie is my grandfather.

The picture is of Charlie (center) with his parents. Charlie was born September 1, 1888. August was born May 29, 1839 and was 49 years old when Charlie was born. Augusta Wilhelmina Cleasotte was born October 7, 1849 and was 39 when Charlie was born. He was the youngest of 11 children of August and "Mina" Zimmeth. The surviving 5 children are therefore: Joseph Zimmeth, Josephine "Phene" (Mrs. George) Whiteside, Mary "May" (Mrs. Samuel) Whiteside, Rose (Mrs. John) Ochsenfeld, and Charles.  The children who predeceased August were: Frank Zimmeth (1874-1909); August, Jr (1877-1897); George (1881-1918); and 3 male infants, all named Charles according to my grandpa.  George & Samuel Whiteside were brothers.

The other interesting thing is the date of publication, July 17, 1925, is incidentally the exact day my dad was born. But he was a Percival, not a Zimmeth.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, September 24, 2010

Patriotic Ancestors

During some of my sleep deprived nights lately I have been looking at the DAR Genealogical Research System (Daughters of the Revolution for those of you who may not be familiar with the acronym) looking for some lesser known connections to my Percivals and Kirtleys to start with. I'm almost scared to start with the Webbs and the Bowmans, although I know the ancestors on the Bowman line to search for. It has been a very interesting journey. And the Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder has kicked in BIG TIME. Although it is still competing with the scrapbook disorder.

I love how the Revolutionary Ancestors record is included at the bottom. This is one of my favorites and I can't tell you how proud I am of him, even though he is only a collateral relative. Click on the image to see a larger view. Don't forget to use your browser's back button to return to this page!

Thomas Kirtley's Revolutionary War Service

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thriller Thursday - Check the Safety on That Gun!

Following in the courtroom theme ...

From the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune, Chillicothe, Missouri, obituary, 30 August 1934, p4 c2.

Robert P. Weed Was Accidentally Killed

Revolver Which He was Examining Accidentally Discharged; Killing Him Instantly.

Friends here have received word of the death of Robert Perry Weed of Daytona Beach Florida, which occurred Wednesday.  Weed, a Lawyer, was examining a revolver in the courtroom at Daytona beach, which was an exhibit in a case with which he was connected.  The gun accidentally discharged.  Weed died before his wife, the former Miss Catherine Kirtley of Chillicothe, could reach the courthouse.  Mrs. Juda Kirtley of Independence, mother of Mrs. Weed, went to Corbin, Kentucky to join her daughter for the funeral services, which were held at Corbin Friday afternoon.  The Kirtleys were residents of Chillicothe about ten years ago.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Bowman & Webb

Marriage record of Frank & Bessie
Today's subjects are my great grandparents, Frank Bowman & Lizzie Webb. They were married in Dover, Missouri, on April 3, 1883. They were the parents of 4 children: Bessie, John, Frances and Mary. Bessie married James A. Rankin; John never married; Frances married Hugh Rogers; and Mary was my grandmother by virtue of her marriage to John Stearns Percival.

The only picture I have of Frank & Lizzie is one taken with three of their four grandchildren at their home in Lexington, Missouri. I presume the photo was taken about the mid 1920's. The grandchild not pictured is Frank Bowman Percival, the youngest grandchild, who was born in 1925. All the photos of Frank Bowman that I have from that time show him with his left arm just hanging, so I presume he had been suffering strokes, prior to the one that eventually took his life in 1930.

L-R: James Rankin, Mary Rogers, Lizzie,  John Percival, Frank

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be ...

Almost totally unrelated to family history as you can get on a Genealogy Blog.

It seems that the most genealogy I've been doing lately is blogging about it. This is unusual for me because I usually exude family research from my pores. Part of the problem is that I have been listening to some audiobooks and it's hard to transcribe letters or concentrate on census when you are thinking and trying to listen to a book-on-mp3 or wma. You see, Tennessee participates in the Regional e-book & Audiobook Download System (READS). I don't know what I would do without this program, because I really miss the selection of audiobooks that my library in Michigan has. By the phrase MY LIBRARY, I really mean Carl Sandburg Library in Livonia. Toni & Mary are the absolute best at ordering audiobooks. I don't know what has happened with all the budget cuts, but there was always something for my DH and I to listen to.

Sad to say that our library here has an abysmal selection, but when one of the librarians at the Cookeville library told me about the READS program, I perked up. For the most part I am able to get best sellers and whatever else I want. I've also discovered some great new authors this way. Unfortunately for my DH, who hates earphones, he hadn't been able to enjoy this feature as I have. And it's totally free, all you need is a valid library card and an mp3 player.

Griffin iTrip FM Transmitter
While on a trip home this summer from Michigan, my sister Diane loaned us "First Family" by David Baldacci on disc. So we listened to it all the way home and around town and on errands to other communities and we really enjoyed it. So I began researching ways to make my mp3 player play through the car radio. First, I do not own an iPod, I have a Sansa Fuze, so compatibility with READS was not a problem. What I found was this FM transmitter. It is the best $17 (inc. shipping) that I have ever spent. Hubby now asks which audiobook I've got for us to listen to and we now really enjoy trips longer than 10 minutes!

So now I really have to get back to transcribing those letters and working on the family history. My census file is piling up!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, September 20, 2010

Isn't That What It's All About?

Cleveland Newspaper circa Sept 20 1914
Do you ever read any of the new blogs over at Geneabloggers? I read one over the weekend My Genealogy Family by Susan Hill Bonko.

What caught my eye was the fact that she was from Cleveland. I have had a few connections to Cleveland, but none of them Italian. Mine were German - Knost (KAnost) and Scots (Maitland). It is the Maitland connection in Cleveland I want to talk about. Jesse Stanhope Maitland was the son of John Skirving Maitland and Laura Goodale. John was a brother of my great-great grandfather, Alexander Maitland of Missouri via Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The story is that the Maitlands emigrated to Canada where they endured great hardships. Alexander spent some time in the mines in Colorado before eventually heading back to Missouri where he met and married Mary G. Oliphant and where they spent the rest of their lives.

John Skirving Maitland suffered an untimely death from typhoid in Pawnee City Nebraska. His son, Jesse, was four at the time of his father's death. I have no idea how he ended up in Cleveland. Some years ago this article came into my hands from one of Jesse Maitland's descendants.You will have to click on the image to read what remains of it, use your browser's back button to return to this page.

From research at, I have deduced that Major A. H. Maitland died September 16, 1914. Since my ancestor Alexander Maitland was the older brother, I would have thought that the title would default to him and his sons first. This article was sent to me by a descendant of Jesse Maitland - thanks Janie.

At any rate, this is what genealogy is all about, getting our names and research interests out there so that we can find other people researching our lines.

In the meantime I keep looking for mention of this in the newspapers of September 1914 so that the parts that are missing can be included.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - John Henry Percival

John "Henry: Percival
This is an obituary for my great grandfather John "Henry" Percival. Make sure you read through to the end to see my comments on the errors.

Obituary, From the "Richmond Conservator", July 4, 1929.


John Henry Percival, a former resident of this city, died at his home in Kansas City, 704 East 41st street, at 7:30 Tuesday night.
Mr. Percival had been ill for several weeks, and was operated on at the St. Joseph Hospital in that city about a week ago for cancer of the liver.

He had been removed to his home and suddenly became worse.

Mr. Percival was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Percival, early settlers from Kentucky, residing at Waverly, Mo., where he was born February 26, 1862. He was 67 years, four months and six days old at the time of his death.

His father died in that vicinity after which he and his mother moved to this city.

After several years residence here he went into the furniture business with the late A. M. Fowler. The firm was known as Fowler & Percival. A few years later, Mr. Fowler withdrew and he entered into partnership with Norman Holt, adding plumbing and heating to the business. They were located for years in the building now occupied by Fred Harrison. After retiring from business Mr. Percival became traveling salesman for a plumbing company and made his headquarters in this city, moving to Kansas City some years ago where he continued as salesman.

Mr. Percival was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Maitland, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Maitland, near Millville, by whom he is survived. He also leaves a son, John Percival, Detroit, Mich., and a daughter, Mrs. Mary French, of Casper Wyo., three step-sisters, Mrs. Bert Clark and Mrs. George Hudgens, North Main street, this city: Mrs. W. E. Roeschel, of Boonville, and a step-brother, Dr. W. Holt of Washington, D. C.

Funeral services will be held in this city, Friday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock at the Thurman Funeral home, conducted by Rev. Dr. Rogers, of Kansas City. The body is now at the Thurman Funeral home.

Burial will occur in Sunny Slope Cemetery.

Mr. Percival was one of the outstanding citizens of Richmond while a resident and in business here. He was widely known over the county and had many friends.

All in all it is a nice obituary, BUT there is a lot of misinformation in those paragraphs.

His father came from Kentucky - it is true, but he died during the Civil War outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. No mention is made of his brother Herbert. It's true that Herbert went back to Covington, Kentucky to live with relatives while he completed medical school. From there he eventually settled in North Dakota and then in California from whence he disappeared. It's great that the obituary lists his step-brothers and sisters, but since Henry was apprenticed out by the time his mother remarried and did not live with her, does it really count? And where is the mention of Henry's grandchildren. By this time he had four of them.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review, Search, and Find Something Else!

I wrote this before I read cousin Karen's Genealogy Frame of Mind blog. Sometimes it blows my mind.

While searching for a different Percival earlier in the week, I thought to go back to the pilot Family Search site and browse the 1865 New York State census. Now, this is like going back to microfilm and doing a line by line  search. But since the 1865 is not yet searchable, I knew I needed to look at the city of Portville, where a lot of Percivals lived.  These are very distant relatives and relate most closely to the Percivals who lived in Palo, Ionia county, Michigan.

You know, I always felt the problem with the census is the person who transcribed it. Not to mention the person who indexed it. Part of that was finally finding Jabez Chapman Percival on the 1850 census in New York. I had repeatedly overlooked the census record for Jacob Percival. Apparently the transcriber had written James, and then wrote Jacob over it. Both, incidentally are incorrect. Oh, and his name was Perciful, yet his wife on the next page was written as Ann Percivill and then the following people: Sophia, age 30; Sarah, age 28, (I was trying to link her to Jabez - bingo); Wm, age 21 (occupation: Boatman); and Sharlotte, age 16. The only name new to me on this long lost census is William, age 21. And occupation Boatman? He was in a landlocked county!

Back to the 1865 New York State census. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the 1865 state census. One of the things that I appreciate the most is this column heading: In what county in this state, or in what other state or foreign country born. Not that this transcription is much better, but They are listed as:

1. J. C. Percival, male white, age 78, born Conn. Parent of 9 children. Then the next heading is No of times married 1, now married,

2. Emma Percival, female white, 72, wife, born Conn. nothing under children, married 1 time, now married.

3. Sofa Percival, female, white, 47, daughter born Rancelor (that would be Rensselaer County, New York - I have trouble spelling that also!) Single, no occupation.

4. Gorden Percival, male, white, 38, son, Rensselaer, single, joiner. Employed in Portville.

5. Wm. Percival, male white, 36, son, Rensselaer, single, Capt on Vessel. No place of employment (remember, landlocked Cattaraugus county).

Two things that concern me is the wife's name. Her name was Ann, not Emma. Also, after looking at other pages, the number of children is under the head of household's name and not the wife's. So that works.

The bonus, parent of 9 children and I have all of them:

1. Jabez Chapman Percival, Jr, born 1816 - moved to Palo, Michigan. Married Polly Brooks. Died 1906.
2. Sophia Percival, born 1818, never married. Unknown when she died.
3. Sarah Ann Percival, born 1820, married Dr. Thomas S. Jackson, died in 1899 in Florida.
4. Edward Burnham Percival, born 1822, married Caroline Wright and remained in Portville. Died in 1907.
5. Mary E. Percival, born 1826, married William Magill and died in 1914 in Florida.
6. Joshua "Gordon" Percival, born 1827, remained in New York state, single. Died in 1922 in Olean, NY.
7. William R. Percival, born 1829, boatman, Captain, Pilot, last found in NYC in 1880.
8. Julia Percival, born 1831, married Elisha Stannard, died in 1919 in Albany, New York.
 9. Charlotte Percival, born 1833, married Hiram B Smith and died in 1910 in Olean, New York.

Eventually I hope I will find those elusive death records for William and Sophia, but the intense satisfaction of knowing I found all the children - I'm savoring that!

Addendum: When searching the New York death records on the Pilot Family Search site, I found the death in Manhattan of George Percival, who died in 1849. He was the son of Benjamin Percival and Phebe Swift. His birth year was given as 1811, which I did not have. Published records of Nantucket, Massachusetts actually gave his death date and that he died in New York, otherwise, I probably would not have matched him up.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thriller Thursday - A Different Twist

This week, instead of a murder - I seem to have run out of murders - I have an unusual death that took place in court. The deceased was the son of Joann Nisbet  and James Witherspoon Black. Her relationship is actually through my great-great-great grandmother, Martha McMekin Nisbet Oliphant. Martha's second husband was Alexander Oliphant who was my great-great-great grandfather. Joann & James Black, Sr., had two children, Mary Greeves Oliphant Black (named for her paternal grandmother) and James, Jr. Joann died in 1860, 6 months after the birth of James, Jr. James, Sr. married two more times.

From the Kansas City Star October 29, 1906, page 1.


An Apoplectic Attack After an Argument Today.

He complained of Feeling Ill in Judge McCune's courtroom and Went to the Chambers. Died soon While lying on a couch.

James Black of the law firm of Pratt, Dana & Black, had just finished an argument in Judge McCune's courtroom this morning. He turned to Hunt C. Moore, his associated in the case.

"I'm feeling bad," he said.

The argument was a vehement protest against the injustice of a third trial of the case of Frank Nelson against the Kansas City Elevator company for damages  for personal injuries. Mr. Black had left a deep impression in the court. His words were followed by a silence.

"Have you closed?" asked W. S. Cowherd, counsel for the plaintiff.

"No, I will resume after the evidence is in." replied Mr. Black.

Thought It Indigestion.

The jury was called in and N. F. Hellman, associated with Mr. Cowherd and R. J. Ingraham in the case, began reading a contract. Black left the courtroom and crossed the hall to a toilet room. He was very pale. Turner and R. J. Ingraham followed him and found him nauseated.

"I think its indigestion," said Black "But I'll be all right."

Turner was called to the stand, Mr. Black approached Judge McCune and said:

"Judge, my heart's nearly killing me, but I think it's from my stomach."

"Shall we stop the case?" asked Judge McCune.

"No, go on with it. I'll sit down and take it slow."

"Go back to my chambers  and lie on the couch," the judge advised.

Mr. Black passed around the side of the room to a water tank and drank a glass of water. He made his way to the narrow passage leading to the judge's chambers. Judge McCune and the other lawyers seeing that he was very ill, followed and he was assisted to the couch. Dr. H. A. Longan arrived at 11:30 in response to a call from one of the lawyers.

"Indigestion?" asked one.

"Worse than that," said Dr. Longan as he administered stimulants. Mr. Black began to gasp and artificial respiration was tried.

At twenty minutes before 12 o'clock Mr. Black said:

"I am lapsing in unconscious--"

He did not finish the word.

Five minutes later he was dead.


"It was apoplexy," said Dr. Longan. "The pupil of the left eye was dilated greatly. There was a severe hemorrhage of the brain. The stomach and heart pains were probably reflex."

"His argument was unusually vehement," said Judge McCune, "but it was clean and fair and free from personalities."

"It was one of his best arguments," said R. J. Ingraham of the opposing counsel.

The body was covered  with a sheet and lay in the judge's chamber until removed to the Black home by the undertaker J. F. O'Donnell. Coroner Thompson authorized its removal.

The court was declared adjourned. The death of Mr. Black caused a feeling of great depression.

"A strange fate pursues this case," said Judge McCune. "It began in 1898 and this, the third trial, is interrupted by death."

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Meyer & Zimmeth

Charles Louis Zimmeth and Louetta Philomena Meyer were married July 24, 1922 in Detroit, Michigan.  He was the son of August and Augusta (Kleasott*) Zimmeth and she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Amelia (Knost**) Meyer. This is the only picture I have of my grandparents together. She isn't looking at the camera. The photo was taken behind Uncle John Ochenfeld's wicker furniture factory. Those are baby buggies (without wheels) behind Louetta. They would need one in about 5 months. Click on the image to enlarge and use your browser's back button to return here.

Marriage record
Charles & Louetta on their wedding day

* Or Cleasot, Clesotte, Clesat, Kleesaat or Glissart (on another record.)

** Pronounced KAnost. An instance when the K is not silent.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where Did That Come From?

As I was following up from some research done over the weekend, I stumbled upon a Florida death record on (even though I found him on Ancestry, that record is all but useless) for Henry Spencer Jackson. What caught my eye was his mother's information. he record gave her name as Sarah Ann Percival and her birthplace as Portville, New York. I knew of Edward Burnham Percival (son of Jabez Chapman Percival, Sr & Ann Burnham) and knew there were other children, could this be yet another? So I wasted spent my afternoon looking for evidence that this was indeed a daughter of Jabez and Ann Percival. I came across a newspaper article, that I already had, for Chapman & Polly Percival (this would be Jabez, Jr) visiting Edward & Caroline Percival in Portville. Then I found Mrs. T. S. Jackson (Thomas Spencer Jackson) visiting her sister Sophia Percival in the 1880's. BINGO! Sophia was one of the daughters of Jabez & Ann, who had never married. The icing on the cake, however, was an obituary of Edward S. Jackson, son of Thomas & Sarah (Percival) Jackson, whose middle name was Stannard. Another Percival daughter, Julia, was married to Elisha Stannard. And a son of Chapman & Polly Percival was named Charles Stannard Percival. I'm not sure what happened to Dr. Thomas Spencer Jackson, but Sarah was buried in Riverside Memorial Park in Tequesta, Florida. Also buried there is her son Henry Spencer Jackson and other family members whom I have yet to research. I love it when things fit neatly!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Project Leads to Another

As I scan and transcribe letters, coming across the rare reference to a family member and the even rarer photograph, I've been contemplating adding to my heritage scrapbook. So far I've worked only on the Percival family, scrapbook-wise, but my thoughts have been straying to the Bowman line and how I might incorporate related lines. I certainly lack photos, but information is more plentiful. To be included in the Bowman line are the Webbs, Rankins, and the Rogerses. The Rogers line is problematical since I have very little information about Mary Elizabeth Rogers, daughter of Hugh & Frances Bowman Rogers, other than her marriage to Charles Bowers. I've been trying to keep a list of whom to include with each family, mostly because I have so little on these related lines. I keep reminding myself it is like working on a yearbook layout, but more fun, but some of it is work organizing and for crying out loud, coordinating papers! Stay tunes.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - Frank G. Bowman

Frank G. Bowman was my dad's maternal grandfather and my dad is his namesake. It's a quaint habit the Bowman's and the Chinn lines had. At any rate, Frank Bowman died in 1930, long before I was even a glimmer in my parents' eyes, since my dad was just four years old when his grandfather passed.
Frank Graves Bowman 1854-1930

From the Lexington (Missouri) Daily News:

Frank Bowman Dies After Long Illness

Secretary of Chamber of Commerce and Founder of The News Victim of Paralysis

Frank Bowman, secretary of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, died at his home on North Seventeenth Street, at 1:10 o'clock Monday afternoon after an extended illness.  Paralysis was the cause of death.  The funeral service was held Wednesday afternoon, conducted by the Rev. W. A. Wimberly, pastor of the First Christian Church.

Mr. Bowman was born in Lexington on September 4, 1854.  He was married to Miss Elizabeth Webb on April 3, 1883.  The wife and four children survive as follows:  Mrs. Hugh Rogers, Lexington; Mrs. James A. Rankin, Claremont, California; Mrs. John S. Percival, Detroit, Michigan; and John Bowman of Kansas City.

Stricken with paralysis on October 22, last, Mr. Bowman later rallied considerably and was believed to be on the road to recovery, but later developments brought gradual weakening.

Mr. Bowman was the founder of The Lexington News and for many years operated this newspaper in partnership with a brother.  He was a man of strong convictions and unfailing adherence to the simple virtues.  Through his political connections in later years he acquired friendships throughout the state and was widely admired for likable qualities.  He was postmaster at Lexington under the administration of Grover Cleveland, later became secretary of the state board of charities and correction.  He was also deputy county recorder under Henry McNeel and enrolling clerk of the house of representatives for twelve years.  He had been secretary of the local Chamber of Commerce for a number of years.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Open Your Minds"

The title is a favorite quote from "Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban" spoken by Professor Trelawney to her divination class. Sometimes I feel like I have to be a seer to find where these relatives I'm looking for have gone.

The other day, I booted up my GenSmarts program and told it to search for Illinois death records, which it did. One of the families I am researching is the Jeffers family. Deodat Jeffers married Betsy Percival in Michigan. One of their children, William P. Jeffers and his wife, Minnie Crowell moved to Chicago, taking some of their children with them. I was finally able to locate Minnie's death record in Chicago in 1929. Spouse is listed as Wm P. Jeffers. I had him on the 1910 census and then Minnie is listed as a widow in 1920. Yeah. No. I finally found William P. Jeffers in Washington state in 1920 and 1930. So he outlived Minnie by four years. Over to the Washington Digital archives to look for his death record. Did I find him under William Jeffers? No, I did not. I found him by searching for Jeffers and then scrolling down to Wm P Jeffers. A link to his death record is here. That top line told me all I needed to know that this was indeed my William P. Jeffers. Don't forget to use your browser's back button to get back to this page.

Lesson number one: If narrowing your search to a specific area doesn't work, be wild and just do a search for the name, in this case William Jeffers. It worked because I had a birth year, and knew his parents and birthplace.

Lesson number two: Don't believe everything you read on the census. That "widow" designation on the 1920 census had me firmly believing that William died in Chicago between 1910 and 1920. As evidenced by the death record I found for him in 1933 in Skagit County, Washington.This is not the first time I have come across this discrepancy.

Lesson number three: If you have a program such as GenSmarts, that will help you search, USE IT. I know it can be overwhelming at times, but if you narrow down to a family, or geographic area or do what I did and type in Illinois Death records, it will help you focus your search.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thriller Thursday - Voting Can Be Dangerous -The Death of A. W. Stanhope*

From the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald, November 7, 1900, p 7

Capt. A. W. Stanhope

Shot and Killed by Deputy Marshall of Midway

November 7, 1900
Shortly after the polls closed in Midway yesterday afternoon a difficulty between A. W. Stanhope and Deputy Town Marshall Woodruff, which had its inception several days back was renewed, with the result that Capt. Stanhope was shot in the bowels and killed. Capt. Stanhope was one of the best known and most popular citizens of Woodford County. He was a Confederate soldier and rose to the rank of captain in that service. He has for several years been in the revenue service having been appointed by Mr. Shelby in 1895. He leaves a widow and seven children. He was a half-brother of Harry, Will and Belfield Stanhope of this county and Mrs. Ed. Bassett of this city. The collection office was notified of the tragedy last night.
Lexington (Kentucky) Herald Nov 15, 1900, p 4.


November 15, 1900

On Grounds of Self Defense --- Marshall George Woodruff's Examining Trial
A warrant charging murder was sworn out on Saturday against Marshall George Woodruff of Midway, who shot and killed Capt. Alfred W. Stanhope on election day, and Woodruff was placed in jail. His examining trial began Tuesday morning and consumed all of Tuesday and yesterday. Mr. Woodruff was represented by Robt. L. Stout and Mr. Lewis A. Nuckols.
County attorney Davis was aided in the prosecution by Hon. Chas. J. Bronston, of Lexington and Mr. Richard Godson. A large number of witnesses testified. The majority stated that Mr. Stanhope opened the difficulty, and the he fired the first shot at Mr. Woodruff. The case was argued yesterday afternoon by Mr. Bronston and Mr. Nuckols. Judge Parrish dismissed the warrant and set Woodruff free.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Maitland & Percival

My great grandparents, Helen "Nellie" Maitland and John Henry "Henry" Percival were married on Christmas Eve, 1889 in Richmond, Missouri. Nellie was the daughter of Alexander Maitland & Mary G. Oliphant. Henry was the son of the late John Stearns Percival and the late Susan Davidson Percival Holt. I'm not sure what the thing was with marriage announcements and marriage records for this couple, but both are extremely bad. Here they are anyway.

Wedding invitation
Marriage record

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What Day Is It, Anyway?

It's Tuesday after the long holiday - Labor Day - weekend. To be honest, once you retire, unless you have something scheduled for a particular day on a regular basis, you tend to lose track of just what day it is.

Also, when you begin to immerse yourself in the past, you begin to wonder what year or even decade it is. I am totally embedded in 1943 right now and can almost imagine what it was like to be at war with the Germans and the Japanese. Families were scattered as husbands took up arms and went off to basic training; that great unknown of where their next posting would be; rationing; victory gardens; and other hardships.

Many people, like my dad, his father and brother lived in boarding houses. This boarding house was at 710 Virginia Park in Detroit. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Walk Down Someone's Memory Lane

Today is Relatively Speaking Day; please be sure to check out "cousin" Karen's blog here.

Now that I am totally immersed in the letters written to my uncle Johnny by various Percival & Bowman family members way back in the World War II era, I have gotten pretty curious about some of the "players" in these letters. First was Bill Badgero. His name was fairly significant to me since I knew he and Janet Dean were the "elopers" that my yet unmarried parents went to Fremont, Ohio with in July 1946. Since my parents also got married on that trip and Bill & Janet returned the witness favor, their name has stuck with me.

The other name that rings a bell, because my parents mentioned this couple often, was Fairchild, more exactly Keith and Loie Fairchild. Keith's parents were the boarding house owners where the male Percivals lived. My mother and aunt also lived at the Fairchild house. Must have been pretty interesting.

I got curious and it appears Bill Badgero died in 1983, no record of his wife; and Keith Fairchild died in May of this year.Wife, Loie still living.

Another name that cropped up was that of Freddy Payne. Freddy played with the Detroit Tigers from 1906-1908 and then with the White Sox from 1909-1911. In 1943, Fred worked as an inspector in my grandfather's department at the Detroit Water Board.

It's fun, like opening a treasure chest to see what is in each letter, what secret will be told, what information can be garnered.

L-R: John Percival, "Bob," and Frank Percival,  1943
I found this gem of a picture, which as grandpa says was the "best of the bunch" and still I had to adjust it a bit. It was taken the evening before Uncle Johnny reported for service.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sympathy Saturday - Joseph Zimmeth

I've actually run out of unknown people on Funeral Cards, so I will be sprinkling headstones, obits and funeral card notices (mid 1800's) from now on.

This headstone is for my mother's uncle, Joseph Zimmeth. He was the oldest of the Zimmeth children and was born in Iosco county. His marriage record at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in East Tawas, Michigan states that he was baptized in AuSable, Michigan and that the church records were destroyed in the 1911 fire. You may say that Michigan was keeping vital records as early as 1867, but in fact, there are no birth records for many people born before 1900 as well as no death records for a great many either.

Headstone for Joe Zimmeth
If you click on the image, you will see the death date is not filled in. Yes, Uncle Joe is buried there in St. Joseph's Cemetery, East Tawas, Michigan. I presume he bought the stone and had it set when his wife, Mary Quosky Zimmeth died, and that the funeral director failed to take steps to have the date carved. It should read 1957. This is the first time I have ever seen his name as John Joseph rather than Joseph John. Since there is no birth record or baptismal record to fall back on, who can really say?

Here is the obit for Joe.

From Pinconning Journal.

Services Friday Morning for Joseph Zimmeth.

Joseph Zimmeth passed away on Tuesday afternoon of this week, September 17, at the home of his brother, Charles Zimmeth who resides on South Van Etten street in Pinconning.  He had been in poor health for over a year.  Mr. Zimmeth was 84 years of age, born April 14, 1873, in East Tawas.

Funeral services will be held Friday morning at 9:00 o'clock from St. Agnes Church with Rev. Fr. Casimer Szyper officiating.  Burial will take place in St. Joseph cemetery in East Tawas.  The body is at the Lee Funeral Home.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, September 3, 2010

Letters & Secret Lives

I like to think as a family historian that I have done my part by interviewing my parents many years ago. One of the things I asked both parents were what jobs they had.

One thing I learned when starting the newest scan & transcribe project was that my dad worked for General Motors in the Cadillac Division and the Parts Division before he went into the Navy in 1943. We lived in the Detroit area, I am married to someone who spent 30+ years working for Ford's Steel Division, and in its afterlives, Rouge Steel and Severstal, NA. Did he think that wasn't relevant? Maybe working pulling parts orders wasn't the most interesting job he could have had, but ya think he might have mentioned it? Well, it sure was news to me.

I also learned that in 1943, the Percival men (John Sr., John Jr., and Frank) lived in the Fairchild household. Now I knew they lived there in 1945 and 1946, but I had no idea they lived there in 1943. The interesting thing is that my mother and her sister, Margie also lived there, but I don't know what year they moved in.

In these letters, written by my grandfather, my dad, my grandfather's sister-in-law, Bessie Bowman Rankin, his mother, Helen Maitland Percival, his cousin, James Rankin, Jr., his other grandmother, Elizabeth "Maw-Maw" Bowman, other family members are mentioned. Yay. I am annotating (I love that word) these letters when necessary so that any reader will know the relationship between the writer and John Jr. They are pretty interesting with more interesting stuff to come.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thriller Thursday - The Murder of William B. Anderson

The following is from the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald, December 2, 1920.



Bandits Attempt to Enter Old Pepper Distillery - Escape After Battle


Volley Follows Agent's Refusal to Throw Up Hands.

William B. Anderson, Internal revenue service agent on duty at the Old Pepper Distillery, on the Old Frankfort pike, was shot and almost instantly killed Thursday morning at 1:30 o'clock in a battle with a band of whisky thieves.

Mr. Anderson, in company with William Nix, 449 Bourbon avenue, a distillery guard at the plant was making his regular round checking up with the night watchman's time clock. The two men reached a point in the rear of the last warehouses near the Town Branch. As they were about to hook up the time clock to check for this station several men rushed from the shelter of two small sheds and ordered the guards to throw up their hands.

Upon receiving this order Mr. Anderson drew his revolver and fired one shot. This action was the signal for a return volley from the members of the party of thieves, and Mr. Anderson dropped to the ground about a foot from the wall of the warehouses.

Nix immediately dashed around the warehouse in the direction of the office for the purpose of telephoning  to police headquarters for assistance. As he neared the end of the building another party of three or four men rounded the corner and fired a volley of revolver shots in his direction. Cut off from the office by this group of thieves, Nix ran to the corner of High and Pine street and called police headquarters.

Captain James Donlon, Assistant Chief Ernest Thompson, Jack McCarty and Chauffeur Carl Woodard answered the call and were joined a few minutes later by Chief of Police Jere J. Reagan and Chief Prohibition Agent U. G. McFarland.

Investigation proved that the thieves had not been able to effect an entrance into the building and that no whisky had been removed. A search of the immediate premises also failed to disclose any preparations made by the thieves to remove the liquor.

At the time the shooting occurred, William S. Lyne, 179 Loudon Avenue, revenue officer alternating shifts with Mr. Anderson, and J. W. Thomas, distillery guard alternating shifts with Nix, were in the office.

George Bryan, 644 Elsmere Park revenue agent in charge of the keys to the building and the gauging of the whisky in storage in the warehouses of the plant, went to the office immediately on receipt of the news of the clash between the guards and the thieves. Mr. Bryan said that he was not at liberty to state how much whisky was stored at present in the Pepper warehouses, but that a considerable amount was in the buildings at this time.

Tracks left in the mud near the scene of the shooting were discovered by investigators and two bloodhounds were secured from the kennels of Captain V. G. Mulliken and taken to the spot within a short time after the clash occurred. Police officials also threw out a dragnet over the city for suspects and begun close watch of all outbound trains both passenger and freight as soon as the news of the attempted raid was received.


The bloodhounds were taken to the tracks found in the mud by the Town Branch. Picking up the trail of the thieves, the dogs followed it about three-quarters of a mile along the Old Frankfort Pike to an old shed formerly a part of a cattle barn used for the feeding of slop from the distillery. Here it became apparent that the dogs had back-trailed to the rendezvous of the thieves before the attempted raid. The dogs were taken back to the scene of the clash and placed on a new trail.

Coroner John Anglin was called to the scene of the clash and took charge of Mr. Anderson's body, which he removed to the John Milward Funeral home. Here he made a preliminary examination and state that death was caused by a wound from a revolver bullet which entered in the right shoulder just above the heart.

The coroner's inquest will be held in the office of Magistrate Charles P. Dodd in the court house Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, Coroner Anglin announced following the examination of the body.

Mr. Anderson was a veteran in the revenue service, having been engaged in this work for almost 25 years. He had been on duty at the Pepper plant for the last year.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mamie Anderson; two daughters, Dixie and Leila Anderson; one son, Claude Chinn Anderson, of Los Angeles; and one brother V. V. Anderson of New York City.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wedding Wednesday - Bowman and Rogers

1915 Marriage record for Hugh & Frances Bowman Rogers
Unfortunately, I do not have a nice wedding announcement for Frances Bowman, daughter of Frank Bowman & Elizabeth "Lizzie" Webb Bowman, and Hugh Chilton Rogers. I do, however, have a copy of their marriage record. Frances died an untimely death in 1932 from scarlet fever.  Frances & Hugh Rogers had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth born in 1921 and died in 2006. She was married to Charles Bowers. I am posting this in hopes that Frances & Hugh's grandchildren might see it.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes