invite to dinner: dear 3rd-greatgrandmama eleanor (lemon) noble or is it lemmon or lemmons, the pleasure of your company is requested…

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 4 prompt:  Invite to dinner.
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Both hands up to the sides of my head, I’m frozen in indecision — just one?!  Invite just one guest to dinner?!  (Oh that it was possible to bring ancestors out of the frieze of time for answers to some questions; brick walls might not exist.)

Two ladies in Great-Grandma Alta Maria (Falls) Greger’s line come to mind most quickly as desired dinner guests:  my 4th great-grandmum Sarah (Showers) Falls and, my 3rd-great-grandmother Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble (February 21, 18111 Kentucky2, USA–March 31, 1895 Iowa; buried Winslow Cemetery, Jefferson Township, Poweshiek County, Iowa1,3).  They are both longstanding brick walls.  I haven’t a clue as to either’s respective fathers.

It’s Eleanor, I decide.  She’s getting the invitation.  I mentally draft my invite.

Alta Maria (Falls) Greger (Family photo.)

But to fill you in on how the line goes, let’s back up once more to Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble’s granddaughter and, my Great-Grandma, Alta Maria4 Falls (July5 106, 18645 Illinois5–October 13, 1934 Pineville, McDonald County, Missouri6; buried Anderson Cemetery, Anderson East, McDonald County, Missouri6).

Alta first apears in the household of parents “Jarry” & Mary Falls at age seven in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census of Jefferson, Poweshiek, Iowa, dwelling number 86, her forename mistranscribed as “Atta.”  Iowa marriage records tell us that Alta [again mistranscribed “Atta,” although very clearly “Alta” on the original record] M. Falls, father listed as “Geremiah” Falls, mother as Mary Noble, marries “Graurille S Gregor”7 [Granville Smith Greger] on September 28, 1892 in Benton County, Iowa.  This takes us up nicely to my 2nd-great grands Geremiah Falls & Mary Noble.

“Geremiah Falls,” or as he’s more commonly referenced, Jeremiah (Jerry) Falls, took “Mary Margaret Noble” as his second wife on September 14, 1851 in Mercer County, Illinois.8

Grave Marker of Mary Margaret (Noble) Falls (Contributed to FindAGrave.com by Pat Faulkner.)

We first see “[Mary] Margaret Noble” (February 2?, 18319 Indiana2–February 20, 1899 Polk County, Missouri; buried Greenwood Cemetery (Sec 5 Lot 23), Bolivar, Polk County, Missouri9) at age 19, in the household of [parents] Joseph & Ellen Noble in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census in “Township 14 N R 5 W, Mercer, Illinois,” family number 382.10

We last see Mary M. in the 1895 State Census of Belle Plaine, Benton County, Iowa, as widowed head-of-household “Mary Falls,” age 60, with her widowed mother Ellen Noble — 84 born Kentucky — the only other person in the household.11

And that takes us up to my dinner invitee, 3rd-great grandmum Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble.

Eleanor is visible in the 1850 through 1880 U.S. Federal Censuses in the household of husband Joseph Noble; seen in an (unreferenced here) 1885 Belle Plaine, Benton, Iowa State Census again with husband Joseph; is widowed in the January, 1895, household of eldest daughter Mary Margaret; and recorded buried at Winslow Cemetery, Poweshiek CountyIowa.3  But, somewhere in there, Eleanor or Ellen was born.  TO, whom?  What siblings if any, did she have?  Where were her parents from?

Dear Grandma Ellen!  It’s so good to meet you!

I hope you like chicken — I figured baked was a pretty safe choice, and, the Penzey’s Mural of Flavor seasoning I use, with, Himilayan pink salt have gone over so well with previous dinner guests.  If you’d prefer fish, though, I’ve salmon filets waiting in the fridge just in case.  Baked potatoes, salad, & rolls will round things out and, I’ve purchased wonderful mini tarts from Whole Foods Market for dessert.  Would you like some coffee or tea while we chat a bit?

I have to ask first, please, who were your parents and, what siblings did you have?

I cannot find a birth or baptism record naming your mother & father, nor a marriage record with same.  No other genealogy researchers out there — none I’ve seen anyway — has ventured a guess as to your parents and quite frankly this is just driving me nuts.  I’m lost for leads.  Please please:  tell me the answer(s) to this riddle, and then, all about your life growing up and, yours & Grampa Joseph’s together…

Grave Marker of Eleanor (Ellen) (Lemmon) Noble  (Contributed to FindAGrave.com by “The Locator.”)

_______
SOURCES
1 ” ‘Iowa, Cemetery Records, 1662-1999’ {database on-line}.  Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.  Original data:  Works Project Administration. Graves Registration Project.  Washington, D.C.:  n.p., n.d.;” “Grave Stone Records of Poweshiek, Iowa; Page Number: 536,” at https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=4711&h=388439&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=34405383952&usePUB=true , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
2 U.S. Federal Censuses of 1850:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Township 14 N R 5 W, Mercer, Illinois,” family number 382; 1860:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Township 14 N 5 W, Mercer, Illinois,” family number 1651, dwelling number 1651; 1870:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Jefferson, Poweshiek, Iowa,” dwelling number 62; 1880:  “Joseph Noble” household, “Belle Plaine, Benton, Iowa,” dwelling number 537.  All four give Ellen’s (1850, 1870) / Eleaner’s (1870) / Eleanor’s (1880) birthplace as Kentucky.  Census of 1850 notes daughter “Margaret” as born Indiana.
3 FindAGrave.com, “Eleanor ‘Ellen’ Lemmons Noble,” memorial ID 61418799, at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/61418799 , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
4 Anecdotal family knowledge.
5 U.S. Federal Census of 1900:  “Granvil S Greger” household, “Field, Jefferson, Illinois,” sheet number 12, “number of dwelling in order of visitation” 238, family number 239.  (As of Jan. 31, 2018, at Ancestry.com at, https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7602&h=78703146&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=34405382591&usePUB=true .)
6 FindAGrave.com, “Alta M Falls Greger,” memorial ID 31743986, at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/31743986 , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
7 “Iowa Department of Public Health; Des Moines, Iowa; Series Title: Iowa Marriage Records, 1880–1922,” at Ancestry.com as “Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1940,” at https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=IAMarriageRec&h=904036251&indiv=try&o_vc=Record:OtherRecord&rhSource=60716 , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
8 “Illinois State Marriage Records. Online index. Illinois State Public Record Offices,” via Ancestry.com’s, “Illinois, Marriage Index, 1860-1920” at https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=60984&h=1713482&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=34405384674&usePUB=true , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
9 FindAGrave.com, “Mary Margaret Noble Falls,” memorial ID 45374884, at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/45374884 ,  accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
10 U.S. Federal Census, 1850, “Joseph Noble” household.  Ancestry.com, at https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=8054&h=16451571&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=diana34405384674&usePUB=true , accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
11 ” ‘Iowa State Census, 1895,’ database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VT3J-TV4 : 30 June 2016), Mary Falls, Benton, Iowa, United States; citing p. 55, 1895, State Historical Society, Des Moines; FHL microfilm 1,021,711;” at FamilySearch.org, accessed Jan. 31, 2018.
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longevity — elsa (fern) walden

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 3 prompt:  Longevity.
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Can longevity mean more than simply the years an individual lives?  I think so.  I see lives remembered long after individuals are gone, as, a sort of longevity, too.

Elsa (Fern) Walden4

I think longevity when my 3rd cousin once removed, Elsa (Fern) Walden, comes to mind — born on a Wednesday afternoon at “the Plummer place” around 5:30 p.m.1 May 24, 1922 Grand River Township, Livingston County, Missouri, USA2; died November 5, 2004 at Carle Foundation Hospital3, Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois, from a head injury due to a fall2) — Elsa was the daughter of one of my Greger-side kin, Bessie Opal Gray (November 11, 1887 Sidney, Champaign County, Illinois–October 17, 1975 Champaign, Champaign County, Illinois), & Elbert Earl Walden (February 2, 1885 Hale, Livingston County, Missouri–February 13, 1927 Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri).

Cousin Elsa first came to my attention when our mutual cousin and my fellow Greger-line genealogy researcher Larry G. Greger (1944-2007; rest in peace Larry, thank you &, I love you), son of Chester H. (Chet) Greger (1902–1975) & Juanita Fancher (1912–1988), sent me a copy of Elsa’s flat-out wonderful The Waldens on Old Grand River, 1910-1927.  I could not believe the wealth of family data in her book.  Right on page two I read:

~ 1906 ~
Charlie [Charles Elmer, my 1st cousin three times removed] and Nanny [Nancy Jane (Sutton)] Greger had sold their property on the Douglas and Champaign County line in 1906, taken their two children, [Mary Ethel] Ethel and Chester [Larry G.’s father], and moved to Missouri where Charlie’s Uncle Jerome Greger [Jerome Walter (1841–1914), brother of my 2nd great-grandfather Emanuel H.] had settled.
Charlie wrote to Grandma Gray [Metta Jewell (Leeds) Purcell Greger Gray], his stepmother, and to his sister, Suda ‘Sude’ (Greger) Gray [Suda Alice], encouraging them to follow.  The Gray and Greger families had been friends in Clermont County, Ohio, as early as 1850.  The various sons and daughters had followed each other in covered wagons across the grasslands of Indiana and Illinois, with one or two continuing into Missouri.
Sude wanted to be near her brother, so Grandma Gray sold the farm south of Sidney, Illinois, and Frank [Francis Marion Cyrus (1864–1927)] and Sude Gray disposed of their farm north of Sidney and prepared to continue the westward migration, this time by rail.”1

The entire book details events in the lives of these collateral kin of mine, from flooding so bad that animals & furniture are described floating by, to an infant daughter accidentally suffocated by sleeping in her parents’ bed between them.

________________________________________________
SEGUE:  The Greger & Gray families were so close that they made for some meticulously careful genealogy sleuthing.  As Larry G. once put it in an email to me aimed at helping sort out the convolutions, “Now comes the confusing part with Greataunt Suda Greger, when she married Francis Marion Cyrus Gray.  When Metta [Leeds] married Davis Gray the father of Francis M. C. Gray who married Suda, Metta was Suda’s great cousin then became her stepmother and Suda married her stepbrother and became stepmother to Francis’ children who were Emanuel H. & Eliza Ellen Greger’s [<- my 2nd great-grandparents] great-grandchildren…  This is enough to drive you crazy, but that’s how it is or was.”  And down the rabbit hole I went, coming out the other side elucidated.  END SEGUE
________________________________________________

“Bye Bye Birdie” original playbill, 19606

The more I read Elsa Walden’s wonderfully detailed family history of the Waldens on Grand River, the more interested I became in her.  Googling, I learned that her colorful career had included a 1960 stint as Assistant Stage Manager and then Stage Manager for a Broadway stage production of “Bye Bye Birdie” featuring Dick Van Dyke.5  “The production was a Tony Award winning success in the 1960–61 season,” reads an (undated) UnderTheDuvetProductions blog post titled,”Broadway Flashback 1960: Tony Award Winning Bye Bye Birdie Starring Chita Rivera & Dick Van Dyke, Music by Charles Strouse; by Lisa Pacino.”6

In an earlier, 1957 Broadway production called “The Tunnel of Love,” Elsa was both understudy for another performer and, Assistant Stage Manager.5

Apparently as much of an Elsa Fern Walden fan as myself, and, then some, our mutual kin Anabeth Dollins has compiled extensive bio on Elsa.  Dollins lists resume content for Elsa including items as varied as stenographer, legal correspondence clerk, & secretary to, actress &, writer of “three full-length plays for stage and two film scripts, plus shorter works.”4

Elsa (Fern) Walden4

Making her live long in my mind and those of other Greger-family genealogy researchers whose lines it covers, though, will always be Elsa’s The Waldens on Old Grand River, 1910-1927.

On April 9, 1998, the Villa Grove News included this: “Thanks for the generosity of another donor the Camargo Township District Library has improved its offerings to the public.  Elsa Walden of Urbana, Illinois, a former resident of Villa Grove and a graduate of Villa Grove High School, donated the money to purchase a reader printer for the Genealogy Department.”  That same year, Elsa Walden attained DAR membership.4

Rest in peace, cousin Elsa, and, thanks for the genealogy research help!

Elsa’s grave marker7 at Villa Grove Cemetery, Villa Grove, Douglas County, Illinois:


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SOURCES
1 The Waldens on Old Grand River, 1910-1927, Elsa F. Walden, 1992.
2 Anabeth Dollins’ Penn State University personal page, “Genealogy,” at http://www.personal.psu.edu/axd2/genealogy/genWalden.html , accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
3 Champaign [IL] News-Gazette online, at www.news-gazette.com/story.cfm?Number=17084 , accessed Nov., 2004.
4 “Elsa Walden — her life : May 24, 1922 – November 5, 2004,” Anabeth Dollins, at http://www.personal.psu.edu/axd2/genealogy/WaldenElsa.html , accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
5 “Elsa Walden Broadway and Theatre Credits,” at https://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Elsa-Walden/ , accessed Jan., 2018.
6 “Under The Duvet Productions” WordPress blog post, at https://undertheduvetproductions.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/broadway-flashback-1960-tony-award-winning-bye-bye-birdie-starring-chita-rivera-dick-van-dyke-music-by-charles-strouse-by-lisa-pacino/ , accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
7 Photo of grave marker submitted to FindAGrave.com by “Tori;” see memorial (no. 86560004) at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/86560004/elsie-f-walden ; accessed Jan. 21, 2018.
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starting your family history research

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, 2018; week 1 prompt:  Start.
___
When I first delved into researching my family history, I quite literally didn’t know where to start.  This was back in the 1990s when the internet was young and, before Ancestry.com became synonomous in the minds of millions, with,genealogy research…  (And, hint:  Ancestry.com?  But one source of many, folks.)

Even now, in this age of genealogy websites all over the internet; PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow; &, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., if I bring up genealogy research — my latest discoveries, a particularly neat find — I’m met frequently with, “That sounds so fascinating but I wouldn’t know where to begin…”

First step?  S t a r t.
Beginning is mostly
a, Just Do It, kind of thing.

Start with what, though?
What you already know and, have on hand.

YOUR BEST RESOURCES INCLUDE:

FAMILY PAPERS (see gold box above)  They truly are, gold.  Scrounge for all you can find.

I will add to this one, medical records of deceased family members.  Ones I unearthed revealed trivia I’d learn nowhere else…

ELDERS IN YOUR FAMILY  That’s right; the old coots.  The furthest-out-there generations still living that you can find.  They can provide facts and, wonderful anecdotal information & stories you just will not find elsewhere.  By the time I began my research, my mother & maternal grandparents were long dead; my paternal grands were deceased; and my father had the beginnings of dementia; etc.  That made for a harder road.  Talk to those people while they are yet alive!  (Take a page from Native American culture:  Value your elders.)

They drop like flies after a certain point. 😐  For heavens sake, interview them while you can.

When I began my family research in the 1990s, my mother’s siblings were gone; my father’s, also long gone.  I did however make brief contact with a paternal aunt, Geraldine (Geri) (McGinnis) Buckner — who abruptly died (old people simply do that; be fast) after we’d exchanged a couple of letters and were in process of arranging a visit.  This experience “learned me” in regard to older kin:  Waste no time!  And, Act with expedience!  Seriously.

But before she did leave this world, Aunt Geri told me an astounding fact:
I had a paternal first cousin I was completely unaware of!  (I have a mental image of myself circa, Hmmm, 1st or 2nd grades, standing in our living room asking my father, who was virtually 100% estranged from his family, “Does Aunt Nell have any kids?”  I can still “see” the both of us — center of the room, standing to one side of the staircase — my father sort of chewing his lips and frowning slightly before answering, “No, she doesn’t.”  Well, I learned from Aunt Geri that that was a blatant fib.)

“Oh yes,” Aunt Geri told me over the phone, she in Missouri, me way up in Wisconsin, “Nell had a baby daughter.  She lost her, looked and looked for her for years & years…  It was so sad.”

My aunt Nell, only sister of my father, had a daughter; “lost” her; and, my own father somehow didn’t know of this tragedy??  (Or, had purposely kept it from me?…  Why?)

Much digging turned up a near-made-for-tv-movie type story on this very-much-not-lost, yet, only-discovered-through-genealogy-research first cousin, but, that I will save for another blog post.  Suffice it to say, you will be surprised at some of what you find in your ancestral attic.

ONLINE MESSAGE BOARDS  Without these?!  I might not have learned (so soon, anyway) that among my 6th great-granduncles is an infamous cryptid 😮 known as “the Jersey Devil.”

Third cousin once removed Larry G. Greger (1944–2007 Illinois), whom I met online in a message board and learned more of my Greger-side ancestry from than anyone or any place else since — Larry was one of those walking encyclopedia types where family history was concerned — turned me on to this fact.  (It so alarmed me when first I heard it that I would not hear, or, even peek at anything regarding it for over a year.  “Don’t start, Larry,” I would say if he tried to bring it up. 😀 )

MY ALLEGED 6TH GREAT GRANDUNCLE & LEGENDARY CRYPTID, THE JERSEY DEVIL2

This alleged offspring of my 7th Great-Grandparents Japheth Leeds, Sr. (circa 1682-’88 New Jersey–abt Feb. 5, 1735-’36 New Jersey), & Deborah Smith (abt 1685–1748 New Jersey), per the The New Jersey Historical Society, is generally traced back to my very own 7th Great-Grandmum Deborah, “who emigrated from England in the 1700s to marry a Mr. Leeds [Grampa Japheth].  The Leeds family lived in the area of the NJ Pine Barrens…  Mrs. Leeds had given birth to 12 children and was about to give birth to her 13th.  The story goes that Mrs. Leeds invoked the devil during a very difficult and painful labor and that when the baby was born, it either immediately, or very afterwards, (depending on the version of the story), grew into a full-grown devil and escaped from the house.”  Other versions of the story give variations on this account, one being that the child was born “a monster,” i.e. deformed.  “It may be that indeed Mrs. Leeds gave birth to a child with a birth defect and given the superstitions of the period, the legend of the Jersey Devil was born.  People in the 1700s still believed in witchcraft and many people of the period felt a deformed child was a child of the devil or that the deformity was a sign that the child had been cursed by God.”1

Nevertheless, “In the last 200 years or so, there have been a number of ‘sightings’ and the hearing of eerie noises/wails in the forests which have been attributed to the Jersey Devil,…”  Poor uncle. :-/  (And poor Grandmama Deborah, to go down in history so “memorably?” :-/ )1

Over the years, “People have found ‘strange’ tracks and attributed them to the Jersey Devil. One instance of such tracks was reported, (along with loud shrieks), near May’s Landing in 1960. Also in 1960, merchants in Camden offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of the Jersey Devil. They said they would build a private zoo to display the creature if anyone could capture it. The reward is unclaimed.”1

SNAIL-, E-MAIL & PHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH KIN MET ONLINE  Just invaluable.  Absolutely invaluable.

Multiple cousins from Clark & Crawford Counties, Illinois, have provided me so much background on the huge number of my Buckner kin in those areas:  from photos to anecdotal data to history to you-name-it.  From one of them I first learned of my paternal grandfather Jesse Grant (Grant) Buckner’s (1882 Illinois–1941 Missouri) orphan background, along with that of his siblings after their mother’s sudden & unexpected death.

I first learned the following factoid regarding my paternal grandfather, Jesse (Grant) Buckner and, his parents/my great-grands, from several Clark & Crawford County, Illinois, cousins met online:

…Richard and Mary Elizabeth Buckner were living on their farm between West Union and Martinsville in Clark County, Illinois…  The mother, Mary Elizabeth, became ill while visiting friends on a nearby farm on Dec. 20, 1886, and died on December 24.  [Christmas Eve.  Can you imagine?]  Dora and Lula [ages 13, &, six at the time] were taken to the home of [their maternal grandparents] Christian and Catharine Fasig.  The boys [Perry Comodore, age 11; William Frederick (Fred), age nine; Grant, age four; & Edward D. (Eddie), age two & 10 months], except Homer [six months], were taken to a soldiers orphanage at Normal, Illinois, where Edward died at the age of two.  Edward’s grave has never been located.  Homer was taken by the family of Jacob Serwise.  …”

Major genealogy data!

HISTORICAL SOCIETIES  Even teeny small ones.
&
MUSEUMS  Yes, museums.  A recreational drive in the Wisconsin countryside in 2001 took me into Mt. Horeb and into the Mt. Horeb Area Museum, such a little-bitty hole-in-the-wall at the time that I almost missed the entrance.

What did I see sitting on the counter in the museum gift shop but, the bright red cover of a Mt. Horeb-Presettlement to 1986 book.

Now, while I did know that Grandunk Dr. Homer Buckner supposedly lived & had a clinic at one time somewhere around Dodgeville or Mt. Horeb, that was the extent of my knowledge.  But serendipity led me to pick up the book; turn to the index; and look for, Buckner.  I was floored to read:

“On November 4, 1918, five Mt. Horeb businessmen went to Prairie du Sack to induce Dr. Homer M Buckner to set up an office here [in Mt. Horeb].  The prospect of having an operating room was a proposition he could not resist.  Dr. and Mrs. (Marie) Buckner arrived in Mt. Horeb on Armistice Day, 1918.  He used St. Olaf Hospital to perform many surgeries until December 1921, when he purchased the spacious three story residence at 408 East Main Street, built by Onon B. Dahle in 1895.3

“In 1922, he opened a 22 bed hospital with offices…on the first floor.  …3

“….H. M. Buckner…retained several of the elegant rooms on the first floor for living quarters for himself and his new bride, Marie Pierstoff.  His skill as a surgeon gave him a large practice and he performed major surgery as well as countless tonsillectomies, which were almost routine during that period for children with sore throats.  One pleasure that usually followed the tonsillectomy was that the patient got a malted milk, for it soothed the throat as it provided nourishment.  …3

“In 1939, the Industrial Commission complained that the hospital was not sufficiently fireproof and early in 1940 informed Dr. Buckner it could no longer function as a hospital.  Dr. Judson A Forman purchased the property for an office and consultation rooms.  Dr. Buckner moved May 1, 1940, to Dodgeville where there were hospital facilities.  …3

“….[Dodgeville’s] larger hospitals provided better facilities for his surgery.  He became especially adept at removing gall bladders.  Many of his Mt. Horeb patients continued to seek his services after the move.”3

The museum even had glassed-in “reproductions” of what his offices looked like at the time.

CENSUSES  Census images reveal more than just names.  Value of property owned; educational level; year of immigration; year of marriage:  different census years offer a variety of information.

OLD BOOKS  Googling turns up all sorts of things.

AND MANY, MANY, MORE  Imagination helps.  (Never give up.).
___
SOURCES
The New Jersey Historical Society, at http://jerseyhistory.org/legend_jerseydevil.html , accessed Jan., 2018.
2 PHOTO, the Jersey Devil:  public domain.
3 Mt. Horeb-Presettlement to 1986, Mt. Horeb (WI) Area Museum* gift shop; pages 47 & 121; 1986 softcover edition; purchased fall, 2001.  *[Now called the Driftless Historium; website, http://www.mthorebhistory.org/driftless-historium.html .]
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sunday eulogy — jett falls: killed in action, ww i

In Memoriam

“(To Jett Falls, our one-time pupil)

“Somewhere in France, where duty led,
“He fills a patriot grave.
“The lark sings high above his head,
“Only the lark knows the hallowed bed,
“Where lies our soldier brave.
“Sacred the ground where a soldier sleeps,
“Who came at his country’s call.
Onward the tide of battle sweeps,
Only the lark o’er his bosom weeps,
Yet he gave to the world his all.”
Author not named.[1]

“Jett FALLS Formal Portrait” [5]

Jett (Jetty; Johnny) FALLS (June 16, 1889 Cushman, Independence County, Arkansas, USA[2] – Nov. 5 or 6, 1918 France[3, 4]), son of Solomon FALLS Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) JOHNSON.

Medium height & build, reads Jett’s WW I Draft Registration Card dated June 5, 1917; with blue eyes and black hair.[2]  Employer at the time, the “Honey Grove Cotton Oil Co.” — aka the Lamar [County] Cotton Oil Company, Paris, Texas, where Jett works as a day laborer at the [one word, can’t read]-mill.[2]

The official Washington, D. C., telegram sent Jett’s father Solomon Falls, dated 5:14 p.m., Nov. 5, 1918, gives Jett’s death date as Nov. 6th.[3]

The Telegram From Washington [3]

A 1919 letter of sympathy from M. M. Hoffman, Jr., the Chaplain of Jett’s Division, the 359th, informs Solomon FALLS that Jett was killed at the Meuse-Verdun Sector on Nov. 5th.[4]  (No information is given as to the specifics of Jett’s death.)  A handwritten note at the bottom of the letter adds, “He is buried in this sector with a number of his companions and has a cross at his grave.”

FALLS, Jett_Lttr fr military informing his parents he's dead_Portal To Texas History

The Letter From The Chaplain [4]

Then there is the death date on Jett’s grave marker at Restland Cemetery in Roxton, Lamar County, Texas, USA, where he was later re-buried:  it reads a confusing Nov. 2, 1918.[6]  I account for the differences between the first two as perhaps, time zones??  But I don’t know how to account for the Restland Cemetery grave marker date… (?)

Reads Jett’s hometown obituary:

“Information came to Mr. and Mrs. Bud Falls last night from the War Department that their son, Jett Falls, had been killed in action, having met his death on the field of battle November 6, five days before the end of the fighting.

“Jett Falls entered the service early in the summer of last year and went to Camp Travis. Mastering the soldier’s trade, he was assigned to duty as bayonet instructor and was thus engaged when the German threat at the French capital hastened the movement overseas of America’s youg army. He was a member of Company E, 359th Infantry, a regiment of the Ninetieth division, and went to France with that now famous unit.

“Those of us who knew and loved Jett Falls, with his quiet, unassuming manner and unfailing devotion to duty are filled with sorrow, and sympathy for his stricken parents and relatives.”[1]

Photos of Jett Falls in Europe during the actual war:

“Jett FALLS By A Tunnel” [7]

“Private Jett FALLS By Public Walkway” [8]

Jett may have been a Private at the time of the above photo, but a New York newspaper has him as a Corporal at the time of his death:

PERSHING ARMY CASUALTIES
“The Globe And Commercial Advertiser, New York, Tuesday, December 17, 1918.”

“Corporals”
6th name down:
“Falls, J., Roxton, Texas”[1]

While hoping the reader isn’t o.d.-ing on all this material, the following Roxton newspaper piece, from the time of Jett’s re-burial there, is such a heart-breaker 😥 that I simply couldn’t exclude it…

“On the same evening, just after the corpse of the fair child was laid in the silent city of the dead, a flag-draped casket from foreign shores, was brought to Roxton Cemetery and Jett Falls, son of Mr. & Mrs. Solomon Falls of Paris, was laid to rest in the soil from which he went to die on a far-flung battlefield at his country’s call.  We told of Jett’s life and death when the news that he had fallen in France reached us but we feel constrained to repeat that he had been a pupil of the writer in years agone and we loved him for his manliness, his obedience, his studiousness and we grieve with his heart-broken parents and brothers and sisters and all who loved him that his young life was the price of his sacrifice to America’s needs.  Rev. Long held a brief service at the cemetery here though the funeral was held at the home of his parents in Paris.  His mother ws prostrated under the renewed grief and was unable to attend his burial.  His brothers and one sister were here and a host of friends and neighbors of the family in Paris came out with the casket.  One sister, Mrs. Bill Smith, remained with her mother and Mrs. Joe Griffin accompanied her father to the last sad rites.  May God temper the winds to the shorn lambs of His fold and make this grief less poignant with Time, the healer of all life’s ills.”[1]

Jett FALLS’ Texas Grave Marker  —  Inscription:  “A precious one from us has gone.  A voice we loved is stilled.  A place is vacant in our home  Which never can be filled.  God in his wisdom has recalled the boon his love had given.  And though the body slumbers here, the soul is safe in heaven.”[6]

Rest in peace soldier. You’re not forgotten.
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This Falls-surname line — part of my ancestry & collateral kin via my paternal great-grandmother Alta Maria FALLS, wife of Great-Grandpa Granville Smith GREGER — is often hypothesized by fellow researchers to have Scottish origins, but:  with my recent Ancestry.com DNA results of “64% Scandinavia, 15% Great Britain, 9% Ireland” (along with six other “Trace Region” amounts of from 1-to-5%), I say it’s Irish. 🙂  Just my two cents on the matter. 😉  [Jett’s blue eyes & black hair?  Irish, I declare. 😀 ]
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ENDNOTES

1. “Newspaper Clippings Relating to Jett Falls Death,” clipping, date unknown; ( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3177/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

2. “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” “Jett Falls,” Texas, Lamar County, Ancestry.com at http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=6482&h=16457679&ssrc=pt&tid=79831532&pid=180018248833&usePUB=true , accessed July 23, 2016.

3. “Western Union Telegram to Soloman Falls,” letter, date unknown;( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3188/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

4. “Letter Informing Soloman Falls of Jett Fall’s Death,” letter, 1919;( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3186/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

5. “Jett Falls Formal Portrait,” photograph, date unknown; ( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3192/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

6. FindAGrave.com memorial no. 17725812, “Jett Falls,” at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=FAL&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GSst=46&GScntry=4&GSsr=1641&GRid=17725812& , accessed July 23, 2016.  Photo of grave marker used here, contributed to FindAGrave by Deanne (Hardy) McKinney.

7. “Jett Falls by a Tunnel,” photograph, date unknown; ( texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3189/ : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.

8. “Private Jett Falls by Public Walkway,” photograph, date unknown; ( https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3191/m1/1/?q=FALLS : accessed July 23, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Euless Public Library.
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happy birthday cancer sun sign! — alta maria (falls) greger

Happy birthday cancer sun sign Alta Maria FALLS (July 10, 1864 Illinois-Oct. 13, 1934 McDonald County, Missouri; buried Anderson Cemetery, Anderson, McDonald County, Missouri).

Great-grandma Alta died before I was born.  I wish I had family stories with which to place her in my mind, but I never even knew her name ’til I began researching genealogy in the mid- to late-1990s.

Alta Maria (FALLS) GREGER [1]

Alta was the wife of my great-gramp Granville Smith GREGER (Jan. 20, 1864 Vandalia, Owen County, Indiana – Oct. 17, 1961 Kansas; Anderson Cemetery), who I did meet at about age three or four on a visit to his Missouri farm but I can’t pull up a picture.

Both Great-Grandma Alta & Great-Grampa Granville are pictured in the circa 1930 photograph below — the two older folks on either side of the picture — and it’s such a photo that I do think of Grandma Alta as “the old lady in the watermelon photo.” 😉

The Watermelon Photo [1]


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ENDNOTES

1. Family photo in possession of blog author.
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three years shy of 100: emanuel h. greger (52 ancestors no. 16)

Week 16 (Apr 16-22): Live Long
 —————————————————

Skipping collateral kin and peering back only at ancestors for this blog post, Great-Granddad Emanuel H. GREGER, living until 97 (Aug. 13, 1820 OH-Oct. 25, 1910 Sidney Twp., Champaign Co., IL; buried Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney, Champaign Co., IL)[1] appears to win the longevity ribbon in my line.

GREAT-GRAMPA EMANUEL H. GREGER’S GRAVE MARKER — Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney, Champaign Co., IL.

Emanuel H. — I have never learned what the “H” stands for — is the son of George GREGGER / GREGGOR (circa 1798 PA-ca 1869 Clermont Co., OH[2]) & Rhoda A. (Rudy) LEEDS (ca 1798 NJ-aft. Aug. 10, 1860)[3]. He married, 1st, on Nov. 24, 1843, in Clermont Co., OH, Lucinda JONES (Aug. 1, 1827-Aug., 1853; Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Clermont Co., OH), daughter of Capt. Thomas JONES (Sept. 6, 1784-Feb. 12, 1868; Hopewell Cemetery, Felicity, Clermont Co., OH).[4] He married 2nd, Oct. 24, 1854, in Clinton Co., OH, my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Eliza GRAY (Nov 11, 1825 AR, OH, or IN-abt Oct., 1900 IL),[5][6] she who is to-date among my Genealogy Brick Walls… (Who are her parents?? Please tell me if you know! 😛 )

Grandpa Emanuel farmed for a living. In an 1866 tax record he shows as owning 156 swine.

Emanuel also owned slaves, I am sad to report: three slaves show for him in the 1830 U.S. Federal Census of OH, Clermont Co., Franklin Twp.: females of 10 & under 24, 1; of 55 & under 100, 1; of one hundred & upwards, 1. Also showing, however, are, “Free Colored Persons:” males, under 10, 1; females, of 24 & under 36, 1. This intrigues me but I have no other data on it.

Although he is included on an Aug. 9, 1863,  American Civil War draft list (Seventh Congressional District; 3rd from bottom on page below) — his residence at that time Perry Twp., Clay Co., IN — I’ve not ever seen any hint that Emanuel actually served in the war.

“EMANUEL GREGOR” ON AUG. 9, 1863, AMERICAN CIVIL WAR DRAFT LIST

First wife Lucinda & Emanuel had three children together, Sylvester A. (born about 1845 OH), Ann E. (abt 1847 OH) & Allen A. (abt 1849 OH). Emanuel had four more children with 2nd wife Mary Eliza: daughters Dorcas (born about 1856 OH), Laura Belle (abt 1857), & Sarah (abt 1858 IN), and, my great-grandfather, Granville Smith GREGER (1864 IN).

From a cousin in my GREGER line — Larry G. GREGER (1944-2007) — I have this anecdotal piece on Great-Grampa Emanuel:

     “My cousin told me about a silo Emanuel built on Section 3 where he lived and that it is still standing. This I had to see for myself so my wife and I drove up to sidney to see what it looked like. I’m amazed at its size. I have not seen any silo built around this country to even come close to the size of this silo. This silo is made of concrete must be 50 feet tall probably more. I was going to take a picture of it but it is surounded by standing corn. I will get a picture of it when the corn is picked.”

At the time of his death, Emanuel H. GREGER lived in IL, Champaign Co., Sidney, his age, 90 years, two months, and 13 days. Cause of death, per his death certificate, “paralysis (general),” with, listed as “contributory,” “old age.”

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ENDNOTES

1 Death Certificate, photocopy of Emanuel H. GREGER’s, “Informant Alta KIRBY,” “Address Sidney;” in possession of Susan.

2 Birth date/place per 1850 & 1860 U.S. Federal Censuses, OH, Clermont Co., Franklin Twp. Death date/place, per Clermont Co., OH, Probate Court record of Dec. 18, 1869: probate of estate of “George GREGGER late of Clermont Co., deceased,” photocopy in my possession.

3 Birth date/place per 1850 & 1860 U.S. Federal Censuses, OH, Clermont Co., Franklin Twp. Death date, per enumeration date of 1860 U.S. Federal Census in which Rhoda shows and after which, I find nothing for her.

4 “MORROW Family,” contact, Amelia Morrow, Rootsweb World Connect Family Tree at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=aemorrow&id=I3144 , accessed Apr., 2015.

5 Fore-, middle & surname, and, birthdate per obituary summary, UrbanaFreeLibrary.org, at http://archivescatalog.urbanafreelibrary.org/polaris/search/searchresults.aspx?ctx=1.1033.0.0.2&type=Keyword&term=greger,%20mary%20eliza%20gray&by=KW&sort=RELEVANCE&limit=TOM=*&query=&page=0&searchid=3 , accessed Dec., 2014: “Obituary For Mary Eliza (Nee GRAY) GREGER Of Sidney (Date Of Birth: November 11, 1825);” “Summary: Printed In The November 8, 1900, Sidney By-Way (Page 1)…;” “Series: Newspaper Resources.”

6 Mary’s place of birth varies by U.S. Federal Census, showing twice as Arkansas: 1860 IN, Owen Co., Morgan Twp.; &, 1900 IL, Champaign Co., Sidney Village/Twp.; once as OH: 1870 IL, Champaign Co., Sidney Twp.; and, once as IN: 1880 IL, Champaign Co., Sidney Twp.

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