Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Charles Romain Brubaker

Charles Romain Brubaker, was my great-grandfather. Also known as "C.R." and "Romey" he was the son of Malissa Mariah Joslin and William Brubaker. His date of birth is not known for certain. Several records (marriage application, his father's Civil War Pension application) give his date of birth as August 15, 1871, which would be just four months after his parents married. My grandmother's notes put his date of birth as August 15, 1872. Two obituary notices, one published in Pascagoula, Mississippi where he lived at the time of his death, and the other published in Columbia City give his date of birth as August 19, 1870. His gravemarker shows that he was born August 19, 1871.

From my grandmother's autobiography we learn a little about his early life:

My father was Charles Romain Brubaker, who was born in Troy Township in Whitley County, Indiana, August 15, 1872. His father always called him Charlie and his mother called him Romey. If he had a split personality I think this may have contributed to it. He loved the farm and as a very young boy, and into manhood, he worked hard on the beloved farm that his father had bought when he returned from the Civil War. However, his mother wanted him to become a doctor and sent him to Valparaiso to college.

I do not know how long he stayed there, but long enough that his classmate, Carl Sauder, told us that he was a very bright student and might have been an excellent physician. In time he tired of college and took off for Chicago. There he worked as a newspaper reporter. He then left for the Northern Michigan lumber camps; here he was in his glory. While we children were growing up he told us many stories of his life in the lumber camp of the Indians and the rough men. He loved it all.

In the fall of 1896 he returned to the home farm. He began courting Maude Catherine Wise, against the wishes of her family. So in February 1897, he and Maude eloped and were married by a Methodist minister in Larwill. Her parents refused to let him enter the house when they came for her clothes, but they soon relented. And though they never fully approved of him, the two families were friendly for many years.

[Note: There will be some duplication in the following presentation, but I felt that Maude and Romey each deserved their own separate posts.]

Romey and Maude set up housekeeping in Huntington, Indiana. It puzzled me for a while as to why they went to Huntington, but after I realized that he had uncles and cousins that lived there it made sense. While living in Huntington, the Spanish-American War broke out and, apparently after some prodding by his mother, Romey enlisted in Company K, 160th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

From the "Record of Indiana Volunteers in the Spanish American War 1898-1899" published in 1900 by the state of Indiana:

The regiment arrived at Camp Mount April 26, 1898, under orders from the Governor, for the purpose of being mustered into the service of the United States, and, after a most rigid physical examination of both officers and men, the regiment was mustered into the volunteer service of the United States on May 12, 1898. Left Camp Mount May 16, and proceeded by rail to Camp Thomas, Chickamauga Park, Georgia, arriving there on May 18. Under orders to proceed to Porto Rico, the regiment left Camp Thomas on July 28 and arrived at Newport News, Virginia, on July 30, the orders for the regiment to proceed to Porto Rico having been countermanded the regiment left Newport News on August 21 and proceeded to Camp Hamilton, Lexington, Kentucky, where it arrived on August 23. Left Camp Hamilton November 9, and arrived at Columbus, Georgia, November 11, 1898. On January 15, 1899, the regiment was ordered to proceed, in three sections, to Matanuzas, Cuba, where they were united on January 27, and went into camp. The regiment remained in Cuba until March 27, when they were ordered to proceed to Savannah, Georgia, to prepare for muster-out. They arrived in Savannah March 29, and were mustered out and discharged April 25, 1899.

In Cuba. Between January 27 and March 27, 1899. Romey Brubaker is the second man from the right (leaning on the table).

My grandmother wrote about her father's experiences while in service, I too wish that she could have remembered more stories.

We children heard many exciting stories of his experiences in Cuba. I only wish that I could remember more of them, but this was my favorite. Papa was out "scouting" in the jungle. He heard a voice call "Hello". He crept on his knees closer and closer to the voice. Then to his everlasting embarrassment, he saw a parrot, one that had possibly been trained to speak and had escaped into the wild. The parrot was with several wild ones and seemed to be trying to teach them to speak English.

Later, he contracted Malaria Fever, so prevalent in the swampy country. He was taken to the hospital where Catholic Nuns were the nurses. He was very sick and they put him into a ward reserved for the dying, when he made a miraculous recovery. He always praised these wonderful women whom he credited for saving his life.
When Romey returned home after his year in service he joined his wife at the Goose Lake farm where she had been living with his parents. Over the next few years, they moved around quite a bit. Their first child, John Wise Brubaker was born February 16, 1901 and died a few days later. They then moved to Lorain, Ohio where Romey's aunt Rose Zinsmeister and his uncle Harry Wise also lived. My grandmother, Hazlette, was born there on January 16, 1902 but within six months they returned to Whitley County.

Two more children would be born to Romey and Maude: Choella Jane on April 14, 1903 and on February 22, 1905 William Hale. Grandma lost track of how many times the family moved. As she said "I'm not sure why but we would be at the farm for a while then move some place else." After the birth of little Billy, Maude was a semi-invalid. They moved to Columbia City where, according to my grandmother, Romey started a rug weaving factory.

I don’t remember the first house but Papa started a rug-weaving factory in a small building. He had a couple of looms and had Horty Bills work with him in making carpets. Some were made of rags, which had been sewed into long strips. They were woven with rug cord into long sections then sewn together to make the correct width and length. The other loom took ingrain carpeting (old) and made it into a fluffy kind of carpet. I wish I knew the process but whatever it was it became obsolete when oxminster carpeting became in vogue. It seemed to do well and we moved into a three-story brick house on North Line Street; it is still standing. He put his looms in the basement and did very well, I think. After a time Papa sold his looms and took a job of some kind and we moved to a little house on North Elm Street. Then we moved into Sanford Tinkham's home. There Papa baked our bread, did our laundry, etc. and helped Sanford at his sawmill. This was a house in the woods and the sawmill was in the center of the wood.

Now Papa had the wanderlust again, and as soon as Mama was able to care for herself he moved the family back to Grandma Brubaker's, he went to Traverse City, Michigan. He got a job and rented a house and soon we were on our way again. Our first home was on Peninsula Avenue, facing the Grand Traverse Bay.

I know that Papa worked at different things while we were there. He was very mechanically inclined and could do almost anything. Papa worked in an Oval Dish Factory. They made the little wooden dishes that were used to put lard, peanut butter, etc. in at the grocery stores. He received $1.00 per day and worked six days a week, twelve hours a day. In fact, we hardly ever saw him except on Sundays.

Papa left the Oval Dish factory after a time and worked for the City Transportation. They had purchased some kind of streetcars and Papa operated one of them. It was just a big automobile like affair with seats, something like the first school busses. Papa was a good mechanic and liked this job. He also worked at the Yacht Club repairing motors in the launches for a time; I think he was doing this when we left.

There were bad times there too. Papa and Jack Smith came home one night, late and intoxicated. Sometimes Papa became very abusive to Mama when he was drunk. And this was the very worst time of all. I ran across the street and told Mr. Giadop that my Papa was sick and to please go to him. I guess he really settled him down, Papa walked all night. When he came home there was a bad mark on his head where I had hit him with a stove poker, but he never knew that I had done it. It hadn't helped at all and it always hurt me to know that I'd injured my beloved Papa.

After we had been in Traverse City some time the folks bought a house at 838 State Street. This was a nice little house, about one block from the Bay, near the school. One night in mid-December 1910 a telegram came that changed all our lives. Uncle Hale, Papa's only brother, had died of pneumonia in New York City where he was attending Columbia University. This death was a terrible shock and grief to my parents as they both loved him so much. Papa and Mama were both terribly grieved... Papa never went back to Michigan. Several weeks later Mama went to Traverse City, settled affairs there and packed our household goods and had them shipped to Columbia City. Papa picked them up in a dray (horse and wagon) and we got settled back on the farm where we were determined to stay for several years.
In the spring of 1911, Romey's parents moved to Columbia City and left Romey to run the Goose Lake Farm. A young boy, Orville Day, was hired to help him, so my grandmother notes:

After Orville came, Papa began to raise tomatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower. He also tried onions. These crops he planned to take to Fort Wayne and sell at the Farmer's Market. He got a contract from Sears Company for the cauliflower. This one year he had a beautiful crop, about one acre. The plants were set out by hand, kid's hands, and it was hard work. We even tied up the plants so the cauliflower wouldn't sunburn. Sears reneged on the contract and all that hard work and money went down the drain.

This was what happened to much of Papa's farming. He stocked up on dairy cattle, and they got some kind of disease and had to be killed. About this time Papa got sick and was covered with boils and seemed to be out of his mind some of the time. The cattle probably had undulant fever and so Papa had that too. After feeling he was a complete failure, he rented the place to Uncle Harl and we moved to North Webster.
It was in 1917 that the family moved to North Webster. I'm not sure how long they stayed there, but it wasn't long before they were back in Columbia City. But all was not well. A notice in the Columbia City Post dated January 15, 1919 states that they were separated on September 15, 1917 and she filed for divorce which was granted on April 13, 1921. Amongst the causes for the separation and divorce were charges of non-support, intoxication, and squandering an inheritance. What it doesn't tell is that there are always two sides to every story, and we've never heard his.

I don't know if Romey waited until after the divorce or not, but he moved to Jackson County, Mississippi, living for a while in Moss Point and later in Pascagoula. According to the newspaper article about the divorce, Romey had enlisted in the Army during World War I. His gravemarker states that he served during both the Spanish-American War and WWI, the 1930 census says he was a veteran of the World War, and two out of three obituary notices also confirm his service, so I have no reason to doubt that it is true, I just haven't found any official document of his WWI service.

Why he went to Mississippi isn't known. I can only guess that perhaps he was stationed there during his time in service during WWI. Romey was married to Viola Fagan on April 1, 1923, he was 51, she was 33 years old and the mother of a six year old girl, Kathleen. The 1930 census gives his occupation as Laborer, Gardening. Based upon his previous work history, he could have been a general laborer, a handyman, a "jack-of-all-trades" who could perform nearly any kind of work that was needed.

Charles Romain Brubaker passed away on December 19, 1945 at the veteran's hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi at the age of 74. His wife, Viola, would live another 30 years, passing away on April 11, 1977.

Photo identified only as "Summer of 1925 - Aunt Bet and Jane." On the left is Aunt Bet (Henrietta Rebecca Dunfee). Jane Brubaker is peeking over the shoulder of the man. From other family pictures, I believe the man is Charles Romain Brubaker and the woman is probably his wife, Viola Fagan Brubaker.

During the last week of June 2003, my mother and I took a trip to Mississippi and Louisiana. We stopped in Moss Point and Pascagoula for a couple of days. We found the courthouse, the library, and the cemetery where Romey and Viola are buried. From Viola's obituary I got the correct married name of her daughter, Kathleen Langley. She would be 85 years old. I looked her up in the phone directory and made the call. The number had been disconnected.

Then I did something I had never done before. I contacted the funeral home that had made the arrangements for Viola. It was then that I learned that Kathleen had died just a few months before, on April 10th. The funeral home director put me in touch with her lawyer's office and we paid them a visit. We spoke with the attorney, I told him who I was and that I was looking for information on and pictures of Romey. He said there were pictures in the estate, which was due to be auctioned off in the next couple of weeks but he thought he could get copies made first. He didn't have time right then to go check and we had to leave the next day. I called him when I got home, several times, but each time the lawyer was unavailable and he never returned my calls.

Kathleen was the widow of Owen Langley and didn't have any children. If there were any pictures of Romey in her estate, they are now in the hands of strangers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Maude and Romey

Maude Catherine Wise Brubaker Yontz, my great grandmother, was the daughter of William Pythagrus and Sophia Dunfee Wise. She and her twin brother, Maurice James, were born on December 9, 1877 in Whitley County, Indiana. Maude passed away February 14, 1953 and was buried on my 5th birthday (so my mother has told me a zillion times, at least).

Maude lived with her parents and siblings on the family farm in Troy Township until her marriage on February 7, 1897 to Charles Romain "Romey" Brubaker who was born August 19, 1871 and was the son of William and Malissa Joslin Brubaker. He was 25 years old and she was 19. According to my grandmother, they eloped because her parents didn't approve of him. He didn't have a "steady" job and had a bit of wanderlust. He had lived in Chicago for a short time and in northern Michigan. I imagine they didn't think he could provide for her. When Maude and Romey went to her home to get her clothes and other things, her parents wouldn't let him in their house. Eventually, they accepted him but never did fully approve of him.

My grandmother wrote that "Romey and Maude set up housekeeping in Huntington, Indiana. They were very happy and carefree for a time. Then came the Spanish American War. Romey just didn't have a thought about enlisting; it seemed just a very small affair. But one day his mother drove down to Huntington and demanded that he enlist. She told him that his father would disown him if he didn't. Well, he enlisted and was soon in Cuba. He was a mess sergeant." [Updated 04/30: There is a separate post about Romey and some of his exploits.]

She continues, "While Romey was in the service of his country, Maude was trying to live her life as best she could. Mama was a very small girl, weighing only 98 pounds when she married and only 89 pounds while Papa was in the army. She was a brunette and very attractive. Mama had gone to live with Papa's parents. She and Grandma Brubaker never got along as both of them had terrible tempers. As she had very little to keep her busy, Mama got a job selling books about the Civil War so that she could be on her own some of the time. She always enjoyed meeting people and this was good therapy for her as she missed her husband so very much."

"In due time Papa came home; they lived on the farm at Goose Lake and Grandpa and Grandma moved into Columbia City where Uncle Hale entered high school. In February 1901, Mama gave birth to a little premature boy. John Wise Brubaker he was named but he lived only one week. He died in Mama's arms, this was a shock to Mama and she would talk of it for years. They buried him in Scott Cemetery just north of the schoolhouse where they both had gone to school. It is only about one mile from the farm."

Soon after the death of their little son, Maude and Romey moved to Lorain, Ohio where Maude's brother, Harry Wise, and their aunt, Rose Wise Zinsmeister, and their families lived. It was there that their second child, Hazlette Aileen, was born on January 16, 1902. She was also born premature, weighing only 2 1/2 pounds. When she was 6 months old, the family moved back to Whitley County. They lived on a small farm located a bit south of the Goose Lake farm. The following year, on April 14, 1903 another daughter, Choella Jane, was born. Not quite two years later, and a move to yet another farm, their fourth and last child, William Hale, was born on February 22, 1905.

Maude had some medical problems after the birth of William Hale and the family moved into Columbia City. The family moved a lot. They would live in a house for a few months then move to another, for no apparent reason. Maude was quite ill for several years and would have surgery in the spring of 1907. When she got out of the hospital they moved again, to another farm. During her illness Romey had been the dutiful husband - he had kept house, taken care of Maude and the children, and saw to their needs. But after Maude recovered from the surgery, he moved the family back to the Goose Lake farm then took off for Traverse City, Michigan. He had been there before they were married and liked the area. He rented a house, got it furnished, and sent for Maude and the children. My grandmother wrote of her memories of their time at Traverse City. It was an idyllic time, interrupted occasionally with a dose of reality.

On December 14, 1910 their world changed. They received a telegram that Romey's brother, Maurice Hale, had died of pneumonia while attending the Law College of Columbia University in New York City. The family left immediately for Whitley County, taking only what they could carry in their suitcases. Maude would return later to deal with their household goods, as reported in the Columbia City Post on Saturday January 14, 1911: "Mrs. C.R. Brubaker, who went to Traverse City, Michigan, to look after the shipment of the household goods, was stormbound for three days and did not arrive here until Wednesday. A great snow storm was raging in northern Michigan. The C.R. Brubaker family will make their home with his father, Wm. Brubaker in Troy township."

At the Goose Lake Farm, about 1914: Thornton Brubaker (sitting on the stump, half-brother of William Brubaker), Jane, Orville Day (a hired man), Maude, Billy, Hazlette, Spot, and Charles Romain Brubaker.

So it was that the family returned to the Goose Lake farm. In the spring of 1911, William and Malissa moved to Columbia City leaving Romey to manage the farm. He must have liked it there, or perhaps had some sense of responsibility, for he and his family remained on the farm for six years. In her autobiography, grandma wrote quite a bit about their time at the farm. After several business deals went bad, they moved to North Webster in neighboring Kosciusko County. The farm was leased for a while to Uncle Harlow Barber (Maude's brother-in-law) but later sold. I'm not sure how long they lived in North Webster, probably just a few months. At any rate, they moved to Columbia City after leaving North Webster.

According to an article in the Columbia City Post dated January 15, 1919 Maude and Romey separated on September 15, 1917:
Maud Brubaker, who is now living on the south side, filed suit in the circuit court Monday for divorce from her husband, Charles R. Brubaker, better known in this city as Romey Brubaker. Her attorneys are Gates & Whiteleather.

She sets out in her complaint that they were married February 7, 1897, and that they separated on September 15, 1917. Her first cause for complaint is non-support, she is alleging that the defendant refused to support her and her children.

She charges further that the defendant was intoxicated most of the time. She avers that three years ago he inherited property worth four thousand dollars but that he squandered it on drink. That there were times when he would leave the house and be gone for several days and that she knew nothing about his whereabouts. That he would often bring liquor into the presence of his wife and children and that when the plaintiff objected he swore and cursed her; that he often brought friends home and would drink with them and that when she objected he said he could bring anyone he wished home and drink what he pleased. Then he enlisted in the army and that during that time she received the government allowance, but that since the time he was discharged he refused to support his wife. That the plaintiff was the owner of real estate in Troy township which was heavily encumbered and that the defendant refused to join with her in a deed so that she could sell the same. She asks for absolute divorce and the control and custody of her children.
They must have reconciled their differences, at least for a year or so - Charles and Maude were enumerated together, along with the children, on Line Street in Columbia City in the 1920 census. Records show that they were divorced on April 13, 1921.

Romey moved to Pascagoula, Mississippi. I haven't found his World War I service records yet or even a mention of it in the local newspapers, but I think he must have been stationed in Mississippi during his time in service. That's the only reason I have come up with for his moving there. On April 1, 1923 he married Viola Fagan. Romey remained in Pascagoula the rest of his life, although he did return to Whitley County at least once to visit his mother. He passed away on December 19, 1945 at the Veteran's Hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Maude remained in Columbia City where, on January 30, 1922 she married Joseph Yontz. My mother and her sisters have fond memories of visiting Maude and Joe. Aunt Phyllis says they were a very happy couple and were wonderful grandparents. Joe passed away on December 9, 1948. Maude would live another four years, passing away on February 14, 1953 of complications from diabetes.
Maude and her 2nd husband, Joseph Yontz. They were married January 30, 1922 when she was 44 years old and he was 50. This could be their wedding picture.

One of the things that always confused me was when mom and her siblings spoke of Maude they always called her "Grandma Bill." Mom explained that one day Maude and her son, Bill, came to visit. The kids all ran out yelling "Grandma" and "Uncle Bill" over and over, until it became "Grandma Bill" and the name stuck. From that day forward, she was always Grandma Bill. And Joseph Yontz was Grandpa Joe.

Maude and her granddaughter, Phyllis Phend, 1924.

Twenty years or so later, about 1945-46, four generations. Phyllis Phend Mitchell, her children Mike and Kathy, with Gram "Bill" (Maude Wise Brubaker Yontz) and her daughter, Gram Dunn (Hazlette Brubaker Phend Dunn).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Double Portrait - Robison Family

Inspired by Tim Agazio's family portrait with pictures in the picture, I thought I'd share this one from my grandmother's files (though his is much more interesting!).

It shows Lucy Strait Robison and her husband, Henry Robison Jr. The pictures on the wall are of their daughters Ella and Ida. The photo of Ida has what looks like a lace cloth draped over one corner - Ida passed away on November 22, 1899 at the age of 27. The picture isn't dated but it would have to be early 1900s since Henry died December 7, 1904 and Lucy passed away on January 26, 1907.

What is of most value to me about this picture though is the caption that was written on the back. "Uncle Henry and Aunt Lucy Robison my angle Mothers brother" - "Malissa" - and upside down "My uncle & aunt Henry & Lucy Robison"

"Malissa" is Malissa Joslin Brubaker, my 2nd great grandmother, and this is the only "link" we currently have to the parents of her mother Lydia Robison who married Lysander Price Joslin.

The parents of Henry and Lydia Robison were Henry and Anna Robison. The death record for Henry Jr. gives his mother's maiden name as McMorron.Henry Sr. and Anna came to Whitley County, Indiana between 1840 and 1850 from Champaign County, Ohio. The will of Henry Sr. dated August 8, 1851 only lists three children: Eliza Jane, Henry, and Emily but census records indicate there may have been five children; the two older children were married at the time of Henry's death, probably in 1852. Anna "disappears" after the sale of their land in August 1855. More research (a lot more) is needed on this family!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gentleman Farmer

1921. Thagrus Burns.

Relationship: My 1st cousin twice removed.

Thag was the son of Harlow and Hazlette Wise Burns. Hazlette was the sister of my great grandmother, Maude Wise Brubaker. Thag was named after his grandfather, William Pythagrus Wise.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Little Billy

My grandmother's brother, William Hale Brubaker, 2 years old, February 1907.

Traits and Talents! Who has what?

Family Traits. That's the topic of the Carnival of Genealogy, 46th Edition posted by Jasia. Bushy eyebrows, love of reading, pack rats, crooked fingers, and not-so-big big toes. What other unique traits and unusual talents have been revealed? To see who has what, you'll have to go to the carnival.
The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: A Place Called Home. It's time for a geography lesson. Pick out a city/town/village where one of your ancestors once lived and tell us all about it. When was it founded? What is it known for? Has is prospered or declined over the years? Have you ever visited it or lived there? To a certain extent, we are all influenced by the environment we live in. How was your ancestor influenced by the area where they lived? Take us on a trip to the place your ancestor called home. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2008.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Two Poems in My Pocket

Lisa has challenged bloggers to post their favorite poems today (April 17th) for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

There are two poems that I have carried in my wallet since the late 1960s. One of them I've written about before in Two roads diverged... and the other is "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley. It's a little embarrassing to admit that, until a few minutes ago, I didn't know anything about Mr. Henley, only that his words "spoke" to me and they helped me through more than a few rough spots in my life. Invictus was reportedly written in 1875 while Mr. Henley was in the hospital recovering from the amputation of one of his legs just below the knee. He had suffered with tuberculosis of the bone since the age of twelve.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbow'd.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Why I am the way I am?

Thanks to a suggestion by Lisa Alzo, the topic for the Carnival of Genealogy this time around is "What traits run in your family?" My family is more or less normal, whatever that is. So there is nothing extremely unusual or out of the ordinary, but this is probably more than you really ever wanted to know about us.

Physical characteristics.
  • The women were/are short. At 5'6" I'm the second tallest of my female cousins/relatives. The men stand taller, from about 5'10" to a bit over 6' in height, with a couple cousins and their kids in the 6-4 to 6-6 range.
  • Many of us are what you might call stout or, as my mother says, pleasingly plump. We got a double-dose, from both sides of the family.
  • Brown and hazel eyes are predominate, though mine are blue.
  • Dark hair also dominates, though my hair is blonde and starting to return to its original color, white.
  • My brothers and male cousins on my mom's side of the family are plagued by baldness.
  • It seems like we all wear glasses or have contacts. Several of us have had lasik surgery to be rid of the glasses but the years creeping up on us have meant a return to reading glasses.
  • Eyes in the back of your head? Not me, but my mother had the ability to know what we (us kids) were doing day and night, whether at home or not.
Health related issues.
  • Diabetes runs in both sides of the family including Dad, all of his siblings, and his father; my sister and one of my brothers has been diagnosed as has my mother and two of her sisters.
  • Longevity - especially from mom's lines - her dad lived to the day before his 98th birthday and her mother was 82 when she passed, quite a few ancestors lived beyond their 80th year - I was amazed at how many that lived in the 17th and 18th centuries made it into their 70s, 80s and even 90s.
  • No one that I know of in the last 5 generations of ancestors has had heart problems or died of heart disease, except my Dad.
  • My grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker Phend, was a stubborn lady who just didn't ever give up, a trait that has been passed down to more than one of her children and grandchildren. My mother and I are both stubborn women, which has, to say the least, caused a few conflicts. But I eventually learned that it occasionally pays more to "give in" at certain times; some things aren't worth the conflict. You have to pick your "battles" carefully and know when it is really important. I'd say I'm still a stubborn and determined person but not near as much as my mother, or my brothers!
  • In the summertime you could always find Grandpa Vic out in the garden. He totally loved working the soil, planting the seeds, hoeing the weeds, and sharing the fruits of his labor. He gave away most of what he grew. In addition to the vegetable garden he also had flower gardens. Growing up and living in a rural community, my family always had a garden and of course us kids had to help with it. I enjoyed it but my brothers didn't care too much for the work. I've had a garden since 1986, except for the last two years when I moved into an apartment. But I've planted some flowers in the little 8 x 10 space allowed for it and have some indoor plants that seem to be doing quite well.
Restaurants. Restaurants? Can working in restaurants be an inherited trait? Probably not, but it did run in the family.
  • My great grandmother, Maude, and her second husband Joe Yontz had a restaurant in Columbia City in the 1930s. Maude's brother Maurice Wise owned restaurants in Elkhart, Indiana and Sturgis, Michigan in the 1930s and 1940s. Grandma's brother, Bill Brubaker started working in a restaurant in Elkhart in the late 1920s and owned his own from 1927 to 1974. My grandmother managed a restaurant at Five Points in Fort Wayne for several years before opening her own restaurant "The Dairy Bar" in North Webster in the 1960s. That was my first "real" job and I worked there all through high school. My mom worked there also, as did several of my cousins. One of my cousins managed a restaurant for a few years in the 1980s. The son of another cousin tried his hand at it a few years ago, and a son of yet another cousin is currently the manager of a steak-house style restaurant and has been for about 15 years.
The desire to win.
  • Playing games in our family wasn't always fun. We all wanted to win, but as everyone knows, in order for there to be winners there have to be losers somewhere along the way. Mom always said we got that trait from Dad but I remember sitting at the table while mom and dad and my aunt and uncle played euchre or pinochle. It was almost always the men against the women and I could see that mom really, really enjoyed it when she triumphed over dad. So I'd have to say the desire to win came from both sides and having a double-whammy of that trait can sometimes lead to dangerous territory.
And then, there is that procrastination thing.
  • I don't know where that comes from! It's not too bad though. I did mail my taxes last Friday. And this post is being submitted before the deadline. But it has gotten worse since retirement. You know, more time, I can always do it later (whatever "it" is). I mean, I'm not doing nothing. I am doing something, just not necessarily what I should be doing. Oh well, things will get done when they get done!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The William Hale Brubaker Family

William Hale Brubaker, born February 22, 1905, was the fourth and last child of Charles Romain and Maude Catherine Wise Brubaker. The family was living in Troy Township, Whitley County at the time. In less than two years the family would move to Traverse City, Michigan where they would live for about three years. In December 1910, when Charles' younger brother Maurice Hale Brubaker, passed away the family returned to Whitley County. They lived at the Goose Lake Farm until about 1918 when they moved into Columbia City.

Bill, as he was more commonly known, married Fern Flossie Rohn on January 5, 1924 in Hillsdale, Michigan. He was 18 years old and she was 16. They moved to Elkhart, Indiana where his uncle Maurice Wise was living. I'm not sure when Bill bought his first restaurant. His obituary stated that he was the owner and operator of Tyler Lunch restaurant from 1927 to 1965 but the 1930 census gives his occupation as a cook in the restaurant industry. That restaurant and the second one he owned, called "Bill's Restaurant" which he owned from 1966 to 1974, were both open only for breakfast and lunch; they closed for the day at 2 p.m. and were opened at 5 a.m. every morning.

Bill and Fern were the parents of three children; Gene, Mary Lee and Glea. Fern passed away on June 14, 1973. The following year Bill sold the restaurant and moved to Orlando, Florida. He died on April 21, 1979 at the home of his daughter in Orlando.

Bill and his family probably came to North Webster to visit my grandmother, there are several pictures of them at her house, but I don't know if we were ever there when they visited, except for one time. I don't remember it but a picture shows that I was there, along with all my cousins. Give me a break, please, it was 1965 and I was a teenager!

Fast forward to July of 2002 when I received an email from a friend that worked at the Whitley County Historical Museum. She had been contacted by someone wanting information on the Brubaker family and she was aware that I had Brubaker's in my family. Long story, short, I made contact and it was the wife of one of Bill's grandson, we'll call them Dick and Jane. Jane was hoping to gather enough information on the Brubaker family to present to Dick as a gift for his birthday that fall. Of course, I sent her the information and we made arrangements to meet.

In October 2002, Dick and Jane came to visit me and they met my mother and her sisters and brother. Now, when you get my Mother and her siblings all together, following conversations can be difficult, and this occasion was no different. There were ten people in the room but five conversations going on at the same time! Aunt Phyllis had brought some pictures of Bill's family to share with them, many which they had never seen. I'm sure that by the time Dick and Jane left they were overwhelmed by it all. I've kept in contact with them via email since then and someday hope to meet with them again.

William Hale Brubaker with his son Gene who was only six days old, according to the writing on the edge of the picture. If so, it would be August 24, 1925. The little girl is Phyllis Phend.

Four Generations - sort of - The baby, Gene Brubaker, is being held by his great grandfather William P. Wise. Then it's William's daughter, Maude Wise Brubaker and her son William Hale Brubaker. Not dated, probably 1925-26.

William Brubaker Family. Fern, Gene, Bill, Glea, and Mary Lee. Not dated, probably 1937-38.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Go Fly A Kite!

Yesterday the temperature jumped into the low 70s, the sun was shining, blue skies. Then the clouds rolled in. High winds. Thunderstorms. Buckets of rain. We were lucky where I live, the storms did little damage. My brother lives in Minnesota and they got about a foot of snow. Today, it is cold, windy, rainy, and dreary outside.

But it is springtime, and with the winds and warmer temperatures, it is a perfect time for kite flying. I remember when I was (much) younger, we would buy those cheap little kites from the dime store and a roll of string. More often than not, the kite would be lost the first day, when the string broke. The kite would either soar into the sky and be carried away or it would be dashed to the ground and broken. Fun and disappointment rolled into one. That's life.

A couple of years ago I saw a program on television about kite flying, but these were not the same kind of kites we flew as kids. These were big, I mean huge! It was amazing how they were able to maneuver the kites. Today, on Gadling, they posted a YouTube video by Rob & Shine that was shot during the Washington State International Kite Festival. It's about 4 1/2 minutes long, but very relaxing...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Guest Blogger on "Shades of the Departed"

It is an honor and a pleasure to have been selected as the first guest blogger in the "Friday From The Collectors" series over on Shades of the Departed, a relatively new blog authored by "The Collector," whom we also know as footnoteMaven. There are only a few posts on "Shades" now, but the blog is going to become an awesome resource for helping you to date some of those old photographs.

I hope you enjoy my contribution at Friday From The Collectors - A Moment In Time.

And, thank you, fM for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Tip of the Hat

There is no date on this photograph, but it has been identified as Carrie Alexander. It was taken at the Siegel Cooper photo studio in Chicago. The Siegel, Cooper & Co. discount department store was established in 1887. [1]

Caroline Jane Alexander, known as Carrie, was born November 18, 1868 in Washington Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Carrie was a sister of my Great-Grandmother Amanda Minerva Alexander Wiseman. Carrie married John Franklin Roath on July 8, 1884 and they had three daughters: Jessie, Leah, and Ruby. My grandparents, Charles and Elsie Shuder Wiseman, would name two of their daughters Jessie and Leah. Prior to 1900 they moved to Anderson, Indiana and later to Dayton, Ohio. Carrie and John would divorce and Carrie would later marry Perry Martin Comfort. One of my dad's brothers was named Perry Martin Comfort Wiseman! Carrie Alexander Roath Comfort died in 1930 in Dayton, Ohio.

[1] Chicago History Website

footnoteMaven has a list of other bloggers who have posted on the topic that was started by Laura Crawley with her post From The Ministry Of Silly Hats.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm a ;

Lori Thornton started this little meme off with her post Which Punctuation Mark Are You?

You Are a Semi-Colon

You are elegant, understated, and subtle in your communication.

You're very smart (and you know it), but you don't often showcase your brilliance.
Instead, you carefully construct your arguments, ideas, and theories รข€“ until they are bulletproof.

You see your words as an expression of yourself, and you are careful not to waste them.

You friends see you as enlightened, logical, and shrewd.
(But what you're saying often goes right over their heads.

You excel in: The Arts

You get along best with: The Colon

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Twins in the family - Maude and Maurice Wise

This picture shows my Great-Grandmother Maude Wise Brubaker Yontz and her twin brother Maurice James Wise.

They were born on December 9, 1877 in Whitley County, Indiana. There is no date written on the back so I don't know when the picture was taken but based on several other photographs of Maude, it was probably in the mid-late 1920s. Maurice died on July 25, 1943 in an automobile accident in Elkhart, Indiana. He was 65 years old.

This is a very nice picture but it has an amusing aspect as well, at least to me. Looking at this picture, you wouldn't know that Maude stood just a little over 5 feet tall, perhaps 5'3" at the most, while Maurice was 6'2" tall (according to my mother). You can distinctly see the height difference in the Wise family photograph included in the biography of their parents, William P. Wise and Sophia Dunfee. (Scroll about halfway down the page.)

At the time of his death, Maurice was living at 103 North Nottawa Street in Sturgis, Michigan and was the owner of the Wise Restaurant in Sturgis. His obituary said he was active in civic affairs at Sturgis and had been living there for six years. Again, according to my mother, Maurice had never been married and didn't have any children. I really don't know any more about him, I'll have to ask my mother and her sisters again, but in the past all they have said is that he owned a restaurant and was much taller than his twin sister.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Rev up the engines and head on down the road...

Jasia has posted the Carnival of Genealogy, 45th Edition! With 36 participants, some with multiple submissions, and several first-timers, this is the biggest COG ever. I'm always amazed at the variety of the articles in the COG and how everyone has a different take on the topic. It will take some time to get through all of the posts, but, believe me, they are well worth it. Some great reading! Whew, and thanks to Jasia for writing interesting introductions and putting it all together.

And, of course, Jasia has announced the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy:
What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit? Do you have your mother's blue eyes? Your grandfather's stubbornness? Your aunt's skill with knitting needles? Is there a talent for music in your family? Or do you come from a long line of teachers? Have you ever looked at an old photo and recognized your nose on another family member's face? Tell us all about your family traits and please submit your articles by the deadline, April 15th (no inheritance taxes will be assessed ;-) . Thanks to Lisa Alzo for the topic suggestion!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Harry H. Wise and Family

The Harry Wise family, about 1916 or 1917
Wayne, Emma, William, Gladys, Harry, and Kenneth

Harry H. Wise, son of William P. Wise and Sophia Dunfee, was born on August 10, 1874 in Whitley County, Indiana. He died on November 29, 1938 in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio at age 64, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio.

Harry married Emma Klieman. She was born on August 6, 1881 in Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Michigan and died on October 17, 1952 in Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio at age 71. She was buried next to her husband, Harry Wise, in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio.

His obituary was published in the Columbia City Post (Whitley County, Indiana) on November 29, 1938.

Harry H. Wise, 64, native of Thorncreek township, died today of heart trouble, at his home in Loraine, Ohio, after an illness of two weeks, according to a message received today by his two sisters, Mrs. Jos. Yontz, of this city, and Mrs. Harlo Burns, of Troy township.

Mr. Wise, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Wise, of Whitley county, located in Ohio forty-four years ago. For forty years he had been district agent for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and during that time has maintained offices in Lorain.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Emma Wise, a native of Mount Clemons, Mich., and three sons, William, a druggist, Dr. Wayne Wise, a chiropodist, and Kenneth; and a daughter, Gladys, now married, a former teacher, all of Lorain. Besides the two sisters residing here, Mr. Wise is survived by a brother, Morris, residing in Sturgis, Mich.

Funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon at 2 0'clock in Lorain and committal services will be held there. Mrs. Yontz will be unable to attend the funeral rites of her brother because of illness which has confined her to her home in this city.

His obituary was also published in The Lorain Journal (Lorain County, Ohio) on 29 Nov 1938.

Harry H. Wise, 64, 901 7th-ct., prominent Lorain Insurance agent, died this morning at his home following a brief illness. Born in Indiana, Wise came to Lorain in 1895. He was appointed the first paid driver of the Lorain fire department in March, 1901, stationed at No. 1 station.

Leaving the fire department after nearly six years of service, he went into the real estate business for a short time and then into the insurance business, in which he had been engaged for the past 30 years. Wise was connected with the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. at the time of his death. He was an active member of the Christian temple and Woodland lodge Knights of Pythian.

Survivors are his wife, Emma, to whom he was married Jan. 1, 1900; three sons, William, Amherst; Kenneth and Wayne, Elyria; one daughter, Mrs. Gladys Stegall, Mt. Vernon; one brother, Morris, Sturgis, Mich.; and two sisters, Mrs. Harl Burns, Etna, Ind., and Mrs. Joseph Yontz, Columbia City, Ind. Eight grandchildren also survive.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Sidney B. Royce funeral home with Rev. B. H. Linville, pastor of the Christian Temple, officiating. Burial will be in Elmwood cemetery. The body will be take to the home tomorrow.

Emma's obituary was published in The Lorain Journal (Lorain County, Ohio) on 18 Oct 1952.

Mrs. Emma Wise, widow of the late Henry [sic] Wise, a Lorain insurance agent for many years, died last night at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred Steagall, Mr. Vernon. She was 71. She had been ill for several months and had just recently moved into Mrs. Steagall's home.

Mrs. Wise was a member of the Christian Temple, and is survived by two sons, William, Lorain, and Wayne, Elyria, in addition to Mrs. Steagall.

The body is at the Thompson Funeral Home, where services will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. Rev. Wood B. Cundiff will officiate. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery.

The family of Harry Wise was located Lorain County, Ohio in the following census records:
1900 1717 Lexington Ave., Lorain, Black River Township page 30 E.D. 79
1910 408 Idaho Ave., Lorain, Black River Township page 175 E.D. 89
1920 Lorain, Ward 2 page 54/3A E.D. 8
1930 Lorain, Ward 2 page 16/2A E.D. 11

Harry H. Wise and Emma Klieman had four children:

1. William Harold Wise was born on August 3, 1900 in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio. He died on September 18, 1969 in Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania at age 69, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio. William married Anna Hazzard about 1921. Anna was born about 1901 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. She died on January 22, 1960 in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio 10 at age 59, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.

An unidentified article in "the scrapbook," presumably from a Lorain, Ohio newspaper, no date, provides a short description of the wedding of William Wise and Anna Hazard. The 1930 census indicates that they were married when they were both 21 years old, which puts the event at about 1921.

Charmingly attired in a suit of navy blue broadcloth with a picture hat of black velvet, and carrying a bouquet of white roses, Miss Anna Hazard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hazard, of West 27th street, was united in marriage to William Wise, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wise of Washington avenue. The ceremony was performed at seven o'clock last evening in the parsonage of the Church of Christ by the Rev. L. O. Newcomer. Only the immediate families witnessed the wedding.

Miss Gladys Wise, sister of the groom, attended Miss Hazard. She also wore a navy blue suit with fall hat to match. Her flowers were pink roses. William Hazard, brother of the bride, attended the groom.

Mr. and Mrs. Wise left last evening for a short trip to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Upon their return they will reside in Lorain. Mrs. Wise is one of Lorain's most popular young women. She is a graduate of Lorain High School and is employed as bookkeeper at the Allen Shoe Store.

Mr. Wise is also a well known local man. He is a graduate of Lorain High School and at present is attending Western Reserve University where he is studying pharmacy. He is a member of the Church of Christ.

William's obituary was published in The Lorain Journal (Lorain County, Ohio) on September 19, 1969.

William H. Wise, 69, 1423 D St., Lorain, a lifelong resident of Lorain, died yesterday at Columbia Hospital, Wilkinsburg, Pa. He had been visiting his son, William, in Monroesville, Pa. He was a pharmacist and had worked for Standard Drug and Revco Companies. He was a member of the Christian Temple Church.

Survivors besides his son, include a daughter, Mrs. Charles (Mary Ann) Lambdin, Port Arthur, Tex.; several grandchildren; a sister, Mrs. Gladys Steagall, Huron, and a brother, Wayne Wise, Elyria. Friends may call at the Schwartz, Spence and Boyer Home for Funerals tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. The Rev. James Hartley of the Christian Temple will officiate at services at the funeral home Monday at 1 p.m. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery.

Anna's obituary was published in The Chronicle Telegram (Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio) on January 22, 1960.
Lorain - Mrs. Anna M. Wise, 59, of 1423 D St., died in St. Joseph Hospital this morning after a short illness. She was the wife of William H. Wise. Besides her husband she leaves a son, William W., Hobart., Ind.; a daughter, Mrs. Charles Lambdin, Sheffield Lake; five grandchildren; her mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Hazzard, Lorain; two sisters, Mrs. William Bock, Salem and Mrs. Eugene Wood, Amherst; two brothers, Joseph Hazzard, Avon and William Luther, buffalo. The body is at the Schwartz-Spence Home for Funerals. Arrangements for services are incomplete.
2. Kenneth Klieman Wise was born on October 18, 1901 in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio and died on July 10, 1948 in Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio at age 46.
The Ohio Death Records online at provided his birth and death information. It also gives his wife's name as Vada Mae. The 1930 census for Lorain County (Elyria Ward 1 page 22) shows Kenneth as head of household, age 28 and wife Vada, age 27. They were married when he was 21 and she was 20 so year of marriage would be about 1923. Also listed was a son Jack and a daughter Betty.
3. Gladys Margaret Wise was born on March 10, 1903 in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio. Gladys is not listed in the Social Security Death Index so it is possible that she may yet be living. She married Fred Steagall about 1927. He was born on January 24, 1903 in Ohio and died on March 27, 1984 in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida at age 81.
In 1930, Gladys and Fred were living in Knox County, Ohio (Mt Vernon, Ward 3 page 45/2A E.D. 9). They were living in Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio when her mother died in October 1952. Gladys lived in Huron, Ohio when her brother, William, died in September 1969 and resided in Ft. Meyers Beach, Florida on March 23, 1974 when her brother Wayne died. My grandmother's notes indicate that Gladys and Fred Steagall had two sons.
4. Wayne Clayton Wise was born on September 20, 1909 in Lorain, Lorain County, Ohio and died on March 19, 1974 in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida at age 64.
An abstract of his obituary was on found online at the the Cleveland Necrology File (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio March 23, 1974) shows that his wife, Margaret, was still living as were two children.
Sources are available upon request. Harry Wise is my Great-Granduncle, a brother of my Great-Grandmother, Maude Wise Brubaker Yontz. If anyone reading this is related to any of these people, or knows anything about them, please contact me at kinexxions "at" gmail "dot" com!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

History Carnival includes Genea-Bloggers (No Joke!)

The History Carnival #63 has been posted. This edition focuses on Women's History. Posts by two "genea-bloggers" were included:
"On Transylvania Dutch, John Newmark has a nifty post on the unreliable details his ‘Irish’ great-grandfather gave about his life. His great-granda hailed initially from Warsaw, not Ireland, and changed a few more less-than-trifling ’facts’ about his life along the way - a cunning jester, if there ever was one. Then on The Virtual Dime Museum, L H Crawley has a post about an 1860s’ air-gun murder in Gold St, Brooklyn, with complicated connections to her own family. Trying to piece together information both about the murderer and her ancestors is a difficult business, she notes, particularly given omissions of errant wives and the like by past family historians keen on preserving their clan’s good name. Both these post read as if written if to illustrate Burke’s point about the tricksiness of historical self-presentation."
And, the Carnival of Genealogy also gets a mention:
"A couple of other Carnivals in honour of Women’s History Month or International Women’s Day are currently online. At Penny Red, you can catch The Carnival of Feminists. And for those of you who liked L H Crawley and John Newmark’s post about their forebears, there are a whole series of reminiscences about female relatives and ancestors discussed in the Genealogy Blog Carnival at Creative Gene."

Beware, Funny Gene on the loose!

Dianne Haddad has the current edition of Family Tree Magazine available at Genealogy Insider. Note that it is only available for one day (today)…

Lolcat: Mkn Mah Fmly Treez by Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire.

And, for your additional reading pleasure: