Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hidden Gems of Family History :: Found 'em in the Newspaper!

Newspapers are one of my favorite resources. Many precious tidbits of information have been found within their pages that have added to the "humanization" of my family tree. Recording the events of their daily lives, newspapers can be a goldmine of information. Obituary notices are, of course, most commonly found, and they are wonderful (some more so than others). But it is those extra tidbits that, oftentimes, can only be found by reading the microfilm until your eyes are crossed, your head is pounding with a headache, and your stomach queasy from motion sickness! Ah, the joys of newspaper research. But the treasures that can be found make it all worthwhile.

From local newspapers, I've learned a few interesting things about some family members:

During the early 1900s Mr. and Mrs. Brubaker are Royal Entertainers. I sorta knew that from my grandmother's writings, but thought it was neat that one of their parties made the local news.

In July 1902, Franklin H. Foust had eight or ten Sheep Drowned as a result of the floods.

On May 1st 1909, Curtis W. Jones remembered the worst May Day "ever perpetrated on the people in this vicinity." That was in 1851. . .

It was in May 1905 that my great-grandfather, Henry Phend, pulled a gun on poor Dr. Souder when he came to check on the family. Henry had been quarantined with his wife and 7 children for 11 days, The children ranged from 6 months to 12 years old.

We learned that in January 1911 about "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." This was after the tragic death of C.R.'s brother Hale Brubaker.

In August 1914, within a week of each other, there were Fires at the Brubaker and Phend Homes. Thankfully, little damage was done to either house.

In August 1917, Henry Meier and his friend, a Miss Burnworth, spent the day with friends where he had an encounter with a Runaway Colt. Ten days later Mr. Meier and Miss Doris Burnworth eloped to Michigan to get married.

In December 1917 Two Fellows were Home From Camp Taylor, one of whom was my grandfather, Victor Phend.

In July 1918, we find that Roy Parkinson Has a Fine Store at Wolf Lake.

The next month, Mildred Jones Married an Illinois Man. She had to resign a very fine position as physical director at the Y. M. C. A. in Detroit, Michigan. And he was going to be entering an army training camp the first of September.

In January 1919, a letter that Vic Phend Writes From France to his sister in Columbia City was published in the local paper.

In 1921, the Brubaker-Phend Marriage joined together my grandparents, Vic Phend and Hazlette Brubaker.

Fast forward to May 1947 when a Larwill Girl was Married in a North Webster Church. That girl would become my mother and she was marrying the man who would become my father.

On September 4, 1952 Henry & Susie Yarian Phend celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. A family celebration was held the previous Sunday. "Seventy-five people attended the dinner at noon which was served on the lawn. In the afternoon 150 guests called between 2 and 5 o'clock." I was there, but being only 4 years old at the time don't remember the events of the day.

In November 1957, Henry Phend Celebrated his 92nd Birthday at the home of his son Gerald.

These are just a few of the "special" items I've found buried in the pages of local newspapers. When I first started my research I didn't always take the time to read the other stories, even those on the same page. I was fixated on finding a specific article. One day I came home from the Nappanne Library so excited. I had found the obituary of my 2nd great grandfather, Eli Yarian. I won't go into detail here as he will be the subject of a future post, but Eli died on January 28, 1895 in a "frightful and very sad accident" whereby he "met instant death by being struck on the head with a limb of a falling tree." The story of his demise took nearly an entire column of the first page; it was full of the rather gruesome details surrounding his death.

I showed the copy of the article to my mother. As she finished reading it, she started laughing. I didn't understand why it would be so funny to her. When I asked her, she handed the copy back to me and pointed to a little article in the next column.
"Last Saturday, Frank Smith paid a fine and costs amounting to $8.30 imposed in Justice Corns' court for using profane language. The affidavit was filed by Jonathan Yarian. Young Smith, with others, were hauling logs, and some difficulty arose about loading, which caused the young man to so far forget himself as to heap some abuse on Mr. Yarian, among other things, language calculated to reflect discredit on the name of the latter's mother, and supplementing it with a threat to chop off his leg, or some things to that effect. As he might have carried out his threat without bodily harm to Mr. Yarian, he was simply caused to plead guilty to using profanity. Frank will probably be a little more discreet in the future, in the choice of language."
After reading it, I too began laughing. You see, we knew that no "bodily harm" would have come to Mr. Jonathan Yarian even if Mr. Smith had followed through on his threat. Why? Because Jonathan Yarian had a wooden leg, which was the result of injury and amputation during the Civil War.

After that little incident I was more conscientious in my reading. Doing so, however, comes with a price - more time spent looking at that microfilm! But what fun it is, especially when you find those hidden gems of family history!

Contributed to the 57th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy :: I read it in the news!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Keep up the good work!