Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Who Was New Castle's Oldest Resident in 1925?

Just who was New Castle, Pennsylvania's oldest resident in 1925? It was none other than my 3rd great grandmother Esther Callahan Rogan. Grandma Rogan was born in Liverpool, England on April 23, 1832 and arrived in the United States in 1851. After living in New York and briefly in Ontario, she was living in New Castle by 1870 with her husband James and children. Many of her later birthdays, including her 84th and 90th, were featured in the New Castle News. The blurb below, written as an answer to a newspaper trivia question, tells us that 93 year old Esther Rogan of 467 Blaine Street is the 'most aged' lady or gentleman in the city.


Grandma Esther died in New Castle February 19, 1927 at the age of 94.

Source:
"Are You Familiar With Your City?", New Castle [PA] News, 11 Jun 1925, page 2, col 5; online index and digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jan 2016), Newspaper Archives, 1700s-2000s.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Tree of Life wasn't your family tree

What a lot of people don't realize is that Noah built the ark not for animals, but for saving early census records and birth certificates. Do you have any idea what flood waters do to genealogical records?



I found this comment on the Irish Genealogy Facebook page and couldn't help but chuckle. If only tracing your family history back a few thousands years accurately was that easy (or possible!).


Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Genealogy Database in 2015

I maintain all of my genealogical information using a software application called Family Tree Maker. Here's the current snapshot of my database:

People: 2,335
Marriages: 658
Places: 768
Media: 2559 (photographs and document images)

Repositories: 14
Source Groups: 268
Source Citations: 4313

4,313 citations equals 1.85 citations per person, just shy of two. As many ancestors have many more citations, it's safe to say that there are people in my family tree for whom I have no proof. Hopefully over the next year I can get that number much higher.

By documenting this information at the start of the year, I hope to be able to track the growth of my family tree year to year. Since this is the first time I've done this, I have nothing to compare, but next year should prove interesting.

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Edward Lowry, Lawman

I've previously written about my great grand uncle Edward Lowry, wondering what happened to him after 1904 and what he did in the last few years of his life. In the 14 months since I wrote that piece, I've discovered quite a bit. At the turn of the 20th century, Edward was living in Republic, Ferry County, Washington. He went to Washington to seek work and perhaps a fortune as a miner, but by 1900, he was was the Democratic candidate for sheriff of Ferry County in what was the first election since the county separated from Stevens County. No doubt utilizing the same skills of politicking that he used as a labor organizer in Colorado, he won the 1900 election for sheriff by a count of 677 to 593, beating Republican A.E. Stewart.

Click to enlarge
Lowry took the role well, as various newspaper accounts from the early 1900's depict him chasing after escaped inmates, seizing sheep due to a failure to pay taxes, rounding up murderers and investigating robberies, as was the case in October 1901 as reported by the Spokane Spokesman-Review. As it turns out, Republic resident and rancher Frank O'Brien's wife was keen on leaving the family fortune in the hen house instead of the bank. While employee Michael Smith was cleaning out the chicken coop, he discovered the O'Brien fortune and pocketed it, setting off by hired carriage and then train. Sheriff Lowry took the complaint and directed that a wire report be sent before setting off in search his fugitive. That wire report made the difference as a train was stopped by Canadian lawmen in British Columbia with Smith aboard. With some of the gold still in his possession upon arrest, Smith was brought back to the Republic jail to face his accusers.

 

Just two and a half months later, Sheriff Lowry had the dubious distinction of losing several of his inmates who escaped by sawing through the wooden jail bars. The Spokesman-Review and San Francisco Call both depict the tale of how Lowry recaptured the fugitives. Not realizing they were gone for several hours after the escape, he was quick to pick up their trail. He located two in the town of Wauconda, 16 miles to the west, while two more were reported to be in Curlew 20 miles to the north. It was the two in Curlew who were up to no good, arrested committing their second felony of the day; the first being their escape from jail). When Lowry entered the saloon that the two two men were reported to be in, he found the barkeeper and other patrons lined up along the rail being robbed!



The warm Washington summer of 1903 saw Lowry climbing Gibraltar Mountain, just a few miles outside Republic. Someone had discovered a grisly scene, with the bones of a man and cougar lying near one another. From the evidence at the scene, it appears to have been a terrible struggle that occurred over a year prior. The gun was quite rusted and the remains very much decayed. Lowry's role as sheriff was to identify the victim. The San Jose, California Evening News found the story so terrific that they carried it on their July 31 front page.

 

Lowry's final appearance as a man of law and order in readily available newspapers is February 24, 1904. Again, he was doing what he had done several times before in bringing back a fugitive, Everett Wilson. Wilson shot a man named Dan Bethune, although for what cause we aren't certain. Of interest to the reader, Wilson will await the result of Bethune's wound in jail. Translating the parlance and with the medical knowledge of 1904, Bethune is probably a dead man walking.

 

Lastly, we also now know why records and newspaper mentioned of Edward become more difficult to locate after 1905. In early October 1905, Edward and his son Ralph set off from Republic to Phoenix, Arizona. At some point, Edward contracted tuberculosis and believed that the dry desert air would be good for him. Unfortunately, he died on Monday, October 9, 1905 after just a single night in town. His obituary in the October 12, 1905 Arizona Republican reads:

Funeral of E. LAWRY - The funeral of E. Lawry will be held this afternoon at 4 o'clock at the undertaking parlors of Easterling & Whitney. Mr. Lawry came here last Sunday, very ill of consumption, and died Monday morning. His home was in Republic, Wash., where his wife and other relatives now are. A son sixteen years old accompanied him here. He was quite a prominent man in his county having served two years as sheriff. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles which society will have charge of his funeral.


Lowry was 49 years old when he died. He's buried in Phoenix.

Sources:
An Illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan Counties, State of Washington, Volume 1, (Washington, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1904), 446; digital images, Google Books (http://books.Google.com : accessed 30 Nov 2015).

"Cash Taken From Cache," The Spokesman-Review, 10 Oct 1901, p. 1, col. 2; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive.

"Sawed To Liberty," The Spokesman-Review, 29 Dec 1901, p. 1, col. 6; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive.

"Fugitive Prisoners Are Captured," San Fransisco Call, 29 Dec 1901, p. 20, col. 5; image copy. University of California, Riverside (http://cdnc.ucr.edu/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), California Digital Newspaper Collection.

"Bones Of Man And Beast Are Found On Mountain," The (San Jose) Evening News, 31 Jul 1903, p. 1, col. 1-2; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive. [Note: The image is indexed for 30 Jul 1903, but the article appeared in the 31 Jul 1903 newspaper.]

"Late News From Republic," The Spokesman-Review, 24 Feb 1904, p. 4, col. 4; image copy. Google News (http://news.google.com/ : accessed 30 Nov 2015), Google News Archive. [Note: The image is indexed for 21 Feb 1904, but the article appeared in the 24 Feb 1904 newspaper.]

"Funeral for E. Lawry," The Arizona Republican, 12 Oct 1905, p. 5, col. 3; image copy. Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 30 Nov 2015).

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Photo of the Day - November 24, 2015

Click to enlarge.

A family gathering in 1925 is the scene of this image. The adults from left to right are Eda Witt Lucas, Cecelia Witt Morris, Leo N. Lucas, Joseph Witt, Helen Bixler Witt, Francis Witt, Blanche Witt, Mary Governor Witt, and Alvy Thomas Witt. The children in the front are William Witt, Francis Witt, Jr., and Governor Witt. I'm unsure of the location, as the Witts, Lucas' and Morris' lived on Grant and Arlington Streets, two parallel blocks between Ford Avenue and Belmont Avenue in the 1920s. That area of Youngstown would have been relatively well developed, being so close to downtown. It's not impossible to say that this was one of their homes, but the undeveloped land in the background gives me pause.

Source:
Eda Witt Lucas, Cecelia Witt Morris, Leo N. Lucas, Joseph Witt, Helen Bixler Witt, Francis Witt, Blanche Witt, Mary Governor Witt, and Alvy Thomas Witt. The children in the front are William Witt, Francis Witt, Jr., and Governor Witt. Copy of original photograph, original taken in Ohio in 1925; image taken by unknown photographer; privately held by Joseph Lowry, [address for private use], Sterling, VA. Provenance is Mary Catherine Witt Sanders to Joseph Lowry.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Photo of the Day - November 23, 2015


This photo was taken around 1925. The older girl in the center is Blanche Witt, my 1st cousin 2x removed (also known as my grandfather's first cousin) and she's holding Fred Witt, my great uncle. My great uncle Francis Witt Jr. and Dorothy Leffler are the two others, according the image caption. I'm not certain who Dorothy Leffler is. I've located a girl I believe to be her in the 1930 Census, but could not locate a marriage record for her mother to confirm anything more. I also didn't put much effort into it, so there's that too.

Source:
Blanche Witt (1912 - 1978), Frederick Witt (1924-2009), Francis Witt, Jr. (1920-2002) and Dorothy Leffler (unknown), photograph, taken in Youngstown, Ohio around 1925; image taken by unknown photographer; privately held by Joseph Lowry, [address for private use], Sterling, VA. Provenance is Mary Catherine Witt Sanders to Joseph Lowry.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Revolutionary War Pension File of Zephaniah Rogers

Zephaniah Rogers was born on March 18, 1747, in Mendon, Massachusetts. Zepheniah married Elizabeth Rood on March 7, 1770, in Litchfield, Connecticut, when he was 22 years old. In 1776, he served in Captain Satterlee's company of militia. After the Revolution, he lived in Albany, New York, in 1790 and moved to Pennsylvania, sometime between 1790 and 1819. He died on November 7, 1823, in Franklin County, Ohio at the age of 76.

 
Source:
Pension file for Zephaniah Rogers. "United States Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications, 1800-1900." Database and images. Fold3. http://www.fold3.com : accessed October 2015. From "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files." Citing NARA microfilm publication M804. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1974.

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