Monday, January 31, 2011

May 31st 1864 :: James M. Walker to Lib

Writen On line of Battle in front of Dallas, Ga
May the 31st /64

Dear Cousin

I seat my self this morning to answer your very welcome letter that I receved most four weeks ago at Bridge Port, Ala. when we were on the march from Nashville to Chatanooga. I would have written sooner but we have only stoped three days since we left Nashville. we have been marching and fighting the rebs every day. We have drove them to this plase and they dont seem to want to drive any further. we havent done any very hard fighting here yet but thare is a steady fire of musketry all day and night and some artillery Shots. they are firing about fifty shots a minut now so you may know that it is a pretty sharp skirmishing.

we have four lines of breast work and our Battery is on the front line about three hundred yards from the rebs. I am not with the Battery to day. I came back to the crossing last night. I have a teem and we have to take the teems back to feed and water once a day. twenty four horses and our cassian teems has to relieve us so I am not up to the front but half of the time. and that is as much as I like for I dont like the music they have out thare. night before last the rebs took to charge our works but they didnt make more than a certain amount. they did not like our can fruit that we gave them in the shape of cast iron balls.

Thare was a pretty stouring time for about twenty minuts. the bullets whiseled around us close as I like to have them to. this is the fourth day since we have been here and our men hasent atacked them yet I think they are trying to flank them for that is the only way we can get them out of here. it would be impossible to drive them out by atacking them in front.

Thare hasnt been any of our boys in the battery hurt yet but some had pretty close calls. Jestin Rodgers had the top of his hat shot out and Jonn Honeywell had his shirt cut on the back of his neck. if they get their heads above the breast works they are shure to be shot at but the rebels has to keepe down their heads to as well as our men.

I presume you have heard that some of the Randolph boys got hurt by their own fire back to Resaca & I wont tell you any thing about it more than the last we heard from the boys they were getting along first rate. Alexander Rose only lost his little finger. track stanfard lost his right arm above the elbo and the two first fingers of his other hand. Mr barasmer did not get hurt so bad. his thumb was hurt some and one eye pretty badly burnt but I guess they will all get along. we have fired our piece a good many times since but have not had any accident yet.

I saw Ezra Spere a few days ago their Battery isnt but a little ways from ours. he has not forgot how to talk yet. I guess I must stop writing for I want to write a letter home to day. Lib write soon. give my respects to all.

From Your affectionat Cousin
James M. Walker
direct to
Goodspeeds Battery
Second Division
Fourth Corps
Near Chatanooga Tenn
army of the Cumberland

James Madison Walker was the son of Mary Hoffman and Thomas Walker. Mary was the sister of Susannah Hoffman Berlin (Elizabeth's mother).

See The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters for a complete listing of all of the family letters.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

'Tis Nevermore :: The Nevada Shoe Tree is Gone

In the high desert of Nevada, a large Cottonwood Tree stood for decades alongside a stretch of U.S. 50 near Middlegate, between Fallon and Ely. Known as The Loneliest Highway in America, it is now even more lonely because a local icon has been destroyed.

The Shoe Tree was introduced to you, my readers, in Redefining Shoe Tree. About a week ago I was contacted by a gentleman who wrote a song about the tree being cut down. He wanted to use the photographs from my blog post in a video tribute to the tree. I was truly saddened to hear of the demise of the Shoe Tree.

A Google Search turned up numerous articles about the old tree telling what is known of the incident and a little history of the tree.

A month ago, vandals pulled out their chain saw and cut the Shoe Tree down. No one except the culprits saw the deed being done. As it so happens, the Shoe Tree was on property owned by the Bureau of Land Management so if the culprits are ever found, they will face federal charges. The incident is still under investigation.

There is no understanding acts of vandalism. Nothing will bring the old tree back, but I hope that the culprits are caught and get the punishment they deserve!

The music video tribute by Chris “CW” Bayer has been posted on You Tube: Someone Cut the Shoe Tree Down.

Disclaimer: I have no business or other relationship to or with Chris Bayer. I received no remuneration from him for his use of my photographs. The video is simply a tribute to an icon and will not be for sale.

March 27th 1864 :: James M. Walker to Elizabeth

Camp near Nashville Tenn March the 27th /64

Dear Cousin

I promised you that I would write you a letter and I seat myself this afternoon for that purpos. I am well and hope this may find you enjoying the same good health. we are now at Nashville. in camp. it wil be two weeks to morow morning that we have been here and I dont know how much longer we are going to stay

Monday Afternoon. I comensed my letter yesterday but as I did not feel very much like writing I quit. I will now try to write a little more! I have just come off of guard and eat my dinner. I will tell you what I had for dinner. we had coffee rice and meat & I think a great many times if I had the pie and cake that I could not eat while I was to home that I could eat it now. but wishing dont do any good so I guess we will be satesfied with hard bread.

I havent heard any thing from home since I left. I thought I would get a letter this morning but I didnt & I think I will get one tomorrow. some of the Randolph boys got letters to day. I am getting tired of staying here. for we have to drille twice a day and that is some that I dont like to do and it is pretty sickly around here to. thare is a great many of our boys gone to the hospital since we have been here. one has died with the small pocks. his name was George Cline from Ravenna. there is a small pock camp a bout one hundred rods from ours.

this is a very cold and windy day it has been raining some. we havent had but a few warm days since we have been here. this sunny south that is so much talked of is not so sunny as it might be. I cant think of anythin more to write now. I will close by asking you to excuse mistakes in these writings.

I remane your cousin James M. Walker. write soon.
direct to
Goodspeeds Battery
1st O 2nd BA
Nashville Tenn

James Madison Walker was the son of Mary Hoffman and Thomas Walker. Mary was the sister of Susannah Hoffman Berlin (Elizabeth's mother).

See The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters for a complete listing of all of the family letters.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

November 5th 1862 :: Solomon Berlin to His Parents

Locke, Ind Nov 5th 1862
Dear Father & Mother

I take my pen in hand to let you know that we are all well and hope the lines will find you all in the same state of health and I will further state that I have not wrote to you for a long time. But I wish to be Excused for I have so much to see to that I had not time to write. this war makes a good bit of trouble here and I suppose in there the Same folke is begining to get scarce out here. I suppose that you know that Fred Richmond was drafted and has gone to war. he went to Indianapolis and enlisted for three years In the company that Pat Richmond is in the 5th cavalry. Fred was home last week on furlow but had to go again last Thursday. he said he liked soldiering well. he has got in for Blacksmith and makes his dollar per day.

we are a going to get Aunt Polly out here to stay with Katharine this winter. Uncle John Shaffer is very sick and I dont expect that he is a living any more. Uncle Jacke Staffer was there three weeks ago and he was very low and Roudenbush was all sick. I guess they have got in a sickly place. we got a letter from Joseph Miner. he is not well. he writes a middling pittifull letter. he was on the Battlefield at Perryville Ken. he said that it looked awfull to see the dead & wounded laying around.

I wish that this war was over But I expect that it will soon be over now that the Butternuttz has got there congressman now they will make a compromise. but it will be over the left that is what I think of it. there is no Stop to this war by a compromise. if there was not such fools here in the North this war would be over now. Just as long as we have Butternut sympathizers here in the north Just that long we will have to fight the Rebels. I Should think that People would soon get there Eyes open if they will get them open But they will hold on to the old rotten Democracy, they will rule or ruin. But I will Stop this. if I could talke in place of writing I could do Better.

further If you have not got Jacobs Bounty and Back wages you ought to try and get it. you can get it if you make appplications for it and you should have it Just as well as the rest. and I would send them clothes But I dont like to Divide them. I would like if some one would do it But if Josiah wants that I should I will Divide them and send them home. I will have to Stop writing for this time I have got such poor paper and pen to write with. Uncle James Ruckmans is out here on a visit. they are a going to Starte home next Tuesday. So nothing more, yourz Truly Solomon Berlin

Locke is located north of present day Nappanee, in Elkhart County, Indiana. Solomon’s parents, John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin were still living in Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio in 1862.

Fred Richmond was the husband of Solomon's sister Katherine, also known as Kate. They moved to Locke Township in 1858. Pat Richmond is Fred's brother. Four of Fred's brothers and his father all served during the Civil War. Two of his brothers and his father did not survive the conflict.

Aunt Polly is Polly Berlin, the sister of Solomon’s father. In the 1860 census, Polly was living with Solomon and his family. In the 1870 census she was living with Solomon's parents, John D. and Susan Berlin.

Uncle John Shaffer was the husband of Clara Loretta Berlin, another of Solomon's father’s sisters. Her daughter, Anna Shaffer, was married to Isaac Rodibush/Raudenbush/Roudenbush. They moved to Elkhart County prior to 1860.

Joseph Miner was the son of John and Mary (Hoffman) Miner. Mary was a sister of Solomon's mother Susannah. In the 1860 census, Joseph is listed in the dwelling just after Solomon.

Uncle Jacke Staffer could be John Stauffer who was married to Elizabeth Hoffman, another sister of Solomon's mother.

Jacob Berlin, Solomon’s brother, was killed on April 7th, 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) in western Tennessee. Josiah is another of Solomon’s brothers.

There was a group of Democrats in the Northern States who opposed the Civil War and who were deemed to be southern sympathizers. These people were generally called “Copperheads” but were also called Butternuts. Confederate Soldiers were also sometimes called Butternuts because of the their uniforms, which were colored with a dye made from walnut hulls, which had a yellow-brown color and was called butternut.

James Ruckman was married to Hannah Hoffman, yet another sister of Solomon's mother. They lived in Biglick Township, Hancock County, Ohio.

See The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters for a complete listing of all of the family letters.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 29th 1862 :: James W. Rose to Lizzie

From Cotters Battery
Camp Wood, Green River
January 29th 1862

Friend, Lizzie

I received your kind letter the 27th and read it with pleasure. it found me well and I am now and hope this will find you enjoying the same comfort. the Randolph boys are all well and in good spirits. it is raining here to day and is quite unpleasant. the wether for the past few days has been very pleasant and warm. we have all kinds of wether down here. I have not seen snow enough this winter for any sleighing. Well there is no news to write of any importence.

I spose you have heard of the death of General Zollicoffers death and the defeat of his troops by General Shoeph and thomas, and also the great victory wone by Colonel garfield here in this state so I will not bother to write them. I dont think we will leave here very soon as our troops are building fortifications here as thou we were going to stay here for awhile yet anyhow and I dont care if we do for it is a very helthy plase for this state. the river water is very good to use. I think the desire is now to surround Buckner and wipe him out. I hope it will bee so. for I think a desprit movement will wind up the war the quickest of anything.

Well I guess this is all the news. I should like very well to attend some of your spelling schools but as things are now I dont think I can very well. I have some recolections of padling throu the mud up there but I have seen more mud in Kentuckey than I ever did up in America.

what is vin and said about you dont never seem to speak about them. I spose they live with uncle John yet. I promised to write to said but I have never done it and I spose I have not done rite but you have heard from me once and a while and of corse she would have the opertunity of seeing the letters and know how Jim was. Ill rite to hear [her?] one of theas times if I can get time and vin too so I will.

Well it is not very pleasant writing to day for it is raining all the time and the tent is full. so you see it is not very pleasant writing especily when a person has to write on a board laying on his knees for a desk. no more this time. write soon and write all the news and oblige a friend.

my best wishes and success to all,
James W. Rose

The envelope attached to the letter was franked with an embossing of a cannon and U.S. Flag. Beneath it was printed “From Cotter’s Battery Company A, 1st Regiment, Ohio Artillery.” The envelope was addressed to “Miss Lizzie Berlin, Rootstown, Portage Co. Ohio”.

It appears that James W. Rose may be related in some way but I have not been able to determine the relationship, if any.

At this time (January 1862), Lizzie and most of her family were still living in Randolph township, Portage county, Ohio. “Randolph boys” refers to the men who enlisted from that area.

General Zollicoffer was a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army in command of all Tennessee troops. He was killed under peculiar circumstances at Logan Cross Roads, Kentucky on January 19, 1862 by Speed S. Fry.

"Colonel Garfield" would later become the 20th President of the United States.

Lizzie would have been not quite 19 years old and may have taught school in Randolph Township. She was a teacher for several years after the family moved to Indiana.

“Vin” is most likely a reference to Lizzie’s sister, Lovina. “Said” could be the nickname of Sadie for their sister Sarah and “Uncle John” could be their father, John D. Berlin.

See The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters for a complete listing of all of the family letters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

October 6th 1861 :: Jacob Berlin to his sister Sarah

This letter was not among those at the Nappanee Public Library... I recently discovered The Archives Project where someone has posted letters and photographs relating to the Berlin Family. I'm guessing that the person posting the information is a descendant of Sarah (Berlin) Greene, daughter of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin. However, there is no contact information available. None whatsoever! Therefore, I have been unable to get in touch with them or to obtain their approval to post this letter. However, they have, without contacting me, posted several of the letters there that I had previously posted on my (now defunct) website. Perhaps, if they find this letter here they will get in touch with me! (Please do - contact info is in the upper right-hand corner of the blog.)

Jacob Berlin enlisted on September 5, 1861 in Company "C" Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was killed during the second day's fighting in the Battle of Shiloh (also known as Pittburg Landing) on April 7th, 1862. He was 25 years old. The Nappanee G.A.R. Post was named in his honor.

A note on the above mentioned web page states that the battle Jacob describes was probably at Greenbrier River, also known as the Battle of Camp Bartow, which took place on October 3, 1861 in Pocahontas County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

Dear Sister

I read your letter of the 15th of last and was glad to hear from you once more and I wish it were possible that I could be with you once more and enjoy the pleasure and comforts that I once enjoyd. But that cannot be. Here I am a soldier fighting for our rights and our liberty to which our country has been blessed with so long. I am deprived of a great many enjoyments which I might have were I to home. Yet I am not in the least discouraged. I think it my duty as well as every other man's duty to put down this rebellion as soon as possible and once more restore peace to our country.

Last Thursday the 3rd inst. we had a hard battle about twenty five miles from here at the foot of the Alleghana mountains. We advanced upon them about eight o clock a.m. and fought untill one p.m. They first commenced fighting about two miles from their intrenchments. The bullets came like hail for a few minutes but when we commenced firing they soon ran for their camp and got in their entrenchments. Then our artillery commenced firing upon them and kept on about five hours. Their guns were all silenced but one. They had run up their white flag already. Then they were reinforced and commenced firing. Again our artillery men were about out of ammunition and they thought it advisable to retreat as it was impossible for the infantry to take their camp in the position they were without the loss of a great many men. Our loss was ten killed and eleven wounded. We cannot tell their loss but it is supposed to be a heavy one. This was the most horrible sight that I ever saw in my life before. The cannon balls and shells fell thick and fast around us.

You stated that Father and Mother were going to Indiana. I wish I was there to see them. I passed through Rootstown the 15th of September. You had better believe I would like to have seen you all before I left.

I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all the same. Tell Elizabeth and Lovina to be good girls till I come back. Tell Lewis I want him to come and help me fight the secessionists. Nothing more at present. I send my love to all. Good bye

Your brother,
Jacob Berlin
Sarah Berlin, Write as soon as you get this
Adress Huttonsville VA
care of Cap. Rilsey Co. O. 9th Ind.
(to be forwarded)

Sarah would have been 20 years old, Elizabeth 18, and Lovina 16 years old when this letter was written.

Jacob was in Company “C” not “O” as transcribed in the text above. The transcription of this letter is from The Archives Project, I have not seen the original letter.

See The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters for a complete listing of all of the family letters.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters

See the Introduction to The Letters for information regarding where these letters came from and Cast of Characters for information regarding the people who wrote the letters, those who received them, and other people mentioned in them. (Links to each of the letters will be added as they are published.)

Date of Letter :: Where it was written :: Who wrote it and to whom :: A memorable or special line in the letter.

October 6th 1861 :: Huttonsville, Virginia :: Jacob Berlin to his sister Sarah :: This was the most horrible sight that I ever saw in my life before.

January 29, 1862 :: Camp Wood, Kentucky :: James W. Rose to Lizzie :: I have seen more mud in Kentuckey than I ever did up in America.

November 5, 1862 :: Locke, Indiana :: Solomon Berlin to his parents in Ohio :: I wish that this war was over.

March 27, 1864 :: Camp near Nashville, Tennessee :: James M. Walker to Lizzie :: I have just come off of guard and eat my dinner.

May 31, 1864 :: Line of Battle, Dallas, Georgia :: James M. Walker to Lib :: The bullets whiseled around us close as I like to have them to.

August 21, 1864 :: Goshen, Indiana :: E. A. Coppes and Miles to Sam and Sandy :: I was out bugey riding this after noon.

October 5, 1864 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie :: Hope you will not become so attached to the west that you will forget your friends in Ohio.

November 6, 1864 :: Camp near Pulaski, Tennessee :: Mack to Cousin Lizzie :: The Johnies thought they would make us a little trouble.

November 26, 1864 :: Camp at Louisville, Kentucky :: Fred Richmond to Liz and Lovina and Kate :: If it was not quite So cold we would have a nice time here.

November 27, 1864 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Mamie Taylor to Lizzie and Vina :: Imagine me if you please seated in the sitting room.

January 11, 1865 :: Portage County, Ohio :: Mary J. Rose to Lizzie :: How are you going to spend your new year?

March 1, 1865 :: Locke, Indiana :: Lizzie Berlin to Myron Collins :: I think it is so strange that you have enlisted and gone to the Army.

March 7, 1865 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: If god is wiling I shall be happy a gan.

March 14, 1865 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Mary Berlin to Lizzie Berlin :: I am getting so tired of Staying here. I dont know what to do with myself.

April 2, 1865 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: Ther is no boddy to do any work here they have all gone to war.

April 4, 1865 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah B. Greene to Lizzie Berlin :: The report is here this evening that they have captured Lee and his whole force. I hope it is so.

June 2, 1865 :: Rose Cottage :: Uncle Warren Jenkins to Frank :: Yes the dreadful war is over, thanks be to Him who has ruled & over-ruled preserving our Nation and Government intact and fixing it upon a firmer foundation than ever before.

June 9, 1865 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: How my heart yearns for that dear departed wone.

July 16, 1865 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: You know how quiet and lonly it seems, my weary heart yearns for home.

August 28, 1865 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to friends at home :: It will be one year next tuesday that you started for the west.

December 10, 1865 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Lizzie Berlin :: The baby has gone to sleep and all is quiet.

January 30, 1866 :: Guilford, Ohio :: S. K. Kraver to S. D. Coppes :: Other things have not changed much since you left.

June 3, 1866 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: Sarah's health is Some better but I can tell you she is not well yet.

June 14, 1866 :: Randolph, Ohio :: from Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: I could write pages in sadness but I well know that this would not interest you.

December 6 [probably 1866] :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: I arrived in Cleveland at seven the next morning.

January 14, 1867 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie Berlin :: Susie is well and is as full of mischief as she can be. She can walk any where she wants to go and can say a number of words.

March 10, 1867 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Lizzie Berlin :: You have my best wishes and I hope you wont be so unfortunate as I have been. I think you might have told me what day you was going to be married.

April 19, 1868 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Lizzie :: We have not sold our place yet but I think that Charlie Holden will buy it.

January 11, 1869 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Sam and Elizabeth :: Could not get the children to Sleep untill a short time ago. They wer so full of the old sixty that they could not shut their eyes.

August 14, 1870 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Sam and Elizabeth Coppes :: I suppose you have got you new house done and got settled down and are to work fixing things on your own farm which must seem nice to you.

October 19, 1870 :: Locke, Indiana :: Solomon Berlin to Sam and Elizabeth Coppes :: There is more sickness here this fall than has been since I have been in the State but not many deaths. Father and Mother keeps up middling well.

December 04, 1870 :: Rootstown, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Sam and Lizzie Coppes :: The baby seems to be real good but he has got to be taken care of some times.

No Date - probably January 1871 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia Collins to Lizzie :: I have been verry buisy all fall and winter So far. I have got me a Sewing mashien and I have more work than I want to do.

March 8, 1871 :: Elkhart, Indiana :: Virgil Young to S. D. Coppes :: If the men of whom you spoke do not conclude to buy, you can work the forty acres, on the terms you propose.

April 27, 1871 :: Locke, Indiana :: Francis Berlin to his aunt Lizzie Coppes :: Tell Minnie that cow we got of you kicked me head over heels to night.

May 4, 1871 :: Randolph, Ohio :: Lydia to Lizzie :: I recd a letter from Lovina. She wrote a great deal about the revival and Said the good work was still going on.

June 5, 1892 :: Ravenna, Ohio :: Sarah Greene to Henry and Lydia Woodruff :: I have not told you that Jim cut and sewed all the rags for the carpets because he dont want any one to know it, but I dont feel ashamed of it.

May 1895 :: La Cygne, Kansas :: Lydia Woodruff to Elizabeth Coppes :: I guess I shall have to Stay here to eat Peaches for that is my favourite fruit. Wonder if I am to see aney of you out this way this year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Berlin Family :: The Cast of Characters

This is a “brief introduction” to the people who wrote, received, or are mentioned in the Berlin Family Letters. I intend to write a more complete biographical sketch of each of the family members. Links to those posts will be added to this page as the posts are created.

Catherine Berlin Richmond :: The second child and first daughter of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin, Kate was born on May 21, 1830 in Columbiana County, Ohio. She was married about 1854 to Frederick Daniel Richmond. They spent several years in Iowa then moved to Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana in 1858 where they lived for the remainder of their lives.

E. A. Coppes :: This could be Eliza Ann Coppes, sister of Sam Coppes who married Elizabeth Berlin.

Elizabeth Berlin Coppes :: Often referred to as Lizzie or Lib, she was the eighth child of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin and was born on April 28, 1843 near Washingtonville, Columbiana County, Ohio. The family resided near Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio for about 18 years prior to moving to Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana in September 1864. Elizabeth was married to Samuel D. Coppes on March 12, 1867 and except for two or three years in Nodaway County, Missouri in the early 1870s they lived in Nappanee, Indiana and were the parents of nine children.

Francis Berlin :: Son of Solomon and Fianna (Slabaugh) Berlin, born May 15, 1858 in Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana.

Fred Richmond :: He was the husband of Catherine “Kate” Berlin. During the Civil War he served for three years in the 5th Indiana Cavalry.

George W. Greene :: He married Sarah Berlin on August 28, 1864 just two days before other members of the Berlin family moved to Elkhart County, Indiana. George and Sarah would remain in Portage County, Ohio where they became the parents of seven children, five who survived into adulthood.

Henry Woodruff :: He was the second husband of Lydia (Berlin) Collins. They were married September 18, 1874 in Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio and lived in Lacygne, Linn County, Kansas. Henry died on December 31, 1898 and the next year Lydia moved to Nappanee, Elkhart County, Indiana to be closer to her sisters.

Isaac Slabaugh :: He could be a brother to Fianna and Julia Slabaugh who married Solomon and Josiah Berlin, respectively.

Jacob Berlin :: Jacob was listed as living with his brother and sister-in-law, Solomon and Fianna Berlin, in the 1860 census for Locke township. Also listed with them was aunt Polly, their father’s sister. Born on September 30, 1836 Jacob was one of the first to answer the Union’s call to arms and enlisted in Company “C” Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry on September 5, 1861. Just seven months later, on April 7, 1862, Jacob met his death on the battlefield of Shiloh in western Tennessee during the second day’s fighting. He was 25 years old. When the G.A.R. post in Nappanee was established, it was named in his honor.

James M. Walker :: James Madison Walker was the son of Mary Hoffman and Thomas Walker. Mary was the sister of Susannah Hoffman Berlin. James was born on July 28, 1841 near Washingtonville, which lies on the border of Columbiana and Mahoning counties in Ohio. James enlisted on August 8, 1862 in Battery A of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery and served for three years. His autobiography is online.

James W. Rose :: One of the Randolph boys, James served in Company A, 1st Ohio Light Artillery during the Civil War.

John D. Berlin :: Born on December 8th, 1792 near Abbottstown in York (now Adams) County, Pennsylvania, he settled in Columbiana County, Ohio where he was married to Susannah Huffman on February 16th, 1826. A little over a year later their first child, Solomon, was born. They remained in Columbiana County, near Washingtonville, for nearly 20 years and had eight more children: Catherine, 1830; Lydia, 1832; Josiah, 1834; Jacob, 1836; Mary, 1838; Sarah, 1840; Elizabeth, 1843; and Lovina, 1845. In 1846 the family moved to Rootstown in Portage County and lived there for 18 years. Their youngest son, Joseph Milton was born in 1848 and was killed in the spring of 1856 in a wagon accident, he was seven years old.

In late August or early September of 1864, John and Susannah moved to Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana where several of their children and other relatives lived. With them they took their son Josiah (and his family) and their two youngest daughters, Elizabeth and Lovina. Three of the daughters remained in Ohio: Mary who was single and worked in the office of a print shop, Lydia who was married to Myron Collins, and Sarah who had just married George Greene on August 28, 1864. Mary and Lydia would eventually find their way to the family in Indiana, but Sarah would remain in Ohio all her life though she did make at least one visit to Indiana.

Joseph Miner :: Son of John and Mary (Hoffman) Miner. Mary was a sister of Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin. In the 1860 census for Elkhart County, Indiana, Joseph is listed in the dwelling just after Solomon Berlin, son of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin.

Josiah Berlin :: Josiah was born on June 24, 1834 in Columbiana County, Ohio. He was the second son and fourth child of John D. and Susannah Berlin. On September 13, 1857, Josiah was married to Julia Slabaugh, sister of Fianna who had married Solomon Berlin. He died on March 27, 1869 in Elkhart County, Indiana at the age of 34, leaving his wife and two young sons, George and Charles Berlin.

Kate Berlin Richmond :: See Catherine Berlin Richmond

Lovina Berlin Yarian :: Sometimes referred to as “Vina” she was the ninth child of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin. Born on May 8, 1845 near Washingtonville, Columbiana County, Ohio she married Eli Yarian on September 22, 1866 in Elkhart County, Indiana. They lived near the town of Locke in Elkhart County the remainder of their lives and were the parents of seven children. Eli and Lovina are my Great-Great-Grandparents; their daughter Susie married Henry Phend and they are the parents of my grandfather, Rolland Victor Phend.

Lydia Berlin Collins Woodruff :: Lydia was one of the three daughters of John D. and Susannah Berlin who remained in Portage County, Ohio when the family moved to Elkhart County, Indiana. She was the third child and was born February 22, 1832 in Columbiana County, Ohio. She had married Byron Collins on November 12, 1858 and was devastated when he died in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee on April 26, 1865. Lydia would remain a widow for nearly 10 years, until September 18, 1874 when she married Henry Woodruff. They moved to Lacygne, Linn County, Kansas where Henry passed away on December 31, 1898. The following year, Lydia moved to Elkhart County, Indiana to be near her sisters. She passed away on May 17, 1913.

Mamie Taylor :: A friend of Lizzie and Lovina. Mamie lived in Portage County, Ohio.

Mary Berlin :: Mary was the sixth child of John D. and Susannah Berlin. She was born October 17, 1838 in Washingtonville, Columbiana County, Ohio. In 1864 she remained in Portage County, Ohio when her parents moved to Elkhart County, Indiana. I don't know when she moved to Indiana but she operated a millinery store in Goshen for several years prior to her marriage on October 4, 1875 to Lewis B. Winder. They lived in the Locke-Nappanee area. Mary and Lewis did not have any children although he had a daughter from a previous marriage. Mary was the last surviving child of John D. and Susannah, passing away on July 20, 1933 at the age of 94.

Mary J. Rose :: A friend of Lizzie's who lived in Portage County, Ohio. Probably the sister of James W. Rose.

Myron Collins :: The first husband of Lydia Berlin; they were married November 12, 1858 in Portage County, Ohio. He enlisted near the end of the Civil War and served in Company H, 184th Ohio Infantry. Myron died of illness on April 26, 1865 in a military hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 31 years old. Lydia would remain a widow until September 1874 when she married Henry Woodruff and moved to Lacygne, Linn County, Kansas. After Henry died in 1898, Lydia moved to Elkhart County, Indiana to be near her sisters.

Sam Coppes :: Samuel D. Coppes was the husband of Elizabeth Berlin.

Sarah (Berlin) Greene :: Born on December 25, 1840 Sarah was the seventh child of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin. Sarah was married on August 28, 1864 to George W. Greene. Several days later, John D. Berlin, with his wife Susannah, two daughters Elizabeth and Lavina, and their son Josiah, and his family, made the journey to Indiana where they settled in Locke township, Elkhart county about a mile north of present day Nappanee. Sarah would live in Portage County, Ohio her entire life. She and George would have seven children; five would survive to adulthood, three of whom would have children of their own. Sarah passed away at the age of 75 on April 22, 1916 in Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio.

Solomon Berlin :: Solomon was the first child of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin. Born May 26, 1827 in Columbiana County, Ohio he was married in Portage County, Ohio on April 13, 1851 to Fianna Slabaugh. They “almost immediately” moved to Elkhart county and settled on a farm in Locke township. In addition to tending to his large farm, he was also a brickmaker. Solomon and Fianna were the parents of four children, two of whom survived to adulthood. Solomon died September 22, 1872 at the age of 45.

Susannah Hoffman Berlin :: Born March 9, 1804 in Columbiana County, Ohio Susannah was the daughter of John and Catharine (Coy) Hoffman, of Frederick County, Maryland and Columbiana County, Ohio. Susannah was married to John D. Berlin on February 16, 1826 and gave birth to ten children, nine of whom survived into adulthood. See the entry for John D. Berlin.

Virgil Young :: Wrote the letter dated March 8, 1871 to Sam Coppes in Missouri. Virgil apparently owned some land nearby and Sam may have found a buyer for the land.

Warren Jenkins :: Wrote the letter dated June 2, 1865 to “Frank” and signed it “Your affectionate uncle Warren Jenkins.” I haven't been able to determine who this Frank is and whether (or how) Warren Jenkins is related to the Berlin Family!

Other people mentioned in the letters that are probably friends or possibly relatives of the family (listed alphabetically by first name):
  • Alexander Rose, Aunt Betsy Stauffer, Barbra Goodyear, Belle Hinkly, Billy Williams, Captain Gardner, Caroline Staffer, Charlie Holden, Clarence Whitting, Deb Lumly, Ellen Beans, Ezra Spere.
  • Frankie Sanford, Fred Knapp, Gideon Seymour, Henry Stouffer, Jacob Stouffer, Jestin Rodgers, Jim Ray, Joe Bradshaw, John Heisler, John Jones, John Kissel, John Luly, Jonn Honeywell, Laurie Barlow, Layey Hallock, Lena Himes, Lydia Beans.
  • Maggie Engelhart, Martha Rose, Martin Miller, Mary Basel, Mary Jones, Mary Ray, Mary Walton, Mike Leach, Mime Austin, Minnie Austin, Mr Barasmer, Mr Bogue, Mrs. Bissell, Mrs. Heisler, Mrs. Horton, Mrs. Spellman, Mrs. Woodroof, Noah Beans.
  • Phebe Parsons, Poe Luly, Rastus Taylor, Rosa Ansfall, S. K. Kraver,Sam Sheick, Sarah Ann Slabaugh, Seymour Reed, Silvie Jones, Steve Parsons, Strong Parsons, Sylvia Jones, Track Stanfard, Troy Honeyrock.
  • Victor Stanford, Vira Beans, Virgil Young, Walace Steadman, Walter Chiltendon, Wash Frances, Wesley Wirt, William Ealmyer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Berlin Family :: Introduction to The Letters

John D. and Susannah (Huffman) Berlin are my 3rd Great Grandparents. I've been researching them, their children, and their descendants off-and-on for nearly twenty years.

John D. Berlin and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin.
Photographs from the Solomon Berlin Family Bible.
In possession of Carolyn Gentzhorn Rensberger in 1997.

In 1995, while visiting the Public Library in Nappanee, Elkhart County, Indiana I “discovered” a collection of old letters that were on display. Somehow they had been overlooked on previous visits. These letters just happened to be from "my" family! Most of them were written to Elizabeth “Lizzie” Berlin Coppes, sister of my Great-Great Grandmother, Lovina (Berlin) Yarian.

There were thirty-five letters written, starting in 1862 and going through 1871, then there is a twenty-year gap with one letter from each of the years 1892 and 1895. The letters were donated to the Heritage Room of the Nappanee Public Library by Elizabeth's granddaughter, Helen Mutschler Chapman (1902-1990).

The Library allowed xeroxcopies of the letters to be made, and after a considerable amount of time spent in deciphering them, they were transcribed and posted on my (now defunct) website. I'm posting the transcriptions here on the blog so that they remain available to descendants as well as to other researchers. Images of the letters will not be included here due to the fact that many of the copies were of poor quality. And, also, although I did obtain permission to publish transcriptions of the letters, I never received permission to use images of them.

Every attempt was made to present the letters as they were written, including “errors” in spelling and grammar. However, some punctuation and many paragraphs breaks have been added to help improve readability. Many of the letters were one continuous sentence with little or no punctuation to separate thoughts, hopefully I've made the “breaks” at the right spot! The writers also often wrote in the margins in an attempt to use as much of the paper as possible. Some of the letters were very difficult to decipher.

There are several letters written by soldiers on the front lines during the civil war that describe the war as well as the tedium and boredom of waiting for something to happen.

The letters from one sibling to another are much like those you would write today to a family member (that is, if you still write letters, lol). They tell of deaths and births of family, friends, and neighbors; of the general day-to-day events of life, of joy and of grief. They provide a brief glimpse into the hardships of life in the mid-1800s yet they remind us that those things that are important to us were just as important to them.

What struck me was that “home” was where their parents were! For example, Sarah (Berlin) Greene remained in Portage County, Ohio when her parents and several siblings moved to Elkhart County, Indiana and several times she addresses letters to “Friends at Home” and other times says she would like to “visit family at home”.

(Links will be added as the two items below are published.)

A list of the people mentioned in the letters as well as some information about each of them can be found in The Cast of Characters.

A List of the Letters includes the date of the letter, the location where it was written, who wrote the letter and to whom it was sent.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Berlin Family :: Bible Records

Photocopied pages from a Berlin Family bible were received from Patricia (Berlin) Miller in January, 1995. She identified it as the bible of John D. Berlin. Patricia is a descendant of Solomon Berlin, son of John. She had no idea who had possession of the family bible. I can only wonder where it might be but am thankful to have copies of these pages.

Familien Register.
John D. Berlin was born Dec. the. 8.,1792
Susannah Berlin was born March the 9 D 1804
Solomon Berlin was born May the 26 D. 1827
Catharine Berlin was born May the 21 D 1830
Lydia Berlin was born Feb the 22 D. 1832
Josiah Berlin was born June the 24th 1834
Jacob Berlin was born September the 30th 1836.
Mary Ann Berlin was born October 17th 1838
Sarah Berlin was born December 25th 1840

[Note: the following three are in a different handwriting.]
Elisabeth Berlin was Born April the 28th 1843 -
Lovina Berlin was Born the 8th of May 1845
J. Milton Berlin was Born the December ..7.. 1848

Familien Register.
John D. Berlin was married to Susannah Huffman Feb the 16th 1826

Familien Register.
Mr. John D. Berlin died Nov 11, 1879 aged 86 yrs, 11 mo and 3 days
Mrs. Susan Berlin died Apr. 22, 1880, aged 76 yrs, 1 mo and 13 days
Joseph Milton Berlin youngest son of John and Susan Berlin, died May 22, 1856, aged 7 yrs, 9 mo, and 16 days.
Jacob Berlin was killed in battle of Shiloh Apr 7, 1862, aged 25 yrs, 6 mo, and 7 days.
Josiah Berlin died March 27. 1869 aged 35 years 2 months 20 days
Solomon Berlin died Sept 22, 1872. aged 45 yrs 3 months 26 days.
Catharine Berlin Richmond died Nov 15th 1903 age 73 - 5 months 24 d

[Note: The next two names are in a different handwriting.]
Lydia Berlin Woodruff died May 17th 1913 aged 81 yrs 2 months 26 d
Sarah Berlin Greene died April 22d 1916 aged 76 yr 3 months 3 days

[Note: And in yet a different handwriting.]
Elizabeth Berlin Coppes died Feb. 19. Feb. 1931 at home in Nappanee and buried at So. Union Cemetery Locke.
Mary Winder died July 20 – 1933

[Note: Lovina Berlin Yarian died May 3, 1932 but her death is not listed.]

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Berlin Family :: John D. and Susannah

Born on December 8th, 1792 near Abbottstown in York (now Adams) County, Pennsylvania, John D. Berlin was the eldest of nine children of John Frederick Berlin whose wife was reportedly Juliana Dietzler.

A record in the “Orphan's Court” of Adams County, Pennsylvania dated August 25, 1845 shows that John Sheffer, as heir at law of Frederick Berline in right of his wife Loretta, petitioned the court stating that “Frederick Berline died intestate September 18, 1843 leaving issue eight children, to wit: John, Henry, George, Loretta (wife of petitioner), Eli, Joel, Polly and Frederick. All over the age of twenty-one.”

Census records suggest that John D. Berlin may have resided with his father through 1810 in Adams County, Pennsylvania. I have not located John in the 1820 census where he would have been 28 years old and single.

It is not known when John D. Berlin settled in Columbiana County, Ohio but on February 16th, 1826 he was married to Susannah Huffman in that county. They resided near Washingtonville which lies on the line delineating the counties of Columbiana and Mahoning.

Susannah Huffman (or Hoffman) was born March 9, 1804 in Columbiana County, Ohio. She was the second of eleven children of John and Catherine (Coy) Hoffman. There arises some confusion in several published biographies of Coy family members. It seems that Susannah's aunt, Elizabeth Coy, also married a man by the name of John Berlin! Those biographies state that Elizabeth and John Berlin resided in Nappanee, Indiana. Not true. Elizabeth Coy did marry John Berlin but they lived in Ohio. That John Berlin was born January 8, 1777 and was probably the son of John Nicholas Berlin (brother of John D. Berlin's grandfather) which would make John and John D. first cousins once removed. A record on Find A Grave shows that that John Berlin lived to be 101 years old. He is buried in Stark County, Ohio while his wife Elizabeth is buried in Summit County.

I have never seen a record that indicates what the “D” stands for in John D. Berlin's name but suspect that it was used primarily to distinguish him from that other John Berlin. Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Summit counties are all in the northeast corner of Ohio, which is where both of them lived at various times. His mother's maiden name is reported to be Dietzler, so perhaps he used the “D” in her honor.

On May 26, 1827 Solomon Berlin, the first child of John D. and Susannah, was born. They remained in Columbiana County, near Washingtonville, for the next 19 years and had eight more children: Catherine, 1830; Lydia, 1832; Josiah, 1834; Jacob, 1836; Mary, 1838; Sarah, 1840; Elizabeth, 1843; and Lovina, 1845.

In 1846 John D. Berlin moved with his family to the Rootstown area in Portage County, Ohio where they lived for 18 years. Their youngest son, Joseph Milton was born there in 1848. He was killed in the spring of 1856 in a wagon accident, at the age of seven years.

As with the majority of my ancestors, John D. Berlin was a farmer. As a result, there doesn't seem to be a lot of records on him. I've found him in land records and census records: In 1830 and 1840 in Columbiana County, Ohio as John Barlein and Jno. D. Berlin, respectively. In 1850 in Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio he is enumerated as John Elsworth! He and his family were listed on the lines immediately after Dolly Elsworth. The names and ages of the children match his family completely so there is no doubt that it is the family of John D. Berlin. In 1860 he was enumerated as J. D. Berlin and was still in Rootstown. At that time only the four youngest daughters were still living at home.

Solomon Berlin, the oldest child of John D. and Susan, married Fianna Slabaugh in 1851 and shortly thereafter moved to Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana. Catherine Berlin, the next oldest child, was married about 1854 to Frederick Daniel Richmond. They lived in Iowa for several years (where their first two children were born) before settling in Elkhart County about 1858. Jacob Berlin, fifth child of John D. and Susan, was living with his brother Solomon in Elkhart County in 1860.

Susannah's sister, Elizabeth Coy, had married Jacob Stauffer and they had moved with their family to Elkhart County in 1852. John D's sister, Loretta (full name Clarissa Loretta) and her husband, John Shafer, and their daughter and son-in-law, Anna and Isaac Rodibush (or Raudenbush) moved to Elkhart County, Indiana prior to 1860 where they are enumerated in Union township.

With family (and undoubtedly some friends too) already living in Elkhart County, Indiana it was not surprising to learn that John D. and Susan moved there also. Family letters show that John D. and Susan left Portage County, Ohio just a few days after the marriage of their daughter Sarah to George W. Greene (they were married on August 28, 1864). Traveling with John D. and Susan were their daughters Elizabeth (aka Lizzie) and Lovina, and their son Josiah along with his wife and two sons. Three daughters of John D. and Susan remained in Portage County – Sarah, Lydia and Mary Ann. Lydia had married Myron Collins in November 1858 and Mary Ann was still single.

John D. Berlin and Susan were found in the 1870 census in Locke Township, Elkhart County. Residing with them were his brother Frederic (a blind potter, age 60) and his sister Polly (age 58). By then the two youngest daughters had married: Elizabeth to Samuel Coppes in 1867 and Lovina to Eli Yarian in 1866. Lydia, Mary Ann, and Sarah were all still living in Portage County, Ohio.

Lydia's husband, Myron Collins, had died of disease in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee in April 1865. Nine years later (September 1874) she would marry Henry Woodruff and move to LaCygne, Linn County, Kansas. Henry died in 1898. Shortly thereafter, Lydia went to live in Elkhart County, Indiana.

Toward the end of 1866 Mary Ann Berlin also moved to Indiana. She was living in Elkhart County in 1875 when she married Lewis B. Winder.

Thus it was that Sarah (Berlin) Greene was the only member of the family who remained in Portage County, Ohio. She would live in the Ravenna area the rest of her life, giving birth to seven children, five of whom would live to adulthood. One of her children, Harry B. Greene, would move to Nappanee, Elkhart County, Indiana prior to 1900.

On November 11, 1879, John D. Berlin passed away at the home of his daughter Mary Winder in Locke, Elkhart County, Indiana. His wife Susan died five months later, on April 22, 1880 also at Mary's home. They are both buried in the Primitive Baptist Cemetery in Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana.

The family of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin
front row: Elizabeth, John D., Susannah, Lydia , Solomon
back row: Mary, Sarah, Lovina, Josiah, Catherine

A copy of the above photograph was received in the late 1990s from a descendant of Solomon Berlin. It is not known who now has the original or whether there were any markings on it to indicate where or when it was taken. I'm guessing that it was taken between 1862 and 1868. The son Jacob is not included – he was killed on April 7, 1862 (the second day of fighting during the Battle of Shiloh) – and Josiah died in March 1869.

John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin are my 3rd great grandparents. Their daughter, Lovina, married Eli Yarian and their daughter Susie Yarian would marry Henry Phend. They were the parents of Rolland Victor Phend who would marry Hazlette Brubaker. And they would become the parents of Virginia (Phend) Wiseman, my mother...

Additional information on The Berlin Family:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grandma's New House :: 1950

In The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 14 my Grandmother stated that she “went to work for a Chevrolet & Buick dealership in Auburn as head bookkeeper. At last I was earning a decent salary and had a new home built...”

I don't know the address of the house but it was out in the country near Auburn in Dekalb County, Indiana. I've asked my aunts and my mother if they knew the address but they don't remember.

This week my cousin gave me some things from her mother Phyllis (Phend) Mitchell. Among the photographs and miscellaneous papers was an envelope marked “Detailed cost of Mother's house she built in Auburn in 1950.” There was also a photograph of the house...

The house that Grandma (Hazlette Brubaker Phend Dunn) had built in 1950.

Building Supplies and Plumbing.

Plaster and Electricity.

Flooring and Cost of House ($5,250.86)

The thing I remember most about the house was the front step, with the upright brick edging. Many family photos were taken on those steps...

1951 – Me and my brothers.

1955 – Grandma with her grandchildren.
That's me, reaching toward my sister, probably to pull her thumb out of her mouth!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meeting the Grands...

Donna Pointkouski has an interesting post, Meeting Great-Grandma, in which she discusses longevity and over-lapping generations. Her post prompted me to take a look at my database. Even though I knew some of my “grands” had lived long lives, I was surprised at how many were alive during my lifetime.

My Dad knew 3 of his 4 grandparents but all of his great-grandparents were long gone before he was born.

Mom was in her late teens when her grandfather, Charles Brubaker, passed away though she says she never met him (he moved to Mississippi before she was born). She was in her mid to late 20s when the other three grandparents died and she knew each one of them. She met two of her great-grandmothers and one great-grandfather but would have only been 4-8 years old when they died. However, she says she remembers them.

Although one of my great-grandfathers and all four of my great-grandmothers were living when I was born, I don't personally have any memory of any of them. I would have been between the age of two and ten when they died. They all lived within 15 miles of where we lived.

Dad's mother's mother (i.e., my Great-Grandmother) Nancy Jane (Lavering) Shuder died January 2, 1954. I was not quite six years old when she passed away at the age of 99.

His father's mother, Amanda (Alexander) Wiseman was also still living when I was born. I was two years old when she died June 2, 1950 at the age of 89.

Mom's mother's mother, Maude (Wise) Brubaker died February 14, 1953, aged 75; I was almost 5 years old. Maude is in the middle, her granddaughter Phyllis (Phend) Mitchell is on the left and her daughter, Hazlette (Brubaker) Phend is on the right.

Mom's father's mother, Susie (Yarian) Phend died April 29, 1956 at age 84; I was 8 years old.

Of my great-grandfathers, only Mom's father's father, Henry A. Phend was still living when I was born. He passed away July 10, 1958 at the age of 92; I was 10 years old.

Henry and Susie (Yarian) Phend with their great-grandchildren at their 60th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in September 1952. I'm sitting on the ground on the left side of the picture.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 14 ~ Adult Life

If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.

Adult Life, continued

Vic was in very poor health [1] and about 1931 sold his business and we moved back to Columbia City. At this time we had only a very small income from the government so I went to work at the Oriental Show-U Sauce Company from six till midnight. Later Vic got total disability from the government and we moved to the country. There was no electricity or any conveniences, just old fashioned living. It would have been nice if everything had gone well, however, things became bad and after Shirley Ann was born in 1934 we moved to a country home near Larwill. Vic was working back in Fort Wayne again and we decided to try to buy a place of our own.

Matters became worse, I filed for divorce and the kids and I moved to Elkhart. There I baked pies for my brothers restaurant, cleaned houses, took in a boarder with two little girls, and eked out a living for us. Then my grandmother Brubaker-Bower died and left me an inheritance of $500.00. This allowed me to purchase the little house in Larwill and we moved there in 1938.

After a couple of years on an unbelievable small income, I was given the chance to buy a larger house. I took that chance; we moved into the big house, it was 1940. I got a few jobs, remarried Vic, tried working at Blue Bell with Phyllis but I was terrible. I worked for a trucking company in Fort Wayne for a while, and then finally went to work for Jewell Tea Company. I drove a truck for them for two years during World War II then went to work for an insurance company.

Vic and I divorced again [2] and I moved to Auburn. Another marriage, to Harold Dunn, fizzled out and again I was alone. Phyllis and Pat had both married while Ginny, Billy and Shirley stayed in Larwill with Vic.

I worked for a dry cleaning business, then a milling company in Butler. During this time I took a high school course and learned the double entry system of bookkeeping. Changing jobs once again, I went to work for a Chevrolet & Buick dealership in Auburn as head bookkeeper. At last I was earning a decent salary and had a new home built and had a very good life. I belonged to and was an officer in BPW (Business & Professional Women), worked in the Methodist Church, and had numerous friends. During this time I did some traveling; went to visit my son while he was in North Carolina, went to Traverse City and to Niagara Falls.

BPW Fashion Show.
She's got a tiara on so perhaps she was the Queen of the show!

Since I was getting older I thought I should get closer to my family. Both Bill's wife and Patricia were expecting babies and neither of them were very well. So I sold my home in Auburn and went to work for Bill at a weekly wage as his bookkeeper and helped out the girls, as it was needed. After little Billy Phend was on his way to being better and Ralph Victor Reiff was going strong, I took a job as the manager of Miller's Ice Cream Store at Five Points in Fort Wayne. I kept this job for three years then moved to North Webster where I opened a restaurant of my own.


And, this (about 1961) is where she ended her story...


[1] Grandpa Vic was gassed during WWI.

[2] Court records show that they were divorced July 7, 1937 and remarried on October 15, 1939. On July 17, 1945 they divorced for the second time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 13 ~ Adult Life

If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.

Adult Life

Just before the war ended I moved to Columbia City and began working for the larger "Home" Telephone Company.

I was still in Etna at the end of World War I. I had gone to Columbia City when Mama left the farm and had gone to work at the telephone office there. When Lodema Roth, the manager at Etna got the flu they sent me there till she was better. During that period the message came thru that the war was ended. I opened the keys on the switchboard and told everyone "the war is over". A short time later a message came that it was a false alarm. So I had to make another "all out" call - but only a few days later, on November 11, 1918 it really was over.

I was back in Columbia City and had gone home to lunch when our next door neighbor, Fred Howell, who was Wire Chief for the telephone company, came to our house and said, "Hazlette you must go pack for a few days stay at Arcola and catch the next train in half an hour." Well, I scrambled to get everything I needed and ran to the depot, which was just half a block from our house. The girl at Arcola had died and her family had moved away. Fred came over that afternoon and set up two cots - one for the neighbor girl and one for myself. He made arrangements for the restaurant to bring my meals. I only had to stay for one week while training the new girl. Then it was back to Columbia City.

During the next year I made lots of new friends. Maud Cramer and I hit it off at once and we were friends for the rest of her life. She and I double dated occasionally. Her future husband, Elmer Bump, and my future husband, Victor Phend, were one of these double dates!

Later I left the telephone company (the pay was terrible) and went to work at the Jet White Grocery, the first cash and carry store in the city. For a time I worked at Dr. Glock’s office in Fort Wayne, then went back to the phone company.

One day Lawrence Goble came in to the telephone office and asked me to come to work for him clerking and bookkeeping. I thought it was too big a job for me with no formal education. But he told me to write him a letter asking for the job, and he could tell from that. I wrote the letter and got the job as his "girl Friday" and worked there until Phyllis was born.

Hazlette Brubaker and Victor Phend. Her brother Bill in the background.
Probably about 1920.

Vic and I were married October 15, 1921 and Phyllis was born a year later. We lived in the Kissinger Addition and Vic worked in Fort Wayne; the government was paying him to learn the typewriter business. Patricia was born in 1926 and the next year we moved to Fort Wayne on Westbrook Drive. Virginia was born in 1928 and two years later, William Henry was born. He was the only one of the children born in a hospital (Lutheran) and the girls always thought you went to the hospital to get boys.

Note added 10 a.m. January 16, 2011 :: Born in 1902, Grandma would be 109 years old today! Happy Birthday Grandma!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

SNGF :: Ancestral Name List Roulette

Randy Seaver has posted the “assignment” for tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and I've decided to play along...

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

My Grandfather (Dad's Dad) Charles Wilson Wiseman was born September 20, 1885 and would be 125 years old. Divided by 4 and rounded to a whole number, my roulette number is 31.

Number 31 in my ahnentafel is Sophia Elizabeth Dunfee. She was the daughter of William Hamilton Dunfee and Catherine Jones and was born September 18, 1850 in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. She married William Pythagrus Wise on October 9, 1873 in Whitley County. Sophia passed away on December 6, 1916 in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana.

Three facts about Sophia:
  • She lived her entire life in Whitley County, Indiana. Three of her siblings died in infancy and a fourth died at the age of 12. The two siblings who lived into adulthood had no children.
  • Sophia created a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of (mostly) obituaries of family, friends and neighbors. The patent date of the scrapbook is March 1876. The scrapbook was passed down to Sophia's daughter, Maude Wise Brubaker then to her daughter Hazlette Brubaker Phend then to her daughter Phyllis Phend Mitchell. The Scrapbook was given to me last week by Phyllis' daughter.

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 12 ~ the Teenage Years

If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.

Growing Up, the Teenage Years

When we lived in Traverse City, there was a neighbor with a small baby; perhaps he was six months old. One day Mama dressed me up in my best clothes. I remember that she even put my little hat on me and said I was invited to a baptismal. I know I was the only other child there and I sat on a chair by the kitchen table and the baby was on the table. Then the Priest, the first one I'd ever seen one, came and said prayers in Latin and sprinkled the little fellow with water and soon it was over. I think there were refreshments but it was all very serious to me. I've always wondered why I was asked to witness the ceremony; I was the only one there outside the family. It seemed strange to me.

This leads me to think of another unusual thing. As a child were you ever a pallbearer? Well, I was, twice. At West Point Church, when I was about eleven years old, a little Snyder baby had died and four of us young girls were pallbearers. Then we moved to North Webster and that summer, Alfred Hamman's baby died and I was asked to be one of the pallbearers. These were not very pleasant to remember, but I do think they were unusual!

I should like to tell of one thing that happened about November of 1913. There were several Columbia City men that formed a Gun Club and had a cottage at Goose Lake. They were rather a wild, hard drinking bunch, and Mama and Papa were friends of the Mosher’s, who really ran the club. Well, this time in November, a number of fellows were out hunting on our farm.

One man shot Vance. He was a young man with a wife and small children. He was shot as he crossed a wire fence. The shot tore from his lower abdomen up through his body, and yet he lived. The men came to our house for blankets in which to carry him and as it was nearer to the Winter's house, they took him there. He was conscious, in a great deal of pain, and kept begging his friends to kill him.

Someone called Doctor Ben Linvill who refused to come. They called Doctor Dave Linvill, who also refused, as Vance was a poor man with no money. Doctor J.W.C. Scott of Etna was a man in his sixties, but he came in his horse and buggy and tried to save the man. With makeshift table, my mother held a kerosene lamp, and others gave ether to the poor man. Doctor Scott operated and Vance lived thru the operation only to die shortly after. The county buried him, of course, but I never knew what became of his family. There was no Welfare, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid in 1913 or for many years to come.

In December 1913, when I was almost twelve years old, I became very ill. Doctor Nolt said it was a nervous breakdown and had me taken out of school. This seemed like the end of the world to me as I had hoped to be a teacher. As I was too young to work away from home, I helped Mama and that was how I came to do so many things so young. I also read everything I could.

The summer of 1914, Uncle Harl raised onions and I was allowed to help weed them. I earned $5.00 for this, and I still know what I spent it for - Youth's Companion Magazine, $2.00, ten Alger Books, $1.00 and the other $2.00 was spent for dress material for Jane and me. This was the first money I ever earned, but soon I was able to make more. While we were in North Webster the first dollar I earned was from a man who had me play his parlor organ for some people.

I also helped the lady that had a millinery store. I don't think I ever sold any hats for her, but I tried them all on. Jane and I both worked for a summer resort for a while. Then we moved back to the farm.

I went to work for Mrs. Anderson at Cedar Lake. She had crippling arthritis and was almost helpless. I was only fifteen years old but I sure learned a lot while there. I got sick again; this time it was appendicitis and an operation. Once recuperated, I began working at the Farm's Telephone Company at Etna.

My very good friend, Ermal Fruchy worked at the Home Office. There were two telephone companies in this area at that time but after World War I, the larger company bought out the other. This was the start of the present company in Whitley County. Ermal and I had a lot of good times and as we are still good friends we often reminisce and have many pleasant hours reliving these experiences.

The funniest one I'll have to record here. Mrs. Winebrenner, the blacksmith's wife, had two sons. One was in prison and was shot trying to escape. They sent his body to his Mother in Etna. It was the custom for someone to "sit up" with the corpse. No one in town would do it, so Ermal and I, two young girls twenty and sixteen years old, offered to do this. Well this would have been all right, but the other son of the family decided to do the same. We were not about to "sit up" with him so we excused ourselves about Midnight and went home to bed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 11 ~ Farming Life

If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.

Farming Life in the Early 20th Century

Papa had about 100 acres of tillable land to farm. The best 50 acres was Grandma's and Papa started clearing the woods, which was on good muck soil. He also started ditching to dry up our swamp, which was good only as pasture. A few years before, this swamp or prairie as Papa called it, was a cranberry bog. Mama said she always picked cranberries there when she was a girl.

The first year or two Papa raised crops like everyone else. Corn, oats, rye, etc. but he always had a problem getting help. When we first took over the farm in 1911, I was only nine years old, Jane and Bill were eight and six, and so we were no help. I remember one of the first hired men Papa got. They told us kids that Joe had been in prison. He had knifed a man and stuffed him into an outside toilet. The man had died and Joe went to prison for two years. Well, I don't think he liked to work very well and he soon left. Papa went to Fort Wayne and brought home John.

John Yosthrenski was Polish and could speak very little English; also, he wasn't much of a farmer. We all liked John and once during the summer he had three young men come for a Sunday. One was only fourteen years old, a large blonde, good looking boy and he had only been in the U.S. as long as John, but he spoke English as well as we did. His name was Buster Ostroski.

John stayed with us all summer and one day in late fall he went to town with Papa. They drank too much and on the way home John asked Papa to stop and he started to walk back home. When asked why, he said, "I won't let Hazlette see me like this." We never saw John again; I was probably ten years old when this happened. The folks then contacted an orphan's home and that is when we got Orville.

Orville Day was from Indiana Harbor and when his father died he was put in the orphanage. He was supposed to be fourteen years old, but the folks were sure he wasn't much older than me. He was a good boy, but had not gone to school and had a terrible personality. He lived with us as if he were our brother and when we eventually left the farm; he continued to stay on with whom ever bought it. We never knew where he finally went.

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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Life of Hazlette Brubaker :: Part 10 ~ Childhood on the Farm

If you haven't already done so, you may want to read The Introduction to this series of posts.

Childhood on the Farm

Jane and Bill worked in the fields and milked cows, etc. while I helped Mama and raised the garden with Papa supervising. I baked all the bread for the family from the time I was eleven years old, also I cooked and baked cakes, but Mama always baked the pies.

Mama and Papa often gave parties. They both liked people and loved to entertain. We always had a party on the 4th of July or anytime that more than one of the family could come over. This, of course, meant Mama's family because Grandma Brubaker was all the family that Papa had.

On one 4th of July, about 1914, Grace and Lena Zintzmeister and Aunt Rose [1] were at Grandma Wise's. Papa bought a five-gallon tub of Ice Cream and made five gallons of lemonade in a big crock. He made tables in the front yard and they were loaded with good things to eat. This was a thing to remember always. Jane and I had new dresses to wear and were very proud of them. Papa always had fire works on the 4th.

Once Jane decided to have a party. She didn't tell Mama or me, she just invited all the kids that had practiced for the Children's Meeting. When we looked down the road and saw all these girls coming dressed in party clothes, we wondered where they were going and Jane said " Oh, I forgot to tell you they are coming here for a party!" Well, Mama and I got busy and while the kids played games we popped corn and Mama made fudge and they all had a grand time.

As we got older we had more formal parties and the biggest one was just before we moved to North Webster. When I was 14 years old Mama invited kids from three different neighborhoods. We really had a nice party with the living room, kitchen and dining porch all decorated and we played party games. It was lots of fun. This was the end of us as a family for Mama and Papa began to have more serious trouble while we were living in North Webster, and Grandma Wise died, and Mama and Papa finally separated.

We had fun all by ourselves that stay in my memory. One time when the yellow Harvester apples were getting over-ripe and had fallen to the ground, someone picked one up and threw it, this started the battle of the apples! It was confined to the dining porch and even though we had to clean it all up afterwards it still was lots of fun. This same thing happened with water on very hot days. Someone would toss a cup of water on Papa and then it really started. The supply tank was in the dining porch so it was real handy.

One of the fun times of "the good old days" was the last day of school. The teacher organized a program of entertainment and there was an enormous carry-in dinner. Every one in the district came and it was one of the highlights of the year.

As you older ones know, school was a one-room affair near Goose Lake, Scott School. My brother, sister and I went to the same school that both Mama and Papa attended. They seem to have had more interesting things to do than we did. For one thing there were older kids - not many went to High School as the closet one was Columbia City and this was in the horse and buggy days. They had spelling bees and Mama had won several prizes for spelling "down" the school. They had box suppers where the girls decorated boxes and filled them with goodies for the boys to buy at auction, then the girl would get to eat with whichever boy bought her box. It was all so simple, but when Mama or Papa would tell us about their good times, we always thought it was wonderful.

In the winter our walk to school, in below zero weather, was really terrible. No one ever said it was too cold or stormy to go. We just walked that mile, most of it with the wind off the frozen lake. One day I remember Mama had me wear her big shawl over my coat. I really didn't get too cold, but Jane and Billy nearly froze. I carried their dinner pails and gave Jane my mittens, but we had to work with her when we got to school - her fingers were frost bitten.

It was several years later that they had consolidated school in Troy Township. Thagrus Burns started to school after it was consolidated and rode one of the first "school hacks". He would have had almost twice as far to walk if they hadn't consolidated.

My parents were both friendly and loved having people about so we had lots of company. People from Huntington or Fort Wayne would drop in on Sunday mornings. I helped Mama many times to catch a couple of chickens, kill, dress, and fry them after the company came! This was before refrigeration and unless notified in advance of their coming, we had to get the freshest meat. I have often thought how easy they could have telephoned, but everyone seemed afraid of long distance phone calls.

We also had several friends who came and stayed for a while. One was Jack Smith, an old soldier and Civil War veteran. He would come for weeks at a time and when we were in Traverse City, he came and stayed a while, liked it so well that he rented a room upstairs and stayed until cold weather.

After we had been back on the farm for sometime, one of our old neighbors from Traverse City, Mrs. Gradop, came for a week and stayed and stayed and stayed! Mama got awfully tired of her and finally wrote her daughter to send for her. She was just "too much".


[1] Aunt Rose was Rose Wise Zinsmeister, sister of “Grandpa” William P. Wise. Grace and Lena were her daughters. They lived in Lorain, Ohio.