A Total Blog - Before I even had a Blog! Wow!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Today, I came across this on my computer.  I was shocked.  Obviously I was compelled to write this down.  It is a total blog - before blogging!  After reading it just now - this is what genealogy is all about, right?  Enjoy.

- The Photo-Album -

Just two years ago – I did not care!  I’m telling you - I did not care really, who my great grandparents were, where they came from, where the lived, who their families were.  Didn’t care who the cousins I have never met were all about, or that one cousin is a disabled vet, living in Arkansas whom I had not seen since childhood.

When my mother passed away just two years ago last month, a photo album was passed on to me, because my sister’s were not interested either.  Since I lived the closest to where my mom had lived in Gresham, “just give it to Mary” was a familiar sound.  That way – no one had to ship the items.  It was easier that way.  In fact I ended up with a lot of things from my mom that way.  Today I treasure them all.

One day about a month after the death of my mother, I opened the photo-album and it instantly grabbed me.  In it, were people that my mother cared about.  Deeply.  I had remembered Mom telling me about two years earlier, “you might think that is weird, Mary, but one day you will appreciate it”.  Well she sure was right!       Unfolding before my eyes, were obituaries of her parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, a couple of brothers along with a whole slew of relatives including one of my own cousins from her home town in Ruthven, Iowa.

I remember Ruthven, Iowa.  It was where my family would group for our three month furlough from being over sea’s.  The cousins would come over.  We would see grandma and grandpa.  Grandpa would sneak us $20 bills every now and then.  Grandma would cook up a storm preparing food for any of her own grown children (six kids) and other grandchildren who would stop by.  The kids would hop from car top to car top in Grandpa’s junk yard.  We would make forts in the barn with hay, and sleep there on hot summer nights.  We would sit on the fence with our cousins and sing to the cows.  My Dad even fixed up one of the cars from the junk yard so it would run, and then give us driving lessons there.  Grandpa built me some stilts. 

Nothing in Ruthven, Iowa had a bad memory for me.  As I pondered over this photo-album I just knew I had to start a tree.  I just felt I had to make some sense out of it all.  Had to figure out how these people were related to me.   So I started a tree.  It has over 600 people in it now.  All are ancestors that mean a lot to me.  Every time I find an obituary of a Great Great or Great Great Great Grandparent it absolutely thrills me!  I have read some great stuff and admired the traits of many of my ancestors.

This photo album has given me such incredible gifts and blessings.  If my mom only knew!  The cousin Greg in Arkansas had photos of our great grandpa who was in the army in 1898.  Never thought I’d see a photo of him.  He had a photo of our great great Grandpa and his new wife.  Never thought I’d see a photo of them.  Also he has a coin that our Great great Grandpa wore in his shoe for good luck in the 1860’s during the war and sent me a photo of it.   I have been able to share with Cousin Greg all about my life and the love of God and he is an excellent listener.

That photo album eventually put me in touch with a fourth cousin who lives in Virginia whom I am in regular contact with.  She had photos of our shared family, including the old family farm in the 1800’s.  She had a couple of wills of uncles that have long since passed along with the obituaries of her own two parents who have passed on.  I have been able to share with her where I go to church and have encouraged her to start attending church after so many years.  She has and loves it.  We are now in touch with another 4th cousin from the same family lines.  Our ancestors were all brothers.

That photo album has taken away the pain of my mom’s passing.  I have been able to share regularly with her living cousins in Ruthven, Iowa and them with me.  They miss her too. 

The photo album will continue to bless as more of my family’s story spills out.  I thank God for all the gifts He has given me and the many more surely to come.  Today I can honestly say “I care a lot!”

By Mary (Lyon) Hellman, 2009

The Coin that survived the Civil War

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War  I've chosen the following which I think you will enjoy.

Take a good look at this coin.  Look at the year.  Wow!

1858 50 cent piece
My Great Great Grandfather,
Andrew S Davis, put this coin in his boot and wore it all through the Civil War.  Family members say this was his "lucky" coin.  It served him well because he survived the war, married and began a new generation.  My cousin has this coin today and plans to give it to his son who he named Andrew Davis.  That is so cool!

Here is a note that his grandson, Stuart Davis (my grandfather) wrote regarding this coin.  I have transcribed it in case it is difficult for you to read.

"This 50 (cent) piece was carried by Grandfather Davis in Shermans March to the sea.  Also up the coast to Washington to be mustered out at the close of the war."

Andrew S. Davis enlisted in Company E, Iowa 4h Infantry Regement on August 8, 1861 at the age of 40.  He was wounded at one time and in a hospital for about 4 months.  He was promoted to Full Corporal on January 1, 1864.  He mustered out on July 24, 1865 at Louisville, KY.  He also was a flagholder at the Grand Army of the Republic in Washington at the close of the war.

I am so proud of my gr gr grandfather!

Here is the only picture the family has of Andrew S Davis.  We believe this was his wedding on November 6, 1866 to Anna Schafer. 

See more below:
Andrew Davis' unit 4th Iowa Infantry Company E fought in the battle of Pea Ridge. The Pea Ridge National Military Park is at that location today. He was in Sherman's "March to the Sea", which took place thru Georgie after Atlanta was "accidently" burned down. He also went up the ocast. After the war he was mustered out in Washington D.C. after they had the "Grand Review" (parade) of the Army. He fought for the Union.||This was in the book " History of Polk County" regarding the military.||550 HISTORY OF POLK COUNTY.||Castellin, Thomas (Costello], captured at Gaines' Landing, Miss.; December 24, 1862.|Danforth, Andrew J.|*Davis, Andrew S., veteranized as corporal January 1, 1864.|Dixon, John, discharged November 24, 1862.|

In case any one is reading this.  Andrew is my brick wall.  I have no idea what he did from the time he was born in West Virginia in 1821 until he joined the war in Iowa.  Course, Davis is a difficult name to research.  :)

Happy Post Birthday Mom

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Post Birthday Mom.....


My Mother would have turned 79 today. 
So I am thinking of her today and how much my sisters and I miss her. 

Marjorie Pauline Davis Lyon was born on April 5, 1932 in Ruthven, Iowa.  She died on April 14, 2007 in Gresham, Oregon. She is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Ruthven, Iowa where many of her family members are laid to rest.

Mom was an Iowa farmers daughter.  She had five brothers and no sisters!  One year she had a prize cow that won a blue ribbon at the county fair!
Mom would have been thrilled if she found out her girls, Nancy, Mary, Susan and Sandy got together last month in California.

Susan, Nancy, Mary and Sandy - March 2011

We Love and Miss You Mom