Family Wedding – Day 5 of #30DayFHWChallenge

Grandpa Glenn Archer "Archie" Stewart and grandchildren, Taylor and Noah Garnes. 30 April 2005

Grandpa Glenn Archer “Archie” Stewart and grandchildren, Taylor and Noah. 30 April 2005

The prompt for day 5 of the #30DayFHWChallenge is to select your favorite family photo, and write about the moments just before and/or after the photo was taken. Why was it taken? Was your ancestor happy to be in it?

This is a weird/hard one for me because as I’m not close with my mom’s side of the family, I don’t have very many pictures of them.  As children though, we did most of our family type events with that side of the family so while there are many, many pictures of us at family events, I don’t have access to them. But before I became estranged from that side, I was lucky enough that my mother gave me a few pictures so I do have “some” from my childhood remaining. Maybe someday she’ll pass them on but who knows? I have what I have and I cherish them.

The Home of Captain Woodhull – Day 3 Family History Writing Challenge

This is the Woodhull Dairy Farm, which I believe is the mansion that Jesse built. His grandsons had a prominent dairy farm in the mid 1850's.

This is a stereoscopic card of the Woodhull Dairy Farm in Orange County I purchased some time ago. His grandsons owned and operated a prominent dairy farm in the mid 1850’s and even laid fame to the first butter factory. (Click to enlarge.)

Day 3’s prompt for the #30DayFHWChallenge is:  Imagine your ancestor getting the keys to his first house or car. Write a journal entry from his point of view that describes the car/place and his feelings about it. 

Because I love my Woodhull connections and have learned so much about the Orange County Woodhulls that lived here near me, I wanted to write about Captain Ebenezer Woodhull (again) and what his home must have been like compared to that of his brother Colonel Jesse Woodhull.  Jesse’s home was vividly described in a 1920 article as being a “mansion”, which would match his prominence in the county post-Revolutionary War. From my research, Ebenezer seemed to be the opposite of his outspoken and more politically active brother.  He was likely religious – his will is a testament to God giving him everything and blessing him throughout his life. A traveling preacher even recorded a brief stay  there on the captain’s farm during his travels through the county. While he did have some fortune when he died, it paled in comparison to his brother’s wealth. He seems most content with being just a simple farmer and raising his nine children with his wife in the countryside of Blooming Grove/Oxford.  Ebenezer, his wife and many of their children are buried on the same land they lived on in a small family cemetery plot on a back country road.

Journal Entry for May 1766

I have built a small comfortable house in the countryside of Oxford where I will bring my bride soon and I hope Abigail will be happy here.  It’s quite meager, unlike Jesse’s large estate nearby or even that of my ancestral home on Long Island… what need does a farmer have of such an extravagant home?  I think it will be a fine place to raise our children in the future. The house is surrounded by ample pastures for the horses and cattle to roam and there are trees as far as the eye can see, extending all the way to the mountains in the distance.  Farming will be good here in the rich, fertile flat lands and I’m quite sure Abigail will tend a vegetable garden near the house. Murderer’s Creek is nearby where I can fish or even hunt the deer who come from the forest to drink there.  It’s practically perfect here in this part of the country and I pray to the Almighty that we might reside here in peace forever.

~Eben. Woodhull

 

Asbury Archer – Family History Writing Challenge, Day 2

columbia-hotel

Postcard of the Columbia Hotel where Asbury was proprietor in 1914.

Day 2 of the #30FHWChallenge is to think of your ancestor as a character in a novel, and describe him or her in a few short paragraphs.

My 3rd great uncle was Asbury Archer from Noble County, Ohio.  Asbury was a teacher and a writer, publishing several poems and articles through the years.  I shared his poem about the mailman earlier this year in a previous post.  That poem, like all his others, are gorgeously written, epic in nature and grand in scale, just sweeping you away to another time and place.

However, when I think of Asbury, I get a bit melancholy.  His life truly IS like a character out of a novel – tragic and poignant, filled with sadness and despair but he continually muddled on, looking for validation but never truly finding it. He was so talented but never found commercial success as a writer. He ran the hotel where his sister was murdered by her husband and afterwards, he wasn’t allowed to adopt his orphaned nephews since he was a single young man. Instead, he had to place them in the county children’s home where you can only imagine what life was like for them there during the Depression.  I can’t imagine the guilt he must of felt leaving them there.  He returned home to take care of his ailing mother and managed the farm after his father died but after his mother passed away, he just sort of flitted from town to town looking for jobs.  He never married and died alone in his home of gastric carcinoma and alcoholism in 1935.

Dear Esther – Family History Writing Challenge Day 1

stewartdeathpaper

The Cincinati Equirer, 24 Jan 1914, Page 3

As part of the #30DayFHWChallenge, I am writing this letter to my second great-grandmother who was murdered in 1914 by her husband, William, before he shot himself as well.  I’ve written about Esther and William’s sad story before and the tragic ending of their two orphaned boys who would go on to kill themselves when they were adults as well.

In my quest to understand what happened that horrible day, I’ve gobbled up every bit of information I can find regarding William and Esther looking for clues and signs to explain why this had to happen. Most people would probably just shake their head at the tragedy and move on, but as a victim of abuse myself in the past, I wonder if she knew it was escalating to that point of no return.  This is my letter to her….