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.

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….

Asbury Garfield Archer

Born in 1880 in the small farm community of Caldwell, Ohio in Noble County, my 3rd great uncle was Asbury Archer.  His father was Jesse Archer, the Civil War soldier I’ve written about before.  My great uncle was called Asa by many and there are multiple spellings of his name.  You’ll see Aza, Azza, Asberry, Azbury, Azberry, etc. but at one point in his life, he was a teacher and wrote many poems and articles for different newspapers under the pseudonym, Adam Alltop.  (If I ever publish my book, I plan on writing under the name Eve Alltop, in honor of him!)

Got a Loafer in Your Tree?

1870census

1870 US Census

While researching my great-grandfather Jesse Archer, I found the 1870 Federal Census and got a bit of a giggle at his occupation that was listed as “loafer”.  I mean, I’ve read about several silly occupations on the censuses but I’d never come across “loafer” so it brought up a bit of a mystery for me and brought debate between friends and relatives but nobody was quite sure.

My relative Suzanne thought perhaps it was a baker, referring to the loaves of bread.  Another, thought perhaps a person working on a farm, rolling bales of hay, which could have made sense because he was a farmer nearly all his life.  Personally, I thought it meant more like our modern meaning – a slacker.  However, as Suzanne pointed out, how does a slacker have personal property in 1870 in the amount of $1000?  That was a lot of value then!  (I’ll discuss that below later….)