Military Monday: A Memorial for Truman Weaver

Truman Weaver

© Ifistand47 | Dreamstime.com – Nashville National Cemetery Photo

This isn’t the post I would like to write about Truman Weaver.

Earlier this month, I put the spotlight on Gertrude Weaver. Today I’d like to shine it on her grandfather, my 4th-great-grandfather. For the longest time, he was a brick wall in my tree, and even now I have questions.

Truman Weaver married Mary Ann Vanorsdale, likely in Pennsylvania around 1845, estimating from the birth of their first (known) child the following year. It’s the births of their children that shape my limited timeline of their life together. With their fathers and other relatives, they removed to Trumbull county, Ohio around 1847 (because their second son was born there), and in 1855, they made an entry of land in Tuscola county, Michigan. Their sixth known child was born in the state that year, too.

Truman and Mary Ann’s ninth and last child, Milo Gardiner Weaver, was born in September 1860, some months after the census taker came by. It took quite a search to connect Milo to his father; they were never enumerated together.

Truman enlisted with the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics (Company F) on October 1, 1861. Just about a year after the official start of the Civil War, he died in Nashville, Tennessee. In contrast to the rough sketch of his years of family life, I know a fair amount about his last weeks. Mark Hoffman’s history, “My Brave Mechanics”: The First Michigan Engineers and Their Civil War, contains revealing details, such as the fact that Companies D, F, and G made the most difficult marches of the entire regiment in the early part 1862, and that sleeping on wet and frozen ground undoubtedly contributed to rapidly deteriorating health of the men. By the end of January, 1862, half of the men in Company F were laid up or in the hospital. (Hoffman, 53)

The regiment received orders to march to Louisville on February 23, 1861. They covered 46 miles in two days, and then Companies D, F, and G slept on the steamer Argonaunt. The Argonaunt left Louisville the next day and arrived in Nashville on March 4. And then… “When the regiment left the Nashville area in early April, at least 200 sick men were left behind…” (Hoffman, 52)

Truman Weaver died April 15, 1862. He was one of the two hundred abandoned.

He was interred at the Nashville National Cemetery, grave mark number A.3906. However, there is also a stone for him and his wife (which also includes his son Benjamin and wife) in the Cochranton Cemetery in Crawford county, Pennsylvania—where his family landed after he was gone. It seems likely to me that his older sons made this decision as a tribute to their father since Mary Ann had remarried. It’s bitter, though. Truman Weaver was not forgotten, but he left too soon for his youngest son. Milo had nothing to remember.

The post I wanted to write about Truman Weaver should include more particulars than rough dates and places. It would feature clues about his personality and relationships, and it would be more about the story of his life than the circumstances of his death. Nonetheless, on Memorial Day we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is my tribute to his.

Sorting Saturday: So Many Stories to Tell…

Check out my mess!

So many stories to tell....

The good news is, I have no shortage of material! 

For Sorting Saturday, I’m organizing Real Photo postcards and scenic postcards, examining cabinet cards and portraits and snapshots of old, grouping related items and setting aside those that are meant for other projects . . . because there’s always another project! Future inheritors of my historic collection will have a time of it if they assume that all of these are my kin.

As you know, I love to rescue photos and postcards from the local antique market and bring faded stories to life. Sometimes, I get a little ahead of myself.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you probably knew that, too! :$

I’ve been sitting on some of these for a while . . . but now that my novel has been released (yay!), it’s time I take some of these finds “on the road” with a blog tour!

I’ll be busy writing and approaching other bloggers about guest spots through June and July. However, before I do that, I wanted to ask my usual readers first! So, if you are a member of Geneabloggers, like Christian fiction, and would enjoy having me write a post for your blog, or if you’re possibly interested but have questions, drop me a note and we’ll talk!

The posts will be formatted more or less like this one: a Geneabloggers prompt in the title, a historical photo or postcard image (with transcriptions if applicable), some exposition and analysis of whatever genealogical bits I was able to uncover about it, and a brief plug for Whispers in the Branches like the sample below, with the cover image, a short description, buy links, and my super-brief bio. (If you do affiliate stuff on your blog, you should absolutely use your affiliate links instead.)

And now, with mere minutes left of Saturday where I live, I’d best hit the button on this one! I’ll have a post for the holiday on Monday… so until then, happy Memorial Day weekend. Be safe!


Genealogy fiction with a heart for Jesus. Abby moved into a haunted house to see if the stories were true, but the secrets she uncovered weren’t the ones she wanted to find…

Whispers in the Branches is genealogy-inspired Christian fiction, available on Amazon, BN.com, Booksamillion.com, and other online retailers.

Step into Georgia’s springtime and see that there’s more than one way to be haunted.

Brandy Heineman is a Southern author and genealogy hobbyist. Visit her online at brandyheineman.com.

 

Wednesday’s Child(ren): Much Ado About Macaroni & Kidney Beans

Here’s a hundred-year-old treat for those of you attending graduation potluck lunches in the coming weekends. Tucked between the pages of my antique cookbook, I found this…

Macaroni & Kidney Beans.  1 cup macaroni  1 teaspoon salt  1 quart water  1/2 pt. cream tom- sauce  1 can or 1 pint cooked kidney beans  Make cream tom sauce as follows  2 tablespoons flour  2 " butter  3/4 cup milk  1/2 teaspoon salt  1/4 cup strained tom.  Heat milk - Rub flour & butter tog. Pour into milk.  Add strained tom & turn into this sauce the drained macaroni & beans.

1915 Macaroni & Kidney Beans–coming soon to your next potluck.

Transcription:


Macaroni & Kidney Beans.

1 cup macaroni

1 teaspoon salt

1 quart water

1/2 pt. cream tom- sauce

1 can or 1 pint cooked kidney beans

Make cream tom sauce as follows

2 tablespoons flour

2 ” butter

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup strained tom.

Heat milk – Rub flour & butter tog. Pour into milk.

Add strained tom & turn into this sauce the drained macaroni & beans.


(Remember to use 2015 food safety practices when attempting to make 1915 recipes!)

Now, can I just tell you how much I love that the recipe was written on the back of this

High School Auditorium Much Ado About Nothing presented by The Class of 1915 Thursday and Friday, May 20th and 21st eight o’clock ___________________ Dramatis Personae  Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karl Weaver Don John, his half brother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Milton Osborne Claudio, a young lord of Florence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fred Perry Benedick, a young lord of Padua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bernard Garrett Leonato, Governor of Messina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Francis McConnell Antonio, his brother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold Kent Bulthazar, attendant of Don Pedro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karl Elliott Conrade } . . . . . . . . . . . followers of Don John . . . . . . . . . . {Orris Robinson Borachio } . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Karl Leuphold Friar Francis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charles Kappes Dogbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rolland Bateman Verges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Pinkerton Sexton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . George Sammons First Watch} . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Earl Gregg Boy              } George Seacole, second watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bernard Frank Hero, daughter of Leonato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Gladys Still . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Mary Lillibridge Beatrice, niece to Leonato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Elizabeth Mulvey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Hilda Jones Margaret, gentlewoman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Elizabeth Rei . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Ruth Ball Ursula, gentlewoman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Mabel Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Margaret Foley Scenes  ACT I.--The tying of the knot.  SCENE I. Garden of Leonato’s palace  SCENE II. Same.  ACT II.--The tightening of the knot.  SCENE I. Garden of Leonato’s palace.  SCENE II. Hall of palace.  ACT III.--The knot tied.  SCENE I. Garden.  SCENE II. Same.  SCENE III. Hall of palace.  ACT IV.--The untying of the knot.  SCENE I. A church.  ACT V.--The knot untied.  SCENE I. Garden.  Time, about 1400. Place, Messina.  NOTE—Music for the song in the second act was composed by Bernard Mechlin.  Furniture loaned by Rowlands.

A 1915 playbill for the Zanesville High School production of Much Ado About Nothing

Transcription (annotated):


 

High School Auditorium
Much Ado About Nothing
presented by
The Class of 1915
Thursday and Friday, May 20th and 21st
eight o’clock
___________________

Dramatis Personae

Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karl Weaver
Don John, his half brother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Milton Osborne
Claudio, a young lord of Florence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fred Perry
Benedick, a young lord of Padua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bernard Garrett
Leonato, Governor of Messina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Francis McConnell
Antonio, his brother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harold Kent
Bulthazar, attendant of Don Pedro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karl Elliott
Conrade } . . . . . . . . . . . followers of Don John . . . . . . . . . . {Orris Robinson
Borachio } . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Karl Leuphold
Friar Francis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charles Kappes
Dogbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rolland Bateman
Verges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Robert Pinkerton
Sexton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . George Sammons
First Watch} . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Earl Gregg
Boy              }
George Seacole, second watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bernard Frank
Hero, daughter of Leonato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Gladys Still
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Mary Lillibridge
Beatrice, niece to Leonato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Elizabeth Mulvey
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Hilda Jones
Margaret, gentlewoman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Elizabeth Rei
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Ruth Ball
Ursula, gentlewoman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Mabel Young
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . {Margaret Foley

Scenes

ACT I.–The tying of the knot.

SCENE I. Garden of Leonato’s palace

SCENE II. Same.

ACT II.–The tightening of the knot.

SCENE I. Garden of Leonato’s palace.

SCENE II. Hall of palace.

ACT III.–The knot tied.

SCENE I. Garden.

SCENE II. Same.

SCENE III. Hall of palace.

ACT IV.–The untying of the knot.

SCENE I. A church.

ACT V.–The knot untied.

SCENE I. Garden.

Time, about 1400. Place, Messina.

NOTE—Music for the song in the second act was composed by Bernard Mechlin.

Furniture loaned by Rowlands.


(Annotation links go to Ancestry.com; subscription required.)

A Zanesville newspaper clipping found in situ between the cookbook pages gave me the clue on where to look for these youths, and Milton Osborne’s obituary tells us that they attended Zanesville High School.

Now that this wonderful, unique record is out there, I’ll put it to the researchers who come upon this post in their web travels: if your ancestor is one of these Zanesville Ohio teens, born around 1896-1897, and you have an incomprehensible photo of your quarry in theatrical garb, I hope you’ll share it so it can be added to this post!

Matrilineal Monday: Gertrude Weaver Witter Richey and the “Meanest Person”

For Mother’s Day, I’m writing in honor of Gertrude Weaver Witter Richey, who saw her share of heartache and then some.

She lost her young, ambitious husband Jay to black diphtheria in 1911 while pregnant with their fourth child, but the Witter family circled around her. Her kids frequently went to stay at Uncle Ora’s farm, and her oldest son, LeRoy (my great-grandfather) stayed with his cousin Marjorie, attending public school in Olean NY and generally becoming the handsome, popular young man his father would have been proud of—the kind of guy who would eventually not only attend the reunions of the Joshua and Nancy Witter descendants, but occasionally host them, and frequently serve as an officer for the group as well.

As for Gertrude, she remained active on the “Witter roster” even after she remarried in 1921. And how could she not? Her kids were Witters, through and through. They were known around town, a beloved, social family with many friends.

I’ll allow myself the leeway of a bit of speculation here. Through the stories and the news clippings and the photographs, I’ve gotten just enough of a sense of the family to feel that I know what it meant to be a Witter in the Hinsdale/Olean area in the first third of the twentieth century. They were boisterous, I’m willing to bet—talkers, storytellers, jokesters. The consummate extroverts, athletic, willing to accept any half-decent reason to laugh, and quick to come to their neighbors’ aid. Although I’ve never seen a picture of Jay Witter to know what he looked like, I suspect Gertrude saw him in her boys, more every day as they grew into young men.

And on August 23, 1936, when her second son Richard died at age 31 in a horrific boating accident on Cuba Lake, I think her heart was never the same after that.

The details of the accident that were printed in the paper were nothing any mother should have to read about her child, and the coroner’s inquest remained page-two news for most of that week. Criminal and civil negligence trials followed, and though listing them out would detract from the story I want to tell, they may well be related, because on June 9, 1937, only a short time after the newspapers quieted about the accident and subsequent proceedings, this brief item ran in the Olean Times Herald.

    “MEANEST PERSON” STEALS FLOWERS FROM CEMETERY      Mrs. O. D. Richey, Coleman Street, has proposed a candidate, though unknown, for the title of “meanest person.”      Visiting the grave of her son, Richard Witter, at Maplehurst Cemetery recently, Mrs. Richey reported that flowers she had planted there had been removed from the ground. She had gone to considerable expense and trouble to decorate the plot, she said.      Other plots in the same cemetery had been similarly treated, Mrs. Richey said.

June 9, 1937, Olean Times Herald, via Ancestry.com

What on this earth compares to a mother’s heartbreak?

Grave stone for Dick G. Witter (1905-1936) (aka Richard G. Witter, aka Rufus Gardiner Witter)

Dick G. Witter (1905-1936)
(aka Richard G. Witter, aka Rufus Gardiner Witter)

When I visited the Maplehurst Cemetery and snapped a photo of Dick G Witter’s headstone, I was none the wiser. There’s no trace of Gertrude’s efforts now, of course. She herself died only two years later.

From this side of history, we have no idea whether the damage amounted to a mower’s carelessness or serious vandalism. I can certainly imagine Gertrude’s frame of mind amid grief and court dates, though. She had only one filter to see it through.

We like to delight our moms with flowers for Mother’s Day. Gertrude bought her own, for Richard but also for herself. Flowers only give joy to the living. After her son was taken from her, how those stolen flowers must have echoed that wound.

Flowers and laughter fade—and even so, transient beauty is worth its fleeting moment. Weathered stones remain—but so do the echoes of those Witter traits I find between the lines of the newspaper archives. I’d like to think Gertrude would be pleased and proud of the generous, boisterous talkers and storytellers among the Witters I know.

Love & Appearances in Sarah Loudin Thomas’ new release, “Until the Harvest”

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’  “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.  “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’  “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”  -Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV) | Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Until the Harvest, the second full-length novel in the Appalachian Blessings series by Sarah Loudin Thomas, is officially out today!

You can find my full review here, but this post is more a rumination on character and theme. Since I’ve wavered quite a bit on my “Devotionals on the First of the Month” resolution (and have completely fallen off the train of “All Other Blogging Plans Whatsoever”), we’re gonna let this post pull double-duty. (And y’all know this is a spoiler-free zone, so read on with impunity!)


Back in February, I wrote about my seven-year-old self tackling one of life’s big questions—What is love? For one of its characters in particular, Until the Harvest is about this question, too.

Wise, West Virginia, 1976—There’s a sneaky little quirk to Margaret Hoffman’s character arc. She thinks badly of her parents, and her mother in particular, for being overly concerned with appearances over substance, but doesn’t see herself falling into similar ways of thinking. Margaret believes herself unattractive, and takes her outward appearance as an indication that love is not for her. Of course, her mother piles on nasty comments that foster this negative self-image, so it’s little wonder Margaret feels the way she does. And as is so often the case, she fails to recognize in herself the very flaw that defines her mother.

Beyond the scope of loving her little sister Mayfair, love is a mystery to Margaret—to the point that the news of an upcoming wedding between two very elderly neighbors slightly grosses her out. I don’t recall her basing this on their gray hair and wrinkles, but their circumstances as nonagenarians is still an external factor. She wonders, what’s the point of loving if they hardly have any time left?

In terms of her spiritual life, Margaret devotes a bit of thought here and there to “Christian charity” and “the Christian thing to do,” in spite of not having much use for church or prayer. These thoughts sound okay, but they demonstrate an externally-driven faith. She does love the poetry of the Psalms and is not closed off to belief—but she doubts that she is lovable, even by God. Her talents for organization and service appear purposeless to her, when in fact they are channels for tangible expressions of love.

Margaret has her own version of the appearances game playing out—her own field of wheat and tares sown in her heart. In other words, she’s a great character, plagued with the same bad and wounded thinking that barges into real life. If this sounds harsh, it’s only because it’s a little easier to identify the whisper of lies when you’re reading about them in someone else’s head.

So where does truth come in to counter? How does God teach us to love? Sometimes, He does it by sending us someone unlovable. In Margaret’s case, that person scores no “outward appearance” points. Once Mayfair nudges her sister to care, Margaret finds that she’s not so callous as to leave a dying person to their filth. Her talents do have purpose: to show love, even for someone who doesn’t have much time left. And it’s not pointless at all.

Turns out, those acts of love for a dying person spread healing to places physical death can’t even reach.

People. Words. Experiences. Their surfaces rarely tell all. Sometimes we have to wait until the harvest to see what kind of fruit they bear.

"I'm saying that miracles don't  always feel like it at the time.  I'm saying that blessings can be  difficult, but they are blessings  nonetheless." -Perla Long Phillips, Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Photo Credit: © Akorotaev | Dreamstime.com – Bindweed And Barbed Wire Photo  

Disclosure Statement: I received a free influencer copy of Until the Harvest from Bethany House. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

P.S. Sorry for the fits and starts, y’all. I’m working on queuing up some good posts for this month. :)