Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Chicken

Cathy Happy, my mom, grilling chicken on her grandparents porch.

Monday, July 23, 2012

William Strong and his ward

A little while ago I posted about William Strong's furniture store in Chicago. I realized that I had never shared the story of William Strong and his ward, Willa Mena Butler. Willa was my 2nd great grand aunt, sister to my 2nd great grandfather, William Butler. Family records state that Willa was a half sister to William, but "official" records show a different story. But I digress.

The actual story here is the relationship between Willa and William Strong. Willa's mother was Celia Temperance Bliss. Celia died in 1865 apparently leaving her two daughters, Willa and Celia, a large inheritance. In 1870 the girls are living with their father, William Butler.
1870 census, Chicago, Illinois
But in 1880, they are listed with William Strong as cousins.
1880 census, Chicago, Illinois
As it turns out in 1874 the two girls, Willa and Celia, sued their father for his misappropriation of their mother's inheritance, which I wrote about here. Following the suit, the girls could clearly no longer live with their father and would have been too young to be on their own so William W. Strong was appointed as their ward. I can only imagine that her mother's side of the family stepped in to assist them in there mother's absence.

While conducting a search on Willa Mena I came across the following:
Marriage announcement from June 18, 1882 Chicago Daily Tribune.
Crazy talk! He married his cousin? After much digging, I learned that Willa was not William's cousin, she was cousin to William's first wife, Marietta Carpenter Strong. Marietta's father was Philo Carpenter, famous for being the first pharmacist in Chicago and a civic leader. Philo's sister Polly, was Willa's grandmother. So I suppose that makes William a second cousin by marriage to Willa. Either way it is still a bit sketchy.

I have found no record of any surviving children from the marriage of William and Willa. William died in 1900 at the age of 67. He appears to have been a wealthy man, starting out in furniture manufacturing and then moving in to real estate. Every census I found with William included at least 2 servants. The ward did good, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Vintage genealogy sampler

A vintage genealogy sampler sewn by Susan Weston, Massachusetts, 1812-1813. An example from the sampler collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Out of the loop...for a good cause

Army Reserve journalist hones skills in training-rich environment

So I have been away from the blog for quite a while, but it is for a good reason. I'm currently working for the next little while and do not have access to my site. That being said, please visit this link to see what my great Soldiers are up to!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy birthday, Dad!

Warren Kuhn contemplating wish greatness with Audrey and Ruth Burnett, July 16, 1952
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Arkansas Heritage leads me to quilting greatness...I hope

To celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the state of Arkansas has created a passport program which encourages visitors to check out 23 different civil war locations throughout the state. Once you get stamps from all of the sites you can earn a special patch or coin commemorating your travels. We love history and traveling in our family so it was a no-brainer that we would try to complete the passport. Plus this is an awesome way to learn more about the state we live in. To date we have hit 18 of the sites.
We visited the McCollum-Chidester House in Camden, Arkansas last weekend as part of our passport travels. The house was built in 1847 and is filled with period furniture and family items that belonged to the Chidester family.
The McCollum-Chidester House. Photo from Arkansas Heritage Trails.
It really felt like a trip back in time, except for the two bored little boys with us. I'm not sure why they don't find furniture and stories of the "old day" fascinating...we'll have to work on that. Although days later Little Dude recounted a play scene that he heard at the house, so perhaps there is hope.
A wonderful writing desk from the McCollum-Chidester home.
Of course, the things that always catch my eye at historical locations are quilts. I'm not all that talented of a quilter, but I aspire to be. In one of the bedrooms of the home there was a beautiful hexagon quilt. I'm kicking myself for not having taken a photo, but this bedspread was the kind of quilt that made you want to be a quilter. So, I found myself online buying some fabric for my hexagon masterpiece.
I've never sewn hexagons or done this much hand quilting so we'll see how this turns out. I love that history is inspiring.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Where money goes to die

Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. Photo from StreetsofWashington's Flickr photostream.
I read an article in our local Sunday paper this past weekend by Helaine Williams about where money goes to die. I thought it was fascinating as I had always wondered what happened to money that was just too "questionable" in appearance to be spent. You know the type, washed fifty times in bleach and torn in half...that kind of money. Old money doesn't die, it just becomes a tray in a Ford. To read more, check out Where Money Goes to Die. Also learn how to reclaim your worn and torn cash here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow Friday - The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition

My whole life I have been obsessed with Abraham Lincoln. I'm not sure when it started, but I do know that when I was eight years old my family took a trip to Virginia and my parents made a special trip to Ford's Theater just for me. I've since been back several times. For some reason, Lincoln's assassination has always been fascinating for me, not because I'm morbid but because the concept of a president killed was so foreign to me. And the country seemed to grind a little bit to a stop in April 1865 because of the people's tie to a man they had never met...or in most cases, even seen.

Abraham Lincoln's hearse in Chicago, Illinois. Photo from Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-19202.
I found a link to the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition here. To commemorate the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's assassination, the city of Springfield, Illnios will be reenacting Lincoln's burial from the arrival of his remains via train to the funeral itself. It sounds like a very interesting event and I may just have to been in Springfield in three years.
"Nashville," one of several train engines that brought Lincoln's body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. Photo from the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-23855.
Lincoln funeral train time card from Chicago to Springfield. Photo from the The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday!

Today my grandmother, Rose Mary Happy, turns 80 years old! She is a terrific grandmother and Meme, here's to many more years!