In Her Own Words: Part 2

This is a continuation of a family history written by my grandmother. Click here to access Part 1.

In 1924, my father had saved enough money to buy a home for us and he hunted for a camp near schools. He went to work for Pike & Floyd Coal Company, an English based company. [In 1910, the Pike-Floyd Coal Company established its first production facility in Betsy Layne, Kentucky.] They had good elementary schools and a small high school. We were only 13 miles from Pikeville in Pike County, Ky., which had a two-year college. He bought a lot and had a house built on it for $1,800.00 cash. He and my mother finished most of the inside. We had two large bedrooms, living room, two porches, and of course the privy.

We had a large kitchen and cooked with coal because it was very cheap. We had fireplaces in all of the rooms. The kitchen was big enough for a large table, six chairs, icebox, and coal range plus the traditional kitchen cabinet, which held my mother’s cooking supplies. We also had a water table. There was a bucket of water, a basin to wash your face and hands, and soap and towels. We had a large pantry off the back porch which had been built for a bathroom and dad never dug a well so we had no bathroom.

We had a large meat house which housed our meat, four 30-gallon barrels for pickled beans, corn, sauerkraut, and cucumber pickles. We also had a large bathtub (came from a YMCA) and a stove to heat water. My father put three large barrels outside the meat house to catch rain water and put pipes from outside to the inside (coal water only). This could run down into the tub. We heated the water on the stove to bathe in. We also cooked in the meat house during the summer. It was too hot to cook in our home as we had no air conditioning and no fans. The weather got very hot and humid during the summer months.

My first memory of my childhood years was in 1924 when we moved to Betsy Layne where my father had built us a home and we were to remain until we all left Ky. in the early 40’s. My mother had made me a navy blue cape with a red silk lining and I wore it on the train to my new home. Our new home was quite different than what we had been used to. At first, we only had kerosene lamps on the walls throughout the house. A few months later we got the electric lines in and we had our lights throughout the house.

We always had a phonograph and a radio in our home. In later years, my father never missed the Amos ‘n’ Andy and Lowell Thomas show.

My mother listened to soap operas on the radio and read a serial story that ran every day in the newspapers. We got our paper one day late because it came by train from the western part of the state. Things were not as easily gotten as they are today.

I cannot remember when I exactly started school. I think I went to primer class the year after we moved there, so I would have been six years old. My mother taught us to read and do our multiplication tables before we started school. My brother was two years ahead of me in school and very smart, which made it harder for me to catch up.

c6a5065d-23dd-460c-aac3-a86d96161b6d

My Grandma’s Brother, Raymond Stafford

The coal company paid for the school teachers at that time but later the state took over the cost as the school was well established.

We had been in our new home about six months when one morning about 11 o’clock a wagon, drawn by two mules, came down our road, which was right near our front gate. There were 11 people in the wagon who turned out to be our best friends and neighbors as long as we were there and even in later years. There were five girls, four boys, and Mom and Pop Howard. The mother was very heavy as was two of the girls.

To be continued…

In Her Own Words: Part 1

I am very excited to present a family history written by my grandmother, Mable Gerie Stafford (1919-2011). We simply called her “Grandma G.” I have inserted a few pictures and notes here and there; however, her words are presented exactly how she wrote them. Enjoy!

Autobiography (Gerie Hunley Baughman) (the other coal miner’s daughter)

I was born in the North Eastern part of Ky. in a coal mining town of Wolfpit.

wolfpit

Wolfpit, Kentucky (circa 1920)

I was one of four children, my brother being the oldest. I was the second born and the first girl. I have two sisters born 2 years apart after me. My mother and father were not real young as most of the young married people were (from early teens to twenty years old). It was not unusual to have young mothers of 15 years old at the time. My father was 26 and my mother was 22 when they were married. My mother had an eighth grade education and was an avid reader. [My grandma was also an avid reader – it must run in the family.] My father only had the fourth grade due to circumstances in the home. My mother taught him how to concentrate on the 3 R’s and he became very good at it.

IMG_0679

Grandma G (sitting) and her Brother, Raymond (around 1920)

I never knew my father’s parents as they died before my parents married. There were 6 boys and 1 girl in my father’s family and when their father died my father was 11 years old. All of the boys old enough went into the mines to take care of the others and their mother. My father was a small boy and when he went to get the job, the mining boss told him to go back home – he was too small to work. My father told him he had to work and they gave him a job of laying wooden ties that supported the rails the coal was brought out on. He worked for 38 years after that in many coal mines throughout Ky. and never had a scratch from any accident. He was very fortunate because many men were crippled or killed from cave-ins in the mine, there was also the danger of gas which killed many men. They took birds into the different areas where they worked and if the birds died, they all left that work area.

IMG_0654

My Grandma’s Father, Charley Stafford (1891-1973)

When the miners died from the accidents there was no compensation from the coal companies to help the families. This was before the unions came in. The people who lived in the camps all pitched in and helped the unfortunate families. They did have a camp Dr. who was paid by the coal co. who owned the mine. If a lady had a baby, the Dr. was sent for and also a midwife if one was near and it cost the family $2.00 to bring the baby. Of course if you needed the Dr. for any medical purpose he came to your home, diagnosed the problem and left the medicine for it, all for $2.00.

We grew up with always having a Dr. to use but no hospital plan until the unions came into the picture. My father worked 10 hr. days and got paid $1.00 a day. The coal company provided the houses to live in and the rent was $3.00 to $5.00 a month for a 2 bedroom home. Most miners would not work at anything other than mining and when the economy got bad and they didn’t work every day they would not even have a garden to grow their food.

I grew up in the years when the whites had their camps and the blacks had theirs, along with the schools and churches. The company’s store had one side for the blacks and one side was for the whites. We never questioned it as we grew up because our parents had taught us that you never speak to a black person and the only time we were close to them was when my father butchered our hogs for winter and they came and took the parts of the hog my father did not use. Their camps were not as nice as the white camps and they stayed mostly to themselves because we had the Ku Klux Klan in our town. They had a club house right in town and my uncle Leo and aunt Franny belonged to it. I saw them in a parade once as a child and my aunt waved to me. She had a white robe and a peaked cone hat on her head but I could tell who it was. After the parade they burned a small cross on the hill above town as their symbol. As far as doing anything bad, I didn’t think they did or some of the townspeople would have heard about it. When a circus or carnival came to town, they were watched very closely by the Klan. [It was my impression that my grandma did not approve of the Klan. I vaguely remember a story where she told a family member to “take off that hood!”]

To be continued…

ABCs of Family History: A

A…

is for ahnentafel. Yes, it’s German. Literally translated as “ancestor table,” an ahnentafel is a simple yet compact way to depict one’s family history. And it can be done without diagrams or the typical family tree structure. This makes an ahnentafel the preferred way to present genealogical information when schematics are limited or impractical (e.g., group emails).

An ahnentafel uses a numbering system to organize your ancestors. The individual whose ancestry is being traced (typically you) is listed as No. 1. The subject’s father and mother are assigned No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Paternal grandparents get No. 4 and No. 5, while the maternal grandparents get No. 6 and No. 7. This means that, with the exception of No. 1, all males will have even numbers and all females will have odd numbers.

Here is an example of an ahnentafel using my maternal grandfather (Harold Edwin Lundquist) as the subject.

1st Generation

1 Harold Edwin LUNDQUIST. Born on 4 January 1910 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah. Died 28 May 1979 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Co., California; he was 69.

On 8 November 1930 when Harold was 20, he married Erma Funk in Preston, Franklin Co., Idaho.

2nd Generation

2 Eric Benjamin LUNDQUIST. Born on 27 December 1871 in Broten, Annehard, Sweden. Died 25 July 1932 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah; he was 60.

On 4 November 1903 when Eric was 31, he married Eugenia Harris in Logan, Cache Co., Utah.

3 Eugenia HARRIS. Born on 4 November 1881 in Hyde Park, Cache Co., Utah. Died 14 February 1950 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah; she was 68.

3rd Generation

4 Carl Gustav LUNDQUIST. Born on 9 February 1834 in Luckebo, Orebro, Sweden. Died 21 September 1880 in Broten, Annehard, Sweden; he was 46.

On 20 November 1857 when Carl was 23, he married Caroline Erickson in Ostmark, Varmland, Sweden.

5 Caroline ERICKSON. Born on 12 September 1832 in Varmland, Sweden. Died 11 March 1903 in Hyde Park, Cache Co., Utah; she was 70.

6 William Emer HARRIS. Born on 3 December 1854 in Ogden, Weber Co., Utah. Died 27 October 1904 in Pocatello, Bannock Co., Idaho; he was 49.

On 4 November 1877 when William was 22, he married Katherine Sarah Perkes in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., Utah.

7 Katherine Sarah PERKES. Born on 12 May 1861 in Belleville, St. Clair Co., Illinois. Died 7 September 1957 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah; she was 96.

As you can see, an ahnentafel generally includes the three main genealogical events: births, marriages, and deaths. In addition, since an ahnentafel doesn’t use diagrams, last names are usually in capital letters so you can easily scan each name.

Take some time to prepare a basic ahnentafel – you never know when it will come in handy.

 

Wednesday’s Leaf: Rodney Earl Lundquist

I wrote about Rodney Earl Lundquist (my grand uncle) last year. Rodney was born on October 16, 1923 in Smithfield, Utah. On January 4, 1943, Rodney enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private.

Recently, I stumbled across some wonderful photographs and documents pertaining to Rodney’s time in the military. Of particular interest was a letter written by Rodney to his mother (Eugenia Harris Lundquist) while serving in Belgium. Here is a transcript of the letter:

Thanksgiving Day 1944

Still in Belgique

Dearest Mom,

I am still in Belgium and I am well and happy. It is getting colder over here but I am warm. I have plenty of clothes and believe it or not, I have a nice warm bed. I guess I was a little luckier than those great guys in the infantry. I hope that on this day you are feeling okay, still smiling, and the same for Charles and all my friends. I haven’t had a letter from you in quite a while. I guess there is something wrong with the postal service. I guess I just don’t deserve any letters because I don’t write much, but as long as I get a letter from you, I don’t care much about anyone else.

The proper Sunday after you receive this letter, I would like you to bear my testimony in behalf of me. Now-after all these months overseas, I know that there is a God and His son Jesus Christ and that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of the Lord and that on this Thanksgiving day, I was thankful to be an American soldier and above all, Mom, I am thankful for you and to you for everything that I have been or ever will be.

Today for our dinner, we have [a] nice young turkey, sweet and mashed potatoes, gravy, apple pie and some good cake. Gee, it’s going to be swell. I hope I can have my next Thanksgiving dinner with you, Mom.

Well, Mom, I must close now, give my love to Charles and everybody at home.

All my love to the best mom in all the world.

Your son,

Rodney

P.S. A Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy New Year.

God bless you.

Pic3

Rodney Earl Lundquist (1923-1944)

Rodney was killed on December 23, 1944 in Belgium. He was 21 years old. His obituary was printed in the January 8, 1945 Salt Lake Tribune.

Pic2

Obituary of Rodney Earl Lundquist

Rodney received the Purple Heart medal for his service.

Cause of Death: Senility?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with death certificates. Apparently, I’m not alone. A recent family history trend involves mapping causes of death within a particular line and noting patterns. Whether it be cancer or heart disease, such patterns pave the way for more detailed family medical histories.

As you probably know, death certificates often use archaic or peculiar terms to describe the cause of death. For example, here is the death certificate of my second great grandmother, Katherine Sarah Perkes (May 12, 1861 – September 7, 1957).

Death Certificate

As you can see, “senility” is listed as the cause of death. In 2016, when we hear the word “senile,” we usually think of someone who has lost his or her mental capacity. However, use of the word has changed throughout the years, and the attending physician who signed Katherine’s death certificate probably meant she had died from old age (Katherine was 96 years old!). In fact, “senility” was frequently listed as the cause of death when the deceased was elderly and no apparent disease or condition contributed to death.

As you search your ancestors’ death certificates, you may see the terms “senile decay,” “senile dementia,” or “senile insanity.” In those instances, it is highly likely that the deceased had been suffering from diminished mental capacity due to old age.

Have you come across other interesting causes of death? Here is a short list of terms I found fascinating:

  • Ablepsy: blindness
  • American plague: yellow fever
  • Bad blood: syphilis
  • Bladder in throat: diphtheria
  • Brain fever: meningitis
  • Cachexy: malnutrition
  • Camp fever: typhus
  • Dropsy of the brain: encephalitis
  • Falling sickness: epilepsy
  • Flux of humour: circulation
  • Grocer’s itch: skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
  • Inanition: physical condition resulting from lack of food
  • King’s evil: tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
  • Milk sickness: disease from milk of cattle that had eaten poisonous weeds
  • Nervous prostration: extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
  • Nostalgia: homesickness
  • Pott’s disease: tuberculosis of spine
  • Quinsy: tonsillitis
  • Remitting fever: malaria
  • Scirrhus: cancerous tumors
  • Stranger’s fever: yellow fever
  • Summer complaint: diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk

For more terms, click here.