Friday, July 22, 2016

My Great Big Ohio Cemetery Adventure

While visiting my sister, Karyle, who lives in Beavercreek, Ohio, I wanted to take her to the Strait Cemetery near Ansonia, Darke, Ohio and show her where our 3rd great grandparents, Richard Fletcher and Rachel (Jennings) Strait are buried. Clinking on their names will take you to their Find A Grave Memorials.

It was quite an adventure!  But long story short, as a result of that trip we ended up tombstone trolling in five cemeteries that day, and I completely photographed one of them.  We started out by mistake (bad coordinates) at Wesley Chapel Cemetery (Franklin Township), Anna, Shelby, Ohio (I photographed the entire cemetery before we left).  All the markers in this cemetery had been placed on a concrete slab as you can see in this photo.

Then we moved on to the Strait cemetery which was difficult to find because it was between two corn patches and we almost missed it. 

On our way back to my sister’s house we came across the Old Teegarden Cemetery in Darke Co., Ohio and stopped (because we have relatives buried there) and took some photos to fulfill some Find A Grave requests. 

From there we came upon Greenville Union Cemetery, Greenville, Darke, Ohio.  As we had relatives buried there I turned into the cemetery so we could look around.  There were some fascinating tombstones in this huge cemetery and I took photos of some of them.  While we were walking around, my sister found some Strait’s so I had to photograph them as well. 

We left there and continued on toward Beavercreek when we came across the Abbottsville Cemetery, Abbottsville, Darke, Ohio.  I told my sister that we had relatives buried there so we pulled into the parking lot.  While we were sitting there, I decided to see how many photo requests had been made for this cemetery and it turned out that there were 85 of them.  We drove around and found a few of them.  Also, because my BFF’s maiden name is Albright we photographed all the Albright’s (and there were a bunch) we could find as we drove around, just in case they turn out to be related to her.  

We also found this very interesting marker, belonging to Clayton E. Moore, Sr. (1952-2005).  

As it was turning out to be a long day, we stopped looking and decided to come back another day.  

The Friday before I headed home, my sister and her oldest daughter, Wendi, and I went back to Abbottsville.  I had hoped to find someone in the cemetery office to help us with burial locations for the rest of the 85 photo requests.  Really didn't want to have to walk that entire cemetery, it is huge.  We didn’t see any cars (other than a pickup truck in the cemetery) at the office but I pulled in just in case, but didn’t see any lights on.  As we were leaving I saw the pickup truck pull up in front of the building, park and the driver got out and entered the building.  I turned around and pulled back into the parking lot and the gentleman came out of the door to the office and asked if I needed help.  I showed him the list I had and told him I was looking for burial locations.  He said to come on in and he proceeded to look all the names up for me and marked their locations on a map of the cemetery.   The cemetery was founded in 1878 and it turns out that some of the photo requests were for folks who died before 1878 so not sure where they are really buried.  One of them it turns out is actually buried in the Old Abbottsville Cemetery.

As we hadn’t had lunch yet, we decided to head into Greenville to grab a bite to eat.  As we left the cemetery I noticed a small cemetery just down the road from Abbottsville Cemetery.  We turned down the road leading to it and found out it was the Old Abbottsville Cemetery.  All the markers had been bunched together on four concrete slabs as you can see in this photo.  Well, of course I had to photograph the entire cemetery!

After we left Old Abbottsville and continued on toward Greenville, Wendi spotted another cemetery but we couldn’t quite figure out how to get into it.  So, we continued on to McDonald’s to have some lunch.  When we headed back to Abbottsville, my niece spotted the entrance but I missed it so I had to go down the road aways to turn around.  Turns out that it was the Darke County Home Cemetery.  Once we got into the cemetery and I walked to the three rows of markers in the back of the cemetery, I saw that they all only had numbers on them.  There actually were only a few of the markers in the cemetery that had names on them.  There was also a recent burial which turns out to be that of Norma (Sheets) Ryan who had died on 29 Jun 2016.  Some of the numbered markers had veteran’s markers in front of them and guess what!!! I found a Strait relative buried there!!! My third cousin 3 times removed, Ephraim Boze (son of David Lindsey and Letitia (Strait) Boze) is also buried there but his marker #143 is gone. 

That's my sister, Karyle, in the background.

Once we finished with Darke County Home Cemetery we headed on back to the Abbottsville Cemetery to try and find the markers on my Find A Grave photo request list.  We spent several hours there (and got sunburnt) but weren’t able to find some of the markers so we decided to call it a day. 

I will be going back to visit my sister again later this year and plan to photograph all of the Old Teegarden Cemetery and as much of Abbottsville Cemetery as I possibly can.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

My Civilian Career: The Tiller and Toiler Newspaper

This photo was posted on Facebook today and that prompted me to write this blog post.

I started working at The Tiller and Toiler in Jun of 1972, shortly after graduating from high school.  I worked there until September of 1979.  At that time, we were located in the new Tiller and Toiler building, at 113-115 West Fifth street, just down the hill from where I lived.

My first official job title there was as a perforator operator.  I worked with Bill Beck, Loretha Huxman and my uncle, Otis Roberts.  My primary job was to punch computer tapes for news copy, which I then took to Bill who ran it through his machine to produce the copy and then my uncle proofread the copy.  I also did page layout, worked in the darkroom with Paul Zook, helped my uncle proofread copy and also helped get the newspaper out.  Pete Daniels was the pressman with Bill Beck assisting him.  Uncle Otis, Loretta and I helped by inserting the advertising inserts into the newspapers as they came off the press, counting them and wrapping them with twine to go to the newspaper carriers.

Me at the perforator machine.
Me doing page layout.

Some of the other positions I held while working at the newspaper was as assistant advertising manager, circulation manager and assistance office manager.  I also wrote several newspaper articles that were published in the paper.  I will share some of these in future blog posts.

When I started at The Tiller and Toiler, Jack Zygmond was the editor and publisher.  His wife, Leslie, was a photographer at the paper.  Also working there were Mrs. Larry LeSage, page make-up and office assistant; Mrs. Jerry Stapleton, circulation; Mrs. Neal McChristy, society reporter; Don W. Foster, advertising manager; Mrs. Virginia Johnson, office manager; Orin Dodez, advertising and photography; Loretha Huxman, perforator operator; William O. Beck, mechanical superintendent; Paul W. Zook, manager of commercial printing; Hilton Gordon, job printing; Otis Roberts, proofs and mail and Vernon "Pete" Daniels, newspaper pressman.  Some of the other's I worked with over the years were Marie Chamberlain, Juanita Skelton and Bob Sallee.  I'm sure that I have forgotten some of the folks I worked with and apologize for not including them here.

The Tiller and Toiler crew in March of 1973.
Don Foster
Loretha Huxman and Bill Beck
Mrs. Jerry Stapleton
Orin Dodez
Pete Daniels and Otis Roberts
Virginia Johnson
Bill Beck and Otis Roberts working the press run.
One of my fondest memories was being able to work with my Uncle Otis.
My uncle, Otis Roberts, wrapping twine around the newspapers.
Another fond memory I have is that Hilton Gordon always brought soup for his lunch and just before lunch he would open up his thermos and let his soup cool.  He would allow me to dip crackers in his soup while it was cooling.  He always had some delicious soup and I always looked forward to him opening up his thermos!!
Hilton Gordon
One of the projects I was instrumental in working on was the publication of the "Panorama of Progress", which was published as a supplement to the newspaper in 1972.
Me and Mrs. Jerry Stapleton looking through the newly published "Panorama of Progress."
Here I am between stacks of the Panorama of Progress.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It Was In My Blood

I come from a long line of family members who served in the military and I'm proud of every one of them.

My father, Ray Ross "Smitty" Smith, Jr., served in the US Naval Reserves during World War II as an Aviation Machinist Mate 1 and was a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans.  He enlisted 5 Feb 1942 in Kansas City, Kansas, was sworn in 10 Feb 1942 and was discharged 29 Sep 1945.  

My grandfather, Linzie Sheldon Roberts, served in the Kansas State Guard during World War I in Company A, 26th Battalion under Captain John M. Garrison.  He was a corporal.  He served from 26 April 1918 to 28 Mar 1919.  

A number of my uncles also served and here are photos of some of them.

Arthur Franklin "Artie" Roberts
US Army, World War II, Private
30 Aug 1943 to 7 Dec 1944
Elbert Earl "Earl" Roberts
US Army, World War II
22 Aug 1942 to 20 May 1943
Walter Ray Roberts
US Army, World War I
8 Jun 1917 to 3 Feb 1919
Leo Undine Smith
US Army, World War II
1 Mar 1944 to 11 Jun 1946
Wilmer LaVerne Smith
US Navy, World War II
21 Oct 1942 to 8 Dec 1945
Ellis Wayne "Wayne" Smith
US Army, World War II
26 Mar 1941 to 26 Oct 1945
John Franklyn Smith
US Army Reserve
29 Jul 1962 to 29 Jan 1963
And then, there's me!!
Kansas Army National Guard
Larned, Kansas
17 Feb 1976 to 4 Dec 1981

Kansas Air National Guard
Wichita, Kansas
5 Dec 1981 to 29 Aug 1990
Battle Creek, Michigan
30 Aug 1990 to 30 Sep 2005

My Life Story: The Beginning of My Military Career

If you grew up in a small town, you know what I mean when I say that there isn't much of a future for someone unless they move out of that small town or go to work for the biggest employer around.  And small town Larned, Kansas was no exception.  The biggest employer in the area was the Larned State Hospital and I did not have an interest or the skill set to go to work there (Okay, you will see in a future blog post that I did eventually go to work at the State Hospital and I will also talk about other family members who also worked there at one time or another.)!

So, fresh out of high school in 1972, I went to work at the local newspaper, The Tiller and Toiler (I will talk more about this, as well, in a future blog) and small town life continued.

I was never really satisfied with the direction my life was taking.

Fast forward to 1976.  With my dissatisfaction continuing to grow I decided it was time to do something different.  And that decision left my parents in shock.  Shy, little me, making such a stupendous decision!  I'm not sure they thought I would go through with it or would make it through what was involved with the decision I made.  But, I proved them wrong!!

On 17 Feb 1976, I enlisted in HHB (-Det 1) 1st Battalion 161st Field Artillery, Kansas Army National Guard, stationed at the National Guard Armory in Larned, Kansas.  I was their first female enlistee!  (Just a side note:  I weighed 98 pounds at the time of my enlistment physical.  They had to put rocks in my pockets so that I would make the weight requirement for enlistment.)

I enlisted as a PV1 (E1) and was scheduled to go to basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina (not Fort Benning, Georgia as stated in the photo) on 30 July 1976.  I enlisted as a Personnel Records Specialist and because of my previous work experience I did not have to go to any technical training.  While I was at basic training I kept a diary and when I returned to work at the Tiller and Toiler, I wrote a series of articles on my experience that I will share in later posts.

Little did I know that the decision I made to join the military would have such a huge impact on my life!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bitten By the Genealogy Bug

Some of you may have had this happen to you as well.  You are sitting in your high school biology class and the teacher says "I want you to research your family tree so you can see how your eye color, hair color, left-handedness or right-handedness, height and other traits you have come from your ancestors."  Well, that happened to me and when I got home I spoke to my mom about the assignment.  It was then that she started sending letters (and eventually family group sheets) out to family members to collect this information for me.  I wasn't very good at writing letters and after all mom was the one with all the family contact information.  Eventually I turned in my assignment (don't remember what grade I got for it) and that was it for me.  I had no further interest in my ancestors.

Well, that didn't stop my mom!  As a matter of fact, she got so involved in genealogy that she eventually became the Strait Family Historian and a whole bookcase next to your chair in the living room was full of family group sheets and other information on our family.  And there was more in file cabinets and etc.  She was constantly writing letters and receiving information in the mail.  And, we spent some of our family vacations visiting cemeteries.  Needless to say my dad and I weren't all that thrilled about trudging around in cemeteries.  After all I was a teenager and had better things to do!!!

This all started back in the 70's.  Fast forward to 1992.  In July 1992, my father passed away.  Several months prior to that mom and dad had been admitted to a nursing home because mom had fallen and broken her ankle and could not return home until the doctor's said she could.  With the passing of my dad, it was obvious that mom was not going to be able to return home because she didn't had dad there anymore to take care of her. 

So, it became a task for me and my three sisters to clean out our parents house so it could be put up for auction.  There in the living room was the daunting bookcase full of family history binders.  I knew that my sisters probably weren't interested in the stuff so I told them I would take it.  Well, we didn't have a very big car and all that "stuff" filled several big boxes that were no way going to fit in our car.  So, we decided to store the stuff at my husband's oldest daughters house until we could come back and get it.  It was several years later that we finally went to Kansas to visit the oldest daughter and retrieve the "stuff" we had left stored with her. 

Once we got "the stuff" home and I started going through the boxes my interest became piqued and needless to say the rest is history.

And that's how I got "Bitten by the Genealogy Bug".