The 1900 federal census told me that Carrie was still living at home with her parents, five of her siblings, and her niece (my great grandmother); it also told me that she was 25, single and did not have an occupation. When I moved on to the 1910 census for the family unit, I was not surprised to see her absent; I just chalked it up to yet another female relative lost to marriage. Oh, but wait…the 1910 census for a neighboring county lists a Carrie A Wetzel who is 35, single and without an occupation. Could this be my ancestor…an inmate at the State Hospital for the Insane? Whoa, what did I miss?
A federal census record for a woman with a similar name does not prove that she is one of mine so I had to just sit on this for a spell. When Pennsylvania made death records for certain years available as public records at the beginning of 2012 the first this I did was to go through the death index year by year looking for any listing for a Carrie Wetzel. There she was, or so I hoped, in that same neighboring county of Montour just six short years later. The two and a half hour drive to the State Archives seemed to take forever…I just wanted to get there and see this death certificate (along with a few others).
Carrie A Wetzel…yeah, yeah, yeah…parents…Henry and Catherine Wetzel of Trevorton. It was her! Cause of death, phthisis pulmonalis; contributory cause, epilepsy…she was Epileptic. But why was she in the State Hospital? Examining the death certificate further for any additional clues, I saw that she resided at the institution for 12 yrs, 3 mos, 6 ds; this meant that she has been there since August 17, 1904. Ah, now it is becoming clearer. Her mother passed away in February of 1904. Her mother must have been the caretaker and after her passing, the family may not have been able to provide adequate care. I like to think that they made a go at it since Carrie remained at home for another six months. I don’t know if a decline in her health or the fact that all of the adults in the house were working the mines which kept them out of the house for much of the day but it must have been a very difficult and painful decision for all. Thankfully, Carrie’s death certificate also provided her place of burial, which was unknown to this point; now the family can visit this woman whose final years were so tragic.
My 2nd great grandmother, Minnie Etta (Derk) Strausser, passed away from heart disease. Though her obituary lists her eight surviving children, what it doesn’t mention is that she also had seven children preceded her in death, all at a fairly young age. One of those seven children was my great grandfather George H Strausser who passed away just nine months after his father; both died in the same mine.
This is the first time this recipe is being sharing with the world. I grew up watching my grandfather make this apple cake and to this day it is the only apple cake I have ever liked.
On one visit, he told me that it was time to learn how to bake this treasured cake for future generations of my family to enjoy as I have. Though he never used a written recipe (like I need to), he did help me write this out during one of his last bakings in the year leading up to his passing. I’m not sure if it is my inability to cook or bake anything or just my being sentimental but I have yet to attempt to make Rudy’s Apple Cake.
As I was reviewing the recipe, I could help but notice that it doesn’t really take that long to make yet it always seemed like an all day production to me…must have been my anticipation and impatience.
This is the tombstone of Mary Fourl and daughter Alice. Their marker is halfway down the eastern bank of the mountain which the cemetery is located atop.
I remember climbing this mountain at a point further south as a young child and seeing many tombstones strewn about. This cemetery has been plagued with vandalism and neglect for decades.
My Nahodil family are buried in unmarked graves straight up from this point. It bothers me to think that they once may have had markers that have since been destroyed or are buried by Mother Nature on that hillside.
As I stood amongst a few hundred thousand people this cold morning awaiting the start of the 57th Inaugural Ceremonies for President Barack Obama, I could not help but think about my ancestors. Did my people vote?
100 years ago, Washington D.C. was preparing for the March 4, 1913 swearing in of Woodrow Wilson; did any of my ancestors make the trip from Pennsylvania to witness history? Or did my they make the trip for the previous days Woman’s Suffrage Parade? I would like to believe that those that came before me spoke up and fought for the equal rights of all men and women.
Were they Democrat, Republic or possibly Progressive? Where did they go to vote? Did they go to a local school or church like we do today…unlikely. I imagine they would have had to go to Sunbury, which was the county seat, in order to place their vote.
Did any of them run for any of the various local positions in the community? I have been told that Howard P. Wetzel was elected overseer of the poor for Zerbe Township but I do not know if this was an official position or exactly it entailed so I will continue searching.
I have tried looking for any type of record that would provide an answer to any of the questions but I have not had any luck. In fact, I have not found anything to provide insight into the political activities of the 19th and early 20th century in Northumberland County. Since I am not an expert or professional genealogist, I have great hope that I just haven’t looked in the right place yet and that one day I will find the records detailing my family’s political convictions.