Tombstone Tuesday: Shamokin tombstone displaced

This is the marker of Mary and Alice Fourl.

This is the marker of Mary E. (03/20/1861 – 05/31/1885) and Alice Fourl (04/28/1883 – 02/12/1885).

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.

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween or just another day?

Nahodil children

Nahodil children

Genealogy by the States: Summers in Delaware

Swinging by Geneabloggers.com I saw that there is a new blogging prompt created by Hidden Genealogy Nuggets that focuses on a different state each week.  I love this idea as my family lines have scattered throughout the US and searching in other states can be a bit different that searching in your own town.  Not to mention, this will help me focus on a specific topic at least once a week for this year.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened but at some point when I was very young my grandparents purchased a summer home in Delaware.  Heck, they may have bought it before I was born as it seems to me that it was always there.  Being their little angel throughout my childhood, I spent every summer, all summer, with Peggy and Rudy at the shore house that lie in Bay Shore Park on the Indian River Bay.  George Rudolph Nahodil and Alma (who went by Peggy since childhood) Strausser owned the best place in the whole world and it was that place on Possum Road that left magnificent memories with all who entered.

This is the only picture I have of the home in Bay Shore, Delaware; luckily, my pop is in it.

This is the only picture I have of the home in Bay Shore, Delaware; luckily, my pop is in it.

Though it was small, everyone was welcome and room was always made; I am sure we broke occupancy limits many a time.  If there wasn’t room at my grandparents, people would head a few streets over to stay at their daughter Linda’s place.  Even though I had my own room, I secretly enjoyed giving it up so I could sleep on the floor next to my grandparents bed…I swear I never intended to be an obstacle course separating my pop from his bathroom.  My grandparent never pressured me to “camp out” on the enclosed porch on a folding foam sleeper chair and keep their tight path of navigation free and clear.

Breakfast almost always was either a double BLT or scrambled eggs with fried potatoes and toast smothered with orange marmalade or apple butter.  Lunch was some sort of lunchmeat sandwich if we were home or Grottos Pizza if we were at the beach.  Dinner varied each day depending on who was there and where we were but it was always something or somewhere new.  I do remember that we frequently went out to chicken dinner at one of the local fire houses or community centers; for one price you could eat all the chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and coleslaw that you wanted.  Mealtime was very important as this was when everyone came together no matter what they were doing…this was family time.

Being location between Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach, we would frequently go to Bethany during the day (they had the best mini-golf) and Rehoboth at night (they had the best games and rides).  There was always something to do; hanging out in the game room of Sandy Cove, crabbing, or exploring the bay shoreline during low tide examining everything the tide left behind…including those prehistoric looking horseshoe crabs.  When the rains came we played cards or school (I loved the Weekly Reader and other exercise books my Pop bought for me).  When the night came…we played cards.  There was always somebody coming by to play cards, often into the wee hours of the morning.  The cards had a permanent home on the counter right behind Rudy’s spot at the kitchen table.

While I knew my grandparents loved me I realized in writing this blog that they did everything for me right down to making my favorite foods every day.  There was never anything I wanted for other than to stay with them in Delaware for another day.  Sadly, the shore was never the same after my Aunt Linda passed away in 1990 and fewer people went each year after that.  Within a couple of months of my Pop’s passing in 2000 the house was sold and the family of the past would no longer come together.  Funny how a person or place could bring so many together.

Wordless Wednesday: The Nahodil brothers 100 years ago

My great grandfather Frederick Nahodil on the right with his brother John and friends (ca. 1913)

My great grandfather Frederick Nahodil on the right with his brother John and friends (ca. 1913)

Mappy Monday: The Jordan Township farm

2012 was the year that I just had to find where my 4x great grandfather Peter Wetzel lived in 1860.  Based on the census records, this was the same farm that the Wetzel family lived 10 years prior.  Could this also have been where my 3x great grandfather Henry was born?  I searched…and searched…I spent so many hours scouring through records and microfilm but I wasn’t coming up with anything but I was not about to give up.

While preparing for a trip back up to Northumberland County to go cemetery hopping, I did a quick search for township maps for the county to help me get around (sometimes maps are just the preferred method over a GPS).  A few clicks later I was looking at an 1858 land owner’s map of Jordan Township and there it was in flashing neon “P Weitzel”.  Oh, but how could I be certain this was my Peter?  The map showed the landowners and the Federal Census lists the “Value of Real Estate owned” so let’s compare.  Ha…his neighbors match up!  I found Peter’s home…at least on this roadless, streetless map from 1858.

1858 Jordan Township land owner's map

1858 Jordan Township land owner’s map

Luckily, I have been using the U.S. Geological Survey’s website www.usgs.gov for quite a few years so I immediately used their site to pull up a map of the general area.  From there it was a matter of matching up natural and man-made features to find the right location.  I actually got really lucky with this as the nearby features were the same then and now but the nice feature was the line of Troutman owned houses in 1858 with was easily found on the current day map as Troutman Lane.  I now knew the exact location of the farm my family owned so many years ago.

2010 USGS street/topo map

2010 USGS street/topo map

Now you didn’t think I was going to be in that general area and pass up tracking this farm down now did ya?  Once the coordinates were in the GPS it was not only easy to find but it was also exactly where I thought it would be based on the maps.  What to do once there…uh, knock on the door?

Original barn and outbuilding in background

Original barn and outbuilding in background

It turns out that the property was purchased from my ancestors by the current owners ancestors…how cool is that!  For an hour and a half they shared with me all they knew about the property, the buildings (two of which are original), the area as well as local cemeteries I may find my family buried.  Before leaving, they invited me to look around and take some pictures.

I am so thankful that someone thought to make these maps in 1858 and that others have protected them and made them available to others over the past 155 years.

 

The original house is underneath some nice upgrades.

The original house is underneath some nice upgrades.

 

Map source: 1858 Jordan Township map, http://ancestortracks.com/; 2010 road/topo map, http://www.usgs.gov

 

Those Places Thursday: My Wetzel homestead

My first time I found documentation on my 3x great grandfather was in 2000 and it was purely accidental.  I had been tracking my great grandmother backwards and was hoping that the 1910 census would show her married and possibly with a child or two.  While I was very happy to find this was the case, I was not surprised by the information.  The surprise that I found in this census was that not only was she living with her husband and child but was also living with her grandfather who was listed as the head of the house.  There he was, Henry Wetzel aged 64…living right where I knew our people were from.  At that instant, not only did I feel connected with Henry but I was also drawn to Trevorton like never before.

In a relatively short period of time I found that Henry had moved to Trevorton by 1870.  At some point between 1880 and 1900 he purchased the home where multiple generations of my family would be born, live and die.  It is this home where I found him in 1910.

The family home in 1891.  The woman in the picture is Catherine, my 3x great grandmother.  This is the only photo I have ever seen of her.  The young girl in front of her is my great grandmother.

The family home in 1891. The woman in the picture is Catherine, my 3x great grandmother. This is the only photo I have ever seen of her. The young girl in front of her is my great grandmother.

To say I am obsessed with this house might just be an understatement.  After Henry’s death in 1913, his son Howard purchased the home from the estate and in turn raised his family in the place he grew up.  Though I was not certain what happened to the house after 1940, I never stopped looking or searching for more information on it.

In 2012 I met many of the descendants of Howard and was incredibly happy to find out that the house remained with the family until after Howard’s passing in 1957 and that everyone had many wonderful memories and stories of the “Wetzel Homestead”.  Through this portion of the family I have had the privilege to view many old family photos that clearly show the importance this house played in the lives of so many.  It was also through these photos that I realized that I knew this house.  This was the green house directly across from the school I attended in my youth.

I have made the three hour trip back home many times for genealogical research and always make sure to take a quick drive by though always refraining from knocking to ask for a looksie.  Can you imagine my surprise when I opened my RSS reader a couple of weeks ago only to have the address of my ancestors home jumping off the screen at me.  The news article was about the “life change” the owners were experiencing and while I feel bad for them, I couldn’t stop my first thought from wondering if my house was going to be put up for sale.

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