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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Countdown -- Walking, Kitchen & Taxes

That is a strange combination of events, but it seems that the three mutually exclusive events are coming to closure all about the same time -- and none too soon.  Before explaining the title an explanation is due for the opening photo:

I dug back into my old photo inventory and selected the above picture, one because it is so colorful and I find it interesting AND I have been such a shut-in this last week that I did not take any around the town photos suitable for posting.

The above is not Healdsburg, but Seattle's Pike Place Market. A market that I used to visit on a regular basis because we used to eat lunch there frequently when my office was a few blocks away. This picture though I believe was taken on a visit back. The market was always colorful, noisy and a nice break from the everyday humdrum.

The title of course refers to the fact that I am venturing more without the walker or a cane -- but not for great distances nor for long periods of time. The kitchen is getting really close to being completed barring any (more) unforeseen delays . . . as I write this, the kitchen area and the family room are once again sealed off from us due to the final coat to the floor being applied. Hopefully Monday morning all will commence to finalize most of the kitchen.

On Monday morning, the doors for the cabinets are due to arrive and be remounted after being painted and cured for the last several days. The door knobs and drawer pulls will be attached and other final steps are going to be taken to "get us back to where we were" so-to-speak. The furniture will be moved back in place and things put in their places . . .

Taxes, well on Monday there will be just 14 days left to the season and that will go fast . . . who's counting?

Speaking of the Kitchen Project

So what all has been done in the last few days "in the kitchen" with Ryan's crew. Well a lot of detail work having to do with getting the appliances in working order, not to mention the plumbing and electrical stuff that never seems to end.

As I was going through the newspapers looking for family stuff I spotted this ad in a 1936 Zanesville, Ohio newspaper depicting two women chatting in the new kitchen of one of them. I remember seeing that type of apron (in the 40s though). The ad goes on to talk about more projects in the planning stages -- and we share at least one of the same -- the fireplace . . . we are getting close to the end of foreseeable projects other than maintenance ones like the fencing, for example.

These represent the 5 new eggs in our kitchen basket this week -- timely as to the season:

The above depicts the "working" tools of the kitchen. For a year and a half (since moving in) we have pretty much "made do" with what we had,  kind of like what you do in the early stages of married life. But now we look forward to enjoying some of the "new" things again. We are lucky because we remodeled the kitchen in the other house 14 years ago and it seemed like just yesterday (same contractor too).

Top left are the simplisticly designed faucets but with features. The sink is a bit smaller than we originally had wanted but due to the space allotted, it is fine. Next is our "two" dishwashers in drawers, supposedly very quiet as well.

Bottom left, not a whole lot to say -- it is a microwave oven. Next the refrigerator with the freezer in the bottom drawer -- I remember having a similar one growing up only that the upper and bottom each had one door.

Lastly, the stove and oven.This is where we hope to have a big difference from the previous stovetop and separate oven. The previous stoevetop never stopped clicking and did not always ignite the burners. And the  old oven could not be power cleaned and almost nothing could prevent billowing smoke to fill the rooms whenever in use. We look forward to just basic good cooking and baking.

Borrowing & Adding to a Previous Post

Last year -- August -- when the 1940 Census was completing being indexed, I used an example of my Grand Uncle "Charlie" Hiles.  (Use the search bar above to look for "Charles William Hiles") In that post I mentioned finding Uncle Charlie in the census and I used the provided address to find what his house looked like these days.

Growing up, my Mother often  would tell us things like: "One of the Hiles relatives" invented the refrigerated rail car. She had no details and I just took that at face value. It was not until a few years ago that I did find that while I could not substantiate "inventing the refrigerator car", I could and did substantiate that Uncle Charlie Hiles did hold a patent for and invented an important and economically beneficial enhancement to the refrigerator car.

Charlie worked for Pacific Fruit Express for many years. Refrigeration was vital to the agricultural industry. At the turn of the century a lot of produce grown on the West Coast was shipped via rail car to points back East. Each car had to be manually iced at various locations across the country as the trains moved from the West Coast Eastward.

The icing was highly manual-labor intensive and the ice itself was a huge expense. It was discovered that with the interim stops -- cars could be iced only halfway and would still maintain the same level of cold. This is where the invention of Uncle Charlie's came into play. He invented a device that kept the ice at the upper level of a car so that refrigeration stayed cold throughout.

His patent for that device can be read and seen in detail on my website:   Dan's Website

I wish that I could say that I met Uncle Charlie but he died less than a year prior to my birth. He died just a couple of weeks after Pearl Harbor -- on December 26, 1941. I don't even know that I have a picture of Uncle Charlie though I am pretty sure that I have seen him in photos before -- I just have to keep looking.

Above left is a timeline of Uncle Charlie's life. It all started for him 27 April 1881 in Warrens, Wisconsin. There is no 1890 Census but we see him in 1900 in Milladore, Wood County, Wisconsin. As is often the case "we live where our parents find work" . . . Charlie's father, John worked for Upham Mfg and then later was a guard in the state prison at Waupon, Wisconsin.

At some point Charlie went to work for the railroad like other of his siblings -- Lloyd and Harold for two. In the 1910 Census we see that Charlie is living in Council Bluffs, Iowa as a "clerk at Railroad Headquarters".
It was either in Iowa or his next residence that he met and married Mabel.

In 1914 we see Charlie in a City Directory in Omaha, Nebraska. Later in 1918 he registered for the draft  for WWI and listed his occupation as "Chief Clerk -- Pacific Fruit Express".

Sometime between 1918 and 1920 Charlie moved to Houston, Texas where he would remain for the rest of his life. Above you can view snippets of his patent and the newspaper report of his death and referring to him as a "car refrigeration expert". He was just 60 years of age -- and to my knowledge had no off-spring.

Additional Info Relative to Last Week's Post

Last week we mentioned how nice it was that my Sister and I (and our brother) lived in small towns that are rated in the top ten across the country. This week I received an email from Marilee with a video about their small town of St. Augustine.

It was a fascinating video and you can view it here:        St Augustine, Florida

I do not know of a video of Healdsburg to compare with the St Augustine one, but maybe it is in the making. The two towns differ by a few hundred years as to founding date . . .

And Lastly . . .

It is a holiday and we were hoping to "feast" this holiday with a large ham -- as is customary on Easter -- but NO, our kitchen is still sealed off so it may be clove-studded SPAM that we prepare -- wouldn't be all that bad . . . so we look forward to the next opportunity to prepare a festive holiday meal -- Memorial Day or Fourth of July possibly . . .

That was a bit of our week. Have a very happy Easter! See you all in a few . . .

Saturday, March 23, 2013


The weather this week fits the season (in Healdsburg anyway) -- the first day of spring and all.  I haven't been out that much -- but soon. I was out twice for about an hour as we kept my Physical Therapy sessions.
And I have actually walked a bit without the walker and sometimes without the cane too. From my window I can see the bright sunlight and the beautiful trees taking form once again. 
Off the deck in the back just last week the Dogwood had buds all over it -- but just about the official first day of spring, guess what appeared:

It is the most amazing feat -- blooms all over the tree. It blew me away because overnight these blossoms appeared. We have two other (newly planted late last year) Dogwoods -- but they are still in the "bud" stage. I expect in the coming days we will see blooms on them as well -- we hope.

Another sign of springtime is that beyond the fence in the back are the sounds and sights of practicing baseball players, doing the drills that will bring up their skill levels over time. Sometimes there are possibly a couple hundred kids on the two diamonds in various stages of development. Who knows one of these kids may one day reach the "big leagues" -- it could happen . . .

In the Larger Arena -- Genealogy Happenings

This week -- actually today as I write this, RootsTech, is in full swing -- but I'm sure winding down. I would one day like to attend this conference as I certainly like genealogy and I certainly like (except the last two days) technology. And it is happening in a beautiful city -- Salt Lake City, a city for a few years I visited on business every month.

RootsTech started  I believe just three years ago and has grown in popularity each year. There are many exhibitors and of course many speakers and classes. I actually could listen to some of the live action streaming from the conference -- and I could see via UTube interviews and commentary from "Dear Myrtle".

Click on the above to get more details concerning the record attendance and internet participation. The pictures on  the right side show some of the action.  It just seems like the right place to be if you are into genealogy.

I said that I liked technology, except -- and by that I mean, yesterday somehow I lost internet connectivity. While trying to fix that issue I may have "touched" a few other areas as well. I had to call for assistance and the "experts" were even baffled a bit. Today I am still not back to where I was two days ago and it looks like I won't get back there . . . I have to use what I have. As I said last fall when I experienced more major issues I might be looking for an upgrade . . . Microsoft, I'm realizing doesn't support Vista as much any more and they are hoping folks like me will upgrade. We'll see -- we have a lot on our plates so-to-speak.

A Peek at Dino's Weekly (Routine)

Dino has been home  now for just over two weeks. And he has settled in to a routine and it is often very predictable. In the morning after the basics are taken care of, he rests until Gail gets up.Then he heads her way to have his moment in the "spa":

Top left he lays right down for his hair to get the "blow-dry" treatment. His fur (hair) is not wet but that does not matter -- he loves the hair dryer. After that he may chew a bone while we eat breakfast and then if it is sunny and nice -- he will lay by the pool and sunbathe -- this year he may actually get his hair (fur) wet when we introduce him to the water in the pool -- he has never even shown an interest. 

After all the above activity he might just be "worn-out" and so he conks out in one of his beds. He really zonks out or we think so, but if we make a move like we are going somewhere, he is up in a flash. He is pretty much healed after his surgery and does not seem to be any less of a dog -- he is just as calm as ever.

Checking out the Remodeling

We are guessing that the kitchen will be done about the same time that Gail  is done with taxes (our's included).  It seems like sooo long, but we will be sooo glad to have the kitchen back up and running. If you have been through this you know what we mean -- cooking in a microwave or toaster oven in a room jammed full of miscellaneous pantry items (usually not the ones you need at any given time) and washing dishes in a small bathroom sink . . . 

We eat and relax in a small converted  bedroom most of the time. The three of us some how find our places and make-do knowing how much we will appreciate things in a few weeks. It is just that right now it seems like an eternity. But despite the noise and the paint-smells recently and the cold air let in for ventilation, we can sense the light at the end and in the new kitchen:

Above you can see Dino and Gail checking out some of what has been going on -- I think we will have enough cabinets in the kitchen now, but then again one can never have enough cabinets -- look at the 35 that we put into the garage . . .

Hopefully we will have photo documentation of the complete conversion from the old to the new kitchen in a matter of days -- just like we are counting down for the tax season. In the above, all the doors were removed -- along with all the hardware, so that they could be sprayed and dried thoroughly and be back by the end of next week -- then things will start to wind down.

Findin' Cousins

I have been busy and again finding my way all around the tree looking for cousins. I have focused pretty much on going down the branches from the very top -- in other words, I have started with John Sr., and gone to each of his children and then tried to go down those lines looking for leads -- and hopefully finding living descendants with whom I might be able to communicate with about the family.

Once I find some more "leaves" to add on to the branches I then put them into my main tree, Family Tree Maker, and from there into Geni, Ancestry and the Hiles website and maybe even into a couple of others as well depending on my energy and mode at that time.

If I locate pictures of these folks -- all the better. I love to add pictures to names. When I was just starting out many years ago, just finding the names was okay. Today, besides the pictures I really enjoy finding stories as well.

In the above -- if you click on them -- hopefully you can see some of the cousins that I located this week and have added -- some to Geni, and some to The Hiles Website. With Geni, I usually add just a profile picture of a relative -- at the Hiles Website I often add various documents along with other type photos as well -- and there are a "ton" of pictures to explore there.

And Lastly This Week (From the Newspaper)

Gail and I know that we live in a special town and have enjoyed that the 14 years now that we have lived here. It is a pleasure to just drive through the town and around the "plaza" at any time of the day or night.
There is a lot of activity going on all the time and the variety is constant. 

The fact that we live within walking distance (now) of the downtown is a real benefit one that we will enjoy again once I get back to full walking strength. Dino has always enjoyed the walk to and from town. Walking as opposed to driving always seems to divulge things that we often would never notice if we were just driving by . . .

Where one lives does matter and makes for an enjoyable existence. We are sooo lucky to have chosen Healdsburg as our place of retirement. The above was published in the Santa Rosa, Press Democrat on March 21 -- the first day of spring.  It announces that Healdsburg is one of the top ten "small towns" in the nation -- wow! 

And if you look at the green markers -- you can see that my sister, Marilee and her husband Bill ALSO live in a top ten small town -- St. Augustine, Florida -- how lucky for us both. The third marker shows Door County, Wisconsin, a place Marilee enjoys going to every summer and has for years, to enhance her painting and renewing friendships.

I added some various different activities happening around our community and which are partly responsible for the rating. But the hotels, restaurants, wine  tasting rooms, and  the numerous other attractive leisure options are endless -- not to mention the pleasant weather (most of the time).

Last year we took Dino to hear one of the "Jazz" groups playing in a local bakery and for over two hours he just relaxed next to us while the performance went on -- sometimes fairly loudly too.

So that was part of our week -- we hope you have a good week and we will see you "in a few" . . .

Saturday, March 16, 2013


It has been a week of climbing out on the weakest part of the tree branches. I have found myself looking at some of the details of 3rd, 4th & 5th cousins, not-to-mention relatives of 2nd and 3rd Great Grand Uncles and Aunts -- who does this kind of stuff . . . those of us who can squeeze out the time and sometimes fight off slumber. I get started looking at one branch and quickly find myself in to other branches. Part of this is because our ancestors kind of did the same thing in-a-way -- they married into branches and some families had multiple siblings marrying into the same families:

Way out to the left in the bottom-most branches I'm finding facts and folks related to us in this tree. Sometimes I get caught up in the most bizarre stories and quickly I lose track of the relationships. I then have to regroup and look at my Family Tree Maker Tree or my tree on my website:  Dan's Website 

So, I know my days are numbered for doing this kind of research (about 30, in fact). After that it will be catch as catch can in terms of just hanging out in among the branches . . . Guillian-Barre may help in that I do get tired easily and resting while pruning the trees may be just the ticket.

Speaking of Resting

I have to say that in the 9 or 10 days that Dino has been home he really knows how to rest. He has been very good about not "going after" his surgical area and so we only have to put the "lamp-shade" on him at night when we are not so aware of any possible infraction. It is hard to believe but he has never even "objected" to sleeping at night with the large device around his head.

During the day he tends to sleep in between the times that he and I go out on the deck to take a break which allows him to "do his business". Then after a drink of water he finds one of the three beds and he is off in to a deep sleep -- but not so deep that if I make any move to get up, he is right there.

He is healing nicely and I attribute that partly to the fact that he has been quiet all week. The most animated he gets is when Gail gets home from work and he hears the car door and the sounds on the stairs . . .

A Tie to a Post of About One Two Years Ago

This is still the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and we had a lot of folks from our tree who were involved in that war -- and I'm finding out more details every day. Almost exactly two years ago I wrote about two of those ancestors -- both sons of John Hiles, Jr., who both died during the war and because of conditions in the war -- John Hiles III and George W. Hiles. (Do a search above for George W Hiles)

This week while out on those branches I found out that George's Father-in-law was also in the Civil War AND in the same outfit that George was in . . . Company "I" of the 114th Ohio Volunteers. George married Martha Angeline Lacey just as the war started in 1861. By the time he joined the Army in 1862, they already  had had two or three infants that died and they were childless as George served. Unfortunately they did not have any more opportunities for children.

George's Father-in-law was Benjamin Lacey. He was thirty some years older than George when he joined the Army. He though did survive the war.He died in 1904 and it turns out was buried in an unmarked grave in New Lexington, Ohio.  I know the frustration looking for the graves of ancestors and relatives only to have the cemetery inform me that "there is no grave marker . . ."

While going through a variety of databases I found the above -- something which I had never noticed before.
I found this -- of course on And I am not sure who Harriet Cassidy is -- but most likely she is a  relative -- one that I hope that I can figure out how she is related . . .

Looking at the above, you can see the process . . . a stone was ordered about May of 1932 and it looks like it was finally shipped in October of 1932:

So, Benjamin F Lacey was in an unmarked spot from 1904 til late 1932 AND from that time on has a nice marker. Next to it (if you click to enlarge) you can also see the marker designating him a member of the GAR -- something my maternal Grandfather, Dayton Bumgardner used to talk about frequently.

By-the-way, Benjamin F Lacey provided two daughters to the HILES ancestors, Martha to George Hiles and then later Caroline to Andrew Jackson Hiles.

The Headlines of this Week

Whether Catholic of not it was impossible to watch a newscast without seeing the latest from Rome. At first I just wanted to speed past the stories but then I we got caught up in the intrigue and about the process itself and wondered just how the voting took place . . .

We of course are unlikely to ever find out how ballots are cast and how Cardinals jockey for the position.
But I happened to be checking the news on the web when a few minutes earlier the "white smoke" appeared. Earlier I had seen the "black-smoke" and had expected to see a lot more of that.

It was kind of exciting to hear them say that a "Pope" had been elected, but his name was not released yet, then a bit later the world was informed. It is a strange process -- it would be nice to see the changes that need to be made, made . . . we'll see. I find it nice that a man "older than me" is somewhat considered to be a "younger" man and full of energy and drive to live up to the demands of his new calling . . . I am finding it increasingly harder to find the energy to get to out-patient physical therapy . . .

The State of our Current Project

The worker bees in our kitchen have been here most of the week. And while that is satisfying it also can be distracting as well. This week, two days were set aside to "do the floor". Most of the floor will remain as it was but "renewed". Some wood was put around the areas of new construction and then to make the rest of the floor blend in all furniture in the family room was removed to the garage and sanding and refinishing took place.
The noise was distracting as was the smell. But peering into the rooms -- it really looks great. After the floor dried, more detail work on the cabinets and counters took place -- soon we'll have more of a pictorial.
But what the empty room did was -- for one of us -- was to call attention to what may be the next project on our list:

The floor sure does look great -- we will keep Dino out until the rugs are back in and around. But contemplating the bareness of the room makes the fireplace stand out like the "thumb" that it is. I have a feeling it won't be long for the world . . .

And so went part of our week -- tonight we are being treated again to dinner -- courtesy of a close relative who happens to be a very good cook . . . see you all in a few.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I just noticed the temperature outside -- it is in the 70s. I was just outside on the back deck and I thought that it felt really nice. I had been inside for a few hours and did not notice that it was getting warmer. The sun is shining brightly -- but it was the other day too when the temperature was much cooler. So a pleasant surprise . . .

And actually all around town we are seeing these blossoms on the trees. I happened to talk with both my sister and my daughter in the last two days -- one lives on the SE coast and the other lives on the NW coast,    both said that their weather was pleasant as well.

The huge major problem areas were in the Midwest and the NE areas of the country. Apparently March has arrived for those areas like a "lion". After seeing some of the news footage -- it makes one feel lucky to not have to be putting up with huge piles of snow along with wind and rain.

Dino Comes Home

On Thursday Gail took part of the day "off" and we drove to San Rafael to the Headquarters of Guide Dogs for the Blind. There we made our way to the offices in charge of cell #305. When we presented ourselves and mentioned our purpose of the visit -- everyone knew Dino and was so helpful as we went through the procedure to "take ownership" of the 18 1/2 month old puppy, now "former" GDB puppy-in-training.

When we were reunited with Dino -- he was very much sedated as he had had surgery (neutered) just the day before. None-the-less we could see signs of recognition as he was handed to us -- but he was a bit unsteady. He will need to be "quiet" for the next 10 days or so -- and we were given information and equipment that would assist us in that.

We visited with the Vet at GDB who explained about Dino's cataracts and that they were very minor in nature and that it was very unlikely that they would pose much of a problem for him in the coming years.

After about an hour of process we were able to take Dino for the ride home.  He was at GDB for about 18 days and we were really glad to be taking him home. When we had left him there on February 17, we were not sure if we would ever have him back again -- we are so lucky.

In the top left photo, this is what Dino did just after having a long drink of cool water -- chewing a favorite Nylabone on one of his beds being petted by Gail. Most of the time that he has been home he has been sleepy and very quiet.

If he gets up and around or goes into another room where we can not see him -- we have been putting the "lampshade" on him for protection -- so that he does not disturb his surgery area. He does not resist the shade at all even though it cramps his walking around a bit and causes him to crash into things . . .

Since Dino and I are both convalescing (of course for different reasons) things have been pretty quiet around here anyway. I am pretty much captive on the single level but I am feeling much more capable to walking without the walker though I plan to not risk too much. Stairs are touchy but taken slowly they are doable.

Kitchen Project

Things are lookin' up . . . there has been a lot of noise and conversation coming from the sealed off kitchen area. I have managed to sneak in and take some progress photos. We are pleased that our empty shell of a room is taking shape and filling up -- but that is what we want.

Sometimes when Gail gets home (in the dark) we have gone into the kitchen and just sat and looked at the progress. And in the middle of the week, even when it was dark we got light  in the kitchen as the cans in the ceiling and the spots under the cabinets shone brightly.

On the left are the start of the cabinets and the unlighted room. On the right, are some of the cabinets along with some of the lights. The ceiling was raised several feet and now will accommodate cabinets some of which will require a ladder to access -- to be used for storing not-so-often used things.

Next week, hopefully the counter tops will be installed and the flooring attended to AND then the cabinets will be painted the color that we have selected. After that I guess it will be the installation of the appliances AND then maybe -- completion. We'll see. We're guessing that the completion may coincide with the end of the tax season.

Cellular & Telephones

I finally broke down and got a "smartphone" this week. I took the advice found on Dick Eastman's blog and bought a phone from Republic Wireless. It is one that offers full services for a very low monthly rate ($19) and there is no contract involved.  So far the phone has worked fine -- but then I don't tend to use the phone all that much -- so for me it is certainly a pretty good deal.

It got me thinking about telephone service and such -- growing up in the 50s we had interesting numbers -- our home telephone (the only one that we had) was FA3-6866, with the FA standing for Faculty. In the 50s AT&T started the two letter, five number arrangement for telephone numbers. Another number that I called frequently as a teenager was FL4-1338 with the FL standing for Fleetwood -- that number was in LaGrange, Illinois.

My Grandparents number was CA_ -____ with the CA standing for Capital -- all of a sudden their number escapes me. And when you think back to that era other exchanges are brought to mind. Butterfield 8, the movie title actually came from an exchange.

AT&T (the company I retired from in 1999) actually had a list of recommended exchange names. It is for me a trip "down memory lane" and conjures up many -- mostly pleasant experiences.

Click on the above and you may find the exchange name that was active in your home town. Not all exchange names are listed but a high percentage of them are.

Speaking of the 50s -- besides the exchange names we had land line based telephones. The only place to get a telephone was from THE telephone company AT&T, the Bell System. And one could not just plug into the telephone system -- it had to be done by THE telephone company (to protect the integrity of the system).

Even a bit earlier than the 1950s, I remember having a "party-line" at the house. I think if I remember right we had a "two-party" line. It is not what it sounds like -- there was no party about it -- it meant that your house shared a line with another house. In those days when you picked up the phone to place a call, an operator would respond "number please?".  If instead of hearing that phrase you heard a conversation going on you were politely supposed to quietly hang up the phone and wait until the other "party" was through and then you could make a call.

Well you can be sure that the polite thing did not always happen AND that people quietly listened in to your call OR they would constantly pick up their phone (with the accompanying "click") until you politely (or not) ended your call . . . what a system, can you imagine that today.

The phones of the 1950s were built to last and many are still out there today. I remember we had one phone, it had a standard wire attached so that stretching it to the limit you could get maybe ten feet away from the outlet (and prying ears). Phone calls in our house were treated in a special way. A ringing phone was almost always hurried to and it seemed that everyone spoke in a loud voice.

Some of the above styles you may recognize -- the two that I remember the most as a working sales person was the pay phone on the top left and the phone booth below. Both I had to use to make calls back to headquarters and both were uncomfortable in their own ways. The pay phone due to it's very short cord allowing almost no "give" in where you stood. The booth for having very little room to open sales manuals or report forms though it was usually fairly quiet in there.

On the bottom right was what was described as a "cord board". Even into the 80s and maybe even the 90s in some parts of the U.S. these were still being used. I know from experience because during two strikes at AT&T, I was sent to Spokane, Washington and I worked the cord board during the strikes -- I actually had a great time doing that as I knew it was soon to be a dinosaur.

And so back to my new smartphone -- it has way more computing power than my first computer back in the 80s . . . and it has so many features that I may never figure them or it out. The first time the phone rang -- I could not figure out how to answer it and I had to let it ring until the caller hung up and since I had no voice messaging yet -- well you get the idea.

An Old Ad from a Relative's Store

I love looking into old newspapers for stories about relatives from our tree. I was going through some of the articles that I had cut out a while ago and spotted an ad from what has to be a relative, though I have not figured out which one.

Spirit Lake Iowa is a small town and a lot of my Mother's relative's lived there and their name was Bumgardner. So if a store in Spirit Lake in the 1930s was named BUMGARDNER'S it for sure was owned by a relative.

But this ad had a twist to it that probably would not escape today's critical audience though you never know:

This was an ad encouraging folks to do their Christmas shopping in Spirit Lake and specifically at Bumgardner's Furniture Co., (and Funeral Home).  This is not unlike we hear in our small town -- shop locally . . .

First of all in the above ad, maybe the 1930s were a different time, but "giving" a new mattress to someone for the holidays somehow doesn't seem appropriate. Or what lucky youngster, daughter or son, wouldn't love a new chair or lamp . . .

But the kicker for me was the "use our lay-away plan" point -- was that in association with  the furniture company part or the funeral part . . . I love looking at old ads.

Genealogy This Week

While I did a variety of things associated with the family history, probably the most useful was the time I spent on two different Webinars. No matter the subject, I always find useful items to incorporate in my research --  and this week was no exception:

Both of the above sessions were well worth my time. "Behind the Cheese Curtain" was valuable because of the fact that Wisconsin is so integral to our family history -- and I purchased a "Wisconsin" cheat sheet in addition to what I learned on  the webinar.

And "Blogs: Easy-To-Make Web Pages" was helpful because they wee talking about things that are done mostly in conjunction with "blogger" the free system from Google that I use to write this blog. Nicely done and contained a lot of good ideas.

That Was Our Week

I keep a count down for the days left in the tax season for obvious reasons one of which has to do with the number of days left in how my "free" time is spent -- the other as informational -- so there is just over one month left in the season . . . and the evenings will be "lighter"  in the coming days:

That is tonight at 2 AM . . . for us that translates to about 9 PM these days . . .

Leftover BBQ chicken tonight . . .

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Significance of Viroqua, Now & then

I could not stop myself from displaying yet another way of viewing some of our family tree in the new 3D program from Progeny -- I just find it fascinating, and maybe I'll even master how to perfect the display:

Clicking on the above you can see that this is a ancestor view showing me and my siblings with some of the four generations that came before us -- it is hard to pick out the individual names, but they are there. Hopefully I'll be able to do a better job, but I just like the way this formed out -- very colorful'

Racine -- World War One Days

Wisconsin sure has played a major role for many of us who populate this tree. Oddly enough, even for my wife's side of the family there are Wisconsin connections and questions.

WWI left it's mark on Racine as did the Civil War and probably all the other wars as well. I never met the following individuals that participated in WWI, but I am related to one of them and Gail MAY be related to the other designated one . . .

The top arrow -- three rows down, points to my first cousin ( 2 x removed) Olaf Johnson. Olaf is related to me (and my siblings) through the marriage of Samuel Thorbjornsen Martin and Elise Larson.

The bottom arrow, is another matter -- on Gail's side we have scoured the web for any evidence of Marius Jensen, while this may not be him, it is interesting that someone with that name is found with a relative of mine. Marius Jensen that we have found for sure was in Dane County, Wisconsin, but we lost track of him and we are not sure of what became of him. He is the great grandfather of Gail and certainly was someone of
quality and he raised a nice family -- including Gail's grandmother Jenny.

And Now the "Viroqua" Connection

Jeremy Hiles, my nephew was born in Chicago a little over forty years ago. He moved with his family to California, Washington and a few other states while growing up. He ultimately found himself in Wisconsin going to school. There he met his future wife, Heather. As often is the case, the husband finds himself relocating to the town of his wife -- and that is what happened to Jeremy. He moved to Viroqua.

Unknown to Jeremy was the fact that HILES and related surnames like GILLETT were pioneers in Viroqua and have had some interesting stories along the way. My Great Great Grandfather, Daniel moved into Wisconsin about 1857 and settled in Clinton a nearby town. By 1870 Daniel and family lived in Viroqua.

Daniel was a farmer and he had a large family -- eight children:

Above is a screenshot from showing Daniel and Mary Jane with their family. At the same time in Viroqua was the Gillett family headed by Juliette Head Gillett (William Abrigen Gillett died in 1860). They had ten children -- I'm not sure how the financial state of affairs was in the household:

This is the family from which 18 year old Sophia married 65 year old John S Hart -- which may be indicative of the dire straits felt by some in the family. But Sophia's sister, Emily Adeline Gillett would become my Great Grandmother when she married John Hiles in 1871 in nearby Webster, Wisconsin.

Five Years Prior to the Above

It seems that Viroqua is not a town that is in the national spotlight -- but in 1865 there was some nasty weather that I'm sure made the national news -- such as it was in those days. And this was right at the end of the Civil War and all:

Clicking on the above you can read some of the destruction and the 19 or so deaths caused by the storm. We had a relative -- Lydia Gillett -- die in the storm. Lydia was staying in the home of Cyrus Gillett and family in Viroqua. Cyrus is the father of James Norris Gillett (Governor of California 1907--1911) and apparently Lydia Gillett was the wife of another Gillett who was off in the war. When the storm hit Lydia ran to shut the front door and was struck by flying timber and was killed AND the whole house was demolished. Cyrus and the others in the house had just made it down into the basement and were not injured.

I am not sure if Viroqua has had other violent tornadoes since that one. But in the town's cemetery are several HILES and HILES related folks. We visited several along with Jeremy a few years back when we visited.

Great Grand Uncle

Leroy Hiles, born in 1850 in Harrison County, Ohio, came along to Wisconsin with his father Daniel and family about 1857 -- for most of his life he lived in and around Viroqua and was associated with farming and owned a farm in Viroqua:

Pictured above are: Rena Smith Hiles, Malcolm and Leroy Hiles about 1886 or so. There were three children in this family but I believe the other two died early as infants.

Unfortunately, Malcolm the boy shown above would die at 50 years of age -- gunned down in the restaurant that he owned in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The shooting took place in January of 1931. His father Leroy, who was widowed at the time and lived with Malcolm and Emma would die one month later at 79 years of age.

Above is the 1930 census showing the family -- that was about to change a great deal . . .

That's a peek at some of the Wisconsin family history -- there is a lot more. You can check out more at my website Dan's Website.

We are making progress with the walker and physical therapy, it's a work-in-progress as is our kitchen. Maybe the timing will be the same and including the conclusion of the tax season.

We hope to get Dino back late next week -- that's our week -- see you in a few!