My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog

BRUNETT, DeGRUY, DeLERY, FLEMMING, FORTIER, FRISSE, HORST, HUBER, JACKSON, McCAFFREY, McCLUSKEY, O'DONNELL, WEINSCHENK



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WEDNESDAY'S WORLD OF PHOTOS - 1985 O'Donnell Family Reunion, Birmingham, AL

Susie O'Donnell and 18/20 Grandchildren
Recently while scanning family photos from one of my mother's photo albums I came across all the pictures that my younger sister took of the last O'Donnell Family Reunion, held in the summer of 1985 in Birmingham, Alabama. That year Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev were world leaders. New Coke was introduced to the world, as was the first Nintendo console in America and DNA in its first criminal case. It was also the year "We Are the World" and Live Aid took place to raise funds for the Famine in Ethiopia, as well as the beginning of the fall of Communism throughout the world. In other words, it was a long, long time ago.
l to r - Loretta Crawford, Barbara Nelson, Charles
O'Donnell, Susie O'Donnell, Mary Slade

I remember attending the Saturday evening dinner held at my aunt's home and hanging out with my sisters and cousins and new baby niece that night but not much else. O'Donnell families came from around the country including California, Virginia, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Unfortunately I honestly don't remember even meeting one new relative at the event.

Susie O'Donnell and Children


At the family reunion were descendants of Patrick O'Donnell (1823-1911), who came to America from Ireland, and his wife Bridget Kennedy (1838-1893), also an immigrant from Ireland. They had seven children, 6 daughters and 1 son. Those at the 1985 Reunion were descendants of two of their children - Mary Ann "Mollie" O'Donnell Casey Kenealy (1859-1936) and John Martin O'Donnell (1865-1937). John is my great-grandfather.

Family of Ed and Mamie O'Donnell
My grandmother Susie Flemming O'Donnell (1909-1999) was there. Her husband, my grandfather, John Huber O'Donnell (1905-1964), was the oldest child of John O'Donnell. Huber, as he was called, had 2 younger brothers and a younger sister. Brother Charles Patrick O'Donnell (1906-1987) came from Atlanta with a large number of his family. Youngest brother Edward Joseph Kennedy O'Donnell (1908-1989), called Ed, lived with his wife Mary Elizabeth "Mamie" Watters (1908-1996) in Los Angeles, California, and they didn't make the trip, but many of their children, their spouses and grandchildren did come. Also in attendance was youngest sister Barbara Lena O'Donnell Nelson (1909-1996), who travelled from her home in Biloxi, Mississippi, and members of her family.

Charles O'Donnell (seated) and Family


Barbara Nelson (seated) and Family
 
Also in attendance at the reunion were descendants of Patrick & Bridget's second child Mollie. Mollie had married twice. In attendance were the grandchildren of Mollie and her first husband Thomas "Pat" Casey (1841-1896), the children of their oldest daughter Frances Loretta Casey Slade (1879-1960), known as Lottie. Both daughters of Lottie and husband Charles Albert Slade (1867-1917) were in attendance - Mary Slade (1904-1990) and Loretta Slade Crawford (1906-1986). Loretta brought several of her own family members along with her to the reunion. Mary & Loretta both lived in Birmingham.



[Click on pictures to enlarge]


I would love to know exactly who the individuals are in each of these families for posterity's sake. If you can name them from your family I really would love to hear from you - everyone who knows can write me. Better to have too many than not any. Please don't write them on the comments below. But if can help me name them from your family please, please, please contact me on Facebook or email me! (I said please.) And if you're interested in where you can find all the pictures of the reunion let me know.






















Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WEDNESDAY'S WEDDING - Flemming-Lambert Wedding 1910

Charles Clinton Flemming, Jr. (1884-1936) married Katherine Aurelia Lambert (1885-1935) on January 26, 1910, in Atlanta, Georgia. Charles, my great-great-uncle, is the son of Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932) and Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey (1858-1922), my great-great-grandparents, the fifth of their eleven children. Charles, Jr., is the younger brother of my great-grandfather Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955).

This was not Charles' first marriage. He had married to Marie Sophia Fidger (1884-1908) on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1903, in Birmingham, Alabama. They were both nineteen at the time of their wedding. The following year they had their only child, Florence Elizabeth Flemming. Unfortunately, their happiness was short lived. Sophia died in childbirth on September 15, 1908. Florence, just 4 years old, moved in with her grandparents - they would eventually take full legal custody of her.

Charles worked for his father's business, Charlie's Transfer, in Birmingham, first as a clerk then later as the company's vice-president. His bride Kate, as she was called, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Joseph W. Lambert (1830-1914), an immigrant from Belgium, and Mary Agnes Monaghan (1843-1920). When Kate and Charles were married she was 24, he was 25.
On January 2, 1910, the Atlanta Constitution announced the couple's engagement - "LAMBERT-FLEMMING  Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lambert announce the engagement of their daughter Katherine Amelia, to Mr. Charles Clinton Flemming, Jr., of Birmingham, Ala., the wedding to take place January 26, at St. Anthony's Chapel, West End."

The story of their wedding appeared in the same newspaper on January 27th of the same year:
                                                                                        Lambert-Flemming
Wedding Announcement
Jan. 27, 1910
"The marriage of Miss Katherine Lambert and Mr. Charles Clinton Flemming, Jr., was an event of interest yesterday, assembling a large acquaintance.
     The ceremony at 4:30 o'clock was performed by Father o. N. Jackson at the Church of St. Anthony, in West End, and was followed by a supper at which were gathered the attendants and relatives as the guests of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lambert, in West End. In the evening from 8 until 10 o'clock, there was a large wedding reception.
     The church was artistically decorated with foliage plants, narcissus and carnations, and at the home the same the same flowers with plants and ferns were used with effective taste. An orchestra provided the music for the reception, and an elaborate hospitality was enjoyed.
     The bride made a charming picture in her wedding gown of satin and old lace, and her flowers were bride's roses with a shower of valley lilies.
     The matron of honor, Mrs. Wm. McAlphin, wore white satin draped with white marquisette embroidered with pink roses, her lace hat was trimmed with white plumes, and she carried American Beauty roses.
     The maid of honor, Miss Imogen (sic) Flemming, of Birmingham, and the bridesmaids, Misses Agnes Klein, Kate McGee, Monica Callahan, wore white broadcloth with white beaver hats trimmed with plumes, and their flowers were Meteor roses.
     The groomsmen were Mr. Clem Lambert, best man, Mr. James Jordan, of Birmingham, Mr. Thomas Lambert, Mr. James Flemming, of Birmingham, Mr. James Flynn.
     Mrs. Joseph Lambert, the bride's mother, was gowned in black satin, and assisting in entertainment, Mrs. Ed. Lambert, wore white chiffon cloth embroidered in pink geraniums, Mrs. J.P. Lambert wore old rose chiffon cloth, and Mrs. Michael Lambert wore white crepe de chine.
     Mr. and Mrs. Flemming went east on their wedding trip, and they will make their home in Birmingham where he is prominently and pleasantly known."

It's interesting to note that Charles' younger sister Elizabeth Imogene "Imo" Flemming (1886-1919) served as Kate's maid of honor, while one of Kate's older brothers, Clement Lee "Clem" Lambert (1880-1971) was Charles' best man. One of Charles' younger brother, James Benjamin Flemming (1889-1932), also served as a groomsman. Imo must have been a family favorite - she was also the maid of honor at the wedding of her oldest sister Susie Elizabeth Flemming (1879-1908), in 1906.

Charles and Kate set up their home at 1422 Thirteenth Place South on Birmingham's Southside. They went on to have seven children: Mary Agnes "Mike" Flemming, born November 1, 1910; Dorothy May Flemming, born January 1914 [she died July 4, 1915]; Charles Clinton "Hap" Flemming III, born May 15, 1916; James Benjamin Flemming and his twin brother Joseph Lambert Flemming, born May 5, 1918; Thomas Anthony "Tom" Flemming, born May 11, 1923; and Katherine Loretta "Katie" Flemming, born August 9, 1925.

Charles died on May 30, 1935, when his appendix burst. Then, just a little over 3 months later, Kate, too, passed away after a long illness. Charles was 51, Kate just 50. They were buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Woodlawn, outside Birmingham. Their six surviving children were ages 10 to 24. After their passing 25 grandchildren were born, and to them were born 38 of their great-grandchildren. The number of great-great-grandchildren is still growing.

Monday, July 7, 2014

MONDAY'S MOTHERS - Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy Fortier (1822-1872)

Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy Fortier
(1822-1872)
[NOTE: I made a correction to daughter Alice's date of death - she was just three when she died.]

Laperle Degruy Fortier is my 3x-great-grandmother. She was the mother of eleven children, the grandmother of twenty-three, with dozens of great-grandchildren, like myself, that were descended from her. This is her story.

Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy was born on January 17, 1822, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her parents were Jean Baptiste Valentin DuFouchard Degruy (1751-1838) and Melanie Gaudin (1786-1853), both natives of New Orleans. Laperle, as she was called, was the third of six (or seven) children. She was baptized at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans at the age of 2; her older sister Felicite (1818-1832), just six years old, was her sister's godmother.

On Saturday, May 9, 1840, Laperle, age 18, married 27-year-old Jacques Omer Fortier (1813-1867) in New Orleans. Omer's father Jacques Omer Fortier (1792-1823), called Jacques, had died when Omer was just 10 years old, leaving his widow and three young children. Omer's mother Charlotte Adele Chauvin deLery (1796-1834) died just over 10 years later.

Omer's grandfather had once owned a sugar plantation in Jefferson Parish, along the Mississippi River, just outside New Orleans, as had his great-grandfather. When this grandfather, Jacques Omer Fortier (1759-1820), died his widow Aimee Marie Victoire Felicite Durel (1768-1843) became the owner of Pasture Plantation. The plantation was eventually sold to Minor Kenner and burned to the ground in 1870.

Omer was a clerk in New Orleans and the family lived at 256 Bourbon Street (now 1120 Bourbon Street). Laperle and Omer's first child was born just thirteen months after their wedding -  the first of eleven:
  • Adele Augustine Philomene Fortier - born June 1841; she died August 17, 1841, at the age of two months.
  • Ida Fortier - born September 13, 1842; she died January 29, 1848, at the age of 5 years old.
  • Alice Fortier - born April 6, 1844; she died just before her big sister Ida, on January 26, 1848, at just 3 years old.
  • Odalie Fortier - born August 31, 1846; she died at the age of 2 years on January 2, 1849.
  • Adele Augustine Philomene Fortier - born January 2, 1849; she died at age 37 on February 16, 1886, leaving a husband and two young daughters.
  • Omer Auguste Fortier - born June 30, 1855; he died at age 41 on April 13, 1897, leaving a widow and four children.
  • Felicite Odalie Fortier - born August 31, 1857; she died November 14, 1920, at the age of 63. Odalie is my great-great-grandmother. She had been widowed, and was survived by four adult children.
  • Gaston James Fortier - born September 1860; he died on June 3, 1917, at the age of 56. He was survived by his widow and four adult children.
  • Lucian M. Fortier - born September 1861; he died at the age of 23 on October 21, 1884.
  • Luciana Fortier - born September 1861, Lucian's twin; she died on July 19, 1942, at the age of 81, leaving three adult children.
  • Jeanette Fortier - born May 1868; she died July 7, 1941, at the age of seventy-three, survived by one adult son.
Laperle had eleven pregnancies go full term - that's over 400 weeks being pregnant! She had her first baby when she was nineteen, and her last when she was forty-six. Four of her little girls died by the age of 5.

When her husband died on December 19, 1867, after 27 years of marriage, Laperle was four months pregnant. She had at home six children, soon to be seven, ages 6 to 17. How she managed to raise seven children at a time when women generally didn't work outside the home, and if they did their pay would be very low. There was no day care, no government assistance. Both of her in-laws were dead, as were both of her own parents. How she managed is unknown.

Omer Fortier Family Tomb
St. Louis Cemetery #1
New Orleans, Louisiana
What is known is that she lived less than five years after her husband's death, dying on November 1, 1872, in New Orleans. She was just 50 years old. She was buried in the family plot in St. Louis Cemetery #1.

[Translation of Obituary - "Died, yesterday morning, at 2 o'clock, at the age of 51 years, Mrs. Widow OMER FORTIER, born Laperle Degruy. Her friends and those of her brother, A. O. Degruy, and Fortier families, are respectfully requested to attend without further invitation, her funeral which will begin this morning at 10 am sharp. Her body is (? perhaps available for viewing) at Amour and Union Streets."  From page 1, column 6]

Notice of Death - Laperle Dugruy Fortier
New Orleans Bee, November 2, 1872


Friday, July 4, 2014

HOLIDAY SPECIAL - Two Kids and a Flag (c. 1918)

Happy Independence Day, 2014!

Grider and Charles Horst (c. 1918)
Birmingham, Alabama
I love this picture of two of my grandmother's cousins holding an American flag, with all 48 stars proudly displayed. The children are the only children of Charles Frederick Horst (1880-1964) and Eliza Loy Dilworth (1885-1960). On the left is their daughter Frances Grider Flemming (1908-1995); on the right is her brother Charles Frederick Horst, Jr. (1911-1984). Charles, Sr. is the older brother of my great-grandmother Pearl Horst Flemming (1884-1961), making Grider and Charles my first cousins, twice removed.

The picture was taken in the front yard of their home in the Highland Park neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama. It may have been taken to celebrate the Fourth of July. Another possibility is that the picture was taken in November 1918, in celebration of the end of World War I. If it were 1918 then Grider would be almost 10 and Charles would have just turned 7, the day before the war ended. The clothing is typical of the times, especially Charles' sailor suit. Grider, wearing knickerbockers (short pants with a cuff at the knee), was ahead of her time - girls were only beginning to try out typical boys' clothing in the 1910's.

The picture is such a moment of patriotism in a time long gone, almost a century ago. Have you taken pictures of your family and/or children that your descendants will be able to look at a hundred years from now and see how you celebrated your own patriotism?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Thomas O'Donnell (1827-1877) & Sophia Thompson O'Donnell (1839-1916)

NOTE: This story is about Thomas O'Donnell, my great-great-great-uncle. I found it just yesterday, and have now confirmed the county and parish of my O'Donnell ancestors. More exploration will now be necessary to find out about their life in Ireland, and maybe one day I can visit the exact town where my grandfather's family lived. But the story today is about Thomas, and it's not a happy ending for him.

Headstone of Thomas O'Donnell
St. Louis Cemetery, Louisville, KY
Thomas O'Donnell is one of six brothers of my great-great-grandfather Patrick O'Donnell (1823-1911). Thomas was born about 1827 to Richard O'Donnell (1787-1857) and Margaret (UNK-UNK). He was born in the Parish of Lisronagh, in the County of Tipperary, in Ireland. Thomas and Patrick came with their brothers William O'Donnell (1818-1882), Richard O'Donnell (1820-1899), Edward O'Donnell (1821-1860), John O'Donnell (1822-UNK), and James O'Donnell (1830-1894) to America and originally all settled in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. On December 1, 1849, Thomas, along with his brothers Richard, Edward, John and Patrick, arrived in the Port of New Orleans on board the ship Fingall.

Thomas, along with Patrick and John, soon settled in Henry County, all working as laborers with the Louisville, Cincinnati & Lexington Railroad (later part of the L&N Railroad). On October 18, 1857, Thomas married Sophia Thompson (1839-1916). He was 30 years old, she was just 18. Sophie, as she was called, was one of five children born in Switzerland County, Indiana, to David Thompson (1804-1866), a Scottish immigrant, and Elizabeth Bennett (1803-1865), an immigrant from England. Thomas & Sophia in the early years of their marriage lived with her family in Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky.

Thomas rose to the position of Section Boss for the L. C & L Railroad in Eminence, and he and Sophia had six children (possibly seven): James Richard O'Donnell (b. March 23, 1858); Frances J. "Fanny" O'Donnell (b. Nov. 20, 1859); Mary T. O'Donnell (b. February 18, 1862); Sophia O'Donnell (b. February 13, 1868); Elizabeth T. "Eliza" O'Donnell (b. August 1870); and Margaret "Maggie" O'Donnell (b. April 1875).

from Courier-Journal, page 1
June 20, 1877
[CLICK ABOVE TO ENLARGE]
A BLOODY SUICIDE
Thomas O'Donnell, a Section Boss on the Lexington Road, Cuts His Throat from Ear to Ear
"Jericho Station, 32 miles from this city, in Henry county, on the Short-line road, was startled yesterday morning by the news of a terrible suicide. Thomas O'Donnell, a man probably in the neighborhood of 50, was related to be the suicide. O'Donnell had been in the employ of the railroad as section boss, and, until lately, was stationed at Eminence, where he managed to save money, and became a proprietor of considerable property, it being estimated that he was worth about $20,000.
The railroad officers concluded to change his location, and a short time ago moved him to Dorset Station, twelve miles beyond Frankfort. O'Donnell brought his family with him and took up his residence there, but appeared discontented with the change. Monday he came to Louisville and yesterday morning, about 2 o'clock he appeared at the house of his brother Patrick O'Donnell, in Jericho, woke up the family and stated that he had missed the afternoon train from Louisville, and had come up on a freight train. He complained of sickness and went to bed.
About 6 o'clock yesterday morning, he arose with the family and asked for a razor with which he wanted to shave himself. His brother Patrick told him to wait until after breakfast, before undergoing that operation. Breakfast was taken, and between half-past 6 and 7 o'clock, Thomas proceeded to shave himself. Shortly before 7 o'clock his brother observed him going first to one portion of the fence then to another portion, and looking over as if to see whether there was anyone out in the neighboring farms. Patrick's supposition as to his action was far different from what it turned out to be. The farmer went to the barn to feed some hogs. He had been at his work but a few minutes when, chancing to glance up, he beheld Thomas lying flat on the ground about fifty yards from him.
Thinking that he had perhaps fallen into a fit, he went up to him, when, to his utter terror and dismay, he saw Thomas gasping for breath, and almost heard the sound of the death-rattle in his throat.  His throat had been cut in a most fearful manner from the top of the left to the top of the right ear, and the blood was streaming over him. The sight was sickening enough to nearly freeze him to the spot. The head was half dangling from the neck, such a gash had the suicide inflicted. Life was extinct in 5 minutes. An inquest was held by Squire R. W. Vance, at which Patrick O'Donnell testified as to what he had seen. The verdict of the jury was based upon the above facts.

Grave of Thomas O'Donnell
St. Louis Cemetery, Louisville, KY
The cause of the suicide is very unaccountable to the dead man's relatives and friends. He was moderately well off, was known, it is said, to be thoroughly temperate in his habits, was on good terms with all his relatives and had no financial or domestic troubles. The only cause that can be imagined was his discontent at being removed from Eminence to Dorset station. His family consists of a wife and seven children."  [Louisville's Courier-Journal newspaper; June 20, 1877; page 1]
Thomas was buried in the Catholic section of St. Louis Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. His wife Sophia, no doubt distraught, honored her husband with a special gravestone.  On the marble stone she had carved the place of his birth as well as the day of his death.
         "To My Husband
          THOMAS O'DONNELL
          BORN IN THE PARISH
          OF LISROUGHNA, CO
          TIPPERARY, IRELAND
          Died June 19, 1877,
          Aged 50 years"
[This information was used - 136 years later - to be able to confirm that the 'Thomas O'Donnell' in the newspaper article, who was the brother of my great-great-grandfather Patrick, was the same 'Thomas O'Donnell' from the parish of Lisronagh, in the county of Tipperary buried here.]

Notice of Death - Sophia Thompson O'Donnell
December 26, 1916
Sophia, a widow at 38, and her six children (or seven as the newspaper article stated), ages 2 to 18, soon moved to Midway, in nearby Woodford County, where she managed a boarding house full of railroad laborers, including Thomas' older brother John O'Donnell. Sophia eventually moved back to Eminence, where several of her siblings stilled lived. She died on December 23, 1916, in Lexington, where she was living with her daughter Sophia and her family. She is buried at Eminence Cemetery in Henry County.

Mrs. Sophie O'Donnell
     "Funeral services for Mrs. Sophie O'Donnell, 78 years old, who died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John McCullough, 348 Jefferson Street, Saturday morning, will be held Wednesday morning at 7:30 o'clock at St. Paul's Catholic Church. Rev. Libert de Waegenaere officiating.
     The body will be taken on the 9 o'clock Louisville & Nashville train to Eminence, her former home, for burial. Pallbearers will be her grandsons, Richard, Robert, Harry and T.J. Granghan, Joseph, Jack and Charles McCullough and Edwin Doyle, Jr." [from Lexington Herald, page 3; December 26, 1916]

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WEDNESDAY'S WEDDING - Obering - Flemming Wedding, 1942

Mr.. and Mrs. Tom Flemming
On their Wedding Day
On November 17, 1942, Thomas Anthony Flemming (1923-1999) married Rita Grace Obering (1923-1994) at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 1327 6th Ave. S., in Birmingham, Alabama. They were both just 19 years old on the day of their wedding. Their marriage lasted fifty-one years and produced four children, two daughters and two son (all living).








Wedding Announcement - Nov. 1942
Birmingham News

Miss Rita Obering Wed
Pledges Vows With Thomas A. Flemming In Ceremony At Our Lady of Sorrows
"The marriage of Miss Rita Grace Obering, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Obering, and Thomas Anthony Flemming, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Flemming, was solemnized at 11 a.m., Tuesday, at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, the Rev. T. J. Pathe officiating.
The nuptial music was presented by Mrs. E. E. Mulvaney, vocalist, and L. E. Hart, organist.
The alter was decorated with urns of white chrysanthemums and ferns.
White Roses & Stephanotis


The bride was given in marriage by her father. She wore a costume suit of Venetian blue trimmed in dark brown fur with brown accessories. She carried a white satin prayerbook  topped with white roses and showered with stephanotis. (as left)
Miss Frances Louise York, as maid of honor, wore a sun valley gold suit with brown accessories. Her flowers were talisman roses. (see right)
Talisman Roses
 

Miss Imelda Duncan Obering, sister of the bride, was junior bridesmaid. Her dress was of blue wool embroidered in contrasting shades. She carried a bouquet of sweetheart roses.
James B. Flemming served his brother as best man. The ushers were Henry A. Obering, Jr., and William Hisey, Jr.
Johanna Hill Rose
The bride's mother's dress was of aquamarine crepe. Her corsage was of Johanna Hill roses. (see left) Mrs. J. J. Duncan, grandmother of the bride, wore black crepe. Her corsage was talisman roses.
Immediately after the ceremony, the bridal couple left for a wedding trip to New Orleans. Upon their return they will be at home in the Ponce de Leon apartments.
Out-of-town guests were Mr. and Mrs. Donald Graden, of Gary, Ind., and Mrs. J. D. Arnold, of Albany, Georgia.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Obering entertained members of the bridal party, relatives and immediate friends at an after-rehearsal party at their home.
A tiered cake embossed with white roses and topped with a miniature bride and bridegroom, which had been used on the wedding cake of the bride's mother, centered the table." [published in the Birmingham News, November 18, 1942]

Tom Flemming was the sixth of seven children born to Charles Clinton Flemming (1884-1935) and Katherine Aurelia Lambert (1885-1935). His father Charles was the third of eleven children born to my great-great-grandparents Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932) and Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey (1858-1922). Charles Jr.'s older brother was Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955), my great-grandfather.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

SATURDAY'S STRUCTURE - The Flemming-Selman House, Birmingham, Alabama

Home For Sale (1906)
In 1906, my great-grandfather Harry C. Flemming (1878-1955) bought his first home in a brand new development on Birmingham's Southside. It was for him and his new bride, Pearl Horst (1884-1961), whom he had married on April 18th of the same year. It has been told that Pearl was too afraid to live in the house for the first year when Harry was away because it was "too far out" in the country. Pearl and Harry would soon settle down and live here for the remainder of their lives.

"Anderson Place" Neighborhood
In 1903, J. Cary Thompson acquired forty acres of unsurveyed wilderness just south of Elyton's holding and several blocks from the nearest car line. The land, on the northern slope of Red Mountain, had belonged to Frank Y. Anderson, who had acquired it while he was land commissioner for the Alabama Great Southern Railroad. They bought what would become the 1600 and 1700 blocks of 15th and 16th avenues south. By 1905 they had the newly christened Anderson Place officially platted.

The Journal of the Birmingham Historical Society published a special issue in 1982, telling the story of the area, Town Within a City: The Five Points South Neighborhood 1880-1930.
"Between 1906 and 1910 Cary Thompson sold several lots to individuals and other developers. Thompson also built several houses for resale in addition to his own home at 1631 15th Avenue South. The area, however was still rather remote. The daughters of Harry C. Flemming, who purchased one of Thompson's houses in 1906, said that at the time it was like moving to the country, recalling that one 'could hear the owls at night.'
The success of Anderson Place, described in 1910 as 'one of the most famous home places in the [Birmingham] district,' was in large part due to the new streetcar line that began running down 15th Street in 1907, coming within a block of the development. Its graceful aging probably reflects a combination of Thompson's careful oversight, architectural quality, and relatively little recent redevelopment." [page 33]
Flemming-Selman Home (2013)
Home Life
It was here, in the upstairs master bedroom [seen front left from the street] where my great-grandmother gave birth to all eight of her children: Pearl in 1907; Susie, my grandmother, in 1909; Odalie in 1911; Harry in 1913; Charles in 1916; Jack in 1918; Margaret in 1920; and Ann in 1923. It was here where the family ate every meal together for decades. It was here where they celebrated Thanksgivings and Christmases with their children and grandchildren year after year. It was here where Harry's father Charles Flemming (1854-1932), my great-great-grandfather, lived his last years, where he died at the age of 77, and where his funeral took place.

The Flemming family celebrated untold numbers of birthdays and special occasions here in the house. Oldest daughter Pearl was married inside the home in April 1926. Pearl and her husband Bill Barriger lived here at the start of their married life, along with their two daughters. Soon after seventh child Margaret married Frank Selman in January 1942, they moved back into the home of her parents. Frank and Margaret raised all five of their children in the house.

Harry died in his home after a long illness in May 1955, after celebrating their 49th Anniversary at a party in the house. Pearl remained living in the house with Margaret and her family until her death six years later (she died in September 1961, at St. Vincent's Hospital).

Frank and Margaret lived here, celebrating birthdays and holidays, anniversaries and graduations, with their children and grandchildren. Soon after celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary, Frank died here in his home at the age of 91 in February 2012. Margaret remained in the home she was born in, refusing to be moved into a nursing home even after she could no longer walk upstairs. As she had long wished, on September 16th of this year, Margaret died in the home she was born in, where she had raised her family, and where she had lived with her loving husband. She was 92 years old.


The home has been honored as a Historical Structure by the Jefferson County Historical Society. [right]

Thursday, December 5, 2013

THURSDAY'S TREASURES - Lee & Jackson Busts, Horst House - Mobile, AL

In a previous post, I told the story of the house built in Mobile, Alabama, by my great-great-great-grandfather Martin Horst (1830-1878). Read it here. The home still stands in Mobile, built in 1867, making the home 146 years old. In the previous post I describe the arrangement of the rooms in the home. But for this story only one area needs to be highlighted.

Bust of Robert E. Lee in Horst House
Mobile, Alabama
On the first floor of the house there is "a central hall, flanked by two rooms on the right, and a double parlor on the left. In the archway between the two parlors, Martin Horst had placed a bust in bas-relief of Robert E. Lee on one side, and Stonewall Jackson on the other."

In 1993, my father commissioned a reproduction of these two busts to be displayed in the new home my parents were building in Birmingham, Alabama. As my father always loved history - and was the keeper of the family history for both his family and my mother's family - he wanted to honor Martin Horst, my mother's great-great-grandfather.

He had two sets of plaques made. When the artist was creating the molds, he found that the plaques had originally been painted. The artist painted both sets, but my parents had the paint removed from one pair. The pair in Mobile are now painted white [see above picture].

Reproductions of the busts of Robert E. Lee (L) and Stonewall Jackson
Found in Horst House, Mobile, AL

He never did display either pair of busts but they, of course, are very special reminders of Martin Horst, his wife Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908), and the glorious life he made for his family after emigrating from Germany in 1846.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WEDNESDAY'S WEDDING - McCaffrey-Morris Wedding, 1902

Wedding Invitation

Charlotte Teresa McCaffrey was the tenth of thirteen children born to my great-great-grandparents, Thomas J. McCaffrey (1832-1896) and Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey (1838-1917). She was born April 5, 1875, in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia. My great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey Flemming (1858-1922), was her oldest sister, 17 years her senior.

On September 24, 1902, at the age of 27, Lottie, as she was called, married William Sidney Morris, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 34 at the time of their wedding. The ceremony took place at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Rome.

Their Wedding Certificate lists one of their witnesses, most likely Lottie's Maid-of-Honor, as "Susan Flemming" [see below]. Susan Elizabeth Flemming (1879-1909), Susie as she was called, was Lottie's niece, the 22-year-old oldest daughter of her sister Lizzie, and the sister of my great-grandfather Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955).

Wedding Picture of Mr. & Mrs. Morris
September 24, 1902
McCAFFREY-MORRIS
Wedding Announcement
Interesting Wedding at Catholic Church Yesterday Morning
"The marriage of Miss Lottie Theresa McCaffrey to Mr. Wm. S. Morris, of Anniston, was solemnized at St. Mary's Catholic church yesterday morning at 7 o'clock with a nuptial mass. Rev. Father Fahy, the pastor, performed the ceremony, assisted by Rev. Father Doyle, of Anniston, Ala.
Miss McCaffrey is a lovely young woman and greatly admired by her host of friends. She is the leading spirit in St. Mary's choir where her sweet voice will be greatly missed.
Mr. Morris is a prominent young business man in Anniston, and the very suitable match calls for mutual congratulations. After the ceremony the bridal couple left for Tennessee going to Knoxville the groom's former home." [from Rome News-Tribune, Sept. 25, 1902]


Close-up of Lottie & William
Lottie and William settled in Birmingham, Alabama, and had four children: William Fahy Morris (1903-1921); Joseph Morris (1904-1904); Charlotte Elizabeth Morris (1906-1996); and George Lawrence Morris (1908-1980).

In January 1925, Lottie was admitted into St. Vincent's Hospital. After five days she was operated on for appendicitis. Two days later she died, at the age of forty-nine. She is buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham. William who began working for the L&N Railroad about this same time, lived for thirty more years, dying in May 1955. He is buried next to his wife.


Certificate of Marriage
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

HOMETOWN TUESDAY - St. Anne's Village, Jennings County, Indiana

My great-great-grandmother Barbara Brunett Huber was born in St. Anne's Village, in the Sand Creek Township of Jennings County, Indiana, on April 16, 1852. She was the fourth child of ten born to John Michael Baptiste Brunett (1818-1863) and Barbara Frisse (1822-1893), my 3x-great-grandparents. Both John and Barbara had immigrated from Seingbouse, France, and had married at St. Anne's Catholic Church in August 1846, less than two months after arriving in America. It was here in St. Anne's Village that all of their children were born, and where John and Barbara are buried.

Also settling here from Seingbouse were Joseph Frise (1796-1864) and Marguerite Lang (1802-1868), Barbara's parents and my 4x-great-grandparents, as well as all nine of their children. Joseph and Marguerite are also buried at St. Anne's Church Cemetery. [NOTE: The spelling of Joseph's last name was 'Frise' or 'Frisse', pronounced FREEZE. It was also sometimes spelled 'Frisz'. It was at the funeral of their mother that the sons decided to adopt a common spelling - F-R-I-S-Z.]

Joseph Frise was a farmer, as most citizens of the county were. His son-in-law John Brunett also was a farmer, until his death in 1863. His wife Barbara then took over the responsibilities of farming, as well as being the mother of ten children, ages 0-16. [In fact Barbara gave birth to baby #10 one month after losing her husband.] Her land is highlighted in the Sand Creek Township map below.

Jennings County History
[from Biographical & Historical Souvenir for the counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott and Washington, Indiana; 1889; published by John M. Gresham and Company; Chicago; pages 222-227 ]
"Jennings County lies in the southern part of Indiana. It was organized in 1816, and named for Jonathan Jennings, the first Governor of Indiana, after it was admitted into the Union as a State. ...It contains 375 square miles and by the census of the 1880 it had 16,453.
Heavy timber originally covered the county. As a general rule, the rolling lands bordering the numerous streams are more productive than the flat (lands). The principal productions are corn, wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat and hay. ...A considerable area is in pasture and large number of mules, horses and cattle are raised for the Cincinnati and other markets. Large numbers of hogs are fattened for the various markets....
Fruit culture is becoming more and more extensive every year and the soil proves that it is a good fruit region. The usual varieties of summer and winter apples do well; occasionally cherries and pears. ...Wild blackberries grow in profusion and are quite a source of income at some points, also wild grapes.
Jennings County was settled principally from the Southern  States - most of the early settlers coming from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, with a number of families from Kentucky. They were of that hardy class whose trials and hardships were as nothing compared to the longing desire to possess a home of their own. ...They did not come in great rushing crowds as emigrants now go West, on railroad trains, but they come on foot, in ox-wagons, on horseback and, in fact, any way they could get here.
Vernon, the county seat of Jennings County, is beautifully situated at the North and South forks of the Muscatatuck river, and on the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis railroad. It is a rather dull old town of 616 inhabitants by the last census (1880), but has a sound and solid foundation from a financial and business standpoint. The courthouse is a handsome brick structure, with white limestone trimmings, obtained from the neighboring quarries. ...There is, and has been, considerable manufacturing done in Vernon among which may be mentioned spoke and hub factory; foundry and plow shop; stave and heading factory; woolen and flouring mill; wagons and buggies; pumps and rakes; etc., etc., etc."
1889 Sand Creek Township Map
Barbara Brunett's land in purple
[CLICK TO ENLARGE]
Sand Creek Township
"Sand Creek Township is believed to have been organized in 1841. One of Jennings County's smaller townships, it contains a little over twenty-six square miles. When Indiana became a state and Jennings a county, the northwest corner of this township belonged to the Indians. The Old Indiana Boundary line ccan be found on maps yet today.

Sand Creek derives its name from the stream that winds through it, creating areas that cannot be surpassed for beauty. The Indians had a name for this creek, Laquekaouenek (lak/ka/oo/e/nek), which means "water running through sand." [Jennings County, Indiana, 1816-1999; Jennings County Historical Society; 1999; page 91]

St. Anne's Village
"St. Anne is a German settlement situated in the southeastern part of Sand Creek township. Among the first settlers were families named Frisz, Gasper, Glatt, Eder, Specht, Daeger, Winters, Shulthies, Henry, Erlsland, Frederick, Gehl, Meyer and Tipps. Although no town was laid out, St. Anne had a post office... a grocery story... and several blacksmith shops."[Jennings County Indiana, 1816-1999; page 91]

The village was centered around St. Anne's Catholic Church, organized by February 1841. [Read more in an upcoming post.]

Jennings County Facts
Jennings County Courthouse
Vernon, Indiana
As of the 2000 Census, there were 27,554 people living in Jennings County. The racial makeup of the county is 97.45% white.  It is a rural county, with the majority of  the county made up of personal farms and woodlands.

There are only two incorporated towns in the county - Vernon, the county seat, and North Vernon. There are 11 townships in the county.[Townships are a product of Indiana's history. There are just over 1000 Townships in the state. Indiana is one of 20 states that currently has some form of township government.]

The county is conveniently located in the center of an imaginary triangle consisting of Indianapolis, IN, Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, and requires only a hour and 1/4 drive time to any of these urban centers.

In recent years, average temperatures in Vernon have ranged from a low of 22 F in January to a high of 86 F in July. President Richard Nixon's mother, Hannah Milhous Nixon, was born near Butlerville, Jennings County, Indiana, in 1885.