Friday, October 20, 2023

Using Newspapers to Check a Family Story

     A number of years ago my Dad, Lester Albertson, told me that his Smalley grandparents had come from Kansas to Halsey, Oregon, for a visit in about 1917 because his grandmother was going to a national DAR convention in Portland. I doubted that it was completely correct because I had no record that she had belonged to the DAR. However, her obituary did say that she was a member of the WRC, Women's Relief Corp, which is a women's group of the GAR, Civil War Veterans. Also my father was born in October 1907, so would have been only 9 or 10 in 1917 and maybe would not remember the date correctly. The Smalleys were my great-grandparents, so I wanted to know if my father's memory was accurate. I believed that newspaper research could help me answer this question.

    First I checked to find if there was any type of national convention in Portland for the Civil War Veterans organizations since I knew she had belonged to one of these. Using the University of Oregon website, Historic Oregon Newspapers, I did find some articles in The Oregon Daily Journal from Portland in 1918. On May 10th it reported that the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) was planning for a national encampment in Portland that summer. There were women on the committee from the WRC, Ladies of the GAR and Daughters of Union Veterans. By August 9th the paper reported that there was entertainment planned for the delegates at the encampment to be held August 19th - 24th. Then on August 15th they wrote that 15,000 were expected to attend. There were large articles about the event on the front page on August 19th. One featured the WRC, stating their membership was 165,000 and they expected 500 or more of their members to attend the convention.

    Recently a newspaper from the town of Halsey, The Halsey Enterprise, came online at the U of O website, Historic Oregon Newspapers. It included papers from 1917 to 1920. So I could check for 1918. I searched for the name Albertson for a Halsey paper and found an article on August 29, 1918 which stated: "J. N. Elliott and family, who expected to start for Kansas Tuesday of last week, were delayed a day the arrival of relatives from the east - Mrs. E's parents, who are guests in the Albertson home." Mrs. Elliott was my grandmother's sister.

     Then I decided to check the subscription site,, which has some newspapers for Goodland, Kansas. It was there I found the following article on August 15, 1918 in the Goodland Republic: "Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Smalley and Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Errington, of our county, departed Wednesday, for Portland, Oregon, to attend the National Encampment of the G.A.R.  Mr. and Mrs. Smalley will visit their two daughters, Mrs. O. J. Albertson and Mrs. J. N. Elliott, of Halsey, Oregon, before returning. They will be gone about two weeks."

     So by using three different newspapers, I can conclude that my father's grandparents did come to Oregon in 1918 to a national convention in Portland and visit family. Even if the convention was for the GAR, not DAR, and if was in 1918 rather than 1917, my father's story gave me the clues to discover an interesting
family event. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Out of Place – John D. Bond

This year I am hoping to use many of the themes from 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2023 as listed by Amy Johnson Crow. The theme for Week 3, Out of Place, seems to fit this John Bond.

There are five Bond relatives with the first name John on my genealogy website. John D., born in June 1855, was the 1st cousin of my great-grandfather, John Howard Bond, who was born a few months earlier in April 1855. They both were born in Oregon Territory: John D. in Lane County and John Howard in Linn County.

For the first part of his life John D. was where I expected him to be. On the 1860 census when he was 5 years old, he was in Spencer Precinct, Lane County, Oregon, in the household of his parents, George and Elizabeth (Stillwell) Bond. He aged appropriately and was 15 in the 1870 census still in his parents household. Their home was now listed as Springfield Township and he was working on a farm, but had attended school within the year. John's father, George, died in January of 1880. So single 24 year old John D. was in the household of his mother, Elizabeth, in Springfield Precinct when the 1880 census was taken on June 1st. Again his occupation was "works on farm." 

So what made me think that John D. Bond was "out of place"? It was when I was researching his older brother, William Harrison Bond. One of William's obituaries in 1917 stated that he was survived by 3 brothers, including "John Bond of Ithica, N.Y." Why was someone who had been living on the far West Coast of the United States be living on the far East Coast? I really do not know the answer to that question, but records show that John D. Bond was living in New York state at least from 1892 until his death in 1926.

The New York State Marriage Index, 1881-1967, shows that John D. Bond married Myrtle Marean on 25 Jun 1892 at Nanticook, New York. No doubt this was actually Nanticoke, a small town in Broome County, in south central New York, about  10 miles north of the Pennsylvania border. 

An entry on Find A Grave is for the gravesite of an infant son of John and Myrtle who died in 1893 and was buried at Allentown Cemetery in the hamlet of Glen Aubrey, in the town of Nanicoke.

The 1900 census does show John in the town of Nanticoke, age 44, with his wife Myrtie, age 28, and her parents were also in the household. But John still had the occupation of farmer and it was marked that he owned a farm with a mortgage. Since New York has a number of state censuses I was able to find John in 1905. He was still in Nanticoke, age 49, with Myrtie, age 33, and three sons: 4 year old George, 2 year old Theodore and Spencer age 10/12. Now John was a farm laborer working for wages. In another 5 years, John and Myrtie and their 3 sons were enumerated on the 1910 census in Lisle Township, still in Broome County. John was working as a farm laborer and the 2 older boys were attending school. By the 1915 state census the family was back in the town of Nanticoke and John was still working as a farm laborer.

A change comes before the 1920 census, for now John and Myrtie and Theodore and  Spencer have moved farther north to the city of Ithaca in Tompkins County. Their address was 1347 E. State Street and at age 64 John was working as a laborer in a factory. The 1925 New York state census showed that the family (including all three sons) was still in Ithaca, but at a different address, 202 Floral Ave. John has now retired, but George and Theodore were doing state road work and Spencer was working in a gun shop.

On September 25th, 1926, The Ithaca Journal reported the death of John D. Bond the previous day. His service was to be held on the 27th at the Beebe Mission. Then John was taken for burial back to Broome County, to the Allentown Cemetery where his infant son had been buried. Thus, John D. Bond was born in Oregon Territory before statehood and died in one of the original 13 Colonies.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Identity – Childhood Memories Alphabet – X, Y & Z

X is for Xylophone

    X is another one of those hard to use letters. But xylophone does fit. I can remember that we had a little toy xylophone. I don't know if it was originally mine or my brother's, but we both would try playing it from time to time. It came with some instructions with music for simple songs. Since I was taking piano lessons I could read simple music. One time at a school assembly someone came who played the marimba, which is similar to a xylophone. I really enjoyed the music they played and wished I could play like that. However I had to be content with learning to play the piano.

Y is for Yellow Jacket

    Yellow jackets are not a favorite memory. Yellow jackets can sting and that hurts. I remember seeing honey bees and wasps and maybe even a few hornets. But the insects that caused me the most problem were yellow jackets. They liked to come to picnics, especially for hamburgers or fruit pie. If you went into the orchard area in the fall, when some of the fruit had fallen, you would see yellow jackets. Now I guess that I really didn't get stung too many times, since I was so wary of them. But I can remember a few times when my arm or leg or wherever would swell up, get red and hurt for a few days.

Z is for Zipper

    When I think of zippers in my childhood it was related to the sewing I was doing for my 4H project. When I made a dress for myself, it had a zipper on the side, since the waistline was fairly fitted. Because of the waistline the zipper was not exactly a straight line. Even with a straight line, I found zippers to be hard to sew, since they have bumps. My Mom had a "zipper foot" for her sewing machine, so that made it a little easier. Because my Mom wanted my sewing to be right, if my seams were crooked, I had to take them out and redo them. My memory may be clouded, but it seems like I was never able to get a zipper right the first time. So to me, zipper equals frustration.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Identity – Childhood Memories Alphabet – V & W

 V is for Vegetables

Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

    Vegetables were always a part of our day's meals since I can remember. We did have a garden so usually there were peas, green beans, corn, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes. Depending on the size of the crop, some of these might be canned or frozen to eat later. However my memories of vegetables often go back to the ones that my parents bought at the store for us to eat. They would buy fresh carrots and celery and cabbage as they did not grow well in our garden. One year they bought a case of canned green beans. I think it was the Santiam brand, and I liked them. The canned food cupboard also usually included corn and tomatoes, occasionally peas and beets. My brother used to complain about beets, because they would make the potatoes on his plate turn red . The vegetables that I had a problem with were of the frozen variety. My Mom seemed to always buy a supply of frozen spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Now I really liked spinach. However, I did not like the other three. But as an obedient child I ate them anyway. When we were old enough, my brother and I would divide our broccoli so he ate the heads and I ate the stalks, since those were the parts we liked better. It is interesting that today, of those vegetables I didn't like, only brussel sprouts is still in that category.

W is for War

    There were two major wars involving the United States during my childhood, World War II and the Korean War. I was young enough during World War II (age 2-6) that I didn't realize all that was going on. Some of the Sunday funnies in the newspaper did have stories involving the war. None of my immediate family were in the military. There were some neighbors who served. I can remember hearing about buying war bonds to help our country. I do have a memory of the end of the War, although I am not sure if it was VJ or VE day, when everyone was so happy on hearing the news on the radio. I was in grade school during the Korean War, so there were items in the newspaper that I could read as well as hear on the news on the radio. We didn't have a television yet. I don't remember that I knew anyone who was in the service at the time and fought in Korea. Maybe it was because of that, war did not seem very real to me.

Identity – Childhood Memories Alphabet – U

U is for Uncles

    A few days ago I wrote about my memories of my aunts, now it is the uncles turn. My Dad did not have any brothers, so the uncles on that side of the family were married to my Aunts. Each of them had two husbands, but I really only remember their second husbands. Aunt Vida's husband was Uncle Fred. He was a plumber and also enjoyed taking pictures. He had good camera equipment and even won a prize for one of his photos. Aunt Buena's husband was Uncle Walt. I enjoyed being around both of these uncles at Christmas time.

    My Mom had one brother that I knew. Uncle Jerry, his legal name was Gerald, was the baby in the family. He was 15 years younger than my mother and lived the longest of the siblings. My Mom had an older brother, Howard, who died as a baby, so he is usually forgotten. I did know some of the husbands of Mom's sisters. Aunt Lois was divorced before I can remember, so didn't know Uncle Ben other than his name. I'm afraid I didn't like him very much since he had taken my cousin away. Aunt Erma's husband was Uncle Adolph. He also was not a favorite of mine because one time at a family gathering, he yelled at my Dad. Aunt Violet had two husbands that I knew. They were both fun to be around: Uncle Art and Uncle Mel.

    Grandma Albertson had two brothers that lived in Oregon: Uncle Marvin and Uncle Spike (real name Lauren) Uncle Marvin had two sons that were just a few years older than me. Uncle Spike liked to tease and he had a daughter the same age as my brother. We did go to visit them a few times and they would often be at family gatherings. One of Grandma's brothers-in-law lived in Brownsville, Uncle Joe. He was funny and I thought it was really special that he could blow smoke rings. Another brother-in-law lived in Kansas, Uncle Roy. They did come to visit us in Oregon and he also was fun to be around. He had two daughters that were a little older than me.

    Grandpa Albertson had two brothers who lived in Oregon: Uncle Arthur and Uncle Ernest. Uncle Arthur lived out on a farm, within a couple of miles from where we lived. His wife had died before I was born. His grandson was in my class at school. Uncle Ernest had served in World War I and had problems from that service so he was mostly an invalid when I could remember. His wife died within a few days of my grandfather's death.

    I probably saw my Grandma Falk's brothers, Uncle Roy and Uncle Perry, at one of the Bond family reunions, but I don't remember them. However as I mentioned about Aunt Grace that Christmas package from Uncle Roy and Aunt Grace was a special treat.

    Grandpa Falk was the youngest of his family and all of his brothers had died before I could really remember them, although I might have seen one or two at the annual Falk Reunion.

                                                     U is for United States

    I can remember reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America each day at school. The words we used were:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I read about the pledge on Wikipedia and discovered that it had officially been recognized by Congress in 1942, which was just 3 years before I started school. I knew that later the words "under God" had been added, so found on Wikipedia that this phrase was added between one Nation and indivisible in 1954. This was a year after I had graduated from the 8th grade, so all during my grade school years I would have used the above pledge. When I started school in 1945 the flag had only 48 stars. It was not until after I graduated from high school that Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959 and the flag had 50 stars.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Identity – Childhood Memories Alphabet – T

T is for Teachers

    For my grade school years, I remember best my teachers at Halsey Grade School which I attended for grades 3 through 8. My first two years were spent at Shedd Grade School. We never moved but lived halfway between Halsey and Shedd. During these six years at Halsey, I had four different teachers.

    My 3rd grade teacher was Mrs. Minnie Cross. Her sister-in-law was Mrs. Donna Cross, who was my piano teacher. I called each of them Mrs. Cross, so sometimes my folks didn't know which one I was talking about. My Dad would sometimes substitute the name, Mrs. X. I thought my school teacher Mrs. Cross was really an old woman when I started the 3rd grade in Halsey. Doing genealogical research I discovered that she was 55 years old and now that really doesn't seem that old. She taught for a number years at Halsey, so often had children of parents she had taught. She was a much loved teacher. However, I was rather shy. When I had been in the second grade at Shedd we printed our work. At Halsey they had learned cursive writing in the second grade, so it seemed everyone else knew how to do cursive writing in the third grade. I didn't want to admit that I didn't know how to do it, so taught myself cursive writing by looking at the letters on the wall above the chalk board. I guess I did all right because I received all 1s in penmanship on my report card. We studied about the Oregon Trail in her class and had a wagon train in the Achievement Day program near the end of the year.


     In the 4th grade, my teacher was my Dad's first cousin's wife, Mrs. Esther Albertson. Her son, Eldon, my 2nd cousin, was also in our class. It seemed a little funny to have a teacher with the same last name that I did. She also attended our church so I already knew her before I was in her class. One thing I can remember is that she read to us everyday from some storybook. One I really liked was Little House on the Prairie.

    For the 5th and 6th grades, Mrs. DeArcy Evans was my teacher. Her sister was married to one of my Mom's cousins so was almost related. Mrs. Evans was thought by many of the students to be very strict. She was called "Old Lady Evans" by some behind her back. But since I tended to be obedient and cooperative I got along with her OK. Some of the things we did in her class were creative and interesting. Everyone learned to crochet a square, so that we made an afghan for someone in the Veteran's Hospital. We made some murals as a group, one year we did pictures representing countries in South America. I can remember my country was Ecuador. Then another mural was about transportation. I chose to draw a bus, like a Greyhouse. I thought that was easier since it had many straight lines. We also did puppet shows with homemade marionettes. One of the plays was about animals and I made a goose out of grey flannel. We put cardboard in the wings so the strings could make him look like he was flying. Another play was a melodrama and my character was the villain. My grades in her classes were mostly 1s, except for 2s in penmanship and drawing. For Achievement Day in the 6th grade, 4th, 5th & 6th were together in the program and did a Mexican style dance. One of the boys in our class was of Mexican descent.


    Mr. Clifford Gunderson was my teacher in the 7th and 8th grades. It was the first time I had a man for a teacher. In the 7th grade we had two grades in the same room, so there were over 30 students. I liked it better when we just had one grade in the room in the 8th grade. I thought Mr. Gunderson was a good teacher and I learned a lot. We would do some experiments for math and science classes. In the 8th grade a highlight was a trip to Salem to visit the State Capitol and also a visit to some other businesses (the Oregon Statesman newspaper, Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Cherry City Baking Co who baked Master bread). In the Achievement Day program when I was in the 8th grade, we had a Hawaiian theme. We made "grass skirts" out of burlap bags dyed green and all attempted to dance the hula.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Identity – Childhood Memories Alphabet – S

 S is for Sewing

    I began sewing in the 4th grade, when I became a member of the 4H Sewing Club. It was enjoyable to be with the other girls. Our local leader was Mrs. Adah Taylor. The projects for the first year were a felt needlecase, a pincushion, a scarf made from a flour sack and a bag made from monk's cloth. Basically most of this was done by hand and I wrote in my project record book that I had learned to use a thimble. Also I wrote that I was the president of the club. The 4H club had an exhibit at the Halsey Achievement Day and my items won a blue ribbon. I exhibited at the Linn County 4H Fair and won another blue ribbon. This gave me the opportunity to take my things to the Oregon State Fair in 1949 and I won a red ribbon there. These ribbons became part of my keepsakes. The next year our leader was Mrs. Ruth Chamberlain. I probably would not have remembered these things nearly as well if I hadn't saved my project books and ribbons from each year I was in 4H. This second year I was again president of the club (who knows why they chose to elect me.) We made a coin purse from felt, a dresser scarf, a laundry bag and a crocheted pot holder. For the laundry bag I used my Mother's electric Singer sewing machine. She coached me on its use and if I didn't sew a straight seam, I would have to take it out and do it again. Again I won blue ribbons at Achievement Day and the Linn County 4H Fair. This time I got a white ribbon at the State Fair. For the 4H Fair, another girl and I did a demonstration about sewing and received a red ribbon for that. By the 6th grade Mrs. Cecil Harris became our leader. That year I was the secretary for the club. We made a hand hemmed, tea towel, a print dress, pot holder and apron. Achievement Day brought me a blue ribbon and the Linn County 4H Fair brought me a red ribbon for my sewing project and a red ribbon for being in the Style Revue, wearing my new dress. The 7th grade was my last year for 4H club. Mrs. Phebe Falk was our leader. I made two dresses that year: a school dress and a sun dress. For ribbons I received a red one at Achievement Day, a purple one at the Linn County 4H Fair and a green exhibitor one at the Oregon State fair for my project. Then at the Linn County 4H Fair I won a red one for the stitching contest and a blue one for the Style Revue. I think I liked being in 4H just so I could win ribbons. Another special event was I got to attend 4H Summer School held at Oregon State College campus June 17-27, 1952. Learning how to sew was valuable later when I was able to save some money by making some of my own clothes.

S is for Skating

    I can't remember exactly when I received my pair of the old time clamp-on roller skates. I do know that we did not have a really good place to skate at our home. We had a home made cement sidewalk which was about 10 to 12 feet long. That does not give you much room for skating, so we also used our playroom inside the house. After I learned how to skate well enough I took them to school with me and our school house in town had a number of sidewalks around it so it was fun to skate there. It was also fun when we had skating parties at some of the skating rinks that were within 20 miles of us.