Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Edith Helen Hietanen Wilde, 1925-2013

Edith Helen Hietanen Wilde (1925-2013), about 1946.
My first cousin twice removed Edith Helen Hietanen Wilde passed away on February 27, 2013, at the Elizabeth House at Four Seasons Hospice in Flat Rock, North Carolina, just days before her eighty-eighth birthday.

She was born March 4, 1925, in Fairport Harbor, Lake County, Ohio. Her father was my great-great-uncle Edward (Miikali Eemeli "Emil") Hietanen (1885-1950), who immigrated to the USA from Isokyro, Finland, with his mother Liisa Herttua Hietanen and brother Matti. Edward arrived July 5, 1890, aboard the ship Aller to join his father Matti Sr. in Fairport Harbor. I posted a photo of Liisa and Matti Sr. here—the photo includes some of their children, although not Edith's father Edward.

Edith's mother was Mary Elizabeth Concoby Hietanen (1892-1959). Mary's brother Harvey E. Concoby (1902-1975), Edith's uncle, married Alma W. Ladvala (1991-1992), my first cousin three times removed and niece of the above-mentioned Liisa Herttua Hietanen. So I was connected to Edith through both her father's and her mother's family lines. I never met her, though.

Edith Hietanen Wilde graduated from Harding High School in Fairport Harbor and from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. She taught first and second grades in Madison, Ohio, for twenty-five years, mostly at Homer Nash Kimball Elementary School. Her husband was Robert Eric Wilde. They had two children, Vicki Lyn Wilde Hauser and Scott Edward Eric Wilde. Edith moved from Ohio to Asheville, North Carolina, in 1991. I express my condolences to all Edith's family and friends.

Funeral service will be at 3 p.m., Friday, March 22, at Central Congregational Church in Madison, Ohio. Pastor Harry Buch and Pastor Kristin Rometti Pike, Edith's granddaughter, will be presiding. Local arrangements are being handled by the Behm Family Funeral Home, 26 River Street, Madison, Ohio 44057. Memorial donations may be made to Trinity View Resident Association Fund, 2533 Hendersonville Road, Arden, North Carolina 28704. For the full obituary click here.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cousins in Common: Vikki Young and Becki Siler

When I wrote an earlier blog post called “Cousins in Common, Featuring Nathaniel Bartlett,” I didn’t know that Cousins in Common would become a series of posts. But David and I stumbled across a second instance of relatives that we share, so here’s a second Cousins in Common post—and I already know this one won’t be the last.

As I wrote in the first Cousins in Common entry, one of the factors that first got me interested in family genealogy was to see whether my partner David Maxine and I might have a common ancestor. So far, unless one believes I'm descended from the early Stewarts of the Scottish royal family—I wrote about that possibility here, but it will probably remain just that, a possibility—I haven’t found any common ancestors. What I have found are more cousins that we share, people—like Nathaniel Bartlett (1722-1802) and his descendants—who are related both to David and to me, but who don't make us blood relations to one another.

Information about David's father's family has long been fragmentary, but his unanticipated discovery of some Miller cousins last summer, as David wrote in this post a couple weeks ago, helped him put together many of the stray puzzle pieces. That was the bridge he'd been searching for.

In the center sit David F. Sellers (1845-1927) and Caroline Lower Sellers (1853-1923), great-great-grandparents of David Maxine, with their eldest daughters flanking them. On the right sits David's great-grandmother, Nora Belle Sellers Miller (1873-1948). On the left sits, very likely, David's great-great-aunt, Eva May Sellers Montgomery (1871-1935).
David learned that his great-great-grandparents, David F. Sellers (1845-1927) and Caroline “Anna” Lower Sellers (1853-1923), lived in Seneca County, Ohio. The mention of Seneca County rang a bell for me. Many of my paternal grandmother’s relatives lived in southern Sandusky County, Ohio, in the towns of Clyde and Green Springs, just across the border from Seneca County. I thought it was quite possible that some Sellers relative of David's from Seneca County could have married one of my Hawk, Huss, or Rathbun relatives from Sandusky County. So we started searching for information on the Sellers family.

David F. and Caroline Sellers had nine children, but only five daughters survived past childhood. Their second daughter, Nora Belle Sellers Miller (1873-1948), was David Maxine’s great-grandmother. She married Edward Nelson Miller (1868-1950) in 1890. The Millers lived for awhile in Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, then moved to Willow River, Minnesota. Nora Belle Sellers Miller and Edward Miller are both buried in Jamestown, Stutsman County, North Dakota. No connection to my family there, as far as I know.

David's paternal grandmother Fern Naomi Miller Maxine (1890-1945) stands between her parents Edward Nelson Miller (1868-1950) and Nora Belle Sellers Miller (1873-1948), David's great-grandparents.

Nora Belle Sellers’s three younger sisters who survived past childhood seemed to have remained in Seneca County. At least, they’re all buried there. So none of them seemed to offer promising leads.

But the eldest sister, Eva May Sellers Montgomery (1871-1935), was a different story. She took a path in life that neither David nor I expected. Eva May and Chester A. Montgomery (1869-1926), after marrying in Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, moved to Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio. Eva May spent her last days in the home of one of her daughters in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio, and is buried in Painesville’s Evergreen Cemetery.

When David mentioned Evergreen Cemetery, it more than rang a bell, it set me on high alert. Dozens of my relatives, including both my parents, are from Lake County, Ohio. Many relatives of mine are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Painesville. There had to be a Lake County connection between our families.

David found the names of the spouses of Eva May’s daughters and I began trying to match them to names on my family tree. Bingo! Eva May’s daughter Mabel A. Montgomery (1902-1951) married Clyde Robert Colgrove (1893-1986). I had Colgroves in my family tree on my mother’s side. This surprised me, since I’d been initially expecting to find the match on my father’s side. But the connection wasn’t proven yet.

I went to the internet, looking for evidence to link my Colgroves to David’s. I found posts from another genealogical researcher named Vikki Young who was also searching for Colgrove information. The name Vikki spelled with two Ks seemed strangely familiar, but it took me a little while to recognize Vikki Young as someone I was already aware of—my Colgrove third cousin Victoria Marie “Vikki” Colgrove Young. She and I had been separately exchanging information with a third family researcher, all three of us cousins.

Vikki has a sister Becki, and I managed to trace the ancestral line from them back to David F. Sellers, their great-great-great-grandfather on their father’s side, making Vikki and Becki third cousins once removed to David Maxine.

My great-great-grandparents with some of their children in 1897. Clockwise from top left: Matti Juhonpoika Uhmusberg Hietanen (1859-1915), Selma Marie Hietanen Filppi (1892-1978), Aliisa Elviira "Ella" Hietanen Quiggle (1894-1950), Liisa Kristiina Herttua Hietanen (1861-1943), Juho Tauno "John" Hietanen (1897-1973), Santra Aliina "Lena" Hietanen Krause (1896-1976).

I already knew that Vikki and Becki are my third cousins on their mother’s side. Our mutual ancestors are our great-great-grandparents Matti Juhonpoika Uhmusberg Hietanen (1859-1915) and Liisa Kristiina Herttua Hietanen (1861-1943), who emigrated from Isokyro, Finland. Matti arrived in the USA on June 16, 1887, and it seems that Liisa and their two sons arrived later on July 5, 1890. The eldest son was Matti Hietanen Jr. (1883-1921), my great-grandfather, whose death I wrote a post about here. Matti Sr. and Liisa’s first child born in Fairport Harbor, Lake County, Ohio, where they settled, was daughter Selma Marie Hietanen Filppi (1892-1978), the great-grandmother of Victoria Marie “Vikki” Colgrove Young and her sister Rebecca Louise “Becki” Colgrove Siler.

Matti Jr.'s sister, Selma M. Hietanen Filppi.
Matti Hietanen Jr., my great-grandfather.

Vikki and Becki’s mother is my second cousin once removed. Their father is David’s third cousin. This may not seem such a close connection between David and me. But compared to the long chain we each had to trace to reach the previous common cousin we knew of, Nathaniel Bartlett, the connection between us through our mutual cousins Vikki and Becki seems like almost nothing. It’s been almost two weeks now since I discovered that these sisters—and their children—are David’s and my cousins in common, but it still kind of blows my mind.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Little Boy Lost

Charles Chalmers "Charlie" Shanower Hinman.
Sometimes family stories preserve only a hint of truth while shedding pertinent details as the years pass. That was the case with the story of Charles Chalmers "Charlie" Shanower Hinman, my great-great-uncle.

My great-great-grandfather Benjamin Franklin Shanower (1845-1928) married his first wife Sophia King Shanower (1841-1877) in 1870. I wrote an earlier post here about Sophia’s family, and how although I’m not her direct descendant, she and I are connected through other members of her family. Sophia died young, but not before she and her husband Benjamin had four children: William Benton Shanower (1871-aft 1930), Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” Shanower (1873-1951), Jennie M. “Jane” Shanower (1875-1942), and Charles Chalmers Shanower (1877-1965).

The story as it has come down to me was that when Sophia died, some of her children were adopted by other families. There were so many children and the family was so poor that childless neighbors took in some of them. Although the dispersed children took the last names of their foster parents, there was no indication that their Shanower origin was forgotten. Photographs of Benjamin Franklin Shanower’s adult children include those that were adopted by others—none of the children went missing.

But those photos are misleading. That’s not quite the real story.

It’s true that Benjamin Franklin Shanower had a lot of children, eleven in all—not unusual in families of the late nineteenth century. But eleven is still a lot of mouths to feed. It might seem sensible to farm out a few of the kids. However, there were only four children when Sophia, their mother, died. So the idea that the family was overcrowded doesn’t stand up.

Still, four motherless kids on an Ohio farm with a father who probably had to work from dawn till dusk was probably a strain on resources. So at least two of the children went elsewhere.

I believe the children in these three photographs from the Shanower Family Bible are the four children of Sophia King Shanower. I'm fairly certain the two children above are Mary Elizabeth "Mollie" Shanower Benner Hostetler (1873-1951) and William Benton Shanower (1871-aft 1930). I'm guessing that the child below left is Charles Chalmers "Charlie" Shanower Hinman (1877-1965) and that the child below right is Jennie M. "Jane" Shanower (1875-1942), but those two identifications are tentative. These photographs are circa mid-to-late 1870s.

I have no indication that William, the first child, and Jennie, the third child, left their Shanower home as youngsters. But the second child, Mary, who was four years old when her mother died, was adopted by Samuel Benner (unknown-1906) and his wife Lydia Wenger Benner (1842-1916). The Benners lived near Smithville in Wayne County, Ohio, immediately west of Stark County where the Shanower family lived. There Mary Shanower was known as Mollie Benner.

The Benners were Mennonites and Mollie became a Mennonite, too, a religious sect her earlier Schonauer ancestors from Switzerland had belonged to. In 1894 she married another Mennonite, Christian K. Hostetler (1865-1935), in Orrville, Wayne County, Ohio. About 1895 they moved to Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana, where they had the first three of their four daughters. Christian was employed at the Elkhart Institute, a Mennonite institution and forerunner of Goshen College.

The younger brother of Mary “Mollie” Shanower Benner Hostetler, Charles Chalmers Shanower, was three months old when their mother Sophia died. Little Charles was placed into an orphans’ home in Massillon, Stark County, Ohio. Before long he was adopted by Methodist minister Rev. Chester W. Hinman (1825-abt 1904) and his wife Louisa Whittle Hinman (abt 1825-bef 1900), and taken to live in Black Brook, Polk County, Wisconsin, with the rest of the Hinman family. Rev. Hinman was minister of the Congregational Church in nearby Clear Lake, Wisconsin.

The Hinmans worried that young Charlie might be taken away from them by his birth family, so they insisted that the matron of the Massillon orphans’ home keep their identities secret. They concealed from Charles that they’d adopted him and claimed he’d been born in Michigan instead of Ohio. For a dozen years Charles believed the Hinmans were his biological parents.

Charles was three when the 1880 US Federal Census taker noted his adoption, so clearly the secret wasn’t kept all that well. When Charles turned thirteen he somehow accidentally learned that the Hinmans were not his biological parents. Maybe he overheard someone admitting the adoption to the 1890 US Census taker, as someone obviously did ten years before in 1880. In any case, Charles now knew that Chester and Louisa Hinman weren’t his real parents. But they wouldn’t tell him who his real parents were.

Mary E. "Mollie" Shanower Benner Hostetler and Jennie M. "Jane" Shanower.
Meanwhile back in Ohio, Charles’s birth father, Benjamin Franklin Shanower, had remarried and had a slew of younger children. At some point, possibly in the late 1890s, Benjamin learned that a minister and his wife in Wisconsin had been the ones to adopt Charles. Benjamin informed his daughters Mary Shanower Hostetler and Jennie “Jane” Shanower, Charles’s sisters. They were both living in Elkhart, Indiana.

I imagine that Mary especially would have wanted to seek out her brother, since she had experienced adoption, too. In late 1900 Mary’s husband Christian Hostetler took a trip to Wisconsin in connection with his job at the Elkhart Institute. I expect that Mary urged her husband to make inquiries in Wisconsin about her missing brother Charles. Christian did and learned that a certain Charles C. Hinman, a young man who clearly fit the particulars, lived near Clear Lake, Wisconsin.

Christian Hostetler must have had some specific information—maybe the name "Hinman" or a geographic location or both—to be able to narrow his search for Charlie so successfully. But the newspaper accounts I've gotten most of this story's details from don't supply that information.

However Christian did it, he put the pieces together and went to Charlie’s home, but Charlie wasn’t there. Christian couldn’t wait around for Charlie, but he was sure he’d discovered the right man. So afterward he wrote Charlie a letter, explaining that the Shanowers were looking for their son and brother.

Before Christian could return home to Elkhart, Indiana, from his Wisconsin trip, Charles received Christian’s letter and mailed a joyful reply to Mary and Jane, his sisters in Elkhart. They read Charlie’s letter in late November or early December of 1900, devouring the news of Charlie’s life. Finally, after twenty-three years, the long lost brother had been found!

They learned that Charles was a photographer by training, but at that time he was employed on the farm of his soon-to-be father-in-law, David W. Salsbury (abt 1839-1904). David Salsbury's wife, Ellen Louisa Goodwin Salsbury (1842-1893), was dead, but their daughter, Nellie Maude Salsbury (1873-1955), would be marrying Charlie Hinman in just a few days, on December 12, 1900.

Adopted Shanowers reunited with their father. Charles and Mary with Benjamin Franklin Shanower, circa 1910.

After his wedding Charles C. Shanower Hinman reunited with his siblings and father. He met his father’s second wife, my great-great-grandmother Louisa “Lucy” Leifer Shanower, and her seven children, who were Charlie’s half-brothers and half-sisters.  Afterward he made sure to stay in touch with the Shanowers through letters and visits.

Charles and Nellie Hinman, circa 1945.
Charlie and Nellie Hinman seem to have had a child in 1909, but I have no name for it and I don’t know how long it lived. They moved to Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, before 1910, and lived there for the rest of their lives. Charles was a car clerk and he and Nellie took in lodgers. Nellie died in 1955. Charles followed ten years later. They are both buried in Clear Lake Cemetery in Polk County, Wisconsin, where Charles had spent most of his Hinman childhood, unaware of his Shanower origin.

Just as Charles was missing from his birth family for many years, the story of what happened to him has also been missing, only for a much longer time. I can’t actually bring Charles back into the family fold like he was brought in 1900. But at least I can bring his story back again.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I Love a Piano

Edna Kirkpatrick Mott and my mom.
Today I'd like to explore the professional life of my maternal grandmother, Edna Kirkpatrick Mott (1897-1973). I often like to tell people that she was a Concert Pianist, but she had a more accurate (and funnier) description of her career: she told people she was "a Concert Pianist by profession, but a high-school music teacher by Depression," meaning, of course, that the economic crisis of the 1930s had forced her to shift gears. But I've no doubt that her classical music career was at least partially derailed by the fact that she divorced my grandfather, Robert E. Lee Mott (1890-1973), in 1928, leaving her the single parent of my mom, Mary Lee Mott Maxine (1924-2004), who was then three years old. For the record, my grandfather remained a part of both Edna's and my mom's lives after the divorce - both financially and as a father to my mom - but my grandmother had sole custody and the ultimate responsibility.

My grandmother had been born into a relatively affluent family in Bridgeport, Texas, in 1897. She was the only child of Louis Dillard Kirkpatrick (1873-1951) and Mary Campbell Kirkpatrick (1875-1966). The Kirkpatricks were firm believers in education. My grandmother graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1914 and went on to get a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas Woman's College in 1917 (now Texas Wesleyan University). She continued her study of piano after college. On October 27, 1921, she married Robert E. Lee Mott, my grandfather. The marriage lasted about seven years.

I believe for the first year after the divorce that my grandmother (and mom) may have moved back in with her parents in Bridgeport, though they also spent some time in McAllen, Texas, as well. But in the fall of 1929 my grandmother got a job teaching at the Fort Worth Conservatory of Music. It was a position where she could live at the conservatory with her four-year-old daughter, too. They moved into the Conservatory in the first days of October, 1929. The stock market crashed a few weeks later. She was busy teaching during the school year, but during the summers she took the opportunity to continue her own piano studies, taking Master Classes with famed pianist Edwin Hughes (1884-1965) in the summers of 1931 and 1932.

On March 19, 1933, at the height of the Depression she made her big debut. The Fort Worth Star-Telegraph announced the recital, even including a photo.

E. Clyde Whitlock reviewed the recital a few days later, saying among other things that the Beethoven Andante in F major was "one of the best played items on the program as to clarity of outline, melodic delineation, and rhythmic poise," and that the Chopin "was brought to an impressive climax after capable management of its technical demands, especially by the left hand. The waltz was perhaps the outstanding performance of the program in rhythmic flow and melodic charm." Oh, you might as well read the whole thing!

I'm sure my grandmother was very pleased. She sent her notices to her most important piano teacher, Edwin Hughes, and got the following letter back from him. In the letter Hughes mentions playing double piano concerts with his wife. She was also an accomplished pianist, Jewel Bethany Hughes. My grandmother cherished this letter for the rest of her life.

Letter from concert pianist Edwin Hughes

My grandmother continued to perform when she could. But she primarily taught music for the rest of her life. Around 1939 she accepted a position as music teacher at Highland Park High School in Dallas. This was at least in part because she wanted my mother to be able to go to Highland Park so my mom could meet the generally wealthy young men who attended the upscale high school. My mom had other ideas - but that's for a different blog.

My grandmother also taught privately, and I have programs for many recitals she put together over the years - such as this one from Whittle Recital Hall in Dallas in 1948. In the mid-1950s my grandmother accepted a position teaching high school music in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Music was always an important part of her life. She tried to teach me to play the piano when I was little, but alas, I just didn't have the patience. And I think it may be more difficult to take classes from one's grandmother. You certainly can't fib about practicing when you live with your piano teacher!

In the early 1940s my mom got a home-recording phonograph and she made a small number of records of the family. There are two of my grandmother singing - she had a lovely voice - but it's such a shame that there are no recordings of her playing the piano.

Edna Kirkpatrick Mott playing with two of my Caldwell cousins.