I'll be speaking for the Champaign County Genealogical Society at the Champaign County Historical Museum on Saturday, May 17, 2013 at 2 pm. The topic is Finding Eliza Jane. See my lectures page for description. Hope to see you there!
My great grandfather, Nathan Carder described his grandmother as a little old lady who like to sit in her rocking chair on the porch and smoke her corncob pipe. He also told his children who passed it down to the next generations that she was full-blooded Cherokee Indian named Gooseberry. Nathan's daughter told me that it was written in the family bible that one of the grandmothers was a Cherokee woman with the "white" name, Mary and whose Indian name translated as Gooseberry.
The family bible was destroyed by the daughter who inherited it because she did not want anyone to know that she had Indian blood in her family. My dad also remembered the family bible before its destruction.
Although, no records state specifically that Mary was Indian, I have no doubt, because there is plenty of indirect evidence pointing to the conclusion that she was. She was probably Shawnee, though, not Cherokee, but the Shawnee were considered part of the Cherokee.
I would have liked to have met her and spent time with her. I would have liked to had her teach me her ways and about her people. I have so many questions I would have wanted to ask her.
Her name was Mary Elizabeth Goldsberry or so most of the records say. Many years later, when it was "safe" or, at least, safer, to be Indian, two of her daughters' death certificates gave "Gooseberry" as their mother's name. She was born on February 11, 1804, either in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, depending on the record you consult.
She was born into a time of turmoil for the Shawnee people. Just ten years prior to her birth was the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The following year, the Greenville Treaty was signed and the Indians were placed under the protection of the U. S. government, meaning reservations were established and many Indians lost much of their freedom. More and more white settlers moved into their lands. The War of 1812 resulted in taking more of the Indians' lands and the establishment of more reservations. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act sent them to reservations in Kansas, but some did not go or escaped and returned to Ohio.
Those still living in Ohio had to deny being Indian and claim to be white or mulatto, anything but Indian. This was the world that Mary grew up in. What was this like for her?
Two years before the Indian Removal, she married William Dobbins, on August 7, 1828. They lived in Oldtown, Ross County, Ohio. Oldtown was the principal village of the Shawnees in Ohio-their capital. Their six children were born in Oldtown and they lived there until sometime in the 1840's. They moved to Pickaway County and continued to move. William died during this time and Mary's whereabouts are unknown until 1860 when she was living with her daughter in Montgomery County. She had remarried and had another daughter, but both her new husband and little daughter died before 1860. Whether they died at separate times or together from disease or an accident is not known.
Mary lived in the homes of her adult children for the remainder of her life. She lived it as a white woman, at least, publicly. In private, she taught her children about the Shawnee way of life or they remembered from when they lived in Oldtown as children. Her memory and the people she came from were passed down to each generation. Did she have to protect her children during those years following the removal? Did she have fears of what would happen to them because they were Shawnee? Did they move to hide who they were so they would be safe? What happened during those years? Did she, as many did, fear that she and her children would be taken to a reservation if her true identity was revealed? I would like to know.
The places she lived during her lifetime were all places where the clan of Tecumseh had lived. Was she of their clan and possibly related to Tecumseh? Perhaps, time and continued research will tell.
Mary died on June 26, 1889. When she died, she was living in Christiansburg, Champaign County with either William or Nelson, her two sons who lived there. She is buried in Smith Cemetery on the edge of Christiansburg near her daughter, Mary and her son, Nelson.
Every Friday, Jana Last posts a list of blogs and articles that she's enjoyed during the week. She calls her list, "Fab Finds". You'll find it listed on Geneabloggers under "Follow Friday" or you can go directly to her blog at (http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com).
This week, Jana honored me with a mention about my latest monthly article, Finding Your Female Ancestors Through Pension Files, on Family History Daily. A few months ago, she listed my blog, Rambling along the Ancestral Trail. I really appreciate the support that she gives to me and to other online writers. Thanks, Jana!
Jana has a lot of other interesting items on her blog. Just look at the menu across the top of her blog pages and I'm sure that something will catch your eye. If you're looking for something good to read, check out Jana's Fab Finds every Friday.
Martha Jane Uncapther Cheney, 1851-1931
Martha Jane Uncapther was my great grandmother. She was born on February 2, 1851, in Indiana County, Pennsylvania and died on November 27, 1931, in Lima, Ohio. She was the daughter of John M. Uncapther and Barbara Rummel and married my great grandfather, Francis Owen Cheney, on May 29, 1869, in Marion County, Ohio.
My mother doesn't remember Grandma Cheney because she was only two months old when her grandmother died. Mom's older siblings, however, remember her well. My oldest aunt, now ninety-five years old, says that this picture is exactly as she remembers her. My aunt remembers that chair and says that Grandma Cheney loved to sit in that chair on her front porch.
Martha Jane was known by "Jane". She was a little, tiny woman who could speak the German language of her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.
What Jane was best known for, though, was her wonderful cooking skills that she passed down to her daughters and daughters-in-law who passed them down to theirs.
She was, after all, Pennsylvania Dutch, and if you've ever eaten any traditional Pennsylvania Dutch food, you know it's scrumptious. My favorite meal comes from a recipe of Great Grandma Jane's that she taught my mom's mother how to make, just as she was probably taught by her own mother. Grandma Cheney taught my mom and her sisters how to make it and Mom taught me. My mom prepares this dish every year to make my birthday dinner special.
The Pennsylvania Dutch called this dish, Pot Pie. It's not a meat pie, like a lot of people think when they hear the word, "pot pie". It is similar to egg noodles, except you don't dry them before cooking. After rolling the dough, you cut it in squares and drop it in boiling broth.
Originally, the dish was made with chicken and maybe, some carrots and other vegetables in the broth. My grandma made hers with beef and my aunts still do. Some people prefer using a ham bone with meat on it. This is the way my mom and I make it.
Although, my great grandmother and grandmother died before I was born, I can visualize Great Grandma in the kitchen teaching my grandma how to make pot pie. I can "see" my mom as a little girl, leaning on the kitchen table, watching her mother roll out the dough and cut it in squares, and imagine Grandma Cheney letting Mom drop the squares into the boiling broth and stir it.
I'd better stop now, as I'm getting a hankering for Pot Pie. What a wonderful memorial to my female ancestors, knowing that their recipes are still family favorites.
Erma's New Car, 1941
I love this picture and I loved the lady in it. The back of the photo says, "Erma's new car, 1941". Erma Jennette Alford was my grandma. She was actually my step-grandmother, but she was my grandma-no step about it.
Erma was born August 1, 1916 to James Grover and Margaret V. (Kennedy) Alford in Painesville, Ohio. Both of her parents were of Irish descent. If there's any truth to the old sayings about Irish tempers, then Grandma had it covered. My uncles used to agitate her just to rile up that Irish temperament and then roll with laughter as they pushed their luck as far as they could go.
When Grandma was twelve, her mother died and she went to live with Margaret's sister, Aunt Jen and her husband, Uncle John Pike. This picture may have been taken at their home.
My grandparents were divorced in February, 1944. Erma was my grandpa's cousin. After Grandpa's divorce, he and my dad, who was 13, needed a place to live. Erma took them in. On March 20, 1945, Grandpa Nick and Erma were married. Within the next few years, my two uncles were born.
Grandma was truly a fearless woman. My grandpa died at the age of 48, leaving her with two young boys to raise. My dad was now married with a family of his own. Grandma was a hard worker who worked long hours to support her children. My parents helped as much as they could. My dad was as much a dad as a big brother to my uncles. Grandma worked at the Alpine Village Restaurant in Lima, Ohio for 35 years, first as a waitress and later as the office manager.
Grandma was a lousy cook. When Grandpa was alive, he always looked forward to coming to our house for a meal because my mom was a great cook. Although Grandma's cooking skills were nothing to write home about, she loved to garden and was a good gardener. I always looked forward to Grandma's garden being ready to pick. She'd always give me zucchini and I'd bake zucchini bread. She made up for her poor cooking skills in other ways. When everyone would prepare a dish for our family holiday gatherings, Grandma would buy jumbo shrimp from Alpine Village's suppliers. We would be treated with a huge bowl of delicious shrimp cocktail every holiday. My grandma passed away in 1988, but every holiday, someone brings the shrimp cocktail in her memory. Might seem like a silly memorial, but it works for us. It's simply not a holiday without Grandma's shrimp. It keeps her with us.
Grandma loved animals. She always had a dog or two and some cats with little wild kittens running around the yard and up on her porch. Then, she got Pokey. Pokey was a donkey. Grandma raised him from a baby about the size of a dog to a full grown donkey. She loved that donkey as if he was one of her children or grandchildren.
I was living in St. Louis in the late '80s. On May 16, 1988, I got a call. Grandma had passed away sometime during the night. She was a diabetic and had just had a toe amputated a few days earlier. All of my family had visited her on the evening of the 15th. She was doing well. During the night, a blood clot formed and struck her heart.
At the funeral, my dad wept and said, "She truly was my mom." After the funeral, I returned to St. Louis. When my employer transferred me there in 1986, my grandma faithfully wrote me letters every week or two. One day, I was walking to my mailbox, thinking it was about time to get a letter from Grandma. Then it hit me. I wouldn't get any more letters from her. Fortunately, I saved some of the cards she'd sent me over the years.
Grandma's been gone for a long time now. She was Mom, Grandma, and Nanna to those who loved her. She may not be here physically but she's in our hearts forever. I love you, Grandma.
If you enjoyed this post, see Wedding Wednesday-A Wedding Mystery, October 17, 2012
For the 4th year, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females, a list blogging prompts to celebrate Women’s History Month. The list contains a prompt for each day of March. I will celebrate this month by using some of those prompts to write about my female ancestors. Let's all honor our female ancestors this month.
Cecil and Earl J. Cheney on the day when they won groceries in 1942.
In 2001, I received a note with this picture enclosed from my aunt Betty. In the note, she tells that her parents would get dressed up every Saturday to go to the Lyric Movie Theater in Lima, Ohio. Their favorite movies were the westerns. On the way to the theater, they would stop at Nesbitt's Candy Shoppe and get peanuts and candy to snack on during the movie.
My aunt remembered the day this picture was taken because when Grandma and Grandpa Cheney went to the movies that evening, Grandma won a basket of groceries, which tickled her to no end. Grandma didn't have to go grocery shopping that week!
A few days ago, a very special lady died. Her death came as no surprise. She was 87 years old and had been in poor health for several years.
I met Audrey shortly after I began researching my father's family. Her grandfather and my great grandfather had been brothers, making her my 2nd cousin once removed. I found a message posted on Genforum by her niece. I recognized the ancestor and his hometown as the possible brother of my great grandfather so replied to the post. Much to my joy, we were cousins!
Only living about 40 miles or so apart, the niece and I decided to get together and meet in person. The following Saturday, Audrey and her niece and my dad and I met at the ice cream stand down the road from my great aunt's house. I'll never forget her first words she said to us, "Do you like to fish?"
We proceeded to go to my great aunt's, where we spend the afternoon getting acquainted and swapping family stories. Audrey and my great aunt, Marge reminisced. They remembered each other from their childhoods. We had a great day and we all became close friends as well as cousins.
I continued to visit her up until a few years ago when her memory had faded away to the point where she probably wouldn't known me anymore. I would pick her up and off we'd go for the day. She introduced me to many relatives from her branch of the family and told me everything she could remember about our ancestors and relatives.
Audrey was an intelligent lady with that Carder sense of humor and other family traits that I could see in her. It was with sadness and sympathy for her children and grandchildren that I read her obituary in the newspaper. She will be missed. May you rest in peace, Audrey, and know you were loved.
Rambling Along the Ancestral Trail
Deborah A. Carder Mayes is a genealogist and speaker in Northwestern and West Central Ohio. She has been researching her family history and actively involved in the genealogy community for over 18 years.
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