Uncle Dave's book

Sunday, August 30, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 # 36: Mabel Jane Hudson, my father's Aunt Mabel

     Mabel Jane Hudson was the second of four daughters born to Benjamin Melvin Hudson and Agnes Georgiana Cookson.  She was born on 24 April 1892 near Fayetteville, Arkansas.  In 1907 the family moved to Ft. Worth, Texas where Mabel started High School.  Ft. Worth became home base for the family.  Mabel was an excellent student, In 1910 there is an article in the local paper about how she and her sister, Edna, were the top students in their respective classrooms.  Mabel graduated in 1911 ranked the top girl student in her class.  She had scholarship offers from Colleges but her mother wouldn't let her go. So she went to Texas Christian University and got a teaching certificate. She then taught at Post Oak, Lewisville and Ft. Worth, Texas while going to the University of Chicago in the summers, spending two years there in 1915-1917. She also did a YWCA course in cafeteria work at Columbia University in New York City in 1921.  Eventually she finished her Bachelor's degree at Texas Christian U. She continued to teach and in 1929 received her Master's of Science at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her degree was in Home Economics and Education.  She was a well educated woman for her time or any time.

     In August 1929, she married Wyatt Nolan Hunt in Benton, Arkansas.  In my father's notes he calls him "an uneducated farm boy".  In 1930 we find Mabel the US Census in Clarksville, Arkansas, listed as married but living alone.  I have yet to find Wyatt in the 1930 or 1940 Census.  They were divorced in April 1932, "quarreled over drinking" per Dad's notes. According to these notes, after Wyatt's death she married his friend, Owen.  I found a marriage record for Mabel and Edward Owens in Beech Grove, Arkansas, dated 24 Oct 1942.  Wyatt died in 1961.  I haven't been able to find anything else on Edward.  Mabel told my Dad that she remarried in 1937 in Oklahoma.  The record I found is a marriage bond so they could have had the actual wedding in Oklahoma. Or perhaps this marriage record is for a different couple because on Wyatt's death certificate in Mar 1961, she is given as the informant.  He is listed as married and she is listed as "Mrs. Mabel H. Hunt".  More research is needed here.  Meanwhile it seems clear that he was the man she loved. My grandfather's address book lists his brother and sister and some other of his family under her name and one Owen family name as well!

    In 1937 she bought a farm in Burleson, Texas, near Ft. Worth. Several members of Wyatt's family live in that area and he apparently lived there at times.  I believe that this is the farm we visited her at when I was a child.  I think it was 1956 or 57.  We visited Mabel's sister Alma in Ft.Worth and one day we drove out into the country and visited Mabel. My impression was of being in a vast empty area.  It was flat and seems to me to have been mostly dirt.  There was a house and a windmill next to it.  That was her house.  I thought she must get lonely.  I remember we visited into the evening and after dinner we all gathered around the piano where my mother played and we sang. The two songs I particularly remember, maybe this was the first time I heard them, were "Listen to the Mocking Bird" and "Down in the Valley".

     In 1961, Mabel came to stay with her sister in Tacoma for a year.  Looking at it now I think it was to recover from Wyatt's death (he died in March 1961).  At any rate, my sister saw her several times during that year.  I always enjoyed being with Mabel.  She was fun! I remember her playing dress up with us, for instance.

     Mabel was always interested in the family history.  When President Kennedy was assassinated she sent an article to the local paper about her grandfather's experience being on guard in Washington when Lincoln was assassinated.  She lived for a time with her nephew, Jack (my Dad) and they spent time finding the houses that her Grandfather had lived in. She told him much about the family and gave him some family heirlooms.  Unfortunately, in the early 70's her house burned down and she lost many other family photos and mementos.  So, that is Aunt Mabel.  I am beholden to her for her love of the family and its history and passing it on to me.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #35: Randal McDonald, Civil War Soldier

     My stepfather, Arthur  "Mac" McDonald, was a major Civil War buff.  He read widely about the war, visited the major battlefields when he retired, watched Kens Burns' Civil War series, etc.  But he had no knowledge of anyone in his family ever being in the Civil War.  Unfortunately, I didn't try to research his family tree until after he died.  When I did I discovered that his Great Grandfather, Randal McDonald, did indeed fight in the Civil War! I so regret not discovering that while he was alive because he would have been so thrilled!

     Randal McDonald was born in Dec 1829 in Potsdam, St. Lawrence, New York to Jacob Guy McDonald and Betsy Otis.  Betsy's father, Joshua Otis, fought in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 from Vermont (Mac would've loved that, too!). In the 1850 Census we find Randal in Oswego, New York where he met and married Elizabeth Smith.  They moved to Croghan, Lewis, New York where they had three children, Arland, Francis and Ella by 1861.

     On 24 Jul 1863, Randal enlisted in the Union Army at Carthage, New York.  He was a private in the 20th NY Cavalry. They saw battle in Virginia and North Carolina and were in the Appomatox campaign. His muster roll abstract notes that he was also referred  to as Randall McDaniels.  Interestingly, his father is called McDaniels in the 1830 and 1840 Censuses as well.  He was discharged on 31 Jul 1865.  He is described as "blue eyes, light hair, light complexion, 5 ft. 8 in. tall."

     When he returned home, he and Elizabeth had one more child, Frederick, born 1868.  In 1870 he and Elizabeth are living in Harrisburg, Lewis County.  He is a farmer, value of Real Estate is $300, personal property is $350, neither he nor Elizabeth can read or write.  In 1880, they are back in Croghan.  He is now listed as a laborer but the "cannot read/write" columns are not ticked suggesting that he can do both. He is found in the 1890 Veterans Schedule as "Randall S. McDaniels" living in New Bremen, Lewis, New York.  It says he is a Private Co. A 20 NY Cav from 28 Jul 1863-11 Aug 1865, 2 years, 0 months, 8 days.  No disability but under remarks it says, "suffering from lung disease." He managed to live until the 1900 Census where we find him and Elizabeth in New Bremen, age 70 and married for 50 years.  He is listed as a Day Laborer. He and Elizabeth can both read and write and they own their own home free of mortgage.  He died sometime between this Census and the 1910 Census as I cannot find him in the 1910 Census. I found a possible gravestone for Elizabeth dated 1909.

     So there is Randal who left his wife and small children to fight for the Union for 2 years and 8 days and then returned to his farm.  An American. And, although unknown by name, a hero to his great grandson!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #34: Ander Wilhelm Ludwick Almquist

     My Grandfather told me many stories of his family, both his father's and mother's sides.  He happily told me the story of how his mother's father left his wife in Sweden and married another woman on the boat to America (which I discovered wasn't exactly true)(see blog on Nils Johan Almquist) but he didn't tell me about the illegitimate daughter that she had back in Sweden(see blog on Anna Charlotta Johansdotter).  And he didn't tell me about his uncle Ander.

     Ander Wilhelm Ludwick Almquist was the second son of Nils Johan Almquist and Anna Charlotta Johansdotter. He was born on 7 Oct 1852 in Brunn, Alvsborg, Sweden. He was the only child with three personal names.  His father left the family for America in 1864 and he and his older brother, John, followed in  1865. They lived with him in Dassel, Meeker, Minnesota but didn't get along with Nils' new wife.  His brother, John, is found working in a Mill in Stillwater, Minnesota in the 1870 Census but I haven't found Ander in 1870.

     By 1880 he was living in Cokato, Wright , Minnesota.  It is here that he married Julia Kneeland on 30 May 1880. In the 1880 Census, he and Julia are listed in Cokato where he is a dealer in Hardware. In the 1895 Minnesota State Census he, Julia and their children, Walter, Raymond and Amy are found living in Cokato where he has a Hardware Store. In the 1900 Census I found Julia and the three children living in Owatonna, Minnesota.  Where was Ander?  I finally found him--as a patient in the Fergus Falls State Mental Hospital! What had happened?

     Eventually I found a newspaper article from 1896 which notes that A.W.L. Almquist has made "an assignment with out preference" and that assets and liabilities are not known.  This means that he had gone bankrupt.  The period from 1893 to 1898 was one of a major depression throughout the US but especially in the Midwest. Several Railroads went out of business.  This would most likely have affected a hardware dealer and Ander went under.  It appears that this completely unbalanced him.  At any rate in the 1900 and 1910 Census he is in the State Hospital and he died there on 30 May 1918.  His wife, Julia, never remarried. This is a sad story.  My grandfather was in touch with his cousins and I find Walter's son, Ralph, in his address book.  But he never told me the story.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #33: Anders Niklasson Almquist

     The family data was that the name of my grandfather's maternal grandfather was Nicholas Almquist.  On researching this I found that his name was Anders Niklasson Almquist.  Without the Almquist the family name would have been Anderson. I believe that the name Almquist was his soldier name that he then continued to use and all his children used it as well.  His birth and marriage records do not have the name Almquist but all the later records do.  "Alm" means elm, the elm tree.  "Quist" means branch or twig.  So, elm branch or elm twig is the meaning.  Because Sweden had relatively few given names and used a Patronymic naming system (the son of John Bergson would be Sven Johnsson not Sven Bergson), many men had the same names.  In the army this was too confusing so that when men went into the army they chose a "soldier name." Some men kept the name and some didn't.  Their children usually didn't take the soldier name but went by the patronymic.  In Anders' case, though, all the children used Almquist.

     Anders was born on 17 Jan 1785 at Vallstorp, Barkeryd, Jonkoping, Sweden.  This is in the province of Smaland in Southern Sweden.  He was the son of Nicholas Christiansson and Christina Jonasdotter.  By 1794 the family had moved to Almesakra where Anders lived the rest of his life. On 20 June 1805 he married Ingrid Danielsdotter.  They had eight children, six sons and two daughters. My grandfather's grandfather was Nils Johan Almquist, their youngest child.

     The family data which my grandfather got when he visited Sweden was that Anders was a senator, "firm, thrifty, capable, big and strong".  He was very rich and it was said that "the women didn't wear caps", they were "harskap" or nobility. However I can't find that word in Swedish, "keps" means caps, though.  What I do find is that Anders was an "hemanskare" or a free farmer who owned his own farm according to the clerical survey. So this does indicate a position of relative wealth.  On his death record he is called a "namndeman" which is a lay judge.  This was usually a wealthy man of some political position who was appointed to assist as a judge in various local courts.  So he may have been a senator as well.  He died on 24 Sep 1839, age 54, of a cold ("forkyining").

     When my sister and I visited Sweden last year we wanted to find Almesakra.  It wasn't easy to find as it wasn't really a town, just a Church and a community building plus houses around a lake.  It was lovely though! We found the places where he had lived, Barkansjo and Hylte.  Hylte was his farm where his children were born and where he died.  In the Churchyard we found the graves of two of his sons who had remained on Hylte.  He was the source of the name Almquist and I think he would be happy to know that he has many  descendants today in America as well as Sweden.