Monday, April 14, 2014

Talented Tuesday - Belle Jorgenson McKee

The first indication I had that Belle Jorgenson had some talent was when I was searching the Peotone Vedette for her father Ole's obituary.  Belle was my Great-Great Grandmother Lena's sister.  Several little mentions in the Society column hinted at her musical abilities.
"Miss Belle Jorgenson has resumed the study of music in Chicago.  She is taking vocal music under Signor Maraschalki."  Peotone Vedette, Oct. 18, 1907"
"Miss Belle Jorgenson will continue her study of music and will reside at 5406 Drexel Boul." Peotone Vedette, 1907"
Belle was about 11 years younger than her oldest sister Lena.  At least going by the 1880 census when she was 9.  She was born October 16, 1871 in Will County, Illinois.  That date came from a copy I received from a "privately published booklet" titled "Necrology of Peotone, Will County, Illinois Residents, Relatives and Friends" by William R. Conrad 1879-1966.  In 1900 her age is 29 but from that census on, she doesn't seem to age normally.  In 1910 she gave her age as 29.  Again.  In 1920 her age is 35 and in 1930 she is 50 (actually 59).  In 1940 she concedes the truth and gives her age as 69.  It's interesting that in her obituary there is no mention of either her birth date or her age.

She not only went to college, but graduated from 2 different colleges, Valparaiso University, which was known then as Northern Indiana Normal School, and Columbia College of Music.  Both schools sent me her class listings that are wonderful to have, but I struck out getting a yearbook photo from either school.  Her photo is on my bucket list.

In 1900 "North Town" Chicago, she was living with Carl Judson and his wife Hannah who was another of Belle's sisters.  She was teaching, possibly at her home town school in Peotone, if the commute was practical then.

In 1910 Chicago, she lived with Jacob Bentall and his wife Bertha, the youngest sister in the family. They lived on Drexel Avenue and Belle's occupation is "musician, on the road". This may be about the time she was with the Chautauqua as mentioned in her obit.  (I've been searching for some advertisements for that.)   Also living in the household was a lodger named Earl McKee, a 27-year-old Stenographer in a law office.  The Columbia College archivist sent this engagement announcement along with the class listing for Belle.  It's such an awesome surprise when someone goes the extra mile!   It was just in the last month I received this and I've sent to IRAD for a copy of her marriage record that they will hopefully have. 

Chicago Daily Tribune, Aug. 4, 1911, pg 6
As her obituary mentions (though the year of their marriage is wrong), Earl & Belle spent two years in Fort Worth, Texas then moved to Los Angeles, living on Elmwood Avenue by 1920.   Earl is the Head of household, a court reporter.  From her obituary I know that by this time he was an invalid from an illness, I wonder if it was polio.  Belle is a musician working on her own.  This is the first time she uses the name "Merlin".  Her sister Bertha and Bertha's son Carlton are living with them.

In 1930 her occupation is a teacher at a private school, maybe with students like Will Rogers, Jr. and the sons of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I'd like to find out more about her time as "teacher of foreign consel, Bolivia and Equador" as mentioned in her obit.  By 1940, it looks like they were both retired.

Earl and Belle never had children.  Earl died in 1951 at age 67 and is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles in an unmarked grave.  He had a short death notice and a funeral notice in the Los Angeles Times.  His family included a sister, Mrs. Eltha Orr, and a brother Paul both of Los Angeles,  Robert E. McKee of El Monte, William P. McKee of Santa Rosa, Cal., and Francis W. McKee of Springfield, O.  

August 7, 1942 Belle died from a stroke in Los Angeles at the age of 71.  Her obituary doesn't mention being survived by her husband.  She was buried in her hometown of Peotone.  This is her very interesting obituary from the Peotone Vedette, August 13, 1942:
"MRS. EARL MCKEE JOINS SILENT THRONG
Mrs. Belle Jorgenson McKee passed away in Los Angeles on August 7, after an illness of five days.  She suffered a stroke on August second.  With her at the time of her passing was her nephew Carleton Bentall and Mrs. Bentall.
Mrs. McKee was born in Will township and at an early age came to Peotone with her family.  Her education was obtained in the Peotone Public School and Valparaiso University.  Very early in life she became a member of the Presbyterian church of Peotone, a faithful member of its Sunday school and was for many years a member of its choir.  She was the possessor of a wonderful singing voice.  She became a member of the teaching staff of the Peotone public school, successful and greatly beloved for many years.  Later with Mrs. Ella Elliot she went to Rock Springs, Wyoming where she became director of music and public speaking of the city schools.  She also taught in Menominee, Michigan.  In 1906 she was graduated from the music and public speaking department of the Columbia College of Music of Chicago.  Following this she was the leading singer and reader of a Women's quartette in Chautauqua work and travelled over the middle west.
She was married in 1915 to Mr. Earl Edward McKee.  The ceremony was performed by the late B. Fay Mills.  Following their marriage they removed to Ft. Worth, Texas where Mr. McKee was a court reporter in Circuit courts. After two years they removed to Los Angeles where they have lived ever since.  Mr. McKee filled some of the most important posts in the Los Angeles courts.  He has been an invalid since 1918.  Following Mr. McKee's illness, Mrs. McKee became a coach to numbers of prominent members of the Movie industry, among them Will Rogers Jr., and sons of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  She was a teacher of foreign consul, Bolivia and Equador, in Los Angeles.  Mrs. McKee has made a host of friends in Los Angeles and a service was held there on Sunday afternoon preceding the starting of the journey to the old home at Peotone.
Her father, mother, one brother, Andrew, and one sister, Mrs. C. A. Judson, Chicago, preceded her in death.  Surviving relatives are Mrs. Wm. Roscoe of Nebraska, Mr. P. C. Jorgenson, Ledyard, Iowa, Mrs. Bertha Bentall of Chicago, and Mr. W. R. Jorgenson, of Peotone, and one cousin, Mrs. Anna Loucks, Chicago.
Brief services took place in Fredde's Chapel after the arrival of Mrs. McKee's remains at seven o'clock Wednesday evening.  Mrs. Robert Wright sang "Going Home" with Mrs. D. V. Knowlton as accompanist.  Rev. Vaubel delivered a short address.  About forty persons were present.  Among those from out of town were the following:  The pall bearers were Henry Budda, James Kruger, E. P. Cowing, Earl, Carol and Howard Judson. Carl Judson Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Carl Judson Jr., Mrs. Hobart Passell and daughter, Harriet, Earl Judson, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Judson, Mrs. Anna Loucks, Mrs. Wm. Berry and two children, Mrs. M. Bensen, Mrs. Margaret Wahls, Mrs. Katie Potter, and Miss Gertrude Schrier, all of Chicago; Mrs. Anna Schaedler, Wilmette.  Interment was made at the close of the day in Peotone cemetery.
There is no death; The leaves may fall 
 Flowers may fade and pass away - 
 The only wait through wintry hours 
 The warm sweet breath of May 
 The voice of birdlike melody 
 That we will miss and mourn 
 Now mingles with the Angels choir 
 In everlasting song."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - Ole Jorgenson, 1908

In 2002 I emailed several different people requesting a copy of my 3rd Great Grandfather's obituary and was told none could be found in Kankakee, Joliet or even his home town of Peotone, Illinois.  So I thought I would inter-library loan the Peotone Vedette and see if I could find ANY small mention of Ole's death or funeral.  After being told the issue it would be in was missing, imagine my excitement when I found this on the front page:


Peotone Vedette, October 2, 1908, pg 1
"O. Jorgenson Called To His Reward
Ole Jorgenson, a pioneer of Eastern Will county, died Tuesday Sept. 29, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Hannah Judson, 32 Florence avenue, Chicago, after a lingering illness.
Mr. Jorgenson was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 16, 1837.  He was married to Caroline Peterson Nov. 2, 1860.  In 1867 the family left Copenhagen and came to Chicago where they lived four months before they settled in Will township on what is now the Stender farm.  At that time most of the township was unbroken prairie with few roads or bridges.
He contributed the strength and energy of his young manhood to the development of his adopted land.  As his family grew up he left the farm that his children might have educational advantages.  He became a carpenter and for many years was in the employ of the Sante Fe railroad.  Later he returned to Peotone and made his home here until November, 1907, when he went to Chicago.
Funeral services were conducted in Chicago by Rev. E. Y. Woolley, of the Moody church, assisted by Rev. J. O. Bentall.  The remains were brought to Peotone for interment this morning.  The Peotone Socialists acted as pallbearers.
The deceased leaves a widow, two sons, P. C., of Ledyard, Iowa, and Walter R., of Chicago, and four daughters, Mrs. Wm. Roscoe, Clatonia, Neb., Mrs. C. A. Judson, Miss Belle Jorgenson and Mrs. J. O. Bentall, of Chicago.  Seventeen grandchildren are living.
This, in brief, is the story of the life of a pioneer who enjoyed the friendship and esteem of a large circle of friends.  By nature Ole Jorgenson was a student.  His desire to master the English language led him to spend half the night in poring over the pages of a Danish-English bible.  Books were his friends and he spent every spare moment in reading.  Few men were more familiar with history and the events which have marked the progress of the race.  His reading and study led him to accept the tenets of socialism and to him it became practically a religion.
While of a religious nature Mr. Jorgenson refused to subscribe to what he termed "man-made creeds."  At the same time he had an abiding faith in the wisdom and justice of the Infinite.  To his family he said "The Great Cause which brought me into life takes me in peace."
The sympathy of many Peotone friends goes out to the bereaved wife and children."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Newspaper Clippings - Stark County, Illinois 1870


I was hoping to find a marriage announcement in October of 1868 in Stark County, Illinois which just might prove two Simmons women to be sisters (see Rachel Simmons vs Rachel McGrath: The Jury is Still Deliberating).  So I inter-library loaned a reel of microfilm of the Stark County News which covered from 1864 to 1871.   Unfortunately there were lapses of time on the reel and the entire year of 1868 was missing.  It was a good newspaper for local news items, not so much for obituaries.  Here's a sample.

Stark County News, Friday, Dec. 23, 1870

The Teachers Library Association of Stark County are requested to meet at B. G. Hall's office, Saturday, Jan. 7th, 1871.  The meeting called for last Saturday postponed itself to a later date.  The President, Wm Nowlan, urges a full attendance of members, and all others interested. 

Also a meeting of the (Stark County Agricultural) Society on Saturday Jan. 14th, at the Court House at 10 o'clock A. M.  A full attendance is requested.  J. D. Rhodes, Pres.

Those who have no cow in the family can obtain an excellent extract thereof, at the new cash grocery store of Major Merriman, in the Willitt building.  It is a pure article of condensed milk, and may be used for all purposes that milk was formerly used for - except feeding to the pigs, etc. 

Mr. Murman has sold his entire stock of groceries to Major Merriman.  

Illinois Patents
Full list of patents for this State issued from U. S. Patent Office, for the week ending 

Dec. 13th, 1870 reported for the News by E. Thurlow, Patent Agent, Peoria:

Geo. A Cara, Piper City, tool chest
P Farhnev, Chicago, medical compound and apparatus for mixing
B Giroux, Chicago, attaching boot and shoe heels
J C Jenson, Chicago, tucker for sewing machines
Fannie Wetmore, Chicago, pattern for cutting garments
G A Wilcox, Chicago, weighing wagon
Wm Hartley, Rockford, piston rod packing
G & C Meader, Prairie Center, field corn picker and husker
H C Sieverling, Carrolton, Plow clevis attachment
A J Blakeslee & G C Williams, DuQuon, Steam jet pump
Eugene P Corwin, Washington, buckle
F Fisher, Quincy, cut off for cisterns
Jas M Harper, El Paso, harrow
T E Hammond, Morris, hay elevator and conveyor
J M Hunter, Pennington Point, farmers ?
John Jack, Tiskilwa, vehicle
I Packard & J W Slaight, Lena, coal grate
Wm Walker, Odin, mechanical movement

Messrs Frill & Deaver, of the Toulan Woolen Mills, announce that they desire to close out their large stock of goods, and will sell at reduced rates.




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Google Maps - Take Me Home Country Roads!!

Several bloggers have shown pictures from Google Maps Street View of houses they used to live in or the location of where their ancestors once lived.  I'm sure that's fun for all you city slickers, but I lived in the country.  Google Maps Street View will not go down a country road!  There wouldn't be any of my old houses to see.  I lived in 3 different houses growing up, but not a one of them is standing today.  But I'd still like to do a drive-by!

My Maternal Grandparents farmed 2 miles down this roadbut you can't get there from here -- on Google.  It does actually go down this road 2 or 3 clicks here but then stops. This is going west and if you turn around here and try to go east down the road, which goes to the town of Stockham, it won't go at all.  It will go north or south down Highway 14, but it won't turn onto any country road. 



Most all of my Grandparents, Great-Grandparents and even Great-Great Grandparents lived in rural areas in Nebraska.  I don't get to cruise around on Google Maps and see where they once lived.  Google must be afraid of getting a little mud on the camera lens.

Feeling left out.  Ya'll have fun driving around on your computers, I've got to go get gas.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Sense of Accomplishment

Platte River, Alda, Nebraska March 2014

When I started this blog last July, I decided on a plan to write a narrative on each of my 15 Great-Great-Grandparents (yes, 15).  Eight of the 15 were born in the U.S.  All but 2 of them made Nebraska their final home.  I've given my interpretation of the information I have found on each of them.  Everything is always open for discussion.  The research I have back to this generation is work I've done myself for the most part.  Things I've learned from my living relatives.  From books, marriage certificates, and other things that were in the old trunk in the attic, or documents or information I've been able to get myself through libraries and online.  Beyond this generation I've done some work myself and other researchers have shared a lot with me.  Writing these posts has made me focus on each individual and see what I need to try next with them.  

So, would my ancestors be happy that I have publicized their lives on the internet?  Would they be glad that I'm sharing what I've learned about them with anyone who might read these?   Some of my living family may feel that I've put too much information online. Things will get trashed without my knowledge for fear it will "wind up on the internet".  Do they even read the posts?  I've heard from a few of them either by blog comments, facebook comments or "Likes".  I got a comment from one before-unknown cousin and I offered to share more with her, but that was all I've ever heard from her.

Nice comments have come from fellow bloggers that are greatly appreciated.  I've made some new online friends.  I'm grateful for all of my followers and I'm always thrilled to find that someone lists my blog in their list of blogs they follow.  Thank you Filiopietism Prism, Susan's California Roots and A Tangled Trail for that!  

I've accomplished my first goal.  Now I don't have a plan for future posts and I'm not going to for a while.  I'll be free to participate in some of the challenges or memes that go on. And I plan to post things I have that may be of help to someone else.  I hope to keep your interest.  

Thank you for reading!




Saturday, March 22, 2014

Josiah Foster Negley

Josiah was born December 7, 1846 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  He is my connection to the Foster family.   In one of my first few posts, The Book that got me Hooked, I explained that a book found in the old trunk in the attic got me started on all of this. Josiah's parents were John and Ruth Foster, Ruth's parents were the focus of "The History of the Foster Family", by D. I. Foster. 



John and Ruth were married September 15, 1836 in Bedford County.  Their children were: 
  1. David (1837-1917)
  2. George (1839- ? )  died before 1850
  3. Susanna (1841-1922)
  4. Amon (1842- ? )  died before 1850
  5. Catherine  (1843-1870) 
  6. Josiah Foster  (1846-1922)
  7. John Calvin  (1850-1916)
David married Mary Goodman and Catherine married Charles Dorman in Pennsylvania before they all moved to Illinois.  Susannah married William Kelley in 1870 in Illinois. Josiah married Sarah Lee and John Calvin married Mary Fisher both in 1871 in Bureau County, Illinois.  Sometime between 1871 and 1880, all of the family moved to Decatur County, Iowa where the parents lived the rest of their lives.  John Foster died at age 76 in 1884 and Ruth died in 1895 at age 87.   By 1887 Josiah and Sarah moved on to Clay County, Nebraska where Sarah's brother George Lee had moved to in 1878.  

Eldorado was home to Josiah and Sarah from then on.  Three of their children lived with them into their adult years.  I've heard that the Negleys' front porch was lined with chairs. Here is a great photo of the "town" of Eldorado, about 1910-1915.  You can see the church on the left and the school on the right.  I don't know where the Negley & Miller Station would be from this view, a question to have answered someday.  The writing says "Watching a horse race", with a magnifying glass you can see them at the other end of the road.



Josiah must have suffered a stroke about 1914.  Strokes are very common in this line of the family.  A distant cousin, Clarence Neff, sent me photocopies of a letter that Josiah had sent to his father written on October 3, 1920.  On the top of the first page, written up-side-down is this note: 

"Excuse the bad writing and mistakes as my right side and arm have been partly paralyzed for over 6 years and I am over 74 years of age.  Best wishes to you all, very truly J. F. Negley." 
Josiah was a farmer his entire life.  He served as Justice of the Peace in Eldorado from 1912 until his death in 1922, and then Sarah held that position until 1925, maybe completing his term.  In Eldorado that would not have been a full-time job.  He died on April 15 at age 75.



"Obituary - Josiah F. Negley
Josiah F. Negley, the son of John and Ruth Negley, was born in Bedford Co., Pa., December 7th, 1846 and died at his home in Eldorado, Nebr., April 15, 1922, aged 75 years 4 months and 8 days.
At the age of sixteen he moved with his parents to Bureau Co., IL, where on March 5, 1871 he was married to Sarah M. Lee.  To this union six children were born:  George, Newton, William, Calvin, Alice and Mrs. Sadie McGrath.  Newton died August 8, 1887.  The others with their mother survive him.
Mr. Negley was member of the Church of God of Eldorado and ever tried to walk in the paths of right.  He was a kind husband and father and a true neighbor.
The funeral was held from the Methodist Episcopal church in Eldorado, Monday, April 17.  Rev. B. N. Kunkel in charge.  Interment was made in the Harvard Cemetery."  





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sarah Maria Matilda Lee

On March 5, 1849 in Hamilton, Madison County, New York Sarah Maria Matilda Lee was born. Maria is pronounced like "the wind".  She was the second child and first daughter of Charles and Susannah (Case) Lee, her brother George Washington Lee was 3 years older.   Before she was much more than a year, the Lee family moved to Illinois.

On April 24, 1851 in Buda, Illinois, Susannah had a baby boy named Thomas Jefferson. Susannah died that day, Thomas died in September.  George was 5 and Sarah just 2 years old. 

This is a tin-type photo that my Grandma gave to my Mom. Grandma wasn't sure who this photo is of, but she assumed it was Susannah because it would be likely that Sarah would have had a photo of her mother who died when she was so young.  My Grandma was the granddaughter of Sarah. There are no markings on the photo or frame to give any idea of when or where the photo was taken. The tin-type is clipped at the corners to fit into this oval frame.  

“When I was just a little girl”, I liked the Doris Day Show.  Little did I know then that her theme song, “Que Sera, Sera” was from a Hitchcock movie.  I'm a Hitchcock fan.  “The Man Who Knew Too Much” is a great movie!  I won’t give anything away if you haven’t seen it, but there’s a key point in the movie about a name and how it’s used.  Just like in the CASE of having the surname CASE in your family tree.  It can be very tricky Googling or searching message boards and mailing lists for the surname CASE as opposed to every CASE of mistaken identity, or even “just in CASE” scenerio.  All legal CASEs come up, all “in some CASEs”, all “that may be the CASE”, even if someone has information in their briefCASE.  Frustrating.  Trying to find Susannah's parents has been a challenge.  The information I have on her birth came from the old trunk in the attic, but I've never been able to find a document to verify that.

Sarah's father Charles, was widowed at age 38 and just 10 years later he died leaving Sarah and her brother George orphans at ages 15 and 12.  Charles was an abolitionist and is known to have helped an escaped slave by hiding him in his well.  Although I've never heard any hint that Charles died of anything questionable, I'm very curious about how he died at only 48 years old. 

In 1998, I was able to visit the graves of Charles, Susannah and Thomas J Lee in Bunker Hill Cemetery, Buda, Illinois.  The tall stone for Charles was lying on the ground with his name side-up.  I assumed Susannah's name was on the bottom side, but I didn't attempt to flip it. Fortunately, a couple of people were there before the stone fell over and uploaded photos of the stone with her name showing on her findagrave memorial. 

Sarah's brother George served in the Civil War from 1862 to 1866.  Most likely, Sarah lived with her Uncle Lewis Holmes near Buda after her father died.  Lewis had been married to Charles Lee's sister Hannah, but Hannah died in 1858.  In 1870, Sarah was living with George and his wife, Christine.  He married Christine Berkstresser in 1868. 



Sarah married Josiah Negley in 1871 and they moved first to Iowa, then Nebraska where they raised their family.  She served as Justice of the Peace in Eldorado, probably finishing out Josiah's term after he died, from 1922 to 1925.  The only female to ever do so.  

On October 5, 1927, Sarah's granddaughter, Cleo (Negley) Jensen died at age 23, leaving 2 small boys.  Sarah died of a stroke at age 78 just six days later on October 11, 1927.