Wednesday, October 29, 2008
. . . and probably in the elections of 1824 and 1828, too!
It was hard to pick one, just one ancestor, for my entry in th 59th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, Politics and Our Ancestors. But I did. and I chose Lewis Leader, my 7th Great Grandfather.
He was an early settler in that river town, Marietta, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The town that had more taverns than Churches, and he owned one of them! A tavern, that is, not a Church! Democratic politics were big there and Lewis’ name seem to pop up whenever an article appeared about anything political! He must have been a political person long before the earliest article I can find that mentioned his name in conjunction with politics.
Before I get into the following newspaper article, a sense of what was going on during that period would probably help to explain the meeting Lewis attended.
- First of all, Andrew Jackson, had won the popular vote in the 1824 election, but didn’t have enough electoral votes. The election was decided by the House of Representatives. His supporters felt he was robbed of the election when John Q. Adams was voted President by the House. For more on this, go to the website The State Library of North Carolina. (sound familiar?)
- The Second thing of importance was his opposition to the Charter of a National Bank. He had fought to rescind the charter and listed reasons for his veto. The nation was on the eve of a major depression. (sound familiar?) That was the reason for the following meeting.
It was August of 1832 when Lewis went to the “Jackson ‘Veto’ Meeting.” According to an article in “The Columbia Spy:”
“In pursuance of public notice, a respectable meeting of those favorable to the re-election of Andrew Jackson, convened at the public house of Oliver M’Donald in the Borough of Marietta, on the evening of the 3d inst. . . . .on a motion a committee of five were appointed to draft a preamble and resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. . .”
The meeting was adjourned to meet again on the “8th inst.” and at that time, the preamble and resolutions were adopted. Several of the more interesting resolutions were:
Resolved, That we view with the utmost feelings of contempt those political desperadoes (whether fed, bought or shrouded under the mantle of sanctity) who are sacrificing every honorable and manly principle–to obtain the support of the most dangerous enemies of the republic.
Resolved, That we ask no firmer ground for our undivided support of Gen’l Jackson than the “veto” the “veto” — in “toto.” Remember citizens and farmers, the batch of Banks and Governor Snyder’s veto in Penn’a. –how many “cried aloud” but soon suffered and repented.
Resolved, That Andrew Jackson is the only man in whose hands we can (with safety) trust the rudder of state–at this momentous “crisis” of our country, when our national vessel is tossing on the billows of dissentions–Conjured up by the machinations of the nullifieers of the South, the “whole hog” tariffites” of the East, and the “Bank monopolists” of the middle states.. . . ”
A motion was made at the end of the meeting, that a “committee of correspondence” be appointed, along with a “committee of vigilance.” Lewis Leader was on the Vigilance Committee, whatever that was! Newspapers brought politics into living rooms in 1832. TV has taken over that venue today.
People haven’t changed and neither has politics. . . .
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
My great-grandfather, Edwin A. Niess, was a life-long Republican. He never voted anything but the straight Republican ticket and the fact that he even voted in a National Election tells a lot about him.
You see, he lived and worked in Washington D.C., you know, where the license plate says “Taxation Without Representation.” Can’t vote there. So where did he vote? The upright citizen that he was? Well, he voted in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. . . . as a citizen of Harrisburg!
Edwin Alonzo Niess, 1867 - 1948
Since Edwin saved literally every scrap of paper he either received or wrote, I know a lot about him. I think I’ve written about that before. He even kept carbon copies of letters he typed to family members and before he had a typewriter, he transcribed each letter he had written! I have copies of some of those from the 1890′s.
In 1899, he was applying for a job as a Postal Inspector, which was a political appointment at that time. According to a letter he transcribed that was written to Hon J.L. Bristow, Fourth Assistant Postmaster General, “. . . Furthermore, he is a faithful Republican and attends every election and votes the right ticket, no matter at what inconvenience or expense.” The letter had started “Mr. Edwin A. Niess is a legal resident of Harrisburg, Pa., who is now a clerk in the War Department. . . “
Another letter of recommendation he had transcribed (no date) states”. . . he is well known as a man of excellent reputation and good habits and as a regular voter of the straight Republican ticket.” This particular letter was sent to Hon. Charles Emory Smith, Post Master General.
The last letter to the Post Master General was sent on letterhead from the House of Representatives in Washington, and stated almost word for word what the first letter said. It was dated in October of 1899 and the first one was dated in December of the same year. Whether he sent out a sample letter for them to submit or not, I do not know. I just think it’s strange that they used almost identical terminology!
The letters must have worked, since he did get the job. According to an “Official Statement” (resume’) in file, he was appointed P.O. Inspector on 26 July 1900 at $1200 per annum and $4 per diem.
Also in his papers are letters he wrote to his nephew in Harrisburg. His nephew would pay his “County Tax” for him and Edwin would use Bob’s address so he could vote.
One of the more interesting letters in the collection is one from his sister, Katie written April 13, 1936. She, of course, lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as did the rest of Edwin’s family. It seems every letter he saved had one thing or another to do with voting, politics or an election! This one’s excerpt is as follows:
“. . . I forgot I do not owe you a letter and would not be writing if it was not to tell you about election. (I guess you did write to me to find out about election.) Well you are to (sic) late for the spring election, and you must be registered and must come up here for that. We all registered last fall, now we need not register any more unless we move, only must go to vote and I am sick of hearing politics.”
Love the last statement! Just proves the more things change, the more they remain the same!
My favorite letter in the bunch and the last letter I will bore you with, came from his nephew Bob. It was dated 26 September 1947 and I will transcribe the first part of it here:
“Please believe me, I have been very busy lately. Not because of the fire business but Political.
We are having a very hard election campaign for all offices which leads out of the primaries for Mayor. The defeated canidate John E. Peters, went over with the Dem. Party and now we have an ugly campaign on our hands.
Uncle Edwin, if it is possible be sure to come up on election day Nov 4. because one Rep. good vote will mean very much this time. Only sickness will I excuse you this time.”
If he made it to Harrisburg on November 4th, it was probably the last election he voted in. Edwin Alonzo Niess died on 18 April 1948 in Washington D.C. Through his vast collection of newspaper clippings, pictures, letters and books, I know him like I know no other of my ancestors.
. . .and my great Repubican ancestor would be so dissappointed to know that his great-granddaughter is today a registered Democrat!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Last spring when I put my regular search of surnames in the eBay search engine, I came up with a hit on “Niess.” Somebody was selling a stack of old Easter Postcards, and had listed the names that were on them. Lo and behold, one of them was addressed to “Mrs. Ephram Niess” with the correct address. I had to have it! . . . . and have it, I did! I was the high bidder for the group and paid $30 which includes the s/h charge.
Beautiful handwriting, and when you turn it over, there is a beautiful Easter scene, and even evidence who sent it to her! See those pictures pasted on in the right hand side? It says “From” right above them. Want to know the problem? I have absolutely no idea who that attractive couple is!
Turning it back over again, you see that the postmarks are one on top of each other. The lighter one is on the bottom and is from Harrisburg on April 12, 1906 at 9:30 PM. The darker one appears to be the point of origin, Philadelphia April 12, 1906 at 4:15PM.
Several possibilities exist as to who this couple is.
1. It could be her youngest son, Benjamin Franklin Niess and a girlfriend. He married for the first time in August of 1906 but that marriage did not last. It could be them.
2. It could be a nephew and spouse. She had a sister that lived in Camden (right across the river from Philadelphia) and her sister, Anna Maria Auxer Lehman, had nine sons.
3. It could be a niece and spouse. That same sister had three daughters.
4. or it could be somebody from her Church!
It all boils down to the fact, I have absolutely no idea who sent this card! . . . . and why didn’t they sign it so I could have a labeled picture in my database??
. . . .anybody want to buy a stack of old Easter Postcards, minus one, of course?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
My grandmother, Nellie Viola Niess and her wedding party for her marriage to William Francis Sherman on September 16, 1914 Washington DC.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
In the 58th Carnival of Genealogy “Halloween Hauntings” Challenge, I submitted a blog titled “Joseph must Have Been Related to Casper! He was a Friendly Ghost” in which I told readers I would tell them whether my story was fact, fiction or a little of both. Well, my dear readers, it’s a little of both!
I’ll break it down for you:
1. It did not happen to me
2. His name was not Joseph
3. . . .and the dog’s name was not Shep!
This actually happened to my cousin, so he said! Now, I always doubted him until I was sitting at the kitchen table with him one afternoon waiting for his wife to come home. I was visiting from California and staying with them. Since she wasn’t due home for 2 hours we were surprised when we heard her garage door open. My cousin went out to see why she was home early and SHE WASN’T! She wasn’t home early and she wasn’t even home! He shut the garage door and it happened again.
I was a believer!
That was the last time I ever experienced the ghost (who’s name I do not remember!) but I have heard stories about him since that day in 1999.
Do I believe in ghosts? Yes and No ~
I probably do not believe in ghosts, but I do believe in spirits!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
10 Years Ago, I…
- Was a volunteer in my grandchildren’s school
- Lived in the mountains in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in Californai
- Never imagined life without our Katrinka Dinka Do!
- Didn’t have our youngest and final grandchild, William Ellis Bowman
- Had all of my Genealogy records in about 10 binders!
Five Things on my To Do List:
- Try to eat healthier Sunday than I did at a potluck on Saturday!
- Art Walk in Town today
- Finish a blog
- Call my mother because this is Sunday, after all, and the day she expects a call
5 Snacks I Enjoy
- Raw almonds
- Peanut Butter and Celery
- String Cheese
- OK ~ I’ll admit it! I also love cookies! Fig Newtons, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisen, Brownies, you name the cookie and I’ll eat one or two. . . . . . at a time!
5 Places I Have Lived
- Pauhau, Hawaii
- Agana, Guam
- Tehachapi, California
- Rancho Mirage, California
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania
5 Jobs I Have Had
- Hamburger Stand when I was in College
- The Phone Company assigning telephone numbers
- Worked for an Interior Decorator
- Bookkeeper for a Baptist Church
- Payroll Clerk for a Power Company where I knew who was single and how much they earned. I zeroed in on Jim and the rest is history! Thirty years of history!
3 Bloggers I am tagging:
1. Chery Kinnick at Nordic Blue
2. Craig Manson at GeneaBlogie
3. Paula Goff Christy at Paula Goff Christy’s Blog
Would three do? It seems like everybody else has already been tagged! If I spent my time checking as many as I have already, how would I have time to write blogs?
After all, that is what we are here for after all, isn’t it?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
This was a hard project to get started on! My Treasure Chest had so many different things to go through ~ letters, pictures, books and various treasures saved by the family for many, many years. . . . and in several instances, over 100 years!
About two weeks ago I started separating things into piles by family names. From these piles, I decided how I was going to file everything and what I was going to scan, copy or dispose of. Turns out, I disposed of nothing, nada, zip!
A week ago, I started scanning pictures. I had to replace my computer and with a new operating system, had to buy a new scanner. I scanned 84 pictures (according to family name) that day, and set up a new filing system for these treasures. I have everything in a new box, organized and ready to finish. File folders have been created w/red dots meaning completed and green dots “to be done.” Treasures are wrapped and labeled with a note inside of each one as to what it is, who it belonged to, and the date.
Although I still haven’t finished my project, I have an excellent start on it and it should be done by New Years!
What did I find that I consider a treasure? Several things ~ and it depends on your definition of “treasure!”
1. I found an envelope labeled “Edwin’s hair.” I forgot about this! This baby hair belonged to my grandmother’s brother, and my great-grandmother had put it in an envelope in 1905! I have DNA over 100 years old!
2. I have a letter written by my father to his grandfather where he talks about me as a toddler and how I get “more beautiful every day!” Love that letter!
3. I found my great-grandfather’s “oration” from High School in 1888. He was in the top 5 of his class at Harrisburg High School and as such gave an oration at Graduation. He actually, kept a copy of this speech from 1888 in his papers, and I have it. I had seen it before but I guess, it just didn’t register as to exactly what it was. He must have been pretty proud of it.
4. I found a poem my great-grandfather wrote for my grandmother when she was a little girl. My great-grandmother would take the children out of the city (Washington DC) every summer, vacationing either in Maryland or in Maine. Since my grandmother was “Daddy’s Girl” she was very spoiled by him, up until the time of his death!
5. But the Crown Jewels I found are shown below. My great-grandfather, Edwin A. Niess, was a Past Master of St. John’s Masonic Lodge in Washington DC. He is 2nd from the left in the front row. Look carefully at the large pin/badge on his lapel and then check out the one under this picture.
When you turn this over, the following words are engraved on it:
Edwin A. Niess
St. John’s Lodge
July 14, 1897
Now where this is gold plated or not is yet to be determined. It appears to be, but I’ve not taken it to a jeweler to verify it. I think the one with a higher intrinsic value (yes, I have two of them!) would be the one below. (although intrinsic value means nothing, it’s the family value that means everything!)
The back of this one says:
Edwin A. Niess
By R.A.A. No 2
Jan. 22, 1914
They are both in their original cases, but the case for the second one is very fragile. I am delighted to have been chosen to be the curator of the Family Collection! These will be passed on from generation to generation, and I was the one who documented and preserved the collection.
How blessed am I?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Everybody, I suppose, has a weird side to them and I’m no exception! Want to know what weird thing I look for in the newspaper? Obituaries! and not just any obituary, but I look for Amish obituaries! and why you might ask? You know I’m gonna tell you. . . .
In 2002 I cut out the first Amish obituary that simply fascinated me. John S. Glick died leaving 9 children, 87 grandchildren, 317 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren. Now that’s a grand total of 418 descendants! I posted it on my bulletin board with the idea in mind that I would replace it only when somebody topped that number.
Well, last month it happened! Rebecca S. King died and left 493 descendants! an even 500 if you count the seven grandchildren who predeceased her.
It took six years for somebody to beat John Glick and only one month for somebody to beat Rebecca King! On October 13th Gideon B. Stoltzfus died and left 664 descendants!! That’s enough people for a good size town!
Now, I’m curious . . . . do they remember all those birthdays? Do they send birthday cards? Do they even remember all those names? . . . . and can you even imagine the buggies all lined up for the funeral? I would think minimum 400 buggies. That would be a traffic stopper!
I’ll stick with my small family. My home can accommodate all of them and holiday meals are much cosier. . . .
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Remember that old song, . . . signs, signs, everywhere the signs? Well, there are two different “signs” of Autumn and this blog will cover both of them!
The first type we are all familiar with. They pop up everywhere this time of the year! Yards are full of them, they’re posted on windows, they’re attached to car bumpers, stapled onto utility poles and stuck on car windshields! Will they ever go away? Do they really persuade a person to vote for a particular candidate or issue? I actually think they are a blight on the environment and a waste of our precious resources!
This particular sign was several blocks away in front of one of the larger homes on the block. It is not that it is so interesting, you’ve probably seen hundreds just like this one, but it is interesting because of the one directly across the street from it!
Directly across the street from the Obama sign is the sign shown below. Now what’s interesting about it, is the fact that somebody still had it, and the other fact that nobody has taken it! It has been there for over a week that I know of!
Those are the “unattractive” signs of autumn, in my opinion! The signs of fall that I love are the changing ones. The ever changing colors that blanket the trees and the ground beneath them is what gets me up early to walk! The crispness in the air and the leaves falling as I walk. . . . there’s nothing like it!
This picture was taken from my front porch, looking up the street last week. The colors were beginning and I couldn’t restrain myself from taking my first picture of them!
At 7AM the sun was just coming up over the rooftops in our city and I decided to go for a walk to enjoy all that Fall has to offer. First stop Shreiner’s Cemetery where Thaddeus Stevens, the great Statesman is buried.
Thaddeus Stevens grave was framed by this tree, busy dropping it’s leaves in honor of him. In the background, the school’s lights began flickering on in the classrooms, one by one. The day was starting in Lancaster.
I walked into town, photographing interesting sites as I went and headed home half an hour later. One block from home I came to realize that our area has to have some of the prettiest city scenes around. This building was once the Stevens Girls High School. It has been converted into some nice apartments, retaining the old beautiful structure.
This shot of Stevens was taken from the corner. The colors at that hour of the morning are just fantastic and makes it worthwhile to get up and take a walk at that hour of the morning. I’m usually a bathrobe person until 9 or 10, so this was an unusual thing for me to do!
Walking on down the street, I turned left onto my street and now I know, for a fact, that there is indeed no place like home! Maybe it was because I saw the end of the trek, or maybe because it is really very pretty ~ whatever it is, I’m truly blessed!
. . . . and what exactly does this have to do with genealogy, you might ask? Well, nothing, unless you count the fact that . . . .
Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon are, after all, somebody’s ancestors!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Just found a new challenge. . . . like I really need a challenge to blog. . . .and this one is titled “Would you Care to Comment?” Love this Challenge! Now I get to take time, sit down and read blogs! Since I have a (self-inflicted according to my husband) sleep deprivation problem, this is right up my alley! The challenge was to read 10 different blogs and comment on each one of them. Because we all appreciate a pat on the back now and then, we can give somebody a cyber attaboy! and at the same time increase our knowledge of a subject near and dear to us the addicted family historians!
Some of the blogs I read are new to me, and some are ones I read every chance I get. Everybody has a something new to add, and I love reading their spin on my favorite subject (next to my family and grandchildren, that is!) The blogs I read and commented on, in no particular order are as follows:
1. Andrea Batchto’s Swimming in Comptons. You have to admire her patience as she reads each page in Orphans Court Minutes one by one by one by one . . . .
2. I found a great blog on GenDisasters, Events that Touched our Ancestors’ Lives. If you’ve not been there, go! Fascinating site and you can browse by states.
3. I also visited Lorelle on WordPress and commented on her interesting “Choosing a Blog Title and Domain Name and URL.”
4. Since I love obituaries, I visited Old Obituaries and read (and of course, commented on) Caton Hoblit; a faked obituary. I figure somebody either wished him ill, or he had a friend with a great sense of humor! Read it for yourself and decide. . . .
5. Cemeteries are another love of mine! Ask my husband; he thinks we stop at them all! I found a blog right up my alley in Gravegardens. They actually have a business tending to graves (cleaning headstones, planting flowers, etc.) and she’s taken pictures of some very interesting cemeteries! I’ll be back to this one again!
6. From Gravegardens, I stopped at Julie Cahill Tarr’s GenBlog. Since I follow her’s on a RSS feed, you know it’s one of my favorites.
7. After Julie’s blog, I meandered down the road to Life at the Home20 and read and commented on the extraordinary treatment she received from Footnote after hurricane Ike.
8. Janet the Researcher was my next stop. She had paid a visit to my site and I returned the favor and left my comment on the beautiful organ in her Church. One of my best friends is an organist and we follow the trail of organs and organists, so I was, of course, taken by this one. Stop by her site and wish her “Happy Thanksgiving!”
9. I found a neat blog Geneababble with all kinds of little genealogical tidbits. He referenced an article on six ways to give back to the genealogical community that was in The Albuerque Tribune, that I found most interesting. Check out his blog!
10. For my tenth blog, I visited Wearing Grandpa’s Hat, a blog written by Paula Becker. She has some beautiful old pictures of her ancestors on this blog, and information on each one.
This has been a fun challenge, and I would encourage each of you to visit some of the blogs I referenced here. There are some incredibly talented bloggers out there!
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