I Read it on the Internet! It Must be True!

Don’t you love to hear that expression? “I know it’s true, I read it on the internet.”  Thank goodness for Snopes.com! We can check all of those rumors that circulate today. Back on September 10, 1914 there was no place to check when you read the newspaper. Did you take it for granted that what you read was true and pass on the information? or did you verify any of it at all?

Last night I found a newspaper article about my grandparents upcoming wedding in an online newspaper.  The Harrisburg Patriot published the following three sentences on the society page of the September 10, 1914 issue -

Invitations have been received in this city for the marriage of Miss Nellie Niess and Robert Sherman, both of Washington, D.C., which will take place on September 16, in the Congregational church in Washington. Miss Niess is a graddaughter of Jeremiah Carvell, a former pastor of the Fourth street Church of God, also a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. B.F, Niess, 117 Dock street, and has frequently visited her relativges (sic) here. Mr. Sherman is a grandson of the late General Sherman.

Just three sentences and each one of them has a major error in it!

    • Sentence Number 1: The grooms name. Every piece of paper I have ever seen (including that Wedding Invitation, of which I have one!) states that the groom was William F. Sherman, not Robert. My very own father was William F. Sherman, Jr.!
    • Sentence Number 2: Grandparents. The bride’s grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim H. Niess, not Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Niess. Her uncle was B.F. Niess! B.F. for Benjamin Franklin
    • And Sentence Number 3: As anyone who has studied Civil War history, and that of General William Tecumseh Sherman can tell you, he had no grandchildren with the Sherman surname! I know of one son who died young, one son who was a Catholic Priest (and if he was our relative, we certainly wouldn’t be carrying the Sherman name, now would we?) and supposedly another son who died a bachelor in another part of the country.

In actuality, after more than 25 years of researching, I am no closer to discovering who my great-grandparents were on my grandfather’s side than I was when I started. My grandfather was less than honest about his background (or much else, it appears) and I would be surprised if Sherman was actually the name he received at birth. My father went to his grave confused about his father’s background and my brother’s DNA does not match anyone, or even come close to anyone carrying the Sherman surname!

I keep hoping I’ll find the answer . . . where else, but ON THE INTERNET!

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One thought on “I Read it on the Internet! It Must be True!

  1. Excellent and interesting site. You have to have a sense of humor when looking for the dead. They don’t like to give up their secrets easily.

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