Friday, December 26, 2014

(HIRSCH – Honorary post) The Life of Karl Albert Hirsch

Karl Albert Hirsch was born on November 11, 1858 to Friedrich and Maria Magdalena Ziebold Hirsch. He was christened in Tutschfelden, Freiburg, Baden on December 5th.1 
The Tutschfelden church where Karl was christened. 2

Tutschfelden is located in one of the best climate regions in Germany. Vineyards abound on sunny hillsides. The Black Forest and Rhine Valley meet nearby.3,4

Tutschfelden area 5
Despite the area’s natural beauty, Germany experienced political and social upheaval in the 19th Century and emigration was common. After Friedrich’s death, Maria brought the family to America in the early 1870s. They settled in Monroe County, Illinois, where her brother lived.6

Albert lived in the US for 20 years before marrying Susanna Born—a child of German immigrants—on February 28, 1892 in Maeystown, Illinois.7,8

The 14th Amendment, which states that all people born in the US are citizens, was passed five years before Susanna’s birth.9 Therefore, Susanna entered the world as a legal American. Luckily for her, Albert had been naturalized in 1884.10 Under contemporary immigration law, a woman who married an alien “lost her U.S. citizenship, even if she never left the United States.”11

After their marriage, Albert and Susie lived in Illinois for 8 years. They subsequently moved their young family to Redding, California, where they rented a house and pursued farming.12
View of Mt Shasta from Redding area. 13

Albert's headstone.  16
Tragically, Albert died only six years later,14 while Susanna was pregnant with their 7th child.15 

Susanna likely received financial help upon her husband’s death. Albert’s tombstone is inscribed “Here rests a Woodman of the World.” 

Woodmen of the World was a fraternal benefit society that, during Albert’s time, included an initiation ritual and an annual password. Of greater pertinence, its founder, Joseph Root, “had the simple idea of making life insurance available to everyone.” He used the name “‘woodmen’ because he was inspired by a sermon that talked about ‘woodmen clearing away the forest to provide for their families.’” Root wanted his organization to “clear away problems of financial security for its members”, “to minister to the afflicted to relieve distress; to cast a sheltering arm about the defenseless living.”17
Sample Woodmen of the World certificate 18

Although losing Albert was surely a hard trial for his family, the blow must have been somewhat softened by “the sheltering arm” provided by his membership in Woodmen of the World.

Just as, in Albert’s childhood, his father’s death was followed by his family’s relocation, so it was for his children. Shortly after he died, Susanna moved the family to Medford, Oregon.19

Line of descent:
Karl Albert Hirsch, born 1858
Frederick Hirsch, b. 1896
Frederick Carl Hirsch, b. 1923
Douglas Hirsch, b. 1953  

1 -, Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898. : accessed 18 December 2014, Karl Albert Hirsch, 05 Dec 1858; citing FHL microfilm 1,189.804.

2 – Photo from 

3 - Tutschfelden is very close to the French border. It is also close to Switzerland. 

4 -  See also 

5 – Photo of Hebolzheim from . Tutschfelden is now a part of Herbolzheim.

6 - “Gottlieb Ziebold,” Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, page 430. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1894. Online database at, accessed 17 December 2014.

7 - Karl’s Person ID is LZKP-Q3F, Susanna’s is LZKP-QQ6.

8 – The entire village of Maeystown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places., accessed 18 December 2014.

9 - “History of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States,” , accessed 18 December 2014.

10 - He was naturalized in Monroe County. “California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898,”, page 223 of 508. Register page 39, #1672. Also page 176 of 508, page 84, #1456.

11 - “Naturalization Records,” NARA, . Accessed 18 December 2014.

12 - 1900 Census, Redding Township, Shasta, California. ED 108, Sheet 18B, family 471. Albert had lived in the area before. In June 1886 he was registered to vote in Shasta County [as a resident of Mill Creek] “California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898,”, page 223 of 508. Register page 39, #1672. Also page 176 of 508, page 84, #1456.

13 – Photo, View of Mt Shasta from Redding area, from

14 – Albert died 20 Jan 1906 in Shasta County, CA., California, Death Index, 1905-1939.

15 - 1910 Census.  : accessed 18 December 2014. Medford Ward 2, Jackson, Oregon. ED 114, Sheet 2A, family 28.

16 – Photo from, contributed by JAMSearch.

17 - “Woodmen of the World,” ; “Woodmen of the World’s Storied History,”  ; “Woodmen of the World,”  ; “Woodmen of the World and the Tree Stone Grave Markers,” A Grave Interest, 21 June 2011, ; all accessed 18 December 2014.

18 – Photo from “Woodmen of the World and the Tree Stone Grave Markers,” A Grave Interest, 21 June 2011,  Photo URL:

19 – See 1910 Census, in Note #15 above. Not many years later, the Hirsch family was back in Redding.

(MUNTZ - Honorary post) War & Taxes

Louis Debaillon was born in 1810 in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. He married Aimee Toledano in 1838 and they made their home in St. Landry. Louis was a doctor and a farmer.1 Although during “much of the nineteenth century, pretty much anyone had the right to call oneself a physician,”Louis actually earned the title. “He was for five years a student of Emmetsburg College, Maryland, and subsequently pursued a course of medicine in the Medical College of Paris, from which institution he received his degree [an M. D.]. … [He] prospered financially, and own[ed] considerable property in St. Landry parish.”3 

It is likely that Louis maintained his prosperity despite, not because of, the Civil War.

From their point of view, affluent Southerners had little reason to appreciate Abraham Lincoln. First he got himself elected. Then he objected to Dixie’s secession. His insistence on preserving the Union wreaked havoc on the safety and finances of Confederate citizens. Not to mention he freed the slaves. And to pay for it all, he approved taxes. Lots and lots of taxes.

From the outset of the Civil War, the Union realized the importance of controlling ports. By Spring 1862 they had retaken New Orleans and controlled most of the Mississippi River. The Confederacy had few troops in Louisiana: New Orleans was surrendered without a fight and the entire state was regained fairly easily. After reclaiming an area, the Union troops gathered valuable supplies. The Debaillons were probably affected like others. “Every house, farm and store in Imperial St. Landry Parish…[was] ‘virtually denuded by…efficient foraging teams.’”4 

Under these circumstances, “some Louisianans turned to guerilla warfare tactics.” Unfortunately, after a time “the guerillas operated with less and less official sanction and less and less allegiance to the Confederacy. Often labeled jayhawkers, some groups combined draft dodgers, deserters, and outlaws, and fought against both Union and Confederate soldiers while preying on the civilian population. …these jayhawker bands could number as high as 1,000 men.” One of these groups “gathered recusant conscripts from St. Landry and neighboring parishes, an area whose reputation for lawlessness predated the Civil War.”5 

A newspaper of the time reported on the “outrages and depredations of the Jayhawkers” in St. Landry, who “show no mercy to their victims, but take all they have, even to leaving them naked.” When apprehended, jayhawkers were shot.6 

Between the Union troops and the jayhawkers, presumably many rich Southerners lost considerable capital during the war. Whether or not Louis Debaillon’s fortunes suffered because of them is uncertain. His bottom line was unquestionably affected, however, by a different outgrowth of the war: taxes. 

"Peace with a War Measure" 10
Congress created and “President Lincoln signed into law a revenue-raising measure to help pay for Civil War expenses”7 — “the first federal income tax in American history.” Enacted within months of the Confederate attack on Ft. Sumter, it imposed “a 3 percent tax on annual incomes over $800”. As war costs increased, so did tax rates. By 1864, annual incomes of over $600 were taxed at 5% and higher incomes were taxed at higher rates.8 ($600 in 1862 was equal to about $16,000 in 2003.9

“States that seceded were included in the tax base as soon as Union troops established control,”11 which means Louisianans began paying taxes as soon as the law went into effect.

“The Civil War income tax was only a small part of a very complicated system of federal duties, stamp taxes, and fees that the government collected from individuals and businesses.” One federal worker “described the tax structure as being based on a principle” of “‘whenever you find an article, a product, a trade, a profession, or a source of income, tax it!’”12 

The “Act placed excise taxes on just about everything, including sin and luxury items like liquor, tobacco, playing cards, carriages, yachts, billiard tables, and jewelry. It taxed patent medicines and newspaper advertisements. It imposed license taxes on practically every profession or service except the clergy.”13

Physicians—like Louis Debaillon—paid “ten dollars for each license”14 annually15.
1866 Tax list for license fees. Louis is on Line 20.  16

Also required to have licenses were peddlers, innkeepers, confectioners, pawnbrokers, soapmakers, photographers, lawyers, bankers, auctioneers, and jugglers, among others. To ensure maximum governmental revenue, each profession was defined, sometimes broadly. “Juggler,” for instance, included “Every person who performs by sleight of hand”.17

“To administer these excise taxes…the…Act also created” the precursor of the IRS, described by its first commissioner as “the largest Government department ever organized.”18

This universal taxation “was based on nothing in past experience” and some officials believed it “would likely never be repeated.” If only we were so lucky! “In fact, the 1862 tax law served as the basis for the present internal revenue system, both in articles taxed and in organization for collecting taxes.”19 

Unfortunately for paychecks everywhere, “Congress …discovered that the income tax…provided a flexible and lucrative source of revenue.”20 

To wealthy Southerners, the ugly realities of war, pillaging, taxation, and financial ruin might have seemed to be Lincoln’s legacy. But despite the president’s notions of right and liberty, they survived. And many, like Louis Debaillon, continued to flourish.

Endnote: For the record, Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents.  I wanted to write about these events as a contemporary Southerner might have seen them. I don’t even know if the Debaillons were Confederate sympathizers. Either way, war and taxes affected them; that is the central point of this post.

Line of descent:
Louis Debaillon, born 1810
Marie Antoinette Debaillon, b. 1851
Edmee Marielouise Dufilho, b. 1869
Roger Lambert, b. 1903
Marie Louise Lambert, b. 1930

1 – All biographical information is from records at
2 - United States Department of Health and Human Services, Life in 1918 “Seeking Medical Care,”  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
3 - “Southwest Louisiana Biographical and Historical,” Biographical Section, p. 34. Ed. William Henry Perrin. Gulf Publishing Company, 1891. 
4 - Gary M. Lavergne, “The Civil War and Reconstruction,” Lives of Quiet Desperation,  . Accessed 11 Dec 2014.
5 - John M. Sacher, “Civil War Louisiana,” KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana.   . Accessed 11 Dec 2014. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 6 Jan 2011.
6 - “Jayhawking in St. Landry Parish,”   . Accessed 11 Dec 2014. Quoting the New Orleans Daily Picayune, 21 Apr 1864.
7 - IRS, “Brief History of IRS,”  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
8 - Tax Analysts, Tax History Museum: 1861-1865, The Civil War.  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
9 -  , citing U. S. Treasury Department, Accessed December 5, 2014.
10 – Thomas Nast, “Peace with a War Measure,” Harper’s Weekly, 9 Feb 1878,  
11 - National Archives, Prologue, Winter 1986, Vol. 18, No. 4, “Income Tax Records of the Civil War Years,” Cynthia G. Fox,  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
12 - National Archives, Prologue, Winter 1986, Vol. 18, No. 4, “Income Tax Records of the Civil War Years,” Cynthia G. Fox,  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
13 - Tax Analysts, Tax History Museum: 1861-1865, The Civil War.  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
14 - Charles F. Estee, “The Excise Tax Law. Approved July 1, 1862; and all the Amendments,” paragraph 32, page 48, published 1863, , Accessed December 5, 2014.
15 - Charles F. Estee, “The Excise Tax Law. Approved July 1, 1862; and all the Amendments,” p. 42, published 1863, , Accessed December 5, 2014.
16 – U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918
17 - Charles F. Estee, “The Excise Tax Law. Approved July 1, 1862; and all the Amendments,” published 1863, , Accessed December 5, 2014.
18 - Tax Analysts, Tax History Museum: 1861-1865, The Civil War.  , Accessed December 5, 2014.)
19 - National Archives, Prologue, Winter 1986, Vol. 18, No. 4, “Income Tax Records of the Civil War Years,” Cynthia G. Fox,  , Accessed December 5, 2014.
20 - Tax Analysts, Tax History Museum: 1861-1865, The Civil War.  , Accessed December 5, 2014.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

(LUKE) Zenda the Riveter

Zenda Lang, circa 1942
Zenda Lang reached adulthood shortly after the United States entered World War II.

Zenda “went to work at Lockheed for a while. They taught me how to rivet”—but then, learning that Zenda had epilepsy—“they put me in an office. They taught me how, and then they wouldn't let me do it. They found out about my medical history. They figured that something might happen and I might put in a claim."

After working for Lockheed for about a year and a half, Zenda moved on. She was wiser this time: “So the next place I went as long as I knew how to rivet I just didn't bother to tell them about the rest of it and got along just fine.” For the rest of the war, Zenda was a riveter.

Zenda helped make the P-61 Black Widow. German bombers were more likely to attack under cover of night. The P-61 was the first US night fighter and the first aircraft designed to use radar. With its radar, the P-61 could track and destroy enemy aircraft in complete darkness. 

Northrop P-61 Black Widow
Zenda described her work on the Black Widow: “We put an auxiliary tank on it. Northrop had built it and then this small company in Van Nuys was doing auxiliary work. Put an extra tank on it. I was out on the line, I was the only lady out there, but those men were terrible, a couple of them. Know how to do mechanics, these guys didn’t. Every now and then the boss would yell, ‘Lang, come here and see if you can fix this hole.’ And I’d go over and see if I could plug it up for him.”

Zenda's experience was not unique. Other riveters commented that the men, confident that they could do “men's work,” were less careful and made mistakes more frequently. Furthermore, rivets were often needed in small spaces—spaces that more easily accommodated small females.

Despite the women's skill, the jobs did not last. Zenda relates, “When the war ended in ’45 I was working at Northrop and everybody just laid down their tools and walked away. I mean they all knew that that was the end of the job, except for a few. There was no sense hanging around.” When asked what she did at the end of the war, Zenda replied, “Put my tools down and walked away. When I tried to get another job as a riveter they had their men that had been in the armed services that the jobs were promised to. I mean Congress had passed a law that said they had first choice. So anyway, this cut out quite a few. They said, We don’t care if you did do riveting; these guys have done it much longer, so we’ll keep them.”

As she still required an income, Zenda became a file clerk and later a proofreader. After marrying, she stayed home to raise her children.

Reflecting on her work as a riveter, Zenda said, “I think sometimes women can do things just as well as men. I figure they should be in the home, if they are able to, but it’s nice to know you can do other things too.”


Zenda's quotations are all from an interview conducted by Jerry and Carol Roberts on September 6, 1981.

Information on the P-61 is from the following websites:
· “Nothrop P-61 Black Widow,”  , Accessed 23 December 2014. 
· “Northrop P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter,” , Accessed 23 December 2014. 
· “Northrop P-61C Black Widow,” National Museum of the US Air Force,  , Accessed 23 December 2014. 
· “Northrop P-61 Black Widow,” wikipedia, en.m.wikipedia/wiki/Northrop_P-61_Black_Widow , Accessed 23 December 2014.

Poster is from UNT Digital Library. United States. War Manpower Commission. Women in the war : we can't win without them.  . Accessed 23 December 2014.

Black Widow picture is from wikimedia, P-61 Black Widow category

Saturday, November 29, 2014

(SCOFIELD) Charlotte Abbott and the Indian Raid

Charlotte Freer Allibone, the third of Joseph Allibone and Elizabeth Freear’s nine children, was born January 6, 1808 in Irchester, Northamptonshire, England.1 

Shortly before her 21st birthday, Charlotte married William Abbott.2 He and their ten children were also born in Northamptonshire. Chances were fair that Charlotte, like her parents before her, would spend her entire life within the bounds of one English county.

But faith intervened.

Charlotte and William were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1850. Several of their children also joined the Church in the ensuing years. Brigham Young, the president of the church, once taught that emigration, “upon the first feasible opportunity, directly follows obedience to the first principles of the gospel”.3 Joseph Smith taught that the faithful immigrated, or “gathered,” to Zion “to build unto the Lord an house whereby he could reveal unto his people [temple] ordinances”.4 All faithful Latter-day Saints had a desire to receive temple ordinances. In Charlotte and William’s time, temple ordinances were available in one place: Utah.

During his mortal ministry the Savior taught, “There is no man that hath left house, or…children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time…and in the world to come eternal life”.5 Charlotte and William showed their faith in Him by their works:6 in 1866 they departed for Utah, along with their daughter Mary Ann Elizabeth Abbott George (later Cheshire) and her son William. They sailed from London on May 5, 1866 aboard the Caroline. Of this voyage a contemporary newspaper noted, “the vessel itself being 8½ feet between decks, and possessing many other conveniences and comforts….But… of far greater importance…the people were inspired with the spirit of confidence in their God. One and all looked on the trials and dangers of a sea voyage with unflinching courage, having an assurance that God was their friend…". After five weeks at sea, they “arrived at New York June 11th, and…continued the journey by steamboats and railroad” and wagon train.7 

Passenger list. Charlotte's family are the last 4 on the page. 8
The William Henry Chipman Company consisted of 375 people—including the Abbotts and Mormon historian B. H. Roberts9—and about 60 wagons.  The Company departed Wyoming, Nebraska on July 11, 1866.10
Mormon wagon train circa 1879. 11

Most of the westward journey was typical: a few births and deaths, food made mostly of flour, cold weather and a great deal of walking. However, on August 14th, at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, soldiers stopped the wagon train and related that 100 people had recently been robbed and killed by Indians. And on the 18th “we had trouble with the Indians. We suppose they followed us. We had just corralled, and began to cook our dinners, when the alarm came that the Indians were driving away our cattle. They (the boys) followed them. They got away with ninety-one head and wounded three” oxen. On August 20th the Company “passed Deer Creek. The same day the Indians took our cattle, they took all the possessions of two homes, killed the people and burned their homes”.12 The Indians also burned down Deer Creek Station, a telegraph station and former Pony Express stop.13

Deer Creek Station before its destruction by fire. 14

The company continued on without further incident and “arrived in good condition on the 15th [of September], having made very good time”.15

Charlotte and William settled in Salt Lake City. They were sealed (married for eternity) in the Endowment House on February 23, 1869, obtaining through faith the temple ordinances for which they had trekked 6500 miles16, forsaken home and country, and left family, because they “judged him faithful who had promised”17.



1 - All genealogical information (birth dates and places, baptism and sealing dates, etc.) is from Charlotte's Person ID is KWJ8-TC2

2 - Photo from "Utah, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1847-1868," index and images, FamilySearch( : accessed 29 Nov 2014), William Abbott, ; excerpted from Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah: Comprising Photographs, Genealogies, Biographies (Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Pioneers Books, 1913).

3 - Encyclopedia of Mormonism,

4 - Encyclopedia of Mormonism,

5 - Mark 10:29-30

6 - see James 2:18

7 - Quotes and information in this paragraph from Mormon Migration, 

London to New York

5 May 1866 - 11 Jun 1866

8 - Passenger list from Mormon Migration website,

9 - from 

"Passenger List," Deseret News[Weekly], 26 Sep. 1866, 341

10 - William Henry Chipman Company, Company Detail,

11 - Photo, "Mormon emigrants." Photograph of covered wagon caravan by C. W. Carter ca. 1879. 165-XS-7 , from

12 - Quotes and information in this paragraph from 

Clark, Caroline Hopkins, Diary, in Utah State Historical Society Cache Valley Chapter, Historical resource materials for Cache Valley, Utah-Idaho, 1955-1956, reel 1, item 10.

13 - This is presented on many sites, including

14 - Drawing of Deer Creek Station by a soldier, University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Grace Raymond Hebard Papers, from

15 - from 

"Cap. W. Chipman's Train," Deseret News [Weekly], 19 Sep. 1866, 333.

16 - from Distance Table on Monday June 18 in 

The Diary of William Driver

17 - Hebrews 11:11


Line of descent: 

Charlotte Freer Allibone, 1808-1879
Mary Ann Elizabeth Abbott, 1845-1920
George Cheshire, 1873-1935
Clara Lavon Cheshire, 1915-2007

Thursday, November 20, 2014

(ROBERTS) James Robert Laws

{This is one of four posts about my children's ancestors named James--one James from each grandparent's ancestral line.}

James Robert Laws was born July 12, 1868 in Joliet, Illinois to James Laws and Mary Ann Lowe. In the 1870s, James's family moved to Kansas. 

Location of Kansas in the United States, from wikipedia 

James married Sarah Elizabeth White on November 2, 1887. 

Sarah Elizabeth White Laws in her later years

They had 9 children. 

7 of the 9 Laws children
Kline, Eva, Silas, Nina, Homer, Anna, Charles
Not pictured: Maude, Curtis

James settled his family in Coffey County. 

Location of Coffey County in Kansas, from wikipedia 

Around 1900, he purchased land in Pleasant Township, an area of 68 square miles, populated, in 1900, by 1200 people. (The population has since consistently declined; it is now about 250.) 

Location of Pleasant Township in Coffey County,

James appears to have owned 80 acres, located in Township 21 S, Range 14 E, Section 7. 

Location of Section 7 in 1901 plat map. James's
land is in the center labeled J R Laws

Location of Section 7 in 1919 plat map. James's
land is in the center labeled J R Laws

James continued on this farm until his death in September 1945. 

James's death certificate 

James's obituary
from the Emporia Gazette, Sep 10, 1945


Line of descent:
James Robert Laws, born 1868
Eva Irene Laws, born 1892
Dolores Mae Peters, born 1927



1 -,_Coffey_County,_Kansas
2 -,_Kansas
3 -
4 -

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

(SMITH) James Greaves

{This is one of four posts about my children's ancestors named James--one James from each grandparent's ancestral line.}

James Greaves was born in 1773 in Shaw, Lancashire, England. He married Betty Buckley; they had two daughters. 

James's life spanned a time of local transition. Shaw had previously been so small that "going to Shaw was synonymous with going to church as there was not much else there." At that time "the area was sparsely populated and consisted of woods, moors and bogs." Shaw, with poor soil and rugged terrain better suited to sheep grazing than farming, had long been dependent on woolen manufacture.  Though wool was the foundation of the local economy, international demand was growing for a different clothing fiber: cotton. 

As it turned out, Shaw's damp climate was ideal for spinning cotton; it kept the cotton threads from drying and breaking. When James was 10, a cotton mill was built in the area. When James was 20, there were a dozen mills and Shaw's population had at least doubled. 

As is often the case, change was not completely welcome. To encourage and support wool production during the transition decades, there was a law in Shaw that the bodies of the deceased had to be dressed in woolen clothing. Nevertheless, the area became increasingly dedicated to industrialized cotton spinning and textile manufacture. 

James's grandchildren were born during a time of conflict as hand loom weavers faced the reality that they could not work as fast as machines. There was even a local riot during which many power looms were smashed. Despite the violence, progress and mechanization marched on, and Shaw was solidly a mill town for the next 150 years. 


Line of descent:

James Greaves, born 1773

Ann Greaves, born 1799
Alice Greaves Hurst, born 1819
Asa Brigham Scoville, born 1861
Lucia Naomi Scoville, born 1889
Alice Zemp, born 1925



1 -  The quotes are from this website. 

2 - 
3 -
4 - person ID LZFD-7P8

Thursday, November 6, 2014

(LUKE) James Kirkman

{This is one of four posts about my children's ancestors named James--one James from each grandparent's ancestral line.}

James Kirkman was born October 8, 1823 at Breightmet Fold, Lancashire, England, the son of John Kirkman and Ellen Lomax. His baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on November 21, 1843 makes him our children's only "James" ancestor who was also Mormon. He attended the Bolton, Manchester, England Conference and was branch president for years. 

James married Mary Haslam on October 29, 1843 in Middleton Parish, Ainsworth, Lancashire, England. They had 12 children. The Kirkmans lived in a rowhouse in the village of Darcy Lever, near Bolton. According to James's granddaughter, peace, joy, and love abounded in his home. Their family were the only Mormons in the village of about 1,000 people. 

James was a miner--presumably a coal miner. His children worked in a nearby mill (almost certainly a cotton mill) from an early age. James died on February 27, 1874 at Darcy Lever, Lancashire, England. Many of his children later emigrated to the United States. 


Line of descent:

James Kirkman, born 1823
Ann Kirkman, born 1850
Sarah Jane Howarth, born 1882
Russell Victor Luke, born 1905


-, Membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848
- "Utah Pioneer Ann Kirkman,"
-Darcy Lever population from

Monday, October 6, 2014

(SCOFIELD) James Clayton

{This is one of four posts about my children's ancestors named James--one James from each grandparent's ancestral line.}

According to, James Clayton was born around 1780. In 1798, he married Elizabeth Price. Their 8 children were born in North Carolina in the early 1800s.

At that time, North Carolina was sparsely populated. The State consisted principally of farms and very small towns. The majority of North Carolinians, probably including the Claytons, were not slaveholders. There was little industry—raw goods were typically processed out of state. There were no public schools.1 

The State lacked good roads, many farmers used outdated practices, and poverty and ignorance flourished.2 

North Carolina made so little progress during this era that it became known as the “Rip Van Winkle State.”3

During the first half of the 19th Century, many people emigrated from North Carolina “due to a struggling economy, indifference to education, resistance to taxation for any reason, and general backwardness.”4 “In 1834 a Raleigh newspaper reported that 'our roads are thronged with emigrants to a more favored Country.'”5  

Despite all this, the James Clayton family remained. James's descendants lived in the State for several generations, and his posterity, including his 6th great grandson, are thriving today.

Line of descent:
James Clayton, born 1780
Deborah Clayton, born 1803
Susan Myrick, born 1826
Mary Elizabeth Shearin, born 1851
Claudia Helen Reid, born 1889
Clara Lavon Cheshire, born 1915


1 -
2 -
3 - 
4 -
5 -

Sunday, July 13, 2014

(ROBERTS) Jerry and the Rhubarb

One night in the 1950s, or thereabouts, little Jerry Roberts was walking home. 

El Monte area, California

His family lived on Fawcett Ave in South El Monte, California. Although the area is now urban, at the time it was surrounded by fields and a hog farm called Durfee's Ranch.

South El Monte, showing Legg Lake and Fawcett Ave (the red marker)
Notice also Durfee Ave, named after the ranch that used to be in the area
As Jerry walked home, he noticed the fields of rhubarb near Legg Lake. He happened to have a grocery bag with him, and he happened to like rhubarb, so he started to pick some.

Next thing he knew, a cop was pulling over. 

"What are you doing?" the officer asked. 

"I'm just picking some rhubarb," Jerry replied. 

"You can't do that," he was told.

Reminiscing on the story 50 years later, he added, "I don't think I even got to pick any" before the cop arrived.

The family larder was not filled that night, but a simple story was created that has become a beloved part of my family's lore.

Little Jerry Roberts :)
Don, Jack, Jerry, and Diana Roberts at their Uncle Curtis Laws' house,
circa 1954

Thursday, June 26, 2014

(SMITH) Alice Zemp's border crossings

Before officially immigrating to the United States, Alice Zemp visited several times. From her home in Alberta, she traveled to Utah to see her sister, Cleo.

Records of her border crossing can be found on Apart from naming her parents, traveling companions, and destination, the documents also list fun details such as height (5 ft 1.5 in), distinguishing marks (wears glasses), father's Canadian naturalization date (Oct. 1927), and her LDS blessing date (Jul 5, 1925).

I've attached the images below for your perusal. A map of the locations mentioned is at the bottom. Enjoy!

This immigration card gives information about 2 of Alice's siblings'
admission as US citizens. It also provides information about Alice's
blessing in the LDS Church.

This immigration card includes information about Alice's father's Canadian naturalization.

The map below shows Alice's border crossings in 1940 and 1945.
Babb and Sweet Grass were ports of entry in Montana.
Lethbridge and Raymond are in Alberta, Canada.
Ogden and Spanish Fork are in Utah.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

(LUKE) Thoughts on a new baby

In October 1923, Jennie Constance Adamson married Rudolph Edwin Lang. A few months later, her brother, George, departed for a two-year LDS mission to England. George and Jennie exchanged letters while he was gone. Perhaps the most interesting letter George wrote, penned in September 1924, was in response to a letter informing him that he was now an uncle.

"So I am an uncle eh! Well I could be worse things. Congratulations and my love to both of you and the baby. From what I can gather from your letter and mother's, it certainly must be a very fine, wonderful and pretty baby. If it looks anything at all like its uncle George it certainly is a good looking child. ... I'll bet you that it isn't one-half as fine as I will have when I get married? Of course it must be a fine baby, but then a man with a wonderful Physical body such as mine is bound to have better children than a man with a constitution such as Rudolph's. Now my wife will be better looking than Jen. ...
"All foolishness aside I think that it must be a very fine baby and I only wish that I could be there to see it. If you are ever in doubt as to how to fetch it up why just ask me and I will tell you. The care of babies is just my line."

Although it is doubtful that Jennie asked her 20-year-old bachelor brother for parenting advice, she must have enjoyed his letter, which was written in his usual humorous tone. And she certainly enjoyed her new baby: Zenda Constance Lang.

Zenda Lang, 1924