Tragic Accidents

(Note: I’ve missed a few weeks in the series. The prompt for the first week in April was “The Maiden Aunt,” but I wrote about my only maiden aunt in week four. For the last two weeks, “Storms” and “Taxes,” I didn’t have anyone who fit into these prompts individually. However, combined with this week’s prompt, “Cemetery,” two candidates presented themselves.)

Arnold and Milton

Two of my uncles, each a brother of my paternal grandparents, died tragically at a young age. Those deaths sent these young men to an early grave, and created taxing times and emotional storms for their survivors. My grandparents named their second son after them: Milton Arnold Rohleder. Continue reading

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The Old Homestead

1921 Camp Greene Street

The usual image that pops into my mind when I think of “old homestead” (this week’s prompt) is an expanse of land upon which stands a house that one family has occupied for generations. Well, that doesn’t apply to my family. The only one close is the old O’Brien home, and that was a different branch from my direct ancestors. My choice is the house where I spent the first ten years of my life. Continue reading

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Led Astray by His Brother?

Mortimer Emerson Rohleder

My great-granduncle’s first bit of misfortune (this week’s prompt) came at birth when he was given the name Mortimer. Poor guy. At least he went by his middle name, but you know at the beginning of each school year the teacher called out for “Mortimer” not realizing the kid called himself Emerson. Continue reading

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Lucky in Life

Henry Clontz Severs

Uncle Henry’s luck began before he was born. His parents immigrated from Germany when his mother was pregnant with Henry. She survived the voyage and Henry was born aboard ship just before reaching the harbor in Charleston, South Carolina, on 2 November 1842. Heinrich Harn Severs (1818-1878) and Mette Marie Bruns (1815-1875) started their life in America with Henry’s birth, followed by four more children born in Charleston before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, around 1850 (after daughter Mary’s birth). Two more children were born in Charlotte. Continue reading

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Strength of Character

Lessie Cleveland Culberson

Aunt Lessie in 1942

Aunt Lessie married my maternal grandfather’s brother Robert Lee McKenzie and they raised two sons. Unlike numerous women of her generation, she worked outside the home—first as a school teacher in various elementary schools, and then as a principal. This week’s prompt is “Strong Woman” in recognition of Women’s History Month. Even though Lessie isn’t my blood kin, her strength of character made her a perfect choice. Continue reading

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It’s Not a Tree

The O’Brien Mess

There were other families. People with surnames like Casey, Livingston, McDonald, and Terry. But Sarah Louise O’Brien and Bryant Lovin had eyes only for each other. Their parents may have tried to dissuade them. They probably shared some mutual interests. One thing they definitely shared was a grandfather. And as the old saying goes: Where there’s a will… (this week’s prompt). Continue reading

Posted in 52Ancestors, Casey, Dawkins, Gibson, Livingston, Lovin, O'Brien, Webb | 1 Comment

Sweet Sixteen

Myrtle Odessa Primm

Front and back of Myrtle’s watch.

Even in 1913 this was an auspicious birthday. On 18 January of that year Myrtle Primm received a gold watch. Octagonal in shape with a round face, the watch has delicate carvings, and her initials are engraved on the back in fine script. When I was sixteen, the watch passed to me. Although the watch no longer keeps time and the band is broken, I still wear it, hanging from a chain, on special occasions. It’s one of my few heirlooms (this week’s prompt). Continue reading

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High School Sweethearts

Audrey Hichman Rohleder & Norvell Wordsworth Page

A Valentine prompt for Valentine week.

They met in school. Her father was a lawyer; his father was an advertising agent. His family was well-off; her family did well enough. His family didn’t approve of her family, but that didn’t stop Audrey and Norvell. When Norvell went off to the College of William & Mary, he missed Audrey terribly and eloped with her his first year there. His family didn’t find out until much later—Norvell left a series of letters with his roommate to be mailed home weekly. Continue reading

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The Old Home Church

Note: This week’s prompt is favorite name, but since my favorite name coincided with my favorite picture, I decided to write about…

Uaine Lochan

Green Lake United Methodist Church in 2015

Say that three times fast! Back in 1854 no one could even say it once slowly, so they dropped the proposed Irish name for the new church they were building and used the English instead: Green Lake. My third great-grandfather, Dennis O’Brien (1819-1886) is the one who wanted to use the Irish. He and his brother John Jackson O’Brien (b. 1816) helped to build the church, and it’s still a thriving parish. Continue reading

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Dad of the Dear Old

Jack Carlton Rohleder

Jack Rohleder

“No son of mine is going to be named Earl!” My grandmother was adamant. She knew she wanted to name him Carlton, but wasn’t sure what to put with it. My grandfather was pushing for yet another son to be named after his deceased brother, Milton Earl (the first was Milton Arnold, named after two deceased brothers, one from each of the parents). Continue reading

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