JFK Assassination: My Memories

File:John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpg

When I was sixteen, I kept a journal.  Here is what I wrote in my journal about the assassination of President Kennedy as things happened.  Keep in mind that this is written by a sixteen year old girl.  Some of the things we know about the assassination today were not known then.  I tried to transcribe it as it was written.  We only had four channels on TV at that time and all four ran nothing but the assassination.  There was no Internet, no VCR’s, no electronic games and businesses and stores were closing.  There was not much to do except watch TV.  There was no escaping the assassination.  So here is my account of the Kennedy assassination.

It was Friday, November 22, 1963.  I went to school that day like any other day. It was raining and my hair was almost straight from the weather.  All morning long I worried about how my hair looked.  On my way to English class I stopped at the washroom to comb my hair.  I left my comb at home and this made it a terrible day.  I went to English class, and in English we were to write a detective story.  The crime I picked was murder.  I had decided on this several days before when we were told we had to write a detective story.  My story would be the “Murder of Mrs. Jones”.  Sounds real exciting doesn’t it?  Well don’t laugh because I’m not too intelligent.  Little did I know that while I was creating a rough draft of the story, that the biggest murder in the county had taken place.  It was a murder that would affect me and millions of other people.  I was not yet aware of this murder, and not many people in the school were aware of it.  Almost each person found out in their own little way.  Here is the way I found out.  On the way to the school library, a bulletin came over the intercom and said, “President Kennedy has been shot and killed.”  I just about fainted and couldn’t believe it was true.  I met my friends in the library, and we talked about this terrible thing for a while.  But since the library was a place to be quiet, we had to be quiet.  We had to study or do anything as long as we were quiet.  I opened a book of Poe’s short stories and stared at it.  I sat there thinking of our now late president.  Some kids were crying.  At that moment, I couldn’t cry.  I don’t know why, but all I do know is I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked!  I read time after time about Lincoln’s assassination. But that was 100 years ago.  This is today, this year, this century, this is 1963 and our country. This horrible thing is true and could happen here.  I was sitting in school and all I knew was the president was shot and dead.  Suddenly, my hair didn’t matter anymore. I struggled through seventh hour not doing any work. After school, I went to meet my mother who was picking me up from school.  On the way home we talked about the assassination.  When I got home, I turned on the TV to fill me in on what had happened. The president and Mrs. Kennedy were riding through a Dallas street in an open car with the Texas Governor and his wife.  They were worried that Kennedy wouldn’t get a good response in Texas. The crowds were good.  The governor’s wife turned to the president and said, “You can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you now Mr. President.”  Just then a shot rang out and the president slumped in Mrs. Kennedy’s arms.  Another shot came and the Governor was shot.  Still another shot came and the president was shot again.  The police were holding a man they thought killed President Kennedy.  His name is Lee Harvey Oswald.  Oswald was in a building on the 5th floor and shot President Kennedy with a high power rifle.  I cried when I heard all this on TV maybe because now it seemed real.

The President unconscious from the first bullet was in Mrs. Kennedy’s arms and her pink suit was splattered with blood.  We saw Vice President Johnson take the presidential oath on the presidential plane with his wife on one side and Mrs. Kennedy on the other side.  They arrived at the airport in Washington DC. and an ambulance met them to take the presidents body to the hospital.  Attorney General Robert Kenned was there to meet Mrs. Kennedy.  They got into the ambulance and went to the hospital.  The president’s body was taken to the White House during the night.

I think it is just terrible that a young man’s life can be taken so horribly.  The president, 46 years old, using his life in such a useful way.  I feel sorry for Mrs. Kennedy only 34 and her two young children, Caroline to be 6 next Wednesday and John Jr. to be 3 on Monday, the day of the funeral.

Friday night I entertained myself by baking a cake and cutting my hair.  I went to bed that night trying to forget about the horrible thing that had happened that day. How do you forget the assassination of the President of the United States?  You just don’t that’s all.  I finally got to sleep and woke up Saturday morning wishing it was a dream.

By Saturday night they said they clinched the case.  Lee Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy.  By the way Governor of Texas lived but was seriously injured.   My friend, Ginny, and I sat in my house and read the early edition of the Sunday paper.  After Ginny left, I broke up something terrible.  I cried and I cried over again.

I said all kinds of things about Oswald perhaps is shouldn’t have said.  They said that he wanted to get citizenship in Russia and after not being able to obtain it, he got a government loan for he and his Russian wife to come to the United States.  I wondered out loud what in the world was wrong with our government for letting people like this back into the United States.  Oswald gave papers out about communism and Cuba and Castro.  If all this was so wonderful, why didn’t he stay in Russia or Cuba, probably because they didn’t want him.  It isn’t fair that because some goof who wants to be a communist decides to pull his trigger finger that our president is dead.

In the 1960 election I wasn’t for Kennedy.  My parents were for Nixon and since I lived in a republican town most of my friends were for Nixon, and I was too.  One man made a record called First Family.  The record was goofy and hilarious. I enjoyed it tremendously.  Right now I don’t know that I will ever play it again. One thing I didn’t realize was that in the 3 years Kennedy had been president was how much I had come to respect him.

I went to bed Saturday night dead tired and went right to sleep.  Not having any idea of course what the next two days would bring.

Sunday morning I got up not wanting to turn on the TV.  I knew what would be on and I just couldn’t bear to hear it.  I could never explain how depressed this assassination depressed me.  I felt like something had died in me.  My heart felt broken and I just couldn’t bring myself to believe it was true.  I have never lived through anything so horrible in my entire life.

I don’t know what time it was when we turned on TV,  but when we did finally turn it on they were talking about another shooting.  Then the announcer said that the accused assassin of President Kennedy was shot.  They didn’t yet have the name of the man that did it.  The police were holding and questioning the man that shot Oswald.   A little while later the announcer said they have the name of the man that shot Oswald.  The man’s name is Jack Rubinstein.  He goes by Ruby and owns a night club and runs another on in Dallas, Texas.

For the next two hours we didn’t hear anything about the Oswald shooting because they were taking President Kennedy’s body from the White House to the Capital Building.  The president’s body is to lie in state in the rotunda of the Capital Building.

They took the late president’s body from the White House for the last time and put it on a caisson.   Behind the caisson rode Mrs. Kennedy and the president’s two brothers in a black limousine.  A few blocks before they reached the capital building, Mrs. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy walked behind the caisson to the Capital building.  Inside the Capital Building Mrs. Kenned and the Kennedy Family stood there along with other people while some men gave speeches.  Mrs. Kennedy stood there with John Jr. on one side and Caroline on the other side.  I praise her very much for keeping her children with her and no one else.  John got restless and they had to take him out, but what three year old wouldn’t get restless.  Caroline stood there like a little angel.  When all these men finished talking, Mrs. Kennedy and the children walked out and family followed.  They say people were lined up for five miles to view the president’s body.

Sunday night I talked to my friends Ginny and Carla on the phone, and I finally did my homework, part of it anyway.  I was in no mood for recopying “The Murder of Mrs. Jones”.  I was wondering if we were going to have school on Monday.  President Johnson declared Monday a National Day of Mourning.  I finally found out no school on Monday.  Everything was closing on Monday.  Since Friday, there have been no entertaining programs on TV and no advertisements all in respect for President Kennedy.  I don’t think I mentioned that Oswald died almost to the minute that President Kennedy died on Friday.

Monday was finally here and I got up and watched the funeral.  First they took the President Kennedy to the White House.  At the White House Mrs. Kennedy, Robert and Edward Kennedy got out of the car and walked behind the caisson to the church.  Behind the Kennedy’s, President Johnson and his family and dignitaries from other countries walked. They were surrounded by Secret Service men.  It looked like the Secret Service wasn’t taking any chances.  Oswald broke through the tightest barrier of Secret Service Men.  When the president is on parade, they check the street sewers and man hole covers for bombs, they check the buildings and the people along the parade route.  They check people who have made threats and lock them up while the President is in town if it is necessary.  If the president is going to dinner, they check the food, waiters, and guests. They memorize a 1000 page book of faces so they can pick people out of a crowd.  If they know the bullets are coming they are to throw themselves in front of the president and take the bullets meant for the president. If they don’t think the pay is worth it or don’t want to give up their life they can go into fifteen other branches of the Secret Service.  If any of these men knew that the bullets were coming, there is no doubt they would have done what was necessary.  Oswald had a high power rifle that released bullet faster than any human could move.

When they got to the church everyone filed in and they brought the casket into the church.  They had low mass.  Nixon the former vice president and Kennedy’s challenger in the 1960 election was there, and also former presidents Eisenhower and Truman.  They left the church and went to Arlington National Cemetery.  The president is getting a hero’s grave.  He got a Purple Heart during World War II for his performance when his P.T. boat was bombed.  When he was a senator he was hospitalized for an old back injury he received while playing football at Harvard.  While he was in the hospital, he wrote a book Profiles in Courage for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1957.  When they got to Arlington National Cemetery, Cardinal Cushing went through some religious things I don’t understand.  Speeches were made and the band struck up the National Anthem.  Jets flew over, one for each state, and then the presidential plane flew over alone.  Cardinal Cushing said a prayer and then there was a 21 gun salute.  The flag that was over the coffin for the past four days was folded and presented to Mrs. Kennedy.  Mrs. Kennedy stepped forward and lit the eternal flame.  She left and the family followed.  Each person then stepped up to the grave and paid their respects to the late President Kennedy.

Well, it was all over now.  Mrs. Kennedy went through it with great dignity.  She realized that being the wife of a President all eyes were on her.  She knew it would go down in history books.  She did her duties with dignity and gave everyone the spirit they needed.

I know I will never forget this as long as I live.  This tragedy will bring tears to my eyes and emptiness in my heart for a long time.  I will always respect and remember President John Fitzgerald Kennedy 35th President of the United States, 1917-1963, assassinated November 22, 1963.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Bowers Family 1757-1955 (part 2)

Church in EnglandSt. Clements Church and Graveyard

Bonnet Bowers was born in West Acre, Norfolk, England about October 12, 1795.[1]  On April 27, 1822 he married Eliza Linford in Terrington-St Clements Norfolk, England.[2]  Eliza was a widow according to their marriage record, and had a son William Linford[3] from her previous marriage.  You can read about William in my blog post Finding Brother William dated 11/24/2012.  Bonnet and Eliza had four children Richard born 1822[4], Robert born 1825[5], Eliza born in 1827[6] and Charles born in 1828.[7] All the children were born in Terrington-St Clements, Norfolk, England.[8]  The daughter, Eliza, died when she was less than 3 days old and was buried in Terrington-St. Clements, Norfolk, England[9] along with her mother Eliza, who was also buried in Terrington-St. Clements, Norfolk, England on January 22, 1831.[10]

The population of Terrington-St Clements in 1801 was 824.[11]   “In AD 970 Godric gifted part of the lands of Turrintonea to the monks of Ramsey Abbey. The name Terrington comes from the early Saxon “Tun” meaning enclosure or homestead of Tir(a)s people. The settlement is referred to in the Domesday Book as Tilinghetuna.  By the medieval period the small settlement which began on raised ground on the edge of the marsh had grown substantially. The magnificent Parish Church, dedicated to St Clement (i.e. Pope Clement I), known as the “Cathedral of the Marshland”, was built in the 14th century by Edmund Gonville, Rector of Terrington, who founded Gonville Hall (now Gonville and Caius College) at Cambridge University.”[12]

“During the 1840’s Social problems dominated the economic and scene.  The first part of the decade was referred to as the “hungry forties”.  Food prices were high.  A depression threw people out of work.  By 1842 fifteen percent of the population received public assistance and many more received assistance from charities.  In the late 1840’s a new prosperity arose because of the technological revolution and the coming of the railways.”[13]

By 1841 Bonnet Bowers is found living in Stockport, MacClesfield, Cheshire, England along with sons Richard, Robert, and Charles.[14]   Bonnet Bowers was an agricultural laborer.[15]  This means that he was one of the poor working class and earned just enough money to stay alive.  Because manual labor was so physically demanding, men were paid the most during their 20’s when they were in peak physical condition.  After that their pay would go down as they got older.[16]

Women worked as domestic servants, did needlework, midwife, cooking, and many, many more jobs.  Some women even worked in the coal mines until 1842 when the practice of using women underground to haul sledge and coal ended, however women continued to work above ground sorting and loading coal.  Other physical jobs women held during this time were brick making, chain making, and collecting trash from city streets. [17]

The children started working very young and had little schooling.  Some children started working as early as three or four year of age.  In general most children were working by the time they were nine years old.[18]  With the children working the family might be able to accumulate a little savings which they would need once the children married and set up their households.  By the time the children married, the poor food and hard labor weakened the parent’s health.  If they lived to be very old they might end their days in a workhouse unless their children earned enough to take care of them.[19]

The countryside, laborers’ cottage was one or two rooms and the floor was dirt (packed tight) or paving stones.  The cottage was furnished with a table, chairs, cupboard, a shelf, and one or two beds.  Food was cooked over an open fire in a large fireplace.  All eating, sleeping and living were done in a single room.  Sometimes a curtain was pulled for privacy.  The tables sometimes were not big enough for the whole family to sit around.  It was not uncommon for children to be sent elsewhere to sleep, perhaps with an older couple, whose family was grown so teenagers of opposite sex would not have to share beds.[20]

Since Bonnet Bowers and his family were very likely poor, his children might not have had much time to play because they were working. If they had time to play as children, they played with whatever was available at little or no expense.  Games were outdoor running and chasing, and hide and seek.  Purchased toys such as tops and rubber balls were special treats brought home from a fair or put into a Christmas stocking.[21]

Bonnet came to the United States in 1851 with his son Charles.[22]  He lived in Onondaga, Onondaga, New York with his son Robert.[23]  Bonnet died on February 9, 1871 in the town of Onondaga, New York.[24]

 

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst
_________________________________

[1] Baptism for Bonnet Tomas Bowers baptized 12 October 1795; Church of England.  Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm #2262704 item 9 Page 276; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah 2001.

[2]  Marriage Record for Bonnet Bowers and Eliza Linford married 27 April 1822; Register of Marriages in the Parish of Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; 1813-1838 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 item 2; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[3] Baptism for William Linford, 28 August 1811; Terrington-St. Slement, Norfolk England: Parish Register Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812 Item 2; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs., filmed 26 July 1988, Film Number 13640109, film unit # 2161 NCD 2 Roll # 5.

[4] Baptism Record for Richard Bowers baptized 20 April 1822; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[5] Baptism Record for Robert Bowers baptized 25 February 1825; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[6] Baptism Record for Eliza Bowers baptized 10 June 1827; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[7] Baptism for Charles Bowers baptized on 2 October 1828; Register of Baptisms in the Parish of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; 1813 – 1841 manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 3; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[8] See footnotes 4 – 7.

[9] Burial record for Eliza Bowers (daughter of Bonnet & Eliza Bowers) buried on 21 June 1827. Church of England, Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Terrrington St. Clements Parish Register Burials 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 8; Utah:  filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[10] Burial record for Eliza Bowers (wife of Bonnet Bowers) buried on 22 January 1831. Church of England, Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Terrrington St. Clements Parish Register Burials 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 8; Utah:  filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[11] http://visionofbritain.org.uk Vision of Britain website.

[13] Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 5.

[14] Ancestry.com. 1841 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.  Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841.Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841.  Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. Class: HO107; Piece 109; Book: 8; Civil Parish: Stockport; County: Cheshire; Enumeration District: 8; Folio: 19; Page: 33; Line: 4; GSU roll: 241242.

[15] Ancestry.com. 1841 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.  Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841.Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1841.  Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. Class: HO107; Piece 109; Book: 8; Civil Parish: Stockport; County: Cheshire; Enumeration District: 8; Folio: 19; Page: 33; Line: 4; GSU roll: 241242.

[16]  Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 18 – 20.

[17] Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 47-48.

[18] Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 43 – 44.

[19] Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 20.

[20] Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 114.

[21] Sally Mitchell, Dailey Life in Victorian England (Westport Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 229.

[22] Year: 1851; Arrival: New York, United States; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm roll M237_107; Line: 26; List number: 1664. Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[23] Year: 1860; Census Place: Onondaga, Onondaga, New York; Roll: M653_829; Page: 579; Image: 370; Family History Library Film: 803829.

[24] Syracuse Standard (Syracuse, Onondaga Co., New York) Death Notice for a Burnett (sp) Bowers.

 

Bowers Family 1757 – 1955 (Part 1)

I’ve written a family history on the Bowers Family (my grandmother’s paternal side) covering almost 200 years from 1757 – 1947.  I am posting it on my blog in installments.  Here is the first installment starting with my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather and Grandmother.

The Bowers’ Family History starts out in Westacre, Norfolk, England with Charles Bowers born about 1757[1] and Sarah Bonnet born about 1757[2] and the birth of their first child, Charles in 1781.[3]  The first son Charles may have died as a young child because Charles and Sarah have another child born in 1784 named Charles[4] followed by John in 1786,[5] William in 1788,[6] Richard in 1790,[7] twins Mary and Sarah in 1792,[8] Mary in 1793,[9] Bonnet Thomas in 1795,[10] another Sarah in 1797,[11] Robert in 1801,[12] and Thomas in 1802.[13]  The Twin daughters Mary and Sarah died when they were about two months old.[14] [15] Their son Robert died in 1804,[16] daughter Sarah died in 1805,[17] and son Thomas in 1819[18]. In total they had 12 children and four (possibly five) died at a young age.  The two Charles’, John, William, Richard, Mary, Sarah, Mary, Bonnet, and Sarah were born in Westacre, Norfolk, England.[19] Robert and Thomas were born in Terrington-St. Clements, Norfolk, England.[20] The twins Mary and Sarah are buried in Westacre, Norfolk England.[21] Robert, Sarah, and Thomas are buried in Terrington-St. Clements, Norfolk, England.[22]  Sarah Bonnet Bowers died at age 69 and was buried on February 1, 1826 in Terrington-St. Clements.[23]  Charles lived to the ripe old age of 81 and was buried January 16, 1839 in Terrington-St. Clements.[24]

 

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] Burial record for Charles Bowers buried on January 16, 1838 age 81; Church of England. Parish Church Terrington-St. Clements, Norfolk, England; Register of Burials in the Parish of Terrington-St. Clements in the County of Norfolk (England); Burials Volume 3, 1813 – 1856; Manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Page 113; microfilmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England.

[2] Burial record for Sarah Bowers (Wife of Charles Bowers) buried on February 1, 1826 age 69; Church of England. Parish Church Terrington-St. Cements, Norfolk, England. Register of Burials in the Parish of Terrington-St. Clements in the County of Norfolk (England) Burials Volume 3, 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Page 54; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England.

[3] Baptism record for Charles Bowers baptized 26 October 1781; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm #2262704 Item 8, Page 256; Salt Lake City, Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[4] Baptism record for Charles Bowers baptized 07 January 1784; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England;  Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 887920; Salt Lake City, Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[5] Baptism record for John Bowers baptized 22 January 1786; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 2262704; Item 9 Page 272; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[6] Baptism record for William Bowers Baptized 03 August 1788; Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 2262704; Item 9 Page 272; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City Utah, 2001.

[7] Baptism record for Richard Bowers baptized 26 October 1790; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 2262704; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City Utah, 2001.

[8] Baptism record for Mary and Sarah Bowers baptized 13 January 1792; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 2262704 Item 9 Page 274; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[9] Baptism for Mary Bowers baptized 23 September 1793; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 887920; Salt Lake City, Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[10] Baptism for Bonnet Thomas Bowers baptized 12 October 1795; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm 2262704 Item 9 Page 276; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[11] Baptism for Sarah Bowers baptized 30 December 1797; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm #2262704 Item 9 Page 276; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[12] Baptism for Robert Bowers Baptized 22 March 1801; Church of England. Parish Church Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers 1598 – 1964; manuscript on microfilm # 1546346 Item 2; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England.

[13] Baptism for Thomas Bowers Baptized 24 January 1802; Church of England. Parish Church Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812; manuscript on microfilm # 13640109 Item 2; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England.

[14] Burial record for Mary Bowers (born 13 January 1792); Died on 11 March 1792; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm #2262704 Item 9 Page 283; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001

[15] Burial record for Sarah Bowers (born 13 January 1792); Died on March 6, 1792; Church of England. Parish Church of Westacre, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers for Westacre 1665 – 1903; manuscript on microfilm #2262704 Item 9 Page 283; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001.

[16] Burial record for Robert Bowers died on 04 July 1804; Church of England.  Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Parish Registers Baptisms—Burials 1772-1812;  manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 2; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England.

[17] Burial record for Sarah Bowers (born abt. 30 December 1797) died in 1804; Church of England.  Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Parish Registers Baptisms—Burials 1772-1812;  manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 2; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England.

[18] Burial record for Thomas Bowers (born 24 January 1802) buried 16 April 1819; Church of England, Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Terrrington St. Clements Parish Register Burials 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 8; Utah:  filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[19] See footnotes 3 – 15.

[20] See footnotes 11 & 13.

[21] See footnotes 15 & 16.

[22] See footnotes 17, 18, 19.

[23] Burial record for Sarah Bowers (born abt. 1757) buried 8 February 1826; ; Church of England, Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England;  Terrrington St. Clements Parish Register Burials 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 8; Utah:  filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

[24] Burial Record for Charles Bowers (born abt 1757)buried 16 January 1838; Church of England, Parish Church of Terrington St. Clements, Norfolk, England; Terrington St. Clements Parish Register Burials 1813 – 1856; manuscript on microfilm #13640109 Item 8; Utah: filmed by the Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah 1988 at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Cambrigeshire, England

 

Finding Great Grandpa

Finding my great-grandfather Isidor George Manfroid was a search that took me years to solve.  It seemed that sometimes he used Isidor and sometimes he used George, but not together.  Also my father knew next to nothing about his grandfather.  He knew his name was George, but he didn’t remember him except that he thought he went to his funeral when he was 3 or 4 years old.  My father thought he was born in Germany, and that his grandparents had divorced.  It was with these skimpy facts that I was finally able to find my Great Grandfather. For years I didn’t know if Isidor and George was the same person. I was pretty sure, but could not prove it until I found his marriage to my great-grandmother where he is listed as G. Isidor Manfroid.

Here is the story of Isidor George Manfroid.

Isidor (George) was born on May 22, 1855 in Siegburg, Rheinland, Pruessen to Felix Joseph Manfroid and Elisabeth Kelterbach.[1]  Isidor George Manfroid left Germany around 1877 and came to the United States.[2]  George’s occupation was an iron molder.[3] I do not know how George found his job in iron molding, or why he came to the U.S., but  he may have come due to economic conditions in Germany, or to escape being conscripted in the German military service.[4]

It seems that sometimes my great-grandfather went by George, and sometimes by Isidor.  In 1885 Isidor married Sophie Ahrens in Chicago, Illinois.[5]  In 1886 Sophie died.[6]  In 1889 George appears to be living in Cleveland, Ohio.[7]  Cleveland was the home to Mary Fiderius, her parents, and bothers, and sisters.[8]  Mary was the fist child born to Peter Fiderius and Christina Oberdoester on July 1, 1870 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[9]  By 1878 Mary and her family were living in Cleveland, Ohio[10].  In 1889 her father, Peter, worked for the Cleveland Malleable Iron Company as a general labor.[11]  The Cleveland Iron Malleable Company was located at Platt Avenue and East 79th Street[12].  In 1890 George is listed as living on Platt Avenue and his occupation is listed as molder.[13]  I believe that he probably worked for Cleveland Malleable Iron Company too.  It is presumed that George and Mary met because they lived near each other, or her father knew George through work.  George was 14 years older than Mary, and I wonder how Mary’s parents felt about the age difference.  I don’t know George’s religion, but Mary was Catholic.[14] George and Mary were married in 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio,[15] but by December they were living in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where their first child, Laura was born.[16]  It appears that Laura did not live long.  She does not appear in the 1900 census.[17]   Around 1892 they moved to Toledo, Ohio, and their son also named George was born January 1, 1892 in Toledo.[18]  In 1894 they are back in Cleveland,[19] in 1898 they moved back to Toledo,[20] and in 1900 they move to Chicago.[21] During the 1890’s three more children, Christina, Felix Philip, and Isidor were born.[22]  The son Isidor only lived to be two and half years old.[23]   During this time, it is presumed that George probably worked for Cleveland Malleable since they also had plants in Toledo, and Chicago.[24]  It is possible of course that he worked for another company that made iron.  After 1903 they moved again out of Chicago,[25] and I believe they may have moved to one of the Chicago suburbs. In 1901 they had another son, Arthur Anton[26] and another son Theodore was born in 1904.[27]

Sometime between 1904 and 1910 George and Mary divorced.  The exact date and reason for the divorce are not known at this time.  I believe it to be this time period because I assume they were together when the last child was born, but by 1910 the two youngest sons are not living with their mother.  Arthur is in St. Mary’s Training School in Wheeling, Illinois,[28] and Theodore is in St. Vincent’s Infant Asylum (orphanage) in Chicago.[29]  At that time their were no safety nets for single mothers, so I think she temporarily sent them to these places because she could not take care of them. I did not find either George or Mary on the 1910 census. Considering the time and Mary’s religion the only reason for divorce was the man deserting his family.  I do not know if this is the reason for the divorce, it can only be assumed.  I have been unable to find a divorce document to date.

I believe after the divorce, George moved back to Cleveland and became a barber.[30]  He lived there for a while and returned to Maywood, Illinois where he died alone and poor in January 1924.[31]  He died at Cook County Hospital in Chicago of Pancreatic Cancer.[32]  He is buried in a pauper’s grave[33] at Waldheim Cemetery (now Forest Home Cemetery) in Forest Park, Illinois.[34]

I do not know George’s personality, but knowing my father’s and Grandfather’s personality, I picture George as an introvert, and hard-working, but always poor and maybe not very lucky in life.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] Birth Record for Isidor Manfroid, 23 May 1855, Siegburg, Rheinland, Pruessen; Duetschland Geburten und Taufen 1558 – 1898, Record 10442, GS Film 1057304.

[2] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[3] Ibid.

[4] Energy of a Nation:  Immigration Resources, a project of the advocates for human rights; www.energyofanation.org/4e667f77-e302-4c1a-9d2e-178a0ca31a32.html

[5] Marriage License & Certificate for Isidor Manfroid and Sophie Ahrens 29 August 1885; State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago, Certificate # 94849.

[6]Illinois, Marriage and Death Index, 1883 – 1889. Sophia Manfroid 3 August 1886; Cook County, Illinois, Marriage and Death Index, 1883 – 1889.

[7] Cleveland City Directory 1889 – 1890; listing for George Manfroid, 29 Carr; Occupation: Molder.

[8] Cleveland City Directory 1878, 1979, 1880, 1881, 1882,1882, 1884, 1885, 1886,1887, 1889 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908-  1908; listing for Peter Fiderius living in Cleveland, Ohio.

[9] Told to Author’s mother by Mary Fiderius Manfroid Beischer in 1947 and recorded in Author’s baby book.  In Author’s possession at 2916 Martin Drive, Spring Grove, IL.  60081

[10] Cleveland City Directory 1878 -  1908; listing for Peter Fiderius, Leonard Fiderius, Christina Fiderius & Joseph Fiderius

[11] Cleveland City Directory 1889 – Listing for Peter Fiderius, Address: Cleveland Malleable Iron Company.

[12] William Ganson Rose, Cleveland; The Making of a City  (Cleveland & New York: World Publishing Company, 1950), p. 351.

[13] Cleveland City Directory 1890 -01 – Listing for George I. Manfroid, Address: 31 Platt, Occupation: Molder.

[14] Told to Author and Author’s Mother by Mary Fiderius Manfroid Biescher between 1950 – 1960.

[15] Marriage record for G. Isidor Manfroid and Mary Fiderius, State of Ohio, CuyahogaCounty, SS., 5 February 1889.

[16] “Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709 – 1950,” index, FamilySearch (https://familyserch/pal:/mm9.1.1/V2JV-3f4: Laura Manfroid, 13 December 1889.

[17] 1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69

[18] Illinois State Board of Health Return of Marriage to County Clerk (DuPageCounty) for George Manfroid (son of G. Isidor Manfroid) and Helen Desens, 22 March 1919.  Birth place of George Manfroid listed at Toledo, Ohio.

[19] Cleveland City Directories 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897 list George Manfroid living at 235 Herald, Cleveland, Ohio.

[20] Toledo City Directories 1898, 1899, 1900 listed George Manfroid as living at 259 Caldonia and 255 Woodford, Toledo, Ohio.

[21].1900 United States Census, State: Illinois, County: Cook, Township: WestTown, City: Chicago, Enumeration Dist: 293, Ward 10, Sheet 16B, Line 69.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Department of Health: City of Chicago: Bureau of Vital Statistics: Undertakers Report of Death for Isidor Manfroid (Son of G. Isidor Manfroid) 12247, 22 March 1901.

[24] William Ganson Rose, Cleveland; The Making of a City  (Cleveland & New York: World Publishing Company, 1950), p. 352.

[25] Chicago City Directories 1901, 1902, 1903 listed George Manfroid as living at 1313 N. 42nd Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

[26] Certificate of Birth for Arthur Anton Manfroid, 5 January 1901, State of Illinois , Department of Public Health, Division of vital Statistics registered no 72637, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

[27]  Texas, Deaths, 1977 – 1986 index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-22864-3780=71?cc=M9S8-8SD:2136566208, 1978 Vol 140, Sep, Certificates69501-70000,  Harris County, Image 149 of 579 for Theodore Manfroid 8 August 1978

[28] 1910 United States Census, Wheeling, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624-241, Page 21B, Enumeration District 0132; FHL microfilm 1374254.

[29] 1910 United States Census, Chicago, Ward 21, Cook, Illinois; Roll T624-264. Page 168, Enumeration District 0923; FHL microfilm 13742777.

[30]ClevelandCity Directory 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912.

[31] Death Certificate for George Manfroid, 22 January 1924. State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago; Registration  no. 2041.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Forest Home Cemetery Records, 863 South Des Plaines Avenue, Forest Park, Illinois; Lot 1736, Section IH.  Date of burial: 24 January 1924, 68 years 8 months, 10 days.  No Marker.  Lot owned by State of Illinois.

[34] Ibid.

Name Change

I’ve change the name of my blog from Gail Grunst Genealogy to Family Tales from Gail.  I’ve been so busy this summer that I haven’t had time to post anything.  I realized that most of my post have been about my Ancestors.  My original intent was to post how-to’s, genealogy news, and things going on in the area related to genealogy.  It has not worked out that way.

I also removed the page about classes and research.  At this time, I will not be doing classes or research for anyone.

I hope you will still follow my blog and read my family stories.  Winter should less busy for me, and I hope to publish more posts.

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us.

Honoring the Father’s in my life

I wrote this post on June 18, 2011 for Father’s Day.  I am re-posting it. to honor my Dad and Grandfathers for Father’s Day coming up this Sunday. I would like to honor the fathers in my life.

First and foremost there was my Dad.  I loved my Dad very much.  He was always there for me.  He grew up during the depression and that made a great impact on his life.  I remember the stories that my dad told me about the depression.  When I hear today’s recession compared to the great depression on TV,  I cringe because today is nothing like my father described to me.  His father lost his business, then they lost their house, and they ate banana’s for Sunday dinner.  There were no safety nets like there are today for the unemployed.  Because this made such an impact on my Father he decided that his children were not going to go without.  He went without lunch for weeks and saved his lunch money to buy me a doll for Christmas.  He made me a doll house with a hand saw (he didn’t have power tools at the time).   He gave me everything he possibly could.  Not only did he give me material things, he gave me his time, attention, advice, and love.  He gave me history lessons at the dinner table.  He loved history and I learned about history and current events through dinner time discussions.  He was there for me when I got married.  He walked me down the aisle and gave me away.  He told my husband on our wedding day that if he (my husband) ever did anything to hurt me, he would have to answer to him (my father).  After we were married for several years, my father told some friends of ours that when their daughters grew up he hoped they found someone like my husband.  I picked a good man because I had a good father.  My dad died of Cancer when he was 64 years old. The other father in my live was my maternal grandfather.  I was very close to my maternal grandparents.  We lived in the same town and only a few blocks apart.  I could walk or ride my bike to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Grandpa was always kind to me and I could talk to Grandpa about anything.  They had a screened in front porch with a swing.  I would sit on the swing with Grandpa and talk.  He had a big beer belly and I ask him how he got it.  He would say he swallowed a watermelon seed and there was a big watermelon growing in there.  He liked baseball, beer, and  gardening.  He had a beautiful yard.  It was sad when he got old and developed Alzheimer’s disease.  Eventually he didn’t remember us.  When my children were little, Grandpa said he hoped he lived long enough that they would remember him.  He died when they were 4 and 5.  The other day my son said he remembers him.  So Grandpa got his wish. Grandpa died at 84. My other Grandfather died when I was eight years old.  I didn’t know him as well as the other one, but I do remember him.  I remember going to his house which was like a little cottage.  He also liked to garden and his yard was beautiful too.  He liked to build things and was quite good at it.  My father inherited some of his tools and I think we still have some.  He was a kind man and he reminded me a lot of my father.  He also died of Cancer when he was 64.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Dad & Me

Grandpa & Dad

Grandpa & Me

Friday Faces From the Past

Orhpan Photo 2_NEW

I bought this picture at an antique store in Walworth, Wisconsin.  Written on the back is Donar:  Mrs. Mae Kelley, 620 W. Prairie Street, Marengo, Ill 60152.  Unid. boy, prob. Patrick fam., Marengo.  Photographer inscribed on front: Koehne, Chicago.

I did some searching for this family.  I found a Howard Patrick born about 1887 living in Marengo on the 1940 census at 520 Prairie Street, Marengo, Illinois. More

Two Grandfather’s, Two different War Experiences.

Recently I’ve been hearing that Memorial Day is only to honor those who served and died in a war.  Our family is very lucky that no one has died in a war.  Both my grandfather’s served in WWI.  My husband’s brothers served during WWII and my husband served during the Vietnam War, but never was sent to Vietnam.  My Uncle served during the Korean War, but was never sent to Korea.  So you can see we have been fortunate not to lose anyone.  However, I would still like to honor those who served today even though they were not killed in the line duty.  All now except my husband, have passed on.  Thanks to all of you for serving.

Both my grandfather’s served during WWI.  One stayed here in the United States, the other one was sent to France.  I wrote about my grandfather who was sent to France a couple of years ago on this blog.  I am reprinting it today along with my other grandfather’s story too.  Both are not the most exciting stories, but I am still proud of both of them for serving.  When any one enlists or is drafted, they don’t know what the future holds.  They both went without complaint and served their country during war time, not knowing if they would return.  That in it’s self must be scary.  So here are their stories.

Grandpa Kaiser

Grandpa Kaiser Military 2

My Grandpa Kaiser was in the Army during WWI; however he never left the United States.  Even though I knew Grandpa well, I do not know much about his military service.  I heard that he spent most of his time in Georgia.  I have lots of pictures he took during this time.  I have never sent for his military papers.  I was looking to see if I had his enlistment or discharge papers, but all I could find was an “Order of Induction into the Military Service of the United States”.  It doesn’t give much information.  It just says to report to the local board at 1950 Lawrence Ave at 10 AM of the 31st day of August 1918.[1]  By this time the war was almost over.   I did find a couple of cards with his papers.  One is a “Notice of Classification” dated 7/11/1918.  His classification was an “I-A”.[2]

I also found another card “Army Training School Certificate”[3].

The information on the card is as follows:

School: South Div. War Training

Location: 26th and Wabash Ave.

Name: Kaiser, Fredrick Rudolph.

Permanent Address:  233 Winnemac Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

Course: Auto Mechanic

Started Date:  9/1/1918

Finished Date:10/31/1918.

Trade Rating in School Course

A= Apprentice  J=Journeyman   E=Expert

Main:  Auto Mechanic Rating: A

Eng. Assem: A

Auto Elec: A

General Ratings by Three or More Instructors

5=Highest   4=High   3= Middle   2=Low  1=Lowest

Mechanical Ability:  4   3   3

Speed:                         3   3   3

Resourcefulness:       3   4   4

Personal Qualities    4   5   5

I had wondered why Grandpa entered the war so late.  Then I learned that the first registration was June 5, 1917 for men ages 21 – 31.[4]  Grandpa missed having to register by 3 months.  He turned 21 the following September.[5]  The second registration was June 5, 1918 for those men who turned 21 after June 5, 1917.[6]  This is when Grandpa registered.  His WWI draft card is dated June 5, 1918.[7]  This answered my question as to why he was drafted so late.

His draft card said he was working for the Texas Company (Texaco).[8]  Grandpa went back to work at Texaco after leaving the service, and he continued to work for them until 1961 when he retired with 46 years of service.[9]  I wish I knew more about his military service, sometime I will have to send for his records.  In the mean time, I’m proud he served in what ever capacity.  During both of the wars he was teased about his name Kaiser.  So on this Memorial Day, thank you Grandpa for serving our county.


[1]  Order of Induction into Military Service of the United States for Frederick R. Kaiser, Order Number 152, Serial Number 146.  Dated August 31, 1919.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[2] Notice of Classification for F. R. Kaiser, Order No. 152, Serial No. 146,  Dated July 11, 1918.  Chicago Local Board No. 60, 1950 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author.

[3] War Department—Army Training School Certificate for Frederick R. Kaiser.  South Div. War Training, 26th and Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois.  In possession of author

[4] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/index.html

[5] Baptism Certificate for Friedrick Rudolf Kaiser, baptized June 21, 1899, born September 12, 1896, Ravenswood Evangelical Church, Pensacola and Hoynes Avenues, Chicago, IL; Registry Entry #485.

[6] National Archives Website, World War I Draft Registration Cards M 1509 Historical Background. http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww1/draft-registration/index.html

[7]“United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918”, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K6DF-C7F .  Fredrick Rudolph Kaiser, 1917- 1918.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Certificate of Retirement from Active Duty with Texaco Inc. for Fred R. Kaiser, 1961 after 46 Years of Loyal Service. Signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Augustus C. Long.

Grandpa Manfroid

My grandfather, George Manfroid, served in France during WWI.  He died when I was eight years old so I never heard about his war experience in France.  All my father ever said was that his father was in France during WWI.  That was it the end of the story.  I did not think much about it until one day when I was reading his enlistment and discharge papers.  I was going to use these papers for a class that I was teaching.  I wanted to show an example of things that you might find in your possession or in the possession of a relative, and how they can be used to help you trace your ancestors.  I had read these papers before but all I really cared about back then was where he was born, date of birth, etc.  But since I knew all that I took a closer look and thought about what they said.  He was inducted on September 19, 1917 in Maywood, Illinois.  His vocation was a millwright, he was 25 years old, blue eyes, light complexion, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and single.  His character was excellent, his service honest and faithful.  He was part of the A.E.F. France, received no wounds, and was entitled to wear the Blue Service Chevron.  He was at Camp Grant, Illinois when discharged on January 19, 1919.[1] [2]

After studying the papers, I was curious as to what A.E.F. stood for and why he received the Blue Service Chevron.   I look up the A.E.F. and found it stood for American Expeditionary Forces,[3] and the Blue Service Chevron was given to soldiers who served overseas less than six months[4]  I Googled my grandfather’s name and found his name in a book titled The Official History of the Eighty-Sixth Division.  He is listed as serving in 311th Trench Mortar Battery.  According to the book he left New York Harbor on September 17, 1918 aboard the Lapland for France.  He spent his time in Vitrey and Chauvirey-le-Chatel.  The 86th division was to be sent to the Lorraine Front on November 14, 1918 with other American Divisions and thirty French Divisions to capture the Metz.  The 86th was to participate in what the supreme war council had planned as the Allies’ mightiest endeavor of the war.  But on November 11, 1918 came the news of the signing of the Armistice.  He returned to the United States on January 9, 1919 aboard the Georgia.[5]

The men prepared for a year to battle on front lines and for some this was a disappointment. I don’t know my grandfather’s feelings because nothing was ever said.  I think about the part fate played here.  If he fought and was killed, I would not be here.  We take for granted our lives and the lives of our ancestors.  But one little twist of fate could change everything.  Even though he never fought on the front lines, I am still proud that he served his country honorably and faithfully during this time.  Thank you Grandpa for your service to this country!


[1] Enlistment Record for George Manfroid, September 19, 1917, Maywood, Illinois, book 44, page 176.  In possession of author.

[2] Honorable Discharge from the United States Army for George Manfroid, January 19, 1919, Camp Grant, Illinois. Book 44, Page 175.  In possession of author.

[5] Little, John G., The Official History of the Eighty-Six Division (Chicago, Illinois, States Publication Society, 1921). https://www.google.com/search?q=Official+history+of+the+eighty+sixth&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Twenty-six Years Ago Today

MOM

MOM

On Saturday, May 9, 1987, I was in Phoenix, Arizona sitting at the kitchen table discussing with my Uncle and Brother what we were going to next when the doorbell rang, and  I answered  the door.  There stood a man smiling at me with a floral arrangement.  It was the florist delivering flowers for my mother.  I had ordered them the previous Monday for Mother’s day.  I took them to the kitchen with tears running down my cheeks and asked my Uncle and Brother, “What am I going to do with these?”  You see, my mother had just passed away an hour before.  My Uncle said, “Well, you can enjoy them, you are a Mother.”

It had been a horrible three days, and I knew there were more horrible days ahead.  It was funny how fast live could change in less than a week.  Last Monday, I ordered the flowers never knowing my Mom would never see them.  On Wednesday, it was a beautiful day in Illinois.  I was trying to start a home based business.  I was out delivering flyers for my business.  I was enjoying being outside on such a beautiful day and feeling good and excited about my business venture.  That evening, my husband, kids, and I went out to dinner.  When we came home there was a phone message from my brother.  He said, “When you get this message call me.”  I could tell by his voice that something was wrong.  I returned his call and he told me that my mother had collapsed that afternoon, and it was serious.  I didn’t know how serious.  What exactly did he mean by serious.  Serious like she will die, or it’s serious and she has a chance.  I didn’t want to ask.  So I said, “Do you think, I should come down there?”  He said, “Yes please!”  At that point I knew it was bad.  I got off the phone and tried to tell my husband, but the words were hard to get out.  My kids were little.  How do I tell them about their Grandmother?  She had just moved to Phoenix the previous year.  Until she moved, she lived nearby and my kids spent a lot of time at Grandma’s and were very close to her.  I went outside and sat on the front steps, I felt like I was dreaming.  My husband came out and sat next to me.  We talked and cried. There was a lot to be done, and I knew I would not sleep.  I thought about the day she moved.  We were at her house the night before.  I didn’t want her to go.  I sat in her house wishing this night would last forever.  I didn’t want to go home.  I now knew what a broken heart felt like.  I felt like my heart was breaking.  I even thought I might have a heart attack.  I never showed it, and I never said anything to her about it.  I don’t remember the reason I did not go over there the next day when she left for Phoenix.  At first we called each other all the time, but the phone calls were expensive and neither of us had a lot of money.  So we had to cut down on our phone calls.  We went down to visit her for two weeks that summer and she came up for Christmas.  She went back after New Year’s and my oldest son’s birthday.  When it was time for her to board the plane, she started to cry.  I thought then this is the last time I’m going to see you, and I believe she was thinking the same thing.  That was the last time, I saw her alive and well.  The last time I talked to her on the phone was Easter.  I was saving my next phone call for Mother’s Day.  I spent the rest of Wednesday night making plane reservations, washing clothes to take to Phoenix, and making plans for the kids and my husband.  I got on the plane the next morning for Phoenix.  On the plane, people are talking, laughing, and having a good time.  I listened to conversations about vacations.  I wished I was going there for a vacation, and I wished my husband was sitting next to me instead of some stranger.  All I wanted to do was cry, and I was holding it back.  I didn’t want to cry in front of strangers.  I also felt sick to my stomach.  I was hoping I really wouldn’t be sick.  It was the longest four hours of my life.  My brother and Uncle met me at the airport.  They wanted to know if I wanted to go to their house or the hospital.  I said, “Is she going to make it?”  They didn’t know, but said she had not regained consciousness and she was attached up to all kinds of machines.  I then said, “To the hospital.”  I could not believe my eyes when I saw her.  She was pale and she had all kinds of tubes attached to her, I took her hand and talked to her.  I didn’t know if she could hear me or not, but I hoped she could.  Then the doctor came in to talk to us.  He said that she had a brain aneurism and she was brain dead.  He showed us her chart with a straight flat line.  He said, “She is being kept alive on machines. You will need to make a decision whether to take her off of the machines or not.  She is not going to get better.  If she lives, she will be a vegetable for the rest of her life.  I’ll leave you alone to discuss it.”  All three of knew what had to be done.  We didn’t want to do it, but we had too.  I remember before my mother left for Phoenix she had told me, “If anything happens to me, I do not want to be kept alive on a machine.”  I tried to make light of it because I didn’t want to talk about it.  She said, “’I’m serious.”  So I knew that this is what she would want.  When the doctor came back into the room, we told him to go ahead and remove the machines.  He said, “We will do it slowly, and wean her off the machines.  We will remove one at a time.”  We went back to the hospital later, and her breathing was harder.

Back at her house, I looked around and saw her everywhere I looked.  Her glasses lying out and things she had been in the process of doing when this happened.  I asked my brother and uncle if she complained of headaches or anything and they said, “No”.  That morning she mentioned that she felt like she had a hangover although she didn’t have anything to drink.  She went to sit outside.  The dogs started barking and looking out the window.  My brother looked out to see what they were barking at and saw her lying on the ground with lawn chair tipped over.  He went out there and tried to talk to her and she said, “Where’s my pillow?”  And that was the last thing she said.  They called 911 and she was taken to one hospital, but then air vaced to another hospital that specialized in neurology.

We went back on Friday she was still alive, and her breathing even more labored.  Some friends of my mother and uncle came by the hospital and then invited us over to their house.  It was a pleasant relief.  It helped to take my mind off of my mother dying.   They were telling stories about my mom and about life in Phoenix.  Then on Saturday morning we went to hospital again.  Her breathing now was really hard.  I thought each breath was her last.  Her chest would rise up and then nothing and then after what seemed like minutes, but probably just seconds, she would let the breath out and her chest would sink back down. And then this would repeat.  I held her hand and talked as if she could hear me.  I told her how much I loved her and how much the grandchildren loved her.  How my husband had said she was a great mother-in-law.  I told her she was a great mother and my uncle added “and sister”.  My brother said, “I guess were not going to make it to Vegas”.   My Uncle said, “Next time”.  We decided to leave, go get something to eat and come back later.  So we went to a restaurant and then back to the house.  We were only home a few minutes when the call came that she had passed.  Later that afternoon we went back to the hospital to sign papers and make arrangements for her.  We decided that she had more family and friends in Illinois so we would have her cremated in Phoenix and her ashes sent to the cemetery in Illinois.  We would have a memorial service in Illinois.  I had to get back to Illinois because my husband was taking time off of work to stay home with the kids. I made plane reservations for my brother and me to fly back to Illinois on Monday.  My Uncle came later in the week.  He could fly for free as he was retired from the airlines.  Later in the week we had the memorial service to have our final good-bye to Mom.  It was a horrible Mother’s Day that I will never forget, and I still don’t like Mother’s Day.  I don’t like celebrating it.   I felt like I didn’t have time to mourn her back then.  My brother had no family so I felt bad for him.  I tried not to let my kids see me break down.  I had made all the arrangements so I was busy.  My brother and I were now orphan’s.  My Brother, Uncle and I were the only ones left from our original family.  In the seven years preceding my mother’s death, I lost both my grandparents, and father.  My husband had lost his mother and a brother.  So we were feeling pretty lonely especially on holidays.  Recently, a friend who lost her father asked, “Does it ever get any better?”  The answer is, “sort of”.  I don’t think about it every day, but there are days when I want my mother.  I would love to be able to talk to her.  When I have had problems over the years, I wish I could ask her advice.  I have felt so alone at times.  That’s why I say it “sort of” gets better.  I have moments when I regret that I wasn’t with her at the end holding her hand.  Why did we leave her?  I don’t remember what our thinking was that day.  I feel guilty that we said remove the machines.  I think about the “what ifs”.  What if the doctor was wrong?  What if she wasn’t brain dead?  I know this is wrong to think about the “What ifs” and most of the time I think we did the right thing.  Life does go on and my brother and I often talk about our childhood memories with Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa and our Aunts and Uncles.  We have many good and wonderful memories of them all.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day so once again my thoughts are on that Mother’s Day twenty-six years ago.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you!

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst

Aunt Agnes a Love Story

Art and Agnes

Art and Agnes

Aunt Agnes was one of my grandmother’s three aunts.  Agnes Reinhardt was born in 1891 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[1]  She was the youngest of seven children.[2]  She was only seven years older than her niece, my grandmother.[3]  Agnes grew up in Ottawa Illinois with her parents, brothers, and sisters.  Aunt Agnes is listed as living in Ottawa on the 1910[4] census and in a 1911 city directory,[5] after that I lose her for a few years.  In 1920 at age 28 she married Arthur Lightfoot in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.[6]  He lists his occupation on the marriage record as a Traveler.[7]  The first thing that came to my mind was, “What kind of occupation was a traveler?”  I thought maybe he was a gypsy (just kidding).  I think it was a term used back then for a traveling salesman.  Later census records list him as a salesman.[8]  I have no idea how they met or why they got married in Detroit.  His resident on the marriage record is listed as Indianapolis, Indiana and hers is Ottawa, Illinois.[9] On the 1930 and 1940 census records, they are living in Chicago, Illinois.[10] [11]  Also on his WWI and WWII draft cards he is living in Chicago.[12] [13]  At some point in time, they moved to Hartford, Connecticut.  Arthur was born and raised in Connecticut.[14] When I was a child, I knew that Aunt Agnes lived in Connecticut.  Aunt Agnes and Art came to visit us a couple of times from Connecticut.  Arthur died in 1957 in Connecticut,[15] and some time after his death, Agnes moved back to Chicago.

Aunt Agnes would come to visit us on some weekends and holidays.  In her old age, Aunt Agnes was flamboyant.  She wore a lot of makeup, her hair was bleached blond, and she wore a lot of jewelry.  The jewelry had big stones and was gaudy.  One time I was looking at a bracelet she had on with big stones.  She asked me if I liked it.  I didn’t want to insult her so I said, “yes.”  She took off the bracelet and handed it to me, and told me I could keep it.  I was around 13 years old at the time.  I thanked her, but knew I would never wear it.  I didn’t like it.  After she had gone home, my mother confiscated it, and put in her jewelry chest.  The bracelet was in my mother’s jewelry chest for years.  I don’t know what ever became of it.

Aunt Agnes would come out to our house by train or bus and sometimes we would drive her back to Chicago.  One time when we drove her back, when we got to Clark and Belmont near where she lived, she said, “Now I can relax, I am home.”  I couldn’t understand why she couldn’t relax at our house.  Our house was in the suburbs and it was nice, quiet, and safe compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.  I thought it would be easier to relax in the quiet and calm of the suburbs.  Until I started delving into her life, I thought she and her husband always lived in Connecticut after they were married.  I also had the impression that they were rich.  Not sure how I came to these conclusions.  So I was surprised to learn that she lived in Chicago, most of her married life. I doubt that he became rich as a salesman.

I think Aunt Agnes probably had the most normal life of the three sisters.  I gave this posting the title Aunt Agnes a love story because I truly believe that Aunt Agnes loved her husband and he loved her. She talked about Art all the time.  I hope they loved each other, they were married 37 years.  They had no children.  I have wondered if Aunt Agnes had a previous marriage, but haven’t been able to find any other marriage records for her.  I found no illegitimate children or any thing unusual.  I believe she led a very ordinary life and loved her husband.   She died in Chicago, IL in 1978 at 87 years old.[16]  She had a good long life, and I am glad I got to know her before she died.  As always, I wish I had asked her more questions about her life and family, but I wasn’t interested in Genealogy at that time.  So now I can only go on a few memories and documents.  I hope I did her justice today, since I had so little to go on.

Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst


[1] “Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[2] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978

[3] State of Illinois, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics and Records; Delayed Record of Birth, State file # 204857; Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; Helen Dorothy Bowers, December 3, 1898.

[4] Year: 1910; Census Place: Ottawa Ward 5, La Salle, Illinois; Roll T624_301; Page: 11A’ Enumeration District: 0129; Image:  ; FHL microfilm:1374314.  Ancestry.com.  1910 United States Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations Inc. 2006.

[5] McCoy Ottawa City Directory 1911 – 1912 The McCoy Directory Company, Publishers and Compilers, 411 Brown Building, Rockford, Illinois. Agnes Reinhardt page 140.  Ancestry.com. U. S. City Directories, 1821 – 1989 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA:  Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

[6] Michigan, Marriages, 1868 – 1926,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N319-11L) Arthur A. Lightfoot and Agnes B. Reinhardt 12 April 1920.

[7] Ibid.

[8]Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[9]  “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[10] Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.  Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census.Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

[11] “United States Census, 1940,” Index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K493-88Y) Arthur Lightfoot, Ward 48 Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-3087, Sheet #B, Family 123, Nara digital publication T627, roll 1018.

[12] “United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917- 1918,” index and images.  FamilySearch(https://familysearch.orgpal:/MM9.1.1/K6DX-DDG) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1917-1918.

[13]“United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” index and images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V1KW-8GM) Arthur Atkins Lightfoot, 1942.

[14] “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9QK-KZZ) Arthur A. Lightfoot in entry for Arthur Lightfoot, 1900.

[15] “Connecticut, Death Index, 1949 – 2001.” Index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VZPP-1XL) Arthur A Lightfoot, 1957.

[16] “United States Social Security Death Index,” FamilySearch (familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J2RS-YPG) Agnes Lightfoot, January 1978.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Genealogy Certification: My Personal Journal

a journal about my experiences becoming a certified genealogist

Genealogy Lady

World War II, one letter at a time (with a dash of family history & personal reflection)

harbin77

Just posting my thoughts, pictures and the link below is my sons web site

Slightly More Than Necessary

Just another WordPress.com site

Socks for the Boys!

My Great Aunt Norah's wartime diaries, 1938-1948

Home Front Girl

A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America

1st Sense Photography

Photography, and whatever

GeneaJourneys

Pathways of a budding genealogist

Planting the Seeds

Genealogy as a profession

Fun With Family History

A place for our Ancestors to come and mingle

Grow Your Own Family Tree

Alan Stewart's UK and Ireland family history news

GenealogyDr

Attempting problem solutions, one question at a time.

1 Foot Planted Firmly on the Ground

My journey of “Genealogy in the Recession”: how I continue my research and family history activities when the genealogy budget has disappeared

finding forgotten stories

uncovering our ancestors' lives

Sort Your Story

Genealogy Organizing Made Easy

Genealogy Photos

Countless vacation hours spent locating and scanning in old photos for your enjoyment

Our Ancestors

A blog about genealogy

Wordsmith Magic

Writing, Thinking, and some Dragonslaying

Family Tales from Gail

Family Historian

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114 other followers

%d bloggers like this: