Saturday, July 25, 2015


OBITUARY:  Amador Dispatch May 4, 1906, Volume 47, Issue 33 

Mandana Rice died on 4/29/06 between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. in her home about 4 miles east of Jackson.  She was born Mandana Bradley on August 11, 1822 in Randolph County, Missouri.  She married David B. Rice and crossed the plains in 1853.  One year later they moved to Amador County and since 1858 she lived in the same house near New York Ranch.  Her husband died 25 years ago.  She had 8 children, 2 deceased, 15 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.  She was 83 years, 8 months and 18 days of age.  Funeral services were held on May 2, 1906.

INQUEST HELD ON April 29, 1906, Jackson, Amador County, CA
State of California, County of Amador

Documents held by Amador County Archives, Jackson, California; Larry Cenotto, Archivist.
An Inquisition upon the body of Mandania Rice who was found dead on April 30(sic), 1906 near New York Ranch, Amador County.

April 30, 1906 She was found dead in bed.  Questions asked of her son W. C. Rice:
Q: What is your name
A:  W. C. Rice
Q:  Are you a son of the deceased?
A:  Yes, sir
Q:  Were you living in the house at the time of her death?
A:  Yes, sir.
Q:  When did you last see her alive?
A:  About 8 o'clock April 29, 1906.
Q:  Did she seem to be in good health?
A:  She seemed to be as usual.
Q:  Would you please explain to the jurors how she talked last evening?
A:  It was about Eleven O'clock when she called me and said, "I am sick.  I am afull (sic) sick and I want some Salatiras (?) water and I said can I do anything for you and she said "no, don't bother yourself" and I went back to sleep and I got up at five o'clock and went out and fed the chickens and then came in the kitchen and started the fire, and came in to kindle the fire in the sitting room and called to her and called again and got no answer so I went in the room and I found her dead, partly in bed and feet resting on the floor.
Q:  What did you do when you found her?
A:  I ran up to Amos Harman and then I went to Jackson.
Q:  Is there any questions for the jurors to ask the witness?

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 30th day of April 1906


Mandana was the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Susan A. Bradley Davis.  It took me about 30 years of researching before I located her -- and then it was because of a Power of Attorney entered into a Schuyler County, Missouri Deed Book in 1852.  Her father Thomas Bradley had recently died, and her mother Elizabeth wanted to sell the old home place but needed all the heirs (their children) to go on record as approving of the sail.  Mandana had moved to California; the family knew but we researchers didn't have a clue.  She gave her Power of Attorney to her brother-in-law John G. Davis, and in it she indicated that she and her husband, David Rice, now lived in Amador County, California.  This Power of attorney was entered in the Deed Book, along with the signatures of all the other heirs.

Mandana didn't know that she was lost and found, but I did some 100+ years later.  

Monday, July 20, 2015


This sailor is/was someone's husband, son, brother, uncle, grandfather or friend.  His picture was owned by one of the people listed below, all of whom died in San Bernardino County, California between the years of 1988 and 2004.  No identifying information was on this picture.  I do believe he could be called an Immortal Nobody if he himself has passed on, but as you know there are some WWII vets still living so there is always a possibility that his time has not come yet.

But who is he?  He was known by one of these people listed below.

  • Betty Carson
  • Veldra Kirk
  • Betty Benedict
  • Gracie Solomon
  • Betty Walsh
  • Mari Graves
  • Etiennette "Ann" Bernier Bean
  • Bernice Dale
  • Ethel Ivy Marie Beckel Carpenter Bridges
  • Edward Vintus
  • Muriel Ruth Johnstone Walker
  • Paul Blaine Reveal
  • Ethel Jane Knapp
  • Bernice Beitzel Vieau
  • Virginia Cowan Henderson
  • Dorr Stuart
  • Clarence Bennett
  • Velma Helms
  • Dale Hathaway
  • Mildred Beach
  • Alice Becker
  • Helen M. Peterson
  • Victor Corey
  • Margaret Morrison
  • Emma Karstens
  • Eva Greco
  • Joe Atton
  • Fred Knodel
  • Marjorie A. Clagett Woosley
  • James Torres
  • Douglas J. Bryant
  • Myrtle Dieckmann
  • Paul and Virginia Tenney McCoy Nordby

Friday, July 17, 2015


San Bernardino CA Daily Courier, Wednesday, June 14, 1893

The Careless Handling of a Revolver Causes the Wounding and Probable Death
of a Promising Young Man
The Shooting Entirely Accidental

Word was received in this city late yesterday afternoon that Ed Hadden, son of Thomas Hadden, and Grandson of Judge J. M. Morris, had been accidentally shot on the train at Riverside by Capt. Jack A. Mellon of Yuma.

The facts of the case, so far as could be obtained, were these:  Mr. Hadden had secured a position on the ranch of Dan Freeman in Los Angeles county and had taken the 4 o'clock train to go to the ranch to commence work.  When the train reached Riverside, he got out on the platform and talked to some acquaintances, getting on again as the train was about to start.  He took a seat directly in front of Mr. Mellon.  That gentleman was at this particular time just in the act of removing a revolver from his valise to his pocket for some purpose, when, just as Mr. Hadden sat down, the revolver in some unaccountable way went off, the ball going through the back of the seat and penetrating Mr. Hadden's back about two inches below the heart.  The ball went clear through him, striking the tenth rib.

The injured man was at once removed from the train and his parents, who reside in this city, sent for.

The report last evening was that Mr. Hadden was mortally wounded and could not probably live until morning.  It is sincerely hoped by his many friends here that this view of the case is incorrect.

Most of the citizens of this city will remember Mr. Hadden, who several years ago moved with his parents to Fresno where he lived until quite lately, he having reached San Bernardino only a few days ago.  He is about 24 years of age and is a very bright young man, well thought of wherever he goes.

Captain Mellon, the accidental cause of the shooting, is captain of the steamer Gila, plying on the Colorado river.  The captain has a summer residence at Santa Monica and was on his way there for a few days' rest and recreation when the unfortunate accident occurred.  Captain Mellon is described by some of his friends in this city as a most kindhearted gentleman, who makes friends wherever h goes.  He will suffer nearly as much as the wounded man on account of the accident.

Altogether it was a most unfortunate affair.

Colorado River Steamboat "Gila"
Carlton Watkins, Photographer
Owned by J. Paul Getty Museum 

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Someone in Jerry Title's family knew these people, but by the time we found the picture in an old cardboard box that had been kept by Jerry's elderly aunts, no one could remember who they were. But as IMMORTAL NOBODIES they still can speak to us.

Obviously the setting for the picture is Germany, and it has to be pre-WWII.  The signpost behind our unknown IMMORTAL NOBODIES, translated from German into English, reads "Jews Not Wanted."  On the back of the picture in lovely English handwriting is a single comment:  "Isn't this silly?"

Even now whenever I see this picture I get a cold chill and a catch in my breathing.  There may have been someone in Jerry's family or among their friends innocent enough not to take this warning sign seriously.

But the Nazis meant it..


Saturday, June 20, 2015


The death of Henry Ross on 10 Dec. 1861 was reported in a letter from the American Consul in Constantinople:  "He was discharged by me from the Hermaphrodite Brig "Hugh Barclay" of Chicago on December 2 and sent at once to the hospital on application of Charles T. Chadwick, Master, having arrived at this port November 30 from Sulema at the mouth of the Danube where he contracted dysentery of which he died."

Before we go any further, let's find out what a Hermaphrodite Brig looked like and a description of its rigging:

So this ship came into port at Istanbul with a young man near death.  Let's continue with the American Consul's letter:

"I visited him daily and found that he received every possible attention from the Protestant Sisters who manage that Institution.  Yesterday I attended his funeral at which one of the American Missionaries officiated.  He was decently buried in the Dutch Protestant Cemetery in Pera.  The flag of his country accompanying his remains to the grave.  It appears by the Ship's Registry that the deceased shipped at London on 8 Jun 1861, aged 23.  He informed me he was never married and has no parents living unless a brother, John Ross, from whom he has not heard for 5 years.  His protection from the Collector of Boston and Charleston dated 13 Dec 1860 certifies that he was a native of Buffalo, New York which he considers his residence.  He leaves nothing but his clothing and the balance of his wages and extra pay, for which I will account.  Under the circumstances I have not deemed it necessary to publish a notice in any newspaper here."

                                                Signed:  C. W. Goddard, Consul General."

I lived in Istanbul for almost two years and one of the things I did was to try to identify all the Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  Until I came home from Turkey I had no idea who Henry Ross was, but I had learned that when an American dies in a Foreign Country the State Department in America receives a notice of his or her death.  Early on it was just a written notice; later it was called a Form 192: Report of Death of American Citizen.  All such reports are eventually turned over to the National Archives.  So in 1995 I went to the College Park Branch of the National Archives where the state department's material to be archived is kept, and after a week of searching I found a Consular Dispatch file from that time period (1861) and in it was the letter from the Consul General.  No other information on Henry is available, but there surely was a great deal of information on other Americans buried in that cemetery.

As it happens, the cemetery that Consul General Goddard speaks of is no longer there and those buried in that cemetery were removed and reinterred at the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy. Unfortunately the man does not have a tombstone.

I was never able to locate any family for him here in the United States using simple genealogical tools, but perhaps with this exposure someone who has been looking a long time for young Henry Ross will recognize him here.  Until then, keep in mind that there are a lot of Immortal Nobodies buried in cemeteries all over the world.

Rest in Peace, Henry.

American Section of the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy-Istanbul

Thursday, June 18, 2015



Helen R. Hungerford was the oldest of six daughters of Asa and Mary Angelina Bond Hungerford.  It seems to me that it is usually the youngest daughter who cares for the "old folks" as they age, but in this case, one by one the daughters disappeared off the censuses, due either to death or marriage and Helen took over that obligation.  Because my own Bond direct ancestor is Charlotte, a sister of Mary Angelina, I really haven't tried very hard to research this "collateral" line.   But I do know a little bit - and I think it is quite interesting.

Looking at the censuses, I find that in each one, Helen is still living at home with her mom and dad in Perry township, Allen County, Ohio.  Everyone in that area are farmers, and her father is no different. Since most of the censuses ask what one's occupation is, Helen says "housekeeping" rather than the traditional "Keeping House" (which may or may not mean doing it in someone else's home) - or she doesn't indicate any occupation at all.

The three Hungerfords. Asa, Mary Angelina and Helen, gradually "age out" and by 1910 none appear on a census.  However, I know that Helen is still alive because I've gathered some information about her death in 1916

One of the death notices says that she died suddenly at 80 years of age at the home of her sister.  This notice also tells us that she lived on the farm adjoining her sister for over half a century, and that she was buried at Perry Chapel Cemetery.  Apparently she did not have a headstone, as the headstones have all been noted in various genealogy sites and no Helen Hungerford appears, although her sister and brother-in-law's do.

Another newspaper article indicates that her brother-in-law, A. J. Osmon was named administrator of her estate, and that the estate is valued at "$2,000 in personal property and a house in real estate."

Now the traditional Obituary reads as follows:

"Helen R. Hungerford, daughter of Asa and Mary Angelina Hungerford, was born in Independence, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, August 23, 1835; died at the home of her sister, Mrs. A. J. Osmon, April 5, 1916, aged 80 years, 7 months, 25 days.  She moved to Allen county with the family in 1842, and has lived here since then.  When a young girl, visiting her Grandfather and Grandmother Bond, she united with the Baptist church at Lima, and remained with them until after coming to this county to live, when she transferred her membership to the M.E. church at Perry Chapel, where she has been a constant member and worker in the church and a Sabbath school teacher.  She is survived by one sister, Amanda Osman, and uncle, John Bond; one aunt, Marinda Ihrie, nieces and nephews and a host of friends.  She was always so kind and good to everyone and oh, how she will be missed by the church, the neighbors, and all her friends."

Of course, being good inquisitive genealogists, we always wonder how death came to our old relatives.  Often, we have have nothing to explain it.  But in this case, somehow the Sandusky Daily Register printed this:  "REPORT FROM LIMA" - While dining, Mrs (sic) Helen Hungerford, 80, dropped dead."

So there.  Now we know.

Rest in Peace, Helen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


As you may or may not know, most of the folks I choose for Immortal Nobodies are people I know of from my own genealogical research.  Narrowing that a little bit more, most are from my own families.  But not today.  For today's Immortal Nobodies – a man and his wife. 

"He" is a fellow named Noah D. Damon, who served in the Revolutionary war.  He was born about 1760, and enlisted in 1775, making him about 15 at the time.  The extant records indicate that he served with the Massachusetts troops and was a private.

"She" is Esther Sumner, a sweet young thing who was born about 1814. 

These two people married in 1835.  She was 21 and he was 75.  There is no interesting story of "why" such a May-December marriage happened, just that it did.  The marriage lasted until his death at the age of 93 in Benton, New Hampshire.

The reason why I was even thinking of those folks was that I was reading the prologue of a new book, "The Bonus Army" by Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen which was giving some data as to pensions for our military people throughout the years, and the authors noted that the last surviving dependent of the Revolutionary War continued to receive benefits until 1911.  I found this fact amazing, and I wanted to know just who that was, since this particular statement did not have a footnote with that information.  So of course I Googled to see if I could get an answer.  What came up was blog by noted genealogist Mary Harrell Sesniak.  Now there was no 1911 date in it, but since the story she told had a 1906 date, it was close enough.  Plus, I figure any 75 year old who takes a 21 year old bride, or vice versa, is worthy of the Immortal Nobody appellation. 

Anyway, to finish the story, Noah filed for a pension and received his first payment in 1848.  He could actually have filed earlier, except he indicates that he had been a resident of Canada and was "ignorant of his right."  His application also stated that he had received a sword injury in his thigh that troubled him even as he submitted his paper.  At his death in 1853, the monthly pension went to his wife, and she received it until her death in 1906 at the age of 93.

Noah and Esther did not know they were making history of a sort – a history of a pension that existed from 1853 to 1906 for service in the military at the founding of our nation in 1776.  Nor would they expect to find themselves listed as Immortal Nobodies in my blog.  Welcome, Damons.

As a final note, I am delighted that Google sent me to Mary's most interesting blog that provided information for me.  I must add that I am finding "The Bonus Army" book chock-full of information on a time in our country and an event during that time that I knew absolutely nothing about – and to find it presented in a most readable format!  How I love non-fiction books!  And my Immortal Nobodies, one and all!