Thursday, April 16, 2015

THIS TO REMEMBER HIM BY?

There is usually some part of an Immortal Nobodies' life that is remembered and handed down through the years.  But through a combination of a man who is a loner in his life, never married or never had kids, along with a lifespan that is finished before any relative thinks to take a photo of him or write down anything about him -- well, it doesn't leave much for a genealogist to work with.

Harrie Uberto McConnell is truly a tough one.....and all the more reason to get SOMETHING down about him.

His mother, Narcissa Frances Wright McConnell, had at least 8 children; only three of them lived to adulthood.  Harrie was the last.child born and the only son to live.  He was the only child to be born in Texas; his older sisters were born in Kentucky where the family had lived for years and years.

His oldest sister was married and out of the house and out of Texas by the time he was 4 years old. His other sister was 8 when he was born.  In 1893 his oldest sister was widowed and the family left Texas for Colorado.  The years from then on until 1917 are blank.  Obviously Harrie Uberto was dragged around by his parents as they went back to Texas, sold the farm, came to Palisade, Colorado, bought a peach orchard, and not finding that satisfactory left again for somewhere.  Dad died in that "somewhere" and we don't know where or how he met his end.  His mom goes to Colorado Springs to be with her daughter, and during that period is when Harrie appears in the northwest, working and living in a boarding house.  ALERT:  A niece said he came "home" when his mother died in 1915, But he remains working in Washington State and Oregon until he dies on Nov. 29, 1943 in Seattle.

What do we know about him?  That same niece was my Aunt Dorothy, and she was the only person alive who even vaguely remembered him.  And the one thing she remembered was that he was blind in one eye from a childhood eye injury.  That was it.

In trying to dig up information on him that maybe Ancestry knew about but the family didn't, I made what I consider an amazing discovery.  There is a World War I Draft Report on file for him that delivers a real surprise.  Under ordinary circumstances it wouldn't be so surprising to me, but the very fact that I know nothing except the one thing my Aunt Dorothy told me about his eye injury --- well, it appears that even that is wrong.  On this Draft Report, he notes he has a CATARACT on his left eye.  He may be blind from that cataract, and I'm sure he did not serve in the military, but he likely did not develop a cataract from a toy he was playing with.


And adding insult to injury, none of the census records allow him to be Harrie.  He is Harry.  Maybe that was his choice, but Harrie Uberto ceased to exist in more ways than one.

What looks like a round black ball at the top of the column is really Harry's dysfunctional eye.  Yes, it is something to remember him by.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

SWEET BABY JAMES


A biography and an obituary tell part of his story.  The "sad" part is at the end, and because he had such a sweet face and surely didn't deserve what fate set out for him, I have always thought of him as "Sweet Baby James."  His dad, Abner Hall, was my 2nd great grandpa.

History of Johnson County, Missouri; Ewing Cockrell 1918
Historical Publishing Co, Topeka, Kansas

J. E. Hall, of Warrensburg township, was born in 1853 in Franklin county, Missouri.  He is the son of Abner and Mildred (Bourn) Hall, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter a native of Virginia.  Abner Hall was born in 1797 and in the early thirties came to Missouri settling in Franklin county.  Mildred (Bourn) Hall came to Franklin county from Virginia, when she was fourteen years of age.  Abner Hall and Mildred Bourn were married in Franklin county and their all their children were born and reared:  Benton, who died in early youth; Caroline, who died in 1863; Nannie, the wife of William H. Wegman of St. Louis, Missouri; R. M. Johnson, who is now deceased; Honore, who died in childhood; and J.E., the subject of this review.  The father died in Franklin county in 1863.

J. E. Hall attended the public schools established after the Civil War, in Washington, Franklin county.  With his mother, he came to Johnson county in 1867 and March 10, 1868, they settled on the farm which is now the home of Mr. Hall.  The home place originally comprised one hundred twenty acres of land, but Mr. Hall at present owns ninety-five acres and is engaged in general farming and truck gardening.  He raises garden vegetables, melons, and strawberries.  Thirty acres of his farm are in pasture.  When Mr. Hall came to Johnson county with his mother in 1868, practically the only roads were cowpaths.  In driving from their home to Warrensburg, they came through a dense wood or forded Pertle Springs.  Farms were not generally fenced in those days and wild game, turkey, deer and prairie chickens could be found in abundance.  The mother died in 1904 and burial was made in the cemetery near Warrensburg, known as the Dunkard cemetery.

In 1875 J. E. Hall and Mary Alice Ayres were united in marriage.  Mrs. J. E. Hall is the daughter of Samuel and Jane Ayers….

At the World’s Fair at St. Louis in 1904, strawberries raised by Mr. Hall on his farm in Warrensburg township received prizes in ten leading varieties.  The berries were sent to Mr. Goodman, secretary of the State Board of Horticulture, who displayed them.  Fifteen of the Maximas variety of berry filled a quart box.

J. E. Hall is an exceptionally fine horticulturist, possessing some very excellent ideas, which he is successfully putting in operation on his farm.


OBITUARY

Warrensburg Star Journal 4-21-1939
SERVICES HELD AT LEETON FOR J. E. HALL

A short graveside service was conducted for J. E. Hall, 87, Saturday afternoon at the Brethren cemetery, according to his own request, with the Rev. James Mohler of Leeton in charge.  Pallbearers were Fred Greim, John Greim. V. C. Roop, J. W. Ronemouz, Walter Myer and Adam Fickas.

Those attending the funeral from out of town were Mrs. J. E. Hall, Jr., Eugene and Adah Marie Hall and Miss Louise Marshall of Independence, Charles Ayers and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Ayers of Kansas City.

James Edward (Uncle Jimmy) Hall, 87, was born on a farm south of Washington, Missouri July 23, 1852 and died Friday.  He was the youngest of six children of Abner and Mildred Hall.  He with his mother, a brother and sister came to Johnson County in 1867 and March 10, 1868 settled on farm three miles south of Warrensburg, where he lived until he sold the farm four years ago.  Most of his life he was engaged in raising vegetables, melons and strawberries.

He was united in marriage to Mary Alice Ayers, daughter of Samuel and Jane Ayers in November 1875.  To this union four sons were born.  Two sons, Byron and James, Jr., preceded him in death.  Mrs. Hall died June 14, 1936.

He became a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church soon after his marriage.

Mr. Hall is survived by two sons, Warren Hall of Seattle, Wash., and Lee W. Hall of Warrensburg, also by 20 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and several nieces in St. Louis.


SO, what is the sad part?  His oldest brother, William LeGrand Hall, stabbed a man to death, was imprisoned and then released after a few years, and then killed his sister in an attempt to get rid of all other heirs to his father's fortune.  For this, he was hung.

And then, one of his own sons, Byron, shot and killed two policemen in a paranoid delusion that people were following him, and in turn was himself shot and killed by another policeman.

Such a cross for this man to bear.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

CRAZY? or just LAZY?

In 1934 Byrd Worthington Ryland (my maternal grandfather) died in the Colorado Springs Psychiatric Hospital of either a) tuberculosis of 1 year + or b) Epilepsia, of 40+ years.  Colorado Springs had always been known as a haven for people with breathing problems, and through Byrd's life he often moved the family from Mulvane, Kansas to the Springs for his health.

In 1929 his wife and mother of 7 children filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty to her, and stated he was not fit to be custodian of the children.  Once the divorce was granted, my Grandma packed up the family and moved to California.

With the records available, it is hard to say if he was certifiably crazy.  But if you look at the time line I prepared for him in the course of my research, perhaps he was just lazy (he had a rich father, so he had lots of leeway in a vocation), or maybe he just drove his wife crazy moving all the time with 7 kids!  What'dya think?  Take a peek.

DATE - LOCATION - OCCURRENCE


  • 1900 - Kansas - 1900 Census, student
  • 1902 Jan - Kansas - Postal carrier 
  • 1905 Mar - Kansas - Quit job to take up "Dakota" claim.
  • 1905 Apr - Kansas - Married Jessie C. Davis
  • 1906 Kansas - Baby Nevalyn Eugene Ryland born
  • 1907 Jun - Colorado - Entry in baby's baby book says "first trip"
  • 1908 May - Kansas - Business Card "Keeling & Ryland, Real Estate, Loans, Inc."
  • 1908 June to Oct - Idaho - Entry in baby's baby book says long vacation
  • 1908 October - Denver - Still on vacation per above
  • 1909 - Kansas - baby Florence Ryland born
  • 1910 - Kansas - 1910 census - selling real estate
  • 1911 - Colorado - baby Virginia Ryland born
  • 1911 - Colorado - Virginia's birth certificates says he was a druggist
  • 1911 - Colorado - newspaper ad says he worked at Spot Cash grocery, his father-in-law's grocery store.
  • 1915 - Kansas - baby Marie Ryland born
  • 1918 - California - moves family to Newport Beach.  Virginia attends 1st grade.
  • 1919 - Kansas - baby Byrd "Bert" Ryland born. Birth certificate says "Farmer"
  • 1920 - Kansas - 1920 census does not list an occupation.
  • 1921 - Kansas - baby Hugh Ryland born.  Birth Certificates says father is "Farmer"
  • 1926 - Colorado - baby Marjorie Ryland born.  Birth Certificate says "Grocer" (Father-in-law long dead, so it's not at his store.)
  • 1927 - 1929 - Colorado - City Directory gives no occupation.
  • 1929 Apr - Jessie files for divorce.  
  • 1929 Nov - Divorce granted
  • 1934 - July - Byrd M. Ryland dies.

I never knew this grandpa.  He died the year before I was born.  None of his children, my mother and my aunts and uncles, EVER would say a word about him.  Not a good word nor a bad word.  No word at all.  I did get my mother to say, in one of her more reflective moments, "Well, I was a teenager and pretty wrapped up in my own life.  I just recall that he kind of made life tough for all of us."  That was the extent of what she would say about him.

Many years after my mom died, I asked my dad if mom had ever said anything to him about her dad. He said she did not, and he never asked, but he did say that when Grandma Jessie, then living in California, got the news of his death, she cried as if her heart was broken.  I suppose one would most always have a tiny place in her heart for the father of her children.

Crazy? or just lazy?  We'll never know.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A SMALL SLAVE CALLED JULIE

Of all the Immortal Nobodies I have placed here, none has fit that title so perfectly as Julie.  I learned of her when a distant cousin sent me some documents she had found in an old purse belonging to her great-great grandmother who died in 1917.  She knew that through my genealogical research I might be able to tell her what these documents were about.

I could.  Here is the setting.... and then Julie appears.

Nancy Corel was 18 when she came with her family from Virginia to Douglas County, Kansas in 1854.  She soon met and married a young man, Francois "Frank" E. Lahay whose family had moved over into Douglas County from St. Genevieve County, Missouri, with the intention of helping to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave state.  Nancy married him in 1857, but he died in 1862.  In 1867 Nancy married again - this time to a veteran of the U.S. Kansas 11th Cavalry, Company M. Nancy and her new husband were my great-grandparents and my distant cousin's great-great grandparents..

The document below, a transcription of the original document my cousin has, is a handwritten Bill of Sale from T. and M. Lahay to their son, Francois Lahay, dated 9 December 1853.

***

Know all men by these presents that we, Toussaint Lahay and Marie Lahay, of the county of Ste. Genevieve and state of Missouri, for and in consideration of the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty dollars, to us in hand paid by Francois Lahay, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do by these present bargain, sell, and assign a negress slave for life, called and known by the name of Julie, now of about the age of nine years, of a black complexion, together with all our right, title, interest, claims and demands of, in and to the said negress slave, to have and to hold said negress slave, above bargained and sold, as intended so to be, to the said Francois Lahay, his executors, administrators, heirs and assigns forever.  And the said Toussaint Lahay and Marie Lahay, for themselves, their heirs, executors, administrators, does hereby covenant to and with the said Francois Lahay, his executors, administrators, and assigns, that the said negress slave is a slave for life and that she is perfectly sound both in body and mind.

In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this Ninth day of December, in the year Eighteen Hundred and Fifth Three.

[Signed]    
Tousssaint Lahay
Mary Lahay 



Saturday, March 21, 2015

WHAT HAPPENED TO POOR OL’ SHADRICK MCGLOTHLIN?



Son of David & Jemima Corel McGlothlin

Documents tell a story!
   
8 Feb 1906       OBITUARY -  SHADRICK McGLOTHLIN.  Died last Sunday of pneumonia. The public schools were adjourned for the day in memory of Shadrick McGlothlin, who was janitor of the school building.  Born in VA April 11, 1847.  Father and family moved to KC, MO in 1849, lived there 3 years when in 1852 they moved to Kentucky.  Nickname “Shade” Spent 32 years in KY and one of his favorite pastimes was telling tales of life in old KY.  Generous-hearted and accommodating to all.  Took life easy and did not attempt big things in a business way.  Pleasure to take a hand in politics, having received his early training and desires along this line during his residence in the Blue Grass state, where politics were lively much of the time.  “Shade” had many friends and few, if any, enemies.  Married Miss Nettie Spears in Nov 1881 in KY.  In 1884 came to Kansas, lived in Pleasanton ever since.  Has wife and four children: Mrs. Cora Callins of Guthrie, OK, Mrs. Pat Liston (Julia) of Enid, OK; Mrs. Louisa Hull of CA, and Henry, at home.  One child died.  Mrs. McGlothlin extends sincere thanks for kindness of friends.
* Cora and Julia were children by his first wife, Martelia Preston, who died about 1878.


Feb 9, 1906         OBITUARY – Sick one week with pneumonia.  Funeral service Monday at 3 held at home.  Officiant Rev.
R. M. Cullison, pastor of Methodist Church.  In attendance were the school board, teachers, members of the city council, Knights and Ladies of Security, Jewell post, G.A.R., citizens, relatives and friends.  Born in Virginia, April 14, 1847.  Died February 4, 1906.  Father and mother moved to KC, Missouri in 1849 and resided there until 1852 when they moved to Kentucky where Shadrick grew up.  He joined in the 45th Kentucky Cavalry where he served three years.  He married Miss Nettie Spears Nov. 23, 1881 and in 1884 they came to Pleasanton.  “Known as an upright and honorable gentleman, a whole-souled, kind and charitable, honest, cheerful and always happy – one of the boys whom everybody liked and respected for his excellent traits of character.”  Was member of the city council, M.E. church, Jewell post of G.A.R., Knight & Ladies of security, in which order he carried a policy of $1,000.  Leaves loving wife, son, three daughters and a brother, H.H.McGlothlin.  Says brother is inconsolable. 

MILITARY                        
31 May 1879   Resident of Paintsville, Johnson Co., KY.  Enlisted at Catlettsburg, Boyd Co., KY
                        on 1 August 1863 as Private in Co. F of the 45Th KY Mounted Infantry commanded
                        by Thomas Russell; discharged Catlettsburg 24 December 1864.  He is 34 years
                        of age, 5’6” tall, light-complexioned, with light eyes and light hair.  That at Catlettsburg
                        on 20 Sept 1863 he took a severe cold caused by exposure, which settled in his left*
                        shoulder.  It now affects in such a degree that he is unable to use his right arm, and
                        can hardly provide support for himself and family.


This file was not held at the National Archives but rather was at the Veterans Administration headquarters in San Diego, California.  The original claim for pension (above) was filed but subsequent investigation revealed the injury may not have occurred as presented.  Below is a letter sent from the examiner to Hon. John C. Black, Commissioner of Pensions in Washington, D.C. dated April 27, 1886

Sir

I have the honor to return herewith the claim #293,837 of Shadrick McGlothlin, late Pvt. Co. F, 45 KY Infantry whose P.O. is Pleasanton, Linn Co., KS

The claim is for lameness in right shoulder, resulting in rheumatism, contracted at Ashland, KY about November 25, 1863.  It was examined in Kansas, then referred to F.C. Griffin, Special Examiner for further examination and subsequently to me, for yet further examination.

I gave a verbal notice to Judge J. F. Stewart, of Paintsville, Johnson Co., KY as requested by claimant.  He was personally present only during the interrogation of the witnesses at Paintsville, KY.

Original witness, Dr. John Hinkle is dead and Dr. W. G. Wells, who had testified to prior soundness could not be reached by reason of the destruction of roads by flood.  They are both of good reputation.

This claim is a palpable fraud.  I recommend its rejection on two grounds.  First that the disability to his shoulder is not due to the service but is due to the hurt he got while climbing Emanuel Spence’s apple tree, either just before or just after enlisting.  (See statement of Spence and his wife Zilpha) and second, because as long as this evidence pursues him, he is not found to be suffering from any pensionable disability but is engaged at some of the hardest kind of work.

I am of opinion that this man should be prosecuted for attempt to practice fraud on the government.  He enlists in August of 1863.  In September  ’63 complains of his shoulder and charges it to rheumatism, when he knew, as well as this evidence shows, that it was the same disability he received by having his shoulder strained in Spence’s apple orchard, either just before, or just after he enlisted and he knows that he spoke to the Spence’s about it.  His intent is guilty and plainly so, and I recommend that he be selected as a suitable person to make an example of.

The claim was denied.  In the pension file there are appeals and declarations and supplementary claims dating right up to his death.  Apparently at some point he was given a small monthly pension.  The man was truly in poor physical shape, but his early indiscretion haunted him and the government was not overly sympathetic to his ills.  The examinations are very inconsistent in their findings as well. 

Considering that Shadrick is a very collateral relative, I do not find it necessary to sort through all these files and get a blow-by-blow description of what transpired.  Suffice it to say, whether he was simply lazy and didn’t care to work, or couldn’t work hard because he was sick, what the obituary stated – “Took life easy and did not attempt big things in a business way” was surely true.





Monday, February 23, 2015

RAILROADS & GENEALOGY



HOW THE RAILROADS AFFECTED MY FAMILIES

Genealogy isn't all birth, marriage and death dates.  We can learn lots of interesting things about our "long since" ancestors.  I have uncovered a train in almost everybody's life.  Enjoy!

1860s:  General Stephen Hurlbut, one of General Grant’s officers in the civil war, served first in militias in Illinois and then in Missouri guarding the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad.

1864:  Serena Stevens Loop and Sophronia Stevens Hurlbut, both elderly ladies and sisters, were riding in the last car of the morning mail train heading east out of Belvidere, Illinois.  The flange on one of the wheels broke and the car “was precipitated down an embankment 20 or 25 feet high without a moment’s warning.  The car in its descent turned completely over, smashing the top and sides but landing right side up.”  Luckily all the passengers survived, but were badly bruised.  The newspaper article says the new car was very new, with many new amenities, one of which was a new type of wheel.  It added “It is hoped the builders don’t always furnish that style of wheels.”  

1873:   John G. Davis and his neighbors in Schuyler county, Missouri filed lawsuits against the St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern Railway Company because they didn’t fence their tracks properly, allowing “property” to be killed.  That property was probably a “cow” and Davis was awarded $30.00. 

1873Frank Stevens’ first job at age 15 was learning telegraphy in the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad office in Raymond, Kansas.  In 1874 he was given charge of that station and remained with them until 1891.

1876James S. Dobbins paid to have 1 box of household goods, weight 200 lbs., shipped from Lawrence, Kansas to Las Animas, Colorado.

1884:  Jim & Nannie Dobbins had to give up their ranch in Colorado.  They no sooner got their house and corrals built than they learned the Santa Fe railroad tracks would come directly through their property.

1887:  The first picture of my Grandma Jessie Ryland was taken in Pueblo, Colorado in a Railroad photo car.  

1893:  Aunt Lillie was widowed when her husband, an engineer on the Midland Railroad in Colorado, was killed in a head-on crash in the Rocky Mountain foothills.  As Ben McCammon  lay dying he willed his house to his widow, as attested by three of his co-workers.  This oral will was discovered during a 1977 title search. 

1898:  In the late 1890s Scott Dobbins played cornet in the Midland Railway Band.  In weekly concerts in Colorado Springs he met – and began wooing -  the lady who later became his wife.  

1903:  Frank Stevens’ son, Roland Humphrey Stevens, was killed in a train accident in 1903 in Cimarron, Kansas.  

1906:  In 1906 Byron Hall, aged 30, took the railroad home from a business trip.  The conductor, sensing that apparently the passenger was having some kind of a mental problem, notified the next station of his odd behavior.  At the station Byron got off and walked to a nearby hotel, where he shot and killed two policemen before he himself was killed.

1916Bruce Kirkpatrick, a 16-year old in Tennessee, went with a buddy one evening to try to jump aboard a moving freight trains, the type of unsafe things young men often do.  When Bruce jumped, he bumped into his buddy. This caused Bruce to fall to his death beneath the wheels.  Bruce’s parents, while acknowledging that there was no malicious intent in the death, nevertheless had “Murdered” inscribed on his tombstone.  

1940s:  In the 30s and 40s, many homeless men “rode the rails” to California looking for a job. Julius Title was the head of the Transit Committee for the local Elks club and as such his job was to give to hobos jumping off the train in Pomona a bus ticket to either Los Angeles or San Bernardino, “where jobs were more plentiful.”

*****
And just in case you wondered about my own train experience, that is me in the picture above with my hand shielding the sun from my eyes as I had my first train ride in a little amusement park in Long Beach, California.   My baby sister was with me.  I'm guessing it was 1938. Oh, it was FUN!





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DID HE OR DIDN'T HE? ONLY NARA KNOWS!

STEVENS FAMILY


Chester Dana Stevens - 1862

Almost everything in genealogical research starts out as a theory.  You may know a fact for sure but really it is just a part of your "theory" until you can find definitive proof.

That is, of course, if you are a really dedicated genealogist.  Some people don't want to work that hard, and their work is based on a lot of assumptions that may, or may not be right.  I want mine to be RIGHT!

So here's my Stevens theory:  Chester D. Stevens (1822-1902), my great-great-grandfather, was thought to have participated in the civil war.  On what do I build that theory?

Firstly, his son Frank wrote a short blurb for a Kansas County History Book: "He was a stanch (sic) Republican and served during the Civil war as an officer in the commissary department."  Now genealogists know that these county history books are notoriously suspect.  People paid to have their biography published in this book, and the money collected was what got the book published.  Of course, people writing their own bios tended to leave out the not-so-good stuff and puff up the truth, which might end up anywhere between a little mundane or a big fabrication.  With that possibility in mind, I use Frank's report on his dad as part of my theory.

Secondly, handed down in our family are bits of two letters that Chester wrote to his baby daughter, "Ellen", at the time she was born on 15 September of 1862.  The letters went to his wife in Mendota, Illinois, which is in northern Illinois where all the Stevens clan settled in the 1840s.  One of those letters is shown below.  Please note that Chester reports from Bolivar, Tennessee, puts "Commissary" on the letter and he definitely states that he is in the army, though he writes it with a lower case "a" (which may or may not mean something.)

An ancestor who serves in a war generally has a military record of some type residing in our country's National Archives and accessible to the public.  But lo, there is nothing there for C. D. Stevens, Chester D. Stevens, Chester Dana Stevens, or for any of those names with the variation "Stephens" as a last name.  I tried three different times over a four year period to find something that would indicate Chester's involvement in the Civil War.  But three times the National Archives said their records did not show a man by any of those names in any branch of the service.  Zilch.  Zero.  No military record, no pension, no nothing.

To cover all the bases, I looked for him in the Illinois militia, too.  Zilch there, also.

Mind you, I've been trying to prove my Chester theory since 1984.  Folks, that's 30 years!

Last year I had a new idea.

Chester's sister, Sophronia, married Steven A. Hurlbut, who at that time was an attorney in Belvidere, Illinois, near Mendota.  When the Civil War broke out, President Lincoln put General Ulysses Grant (also a friend of the Stevens family) in place, and guess what?  Grant appointed Hurlbut a Brigadier General and guess where he was in September of 1862 at the time Chester wrote his letter to his newborn daughter?  If you said Bolivar, Tennessee, you would be correct.

The 53rd Infantry Volunteers, headed by Gen. Hurlbut, arrived in Bolivar on September 13 and moved out of Bolivar on October 4.  My new theory now is heading toward the idea of General Hurlbut getting his brother-in-law (Chester) into the Commissary perhaps as a general contractor or the like.  Of course, I have to prove or disprove that one now.

Recently at a genealogy society meeting we had a superb presentation by Kerry Bartels, an Archives Specialist at the Pacific Region National Archives recently relocated from Laguna Niguel to Riverside in California.  After listening to Bartels, I am convinced that the National Archives holds the secret of my Chester's participation in the Civil War.  He may not have been an officer of the commissary department but I do believe he had something very important to do about getting supplies to the Union Army in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Now even with the newly found confidence that I'm heading the right direction with my theory, I can't help but be a bit discouraged.  As Bartels says, the National Archives has a huge amount of material and what is on line is only a miniscule part of it.  And as he showed us, it is possible to find where things are kept.  I try not to be negative, but I add: That may be so IF you are living right, IF you are smart enough, IF you have many years of life left in you, and IF you either can travel around the country to comb through millions of documents or have found the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow to pay for hiring a researcher to do it for you. 

I wish I knew in 1984 what I know now.  If I had, and IF the stars were all in alignment, I might have had my theory proved by now, even understanding that sometimes what you fined is that you are left holding a theory blown to h--l by facts you didn't suspect.

Bartels gave a wonderful talk.  I'm old enough, after researching for so many years, to appreciate what he said and not so old that I can't dream of possibilities.  But I'm also realistic enough to know that it isn't likely going to happen in my lifetime.  Maybe at some point down the line one of my descendants will become interested enough to take on the challenge of hunting for and locating the very box at the National Archives Branch that contains the Commissary Records pertaining to Bolivar, Tennessee in September of 1862 that will prove the role of Chester D. Stevens in the Civil War. Perhaps that person will even be able to access those records from the computer at his or her home.  No, I'm not discouraged, just a little sad that it won't be me.

I hear you asking why we put ourselves through all this?  Hey, I do it for no other reason than because it is great, great fun.  The side benefit is that it is the kind of mental exercise that is supposed to ward off senility in old age!  What a hopeful outcome that is for simply having fun!