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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

This week I’m going to honor my very own Grandma Nellie with her headstone as my “Headstone of the Week.” The reason I selected her is because I just celebrated the marriage of my grandson to a beautiful bride, and my grandmother was a beautiful bride! These two brides a few things in common, as you will soon see.On Saturday evening, 31 March 2012, Stephanie Ages became the bride of Nellie Viola Niess Sherman’s great-great-grandson, Michael Foster. She was a lovely bride in a beautiful ceremony. She had her friends and relatives attend her, as bridesmaids and maid of honor. Nothing was lacking in the ceremony or reception. . . . and 98 years prior, the groom’s great-great-grandmother had a similar ceremony on 16 September 1914. She, too, was attended by a maid of honor, and four bridesmaids, that included both relatives and a BFF (although the term would be foreign to her!)  in the perfect wedding ceremony with the perfect reception. Details of it were written up in the Washington Post on Thursday, September 17, 1914:

 The marriage of Miss Nellie Viola Niess, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Niess, and Mr. William Francis Sherman took place last evening at 8 o’clock in the First Congregational Church in the presence of a large company of relatives and friends.  The pastor of the church, the Rev. Jay T. Stocking, officiated.  The bride was given in marriage by her father, and wore a gown of ivory brocaded crepe de chine made with a court train.  Her veil, which was of tulle, fell from a cap of lace and orange blossoms to the edge of the train, and she carried a shower bouquet of lilies of the valley, orchids, and bride roses.  Mrs. Jarvis Goodwin was matron of honor, and her gown was of pale pink satin and lace.  She wore a cop of pink tulle and carried a basket of pink roses.

There were four bridesmaids, each of whom wore a gown of crepe de chine in the pastel shade to form the colors of the rainbow.  Miss Hattie Montgomery, of Baltimore, was in pale green; Miss Martha Niess, of Pennsylvania, in pale mauve; Miss Dorothy McElwee in yellow, and Miss Elsie Small in pale blue.  They all carried standard baskets of asters tied with chiffon ribbons to match their gowns.

Mr. Charles Graves was best man, and the ushers were Benjamin Harlan, Mr. Edwin N. (sic) Niess, Mr. Carl Joras, and Mr. Edwin Kavanaugh of New York.

The ceremony was followed by a reception at the home of the bride’s parents, 61 Rhode Island avenue, after which Mr. and Mrs. Sherman left for their wedding trip.  They will be at home after November 1, at 20 W street.

Out of town guests here for the wedding included Mr. and Mrs. E.H. Niess, grandparents of the bride; Mrs. Louis Houseal, Messrs. Louis and Robert Houseal, Mrs. Julia Kern (sic), Miss Fannie Laverty, and Mrs. Sarah Luxen (sic), all of Harrisburgh(sic), Pa., Mr. James Montgomery of Kansas City, Mr. Samuel J. Montgomery and Mrs. Hildeman of Baltimore, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Lehman and Mrs. Saide Leham (sic) of Camden,  N.J.

This is probably where the similarities will end, however. Times have changed and expectations differ in the 21st century. My grandmother was expected to fit into society, have Bridge parties as her mother did, belong to the DAR, and all the proper societies. Stephanie, on the other hand, plans to continue her schooling and be a supportive wife of a husband serving his country in the US Coast Guard.

Grandma Nellie’s life took a turn for the worse as the Depression affected the family and a downward spiral sent the family first to New York City, then San Francisco where the only available jobs could be found. Her “Papa” continued to write and spoil his Nellie who eventually spent her waning life engulfed in that terrible Alzheimer’s disease. We called her, affectionately, “Grandma Forgetful.”

She died in Riverside, California on 30 April 1976 and her ashes were sent to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania to be placed in the same grave with her mother. A small ceremony was held with about 10 people present and she was laid to rest with flowers placed on her grave. Until I moved to Pennsylvania, I doubt that anyone remembered her or her mother on those special occasions such as Mother’s Day or Memorial Day. We remember her each year with fresh flowers even though she didn’t remember us for years before her death, thanks to that dreaded disease.

We remember her as a beautiful bride, a talented artist and most of all a loving and caring grandmother.

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Rev. Jeremiah Mark Carvell, Ph.D., the name alone impresses. At least it does me, but then it should. You see, he was my great-great grandfather.

He was born on the 3rd of March in 1843 near McKees Half Falls, Pennsylvania, not even “full” falls,  but “half” falls, whatever they may be, to Joseph Britton Carvell and his wife, Rebecca Mark Carvell. His mother died when he was only 4 years old, leaving his father with 3 small children. Within two years he had a new mother, and would eventually have at least 10 more brothers and sisters.Headstone in Springhill Cemetery, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

According to his 2 column obituary found in Shippensburg Pennsylvania’s The News on 7 September 1894:

In addition to his common school education,

  • he attended, in 1861-62, the Millerstown Academy, and after his second term of enlistment had expired completed his studies in the academy at Markleysville
  • In 1866, without any further collegiate or theological training, he entered the ministry of the Church of God, beginning his labors in Perry County.  Upon entering the ministry Mr. Carvell discovered that his most serious deficiency was his partial training for the work.  He at once became a student. 
  • Under private tutors he made commendable progress in scientific, philosophical and classical studies, taking up to some extent Latin, Greek and Hebrew. 
  • Later he began a post-graduate course at Wooster University, Ohio, a having previously been honored with the degree of A.M. from Bates College, Lewiston, Ma. 
  • Of scholarly tastes and habits, he gradually accumulated a library of valuable literary, theological, scientific, philosophical and classical works of a standard character second to few, if any, in the Church.  He was a man of high ideas in education, morals, aesthetics and religion, which he was often but too conscious of failing to realize.  His abilities and singleness of purpose, his purity of character and power of intellect were fully recognized by his associates in the ministry, so that the Church repeatedly honored itself by promoting him to places of greater usefulness. 
  • He was for years a member of the various boards and standing committees of the East Pennsylvania Eldership.  He had also been a delegate to the General Eldership of the Church a number of times and served on its Board of Publication and Board of Education.  
  • he became one of the incorporators of Findlay College, Findlay, Ohio, on whose board of trustees he also later served for nearly two terms. 
  • He took an active part in the organization of the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, at Mt. Gretna, and was a member of the Executive Committee. 
  • He was also a member of the Dauphin County Bible Society
  • He held prominent positions in different orders, being Chaplain of the Grand Lodge Royal Arch Masons of Pennsylvania, a member of I.O.O.F. and the Valley Encampment and Grand Army Post of Shippensburg; past master of Big Spring Lodge of Masons at Newville, P.H.P. of No. 71 Royal Arch Chapter at Carlisle, P.E.C. of St. John’s Commandery at Carlisle”
Very impressive accomplishments for a long life, aren’t they? Well, they would be, but he died when he was just 51 years of age! and that obituary didn’t mention that he enlisted not once, but twice in the Civil War ~ the first enlistment he was a foot soldier, the 2nd time he had a horse!

When Jeremiah got out of the service he met a young widow with a daughter, and married Mary Jane Ziegler Gantt on 2 August 1866 in Dauphin, Pennsylvania. The couple would have 4 children, with only one, my great-grandmother, living to adulthood. Mary Jane died when Jeremiah was a pastor in Philadelphia, leaving him with two daughters to care for him. In the Family Bible, started by him is a pressed flower, and I am assuming it was from flowers from her funeral. There is a piece of fabric with it and it was with their Wedding Certificate.  (Yes, I have the Bible, all filled out in his hand, with births and deaths of each child and his beloved wife)

According to his Civil War Pension file, he died from injuries associated to a gunshot wound. The last months of his life he was confined to his bed in the household of his step-daughter and her husband. He died in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania on 1 September 1894 and is buried in Springhill Cemetery which was once at the edge of town. This headstone cost $90 according to his inventory  filed with Cumberland County. (The original Inventory w/the county stamp was in that wonderful Bible!)

The man with humble beginnings in Perry County Pennsylvania was a true man of God and took advantage of everything he could to better himself in order to serve the Lord and his fellow man. This is why I’ve decided to honor him as

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #9.

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My selection for headstone of the week is Joseph Britton Carvell, my great-great-great grandfather.  He is buried in cemetery at Otterbein United Methodist Church in East Salem, Juniata County,  Pennsylvania, next to his 2nd wife, Mary Hile Carvell. Born on 1 February 1821 in Snyder County, Pennsylvania, he was the first son out of 14 children born to William Carvell and Mary Britton. He was named for his grandfather, Joseph Britton, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

When Joseph was 20 years old, he married Rebecca Mark who bore him at least 5 children, my great-great grandfather, Jeremiah Mark Carvell, being one of them. In November of 1847, Rebecca passed on to glory, leaving Joseph with 3 children under 5 years of age. It is of no surprise that he had remarried by the following September. The marriage to Mary Hyle lasted 44 years until Mary died in 1887. She had borne him at least 12 children.The picture is a copy of a copy, and therefore not a good one, but it shows the couple and shows Joseph as who he was – a hardworking man, doing his best to support his family. The work boots on his feet show he was just a working man.

Joseph and Mary Carvell lived in Thompsontown, Delaware Township in Juniata County. Delaware Township is just 29 square miles with under 2,000 residents today. During their life time the population was probably a lot less. Another researcher tells of two of his granddaughters who remember their grandfather living in a house directly off the square in Thompsontown. He made his living by making brooms and peddling them throughout the countryside. Although several things point to the couple owning property, nothing conclusive can be found, and it is doubtful the couple ever did.

My selection for Headstone of the Week is for a man I know little about. What I do know however makes me respect his values. The process of making a broom from growing, harvesting, and drying the broom straw thru the assembly on specially cut and finished wood handles and then peddling them yourself would make anyone worthy of being my choice for

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #4.

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In keeping with the theme (and it wasn’t really a theme, it just kinda happened) my headstone of the week belongs to one of my great-great-grandfathers. Picking just one was the hard thing this week! I had a couple of great candidates to pick from! Which one should I pick? My great grandmother’s father? He has a great story and and had an obituary a column and a half long and accomplished a lot in his short 51 year life, or would I pick her father-in-law who was a common working man, just getting by in life? Well, after a lot of thought, I picked her father-in-law, Ephraim H. Niess, and for a very good reason, as you will soon see.

Ephraim, the oldest son of John and Elizabeth Hauenstein Niess, was born October 21, 1841 in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He  died on November 25, 1915 and is buried in Harrisburg Cemetery along with his wife and 5 of his children. His very devout wife’s diary had four short words to mark his passing: “He took my husband.”

During the Civil War, Ephraim enlisted in Pennsylvania Volunteers, 122nd Regiment, Company E in August of 1862. He was 21 years old. When he mustered out in May of 1863, as a Private, he had just seen the action in Chancellorsville and experienced the horrors of war. A year later he married Catharine L. Auxer, a marriage that lasted over 50 years and produced 10 children, 4 of which lived to adulthood.

Ephraim H. and Catharine L. Auxer Niess

Harrisburg City Directory lists his occupation as Laborer, Bricklayer, Furnace Maker, Furnace Builder, Fireman and finally, Foreman. Want to know what he really did for a living?

Each day he walked to his job at Bailey Iron Works, just across the tracks from his home. Since the huge brick furnaces were essential to their operation, letting a furnace cool down to change bricks that needed replacement was not an option.  Somebody had to put on 6 layers of clothing and go into that furnace to change the bricks, and that somebody was my great-great grandfather. Yet he kept going to work, day in and day out. He had a job, a commitment and an obligation.

Life was not easy for the family. Catharine’s diary tells of past due bills, family deaths, illnesses, and depression.

He had no fancy education, just the bare minimum to get by, but his children were all educated. His daughter got piano lessons along with her schooling and his son got a University education before furthering himself with a law degree.

A man’s position in life, be it owner of a business or the lowest paid worker is not the total of his worth. His experiences, his values, principles and stick-to-itness speak more of who he is than piles of money and/or degrees attached to his name.

My great-great grandfather went thru Hell and back, from Chancellorsville to the furnaces at Bailey Iron Works, but he didn’t give up. He raised a successful family, celebrated his 50th anniversary with the bride of his youth, and kept going into that furnace, changing those bricks, day after day after day.

. . . and that is why I selected his headstone for

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #3

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Wha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-at?   Yes, I attended an ongoing Funeral on Friday evening in the heart of Lancaster! There was a Hearse (one of those old fancy ones!) with a casket in it . . . that makes it a funeral, doesn’t it? Of course, I don’t know who (or what) was in that casket . . .I think this was just a small “Family Cemetery” since I couldn’t find a name anywhere and I did check Find A Grave, to no avail!. . . and right in the middle of the preparations, a train went whizzing by. Stopped those gravediggers and their backhoe momentarily, but the people didn’t seem to mind. It was as though they were just standing there in shock.

I bet I didn’t fool you, though! I bet you figured me out!

Last Friday night was “First Friday” in Lancaster. Amanda and I went out to see a couple of sights and have a bite to eat and were going to finish up the evening at LancasterHistory.Org for their first appearance “on the circuit,” so to speak. We, however, got side-tracked by a Model Railroad exhibit on the 2nd floor of the Citizens Bank building, right next door to the Historical Society, and we weren’t disappointed! Neither were a lot of little children, who just couldn’t move and stood there with their mouths wide open! It was wonderful – the display and the reaction of the children!

I know it’s been there several years and find it surprising that there is very little mention of it on the internet. It is free to the public and operates on donations. I was delighted to have a chance to donate so children (and adults like me!) can enjoy what these men and women seem to enjoy sharing with the community!

If you happen to be in the Penn Square area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, be sure to stop by and see it! It is truly a work of art . . . and love!

But I still don’t know if there is anybody or anything in that casket!

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The Vaugh Stack, as I call it, caught my eye in the Harrisburg Cemetery during my recent visit. The simplicity of it in an area that had crypts, ornate and ostentatious headstones, either made a statement or was especially designed to be unique.

  • The largest stone of the bottom is for Robert Vaugh, who I’m assuming was the head of the family. He was born in 1824 and died 1908.
  • Above his is his wife’s stone. Mary Mastin Vaugh was born in 1827 and died in 1897.
  • The next stone up would be Catharine who I think was born in 1884 (it’s hard to read) and died in 1912, 
  • and the top stone simply lists, John, Maggie and Walt.

Unique? I think so, and that is why it’s. . .

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #32

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Well, THE INTERVIEW was aired very-y-y-y early this morning, and as I thought, I appeared nervous! Although talking to Lori Burkholder, the reporter, was like talking to friend, the fact that the camera was there was ever present in my mind!

See for yourself . . . but don’t judge Linda by her first TV appearance! Well, first if you don’t count the appearance when I met Richard Nixon at Ontario, California Airport on the eve of his election! (Can’t help it folks! I had to be a Young Republican since I came from a family of staunch, life-long Republicans. I was incognito, though because I was dressed in an Elephant Suit!)

It was a wonderful experience, but doubtful I’ll be contacted for a permanent position!

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