Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Rest In Peace, Uncle Lenny

Leonard Lewis Tabor
10 March 1944 - 12 November 2012
Beloved uncle.  Dedicated Chicago Bears fan.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - James and Anne McCoy

McCoy.  It's a family name, but also a dead end.  I was also a very bad person when I photographed this tombstone and forgot to annotate whether it was from St. Gabriel's in Hazleton or St. Mary's in Beaver Meadows.  Either way it's a family cemetery and I will be retracing my steps the next time I go home and properly annotate the photo.

My McCoy ancestor was Nancy Brown nee McCoy.  I don't know much about her apart from being born around 1845 in Ireland and dying in 1926 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  Nancy (called "Annie"...obviously not this Anne) was my 2nd great grandmother.  I have found no immigration records for her and I don't know who her parents were.  I have to narrow down her death date and hopefully a death certificate and/or obituary may provide some healthy leads.

As it is each time I walk past a "McCoy" tombstone in Saint Gabriel's or Saint Mary's cemetery I wonder if they belong to me.  Was this my 3rd great uncle on this tombstone?  I may not know for a long time. I may never know.  You can be sure that I'll be tracking down information on James as well as my Annie the next time I'm home.

The research I was able to do on this James McCoy was that he came to America from Ireland around 1878 and he was born around 1860.  My Annie was born 15 years earlier and was already in America in April 1874 when she married her husband, Neil Brown.  Does this mean that this James isn't a relation of my Annie's?  No, but it's not a strong case.  Perhaps a cousin or nephew?  Sure, maybe.

It looks like, for now, I'll still be staring fondly after all those "McCoy" tombstones.  Perhaps the cemetery will at least be able to give me a month for the burials to help me with obituaries and death certificates.  It's certainly worth a try!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Remembering the Veterans in my Family

(A follow up post from previous Veterans Days with the addition of my cousin the Brigadier General and priest since I finally got a picture of him, and the  promotion of my cousin, JoAnn.  Congrats on your promotion!)

I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has served honorably in our Armed Forces.  Without our service members past and present our country would not be where it is today. We would not have gained our independence, we would not have unified a divided country, we would not have stopped the atrocities of 2 World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. There are many conflicts not mentioned which do not make light of the sacrifices that servicemen and women made in them. Sometimes the sacrifice was in time away from family and long hours. At times it was witnessing the horrors of those wars or even succumbing valiantly to them.

Not everyone serves their country as a Veteran does and not everyone can or should. You are unique, respected and given a burden that many would not be able to bear. Whether you served many months or many years in our Armed Forces makes no difference. You served. Thank you!

I'd like to now pay tribute to my family members who have served (I hope I didn't miss any!).


Thursday, October 25, 2012

My 2nd Blogiversary - The Reason I Do This

"The Royal Charter off Moelfre"
Image used with permission of E. D. Walker

October 26th marks my 2 year Blogiversary.  So much has changed since starting my blog.  Including moving to beautiful Colorado Springs and building a new home, which we hope to occupy in the next couple months!

October 26th also marks another anniversary of sorts.  The anniversary of the shipwreck that took my 3rd great grandfather, Manus Maurice Boyle's life.  A shipwreck that was famous at the time, but one that we don't hear of much today (at least not in America).  Below is the first post I ever made on my blog.  It's where it all started and it's one of the reasons I began blogging.  I've merely updated it to reflect the current year.  Enjoy!

October 26, 2012 is the 153st anniversary of my great-great-great grandfather, Manus Maurice Boyle's, death in the shipwreck of the Royal Charter. He worked in the coal mines of northeastern Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Alice Monaghan, were both Irish immigrants and longed for a better life for their two daughters, Bridget Mary and Anna. He left Pennsylvania in September 1856 to go to Australia to mine for gold in hopes of a better future for his family. He was returning to his family from Australia in the autumn of 1859. The Royal Charter would have taken him back to Britain. No one knows what ship he was to board to return to America. No one knows what fortunes, if any, he was returning from Australia with. During the last leg of his journey to Liverpool a "hurricane" struck. There was no advanced warning. None existed prior to that date.

The winds that raged over 100 mph changed from East to North/Northeast and the bay (Moelfre Bay) which Captain Taylor had hoped would shelter them became the instrument of their demise. The anchors that had been weighed, snaped in the first hours of the morning of October 26th and the ship was repeatedly thrown against the rocks until it split and sank. Of more than 480 passengers and crew only 41 survived. No women or children were saved.

The valiant efforts of one of the crew, Joe Rogers, and the inhabitants of the Moelfre coast were what enabled even those 41 to be saved. The storm had caused damage to one of the Moelfre homes and as residents were repairing the roof in the early hours of the morning they saw the ship in peril. They woke the town and 28 local men made a human chain in the violent waters of the bay to attempt to rescue those aboard. Joe Rogers took a line from the ship and swam to shore, being turned back in the violent waves of the storm at least 3 times before reaching the men on shore. The rope was used in an attempt to bring those from the vessel ashore.

Sadly, many of the passengers on the ship jumped or were thrown overboard. The bulkiness of the clothes of the time coupled with the fact that many had money belts and pockets filled with gold inhibited their efforts to the deadliest of degrees. Had they abandoned their garments and treasure many more may have survived.

There was over 322,000 pounds (British monetary unit) of gold aboard the ship. This was the amount insured back in 1859 and does not include the gold the passengers kept on their persons. I do not know the equivalent in today's currency the gold would be valued at, but it would obviously be substantially higher. The large amount of money combined with the rumors of "good fortune" that surrounded the town after the wreck led to the shipwreck being called the Golden Wreck.

The village church of Saint Gallgo became the collection point for the bodies. The Reverends Stephen Roose Hughes and his brother Reverend Hugh Robert Hughes paid the local inhabitants to bring the bodies to the church, a difficult trek up the rocky shores to the church made monetary remuneration the only way to persuade the locals to take on the grim task. They saw to the burial of those killed and personally answered over 1000 letters they received begging a response regarding loved ones. The stress from this caused the Reverend Stephen Hughes' life to be cut short. He died a few years later.

The church at Saint Gallgo still exists today and each year remembers those lost in this tragedy. Monuments stand to remember those lost. A distant cousin of mine Debbie Fay Buch and her husband, Josh Buch, placed a memorial stone at Saint Gallgo Church in August 2004. It reads:

Manus Maurice Boyle
Never Recovered from the Royal Charter
Placed by the Fay Family
Hazleton, PA USA 2004

I don't sit around depressed over the fact that this is the anniversary of my ancestor's death. What would have happened had he come home with gold from Australia? My 2nd great grandmother, Anna Boyle, may never have met her husband, Martin Blanchfield, and I would never have been born. Sometimes good can come from tragedy. People's fortunes can improve or worsen causing them to make decisions that determine the outcome of their history and sometimes other people's histories. It does sadden me to know that Manus was never to hold his youngest daughter, Anna. She was born 2 months after he left for Australia. It saddens me to know that his last thoughts were most likely of a family that he would not see again in this world. Or perhaps his last thoughts were of a determination to survive and get back to them. A determination that was matched by the ferocity of the circumstances in which he found himself. It saddens me knowing that he did not die the "peaceful" death of drowning for the majority of those lost were broken on the rocks of the bay. The passengers and crew of the Royal Charter died so close to shore that even today the wreck can be seen below the surface of the waters from the bay's shoreline. Still there, resting peacefully below the water.

It is not everyone that can say their ancestor's demise was written about in books. I have read two that write of the Royal Charter. One by Alexander McKee, "The Golden Wreck: The Tragedy of the Royal Charter" is out of print, but it tells of the voyage from Australia to it's wreck, the recovery of the remains of the victims and the trial of the crew that survived. I have read the account of the shipwreck written by the great Charles Dickens (yes, I said Charles Dickens wrote about this tragedy!) in his book "The Uncommercial Traveller" (only about the first 20 or so pages of the book are dedicated to this wreck. It's a series of 34 books and this is in volume 24. The entire series tells of Dickens' travels as he IS the Uncommercial Traveller).

I take this time today to remember a man I never knew, but love nevertheless. As a genealogist it can be hard to convey to those that do not research their ancestry that while we may never have met these names that appear in our family trees, we feel a closeness that defies explanation.

Rest in Peace, Grandpa. You will be remembered by your many descendants.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Eugene Villers

Close-up of the Eugene Villers tombstone*
Eugene Villers' tombstone*

Eugene Villers was born in Belgium. He and his wife Teresa/Mary Teresa (maiden name not known/confirmed) had five known children: Martin Joseph, Marie Francoise, Maria Louise, Pierre Louis, and Eugene. They all immigrated to America in 1856 and settled in Wisconsin to farm the land. He purchased land in 1870 in Kewaunee County.

Eugene and his wife are my husband's 3rd great-grandparents and are buried in St. Hubert's Cemetery in Euren, Kewaunee County, Wisconsin.

Eugene Villers
Born Mar 13 1811
Died June 10 1883

*Thank you to Mr. Rob Watson for not only taking the pictures, but for kind permission to use them in my blog.  Pictures taken from Saint Hubert's cemetery which is on the border of Door and Kewaunee counties in Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Strike That...Reverse It...

Harvard University Library website
Ooops....I started my series of posts on immigration history in the United States with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, and wouldn't you know, I should have started it earlier.  Well, until I can build a time machine or Doctor Who can come and whisk me back a couple months I'll just have to rectify the situation by inserting the missing post here.

(INSERT MISSING POST, a.k.a. - The Naturalization Act of 1790)

This Act is short and sweet (if only it were so today).  Residency in the US for 2 years (and don't be naughty) and you and your children are considered citizens.  Now I was always taught that a wife's citizenship was also tied to the husband, but I see no mention of this in the Act.  Could it be that naturalization wasn't always this way for women?  Could it be that women were considered even less significant than children to not even warrant being mentioned?  Is it automatically an assumption that wives are included due to the era of the legislation?  If anyone knows, please share.

"Congress of the United States:


Begun and held at the City of New-York, on Monday the Fourth of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety.

An ACT to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.

BE it enacted by the SENATE and  HOUSE of  REPRESENTATIVES of the United States of America, in Congress assembled,  That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any Common Law Court of Record, in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the Constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States.  And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States.  And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens:  Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States:  Provided also,  That no person heretofore proscribed by any State, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.
JOHN ADAMS, Vice-President of the United States,
and President of the Senate

APPROVED, March 26th, 1790.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Frank Thelen

Appleton Post Crescent 23APR1960, B1
After my first reading of this obituary, all I could think of was, "Boy, wouldn't it have been nice to put his parents names!?!?! Thanks a lot!"  There's also no mention of his wife in the obituary.  Not cool dude.  Not cool...

But there is some good information in here.  I don't know if Frank Thelen belongs in my family tree, but the Thelen name is in there.

I looked on Ancestry and found Frank in the 1940 census with his wife, Anna, and three children:  Marie, Paul and Robert.  We can see Paul and Robert in the obituary, but we don't know which of the women is Marie.  No biggie at this moment, but I can be fairly certain that I've got the right person since this census was from Menasha, Wisconsin and at least 2 of the kiddos are in there.

His son, Anthony, is in the 1930 census along with the 3 children already mentioned.  In the 1920 census, we've got Anthony and Marie joined by another sibling, Leona, but Frank's wife's name is now Gertrude.  Mistake?  Perhaps Anna was her middle name and that's what she preferred?

In the Wisconsin State Census for 1905 Anna is Anna again and their oldest daughter is Gertrude.  Leona is there too as a munchkin.  So obviously just a mistake was made in the one census.  It happens.  No biggie.  I'm still trailing the right family.

So their children are: Gertrude, Leona, Anthony, Marie, Paul and Robert (in that order).  Perhaps the daughters were listed by age in the obituary as well.  Not significant to my current search but could be something to follow up with down the road.

So Frank and Anna are married and we've got them in several census records.  Let's see if I can find those parents.  I've got a sister, Margaret, that can help me narrow down some parents.

I couldn't find Frank Thelen in the 1880 census...at least not one that matched up properly.  I was almost ready to give up and say this can wait until I get back to Wisconsin for more research when I cheated....I looked at a family tree on Ancestry.

I didn't take the information as true, I just looked to see what someone else thought the parents were for Frank and Margaret.  There were several trees that said their parents were Anton and Gertrude (nee Escher).  I didn't assume this information to be true, but what I did do was use it to search in the 1880 census.  I'm glad I did because this was what I found:

1880 US Federal Census - Anton Thilen household
Hard to read, huh?  Well, Anton and Gertrud's surname is transcribed "Thilen" in the census.  Very close and you'll get the hit if you aren't searching for the exact "Thelen" spelling.  And Frank wasn't Frank yet.  He was Franz.  Margaret was Margretha.  I don't know if Gertrud's maiden name really was Escher or not, but look at the "Escher" living right next door.  I'll be checking into Anton and Gertrude in the future and hope to see if I can discover her maiden name.  I haven't confirmed anything from the online tree, but I have used it to get me a little farther back and to point me in a direction where I can now go home and see about pulling Franz's birth record as well as his marriage record when I head to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

So is Frank Thelen in my family tree?  No proof yet.  The only Thelen I have is Margaretha and to the best of my information she was born in Wisconsin in 1856.  I don't know her parents, but it doesn't look like he'd fit in there.  He may not be related at all.  So I'll head back to Wisconsin (hopefully over Christmas) and pull some records.  See what I can find.  If nothing else, I hope the information helps someone.

"Frank Thelen, 84, Retired Wooden Ware Employe (sic), Succumbs

Menasha - Frank Thelen, 84, of 723 First street, died at 7:30 a.m. today.  He was born Feb. 22, 1878, at Marytown, Wis., and had worked at the Menasha Wooden Ware for more than 50 years before he retired 10 years ago.  He was a charter member of the Germania society and also a member of the Menasha Eagles, Catholic Order of Foresters and Holy Name society.

Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary's Catholic church with burial in the parish cemetery.  Friends may call at the Laemmrich Funeral home after 3 p.m. Monday and the rosary will be recited there at 8 p.m.

Survivors are three daughters, Mrs. James Hale of Chicago and Mrs. Walter Peterman and Mrs. Edward Becker of Appleton; three sons, Anthony and Robert of Menasha and Paul of Mundelein, Ill.; a sister, Miss Margaret Thelen of Sherwood; 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wednesday's Child - Goldrine DeGrave

It's always sad when a young person dies.  I don't know the relationship between Goldrine and the driver of the car, Orville Hermans, but I suspect that it was a close one.  He spent Christmas at her house and they were on the way to his house to spend the day after Christmas when the accident happened.  To lose a loved one and during the holidays.

I don't believe there are any DeGraves in my family tree's direct line, but we've got plenty of Hermans to go around.  Perhaps the article was clipped because it had to do with Orville and a dear friend (or girlfriend).

There was no date on the article apart from a handwritten "1949" at the bottom. Christmas in 1949 was on Sunday and the accident occurred on a Sunday.  Perhaps "Christmas night" actually meant Christmas Eve.

Either way, today we remember Goldrine DeGrave.  A beautiful young woman that was taken away from her loved ones at far too young and age.

"Goldrine DeGrave, above, 16-year-old Fairland girl, was killed in an automobile accident near Luxemburg Sunday morning.  She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William DeGrave.

Tire Blowout Fatal

A tire blowout at 6 o'clock Sunday morning apparently caused the death of Goldrine DeGrave, 16-year-old Fairland girl.  The driver of the car, Orville Hermans, 17, of Tonet, is in a serious condition in St. Vincent hospital in Green Bay.

Skid marks showed how the car left the road and crashed into a machine shed on County Trunk A about 2 1/2 miles north of Luxemburg in Kewaunee county.  Fred Cravillion is owner of the shed.

There were no witnesses to the accident.  The Cravillions were just getting out of bed and heard the crash, as did Mr. and Mrs. Henry Frisque across the road.  Mrs. Cravillion said that the girl was still conscious when she got there a few minutes later, but died by the time a doctor arrived.

The Hermans youth had spent Christmas night at the DeGrave home.  He and the girl left early so that he could take the girl to his own home in Tonet, where she planned to spend Sunday, before reporting for work at the Badger creamery in Luxemburg.

The body was taken to the McMahon Funeral home in Luxemburg, and was removed to the DeGrave residence today.  The rosary will be recited at 8 o'clock tonight and Tuesday night.  Funeral services will be held at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning in St. Louis Catholic church, Dyckesville, with the Rev. Ludolph Jacobs officiating.  Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Goldrine DeGrave was born in the town of Red River, Kewaunee county, June 13, 1932.  Besides her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William DeGrave, she is survived by four brothers, Myron, Marvin, Melvin, and Milton, all at home; her paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank DeGrave, town of Red River, and maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Eli DuBoise, Fairland."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - A Little Find A Grave Class...and a Pet Peeve...

OK, I'm not the Find A Grave police.  Wouldn't want to be either, but is it really that difficult to use it?  Seriously, if you've got the skills to submit a spreadsheet with almost 500 names on it, you would think that you could have figured out to check against the database so you aren't submitting 300 duplicates.  I'm not joking either.

Each week I would drive 18 miles round trip to the local veterans cemetery in Killeen.  My goal (at least it was before we found out we were moving away) was to eventually have a photo with every grave that's in there.  I would go to Find A Grave and click on the name of the cemetery, in this case "Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery", I click on "view all interments" and the sort by those without a tombstone.  So I make a list of those that need a picture taken and I head out to the cemetery.  They've got a great computer system there that tells you the location of each person buried there.  It's such a pleasure doing this.

Well, as I went to upload my most recent batch of 40+ photos and create my next list, I saw names that I recognized.  I often question my sanity, but this was just too much dejavu.  I went to the file I have of photos I submitted and wouldn't you know I had already uploaded a photo for this person.  So my intuition kicked in and I sorted the cemetery by those memorials that had been added in the last 24 hours.  Someone apparently submitted an enormous spreadsheet (almost 500 names) and didn't check to see if they were already in the database.

Why stress Cherie?  I really didn't want to, but I also really didn't want to spend a rather large chunk of time, effort and gas money (not to mention the heat in Texas) to be going out and taking pictures of stones...again.  So I very patiently went through and sent an edit link to the person that submitted the duplicates, informing him/her of the error.  My purpose wasn't to spam his email, but it would give him the link to each memorial and could therefore be removed.  I also wanted to send the links before people started posting flowers and remembrances, because it's then really too late to correct the mistake.  Will he ever remove the duplicates?  I don't know.  I hope so, but apparently a class needs to be given on using Find A Grave.

I say that with sarcasm because the people that care actually look into what they are doing.  Doing a spreadsheet with almost 500 names shows some dedication on that person's part, but doing such a large job and doing it in a half-assed manner shows another side of that person.  So a brief class...

Aside from what I already mentioned above such as sorting a cemetery if you are looking to add photos/memorials, there are a couple of other points I'd like to make.  First, what do you do if you notice that there is a memorial for someone, but they are missing some information?  Well, it's actually not that difficult and you certainly don't have to create a duplicate.  There is an "Edit" tab on the top right of each memorial created.  Just click on the "Edit" tab and click "Suggest a correction or provide additional information".  Type in your correction/addition, click send and BAM!...you're done!  Easy!

If you have a Find A Grave profile (and if you don't WHY don't you?) and you'd like to add a cemetery to your profile so you can easily find it again, just go to the cemetery's main page and at the top right, click on the "Add this to My Cemeteries" and it's done! Then if you want to quickly get to that cemetery again to do some work just go to "Contributor Tools".  Under "Customize" on the left-hand column you'll see several subcategories such as "friends", but for our purposes, just click on the "Edit" button by "My Cemeteries" and it will take you to a page with all of your saved cemeteries and you can go from there.

Find A Grave is a great resource and we all put so much time into genealogy research as well as helping others.  If we're going to be helpful to others we also must be considerate.  Wouldn't we want that directed at us as well?

Pet peeve over.  Tip(s) conveyed, now let's go do some good work!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - The Alien & Sedition Acts, Part III

It's time for part III of the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts.

This one isn't too long and the name pretty much sums it up.  This act deals with the possibility of expelling any aliens that are not naturalized who belong to a nation that is hostile to the United States.  It doesn't say that they will definitely be deported, but that it is up to the discretion of the United States.

"CHAP. LXVI. - An Act respecting Alien Enemies (a)

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever there shall be a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion shall be perpetrated, attempted, or threatened against the territory of the United States, by any foreign nation or government, and the President of the United States shall make public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States, and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured and removed, as alien enemies.  And the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized, in any event, as aforesaid, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, towards the aliens who shall become liable, as aforesaid; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject, and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those, who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, shall refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which shall be found necessary in the premises and for the public safety: Provided, that aliens resident within the United States, who shall become liable as enemies, in the manner aforesaid, and who shall not be chargeable with actual hostility, or other crime against the public safety, shall be allowed, for the recovery, disposal, and removal of their goods and effects, and for their departure, the full time which is, or shall be stipulated by any treaty, where any shall have been between the United States, and the hostile nation or government, of which they shall be natives, citizens, denizens or subjects: and where no such treaty shall have existed, the President of the United States may ascertain and declare such reasonable time as may be consistent with the public safety, and according to the dictates of humanity and national hospitality.

SEC. 2.  And be it further enacted,  That after any proclamation shall be made as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the several courts of the United States, and of each state, having criminal jurisdiction, and of the several judges and justices of the courts of the United States, and they shall be, and are hereby respectively, authorized upon complaint, against any alien or alien enemies, as aforesaid, who shall be resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President of the United States shall and may establish in the premises, to cause such alien or aliens to be duly apprehended and convened before such court, judge or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint, and sufficient cause therefor appearing, shall and may order such alien or aliens to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties of their good behaviour, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably (sic) to the proclamation or regulations which shall and may be established as aforesaid, and may imprison, or otherwise secure such alien or aliens, until the order which shall and may be made, as aforesaid, shall be performed.

SEC. 3.  And be it further enacted,  That it shall be the duty of the marshal of the district in which any alien enemy shall be apprehended, who by the President of the United States, or by order of any court, judge or justice, as aforesaid, shall be required to depart, and to be removed, as aforesaid, shall be required to depart, and to be removed, as aforesaid, to provide therefor, and to execute such order, by himself or his deputy, or other discreet person or persons to be employed by him by causing a removal of such alien out of the territory of the United States; and for such removal the marshal shall have the warrant of the President of the United States, or of the court, judge or justice ordering the same, as the case may be.

APPROVED, July 6, 1798."

You can read the other posts on the Alien and Sedition acts by clicking here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - A Genealogical Angel Sent Me This

Hazleton Standard Speaker - 20SEP1986, pg2
About 6 weeks ago I received an email out of the blue from a cousin across the pond.  She had come across my blog and sent me several pieces of information and this obituary for my cousin Rev. Msgr John Brown was one of them.

Finding his obituary was on my To-Do this for the next time I was home and this cousin kept me from a year-long wait and I will forever be grateful.

I'm told that her mother and aunt knew John Brown well and that he visited Ireland frequently.  Not only did she give me this obituary, but she gave me a location for the Browns in my tree.  County Donegal I had long suspected, which she confirmed and gave me the city/town of Knockletragh!

My cousin and I are still trying to figure out our common ancestor.  Sadly, this happens all too frequently...her mom and John knew how they were related, but neither of them are around to ask about the connection anymore.  Nevertheless, a cousin she will be to me and perhaps someday, we'll figure it out together and bridge that great blue ocean!

"Rev. Msgr. John Brown dies in North Carolina

Rev. Msgr. John A. Brown, who resided at and was chaplain of St. Joseph-of-the-Pines, N.C., died Thursday morning at the hospital.

Born in Hazleton, he was the son of the late Charles and Anna (La Grande) Brown.

A 1928 graduate of St. Gabriel's High School, Hazleton, he studied at Mount St. Mary's College and Seminary, Emmittsburg, Md.

He was ordained into the priesthood on May 22, 1937 at St. Peter's Cathedral, Scranton, and was assigned to serve in the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C.

His first assignment was as assistant rector at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh, N.C.  He was then appointed pastor at Sacred Heart Church, Pinehurst, N.C., and also served as vice chancellor and secretary to the late Bishop William Hafey.

In 1959, he was appointed first pastor of St. Eugene's Parish, Ashville, N.C.  While at St. Eugene's, he was elevated to Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor by Pope Paul VI.  He remained at St. Eugene's Parish until 1969 and then returned to the Pinehurst area, where he became chaplain at St. Joseph's hospital.  Again he was named pastor of Sacred Heart, Pinehurst, and remained there until beginning a leave of absence in September 1976.

He was Dean of the Ashville Deanery and later of the Pinehurst Deanery and had served as a Diocesan consulter (sic).

Following his retirement in 1978, Brown resided at St. Joseph hospital, where he continued to be chaplain until his death.

Preceding him in death were four sisters, Mrs. Marian Gallagher, Mrs. Genevieve Hooper, Mrs. Helen Cassidy, Anna Brown, and one brother, Charles Brown.

Surviving are two sisters, Mrs. William (Gertrude) McLaughlin, Utica, N.Y.; Mrs. Perry (Ester) Engle, Elizabeth, N.J.; one brother, Leo Brown, Cumberland, Md., and 11 nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. from the Joseph B. Conahan Funeral Home, Hazleton, with a con-celebrated Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in St. Gabriel's Church.  Interment will follow in the parish cemetery.

A viewing will be held Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home.

A prayer service and rosary will be recited."

You can read more posts about John Brown, by clicking the following links:

   -Tombstone Tuesday - Who is the Rt. Rev. John Brown?

  -Sunday's Obituary - Thomas Joseph Brown Sr (John Brown is listed as a survivor to my great grandfather)

  -Amanuensis Monday - A Well-Known Hazleton Baseball Player (John Brown listed as a deacon at Neil Brown's funeral)

  -Amanuensis Monday - A Great Reason to Transcribe...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Peshtigo Fire - A Miracle from the Ashes

The statue of Mary inside the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

This was originally posted on October 13, 2011.  As before I feel that it is a fitting tribute to end this week of remembrance on a positive note.

As promised I'm ending my posts on this historic tragedy on a miraculous note.  I'm not speaking figuratively.  I'm not saying "It's a miracle my husband's ancestors survived".  I'm grateful that they survived, and it could be viewed as miraculous, but I'm talking church acknowledged miracle! This miracle didn't happen in the town of Peshtigo.  It was across the bay in a town called Robinsonville that was also under attack by the series of fires collectively known as the "Great Peshtigo Fire"....and it's the sort of story that makes you believe in miracles if you didn't already.  A little history...

Adele Brise (also spelled Brice) was a young Belgian immigrant who came to America with her family and settled in Wisconsin.  She had originally wanted to stay behind in her native Belgium and join a convent with some other girls, but after talking with her priest, he advised her to do what any good priest would...to follow her parents wishes and go to America with them.  He told her that if she was meant for a religious order that she would no doubt find one in the United States.  So instead of a convent Adele found herself in a heavily wooded area of Wisconsin.

Mary as Adele described
Adele was very religious.  She would walk to church every week...ELEVEN MILES to church every week!  In October of 1859 Adele experienced not one, but 3 Marian Apparitions.  The first was as Adele was walking to a grist mill 4 miles from Robinsonville with a sack of wheat on her head.  She saw a lady in white standing in her path on the trail she was walking.  She stopped, frightened and remained still until the lady disappeared before her eyes a few minutes later.

The second time was that Sunday as she walked to church.  Her sister walked with her and in the exact same place, Adele saw the lady before her in the distance.  She stopped, again afraid.  Her sister could not see the woman.  Eventually she disappeared and they continued to church.  After Mass Adele spoke with her priest about what she saw.  The priest told her that the spirit would not hurt her, but to ask in God's name what she wanted.

On the way home from mass that day, Sunday, October 9th, 1859, Adele again saw the apparition before her.  The people with her stopped as she knelt and asked the apparition , "In God's name, who are you, and what do you want of me?"  The response that Adele got was that the apparition was the "Queen of Heaven" and she commanded that Adele teach the children their catechism, how to make the sign of the Cross, and how to receive the Sacraments.

On that spot Adele's father (Lambert Brice) built a ten by twelve foot structure to mark the spot of the visions.  Not everyone believed in what Adele saw, but that did not deter her.  Over the years, as people began to make pilgrimages to the spot and as Adele began to fulfill the promise she made to teach the children, the structure grew and the land that held the school and chapel was consecrated.  The Chapel became known as "Our Lady of Good Help."

Twelve years later, almost to the day Adele spoke to the apparition of Mary, the fires erupted.  This is the account of what happened that night as printed in the book "The Chapel:  Our Lady of Good Help" (Sister M. Dominica, O.S.F, 1955):

Stained glass windows in the Shrine
"We do not propose to pass judgment on the reasons for this catastrophe, but we know that twelve years later almost to the day, October 8, 1871, the great calamity fell.  The Belgian colony which embraced a large part of the peninsula,  was visited by the same whirlwind of fire and wind that overwhelmed Peshtigo.  Here, as across the Bay, the forest fires had crept on for weeks and months, and on the same Sunday night came whirling over the Lake and Bay counties.  The Wisconsin peninsula, too, was the scene of an awesome drama.  A terrible, ten-fold wind sprang up from the southeast and fanned the smoldering fires into a mighty wave, submerging the whole peninsula into a raging sea of fire and smoke.

After weeks of fear and suspense, the hour struck and the great forest rocked and tossed simultaneously.  In one awful instant, before expectation could give way to horror, the black-curtained sky burst forth into great clouds of fire.  The day had been prophetically [sic] still; smoke and gases filled the air.  An ominous dread gripped the minds and hearts of every living creature, even the wild beasts of the forests mingled with men as both fled in terror before a great consuming roaring fire circling all within its fiery grasp.  At first the roaring blaze thundered like great cataracts among the tree-tops, but as it gained momentum, it sounded like the distant roar of the sea giving place to thunderous fury mingled with a tornado of fire.

A survivor wrote that if one could imagine the worst snow storm he ever witnessed, and each flake a coal or spark of fire driven before a terrifying wind, he would have an idea of the atmosphere at the time the fire struck.  Hundreds of families were driven from their homes, many being overtaken by the rain of fire.

Adele Brise's photo at the Shrine
'This is judgment; this is the end of the world,' was uttered by a frenzied mob dashing wildly for means of escape made impassable by fallen timber and burning bridges.  Land and sky in flames, wild confusion of the elements, while men looking on, stupefied [sic] with horror, were withering with fear.  It was indeed a terrifying spectacle.

The wide spreading track of ruin covered the greater part of the peninsula from Green Bay to Lake Michigan, and from the neighborhood of Green Bay on the south to 'Death's Door' on the north.  In the town of Green Bay, the fire entered at the southeast corner and swept on the wings of the wind to the north east.  It extended into parts of Outagamie, Kewaunee, Door, and Brown counties.  The towns of Humboldt, Green Bay, New Franken, Casco, Brussels, Rosiere, Lincoln, Robinsonville and many others were scathed with a whirlwind of flame which devoured the woods, leaped across clearings, and lopped everything inflammable in its path.  The area burned was not less than fifty miles in length and twenty average miles wide.  The burning belt widened as it advance.  Nothing could be done to stop its forward march, and the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Help lay in its path.

The crucial hour had come, the hurricane of fire broke in all its fury.  Adele and her companions were faced with a momentous decision.  They were determined not to abandon Mary's shrine, and their faith in Mary's protection never faltered.  The children, the Sisters, and the farmers with their families, drove their livestock before them and raced in the direction of Mary's sanctuary.  They were now encircled by a raging inferno with no means of escape.  Looking back, they saw their buildings literally swallowed by the fiery monster.  By this time the surrounding territory was one vast sea of fire.  Awe-stricken, they thronged the Chapel grounds.  Already the Chapel was filled with terror-stricken people beseeching the Mother of God to spare them, many wailing aloud in their fright.  Filled with confidence, they entered the Chapel, reverently raised the statue of Mary, and kneeling bore it in procession around their beloved sanctuary.  When wind and fire exposed them to suffocation, they turned in another direction, and continued to hope and pray, saying the rosary.

Statues of children kneeling on the grounds of the Shrine
'Thus passed for them the long hours of that terrible night.  I know not if, supported only by nature, they would have been able to live through that awful ordeal, ' so wrote Father Pernin, hero of the 'Peshtigo Fire.'

After hours of horror and suspense, the heavens sent relief in the form of a downpour.  The fervent prayers to the Mother of God were heard.  The fire was extinguished, but dawn revealed the ravages wrought by the conflagration.  Everything about them was destroyed;  miles of desolation everywhere.  But the Convent, school, Chapel, and the five acres of land consecrated to the Virgin Mary shone like an emerald isle in a sea of ashes.  The raging fire licked the outside palings and left charred scars as mementos.  Tongues of fire had reached the Chapel fence, and threatened destruction to all within its confines - the fire had not entered the Chapel grounds."

A fire so fierce that it destroyed most everything in its path did not destroy Our Lady of Good Help.  It was 151 years after the apparition of Mary to Adele, 139 years after the miracle at Our Lady of Good Help occurred that the Roman Catholic Church finally acknowledged the visions of Adele Brise.  On December 8th, 2010 Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay announced, "I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful."

Candles lit by visitors inside the Shrine

That declaration made Our Lady of Good Help the first and only approved Marian apparition/shrine in the United States.  You can read more about the Churches declaration and the Shrine, by going to the Diocese's website here.

Within 2 weeks of the announcement my family and I were back in Green Bay visiting for the Holidays.  It is hard to convey the feeling of knowing that this happened so close to where my in-laws were.  The first Marian Shrine in our backyard.  I took my boys and my mother-in-law and we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.  I didn't know what to expect.  The grounds were pretty, but looked like any other church.  The crypt where the statue of Mary is located, and the site of the original vision, is in the basement.  The Church built on top of it.  It is small, but I thought it beautiful.  I lit a candle to my father-in-law who had passed away earlier in the year, and to my cousin who was killed by her husband earlier in the year.  I finally lit a candle in honor of all my family's ancestors and prayed for awhile.

Crutches left behind
When I was done, and without disturbing the few others that were in the Shrine, I took out my camera and took some flashless photography to remember this place.  I took pictures of the crutches that people left behind.  Those that since 1859 came to the Shrine using crutches and left them behind as they walked away.

Our Lady of Good Help was being visited by newspapermen from the New York Times the day that we visited.  They asked my mother-in-law if she believed.  Without hesitating, she replied that she did.  A bit ridiculous if you thought about it.  Why would you visit if you didn't?  We weren't offended though.  We were glad that it was being reported on.  Glad to see that after so many years and so many people thinking Adele Brise was lying or demented that the Church acknowledged what she always knew to be true.

With everything that happened during the Great Peshtigo Fire, how could I or anyone not view what happened on that spot as anything other than miraculous!

The cemetery at the Shrine

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Peshtigo Fire - The List of the Dead

From the Peshtigo Times centennial edition October 1971
So many people died in the Great Peshtigo Fire.  The number will most likely never be fully known.  Some of the workers were transient which makes what happened to them even harder to track.  Perhaps they came as temporary labor to clear the woods and lay track for the railroad that was being built at the time of the fire. Perhaps some got work at the lumber mill.  Our ancestors were just passing through.  Had they perished with so many others, I most likely would not have figured out what had happened to them.

This post is to remember those that we know perished in the Great Fire.  The list covers those that died in Peshtigo and the Sugar Bush area, but please remember that the Great Peshtigo Fire covered a large area of Northwestern Wisconsin.  In yesterday's post there was a map attached to the newspaper clipping that shows the burned area.  Not everyone that died is listed.  For whatever reason the State Assembly chose to only mention those in the hardest hit area.  If you have a family member that perished or survived the Peshtigo Fire, feel free to write their story in a comment so that they too can be remembered.

"Official List of Dead Given In State Assembly Journal of 1873

(Editor's Note:  The following is the official list of dead in Peshtigo and the Sugar Bushes as recorded in the State Assembly Journal of 1873.  This is not a complete list but a list of the dead who were recognizable.)


The list can be depended upon as far as it goes, but it is well known that great numbers of people were burned, particularly in the village of Peshtigo, whose names have never been ascertained, and probably never will be, as many of these were transient persons at work in the extensive manufactories (sic), and all fled before the horrible tempest of fire, many of them caught in its terrible embrace with no record of their fate except their charred and blackened bones.  The people of Peshtigo can all tell of acquaintences (sic) they had before the fire of whom they have lost all knowledge since, and that many perished in the company's boarding house and the catholic and presbyterian churches, of whom not a vestige remains, there seems to be no reasonable doubt; for the very sands in the street were vitrified, and metals were melted in localities that seem impossible.

Alvord, John, wife and one child.
Beebe, J.E., and wife Frances, and three children.
Bruette, Mrs. Anton.
Bruette, Mrs. Charles, and one child.
Barton, Roger, died from effects of the fire at Peshtigo harbor.
Cramer, Mrs. Michael, and two sons; husband saved, and one son.
Clement, Joseph G., just married; wife saved.
England, Mrs. William, and two children, fled to the village and were burned; husband and eight
  children remained in the sugar bush and were saved.
Jacobs, Frank, infant son of T. Jacobs, was taken to the river by his aunt, Charlotte Seymour; both
Kerr, James.
Keenan, James.
Kuncner, Ernst, found in river.
Lawrence, Charles, wife and four children; fled from lower sugar bush to village, and were all burned
  near the river.
Monaghan, Patrick.
Mellen, James, son and daughter of.
McGregor, Daniel, wife and sister Jenny.
McDonald, Mrs. Leroy, and five children.
Marsh, Nellie, daughter of P. J. Marsh.
McMinn, Mrs. Silas.
McGregor, Mrs. James, and child
Olestrom, Charles, wife and two children, and a lady visiting, name unknown.
Olson, Hans, wife and two children.
Olson, Anson.
Plush, Charles.
Potter, J. T., child of.
Stitt, Mrs. Wilson, died at Marinette.
Scott, Joseph, child of, died at Harbor.
Slaughter, Mrs. Robert and child.
Seymour, Miss Charlotta, drowned in river.
Tanner, Mrs. J. J. and two children.
Thompson, William, and wife.
Timmer, John, two sons and a daughter of.
Tackman, Mrs. Christina.
Westfall, Charles, wife and his father.
Winters, Neils.
Van Byniger, John.

From the Peshtigo Times centennial edition October 1971


Alschwager, Mrs. John and one child.  Husband and five children saved.
Auest, Fred; wife saved.
Aldis, William, wife and two children, were from Connecticut, visiting the family of N. May, also
Mrs. Nepthallon May, was the sister of Mrs. Aldis.
Bruce, Mrs. August, and three children; husband and two children saved.
Bell, Mrs. William; husband and child saved.
Birney, Caroline; lived with Chas. Chapman and family; burned.
Bush, Charles, wife and six children.
Bosworth, Mrs. Olive, with two children of John Taylor's.
Bush, John.
Brackett, Augusta.
Bartels, Miss Augusta; was visiting her grandmother; daughter of Capt. Fred. J. Bartels, of Peshtigo
Bohemaster, Henry, wife and child.
Curtis, William, and daughter.  Mrs. Eliza Curtis, his wife, was badly crippled by fire, and remains so.
Church, John, wife and one child -- Warren Church cut his throat rather than be burned, but was saved.
Chapman, Charles, wife and son and hired man and girl.
Cook, Jacob E., wife and three children, burned in root house.
Diedrich, Joseph (alias Bailey), wife and three children.  Enlisted in the 5th Wisconsin infantry under
  the name of Bailey, and drew a pension for wounds until he was burned.  His wife was found dead,
  standing upright, leaning against the roots of a large tree.
Doyle, Patrick, wife and seven children, known to have been upon their farm at the time of the fire.
  Nothing has been heard or seen of their remains since.  Mrs. Doyle was a daughter of John Derryman,
  of Mill Point, Michigan.  Three of the children were by her first husband, Ferguson.
Davis, Norman, wife and three children.  This family were burned in a well.  James Hays, a hired man,
  and hired girl, name not known, also burned.
Duckett, Benjamin, wife and one child.
Eamer, Mrs. Mary Ann.  Husband died just before the fire; two sons saved.
Fletcher, Mary and Halsey, children of Lucius.
Fagan, Mrs. Martin, and two children; husband saved.
Glass, Flora, Belle and William, children of James.
Gregor, John and wife.
Hayes, Israel; wife saved.
Helms, Charles, wife and son.  Mr. Helms traveled a long distance in the fire.  The calves of his legs
  burned loose; dragging on the ground, held by the cords.  Was taken to the hospital at Marinette, but
  soon died.
Hill, L. H., and wife.
Hoyt, Charles, E., wife and one child.
Hoyt, Enoch, wife and one child.  One saved.  Three other sons were badly burned.  One in trying to
  save the life of his mother, Mrs. Maria Hoyt, who begged to be left to her fate, which he refused to do,
  and is badly crippled by fire in consequence.
Hayes, Henry Sr., wife and one son.
Hayes, Rebecca, wife of Henry Hayes, Jr., and one child.
Jackson, Harry, child of E.A. Jackson.
Jackson, John, left with the child named above.
Jackson, Asa, reported burned, remains not identified.
King, John, wife and four children.  A daughter and son away from home were saved.
King, Robert, wife and three children.  A daughter absent from home, saved.
Kiefer, Peter, wife and two children; one saved.
Kappus, Catharine, wife of Chris., and two children; husband and three children saved.
Kelly, Terence, and one child; wife and three children saved.
Karrow, Michael, and wife; two children saved.
Loncks, Lindsey, and wife.
Loyal, John.
Lafay, Joseph and wife.
Lembk, Charles, had his wife and five children on a wagon, fleeing for safety, when one of his horses,
  falling, he got out to help him up, and finally succeeded in doing so, and upon returning to the wagon
  found his family all dead.  He finally reached a small brook near by, in which he lay until morning,
  when returning, he found the remains of his family and wagon entirely consumed.
Leasuae, Mrs. Joseph, Jr., and four children, husband saved.
Leach, Ann, wife of Peter Leach.
Leach, Lot, wife and infant child.
Law, James.
May, Nepthallon, wife and child.
Moore, Mrs. Hiram, and five children.  Mr. Moore could not induce them to leave the house after it was
  enveloped in flames, and barely escaped himself.
Myers, George, wife and four children.
Newton, Ralph and Lizzie, children of Samuel and Helen Newton.
Newberry, Henry, Sr.; wife saved; absent from home.
Newberry, Charles O., and two children; wife saved.
Newberry, Edward S., wife and child.
Newberry, Walter, wife and three children.  The three later named were sons of Henry Newberry, Sr.
Olson, Mrs. Nelson and two children, husband and two saved.
Pratt, A. A., wife and two children; two saved.
Penree, Charles Sr., wife and three children; two saved.
Penree, Mrs. William and two children; husband saved.
Papp, William, Jr.
Prestine, Mrs. Joaquin, husband badly crippled.
Phillips, Cornelia E., daughter of R.E.P.; died from effects of the fire.
Perault, Nelson, wife and eight children, and a Frenchman with them, name could not be ascertained.
Race, Martin, wife and two children.
Seymour, Fred., son of Isaac J. and Charlotte; reported in Peshtigo list.
Soper, William.
Sheponto, Peter.
Smith, John Fritz, wife and two children.
Spear, Lemuel H., wife and two children.
Segar, Lyman, wife and child.
Tousley, Mrs. C. R.; Mr. Tousley cut the throats of his two children and his own; all found dead.
Taylor, John and two children; wife and one child saved.
Utter, Mrs. John, and two children; husband saved.
Vanderhoven, John
Winehart, Philip, wife and five children; four saved.
Wenzel, John Sr., and wife.
Warneck, John.

This closes the list of those identified in Peshtigo, and the Sugar Bushes, while all who are familiar with the circumstances, assert that large numbers were found and buried, who could not be recognized.  Different intelligent people vary so much in their estimates of the number who perished, that it would be mere conjecture to attempt to give any figures on the subject.  The large amount of swamp lands in and about the sugar bushes and in the localities on the peninsula, where it is claimed the 'flames traveled in the air' confirm, in addition to the testimony of hundreds of living witnesses, the theory before advanced, that they were caused by immense amounts of inflammable gases, arising from the burning low lands, composed mainly of vegetable matter.

Immediately after the fire at Peshtigo and the Sugar Bushes, hundreds of badly maimed people were removed to Green Bay by boats, and to Marinette, where the Dunlap House and others were used as hospitals, until suitable buildings could be erected for that purpose.  The hospital under the charge of Dr. B. T. Phillips, did most excellent service.  At Green Bay, the Turners' Hall was used for like purposes, and under the good management of Dr. H. O. Crane and a host of good samaritans, was speedily cleared.  At Peshtigo and Marinette, barracks were erected, where the destitute were fed, clothed and housed, as a temporary matter, until more suitable places could be provided.  I promised you a list of names of those who have been most conspicuous in the good work performed in behalf of the sufferers, but upon reflection, as their name is legion, conclude it is better not to mention any.  Good actions are their own reward."

NOTE: the newspaper clippings shown here were published in a centennial edition of the Peshtigo Times in October 1971.  They were not newly written articles from 1971, but from the time of the fire and articles that had been published in the aftermath and as some of the survivors aged and told their stories.  This was one of many, many articles in the centennial edition that was passed on to me by my Green Bay family.

We're Burning Up, Send Us Help Quick

From the Peshtigo Times October 1971 (see not below)

As the fires were burning throughout Wisconsin, some telegraphs did go out before the lines were cut by fire.  The response was immediate and long lasting and came not only from people in Wisconsin, but throughout the United States and even from abroad.  The worst fire in American history (that you've probably never even heard of unless you were educated in Wisconsin or read my blog) was responded to by so many and began with the governor's wife.  While he was in Chicago helping them, the Peshtigo fire erupted and the telegram that arrived at the governor's mansion could only be place in the hands of the governor's 24 year old wife....

"Governor's Wife Starts Big Relief Effort Rolling

'We are burning up; send us help quick.'

So read the telegram sent to Gov. Lucius Fairchild Monday, Oct. 9, 1871.  Similar telegrams were sent to the mayors of Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago.

The result -- a tidal wave of food, clothing, lumber, medicine, and cash sent from throughout the nation and Europe.

All cities which received telegrams, with the exception of Chicago which was also the victim of fire Oct. 8, 1871 responded immediately to the plea for help.

Fairchild was in Chicago aiding that city with its relief efforts when the message of disaster in his own state arrived at the capitol.

An elderly clerk received the telegram and not knowing what to do ran to the governor's house and gave the message to Mrs. Fairchild.

Though she was less than 24 years old she did not lack initiative.  Immediately after reading the message she was on her way to the capitol.

'Once there she took charge of everything and everybody, and they all obeyed her.' recalled her daughter, Mrs. Charles M. Morris several years later.

A relief train scheduled for Chicago was redirected north to Peshtigo after she had stuffed the already bulging car with blankets.

The young lady's one day in command as governor ended when her telegram to Chicago brought the governor and his state officers back to Madison.

The attention of the whole nation was on Chicago at that time but Fairchild's appeal opened people's eyes to the fact that though Chicago was suffering the situation in Peshtigo was infinitly (sic) worse.

Relief committees were immediately organized in Green Bay, Marinette, Menominee, and Oconto.  Green Bay functioned as the central depot and two stores were used for sorting and repacking supplies. It was soon apparent that one central committee was not sufficient and another was established at Milwaukee.  The burned region was partitioned off with Manitowoc county, towns of Kewaunee, Ahnepee, Monteplier, Pierce, Lincoln in Kewaunee county, Forestville, Clay Banks, Sturgeon Bay in Door County and Menominee, Mich. supplied by Milwaukee.  The other areas, including Peshtigo, were supplied from Green Bay.

Subcommittees were established in almost every village in the area for distributing the goods.  In Peshtigo the depot was headed by F. J. Bartels.

The Milwaukee Relief committee served 377 destitute families, consisting of 1,509 persons as of Feb. 1, 1872.  Green Bay handled the heaviest amount of losses, supplying 1,157 families or 5, 678 persons with supplies necessary for survival.

'The nature of the losses may be described in a few words.  Besides the losses of life of human beings and animals, in that portion of the district where the fire was most severe, houses, barns and fences were all swept away, together with the crops, the grass roots were burned out, the timber entirely destroyed, and not a vestige of anything left upon which men or animals could subsist.  So utter was the destruction, that the earth must remain for years a barren desert waste, unless seeded anew with grass.  Much of the riches soil was alluvial deposit, and this, particularly in swampy places, was destroyed, the earth burning in some instances to the depth of two or three feet, leaving nothing but sand and ashes where the best land had been.  Under these circumstances, it will be seen that the aid extended will have to be continued during an entire year from the date of the calamity, or until another harvest is secured.  In the spring and summer, seeds, agricultural implements, cattle, horses and wagons must be provided, in order to put the people who go back upon their farms -- as most of the survivors have -- in a condition to help themselves.  Then the bridges and culverts on the roads must be rebuilt, and it is plain that in a town in which every surviving inhabitant lost every dollar he possessed, it is impossible for the town to do this work unaided,' wrote Tilton.

And aided they were.

'Perhaps a calamity so terrible may be partly, or even more than compensated for by the outburst of generosity and the unsealing of the fountains of humanity which had so long been stored up and grown over in the greed of wealth and its attendant selfishness.  Men, who had spent their lives in the pursuit of money turned short in their career and opened their hearts and their purses to their suffering brethren.' wrote C. D. Robinson in the legislative Manual of Wisconsin shortly after the fire.

From the Peshtigo Times centennial edition 1971 (see note below)

The destitute were generously aided by cash contribution, tools, lumber, seeds and general supplies.  They were encouraged to rebuild in the same locality by being given contributions in lumber, cash, and tools to do so.  Only 2 per cent of the survivors burned out in the fire never returned according to the report of the Green Bay Relief Committee made Dec. 31, 1872 by A. Langworthy, chairman executive committee of relief.

Cash contributions as well as material goods were received throughout the year following the fire.  According to the report of the Green Bay Relief Committee to the state assembly it received $229,623.48 from Oct. 12, 1871 to Oct. 2, 1872.  Tilton reported that the total disbursements at Milwaukee up to Feb. 5, 1872 wee $144,000.00.

The largest cash contribution from any organization other then the relief committees themselves received at Green Bay was $2,449.05 from the town of Norwich, Conn..  The Presbyterian Church, 5th Avenue, New York gave $2,174.57.  The largest contribution by a single person totaled $1,000 and was received from William B. Astor, New York on Oct. 26, 1871.

The smaller contributions, many anonymously sent illustrate the degree of empathy aroused throughout the country.  The smallest contribution recorded in Green Bay was for 20 (cents) from 'boy in Rockford, Ill.'  A poor woman, from Madison sent $2.50 and a poor man, of Black River Falls contributed $1.10.

Contributions of all sizes came from all over the world and from almost every type of social organization.  Citizens of various communities particularly in Wisconsin periodically sent in cash contributions.  Citizens of Watertown, sent $150 on Oct. 12, 1871, citizens of Viroqua, sent $210.88 Oct. 17, 1871.  Other Wisconsin cities to contribute were Brandon, Middleton, Chilton, Mineral Point Oak Grove, Shawano, and Sheboygan.  But this list is only part of those contributions within the state.  The German Musical Society Watertown sent $82.70 on Oct. 18, 1871.  On the same day the State Normal School, Platteville gave $105.

New York, Washington, D.C. and Massachusettes (sic) seemed to be the largest contributors outside of the midwest.  The Baptist Church, Washington D.C. sent $43. on Oct. 19.  Some other contributions from that city include $100 from 'a friend' $218.05 from the citizens, and $202.50 from W.S. Huntington.

W. C. Masey, New Bedford, Mass. sent $50 on Nov. 4, 1871 Church of the Unity, Springfield Mass. gave $150.54 on Dec 18 of that year and the citizens of Southborough, Mass. contributed $162.68 on Jan. 3, 1872.

Contributions even came from such far away places as Evangelical Church, Zurich, Switzerland.  They sent $3 to the Green Bay Relief Committee on Jan. 10, 1872.

People sending goods rather than money first sent cooked food, remembering that there were no stoves or cooking utensils in the burned area.  Later, flour, meal, potatoes, butter, honey and pastries came.  One day 15 carloads of clothing arrived in Green Bay which had to be sorted and repackaged.  Some had to be mended and others contained extra buttons, needles and thread stuffed in the pockets.

Some contributions were so elegant and unfitting the destitution of the victims, they were almost humorous.

'One box, from the ladies of the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, contained dainty kid gloves, toilet boxes, kid slippers, embroidered underclothing, laces and ribbons.  A brocade silk gown was sent from Philadelphia, Pa., which was estimated to have cost hundreds of dollars.  The frilliest baby apparel, little crocheted stockings, and the most expensive shoes were common.  One lady sent the entire outfit of her dead baby which she had packed away until it was needed again.

Staple goods came from manufacturers of almost every kind.  Clothing, boots, shoes, bedding, mattresses, axes, helves, hay forks, sah  and doors, bags and wooden ware were sent in abundance.

General Sheridan in Chicago, was given orders by the national government to issue supplies from his stores for the destitute.  He first sent 4,000 heavy woven army blankets, valued at $1 a piece, 1,500 army pants ($3 a piece) 1,500 army overcoats ($6 a piece).  Later came 100 army wagons $50 a piece) and an equal number of harnesses, ($30 apiece (sic)).  They also sent 200,000 rations at 30 (cents) a piece.  The army contribution totaled $83,000.

The amount of losses paid by Wisconsin insurance companies as of May 1, 1872 totaled $124,351.36. Among the companies paying claims were Dodge County Mutual, Madison Mutual, Milwaukee Mechanics Mutual and Northwestern National..  These losses coupled with the losses during the Chicago fire totaled 76.97 per cent of all losses paid by the insurance companies during 1871.  The total cost in insurance was $573,059.70.

The final report of the Green Bay Relief committee termed the efforts a general success.

'It is now more than a year since the fire occurred, and there still remain very many people who are partially demented, and a few whose reason has entirely departed, as the effect of the fire.  Upon the whole, the 'relief' afforded those who were burned out, may be considered a success, and but for the generous response in their behalf, thousands of people would have been thrown as paupers on the community, and fully nine-tenths of those who went back upon their uninviting lands, could not have done so but for the assistance afforded."

NOTE: the newspaper clippings shown here were published in a centennial edition of the Peshtigo Times in October 1971.  They were not newly written articles from 1971, but from the time of the fire and articles that had been published in the aftermath and as some of the survivors aged and told their stories.  This was one of many, many articles in the centennial edition that was passed on to me by my Green Bay family.