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So, this is Dad and Mom. Ray is the son of Conrad Herrmann and Kate Bundock. He is the step-son of Edith Armstrong and Wally Hewitt. ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Grandpa Hewitt and his Family History

Wallace Homer Hewitt.
Grandpa Hewitt.
I did not really know him that well. In the early '70s, we were on one of our many family trips driving through California. Dad hadn't seen his mother, Kate, in years and for his reasons, he drove us up to the Sierra Nevada's (about 60 or so miles from Sacramento) to see her. It was this trip that would lead to Dad buying property in the community of Grizzly Flats.
The only things I remember about that first visit was stopping at the old Post Office as Dad really didn't know exactly where Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt's house was located off the main road leading to Griz.
I remember that we were in the motor home, and a slight memory of pulling onto their property in front of their little cabin in the forest.
After that visit, and after Dad bought the property a year or two later, I remember stopping by their house, once, while hiking around the area. 
But the visits stopped. After Dad had a falling out with them, we were forbidden to see them again. So, my personal knowledge of Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt is quite limited. Only my genealogy research and stories told by other family members have extended what I know of them.
Wally was born to Homer Dexter Hewitt and Lydia Mae Childs in Minnesota. He had one sister, Dorothy.  His parents divorced when Wally was young, and his mother remarried to Thomas Brennan, son of Richard and Anna Filbach Brennan. 
His father, Homer, married at least twice after the divorce. First, he married, in 1915, Clara Maud Benton. His third marriage, in 1921, was to Edna M Hallar. As of this post, I have found no children for any of Wally's parents other than himself and his sister. 
Wally and Kate had three sons together, and Kate had a daughter from a previous relationship. She was raised under the Hewitt name by Wally and Kate. 
My Aunt with her Aunt Dorothy Hewitt

My aunt sent me a story that Grandpa Hewitt had written concerning a time in his late teens. I failed to scan the story and it is packed away in storage, so I am going by memory only. Grandpa Hewitt wrote about his joining either the military, or Merchant Marines, or something to that effect. I remember reading that his father did not think it was such a good idea, but Grandpa Hewitt did it anyway. I remember reading that he hated it, and while in South America, he "jumped ship". He spent a good amount of time wandering, before stowing away on the cargo ship La Marea which was owned and operated by the United Fruit Company, arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1925. He was discovered as a stowaway as the passenger list records the discovery. I also remember reading that after his arrival back into the U.S., he traveled to Michigan to stay with an aunt for a time. The story was probably the most revealing item I've ever read about Grandpa Hewitt.
By 1930, Wally was living in Marin County, California, and by the 1940 Federal Census, he was married to Kate and living in Sacramento. 
Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt remained in Sacramento until the 1960s, at which point they relocated to Grizzly Flats in El Dorado County. They resided there until the 1970s when they moved to Oregon. 
Wally died there in 1979, and Kate died there in 2005.

Top left: Lydia Mae with her son, Wally   Top right and bottom left: Wally as a young boy  Bottom right: Wally with his father, Homer.

Top left: Wally and his sister, Dorothy  Top right: Wally as a young man    Middle left: Wally in his kitchen at the house in Grizzly Flats, CA   Bottom Left: Dad, Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt (I think this was the first visit we had with them)   Bottom Right: Dad and Grandpa Hewitt joking around

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Two Marchael Connections to the Van Cleaves

This is just an interesting little note on the double connection between the Van Cleaves and the Marchaels.
I'll start with Henrietta Van Cleave and her fourth marriage to Edward Albert Marchael. 
Edward was born to Walter Scott Marchael and Sarah Jane Hudlow. Edward had seven siblings, including sisters Annie Bell and Ida Mary.
Maggie, daughter of Henrietta, married as her first husband, William Cornelious Armstrong. William was the son of William Cornelous Armstrong and Annie Bell Marchael. When his mother passed away, her sister, Ida Mary, became his stepmother. 
Which means Maggie's step-Aunts - Annie Bell and Ida Mary - were also her mother-in-law (Annie Bell) and step-mother-in-law (Ida Mary).
Just thought that was an interesting little tidbit.

Henrietta, The Van Cleaves and the Andersons

As I mentioned before, Grandma Herrmann handed me a little black notebook to look through that contained a very minimal record of her family lineage.
Henrietta (or Etta), Grandma's maternal grandmother, had an interesting page. I found it interesting because, if I'm recalling correctly (please remember that I am about 14 or so years and I am now in my 50s), Etta's page consisted of her name, birth year, death place, and either first and last or just last names of each of her husbands. And to my astonishment for the era in which she lived, she had quite a few husbands. I recall the full name of James Morris, just the surname of Vannocker, the full names of James Pierce and Edward Marchael, a Perrin Dewey and the surname of Post. 
My first thought when I saw Etta's page was "Oh boy, lot's of clues!". Little did I know that it would take years (and a lot of help from other researchers) to sort out the puzzle of Etta's marital history. 
So, since I touched upon Etta's marriages a bit in the previous post, I will just write a bit on her children and their father and a bit of their background.
First, the marriage dates occur in the following order: James Morris (1886), Edwin Vannocker (1888), James B. Pierce (1892), Edward Marchael (1896), Perrin Dewey (1914), and John Post (1915).
Of course, I already wrote about Maggie and her father, James Morris. James being Etta's first husband.
There were no children in Etta's second marriage to Edwin Vannocker, but her third marriage to James B. Pierce produced a son.
Most of Etta's children were born through her fourth marriage to Edward Marchael. Eight children came from this marriage, but the youngest three died in infancy. Etta had no other children from her last two marriages to Perrin Dewey and John Post.
Etta's parents were Jesse James Cardwell Van Cleave and Sarah Ann Anderson. Jesse and Sarah had eight children. I do have a ninth child on my tree on Ancestry, but I cannot find any documents or facts for this child. I do not believe, at this time, that they had a ninth child, but I keep her on the tree in case something comes up.
Jesse was born in Indiana. Sarah was born in Kentucky. They married in 1859 in Iowa. This is also the State where all their children, with the exception of the two youngest ones, were born. The two youngest were born in Kansas. Both Jesse and Sarah came from large families. While Sarah's family goes back to Pennsylvania, Jesse's can be traced back to New York.
That's about all I'll say for the Van Cleaves and Andersons. For more in depth information, please see the writings of Allen Wenzel who has done extensive research into these family lines.

This is the only photo I have of any of Etta's husbands.
James B Pierce, father of Vernon.

The photo on the left is Jesse (second from the right) with a few of his children and grandchildren: Left to right is: Daughter Ann with her son Walter, Jesse's son, Jesse, Etta with her daughter, Maggie, sitting in front of her and to the left of JJVC, and Jesse's daughter, Mary May.
The photo on the right is that of Sarah Ann (Anderson) Van Cleave.

Etta most certainly did not have the best of luck in marriage.

From the Kansas Weekly Capitol and Farm Journal, December 7, 1893 -

Emproia, Kan  November 29 - The divorce suit of Henrietta Pierce just filed With the clerk of the Lyon County district court reveals a rather interesting story of interuppted conjugal bliss. The plaintiff was formerly Henrietta Van Cleve. Her first husband was Edward Van Noucker (sic). On December 11, 1891, the Lyon County district court sentenced him to the Kansas penitentiary for burglary, and a few days later granted her a divorce. A short time afterward she married her present husband, James B. Pierce, who was in July of 1892 sentenced to the penitentiary of Minnesota for felony. She now seeks a legal separation from him.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grandma Herrmann's Mother: Margurette Mae Morris

Grandma Herrmann's mother, Maggie Morris, was the daughter of James C Morris and Henrietta Van Cleave. 
First, I want to say that Allan Wenzel is the foremost authority on the Van Cleave family. He has authored a 5 volume book on them. The volumes were privately published and, I'm sure, access to them is very difficult. Even so, I will attempt only to touch upon Henrietta's family branch and use only those photographs that were in the possession of my grandmother, Edith.
Now, with that being said, I have one more personal opinion. I think it would have been a trip to know Maggie and her mother, Etta. In my mind, these were two very strong-minded, independent women (which is where I think Grandma Herrmann acquired the same characteristics). Now, stick with me on this - Grandma Herrmann was born in 1909. Her mother, Maggie, was born in 1888. Her grandmother, Etta, was born in 1871. These three generations had 12 marriages between them - and during an era where divorce was frowned upon (taboo). 
Now, I have to say I kinda get a kick out of this. Basically, because they didn't adhere to society rule. But, also (at this time having a bit of an evil streak where men are concerned), I love the idea that they had the philosophy that if one relationship didn't work out than just toss it aside and try again. 
Grandma Herrmann only had two marriages - Harvey/Harry/Robert Copper and Grandpa Herrmann. Maggie had four marriages - Grandma's father William, Guy Wine, Albert Clayter and Lawrence Higdon. She divorced William and Albert, but it is unknown if she remained married to Lawrence (her last husband). It is said that Grandpa Wine was the love of her life and the marriage lasted until his death in 1946. 
Grandma Wine's only child was her daughter, Edith.
Now, Maggie's mother, Etta, was married six times. I will go into that on my next post on the Van Cleave and Morris families. 
Unfortunately, Maggie's father, James C Morris, died about 4-5 months before Maggie was born. Maggie's Bible notes that James was on his way to Oklahoma when he was shot in Eldorado, Kansas. The family story says that it was during a robbery, but it was not the bullet that killed him. He fell from his horse and the horse either kicked him in the head or he hit it on a rock (can't quite remember which it was). I believe I also remember someone saying that Etta and James had separated at the time.
From what I've heard, Maggie spent a great deal of her younger years with her grandfather, Jesse James Cardwell Van Cleave and her mother's siblings. It was said that she was close to her Uncle James Wickliffe Van Cleave and her half-brother, Vernon Pierce. There is a note in her Bible that mentions a potato masher that Vernon carved for her from a walnut tree on her Uncle James property. If I remember correctly (which my memory is dicey at times), my cousin has that potato masher. 
I remember when I was younger, shortly after I became interested in family history research, we were having one of our summer visits to Grandma Herrmann's mobile home in Sacramento. I had asked Grandma about her family. She disappeared down the hallway and reappeared with this tiny, black 3 ringed notebook. Each page inside this notebook represented a family member and included their name, birthdate and, sometimes, other info. Under Maggie's page, Grandma had written that the day Maggie divorced William Armstrong was the same day she married Guy Wine. I'm not sure how true that is since the divorce was finalized in Iowa and Grandpa and Grandma Wine married in Medford, Oklahoma. 
Anyhow, Grandpa Wine died in Portola in 1946. Grandma Wine died in 1958 in Sacramento. They are buried side by side at East Lawn Cemetery in Sacramento.
I think I will always be fascinated by this 3 generation set of strong-minded women. They didn't care about societies role for the "fairer" sex. They did what they wanted in life - and damn the rules.  

 Maggie with her Mother, Etta, and her brother, Vernon Pierce

                                                                                                                         Maggie Mae Morris

Maggie with her brothers, Clarence, Vernon, Carl and Albert

Grandma Herrmann and her Mother, Maggie

Pages from Grandma Wine's Bible

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grandma Herrmann aka Edith Rozella Armstrong

Edith was my grandmother. She may have been my Dad's step-mother, but I didn't know that until I was about 11 years old. 
Our family often took summer vacations to Northern California (where my Dad's parents lived) from Southern California (where we lived). Conrad and Edith were known as Grandpa and Grandma Herrmann to me, just as my Mom's parents were Grandpa and Grandma Bjorkman. When I learned about my Dad's birth mother and step-father, they were known to me as Grandpa and Grandma Hewitt. So, I will often refer to Edith as Grandma Herrmann.
Grandma Herrmann was born in Kansas in 1909 to William C. Armstrong and Margurette (Maggie) Mae Morris. Grandma's parents divorced when she was quite young and, in 1917, her mother married Arthur Guy Wine. Whenever Dad talked about them, he would refer to them as Grandpa and Grandma Wine.
Grandma Herrmann's father was William Cornelius Armstrong. He was born in Iowa, 1867,  to William and Annie Bell (Marchael) Armstrong.Together, they had 3 children - Frank, Harry and William. Annie died sometime prior to  1888, when William married her sister, Ida Mary,  Together, William and Ida had nine children - Anna Belle, Fredrick, Clarence, Virgil, twins Bert and Bertha (Bertha died in infancy), Margaret, Lloyd, and Thelma Rozella.
After his divorce from Grandma Wine, William married Vinez Palmer and together they had  a boy and two girls. Whether Grandma Herrmann knew of her half siblings, I do not know.  She nor Dad never mentioned them.
Grandma Herrmann's father died in Kansas. Her half-sister, Barbara Ann, died in 2000. Vinez died in 1944.
I remember Grandma Herrmann as being a strong, independent woman. I have a couple of pictures where Grandma Wine had dressed her in "ribbons and bows", other pictures show her as being more of a tomboy, running around the farm barefoot and free.
At the age of fifteen, Grandma Herrmann had a picture made with aspirations of sending it to Hoot Gibson, possibly hoping it would lead to movie roles. Whether or not she succeeded in this endeavor is unclear, but my Aunt did tell me she had a choice to join Hoot Gibson in Chicago or marry a man by the name of Copper. She chose the latter.
Not much is known about Harvey/Harry "Bob" Copper. Dad once referred to him as "Bob Copper", whereas, the marriage card from Colorado reports him as "Harry L Copper". The 1925 Denver City Directory lists him as "Harvey L. Copper". However, Grandma Wine's Bible had recorded him as Robert Copper in the Vital Register pages. Really, this guy is a wiley fella in the research records online. I believe Grandma Herrmann left Mr. Copper and moved to California sometime around 1930. 
During the marriage, however, Grandma Herrmann became "lonesome" staying at home and doing housework. so she began riding along with her husband, Bob, on his dump truck. Bob was a driver running dirt, rocks, and debris from various excavation sites around the city. It didn't take Grandma long to begin helping her husband in the various duties of the job, including behind the wheel. Eventually, she obtained her own license to drive (the news article states she was nineteen, but in reality she was only sixteen years old at the time) and began working her own truck along side her husband. An internet search about women in trucking revealed that Grandma Herrmann may have been the second woman in the country to drive a truck for wages. The first was reported in Wisconsin in 1918 and the other was reported in Texas in 1929. She drove for a few years before the marriage collapsed and she moved to California. 

Grandma in her bows and dress frills.....and bare feet.
Grandma all gussied up for a photograph.

The tomboy in her.

Grandma is standing on the top front of this wagon with Grandpa Wine. I never saw Grandma Herrmann as an "indoor" type of woman. Her and Grandpa were always out and about - camping and such.

Grandma Herrmann. I'm not sure of her age here, but I would speculate around 13 or 14 years old.

The photograph Grandma was going to send to Hoot Gibson.

The marriage record card of Grandma's first marriage to Harry/Harvey L. Copper. Also, Maggie's Bible recording his name as Robert Copper.

The article of Granma driving a truck. The year: 1925. Although she told the licensing board that she was  nineteen years old......she was actually sixteen years old.

Grandma Herrmann on the left, with her parents, Grandpa and Grandma Wine.

Grandma Herrmann's Social Security Application.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bart and Ellen (Welch) Mitchell

Bart was the 2nd son and the 8th child of Bartley and Mary. He spent a good portion of his life in Iowa, moving sometime between 1925 and 1930 to San Diego, California.
He married Ellen Regina Welch in Iowa about 1910, together they had 5 children (2 boys, 3 girls) and all were born in Iowa.  Ellen was the 4th child out of 5 born to James Welch and Many Anne Carroll. Ellen died in San Diego County, and Bart died in Sonoma County many years later.
The oldest of the Mitchell children was Mary Helen. She married Harold Beck. Since Harold was also born in Iowa, it is really difficult to say when or where they married since I have not found a marriage record as of this post. However, since their oldest child (out of five children) was born in California, I think it's likely they married there. Mary Helen died in 1987 in San Bernardino County,  while Harold had died prior, in 1963 in Riverside County. Harold had two children from a prior marriage.
Update: Harold's first marriage in 1932 to Thelma Auspaugh produced 2 children - Robert and William. Both boys were born in California.  I think it's safe to assume that Harold and second wife, Mary Helen Mitchell, were married in California.
Bartholomew Carroll was the couple's first son, second child. The 1940 Federal Census has his wife as Mary A, but his grave marker has the name Amy E along with his name. Amy has no dates on the marker. A public records search has Bart and Amy connected,  along with two females and 3 males connected to either or both names. This, essentially still leaves his family up in the air and more research will need to be done for answers.
Updade: Bart C. Mitchell (Bud) had married Mary Aline Chaves in Los Angeles County in 1936. It is unknown if they had any children, as I have been unable to find any for them. It is also unknown when they divorced.  Mary was the daughter of Portugal immigrants, Joseph F and Mary Chaves. She had at least one sibling - a sister, Lillian. Mary died in San Bernardino County in 1990.
Rita Ann Ellen was Bartley and Ellen's second daughter, third child. Her first marriage to Robert Arnold Snyder, in 1937,  ended in divorce. Her second marriage, to Bernard Francis Walther, in 1952, lasted until his death in 1961. Bernard was career military (Navy), retiring as a Lieutenant.  Bernard served on various Navy submarines during World War II, including the USS Cuttlefish, USS Cachalot, and the USS Whale.  Bernard had a previous marriage to Agnes Rita Ybarronda, but neither of his marriages produced any children. Bernard is buried in Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, San Diego. Rita had reserved the right to be buried alongside her husband, but there is no indication that she followed through with that plan. Rita Ann died in 1997 and chose to have her remains donated to science.
Rocky (Welch James) was the second to the last child born to Bartley and Ellen. His first marriage to Ester Bjorkman, 1940, in Iowa produced 4 sons. His second marriage, 1971, in Reno to German born Johanna Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) Hitson produced no children. 
Johanna arrived in the U.S. in 1959 a year after marrying Ken Hitson, a military soldier in the U.S. Army. Johanna had 2 daughters, both born prior to her marriage to Hitson, who carred the Hitson name. Johanna petitioned for naturalization in Tennessee. 
Rocky died in 1987. I have found no death record for Johanna, but since she was born in 1929, it is possible she is still amongst the living. 
Betty Lou was the youngest of Bartley and Ellen's children. Betty Lou had married LeRoy Gilmore and had one child, a daughter named Nancy Ellen. Her second marriage to William Connoley produced no children. Both marriages ended in divorce. It was Betty Lou's obituary that gleaned the most information about Rocky and his siblings. It is re-produced below:

    July 27 

Betty Lou Connoley 

Longtime Irvine resident Betty Lou Connoley died July 

20 after a brief illness. She was 76. 

A memorial mass will be celebrated Friday, July 28, at 10

 a.m. at San Francisco Solano Catholic Church, 22082 

Antonio Parkway, Rancho Santa Margarita. A gathering 

for family and friends will follow. 

Mrs. Connoley was born Jan. 19, 1924, in Vail, Iowa, to 

Ellen and Bart Mitchell. She was the youngest of five 

children. In her youth the family moved to San Diego. 

Betty Lou married Roy Gilmore in 1948. She worked as 

an interior decorator in San Diego for many years. She 

and Roy had one daughter, Nancy Ellen Gilmore. 

She and Mr. Gilmore divorced and she later married Bill 

Connoley of San Diego. She moved to Orange County in 

the 1970s and lived in Rancho San Joaquin in Irvine for 

about 15 years. She owned an interior decorating shop, 

"Betty Lou Interiors," in Corona Del Mar. 

"She loved her work and was so happy with her own 

shop," said her niece Vicky Roberts. 

After selling her business she worked part-time for CPA 

Clifford Wayne until a few years ago. 

Mrs. Connoley was a vivacious woman who loved to 

share her warm smile and laughter with everyone she 

came in contact with. "Her love and laughter made Betty 

Lou the special person that she was," said her niece. 

"She was very outgoing, always the life of the party and 

everyone liked to be around her." 

Also a caring person, she went to San Diego to care for 

her sister, Rita Ann Walther, in her final illness.

She also lost her beloved daughter, Nancy, last year.

"The love of her life was her daughter," commented her


She also attended a local Catholic Church. 

Mrs. Connoley was preceded in death by her parents;

her daughter, Nancy Ellen Gilmore Doyle in 1999; her

two sisters Mary Helen Beck and Rita Ann Walther; her 

two brothers Bart Mitchell and Welch Mitchell. 

She is survived by her niece, Vicki Roberts of Fruita,

Colo.; her nephews, Bill Beck of Bandon, Ore., John 

Beck of San Juan Capistrano, and Jerry Beck of Laguna 

Hills, and many great nephews and great nieces

At her request her body was donated to Loma Linda

University Medical Center in Loma Linda for medical

research, as were her two sisters Mary Helen and Rita 

Ann, her brother-in-law, Harold Beck, and her niece, 

Joan Ellen Beck Critzman.

 Above is the marriage license and certificate record for Rita Ann's first marriage to Robert Snyder. To the left is her marriage certificate to Bernard Walther.

 The photograph on the right is of Mary Alina Chaves, first wife of Bud (Bart C. Mitchell). The photograph is from a school yearbook in 1933.

 The two page document to the left is the marriage certificate of Bart C. Mitchell's first marriage to Mary Alina Chaves. Notice that Bud reported his middle name as Charles instead of Carrol.

Isn't it funny how a photograph can reveal information unknowingly? The photograph below was placed in my files under the father of Bud - Bartley. The handwritten description on the photo says "Father, Mary, Bobby, Bud". When I saw that it all clicked into place. Bud and Mary had a son, Robert. The photograph obiviously is of his Christening. This puts into place some of the names in the public records associated with Bud. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Various Items from the Bartley and Mary Mitchell Family

Transcript of Mary's Obituary:

Denison Review - January 17, 1923


Well Known Lady Laid to Rest Last Thursday Morning

Mrs. Bartley Mitchell, for many years an honored resident of 

Vail and vicinity, whose death was announced in our last 

issue, was laid to her final rest her last Thursday morning.

 The funeral was held at St. Ann's church, Rev. J.W. Ryan 

celebrating a requiem mass and conducting the obsequies,

 following which she was laid to rest beside her beloved 

husband and children in the family lot in St. Ann's cemetery.

Mary Gaffey was a native of Ireland, born in Ballinasloe, 

County Galway, February 27, 1845, and at the time of her 

death on January 2, 1923 her age was seventy seven years, 

ten months, and five days.

In 1863 she emigrated to America and coming west settled 

at Sterling Illinois, where she met and was subsequently 

united in marriage to Bartley Mitchell on February 7, 1869.

 They lived happily together until he was called by death 

March 1, 1921.

They resided in Sterling for about ten years then came to 

Crawford county, locating on a farm near Vail, where they 

resided until a few years ago when they retired and moved 

to Vail, where she has since made her home.

The children also preceded her in death, Mrs. H.E. Clausen, 

Mrs. W. H. Baumer, and Mary who died at the age of 

seventeen. she is survived by four daughters and two sons: 

Mrs. Jennie Krueger of Omaha; Mrs. M.J. Hickey of 

Manning; Mrs. C.C. Paine of Kennebec, S.D.; Mrs. F.A.

 Holland of Vail; Bert of Carroll and Bart of West Side, 

besides many other relatives and a host of friends.

She had enjoyed good health until a month or so ago when

 she fell on the icy sidewalk and sustained a triple fracture to

 the hip which caused her such suffering and finally resulted

 in her death.

She ********************** her pleasant manner and true 

Christian nature made warm friends of all her 


and endeared her to everybody with whom she associated.

 She was cheerful to the last and bore the pain of her final 

illness with true Christian fortitude till called home by the 

Master to enjoy the reward of a well spent life. - Vail 


Herny Clausen and his son, John, and Johns' wife Eunice with daughter, Cherie.

Wedding photograph of Henry Clausen and Margaret Mitchell

Richard Oester, son of Del and Leah Holland Oester.