Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mystery Monday - Mary Bradley Update

Mary Bradley is my 2nd great grandmother.  She was born 18 December 1867 in La Salle County, Illinois.  Her father was Charles Bradley.  Her mother is up for debate.  The death certificate for Mary states that Catherine Carey is her mother.  Stories passed down in my family state that Catherine is not her biological mother.  The story continues that Mary was forced on Catherine by her new husband, Charles.  I have written a blog post Mystery Monday - Who was Mary Bradley's mother? to summarize what I already know.

I sent an inquiry to the Catholic Church, St. Columba to see if they had any birth or baptismal records for Mary Bradley.  This is the church that Charles Bradley and Catherine Carey were married at 31 days before Mary was born. 

In my email inbox on Tuesday was a reply!  I was excited to hear a response since I sent my letter several months ago.  Unfortunately, there are no records of Mary Bradley.  The wonderful woman who assisted me looked in a multi-year range from 1865-1874 but was unable to find anything.  She did confirm the 18 November 1867 marriage of Charles and Catherine.

So there is still on answer to who is Mary Bradley's mother.  I need to make a plan of attack for further research.  First, I need to look into what other records are available in La Salle county, Illinois.  There may be something I missed the first time around.  I also want to find the death records for Catherine (Carey) Bradley in Chicago.  This includes her death certificate, obituary, and any probate records filed in the county.  Also on the list is more research on Mary's brothers, Walter, Norbert, and Charles.  It might be wise to move sideways instead of up in this case.  I may also do a search to see if anyone with the last name Udell was living in La Salle county in or around the 1860's.  That is a shot is the dark so it is low priority.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Dudley Mitchell & Opal Strickler

Dudley Moses Mitchell and Opal Blanche Strickler are the parents of my maternal grandmother (great-grandparents).  They were set up on a date by Lawrence Elliott.  Lawrence was Opal's brother-in-law and Moses' nephew. Despite a fifteen year age difference, Opal and Moses fell for each other and were married December 20, 1916 in Topeka, Kansas.  They raised five children together, two daughters and three sons.  To find work during the Depression, the family moved to Hutchinson, Kansas.  They remained there the rest of their lives. 

Opal and Moses are buried together at the Penwell Gabel Cemetery in Hutchinson, Kansas.  I got the chance to pay my respects last October on a research trip to Kansas.  The morning we visited Hutchinson was a brisk 30 degrees and windy.  These photos were taken very quickly before returning to the warmth of the car!

Opal B Mitchell Mar. 1, 1891 - Dec. 2, 1970

Dudley M. Mitchell Oct 20, 1875 - Mar 10, 1957.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - John Bender "Found Dead In His Bed"

John Bender is my third great grandfather on my mother's side.
(William H. Lawbaugh -> Effie Bender -> William H. Bender -> John Bender)

Another Pioneer in the Person of John Bender Has Been Taken.

John Bender, one of the old settlers in Lakin township, where he had lived since 1876, or for the past forty-nine years, has answered the final summons, he having been found dead in bed by members of the family about seven o’clock Sunday morning.  The end had come peacefully, as he was lying in a natural position and it was thought he was asleep as the son tried to awaken him at the usual hour.
While he had not been in good health for many years, being a sufferer with stomach trouble and its attendant ailments, it was only a month ago that he had a severe attach of neuralgia of the heart and it was another spell that kind which took him away, according to the decision of the attending physician.  He had been up and about the house the day before and after eating a hearty supper retired at the usual hour with no indication that the early morning would record the time of his death.  It is thought he must have passed away about four o’clock from the condition of his body when he was found.
 John Bender was born in Lyconing County, Pa., Feb. 28, 1845 and died at his home Feb 15, 1925, at the age 79 years, 11 months and 14 days.  He was married to Miss Matilda Sherman[sic] on August 8, 1867.  To this union 8 children were born, four of whom preceded the father to the other Land.  Those surviving are Mrs. Nora Bastin, Irvan [sic] and Lewis Bender, who lived at home and Oliver Bender, of Sedgwick.  He is survived also by the widow, one sister, Mrs. Maggie Garnhart, of Williamsport, Pa., eight grand-children and six great grand-children.
At an early age he united with the Lutheran Church and upon his coming to this vicinity in Feb. 1878 he united with the United Brethren Church at Pleasant Valley and where he had been a regular attendant all of those years when health would permit.  Upon coming to Harvey county he located on a farm five miles south of town and had continuously lived within on half mile of the original home for forty-seven years.
He was one of the oldest and most highly respected residents of Lakin township and his taking away from the scene of an active career is deeply mourned by all who came in close contact with him during that period.
The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon from Pleasant Valley Church and was largely attended by old friends and neighbors.  The service was conducted by the Pastor, Rev. Sill who paid a fine tribute to his memory.  Burial was made in Pleasant Valley Cemetery, where so many of his old friends are taking their last long sleep.  The close relatives have the sympathy  of their many friends over the grief which has entered into their lives.

John Bender Obituary, Halstead Independent, Halstead, Harvey County, Kansas, Volume XLV, No. 8, 19 February 1925, page 1, column 6.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Martin Strickler's Will

Martin Strickler is my 4th great grandfather (Roberta Mitchell -> Opal Strickler -> Abraham Strickler -> David Strickler -> Martin Strickler)

Martin Strickler 1781 - 1852 

Martin Strickler Will
Page County Court House
Book D, Page 208-209
Photos taken 20 November 2007 of Will Book D by Sierra Pope.

I Martin Strickler of the County of Page and State of Virginia do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say.
1st: I give and bequeath unto to my wife Anna Strickler during her life all of my house hold and kitchen furniture of every due scription (sic) and after her death I direct that the said property be sold at public sale and the money rising from the sale of said property is to be equally divided between my two daughters Rebecca Keyser the wife of Reuben Keyser & Nancy Foltz the wife of George Foltz.  I also give and bequeath unto my wife Anna for and during her life one third of the farm I now reside on.
2nd: I give and bequeath unto my son David Strickler and his heirs for ???? the farm I now reside on subject to the third I have allready (sic) given to my wife Anna during her life after her death, my son David Strickler is to have the whole farm containing three hundred and fifty acres by survey be it the same more or less being the land I purchased of I Strickler by my son David Strickler paying out to my daughter Nancy Foltz the wife of Geo. Foltz five hundred dollars to be paid in two annual payments two hundred and fifty dollars to be paid in and one year after the death of my wife Anna and the remainder in one year after as ???? the above named five hundred dollars is intended to make my daughter Nancy  Foltz equal with my daughter Rebecca Keyser which I have heretofore give my daughter Rebecca Keyser eighteen hundred dollars and my daughter Nancy Foltz thirteen hundred dollars.
3rd: I desire and direct that my land lying on Stony Run shall be sold on the following conditions.  Each tract shall be sold separate One tract I purchased of Jacob Aleshire containing on hundred acres be it the same more or less.  One tract I purchased of George Aleshire containing forty eight acres bit it the same more or less.  One tract I purchased of Emanuel Comer containing twenty five acres be it the same more or less I direct that my Executor hereafter mentioned shall sell as soon as convienent (sic) after my death the above named tracts of land on the following condition. One third of the money on each tract to be paid down and the remainder to be paid in three annual payments.  And the money arising from the sale of the above named tracts of land it is my desire shall be divided equal between my two daughters Nancy Foltz & Rebecca Keyser.
4th: I give and bequeath unto Martin Propts the farm purchased of James Hollensworth containing one hundred and forty acres be it the same more or less I give the above named farm to Martin Propts even for a bond he holds against me for six hundred and sixty dollars (or perhaps over that amount) But if the said Martin Propts is not willing to take the above named tract of land for the above named bond I then direct that the land shall be sold by my Executors hereafter mentioned upon the same terms of the  other above named lands. And after paying all of my just debts & expenses of settling my estate should there be any bonds left I desire and direct the remainder to be equally divided between my daughter Nancy Foltz and my daughter Rebecca Keyser.
5th: And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my son David Strickler and Wm M Dorrough Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other former wills made by me in witness  whereof  I here unto set my hand and seal this 4 day of September 1857.
                                                                                                                                Martin Strickler

Signed sealed and delivered by the aboved (sic) named Martin Strickler as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who at his request has hands subscribed our names as witnesses:
Moses Hent???, Henry Comer, Daniel Kite
Page County Court
At a court here foresaid county on Monday the 27 day of October 1857.  The last will and testament of Martin Strickler was presented to the court and proved by the oaths of Moses Hent?? And Daniel Kite two of the witnesses thereto and is ordered to be bound and on the motion of David Strickler and Wm M Dorrough the Executors therein named who made oath thereto and together with James Kibler and Chesebim (sp?) Hershman as their securities entered into and acknowledged on bond in the penalty of $5000 conditioned according to & in a certificate is granted the said David Strickler and William M Dorrough for obtaining a probate of the said will and testament. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

An American Dream

Today is the 4th of July.  The day to celebrate the independence of this great country.  The most common ways to celebrate are barbecues, fireworks, and parades with lots of American flags.  I would also like to celebrate by telling you a little about my paternal grandfather.  Celio "Jay" Gordon Capelli lived the American Dream.   

Jay Capelli, March 1942

Jay was born in Cassano Canavesse, Turino, Italy on December 31, 1914.  His parents were Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.  On March 22, 1920, Celio (5 years old) and his father, Matteo Ciardonei, arrived in the United States on the SS Dante Aligheri.  According to the ship's manifest, Matteo was deported March 31st because he had been diagnosed with ttuberculosis.  Matteo was a strong man because he left his young son in the United States with his sister-in-law, Mary (Siletto) Capelli. 

Jay grew up in the Capelli household in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his 3 cousins, Mabel, Bruno, and Elsie and his aunt and uncle, Mary and Alfredo (Fred) Capelli.  Jay became a citizen of the United States on February 25, 1937 when he was 22 years old.  He also changed his name at this time to Capelli.  My grandfather attended Duquesne University, majoring in accounting.  He also served as a Quartermaster in the Army during World War II. 

My grandfather met my grandmother, Mary Dempsey in Pittsburgh and they married February 15th, 1947.  Later that year,  they migrated out west to California with my grandmother's brother.  They settled in Los Angeles and had three children.  The oldest boy being my dad.   The kids grew up in Anaheim and my grandparents moved to Mission Viejo during the 1970's. 

Jay & Mary Capelli, 40th Wedding Anniversary, February 1987

Jay was ninety four when he passed away just over 2 years ago.  He was a hard working man who loved his family deeply.  I remember being in high school when he finally retired from being a CPA at 80.  He loved to go bowling and did so until his late 80's.  There are many family photos of Jay camping with his family. 

He was hard of hearing in his later years.  I will never forget the first time I visited him after he got his hearing aids.  There was a look of astonishment on his face when I spoke to him.  I realized that my voice had been out of his hearing range for years and he was excited to hear what I sounded like.

One of my most favorite memories of my grandfather is from Christmas about 7 or 8 years ago.  I had found the passenger manifest for his arrival in the U.S. on and ordered a copy of the manifest and a photo of the ship to give to him for Christmas.  He was so amazed by the gift!  It made me so happy to be able to bring a piece of his past to him. 

It is amazing to think that my grandfather did it all in this country.  He immigrated here as a young boy, learned a new language, grew up in a loving family, attended university, became a U.S. citizen, served his country in war, found the love of his life, followed his dreams out west, and raised a family.  He really did live the American Dream.