Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Blessed with Pictures

I have spent the last two months organizing, title-ing, face tagging, and key wording all of my digital genealogy pictures.  And once again I am in awe of how blessed I am to have such a treasure trove of ancestral photos.   I have over 5,000 genealogy pictures and most of them have a story to tell.  And now I have them organized so that it will be easier to create story books, and write blog posts about them.  Honestly, my brain is overwhelmed with so many possibilities and stories!  Today I am going to post just a few of my favorite, and most interesting, pictures.

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Kid Mallory

IMG_0262When doing research last year on my Grandma Mabel’s sister Mary I discovered that Mary’s husband Harold had written and published a western novel.  Of course, right away I ordered the book on ebay but I hadn’t had time to read it until recently.

Kid Mallory was published in 1981 with the lead in;  “Hell broke loose when he faced a gang of killers in the showdown at the Circle 8.”

It is a typical western.  The good guy chases the bad guy(s) and there is a shootout where the good guy wins.  Sometimes the good guy gets hurt in the chase and meets a beautiful young lady.  All this happens in Kid Mallory.  Throw in a little conspiracy and honor and overall it is a worthwhile read even for those like me that aren’t usually western readers.

39acaf21-11cd-46b9-b172-add74d94ab3eWhat amazed me while reading this book was the detail Mr. White used in talking about Kid’s surroundings.  I don’t think he had any real experience with the southwest that he greatly details in his book.  Harold was born and raised in Nebraska.   After he married my great aunt Mary they moved to Yakima, Washington where they both lived the rest of other lives.    Hal was a veterinarian by trade.

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Losing Landmarks

3077546905_7839297aef The Camelot at the highway exit near my home growing up; The church I got married in as well as the hotel we spent our first night in as a married couple; The farmhouse of my paternal grandparents that had been built by my great grandpa in 1904; The farmhouse of my maternal grandparents that I had so many great memories of; The first restaurant I worked at, the Sonic I carhopped at and the sports cafe I worked at when I was dating Jason.

I’m losing the landmarks of my youth.  When I drive around the town that I grew up in I am more surprised that something is still there than I am when something else disappears.

The Camelot was a Tulsa Landmark hotel built in 1965 that was demolished a couple of years ago to widen the highway.

New Life Center at 41st and Harvard where we were married in 1992 is now a funeral home and the Holiday Inn Express on Skelly drive where we spent our first night on our honeymoon was another victim of the highway widening.

gotcher farm from air

When my Grandma Gotcher died in ’98 the farm that had been in her family for over 100 years was sold and soon after the farmhouse built in 1904 “accidentally” burned down.  In fact if you drive by the old property now you would never know there was a homestead there for so long.

McConaughy FarmhouseI have so many great memories of times spent with my grandparents and cousins at my Maternal Grandparents farmhouse.  Sadly it burned down a couple of years ago.   My cousins were living there at the time and luckily no one was hurt – including the dog who miraculously lived through the fire…swimming in the basement.  They call him the miracle dog now.

When I was 17 I started my first waitressing job at the local restaurant at 51st and Peoria, Po Folks.  So many great memories working there and growing into an adult but it is has been gone for a long time.  As well as the local Sonic I carhopped at the next year.  And recently the Sports Cafe I worked at when I was dating Jason was demolished.  It hadn’t been a sports cafe for a long time but every time I drove by I would remember the fun times when I worked there.

And I guess that is what bothers me.  I love driving around the town I have lived in most of my life and remembering the fun times I’ve had.  I tell myself all the cliches – “This is the price of progress”, “Nothing lasts forever”, “Time goes on” yada, yada, yada.    I get it but it still makes me sad.

So as part of my new 2015 resolutions I am resolving to rediscover my town…Tulsa!  I will discover new places and make new memories.

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Family Friends Friday ~ Florence Grace Miller

Florence Miller and Karen

Florence and Karen

Christmas always brings back memories of childhood for me.  When I was a young child we sometimes spent Christmas at my grandparents farm in Iowa.  There was an older lady that lived in their house, named Florence.  I loved Florence.  She lived downstairs in the large farmhouse and my grandparents lived upstairs.  She spoiled me just like my grandparents did.  I remember spending time with her; she would read to me patiently and I am sure this is where I caught my love for reading.  I also remember she loved birds. She had a cuckoo clock and she had bird albums she would play on her record player.  And every Christmas she would give us really big Christmas presents.  I remember one year we couldn’t make the trip from Oklahoma to Iowa so she mailed us our gifts.  The box was really big and at the bottom of the box was about an inch of hard candy.

Florence and Karen

Florence and Karen

I was really the only grandchild that really knew Florence.  She died in January of 1979.  My brother was 4 and I was 7; none of the other kids were born yet.  But, although Florence never married and had kids of her own, she was also grandma to my mom and her siblings.  I have heard a lot of stories about Florence over the years in my mom’s memories.  So this year I thought maybe I would write them down and share them.  I worry that, after me, future generations might not know about Florence.  Even most genealogists might miss her because they usually focus on their direct lines.  It saddens me to think that the world might forget such a sweet generous lady.

Florence 1964

Florence 1964

Florence Grace Miller was born July 21, 1899 in Morley, Iowa.  She was the only child of Henry Delbert “Del” and Elizabeth “Myrtle” Farnham Miller.  They had a son in 1892 that died as an infant.  Del was a farmer and by the time of his death in 1946 he owned five farms.  For work, Florence was a teacher.  In the 1940 census she is renumerated as a public school teacher and lodger in Nichols, Muscatine, Iowa.  After her dad died she was a teacher in Morley at the high school and later was the superintendent.  Florence lived at home after her father’s death, remained single, and she took over management of the farms.  She rented out the home farm to my Grandpa and when Grandpa married they moved into the farmhouse with Florence and her mom, Myrtle.  After my mom and some of her siblings came along Florence had the farmhouse renovated so that the upstairs was a full apartment and that is where my grandparents lived.    Florence was a constant presence in the life of my mother and her younger siblings.  She taught my mom and her sisters to play piano.  She enjoyed gardening and took in every stray cat that came to the farm.

When preparing for this post I asked my aunts for memories they had of Florence.  Birds was a common theme.  She even gave the girls bird models to build and learn the different kinds of birds.  And they also mentioned her love for stray animals.  And they remembered that Florence hated loud storms and would ask the girls to come down and keep her company while they were on.  My Aunt Jan said it best though.  She said “She always encouraged me no matter what…. she thought I could do anything I wanted.”  I wish everyone could have a Florence in their lives.

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Friday’s Faces From the Past – Amelia Bick

Amelia Bick – Charles Edward Tracy’s first teacher in sod school house District 27, York, Nebraska



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Workday Wednesday – Charles Edward Tracy – Railroad man

Charles Edward Tracy worked on a railroad gang in Nebraska for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy rail line.  These pictures and work cards were his and are now in the possession of his daughter Alice Tracy Sienknecht.


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Charles Edward Tracy

Charles Tracy 1893 OPCharles Edward Tracy was the seventh and youngest child of John Edward and Maria Artlysia (Boblett) Tracy.  He was born December 5, 1872 in McLean, Illinois.  He was just a toddler when the family moved to Nebraska and attended school in a sod schoolhouse in York, Nebraska during his younger years.  

He married Lizzie Shepherd, November 12, 1896 in York, Nebraska.  The information I have says they were divorced (I do not have any source on this though).  

He next married Ella Blood, April 27, 1904 in West Point Wisconsin.  Charles and Ella lived in York, Nebraska and had five children:  John Edward (1905), Rosco Raymond (1910-1917), Alvin Royal (1913), Pauline Sarada (1918), and Alice May (1920).  I was able to spend some time this spring getting to know Alice.  She is a family historian as well and we had a great time swapping research and stories.  Charles Tracy Family0001

Sometime before 1930, Ella and Charles were divorced.  Charles married Vine Whitbeck Rhodes, August 23, 1930 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She was six years older than him and she died in 1952.  

Charles made his career working for the Chicago, Burlington &  Quincy railroad working on a bridge gang.  Charles died July 12, 1955 in York, Nebraska and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery there.  

His second son died as a child but John Edward, Alvin Royal and Pauline Sarada all lived and died in California and Alice lives in Colorado.

And on a fun note – my grandma gave me an old brown hat once when I was visiting her.  She said it had been her Uncle Charlie’s.  I still have that hat and it looks just like the one Charles is holding.

World War I Draft Registration Cards 19171918-22-1

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