"to love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage." lao-tzu


Laziness and Mysteries

Wow, I have been lazy. No posts since August? Really? I have become good at chasing rabbits and not staying on one trail.  I have not made much progress on Harry Applegate. I have learned from another family member that his wife's 2nd husband, whom she married 7 years after Harry's murder, was rumored to also be involved, whether in the "business", the ongoing feud, or the murder of Harry, I do not know.

I have several rabbits I have been chasing involving several members throughout my family.  As usual, chasing one rabbit leads to another rabbit, and so on, and so on.  So, I think I will begin to focus myself by first listing my rabbits, in no particular order, and pick one at a time, chase it till there's nothing left to be found, then move on - and I need to get better and taking notes about where I have been and where I think I want to go next.

So, here is my current list of Rabbits:

1a. Jacob Jahns - which ship did he come in on? and from where?  I have recently found his Declaration of Intention and his Naturalization documents, and of course they are not fully filled out, but at least I now have a better idea of the when.  Now its just a matter of digging through the passenger lists to find him.

1b. Jacob Jahns - where/when did he die?  He is listed on the 1880 census in Marine, Madison Co, Illinois, and then his wife Caroline is listed in the 1887 St. Louis Directory as "widow of  Jacob".  I have been unable to find him listed in the cemeteries of Madison Co, the Illinois Death Index, or the Missouri Digital Archives in the death records.

2. How did my grandparents meet? My grandpa, Elmer Adolph Nevala, was from Michigan, stationed in Alabama/Virginia/ New Guinea during the war, and Grandma, Mary Louise Applegate Mcwhorter (1st Marriage - have not found divorce record yet)  was from Arkansas, working at the ammunition plant in North Little Rock.  The rumor was they met at a USO, but where?  It's not like Alabama is next door to Arkansas. I do know that her step-father was also in the army, stationed at Camp Robinson, also North Little Rock, but so far research shows that all those units went to Europe.

Well, those are the rabbits.  Hopefully I can at least get to the point where I have exhausted current leads, and then move on to something else.  With time, more info may show up.


Murder, Mayhem, and Moonshine

Okay, folks, I can finally say that my Applegates have finally cooperated in a search.  I wandered over to Arkansas the other weekend with my friend Patti and her daughter along with my daughter. The goal was to try and dig up something on the murder of Harry Applegate, my great-grandfather.  The family story I had always heard was that Harry was a fishing/hunting guide on the rivers, and as such the family (Harry, wife Katherine, daughters Louise and Juanita, and son Harry, Jr) lived on a houseboat. The story goes that one day, Katherine took the children into town for some shopping, and upon returning to the houseboat, she discovered Harry dead. The death certificate states the cause of death as "Homicide- shot gun wound in back & shoulder".

As far as the family knows, the killer was never found, and the story was the murder had something to do with moonshine. According to the death certificate, the murder took place near DeWitt, Arkansas County, Arkansas.

Now for the good stuff - hooray for the Arkansas Historical Commission!!!  While there, I was lucky and found a newspaper article on the murder of Harry Applegate!!!  YAY!!!!

Now, this article states that the murder took place specifically near Benzol, Arkansas County, Arkansas. I am going to go out on a limb and assume since it was an ambush, the moonshine theory holds.  Now, unfortunately, that was all the news I had time to dig up while there.  But I am very happy with this bit of news.
 Us girls then headed down to the courthouse in DeWitt, where thanks to the wonderful help of the Circuit Court Clerk, we discovered even more goodies!!!
Now, for a little bit of background: there was the dude running around that area at that time by the name of Perry Martin. (Yes, you Rosedale, Mississippi, people - THAT Perry Martin).  Now, in the records, we found as early as 1918 some indictments against Perry for two murders, both of which were eventually dismissed. On May 7, 1929, we discover that Perry is once again indicted, this time for the murder of Ed McGrew.  Why do I care? Well, a page back in the record book, there is an indictment for "Accessory before the fact to Murder in the First Degree" for the same murder. The defendants? Ike and Mrs. Sangston, Glenn Sangston, and Harry Applegate.

And if that wasn't enough for Harry, there is another indictment on July 2, 1929 for him, this time for carrying a pistol.

I think that Harry probably had a very good reason to be carrying a pistol, especially when you consider the crowd he was running with.  That will be another blog, after I have time to figure out the time lines of all involved.
Court Orders reveal that both indictments were dismissed, mainly because of the murder of Harry.

The cast of characters I will be trying to sort out for the next blog: Perry Martin, Cicero Spense, Jed Wilsey, Ike and Glenn Sangston, Ed McGrew, and Jack Worls.  There's a few celebs in that list, by the way. These people are tied to Harry in some way, either directly or indirectly, and I am interested in finding out the rest of the story on Harry's murder. I ran out of time, and was not able to continue scrolling through the images of The Arkansas Gazette, were I found the article on his murder.


Meanwhile, back to the Jahns

Sorry, folks, have been side-tracked again by chasing rabbits with my Applegates.  I will be going to Arkansas soon for a quick day-trip to try and uncover some more information on the murder of Harry Applegate.  Hopefully I will find lots of great stuff and will have an awesome blog for ya'll next month (right after I win the Powerball).

I have decided to touch base with my sadly neglected Jahns' side of the family, mainly because I posted a link on my FB page to this blog, and my uncle may look at it, so I need to give him something to read.  The last post I wrote on the Jahns was the birthday post for my grandfather, Harold Frederick Jahns, Sr.  Now for the technical stuff.
Harold was born on May 23, 1917, in Denver, Colorado, where his father William was a trolley car conductor. He was the third son of what would eventually be four sons (Orville, William, Harold, and Robert) born to William and his wife Loretta Reynolds. In 1920 the family is shown on the Census (see previous post on William) living in Denver; at some point, things must not work out, for on the 1930 Census, William is remarried and living in Detroit, Michigan, and Loretta and the boys are living in East St. Louis, Illinois. I do not know much about my grandfathers' early life and hope to uncover more as I do more research (as in, get my Aunt and Uncle to fill me in...) 
I do know that Harold married my grandmother, Cecilia Lorraine Burnier, in 1940 in Missouri. I am not sure where they were living, as I have not found them on the 1940 Census yet (being kinda lazy and waiting for it to be searchable). My Aunt Dottie (Dorothy) was born first, then my dad, Fred (Harold Frederick, Jr.), then my Uncle Bill, (William).  Harold and Cecilia divorced, and Harold moved on to Detroit.  Cecilia remarried, and due to her new husband being sent to Germany (he was in the Service), the kids then moved to Detroit to live with Harold. I think this was about 1952.
It was at this time that he bought the house that as far as I know is the only one he ever owned. (This would be the house I mentioned in his birthday post).  He was a "tile man" by profession. I remember one trip we made to Detroit, we had to go see a new mall that had just opened up (Thousand Oaks??); Grandpa had laid some of the tile in the main areas of the mall and he wanted us to see it.  Anyways, Grandpa stayed in that house until the last week of his life.  I always thought it was neat that when we went to visit Grandpa, I knew exactly where we were going; my other grandparents moved constantly and when we visited them, it was almost always a new house in a new city. Grandpa was always in that small white house in Detroit; I even knew the directions to there (please do not test that now).
Grandpa passed away on April 1, 1990, of liver cancer. My parents, myself, and my brothers were lucky enough to make a visit to see him in March before he died - when he was still in that house.


Family Traditions of the Applegates

So, um, yea, it has been a few weeks. I have been lazy and off of the radar, hence the name of my post.  I am just living up to the standards set by a few ancestors, namely my Applegates.  Bless their collective hearts.  Now, one good thing about my Applegates is most of the hard work has been done for me as far as the 1600 - 1800's.  Thank you to my hard-working distant cousins who have already found all these people and then so unselfishly posted their findings on the internet for their more um, gumption-challenged, cousins to find.

So, quick background: my earliest records start with Bartholomew in Monmouth County, Dover Twsp, New Jersey in the late 1600's.  He was married to Mary, said to be a Leni Lenape Indian. They had the usual dozen-plus children, and the Applegates continued to occupy Dover for generations. Until the 1850's, when my ancestor Nathan woke up one morning to realize he was related to just about everyone in town, and he was tired of explaining that "No, I am not THAT Nathan Applegate, that's my no-good third cousin five times removed", and that Dover just was too crowded.  Nathan then packed up his family, dragged along a brother or two, and headed off to Iowa.  My Applegates then did their share of populating Wapello County, Iowa and Holt County, Missouri for a generation or two.  Then my Great-Great Grandfather George and his brothers decided it was time to wander. Jesse took off for Arkansas (Little Rock), their father John followed not long after, Lawrence headed to Texas (Beaumont area), and then George and his wife Ida followed the trend and headed to Little Rock, also.

Now for the "off the radar" part.  I have the 1880 census listing George, his father John, and his mother Lois (Waites), living in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa.  The 1890 - oh, nevermind.  The 1900 lists George, Ida, and sons Everett, John, and Harry, and they are living in Andale, Sedgewick County, Kansas. Then the disappearing act - I can not find these people on the 1910 or the 1920.  The 1930 has them living in Burr Oak, Doniphan County, Kansas.  Let me back up a bit; the family is living in Little Rock, Arkansas at least from 1915 - 1917. The 1930 lists another son, Frank, born in 1915 in Arkansas.  George and Everett both listed addresses in Little Rock on their WWI Draft Cards in 1917. ( I looked up the address; the Amphitheater in downtown Little Rock now sits where the home used to be.) But, they are nowhere to be found on the 1920.  To add to the frustration, my Great-Grandfather Harry (George's youngest) and his wife Katherine and my Grandmother Mary (born 1919) are also missing on the 1920.  Now, I am to understand from family folklore that Harry and his family resided on a houseboat. If that is the case, I can see how they may have been missed.

The 1930, as mention above, finds George, Ida and Frank, and it also finds Everett and his wife Birdie (Melton) and their children all in Burr Oak, Doniphan County, Kansas.  My frustration is with trying to find my Grandmother and her sister, Juanita.  On December 28, 1928, Harry Applegate was murdered, shot in the back with a shotgun according to the Death Certificate, just outside DeWitt in Arkansas County, Arkansas.  My Grandmother was 9 at the time, and she remembers that her mother had taken her and her sister and her brother, and they had walked into town from the Arkansas River and left Harry at the houseboat. They found him dead when they returned. (I am looking for any newspaper accounts or Sheriffs reports for this - nothing online yet). My Great-grandmother Katherine then returned home to her mother with the children to Morrillton, Conway County, Arkansas.  On the 1930, Katherine is shown living in her mothers home with her youngest child, Harry, Jr.  My grandmother and her sister are not listed.  I was told by my grandmother that her and her sister were placed either in a convent or a catholic boarding school of some sort as their mother was not able to financially care for them.  Again, I have been unable to locate them.  I have a lot of hunting to do.

The 1940 promises to be an easier hunt.  I know that George and Ida had moved to Houston, Harris County, Texas around that time, as well as Everett and his family.  I have been to Houston and have seen George and Ida's final resting place. I know that by 1940 my grandmother is married and has two children and is still living in Arkansas at that time, so I am hopeful of finding her.  We shall see.

I would just really like to know where everyone has disappeared to from 1901-1915.  George listed himself as a carpenter by trade, but was also known to be a wandering preacher.  I do not doubt it when I look at what I do know: born in Missouri, moved to Iowa, then to Kansas, then to ??, then in Arkansas, then back to Kansas, then finally to Texas.  I know now where I get my need to travel from.


Abel Gray

Here I go off on a completely different tangent, although I am staying on my paternal side of the family.  Abel Gray has been one of those people that irks me in that I have been unable to confirm something about him that I feel is very important.  Abel is my great-great-great-great grandfather. He was born on October 13, 1791 in Wilton, Hillsborough Co., New Hampshire. He died on April 22, 1862 in Olney, Richland Co., Illinois. He is buried in Wesley Cemetery in Clay Co., Illinois. There is a memorial with a bronze plaque giving a biography of Abel and his wife Elizabeth, which was very nice of the person who did that - saved me some research.

It is his marker that bothers me. You can see that it states that Abel was a Captain in the Vermont Militia during the War of 1812.

Abel and his family had moved to Vermont from New Hampshire, so that part of it is okay.  My problem is with the "Captain" part, or actually even the "Vermont Militia"; I am unable to find Abel listed anywhere in any of the online resources for the Vermont Militia.  There is an Abel Gray listed in resources for the War of 1812, but my research has proven that he is not mine; he is from Massachusetts, served in the Massachusetts Militia, and had land in Illinois from his war bounty, but he never left home.  I know my Abel actually moved to Illinois.  In my research, I stumbled upon a listing of all the Grays that are in the Vermont Militia rolls, but my Abel is not listed there.  I just searched what Fold3 has so kindly made available for free during this month for the anniversary of the War of 1812, but again, not a mention of Abel. So, I am hoping that one day something will come to light; I hate to think that he invented a past for himself, hoping that the distance from Vermont to Illinois would keep his story safe.


Grandpa's Birthday

This post is supposed to be about the life of my grandfather, Harold Frederick Jahns, Sr.  It's supposed to have the census images, maybe a pic or two, and the roll call of children and towns lived in and occupations through the years, ending with a pic of his tombstone.  But, since today would have been his 95th birthday, and I am feeling a bit emotional this week (my birthday, 45th, is next Wednesday, and my oldest child is graduating high school next Saturday), I have decided just to write a few memories down for today, and do the "technical" post next week - and that will also give me time to get the info together.

So- my earliest memory? Oreo's. I was 2. We (Dad, Mom, and me) lived in Angola, Indiana where my dad was attending Tri-State University (now called Trine).  We lived in a mobile home on a lake; my dad managed canoe rentals.  Grandpa had driven down from Detroit to visit. I remember Grandpa and I going out on the lake in one of the canoes, and he had brought with him a whole package of Oreo's - and I was allowed to have as many as I wanted. I can still remember sitting in the boat and taking Oreo's out of the package.  I am sure he got into trouble with my mother for that.  43 years later, a package of Oreo's is never safe if I am around.

Grandpa had bought a house in Detroit in 1952+/-; he lived in that house till his death.  My favorite place was the attic - it was knotty-pine paneling, wall-to-wall, with built in drawers and small doors leading to storage spaces under the rafters.  There were old comic books and teen magazines belonging to my dad and his siblings still in some of those drawers, along with a stack of um, "mens magazines" that we knew we shouldn't look at, but being kids we had to. The basement's only draw for me was the pyramid of empty Pringles cans stacked against one wall from floor to ceiling; I guess my Grandpa thought that was the neatest thing, potato chips in a can.  We were not allowed to touch it.

A constant at Grandpa's house was the set of drinking mugs he kept in the freezer; they were glass and fitted into black plastic holders that had handles.  They were kept in there of course for his beer; he would grudgingly allow us kids to use them. We were fascinated by them for some reason, and had to have our soda's served in them. I also remember being mesmerized by his coffee pot - it was one of those clear glass Pyrex ones where you could watch everything happening as the water boiled and filtered through the coffee grounds.

One bit of advice that I received from my grandfather when I was getting married was that "your housing should never cost you more than one weeks salary - any more than that, and life gets too hard."  We seriously took that advice, and somehow managed to keep rent and house payments close to that one week mark; I would love to say that I can still adhere to that standard, but the apartment complexes here don't seem to understand that concept.

Grandpa died in 1990; we knew he was sick, and had driven to Detroit from Dallas to visit him during Spring Break that year.  I was 23, and was not into the genealogy thing, family keepsakes or tidbits.  Ahhh, if I had known then what I know now.  Grandpa died a week after we got back to Dallas, and I decided not to go to the funeral.  It is one thing that I regret only in that there were a few certain things that I now wish I had: that glass coffee pot, the iron, the clock on the wall, the plaque hanging in great-grandma's room that was in German, and the topless hula girl figurine that sat on the front window sill.  I do have two small wooden side tables that belonged to him; I just recently spruced them up with a nice coat of red paint, and they are now residing in my bedroom as my bedside tables.

It goes without saying that I wish I had talked to Grandpa about our family, stories he may have had, information he probably knew that I can not find today.  Live and Learn.  Happy Birthday, Grandpa.


William Jahns

Today's post is about my great-grandfather, William Henry Jahns.  As noted in the last post, he is the son of Charles and Mary Jahns and was born on March 24, 1884, in Madison County, Illinois, and he remained with his parents until his marriage in 1909 to his first wife, Loretta Frances Reynolds.  They appear on the 1910 census living just down the road from Charles and Mary in Caseyville, St. Clair County, Illinois.

William occupation is that of a laborer in the coal mines; he also owns his home, with a mortgage. Loretta's occupation is listed as "none".
By 1920, there have been some changes in William's life. He now has four sons: William Charles, born July 21, 1910, Orville Ernest, born October 15, 1913, Harold Frederick Sr., born May 23, 1917, and the youngest, Robert Henry (whom for some reason I do not have his birth date).  The family is now living in Denver, Colorado, and have been since at least 1917, since that is where Harold and Robert were born.  William is a street car conductor.

At some point in the 20's, the family moves back to Illinois. By the 1930 Census, William and Loretta are divorced, with Loretta and the four boys living in East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois, and William remarried and living in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. His second wife's name is Maude. William is a sheet metal worker with Detroit Air Craft.

On January 6, 1937, William applied for his Social Security Card, listing his address as 1428 W. Euclid, Detroit, Michigan, and that he is working for Lumber Product Corp. at Greenfield and Fullerton Streets. He lists Charles as his father, deceased, and Mary as his mother.

Of course, I have looked at this address on the 1940 Census, and he is no longer living there.  I will have to be patient and wait for an index.

Maude passed away in 1946, and  I think William remarried again - there is a wedding photo buried over at my brothers house, and her name is on the back of a photo; I am fairly sure it is not the wedding of William and Maude.  William lived the rest of his life in Detroit, passing away in August of 1968, and is buried next to Maude at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Novi, Michigan.