Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do you remember that paper and file folders used to come in the 11 X 14 size?  Yes, and peoople wrote letters by hand, with pencil or pen and using a manual typewriter wasn't a challenge if you had a couple of strong fingers.

Here is the discovery waiting for you if you begin to go through boxes of papers, found in an attic, tucked away in a storage room, a closet, or in an old garage:

  • Some of it will be family history stuff; letters, newspaper clippings, and photos.
  • Some of it might be genealogy charts in 11 X 14 format, with likewise styled folders.
  • Occasionally, you will find notes written on those folders!
Here is what my dad wrote on this folder, 11 X 14, all the way to the bottom of the space: witty sayings that he "coined".  Some of these sayings are gems of wisdom, even.

1.  Enthusiasm is that deeply embedded ingredient in the human being that acts as an antibody to destroy procrastination and pessimism.

2.  If wishes worked, where would the workers "Bee"?

3.  In every family three, there's always a little sap.

4.  Yearly, the IRS puts my filthy lucre through the cleaners.

5.  Don't buy gossip just because it's dirt cheap!

6.  Give a weed an inch and it will take a yard.

7.  While the world has slept, into its bosm, socialism has crept.

8.  Civilization starts and savagery ends when people competently record the names, dates, and places of their ancestors, along with the events that took place during their time line.

9.  If we could find other things as well as we can find fault, we would all be rich.

10.  Latin is a dead language; now it is killing me. (Found scribbled in my dad's sister's old schoolbook).


Saturday, January 25, 2014

A House is almost always a home.

In December of 1955, as I remember, my mother and dad moved to the rural community of Wright, Florida.  It was just a few miles away from where we had been living within the city limits of Fort Walton [now known as Fort Walton Beach].  As a child, I had only a vague idea of rural living.  I guess I would have guessed that a "farm" was a place where cows lived.

Lived, past tense.  Dairy cows had lived, just a decade before, on the acreage that my dad purchased.  Large cement cisterns were relics of that time.  There may have been a couple of those in evidence and an old barn graced the property, as well.  A beautiful grove of mature pecan trees dotted the landscape and in the spring, when the clover came up, we got the idea to call our new home "Cloverdale".

It's true that initially, the red blooms and green clover leafs became our playing field, but it didn't take long for us to realize that the bees also liked clover. 

The house itself, featured two stories, an unusual structure in our experience; it hadn't been lived in for a while and felt not at all like a cozy place.  There was no working furnace and northwest Florida can be cold in the winter.  Fortunately, the fireplace provided a temporary solution as we three kids gathered our blankets and with Mother's help, organized a "pallet*" city at night-time.  In less than a week's time, Dad had contracted to have gas heaters put into the walls!

*My grandmother’s house was small but always overflowed with family and guests during the holidays. Us young’uns (grandkids) always slept on and under a pile of quilt “pallets” on the floor, leaving the real beds to the grown ups.

Obituary of Samuel Moses Tucker by "A Friend"

Tucker was my dad's mother's maiden name.  Or said another way, Eunice Hill, my dad's mother, was first (nee') Eunice Tucker.  Her grandfather was Samuel Moses Tucker.  This composition, then, is what a friend of her grandfather's wrote about her grandfather's death.

Obituary for Samuel Moses Tucker

S. M. Tucker was born in Sumter District, South Carolina the 28th day of March 1820—died the 9th day of October, 1883, at his residence in Jasper County, Miss.

About the year 1847, he moved from South Carolina to the state of Alabama, where he resided until the year of 1857. Then he moved with his family to Jasper County, Mississippi where he remained until the cold icy hands of death laid his frail body down to sleep until the resurrection morn.

About the year 1867 he attached himself to M.E. Church South [does “M.E.” stand for Methodist Episcopalian?], in which he was a consistent member for three years and desired to live thus the remainder of his days, but being treated in an un-Christian like manner by one of the leading members of his church, he declined to have anything further to do with the church or that member and said he purposed [proposed] to live a retired Christian life which he did, to the best of his ability until the chastening hand of God was laid severely upon him in stiffness and suffering thus he was brought [some words and a line or two of this is not able to be discerned by myself at this time].....and requested many whom he believed to be Christians to pray for him a few days before his death.

He seem to be troubled by his future prospects but on the day preceding his death, he became reconciled to his fate and exclaimed, “All is well”. And with this he left a brighter evidence of his acceptance with God. [I've had to try and re-create some of this and guess at the words I can't read].

The writer of this notice was with him during his last hours, and conversed with him freely, on the topic of religion and he said, “While I love my children, …..[unreadable]....to the will of God.” Those that were present at his death said that he passed away like one falling in a trance. “Oh, how sweet it is to die in the arms of Jesus”.

He leaves behind him a devoted wife and fourteen fond children, and many friends to mourn their loss. But, thanks be to God we sorrow not as those who have not hope, for we have reason to believe that “Our loss is his eternal gain”. (A Friend)

[Transcribed by Margaret Hill Harris on January 25, 2014; this composition is yellowed, bound together with tape and typed.]

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Save Every Scrap of Paper?

My dad, my genealogy mentor, kept copies of many of the letters that he typed and wrote by hand.  Back in the day, you could do that by using carbon paper.   

It helped him to keep track of the abundant queries and requests for information that he mailed off; the Post Office was an essential tool for his genealogy research!

From one such copy, I learned something new and significant about my Dad, heretofore unknown.

On the 26th of February, 1978, he was writing a request to a records department in North Carolina.  He had previously visited a repository in Charlotte on a quick trip to Washington D. C.  Inside, he found and requested a photocopy of a will for Edward Givens, one of my mother's progenitors. He collected the copies and got back on the road.

Evidently, my dad was unable to review the packet until he returned home to Fort Walton Beach, for in the letter, he is requesting a photocopy of page 114 in Will Book "C"; this page being the first page of the will for Mr. Givens.  However, in the photocopies obtained previously, this page was for someone named Brevard.

The rest of the will was, indeed, the right file.  Someone at the records department or in the photocopy office had made an error and would need to find the "real" first page, if possible.  My dad sent a self-addressed stamped envelope and a one dollar bill to cover the cost of mailing.  He also complimented the staff at the facility for the fine job of preservation they had done.  At this point, I have yet to go through all my dad's genealogy folders and I'm sure as I continue to review their contents, I will come across this will and perhaps, be able to discover whether the appropriate response to his petition, was in fact, received.

In passing, my father, Wiley Benjamin Hill, writes, "P.S. I had the pleasure of serving in the Air Force at Raleigh-Durham Air Base during World War II."

What?!!  I didn't know that.  This, then, is a meaningful tidbit of my dad's personal history that I can pass along to my posterity.  Nearly fifty years after dad's military service in the Army Air Corps, my son would serve a church mission in the Raleigh area!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Letter from Family Collaborator, Floyd E. Haupt

Letter from
Floyd E. Haupt

"Thanks for the data on the Tuckers.  I decided to xerox all of it and return evverything to you [Wiley Benjamin Hill, Jr.].  I'm glad to have one question answered (but not glad for the way it was answered).  I have wondered whether or not there were any deeds for the Richland County.  My daughter, Ruth Ellen, married John L._______. [omitted for privacy sake],on June 19th.  They live in Salt Lake City.  She just graduated and has gotten a bug about genealogy.  Since I have been swamped lately, (I'm writing a book on computers), I will let her carry the ball for awhile in genealogy.  I loaned her all the basic collections.

" Aunt Florence is visiting us for a few days--she lives in Santa Barbara.  (That is one of my mother's sisters); another of my mother's sisters, Nelly Brown, died on June 26th down in Tucson.  Aunt Florence recently had part of her right leg amputated and so we have a 'wooden legged' aunt.  I suppose it is our pirate ancestry showing up again.

"Did I tell you that I had traced the Tucker line back to Elizabeth County, Virginia and from there to England?  A few generations are hazy but there is no _______[torn off] our line.  Alexander Brown's Genesis of the United States _______[part of torn off piece] has the Tucker lineage in it."

[Signed] Floyd E. Haupt

Date in or around the 1970's?  This was a part of loose files belonging to Wiley Benjamin Hill, Jr.
A one page letter, envelope missing, and torn on the bottom left corner. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

I had written a post about my dad, kind of memorializing his life on the anniversary of his death.  I have pulled that post in order to write a more public type of post.  The feelings I expressed yesterday when I posted, are very personal and private and somehow I may have wandered from talking to about my dad, to talking about myself.

When our parents pass away, I wonder if we don't sooner or later come to the realization that our love for them far outweighs any unresolved issues.

I choose to believe that our parents are our connection to the past.  It is not our position to judge them, just as we hope our children will not judge us.  Our footprints in the sand are unique, as theirs will be.  I bear my testimony that remembering the good times, remembering their struggles and appreciating that they did struggle, will be the bridge to understanding and, in part, the bridge to resolution.  Family History is not a hobby for many of us--it is the key to understanding ourselves and our lives.

So, despite the fact that there will be bad memories or no memories, in some cases--do what you can to spend at least a little time, if you can, giving our parents a cipher on the pages of history.  Hope that someone does the same for us.

I will relate that my husband, when he learned of the death of his father, had a difficult and emotional decision to make: to attend the funeral or not.  He had such a store of conflicting feelings about this man, his father.  However, at my urging, we did attend the funeral.  Once there, my husband was able to reconnect with relatives glad to see him, people who were pleased to accept him into the company of the Harris family.  It was a healing time for him.  We have tried since that time to maintain a correspondence with that group, for they are surely a part of the family history.

Our mom and dad were loved.  Maybe, because of the struggles we had, we are able to better appreciate the times when there were better times.  Make a memory with your family today and if you are fortunate enough to still have your parents in your life, give them a hug, make a telephone call, or ask them to identify that store of photos that some families have.  It will be, I promise, a healing activity.  I didn't say it might not be difficult to reach out, but in the end, I hope that for you it will be possilbe.

Like father, like son.  My son, Richard, has a wry sense of humor that his son, Torin, has inherited.  They have a lot of fun, together.
My Kids, Grandchildren of Wiley Benjamin Hill, Jr.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Though my Dad was late getting involved with family history research, he had family members who faithfully recorded the data onto family group sheets.  For example, John Tucker was the husband of Susan Mitchem.  Whoever compiled this information, wrote the place of birth as "England".  Next to those entries, my Dad exclaimed, (No...!).

Although it was my Dad's habit to use Family Group Sheets to record all kinds of information (and I've also been known to follow in his footsteps with that disgusting habit), this filled out form, though sketchy in its description of John Tucker's origin, is truly a "One Family Group Record".  Susan Mitchem is reported to have died in South Carolina; she also had another husband at some point in time:  William Shorter. 

The person responsible for recording of all the names and dates of the children listed (seven) below the parents' entries,  was Samuel Richard Tucker; in fact he put together a little book about his relatives.  He was the grandson of John Tucker and Susan Mitchem Tucker.  "Rich" Tucker, as he was often called, was my dad's maternal grandfather. 

So here we go, (according to Samuel Rich Tucker):
  • John Tucker, father
  • Susan Mitchem, mother\
  • John J. Tucker, first child, born 14 Dec 1814, in Sumpter, South Carolina, (Sumter is the correct spelling).
  • Samuel Moses Tucker (father of Samuel Rich Tucker), second child, born 28 Mar 1817, in Sumpter, South Carolina.  He died 9 Oct 1883.  LDS Temple ordinances were performed on his behalf, post mortem.  The baptism was 5 Sept, 1895; endowment date is 8 Oct 1897.  Samuel Moses Tucker was married, first to Sarah Perkins and 2nd to Nicy Rebecca DeWitt(e).
  • Robert H. (?)Tucker, born 11 Feb 1820, in Sumpter, South Carolina; he died 17 Nov 1891.
  • Martha M. Tucker, born 12 Jan 1822, in Sumpter, South Carollina.
  • Melvin A. Tucker was born 10 Oct 1824, in Sumpter, South Carolina.
  • Gabriel A. Tucker, born 18 Oct 1827, in " " ".  Gabriel married first Elizabeth Aycock and second, Dorothy Eliza Stubbs (or Stukes?).  Gabriel died 17 Nov 1891; his baptism was performed 10 May1931 and his endowment on 1 Apr 1932.
  • Sarah C. Tucker, born 23 Aug 1832 in Sumpter.
Here are some web site links that I located on the Internet that relate to this family:
  1.  Genealogy Tales- Person Page 190 (Scroll down the page and look for Samuel Moses Tucker)
  2.  Genealogy--It's All Relative (Words and Impressions about Nicy Rebecca DeWitt)
  3.  Rootsweb: Gen-Newbie (search page for "Tucker")
  4.  Slideshow containing a few family pictures.
  5.  Findagrave Find!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Pinkie Rebecca Tucker as a young woman
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Tucker Schultz Calkins

This is one of the daughters of Samuel Moses Tucker. Her nickname was "Pinkie". After her father died she traveled with her mother to live in Utah, but somehow wound up getting married in Nevada. She married first, ________Schultz, and second, ______Calkins. Her story is an interesting one. Here is an additional story I've recently received. 

The Courtship of Rebecca Tucker and William Schultz

While Rebecca was visiting her sister Hattie in Montana, she was taken to see a copper smelter operation. While there a machine with a large wheel was whirling and the wind caught her cotton white voile and drew one of her legs into the machine and broke her kneecap.  The kneecap was shattered and some of the bone fell onto the floor.  She was taken by horse unit to the Catholic hospital in Helena, along with the shattered knee fragments, which were wrapped up in a dirty cloth.  There a young French doctor by the name of Saint Jean, who took the fragments of bone and fitted them together, and with a small drill bored holes in the bones – then wired them together with a silver wire.  (All her life you could see the silver wire through the skin)  The kneecap was then put into place and the leg was closed.  She was in traction and treatment for five months.

While in the hospital, a young man, William Schultz, was brought in with both wrists broken, from a fall.  His arms were bound across his chest so that he had no use of them. The Sisters of Charity who operated the hospital brought him in and introduced him to Rebecca.  They asked Rebecca if she would feed him with a spoon, which she did.  Later William asked one of the Sisters to bring a large white daisy from the garden and put it between Rebecca’s big toe and the second toe (while she was still in traction) so everyone could see it.  Thus a romance was born…  When Rebecca was discharged,  she was still on crutches.  Eight months after her accident, and three months out of the hospital, William and Rebecca were married in Helena, Montana on 25 Oct 1898.  Rebecca was still on crutches when she, William and Charles Schultz (his brother) moved to Dawson City.  Rebecca was still on crutches even tho she was pregnant, and did not give up the crutches until Gladys was a few months old.  In Dawson City, William and Charles had a gold mining claim in the territory.

Written by Gladys Lucille Schultz Wepfer, daughter to William and Rebecca

Rebecca Tucker Schultz and William Chambers Schultz History

 Rebecca and William were married 25 Oct 1898 in Helena, Montana.  William Schultz was born on Staten Island, New York.  At nineteen his family moved to Montana.

After Rebecca was married, she, her husband William and his brother, Charles Schultz, went to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory.  They were there until the winter of 1900, when they returned to Tacoma, Washington.  Rebecca and William’s daughter Gladys was born 28 Aug 1900.  There was only one child.  Later they moved to Portland, where he was employed by a company that did electrical, heating, refrigeration and plumbing (1900-1904).  The company sent him and his family to Walla Walla, WA. to put heat in the new V.A. Hospital.  Another company contacted William and hired him away from the Portland Company.  The family continued to live in Walla Walla, after the death of William on 28 July 1943.

About 1944, Edward Calkins, who had been a long fine friend and neighbor and was a widower, asked Rebecca to marry him, which she did on 27 May 1944.  They sold their homes in Walla Walla and eventually moved to San Mateo, because Gladys and her husband, Edward Herbert Wepfer, were living there.  Rebecca developed lung cancer and died 19 Oct 1948.  Mr. Calkins, who was about 15 years Rebecca’s senior, died of grief over her illness on 11 Oct 1948 and was buried eight days before Rebecca (19 Oct 1948).  They were in rooms across the hall from each other in the hospital.

Written by Gladys Lucille Schultz Wepfer , daughter to Rebecca and William
My Personal Thanks to my cousin, Jerry.  This is his line of descent and I appreciate him filling in some blanks.  I believe that I have a marriage certificate for this couple (Tucker-Schultz), somewhere.  I will try to find it and post it here with this story.

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