Friday, May 29, 2015

The Brave Traveler

Think of this as part two to my last post. If you missed that one, here's the link: 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: # 20 Lois Johnson Picken --My 2nd Cousin 1x Removed.

When my mother was eight, she found a friend in her cousin Lois Johnson from Pittsburgh, PA. My mother had been sent to Pittsburgh to stay with her aunt and uncle for the summer to give her father a break. He was working two jobs and had his wife/my grandmother was in the hospital once again. At the end of that summer, she would travel home to New York alone by train.

That's right alone!

The Brave Traveler --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
This little girl.



The Brave Traveler --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Here's a picture of my little girl.
Puts things in perspective doesn't it! 

These were the days when children could be sent by train without a parent. There were folks who worked on the train who would be responsible of making sure a child would get off at the right location. My mother had her information pinned to her clothing and was given money to get something eat during the trip. 

She did this all by herself at eight years old, I remind you. No parent by her side for reassurance. Just her. Her mother's uncertain condition I am sure was still at the forefront of her mind. She was a brave girl indeed.


So mom made the trip. She made friends with a nice old that was sitting nearby. When it came time to get something to eat, she followed that nice old lady to the dining car. The two ate together. Mom had just enough money to buy a slice of cantaloupe and a glass of milk.

She arrived safely in New York. Mom saw her parents waving at the station as the train pulled in. She waited patiently. She had been given strict instructions at the beginning of her trip to wait to have her hand placed in her parents hands by the conductor. So this she did. 

My mom, the brave traveler.

Monday, May 25, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: # 20 Lois Johnson Picken --My 2nd Cousin 1x Removed

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:  Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Have you ever thought you had already posted something to only realize at some time later, that you hadn't. That's the case with this picture.



This is a picture of two little girls who were there for one another. My mother is on the right and on the left is my 2nd cousin once removed  Lois Johnson Picken.

I connected with Lois's daughter Lisa last year online and by telephone. Right now, I can't quite remember how it all came about. Anyway, I should get down to the story of how these two young girls connected.

My mother had to grow up fast. She would have to often handle herself with the maturity of someone twice her age. Her mom/my grandma Mary Bryant Harrison Horton was in out of the hospital quite a bit when my mother was growing up. My mother's grandmother Ophelia Bryant died at the young age of 44. The possibility of her own mother dying was an idea my mom was well acquainted with. It hurts me now to think of the anxiety that she must have felt at that time. All I can say now is that my mother is made from some very tough stuff! 

Anyway, one summer when I think my mom was eight, she was sent to live with my grandmother's sister Eloise Bryant Grigsby and her husband Raymond. Her brother Ricky spent that summer with their grandfather, Frank Bryant in Morehead City. My mom and her family were living in Brooklyn, NY at the the time. Her father, Lemuel Harrison, was working two jobs while his wife was once again in the hospital. Aunt Eloise and Uncle Raymond came by car and drove my mom to Pittsburgh

She made it to Pittsburgh safe and sound. Pittsburgh where the only people she knew were her aunt and uncle. A little girl needs someone she can play with. Someone she can call a friend or perhaps cousin. 

After my mother settled in at her aunt and uncle's apartment, aunt Eloise told my mother that she actually had other kin in Pittsburgh. She had a cousin, a little girl named Lois.

Having a friend, a cousin close in age was a blessing. My mom had someone to lean on during a time of uncertainty.

Lois Johnson was born on September 13, 1943 in Pittsburgh, PA. Her parents were Jesse A. Johnson and Rebecca Elizabeth Parks. Lois and I are connected through my Bryant family line.

Here's how we are related.




Lois's daughter Lisa told me that her mother was supposed to be named after my grandmother's sister Loris. Somehow at the hospital, people at the nursery heard Lois and that is how her name came about.


Loris Johnson Picken died April 28, 1984. She was just 40 years old. In life, we never had the chance to meet. I would like to now say thank you to that dear sweet little girl who was there for my mother, all those many years ago.





Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Public Market --Barbados

Public Market, Barbados, B.W.I.


Writing about my 1st cousin 2x removed Herbert Cheeseman on my last post, made me pull out my scrapbook I have of postcards of my ancestral places. Herbert emigrated from Barbados and settled in New York City. If you missed that post, here's the link:   52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #19 Herbert Cheeseman --There's A Way.

Each face in this picture has a story. Oh if only postcards could talk.

Monday, May 18, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #19 Herbert Cheeseman --There's A Way

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition:  #19 Herbert Cheeseman --There's A Way
 SS Saint John Saint John, N.B., Canada
Published by Valentine-Black Co. Ltd, 11 Duncan Street, Toronto. Printed in Great Britain

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:   
Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Week 19 (May 7-13) – There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.

So I decided to go along with using the theme this week. Herbert Cheeseman was my 1st cousin 2x removed on my paternal side. My paternal great grandmother was Frederica Augusta Inniss. She had a sister named Martha Elvira Inniss Cheeseman who was Herbert's mother. 



This branch of my family tree comes from Barbados. My grandfather ,Harold Murrell, came to this country in search of a better life. He arrived on September 29, 1927 in New York, NY. I had no idea that he had family here until I found him listed on the 1930 Federal Census. 


Source InformationAncestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Source CitationYear: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1577; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 1020; Image: 367.0; FHL microfilm: 2341312

Herbert Cheeseman and my grandfather Harold Murrell resided together with two other lodgers at 393 Edgecomb Ave in New York City. According to this census entry, it says that Herbert arrived in the U.S. in 1917. When my grandpa came to New York, I am sure he appreciated the guidance his cousin Herbert provided him. It's good to know that they had each other to rely on for support.

I learned how Herbert Cheeseman had "made his way" to New York when I reviewed his naturalization records.


Source Information:Ancestry.com. Selected U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1790-1974 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; NARA Series: M1972; Reference: (Roll 1272) Petition No· 359459 - Petition No· 359898

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Selected U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1790-1974 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; NARA Series: M1972; Reference: (Roll 1272)  
Petition No· 359459 - Petition No· 359898

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Selected U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1790-1974 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; NARA Series: M1972; Reference: (Roll 1272)  
Petition No· 359459 - Petition No· 359898



Herbert made his declaration of intent to become a U.S. citizen on February 11, 1938.  At that time, he was living at 42 West 139th St, NY, NY.

According to this document, he was born in Bridgetown, BWI (Barbados) on September 26, 1896. Herbert stated that "his lawful entry for permanent residence in the United States was at New York, NY under the name Herbert Cheeseman on March 25, 1920 on the vessel, SS Asquam."

There's a little bit of a discrepancy here on his timing of arrival between the 1930 census and Herbert's naturalization papers. The census said 1917, the papers said 1920. Perhaps this change of date was due to a memory lapse on my cousin's part when he was filling out his papers? In any event, I found Herbert Cheeseman's World War I Draft Registration Card which was registered on June 5, 1917. He probably arrived in America a few months prior to that.




Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.

In 1930, Herbert Cheeseman's occupation was a "porter" in an "office building." By 1938, he was in a different line of work. On his naturalization papers, his occupation was listed as a "seaman." That wasn't the complete story though. Luckily, I came across records for a few of his travels.


Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Source Citation Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6191; Line: 6; Page Number: 212

He was a waiter on board the SS Saint John! This shows a partial list of the crew who arrived in New York on August 3, 1938 from the port of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. In fact when I reviewed through Ancestry.com's New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 on-line database, I found Herbert listed on a several ship manifests during the years 1938--1940. He would sail from New York to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia quite often. 

Source Information Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Source Citation Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: T627_2669; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 31-1874

In 1940, Herbert Cheeseman was still living at 42 West 139th St. His sister, Eleanor Cheeseman, and Gertrude Dallas, a lodger, resided there as well. His occupation was accurately noted as "waiter" on a "boat." My grandfather, Harold Murrell married my grandmother Ethel in 1932 so I am guessing that's probably the year that he moved out of Herbert's place.


On January 20, 1941 Herbert took the Oath of Allegiance and became a U.S. citizen. From this point on, his circumstances took a turn for the worse. His World War II Draft Registration Card indicated he was unemployed. Perhaps he had fallen ill? 

The reason why I think he may have been sick is this.

Image courtesy of Ancestry.com

 I will have to order the death certificate to find out what happened.

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition:  #19 Herbert Cheeseman --There's A Way


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: View of Tomahawk Depot

Image courtesy of the Sampson County History Museum's book
 Images of America:  Sampson County, Kent Wrench, Editor

Over the last week, I've been looking through the pages of a book from the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing. The book is called Sampson County and was created by the Sampson County History Museum and edited by Kent Wrench. I keep coming back to this image of Tomahawk Depot.

In my last post, I featured a map that showed where the descendants of my 3rd great grandfather, Jacob Kerr, lived. If you missed that post, click here. I wonder how close the depot was to where their land was. If I could only ask the folks in the picture a few questions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Where The Heirs Of Jacob Kerr Lived

Where The Heirs Of Jacob Kerr Lived --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

The town of Tomahawk, NC was one of those places that seemed to spring up out of the middle of nowhere thanks to the railroad. Long leaf pine trees covering the land made turpentine and lumber profitable lines of work during the late 1800's to the early 1900's.To learn a little bit more about Tomahawk, here's a link to an article that was originally published in The Huckleberry Historian, the Sampson County Historical Society newsletter. This shortened version of the original provides a good summary of how the town developed. Here's the link to the article on Clintonnc.com: http://www.clintonnc.com/news/history-localnews1-local_features-news/5023441/The-village-of-Tomahawk.

This town is the place that many folks from my Kerr family line called home. My 3rd great grandfather, Jacob Kerr, purchased land here that was passed down to his children upon his death in 1895. You can read more about how Jacob's land was divided in my post, Where There's A Will, There Is A Way: Jacob's Kerr's Will.

This map I came across courtesy of the Sampson County Register of Deeds. It shows clearly how this was one solid family unit working and living together.

Where The Heirs Of Jacob Kerr Lived --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

Image courtesy of the Sampson County Register of Deeds
Book 292 Page 599

Where The Heirs Of Jacob Kerr Lived --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Image courtesy of the Sampson County Register of Deeds
Book 292 Page 599


Where The Heirs Of Jacob Kerr Lived --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

A) Hayes Kerr 
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  son

On the map, his property is referred to as lot #9. I believe it reads 28 acres.

B) Henry Kerr (my 2nd great grandfather)
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  son

Lot #8 -67 acres.

C) Daniel Kerr
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  son

Lot #7 -67 acres.

D) Caldonia Barnhill
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  daughter

Lot #6 -67 acres.

E) Andrew Kerr
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  son 

Lot #5 -67 acres.

F) Caroline Hayes
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  daughter

Lot #4 -67 acres.

G) John W Kerr 
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  grandson --This may very well be the only son of Gabriel "Gabe" Kerr I mentioned in my post 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #17 Gabriel Kerr --Putting Together The Pieces Of His Story

Lot #2 -70 acres.

H) R. T. Kerr (Robert Tate Kerr)
     Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  son

Lot #3 -70 acres.

I) Frances Boney
 Relationship to Jacob Kerr:  ?
It appears to say in this section "Lamb heirs." Have to look into what connection there is to the Kerrs if any exists.

You can see the A. C. L. Railroad (Atlantic Coast Railroad) noted on the map.  The Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley Railroad (C.F.&Y.V.R.R.) was the predecessor to the A.C.L. There's a site I found on line called Abandoned Rails.com that indicates where the rails for Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley Railroad ran through Tomahawk, NC. The site is a neat resource for seeing where abandoned rail lines ran in places all across the country.



"The Kerr" tract with a portion of the "Rich" tract attached.
as surveyed and divided among the heirs of Jacob Kerr deed.

                                                          J D Johnson Surv.
Aug 31-98-
             The above is exact copy of J. D. Johnson's Plat with his explanation therein. Copied June 19, 1918

                                                          
For the life of me, I can't quite figure out what that name is at the very bottom right of the page. Any thoughts?



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

When you look into your mother’s eyes, 
you know that is the purest love 
you can find on this earth.

--Mitch Albom, For One More Day
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