Friday, May 16, 2014

Decoration Day

In the Rush family, I have observed that Decoration Day is practiced religiously. I don't know how it came to be such an important tradition in the life of this family, but it has been practiced every year by both David's grandparents and continuing the custom, his parents.
Right after I met David, I was invited to come down to meet his grandparents and to their Decoration Day commemoration picnic at the Rush Chapel Cemetery. I was unfamiliar with this ritual of eating together at a cemetery, because my immediate family did not observe it nor did any in my circle of friends. Most of our family members were scattered across Kansas and Oklahoma and we only saw them twice a year -- during Christmas and mid-summer holidays from school. Only after I had become a member of the Rush family, that I learned there had been a pioneer Methodist church on the spot where their picnic was held that had been torn down sometime in the 1960s. Family came from near and far to decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers and it was almost a family reunion of sorts. Since the cemetery is located in hilly terrain between Mary's Home and Tuscumbia, Mo., when driving between all the parked cars on the downhill slope of the gravel road became somewhat of a problem, someone suggested moving the family reunion to Eldon where it has been held every year since then at the Air Park, however, decorating the graves is still practiced.
Recently I learned about how Decoration Day came to be. It seems that on May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Commander-in-Chief, John A. Logan of Illinois, by General Order No. 11, had assigned May 30, 1868, as a memorial day which was to be devoted to the strewing of flowers on the graves of deceased comrades who had died in the defense of the country during the Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a national organization begun in Decatur, Illinois on April 6, 1866 for former Civil War Union soldiers and sailors who served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865. It was organized to preserve brotherly feelings between veterans and to provide for those in need of assistance -- orphans, widows, and disabled servicemen.

Decoration or Memorial Day has come to be a national holiday, not only for decorating soldier's graves but also for decorating the graves of family members who have passed on. To David's knowledge, there were no GAR members in the Rush or allied families, however there were several who fought on the Union side, namely Jacob Bittle, Granville Carrinder, Wm. S. Golden, Levi Morgan, Rufus B. Roberts, James M. Rush, John Wm. Rush, and Alexander Sullens.
 
Ironic Twist: The John A. Logan of Illinois mentioned above was the son of Dr. Logan whom Logan county, Illinois was honorably named for as suggested by his friend, Abraham Lincoln. My third-great Grandfather, Rev. Martin White, was the first elected representative of Logan and (Dane) Christian Counties in the Illinois State House of Representatives (1840-42) after they were divided from Sangamon County, IL.
 
More to Read:
1.) How Rush Chapel Came to Be
2) The Photographic History of the Civil War: Armies & Leaders. Edited by Robert S. Lanier. Fairfax Press, New York, 1983.
4.) Rev. Alexander Sullens biography




 
 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Butterfield Overland Mail Company


Click on photos to enlarge.
 
To keep up with the pace of territorial expansion of the United States and to establish mail routes through it, in March 1857, an Act of Congress authorized the Postmaster General to hire a company to convey letter mail from a point on the Mississippi River to San Francisco, California for six years. So on the morning of September 16, 1858, the first overland mail from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California, under contract with John Butterfield's Overland Mail Company, began its first westward trip of approximately 2,651 miles.

Mr. Butterfield (1801-69) persuaded the Postmaster General that the most practical route from St. Louis would be west to Jefferson City, then southward through Springfield to Arkansas where it would merge with a wagon coming from Memphis, Tennessee. On the first leg of the trip, Mr. Butterfield personally accompanied two leather mail pouches from the post office to the train, leaving St. Louis at 8 o'clock in the morning, traveling all the way to Tipton, Mo, arriving at 6:00 pm. Waiting for his father at Tipton, young John Butterfield rushed down the old Boonville Road, arriving at the station on the northeast corner of the square in Springfield four hours ahead of schedule around 3:15 pm on Friday, September 17, 1858. Beginning again at 4:00 pm, dashing along the Wire Road, the mail wagon arrived in San Francisco 24 days later.

Each relay station was ten to twenty miles apart along the route and teams were harnessed and waiting in advance of the wagon's arrival to save time. Jumping off, the driver's grabbed a bite to eat, transferred the mail bags and drove off down the line. Stations in Missouri were: near Tipton (1858), Syracuse (1859-1861), Florence, Cole Camp, Warsaw, Fairfield, Quincy, Elkton, Bolivar, Brighton, Springfield, Cassville, and Seligman.


More to Read:

1. Butterfield Overland Mail. by Waterman L. Ormsby, special correspondant for the New York Herald. Huntington Library Press, 1850; reprinted 2007.
2. The Butterfield Overland Mail markers along the route. 
3. "Butterfield Overland Mail Co.." By F. P. Rose. The Battle of Pea Ridge 1862. Pea Ridge National Military Park, P. 31-37. Repository: Midwest Genealogy Center, Mid-Continent Library, Independence, MO
4. Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge & Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide with a Section on Wire Road. By Earl J. Hess, Richard W. Hatcher III, William Garrett Piston, and William L. Shea. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Neb., 2006. Pp. 229.
5. Butterfield Overland Mail Route
6. The Driver's Guide to the Butterfield Overland Mail Route: Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. By Kirby Sanders. Heritage Trail Partners, 2008. Vol. 1.

Places to Visit:
1. Jefferson Landing Museum, Jefferson City, MO.
2. Markers along the route -- See Historical Marker Database
3. Morgan County Historical Society Museum, Versailles, MO.

4. Wire Road near the Battle of Wilson's Creek National Park, Republic, MO.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weekend Ramblers

One habit that remains with us is the learning lifestyle from our former homeschooling days. Long extended vacations remain out of reach of our pocketbook, so we watch armchair travelogues on our three channels of the local PBS TV station KCPT of faraway places and take weekender holidays to explore our home states of Missouri and Kansas.
 
Kansas City's Passport to Adventure

Locally, there is a Passport program called "Kansas City’s Passport to Adventure" we have participated in several years in a row (fully completed one year), the Missouri state parks had a passport patches program we almost completed, and the Missouri Conservation Department had a Lewis and Clark Passport Pin Program we completed two years running. My husband would like to do a Orienteering geo-cache program next.
 
Missouri State Parks Passport Program

We pack in as much as we can in one weekend, visiting historical sites and cemeteries for family research as well as hitting thrift stores along the way. I take a journey bag with me which includes a travel diary (spiral notebook) and pen to record when and where, a camera, state and county maps, passport program booklets, scissors to trim the grass around flat gravestones and a large paintbrush to brush it off. Also included are mosquito and tick spray, bottles of water, our laptop, and change for photocopies if we happen to stop in a library or historical/genealogical society to do a little research. It is fortunate for us that most of my husband's family resided in central Missouri and some have only recently began to emigrate to the larger cities of Missouri.
 
2005 MO Conservation Louis & Clark Passport Program


If we are planning a weekend jaunt, we usually make a trip up to the Missouri Tourist Welcome Center off of I-70 highway (Exit 9, 4010 Blue Ridge Cut-off) above the Kansas City Ball Stadiums for FREE tourist brochures along our route and to pick up a new Missouri Vacation Guide. There are a couple of little free advert-papers like "Discover Mid-America" that cater to shopping locations that we also take. Recently while attending an Order No. 11 Memorial Marker Dedication at the Butler, Mo courthouse lawn (3-22-2014), we learned of a new tour guide by Diane Eickhoff and Aaron Barnhart called "The Big Divide." It features historic and Civil War sites in the Missouri-Kansas Border Region. We found a hard copy that we ordered through our local library, but there is an e-reader version if you wish to take it on the road with you available through their website.

2006 MO Conservation Louis & Clark Passport Program

And speaking of weekend jaunts, the annual Rush Reunion is coming up the second weekend of July. We still snail-mail out reminder sheets every year to the event. If you aren't on the list and would like to be, please leave a message in the comments below. I have comment moderation set up on this blog so unless I have your permission to do so, I will not publish your home or email address under this article.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Martin White Descendant Query


I wrote a 300-word biography on our mutual ancestors, the Rev. Martin and Kiturah Ann (Fletcher) White and placed it on my History Nut of Missouri blog, click here to read.

I have a request -- I am completing my grandmother's research on them because I am a promise-keeper and I have found much new information that she was not able to obtain during her own research because 1.) she was collecting as much as she could on all the descendants which was a huge undertaking in the days before the internet and 2.) the information was just not available to her or her assistants, even though she traveled to Kentucky where he was born, to Illinois, Kansas and the Missouri border area where he eventually died.

I'm seeking two things especially, but do have a list of other things I'd like to have or know. The two things I would like to have especially is a photograph of Martin and Kiturah (Kitty, Katie). Grandma was able to obtain photographs of some of their children and grandchildren which was eventually published in her 1983 White book.

The other thing I would like to have is samples of his handwriting. Do you have any letters or documents with his signature that's been handed down in your family that is not from the internet, that you would be willing to scan or photocopy to share with me? I need family samples to verify what I have found on the internet. If you have either thing, please leave a comment for me in the comment section below. I moderate all comments before I publish them, so if you have personal information such as an email or a home address in your comment, it will not be published -- it's safe with me. However, if you wish to be counted as a member of the family, it would be best to make two comments -- one for me to keep containing your personal information and one to publish here.

You would make my day if you have either requested item or another personal object of Martin's such as a photo of his Bible, his hymnal, a ministerial logbook, sermons, his pulpit or powder horn or something of Kiturah's like a handwritten recipe, a list of Bible family records, her favorite Bible verse, a hand-crafted object and so forth. Thank you in advance!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Missouri Cemetery Law

Here is the current Missouri Law concerning protection of cemeteries and the consequences of defacing or destroying any part therein:

From the Missouri Revised Statutes -- Chapter 214, Cemeteries, Section 214.131 (passed into law in 1987).

Tombstones, fences, destroying or mutilating in abandoned family or private cemetery, penalty--abandoned or private burying ground, is defined as

214. 131. Every person who shall knowingly destroy, mutilate, disfigure, deface, injure or remove any tomb, monument or gravestone, or other structure placed in any abandoned family cemetery or private burying ground, or any fence, railing, or other work for the protection or ornamentation of any such cemetery or place of burial of any human being, or tomb, monument, or gravestone, memento, or memorial, or other structure aforesaid, or of any lot within such cemetery is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. For the purposes of this section and subsection I of section 214.132, an "abandoned family cemetery" or "private burying ground" shall include those cemeteries or burying grounds which have not been deeded to the public as provided in chapter 214, and in which no body has been interred for at least twenty-five years.

Source: "History Spotlight: MoSGA Fights to Protect Abandoned Cemeteries." By Martha Henderson, MoSGA Historical Director. Show Me State Genealogical News, Columbia, MO, Spring 2014. Vol. 35, No. 1.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Presidential Greetings

Greetings from the President are available for a birthday if your loved one is 80 years or older or for a couple celebrating their 50th (or higher) anniversary. My aunt ordered one for my grandparent's 50th anniversary celebration, had it nicely framed and displayed with their photo album and other marriage memorabilia.

 
If you wish to do this for a birthday or an anniversary, you must send in your request at least one month in advance. Please type your request or print out the name and address legibly, so it gets to the right person (s), correctly spelled. Send your request by snail mail to: The White House Greetings Office, Room 39, Washington, D.C., 20502-0039.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ancestor Trading Cards

I just found the coolest thing on Pinterest -- Ancestor Trading Cards. This website will tell you how it's done: