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Monday, July 18, 2016


Mary Owing (Beaseman) Steele Renaker - 1867
Second wife of Jacob Renaker (1800-1873)

This photo was located at an antique fair at the Boone County Fairgrounds, Burlington, KY in November 2015.

I have been able to determine that this is Mary Owing BEASEMAN-Steele-Renaker, born about 1822 in Kentucky. Died October 1894 in Kentucky.  She was the daughter of John Owings Beaseman (1792-1848) and his wife Jane Elizabeth Moore (1802-1860).

Elsewhere on the internet I located
this photo of husband Jacob Renaker.
Her husband was Jacob Renaker (10 Aug 1800 - 13 Aug 1873) a longtime resident of Cynthiana, Kentucky. He was a son of Harrison County (Kentucky) pioneer Adam Renaker. His first wife was Frances Bennett (1798-1855).

In March 1839, Mary Beaseman was married to John W. Steele, who died in 1855 or earlier.

Jacob and Mary were wed in Harrison County 12 Nov 1855.

Following the death of Jacob Renaker in 1873, she married a man with surname Berry.

I have not been able to determine if Mary (with any of her husbands) produced any offspring.

1860 Census shows Jacob Renaker is a 59-yr-old Farmer with a personal estate valued at $26,000. He lives with his wife Mary Renaker (37) in Cynthiana. Also in the house are Sarah Renaker (20), John Lake Renaker (8) and a farm hand living with them named John Steel (20) which I think might be a child of Mary's first marriage. He would have been born around 1840, the year after Mary Beaseman was married to John W. Steele.

1870 Census shows Jacob Renaker is a 69-year-old Retired Farmer living in Cynthiana with his wife Mary O. Renaker. His real estate  property is valued at $25,000.

1880 Census shows Mary O. Berry (57) living in Leesburg, Harrison County, KY, with husband James W. Berry (65 yr old farmer) and James' children Laura B. (18), William F. (17), Jennie (15), James B. (12), Frank F. (10) and Thomas A. (6).

Friday, July 1, 2016


This photograph of "Gray Wittmeyer" was found today in the Antique Peddlars mall in Springfield, Oregon.

I have determined that this is John Gray Wittmeyer, born Sept 12, 1915 in Colorado, and died Dec 7, 2010 in Coos Bay, Oregon.

His father was John Wittmeyer, and his mother Sarah Rose Irwin.

The following obituary was found online.

OBITUARY (The World Newspaper, Coos Bay, Oregon)

John "Gray" Wittmeyer, 95, of Port Orford, died Dec. 7, 2010, of age-related causes. Private cremation rites were held at Ocean View Memory Gardens in Coos Bay. No further service is planned.

Gray was born Sept. 12, 1915, in Denver, Colo., to John and Sallie Wittmeyer. Gray grew up and attended school in Denver, where he was the salutatorian of his high school class receiving a scholarship to attend college. He completed his graduate work at the University of Denver.

As a young man, Gray worked at a saw mill and delved into mining, later joining the U.S. Army Air Corps. While serving in the Air Corps, he was stationed in Canada and served during the building of the Canadian Highway. It was during this time he met the family of his future wife, Dorothy Andrew, who encouraged him to write to her after he returned to the states. After a long correspondence they met in person and eventually married.

Gray worked as a forester for the Bureau of Land Management, specializing in reforestation. He supervised the replanting of a large part of the forests in the Reedsport and Drain area, while recording his extensive tree seed research. For more than 40 years, he worked with elementary students, patiently teaching them the art of tree planting.

Gray will always be remembered for the pleasure that he took in engaging others in stimulating political discussion. He was passionate about justice and truth, and the New York Yankees, but first and foremost he was a kind gentleman. Everyone who was privileged to know Gray all agree that our world has lost an extraordinary soul.

He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Dorothy Andrew.

Gray was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Rodney.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


UPDATE - Glenna has been claimed and is going home.
This photo was acquired today at the Antique Show at the Palm Beach County Fair Grounds. It appears to have been taken 1908-1912, and is probably around 20 years old at the time of this photo. The studio mark says "R.L. Young, St Stephens, N.B." The back has a hand-written note "Glenna J. Little now Crouse"

Using, I was able to find Glenna Jean Little on the following census form:

1891 census of Canada, New Brunswick, Charlotte, St. Croix.
LITTLE, Hosea, 46, born in NB of Irish father and NB mother, farmer
LITTLE, Phoebe J. 45, born in NB of American father and NB mother
LITTLE, Elizabeth, 20, daughter, dressmaker
LITTLE, William, 19, son, farmer
LITTLE, Annie R., 16, daughter
LITTLE, Theodore, 14, son
LITTLE, Percy, 12, son
LITTLE, Rose, 10, daughter
LITTLE, George, 8, son
LITTLE, Alphus, 6, son
LITTLE, Linton, 4, son
LITTLE, Loyd, 2, son
LITTLE, Glenna, 10m, daughter

The 1901 Census shows that the 6 eldest children are no longer in the household.

The 1911 Census shows that only Linton (age 24) and Glenna (age 20) remain at home.

Her father died in 1913.

At the age of 27, in September 1917, Glenna married Sylvester Patrick Crouse, two years her junior.
She and Sylvester appear on the 1930 US Census, Vermont, Essex, Brighton. His occupation is locomotive engineer.

I cannot find any evidence of Glenna and Sylvester having children, or when and where she died.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

REED, Barbara Frohmader

Barbara (Frohmader) Reed

This photo was located about a year ago at the Palm Beach County Fairgrounds at their monthly Antiques Show.  The front of the photo shows that the photographic studio was "Medlar Studio, Rockford, Illinois."

The back of the photo has a hand-written note which identifies the subject as "Barbra Fromander Reed." (I would later determine that the first name and maiden name were misspelled on the photo.)

The photo was probably taken around 1888 to 1892, and might have been taken at the time of her wedding or engagement. Barbara appears to be in her early twenties, so a good guess for year of birth would be around 1865-1870.

Searching in Rockford Illinois newspapers from the applicable era, I was able to find several references to the surname "Fromander", but no mention of a Barbra Fromander, nor of a Fromander girl marrying a Reed. offered only a handful of people named Fromander, and no Barbras. saved the day. By searching for anyone named Barb Reed in the county of Winnebago, Illinois (and just hoping that Barbara had not moved prior to her passing), I was finally able to identify the right person as Anna Barbara Frohmader-Reed. Armed with the correct name, I was able to go back to and newspaper archives to glean more information.

Born: June 7, 1870 (per Census but headstone says 1868) in Germany
Arrived: 1872
Died: November 8, 1945 in Roscoe IL (per Social Security death index)

On April 15, 1890, she married Fred Reed (a grocer, born March 15, 1854 on Oswego NY, to parents Jefferson and Julia Reed, died Oct 3, 1921 in Roscoe, Illinois).

  • They had children:
    Irene Reed (married Thomas J. Murray)
    Ray Reed

I cannot locate a record detailing the names of Barbara's parents, although I did see reference to her father being "John Frohmader" on a search result, but was not able to pull up a page when clicking it.

(Obits are taken from archives of Rockford, Illinois newspaper. Click on obits to see a larger image.)

1900 Federal Census, Roscoe, Winnebago, Illinois
REED, James F., head, Mar 1824, 46, born in NY or NY parents, Grocery merchant
REED, Barbara A., wife, June 1870, 29, born in Germany or German parents
REED, Irene,daughter, Feb 1893, 7, born in Illinois

1910 Federal Census, Roscoe, Winnebago County, Illinois
REED, James F., head, 54, born in NY or NY parents, Grocery merchant
REED, Anna B., wife, 38, born in Germany of German parents
REED, Irene, daughter, 18, born in Illinois, Stenographer/bookkeeper in the clothing industry

Barbara and her husband Fred Reed are buried at the Roscoe cemetery in Winnebago County, Illinois.

Friday, February 12, 2016

SIDWELL, Ann or Anna

ANN SIDWELL (photo taken circa late 1890's in Maysville, Mason County, KY)
Located at an outdoor antique fair in Burlington, Boone County, KY in 2015.

This photograph was taken at the Brosee Photographic Studio in Maysville KY.

1900 Federal Census shows a SIDWELL family living in Mason County in a township named Plugtown, which is about 18 miles southwest of Maysville.

1900 Federal census, Plugtown, Mason, KY
SIDWELL, Calvin H., head, born Aug 1870 in KY, farmer
SIDWELL, Etta S., wife, born Nov 1879 in KY to Ohio parents
SIDWELL, Anna H., daughter, Aug 1898 in KY

Announcement in Nov 1897 Maysville paper
Father is Calvin Holton Sidwell (1870-1930), son of John B. Sidwell and Sarah A. Holton.

Mother is Ettie S. Sheeler (1879-1930), daughter of Jacob Sheeler.

About 1903, baby brother Roy Verne Sidwell was born.
US Social Security Death Index shows that Ann Sidwell (still using maiden name) was born Aug 25, 1898, and died March 1984 in Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio, which is a short ways across the river into Ohio.

1910 Federal Census, Mason County, KY, South Ripley Road
SIDWELL, C. H., head, 39, KY, farmer
SIDWELL, Etta S., wife, 29
SIDWELL, Anna H., daughter, 11
SIDWELL, Roy Verne, son, 7

1920 Federal Census, Stephenson, Kenton County, KY, Lexington Pike
SIDWELL, Calvin H., head, 49, KY, general farming
SIDWELL, Etta S., wife, 39
SIDWELL, Anna H., daughter, 21
SIDWELL, Roy V., son, 17, farm labor

1930 Federal Census, Kenton County, KY, Highway No. 25
SIDWELL, Calvin H., head, 59, KY, general farming
SIDWELL, Etta S., wife, 51
SIDWELL, Anna H., daughter, 30
SIDWELL, Roy V., son, 27, farming

The following insert was located in the Maysville Public Ledger, 16 Aug 1900, and helps add some info on the family of Anna's mother Etta.

MYER, Charles

Here is a tin-type photograph which I found at the Palm Beach County Fairgrounds in January 2016 at their monthly Antiques Show.

The photo is labeled "Charles Myer" but sadly, there are no other clues like location which would have been a tremendous help.

He may be from the Philadelphia area, or related to someone from that region, as several other photos I got at the same booth were from that area.

The photo was probably taken during, or just after, the Civil War, and the subject looks to be around age 20, thus an estimated birth year of 1845.

I wish I knew a bit more about him. For now, all I can do is post the image and hope someone else recognizes him.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

TAYLOR, Charles S.

This photo was located in January 2016 at the Palm Beach Florida monthly Antique Show at the Fairgrounds.

The back of the photo appears to identify the fellow as "Charles S. Taylor" although I am open to any other suggestions for the middle initial.

Here is front and back. (Click on either photo for a larger image.)


Some clues worth noting:
  1. Location is Philadelphia, PA, specifically 1206 Chestnut Street.
  2. Photographers are "Broadbent and Phillips."
  3. "No. 39597" is barely readable at the bottom of the reverse. It may be an identification number, but one would need access to the photographer's files to know for sure.
1875 Philadelphia City Directory shows Broadbent & Phillips
Photographers, also Robert C. Broadbent at same address.
Henry C. Phillips, the premier photographer of the region, operated a studio on Chestnut Street from 1862 through his death in 1911. The studio continued afterward under the direction of Phillips' two sons. Phillips worked with a variety of partners. One of his partners was Robert C. Broadbent, and they were in business at least from 1875 through 1881.

The next hurdle will be to determine who exactly this is.  The name Charles Taylor is a fairly common one. And without certainty of the middle name or initial, I do not feel confident of an absolute identification.  But here goes ...

Let us assume the photo was taken in 1878, which would be right in the middle point of the known years of the Broadbent and Phillips partnership. I think the man looks to be in his early 30s (although facial hair may be making him look a bit older.) But if that is a good guess, then his birth year would be between 1844 - 1847.

(Still researching this one.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

HUGHES, Mark and Priscilla

UPDATE - Mark and Priscilla have been claimed and are going home to a relative. These 2 individual portraits of Mark Hughes and Priscilla Hughes were located this past weekend at the monthly Antiques Show at the Palm Beach County Fairgrounds in Florida. Each photo is in a paper folder with a protective tissue sheet in front of the photo.

The photographic studio where the subjects sat was the William Gilbert studio in Philadelphia, PA.  My best guess as to the time period would be circa 1900-1910.  I have seen this same photographer's mark before, for instance - on the photograph of Samuel and Sarah Allen, who lived in the same region, in the same time period.

photographer's signature - Wm Gilbert
The Hughes were Quakers and farmers, living in West Grove, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Mark was born Feb 15, 1844 to parents Samuel Hughes and Mary Ann Harvey. Priscilla was born Sep 23, 1846 to parents Caleb Hoopes and Mary Cooper. They were married in 1874.

At, I located a family tree which had many excellent details about this couple, including a photograph of a younger Priscilla Hughes. (I include that photo here for comparison. I do not own this photo at right.) This serves as verification that I have correctly identified the couple in the photos I found this weekend.

The couple had three daughters:
  • Mary Priscilla Hughes (1875-1940) She married William Ewing.
  • Lydia Hughes (1881-1922) unmarried
  • Alice Hughes (1886-1957) unmarried

Mark and Priscilla are buried at West Grove Friends Cemetery.

A relative of Mark and Priscilla contacted me as added the following information:

"Mark Hughes attended Westtown Boarding School, and his wife was a superintendent there. He was a rose grower with Dingee and Conard. He was an enthusiastic Guernsey cow breeder and progressive farmer. Priscilla is described as 'patient and kindly', an elder in her Quaker meeting, and a teacher like her daughter. "

Monday, December 21, 2015

GILES, Abby Houghton

This tin-type photo was located at the 2015 Antique Show at Oxford, Kentucky.

The back of the photo has a hand-written note taped to it, which reads "Esther Elsie Giles or her mother Abby M.B. (Houghton) Giles". I have been able to determine that this is indeed the mother, Abby.  Photos of this type, and the fashion she is wearing, point to a time period between 1865-1870.

Abby's children were born between 1853 and 1870 (daughter Elsie was born in 1855 and would be between 10 and 15 at the time this photo was taken). But this is a photo of a mature woman, so I feel confident in identifying her as the mother.

Abby M. Houghton (1836-1880) was the daughter of Calvin Houghton and Hannah Dwinell. She married Barnabas Giles (d.1906), a farmer in Windham Vermont.

Their children included:
Effa Giles (1853-1879)
Elsie Giles (1855-1879)
Herbert Giles (1858-1858)
Horace Elery Giles (1859-1922)
Leonra Giles-Stone (1861-1936)
William (1864-unknown)
Frank Giles (1870-1928)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ALLEN, Samuel and Sarah

UPDATE - this photo has been donated to the Johnson County Historical Library in Coralville, Iowa, for use in their exhibit on the history of the Flexible Flyer.

This photo was located at the Palm Beach County Fairgrounds, in December 2015, at their monthly Antique Fair.

Samuel L. & Sarah H. Allen
Thirty-Fifth Anniversary
11th Month, 22nd, 1901

Taken at the Gilbert Studio in Philadelphia PA.

Census records nearest the time of the photo, find them in Burlington NJ, a suburb of Philadelphia.

1900 Census, New Jersey, Burlington, Chester, NY, 249 East Main Street
ALLEN, Samuel L., head, May 1841, 59, born in PA of PA and NJ parents, manufacturer of Agricultural Implements
ALLEN, Sarah H., wife, Jan 1843, 57, born in NJ of NJ parents
ALLEN, Elizabeth R., daughter, Feb 1868, 32, born in NJ
ALLEN, Susan J., daughter, Nov 1876, 23, NJ
ALLEN, Charles J., son, Dec 1877, 22, NJ, at college
ALLEN, Emily H., Apr 1879, 21, NJ, at school

Samuel Leeds Allen's parents were John Casdorp Allen Sr (1807-1896) and Rebecca Smith Leeds (1815-1890).

Sarah Hooten (Roberts) Allen's parents were Elisha Roberts (1818-1885) and Elizabeth West Hooten (1819-1889).

Samuel has his own Wikipedia page, which identifies him as an inventor and holder of nearly 300 patents, including the "Flexible Flyer" sled and numerous items of farming equipment such as the seed drill, potato digger, grass edger and many others.

Concerned that his Farm Equipment employees would be laid off over the winter months, Samuel Allen (a great sledding enthusiast himself) devised a winter top-seller in the Flexible Flyer.