Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sibling Saturday

Siblings are our closest relatives, and often our closest friends. Here are some pictures of siblings in our family's history!

The Brewer sisters 1930s

                                              John, Mary, Larry, & Jim Mulry 1970s

                                                         The Bruns children 1890s
Patty, Jim, Jackie, & Tom Mulry 1940s

                   And my siblings and I - Kristin Andrews Stout, Nicholas Andrews, and me 2007

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Almira King Holsclaw

More on Almira King Holsclaw, my great-great-great grandmother
 North Vernon, Jennings, Indiana

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Almira King Holsclaw


  Mrs. Almira Holsclaw, eighty-nine years old, died Thursday, October 8th (1931), at the home of her granddaughter Mrs. Homer Bullard west of this city.  Funeral services were held at the First Baptist Church in this city Saturday, conducted by the Rev. W. H. Dillard.  The burial took place in the Vawter Cemetery.      Mrs. Holsclaw was the daughter of George and Frances king and was born in Jennings County April 10, 1842.  She was married to William T. Holsclaw and all of their married life was spent in the Deer Creek neighborhood in Jennings County.  Mr. Holsclaw died about a year ago and since that time Mrs. Holsclaw has made her home with relatives.  She is survived by five children: Mrs. Bertha Searles, Spokane, Wash. Harry Holsclaw, Auburn, California; Esra Holsclaw of near Franklin, Mrs. Edwin Carson, of near Seymour; and Mrs. Oscar Beeman, North Vernon Route 5.  She is also survived by twenty-nine grandchildren, nineteen Great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren and by one brother, Elvin King of Lincoln, Nebraska.  She was a faithful member of the Baptist Church and was a woman of sterling qualities of character, respected by all who knew her.

I'd have to say Almira is my favorite ancestor, if you can have such a thing. She is my great-great-great grandmother. She wrote a short memoir of growing up in southern Indiana, of which I have a copy (you can read an excerpt here: My grandmother, Mary Holsclaw Andrews, remembers visiting her when very young, she writes: “William and Almira Holsclaw lived in a ‘little house on the prairie’ type house in North Vernon, Indiana. They had no electricity. They had a pedal organ. The bedroom was very small; it was off the living room. It had a built in featherbed bunk bed. She had a pillow filled with pine needles in the parlor; it had a very strong smell that made me sick! The dining room was the biggest room in the house. Outside the back door, several feet to the right was a little hill with a chicken coop.”

My favorite line from Almira's memoir is in my book:

"I can see my life like a pattern woven in with the lives of so many others. It seems, as I look at it from here, now that it is so nearly finished, that there is plenty of brightness to offset the dark, gloomy part of my weaving."

I can feel her impact even today- her optimistic outlook on life, the impact she made on her descendants, and "the sterling qualities of her character" have been passed down. She concludes her memoir with this, "And so my prayer is, may war be outlawed from the land. May peace and joy and gladness come to take its place."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: James Whitcomb Riley

I've always loved James Whitcomb Riley. Hoosiers know him best. How many of us have climbed the hill at Crown Hill Cemetery to put pennies on his grave? Riley Children's Hospital in downtown Indianapolis is named after him, and has saved countless lives. After all, children loved him. Most of us know his famous line, "er the gobble-uns 'll git you ef you don't watch out!" His poems were always written in Hoosier dialect, which has really helped me be able to write books set in historic Indiana. So I was pretty excited when I found this book in my grandma's house. It belonged to my great-great grandfather, Elmer K. Oder.

The Hoosier Book of Riley Verse
On the inside of the book, just for us Hoosiers:
"There's ever a song, somewhere, my dear,"
sang Riley in his day;
And though he is gone his songs are here
To cheer you on your way.
This volume, we hope, will gain a place
Among your treasures rare,
And may you find in each page a trace
Of Hoosiers smiling there.
- William Herschell

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Eva Wampler Kinsey

Eva is my 7th great-grandmother. I first learned about her story from an oral history passed down to my grandfather. He told me one of our ancestors had been captured by Indians. The story had always fascinated me, but I could find nothing to substantiate it, beyond word of mouth.  Until I was sent a history of the Caylor family by a relative, but it did not give the full name of my ancestor, only a few details:

"The life of his (Johannes Kohler/Caylor) grandmother on his mother's side, whose name was Kinzie, was as romantic as are some of the characters of Cooper. When she was a girl about six years of age and living in Virginia, her father and mother left her and a younger brother and a baby in the house while they went out a short distance to pull flax. During the parents' absence a party of Indians came to the house after demolishing its contents took the children and started for their camp. The parents and neighbors took the trail and found the baby with its head crushed against a tree. They followed the Indians for some time but losing their trail were compelled to return home, knowing that their other two children were either captives or had been killed. Ten years passed and some friendly Indians who visited the place told about knowing of a white girl who was with another tribe and the father being hopeful that it was his daughter offered the peaceful natives a handsome reward if they would secure the girl for him. They did and a large crowd of citizens were present when the girl was brought into the community, but she immediately knew her father from them."

Armed with knowing this mystery ancestor was from the Caylor branch of my tree, and her last name was Kinzie, I hit and did some searching. It didn't take me long to find her: Eva Wampler. She was from a Dutch family, and was born in 1739 in Pennsylvania or Virginia, making her abduction in the mid to late 1740s. I then did some google searching of her name, and another version of her story surfaced. It said she was indeed left alone with her siblings in the cabin, around 7 years old. She was inconsolable and would not eat, so the Indians had her feed sweet cakes to the "papooses" and she was overcome with hunger and finished off the cakes. She was adopted by the tribe and became a favorite of the chief, and around age 14 was promised to be his bride. But it was about that time that the U.S. government settled with the Indians and offered rewards for settlers' children to be returned, and she was stolen away from her tribe. When she returned to her family she couldn't understand a word of English. They tried to no avail, but finally encircled her and sang an old familiar hymn, which she was able to sing along to, but still could not speak English. Until one day she was out with her father who was building a fence. She stood there watching him, and as he was going for another rail suddenly blurted out, "I will fetch that rail!" And after that her silence was broken.

Eva married to Henry Kinsey when she was around 23, and had six children with him. They moved to Ohio territory around 1800, and there she lived the remainder of her days. I don't know much more about Eva, and I wish I did. It would be interesting to hear her account of her capture and life with the Indians, but it is amazing nonetheless that 200 some years later, my grandfather heard of her story. Keep those stories alive, and history will be all the more colorful. Maybe some day I can write more of her story.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Follow Friday: Going over Home

If you haven't seen it, here's the video trailer for Going over Home, thanks to my brother, Nicholas Andrews. Going over Home is a historical fantasy with a genealogy theme, set in present and pioneer Indiana. Available on and at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park and Johnson County Museum of History!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Historic Indiana

                                                  Indiana history has always fascinated me.

  It all started with Conner Prairie. Ever been there? It's a living history museum in Fishers, Indiana. It's has an 1836 village centered around the William Conner home, which was built overlooking the White River. In fact, it was in that very home that it was decided that the little hamlet of Indianapolis would become the new state capitol. 

  Indiana is chockfull of history. Mounds State Park is another one if you're interested in prehistoric Native American history. Koteewi Park in Strawtown is another, as is River Road Park in Carmel. Spring Mill State Park has a little pioneer village with a working mill that was built almost 200 years ago in 1817. I just bought cornmeal there the other day when we were there camping. If you're a pioneer history nerd like I am, Indiana is a must visit.

                                    William Conner home                    Log cabin at Conner Prairie

                                                                     1817 mill at Spring Mill State Park

  But I think the real reason I find Indiana history so enthralling is because I am a part of it. My life is intricately tied in with many of my ancestors who came here so long ago. Take Jesse Vawter, who came around 1803 - one of the earliest Baptist preachers in the territory. He baptized over 800 people. Almira King Holsclaw is another; she wrote a short detailed memoir about her life growing up in southern Indiana. John and Mary Ellen Raridan Mulry came to Indianapolis in 1868 almost straight from Ireland. Patrick Garrity, an Irish potato famine immigrant, came to Wayne County. Elias Caylor was one of the earliest preachers in Hamilton County. The list goes on.

 William and Almira King Holsclaw

  So it was only natural that I set Going over Home and the entire series following it in Indiana. They say you should write what you know, and with so many ancestors' stories and resources at my fingertips, it was a natural, cathartic adventure. I am writing Going over Jordan now, which is set entirely in the 1840s in southern Indiana, and I am living it all over again.

Cabin at Spring Mill State Park              Cabin on the front cover of Going over Home

                 I love the writer's life, and the genealogist's life. What story do you have to tell?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: A Belated Mother's Day

I thought I would take the time to share a poem written by my grandmother, Mary Holsclaw Andrews. Happy belated Mother's Day to all you mamas out there. 

God's truth is ever shining - it's there for all to see
And as I choose to follow it, his light is leading me
But should I try another path I walk in darkness - as the night
And know not what besets me
Unseeing wrong from right
When I keep the light before me - no matter where it leads -
I know my God protects and guides
And cares for all my needs

    - MRA

                                              Photo: Happy Mothers Day to my mother. She wrote this poem and we had to share with all,  on my parents monument.

 Mary Ruth Holsclaw Andrews (1919-2008)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Funny: Grandma Lutz

One of the first things I came across in my early days of genealogy were pictures that my great-great grandmother, Alma Bruns Lutz, had written on. There were lots of them. Seems she wanted to make doubly sure nobody forgot their names.

My favorite, though, was a baby picture of my grandpa. She sarcastically had written, "Poor Bob. Born March 25, 1944. Married May 25, 1962." There were lots of these "Poor Bob" pictures. Her sense of humor shone through on my grandpa's face as he told me about her.

Grandma would hang her clothes out to dry and unfailingly her neighbor would come out at the same time and start burning trash. The smoke would drift over and inevitably their clothes would always smell like smoke when they took them down off the line. She asked them nicely to find another time to do this but to no avail. This went on for a while until Grandma couldn't stand it anymore. So one day when she was out watering her flowers she asked her neighbor to come over to the fence to chat. The lady came over expecting a friendly conversation when Grandma took her running hose and shoved it down her neighbor's shirt. She had had enough! Needless to say, she didn't have any more clothing smelling of smoke after that.

                                                   Alma "Grandma Lutz" and her son Ervin

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Surname Saturday: Potter

Today I want to focus on my husband's last name: Potter. Yes, I get asked all the time if I am related to Harry, to which I always reply, "yes, of course." Being the Harry Potter fan that I am, I always joke that that's why I married my husband Ben- to have this last name.

But Potter has a rich history in Indiana. Ben had a CD-ROM that I discovered a few years ago created by his great-uncle Bill Potter. It was the entire genealogy that his uncle had conducted, and it shared the history of the Potter family. Needless to say, I was instantly drawn in, being the genealogist and 9th generation Hoosier that I am. Turns out my husband is also a 9th generation Hoosier, so that makes our kids 10th generation!

Anyway, the Potter family came to Brown County, Indiana in the 1850s because they heard it was pretty. (We still camp in Brown County every October.) The Potter men have moved around Indiana from their days in Brown County, including Bloomington, Lafayette, and eventually Indianapolis, where Ben was born. Below I have pictured the Potter family tree, beginning with the youngest, our son, Micah James.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mystery Monday: The Andrews Family

  Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects about genealogy is research on your own last name. In some ways it defines who we are. As a teacher, mine follows me around all day long. First I was Miss Andrews, now I'm Mrs. Potter. So, naturally, when I began genealogy at age 16, the Andrews line was of particular interest to me. Unfortunately my Papaw Andrews had died two years before I started researching my family history, but I did have my Grandma to tell me what she knew, which really wasn't much. I did however immediately learn a heartbreaking piece of my grandfather's past. His father had walked out on him and his mother and sisters when he was very young. My dad had never met his grandparents on that side, and the only hint he had to their character was visiting his grandmother's grave with his father, who stood there, harrumphed, and moved on. So for me, the new genealogist, it was a dead end. I had Katie, Todd, Glenn, and Glen Andrews, and that was it.

  Then, years later, I managed to contact family on my grandpa's side who still lived in Illinois, where he was from. I still remember the happy dance I did in the living room when I received their letter. They had found Glen's parents! Daniel and Sarah Jane Kimball Andrews. So my grandfather, Glenn Daniel, was named after his father and grandfather! Whattya know. Now it was time to take to Ancestry. Sure enough, there was Daniel as a baby in 1850 with his parents James and Hannah Finney Andrews. Yes!

  But past James? Not a trace. We even vacationed in upstate New York last summer, and happened to be an hour away from Saratoga, where he was born. So we made the little trip up to the Saratoga library to come up with absolutely nothing.

  In short, sometimes you have to come to peace with the fact that you will never know everything there is to know about certain lines of your family. I suppose it just makes what you do know all the more special. I am an Andrews, and that's that!

                                                    Glenn Daniel Andrews 1911-2000