In The News; Dwight & Anning Harding

I spent my entire forty year career working for a newspaper, The Oregonian, so I might be a little biased.  But for generations newspapers have been the lifeblood of the communities they served.  Especially in small communities, if you wanted to know who your neighbors had dinner with you found it in the local paper.  That has, of course, changed in recent years with the emergence of social media.  But for the genealogist who wants to add color to their family stories there is still no better source than newspapers of the past.  Thanks to the efforts of websites like and, who have digitized and indexed millions of pages of newspapers, there are some real gems to be found.  I offer here two of my most recent treasures.

Information Wanted

“Mr. Curtis Harding of Monroe, Pa has two sons Anning and Dwight who left Minnesota for Frazer’s River one year ago.  He last heard from them in winter quarters at the Selkirk Settlement the 6th of March.  Mr. Harding has heard indirectly that the party some twenty or more in number all perished except two, by reason of starting too early in the spring. If anyone can give information of these young men, will confer an act of humanity by addressing Geo. W. Chowen Esq., the Register of Deeds of Hennepin County, Minnesota.” – (St. Cloud Democrat; Saint Cloud, MN; 26 Jan 1860; page 1, Col 5)

Curtis Harding was my 2nd great-grandfather.  Dwight and Anning were born to him by his first wife, Martha Parrish.  I am descended from Curtis through his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Sands.   So the young men is question were my half 2nd great uncles.  Not close relatives, but still of interest to me.

In 1858, gold was discovered in the Fraser River Canyon in British Columbia; that is  roughly 240 miles north of Seattle.  This caused quite a stir and thousands of would be miners, including our two Harding boys, set out to seek their fortunes.  Unfortunately, gold in this area was much harder to find than in California or the Klondike and most went home empty handed after a year or so.    Which explains why you have probably never heard of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.  It was a major boondoggle.

Selkirk Settlement on the Red River was near modern day Winnipeg, Manitoba and is therefore about 450 miles from the Falls of St. Anthony (Minneapolis) and 1400 miles from the Fraser River Canyon.

A Trip Across the Rocky MountainsFight with the Indians

“In August, 1858, a party of twenty-one young men, mostly lumbermen, started from Falls of St. Anthony, Minnesota, for the Frazer River Gold Mines.  The party was organized as follows: Albert Henshaw, Captain; J. A. Robinson, Clerk; J. G. Johnson, Baggage Master; Shubeal Bohauan, Cook, Chas. W. Montgomery, B. Y. Smith, D. W. Howard, David Henshaw, James Windle, Jas. Kerr, Wm. Sweeny, A. C. Foster, T. Graham, Thomas Campbell, Anning Harding, Dwight Harding, Z. B Brown, H. S. Johnson, James Dillman.

The Company was provided with thirteen carts, somewhat resembling the Red River carts, but much better made, drawn by thirteen single oxen.  They were provisioned for nine months, and well armed and ammunitioned, and proposed to winter 200 miles beyond the Selkirk settlement on the hunting grounds of the Hudson’s Bay Company.  The Company only reached Selkirk Settlement on the Red River of the North before winter set in.  They were joined in the Spring by a party of twenty three others, making in all a company of forty three resolute men, each armed with a double barrel gun, and two Colt’s six shooters, and took up their line of march for the then New Eldorado.  

A letter has been received from one of the party, now in Oregon, to his friends in this city, from which we are permitted to make the following extracts:

‘After forty-five days travel we hove in sight of the Rocky mountains, and began to think our fears concerning Indians were unfounded, when one morning at early dawn our camp was aroused by the near approach of Indians, apparently about 400.  We seized our guns and made ready for action.  When they approached within about two hundred yards we raised our guns and commanded them to stop, which they immediately did.  On inquiring what that meant, we told them we wanted an interview with their Chief, before we allowed them in our camp. He immediately came forward and demanded to know what countrymen we were.  We told him we were “Americans.”  He replied that he was an American at the same time giving us a shake of the hand, and pulling out a medal with “Frank Pierce’s” name on it, said he was our friend, and desired to smoke the pipe of peace with us, which we did.  After a friendly interview with him and his men, we traded off all our tired horses for fresh ones and took our departure, he cautioning us to look out for a large party of Indians belonging to the Slave Tribe, who were hostile to Americans.

After three days more travel we lay by one day on account of rain.  The next morning our horses came running into camp badly frightened, with arrows sticking in them, which alarm gave us to understand that Indians were nearby. We arranged our carts, and placed our horses behind them as much as possible, and made ready for action.  After a little time, a large party, apparently about eight hundred were seen approaching on either side of us, about four hundred on a side.  This was a critical hour with us; a most fearful odds— forty-three against eight hundred.  It was life or death, and every man felt that he must do his best.  Accordingly we met them with such well directed aim that it made sad havoc among them.  After one hour’s hard fighting, they were glad to retreat, with a loss of twenty-six killed, and sixty horses; while we only lost four horses, and one man wounded.

This ended our troubles with the Indians—.  But we had one far greater to encounter in the mountains, that of starvation.  We lost our way and wandered abut for thirty days without food except the flesh of our horses and the few berries we could find among the mountains.

Hearing from Frazer River we found it all a humbug, and shifted our course for Oregon where we arrived, mere skeletons, after a journey of one hundred and twenty days from Selkirk.’” –  (Cleveland Morning Leader; Cleveland, OH; 21 Dec 1859; page 2 Col 2)

Dwight and Anning Harding went on to be notable pioneers in the Montana Territory.  For years they operated a butcher shop together in Missoula.  In 1887, Dwight was elected Mayor. I found several stories involving bears, wolves, and broken bones from falling off of horses, and a few lawsuits.  But surely nothing was more memorable than their time in the wilderness in the spring of ’60.

Kathrina, Covid, and The Odd Fellows

Like most of us, my mother had two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents. Her parents and grandparents were all born in Milwaukee or Chicago; but her Great-grandparents, all eight of them, were born in Germany and immigrated to America between 1851 and 1854.

I have discovered the towns or villages where most of them came from and would love to visit those places someday.

Peter and Anna Roth were from Kinheim and Johann & Catharine Lauer were from Konfeld. Those were both small villages in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate which borders on Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.

George Rauch was from Kalmünz and Anna Mühl was from Oberhof, two small villages in the southeastern state of Bavaria which borders on Czechia, Austria, and Switzerland. They were not married yet when they left Germany, but that is a story for another day.

Paul A. Lüders, was from Retgendorf in northern Germany not far from the Baltic Sea.

That only leaves Kathrina Günther who later married Paul A. Lueders. I believe she arrived in America about a week before Paul and, of course, on a different ship.  I have no evidence that that had met before before arriving in America, but they were married in Milwaukee a year and a half later. Everything I have found so far indicates that Kathrina was from Bavaria; but nothing is more specific than that. However, I may have found a clue!


This picture of Kathrina Lueders is on the wall above my desk. It has been there for years. A few months back, as I was mindlessly staring at it, I saw something I had never noticed before. She is wearing a piece of jewelry on her lapel. Curious as to what it was I zoomed in and found this.

Yes, the image is a bit fuzzy, but across the top are the moon and seven stars.  Below that are a beehive and a dove.  Those are all symbols used by the Daughters of Rebecca who were the women’s auxiliary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  Kathrina must have been a member of The Rebecca’s.  The general duties of the members were to:

“To live peaceably, do good unto all, as we have opportunity and especially to obey the Golden Rule, Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them.”

That sound refreshingly wonderful, but more importantly to me, if she was a dedicated and respected enough member to wear the pin for a family portrait there could be some new information about her on file someplace. Maybe even a biography that includes where she was born.

I have since been in contact with the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin and they do, indeed, have older records. Whoo-hoo!  Unfortunately, they are stored in a nursing home and inaccessible due to the pandemic.

So I wait.  But at least I have a plan in mind.  And, someday, I may yet know where all my German ancestors were born.

High Ups Sheepshead Club

Growing up in the 1950’s, I remember my Dad, Grandpa, and Great Uncles playing Sheepshead at family gatherings. I was most impressed by the loud snapping noise that my two Uncles could make when it came their turn and they threw a card down in play.  I never knew for sure whether they were gloating in victory or agonizing in defeat but their explosive displays were truly remarkable.

Sheepshead is derived from Bavaria’s national game Schakhopf, and it is still very popular in Wisconsin.  In fact, in 1983 it was declared the official card game of the City of Milwaukee.  I don’t think we have an official card game here in Aloha.  I looked up the rules recently and found them fairly complicated with cards having different strength based on denomination and suit and…  well I gave up trying to remember it all.

Among the photographs and other treasures I have from my Aunt Ann’s estate is a Ledger Book containing records for the “High Ups Sheepshead Club organized Jan. 17th, 1911”. 

Among the dozen or so members, I recognize several relatives:

John Lueders (Grandfather)
George Rauch (Great-Grandfather)
Paul Knatzke (Great-Aunt Lizzie’s husband)
John Steffel (Great-Aunt Ann’s first husband)
John Rauch (Great-Uncle)

Most of the others are cousins or in-laws of some sort, but their relationship are too complicated or distant to explain here.

The first pages of the book contain the “Constitution of The High Ups Sheepshead Club”.  Neatly hand written in eight rules are standards and practices for membership, attendance, game rules and etiquette, dues, the schedule for weekly games and monthly membership meetings, and the election of officers.

The lucky winners of the first election were:

Wm Kuether – President
Andrew Hopf – Treasure
John Steffel  – Secretary.  Again, this was Aunt Ann’s first husband and as befitting for the club’s Secretary, he had beautiful handwriting.

Detailed accounting was maintained of who attended each Wednesday night game and how much they won or lost. (usually 15 cents or less).  No-shows were fined 5 cents; but according to the Constitution they could be excused for sickness or work.

But the High Ups Sheepshead Club did more than just play cards and drink beer.  They planned and hosted picnics, at the club’s expense; where they also drank beer.  For example, the minutes from a meeting in 1914 reports “A motion was made and second to have a 1/4 barrel of beer and not to tap the same until we are at the picnic grounds.”  Probably sound advice to not start imbibing too early.

Notice that this was referred to as a “Buss Picnic” and the most expensive item was the “Buss”.  Also, they allowed John Hodel 60 cents to make arrangements with the park.  What’s with all that?

Deer Brown Park, 300+ acres of athletic fields, trails, and a golf course, touts itself today as being only minutes from downtown Milwaukee.  But in 1912, assuming that none of my relatives yet owned automobiles, it would have been a long 12 miles trek from the neighborhood where the High Ups’ lived.  Apparently, the solution was to hire a bus to transport all the people and supplies to the park.   In 1922 they held another picnic at Lake Denoon, which is twice as far away, and they went via “Auto Truck”.

Another time they chose to hold a “May Ball”. A dance.

As seen, the dance was to be held at “Rauch’s Hall”.  I found some dance halls in Milwaukee at that time but not one named Rauch’s.  If any of my family had a dance hall it is still news to me.  But they intended to print 500 tickets (admission 15 cents), and the rental fee for the hall itself was $30, so it had to be more than just someone’s living room.

The May Ball went off as planned on May 20, 1911.  The Income & Expense Report presented after the dance is hard to decipher and I am not sure if they made or lost money but I can say this: In 1912 when the subject came up again, they decided to pass.

The following picture was also found in Aunt Ann’s estate, unfortunately, this is one of the few that she did not write any names on.  The guy scratching his head, second from left resembles other pictures I have of John Steffel, her husband.  And, the portly guy on the far left could be her Father, my Gr-Grandpa Rauch; although he usually had a mustache. If either of those are right, then it would explain why Aunt Ann kept the picture.  Whoever they are, the smoking, drinking, and card playing look exactly as I would have imagined a Wednesday night meeting of the High Ups Sheepshead Club in old  Milwaukee.

Carl Lueders; Gymnastics Instructor

The dapper young fellow in this photo is my Gr-Gr-Uncle, Karl Lueders. I was given this picture nearly 20 years ago by Carol, a distant Lueders cousin and fellow genealogist.

Recently, I met Skip, another Lueders cousin; that’s his Gr-Grandfather in the picture. As I prepared to share this photo with Skip, I decided to examine it closely and see what else it revealed about Uncle Karl.

I already knew his name, of course, and it is also written on his shoulder; which is how we know that it is him. At the time the photo was taken, he was apparently still close enough to his German roots that he went by “Karl”.  Later in life he adopted the more Americanized version “Carl” which people frequently did. But that change did not come easily for everyone. His mother, “Katharina” is frequently listed in records as “Catharina”, or even “Catherine”, but her grave marker still says “Kath. Lueders.”

His last name was also different than his father’s had used in the old country, but that change happened more quickly and universally. The Germanic “Lüders” became the American “Lueders” practically as soon they stepped off the boat. There is no umlaut in the English alphabet. Nor is there one on our typewriters. Of course, those devices were not even commonly available until the 1880’s

What interests me most about the picture though is the appellation “Turnlehrer” below his name. Germans like to run their words together to make bigger words and this one was formed from the noun “lehrer” which means “teacher” and the verb “turnen” which means “to do gymnastics”. He was a gym coach. Sometimes they were called “Turn Teachers”.  What is so interesting about this?  Well that requires a brief lesson in 19th Century European History.

In the late 1700’s there was no German state. Just a loose bunch of clans, tribes, and city states that happened to speak a similar language. Just after 1800, however, much of what is now Germany was conquered by Napoleon and ruled by the French. (This came up in an earlier post when I found my German ancestor birth record and it was written in French.)   Just imagine how the locals would have felt about being ruled by foreigners.

Nationalistic thinkers and strategists sought a way to unite the Germanic peoples in order to oppose the French. One man who thought he had the answer was Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852). He was Gymnastics Instructor. He figured that the best way to elevate the spirits of his country men and increase their physical, mental, and moral power was through the practice of gymnastics.

Hence, in 1811 he open his first Turnplatz, or open air gymnasium in Berlin. The Turner movement spread rapidly and soon there were Turnvereins, or Gymnastics Associations, in many cities and towns both large and small. The movement may have had some effect, as the French were soon overthrown, but it was another 60 years before Germany was fully united.

Meanwhile, German immigrants to America in the 1850’s brought the tradition with them and in 1890 we find Paul. A. Lueders (Karl’s father and my Gr-Gr-Grandfather) as a signatory to the Article of Incorporation for the Humbolt Turnverein in Milwaukee. The stated purpose for the Turnverein was to:

“Associate themselves for the purpose of development of the bodily and mental powers by gymnastic and other exercises and the establishment and maintenance of a reading room and library….”

So it makes perfect sense that Karl would have been a Turn Teacher at the Humbolt Turnverein. But exactly how and when that happened is still a bit confusing.

Notice the logo on the picture frame. “S. V. Courtney; McKinley Block; Canton, O” According to City Directories, this photographer was in business from 1881 – 1906; making Karl somewhere between 12 and 37 years old in the picture. That’s not very helpful.

What really muddies the waters though is the location: “Canton, O”.  So far as I knew, Carl Lueders was born in Chicago but lived his entire life in Milwaukee, WI until 1953 when his wife, Rosa, died. Then he moved to California to be near his daughter. Is this really him in Canton, Ohio?  What was he doing 500 miles from home, other than posing for a portrait.  At one point, I nearly discarded the picture thinking it must be somebody else.

But a careful study of City Directories has painted a picture that I can accept.

In 1887, Carl Lueders, age 18, was living at home with his father and working as a photographer
1888, he was still living at home but working as a Turn-Teacher.
1889, Carl Lueders, then 20, disappears from Milwaukee Directories.  And, at that same time, a Carl Lueders suddenly appears in the Canton, OH directory. And, he is a Turn Teacher at Turner Hall. He continues to be listed in the Canton Directory for a few years but then in 1892 he disappears from Canton and, at the same time, he reappears in Milwaukee where his occupation is listed as Teacher, State Normal School.

Whoa!  What is a “Normal” School? Is there such a thing as an abnormal school?  Some would argue that there is. But in 1892, the phrase was understood to mean what we may call today a Teacher College. This was where high school graduates were taught the “norms” of Education, pedagogy and curriculum and such.  Mind you, Carl had never even started High School much less finished it. But he was a Teacher at the Normal School so I assume he must have been teaching Gymnastics.

This particular institution, which was founded in 1885, has since been folded into the University of Wisconsin.

Carl may have continued teaching, part-time, at the Humbolt Turnverein, but after about 1896 his primary occupation was as a merchant in the family business of Scholler and Lueders Feed and Flour.  Later in life he worked as a Payroll Clerk for the American Railway Express Agency.

Carl Lueders lived a long life, and, no doubt, did and experienced many things. But his claim to fame was well established at an early age, as decades later, his obituary leads off with…

Carl Lueders Dies; Gym Instructor

Services for Carl Lueders, 95, a gymnastics instructor at the old Humbolt-Turhall W. Center & N. Richards Sts. will be at 1:30 Saturday….

1958, Carl Lueders and his daughter standing in from of my Grandparents house in Rosemead, California

Wallace Spencer’s Civil War Letters

I have been watching Ken Burns’ film series on The Civil War. Parts of it were very hard to watch. The prevalence of death and destruction is beyond belief.  And then, of course, I started thinking about my ancestors and their experiences.  Just among my direct ancestors and their siblings I found 9 men that participated in that War.

Most of them were connected to one family; Titus and Phoebe Perry, my 3Gr-Grandparents.  They had five children: three sons, John [my 2Gr-Grandfather], George, and Clark, and two daughters, Jane and Mary.  Titus himself was too old for the War but for a time in 1865, all three of his sons and both of his daughter’s husbands were soldiers in The Grand Army of the Republic.  That’s a heavy investment.

Fortunately, they all came home alive.  But Jane’s husband, Wallace Spencer did sustain an injury to his leg.  We know that because he spoke of it in some letters that he wrote home to his wife. We have these letters because they were in his Pension Files as evidence of his injury.  But they also tell a much more interesting story about a man, his family, and a war.   I will speak of the other veterans at another time, but for now, here are Wallace Spencer’s letters home from the front.

transcription notes: Spelling is all as Wallace wrote but I have added some punctuation and line breaks.  Explanatory notes and links [in brackets] are mine.  hint: in old handwritten documents, “ss” frequently looked like “fs”.  

December 16th, 1864
This is the first chance that I hav had to write for the last day or two sow will try & improve the time I hav.    lots that I would like to write but dont now [know] as I can think of what I wanto but will try & do the best I can.
I guefs [guess] that I will commnese back a little for I want to tell what a good General we hav.  the night that I got hurt he was about a mile from me & as soon as he hurd the news he putt spur to his horse & came to see me & when he had lurnt [learned] the particulars he sent his orderly to camp after an ambulance.  but he is good & kind to all of the men that are under him his name is General Forse (Manning Force) a brigadeer.  he was wounded before Atlanty he was shot in the wright cheak just below the ey & came out on the left cheak.  he came from the hospital the time that we wer on the other rade north.
Well, we are in our old camp yet & guefs we will stay here untill we get our supplies.  here all that we hav had to eat for some time is rice & a little meal that we hav had to grind and cook for our selvs but I am glad to get that.  but I guefs we will get our hard tack by tomorrow & then we can live on the top shelf.
I am fat as a pig & more so & as lowsy as a hog.  that is in a polite way of speaking.  I hant had my close washed since I left Atlanty nor cant get them washed till we get some soap.
but Fort Macalister is in our hands & communication are now open with the land of living & my opinion is old bily Shurman will soon hav possesion of Savana & the rest of the river & then I guefs Charleston had better look out.
this rade [Sherman’s March to the Sea] is one of the greatest undertakings of the war.  We have destroyed the raleroad from merietta to within twenty miles of Savana & my opinion is the south will feal & now [feel and know] of this raid as long as they live for we hav not only destroyed the raleroad but hav lived of from the country & burnt houses whare thay wer in arms against us & every cotten mill & all the cotten has been destroyed by fire.
I guefs that I shal havto stop this poor writing for I want to write a few lines to my Father & Mother but there is one thing I like to hav forgotten & that is the socks that you sent & the butter that Mother Perry sent & the buries that mother Spencer sent & alsow the tea.  The butter & buries are ate up but the tea & socks I hav got. I am thankful for these favors & hope I can do as much for you someday.
I bought me a watch the other day & paid $12 dollars for it.
We hav warm weather sow far with the exception of 2 or 3 days.  The Pickets are firing Pretty Saucy at the rebs expect the old canon will soon open on them.  The land is swampy & leavel & pine timber no [next line illegible]
this must answer for all of you till I can get time to write, love to all. W.A. Spencer


Camp near Beaufort South Carolina
Jan 12th 1865

Dear Wife & Children
We hav got marching orders & expect to start tomorrow morning but guefs we wont go far for I can hear the cannon boom about 7 miles off.  I am on duty today sow shant hav long to write.  this is the first time that I hav been on duty since I was hurt. my leg dont get much better.  It is hard work for me to march I hav to take my own time for it.  my health is good with the exception of a sour stomach this morning (bad sine I guefs) but hope nothing searious.

I was going to write a letter to Clark [Jane’s brother?] today but don’t believe that I will get a chance I wish that those that are at home would write once & a while & not wate for me to answer every on of there letters.  I begin to think that you are the only friend that I hav. Well I am sory that I hav don any thing that should cas [cause] them to feel in that maner towards me. I havent had a letter in over three weeks but will keep a stiff upper lip & hope for better days. I now [know] that you do the best you can so wont blame you

I hant seen any snow this winter nor much cold wether the trees are green & every thing looks like sumr

I can heer the reports of the big guns firing as I sit here in my shelter tent writing & think perhaps tomorrow by this time I may bee in the contest & if I fall you may now [know] that I am thinking of you & those little ones of ours but don’t think the rebs will stand to fight us long unlefs [unless] they hav got brave all at once.

I sold my watch yesterday got the same as I paid for it.

My love to you & all enquiring friends from your worser half.
W. A. Spencer


In camp near Ft Pocotligo Jan 18th 1865

Dear Wife and Children

I guefs I will write you a few lines to let you now how I am.  I am well and my leg is getting some better & if nothing happens I think it will bee entirely well in a few weaks hope it will for it is hard marching.  We left Beaufort the 13th & drove the rebs back to their place the second day on the march.  we lost a few men & we expected to have a fight on sundy but we got up in the morning and found the rebs had fled & left their stronghold for the yanks.  we are on the Charleston & Savannah rale road we are within 35 miles of Charleston. we expect to start for that place as soon as we get our supplies & hav the 15 core com up then we will have communications open to Savannah & Beaufort.  I think if the rebs dont leave Charleston before we get thare they never will we may have some hard fighting there but they now [know] as well as can bee that their cake is done.  I hope General Shurman will be as good as his word he says that the war will bee ended in 3 months.

I got a Paper last night that David [could be Wallace’s brother] had sent me & I expect to get a letter from him soon. I was glad to get it

I hant got any of answer from the letters that I hav riten sinse we first came in front of Savannah but I shal stop writing till I get [illegible] from you to do so I presume that I will get a pile of them when I do get them.

I presume that you hav got my Diry before this time there is some things that I will explain some time dont now but I had better this time.

Give my respect to all of the neighbors that enquire after me. I will try to write another letter to you before we leave here.

Tel the boys to write.

The regiment hav gone out foraging.

Oh how I wish that you new my thoughts of you & those little ones of ours but tongs [tongues] cannot tell nor neither can I write it. excuse this Poor letter & believe me as ever your husband.

W. A. Spencer

Ps I will send a few leaves of what has happened up to this time in this letter if I can get them into the envelope.

Perry 007

Wallace Albert & Jane Marie Perry Spencer

Miranda Perry’s Diary

In 1871 my Gr-Gr-Grandparents, John & Miranda (Warner) Perry, and their two children Albert, 9, and Luena, 4, migrated from Nepeuskun, WI to Sibley, IA.  The 400 mile wagon trek took just over a month.  During the journey and continuing for the first few months of their new life in Iowa, Miranda recorded her daily experiences in a diary.

Thirty some years later, she apparently took the volume with her when she, by then a widow, went to live with her son-in-law and daughter, Alva & Luena Harding, in Garden City, SD.

Many more years later, after Miranda, and then Alva, had both died, Luena and her daughter, Lulu, moved from Garden City to Watertown, SD.  But before leaving, they had to clean out the old farm house.  As the story goes, it was who Lulu found the diary in the attic and asked “What should we do with this?”  Fortunately, it occurred to someone that they should KEEP IT!  And so they did; and it has subsequently passed through many hands before falling into mine.


I treasure this old book and in order to share it with as many as possible, I have scanned it in its entirety and transcribed the important journal entries.  I offer it to you here for viewing and download via a link at the end of this post.

The link will take you to a folder containing four items:

  1. A transcription of the daily journal entries in searchable text.  I encourage you to view and enjoy the images of the book itself, but the hand written pages are not always easy to read.  If Gr-Gr-Grandma Perry had know that I would be trying to read her diary 150 years later she might have sharpened her pencil a little more often.  Or, she might have burned it.
  2. Vol. I – The first 30 pages of the book consist of an 1871 Almanack which is interesting reading in itself.  Then next 30 pages were dated and intended for journal entries but were used mostly for scratch paper.
  3. Vol. II – This is the real heart of the diary and contains the daily journal entries made between April 9th and September 1st of 1871.
  4.  Vol III – 80 more pages of ciphering, accounting, scribbling and penmanship practice.


All four files are available for viewing and download here.



Memories of WWII by Glen Harding

Today is my dad’s birthday; Centennial, actually.  He was born 100 years ago today in a farmhouse outside of Garden City, SD.  In honor of that occasion, I offer you his Memories of WWII.  I have edited it slightly for spelling and typos but for the most part, what follows are his own words written around 2000.

World War II Memories
Glen Harding  #39592527

The 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II has come and gone. 

There have been a lot of events taken place honoring the Veterans that have sparked a lot of interest.  Among those interested are my two sons, Keith and Kevin.  I will try to relate as much as I can remember.  It must be remembered that after 50 years my memory leaves a lot to be desired.  Many dates can be found accurately given.  Others are approximate.

My Discharge says I was inducted into the Army July 7, 1944 at Fort McArthur California.  Discharged April 6, 1946 at Camp Beale, California.  I had reached the Rank of Sergeant and earned the World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Ardennes, and Central Europe Medal and  Combat Infantry Badge (the one I am the proudest of) and served as an Infantryman in the Ardennes and Central Europe Rhineland.  (note: Dad never knew it but he also had a Bronze Star Medal.  I, learned about it when I read it on his grave marker.  Apparently, according to a 1947 regulation, a Combat Infantry Badge from WWII automatically qualified one for the Bronze Star Medal.)

Induction was at a building in downtown Los Angeles.  From there it was a train To Fort McArthur .  Here were shots, haircuts, clothing issue, etc.  Everyone was promised a pass for the week end.  This was the first lesson of the Army.  Come Friday night we were all put on KP for the week end. (no passes).  Before the next week was over we were on a train going to Camp Hood, Texas (now Fort Hood).     Bernice came to Camp Hood and spent a week there.  I spent most of the week in the field.  We had 2 weekends together

After 18 weeks of Basic Training I left there on a delay in route pass via Los Angeles.  When the 10 days were over it was to the train station.  That is when the fuel pump on our 1935 Ford decided to give up the ghost.  We called a cab for transportation.  Les Travers helped her out of that situation.  As I was to board the train Keith decided he was going with me.  A bit of a problem.

harding 009

Arriving in Maryland with a lot of snow cold.  I felt sorry for the 18 year olds that had never been in such a climate and had never been away from Mama.  After a few days there it was on to Camp Miles Standish near Boston.  Here we boarded the Aquitania, a British four stacker, nearly as large as the Queens.

The 9 day trip across the Atlantic was uneventful.  My bunk was a Pallet on the floor in front of the toilet (Head).  Everyone going in and out had to step over me (they all made it).  Going over with 117,000 troops and Crew takes some getting used to.  Like myself most had never been on the Ocean before.  Seasickness was a major problem.  (not myself).  Our Ship had 4 dining rooms.  They could feed everyone 2 times a day.  It was a slow process with standing in line in narrow corridors.  With only salt water showers not many were taken.  The corridors got pretty smelly.  People got a little woozy standing in line.  By the time they got through the serving line and got their meal and took it to the standing tables where we ate many set it down and headed for the rail.  I got through the first time without getting sick but observed what was happening and changed tactics.  I entered the dining room through the exit door and watched for someone to get his meal and head for the rail.  I would walk up and eat his meal and left.  Sure cut down on time and sickness.

Our Ship anchored in the Harbor at Glasgow, Scotland.  We left the ship by ferry, which took us to a train on the Pier.  Then an overnight ride to South Hampton, England.  We got our taste of London fog.  We were warned to keep close to the person in front of us to keep from getting lost (about 3 feet).  We went into a large warehouse where the Red Cross was set up with about anything we needed.  Here we Boarded a ship and crossed the Channel, I think on New Years Day.  The landing was at Le Havre, France.

From here we rode in Train Box Cars.  The famous 40 and 8s (forty men or 8 horses).  We went to Verviers, Belgium.  Here I was assigned to the 99th Infantry Division.  Then we went forward in trucks.  I remember spending one night in a Brick Building with the windows all bombed out and no heat.  It was a cold night.  A buddy of mine, Hoopes, put three of our blankets on a cot and both got on the same cot and put one blanket on and huddled together to keep somewhat warm.

I want to dwell some on the next stop.  I don’t know where it is located.  I have been over there in 1999 and found no one that could tell me where it is.  The town was at the base of a hill.  The ground was covered with ice.  Vehicles could not get up the hill so we had to walk and carry our packs.  It was a matter of 3 steps up and slide back 2.   At the top we came to a huge Cave.  There was a fireplace large enough to take small trees.  The first time I was warm since leaving the ship at Glasgow.  A Cadre member took some of us around into some of the tunnels leading off from the main.  From one we came out into a tower.  It seemed like it was a mile to the bottom of the canyon.  (It couldn’t have been).  I think this was some medieval fortress.  Another tunnel was a Bakery with large iron oven doors.  Where the smoke went I have no idea.  Another was the Latrine.  There were holes in the floor with foot prints so you could plant your feet and squat down over the holes.  You could drop a stone in the hole and never hear it hit bottom.  We were taken out into a clearing where there was a pile of M1 Rifles.  I think they had been picked up in the field by a dump truck and dumped there like a pile of rocks.  We picked out a Rifle and took it back to the cave where we cleaned it and then went out in a clearing to test firing.

Next stop Eupen, Belgium.  We were given a block of t-n-t to start our fox hole and dig our living quarters.  Weather was so bad nothing was moving.  In about 3 weeks we shoved off.  We went through the Maginot line.  This was a line of pill boxes with an excellent field of fire.  The French had originally built them and the Germans had improved them.  By this time the line was defended by the People’s Army.  They were mostly older men who didn’t want to fight.

Sometimes we ran into Troops that would make a fight of it.  One of these times was a town named Hal Fortuna, Germany.  There were trees along both sides leading into the town.  A Hedge Row on the right and on the left a Catholic Institution.   On the northwest corner a large barn.  On the southwest corner probably the Priest house.  On the east was a large 3 story building.  There was a Chapel on the ground floor.  There were several Nuns and Priest living there.  The Germans were firing down on us from the 3rd floor.  When we finally secured the mission we had 4 left of our 11 man squad.  Myself one of the lucky ones.

Now come the foggy memories.  I remember incidents and places but can’t put them in order or name the places. In April a truck load of us were taken back somewhere for showers and clean clothes.  The first time I had my clothes off since Late November.  On the trip back we spent most of the time helping build roads.  A matter of laying tree trunks down in the mud for the trucks to drive on. In a small town a long tent was set up with 100 shower heads.  We were told we get 5 minutes of water.  Many came out with their hair still soapy.  Sometimes when on the move in daylight we would toss our sleeping bags on a truck.  If the trucks happened to show up that night we would get one back.  Sometimes our kitchen did not show for a day or two.

I remember a 3 day pass to Verviers.  This was before the Hal Fortuna incident because Stern was killed there and Rezeck was badly wounded.  In 1999 I got an address for Rezeck.  I wrote to him and got a letter from his sister.  He had died in 1998 after spending his life in a wheel chair.  In Verviers we saw a sign American Steaks, so in we went.  We went down stairs to the rest rooms.  There was a woman attendant in the hall way.  She took Sterner into the men’s room and got him seated down on the stool and came back and took me to the ladies room.  About time I started looking for toilet paper the door opened and there she was pealing off paper for me.  I often wonder what she would have done head I of raised up off of the seat.

To clear a town of enemies we went down a street, house by house.  Usually 2 to a house.  2 others would take the next house.  I came to a door in a house that only opened about an inch.  It was hitting something.  The Germans were great on putting the stove close to the chimney and running the stove pipe all around the walls to get all the heat they could.  I had to get into the room so backed off a little and made a run for the door.  There was quite a racket.  The stove had tipped over and all the pipe had come tumbling down.  Quite a mess.  I didn’t stop to clean it up.  Another surprise was going into a bedroom where an old man was bedridden.  He sat up yelling something about Kaiser Wilhelm.

We came into this one town on a nice spring day.  It was rather eerie as there was not a soul in sight.  We looked things over and decided to make the most of the peace and quiet and sunshine.  Bobbie got out his clippers and started cutting hair.  We started looking for food.  Most houses had hams hanging in the chimney smoking.  There should be a rabbit hutch around, a vegetable garden and potatoes in the cellars.  First sign of life was a big Rooster came down the street.  Sawyers raised his m1 and shot the head off and we had chicken in the pot.  Often we had to move out before the chicken was done.  In this case someone carried the pot until we got another chance build a fire.  Soon a boy came peeking out of the trees.  He got brave enough to come down where we were.  We fixed him up with candy bars and soon another came.  Before long the town people were all back in the Village.  I suppose they had been told stories about what we would do to them.

Once while cleaning a Rabbit the owner came out boiling mad.  I thought he was mad because I was taking his Rabbit but it turned out it was because I had cut the head off.  They leave the head on as the skin is worthless without the head.

At one stop along the Railway we made a stop at a field kitchen set up to feed troop trains.  There was a pile of plywood along the track.  We loaded some of into our box car.  A warning came over the loud speaker that the train would not move until that ply wood was back on the pile.  We had been in Army too long to swallow that line.  When it came time for the train to go it took off and we build some bunks in our 40 & 8.

Another story is about a Carbide Lantern.  All the German Yard Masters carried Carbide Lanterns.  Having no light in the Box Car we needed one of those lanterns.  First attempt we lured the Yard Master up to our car and when the train started moving someone grabbed his lantern.  That didn’t work as he had it tied to him.  I guess others had tried that before.  Next stop we lured him with a pack of cigarettes.  We told him we had more but needed a light to find them.  He handed us his lantern which we took and closed the door.  He went off screaming for the Captain.  An officer came down the train saying this train will not move until this Kruat has his lantern back.  He had forgotten what car it was.  Again we had been in the Army long enough and covered the lantern with a blanket and the train moved out.  It was easy to get Carbide for a Pack of Cigarettes. 

One time we got to go to see a Bob Hope show.  He put on a great show.  The Radio City Rockettes came to Nuremberg while I was there.  This was another great show.

There were times that we got a little break and got to spend a day or so in a real house.  One of these times was after the Hal Fortuna incident where we down to 5 people.  We stopped in a town and replacements were brought in to bring up to make our squad of 14 men and an Officer.  The procedure was to pick a house and send the occupants on their way and move in for the time being.  Our Replacements begin to arrive and we were glad to be inside for some rest.  One Replacement apparently had not been very well schooled by his Mother.  He had a can of C Rations he wanted to heat.  He sat the can on the stove and waited.  You guessed it the can blew up and there were rations all over the kitchen.  The easy way out was taken.  We just moved next door and let the owners come back and clean it up

Later a pass for Brussels came down and I won the card cut and went to Brussels.  I found a Quartermasters store.  We had been issued winter snowpack boots when the snow was deep.  In the spring they issued Combat Boots to replace the Snowpacks.  My Combat boots did not fit and I had blisters on my feet.  The man there said he could give all new clothes but could not issue Combat Boots to front line troops.  I had two German razors in my shirt pocket.  He asked what I was going to do with those razors.  I told him I intended to trade one of them for a pair of Boots.  I went out of there with Boots that fit.

On March 7, 1945 the 90th Armored captured the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen.  We started out on what turned out to be walk and stop, walk and stop.  Eighteen hours later we crossed the bridge.  It was one way crossing, nothing coming back.  I crossed on the 11th  we were the first complete Division across.  By this time the engineers had one pontoon bridge across and were working on another.  We had to climb a real steep hill at the end of the march.  (On my trip back in 1999 I took a lift to the top)  Our unit was scattered by that time because of the steep climb.  From the top of the hill we saw quite an air show.  The German Planes would come in and try to blow the Bridge and our p38s would come and chase them out.  Anti Aircraft was so heavy it looked like you could walk on the flak.  A buddy named Sutton from Terra Haute, Indiana and I got up the hill at the same time.  We heard a shell coming in and dove into a small building for what protection it might afford.  When we looked up we were in sort of corn crib on a pile of sugar beets.  We could look out of the slat openings. The shell landed in the street and blew a hole some 20 feet deep. (some protection)  Across the road was a long low building with windows on our side.  Sutton spotted a fruit jar on the sill of a window.  We decided to try and make that building.  We ran around the shell hole and made a bee line for the building.  Sutton came in right behind me with the fruit jar full of cherries.  We pulled our spoon out of our boots and ate the cherries. (first food that day).  I have seen a documentary on TV and that jar was sitting on that windowsill./

Somewhere down the line I started getting yellow and couldn’t keep food down.  I would go on sick call when there was a Doctor available.  They would say it looked like yellow  jaundice but I had no fever so they could not evacuate me.  This went on until we up to the Danube River and ready to cross.  As we were to push off the Lt. Told me there was a Medical tent down the road and I should  go there.  I went into the tent and there was only the Doctor there.  He looked up at me and said Yellow Jaundice.  The last Ambulance is out in front get on it.  This was another stroke of luck as many were lost at that crossing.  I found myself at a field Hospital.  At the entrance was a Medic sitting looking at everyone’s tag.  He told me I could have some chicken broth.  Somehow a drum stick  got into my Broth.  In a few days they put me on a c47 which took me to England.  There was a ward full of us.  I went in at less than 100 pounds and 3 weeks later left at 145.  Next was a Convalescent  Center.  One requirement to leave there was to make a 10 mile hike.  Now I had walked from Elsenborn, Belgium to the Danube River and was not going to make that hike just to show them I could.

They finally sent me to a RePo Depot and on back to my unit.  I found them at Konigshofen, Germany.  This Sutton from back at the Bridge Crossing was running the Theater and I got hooked up with him.  Occupation duty here consisted of Fire Guard at night and Outpost duty at nearby towns.  One town was Rodhousen.  Down the road about ½ mile the Russians had a Post.  They would get on their Bicycle and come to visit us.  When we got enough of them a candy bar or cigarette and they would leave.


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The 99th was sent home with those of high points.  I had only 50 points so had to stay.   We were trucked out to a field where the 79th Division was set up.  I was transferred to them and went back into the same town.  I sort of had it made as I was the one person the people knew.  I worked my way into running the theater.  The only film we got was through Regiment. (one a week).  I knew of some other sources of film and was able to show a new film every night.

.Next I was transferred to the 1st Division at Schienfeld, Germany.  I guess this had a purpose behind it as we were sent to Nuremburg and put on duty at the trials.  Here we were billeted in an SS Kasserne.  We had beds with springs but no mattresses.  One day and Inspecting General came through.  He said I notice Sleeping Bags on all these beds.   Don’t these men have mattresses?  He said order them.  We had them the next day.

Nuremberg was an interesting place to be.  There was an Opera House where we able to go see shows like The Rockettes and plays.  We were basically on an eight hour day at the prison.  When I first went there I was stood guard on cells, recreation yard, etc.  Then they started the escort guard Duty which I was assigned to.  We were all at least Sgt.   There was a room where we waited for a call.  This was before the Trials started and we might have to take one of the Prisoners or a witness for interrogation.  Room 55 in another wing of the Prison was where Prisoners could meet with their Lawyer.  When you took one of them you sat at the table with them until they finished and took them back to their cell.  Once when taking Hess to room 55.  He had requested to read a document that was introduced against him.  He read the first page and handed it to me saying I might be interested.  It was written in English which he was able to read.  It was the report from the time his plane was sighted over England until he was taken back to Nuremberg.  I remember taking Goring for his bath and he had several 1 inch scars on him.  Later I was told this was where they had taken poison vials off from him.  I was home when he committed suicide but by reading medical books the one they missed was in his navel.  I guess the others were for them to find.

I escorted General Warlimont around sever times.  He was a witness at that time.  He said “never lose a war it is too much trouble.”

Some of the Prisoners—

Herman Goering—I found he was no dummy.  He understood English well he might hunt for words when talking but spoke well.  He asked what state I lived in.  He thought most Californians were not natives.  So I told him South Dakota.  His answer was he always wanted to hunt Pheasants there.  He had pictures of his dogs on his desk in his cell.  I think he thought more of them than anything else.

Rudolf Hess—His English was pretty good.  I didn’t think he was a nutty as he tried to portray.  It seemed when alone with him he could carry on a conversation but there was little to talk about.

Von Ribbentrop—I don’t think he spoke any english and had no desire to speak with a lowly Sgt.

Robert Ley—He is the one that hung himself on the flush knob of the toilet just before I got there.

Ernst Kaltenbrunner—I don’t think he spoke english.  He was the first one I took out of his cell for a trip somewhere.  He had to stoop over and turn sideways to get out of his cell.  When he started to straighten up I didn’t think he would ever quit going up.  Me at 130 pounds and him 280.

Alfred Rosenburg—I don’t think I ever had anything to do with him.

Hans Frank—I remember him saying we Americans are funny people.  You are trying me for my life and will probably take it and my daughter works for American Military Government.

William Frick—I can’t come up with anything except he was there.

Julius Streicher—All I remember is it would take a Mother to like him.

Wilhelm Funk—He was very mopey, I suppose I in his place may have been the same.  He had prostrate trouble and had to be taken to the Doctor twice a day to have the water drained out of him.    

Hjalmar Schacht—I don’t remember any trouble with him and he was acquitted.

Admiral Karl Donitz—I remember him as ornery as the day is long.

Erich Raeder—No comment

Baldor von Schirach—I probably spent more time with him than any other.  He spoke fluent English.  His Mother was an American and he had an English Governess as a child.  He was often used as an interperter when I had him in room 55.

Fritz Sauckel—No comment on him.

Alfred Jodl—He was another that didn’t care for orders from a lowly Sgt.  But was soldier enough to obey any command.

Franz Von Papen—He would not put his autograph in a book with the others.  Only on a separate paper.  He was acquitted.  He was defended by his son.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart—I don/t have any comment about him.

Albert Speer—I don’t remember having a lot to do with him.  Since reading his book,  he acknowledges their wrong doing, I give him some credit.

Konstantin Von Neurath—Again I can’t remember much about him.

Hans Fritzsche—He created no waves and was acquitted.

Wilhelm Keitel—Here was an old time Prussian General.  He held his head high and obeyed orders.

Leaving Nuremberg I was sent to Selb, Germany where I joined the 102 Div.  This unit was built up with enough points to come home.  It was a waiting game but finally got to Le Havre, France where we boarded the General Anderson.  It was 5 days home to New York where a Brass Band greeted us home.  I have a news letter put out on the General Anderson.  It required 20 navy cooks. 11 bakers, and 2 commissary storekeepers full time.  Plus the GI’S doing KP.  They consumed 52 cases of eggs, 800 pounds of sugar, 34 pounds of coffee, 300 pounds of butter, 500 pounds of Jam.  Cost of feeding per week in 1946 was $20,000.

We debarked and went to Camp Kilmer where the 102nd was deactivated.

Another waiting game for our name to come up on the shipping board.  When my name came up it was by C54 to the west coast.  Coming into Dallas we had engine leaking oil and were there for a week waiting for repair.  Then to Long Beach, California for fuel.  It was a 20 minute stop and I had time to call home.  At Camp Beale in Northern California we started the discharge process.  Things moved rapid and looked like the Army was going to do something right.  Within 2 hours of discharge my name came up and I was sent to the Hospital for Diabetes tests.  This was on Thursday and I found they would do nothing until Monday.  I asked for a pass and was told passes only started Saturday and for a 50 mile radius.  I asked the nurse if she would write a pass to Los Angeles for Friday and Sunday.  She wrote it and said I don’t think the Col. will sign it.  I took it to the Col. (a woman).  She talked a bit and asked how I would go to Los Angeles.  I said I would fly.  Flying was not too popular yet in those days.  She asked how long since I had been home.  I said 2 years.  She changed the pass to immediately to Monday morning.  I made the trip home and back by Monday morning and went through the tests and found I did not have Diabetes.  So I was out of the Army.

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Thomas Buckingham & Son; Puritans

One the benefits of genealogy, for me at least, comes from those moments when I start to see a connection  between my ancestors and all that stuff they tried to teach me in school.  At those moments, I am challenged to crack open some history books, or digital equivalents thereof, in order to gain a better sense of who my people were and how they lived.

For example, my interest in the American Revolution was piqued, first, when I read that Thomas Harding had fought at Saratoga and witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne, and again, when Eneas Gary wrote in his pension files that he helped build a fort on Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston.

Most recently, it happened when I learned that my 8-Great Grandfather, Thomas Buckingham, was a Puritan and a founding member of the New Haven Colony.  In addition to general resources regarding the Puritan migration to New England, I found several sources that refer to Thomas Buckingham specifically.  Way too much information for one blog post!  But here is his story, in a nutshell.

Thomas Buckingham was born about 1607 in England, perhaps Buckinghamshire.  I found nothing about his earlier life there but he must have been a “non-conformist” or “Puritan”; one who was dissatisfied with the rites and rituals of the Church of England and refused to conform to its practices.  As Protestants, they thought the official state Church of England still resembled the Roman Catholic church too much and sought to “purify” it. 

The King, and Parliament, strongly opposed and harassed the non-conformists to the extent that between 1620-1640 some 80,000 people fled England to build new lives for themselves elsewhere.  One of the families that settled in New England was: Thomas Buckingham, 30; his wife Hannah, 26; and their two children, Hannah, 5; and Daniel, 1.

The Buckinghams were part of a group that was, according to one source,  “made up of middle to upperclass merchants and was one of the richest and most influential groups to emigrate to the New World.”  Also on board were two Pastors, John Davidson and Peter Prudden.  If Prudden and Buckingham were not acquainted before this they certainly were for the rest of their lives.

The voyage to America was made on The Hector and another unidentified vessel, each carrying about 100 passengers.  They were probably at sea for 6 to 8 weeks, and arrived at Boston on June 26, 1637.

The group was anxious to start an independent colony free of all religious and political constraints but most of them spent the first winter in Boston while a few were scouting out a location and making preparations.  The following spring, some 250 settlers, including the Buckingham’s, set sail for the area near the mouth of the Quinnipack River (current site of New Haven, CT) and arrived there in April of 1638.

Thomas Buckingham is listed under “Names of Planters” and “Division of Land according to Estate”, so we know that he was a member in good standing of the church and that he was one of the first settlers.  In the first division, he received thirteen acres of upland, two and one-half on the neck, and five of meadow.  In the second division he received twenty acres.

Within a year, plans were forming for yet another settlement about 10 miles farther west. On February 12, 1639, they purchased from the Indians a tract of land, for the consideration of “6 coats, 10 blankets, 1 kettle, besides hoes, knives, hatchets, and glasses (mirrors)”.

The new town was to be called Milford.  The new church was organized at New Haven on Aug. 22,1639 with Peter Prudden as Pastor and Thomas Buckingham as one of the Seven Pillars.

On “moving day” the settlers marched 10 miles through the wilderness, driving their livestock ahead of them.  Some household goods and farm equipment were transported by sea.

On Nov. 29, 1639, Thomas Buckingham’s name was included on the list of Free Planters. His house lot, #36 on the map below, contained three acres.


Being a new settlement in the wilderness, EVERYTHING had to be built.  Church, houses, palisades.  Even their government had to be invented.  Each planter was required to build a house within three years or they would lose their land. 

Thomas Buckingham remained a prominent member of the community in Milford until his deathHis name appears often on the town records usually having to do with land transactions.  One entry, which I found interesting, appears in the town record of May 26, 1657:

A question was brought before the court concerning some fence, in difference, betwixt Thomas Buckingham and Widow Plumb of Milford, which Thomas Buckingham and Richard  Baldwin, brother of Widow Plumb, adjusted, by agreeing to maintain each a certain portion of the fence. The court was satisfied with that agreement and desired them to live in peace and love as neighbors ought to do.

Thomas and Hannah Buckingham had three more children while living in Milford.  The youngest, also named Thomas, was born in 1646, the same year that Hannah Buckingham died.  We do not know for sure when Thomas Jr. was born, but Hannah died on June 25, and Thomas Jr. was baptized on November 8th.

The elder Thomas Buckingham remarried and survived his wife by 11 years, dying at Boston, in the fall of 1657, “where he had gone, on business for the church to seek for them a pastor.” That seems probable because Mr. Prudden had died the year previous, and the church was without a pastor at that time.

As for Thomas Buckingham Jr., (my 7th G-GF) he is also quite noteworthy.

When he was only 19 years old, he began preaching on an interim basis in Saybrook which by then had merged into the Connecticut Colony.   According to the Town Acts of Saybrook, Mr. Buckingham was ordained and installed pastor of the church in 1670, a little over five years from the time he commenced the regular supply of the pulpit.  He remained in that position for over 40 years. 

He evidently held a high rank among the clergymen of the time and was a leader in efforts for the prosperity and extension of the church.  He was a moderator at a synod which convened at Saybrook and formed the platform for the government of the churches in 1708.

He was one of the founders and a Fellow of Yale College.  In fact, the first commencement of Yale College was held at his home in Saybrook.

Town Records also report that frequent grants of land were made to him as his family and expenses increased.  By the time he died, he was quite a landholder.

Finally, the Last Will & Testament of Rev. Thomas Buckingham revealed one more thing about him.  In the abstract of his Will it says “To Mary, his wife, he gives one third of all his real estate, and one-third of all his movables, except only his two negro boys.”   Later on he states who should receive each of the boys, Peter & Phillip, “to be his slave servant”.

What a blow that was.  I knew that my family had been in America since way before the 13th Amendment was enacted; but this is the first evidence I have found that any of my direct ancestors were slave holders.


Chapman, F.W., Buckingham, William A.; The Buckingham Family; or The Descendants of Thomas Buckingham, one of the first settlers of Milford, Conn. (1872); Case, Lockwood & Brainard, Hartford, Conn.

Buckingham, George Tracy; Buckingham Colonial Ancestors’ (1920) Chicago : G.T. Buckingham

Marvin Lee (Buster) Gary

Today I am introducing a new category for this blog. “Military Veterans”.  Some previous posts already fit the description.   Stephen Harding fought in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.   Eneas Gary was also a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  I can probably find someone to write about in virtually every war since.  And they all deserve to be recognized and honored.

To the best of my knowledge, Marvin Lee Gary, or “Buster” as he was known, is the only one of my relatives (1st cousin once removed) that made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country.

I first heard of Buster’s fate when I was about 11 years old.  We had just moved to Oregon and we were visiting John and Elma Gary.  They were Buster’s parents and my Great Aunt & Uncle.   I must have been wandering around their house doing a little exploring when I noticed a picture of a man in a sailor suit. I was told that his name was Buster and he had been killed during World War II.  Even now, I find myself thinking “really?”  Can that actually happen to some one I’m related to?  But, of course, the tragic reality is that, yes, it can.

When preparing to tell a story, one should always begins by reviewing what you think you already know.  To that end, I dug out my notes on Buster Gary which plainly stated that he died on 16 May 1945 when he was “shot down over Germany” .  Quite a story.  But as I sought more details, I realized that there was a problem with that narrative.  Adolph Hitler committed suicide on 30 April, 1945.  Germany signed a Total and Unconditional Surender on May 7th which took effect the next day, the 8th.  And Buster was shot down on the 16th.  Eight days later?  Did somebody not get the memo about the war being over.

I apologize for attempting humor in the face of Buster’s tragic death.  But I use this to illustrate how false and unfounded stories can perpetuate and grow; and how important it is for genealogists, and others, to seek out the actual truth.

So after doing my research, here is what I now believe to be true about Marvin Lee Gary.

  • Born 15 Oct 1923 in Laurel, MT
  • Died 16 May 1945 off the coast of San Diego, CA
  • Branch of Service – United States Naval Reserve.
  • Rank – Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd Class.  As such, his duties were to assemble, service and repair airplanes and airplane engines. Splice aircraft wiring. Know principles and theory of flying.
  • Squadron number – VT-14 (“V” indicates fixed wing aircraft and “T” indicates Torpedo)
  • His plane – TBM-3E “Avenger” Torpedo Bomber Warplane

The most detailed information I found regarding his death was in this, now declassified, daily operational journal which states in part:


War Diary – Month of May 1945

1. VT-14 continued in training at NASS, Ream Field, San Ysidro, Calif.

2. On May 16, Ensign Paul Rodger WARBURTON (A1) USNR, and Marvin Lee GARY, AMM3c, USNR, were listed as missing when their TBM was seen to crash at sea during gunnery practice.

4.   OUT     BU NO. 86054     16 May     TBM-3E     Lost At sea

His remains were never recovered.

His is name is included on The World War II West Coast Memorial in San Fransisco, CA.  (

More About Those Lueders Portraits

Previously, I posted about the pictures that hung in my Grandma & Grandpa Lueders’ living room and how I was able to identify who they were.  According to Grandma, they were Keith’s (and my) Gr-Gr-Gr Grandparents and they were buried in Germany.  But that was all they knew.  I learned, among other things, that their names were Heinrich and Caroline Lüders and they lived in Mecklenburg near the Schwerin Sea in northern Germany.

This time, I would like to talk about the portraits themselves.

I began this adventure by trying to determine a date for the pictures based on the style of clothing the subjects were wearing.  I contacted Liza Shade at Washington County Museum.  I knew she had curated an exhibit in Hillsboro on the history of lady’s fashion and had some knowledge on the subject.  She, in turn, forwarded my email to two expert seamstresses that had helped her in the past. They all agreed that the clothing worn in the portraits was: 

“definitely mid to late 1820’s because the waist on the black dress is not as high up as in earlier periods. However, the neckline and sleeves, along with her hairstyle are very much 1820s.”

That was exactly what I was hoping to hear!  I knew from church records that Heinrich and Caroline were married on Oct. 13, 1826.  The portraits could well have been made at the time of their wedding.  They may be the only portraits ever made of them.  Remember, this was before Smart Phones; before Instamatics; before Brownies; before Daguerreotypes even.  If you wanted a picture, you hired an artist.

So how did these pictures get from Mecklenburg to Oregon?  Here’s my theory.  Heinrich and Caroline both died before 1854, when their son, P.A. Lueders, emigrated to America.  It makes sense to me that he, as the eldest son, would have brought the pictures of his parents with him.  I assume that he, in turn, left them to his eldest son, August Lueders, who left them to his only son John Lueders (Grandpa had 5 sisters, no brothers).  My grandparents were from Milwaukee, WI but later moved to California which is where I grew up seeing the portraits hanging in their living room.

Now for the physical condition of the artwork.  First of all, they are not oil paintings as I previously assumed.  They are pastel on paper.  Very thin, very fragile paper.  As soon I opened one of the frames I realized that I was going to need the services of an expert paper conservator.  After a brief search I made an appointment for a consultation with Elizabeth Chambers.  She works out of an upstairs studio in SE Portland and is a delightful person with a wealth of experience dealing with anything made of paper. 

Once out of the frames, we found that Heinrich’s portrait had the beginning of another face sketched on the back.  Perhaps the artist did not like the way it was going so he turned the page over and started anew.  The paper is so thin that the finished pastel image on the front can be seen in reverse from the back.

The edges of the paper are glued to what we assume is the original matte which had a rectangular opening.  That is a problem because the paper is not free to move with changes in temperature and humidity.  Furthermore, the matte and backing are not acid free or archival material.  Unfortunately, being so fragile, Chambers thought it unwise to attempt to separate them.  The oval matte that was used when Grandma & Grandpa had them re-framed in the 1950’s is not much better as it has also left its mark.

At some time, probably also in the 1950’s, someone attempted to fix a small tear by gluing it down to the cardboard backing.  The technique looked OK for 60+ years but it resulted in an even larger tear when disassembled.  That is the big gaping hole you see above.  Fortunately, the entire fragment survived intact.

In spite of all this, the color and brightness of the pastel images is very good.

The two images appear to have been drawn by different artists and they were, in fact, done on different materials.  The paper for Caroline’s portrait is noticeably thicker and stronger than Heinrich’s.  Some people, including me, have described the portrait of Caroline as “amateurish” because the proportions are not right.  Others, who know more about art that I do, say that it is the more interesting of the two because, they say, some artist today are trying to emulate the look and feel of these older portraits.  If that’s the  case, we have the real deal; an authentic, old, portrait of someone who also happens to be a relative..

The artwork stayed with Chambers for a few weeks while she removed as much of the harmful materials as possible, de-acidified everything, and replaced the backing with archival materials.  She also put the fragment back in place and did some very minor re-touching.

While she was doing that, I brought the frames home, built them up to make room for thicker matte and backing material, and refinished them.

The next step, when I got the portraits back from Chambers, was to have some good quality photographs taken while they were still out in the open.

Finally, I took everything to Framing Resources for reassembly.  The existing mattes with the oval holes were discolored but could not be removed so we opted to place a new matte over them with a slightly larger hole.  This provides a clean surface and also adds another step and more space between artwork and glass.

I also chose to use “Museum Glass” which offers UV protection and is so clear and non-reflective that you want to poke it to see if it is even there.


So here is Heinrich and Caroline hanging on the wall again.  For now, they are on my wall.  The treatment plan I have implemented would not be adequate for, say, the Declaration of Independence.  But hopefully, it will keep our treasured family heirlooms safe and secure for another 190 years.