Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving Family Photo

In this Thanksgiving photo from my parents' slide collection, I am about 6 and half, my sister is almost 5 and my brother is about 10 months old. My father wore that red vest every Thanksgiving for about five years! My parents took pictures almost every Thanksgiving, some of my dad carving the turkey and others of the family seated at the table. After my brother arrived, there seems to be more of the posed family photos by the turkey. We still take a family photo every year before dinner, but since there are now 14 people in the picture we take the photo by the fireplace. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Charles G. Schwenk

This is the tombstone for my 2nd great grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk, at Braddock Cemetery in North Braddock, PA. It was also known as Old Braddock Cemetery and Russell Cemetery. He died on 12 November 1893 and is buried in the G.A.R. Plot.

Charles was born in or near Norristown, PA and enlisted in the Civil War in July of 1861. He served in the 82nd Pennsylvania Infantry in both Companies A and C and mustered out in July of 1865. But this tombstone doesn't seem to be him, right?

After looking at many records, I do believe that this is my ancestor Charles. First, the stone is newer, definitely not from 1893, as are many of the stones in the G.A.R. Plot. Below is Charles' Pennsylvania Veteran Burial Card, which was dated 1935.

The information found in this record confirms what I learned from Charles' Civil War muster rolls and pension records. He mustered out of Company C on 13 July 1865 as a First Sergeant and died on 12 November 1893.

I have been unable to find Charles' death in a Pittsburgh death register nor an obituary in the newspaper, but all of his military pension records as well as his wife's widow's pensions list the same death date. In the 1890 Pittsburgh City Directory, Charles is living in Swissvale, right next to Braddock. In the 1895 Pittsburgh City Directory, his wife Mary is listed as the widow of Charles G.

In addition, Charles' wife Mary was buried at Braddock Cemetery as well (according to her obituary as there is no tombstone). Many of Mary's family are also buried at Braddock, including her daughters, niece and nephew.

Lastly, I checked the roster of Company D of the PA 82nd Infantry, just in case there happened to be a "Schwek" veteran who died on the same date and was buried at Braddock. There is no Schwek on the roster.

So with the information that I have compiled from his military records, as well as census records and city directories, I do believe that this is the tombstone for my ancestor and that a mistake was made at a time long after his death.

There is much more to write about Charles's time in the Civil War and afterwards when he lived in the Braddock area, but those will have to wait for future posts.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amaneusis Monday - A Letter to Charles A. Cubbage

Amanuesis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvania Dutch.

Below is a letter to my great grandparents, Charles A Cubbage and Maine Swank Cubbage, from Charles' brother James L. Cubbage and his wife Annie.


May 17 1908

Dear Brother & Sister
I got your letter the other day and was glad to heare that you all was well as it found us in fair shape.  wee had a letter from George W and he said he wood be out in 2 ore 3 weeks. dave sent me 3 of his girls faces and GW sent me his on a post card. how is mag & minnie. I was fishing yesterday but the rain sent me home be fore I got far. I only got 8. the farmers is not done sowing oats some is and planting corn it has been weet fore 3 days. my potatoes is coming up and the onions looks fine. the fruit is no good but I think the apples is all right yet the ground was white with snow the 1 day of may. that fixed the peach cherry plumbs & pairs. the times is no good a round here. dose your mother stay with Cas [Chas] and his wife. you ought to git the old man to write when you are busy. I have lots of time but to lazy. I will be looking fore the kids faces this week. the country is getting nice and green. annie has a [or 9?] little chicks out & a nother hen to be out on next Saturday. what is chas doing. he never has anything to say tell him to wake up and say something. hoping that this will find you all well and working from
                                                                                   Good bye bye
                                                                                       write soon
Valencia Pa

This letter was found in the Cubbage Family Bible. James and Charles were two of the six boys born to James and Barbara (Black) Cubbage in Butler County, PA. They had three sisters, all of whom died before 1908.

I love this letter because it tells much about their lives as farmers. In 1908 James was living in Valencia. I believe he had the family farm that belonged to his parents, who had died in 1906 and 1907. Charles was living in Swissvale, PA with his wife and children and working as an iron worker at the blast furnace. The other four brothers had moved to Ohio, Texas, Montana and Washington. The letter mentions a letter from "dave" which would be brother Jacob David Cubbage, and his "girls faces." I would love to see those pictures! The letter also mentions "George W" which would be their brother George who was living in Montana at that time. I wonder if he ever came back to Pennsylvania to visit.

The letter also mentions "mag & minnie" which could be either Maine's sister Margaret, and Charles and Maine's four month old daughter Minnie. It could also be Maine's brother's wife Minnie and daughter Margaret, who lived next door. They all repeated the same names generation after generation!

My favorite part of the letter is when James says "what is chas doing. he never has anything to say tell him to wake up and say something." I am guessing that he really addressing the letter to Maine. I am so thankful to have a family record like this, as it adds so much more color to the pictures I've pieced together of these ancestors.