Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day - Soldiers of the Great War

As we celebrate Memorial Day, this is a time to remember the men and women who died in the service of the United Stated Armed Forces.

My great-uncle Julius Councill was killed in action on August 12, 1918 in a horrible battle in Fismette, France. While researching Julius' service, I came across a book called Soldiers of the Great War available for free on Google books.

Soldiers of the Great War - Volume I - Alabama to Maryland
Soldiers of the Great War - Volume II - Massachusetts to Ohio
Soldiers of the Great War - Volume III - Oklahoma to Wyoming and Supplement

Dedication from Soldiers of the Great War
The purpose of the book was to present a complete and accurate record of all US soldiers who lost their lives in Europe during WWI. There are many photographs of the individual soldiers and a text listing each soldier by name, their rank, how they died (killed in action, died of disease, died of wounds, died of accident, or wounded in action), and where they were from. The book is in three volumes and is arranged by state, but the photographs are not in alphabetical order and there is no index to them. The third volume contains some extra photographs from different states and there is an index to this supplement. Julius served in a Pennsylvania unit, but was listed in the Maryland group, which is where he was born.

I don't have a picture of Julius, so was really hoping to find one here. Unfortunately, I didn't find him in the photographs, but as an example of the text listings, here is the page listing Julius.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Riots at the Courthouse!

Lima News depiction of the courthouse on Sept. 2, 1923
My great-grandfather Charles Creeden was Sheriff of Mercer County, Ohio from 1923-1927 and his wife Anna served as Jail Matron during that time. Charles' brothers Daniel and Joshua were deputy sheriffs. These were some exciting times with Prohibition and bank robberies, but one story my father remembered stands out and I wanted to see how much of it I could verify.

As my Dad's story went, the Klan had a parade in town, most likely as an anti-Catholic demonstration. Their leader was arrested for disturbing the peace and was being held in the Mercer County Jail. Members of the KKK showed up to demand the prisoner's release and a standoff ensued. Charles was at the front door of the jail and Anna was at the back door. She was said to be a very good shot! The group came up and demanded that their leader be released, but Charles said that wasn't going to happen. The gang said, "Who's gonna stop us, you and what army?". Charles pointed to the roof where his deputies and members of the Knights of Columbus were standing with guns raised and said, "That one!". The story gets a little hazy as to what happened next, but some kind of melee broke out and there were injuries on both sides. Well, I should mention that my Dad inherited the Irish storytelling gene and his stories tended to get better with age! I didn't know how much of this was true, but figured at least some of it had to be. has the Lima, Ohio newspaper online, so I tried finding mention of an incident involving the Klan in Mercer County, but didn't have any luck. I also searched for sheriff and Creeden with various spellings and found some interesting stories, but not this one. My luck turned when I was contacted by a Mercer County historian Joyce Alig about doing a story on my family's Mercer County connections. She had edited a book on the courthouse and remembered an incident where men showed up in sheets at the dedication of the courthouse on Labor Day weekend in Sept. 1923. With the date narrowed down, I was able to find an article about the disturbance.

Lima News, Sept. 4, 1923

According to this article in the Lima News, there were riots at the courthouse dedication involving over 500 people! My great-grandfather's name was misspelled Breedon and there is no actual mention of the Klan, so that explains why I couldn't find it. Ouch, sounds like the sheriff and his men didn't make out too good! Joyce warned that the news could have been exaggerated by the time it got to Lima.

It is interesting that the Klan is never mentioned by name, but several things in the article match my Dad's story. I bought a used copy of Joyce's book on the Mercer County courthouses and she captured some eye witness accounts of the incident in the book. Some of the accounts mentioned a KKK speaker and one mentioned the sheriff getting the fire hoses out.

Celina Newspaper, Sept. 4, 1923

In the Celina article, the incident is labeled a "Regrettable Disturbance" as opposed to Riots. Quite a difference! While it doesn't sound like as large a disturbance as reported in Lima, the articles agreed on quite a few things. Both articles mentioned an anti-Catholic speaker and group, but neither mentioned the Klan by name. Both were in agreement that the sheriff tried to break up the crowd by spraying them with water from the fire hoses. No mention of the Knights of Columbus on the roof, but there was mention of 12 deputies and other officials being involved. The articles also both mentioned that the speaker was arrested for disturbing the peace.

All in all, it looks like most of my Dad's story was true. I found it interesting that neither newspaper mentioned the Klan specifically. In the Lima newspaper, there was a detailed article on Sept. 2, 1923 about a recent initiation ceremony held by the Klan, so they were definitely active in that area. That article was right next to a writeup about the new courthouse before the dedication. The rest of the Celina article is below. Thanks to Marj B. for sending it to me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Mystery Photo

This was in my grandfather's collection, but was not labeled. I suspect that it is someone from his second wife's Kleinhenz family, but they could also be from the Creeden, Pulskamp, or Niehaus families.

Updating to add that the mystery has been solved! The wedding photo is of Dr. Edgar J. Willke and Alfrida Kleinhenz. They were married on July 21, 1931 at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in St. Mary's, Ohio. My step-grandmother Hilda was Alfrida's sister and the maid of honor. See more here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Military Monday - Edward Creeden in Army, Marines, Canadian Forces, Part II

I posted some of my findings on Military Records for Edward Creeden and decided to take a closer look at the records to see if I could rule any of them out. The records were from the Army, Marines, and Canadian Expeditionary Forces, so it seemed unlikely that my Edward served in all three forces.

My Edward Creeden was born in April 1884 according to family and census records. Some family trees list his birth date as April 10, 1884, but I don't have verification of the 10th. He was born in Ohio and lived in Celina, OH in the 1900 census. His father was Irish and his mother was born in Ohio. It appears that when he first enlisted, he put his birth year at 1882, possibly so that he would be over 21 years old. He seems to have stuck with that birthdate throughout the US records.

Here are the possible records I have for Edward in chronological order. I was expecting to be able to rule some of these out, but instead the time line for them all seems to fit. That doesn't mean that they are all my Edward, but it makes it hard to rule them out!
  • 1/14/1904 - Edward Creeden from Celina, OH enlists in the US Army, age 21, 12th Inf. D
  • 1/13/1907 - Return from service, 12th Inf. D, Fort Porter, NY
  • 1/18/1907 - Reenlists in Ohio, 24 yrs old, 30 Inf. L, 2nd enlistment, previous was 12 Inf. D
  • 8/14/1908 - Return from Philippines, Regiment 30, Company L, Rank is Corporal
  • 1/17/1910 - Discharged from 30 Inf. L
  • 1/26/1910 - Edward Creeden enlistment date listed in NARA records for Marines. Date of birth is April 10, 1882.
  • 1/27/1910 - An Edward Creeden enlists in Marines, appears in monthly Muster Rolls from Jan. 1910 to Oct 1911. He was in Puget Sound, Wash, transferred to San Diego, and then back to Puget Sound during this time period. He went from Private to Corporal to Sergeant in the muster rolls. One of the muster rolls mentions that his date of enlistment was corrected to be 1/26/1910.
  • 4/19/1910 - US Census - Edward Creedman, 28 yrs old, born in Ohio, Irish father, mother born in Ohio, Marine Barracks at US Navy Yard, Puget Sound, Wash
  • 10/1911   -  Last Marine Muster Roll, says he deserted post.
  • 1/19/1912 - US Army Enlistment at Vancouver Barracks, Wash, 29 yrs old, born in Celina, OH, 3rd enlistment, 1st Infantry, Company L, Last discharge was from 30 Infantry, Company L , 1/17/1910
  • 1/16/1915 - Honorable discharge. Appears that he was last in 9th Inf, Company D. Previous listed as Company L, 1st Inf.
  • 8/31/1917 - Edward Creeden, born on April 10, 1884 enlists in Canadian Expeditionary Forces. Description fits those given in US Army enlistments. Next of kin is listed as his brother, Charles Creeden. He lists birth place as Canada and says he has no prior military experience. The time line, birth date, description, and next of kin fits, but the birth place and lack of military service don't. He also lists Charles Creeden as being in the US Army in Company D of the 9th Infantry. My Charles Creeden did not serve, but this is where Edward last served in the US Army.
  • 9/8/1925 - Edward Creeden's mother dies. I found 2 obituaries for her and one gives Edward's residence as Briggs, California, while the other says Kansas City. This is the last mention that I've found of my Edward.
I am fairly certain that the US Army enlistments are my Edward since he was the only one by that name in Celina, OH and the rest of the data fits. According to the NARA record, the Edward in the Marines was born on April 10, 1882 which is the same birth date Edward used for the US Army. The Edward in the Marine barracks in the 1910 census is also born in 1882 in Ohio and has an Irish father, so that seems to be a possibility too. I am less certain of the Canadian record, but the coincidences in the data have me very curious to find out more.

I have started investigating how to order information from NARA, but I am not clear on how much information they will release to me. The initial response I received said the records should be archival, but some information could only be released to next of kin. They sent me Standard Form 180 to fill out, but in reading the instructions it looks like I need to fill out a National Archives Trust Fund form? It will probably take a few weeks (months?) to obtain any information from NARA, so I will post an update when I receive any new information.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Commercials - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #21

This is a weekly challenge from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy history.

Week 21. Commercials. Do you remember any commercial jingles from your childhood? Share them here.

My earliest memories of commercials are from the Saturday morning cartoons where they bombarded the kids with ads for cereals and toys. I remember Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, and Fruit Loops in particular and of course, the ones that tried to lure us in with the "free" prize inside. Mattel ads were on constantly hawking Barbie, Hot Wheels and their other toys.

The first ad I thought of when I read the prompt was "Winston Tastes Good... Like a Cigarette Should". I've never been a smoker, so it's amazing that that one stuck in my head for so long! I also remember the ads targeted at women for Virginia Slims and Benson & Hedges Menthol. Thankfully, we don't have to endure any of those on TV anymore.

Some other ones that came to mind were the Hai-Karate ads, the Volkswagen ads with Meet Harry the Swinger, the Alka-Seltzer Plop, plop, fizz, fizz ads, the Wendy's commercials with Where's the Beef, and the Enjoli jingle where the woman could bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.That must have been some perfume!

Then there were the local ads. The one I remember the most was a car dealer in Central Florida named Art Grindle. He had a large car dealership with a big statue of himself waving his arm up and down with his index  finger pointed out at drivers passing by. In the TV commercials, he would have a line of cars slowly driving past with the sale price on them as he kept up a frantic stream of babble. He would sometimes jump up and down on the cars and tear the signs in half, always ending by pointing at the camera and saying "I want to sell you a car"! His son tried to carry on, but the commercials just weren't the same without his father's crazed antics.

Lorenz Richard Balleweg - Sunday's Obituary

Lorenz Richard Balleweg was married to Julia Dorothy Creeden of Celina, Ohio. They lived in Pueblo, Colorado. Julia was the sister of my great-grandfather Charles Creeden.

The Pueblo City-County Library has an online Obituary Search Index and will send copies of obituaries for a small fee to cover postage and copies. This obituary is from the Pueblo Chieftain, August 1948.

Lorenz R. Balleweg of 225 Madison at his residence Aug 22. Husband of Mrs. Julia Balleweg. Father of Mrs. Ruth Summers, Robert E. Balleweg, and Miss Therese Balleweg, Pueblo, Mrs. Margaret Summers and Richard Balleweg, Pamona, Calif. and Raymond Balleweg, Grass Valley, Calif. Brother of Sister Mary Datavia OSB, Milwaukee, Wis., Miss Clara Balleweg, Berkeley, Calif., Mrs. Anna Beatty, Oakland, Calif., Mrs. Katie Steffen, Woodburn, Ore. Grandfather of six. Member of St. Patrick's church, president of the St. Vincent dePaul at St. Patrick and secretary of the Particular council. Secretary of the 3rd Order of St. Francis. Service announcements later.

Lorenz R. Rosary recitation Wednesday 7:30 p.m. at the residence, 225 Jefferson. Funeral Thursday 8:30 a.m. from the residence; requiem high mass 9 a.m. St. Patrick's church. Interment Mt. View.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fame - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #20

This is a weekly challenge from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy history.

Week #20 – Fame Week 20. Fame. Tell us about any local brushes with fame. Were you ever in the newspaper? Why? You may also describe any press mentions of your family members.

I don't think there's ever really been anyone famous in the family, but there have been a few mentions in the newspaper. During my school years, I was in the newspaper a few times for the Honor Roll and scholarships and I've found similar articles for both of my parents. I recently found a newspaper article about my father starring in a high school musical and another about my mother being honored for outstanding performance in the first Airline Secretarial class at Goldey College. I attended FSU when Ted Bundy attacked several students there and I was interviewed by my hometown paper. They printed an article with my quotes about how they had increased security at the school and everyone was being more cautious. This was in the awful period before they knew who had committed the crimes.

My great-grandfather Charles Creeden was in the papers in Celina and Lima, Ohio numerous times for his exploits while Sheriff of Mercer County and later as the town Postmaster. My great-uncle Julius Councill was in an article about a war memorial being erected in his honor and two others who had died in WWI and were from Queen Anne's, Maryland.

I worked at the Kennedy Space Center during the summers I was in college and got to watch Lee Majors film a few scenes at the Space Center for the Bionic Man. My father met several celebrities while working at the Space Center including Lloyd Bridges, John Denver, Sally Ride, and many other astronauts over the years. He asked Lloyd for an autograph and the only piece of paper my father had was his paystub, so we still have the paystub with Lloyd's autograph!

More recently, I met James Marsters at the FX Convention in 2009. He's a well known actor in the sci-fi community. Leonard Nimoy (Spock!) was at the autograph table next to James, so we saw him from a distance. Lindsey Wagner was also there, so I've seen both the Bionic Man and the Bionic Woman! 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bedroom - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #19

This is a weekly challenge from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy history.

Week #19 – Bedroom Week 19. Bedroom. Describe your childhood bedroom. What furniture did it contain? Were there curtains, wallpaper or paint? Was it messy or clean? Did you share a room with your siblings? 

My sister and I shared a bedroom when we first moved into our house in Florida. We had twin beds and a dresser. The house had terrazzo floors and no carpeting when we moved in. After a few years, we added a family room on to the house and my sister moved into the spare bedroom that we had been using as a family room. We kept the twin beds in my room and added a French provincial vanity, small desk and new dresser. We put wall to wall carpeting in the house and my sister and I were allowed to choose the colors for our rooms. We added blue carpeting in my room and I had light blue curtains to match the new carpet. We didn't have wallpaper or different paint colors on the walls, but in my teenage years there were posters on the walls. My mother was quite neat and kept a very clean house, so while our rooms got cluttered sometimes, they were always clean. She may have a different opinion on that!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weather - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #18

This is a weekly challenge from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy history.

Week 18. Weather. Do you have any memorable weather memories from your childhood? How did your family cope and pass the time with adverse weather? When faced with bad weather in the present day, what do you do when you’re stuck at home?

Most of my weather memories in Florida involve hurricanes or tropical storms. I remember a camping trip down in the Florida Keys during the summer where we had to leave in a hurry. My Dad had heard the weather report at the campground store and came running back telling us to pack everything up! A hurricane warning had gone into effect and they were going to order a mandatory evacuation of the Keys that afternoon. There is only one long road in and out of the Keys and it can be backed up on a good day. We scrambled to take down our tent and throw everything in the car and got on the road. We were listening to the radio and heard the mandatory evacuation order a couple of hours later. Luckily, we were well on our way!

When I was in grade school, my father used to travel a bit and there were a couple of times that we had brushes with hurricanes while he was gone. We stayed over at a neighbor's house which was great fun for us kids, but probably not so much for the adults.

Another year we had a dance recital in June while a tropical storm was approaching. It probably should have been postponed, but the forecasts had indicated that we had time. The weather was getting increasingly bad as the recital went on. Those of us in the recital were getting soaked and wind blown as we made our way backstage. We made it through the performances and just had the grand finale to go where each group came out on stage and took a bow. The power went off right as my group was going on stage and that was the end of the recital for that year!

If stuck at home now, I read, go online, and keep an eye on the TV for the weather reports. If the power is out, I switch to a portable radio. The newer neighborhoods in my area have underground power lines and I have to say it's a big improvement over the days when it seemed like we lost power with every thunderstorm.

Julius Councill in WWI - Military Monday

I knew that my great-uncle Julius King Councill had been killed in WWI and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but didn't know any details. According to the 1900 census Julius was born in September 1899 in Maryland and in the 1910 census Julius was 9 years old. Both census records are from Queen Anne's County, Maryland.

Julius' WWI Registration Card is dated June 17, 1917 when Julius would have been 17. It gives his birthdate as September 15, 1895 and his age as 21. It shows that he had already served as a Corporal in the Pennsylvania National Guard for 1 year.

Julius King Councill, WWI Registration Card

The Nationwide Gravesite Locator says that Julius was in Company B of the 111th Infantry, 28th Division and that his date of death was 08/12/1918. I also have a family tree written by one of my great-aunts and it says that Julius was killed in Fitz Metz, France on 08/12/1918. Doing some searching leads me to believe that this was actually Fismette, France.

I located a newspaper article about the battle where Julius died. The article goes on to say that only 17 Company B soldiers came out unassisted. Julius is listed with those killed in action in Company B. Many of the Company B soldiers were from the Chester, PA area and they suffered many casualties.

Chester Times, Sept. 24, 1918
Chester Times, Sept. 21, 1918

A first hand account of the battle was given by survivor William Hervey Allen in his book Toward the Flame: A Memoir of World War. The book gives details on the 28th Division in the summer of 1918 and chronicles the battle for the village of Fismette. Some details on the battle are given in Allen's biography on the Arlington Cemetery site: William Hervey Allen Biography.

This notice about a monument in honor of Julius and two others from Queen Anne's County, MD appeared in the Denton Journal on Oct 5 1918 and was reprinted on Oct. 8, 1943.  I don't know if this monument still exists, but there is a War Memorial for all wars behind the courthouse in Centreville, MD.

A picture of Julius Councill's gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery has been posted on Find A Grave: Julius King Councill Gravestone.