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Friday, October 25, 2013

Funeral Card Friday

I am going to switch over to the Boehler family for "Funeral Card Friday".

I don't know much about Mary Boehler since she died young and was unmarried.  She was born on January 8, 1880 in Beatrice, Nebraska to Conrad and Amelia Boehler.  She moved with her family to Alma, Nebraska and continued to live with her parents up until she died from complications of diseases following a surgical operation.  I remember when I was little that my dad used to tell me that  I was not allowed to get married when I grew up...I was to live at home and take care of my parents for ever.  I guess that Mary and Carrie (also never married) Boehler took this literally when their dad told them the same thing.
Also stated in her obituary in the Harlan County Journal, October 29,1915, "In her death the community loses one of its leading young ladies.  A favorite among a large circle of friends and the home is relieved of a faithful daughter who has at all times devoted her talents toward making that place all the word implies."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ten Fingers and Ten Toes

When a baby is born most people can't wait to see if it is a boy or a girl, how much hair it has and what color eyes it has. In my family whenever a baby was born the first thing we checked was if the baby had 10 fingers and 10 toes.  We did this because we were told that my Great Grandfather, John Fuller, had died during a barn raising.  The story goes that he didn't have any thumbs and so wasn't able to hold his side of the barn up and it came down on him and killed him.

My mother tells me that as soon as one of us was born that Grandma Etta Fuller Boehler (John's daughter) would immediately unwrap the baby and check digits so in turn that was the first thing we checked when my children were born.

Now let's weigh the facts and see if this was just a Great Grandma Fuller story or if there is some truth in this.  When I started genealogy I looked for John Fuller's obituary.  He died in St. Francis, Ks on March 17, 1904.  The obituary from the St. Francis newspaper states the following:

"John Fuller was stricken with apoplexy about 9 o'clock last Thursday evening, March 17, and expired in one hour and thirty-five minutes.  He became unconscious instantly and never spoke again.
Mr. Fuller had just completed and moved into his comfortable new house and was in excellent spirits.  During the day Thursday he had helped John Nelson to butcher and raise a building which they were to move on the following day and being tired he retired early.
It was probable that in the exertions of the day Mr. Fuller injured a blood vessel in his brain which ruptured after he retired and caused his death"

This doesn't exactly say that he lost his grip on the building and was hit in the head with it...but something like that could have caused the bleeding in his brain.

The only other piece of evidence to support the possibility is a picture of 3 grandmothers with the first granddaughter, Margaret Boehler Brown.  From left to right,  Amelia Boehler, Sarah Jane Padgett Fuller Calhoun, and Margaret Overton Fuller (my great grandmothers on each side and great, great grandmother in the middle holding my aunt).   It appears to me that they have one of Margaret's shoes off and Great Grandmother Fuller is counting toes!

Grandmothers counting fingers and toes!
The original picture belongs to my aunt.  Thanks for sharing Jody Gehley and Connie Norland!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On the trail of my ancestors...

I have always loved family gatherings and the stories that were told.  It wasn't until about two years ago that I decided to try to learn more about my ancestors.

My dad is a great story teller and it sounds like a trait that was passed down in time from his Mother's side of the family.  My grandfather was 50 when my father was born so he was the baby of the family and didn't know many of his grandparents.  The one grandmother he did know lived with the family when she was older and dad was close to her.

So for the dad and his brother are both dark complected and both with coal black hair.  When asked where they got their looks we were told that Grandma Fuller was an Indian who had been abandoned on the prairie or something to that effect. This was the story that she had told my dad.  Other than that he had no idea what her maiden name was or where she was born, etc.

I happen to work with a Radiologist who is a very competent genealogist.   So one day I was asking him how I would find out if there was any Indian blood in our family.  He told me the easiest way would be to do a DNA test.  Since the grandmother in question was dad's maternal grandmother a mtdna test was ordered.  My sister and I purchased this for my dad for his birthday.  We were so excited to have the proof coming our way of the Indian blood that was in our family.

Well the test came back and we were so surprised... not a drop of American Indian in dad's blood!

So if great grandma wasn't Indian then I had to know who she was and where she came from.  From that day on I was hooked on genealogy.

I found that Grandma Margaret Fuller was born to  Elizabeth Byers and Tilghman Overton.  She was born on a homestead near Springfield Nebraska. She married John Fuller who was also living in Sarpy County.  They had 11 child three of whom died young and are buried in the Springfield Cemetery.  The family moved to St. Francis, Ks in January 1900.

This is a far cry from being an Indian child abandoned on the prairie but it made a good story to tell a grandson to keep him interested!

My next blog will deal with another one of her famous stories that stuck with the family for generations having to do with great grandpa dying because he had no thumbs!