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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sarah Jane Padgett Fuller Calhoun

Last spring Mom and I went to Missouri and had a great time following the trails of our ancestors.  On Dad's side we were in Phelps county seeing where Alexander and Sarah Jane Fuller lived and started their family.  Alexander went off to fight in the Civil War and never came home.  We met a historian there who told us that there was a document that told that Sarah Jane's brother came from Illinois and took her and her two small children back there with him.  Phelps county was a very unsettled area at the time (more about this in my previous blog).
Back in Illinois Sarah Jane met William Calhoun and they married.  Their next stop was in Little River, Kansas.  Their daughter, Martha, married Jess Frankeburger and lived her entire life there. Sarah Jane and William lived there for a time and then moved up to Sarpy county, Nebraska.  Sarah's son, John Fuller, stayed in Sarpy Co and married my great grandmother, Margaret Overton.  
William died in Sarpy Co and Sarah Jane ended up going back to Little River, Kansas to live with her daughter, Martha.
This summer Dad and I made the trip to Little River, Kansas.  It is a quiet little town in a beautiful setting.  The first thing you have to know about my dad is that we start out early!  I left my house at 5:30 am to meet Dad in Kansas.... I rolled out of bed and went...hence the bed head!  Haha.  I also came across these beauties along the way.

Dad drove east and I drove south until we intersected somewhere in Kansas and then rode the rest of the way together.  We arrived in Little River around 10:00-10:30.  

We decided that we should head out to the cemetery first.  

The cemetery was just outside of was a pretty drive.

We were able to find the Frankeberger family plots without much trouble.  Dad standing by the stones of his great grandmother and great aunt.

  Dad's great grandmother, Sarah Jane Padgett Fuller Calhoun.

Next we found her daughter, Martha Fuller Frankeberger and husband Jesse.

Jesse and Martha had 4 daughters.  Leona, Bessie, Vastie and Grace.  Leona was first married to Ben Meyer in 1904 and he passed in 1906.  She then married James Lafayette Smith in 1911.  They are both buried next to Leona.

Vastie married Fred Hodgson.  

Bessie did not marry as she died at a younger age.

And Grace married Bert Snedeger. 

It was really nice that they were all in the same cemetery right beside one another.  It was also a very calm peaceful resting place.

After the cemetery visit we went back into Little River and stopped by the local genealogical society.

We were disappointed to find out that it was only open one day a week and I had mixed up which day so no one was there.  We went across the street to the library and the lady working there looked up the phone number of a couple of the volunteers and we found a really nice gal that was willing to come and open up for us.  It was going to be a little while before she could get there so we went and had a sandwich at the local pub.  The food and service were both really good.  We went back to the historical society after lunch.  The gal that helped us pulled all of the obituaries of the family whose graves we had just visited and gave us some history of the family as she knew it.  It was a really nice visit and we really appreciated her taking the time to come down and open up for us!

So the next thing that we all tease my dad about is that when he gets behind a wheel he does not like to stop anywhere.  One of the comments from my mom and brother was..."good luck getting a picture of the stones while dad cruises by them!"  So with this being said the challenge was on... dad was out to prove them all wrong.  He went out of his way to make sure that we had plenty of time in Little River.  He also made some little detours to see the sites along the way!

Pretty church in Beloit Kansas.

We took time out to see the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas! (Now we are getting a little carried away with things! haha)

And to end out the day...a little side trip to shop.  I was told, "go in and don't come out until you buy something so that we can prove that we went shopping"...while dad waited in the car!  This is about as good as it gets!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Genealogy Trip 2014

Last year my mom and I decided to make our first attempt at a genealogy trip.  We planned a trip to Illinois where we could visit Monmouth where relatives on her side lived and then we headed south to Lincoln, Ill to where relatives on dad's side resided.  We had so much fun we decided we needed a repeat this year.
This year we picked Missouri because again we could visit sites from both sides of my family.  We are not professional genealogists by any means but we have a great time and sometimes just luck into some fantastic finds.  This trip was no different.
We started out on a Sunday leaving Omaha around 6:30 with our plan to drive south and get to Wilson's Creek National Park shortly after lunch.  On the way we found this great BBQ place and had a fantastic lunch...after all half the fun of traveling is finding those new and great places to eat!

Mom at Boone's BBQ Barn in Bolivar, MO

We started with exploring dad's side this year.  Dad's great, great grandfather was Alexander Fuller.  He came from Candor, New York and settled near Rolla, Missouri.  He met his future wife, Sarah Jane Padgett, who was living with her mother and step father, Phillip and Mary Deem.  Also living with them were her half brothers, Jim and Christopher Deem. The Deems had moved to Missouri from Illinois.  Alexander and Sarah Jane married on March 1, 1857 or 1858.  (It is stated both ways in a later pension application statement made by Sarah Jane.)  The marriage record has been destroyed by fire so we only have the pension application to go by.  They had two children, John and Martha. Alexander Fuller joined the First Arkansas Mounted Riflemen under Colonel Thomas J. Churchill.  He was wounded at the Battle of Wilson's Creek.  So we wanted to start by touring Wilson's Creek Battlefield. We were there on a beautiful day and could really take our time and walk the trails and see the park.  I cannot describe the feeling you get knowing what took place on those grounds that day.

When we finished up at Wilson's Creek we drove into Springfield to spend the night.  We had dinner in a downtown pub that was good and got a great Priceline deal at the Springfield Hotel.

On Monday we drove into Rolla, MO.

We got to Rolla about lunch time and it was recommended that we eat at a place called "Slice of Pie".  This was perfect as they served a light lunch and had a list of almost 40 pies to chose from!  Yum.  It was so good that we ate lunch there again the next day!

Every good genealogy trip takes planning.  While I was organizing my notes and deciding what we should do in Rolla I knew that there was an out of the way cemetery that I wanted to visit.  Phillip Mary and Jim Deem are buried in a country cemetery.  Luckily it is listed on but I wasn't sure of the location.  I took a chance and contacted the gentleman (Garrett) that had posted the memorial and pictures on  It turned out that not only was he very familiar with the cemetery and the story of the Deem family but some of his family now own the land where my Deem family was living in the 1850-1860s. As we corresponded I found out that he also knew where Sarah Jane Fuller had lived and he had some information about why she had moved back to Illinois with the kids.  He offered to show us where the cemetery is located, the Deem farm and where the Fullers were living. We were really excited to have someone offer to give us a guided tour of the area!
We met Garrett and his friend who is also interested in local history and teaches History at one of the area schools to exchange notes and then go on the tour.  The first stop was the land where the Fullers lived.  After Alexander went to war, soldiers had burned the house down and Sarah Jane Fuller and the kids moved in with the neighbors... Widow Keester. The widow Keester later married Judge Wright.  Alexander Fuller died of disease later in the Civil War and Sarah Jane was being referred to as Widow Fuller.  Now a side the Rolla area there was a lot of conflict between the two sides of the Civil War.  Both sides were accused of bushwhacking and were labeled bushwhackers.  Judge Wright had a son, Anthony,  that was a notorious bushwhacker and soldiers were after him.  One day the soldiers came and arrested  Judge Wright and his other son in connection to Anthony.  They were to take them back to jail in Rolla but along the way
they was killed by the soldiers.  There was a trial of the soldiers and during this trial the Widow Fuller is mentioned because of the time that she spent living with Judge Wright and his wife the Widow Keester.  During the trial another neighbor makes some statements about the Widow Fuller and also states that her brother came to Missouri and took her and the children back to Illinois with him.  Later the widow Fuller remarried to William Calhoun in Illinois.

  This picture isn't the best as the sun was in the wrong position.
Next we went over to the Deem farm.  There is a cabin still sitting on it that may be left from the Deems but it also could have been built shortly after that time.  In the The Bushwhacker book by George Clinton Arthur it says that soldiers burned the Deem house down.  Later in the book it says that since the house had been burned Mrs Deem was now living in a two-room log house near Corn Creek.
Log house still on the property where the Deems lived. Unsure if this is the actual
log cabin talked about.

Mary Deem's son, Jim, was killed by soldiers due to his association with Bushwhacker Bill.  Her husband, Phillip was innocent but killed too mainly because of his son, Jim.   Her other son, Christopher had joined the service and also fought at Wilson's Creek.

Huskey Cemetery where the Deem family is buried.  Notice the spelling on the stones is different.

Here is a picture of mom with our tour guides.  Another picture of mom and I at the cemetery.

We spent the night in Rolla and the next day we went to the Courthouse and the Historical Society.  We found a little bit of information about the Phillip Deem estate but I still have some more work to do on that.
We of course browsed some antique stores too!  Then we headed out towards our next destination, Memphis, MO.
We drove as far as Jefferson City, MO and found a hotel.  Went to a shopping area for dinner and a few munzees (another form of geocaching) for mom.

Wednesday we started the trip to Memphis, Mo driving north and stopping when we would see an interesting antique.  We got to Macon Mo and went into a downtown antique shop.  The owner had a huge wall full of genealogy books.  They were not for sale but were there for anyone who wanted to use them.  They had belonged to her father-in-law and when he passed away they put them in their shop to share with others.  His collection was as big as some library collections that I have seen.  What a treasure!
Of course we had to find a good lunch place and the locals suggested Hawg Father's BBQ.  The special was a chicken tenderloin seasoned and wrapped in bacon.  It also had a sweet taste of brown sugar incopoated into it.  Very good.  I believe we found a homemade cobbler here too....are you starting to see a theme of pies on this trip?

On to Memphis!

We drove on up to Memphis, Mo and pulled into town in time to spend about an hour at the courthouse.  We found some land records and a couple of marriage records that we did not have.
We found a motel for the night and then went out to visit a friend at the cemetery.  Rita was a good friend to my mom and later my family in Omaha.  She was originally from Memphis so we wanted to  take these flowers out to her. RIP Rita.

We found a little bar/pub that we were told would have food and a drink so we went there for dinner.
And no trip is complete with out grabbing a geocache or two along the way.  Mom found this one outside of town at a small recreational lake area.

The next morning we went to the Memphis Genealogical Society and did some more research.  We also stopped at the library as it had a genealogy area too.  We were hoping to find some information about our Civil War ancestors, William P Smith and John Little.  We did not come up with anything more than we already knew but we were referred to the state archives for more information.

We were told that another good stop while we were in the area was the "Athens Civil War Battlefield".  So we headed that way.  This is the site of the Northernmost Battle west of the Mississippi River.
It was a beautiful area but again you could feel the emotions of the battle when you were there.  We saw a house that was owned by the Benning family on the grounds. During the battle a cannonball went clear through it.  The hole in the front and back are still there.  No one was injured but wouldn't
that have been a surprise to see a cannonball zip through your home?

Exit hole in the back of the house.

From there we headed on up to Ottumwa, Ia.  Somewhere on the way Mom found a great Western Stoneware paperweight made in Monmouth, IL at an antique shop here.  We both like to collect small Western Stoneware items because of the family connection to that area.  In Ottumwa we took a break from the old and went shopping at a mall that we found there and then went to dinner. This time we tried BBQ nachos at a local pub in the mall.  They were good but still couldn't beat the BBQ nachos served at the Nebraska State Fair by Pig in a Bag!  We also found a few munzees (another form of geocaching) for mom.

The next morning was Friday and we were due home that night.  We got up and headed to Pella, IA.  Mom had been there before but I had not.  We found a great coffee shop on our way thru Oskaloosa, IA and I was really excited about that!  I hadn't had a Cafe Mocha since before we left and the one from Smokey Row was fact it was such good coffee that when we got to Pella and found another Smokey Row we indulged in a second cup.  I learned that no trip to Pella is complete without a trip to the Jaarsma Danish Bakery and  a tour of the Dutch windmill.  The Windmill was imported from Holland in pieces and reassembled in Pella.

My tour guide.

Shortly after noon we decided it was time to head back to Omaha.  We had covered quite a bit of area and had a great time.  For me touring the areas where my ancestors lived makes them more real and it really is a treat to get to spend the time with my mom.  Can't wait until the next trip... a bit of dieting is in order after this trip! We are not sure where the next trip will take us but had family from both sides in Indiana so....

Note - Our contact in Rolla was Garrett Gabel.  He co-wrote the book "History of Yancy Mills, Mo" and he is working on his new book. Our trip to Rolla was made so much better because of Garrett and Mikes' willingness to share their knowledge and time to help us understand what life was like for my family in Rolla, MO.  Thank you again Garrett and Mike!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ancestor is talking from the grave with DNA results!

Sometimes when you are researching your family history you feel like your ancestors are talking to you.  Last weekend my great great grandmother was talking loud and clear.

My last blog was about Conrad Boehler and his coming through Lincoln, Ill.  Conrad married Amelia Spoettle (Spitly) and today's blog is about her family.  The history of the Spitly family had been passed down but we had no information about Amelia's mother, Theresa.  When I was in Lincoln, Ill last spring going through the church records I discovered that her maiden name was Herberger ( many different spellings of this are found).  So now that I knew her maiden name researching her family should be easy...yeah, not so much.

I started by looking for other Herberger families in the area and I found another gentleman, John, researching the Herberger family too.  We found a Goerge and Josephine Herberger in Lincoln but have no records connecting them to Theresa.  Nothing I have mentions Theresa's family.

Anyway, John had contacted me recently and wanted to look at this again.  We had spent the week exchanging emails and ideas of where to look next but still had no idea if Theresa had any family in Lincoln or where she came from.

So last Saturday we were exchanging a couple more ideas and going back over what little information we had when I see an email come in from Ancestry.  It said that I had some new DNA matches.  I click on it and I had a new third cousin match.  That was excited in itself but when I clicked on it the person that was my third cousin match had her tree attached to her profile and she is a direct descendent of George Herberger of Lincoln, IL!!!!!  I had goosebumps.  This had to be more than a freaky coincidence….my great great grandmother, Theresa Herberger Spitly was pointing me to her family.  She wants to be remembered.

*Side note…John's link to the Herberger family is a Carolina Herberger who married Ambrose Wachter.  Ambrose and Carolina were neighbors to Joseph and Theresa Spitly.  They were found together in the church records as sponsors for the baptisms of each other's children.  This make me believe that Carolina is also related to Theresa but Theresa and George are both listed as coming from Bavaria in several places and John has a complete story on Carolina and her mother coming from Germany so we are not sure if there is a true relationship there or not.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

In Search of Konrad...

My Great Grandfather Conrad Boehler came over from Germany in 1872 according to census records.  I have yet to find his passage on a ship list but will keep looking.  This blog is going to discuss finding Conrad in Germany considering all we had to go on was that he said he was from Baden. First some background on what we already knew about Conrad.

Conrad landed in Lincoln Ill and met my Great Grandmother Amelia Spitley (Spoettle).  Amelia's father, Joseph farmed in Lincoln, Ill and her Uncle Martin Spitley owned the Spitley House there.

*Photo was sent to me from the Logan County Genealogy and Historical Society.

The hotel burned down in 1924 but it is still remembered by a mural in downtown Lincoln.
I was lucky enough to make a trip with my mom last spring to visit Lincoln, Ill.  I took the picture while there.

Conrad married Amelia on the 12th day of January in 1875 at St. Mary's Catholic church.  With Amelia came 80 acres of  farm land as found in the deed books.  A quit claim from Amelia to Conrad was recorded in July 1875.

They remained in Lincoln, Ill until 1878 at which time they moved to Beatrice, Nebraska.  After doing research of the area it seems there were friends from Lincoln, Ill that also moved to Beatrice. Knochel is one of the names found in Beatrice and Lincoln.  Conrad filed an intent to become a citizen in Lincoln, Ill and completed the papers in Beatrice, NE.  It took me 3 trips to the Beatrice Courthouse to finally talk to someone who knew where these records were kept but on that 3rd trip his record of naturalization was found.  
In 1893 Conrad moved his family to Alma, Nebraska and took up farming on land just west of Alma. This land is still being farmed by my dad and brother John and JJ Boehler.
Below is a picture of the house that first resided on this land.
*Picture given to me by my dad.  Although hard to see Conrad and Amelia are seated and all 7 children are in the picture.  

In 1908 Conrad and Amelia retired from farming and built a beautiful house in Alma, Ne.  That house still stands today and is still beautiful.
*I took this picture on one of my trips to Alma.

Conrad passed away on May 20, 1930 from Carcinoma of the Stomach.  Amelia had passed before him from heart disease on November 14, 1926.

Conrad and Amelia had 8 children, one died as an infant, but the others lived to adulthood.  Theodore, Joseph, Mary, Frank, Caroline, George and Edwin. Only two of those children married.  Frank Boehler married Mattie Colgan and they had one son, Clement.  My Grandfather, Joseph Boehler married Loretta "Etta" Fuller and they had 4 children.  Margaret (Peg), Jody, Conrad and John (Jack).  John is my father.

Since Conrad had died in 1930 and my Grandfather Joe died in 1968 when I was in kindergarten there really wasn't anyone to ask about what part of Germany he had come from and what life was like there.  On his death certificate his place of birth was listed as Baden Germany and his parents names were listed as Unknown.  His son, George had given the information so he didn't seem to know much either.

I had been told that Conrad was a stow away on a ship and that he left Germany suddenly.  He had served in the Franco-Prussian War and the "story" was that he was dating a girl and later found it was his superior officer's wife.  Because of this he had to leave Germany in a hurry to avoid the wrath of the officer.  His obituary said that he was the youngest of seven children.  That is about all I had to go on.

As I had become interested in genealogy I had started by researching the other side...the Fuller family.  My cousin, Barb, had done research on the Boehler/Spitly side and for a family reunion she had put together a fabulous book of family group records and pictures that she had collected, but as I became more and more caught up in genealogy I really wanted to know more about where in Germany Conrad came from and more about his family.  

I knew since I had just started out and was still learning that I had to have help.  I got a name of a German researcher from the same friend that has helped me multiple times in my research.  So I contacted her with the only information I had.

Conrad Boehler, born October 16, 1849, in Baden Baden Germany.  The only other thing I had in my possession was a picture that was with my dad's things that had been passed down to him.  It was a picture that listed a Boehler in Germany getting married and the site was listed as Lake Constance, Germany.  I had no idea if this person was related to us or why that picture was mixed in with the Boehler things but it was.

The researcher told me that she would start looking in Baden Baden but that she did not believe any Boehler's were born there.  She searched the records and reported that no Boehler was born that year in Baden Baden.  Next she searched the areas around Lake Constance going from the only hint we had in the picture of Helene Boehler. 

First she found a Conrad Boehler in that area that was born in November 26, 1841 but the year was too far off to be my Conrad.  So she went to looking in another area of Baden where she felt the Boehler family originated from.  I also had asked her to look for an emigration record for Conrad but explained that I believe he stowed away on a ship.  She told me that when they said that they "disappeared in the dark of night" translated to "stowed away" to us, that it meant that he did not ask permission to emigrate to the US.  When someone wanted to leave the principality it was a loss of taxes from this man so they have to pay money to emigrate.  Most people were poor and did not have the amount of money needed for this so they disappeared "by night and fog"!  She told me that he would have still had to purchase a ship ticket as they were very careful to not allow stow aways.  

So she continued to look for my Conrad and one day I received an email that she felt that she had found him!  He was the only Conrad born in that area that year.  The record stated that he was born
October 24, 1849 and he was the youngest of seven children.  I was excited but still unsure due to the birthdate being off.  I felt like everything else fit in.  His father was Sebastian Boehler and mother was Theresia Schey and he was born in a small parish of Riedoeschingen.  Also the distance to Mittelzell, Lake Constance was only 40 there still could be a connection to the picture we had.  She went on to get me lots of information of generations going back many years but I still had that little bit of doubt in my mind.  But how would I ever be sure....

A few months later I had been to a genealogy workshop and they were talking about going back and doing google searches every so often of the people that you are working on because new information is being added everyday and something new could pop up when you least expect it to.  Well my great grandfather was pushing me to check for him that day so I put his name in and I couldn't believe my eyes at what came up.

This is a page from The Bulletin, United States Bureau of Plant Industry that states that my great grandfather had seed from Riedoeschingen Germany that he was growing and developing for them.  This was the confirmation that I needed that he was indeed the Conrad from Riedoeschingen born October 1849.  
Since then I have been told that one explanation for the difference in the day of his birth was that the priest may have been a traveling priest who went from parish to parish to baptize babies and by the time he got back to record births in the books he may have not remembered everything correctly. I don't know but I do believe that my Conrad had been found and with it being in Germany I could never have found the information on my own. 
*Pictures of Conrad and Amelia and a copy of Conrad's intention to become a citizen.

My mom remembers being told that Conrad was spelled Konrad in Germany.  She was right, the books that record his birth have him listed as Konrad Boehler with the "K".  Everything I have found of him in the United States has it spelled with a "C".

We still have not found a connection to the picture of Helene Boehler but I think it must be there. Time will hopefully tell...