Monday, October 13, 2014

This is why your surname is Krapf, not Reichwein.

I am writing this post for my two sons, Jason and Eric Krapf and my sister in-laws Anna Salamatin and Katherine Granillo.  So very little was known about the family, that I just had to do it.

Children who lost their parents before 1935, were generally raised by relatives or neighbors.  Most times those children's surname would be changed to the family that raised them.  Changes in identity were common and simple before 1935 since there were no formal arrangements and no going through the court system, however; legal documents were necessary after 1935 when the Social Security Act was signed.

This is relevant in the case of Elwood (11 Aug 1922 Lavelle, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania) and Gloria Krapf (10 Apr 1924 Lavelle, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania).  Elwood and Gloria were the children of John William Reichwein (1869-1974) and Anna Krapf (1903-1924).  This is their story.

Let's start with Elwood and Gloria's parents, John William and Anna Krapf Reichwein.

Here is a bio for John William Reichwein found on ancestry via The Shamokin News.

Bio for John Williams Reichwein - on Ancestry via The Shamokin News - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Printed in Shamokin News - Oct 2, 2012 - A flag raising ceremony in Mount Carmel, flag presented by his daughter Catherine Fantina.

As you can see John William Reichwein was married 4 times.  We will be looking at John's second wife Anna Krapf.  Anna was born about 1903 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Krapf (1876-1940) and Margaret Quinton Eister (1882-1964)

They were married 28 Dec 1921 in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania.  John was 25 and Anna was 18.

John W Reichwein and Anna M Krapf Marriage Certificate - from Family Search - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
John W Reichwein and Anna M Krapf,FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Oct 2013)

John and Anna had two children, Elwood in 1922 and Gloria in 1924.  Anna Krapf Reichwein died on 29 Nov 1924 at the age of 21.  

Anna Krapf Reichwein Death Notice - from - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Anna Krapf Reichwein
Mount Carmel Item Tuesday, December 2, 1924 Pin Scratch Kills Woman of Lavelle Anna, wife of John Reichwine (Reichwein), Lavelle, aged 22 years, is dead, the result of a pimple on her face being picked by a pin in a towel as she dried after washing. It was a week ago that she was using the towel with the pin in it. As the pimple was scratched open little was thought of it, but blood poisoning developed and spread through her system, causing death. The funeral will be held Wednesday morning. Services will be conducted in the St Mauritius church at Ashland and burial will be made in the parish cemetery.

Anna Krapf Reichwein Headstone - My family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Anna Krapf Reichwein Headstone

John married Kathryn Bosche in 1925.  I am not sure when Elwood and Gloria went to live with their grandparents; however, by 1930 they are living with Anna's parents John and Margaret Quinton Krapf.

John Krapf Family 1930 Census
Butler, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania
17 Apr 1930

The names of the family show as:

John Krapf52
Margaret Krapf48
Chas Krapf18
Marie Krapf15
R Elwood Krapf7
R Gloria Krapf5

Notice the "R" in front Elwood and Gloria's name.  Does the "R" stand for their actual last name Reichwein?  If not, then what does it mean?  As you can see they already have the Krapf surname.  

The 1940 census only shows Elwood C "son" and Gloria "daughter" to Margaret Krapf (who is widowed at this time).  

Margaret Krapf Family 1940 Census from - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Margaret Krapf Family 1940 Census
Lavelle, Butler, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania
29 Apr 1940

Why were Elwood and Gloria raised by their grandparents?  Why did they not stay with their father and step-mother?  I am not sure if we will ever find the answers to those questions.  

So now you know why you have the surname Krapf and not Reichwein.  


Monday, October 6, 2014

I'm Sorry

I have to apologize to everyone, especially those that follow me.  (It still amazes me today that anyone would follow me.  LoL  And I thank you for that!!!)  I have been so busy lately, I have let this blog get behind.

I'm SORRY!!!

Honestly, I do apologize!  My life has been crazy lately.  Family/home, work just to mention a few.  My granddaughter has been in Children's Hospital (It use to be called Cook's Children Hospital) in Dallas.  Doctors are not sure what is going on with her, but she is ok, for now.  They are just running test after test to determine what is going on.  No prognosis, no saying how long she will be there.  Apparently whatever is going on, the Doctors say they have never seen anything like what she has.  And NO, it is not ebola!!  She has about 20 Doctors looking after her, so she is in good hands!  Hopefully, we (and the Doctors) will know what is going on very soon.  Until then, they will continue to run tests and we will continue to pray!

I will be posting my next blog in the next day or so.  Please bare with me!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eli Wren Medlock

On this day 17 September 1862, Union forces halt a Confederate invasion of Maryland in the Civil War battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam. With 23,100 killed, wounded or captured, it remains the bloodiest single day in U.S. military history.

I pay tribute to my 2x paternal great-grandfather Eli Wren Medlock, who was on that Sharpsburg/Antietam battlefield on 17 September 1862 and wounded on that day. The wound "Vul selopeticum leg" is actually a latin term for a gunshot wound, which should read Vulnus Sclopeticum of the leg. Eli was furloughed home on several occasions due to his wound.

Eli Wren Medlock was born 25 August 1839 in Norcross, Gwinnett, Georgia. He married 1) Martha P Edmonson (1842 - 1886), my 2x paternal great-grandmother, 7 July 1859 in Fulton, Georgia. They had nine children together. He married 2) Julia A. Knight (1844 - 1921) 27 May 1886 in Austell, Cobb, Georgia. Eli died 31 August 1904 in Austell, Cobb, Georgia and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Austell, Cobb, Georgia.

Eli Wren Medlock enlisted in the Confederate Army September 26, 1861 at Camp Kirkpatrick, in DeKalb County, Georgia, by Captain Bower. Eli was a Private of the old Company C, Wright Legion Murphy Guards. By Jan/Feb 1862, the Wright Legion Murphy Guards were Company A. April 1-30 1862 he was with Company L, Wright Legion McCulloch Rifles.

Here is a timeline showing Eli's military service from Fold3:

Eli Wren Medlock enlisted in the (Old) Co. C, Murphy’s Guards, Wright Legion, Georgia as a private Sept, 26, 1861, at Camp Kirkpatrick in DeKalb Co., Georgia.  

Jan till Apr 1862 with (New) Co. A, Murphy’s Guards, Wright Legion, Georgia.  

April 1862 with Co. L, McCulloch Rifles, Wright Legion1, and was detailed for Waggoner April 20, 1862.

September 17, 1862 wounded at Sharpsburg/Antietam.  On a list of killed, wounded and missing, in Ewell’s Division, Aug 22 to Sept 20, 1862.  [Series 1, vol. 12, part 1, pg 810.]  

September 17, 1862 till June 30, 1863 “home on furlough, wounded”.

November 21, 1862  E.W. Medlock, Co. D., 38th Regiment, Ga - vols, made oath that he is without a Descriptive Roll or Final Statement which is impossible to obtain from his commanding officer, for the reason that his company is now with Gen Ewell; that the within account, amounting to forty four dollars, is correct; that he is not in debt to the Confederate States, and that he will present a statement of this payment to his commanding officer.

Jan/Feb 1863 at hospital, wounded

Mar/Apr 1863 absent, wounded at hospital

July 9, 1863 paid - Private E.W. Medlock, Co. D., 38 Ga from May 1, 1863 to June 30, 1863 - pay $22.

July 9, 1863   the Confederate States, Dr.
to E.W. Medlock
Co. D, 38, Ga C.S. Army
For monthy pay, from  May 1, 1863 to June 30, 1863
being 2 months @ 11 per month
Sent from Lynchburg Hospital to defend Richmond
Amt paid $22
I certify, that I have enclosed this payment on Medlock’s Descriptive Roll.
Received Richmond this 9th day of July 1863 from Major John Ambler, Quatermaster C.S. Army, the sum of twenty-two dollars, being the amt, and in full of the above account.   E.W. Medlock

August 1863, appears on a roll of non-commissioned officers and privates employed on extra duty at Orange C.H.  [Orange Co., Va, Orange Courthouse] nature of service: Teamster 2.  

August 1863, appears on a Receipt Roll for clothing at 1 Division, General Hospital for Camp Winder 3, Richmond, Va.

September 1863, appears on a roll of non-commissioned officers and privates employed on extra duty at Orange C.H.  [Orange Co., Va, Orange Courthouse] nature of service: Teamster.

November/December of 1863 listed as a Brigade Ambulance Driver until he was furloughed home on an old wound  July 15, 1864
December 1963 appears on a roll of non-commissioned officers and privates employed on extra duty during month of Dec., nature of service: Teamster.

May - July 15, 1864 listed as a Brigade Ambulance Driver until he was furloughed home on an old wound.

June 18, 1864 appears on a register of C.S.A. Gen. Hosp Danville, Va.
Complaint: vul selopeticum leg
Furloughed: June 19 1864
Confederate Archive, Chap 6, FIle No. 209, pg 600

August 8, 1864 appears on a Report of the Medical Examining Board, Dalton, Ga, under the head of “Recommendation for extension of furloughs.”
Brigade: Gordons
Army: Lee
Date: Aug 8, 1864
No. days: 30
Town: Hoganville
State: Ga
Remarks:   Furloughed from Danville, Va June 19, 30 days

Confederate Archive, Chapter 6, File No. 543, pg 124

1 Most of the members of this Company were enlisted by Capt. John Y. Flowers in the DeKalb Murphy Guards (subsequently Co. A, 38th Regiment Georgia Infantry, which company becoming too large was divided Apr 1, 1862.  The new company taking the name of McCulloch Rifles.  This company became Co. D, 38th Regiment Georgia Infantry.

2 Teamsters drove horses, oxen or mules to haul supplies to troops and during battle supplied troops with much needed supplies.

3 From the Richmond Sentinel, 8/10/1863

This blog post is in honor of Eli Medlock.


Note:  I started this post on the anniversary of the battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam on 17 Sept 2014.  Due to computer freeze ups I was not able to post this until 18 Sept 2014.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Family Medical History

It's time for a talk.  A talk about your family medical history.  

Let me ask you a research your family history, right?  Are you a beginner, advanced or somewhere in between?  I have worked hard on researching my family history.  I bet you have as well.  Family history/genealogy is not easy by any means.  If you are like me, then you have names along with dates of birth, marriages and deaths in your head.  I have talked to some people who do genealogy, and they can recite their 4x great-grandparents information ( everything ) perfectly, yet cannot remember their own wedding anniversary date.  I remember growing up and my parents calling or trying to yell at me, but calling me by one of my sister's name.  Or my parents would be saying something while looking at me and kinda stammer with my name, like they couldn't remember it.  I swore that I would never, ever do that to my kids.  I hate to admit it, but I have done the same thing with my boys.  ( Don't hate, a lot of people do it! )

Now, let me ask you another question.  Have you done a family medical history?  A what?  Have you ever even heard of a family medical history, other than at your doctor's office?  Well, then let me tell you!

My oldest son called me today.  ( Yay, good son! )  He asked if I had a family medical history.  Now, if you know my son, that is asking a lot!!  He is always making comments and giving me grief about me doing family history/genealogy research.  When I say something about finding an ancestor on Find-A-Grave, he will say "leave those poor dead people alone" or "there she goes again".  LoL  So for him to call me and ask me that question, well something is up.  He told me that his youngest daughter's ( my granddaughter ) doctor needed it, I about freaked out.  Why would her doctor need a family medical history.  She is 5 years old, and in good health.  My son told me that she has had 3 mini strokes in 5 days, one on Friday, one Monday and one today!  Not good!  I told him that I did have a family medical history and that I would need to find where I put it, and would get him the information in the morning.    

A family medical history is important for several reasons.  1) for your own health - if you are aware of diseases that run in your family, that gives you a heads up on your future health.  Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer runs in families.  2) for your doctor - this will allow the doctor to see anything from your family history that may affect you and/or your family.  

According to the Mayo Clinic:  Your doctor might use your family medical history to:
  • Assess your risk of certain diseases
  • Recommend treatments or changes in diet or other lifestyle habits to reduce the risk of disease
  • Determine which diagnostic tests to order
  • Determine the type and frequency of screening tests
  • Determine whether you or family members should get a specific genetic test
  • Identify a condition that might not otherwise be considered
  • Identify other family members who are at risk of developing a certain disease
  • Assess your risk of passing conditions on to your children
Thankfully, I did a family medical history about 10-15 years ago.  Once I do find it, I will definitely be up-dating it!  

So, please do your self and your family a favor and make yourself a family medical history today!!   I created mine in a spreadsheet.  This is what my headings look like:


I list a name and will show m-g for maternal grandmother or p-2gg for paternal 2x great-grandfather, etc.

On another spreadsheet I have:



with the row continuing with:


With this spreadsheet I will list a name and put an "x" in the column that affects that person.  Again, here I will show m-g for maternal grandmother or p-2gg for paternal 2x great-grandfather, etc.  In the "OTHER CANCER" column above I will put the type of cancer a person had; pancreatic, lung, kidney, etc.  The list I use above is just a sample of diseases that affect my family.  You can use whatever affects your family. You can customize these charts anyway you like.  You can color code names, a certain color for paternal and another color for maternal.    The most important thing to remember is get the information and record it!

How do you get the family medical history information?  Ask!  Ask your immediate family, ask grandparents, ask aunts and uncles.  If anyone is hesitate about giving you any medical information, explain why you are doing a family medical history, and offer to share your family medical history record with them.  Share the family medical history with everyone in your family!  Share a copy of the family medical history in the "Family Newsletter", share it at the "Family Reunion".  Just share it!  Help your family members to be aware of just how important a family medical history is.  You can also gather information from death records of your family.  Generally, a death certificate will list a cause of death, and sometimes will list a secondary cause of death.  

Be pro-active about your health.  Know what your family medical history is!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Carrie Virginia Neitzey Mills Kidwell

Carrie Virginia Neitzey Mills Kidwell - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Carrie Virginia Neitzey Mills Kidwell 22 Aug 1877 - 20 Nov 1923
John Patrick Mills - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
John Patrick Mills
Jul 1869 - 8 Feb 1914

Carrie Virginia Neitzey (pronounced Knight zee), my 2x maternal great-grandmother, was born 22 Aug 1877 in Washington, DC.  She married John Patrick Mills (1869-1914) 11 Mar 1891 in Washington, DC.  They had 5 children during their marriage; Mazie Rosina (my great-grandmother), Arthur William, Elva Kathleen, Grace Estelle and Harvey Montgomery.  

Mills Family 1906 - John Patrick, Carrie Virginia, Mazie, Grace, Elva, Harvey and Arthur Mills - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
The Mills Family (abt 1906) Back row L to R: Unknown family friend, John Patrick Mills, Carrie Virginia Neitzey Mills Front row L to R: Mazie Rosina Mills, Grace Estelle Mills, Elva Kathleen Mills, Harvey Montgomery Mills, Arthur William Mills.

In 1900, Carrie was 23 years old and lived on N Street South East in Washington, DC., with her husband John age 31, their 3 daughters and son.

In 1910, Carrie was 33 years old and lived on 7th Street in Washington, DC., with her husband John age 41, their 3 daughters and 2 sons.

Carrie married James F. Kidwell 15 Aug 1914 in Washington, DC., at the Church of the Epiphany - Clergy: The Rev. Charles F Edwards - Witnesses: William G Frances, Ada M. Kidwell.

In 1920, Carrie was 43 years old and lived on D Street in Washington, DC.,  with her husband James age 43, her daughter Grace and son Harvey Mills.

Carrie died 23 Nov 1923 in Takoma Park, Maryland, at the age of 46.  Primary cause of death - Acute Gastro-Enteritis (Inflammation of the bowels.) Secondary cause of death - Endocarditis/Dental Abscess (An inflammation of the inner lining of the heart, caused by dental abscess.  She was buried in Congressional Cemetery, R 124/S 261.

Carrie Virginia Neitzey Mills Kidwell Headstone - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Carrie Virginia Neitzey Mills Kidwell Headstone


Monday, September 8, 2014

John Williams and Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock

John Williams Medlock - My Family History Journey - Debbie LowranceSarah Jemison Ware Medlock - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance

John Williams Medlock and Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock are my paternal 3x great grandparents. John Williams Medlock was born in Greenville, South Carolina 4 Apr 1803, and died 5 Nov 1882 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock was born in Green Co., Georgia 21 Nov 1807, and died 16 Dec 1883 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. They were married 7 Nov 1822 in Gwinnett Co., Georgia. John was 19 and Sarah was 15. They had 13 children with 2 dying in infancy. Their children are:

Thomas Landrum Delony Medlock
Susannah Eliza Medlock
James Isham Henry Medlock
John Oliver Medlock
Robert Medlock
Martha Margaret Ann Medlock
William Parks Medlock
Eli Wren Medlock (my paternal 2x great grandfather)
Sarah Jemison Medlock
Caroline Medlock
Georgia Ann Medlock
Zachry Taylor Medlock
Clark Smith Medlock

1830 John (27) and Sarah (23), lived in Gwinnett, Georgia.

1840 John W. Medlock (37) and Sarah (33) lived in Gwinnett, Georgia.

1850 John W. Medlock (47) and Sarah (43) lived in Gwinnett, Georgia.

In 1851 John W. Medlock bought 102 acres of land from Allen L. Johnson for $1000.

Buying Land Lot Forty-eight they made their home near a spring on land that is now near Grace United Methodist Church on Ponce de Leon Avenue.  (Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History  By: Sharon Foster Jones)

The Medlocks did make use of slave labor, but they were not the stereotypical plantation owners of hundreds of slaves in the antebellum South; they reported six slaves in Atlanta in 1850 between the ages of one and thirty-one years and ten slaves in 1860 between the ages of four months and forty-four years.  (Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History  By: Sharon Foster Jones)

1860 John was a farmer in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.

The Civil War took it's toll on the family in many ways. Five sons, as well as four son-in-laws fought in the Confederate State Army (CSA) better known as the Confederacy. The family was forced to leave their plantation in 1864 when the Union army marched through Georgia. When the war ended, they returned to their home to find their house burned, timber cut down, and life as they knew it, gone.  One son, Thomas Landrum Delony Medlock, committed suicide shortly after coming home from the war. William Parks Medlock was wounded in both hands, with the bullet remaining in his left hand until his death. Eli Wren Medlock (my paternal 2x great grandfather) was wounded at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock wrote this letter to her daughter Martha Margaret Ann Terry in Longview, Texas. It will give you a better understanding and glimpse into the life of the Medlock family after the war.  

Atlanta, Georgia

March the 12, 1866

Dear Children:
I will try to write you a few lines in answer to your very kind and affectionate letter received a few days ago.  We wsd truly glad to hear from you and hear you were all well.  Your lines found us only in tolerable health.  Ellen and Ciscero are at the hospital.  He has had the smal pox.  Ellen had it very light.  Ciscero came very near dying.  His toes are coming off.  He has been there two weeks tomorrow.
I cannot say I am ever well but keep up the most of my time.  I feel this morning like I could not hold out to finish my letter with a numbness in my arm and hand.  It has troubled me for four years at least, but it gets worse.  I do not rest with it after I lie down and get to sleep, it pains me.  I have to rub it very often.  If you really knew how it is, you would be surprised at my attempting to write.  It is raining a little this morning, I suppose makes it worse.
The small pox is more common than you every knew the measles, yes is five times as much.  I believe there has been thousands of cases.  There is and has been more negros died around here than belong to the place before the war.  The Yanks is throwing them out... The blacks is with us except Jude and Mary.  Jude is with S.J.W.   Mary is with Rebecca Medlock.  Charles is hired at 10 dollars per month and will feed him, his family is at Chattanooga; Ellen and her oldest girl and four boys - three of them not able to do any thing.  The burned one and the one she called Noah, died in 1864.  We left home in July '64 the 12th day.  We left our furniture.  We took a few chairs and bedding, the best or the most of our clothes - our cattle we sold to the government except three cows and calves.  We have one cow and calf is all the stock except two mules.  We lost our hogs and horses.  We refugeed at Washington County, stayed there September '64 until November '65.  The fighting was mostly from Peachtree Road around to Decatur.  Our houses burned, our timber cut down on the home lot, our shade trees and pretty well all of our fruit trees.
There has been thousands of pounds of lead picked up on our land.  People supported their family picking up lead.  They got 50 cents a pound before the surrender.  The bomb-shells is plenty, many with the load in them.
I mailed a letter to you in January.  I told you that Georgia was to be married the 30th of January.  She married at 3 o'clock on the 30th to Joel Yarborough.  He is the one we spoke of when you was there.  He has been raised an orphan, he is very steady.  I think he is doing business in town on his own hook - has been clerking before the war.
I also told you about the boys, they are all home except Thomas, poor fellow - his body lies in the nearest grave yard to his house - he shot his brains out.  He was wounded in the 7 days fight before Richmond in '62 - shot himself in '64.  He never enjoyed life after he was wounded.  John came home unhurt, only his constitution somewhat impaired.  B.F.W. is alright at home.  W.P. badly hurt, has lost his left hand and fore-finger on his right hand, neither amputated.  Robert is also at home, has bad health.  E.W. is living in Troop County.  Was wounded at Sharpsburg, hurt badly but has, I learn, got over it.  I have not seen him since the surrender.  Fletcher Tilly and Albert was both wounded, not serious.  Now I must say the connection is on foot as far as I know.  I forgot to tell you that Wiley is dead.  He died in the fall of '64.
You seem to think of coming back to Atlanta, there is as much ground here as there ever was, but not as many trees.  It is not my wish to try to persuade you against your will but it is a great terror to me - not only me but all of the connection, to think of being deprived of seeing Ann and her children when they all think you could do as well here.  I believe the Lord heard my prayer on behalf of my children.  I feel some time that I ought never to cease shouting and praising my God, for his mercy and goodness to my children.  My prayer has been that I might live to enjoy Ann's company in life, but if I am not permitted, I hope I shall in heaven.  It seems to me that I  could write a week if my arm would hold out - it is so dead I will have to close.
Kiss the children for us.  Write soon.  I remain your mother in love.
Sarah Medlock
  •  S.J.W. is her daughter Sarah Jemison Walker
  • Rebecca Medlock is the wife of her son Thomas  
  • Georgia who married Yarborough is her daughter
  • Thomas who shot himself is her son
  • John is her son
  • B.F.W. is her son-in-law Benjamin F. Walker
  • Robert is her son
  • E.W. is her son Eli Wren Medlock
  • Fletcher Tilly is her son-in-law
  • Albert is the brother of Fletcher
  • Wiley who died could possible be her son William
  • It is unknown who Ellen and Ciscero were.

This letter is courtesy of atlandows (user name) on

1880 John (77) and Sarah (73) lived in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.

John Williams Medlock died 5 Nov 1882 in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia and Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock died 16 Dec 1883 in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.

In 1883 - the year following John Williams Medlock’s death-three hundred acres of his land near Ponce was auctioned for development; it had been divided into fifty lots. (Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History By: Sharon Foster Jones) The land sold for over $79,000.

Life was hard for the Medlock family. As a mother, I cannot imagine all of my male children going off to war. John and Sarah lived during turbulent times and never gave up.  They worked hard, starting with next to nothing and working their way to a large parcel of land. The strength that John and Sarah had, both physically and mentally, shows the type of people they were, strong. Developing the area which is now the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, they were true pioneers in every sense of the word.


A special thank you to Sharon Foster Jones - Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History for the history and insight.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy 96th Birthday Grandma!!!

On 3 Sept 2014 my grandmother will turn 96 years old.

Helen Louise Wise King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
My maternal Grandmother, Helen Louise Wise King.
My grandmother is one incredible woman.  I adore her to pieces.  Grandma is a gentle, kind, loving woman.  Yet, she can be a little spitfire at times!  I love my grandma!!

Charles Joseph and Mazie Rosina Mills Wise - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
My great grandparents: Charles Joseph and Mazie Rosina Mills Wise.

Grandma was born 3 Sept 1914 in Washington, DC., the third child of the seven born to Charles Joseph Wise and Mazie Rosina Mills.

Before I continue, let me explain that my grandmother is the original family historian.  She is the one who is responsible for giving me the "family history/genealogy bug".  I love her for that!!!  When it became too much for her to handle, I took over.  My grandmother wrote a little bit about her childhood, and her siblings which I would like to share with you.  She also wrote letters to her "Precious Gifts", her children.  These letters and memories show what a kind, gentle, loving sister, wife, mother and grandmother she is.  These are her words and hers alone.  

From my grandmother, Helen Louise Wise King:  Memories of my early childhood - (written for her children)
My mother was a wonderful woman, good housewife and friend.  She was always waiting for us when we got home from school.  When we were in school she visited her parents and took them something she had just baked.  My father was an "iceman" and he drove a team of horses and wagon to deliver his ice in.  He worked five days a week and he worked very hard.  He was a good provider for his family.  He also visited his parents on his way home from work.  I remember all of our family sitting down to have supper together.  My father would ask, "did you all have a nice day?" or "did you have any problems?" - if the answer was "yes" then they would be discussed.  After the table was cleared, dishes washed and kitchen cleaned all the children sat down and did their homework at the kitchen table.  Mom and Dad would go into the living room.  After we finished our homework, we could join our parents.  I can remember all of us sitting around and singing while my mother played her organ.  She never had any music lessons, but she could play anything you asked her. 

I remember a sad Valentine's Day in 1931; my youngest brother (Gilbert Hadley Wise) was sick for a couple of days.  A doctor was attending him but he died on this day from pneumonia.  All of us were very sad and upset.  Six months later our mother died on Oct. 3, 1931.  This to was a very sad time for us.  We missed our mother very much.  After my mother died, my father's mother (Margaret Catherine Knott Wise) came to live with us.  My grandmother had been a widow for a few years and was living alone.  Her best friend lived next door to us but she remarried.  They also were raising their two grandsons, Elmer (my grandfather) and Raymond King.  

I can remember hanging wet clothes out to dry on a very cold day.  It was not a pleasant chore but carrying them in with your nose buried in the fresh cold smell made the effort worth while after a long winter.  I remember the pleasures of playing outside after school in the spring weather on the first warm day.  In the house I could still smell the fresh grass crushed on my clothes and skin.  Spring finally arrived and we knew school would be out soon.  

Your dad (my grandfather - Elmer Joseph King) tried to choose me all the time for his partner and this made me mad.  One day I told him, "not to choose me anymore" because I didn't like him.  He looked at me with his big blue eyes and smiled.  Then he said "you are my girlfriend and you will like me someday", we continued skating.  Your dad (my grandfather) used to flirt with me.  We got to know each other better.  Your dad (my grandfather) was always a persistent guy who would scheme or bribe to make captain of our team.  He loved to be captain all the time.  He was unhappy when he wasn't.  

I remember the first time when my sister came out of school; there stood her boyfriend with your dad.  My sister's boyfriend was always there to carry her books home - now here was your dad carrying my books home too.  I remember one day your dad was really excited and happy - his science teacher told him if his father approved, he would pay your dad's way through college.  His teacher made four appointments with his dad.  He never showed up for any of them.  His teacher finally got in touch with him and your dad's father said "no".  He didn't need any college education and to forget it.  This made your dad mad, so he quit school and signed up for the navy for 18 months.  

We did not hear from your dad for a while.  Then his letters started coming.  One of his letters said he was coming home on leave in 2 weeks.  Everyone missed him.  Your dad looked so handsome in his dark blue navy uniform.  Everyone couldn't get over his change.  After his leave was up he went back to the navy telling me how much he missed and loved me.

Helen Louise Wise and Elmer Joseph King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Helen Louise Wise and Elmer Joseph King.

The next time we saw your dad he was wearing his white uniform and still my father wouldn't let me go out with him alone.  We had to have a chaperon with us; even in my father's own theater. 

During his enlistment of 18 months, the navy found out he lied about his age but they let him finish his 18 months out.  I can still remember the day he came home after he finished his enlistment.  My brother bought his car, a 1934 Ford with a rambler seat in the back.  All of us kids was waiting for our turn to ride in his car.  As soon as were getting into his car who do you think came home?  My father told your dad he could ride up front.  People were waving and tipping their hats - you were now seeing more vehicles then before.  Now your dad was driving a laundry truck.  We began to see each other again.  I never knew how much I missed him.  Now I was falling in love with him.  Your dad was 18 and I was 16.  When he asked me to marry him 16 was a legal age to marry without parental consent.  So we waited a little while.  One month before my 17th birthday (3 Aug 1935) and your dad was still 18 we eloped and got married without telling our parents.  

Helen Louise Wise King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Helen Louise Wise King

I can remember our 1 room bedroom apartment.  Your dad was making $15 a week - $5 went for rent, then we had to pay for food.  We even had enough money to go and see movies.  Every Saturday night was night out.  We went somewhere special on our nights.  After being married 18 months and 21 days God sent us our first of seven wonderful gifts from heaven.  We were very proud of each one and we thanked the Lord for giving us parenthood.  These were our happiest moments of our life that never dimmed throughout all the years with tears and happiness.  

Richard, Elmer, Shirley, Helen Louise, Linda, Margaret and Penny King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
The King Family
Back row L to R:  Richard, Elmer (my grandfather), Shirley (my Mom)
Front row L to R:  Helen Louise (my grandmother) Linda, Margaret, Penny

Now WWII has started and the Army has drafted your dad.  So he is off for basic training.  Then overseas he went.  After the war was over he decided to stay in the service.  Now that the Army/Air Force has decided to go to their own units, your dad went into the Air Force.  He said it would be a good experience and good opportunities for his family.  We traveled with him to Germany, New York, Washington DC, Japan, Texas, Ohio, Hawaii, Montana, and Arizona where he retired.  After his retirement we just enjoyed life together.  After a while he began to get sick more and more - we stayed in the house.  

Your dad was a wonderful guy.  He enjoyed working with his hands - always making something.  He could never sit still.  I always told him he had "ants in his pants".  (Granddad had emphysema and passed away 29 Mar 1991) God has called my friend, pal, companion, my life, my lover and beloved husband home.  No more pain or suffering for him now.  He is were his roses will never fade.  Here we have a bond that held 2 hearts in love.  A love that is secure, received it's strength and comes from God is a great love.  Our love did endure in our lifetime.  A successful marriage is more than finding the right person - it's being the right person.  Success in marriage comes from working together in our relationship to our mates.  It's strength reaches down beyond the couples mutual love for each other and relies in daily living.  I miss our good night hug and kisses, telling each other how much we love one another.  Telling each other how we felt or what happened that day.  My dear you are gone but we will never forget you.  I also miss my mother, father, sister, and 2 brothers.  Thank God for our wonderful children, their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  They are all the sunshine in our life.

Helen Louise King
July 11, 1994

What heart warming memories.  This letter really opened my eyes in regards to my grandmother.  She was a child, a sister, a woman, a wife, a mother and a grandmother.  Reading her words and her feelings touched me in so many ways.  It has allowed me to see what her life was like growing up and into her adult life.  

Helen Louise Wise King 5 May 2014 - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Helen Louise Wise King
5 May 2014

Like I said, Grandma is an amazing woman!  She has a saying "Life is beautiful!"  So are you Grandma, so are you!  I love you Grandma!!