Saturday, September 22, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 38

Carol Wambaugh 1960
The writing prompt Unusual Source brought to mind a letter dated 24 February 1964 that was written by my great-aunts Nellie and Stella Metz to my cousin, Sister John Daniel (born Carol Wambaugh). Upon hearing the other nuns speaking of their grandparents, Carol expressed regret to her mother, Stella (Crusham) Wambaugh, that she didn’t know much about her own ancestors. Stella asked her aunts Nellie and Stella to relay what they knew, and in turn they wrote to Carol, giving the information they knew about the family.

In addition to filling a few holes in the family tree, the letter was filled with other tidbits about when various ancestors came to America and where they traveled from to get here. They included known birth and death dates, what some of the men did for a living in their home countries as well as once they got to the United States, where they worshipped, and that great-grandma Catherine (Colgan) Crusham arrived in America around the age of 3 just in time to get her tongue clipped.

letter from Nellie and Stella
It was from this letter I learned that the Crusham family had emigrated from Tuam, County Galway,
Ireland. With that piece of information I was able to visit the Galway Family History Society in Ireland to research their records in search of the original spelling of the Crusham name. As I’ve written in the past, it was usually spelled Crisham in Ireland, though other variations existed as well. From there I was able to obtain baptism and death information on the family.

I’ll be forever grateful to the nuns who talked about their families, and peaked Carol’s interest enough to ask her mom what she knew about the Crusham/Metz families. And that Nellie and Stella cared enough to write a six page letter to Carol detailing what they had heard about our family history.

Nellie and Stella Metz with their sister Lulu

Saturday, September 15, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 37

Kim, Chuck and Debbie
The writing prompt for this week is Closest to Your Birthday. I am unaware of any direct relatives who share my exact October birth date. The only person I found in my family tree was a very remote in-law whom I know nothing about.

But I do have two cousins whose birthdays are quite close to mine. And I even have a cute picture of the three of us on the couch at Grandma and Grandpa Crusham’s house.

Michael and Mayme (Metz) Crusham had 8 children who lived to be adults. The oldest, Marie, was a spinster and never had a family, but the other 7 all married and had children. Altogether there were 38 grandchildren - 20 boys and 18 girls. All of them were born in Cincinnati.

In the pecking order, I was grandchild #19. Just 15 days before me, my cousin Deborah was born. And 6 days after I arrived, my cousin Charles was born. The photograph shows the three of us together, probably taken at Easter in 1956.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 36

This week’s writing prompt involves Work and I'm writing about my dad’s early work history. LeRoy Kubler was born 29 June 1917 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Joseph and Lillian (Hungler) Kubler.  He was the second oldest of four children, and the only boy. He graduated from the Printing Vocational High School, located at 608 East McMillan Street, on 10 August 1934. In high school he set pins at a bowling alley to earn spending money.

cook at Jefferson Barracks
From the time he was 18 until at least the age of 21, Roy was listed in the Cincinnati Directories as being employed as a chef. How I wish I would have talked to him about that! I know that his mother taught him to cook (and clean house) along with his sisters, and that he was a cook at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis during his training with the Army Air Forces in WWII. He was quite good at it, and enjoyed preparing meals his whole life.

By 1941 Roy was working for the Railway Express Agency (REA), an organization that was responsible for shipping parcels by rail and truck throughout the United States. In order to work for the company he had to join the union. He became a member of the Cincinnati Labor Organization - Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees, Cincinnati Lodge No. 2045. This union was formed in 1899 by 33 railroad clerks meeting in Sedalia, Missouri. He was employed by the REA when he got married to Catherine Crusham on 17 January 1942, and when he enlisted in the Army Air Forces shortly thereafter.
Union Roll of Honor

Dance Freight Line
When Roy came home from the war in November of 1945, REA made arrangements to get him back home to Cincinnati following his separation from the army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It is unclear whether he was able to return to his position at REA when he was discharged from the military, but at some point he went to work for Dance Freight Line, a regional trucking carrier with an important connecting terminal in Cincinnati. Dance served Ohio, Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Brady appointment
In the Cincinnati Enquirer on 6 May 1955 an article appeared listing the appointment of Roy Kubler, formerly assistant traffic manager of Dance Freight Lines, as sales representative for Brady Motorfrate Co. at the Cincinnati terminal. Brady Motorfrate had terminals in many locations including Cincinnati, Chicago, and Des Moines.

This new position would have lasting implications for the family. By January of 1956 Roy was required to move to Chicago, uprooting the family of six. Five years later, he was transferred to Des Moines, where he remained until his retirement in 1984, though his career would take many paths over those twenty-eight years.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 35

For this week’s writing prompt, Back to School, I’m going back to the early to mid-1800s in Ireland. First, it’s important to understand a little bit about how children of the poor began to get educated in Ireland.

The Commissioners for National Education (National Board of Education) was established for the purpose of administering funds for education of the poor in Ireland. The Board was empowered to make grants to existing schools for the payment of teachers and the provision of equipment and to provide for the building of new schools, to appoint and pay inspectors and to establish a model school for the training of teachers.

Prison East and school location
It was through such a grant that the Prison School (also spelled Prizon School) was built. The name actually has nothing to do with any prison, but is derived from the townland in which it is located - Prison East. Located in County Mayo, Prison East is in Civil Parish of Manulla. The building of the school began around 1823, according to letters written by Father Patrick Nolan who helped to establish the school. The original dimensions were listed as 40 feet by 20 feet. In 1937 a new building erected on the same land just to the west of the old school. At some point the original building was torn down. The 1937 building is still standing today, but the school closed in 1970.

Prison School
The earliest records on the school are found in a report by the National Board of Education (NBE) from 1850. It mentioned that the Prison School had a male teacher and received funding of 10 pounds from the NBE that year. Both boys and girls attended the school, with the total number of pupils ranging from 56-65 during the school year.

Slates and chalk were the writing tools, and while some books were supplied to the school, it is unclear whether each student had their own or needed to share. The school had a timber floor with a large open fireplace for heating the space. Each student was required to bring a sod of turf each day to keep the fire burning.

Subjects studied at the school included reading, writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, music, geography, and history. For girls, sewing and needlework were added, and for boys, agriculture and book keeping. It was originally forbidden that students speak Irish in school. Those who did were punished. From that it would seem that a child who did not speak English would not be allowed to attend the school.

Attendance at the school fluctuated depending on the time of year. The older boys and girls would stay at home to help with the planting or harvesting of the crops. During winter months, attendance was higher.

According to a website on the history of Prison School, the first teacher at the school was a man with the last name of Carlos. He was followed by a man named Colgan from Bailefaidirin, who had been trained as a gardener. Colgan, it is said, had a very beautiful garden around the school. In 1864 Edward Colgan was listed as the teacher for the boys school, and Bridget Colgan (his wife) was shown as the teacher for the girls school. The one room school was split in half with a partition separating the boys from the girls. The website states that Colgan was a Fenian and was dismissed by the NBE, so he and his family emigrated to America.

Edward Colgan was my maternal 2nd great-grandfather. He was born 31 December 1834 in Drumadoon, Balla, County Mayo to Thomas Colgan and Catherine (Carroll) Colgan. On 26 December 1863 he married Bridget McHugh in Balla. They had eight children, with the first three (Catherine, Anna Marie, and Edward) being born in Prison. Children Charles, Barbara, Clara, John P., and John A. were all born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

As noted above, Edward and Bridget were both teaching at Prison School in 1864. I am guessing that Bridget only taught for that year (and perhaps only part of the year) as daughter Catherine was born 27 December 1864.

In our family it had been discussed that Edward was a member of the secret society Fenian movement, a band of warriors dedicated to overthrowing British rule in Ireland. They staged an unsuccessful revolt in 1867. Was Edward an active participant in that? Is that why he lost his teaching post at Prison School?

While I have not located any emigration or immigration documents for Edward, I did find information on Bridget Colgan. She was 23 when she arrived in New York on 19 November 1868 aboard the ship S/S Minnesota. With her were 2-year-old Ann and 1-year-old Edward. Also listed above Bridget on the ship’s manifest was 17-year-old Catherine McHugh, Bridget’s younger sister. Where were Edward and their 4-year-old daughter Catherine? Did they travel to the United States earlier to get a home established in Cincinnati before the rest of the family came over?

Life in the new world was not easy for the Colgan family. Little Edward died 9 December 1868, a month after arriving in America. One has to wonder if he contracted something onboard the ship. Anna Marie died in 1869 at the age of 3, Clara was only 9 when she died in 1872, John P. was less than a month old when he died in 1876, and John A. just a year old when he died in 1881. Only three of Edward and Bridget's eight children lived to be adults.

Edward continued to teach, at least initially, at a Catholic school in Cincinnati. The 1870 Cincinnati Directory lists him as a teacher, but by 1873 he was working as a bookkeeper. It would be so interesting to know what he thought about the educational system in Cincinnati versus what he left behind in his old country school.

The 30 September 1870 issue of the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer contained an article stating that 40 Irishmen met the previous evening to organize themselves into a section of the United Irishmen. Edward Colgan not only attended but was appointed temporary Treasurer. I wonder if he was again dismissed as a teacher due to his Fenian affiliation?

Bridget died 30 March 1886, and by 1910 Edward was living with his daughter Barbara and her family. He died 20 October 1921. Most of the family is buried in New St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Cincinnati.