30 April 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Weather

How appropriate this subject is this week after the significant weather most of the nation has experienced this past week. Locally we had three confirmed tornadoes - just baby ones (F1s). We don't get real storms in Pennsylvania although ...

In the summer 1877 a tornado devasted western Chester County. I recently stumbled across "A Full Description of the Great Tornado in Chester County, PA 1877" written by Richard Darlington, Jr.

That first day of July was "oppresive" with temperatures at 92. The air made breathing labored that day. The tornado set down about two miles west of the Lancaster/Chester County border near the Gap area. It traveled south-east toward the Sadsbury Meeting House. The path changed directions several times traversing through Chester County destroying parts of Parkesburg and Stottsville until it got to East Fallowfield. There the storm widened, Darlington reports, as it approached the property of William Hamill. It destroyed fences and crops. It changed direction again and headed towards some timber tracts. It then passed through the southern section of Ercildoun, Broad Run, Marshallton and ending finally in West Bradford Township.

Darlington reports that those in its path could hear a roaring sound likened to continuous thunder. The storm itself included the expected rain or hail but when the tornado itself - which he refers to as the "storm-cloud" - came thru the sun frequently shown and there was no rain or hail. It is believed that a storm like this had never struck eastern Pennsylvania before.

Roofs were liften off, buildings were demolished. Crops and trees were ruined. One man - Jacob Eisinberger - was reportedly carried up in the storm. He was carried for about 200 yards and received several minor injuries.

Ercildoun was the only village actually in the path of the tornado. The village was a strong large settlement of Friends. During the Civil War the village was well known for its anti-slavery activities. The village enjoyed daily mail delivery, a foundry, a library, two Friends Meeting Houses, a town hall, the Ericldoun Seminary for Young Men and Boys, a similar one for the ladies as well as numerous other buildings and homes. The tornado devasted the village.

Darlington - who witnessed the storm in Ercildoun first hand - puts the property damage collectively at over $35,000 in 1877.  Many watching the storm claimed to see fire often within the storm. Darlington explains this was most likely produced by sunlight against the constant dust rising and circling about. The storm covered 22 miles. It severely injured three people but miraculously Darlington reports only one death.

26 April 2011

Tombstone tuesday ... My sister passed today. Her name is Wilma Lee Eckman LeMon. She was definitly the glue that held my husband's family together. She is missed greatly.

Tombstone Tuesday - Yuzwiak


Catherine Yuzwiak was born Catherine Kurenda. She is my Baba's sister. Their parents are John Krenda and Frances Skrabalek. Catherine married John Yuzwiak and the two lived out their lives in Coatesville, Chester County, PA. They are buried at the HOly Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery.

25 April 2011

After a long holiday weekend i am looking fwd to getting back to a routine - ok starting one - and getting more regular w my posts here!

19 April 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Hruszczak


Panko and Bessie Matyz Hruszczak are buried together in the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Cemetery in Valley Township, Chester County, PA. The two young immigrants met here in Coatesville and married at Holy Ghost. It was then a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church. (By the time my father was born though the parish had changed to Ukrainian Orthodox). Over the years, the surname has changed to Ruczhak. One son changed it to Ruzchak.

18 April 2011

Military Monday - Benjamin Franklin VanHorn

Benjamin Franklin VanHorn was my great-great-great grandfather's brother (me, Mom, Pops, Pierson George STILL, Jennie S VAN HORN, Chrispin Pierson VAN HORN who was brother to Benjamin).

Chrispin and Benjamin were two children of George and Jane DUDBRIDGE VAN HORN. Benjamin was born in Bucks County on 8 March 1843.

Benjamin joined the army in Chester County in 1863. He served as a Private in Company H of the 90th PA Volunteers. He was captured at Weldon Railroad in Virginia and was a POW from 19 August 1864 to 15 June 1865. He served his time at Liberty Belle Island in Richmond, VA.

After the Civil War, he married Margaret Hensel on 24 April 1867. Their first daughter Virginia was born in 1868 in Virginia. By 1870 the family had moved to California and continued to grow.

Special thanks to fellow family researcher and genealogist Jerrie Finley for copies of the photos here.

11 April 2011

Found John BING on the 1805 Chester County Tax List! Lived in east fallowwfield twp

10 April 2011

Sentimental Sunday - April

April is a rough month. Most people relate April to spring and rebirth. April around here is a time to remember special people. It is a rough month where we all tend to get a little sentimental. Some are obvious and some not so much.

I lost one of my best friends April 26, 2005. She is my sister in law Wilma Lee Eckman LeMon. I had my own business for a few years and worked out of a small office at her house. There were many afternoons that found me up in the house chatting away with her (if I didn't have appointments that day). She was wise beyond her years and yet stubborn as a toddler when it came to certain things. She coud be sitting at her computer in pain and let the right song come on and she would be up dancing in a heartbeat! She was a great folk art artist. One review compared her to a Grandma Moses of her day. I still have one of her paintings - it is of an Amish girl milking a cow! (I have a thing for cows). Her birthday was also this month -- April 6.

Her brother (my brother in law) Frank passed April 3, 2010. To be honest I had a hard time recalling the actual date. He passed on Holy Saturday which of course is a moveable feast but all the same I recall Holy Saturday more so than the date. He was a Marine and proud of it. His son is one now. I am so grateful for their service. My girls absolutley love him. He spent his final months with my husband (while we were seperated) and I recall dropping off or picking up the girls there and Frank and I would sit on the stoop and talk long after expected.

Their mom's brother was also born in April. The 8th to be specific. He was something! He was born in Philadelphia on April 8, 1923 to Morgan G. and Julia Coursault Deyoe. He was baptized at Christ's Church in Philadelphia. He fought in WW2 - was injured, found a bride, brought her home with him. Oh the stories he could tell! He was incredible at storytelling too. The stories never changed no matter how many times you heard them. He would play his guitar and sing and tell stories for hours.

April also reminds me of their mom - Dorothy Marie Deyoe Eckman. Every time I pass a daffodil I think of her. When we lived in Kirkwood, the daffodils would be in full bloom thruought April, sometimes they would even bloom in March! Today on the way home from church we passed daffodils at numerous houses and it made me thing of her.

April indeed is a sentimental month here. To have known them ... was my priviledge.

06 April 2011

George Still - Pvt in the Civil War

I found a George Still in the Civil War from Pennsylvania. He enlisted as a Private on 16 March 1864 and was placed in Company C, 88th Infantry Regiment for Pennsylvania. He mustered out with his Company on 30 Jun 1865 at Washington, DC.

According to the Regiment History (which I read on Ancestry.com), three companies were recruited in Berks county and the remainder in Philadelphia. The Regiment was known as the Cameron Light Guards and was mustered into service at Philadelphia for a three years' term in September of 1861.

Source: Historical Data Systems, comp.. American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.
Starting tomorrow and running through the following Thursday April 14th, Ancestry.com will be feature a weeklong promotion to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Civil War.

01 April 2011