Dalton Family Genealogy

Dalton Family Geneaology

The Dalton family line is one I have just recently spent time piecing together. It seems as though every Dalton family member has been told at one time or another they are related to the Dalton Gang. Although I suppose eventually all Daltons probably link up in one way or another, there are many, many more Daltons NOT directly related to those hapless bank thieves than actually are directly connected.

My line descends from Francis Dalton, who was born in 1827 in Northern Ireland. I don’t know where he was from specifically, and I don’t know anything regarding his parentage, but I do know he married Rodantha Beach (born 1836, Wayne County, Indiana) in 1853, Macon County, Illinois. Rodantha (or Rhoda) died in Bible Grove, Scotland County, Missouri in 1881. I assume she is buried there. Francis (or Frank) died in Castleton, Reno County, Kansas in 1885.

Frank and Rodantha had a number of children, including my ancestor, John C. Dalton. John was born 1857 in Knox County, Missouri, and married Mary Phillips in 1871. I don’t know where they married. Mary and John both died in Kansas City, Missouri, Mary in 1928 and John in 1936.

John and Mary’s daughter, Nancy Amanda Dalton, my great-grandmother, was born in Scotland County, Missouri in 1879.

I am looking forward to traveling this summer to both Kansas and Missouri, where I hope to find more information on the Dalton and Phillips families…and also to Illinois and Indiana, where the Dalton and Beach families lived.

Someday I may even make it back to Northern Ireland to do some family research, but I am not too hopeful on that score…there are a tremendous amount of Irish Daltons! But with a little patience and a lot of stubbornness, maybe I’ll find Francis’s parents, yet!

If you are related to this Dalton line, leave a comment, and let’s compare notes.

Worst. Thanksgiving. Ever.

Disclaimer: I had a really great Thanksgiving this year. In fact, it was all I could have hoped for. This is the story of Thanksgiving 2007. I know there are many, many folks out there who had it much worse than I did. I also know that I was lucky to even be in the position I was to have such a terrible experience. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is my pity party story, and I’m rolling with it.

Worst. Thanksgiving. Ever.

In 2007, we had just moved to our dream location, which was a major change in our lives. Though this was fulfilling a goal that we had been anticipating for some time, actually realizing it was astounding. It also involved moving 1500 miles away from our beloved friends and family.

We had always celebrated Thanksgiving in high fashion: not only enjoying the turkey and all the trimmings, but friends and family gathered at our house every year…we’d have anywhere from 12 to 28 people to dinner. The celebration started the night before with the pie baking and fondue making…which flowed right into watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and soon after, the first arrrivals. While we don’t miss the fuss, the cost, or the clean-up, we very much miss the company and smiling faces of those nearest and dearest to us.

So, we were determined to do something absolutely wonderful and memorable for our first Thanksgiving in our home area. As a treat to ourselves, we would go out for dinner, thus avoiding all the cooking and bother, for once. After much searching (and determining that no place in our town would be open that day) we opted to spend Thanksgiving in a smaller town about 45 minutes away, and eat at the wonderfully decorated, charming restaurant where J and parents had eaten regularly for Thanksgiving years ago: Ye Olde Kendall Inn. Even the name was charming. We were really looking forward to this, and booked a studio room on the premises, so we could enjoy the full day.

We ended up running a little behind schedule Thanksgiving Day, and showed up 10 minutes late for our reservation. We realized we were going to be tardy, and so had called ahead to alert them, even though it was only 10 minutes. The restaurant assured us there was no problem, and to come on ahead. Well, when we showed up, they had already given our table away (10 minutes late WITH a phone call??) but not to worry, because they had another table for us. In the back room. Unheated. No charm. No decorations. With tables of silent, non-conversing, mournful-looking people.

We were already a little unnerved, but what could we do? We sat down and waited. 20 minutes later, a waitress arrived, and distractedly took our drink order (we needed to repeat it three times). 15 minutes later, the drinks appeared. 20 minutes after that, the food arrived (from a pre-set Thanksgiving menu) that consisted of very small portions (they must have been ladling with a teaspoon) and all of it was cold. We were feeling sorry for the waitress (who looked quite distressed the entire time) so did not hassle her too much, but we did request eating utensils twice. I wound up begging for just a fork. After doing our best to choke down the cold, and at times hard, food we requested pie. The waitress truly looked alarmed, and ran off, returning with a single to-go container, stating that was all they had. With no choice left to us, we paid the check, picked up the small box, and left to go check into the room.

After putting our suitcases down and admiring the room, we decided to go have a drink at the bar. We re-entered the restaurant…and it was as though we had entered the Twilight Zone. All traces of people, wait staff, and food had vanished. The bar was closed. We had thought to eat a real meal (we were still a little hungry from the much-left-to-be-desired Thanksgiving dinner) at the restaurant. Closed. We walked back to the check-in desk to ask where we might find food. Closed. Seriously. So we went back to our room to regroup and think.

We had not seen a single other person since our check-in, so we decided to take a walk around the town and see if we couldn’t find something to eat. Nothing. All businesses were closed, and there was not another person to be seen anywhere. No cars on the streets. Nothing. The temperature dropped 30 degrees since we had arrived in town, but we only had our dress-up clothes (we had wanted to look nice for our Thanksgiving dinner) and the wind had started up. I am describing this the best I can so that you may form a picture of the two of us, staggering in the wind, shivering through the cold, desperately looking for even a gas station that would sell us a bag of chips, or something. Nothing. Finally, we went back to the room, put on our pajamas, and decided to eat the pieces of pie in front of the TV. The TV did not work. The container held just one piece of pie, and that was the thinnest piece I had ever seen. Really. At its widest point, it measured a scant 3/4 of an inch. We shared bites, shaking our heads, but figured that was the worst. Oh, no. not yet.

We went to bed, turning out the lights. About an hour later, we heard heavy boots step onto the porch and stomp their way to the door. Then we heard a key in the lock. Then we heard the doorknob turning. Yelling at him to stop, the unknown man opened the door, paused, then said, “Sorry,” and left! I immediately called the front desk, wondering if I should be dialling the police. The front desk answered, and I stated that someone had tried to come in our room! She answered that it was okay, and that it was a mistake. When I pushed the point, she said it was the security guy. I finally asked, “Well, do you think he will come back?” She laughed, and assured me he wouldn’t. We slept fitfully, to say the least.

The next morning, we found out that when we had checked in, the desk clerk had not indicated on the paperwork we had arrived, so the security guy was going to unlock it for us and turn on some lights. After describing our stay, the desk clerk stated that the whole town closes down for Thanksgiving, and that we were told that when we made the reservations. I told her we weren’t told this. She said she always tells people this when they make reservations for Thanksgiving. When I assured her we had NOT been told this, she checked the paperwork and discovered that she, herself, had not taken our reservation. It was…wait for it…the same turkey who had not properly checked us in the night before. I did ask if we could get a free breakfast because of our experience. She said they weren’t set up for anything like that. So we paid for our first real meal in almost 24 hours. It was cold. We weren’t surprised. What a colossal waste of food, time, effort, and money.

In retrospect, it is evident that the restaurant was way overbooked. Clearly they ran out of tables…and food. Why they were so unwilling to accommodate us, I’ll never properly understand: the food was not cheap. The room was really not cheap. Why not provide unsuspecting Thanksgiving patrons with a little basket of crackers, popcorn, water? Who knows. I do know we’ll never be back.

Every Thanksgiving experience from then on can only be an improvement!

My YA Writing Project

I don’t have a working title for this work yet, so will refer to it as my “YA” project for now, as it will definitely be in the Young Adult category.

This work will ultimately be two separate books, dealing with two different generations within the same family, the timeline running from about 1830 to about 1880.
I had no idea how little I knew about this time period of American History…until I started asking questions of myself as I developed the outline. It struck me rather quickly that I am attempting to create a lesson plan of sorts with the outlines, and then will proceed with the subsequent lecture through my writing. I am hoping the finished product is much more interesting than a couple of lectures might be, though!

This is all well and good, but I am going to have to do much, much more research before I can adequately cover the story I want. Also, I have so much work to do on my other three writing projects, that I will have the least amount of time available for this one. This feels right, though, because the other three are all non-fiction, while this is historical fiction. So I was sort of planning on working on this project when I needed a more creative outlet. I haven’t spent nearly enough time on the other projects lately to get to such a point! Between visitors and other events, November, known to many writers as National Novel Writing Month, has sadly for me become the month in which I am likely to do the least amount of writing thus far. Bummer.

I have, however, spent enough time with the outlines to determine that not only will I end up with two separate works, but also that they will probably be best served as a collection of short stories, versus full-length novels. I may change my mind at some future point, but that’s where it stands today!

Collins Family Genealogy

Collins Family Genealogy

The Collins Family is a line near and dear to my heart: my beloved great-grandmother, Grammy, was a Collins, and through her I feel even closer to relations I never had the opportunity to meet.

Letha Alice Collins was born in 1894 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, to Zachariah Taylor Collins and Mary Eldora Damewood. Letha married Raymond Oliver Perry in Alturas, California, in 1917, and they are both buried in Lodi, California.

Grammy loved her soaps and game shows and played thousands of games of Solitaire, but what I remember her for more than anything was her love and passion for the Dodgers. She followed the Dodgers on radio when they played in Brooklyn, and watched them on television when they moved to Los Angeles. I grew up hearing names like Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey, and Fernando Valenzuela. She would have dearly loved Mike Piazza, and I’m sorry that she died shortly before he arrived on the baseball scene. Her older brother, Lester Charles Collins, played catch with her when she would come home from school, and declared he would take her as pitcher on his team, if he had one. Lester served in World War I, and will be the subject of a future blog entry.

Zachariah Taylor Collins (1848-1933) married Mary Eldora Damewood (1861-1942). Zachariah was born in Washington County, Ohio, and Mary Eldora Damewood was born in Kansas. Both arrived in Oregon with their families by wagon train. Both are buried in Lane County, Oregon, in the Laurel Grove cemetery. Zachariah served with Captain Applegate as an Indian fighter in both Oregon and California in the late 1800s, and was recognized for his service in the 1930s. He was working as a cooper or barrel maker when he met Mary Eldora. In fact, he was making a delivery of barrels to Mary Eldora’s father, and her father invited Zachariah to stay to dinner. They married in 1882. Later, Zachariah bought and ran his own sawmill. Zachariah and Dora, as Mary Eldora was called, were evidently well-to-do: my grandmother described receiving a silver dollar for her tenth birthday, and this was during the heighth of the Depression.

Zachariah’s parents were Hezekiah Collins (1810-1884) and Sarah Jane Wood (1813-1891). They were both born in Virginia, and married in 1832, Albemarle County, Virginia. Hezekiah, according to Letha Alice Collins, had a twin brother, Malikiah. I have been unable to determine whether the name was actually Malachi, or even whether this twin actually existed. If the twin died at birth, as a baby, or even as a young child, there is an excellent chance that there would be no  record of the twin. Hezekiah and Sarah moved first to western Virginia (later the state of West Virginia) to start their family. Their first-born, Mildred Jane, was born in Lewis County, Virginia. Their last-born, Zachariah Taylor, was born in Ohio, right across the river from western Virginia. From there, the family wagon-trained to Iowa, where Mildred met and married her husband, James Waggoner. After a few years, Hezekiah captained a wagon train to Oregon. Prior to this, Hezekiah had been a farmer. In Oregon, he was a hotel keeper for the first hotel in Cottage Grove, built by his son-in-law, James. Hezekiah’s final whereabouts are unknown, but Sarah is buried in the Fir Grove cemetery, in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Are you related to this family? Leave a comment, and let’s compare notes!

Help! I’m Lost in a Foreign Land!

I’ve done a fair amount of travel, and most of it not only off tour, but off the beaten path. I was particularly pleased when a German visiting America asked where we had traveled in Germany, and on hearing the answer, responded, “You’ve gone places only Germans go!” Not true, but fun to hear, nonetheless!

But traveling in such manner inevitably results in getting lost now and then. Sometimes this just makes the trip into an even greater adventure. Sometimes this puts a big enough damper on the trip that it threatens your overall peace of mind. We’ve been lucky…all of our “getting lost” moments have turned out well, thanks to the in-country folks we ran into that put us back on our way no worse for wear.

Dresden, Germany.

Getting lost in an unfamiliar city is of course normal, and finding yourself in a neighborhood you can’t find your way out of again is perhaps par for the course. But losing yourself in a labyrinth of surface streets, well after dark, with the little light on the fuel gauge illuminated…not such a happy time. So before our questionable evening got any worse, we deperately sought out anyone who could tell us how to escape! We finally found someone, but he only spoke German. However, through pointing at the gasoline indicator, we were able to communicate at least part of our concern to him. He motioned for us to wait, ran back in the house, and emerged soon after with several young men. These young men leaped into a nearby car and took off. Using more hand motions, he indicated we were to follow them. We waved our thanks and followed suit. Wow, were we lost…we had no idea how lost until we were following these guys. We would have never found our way out, especially at night!

The Back Country, Bulgaria.

I  cannot properly explain how we got lost out in the countryside. True, we were off the beaten path (smallish roads) but they were all paved. But the problem in Bulgaria (for us) was the actual language on the signs. It’s the only country we’ve been to thus far that uses the Cyrillic alphabet, as opposed to the modern Latin alphabet used by most European countries. [Serbia and Bosnia/Hercegovina apparently do, too, but not on their regular signage] That really tangled things up for us as the map we were using had Latin terms (like Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria) but the highway signage had Cyrillic terms (like София, the capital of Bulgaria). See the problem? It wasn’t that bad…we had a Lonely Planet book with us, so I just looked up the name of the city we were headed to next, and there was the name both in Cyrillic and Latin. Sofia/София , for example. Then I tried to match up the letters in the book to the sign on the road. I did quite well with this method, until we visited the Rila Monastery. If you ever get the chance to do this, please take it. The wood-carving and articulately painted frescoes are just unbelievably detailed and exquisite.

It’s when we left there and tried to proceed east to the Black Sea that we ran into difficulties. Yes, when we saw a highway sign it had numbers, but our small map from Lonely Planet could only do so much, and while we weren’t on the main road, we had no clue where we were. Once we realized we were good and lost, Travel Buddy suggested we look for a policeman to help with directions. “How are we going to find a policeman way out here in the middle of nowhere?” I asked. We drove around the next bend, and…there they were: two Bulgarian police officers! Luckily, they spoke English and were able to send us on our way within minutes.

Frutillar, Chile.

We had been driving through this sweet little town, admiring the surrounding mountains, when suddenly we realized we were out of town, had been for some time, and had no idea which direction to head next. While worrying about this, Travel Buddy suddenly came up with a plan: “We need to find a couple of Mormons!” A couple of Mormons, I repeated. What good would that do? “They’ll know the area really well, and they’ll speak English!” We drove around the corner, and there they were! Two young Mormon men on bicycles, in their white shirts, black pants, and black ties. I don’t know who was more excited to meet up with whom, as it turned out the young men were from California, and we knew their hometowns, quite well. Anyway, they were able to set us back on the path very easily, and after some very enjoyable conversation, once again we were on our merry way in no time.

Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers…wherever you happen to be!!

Lost in Translation

My Translation Project

Translation writing projects are tough! Particularly when the language you are translating  is not one you are even remotely familiar with. I am finding it slow-going and easily the most frustrating writing project I’ve ever undertaken. But I am also discovering the work to be full of worthwhile information, and surprisingly, much more revealing about the folks who wrote the materials than I had expected.

Besides the language barriers, I am also at times feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material I am working with. If I translate one piece a month, it would take me over four years to complete it all. (I am basing this time frame on how long it has taken me to fully work out a single piece, which is about two weeks. I am stating a month per piece because I am not willing to devote all my writing time solely to this project…I have my own writing to continue, as well!)

So, it is true that 4 years is a long period of time. But after I finished my first book, I did nothing with it for 5 years. I had my second book well organized and mostly outlined, but then didn’t begin the actual writing for nearly 5 years. I am reminded of that story where one guy says “If I do this, I’ll be (x) years old when I finish.” So the other guy asks “And how old will you be if you don’t do it?” Point taken.

The time period of the material, particularly intriguing to me, is mostly during World War II. This is a time period that I really am not that familiar with, as nearly everything I know about WWII deals with high-profile battles, prisoners and camps, and a teeny bit regarding rationing. This material refers to real people in real time scenarios…the issues they dealt with, the things that were important to them, and the little things that made all the difference.

I’m looking forward to continuing my history lesson, finishing my crash language courses, and ultimately sharing my findings with anyone interested!

Cave Family Genealogy

Cave Family Genealogy

This family name seems to have been either Cave or Caves at any given point.

My great-grandmother’s grandmother was Nancy Jane Cave. She was born in Indiana in 1834, and married John Damewood (1829-1915) in Indiana, 1854. Her parents were John Cave (1808-1858) and Sarah Jane Kearby (1814-1891). John Cave and Sarah Kearby were married in Indiana, and both died in Indiana.

John Cave was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Thomas Cave (1773-1851) and Elizabeth Medford (1785-1826). Thomas was born in Virginia, Elizabeth in North Carolina. Elizabeth’s father, James Medford, is a DAR Patriot. Both Thomas and Elizabeth died in Indiana.

A few years after Nancy and John married, they moved from Indiana to Kansas. Then later yet, they moved to Oregon (I’ll cover this in more detail under The Damewood Family). They are buried in Silk Creek, in the Silk Creek cemetery, located just outside of Cottage Grove, Oregon. I have been to this small, but well-cared for cemetery, but have not been successful in finding any other burial sites for the Cave Family in Indiana or South Carolina.

Family notes state that Nancy’s brother, Thomas Cave, came to visit her more than once all the way from Indiana. I don’t know how he traveled, but considering the time frame, I think it is reasonable to think he came by rail.

Apart from that, I don’t know much about the Cave Family. I know I’m lucky to have the precious little data I do have, but I wish I knew more. Of course, there’s a good chance of that, as more and more information becomes available to us all online. There’s an excellent possibility that Thomas Cave, John Cave’s father, served in the War of 1812, and I hope to be able to fully document that before long!

Are you related to this family? Drop me a line, and let’s connect!