Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Home Sweet Home: Life in 19th Century Ohio

As mentioned in a previous post, Thomas and Louisa (Shaffer) Bayles came to Illinois from Ohio. Thomas Bayles was born in (West) Virginia, and moved to Muskingum County at some time before 1849, when he married Louisa Shaffer. The Shaffer family settled in Jackson Township in Muskingum County in the 1820s, and Louisa was born and grew up there. Thomas, Louisa and their children moved west to Fayette County, Illinois in about 1859.

Another of our ancestors Edward Holben moved from Ohio to Illinois. The Holben family moved to Harrison Township, near Lodi in Medina County in the early 1830s. Edward moved west to Christian County, Illinois in 1862.

It is likely that the Shaffer and Holben families grew up with similar values - and may have enjoyed the same music.

To give a sense of life in Ohio in the 1800s, the Library of Congress has put together an on-line exhibit focusing on the music of the times, called Home Sweet Home. You can either look at the sheet music (often with nicely illustrated covers and, of course, supplying the lyrics) or listen to the recordings.

The exhibit emphasizes music published in Cincinnati in the 1840s-1860s, but the popular songs would likely have been familiar throughout Ohio.

You can either listen to the music for its own sake, or explore the exhibit to understand how the music expressed the values of the times.

For example "You never miss the water till the well runs dry" (recording,
sheet music) emphasizes both the "traditional habits of thrift" as well as "calculated risks in the persuit of self-advancement". Much lighter is "Galop", which sounds like it's strictly for dancing (Recording, sheet music)

Take a listen!

Video from dance instructional manuals - scroll down to "Mid Nineteeth-Century" to see how they would have danced to the music in the Home Sweet Home exhibit.
•Additional mid-19th century sheet music: Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music and America Singing.

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Neil Mabry: Chief Mechanic at Lambert Field for TAT and TWA

Neil Mabry had learned to repair airplanes while serving in the U. S. Army Air Service (1921-1923). After his discharge, he continued to work on aiplanes from the garage he opened a few miles west of Decatur, Illinois, which was situated across a highway from the Macon County Fairgrounds, where flyers landed their planes. On May 28, 1929, the day his daughter Nadine was born, he was hired by a fledgling airline – Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) at Lambert Airfield in St. Louis.
TAT Certificate

For the first seven months, Neil worked as Chief Mechanic for 9 to 16 hour days without a day off, helping to organize and maintain the new airline. In July 1929 they became the first airline to offer coast-to-coast service, with a combination of air and rail travel. For a while, one of Neil’s duties was to shuttle passengers between the airport and the railroad station in St. Louis.

• Watch the video (wmv file) about promotion of the TAT "coast-to-coast in 48 hours" service, a segment from the KETC program "Living St. Louis".

In 1930 TAT merged with Western Air Express, to become Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA), the Lindberg Line. (In 1950 the airline officially changed its name to Trans World Airlines.) The airline began coast-to-coast air service shortly after the merger, no longer using trains. Neil was Chief Mechanic from May 1929 to October 1940 and also Assistant Station Manager from 1935 to 1940.

At first, TAT/TWA made its money hauling U.S. Mail. Each plane (first Ford Trimotor Planes, then Douglas DC-2s) could only carry about twelve passengers. As his son-in-law Rich Kolm remembers, he talked about flying several times as “flying mechanic” in the Ford Trimotors. He gave that up because he thought the pilots were too “daredevil”; they took unnecessary risks

In 1940 Neil went to work for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (now known as the Federal Aviation Authority), inspecting privately owned aircraft. In January 1941, after attending school in Washington D.C., he was assigned to a post at Oakland Airport in California.

TWA History from PBS program "Chasing the Sun", including additional video.
TWA History from the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.
History of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum
James "Jimmy" Doolittle
Charles Lindbergh: U.S. Airmail Service Pioneer
1935 TWA Timetable and Map and advertisements (from Airchive)

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rev. George Joseph Wichtermann

George Joseph Wichtermann was the grandfather of Edward Holben and the great great grandfather of Neil Mabry. He was born in about 1858 in Germany, the son of George Michael Wichtermann. When he was about 32 years old, George Joseph sailed for America from Amsterdam on the Brig Mary, arriving in Philadelphia on October 10, 1790.

George was a Lutheran minister, and supposedly was sent to America by the German Lutheran Church. After arriving in Philadelphia, he headed north to the Hudson Valley. On June 15, 1794 George J. Wichtermann married Anna Catharina Brosius at St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York.

After their marriage, the Wichtermann family moved north along the Hudson river to Brunswick, Rensselaer County, where George became pastor of the Gilead Evangelical Lutheran church in 1792. According to the History of Schaghticoke in Landmarks of Rensselaer County, New York, Rev. George Joseph Wichtermann was also the "first pastor" of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran of Schaghticoke, founded in 1776. It is not clear if this was before or after (or at the same time as) his pastorship at Gilead Evangelical. When the 1800 Census was taken, the Wichterman family was enumerated in the nearby town of Troy. (County Map, Google Map).

In 1801, George was recruited as a minister for the German Lutheran Church in Thorold, in the Niagra region of Ontario, Canada. Apparently he did not gain the support of the congregation, and he left the position in 1803.
... in 1801 there was a German Lutheran church in Thorold that needed a minister, so the members persuaded George Joseph Wichtermann to come from New York state to serve them. The members made substantial promises to Wichtermann, but two years after he came, only thirteen members had paid their share of what had been pledged. One member is quoted as saying, "I will pay if he GOES -- if he stays, not a farthing." (From The Word Comes to Niagra Land).

In October 1803, the congregants signed a petition to "rid the German Church ... of its minister, the Rev. George Joseph Wichtermann". (From the biography of Andreas Hensel).

The Wichtermann family returned to New York, and are found in the 1810 Census of Amsterdam in Montgomery County.

In 1818, George returned to Gilead Lutheran in Brunswick, to perform his final baptism:
... Magdalena (Hayner) was the last child baptized by Rev. Georg Joseph Wichtermann, who had retired but came back for a final baptism and preached a final sermon on 21 Sep 1818 in the then new church building. The families evidently were close; Johannes Hoener and wife Catharina were sponsors at the 1796 baptism of Anna Catharina, daughter of Georg Joseph Wichtermann and wife Anna Prosiuss.(Information from The History of Gilead Evangelical Lutheran Church, by Rev. J. N. Barnett (1881), p. 58, cited in the Hayner family history)

At about this time, the Wichtermann family moved east to Seneca County in the Finger Lakes region, where George was a minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Fayette in Bearytown, Town of Fayette and now known as Christ's Church. The Wichtermann family was living in Romulus Township when the 1820 Census was taken.

Some Wichtermann biographies indicate that George worked with the American Bible Society in translating the bible he brought from Germany "into one of the first English Bibles in America". This seems exagerated to me - presumably many of the colonists from England had English bibles prior to George's arrival in Philadelphia.

George Joseph Wichtermann died September 11, 1825, one day after his wife, Anna Catharine. They are both buried in Burgh Cemetery, Fayette Township, Seneca County, New York.

Two years after George and Anna Catharine died, in 1827, their daughter Ulrike Jacobina Wichtermann married Johnathan Holben in Romulus Township in Seneca County.

Estate papers of Rev. Geo. J. Wichterman
New York State regional map"
The German American Experience in Rensselaer County, New York
History of Brunswick, Rensselaer County, New York, including the Gilead Lutheran Church.
Map of Seneca County, NY (note: very large file).

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Bayles Family: Migration Along the National Road

In about 1859, Thomas and Louisa (Shaffer) Bayles uprooted themselves from their home in Muskingum County, Ohio and migrated 400 miles with their children to a new home in Fayette County, Illinois. (Map). It is probably no coincidence that the major overland route from the east to the western states, the so-called "National Road", passed through Muskingum County, crossed Indiana, finally terminating in Fayette County.

Construction of the National Road begain in Maryland in 1815. Surveying, grading, clearing, laying stone and building bridges took decades. The route finally reached Vandalia, Illinois in 1838. In the succeeding years many settlers traveled the road from Ohio into Illinois. Many of them, like Thomas and Louisa Bayles, settled in Fayette County. Others continued west.

Thomas and Louisa settled, at least briefly, in Cumberland (now Otego) Township, near Hickory Creek. The Bayles family eventually moved closer to the town of St. Elmo, in Avena Township, where Thomas was a farmer.

By the 1860s, the expanding network of railroads was already making the National Road obsolete. Taverns, inns and other businesses that had prospered with the traffic eventually disappeared. The 20th century brought a revival of the road - today highway 40 closely follows the original route.

Louisa died in 1869, and is buried in Howard's Point. Thomas remarried (twice) and moved to Missouri in 1890. He died in Kansas City in 1901.

The National Road (National Park Service Exhibit)
History Magazine: The National Road
History of the National Road (with emphasis on Fayette County, Illinois).
The National Road: a Photo Essay (covers Maryland through Ohio)

Map of the National Road into Fayette County, Illinois
1875 Township Map of Fayette County (large image)
History of Vandalia, Illinois

Photos of the National Road near Zanesville
The National Road in Eastern Ohio (note: lots of graphics)
Zanesville, Ohio History

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