Friday, March 5, 2021

Most Unusual Source – Court Martial


While researching my great grandfather, Charles S. Moore, I went to the New Egypt, New Jersey city clerk’s office. I asked if they had any wills or deeds for him or his father. They were busy but said they would get back to me after tax season. A few weeks later they called saying someone else was looking for the same person. They gave me that person’s name and phone number. It turned out that the person, Fran Born was also a great granddaughter of Charles. We got together and had a nice visit that started collaboration of our research. They had Charles’ original discharge papers from his service in the 4th NJ Infantry during the Civil War. They also had a transcript of his court martial for disobeying an order. The order was “ stop shooting the mules with dry corn kernels”, which he was doing for fun. As soon as the sergeant turned his back he shot them again. Thus, his court martial. The transcript was like being there and listening to him speak. Another fact that came out was that he was late for a battle due to bad feet. That explains why my dad and I had feet as flat as pancakes and bunions. The punishment he received was being docked $10 of his $13 a month pay. Another revelation was that he had left his company in Virginia without leave to return to NJ when his father died. Several siblings had died too, and the house was being repossessed. On his return to Virginia, he was arrested as a deserter. But since Abraham Lincoln had made a proclamation that said any deserter who was returning of his own volition would not be prosecuted. All of this told me so much about my great grandfather who died almost eighty years before I was born.

#Court Martial, #Charles S. Moore, #Civil War Court Martial, #New Egypt, NJ, #4th New Jersey Infantry


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

In the Kitchen


Every generation probably has its kitchen stories. My story is one of disaster. My kitchen has no cabinets. The floor is in disrepair and the ceiling looks up to the floor above. Someday perhaps I may get a new kitchen.

My mother’s kitchen was large, but it was not always so. The previous owners had made changes. The original kitchen was L shaped with the furnace and washing machine in the L. They added a utility room and moved the furnace and laundry to the utility room. They then opened the center of the L to make a square room but then put a wall to divide the room into two rectangular rooms. The rooms were narrow and if people sat on both sides of the table they were wall to wall. My mom hated it and asked dad to get rid of the wall. Dad kept putting it off. One day when dad was on the 4-12 shift, Mom and I knocked the wall out except for some 2x4s. I was only about 8 or 9 years old. When dad came home was he surprised.

When my mom was little her family would go to the Colby farm and camp out. She made it sound like they were going to a summer camp, but I suspect that my grandfather was really helping on the farm and my grandmother was working in the kitchen tent. I have a picture of her sitting in front of the tent.

Friday, January 29, 2021

This is one of my favorite photos. My granddaughter, Luna meets Santa for the first time. Not yet 1-yrs-old she is fascinated by this strange person.

#Santa and me picture, #52 Ancestors Favorite Picture, #Christmas pictures


Friday, January 22, 2021



Some of my ancestors were named for other family members. I wrote of some of these in another blog post “Same Name”. But there were some others I didn’t mention. My mother and here sisters first names were from characters in a book my grandmother read. They were Yvonne, Bonalyn, Millicent and Constance. I wish I knew the title of the book. My mother’s middle name was my grandmother’s sister’s middle name, Arlene. The only problem was the doctor misspelled it as Arline. When I was born I was given my mother’s name reversed, Arlene Millicent. As for my grandmother, her name was Hazel, and she said she’d come back and haunt anyone who named their child Hazel. He sister’s first name was Mabel. I don’t know if those names were unattractive in the 1890s, but they would not have been choices my mom and her sisters would have chosen in the mid twentieth century.

My grandfather, Edward Wiedrich may have had a middle name. I’ve seen some evidence that his middle name was McKinley. Was he named for the president? My paternal aunt, Carolyn Moore’s middle name was Grover and I wonder if she was named for Grover Cleveland.

My son, Sean was named for John Wayne’s character in the movie “The Quiet Man”. It was a favorite movie of both my husband and me. We had decided that if we had a girl next we would name her Mary Kate after Maureen O’Hara’s character in the same movie. Mary Kate turned out to be a boy and so he was named for the commander of the Alamo, William Travis. Travis’ middle name is Earl after my father.

#Namesake, #52 Ancestors, #Hazel Bristol, #Edward Wiedrich, #Caroline Moore, #Sean Baker, #Travis Baker

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Girl Scouts


I was a member of the Girl Scouts for about 18 years. I began as a Brownie in second grade which was the youngest you could join in the 1950s. My troop was #430 and Mrs. Davidson and Mrs. Moen were the leaders. The meetings were after school in the basement lunchroom of Highland Park School in Gloucester City, NJ. We wore our brown uniforms to school. One of the things I remember doing was making butter in a screw top jar. It was a revelation to learn where butter came from. We also cooked out one day in the school yard. We made sit-upons. Hopefully yours was waterproof since you might be sitting on wet ground. In those days you were a Brownie from grades 2 through 4.  Then in a crossing over ceremony you became an Intermediate Scout. The crossing ceremony included literally crossing a small little bridge that signified growing up and now being a Girl Scout instead of a Brownie Scout.

Intermediate Scouts was from grades 5 through 8. My troop was #298 and we met in the basement of the Lutheran Church on 4th St. in Gloucester City, NJ. My leaders were Mrs. Kimmey and Mrs. Williamson. We worked on badges although I never earned many. One of our Halloween parties was especially fun. The lights were dimmed, and opaque bags were passed around for us to feel what was in them. A story went with it. One bag was supposed to be eyeballs. Another was intestines. Then we would try and guess what they were without looking. Eyeballs were peeled grapes and intestines were cooked spaghetti. I can’t remember what other things were in the bags. On Girl Scout Sunday we attended the Lutheran church since they were our sponsors. My mom didn’t let me go on the on the camping trip when I was in 5th grade. She was afraid I would get hurt or lost or something. In 6th grade though I was allowed to go camping. We had to prepare by planning meals, going shopping and compiling a list of the things we should take. We camped at Camp Inawendiwin in Burlington County. At that time there was just three campsites with cold water and outhouses. We had a great time. We sneaked into the leaders’ tent and took one of their bras. We may have taken one of the 8th grade girls’ too. Then we ran them up the flagpole so that in the mornings when everyone got up they saw the bras.

The next year the Girl Scouts reorganized, and Brownies were grades 2 and 3 and Intermediates  was dropped. Grades 4 to 6 became Juniors, grades 7 to 9 Cadettes and grades 10 to 12 Seniors. So, I was a Cadette. Mrs. Jean Hubbs McLaughlin and Mrs. Lois Reader were the leaders. We met in the Church of God basement. We had some trips. One was to NYC to see the sights including Radio City Music Hall. Another time we went to the Camden County Music Fair to see West Side Story. We went camping each year. The best scout in our troop was Miki Baile. She had the most badges and became a First-Class Scout. She also had an award for saving someone from drowning. Four of us went to a Camporee at Inawendiwin. I completed training to be a camp counselor and was a councilor that summer at Inawendiwin. In tenth grade I was supposed to be a Senior Scout but there was no troop in Gloucester City. Another girl, Cathy Moss and I went to a troop in Camden. The girls in that troop were kind of rough. In 1966 not many girls had tattoos but several of the girls in that troop did. Also, they smoked in the meeting. Cathy and I decided we were not interested in joining that troop.

In tenth and eleventh grades I helped with my mom’s Junior troop and also spent almost every weekend in the spring helping troops on camping trips. In twelfth grade I became an assistant leader of a Junior troop. Carol Henry was the leader. Then I became the leader of a Cadette troop at the Lutheran church. It was hard because I had no assistant leader. I did that for a few years and then when I was a teacher several of my scouts were in my class. I had allowed them to call me Arlene at scouts but when they were put in my class at school they had to call me Miss Moore. Of course, they pushed the envelope and called me Arlene at school. Eventually I gave up being a leader.

Girl Scouts was a great program for me. It gave me confidence and led me down the path to maturation.

#Girl Scouts, #Gloucester City, NJ


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Family Legend: Murder of Sarah Norton


My great grandmother, Sarah Wiedrich would tell the story of her grandmother, Sarah Norton who was murdered. She was elderly and was raped and murdered by a local farm hand named Thomas Quackenbush. It was the winter of 1875 in western NY State. She managed to crawl to a nearby farmhouse but died. The murderer was one of a handful of criminals hung in Genesee County. When we went to visit a local museum, the director asked my great grandmother who was in her 90s by this time if she wanted to hold the rope used to hang him. She declined. Years later on a trip to that local I drove by the museum and there was a large banner across the front of the building for a display of the hangings. The admission ticket as a reproduction of the ticket to view the hanging of Thomas Quackenbush who murdered my 3rd great grandmother. They had the scaffold and rope as part of the display.

#Sarah Norton, #Thomas Burton Quackenbush, #Murder, #Indian Falls, NY, #Hangings, Genesee, NY

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Hazel Wiedrich and Funny One-Legged Stories


Yesterday I was thinking of my grandmother and when she had her gall bladder removed. I only know the story from her telling. In the 1950’s or so she went to the hospital and had an emergency gall bladder operation. Since it was so long ago and as it was an emergency, she had the large incision that wrapped around the lower chest. Also, in those days it wasn’t unusual to have a week’s stay in the hospital. The doctor, Dr. Azmidia, came to check on her every day and at last he told her she could go home the next day. She said, “Doctor, can I us crutches?” He said, “I operated on your stomach. Why would you need crutches?” To this she said, “If I don’t it would be the first time in almost 40 years. I only have one leg.” Dr. Azmidia threw back the sheets and said, “Oh my God, you only have one leg.” This story has given my family quite a few laughs besides a lesson that the doctor only looks at what his job is.

Another funny story about my grandmother’s one-leggedness happened in the 1960’s while the family was traveling the alligator highway in south Florida. My grandfather was driving the old family station wagon. Also in the car were my grandmother, my cousin Pat and her daughter Cindy, my Aunt Yvonne and an old family friend, Mrs. Thorpe. There were no speed limits then or at least not ones that were enforced, so my grandfather was driving like an Indie driver. He strayed to the edge of the road, lost control and crashed. Pat broke her back; Mrs. Thorpe broke her hip and was partially scalped. My grandmother was partially scalped and was thrown from the front seat to the back and was wedged between the seat and the back of the front seat. Having a scalp wound she was covered in blood. People stopped to help. When they pulled my grandmother out they gasped and said she lost her leg, and that people should look for it. Although she was in shock she still knew what they were saying and was laughing because she had that leg amputated almost fifty years before.

My grandmother had such a good attitude and never considered herself handicapped. It rarely stopped her from doing anything and I’m glad she could have a good laugh about those situations.

#Hazel Wiedrich, #Amputation