Veterans Day – 11/11/2013 – Howells & Darlings

Veterans Day – 11/11/2013 – The Howells & Darlings

General Frank Alton Armstrong
Official USAF Photo
The Howell/Hobbs line has had many in the military.  Certainly, the most famous of them is Greybeard’s 1st cousin, Frank Alton Armstrong. During World War II, Col. Armstrong led bombing missions over Germany, which were the basis for a book, movie, and a TV program, “Twelve O’Clock High.” After VE day, he flew many additional missions over Japan. After the war, General Armstrong pioneered a nonstop air routes from Alaska to Norway and Alaska to New York. 
In terms of direct ancestors in the Howell/Hobbs line has three veterans that I have identified so far.

Robert Bryan (1736-1794) – Revolutionary War – 5th Great Grandfather.
James Ashley Hobbs (1844-1920) – Civil War (South) – Great-Grandfather.
Peter Fletcher Howell (1842-1924) – Civil War (South) – Great Grandfather

Robert Bryan (1736-1794) – Revolutionary War – 5th Great Grandfather.

North Carolina
“Don’t Tread on Me” Flag
“Robert Bryan … assisted in establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of Private, N.C. Militia. Several Ladies have DAR Numbers for him. Per – Sara Long Johnson)
Robert Bryan died 3 April 1784. We do not know his burial location. 

DAR Ancestor #A016279

Sources: Martin County Heritage – [Biography] 89 – John Bryan Family by Sara Long Johnson.
Daughters of the American Revolution: Member # 517846 – Ancestor # A016279


– – – – – – – – – – – – –

David Swazey (1762-1828) – Revolutionary War – Fourth Great Grandfather.

Fort Mercer (New Jersey)
Revolutionary War Flag
David Swazey of Sussex fought in the Revolutionary War. His service was as a private under various Captains including McKinney, Hazelet, Henry, Bonnel, and Captain Ribble.  His pension number is S*W6111

David Swayze died on 2 March 1838. He is buried in
New Salem Methodist Episcopal Cemetery, Salem, Perry County, Ohio (Plot: Old Section Row 8 ( Ruth ) / 15th stone from tree line.) 

DAR Ancestor #: A111692
Please consider leaving virtual flowers and a note on his Find-a-Grave virtual marker.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – 

James Ashley Hobbs (1844-1920) – Civil War (South) – Great-Grandfather.

North Carolina Civil War Flag
James A. Hobbs enlisted, for the Civil War in Co. G 3rd Reg. N.C. Calvalry (12-1-1862) (41st State Troops) at Camp Badger as a Pvt., age 20, residing in Martin County. Present or accounted for until transferred to Co. A, 17th Reg, NCT (2nd organization) 9-23-1863.
Pvt. James Hobbs with the 17th NCT, whose home was Hamilton, NC was admitted to Hospital No 4, Wilmington, NC, on 12-6-1863; retd to duty 2-9-64. He was admitted for catarrtius, which is an inflammation of the nose or throat.  It must have been really bad to keep him hospitalized for two months. He was in Ward 8, bed 162.

Scene from Wilmington, NC Hospital
Courtesy of Hanover Genelogical Society 

Applied for clothing 2nd quarter 184, issued 6-21-64. Present or accounted for through 10-1864. Sept-Oct absent. Division Provost guard service. Pt. J.A. Hobbs appeared on “Roll of Honor” of his organization. (Resolutions ratified by General Assenbkt 12-20-1862)

COMPANY G, the “Scotland Neck Mounted Riflemen,” from Halifax County, had six commissioned, seven noncommissioned officers, and 108 privates; total, 121. Atherton B. Hill, who was made Captain 9 October, 1861, was succeeded by Benj. G. Smith promoted from Second Sergeant. First Lieutenant, Norfleet Smith; Second Lieutenants, George A. Higgs (afterwards promoted to Captain), Theodore B. Hyman, and John T. Savage.

James Ashley Hobbs died in December 1920. We do not know where he was buried.

Source:  Martin County Heritage – (Biography) 418 – James Ashley Hobbs by Hazel Armstrong Valentine.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Peter Fletcher Howell (1842-1924) – Civil War – Great Grandfather

Flag of Lee’s Army of
Northern Virginia
1861 – Peter Fletcher Howell enlisted on 23 October at the Sussex Court House in Virginia.
1862 – In May he was promoted to full 4th Sergeant.
1862 – In August he was Transferred to Company G. Virginia 61st Infantry Regiment.
1862 – In July he was promoted to full 2nd Sergeant.
1864 – In July he fought at “The Crater” where Sargent Peter Howell  captured the regimental flag of the 2nd Michigan Regiment.  He was with Mahone’s regiment and his participation at “The Crater” confirms oral history that he probably did participate in a “turkey shoot” of US troops.
1865 – In Feb he was promoted to full 1st Sergeant. 
1865 – He mustered out on April 9th at Appomattox, VA.

Peter Fletcher Howell died on 27 October 1924.  He is buried in Cedarwood Cemetery, Weldon, Halifax County, North Carolina, USA. Please consider leaving virtual flowers and a note on his Find-a-Grave virtual marker.  

Sources: Ancestry.Com — Historical Data Systems, comp.. U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.

Original data: Data compiled by Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA from the following list of works.

The Daily Dispatch: August 3, 1864., via Perseus system at Tufts University.

Find a Grave entry for Sgt Peter F Howell http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62752874

Robert Harry Darling (1907-1969) – World War II – Maternal Grandfather


US Navy Flag
Robert Harry Darling, aka Harry, served in the US Navy during World War II.  Little is known about his service as many records of service were lost in a fire.  We do know enlisted in the Navy on 23 November, 1943, in Salt Lake City, Utah, when he was 36 years old for two years.  He served at the Navel Training Center, San Diego and the US Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA. 
Oddly enough, he was honorably discharged on 08 Sep 1944, less than a year into his enlistment as a Seaman 2nd Class. (So, he received one promotion.) 
Robert Harry Darling died on 22 January 1969.  He is buried in Cadillac Memorial Gardens-East, Clinton Township, Macomb County, Michigan, USA.

Please consider leaving virtual flowers and a note on his Find-a-Grave virtual marker.   

Source: Find-a-Grave marker for Robert Harry Darling http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87669415



Biography – Emma (Emily) Swayze Darling (1852-1918)

An Uncle Sam cartoon from 1852
(Thanks to the Marchand Archives,
The History Project, UC Davis)
[On this 161’st anniversary of Emma (Emily) Swayze Darling’s birth I  remember her and her life.] 

The Studebaker Brothers established their wagon company, the Uncle Sam cartoon character made its debut in the “New York Lantern,” Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the twins Eva and Emma (Emily) Swayze Darling were born in Kalamazoo, Michigan on the 24th of July, 1852. 

Their father was Rufus Holton Darling, the builder and former owner of the Goss and Darling general store, the first store in Kalamazoo. He was a railroad man, and a Whig candidate for local office.  Her mother, Elizabeth Jane Swayze Darling was the daughter of David Swayze, the son of David Swayze, Sr., a patriot of the revolution. 
After the amazing prosperity of the 1840s, Kalamazoo had seen a huge population drop from 1849 to 1852 because of the California Gold Rush. Many of the city’s able bodied men, such as her father’s business partner Milo Goss, had left the city for California before her birth.
While she was still a baby, tuberculosis ravished her house.  Her twin sister Eva died in the year following their birth.  Her father took ill and was debilitated and bedridden until he died four years later. She too was disabled by the disease and would remain sick off and on throughout her life. After the death of her father, her grandmother, Catherine Swayze, and her uncle Theodore P. Swayze lived with her mother, Elizabeth Jane Darling, her half-sister, Mary C. Wiseman, her older brother, Abner, an older sister Elizabeth and  younger brother Rufus Henry. She attended school and the family lived in the large home Rufus built at the corner of Cedar and Rose streets.
She was still a child, only eight years old, when the civil war broke out. Her uncle Theodore had enlisted in the army the year before war began. Her grandmother Swayze died in 1868 leaving her at home with her mother and younger brother Rufus. The house was said to be valued at $14,000 in the 1870 census, a substantial valuation in the day.
Her half-sister, Mary Catherine (Kate) (now Churchill) returned home with a daughter Kitty before the 1880 census was taken. Rufus, 22, worked for the Railroad his father helped build. Emma herself was at home, not working is was listed as “maimed, crippled, bedridden or otherwise disabled.” Certainly, hers was a tough life. 
In August of 1892, Elizabeth sold her 1/5 share of the property that the Goss and Darling Store was originally on to Emma for $2000.  Emma sold the property to Melville Bigalow (her sister Elizabeth’s husband) in 1896 for $3000.
Emma’s mother, Elizabeth passed in 1896 and the large house was apparently split so both a lodger and another family lived at the same address. Her sister “Ida” was living with her then. Ida was fifteen years younger than Emma and doesn’t show up in any other records. She was apparently either a first wife of her brother Robert Harry, or a wife of her other brother Abner. Ida had been married for five years to someone in 1900.
The 1910 census is an absolute mess in regards of reporting those living at 204 Rose Street. No details of Emma are recorded other than her name, gender, and address.  Beneath her name is a listing of ten inmates at the Kalamazoo County Jail down the street from Emma’s house.
Emma (Emily) was a member of the M E Church (Methodist Episcopal Church – later the First Methodist Church of Kalamazoo).  
The Kalamazoo Gazette reported that Emily (Emma) died on 5 March 1918, at the age of 65; however, her death certificate indicates she died of chronic bronchitis and chronic ulcers on 5 April 1918. She died in the house she was born in and lived in all of her life at the corner of Cedar and Rose in Kalamazoo.
She was buried at Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo. 

Many thanks to Ancestry.Com, Family Search.Org, Kalamazoo Genealogy.Org,
Genealogy Bank.Com, and Seeking Michigan (Library of Michigan), and Find-a-Grave.

Our sponsor

Rufus Holton Darling – Built First Store in Kalamazoo

Headline from Kalamazoo Gazette, July 9, 1916

Thanks to Genealogy Bank
I am reminded of the importance of looking closely at all of the family members and their actions and activities.  Rufus Holton Darling was born about 1816 and died in 1857. He had several children including a spinster daughter, Miss Emma (Emily) Darling (1852-1918). The Kalamazoo Gazette, dated July 9, 1916, mentions that, 

“These were the early days in the history of Kalamazoo and it is only a few who now remember that the first store built in Kalamazoo was that of Goss and Darling on Main and Burdick street, built by Rufus H. Darling and David Swayze. This corner was only at that time a wooded spot.”

I had known that Rufus operated the Goss and Darling general store, but didn’t know that it was the first store built in Kalamazoo and that Rufus and his father-in-law, David Swayze  built it. 
Later in the article, Miss Emma reflects, 

“My father had the contract for building the Michigan Central railway from Michigan City through to Grass Lake and on its completion a banquet was given for which [she had] the original invitations sent to [her] parents.”

I knew that shortly after the Michigan Central railway came through Kalamazoo, Rufus worked for them. However, I didn’t know that he actually built the railroad through Kalamazoo.  
The article goes on to describe the excitement of the first train that arrived in Kalamazoo on a Sunday morning and how its arrival emptied the churches that day.  It is a great article and a great find that fills in more of the detail regarding Rufus and family.

Thanks to
Genealogy Bank for having the Kalamazoo Gazette in its records.

Emily Swayze Darling – Death Date in Question

Just when you think you know a fact, something comes up to make you question what you think you know.  Generally, I’ve always considered the death date on a death certificate to be factual. However, in the case of Emily Swayze Darling I’m questioning.  The death certificate is legible and clearly indicates that Emily died on April 5, 1918. The certificate was signed by the doctor on 4-6-1918 and the date and place of the burial are entered as April 8, 1918 and the document was filed on April 8, 1918.  Everything on it looks proper, it is the right name, right birthdate, parents, home address, all is good and I accepted it completely. Until….

On Genealogy Bank I found a copy of the obituary.  Much to my surprise it was in the March 7th newspaper.  It too has the right name, right age, right home address, all is good except that it says she died on March 5th.  So, the question arises, did the newspaper prematurely report her death exactly a month early or is the death certificate wrong?  I comments or opinions? If so, I’d love to hear them. 

Florence Darling – Death Certificate

(Modern) Google photo of
423 Charles, Pittsburgh, PA

I received Florence Darling’s Certificate of Death from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (See my previous blog for details on ordering PA Death Certificates.)  The certificate included some interesting information and insights.

Her husband, Robert H. Darling was the informant. He provided Florence’s birthdate of Apr. 23, 1908.  (New Information) He also provided their address of 423 Charles (30th ward) in Pittsburgh.  It is interesting that Harry did not know his wife’s mother’s maiden name of place of birth.  

Original UPMC South Side Hospital
South Side Hospital (Demolished in 1982)

Florence died October 5, 1934, at the age of 26, at South Side Hospital of bilateral pyosalpinx (a collection of pus in an oviduct. [Merriam-Webster]) and pelvic cellulitis of “undetermined cause.” Contributory cause of death was peritonitis. She had been in the doctor’s care for seven days before her passing. I’m sure it must have been seven days of agony. Sadly enough, penicillin, which was discovered in 1928, wasn’t in use until in the 1940. Penicillin probably could have saved her.

According to the certificate, she was buried at Zion Memorial Cemetery on October 7th, 1934. I have created a Find-A-Grave memorial for her and have requested a photo.