Veteran’s Day 2020

By Don Taylor

Don Taylor in uniform, Barracks, Naval Station Treasure Island (San Francisco) ca. May 1969.

Today, I remember my ancestors that served in the military. I served during Vietnam and my ancestors served during every generation and many of our wars – Korea, both World Wars, the Civil War, the War of 1812, Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, and even peacetime. I know of seven ancestors who served during the Revolution and four who served during the Civil War for the Union.

To all veterans, “thank you” for taking the oath. It is one of the most life-changing events of your life, I remember mine, and I’m sure you remember yours. I encourage everyone to use Veterans Day as a motivation to learn more about your ancestors that have worn the uniform of the United States.

New

In the past year, I’ve learned of another ancestor that served, my 2nd great-grandfather, Franklin E Barber (1836-1917). He served for the Union during the Civil War with the 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery.

Korean War

My Uncle – Russell Kees (1927-2016) fought during the Korean War.

World War II

My stepfather, Edgar Jerome Matson fought in Europe during World War II

1928-1931 – Peacetime Service

Clifford (Dick) Brown – 3rd from left, back row – Corozal (Panama) Basketball Champions – 1928.jpg

My Grandfather – Richard Earl Brown (aka Clifford Durwood Brown, aka Richard Earl Durand) (1903-1990) My maternal grandfather “Dick” served in the Army. Little is known about his peacetime military service.
In 1928, he was in the army stationed in Panama. He was a member of the base’s champion basketball team (See: Article).
In 1930, he met my Grandmother in Panama.  It appears that he was discharged in 1931.

World War I

My step-grandfather Sammy Amsterdam served during World War I.

Civil War – Grand Army of the Republic

My 2nd great-grandfather, Franklin E Barber (1836-1917), enlisted for three years into  Company I, 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery on 22 February 1864. He mustered out on 20 August 1865 at New Orleans.

My 2nd great-grandfather – John William Manning (1846-1888).
On 29 Aug 1863, John enlisted in the GAR, at the age of 17, into the 45th Regiment of Kentucky. His father, Enoch Mannin, gave his consent for young John William to enlist. Sometime between May and June of 1864 he was captured by the South (Morgan).
He mustered out on 30 Dec 1864.

My 3rd great-grandfather – Enoch Mannin (1823-1907)
On 29 Aug 1863 – Enoch enlisted (at the same time as his son John) in the 45th Regiment of Kentucky.
Between May and June of 1864, he was captured by the South (Morgan)
He was discharged on 29 Dec 1864 at Catlettsburg, KY.

My 2nd great-grandfather – Asa Ellis Roberts (1835-1887)
On 15 Aug 1861, Asa Joined the Union – Company I, 31st Regiment, Illinois Volunteers for 3 years. He was discharged early due to chronic pericarditis.

War of 1812

My 4th great-grandfather – Jacob Lawson (1800-___)
2nd Regiment (Lillard’s) East Tennessee Volunteers.
Was a private in Captain Waterhouse’s Company Tennessee Volunteers Florida.

15 Star flag War of 1812

My 3rd great-grandfather – John Calvin Roberts (1795-1873)
John C. Roberts was a veteran of the War of 1812, serving in Captain Chiles & Lieutenant Conway’s Company of Tennessee Militia. He enlisted Sep. 20, 1814 at Kingston, TN and was discharged there on May 1, 1815, serving 224 days. He received a pension for his War of 1812 military service.

Revolutionary War

My 7th great-grandfather – Grover Buel (1732-1818)
Revolutionary War (DAR – Patriot # A016639
He was a soldier of the Dutchess Co. New York Militia 6th Regiment.
He received Land Bounty Rights after the war.

My 6th great-grandfather – John Maben (1753-1813)
(DAR – Patriot # A072838) Private – 1st Claverack Batt, 9th Regt.
Private – Capt Hawley, Col Van Ness; Albany Co. Mil/New York

My 6th great-grandfather – John Parsons, Sr (1737/1738-1821)
DAR – Patriot# A088240
Lieutenant – Second LT in Capt Samuel Wolcott, 10th Co, 1st Berkshire Cnty Regt of MA Militia.
Lieutenant – Also Lt. Cap. Elijah Daming, Col Ashley.

My 6th great-grandfather – Wicks Weeks Rowley (1760-1826)
(DAR – Patriot # A09932). Private – New York Militia.

Minute Man – Lexington, Massachusetts

My 6th great-grandfather – Stephen Taft (1710-1803).
Stephen was a Lieutenant of Massachusetts Militia. He was a Minute Man at the Lexington Alarm.

My 5th great-grandfather – Silas Taft (1744-1822)
Serviced under Capt. Bezaleel Taft and Col. Nathan Taylor. He responded to the “Lexington Alarm.”

My 6th great-grandfather – Samuel Wolcott (1736-1802)
(DAR Patriot # A127434)
Captain – 10th Co, 1st Regt, Berkshire Co Militia; Col Hopkins Regt to Highlands.

French and Indian Wars

Colonial Ensign

My 8th great-grandfather – Samuel Wolcott (1679-1734)
“He commanded a military company.”
According to “The Family of HENRY WOLCOTT” by Chandler Wolcott. See: https://archive.org/details/wolcottgenealogy00wolc “He probably served in either King Williams War 1688-1697 or Queen Ann’s War (1702-1713). These wars were the first two of the four French and Indian Wars, which pitted New France against New England.

I know I have more to discover and more to learn about their service, but 18 veteran ancestors is a great beginning.

Veteran’s Day – 2019 – Remembered Ancestors

Today I remember my ancestors that served in the military. I served during Vietnam and my ancestors served during every generation and many of our wars – Korea, both World Wars, the Civil War, the War of 1812, Revolutionary War, the French and Indian War, and even peacetime. I know of seven ancestors who served during the Revolution and three who served during the Civil War for the Union.

Korean War

My Uncle – Russell Kees (1927-2016) fought in Korea.

World War II

My stepfather, Edgar Jerome Matson fought in Europe during World War II

1928-1931 – Peacetime Service

Clifford (Dick) Brown – 3rd from left, back row – Corozal (Panama) Basketball Champions – 1928.jpg

My Grandfather – Richard Earl Brown (aka Clifford Durwood Brown, aka Richard Earl Durand) (1903-1990) My maternal grandfather “Dick” served in the Army. Little is known about his peacetime military service.
In 1928, he was in the army stationed in Panama. He was a member of the base’s champion basketball team (See: Article).
In 1930, he met my Grandmother in Panama.  It appears that he was discharged in 1931.

World War I

My step-grandfather Sammy Amsterdam served during World War I.

Civil War – Grand Army of the Republic

My 2nd great-grandfather – John William Manning (1846-1888).
On 29 Aug 1863, John enlisted in the GAR, at the age of 17, into the 45th Regiment of Kentucky. His father, Enoch Mannin, gave his consent for young John William to enlist. Sometime between May and June of 1864 he was captured by the South (Morgan).
He mustered out on 30 Dec 1864.

My 3rd great-grandfather – Enoch Mannin (1823-1907)
On 29 Aug 1863 – Enoch enlisted (at the same time as his son John) in the 45th Regiment of Kentucky.
Between May and June of 1864, he was captured by the South (Morgan)
He was discharged on 29 Dec 1864 at Catlettsburg, KY.

My 2nd great-grandfather – Asa Ellis Roberts (1835-1887)
On 15 Aug 1861, Asa Joined the Union – Company I, 31st Regiment, Illinois Volunteers for 3 years. He was discharged early due to chronic pericarditis.

War of 1812

My 4th great-grandfather – Jacob Lawson (1800-___)
2nd Regiment (Lillard’s) East Tennessee Volunteers.
Was a private in Captain Waterhouse’s Company Tennessee Volunteers Florida.

15 Star flag War of 1812

My 3rd great-grandfather – John Calvin Roberts (1795-1873)
John C. Roberts was a veteran of the War of 1812, serving in Captain Chiles & Lieutenant Conway’s Company of Tennessee Militia. He enlisted Sep. 20, 1814 at Kingston, TN and was discharged there on May 1, 1815, serving 224 days. He received a pension for his War of 1812 military service.

Revolutionary War

My 5th great-grandfather – Silas Taft (1744-1822)
Serviced under Capt. Bezaleel Taft and Col. Nathan Taylor.

My 6th great-grandfather – John Maben (1753-1813)
(DAR – Patriot # A072838) Private – 1st Claverack Batt, 9th Regt.
Private – Capt Hawley, Col Van Ness; Albany Co. Mil/New York

My 6th great-grandfather – John Parsons, Sr (1737/1738-1821)
DAR – Patriot# A088240
Lieutenant – Second LT in Capt Samuel Wolcott, 10th Co, 1st Berkshire Cnty Regt of MA Militia.
Lieutenant – Also Lt. Cap. Elijah Daming, Col Ashley.

My 6th great-grandfather – Wicks Weeks Rowley (1760-1826)
(DAR – Patriot # A09932)
Private – New York Militia

Minute Man – Lexington, Massachusetts

My 6th great-grandfather – Stephen Taft (1710-1803)
Stephen was a Lieutenant of Massachusetts Militia. He was a Minute Man at the Lexington Alarm.

My 6th great-grandfather – Samuel Wolcott (1736-1802)
(DAR Patriot # A127434)
Captain – 10th Co, 1st Regt, Berkshire Co Militia; Col Hopkins Regt to Highlands.

My 7th great-grandfather – Grover Buel (1732-1818)
Revolutionary War (DAR – Patriot # A016639
He was a soldier of the Dutchess Co. New York Militia 6th Regiment.
He received Land Bounty Rights

French and Indian Wars

Colonial Ensign

My 8th great-grandfather – Samuel Wolcott (1679-1734)
“He commanded a military company.”
According to “The Family of HENRY WOLCOTT” by Chandler Wolcott. See: https://archive.org/details/wolcottgenealogy00wolc “He probably served in either King Williams War 1688-1697 or Queen Ann’s War (1702-1713). These wars were the first two of the four French and Indian Wars, which pitted New France against New England.

I know I have more to discover and more to learn about their service, but 18 known ancestor Veterans is a great beginning.

Beauties at City Hall, Boston, 1916, Included Donna Montran

Initially published on 2 March 2016

UPDATE – 19 June 2018

I found an article in the Boston Globe (via Newspapers.com) about the contest. That article was on the front page of the 11 December 1916 issue of the Boston Globe, Page 1. The quality of the image is a little clearer than the image from the Boston Post (via Newspaper Archives). I updated the post with both images side by side.


Got to love the vocabulary used in old newspapers. “Pulchritude” is the kind of word that if you Google it, you can see how many on-line dictionaries there are. It is a big word for a common thing.  Check it out for yourself.

Boston Post, 12 Dec 1916
Via Newspaper Archive

Boston Globe, 12 Dec 1916
Via Newspapers.Com

In a previous article, I mentioned that Donna tried out to become the “Miss Boston” representative at the big preparedness bazaar to be held at the Grand Central Palace in New York. Well, I found another article about the contest Donna was involved in. According to the “Boston Post” of December 12, 1916, more than 50 girls had already tried out for Miss Boston and a “big rush” of over 100 more girls was expected. The Post’s article included photos of ten of the girls vying for Miss Boston. You never guess who the first girl shown in the article was?  One of two girls on page one was grandma, Donna Montran.  This newspaper photo is one of the earliest photos we have of Donna as a closeup. The article goes on to say that Donna is a blonde even though the photo doesn’t look that way.

The paper printed the names and addresses of the applicants.  Imagine what would happen today if a newspaper published the home addresses of 49 pulchritude contestants. In December 1916, Donna was living at 64 Bennett in Brighton (Boston), MA.

By the way, “preparedness bazaar” referred to actions to prepare the United States for entry into World War I. The United States didn’t enter the war until four months later, on 6 April 1917. However, in December 1916, businessmen, intent on making money on the war, promoted military preparedness and the beauty contests were part of their strategy to create hype to encourage the US to enter the war.

———- DISCLAIMER ———-

“Chin Chin” at Liberty Theater, Camp Sherman, Ohio

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the Liberty Theatre, Camp Sherman, (Chillicothe), Ohio on 4 April 1920

Vaudeville/Chin-Chin
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Chin Chin” played at the Grand Opera House in Canton, Ohio on April 1st. It is not clear if they played anywhere on April 2nd or 3rd, but the cast and crew arrived to perform at the Liberty Theatre at Camp Sherman, (Chillicothe) Ohio on April 4th, 1920.

Show Advertising

Even though the show was on a military base, advertising was like most cities that the show went to. I have been unable to find base papers, handbills, or programs, so all I have seen came from the Chillicothe Gazette, the nearby town’s newspaper. There was a typical “Chin-Chin” advertisement showing Walter Wills and Roy Binder about five days before the show. Long thin column ads ran on April 1st and 2nd mentioning that the show sold out in many locations before and those that want to see the show should get their tickets right away.

On the day before the show, another “Chin-Chin” ad ran in the Chillicothe Gazette showing the “Pekin Girls.”

There were no reviews nor was there any after show information regarding the show.

Liberty Theater, Camp Sherman

Liberty Theater, Camp Sherman

In the spring of 1917, the loss of seven ships and related heavy loss of American lives spurred president Woodrow Wilson to request of Congress a declaration of war against Germany. The declaration was approved on 6 April 1917, and America entered the war.[i]

A massive construction program created by the War Department resulted in the simultaneous nation-wide construction of 16 new National Army cantonments and 16 new Army National Guard training camps.

Approximately 5,000 workers had arrived by 5 July 1917, and construction started the next day.[ii] During the war construction never ended. There were 13 contracts for building during the war and there was constant expansion until Armistice Day. Besides barracks, the Camp included 11 YMCA buildings and three theaters.  Two for motion pictures and one building, the Liberty Theatre, that could do both motion pictures and live shows.

The theater was completed by December 1917. Most sources I have found indicate it had a seating capacity of 1,300 people,[iii] however, the Julius Cahn – Gus Hill 1922 Supplement indicates the seating capacity was 2,500. All agree that it was managed by a civilian.

Most of the Camp’s buildings were demolished during the 1920s.

Camp Sherman

Image of Woodrow Wilson created by 21,000 officers and men. Camp Sherman 1918. Photo: Public Domain via Library of Congress.

Camp Sherman is particularly well known for a formation they did consisting of 21,000 troops that formed an image of Woodrow Wilson. It is one of those truly amazing Great War photos.

The next day, the “Chin Chin” cast and crew played 150 miles north of Chillicothe at the  Sandusky Theater in Sandusky, Ohio.

 


Endnotes

[i] Camp Sherman, Ohio: History of a World War I Training Camp by Susan I. Enscore, Adam D. Smith, and Megan W. Tooker – Published by US Army Corps of Engineers – ERDC/CERL TR-15-25 – December 2015. Page 24

[iii] History of the Ohio State University – Volume IV, The University in the Great War, Part III, In the Camps and at the Front by Wilbur H. Siebert.

Harvey Nelson and the USS Mongolia

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I always enjoy a fresh, new, project. Jumping in and documenting a new tree getting to know new ancestors is my idea of fun. My client knew very little about her maternal line, so I began looking closely at her grandfather.  Certainly, I have more research to do for Harvey Nelson, however, this is a good start. Harvey was a wandering soul. Born in Wisconsin to Danish immigrants, he moved and bounced around quite a bit in his youth.  Finally, he settled down in Southern California, but still moved throughout the area living in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties.

Cassel Project 2017 – Ancestor #6

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Harvey Nelson
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Lars Nelson

Harvey Nelson (1891-1974)

Harvey (NMN) Nelson was born on 19 April 1891 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin[i].  We know he had at least five older siblings — four brothers and a sister. His parents were Lars P. Nelson and Nicoline “Lena” Larsen. Lars and Lena were born in Denmark, married in 1872, and immigrated to the United States in 1873.

  • Chris born in 1874 in Pennsylvania.
  • Ann Elizabeth born in 1878 in Wisconsin.
  • Theodore “Ted” born in 1882 in Wisconsin.
  • Emil (or Amiel) born in 1884 in Wisconsin.
  • Arthur born in 1887 in Wisconsin.
  • He certainly had another sibling whose birth and death occurred before 1900.
  • It is unclear if he had one or two more siblings. He may have had a sister, Hortense and possibly brother, R.C Nelson.

Sometime between 1891 and 1900, the family relocated to Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska. They lived at 321 Kansas Ave.[ii]  Today, Realtor.com indicates the house at that address was built in 1920 so there does not appear to be a photo of the family homestead in Nebraska.

I am not sure where Harvey Nelson was during the 1910 Census. There are several Harvey Nelsons who were living in boarding houses around the country, but there are none that are clearly Harvey.

The Great War

When the Great War draft occurred in June 1917, Harvey was living at 1732 ½ Derby, Portland, Oregon. He was single, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, medium build, slightly bald, light hair, and had blue eyes[iii].

Library of Congress photo of the USS Mongolia
U.S.S. Mongolia covered with soldiers

Harvey enlisted in the Navy on 10 Oct 1917[iv] and served aboard the U.S.S. Mongolia. The S.S. Mongolia was launched on 25 July 1903 as a 616 foot, 13,369 ton, passenger/cargo liner. In March 1917, the Mongolia was chartered as an Army transport and received a self-defense armament of three 6-inch/40 caliber (150 mm) guns which were manned by U.S. Navy gun crews. It was the first American vessel to encounter, and drive off, German submarines after the US’s entry into World War I.

On 27 April 1918, the US Navy requisitioned the vessel, reconfigured her for greater troop capacity, and commissioned her on 8 May as USS Mongolia (ID-1615). She completed twelve turnarounds at an average duration of 34 days and transporting over 33,000 passengers, before being decommissioned on 11 Sept 1919.  Harvey Nelson was on board during this time.

Photo of U.S.S. Mongolia
U.S.S Mongolia – First American ship to sink a German U-Boat after the US entered the war.

Harvey wrote a letter to his sister, Mrs. William Binderup of 6320 East 44th Street, Portland, OR in July of 1918 and said:

“The new German submarine is 318 feet long and has eight-inch guns. They don’t travel alone anymore, but go in squads. They get a range on a ship then they take a chance on getting hit. It is hell when you see a bunch of four or five of them come up and you don’t know from one minute to the next how long you can float. But, we made the trip fine and dandy and are still floating. We have good gun crews, the best in the navy. We had target practice going over and every gun got four shots out of five good square hits. We worked like a lot of Trojans going over, had 4000 men and they all got sick and had a rotten time of it for a while. They were mostly drafted men. Coming back, however, we had it fine.[v]

U.S.S. Mongolia 10 April 1919

Harvey was released from Military duty on 20 August 1919. Three months later (Nov 1919), he applied for a marriage license to marry Florence Hanson.

Marriage:

It wasn’t until 17 March 1920 that Harvey and Florence (or Flora) Hansen tied the knot. Both were living in Long Beach, California. Harvey worked as a steelworker.

The young couple lived throughout southern California for the rest of their lives. Laguna Beach in 1930[vi], Los Angeles in 1940[vii], Corona Del Mar in 1942[viii], San Diego in 1960[ix], and Encino in 1974.  Harvey worked as a painter through much of his adult life.

Harvey Nelson died on 22 December, 1974 in San Diego, California. I have not been successful in finding funeral information regarding Harvey, so far.

Endnotes


[i] Los Angeles, California, Ralph Thomas Cassel – Rosalie Elizabeth Nelson – 18 Sep 1942. “California, County Marriages, 1850­1952,” database with images,: 28 November 2014), FHL microfilm 2,114,963. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8VT-K9C.; Family
[ii] 1900 Census, Family Search, Lars P Nelson – Hastings, Adams, Nebraska – ED 12, Sheet 2A. Line 1 – Accessed 2 June 2-17. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3BN-DGD.
[iii] U.S., World War I Dra  Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Ancestry.Com, Harvey Nelson – Birthdate: 19 Apr 1891. See:  U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 – Harvey Nelson.pdf. http://Ancestry.com.
[iv] U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, Ancestry.Com, Harvey Nelson – Birthdate 19 Apr 1891 – No Image. http://Ancestry.com.
[v] Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, OR), 1918-07-09 – Page 5 – Harvey Nelson. Story at bottom of 1st column. http://Newspapers.com.
[vi] 1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Harvey Nelson – Laguna Beach, Orange, California – ED 30-47, Sheet 6B. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCDK-CWL.
[vii] 1940 Census (FS), Family Search, 1940 Census – Harvey Nelson – Los Angeles, California. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9HL-VR1.
[viii] U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Ancestry.Com, Harvey Nelson. Residence 1942 – Corona Del Mar, California. http://Ancestry.com.
[ix] 1960-08-25- Ann Elizabeth (Nelson) Powers – Obit.pdf., Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California (Newspapers.Com).