Robert Harry Darling

“Harry” was born 18 August 1907 and was the second of two children of Rufus Harry and Hannah (Anna) McAlister Darling.  It appears that Rufus and Anna separated shortly after Harry’s birth.  In any event, in 1910 Robert was living with his mother and sister, Elizabeth Grace Darling, at 2219 Ward Street, Pittsburgh, PA with Robert & Emma Hennig and their three children.
Anna died in 1913 when Harry was only five years old, and his father was absent, so his grandmother, Margaret McAllister, took the two children in to raise them.  In August 1915, it was necessary for Margaret to return to Cumberland County, England to settle a family estate issue. However, the family story is that Margaret was determined to see Rufus’ children civilized by an extended stay in her home country.  She and the two children traveled aboard the SS New York, which was an American Line ship. Transatlantic passage was very dangerous in those days; it was only three years after the Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage.  World War I had already begun in Europe and German U-Boats were on the prowl. The sinking of the RMS Lusitania occurred three months before this journey so there was a great concern for their safety.  The three travelers remained in England for over a year, so Harry and Elizabeth attended school while there were there.  They returned safely to the States in December of 1916 intending to live in the Brookline neighborhood of Pittsburgh. 
Any hopes Harry & Elizabeth may have had of reuniting with their father were dashed when, in June of 1917, their father, Rufus, died. Elizabeth’s (Betty’s) memories of her father were vague at best. He was away on “business” most of the time but remembered lots of presents when he returned.
In 1920, Harry and his sister lived with his grandmother, his uncle John W. McAllister, along with his wife and two daughters 411 Arlington Avenue, in the Mount Oliver neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Also living there was his uncle, John Darling and his wife, Emma, and their two children,  Cousin 1 and Cousin 2. Today, that area is a rugged, unbuildable, embankment above the railroad tracks just a few blocks from the river and the steel factories of the day.
On August 10, 1926, eighteen-year-old Harry married Nora Adaline Glies in a ceremony performed by Edward Carter, who was a Baptist minister, in Wellsburg, Brook County. West Virginia. Wellsburg is a small town on the Ohio River about forty-five miles west of Pittsburgh.  Both Harry and Nora lied about their ages and indicated that they were twenty-one on their marriage license.  At that time, West Virginia required a parent to pay the Marriage Bond for parties marrying under the age of twenty-one.  That marriage didn’t last long and they divorced sometime in 1927.
Harry and Florence were married sometime in 1929 and in 1930 lived in a $60/month four-plex at 110 North Fremont Street, Ross, PA.  With them was a boarder named William Doll.  During that time Harry worked as an automobile salesman.  In July 1930, Florence gave birth to a daughter, Girl 1.  Florence passed away in 1934.  Family history indicates that Elizabeth was living with them at that time.
In September 1938, Harry and Mae Reno were married by a minister by the name of Charles Smith. This union produced three children, Girl 2, born in 1939; Robert Harry, born in 1940; and Girl 3 born in 1941.  Family history says that sometime during this period he fathered a child with a nightclub singer and had a child named “Girl 4.”  No information has been discovered at this time.
It appears that Harry and Mae were divorced in 1942, so Harry became eligible for the draft. He enlisted in the Navy on 23 November 1943. He did not see combat, only serving at the Naval Hospital in San Diego.  He was discharged on 8 September 1944, before VE and VJ days.  It is understood that he was discharged due to mental breakdown; however, his discharge papers indicated that his discharge was honorable and that he was eligible for reenlistment.  His physical description at discharge was 6’0″, 155lbs, Blue eyes, brown hair, ruddy complexion, and a birthmark on his upper left breast.
It is not clear when, where, or how Harry met Florence Drexl, but by 1945, they had a daughter, Girl 5, who was followed by a son, Boy 2, in 1946.

Video: Memorial Day 2016 and added to this post on 9 Jun 2016

Harry died 22 January 1969 and is buried in Cadillac Memorial Gardens, East. Mt. Clemens, Michigan, which is about 25 miles north by northeast of Detroit.

Note: Mentions of “Cousin”, “Girl”, and “Boy” refer to living individuals.

What I’m working on

I thought I’d revisit the status of my genealogical research and compare the four family trees I am pursuing — Darling, Howell, Brown, & (Roberts?) I figured defining the trees and the blanks clearly and consistently would help me determine where I should put my efforts.
I started with generation 2 on all the trees, so the home person for each of the trees is well into their 80’s or have passed over.

Gen – Darling – Howell – Brown – (Roberts)
1-3      7        7        7         0       
 4       4        7        6         0
 5       7        3        4         0
 6       4        1        6         0
 7       1        2        6         0
 8       2        0        5         0
 9       2        0        6         0
10       4        0        4         0
—    —–    —–    —–    —–
Tot %  3.03%    1.95%    4.30%       0%

From this chart is is pretty clear that the “Roberts Notional” tree should be my Number 1 priority.
Certainly, there is a massive brick wall but I haven’t exhausted all of my possible research areas.  I am sure that this will be my first genealogical research trip.  I still need to put in a clear list of tasks.  Luckily the trip would only be an overnight type of trip (about 6 hours each way), but I think it will be important to make the trip.  I’ve exhausted almost everything I can do on line.

The second most important tree is the Darling Line. Neither the Huber nor the Trumpii families are traceable back to Switzerland.  I still have a lot of on-line research I can do.  I’ve gotten caught up in following the Darling/Swayze line because there is lots of information available.  I’ll admit, I followed the path of least resistance.  Also I focused on that line because of presentation I was putting together for “The Aunties” who were interested in the Darlings most of all.  My wife also has a 2nd cousin who I’m in contact with that I found a marriage licence that indicates some ancestors that are completely different from the ancestors she thought she had.  She’s asked that I help her with sorting that out.  

The Brown line stops in generation 3 with John Montran. We have no idea who his parents were, of even if John Montran was really his name. This one looks like a brick wall, but is probably a metal  reinforced concrete wall with just a brick facade.

Lastly, on the Howell line, James Ashley Hobbs’s mothers name is lost. We know it begins with an “M” but that is about all.  I think this one will probably be the easiest to determine. When I work on the Howell line, that will be my focus.  Although, following the Howells back earlier would be very fruitful.  We have several people related via DNA that we could connect with if we can go back one or two more generations.  We have the right names in the right counties only about 20 years apart so we are close to finding that relationship.

There are a few other trees I’m looking at and helping with as well. One is for my best friend, one for a former step-daughter (who I raised from 6-16), and one for a former customer that has a particularly interesting (famous) ancestor.

So my brick walls that I’m working on are:
Roberts – TN, NC, SC, VA
Huber – MI, Switzerland
Trumphi(i) – MI, Switzerland
Montran – MI
Hobbs, NC, VA

When I want some successes, I work on:
Darling, MI, (NY before 1840)
Howell, NC (VA before 1820 & Civil War)
Manning, MN, KY (Civil War too)

Mom’s Memories 2

I was recently reading one of my favorite blogs, Marian’s Roots and Rambles. Her article was about “Any Sailors in the Family.”  I was a sailor, did 10 years active duty in the US Navy, but more interesting, I learned recently that my mother was a sailor as well.  She mentioned that somewhere or another she had gotten “seaman’s papers.” (I’ll have to look and see if I can figure out how to get a copy of them.)  She worked on a ferry boat on the Great Lakes.  In the early 1950’s she cooked aboard the SS Milwaukee Clipper. The ‘Clipper was an auto/train car (and passenger) ferry that ran between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She cooked and baked in the breads department and lived shipboard a season.  Of course, I was astonished and amazed.  It provided her with a place to stay (albeit cramped), meals, and money to send back to her mother to support me.  I had no idea.

By Boston Public Library [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

I went on to find out that the S. S. Milwaukee Clipper is still in existence. The ‘Clipper is a National Historic Landmark and dockside in Muskegon, Michigan. Their website explains a lot about the ship and its history. Built in 1904 as the Junita she was sold and completely overhauled in 1940, where a new steel superstructure was installed, she was fireproofed, had AC installed to the staterooms, and other comforts were added. I am sure that the crew quarters were tight.

Anyway, it was a fascinating side trip into a bit of my mother’s history that I had no idea about.

Webinar Review: Your Civil War Ancestors

I’ve been enjoying the free webinars put on
by Legacy Family Tree.  Last week I
watched my third one and was quite pleased. 
Michael Hait’s webinar was, “Your Civil War Ancestors:
Beginning Your Research.” I thought I knew quite about my civil war ancestors,
but Michael’s webinar added some new areas of research for me.  Of course I knew about the indexes of the
Civil War Pension indexes, but I had no idea of the depth of information that
might be available when a pensioner applied. 
Although ordering the information may be expensive, the wealth of
information surpasses what I might have thought possible. 
Certainly Mr. Hait
reminded me of the vast number of photos and drawings available at the Library of Congress Civil War site. Adding photos of related events can and will
make some of the boring bits of story come alive. His talk also reminded me
that Google has a vast number of books that are indexed and searchable.  Many of those books include detailed
descriptions of specific Civil War Regiments. 
My wife’s G-Grandfather fought with Lee’s Army from near the beginning
of the war through to Appomattox and my side fought for both the Union and the
Confederates in Kentucky regiments.
He did mention a site
that I hadn’t thought of for civil war records, the National Park Service Civil War Records.  Certainly
an excellent source for information on various regiments, battles, and letters.
Mr. Hait’s delivery style was a bit uninspiring but his material and his understanding of the material was excellent.  Would I buy the CD? Maybe
not at $12.95 (regular price), but certainly I would love to see it combined in
a package with some other Webinars.  I
highly recommend listening to the webinar before the 5th  of November (while it is still free). The Legacy Family Tree Webinars are well worth following and keeping an eye out for topics that fit your needs.  I’ve even put a couple of their items onto my Yuletide wish list, so, hopefully, I’ll be getting some of them.

Mom’s Memories

Sometimes talking with elderly family members can yield lots of information that is confusing and difficult to figure out.  There are nuggets of really interesting information that can make the family history interesting; but, places or times aren’t quite right.

I was talking with my mother some time ago and she mentioned that back in the early 50’s she worked at “Kreskee’s” at 5th and Marquette in Minneapolis. A little bit of searching and some memory work of my own,  and I figured out she worked at S. S. Kresge’s which was at 6th and Nicollet (2 blocks away).  Kresge’s was known for it’s “donut counter” which is where my mother worked. At the time I was an infant staying with my grandmother up at Little Rock Lake. My mother would hitch-hike to the city about 80 miles away. Work in the city during the week and then return on the weekends.


S.S. Kresge about 1958.  Office Depot resides in the same location today.
I can’t tell if it is the same building with a total facelift or if it is a new building.  I suspect it is the same building with a major facelift. I found it really interesting to learn that S.S. Kresge was the predecessor of K-Mart. Some of the Kresge stores became “Jupiter Discount Stores” and others converted to K-Mart. I guess I had thought Kresge had just vanished.     
She also worked at a Woolworth’s in St. Cloud (which apparently no longer exists). I need to do some more research on it.
She mentioned working at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. She remembered that it was a long and deep restaurant next door on the right of movie theater. She said she couldn’t remember the name of either the theater or the restaurant.  In follow-up discussions with her, she recalled that the theater was on the left as you headed towards the river, was at about 4th and Hennepin.  A bit of research and I figured that it must have been the Palace Theater. I found a photo of the Palace Theater but can’t quite make out the name of the restaurant. It appears that the theater and the restaurant were torn down about 1953, “to make way for a parking lot.” 
The Palace Theater – About 1929 and Today
Surprisingly the Brass Rail is still there and the parking lot is there today.  
Beyond it you can see the “Gay 90’s.”  I mentioned it as potentially being the restaurant she worked at but she indicated that wasn’t it.  
She didn’t work at Kresge’s or that restaurant long but she did worked to earn money to support me, even if it meant being absent for a while. I am really proud of her and the efforts she took.