Friday, November 20, 2015

How To Set a Primary Photo on the NEW Ancestry

For the past few months, I've tried to figure out how to set a "primary photo" for an individual. It was easy on the "old" Ancestry! I finally called Ancestry and they quickly sent me an email with a link that explained the steps I needed to take. I don't think it is intuitive (or I would have figured it out!), so I'm sharing the steps.

STEP 1: Go to the profile page for the person on your tree and click "Gallery" to see all the images.

STEP 2: Click on the image you want to use as the primary photo.

STEP 3: The image opens up on a new page. Below the person's name and photo information, there is a line that says "LINKED TO" followed by a blue bar with the person's name and a 'down' arrow. Click on the that bar to reveal more information.

STEP 4: You should now see two options: "Use as Profile Image" or "Unlink Person from this Photo." Click on "Use as Profile Image."

When you return to the person's profile page, you should see the new image next to their name.

The photo of William Lowry Ward, my grandmother's "Uncle Lowry," was one I got a copy of while visiting my mom's a few weeks ago. Lowry was a son of Reuben Houston Ward and Sallie Harriet (Dickson) Ward. 

Uncle William Lowry Ward (1896-1970)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ancestor Fought in Creek Indian Wars: Pension File Discovered in War of 1812 Records

As you probably know, the War of 1812 Pension Files are free on Fold3 and they continue to add more names each month. I'm "patiently" waiting for the Ws for my direct ancestor, Thomas B. Whitwell. But, in the meantime, I was scrolling through the names in Tennessee where my grandmother's maternal family lived.

Under the letter D, I came across the fairly common surname, Dickson, which was my grandmother's maiden name. As I clicked on each of these men, one name stood out to me: Joseph Dickson. I have four Joseph Dickson's on my tree. Two were born after the War of 1812, but one was born in 1772 and another was born in 1795 (though I figured he was probably too young). The Joseph in the Pension File was from Linden, Perry County, Tennessee which is where "all" of my grandmother's family lived.

The pension file includes 37 pages and never mentions his wife or family members. But, three different papers indicate his birth year. The first is image #29 which is dated 7 May 1855 where Joseph says he is "aged fifty nine years." The second letter is on image #32 and is dated 09 Dec 1852 and Joseph says he is "57" years old. Third dated 29 May 1871 saying "75 years" old. All of these ages match my Joseph Dickson, born on December 1st, 1795, exactly.

Joseph Dickson (1795-1898) was my fourth great-grandfather, and this pension file was the first piece of evidence I'd ever seen that he fought in any war.

So, what did I discover in Joseph Dickson's pension file?

Joseph Dickson's Pension File (image from Fold3)

  • Joseph received two pieces of Bounty Land: 40 acres in 1850 (claim #93350) & 120 acres in 1855 (claim #57224) - this is something I need to look into further! (Image #1 on Fold3)
  • He enlisted on Jan 28th, 1814 & discharged on May 23, 1814 in Tennessee Militia under Captains Michael Moulton & Joseph Williams (Image #1)
  • Mentions the "Creek War" (Image #4)
  • Lists length of service as 116 days (Image #7)
  • Discusses that, besides actual fighting days, he was also paid for 200 miles "travel allowance" (Images #9 & #10)
  • States "Joseph Dickson aged 59 years a resident of Perry County in the state of Tennessee who being duly sworn according to law declares that he is the identical Joseph Dickson who was a private in the company commanded by Captain Joseph Williams in the regiment of mounted riflemen commanded by Colonel Michael Molton in the War with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812 (with the Creek Indians) for the term of three months and continued in actual service in said war for fourteen days, that he has heretofore made application for bounty land under the Act of September 28th 1850 and received a land warrant No------- not reccolected (?) for forty acres which he has since legally disposed of and cannot now return.   [paragraph] He makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the additional bounty land to which he may be entitled under the act approved 3rd day of March 1855. [paragraph] He also declares that he has never applied nor received under this nor any other act of Congress any Bounty Land warrant except the one above mentioned. [signed] Joseph Dickson (Image #29)
  • States "... that he volunteered at Dickson [County] on the [blank] day of January 1814 for term of 3 months and continued in actual service for the term of 3 1/2 months and was honorably discharged at Camp Blount on the 10th day of May 1814 as will appear by reference to certificate of discharge herewith filed - and by the muster rolls of said company (Image #32)

  • Includes Joseph's actual discharge papers! (Image #35)
  • A fill-in-the-blank form dated May 29th, 1871 says he is "not" married & all information about a wife is crossed out. Joseph's wife died in 1867, but this is still puzzling as it is asking about who his wife's name "was"... (Image #36)
From this information, I looked at the Tennessee Secretary of State site at "Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812" and was able to determine that Joseph Dickson served under Colonel Robert Dyer in the Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Cavalry. One of the Captains of the regiment was Michael Molton who Joseph stated he served under (though he listed him as a colonel). Molton also signed Joseph Dickson's discharge papers.

The brief history of this regiment (at the above site) states that it was "part of General John Coffee's cavalry brigade throughout most of the Creek War. The unit participated in most of the battles of the war, including... Horseshoe Bend (27 March 1814). There were several companies of "spies" in the regiment: companies of cavalry that were sent on reconnaissance patrols and usually took the lead in the line of march for Jackson's army."

Battle of Horseshoe Bend (public domain image from Wikipedia)
A great synopsis of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend is at Access Genealogy: "The Creek Indians, who had been allies of the British during the War of 1812, were angered by white encroachment on their hunting grounds in Georgia and Alabama. In 1813, some Creeks under Chief Red Eagle (William Weatherford) (1780-1824) attacked and burned Fort Mims on the lower Alabama River, killing about 500 whites [the Fort Mims Massacre]. Afterward, US militiamen, led by General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), invaded Creek territory in central Alabama and destroyed two Indian villages, Talledega and Tallasahatchee, in the fall of 1813. Jackson pursued the Creek, and on March 27, 1814, his 3,000 man army attacked and defeated them at that Battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River in eastern Alabama. More than 800 Creek warriors were killed, and the power of the Creek nation was completely broken. At the Treaty of Fort Jackson on August 9, 1814, the Creek were compelled to cede 23 million acres (half of Alabama and part of southern Georgia) to the whites. It is sometimes considered to be part of the War of 1812."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Photos

Thanks to photos posted by family members on Facebook, I'm happy to share photos of some of our 21st century veterans. (Photos shared with permission.)

My dad
Served in the U.S. Army

My dad's brother, Jim
Served in the U.S. Army  (1958-1962 in Korea)

My husband's grandfather, Fred Clifford Hunter
Served in the U.S. Navy during WWII

My husband's grandfather, Jim Leeds (middle), with two of his brothers
Served in the U.S. Army during WWII

Johnnie Leeds, a brother of Jim Leeds
Served in the U.S. Army during WWII

Monday, November 9, 2015

Memories of an Antique Clawfooted Tub

Growing up, the house we lived in had been built in the late 1800's. Though it was two stories and had four bedrooms, it only had 1 1/2 bathrooms: a half bath under the staircase and a full bathroom upstairs. The full bath didn't have a shower; it only had an antique, claw-footed tub. The tub was painted white, inside and out, but the outside paint had peeled off in places. Surprisingly I have many memories centered on that old tub.

Me (age 2) & my baby brother in the antique tub
My sister, brother, and I were 3 "stair step" children. My sister, the oldest, was almost 2 years older then me; and I was almost two years older than my baby brother. When we were very young, my mom would pile all 3 of us in the tub at one time to give us a bath and wash our hair.

In the summers when we were a little older, my mom would put us in the tub in our swimsuits to "cool down" before our naps. One day, she put us in the tub and went downstairs to take care of something. She heard lots of giggling and laughing and screaming. She went through the entryway, directly below the tub, to see what was going on. She saw water pouring down the wall by the front door! We had discovered how to use the back end of the tub as a giant slide. It sure could make a splash!

Well, one Sunday morning, we heard a noise in the attic running back and forth across the ceiling. The door to the attic was in the upstairs bathroom; it just had a trapdoor without any stairs. There was a piece of wood you'd push up and over and then you'd have to use a ladder to get into the attic. My dad decided to fill the tub with water, open the attic door, close the door to the bathroom, and check on the situation when we got back from church. When we got back, my dad found a terrified squirrel in the bathroom. I always thought he found it in the tub, but my mom said he was caught in the window shade trying to get out. My dad was able to catch the squirrel in a towel and took him outside. Perhaps in shock, the squirrel climbed up into our big oak tree and just sat there staring at us for a very long time.

Strangely enough, the bathroom was at the front of the house with a window over the tub facing the street. We didn't have central air-conditioning, so we often had the frosted window partially open to catch any breeze. If you peeked out the window, you could see what was happening all the way up and down our street. And, you could hear conversations in our front yard!

My mom always told us not to bathe whenever there was a storm; the lightning could electrocute us. When I was about 8 years old, I was going through confirmation class at our church. We went to a Baptist church, so we often heard the gospel. We were told that we were all sinners, that Jesus had died for our sins, and that to go to heaven we had to accept Jesus as our Savior. I'd wanted to accept Jesus as my Savior for quite awhile. But, I was dreadfully shy! In our church, you had to walk down the aisle to profess your faith. The very idea of this had me petrified.

That night, it started thundering and lightning while I was in the tub. I finally realized that I could actually die that very night. And, that without Jesus as my Savior, I would go to hell. So, in that tub, I bowed my head, confessed myself as a sinner, and asked Jesus to come into my heart. And, yes, I walked the aisle the next Sunday!

The 1828 Will of Peter Close's Relict: Catharine Elizabeth Close

Yesterday, I shared the 1810 will of my 5th great grandfather , Peter Close of Armagh, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Peter's wife, Catha...