Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
I met Toussaint early on in my research, when I came in contact with my dad's elderly cousin still living in Colorado. Cousin Percy was a Dobbins, and because he stayed in Colorado which was, from 1875 on, home turf of the Dobbins family, he had become the repository of wonderful Dobbins things. Percy was also a generous and helpful person, and one of the first things he sent me was a copy of a Note (above) written by the Territory of Kansas to Toussaint Lahay. Percy said that Toussaint was the first husband of Nannie Corel Lahay, Percy's grandmother.
Francois & Nannie Corel LaHay's babies - Ollie and Ella
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Harrie Uberto McConnell is truly a tough one.....and all the more reason to get SOMETHING down about him.
His mother, Narcissa Frances Wright McConnell, had at least 8 children; only three of them lived to adulthood. Harrie was the last.child born and the only son to live. He was the only child to be born in Texas; his older sisters were born in Kentucky where the family had lived for years and years.
His oldest sister was married and out of the house and out of Texas by the time he was 4 years old. His other sister was 8 when he was born. In 1893 his oldest sister was widowed and the family left Texas for Colorado. The years from then on until 1917 are blank. Obviously Harrie Uberto was dragged around by his parents as they went back to Texas, sold the farm, came to Palisade, Colorado, bought a peach orchard, and not finding that satisfactory left again for somewhere. Dad died in that "somewhere" and we don't know where or how he met his end. His mom goes to Colorado Springs to be with her daughter, and during that period is when Harrie appears in the northwest, working and living in a boarding house. ALERT: A niece said he came "home" when his mother died in 1915, But he remains working in Washington State and Oregon until he dies on Nov. 29, 1943 in Seattle.
What do we know about him? That same niece was my Aunt Dorothy, and she was the only person alive who even vaguely remembered him. And the one thing she remembered was that he was blind in one eye from a childhood eye injury. That was it.
In trying to dig up information on him that maybe Ancestry knew about but the family didn't, I made what I consider an amazing discovery. There is a World War I Draft Report on file for him that delivers a real surprise. Under ordinary circumstances it wouldn't be so surprising to me, but the very fact that I know nothing except the one thing my Aunt Dorothy told me about his eye injury --- well, it appears that even that is wrong. On this Draft Report, he notes he has a CATARACT on his left eye. He may be blind from that cataract, and I'm sure he did not serve in the military, but he likely did not develop a cataract from a toy he was playing with.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
A biography and an obituary tell part of his story. The "sad" part is at the end, and because he had such a sweet face and surely didn't deserve what fate set out for him, I have always thought of him as "Sweet Baby James." His dad, Abner Hall, was my 2nd great grandpa.
SO, what is the sad part? His oldest brother, William LeGrand Hall, stabbed a man to death, was imprisoned and then released after a few years, and then killed his sister in an attempt to get rid of all other heirs to his father's fortune. For this, he was hung.
And then, one of his own sons, Byron, shot and killed two policemen in a paranoid delusion that people were following him, and in turn was himself shot and killed by another policeman.
Such a cross for this man to bear.
Friday, April 3, 2015
In 1929 his wife and mother of 7 children filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty to her, and stated he was not fit to be custodian of the children. Once the divorce was granted, my Grandma packed up the family and moved to California.
With the records available, it is hard to say if he was certifiably crazy. But if you look at the time line I prepared for him in the course of my research, perhaps he was just lazy (he had a rich father, so he had lots of leeway in a vocation), or maybe he just drove his wife crazy moving all the time with 7 kids! What'dya think? Take a peek.
DATE - LOCATION - OCCURRENCE
- 1900 - Kansas - 1900 Census, student
- 1902 Jan - Kansas - Postal carrier
- 1905 Mar - Kansas - Quit job to take up "Dakota" claim.
- 1905 Apr - Kansas - Married Jessie C. Davis
- 1906 Kansas - Baby Nevalyn Eugene Ryland born
- 1907 Jun - Colorado - Entry in baby's baby book says "first trip"
- 1908 May - Kansas - Business Card "Keeling & Ryland, Real Estate, Loans, Inc."
- 1908 June to Oct - Idaho - Entry in baby's baby book says long vacation
- 1908 October - Denver - Still on vacation per above
- 1909 - Kansas - baby Florence Ryland born
- 1910 - Kansas - 1910 census - selling real estate
- 1911 - Colorado - baby Virginia Ryland born
- 1911 - Colorado - Virginia's birth certificates says he was a druggist
- 1911 - Colorado - newspaper ad says he worked at Spot Cash grocery, his father-in-law's grocery store.
- 1915 - Kansas - baby Marie Ryland born
- 1918 - California - moves family to Newport Beach. Virginia attends 1st grade.
- 1919 - Kansas - baby Byrd "Bert" Ryland born. Birth certificate says "Farmer"
- 1920 - Kansas - 1920 census does not list an occupation.
- 1921 - Kansas - baby Hugh Ryland born. Birth Certificates says father is "Farmer"
- 1926 - Colorado - baby Marjorie Ryland born. Birth Certificate says "Grocer" (Father-in-law long dead, so it's not at his store.)
- 1927 - 1929 - Colorado - City Directory gives no occupation.
- 1929 Apr - Jessie files for divorce.
- 1929 Nov - Divorce granted
- 1934 - July - Byrd M. Ryland dies.
I never knew this grandpa. He died the year before I was born. None of his children, my mother and my aunts and uncles, EVER would say a word about him. Not a good word nor a bad word. No word at all. I did get my mother to say, in one of her more reflective moments, "Well, I was a teenager and pretty wrapped up in my own life. I just recall that he kind of made life tough for all of us." That was the extent of what she would say about him.
Many years after my mom died, I asked my dad if mom had ever said anything to him about her dad. He said she did not, and he never asked, but he did say that when Grandma Jessie, then living in California, got the news of his death, she cried as if her heart was broken. I suppose one would most always have a tiny place in her heart for the father of her children.
Crazy? or just lazy? We'll never know.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
I could. Here is the setting.... and then Julie appears.
Nancy Corel was 18 when she came with her family from Virginia to Douglas County, Kansas in 1854. She soon met and married a young man, Francois "Frank" E. Lahay whose family had moved over into Douglas County from St. Genevieve County, Missouri, with the intention of helping to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave state. Nancy married him in 1857, but he died in 1862. In 1867 Nancy married again - this time to a veteran of the U.S. Kansas 11th Cavalry, Company M. Nancy and her new husband were my great-grandparents and my distant cousin's great-great grandparents..
The document below, a transcription of the original document my cousin has, is a handwritten Bill of Sale from T. and M. Lahay to their son, Francois Lahay, dated 9 December 1853.