Saturday, June 20, 2015


The death of Henry Ross on 10 Dec. 1861 was reported in a letter from the American Consul in Constantinople:  "He was discharged by me from the Hermaphrodite Brig "Hugh Barclay" of Chicago on December 2 and sent at once to the hospital on application of Charles T. Chadwick, Master, having arrived at this port November 30 from Sulema at the mouth of the Danube where he contracted dysentery of which he died."

Before we go any further, let's find out what a Hermaphrodite Brig looked like and a description of its rigging:

So this ship came into port at Istanbul with a young man near death.  Let's continue with the American Consul's letter:

"I visited him daily and found that he received every possible attention from the Protestant Sisters who manage that Institution.  Yesterday I attended his funeral at which one of the American Missionaries officiated.  He was decently buried in the Dutch Protestant Cemetery in Pera.  The flag of his country accompanying his remains to the grave.  It appears by the Ship's Registry that the deceased shipped at London on 8 Jun 1861, aged 23.  He informed me he was never married and has no parents living unless a brother, John Ross, from whom he has not heard for 5 years.  His protection from the Collector of Boston and Charleston dated 13 Dec 1860 certifies that he was a native of Buffalo, New York which he considers his residence.  He leaves nothing but his clothing and the balance of his wages and extra pay, for which I will account.  Under the circumstances I have not deemed it necessary to publish a notice in any newspaper here."

                                                Signed:  C. W. Goddard, Consul General."

I lived in Istanbul for almost two years and one of the things I did was to try to identify all the Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  Until I came home from Turkey I had no idea who Henry Ross was, but I had learned that when an American dies in a Foreign Country the State Department in America receives a notice of his or her death.  Early on it was just a written notice; later it was called a Form 192: Report of Death of American Citizen.  All such reports are eventually turned over to the National Archives.  So in 1995 I went to the College Park Branch of the National Archives where the state department's material to be archived is kept, and after a week of searching I found a Consular Dispatch file from that time period (1861) and in it was the letter from the Consul General.  No other information on Henry is available, but there surely was a great deal of information on other Americans buried in that cemetery.

As it happens, the cemetery that Consul General Goddard speaks of is no longer there and those buried in that cemetery were removed and reinterred at the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy. Unfortunately the man does not have a tombstone.

I was never able to locate any family for him here in the United States using simple genealogical tools, but perhaps with this exposure someone who has been looking a long time for young Henry Ross will recognize him here.  Until then, keep in mind that there are a lot of Immortal Nobodies buried in cemeteries all over the world.

Rest in Peace, Henry.

American Section of the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy-Istanbul

Thursday, June 18, 2015



Helen R. Hungerford was the oldest of six daughters of Asa and Mary Angelina Bond Hungerford.  It seems to me that it is usually the youngest daughter who cares for the "old folks" as they age, but in this case, one by one the daughters disappeared off the censuses, due either to death or marriage and Helen took over that obligation.  Because my own Bond direct ancestor is Charlotte, a sister of Mary Angelina, I really haven't tried very hard to research this "collateral" line.   But I do know a little bit - and I think it is quite interesting.

Looking at the censuses, I find that in each one, Helen is still living at home with her mom and dad in Perry township, Allen County, Ohio.  Everyone in that area are farmers, and her father is no different. Since most of the censuses ask what one's occupation is, Helen says "housekeeping" rather than the traditional "Keeping House" (which may or may not mean doing it in someone else's home) - or she doesn't indicate any occupation at all.

The three Hungerfords. Asa, Mary Angelina and Helen, gradually "age out" and by 1910 none appear on a census.  However, I know that Helen is still alive because I've gathered some information about her death in 1916

One of the death notices says that she died suddenly at 80 years of age at the home of her sister.  This notice also tells us that she lived on the farm adjoining her sister for over half a century, and that she was buried at Perry Chapel Cemetery.  Apparently she did not have a headstone, as the headstones have all been noted in various genealogy sites and no Helen Hungerford appears, although her sister and brother-in-law's do.

Another newspaper article indicates that her brother-in-law, A. J. Osmon was named administrator of her estate, and that the estate is valued at "$2,000 in personal property and a house in real estate."

Now the traditional Obituary reads as follows:

"Helen R. Hungerford, daughter of Asa and Mary Angelina Hungerford, was born in Independence, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, August 23, 1835; died at the home of her sister, Mrs. A. J. Osmon, April 5, 1916, aged 80 years, 7 months, 25 days.  She moved to Allen county with the family in 1842, and has lived here since then.  When a young girl, visiting her Grandfather and Grandmother Bond, she united with the Baptist church at Lima, and remained with them until after coming to this county to live, when she transferred her membership to the M.E. church at Perry Chapel, where she has been a constant member and worker in the church and a Sabbath school teacher.  She is survived by one sister, Amanda Osman, and uncle, John Bond; one aunt, Marinda Ihrie, nieces and nephews and a host of friends.  She was always so kind and good to everyone and oh, how she will be missed by the church, the neighbors, and all her friends."

Of course, being good inquisitive genealogists, we always wonder how death came to our old relatives.  Often, we have have nothing to explain it.  But in this case, somehow the Sandusky Daily Register printed this:  "REPORT FROM LIMA" - While dining, Mrs (sic) Helen Hungerford, 80, dropped dead."

So there.  Now we know.

Rest in Peace, Helen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


As you may or may not know, most of the folks I choose for Immortal Nobodies are people I know of from my own genealogical research.  Narrowing that a little bit more, most are from my own families.  But not today.  For today's Immortal Nobodies – a man and his wife. 

"He" is a fellow named Noah D. Damon, who served in the Revolutionary war.  He was born about 1760, and enlisted in 1775, making him about 15 at the time.  The extant records indicate that he served with the Massachusetts troops and was a private.

"She" is Esther Sumner, a sweet young thing who was born about 1814. 

These two people married in 1835.  She was 21 and he was 75.  There is no interesting story of "why" such a May-December marriage happened, just that it did.  The marriage lasted until his death at the age of 93 in Benton, New Hampshire.

The reason why I was even thinking of those folks was that I was reading the prologue of a new book, "The Bonus Army" by Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen which was giving some data as to pensions for our military people throughout the years, and the authors noted that the last surviving dependent of the Revolutionary War continued to receive benefits until 1911.  I found this fact amazing, and I wanted to know just who that was, since this particular statement did not have a footnote with that information.  So of course I Googled to see if I could get an answer.  What came up was blog by noted genealogist Mary Harrell Sesniak.  Now there was no 1911 date in it, but since the story she told had a 1906 date, it was close enough.  Plus, I figure any 75 year old who takes a 21 year old bride, or vice versa, is worthy of the Immortal Nobody appellation. 

Anyway, to finish the story, Noah filed for a pension and received his first payment in 1848.  He could actually have filed earlier, except he indicates that he had been a resident of Canada and was "ignorant of his right."  His application also stated that he had received a sword injury in his thigh that troubled him even as he submitted his paper.  At his death in 1853, the monthly pension went to his wife, and she received it until her death in 1906 at the age of 93.

Noah and Esther did not know they were making history of a sort – a history of a pension that existed from 1853 to 1906 for service in the military at the founding of our nation in 1776.  Nor would they expect to find themselves listed as Immortal Nobodies in my blog.  Welcome, Damons.

As a final note, I am delighted that Google sent me to Mary's most interesting blog that provided information for me.  I must add that I am finding "The Bonus Army" book chock-full of information on a time in our country and an event during that time that I knew absolutely nothing about – and to find it presented in a most readable format!  How I love non-fiction books!  And my Immortal Nobodies, one and all!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

John and Frances Narcissa McConnell brought nine babies into the world.  Only three of them lived to be adults.  These did not.

Simeon Theofulus McConnell:  28 February 1868 - 19 September 1879
Lewis McConnell: 20 January 1870 - 20 January 1870
Luther McConnell: 20 Jan 1871 - 20 Jan 1871
Lucy McConnell: 20 Jan 1871 - 20 Jan 1871

Meake E. McConnell: 20 Aug 1872 - 20 August 1872

Mary Delilah McConnell: 26 Jan 1876 - 02 Feb 1876

It is hard to understand how parents could live through so many sad times.  In one of the family cemeteries in Barren County, Kentucky, there are many small stones with no names on them, now tucked over in a corner but probably once over the tiny plots of babies.  They might even be for these McConnell children, but we won't ever know.  So we'll let them be remembered here - the tiniest of Immortal Nobodies.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Published in the Red Bluff Daily News Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Dr. Tracy L. Bennett

Dr. Tracy Lauriston Bennett died Sunday, July 6, 2003 at his home at the age of 74.  He was born September 16, 1928 in Los Angeles.  He graduated from Chiropractic School in 1948.  He also had his Masters in Public Health.  From 1968 to 1985 he taught Science at Red Bluff High School.  He taught Natural History and Survival classes at Shasta College Night School as well.  If you were not a patient of "ol' Doc Bennett" during his 55 years of Chiropractic practice, then you were probably a student in one of his classes.  He was a very compassionate and caring man who will truly be missed by all who knew him.  He enjoyed gourmet cooking and gardening and he was active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary at Shasta Lake for many years.  He is survived by his wife Harriet "Rosie" Bennett of Red Bluff, together for 18 years.  His mother, Edna Cummings of Red Bluff.  Daughters Robin and Andy Anderson of Shelby, North Carolina, Cindy and Barry Fulgham of Allyn, Washington, Kelley Bennett of St. Petersburg, Florida, stepchildren Tim and Char Fitzgerald of Anchorage, Alaska, Rick and Janell Fitzgerald of Red Bluff, Linda and Gary Dodd of Red Bluff, Jeanne and sandy Young of Redding, along with 19 Grandchildren.  No services are planned; any memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.


For a short while a long time ago, Tracy was my brother-in-law by marriage.  He was a heck of a nice guy.  Until very recently I didn't know his whereabouts or anything about his life.  It is because of his sweet daughter Kelley that I can put an end to my wondering and present him here for all to see.

Monday, May 25, 2015



Every once in a while we are blessed with finding someone with whom we totally “connect.” Yovonne was one of those people in my life. She had a presence about her that was tangible. We worked for the same small non-profit company: I was the administrative secretary, given a great deal of responsibility by the boss, and she the warehouse supervisor.  She was one of the main reasons why our facility ran so well. There was no problem so big or so small that I felt uncomfortable discussing with her and getting her “take” on the matter. I valued her attitude, her approach, her reasoning and her constancy. I felt she brought one of the few examples of professionalism to our operations staff.

I think one of the reasons I found her special was that she was competent and confident in her supervision.  She made decisions without shooting from the hip or waffling on the reasons. I remember how the previous supervisor used to sit in the staff meetings and when the boss asked him about something, he’d get all mealy-mouthed and try to figure out an answer that wouldn’t come back to bite him. Yovonne’s approach was the exact opposite; she believed in her decisions and was forthright in her explanation of them. Dissembling was not one of her strategies; she told it like it was. I so admired her for that.

She knew what the goal was and how to get there. Many supervisors and managers trample people in that process but Yovonne considered her charges as valuable employees and worked to bring them along in every way. That she was supremely successful was testified by the number of “little people” – those hard workers who mostly worked behind the scenes – who came to pay tribute to her at her memorial service.

And she was such fun. She was one of the reasons I could get through each day at our facility. It was so hard those last couple of years; work had stopped being fun, but Yovonne hadn’t. She would fly into my office and say, “Miss Bobby, I’ve got a problem.” We’d sit and talk about it a bit, with her solving the problem in the process of ruminating about it. She didn’t need me. She needed a safe place where a sane person could be a sounding board. I was so happy that I was there where she could take a minute to restore herself. She felt incompetent to write a letter and always asked my help. She knew exactly what needed to be said. I simply put the words in some kind of order for her. That was my talent, and I thought of it as my tiny gift to her, considering the enormity of her own talent. It pleased me a great deal to do the simple typing for her. It is what friends are for.

Probably the one event that captures in my mind what Yovonne stood for was the time in staff meeting when we were all discussing which staff members should be CPR trained. Names of various people, all men, were being tossed around and everyone had a different idea of who all should be given that responsibility. I finally stated, “I want Yovonne trained, because with her I know she will get the job done. If anything happens to me, I want to be placed in her hands.” Everyone laughed, but they knew I was right. And she made all of us rethink our definition of gender roles. I’d stack her up with the best of any man.

I felt that she and I were like sisters, and I would have been proud to be her real sister, even though our skin was not the same color. I’m aggrieved that she had to suffer the terrible indignity of a cancerous brain tumor, and yet as hard as it is to say, I’m glad that she isn’t suffering any more. But that doesn’t take away the pain I feel. I am missing her a lot, still, after all this time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Sometimes I come across a life that is so dismal or so unknowable that I feel impelled to show it as an Immortal Nobody.

I first heard of Della when I married into the Kirkpatrick family so many years ago.  Della, who was long deceased, would have been my husband's aunt.  Let me give you a little background of the family so you'll know whereof we are talking.

The Kirkpatricks had been in Tennessee, right over the Alabama line, for several generations.  In the late 1930s a group of them made a move to California.  My husband was just a young tad when they settled in Compton. 

Joe and I met and married in college.  In getting to know his family, it wasn't long before I heard the name "Della" – but initially I only knew that she had an early death.  Later I heard reference to suicide; "shot herself" was whispered.  But no one ever told me the circumstances and Joe seemed not to know what happened either. 

Many years later, long after Joe and I were history, I took up genealogy but of course I wanted to get Kirkpatrick genealogical information for my kids.  Luckily, I learned that his Aunt Bettye, a baby sister to Della, had been collecting Kirkpatrick information for some time and she delightedly passed it all onto me, including  two Tennessee newspaper articles dating from 1929 that told the story of Della's demise but not much more than speculation as to "why?" 

Miss Kirkpatrick Commits Suicide
Refusal of Sufficient Money to Buy Trousseau Assigned as Reason

Richard City, Feb. 5 – Miss Della Kirkpatrick, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Kirkpatrick died last night at the Dixie Hospital here from the effects of a pistol shot wound, self-inflicted earlier in the day.

Dr. Kirkpatrick stated that his daughter told him she was going to marry a man from Kansas City and asked him for money for her trousseau.  He gave her money, but not the amount she asked for, contending the sum he gave her was sufficient.  As she walked out of the door he heard the report of a pistol and found his daughter had shot herself through the heart.  She died of internal hemorrhage.

Prominent Richard City Girl Victim of Own Hand

So. Pittsburg, Reb. 5 – Funeral services will be held at 1 o'clock Wednesday morning for Miss Della Kirkpatrick, 23, who shot herself yesterday afternoon in the office of her father, Dr. J. W. Kirkpatrick, at Richard City, near here.

The entire community was shocked by the death of the young girl who was popular with a wide circle of friends.  Although she was conscious from the time of shooting until her death at nine o'clock, she never revealed her reasons for the rash act.

Miss Kirkpatrick was to have been married soon and had been making plans for the wedding.  It is thought that this may have had something to do with her act.

She came to her father's office late yesterday, bringing the pistol with her wrapped in newspaper.  After talking with his daughter for a while, Dr. Kirkpatrick stepped into another room and immediately heard the report of the pistol.  Running back to where she was, he found her lying bleeding on the floor.  The bullet entered her breast and penetrated the lung near her heart.

Miss Kirkpatrick was a member of the 1929 (sic) class of South Pittsburg High school and that year won the Civitan medal for highest grades.

Dr. Kirkpatrick is company physician for the Penn-Dixie Portland Cement company at Richard City.

If there is any additional explanation of her reasons for doing such a thing, they have passed into the big yon.  All we will know about her is that for some reason, she felt killing herself was a solution to her problem.  And she did it.

She is memorialized by a fine stone in the Kirkpatrick cemetery in Bridgeport, Alabama, and by a place in "Immortal Nobodies."   She fits, I think.

~RIP, Della~