Sunday’s Obituary – Earl C. Link

I haven’t done a Sunday Obituary post in quite a while, so I thought I would do one this week with my grandfather’s obituary.  Actually, I’m doing it with two obituaries for him.  My grandfather, Earl Link, was born in Wyandot County, Ohio, but was living in Ft. Wayne, Indiana when he died.  My grandmother had saved the obituaries from both locations after grandpa passed, and it was interesting to see the difference in the information contained in each.

Obituary for Earl Link
(Ft. Wayne News Sentinel,
5 May 1967, Ft. Wayne, Indiana)
The first of the two obituaries is from Ft. Wayne, where Mom and her parents were living when Grandpa died.  The obituary is much more focused on Grandpa Link’s career and his descendants than it is his earlier life.  Noticeably, the obituary mentions nothing of his parents, his birth or even his marriage.  It simply gives the details of his career and his immediate family.  One of the most significant pieces of information that I gained from this one is that he was a member of a railroad union!  (I’m still working on getting access to those records.)
Obituary for Earl Link
(Paper unknown, 05 May 1967,
Wyandot County, Ohio)
The other obituary that I have for Granpa, comes from his “hometown” newspaper in Wyandot County.  This obituary focuses much more on his family information than the one from Ft. Wayne.  This article talks about Grandpa’s birth, his parents, his marriage to Grandma, as well as the information about his career and surviving family.  This one even mentions Grandma’s parents!  The one piece of information missing here that was in the other is about the union membership.
The difference in the two obituaries makes sense when you think about where each was from and who the readership would have been.  For readers of the Ft. Wayne obituary, the Pennsylvania Railroad was a significant factor in the town, and many people were likely to have known Grandpa because of his years of service to the railroad.  Whereas, in Wyandot County, the readers were much more likely to have known Grandpa and Grandma as children and from their early lives together.  These people would also have known Grandpa and Granma’s parents.

Workday Wednesday – Postal Service Follow Up

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post regarding my great grandfather and his father both working for the postal service.  Recently, I found a picture of my great grandfather from the August 8, 1966 edition of The Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

The Daily Chief-Union, Upper Sandusky, Ohio
8 Aug 1966

According to the caption, this picture was taken “about 30 years” earlier, though it would actually have to have been at least 31 years earlier in 1935 since my great grandfather (pictured in the front row, 3rd from the left) died on 04 June 1935 about a month after retiring from the Postal Service.

Treasure Chest Thursday – Hannah’s Small Treasures

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a trip back home to go through a lot of my mom’s and grandma’s stuff that was still at my Dad’s house.  As I said then, there was just so much that we found that it was almost overwhelming.  This week’s Treasure Chest Thursday is about two of the items that we found that came home with me.

As we were going through all of the things we found, we came across two books that were very obviously quite old.  Both books were quite small and both were leather bound.  The first of the two had only a leather spine and the front and back were hard cover.  Inscribed on the front cover was “The Presbyterian Hymnal” in beautiful lettering.  When we opened it, the note on the front cover (seen here to the left) read, “Mrs. H. Hill  Marseilles, Ohio.”  Our first thought was that this belonged to my grandmother, Hannah (Hill) Link who grew up in Marseilles.  Then it struck me….this says “Mrs.H. Hill.”  When Grandma was Hannah Hill, she would have been Miss Hill!  That meant that this hymnal had to have belonged to her grandmother!

Sure enough, when we turned to the publication page, it read, “Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by the trustees of the Presbyterian Board of Publication.”  This was a nearly 140 year old hymnal!

The second book was so unassuming that had we not stopped to take a close look, it could easily have been accidentally discarded.  The book was quite small and leather bound with a flap that secured the front cover closed.  There were no markings on the outside at all except for one simple word in gold lettering on the spine… Bible.  After finding the hymnal, I for one was pretty excited at the prospect that this may be just as old.

When we carefully opened the bible, there was a simple, handwritten note sitting inside that read, “Grandma Hannah McCleary Helm Hill Bible – 1855.  This note, which was just stuck inside the bible, was in my grandmother’s handwriting, so while it seemed reliable, it wasn’t necessarily conclusive about the date or ownership of the bible.

Looking a bit more, I found two notes that were handwritten on the pages of the bible.  The first was in the front and it read, “Hannah Helm, Nov 4th 1855.”  The second was on the back cover and reads, “James Helm, Nov 4th 1855, Hannah Helm.”  I recognize the handwriting on both of these inscriptions as being that of Hannah’s first husband, James Helm.  The recognition is based on a letter I have in my possession that James wrote to Hannah before they were married.

Wow!  As if the 140 year old hymnal wasn’t enough, we were holding a 160 year old Bible!  Based on these notes, this would appear to be a bible that was perhaps given to Hannah by her first husband.  My initial thought when I looked at the date of the inscription was that maybe, just maybe, this was a gift on their wedding day or shortly after.  When I went and checked my database, however, I found that they were married on 28 Aug 1854, so the Nov 4th date is over a year after their wedding.  I don’t know exactly what the occasion may have been for James to give the bible to Hannah, but this date has definitely gone onto my “to do” list for Hannah!

Beyond the excitement of finding two such incredibly old and personal items of my great great grandmother’s, these two items did also provide just a hint of genealogical information in the form of indirectly telling me what denomination Hannah belonged to.  I know it may not sound like much, but to have a personal item that answers a question like that is a genuinely fun find in my mind.

So now I am faced with one small dilemma…do I keep the items out on display in their current condition, or do I find a way to more permanently preserve these items?  I’m very up in the air over this decision, and I’d love to hear some reader comments or suggestions.

What do you think?

Sunday’s Obituary – Clara Augusta (Paessler) Hill

This week’s Sunday Obituary is for my great grandmother, Clara Augusta (Paessler) Hill (25 Aug 1881 – 21 Jan 1970).

Clara Hill obituary,
Upper Sandusky, Ohio,
Upper Sandusky Daily Chief-Union,
22 Jan 1970, p.1 column 3

Great Grandma Hill’s parents, Herman and Augusta Paessler, were German immigrants, and Clara was the youngest of their children.  From letters that I have seen and have copies of, Clara was rather well traveled in her later years as I have found letters from her to my grandmother that are post marked California, Arizona and Texas.  From the letters, it appears that Great Grandma Hill took a several months long trip to visit her children that lived in various states around the country.

Sunday’s Obituary – Hannah (McCleary) Hill

Today’s Sunday Obituary is for my 2nd great grandmother, Hannah (McCleary) Hill.  Hannah was the wife of Samuel Hill as well as the namesake of my grandmother, Hannah (Hill) Link.  As with many obituaries, this one provided me with some invaluable information when I was first starting out on the hunt for Hannah’s family, including the information about her first marriage!

Upper Sandusky Daily Chief,
Upper Sandusky, Ohio,
5 October 1908

The McCleary family is one of the few that I have where I’ve not done much research beyond the initial survey stage, but from what I have found so far, it should be an enjoyable hunt!

Workday Wednesday – Neither snow nor rain nor the passage of generations…

Seal of the United States Post Office
Department (used until 1970)

I made a very interesting discovery when researching my mother’s maternal ancestry.  Apparently, service to the United States Department of the Post Office ran rather deep in my grandmother’s family!

I have previously posted the obituary for my 2nd Great Grandfather, Samuel Hill, which talked about his time not only as a Justice of the Peace, but also as the Postmaster for the village of Marseilles in Wyandot County, Ohio.  What wasn’t mentioned in the obituary was the continued connection to the Post Office that ran through Samuel’s son and grandson.  According to his obituary, Samuel was appointed as the Postmaster for Marseilles in 1898 and served in that capacity for 8 years until 1906.

The obituary for Samuel’s son (my Great Grandfather), Franklin J. Hill, also prominently features his service to the Post Office.  Frank Hill was apparently appointed as the assistant Postmaster for Marseilles shortly after his father took over as Postmaster. Perhaps just a little nepotism going on there?  Frank served as the Assistant Postmaster until 1905 when he moved to Upper Sandusky, Ohio.  Two days after moving there, on November 15, 1905, Frank took over as the rural mail carrier for Route 4.  He subsequently worked on routes 2, 6, and 8.  All told, Frank served for nearly 30 years as a rural mail carrier out of Upper Sandusky.  According to his death certificate, Frank worked as a mail carrier until 29 May 1935, just 6 days before his death on 4 June 1935!

I knew much of the information above through discussions with my mother and through some of my early research.  What I didn’t know, and didn’t expect to find, was that the connection to the Post Office continued through at least one more generation of the Hill men.  Several years ago, while scanning a variety of newspaper clippings that my mother had, I apparently scanned a copy of her uncle’s obituary.  I ran across this scan a week or two ago while working on organizing my digital files and creating citations for them.  As I sat and read the obituary for Carl Robert Hill, I was almost shocked to read that he too had served as an employee of the Post Office.  The only occupation mentioned in Carl’s obituary is that he served as a an employee at the U.S. Post Office in Akron, Ohio “for a number of years”.

During the past few months of self-education on genealogy, I have read from a number of different sources that the Post Office is one of those employers that can actually be a great source of genealogical information.  My sincere hope is that this proves to be true because it could unlock a great deal of information for me on my Hill lines!  Needless to say, when I resume doing new research later this year, sending off three requests for records will be high on my research plans!