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.

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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!

Workday Wednesday – What was a "Book Agent"?

Over the past month or so, I have been holding off on new “research” in the form of looking for new records, and instead focusing my research on a more in-depth analysis of records that I had obtained in my early genealogy work.  I made the mistake early on, as I suspect many new researchers do, of getting the data I wanted from a record and moving on too quickly without fully analyzing the record.  Going back into some of these previously documented sources is proving to be incredibly interesting, enlightening and in some cases, it is providing me with new mysteries.  The 1880 occupation of Curtis Washler is one such mystery.
Curtis Washler was my Great Grandfather on Dad’s side.  He and his wife, Christiana, were married in 1877.  When I first found them in the 1880 Census, Curtis and Christiana were living with her parents, Isaac and Mary Ann Farver on their farm in Jackson Township in DeKalb County, Indiana.  Nothing in the Census record was particularly “unusual” other than Curtis’s occupation.  As you can see here, Curtis’s occupation is listed as “Book Agent.”  Hmmm…Book Agent…what on earth is a Book Agent?  I can safely assume that this is not some sort of literary career in this instance simply because there isn’t anything else that I have found to date to indicate that Great Grandpa Curtis was involved in the literary industry.  The next Census available (1900) shows Curtis as a farmer in Concord township (on what has been the family farm since that time).  Leave it to Murphy’s Law to put this mystery smack around the lost 1890 Census!

The only other clue that I have actually confuses the issue even further.  In History of DeKalb County, Indiana : together with sketches of its cities, villages and towns … and biographies of representative citizens : Also a condensed history of Indiana (Chicago : Inter-State Publishing Co., 1885), Curtis is listed as being the proprietor of a saloon in St. Joe, Indiana.  I have a hypothesis that somehow “Book Agent” is perhaps related to the operation of the Saloon (maybe something to do with gambling?).  It should be interesting to follow this trail and see just what a “book agent” was in 1880.  I have the feeling that once I find the answer to this question, it will definitely rate another blog post!

Workday Wednesday – All Aboard!

I just couldn’t resist writing on the “Workday Wednesday” blog prompt from Geneabloggers because it gives me the chance to highlight my Grandfather, Earl Link, and his career on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

For as long as I can remember, my mother had a fascination and passion for the railroad.  The railroad had been a huge part of her life growing up because her father had worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1920 until 1963.  Mom had pictures of various vacations that they had taken via the railroad, and great memories that she would share.

When I started in on my genealogy research, one of the first things I did was to contact the Railroad Retirement Board to request my Grandfather’s records.  What I found was that Earl Link joined the Pennsylvania Railroad on 25 October 1920 at the young age of 19.  Earl worked his way through the ranks first as a signalman from 1920 to 1925, and then as a fireman from 1925 to sometime in the late 1940s.  Finally, he worked as an Engineer with the railroad until his retirement in 1963.

Earl retired from his life’s work due to a heart murmur which was apparently part of a heart condition that resulted from a childhood illness and would eventually claim his life in 1967, just a few short years after his retirement.

I never had the chance to meet my grandfather since he passed before my parents even met, but thanks to his life’s work and the love of the rails that he passed on to my mother, everyone in my family has a special place in their heart for the railroad and you will often catch me with a bit of a “wistful” look when I hear a train whistle off in the distance.

The picture above is an undated picture that my mother and I came across years ago.  I have not yet been able to identify the occasion for the picture, but the man up in the window of the engine cab is my grandfather, Earl Link.