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A Mother and a Daughter’s Struggle for Survival at the Turn of the 20th Century; The Story of the Two Anna Bouchys

Years ago I wrote a blog post summarizing the life of my second-great maternal grandfather, Henry Bouchy. He arrived in New York City from France as a young boy with his family a week after Lincoln’s assassination. Henry had three wives and ten surviving children. This is the story of his third wife, Anna Buehler Linz Bouchy, and her struggle to provide for her children in the early 20th century.

Henry’s children by his first wife were not fans of the third wife, a widower with a young son. Two of Henry’s older daughters were married by the age of sixteen in order to get away from Anna, although, to be fair, Henry wasn’t a joy to be around either, from all accounts.

Henry and Anna had four children together: Anna (1900, and whom I shall call “Anna Jr.”), Theodore (1902), Edward, (1905), and Frank (1907). The couple moved from Newark, New Jersey to Dayton, Kentucky just before their daughter Anna was born. Anna Jr.’s date of birth was 4 July 1900.

Henry died of an untreated ear infection in March 1909, leaving Anna with six children at home — two from his first wife and four of their own children. The family did not have much and Anna was forced to do the best with what little she had to her name. Where Henry’s children with his first wife went to live after his death is unknown, but they likely went to live with an older sibling.

Anna took her four children (Anna Jr., Theodore, Edward, and Frank) and returned to New Jersey where she was forced to put her children on the mercy of the Hudson County New Jersey Orphans Court on 3 February 1911. The children became wards of the New Jersey State Board of Children’s Guardians. In December, Jean Bouchy, Henry’s eldest son with his first wife, and administrator of Henry’s estate, sent a check to the New Jersey Board of Children’s Guardians in the amount of three hundred and sixty dollars for the care of the children.

The Bouchy boys were put into Hamilton township schools in Trenton and did well; all of them appear on their school’s honor roll in May 1912. By 1920, the boys had been “taken in” by families and were going to school and working on farms. Theodore returned to Dayton, Kentucky at an unknown date. He moved in with his half-sister Bessie Bouchy Ott, and he died at her home on 26 October 1929, at the age of 26 from a kidney disorder. Even in death, Henry’s older children could not bring themselves to even credit their step-mother Anna with the birth of one of their half-siblings. Bessie informed the person filling out Theodore’s death certificate that his mother was Ada Johnson — Henry’s first wife, and Bessie’s mother, not Anna Buehler. Edward made his return to Dayton, Kentucky by 1930. He enlisted in the army, served in World War II, and married. He died without children in 1977. Frank remained in New Jersey and enlisted there in 1942. Sometime after 1947 he returned to Kentucky and died at Cold Spring on 1 October 1990; he never wed nor had children.

By 1915, Anna was working as a factory worker in Jersey City and she and another female factory worker rented a home at 87 Central Avenue. Where Anna Jr. was at this time is unknown; however, the presumption was that she was in the care of the State of New Jersey. The other possibility is that she had been “taken in” by a family in a manner similar to her brothers. Attempts to locate her in the 1915 New Jersey State Census were unsuccessful, leading one to believe she took the surname of the family with whom she was living for that year’s census.

How much contact Anna had with her children after they became wards of the state and later, when they went to live elsewhere, is completely unknown. It makes one wonder if Anna knew her 19-year-old daughter had high-tailed it across the country in 1919 with a 37-year-old married man, who left a wife and four children back in New Jersey.

Anna Buehler Bouchy died on 22 October 1921 in Jersey City. At the time of her death, she’d been working as a tobacco cleaner at P. Lorillard Tobacco Company. Her death certificate states the cause of death as a “syncope due to cardiac disease.” Anna was buried at Bayview Cemetery (aka New York Bay Cemetery) on 27 October 1921. Anna had two life insurance policies totally $315.00 and $405.51 in her bank account. On 12 September 1922, notice was given in the Jersey Journal that the final account of Anna’s estate was going to be audited and that the final settlement was going to the Orphan’s Court of Hudson County on 5 October 1922. Anna had buried two husbands, two babies by her first husband, and given over custody of her four children with Henry to the state of New Jersey. She’d had a short, tragic life, but she did what she felt was necessary. She died alone at the age of 50.

A 100 Year Old Family Mystery

Anna Bouchy Jr. never shared with her family who her parents were, what her life was like as a child or young woman growing up in New Jersey, and she went to incredible lengths to hide the details of her life from her son and grandchildren. She guarded her past zealously. When Anna Jr. died in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1986, she took her secrets to the grave and that’s where they remained for the next 33 years.

Anna Jr. entered the New Jersey State Board of Children’s Guardians in late 1911. Unfortunately, her life from 1900 – 1919 is an utter mystery; where she lived, with whom, and whether she was treated with care and consideration — no one knows. And it is no doubt the events that shaped her life during those early years that molded her into the secretive woman she became with her family.

Anna Jr.’s granddaughter contacted me several years ago attempting to determine if we are related. The French Bouchy name is quite uncommon in the United States, and when Anna’s granddaughter informed me that Anna Jr. was born in Dayton, Kentucky I knew we were somehow related, but not how, as all of my Bouchys were from Dayton.

Anna Jr. never spoke of her early life or family with her granddaughters and as far as they knew, their grandfather was George Burton, Anna Jr.’s second husband. A funny thing happened though when Anna Bouchy Jr.’s granddaughter Diane took a DNA test — there wasn’t a single shared Burton match in her list of matches. There were however, two very high half-first cousin matches, with names that Diane, Anna’s granddaughter did not recognize. Diane knew the matches were not of her mother’s side, so we set out to contact the female half-first cousin. We never heard back. We then contacted the male half-first cousin, whose account was being managed by someone else. The manager of that account reached out to the first half-cousin, who in turn contacted us, and within days we had solved a 100-year-old mystery: what had happened to Anna Jr.?

The first half-cousin’s name is Donn and he was kind enough to chat with me, share his family history with a complete stranger. After giving me the initial names and dates of his immediate family, we still weren’t exactly sure how he and Diane were related, but I had some theories. The second phone call Donn and I shared turned out to be the genealogical jackpot. The missing piece fell into place and we were finally able to get insight into why Anna Jr. was so secretive her entire life.

By 1919, World War I was over, but it was time of great sorrow for millions of families as everyone had in some way been impacted by the Great War; most were also affected by the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. Between these two historic events the world saw death on a scale not seen since the Plague. Those who had survived the war, deprivations, and disease became jaded to the world. And yet, because they’d survived these events there was a need to experience life to its fullest, hence, The Roaring 20s. People lived with abandon knowing that their time on earth was finite. It was in this context that a 19-year-old Anna Bouchy Jr. met Louis, a 37-year-old husband and father of four in New Jersey in 1918/9.

The exact circumstances of Louis and Anna Jr.’s meeting are unknown. Louis was an ice and milk delivery man, so it’s possible Anna was on Louis’s delivery route. Louis’s grandson Donn was able to provide me with the answer as to how Anna Jr. ended up in Los Angeles, California in 1920–something Diane and I had wondered for years.  Why would a single, 19-year-old woman go across the country by herself to Los Angeles? What was previously unknown to us was that Anna Jr. did not travel alone. Donn informed me that in 1919, Louis left his wife and children in New Jersey and “ran off with a woman to California.” It was at that moment I got goose-bumps and realized the woman was Diane’s grandmother, Anna Bouchy Jr.

Anna Jr. appears on the 1920 census living in Los Angeles as boarder in the home of a married couple, employed as a telephone operator, but where was Louis? Why weren’t they together? Donn filled in the rest of the story for me: Louis’s wife was not about to be hung out to dry with four kids in New Jersey. She packed up everyone, put them on the train and headed west. What happened when she tracked down Louis no one knows, although the two patched things up and they decided to stay and raise their family in Los Angeles. Their home was 2.5 miles from where Anna Jr. was living in 1920…It also raises the question: did Anna know that Louis was married? Did he neglect to inform her of his wife and children? It’s possible Anna didn’t know Louis’s marital status until his wife tracked him down in Los Angeles.

Shortly after June 1920, Anna Jr. realized she was pregnant and left Los Angeles for Colorado. Knowing that Louis had chosen to remain with his wife and children put her in a terrible quandary: should she tell or not tell him of the baby? Unfortunately, the answer to that question has been lost to history and we will never know if Louis knew of his impending fatherhood with Anna Jr.

Anna Jr. and Louis’s son Roy Marion “Blair” was born on 18 April 1921 in Pueblo, Colorado.  The nuns at St. Mary’s Hospital must have questioned the veracity of Anna’s information as there is a “?” next to the word “Legitimate” on the birth certificate. In October 1921, Anna Sr. died in New Jersey. Whether she knew she was a grandmother is unknown as we do not know if she had contact with her daughter.

The information Anna Jr. provided for the birth certificate states the father as Louis A. “Blair,” who was born in New York about 1890, and who was employed as a mechanic in La Junta, Colorado. An exhaustive search for Louis Blair found a possible result, but it led to a dead end. After speaking to Donn, it became apparent that Anna lied in regards to the father’s last name although, the first name, middle initial, and place of birth were accurate.

It should be noted here that Louis’s fourth and final child with his wife (who was born in 1917), was also named Roy (middle name Robert). What was Anna doing by naming her son after Louis’s son with his wife? Whatever the reason, Anna later chose to rename her son and about a year after his birth called him Robert Louis.

To support herself and her son, Anna Jr. became a housekeeper for Jessie Mitts, a widower 46 years her senior. She married Jessie on 21 November 1923 and he died nine years later in 1932. On 13 March 1933, Anna Jr. wed George Burton, who later adopted Robert Louis “Blair.”

In December 1943, Anna Jr. revised her 22 year-old son’s birth certificate. She changed the name of the father from Louis A. Blair to George H. Burton – her second husband and the man who adopted Robert. Several years later when Anna Jr. discovered Robert’s wife requested his birth certificate for a passport, Anna Jr. flew into a rage, knowing the truth of his parentage was there in all it’s glory on Robert’s original birth certificate. Robert probably realized that George Burton was not his father, but the issue was never discussed – at least not with his children. Whether he addressed it with his mother is another question to which we’ll never know the answer. Robert’s daughters believed George Burton to be their paternal grandfather when, in fact, their grandfather Louis was a poultry and dairy farmer whom they’d never met and whom they’d never meet.

In 1951 Anna Jr. submitted a Social Security application under the name Anna Mitts, daughter of Anna Biehler (sic) and Theodore Mitts; although Robert’s birth certificate specifically states his mother’s name as Anna Bouchay (sic). Why she intentionally provided inaccurate information unclear.

Five years later, in 1956, Anna’s husband George Burton passed away.  In 1969, Anna submitted another Social Security application; this one named Anna Biehler (sic) and Henry Bouchy as her mother and father. It was this application which allowed Diane and I to connect the dots as to our DNA relationship: Henry is Diane’s great-grandfather and he is my 2nd great-grandfather, but she descends from Henry’s third wife, and I from his first.

Tragically, Diane’s father Robert Burton, died in a scuba diving accident in Florida three days after his 55th birthday on 21 April 1976. One month prior to Anna Jr.’s passing, her son George Burton Jr. died in Maine at the age of 51. Anna Jr. passed away on 19 September 1986 in Colorado Springs at the age of 86. Like her mother, Anna Jr.  had outlived both husbands and children.

Anna Jr. kept her secrets hidden for decades and no doubt is less than thrilled that they are now known. Understanding how society looked upon an unwed mother in the 1920s – especially one who ran off with a married man, gives us insight as to why Anna wanted her son’s true parentage to remain hidden.

May is the month for honoring our mothers — let us remember all that they do to protect us, love us, and shelter us, even to their own great sacrifice.

Anna Bouchy with Geo Burton, son Robert Burton and granddaughters

George Burton, Anna Bouchy Mitts Burton, Robert Louis Burton 1955


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Posted by on May 19, 2019 in Uncategorized


A Genealogical History of the Blythe Family in America

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The Blythes were early landowners in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; Samuel Blythe owned 400 acres in Huntersville, a northern suburb of Charlotte which he obtained in 1772. (1) Amazingly, a portion of that land and the Blythe Homestead (which was built by one of Samuel’s grandsons in the 1860s) is still standing and remains in the the Blythe family. (2) Much of the land that formerly belonged to the Blythes is now underwater and is part of the second largest man-made lake in North Carolina: Lake Norman.(3) The Blythe Homestead is now prime lakefront property.

Samuel Blythe was a Revolutionary War veteran who spent the winter of 1777-1778 with General George Washington in Valley Forge. (4) Samuel’s son Joseph was the regimental surgeon for the 1st North Carolina and was captured at the Siege of Charleston in 1780 and later released as part of a prisoner exchange. Joseph went on to marry a wealthy, politically well-connected South Carolina landowner, Elizabeth Allston. (6)

Samuel’s son James migrated to Williamson County, Tennessee and settled along Rutherford’s Creek in present day Maury County. Eventually James’s descendants would migrate to Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and finally, Iowa, where Mary Kennedy and George Blythe (pictured) raised their family in Mount Pleasant and Oakland Mills.

George and Mary’s son Frank had a troubled marriage and his children became virtual orphans as a result of Frank’s actions. Records indicate that he and his wife divorced in 1919 and because his wife was unable to provide for their children, they were all sent to new homes or orphanages. (7)

After examining over 200 years of land deeds, vital records, military and probate records, I was able to share with the client his family’s story: who they were, where they were and when they were there. I was able to positively inform the client his ancestors were Revolutionary War veterans, Civil War veterans and provide the answers to questions which had long remained unknown.

  1. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 8, p. 88, retrieved 26 August 2017, via
  2. Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission, retrieved 26 August 2017, via
  3. Ibid.
  4. 4. North Carolina Valley Forge Muster Rolls retrieved 26 August 2017, via
  5. Southern Campaigns American Revolution Pension Statements and Rosters, retrieved 26 August 2017, via
  6. South Carolina Historical Society, retrieved 26 August 2017, via
  7. Divorce record for Frank Blythe and Hattie Pierce Fehy Blythe via Henry County, Iowa Clerk of Court.
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Case Studies


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The Deaton Family Genealogy


The client contacted me with a desire to learn more about the origins of his paternal family line. After researching over 300 years of land deeds, published family histories, census documents, birth, marriage, and death records, as well as other sources of information, I was able to determine that the client’s immigrant ancestor arrived in Virginia from England about 1700.

One ancestor, William Deaton, was a Captain in the Loyalist North Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War, and served under the notoriously cruel Lt. Fanning, who infamously terrorized local colonists who sided with the Americans. William Deaton was killed during the Battle of Lindley’s Mill in September 1781, leaving a wife, 10 children, and one on the way.

William’s descendants are spread out across the United States.  This client’s particular line of ancestry went from North Carolina, back to Virginia, and finally settled in Perry County, Kentucky, in the late 1790s / early 1800s.

When research commenced, the client was unaware of the family history, and had no idea from where they originated. The family now has a comprehensive, thorough and easy-to-read family history book (as well as all the source documentation) to prove the family line back to England.


Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Case Studies


The Devastation of the 1918 Flu Pandemic

The Devastation of the 1918 Flu Pandemic

Almost 100 years ago the world suffered from a devastating flu pandemic. It literally killed more people around the globe than World War I and infected over one-fifth of the world’s population. (1)  The virus spread quickly due to global troop movements and the return home of millions of soldiers and sailors from foreign shores with the end of World War I. This particular strain of influenza was different in that it was most deadly to 20 -40 year-olds; whereas the majority of strains took their toll on the young and elderly. (2)

My late mother-in-law told me at one time that she never knew her paternal grandparents as they’d died in the 1918 flu epidemic. It wasn’t until I started researching this side of our family that I realized how devastating it was to this branch of ancestors.

Herbert and Carrie Hauk Atherton lived with their six children in Hancock County, Indiana, in a tiny town named Straughn. When I say tiny, I’m not joking; the population in Straughn in 2010 was 222. (3) The Athertons and their six children lived here until tragedy struck in November 1918.

Carrie, mother of six, aged twenty-nine years, contracted the deadly virus and died on 29 November 1918 (4). Her husband Herbert, aged thirty-four years was buried next to her on 9 December 1918 (5), a victim of the same deadly flu strain. After the couple’s two-year-old son Arthur succumbed to influenza on Christmas Day 1918, he was buried next to them in the Philadelphia Church Cemetery located in Hancock County, Indiana. (6)

The tragic loss of their parents left the five orphaned Atherton children in need of homes. Daughters Katherine and Nola ages 14 and 11 respectively, went to live with their mother’s parents Joseph and Mary Hauk, in Indianapolis (7) and the two boys, Joseph and Edwin, ages 7 and 5 respectively, went to live with a farmer and his wife in Delaware County, Indiana, near Muncie. (8) Both boys are listed as “orphans” on the 1920 census, living with Daniel and Hattie Ulrich. Joseph lived with the Ulriches until he was old enough to move out and by the age of 18 was working at a .5 and .10 store, living as a boarder in the home of Fletcher and Gladola Moffitt in Muncie. (9) What happened to the fifth sibling is unknown at this time.

My husband’s grandfather, Joseph Atherton moved to Indianapolis and became quite well-known as an amateur golfer around town. He was the club manager at several golf clubs including those in Greenfield, Crawfordsville, and Speedway, Indiana.  Joseph was married four times and died in 1967 of a brain tumor. He is buried at Bunnell Cemetery in Clinton County, Indiana. (10)

Katherine Atherton wed Herbert Klika in September 1928. (11) She passed away in August 1961 and sometime in the years following, her husband went on to marry her sister, Nola. She passed away in September 1974,in Greenfield, Indiana . (12)

Edwin Atherton married Martha Duke in 1936 and the two had a son, Gary Eugene in 1937. Edwin joined the Army in 1943 and served during World War II. After returning stateside he joined the National Guard. (13) Edwin died in Margate City, New Jersey on 27 April 1978 and is buried at Dayton National Cemetery in Ohio. (14)

The deaths of Herbert and Carrie broke up the entire Atherton family. Sadly, they were only one of many so affected by the 1918 flu pandemic.

(1), retrieved 16 September 2016.

(2) Ibid.

(3),_Indiana, retrieved 16 September 2016.

(4) Death certificate for Carrie Hauk Atherton. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data:Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

(5) The Hancock Democrat, 12 December 1918, page 1, via

(6) Death certificate for Arthur Lee Atherton. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data:Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

(7) 1920 United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Indianapolis Ward 10, Marion, Indiana; Roll: T625_454; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 185; Image: 832

(8) 1920 United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Monroe, Delaware, Indiana; Roll: T625_427; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 52; Image: 362

(9) 1930 United States Federal Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Muncie, Delaware, Indiana; Roll: 583; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0008; Image: 240.0; FHL microfilm: 2340318

(10) Death certificate for Joseph Emmett Atherton. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 – Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data:Indiana State Board of Health. Death Certificates, 1900–2011. Microfilm. Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

(11) Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 21 January 2016), Herbert H Klika and Katherine Louise Atherton, 22 Sep 1928; citing Henry, Indiana, United States, various county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,887,604.

(12) U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.

(13) National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.Original data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

(14) National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.




Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Stubby’s Tale

In my last blog post I wrote of Charles Holloway’s service during World War I and his subsequent death as a result of poison gas while stationed in France. I’d be remiss if I neglected to share his brother Oscar’s story as well.

Oscar was a veterinary student at Ohio State University and a ROTC cadet when he registered for the draft on 5 June 1917. (1) Stub, or Stubby as he was known, joined the newly formed Veterinary Corps, whose purpose was to maintain the health and treat the large number of mules, horses and dogs used in France during World War I.  Falling under the umbrella of the United States Army Medical Department, the Veterinary Corps was formed in 1916.

“The American Expeditionary Force required large numbers of animals to accomplish a  variety of missions ranging from cavalry mounts, artillery transport to logistical supply and ambulance service. The rugged and muddy French terrain was better suited to animals than gas-powered engines.” (2)

Like his brother Charles, Oscar served in the Meuse-Argonne Defensive sector and was stationed there from 14 March 1918 to 8 May 1919. (3) Treating the innumerable wounds, broken bones, and illnesses of the over 165,000 mules and horses used must have been mentally and physically staggering.


World War I Veterinary Corps Recruiting Poster (top) and a soldier and horse in gas masks (below) via http://www.veterinarycorps.amedd.


Oscar and Charles survived the war and after the Armistice was signed in November 1918, the brothers remained in France to take in the sights. For two small town boys from Ohio, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.


1919 Postcard from Oscar to his parents in Piqua, Ohio. How’s everybody? Paris is nice but not compared to N.Y., Piqua, or Lockington (Lockport). Chas. and I are O.K.   Stub.

The boys returned home and Oscar wed Georgia Moore in Champaign, Ohio, on 10 June 1920.(4)  Oscar and Georgia settled in Piqua on the same street as Oscar’s parents (the 500 block of South Main Street in Piqua was known at the time as “Holloway Row” because the parents and their children all lived on the same street).

Oscar set up a veterinary clinic in town and after two years of marriage, he and Georgia welcomed a son, Oscar Eugene to the world. Oscar was highly-respected in Piqua and he eventually opened another clinic in Springcreek Township, about five miles east of Piqua.

On 6 May 1930, Oscar was driving on the Statler Pike east of Piqua when he collided with a car driven by Arthur McBeth. The collision forced Oscar to swerve, causing his car to overturn twice due to speed and momentum.(5) Oscar suffered a severe skull fracture which led to his death the following day. Oscar’s wife Georgia became a widow with a seven-year-old son overnight. To make matters worse, Oscar and Georgia had lost a child in January of that year. The death of Charles in 1922 and Oscar in 1930 were no doubt overwhelming for their parents, William and Nellie Craig Holloway.

Oscar was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua, near his brother’s plot. Oscar’s eldest brother William became administrator of his estate and sued Mr. McBeth, the driver of the car that forced Oscar off the road. A jury later awarded $2,500 to William for damages; a small consolation for the loss of a father, husband, brother and son. (6)


Headstone of Oscar Irwin Holloway, Forest Hill Cemetery, Piqua, Ohio.


  1. Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Franklin; Roll: 1832031; Draft Board: 4, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Record for Oscar Irwin Holloway.

    2., retrieved 9 Sept 2016.

    3. Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.

    4. Record for Oscar Holloway and Georgia Moore.  Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958,” database, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2014)

    5. Piqua Daily Call, 6 May 1930, page 10.

    6. Piqua Daily Call, 8 November 1930, page 43.




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Some Gave All.

Chas T Holloway and Gus Kleiber maybe in middle

Charles Holloway with friends ca 1920. Photo courtesy of author.

On 18 January 1918, 20-year-old Charles Thomas Holloway enlisted in the Marines.(1) The world was at war and terrifying new weapons of mass destruction were being utilized by both sides. One of those weapons was chemical warfare in the form of various toxic gasses. The French and Germans originally started with tear gas but later, the Germans developed chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas to rain down on Allied troops.

Charles was from Piqua, Ohio, a small town 30 miles north of Dayton. He was an all-star, all-American athlete and well-known throughout the community. He was born on the 4th of July in 1897.(2) Charles’s father, grandfather and uncles were all sheet-metal workers. These men were rugged and tough; 10-12 hour shifts inside a factory melting down iron at scorching temps was just a day’s work.

After enlisting, Charles was sent to Parris Island, South Carolina, where he trained vigorously for four months. On 1 September 1918 he left for France and was part of the American Expeditionary Forces in the Meuse-Argonne defensive sector.(3) What Charles experienced while entrenched on those front lines in the final months of the Great War we cannot comprehend. What we do know is that he was exposed to some form of chemical warfare and it would slowly destroy his lungs.(4)

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month, (11:00 on 11 November 1918) Germany signed an armistice thereby ending hostilities, but the Great War had forever changed the world culturally and geo-politically.

Charles returned stateside, became a reservist, and earned the rank of Corporal. He moved south to Cincinnati and became a bookkeeper for the Sharon Steel Hoop Company.

My grandfather (who was a cousin to Charles) liked to recount to us the story of the “vet who had to sleep in a tent in his front yard” because he’d been subjected to German gas during World War I. Charles found it easier to sleep in the fresh air outside.

The ravages of the gas on Charles’s lungs eventually led to tuberculosis and he died at a Cincinnati hospital ten days after his 25th birthday, on 14 July 1922.(5) Charles’s parents, siblings and large extended family were there to bury him on 15 July 1922, at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua. (6)

Semper Fi.

Charles T. Holloway 1897-1922

Headstone of Charles T. Holloway, Forest Hill Cemetery, Piqua, Ohio. Photo courtesy of author.

(1) A

(1) Ohio   Military Men, 1917-18 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.
(2) “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.
(3) Ohio Military Men, 1917-18 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.
(4) Obituary for Charles T. Holloway, Piqua Daily Call and Piqua Press Dispatch, July 20, 1922.
(5) “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 8 December 2014), Charles Thos Holloway, 14 Jul 1922; citing Columbia Twp., Hamilton Co., Ohio, reference fn 38590; FHL microfilm 1,992,027.
(6) Ibid. Ohio Military Men, 1917-18 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.

(2) “Ohio Births and Christenings, 1821-1962.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2011. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

(3) Ohio Military Men, 1917-18 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.

(4) Obituary for Charles T. Holloway, Piqua Daily Call and Piqua Press Dispatch, July 20, 1922.

(5) “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch( : 8 December 2014), Charles Thos Holloway, 14 Jul 1922; citing Columbia Twp., Hamilton Co., Ohio, reference fn 38590; FHL microfilm 1,992,027.

(6) Ibid.


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Unexpected Discoveries

The beauty of genealogy is that one never knows what will pop up during research. The thrill of busting brick walls or finding an elusive ancestor has led me to break out into a happy dance or two at my desk. I’m not ashamed.

While working on my most recent labor of love one of those genealogical gems presented itself. The result was a jaw-dropping moment of awe and wonder for this gal (as well as for my client), when I found a 1769 advertisement stating William Hood had runaway from his “subscriber.”

The client for whom I was researching is descended from William Hood who died in Jennings County, Indiana, 8 April 1829.(1)  William was a free man of color, listed multiple times as a “mulatto.” (1786 Caswell County, North Carolina Census, as well as the 1800 Rockingham County, North Carolina Census).

Born in Charles City, Virginia, about 1750, William was “bound-out” (likely indentured) to local ship captain Henry Minson at the age of nine.(2) William had been on at least two sea voyages by the time he was sixteen; the age at which he decided the indentured life was not for him, and he ran away from Captain Minson. (3) William was picked up in Halifax County, North Carolina, two months later. Virginia law at the time stated boys were under their indentures until the age of thirty-one.(4) In 1765, that law was changed to the age of twenty-one, so it’s likely William was back in his indenture for another five years after his escape and subsequent capture. (5)Runaway slave advertisement for WM HOOD 1769

Later, William went south to Caswell County, North Carolina, and eventually Rockingham, North Carolina, where he started a family of his own and lived as a free man of color.

William was a Revolutionary War veteran; he enlisted in the 4th North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army prior to the Battle of Guilford (Guildford Courthouse, North Carolina, 15 Mar 1781) and served for a period of 18 months to two years.(6)

William and his sons eventually left North Carolina for a lengthy, dangerous trek through the untamed forests of the then western territories, to Jefferson County, Indiana, in about 1807 — nine years before Indiana achieved statehood. William Hood was a pioneer of that state and later removed himself and his family to Jennings County, Indiana, about 1819.

William applied for a Revolutionary War pension at the age of about sixty-six, citing his “reduced circumstances,” and that he “stands in need of the assistance of his country for support.” (7) William also suffered from rheumatism, making it difficult for him to farm his land.

On 8 April 1829, William Hood’s remarkable life came to an end. His wife Catherine had a difficult time collecting her survivor’s pension after his death, but at the age of 70, in 1855, she was finally awarded the money.

On 13 Feb 2013, the General Assembly of North Carolina issued a joint resolution to honor the slaves and free men of color who participated in the American Revolution. William Hood’s name was on this resolution.(8)


  1. Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina Vol. 1, Paul Heinegg,  Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005, pg. 649, via Google Books.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. An Introduction to the 1995 Edition of June Guild’s Black Laws of Virginia by Joan W. Peters, via June Guild’s Black Laws of Virginia, 2005, via website, retrieved 11 Jan 2016. 
  5. Ibid.
  6. Southern Campaigns American Revolution Pension Statements and Rosters, Pension Application of William Hood, W25781, Catharine Hood, NC, Transcribed and annotated by C. Leon Harris. Revised 1 July 2015., retrieved 11 Jan 2016.
  7. Ibid.
  8. General Assembly of North Carolina Session 2013, House Joint Resolution 113, Sponsors: Representatives Gill, Michaux, L. Hall, and Horn (Primary Sponsors), February 18, 2013, Joint Resolution honoring North Carolina’s African-American Revolutionary War Patriots and Supporting the Proposed National Liberty Memorial,, retrieved 11 Jan 2016.

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