30 August 2014

Society Saturday: A day at the Lancaster Historical Society

Thursday, I had the day off from the Nursery so instead of housework or other work, I naturally headed to the Lancaster County Historical Society.

First I looked up an obituary for Sue Fuller Graham for someone else. Piece of cake! Facebook is really great for making connections in places one has no access to and this was just that case. A guy mentioned in a group that he was looking for this particular obituary from 1991. It is old enough that the local paper here would only give access if you have a paid subscription. I mentioned I was heading over to the Historical Society this week and could look it up on their microfilm. He knew the exact date that the obit was published so that made the search quick and easy.

My next project was admittedly a brick wall. I was asked to find out information about a Laura Manley Seats. The person making the request knows little about the woman except that she passed away sometime around 1961 due to complications after an operation. Needle in a haystack! I have found that Laura was born to Robert W. and Elizabeth M. Donnan Manley, who were married about 1930. She was one of four children and the family lived over in Columbia, Lancaster County. Laura does not show up on the 1930 census with her newly married parents. She also does not appear yet in the 1940 census, though her two older brothers do. Hence, she was born shortly after the 1940 census, perhaps even the next year. While at the Historical Society, I did find her father's obituary.

The onto the Eckman family ... and there the trouble began. Hubby's great grandfather (Charles Eckman) is still being elusive. He is the only direct lineal ancestor who I do not know much about. I did however find his wife!

His wife is the former Rosa T. Kirchner, the daughter of John and Barbara Kuhn Kirchner. Rosa is an interesting person indeed and even more interesting is that she left a paper trail. Her obituary, published in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer Journal on 27 June 1928, did not photograph well but it read:

Mrs. Rosa T. Weber, 69, of 429 St. Joseph Street, widow of Peter W. Weber, died yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock in St. Joseph Hospital, of complications. She was born in Lancaster, a daughter of the late John and Barbara Kirchner, and was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Third Order, and Altar Society. The children survive: John P. Eckman, Philadelphia; Mrs. Willis McCauley, Lancaster; Ella, wife of Homer Buffington, Ill.; Irene, wife of Paul Massing, Lancaster; and Charles, of Lancaster. Fiftenn grandchildren and two brothers, John and Phillip Kirchner of Lancaster, also survive. Funeral arrangements are being completed by Cannon and Long.

Thursday was not as successful as some days and was more successful than others. The day did leave me with an even longer To Do list!

The Lancaster Historical Society is a great resource. It is located at the corner of President Avenue and Marietta Avenue in Lancaster. It is adjacent to, or perhaps more accurately on the grounds of, Wheatland - home of President James Buchanan.

29 August 2014

Follow Friday: My Genealogy list on Twitter

I have one - only one - Twitter account. It is @jeanne_eckman. Since I only have one, I found it most helpful to create a few lists, genealogy being one of them. At the moment there are 56 included on my particular list. Some I follow and some I only include on my list. Some are organizations, like the Lancaster Historical Society; some are companies, like Ancestry.com; and some are other genealogists, and historians.

Can you check out my list? Of course you can! You can even "subscribe" to it. How you ask? Simple!

First, go to https://twitter.com/jeanne_eckman. That's me! Then click on "More". A drop drown list will appear. Click on "Lists".

A list of lists will then appear. As you can see, I have a few different lists. Click on the one for Genealogy and simply "subscribe"!

A list is a great way to organize everyone. You can have someone in more than one list as well.

Want to start your own list? On the far right, see where it says "Create list"? Click on that and a box will appear in the center of your screen. Name your list. Give it a description if you'd like as well. You may also choose between making the list public (like most of mine) or private (meaning only you will be able to access it).

Oh - and the best part about Twitter? It is FREE and can be a great networking tool.

Follow Friday is a weekly prompt from GeneaBloggers.


28 August 2014

Those Places Thursday: Mayer-Hess Farmstead

The Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County announced that it will collaborate with Manbel Devco to document the buildings and history of the Mayer-Hess Farmstead (c. 1870-1874) at 1580 Fruitville Pike. The farmstead is across the street from the 71 acres that has been approved by Manheim Township for the Shoppes at Belmont. The farmstead’s mansion and surrounding area have been separated from the development and will be protected.

“While we have had concerns about this property for many years, we are pleased to know that developer Phil Frey and his team are conscientious about saving the mansion and carefully documenting those buildings that are being saved but in a new location,” said Lisa Horst, president of the Preservation Trust Board of Directors. “We were hoping all buildings would remain on the farmstead. That could have been a possibility many years ago before Fruitville Pike became a commercial area so we agree that relocating the barn and other buildings to Ironstone Ranch, 17 miles away in West Donegal Township, is an acceptable alternative.”

Plans for the development include interpretive trails that will explain the farm’s history and the significance of the lime kilns, the cemetery and the wet lands. The Shoppes at Belmont is a mixed-use development that will feature single-family homes, town homes and 370,000 square feet of retail space.

“We are pleased to be working with the Historic Preservation Trust and its archivists as we strive to maintain the historical character of the mansion and open the property to the general public with interpretive trails,” said Phil Frey, principal owner of Manbel Devco. “Our goal is to work with Ironstone Ranch as the barn and other buildings are disassembled and then reconstructed on the ranch.”

The last remaining farmstead off Route 30, before entering downtown Lancaster, is best recognized for the distinguished Italianate style mansion built by David Mayer in the 1870 to 1874 time period. The mansion is a three-story, five-bay residence complemented by a central cupola with a bracketed cornice.

“Since the neighboring Red Rose Commons Shopping Center was opened in 1998, the buildings on the farmstead have been in decline,” Horst said. “Phil Frey plans to restore the mansion as a priority and to add iron fencing typical of that used in gardens in the 19th century. Adaptive reuse of historic buildings is something that the Preservation Trust encourages, and that is what will be happening at this Lancaster landmark.”

 Horst added, “The Preservation Trust hopes our collaboration with Manbel Devco demonstrates how a positive outcome is possible when developers, builders and property owners work together to find acceptable solutions to historical preservation challenges.”

 Documentation compiled by the Preservation Trust will be added to its archives of more than 10,000 historic structures – the largest descriptive files of historic properties in Lancaster County.

The Shoppes at Belmont is a project of Manbel Devco. They will be a mixed-use development that incorporates retail and residential uses, preservation of historic elements, traffic improvement and multimodal accessibility and provides for farmland preservation. The mixed-use development will feature single family homes, town homes and 370,000 square feet of retail space. In partnership with Manbel Developers are R. J. Waters & Associates and Charter Homes & Neighborhoods. Phil and Nick Frey are partners in Manbel Devco, and their family has been active residents of Lancaster County since 1758.

The above was a press release and photo from the Historic Preservation Trust.

Those Places Thursday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

27 August 2014

Civil War soldier to receive Medal of Honor

US Army First Lieutenant Alonzo Hersford Cushing will be awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action at the battle of Gettysburg on 3 July 1863, announced the White House yesterday. President Obama will present the award posthumously next month.  

First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac. Cushing distinguished himself during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 3 July 1863.

First Lieutenant Cushing was killed in action on 3 July 1863, at the age of 22.  On that day, the third day of the battle, in the face of Longstreet’s Assault, also known as Pickett’s Charge, First Lieutenant Cushing’s battery took a severe pounding by Confederate artillery.  As the rebel infantry advanced, he manned the only remaining, and serviceable, field piece in his battery.  During the advance, he was wounded in the stomach as well as in the right shoulder.  Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire in the face of the enemy.  With the rebels within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand.  His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the Confederate assault.

The son of Milton Buckingham Cushing and Mary Butler Smith, he was born in what is now Delafield, Wisconsin. He was raised in Fredonia, New York.  His two older brothers and his younger brother all fought as well.

He entered the US Military Academy at West Point on 1 July 1857 at the age of 16. First Lieutenant Cushing graduated, and was commissioned, from the United States Military Academy at West Point in the class of June 1861.  He was ranked 13th in a class of 35 at the time of graduation.

Cushing was the commander of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg. In addition to Gettysburg, he also saw action at the First Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Peninsula Campaign, Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.

First Lieutenant Cushing is buried with full honors at his alma mater, West Point.

President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor on 15 September 2014.

Kent Masterson Brown wrote Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander, published by The University Press of Kentucky.

Taken in large part from a press release from the White House and resources from Ancestry.com.

25 August 2014

Mystery Monday: Who was Adolf Medeksza?

A friend recently received some information and included in it was an envelope addressed to a Mr. Adolf Medeksza in Philadelphia, PA in America. So who was he?

I quickly found (with the help of Ancestry.com of course) seven year old Adolf on the SS Haverford arriving in Philadelphia on 30 September 1907 with his mom and two siblings.

Adolf was born approximately 1900 in Tzawb, Russia, although they list their ethnicity as Polish. His mother is Anna. She is 26 years old at the time. His brother Alen is five. He also has another sibling who is only a couple months old. The handwriting is difficult to read but Ancestry.com identifies him as Kazimer. The passenger list notes who they left behind and that person is identified as Anna's father! I cannot read the first name but his last name is Hatusky.

The 1910 Philadelphia census reveals young Adolf, who is now 11 according to the census, is a junior. Adolf Sr., who the letter mentioned in the beginning was addressed to, is 39. He immigrated in 1903. Wife Annie is 10 years his junior. Kaize is nine; Walter is seven and little Stella is one. The family also has four boarders living with them. The census also reveals that Adolf and Annie have been married for 12 years and they had five children. Only four are living. Hence, Alen must have died between 1907 and 1910. The immigration notes show Annie and the boys all immigrated together, yet Walter was not included on the passenger list shown above. The last name also looks like Medekaga.

A 1918 Philadelphia City Directory showed an Adolf Medeksza living at 849 North American Street. He was a dyer.

Adolf Junior was living at 3096 Memphis Street in Philadelphia in 1923 when he applied for citizenship. Immigration then was completely different than it is today. Adolf listed his birth as Szawle, Lithuania.

Admittedly, I only did a fast search but I did not find either Adolf in the 1920 Census. In fact, nothing more is found on the father Adolf. What happened to the family?

24 August 2014

Sunday's Obituary: James A Skrabalak

James A. Skrabalak, 61, of Chipley, Florida, formerly of Binghamton, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, 24 October 2007, in Pensacola, Florida, after a brief illness. Jim was predeceased by his parents, John and Loretta Skrabalak. He is survived by his wife, Irene Skrabalak, Chipley, Fla.; one brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Danielle Skrabalak, Binghamton; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Donna and Melvin Burr, Binghamton, Patricia Markle, Johnson City; an uncle, Stanley Skrabalak, Endicott; two aunts, Helen Svarney, Johnson City, Josephine Wasko, Mesa, Arizona; several cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jim was a graduate of Binghamton Central High School and worked in the family business, "Scratchy's Highway Tavern," while living in Binghamton. He proudly served his country, completing a tour of duty in Vietnam and retiring from the US Navy in 1993. He was a member of AMVET Post 007 in Chipley, Fla., and F&AM AJ Russell Lodge in Jacksonville, Fla. Jim often returned home to Binghamton to visit family and friends, holding dear the memories of the area in which he grew up.

 A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Sunny Hills, Fla., with a celebration of life to be held in Binghamton at the convenience of the family. 

23 August 2014

Society Saturday: Historic Huguenot Street

Historic Huguenot Street will remember the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 this weekend. On 24 August 1572, over 2,000 Protestants were slain in the city of Paris during what is now known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Public programming is planned to provide guests with a historic look back at the event and its effect on the future of the Huguenots in France.

A series of two educational and touching vignettes will be performed today at the DuBois Fort at noon and 4 p.m. Inspired by Giacomo Meyerbeer’s grand opera Les Huguenots (1836) and John Everett Millais’ pre-Raphaelite painting “A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge” (1852), the vignettes will depict the circumstances of two star crossed lovers on the eve of the massacre. These performances are free and open to the public.

Throughout the weekend, the daily interpretation of the Crispell Memorial French Church will be updated to explore the events leading up to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, its implications, and its eventual effect on the history of New Paltz. This interpretation is included as part of the daily tours at no additional cost.

In addition to these memorial programs, Historic Huguenot Street will also host a demonstration and workshop by master red ware potter Rick Hamelin from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at the 1799 LeFevre House. Hamelin will perform live on the wheel, throwing red ware and relaying the history of pottery and tile-making, and guests will be invited to partake in a pinch pot workshop led by Hamelin. Members, seniors, and military $10, non-members $15. Students free with ID. Pre-registration for the pinch pot workshop is encouraged; email kara@huguenotstreet.org to register.

This type of special programming is an example of Historic Huguenot Street’s commitment to engage guests and better connect them with the history and heritage of this National Historic Landmark District. Since re-opening earlier this year in May, the improved guest experience and diverse range of public programs have driven remarkable increases in visitation, donations, and membership. The staff and Board of Trustees of Historic Huguenot Street are committed to continuing on this path of change and growth.

A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century.  It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve their French and Dutch heritage.  Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today.

The above is a press release from Historic Huguenot Street.


22 August 2014

National Archives to hold Virtual Genealogy Fair

The National Archives is a great resource but often a trip to Washington, DC is just not feasible. In October, the National Archives will hold its 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair via You Tube.

The Virtual Genealogy Fair will start at 10 a.m. ET daily on 28-30 October. This live broadcast will offer the opportunity for virtual attendees to ask questions at the end of the various talks. The lectures will feature tips and techniques for using Federal records at the National Archives. There will be different level lectures from beginner to expert.

The schedule has not yet been formalized.

21 August 2014

Those Places Thursday: Historic Preservation Trust Announces History Tour

Twenty sites with ties to Lancaster’s industrial and commercial past have been identified for the 2014 Historic Walk + Talk Tour on Saturday, October 18, in downtown Lancaster. The tour is a joint effort of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County and Moxie House, publisher of Fig Lancaster.
“The focus of the tour is on buildings that contributed to Lancaster’s economic growth in the 19th century,” said Lisa Horst, president of the Historic Preservation Trust Board of Directors. “The tour route includes where the city’s railroad station once stood on North Queen Street and where the tracks ran along North Prince Street past what used to be tobacco warehouses – buildings that have been restored for use as offices, residences, restaurants and hotels. The Preservation Trust encourages adaptive reuse, and we are pleased to showcase on the tour excellent examples of this.”
Sites on the tour are:
  1. Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787) – 123 North Prince Street – office and home for surveyor Andrew Ellicott (1754 – 1820) who taught Meriwether navigational skills prior to the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-1806) Today: Headquarters for the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County (Photo at right. Courtesy Historic Preservation Trust)
  2. H. Doer Tobacco Warehouse (1886) – 118 North Water Street – H. Doer warehouse and then J. Kleaman’s Tobacco Warehouse and followed by the Lancaster Stogie Company, Consolidated Cigar Corp. warehouse and retail store for Radel & Stauffer. Today: Steeple View Lofts (senior apartments), Miesse Candies, the Friendship Heart Gallery and The Arch (creative work spaces) 
  3. Fulton Theatre (1852) –
    12 North Prince Street – nation’s oldest continuously operating theatre and one of only eight theatres to be named a National Historic Landmark (Not open for tour due to performance. Open house planned for November 7, 2014) (Photo at right courtesy of PA Dutch Visitor's Bureau)
  4. Hirsh & Brother Tobacco Company Warehouse (1869-1874) – 42-44 North Water Street –initially a tobacco warehouse and then a warehouse for Conestoga Delivery followed by the Conestoga Restaurant Supply Company and Mack the Coffee Man Coffee Makers. Today: Fulton Theatre costume shop
  5. Brunswick Hotel site (1915-1920) – 26 East Chestnut Street – original structure razed in 1967 and replaced by a Hilton Inn and then the Hotel Imperial. The hotel was renamed the Brunswick Hotel before closing in 2012. In its day, the Brunswick was Lancaster’s finest luxury hotel. Today: The Hotel Lancaster
  6. Pennsylvania Railroad Station site (1834) – first of two passenger stations with the second being built in 1857 and a third in 1929. Train service here ended in 1929. Today: Red Rose Transit Station and Federal Taphouse restaurant
  7.  Keppel’s Wholesale Confectionery (1913) – 323-325 North Queen Street – built to house a hard candy factory and offices. Today: The Candy Factory – a group of independent artists and business studios
  8.  Lancaster Storage Company Garages (c. 1808-09; storefront c. 1920) – 342 North Queen Street (rear) – two story brick structure originally Jacob Sherer House and later the Washington Inn and then offices for Lancaster Storage Company. Today: Building Character
  9.  Edison Electric Illuminating Company (c. 1886 and 1892) – 333 North Arch Street – first site in city where commercial electricity was produced. Later became the Medical Arts Center, Kelly Michener Inc. (advertising) and then Cimbrian (advertising). Today: SouthEast Lancaster Health Services
  10.  Wacker Brewing Company (c. 1799) - 201 West Walnut Street – site of Lancaster’s last brewery following Prohibition; the brewery was owned by Joseph Wacker and his sons; became the Little Dutch Cafe (saloon) after most of the brewery was demolished in 1959. Today: Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie
  11.  S. R. Moss Cigar Factory (1896; rebuilt 1907) – 401 North Prince Street – original building largely destroyed by devastating fire in 1907; enlarged when rebuilt. Today: The Press Building – a condominium project
  12. High Welding Company (c. 1820) – 27 West Lemon Street – originally the livery stable andcarriage house for the adjacent John S. Rohrer Mansion (today The Belvedere Inn). In 1931, it was the birthplace of the High companies. Today: Zeller Travel
  13.  Swisher Tobacco Warehouse (c. late 800’s to early 1900’s) – 400 block of North Prince Street – initially Swisher Tobacco Warehouse and later Buckwalter Warehouse and then Stadel Volvo and numerous row houses. Today: a multi-use development known as Prince Street Centre that includes The Brickyard Sports Bar, offices and residential apartments.
  14.  G. Falk and Bro. and A. S. Rosenbaum Tobacco Warehouse (1881) – 300 Harrisburg Avenue – one of eight tobacco warehouses; was used for storing tobacco to about 1945. Over next 40 years, the building was occupied first by a wholesale paper and twine business, presumably United Paper and Twin, and then by an electronic business. Today: Lancaster Arts Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America
  15.  John DeHaven Tobacco Company Warehouse (c. 1876) – 626 North Charlotte Street – tobacco warehouse through 1900s and was then converted to painting facility for Henry Martin Brick Machine Manufacturing Company. Today: Gilbert Architects Inc. and Tower Marketing
  16.  Stevens High School (1906) – 335 West Chestnut Street – initially a high school for girls that became co-ed and eventually became an elementary school. It was sold in 1983 to OK Properties which developed the school into apartments. Today: The Residences at Stevens School
  17.  The Walter Schnader Tobacco Warehouse (c. 1900- ) – 417 West Grant Street – After Walter Schnader, the tobacco warehouse was operated by R. K. Schnader and Sons and then Horwitz Brothers. Operated as greeting card company in 1990. Today: Thistle Finch Distillery
  18. Robison, Blair and Company Factory (c. 1906) -352 North Prince Street -two and one-half story, 14 bay brick factory, stone foundation; segmental arches; corbelled cornice; originally built by Samuel Flick for Robinson, Blair and Company as a caramel factory. Today: City Crossings, an office complex that includes the headquarters for the Isaac’s Deli restaurant chain.
  19. Central Market (1889) – 23 North Market Street - the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the Unites States and nationally recognized by the American Planning Association, winning its 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design (Photo at right courtesy of PA Dutch Visitor's Bureau)
  20.  Old City Hall (c. 1795-1798) – 1-3 West King Street - built as a "public office house" and housed the Commonwealth offices when Lancaster was the capital from 1799 to 1812. It has also housed city and county offices, a Masonic lodge, a post office, and library. Today: the Lancaster Visitor's center.
Founded in 1966 to “stem the rapid destruction of historic properties in Lancaster County,” the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s mission is to encourage and facilitate historic preservation countywide. The trust has been directly involved in preserving important Lancaster County landmarks and has provided advice, assistance and guidance in the protection of others. The trust is a member-supported, 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the historic Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787) at 123 North Prince Street in downtown Lancaster. Visit www.hptrust.org for additional information. The Sehner-Ellicott-Von Hess
The above is a press release from the Historic Preservation Trust

20 August 2014

Wedding Wednesday: 22 Years Ago

Twenty two years ago Friday (22 August) will be our (Glenn and I) anniversary. Today, being GeneaBloggers' Wedding Wednesday, I thought I would share some images from that day.

My mom (Barbara Still Ruczhak), me, Glenn, my Daddy (Joseph Ruczhak) at Our Lady Of Consolation RC Church, Parkesburg, Chester County, PA

Receiving line after the wedding: Frank Eckman, Sr. (Glenn's dad), my sister Noreen (my maid of honor), Glenn's best friend Rick Wilkey (his nest man), Dorothy Deyoe Eckman (Glenn's mom), my mom, Daddy, me and Glenn.
Me & Daddy

Glenn and his mom.


19 August 2014

Life is
like a flower.
It grows more beautiful
the more you care for it.

~ K.C. Rogers

Tombstone Tuesday: Keating

Edward b 30 March 1917 d 7 October 2001
Pauline b 5 July 1917 d 14 December 2000
buried at St Ann's Cemetery, Phoenixville, Chester County, PA
photo from "Mike O" at Find A Grave