Monday, December 17, 2012

Non-family names mentioned in the letters

George Baker - born about 1848 and lived in Sneedville, Tennessee. Jack Baker,born about 1882, his wife Emma and their son Willie lived with the old folks in 1918, according to Martha Jane Rhea. It would make sense that George Baker was his father.

King Hutson was 57 at the time of the 1910 census. He was widowed. He might have had a sister named "Queen".

Frank Seal was born Dec.8, 1888 and died on 3 September 1952.

William Nelson Snodgrass (1878 - 1959) was married to Lillie Bower Rhea.

New direction

I am taking this blog in a different direction. It has been a hodge-podge of all the families that intersect with mine. I have information on my husband's adoptive family and now have written a small book on his biological family. That story now has its own blog and it can be accessed as "The Gaulthair Children" page.
It is incredibly difficult to find information that is personal in nature and gives us insight into what people were doing and thinking in the past. We tend to focus on our family but the letters from Martha Jane McCollum share not only family details but those of her neighbors and friends.

I am going to tag all the families that were involved with Martha Jane McCollum. While we are not related to these families, in her letters, Jane shares daily details for other families that my grandfather knew and wanted to know about.

It is my hope that those families will find these details and use them to understand more about their families and how they lived.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Found photo of Martha Jane McCollum

In my Squidoo page on the Rhea's of Sneedville, Tennessee, I share 5 letters that my great-grandmother wrote to my grandmother in 1918. I knew my grandmother but kept wishing that I had a face of my great-grandmother to go with the letters. We are in the process of downsizing all the stuff we have and I knew there were pictures that I was missing. Today, we started to unpack things that had been in storage and now I have 60 years worth of pictures to tame. Still, it is fun to go through all the old pictures. They are treasures to be savored and I found a picture of Martha Jane McCollum.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Missing Pieces is being rewritten

Being proud of what I had written, I gave the book to a friend to read. While she was intrigued by the story, she came back with a full on rewrite and an outline to follow. I was delighted. I am much to close to this story and have tried to put in everything I know which makes it scattered. While I am rewriting the story, I setup a website with some of the information. Hopefully when I'm done, I can use it to promote the book. I have dithered with finding an agent or publisher or to just self-publish it myself. I have decided to self-publish which gives me control over what happens and allows me to revise when we find more children.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book is written

This is an interesting idea. I wrote the book about everything I know about the Gaulthair children. Using Scrivener, I created the book and then went to Create Space to publish it. I don't think it's good enough to be considered a real book but for the people involved in this story, I wanted to give them something they could refer to and maybe to spark their memories. I also wanted to put all the information in one place and to help explain what happened because no one will ever know why. I am on the final edit and will post the link to Amazon when it goes live.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Picked a publisher

Good, bad or indifferent, I picked a publisher for the Gaulthair story. I went with Create/Space. Not one to read tutorials, I muddled through on my own. Darned if I didn't find a mistake as soon as it was locked for review. Still, I like it because even when it is published, I can correct it or add info if I find more. I was in a bit of a hurry because I want to send these as Christmas gifts to the Gaulthair children and felt that I was running out of time. I have not given up on finding more information and Karolene has yet to send me the pictures she promised. I am hoping there are more clues there.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Intrigue, lies and a story of real people affected by one woman's decisions

I have been following The Armchair Genealogist for a little while now. It is all about how to write your family history on a blog. I have several blogs but find it difficult to keep up with them. Lynn Palermo does a great job of breaking down the steps from blog to book. With that in mind, I am going to start blogging the never-ending-story of our family history. I really want to turn it into a book. I know, my family history is my family history and maybe not as interesting to you as it might be for me. I can promise intrigue, lies and a story of real people affected by one woman's decisions. It is the search for my husbands missing siblings. There are at least 13 of them and we have found 8. It may be a never-ending-story because finding these kids gets more and more difficult every day.
Frank Arnold Gaulthier was born on Feb 13, 1896 in Lansing, Iowa. In the 1905 Iowa Census, the family was still living there. Several states over Mabel Myrtle Morgan was born on June 7, 1906. In 1910, both families had moved with the Gaulthier’s going to La Crosse, WI and the Morgan’s taking up residence in West Virginia. We don’t know anything about these families other than their meeting was the catalyst for the this story.

Wisconsin was in the midst of a heat wave on September 25, 1925, when Lida Mary Gaulthair was born. There was not much going on in the world. Hitler was making noises in Germany but World War 1 was over. Calvin Coolidge was the President of the United States and it would be several years before the Great Depression. In La Farge, Wisconsin, none of it mattered very much as the families went about their day to day tasks.
In 1925, Frank Arnold and Mabel Myrtle Gaulthair had one living child. Little Louisa had passed away at 28 days when she had been taken to bed by her mother who rolled over and smothered her. She died of asphyxiation but the death certificate read “Acute Gastro Enkhitis”. Doc Haggerty was a family friend.
Violet was three when Lida came home. They had a new brother in 1927 but he died at three months due to bronchial pneumonia as a complication of the flu. It looked like that was it but in 1928 Frank Lee Gaulthair made his entrance. He was called “Jackie” by the family.

They seemed like a any normal 1920’s family. Dad was a laborer on the Wisconsin State Road Aid and made a decent wage. They lived in a two-story four bedroom house on Welsh Street with plenty of space for the children to play. They were surrounded by family, Frank’s parents lived nearby and Mabel’s mother and father were next door. Frank’s sister, Sophia and her brood, lived a couple blocks away on Main Street. La Farge only had one school so the kids went together.

By 1940, Frank Arnold was no longer working. Injured in WWI, medical issues had sidelined him. Mabel’s father still lived next door but her mother had passed away. Sophia Kendall, with her husband and kids, moved to California for better jobs during the depression. Violet was married and living in Minneapolis, leaving 13-yr-old Lida and 10-yr-old Jackie at home. Still, there were many kids around. Some of them would become part of Lydia’s story but while all of this swirls around her, it is not her story.
This is about the 13 children who were unnamed and abstracts in a story that spanned decades. This is the search for the Gaulthair children.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I am in a holding pattern

I need to figure out how to find the court records. Karolene says she will send me info but I am not going to push it. I need to learn patience. In the meantime, we sent in the DNA sample for Gary. only allows one at this time. We are looking to verify his Native American identity. However, if there are other Gaulthair relatives out there who have also done the DNA testing, it might provide us with new clues. Now, I have to wait for that too.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

No wonder no one is talking

It seems the more we learn, the more bizarre this gets. Karolene tells me that Lydia went to jail when she abandoned them. She also tells me that Lydia stabbed her second husband which I thought would be Denver Powell. However, she tells me that Denver was not Patty's father, that some guy named Trapp was. I can't find him. She also said that Lydia spent three years in prison for manslaughter. She stabbed the man who beat her. It was apparently somewhere in California. New stuff to track and verify. Since we have some time gaps, if she really killed someone it could be Frances or David's father. More and more mystery.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Once again, God has smiled on us

We now not only have proof that the Rickman kids were Lydia's but I had the opportunity to speak with both of them. Karolene has information that we were not aware of and was with lydia when she passed away. They know their mom as Lida so they were not around when she changed her name to Lydia. We now have a total of eight confirmed children. Karolene says that Lydia had nine husbands. We know of seven but only have five names. That is a big clue and means I need to do more research. Darla sent over some pictures of other children and we don't know who they are. If there were two more men, then these are probably more brothers and sisters. You have to wonder if there is an end to this?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Live and learn

Once you have a little success, you want more. We found Darla and David or, Darla found us. Heady with success, I waited but nothing else happened. Then, my story was featured on "The Armchair Genealogist". It is a blog I read sporadically but I had not spent the time to really take in all the information she has and continues to post. What I learned was to ask researchers in the historical societies across the country to do the research for me. They are surprisingly affordable and very easy to work with. This was an eye-opener for me when I found that I could get information 3000 miles away without having to leave home. I started with the Richland County History Room in Richland, Wisconsin. They found a picture of Patricia Powell from high school and confirmed that she was indeed a Gaulthair. Nita (my researcher) also suggested that I ask the La Crosse Library if they had any information. The La Crosse Library has a form that you can submit. I was skeptical but filled out my question and sent it on in. Within two days, I had a response. Mr. Peterson told me that he didn't have the information I needed but he had found a newspaper clipping about the parents. This was more helpful than he realized because Frank Gaulthair divorced Mable while she was in the Racine Asylum. This is the first hint of mental illness that might help to explain Lydia's behavior. He attached the article to an e-mail and now we have it for our records. Today, I heard from the Vernon County Library. Carol not only found records that verify that Karolene and Gerald are related, she said she also had marriage records. We thought that Lydia went from man to man without the benefit of marriage and now we know even more. We should receive the documentation next week and I can't wait to get it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Darla and David

Just when you think that you have hit a brick wall, a crack appears. We came home form our meeting with Ricky and Frances to a message from a lady named Darla who said she was also a Gaulthair child. Not only that, she had a half brother named David. It was shocking. We were looking for David and here was Darla, a surprise and a treat. Two more children who were related and now finding each other. Needless to say, David, Darla, Rick, Frances and Gary are now sharing their lives, grateful to have found each other.
The photo is the infamous Lydia with David and Darla just before she walked out of their lives.

Monday, July 30, 2012

1st meeting

July 2, 2012 was an interesting day. We had already gone to bed at the Benton Hot Springs Campground when we heard a voice calling "Gary". For the first time, Gary, Rick, and Frances found that what had always been an abstract was indeed very real. Rick and Frances stopped being faces in a photo graph and became flesh and blood. The photo was taken about 11:00 pm and everyone was tired but you couldn't tell. In the picture are Frances, Esther (the new cousin), Rick, and Gary. There was a lot of hugging and crying and I must say that Gary is delighted to have a new family and they are delighted to add him.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Squidoo page on the Gaulthair Children

We are meeting the Montoya's in less than a week. These are Gary's brother and sister. I wrote a page on Squidoo about the Gaulthair Children to share what we know so far and how far we still need to go.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Genealogy is frustrating

Genealogy can be more than frustrating. I am still looking for information on the Rhea's of Sneedville, Tennessee although I have a pretty good sense of my Rhea family. I would have liked more information on my grandmother, Mellie, who also kept secrets. We are not even sure of her real first name. What is even more frustrating is the Gaulthair family on Gary's side. We think we know about seven of the children. Still, until we can confirm that Lydia was the mother to all of them, we can't be really sure. I am in the process of requesting birth certificates for Patricia and Karolene. Patricia is no longer with us so that is not a concern but apparently Karolene is still out there somewhere. It is not so much a concern since there is no slander and if we are incorrect, someone can let us know. We have pictures of David and Aunt Betty knows about him so we know he is real. We just don't know who the Tom in the pictures is. This is "Davey" and Tom in 1960. Why Gary's mother held on to this picture no one seems to know. It was with the picture of Enrique and Frances. We know that this is the David that Lydia gave to Betty and Lester but how he got to Tom is a mystery. Still, we keep looking and I am going to request his birth certificate too. Gary's mom told me that Lydia used Bill's name on the birth certificate so I am anxious to get it. If she indeed used Bill's name, that muddies the water even more.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Montoya Children

So we know that Ramon Montoya had two children with Lydia Mary Gaulthair. She apparently had at least one child before Enrique that we thought was Frances but now are told that it was Patty. Frances says Ramon is not her father but the picture that Gary's mom had for 50 years shows Rickie and Frances and they look alike. That was the first inkling we had that Gary was really a Montoya since he also looked like them. is everyone else. With the reunion just a little more than a month off, the list of questions just gets longer. When did they know about Gary? How do they know about Patty and is it the Patricia Powell I tracked down on When did Lydia disappear from their lives? Does Rick and Frances know that Lydia also offered them to Pat and Bill but they turned her down? How does anyone just give away children?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gaulthair children

The Gaulthair children are aging. We believe that one of the oldest passed away in 2011. We have only tracked down seven so far so we think there are six to go. If we didn't live so far from Wisconsin, it would be easier. This is what we have found so far. Gary, Frances and Enrique will meet for the first time in July 2012. They are in their 50's. Lydia Mary Gaulthair was born on Sept 30, 1925 and died in March 2002 in Dallas, Texas. Ramon Montoya was born in 1916 and passed away in 1989. The three Montoya children are...Frances Montoya born in 1952, Enrique Montoya born in 1954 and Gary Montoya born in 1955. We suspect that some of the other children are Gerold Rickma and Karolene Rickman born in the early 1940's, Patricia L. Powell born in 1947 and David A. Gaulthair born in 1957.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kendall/Gaulthier family

I have a lot of information for future family to share. Not only did I do my immediate family that is Rhea/Yeakley, I did the Dowland/Galbraith for my kids to include their dad's side of the family. Then I started on the Kendall/Hinds family knowing that my husband was adopted but doing the family who loved and raised him. These people may not completely be his biological family but they are family nevertheless. In the mix of the Kendall family is Gary's biological mother. She was his adoptive mother's cousin. Lydia Mary Gaulthair had many children. Gary was always aware of the two closest in age because we have a picture of them. He always wondered what happened to them. This is a big puzzle to put together and is getting bigger the more we find. We did find Frances and Enrique but then learned from other family members that there was a least one more.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An excerpt from the letter dated January 1st, 1919

Here is a brief excerpt from one of the letters from Martha Jane (McColloam) Rhea to William Rhea. "Mrs. M.J. Rhea Sneedville, Tenn Route 5, Box 3 Jan. 1st, 1919 Dear Wm, Nellie and Ralph, I hope you are well and happy and will Remain So Through life. I am well as I have been for the past 4 months. As far as I know all the Relatives here in common Health. I received your much appreciated presents. Also corset cover and apron from Leona. Della came and brought hers. Floyd did too. Xmas was very quiet. Wm, I am 71 years old this morning and I want to talk to my absent children. What I can and truly hope that when the end of their road is as near is Sight as mine They can Rejoice as I can, that Rest is near."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Rhea's of Sneedville, Tennessee

The Rhea's of Sneedville, Tennessee is where I started. I had five letters written in 1918 and 1919 between my grandmother to my great grandmother and wanted to share them with family. I had already posted them on which had generated some interest from family members mentioned in the letter as well as some of the neighbors as well.

This is my grandmother, Mellie (Farris) Rhea and the person I remember the most.

This was Granny when the letters were written.