Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tranquil Tombstone: Charles J Ritter family

Rittersville Cemetery, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ
North Tacoma Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Charles J Ritter
Charles J Ritter
Born 11 June 1871
Died 30 October 1919
Aged 48 years, 4 months, 18 days
Son of William D Ritter, according to Find A Grave

Ida J Ritter
Born 10 August 1871
Died 22 January 1943
Wife of Charles J Ritter

Ida’s daughter and husband died in the same year. She had to be a strong lady to carry on.

Sabina C Ritter
Born 17 March 1905
Died 14 February 1919
Aged 13 years, 10 months, 27 days

A young life ended so early is always sad. Sabina, born on St Patrick’s Day & died on Valentines’ Day, was only 13. 

You can see more photos of Ritter tombstones. I posted the Ritter tombstone pictures on Find A Grave and in my Our Leaves & Branches Photos

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rittersville Cemetery

Michael Ritter

 Rittersville Cemetery, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ
 North Tacoma Street
 Allentown, PA

I wanted to find Michael Ritter, the founder of Rittersville. The day was gray and I had no cemetery map but I was hoping to find Ritter relatives. I had my camera and started to systematically walk up and down each row of graves. I walked carefully, not wanting to miss a Ritter tombstone and yet trying to avoid the many holes in the grounds.

My second great grandmother, Elidia Rebecca (Ritter) Mark, 1854 – 1912, is my closest direct connection to the Ritters. She was the daughter of Isaac and Isabell (Fisher) Ritter. That branch of the Ritters lived in Ohio.

William D Ritter
I did find Michael Ritter. His tombstone, like many surrounding his stone, was very worn and difficult to read. Fortunately his name remains readable. I found two of his sons and their families. His son Charles J Ritter, 11 June 1871 – 30 October 1919, was with his wife, Ida J Ritter, 10 August 1871 – 22 January 1943, and their daughter Sabina C Ritter, 17 March 1905 – 14 February 1919. Son, Thomas Ritter, 9 May 1808 – 27 Nov 1883, was with his wife, Anna M. Ritter, 29 October 1802 – 30 August 1881, and their daughter Sarah M Ritter, 26 November 1833 – 15 November 1918, and their son, Asher Thomas Ritter, 5 September 1835 – 14 May 1862.

I photographed over two dozen Ritter tombstones. William D Ritter, 24 July 1822 – 30 October 1874, was a Civil war soldier and has a flag flying by his final resting place. I cannot yet connect them all up at this time but I am confident that they do connect. You can see many of my photos on my website. I also posted photos on the Ritterville Cemetery website.

Thanks go out to Robert Rinebold, his Rittersville website and his helpful emails. He gave me directions in locating the cemetery and tips to find Michael Ritter’s tombstone. Robert has helped me on more than one occasion with my research with this family branch. Thanks to Karen Ritter Burlet who helped me connect Michael Ritter to the original Ritters who came here from Germany in 1732. She has sent me great information with sources. Thanks also to Larry Knox who first introduced me to the Ritters several years ago. Genealogists are a friendly and helpful group!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tranquil Tombstone: Charles & Dianna Ritter

Rittersville Cemetery, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ
North Tacoma Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania

I found these to be very interesting tombstones. I believe there was engraving on the 'foot' stones but the engraving was too worn to read.

Charles Ritter
Charles Ritter
Born 12 January 1806
Died 11 April 1883
Aged 77 years, 2 months, 29 days
Son of John Michael Ritter, 1782 – 1854 & Margaret Orner

Dianna Ritter
Born 6 June 1806
Died 22 September 1863
Wife of Charles Ritter

In 1860 Charles & Dianna were living in Rittersville, Hanover Twp., Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. He was the owner of the hotel & store. Charles had taken these over after the death of his father, the founder of Rittersville.

You can see more photos of Ritter tombstones. I posted the Ritter tombstone pictures on Find A Grave and in my Our Leaves & Branches Photos.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ancestor Anniversaries, February 18 - 28

Do you have a February Anniversary?
Maybe someone else shared your special day. 

18 February 1815     Needham Judge Alford, 1789 – 1869 [son of Jacob & Elizabeth (Bryant) Alford]  & Martha Waddell. Married in Mississippi. Needham Alford was my 3rd great grand uncle.

18 February 1874     Jeptha Josephus Alford, 1854 – 1913 [son of Ira Payne & Elizabeth (Hope) Alford] & Olevia Luminda Fortenberry

21 February 1839     Abraham Mark & Mary Isabella Heffelfinger. Married in Ohio. They had 8 sons. They were my 3rd great grandparents.

21 February 1861     Augustus Ceaser Gruissy, 1840 – 1915 [son of Christian & Mary (Grorisclauss) Gruissy] & Mary Ann Everett. They were married in Ohio. 4 children. He married twice more.

21 February 1965     Marvin Edgar Owen & Delena Ann Lea [daughter of Hanry Lattimore & Irma Ruby (Blades) Lea]. Married in Louisiana.

22 February 1822     Jonas Moyer & Susanna Ritter [daughter of Johannes & Maria    (Heffelfinger) Ritter]

22 February 1877     Robert R. Ritter [ son of Martin B. & Sarah (Mohr) Ritter] & Josephine Hess. 3 children.

22 February 1880     William Hawk, 1847 – 1915, & Elizabeth Ritter [daughter of Isaac & Isabell (Fisher) Ritter]. 6 children

22 February 1946     Ernest Miles Mark, 1915 – 1996 [son of Amos Martin & Lillian Myrtle (Hoverstock) Mark] & Helen V. Sampsel. Married in Ohio. 4 children.

23 February 1906     Jessee Monroe Conerly & Lottie Irene Brumfield, 1879 – 1908 [daughter of Isaac Nelson & Sarah J. (Smith) Brumfield]

24 February 1848     Alfred Fortenberry, 1823 – 1861 [son of William Jasper & Violette (Kennington) Fortenberry]  & Aderine Mary Faulk, 1828 – 1888. 8 children.

26 February 1795     Johannes Ritter, Jr, 1771 – 1864 [son of Johannes & Maria Elisabeth (Keck) Ritter] & Anna Mariah --, 1777 - 1842. Married in Pennsylvania. 13 children. They were my 4th great grandparents.

28 February 1947     Clyde Earl Purdy & Janet Irene Miller [daughter of Karl Jackson & Mellie Arlene (Jolliff) Miller]. Married in Ohio. 7 children.

Do you connect with any of these couples? Do you have a wedding photo or marriage certificate? Let's share & compare information. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

‘Black Frank’, William Franklin Fortenberry, b. 13 February 1840

In 2011 I gave long lists of ancestor birthdays. This year I plan to focus in on one or two a month, giving more details on their lives.

William Franklin Fortenberry was born 13 February 1840 in Mississippi, the fifth of nine children of Gasua Chapman & Sarah (Brown) Fortenberry. He was known as ‘Black Frank’. This may have been to differentiate him from the many other William Fortenberrys in the family. He married Mariah B. Hall.

The 1850 US Census shows the Gasua Fortenberry family in Pike County, Mississippi. Gasua was a 44 year old farmer, born in South Carolina. William was eleven. In 1850 The U.S. Congress gave Mississippi title to more than 3 million acres of swamp and overflow land. By this time, 310 miles of levees had been built along the banks of the Mississippi River. The Delta was drained, cleared, and became available for cultivation.

In 1861 Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union and in 1870 Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

In the 1880 US Census  the family was still in Pike County. Gasua was a 74 year old farmer. His wife, Sarah, was 70. Daughters living with them were: Mary and Violette. William Franklin, now a 40 year old farmer, and his wife, Mariah, were on the farm along with their children: Joseph, Benjamin, Clarence, John, William, Albert and Alfred.

They had seven sons:
John E. Fortenberry                        b. 1864 – d. 1923
Joseph Gazie Fortenberry               b. 9 July 1870 – d. 25 January 1950
Benjamin Fortenberry                     b. c. 1873
Clarence Foretnberry                      b. c. 1874
William C. Fortenberry                   b. 16 December 1877
Albert E. Fortenberry                     b. 26 June 1879
Alfred E. Fortenberry                     b. 26 June 1881

Mariah died 4 February 1884. William Franklin Fortenberry died 6 August 1906.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jeremiah & Joanna (Dillon) Smith: My Double 4th Great Grandparents

Jeremiah Smith, b. 23 Dec 1773 in SC – d. 1843 in MS, and his wife, Joanna (Dillon) Smith, b. 22 Aug 1778 in NC – d. after 1821 in MS, are my double 4th great grandparents. When I print out a chart of my ancestors they, and their parents, appear twice.

Jeremiah and Joanna had 13 children. Two of those children were Martha P. (Smith) Alford, b. 25 March 1802, and Wyatt Smith b. 31 August 1809. Both of these children became my 3rd great grandparents. 

 In 1818 Martha married Edwin Barksdale Alford. They had 13 children, one of whom was Martha Elizabeth Alford, b. 8 August 1846 in MS. She married Jessie Alexander Brumfield. They had 8 children, one of whom was Rose Ella Brumfield, b. 18 July 1867 in MS.

Wyatt Smith (Martha’s brother) married Euseba Fortenberry. They had 9 children, one of whom was Emmaline Smith, b. 13 September 1831 in MS. Emmaline married Allan Moses Brown, b. 26 January 1836 in MS. They had 3 children, one of whom was Jasper Pascal Brown, b. 15 May 1865 in MS.

These branches reconnected when Rose Ella Brumfield and Jasper Pascal Brown, both great grandchildren of Jeremiah & Joanna (Dillon) Smith, and second cousins, married. They married 21 December 1887 in Pike, MS. Of their 10 children, Roy Jesse Brown, b. 8 March 1902 in MS, was my paternal grandfather. Therefore, Jeremiah and Joanna get double billing in my family trees.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sepia Saturday - Books

This week's photos involve people holding or reading books. I do not have an old photograph of an ancestor holding a book. However I do have old books once owned by my family.

This book was owned by my maternal grandmother, Helen F. (Coyle) Gardner, 1897 - 1965. She grew up in New York City where she met and married Nathaniel Gardner.

You might associate grandmothers with cookbooks or flower books but this is a bit different. As a young woman my Nana was fascinated by astrology, crystal ball reading and other predictions for the future. This book is all about reading palms. I love the author's photo inside. He looks very serious. He calls himself simply, Cheiro.

Cheiro's Language of the Hand
Original copyright the year my Nana was born.
"Complete practical work on the sciences of Cheirognomy and Cheiromancy, containing the system, rules and experience of Cheiro."

Sounds very scientific!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rittersville, Revisited

Thomas Ritter
On 20 March 2011 I wrote a blog about a village named after and founded by our Ritter ancestors: Rittersville, Pennsylvania. It is now a part of Allentown. There is a delightful Rittersville website by Robert Reinhold that you should visit for the history and photos from times past. I enjoy his site and the emails he has sent to me to help guide my research.
At the time I posted that blog I wanted to know how Michael Ritter, founder of Rittersville, was connected to the original Ritter immigrants from Germany and how he connected to me. With a big thanks to Karen Ritter Burlet I can now connect these lines! Karen saw my blog and contacted me. Now our emails are flying between us. We are 7th cousins, once removed and are enjoying exchanging information.

Casper Ritter (1720 – 1792) was one of the original brothers who came from Germany to Pennsylvania, arriving in Philadelphia on 11 September 1732. Casper Ritter lived in Lower Milford Twp. And then moved on to Bethlehem. One of his nine children was Johann Daniel Ritter (4 March 1758 – 29 August 1836).  Daniel married Elisabeth Rohn. One of their children was John Michael Ritter (18 April 1782 – 17 March 1854), founder of Rittersville. 

Karen’s sources for that connection include:
  • Portrait and Biographical Record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania. 1894,Chapman Pub. Co. edition, in English
  • Daniel Ritter’s Will:  Easton, PA Courthouse: Registrar of Wills, Northampton Co, PA, No. 4631, Daniel Ritter, Sr.(Township of Bethlehem) filed Dec. 12th, 1836.
I went ahead and found Michael Ritter in the 1850 US Census in Rittersville, Hanover Twp., Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. He was 66 and a Justice of the Peace. Son, Thomas Ritter, and his family were living with him. Son, Charles, and his family were living next door.The 1860 Census shows Charles stepped in after his father's death. He was running the store and hotel in Rittersville.

Michael Ritter, the founder of Rittersville was my 6th cousin, 2x removed. We have to look back to the German parents of the original Ritters in America to find a common ancestor. I am a descendant of Heinrich Ritter and Michael was a descendant of his brother, Heinrich Ritter.

A big THANKS goes out to Karen who has lent me a helping hand in finding my way way through a forest of family trees!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Family History Writing Challenge

Always wanted to write the history of your family? Join the Family History Writing Challenge for the month of February.

You will have pointers on where to begin & how to proceed. You will have the support of others who are trying the same thing.

Your story does not have to go back to the end of time. Write about your life, your parents or your grandparents; focus on just one branch of a family; or begin an epic saga.

I am focusing on my mother's family [my genealogy goal for 2012]: Coyle, Mullane, Brady & Gardner in Ireland & Austria families and how they relate to each other.

Go to the website. Then grab a pen & pencil or your computer and begin. Even the longest book begins with the first word!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sepia Saturday - Dogs

Nathaniel Gardner
 This photo was taken c. 1928 in New York City.

Nathaniel Gardner (1882 - 1944)

is sitting with the baby carriage.

My mother, Alberta Joy Gardner,

is sleeping in the carriage.

Their dog, Chink, is resting on the sidewalk. My mother loved Chink, especially at meal time when she would sneak him the vegetables she did not want to eat. 

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ancestor Anniversaries, February 1 - 14

2 February 1898       Isaac Omer Cutrer, 1871 – 1941 [son of Hiram & Sarah Jane (Fortenberry) Cutrer] & Fannie Rebecca Smith, 1881 – 1923 [daughter of Wyatt Rankin & Irene (Bankston) Smith]. 6 children. Isaac & Fannie were both my 2nd cousins, 3 times removed.

2 February 1914       Thomas Joseph Brady [son of Patrick & Ellen (Reilly) Brady] & Catherine Lynch. Married in New Jersey. 4 children.

2 February 1936       Herbert Phillip Mullen, Jr. [son of Herbert Phillip & Ruth Geneva (Jolliff) Mullen, Sr.] & Margaret Delores Engle. 2 children.

8 February 1964       Robert M. Beriswell, 1932 – 1986, & Francis Edith Brophy [daughter of Glen Ralph & Eileen Mae (Reis) Brophy]. Married in Ohio. 4 children.

9 February 1905       Walter Lee Blades, 1883 – 1959 [son of William Ephraim & Morgana J. (McDaniel) Blades] & Addie Angeline Cutrer. 2 children.

11 February 1870     Patrick Coyle, 1841 – 1925 [son of Michael & Mary (Cunningham) Coyle] & Margaret Brady, c. 1855 – 1934 [daughter of Thomas & Catherine (Gibney) Brady]. Married in County Cavan, Ireland. 11 children. Patrick & Margaret were my 2nd great grandparents.

12 February 1901     Arthur Spice [son of Robert Anson & Emma Catherine (Gordon) Spice]  & Emaline Floy Moore, 1883 – 1942 [daughter of Peter Jonathan & Caroline Louise (Gruissy) Moore]. Married in Michigan. 5 children.

13 February 1825     Frederick Wolf , 1804 – 1891 [son of John Frederick & Esther Barbara (Schaffer) Wolf] & Louisa C. Goetz [daughter of John Goetz]. Married in Pennsylvania. 8 children. Frederick Wolf was my 3rd great grand uncle.

14 February 1942     Jessie Miles Hall, 1921 – 1983, & Sylvia Rayleen Brown, 1924 – 2006 [daughter of Roy Jesse & Mary Thelma (Ellzey) Brown]. Married in Mississippi. 5 children.

14 February 1953     William Thomas Zengler[son of Urban Robert & Mildred Mae (Wolf) Zengler]  & Kathryn Isabel Waidman

Do you connect with any of these couples? Do you have a marriage certificate or wedding photo for any of them?  Contact me to share & compare.