Picture Perfect Saturday #35 ~ John Higgason Ogan

I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!

This week I am showcasing my 1st cousin 3 times removed, John Higgason Ogan. Johns was born in 1844, in Linn County, Missouri. He moved with his family to California in 1856. He was a rancher. This photo is just perfect! He is looking at his cow like it is his best friend. I like the way he is dressed, especially his hat. If has the look of a very kind man. He died on November 11, 1930, in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 86.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Picture Perfect Saturday #30 ~ Dora Agnes Rhoads

I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!

This week I am showcasing my paternal 3rd cousin, Dora Agnes Rhoads. She was born on November 02, 1899 in Covelo, Mendocino County, California, the oldest of 4 children born to William Denham Rhoads (1870-1961) and Agnes Hurt (1878-1955).

The look on her face gives the impression that she knows the photographer and that she does this all the time. She gives the idea that she may have been born to be a model as she looks very comfortable here. I wonder if this was taken for a special occasion. Her dress is unwrinkled, and she is wearing high-top shoes and gloves. She has the type of cheeks that you would like to pinch, nicely of course. She would have been a beautiful woman if she had not died at the age of 6 years-old, on March 17, 1906.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on either Facebook or Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Monday’s for Me #48 ~ Hollywood

In July of 1973 my family moved from Palms, California to Hollywood. It was for two reasons, first one of our neighbors had called social services because of my mothers bizarre behavior, and second my Dad got a job with a construction company on Sunset Boulevard. We rented a small 3-bedroom bungalow located just south of Sunset.

Each of the 4 cities that we lived in during our 5 years in California offered a different style of living. Hollywood was definitely the strangest. With so many diverse things to see and do there was hardly a dull moment. We lived about one mile south of Hollywood Boulevard and about 1 mile east of the heart of the city. Something was always going on so any day I would walk up to the Boulevard I was able to witness something interesting.

There were always people dressed as celebrities in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater that were very entertaining. There were street musicians and pop up theatrical performances daily. I even enjoyed the variety of tourists from all over the world. It was also a haven for the many religious cults that were popular during this time. Hari Krishnas would block your way to give you a carnation in hopes that you would put money in their bucket. Many others tried to give out their literature. There was a mixture of hippies, wealthy people, prostitutes, and homeless that crowded the sidewalks.

For an eighteen-year old it was exhilarating! One of my favorite memories happened in one of the many diners on the Boulevard. I would sometimes take my 3-year-old son Pleasant, with me to go eat lunch and on this particular day we decided to eat at one that had a counter. My son loved sitting on the stool and spinning around. I can’t recall the name of the diner but it was located on the north side of the street just a little west of Hollywood and Vine. We found our stools and placed our orders. I always brought a coloring book and crayons for Pleasant and a book for me whenever we went out, so I pulled them out to keep him busy. As I was reading I heard a man speak to Pleasant, and he began to laugh. When I looked over at him, I saw that he was handing the man one of his crayons.

You can imagine my surprise to see that the man was none other than Bob Crane, the star of “Hogans Heroes”. He was sitting there coloring in my son’s coloring book and listening to him ramble on about the firetruck he was coloring. Mr. Crane then turned to me and struck up a conversation. I tried to act like I didn’t know who he was but I think he knew that I did. When he left he signed the page he had colored and left. When we were ready to leave I found out that he had also paid for our lunch.

Pleasant didn’t know who he was so the next time the rerun of the show came on TV I had him watch it and he got so excited when he saw “Uncle Bob”. I had to explain to him why he was in the “army” and why he was on TV. He proudly kept that colored page with the autograph until the day he died.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

The Ogan Brothers ~ Westward HO!

John Ogan (1776-1837) and Mary “Polly” Douglass (1780-1838) are my paternal 3rd Great Grandparents. John was born in Virginia, and he moved to Silver Creek, Madison County, Kentucky in 1797. Here is where he met and married Mary, and they had 9 children 5 sons and 4 daughters. The family then moved to Midway, Boone County, Missouri in 1816.

Three of my 2nd Great Uncles were renowned hunters of their day in Boone County. James Simeral (born May 12, 1815) had a large score of trophies to his credit due to his steady hand and unerring eye, he was also very serviceable in ridding his township of wolves which made it almost impossible for any of the settlers to raise lambs or pigs, because this area was over run by them. His older brothers Irving Thomas (born October 15 Oct 1804) and John Martin (born 31 January 1812) killed about one hundred of the wolves and by this means gave the herds and flocks in the area the ability to live in safety. They also brought down deer and wild turkeys and frequently carried home the carcass of a bear to replenish the larders of the settlement, while they added to the comfort of their cabins with the pelts. James and Irving, assisted in founding the civil, educational and social institutions of both Boone and Linn Counties.

Another brother, the first-born of the family was named Alexander Marion (born August 16, 1799) who married Sally Austin (1806-1878), while John married Lucy Ann Harris (1810-1877) and James married Elizabeth Berry Harris (1817-1906) the sister of Lucy.

James, Alexander and John decided to make the long and difficult trek out west to California. They were not going to find gold but to find what they had heard to be “a land flowing with milk and honey”. They left Linn County Missouri in the spring of 1852 with their families in “horse drawn wagons”. They had a total of 24 children that accompanied them, with the 25th child, Sierra Nevada, being born while passing through the Sierra Mountains in Nevada.

Once the decision to make the trip was cast, the trials of the journey began. One major difficulty facing those on the California trail was the scourge of cholera, which stalked the trail from 1849 through at least the mid-1850s. Another difficulty was acquiring the pioneer’s typical outfit which usually consisted of one or two small, sturdy farm wagons outfitted with bows and a canvas cover, six to ten head of oxen along with chains and yokes or harnesses to attach them to the wagons. For traveling about 2,000 miles over rough terrain the wagons used were typically as small and as light as would do the job, approximately half the size of the larger Conestoga wagons used for freight. The typical cost of enough food for four people for six months was about $150. The cost of other supplies, livestock, wagons etc. per person could easily double this cost. This was a large expense for the three brothers and their large families. With a total of 31 people, the cost was about $2250 for the trip. Because the wagons swayed and bumped so much, the majority of the travelers walked most of the way. They typically traveled 11 miles per day and it took anywhere from 5 to 6 months to reach their destination. They arrived in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California in the early fall of 1852.

The brothers each bought 160 acres of an old Spanish land grant, and they found that the land was rich and perfect for planting grain. John and Lucy lived in San Jose until their deaths. Lucy died in 1877 at the age of 67, and John died on June 17, 1893, at the age of 81. Alexander and Sally sold their acreage in San Jose and moved to Berryessa, California where Sally died in 1878 at the age of 72, and Alexander died on May 5, 1874, at the age of 74. Last but not least, in 1869 James moved his family from the San Jose area by wagon to Carpinteria, California located just east of Santa Barbara. Elizabeth died in 1906 at the age of 87 and James died on February 4, 1900, at the age of 84.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Winter ~A Time for Sweaters ~ 52 Ancestors Week #51


Overheating in a sweater on Christmas Eve

I think I was 12 years old before I got my first coat. We always wore sweaters during the winter time because Southern Arizona rarely got cold enough to warrant anything heavier. I would watch in awe at the movies or commercials that had a winter theme, and the children would have on heavy coats, gloves, scarves, and hats. I was a little envious of the coats that had fur around the hood and sleeves. To me this looked so sophisticated! I remember getting a bicycle and a swimsuit for Christmas when I was 11 and I put on the suit and went riding around the neighborhood on the bike. This was the type of winters we had, and at the time I thought everyone had the same kind.


Snow in Missouri

You can imagine the shock when we moved to Missouri and my Dad took my sister Mary and I to Sears to buy coats and gloves. I didn’t like the way they felt, they were too heavy and bulky. Once the temperatures began to drop, my attitude changed. I suddenly fell in love with these wonderful items that kept me warm! We only lived in this State for two years and I discovered that I really loved the snow. I would throw on my coat and gloves anytime it snowed and I would go outside to watch it fall. I had fun sledding, having snowball fights and building snowmen.


Santa Monica Beach and Pier

From here, we moved to Santa Monica, California. Once again, owning a coat wasn’t a necessity. We lived 7 blocks from the beach so we did experience cool air coming off the ocean, however, it wasn’t cold enough for my Missouri coat or gloves. I got a thin cloth jacket which worked great for me. I enjoyed walking on the beach during the winter because it wasn’t crowded. I was totally amazed at how different this time of years was in each place we lived. We spent 5 years in California, and we moved 4 times. Each time we moved further inland, and we eventually ended up in Hollywood. No matter where we moved the temperature was mild from November until April.


Our house in Nashville, TN

I have lived in seven States over the course of my life. Each one presented its own unique winter weather. Colorado and Missouri made driving difficult, and as an adult I discovered that I did not like snow! In Tennessee there was very light snow and in Mississippi and Louisiana it had very mild weather. I really liked living in each State and experiencing the seasons while there.

As I get older, I can no longer tolerate the cold so Arizona will be my home from here on out. My family that is scattered throughout the Midwest and on to the East Coast think I am crazy when I tell them, winter is my favorite time of year!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Picture Perfect #15~ Douglas B. Hughes

I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so, I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!
Douglas Hughes is my Dad. He was born on August 18, 1915. I absolutely love this photo. Here he is 20 years old and this was taken at the Rubicon Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Lake Tahoe, California. He looks so happy sitting on that horse. He had been raised riding horses so he has a confident air about him.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ A Piece of My Heart

Broken heartI have lost many people over the course of my lifetime. My parents and siblings, a grandchild, and a husband, but none of this prepared me for the greatest loss I have ever experienced.

 

When I was 14 years old, we moved to Santa Monica California. Within 2 weeks I met an older boy, he was 17, and he began to come around a lot. Because of the abuse and neglect I had encountered growing up, I was desperate for love. A few months after I turned 15, and I found out that I was pregnant. Our parents got together and decided we needed to get married. The year was 1970, and being pregnant out of wedlock was frowned upon. My young age didn’t help either. I was told by the principle that I couldn’t return to Junior High School because I would be a bad influence on the other girls. My entire life changed and I had no say in it.

My Dad and his parents drove us to Tijuana Mexico, and we got married. When we returned home, my new husband went to his home to get a truck to move my things to his parents’ home. While he was gone, my mother told me if I leave I would never see her, my sister nor my beloved Dad again. So, when he arrived I refused to go with him and I once again had no real say in it.

When my son was born, I went to the hospital alone. No one came to Christmas 1970see me and when I was released, I took a taxi home. I was treated badly at the hospital because I was so young. It was here that I found out my marriage wasn’t legal because his family never filed the paperwork with the state of California. I named my son John Pleasant after the only grandfather I ever met. We called him “Pleasant” and he lived up to the name,

IMG_0015It was hard to raise a child when I myself was still considered one. We basically grew up together. Somehow, I did it and I believe I did a good job under the IMG_0020circumstances. We moved back to Tucson AZ after my Dad died. Pleasant was almost 4 years old. I started going to church, and we got very involved in it. He loved IMG_0027singing in the kids’ choir, and he appeared in many of the plays they put on. After I got married again he welcomed a brother and a sister and the 3 of them remained close. After my husband died and I gotIMG_0028 remarried, he and my new husband grew to be great friends. He was a good student getting mostly A’s and B’s. In High School, he wrestled, ran track, and played football. After High School, he joined the army.

IMG_0030When he was 23, he got married to a woman who had 3 kids. They had a daughter, my first grandchild! About 8 years later it was discovered that he had colon cancer. After having a radical surgery, he recovered and 3 years later he 1995-2was cancer-free. He had always taken good care of himself, exercised, and ate well. The doctor said she believed this is why he recovered so quickly. He JP 3 2015began to lift weights and eventually he was able to power lift 405 pounds. He moved from Arizona to Idaho a little over 7 years ago. It was hard not to be able to see him as often as we liked, but he was happy there, and we stayed in touch.

In April of 2018, he began to feel sick. He went to the doctor who ran a JP 2 2016series of tests. They thought that he had liver cancer! After more tests, they thought he had cancer of the left kidney. Then it was decided that they didn’t know what was going on with him, so they were going to send him to the Mayo Clinic in Seattle. I reminded him that there was a great Mayo Clinic here in Scottsdale and to see if his insurance would pay for him to come here. They agreed and by the end of May, he arrived. We hadn’t seen him in almost 5 years so you can imagine the scene at the airport! We took him straight to the clinic and the doctor gave us the diagnosis. He had a very rare kind of cancer called Sarcomatoid Carcinoma and there was nothing they could do for him. So he was admitted to the hospital because of the drugs they had to give him to make him comfortable. I went to see him every day and my husband went at least 5 times a week as he worked full time. We had everyone we knew praying for him. Finally, they placed him in hospice, and we were told to prepare for him to die.

As a parent, this is the hardest news you can receive. We spent as much time with him as we were allowed. I remember thinking about his childhood and I cried over all the things I believed I had done wrong in raising him. On July 18, 2018, when we went to see him, he was on so much morphine that he slept through most of our visit. As we got ready to leave, he woke up and was the most coherent we had seen him in a while. We told him we loved him and I cradled his head in my hands and kissed his forehead over and over again. As we left the room he said “I love you guys too” and he went back to sleep. He was having a really bad day the next day, so we were told not to come to visit. At 8:20 am on July 20, 2018, we got the call that he had passed on. He was only 48 years old.

I never knew a person could feel that much pain in their heart and still live. That is how it was for my husband and I. Today marks the second anniversary of his death and it still hurts with the same intensity. We find comfort in talking about him and the things he used to do, but the hole that is left in our lives feels like it will never heal.

So today I say, if you have any children, call them and let them know what they mean to you. Tell them you love them as often as you can while you still can.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

Picture Perfect Saturday #7 ~ Leroy Gibson Ogan

I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group Page for my Facebook page. In doing so, I realized that I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one per week. No, not everyone is perfect, but they are perfect to me.

Leroy Gibson Ogan

 

This week I am showcasing my 1st cousin Leroy Gibson Ogan born on September 19. 1882, in Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. This photo makes him seem like he would be a kind, easy-going guy. It was taken in 1920 when he was working in the shipyards in Long Beach, California. Over the course of his life, he had worked as a farmer, a painter, a conductor, and at the age of 18, he lived and worked as a school teacher on the Kaw and Osage Indian Reservations in the Oklahoma Territory. He was a member of the Cherokee Tribe as his mother was a full-blooded Cherokee. He died on December 8, 1974, in Azusa, California.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ It Really Wasn’t My Fault!

pizza signIn January of 1974, I was working as an assistant manager at a pizza place in Hollywood California. It was located in a shopping center on Santa Monica Blvd and Hobart, just 3 blocks from my house. As an assistant I didn’t really have set hours, I worked 5 days a week but different hours each day to help where I was most needed. I spent a lot of nights closing up and walking home alone.

About the second week of the year, the owner hired a new worker. He was an Iranian who had been born in Russia and he was a friend of Eddie, the manager. His name was Abbas. I remember he was very tall and good looking. It was just that his English wasn’t very good. Thankfully, he only worked when the manager was there so he could interpret for him. I didn’t get to see him very much because he worked days and I usually worked nights.

At the end of January, I had to go pick up my paycheck and my sister wanted to go1999 with me so she could get a pizza. When we walked into the shop I thought my sister was going to have a heart attack. She “fell in love” at first sight. Now let me tell you a little bit about my sister. Her name was Mary Leella, but she went by the name “Le”. She was one of the meanest people I have ever known. She was about 5ft 9in tall and weighed about 300 pounds. She was 23 years old and had never had a boyfriend nor gone on a date.

While we were sitting at a table waiting for her pizza I noticed that Abbas was visually upset. Eddie was trying to calm him down but nothing seemed to help. I asked what was wrong and he told me that Abbas’ visa was expiring and he was going to be deported. I asked what could be done to stop it and I was told: “he could get married”. My sister was just sitting there staring at Abbas and doing what I assume was trying to flirt with him. I was embarrassed so I grabbed my check and started to leave and when I got to the door I turned around, pointed at Le and jokingly said “She will marry him!” and I left.

Courthouse vegasI stopped at a friend’s house on the way home and we were sitting on the porch talking. The next thing we knew Le was hurrying down the street and when she saw me she rushed up to me and said, “Don’t tell mom and dad, but Abbas and I are going to Vegas tomorrow night to get married!” I couldn’t believe my ears. I was too stunned to ask any questions but that didn’t matter because Le rushed off towards home. I didn’t tell my parents, first of all, I didn’t believe her and second, she was a grown woman and if what she said was true then it was up to her. Sure enough, when I got home from work the next night my mother was in a full-fledged breakdown. My sister really did elope!

The marriage only lasted about 4 months. Did I mention that my sister was mean? Apparently, she had abused Abbas on several occasions, even breaking his hand. After Le moved back home, he came by to have her sign divorce papers. His new boss, a female who owned a hair salon, had driven him there. My sister barreled out the door at them and began punching both of them. My Dad, who had cancer and had his right lung removed went out to try to stop her, but she out-weighed him by about 150 pounds.

To be honest, I don’t know how it happened but at some point, Le did sign the papers. My dad died at the end of June and her divorce was final in mid-August. The day after that my mother, sister, my son and I moved back to Tucson, AZ. My sister never married again, nor had a boyfriend, nor had any children. My mother always blamed me for Le marrying Abbas, but honestly, it really wasn’t my fault.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday’s for Me ~ Venice High School 1971

Venice HighAfter moving to Culver City, California from Santa Monica we had moved into a new school district. Thankfully we moved in at the start of summer vacation so I was able to meet a few kids in the neighborhood. It was hard enough starting a new school, it was my 6th one in 9 years, but knowing a few people helped. From where we lived, Venice High School was about a 3-mile walk. It wasn’t too bad because I had met a boy during the summer and he would walk to my house and we would walk to school together. Along the way we would pick up 4 more friends, so I really enjoyed the walk.

Venice High was built in 1911 and is located about a mile from Venice Beach. It was really a quite intimidating building. I had never seen a High School this large before. It also had a unique history. Many.myrna.loy.statue.venice.high.los.angeles famous actors attended the school including Gary Collins, Beau Bridges, Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), and the schools’ most famous student Myrna Loy. When she was attending here she served as the model for the statue “Spiritual” which stood on the school grounds. There were many singer/songwriters, a skateboard pioneer, a NASA astronaut, many athletes, the world land speed holder, and perhaps the most important, the founder of In-N-Out burger! It has also been used to film many movies, the most recognizable one is the movie “Grease”.

My favorite class was English because our teacher, although we had a lot of reading assignments, would give us writing challenges. Social Studies and History came in a second favorite. I had never really enjoyed P.E. and here I hated it! I don’t know if it was a rule in all Los Angeles High Schools or if it was only in ours because we were so close to the beach, but in order to graduate you had to know how to swim. The pool there was huge and you would have several classes in the pool at once. I already knew how to swim so I couldn’t understand why I had to take the class. I think it was in my 2nd week of class that I came up with an ingenious idea. I had gone to the library and looked up allergies and I discovered that a person could be allergic to the chlorine they put in pools. They really did put a lot of chlorine in the pool because there were so many kids who used it on a daily basis. So, I was told to go up the high dive and just jump in. I did and when I got out of the pool I faked a faint. They rushed me to the nurse and I described my “symptoms” and the nurse determined I must be allergic to the chemicals. I was taken out of the swimming class with a good excuse, maybe I should have become an actress LOL! Guess what class they put me in? Girls football.

A month after school started my boyfriend got a car, so our walking days were over, We still picked up our friends on the way to school but it was nice not having to get up as early. I did miss walking home because we would stop at a little market to buy treats. One of our favorite things to do was to buy a Pepsi in a bottle and one red vine. Once outside we would put the red vine in the bottle and drink all of it straight down. The candy made the soda rush out of the bottle forcing us to drink fast. Then we would have burping contests on the walk home. I would almost always win because unbeknownst to them I could make myself burp at any time so I would continue to long after they no longer could. Now that I look back on this that really was a strange thing to do.

yamaha-bikes-my-dadIn November my boyfriend and I broke up. So, it was back to walking again. Only now I had to walk alone because our shared friends had been his friends first. After about a week of this, I decided I didn’t want to go back to school. My dad was very upset because he wanted me to finish school and graduate. Knowing his feeling I knew how to turn the situation to my advantage. I had ridden a friends mini bike several times and I found it invigorating. So I told him it was too hard to walk every day, but if I had a motorcycle I would go. He responded with a resounding NO! It took a few days but I finally talked him into just going to look at them. He gave in and that day I came home with a purple Yamaha enduro 250. I loved that bike. I would drive around in my “hot pants” and long hair (no helmet) and enjoy the wind in my hair. Back in those days, there weren’t a lot of female motorcycle riders so I got plenty of stares. I look back on it now and realize how utterly reckless I was. I didn’t have a drivers license, I did stupid stunts, I took it dirt biking and I crashed it 2 times, one that resulted in a concussion. After about 4 months it got stolen from our back yard so I believe that was a “Godsend”.

I returned to school with no bike and I was not happy about it. I used to dress like most kids in those days but I did have a few outfits that pushed the limits. I felt they were okay for school so I wore them on19 yo 2 occasion, even after a few “dress code” calls to the counselors’ office. I told my counselor that there were many girls at lunch who wore short skirts and twirled around but they didn’t wear underwear! I don’t twill and I do wear them. Well, one day I wore a long dress I had just gotten. As soon as I walked into my first class I was sent to the principal’s office. I was told the dress was inappropriate for school and that I had to go home and change. I mentioned that the dress touches the ground so I didn’t see how I violated anything. The principal then told me it wasn’t for the length of my skirt but it was for the halter top part that exposed my entire back! I told her if I went home I would never come back. And, unfortunately, I never did go back to school.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.