Sunday’s Salute ~ Ulysses S. Grant ~ Soldier, President, Civil Rights Champion?

Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant is my 4th cousin 7 times removed. I have made mention of him in a couple of previous posts, but I thought I could feature him in one of the Sunday’s Salute Blogs. Then as I was researching his military career, I discovered that I was more impressed with some of the things he did as President. I have always loved history and I excelled in it in school. In all my years I don’t ever remember hearing about some of these accomplishments.

He was born on April 27, 1822 , in Point Pleasant, Ohio, and died July 23, 1885, in Mount McGregor, New York. During the Civil War, Ulysses joined the Union Army in 1861, and led the Vicksburg campaign, which gained control of the Mississippi River in 1863. After his victory at Chattanooga, President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to Lieutenant General. For thirteen months, Grant fought Robert E. Lee during the high-casualty Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. A week later, Lincoln was assassinated, and was succeeded by President Andrew Johnson, who promoted Grant to General of the Army in 1866. Later Grant openly broke with Johnson over Reconstruction policies; Grant used the Reconstruction Acts, which had been passed over Johnson’s veto, to enforce civil rights for recently freed African Americans.

As a war hero but a reluctant politician, Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republican Party and was elected president in 1868. As president, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, created the Department of Justice, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. He appointed African Americans and Jewish Americans to prominent federal offices. On March 18, 1869, Grant signed his first law, pledging to redeem in gold the greenback currency issued during the Civil War. In 1871, he created the first Civil Service Commission. Grant supported both amnesty for Confederate leaders and civil rights for former slaves. He worked for ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment and went to Capitol Hill to win passage of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The Liberal Republicans and Democrats united behind Grant’s opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but he was overwhelmingly re-elected. Grant’s Native American policy had several successes. Grant named Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian who had served with him as a staff officer, commissioner of Indian affairs. In foreign affairs, the Grant administration peacefully resolved the Alabama claims against Great Britain.His 1874 veto of a bill to increase the amount of legal tender diminished the currency crisis during the next quarter century, and he received praise two years later for his graceful handling of the controversial election of 1876, when both Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Jones Tilden claimed election to the presidency.

I now have the desire to read more about all of our previous presidents to see what they accomplished while they served our nation.

Sunday’s Salute ~ Norman Miles Sims ~ Lost at Sea ~ World War II

Norman SimsNorman Miles Sims, my 3rd Cousin, was born on March 22, 1917, in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. He is the youngest son of Melfred Carl Sims (1885-1922) and Dollie Irene Simcosky (1888-1970). Normans’ father died when he was 5 years old. Norman played football and basketball at R.A. Long High School in Longview Washington, having to prove himself for the following reason. He felt he had the shadow of 3 older brothers hanging over him.


After High School all three of his older brothers, Franklin, Vinton, and Sims boys USNMilfred “Swede” Jr all joined the Navy. Franklin was a First Class Seaman, Vinton was a Chief Petty Officer and Swede was a Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. In 1935, Norman wanted to follow his brothers into the Navy, however, despite him qualifying in all academic and physical fitness tests he was rejected. At 6 feet 4 inches tall, he was ½ inch too tall!


Norman Miles Sims WWII newspaper 3This did not deter Norman, and he decided to ask assistance with his enlistment goals. He wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt pleading his case. President Roosevelt asked the Navy to give him a special dispensation and let Norman join his 3 brothers in the service of our nation. In 1935, he joined Swede and Franklin on the U.S.S. West Virginia.


On December 31, 1941, a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Norman Miles Sims WWII letterDecember 7, 1941, Norman was assigned to the U.S.S. Pillsbury. The Pillsbury was sent to the Java Sea. This area was crucial to both sides of the fight and there were many battles that were fought for the territory. On March 1, 1942, during a battle near the Island of Java in the South Pacific, the U.S.S. Pillsbury was fired upon by 4 Japanese battleships. The ship was badly damaged and it sank. Norman and the rest of the crew went down with the ship. The Navy officially declared him dead on November 25, 1945.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.

Popular ~ Margaret Ruth Hughes ~ 52 Ancestors Week 12


Margaret 14I love this week’s prompt as I will get a chance to write about my favorite Aunt! Although my times with her were limited I learned so much from just observing her life.  Margaret Ruth Hughes was born in Sweet Springs, Missouri on November 14, 1919. She was the tenth child born to Charlie and Virginia (Hayes) Hughes. Charlie and “Jennie” had a total of 11 children. The brothers born before and after Margaret both died by the age of two, leaving her the youngest child.

dad, margaret

The Hughes family moved to Lexington, Lafayette Co, Missouri when Margaret was 10 years old. Her dad bought a farm there and began farming and continuing to raise his prize-winning horses. She loved the horses and was very good at training them. Her mother taught her how to sew and she began making her own clothes.  She was like most young girls of those days learning to cook and do regular household chores. She was closest in age to my dad, Douglas. They were best friends and did everything together. She would follow him everywhere he went. This was also about the time that the Great Depression began. The family actually did very well during this time.  They grew an abundance of crops and had plenty of livestock so that they had enough for their large family, and they were able to share with those who needed help.

I believe that this is where Margaret developed her giving spirit. People just automatically gravitated to her. If you needed help. she was there. It seemed that no matter where she lived, she knew everyone! In the 1940 Census, we find 21-year-old Margaret living in Lexington with my dad and her older widowed sister Nellie. She and Nellie worked in the laundry. A few years later she was living in the San Francisco area working as one of the Rosie the Riveters. There she made shirts and gave them to some of oldies_0020the sailors as they deployed.  She baked cookies and pies for the men to help them with their homesickness. She met and married her first husband Kenneth Smith about 2 months before he shipped off at the end of 1944. Margaret discovered she was pregnant a couple of months later and she headed home to Missouri. Their son was born 18 days after the war ended but her husband never made it home. She moved into Independence and started working at the cafe on the square. President Harry Truman frequented this diner as it was only a few blocks from where he lived. He came at the same time every day and refused to be waited on by anyone besides Margaret!


In 1948 she met Paul Palmer and immediately fell in love. They got married about 6 months later and moved into Kansas City. They had a son who died at 7months old from pneumonia. They went on to have two more children, a son Darrell in 1955 and a surprise daughter named Madonna 7 years later when Margaret was 43 years old.  She worked for a coat manufacturer in Kansas City designing and sewing jackets for over 30 years. She also designed a unique western shirt that was in big demand.

In 1987 my husband and I took a trip to visit her. She was 67 years old at the time and had more energy then we did. She took us sightseeing all over Missouri and everywhere we went someone knew her. She even took us to visit some of my mother’s family and all of them were thrilled to see her. She had always been popular, no matter where she lived because of her kindness. She treated everyone like they were the most important person in the world.  In September 1988 my wonderful Aunt Margaret passed away from cancer.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.




Famous or Infamous?

TreeAs I was looking over my paternal and maternal trees, I remember thinking that I must be doing something wrong. It seems that I kept finding more and more “Famous” people and I am sure that couldn’t be correct. There seemed to be too many of them, especially coming from such common people. I realized that I should ask other Genealogists about this. I contacted three of my Ancestry friends and two of them stated they had only found one person that was well known in all of their trees. Another friend hadn’t found any. At this point, I thought maybe I should start all over again. I must have made a mistake of some kind. I decided to sleep on it before I did anything that drastic. When I awoke the next day I was determined to search my trees to see if I could find anything unusual in them.

I spent the next few days carefully tracing each famous person back as far as I could. I wrote down the dates and places and this is where my revelation became clear. Each of these persons was directly descended from an Ancestor who came to the New World between 1607 and 1655. This would make my immigrant ancestors my 8th or 9th Great Grandparents.

I then did some research and verified that in 1607 there was only one established town, Jamestown, in map of the colonieswhat is now Virginia. By 1620 Plymouth Mass. was founded. As more people arrived they began to spread out along the eastern coastline. By 1630 there was a whopping 4,646 people living here. By 1650 there were 26,634 inhabitants. That is equal to the population in Kingman AZ or Spring Valley NY. This meant there weren’t a lot of people to choose from if you wanted to get married. As our country grew more people came and intermarried with those who were already here.

Because of the limited amount of people living here, and taking into consideration all of the Historic events that took place I discovered that yes, it is possible to have more than a couple of “Famous” persons in my trees!

Do you have any “Famous” or “Infamous” Ancestors? Tell me who they are!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.