Mondays for Me #57 ~ In the Garden

When we moved from the desert of Arizona to the lush, green State of Missouri, I was what could be called “gardening ignorant”. It was difficult to learn much about growing fruits or vegetables in the extreme heat of the Southwestern summers. I was 12 years old and I had never grown anything except cactus.

My parents bought a small house in Independence that had ½ an acre for the backyard. To me it was enormous! My Dad was so excited to plant a garden, and I was anxious to help. That first summer it was a “small” garden, at least by my Dad’s perspective. He and I dug up the ground and made the rows for the various vegetables that we were going to plant. We sowed carrot, cucumber, lettuce, radish, peas, corn, and green bean seeds. We made a trip to the nursery, and we came back with tomato plants and some blackberry bushes. I really had fun with the entire process.

Over the summer I helped to hoe the garden and tie up the tomato, peas, and green bean plants. I can still remember how excited I was when I saw the first little vegetable growing on the vine. I was a little confused when my Dad took me to the grocery store and told me we needed to find a bag of potatoes with lots of “eyes” on them. We had always avoided that type before. When we got home he showed me how to cut the “eyes” off and plant them in the ground, and he told me we were going to grow new potatoes. Yeah, right! We also had three large, well established peach trees standing side by side in the yard. I was fascinated with their bright pink blooms that smelled so good. Everything was coming to life with very minimal effort. In Arizona my Dad planted two peach trees and one apricot tree. During the summer they had to be watered every day and fertilized often. In the twelve years we lived there, we only got six peaches and one apricot from the trees.

June came and the backyard was full of things to eat. The first things to ripen were the peaches! Each tree was hanging low with fruit in different stages of ripeness. We picked so many for us, and I probably ate the majority of them. I just loved them. We soon had some of our relatives come over and pick as many as they wanted. Then my Aunt Margaret came and helped me pick enough to can. I had never done this before so it was a treat. Finally, my Dad put a notice in the newspaper for “free peaches”, and after several people came and picked what they wanted, we still had fruit on the trees!

We also had an abundance of other vegetables that could be canned. Again, my aunt came and taught me about each requirement for the various ones. We spent several days canning and talking. It was a very special time. It also felt good to have contributed to food stored up for the winter.

The potatoes where the last crop we dealt with. I was amazed at how many had grown from those little “eyes”. It was fun to dig in the dirt and not get yelled at! My Dad loaded the potatoes into the bed of the truck, and we drove them into Kansas City to my aunts home, and we stored them in her basement covered in lye. We all had potatoes for the next 9 months. This was a good experience for me. I learned a lot about how to plant and grow anything I wanted and I learned both patience and hard work.

When Autumn came and the temperature got colder, I missed the excitement of gardening. One day I was waling in the yard and I noticed a lot of hard round balls laying under a very tall tree on the south side of our house. I really never paid attention to it, it was only a tree! I picked one up and brought it to my Dad. He told me the tree was a black walnut tree. He and I then went outside and picked up a few of the balls, and we used a knife to open the outer casing of the nut. Once that was done, we had a walnut in a shell like I had seen in the grocery stores. To be honest, I didn’t like the process. It seemed like too much trouble, especially since walnuts were not my favorite nut at the time. My Dad did enjoy sitting in his chair and coaxing the nut to come out!

The next year we did the same, only this time the blackberry bushes gave us an abundance of fruit. Because of this, and the above mentioned peaches, these two became my two favorite fruits.

When we had to sell our home and move to California I felt so bad for my Dad. He seemed to thrive in this environment and I knew he would miss it. When we left Missouri, we were able to leave a lot of the produce with our relatives. This two and a half years were some of the best of my childhood!

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.

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Sunday Salute #47 ~ Captain Richard Douglass

Richard Douglass is my paternal 6th Great Grandfather. He was born on July 19, 1682, in New London, Connecticut, the youngest son of William Douglass Jr. and Abiah Hough. He was baptized on August 27, 1682, in New London. He grew up on a very large farm that had been originally purchased Richard’s Grandfather William Sr. after he emigrated to Connecticut from Scotland. The farm was left to his father William.

He married Margaret Abell (1685-1752) on December 7, 1704, and they had 8 children, 4 sons and 4 daughters. He bought a house lot on Bank Street, and he raised his house there. Richard was a sea-captain, and he accumulated a large amount of money in this field. He was also occasionally chosen to be the surveyor of highways by the town.

The first provincial forces in British North America were organized in the 1670s, when several colonial governments raised ranger companies for one-years paid service to protect their borders. The beginning of the United States military lies in local governments which created militias that enrolled nearly all free white men. The militia was not employed as a fighting force in major operations outside the local jurisdiction. Instead, the colony asked for (and paid) volunteers serving in ranger and other provincial troops. Many of whom were also militia members. The local Indian threat ended by 1725 in most places, after which the militia system was little used except for local ceremonial roles. Richard was one of these militia members.

New London is a seaport city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States. Richard not only sailed to and from other seaport cities located in the Northeast, but he also patrolled the coastline of Connecticut and the rivers that emptied into it.

On February 26, 1734, he fell dead as he was steering a scow up to Mr. Richards’s wharf. He is buried in the old Ancient Cemetery that was donated to the city by his Grandfather.

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.

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Picture Perfect Saturday #36 ~ 4 Generations ~ Greenbury White

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 this photo of my maternal 2x Great Uncle Greenbury White. It has him, his daughter Martha Ellen White Burton, grandson George William Burton and great granddaughter Marjorie Burton. The photo was taken about 1925. They look like they just got home from church, all dressed in their Sunday finest. I wonder who or what little Marjorie is looking at. She is adorable, just standing on that chair so she is tall enough to fit in the photo. I love the bonnet she has on, it is bigger than her head.

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.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Missouri, Photos, Picture Perfect, Picture Perfect Saturday, Uncategorized

The Overalls Gang #10 ~ Leonard Monroe Hughes

A lot of time while writing about our ancestors, we focus on those who would be considered successful by current standards. After all, there is usually far more documentation and sources that we can draw from that makes developing the story of their lives much easier. Looking through photos I made a discovery! I have quite a few pictures of my ancestors wearing farmers overalls. The majority of my ancestors spent their whole lives making a home and raising a family on a farm. To them, wearing overalls was a sign of honor, and they were proud of what they did. So to honor these hard-working men I will highlight the life of one of the “overall gang”, including the photo and a brief biography of the legacy they left behind.

This is my paternal Uncle Leonard Monroe Hughes, born April 30, 1913, in Hughesville, Pettis County, Missouri, the 5th of 9 children born to Charley Hughes (1865-1944) and Virginia Belle Hayes (1880-1954). Leonard was raised on the family farm outside of Hughesville. His father not only grew crops, but he also raised and trained champion horses. Life was hectic as more children were added to the family every 2 years. At the age of 9, his family moved to Lexington, Lafayette County Missouri, once again buying a farm and working the land. Leonard Married Cornelia Turis (1908-1969) and they lived with her parents on a small farm outside of Lexington. In 1940 they moved to just inside the city limits where there was still plenty of land to grow their crops. They had 5 children, 3 sons and 2 daughters. Cornelia died in 1969 and soon after that Leonard sold his farm and moved to a home with a large yard in town. He then married Ruth E. Burgy (1917-2010) on May 22, 1971. They spent their years together raising a large variety of vegetables, and planting blackberry bushes and peach trees. Leonard died on September 8, 2003, in Lexington at the age of 90.

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.

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My Ancestors Signature #43 ~ Reuben Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 4th Great Uncle


Reuben Coffey 1759-1842
From his pension application dated September 21, 1833

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.

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Filed under Ancestry, Coffey Family, Colonial Virginia, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, My Ancestors Signature, Revolutionary War, Silhouette Signature, The Coffey Family, Uncategorized, Uncle, Virginia

“Power” of Love ~ 52 Ancestors #8

During this month where many people celebrate “Love” I decided to write about one of my ancestors who wrote about the “Power of Love”.

George Denison was born in 1618 in Preston, Northamptonshire, England, the son of William Denison (1570-1653) and Margaret Chandler (1575-1645). He moved with his family to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1631 at the age of 13. He met Bridget Thompson in 1639, and he began to “court” her. They married in 1640 and they had 2 daughters, Sarah (1641) and Hannah (1643). His beloved wife died shortly after Hannh’s birth and George in the midst of his intense grief, left his 2 young daughters with his family and returned to England. He served with Cromwell in the army of the Parliament where he won distinction for his actions. He was wounded at Naseby, and he was taken to the home of John Borodell, where he was nursed back to health by John’s daughter Ann (1615-1712). They were married in 1645, and George returned to Roxbury with his new wife. They went on to have 7 children, 4 sons, and 3 daughters. George died in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 23, 1694, while there on some special business. He was 76 years old. The following poem was written by George for his wife-to-be, the love of his life , Bridget Thompson in 1640 the week before their wedding.

“It is an ordinance, my dear divine

Which God unto the sons of men makes shine.

Even marriage is that whereof I speak

And unto you my mind therein I beak.

In Paradise, of Adam, God did tell

To be alone, for man, would not be well.

He in His wisdom thought it right

To bring a woman into Adam’s sight.

A helper that for him might be most meet

And comfort him by her doing discreet.

I of that stock am sprung, I mean from him

And also of that tree I am a limb

A branch though young, yet do I think it good

That God’s great vows by man be not withstood.

Alone I am, a helper I would find

Which might give satisfaction to my mind.

The party that doth satisfy the same

Is Mistress Bridget Thompson by her name.

God having drawn my affections unto thee

My Heart’s desire is thine may be to me.

Thus, with my blottings though I trouble you

Yet pass these by cause, I know not how

Though they at this time, should much better be

For love it is the first have been to thee

And I wish that they much better were.

Therefore, I pray accept them as they are

So hoping my desire I shall obtain.

Your own true lover, I, George Denison by name.

From my father’s house in Roxbury To Miss Bridget Thompson, 1640.”

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.

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Hometown Tuesday #41 ~ Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri

Moberly lies in a glacial plains area in a county organized in 1829, and named for John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia in Missouri’s Little Dixie Region. It was first settled by William Holman in 1818. William Fort boiled salt at a spring near Huntsville in the 1820s. The Bee Trace, a pioneer trail, ran along the Grand Divide (the high point in The Grand Prairie) between the Missouri and Mississippi through the county. The Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes gave up claims to the region, 1824.

Moberly, the “Magic City”, grew from the town platted by the North Missouri Railroad (Wabash) in 1866, it was built to connect to a transportation center with a 6,070 population by 1880. The North Missouri acquired the site when it took over the Chariton and Randolph Railroad after the Civil War. In 1860, the C.& R. had planned to build a road westward to Brunswick from this point on the North Missouri then turning north reaching toward Iowa.

The Chariton and Randolph Railroad named its proposed junction for William Moberly, head of the railroad, and offered free land to residents of once nearby town if Allen to settle here. Patrick Lynch, was the only one to accept this offer, and he was given two lots by the North Missouri after the Civil War for holding the site without “the loss of a life or a house.” On September 27, 1866, the first lots were sold for what would become Moberly. Moberly at this time was a very rough railroad town, considered course with too many taverns and brothels. Moberly in only five years had as many murders as the entire county had in its previous 20 years of history. In light of its mud streets and rough and tumble ways, the St. Louis papers regularly ridiculed the town in light of the more attractive, cultured, and older Huntsville. Despite this, Moberly continued to grow.

Moberly had been a division point since 1867 when the North Missouri (Wabash) reached Brunswick. In 1872 many businesses like the huge railroad repair shops, one of the earliest railroad plants west of the Mississippi, were opened. In 1873 the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad formed a junction here. Transportation facilities brought industrial growth and the development of the soil, fire clay, and coal resources of the area.

My paternal Great Uncle, Greenbury White was born in Moberly in 1844, the youngest of 4 children of Augustine White (1798-1876) and Margaret McClain (1798-1880). He fought for the Union Army, joining when he was 21 years old. He married Mary Jamison on December 31, 1866, they had 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. He owned his own farm and lived in Moberly his entire life. He died on March 15, 1930, 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.

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Mondays for Me #56 ~ A Great Resource

For some of you this may be old news, but for some of us this is a new experience! I recently joined a few Facebook groups designed for reminiscing about the town I grew up in. I was very surprised at how many there were, and they seemed to cover every topic available. One was called “Retro Tucson”, another one was “Remembering Tucson” and one was “Our Sonoran Arizona Ancestors”. To be honest, I ended up joining 6 groups.

As I get older, I realize that my memory isn’t what it used to be. I did buy a book about 23 years ago that asked questions about your life. It was structured to prompt you to write as much as you could remember about such topics like “What was your house like?”, and “What is your favorite memory of grade school?”. There were over 200 questions that you could answer and then you could hand the book on to your children or grandchildren so they could read about your life. I found this book a few years ago and it has helped with my memories. This is one reason I joined these groups, they help bring back memories of places and events.


Francisco & Ramona Acuna

The bonus to these groups is one I just discovered a couple of weeks ago. In the “Our Sonoran Arizona Ancestors” group I saw a lot of people posting photos of their parents or Grandparents, and writing a short paragraph about them. Now, I personally do not have any ancestors from this region, but my husband does. I have researched his family as far back as I could. Once it got into Mexico, the language barrier and the naming practices hindered me. So I decided to post a photo of my husbands Great Grandfather and I included a link to the story I had written about him. The response was amazing!


Letter to Francisco Acuna asking for his daughters hand in marriage

Yesterday, I posted about his Great Grandmother, and I was excited to see the response and very surprised to find so many of the people asking if we could be related. In one day I had contact with and verified 6 new cousins for my husband. The best part is one of his new-found relatives have offered to help me with the research in Mexico and with my lack of Spanish. I am now anxious to join other Facebook groups pertaining to my side of the family!

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.

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Sunday Salute #46 ~ Thomas Ogan ~ Revolutionary War

Thomas Ogan, my paternal 4th Great Grandfather, was born in 1740 at sea in the Caribbean. He was the son of Major Thomas Henry Ogan (1716-1779) and Elizabeth MNK. He married Ann Martin (1738-1813) in Frederick Virginia about 1766. They had 5 children, 4 girls, and 1 boy.

Thomas, at the age of 16 fought under George Washington during the French and Indian War between 1756 and 1763. Twelve years later at the start of the Revolutionary War, Thomas joined Captain William Johnson’s 11th Virginia Regiment under the command of Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Brigade in 1775. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. Thomas was a wagoner in the regiment.

Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. What set Morgan’s Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifle barrels with thin walls and curved grooves inside the barrels which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets. Morgan used this advantage to initiate guerrilla tactics by which he first killed the Indian guides the British used to find their way through the rugged terrain and also to kill the British officers that led the troops. While this tactic was viewed as dishonorable by the British elites, it was, in fact, an extremely effective method that created chaos and discord for the British Army.

On December 31, 1775, a battle was fought between the Continental Army and the defenders of Quebec City. During this encounter, Daniel and 400 of his men including Thomas, were captured while leading an assault against the British. Benedict Arnold had originally been leading it, but he was injured and this forced Daniel to take command of the troops. They got trapped in the lower city and were forced to surrender. They were held prisoners until reinforcements arrived in the early spring.

Thomas spent the entirety of the war in Morgans brigade fighting many battles including the one at Valley Forge with General George Washington. He also fought in the battle of Freeman’s Clearing under the command of General Horatio Gates.

After the war, he and his family were given a land bounty of 200 acres in Rockingham Virginia. Here he farmed the land and raised his family under the flag of freedom that he fought for. He died at home in December 1813 at the age of 73.

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.

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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.

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Filed under Ancestry, California, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Ogan Family, Photos, Picture Perfect, Picture Perfect Saturday, Uncategorized