Mary Elizabeth Gilliland: What Makes A Home? (52 Ancestors #25)

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland Brown Rakestraw

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland Brown Rakestraw

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland was born on January 22, 1849 in Edwardsport, Knox County, Indiana to Leason and Serilda (Long) Gilliland.1,2  It appears that Leason wasn’t around very much during Mary’s childhood, as she and her mother and siblings are living with Asa and Maria Loundsbury in 1850.3  Family legend is that Leason worked on a steamboat and was traveling on the river all the time.  According to the 1840 Census, Leason was employed in agriculture.4  While the steamboat story isn’t impossible, it seems unlikely.  In any event, Leason died in about 1855, when Mary was six years old.5,6

It wasn’t long before Serilda became involved with John Bridges, whom she married in 1857.6  Mary did not like John and life with him was difficult for her.  She married James Brown on January 29, 1865, having just turned sixteen.7  James, however, did not live long and Mary married Francis Marion Rakestraw on October 22, 1867.8

Mary had two children with Francis, Zerilda Eleanora “Ella” and George William “Willie.”9,10  In 1892, Ella became very ill, which prompted Mary and Francis to adopt their granddaughter, Mildred Gertrude Springer, in 1894.11  Ella died just two weeks after the adoption.12

When Mildred married Sanford Wesley Wiseheart, Mary moved in with them.  She lived with them until her death on October 11, 1935.2,13,14

Since Mary moved around a lot, I thought it best to present that in chart form.  I have her location for her birth year, census years, and death year.1,2,3,4,5,9,10,13,14,15,16,17

Green = living with mother Blue = living with husband Purple = living with granddaughter

Green = living with mother
Blue = living with husband
Purple = living with granddaughter

Mary Elizabeth Gilliland had a bit of rough start in life and her family seemed always to be changing and on the move.  I think, for Mary, home was the people she chose to surround herself with rather than any particular place.  Certainly she became the central figure in her home and the home of her granddaughter’s family.  Mary passed down her family stories to her granddaughter and great grandchildren, who also passed them down.

House on County Line Road.  Mary Elizabeth Rakestraw holding Sanford William Wiseheart and George William Rakestraw holding Mildred Lorena Wiseheart.  1924.

House on County Line Road. Mary Elizabeth Rakestraw holding Sanford William Wiseheart and George William Rakestraw holding Mildred Lorena Wiseheart. 1924.

Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw with her great grandson, Sanford "Bud" Wiseheart, circa 1924.

Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw with her great grandson, Sanford “Bud” Wiseheart, circa 1924.

Mary's bonnet.

Mary’s bonnet.

A quilt that Mary had started.  The pieces look to be from feed or flour sacks.

A quilt that Mary had started. The pieces look to be from feed or flour sacks.

Inscription on the reverse side of Francis Rakestraw's tombstone at New Albany National Cemetery.

Inscription on the reverse side of Francis Rakestraw’s tombstone at New Albany National Cemetery.


Sources

1.  Transcription of the Rakestraw Family Bible.

2.  Floyd County Health Department. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Deaths CH-37 (1935): p. 67, record 276.

3.  1850 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 02 Aug. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 601.

4.  1840 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Hardin, Kentucky. p. 30.

5.  1860 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 106.

6.  Floyd County Clerk. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages Volume 4 (1857): p. 485.

7.  Floyd County Clerk. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages Volume 6 (1865): p. 81, record 233.

8.  Floyd County Clerk. Microfilm. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages Volume 6 (1867): p. 369, record 1076.

9.  1870 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 15.

10.  1880 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 4D.

11.  New Albany Daily Ledger 26 May 1894, Saturday Evening ed.: 5. Print.column 3.

12.  “Deaths (Obituary).” New Albany Evening Tribune 14 June 1894, Thursday ed.: 4. Print. column 2.

13.  1920 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 24 Sep. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 11A.

14.  1930 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Silver Creek, Clark, Indiana. p. 14B.

15.  1900 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 9B.

16.  1910 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 14A.

17.  Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany for 1890-91. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1890. 279. Print.

Mildred Springer: A Life of Loss (52 Ancestors #24)

My family and I are fortunate to have a number of family heirlooms.  We owe a debt for those heirlooms to my great grandmother, Mildred Gertrude (Springer) Wiseheart.  She wasn’t quite in the category of a hoarder, but she saved a lot of things.  I think this is because she suffered a lot of loss in her lifetime and holding onto mementos of her loved ones was the best way she knew to keep them with her.  I’m going to write her story as a timeline, to allow for better visualization.  I know how hard it can be to keep a bunch of dates straight in your head.

1892

Mildred Gertrude Springer, circa 1892.

Mildred Gertrude Springer, circa 1892.

Mildred was born on November 20th in New Albany, Indiana to parents Frank and Zerilda Eleanora “Ella” (Rakestraw) Springer.1  She and her mother were both very ill at the time of her birth.2

1893

Frank Springer left for the World’s Fair in Chicago and allegedly did not come back.3  (Mildred received almost monthly correspondence from him between 1904 and 1918, possibly even later, and he did come back for visits periodically).  Ella was extremely ill and was considered to be an invalid.2,4

1894

Mildred was adopted by her grandparents, Francis Marion and Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw.4  Just two and a half weeks later, on June 13th, her mother died of consumption.5

1900

Mildred Gertrude Springer, circa 1900.

Mildred Gertrude Springer, circa 1900.

Mildred was living with her grandparents, her Uncle Willie, and her cousins, Charlie and William.6  This seems to have been the normal living arrangement for the family, as Willie was unmarried for most of the time between 1890 and 1910.

1910

Mildred was living with her grandparents and cousins.7  Willie had moved to Illinois.  At some point during the year, Charlie went to live with Willie.

1911

Francis Marion Rakestraw died, leaving Mary Elizabeth, his wife, Mildred Springer (age 18), and William Rakestraw (age 16).8

1918

Mary Elizabeth and Mildred moved to 811 West 8th Street in New Albany, Indiana.9  William moved to Louisville, Kentucky.  Mary Elizabeth and Mildred became friends with Sanford “Sandy” Wiseheart, who lived down the street at 922.  When Sandy went to France to fight, they corresponded.

1920

George William

George William “Willie” Rakestraw and Mildred Gertrude Springer, circa 1920.

Mildred was still living with Mary Elizabeth on West 8th Street until she and Sandy were married on May 5th.10,11

1921

Mildred gave birth to her first child, Mildred Lorena Wiseheart, on May 9th.12

1923

Mildred gave birth to her second child, Sanford William “Bud” Wiseheart, on May 30th.12

1925

Mildred gave birth to her third child.12

1928

Mildred gave birth to her fourth child.12

1930

Sandy, Mildred and family were living on County Line Road in Clark County, Indiana.12  Mildred gave birth to her fifth child, James Roscoe “Jimmy” Wiseheart, on November 13th.13

1932

Jimmy died of pneumonia on December 12th.13

1934

Mildred gave birth to her sixth child, Mary Katherine Wiseheart, on October 3rd.14

1936

Mary Katherine drowned in the neighbor’s fish pond on July 9th.14

1940

Sandy, Mildred and family were again living at 922 West 8th Street in New Albany, Indiana.15

1944

Mildred had no idea where her father was, or if he was even still living.16

1951

Mildred died on November 3rd of cancer of the gallbladder.1

I’d like to end with what my grandfather, Mildred’s son, said about her:

She had a, I don’t know what you call it, maybe call it a vivid imagination, but she, sometimes at night, she’d take a flashlight and be lookin’ around and she’d say, ‘There’s somebody out there,’ and once a while she’d say, ‘I smell a real strong gag, they’re smoking something.’ And my dad, he’d blow up. I was the only one left at home, the others had all gotten married young and so she was always, like she’d save the last bananer or something and say, ‘Buddy, I saved that for you, that’s the last one.’ And two or three different times she’d say, ‘Buddy, do you think your daddy’s plottin’ against me to have me put away,’ or something. I said, ‘Oh, Mom, he wouldn’t do nothing like that,’ and then I get out walking with him on a job and he’d say, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna do, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to put your mother away.’ I’d say, ‘Oh, Pap, she ain’t that bad,’ and it was like that for three or four years. Course he blamed it on her father, Frank Springer. I think his problem started when his wife Eleanora died. She was twenty-eight. My mother was two years old when her mother died, so Frank Springer became a wanderer. He’d just wander around and people said there was something wrong with him mentally. And she always had that kind of reflection since people find an excuse to say he was mentally unbalanced and they sort of thought that my mom inherited that. It wasn’t really that way.  My mother was an intelligent person and she could draw and was pretty good in artwork and stuff, she just didn’t go anywhere and associate with people.


Sources

1. Floyd County Health Department. Floyd County, Indiana Death Records. Vol. H-12. p. 10. Microfilm.  Accessed 4 Aug 2014, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.

2. Springer, Frank. Letter to Ella Springer. 4 Dec. 1892. MS. New Albany, Indiana.

3. Paoli News 22 Nov. 1893: 3. NewspaperArchive.com. Web. 27 Dec. 2014.

4.  New Albany Daily Ledger 26 May 1894, Saturday Evening ed.: 5. Print.column 3.

5.  “Deaths (Obituary).” New Albany Evening Tribune 14 June 1894, Thursday ed.: 4. Print. column 2.

6.  1900 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 9B.

7.  1910 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 14A.

8.  Floyd County Health Department. Floyd County, Indiana Death Records. Vol. CH-22. p. 17. Microfilm.  Accessed 4 Aug 2014, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.

9.  Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany for 1919-20. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1919. 297. Print.

10.  1920 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 24 Sep. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 11A.

11.  Floyd County Clerk. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages. Vol. 20. p. 375. Microfilm.  Accessed 12 Aug 2014, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.

12.  1930 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 07 Mar. 2011. Silver Creek, Clark, Indiana. p. 14B.

13.  Clark County Health Department.  Clark County, Indiana Death Records. Roll 20, Book 2, p.11.  Microfilm. Jeffersonville Township Public Library.

14.  Floyd County Health Department. Floyd County, Indiana Death Records. Vol. CH-37. p. 97. Microfilm.  Accessed 25 Jan 2015, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.

15.  1940 United States Federal Census (database-online). Ancestry.com, 2009. Web. 28 Jul. 2014. New Albany, Floyd, Indiana. p. 10B.

16.  Wiseheart, Mildred, Letter, 1944.  MS.  New Albany, Indiana.

Frank Springer: The Search Continues

I’ve posted a few times before about my great great grandfather, Frank Springer.  He disappeared from public records in 1893 and didn’t resurface until 1920.  Family letters (which I will post as soon as I have them scanned and in chronological order) place him in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Indiana during these years.

The mystery still remains as to what happened to him after 1920.  He does not appear on the 1930 or 1940 Census.  My grandpa remembered having met him in about 1931, so I’m operating under the assumption that he died after 1931.  A recently found letter reveals that Mildred Wiseheart, his daughter, did not know where he was or whether he was dead or alive in 1944.

Letter, Mildred Springer to Arthur Dillard, 25 Jun 1944, p.1

Letter, Mildred Springer to Arthur Dillard, 25 Jun 1944, p.1

Now my questions are:  When did he die?  Where did he die?  What happened to him between 1920 and the time of his death?  These are questions to which I may never have an answer, but that won’t deter me from searching.

Sanford Wiseheart: The Strong, Silent Type (52 Ancestors #05)

Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw with her great grandson, Sanford "Bud" Wiseheart, circa 1924.

Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Rakestraw with her great grandson, Sanford “Bud” Wiseheart, circa 1924.

Sanford William “Bud” Wiseheart was born on May 30, 1923 in New Albany, Indiana to Sanford Wesley and Mildred Gertrude (Springer) Wiseheart.1  Bud’s great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Rakestraw, lived with the family until her death in 1935.2,3  She was the widow of a Civil War soldier and passed down many family stories to Bud and his siblings.  In 1941, Bud’s father bought a farm just outside New Albany.  They raised crops and chickens.  Plucking the chickens was one of Bud’s jobs.  He never would eat any poultry after that.

Sanford "Bud" Wiseheart on the farm.

Sanford “Bud” Wiseheart on the farm.

Bud married Dolores Louise Schroeder on August 2, 1958 at Atkins Chapel United Methodist Church in Floyd Knobs, Indiana.4,5,6  (For their engagement story, see Dolores Schroeder).  They had four sons.6  Bud was a carpenter.  He worked for New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation and he also did some freelance work.  He was also very active in the church.  He was an usher, bell ringer, Sunday school teacher, and maintenance man for Atkins Chapel.  He also built the church’s Harvest Homecoming booth and assisted with Vacation Bible School.  Bud died at home on October 30, 2014.7

Sanford William "Bud" Wiseheart

Sanford William “Bud” Wiseheart

My grandpa was a hard working man who didn’t seem to have much to say, but when he did say something, it was more than worth it to pay attention.  He was an excellent story teller and knew a lot about a lot of things.  Every time he told me a story, it was full of heart.  Bud was no stranger to hard times, but he weathered them all.  The following is a story, in his own words, that includes two such times:

World War II.  I must’ve been nineteen when it started.  After a while, they started draftin’ and they had a bunch of us went over to Louisville and we were sent letters that we were to be inducted into the Armed Forces.  Thirty three of us went over in that bus from New Albany to Louisville and eleven of us came back rejected.

They examined me and I had a bad ear.  And the psychologist held me up and asked me all kinds of questions.  He asked me what I got out of life.  I told him, ‘I like to help other people, my mother and my father.’  And he kept callin’ me ‘Old Man.’  Nineteen years old and he’s callin’ me ‘Old Man.’  He said, ‘Tell me, Old Man, was there ever somebody in your life you loved very deeply?’  And I said, ‘Well, I can’t think of anything right off.’  Of course, what it was, my little sister, Mary Katherine, I used to sometimes change her diapers.  I was kind of an interpreter.  Sometimes she’d say something to her mother and Ma would ask me what she said.  And so, when she was two years old, she walked right past where I was cleanin’ the stables out and into the neighbors’ yard and fell in the fish pond and drowned.  That went pretty hard with me.  I felt responsible, like I should’ve seen her.  I should’ve saved her.  I even prayed to God to bring her back and take me in her place…

But gettin’ back to it.  I took a heck of a lot of flack.  One time I was goin’ to the grocery with Pap and someone remarked, ‘There’s a young man who ought to be in the military.’  Well, now you can’t tell by lookin’ at somebody that they ought to be in the military.  I just never did have any desire to shoot and kill anybody, but I never made any effort to avoid the draft.

They sent a notice out, ‘All people that are unfit for military service are expected to get into the defense work to help the cause.’  And if we didn’t go somewhere voluntarily, they were goin’ to draft us into defense work.  So I went on up to Charlestown and got in on the construction over there.

My mother got a letter one day from Clara Edwards.  ‘My Dear Mrs. Wiseheart, Thank you for your compliments on Albert and Vernon.’  They had both been inducted into the Army, you see.  ‘Thank you for your compliments on their nerves.  Well, let me tell you something.  All you’ll ever see out of the Wiseheart boys is dirty bedsheets, the dirty yellowbacks.’  And then she signed it off.  ‘Course Frank was too young and I was 4F, I couldn’t help it.  Not that I wanted to go, but they said I was unfit for military service.  So anyway, all them years of this hostile attitude.

Sanford "Bud" Wiseheart hanging the flags for the 4th of July.

Sanford “Bud” Wiseheart hanging the flags.  July 4, 2009.  Photo taken by Sarah Wiseheart of Wiseheart Photo.


Sources

1.  Floyd County, Indiana Births, CH-14, p.113, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room

2.  1930 U.S. Federal Census, Silver Creek, Clark County, Indiana, p.14B, Ancestry

3.  1940 U.S. Federal Census, New Albany, Floyd, Indiana, p.10B, FamilySearch

4.  Floyd County, Indiana Marriages, Vol. 55, p.244, Floyd County Clerk’s Office

5.  New Albany Tribune, Sun 24 Aug 1958, p.6, c.1, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room

6.  New Albany Ledger & Tribune, Sun 2 Aug 1998, p.B2, c.3, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room

7.  New Albany Tribune, Sat 1 Nov 2014, p.A4, c.3, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room

More Clues for Frank Springer

As my uncle was going through things at the house yesterday, he came across a ledger belonging to Mildred Springer.  It mostly contains dates and amounts received.  I’m not sure what they are exactly, but I think they could be child support payments from her father, Frank Springer.

Frank left his home in Paoli, Indiana in 1893 for the World’s Fair in Chicago and I have lost track of him from then until 1920 when he appears in Paoli again.  On one page of this ledger, Mildred wrote about her father’s land holdings.

A page from Mildred Springer's ledger, 1908-1917.

A page from Mildred Springer’s ledger, 1908-1917.

In 1910, Mildred writes that Frank has a lot in Oklahoma and two lots in French Lick.  A newspaper article regarding land in Oklahoma was tucked between this page and the next.

Newspaper article from Mildred Springer's ledger, 1908-1917.

Newspaper article from Mildred Springer’s ledger, 1908-1917.

On the ledger page from the previous image, Mildred also writes that by 1912, Frank had sold his lot out west and purchased a third lot in French Lick.  There is also one page of the ledger that lists two payments coming from Madison, Illinois in 1913.

My theory is that he left Chicago after the World’s Fair and travelled West.  He settled in Oklahoma circa 1904 for a time, but was on the move again before the 1910 Census. I’ve searched for Frank Springer in the 1900 and 1910 Census for Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas with no luck.  With some fairly strong evidence to suggest he was in at least two of those states, a transient lifestyle seems a logical explanation as to why I can’t find him.

Here’s my theory with a visual…

Frank Springer's journey

1.  Living in Paoli, Indiana (1892).

2.  Goes to World’s Fair, Chicago, Illinois (1893).

3.  Possible trip to Iowa.  (Part of family legend is that he spent some time in Iowa).

4.  Back to Paoli to check in with family.

5.  Purchases land in French Lick, Indiana (circa 1900).

6.  Claims land near Woodward, Oklahoma (1904).

7.  Possible trip to California.  (Part of family legend is that he spent some time in California).

8.  Sells land in Oklahoma (circa 1912).

9.  Buys another lot in French Lick (circa 1912).

10.  Goes to Madison, Illinois (1913).

11.  It is possible that the California trip fit in here instead of after Oklahoma.

12.  Back in Paoli (1920).

This is the guide I’ll be working with to try to locate Deed and City Directory records for Frank.  It’s confusing, and kind of a long shot, but it’s definitely more than what I had to go on before.  As my co-worker said just a few days ago, most genealogists don’t do it because it’s easy, they do it for the thrill of following the clues and solving the mystery.