Showing posts from January, 2023

Starting a New Season and Perhaps a New Chapter

 Not to long ago, we found ourselves down at the farm garden doing some work on a relatively warmish day for this time of year. (One of the few benefits of global warming.) The time was used to spread composted manure that has been aging for a number of years in a pile over both of our plots and to seed one of the plots down with red clover. We did that to force ourselves to cut back our labors to more enjoyable levels in the summer and to add more biomass to the other plot as it rests next summer.  Eventually we would like to create a garden behind our house and begin to transition away from the farm. While we enjoy the space to grow all kinds of things which we can do on the farm, we also don't enjoy the drive that needs to be made every weekend followed by the labor necessary to catch up after spending 7 days away from the garden in whatever weather we happen to have that day, be it cold and rainy or hot and dry. It would be much more enjoyable to maybe work an hour in the morni

Waking Me Up

Two weeks or so after I wrote the last Rice ancestry post, I woke up in the middle of the night and as I'm prone to do in my older age, my mind began to wander and suddenly remembered that I had an artifact of the Rice family that I had pondered on long ago. I wasn't quite sure what it was but I was fairly certain that it had belonged to a J. J. Rice which seemed very important considering I just realized my 4th great grandfather was Johannes Justus Rice and not Daniel Rice as previous suspected. I laid there for awhile wondering if I should go back to sleep and possibly forget about this memory by morning or to just get up at an ungodly hour and look into it further. After rolling around for a half hour, I got up and did the latter. I quickly found the item I had remembered in the back corner of our china hutch. It is a shaving mug with the stenciled name John J. Rice on the bottom. Based upon my last Rice post, there are several John J. Rice named people in my tree so it wasn

With a Name Like Justus, It Should Be Easy

 I debated on whether to do another post on the Rice family, especially this one which doesn't have anything to do with my Rice family (yet), but in the end, I decided to. It is a good lesson on how easy it is to make assumptions based upon location and also how easy it is to just click those "green leaves" and create a terribly tangled up family tree on Ancestry. So please indulge me with one last post... I think. With a name like Johannes Justus Rice, I thought my search for answers would be easy. Give me that name over John Smith (of which I have two so named in my family tree) any day. But it has turned out to be anything but easy. Other than the marriage record, my Justus Rice mainly stuck to using the name Justus in the slim paper trail I have managed to trace. So I began to broaden my search radius under that name, initials, and commonalities and was quickly rewarded. I found all kinds of information about a John Justus Rice in Freeport, Illinois. A quick google se

The Battle Over Iowa's Schools

I admit I might be a bit biased in this situation as I sit on the school board of my child's private school. But I prefer to look at it as I can see it in a way that most other Iowan's can't. What is at issue is some recently passed legislation that is now on our governor's desk to sign, establishing bank accounts for every child in Iowa with the amount of money that is typically doled out for every child in Iowa by our government and paid for with our taxes. It amounts to just less than $7600 per student. As it gets phased in over the next three years, it will essentially allow parents to decide where that money goes, i.e. if your child goes to the local public school, they will get that money and if your child goes to a private school, they will get that money. Unused money will always go to the local public school and for every child already in private school, the public school will still get $1200 given to them. On the face of it, it sounds like a pretty fair things

Johannes Justus Rice

When I last wrote about this story, I was seeking the father of my 3rd great grandfather Martin Luther Rice. I could find a Martin L. Rice age 7, listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census living in Indiana with his parents Justus and Barbara Rice along with 4 other siblings, notably a Justus (Jr.) age 8 and Peter N. Rice age 5.  In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Justus (Sr.) and Barbara Rice were living in Stephenson County, Illinois with four more children, none of which were the five listed in the 1850 census. Three of them are under the age of 10 so were born within the last decade and one, Washington Rice, age 14 could have been omitted from the 1850 Census or belonged to a close relative. I have yet to find an 1860 U.S. Federal Census record for Martin L. Rice. Then in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, I have found a record for Martin who is now living in Clinton, Iowa with two of his brothers Justus and Peter N. Rice. So to sum up all those dates and figures, I have one record possibly t

You Opened Up a Rabbit Hole

  I wish this post would be conclusive but it isn't. A couple people mentioned that the above photo from a recent post looked like that of a boy. I get the feeling as well. But when I save a digital file, I always put any writing on the photo in the filename and so I wrote Elizabeth (Lizzie) Cogswell in the file name. So after reading the comments, I went and found the picture so I could scan the backside. I often don't publish these so I have proof of having an original photo in case others claim otherwise but I will make an exception in this case. Sure enough, "Lizzie" was written on the back in a script that I am familiar with. The above picture was found in a box of family photos that I inherited from my great grandfather, which would be the son of Elizabeth. It only contains photos from his side of the family and so I'm reasonably certain that the picture is down that particular branch. As a bonus, while looking for that photo, I found the below picture among

Keepsake Box

  Among my mother's things was an old set of boxes with a matching hand mirror, the kind you might find on a bedroom dresser 100+ years ago. For various reasons, I were pretty certain they can from my mom's paternal grandmother whom is my great grandmother Grace. They were all empty except one which contained the above items. The arrowheads are pretty self explanatory and though I have never found one myself, I am getting quite a collection of them. The Cornell college pin though I wasn't too sure about. Grace had been a homemaker all her life, at least as far as I could remember. Her husband Victor, whom I have written about many times in the past, was a salt salesman for much of his life for the Carey Salt Company. (He is also a World War I veteran who took a camera and came back with 300+ pictures of his time in Europe.) I started looking through my computer files and after a bit, found one mentioning that Victor had attended Cornell College. The article and many others

Great Grandfather's Things

  I hope you indulge me in posting about these old things that I am uncovering. It brings me great pleasure to sit at leisure and to inspect and hold something belonging to an ancestor and ponder on it's meaning to them and the greater world in general. Above is a keepsake box belonging to my great grandfather full of things one might expect from that era. In front of it is a pocket watch on a stand belonging to him that still works. I gave it a slight twist and it is not ticking as I type this post.  The pocket watch is still somewhat of a mystery to me. According to the name and serial number, it is a Waltham Broadway model 1877 pocket watch made between January and March of 1873. It has seven jewels which after googling, means seven synthetic ruby bearings in the movement to reduce friction which is crème de la crème at the time. Modern watches now come with upwards of 21 jewels. I can find lots of pictures of this model online but few are gold, few are working and none that I c

Ironing Out the Wrinkle

In a previous post, I mentioned that a record had shown the youngest child of Martin and Amanda Rice to have a different mother than Amanda. I theorized that there could have been a divorce, separation or simply a clerical error in transcribing the information. I went back and looked through Martin's Civil War pension record, a heft 100+ pages, and found several pages devoted to the subject only because they didn't have a birth certificate for their youngest child, Roy Rice. I have clipped portions of three notarized affidavits testifying that there wasn't a divorce, separation and that Roy was their child. Transcriptions follow each clipping. That Amanda V. Rice did live with her husband Martin Rice to the date of his death, May 24th, 1899, and never was divorced from him and that she, Amanda V. Rice, has not remarried since her husband's death. That Ida May Rice born Nov 22nd, 1885 and Roy Edward Rice born May 10th, 1892 are both living and are dependent upon their mo

Martin Luther and Amanda Virginia Smith Rice In Death

Note: I have typed a transcription out for both articles at the bottom of the post so you don't have to try and read the embedded images. As I mentioned previously, I didn't know much about my 3rd great grandparents because they lived in an area of the state with few digitized newspapers so any information gleaned would mean a 5 hour trip there, hours/days/weeks scanning newspapers randomly in hopes of finding something and then driving another 5 hours back home. In other words, not very feasible. But thanks to modern technology, not only are these old newspapers being digitized, but they are searchable thanks to software that transcribes the microfiche images to ones and zeros. Sometime in the years since I last looked at this family, not one but four newspapers in their home town were digitized and put online for those like me to search freely. Within minutes of discovering this news, I was discovering articles on my 3rd great grandparents and getting a better feel to who the

Martin Luther Rice: Take Two

  After writing my last post, I started trying to track down the two possible brothers living with Martin in the 1870 Census. They shared his surname, were close in age to Martin and all three were listed as having been born in Ohio. I quickly located them in the 1850 census living in Indiana which initial inspection was one state off but after looking at the actual document I saw why. In the house of Justus and Babarba Rice, both from Germany, I found five children living with them Henry (thus far unknown to me), Justus and Martin L. all born in Ohio going back to 1840 and Peter N. and Elizabeth (also new to me) both born in the last five years in Indiana. What are the chances of three boys named Justice, Peter N. and Martin L. spelled exactly that way initials and all to be living together in two difference census records and being from the same locations? I'm guessing pretty slim. Thus I'm more confident that I have found Martin's true father and mother. Justus Rice Sr.,

Martin Luther Rice

  Martin Luther Rice Martin Luther Rice, my 3rd great grandfather, was possibly born around Springfield, Ohio around 1845.  Up until today as I write this, I had always thought he was born in Noble County, Indiana to Daniel and Nancy Colley Rice. But even I make mistakes and I have come to realize that I made a mistake when I added him 20 years ago and now a half dozen online trees that copied my information without verifying my work now have it wrong too.  It was an easy mistake to make. Ancestry showed me a single census record with his name Martin Rice at the right age living in Indiana with parents Daniel and Nancy and I soon found others. What I failed to pay attention to, is that all those other records for the same father and son actually said the name Marlin Rice.  When researching genealogy, one typically works backwards. I had lots of records of Martin Rice in Iowa and when I found that one record of him in Indiana that I falsely assumed was him, I just continued to work back

War Money

 Among my grandfather's patches and other war related items was a heaping handful of coins mostly from France and Italy during World War II and the above three bills, fronts on the left and backs on the right.  The 100 cento lire bill didn't intrigue me much until I turned it over and looked at the back to see the words "Allied Military Currency". That caused me to do a little digging. Evidently, after we landed on the coast of Sicily on the lead up to Operation Avalanche my grandfather was in, this bill was put into circulation and was equal to one American dollar. It was interchangeable with normal Italian currency. A total of 917.7 million of the Am-lire as it was called, weighing 758 tons were printed during the war effort. The first flight 9 days after the invasion of Sicily carried 7 tons of that total. As one might expect, all this printed money led to massive inflation issues in Italy during the war years. The back is pretty interesting as it lists freedom of

New Year's Eve

My wife trades off with others for days off around the two end of the year holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year was her year to work the days between Christmas and New Year so I hadn't been expecting to go anywhere. But we did. Let me explain. I readily admit I'm a hard person to buy gifts for. In fact, I mostly request and get gift certificates to satisfy my book buying needs to keep me in books throughout the year. But for anything else, if it is something I already wanted, I probably would have obtained it during the rest of the year. My wife, however, not one to just lay down, wanted to give me a gift and so settled on an experience. She bought me a package experience to visit one of my favorite musical groups of all time, The Nadas. Actually, she didn't buy me anything but printed out the form and said if I was interested, I could buy a package and she would go with me. I was and we did because it fell on a Saturday night when she was off work as normal. I t

Operation Avalanche

South of Salerno, Italy Winston Churchill wanted to invade Europe starting in Italy but George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, wanted no part in it. But time played it's part and it became apparent to both that the Normandy invasion wouldn't take place until 1944. So the U.S. agreed to give the Europe invasion a trial one in Italy, hoping it would tie down the German forces and keep them away from the beaches of Normandy. There was no U.S. commitment for further engagement or follow up operations. Operation Avalanche began on 9 September 1943 as part of an Allied invasion of Italy. Besides the 5th Army, which contained my grandfather, there were also soldiers from the British X Corps, the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division and a few other specialized battalions. The army was spread across 35 miles of beachfront and with a major river between the British and U.S. forces.  There was much debate on where to wade ashore in order to surprise the Germans and in the end it was all