Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dorothy Nye Adamson 1913-2014 (52 Ancestors #16)

This week's challenge was to write about an ancestor who lived to be 100 years old or older.  I had already written about my great-grandmother, Ingrid Olauson, so decided that I would write about my aunt.

My Aunt Dorothy died last year, just one month away from turning 101 years old!

Dorothy Nye Adamson was born on the 1st of July in 1913 in Olney, Illinois. 
She was the second child of Arthur Logan and Lotta Nye Gray Adamson.  Her brother, Gray, was almost two years older than Dorothy.  Sometime between 1913 and 1915 the family moved to East St. Louis, Illinois and when Dorothy was two years old, another brother, Bill, was born.

By 1920, the family had moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, which is where Dorothy’s mother, Nye, had been born and raised.  Her father and step-mother lived there.  In November of 1923, Dorothy’s father was transferred to Peoria, Illinois.  In Peoria Dorothy attended Lee Grade School and graduated from there in 1926. She then went to Manual Training High School (also in Peoria) where she was active in the Blue Triangle Club, French Club, and she served on the Student Council.  She was on the Honor Roll most of the time.  After graduating from high school in 1930, Dorothy attended Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Peoria, Illinois.  She joined the Sigma Chi Gamma sorority.

In 1927, Dorothy’s youngest brother, Dick (my father), was born!  She often told the story of how she would drop him off at kindergarten on her way to college!

Upon graduating from Bradley, Dorothy worked as the assistant registrar for Bradley until 1943.  In 1943, she went to work as the Assistant Peoria County Superintendent of Schools.

Dorothy remained living at home with her parents.  Her mother died in 1950 and Dorothy continued to live with her father. I was born right before then and we lived just a few houses away from my Grandpa and Aunt Dorothy.  I spent lots of time with them while I was growing up.  Aunt Dorothy was an avid reader and worked with me all the time, until I was able to read at about age five.  I remember several years of her working with me to participate in the local Spelling Bee and her amazement when she discovered me reading some of her Chaucer books when I was quite young. I loved her library of books! 

Dorothy received a Master’s degree from Bradley in 1951.

Dorothy was quite active in the community, belonging to numerous groups around town.  She also taught Sunday school at her church. 

In 1959, Dorothy’s brother Gray was elected as Peoria County Superintendent of Schools, so Dorothy was then working for him.

In 1962 Dorothy’s father died, and in 1963 Dorothy retired and she married for the first time, at age forty-nine.  She married Dr. Jim Sours, their family doctor. They were married eleven years until 1974 when Jim died.  They took several overseas trips and Dorothy had wonderful memories of their years together.  Dorothy was sixty-one years old when Jim died.

Dorothy remained in her home for a few years, then moved to a small apartment.  In 1990, she moved to a retirement home.  She was seventy-seven years old then.  She had her car and was still quite active, both at the home and in the community and her church.

In 1997, Dorothy’s older brother, Gray, died; then in 2000, her brother, Bill, died.  Both of these brothers had lived out of town for years, but Dorothy and her brother Dick had remained in Peoria, so she and Dick were quite close.

Dorothy celebrated her 100th birthday in 2013.  Family came from the East and West coasts to help her celebrate.  Other than being hard of hearing, Dorothy’s health had always remained excellent!  However, after her 100th birthday, Dorothy fell and broke her hip.  She recovered from that, although she wasn’t able to walk after that. 

Sadly, Dorothy’s youngest brother Dick died late in 2013 and she began to have a decline in health after that.  She had always said that she needed to be around to take care of her baby brother (who was eighty-six when he died).  Dorothy died on the 31st of May in 2014, one month short of one hundred and one years old!

My Aunt Dorothy was an amazing, strong woman.  She never had children, but was always involved in her nieces and nephews lives.  She was well-educated, with a responsible job that was not the typical “woman’s” career back then. She was a loving, caring woman who believed in living a good Christian life.  She certainly lived through many changes throughout her life!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

from Von Sagerborg to Segh to Seeber (52 Ancestors #15)

This week’s challenge is “How Do You Spell That?”, with suggestions of writing about what ancestor do you imagine was frequently asked that, or which ancestor did you have a hard time finding because of an unusual name.  That was a simple choice for me.  I spent about fifteen years trying to find out the real surname of my great-grandfather.  As it turned out, that was only one of many mysteries about him!
My great-grandfather was Charles Oscar Seeber.  Charles had always told his wife and children that his last name was Von Sagerborg and that he was born to Swedish parents in 1875 in Liverpool England.  He reported that his parents sent him to the United States when he was nine years old.  And he told his wife and children that he did not speak any Swedish.
I searched and searched for the Von Sagerborg surname, but never found anyone close to being him (or his family).  I even sent a search request to the magazine Heritage Quest and they did a search, but nothing was found.  I sent about $100 dollars for a search and copy of his birth records in England.  Nothing found. I had Swedish researchers searching for him and his family…with nothing ever found.
One day as I was reviewing all the information that I had from family, I realized that the one consistent thing that Charles always reported was the name of his mother…Matilda Hertel.  Once I shared that with a researcher in Sweden, she was able to quickly find the family.  Matilda Hertel was married to August Segh.
1890 census in Sweden:
Seg, August Ferdinand 1847 Fivelstad (Östergötlands län, Östergötland)
Hertel, Matilda              1843 Herrestad (Östergötlands län, Östergötland)
Gustaf Adolf Emil          1873 Sankt Per (Östergötlands län, Östergötland)
Karl Oscar Fromhold     1873 Sankt Per (Östergötlands län, Östergötland)
Johan August                1875 Sankt Per (Östergötlands län, Östergötland)

Charles Oscar Seeber was Karl Oscar Fromhold Segh, born in 1873 in Ostergotland, Sweden  (and was a twin, unknown to the family). From there, the researcher was able to provide me with a great deal of information about his family.  And in my own research, I found that Charles came to the United States in 1892 when he was twenty years old.  None of the rest of his family ever came here to live.
All of Charles’ children had died by the time I learned the truth about him.  His wife, Ingrid Olausson, lived to be 101 years old and never knew the true facts about him.
Why was his life such a mystery?  I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never learn that. One can only speculate!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Favorite Photo-4 generations of Seeber/Murphy (52 Ancestors #14)

This week's theme for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is "favorite photo", which I could do every week for years!  It was terribly hard to pick one, but the photo I chose is the first one that I thought of and kept coming back to, so I went with it!

This photo was taken in about 1950.  It is from left to right:Patricia Murphy Adamson (my mother), Mabel Seeber Murphy (my grandmother), me, and Ingrid Olauson Seeber (my great-grandmother).  It is a picture of four generations taken when I was about one year old.  It reminds me of how special my relationship with my grandmother is (even now after she has been gone for almost thirty years).  In this picture my great-grandmother is about seventy-seven years old, and represents how she is remembered...scowling (although I have many good memories of her). I believe that the picture was taken at my grandparent's house out in the country.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Different from Me-Samuel Aaron Hedrick 1862-1912 ( 52 Ancestors # 13)

The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “Different”.  I chose to write about an ancestor who did something different from what I believe I would have done.  I do keep in mind, however, that one never truly knows what they might have done given the same circumstances, but with that said, I don’t believe that I would have hit someone in the face with a bullwhip.

Samuel “Aaron Hedrick was born 25 November 1862 in Richland County, Illinois to Edwin and Mary Ann Adamson Hedrick.  He was the third of seven children.  Samuel was reared on a farm and went to the country schools.  He took a 2 year course at Champaign University, then returned home to work with his father in the stock business.  It was said that he visited “all the states from Texas to Illinois.”

When Sam was thirty years old he married Miss Nellie E. Stewart on the 8th of March in 1893 in Richland County, Illinois.  Nellie was ten years younger than Sam.

In 1900 and 1910, Sam and Nellie were listed as living in Decker Township in Richland County, Illinois.  Sam was listed as a farmer.  They did not have any children, but in 1910 Sam’s seven year old niece, Elizabeth Carson, was listed as living with them.  Elizabeth’s mother (Sam’s sister) was in the Anna State Hospital during the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses, so that may have been why she was living with Sam and Nellie in 1910.

Sam’s father, Edwin Hedrick, died on the 31st of March in 1912.

From his obituary it was stated that “Edwin Hedrick was for many years an extensive dealer in cattle and bore the name of "Cattle King" of Egypt, a reputation which, in a measure, has descended to his son, Sam, who is following practically the same avocation in a manner suited to the changed modern conditions.”

Sadly, just ten days later, Sam was dead.

On the 9th of April of 1912, Sam was out riding with his brother-in-law Charlie Henry.  The story from the family was that the two had never gotten along, and they got into an argument.  Sam hit Charlie in the face with a bullwhip, so Charlie shot and killed Sam.

From the Cook County Herald, Friday April 12, 1912, page 3:

Olney-Samuel Hedrick, a well-known farmer near here, met his brother-in-law, Charles Henry, a Stockman, on the public highway and was shot five times in the chest and back by Henry, who is in jail on a charge of attempted murder.  Members of the family declare there had been no previous trouble between the two men.”

From the Daily Journal-Gazette (Mattoon, Illinois, Friday April 12, 1912, page 5:

"Quarrel Over Estate Results in Murder
Olney, Ill., April 12-As a result of a disagreement over the settlement of the estate of Edwin Hedrick, who died last week, Sam Hedrick, executor of the estate, is dead and Charles Henry, His brother-in-law, who shot him, is in the Olney sanitarium in a state of mental collapse.  He is guarded by Deputy "Sheriff Wat Bellinger.  There were no witnesses to the altercation.

Henry, whose wife is a sister to the slain man, Tuesday met Hedrick in the road about a mile from his home.  Shots were heard by a family living near and Hedrick was seen to turn his horse and gallop wildly toward his home, followed by Henry.

On reaching his home Hedrick, though wounded leaped over the fence and ran toward the house.  Henry fired again and Hedrick fell.  His wife and Neighbors ran to his aid, and Henry rode on to Noble.  At Noble he acted deranged and fell from his horse as he reached the door of a drug store."

Sam Hedrick was forty-nine years old at the time of his death.  He had been married for nineteen years and had no children, so only his wife was left.  She remarried a few years later.  His mother was still living, however, so that poor woman was not only dealing with the very recent loss of her husband, but now her son was dead, and killed by her daughter’s husband.  It’s hard to imagine how the family dealt with all the turmoil at the time.

On the 5th of June in 1912 Charles Henry was found guilty and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison in Chester, Illinois.  He left his wife with six children when he left for prison.  He was still in prison in 1918 when his eighteen year old daughter Ruth drowned on her high school graduation night.

Samuel Aaron Hedrick’s Death Certificate lists cause of death as:
"Gunshot wounds inflicted by Mr. Charles Henry.”

Sam is buried in Village of Noble Cemetery, Noble Township, Richland County, Illinois.

This certainly makes one wonder…what about the estate were the two arguing about?  More research and questions to work on!