Wooden Bird Cages

Jose, our Blue and Gold Macaw. One of the culprits who chewed the cages up!

Jose, our Blue and Gold Macaw. One of the culprits who chewed the cages up!

We were stationed in Panama Canal Zone (1960’s) and my Dad was the XO at the Marine Barracks. (He later became CO). He decided to make these beautiful parrot cages, to house the beautiful parrots who decided to join our family. We let them fly during the day, but at night, my Dad wanted to corral them so they wouldn’t get into any “trouble” with the monkeys or the neighbors.
Dad went to the woodshop that was part of Special Services, and passed his certification test to use the equipment. Special Services was the group in charge of building the morale of the troops and dependents on military bases.
Dad then decided to use dowel rods to make the bars on their cages. He ordered maple wood for the frame and maple dowel rods from Maine (mail order), and we had to wait about 6 weeks to get the wood.
The wood finally arrived, and my Dad ‘went to town’ building beautiful cages. Everyone came by our quarters to see the cages. We had an impromptu cage party, which pleased my Mom because she loved to entertain. Dad promised a few other people he would make them cages, too.
We went to bed for the night. The next morning when we woke up, our beautiful maple cages were saw dust and the birds were flying all over the house, eating the furniture, “pooping”, screeching, and just having a grand time!!! We “gringos” didn’t understand parrots love to chew wood~~ especially fine maple wood from Maine!
Were we the ‘talk of the town’ when the local people found out what happened. The “locals” called my Dad “Major Parrot” as a joke, which my Dad took quite well.
That was the last time my Dad used the wood shop. !!!!

(My Dad actually built one more, HUGE cage using chicken coop wire which corraled all the assortment of birds we aquired while living overseas. Jose graduated to a perch inside the house…which brings to mind more stories of the mischief he got into. Another day~~another blog post, LOL).

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Our Family Bible

Here is a fun story I have heard through the years from my Grandparents Hazel Marie Ackerman Stockmaster and Frederick Charles Stockmaster. My mother also used to tell this story if my Grandparents were not around. This is very thick, beautifully illustrated, with a Biblical dictionary, along with the science from the early days of Christianity all included, along with an index Bible

4 generations (including myself) have told this story:

  • Martha Louise Stockmaster Burritt
  •  Fredrick Charles Stockmaster
  •  Grace Louise Carson Stockmaster
  • Orrenda Willes Carson

This story is about the family Bible from the James R Carson family in Hamilton County, Indiana:

James R and Orrenda Willes Carson were my 2nd Great Grandparents who lived in Hamilton County, Indiana.

One day, as the story goes, a peddler came to the door selling family Bibles. Orrenda wanted one, and had James’ name engraved on the front leather cover in gold lettering. She then wrote all the weddings, marriages, deaths, and grandchildren in the family tree pages of the Bible.

From the story, J.R. was annoyed/angry that she spent so much money. As the story goes, either he wasn’t in town at the time, or not there at the house when she bought it. I vaguely remember the story, but I remember she bought it off a door-to-door salesman a peddler.Carson Family Bible

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My Oral Family History

I am collecting my family stories that recounted to me. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, the white Haviland China comes out, along with the silver service, and we would set the table. As the family sat down for the holiday meal, my mother would tell the story of how the china came to our family. To this day, I still use this china and I am the one to tell the history of the china before we eat. When I am gone, my daughter will take over the china and the story.

Here is the story:

John Carson from Butler County, Ohio was my third Great Grandfather. The Carson family was living in Butler County, Ohio in the early 1800’s.They decided to migrate to Fayette County, Indiana and they ended up in Hamilton County, Indiana where they stayed. When the family packed their things up and loaded their covered wagon, and the most important “thing” to pack was the china.

They took the quilts they made and wrapped the china up, and packed it in barrels that they built. They made it to Fayette County, Indiana first, and then moved up to Hamilton County. Through all the moves, not one piece of china broke.

My father was a career Marine, and our family moved all over the U.S., and to Central America. My Mom bought three or four metal garbage cans. She packed her heirloom china in these barrels with the original quilts (and regular newspaper). Wherever what base we lived on, we would take our china along.  Not one piece of china broke.

Must have been the “barrels” (trash cans), good luck, or the spirits were watching over that china!! I tend to think it was the spirits!

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Brief Words About The Amish

I wrote this awhile back to explain the Amish to a lady who I was doing some research for.  I am posting this for Sarah to give her some background of the Amish/Mennonites.

The Amish are direct descendants of the Anabaptists of the 16th century Europe and were among the early Germanic settler’s in Pennsylvania.[1]

There was a wide-spread counter-culture of religious reform. This is where the Anabaptist movement started.

The three groups are:

  • The Mennonites of Dutch and Prussian origin
  • The Hutterian Brethren of Austria
  • The Swiss Brethren

 Jacob Ammann founded the Swiss Brethren and the Amish are a branch of the Swiss Brethren.[2] The Swiss Brethren were a small group of dedicated people in Zurich, Switzerland. The early leaders were Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, and George Blaurock. The three ran into trouble for preaching without authorization by their government.

Grebel, Manz, and Blaurock thought the name “Christian” applied to the teachings of Jesus. In their view, the definition of Ulrich Zwingli,Menno SimonsChristian was to avoid confusion by everyone else who belong to the state church, went through the baptisms, and went to Mass just to fit in. In other words, The Swiss Brethren were more conservative and wanted a “pure” religion with faithful followers.

 They brought their concerns to the head of the Swiss state (Reformed) church. Ulrich Zwingli, head of the Swiss Church rejected their reforms and ideas. 

 The three men did not care. They baptized each other, and other adults who believed as they, and started the Amish Church. They then left Europe to remove themselves from persecution by different state churches that opposed them. The three men died, two from execution by the Swiss and one from getting the plague while exiled by the Swiss.

Menno Simons joined the Anabaptists in 1536. Menno was highly educated and could write well. He wrote The Handbook (Enchiridion) and Complete Writings of Menno Simons. The Amish treasure the German and English additions of both books.

 This got them into trouble because it undermined the Catholic, Lutheran, and Protestant idea of religion. The three religions mixed politics and different practices of religion the Amish did not believe in.

[1] Amish Society Fourth addition, by John Hostetler Chapter 2 page 25

[2] Amish Society Fourth addition, by John Hostetler Chapter 2 page 27Buggys have to have  license plates too!

The above picture is a buggy plate

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Letters From Home~~Cicero, Hamilton County, Indiana

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Cast of Characters: Grace~~ My Great Grandmother Grace Louise Carson Stockmaster Orrenda~~My 2nd Great Grandmother Orrenda M. Willes Carson Della~~My 2nd Great Aunt Mary Dell Carson Criswell Allen Ral~ My 2nd Great Uncle (Great Grand Uncle) James Ralston Carson Jr., DVM … Continue reading

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Viola Carson Armstrong~~My Ancestor

Viola Carson is the great grand-aunt of Elizabeth Louise Burritt England Thurston.

Viola was born June 6, 1854 in Indiana, possibly Bartholomew, or Hamilton County. She married Frank P. Armstrong on March 3, 1873, who was born in 1851 in Indiana.   Viola’s parents were James R. and Martha Jane (Spurgin) Carson. Friends and family nick name for Martha Jane was “Jane”. Jane died on July 12, 1855 in Livingston County, Illinois. James and his three daughters came back to Hamilton County, Indiana to live on his father’s (John Carson) farm. James inherited the farm after his father passed away. In 1860, James married Orrenda Willes and lived on the farm until his death on Sept 18, 1889.

James and Martha Jane’s daughters were:

  • Mellissa (who died from a falling tree on the farm in Hamilton County, Indiana)
  • Viola
  • Emily Virginia

Viola and Frank owned a farm in Hamilton County, Indiana and raised their family. Viola’s step grandmother, Orrenda was a retired schoolteacher who was born on an island in Lake Ontario. Orrenda parents, Wilder and Orinda (Kimball) Willes moved the family to Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York. There Orrenda grew up and attended school. She graduated from Newberry Academy, in Vermont. With her teachers’ credential, she went west to Indiana to teach the pioneer children around 1860. This is where Orrenda met James.

James R. and Orrenda (Willes) children were:

  • Mary Dell
  • Edward Willes
  • Ben Wade
  • James Ralston
  • Jessie Mabel
  • Samuel Wilder
  • Grace Louise
  • Frederick Clark

Orrenda wrote many letters to all her family, and I am in possession of a few letters that survived the years.   In a letter between her daughter Grace Louise (Carson) Stockmaster, Orrenda mentioned that “Frank had “Vi”(Viola) living in the barn until the house was finished.”

Some more on Viola’s family:

  Frank and Vi’s children were:

  •   Elizabeth A (Bessie) Armstrong~~~Aug 22, 1874
  • Pearl Armstrong~~~Feb 7, 1877
  • Clara Armstrong~~Sept. 23, 1880  

Notes on Frank Armstrong:

  • Father was born in Ohio and mother born in Kentucky 1880 census
  • The Armstrong (Frank and Viola) family were living in Liberty, Wabash County, IN (1880 census)

Viola died in July 30, 1917 in Marion County, Indiana~~

Source Location: County Board of Health, Indianapolis Source notes: The source of this record is the book H-14 on page 269 within the series produced by the Indiana WPA Project.

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More on Breaking Down Brickwalls

Another prominent researcher, Nancy J Emmert suggests in breaking a brick wall is to look at patterns of migrations that ancestors may have taken, research the other family members to find clues on the ancestor who is the brick wall, and study the census while using the “ten up and ten down” rule. An example of the “ten up and ten down” rule is to look at the ten families above your ancestor in the census and then check the information for the ten families below the ancestor.  Many times a researcher may find the original ancestor’s family members living down the road or with neighbors (Emmert).

Emmert, Nancy J. “Beginning Genealogy Handout.”  Rechtman.com. 1999 Yigal Rechtman.   2 Feb. 2012 < http://www.rechtman.com/genbasics.htm>.

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