Archives for Interesting Tidbits

Are we related?

Are we related to Barack Obama?

The short answer is: sort of. President Barack Obama's maternal  GGGG grandfather Thomas L. Clark settled in Canton, Missouri around 1835. All of Thomas' 11 children were born there and they lived there at the same time our family (Surnames: Wagner, Eckert, Hetzler, Giegerich, Vesper). Obama's ggg grandfather Christopher Columbus Clark is buried in the same cemetery (Forest Grove) in Canton as our ancestors. By searching through the Canton newspaper, I found multiple connections that…
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Interesting Tidbits

Ernest gets arrested

On November 25, 1940, my grandfather Ernest Monroe Thornton was arrested after firing 3 shots at James Rucker during a fist fight at West Park Cafe at 1111 Federal St. (3 blocks from his apartment) North Side, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The “cafe” was a rough place with gambling, drinking and repeated code violations. Read more in the updated chapter PDF:
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Interesting Tidbits

Mr. Goad sent his photo to Bessie Sutphin

Around 1910, a young man dressed up in his best suit and bowler hat and had his photo taken. He sent it to Miss Bessie Sutphin in East Radford, ; The back had a message scrawled and signed by a D. Goad: “Please don't leave home when you see my photo haha. I have tried every day to get these and just got them yesterday. Will ans soon from your D. Goad” 110 years later…
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Interesting Tidbits

Earthquake in SW Virginia

Earthquakes are actually common in Virginia. Here's one that would affected my Thornton ancestors in Pulaski County: May 3, 1897. Centered at Radford, where a few chimneys were wrecked and plaster fell from walls, and chimneys were damaged at nearby Pulaski and Roanoke.  Felt in most of southwest Virginia and as far south as Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Estimated magnitude   This was a prelude to The Big One. ((Division of Geology and Mineral Resources -…
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Freyhofer

Santa Claus, Indiana connections and events

Santa Claus, Indiana was the site of the Hannings and Freyhofers, along with a church assignment for Rev. Weiler and his wife Addie Hanning, all on my mother's side. 1816-1830 Abraham Lincoln lived about four miles away as a boy on Pigeon Creek Farm. 1847 the Hannings settled there and helped named the town. 1852 The Freyhofers settled there at the invitation of the Hannings 1854 Theo Hanning cofounded the Santa Claus United Methodist Church…
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Interesting Tidbits

Grimm’s Landing, Pittsburgh

When I was born in 1964, my parents, Charles and Lois Thornton, were living on a 1-room houseboat docked just above "Grimm's Landing" (previously "Zubik's Landing") on the Allegheny River on the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Back then the river was lined with "squatters". The land that ran along the river was owned by the railroad,  but people docked their boats and houseboats and barges, setting up businesses and marinas. My parents actually had…
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Freyhofer

Quirky coincidences

Interesting but meaningless (or not???) coincidences discovered in the records on both sides of my family. Do you know of any interesting stories or coincidences? Please email me so I can add them here. The Vespers (on my mother's side) came to America on a ship called the Diana. The Wagners (also on my mother's side) came on a ship called the Eliza Thornton. Elizabeth Vesper married John Wagner, whose great great granddaughter's name was…
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Interesting Tidbits

[neat photo] Art Hirschhausen and his huntin’ buddies

I came across this photo on Ancestry attached to Arthur Hirschhausen 1893-1984. He was the son of Frederick Vesper's second wife's daughter by her first marriage, so Arthur is only a step cousin, but I just loved this photo of them proudly holding up their turkeys and rabbits from their hunt, and all their dogs and guns. The photo was probably taken in the first half of the 20th century in St. Louis, Missouri. Arthur…
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Interesting Tidbits

Christian Keller’s hospital bill

I am writing you now to let you know how I am getting along since I returned from my visit with you. On Sept. 22 I had to go to the hospital and Sept. 30 I had to undergo an operation. I was rather surprised for the doctor had not told me beforehand that I would have to have another operation. All I thought was that he would give me some treatments. But all went…
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Interesting Tidbits

Birth Certificates

In September 1942, the American women’s magazine Good Housekeeping published an article “Why you need a birth certificate.”  “America has suddenly become aware of birth certificates,” it declared. Between 1940 and 1943, as the United States shifted into a wartime industrial economy, many native-born Americans faced difficulty proving that they were, in fact, citizens by birth. In the early 1940s, about 43 million Americans—nearly one-third of working-age population—had no such document. Their births had never…
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