Eva Maria (Weber) Meinert’s Arduous Girlhood Immigration Journey, 1708-1709

Typical passenger ship, 1700s. More images>>>

Weary of wartime destruction, high rents and taxes, and a cruelly cold winter, thousands of poor Germans left their homes from May to November 1708 to embark for new lives and freedoms in the American colonies. Among them were the families of Johan Jacob and Anna Elisabethe Weber, Johannes “Jacob” and Anna Christina (Mauer) Boßhaar Sr. and Balthazar and Elisabetha Wennerich, who all are profiled on this website.

The Webers’ daughter, Eva Maria (1704?-1776), who later wed Friedrich Meinert (1695?-1751), was age four or five when she and her parents embarked on their journey to America. Although she lived a long life, she may have harbored few memories from that young an age.

These families from both sides of the Rhine River Valley (the “Rhenish Palatinate”, or “Rheinpfalz” in German). They were peasants or otherwise low-income farmers and “vinedressers” (grape growers) and generally were referred to as “Palatines” even though not all strictly were from the territory. The Webers are known to have originally dwelled in Landau, a town southwest of Heidelberg.

~ The Disaster of Germany, 1708 ~

Germany of 1708 was nothing at all like today. It was not a unified nation or have a central, regulated money system. Rather it was a patchwork of more than 50 free cities and several thousand governing authorities, many in conflict with each other over power and authority. There were different dialects and customs. The ruling classes mainly were self-serving with constant conflicts over the others’ Protestant and Catholic church affiliations.

The greatest German geniuses had not yet been born, among them Goethe (1749), Beethoven (1770), Kant (1774) and Schiller (1759). Bach was in his early 20s, working as an in-house musician at Protestant churches. There was not yet a national identity.

Germany’s peasant and working classes of the era have been described by author C.V. Wedgwood as “powerless, ignorant and indifferent.”

There was much from which to despair. The Peasants War of 1525 followed by the Thirty Years War which ended in 1648 had brought waves of invading armies from Spain and Sweden and left a wide swath of the destroyed landscape. Towns, churches and farm fields were destroyed. Lands variously were confiscated by whatever army or prince held them at the time. Thousands were dead over several generations of families. Many other thousands had dispersed. Writing in The Germans in Colonial Times, Lucy F. Bittinger called the Thirty Years War “unimaginable and indescribable” –

It is difficult to call up to one’s mine what this event was. Many portions of Germany became uninhabited wilderness; many of the miserable people became in the extremity of their distress robbers, murders, and even cannibals. The free peasants were degraded to serfs, the rich and energetic burghers became narrow-minded shopkeepers, the noblemen service courtiers, the princes shameless oppressors.

These wastelands remained for many years thereafter.

Battle of Sinsheim, Germany, in the years leading up to the Weber emigration

Then in May 1707, during what’s known as the “Spanish Succession,” war came again. French armies once more invaded with fury, led by King Louis XIV’s military commander Gen. Claude Louis Hector de Villars (Marechal Villars). The towns of Wurtemberg and Stuttgart especially were devastated and plundered in these hostilities. Villars is said to have forced the locals to pay more than 9 million gulden in tributes or fines, considered an incredible sum at the time.

In addition to wartime damages, the German commoners had to pay increasingly higher taxes, assessed by the ruling princes of these regions – to cover their lavish lifestyles and the costs of war. Unlike today, tax revenues were not used in rebuilding the communities and infrastructure, but rather to line personal pockets. There was just no money in the system.

Adding to the misery, a heavy frost in January 1709 and heavy snowfalls into the next month in the Rhineland caused widespread misery. Hundreds of people died, animals and birds froze to death, fruit trees and vineyards upon which livelihoods depended were destroyed, and once more the human spirit crushed.

At about this time, the English Queen Anne and Parliament were mulling over plans to populate the American colonies with Protestant immigrants. Their objective was both financial and military.

The Crown’s Royal Navy had a desperate need for hard-to-get and otherwise unaffordable supplies for its shipbuilding, especially tar products. It was believed that the large body of German immigrant laborers could be put to use to harvest large forests of American pine, extract the tar and ship it to England at a lower cost than would be affordable on the open market in Europe.

~ Enter Rev. Kocherthal and the Appeal of America ~

They were attracted to the idea of life in America as a result of extensive advertising over many years by the English government as well as entrepreneurs such as William Penn and Rev. Josua Kocherthal. Penn, an Englishman, had made perhaps three trips to Germany trying to generate public interest in a mass relocation to help populate his new commonwealth, Pennsylvania.

The Palatines were ready and willing participants, influenced in the emotion of the time by Rev. Kocherthal. He had become known in the Rhine for broadsides he had published several years earlier advertising relocation opportunities in America’s Carolinas. While his followers may have thought they might end up in the Carolinas, ultimately they were placed in a much different location.

The Webers and their young daughters Eva Maria and Elisabethe were among the first of these parties to go. They boarded boats on the Rhine River in May 1708 and headed toward the port city of Rotterdam, Holland.

These slow-moving voyages took some four to six weeks. Along the way, as they stopped for provisions or to pay tolls, the groups occasionally received funds and supplies from sympathetic communities.

From Rotterdam, the emigres boarded ships to take them to London, a relatively short passage of six to eight days. As word spread, even more discontented Germans joined the movement. At one point, 1,000 per week were transporting from Rotterdam to England, including many youngsters. By October 1709, some 13,100-plus had arrived in London, with English authorities becoming alarmed and halting arrivals. Some professed Catholics, unwelcome, turned back.

London in turn became crowded with the unexpected volume of refugees who, although expecting an immediate transfer to American-bound ships, were forced to stay put. As written by Walter Allen Knittle in his book Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration, “No one stood ready to carry out such a program… [This] avalanche of people was like a flood instead of rain.”

For many months, they camped at Blackheath, Greenwich and Cumberwell, and at taverns, town squares, warehouses and other sites. They daily attracted crowds of curious Londoners. The Germans generally were well-behaved. But threats against them were made, fights broke out, begging for bread was rampant and sanitation was poor. William Penn, in debtor’s prison, was of no help. The Crown and churches helped generate limited donations. But the arrangement was not a sustainable.

The Webers among thousands of Palatiness camped for months in London, awaiting passage to New York

Kocherthal’s party included the Weber family. Upon their arrival in London, Kocherthal made a petition to Queen Anne for help. She in turn gave orders that the emigrants be given clothing, coal and tools. Parliament, churches and a public subscription campaign raised additional monies.

While plans were considered to send the Germans to the Carolinas or Virginia, the site eventually chosen was the Upper Hudson River region 55 miles from Manhattan.

~ Aboard The Globe, Sailing from London ~

Finally in October 1708, the Kocherthal party sailed for New York aboard the ship, the Globe. The trip took nine agonizing weeks. Conditions were crowded. An estimated 20 percent died en route, including many children. A few babies were born and baptized in port or on the high seas. In fact, one of the infants was the Webers’ third child, Johann Herman, whom Kocherthal baptized on Sept. 14, 1708, recorded in his journal as “on board the Ship Globe.”

The Globe finally arrived in the New World in December 1708. But cold weather and the frozen port forced the travelers to stay aboard. They endured further misery when going without ample drinking water or foodstuffs.

When the inclement weather finally broke, the migrants were ferried up the Hudson River to the mouth of Quassaick Creek, near today’s Newburgh. They were free to debark and inspect the landscape of their new home. Lots were drawn for individual tracts of land. The emigres were issued food, supplies and even rum as well as tents, guns and ammunition and cauldrons.

Tranquil Hudson River near Newburgh, the Palatines’ new home in New York 

“Subsistence lists” were made naming each family receiving these items, including the numbering of adults and children, with the Weber, Boshaar and Wennerich among those recorded.

Other clusters of German migrants in London were forced to wait until late December 1708 to sail for the colonies. These ships arrived in June 1709 at New York’s Nutten Island, also known as Governor’s Island, and then proceeded up the Hudson.

Among those who made the voyages were New York Gov. Lovelace (in 1709), the teenager Conrad Weiser of Herrenberg, Württemberg, who became a famed interpreter and diplomat between Pennsylvania and Native American peoples, and the orphan boy John Peter Zenger of Rumbach, Germany, who would become known for his defense of freedom of the American press.

The new settlement was comprised of 6,000 acres, furnished by Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert Livingston Sr. The settlers pitched their tents and began preparations to manufacture tar and pitch from the pine resins. But fortunes took a dark turn when their sponsor Lovelace died in May 1709, and Kocherthal had to return to London to seek more assistance.

Over the next two years, the tar production plan had sporadic results, as the Hudson Valley was hilly and not dense with pine. Many German laborers felt they were being treated like serfs and disliked the conditions of their labor. Knittle wrote that:

For the most part husbandmen and vine-dressers, they were dissatisfied with their work and their location. They disliked to work in gangs and under rigid supervision. There was no incentive to work hard to pay back the funds spent on them; they sought only to receive the forty acres each of soil for their settlement.

~ End of the Experiment ~

But in 1712, New York Gov. Robert Hunter, who had funded much of the investment out of his own pocket, decided to end the experiment. The Palatines were told in September 1712 that they would need to subsist on their own. If choosing to move elsewhere, they would need to register and secure a ticket. Somehow they had to find a way to survive the upcoming winter and hold off starvation.

Many relocated to the town of Schorarie, NY, despite Hunter’s objections. Here the soil was fertile, and the local Native Americans friendly. The people were taught how to find edible herbs and roots in the woods and given fur robes for warmth. Wrote Knittle:

The Palatines had large families as a rule, the children often numbering close to twenty or more, but the mortality was exceptionally high. The maidens married quite young, increasing their fecundity. The Palatine women were generally robust and strong, for within one week of their arrival in Schoharie Valley four children were safely born.

From this, without benefit of good tools, sprung creation of seven villages in the Schoharie area. Without horses and wagons, the people hand-carried their supplies, including salt and wheat seed needed from afar. Wrote Bittinger, “For a generation, until the first mill in Schoharie was built, the pioneers, men and women, carried their grain upon their backs to Schenectady to have it ground into meal, large companies of them going together and camping overnight in the woods on the way.”

In his personal journal, Weiser wrote that “Here the people lived for a few years without preacher, without government, generally in peace. Each one did what he thought was right.” Where the Webers, Boshaars and Wennerichs dwelled during this time is not known.

~ The Palatines’ Migration to Pennsylvania ~

Then in the late 1710s, perhaps encouraged by new Pennsylvania Gov. Sir William Keith, some of these families began a migration south into Pennsylvania. Bittinger wrote that:

Under the guidance of their faithful Indian friends, they cut a road through the forests from Schoharie to the head-waters of the Susquehanna; here they built rafts and canoes, placed on them the women and children and their furniture, and floated down the river, the men driving the cattle along the land. Arrived at a point where the Swatara empties into the Susquehanna, they ascended this stream until the expedition reached the mouth of the Tulpehocken. Here the Germans selected their land and settled, finally, after fourteen years of wondering from place to place – from the Palatinate to London, from London over-seas to the camps on the Hudson, thence escaping to Schoharie, they were finally at rest in Pennsylvania. The story of this exodus of these poor Palatines, cast down but not destroyed, baffled, oppressed, plundered, but never discouraged, is a tale with few parallels, and one of its marvellous incidents is this journey through the forests; yet the people themselves seem not to have thought it anything worthy of note.

Berks County, PA was considered a very safe and welcoming destination for the Palatines. There, the Webers settled, in the Oley Valley. In the 1820s, their daughter Eva Maria entered into marriage with Friedrich Meinert, also of Oley, and began the vast Minerd-Minard-Miner-Minor family of which many tens of thousands have been born over 300 years’ time.

The Boßhaars’ son Johann Joerg married the Wennerichs’ daughter Mary Elizabeth. They too migrated from New York and settled in Lancaster County, PA. They put down roots in what became the small farming village of New Holland, about 13 miles east of the county seat of Lancaster.

Many years later, historical artifacts and relics from the pioneering era were preserved and years later place in the Old Stone Fort Museum near Schoharie.

Penn State Starting QB Gary Wydman

Gary Wydman, 1964

Gary Wydman was the starting quarterback for the Penn State University Nittany Lions during the 1964 season. Under the tutelage of head coach Rip Engle that year, he  played in 10 games and threw for 832 yards and one touchdown in compiling a 6-win, 4-loss season. Among the teams the Lions beat that fall were Army, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pittsburgh, plus a major upset of Ohio State. But Penn State failed to land a bowl game bid.  

Nonetheless, wearing uniform no. 25, Gary was widely praised for his open-field running as he gained 124 yards that season and rushed for one touchdown. Although Gary would not have known given the remote connection, Penn State’s athletic director during that era was his distant cousin Ernest “Ernie” McCoy, son of Jarrette “Ernest” and Melinda Jane (Browning) McCoy of the family of Lyman and Mary Ann (McClanahan) Gaumer of Adamsville, OH. 

When the ’64 season ended, Gary was united in matrimony with Susan Elizabeth Norseen ( ? – ? ), daughter of John D. Norseen of Mt. Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Just a few weeks later, he threw a key touchdown pass in the annual Blue-Gray All-Star football game in Montgomery, AL and tied for the game’s most valuable player award.

The son of Frank Errold and Juanita Esther (Hunt) Wydman Jr., of Corning, NY, Gary and his father both later were inducted into the Corning-Painted Post High School Sports Hall of Fame.  More>>>

Charles T.J. Miner’s Hand-Drawn Map of the Battlefield of Manila, The Philippines, 1898

The manuscript map – enlarge>>>

This month’s photo is actually an original manuscript map showing the battlefield of Manila, the Philippine Islands. It was drawn and sent home in a letter by Charles T.J. Miner during the Spanish-American War. He was a musician in the U.S. Army with Company K of the 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. 

By July 31, 1898, having arrived in the Philippines, he was posted to Camp Dewey near Manila. One 12-page letter he sent home, written over the span of a week between July 31 and Aug. 6, spelled out details of an early battle: 

yesterday morning found us under fire of the Spanish guns cannon ball & riffell [rifle] balls were flying pretty thick.” He and fellow troops were sent to battallion headquarters in an abandoned English clubhouse. “When [the enemy] got to fireing & the bullets got to ringing through the building we changed our quarters to the ground under the porch on the south side oposet [opposite] the enemy. Our boys worked all night throwing up breast works within 100 yd’s of the spanish works… We were releaved by the Penslvany boys & came home. 

His writing on Aug. 1 reported that: 

We heard this morning that 15 of the 10th [Pennsylvania] were killed & 45 wonded, the spanish atacked our right flank & came onto the boy’s befor they could realize what had happened, but the boy’s did not flinch & drove them back behind the wall’s takeing there breast works… Well I have found out exactley how many were killed. Pens’y had 8 killed & 5 wounded.” The next day, Aug. 2, he wrote that “We are going out this morning to take the trenche. [Admiral George] Duey has given them till tomorrow morning to surender so we will be out there at that time.” A day later, Aug. 3, he wrote that “I would not give (hardly) one cent for our lives here for us are with in the search lights of the spanish guns all the time. They could tare our camp all to pieces any time they seen fit. & when we go out in the trenches there is not more than 1000 of us & when the spanish makes an atact [attack] they come about 5000 or 6000.

More of his battle observations are spelled out in his life story within the biography of his parents, David “Nesbit” and Caroline Amelia (Crumrine) Miner of Columbus, NE.

Susanna (Woody) Minerd, Married to a Freed Slave

Susanna Woody of Stewart, OHenlarge>>>

Susanna (Minerd) Mayle Woody was one of two known cousins in the family to marry a freed slave. She grew up in Evansville, Preston County; Grafton, Taylor County; and Philippi, Barbour County, all in West Virginia, before migrating at about age 18 to Athens County, OH. 

On Aug. 20, 1891, in Athens County, she wed her second spouse, Fleming Woody. Their official Athens County marriage license is still on file in the county courthouse, with  Susanna’s name handwritten as “Mifs Susannah Minor.” At the time, she was age 28, and Fleming was about 36. Born in 1855, Fleming was a native of Virginia (possibly now West Virginia), as were both of his parents. Although his early years were spent as someone else’s property, he was “freed from the bonds of slavery, when about 15 years old,” said the Athens (OH) Messenger. According to family legend, as a boy he witnessed the agony of watching as his mother was sold from one owner to another. After emancipation, Fleming migrated to southeastern Ohio, settling near Athens. Added the Messenger, he “spent the greater part of his life” in the vicinity of Stewart, Athens County. Fleming generally was employed as a farm laborer in adulthood.

Susanna and Fleming went on to produce five children — Lucy M. Kinder Moseley Dalton (born 1892), James Riley Woody (1895), Dow Edward Woody (born 1897) and two who have not been identified. They may also have raised a daughter from an earlier relationship of Susanna’s, Inez Gertrude (Hayes) Crippen.

Fleming passed away in Athens County on March 12, 1915. In a short obituary, the Messenger called him “an aged colored man.” His death certificate noted that he was “Negro.” Susanna outlived her husband by nearly four decades. She surrendered to the angel of death at the age of 97 on Feb. 8, 1953. 

More research needs to be done on this couple, including where Fleming was born and the plantation where he was held in bondage. His grave marker was our “Photo of the Month” in November 2008. Also be sure to see the special Minerd.com Civil War Guide page, “Freed Slaves in the Family.”

Minerd.com’s Recommended News Stories and Blog Posts Since Dec. 2021

I love to read and learn. Here’s my updated list of news articles and blog posts the past year, all originally re-posted on the “Favorite Links” page of my award-winning website, Minerd.com.

These stories have captured my attention by covering important issues in our society but doing more than just report on the who, what and when. The pieces go deeper which is why I like them. All have some connection to the themes that help shape our website — Americana, culture, art, journalism, science, technology, history/genealogy, German-ness … and my hometown of Pittsburgh.

The Women Behind James Joyce” – by Clare Hutton, Fine Books & Collections, June 2, 2022  
A Bill Has Been Filed to Greatly Reduce the Length of Copyrights. Why Now?” – by Michael Stillman, Rare Book Monthly, June 2022
An Irish National Treasure Gets Set for a Long-Needed Restoration” – by Ed O’Loughlin, New York Times, May 28, 2022
Warhol Museum Reimagines the Factory in a New ‘Pop District’ ” – by Colin Moynihan, New York Times, May 20, 2022
The Morgan Library Celebrates the Building of a Book-Lover’s Paradise” – Fine Books & Collections, May 19, 2022
Meet the New Old Book Collectors” – by Kate Dwyer, New York Times, May 7, 2022
Fifty Years a Bookseller: or, The Wolf at Your Door” – by Bruce E. McKinney, Rare Book Monthly, May 2022
Harvard Creates Fund to Redress Its Ties to Slavery” – by Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times, April 26, 2022
Buying Twitter, Elon Musk Will Face Reality of His Free-Speech Talk” – by Shira Ovide, New York Times, April 26, 2022
Inside the Implosion of CNN+” – by John Koblin, Michael M. Grynbaum and Benjamin Mullin, New York Times, April 24, 2022
The Getty Acquires Collection of African American Books & Ephemera” – Fine Books & Collections, March 30, 2022
Thomas F. Staley, Dogged Pursuer of Literary Archives, Dies at 86” – by Richard Sandomir, New York Times, April 3, 2022
The Archaeology of Death at a Southern Black Cemetery” – by Danielle Vander Horst, Art & Object, March 7, 2022
Remembering Albert Tannler, PHLF’s Longtime Archivist and Architectural Historian” – Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, March 1, 2022
How a National Movement Toppled Hundreds of Confederate Symbols” – by Audra D.S. Burch, New York Times, Feb. 28, 2022
How Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Helped Remake the Literary Canon” – by David Remnick, The New Yorker, Feb. 19, 2022
Sting Sells His Songwriting Catalog for an Estimated $300 Million” – by Ben Sisario, New York Times, Feb. 10, 2022
A Search Begins for the Wreck Behind an Epic Tale of Survival” – by Henry Fountain, New York Times,  Feb. 4, 2022
Black history has defined American culture” – by Jeffery Gerritt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 3, 2022
Melinda French Gates No Longer Pledges Bulk of Her Wealth to Gates Foundation” – by Emily Glazer, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2022
What We Can Learn From How the 1918 Pandemic Ended” – by John M. Barry, New York Times, Jan. 31, 2022
How Facebook Is Morphing Into Meta” –  by Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Ryan Mac, New York Times, Jan. 31, 2022
80 Years Ago the Nazis Planned the ‘Final Solution.’ It Took 90 Minutes.” – by Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, Jan. 20, 2022
Obituary: James Mellon Walton | Executive who shaped Carnegie museums, Carnegie Library and Heinz Endowments” – by Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 7, 2022
A Cabinet of Wonders Opens Wide at the New York Public Library” – by Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, Dec. 28, 2021
Racial reckoning turns focus to roadside historical markers” – by Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, Dec. 28, 2021
Alex Haley Taught America About Race – and a Young Man How to Write” – by Michael P. Hearn, New York Times, Dec. 17, 2021
The Open Access Books Collection: Expanding Access and Building Connections” – by Carlyn Osborn, Library of Congress, Dec. 16, 2021
Military Ends Pearl Harbor Project to Identify the Dead” – by Neil Vigdor, New York Times, Dec. 7, 2021
What Happened to Amazon’s Bookstore?” – by David Streitfeld, New York Times, Dec. 3, 2021
A World Record Price Set for an Item in the Books, Manuscripts, Maps and Ephemera Category” – by Bruce E. McKinney, Rare Book Monthly, December 2021

Ethlyne Clair Stars in the 1929 Silent Film ‘Queen of the Northwoods’

Ethlyne Clair in ‘Queen of the Northwoods’

Under the stage name “Ethlyne Clair,” red-haired actress Ethlyne Williamson rose to fame in the late 1920s in Hollywood in such serial pictures as the silent western Queen of the Northwoods. This still photo from Queen shows her in a scene with actor Walter Miller.

The year Queen was released, in 1929, Ethylene was named as one of 13 “Baby Stars” by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers. She once told a newspaper that she “wanted to do big things and become a big star, not ride horses through the desert. I thought I was above all that. I just wanted to be a beautiful vamp.”

During a trip to Tijuana, Mexico on June 8, 1928, purportedly at the point of a gun, she became the third wife of our cousin Richard Lansdale “Dale” Hanshaw,  son of Harry M. and Marion A. “Bertie” (Rogers) Hanshaw of Grafton, WV and New York City. At that time, Dale was president of a filmmaking business in Hollywood and had big plans, actively acquiring film rights to a number of stories.

The Hanshaw marriage ended within two-and-a-half months, with the couple separating on Aug. 25. The New York Daily News quipped that the union may not have “run smoothly after the Tijuana haze has worn off.” Ethlyne filed for divorce in Los Angeles, claiming Dale had made “promises of stardom” which were “never kept” and that he ” ‘nagged, pestered and badgered her’ until her life wasn’t worth living.” When the divorce decree was approved on Feb. 14, 1929, a friend gave her a paper heart symbolizing a “reverse valentine.”

Dale entered into marriage a fourth time with yet another actress and settled in North Hollywood. After failing financially during the Great Depression, and facing losing their home, the couple together gave up on life. More>>>

19th Century Photographer Samuel Bookman of Ursina, PA

Unknown portrait, Samuel Bookman
studio, Ursina, PA

The almost ghostly face of an anonymous young man peers out from this small  carte de visite image, forgotten by time. His identity may never be known. What’s equally fascinating is the back of the cardboard mounting, bearing the imprint of photographer Samuel Bookman of Ursina, Somerset County, PA. Samuel’s third wife, our Sarah Jennings, was the daughter of Thomas and Christina (Ream) Jennings.

A Civil War veteran, Samuel made a living preaching and selling Bibles as well as operating a shoemaking and repair shop. He appears to have come to Somerset County, PA circa 1870 when marrying his second wife, Annie. During the couple’s brief two years of marriage, ending in her untimely death, he worked as a watchman at a railroad tunnel and traveled with portable photography equipment to help make ends meet. His mobile studio consisted of a portable tent with wooden walls.

Tongues wagged around Ursina when Samuel wed our Sarah, after just seven months as a widower, and with him 23 years older than she. Sarah’s cousin Thomas Flanigan — son of Job and Mary (Ream) Flanigan — once wrote that Sarah was “a funny kind of a woman and … appears to have some mental weakness.” The couple dwelled in a photography studio at the corner of Ursina’s Park Street and Maple Alley. Tragedy arose in September 1882.While on an outing, the family picked and ate deadly mushrooms. Two of the children died, and a third suffered brain damage from which he never recovered. Reported the Somerset Herald, “Mrs. Bookman and another child are not expected to recover from the fatal dose. Mr. Bookman has recovered, having vomited immediately after eating the poisonous dish.” 

The couple in 1885 were admitted to the County Home of Bedford, PA and transferred to the County Home of Somerset. He asked for a divorce, but she refused. They eventually separated. Samuel spent his final years at the home of his married daughter Mary Dougherty in Galloway, OH, where he died in 1902.

Soprano Eloise Farrell of the San Francisco Opera

Eloise Farrell, San Francisco Opera, 1946. Enlarge>>>

Thirteen months after the end of World War II, soprano Eloise Farrell stands in line with five other bridesmaids in light-colored dresses, left to right in the center of this image, right arms held aloft, in the San Francisco Opera Association’s performance of Lohengrin. The storyline, composed by Richard Wagner in the mid-1840s, involves the struggle between good and evil in a community rooted in Germanic and pagan influences, where an angel sent by God ultimately intervenes.           

It is Eloise’s first season with the Opera in a career there spanning two decades, until 1966. In the fall of 1953, at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, she and legendary soprano Beverly Sills were on stage together in a string of performances, among them Richard Strauss’s masterpiece Elektra followed by Wagner’s equally famed Die Walküre, part of the composer’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” Among other career highlights, for which she received name credit, were Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (1946-1947) and Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Gudonov (1951-1954; 1956-1962).

As well, Eloise is known to have performed in 1946 with the Pasadena Grand Opera  — in 1951-1956 with the Pacific Opera Company in stagings of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata — Charles Gounod’s Faust — and Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel — and in 1957 with the San Francisco Männerchor, a German heritage singing club. She also is known to have served a term as board secretary of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Guild of Musical Artists Inc.

A native of Council Bluffs, IA, who relocated to California as a young woman, Eloise was the daughter of Harvey Albert and Laura “Lottie” (Miner) Farrell of the family of Civil War veteran David “Nesbit” Miner.  She never married, once telling an inquiring niece, “The men I loved didn’t love me, and vice versa.”

Image courtesy San Francisco Opera Archives, R. Strohmeyer, photographer, Barbara Rominsky, director of archives. This year, the San Francisco Opera is celebrating its centennial season.

Mark Ware of the Historical & Genealogical Society of Somerset County, PA

Cousin Mark Ware – enlarge>>>

Cousin Mark D. Ware, an 8th-generation descendant of Somerset County (PA) pioneers, today serves as director of the Historical & Genealogical Society of Somerset County, in association with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The Society is the steward of the rich cultural heritage of the county through its impressive historical collections, educational programs and genealogical archives. Each year, it holds the popular, three-day “Mountain Craft Days” living history event to showcase more than 100 craft artisans, musicians, and entertainers who demonstrate forgotten rural folkways of the past.

Mark is an offspring of the Daniel Foster and Amanda Margaret “Maggie” (Foust) Sarver branch. This line further traces back to Revolutionary War veteran Johann “Jacob” Gaumer and his bride Maria”Catharina” Sowash who settled in Somerset County in the 1790s or early 1800s. He graciously has contributed valuable images and content about his family for the Foust-Sarver biography on this website.

Writes Mark:

My museum career started at the age of 12 when I went on the Appalachian Wagon Train. It led to the newly opened Somerset Historical Center where I met Betty Haupt who lured me to be a teenage guide. From there, it turned into a career.  After getting my bachelor of arts in history from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, I became a museum educator II for the Pennsylvania  Historical and Museum Commission at sites in Somerset and Drake Well Museum in Titusville, PA. I signed on as executive director for the Somerset facility when it became a PHMC “partnered site.” The Society at that point had begun to run the day-to-day operations at Somerset, and I thought it would only be a year or two to get things running smoothly. It has now been over 10 years. I am most proud of keeping the Somerset County traditions of coopering, flax processing/ spinning, and splint hickory brush making after learning the techniques from actual local artisans years ago, keeping an unbroken chain of apprenticing ongoing within the county.

Hoops Coach Carl ‘Rube’ Hoy with University of South Dakota Lettermen

Head coach Carl Blythe “Rube” Hoy with returning University of South Dakota lettermen in 1954 – Enlarge>>>

Carl Blythe “Rube” Hoy — son of Albert and Emma A. (Blythe) Hoy — was said by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader to be “one of South Dakota’s finest citizens” known for his sportsmanship and campus work at the University of South Dakota. His friend Elbert Harrington wrote that Carl was born in “the long sweep of the prairies” and “grew to young manhood in an atmosphere of horses and cattle, prairie grass and wheat, scarce money and hard work.”

He and his future wife Hazel Bergeson went to a dance on their first date featuring the orchestra of a young Lawrence Welk, on his way to international stardom.

In 1927, Carl was hired as basketball coach by his alma mater, the University of South Dakota and remained for more than 24 seasons. His record with the Coyotes over that timeframe was 167 wins and 190 losses. He was named USD’s athletic director in 1934 and served until 1959. He also coached track during the World War II years, from 1941 to 1946. One of his basketball coaching hires Dwane “Cloddy” Clodfelter led the Coyotes to the national championship in 1958, the only one in school history. His autobiography, published by the university in 1960, is entitled According to Hoy: Memoirs of an Athletic Director.

At his death in 1973, the Argus-Leader said that Carl “was an inspiration to thousands of Coyote athletic students. And for the fans, whether they followed the Red and White, or the Yellow and Blue of their arch rivals at South Dakota State, ‘Rube’ Hoy as basketball coach provided some hardcourt spectaculars that became a legend. To ‘Rube’ Hoy the game was the thing — and his fans were seldom disappointed.”

He was inducted into the university’s hall of fame in 1972, a year before he died. In his memory, an annual Carl “Rube” Hoy Award was established at the university to honor outstanding achievement in both athletics and academics.

Courtesy Archives and Special Collection, University Libraries, University of South Dakota.