Genealogist Journal

A journey to recover the past

Photograph of the Week: Oran Orcutt

Oran Orcutt born 7 Aug 1819 in Abington, Massachusetts was the son of Emerson Orcutt and Mehitable Tolman Vining.


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J. R. Lowe

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Amelia Perdieu Heath Obituary


I found this obituary transcribed on Amelia Heath’s cemetery listing on Amelia Perdieu was the daughter of James Perdieu and Sarah French. She is buried at the Tomlinson Cemetery in Muncie, Indiana.

Newspaper: Muncie Newspaper Evening
Date: 22 Aug 1887
Contributor: Jill Cooper Childress

“Mrs. Amelia Heath was born December 25, 1794, and departed this life 1887. Aged 92 years, 7 months, and 22 days. Her maiden name was Amelia Perdieu. She was born in the state of Maryland, and she was married to Robert Heath at the age of eighteen, and there was born unto them ten children, five sons and five daughters; of these four sons and three daughters are still living. There is also fifty grandchildren and about one hundred great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren. At an early date she moved with her parents to North Carolina, and soon after removed to Indiana and she thereby became one of the pioneers of the great west, and through toil and self-sacrifice became one of the noble instruments in building up those social and religious institutions we now enjoy. Having united early with the M. E. church, she enjoyed the blessing of the Christian pilgrimage. After life’s eventful mission, in her truthfulness and worth, like a bright and gentle vision, she passed away from earth. Funeral services were held at Mt. Zion church, conducted by Rev. A. G. Kiger. The remains were followed by a large procession of friends to its last resting place in the Tomlinson Cemetery.”


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J. R. Lowe

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Echoes From The Past: A Civil War Letter

Union soldiers reading letters from home.

Tomorrow we celebrate 241 years of American Independence. Through hard fighting and perseverance that is the hallmark of the American spirit, our forefathers separated from the British Empire. Eighty-five years later, our fledgling country faced an internal threat. The Civil War broke out with a fury. Devastating losses were felt by Union and Confederates alike. However, through the destruction, our country survived. Like many American’s today, my lineage has soldiers who fought for the Union and the Confederacy. In celebration of Independence, I would like to honor one such soldier.

Ebenezer Henry Gurney was my 3rd great grandfather. Born in Hanson Massachusetts, he was the son of Ebenezer Bourn Keene Gurney and Almira Jane Josselyn. In the records, I have found that Ebenezer Henry Gurney went by the name E. Henry Gurney or Henry Gurney. During the American Civil War, he fought as a private in the 3rd Massachusetts Infantry, Company A for the Union. Henry enlisted on 14 Apr 1861. He served for three years.

During his initial training at Fort Monroe, Henry wrote a letter to his brother Lieut. Thomas Gurney who was serving with the 58th Massachusetts Infantry at the time. In his letter, he describes the conditions of camp life and training. Fort Monroe is located in Hampton Virginia along the southern coastline of the state.

Fort Monroe, Virginia


Fort Monroe
Saturday 11th, May, ’61

My dear Brother,
I received your letter of the 28th of April, last Thursday, so you see that it was a long time on the way. I would like to have you here this day just to see our style of living and how we work too, but I shouldn’t want you or anyone else to come here and live as we do, unless it was for the preservation of our country’s flag, as it is with us. I always thought I was not so hard and tough as the other boys from home, but I find, to my astonishment, that I go far beyond the endurance of the other boys. All of the other boys except Wallace (e.g. Wallace Hood, Pleasant Street) have been hauled up with something or other and I have been tough as a bear. Edwin Thayer has been in the hospital three or four days from a swelling in the neck. Willard is sick from boils. Otis (e.g. Otis Bonney, Washington Street) is not very well this day and the others have been complaining about something almost every day. All from our mode of living, which is pork and bread to eat, almost every day. I never felt better in my life than I have since I have been here, notwithstanding I never worked so hard before. I get up at quarter before five in the morning and shake my blanket; then I have to go out on company drill until breakfast, when we have pork and bread; never anything else. After breakfast we have our own time until eight o’clock when we have regimental drill for three hours. Afternoon we have our own time until four and then drill for two hours. We have to keep awake until 9 o’clock for roll call and do not get to sleep until 10 or after on account of the boys making so much noise. There are 150 of us in one room.
This is our parade duty. On guard and fatigue days we get up as usual and shake our beds but do not have to go out on line until 8.00 a.m. Our fatigue duty is the easiest and our guard duty the hardest. They are bound to put us through every day. As I have very often explained , our victuals are just right to create humors. I don’t eat anything except the bread, beans once in a week, meat once in ten days, rice once a week and what I buy from the officer’s wives or from the cooks. Nothing but pork and bread for breakfast and bread and coffee for supper. This is to serve one’s country.
Our place here is well fortified beside the fort. Yesterday the Pawnee, Cumberland, Harriet Lane and Monticello were all here as blockade; Pawnee, 10 guns, Cumberland, 3p., Harriet L, 6 or 8, and Monticello, 1 large 10-inch gun besides two small ones on deck (Howitzers). Today the Pawnee went out and the Quaker City came in. The Harbor is full of sail stopped by the blockade. We don’t know whether the rebels will be bold enough to attack us or not, but every place is being strengthened and guns put in order. Today they are covering the magazine with bags of sand to prevent all possible explosions. Last night was a busy night over in Hampton for the secessionists. Drums were going all night and this morning the scouts reported a sand battery in process of erection. If they get too fast, they may be used up before they expect. That big gun weighs 19.099-11 marked on it. Will throw a shot or shell from 4 to 7 miles and costs $100.00 everytime it is fired. It is a 15-inch Columbiad and is called the Floyd gun. It is four feet and over through the “britch”. I have stood on it and it was about 15 feet from the ground. I wish you to write as often as you can and tell me all the news. My love to all.

Your brother Henry


A drawing of Fort Monroe receiving wounded.
Canons at Fort Monroe.

In a note written by the hand of Josephine Gurney, Henry’s younger sister, she details that Henry ran off with three other boys, Horatio Sooter, George Hayward and Albert Josselyn, to enlist in Boston. Henry’s first enlistment lasted only three months but he relisted right away. He was a musician and during his second enlistment, he was Chief Bugler in the First Rhode Island Cavalry.

One of the stories remembered by his family was that Henry rode with General Sherman on that “scorching raid through Georgia.” In another one of his letters, Henry reported entering a beautiful Georgia mansion where the soldiers were destroying everything in sight. There was a fine piano in the house. Henry refused to let them touch it. He sat down and played until they left the room. In a flyleaf of a piano book, he found the name “Semple”. When his first daughter was born, he named her Amy Semple Gurney.


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J. R. Lowe

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Photograph of the Week: Thomas Tolbert Havins, Jr.

Thomas Tolbert Havins, Jr. was the son of Thomas Tolbert Havins, Sr. and Louise Crawford.


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J.R. Lowe

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A Few Pinkerton Birth Records

new-hampshire-69895_640 can be a good source for New England birth records. I found a few Pinkerton births in New Hampshire connected to my family tree:

  1. John Pinkerton b. 12 Oct 1777 in Londonderry, New Hampshire; Parents: John Pinkerton and Rachel
  2. Naomi Pinkerton b. 13 Jan 1770 in Londonderry, New Hampshire; Parents: John Pinkerton and Rachel
  3. Mary Pinkerton b. 8 May 1768 in Londonderry, New Hampshire; Parents: John Pinkerton and Rachel
  4. Elizabeth Pinkerton b. 1 Sept 1771 in Londonderry, New Hampshire; Parents: John Pinkerton and Rachel
  5. Samuel C. Pinkerton b. 2 Jan 1846 in Boscawen, New Hampshire; Parents: Moody Pinkerton
  6. Charles W. Pinkerton b. 12 Sept 1850 in Boscawen, New Hampshire; Parents: Moody Pinkerton and Sarah A.
  7. Myron U. Pinkerton b. 18 Jul 1843 in Boscawen, New Hampshire; Parents: Moody M. Pinkerton and Jane C.
  8. Wallace Pinkerton b. 10 Jun 1850 in Boscawen, New Hampshire; Parents: Moody M. Pinkerton and Sarah

Note: there is a bit of a problem with the timing in the above births. Charles W. Pinkerton was born on 12 Sept 1850 and his brother Wallace Pinkerton was born 10 June 1850. One of those dates is wrong.


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J. R. Lowe

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Photograph of the Week: May Belle Moreland Evans


May Belle Moreland Evans before she died in 1960. May Belle was my maternal second great grandmother. She was born 24 Sept. 1880 in Haggerstown, Indiana to John Brumbaugh Moreland and Aletha A. Grice. I never had the privilege of knowing her.


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J. R. Lowe

The Lowe/Johnson Connection

President Andrew Johnson

As with all families, there are bigger-than-life stories of famous relations that may or may not contain grains of truth. The job of the family historian is to sift through the legends to find pieces of fact. Case in point, my husband’s Lowe family have such a tale; a connection to President Andrew Jackson. After hours of digging, I found the family was not related to Andrew Jackson, however, there were a few grains of truth in the story. The Lowe family had a connection to the Presidency. Instead of President Andrew Jackson, it was a President Andrew Johnson that branched into their family tree.

The mix-up and confusion are understandable, Rebecca Jackson wife of Jacob Lowe, Jr. is undoubtedly related to the Jackson family, although, not to Andrew Jackson. Her Jackson family had a long history in Long Island, New York. President Andrew Jackson’s father immigrated from Antrim County, Ireland. If there was a connection between the two Jackson families it is distant indeed.

However, the Lowe family can claim a connection to President Andrew Johnson. The twisted connection is not a direct relationship rather one through marriage. The lineage is as follows, Andrew Johnson had a daughter named Mary Johnson, born in 1833 the third of three children, who married Daniel Stover, Jr.

Mary Johnson, daughter of President Andrew Johnson

Daniel Stover Jr. was the youngest brother of Jemima Stover, who married Teter Nave. Teter Nave and Jemima Stover’s daughter, Levica Nave, married Henry Colbaugh. They had a daughter, Jemima Colbaugh, who married George J. Lowe. George was the son of Jacob Lowe, Jr. and Rebecca Jackson.

George J. Lowe and Jemima Colbaugh

If you have ever played the game Telephone, you can see how the family legend grew. I hope this clears up the confusion about the Lowe Family connection to the US Presidency.

As a final note, Tommy Lee Jones looks a lot like President Andrew Johnson.


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J. R. Lowe

Three Kingsport Men



Three Kingsport Men

2 March 1946

Three Kingsport men, including in a list of nine East Tennesseans, recently received honorable discarges at the Camp Chaffee Personnel center, Camp Chaffee, Ark.

Kingsport men were: Pvt. James M. Collins, 80 Dale Street; Sgt. George E. Cloud, Route 6: T/3 Robert W. Hagie, 137 Warpath Drive.

Other East Tennesseans were: T/4 Charles E. Hale, Route 4, Johnson City; M/Sgt. Charles F. Weaver, 1503 E. Uriaka Street, Johnson City: Pfc. Roby B. Lowe, 108 E. Main Street, Johnson City; Sgt. Wade H. Carter, Route 4, Jonesboro; T/5 Cecil V. Kilby, 510 W. Main Street, Johnson City.


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J. R. Lowe

Dargatz Family Reunion

dargatzreunionnews 001

The Family of the late Herman and Amelia Dargatz gathered for a reunion at Millet recently, 11 of 13 children, their children and grandchildren present. Standing back row, left to right are Mrs. Emma Plitt (youngest of the family from Chilliwack); Carl Dargatz (eldest) of Wetaskiwin; Adolph Dargatz, Wetaskiwin; Paul Dargatz, Wetaskiwin; Roy Dargatz, Forest Grove, Oregon; Herman Dargatz, Edmonton; Augusta Pomeranz, Chilliwack; Seated: Mrs. Elizabeth Bienert, Portland, Oregon; Mrs. Olga Dusdal, San Fransisco; Mrs. Bertha Pomeranz, Wetaskiwin and Mrs. Mary Welke, Rosalind, Wash; Albert Dargatz from Chilliwack was prevented from attending by illness, and Bill Dargatz of Wetaskiwin arrived too late for the picture.


140 Attend Reunion of Dargatz Family


About 140 relatives attended the Dargatz family reunion in the Millet Community Hall Sunday, July 8. Twelve of the thirteen children of the late Herman and Amelia Dargatz, ranging in age from 60 to 81, were present for the occasion. Also on hand were many of their children, grand children and even six great grand children. Albert Dargatz of Chilliwack was prevented, by illness, from attending.

The six Dargatz sisters were all presented with corsages of white orchids and the five Dargatz brothers wore carnation buttonholes from Virgil Pomeranz of Edmonton. Herman and Florence Dargatz presented name tags to all the guests and Roy Dargatz presented a handmade souvenir to each of the family.

Mrs. Geneva Weinhandl of Whitecourt was in charge of the guest book, and had made an artistically painted family tree, with names of the family inscribed along the various branches. A smaller copy of the family tree was presented to each of the senior members of the family.

Mrs. Velma Slvaggio of Los Angeles spoke briefly and offered a prayer before the potluck dinner was served. Each family brought a favorite dish and the menu offered a tremendous variety.

After dinner the Welke sisters sang, and Fred Buskas spoke about the family reunion. Velma Slvaggio spoke on old times as a Christian family.

A highlight of the day was when each person was given the opportunity to recall something remembered from childhood days. This brought back many happy memories to the family of the days on the farm seven miles east of Millet.

For the rest of the afternoon the family visited and made the acquaintance of relatives they had never met and talked over old times with those they had not seen for many years.

Following the evening meal, Gordon Welke from Ronald, Washington, who travelled in a converted school bus with his family, took youngsters and oldsters for rides. The time to break up came all too soon, and before departing, the family and visitors joined in a hymn sing of old favorites “Blest be the Tie That Binds” and “God Be With You Until We Meet Again”. A parting prayer was offered by Dennis Pomeranz of Rosedale, B.C.

Members of the family came to the reunion from many parts of Canada and the United States, including several centers in California, Oregon and Washington, from British Columbia and from many Alberta points including Edmonton, Drayton Valley, Ft. McMurray, Blackfalds, Vegreville, Whitecourt, Millet and Wetaskiwin areas.


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J. R. Lowe

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