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Friday, April 26, 2013

Hope Revived

Two or three years ago the small bridge about a mile from our house was deemed unsafe and closed. That meant our shortest route to the main road was cut off and we had to drive the long way around to get there. Last fall an article in our local newspaper reported that the bridge was at the top of the fix-it list. The rest of the fall and entire winter passed but nothing happened. I had just about decided they either changed their minds or forgot us. There was another bridge not far from here that was closed for eleven (11) years before it was finally replaced. That didn't do anything to increase my faith.
Then this week the neighbor reported that they are working on it. I went down this morning to witness and record the historic moment. Hope has revived! In a few weeks we should be able to cross this little creek again on a sturdy bridge like we did for more than forty years before.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Peter Burkholder's Children

When I was at Lancaster on Tuesday I picked up my free copies of the April issue of Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage magazine. It contains the Burkholder genealogy I slaved over for at least eighteen months, tracing the first four generations of the descendants of Ulrich Burkholder. He is often confused with another Ulrich Burkholder who immigrated in 1732 and settled in Lebanon County. I thought this genealogy would be helpful in resolving the confusion.
Ulrich was the older brother of my Burkholder ancestor, Bishop Christian Burkholder. Ulrich's will indicates he had six children but only three of them are mentioned by name--John, Christian, and Mary. Through a long process I managed to track down and confirm the other three--Elizabeth, Peter, and Anna--and their descendants.
Peter's descendants were especially difficult to trace. He owned no property and left no will so there wasn't much of a paper trail to follow. He died between the 1810 and 1820 census for his wife is listed as the head of the household in 1820. Census records before 1850 list only the name of the head of the household and the rest of the family is identified only by gender and age range. Names have to be obtained from other sources. I was able to identify Peter's wife as Catharine and found three children---Isaac, John, and Elizabeth. The 1790 census indicates the oldest child was a daughter born about 1790 but I could not find anything on her. The 1810 census shows Peter had a son and daughter under age ten, which means they were born between 1800-1810. I found the daughter, Elizabeth, born in 1807, but nothing on the son.
When I was at Lancaster on Tuesday, a fellow historian/genealogist told me he had just come across a Nancy Burkholder born in 1801 and wondered if I knew where she belongs. I didn't. But since I have all the children of Ulrich's other children I immediately began to suspect she was Peter's daughter. She fit right in that slot, except that the census says there was one son and one daughter under age ten. It probably should have said two daughters. This would not be the first time I found a mistake in the census.
I came home and began searching. I need to do a little more digging to confirm but from what I have found so far I am 99% convinced Nancy was the daughter of Peter and Catharine Burkholder.
What I can confirm is that Nancy was born in 1801 and married an Irish immigrant, William Martin. They were expecting their second child when he died in January 1824. He requested that if the child was a girl she be named for his mother, Mary, in Ireland, which she was. Nancy then married Jesse Harting and had six more children. They lived at Hinkletown. She died in 1896 at the age of 95 and was buried with her second husband in the Terre Hill Cemetery.
Nancy's children were:
1. Isaac B. Martin, Jan. 10, 1822-Dec. 4, 1910; m. Mary Ann Haldeman;  bu. Bergstrasse
2. Mary Ann Martin Winters, Mar. 6, 1824-Apr. 23, 1909; m. Richard Winters; bu. Bergstrasse
3. Louisa Harting, Jan. 19, 1832-Sept. 7, 1922; m. George W. Selvert; bu. Bergstrasse
4. Phoebe Harting, Nov. 9, 1834-Dec. 30, 1932; m. John H. Kemper; bu. Bowmans Cem., Ephrata
5. Davidson B. Harting, March 1837-May 29, 1905; m. Cordia Ann Carpenter; died Canton, Ohio
6. Wellington Harting, Nov. 25, 1839-Dec. 3, 1904; m. Emma ___; bu. Bergstrasse
7. Jesse B. Harting, Oct. 1842-aft. 1930; m.(1) Julia ___;m.(2) Laura Bell Littrell; died Roanoke,Va.
8. Julia Harting, July 26, 1845-May 12, 1936; m. William Overholser; died Sioux City, Iowa
So there you go! I worked so long and hard to have everything correct and the ink is barely dry when I find more. But that's typical of genealogical research so I shouldn't be surprised. I had a lot of fun doing it and now I can go on chasing down one more.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Going Bananas

I should have posted this a month ago but I only found it now. Spring is here now so I guess I won't bother going south. Those of you who are still stuck with winter might identify with the song.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Season of Hope

After Noah and his family left the ark, God promised He would never again destroy the entire earth with a flood. He said as long the earth remains the seasons will revolve in their proper order. And He signed the promise with a rainbow. That promise has been kept during all the thousands of years that have followed---but sometimes at the end of winter we begin to wonder.
Last year spring came in before the calendar said the magic word. It got warm early in March and stayed that way. This year spring ignored what the calendar said and dragged its feet. It stayed cold all through March and into April with occasional little snows to remind us winter was not in a hurry to leave.
But at last, this week spring came in with a rush. We had a couple days when temperatures soared into the 80s. They were followed by some much-needed rain which brought the temperature down to seasonable levels but also wrought the annual magic of painting a brown landscape green. It happens every year but never ceases to amaze me. One week everything is as brown as winter. Bring in some sunshine and showers and, presto!, it's green.
With my winter projects list conquered, I have happily turned to the next page and started on the spring work. Most of my jungle of potted plants have been moved to their summer home on the patio. The garden has been planted.  There are weeds to pull, windows to clean, and all manner of fun things on the slate.
I like having a winter season to get some things done indoors that I don't have time for in the other seasons. But after a couple months of it, I'm ready to chuck the coats and shoes and wander around outside again.
April and May are my favorite months of the year. They are neither too hot nor too cold. October is also temperate and a pretty month with the colored foilage but it comes in second because it is a warning winter is on the way. Spring is the season of hope and new life.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Is A Writer Supposed To Look?

When I first started writing for publication I had no idea how much writing I would do in my life. I didn't see the need for a pen name and used my own name in the by-line. There were a few times I used a pen name to protect the identity of the characters in my stories but most of my work was under my own name.
As time went on and I moved from short articles and stories to Sunday school quarterlies and then to books, my name became known in our Mennonite circles. Perhaps I should have used a pen name for my own protection. Since my first name is not a common one, it often gives me away when I am introduced to someone. I can see the wheels turning in their heads and the light come on when they recognize my name. If possible, I beat a hasty retreat before the gushing and questions begin.
Too many people seem to think writers are a novelty or on an upper level. I've had people tell me they were awed to be in the presence of an author. As if writers are like some kind of side-show at a circus or something. Sorry to burst your bubble, but writers are just ordinary people who live and breathe like everyone else. If they are women like me, they cook meals, clean the house, wipe children's noses, tend a garden, and do all the ordinary things other women do. And then they play with words to exercise their creativity instead of decorating cakes or piecing quilts.
This morning someone called about a project I was working on. She went on to say how much she admired my work and how surprised she was to learn I was a writer. She knew my name but when she saw me she was surprised that is who I am. She never would have guessed from looking at me that I was a writer. I said, "I know I don't look very intelligent," and she floundered around trying to explain what she meant. I just look so ordinary; like any other Mennonite woman in the crowd.
After I hung up I couldn't help wondering,  how is a writer supposed to look? Should I carry a feather quill and an ink bottle, stick a pencil behind my ear, or type on my laptop everywhere I go? Should I try to look more intelligent? Use more big words? Be more serious?
I think I'll go on just being me. I like being able to hide in a crowd.