Winnie Letha Currey Crawford

Aunt Winnie to many, grandma to me

img_3337Family was important to Winnie Crawford. It was her quest to know more about her grandmother (her mom’s family) that started my genealogy journey. At the time, it was hard for me to imagine growing up without knowing your grandparents — or at least something about them. Even though my Briles grandfather died when I was 4, I grew up hearing stories about him. That was not true for Winnie. All of her grandparents had died before she was born.

Winnie Letha Currey was born in 1903 in Leavenworth County, Kansas. She was the seventh child born to Hiram and Winnie (Hutchinson) Currey. As a young child, Winnie’s contact with family members was limited to her immediate family. Both the Currey and Hutchinson families dispersed around the turn if the century leaving few aunts, uncles, cousins living in the vicinity during Winnie’s childhood.

Around 1908, Winnie’s family moved from Leavenworth County to near Plainville, Kansas, where her dad rented land to farm. By 1913, the family left western Kansas and moved back to Olathe, Kansas.

Winnie’s letters provide the best picture of her childhood:

Feb 1982

I don’t know for sure but the Hutchinson family were around Liberty Mo and Dad went there to William Jewell and met my mother. The Currey place was a few miles form Lansing Kansas. The kids all left but after Gma & Gdad Currey died Uncile Will stayed on married & raised his family there. Aunt Jesse died before we left Lansing for Plainville Kas. My dad was a barber at Lansing owned his shop but sold it to farm at Plainville.

… I went with mother when Earnest was a baby to visit Aunt Nora & I faintly remember an old lady smoking a corn cob pipe, who she was I wouldn’t know.

Mother died in May. We went to the Children’s Home June 11 — Herb didn’t go and Myrtle wasn’t there long til she went to Aunt Mary’s in Denver Col.

Mary and I stayed together till she got married. But to go back – The court took Littens license away so dad had to take us back till Mary & I finished grade school. Then he was going to put us back into a home. I got Aunt Joe De Shazer to take Alma & found a home for Earnest. Then Mary & I lied about our ages went to work. I always kept track of the kids as I do now.

We were on the farm when Alma was borned. Just renting. We were burnt out for 4 straight years. So we moved to Olathe & dad went to hauling freight in Kansas City. The reason I stay with Liberty because Aunt Nora (mother did too) would tell me about their dances and one time got to KC form N KC and an old man came and set by me & called me Winnie and began to talk of the past. So that in itself told me mother lived around there.

Mid March

My dad was a jack of all trades except for his carpentery. In that he was tops. He could heal a headache, backache and aches of all sorts with his hands. He did it only for his family. I don’t know what it was in the census. But he was a barber while we were in Lansing. Had a barber shop of his own till he sold & we went to Plainville on the farm. When we were on the farm there was a hill not far from our hose & dad tunneled into it lined it with straw and stored our spuds, cabbage & spuds etc in it. They kept all winter.

crawford-leon-b1894-1919-wedding-photo2Winnie married Leon Crawford in Dodge City in 1919. When asked about how she got from living with a cousin in North Kansas City to Dodge City, she said she went to Dodge to help Myrtle because Myrtle was having her first baby. (Myrtle was married in Dodge City on 24 Mar 1917. Dorothy, Myrtle’s first child, was born in Feb 1918 in Ford County, Kansas.) When asked about meeting Leon, Winnie said he would come over to Myrtle’s house and the four of them would play cards. Winnie and Leon were married in Myrtle’s living room on Christmas Eve, 1919.

Winnie and Leon lost their 1st child, Betty Jean, on the day she was born in 1921. Six years later, their son Eugene was born. Eleven years after that, their youngest son, LR, was born and she would bury him in 1961.

Winnie was a typical wife and mother for that time period. She raised a garden and canned the produce to help put food on the table. During World War II, Winnie opened a room in their house so that wives of the US Army pilots would have someplace to stay. When the family moved from Avenue G to 2nd street, Winnie continued the practice of renting out rooms. The bedrooms on the second floor were rented to students going to college across the street. When those same students couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving, they would be included at the family table.

Winnie hosted family dinners on a regular basis. She was a good cook and enjoyed baking. Pecan, pumpkin and cherry pies were always part of a holiday meal. Homemade noodles, gum drop cookies, and frozen salad were some of the family favorites. Even when she traveled to Emporia for those holiday dinners, she would bring the pies, the gumdrop cookies and the frozen salad.

green_quiltWinnie was also a quilter. She hand embroidered quilts for her son and granddaughter. Her grandsons also were beneficiaries of one of her quilts. Her green pom-pom quilt was her pride and joy. She created this quilt for their bedroom. This quilt has been repurposed into table runners by her great-granddaughter and shared with the family.

img_3Winnie and her husband, Leon Crawford, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1969. Seven years later, Winnie would sell the family home, move into an apartment and bury her husband.

Winnie later moved to a first floor apartment in the high rise on Central where she tended the flowers on the East side of the building. It was in this apartment that my genealogy journey began. We would sit and discuss my findings, go thru the albums and talk about her life.  I will always treasure my memories of those weekends spent with her.

 

My Military Heroes

In honor of Veterans’ Day this Friday, I would like to honor my ancestor Veterans.

crawford-eugene-b1927-1945-us-navyWhile still in high school, my father, Eugene David Crawford, enlisted in the US. Navy and attended training at the Naval Training Center (EE & RW) in Gulfport, Mississippi and at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Oneida (APA-221) from May 1946 to July 1946. The U.S.S. Oneida was part of Operation Magic Carpet to bring troops home from the Pacific Theater. Eugene received an honorable discharge from the service in August 1946.

crawford-leon-b1894-1917-wwi-portraitEugene’s father, Leon Russel Crawford, began his military service on 26 Apr 1917 in Dodge City, Kansas and was appointed wagoner 2nd class gunner in the 25th A. A. Battery 1st A.A. Sector. Leon’s unit was at the St. Misner 2nd Battle of the Marne from 31 Mar 1918 to 31 May 1918 in France. Later in 1918, his unit was assigned to the outer defense of Paris. On 28 Mar 1919, Leon received an honorable discharge from the service and returned to Dodge City.

None of my great-grandfathers served in the military. However, most of my great-great grandfathers and one great-great-great grandfather served during the War Between the States.

  • Washington Marion Crawford — Sergt in Co. H of the 2nd Regiment New York Calvary Volunteer — better known as the “Harris Light Horse”. Washington Marion was captured on 22 Sep 1863 in Liberty Mills, Virginia and imprisoned at Andersonville and Belle Isle.
  • Richmond Fisk Hammond – began his military service as a private in Company E 17th Illinois Volunteers later joining the 1st Illinois Cavalry Volunteers and Company D in the 14th Regiment Illinois Cavalry. Richmond was captured near Atlanta and taken as a prisoner to Andersonville on 5 Aug 1864.
  • Hiram M. Currey — served in Company B of the 12th Cavalry Regiment of the Kansas State Militia under Captain Samuel Hollister
  • Albert Hutchinson — served as a private in Company D of the 1st Regiment of the Iowa Cavalry Volunteers commanded by Captain Jinks and re-enlisted as a private in Iowa First Calvary Company D
  • Noah Washington Briles — served as a private in Company I, 1st Regiment Iowa Volunteers
  • Alexander Briles (Noah’s father) — served under Captain John Douglas in Company I of the Kansas State Militia
  • James Marshall Ricketts — served in Company K of the 7th Indiana Cavalry
  • George Mentzer — served in Company C of the Twenty-Foruth Massachusetts Infantry

According to my great-grandmother’s (Josie Hammond Crawford) DAR application, her ancestor, Jason Hammond, served as a private in Captain Coon’s Company of Col. J. Well’s Regiment in the Connecticut line. There is some question as to whether this military record is for my ancestor or another Jason Hammond. Thus, my DAR membership is thru his father, Nathaniel Hammond, for giving service to the cause.

Since almost all of my ancestors were in the colonies prior to the revolutionary war, it is likely that many of them served during the revolutionary war. It is even possible that at least one line traces back to loyalists.

It is thru this type of military service that our country was built. May we all pause to honor our military this week.

Tackling the Hirams – Dodge City Bunch

Children of Hiram Miles Currey and Winnie Mae Hutchinson Curreycurry-children

  • Henry Currey – 1893-1906
  • Herbert Miles Currey – 1895-1971
  • Hiram Currey – 1897-1898
  • Myrtle Irene Currey – 1899-1970
  • Mary Lela Currey – 1901-1977
  • Winnie Letha Currey – 1903-1992
  • Earnest Oran Currey – 1906-1979
  • Alma Jean Currey – 1912-1989

At the ages of 18, 14, 12, 10, 7 and 1, these siblings were separated when their mother, Winnie Mae (Hutchinson) Currey died in 1913. According to Winnie Letha (Currey) Crawford, the two youngest, Alma and Earnest, were placed with families while Winnie, Mary and Myrtle were sent to a children’s home.

By 1925, the youngest children,  Earnest and Alma, were  living with their father in Gray County. Myrtle and Winnie had married and were living in Dodge City just to the East of their father. Mary and Joseph Walters were living a bit further west in Finney County. (1925 Kansas State Census)

Herbert does not appear to be living in Western Kansas at the time. By 1930, he is living in Bannock County, Idaho. Since his daughter, Dorothy, was born in 1920 in Utah and his youngest daughter, Ellen, was born in Bear Lake County, Idaho in 1926, it is likely that Herbert and his family were either in Utah or Idaho in 1925. (1930 U.S. Census Bannock County, Idaho)

currykidblog

currey-winnie-b1903-1965-currey-family-reunion-blog

Where’s My Irish?

Today is March 17th – St. Patrick’s day. In honor of the day, I was curious about whether I have Irish ancestry. Since my research hasn’t taken me beyond the borders of North America, I really don’t have any Irish lines identified. According to my Ancestry DNA results, my ethnicity % for Ireland is 3%.

DNA Ethnicityscreenshot from Ancestry.com

Out of curiosity, I decided to do some simple research on my family names using Ancestry’s tool to discover the meaning of a surname. Below are the surnames from my 5 generation pedigree with their probable origins. (chart printed with Family Tree Maker 2014)

surnames 5 gen

Crawford — Scottish, English and Northern IRISH

Foster — English

Hammond – English

Ralston – Scottish

Currey — Scottish or IRISH

Burke — IRISH, English, Norway,or German

Hutchinson – Northern English

Harding – English

Briles – German

Thompson – English

Ricketts – English

Christy – Scottish / Northern IRISH

Mentzer – German

Minnick – IRISH

Wells – English

Crandall – Scottish

According to Forebears, my Crawford line originated in Scotland: “Local. First assumed by the proprietor of the lands and barony of Crawford, in Lanarkshire, Scotland.”

Even though my Ancestry DNA ethnicity is only 3% IRISH, five of the lines from my 5 generation pedigree could be IRISH. Interestingly, I also have 5 Scottish lines but Scottish isn’t listed as an ethnicity.

A little searching of Ancestry forums revealed why my report doesn’t include my Scottish origins:

scottish

So, I’ll find some GREEN to wear today and celebrate my IRISH origins!

Honoring the Veterans in My Family

Anyone who has lived in Emporia, Kansas realizes that Veteran’s Day is a MAJOR holiday. Tomorrow, we take time to honor those who have served and who are serving. Thus, I would like to take a walk thru my family tree to honor my veteran ancestors.

World War II

Crawford-Eugene-b1927-1945-Navy-SailorEugene Crawford

Between 15 Feb 1945 and 1 Aug 1946, Eugene served at the Naval Training Center in Gulfport, Mississippi and at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. He shipped out on the USS Oneida (APA-221) towards the end of the War in the Pacific as seaman 1st class in the U.S. Naval Reserves. He received the Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal.

ESTHERMIEsther Crawford Noll

Esther served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in the European Theater between 1942 and 1945.

BRILEWA2Walter Emery Briles

Walter enlisted in March 1942 in Los Angeles, California serving in the U.S. Army. Walter was discharged in 1944 but re-enlisted in 1946 and served until 1958.

World War I

LEONMILWWILeon Crawford began his military service on 26 April 1917 in Dodge City, Kansas. He was appointed wagoner 2nd class gunner in the 25th AA Battery, 1st AA Sector. Leon was a wagoner at St. Misner 2nd Battle of the Marne from 31 March 1918 to 31 May 1918 in France.

Leon served with others from Dodge City including his brother-in-law Russel Horton and his brother, Marion.

War between the States

richmond fisk hammond MWCRAW

(On Right) Washington Marion Crawford enlisted in Company H of the 2nd Regiment of the New York Calvary Volunteers on 3 August 1861 serving as a sergeant. W. M. Crawford was captured in September 1863 and was imprisoned in Andersonville and Belle Isle. He was paroled on 7 Dec 1864 in Florence, South Carolina.

(On Left) Richmond Fisk Hammond enlisted as a private in Company E 177 Illinois Volunteers on 26 May 1861. He also served in the 1st Illinois Calvary Volunteers and in Company D 14th Regiment Illinois Calvary. Richmond Hammond was captured near Atlanta, Georgia on 5 Aug 1864 and was imprisoned at Andersonville.

Richmond Hammond and Washington Marion Crawford both moved to Dodge City, Kansas after the war. Richmond’s daughter, Josie, married Washington’s son Judson in Dodge City.

Other Civil War Veterans:

Hiram M. Currey served as a private in Company B of the 12th Regiment of the Kansas State Militia in 1864.

Albert Hutchi(n)son began his military service on 1 Sept 1862 in Independence, Iowa. He served as a private in Company D of the 1st Regiment of the Iowa Calvary Volunteers. Albert re-enlisted on 1 Jan 1864 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Noah Washington Briles enlisted on 13 Jun 1861 in Ottumwa, Iowa serving in Company I of the 1st Regiment Iowa Calvary Volunteers. His father, Alexander Briles served in 1864 under Captain John Douglas in Company I of the Kansas State Militia.

James Marshall Ricketts enlisted 11 Sept 1863 in Indianapolis, Indiana serving in Company K of the 7th Indiana Cavalry.

George Mentzer began his military service on 25 Sep 1861 serving in Company C of the 24th Massachusetts Infantry.

Revolutionary War

Nathaniel Hammond served the revolutionary cause by supplying provisions to the soldiers families between 1776 and 1783 in Bolton, Connecticut.

There could easily be other revolutionary war ancestors in my tree. However, I haven’t proven my descent from any of the other known patriots.

Same Name – But Are They the Same Person

After my experience with my James Crawford line, I’m a little hesitant to conclude that two people of the same name are the same person. Proving that I was looking at multiple James Crawford families in Kentucky was relatively easy — most had wills and my ancestor wasn’t in them. Unfortunately, the same is not true for my Hiram Currey line. Not only are there several Hiram Currey’s of the same appropriate age but the name, Hiram, was used across multiple generations.

According to the family bible, my ancestor, Hiram M. Currey was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1835. In the 1840 U.S. Census, there is a Hiram Currey with a male child under 5 (indexed as Hiram Caisy on Ancestry)

Curry1

The Hiram Currey of Peoria Illinois was fairly active politically between 1825 and 1840. (from my Master Genealogy file)

Curry1

This Hiram Currey seems to disappear around 1850. Locating his wife and children in the 1850 census has also been a challenge. So when I find that other researchers have him dying in Miami County, Ohio in 1874, I have to wonder if it is indeed the same person OR if they are two separate individuals. The Hiram Currey who died in 1874 in Ohio is probably the Hiram Currey listed in the 1870 Census for Champaign County, Ohio.

Curry1

Even though this 1870 census is for someone of the same name, the name is the only commonality between the family in Ohio in 1870 and the family in Peoria, Illinois prior to 1850. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to locate the Ohio family in the 1860 U.S. Census or this Hiram Currey in the 1850 U.S. Census.

The age of the Ohio Hiram Currey also bothers me. At age 52, this Hiram Currey seems like he would have been too young to be commissioned as justice of the peace in 1827.

Until I have more proof that these are the same men, I’m going to stick with my original conclusion that they are two separate families and that the Hiram Currey of Peoria (my potential ancestor) disappeared before the 1850 census.

 

Sources:

Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. (NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.Minnesota census schedules for 1870. NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.