Birthday Celebrations

Taking a bath at Grandma and Grandpa’s house – Hotchkiss, Colorado

According to my mama, I was supposed to be a June baby with a due date somewhere between the 25th through the 30th. But since I was destined to be a stubborn one, I decided to wait and then wait some more. As the month of June crept by and as July opened its doors, my grandmother, Elva Bryant Allen, and my father began teasing one another that I would be born on their prospective birthdays: my father’s birthday was the eighth while my grandmother’s was the tenth. My mother, being equally stubborn, decided that I would be born on the fourth, so that I would be an Independence Day baby. And just like that, I was born on July 4, 1961 at Ft Lewis, Seattle, Washington. Since I was an army brat, my mom only had to pay for her meals. This little firecracker cost a measly $7.50. As a child when I was told that I was their cheapest baby, I cried!  Continue reading “Birthday Celebrations”

Finding Annie Part Two

The town of Cherryvale was nestled among the gentle sloping hills of southeastern Kansas. The town was aptly named for wild cherry trees bloomed every spring and an outpouring of wildflowers graced the landscape. By 1886, the railroad boom provided an atmosphere of adventure as this town began growing. The St. Louis-San Francisco Railway along with the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway had laid its tracks into this upcoming hamlet. Many businesses flourished and helped establish this developing area. Cherryvale had its own privately owned fire station. The town had six different brick factories; so many streets, sidewalks and buildings were built from sun-dried bricks. The city made use of the natural gas from the oil fields, for it was an inexpensive source of fuel. Electric streetcars ran the course of Main Street and provided access to the local  businesses. Cherryvale had a bank, churches, and a school. This growing community boasted three newspapers, The Herald and the Cherryvale Torch, and the Cherryvale Republican. It even had its very own opera house. The population had grown to about 2400, and life flourished in Cherryvale. 

Continue reading “Finding Annie Part Two”

Finding Annie – Part One


The camera only captured a glimpse of her…

Since I began researching my family tree, one great grandmother has eluded me. This great grandmother, Anna Strassburg, has initiated many restless nights as I have tried exploring her life. She has haunted me as I have searched record after record and web site after website. I have always wanted to learn more about her, but for a long time, it appeared that Annie just vanished. Once she left her home in Cherryvale, Kansas and arrived in Colorado, all trails ended in Gunnison.  Continue reading “Finding Annie – Part One”

The King’s Daughters

The arrival of the Brides by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

As she stood on the ship’s deck, the wind tugged at her hair, pulling it free from the combs and pins that tried to keep rebellious strands in place. She viewed the harbor and the lands before her. The beating of her heart quickened as she thought about the strange new life that waited for her. She could hardly imagine what secrets this new land presented; where would she live? What would her new life offer? Mostly, she wondered about her future husband, and her bewilderment consumed her. Continue reading “The King’s Daughters”

Crossing Paths with Anne Bradstreet

Painting of Anne Dudley Bradstreet by LaDonna Gulley Warrick

“I am obnoxious to each carping tongue Who says my hand a needle better fits, A Poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong, For such despite they cast on Female wits.”

                                         -Anne Bradstreet

Traditionally, the role of a woman in American society has never really been an easy one. Too many requests from an outside world have continued to demand our attention, time, and energy. Out-dated traditions and norms have still generated tension as customs try to manipulate and shame the strongest of women. Throughout history, women have struggled in this balancing act of managing love, family, beliefs, and work, whether they work in the home or out of the home, or more realistically and to the point, juggle both. Still, women have fashioned ways to stay grounded as they uphold responsibilities while finding ways to carve out time for their own creative undertakings. So, imagine my surprise and my delight when I discovered that one of my grandmothers was a strong woman of faith and a feminist in her own right who followed her dreams despite the societal and man-made religious mandates of her time. Although Anne Bradstreet lived in a Puritan society that strictly monitored the life of a woman, she still found the courage to write her poetry and share her spiritual insights and musings of a mother, wife, and a believer that lived in a strange new world.  Continue reading “Crossing Paths with Anne Bradstreet”

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition

My writing challenge for the year stems from  this challenge by Amy Crow Johnson.  Several months ago, I came across her family history site, No Story Too Small.

Although the challenge took place two years ago, I decided to follow the selections for this upcoming year.  I am excited!  Letting the writing begin!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks:  2015 Edition

Christmas Joy? Bah Humbug! (21 Dec 2016)

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January 2017

1.  Fresh Start ~ Crossing Paths with Anne Bradstreet  (1 Jan 2017)

2.  King ~ The King’s Daughters (6 Jan 2017)

Filles du Roi (6 Jan 2017)

Chrétien, Madeleine  Madeleine Chrétien: Filles du Roi

Damise, Claude  Claude Damise: Filles du Roi

Deshays, Marie  Marie Deshays: Filles du Roi

Faucheaux, Jeanne    Jeanne Faucheaux: Filles du Roi

Fressel, Jeanne  Jeanne Fressel: Filles du Roi

Lagou, Marie-Anne  Marie Anne Lagou: Filles du Roi    Marie Anne Lagou: A New Life in New France

Moisan, Francoise  Francoise Moisan: Filles du Roi

Peuvrier, Marguerite  Marguerit Peuvrier: Filles du Roi

Pillard, Catherine  Catherine Pillard: Filles du Roi

Prat, Claud  Claud Prat:  Filles du Roi

Toussaint, Jeanne  Jeanne Toussaint: Filles du Roi

3.  Tough Women ~ Finding Annie – Part One (12 Jan 2017)

4. Ploughing Through ~ Finding Annie ~ Part 2 (21 Jan 2017)

5. Closest to Your Birthday ~ Birthday Celebrations (24 Jan 2017)

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February 2017

6. So Far Away ~ My Seafaring Grandfather ~ John Gallup (10 Feb 2017)

7. Love ~ Grandma’s Cottage (11 Feb 2017)

8. Good Deeds ~ General James Cudworth: A Man of Conviction  (20 Feb)

9.  Close to Home and Close to my Heart (25 Feb 2017)

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March 2017

10.  Stormy Weather ~ One for the Road  (10 Mar 2017)

11.  Luck of the Irish ~ Out of Nowhere (10 Mar 2017)

12 Same ~ Marie Anne Lagou:  A New Life in New France  (27 Mar 2017)

13. Different ~ Denial  (1 Apr 2017)

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April 2017

14. Favorite Photo ~ Favorite Family Photos  (1 Apr 2017)

15. How do you Spell That? ~ Le What?  (7 Apr 2017)

16. Live Long ~ Mary Buzzard Hupp: Colonial Wife and Mother   (23 Apr 2017)

17. Prosper ~ And to Think, it all Started with a Mouse!  (25 Apr 2017)

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May 2017

18.  Where There’s a Will ~ Heroine of Buffalo Creek Valley: Anne Rowe Hupp  (13 May 2017)

19.  There’s a Way ~ The Road to Freedom: Abolitionists, Levi and Catharine Coffin  (25 May 2017)

20. Black Sheep ~ The Preacher’s Son (5 June 2017)

21.  Military ~ Heroes and Patriots

22. New Beginnings ~ New Beginnings: Hamtramck, Michigan (9 June 2017)

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June 2017

23.  Wedding  ~ Wedding Bells   (10 Jun 2017)

24.  Heirloom ~ The Elf on the Shelf  (14 Jun 2017)

25. The Old Homestead ~ No Place Like Home (16 June 2017)

26. Halfway ~ Elva Marie Bryant Allen: Grandma’s Timeline  (17 Jun 2017)

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July 2017

227.  Independent ~ The Adventures of Philip Hupp  (25 June 2017)

28.  Road Trip ~ The UnExpected Road Trip: Birthday Surprise Party  (4 Aug 2017)

29.  Musical ~ Sweet Sounds  (19 Apr 2017)

30.  Challenging ~  Elva Marie Bryant Allen: Grandma’s Timeline  (17 Jun 2017; Updated 6 Jul 2017)

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August 2017

31.  Easy ~ Uncle Walter  (24 Sept 2017)

32.  32 ~ Clarissa Amelia  (23 Sept 2017)

33.  In place of Defective, Dependent & Delinquent ~ The Mysterious Tombstone  (1 Aug 2017)

34.  In place of Non-Population ~ The Toothbrush (1 Aug 2017)

35.  School Days ~ Anything But Math!  (8 Oct 2017)

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36.   Working for a Living ~ Motherhood — All for Family  (26 Nov 2017)

37.  Large Family ~ Yours, Mine and Ours — 20 Kids!  (15 Oct 2017)

38. Favorite Place ~ Finding my Way Home  (22 Oct 2017)

39.  Unusual ~ The Ghost on Lincoln Avenue (29 Oct 2017)

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40.  October ~ in place of ~ Crossing a River (19 Jan 2018)

41.  Colorful Ancestor ~  Our Little Terror  (24 Oct 2017)

42  Proud. ~ A Man of Character (8 Nov 2017)

43  Oops ~ Rest in Peace Grandma Rebecca: When Research Goes Awry  (22 Oct. 2017)

44. Frightening ~ The Haunting of Salem (27 Oct 2017)

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45.  Free ~ The Ghost on Lincoln Avenue  (29 Oct 2017

46. Changes ~ Singing With Mama (10 Nov 2017)

47.  Sporting ~ Partners In Crime  (7 Dec 2017)

48. Thankful ~ My Daughter, My Blessing  (21 Nov 2017)

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342 magnolia streetpasadena, ca 91105-2 copy

49. Holidays ~ Santa’s Blunder  (7 Dec 2017)

50.  Naughty ~ Confessions of a Imp (23 Nov 2017)

51.  Nice ~ David’s Gift  (24 Dec 2017)

52.  Resolution ~ My Tales — A Writing Challenge to Preserve Family Memories

53.  Looking Back: A Review of 2017

Photo by Andres Iga on Unsplash