William Franklin Wetherall and Laura Belle Beaman
William B. Wetherall's recollection
William B. Wetherall lived in Knoxville, Iowa, with his Wetherall-Beaman grandparents, William F. and Laura Wetherall, while attending grade school in Knoxville from 1917 to 1924. When talking to this writer (his son) in 2010 about the family, he recalled 6 children -- (1) Aunt Sydna, later Wynn, (2) Aunt Belle, later Stone, who had a daughter "Rita", his cousin, (3) Aunt Bertha or "Bert", later Masteller, then Dainty, (4) William Riley, his father, (5) "Uncle Jerry" (see below), who he characterized as "an auto mechanic, bootlegger, and farmer", and (6) "Aunt Alice" (see below), who had married Wilbert or "Bill" Dainty, after an earlier marriage to Bill Evans.
WBW had these names in his head. He'd been closest to Alice because she was still in her teens and living at the Wetherall home in Knoxville when his father, William R., left him to the care of William F. and Laura in 1917. She was also the most familiar to us, his Wetherall family, because we had stayed at the Dainty home in Knoxville, with Alice, Bill, and their children, when going to Iowa in the summer of 1958 for a family reunion. On that trip, we also met Sydna, Bertha, and Bertha's husband John Dainty, Bill Dainty's brother.
Why WBW remembered his cousin "Rita" is not clear. She was born in North Dakota, and was about 3 in 1917 when Bill began living in Knoxville at age 6. She herself was 6 in 1920 when her parents were in Des Moines. WBW lived in Des Moines from 1924 to 1928. By 1925, she and her parents are in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and by 1930, at 17, she is living with them in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. So it is not clear that WBW ever met Rita. I'd never heard him speak of her before 2010.
William Franklin Wetherall (1858-1929)
William F. Wetherall (WFW) was born, raised, and lived his entire life in Marion County, Iowa, first on his father's farm in Washington, then in Knoxville after his father moved there in 1880.
William B. Wetherall (WBW) reported in 2010 that William F. Wetherall (WFW), his paternal grandfather, worked for The Knoxville Journal, a local newspaper, first as a sweeper, later as a collector. WBW said his father, William R. Wetherall (WRW), started working for the paper after graduating from the 8th grade. He said his father became a compositor and did other work at the paper before working at print shops and magazine and newspaper publishers elsewhere in Iowa and Idaho.
WBW's 2010 account of his grandfather's work at the newspaper is consistent with occupations stated on available censuses. The 1880 census shows him as a farmer just before his move to Knoxville, at which point his own father briefly educated a Knoxville newspaper. The 1900 census his as a laborer, and the 1920 states he was a solicitor for newspaper subscriptions.
In 2013, Mary Sue Ryswyk reported that, according to Mary Wells, WBW's younger half-sister through WRW's second marriage, her grandfather "William Franklin Wetherall worked in the newspaper business too. He worked for the Knoxville Express, a democratic paper. The Knoxville Journal was a republican paper."
Whether WFW worked for the Journal or the Express has not yet been confirmed. His father, William Edwin Wetherall (WEW), however, had been an editor for the Journal, not the Express. WEW's obituary appeared in both papers, but the Knoxville Journal gave his obituary considerably more space and clearly stated that he had once been it's editor (see below).
Mary Wells, who was about 6 years old when William F. Wetherall died in 1929, remembered her paternal grandfather as a man with a sense of humor, according to her daughter-in-law, Mary Van Ryswyk (email, 28 August 2013).
One memory Mary has of William Franklin was his love of gardening. She chucked as she told the story of Grandpa planting onions one day while his son, Jerry, daughter Betty Ruth [sic = son Jerry's daughter Betty Ruthe] pulled them up as fast as WF could put them in the ground. When he finally turned around and saw what this 3 year old scamp was doing he laughed and laughed.
Mary, born on 13 October 1922, was 10 months younger than Betty, her first cousin, born on 4 January 1922. Mary, too, would have been about 3 at the time Betty pulled up WFW's onions, apparently in 1925. Betty was then living in Lacona, Iowa, and Mary was living in Des Moines. Possibly both were visiting their grandparents in Knoxville that year and Mary has an early memory of the incident. More likely, though, Mary was retelling a story she later heard from Laura.
WFW raised homing pigeons according to his grandson WBW, my father, and a surviving photograph documents him holding a white dove (see gallery below). He himself smoked a pipe and apparently also taught Laura to smoke one (see gallery under "Laura B. Wetherall" below).
Laura Belle (Beaman) Wetherall
Laura Belle (Beaman) Wetherall spent was born in Iowa and spent her entire life in the state, most of it in Knoxville. Her earliest occupation on record is that of a domestic servant, at age 14, in the household of a Knoxville physician (1880 census). She appears to have completed only 4 years of grade school (1940 census).
I have no statistics on education in late 19th-century Iowa farming communities, but I would guess that most children completed 6 years years of schooling before starting to work in their early teens. Poverty may have forced the Beamans to send Laura out to work, possibly before she was 14.
The 1880 census shows occupations for all people 12 years old and older. The census shows William B. Wetherall's maternal grandfather, "Newton B. Baldwin" (19), living in Jackson County, Kentucky, with his parents and 8 younger siblings. Bascum, his father, and the 3 oldest of his younger brothers (16, 13, 12) are enumerated as laborers, probably in a coal mine. His mother is keeping house.
Laura by all accounts was a lively personality
"Laura Beaman Wetherall loved to dance and laugh and have fun," according to Mary Wells, her granddaughter. "Mary remembers that her husband, James Van Ryswyk, really loved Laura and would dance with her. Laura was always full of fun." (Email, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, 28 August 2013)
William F. and Laura (Beaman) Wetherall had 5 daughters and 2 sons. That 1 of the 7 would die shortly after birth was statistically not unusual at the time, when infant mortality rates were still fairly high. However, that 4 of the 6 surviving Wetherall-Beaman children would marry more than once, three of them after divroces, was unusual.
Only Lena and Jerry would marry only once. Sydna would remarry after her 1st husband died. William R. would remarry after divorcing his 1st wife. And both Bertha and Alice would divorce their 1st husbands and remarry men who were brothers.
William R. was the only Wetherall-Beaman sibling who had children from both of his marriages -- 1 child, William B. Wetherall, with his 1st wife, and 4 children with his 2nd. Sydna had 2 children, and Bertha had 1 child, with their 1st husbands but none with their 2nd. Alice had no children with her 1st husband but 3 with her second. Lena had 1 child, and Jerry, the most productive, had 7.
Sydna, Bertha, and Alice
Synda, the 1st Wetherall-Beaman child, born in 1888, and Bertha, the 3rd child, born in 1892, married Knoxville men with whom they then lived elsewhere. Within 10 years of her 1st marriage, Sydna returned to Knoxville a widow with 2 children, then remarried and remained in Knoxville. Bertha, after divorcing her 1st husband, returned to Knoxville with her child, and also remarried and remained in Knoxville.
Alice, born in 1904 the 7th and last Wetherall-Beaman child, was the only child who would always live in Knoxville. According to her daughter Thayne (Dainty) Ireland, as reported by Mary Sue Ryswyk, "[her 1st husband] Bill Evans was having an affair, Alice found out about it, and her father [William F. Wetherall] told her not to put up with that, so she filed for divorce" (email, 28 November 2013). Alice remarried Wilbert Dainty, the younger brother of Bertha's 2nd husband, John Dainty.
Socially, the three sisters appear to have remained very close (see "Wetherall-Beaman children" gallery below).
William R. Wetherall
William R. Wetherall, born in 1890, the 2nd Wetherall-Beaman child and the 1st of 2 sons, appears to have been happily married to Ida until the birth of William B. Wetherall in 1911. Several months later, Ida was confined to an insane assylum, leaving WRW to care for WBW with the help of first her parents, then his parents, and finally Nellie, his 2nd wife (see "Wetherall-Baldwin-Van Houton" family page for details).
Jerry A. Wetherall
Jerry Alexander Wetherall, the youngest, appears as "Jeremiah" in the 1900 census taken just months after his birth. Though Jerry A. was 9 years younger than his brother William R., they seem to have remained in touch when older. William R.'s children, including my father William B. Wetherall, and Mary (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, remember him as "Uncle Jerry" (see below).
Jerry A. Wetherall and Anna Maye Rodgers
Jerry and Anna had 7 children in the span if 16 years. All 7 are accounted for in the 1940 census, which shows the family living on a rented farm in Liberty in Lucas County, Iowa, and states that they had been living at the same place in 1935.
The 1935 residential data in the 1940 census suggests that Norma and Edna may have been born in Liberty, Lucas County, rather than in Lacona, Warren county.
Jerry Wetherall (40), the head, had completed 8 years of grade school. Anna Maye (40), his wife, had completed 4 years of high school. Occupation wise, he was farming on a farm, and she was doing housework on a farm. Living with them were their daughter Betty Ruthe (18), twin sons Homer E. (13) and Harris E. (13), daughters Norma J. (9) and Edna B. (8), and sons William R. (3) and Jerry J. (2).
Betty had completed 4 years of high school. Homer had completed 1 year of high school, but Harris had completed only 8 years of grade school, suggesting that Homer had jumped a year ahead of Harris, or Harris had fallen a year behind Homer.
Jerry A. Wetherall
In 1941, the year following the census, Jerry A. would die, leaving Anna to raise their 6 youngest children by herself. Jerry was "Uncle Jerry" to his nephew William B. Wetherall (see "Uncle Jerry" below).
Anna Maye (Rodgers) Wetherall
Anna died in Lodi, Wisconsin, but is buried in Knoxville, Iowa, according to the following unsourced 1967 obituary posted on IAGenWeb's Marion County Iowa Obituaries website.
See "Homer Wetherall" below for Homer Wetherall's obituary and particulars about the "air force accident" in which he died.
Bette Ruth (Wetherall) Bishop
Betty Ruthe died in Lacona in Warren County, Iowa, in 2005 according to the following 2 obituaries. The 1st, unsources, was posted in July 2005 on IAGenWeb's Marion County Iowa Obituaries website. The 2nd, attributed to The Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune, an Indianola, Warren County, Iowa newspaper, was posted in July 2013 on IAGenWeb's Warren County Iowa Obituaries website.
Among the 6 Wetherall-Rodgers children who survived Anna Maye in 1967, Roger, Norma, and Harris had died by the time Betty died in 2005, and only 2 would survive Betty -- Edna (Happy) and Jerry (Sandy).
Edna Belle (Wetherall) Gallagher
Edna died in Lodi, Wisconsin, on 10 May 2012. The following obituary of Bette Ruth, dated Sunday, 13 May 2012, was posted on Keysnews.com, the website of The Keys West Citizen.
At the time of this writing, only Jerry "Sandy" Wetherall, the youngest of the Wetherall-Rodgers siblings, survives.
Jeremiah Alexander Wetherall (Uncle Jerry)
Jerry A. Wetherall appears to have been a very versitile man. William B. Wetherall, who called him "Uncle Jerry", characterized him in 2010 as "an auto mechanic, bootlegger, and farmer". WBW, possibly inspired by his liking of Uncle Jerry, named his second son, my brother, Jerry. My brother, too, is "Jerry A.", and he's "Uncle Jerry" to his nephews and nieces, but his middle name, of unknown inspiration, is Alan.
WBW's association with Uncle Jerry's family extended to his children, especially Homer, who visited our family at least once and possibly twice (see below).
"Uncle Jerry" was "Jeremiah P. Wetherall" on the 1900 census, enumerated in Knoxville, Iowa, on 2 June 1900, at which time Jerry was 5 months old. He was "Gerry" on the 1905 Iowa state census, and "Jerry" or "Jerry A." on later censuses.
WBW reported that Jerry's wife was Anna Maye Rodgers. He also identified portraits of three of Jerry's and Anna's children, his 1st cousins, Homer, Norma, and Edna. He recalled that Homer had a twin brother, Harris, and remarked that they were fraternal twins.
Regarding Homer, WBW said he had visited the Wetherall family in San Francisco during WWII while in the Navy. This writer, WOW, has vague memories of a visit from Homer during or shortly after the Korean War, in the early 1950s. Around that time he became an Air Force pilot, and that is how I remember him. Homer would be the most talked about of WBW's Knoxville relatives owing to the manner of his death in 1958 (see below).
Homer and Harris Wetherall
Homer and Harris were "fraternal" twins according to William B. Wetherall, my father, who knew their father as "Uncle Jerry". I do not know whether my father met Harris, but Homer visited our family San Francisco while in the U.S. Navy during World War II, a visit which I don't remember, and once during his service in the U.S. Air Force, which I do remember. Pictures of him, but not of Harris, survive among my father's photographs.
Homer Edward Wetherall (1926-1958)
The following obituary for Homer Wetherall appeared in an unidentified newspaper clipping (copy in family files).
The following 6-page hand-written letter, from Robert A. Mays, Colonel, U.S.A.F., Base Commander of Toul-Rosieres Air Base in France, to Anna M. Wetherall in Lodi, Wisconsin, describes First Lieutenant Homer E. Wetherall's mission with another pilot in a T-33 jet trainer on Monday, 13 October 1958. The plane crashed near Marbache in the same Meurthe-et-Moselle department of the region of Lorraine as the air base. Lorraine is in the northeast of France on its borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. The base was used by American fighter and bomber aircraft during World War II, and was a front-line NATO base for the air forces of both France and the United States during the Cold War.
It is, on the whole, a fairly standard-form condolence letter that required only changes of names, dates, and other such particulars -- which is not to diminish the feelings of those who have to write or read such letters.
Harris Edwin Wetherall (1926-1999
Harris Wetherall, Homer's presumably younger fraternal twin, married Hazel R. Gheri on 2 April 1949, as stated on the headstone they share at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Lodi, Wisconsin. The headstone shows the following inscriptions.
The two linked circles on the cross above the date of their wedding signify that Harris and Hazel will be together forever in Christiandom -- as though to ammend the "until death do us part" clause of their wedding vows.
The "World War Two" marker to the left of Harris's inscription alludes to his service in the Marine Corps during the Second World War. World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945 lists him among those wounded as follows (Wisconsin Wounded, page 52).
WETHERALL, Harris Edwin, Pvt.,
Annetta Alice (Wetherall) Evans and Wilbert A. Dainty
Alice (Wetherall) (Evans) Dainty (Aunt Alice)
William B. Wetherall (WBW) reported to this writer, his son, in 2010, that "Aunt Alice" had been married to Bill Evans before she married Wilbert Dainty. William B. Evans was born around 1900. Wilbert Allen Dainty, aka "Will" or "Bill" according to WBW, was born on 18 July 1902 in Iowa and died on 18 November 1979 in Des Moines, Iowa.
A photograph of Alice in one of the albums she left her daughter Thayne (Dainty) Ireland is captioned "Nettie & Red" -- which led me to think that Alice might have been called "Nettie". But Alice turned out to be "Red" on account of her hair, and "Nettie" was one of her friends.
1920 and 1925 censuses
The 1920 census shows Wilbert A. Dainty (18), single, a coal miner, living with his parents in Knoxville. The same census shows Alice Wetherel [sic = Wetherall) (17), single, a telephone operator, living with her parents in Knoxville.
The 1925 Iowa state census shows Wilber A. [sic = Wilbert A.] (22) still living with his parents in Knoxville. Alice, however, has become Alice A. Evans (21), the wife of Wm. B. Evans (25), and they are living in their household in Knoxville.
The April 1930 census lists Alice as Annetta A. Dainty (26), wife of Wilbert A. Dainty (27), living with Alice's mother, Laur [sic = Laura] B. Wetherall (64), widowed, at 2000 Pleasant Street in Knoxville. Laura was the stated head of household and owned the home, valued at 2,500 dollars. Wilert was a fireman in government service. Alice was a telephone operator in government service.
The 1930 census states that Alice was 19 and Wilbert was 24 when first married. Since Alice was then 26, she would have been born around 1903/4 and first married around 1922/1923. And Wilbert, then 27, would have been born around 1902/1903 and first married around 1926/1927.
In other words, Alice's marriage to Bill Evans must have broken up after only 3 or 4 years. They had no children.
Alice's daughter, Thayne, reportedly said that "Bill Evans was having an affair, Alice found out about it, and her father [William F. Wetheral] told her not to put up with that, so she filed for divorce" (email, Mary Sue Ryswyk, 28 November 2013).
The April 1940 census shows the Daintys living at the same 2000 Pleasant Street address. Wilbert (37) is now the stated head of household and owner of the home. Annetta A. (36) is his wife, they now have a son, Willard D. (6). Laura Wetherall (74) is listed last as Wilbert's "mother" [sic = mother-in-law].
Wilbert had completed the 8th grade, Alice the 1st grade of high school, Willard the 1st grade, and Laura only the 4th grade.
Regarding the level of Laura's formal education, the 1880 census shows her living as a domestic servant with the family of a physician when she was 14 years old (see below).
Alice and Wilbert Dainty had two more children after Willard (1933-2010) -- Thayne (b1940) and David (b1942-1996).
Alice's husband, Wilbert Dainty, a younger brother of John D. Dainty, the oldest son of Daniel David Dainty (1874-1941) and Lucinda Dainty, nee Shirey (1877-1962). Daniel and Lucinda married in Knoxville on 1 September 1894, and they 8 children, including a set of fraternal twins. John was their 1st, and Wilbert was their 3rd, of 5 sons.
Daniel D. was a coal miner (1900 and 1910 censuses) then a truck farmer (1920 and 1930 censuses). His 12 September 1918 draft registration states he was a miner, stout, blue eyes, brown hair, and had lost an arm.
Wilbert Dainty, when 18, also worked in a coal mine (1920 census).
Daniel D.'s father, Daniel Dainty (1825-1897), was an immigrant from England. He naturalized on 16 October 1883 at the circuit court in Henry County, Illinois, while residing in Cambridge, Illinois. Daniel D.'s mother, Sarah Jane Dainty, nee Hixson (b1831, d1910s), was from Ohio, and his parents married in Ohio. Lucinda's father, John Shirey, was born in Indiana, and his mother, Elizabeth Wamsley, was born in Ohio, but they married in Iowa.
Both Daniel D. and Lucinda, though, were born in Iowa, he in Flagler, she in Union, both Marion County towns. They settled in Knoxville, though, also in Marion County, and all of their children were born there.
Sources of photographs
Photographs of the Wetherall-Beaman nuclear family are scarce. Most of the photos shown here are from collections accumulated by my father William B. Wetherall, his half-sister Mary Wells, and his paternal aunt Alice Dainty. A few others come from other descendants of the Wetherall-Beaman family.
Wetherall Family photos
Most of the photographs in my father's collection come from his mother's side, most from his maternal grandmother Ellen Baldwin, his maternal aunt Sadie (Baldwin) Williams, and his maternal 1st cousin Faye (Williams) (Mathews) Rebenstorf. Fewer come from his father's side, mainly from his paternal grandmother Laura (Beaman) Wetherall, his stepmother Nellie (Van Houton) (Wetherall), his paternal aunts Lena Belle (Wetherall) Stone and Alice (Wetherall) Dainty. The scans are mine.
Mary Wells Family photos
Mary (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells (1922-2016) was the oldest and most settled of William B. Wetherall's 4 younger half-siblings. She appears to have received most of the photographs accumulated over the years from her mother, Nellie (Van Houton) Wetherall, who would have received them from Mary's paternal grandmother, Laura (Beaman) Wetherall. Scans of materials in Mary's collection were provided by her daughter-in-law, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk.
Alice Dainty's albums
Alice Dainty, nee Wetherall, the youngest Wetherall-Beaman child, was also the closest to her mother, Laura Wetherall, nee Beaman, with whom she lived after her marriage to Wilbert Dainty in the late 1920s and until Laura's death in the early 1940s.
Alice left 2 photo albums, which are now in the possession of her daughter, Thayne Ireland, a 1st cousin of my father, William B. Wetherall (WBW), and of Mary Wells, WBW's half-sister. Thayne, Mary, and Mary's daughter-in-law Mary Sue Ryswyk, met for lunch at Thayne's home late in November 2013, and Thayne loaned the albums to Mary Sue for scanning.
I do not have physical descriptions of the albums, but I have partical scans of all their pages, which appear to be about 10in x 14in -- two large for a letter-size scanner bed. It seems Album 1 had 10 pages and Album 2 has 30 pages, of black or blackish paper, with photographs on one side of each page. Practically all of the photographs are pasted on the pages, though some are affixed with corner mounts. The pictures in Album 1 are generally older, and those in Album 2 are generally more recent. Some related pictures are grouped together, but many (if not most) appear to be placed with little thought of thematic or temporal organization. Both albums had a few loose, unmounted photographs.
The vast majority of the photographs in the Dainty albums have no writing on them that can be seen. Thayne (born in 1940), and Mary (born in 1922), were unable to recognize all of the people and places. This left the identities of many photographs to the speculation of people like myself and Mary Sue -- and we were no better prepared to recognize people we had never seen and most likely would not have heard of had we been told who they were.
I had crossed paths with Alice, Thayne, Mary, and a few other Iowa relatives for only a few days in 1958. Mary Sue did not become a member of Mary's family until 1972. And neither of us began to seriously consider our respective family histories until rather recently, and had never heard of each other until 2013. Together we managed to figured out who some of the strangers in the photographs either had to be or most likely were, but for the most part our collaboration was tantamount to the blind leading the blind.
I use "the blind leading the blind" with apologies to blind people, who are probably better able than sighted people to lead each other. At least I have never heard of blind people leading each other to war -- never mind that nations seem to go to war because their leaders and nationals are blind to the alternatives.
The quality of scanning varies considerably according to the source. All scans of photos attributed to the Wetherall family are mine. All images attribted to Mary Wells are my compressions or resizings or crops of scans by Mary Sue Van Ryswyk. Most images of photographs from Alice Dainty's albums are my crops of Mary Sue's partial scans of album pages. She scanned most pages in 2 parts, some in 3 parts, merely to show the variety of pictures in the album -- which meant that not all pictures were fully captured. And many that were fully captured appear uneven because they were mounted unevenly.
Bill Farley's images
Bill Farley, in California, is the son-in-law of the late Jean Carroll Beaman (1928–2010), one of several keepers of the widely dispersed Beaman family keys. According to Bill, Jean compiled a large collection of images of Beaman photographs, and he shared with me both tiff and jpg versions of many images of the extended Beaman-Shoemaker family from Jean's collection.
Bill related that "an Elaine Hunter . . . has originals" of many of the images he sent me. He added, however, that he wasn't sure "where she falls in the Beaman tree" (email 29 September 2013).
See Wetherall-Baldwin-Van Houton family page for more about Elaine Hunter.
See also billfarley.net for a look at Bill's achievements, including a forthcoming biography (Spring 2018) of his great-great-granduncle, James A. Murray, an Irish capitalist he calls a "Radical Bonanza King".
William F. Wetherall
1. WFW at back door
2. WFW holding dove
3. WFW on running board
1. WFW may have a small pipe in his mouth. Only the photographer knows where he's been or is going. He's not dressed for yard work, but I'll bet the shovel is covered with his and Laura's fingerprints.
2. William B. Wetherall, who lived with WFW and Laura from 1917-1924, reported in 2010 that his paternal grandfather raised homing pigeons.
3. There are several snapshots of WFW in or around this car with the children behind and wheel and other children, and a few adults.
William F. and Laura B. Wetherall
1. WFW and Laura embracing
2. WFW and Laura sitting on porch
3. WFW and Laura in yard with others
Laura B. Wetherall
1. Laura with brooch (1)
2. Laura with brooch (2)
3. Laura with graying temples
4. Laura wearing glasses
Portrait 1 is printed on a postcard.
Later photos of Laura B. Wetherall
1. Laura waving chicken leg
2. Laura arms akimbo
Laura Wetherall as Pocahontas
The profile portrait to the right shows Laura dressed as an Indian maiden, presumably Pocohontas. Laura was apparently a member of the Degree of Pocahontas, the women's auxiliary of a fraternal organization called the Improved Order of Red Men, aka Redman's Lodge.
The roots of the fraternity go back to secret patriotic organizations founded in the late 18th century before the Revolutionary War. The founders are said to have modeled their democratic principles on those of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Society of Red Men was founded in 1813, after the War of 1812, by several offshoots of the earlier patriotic societies. In 1834 it was renamed the Improved Order of Red Men, and by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were "tribes" in most states of the United States.
The Degree of Pocahontas was organized in 1885 as an affiliate of the Improved Order of Redmen. Its members closely associate with the ideals represented by Pocahontas (1595-1617), the much fabled and romanticized daughter of the chief of a confederation of Algonquian tribes that lived in the eastern reaches of what would become the English colony of Virginia. She is celebrated as having saved the life of John Smith (1580-1631), one of the original Jamestown settlers and leaders, and later is said to have become a Christian and married John Rolfe (1585–1622), who had started a tobacco plantation in the colony.
The portrait is probably related to the initiation ceremony, in which new adoptees are required to wear Indian or "Native American" regalia.
This writer, when a Cub Scout in San Franscisco, was pressed into playing Pocahantas in a skit performed at a Scout-O-Rama at the Cow Palace in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Being small, having black hair and tanning deeply, I appear to have been seen as a natural candidate for the role. My own fascination with Indian lore probably contributed to my enthusiasm. I clearly remember wearing what passed for an Indian buckskin dress and feathered headband. 60-odd years later, today, I may just be imagining being fussed over by my mother, who I believe had the honor of applying the lipstick while the other mothers and my fellow cub scouts laughed.
Laura sitting on the stoop
1. WFW smoking pipe in yard
2. Laura smoking pipe on stoop
3. Laura on stoop with WBW and Nellie (1)
4. Laura on stoop with WBW and Nellie (2)
1. William F. Wetherall (WFW) is making a fashion statement while smoking a pipe, possibly in the yard outside the backdoor of his Knoxville home. There appears to be a themometer on the window frame.
2. Laura B. Wetherall (LBW) is making a political statement while smoking a pipe on the stoop of her home in knoxville.
Mary (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, Laura and William F. Wetherall's granddaughter, related that WFW had taught Laura how to smoke a pipe during the long winter nights. "Of course she wanted no one to know she smoked the pipe so she hid it in her bathrobe pocket and would smoke it while in the bathroom" -- probably the outhouse, added Mary's daughter-in-law, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk (email, 28 August 2013). Yet here she is -- smoking in broad daylight while looking straight into the camera -- in front of at least the cameraman but possibly other witnesses, possibly her grandson and daughter-in-law (see Photographs 13 and 14).
3. 4. These photographs show Laura Wetherall sitting on the same stoop of the same porch as in Photograph 12, with her grandson, my father William B. Wetherall (WBW), and her daughter-in-law, WBW's stepmother, Nellie M. (Van Houton) Wetherall. Laura is wearing the same dress, and her hair is done the same way as in Photograph 12. The laundry in Photograph 12 has either been taken in or not yet been hung out, but the same objects are on the deck of the porch.
WBW was the only son of Laura and WFW's oldest son, William R. Wetherall, and Ida (Baldwin) Wetherall. He lived with his Wetherall grandparents in Knoxville while attending grade school from 1917 to 1924. Ida had been committed to an insane asylum in Idaho since around 1912, and WRW had registered for the draft in 1917 and brought WBW from Idaho to Iowa before he received his orders to report for duty later that year. In 1921, WRW, who was working in Des Moines while WBW was living in Knoxville, remarried Nellie, and their 1st child, Mary Wetherall -- later Van Ryswyk and the Wells -- was born in October 1922.
I am dating Photographs 2, 3, and 4 circa 1921-1922. WBW looks about 2 or 3 years younger than in photographs taken when he was in the 8th grade in 1924. He would live with his father and stepmother from 1924 to 1928 while attending high school in Des Moines.
What's going on these pictures?
My own projection
William F. and Laura Wetherall's children
To date I have found only the following portrait of the Wetherall-Beaman children, which appears to have been taken a couple of years before the birth of the 7th and last child, Jerry.
Wetherall-Beaman children in 1900
William F. and Laura Wetherall had 7 children of whom 6 survived their childhood. By the 1900 census (see below), Laura had had 6 children, 1 of whom -- Georgia -- had died in infancy. All 5 other children at the time posed for the portrait shown to the right (Mary Wells Family photo, compliments of Mary Sue Van Ryswyk).
Standing Sydna, William, Bertha
The portrait was taken by Hartman & Heiny in Knoxville, Iowa, probably around the time of the 1900 census, at which time Jerry, the youngest, who born on 16 December 1899, was 5 months old. Alice, the 7th and last Wetherall-Beaman child, was born in 1904.
Hartman & Heiny
The photographer was Kirk Hartman, aka S.J.K. Hartman, Samuel J. Hartman, and Samuel K. Hartman (1859-1933). Census data shows him living in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1895, but in Knoxville, Iowa, in 1900 (photographer), 1905, and 1910 (optomitrist), and in Carthage, Illinois, in 1920 (photographer) and 1930 (photographer). City directories show that Hartman was a laborer before turning to photography, and that he worked for a number of studies before coming to Knoxville, apparently to open his own studio.
By the time Hartman left Knoxville, he had also established himself as an optometrist, a common co-vocation of photographers. At some point, his wife, Mary Etta, became his assistant.
Heiny is possibly Thomas Heiny, a dry goods dealer in Knoxville. The Hartman-Heiny partnership appears to have been very brief.
S.J.K. Hartman and Mary Hartman, and their son Clifford L. Hartman, are buried in Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville.
Wetherall-Beaman sisters when older
Only 3 of the Wetherall-Beaman children -- Sydna, Bertha, and Alice -- were still alive when the picture to the right was taken in the mid 1950s. The picture shows the sisters -- and Susie Wettlaufer, a Beaman-Shoemaker cousin -- from right to left as follows.
Sydna (Wetherall) (Wynn) Brady (1888-1967)
Susie was a daughter of Magdalene (Beaman) Stoner (1860-1922), Laura (Beaman) Wetherall's older sister. As such she was a 1st cousin of the Wetherall-Beaman sisters. She was only 2 months older than Sydna. A number of photographs of Susie with her husband, Emerson Wettlaufer, are found in Alice Dainty's albums. Susie and Emerson, and an infant child, share the same headstone at Old Woodlawn Cemetery in Pipestone, Pipestone County, Minnesota.
1. William R. and Jerry A. Wetherall
2. Bertha and John Dainty
3. Lena Stone with Blue Star Flag
1. The two brothers, dapper in their suits and vests, hands stuffed in their pockets, could be mistaken for a couple of hoodlums. The picture was probably taken around 1920 or 1921 -- a year or so after William R. Wetherall mustered out of the Army following the World War. He was drafted in the fall of 1917 and discharged in the spring of 1919 after serving a few months in Europe. He was living in Des Moines at the time and was possibly already dating Nellie, who he married in 1921. JAW also married in 1921. WRW is wearing glasses and his hair is still full fairly.
2. 4. These three pictures appear to have been taken a decade later on 2 February 1931. WRW's hair is beginning to thin beneath his fedora. JAW has sprouted a moustache and is sporting dark glasses underneath a very boxy flat-brimmed what? Warren seems to be wearing a boy's bowler and Helen a knit cap. Mary's hair, black like Nellie's, is bobbed in front.
3. The rifle is a bit of mystery. Was it WRW's or JAW's? What "triggered" its "shooting" at that particular place and time? Whoever the owner, WRW seems happy to be holding it. He only a couple of years out of the Army. He served in a field artillery unit, but his basic training would have included familiarization with conventional small arms, in particular the M1903 Springfield, a clip-loading bolt-action .30-06 calibre rifle.
1. Sydna and Earl Brady
2. Bertha and John Dainty
3. Lena Stone with Blue Star Flag
1. The occasion seems to have required that Earl wear a suit and vest. Sydna herself is better dressed than she might have been if only to visit the park with family members. Had they been to church? The identities of the child, and of the less formally dressed young man sitting on the lawn, are unknown. Sydna had 2 daughters, and Earl 1 daughter, from their 1st marriages. Is the young man a son-in-law, and the boy a grandson?
2. This would make a perfect card in a Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which requires that you tell stories about what you see in a series of pictures. Will you see Bertha and John as happily arriving or happily leaving? Will you comment on what might be in bag Bertha is toting? Or on her unzipped boots? Or on John's gloves and what he might be fingering in his right hand?
3. The snapshot of Lena in front of a home with a Blue Star Flag in the window must have been taken between 1942 and 1944. The flag reads "Serving / Our Country". The star represents a son or husband in the military during, in this case, World War II. The United States didn't declare war on Germany and Italy until 11 December 1941, three days after it declared war on Japan. Flags like this would not have been seen until sometime in 1942, and Lena died in November 1944.
Is the Blue Star Flag an intentional or incidental part of the photograph? In other words, was Lena the only object of the shooting, or did she pose so as to include the flag?
Was the picture taken at her home in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin? Or at the home of a Wetherall-Beaman, Wetherall-Hall, or Beaman-Shoemaker relatives? Or of a neighbor or friend?
Wetherall-Beaman men in World War II
Both Wetherall-Beaman sons had died by the time World War II began. As far as I know, none of the husbands of the Wetherall-Beaman daughters served in the military during this war.
However, at least three of William F. and Laura Wetherall's grandsons served.
Wetherall-Beaman sons, sons-in-law, and grandsons
Left to right
At a picnic in Knoxville, Iowa, circa 1935|
(Mary Wells Family photo)
Three generations of Wetherall-Beaman women
Left to right
At the Van Ryswyk home in Carlisle, Iowa, 1961|
(Mary Wells Family photo)
Four generations of Wetherall-Beaman women
Right to left
Rita was living with her parents in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, at the time of the 1930 census, as Rita Stone (17). The 1940 census shows her living in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as Rita Pfister (27), with her husband Gottlieb Pfister (30), a furniture upholsterer, and their (at the time) 4 children, Marcia (6), John R. (4), Wayne (3), and Ronald (7/12). Gottlieb, Rita, and Marcia were living at the same place -- 1008 Superior Avenue, rented, 24 dollars a month -- in 1935. According to the census, Gottlieb and Rita had completed respectively 8 and 7 grades of school.
3 more children -- Faye, Sonya Belle, and James (birth order unconfirmed) -- were born after the 1940 census. Marcia later became Marcia Cook, and Faye became Faye Konen. Wayne died in 2007, preceded in death by Gottlieb, Rita, and John, but survived by Marcia, Faye, Sonya, Ronald, and James.
Possibly in Knoxville around 1934
(Mary Wells Family photo)
Sydna Wetherall's family
1. Marjory Faye (Wynn) Kool (1913-1988)
To be continued.
Lena Wetherall's family
1. Rita Beryl (Stone) (Pfister) Casper (1913-1999)
To be continued.
Jerry Wetherall's family
1. Betty Ruthe (Wetherall) Bishop (1922-2005)
Betty was born, raised, and died in Lacona, Iowa. The above portrait was reportedly taken on 4 July 1934 at a fair in nearby Chariton, Iowa. She was born on 4 January 1922, so she would have been only 12 years 7 months old at the time.
The fair would have been a special occassion, and concessions appear to have included a photography studio. Possibly even a barely pubescent girl would have been allowed to doll up with lipstick and otherwise present herself as a young woman for the commemorative portrait. Or perhaps the received date is wrong.
Did Betty have a choice of background props? Or did everyong sit or stand with their back to the same clamshell? Was "clamshell" lighting also an option?
2. Homer Edward Wetherall (1926-1958)
Homer's portrait is cropped from a "The Badger Studio / Madison, Wis." frame with a class of "43" sticker on it. Whether he graduated from a high school in Madison, or from Lodi High School in Lodi, Wisconsin, about 30 miles from Madison, remains unknown to this writer. The family was living in Iowa at the time of the 1940 census, and Jerry A. died in Lodi in 1941.
3. Harris Edwin Wetherall (1926-1999)
4. Norma J. (Wetherall) Brager (1922-2005)
Norma graduated from Lodi High School in 1948 and is known to have attended Class of 1948's 10-year reunion as Norma Wetherall Brager. This is probably her graduation portrait.
5. Edna Belle (Wetherall) "Happy" Gallagher (1932-2012)
Edna probably graduated from Lodi High School the year after Norma. Presumably this is her graduation portrait.
6. William Roger Wetherall (b c1937, d aft1967-bef2005)
7. Jerry J. Wetherall (b1938 aft 2012, still living in 2012)
Alice Dainty's family
1. The framed portrait of Alice Wetherall shows her as she would probably have looked to her nephew William B. Wetherall in the early 1920s, during the period when he was living with her and her parents -- i.e., his grandparents -- in Knoxville while going to grade school. It may have been taken about the time Alice married Bill Evans, which appears to have around 1923. The portrait is one of the first things one sees when entering the home of Alice's daughter, Thayne Ireland, according the Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, who captured the portrait with her cell phone camera on 13 November 2013 at the time she and her mother-in-law, Mary (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, Thayne's aunt, visited Thayne to look at family photographs.
2. This portrait of Alice, in one of the photo albums Thayne inherited from her mother, was probably taken after Alice divorced Bill Evans and married Wilbert Dainty, hence after 1927, and possibly before Willard was born in 1933.
3. The portrait of the three Dainty children appears to have been taken late in 1943 or early in 1944, as David, who seems to be between 1 and 2 years old in the picture, was born in September 1942.
4. Thayne had just graduated from high school in 1958 at the time of the Wetherall-family reunion in Iowa that summer (see below).
Wilbert Dainty worked in a coal mine for a few years after completing grade school. By the time of the 1930 census, about 3 years after he and Alice married, we had become a fireman.
1958 Iowa reunion
For a few days during the summer of 1958, Alice's nephew, William B. Wetherall (WBW), his wife Orene, and their 3 children, including this writer, stayed with the Daintys and their 3 children at their Knoxville home. I packed the family Kodak and a couple of rolls of 120 monochrome film, and took all of the square black-and-white pictures in the following gallery.
The 1958 reunion provided WBW the first opportunity to see his relatives in Iowa since he graduated from high school in Des Moines in 1928. A younger cousin, Homer Edward Wetherall (1926-1958), a son of his uncle Jeremiah Alexander (Jerry A.) Wetherall, had visited us in San Francisco, but it would be the first time for his aunts, step-mother, half-sisters, and cousins and other relatives to see WBW in about 30 years, and the first time for them to meet his wife and children.
To be continued.
1958 Wetherall family reunion at Dainty home
This photo was taken in the summer of 1958 the day we arrived at the home of Alice and Wilbert Dainty in Knoxville, where we stayed during the Iowa reunion. Alice was William B. Wetherall's aunt. He was raised by her parents, his paternal grandparents, while going to grade school in Knoxville. She was their youngest child, 8 years older than him, and more a big sister than an aunt.
Back row from left to corner of room
1. David Dainty, Alice and Wilbert Dainty's 2nd son, WBW's 1st cousin
Back row from corner of room to right
8. 9. Helen (Wetherall) Morrison, WBW's 2nd half-sister, holding daughter Rae Jeanne Morrison, WBW's nephew
19. Bertha (Wetherall) (Masteller) Dainty, Sydna's 1st younger sister, Alice's 2nd older sister, WBW's paternal aunt
Missing in this picture but present at the gathering
Faye Kool, Sydna's daughter and Mary Margaret's mother
Willard, nearly 10 years older than his siblings and the Wetherall children, spent a lot of his time building a boat in his father's garage. Thayne, a bit older than the Wetherall children, had a boy friend and was not always around. David -- a few months younger than Billy Wetherall (this writer) and a few months older than Jerry Wetherall (this writer's brother), took his 1st cousins to the pool hall in downtown Knoxville.
During the summer of 1958, the family of William B. Wetherall from their home in Grass Valley, California, to Iowa, for the first and last reunion WBW would have with his Wetherall relatives in the state where he was born in 1911, and raised and schooled from 1917 to 1928.
The Grass Valley Wetheralls stayed at the home of WBW's aunt, Alice (Wetherall) Dainty, and her family -- Wilbert, Willard, Thayne, and David -- in Knoxville. 2 of WBW's other surviving aunts -- Alice's sisters, Sydna (Wetherall) Brady and Bertha (Wetherall) Dainty and their families -- and 2 of his 4 siblings, Mary (Wetherall) Van Ryswyk and Helen (Wetherall) Morrison and their families -- also came to the Dainty home the the Grass Valley gang arrived.
This writer took individual or family photographs of everyone who came to the Dainty home that day, using a his trusty Kodak box camera loaded with 120 monochrome film. This round of picture-taking climaxed with a photograph of practically everyone there. . everyone with a 120 . their pictures taken before posing for a photograph that attempted but failed to include everything present in the small Dainty home.
The Van Ryswyks hosted a mid-day dinner at their much larger home in nearby Carlisle two days later. Most people who came to the Dainty home also came to the Van Ryswyk home, where another group photograph was taken (see next).
1958 Wetherall family reunion at Van Ryswyk home
This picture was taken in the summer of 1958 at home of James and Mary Van Ryswyk, located on their dairy farm in Carlisle, Iowa, a short drive from Knoxville where we stayed with the Daintys.
Back row left to right
1. Faye Kool (nee Wynn). Sydna Brady's daughter from 1st marriage, WBW's 1st cousin
Front row left to right
13. Mary Margaret Kool, Faye's daughter, Sydna's granddaughter, WBW's 2nd cousin
Mary Arleen (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells' recollection
In 2013, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, who was helping her husband Robert "Rob" Van Ryswyk care for his mother and her mother-in-law Mary Arleen (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, related to this writer (Billy Wetherall) Mary's recollection of the occasion.
Mary said the "men" meaning the husbands not in the picture were playing horse shoes & wouldn't come for the picture!! . . . The farm was James & Mary's where you had the picnic & picture taken. The dog, Boots, belonged to the Van Ryswyk family. Mary said Uncle Al Kale was always ready to leave about as soon as he arrived -- he was probably bored with the whole day!!
1958 Iowa Reunion gallery
The most significant legacy of the 1958 Iowa reunion -- for me, at the time -- was the boat I would build, inspired by Willard Dainty's construction of a hydroplane in the Dainty garage. Watching him work on the boat, practically everyday during the few days we were there, and imagining him racing it, I immediately wanted to make one myself.
As soon as we returned to Grass Valley, I bought a copy of Popular Mechanics with a special feature on boats. The magazine included plans for my "dream boat" -- a sleek racing craft that I would build from scratch in our garage -- much to my father's concern.
I built the boat with hand tools, using oak for the frame and 1/4-inch plywood for the hull. I had a welder cut and fashion some angle iron into the motor mount, which I bolted to the transom. The same welder fitted a socket to the bottom of each of two Army-surplus jeep jerry cans for fuel lines. The cans were housed in the bow, which had a hole on each side on the top to access the cans.
Bill Shadburne, my next-door neighbor, had a fully-equipped shop in his garage for servicing his two lumber trucks. He loaned me tools for cutting, bending, and flaring copper tubing for the fuel lines, and he taught me how to use the tools to make tight, leak-free joints.
I built a boat trailer with 2x4s fashioned into an A-fame, fitted with rollers and a winch I bought from Montgomery Wards. For wheels I used the front end of a Model A, which I bought for %25 from someone who had used it to build a box trailer many years ago. The trailer had rotted, and the front end, its tie rods welded to hold the wheels straight, was rusting under an oak tree on the owners property on a shady gravel back road in Grass Valley. The tires and tubes were also essentially rotting.
John Phelan, a high and college classmate and friend with whom I shared an interest in electrical engineering among the usual things that distract the attentions of teenage boys, hauled the front end to my home in his father's pick-up, and then helped me clean and grease it and fit new tubes and tires on the rims, secure it to the 2x4 A-frame, and lift the boat onto the trailer.
John had a blue Chevy that ran well enough to need oil and a new fan belt now and then. With a trailer hitch on the back bumper, it would pull the boat to Englebright Dam on the Yuba river many times. The dam, which has a powerhouse, was built in a gorge that local people called the Narrows. We ourselves called that area of the river, including the long lake behind the dam, the Narrows.
The lake had a floating dock with slots for a number of boats. But most local boat owners pulled their boats home after a day of water skiing or a weekend of camping along the narrower reaches of the lake toward the confluence of the North and South forks of the river. The water was sometimes high enough to take the boat some distance up the North Fork, or what was left of it after it was tamed by the New Bullards Bar Reservoir, and then joined by the smaller Middle Fork.
I powered the boat with a shopworn 25-horsepower Sea King outboard motor I bought for a song through the good offices of a neighbor, Dorothy Rhodehamel (1924-2005), who was the bookkeeper for the local Grass Valley outlet of Montgomery Ward -- or "Monkey Ward" as we called it. I replaced the stock propeller with a higher pitch screw, which I bought in San Francisco, that did justice to the boat's racing design.
Higher pitch props expose more surface to the water in the direction they turn, hence give more forward push if the engine is capable of providing the power. And this, like high gear in a car, translates into more speed. And higher speed would allow a boat with a hull like mine to plane on the surface. It thus qualified as a hydroplane, though not of the small compact kind in boat races.
My boat -- which had no name -- had enough power to easily pull a single water skier with little loss in speed. Two skiers created enough drag to notably slow it down, to the point that it didn't easily plane, if it planed at at all. It seated two without much loss in speed, even when pulling a single skier, but three significantly slowed it down.
As I was working in San Francisco during the summers of 1959, 1960, 1961, and 1962, I didn't have a lot of chances to take the boat out. In all the time I had it, I took it maybe ten times, most of the time with John Phelan, but a couple of times with a married couple, for whom I did some baby sitting, whose names I have forgotten. We were sometimes joined by mutual friends, such as Bob Lobecker, a high school and college classmate, and Jana Prestenback, a friend of mine who was in my sister's class at high school.
Proof that it floated
The only pictures I have of the boat on the water are from an outing during the summer of 1960 or 1961, with John Phelan and Jana Prestenback. Jana also lived in Grass Valley, and was still going to high school, while John and I, and Bob Lobecker, were commuting to Sierra College in Auburn. She and I dated a few times during my Sierra years. John, Bob, and I transferred to Berkeley, where we majored in electrical engineering.
Jana also went to Berkeley, where she majored in French, if I recall correctly. She lived with a Northside family, not far from where I lived, that provided her room and board in return for house work occasional baby sitting. Once she had a conflict between a date which she had already made, and a request to baby sit. She talked the couple into letting me baby sit while she went out. That was the sort of friendship we had.
Sometime in 1961, possibly in 1962, John was putting the boat through some "speed trials" to see how sharp he could turn. The had no rudder, only a narrow strip of wood that was less than an inch thick, down the middle of the bottom. It had hard chines, which make it easier for a hull to plane if other design features also favor planing.
As you can see in the photographs, though, the bottom of the hull, near the chines, namely the edge where the bottom meets the sides, is slightly curved. This, too, enhances the ability of the boat to plane, reduces the sort of pounding that would occur if the bottom were entirely flat. But it also allows the boat the slide laterally without catching the water.
This is an advantage when racing, so long as one maintains control of the boat when turning. However, this also means that, in tight, high-speed turns, the keel strip may fail to hold the boat, which instead of just sliding a bit as it turns, will begin to skip sideways, essentially out of control.
One regains control in the same way one recovers from slipping on ice -- by turning the wheel toward the direction of the slipping or sliding, then easing back into the turn at a slower speed. If slipping on ice toward a cliff, however, you need enough room to regain control before going over the edge. In a boat, you need enough room to avoid hitting another boat, or the shore.
There was no one else on the water, but John was a bit too close to shore, and the shore was rocky. The boat skipped sideways onto a rock that was sharp enough to splinter the plywood through the fiberglass with which I had covered the entire hull.
Back home, I cut out the splintered part, covered the hole on the inside with a small piece of the same plywood, plugged the hole with another piece, and re-glassed the damaged part of the bottom. This did the job as far as enabling the boat to float and get up to speed. But it didn't perform quite as well. At high speeds, when the hull gives a bit, the patched part, being a bit stiffer than its un-patched counterpart on the other side, seemed to introduce a little drag on the damaged side, that you could feel at the wheel.
In the summer of 1962, or possibly 1963, I sold the boat and trailer to the younger brother of a classmate. I later heard that, while pulling the trailer to the narrows, he made the sharp turn from the highway to the road leading down to the lake, too fast, and the trailer flipped. I heard that he had just left it there. I never tried to confirm this, however. and have had various dreams of what became of the boat -- whether parts of its might still be scattered in the brush along the road, or whether it was given a proper burial at the dump. I also wonder if anyone recycled the Model A front end, or if it was scrapped at a salvage yard.
The boat was just one of the many things I built when growing up. And in Japan I would build more things, including a cottage-like 4-mat library in the backyard, with American cedar purposed from a neighbor, and cedar shakes and shingles I had shipped from Grass Valley. But the boat also created some friction between me and my father, over the manner in which its construction dominated half of the garage and driveway.
The painting of the interior, and the fiberglassing of the hull, resulted in a few drops of paint and resin falling on the smooth cement of the garage floor and the rougher concrete of the driveway. My father rightfully complained that I didn't always spread newspapers to catch the drips.
Once, when I was in the middle of fiberglassing part of the hull on the driveway, having just mixed a batch of resin, he tried to stop me, and I argued with him. I insisted that the resin had to applied immediately or it would harden. He would buy it, a struggle ensured, and I ended up throwing the resin on him.
Realizing that some of the resin had splashed on his hands and arms, I pulled him over to the sink in the garage to wash it off his skin before it burned and hardened. The only thing I hurt was his feelings. And for years, we would both be reminded of the incident by the resin which had spilled on the driveway and hardened while I was washing his hands and arms. It would stay there until the driveway was seriously cracked during the construction of a propane gas line in the neighborhood, and the gas company re-poured it.
When I built the boat, my father was convinced I was waisting my time and money. He thought I should be studying and saving. Yet later he would brag that "Billy built his own boat" in conversations with friends that centered on the achievements of their children.
The power of water
Another classmate, Ray Jones, built a sailboat. But rivers can be tricky. Several us us, including John and Ray, and Bob Lobecker and Jim Gray and Bill Ramsey, learned this the hard way one afternoon on the Yuba just below Englebright Dam.
A neighbor of mine had given me two military-surplus collapsible row boats he was throwing away -- for a reason, it turned out. Age had weakened the framing and the canvas, but we were certain they would hold up for our purposes -- a short trip down a fairly straight stretch of the river above a bridge. What could go wrong?
The boats, single file, began to take on water, and as we approached the bridge, where the water dropped a bit, we realized we would have to ditch them. The three guys in the first boat maneuvered to the abutment in the shallower part of the river, just off shore, and jumped to the abutment, letting the boat fall over the drop and break up in the water. We in the second boat also angled toward the abutment, but by the time we reached it, our boat was collapsing.
We also realized that the water had eroded some of the concrete of the abutment under the water line, and the current there, which was stronger, began to suck what was left of the second boat into the water. I and another person, being closer to the bow, just made it to the abutment, and were able -- but barely -- to grab the third person, Bill Ramsey, another classmate, as he was being pulled under.
The crystallization of my youth
I invested a lot of myself in the boat. I'd always been a "tinkerer" and "do-it-yourselfer", and the boat introduced me to the world of wood, hard and soft. Every piece had to be fashioned from scratch, using drawings in a magazine, and the only power tool I had was an electric drill. Every piece of wood was hand-sawn and hand-finished. I improvised a lot, and ended up with a boat that looked a bit different from the one in the magazine, but it had the same lines.
I never painted the hull. In many ways, the boat would symbolize my life as a researcher and writer -- so much I have done has never been "completed" or "polished".
Today I think of the boat as the crystallization of my romantic youth. If I turned to astronomy and space exploration as a way to comprehend the enormity of my small existence on earth, I saw bodies of water -- rivers, lakes, and seas -- as frontiers of adventure and fun.
The boat also bonded firm friendships more firmly. Whenever I think of the boat I think of John, who I usually see when I visit California -- Jana, who I haven't seen since Berkeley -- and my dad, who I have seen since he died.
Abiko, 22 December 2017
Chronology of Wetherall-Beaman family through censuses
William Edwin Wetherall and Mary Hall
See the "Chronology of Wetherall-Hall family through censuses" (below) for an overview of census data related to William E. Wetherall (WEW) and Mary A. Hall.
William E. Wetherall
WEW was shot on his way to California during his teens and couldn't countinue the journey. He made his way back to Maryland, and went to college in Pennsylvania, where he met and married Mary Hall. They homesteaded and raised their family on a farm in Iowa. He taught school, served as a county representative in the state legislature during the Civil War, edited a newspaper, and was also a minister and lawyer.
Nothing more is known about WEW's father and not much more is known about his mother. "Wetherland" on the birth certificate is probably an error for "Wetherall". I can find "James Wetherall" and "James Weatherall" but no "James Wetherland" in Maryland. The earliest censuses, however, name only the heads of households and enumerate household members by sex and free or slave status. Hence I am unable to determine if WEW was a member of any of the early "Wetherall" or even "Weatherall" familys of Maryland.
I have, however, collated census data on a few large "Wetherall" and "Weatherall" families in Maryland, just to dramatize the manner in which their memberships were enumerated in terms of free/slave status and age group. The only family in which it is possible to place WEW age-wise is that of a William G. Wetherall. But according to WEW's death certificate, based on information provided by his son WFW, his father's name was James, not William.
See "Slaveholding We(a)theralls in Harford County, Maryland" and "The families of William G. Wetherall in Baltimore, Maryland" below for an analysis of census data related to Maryland Wetheralls.
Mary A. Wetherall
Mary's father, William Hall, seems to have been a captain of a unit of Pennsylvania home guards during the Civil War. He appears to be a descendant of a line of Halls that presumably originated in England and settled in Virginia in the 17th century. See "The family of William, Sarah, Irwin, and Mary Hall in Fayette County, Pennsylvania" below for particulars.
William E. Wetherall and Mary A. Wetherall death certificates
William Edwin Wetherall (WEW) (1834-1924)
William E. Wetherall (WEW) is the first confirmed ancestor of the Wetherall line in the Wetherall-Hardman family. When the first Wetherall in WEW's line migrated to North America -- and whether they migrated from England or Ireland, or from Canada or India, or from elsewhere -- is uncertain. His known timeline is as follows.
1834-06-02 William Edwin Wetherall (WEW) is born in Harford, Maryland. His father's name was apparently William, according to unconfirmed information on unexamined burial records. Both of his parents were also apparently born in Maryland.
1853-1855 WEW attends Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg.
The Pennsylvania College Book. 1832-1882. E.S. Breidenbaugh, Editor. Published for the Alumni of Pennsylvania College (Editor's Preface dated Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, Pa., June, 1882), lists William Edwin Wetherall; f. Baltimore Md. 53-5 J. Philo. under 1852-3 (page 361) in "List of Those Who Left While Members of College Classes, Arranged by year of entrance" in section on "STUDENTS WHO DID NOT GRADUATE" from Pennsylvania College. According to abbreviations (page 336), this translates William Edwin Wetherall; From Baltimore, Maryland; Entered during the collegiate year 1853-1854, and left during the collegiate year 1854-1855, while a member of the Junior class; Member of the Philomathaean Society.
1855-11-08 WEW and Mary Hall are married in Pennsylvania. He appears to have been 21 and she 14.
"In Fayette county, Pennsylvania, Nov. 8, 1855, Mr. Wetherall married Miss Mary Hall, and they came to Knoxville in the following spring, purchasing a farm in Washington township. That winter they removed to Dallas, where Mr. Wetherall taught the school, then in the spring they returned to the farm, which remained their home until 1880, when they removed to Knoxville." (From 1914 obituary. See full text below.)
1856 The 1856 Iowa state census lists" Wm E Wetherall", 22, born in Maryland, and his wife, Mary, 15, born in Pennsylvania, as farming on 120 acres of unimproved land owned by WEW in Washington Township of Marion County. This is the earliest confirmed public record of Wetheralls in WBW's Wetherall-Hardman line. Since the box for their years of residence in the state had been left blank, and because the farm schedule part of the census shows no livestock or agricultural production, it would appear that the young couple had just recently acquired the land and moved there following their marriage the previous year.
Iowa's 1856 census, the first to be taken in all counties, was begun on 3 March and completed on 7 July 1856. WEW and Mary were among the many settlers who migrated to the state during its earliest years of stathood when homesteading was still possible. Iowa had became a state in 1846 and the first state fair was held in 1854. The territory had been the home of the Fox or Meskwaki (of which Iowa has a Federally recognized settlement), and the Sauk and bands of a number of other tribes, including some which had come because of wars and Indian removal actions in other territories, before and after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
1858-02-28 William Franklin Wetherall (WFW), WEW's and Mary's 1st child and 1st son, was born in Washington, Marion County, Iowa.
WEW and Mary would have a total of 4 children, the first 3 of whom would survive.
c1859-1861 Sarah Belle Wetherall (Griffin) born as WEW's and Mary's 2nd child and 1st daughter. Birth order and years of birth unconfirmed.
c1862-1863 Annetta "Nettie" Wetherall (Anderson) born as WEW's and Mary's 3rd child and 2nd daughter. Birth years estimated from ages recorded on census reports.
1862 WEW "represented Marion county in the lower house of the legislature in 1862, during the governorship of the late Samuel J. Kirkwood, Iowa's 'war governor'" according to one 1914 obituary (see full text below). According to another, "he became prominent in Marion county politics, and was elected to the war legislature as a Union democrat serving in the Ninth General Assembly" (see full text below.)
State of Iowa, 1925-26, Official Register (running title "Iowa Official Register 1925-26), Thirty-first Number. Compiled under the direction of Robert Henderson, Superintendent of Printing, By H. N. Whitney, Published by the State of Iowa, Des Moines, inludes on its list of Members of the General Assembly (page 90), Wetherall. W. E. Knoxville Marion R 9-9Ex. This translates "W.E. Wetherall (Name), of Knoxville (P.O. Address), Marion County (Home County), served as a county representative in the House of Representatives of both the 9th Session, convened from 13 January to 8 April 1962, and 9th Extra Session, convened from 3-11 September 1862."
1870 census shows "Witherall William" (36), farmer, with real estate and personal estate valued at respectively 2,500 and 650 dollars. His family includes Mary (28), keeping house, William (12), at home, Belle (10), at home, Annette (8), and Edwin (9/12).
1870 agricultural production schedule By 1870 WEW and Mary have significantly improved the 120 acres of land they had acquired in Washington, Marion County, Iowa, by the 1856 Iowa state census. The non-population agricultural schedule of the 1870 census shows the following status of their farm.
c1872-1874 Edwin Rogers Wetherall born as WEW's and Mary's 4th child and 2nd son. He is said to have died on 26 Apr 1874, apparently during his second year of life, and is reportedly buried in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Knoxville, Iowa. A contributor to Find A Grave claims he was 1 year, 8 months, 15 days old when he died though his date of birth is stated as unknown. If so, then he would have been born around August 1872.
1878-08-29 Sarah Belle marries a man named C.F. Griffin in Marion County, Iowa.
1880 census shows "Witherall William" (49), farmer, Mary (39), wife, keeping house, William (21), son, farmer, and Annetta (18), daughter, house keeper. Edwin Rogers died around 1872 or 1874. Sarah Belle married a man named C.F. Griffin in Marion County, Iowa on 29 August 1878. One of WEW's 1914 obituaries notes that she died in Kansas in 1884.
1880 WEW, Mary, and two of children move from Washington to Knoxville, also in Marion County.
1881 "In the spring of 1881 Mr. Wetherall became editor of The Express. The paper was then owned by the late Drewry Overton. Mr. Wetherall edited the paper very successfully until it was sold, about a year afterward." (From 1914 obituary. See full text below.)
1884 One of WEW's 1914 obituaries notes that his daughter Sarah Belle Griffin died in Kansas in 1884.
1900 June 1900 census shows Wetherall William E, head, white male, born Jun 1834, age 65, married 45 years, father born in Maryland, mother born in Maryland, and Wetherall Mary, wife, white female, born Aug 1841, 58, married 45 years, mother of 4 children of whom 2 survive, father born in Virginia, mother born in Pennsylvania. Both can read, write, and speak English. WEW owns the house free of mortage. His occuppation is described as "Insurance Ag" (followed by what appears to be "LL"). He was unemployed 0 months. No street or house numbers are given.
"LL" is used in abbreviations of law degrees, inlcuding "LL.B." (Bachelor of Laws), "LL.M." (Master of Laws), and "LL.D." (Doctor of Laws)." Does "LL" mean "licensed lawyer"?
1910 April 1910 census shows Wetherall, William E., Father in law, male, white, widowed, 76, born in Maryland, mother and father also born in Maryland, trade or profession described as "own income" but nature of industry unstated. He is listed following Anderson, Wilmer, head, 44, married 29 years, a laborer at odd jobs, Nettie, wife of, 47, married 29 years, mother of 2 children, of which 2 survive, Elieta, daughter, 17, single, salesman, millener, Vesta M., daughter, 10, single, in school.
1914-05-21 William Edwin Wetherall (1834-1914) dies in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa, at the age of 79, at the home of his son, William Franklin Wetherall (1858-1929). He is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville alongside his wife, Mary (Hall) Wetherall (1841-1907), who had died seven years earlier. The couple are buried in Block/Lot 6-41 in the Old Section of the cemetery (see image of latterday tombstone below).
William B. Wetherall was 3 years old at the time of his paternal great grandfather's death. He was living in St. Maries, Idaho, with his mother's family and his father, William Riley Wetherall (1890-1936), who was WFW's son and WEW's grandson, He had a photograph of Nettie but none of WEW or WFW, and in 2010 his memory of what he hard heard about WEW and witnessed or heard about WFW was shakey (see below).
William E. Wetherall obituaries
Two obituaries are known to have been published on the occasion of William E. Wetherall's death in 1914. Both are shown on images of the newspaper pages on which they originally appeared, in a PDF file on WEW's life posted by Historical Society Association of Iowa. The images shown below are my crops of the articles from the HSAI file. The transcriptions and [bracketed] corrections and clarifications are mine.
1914 Knoxville Express obituary
The following obituary was published on the front page of the Wednesday, 27 May 1914 edition of The Knoxville Express, a Knoxville, Iowa newspaper which he once edited. The World War (Great War, World War I) would not begin until 28 July 1914. The "war" during which W. E. Wetherall served as a representative in the Iowa State Legislature was Civil War.
1914 Knoxville Journal obituary
A longer, more interesting obituary was published the following day in the Thursday, 28 May 1914 edition of The Knoxville Journal, another local paper.
Mary A. (Hall) Wetherall
Mary A. Wetherall appears to have been the daughter of William Hall, a Pennsylvania farmer, and Sarah, whose maiden name appears to have been Hanan or Haynan. All that is known about her comes from WEW's obituaries (see above) and the following account of Captain William Hall, who appears to have been her father.
Captain William Hall
The following publication includes a biographical profile of a Captain William Hall, which links his daughter Mary Hall with a William Wetherell, whose profile is similar to that of William Edwin Wetherall.
John W. Jordan and James Hadden
This biographical reference has been reproduced in a number of facsimile editions. It is now also widely available in POD editions as well as in digital scans of library holdings of the original edition.
The following transcription is based on machine copies of pages 632 and 633 in a 1996 reprint edition of Volume II published by Heritage Books, Maryland. The copies were made by Kathy Wetherall during the late 1990s. The text is identical to the text of the original edition scanned by Archive.org. The title in the following extract, and the underscoring and red mark-up, are mine.
William Hall during Civil War
I.R. Hall's descendants, and descendants of his son William B. Hall, are also profiled in considerable detail.
Editor John Woolf Jordan (1840-1921) was a librarian of the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia, and co-editor James Hadden (1845-1923), of Uniontown, in Fayette County, an author of Washington's and Braddock's expeditions through Fayette County, and published a reproduction of Monongahela of Old, or Historical Sketches of Southwestern Pennsylvania to the year 1800 by the historian James Veech (1808-1879), published originally in Pittsburgh in 1858.
The latter publication includes a fascinating overview of Pennsylvania's boundary disputes with Virginia, which centered on the Monongahela valley, and resulted in the creation of Fayette County in Pennsylvania.
WEW's walking stick
William B. Wetherall (WBW) talked about his great grandfather in the course of looking throuh my father's family photographs and other detritus, during my spring visits to Grass Valley in 2010 and 2011. I would not see him again, and family history was the furthest from our minds the several times we talked on the phone before his death in 2013.
Our 2010 and 2011 talks consisted mainly of my asking questions about photographs and other materials, then jotting notes as he answered and commented on whatever came to his minds. At times I would press for more details, or revisit earlier comments in an attempt to clarify them.
WBW was unable to provide birth or death dates for either of his paternal great grandparents. He thought his great grandmother's name was Mary and thought WEB had been from Maryland or Pennsylvania, but he had no idea where they were buried. He assumed their graves were in Knoxville, but he wasn't sure. He had probably once known but forgotten.
However, WBW unequivocally stated that WEW had served in the Iowa state legislature as a representative of Marion County. He produced a cane from his closet, pointing out the WEW initials on the knob. He had no idea when WEW had been a representative, nor did he recall how he himself had come by the cane. He said he believed that WEW had also been a minister and that he might have practiced law. He also said he thought that WEW had once been shot by someone.
This was the extent of WBW's knowledge about the oldest member of his clan as of 2011.
The "cane" -- actually a walking stick -- was the only memento that WBW seemed to possess from his Iowa family. I have no idea how long it had been in his closet. How he received it -- perhaps from his grandfather when he graduated from grade school -- perhaps from his father or grandmother when he graduated from high school -- or perhaps from his Aunt Alice when visiting Iowa in 1958 -- remains a mystery.
The walking stick was a true heirloom. Apparently WBW's other two children were not aware of its existence. Mary (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, WBW's half-sister, said in 2014 that she knew nothing about it. My brother and sister also said that they were unaware of its existence.
Its present whereabouts also remains a mystery.
Possibly WBW himself threw it out when he empited the house in 2012 in preparation for its sale. He hated to part with the house, much less with all the things that filled it -- tangible evidence of his entire life as a husband and father. Yet when it came time to act, he simply got rid of "all this stuff" as he called it -- "stuff, stuff, stuff." He knew he wouldn't be taking any of it with him.
So perhaps WBW simply decided that no one would want the walking stick. He had offerred it to me at the time he showed it to me, and I said to leave it with his other belongings, which included a box of high-school journals, some of which he had helped write and edit. I never anticipated that the walking stick might simply walk away. I'm not even sure what became of the journals. But unlike the journals, and the photographs and a few letters, the stick would not have fit in any of his boxes.
To anyone else, it would be just a stick. Who would want it?
To me, though, it seems a shame that it couldn't have continued strolling through the generations of WEW's descendants.
Aunt Nettie (1862-1947)
Nettie Anderson, formally Annette W. Anderson, nee Wetherall, was the youngest of two sisters of William Franklin Wetherall, and the only sister to survive childhood. The photograph to the right was sent to WFW's grandson, my father, William B. Wetherall, apparently by his 1st cousin Lena (Wetherall) Stone, WBW's paternal aunt, and Nettie's neice.
The photo is described on the back as follows, in what may be Lena's hand.
This is your Great Aunt Nettie Anderson, your Grandpa W's Sister. She is still living at Centerville, Iowa & is very active & spry considering her age. We found her like this with her hair all curled & neat as a pin when we dropped in on her about 10 a.m. two months ago, not having seen her in about 25 yrs.
The woman William B. Wetherall called "Aunt Nettie" was in fact his great aunt, Annette W. (Wetherall) Anderson, the 2nd daughter and 3rd child of William E. and Mary Wetherall, his paternal great grandparents. Born during the Civil War, she would live until 1947, two years after World War II.
The following obituary for Nettie was posted on IAGenWeb's Appanoose Obituaries website. The [bracketed] remarks are mine.
Centerville Daily Iowegian and Citizen
Mrs. Nettie Anderson, 85, passed away at her home at 811 West Van Buren street Tuesday evening, September 9, at 9 p.m. after a long period of Illness. She had been ill for the past two years, but just seriously ill for the past week.
Mrs. Anderson, the daughter of William and Mary Wetherall, was born near Knoxville, Iowa [in 1862]. On December 7, 1880, she was married to Wilmer Anderson. They moved to Centerville 30 years ago, and have made their home in Appanoose county since then. Mrs. Anderson was preceded in death by her husband, who passed away January 22, 1937. Surviving are two daughters, Vesta Mervin Scott, of Moline, Illinois, and Mrs. Elieta Agan, of Des Moines, who has lived here with her mother for the past two years helping care for her, as well as 7 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Her eldest grandson was killed in action during World War II.
Funeral services will be held at 3 o'clock Thursday, September 11, at the Miller Funeral home. Rev. H. E. Trimble will officiate, and burial will be in the Haines cemetery. The body will remain at Millers' until services.
Chronology of Wetherall-Hall family through censuses
Slaveholding We(a)theral(l)s in Harford County, Maryland
The British colony of Maryland became one of the original 13 States of the Union when the United States of America was founded in 1776. Its social history is study in the economics of plantation slavery.
The colony of Maryland was founded by George Calvert, the 1st Lord of Baltimore in the Irish peerage, who hoped to make it a haven for Catholic settlers. The colony was formally established after his death in 1632 when Charles I, the King of England, Ireland, and Scotland, issued a charter intended for George to his son, Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Baron Baltimore in the English peerage, who thus became the 2nd Lord of Baltimore and the 1st Proprietor of the Maryland colony. The propietorship gave him the right to collect taxes, wage war, and establish a colonial nobility, in return for one-fifth of all gold and silver found in colony, which in effect he rented from the crown.
Cecilius Calvert never set foot in Maryland but managed the colony from his residence in North Yorkshire, England, for over four decades. He appointed his younger brother Leonard Calvert the first royal Governor of Maryland. Maryland placenames echo the names of a succession of Calvert and other royal governors, down to Sir Robert Eden, the last such governor down to the time Maryland fell into the hands of revolutionaries and became a state in 1776.
Maryland laws uniquely protected catholics from the sort of religious persecution that was rife in England and its other colonies, dominated by the Anglican Church of England. Catholics held some of the colony's highest offices, and catholics flocked to the colony to avail themselves of its religious tolerance. However, most settlers, including many convicts and felons, were English protestants.
Tobacco production and indentured laborers and slaves
Tobacco was a major but labor-intensive income crop in the northern coastal colonies centering on Virginia, the first colony, and Maryland, the second. During the 17th century, Maryland plantations made abundant use of white indentured labor (non-free whites). Many of the coloney's earlier settlers were indentured servants who remained in bondage until they worked off Atlantic passages, other debts, or sentences.
Some black slaves were also brought to Maryland to work on tobacco plantations or farms. Black slaves became the primary source of plantation labor during the 18th century.
Harford County was created in 1773 from the eastern part of Baltimore County with it's county seat at Bel Air. The county had many large plantations run by slaveholders.
Havre de Grace
Havre de Grace, a town at the mouth of the Susquehanna River at the head of Chesapeake Bay, was incorporated in 1785. Lafayette, when in town during during the Revolutionary War, is supposed to have said it reminded him of the French port of Le Havre, which had once been called Le Havre de Grace.
In 1889, Havre de Grace tied as a candidiate for the site of the capital of the newly founded United States of America with the vicinities of two other towns, Georgetown in Maryland and Alexandria in Virginia, on opposite banks of the Potomac river, which empties into Chesapeake Bay closer to its mouth. The Potomac site won in a tie-breaking vote, and the Virgina and Maryland localities were separated from their states and hence the Union. However, Washington, D.C. was eventually constructed on the Georgetown side of the river, and Alexandria was returned to Virginia.
The town of Havre de Grace was one of several localities for recruting Union colored troops for the Civil War, by which time many free colored persons had also settled in the county and town. Families in Baltimore city also had free colored persons and slaves in their households, and they continued to employ categorically black and/or mulatto servants after the emancipation of slaves in the 1860s.
The families of William G. Wetherall of Baltimore, Maryland
William G. Wetherall (1800-1888), aka William G. Wetherall Sr., was a prominent Baltimore, Maryland iron and steel merchant. He and William Edwin Wetherall (1834-1914) may have been half brothers -- if the following conjectures are correct.
Received history of William G. Wetherall family
William Edwin Wetherall's ancestors remain a mystery. Obituaries state that he was born in Harford County, Maryland, educated in Baltimore, headed west with young friends in 1849, was accidently shot in Kansas, and after recovering made his way back east about two years later, enrolled in Pennsylvania College, and is listed as a member of its freshman class in 1853. He quit his studies mid-way through his junior year in 1855, and married, and he and his wife clearly appear in census records from 1856 in Iowa on uncultivated land they developed into a farm while he taught school, practiced law, and engaged in political activities.
However, the young son of "Wm. Wetherall" of Baltimore in the 1840 census, which appears to link the earlier and later censuses of the 1st and 2nd generations of the William G. Wetherall family, may be William Edwin Wetherall. The connection is hypothetical, but it satisfies what is known about the two William Wetheralls -- who, if the 1840 census is indeed a link -- would be half-brothers.
John Thomas Scharf on William G. Wetherall
The late 1800s and early 1900s witnessed a boom in the publication of thick "who's who" compendia in the guise of local histories. Maryland, being first one of the original American colonies of the British Empire, and later one of the founding States of the Union of the United States of America, was dense steeped recent history and densely populated with people who were proud of their history. It was, in other words, an ideal market for peddling historical publications to local libraries and the families of the "men" who were honored in the books as "representatives" of their communities.
One such book was the following work, which has been scanned in the digital library of Archive.org. The scans are of a copy of the book in the Americana collection of the Library of Congress.
John Thomas Scharf, A.M.
The following history of the William G. Wetherall family is cited verbatim from page 425 in the "Commercial Industries and Manufacturers" section of the book. The titles are as found in the book. The transcription is mine. The portrait and signature of "Wm. G. Wetherall" is my screen capture from an Archive.org scan of Scharf 1881, History of Baltimore City and County, page 425.
Reconstruction of William G. Wetherall's family in 19th century
The following table shows a hypothetical reconstruction of William G. Wetherall's family in census reports for Baltimore, Maryland from 1810 to 1900, sans the 1890 census, which was destroyed in a fire.
The family of William, Sarah, Irwin, and Mary Hall in Fayette County, Pennsylvania
George Washington Beaman and Sidney Shoemaker
Beaman-Shoemaker family in censuses
The 1870 census shows George W. (and Sidney Beaman with Magdalene (Magdaline, not Magdeline) (9), Noah (6), Laura (4), Ida (2), and Clara (3/12) living with George W. and Laura B. Beaman in the town of Union, Warren County, Iowa (Post Office: Sandyville, Iowa).
The 1880 census shows G.W. and Sidny (sic) Beaman with Noah M. (15), Ida F. (12), Clara A. (10), Philip S. Beaman (8), Samuel (6), and Walter (3) living in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa. Magdalene is probably married. Laura (14) is shown as a servant in the home of A.R. Cornell, a Knoxville physician, and his wife and five children, the oldest of which, a son, is also a physician.
The 1895 Iowa state census shows a Etta Hendrix to have been born in Marion County, Iowa.
The 1900 census for Knoxville shows Etta Hendrix (32) as the wife of Sanford Hendrix (50), a carpenter. The couple has been married 5 years. She is said to have been born in February 1868 in Iowa, he in February 1850 in Missouri. A 1905 obituary reporting his death states that they were married on 26 June 1895. He had also been a fireman, and fellow Knoxville Fire Department firemen acted as pall-bearers. Rev. W.E. Wetherall conducted funeral services at the home, Hendrix was buried at Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville.
The 1910 census for Knoxville, Iowa shows George W. Beaman (72) a laborer, and his wife Sydna (72), both 50 years into their first marriage. Synda is said to have had 9 children of which 8 survived. A daughter, Etta Hendrix, 40, widowed, no children, a dress maker, was living with them at 414 First Street.
The 1920 census for Knoxville shows Etta Hendrix living alone at the 414 First Street home as head. G.W. Beaman is shown living with with his daughter Laura and son-in-law Wm. Wetherel (sic), and their daughter Alice and grandson William (Bascom Wetherall), at 2116 at
The 1925 Iowa state census shows Etta Hendrix living alone at the 414 1st home as head. The home is valued at 800 dollars and she owns it free of mortgage.
Some families trees trace G.W. Beaman's line back 7 generations to a Simon Beamon (1655-1711) who is alleged to have been the son of another Simon Beaman (1629–1676) and Alice Young (1640-1708), of Massachusetts, who is supposed to have been the daughter of John Young (1600–1661) and Alice (Stokes) Young (1600-1647), who was hung in Connecticut for practing witchcraft. The connections, though, are very fuzzy.
George Washington Beaman and Sidney Beaman death certificates
George Washington Beaman and the Civil War
Civil War (12 April 1861 to 10 May 1865 Magdalene was born in 1861, the year the Civil War began, and is possibly an antebellum child. Noah Ulysses Beaman, born on 1 April 1864, was clearly a Civil War baby. Laura, born in Feb 1866, was the first of the Beamans' postbellum children.
When I began working on the Beaman line of the Wetherall-Beaman union, following in the footsteps of Mary Sue Ryswyk, whose husband is a 3rd cousin on the Wetherall side of my family, the standard story -- which Mary Sue had heard -- was that George W. Beaman had enlisted in the army for 3 years on 15 August 1862. He was said to have mustered into Company C, 27th Regiment, Iowa Infrantry as a private on 3 October 1862, and to have mustered out as a private on 8 August 1965. He was reported granted 30 days of furlough on 29 July 1863, which suggested that Noah might have been conceived during this furlough. Laura, though, would appear to have been conceived in June or July 1865, when George W. was still in the army.
Civil War lore
The Civil War began on 12 April 1861 and formally ended on 10 May 1865, though shots were fired as late as 22 June. The war is the source of all manner of legends that originate when people researching their family histories equate the name of one of their ancestors with the a name on a roster of a Civil War military unit. Some people see a familiar name in a history of the war, or in a geneaology book or on the Internet, and casually associate the name with their ancestor. Before long, everyone in the family is boasting about the Civil War hero in the family tree.
There is a lot of Beaman family activity on Ancestry.com. And a number of people related to ancestors and descendants of the Wetherall-Beaman line have casually equated "George W. Beaman" the son of Zachariah Beaman with the "George W. Beaman" who served in Company C of the 27th Regiment of the Iowa Infantry Volunteers, which fought on the side of Union forces against Confederate forces during the Civil War. But several contraditions force a rejection of this equation.
Skepticism goes a long way
When doing genealogy research, one has to doubt all identifications not based on 1st person accounts and/or documents -- preferably witnesses and other informants with excellent memories, and multiple, independent documents -- the more of both the better, for primary witnesses and documents may also be flawed.
The odds of two men having the same name are not especially low. But the odds that two men of the same name were born on the same day are lower, and the chances that they were from the same state, much less the same town, are lower still.
I was trying to make sense out of the information I had received about George W. Beaman's civilwar service -- not just any George W. Beaman, but the George W. Beaman who was doubtlessly an ancestor of the Wetherall-Beaman family.
And I examined the various documents that some people were citing as "proof" of his Civil War service as a member of the fabled 27th Iowa Regiment. I was finding conflicts in details.
Images of copied (not original) information about his service state he was born in Monroeville, Ohio -- which is a long way from Ellettsville, Indiana where he first appears in 1850 census records. And all later census records showed him to have been born in Indiana.
He was said to have enlisted in Independence, Iowa in 1862. But his family settled in Warren County around 1856. And shortly after that he married. And the 1860 census shows him in Panora, Guthrie County -- even further from Independence than Union.
The birth of Noah appears to follow roughly about the right time after his 30-day furlough -- but it's a very short gestation -- no longer than 8 months. Morever, Laura is born at a time when she would have to have been conceived a few months before he was discharged -- during which period there is no record of him taking leave or going AWOL.
There are many ways to explain this scenario. George W. could have been stationed close to wherever Sidney was living. Or she may have moved in order to live close to where he was stationed. But families generally waited for their menfolk in service to come home. Besides, there was a war going on, and it would have taken both money and a strong sense of independence for Sidney to follow his unit around. And I have no idea what his unit was actually doing. A better explanation for the received scenario would be that the children Sidney bore during Geroge W.'s absence weren't his. But there are no rumors of disloyalty. Besides which, the children bear a resemblance to G.W. as well as to Sidney.
In any event, the received information did not explain itself. While George W. Beaman in the Wetherall-Beaman line may well have served in the war -- and there is some testimony to his talk about the war -- he might not have been the "George W. Beaman" on the 27th Iowa Regiment roster.
At this point I began to seriously snoop around.
There were many, many "George W. Beamans" in the Civil War. Most are easily eliminated as candidates for the "George W. Beaman" in the Wetherall-Beaman line.
I kept searching. And eventually I stumbled across the following analysis by a 27th Iowa researcher named Elaine Johnson.
See Notes for the men of Company C, 27th Iowa by Elaine Johnson, posted on the "RootsWeb" server of "Ancestry.com" for the full report.
The first thing that struck me about Johnson's report is that she had noticed the same contradictions regarding George W. Beaman's alleged place of birth and where he had enlisted. She, though, was motivated to plunge into the available records and pursue the trail of documents to show beyond doubt that the George Washington Beaman in the Wetherall-Beaman line, whose father was Zachariah Beaman, could not have been the George Washington Beaman in the fabled 27th Iowa.
Johnson's analysis is very convincing. She finds the dots and connects them -- for a different George W. Beaman. Most impressive, though, is her attitude toward research -- never take "apparent" identities for granted. Here the research involves genealogy, but the same attitude applies to all fields of enquiry.
Sidney (Shoemaker) Beaman
Sidney was the next to last of over ten children. Her father, Simon Shoemaker, was born on on 27 August 1796 in Rockingham, Virginia. Her mother, Magdalina Miller, was born in Pennsylvania in May 1798. They married in Highland, Ohio, on 30 August 1819. Magdalina [Magdaline, Magdalene] died on 12 October 1867, and Simon died on 3 January 1870, both in Pleasantville, where they had settled after migrating from Ohio to Pleasant Grove (later Pleasantville) in the early 1850s.
The 1850 census shows the family residing in Mifflin in Pike County, Ohio. The household consists of "Simon Shomaker" [sic = Shoemaker] (53), born in Virgina, his wife Magdaline (52), and their children Maria (24), Daniel (21), Saloma (17), Noah (14), Enos (12), Sidney (10), and Thos (5).
By the 1856 Iowa census they are living in Pleasant Grove in Marion County, Iowa. the youngest. By then the household has shrunk to Simon Shoemaker (58), Magdaline (58), and 5 children, Saloma (21), Noah (19), Enos (17), Sidney (16), and Thomas (14).
By the 1860 census Sidney has married George W. Beaman, which left in Pleasant Grove only Simon Shoemaker (62), Magdalene (62), Saloma (26), Noah (24), Enos (22), and Thomas (18).
To be continued.
George Washington and Sidney Beaman and their children
Etta (Ida Floretta Beaman) Hendrix (b1868)
All children are different from birth and grow up differently. And no child's future can be predicted. But the odds are high that at least one child in every family will have an unusual future -- a future with multiple marriages followed by multiple separations whether through death or divorce, multiple achievements or failures, multipe tragedies, multiple strokes of very good fortune, or a life of adventures that most people only dread, or dream of, having. Etta Beaman would be the unusual child of the Beaman-Shoemaker family.
Etta was born Ida Floretta, but she is "Etta" in all censuses except the 1915 Iowa state census, which has her as "Ida F." She married a man named Hendrix, who left her a young widow, and later married a man named Fee, and her death certificate shows her as Ida Floretta Fee
Her husband, Sanford Hendrix, left her a widow in 1907. The following unsourced obituary was posted on IAGenWeb's Marion County Iowa Obituaries website.
W.E. Wetherall, William Edwin Wetherall, was my great-great-grandfather. As the father of William Franklin Wetherall, who was Etta's sister Laura's husband and Etta's brother-in-law, WEW was Etta's "uncle-in-law". WEW, who among other professions was a Christian minister, is mentioned as the funeral conductor in many Knoxville obituaries.
Etta died in Knoxville on 20 September 1935 of "acute myocarditis" as the principal cause of death with "cerebral hemorrhage c hemiplegia" as a contributing cause. Laura signed the certificate as its informant.
Chronology of Beaman-Shoemaker family through censuses