Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Past

Of course, I had grand ideas of collecting all kinds of family stories of Christmas traditions past....and no one particularly wanted to "play". Oh well, the holidays are fraught and people are busy. So I'll offer you a few things I do have. First is Bunny Tapply's Santa, which stood every year on her mantle. This has great sentimental value to the Charlie Tapply branch of the family.

Holly Jones did offer a couple of family pictures from the Beryl Tapply Jones branch of the family.

First the Jones clan in 1960. That's Holly in the middle in the blue sweater.
Next, you can see Beryl with all her family around her in 1970. That's Holly, I believe, in the white sweater behind her father.

I was challenged to find a good group photo of my family. (Dad was usually the photographer) I did find this gem from 1955 when I was still an "only" of about 3 and had just received my first tricycle. That's Prim Tapply Rogers looking much younger than I ever remember her! (That chair still sits in my house)

I've had an interesting year in my family history research. I've reconnected with an older member from my Smith branch and discovered a whole new set of cousins from the Cooke side in Ireland. I've added to the ancient and living branches of my tree and I make new discoveries all the time.
This is a wonderful adventure and I invite you to follow me into the new year. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lil' Punkins for a Throwback Thursday

Melissa, Melanie and Holly Jones on the steps in Lunenburg some time in the late 50's. For my cousins, here's how we are related.
Another cute picture from the Tapply cousins and very timely.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Nostalgic Look Back

From the left: Cindy Tapply Letarte, Susan Tapply Ingraham, William R Tapply Jr. and Joyce Tapply Bingham
To me, this photo looks like it ought to be a promotional photo for a classic TV sitcom. It's just such a nostalgic photo of a particular time. These are my Tapply cousins about 1960. The race car looks like something straight out of  "The Little Rascals".

Susan Tapply Ingraham explains that her grandfather Charles built a small subdivision of homes on Maple Parkway in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. Maple Parkway was on a small hill, so perfect for a race car in the summer or a sled in the winter. Here's what Susan was able to tell me about the photo:

"Some of the homes were built by Grandpa Charles and I think he named the road. Uncle Chuck, Charles Jr. built some. Uncle Bob, Charles's son raised his family there also. It was a wonderful neighborhood where all the boys would build their carts and race down the hill. We had huge games of capture the flag in the woods behind the houses and also went sledding on what is now Walmart Mountain. The Ruggles family, four boys, would hold Jimmy Fund fairs and the entire neighborhood would become involved. We had wonderful memories in that neighborhood that Grandpa Charlie began. Uncle Bob's daughter, Launa, still lives there. She has carried on the Tapply construction creativity in her remodeled childhood home" (The Jimmie Fund is a charity that raises money to fight pediatric cancer)

Mark Tapply added that the race car was built by his father, Chuck and by Robert Tapply's son, Buzz.
For those trying to keep score with all the Tapply names, here's a greatly simplified chart for the names in this post:

I love photos that evoke a certain period and this one really does!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Tale of Charles Tapply- More Evidence Surfaces.

The uniform of a sapper with the Royal Engineers
This is the dress uniform of the Royal Engineers for a sapper. A sapper was responsible for building and repairing roads and laying and clearing mines. This was the future that stretched ahead for Charles Tapply in 1880 as he served with his unit at Chatham.  I found this information on the Royal Engineers: "The Royal Engineers were the corps most affected by technological advance. In addition to their traditional duties of fortification, road- and bridge-building, they also became responsible for the operation of field telegraphs, the construction and operation of railways, and even the provision of balloons that provided observers with a "bird's-eye" view of enemy positions."
The First Boer War was in progress and Charles was as likely as not to end up in South Africa. He was 23 years old. He had a wife and a child and a baby on the way. Had he volunteered or was he conscripted? Who knows? Facing the prospect of several years of hard service, he "did a bunk".

How do I know all this? Well, I was lucky enough to win a photo-captioning contest on the Ancestry FB page and won access to The Fold and  Most of the records are "premium" and there's arm-twisting to pay for a better membership, but I did manage to grab a couple of things.

First is the notice of deserters that appeared in the Police Gazette.

The listing here gives us a lot of useful information. He was serving with the Royal Engineers. We know this is our Charles because it names his hometown as Maidstone and his occupation as painter. It gives a physical description of black hair, blue eyes and dark complexion with a mark on the left arm. And it states that he had disappeared from Chatham. Chatham is in the far eastern part of Kent.
The next document is the record of his court-martial. I don't see a year at the top of the page, but I'm assuming that after the notice in the gazette with no result, they proceeded with a court martial in January of 1881.  

We also know that since Daisy was born in February of 1881, Charles stuck around through June or July of 1880.  The census in Maidstone 1881 shows Ellen and the two girls living with Charles' parents. From what I can find out, the census back then was taken in April, May or June.
My guess is the Charles hid out in the area until he could find passage to the U.S., but we don't know when or how he actually left.
Here again is the passenger list with "Mrs. Tapply", Annie and Daisy. No Charles.
And here is the "header page" for the passenger list, which tells us they arrived June 17, 1881 in New York from London. As I talked about in a previous post, it would have been Castle Island. No trace of Charles under an alias, so he came by other means.
Here's a rather charming stamp representation of the steamship Bolivia. I doubt traveling alone in steerage with an infant and a three-year-old was charming.

What do we know now? Well the "Grandpa deserted from the British Army" story is definite. The records are all there. If he really was on the run, then the chances of finding his name on any passenger list are slim.  I was bowled over to find his name on those two lists for the British Army even though that service was considerably less than distinguished. At this distance in time and place, it simply adds a little "spice" to his story.

Monday, August 14, 2017

W.B. Rogers..Fall of 1862

Aquia Creek - the quartermasters offices
From what I can figure out, it was Aquia Creek where the mail and packages came to for the troops in Maryland and Virginia. W. B. mentions this place by name in a few of his letters. I also found an identity for one of the names he mentions: Stephen. This is his cousin Stephen Nye Hubbard, who was also in the 36th Massachusetts, Company G. He is listed as a "wagoner", which means it was Stephen who would be going back and forth to Aquia Creek.

Camp Forbes         Pleasant Valley   Maryland     Saturday Oct 25/62

Dear Wife
I will try and write a few more lines. I have not received a letter for the last three mails and I begin to feel lonely. I have been waiting for that box before I wrote again but it has not arrived yet. I begin to feel the need of my mittens and shirts. We begin to have cold frosty nights. It is quite warm again today. it has been very pleasant most of the time. We have been in the camp almost three weeks with the exception of our excursion to Frederick but don’t suppose we shall stay much longer. The troops are collecting fast around this vicinity and they say the rebel camp is in sight of Harper’s Ferry and perhaps this is a calm before a great storm. If it must come the quicker the better. I hope this state of affairs won’t remain a great while longer but the Lord only knows. The men seem to be loseing their confidence and patriotism and don’t care how the thing is settled if the war will only end and they can get home. I should like to get home as well as anyone and I don’t boast of any more courage or patriotism than the other folke but I do want to see slavery receive its death blow before I come home and have the war end so that it will stay ended but I believe God will bring good out of this strife as I have ever believed if I had my hopes in man alone I could not endure it at all.
Oh dear Wife all my earthly treasures are at home. You are of more value than your weight in gold. Oh how I long for the time to come that I shall be permitted to come home and see those dear ones that I know are ready to receive me with open arms. I feel that I have thrown a great responsibility upon you, but I pray that God will sustain you and give you strength to bear your burdens and may we be permitted to spend a few more happy days on earth with our little ones but the future is all uncertain wherever we are. My health has been very good and I have gained eight or ten pounds. The boys all say how you fat up. Calvin has come back with us again. He got sick of teaming but Stephen has gone into an ammunition train. There is some sickness in our regiment. Our Captain is quite sick. They thought he was dieing last night. George Davis is very well. Calvin cheeks tick out like a squirrel but when we begin to march again it will take off our flesh. We have just received orders to be ready to march tomorrow morning so you see we have no Sabbath but can pray to our father in Heaven while we are on the march. We have a prayer in our little tent each night. I used to read in my testament before I layed down and George and Stephen want I should lead in prayer which I was very glad to do but it is not my own little family circle.
My love to Dear Mother and Brothers and Sisters. Write as often as you can. Tell Eugene to write again and I will print him another letter as soon as I get time. Kiss little Ned for me forty times a day.
I must draw my letter close. You wanted I should number my letters but I don’t know how many I have written to you.
Oh you spoke of sending a lock of baby’s hair. I did not find as it was in the evening and opened the letter and read it through before I saw that line. I hunted my nest all over but I could not find it. Please send me another.
Good Bye Dear Wife.
God bless you.

W.B. Rogers
You'll notice that he mentions that Stephen went into the ammunition train. This was a very dangerous job.
An ammunition convoy
With that clear lettering, they were sitting ducks.

Camp Forbes Near Lovette Village Virginia                Oct 28/62
Dear Wife
I will inform of my whereabouts. I am in Old Virginia now. We left Pleasant Valley Sunday morning. We marched to a village called Berlin. It rained all day and it was quite cold. We stood in the village about two hours in the rain and then we went across the Potomack on a pontoon bridge and marched about 3 or 4 miles and encamped. It rained terrible and the wind blew so that it blowed our tent down two or three times. It was a terrible sight. It rained untill about nine o’clock in the next morning. We were wet clear through. They tried to make us camp on a wheat field that was just sowed and was all mud but the men wouldn’t do it. The boys thought it was pretty hard but we lived through it and are well today. I had the chills a little but I had a good night’s sleep last night. I feel pretty well today. I have cut four heads of hair this morning. We probably shall not remain here long. The whole army is coming across. It looks as though there was to be some great move somewhere but we can’t imagine what it is to be or where we are going but I hope it will be a blow that will tell something towards the end of this terrible war but my only hope is in an overruling power. If it was in man alone I should not think it would end very soon but I pray that I may live through it and be permitted to see you once more. I have just been looking at your miniatures. Oh how I love those Dear faces. If it was not for you and the children I should not care to live long in my present condition but Gods will be done. You did not say a word about little Ned. I wondered if he was well. I wrote a letter the day before we started from camp. I shall write as often as I can but we may get away from railroad communication so that we cannot send letters as well as we have but I don’t know. I hope you won’t stop writeing. They will reach me some time if I live. We have not received the box yet and I don’t know when we shall. I should like the mittens and shirts but I suppose it is all for the best. I haven’t much news to write. I dread the cold winter. I don’t think it is a great deal warmer here than it is in Massachusetts but I try to look on the bright side of things but when I think of you I seem to have something to live for and I will struggle on and trust God. There is considerable sickness in our regiment but none have died that I know of. we left our Captain and our Colonel was sick so he had to stop and Berlin. It has just been said in camp that our letters cannot be sent at present but will finish my letter and let it go when it can. Give my love to all and tell them to remember me in their prayers. I need them very much.
So I will bid you goodbye Dearest of earthly friends.
Your affectionate husband
W. B. Rogers
The Pontoon bridge at Berlin(present day Brunswick)
Things are gearing up for the big confrontation. W. B. mentions the troops amassing in Virginia.
"The whole army is coming across. It looks as though there was to be some great move somewhere but we can’t imagine what it is to be or where we are going but I hope it will be a blow that will tell something towards the end of this terrible war but my only hope is in an overruling power. If it was in man alone I should not think it would end very soon but I pray that I may live through it and be permitted to see you once more. "
 Years may go by, but the sense of danger and urgency doesn't. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Window Into the Past - More on My Cooke Relatives

The Cooke family homestead, sometime in the 50's. We don't know who these people are.

I've been hearing regularly from my cousin, Ciaran Brett, in Ireland. Ciaran has made a firm connection between his family and mine which you will see in the family tree. You will remember that I found Ciaran through Ireland Reaching Out, which I recommend to anyone doing Irish research. Ciaran wanted me to see this particular picture because it shows the homestead where his mother was born and where the family still lives. But you can see in this picture the thatch roof and the lime wash walls which was very traditional. We're not sure who the people in the picture are. Family, no doubt.
For the next picture you will need what I've constructed to show my connection to Ciaran.
A partial Cooke family tree
By my reckoning, Katie and Ciaran's grandfather were first cousins, Dad and his mother were second cousins, and Ciaran and I are third cousins. Ciaran sent me a much more extensive file with all the family tree he has found. The Cookes go waaay back on this land and, more importantly, they were land owners!
Josie Cooke, James "Jimmy" Cooke and Bridget Coffey Cooke some time in the fifties.
This picture shows Ciaran's mother, her uncle James and her mother Bridget. James emigrated to Philadelphia, so Ciaran suspects he was home for a visit at the time. Again you get a good look at the family home and the thatch roof. This is all part of the property I wrote about in a previous post.
If I'm understanding this correctly, this is the very same house Ciaran's brother lives in now.

You can clearly see the "bones" of the old house and wall here. I think Ciaran said they used the stone from the much older Cooke house, which is in ruins on the property, for the stone work on this house.
So nice to have these photos and a little window into my family's past.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

W. B. Rogers- A Near Miss and a Visit from the President

The Dunker church on the Antietam battlefield

The regimental history I found for the 36th Massachusetts records this note about the month of September:

"On Monday, September 15th, Colonel Bowman received from a mounted orderly a note written in pencil, which purported to be an order from General McClellan, signed " R. B. Marcy, Chief of Staff," directing all troops on the road to hurry forward as rapidly as possible. Colonel Bowman doubted the genuineness of this hasty scrawl, and the more so on account of the appearance of suspicious persons about the camp the night before. Not knowing the result of the battle of the previous day and afraid that an attempt might be made to capture his regiment in its isolated position, he decided not to move his command until lie received further instructions or had better information concerning the state of affairs at the front. This delay undoubtedly prevented our participation in the battle of Antietam, which was fought September 17th."
So, only by some confusion about orders did W. B. and his comrades avoid the Battle of Antietam.
The narrative records that they camped some time at Keedysville, then broke camp and passed through Sharpsburg.
"There the Thirty-sixth was assigned to the Third Brigade of the first division of the NinthCorps. In the brigade were the Forty-fifth and One Hundredth (Roundheads) Pennsylvania regiments, to which we -soon became warmlv attached, and with which we were to be associated during nearly our whole period of service. Than these two regiments there were no better in the Ninth Corps ; and our regard for both officers and men increased as common experiences drew us nearer together. Indeed, they became to us almost as brothers, and we have reason to believe that this feeling was mutual. Colonel Welch, of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, commanded the brigade, and General O. B. Willcox, the division."
The entire group marched to an area just above Harper's Ferry, where they made camp.
"By order of General Wilcox. Sunday, September 29th, was observed by the division as a day of special religious service, to give thanks to God for our recent victories in Maryland. The whole division was brought together, and the services were conducted by Chaplain Canfield, of the Thirty-sixth, and other chaplains of New York and Pennsylvania regiments. The band first played"Old Hundred." The 46th Psalm was then read, and a hymn sung to the well-known tune of Balerma. Remarks were then made by four chaplains belonging to the division. The services were very interesting and solemn throughout. In the afternoon Chaplain Canfield preached."
Shortly after this, on October 3, Union troops were reviewed by General McClellan and President Lincoln.
President Lincoln with General McClellan at Sharpsburg reviewing the troops

Camp Forbes Mariland    Sunday Sept 28 /62 (This must be where mail went)
Dear Wife
       I write a few more lines. I almost dispair of hearing from you as I have not received one word to comfort me. I begin to think perhaps you have not received my letters. Charles Farrer has received two and Chaffin and Moore and Davis and Hubbard have received some but not one world from those that are dearer to me than life itself but I comfort myself that there are some on the way as we have been marching and have not been able to get regular mail. We have now got Big and we are in Wilcox division and Burnside corps. We have just come from devine service and it was very comforting there. There were thousands of soldiers present and the different chaplains spoke very encouraging and one made a prayer in German. We could not understand one word.
I am not quite as well as usual. I have got a little touch of bowel complaint but not bad. I have not missed one duty on account of health.
Oh Dear Wife if ever I felt the need of a hope in Christ it has been since I left your blessed influence. I know I have your prayers. Perhaps you would like to know if I wish myself at home. I wish the thing was settled so we could all go home but I would come home just now if I could but if I ever live to come home I think I shall know how to prize a humble quiet home. I have seen a little of a soldiers life. It is not a pleasant life but the cause is a worthy one but there is great sacrifice of life and property but those that stay at home and find fault don’t know the first thing about it. We are encamped between Sharpsburg and Harper’s Ferry about 7 miles from the latter place. There are acres covered with tents. I saw W W Clapp a week ago today. TE Hall came to our camp a few days ago. I did not see him but A. Chaffin saw him. I have seen Henry White twice. He took dinner with me yesterday. He has been out here fourteen months and been in nine battles and is unharmed. We are a brigaded with the 46th and 100th Pennsylvania regiments. They were in the last great battles but we have not seen any fighting yet but don’t know how soon we may. Oh Dear wife how are those Dear little ones and that Dear aged Mother. May God sustain and comfort her. She has the prayers of one undutiful son. I shall never forget her kindness. Tell Eugene to write to me and be kind to you and take care of that little Brother. Give my love to all. Write as often as you can and write about the friends of the other Holden boys as we all feel anxious when a letter comes from there. I hear that Capt. Kelton is dead and is to be brought to Holden to bury. Everyone says he was a brave soldier. I hope you will write all the particulars just as they are in regard to yours and the children’s health and circumstances. We are going to send to have a box sent to the Holden boys. I shall want my undershirts and a pair of woolen mittens with fingers for the forefingers. I will send a little money if I am sure that it will reach you safe. I shall write often and hope you will.
Direct to
Winslow B Rogers Bugler
Compt G 36 Reg’t Mass. Volt
9th Army Corps
Washington, D C

Camp Forbes    Mariland        Monday Sept 29 /62
Dear Wife
I had just sealed the with letter and we have just received a mail this afternoon and I wish you could have seen the anxiety that was manifested and the rejoicing when the name was called and a letter presented. Oh it has done me more good than anything else could have done to hear that you were so comfortable and to know that it came from your Dear hands. I received one from Warren and Herman and two from you and Joel and Eugene. Oh I thank God for them. I am pretty well today. you wrote me in regard to the papers I should like them very much. I think the mail will come more regular than it has done before as we have got Brigaded.  I have written to Warren and Joel and Mother.
Dear wife be careful of your health and not try to do too much. You spoke of my realizing that I had another son. Oh Cassandria that little image is fixed on my mind so that I never shall forget it. Give my love to all. Tell Eugene to write every time you do.
Goodbye for the present.
May Gods blessing rest upon you.
W. B. Rogers
Warren was W.B.'s brother. Joel was the husband of his sister Emeline Bliss Rogers. Hermann was Warren's son and W. B's nephew. W. B. was related either by blood or marriage to several of the Holden boys : Chaffin, Davis and Hubbard all pop up in the family tree.
If there was a letter where Winslow recorded his impressions of the visit by Lincoln and McClellan, it has been lost. The next letter takes up on the march in late October. There is an underlying sense of how things really are in these letters. He talks of a "bowel complaint". Dysentery probably. It was everywhere in the war. He asks for undershirts and mittens. He's cold at night. He's missing home and longing for letters and news of home. He's trying to be cheerful, but you can read between the lines.
So far, they haven't been tested in battle. It won't last, of course.