Showing posts with label Farrar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Farrar. Show all posts

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Story of Isaac D Fuller

Isaac D Fuller
Back when I was updating all the military record for my Ancestry tree, this photo popped up as a hint. "Ah, a terrible war injury", I thought. Isaac had enrolled in the Company A of the 30th Maine and served as a private. He enlisted in 1863 and mustered out in Savannah, Georgia in 1865. So, perhaps he was part of Sherman's march-to-the-sea.  The tag on the photo gave the name of the Ancestry member who originally uploaded the photo. So I messaged her and inquired about the photo.

Now Isaac D. Fuller is not a close relative. His mother was a Farrar. One of the Farrars married a Lowell whose child  in turn married a Smith. I descend from that marriage. But I love a good story and this photo just got to me. I was delighted when the person who uploaded it responded. Yes, she is his third great-granddaughter through one of his daughters. She knew the story. There has been an accident.
She told me what she knew.

In the meantime, other hints kept popping up for Isaac, for his four children and for his three wives. Isaac lived quite a life. Finally, recently, I decided to do a little looking again. From what this lady told me, the accident was quite the event. Surely it would have been covered in the local paper. Sure enough, I found this.
It was in the Oxford Democrat for the week following the accident.  To save your eyes I'll put the text below.
The Buckfield Celebration
A Sad Accident Throws a Gloom Over an Otherwise Happy Day
"At Buckfield, as at most places, the spirit of Independence commenced to assert itself early. In fact, very little sleep was in store for the inhabitants of the place on Friday night, but a most sad and painful accident occurred which cast a gloom and dampness over the ardor of everybody. While engaged in firing the sunrise salute, Isaac D Fuller, who was in charge of the artillery for the day, was the victim of an accident which cost him both his arms, if indeed he escapes with his life. Mr. Fuller had been loading and firing an anvil. He was loading for another shot, when the weapon discharged with a tremendous report knocking him senseless. It was found upon examination that Mr. Fullers arms were so badly shattered that it was necessary to amputate them, and that he had probably lost the use of one eye. Drs. Caldwell, Bridgham and Decoster were immediately called and performed the amputation. It was thought during the day that Mr. Fuller could not live, but he rested comfortably Saturday night and on Sunday walked a short distance, from one room to another. It is hoped that his eyes may be saved. Truman Damon also lost or came near to losing an eye by the same explosion. The theory of the accident is, that Mr. Fuller was loading and firing too fast,  not giving the anvil time to cool, and the untimely explosion caused by putting the powder into the hot weapon."
So Isaac survived two years on the battlefield only to come home and blow his arms off in a Fourth of July celebration. And then he survived even that! This is one tough character. Other articles popped up in the Democrat which painted an even more colorful portrait of Isaac.
Addendum:  I belong to a Civil War forum to mine information from the people there in reference to another relative. I asked them about what an "anvil" might be other than blacksmithing equipment.
The response was unbelievable.
"Anvil shoots have been a whacky form of entertainment going back centuries. The hollow space cast into the base of an anvil is filled with black powder. A second anvil is place atop the other. Alternatively, the face of one anvil has an even layer of black powder laid on it. A second anvil, upside down, is placed atop the powder. From a (hopefully) safe distance the powder is ignited & ka-boom! An anvil weighting 100 pounds sails 100 or more feet into the air. This form of entertainment is still common today. Yes, it is wildly, absurdly, absolutely, insanely dangerous. The blacksmith forge I belong to raised money for a comrade who suffered traumatic amputation of some body parts in a premature detonation. I know this sounds crazy (my wife is rolling her eyes behind me as I type this). There really is something wildly entertaining about the improbable sight of an explosion & anvil shooting up out of a cloud of white black powder smoke. ('For some people, maybe.' says my sweetie.) Added to the thrill, of course, is that the ballistic qualities of an anvil make its eventual resting place a matter of conjecture only."
Should you care to browse old newspapers in search of your own relatives, Chronicling America has a wonderful resource here. I even had some success finding out more about Isaac using their advanced search function. This is one site I'll be visiting often.
Sometimes my curiosity just gets the better of me, but sometimes the results are worth it.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Charming Old Photos Tell Us the Family Story

Eugene H Rogers- Sign painter by trade, fine art painter by avocation
When I look at the old photos that people add to their trees, I can often tell so much about the person by looking at the expression or the body language. But what fascinates me are the really old photos where the pose is not a formal portrait in a studio, but something that shows a bit about a person's profession or home life or surroundings. 

Eugene didn't make his living as a fine art painter, but there's no doubt from this photo what his hobby was. Aside from the paintings, I can look at his clothing, the chair, the brocade wallpaper and the bare wood floor and tell something about the studio where he worked. I can also date this from 1880-1890 based more or less on the things I see.

Daisy Tapply Schaefer and her husband George
This picture show my grandmother's elder sister Daisy with her husband in a very early model of some sort of car. The very early Henry Ford Quadricycle was similar. From the clothes, I would say after 1900 but before 1910. She married George in 1902. 
Clyde Merton Keene- grocer
This is Clyde Merton Keene, whose grandmother was one of my Farrar relatives. I like that he is pictured in his grocer's apron complete with stains. I didn't notice until looking more closely, that he is in a wheelchair. Probably a story there.
Sidney Douglas Farrar
Sidney Douglas Farrar, another of my Farrar relatives,  played first base for the eight seasons for the Philadelphia Quakers and later for the Philadelphia Athletics. The left one is a studio shot, but the right photo is a real gem complete with a player in motion in the background.
Violet Louise Baldry
Violet Baldry was the half sister of some of my English Tapply relatives. My guess is this nurse's uniform dates from some time in the 1920's.
Helen F Harrod practices what she teaches
This photo obviously came from a newspaper article about Helen F Harrod. She was a music instructor at DePauw University.
Isaac Estill Harrod
Isaac Harrod lived and worked for the railroad in rural Kansas. This was a studio shot, but he's wearing his everyday clothes and I just love the dog in the picture. You get a real sense of him as a character in this photo.
Marie Tapply with Warren on her lap
This is my Aunt Marie, Bob Tapply's wife. I'm told this was taken in the old Tapply home at the top of  Pearl Hill Road. Again, look at the old stove, the china breakfront and the clothes. It gives this informal photo real character.
Francis Braedreck Rogers family
Here's the Francis B Rogers family in front of their home. Not only do you get a good look at the house, but each person in the picture is doing something a little different. You have the two children in front of the fence with their toys, the man by the steps reading, the couple posed by the hammock. I count no fewer than thirteen people in this clever photo. Rogers was my cousin through the Aaron Rogers line.
Belinda Cooke aka Sr. Mary Columbia
I have fewer photos from the Cooke side, but these two are gems. First my cousin the nun. A formal photo but in her full habit with what looks like a wreath of flowers circling her head.
Cooke home in Clooningan, Sligo, Ireland
This is the Cooke homestead. My guess would be in the 1920's. Again you get a sense of the place. Look at the thatched roof, the whitewashed walls, the bicycle propped by the gate. It's a little slice of a moment in time.

When we share our family histories with people who aren't passionate about genealogy, I think photos like these bring history alive- especially for the very young. I can think of a million questions a young person might ask when looking at these photos. What a teachable moment! And don't forget to document anything you might know or might have heard about the photos in the family album.  
If this topic interests you, check out Maureen Taylor's website here.

Grandma Katie's Quilt

Katie Cooke Fitzgerald   We've heard the story of Katie's birth in Ireland, her immigrant family, and some tales of their life in Bo...