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.