Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sophia Jane Abe 11-021

Hanson John Jacob and Sophia Jane (Abe) Senn

     Sophia Jane was the sixth child of John Adam and Martha Jane (Moreland) Abe. She was (6)born on August 2, 1887 at the farm in Little Cacapon, West Virginia and is shown with the family through the (70)1900 Census for Hampshire County, WV.
     In (71)1910 her family has located to Mineral County, WV. At this time (129)(37)Sophia has married to Hanson John Jacob Senn and is living next door to his parents on the Old Furnace Road. They have been married for four years and have three children. Their (197)marriage is recorded as February 21, 1906 and took place at the home of her parents, John Adam and Sarah Margaret Abe.
     Her husband was the son of John and Sarah Virginia (Bucy) Senn and was born July 13, 1882 in "Plum Run". In the marriage record of 1906, John Adam and Sarah Abe are also listed as living at "Plum Run".


     This "Plum Run" seems to be an unofficial and loosely named area of Mineral County by locals. No records have been found that officially explain the exact boundaries of what is referred to above as "Plum Run". Records that do mention it seem to make it a area of quite a few square miles across. It seems to cover an area just north of Short Gap (where a stream called Plum Run and a road called Plum Run Road still exists today) northward to the Old Furnace Road area and East along the Old Furnace Road to at least the area of the Old Abe Farm where the Abe Cemetery is now located. It may also extend as far East as Patterson Creek. In this instance, the Senn Farm is along the Old Furnace Road near the original Abe Farm.
     It is unknown if "Plum Run" extended northward along Route 28 toward Wiley Ford. Was John Adam living near or on the Abe Farm on the Old Furnace Road in 1906 or was he living near Ridgeley, WV as he is listed in the 1910 Census?
     The 1910 Census refers to John Adam living along "Knobley Road" with pages before and after listing streets in Ridgeley, WV. 
     The (6)"Abe Family Heritage" book says that John Adam "purchased the home place from his brother Jacob, lived there for several years and then sold it to John Senn before moving to Ridgeley, WV". This could place John Adam on the original home place during the time period of Sophia Jane's marriage. The book further states under Sophia Jane's biography that "they settled on the home place for their entire marriage". It is still unclear if John Senn the father originally purchased the home place from John Adam or if it was Hanson John the son. At this time I have no land records to support this. From this it would seem that at some time between 1900 and 1910 John Adam and family were on the Abe Farm Home Place for a short while.


Hanson John Jacob Senn

     The only other records found for Hanson and Sophie (Abe) Senn are a (198)WWI and (198)WWII Draft Registration Records for Hanson. The (198)WWI record, dated Sept. 12, 1918, lists him as a self-employed farmer in Mineral County but for some reason the contact address for both Hanson and Sophia is listed as "Station A, Cumberland, MD". This is the second time a (107)family member has been listed at this address during the WWI time period and I have still not been able to determine exactly where this is. My best guess would  possibly be the Queen City Station in Cumberland, MD. It just seems strange that they would be renting rooms in Cumberland, MD when they had a farm just across the river. It is possible Hanson had a temporary job in Cumberland and made it easier if he rented to be closer to that job.
     The (198)WWII record, dated April 27, 1942, lists their address as Patterson Creek, WV which is most likely the Old Furnace Road farm.
     The (6)Abe Family Heritage book lists the (6)death dates for Hanson as August 29, 1942 and Sophia (Abe) Senn as March 30, 1948. I have not found any death or burial records for either so if anyone has any further information on this please let me know. I would like to find their burial place.
     Hanson's parents, John and Sarah Senn, are buried at the Abe Cemetery.
     It is possible that Hanson and Sophia are buried at the Abe Cemetery in unmarked graves. It would be strange if they lived all their married life on the farm and were buried somewhere else. Especially since both of their parents are buried there. Another little note for thought on this is, records show a son, (13)Clarence Rufus Senn is buried in the Abe Cemetery. His grave is unmarked. Could Hanson and Sophia be buried in unmarked graves also?

     UPDATE: George Funeral Home records have been obtained which state that Hanson John and Sophia Jane are buried at the Abe Cemetery. No location in the cemetery is mentioned. They would be in unmarked graves as no markers are present. A John C. Wolford Funeral Home ledger record also places a son, Clarence, at the cemetery. Also, no marker has been found for him. See the "Unmarked Graves" tab at the Abe Cemetery web site for the records. If anyone knows the location in the cemetery where they are buried, please let me know.

John Senn Family
Seated: John Senn, Nancy and Sarah Virginia (Bucy) Senn
Standing: Sally, Jeanette "Nettie", Mary "Molly", Hanson John Jacob and Henry

Interesting Note: Of the above John Senn Family, three of the children married into three different lines of the Abe Family. Nancy married Felix Conway Baldwin. Jeanette "Nettie" married William Edward Abe. Hanson John Jacob married Sophia Jane Abe.

Children of Hanson John Jacob Senn and Sophia Jane (Abe) Senn:

     1. Clarence Rufus Senn (1906-1923)
     2. Carrie Virginia Senn (1908-1960)
     3. Oliver William Senn (1909-1972)
     4. Joseph Franklin Senn (1912-1981)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Henry Nicholas Abe 11-020

     Henry Nicholas Abe was (6)(189)born on April 30, 1883, the fifth child of John Adam and Martha Jane (Moreland)  Abe. His parents were living on the farm near Little Cacapon, Hampshire County, West Virginia at the time. They had moved there at some point in the last two years after the death (in 1881) of their child Emma in Mineral County.
     In (13)1890 when Henry was about seven years of age his mother passed away. The only place her death has been found is on her headstone at the Abe Cemetery. No other information for Henry can be found until a listing for him is found in the (70)1900 Hampshire County, West Virginia Census. In this census the family is still on the farm near Little Cacapon. His father had remarried, two years prior, to Sarah Margaret Sowers and Henry is now 17 years of age.

Henry and Bertha
About the time of their marriage

     On (6)(37)April 17, 1904, at the age of twenty one, Henry married Bertha Viola Brelsford. Bertha was the daughter of William Taylor Brelsford (aka James William Brelsford) and Sidney Elizabeth (Richmond) Brelsford of Hampshire County, West Virginia. The (191)1900 Census for Hampshire County, for some reason, does not list Bertha with her parents. I have searched all census records for the same district and cannot find her with any other family there.
     By (37)1910 the census for Mineral County, West Virginia places Henry and Bertha on a farm there. Henry is listed as the owner of the farm he is working. They have been married now for six years and have had four children, two of which are now deceased. James Strickley is also living on the farm and is listed as a "Laborer" and "Blacksmith Helper".
     The farm apparently was not profitable enough to sustain the family as Henry worked at many jobs outside the farm over the years.
      A family story says that around this time, Henry Nicholas spent some time working on construction of the Lake Gordon Dam in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  I cannot confirm this with any absolute proof yet. This dam is the located just north of Cumberland, Maryland and is the city’s water supply. I do have a birth certificate for a son, Eugene Franklin that says he was born in the Borough of Bedford Valley, Bedford County, Pennsylvania in 1912. This would be the area of where the dam is located. This certificate was a "delayed registration" and based on information many years after the fact so it cannot be considered the final word on his birth. The original records were reportedly destroyed in a courthouse fire.

First Farmhouse - 1920's

     In 1914, Henry's father, John Adam, passed away near Ridgeley, West Virginia.
     Henry's (192)WWI Draft Registration Card, dated 1918, says he is working as a "Drill Press Machinist" in Akron, Ohio. The record is in poor condition and the name of the company cannot be read. It is not known how long he worked at this position but the (193)1920 Census for Mineral County, West Virginia has him back working on his farm. This census lists the actual location of the farm as the Old Furnace Road. At this time it is still an operating farm but is listed with a mortgage on it. The family now consists of seven living children.....four daughters and three sons.

Henry, Bertha and children - Wilda, Pauline, Elmer, Eugene, Grace, and Dorthea
Taken about 1919

Outside the original farmhouse

     On September 19, 1927, Bertha's father, William Brelsford, passed away of cancer of the stomach.
     By (194)1930, one more son was born to Henry and Bertha and the two oldest daughters are no longer living in the household. Bertha's mother, Sidney Elizabeth Brelsford, now lives in the household. (189)(190)A hand written paper by Bertha, found in her possessions, lists all the children born to them and totals eleven children. Three of these died young or as infants. Henry is listed as working as a laborer in a tire plant. The plant was the Goodyear Tire and Rubber located back in Ohio.
     While working at the tire plant the original house burned down and a new one was built on the property.
     In January of (195)1937 Bertha's mother, Sidney Elizabeth (Richmond) Brelsford, passed away at the home of another daughter, Susan Blanch (Brelsford) Funk.

New house from the hill above

     Again it is uncertain how long he was employed at the tire plant. His (192)WWII Draft Registration Card, dated April 27, 1942, shows him working for the Atlas Powder Company (Ravenna Ordnance Plant) in Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio. Work there was plentiful to fill the needs of the United States Military needs. The Ravenna Arsenal was the largest supplier of munitions for the war effort and a one point employed over 14,000. The Ravenna Arsenal ceased production, however, at the end of WWII. Henry is now 58 years of age in 1942 so he most likely worked there till the plant ceased production in 1945.
     Bertha Viola (Brelsford) (190)died on April 12, 1952 at the home of her daughter, Pauline (Abe) Smith. She had been in ill health for about two years.
     Henry Nicholas Abe (189)died in his sleep of a heart attack, just 7 months later, on November 28, 1952. He has complained of not feeling well after spending the previous day butchering. Both were (13)(189)(190)buried at the Abe Cemetery.
     Henry Nicholas did have a simple hand written (196)will that did not include anything that was of any notable interest other then the full names of his living children.

Henry and Bertha

Children of Henry Nicholas and Bertha Viola (Brelsford) Abe:
     1. Wilda Ann (1904-1988)
     2. Pauline Arsylvia (1906-1991)
     3. William Cecil (1907-1909)
     4. Henry Floyd (1908-1908)
     5. Elmer Adam (1910-1964)
     6. Eugene Franklin (1912-1998)
     7. Grace Elizabeth (1914-2000)
     8. Charles E. (1915 - 1915)
     9. Dorthea Gladys (1917-1999)
     10. Leroy James (1920-1999)
     11. Robert Earl (1923-2002)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Virginia Lee Abe 11-019

Virginia Lee Abe

     Virginia (70)"Jennie" Lee Abe was born the third child of John Adam and Martha Jane (Moreland) Abe. Her (188)birth record shows she was born on November 27, 1879 in Mineral County, West Virginia. Her parents were living and farming along Route 28 just north of the Old Furnace Road, possibly what is now the Miltenburger Farm.
     "Jennie's" life started out as any other child who was born into farm life, but at an early age her life quickly changed. The (6)"Abe Family Heritage" book has a quote from Nora (Largent) Stotler, her cousin, that after a long walk to visit her grandparents she suffered paralysis in her legs. There are no records to prove it nor do we know exactly when this happened, but it is likely that she suffered from a case of polio. During this period in history there were no established methods of treatment for this disease and in many cases doctors were not readily available.

     Poliomyelitis was a worldwide epidemic for the time period between the middle 1800's to the 1950's when a vaccine was developed. The viral disease is spread by direct contact and is absorbed into the system through the nose or mouth, multiplies in the throat or intestinal tract and then spreads to the blood, lymph glands and even the nervous system. The infection period, of from 5 to 35 days, can manifest itself as anything from just cold and flue-like symptoms to partial or full paralysis that usually is permanent or even death in extreme cases. Even today, the only thing that can be done once infected, is to treat the symptoms till the virus runs it's course. In severe cases breathing problems would have to be addressed if the spinal cord and brain become involved. These breathing problems were handled by a "negative pressure ventilator" machine commonly known as an "Iron Lung" although it did not come into use until the late 1920's.

      From the point of recovery on, she would spend her life as a handicapped person. There were no provisions for getting the handicapped back and forth to school (almost all had to walk to the local meeting place) so she never learned to read or write. Parents, in most cases, couldn't help as they were either running a farm from daylight till dark or couldn't read or write themselves. "Jennie's" not being unable to walk severely limited what she would be able to do around the farm. Depending on how severe the paralysis, she may have had some sort of makeshift crutches to get around the house. No fancy wheelchairs or scooters here. She could have, in limited ways, helped out with cleaning, cooking and sewing. She could never be able to be out on her own to make a living. For the rest of her life she would have to depend on others for life's necessities.
     "Jennie" travel through life mirrored that of her father's until his death in 1914 so there is nothing more that  can add there. Her mother would pass away in 1890 when "Jennie" was about eleven years of age. About seven years later, in 1897, her father remarried to Sarah Margaret Sowers. At some point, in the six years after her father's death, her stepmother moved back to Hampshire County, West Virginia. She is found in the household of her sister and mother in the (72)1920 Census. "Jennie" is not there with them. It is unknown if Sarah was unable to care for her stepdaughter any longer or if she just did not want the responsibility any longer.
     The above quote from Nora (Largent) Stotler in the (6)"Abe Family Heritage" book further states that there came a time when nobody was able to care for "Jennie" and she was put in a "home". This would have been the time period's version of welfare or assisted living center. In this case it would have been the Mineral County Poor Farm. Poor farms were set up by and through taxes to help those with no means of support for themselves. Individuals were assigned work duties to perform in return for room and board. Most of the poor farms were actual working farms that the residents would tend. From this point on there are no records known that give a glimpse of her life there. It is also unknown when she died or where she was buried. Many unmarked graves are located on the property of the "poor farm" so it is likely she was buried there.