Thursday, March 18, 2010

Four "MOORE" Generations

During the summer of 2008, the You Go Genealogy Girls took a short trip to eastern Nebraska to visit the graves of Joel Moore, his wife Adaline, and their son Thomas.They are buried in the pretty cemetery at Blue Springs, Nebraska. Remembering this family was our honor and standing before their final resting places made this great four generation picture even more meaningful.

Joel Moore who was my great, great grandfather is the older man on the left side of the photo. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1863 while living in Illinois. In 1867 the family moved from Illinois to Johnson Co., Nebraska where they lived for several years before moving on to Blue Springs, Nebraska in Gage County. Joel's son, Thomas who was my great grandfather served in the Civil War while living near Springfield, Illinois. The four generations are rounded out with
Ella Moore Clayton who was the daughter of Thomas and she is holding her son, Harry.

Another short story about this family, "Looking for Adaline" can be found here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jessie's Boots

Friday's Featured Foto this week, stars two of our handsome ancestors and their BOOTS! What great boots! The more I look at this great photo, the more I have to wonder about those boots. Jesse Silas Hopkins, pictured on the right, is shown with his two sisters: Theresa "Rettie" Ann and Jane Eliza. They are pictured with their cousin, Aronah Hopkins on the left. The photo was taken in Stephenville, Texas around the year 1895. These boys were very obviously proud of their boots! A new research project is in the making to try and find out more about their prized foot ware. One is lured into the thought of exciting days in the old west, but sadly, the reality of life steps back in.

Jesse Silas was born at Ripley, Tippah Co., Mississippi and first went to Texas between 1882 and 1885 with his father and mother and settled around the Stephenville area. In August of 1897, Jesse Silas Hopkins was united in marriage to Flora Virginia McPherson while still in Texas. For a short time in the early 1900's he homesteaded near Kenna, New Mexico but eventually returned to the Stephenville area. Most of his life was spent building road and railroad grades using teams of horses and mules to pull the heavy construction equipment in the early years. Jesse took his wife and four surviving children and began to move northward through Colorado and into Wyoming, building irrigation ditches and grades. The work was hard and both Jesse and Flora put in long, arduous hours working and taking care of crew and family.They eventually ended up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and remained there for the rest of their lives. Jesse's children graduated from school in Scottsbluff and eventually migrated back to the state of Wyoming. Jesse and Flora are both buried in Scottsbluff, Nebraska- far from the state of Texas and the seemingly romantic western setting of the photo with the young men and their new boots.

The beautiful 1880's style boots that "the boys" wore in the picture were typical of the style of boot that evolved after the civil war. They were often designed after European riding boots and served the cowboys and working men in this country. I would love to know more about their boots and wonder if they both purchased the same style and maker boots or if they were studio props for the photo? I am willing to think they were the proud owners as they sure did make a point to "show" the boots off for the photo. One can make out part of the name on them as ____Banner boots. Needless to say, we love the photo and cherish the memory of our Great Grandfather Jesse and our other Hopkins ancestors.

Our cousin, Gene Hopkins had a photocopy which he generously shared with us and Melissa McCoy Bell found one of the original prints that she also gave us a copy of. Thank you to them both!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grandpa's History Lesson

When I was a small boy, my grandfather, Wick Hopkins, took me on a fishing trip to Wendover Junction on the North Platte River near Guernsey, Wyoming. The day had turned cold and rainy by the time we arrived at the fishing spot. Grandpa and I boarded an old cable trolley car that was to take us over the river to the north side. It was hand operated by pulling the car along with a lever that was attached to the cable that the car hung from. A man was there to operate the lever while grandpa and I sat and watched the Wyoming scenery as we crossed the North Platte River. When we arrived on the other side we then walked down the river to a spot where grandpa often liked to fish and we started casting out. I soon got cold and gave up on the fishing so grandpa Wick told me to go and gather up a bunch of the dried buffalo (cow) chips which were abundant around the area. Of course, being a boy, if it was doing something to get dirty... then all the better! He piled a few of the chips up and lit them with a match, growing up in Texas and Wyoming, he knew they would instantly burn. As they burned slow and hot, they put off enough heat to keep me warm. I was fascinated by the way they burned and I entertained myself gathering and keeping chips stoked on the fire for most of the rest of the day. He told me there was little wood to burn in the prairie states during the 1800's and the plains were nearly treeless at that time, finding fuel for fires was a constant chore for the pioneers and emigrants heading west but there were plenty of buffalo chips and the homesteaders used them for cooking and heating as they crossed the plains in wagons. They also gathered and dried them for use as fuel when they began to build sod houses and cabins on the prairie. He told me that the homesteaders had used everything available to them to live and survive.

My grandpa passed this knowledge down to me in a unique and special way, We had a fun day together, despite the in-climate weather, one that I will always cherish and remember. Grandpa Wick didn't catch any fish that day and because the burning prairie "fuel" had kept me warm, I did not catch a cold!

by: Geoff Hopkins, AKA "Go Hubby", number one fan of The You Go Genealogy Girls. You might also enjoy reading the recent posting on their blog: "Buffalo Chips, Cow Patties...and Such"