Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Two eras and two mysteries.......

This first photo was a postcard photo that was labeled Marie Brown, Lewiston, Illinois.  My mother has written on the postcard saying that it is my Grandfather Leroy Brown.  The girl is an unknown to me.  All written history says that my grandfather and his brother were the only children born before their dad, my great grandfather had died.  Leroy was 3 years old at the time.  His mother remarried and he and his brother became half brothers to a family with the last names of Driver. My mother said on the side of the postcard that the Marie Brown was her namesake as my mom had Marie as her middle name.  It makes me wonder if she died young as I have never heard of anything about her ever.

I have work to do to find out if it could have been Leroy's niece, his older brother's daughter. I know nothing about that brother. but it would have been the only way she could have had the last name of Brown.  In the photo my grandfather looks very young and is still living in Illinois.  It is said that when that family left Illinois that they moved to one of the Dakota's where they experienced a drought.  So they traveled to Iowa.  I can date the photo at about 1880's as my Grandfather married my Grandmother in 1913.   Leroy died in 1937.

A bonus picture from American culture.  I don't know who is in the photo.  I suspect it is two of my Great Uncle Lee Wheeler's kids.  He had one boy and three girls. What I like is the little girl with all her dolls and the little boy with all his Roy Rogers attire and banjo.  The photo says January 1948.  I too will work on this one to find out who it actually is. I really think they are Madison County relatives, cousins.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

The John and Iva connection.

Today's blog is a little review of what I have written about before but the pictures are not the same.  My grandmother was Mabel Wheeler Brown.  Her husband Leroy Brown died in 1937.  The above picture is a few years later after his death as she is pictured here with my mom Zella Brown on the left.  I think it is probably 1939 as my mom was probably still living with Mabel as they are standing in front of their house in Murray. Mom was teaching country school near there at the time. That house sits on the exact opposite end of the block of where my Grandma and Grandpa Burgus lived for a few years later.
In the back row on the left is Kenneth Brown and beside him is his brother Marvin Brown.  In the front on the lright is Fern Brown, Marvin's wife.  Fern die of TB probably ten years later, leaving Marvin with four kids to raise by himself.  So they are my Uncle Kenny who is still alive and Uncle Marvin and Aunt Fern, who are not alive.   Grandma died in 1973 and mom died in 2008.

In the early 40's my Grandmother remarried to Oscar Brooks pictured above.  That made her total lineup of names to be Mabel Zella Wheeler, Brown, Brooks.  I knew her as Grandma Brooks all of my life.  He was a farmer who share owned his land with his son.  Oscar was a widower of a wife for many years just as my Grandmother was a widow from a marriage of 20 some years.
The marriage itself was a marriage of necessity.  My Grandmother did learn to like him, maybe love him, but she needed to be supported.  He needed the company and a wife.  They were married over 23 years until his death in 1963.

Oscar was my step grandfather but he was the only grandfather that I ever knew.  He would sit in his rocking chair and watch baseball games on the tv and lean over and spit his chewing tobacco spit into a tall can on the side of his chair.  He did like kids to a certain degree but he was a gruff man.  He didn't give my grandmother money to spend so she raised chickens and sold eggs to have spending money.  She sew all of her clothes and worked hard as a farmers wife.

As a little journey off the beaten path, here is another connection to my family.  Oscar had a sister named Iva.  She is the one of the John and Iva that became close grandparents too me also.  They were living in an early century home and we would visit them often.  John and Iva really liked my mom and our family. Their kids all lived out of state.  They are the ones who gave me so many antique things.  I have furniture, stone jars,  metal cans and antique toys that came from them  They were avid readers and had been teachers, even tough John made his living as a farmer.  They are pictured above with a set of their grandchildren who live somewhere in the Western states.  They didn't have a tv until their last few years of marriage.  They loved watching Bonanza. They live South of a town called Hopeville, Iowa about three miles. Hopeville is a blog in itself.

The gave me a love of history as they were living historians.  They lost a son in the second war.  They loved to travel and as you can see in the photo they had a 1957 Ford Fairlane.  It was a two door hardtop and was almost pink in color.  They would travel out west and share their stories of the places they visited and the unusual experiences that they would encounter.  People who follow my Larry's Creative Zone, know that I mention the John and Iva connection.  I am always posting something that has the connection to them.  I am still in contact with one of their sons, Loren Horton, who is retired and lives in Iowa City with his wife.  He is just as interesting as his parents as he was one of the main directors of the Iowa Historical Administration for quite a few years.

As I continue to blog the family stories, I can see that I need to write down all the dates of deaths and births in one location.  I was very frustrated to know that I did have those dates on other photos but I didn't want to dig for them.  It will become a discipline eventually to do the right thing when I discover things, and write them down.

Please visit all of the others who are sharing their family histories on Sepia Saturday.  Just click here. 

As a footnote to my last week's blog, my cousin pointed out that the classroom photo had to be taken inside of a larger town school.  It shows tall ceilings and doorways to hallways.  It could have been taken there in Osceola in one of their older school buildings or even from the Murray school.  It was a good observation made by my Cousin Joan.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

No answers, just questions.........

The photo I share here is a totally unidentified, unknown and probably never will be identified.  My father tore down a house that had been vacant for 26 years.  Inside was found various things that the last of the family did not remove. A Victorian styled upright piano, cupboards full of kitchen things, a couple of trunks with various abandoned personal items.  Among the discarded was this photo of a country school scene of somewhere here in the United States.  When you gaze at the different faces, you wonder what countries that there families had migrated from to the United States.  This classroom is far older that the era that my mom taught which was in 1938.   I am not good a dating these things but I am sure that it is closer to being in the 20's or earlier.

There is one teacher in the back of the room and a picture of some building on the back chalk board.  I also like the number 10 on the other board.

I do have some of the names of the family that lived in this house and someday I will research them.  In the kitchen was found a diary by one of the women that lived there with some names.  I also have two old photo albums with a few names inside.

Another mysterious picture that I have here is a car filled with two passengers and others that you can see through the windows.  I am thinking this is my Uncle Kenny whom I blogged about earlier.  I just saw him this week and he is in his early 90's.  The woman in the back seat closest to us looks like my mom, but it could be my grandmother.  I thought it was a picture of interest to share.

This photo has some people in it that I know.  My Dad Jesse T. Burgus is the man sneaking up on th two boys.  I am thinking that the older boy is my oldest brother Ron J. Bugus.  The younger one is unknown to me.  The little girl is a cousin of mine but again I don't have any idea at this point. I had two older Uncles of the family that had daughters and I am thinking that it could be one of their daughters.
I have a first cousin who will help me out with these as time goes by and I will return and edit my Sepia Saturday.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Uncle Carl, Aunt Pauline, and son Keith.......

Uncle Carl Owen Burgus born December 29, 1904 in Murray, Iowa.  He is my dad's second to the oldest brother who was 15 years older than my dad.  Carl had many different careers from farming, to business owner of an implement store.  He and his wife took a trek out to Colorado to find a future, but ended up back at Murray, Iowa, where he owned  a large building on main street. A larger part of the building had been a dealership for Ford Model T's.  When he bought it he lived in a part of it and rented the rest out to different businesses.  His last endeavor was to open a laundry mat on main street.

Carl was married to Pauline Combs and they had one son.  She was from the Des Moines area. I think her parents died when she was young, and she had relatives who lived in Murray.  I believe that couple was all she claimed to have.  Pauline spent the large part of her life battling arthritis. She spent her last years in a wheel chair.  I can't date the above photo but it is at the big Burgus family reunion of my Great Grandfather Charles Burgus and his brothers and sisters families.  None of the 14 were still alive at that time but the different families would fill the park and bring lots of food to fill long tables.

There only son was born in 1928.  His name was Keith Burgus.  He is our one noted tragic story in our family as he drowned in a lake, near Thayer, Iowa.  He tried to swim across the lake from side to side and did not make it. One of the sad things about Keith's death was that he rode his bike to Thayer Lake with some friends that day and his parents didn't know that he had gone there.

He died on July 20, 1944 at the age of 16.  I was not born until six years later so all that I knew was the casual comments made by my parents about the time he drowned.  I understand that his being an only child and 16 made him a little bit head strong and that he may not have taken warnings or direction about the things he would be doing in life.

I found this photo among my parents things and was surprised to see it. I actually thought there was only one single picture of him. The only picture that I had ever remembered taken of  him was one that Carl and Pauline had sitting on their bookcase in their apartment.  He is wearing a leather jacket and is standing and holding onto his bicycle.  It was a little bit haunting to see it there, not ever to have known him and to know the circumstances behind his death.  I would love to have a copy of that photo but all relatives on that side of the family are now gone.  I will have to ask the cousins to see if it is out there.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jesse and Zella........Dad and Mom......

This is a photo of Zella Marie Brown and Jesse Thomas Burgus in 1938 or 1939 standing in front of a log cabin.  I at first thought it could have been taken in Murray where there was a log cabin brought in to town, but this could also be a cabin at a state park somewhere in Iowa. It was common for the locals to travel to the state parks at that time, as I have photos of my mom and her brothers visiting different parks in the state. Today, they are not visited as much but can be used for family reunions or camping.

My parents were married, eloped, December 21, 1940. They did not have a formal wedding picture taken, but I have a couple of ideas about this one. My dad's side of the family had large family photos taken and I am suspecting that it was taken at the same time as the Burgus clan had their group picture taken.  It would have been in 1941.  Their first son Ronald was born in October of 1941 and dad shipped off for basic training for the United States Army after that time. One of my brothers has this photo as an enlargement and it has been hand tinted. Mom would say that she didn't like this photo and it was because of her hair style.

At the time of their first son's arrival, they lived on Highway 34 outside of Murray, where dad ran a filling station.  They lived in the back area of the station.  They lived there until Jesse was drafted into the army.

My dad was stationed in Washington D.C. for a couple of years before going overseas.  They were able to conceive another son on one of the furlough's home for a family funeral or whatever that brought him home.  Rex, son number two, was born before Dad left for Belgium in 1944.   

Jumping to 1958, my parents are seen here chowing down on homemade sandwiches as we traveled to the western states.  My dad had traveled because of his over seas experiences and he loved to travel to see Colorado and Wyoming. So every summer after we had sold a load of hogs on the market, we would jump into the 1957 Fairlane, no air conditioning, and head west. Notice my mom's short shorts and white plastic button ear rings. It was definitely the fifties.

In December, 1990, we had their 50th wedding celebration.  My dad was already starting to have some health problems that was affecting the quality of life.  He didn't feel good that day and had to have help to get out of the car.  It was a bad day for the event as weather in Iowa is always very cold and there had been a snow storm the night before the day.

My mom writes on the back of some of her photos of those who were not in attendance. Their friends were having problems of their own as a close neighbor on the farm was developing Alzheimers the wife hadn't told anyone,but they didn't attend.  My mom's brother Kenny was there for a very short time and went home as his wife Sylvia also was at the early stages of Alzheimers.  A couple of their sons who lived out of state were both having marital problems so they too were not in attendance.  In spite of all of that, my parents were very pleased with the event and they did talk about it for quite a few years afterwards. 

My dad passed away in 2000, after a couple of years of heart attacks and confusion.  My mom passed away in 2008 from intestinal cancer.

As I go through the boxes, I can see a blog coming out of all the great things that they did do in life.  They were not the happiest of couples but by the end,  they found their need for each other to survive old age, had strengthened the bond. I  have photos of them on my brother's dune buggies and their traveling on boats to fish. They spent a few weeks with our two son's in Minnesota at a cabin, and all the photos show the boys growing up with them. I have hundreds of photos of them holding the grand kids and great grand kids as that was what kept them going.  Mom loved to play Bridge and dad loved to suck on his cigar and fish anywhere the he could find that had fish. They spent winters visiting my brothers in Arizona and California.  They did have a good life,  one that left a trail of so many memories for others.

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