Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Friday, September 24, 2010

An early view back..........

Most all of my young pictures were taken with a box camera. They either couldn't figure out how to turn the focus on the side or they didn't walk forward or backward to get it into focus while looking through the little glass viewfinder. I am the youngster born in 1950. My brother Dwight was born in 1947. I can guess ages of young people but not when I am looking at myself. Dwight looks like he could be 3 going on 4 here which makes me at least 1 year plus.

I did find a little booklet of Kodak pictures that I assume were taken with a box camera, that are in focus. The year was either 1952 or 53. I am eating watermelon and apparently the juice was running down my stomach. I was told that it was the reason for the scantily clad boy to have his photo taken. I am either 2 or 3 years old.
I know that we moved off of this farm that fall into winter onto a farm that my parents had bought a few miles away. I don't know how to judge how old I am here but I was always in belief that I was ill when they moved and that I was three years old. Instead of riding to the new older house in the back of wagons like my parents, my Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary drove me in their very warm car. I can remember being wrapped in a blanket and in a rocking chair in the living room on that day. I think I remember it was snowing. I now realize that my three older brothers were all at school on the day as they were not around so they had to come home to a different home.

I mentioned to you earlier that I have been in contact with a cousin once removed. He has an uncle on his wife's side that does He has access to the use of the program and he sent me something that overwhelmed me. The visual to the left is one half of what he sent me containing the relatives in a bracket from my great grandparents on my Grandmother Brooks, mom's side. It isn't all of it but the first batch that he sent me. I really appreciated it.

He says that he has it going back to the 1300's. When I look at the little kid eating watermelon, I have to think how our genetic code has to be so unique from the combination of so many people.
I will talk about the whole bracketed document later as it is twice the size of the one you see here. When you follow the surname of Wheeler on this bracket it goes all the way back to a Wheeler that has been born on a ship while traveling here from England. One of my ggg grandfathers was named Andrew Jackson Mobley.
I am in awe of the many people who have married and had children and as the process of life and death continues the branches keep extending. This one set of people really are only one fourth of the sides of my whole being. It almost seems impossible to be able to know all this information but I do need to analysis the dates and the movements of these people throughout all the years.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010


Cyrus Wheeler, b.1872 and Mattie (Mobley) Wheeler
My great grandfather and great grandmother on my mother's side.
On the back of the photo it is written that it was taken in front of the Morrow's house in Murray, Iowa.  It was the neighbor's house to my Grandmother who was their daughter, Mabel Zella Wheeler. Mabel's wedding photo is to the side of this posting in the oval frame.  I was so surprised to see that as she grew older that my grandmother had her mother's same body build and same facial features.  The great grandfather looks like a couple of his grandsons. 

Cyrus' parents, my great great grandparents, were George L. Wheeler, b. 1839 and Mary Jane Henry Wheeler.
Mattie Wheeler's parents , my other great great grandparents, were Hezekia and Orilida Mobley, m.1838.

I am going to make the assumption at this time that Wheeler is an English name as when I research it on the net I find it predominately a British name.

 The great grandparents are all buried in Moon Cemetery in Mackburg, Iowa. That is another project for me. Since I just recently discovered the past year, this picture and it's information on it, I now want to get a more accurate sets of dates for births and deaths. The great grandparents dates I will get for sure.

This is the back of the photo above.  There is a pencil writing that was by my grandmother as she called them her parents.  The writing in pen must be my mom's writing and I really don't know when that was done.  It is interesting that some of the dates of marriage are known and some birth dates too but all is a lot sparse.

This is an older photo of the Cyrus and and his sister Jess. It says it was taken in 1941. (as a footnote I was told that Mattie died of TB in 1941)

From the photograph back this was written out as the children.  The woman in the above picture is my grandmother Mabel Zella Wheeler who added two married names of Brown then Brooks. The names of the children are numbered and I am assuming by date of birth order.
1. Weaver
2. Mabel
3. Collus
4. Lee
5. Gerald (died at birth)
6. Elva
7. Elga

Mabel Zella Wheeler Brown Brooks

I am amazed as to how much more information that I have from my mom's side than I ever knew most of my life. My mom couldn't or wouldn't explain it but now with this photo and other smaller loose photos I can piece things together more than I would have ever imagined.

There is so much more to this posting that I will cover as time goes on with this blog.  The farm that Cyrus and Mattie owned has stayed in family ownerships through their son Lee, my great uncle and now has moved down to the next son Lee Junior and is being farmed by the next son Troy Wheeler. Macksburg, Iowa is nearby and the county seat of Winterset, Iowa in Madison county is not too far from there.  All my bloggers are familiar with the movie the Bridges of Madison County. That area is North of that farm.

As relatives read this and see any need for corrections, I sure can make them.  Ones facts are only as good as the original source. Any help in correcting and adding on to this new journey for me would be more than appreciated.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Random pics........

My grandmother Grace Elizabeth Turner Burgus shown here in a rare hand tinted portrait.  My brother shared this photo with me which he photographed while visiting a first cousin in Murray.

A three year old with her abacus . This happens to be my mother,  Zella Marie Brown Burgus.  The year would be 1922. She looks a little stern with the photographer.

I am always entertained to see how parents take their kids out into the yard and pose them.  Here is a photo of my oldest brother Ron on the left and my second oldest brother Rex on the right.  My brother Dwight has been stuck on a tree stump or an upside down bucket for the pose.  I would say the year would be 1948.
I remember that since air conditioner was not invented yet, we as kids wore as few clothes as possible most of the day in the summer. Shoes were optional and in most cases we went barefoot. Going barefoot on the farm meant stepping on thistles, thorns, sharp rocks and other undesirable farm animal stuff from chickens or cows.

A classic Christmas in our old house.  I am thinking my brother Ron had just received a new Brownie Kodak camera from Santa and he is taking the photo. That camera had the one time flash bulbs as it's lighting device.

The room we are in was in the drafty old house we tore down in 1959, so I am thinking it is about 1957.  My dad has a windup toy that my mom had bought for him.  He liked the little tin donkey toy with a tail that twirled around or a car that would spin in circles.  I can't tell which one he has in his hand but that was a tradition in the family every year or two to buy him curious wind up toys that continued until he was 80 years old.

All of the first three photos are a lot out of focus but notice the Brownie Kodak took a great picture.

I am sporting some cool homemade pajamas and it is very early in the morning.  Mom is in the rocker and Dwight is on the couch behind my dad.  This was the year that Santa brought a brown paper wrapped box with Dwight and Larry's name written on it.  It was the train that you can see set up on the linoleum living room floor.  The box is behind my dad in which it came.  The wooden knick knack rack on the wall is holdinge photos in frames that I have up in my store room. The rack is made of one eighth inch thick plywood, made by a local Murray man, and I have that too.

It is so amazing how one can return to an old photo and see all the world inside of it as if it is was just a few years ago.  This is one of those amazing photos that I did not know that it existed.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

All Iowans from times gone by.......

The time is the 1935's and taking photos of one another was really cool.  On the left is my Uncle Kenneth Brown, who still lives in Murray, Iowa today.  I have lost the record of how old he is but he is in his middle 90's for sure.
In the middle is my mom Zella Marie Brown Burgus. (1919-2008). She is younger than Kenny and is probably near graduation from high school which did happen in 1937 from Osceola Public Schools.  She lived in Murray and boarded weekdays in Osceola.
The guy on the right is Donald Garrett.  My mom really liked this guy, and I heard his name mentioned a lot in the later years. I do think he was a relative. I am posting this to see who out there of my relatives can give me some info about him.  He hung around the family a lot as I have seen him with vintage cars with Uncle Kenny.  He looks like a movie star of the era doesn't he?

Jumping forward in time is this photo of the backyard barbecue.  My parents belong to a group who got together every two weeks to play cards and during the summer they would barbecue. The group was a friends group as well as relatives.  On the left is my dad Jesse Burgus, Galen Burgus, a distant cousing, Bill Farr, Uncle to me and dad's BIL.  Janice Nannen, a friend to the ladies who played card together, Mary Farr, Aunt to me and dad's sister, Zella Burgus, mom, and June Walters Burgus, wife of Galen.  Apparently Ted Nannen, Janice's husband is taking the photo.
I was in college at the time so it was th 1970's.  When I was younger, I was the tag along only kid still around and I was able to get some great food at these things.

I have to get my pictures organized as I have them in piles to sort and place in family folders.  This is the Russ and Leila Wheeler Witt family.  It is a Christmas photo of family who lived on a farm near Macksburg, Iowa. From the oldest to the youngest boys is Gary, Larry, and Aldean.  The little girl's name Leann.  I know her as a grown woman and see her once in a while at family funerals.  She was the flower girl at my oldest brothers's wedding.
Leila is a Wheeler which made her a neice to my Grandmother Mabel Zella Wheeler Brown Brooks and a first cousin to my mom. I have just made new contact with Leila's nephew Troy Wheeler and I am looking forward to digging in and finding out more about my Grandmother's side.
My mom was good about rambling on about it but bad about  making it make sense.  One last session that I had with her, she was describing the stray sheep Uncle that moved away and live in Des Moines. The family didn't see much of him. Since my mom has passed away I have collected photos and documents that have really made that side of the family more clear to me. I have just found photos of the Cyrus Wheeler's, the parents of two generations back, young and old photos of the them. I will post them in the future. Their photos are actually at the top of my header photo, one large one and a small one laying on top of it.

Dwight in 6th grade in 1959.

Junior year in high school, 1963.

Dwight Lee Burgus, 1947-2008

I haven't included my brother Dwight in the Sepia Saturday blog up until now as I am still dealing with what I can say. I was close to my brother as a kid, being 3 years younger. We were the post war babies in the family. I was loyal and true to my brother while growing up.  He had a lot of problems and as he grew older the happy smile continued to dissolve. He was on a path of self destruction most of his life starting during  his college years. Addictions and insecurity can be hidden from public view but eventually they all took their toll. The abuse to his close family was probably not known.   I loved my brother and he could never love back. He never figured out relationships in a meaningful way and died young due to the life he led.