09 November 2018

Brothers and Cousins in Arms

Week 45 —Tribute to Veterans

Brothers and Cousins in Arms 

   — Some Never Came Home 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley (C) 2018

What started out to be a blog about some of the men in my family who served during World War I, took a sharp turn when I received an e-mail from France on November 2, which reads:

 “I volunteer at Epinal American Cemetery to do guided tours and today I will do a tour and we will put French and American Flags on the gravesite of Ervin Vanderpool! I always do the same to honor a soldier for the anniversary of his D.O.D. I just wanted you to know this! I was surprised to learn about his age (36) and I saw he was married with a daughter. I don't know what he did as Technical Sergeant but he is an HERO with his two Silver Stars! Thinking of him and his family this afternoon . . .” 

The 48-acre Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France is sited above the Moselle River in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. It contains the graves of 5,254 American military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine River and beyond into Germany. The cemetery was established in October 1944 by the 46th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the U.S. 7th Army as it drove northward from southern France through the Rhone Valley into Germany. The cemetery became the repository for the fatalities in the bitter fighting through the Saverne Gap, and in defense of Allied positions in the Vosges region, during the winter of 1944-1945. 

Epinal American Cemetery will host a Field of Remembrance beginning November 10, 2018 through November 18, 2018. Poppies will be placed at every headstone, and in front of the memorial building as a visual reminder of honor and remembrance. 

Touched by this act of kindness by a stranger, I did additional research on T/Sgt. Ervin Vanderpool who was killed in action 2 November 1944 during World War II. 

T/Sgt. Erwin Walker Vanderpool was in Company K, 157th Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, along with his “kid brother, T/Sgt. James Otis (called Otis) Vanderpool. On 25 October 1944, their unit was involved in a bayonet fight in the woods near Housseras (France). There was bitter fighting, against strong resistance, plus horrible weather. During a battle in the Vosges Mountains near the German border, the battalion commander Felix Sparks, heard that K Company was in trouble. He rushed up a hill, only to see Otis Vanderpool on a stretcher, his leg blown off at the knee. When Sparks made it to the front, he never told Ervin Vanderpool about his brother's injury. He didn't have time. The older brother was shot in the stomach and died on the battlefield. Ironically, Erwin could have been promoted and would never have been in that battle. Officers had talked of promoting Ervin, sending him to battalion headquarters, but he refused to listen. He wouldn't accept a promotion. He wanted to stay near his brother. 

Erwin and Otis were sons of Levi Franklin and Ellie Potter. A cursory look at the family of Levi Franklin Vanderpool (1880-1968) and Ellie Potter (1884-1929) reveals they had 12 children — four daughters and eight sons — born between 1903 and 1929. Three of their children did not survive to adulthood. Closer inspection reveals a patriotic family with four, and possibly five, of their sons serving during World War II. 

  • Brothers, Ervin Vanderpool (1908-1944) and Otis Vanderpool (1919-2004) served in the Army, Company K, 157th Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.
  •  Their brother Arthur Harrison Vanderpool (1910-1989) enlisted in the Army on 20 Nov. 1940. • Their brother Eldee Vanderpool (1917-2005) was a Tech-5 in the Army; he enlisted 6 June 1945 in California and died in a Veterans Home in Napa County, California. 
  • Their brother Evert Odal (1922-1995) appears on a World War II draft registration on 30 June 1942 in Montrose County, Colorado. Whether he served, and if so, in what capacity, is not known.

SS Leopoldville

Fourteen Vanderpools are listed on the U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945, in a database of those buried overseas and other sources. On this 100th anniversary (11 Nov. 2018) of the end of World War I — the war to end all wars — I thank them for their service and sacrifices — may they rest in peace. 
They are: 

1. Marion F. Vanderpool, Seaman 2nd Class, Navy (Washington). MIA, died 23 January 1942. Honolulu, Hawaii Memorial. 

2. Vane I. Vanderpool, Seaman 1st Class, U.S. Naval Reserve (Washington and Oregon). Memorial North African American Cemetery, Tunis, Tunisia. 

3. Clifford S. Vanderpool, Private, Army (Nebraska), 15th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division. Hamm Cemetery, Hamm Luxembourg. 

4. Cecil L. Vanderpool, Coxwain, Navy (Washington). KIA. Mountain View Cemetery, Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington.

 5. Erwin W. Vanderpool, T/Sgt. Army (Colorado).157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. Epinal Cemetery, Epinal, France.

 6. Fred A. Vanderpool, Private, Army (Tennessee). Enlisted 16 March 1944. Co E, 264th Infantry, 66th Infantry Division (nicknamed Black Panther Division). Died 24 December 1944 on the SS Léopoldville when torpedoed by U-486 in the English Channel, off Cherbourg, France. Ridgewood Cemetery, Carthage, Smith County, Tennessee. 

7. Fred L. Vanderpool, Private, Army (Texas). 163rd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division. Died 24 April 1944. Manilla America Cemetery, Taguig City, Philippine Islands. 

USS Casablanca

8. John Wesley Vanderpool, Private, Army (West Virginia). Enlisted 29 December 1943. KIA in France 20 October 1944. McCloud Cemetery, Dingess, Mingo County, West Virginia. 

9. Orville R. Vanderpool, Technician 5th Grade, Army (Arkansas). 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. KIA 6 June 1944 near Magneville, France. See also:

 10. Payton Lafayette Vanderpool Jr., Fireman 2nd Class, Navy (Missouri). KIA at Pearl Harbor 7 November 1941. Honolulu, Hawaii Memorial (recovered).

 11. Ralph Maynard Vanderpool, Sergeant, Army Air Corps (Pennsylvania). Radioman and gunner, 446th AAF Bombardment Group. KIA over Italy 20 February 1945.

 12. Robert J. Vanderpool, 2nd Lieutenant, USAAF (Illinois). KIA in a B-25 crash 20 January 1945 over the Adriatic Sea.

 13. Walter Vanderpool, Private, Army, 517 Parachute Infantry (New York). KIA. Sospel, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Département des Alpes-Maritimes. He was killed along with four others in the blast of a bobby-trapped house in Sospel. German engineers had rigged it with a time-delayed device. Forest Home Cemetery, Waverly, Tioga County, New York.

 14. Dean Burke Vanderpool, Ensign, USNR. Commissioned in May 1943; served on the USS Casablanca in the Pacific. Died 26 June 1944 of wounds at Naval Hospital, Bremerton, Kitsap County, Washington. Ewing Cemetery, Ewing, Mercer County, New Jersey.

 Attention: Genealogists! 
The United States World War One Centennial Commission is accepting stories about the service of Americans in World War I. 

26 October 2018

Facing Uncertainty

#52ancestors Week 44—Frightening

Facing Uncertainty 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

On the eve of his voyage in 1641 to the New World, my ancestor, Anthony de Hooges, reflected on the “certainty of death, as well as the uncertainty of the hour” at which death would overtake him. He made out a Will even though he was single and only 21 years old. A week later, on 23 July 1641, he boarded den Coninck David (King David) in Amsterdam on a voyage to New Netherland where he was to begin a new job for the West Indies Company and a new life. 

"Anthony de Hooges was baptized in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam on 14 December 1620, the eighth and last child born to Johannes de Hooges and Maria Tijron. Both of Anthony’s parents were probably Calvinist immigrants from the Southern Netherlands (likely from Mechelen and Antwerp, respectively, in what is now Belgium). The family was evidently solidly middle class: Johannes [de Hooges] worked as a bookkeeper for the West India Company and was a shareholder in that company as well.”[1]

Anthony de Hooges kept a journal of his long voyage. It begins: "In the year of our Lord 1641, the 30th of July, I commenced this journal in the name of the Lord. May the Lord conduct us to the place of our destination in order that on our arrival we may offer to the Lord the offering of our lips to His honor and our salvation. Amen."[2]

It was an unusually stormy passage and no doubt frightening to all aboard. It took four months to reach its destination. The ship set sail from Texel with about 35 or 36 other ships. On August 19, it reached Plymouth [England] where it stayed until the 30th. Setting sail again, this time with five other vessels, it passed the Madeira Islands on September 16 and 17 and on the 19th and 20th passed the Canary Islands, leaving the other ships, except for one galley, there. By October 4, it was running short of water. It reached the Leeward Islands on October 16th, and anchored at St. Christopher on the 18th. Here it took on water and remained until the 23rd. 

On November 29, den Coninck David sailed past Sandy Hook and Anthony closed his journal saying: "At daybreak we ran to the sand point (Sandy Hook) and we rounded it too close. We got aground on a reef which had formed there within a year. After two hours we got afloat again. God be praised we suffered no damage and with good speed passed between the Hoofden (the headlands at the sides of the Narrows) and in the afternoon came to anchor at the Manhatens, in front of Smits Vly (on the East River). Thus the Lord delivered us at last, after much adversity, for which He be praised forever, Amen. — "Journal of Anthony de Hooges, of his voyage to New Netherland beginning 30 July ending 29 November 1641."[3]

For some passenger lists of ships to New Netherland/New York, including den Coninck David in 1641 see:

Six years later in New Netherland Anthony de Hooges married Aefje Albertsen “Eva” Bradt, adding some Norwegian to my family bloodline. They had four daughters and one son who was my ancestor, Johannes de Hooges (1654-1738), who married Margarita Post (1657-1700).  See The POST Family of New York and New Jersey -- Descendants of Adriaen Crijne Post, by Lorine McGinnis Schulze online at 

Johannes de Hooges and Margarita Post were parents of six daughters and only one son, who died before reaching adulthood and thus the De Hooges surname has “daughtered out” in America. Johannes and Margarita’s daughter, Cathrina de Hooges married Wynant Vanderpool, my ancestor, in 1706.[4] 

Anthony de Hooges probably has many living descendants today, as he had 25 grandchildren and 143 great-grandchildren, but they will be found under various other surnames, and spelled variantly, such as Bries, Hornbeck, Van Etten, Rutgers, Quick, Oostrander, Roosa, de la Montagne, and Vanderpool. 

He is a fine ancestor to have because there are so many records written by him and/or pertaining to him available. If you have New Netherland ancestry, perhaps he appears in your family tree, too.

 [1] From the Introduction of The Memorandum Book of Anthony de Hooges, translated by Dirk Mouw; publication of the New Netherland Research Center and the New Netherland Institute, 2012. Retrieved from: https://www.newnetherlandinstitute.org/files/2713/5543/9527/DeHoogesTranslationFinal.pdf 

[2] Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts (Albany: University of the State of New York, 1908), p. 580. Retrieved from: https://www.newnetherlandinstitute.org/files/4813/8679/0228/NY006011163_1908_VR_Bowier_Manuscripts.pdf

[3] Ibid

[4] Col. William Van Derpoel Hannay, compiler, Dutch Settlers Society of Albany Yearbook, Vol. 41 (Albany, New York: Dutch Settlers Society of Albany, 1966-1968), p. 12.

22 October 2018


#52ancestors Week 43—Cause of Death


By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

Walter D. "Buck" Fricks (1884-1914), left; brother, Edward W. Fricks (1885-1963; sister, Dora M. Fricks (1892-1955)
Photo taken about 1910, Muskogee, Oklahoma

The headline of the page 1 story in the Muskogee Times-Democrat (Muskogee, Muskogee County, Oklahoma) on 18 September 1914 reads: MANGLED: Body of Man Identified as ‘Buck” Fricks, Muskogee Lineman and Well-Known Character, Found on Railroad Track at Wells, Okla., South of Here. 

Many years ago, I walked the Greenhill Cemetery in Muskogee, Oklahoma and recorded all of my known kin buried there. I had also walked it as a child many times with my grandmother, but after I became an adult and a professional genealogist I wanted to verify the information, double-check names and dates, and not rely on memory. 

Greenhill Cemetery is resting place of many of my Fricks relatives — and I knew the man called “Buck” was the brother of my grandfather. I also know that he had been killed in a railroad accident. It was a subject that was never discussed much, so I did not know any details. I had never read the newspaper account until years later. From it I learned that W. D. “Buck” Fricks, whose given name was Walter, was run over by a Katy (Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad) train at small station named Wells, located just north of Eufaula, and about 25 miles south of Muskogee where the family lived. His body was found on the track by trainmen. 

Fricks was either asleep on the track or was thrown beneath the wheels while trying to catch a moving train, according to the newspaper account. George Miller, of the county attorney’s office at Eufaula went out to look at the body and found a letter in Fricks’ pocket from a young woman in Muskogee. The body was fearfully mangled, according the news story. 

The Katy Limited, ca 1910 

It further noted that “A brother of Fricks, who lives in the country near Muskogee was notified by telephone and this afternoon passed through town on his way to Eufaula.” That brother was my grandfather, Charley. I know because my grandfather told me about that sad trip he made to identify his brother and see to it that he was buried in the family plot in Greenhill Cemetery. 

Also per the newspaper account, “Buck Fricks was a well-known character here, and was employed from time to time as a lineman by local public service corporation.” The family history claims he worked as an oil rigger and as a lineman for Western Union Telegraph. He never married and left no known children. 

He was only 30 years old when he died, and I sure wish I knew what the newspaper meant by calling him a “well-known character.” I could use a “character” in the family tree, especially a good one. 

19 October 2018

Fatal Affray: Murder at the Courthouse

#52ancestors Week 42—Conflict

 Fatal Affray: Murder at the Courthouse 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

While not as well-known as the showdown at the OK Corral, a famous fight that took place 26 October 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona, an Arkansas conflict had all of the same elements, plus more. Two antagonists faced each other — one armed with a large hickory walking cane and a double-action Smith & Weston .44-caliber 6-shooting pistol and the other with a pocketknife. When it was over Judge James D. Coates was dead and the ex-sheriff of Desha County, Arkansas, Isaac Bankston, lay dying with three stabs wounds — on a street in Arkansas City, Arkansas not far from the courthouse in early June of 1884. 

Desha County (Arkansas) Courthouse; which is on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The story behind the conflict began when Bankston went up the Mississippi River about 200 miles from Desha County, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee in late December of 1883 and married Missouri Bradford. This created two legal problems. Isaac, a white man, was already married with two children, and Missouri was a “woman of color” according to newspaper accounts. Apparently Bankston was guilty of bigamy and of breaking Tennessee’s anti-miscegenation law, which reads: 

The Constitution of Tennessee, Article 11, Section 13, reads, "The inter-marriage of white persons with negroes [sic], mulattoes or persons of mixed blood, descended from a negro [sic] to the third generation inclusive or their living together as man and wife in this state is prohibited."  

Isaac Bankston, the son of Ignatius Bankston (ca 1801-1862) and Rosey Ward (ca 1810-1850), was born about 1832 in either Chicot County, Arkansas Territory or Bolivar County, Mississippi. He was the sheriff of Desha County, Arkansas from 1876-1884. He had married first Martha Elizabeth White in 1858 in Washington County, Mississippi. They had two children (according to the 1880 federal enumeration of Desha County) -- Isaac Jr., born in 1872, and Laura, a daughter, born ca 1874. He married secondly Missouri Bradford in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, 28 December 1883. They were married by the Rev. J. E. Roberts, an A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal church) minister. 

When news about Bankston’s marriage to Bradford broke, it was published in a number of Arkansas newspapers. At first Bankston denied it and threatened to sue the newspapers for libel. However, in a newspaper story that appeared in Arkansas Gazette on 12 Feb. 1884, the Rev. Roberts said he had married the couple and that Isaac Bankston and Missouri Bradford were boarding at the same place (as he and his wife were) and, "I thought he was a colored man. He has a dark complexion."  The minister also mentioned that he has talked to Missouri Bradford and she had a little boy and that she had been living with Bankston for three years. 

The calendar for the criminal court of Judge James M. Greer in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee was published in the Memphis Daily Appeal on 23 May 1884. Among the cases for petit larceny, assault to murder, and retailing liquor on Sunday, was a charge against Isaac Bankston and Missouri Bradford, (for) intermarrying with a colored woman. Bankston had been arrested on 5 May. 

Isaac Bankston was indicted for miscegenation (not bigamy) by marrying Bradford, but was acquitted because no evidence was produced against him, and he claimed he had a mixture of Indian blood, which apparently allowed him to legally skirt Tennessee’s anti-miscegenation law. However, in a courtroom drama, under instructions of presiding Judge Greer, the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” without retiring from their seats and the costs of the case were charged up against James D. Coates, also of Desha County, Arkansas, who was prosecuting the case and who had acted as both a witness and special prosecutor. In an article in The Weekly Democrat-Times (Greenville, Washington County, Mississippi), published 7 June 1884, it also was shown that the prosecution was malicious.

 In a wrap-up story about the Bankston-Coates Tragedy, as it was labeled in the Memphis Daily Appeal on Friday, June 13, 1884, the report of the coroner’s jury in Arkansas City, Arkansas, said that “after said acquittal, Gen. G. P. M. Turner, the attorney general of Shelby County, Tennessee, encouraged Bankston to commit violence on J. D. Coates by making the remark to wit: ‘Bankston, if you don’t go down to Arkansas City and cowhide Coates you are not the man I take you to be.’ "

Bankston then returned to Arkansas City via steamer on 2 June 1884. He came unarmed, but shortly after arrival procured a pistol and a heavy walking stick. He called out James D. Coates, the lawyer who took part in the indictment against him. A fight ensued and Bankston hit Coates with his cane two or more times and Coates rushed at Bankston with a knife in his hand and stabbed him a couple of times, and then they broke loose. Bankston then shot Coates with his pistol, and yet another scuffle ensued at which time Coates gave Bankston a third stab in the back. Coates died first and Bankston soon thereafter.

 For Arkansas City, the county seat of Desha County, with a population of only 500 or so in 1880, this duel to the death must have been a subject of discussion for years as no doubt it would have touched the lives of many of the residents. For genealogists and historians this story presents several challenges on many fronts — about ethnicity, family history, laws, the legal process, and weighing evidence of various sources. It raises numerous questions and provides several additional mysteries to explore. And one is left wondering “what happened next?” 

10 October 2018

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

#52ancestors — Week 41
October 8-14  SPORTS

Take Me Out to the Ball Game . . . 

by Myra Vanderpool Gormley (C) 2018

 Tall, medium built, with gray eyes and auburn hair, Wilburn Everett Bankston was listed as a “ball player” on his World War I Draft Registration Card dated 26 May 1917 in what appears to be Providence, Rhode Island, but the handwriting of the location is difficult to read. However, his date of birth: 25 May 1893 in Forsyth, Monroe County, Georgia helps to identify him as a son of Hiram Everett Bankston (1859-1946) and Sarah “Dee” Askin (1865-1946). He was one of their 13 known children and a twin to his sister, Evelyn Bankston. The father and son both went by their middle name.

In an article in the Macon Telegram (Macon, Georgia) headlined “Gulls Off To Majors — Fillingem and Bankston Leave to Join the Athletics,” dated 23 July 1915, it was announced therein with a dateline of Charleston, S.C. that Pitcher Fillingem and Outfielder Bankston of the Charleston South Atlantic league team left here today (July 22) to join the Philadelphia American league club, to whom
they were sold several weeks ago. Bankston’s career with the major-league Athletics was short as the team finished last in the American League that year. The Athletics owner Connie Mack refused to match the offers of the newly created Federal League teams, preferring to let the "prima donnas" go and rebuild with younger (and less expensive) players, according to sportswriters. The result was a swift and near-total collapse, a "first-to-worst" situation.

The Athletics went from a 99–53 (.651) record and a pennant in 1914 to a record of 43–109 (.283) and 8th (last) place in 1915. At the time, it was the third-worst winning percentage in American League history. The Federal League had been formed to begin play in 1914. As they had done 13 years before, the new league raided existing A.L. (American League) and N.L. (National League) teams for players. While Bankston’s exact salary for his brief major-league career has not been ascertained, two 1915 Philadelphia Athletics pitchers — Bob Shawkey and Bruno Haas — made $3,249 and $1,200 respectively. Translating those numbers precisely into today’s dollars is difficult, but the range is about $30,000 to $80,000.

When he registered for the World War I draft, Bankston gave his occupation as “ball player” and his employer as Richmond BB Club at Richmond, etc. [sic]. On March 22, 1918, the Atlanta Constitution published a story with the headline “Everett Bankston, former Cracker, quits baseball.” The story notes that he hit .325 in 1916 and .300 last season (1917) and was “secured from the Yankees, the last three seasons with Richmond and formerly a [Atlanta] Cracker, has been lost to the [Memphis] Chickasaws.” It also reveals that he owned a farm at Barnesville, Georgia and “on account of shortage of labor he would be obliged to remain at home and look after the farm.”

However, he served briefly during World War I as Seaman Second Class Wilburn Bankston, having enlisted on 4 June 1918, and training at the Naval Training Camp, Charleston, South Carolina. He was honorably discharged 11 November 1918. He apparently returned to playing baseball after the war. On the 1920 census he is enumerated with his parents in Monroe County, Georgia, but he is listed as “professional ball player.”

 By 1930, still enumerated with his parents, he is recorded as a laborer (farm). Evidently by age 37, his baseball career had ended. His career lasted much longer than “one year” as indicated on a website, although that reference may refer only to his brief career with major-league Philadelphia Athletics. Bankston played with Charleston, Greenville, Charlotte, Augusta and Columbia as well as several other minor league clubs. He broke into the professional game about 1912 when he was 19 years old. In July 1927, he voluntarily retired after being sold by Richmond to the Raleigh club of the Piedmont League. He had a life-time batting average of over .300.

He died 26 February 1970 in Georgia and is buried in Fredonia Church Cemetery in Lamar County, Georgia where his parents and other kinfolks rest. Some websites claim he was married, but a marriage record for him has not been found — to date.

On his paternal side, Wilburn Everett Bankston descends from the Swedes on the Delaware:
Colonial Swedes

He was the son of Hiram Everett Bankston (1859-1946) and Sarah Dixon (1865-1946), who was the son of Welburn Henderson Bankston (1805-1892) and Amanda Rebecca Bush (1829-1896), who was the son of Hiram Bankston (ca 1779-1800) and Susanna Slaydon (ca 1782-after 1815), who was the son of Lawrence Bankston (ca 1755-1844) and Nancy Anne Delphia Henderson (1758-1849), who was the son of Peter Bankston (ca 1732-1804) and Priscilla [--?--] (d. after 1804), who was the son of Lawrence Bankston Sr. (ca 1704-1771) and Rebecca Hendricks (ca 1710-before 1786), who was the son of Andrew Bankston Jr. (ca 1673-after 1746) and Gertrude Boore (ca 1676-after 1740), who was the son of Anders Bankston Sr. (1640-1705) and Gertrude Rambo (1650-after 1705).

06 October 2018

Counting to 10

#52ancestors Week 40
 (Oct. 1-7) --Ten

Counting to 10 

by Myra Vanderpool Gormley (C) 2018

William Vanderpool (1808-1884) had 10 known children by his first wife, Mary “Polly” Fuson (1803-1849). They married in 1828 and never seem to stay in any place very long. He was a restless soul and they lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. 

Their children, born about every two years, were born in six different states. Of these 10 children, their daughter, Artemissa Vanderpool, born ca 1842 in Missouri, also had 10 children. She married Christopher Columbus Pitts, son of John Pitts and Frances Ann Gaulding, soon after the Civil War ended — somewhere in Missouri. Their children were apparently all born in and grew up in Hickory County, 

Missouri Christopher Columbus PITTS and Artemissa M. VANDERPOOL had the following children: 

2 i. Lucy Josephine "Josie" PITTS, born 1 May 1867, Hickory County, Missouri; married Ruzan H. GIST, 22 Mar 1885, Hickory County, Missouri; died 29 Nov 1939, Wheatland, Hickory County, Missouri. 
3 ii. Charles Lysurgus PITTS, born 1 Oct 1868, Wheatland, Hickory County, Missouri; married Sara Etta SANDERS, Dec 1902, Hickory County, Missouri; died 15 Jul 1959, Argus. San Bernardino County, California.
 4 iii. James Edwin PITTS, born 31 Mar 1870, Hickory County, Missouri; married Margaret Elizabeth MASHBURN, 10 Apr 1892, Hickory County, Missouri. His place of death has not been determined, perhaps Oklahoma or California about 1967. 
5 iv. Annie May PITTS, born 1 May 1872, Hickory County, Missouri; married Daniel HEWITT, 9 Oct 1889, Hickory County, Missouri; died aft 1940, Texas. 
6 v. Gussie G. PITTS, born 16 Mar 1874, Hickory County, Missouri; married John W. JORDAN, 11 Dec 1891, Hickory County, Missouri; died 29 Apr 1952, Lubbock, Lubbock County, Texas.
 7 vi. Oliver Silvester PITTS, born 25 Apr 1876, Hickory County, Missouri; married Grace BRYANT, 18 Apr 1899, San Bernardino County, California; died 1957, Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon. 
8 vii. Mary Beach "Beachie" PITTS, born 24 Apr 1879, Hickory County, Missouri; married Edward Monroe BASS, 27 Dec 1896, Hickory County, Missouri; died Nov 1964, California.
 9 viii. Viola Frances PITTS, born 10 Jun 1884, Hickory County, Missouri; married Robert Marvin DAVIS, 14 Jun 1908, Missouri; died 25 Aug 1967, Mentone, San Bernardino County, California.
 10 ix. Alfred Foster PITTS, born 17 Apr 1886, Hickory County, Missouri; married Elsie Retta WATKINS, 25 Aug 1907, Wheatlands, Hickory County, Missouri; died 12 Mar 1960, Atwater, Merced County, California. 
11 x. Arizona M. "Zona" PITTS, born 14 Oct 1891, Hickory County, Missouri; married Paul Emil HERZOG, 17 Apr 1907, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado; died 15 Feb 1968, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California. 

These 10 children had approximately 35 children and most of these grandchildren of Artemissa Vanderpool and Christopher Pitts have been identified. The Vanderpool family has been researching all of its American branches since about 1974 and has created a large one-name database. One of the unsolved mysteries pertains to Artemissa Vanderpool. She was born about 1842 in Missouri (the county is in dispute). 

She is listed as an eight-year-old, with her father, stepmother, six brothers and older sister, Rachel, in 1850 in Dade County, Missouri, taken on 27 August 1850. But, she is not with them when they were enumerated on 6 November 1850 in Decatur County, Iowa. She is not with the family in 1860 when it was recorded at Fort Riley, Kansas Territory. 

She did not marry until 1866, but the marriage record to Christopher Columbus Pitts has not yet been found. No known pictures of her have surfaced. Her 1932 Missouri State Death Certificate lists her birthplace as Madison County, Missouri, but I have been unable to confirm or find any evidence her family was ever in that county. 

Hopefully, with the wonders of the Internet some of her descendants will make contact and somewhere out there someone has a picture of Artemissa to share. 

If so, that will be a No. 10 day for me.

27 September 2018

On the Farm--in the Middle of History

52ancestors No. 39

On the Farm — in the Middle of History 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

It was 155 years ago on 20 September 1863 when the Battle of Chickamauga ended. About 36,000 were killed in that event — 20,000 Confederates and 16,000 Union men, and it was the costliest battle in the war’s western theater. On their small farms nearby in Walker County, Georgia, my large Fricks family struggled to survive the Civil War and then to pick up the pieces when it was over. 

Fricks Gap, Walker County, Georgia ca 1864
Several of their young men, including two brothers (Francis Marion “Frank” Fricks and William Henry Harrison “Harrison” Fricks), sons of S. Davis Fricks (1813-98) and Nancy Riggs (1815-1912) served in Co. E. of 39th Regiment, Georgia Infantry (called the Walker[County] Light Guards), CSA and were in the thick of the fighting. “Harrison” Fricks was killed 23 November 1863 at the Missionary Ridge Battle — not far from his family’s farm at Pond Springs. He was 22 years old.

 In the summer of 1863, my great-grandfather (Napoleon B. Fricks), then only 17 years old, joined 6th Battalion Georgia Cavalry (State Guards). In the same unit was Charles W. Connally, 46, who would become his father-in-law soon after the war was over. Researching the military records pertaining to this family more thoroughly provided an extra bonus when I learned that my great-grandfather was not the only one of that rather unusual name. His uncle, also named Napoleon Bonaparte Fricks, was born in 1820. He was a private in Co. B, 21st Regiment, Georgia Infantry, CSA, and died during the war of typhoid fever while serving in Virginia. Finally, I was able to untangle some mixed-up branches because of this same-name problem. 

S. Davis Fricks  (1813-1898)
Stories were passed down to my grandfather, a son of Napoleon B. Fricks, about the war and the battles near their homes. Most of my Fricks family remained in Walker County until the path of the railroad split their farm (according to family lore) and they sold out their farms and headed west. In the autumn of 1891, great-grandfather Napoleon B. Fricks took his family to the Creek Nation of Indian Territory, but the year before several of his relatives, including his parents, removed to McGregor, McLennan County, Texas. They both purchased farms in their new localities. 

17 September 2018

Putting it to a Vote

#52ancestors No. 38
 Unusual Source (Voting Registers)

Putting it to a Vote 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018

The California Great Registers are available from 1867 through 1944, albeit not for every county for every year; plus there are some available even later for a few counties. The voting registers are quite helpful in identifying Anglo and Hispanic males over the age of 21, since they were required by law to register. Although African-Americans were granted the right to vote in 1870, many were disenfranchised on account of literacy. Women received the right to vote in California in 1911 and appear in the registers after that date. There were other exclusionary acts that precluded individuals from appearing on the lists at times, for example, Indians until 1924 and natives of China from 1879 to 1926. 

Using several of these records I was able to trace my Forty-niner, Jonathan Lewis, who lived in California from 1849 until late in 1900. While I believe he is listed in 1850 in El Dorado County, his name is such a common one that I’ve never been sure the John Lewis listed was him, even though everything seems to “fit.” In the California state census of 1852, there’s a J. Lewis in Yuba County, California. I suspect this is Jonathan, but it is impossible to prove.

 By the 1860 federal census, there’s a John Lewis recorded in Placer County which is probably him, although the state of birth listed (Virginia) differs. However, he appears 18 June 1867 on a voter registration, listed as a farmer in Crane Valley, age 36, and born in North Carolina. That information all matches the known facts about him. Later voter registrations also show him in Madera County. These records reveal he was 5-foot-8, fair completion, blue-eyed and by 1896 his hair was gray. 

He had two sons — Benjamin F. and Daniel — by his first Indian wife, whose name was Cee-au-na, and she is believed to have been a native of the Gashowu (Cassons) Yokuit tribe. The sons were born ca 1862 and 1864, and using the 1884 and 1896 voting registers I was able to better identify them. Tracing men with a common surname such as Lewis is challenge, and you need all the records you can find to help sort them out. An 1896 registers provided height, color of eyes, hair and complexion, plus indicated that Daniel had a scar on his left hand.

 If you have any California ancestors, especially those who arrived before 1900, you may find some gold as I did in these records. They are available at: Ancestry® (www.ancestry.com). This website provides both digitized images and indexes, divided into two separate databases.

13 September 2018

Blowing out the Candles

#52ancestors—No. 37
Closest to your birthday

Blowing out the candles 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

Only one ancestor and I share the same February birthday — albeit it about 364 years apart. I had gathered some information about my Duchy of Brabant families and was doing historical exploration of the 16th century and early 17th century to better understand how my Maria wound up marrying Johannes de Hooges in 1608 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It appears that she was born the same year of the “Sack of Antwerp.” 

According to Wikipedia, “At the time Antwerp, in modern Belgium, was not only the largest Dutch city, but was also the cultural, economic and financial centre of the Seventeen Provinces and of north-western Europe. On 4 November 1576, unpaid Spanish soldiery mutinied: they plundered and burnt the city during what was called the Spanish Fury. Thousands of citizens were massacred and hundreds of houses were burnt down. As a result, Antwerp became even more engaged in the rebellion against the rule of Habsburg Spain. The city joined the Union of Utrecht (1579) and became the capital of the Dutch Revolt, which no longer was merely a Protestant rebellion but had become a revolt of all Dutch provinces.” 

Her name was Maria Tijron and purportedly she was born in Antwerp, the daughter of Anthoni Tijron and his second wife, Catharina Daneels. Research on my early Dutch and Flemish families has long been on the back burner — one of those “going to tackle it later” projects that genealogist are infamous for having — so many branches, so little time. 

It had been a long time since I had looked at my meager notes and sources for this line. It is a good thing that I did because I find no primary source for Maria’s birth, and as I examined the birth records of her eight children (all baptized in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands), I realized that if she was born in 1576, as some online genealogies claim, she would have been 32 years old when she married and about 44 years old when her youngest child (and my ancestor), Anthony de Hooges, was born. While not impossible, certainly not the norm. It is much more likely that she was about 22 years of age when she married, which would make her born about 1586 or so. And, now, I don’t know if her actual day of birth is correct. Where did that information come from? I have only a reference that has no original or trustworthy secondary sources. At least, I had so noted that..

I learned from The Memorandum Book of Anthony de Hooges (translated by Dirk Mouw; a publication of the New Netherland Research Center and the New Netherland Institute, 2012) that: "Tragedy struck the De Hooges family during Anthony's first few years of life. Indeed, tragedy struck repeatedly. His mother [Marion Tijron] died when he was very young, probably before this 3rd birthday and shortly after his 4th, his father died as well. 

“The absence of references to any siblings in surviving documents of a later date, written to, by or about the orphaned Anthony suggests that all of his seven siblings also died early in his life. It is likely that at least some of the members of his immediate family succumbed to the plague which is estimated to have claimed 11 percent or more of Amsterdam's population in 1624 and to have taken a smaller but still a devastating human toll the following year." 

So, it is back to genealogical digging before I even attempt to put this family’s story together. As it stands now, Maria Tijron and I may or may not share a common birthdate.

10 September 2018

Searching for a U.S. Marshal

#52 ancestors No. 36 --Work

Grandpa Vanderpool: U.S. Marshal?

 By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

It is not surprising that some, perhaps many, of our family legends turn out to be less than accurate. And, that’s being kind. 

My paternal grandmother told the story about grandfather being a U.S. Marshal in Indian Territory and how in the early days of their marriage, which took place in 1906, she would ride with him when he went to deliver warrants. I never thought to ask her what else he did in his job. 

Imagine my surprise when I found him in 1900 Creek Nation of Indian Territory census listed as a 23-year-old livery stable hand. Of course, he was still single and living with his parents, so I reasoned the marshal job must have come a bit later. 

However, the 1910 federal enumeration, showing him with grandmother, their eldest daughter and my father, lists his occupation as “night watch” [sic] and the industry given as “night watch” [sic]. In 1910, they were living in the State of Oklahoma, which no longer was Indian Territory. Oklahoma having become a state on November 16, 1907. However, a “night watch[man]” was certainly no U.S. Marshal. 

Did grandmother lie? 

Grandpa registered for the World War I draft on 12 September 1918, still living in Eufaula, McIntosh County, Oklahoma where he and grandmother had resided since 1906. He gave his occupation as: “Eng. Tender” and employer as Osage Cotton Oil Co. He died less than a year later from heart problems and the Spanish flu.

 I called my sister, who as a few years older, often knew or remembered stories I didn’t. She said grandmother had always claimed that he was a marshal. Sis dug out a 1970 newspaper story in which grandmother told the same story about grandfather being a “United States Marshal, and that she rode with him in a one-horse buggy to different places to serve papers.”

 I checked all the sources available in an attempt to prove his occupation, but they all turned out negative. Indian Territory was a pretty wild place in the early 1900s and there were many deputy U.S. marshals, but none of them were my grandfather and he was not listed as a U.S. Marshal either. 

Reluctantly, I gave up the quest, thinking my grandmother, who didn’t know where she was born in Tennessee, just might have been confused — to be polite. 

John R. Vanderpool and wife,
 Molly Kimbro and two oldest children, 
Edna and John. 
ca 1910
Then one day while searching old newspapers online I found a listing of the “United States Officials” in the Eufaula (Creek Nation, Indian Territory) Directory of May 10, 1907. There was my grandfather: John Vanderpool, Constable. It finally made sense. The city’s constable was under the U.S. government at that time because since 1 March 1889, the U.S. District Court for Indian Territory had had jurisdiction. While a small-town constable is not the same as a U.S. marshal or deputy marshal, his job, would have been similar — in a much smaller jurisdiction in Indian Territory. 

Constable Vanderpool is mentioned in a small newspaper story in 1907 when Newman Boone, who had shot and killed Jackson McGilbra, surrendered to him. Boone was brought to Eufaula and then taken on to Muskogee to await a hearing. 

I thought I had solved the mystery about grandpa’s occupation — finally. Then I found a notice in newspaper, dated 22 May 1908, wherein grandpa opened an “up-to-date skating rink in the Mills Building, lower floor, on Foley Avenue” in Eufaula. The town’s former constable was now a “skating rink proprietor.” 

I wonder why there are no family legends about that? 

29 August 2018

Is There a Doctor in the House?

#52ancestors—week 35

Is There a Doctor in the House?

 By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

Dr. James Monroe Vanderpool (1859-1916) was what the family called a “country doctor” — in the traditional sense of being a small-town, old-fashioned doctor. The family also called him by his middle name, but most records show him as James M. 

He was born near the tiny town of Jasper (county seat of Newton County) Arkansas in the autumn of 1859. His family, part of the pro-Union faction in the Ozarks, removed to northern Missouri during the Civil War to escape bushwhackers, Confederate raids and the general violence of that time. His father, Capt. James R. Vanderpool, was a Union Army officer. The family returned to Newton County after the war. 

Monroe married young, when he was about 18, to Cumi Palestine Johnson, and in 1880, when his parents died a few months apart, he became the guardian of his baby brother, Levi Franklin Vanderpool, who was born 16 August 1880. Initially, I wondered why Monroe was named, since he was the third-eldest child of the family. However, a closer look at the 1880 census reveals that the two older children of the family — William (my ancestor) and Sarah (wife of William Treat) already had three and four children, respectively. Monroe and Cumi only had a two-year-old son at the time. Without any other evidence, it appears guardianship and care of the baby brother went to Monroe and his wife, probably because of economic and perhaps space factors. The other underage children of Capt. James R. Vanderpool were taken in by various family members, and they had a court-appointed guardian for their portions of the estate. 

Dr. James Monroe Vanderpool
So how did Monroe become a doctor? Obviously, he needed education and/or an apprenticeship, if such was the custom in those days. The medical education requirements of the 19th century are a bit murky and vary from place to place. Possibly he used the small inheritance from his parents to finance his education. 

However, the 20-year-gap between the 10th and 12th federal censuses (1880 and 1900) creates problems for research of this sort. In 1880, Monroe and his family are in Arkansas; in 1900, they are enumerated in the Creek Nation of Indian Territory, and he is listed as a physician. In 1910, he and his family resided in the small town of Calvin in Hughes County, Oklahoma. At the time of his death, his residence was given as Wetumka (Hughes County), Oklahoma. 

His 1916 obituary in the Checotah [McIntosh County, Oklahoma] Times does not mention his education, but indicates he and his family were in the process of removing to California. 

A search at Ancestry.com in the “Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929,” provided some answers: Death Date: 29 July 1916 in Wellington, (Sumner County) Kansas. Type Practice: Allopath. Medical School: Barnes Medical College, St. Louis, 1899, (G) Education: Common school, Jasper, Arkansas; Academy, Yellville (Marion County), Arkansas; and Fayetteville State University, Arkansas (probably meaning the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville). Licenses: Arkansas, 1888; Oklahoma, 1899; and last listed was 19 September 1913 in Calvin, (Hughes County) Oklahoma. 

Armed with this educational information, perhaps I will find additional records, even photographs, of Dr. James Monroe Vanderpool. Just what I need — another project for my copious spare time. 

21 August 2018

Filling in the Blanks

#52ancestors Week 34, Aug. 20-26 

Filling in the Blanks: Non-population schedules 

By Myra Vanderpool Gormley © 2018 

It’s easy to overlook certain records, like Mortality Schedules, but a mistake to do so, I’ve learned. My ancestor, James R. Vanderpool, died in 1880, and I had found his 1879 will and also located his widow and children in the 1880 census. Plus, I had compiled a great deal of information about him. 

Capt. James Vanderpool, Anna and 6 of their children, Arkansas, ca 1878

He had been a Union officer in a Confederate State and was a local hero in Newton County, Arkansas, for among other things, his role in leading a wagon train of civilians out of the Ozarks to northern Missouri to escape the bushwhackers and Confederates. According to the county’s history, on that trip he shot a Confederate lady’s cow that had had the audacity to “moo” at their wagon train, and the Union families ate the beef for dinner. 

His military service and pension records are rich in details and historical notes. He served in the Arkansas State Legislature briefly during Reconstruction. Then he returned to Newton County, ran a mercantile store, farmed, and once was sued for illegal imprisonment. I obtained copies of his Homestead papers wherein he explained why he had not lived on that property since 1 September 1875: "I was compelled to remove to Yellville, Arkansas to carry on a daily mail contract which was awarded to me in 1875 from Yellville to Fayetteville, Ark."

 Additionally, family letters revealed that his wife Anna (née Henderson) and her sister, Sarah, got into a fight over something pertaining to their children and Sarah slapped Anna. Then Capt. James and Sarah's husband (Greenberry Kelley) got into a fight and Capt. James threatened to shoot him. Sarah and her husband left Arkansas for California shortly thereafter and the two sisters never saw each other again. 

I knew when and where Capt. James Vanderpool died and was buried and as a result almost overlooked checking the 1880 Mortality Schedule for Arkansas. Because of the lack of state or county death records for Arkansas before 1914, this schedule can be an important genealogical document. 

While there are several errors in it pertaining to my ancestor, I learned that he died from Bright’s Disease (nephritis) — inflammation of the kidney — something I never knew until I found this schedule. 

For those who are working on one-name databases, a check of the 1850-1880 Mortality Schedules may be the records that will provide some answers as to whatever happened to those “lost” ancestors and enable you to untangle the three or four Johns and Marys. Of course, you run the risk of finding someone whose place in the family tree is a big mystery and then you’ll have another project to work on. 

Ah, such is the joy of genealogy.

13 August 2018

Dusting off family legends

#52ancestors Week 33
Aug. 13-19 Family Legend

Dusting off family legends

 By Myra Vanderpool Gormley ©2018 

One of the favorite American genealogy legends — 3 brothers came to America — is not found in my family. At least I’ve never heard it. I suspect that is because our multi-ethnic family has been in this country longer than our family’s memories about who the gateway ancestors were. 

There are no “stowaways” or “they changed our name at Ellis Island” tales either. Since Ellis Island didn’t open until 1892 and all of our known ancestors arrived in the 1600s and early 1700s, that legend would have been easy to disprove. However, like so many American families, ours has its shares of the popular genealogical legends, which include:

 • Horse thief
 • Indian heritage
 • Fortune left in “old country”
 • Name “change” (because of family disagreement)
 • Claim to fame via Daniel Boone, Jesse James, etc.
 • Wrong ethnic background 

Proving the horse thief was fairly easy since I started out knowing his name (Cole Shoemake), where he lived (Oklahoma) and the time period (early 20th century). It helped that his escapades were written up in several newspapers and that the Leavenworth, Kansas prison had records (and a picture) of him. It took a bit of digging to figure out the exact relationship, which turned out to be half 1C2R. Half first cousins are still family, of course. Does that mean I have a half black sheep relative? 

The Cherokee legends were handed down in several different lines — just to confuse us, I think. Great-grandpa’s Guion Miller application is so higgledy-piggledy that I wonder if the old Baptist preacher might have been imbibing when he filled it out. A number of family tales fell apart in the cold daylight of historical accuracies and basic genealogical research, but one line did prove to be Cherokee, but it was not among any of the passed-along legends. It was found almost by accident. 

My maternal grandfather believed the “inheritance in the old country” story and I never determined how he learned about it, but suspect it might have been one of those 1920s or 1930s inheritance scams stories that often appeared in U.S. newspapers. What threw cold water on this legend for me was the claim that the family fortune was in England. My grandfather’s family were primarily Swiss, German and Irish. If there’s any English in his line, it must be back in the 1500s and not yet identified. 

This family also has the proverbial family dispute tale in which two brothers had a disagreement and split up their business (and what that was varies from storyteller to storyteller) and one of them “changed” their name from Fricks to Frix. Changing the spelling doesn’t change the name, but you can’t tell my family that. Many years of research into this Southern line has failed to turn up the feuding brothers and the nearest I’ve come to finding anything is when my great-grandaunt Julia Fricks married her first cousin once removed (1C1R) Alexander Frix, but they both descend from the same ancestor of a Rowan County, North Carolina Germanic Swiss Fricks (Frick) family — no matter how they spell it. 

Many Jesse James (the outlaw) stories and kinship tales to him abound in families, especially those with roots in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. I was able to disprove one of the legends about our grandfather catching Jesse James burying train robber loot on his Oklahoma farm with just one trip to the library (this, of course, was many years before Wikipedia). Jesse James was killed on 2 April 1882 in Missouri. My grandpa was an 8.5-year-old boy in Georgia when that happened — long before he removed to Oklahoma and purchased a farm. Nevertheless, I have some cousins who can’t see the flaw in this legend and are passing it on to their grandchildren. 

Oops. Wrong ethnic group. When I was growing up I wondered why dad always emphasized that we were “Holland Dutch.” Didn’t all Dutch come from Holland (or more properly, The Netherlands)? Evidently this is how his ethnic origins had been related to him, along with the family legend of coming from New York. Apparently Holland Dutch was to distinguish them from the German Dutch (Deutsche). 

My maternal grandmother would rattle off the various ethnic combinations in her family as French, Black Dutch, Irish, Scotch-Irish, Welsh and English — way back there (whatever that meant). She didn’t know what Black Dutch meant either, but that’s another story. Eventually, I learned the distinction between Irish and Scotch-Irish (the latter is an Americanism). 

My paternal grandmother wasn’t sure what ethnicity her family roots were and it took years to discover her mother’s maiden name (Lee). However, her paternal line, with a very English-sounding surname (Kimbro/Kimbrough), turned out to be German. According to family legend, our Kelly line was “originally O’Kelly” and Irish. Appears this legend may bite the dust also as research continues. Another purportedly English line turned out to be Swedish (Bankston); and the jury is still out on whether the Andersons on the family tree are Scottish, Swedish or Norwegian. My numerous lines known as Pennsylvania Dutch are not Dutch at all. They are German. 

I am such a mixed bag of ethnic mixtures and I have learned to keep an open mind about the validity of any of my family legends. Recently, I found a potential ancestor of yet another ethnic group to add to the mixture — she’s Italian. Mama Mia.