27 October 2014

A letter from James Jacob and Jane Wall Facundus

I received an email this weekend from my first cousin once removed. Everyone has a person in their family that is a genealogist. My cousin Mark has traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi in search of genealogy related sources for our family. He has a precious collection of family history items, he has taken a DNA test and encouraged me to do so. He also participated in a civil war reenactment and played the part of our confederate ancestor on the same battlefield in Georgia. Mark is a true historian and a great person to share genealogy questions and theories. He currently is Park Manager at Camp Floyd in Fairfield, Utah.
"Used as a strategy by both the Northern and Southern States, Camp Floyd and the Utah War were an attempt to divert the nation's attention from the issue of states rights and slavery, to the Mormon problem and polygamy. Buchanan believed that Democrats and Republicans, northerners and southerners, could unite in an attempt to restore order to Utah, and he could thus divert attention from the crisis over slavery and tensions between the north and south."
The letter was written in 17 Nov 1900 by my 3rd great grandparents James Jacob and Jane Wall Facundus to my 2nd great-grandmother Emma Irene Facundus Trotter. Emma and Samuel Trotter had left Louisiana and taken a train to Utah in June of 1900. The Trotter's had been meeting with LDS missionaries and had converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like other Saints, in the late 19th century, they left their homes to gather in Utah where the fast growing church had set roots.

The family of seven settled in Goshen, Utah where two more children were born into the family. They migrated with infant Arthur Dahl Swenson Trotter, born 12 March 1900, who was named for the two missionaries who helped the family to join the church.

The Letter reads [annotations]:
Magnolia, La.  Nov. 17th 1900

My Dear Children[,]  I write you to day for the first
time and hope you do not think hard of us for not writing sooner but we knew you was hearing from us all the time through Cassie[.] We are all well at this time and hope you are all enjoying the same blessing[.] We still live at same place[,] get and getting along as usual and I guess you no how that is[.] Our crop was short on act of had bad weather and what little we made Lea Jones hogs ruined it so I never gathered a bushel of corn and tore up my potatoe patch[.] Allthough I made good potatoes and have gathered enough of them to last us way in Spring if they sleep well[.]  I hope you ans Sam is doing well there and I no you are from what you write[.] You are among civilized people and a Christian people[.]  While I consider that we are allmost in heathendom and it seems to me that they are getting worse instiad of better and if we could get the rest of the children
to go it would not be long before we would be with you all[.] I Jim would like the best in the world to come to see you all and see the country if I was only able to do so and I have regretted and regret that I was not brought into your church while I had the opportunity to do so[.] My mind has never changed as that being the only true church is the Latter day Saints and I would like so much to see some or all of the Elders that used to visit us so I could have them preach to us on true scripture but I live where they was not allowed to preach but I hope some day and that soon that we can come and see all of you, give our love to all and the children and to all the Elders and tell them to write to me. And may God bless them and you all is my best wishes[.]  Write soon and from now on I will try to write often[.] Tell son & dick and daisy hoddy for us all.

Yours as ever J. J. & Jane Facundus

This letter seems pretty standard. Something that I would write to my son, sans the grammar and spelling mistakes, thanks to modern computers and spell check. What makes this letter something I wanted to blog about was the two pages included with it that contain information about the family history.

It is no secret that Mormons have been gathering family history information for over 160 years. This included information by be in answer to questions about the family genealogy. I am glad to see that the love of family history extends further than myself and my cousin Mark.
No 1.
Jane Wall now Facundus
I was born and raised and married at Gillsburg, Amite county, Miss. My maiden name was Jane Wall[.] My age is from sixty five to sixty seven[.] I don't no exactly. My mother was Patsy Sibley her parents came from North Carolina[.] My father was Charles Wall his parents came from South Carolina when he was small. J.J. Facundus was born in Livingston Parish near Springfield La on March 5th 1837 and was 63 years old last March[.]  My father George Facundus was born and raised in Livingston Parish La but my grandfather Jacob Facundus I cannot tell where he came from or his nationality as I was left an orphan and new nothing of his origone but my mother was Mary Ann Mckie she was born and raised and married in Livingston Parish La her father Ja[me]s. Mckie came from South Carolina[.]
No 2. his mother was Ann Bookter she came from South Carolina but I can't tell you their ages as I have not got any record as to any further information I can't give it.

I can see the echo of this letter in the many family trees and accounts of our family. What a treasure it is to have this 114 year old letter and be able to read it. The account of the corn crop being ruined by rain and hogs, of the missionaries, and the knowledge of our families past being passed from generation to generation.

From the data provided it has confirmed a lot of the information I already had but caused me to have a few questions. How is there a birth date on Jane Wall Facundus' headstone when even she didn't know when her birth date was or how old she was? J. J. Facundus' birth date is also listed as 4th of March instead of the 5th like mentioned in the letter. It looks like I have more investigating to do.

05 October 2014

Autobiography of John Tidwell (1807-1887)

John Tidwell, son of William Tidwell and Sarah Goben, born January 14, 1807 in Shelby County, Kentucky. From there my father moved to Henry County in the same state and there near the fork of the Kentucky river and there he was called on to go and in defense of his country in the time of the War of 1812 and 1813. And on his return home he was taken sick from much exposure and died from which he underwent and others underwent. He died at a place then called Fort Ball.
Fort Ball, Ohio
This war was between the United States and Canada. Soon after which the war the news came to my mother of the death of my father, afrer [sic] whcih [sic] she moved to her fathers who lived in the State of Indiana. Her Father’s name was William Goben and her mother's name was Rebecca Goben. Some little time after my mother moved to Indiana, she married a man by the name of John Conner a half brother to my wife Jane Smith. I will say here that my mother had five children by her first husband, my father, Namely: John, Littleton, Kaney [Nancy], Mariah, and William. These five were born in the State of Kentucky. After she married John Conner, her second husband, she had eight children, Namely: James, Lewis, Mary, Isaac, Wesley, Alexander, Robert, and John [jr.].

December 18, 1828, I was married to Jane Smith, Clark County, Indiana. September 25, 1835, I was baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by Levi Bracken in connection with Uriah Curtis. These two was on a mission to Belher at that time. I was living at this time of my life in Clark County, Indiana. November 20, 1835, I was ordained an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ and left in charge of a small branch of Saints which had been baptized previous to this time. Say about twelve in number, which increased to about 22 or 23.

September 11, 1839, I left together with the Church at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. I reached there November 6, 1839; where I remained till after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith which took place June 27, 1844, by a mob while they was in charge of the law at Carthage and in the jail.

In the fall of 1844, I was ordained a seventy and organized the [ninth] quorum of the Seventies.

I must say in connection without stay in Nauvoo, which was not six years, we had a great deal of sickness and trouble by out-laws of the State of Illinois, who continually sought to disturb the Saints. June 10, 1844 the Nauvoo Expositor a libilous [sic] paper edited by the Laws and Fosters was considered a nuisance by the City Council of Nauvoo and was destroyed by the Marshall of the City, John P. Green. Great excitement arose about this time in the county of Hancock, by the mobbers [sic] of the state of Illinois so that the Governor of the State, Thomas Ford, with pretense of protection came to Carthage, the county seat of Hancock on the 27th day of June, 1844. While Ford was in Nauvoo with pretense of friendship, a mob broke into the jail where Joseph Smith, the prophet and Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, and Willard Richards and John Taylor was confined under pretense of a law and martyred Joseph and Hyrum Smith and wounded John Taylor. These days of trouble for the Saints in the County of Hancock, Illinois, were unforgettable.

June 5, 1852, I left for Salt Lake Valley, from Council Point, southwest of Kanesville, Iowa, crossed the Missouri river June 8, 1852. The fifth company was organized for crossing the plains the present season by Ezra T. Benson. I was appointed Captain of the fifth company for crossing the plains. The journey of the company will be found in another book kept by the clerk of the company. The record of the Fifth Company of 1852 shows the rest of that journey. September 5, we arrived at Salt Lake City. After a few days I moved to Utah County, to a place called Pleasant Grove, July 14, 1853.  I was ordained to President of Seventies at Provo, by Joseph Young, Andrew Moore, Uriah Curtis, and David Hunt. Joseph Young took the lead and afterwards [I was] assigned to the Thirty-fourth Quorum of Seventies and appointed to preside over the Mass Quorum of Pleasant Grove, Utah County.

I lived at that place from September 20, 1852 until June 9, 1859, when I concluded to go to some place where I could get land enough for farming and grass. So as to provide for my family and also on account of things being in such a bad state that I feared my family would get into bad habits such as I did not wish them to do. I thought I would move to some other place, so I moved to Sanpete County, where I arrived June 13, 1859, a distance of about 80 miles to Mount Pleasant.

On the 19th of June, I was appointed to take charge of the building of the East wall of the Fort. Twenty six rods long and twelve feet high, four feet thick at the bottom and two feet at top, which was completed before the 24th day of July the same year. This was on account of the Indians.

(John Tidwell died January 24, 1887 at Mount Pleasant and was buried there. His wife died May 20, 1893.)

Richard Junior Trotter

In 1995 my uncle Darce and his wife Nancy video taped an interview with my grandfather Richard Junior Trotter. At the time of the interview I was self absorbed with a relatively new marriage and the birth of my first son. I am so grateful that my aunt, uncle and grandparents had the foresight to see the value of such an interview. A few years ago I transcribed the recording and added both to my genealogical records.

I was 19 years old, I was close to being drafted so I volunteered [April 1943]. Then I volunteered for the paratroopers because it was $50 extra per month. Three of us left Provo together. We went to Fort Douglas to join and they shipped us to Georgia--Fort June Georgia. We were split up and they put the three of us into Artillery and shipped us to Camp McCall in North Carolina on the outskirts of Fort Bragg. We started to fill out the 17th airborne division. They got our regiment ready to go, through Jump School in Fort Benning.  517th combat team regiment in Italy.

When we came out the rest of the division wasn't ready so they pulled us out of the 17th airborne and sent us overseas to the

[15 August 1944 - Operation Dragoon] The fighting was hot and heavy then. They sent us in as artillery ground troops. In that area the largest artillery barrage in the history of the world, until that time, was laid down there. We fought there for a while and that was the first time some of our guys were killed. When they first formed the airborne they had to drop jeeps with six parachutes. They came in parts that were daisy chained together. You don't make many jumps behind the German lines and live to tell about it. We knew we would be behind the lines. We jumped about 4:40 in the morning. It wasn't daylight yet. There was a cloud cover and I thought I'd seen the ocean. In those days the shoots and that, if you hit that water you were done for. I was coming down sitting like a swing and I dropped through the clouds and hit a stone wall. I twisted my knee… I think I pulled it out of joint because it hurt so bad. I was so damn scared I got it back in I think but it was sore for a long time.

They dropped us a little bit short of the DZ zone; we had a guy in our sortie they put in charge that was a doctor. A sortie of planes you know… I think he was high on pills and had us jump early. We only had about 12 men in our plane. I was only a sergeant and jump master then.
 We had our belly loads; you know, but no artillery, machine guns. In the door of the plane we always had a machine gun cart with rubber tires but the tires were all flat. The first man out had kicked a cart of machine guns out and followed it down… We got about a dozen of us together and we were way short of the zone. You can't do much fighting when there is only a half a dozen of you against the German army. So we crawled around in ditches and that, we damn near got killed one time by our own planes. They spotted us one time, some Mustangs, and they turned loose and raked the devil out of us. We got through that hiding most of the time, you know, trying to work back into Chateau Rosalee in the DZ zone.

This one place we came to had lots of trees for hiding from airplanes. There was an old well there and we got some water out of it. Old Asvito (name sp?) and the end of the break says, "Come on guys it's time to go." He had left his Carbine in his machine gun car. He lifted it up and it shifted some damn way and pulled the trigger on his carbine and it hit him right though (pointing to his chest about at the bottom rib). We were hiding out and he got shot through the lung, I thought he was going to die before he could even get a breath. We had to leave him, all we had, he wasn't bleeding externally but we didn't know what had happened inside. We dumped some old salcum [sulfa] powder and wrapped a bandage around him and left him under a bush there. That same day they brought the gliders in, a bunch of English paratroopers and gliders had come in and they got some jeeps in there. They run with a red cross, English, and we told them where Asvito was. We went on and I never heard another thing for months. We were clear up in Belgium and one day here he came up the road and (raising his hand), "Hi guys." They had got him and taken him back to Italy and patched him up. They didn't send him home but they sent him up to Van Wines.

Then we got with the outfit, well before I actually got all the way back, we kind of set up with some British. We kind of sat on the outskirts and let them do the fighting. They pushed some Germans out for a kind of headquarter outfit. They let them out and we went in to look around and there were some bicycles. We thought, hell let's get us some bicycles because we still had a ways to go. We got around in back and they had an old 1936 Ford convertible. Of course in 1943 that wasn't too old of a car. It had a wood burner on the back. You could run a car on wood, hell I could build a car that would run on wood in nothing flat. I was a motor Sergeant, we got around there and cranked her up and got her perking good. We had a big red call there and we came out of there with two gunnysacks full of liquor and a convertible. We drove into Chateau La Rue, a cross roads, our unit was there. They got in there and held it; and that's how I got back to my unit. I thought I had a car until the officers saw it and they took it away in a hurry because we was hurting so bad for transportation. We used that old car clear until we got into the maritime Alp Mountains. I was a Motor sergeant, but after we got the ships in we would get our vehicles but we were always short of vehicles. One time in southern France, I walked 20 some miles in one day because they had blew a damn bridge out. What few vehicles we had had come in on the gliders and that but we didn't have enough. Each vehicle has an assigned driver and the rest of us walked because when they started making us we was an airborne unit.

Once we got into France, then we swung south back towards the Italian border through the maritime Alp Mountains. We went into old Fort Sospel,
 an old French fort right on the Italian border. The damn Germans had it and it was all underground. We called the air corps in and they bombed it, they couldn't scratch it, not even the big Navy guns off the coast in the Mediterranean. Those bunkers, at the top of them, was concrete bunkers [at a steep angle leaning in towards one another]. It was 18 feet at the top [sloping down on either side] and they had, I can't remember the millimeter at the time but it was on a big hydraulic hoist and they would come up [out of the bunker] and BOOM, then they would sink back down. Those old shells you could hear them coming like a freight train. I think you could run a city block before they got there. They was not effective because we was right in the mountains and it was too heavy. We couldn't blast them out so we set our guns around there and even a little motorcycle come loose out of there they would turn the whole battery loose at it. We finally forced them back out, pushed them into Italy, to the coal valley and we took Fort Sospel. Then they moved a mechanized unit up there to take over and they lost it. The Germans came back and regained it but by that time they had moved us out. Then everything broke loose.

They [the Germans] got going and were moving across the wheat fields there, they had broke through the head rows there in Normandy. Old Patton had run his, he was a… there weren't any other serviceman like him, old blood and guts. They ran their dang tanks out of Gaston, Belgium and the Germans counterattacked with the bulge. By that time I had had so much time on the lines, I was supposed to go to England on furlough and that was in December. When the bulge come about in the middle of December, they backed us up; every airborne unit we had. The Germans came through like… the whole bunch of them, you remember the bulge. They threw us into the lines in the middle of December.

[15 December 1944 - Battle of the Bulge]
The 82nd airborne, at the time I was still in the combat team the 517th combat team. They attached us to 82nd airborne division and threw us up into the bulge. The 82nd and 101st airborne was there, plus a lot of the others, but that was the two main airborne units. We was on the left flank and the 101st was on the right flank, where the spearhead had come through. It was pretty rough fighting. If you remember the 101st was at Gaston. Where the general said nuts to, "will you surrender?" They surrounded the 101st airborne and they wanted them to surrender and the general sent back the word "Nuts"; they wouldn't surrender. They held Gaston but I was right on the other side of the spearhead. We didn't get surrounded. I didn't have a change of clothes, I had a duffel bag, I had one change of clothes and I put it in that bag; from the middle of December until the first of March. That was the coldest weather in Belgium in 30 years. It got 10 below zero, you didn't dare go in a building because they would target them. You didn't dare get around trees for fear of shell burst. The safest place was in a gully or to dig a hole.

They took some pallets out into a field on the snow. Hung a six foot tarp around it and run some pipes from some old trucks, we hadn't had a shower either. They strung the pipes up and had some old pump truck with heaters in them and they had a little trickle. You'd start out on the pallets and strip off your clothes and you'd walk right through. The guys would get in that water and the guys would not get out. They had to send in the officers to kick the guys out. When you got through they had clean clothes in a big pile. All the underwear had been laundered and thrown in a big pile. This was the middle of the winter so the uniform was wool. They didn't have dry cleaners and it was filthy so the washed them. Everybody was out there trying to stretch a pair of pants out big enough to get in… but it was clean.

You are afraid you won't jump, they instill that into you, you know damn well you are afraid. Before you get that far you have made several jumps. You have to make five jumps to even qualify. Then you go on to your training jumps after that. Now a-days we go down and watch the para-sail now and they are so much improved. They still use the old round shoots in the military because the others are too expensive. You always carry two shoots when you jump. You have a chest pack that is in emergency.

They had a points system. If you were married you got five points. If you were wounded you got five points. Herald was married and ???? wasn't but you got five points for being wounded. Well Herald had got shot over there, a damn German sniper had got him. ???? got hit by one of those damn big shells coming down the canyon, by shrapnel. So they both had more points. I could come home then if I signed up to go to the Pacific but no more war for me, I had all I wanted. So I stayed with the 82nd and ???? and Herald came home and we moved into Berlin.

The second army division was moved into the occupation of Berlin in the first 30 days. Then we moved in. It was kind of an honor to move in. They let the 2nd army go in then the 82nd airborne. So I was in Berlin 30 days after the end of the war. I was in Hitler's headquarters, the Reichstag. In fact, I have that old picture of it in there. That was before… of course there was no such thing as the iron wall. I've got pictures, you'd fraternize with the Russians, drank their Vodka. Where the iron wall is, or was, they had put a great big billboard. They had Stalin, they had Roosevelt, Truman. But someplace in there it shows before the iron wall was ever built in Berlin.

I've always had skin trouble but of course if you have a little stuff wrong with your skin you don't get out, if you could walk they used you. Well I ended up in the hospital in Berlin, because of my skin; thin skin, allergy. I got in a C-47 and flew from Berlin to Paris. They were flying a few home but it was pretty slow. Then they sent me to Brincks, France to a hospital ship. Well that was all right. Big wide isles, two bunks high, sheets on your bed, all you could eat. You could even go down in the middle of the night and the cooks would cook you a steak, in the middle of the night. We went over with hammocks, 5 high, isles (holding hands less than three feet apart) with your duffel bag and have a guy get sea sick above you. They started feeding at four in the morning until ten at night. If you could eat it, they served two meals a day. It was a mess… terrible. I came all the way home from Berlin to the state of Washington in a bath robe. They sent me from Fort Lewis to Fort Douglas and I was discharged from there.

When I came over that hill and saw Utah valley I decided I would never leave again. People don't realize what World War II was. What did they kill 10,000,000 people? It was huge; it was like Gloria was talking about. You couldn't go down and buy a tire. You couldn't buy a pound of butter. You couldn't buy steak unless you had rations for it. No Sugar, no coffee and that was for civilians. No gasoline without ration stamps, that was in this country. When this country got together and went all out. They say the gulf war in the desert, hell that wasn't even a skirmish. Vietnam was a policing action it wasn't an all out war. It wasn't a war it was a policing action, we never declared war. If it had been an all out war we would have annihilated them….

517th Parachute Infantry Regiment unit history - http://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/517/517.html
The Battling Buzzards Home Page - http://www.517prct.org/
WW2 Airborne Historical Company - http://www.battlingbuzzards.org/
Paratroopers' Odyssey - A History of the 517th Parachute Combat Team - http://517prct.org/documents/odyssey/odyssey_history.htm

Sarah Jane Tidwell Johnson (1846-1931)

SARAH JANE TIDWELL JOHNSON, as remembered by her granddaughter, Elma Taylor Haws. [Annotated by Mat Trotter October 2014]

My grandmother, Sarah Jane Tidwell Johnson, was born August 26, 1846 in a small camp named Zarahemly, Nebraska, [actually Zarahemla, Iowa named in Doctrine and Covenants 125:1-3] as her parents, John and Jane Smith Tidwell were crossing the plains. They had left Nauvoo with a company [The John Tidwell Company] of the Mormon Church, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley Sept. 5, 1853 [1852]. They moved to Pleasant Grove, Utah in June 1859 and then went south to Sanpete County, where they acquired enough land to  make a sufficient living.

Grandmother was the 9th child of the Tidwell family. She married Benjamin H. Johnson on April 10, 1865 and they moved to Scipio, Utah. Her husband was also married to her older sister Mary. They had two sons, Dan and Will, and four daughters, Loretta, Ida, Martha, and Rose who died as a small child. They had a cute little house built in the center of Scipio. There were three big rooms and a summer kitchen. Grandmother loved pretty dishes which were displayed on a shelf in her dining room and in her cupboards. She had a long shaped heater stove, which had a which had a hearth in front and a door you could open to put long pieces of wood into. She often used this stove in winter for cooking as there were lids on the top. Her living room had a pretty carpet, a stove, a platform rocker, a marble top table, and a beautiful china closet full of her precious dishes. There were two small bedrooms. The beds were high wooden beds with ticks so full of straw that we had to use a chain to get in them. The walls were white-washed every year and fresh straw was put in the ticks often. There was a long porch on the west side that grandfather always sat on in his wooden rocking chair.

Uncle Dan and Will, her sons, were very good to her and grandfather, but money was hard to get in those days. Grandmother never bought many grocery items with cash as she had to be very saving and her buying power was eggs. She would often give one or two to us when we came for doing errands for her and we would run to the store and spend them. My grandfathers big barn was always full of hay, horses, a cow, and chickens that laid eggs in the hay and the mangers. I also remember the big yellow and green squash that were stacked in the barn in the fall. At one time, he owned half of a block in Scipio. I think their house is still standing.

When my grandmother did the laundry she put a big black kettle out in the yard and filled it with water from the ditch. It was then put on a wood fire to heat. She would scrub the clothes on the wash board and then boil them, scrub them again, rinse, and hang them on the line to dry. It would take all day to do this. She had the first sewing machine in Scipio and everyone was welcome to come and use it.

Aunt Mary has two sons, Ben and Jim, and three daughters, Ann, Rose, and Etta. I cannot ever remember going to Scipio that all of these girls didn't come to grandmothers to visit. She would put chairs out under the trees, or if was stormy we all went inside the house. All of the children were very friendly and kind to each other. Grandmother was just as sweet to Aunt Mary's children as her own. In fact, I was a grown woman before I knew they weren't all grandmothers children. I never knew Aunt Mary as she died before my time.

I loved to go to Scipio and visit. I had many cousins and friends there. Dad would hitch up the horse, Old Jane, to the little one-seated buggy, and with the unbrella [sic] over our heads we would spend a whole day driving over from Juab. Uncle Dan lived next door to my grandparents and was always there to take care of the horse and buggy and get them ready for us to drive back home again. On every Fourth of July there was a parade and the band rode on the big hay wagon. There was also a program and entertainment in the upper part of the school house. I remember one Fourth of July I took my sister, Emma, with me and she was on the program and sang "Old Glory", while I played for her on the piano. She was about 7 or 8 years old. She looked so cute in her "Marthy Washington" dress that I had made for her, and she sang so sweet she pleased all the people very much. The road by my grandparents house was blocked off for the Fourth of July celebration so that Don Probert could ride the wild horses. The high board fence around their lot was lined with spectators and their lawn and porch was always full of people who came to Ben Johnson's corner for the occasion which was always a big event.

My grandmother was a sweet, kind, understanding, and humble person who loved life and people. In her older years when she would go to the dances, everyone had to come and say "hello" to Sarah. They all loved her, especially the young people. She never missed going to the town dances to visit with friends and watch the dancers. She often made cookies or apple pie and invited the young people over to her home to have refreshments and a cold drink of water that she had carried from the Thompson well. There was a long handled dipper everyone used. In her younger years she had a pair of shoes that she wore to the dances and after wearing them for the dance, they were loaned out to anyone who wished to wear them. She was a very generous person and I loved her dearly.

She lost her eyesight to cataracts and suffered kidney problems. I don't suppose she ever want to a doctor for proper care. She died on Feb. 28 [25], 1931, at the age of 84, and was buried in Scipio cemetary [sic].