Tuesday, May 20, 2014

52 Ancestors: #20 Clyde Ellison Holtzlider and "The Old Homestead"

Left to right: Stella, Clyde, Russell, Omar, and Gertie standing in front of their barn in Pierceville.
My great grandfather, Clyde Ellison Holtzlider, was born on March 3, 1895 in North Vernon, Jennings County, Indiana. His parents were William Holzlider and Ella Dorothy Smith.  Clyde's grandfathers, George Holzlider and Andrew Smith, were both immigrants and Civil War veterans.  They were even in the same regiment.  Clyde had five siblings: Mary Gertrude (Gertie), Stella, Omar, Russell, and Bertha.  Clyde was first of his family to add a "t" to their last name, changing it from "Holzlider" to "Holtzlider."

"The Old Homestead" in Pierceville.
The family bought a 40-acre farm in Pierceville, Indiana for $700. Clyde and Omar helped their father clear the land.   In Pierceville, there was a church, a store, and a blacksmith shop.  Clyde's sister Stella later married the blacksmith, Mason McCammon.

When Clyde was about 13 years old, the family's house in Pierceville caught on fire, and the family Bible was destroyed. The two youngest children, Russell and Bertha, were carried out of the house and placed on a featherbed in the yard.

Clyde met Dola Worland at the United Brethren Church (now known as the New Bethel Church) in Pierceville.  They were married on August, 30 1916. They had five sons and three daughters together.  Four of their children (Ellison, Garnet, Marian, and Milburn) served in World War II.  Milburn was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart after he was shot by a sniper at Iwo Jima.

Stella, Clyde, and Gertie at their childhood home in 1968.
In his later years, Clyde spent many hours playing pool and liked to take roadtrips with his siblings.  In 1963, he took a trip to Hollywood, California with Stella and Bertha.  Clyde, Stella, and Gertie revisited "the old homestead" in Pierceville on July 24, 1968.

Clyde died on December 26, 1980 in Greensburg, Indiana.  All of the Holzlider siblings lived to be at least 80 years old and remained in Indiana throughout their lives.

Friday, May 9, 2014

52 Ancestors: #19 James Harvey Bird, Civil War Soldier for Nine Days

Tintype of James Harvey Bird
On the evening of July 8, 1863, Governor of Indiana, Oliver Morton, received word that a Confederate force led by General John Hunt Morgan had crossed the Ohio River and was heading toward Corydon. The governor at once issued a call upon the citizens of Indiana to leave their various occupations and organize for defense. Within 48 hours, 65,000 men had offered their services.  My great-great-great grandfather, James Harvey Bird (known as Harvey), was one of those men.

General John Hunt Morgan
The 104th Indiana Regiment was organized on July 10, 1863 in Greensburg, Indiana to repel Morgan's Raid, and Harvey enlisted that very day.  The 104th began pursuit of Morgan immediately.

After Morgan escaped into Ohio, the regiment returned to Greensburg and was mustered out on July 18, 1863.  Harvey Bird's service in the Union Army totaled nine days. Morgan and his men were later captured and put in the Ohio State Penitentiary. In November of 1863, the general and some of his officers tunneled out of their cells and boarded a train to Cincinnati.  A year later, Morgan was killed in battle.

Harvey Bird in his later years
James Harvey Bird was born on July 12, 1824 in Decatur County, Indiana, where he lived his entire life.  His father was William Bird (a War of 1812 veteran), and his mother's name was Maria Dent. Harvey was a successful farmer and won many awards for his hogs at the Decatur County Fair.  He married Nancy Johnson sometime before 1850 and they had six children together.  Nancy died in 1859, the same year that their last child was born.

On March 14, 1865, Harvey married Sarah Ann Lane.  They had four children, including my great-great-grandmother, Mary Edna Bird. Sarah died from complications of childbirth in 1873, along with her infant son.  Harvey remained a widower for the rest of his life -- nearly 20 years.

James Harvey Bird died on October 12, 1892 in Decatur County from heart trouble, or as his obituary was worded, "from an affection of the heart."  He had been in poor health for 10 years. "He was a man of rugged character and good-heartedness and many are the friends who will miss his jovial presence." (Greensburg Standard, October 14, 1892)

Monday, May 5, 2014

52 Ancestors: #18 Andrew Harmon Smith, a Resilient Soldier

My 3rd great-grandfather, Andrew Harmon Smith was born on April 11, 1838, in Hanover, Germany.  His father's name was John Henry Smith, but I don't know his mother's name.  At the age of seven, Andrew immigrated with his family to America.  Andrew had fourteen siblings; eight were born after the family came to America.  They all lived in Ripley County, Indiana.  By the time he was 22, Andrew was boarding with a family in Aurora, Dearborn County, Indiana.

Pontoon Bridge over North Anna River, May 1864.
In 1861, Andrew enlisted as a private in the 7th Indiana Infantry, Company A. (Coincidentally, he was in the same regiment as George Holzlider, the father of his future son-in-law.)  At the Battle of Port Republic in Virginia on June 9, 1862, Andrew was seriously wounded in the right arm.  A note written by his granddaughter Stella Holzlider McCammon describes his injury:  "He didn't have any bone in his arm from the shoulder to the elbow; it was shot out in the war."

Andrew traveled back to Dearborn County and married Sophia B. Schroeder (whose family also came from Hanover) on March 17, 1864.  Soon after, he rejoined his regiment.

In mid May, 1864, Andrew was injured again at the Battle of North Anna in Virginia.  He sustained a wound in the left side.  Andrew was transferred to the 20th Indiana Infantry, Company G on September 20, 1864.  He was discharged on May 25, 1865, having fought in nine battles during his service.

Ella Dorothy Smith, Andrew and Sophia's first child, was born in 1866.  She was my great-great grandmother.  Sadly, Sophia died in childbirth in 1882, and Andrew was left a widower with eight children.  The newborn daughter, Ethel, lived only a year.  In March of 1884, Andrew, now 45, married again.  His new wife, 24 year-old Sarah Frances Baker, was just six years older than his oldest daughter, Ella.  Sarah and Andrew had three children together between 1885 and 1891.

Andrew Smith died December 27, 1921 at the age of 83.   Even though he was wounded twice during the war, he outlived both of his wives and six of his children.  Andrew was buried at Bear Creek Cemetery in Jennings County, Indiana.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #17 Mary Jane Gowdy and the Mysterious Oil Painting

Mary Jane Gowdy Green, 1876
English artist Edwin Farrer painted this now faded portrait of my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary Jane Gowdy.  For years, my family did not know who the subject of the portrait was, except that she was a relation of my grandfather's.  I discovered that the artist immigrated from England to Rush County, Indiana in 1870.  The portrait was dated 1876.  Trying to find out who the woman was, I reviewed the records on my grandpa's family in Rush County, and Mary Jane was the only one that fit.

Mary Jane was born on July 18, 1830.  She was the eldest child of Adam McConnell Gowdy, a blacksmith from Ohio, and Nancy Oliver of Kentucky.  Her brother, John Kennedy Gowdy, was the consul-general to Paris during the McKinley Administration.  Mary Jane had two other brothers, Lewis Oliver and Adam Thomas, and a sister, Martha Ann.

The Green residence, Arlington, 1988
On May 18, 1846, Mary Jane married the physician James Wilkinson Green in Rush County.  According to several sources for her birthdate, she was not yet sixteen when they were married.  She and James became the parents of thirteen children.  Out of nine sons, six of them became doctors, including my great-grandfather, John D. Green.  The Green family lived on a farm in Arlington, Rush County, Indiana.  In 1886, Mary Jane's brother-in-law, a physician in nearby Shelbyville, died and left his medical practice to his brother James.  They left Arlington behind and relocated to Shelbyville.

"Mrs. Green is what might be termed an extraordinary woman; she has raised a large family and is one of the best of wives, mothers, and companions; her home has always been noted for its generous hospitality." (Illustrated Historical Atlas of Rush County, Indiana, 1879.)

Mary Jane died on September 20, 1907.