13 September 2014

Smith's Cemetery

So about a year ago we were searching hard for a Smith's Cemetery in Fayette County. Sherry had found a record that her grandmother had a baby that died young and was buried in a Smith Cemetery in Oak Hill.

Finding Smith's

We found a death certificate that mentioned a burial in Smith Cem in Oak Hill. Tyree Funeral Home was listed as the Undertaker. They are still in business, so we called their Oak Hill office and asked about the cemetery. They gave us directions that were to go to Greentown Road, go around the big curve and find a house on the left at the top of a hill.

We drove out Greentown Road and didn't see it on the first pass, so we stopped and asked a family that was working in the yard. They said we had to go back down the road to the nice brick house, now on the right side, and the cemetery was up on the hill above the house. We still weren't quite sure where it was but we spotted it after we passed and just had to turn around and come back.

This seems to be the way we find cemeteries. We get a rough idea of where it is and what we're looking for, go to the area and have to ask for help. So far we've always found helpful people - Sherry is excellent at spotting the perfect person to help with directions.

Mapping and Photos

We found a small-ish cemetery with about 50 interments, spread out over the top of a hill, with a big oak tree in the middle. The oldest graves seemed to be closest to the house, on the east side of the hill. Then there were a bunch of graves in the middle near the tree, and a few along the treeline to the west and north. We noticed that there were a couple different family names (Smith, Olds, Evans, Hamilton, Newton, Plumley, Painter), and five or six military graves.

We knew the cemetery probably wasn't in Find-A-Grave at all, so we photographed every grave we could find. We were mostly looking for a baby's grave from 1939, and we didn't find anything marked that way. We did find a couple graves near the tree that weren't marked and seemed to be for infants, so we think that our Phillis has a home here.
It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were starting to change. Sherry found an old wood pile, and what looked like the old sign for the cemetery lying there, so we set it up and took a picture.


Some of the names interested me - Odgen instead of Ogden, Myrtha, Nellie Painter. I decided to put them in a separate Ancestry tree while Sherry was working on her own family.

These are some of the relationships we found between the families:

  • Hazel Plumley married Lana Smith in 1925.
  • John Wise Olds married Rosa Zetta Smith in 
  • Lottie Ann Elsie Evans married Jess Willard Olds in 1950.
  • Dolly Mattie Evans  married George F. Olds in 1950. Dolly & Lottie were sisters and Jess and George were brothers.
  • Harmon Smith married Verlina Hamilton, daughter of Samuel and Luella, in 1931.
  • A family of Painters lived next door to Harmon Smith's family 
Of course it turned out that Harmon Smith is in Sherry's family tree.


06 September 2014

Bruebaker, Brubaker, Brubacher, Brewbaker

Family Follies

Historical Excerpts Cracking Smiles and maybe a Stone Wall

As my husband and I research newspapers for genealogical clues, we stumble across articles that urges us to explore further.  Here are a few from the Bruebaker Family research collection.

Preemptive Undertaker

The Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 13 October 1889 and Lebanon Daily News, Lancaster, PA. 14 October 1889.   This story is reported differently by two newspapers.

"His Haste Lost Him a Job"


Genealogical tags:  Victoria Brubaker, single, born about 1868, lived in Lancaster, Pa in 1889:  

W.T.S. Gable, undertaker, lived in Lancaster, PA 1889 as an adult

Both articles are full of genealogical data. The first article, though short, reports her age and that is very helpful information when trying to locate other sources.  The second article fills in the gaps of what happened, who revived her, and what followed;  which leaves the reader with less questions.  The genealogical "gold" is listing Miss Brubaker and Mr.Gable's full names.

"Found Dying on a Grave"

Genealogical tags:  Elizabeth Victoria Brubaker, adult in 1889, lived in Lancaster, PA. 

Nephew died in 1887, buried in Lancaster Cemetery, and brother lived in New York.

William Gable an adult male in 1889, living in :Lancaster, PA.

Arm Amputated

15 March 1881, Staunton Spectator, Library of Virginia, http://www.lva.virginia.gov/

"Saw Mill"

"Arm Amputated"

These are the citizens that built our nation by conquering tragedy.  Through the information in the article I was able locate Gideon E. Brubaker in Page County, Virginia, who worked as a farmer in 1870 census and worked in a postal appointment in 1899.  The 1880 census notes he has a "leg off."  Gideon was born to Gideon C. & Mary Brubaker in 1849 and died in 1926. He never gave up.

Staunton Spectator 15 March 1881 — Library of Virginia

Genealogical tags:  Gideon E. Brubaker, lived in Page County, VA,1881, born 1849, died 1926. 

Father: Gideon C. Brubaker 

Mother: Mary Brubaker        

Used with permission of Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org/license

05 September 2014

Valley View Cemetery

This is a medium-sized cemetery, about 250 interments. It's on a nicely kept hillside in the middle of Summers County. Seriously the middle - if you bring up Summers County on Google Maps and keep zooming in, you will find it. But I will save you the trouble, here it is: 37.660327, -80.806826

Finding It

This one didn't have map coordinates in Find-A-Grave, but it did have a picture of the church nearby. And the obituaries I saw all mentioned "Powley's Creek". So we found Powleys Creek Road and located the church and cemetery on Google Earth and planned our trip.

The drive down to Hinton and out along the Greenbrier is very nice. Both our families used to travel it pretty often, since when I was growing up (and Sherry was a baby) it was the main route to the East until you could connect up to I-64 at Sam Black Church or Alta.

As we approached the start of Powley's Creek Road, Sherry said to pay attention to the tunnel. You couldn't see the tunnel until you were right on it, and I have no idea how she knew it was there, but we found it and made the turn up the road. The tunnel is about 60 feet long, and Sherry got some nice pictures from the inside.

We continued up the road and found the church and the cemetery right where we expected. The scenic beauty of the place is breathtaking.


We started our usual process. We had thirteen photo requests to look for, and since the cemetery was only about 40% photographed, we decided to get as many photos as we could. Taking the photos is pretty easy, especially for upright stones in good condition.

Sherry went and chatted with a man who was clearing a downed tree from the field. He said his friend took care of keeping the cemetery mowed, which we appreciated.

We stopped off at Kirks on the way home for ice cream and a snack. The boys enjoy watching the ducks swim on the river.


01 September 2014

Reed Cemetery

Reed Cemetery

Far down the C&O Dam Road in Daniels is the well-maintained Reed (or maybe Reed/Smith) Cemetery. It is a small cemetery (about 30 interments) with 3 family names - Reed, Smith and Lilly. The reports are that Dr. James used to own the land, and lived in a 2-story farmhouse below the cemetery. The farmhouse is gone now, but the view from the cemetery is serene and beautiful.

Finding the place

We received photo requests for the cemetery (from Ralph), but not a specific location. Ralph found death certificates of his family that listed the funeral home. I emailed to request the cemetery's location, and they replied timely with the following:
The information we have on Reed Cemetery is that it is located off C & O Dam Road in Daniels, WV, near the Boy Scouts Camp.  Before you get to the camp, turn back to the left and go about a quarter mile, turn beside Dr. James' two-story farmhouse on the right.  Cemetery sits upon the hill behind the farm.  Unfortunately, there is no other direction or contact information on file.    Good luck!
We got to the scout camp easily enough, I (David) remembered it from my scouting days. We hunted among the houses around there for a while without luck. I was about to give up, but Sherry wanted to try going past the scout camp, and I have learned to trust her intuition. We went another mile or so to where you cross the turnpike to stay on the C&O Dam Road.

At that point, Sherry spied a group of folks preparing to take their BBQ/Gyro wagons to a fair. We were directed to the head of the group with our questions. He immediately recognized the description of his neighbor's property. He remembered a pond he use to fish near the cemetery, and the occasion that his cows wandered onto the his neighbor's field, and Dr. James kindly assisted him in herding the cows home. He pointed us further down C & O Dam Road away from the Boy Scout Camp. He said there use to be a bird sanctuary sign. How fortunate we were to approach the neighbor that actually had interactions with Dr. James and knew of the cemetery. Later we realized the cemetery was well inside the property and not view-able from the main road and without his assistance.

We didn't find the bird sanctuary, but we did eventually figure out that Belwood Lane was the correct turnoff.  After maneuvering the dirt lane over a half mile, I saw the cemetery, or rather, I saw a flag post and a fenced area at the top of a knoll and knew we found our cemetery!  We went on to the end of the road and talked to a neighbor, seeking permission to explore the cemetery. Without hesitation, he directed us to a nice, well-maintained path up to the top.

We were so excited to find the site, we parked at the bottom of the field and walked up through the tall grass full of  purple blooming wildflowers. When we arrived at the top, we saw the gate was on the other side.  We followed fence having to crawl under some rusted old strands of barbed wire that connected perpendicularly to the outside of the cemetery's fence. We both chuckled and said, "cow diversion tactic." As we pulled brown thorny "hitchhikers" from our clothes, we noted the well maintained path that we could easily navigate in our little Honda.  However, we enjoyed following the deer trail from the pond covered in vegetation to the flag seen at the top of a hill beaconing the position of the cemetery.


We started our normal process - I go through the place systematically while Sherry pinpoints the whereabouts of any photo requests and noting possible relationships.  She also likes to take artistic photos of the surrounding scenery and plant life with a whimsical eye. We also note any family buried away from the family in a corner or outside a fence, which is a great clue to the family history. Also, we are careful not to post a picture or information on a family member without a death date.  With family cemeteries we like to digitally record all the headstones.  Later we complete an internet and vital statistics search to create a family tree.  We post the family tree as a public tree on Ancestry.com. We use a camera with GPS so that the photos are pinpointed to a location.

Inevitably we find head stones that are unreadable.  Sherry will urge me to help her read the eroded, lichen-covered words to try to preserve the information.  If unsuccessful, we audio record what is readable and take a digital picture. Occasionally someone will know who was buried there. Once we return home we try to elicit the information from the pictures using digital enhancement then confirmation with a death certificate, vital record, etc.

Unlabeled Graves

This cemetery has seven or eight graves with markers but no labeling. If you know who these graves might belong to, please contact us.


If you want to see the Find-A-Grave records for this cemetery, here is the link:

We setup a public tree on Ancestry for the Reed family, which is listed as "Reed Cemetery Tree". From a quick search on Elias Reed, it looks like there are a bunch of other public trees that will tie into it.

Breaking the Stone Family Genealogical Roadblock Broken

Copyright Slowmoto Graphics 2014


Edward H. Myers was married to my great grandmother Almedia Wright in 1895. He disappeared before 1900, according to the 1900 census and the 1903 divorce initiated by Almedia for abandonment. He is not a direct relative to me but it did intrigue me. Almedia married James Bruebaker and then after my grandmother was born, she disappeared as well. My husband and I have searched a clue about Edward's life after he left for the last five years.

Recently I reviewed the records we did know belonged to Edward, including his marriage certificate to Almedia. From this record, we felt reasonably secure that he matched the 1880 census record with matching parents and a location of Franklin, Pennsylvania. We traced his parents and siblings without success. We were hoping we would find him in a later census with a sibling or parent.

From the divorce record, Almedia (Medie) suspected he went out west. She stated in the divorce record on Library of Virginia (chancery archives, index number 1903-070) that he left in 1898 and was staying in Arkansas. So I started looking at Find-A-Grave, FamilySearch, Fold3, LVA.virginia.gov, Ancestry.com, for death records, marriage records, census, church records, drafts registrations, military records, state archives, and prison records anywhere past the Mississippi. We entered his name into Newspapers.com in multiple variations and spellings looking for articles with his name. We also searched for records not online. On Find-A-Grave I found a grave stone, with a close birth date and matching middle initial.

Still searching, a death certificate surfaced for an Edward Mires uploaded by another member of Ancestry.com. The death certificate was for Edward Henry Mires and his parents were transcribed as George Myers and Sarral Avert. Could Edward Henry Mires and Edward H. Myers be the same person? The “Edward H. Myers” I was researching was born to George Myers and Sarah West in Pennsylvania. I looked closer at the death certificate and wow, it looked like Sarah A West, not Avest. This matched the 1880 census, his marriage certificate to Almedia, and now, his death record.

Edward's second wife, Ollie Thacker was born in Wise County, the last known whereabouts of Edward H. Myers. Ollie Thacker is a resident there per the 1896 Wise County School census. She was not in 1900 census and neither was Edward Myers, in Wise County, (or any other 1900 census as of date.) Edward Myers’ first wife was living with her mom, Margaret Wright, in Wise County with two children, Ethel and Alfred. Ollie was an orphan and was thought to have been placed on an Orphan Train that ended up in Idaho. We continue to search for Edward and Ollie in the 1900 census either together or apart and a marriage certificate. The 1910 census reports them being married 10 years.
Both, Edward and Ollie resurfaced in the 1910 census with their son Jess “Jessifer” Myers in Colorado. Jess was documented as being born in Arkansas. Jess served time in prison in Colorado. Later, he married Gertrude Fletcher and had a son Donald. Edward and Ollie had a second son, Eugene Earl Myers in 1912. He was a marine and died by friendly fire.

Eventually we did find information that her grandson Donald lived with his parents, Jess and Gertrude in Idaho during Ollie’s lifetime thus inferring that she may have lived there as well which gives credence to the documentation of Ollie being referred to as “Idaho Ollie,” by her brother, when she would later visit him back in Virginia. Donald Myers married overseas to a girl from London and brought his wife back to the states.

Edward Henry Myers died in 1918 during the Flu Epidemic. Eugene Earl Myers, his son, was eventually buried beside him.

What an amazing feeling of success to finally break the stone that collapsed a genealogical roadblock! We have re-examined records and tried to poke holes in the research. We noted that if any record was missing then the other records would be uncertain. However, when looking at the records as a whole, the theory seems to be more of a reality. We continue to search and confirm findings. We requested photos on Find-A-Grave for his wife and family members. We are searching for a relative that is still living to reconnect.

The Edward Henry Myers Tree, a working project, is on ancestry.com as a public tree. If you have any information, questions, or concerns, please send us an email or message.