Friday’s Faces from the Past: Puppies!!

My dad grew up with dogs, although we never had one when I was a kid (fitting then that all three of his kids adopted dogs as soon as they could). From what I can remember, his family bred (but maybe only once) and raised hunting dogs and there was one dog in particular that I remember hearing about – Sinder. I found some amazingly cute photos of Sinder’s puppies that I just had to share :)

278 Cutie!


280 so cute!



279 my dad under a pile of dogs

My dad being licked by Digs, Long Spot, Pat, Pockets, and Dot


I made some family photo albums with all my pictures that I inherited and I’m excited to show these to my dad over the holiday! I can’t wait to hear some more family stories.


Happy Friday!

Categories: Photo, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Book of Me, Written By You Prompt 33: Regrets

This week’s prompt is – Regrets

  • Big Regrets
    • I should (or not) have bought that large purchase
  • Small Regrets
    • I should (or not) have had that thick shake at MacDonalds
  • Miscellaneous Regrets
    • Relationships
    • Jobs
    • Friends

I do have regrets. I don’t know how people could get through life without them! I have personal ones that I won’t share on here but the one I want to share has haunted me for a number of years now.

When I was younger, people would always ask what do you want to be when you grow up?

By a very young age (elementary), I had that answer: an archaeologist. I have a clear memory of asking my mom what job goes with both science and history (my two favorite subjects). She said archaeology and that was it! It was all I thought about when it came to a career.

Even better was watching Indiana Jones for the first time!

I wanted to be the female Indiana Jones (and I didn’t understand why there wasn’t one already). I delved into every history and science class that I could and enjoyed every minute! I figured my future looked a lot like this:

By James Gunn (Flickr: Archaeology at Heslington East) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By James Gunn (Flickr: Archaeology at Heslington East) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


That was exciting to me and I couldn’t wait. Then, in middle school, we had to do a career day. I remember going to the computers and looking up careers on a new program in the school. We had to write a report on what we were going to do with our lives. Well, I already knew so this was going to be easy! I have a very distinct memory of finding the career, being excited about it, and then the librarian came up behind me.

“Oh no, that’s a dead career. There will be nothing left to find by the time you’re older and you’ll make no money doing that.” And she walked on… my heart broke.  No money? This worried me. I have no idea what I wrote my report on, I just remember how heartbroken I was.

Throughout school, I still followed my love of science and history and took every course I could. My senior year, when most people take easy classes, I had Natural Sciences, Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics, British History, the required English, and then one blow off class that I had to complete (health and computers or something like that). When I entered college, there I was faced with a dilemma. I focused on science first, but without my history there, it felt empty. So I went to history. But what about a career? I thought about it A LOT but finally had to decide… I went with teaching. Not my dream.

I was so afraid that I would follow a career and then never be able to get a job in that career that I didn’t try. The money thing, yes that worried me but I picked teaching as a career. I’m a simple girl really and I don’t need extravagance in my life so I know I can be fine without a 6 figure career (or anything even remotely close to that).

My biggest regret then, is not following that dream. I think about it still, all the time. When I left teaching, I thought about going back to school for archaeology. I could finally get that doctorate I always dreamed about! Then reality butted into my dreams. Grad school is SO EXPENSIVE! And then getting a doctorate? Yeah right! I had enough debt from my undergrad which we worked hard to pay off as quickly as we could so to go back for more seemed ridiculous.  And it would be a lot more debt than undergrad.

So I didn’t. I am pursuing becoming a professional genealogist, which I always loved but this has an added bonus because it has the same kind of feel as archaeology does to me – digging, finding artifacts (whether paper or a thing), diving into history, and even science (DNA!).

I am very happy pursuing this dream but I can’t help but think of what my life would have been like if I would have never heard that librarian tell me it was a dead-end choice, or – even better, really – ignored that advice and pursued it anyway!

Categories: Diary | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Mailing Brother


1961 – My aunt and dad


I’m sure most older sisters with younger brothers can relate :)

Categories: Photo, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , | 4 Comments

52 Ancestors #15 David Witherell – A Disappearing Act

The  52 Ancestor challenge is put on by Amy at No Story Too Small

155 52ancestors


Welcome to one of my brick walls! This is my 4th great-grandfather (David>Gard>Gard>Glenn>Bobby>Dad). He is frustrating.

Now, most of my brick walls are women or the immigrant ancestor who left no trail of where they came from. Even then, the majority of my family has been in the United States since the 1600′s and 1700′s with my mom’s side having the most recent from the early 20th century.

THIS guy though… oy! Okay, let me explain a bit. First, the name Witherell was never common to me. I grew up as the ONLY one in my school (besides siblings and one random one that came in during my high school years who left me thoroughly confused because I could not figure out how we were related – this should have been a clue for how “unique” my last name really was). The only Witherell’s I knew were ALL related to me. There weren’t many in Saginaw. My great-grandfather had two other brothers. One died in his early 20′s with no children and the other moved southwest and I don’t know that side in the least. My grandpa was the only boy and my dad was the only boy. My aunt did have a son and she put her maiden name on his record so there is one Witherell cousin. But that was it!

So as I’m climbing backward I see that Gard Jr. had a brother who went off to Canada (currently trying to find more on him), so no more Witherell’s there. Then there is Gard Sr – one of five with only one other brother. I discussed that side a bit here. That family was surprising in all the children that were born, given my ancestor’s inclination to small families and they were the first ancestors who settled in Saginaw – with Gard Sr being the first of that line born in Michigan. So I finally got to a new state with Gard Sr.’s parents!

Which brings me them, and in particular to David, the father of that group that came to Michigan. David Witherell. Oy. That name is way too common for my taste (I really hope I don’t run into any Smith’s anytime soon!). And even worse? He disappears. No note, nothing! Just up and left! Well… there’s more to it than that but I have few actual records of him. Most are indirect along with some tiny clues.

I can’t confirm David’s birth but I know it was around 1815 and he was born in New York (1). The only record I have on who his parents are is from a county history book (stupidly did not write it down – this was before I kept better records. Or well, any records.) where it is in relation to his wife, Martha Wolcott (whose family seems  much more prominent than David’s). It states that Martha married David, son of John and Judith (Bullard) Witherell. I won’t get into how common John Witherell is… you’ll get the idea just from this post!

Around 1844/45, he married an Anna Maria. I don’t know her maiden name as I can’t find the record for their marriage. My assumption of the date has to do with the birth of their son. I do know they were married, though. How do I know this? Well, first, know that he was one of the first ancestors I had started researching about ten years ago. Before I kept records, as I said. (I really could kick myself over that one.) How I know is a bit more of a hypothesis based on a few clues:

Anna Maria and David have a boy name John in 1846. In 1847, Anna Maria dies (2).

David then meets, woos, and marries Martha Wolcott in March 1849(3). I know for sure that Martha and David are my ancestors, so at least that is clear.

By the 1850 census, the two are living together with John in Shelby, Orleans County, New York (1). Martha is also from New York and I have a LOT more information on her than on David. I hadn’t expected that.  David is listed as a carpenter and they live near many Wolcotts – one can assume they are related to Martha in some form or another. Her father is listed on the same page in fact (4). She came from a large family that were mostly farmers. Either way, there they are living with a four year old son. Assuming they had no children before they married in 1849, it would make sense that John is not Martha’s child.

Sadly, by the age of 5, John has died (5). Now here’s where I bring my connections in; be warned that they are weak and I need more research. So here’s my hypothesis. The citation there is for a grave. It states that John is the son of David WITHERAL (one of the MANY ways to spell that name by the way. Another headache) and Anna Maria. Looking at the other graves in the cemetery with Witheral as the surname, I find Anna Maria (6), which matches the death records I found for Orleans County (2). So, I am assuming from this that Anna Maria was married to David, had their son John, then passed away. John then followed a few years later and the David is the David that married Martha and is related to me. That explains why there is a four year old in a newly wed home. Weak and flimsy, right? It’s a work in progress.

From there, my records go to his children’s death records. Morbid, I know, but they are the only records I really have for his existence. One nice thing is how ALL of his children list David Witherell as their father and Martha Wolcott as his mother on the death certificate. I’m not sure who saw to that, but that takes some of the guesswork out when everything seems to agree. Frances, the oldest, was born in 1850 (7); then there is John (see how this name keeps popping up?) in 1852 (8); and Jane in 1853 (9). These three children were born in New York. So I know that the family left between 1853 and 1857 (which is a big enough time gap to make me wonder if there was another child in between there). Gard, my ancestor, was born in 1857 somewhere in Michigan (10). Maybe Flint, which is the family tradition but I have no idea. There weren’t birth records from around that time anyway and as far as I know, the Witherell’s weren’t big on religion as far as sticking to one denomination goes, so I wouldn’t know where to start on baptism records.

Then there’s Helen – my biggest clue. Her death record is for 1868 (11). She died from lung congestion at 8 years old! So I know David was most likely alive in 1860. On the death record it states that David Witherell is her father but that he is dead. So I know he died between 1860-1868. Martha isn’t listed as remarried on there but I know she is remarried by 1870.

Now I know what you are thinking – Civil War right? That was exactly my thought too! So I began to search for some records on Fold3 and low and behold, there were some widow’s pensions files for David Witherell. I excitedly ordered them without looking at other David Witherell’s. I mean… he has to be my ancestor, right? So I spent quite a bit of money and patiently (ha!) waited for the records to come.

It wasn’t him.

This David – also from Michigan, also born in New York – was married to a Sarah and was born about 20 years after my David. This impostor-David then moved on to a different state, where that pension was filed from. If I had only paid more attention…. I have a tendency to get caught up in the thrill of the moment when it comes to finding new records for ancestors.

This was my beginner’s mistake in ordering from the National Archives.

So… now what? Martha was remarried by the 1870 census and I know by 1868 that she was already in Saginaw City as that was where Helen died. I’m hoping for an obituary (I called the library to ask about it) but there weren’t a lot of obituary’s from that time, especially for an 8 year old, or so I was told. But I am checking. No stone un-turned and all that.

Then, while playing around on findagrave, I found something (12). Could this be MY David Witherell? Had he really fought in the Civil War and then died? Maybe he had returned to New York to join up there? Of course I couldn’t find a record for him on Fold3 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t die from the war or that his name is spelled so oddly I just haven’t found it yet. I called the cemetery to see what information could be found on the file for him. Sadly, all they had was his name and date of death. Not even what war or unit he fought in. I should have asked who bought the plot but I didn’t think of it.

Either way, here I am, at a dead end. My next step that I want to try is to go to New York and see what kind of records I can find there. I also plan on looking at the probates in both Saginaw and Flint to see if maybe, because he had minors especially, there would be an intestate or testate record. We shall see but I’m not sure how quickly Martha remarried and I believe that would have impacted any probate proceedings.

I am open to suggestions as always!

Many lessons were learned from this one ancestor: 1) don’t expect all brick walls to be women 2) don’t expect your last name to be as unique as you thought and 3) RECORD EVERYTHING!!! Otherwise, you’ll be sitting here like me, looking at your notes wondering where in the world that “fact” came from.



1) 1850 U.S. Census, Orleans County, New York, population schedule, Shelby, sheet 542 (penned), 271 B (stamped), dwelling 487, family 488, David Wihenil; digital image, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 575, image 547.

2) Orleans County, New York, “Birth, marriage, and death returns from various towns, 1847-1849,” Anna Marie Witherell death, 1848; FHL Microfilm 1010198.

3) Orleans County, New York, “Birth, marriage, and death returns from various towns, 1847-1849,” Witherell-Wolcott, 1849; FHL Microfilm 1010198.

4) 1850 U.S. Census, Orleans County, New York, population schedule, Shelby, sheet 542 (penned), 271 B (stamped), dwelling 492, family 493, Thomas Wolcott; digital image, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 575, image 547.

5) Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Record,  John Witheral (1846-1851), Memorial No. 111398661, Records of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, West Shelby, New York; record copyright RobMinteer57.

6) Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Record,  Anna Marie Witheral (1820-1847), Memorial No. 111397556, Records of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, West Shelby, New York; record copyright RobMinteer57.

7) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Frances Wardell, 1915, registered no. 593.

8) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), John Witherell, 1915, registered no.439.

9) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Jane McWatters, 1902, registered no. 322.

10) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Chas Witherell, 1915, registered no. 528.

11) “Michigan, Deaths, 1867-1897,” index and images, ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Helen Witherall, 21 Aug 1868; citing Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, Department of Vital Records, Lansing. FHL microfilm 2363448 image 600-601

12) Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 15 April 2014), Record,  David Witherall (?-1863), Memorial No. 2601057, Records of the Cypress Hill National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York; record imported from US Veteran’s Affairs.

Categories: 52 Ancestors, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Amanuensis Monday: Diary March 11-15 1945

*I didn’t miss a day, in case you’re curious. I’ve just decided to fix them since my grandmother wrote on the space for February 29 (when there wasn’t one in 1945) and is now a date behind. In her journal, the dates are a day behind but I’ve corrected them on here. 

10 March 1945

11 March 1945


Sunday 11 March 1945

Went to sunday school. Went to the Court + saw “Christmas Hollday” with Gene Kelly, Diana Durbin + Dean Harens. Cryed. + Roy Rogers. Went to the Drugstore with Pat + Frankie. Walked to the bus stop with Hine. Put up my hair. 


11 March 1945

12 March 1945

Monday 12 March 1945

Went to school. Martin wasn’t there today. Tonkin’s team lost that mean we play Chadwicks. I didn’t work in the office or after school. Went bike riding with Pat, Cheese, Hines, Cartwright, + Berlinger. After supper I went with Hines, Frankie, Tonkin + Marlene. Listened to the radio

12 March 1945

13 March 1945

Tuesday 13 March 1945

Went to school. Little behind on my diary. Don’t remember what I did. I worked in the office + after school. Got a long distance call from Gene. He’s in New Jersey + will be home Friday. Went bike riding.


14 March 1945

14 March 1945

Wednesday 14 March 1945

Went to school. Worked in the office + after school. Went bike riding. Martin doesn’t talk to me very much. Had an assembly. 2nd hour class have their plays. Put up my hair.


15 March 1945

15 March 1945

Thursday 15 March 1945

Went to school. Gave my report in SS. Worked in the office + after school. Went to the store. Went bike riding by myself. Went over to Buds. Got in a hair fight with Bob Hugist. I could start liking that guy again if it wasn’t for Tillie + Marlene. Came home + put up my hair.


*This ends the consecutive diary entries for 1945. There are a few more that I will post but the dates are scattered through the year. 


My comments: I have NO idea what she means by a hair fight – a fight about hair styles? It sounds like it wasn’t serious if she said she could like him again. I do like that she’s loyal to her friends though and won’t pursue her crush because of her friends. :)


Categories: Diary, HUMMEL | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Book of Me Prompt 32: De-Stress!

Prompt for week 32 is

This week’s prompt is – How do you De-Stress?

Anything else?
What triggers your acknowledgement that you need to de-stress?
other pains?
What triggers you stress?

Starting with what triggers my stress:

  • Work overload
  • Having too much chaos going on (the level of what I can handle can change)
  • Not having the resources or tools to do something
  • Feeling helpless
  • Being unprepared
  • Pressure

How do I know I’m stressed? I get angry really easy and I feel frazzled – like I’m being pulled in many directions. Thankfully, I don’t get as stressed out anymore. While teaching I was normally stressed for 10 out of 12 months of the year. It was CONSTANT because I taught English in a high school with high stakes testing. So there was always something going on besides the usual “grades are due tomorrow and I still have 30 essays to grade” stress. Then I’d come home and there would be home things like grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. Plus we have our dog (who is a huge de-stresser!) who we have to make sure gets his shots/appointments on time and make sure he knows he is loved (this is not hard).

So, what do I do? Well with agitated stress, like from teaching, I would run. It was best when I could do that outside. Being outside is great de-stresser for me anyway but when it gets to the agitated part, I need to be active. Running works great because then I’m too tired to be agitated and I can focus on what I can or need to do. If I can’t run, really LOUD music works. I’ll put on my headphones, tune out the world, and rock on to something alternative/rock that is NOT slow/sweet. Angry music I guess! But it calms me down. I was a 90′s teen – what can I say? Grunge was the way I went and I still love the music :)

For non-agitated stress, like when I have finally finished a project and need to calm down, yoga is wonderful. It’s physical and calming at the same time. I love it! Sometimes this can work for when I’m really worked up but then it has to be hot yoga and a class where they really get you sweating. Baths with calming music also work wonderfully here too (as long as the project is done)! Reading can work as long as it is a book I can get completely sucked into otherwise my mind starts to make lists of what needs to happen next.

When I was in college, my best de-stresser was my roommates and friends. They were able to put levity on a subject and let me laugh until my sides hurt. That is probably my favorite way to de-stress, even today. It was easier when they all lived with me or down the hall though.

Some things just don’t work for me – meditation, walking, etc. Anything slow like that is awful when I’m in the middle of the stress. All I do is start making lists or telling myself what I should be doing instead of that. Meditation has never worked for me for that reason. Any of those quiet de-stressers just makes my mind work in overload and stresses me out more. Like I said, this kind of thing is good at the end of whatever was stressing me, then it can work.

I do think I take most stress pretty well and I do my best to avoid it by being as prepared as I possibly can. For example, when teaching, I had the whole year planned out by August (summers off were really just summers planning and prepping). Once we got the schedule for testing, I’d flesh it out more so that I was always a grading period ahead with scheduling and I could tell you what we were going to concentrate on during the rest of the year. I also had several contingency plans because in northern Indiana, we get a lot of snow and there are always snow days. Not to mention that English was the class most students were pulled from for things like hearing tests (because all students had an English class, it was easier to organize). That helped a LOT (and it was fun, let’s be honest.  I loved the planning!). Even today, the more prepared I can be, the better. I like to have plans in place a few weeks (months normally) before hand if we are going on a trip, I’m taking a class, or going to a conference. This battles with my husband who likes to plan a bit more spontaneously than me. He has sometimes waited until the day of to get a hotel room. I will say that I’ve learned to live with that because we end up with some great deals but if it is left to me, I plan!

And of course, my dog is a wonderful de-stresser. All he wants to do is play ball, go on walks, or stalk squirrels. He makes life simple and I LOVE being with him :) How could you resist such a face?


Categories: Book of Me | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Army Bootcamp Laundry

On the back: "wash day, my's on the ladder" early 1950's

On the back: “wash day, my’s on the ladder” early 1950′s

Bobbie Witherell while at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas for boot camp

Bobbie Witherell while at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas for boot camp


I know there were letters sent back and forth between my grandmother and my grandfather but I only have pictures with items written on the back that had been sent to each other. This was shortly after the two were married.

Categories: Photo, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , | 7 Comments

52 Ancestors #14: Hezekiah Raifsnider – my first Civil War ancestor

The  52 Ancestor challenge is put on by Amy at No Story Too Small

155 52ancestors


I should say he is my first ancestor I came across that I could confirm he was in the Civil War. I sadly know next to nothing about his life before he came to Michigan. I know Hezekiah was born around 1838, 1840 in Pennsylvania but I do not know the exact date or where he was born in Pennsylvania. A search in that area around that time shows that Raifsnider is a popular enough name that I would have trouble locating even a county where they mainly resided in. I need to do more research there but I’m not quite sure where to go yet.

His parents, according to his death certificate, are Benjamin and Mary (Spots) Raifsnider (1). They were also born in Pennsylvania according to that. I can imagine that Hezekiah had a number of siblings but this is a guess based on the number of Raifsniders that weren’t his children in White Pigeon, Michigan (where I find the majority of his records).

I have no luck with the 1840 census (but I do have some guesses) nor with the 1850 census. I first see Hezekiah in the 1860 census living in White Pigeon, Michigan (2).  He is about 21 at the time and is living with a Benjamin and Susannah Raifsnider and two young children. I believe this could be his brother and sister-in-law with their two young children. Unfortunately, the 1860 census does not show relations. A clue here though is that the two children, Wilson (3 years old) and Rosella (1 year old) have different states they were born in. Wilson was born in PA while Rosella was born in MI. So, the family most likely moved between those few years. Maybe Hezekiah did as well. The only other information I can gather here is that he is a laborer which the most non-descriptive description for work when it comes to census records.

The next record I have is a military document. He enlisted in Company F, Michigan 12th Infantry Regiment on the 26 Feb 1864 (he was about 24 at the time) (3). This one was organized in Niles and I’m not quite sure why he didn’t go to the one in White Pigeon but there were a number of enlistee’s who were from nearby. Maybe he joined with a friend. I found through the website, a record of service for this infantry. By the time Hezekiah joined, this regiment had seen quite a bit. They had been in Tennessee as part of Colonel Peabody’s brigade, General Prentiss’ division, Army of the Tennessee (4). They had a regiment that veteranized by July 1863 and they took up new recruits starting in January 1864 – this was where Hezekiah came in. From there they went to Little Rock, Arkansas where the regiment arrived on the 1st of April. The record states they had long marches and small battles here and there.  They were used wherever they were needed until the regiment was mustered out of service 15 Feb 1866 – which is where Hezekiah was mustered out in Camden, Arkansas(5). He wasn’t left there alone, they all started back to Michigan and arrived in Jackson by the 27th where they were paid off and disbanded by 6 March 1866 (6).

For this group, there were 2,357 enrolled, 29 were killed in action, 26 died of wounds, 17 died in Confederate prisons, 316 (!!) died of disease, and 221 were discharged for disability (wounds and disease) (6). I cannot imagine what it must have been like. I remember reading in my history classes that most people thought the war would be done quickly and wouldn’t be bad at all. They were wrong. It was an awful war, but what war isn’t?

Since these were mostly rural farm folk, you can imagine they weren’t very good at war. They didn’t even have uniforms or weapons for everyone if I remember correctly. I wonder what Hezekiah had thought the war would be like? He was a single guy, so he had no one to worry about back home besides siblings or maybe a sweetheart. Did he think it would be glory? A manly thing to do? I read Solider’s Heart by Gary Paulsen not that long ago. In it, he describes what it was like for one boy who served as a Union soldier. He had believed the war would be a great adventure and then went on to see many horrors. One scene I’ll never forget is the one where he helped out in the infirmary. There was a lot of wind coming from a storm (I think) so to block the wind into the infirmary, they stacked dead bodies as a wall… I wonder what Hezekiah saw in his years there.

I have no idea what he did when he returned. From Minnie’s obituary, it states that they married on 22 Dec 1875. So it was nearly 9 years before he would finally marry. She was so much younger than him too! She was 20 when they married and he was 37. According to his death certificate though, that was his one and only marriage (1).

He isn’t in the 1870 census that I can find. I looked through the White Pigeon, Michigan census and there are some of the Raifsnider families (whose head of the families may be his brothers – John Raifsnider even served in the same company as Hezekiah [7]) but no Hezekiah. I’m not sure what happened to him from the time he was mustered out to the time of his marriage to Minnie.

By 1880, he is living with Minnie and has two children (8). He lives just down the street from John too. At this point, he is still simply mentioned as a laborer. I have no idea what his career actually was – did he work on farms? in shops? What kind of labor did he do? Oh the vagueness of census records… They tend to leave more questions than answers. Then again, that seems to be true of many documents.

I actually have Hezekiah in 1890 on the veteran’s schedule (9). Such a lovely thing! There isn’t too much here though. It gives his rank (Private), his company, regiment, muster in/out date and how long he served. It has a space at the bottom for any disabilities or remarks but his are blank.

Although he doesn’t have much listed there, I have a feeling that the war still left him with wounds but maybe not as visible. He died in 28 August 1898 at the age of 60. Even though I consider that young now, I tend to look at that age for a Civil War veteran to be a good long life. The information about his parents (mentioned earlier) is given by Minnie, his wife. I feel like the information is more accurate than others because of this but she may have never met his parents and was simply going on hearsay from him or other family members. His cause of death is listed as capillary bronchitis which he had for four days before death. He had suffered from chronic bronchitis for about two – three years before his death and he had general failing health for the last year and a half (1). None of that seems to be war related, but I’m not an expert on that.

He doesn’t have an obituary, sadly, at least not one that I have located. But I finally found that Minnie had applied for a widow’s pension when Hezekiah died (10). There had been a misspelling that I hadn’t considered yet but I finally found it! That means another record for me to search. I do wish it wasn’t so expensive to get these records from the National Archives though. I’ve ordered from them before -land records and another Civil War Pension File – and love how quick they are and how easy it is to order. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive!

For the most part, I don’t know much about Hezekiah. Records show so little when it comes to personality and the like. Even then though, I do believe the Civil War had a lasting impression on him. Where did he go after the war? Did he wander around? Travel? Did he suffer from “soldier’s heart” at all? He married Minnie late in his life so I can imagine that it took him some time to get to a point where he could have a family and a wife. I hope that Minnie was one heck of a girl to finally sway him towards marriage too. She certainly seemed like a fighter and I can imagine (especially from the women in my family) that she was stubborn and feisty. I hope that she and their kids made him laugh again and enjoy the last years of his life.

Hezekiah’s Tombstone (original and then the newer version) (11):



1) “Michigan death records 1898-1920,” digital images,, Hezikiah Raifsnider, registered no. 9.

2) 1860 U.S. Census, Saint Joseph County, Michigan, population schedule, White Pigeon Township, sheet 53 (penned), dwelling 394, family 396, Hezekiah Raifsnider; digital image, ( : accessed 8 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 561, image 34.

3) “U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865,” database, ( : accessed 8 April 2014), entry for Hezekiah Raifsnider, enlisted 26 Feb 1864, Michigan; citing  Historical Data Systems, comp., U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865,” Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA.

4) State of Michigan and George H. Turner, 12th Michigan Infantry, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard; Stationers, Printers, and Publisher, 1900), 1; digital images, Archives of Michigan ( : accessed 8 April 2014).

5) State of Michigan, Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903?), Vol 12 p 127, Hezekiah Raifsnider; digital image, ( : accessed 8 April 2014); locate through database of same title.

6) State of Michigan and George H. Turner, 12th Michigan Infantry, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard; Stationers, Printers, and Publisher, 1900), 2; digital images, Archives of Michigan ( : accessed 8 April 2014).

7) State of Michigan, Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ihling Bros. & Everard, 1903?), Vol 12 p 127, John Raifsnider; digital image, ( : accessed 8 April 2014); locate through database of same title.

8) 1880 U.S. Census, St. Joseph County, Michigan, population schedule, White Pigeon Village, ED 203, SD 1, sheet 17 (penned), 509(stamped), dwelling 190, family 193, Hezekiah Raifsnider; digital image, : accessed 8 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 311, image 3.

9) 1890 U.S. Census, Saint Joseph County, Michigan, “Special Scheduleof the Eleventh Census (1890),” White Pigeoon, ED 276, p. 3, Hisikiah Raifsnider; digital image, ( : accessed 8 April 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication M123, roll 20, image 3.

10) “U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934,” digital images, ( : accessed 8 April 2014), Hezekiah Rafsnider and widow Minnie Rafsnider, image 2199; citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T288, roll 383, image 2199.

11) White Pigeon Township Cemetery (White Pigeon, St. Joseph County, Michigan), Hezekiah Raifsnider, section Catton Addition, lot 5; personally read, 2014.

Categories: 52 Ancestors, RAIFSNIDER | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Amanuensis Monday: March 6-9 1945 Heartbreak

262 March 6 1945

6 March 1945 Wednesday

Went to school. Heard Martin don’t like me started to cry. Had a test in Math. Worked after school. Went to the store with Bud. Went to the show with Bud, Bobby, Tillie, + Frankie saw “Lady Corages.” with Loretta Young. Was it good. Came home put up my hair. Dick + Betty were over. Had some ice cream. I’m suppose to be on a diet.

263 March 7 1945


7 March 1945 Thursday

Went to school. Martin doesn’t act as though he likes me. I hope Eddie goes with Hines. I think he likes her. Worked after school. Went to Ames + play volleyball. Changing the hayride from 8 to 9. Bob + Bud met Martin today. Bob likes him. Went over to Marlene house + over to Martin’s only he wasn’t home. Then went over to Hines + Buds. Came home + put up my hair.

264 March 8 1945


8 March 1945 Friday

Went to school. Asked Martin he said he was going. We played basketball at noon + won 7 to 10. It was a hard game. Martin sprain his ankle he said he couldn’t go. It was raining anyway. So we didn’t go on the hayride. We over to Buds + had a party. Had a pretty good time. I wish Martin would have been there. I hope Martin is better. I may go over to Marlene’s + see him too. 

265 March 9 1945

9 March 1945 Saturday

No school today. Went to the show in the afternoon at the Court + saw “Chip Off the Old Block” with Don O’Conner+ The Momeys Goust” [The Mummy's Ghost]. Went to Town Club. At the “Hard Times Party” After I went with, Cheese, Hines, Twins, Berlger, Pee Wee, + Marlene to a ice cream store. Got a malt + hamburger. Went to Odd Fellors with Bud + Tillie. Got home at 12:00. Put up my hair. 

My Response

So it turns out that being heartbroken and diving into some ice cream isn’t a new idea at all. Who knew? Good thing she had good friends to get her out of her funk. :)

Categories: Diary, HUMMEL | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Bride and her Bridesmaids

Jan 1951 - Mary (Hummel) Witherell - bride - and her two bridesmaids

Jan 1951 – Mary (Hummel) Witherell – bride – and her two bridesmaids

Jan 1951 - Mary (Hummel) Witherell - bride - and her two bridesmaids

Jan 1951 – Mary (Hummel) Witherell – bride – and her two bridesmaids

I love the first picture of my grandmother with her two bridesmaids goofing off with her veil. I love it when older pictures show such a sense of humor! These two women are Shirley Sager and Marilyn Hines – yes, that Hines from my grandmother’s diary from middle school. They had a long friendship!

Categories: HUMMEL, Photo | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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