Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obituary of Laurance Wilber Mix (1910 - 1989)

Another obituary from my grandmother's newspaper clippings. She was one of 10 siblings. It's kind of tough being one of the younger one's, because then you end up with a collection of obituaries like this. :-( I feel bad for my grandma!!! She's the last sibling alive today.

Anyway, before you ask, yes, my Great-Uncle Laurance did spell his name like that and not like the usual "Lawrence". The story that I've heard is that his mom had the name Laura picked out. It was her third pregnancy, the first two were boys, so maybe she was counting on a girl!!! The story says when the baby turned out to be a boy, she just tacked on the "-nce" to the end of Laura!

Don't worry, his mom got her wish for girls - her next pregnancy was twins - two girls!!!

So Laurance was the 3rd of the 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Laurance Wilber Mix

Laurance Wilber Mix, 78, of 1875 Hanshaw Road, died Thursday, March 9, 1989, at Tompkins Community Hospital.

He was born in Ithaca, son of the late William and Cornelia Aikens Mix.

He lived and worked in Geneva and Niagara Falls before returning to Ithaca in 1946. He had been a resident of Hanshaw Road since 1963.

He was a master mechanic and had worked for Lincoln-Mercury on Elmira Road, Rumsey of Ithaca and Wallace Steel. he retired in 1975.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman.

On July 27, 1957, he married Blanche Mix, who survives.

Also surviving are three sons, Laurence J. Mix of Hillensdales, N.J., William S. Mix of Dryden and Robert T. Mix of Lansing; three daughters, J. Geraldine Boyce of Newfield, Tammy I. Wilcox of Dryden, and Suzanne M. Mix of Ithaca; two brothers, Leslie Mix of Trumansburg, and Donald Mix of Odessa; three sisters, Maise Patrick of Florida and Ann Domelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; 16 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Perkins Funeral Home, Dryden. The Rev. Charles Marks, of St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Ithaca, will officiate.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Burial will be in Willow Glen Cemetery in the spring.

Memorials may be made to the Tompkins Community Hospital, Office of Community Relations, c/o Julia Bonney, 201 Dates Drive.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obituary of William E. Mix (1915 - 1985)

This obituary is from my grandmother's collection of family newspaper clippings. The original newspaper info has been lost due to trimming, and it was pasted onto a blank sheet of paper.

William E. MIX was an older brother of my grandmother. He was 5 years older than her, and was the 6th of 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

The handwritten time is in my grandmother's handwriting. I am assuming that was the time of day her brother passed away.

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of clipping:

Obituary Text:

William E. Mix
Trumansburg - William E. Mix, 69, of 9366 Congress St. Extension, R.D. 2, Trumansburg, died today, Thursday, March 14, 1985, at Geneva General Hospital following an extended illness. He was born in the Town of Lansing, a son of Cornelia Akins Mix and the late William H. Mix.

Mr. Mix was a retired self-employed carpenter, a veteran of World War II serving with the U.S. Army. He had resided most of his life in the Trumansburg area.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife Vivian Dawson Mix of Trumansburg; five sons, William G. Mix and William G. Mix Jr. both of Trumansburg, Richard L. Westbrook of Interlaken, Roger S. Swartwood of Burdett, and Jason Mix at home; two daughters, Joan Proctor of Jacksonville and Toyana Mix, at home; 35 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; four brothers, Floyd Mix of Homossa Springs, Fla., Lawrence Mix of Ithaca, Donald Mix of Watkins Glen, and Leslie Mix of Ithaca, Donald Mix of Watkins Glen, and Leslie Mix of Trumansburg; three sisters, Daisey deMarc and Mazie Patrick, both of Ithaca, and Ann Domelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; and several nieces and nephews.

Private services will be held Saturday at Rhodes-Covert Funeral Home in Trumansburg. Spring burial will be in Grove Cemetery. There are no calling hours.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Obituary of John Francis Mix (1926 - 1981)

My grandmother had several old newspaper clippings of obituaries and such that she pasted onto sheets of paper. Sadly, the originating newspaper information has been trimmed off nearly all of them, but they are still extremely valuable to me!!

One day when the newspapers I want are online, I'll be able to match them up - until then, I wait! Isn't it funny how there are so many millions of pages of old newspapers available online, all EXCEPT for the handful you really want? :-D

Today I am sharing the obituary of my great-uncle John Francis Mix. My mom always referred to him as "Uncle Johnny".

He was the 9th of 10 children born to William Homer MIX and Cornelia Elizabeth AKINS.

I'm lucky enough to have inherited through several people Uncle Johnny's wallet. Among the various papers in it there were 4 pictures: one of a young Johnny and his wife, one of me, one of my sister Heather, and one of my cousin Kimberly. It was surprising and sweet to come across my picture in his wallet.

My mom doesn't remember me ever meeting him in person. I had thought I had a distant memory of meeting him once - but I can't verify it at the moment. You know how those childhood memories go - did it really happen or did you think it happened - hard to tell sometimes!! I think I'll just decide that yes I did meet him, because that makes me happier! :-)

Here's a scan of the obituary my grandmother saved:

***Update on 28-Nov-2010 to add text of obituary:

Obituary Text:

John F. Mix
Syracuse - John F. Mix, 55, of Townsend Towers, Syracuse, and formerly of Ithaca, died Monday, Dec. 7, 1981 in the Syracuse Veterans Administration Hospital. He was a native of Geneva.

He was formerly employed at Ithaca Gun Co., retiring in 1971. He was a veteran of World War II.

Mr. Mix is survived by his wife, Pauline Bush Mix of Syracuse; five brothers: Floyd Mix of Homeosso Springs, Fla., Lawrence Mix of Ithaca, Donald Mix of Watkins Glen and Leslie and William Mix, both of Trumansburg.

Also surviving are his mother, Cornelia Mix of Ithaca; three sisters, Daisy deMark and Mazie Patrick, both of Ithaca, and Ann Domelle of Harrisburg, Pa.; and nieces and nephews.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Rhode-Covert Funeral Home in Trumansburg with the Rev. Michael B. Cremean officiating. Burial will be in Hector Union Cemetery at Burdett. Friends may call from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

That Old Grey Mare...

My aunt kindly lent me letters to scan that she received from her grandmother (Cornelia AKINS MIX SIMPSON).

There were 13 letters in total and they spanned the years from 1959 to 1974.

My great-grandmother was born in 1887 so that would have her age at the first letter 72, and 87 for the last one. Sadly, even after all these years of figuring out ages, I still, STILL have to use a calculator for that kind of stuff! I'm hopeless!

Anyway, I am a great fan of language, I love knowing the history of words, how slang has evolved, stuff like that. So I especially enjoyed looking at the language in the letters to see what were natural phrases for my great-grandmother to use.

So, when looking at Cornelia's language, I have to keep in mind that she would have been in school in the late 1890s, but no college. However, she did have amateur nursing experience due to a job. She grew up and lived in the Finger Lake region of New York state, mainly in the surrounding areas of these towns: Ithaca, Valois, Burdett and Sodus Point. Her relatives were mainly in agricultural pursuits (farmers, blacksmiths, etc.).

One thing I noticed in many of her letters was that when closing her letters she often wrote something like:

Well, I'm going to ring off now.

This actually 'sounds' British to me but seems to be an outdated American phrase as well for hanging up the phone. I did find this out there on the interwebs:

Another phrase I noticed is that when mocking her age at one point, she referred to the fact that:

I guess the old grey mare hain't what she used to be

The "hain't" is exactly as she wrote it and apparently was used by some as an interchangeable word for "ain't".

See this entry:

Finally, I thought you might like to hear the song that the phrase came from. When I went to listen to it, I realized I knew the melody quite well because it was used in many of the old cartoons that I grew up watching - seems to me it was more likely to turn up in the cartoons from the 30s.


Treasure Trove of Letters

My Mom and I took a drive yesterday and celebrated my grandfather's 92nd birthday yesterday with a visit out to my grandparents house. We had a lovely visit with them, and my aunt and cousin were also there to visit.

But guess who got the best present?

Yes, me!

Take a look at what I got to bring home with me to scan!

I've taken a brief look through and so far, the star of the letters is my grandfather's brother Pete - in his letters, not only does he mention family members, but he refers to them as "our 5th cousin Marie" or "our 4th cousins came to visit us today".

I'm going to call him today to tell him how awesome he is! :-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ain't She Sweet!

She's my sister!

And today is her birthday!

Happy Birthday Heather!!!!!! No matter how OLD you get, you'll always look like this to me! :-D


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 15 September 2010

"I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. They wake up in the morning, and that’s the best they’re going to feel all day."

--Dean Martin

Friday, September 3, 2010

Civil War Pension File of John Mix

Earlier this summer I acquired a copy of the civil war pension file (No. 442032) for my great-great-Grandfather, John Mix.

It was not a cut and dry request - the file was 89 scanned pages! I spent time transcribing the pages because the files were all out of order.

I then created a spreadsheet and put in a line entry by date for any kind of tidbit of information I came across, for instance, on 24 April 1882, John Mix sent a letter to the Pension Office stating that the doctor he was directed to go see in Owego, NY wasn't home the day he went to see him and it would be a lot easier if he could see a doctor in Ithaca.

So I was then able to sort and see the actual order of events:

So here is the scoop of Great-Great-Grandpapa:

John Mix
b. 09 Mar 1830, Tioga Co., NY
d. 1906, NY

2nd marriage was to my great-great-grandmother, Mary E., and they had 6 children.

1. On or about Feb. 9, 1864, John enlisted into the Union Army at Candor, Tioga Co., NY. John was 34 years old and a blacksmith. At home in Willseyville, Tioga Co., he has 3 young daughters, aged 5, 3 and 6 months. He also has an 11 year old son from a previous marriage.

2. His company is Unassigned, and he is in the 16th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery.

3. On 10 May 1864, he is transferred to Company I, 6th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery.

4. John says that his Descriptive List is lost and because of that, he isn't receiving his pay. A descriptive list is a form that lists vital info on a soldier, like name, rank, physical description, and any other remarks.

5. On or about 10 July 1864, in Petersburg, VA, John says that he fell into a rifle pit while carrying timber to be used for construction of breastments.

6. U.S. Pension Office records state that on 06 October 1864, John is considered to have deserted the army. John states he had no choice but to leave, and told his Colonel he would be leaving if he didn't receive any pay because he had to take care of his family.

7. In some, but not all records, John states he received an honorable discharge on 01 December 1864 at Harper's Ferry, WV.

8. On 27 February 1882, John, aged 51, submits a petition to receive a pension due to his being an invalid as a result of his war-time injuries. He states he suffers from rheumatism and weakness. He's living in Willseyville, Tioga Co. "Rheumatism" was a term used for any pain or stiffness in the back or extremities. (I've decided to start using it again - as in when I stand up after sitting at the computer for many hours - I'll say: OH, my rheumatism! Then I'll cackle and take a "remedy" like, oh, say, a gin and tonic. Or something like that.)

9. On 02 June 1882 John is examined by Dr. Lucius Allen. Dr. Allen states that John is 6 ft tall, weighs 152 lbs, has a light complexion, has a pulse of 80 and respiration of 18. John himself in other examinations states that he is 5 foot, 6 inches tall.

10. On 05 February 1883 John is deposed.

11. On 13 June 1883 John is again examined by a doctor. This doctor states that his pulse is 84, respiration is 24 and temperature is 99 and 1/8. The doctor finds "some tenderness" and a "slight internal curvature of 3 lower lumbar vertebra". The action of heart is "hard and vigourous". The doctor finds that John's disability entitles him to 3/4 total for rheumatism rating.

Unfortunately for John, the Pension Office can find no record of an honorable discharge. Due to that, his petition is rejected.

But that didn't stop John from continuing to try:

12. On 03 November 1890 John (aged 60) made another petition stating he was an invalid due to injuries received in the war, specifically: rheumatism, phthisic, and injury to back. By now, John was living in Union, Broome Co. "Phthisic", pronounced TIZ-ic, is any wasting disease of the lungs.

He was again rejected.

13. On 20 November 1904, John's wife Mary wrote a letter to the Pension Office referring to a newly passed law that all soldiers over the age of 70 should have a pension. She refers tot he fact that his Descriptive List was lost and he had a young family to take care of and wasn't being paid. She also states that John's health is very poor (he's 74 now). Their address is Ithaca, Tompkins Co.

14. On 27 February 1905 Mary writes again, repeating many of the same statements. However, she now adds that John had a shock last Fall (1904) and has been sick every since.

15. According to my records, John passed away in 1906. I don't have a gravestone or death certificate yet. He would have been 76.

16. On 21 February 1914, the Pension Office writes Mr. Underhill (a congressman from NY) that there is no claim pending for John Mix because he was never discharged. Mr. Underhill wrote on behalf of John's widow Mary. Mary is now 74 and living with her son Wesley Mix.

17. On 04 March 1923, Mary writes the Pension Office for what will be the last time. She repeats the same information she provided in earlier letters and states that she was 83 years old as of February of that year. She's living in Union, Broome Co, still with her son Wesley. The Pension Office writes her back stating that she cannot receive the Widow's pension because John was never discharged from service.

18. According to my records, Mary passed away in June of 1925, aged 85.


Well, it looks like John had legitimate injuries from the fall he sustained while in Virginia, but without an honorable discharge, he just wasn't eligible for any kind of pension. The loss of his Descriptive List seems to be the worst tragedy, since the lack of pay appears to be what prompted him to desert in October of 1864.

One really cool thing to come out of having this pension file are the copies of hand-written letters from John and Mary to the Pension Office.

Now I have their handwriting, in all it's inconsistent spelling and punctuation-less glory. I won't lie, some of it is hard to follow - the letters (especially Mary's) can be like a stream of consciousness.

Here's John's signature to a letter:

and here is Mary's:

I'm grateful to have these!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Death Certificates In My Mail Make Me Happy

It's true, genealogist's love death certificates!!

So, you poor souls who are loyal readers know that sometime last winter I sent away to the New York Department of Health for death certificates. Silly me!

Although I read this text:

It never occurred to me that they were telling the TRUTH? How is it possible for anything to take that long anymore? Yes, I realize that I'm totally ruined for patience and all that thanks to immediate gratification in every other area of my life, but really????? I had only a general idea where the one death took place, and no idea where the other, but from now on I'm totally going through the local clerk! I learned my lesson!

And sure enough, mid-March I sent the letter, mid-June they cashed my check, and here we are, the beginning of September and I get my certificates. Five AND A HALF months. The "half" hurts. I'm just sayin'.

Don't get me wrong now, I'm happy that New York makes these available and I know they are understaffed and under-budgeted. Oh well. One day it will be better!!!


Love yoooou NY Department of Health! :-)

So anyway, back to my wonderful new certificates!

1. Hattie Allen

She's my maternal great-great-grandmother. I was looking to see how her parents were filled out because Hattie was the offspring of Laura Kirby and Laura's sister's husband. Yes, sad but true. At least according to family lore.

Hattie's daughter Cornelia was the informant and she listed Hattie's parents as "Samuel Kirby" and "Laura Kirby".

So, a couple things from this. Samuel Kirby is Laura Kirby's dad. Laura died not long after Hattie was born (she was still quite young), and Hattie was raised by her grandparents (Laura's parents), Samuel and Lucinda Kirby. I have Hattie in census records living with her grandparent's.

Looks like Cornelia was being discreet when asked about her mom's parents and listed mom's mother (Laura Kirby, no married name), and the man who raised Hattie, Samuel.

Oh well. Back to the drawing board to get some proof of this family legend!

2. Charles Francis Akins

This is Hattie's son Charles. He died at a relatively young age, only 39. A story has come down through the family that (allegedly) his wife might have had something to do with his early death. They say soon after Charley died, she had taken up with a man. Certainly these are all just allegations, I had no idea of his wife's name much less whether she might have encouraged an early demise for Great-Uncle Charley. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the hurt and grief the family of Charley felt that caused them to think not-so-nice things about Charley's widow.

Well, the good news is that homicide is not listed on the death certificate. In fact, they did not even perform an autopsy, so there must not have been anything suspicious to the authorities about Charley's early demise. His death is listed as being due to "cholycystitis". This is a mis-spelling of "cholecystitis" which is inflammation of the gall bladder. I read up on it, and it could be that maybe he had gallstones that blocked the bile from getting out of the gall bladder and maybe it got inflamed and burst, like an appendix. Of course, now I'm the person guessing, but it's a possibility.

The doctor who signed the death certificate attended Great-Uncle Charley from Nov. 1 through Nov. 13, 1928, so he was sick for two weeks before he died.

Also, now I have the name of his wife! Yay! Her name was Ethel Mae. AND, for some reason he was way up in Wayne County NY when he passed. My family typically stuck to the south in Tioga, Tompkins and sometimes Seneca counties, so that was new to me.

So anyway, what a relief to finally receive these, I'm so happy!

I have to admit, I hesitated about sharing the family lore about Charley's wife. But I decided to share as part of the process of debunking it and showing the natural cause of Great-Uncle Charley's death.

When I look at my ancestors during my research, I always hope that they had a happy life, filled with people they loved and who loved them back. I know that realistically, that is not always the case; children die, spouses divorce, natural and man-made disasters happen. But that still doesn't stop my hope that while they were alive, they had happiness in some form.

So no matter what happened between Charley and Ethel, I like to believe there was some point when they grinned at each other over a shared joke, held each other in a hug, or felt joy over their baby's first step.

And that's what keeps us all going, isn't it?