This is one of those Thanksgivings that will go down in family history.

Just imagine what would be one of the worst things to happen on this holiday (well not WORST – no one was hurt thankfully).

My wonderful husband, who is the cook in the family, was getting a jump start by cooking a pie and the turkey the night before.  The pie turned out wonderful.  Then he put the turkey in.  It cooked for about an hour, when the oven died.

So, we had a half-cooked turkey and no oven.  Thankfully, we are in post housing with many neighbors.  He took it across the street to finish it off.

I waited while the maintenance man came – and told me that he couldn’t fix it until Friday.

So, we are learning that the microwave can be used for much more than reheating leftovers.  Potatoes, stuffing, corn, pretty much all of our side dishes are being made in the microwave.  I’m just thankful that we aren’t having any guests!

It has been years and years since I had a huge Thanksgiving dinner with family.  That’s life in the military. We’re always halfway across the country from everyone we know.

When I was a kid, we always had all of my dad’s brothers and sister (and their families) over for the day.  My Aunt Colleen would make tons of pies.  We would eat until we were bursting at the seams.  Football would be blaring and us kids would hang out – one of the few times we would be all together each year.  We would all be in a turkey coma by the end of the day.

One of my favorite Thanksgivings was when we got a ton of snow and went innertubing down the hill beyond our house.  We normally don’t get so much snow that early in Western Washington (although I think that they did this year!).

I am looking forward to the day when we settle down and can gather together with family again.

I hope that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving with your families!!

  • Susan - November 26, 2010 - 12:35 pm

    I lost an oven one year just before Thanksgiving. Not my favorite memory, but it is becoming a good story. A blessing that your husband was cooking ahead – can’t imagine the neighbor’s oven would have been available Thanksgiving day.ReplyCancel

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I always seem to have genealogy on the brain.  I’m sure that it drives my family nuts.

I was even reading Family Tree Magazine while sitting in the theater this weekend, waiting for the latest installment of Harry Potter to begin.

I don’t go to the movies very often. It’s too expensive, especially with 5 kids who all want snacks.  I mean really, can you watch a  movie on the big screen without buttery popcorn and Junior Mints?  I sure can’t.  I managed to take only one child to the movies on this particular trip, so it wasn’t quite the burden on my bank account.  The rest of the family will have to wait for the DVD.:)

Anyway, back to how Harry Potter pertains to my family history.  It actually doesn’t.  I don’t have any wizards in my family tree – that I know of at least.  And no, I’m not related to Daniel Radcliffe or any other member of the cast.

As I was sitting there, I started thinking about some of my father’s memories of his grandfather, Alphonso James Thornton.

Alphonso, or Lon as he was called, was an usher or a doorman at the Hollywood Theater in Sioux City, IA after WWII.  He actually died of a heart attack at the theater on 25 April 1959.

My dad was very young when he died, but he still remembers going to watch movies while his grandpa was working.  I will have to ask my dad for some specific memories or stories about this, so that I can record for future generations.  I have been really bad about doing that in the past.  Someone will tell me a story, but then it’s gone. I can’t possibly remember it well enough to write it down.  I think that I either need to start having family members write their memories/stories down for me or else start recording them telling the stories.

I am interested to know how long my great-grandpa worked at the theater.  Did he enjoy his job?  I wonder what his favorite movies were.  Did he wear a uniform of some sort?

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Whew, that’s a lot of last names!!!

My great-great grandmother is somewhat of a mystery to me.

She must either have been quite the character, or else quite the mess.  I can’t decide which.

She moved around and married so many times that I don’t know what to think. I still have a lot of research that needs to be done, but I’m hoping that by putting it out here, some light bulb will go off and I’ll know where I should search next.  Or better yet, maybe another researcher with some of the info I need will find me!

Here is a rundown of what I do know:

April 1880 She is born in Deloit, Crawford county, IA to Solomon Hattery (Sr.) and Martha Jane Mowery.  She has 5 older siblings and possibly 2 step-siblings from her mother’s first marriage, although I don’t have any proof that they ever lived with or near her.

June 1880 Here is her family in the 1880 census, living at Deloit, Crawford county, IA.
1) Solomon Hattry, white, male, age 29, married, laborer, born in OH
2) Martha J, white, female, age 37, wife, married, keeping house, born in IL, father born in PA, mother born in IL
3) Solomon M, white, male, age 7, son, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
4) Minnie B, white, female, age 5, daughter, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
5) Anna D, white, female, age 3, daughter, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
6) James D, white, male, age 3, son, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
7) Elias, white, male, age 1, son, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in iL
8) Ella J, white, female, age 2 months, born in March, daughter, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL

1895 She is living with her mother in Vail, Crawford county, IA. Her parents were divorced.
1. Martha J. Haltery, age 53, born in Penna, white, Crawford, Vail
2. Elias Haltery, age 16, born in Crawford Co, IA, white, Crawford, Vail
3. Ella Haltery, age 15, born in Crawford Co, IA, white, Crawford, Vail
4. Lily Haltery, age 6, born in Crawford Co, IA, white, Crawford, Vail

23 Sep 1896 She is married to John Edwards in Denison, Crawford, IA.

June 1897 Her first child, Alma, is born in Denison, Crawford, IA.

28 Sep 1898 Her second child (my great-grandfather) Alfred Leroy is born in Vail, Crawford, IA.

5 June 1900. She is living in Herdland Twp, Clay county, IA with her husband John Edwards and their children.
1) John Edwards, head, white, male, June 1876, age 23, married for 4 years, born in IA, father born in Canada, mother born in MI, day laborer, unemployed 3 months, can read, write, and speak English
2) Ella Edwards, wife, white, female, April 1880, age 20, married 4 years, 2 of 2 children living, born in IA, father born in IL, mother born in OH
3) Alma Edwards, daughter, white, female, June 1897, age 2, single, born in IA, parents born in IA
4) Alfred Edwards, son, white, male, Sep 1898, age 1, single, born in IA, parents born in IA

22 Nov 1900 A son, Elton Elias is born. (He later changes his name to Mike Roberts, and says that his father was in fact a man named Perry Roberts.  When you read the divorce papers below, you will realize that is very possible).

31 Oct 1902 A daughter, May is born.

8 May 1903 John Edwards files for divorce.
Petition in Equity, April Term 1903.
John Edwards Jr. plaintiff
Ella Edwards defendant

Petition in Equity.
Count One.
Plaintiff for cause of action states that he is now and for many years past has been a good faith resident of Crawford County Iowa.
Count Two.
That he married this defendant at Denison Iowa on the 23 day of Sept. 1896.
Count Three.
That from said marriage there was born four children viz: Alma aged 5 years past, Alfred aged 4 years past, Elias aged 2 years past and May born October 31, 1902.
Count Four.
That all of said children are now in the custody of this plaintiff.
Count Five.
That the plaintiff has at all times conducted himself towards the defendant as a loving and affectionate husband.
Count Six.
That the defendant disregarding her duty towards her husband has at various times since their marriage been guilty of and committed the crime of adultery in Crawford and Harrison Counties Iowa.
Count Seven.
That the defendant is not a fit person to care for or attend to the wants of said minor children nor is she able.

Wherefore the plaintiff prays that he may be divorced from the bonds of matrimony heretofore existing between him and the defendant and that he may be awarded the care and custody of the children and such other and farther relief as may be equitable and just in the premises
John Edwards Jr. [signed]

(He was awarded custody of the 4 children.)

1903-1905 She must have married Dave Rickman sometime during this period.

1905. She is in the Iowa State Census in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, IA.
1. Dave Rickman, 1312 W. Bway
2. Ella Rickman, 1312 W Bway

16 March 1907. She is mentioned in a newspaper article in the Clinton Mirror.
Solomon M. Hattery was struck by an Illinois Central train as he was walking on the track near the business section of Council Bluffs and injured so badly that he may not recover. Hattery lives with a sister, Mrs. Rickman. Hattery is at a hospital suffering intensely and is unconscious.

Abt. 1909. A son, Merle Rickman is born

26 April 1910 She is living in Chadron, Dawes, Nebraska – and she is divorced.
They were living on Egan Street.
1. John D. Knight, head, m, w, 37, M1 15 yrs, born in IA, parents born in IA?, speaks English, switchman for the RR, not out of work, out of work 4 weeks in 1929, reads and writes, rents a home
2. Emma Knight, wife, f, w, 36, M1 15 yrs, 5 of 5 children living, born in SD, parents born in Germany, speaks English, no occupation, reads nad writes
3. Charlie…
4. Cecil…
5. John…
6. Theodore…
7. Helen…
8. Ella Rickman, rooming, female, white, 29, divorced, 5 of 5 children living, born in IA, parents born in IA, speaks English, does housework, is out of work, was not out of work in 1929, reads and writes
9. Merle Rickman, rommer, male, white, age 1, single, born in IA, parents born in IA

17 Feb 1912. She marries B.F. Proffitt in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, IA.

19 Jan 1914. She marries William E. Kryselmier in Mills county, IA.

6 Jan 1920. She is living with her daughter May and her family. Her son Merle is living with her. She is still listed as married.
1) Robert L. Johnson, head, renting, male, white, age 21, married, reads and writes, born in IA, parents born in U.S., speaks English, Laborer for RR Co., wage worker
2) May R., wife, female, white, age 17, married, reads and writes, born in IA, parents born in IA, speaks English, no occupation
3) Ella J. Kryselmeier, mother-in-law, female, white, age 39, married, reads and writes, born in IA, father born in IL, mother born in OH, speaks English, housekeeper in private home, wage worker
4) Merle E. Kryselmier, brother-in-law, male, white, age 10, single, attended school, reads and writes, born in IA, father born in U.S., mother born in Iowa, speaks English, no occupation

1 Jan 1925. Iowa State Census. She is living in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, IA as a boarder. She is widowed and her son Merle is not living with her. He would have been about 15. What happened to him?
1) Charley H. Jaques, head, male, white, age 55, married, owned home, mortgaged, value of home $1000, $200 mortgaged, $400 insurance carried on home, attended grade school, completed 6th grade, reads and writes, born in IA, father Thomas V. Zaques, born in France, mother unknown, born in Ireland, married in England
2) Jane N. Jaques, wife, female, white, age 54, married, attended grade school, completed 6th grade, reads and writes, born in IA, father Frank C. Russel, born in MA, mother Mary Mitchell, born in NY, married in Chicago, Illinois
3) Ella J. Kryselmier, boarder, female, white, age 45, widowed, attended grade school, completed 8th grade, reads and writes, born in IA, father Solomon Hattery, born in IL, mother Martha J. Mowery, born in Illinois, married in Clinton, Ohio

After 1925, I’m not sure what happened to her.  Did she marry again?  Did she stay in Council Bluffs?

I have a lot more research work to be done on her so that I can fill in some of the blanks on the rest of her very interesting life…

  • Jo - November 22, 2010 - 5:30 am

    That’s a complicated story, Jen! Hope someone researching the same family comes forward to help you with some answers on Ella.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - November 22, 2010 - 12:26 pm

    Great start on researching a challenging ancestor. Keeping an open mind is the only way to go. We can’t afford to be judgmental in the research process. It’s too easy to be blinded by assumptions. Good luck moving forward.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 22, 2010 - 12:33 pm

    Thank you both for your encouragement. You are right Susan about keeping an open mind!ReplyCancel

  • Carllee - December 20, 2010 - 11:27 am


    Hi this is Carllee Roberts, Elton Edwards (Mike Roberts) great granddaughter, looks like you have been busy with this research. I never knew they had a half brother. Thank you for all you have done on this. I have some pictures I can scan to you of Mike if you would like.

    Thank you for all you work.


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