Monthly Archive: July 2015

Jul 31

Clues from the Heading & Salutation of a Partial Letter

While consolidating the voluminous mass of paper in my family files recently,  I came across a copy of one page of a letter with the salutaion “Dear Neice [Niece].” The author of the letter told of the cold winter in Montana and the hard ground that was not plowable.
Image of the salutation of a addressed to Florence M Woodward

Who was this mystery writer? I knew of no family members going west to Montana. Immediately I though about the adventuresome brothers of Florence’s mother, Laura Davis. Several of Laura’s siblings had vanished from New Hampshire by 1860. I’d found two of Laura’s brothers, Albe C Davis and George Davis, and a brother-in-law, Jeremiah Judkins, in the records of the Bureau of Land Management obtaining homesteads in Stearns County, Minnesota [see my blog post, “From NH to Minnesota in a Conestoga Wagon,” written July 1st, 2013]. They were identified in the 1860 federal census of Stearns County as well [1860 U.S. Census, Free Population Schedule, Stearns County, Minnesota, page 64; National Archives microfilm M653, reel 574].

My approach was to check the 1900 census for Davis families in or around Livingston [Park County], Montana. I was not disappointed. On the 4 June, a Albe C Davis (born in New Hampshire and of the correct age) was enumerated in Muir, Park County, Montana, with his wife and a boarder[1900 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Park County, Montana, Enumeration District 74, sheet 2A, dwelling 18, family 18, lines 4-6; National Archives microfilm T623, reel 913; viewed on 30 July 2015]. The enumerator also recorded that Albe and Sarah had been married five years and that she was the mother of two children both of whom were still living. Because Sarah would have been about forty-three when the couple married, I suspect that her children were from a previous relationship and both were likely old enough to be out on their own.

At I found a marriage record for Albe C. Davis and a Sarah J. Smith at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Livingston by JF Prichard, rector of St. Andrews on 15 October 1894 by   [“Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch( : accessed 30 July 2015]. I know this is “my uncle” Albe C. Davis. On the marriage record his father is listed as Lewis Davis, but his mother is called Nancy Lyons rather than Nancy Glines.

Florence M Woodward, daughter of Daniel Russell Woodward and Laura Davis, was born 28 June 1877. Florence died young on the 21st of December 1893.

Image of part of a letter addressed to Florence M Woodward

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

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Jul 30

12th Regiment Reunion, Gilmanton Iron Works, 25 Sep 1885

Life gets in the way sometimes – broken limbs with complications, getting ready for retirement, and embracing a Digital SLR camera complete with taking a series of continuing education classes through the University of North Georgia. Life is also taking me in another direction as I prepare for the expected full time company of my dear sister when she moves in with me sometime this fall. That preparation  is leading me to new discoveries.

All family historians need to de-clutter now and then and throughly go through there family files. I can almost guarantee that you’ll find some documents you’ve forgotten you ever had, some of which have never been analyzed for historical clues.Image of a man wearing a suit found in a clothing advertisement, W.D. Middleton Store, Laconia, New Hampshire, September 25, 1885.

This morning, I located a four page publication, The Haversack, published at Gilmanton Iron Works [New Hampshire] on the 25th of September 1885.

The first page contained details of the reunion of the 12th Regiment including the itinerary for the event—parade, address by Miss Cora R. Gale (one of my shirttail relatives), a grand campfire in the evening, etc. The great event also provided brief articles on the known members who had passed, as well as a list surviving comrades, including company, and community of residence. I don’t have any direct ancestors that served in the 12th Regiment, but the paper is an interesting read.

The image on the left is part of an advertisement for the line of clothing at the W.D. Middleton establishment in Laconia, New Hampshire.

© Linda Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

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