Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Boring Blog

     The only pictures on my blog are the ones that I found online and copied/pasted.  I seriously need to learn how to scan and post them online.  My blog would be so much more interesting if I had photos to accompany the stories.
     My goal for this weekend is to learn how to scan then post all photos relating to the stories I've posted so far.

                                            "A picture is worth a thousand words"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What's in a Name?

     I write my blog posts on paper then edit, edit, edit before finally putting it online.  Today's post confused me a little when I reread it or maybe I'm more tired than I thought?  I apologize in advance for confusing anyone else who might read this.  It would would probably be easier to read if you had a chart to look at.  You have been warned.
    My mother was almost named Priscilla because my grandmother liked that name.  My mother said that she's glad that MaMa changed her mind and chose the name Phyllis instead.  My mother's younger sister was born a week before Christmas and was named Carol.
     My maternal grandmother chose names that she liked but her mother and the generations before named their children after parents and grandparents.  I had read about about babies who were given the same name as an older sibling who had died.  I have not come across this in my research, thank God.  I have enough brick walls as it is and don't need anymore confusion. 
     My maternal grandmother, Eleanor Frances was the eldest child born to Josephine (Duper) and Samuel George Davis.  MaMa was probably named after her paternal great-grandmother, Eleanor Sams who was her father's maternal grandmother.  I don't know much about my g-g-g-grandmother other than she was born in Vermont and was a Civil War widow.  My great-Uncle Danny, MaMa's younger brother was named after his paternal grandfather, Daniel J. Davis.  The next baby to come along for Josephine and Samuel was another son who they named after his daddy.  My great-Uncle Sammy had another ancestor named Samuel.His paternal grandmother, Eleanor Sam' husband, Samuel C. Braught was from Ohio and a casualty of the Civil War.  Dorothy Davis was born a few years after Sammy and it appears that she was not named after anyone else.  I guess my great-grandmother, Josie just liked the name.  My grandmother's baby brother, William Howard Davis was named after his paternal great-grandfather, William H. Davis from Milton,NY.

                                                  "What's in a name?  That which we call a rose
                                                        by any other name would smell as sweet"

     This is what Juliet said to Romeo back in the late 16th century.  Is this true?  Would my great-grandfather still have found himself in reform school at the age of 15 if his parents had named him John instead of Samuel?  and what about his son, Samuel (my great-uncle), would he still have been a war deserter and a bigamist if he had a different name?  I'm thinking that the name 'Samuel' might be unlucky when it comes to my family.  Maybe 'unlucky' is the wrong word to use.  I should probably say 'unfortunate'.
     Besides the Davis', my maternal grandfather had a dog named Sam and my brother's friend Sam lived with us for awhile.  The dog was a beautiful husky who had been abused.  My grandfather found him on the street with his side badly burnt.  I remember as a little girl watching my grandfather treat Sam's burn everyday until he was healed.  Sam was a good boy who often accompanied my grandfather to the local bar.  Sometimes my cousin and I went with him.  My grandfather had two favorite bars where he was a regular.  He was a truck driver for a brewery and liked his beer.  Sam used to sit outside the bar waiting patiently for his master until one day he was stolen.  We never saw Sam again.  Years later, when I returned from college, my teenage brother had a friend named Sam who had no place to live.  His mother walked out on the family and I don't know where his father was.  My mother let him stay with us and even enrolled him in a local school to get his G.E.D.  Sam was like family and stayed until my mother had a very bad accident then he moved out.  I guess he thought he was in the way.
     The name 'Samuel' is not a bad name or unlucky even in my family.  The unfortunate events in the lives of all my Sams could have been avoided.  If Samuel Davis wasn't a bad boy then he wouldn't have been sent to reform school.  His son could have been a faithful husband who served his country proudly instead of the war deserting bigamist he became.  My grandfather's dog would not have been stolen if his thirsty owner had left him home.  My brother's friend was a nice guy and overcame his dysfunctional childhood to become a responsible man.  My great-grandfather grew up to be a man despised by his own daughter.  According to my mother, MaMa never had anything positive to say about her father.
     Juliet was right.  "What's in a name?"  If my great-grandfather had been named John, he would still have been the same person.  We create our own luck.  We choose our destiny.

                               "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"  -Juliet Capulet

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sammy the Scoundrel

     A few months ago while looking at census records for my maternal grandmother's father's side, I discovered that her father (my great-grandfather) was a student at the Boys' Industrial School in Lancaster, OH.  The 1900 U.S. Federal Census has Samuel G. Davis, age 15, at the Lancaster Reform School.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Did I read "Reform School"?  It was hard to read that writing.  I guess penmanship wasn't a priority for some enumerators back then.
     I checked the internet for reform schools in Lancaster,OH.  I found the history of this reform school which was actually called the Ohio Reform School and later named the Boys' Industrial School.  According to the Ohio Historical Society's website, the school was founded in 1857 by the Ohio government.  This was a reformatory for boys between eight and eighteen years of age.  The boys arrived with a certain number of demerits based on the severity of their crime.  Once they reached zero demerits, the boys were sent home (on parole I think).  In 1884, the Ohio Reform School became known as the Boys' Industrial School.  The boys spent half the day in school and the other half learning a trade in one of the vocational buildings.  This school utilized the "open system". They lived in cottages, not cells. This system worked so well that by 1901, twenty-eight states adopted this same system for their juvenile prisons.
     The Ohio Historical Society's website also has a database with the names of the students who were referred to as 'inmates'.  I'm sure that the 'Samuel Davis' who I found is my great-grandfather because the age range is the same and it stated on the census that he was at the reform school in 1900.  I called the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus,OH to inquire about ordering school records.  Yesterday, I mailed my check for $7.00 along with identifying information such as inmate name and number, parents names, the volume and page number along with the volume date which is 1897-1900.  I asked the librarian at the archives what the school record will contain. I was told that it will have the name and date of birth of the student, parents names, date of admission, reason for being admitted and the release date.  It will take 4-6 weeks to arrive and I can't wait.  I wonder why he was sent there?
     I came across another site with a history of the school and school records for some of the students.  My great-grandfather's record is not listed because he was there in 1900 and these records are dated 1860's - mid 70's.  Most of the children were sent there for incorrigibility.   hmmmmm....
     I wonder if Samuel Davis was an 'incorrigible' inmate?    

Ohio History Central >

Sunday, September 11, 2011

~ Schools Open ~

     My little boy finished his first week of school.  Where did the time go?  Gregory is in pre-k and next year it'll be kindergarten.  I love Greg's school and his teacher this year is wonderful.