Philadelphia Reflections, Part Two

This week I concluded my visit to Philadelphia. I visited the gravesites of many relatives, including my great-grandparents, Paul and Mabel von Meurers.

Paul and Mabel de Meurers Gravestone

My great-grandparent’s final resting place is in Berlin, New Jersey, a short drive from Philadelphia.

I spent treasured hours reading archived copies of the Philadelphia Inquirer on microfilm in the Philadelphia Free Library. I found the story I was searching for in the March 13, 1899 publication.

Lizzy von Meurers' Death 3-13-1899

The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 1899

Upon discovering the article, I immediately realized why it had been impossible to research online; the reporter misspelled the family name.

The story is one I knew from my great-grandfather’s autobiography, and it is tragic to say the least.  Continue reading

Philadelphia Reflections, Part One

Tonight, I sit in my great-grandfather’s adopted hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The lights below me shimmer from city center out into New Jersey. From my window, I can see the part of the world my great-grandfather lived most of his adult life.

Paul von Meurers

This photo of my great-grandfather was taken before 1915, and was used in his autobiography. At the time of the picture, he had adopted the name Paul de Meurers.

Earlier this week I walked along the streets my great-grandfather named in his autobiography. I was cognizant of occupying the same space more than 100 years later. I observed young homeless men preparing to sleep on the sidewalks. Many were the age of my great-grandfather when he, too, was homeless, trying his best to survive on the very same streets. Continue reading

Celebrating Hometown Heroes

{Due to work obligations, I need to take a hiatus from my weekly Blog. I am retiring from my position of Elementary Principal, and I need the month of June to focus on ensuring my school is ready for my successor and the new school year.}

In the meantime, I would like to dedicate this space to three local heroes:

Rick Best

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche

Micah David-Cole Fletcher

At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26, 2017, these three men were riding a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon.  Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 18

Immigrants Henry Baldwin, Sr, Ezekiel & Susanna Richardson

Last week we learned about immigrant John Taylor and his wife, Julia A. Dyer (my three times great-grandparents). Julia was born and grew up in New Sharon, Maine in the 1800s, but several of her ancestors sailed here from England in the 1600s. Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 17

Immigrant John Taylor

 My intent this week was to pick some relatively low hanging fruit from the family tree.

I focused in on John Taylor (my three times great-grandfather), thinking that going back just five generations to the 1800s would involve less research, as compared to my many relatives who came here in the 1600s.

To my great surprise, John Taylor’s wife (and my three times great-grandmother), Julia A. Dyer, has a very long history in the United States, and I was able to trace her ancestry back to the 1600s, finding at least seven more additional English immigrants in my direct lineage!  Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 14

Immigrants Thomas Moore, Ann Grafton, Daniel Ladd, George Corliss, Thomas Davis, and Christian Coffer

This week I introduce six more of my ancestors who immigrated from England in the first half of the 17th Century. They were among the original founders of the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, a part of the wild western frontier of that time.

The immigrants suffered no small heartbreak when one of their sons was killed by Native Americans, and a grandson was captured and physically maimed.  Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 11 B

Immigrant Rev. John McLeish

Last week I highlighted my ancestor, Reverend John McLeish (my three times great-grandfather), who was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1809, and who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1832. Some of his children and grandchildren settled in northern California.

This week I have been in San Francisco, and I made some wonderful discoveries! Continue reading