.

Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dad's Early Day in Lead, South Dakota (Cont)

Dad says this picture is beyond the power of his unique, all powerful memory. So suffice to say, this is dad when he was three. Skinny as an Ethopian but recognizable as Charles Williamson.

Dad attended Ted Pascoe's wedding on August 10, 1941. He remembers this suit. It was light blue. The Pascoes were family friends. Dad is standing in front of the Pascoe home. Dad was five years old. The Italians in Lead either hated the Catholic church or loved it. Dad's grandfather (Elda's father) hated the Catholic church.


Dad always played cowboys with his two other best friends. Dad was always the Lone Ranger. They were always the bad guys. He's holding a cap gun. He says you couldn't buy caps for the gun because of the shortages during World War 2. Dad says he couldn't make the shooting sound effect for six weeks when he turned 6 because he had his tonsils out. He says that everyone had their tonsils removed when they were 6 years old. They were removed whether or not they were bad. The doctors thought the tonsils had no purpose whatsoever.



Simply,
Victor

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Charles Ray Williamson as a Young Boy in Lead. Poor Kid Looked Malnourished.

This is a picture of Charles Ray at 5 and 1/2 years old. Grandma Elda's handwriting is at the bottom of each. You can tell Grandma missed every day they taught penmanship in school when she was growing up. Notice how she wrote her Y's.

The picture above was taken in Dad's front yard. The Williamson house sat on today's Glendale Road. A rest home sits where dad's house once stood today. The gravel road you see in this picture is Montana Ave. It ended right in front of their house.
The big vacant lot belonged to Homestake Mine. It was surrounded with a chain link fence with barbed wire. It was used to store equipment. The white house in the background belonged to Claude Schmidt. His boy, Bobby, was Dad's friend. Bobby grew up and owned a Shakey's Pizza Parlor in Rapid City. The house behind Schmidt's belonged to Harold Luedeman.
His boy Clint was Dad's other friend. The three boys were inseparable. They played all day together. They were called the three musketeers. Clint's dad Harold later became the mayor of Lead. The big house on the right of the picture belonged to the Burlington Railroad. It was called the RoundHouse. This is where they turned the locomotives. The three musketeers used to crawl under its large door and play. Today the Roundhouse is a high class restaurant in Lead.

There is a little road coming down the hill near the Schmidt's home. That's the hill that nearly killed dad when he was six. He went sledding that day with his friends. He came down the hill out of control and couldn't stop. The sled took him out into the street and right into the path of an oncoming car. He ran right into the front tire. The collision threw him off the sled, knocking him out. The sled continued under the car and was crushed by the tires. The driver thought the sound of the cracking wood was the sound of dad's bones. Chester Pascoe heard the commotion, came outside, picked dad up and laid him on the side of the hill until he came to. He waked dad home and told Grandma what had happened.
"Things were different in those days," dad said about his accident. "No fire truck or ambulance or police came to the scene. People just took care of things themselves."
Elda called the doctor on the phone. He told her to look in dad's eyes to see if one pupil was larger than the other. If not, it was mild concussion and that was the end of that.

Dad lived in the Italian part of Lead. Dad says Grandma spoke Italian during day and English at night when his dad was home. All their neighbors were Italian which makes Dad wonder why he never picked up the language.

In this picture you see dad (Charles) standing in front of a big, long common garage for the five homes owned by the Pascoe family in the area. Dad's house was one of the five. Dad is wearing a black sailor suit. Ted Pascoe was in the Seabee's, a branch of the Navy. It came from the CB's for Construction Battalion which is where dad got his nickname. Ted sent dad all kinds of memorabilia from World War 2. The CB's went in right after the Marines secured an island to begin construction of roads, buildings and air fields. Dad wore so many of the CB t-shirts that his friends in Belle Fourche started calling him SeeBee. Dad remembers that he and his friends like to play with matches in this garage

Here is a picture of Grandma and dad standing in front of the same garage.

This picture was taken on May 16, 1942. Notice the amount of snow on the ground and on the roof of their Lead home. Dad is standing in the doorway. The house is gone. A rest home sits there now. Ted Pascoe and dad's dad, Charles, built the house. Rent was $18.00 per month. Dad is standing in the doorway to the Kitchen. The other door is the door to the living room. Dad slept upstairs. His bedroom had a door leading out onto a small deck. You can see Grandpa shoveling snow away from the clothes line. There were no dryers so your wash was hung outside, even in the winter.
They had a chicken coop in the back of the house. In those days you could have animals in the town.

Dad says they didn't have a refrigerator. Grandma and Grandpa had a hole in the backyard dug out with a post hole digger. It was about five feet deep. At the bottom of the hole was a 5 gallon cream can. That is where they kept the eggs, milk, cheese etc. Whatever you needed to keep cool. They pulled the can up with a rope to access the dairy products.

This is a picture of dad standing beside the clothes line made from the tops of two old telephone pole. Grandpa ran line between these two poles. Dad is beside the old chicken coop.

That wraps up tonight's visit to Lead, South Dakota in 1942.

Simply,
Victor

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Mattson's Gather at 38th Street

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
A spattering of Mattsons for the Blog tonight. This picture was taken in mid 1980's in front of the Charles Williamson home at 2214 38th Street, Rapid City. In this picture you have her majesty, the Queen Mother Violet seated surrounded by her children, Marvin, Luella and John.
Marvin's former wife Cindy stands beside him. Luella's daughters Lisa and Annette are in the picture along with all of John and Bev Mattson's children: Kirk, Gina, Angie, Joe, Jacob, Camille and the baby in Kirk's arms.... Don't know.

And here they are again, our favorite Mattson cousins, children of John and Bev Mattson taken during the mid 1980's. Kirk, Gina, Angie, Joe, Jake, Camille, and Candice. Yep, the hair does date the era doesn't it? At this time the Mattson's lived on 510 South in American Fork, Utah.

And that ends tonight's post.

Simply,
Victor

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Three of Us in October 1961

Kim and I. 1961/62
I'm thinking its time to invest in another set of Suspenders


From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Its a beautiful day in Pleasant Grove. Temperatures toy with the 60 degree mark and a light breeze accompanied with brief clouding make for a perfect afternoon.

For the past few posts we've discussed our Williamson ancestors. Today I thought I'd continue the theme and share pictures of other semi ancient relics, the first three children of Charles and Luella.

We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. Dad worked as a surveyor for the State of South Dakota and mom looked after the house and did other odd jobs around town from time to time. Photography in those days required disposable income. You had to buy film, shoot the pictures and pay to have the film developed and printed. So, people tended not to take many pictures.

We have very few pictures of when we were young. This post shows a few of the few. The top picture was taken at a photo studio. You can tell because we're dressed up and are sitting nicely posed, all characteristics of a staged shot.

The other three photographs in today's post were taken in a coin operated photo booth found in the supermarkets in those days.


You sat in the booth and raised or lowered the turning stool until your face fit squarely within the mirror. You tried different poses until you found the pose you liked. Then you leaned forward and dropped your quarters into the slot. You got 4 poses for your money with five seconds or so between shots to make any necessary adjustments.

I'm happy mom took the time after grocery shopping to stop at the photobooth near the exit of the Piggly Wiggly to take these pictures.

Here I am holding Kevin. I'm three and Kevin is three months. I had much lighter hair in those days, and plenty of it! I'm looking down at the coin slot and the glowing green light. Kevin is amazed at the whole thing and hoping I don't drop him.

OK, I happy to say I figured out how to look up and be ready for the flash. Nice eye contact and a descent smile for a three year old. Don't know for sure but I'm guessing Kevin is looking directly into mom's eyes. She has the privacy curtain open and is crouched down beside us holding Kevin firmly on my lap. I can hear her saying, "Look up into your eyes in the mirror. Look up not down. Look at yourself. Hurry, its about to flash!"

And the last one is the keeper. I've got it all figured out and Kevin is cooperating. After the pictures it was back into the car and up Signal Heights hill to our duplex at 39 East Signal Drive.
It was Autumn. I'm sure Kim and I spent the rest of the day playing outside in our sand box or swinging or running around. We weren't one for naps. Kevin got the nap and then time in the play pen while mom ironed.

What is your very first memory? The furthest back I can remember is July 2, 1961, just a few months before these pictures were taken. I remember walking up to the bassinet holding my new baby brother Kevin, just brought home from St. John's hospital in Rapid City and trying my best to pull myself up so I could see him over the edge. That was 48 years ago.

And now I sit here dozing as I type. I should take a nap but won't. Remember, I never napped as a kid and I don't now. Don't know why, just can't sleep during the day.

Simply,
Victor

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Digging up the Williamson Roots. A Messy Job with a Few Victories.

From My Desk at Space Camp
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
This Saturday finds the camp full of younglings, all soaring through space in our five simulators. My desk sits at the crossroads. I've got one simulator in front of me, one to my left and one behind me. I've got my Programming Guild in the computer lab at one of the school and two other simulators going in two other parts of the school. It was a nearly uneventful overnight camp with 43 students from one of our elementary schools and a staff of 23

As director I'm on duty through the night. I can lay down, which I do. I can sleep, which I get little of, especially if the 10-14 year olds are too excited to sleep. Last night I finally got to lay down at 12:40 A.M. Just as I drifted off, I heard one of the junior high volunteers in the staff room next to my office cough. There was a pause, then a loud cough followed by the sound of rushing liquid.
"Vomit," I thought to myself. Vomit is my worst nightmare. Vomit on carpet is pure hell on Earth. Usually when someone explodes they wake up and come to get me or one of the other chaperons. This boy didn't. I picked up my flashlight, turned it on, and reluctantly pointed to where he slept on the floor on a pad.

The boy was laying on his side in a pool of what belonged in his stomach and not on my carpet! He was sound asleep. I turned on the lights, kicked him gently a few times to wake him up. He jump up startled to find himself swimming in his own digestive juices. It was almost funny (if it wasn't disgusting).

Twenty minutes, and a great deal of cleaning up later, everything was back to normal except for that lingering smell that hangs in the air for several days to remind you of the fun you had. I finally fell asleep around 1:30 A.M. . I was up again at 6:20 A.M. to get things ready to wake the camp of 67 up at 7:10 A.M. for breakfast.

It's now 4:32 P.M. The Center closes at 5:00 P.M. I'll soon find my way up the mountain to the Fortress (I live 4 minutes from the school), sit, enjoy something cold and listen to the silence.

Today's Find in the Family Roots

Could this early photograph from a box of old photographs found in the attic of a home once owned by a distant relative of a Williams (close enough to Williamson to count) be the craft that brought our ancestors to Earth? Imagination can be a good substitute for facts in a pinch.

I took some time during my break and did a bit more research on the Williamson line. The current prevailing theory on the mystery of Matthew and Selina Williamson's origins are that they were alien humanoids from a distant world who crash landed in Virginia around the year 1800. They adapted into our society but kept a non existent profile to avoid revealing their true identity. They had children, and after a few decades of looking for spare parts, were able to repair their space ship and leave Earth sometime after the birth of George Matthew Williamson in 1834. Why George was left behind is another mystery to be solved during our next seance.

Today I may have to rethink our working theory. I was looking at the 1880 Census
and discovered something that will help redirect my search. This is the actual page from the census.

Click to Enlarge

You'll see the entire family of George Williamson listed. You'll see our common ancestor, William J. Williamson recorded as a 21 year old.
Below you'll see the headings found at the top of the census sheet.

Click to Enlarge

Notice the last two categories listing the birth place of the father and mother of the person mentioned on the line.
Notice that George Matthew Williamson lists the birthplace of his father and mother (Matthew and Selina) as Virginia.
I know it isn't much but it does give more direction. From this new evidence we know that Matthew and Selina were born in Virginia sometime between the years 1790 and 1815 (ish). That adds weight to the theory that they were part of the original Williamson family that came to Virginia in the 1680's. It isn't the proof we need but it does anchor our family solidly into Virginia's history.

Something else I found interesting. Notice the categories labeled "Cannot Read" and "Cannot Write". Look at George Matthew's Children. Notice that George and Ella Williamson (12 and 10 years of age) can read but are listed as cannot write. Also notice that all the school age children were in school at the time.

Interesting. That might explain why many Williamson DNA carriers lack readable handwriting skills. So, if anyone asks why you never learned to write legibly tell them you have a handicap passed on from generation to generation of scratchers.

The battle continues as we dig deeper into our roots.

Simply,
Victor

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Death in our Extended Family.

From Pat Biggs
Karen (Williamson) McClaren died yesterday . She was the granddaughter of Emmett Williamson, daughter of Wesley Williamson. She battled cancer for several years, fought the good fight and finally lost the battle. She lived in Pringle, South Dakota and was 62 years old.
This is Karen's Obituary
Karen Marie McClaren, 61, passed away March 25, 2010, at her home near Pringle, SD.
Karen was born August 22, 1948, in Hot Springs, SD, to Wes and Norma Jean (Henry) Williamson. She graduated from Custer High School in 1966. On January 3, 1971 she married Robert McClaren. Karen was a devoted wife and mother. She loved her family, her friends, working outdoors and everything about her life as a country wife. She especially loved her buffalo. Karen’s zeal for life and laughter will be missed by all who knew and cherished her. Karen is survived by her husband, Robert of Pringle; one son, Ryne McClaren of Chadron, NE; Ryne’s fiancĂ©e , Lori Holcomb, of Raleigh, NC; one sister, Margie Kay (Lyle) Stevens of Canistota, SD; one brother, Dale (Megan) Williamson of Chadron; four nieces, Kellie Jo Cinnamon; Lindsey Mehlbrech; Sara Linn; Jenny Woodward as well as two nephews, Austin Wheeler and Jake Williamson. Funeral Services will be held 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 30, 2010, at the Custer Community Church in Custer, SD, with Pastor Bill Comfort and Pastor Bill Savery officiating. Interment will follow at the Custer Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Karen’s name to benefit the Cold Springs Historical Society.
Arrangements have been placed in the care of McColley’s Chapel of the Hills in Custer. Written condolences may be made at www.mccolleyschapels.com.

Thanks Pat for sharing that. May I ask all in our extended family to send news of importance. Our branch of the clan is spread out coast to coast so this one digital campfire is a good place for the Charles Williamson's to gather from time to time
to pick up family new from other branches in this ever expanding family tree.

Simply,
Victor

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the Williamson Family Line. The Honorable Pflegers, Revolutionary War Soldiers.


From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove.

Hello To All,
There’s a chill in the air over Pleasant Grove tonight. The clouds hang low bringing what could be a bit of snow. A good Utah Spring where you get all four seasons in one day.

Tonight we take a moment to reflect on several ancestors that fought for our liberty and suffered terribly for it. May I reintroduce you to my generation’s 6th Great Grandfather George Frederick Pfluger. The family tree is listed below:

George Frederick Pfluger (b. 1735 York Penn. d. February 1791 York Penn.)
to
Abraham Pfleger (there were a few different spellings of the name)
to
Anabella Phlegar
to
Margaret Ann Willis
to
George Matthew Williamson
to
William J. Williamson
to
The Nine Williamson Children (My Grandfather was Charles)
to
Charles Williamson
to
Me

Abraham Pfleger (my 5th Great Grandfather) told one of his grandchildren, the Reverend Abraham Hogan (making the Reverend one of our Great Uncles) before he died that our Grandfather George was in the Revolutionary war with several of his sons and nephews. He was in the memorable march without shoes over the frozen ground, and from that exposure was taken with a “breast complaint from which he died." That was George Frederick, born 1735, whose will was probated in 1791. His wife, Anna Maria Margaretha, lived until 1816.

This shoeless memorable march on frozen ground may refer to Valley Forge. The Pflegers lived Pennsylvania and fought in Pennsylvania’s regiments. The history doesn’t say but it may be reasonable to assume that it could have been. The family home at York was close to Valley Forge.

More research will be needed. Time for my easy chair and my British comedies. The perfect way to end a long day.

Simply,
Victor

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Great Grandfather Matthew Williamson, A Mystery to Behold

The Search for Family Continues........

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

I'm not a happy camper tonight as I sit by my front window and write this post. Two of our ancestors are really challenging me. I'm speaking of the father and mother of our common Great Grandfather George Matthew Williamson, born in Charlotte County Virginia in 1834. According to all family sources his father was Matthew Williamson. His mother was Selina Dandridge Jeffries.

Matthew and Selina are the mystery. Where did they come from? From all sources it appears they just dropped from the sky and landed in Charlotte County Virginia only long enough to produce a son then vanished into thin air.

Now, I enjoy a good challenge and this has been one, but are we are to the point of having to draw some conclusions about this hurdle, this missing link, in the family line to be able to continue our journey past 1800?

Here is an example of what I've discovered.

1. I always assumed there were large populations of Williamsons in Charlotte County Virginia. I was wrong. Let's begin with the tax records of 1782 as illustrated below:


As you can see, there were only two Williamson families living in Charlotte County Virginia paying taxes in 1782.

2. Now I present the following information from the 1810 Federal Census.


as you can see, these are the only two Williamson's listed in Charlotte County in 1810. There is a strong family Genealogy through Cuthbert (spelled Cutbirth on this document) tracing back to England, but is this our line? Where are all the other Williamsons? I'm finding the name is, as I thought, still rather rare.

3. This is the Federal Census for 1830, four years before George Matthew Williamson was born in, Charlotte County Virginia. Again, you'll find two Willamson families and I'd bet my house they are related. Yet, no Matthew Williamson.



So, in conclusion I am coming closer to the feeling that our Williamson line is tied to the Cuthbert line in some way. Were Matthew and Cuthbert cousins? I'm thinking they must have been considering so few Williamsons lived in Charlotte County.

Tis a mystery.

Simply,
Victor

Travel Journal to Old Williamson Country

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Pat Biggs has a hand written travel log written by Josie Williamson Good detailing a trip she took with others to Virginia in the summer of 1968. Family stories are mixed with the description of events.

I want to thank Pat for transcribing the document for posting to this blog. It will be posted in sections due to the document's length.

It's good to have everyone's information posted so the rich history of the family can be enjoyed by all those interested.

Simply,
Victor


Post 1: The Trip Back East.
Written by Josie (Williamson) Good - Summer of 1968
We, (Ethel (Williamson) Ogden, her husband, Roger Ogden, their daughter Mary and her husband Edwin Mikesh and Josie (Williamson) Good), left New York about 9:00 a.m. Monday, August 19th, went south in New York State thru Ithaca, where Cornell University is, into Pennsylvania 175 miles before stopping for the night at Carlisle, PA just past Harrisburg, PA. We stopped early because of fog then heavy rain, which caused near darkness at 5:00 p.m. Next morning we got on Interstate 81 at Harrisburg, PA, and followed it to Roanoke, VA so kept west of the Appalachian Mountains in PA and west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Cut across a corner of Maryland via Hagerstown, crossed the Potomac River at Maryland-West Virginia line, thru a piece of West Virginia into Virginia. We stayed on 81, as it was so smoky and hazy we thought we couldn't see much if we took the Blue Ridge Skyline Drive, altho it is supposed to be very scenic if the weather is clear. It was getting pretty warm, then warmer as we went south, and by the time we got to the world famous Natural Bridgeit was just plain boiling hot, and around 97 degrees and muggy as all get out. Had lunch at Natural Bridge then went down into the Gorge to see the bridge. Had to get tickets at the entrance building and go out the back entrance down many, many steps which sort of angled around down the side of the gorge, and the downer we went the hotter it got. The humidity was terrific so we were quite saturated with perspiration. It wasn't a conducted tour so people wandered around to suit themselves. Roger elected to sit comfortably in the beautiful, air-conditioned Entrance Lobby, with souvenir and gift shops. The rest of us walked down, although we could have taken free bus to the bottom. Wandered up thru the gorge to the Bridge, which is quite a sight the first time. George Washington surveyed this gorge and he carved his initials 35 feet up the underside of the bridge and which are clearly visible. Ethel and I decided to get back to the top by bus, which by the way was 15 cents per person instead of free, but Edwin and Mary punished themselves by climbing back up the steps.
From there we went on south thru Roanoke, VA heading for the Higginbothems, who live just off 81 in a little town called Newbern. Mrs.Higginbotham (Anna) is a 2nd cousin of us Williamsons, on our grandmother's side of the family. They were expecting us for dinner that evening, so we started looking for a motel in order to freshen up a little first. Due to construction of an arsenal somewhere in the area, there wasn't a motel, hotel or tourist home vacancy in any of the places in the area. So we finally phoned Anna, who said to come on out to Newbern and they would take care of us. We surely hated to do that to them, but had no choice. It was muchly appreciated too, what with perspiration dripping off our noses, chins and elbows. So, we all tumbled in on them in their neat little 4 room red brick home with no air-conditioning except a fan. Had a marvelous dinner, a visit and pictures of our ancestors, etc. Their speech is fullof "you-alls, or y'alls, ah reckon, sir and ma'am, li'l ole, right much,which means a lot of, and other expressions". Mr. Willie Higginbotham worked for the State Highway Dept. for 45 or 50years in charge of gangs of prisoners mostly colored, working on the roads. His speech is quite slurred and Negro-ish, altho he is quite refined and a true gentleman. They had made arrangements with friends who are two elderly sisters to take in Edwin, Mary and me (Josie) for the night. These women live in their old family home, built in 1816. It is very well preserved and full of antique furniture, some of which belongs to Anna. It was quite a thrill to wander thru it,altho they have modernized it to some extent with baths upstairs and down, and a modern kitchen. They were so nice and hospitable that we felt right at home.

After breakfast at Anna's (honeydew melon, sausage, bacon, eggs, sliced tomatores 3 inches across and red ripe, toast, little bisquits about the size of a dollar, coffee,) we took some pictures and departed. (Carol Stephenson may have these pictures. She is
Josie's daughter in Torrington, WY) I will write and ask her. Back to the script!! I guess it is a type of hospitality, but Anna didn't sit at the table with us at either meal, but hovered around the table, passing food, urging us to eat, changing dishes and courses and so on until we felt as tho we were being served by servants, a little embarassing. Ethel and Roger stayed with them for the night and Ethel can't get over the fact that she slept in a bed our great-great-great grandparents possessed and used. Some of the other bedroom furniture dated back to the 1700's, very beautiful, well taken care of wooden furniture. Wednesday morning we picked up some lunch makings and drove about 40 miles to a little country church that our forbears had founded in 1826 called Zion Lutheran Church. So you see we were originally Lutrherans at least on one side of the family. There are quite a few ancestors buried in the cemetary here at the church, who were born in the 1700's. After a picnic under ancient oak trees there we visited some more 2nd cousins who lived nearby in their
family ancestral home, then got a motel room near the little town of Floyd, to freshen up before going to another cousin's for dinner at another little town called Willis, named for our grandmothers side of the family. We had another sumptuous meal with Marvin and Sue Sowers, who have a lovely country home 150 or 160 years old, well preserved and also furnished with family antiques. We had Virginia baked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, sliced tomatoes, li'l ole bisquits, fresh strawberries and cream, all this stuff right out of the garden and barns. Sue, too, fluttered around waiting on us instead of sitting with us, and these cousins have distinct southern accents. Fascinating! Some more cousins came in during the evening so there was a great deal of family history passed back and forth. Everyone really showed us that famous hospitality so we truly enoyed meeting these folks, heat and humidity notwithstanding.
Next morning we hied ourselves East over the Blue Ridge Mountains Headed for Williamsburg, but decided first to detour down into North Carolina which was about 30 or so miles from where we were, just to say we had been there. Saw a lot of tobacco growing, being hauled to the drying barns, and hanging in bunches in the drying barns. This was in southern Virginia and North Carolina, and saw a lot of growing corn and soybeans. Didn't see any cotton except in bales, but there were negroes everywhere. Almost forgot there were white people someplace after going thru this area. There were many typical log cabins and shacks, but also manyhomes, while small, were neat, painted and well-kept. This was mostly a rural area. We came back into Virginia near Danville on the Dan River, where we passed the DanRiver fabric factories as we went thru the city. Temperature here was 100 degrees. Couldn't find a place to eat outside of town so stopped along the road and had sandwiches, which we had a restaurant fix for us in case we wanted to stop in some park. There were at least a thousand tractor-trailer outfits deciding to travel past us just at that time, so we were nearly blown to pieces as each one buzzed by trying to make an incline just ahead. Hot, sunny and muggy. (By the way, we found a nice park just over the hill. Never fails!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Summer Storm 1974. Missing the Good Ole Days in Rapid City

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I took this picture on a summer day in 1974 from the Williamson front yard at 2214 38th Street in Rapid City. I wanted to remember a good South Dakota summer deluge.

I've lived in Utah since 1980 and have yet to experience the kind of weather we expected on any given summer day in Rapid City. I mean look at the water pouring down from the red bluffs near the Dairy Queen on Canyon Lake Road, coming down Sunset Drive right into our front lawn. Look at the hail! Yes, that's hail not snow. Again, something you rarely see in Utah.

I miss the hail beating down on the roof so hard you had trouble hearing someone talking to you in the same room. I miss driving my old Rambler station wagon down Jackson Blvd during one of them and pulling rapidly into the old Bi Lo Self Serv station for shelter. I remember the smell of a good hail storm,. the electric air and the autumn chill that lingered until the sun broke through the clouds and reminded you it was still summer. I miss hearing the siren at Canyon Lake Elementary sounding the alert that a funnel cloud was sited.

Utah has quiet boring weather, which I've grown use to and appreciate; appreciate because I'm a home owner and therefore responsible for weather damage. But childhood memories of staring out the living room window at leaves being shredded off the branches of our front yard tree in a good hail storm never disappear.

Now, to my 7 brothers and sisters..... do you recognize dad's state car parked in the driveway? And can we ever forget that stupid mail box? The one that never stood right - always tipped one way or another, held on the poll with bent coat hangers or wire or whatever we could find when it would fall off.

None of us were what you would call 'handy'. We made do with wire, coat hangers, duct tape and lots of prayer and chewing gum.

We sure gave the neighbors plenty to talk about, didn't we? :)

Simply,
Victor

Monday, March 22, 2010

John Thompson and Mary Cooke, Our Pilgram Ancestors

Early Plymouth

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Our virtual family reunion tonight takes us to some of the first pilgrims to set foot on American soil. From an earlier post we know that Francis Cook (our 10th Great Grandfather) arrived at Plymouth on the Mayflower. Tonight's story resumes the Cooke story with Mary, our 9th Great Grandmother and the daughter of Francis Cooke. This is through Luella's side of our family.
The actual line is below:

John Thompson - Mary Cooke (9th Great Grandparents)
to
Elizabeth Thompson
to
Ebenezer Swift
to
Ebenezer Swift Jr.
to
Juda Swift
to
Phinas Swift
to
Almira Swift
to
Isabel Deanora McCrilles
to
Vesta Althea Dennis
to
Violet Pierce (Grandma Mattson)
to
Mom (Luella)
to
Me.


Mary married John Thompson on December 26,1645. John Thompson was born in northern Wales in 1616. He, like so many others, didn’t have a formal education. If there was something to learn he learned it himself or asked his parents. It is said that John Thompson arrived in Plymouth when he was six years old on the ship “Fortune” commanded by Robert Cushman.

He took up carpentry as a trade. He and his friend Richard Church built the first meeting house in Plymouth in 1637. He took up farming and felt he could do well if he moved further into the interior. He bought 6000 acres from the Indians 13 miles west of Bridgeford. He built a log house for his family. The Indians eventually burned it to the ground. There were many troubles with the Indians until open hostilities broke out around 1675.

There is a story told of a time when an Indian arrived at the log cabin and “behaved rudely” with our great grandmother Mary. It seems one of them pulled a fish out of her boiling pot. She reprimanded him and he pulled out a knife. Mary promptly produced a broom and chased him out of the house.

Soon after this incident the family moved to fort near Four Corners Middleborough. John buried his money in the swamp nearby and packed their belongings. John knew the native language, customs and mannerisms. Knowing them as well as he did he was able to escape ambush on several occasions. It is said his gun was 7 ft 4 1/2 inches long, the barrel being 6 feet 1 1/2 inches long: the bullets were 12 to the pound, and it is now displayed in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth.

In spite of their willingness to defend their land the white settlers were driven back to Plymouth by the Indians. At the end of the war in 1677 they were able to return to their lands.

John rebuilt his burned house and lived there until he died. John and Mary were very religious. They walked the 13 miles to Plymouth every Sunday for church. Mary once had to carry her six month old child Elizabeth; a 26 mile round trip every Sunday! That is dedication. John lived to be 80. Mary died at 88. They are buried the cemetery of Middleborough.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hans Georg Gutekunst, A Williamson Revolutionary War Veteran and Rumors Concerning our Tie to Williamson, West Virginia.


From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

It is a Good Sunday in Pleasant Grove,
I spent far too long on the computer today puzzled over a statement written in a family history saying that our common Williamson grandfather (George Matthew Williamson) was the brother of Benjamin Williamson, the founder of Williamson West Virginia. You may have heard the same rumor at family gatherings.
Unfortunately that rumor is false. It it were true the barrier blocking further research along the Williamson name would be shattered. I traced the Williamson family that founded Williamson West Virginia and George Matthew is not listed anywhere as a family member.

That takes those of us that are tracing the family ancestry back to square one. We can't get beyond the parents of George Matthew. My dad (Charles) says my dilemma proves his point that this family of ours comes from outer space. Yes, his logical reasoning is slipping as he advances into his 70's :)

The next step is to have dad participate in a national Williamson DNA database search. We're going to take a swab from the inside of his mouth and have his DNA analyzed. It will be sent to a research organization hoping to trace the origins of the Williamson line. Dad hopes his DNA sequencing will prove he isn't of this Earth.

OK, with that said, we move on to today's other research. We have a family member that many of the older Williamson already know about who served in the Revolutionary War. He is my 5th Great Grandfather along the Williamson line as outlined below:


Hans Georg Gutekunst (B. 1732 Germany. D. 1784 Frederick County VA)
to
Ann Mararetha Goodykootz
to
Anabella Phlegar
to
Margaret Ann Willis (Married to George Matthew Williamson)
to
William J. Williamson
to
The Nine Williamson Children
to
Dad’s Generation (Charles Williamson)
to
My Generation.

Hans George Gutekunst was born in Haiterback, Wurtemberg Germany on February 6, 1732. He landed at Philadelphia PA on September 29, 1750 on the ship “Osgood” under the command of William Wilkie. The ship sailed from Rotterdam after making a required stop at Cowes. There were 480 passengers. They took the oath of allegiance to the British Crown on the day of landing.

Hans George and his family eventually moved to Fredrick County, Virginia

The Revolutionary War Service of my generation’s 5th Great Grandfather Hans Georg Gutekunst.

On January 18, 1777 Hans George was in the 5th Company of the 2nd Battalion Commanded by Capt. Peter Trexler Jr. of the Northampton Penn. Militia. The returns show that the Battalion marched from Northampton on January 4, 1777 and on January 18, 1777 was again ready for the march to Col. Geiger’s Camp.

On August 16, 1777 Hans George took the oath of Allegiance (Under PA statute) to the new colonial government. On May 14, 1778 he was in the 3rd Battalion, Northampton Militia commanded by Col. Geo. Breinig and Capt. John Morritz. On August 4, 1778 he was in Capt. Peter Trexler’s company.

Of course with this information all members of our family are eligible to join the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution.

Well, its time to move on to other things before I lose this day off completely.

Simply,
Victor

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Life in Rapid City in the Early 1960's

Charles and Luella Williamson lounge on the sofa in 1966. Luella was 27. Charles was 30.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Saturday's Virtual Family Reunion

Hello to Everyone!
Welcome to tonight's virtual family reunion. I've got the WayBack Machine set to the early 1960's. We'll travel to Rapid City South Dakota to visit the Charles Williamson family living at 39 East Signal Drive in a two bedroom duplex on a hilltop overlooking Robinsdale. We had a room with a view!

Joining the Williamson's will be their good friends, the Soderquists.

This picture was taken when Janice and Jon were, well I'm not a very good judge of infant's ages but I'd say they were 6 months? So this would have been sometime in the winter or spring of 1966. Luella says Janice is the baby on the left. Jon is next to her and the third infant is a Soderquist baby. I remember that carpet to this day. It was rose colored with a leaf pattern.
Strange the things you remember.


Here we are in a heavily staged photograph. I'm on the left holding Jon. I'm five, nearly six. Soderquist child one is next. Two / three year old Kevin comes in at the third position wearing his cowboy boots. He's holding Soderquist baby two. Kim is on the far right holding Janice. Doesn't she look the demon in this picture? Yikes........ This is one of those rare pictures that captured Kim's darker side. She could be a real sweetheart if treated right, but if you crossed her you'd better run because she wouldn't stop the hunt until you were hurt. I think this picture captures that mood nicely.

Here we are in front of our duplex. Don't you find the cars interesting? This picture was taken in the summer of 1966. You see Kim and I in the background. Kevin is standing next to a Soderquist boy. Kevin is in the blue/white trunks.

Yes, that's me reacting to the ice cold sprinkler water. Yes, you guessed it. Water was colder in those days :)

The young lady on the left belonged to the Soderquists. Jon sits next to her with Janice at the end. Jon is captivated by the flash of the bulb. He was easily distracted and accident prone, a real menace to himself and others for sure. Janice has her hands in her mouth. I'm guessing she's found some tasty bit of lint off the carpet considering everything she got her hands on went straight into that black hole.

And finally as we leave this happy gathering we pause to say goodbye to the children that are permanently stuck to the sofa. A Soderquist child sits on the left. Then me with the cute smile doing my best to outdo my sister Kim next to me. Try as I did I was never able to steal the adjective "cute" from her. Her smile beat mine by every comparison. I was OK with that but that didn't keep me from trying from time to time. I have to laugh at Kim's hair do. That is the mid 60's for you. Kevin sits on the far right.

Hoping this finds everyone well. I've just returned from another camp. I'm tired and tend to drift off while typing but doing well myself. The weather is beautiful in the valley as the sun sets on this Saturday evening.

Simply,
Victor

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Williamson's, Pioneers of Crook County Wyoming

William and Effie's Wedding Picture. February 11, 1887

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I'm just about to drive down the hill to the school to get things ready for the Space Center's weekly overnight camp program. Before I leave I thought I'd post this to the blog. It is a short biography on William Jonathan Williamson written by granddaughter, Carol Stephenson, for inclusion in a book titled Crook County Pioneers published by members of Wyoming Historical Society.
For a refresher on the family line:

George Matthew Williamson and Margaret Ann Willis
to
William Jonathan Williamson and Effie Victor
to
Their 9 children from which we make our extended Williamson family.

And now cousin Carol's article:
W.J. and Effie Victor Williamson became acquainted when their families both lived and farmed near Corning, Iowa in the late 1880's. He was the eldest son of George and Margaret Willis Williamson. They married February 13, 1887 and soon after came to the Black Hills, Dakota Territory to find their fortune. They became parents of nine children, five girls, Vennie, Della, Inez, Ethel and Josie, and boys, Emmett, Walter, Charles and Maurice. Eventually George and Margaret followed their son out west where homesteads were established by both families just west and south of Rapid City, South Dakota. In the early 1900's they relocated to the Sundance, Wyoming area where W.J. began his lifetime work as a grocer. He bought into the firm of Davies and Purvis in 1913 and later was employed by the Rochdale Company where he ran a grocery in Buelah for several years. In 1927 he opened his own grocery and filling station located at West and Cleveland streets. The Sundance Times printed this on December 22, 1927 regarding W.J. and his Westside Grocery. "Genial W.J. Williamson always meets his customers with a pleasant voice no matter when, how or where and it will pay you to look in on him for one of the famous cakes he has recently stocked." After serving several years as city councilman as well as school board treasurer, W.J. was elected Mayor of Sundance. His tenure was two terms. The newspaper reported in 1928 "that Mayor Williamson and his council have conducted the governmental affairs of Sundance in a conservative and business-like manner to further the welfare of the city and its citizens." His daughter Josie served as clerk of the city council and later as clerk of the District Court. Walter followed W.J. into the grocery business with a store in Deadwood, South Dakota. Charles and Maurice were salesmen for a wholesale grocery firm. Emmett ran a well-known bakery in Custer, S.D. The Sundance Times reported W.J.'s death on December 14, 1934 from cancer. Effie kept the grocery open for two more years and then sold it. Her final years were spent with daughter Vennie in Spearfish, S.D. She passed away April 9, 1944. They rest together next to his parents in Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Sundance. They can be included as pioneer members of Crook County but are remembered by their families as hard working, civic-minded, yet fun-loving residents of Sundance. A family reunion held July 2007 in Spearfish brought together over 200 descendants from all over the country.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

George and Margaret Williamson's Missing Child and Civil War Service.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Tonight from the Fortress overlooking a rainy valley and overcast sky I bring you additional information on our common ancestor George Matthew Williamson, father of William Jonathan Williamson.

George Matthew Williamson (Great Great Grandparent)
to
William Jonathan Williamson
to
The Nine Williamson Children (Charles was my Grandfather)
to
Charles Williamson
to
Me

In the family reunion book The Williamson Legacy, it says that George and Margaret had 13 children but only 10 are known. My goal tonight was to try to locate the three missing children. We know that William (our common grandfather) was the second eldest. We have a record of this large family in the 1880 US Census. The actual entry in the Census form for our family is below (click on the image to enlarge).

Click to Enlarge

Here you'll count 10 children. According to the family book George and Margaret. My next stop in this search for our missing Great uncles or aunts was the next US Census I could find a listing of George and Margaret - the 1860 Census when the family lived in Illinois. The image of the actual page from the Census is below:

Click to Enlarge

Yes, there is a missing child. You'll see Selina as the eldest, then William and there he is, our missing relative - Abraham, only 2 months old. We must assume then that Abraham died as a child. That leaves two more to find.

One other thing of interest in tonight's post. I found a South Dakota record from the year 1900
listing Civil War veterans living in the Black Hills (for the federal pension). This is the page listing George as a Civil War Vet.


Click to Enlarge

You'll see his name on the top of the page listed on the 12th line. Then look at the very bottom and match two 12th lines. In George's description you'll read that he was "wounded badly in the right arm, badly disabled".

I'm wondering if anyone in the family has information on his Civil War Service. We know from the 1860 census that George and Margaret (age 26 and 25) were married with three children. We must assume that George fought on the Union side (considering he was living in Illinois) and that he left his family to fight.

Any other information?

Simply,
Victor