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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Few Pictures for Your Sunday Enjoyment. (Mattson Family)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Today for our family virtual family reunion we have a mix of photographs from the boxes and boxes of photographs occupying a corner of my living room, all waiting their time on the scanner and then onto the blog for family history and your enjoyment.

This is a picture of Charles Ray Williamson standing beside the pride and joy of his life in the late 1950's (besides his new bride - although I'm not so sure which would come first if he had to choose :)

The car was a red Ford convertible with white wall tires. Charles spent hours a week on that car. It's surface was so polished you could see your face in the shine. Look closely at the picture. Notice the white wall tires. Luella said you didn't want to know how much time Charles took every week keeping them brillantly white! Well, we all know how Charles loved and loves his cars!

Luella believes this picture was taken on Thanksgiving Day 1956. Luella and Charles were already married (June 1956) and were celebrating the holiday with the Mattson family in Spearfish. In the picture Charles is wearing his Car Coat. In those days men and women had "Car Coats".

Grandma Elda and Charles didn't own a car from the time Elda and Grandpa Williamson divorced (Charles was 12 years old at the time) until Charles bought a car in his late teens. Grandma Elda never got a driver's license therefore never bought a car. The single mother and her son relied on other people if they needed to go anywhere their own two feet or a bicycle couldn't take them.

Charles was like Fonz from the TV series "Happy Days" during his high school years at Belle Fourche High. He was very popular at school and was even voted as the man with the most beautiful legs in the entire School (an award I could never win with my bleach white legs complete with overgrown forest of dark hair - which I might add have never, ever seen a razor blade - unlike some of the males in our family that regularly shave their legs for reasons only God and their vanity knows :).

Luella was also very popular at Spearfish High. Everyone admired Charles and Luella during the time they dated. They guys admired Charles because of the eye candy he had sitting next to him in his dazzling car and the girls admired Luella for her sweetheart with the good looking legs, nice car, sweet smile and peachy keen dark Italian looks. Charles hung out at Luella's home in Spearfish every night for the entire year before their marrige.

Charles and Luella first met when Luella was eight and Charles was eleven during several of the Mattson family's visits to Belle Fourche when then lived on their Montana Ranch. They met each other again when the Mattson's moved to Spearfish. They were at a dance and Charles offered to take Luella home. The rest is history.

Luella spent her senior year at Spearfish High engaged to Charles. At the time, Charles worked for the State Highway Department, making $250.00 a month. Luella worked as a waitress at the Valley Cafe in Spearfish making .50 cents per hour plus tips.

"What did you and dad do when he'd come over every night?" I asked Luella.
"Your dad would go outside with John and Marvin and play basketball in the back yard. We also went to every movie that came to town. Movies were .25 cents in those days. Spearfish had a drive in theater and a real theater. We also went to nearly ever dance."

Charles and Luella argued a lot during their courting days. Violet thought their marriage wouldn't last more than a few months, but they hung in there and we are the testament to that. Luella said she could always trust Charles. Charles was as reliable as the rising sun. He always brought his paycheck home - never spending money on himself. Having someone she could count on meant everything to Luella.

This is the Mattson home in Spearfish. The year is unknown. The window on the left was the living room. The window on right was the master bedroom. The home was built from red stone taken from the Spearfish rock formation. Many of the first homes in Spearfish were made of this stone. The home was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The Mattsons moved into this home from the Montana ranch in 1955.

The previous owners had recently remodeled the home, bringing it up to 1950's standards. The home had a real dishwasher (an amazingly modern appliance for its time). The kitchen had neon lights running across the ceiling, giving it that 1950's diner look. The separate garage was in the back. The cellar entrance was also in the back under the kitchen window. The home had one bathroom right off the kitchen. Luella and Linda shared the master bedroom. Luella and Linda slept in the same bed every night of their lives until Luella married. Violet and Walter slept in the other downstairs bedroom. John and Marvin slept in the large upstairs bedroom. The upstairs bedroom was decorated all in knotty pine. This was the Mattsons first home with indoor running water and an indoor bathroom.

This is a picture of Violet and Walter Mattson on the day they were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple. They're standing in front of their home in Torrence California. This picture was taken in the mid 1960's. Walter was on portable oxygen at this time. He was suffering from chronic bronchitis.
This picture was taken in Brodus, Montana. New students (Freshman) attending Brodus High School had to go through initiation at the hands of the seniors. The seniors drew the names of the freshmen from a hat and got to decide what kind of costume their freshman would wear in the school's homecoming parade. Luella's senior had her wear long johns covered with a swimming suit. She had a bunch of garlic and onions in her hair.

Luella is in the back, first one on the left (not counting the little girls). During the week of homecoming the seniors had permission to paint the freshman's face with lipstick if they were caught anywhere other than school or at home.

This is Grandma Violet holding a baby. Luella thinks it might be her because Violet still had quite a lot of hair. Violet lost hair at each delivery.
"It could have been anyone of us through," Luella said. We're just not sure.

(This is one of Luella's favorite pictures of her mother).

This is a much older Grandma Violet standing in front of the Spearfish home after a large snowfall.

More Pictures to Follow,


Friday, August 27, 2010

An Update from China from Chandler Burrows

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Thought you might be interested in reading about Chandler's experiences in China. As you recall from a previous post, Chandler is spending the next several months teaching English in a Chinese school deep in the midlands of China.
This story involves shopping.

Chandler writes:
So, in Beijing we have been able to do all the fun touristy stuff and it's been really fun. I've seen the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Kung Fu and Acrobat shows, but the craziest experience was when I went to the Markets. So, in China they have markets, which are big 4-6 story buildings filled every inch with knock off merchandise. They set it up so that each booth is only a couple feet long, filled to the top with things to buy. There is a story for jewelery, story for purses and bags, then shoes, makeup perfume, sunglasses, coats, clothes... everything!

So when we go, you walk in and all of a sudden all you hear are broken english phrases such as "Lady, Lady! purse? watch? bag?" Also in China there is no "personal space". They can touch you all they want, and take advantage of it. So as we walk down the small isles, they reach out and grab you, yelling lady, or friend. So these chinese ladies, sometimes men, play the best game with their bargaining. They have calculators, and they say without fail everytime, "beautiful lady, since you are student, and you are my friend, i will give you this price. good price, good price" Then i say too much, they say, "your killing me, or they ask, are you stupid?or are you crazy? " haha. This continues until we get things for almost 1/5 less then when they started. I was having fun, and got a couple things. Then I tried to get True Religion Jeans. The lady was nice and joked around with me in the beginning. I was naming prices, then realized that I said too much after talking to my friend. She got SOO mad. She grabbed my wrist hard and walked me to the back and yelled and yelled. She was saying. "You lied. I hate you. I want to kill you, I'm going to kill you." and repeated this, while hurting me for about five min's. I stayed calm, but i was so scared. I just kept saying, "your hurting me, i dont want your pants. Let me go". My friends came to help saying Bu Yuo, Bu Yuo, but she just hit them with her stupid calculator. Finally they distracted her enough that she let up on my wrist and we ran! Scariest thing ever!! It didnt stop me from shopping, but I realized how important it is to not be alone. Just so you guys know, that was just because those ladies are supposed to be like that, thats the only way they get money. China is so wonderful and I never feel too unsafe like that. Let me know how you guys are doing!!!
love, Chan

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Great Uncles and the Civil War (Williamson Lines)

A Young Confederate Soldier

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons One and All,
It’s a warm day here in Pleasant Grove. Temperatures are in the mid 90’s. The wind is blowing and a storm looks to be peaking its head above the mountains on the opposite side of Utah Lake.

Our fireside chats have been far and few between this summer. I’m afraid the necessities of making a living occupied much of my time, a situation that I hope remedies itself in the near future as the school year starts and things return to a semblance of normalcy.

Tonight I’d like to tell you about our Fighting Uncles! Let’s begin with the relationship chart (Click to Enlarge)

Relationship Chart

As you already know, we are descended from Jonathan Willis and Anabella Phlegar through our 3rd Great Grandmother, Margaret Ann Willis - their eldest child. Tonight I'd like to talk briefly about our 4th Great Uncles David, Hamilton, Bennet, Thomas, Simon and Samuel.

David: b. 13 April 1836. d. 1925 (Age at the start of the Civil War: 25 years old)
Hamilton: b. 1839
(Age at the start of the Civil War: 22 years old)
Bennet: b. 1841 (Age at the start of the Civil War: 20 years old)
Thomas: b. 1843 (Age at the start of the Civil War: 18 years old)
Simon: b. 2 June 1845. d. 17 Feb. 1915 (Age at the start of the Civil War: 16 years old)
Samuel: b. 1847. d. During the Civil War on a Union Prison Ship. (Age at the start of the Civil War: 14 years old)

David, Bennet, Thomas, Simon and Samuel all fought side by side during the Civil War on the Confederate Side in the Fifty-fourth Virginia
Infantry, Company D. Please pay close attention to the boy's ages at the start of the Civil War. I wonder at the story behind Great Uncles Simon and Samuel, Simon at 16 and Samuel at 14 years old at the start of the war! Think of someone you know who's 14 and 16 years old leaving home to fight in this nation's bloodiest war! I wonder at the thoughts passing through their parent's minds seeing five of their sons march away to battle together. The following information is available from the war records on each of our great uncles. (A Caution. I'm not 100% sure about the record of Thomas Willis. You'll notice that his enlistment occurs at Jacksonville instead of Floyd County).

I believe they all survived the war except for Samuel. According to our family history, he died aboard a Union prison ship as a prisoner of war.

There is one exception in this family. Our Great Uncle Hamilton and his cousin Abraham Wade rode on horseback to our Great Great Grandmother's home (Margaret Williamson), at Schuyler County, Illinois in 1857. The trip took 3 weeks. During the Civil War the two, still in Illinois, being within Union Territory, traveled to Oregon Territory to keep from being drafted to fight against the South.

I'd like to post the following history of the 54th Infantry Regiment of Virginia so you can read the story of our Great Uncles in the Civil War.


Regimental History

Chickamagua after battle report:

Report of Lieut. Col. John J. Wade, Fifty-fourth Virginia

Camp near Chattanooga, Tenn., September 25, 1863.
CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the
part my regiment took in the battles of the 19th and 20th instant,
near Chickamauga Creek:

On the evening of the 18th, as we approached the creek from La
Fayette the enemy was discovered in a large corn-field on the
opposite side. Our battery was put in position, and the brigade
formed in line of battle to the left on a rocky ridge. A brisk
skirmish was kept up until after dark, in which a portion of Gen.
Gracie's brigade was engaged. My regiment was afterward
moved down near the creek and put into position below Col.
Kelly's brigade, in order to support him in the event of an attack
during the night.

On the morning of the 19th, at an early hour, I crossed the creek
and rejoined the brigade, which I found forming in line on the
north side and not far from the creek. After remaining in line for
an hour or more, we were moved across a ridge in our front and
a new line established, the left resting nearly on the creek. While
there the enemy opened with a battery in our front and threw a
few shells, which passed beyond my right an did some damage
to the Sixth Florida. The brigade was next moved by the right
flank nearly half a mile and a new line formed on the comb of
the ridge parallel with the road, where we remained for several
hours, during which time the heavy firing which began on our
right had gradually approached our front, and about 12 m. the
enemy opened on us with a battery located above the corn-field
immediately in our front, and at intervals during the afternoon
threw shell and shot all around us, without doing any damage to
my regiment except a slight wound to the color bearer from a
fragment of a shell.

About 3 p. m. we were ordered to engage the enemy, and Col.
Trigg advanced the brigade in line through the woods to the
cornfield fence, on reaching which a volley was fired by the
brigade, which drove the enemy from the cleared land in our
front. In my
regiment an irregular fire was kept up for several minutes
afterward, which prevented my order to advance from being
heard, and when I crossed the fence I discovered that the Sixth
Florida was a short distance in advance of my regiment. I
hurried forward t close the line, and had crossed the open field
under a most galling fire of the enemy, and was in the act
crossing the second fence when I was met by Gen. Robertson, of
Gen. Hodd's division, who said he had been sent to conduct the
brigade into the fight, we were going wrong, and that our
formation should be made on his (Texas) brigade, in the woods
to the right of the field. Knowing that we were to be subject to
Gen. Hood's orders, I suffered my regiment to be conducted by
him and moved by the right flank along the crossfence to the
woods, where I remained until joined by the brigade commander
and the rest of the brigade.

I lost in this movement 3 killed and 35 wounded, 1 mortally.
Capt. J. R. Hammet, of Company I, I regret to report, received
here a dangerous wound, and was borne off the field. Three of
the number reported wounded received their injuries by the fall
of a tree, which was struck by a shell. We bivouacked that night
in front on the battle-field and without fire.

On the morning of the 20th, we were formed in line in rear of
Gen. Hindman's left, and about 10 a. m. were double-quicked to
the front to repel a flanking column of the enemy, but our
moment had been anticipated and the enemy driven back before
we reached the field. A heavy battery was nevertheless put into
position and our brigade formed in its support. After remaining
in this position a short time, we were moved up the Chattanooga
road and formed in line in near of a battalion of artillery which
was planted on the crest of the ridge to the left of the road.
While here Col. Trigg moved back with two regiment (the
Seventh and First Florida) to resist and anticipated movement of
the enemy's cavalry, and during the absence of our brigade
commander an urgent order came for the brigade to advance.
Col. Finley, of the Sixth Florida, taking the command of the two
remaining regiments (the Sixth Florida and Fifty-fourth Virginia
Volunteers) moved rapidly toward some high wooded ridges on
which the enemy had marched a most obstinate stand. We
approached the woodland under fire of a battery on the ridge,
and, moving up a spur of the ridge to the left of his battery, the
two regiment charged up the slope in admirable order, driving
the enemy before them. On reaching the top of the ridge, we
were joined by Col. Trigg and the other portion of our brigade,
and finding that the enemy was concealed in the bushes on a
ridge to our right, the brigade was wheeled and advanced up the
side of the ridge until in full view of the enemy. Upon demand
of surrender and after some delay, some 500 of them laid down
their arms. It was now dark, and while Col. Trigg was in the act
of diving the prisoners between the Sixth Florida and my
regiment for the purpose of taking them off the field, a party of
the enemy who lay concealed in a short distance from my
regiment poured a volley us, evidently with the intention of
producing some confusion in order two effect the escape of the
prisoners. Only 1 man was injured by this fire, and he was a
mounted orderly of the brigade commander.

My regiment captured here four flags, which have been turned
over with the names of the captors.

I lost on this day but 1 man killed and 7 wounded, besides the
orderly, who was from my regiment.

Recapitulation: Killed on the 19th, 3; wounded on the
19th, 35. Killed on the 20th, 1; wounded on the 20th, 8. Total
casualties on both days, 47.

Respectfully submitted.

Lieut.-Col., Comdg.

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 30. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 51.]

Battles Fought
Fought on 25 Dec 1861 at Floyd County, VA.
Fought on 25 Dec 1861.
Fought on 10 Jan 1862 at Middle Creek, KY.
Fought on 30 Jan 1862 at Suffolk, VA.
Fought on 15 Apr 1862 at Bourbon County, KY.
Fought on 16 May 1862 at Princeton, WV.
Fought on 9 Aug 1862 at Cedar Mountain, VA.
Fought on 30 Aug 1862 at Rocky Gap, VA.
Fought on 20 Sep 1862 at Kentucky.
Fought on 13 Oct 1862 at Lexington, KY.
Fought on 14 Oct 1862 at Kentucky.
Fought on 14 Oct 1862.
Fought on 15 Oct 1862 at Lancaster, KY.
Fought on 25 Oct 1862.
Fought on 26 Oct 1862 at Kentucky.
Fought on 28 Oct 1862.
Fought on 29 Oct 1862 at Camp Dick Robinson, KY.
Fought on 30 Jan 1863 at Kelly's Store, VA.
Fought on 30 Jan 1863 at Blackwater, VA.
Fought on 19 Jun 1863 at Lenoir Station, TN.
Fought on 1 Jul 1863 at Tullahoma, TN.
Fought on 1 Jul 1863 at Elk River, TN.
Fought on 2 Jul 1863 at Tullahoma, TN.
Fought on 2 Jul 1863 at Elk River, TN.
Fought on 3 Jul 1863 at Winchester, VA.
Fought on 3 Jul 1863 at Elk River, TN.
Fought on 14 Jul 1863.
Fought on 15 Aug 1863 at Bell's Bridge, TN.
Fought on 20 Aug 1863 at East Tennessee.
Fought on 8 Sep 1863.
Fought on 11 Sep 1863 at Perryville, TN.
Fought on 19 Sep 1863 at Chickamauga, GA.
Fought on 20 Sep 1863 at Chickamauga, GA.
Fought on 31 Oct 1863 at Meridian, MS.
Fought on 31 Oct 1863.
Fought on 25 Nov 1863 at Missionary Ridge, TN.
Fought on 26 Nov 1863.
Fought on 27 Nov 1863 at Ringgold, GA.
Fought on 4 Dec 1863.
Fought on 13 Dec 1863 at Greenbrier River, WV.
Fought on 13 Dec 1863 at Greenbrier County, WV.
Fought on 31 Dec 1863.
Fought on 25 Feb 1864 at Rocky Face Ridge, GA.
Fought on 25 Feb 1864 at Dalton, GA.
Fought on 1 May 1864 at Mt. Zion Church, Marietta, GA.
Fought on 9 May 1864 at Dalton, GA.
Fought on 14 May 1864 at Dalton, GA.
Fought on 15 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
Fought on 16 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
Fought on 17 May 1864 at Dalton, GA.
Fought on 19 May 1864 at New Hope Church, GA.
Fought on 19 May 1864 at Cassville, GA.
Fought on 19 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
Fought on 20 May 1864 at Resaca, GA.
Fought on 20 May 1864 at Cassville, GA.
Fought on 24 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
Fought on 25 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
Fought on 26 May 1864 at Nashville, TN.
Fought on 26 May 1864 at Dalton, GA.
Fought on 26 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
Fought on 27 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
Fought on 28 May 1864 at New Hope Church, GA.
Fought on 28 May 1864 at Dallas, GA.
Fought on 1 Jun 1864.
Fought on 3 Jun 1864 at Chattanooga, TN.
Fought on 15 Jun 1864.
Fought on 17 Jun 1864 at Lynchburg, VA.
Fought on 19 Jun 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 19 Jun 1864 at Lost Mountain, GA.
Fought on 19 Jun 1864.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Mt. Zion Church, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Powder Springs, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Zion Church, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Mt Zion Church, Marietta, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Mount Zion Church, GA.
Fought on 22 Jun 1864 at Mount Zion Church, Marietta, GA.
Fought on 23 Jun 1864 at Powder Springs, GA.
Fought on 23 Jun 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 25 Jun 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 25 Jun 1864 at Lost Mountain, GA.
Fought on 1 Jul 1864 at Roanoke, VA.
Fought on 2 Jul 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 3 Jul 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 3 Jul 1864 at Chattahoochee River, GA.
Fought on 3 Jul 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 4 Jul 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 6 Jul 1864 at Union Station, GA.
Fought on 9 Jul 1864 at Monocacy, MD.
Fought on 14 Jul 1864 at Marietta, GA.
Fought on 14 Jul 1864 at Macon, GA.
Fought on 18 Jul 1864 at Resaca, GA.
Fought on 18 Jul 1864.
Fought on 19 Jul 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 20 Jul 1864 at Peach Tree Creek, GA.
Fought on 20 Jul 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 22 Jul 1864 at Peach Tree Creek, GA.
Fought on 16 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 18 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 19 Aug 1864 at Atlanta, GA.
Fought on 2 Oct 1864 at Saltville, VA.
Fought on 10 Oct 1864 at Nashville, TN.
Fought on 30 Nov 1864 at Franklin, TN.
Fought on 7 Dec 1864 at Murfreesboro, TN.
Fought on 8 Dec 1864 at Murfreesboro, TN.
Fought on 17 Dec 1864 at Franklin, TN.
Fought on 22 Dec 1864 at Augusta, GA.
Fought on 28 Dec 1864 at Egypt Station, MS.
Fought on 1 Jan 1865 at Itawambia, MS.
Fought on 1 Jan 1865 at Cassville, GA.
Fought on 8 Jan 1865 at Nolensville, TN.
Fought on 3 Mar 1865 at Stony Creek, NC.
Fought on 4 Mar 1865 at Waynesboro, VA.
Fought on 19 Mar 1865 at Bentonville, NC.
Fought on 20 Mar 1865 at Bentonville, NC.
Fought on 12 Apr 1865 at Salisbury, NC.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Family News Updates

Chandler Burrows to Teach in China

From Chandler Burrow's Blog:
While I was at BYU-Idaho, I found an ad for an opportunity for adventure. So, starting August 16th, I am leaving the comfort of good old America, and I am flying to China to teach English. I will be teaching in Dao Xian, which is in the Hunan Provence. I'm slightly nervous.

Especially because this is the only picture I could really find of my middle school, and yes, they are washing their clothes in that muddy pond thing. I have no idea what I'm getting into, but I'm too excited to care. haha. I can't wait to meet friends, travel, and experience as much as I can.

Wish me luck!

Relationship Chart

Chaz Bodily Dances Tonight on America's Got Talent

Chaz Bodily will be on television tonight on America's Got Talent. He will be performing as a back up dancer to Leann Rimes.

His Facebook Update:
Wacky Trip. Gets Weirder and Weirder. but having a good time. Make sure you watch us on America's Got Talent tomorrow when we dance with the lovely Leann Rimes!

Relationship Chart

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Addition to the Our Extended Family.

Lydia Grace Turley
Snug as a Bug in a Rug

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family Both Near and Far,
Today we pause to welcome another member of our extended family! Autumn and Derrick Turley are happy to announce the birth of their second child, Lydia Grace.

Lydia was born on August 12th at 6:05 P.M. at the American Fork, Utah Hospital. She came in at 5 lbs 12 ounces and 19 inches long. Lydia is Autumn and Derrick's second daughter, now having to share her parent's attention with older sister London.

And now, the traditional Relationship Charts so you can see where Lydia's place is in our family: (Click to Enlarge)

Williamson Chart
Mattson Chart
Autumn with Lydia in the Hospital

Autumn, London and Derrick

Welcome to our family Lydia Grace Turley!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Cousin and Signer of the US Consitution.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Thanks for joining me at another family history fireside chat. The summer is drawing to a close and that means the start of another school year. I’m hoping all our little Williamsons are ready to do their best in school this year. As for me, it will be my 28th year in public education - all at Central School here in Pleasant Grove where I am currently the Director of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. I also teach one period of pre-algebra to our advanced 6th graders, just to keep my feet in the fire of teaching daily.

I’m also hoping our older Williamsons in High School and University are ready for another grueling year. It isn’t easy being that age. I remember how difficult it was for me trying to decide what I wanted to be. Today it’s much harder - especially with the current economy and the many career choices my generation didn’t have. Good Luck to All.

In today’s history we learn about Jacob Broom, our 1st Cousin, 8 Times Removed and member of the Constitutional Convention representing the state of Delaware.

Let's begin with the Relationship Chart:

Below is the last page of the US Constitution. You'll see our cousin's signature, the last of the Delaware Delegates (click to enlarge).

Click to Enlarge

And now a Biography of our cousin, Jacob Broom.

Jacob Broom

Jacob Broom, born October 17, 1752 in Wilmington, Delaware, was the son of James Broom, a blacksmith turned prosperous farmer, and Esther Willis, a Quaker. In 1773 he married Rachel Pierce, and together they raised eight children.

After receiving his primary education at Wilmington's Old Academy, he became in turn a farmer, surveyor, and finally, a prosperous local businessman. Even as a young man Broom attracted considerable attention in Wilmington's thriving business community, a prominence that propelled him into a political career. He held a variety of local offices, including borough assessor, president of the city's "street regulators;" a group responsible for the care of the street, water, and sewage systems, and justice of the peace for New Castle County. He became assistant burgess (vice-mayor) of Wilmington in 1776 at the age of only 24, winning re-election to this post six times over the next few decades. He also served as chief burgess of the city four times. He never lost an election.

Although the strong pacifist influence of his Quaker friends and relatives kept him from fighting in the Revolution, Broom was nevertheless a Patriot who contributed to the cause of independence. For example, he put his abilities as a surveyor at the disposal of the Continental Army, preparing detailed maps of the region for General Washington shortly before the battle of Brandywine. Broom's political horizons expanded after the Revolution when his community sent him as their representative to the state legislature (1784-86 and 1788), which in turn chose him to represent the state at the Annapolis Convention. Like many other delegates, Broom was unable to attend the sessions of the short meeting, but he likely sympathized with the convention's call for political reforms.

Despite his lack of involvement in national politics prior to the Constitutional Convention, Broom was a dedicated supporter of strong central government. When George Washington visited Wilmington in 1783, Broom urged him to "contribute your advice and influence to promote that harmony and union of our infant governments which are so essential to the permanent establishment of our freedom, happiness and prosperity."

Broom carried these opinions with him to Philadelphia, where he consistently voted for measures that would assure a powerful government responsive to the needs of the states. He favored a nine-year term for members of the Senate, where the states would be equally represented. He wanted the state legislatures to pay their representatives in Congress, which, in turn, would have the power to veto state laws. He also sought to vest state legislatures with the power to select presidential electors, and he wanted the President to hold office for life. Broom faithfully attended the sessions of the Convention in Philadelphia and spoke out several times on issues that he considered crucial, but he left most of the speechmaking to more influential and experienced delegates. Georgia delegate William Pierce [Georgia] described him as "a plain good Man, with some abilities, but nothing to render him conspicuous, silent in public, but chearful and conversible in private."

After the convention, Broom returned to Wilmington, where in 1795 he erected a home near the Brandywine River on the outskirts of the city. Broom's primary interest remained in local government. In addition to continuing his service in Wilmington's government, he became the city's first postmaster (1790-92).

For many years, he chaired the board of directors of Wilmington's Delaware Bank. He also operated a cotton mill, as well as a machine shop that produced and repaired mill machinery. He was involved, too, in an unsuccessful scheme to mine bog iron ore. A further interest was internal improvements: toll roads, canals, and bridges. A letter to his son James in 1794 touches upon a number of these pursuits.

Broom also found time for philanthropic and religious activities. His long-standing affiliation with the Old Academy led him to become involved in its reorganization into the College of Wilmington, and to serve on the college's first Board of Trustees. Broom was also deeply involved in his community's religious affairs as a lay leader of the Old Swedes Church.
He died at the age of 58 in 1810 while in Philadelphia on business and was buried there at Christ Church Burial Ground.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And Now, Grandma Elda in the 1960's

Grandma Elda and Grandpa Emerson taken on April 4, 1969
at Uncle Ed's Home in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
This last week dad and I cleaned out the garage. I found a cardboard box on the top shelf with several of Grandma Elda's things. Over the next few weeks I'll post the more interesting items from the collection.

We start with a letter and two drawings sent to Grandma Elda in 1963 / 64 from Kim, Kevin and I. The first is a letter written by Kim. Such good penmanship and the grammar, faultless as one would expect with a South Dakota education, provided at Jefferson Elementary School (which is no longer a school, the last I know the building still sits at the bottom of Signal Heights, Rapid City - and is used as school district storage site).

Above you'll see my contribution to the package. This is my rendition of me on a house with our LDS church building and me holding something near the sun. I've pondered over this drawing racking my brain for the meaning. Those ponderings have proven useless. I have no clue what I was on about but that's OK. Let's just enjoy the Picasso like surreal art produced by a 5 or 6 year old child prodigy.

And finally, Kevin's drawing for Grandma. This is considered enlightened for a 3 year old, although I wonder if our 48 year old Kevin could do any better today!

This picture of Kim and I was found in her possessions. The picture is well worn telling me she kept it in her purse where she could gain quick access to show off her two eldest (and cutest) grandchildren.

This picture was taken at the Holiday Inn in Rapid City in 1964. You see (from left to right) me with my red vest and suit, Uncle Ed (Grandma Elda's youngest brother), Grandma Elda, Kevin, Kim, Uncle Ray (Grandma Elda's older brother), Luella and Charles. Uncle Ray was visiting from Ohio where he worked as a Vice President for Western Union.

One of the few pictures we have of the three Vercellino siblings together. Ed Vercellino, Elda Vercellino and Ray Vercellino.

And finally, we have Grandpa Liessman with Grandma Elda and Charles standing on the front lawn of our home at 210 North 42nd Street, Rapid City, South Dakota. We moved to 42nd Street from Signal Heights when I was 7 or 8 years old. This picture was taken in June of 1968. We moved to our home at 2214 38th Street during the school year of 1968/69. Again, one of the few pictures we have of Charles with his mom and step dad. And a special treat - in this picture you see another member of the Williamson family for many years, our 1958 blue Rambler Station Wagon. This, you recall, is the car of so many stories from our childhood.

Once again, More to follow.


Announcing the Newest Member of our Williamson Clan.

Bryce Hunter Williamson

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Andrew and Heather Williamson are please to announce the birth of their son, Bryce Hunter Williamson. Bryce was born on the evening of August 12. He came in at 9 pounds and 21 inches long. Both Bryce and Heather are doing fine.

Andrew and Heather

Heather With Bryce

Andrew, Heather and now Bryce live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Andrew is stationed at Ft. Wainwright.

For more information please contact Grandpa Bill at

Welcome to the family Bryce!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Swedish Letter Translated!

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Our 9th cousin Pertti responded to my call for help and translated the letter (written in Swedish) sent to our Great Grandmother Ida from her sister Hilma. That's right, Hilma. Luella always remembered Ida calling her Wilma. There is another mystery waiting to be solved.

We begin with the letter itself.

And now, the Translation:

Dear Sister With Your Family!

I have to put my thoughts into action and let you hear from me. It's been a really long time since I wrote to you and everyone else with you. I feel good and everyone so does everyone else here at my house.

I'm wondering just how you have it [how are things during the war] and how you are so far away from homeland. Homeland that you might have forgotten for a long time ago.
But unfortunately we must admit we have a good homeland. Just think that we still have everything compared with other countries. [Sweden was neutral during World War 2]

Pertti's remark:
(Unfortunately might here have the meaning that from Hilma's view that Ida has lost her good homeland).

Lately we have not suffered any shortages except for coffee, which we do not have at all now. I was going to beg coffee of you. The coffee there [ in the USA] is so cheap. And it is sent so much from there. Coffee is coming continually from America. I envy those who get it. I have the post so I can see all the packages that are coming. So I think you might probably also send some to us. For you know, it feels unpleasant to be entirely without coffee when you have become used to it from childhood.

Now I hope you show your sister's love and send me a couple of kilograms of coffee.
They generally come in two kilos packages and you pay the customs duty yourself. Now don't forget it away! I will send this letter by air mail so it goes faster.

Well, Valter is at home with his wife, and how many children they have. Astrid is now to take real (school subject?) in spring. If she gets it (the grade?), I'll send a card for her.

Lennart is reading for the third year. Hasse started school in the previous fall and Rolf is five years. Charles is 20 years.

You might have heard that Nanna Tornberg is dead. Arthur is also at home in Karungi.
He has become a bit strange during his long stay away from homeland. But he is not so dangerous. He has some kind of repair station. Adriana, she also lives in Karungi. Her husband is in Canada. All her children are adults. She has four children.

We are still having full winter here. You of course have a lot warmer weather there. But soon we have the lovely Nordic spring here with sunshine and summer.

Well how is Valter [Grandpa Walter, Ida's husband] is he at the front or is he at home? Yes, we also have electric lights here with radio and everything, so now there are other [modern] times here in the Torne Valley than in the old days. You should come and see. You would not recognize the home region. Yes, now I have scribbled a lot so I have to stop.

Do not forget the coffee. And do not forget to write some time. It's nice to hear something about you. It's awful, that we are just two siblings and never write to each other. So much should you still have fellowship with one another that you write some time.

Yes, I become 50 years old in August. Sure I am old. In August 30th is my birthday. You must be 56 or so. Think we are old people. And mother has been lying 10 years in the grave. Greetings to Valter and Albert with his wife.

Writes sister Hilma



Do not forget the coffee drop!

Greetings to the aunt


Pertti adds the following:

By the way, I think Hilma speaks of her and Ida's cousins in this letter, like Nanna and Adriana.

Best regards

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg's Arrival to the United States

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
More information on Great Grandmother Ida (Walter Mattson's Mother).

We begin with Ida's departure from Sweden (above). This is the immigration manifest from Sweden. You'll notice that Ida was traveling with friends. You'll see her destination was Houghton, Mich.

Next we have the passenger list for those wanted to enter the United States from Canada on the Canadian Ship SS. Empress of Britian. The ship departed from Liverpool on 7 May, 1909. The Atlantic crossing was a 4 or 5 day affair.

This is the passenger list (Click to Enlarge). You'll notice that Ida is listed as a domestic (servant). You'll notice that her father's name was Isak Tornberg and that her final destination was Houghton, Mich.

Ida sailed on one of the finest and fastest ships of its day, the SS Empress of Britain

We move to the 1910 Census showing Ida working in Houghton, Michigan as a servant for the Miller family.

From here we have a postcard proving Ida was living in northern Michigan (please refer to the earlier post of the day).

Finally, we have Ida and John Albert marrying in Lead, South Dakota on 11 March 1911.