Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday's Faces from the Past - Arganbright Art Gallery, Hedrick, Iowa

Here's another unidentified picture from my "Negley collection" (photos that once belonged to my Eldorado, Nebraska Negley family members). The photographer's imprint on this 4" x 6" cabinet card is "Arganbright Art Gallery, Hedrick, Iowa". I'm not aware of anyone in my family who lived in Hedrick or Keokuk County. There were Negley cousins in Decatur and Ringgold counties, but that is at least 100 miles from Hedrick. It could be that there was some connection to Hedrick that I don't know about. This family may not be related to me, but my Negley relatives kept this copy of their picture.

The large bow ties like those on the two older boys were popular around 1910. It's hard to tell the sex of the infant. Two boys as the oldest children doesn't match up with any Negley related family I have in my tree.

If anyone recognizes the family in this photo, please leave a comment or email me. It would be nice for their descendants to have this photo.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sale Bill of J C Negley Farm Sale

Leon Reporter, October 7, 1915
I will sell at public sale at my farm 2 miles southeast of Decatur, 4-1/2 miles southwest of Leon, known as the old Thomas Waller farm, on
Monday, October, 11, 1915
Commencing at 10 o'clock sharp, the following property, to-wit:- 
36 Head of Live Stock 36
10 Head of Horses and Mules.
Consisting of span of gray geldings, 9 and 10 years old, black horse and bay mare 12 years old, two year old gray horse colt, two year old brown horse colt, yearling bay horse colt, span of 3 year old mules.
26 Head of Cattle
Consisting of 11 milch cows, 2 two year old heifers, 1 yearling heifer, 7 steer calves, 4 heifer calves, registererd yearling Poll Angus bull.

FARM IMPLEMENTS - Hay stacker, 3 sweep rakes, sulky rake good as new, 2 corn planters, 2 disc harrows, 2 P. & O. riding cultivators, 2 walking cultivators, disc, riding cultivator, 2 14-inch stirring plows, John Deere sulky plow, 2 harrows, Champion binder, 2 mowers 5 and 6 foot cut feed grinder, wagon, 2 sets work harness and numerous other articles.
About 20 tons of hay in stack, 50 to 100 acres stalk pasture.
Economy Chief Cream Separator.
Some Household Goods.
Lunch by Campbell.
TERMS - A credit of 13 months will be given on all sums over $1 ?, purchaser giving note with approved security drawing 6 per cent from date if paid when due, otherwise to draw 8 per cent. 3 per cent discount on sums over $10 if paid in cash on day of sale. No property to be removed from the premises until settled for.
J. C. Negley
Tullis Bros. and C. A. McKorn, Auctioneers.                                       J. C. Cozad, Clerk  


John Calvin Negley died fourteen months later on Christmas Eve, 1916 in Decatur County, Iowa. He was 66 years old and had been ill for two years. He was survived by his wife, eight children, two brothers and one sister. His son Charles and two infant brothers preceded him in death. My Great Grandfather Josiah F Negley was his brother. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Ellen Scheidt, Missionary to the Philippines

Passport photo, 1921, courtesy of

Ellen Scheidt is a granddaughter of Henry Menke with his first wife, Mary Niehaus. To me Henry is a second Great Grandfather with his second wife Eliza Knapp. Technically, she is my half first cousin twice removed. She was just five years younger than my Great Grandpa Albert Menke, who would have been her half-uncle.  

Born in Saline County, Nebraska in 1891, she remained single her entire life which lasted 99 years. From a digitized Fillmore County newspaper, I learned that Ellen was a missionary for at least two years to the Philippine Islands. In 1920, her departure was announced in the newspaper and in 1923 she was called home on account of her mothers illness. 

Ellen graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1916 and Colorado State University, Fort Collins in 1927 and Colorado Agriculture College in 1929. She taught school for many years in Colorado. 

The following letter written by her was published in the Friend Sentinel and copied by the Nebraska Signal where I found and transcribed it. The letter doesn't appear to be dated, but the issue of the Nebraska Signal was September 1, 1921. She describes her trip and experience in the Philippines with such detail. It's very interesting and I admire her courage, so I thought I would share her letter here. 

From the Philippine Islands
(Friend Sentinel)
Dear Friends in Friend:
This morning I am at Lingayan, P. I. I am seated in the shady part of the back yard of our bible training school. Before me lies a beautiful green lawn surrounded by a hedge of lillies, four kinds of palm trees, banana trees and several other kinds of vegetation which I have not yet learned to name. If the cocoanuts only didn't grow up so high, I might pick one and send it on the way to you. But since they are so high I'll have to keep my eyes nearer the earth and tell you something of the native huts which surround us.
On account of the floods these houses are built on stilts as it were. Therefore the first story is open air surrounded by perpendicular bamboo posts of all sizes. This space is not wasted however for it serves as a home for the horses, pigs, goats or anything else that has no other place to go. A stairway leads up to the real living apartments of the family. These are very airy too for the bamboo and palm leaves of which the walls are made, allow plenty of circulation. In fact they are only expected to keep out the sun and as much of the rain as possible. The windows are simply large square holes in the side of the house. Sometimes there is a matting curtain or a partition of woven bamboo which can be manipulated to cover these openings. As the quaint thatched roof extends over the sides of the house for several feet it affords a great deal of protection from sun and rain. Inside, the house would seem like one large room save for the woven bamboo partitions which make a pretense of forming rooms. Of course, here as anywhere there is a great variety in the quality of the material of which a home is built, for all depends on the wealth of the owner.
As one drives along the street one can hardly help seeing the whole contents of the front part of one of these homes. They are often decorated with quantities of cheap pictures and anything else obtainable. Once in a while one catches sight of a phonograph and quite frequently a sewing machine. So much for first impressions, but after I get into my work and visit the people in their homes, I shall be able to give you more "inside information."
We have been having most delightful weather since we arrived. Although it is very hot in the sun, it is much cooler in the shade. As the rainy season has ended, showers are very rare.
On account of the evil effects of the violet rays of the sun in the semitropical climate one needs to avoid being in bright light and very especially the direct sunlight. So those who are wise always wear pith hats and dark glasses.
The heat is very devitalizing, so everyone learns to work with as few motions as possible. Work begins at six in the morning, to take advantage of the cooler hours. School opens at 7:30 a.m. After lunch at noon, it is quite necessary for everybody to undress, go to bed for an hour's rest, or siesta, as it is called. Even the stores close from 12 to 2:00 p.m.
Eating brings up another great problem. All vegetables which grow near the ground must be boiled. One need not ever hope for lettuce and radishes, etc. The fruit must be thoroughly scalded or washed in formalin solution and then always peeled. The native fruits are very sweet and quite delicious after one acquires the taste for them. Butter, milk, meat, vegetables, etc., are shipped here in tin cans for the Americans. The Philippinos live on rice, bamboo roots, cocoanuts, fish and native fruit of various kinds.
So far my contact with the people has been very pleasant for they have been the high school and university students of Manila and of course they can all speak English and are really quite Americanized. Law and politics seem to hold the greatest attraction for them. Even the girls are studying and practicing law. Their greatest ambition is to study in the "states" some day. As a whole they are a splendid group of young people, very appreciative and lovable.
Yesterday we had our first ride on a native train. The first-class car is divided into compartments which seat eight people. The only aisle in the car is next to the window on the left side of the car. Fortunately Miss Blakely accompanied us to Dagupan, for the conductor never calls the stations and you just have to go over the territory once in order to know where to get off. During our five hours trip our tickets were punched about six times by various conductors and inspectors. The inspectors are busy everywhere. They even have one on each street car and he never fails to ask for your receipt. As the train stopped at our station, those getting off there, began to hand their baggage out of the windows, to the boys who are so anxious to earn a few centaros. Mr. Peterson met us and took us to Lingayen in his Ford. But most people here travel in an ox cart or a caramata. The latter is a two wheeled, one seated cart drawn by a pony. This is quite an improvement over the Ricksha of Japan and China.
Speaking of Japan and China reminds me of my ocean voyage and various trips while in the states. Since leaving Los Angeles in June, I crossed the North American continent twice and then tried the Pacific ocean. It all seems like a dream and I can hardly realize I am here. But to go back to the beginning of my vacation. Miss Bennett accompanied me on my trip home. We stopped a few days in San Francisco and while there took sight seeing trips in Frisco, Berkley and Mt. Tamalpais. From there we had a wonderful scenic trip through the Feather River canyon to Salt Lake, and then on the Denver Rio Grande to Denver.
During the next two months I was exceedingly busy with my sewing and other preparations for my outfit. Few people realize that a new missionary needs so many things. Bedding, linen towels, silverware, in fact, anything that one needs in a home, one needs on the mission field. My parents and brothers and sisters were so generous with their gifts or I should never have had the necessary things.
Dressing is quite a problem in a hot climate. Even the men dress in white. Colors are very practical in the states, but not out here, because they fade. The way the women wash them by pounding them on stones is enough to wear anything out.
We had a wonderful trip over the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver, B. C. from whence we sailed November 18. We were on on of the best and largest boats but I was sick most of the way to Yokohama. What a comfort my steamer letters and packages were. No one will ever know till they go through the same experience.
We had about fifty missionaries on board and a great number of people who were of the extremely opposite type. The latter seemed to enjoy dancing, drinking and smoking to the exclusion of all else.
How happy we were when we sighted land as we neared Japan, and oh, the new sights we saw on the Yokohama pier. The men had their names and occupations written in Japanese characters on the back and skirts of their jackets. The women were dressed in gay kimonas and carried their babies on their backs. The ricksha men were everywhere, begging one to ride with them. We felt so sorry for the poor men that we just couldn't think of having them pull us. But of course if no one rides, they starve; so we twelve girls and our chaperon were taken by them up to the mission school located on the hill. The various shops along the way were most interesting. Every where we heard the click, click of wooden shoes on the pavement. Since the Japanese people always remove their shoes when entering homes, they make them very simple. They are flat, oblong pieces of board which are held in place by two toe straps. In some cases they have two inch pegs underneath to keep them out of mud and water. There were so many interesting sites that we were sorry that our boat only stopped for a few hours.
But after the next day's journey we stopped another day at Kobe, Japan, where the passengers for Korea started across country. Their baggage was thoroughly examined by the custom officers and on account of the codling moth all Americans' apples were confiscated. Most people ate all they could before allowing them to be confiscated.
We spent a very interesting day looking at the pretty things in the Japanese shops. After another day on the water and a most scenic trip through the beautiful Japanese inland sea we had a day on land again. Nagasaki is very picturesque as it is located at the foot of the mountains. There we visited our mission Woman's college and saw the wonderful work they do. Some of the lower class Japanese resemble the American Indian so closely that it is not difficult to imagine the origin of the Indian.
We had only a few hours in Shanghai but enjoyed every new sight as much as children at their first circus.
Since I was not sea sick after leaving Yokohama, I had a good rest of the latter part of my journey and reached Manila in a happy mood.
The city is quite Americanized and so many speak English that I felt quite at home. But life in the provinces is very different and much more interesting to me. I am glad I live there.


Vigan, Hocos Sur., P. I.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Newspaper Clippings - Harvard, Nebraska, March, 1912

With the "first blizzard of the season" in March, it must have been a mild winter in central Nebraska. Several people took the train to Harvard, it's a distance of 10 miles. My Negley relatives are mentioned a couple of times in this week's Eldorado news. I wish I understood the "Brice" comment near the end. Unfortunately, the Harvard Courier is available only on microfilm. If it were digitized, I would be able to find the Negley name a lot.  

Harvard Courier, March 2, 1912

At noon on Sunday snow began falling and by evening the wind had reached a high velocity so we found our selves in the first blizzard of the season. It left the east and west roads badly blocked. The wheat fields were wind swept but the stalk fields retained an abundance of snow.
Hay Bros. sale was quite well attended.
Jennie Austin took the train for Harvard Saturday evening.
Henry Bender of Sutton was in our midst Friday.
Wm. Stephens, Geo. England and Negley Bros. were Harvard visitors Saturday.
Banker Houghton of Hampton was here on business one day last week.
James and Newt. Shonkeiler were shaking hands with friends here Friday.
Frank Turner and wife Sundayed at Harvard.
Frank Leonard drove to Harvard Saturday.
Mrs. H. Iliff is on the sick list.
Carl Wood's were in Stockham Friday.
Roy Brenneman of Inland was out Friday.
Gertha Anderson of Stockham visited relatives here Friday.
Jas. Nelson was in Lincoln last week.
William Grosshans of Sutton was in our midst one day last week.
School Dist. 69 has been without a teacher since Feb. 19, but will resume work March 4th.
Anton Lentz departed for Fremont and other points which he will visit prior to leaving for South Dakota.
As revival meetings are in progress at Stockham, Rev. Littrel preached Sunday at 11:00 a.m. instead of the evening hour.
Rosa Engelhardt returned from Harvard Monday, where she visited relatives.
The township board met in regular session Tuesday.
L. Shouse of the O. Shouse Com. Co. of Hastings was in town Wednesday.
Adam Heisor who has been visiting at Hastings returned home Wednesday.
The Mennonite Brethren will begin revival services Sunday, Mar. 3rd. A minister from North Dakota will conduct a week's meeting.
Harry Brenneman's sale attracted a fair attendance with good prices prevailing.
John A. Yost is on the sick list.
John Dennis was called to Sutton Thursday by the serious illness of his brother.
Little Marie Taylor is on the sick list.
Henry Schmer took the train for Hastings Saturday.
Beginning on March 4th Rev. E. N. Littrel assisted by Prof. and Mrs. Clauson who are graduates of the ...

Moody Institute, Chicago, will conduct revival services. Let's go and hear the gospel preached and sung.
Joe Didtman of Buckley, Ill., came back to spend the summer with us.
W. S. Kilgore made a drive to Sutton Thursday.
Charles Wilson was in Stockham Thursday.
Calvin Negley accompanied the crew that took the snow plow east on Monday - presume that "Brice" held the plow handles.
Fred Meyer lost his driving horse Tuesday.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Will of Thomas Merritt, 1853

There are 201 pages of the probate file for Thomas Merritt of Williamson County, Tennessee on Ancestry. I have a Thomas Merritt in my tree, but it turns out this is not his probate. I'm posting this to include it in the Slave Name Roll Project to help the descendants of the people included. 

In the inventory documents, the names of the people enslaved by Thomas are given on at least three different documents. Some of the names differ on those documents than on his will. Four years separate the Will and the Inventory Appraisal. I've transcribed the Will below.

Releasing - Adaline, Mary, Fanny, Prior, Jane, Peter, Jerry and William, Lucy, Annis, Minerva, Jim, Milly, Joanna, Charles, Mary, Daphny, Bob, Moses, Silas, Lewis, George and Jacob.

from Tennessee, Wills and Probate Records, 1779-2008 at

In the name of God, Amen
I, Thomas Merritt of the County of Williamson, in the State of Tennessee, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all other wills by me heretofore made.
Item 1st It is my will and desire that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid, so soon after my death as possible, out of any monies that may be on hand, or may first come into the hands of my executrix, hereafter named.
Item 2nd, I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Rebecca Merritt, for and during her natural life, the tract of land on which I live, containing about one hundred and eighty five acres; also all my slaves with their increase, also all my stock of horses, cattle, hogs & sheep, household and kitchen furniture, farming utensils of every kind, together with every other article or piece? of property, debts due me, chosen? in action or money which may be on hand at my death.
Item 3rd It is my will, that at the death of my said wife Rebecca that my said tract of land, together with all other property that may remain except my slaves, be sold, the land on a credit of one and two years, the other property on a credit of twelve months, and the preceeds thereof with any money that may be on hand, together with my slaves aforesaid with their increase, be equally divided among my children, or the heirs of such as may die, together with the children of my deceased son John A. Merritt, To wit Nancy Moon, Jane Johnston, Susan Johnston & Narcissa Johnston, Amanda Moulton, Henry J. Merritt, Bennett B. Merritt, Harvey M Meritt, and Rebecca, Susan, Mary, Frances & Sarah Merritt daughters of said deceased son John A. Merritt, each of which said children of my said deceased son will be entitled to the one fifth of a share of my estate after each of my children accounting for advancementws made by me to wit - 
To Nancy Moon the sum of three hundred & fifty seven dollars for negro, Adaline valued at $300, feather bed & furniture $30 & bedstead & bureau $27.00

To Jane Johnston negro girl Mary valued at $400.00, bed and furniture $30.00 & Bureau $20.00 making in all $450.00
To Susan Johnston negro boy Prior valued at $400.00, bed and furniture $30.00 & Bureau $20.00 making in all $450.00
To Narcissa Johnston negro girl Fanny valued at $400.00, bed and furniture $30.00 & Bureau $20.00 making in all $450.00
To Amanda Moulton negro girl Jane valued at $500.00, Boy Ellick valued at $400.00 bed & furniture $30.00 & Bureau $20.00 making in all $950.00
To my deceased son John A. Merritt, and with which his children will be chargeable, one negro boy named Peter valued at $300.00. One feather bed & furniture $20.00 making in all $320.00
To Bennett B. Merritt one negro boy named Jerry valued at $300.00 One horse at $40.00 one feather bed & furniture $20.00 making in all $360.00
And to Harvey M Merritt one negro boy named William valued at $700.00 One horse at $40.00 & one bed & furniture at $20.00 making in all $760.00
And to Henry J. Merritt one hundred acres of land valued at $800.00 & one bed & furniture $20.00 making in all $820.00
Item 4th I nominate and appoint my wife Rebecca Merritt executrix to this my last will & testament, and it is my will and desire that no security be required of her for the execution thereof. 
In testimony whereof I hereto set my hand and affix my seal this 6th day of October 1853.
Thomas Merritt
Signed, sealed & published in our presence, and we have subscribed our names hereto in the presence of the testator, and at his request and in the presence of each other Oct. 6th, 1853
J. M. E. Stewart
M. L Andrews

In this inventory appraisal, dated August 18, 1857, the names and ages of the enslaved are listed as:  "Lucy age 70 years, Annis 49, Minerva 27, Jim 10, Milly 7, Joanna 5, Charles 3, Mary 18 months, Daphny 20, Adeline 14, Bob 65, Jerry 10, Louis 29, Lee 14, George 12 and Jacob 55 years old". Also "two of the negroes at the iron works who have not as yet come into my possession Moses about 60 years, and Silas about 25 years old."

Friday, October 5, 2018

Friday's Faces from the Past - Miss Canon City, Colorado

Not her official title, of course, but there is no name on this photograph. The picture itself measures about 2" x 4", the brown decorative cardstock frame about 3-1/2" x 6". There were flaps that fold from top and bottom to close, but they've torn off. The picture comes out easily from corner tabs. The photographer's logo is "Affleck, Canon City, Colo." which was easy to trace. In 1930, James Melvin Affleck was a photographer who lived with his wife Grace in Lincoln Park, Fremont County, Colorado. 

The collection of old photos I have once belonged to someone in the Negley family - either my Great Grandma Sadie McGrath or her sister Alice Negley, or maybe their brothers, Bill and Cal, or even their parents Josiah & Sarah. Several pictures were identified as family, and others with names were friends who also lived around Harvard, Stockham or Eldorado, Nebraska. Miss Canon City doesn't seem to fit with any family in my tree. I would guess this pretty lady and/or her parents were friends of the Negley family and likely lived near them at some point in time.

My guess is she is in her twenties and the photo was taken in the 1920's putting her birth within a few years of 1900. She would be a generation younger than Sadie and Alice. Maybe she is a daughter of a close friend. 

I tried uploading the photo to Google Images hoping there was another one somewhere on the internet, but no match was found. So, now I'm hoping someone who reads this post recognizes this woman and will tell me about her. I'm interested in learning who she is, and will be glad to return this photo to her family. Please leave a comment if you have any ideas.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Menke Brothers With US Patents

Two brothers of my Great Grandpa Albert Menke were issued US Patents for their inventions over 100 years ago. One of them I learned about from this clipping in the Columbus Journal, March 17, 1886.

Henry Menke Jr  was 24 years old when he filed an application dated November 14, 1885 for a Revolving Fan. Click on the link to see his full application with sketches which I found at Google Patents (even though his name was terribly transcribed).

United States Patent No. 337,600 issued March 9, 1886

"My invention relates to revolving fans adapted for use on dining or library tables, or at other places, for driving away flying insects, and for briskly circulating the air for cooling persons near the machine; and the invention has for its object to provide a simple, inexpensive, and effective devise of this character. "

A distant cousin had told me about George Edward Menke inventing a corn sheller he called the "Little GEM". That was not the patent I found for him online. His application was filed July 29, 1911 for a a railroad Loading Device. Again, you can find the application and sketches at that link. 

United States Patented No. 1,021,696 issued March 26, 1912 

"An object of the invention is to provide a loading device, particularly adaptable for use in connection with railway engines, to load the tenders thereof when the engines pass beneath the device. My invention embodies among other features, a structure which when used in connection with railway engines to load the tenders thereof, will be automatically operated by the engine when the same passes beneath the device to fill the tender of the engine with coal or other material, used to operate the engine."

How much of an impact either of these inventions had on their industries, I couldn't say without a lot of research which I don't have the time to do. But I might look closer now at old fans in antique stores. I do know that neither man became famous for their invention, nor got rich from it. Still, it's kind of cool.