Monday, April 29, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Sarah J. Stockton

Sarah Jane Winner Stockton was my great-great grandmother and is buried in Bloomrose Cemetery in Sterling Township, Brown County, Ohio.

The visible side of the headstone is engraved:

Sarah J. Stockton
Aug. 24. 1849
Feb. 20, 1915

A pretty impressive headstone if you ask me! More about Sarah another day but for now, enjoy this picture taken by my aunt and uncle when they visited long lost relatives in Ohio. Oh yeah, and, that is another story you'll just have to keep reading to learn!

Here's her connection to our family. Sarah was the mother of Owen Delos Stockton, who was the father of Lena May Stockton (Abbate) my grandmother. And we thought that Lena May was an only child.....

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Anniversary Today!

Chuck and Angie Mood
April 26, 1980
So, today is our 33rd wedding anniversary.  It is not one of those, "Wow, where did the time go?" days because it feels like we have been doing this dance always, not in a bad way but in the way that says, "I don't remember life without you and its good!"

Our anniversary week always begins with remembering the day, April 23, 1980, that my husband graduated from Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. That day started our "wedding week" and it was a whirlwind.
Isabelle Hume Mood, 2LT Charles Mood,
 Angie Abbate Mood
Lackland Air Force Base
April 23, 1980

Chuck's parents and I flew to San Antonio for his graduation on a Tuesday.  After arriving in San Antonio we quickly took in a River Parade the night before attending his graduation on Wednesday of that week. We flew home to Florida on Thursday afternoon. Friday was the rehearsal and dinner, Saturday the wedding and on Sunday we said goodbye to family and friends before heading toward California on Monday. Destination?  Mather Air Force Base.

Our wedding? A typical 1980s affair with a plethora of qiana dresses, lace and sheer capes, Farah Faucett hair, wide lapels and ruffled tuxedo shirts, bridesmaids in a "rainbow" of blues and purples, ribbon bedecked flowers, a unity candle, traditional vows, and a friend who crooned Dan Fogleberg's new hit "Longer" and a 1940s hit by Irving Berlin (chosen by our mothers) "Always."  Our reception was held at Chuck's sister's home complete with her awesome neighbors who directed traffic and aunts who added the perfect touch to all the details. It was magical for us, the newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in his Mess Dress and his bride ready to take on the world.

Angie's Hiking Outfit!
Within one week of Chuck's graduation and just days after our wedding we had made our way half way across the country driving my beautiful, red, 1974 Camaro (8 miles to the gallon all the way to Cali baby!) carefree and well, not exactly. We, of course, didn't have much money so we had decided that we should camp on our way. After all, I figured, Chuck is an Eagle Scout, he is great at this and it will be an adventure for me. After several nights in a pup tent and not having brought anything remotely "camping like" in my suitcase I was pretty much done. Seriously, like, he even had these little plastic holders for his soap and his toothbrush and stuff like a raincoat for heavens sake! I had some really cute shoes, a blow dryer and curling iron and a bunch of sun dresses. It was the night in El Paso, Texas that finished me in. After driving all day, getting stopped for speeding in the middle. of. nowhere. Texas. (Yep, that was me driving while Chuck snoozed!), hiking up some mountain to see a fort, in heels, no place to plug in a blow dryer at the KOA Campground and freezing in the desert evening, I was near the edge. What pushed me over was the hail storm as we literally held the tent down with our bodies that night. We didn't camp again for another year!
Yep, there she is,
 the beautiful, red, 1974 Camaro!

The last day of our trip the battery went dead in the beautiful, red, 1974 Camaro. (Did I mention how much I loved my beautiful, red, 1974 Camaro?) We got a jump start in southern California and drove the rest of the way to Sacramento without turning the car off.  We arrived at Mather, parked the beautiful, red 1974 Camaro and there it sat until the next day when we could get help. Yep, we walked to the TLF (Temporary Living Facility, in Air Force speak.) that would be our home for the first few weeks of marriage.

Charles Gordon Mood, Angie Abbate Mood, COL Charles Wayne Mood,
 Sarah Mood Lyons, James Alexander Lyons
Chuck's retirement, April 2012

Here are some take aways after 33 years. Chuck retired from the Air Force last year on April 23, the 32nd anniversary of his commissioning, a job more than well done. We still visit forts on most every road trip and I am still rarely dressed appropriately for the occasion. I sometimes, actually, enjoy the journey more all these years later. Us= me, always in a hurry...Chuck, never too busy to notice the details along the way. We see people with campers now and
we wonder, "What if......" (Campers mind you, not pup tents!). Two amazing children and one equally amazing son-in-law and a grand baby on the way, God has blessed us beyond measure. Chuck is a man of integrity, one of the many great qualities I love about my husband. Thirty three years and counting, "I'll be loving you always"*..."even when the binding cracks and the pages turn to yellow!"*

*Irving Berlin's "Always"
*Dan Fogleberg's "Longer"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Talented Tuesday: The Abbates in the California Desert

In 1938, the United States Bureau of Land Management Small Tract Act allowed citizens to homestead five acre tracts of land in the California High Desert under the condition that they built inhabitable structures on the land within three years. The desert was billed as a great place to seek relief from the crowded urban conditions of Los Angeles and a place for recreation and renewal. 

Here's a quote from the Desert Magazine in 1950 that sums up the conditions that these homesteaders were facing:

Jackrabbit homesteads are only for folks who have a bit of pioneering blood in their veins. The land generally is rough, no water is immediately available, more or less road building has to be done. But fortunately there are many Americans who find infinite pleasure in doing the hard work necessary to provide living accommodations on one of these sites—and cabins are springing up all over the desert country.”
–Desert Magazine 1950

Some of those "many Americans" just happened to be my paternal grandparents. Victor and May Abbott (Abbate) and Victor's siblings Agnes and Frank built weekend getaways in the Yucca Valley on land they acquired through the Small Tract Act. Yep, my grandfather, the plasterer from Sicily, built his own desert getaway. 

Bureau of Land Management records show that Agnes was the first to acquire land in the Yucca Valley on October 4, 1957.  Frank's land was awarded on October 1, 1956 and Victor's on February 9, 1959. *

Here are some of the Abbate ladies celebrating the groundbreaking
of one of the cabins!

Pictures show Agnes,  Frank, Victor and their families enjoying weekends at their cabins hanging out, eating, playing games and getting away from it all for awhile. 

A little research revealed that some of the areas where these cabins were built have been abandoned and the structures are in disrepair.  There are still structures on the lots where both Victor and Frank's cabins stood.  Check out this link to Google Maps to see how the lots look more recently.

Early progress on Victor's cabin on Kickapoo Trail.
Look closely and you can just make out my talented grandfather
 sitting on the porch of his place!

Water and electricity!

A carport!
The completed cabin!

Croce Scalisi, Louisa Abbate, May Abbott and Victor Abbott

May Abbott on the cabin property.
Check out that interesting tree branch above May.
Angie Abbate Mood and Victor
Yep, looks like that's the same Joshua Tree!
Hey there, welcome to my homestead!
Victor Abbott
Hey there, my grandpa built this place!
Angie Abbate Mood, 1965

*Follow these links to view the original Patent details for the land acquisitions.
Frank Abbate
Agnes Abbate
Victor Abbate

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: The Story of the Peach

Sentimental Sunday, a Geneabloggers blog prompt...

This story has been told over and over again to my generation by those of us whose fathers and mothers are descendants of Mary Jane Shepherd Thomas and John Griffin Thomas. Here's my mother's version. Thomas descendants, how does this match up with the version you've been told?

The Story of the Peach, as told by Eucebia Jane Thomas:
"At the home of Big Mother and Pap (John Griffin Thomas), there was a peach tree just beginning to bear fruit and there was one peach that was almost ready but still hanging on the tree. Well.......all of a sudden it was discovered that someone had taken a bite out of the peach while it still clung to the tree.  At that point, Big Mother called all the children out into the yard, lined them up and holding a flat iron in her hand declared that she was going to throw the iron up in the air and the Lord would let it fall on the head of the guilty one.  With that, Lois stepped forward and said she was not going to get her brains knocked out over a peach, so she had to take the punishment.  It was not until years later that Daniel Claude (D.C., my father) confessed to having climbed the tree and taken a bite out of the luscious, ripening peach!"
The players: 
The Mom, Mary Jane Shepherd Thomas
Some of the Thomas boys:
Jim (17), Dessie (15), Fisher (11), Charlie (9), John Roy (4), Daniel  (2)
The Culprit
The Fall Girl
Mary Jane Shepherd Thomas and her children.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Maritime Monday: Leslie returns to the sea...

Welcome to part two of the story of my husband's grandfather, Leslie Gordon Mood. Missed part one? Check it out here.

And, so, "the day that will live in infamy," arrived on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. America was plunged into war, ultimately, on two fronts, Europe and the Pacific.

By 1943 Leslie had traded his job in painting railroad cars for life on the sea again. Leslie's name begins to show up on crew lists for the USAT (United States Army Transport) Belle Isle along with his uncle, Norman Smith in May 1943. As members of the Merchant Marines, Leslie and his uncle, Norman Smith moved cargo from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New York aboard the Belle Isle which had been requisitioned by the United States for war time use.  Leslie served as a 2nd officer on the Belle Isle.

On May 1, 1944 Leslie's name appears on a crew list for the USAT Cristobal, another commercial vessel which was requisitioned by the United States War Shipping Department.  The itenerary indicated that the voyage began in New York with the destination being Scotland. It was his first voyage on the Cristobal. The Cristobal delivered troops to Normandy in June 1944 as part of the D-Day invasion. There are no records that show Leslie on this particular voyage but it takes place just one month after he first signed on with the Cristobal.  Who knows, maybe he was there!

On August 8, 1944 a United States Naturalization record appears for Leslie who provided the address 14 Albion Street in Medford, Massachusetts.  It was often noted on crew lists in the early 1900s that Leslie was "naturalized through his father" when asked about citizenship. Maybe the time had come where that was not quite enough!

Leslie continued to serve as a Merchant Marine in 1945 aboard the S.S. John Milledge, yet another Liberty Ship. Again, the ship was a commercial vessel (owned by the South Atlantic Steamship Company) that had been requisitioned by the War Shipping Administration. Records indicate that the Milledge moved cargo and up to 550 troops between New York and ports in England and France. The vessel also carried Naval Armed Guard Personnel on most of its crossings of the Atlantic.

From The Navy Department Library, regarding the Naval Armed Guard Service and the Merchant Marines during World War II:
"Given such a crucial situation, the problem of moving vast numbers of men and vast supplies of material across submarine infested waters and against land based aircraft became as difficult as the problem of training men and producing the weapons of war. Upon the success or failure of our efforts to move men and goods across the oceans hinged the destiny of the nation. The Chairman of the Maritime Commission has said that the merchant marine did not win the war, but that without merchant shipping the Allies would have lost. If the war gave merchant ships their greatest role in history, it also gave the men who defended these ships against submarines and planes a mission of supreme importance."

Left: Technical Sergeant. Charles Gordon Mood, USMC
Right: Lieutenant. Leslie G. Mood, USMS
January 1945
Including Leslie, three members of the Mood family were participating in the war effort. Leslie's sons, Charles Gordon Mood enlisted in the United State Marine Corps on February 9, 1942 at the age of 19 and Robert Lindsey Mood enlisted in the United States Navy on August 29, 1942, at the age of 17 and served on the U.S.S. Baatan. Harold Emmet Mood enlisted in the United States Army, Army Air Corps on November 16, 1945, at the age of 18, just weeks after the end of the war.

Leslie Gordon Mood and his siblings.
Nellie, Leslie, Josie, Norma, Nettie, Edward, Kempton, and Norman

Phyllis Mood, Charles Gordon Mood, Gertrude Eileen Griffiths (Mood),
Leslie Gordon Mood, and Donna Louise Spinos (Snowball)

Leslie Gordon Mood died in 1954 at the age of 53 and is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford, Massachusetts.

Oh, and, I am pretty confident that the aunt that Leslie was sent too in December 1916 (see part one) was Lavinia Morrisey Larkin who was his grandmother's sister. I love you, with a little detective work and some random queries there she was!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Maritime Monday: Leslie Gordon Mood

Leslie Gordon Mood
My husband's grandfather, Leslie Gordon Mood, was born May 2, 1901 in Shelbourne County, Nova Scotia to Master Mariner Charles Hanson Mood and Eliza Jane Smith (Mood).  Leslie was the second of eight children in the family. The Mood and Smith families were long time residents of the Lower Woods Harbor area on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia where many of the residents earned their living as fishermen. Leslie lived in Nova Scotia until December 1916, when, at 15 years of age, he boarded a passenger ship headed to Boston, Massachusetts.

According to the "Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to US from Foreign Contiguous Territory," his passage was paid for by his father and he had $10 in his pocket when he arrived at the harbor in Massachusetts. He had never been to the United States and the manifest records his "race or people" as "English." Destination? Somerville, Massachusetts to be met by his Aunt _____ Larkin.  (I have yet to establish the connection with her and cannot decipher her first name on the manifest.)  According to the manifest she lived at 27 Packard Avenue, Boston, MA. The current property record for that address shows that the house was built in 1900, so, in all likelihood, it is the home in which Leslie lived when he first arrived in Boston.

Charles Gordon Mood and uncle,
 Captain Norman E. Smith
After arriving in the United States, Leslie joined the team of seamen who worked for his Uncle, Norman Emmons Smith. Smith was the captain of the American S.S. Ruby which appears, from record,s to have been registered to the Ward Line. Leslie started as a seaman and quickly rose to become the 3rd mate ultimately serving as the 2nd mate aboard the ship. The Ruby generally carried 35-40 crew members who were from all over the world including Belguim, Greece, Mexico, Cuba, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Venezula, Norway and the United States. There are many records showing the SS Ruby and her crew arriving at the port in Brooklyn, New York, often having departed from ports in England, France, Italy, and Spain, and, in the 1920s, Cuba including Matanzas, Jucaro, and Guantanemo. One of the manifests on a trip from Cuba has, written at the bottom, "Arbuckle Sugar Refinery." The United States had a large interest in the sugar industry in Cuba in the 1920s and  controlled a great deal of the sugar trade from Cuba. I suppose we could conclude that the trips from New York to Cuba were to bring the raw sugar to the Arbuckle Refinery in New York.

Leslie's name appears on the SS Ruby's crew lists from 1916 until 1921. Leslie eventually returned to Nova Scotia and married Gertrude Eileen Griffiths on October 24, 1922. Gertrude, or "Eileen" as she was commonly known, was born in Sandy Cove, Digby, Nova Scotia. Their marriage record in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, shows that Leslie was 21 years old and that Gertrude was 19.

According to City Directories from the Boston area from 1923 to 1938, it appears that Leslie, along with his bride, returned to Massachusetts, retired from the sea and began his married life as a painter. They lived at 56 Russell Charleston, Boston, MA. Over the next twelve years they became parents of five children: Robert Lindsey, Charles Gordon (my husband's father), Harold Emmet, Phyllis Louise, and Edward. Over the years of raising children they lived in Medford, Massachusetts at 113 Princeton, Medford, MA and 63 Princeton, Medford, MA.

The 1940 US Census shows the family of seven with children ranging from age 6 to 17 years old living at 22 Webber Street in Medford, MA with Leslie employed as a railroad car painter working 48 hours per week and earning an annual salary of $1280.  Robert, 17 years old, the eldest son, was employed as a machinist at a tool manufacturer. The US Census was taken on April 2, 1940, Europe was at war and the United States was just 1 1/2 years away from what President Roosevelt called, "the day that will live in infamy."

Next week, part two, Leslie returns to the sea...