Friday, September 24, 2010

Edward Joseph Harmon and Kate Nellie Arthur

 Edward Joseph Harmon and Kate Nellie Arthur are my great-grandparents, through their youngest son, Fred.  They had both passed on by the time I was born but my mother remembers them well and has shared many stories with me.

Edward Joseph Harmon was born 9 January 1883 in either Morrison or Round Grove, Whiteside Co, Illinois to Walter and Fannie (Arnold) Harmon, the first of five children.   When he was perhaps a year or so old, Walter and Fannie left Illinois and homesteaded in Clark Co, Dakota Territory.   He was raised on a farm in or around the community of Clark.  

Kate Arthur Harmon,
date unknown
Kate Nellie Arthur was born 5 Nov 1889 on a homestead near Trent, Moody Co, South Dakota, just three days after South Dakota achieved statehood.  Her parents were Homer Eugene Arthur and Amanda Savilla Myers;  she was the fifth of six children.  Her parents later left Moody Co. and traveled north to Clark Co. where Homer obtained more farmland.

Ed and Kate were married 30 November 1910 about six miles east of Clark, presumably at one of their homes.  They lived in Clark Co. or neighboring Codington Co. their entire married life with the exception of a short stint in Santa Cruz, California in the late 1930s.  They had three sons:  Kenneth, Harry and Fred, my grandfather.  Seven grandchildren would follow in later years.

Obituary for Edward Joseph Harmon
found in Fred Harmon's personal papers,
newspaper unknown, but likely a Clark
or Codington County, SD newspaper

Ed suffered a stroke and for several years was cared for by Kate in their home, but eventually he had to be moved to a nursing home.  He died 31 Jan 1960 in Watertown, Codington Co, South Dakota.  Kate lived to the age of 84 and died 21 Sept 1974 in Clark, Clark Co, South Dakota.  They are laid to rest in Lorinda Cemetery, Graceland Township, Codington Co, South Dakota.

I remember my grandfather talking about his parents often.  His father was strict and expected hard work from his sons.  I speculate that the sense of humor my grandfather had came from his father.  I think my mother and I both have some of it and I can see those same things coming out in my oldest daughter.  We often refer to it as the "Harmon sense of humor."  His mother, Kate, was the family historian and photographer.  My grandfather was given a family history record for Christmas 1955 that we still have today.  In it, Kate painstakingly laid out her son's pedigree, listing birth, marriage and death dates and locations, all the way through his great-grandparents.  Without her information to get me started, it would have been a much slower process to gather the data I have today. 

We have copies of many of the wonderful photos that Kate took over the years.  Apparently she liked to catch you unawares and take your picture, often times by coming around the corner of the house and taking the photo.  Some of her grandchildren later termed this "shooting from the hip" as she'd hold that camera against her hip, look down through the view finder, and capture the image.   One of the other memories my mother shared with me was Kate's love of books.  Mom remembers she had stacks of books upstairs in her house. 

My grandfather, Fred, had a terrible sweet tooth and he and his mother would make homemade ice cream.  They would eat the whole container just the two of them.  Apparently my grandfather used to crack jokes that we "gotta get ready for the 4th" [of July] in imitation of his mother.  Now I always remember him as a sort of "bah humbug" about 4th of July but as a child his parents would have a celebration that required some big preparations.  I understand one of those was hand cranked ice cream so his sweet tooth was established early in life.

I'd like to think that my love of books, family history, and photos comes from Kate.  I was born just a few short months after her death, but she knew that my mom, her youngest grandchild, was going to have her first baby.  My research would be nothing without the wonderful documentation Kate left behind.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

This post should more aptly be called "Why I Haven't Had Time to Blog".  Since the beginning of June, the following things have happened, both genealogical and non-genealogical, and in no particular order:
  • Kindergarten graduation
  • two weeks of tennis lessons
  • swim lessons
  • our thirteenth wedding anniversary
  • my husband was involved in a small car accident (he was fine)
  • car shopping (the car was not fine)
  • a few days spent at Tamarack Resort in beautiful Donnelly, Idaho with my husband's father and his wife
  • some volunteer work
  • I have been attending a new RootsMagic User Group recently established in my area.  There have been monthly meetings held at our local family history center.  I have been the only non-LDS person in attendance and also the youngest.  I was very flattered when the organizer asked me to present a topic on color coding, a feature I use and love.
  • My mother and grandmother took a trip to western South Dakota to visit my mother's first cousin on her paternal side (Harmon), and then off to eastern South Dakota to visit with all of the remaining family from my grandmother's side (Hiby and Hanson).  I had prepared a list of cemeteries for her to visit and photograph the headstones with her new digital camera.  She had done this for me 6 years ago, but it was on film.  She was hoping to avoid doing this again, but I convinced her digital images would be better!  :)
  • One week prior to my mom's departure in June, I received an email from a Clark County, South Dakota resident who was writing on behalf of a woman without a computer.  As we wrote back and forth, it was determined that his friend, Mary Lou, was a granddaughter of Homer Arthur (my 2nd great-grandfather), making her my late grandfather's first cousin.  It was an absolute thrill and the timing couldn't have been better, but I had to scramble to gather data to send with my mom.  As a result of all the back and forth emailing, my mother and grandmother were able to meet Mary Lou, her husband, and later her brother and his wife.  There were many stories shared back and forth, of what the rumors were on the family, and even a few photos.  My research to establish Homer's parents as Thomas Arthur and Eunice Brown was new to her and she was excited to know this piece of information.
  • a road trip from our home in southwest Idaho to the Oregon coast.  This long of a trip was a new experience for our two- and six-year old daughters.  The older one actually made it four hours before asking "Are we there yet?"  We stayed with a college girlfriend of mine in Vancouver, Washington and then met up with my mother-in-law, her husband, and our two nephews (ages three and six) at the Portland, Oregon airport.  We spent the next five glorious days taking in the sights and sounds of the coast from Tillamook to Newport, with our home base in a beautiful house on Siletz Bay in Lincoln City.  It was truly a wonderful way to relax and watch our daughters play with their grandparents and cousins.
  • school supplies and clothes shopping
  • and finally, the first weeks of a new school year.  It is a big transition going from half-day Kindergarten to all-day First Grade.  She loves school and her teacher said she is a "reading rock star".  We are very proud of her.
So I am in "catch up" mode and will get back on track with sharing some information.  My intent is to switch gears and focus on the Harmon and Arthur lines as some exciting discoveries have been made recently.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Dates in My Family History

Important dates for September in my family history include:

10th - death of Iver Hiby, my 2nd great-grandfather, in 1951 in Hamlin, South Dakota

21st - death of Kate Nellie Arthur, my great-grandmother, in 1974 in Clark Co, South Dakota.  She was married to Edward Harmon.

22nd - anniversary of Abraham Lincoln Greathouse and Sarah Jane Johnson in 1910.  They were married in Kansas, likely Johnson Co.  Sarah was my 2nd great-grandmother.  Abraham is the brother of Sarah's first husband, William Michael Greathouse.