Things Found in a Billfold…

oscarbillfold

This sounds like a “Family Feud” category, but it isn’t. I have a small leather billfold in my collection. It obviously belonged to my Great-Grandfather, Oscar McKinley (1887-1969). While there wasn’t any money in it, there were a few interesting items tucked inside.

oscarmckcards

First, there were 3 of those paper “Identification” cards that come in wallets. All 3 had Oscar’s name & his address: Brooklyn, Indiana Box 56. He lived on South Main Street. His telephone # was 59. The emergency contact on 2 of the cards was Oscar’s brother, Fred. On the 3rd card, the emergency contact was his wife, Rilla. Oscar and Rilla Throckmorton Caldwell got married in 1941. Wonder why he had 3 cards.

oscarmckadamsidcard

Then there was another official ID card for his job at Adams Division of the LeTourneau-Westinghouse Company in Indianapolis. It is dated Oct. 17, 1955.

hrupprechtcard

H. Rupprecht was having a birthday February 17 & there was a request for birthday cards. Notice on the above work ID card, H. Rupprecht signed the authorization as representative of the Personnel Department.

revhmmyrickcard

There was a business card for the Rev. H.M. Myrick, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene at 325 W Raymond, Indianapolis. H.M. Myrick was probably Herman Myrick, who was Oscar’s cousin.

oscarmckcheck

The bottom half of a check was also in the billfold. It was for 25 dollars for “Priscilla McKinley Est.” signed by Oscar. Priscilla McKinley was Oscar’s Mother & she died in 1941.

oscarmck1938tax

He kept his Indiana state tax form for 1938 in this billfold. According to the form, he worked as a trucker for J.D. Adams Co. Indianapolis. He made $1,184.91, had a $1,000 exemption and the tax due was $1.85.

oscarmckautoregistration

 

The 1939 Indiana Motor Vehicle Registration card was also in the billfold. He owned a Ford & paid a fee of $6.

 

 

oscarmckgasolinerationThen there was the cover of a Basic Mileage Ration book from the U.S.A. Office of Price Administration, dated Nov. 20, 1942. It indicated Oscar drove a “Ford V-8 Coach.” It was an “A” ration book, which allowed Oscar 3-4 gallons of gasoline per week. It was the lowest priority for gasoline rationing during WWII.

Finally, there was a folded news clipping from a Martinsville, Indiana newspaper with no date. The title was “She Was a Teacher” with a woman’s photograph under the title.

While it does not give the full name of the woman, it mentions “Miss Asher,” who taught school for over 35 years. It appears to be a eulogy for Miss Asher. So who was Miss Asher & why did Oscar keep this clipping in his billfold? Turns out that there were 2 Asher sisters who were school teachers, Goldie and Grenda. The Indianapolis Star reported that the sisters completed their training for the “4 year elementary license” at the Indiana State Teachers College at Terre Haute in 1931. Obviously, they had been teaching for quite a while before then. According to the 1940 US Census, they lived in Jackson Twp, Morgan County, IN. Goldie never married & died December 19, 1942. She was 55 years old. It would make sense that she is the “Miss Asher” mentioned in the article, as notices on the back of the clipping mention Christmas. There is one more connection between Oscar and Goldie Asher: they were First Cousins once removed.

So there we have it, the things found in Oscar’s billfold. I wonder what people would find interesting about the things we carry today?

© MJM 2017

Did They Know Their Neighbors?

While researching the US Census records on Ancestry.com, I came across a famous name on the same page as one of my ancestors. The 1930 US Census record for Brown Twp of Morgan County Indiana has the George Konig family listed just before the John Dillinger family. Was this family related to THE John Dillinger? The thought was intriguing.

1930uscensuskonigdillinger

First, who was George Konig? His wife, “Zella,” on the census, was O’Zella Mae McKinley. She was the daughter of Jeremiah (1852-1934) and Polly (1859-1941) McKinley. She married 3 times, first to John Russel McCracken in 1917, next to Byron M. Weller in 1924, and finally to George Konig in 1927.

John W. Dillinger was the father of the notorious gangster, John Dillinger (1903-1934). General information about the Dillinger family from internet sources indicates that they moved from Indianapolis, IN to the Mooresville, IN area around 1920. John robbed a grocery store in Mooresville and went to prison. After he was released in 1933, at the height of the Depression, he continued his life of crime. He started robbing banks. He reportedly returned to Mooresville to visit his family through his final year. On July 22, 1934 he was killed by FBI agents after leaving the Biograph Theater in Chicago, IL. His body was returned to Mooresville before burial in Crown Hill Cemetery of Indianapolis.

So the question is, did George and O’Zella know about the son of their neighbor? Did they ever encounter him? How close was their residence to the Dillinger residence? It is not known exactly what the census enumerator’s route was—and I haven’t looked at a plat map for that timeframe to know if the homes were “next door” (or as close to that as farms would be) or across the road from each other.

Looking at the 1940 US Census, George and O’Zella have moved to Jacksonburg, Wayne Co, IN. The Census indicates that on April 1, 1935, they lived in Richmond, Wayne Co, IN. So, when did they leave the Mooresville area? Were they even there in 1934 when all of the excitement about John Dillinger’s last days was happening? Right now I don’t have an answer to those questions. But it is interesting to speculate that they at least knew about their famous neighbor.

© MJM 2017

Jerry McKinley was a Good Man

Jeremiah McKinley was the youngest of a family of seven children born to George & Polly McKinley. He was born in 1852 and had been a life long resident of Morgan Co. The parents, brothers & sisters preceded him in death.

Jan. 4, 1879, he was married to Priscilla Stafford. Six children came to gladden their home. His companion of fifty-five yrs., two sons, Oscar & Fred McKinley, his daughter Ozella Konig, and four grandchildren, all residents of Brooklyn, survive him.

It is with mingled feelings we hear the news of the passing of the few remaining pioneers of our Community.

jerrymckinley1926

Jeremiah McKinley 1926

We who knew Jerry best, with the family feel our loss.

Why? Because this tribute could be written in these words, “He was a faithful friend.” He didn’t go away from his home or Community to find a large place to fill, but he used the untold riches that were hidden in the depths of his heart.

He took what God gave. Some have been given more. Many have been given less. But he took what he had and made for his Soul a house of happiness & rendered a service near home.

Jerry made friends easily. His cleverness & humor gave us a tonic thought.

The goodness of his character attracted for him friends & the genuineness of his character kept them.

He was honestly & sincerely interested in his neighbors and this expressed itself in an open and understandable type of neighborliness & he and his family have created responsive neighborliness among us.

The many friends who have called at the home & those who are attending this service testify to the constructive influence of his happy friendly live.

Did you ever find the happiness flower? It isn’t so hard to find. It opens wide at the morning hour, In the meadows of Cheerful Mind.

–Eulogy for Jeremiah McKinley, 1934

A copy of this handwritten message is in my collection. There is no indication of who wrote it. However, I assume it was probably written by the pastor who presided at Jerry’s funeral. As mentioned below, that was the Rev. O.C. Haas.

On Thursday, January 18, 1934, there was the following notice on page 1 of The Mooresville Times: “McKINLEY RITES SATURDAY. Funeral services for Jeremiah McKinley, 81 yr old retired farmer will be held Saturday morning at the Brooklyn M.E. Church with the Rev. O.C. Haas in charge. Burial will be in Centerton. Mr. McKinley lived in Morgan Co. all his life. He was the son of George & Polly McKinley.”

So who was Jeremiah “Jerry” McKinley? For one thing, he was my GG Grandfather. As the eulogy says, he was born in 1852. His death certificate lists his birthday as May 28. He died January 18, 1934. He lived on South Main Street of Brooklyn, IN. He was a farmer in Morgan County, IN. His parents were George McKinley (b. ~1802) and Polly (Mary) Packwood (b. ~1807).

He married Priscilla Staffojerrypriscillamckinleyrd (1859-1941) January 4, 1879 in Morgan County, IN. The picture shown was given to me by my Grandfather & is actually a very small tintype with the oval opening in the frame approx 3/4 of an inch long. I do not have 100% proof that this is a picture of Jerry and Priscilla, but the features seem to match later pictures of them. They had the following children:

Oscar (1887-1969), Fred (1890-1972), Unnamed son (lived 4 days in April 1892), Perley (1893-1894), Ozella (1895-1980) and George (1900-1902).

 

I received the McKinley family Bible from my Uncle and the children are listed on the “Births” and “Deaths” pages.

mckinleybiblebirths

McKinley Bible Births

mckinleybibledeaths

McKinley Bible Deaths

The Agricultural Census Schedule for 1880 has Jeremiah listed in Clay Township, Morgan County, line 5. At that time he was renting his farm “for shares of product.” The farm consisted of 21 acres of improved land and 19 acres of “woodland & forest.” The value of the farm was $400 for the farm land, fences & buildings; $200 for farming implements & machinery; and $250 for livestock. The estimated value of all farm productions, (sold, consumed or on hand) in 1879 was $400. He had 1 horse, 1 milch cow and produced 100lbs of butter. There was 1 swine on the farm. Jerry had 36 barn-yard chickens, producing 200 eggs in 1879. He had 9 acres of oats, producing 200 bushels. The rest of the farm was orchard, 6 acres in apples (400 trees) producing 300 bushels & 5 acres in peaches (400 trees) with no listed production. The total value of orchard products was $150. He cut 30 cords of wood at a value of $100.

By 1920, Jerry and Priscilla had moved to town. They show up in the US Census in Brooklyn, IN with their son, Fred. Their other son, Oscar and his family are listed just above them on the census.

By the way, the eulogy mentions 4 grandchildren who were living when Jerry died. They were Oscar’s sons, Myron and Loran (my Grandfather) and Ozella’s son and daughter. Ozella had another daughter later in the year.

So there it is, information on the life of Jerry McKinley. If it weren’t for the eulogy, there would just be a selection of facts, but that added a little more insight to the kind of man he was, besides a farmer, Jerry McKinley was a good man.

© MJM 2017

Uncle Fred–US Army Veteran

Fred McKinley was born in Morgan County, Indiana, March 21, 1890. He was my Grandfather Loran McKinley’s Uncle. His parents were Jeremiah (1852-1934) and Priscilla (1851-1941) McKinley.fredmckwwi

He was 27 years old & single when he registered for the draft in 1917. His card # is 28. He was living in Clay Twp, Morgan County, Indiana. He worked as a farmer. He was of medium height and medium build, had blue eyes and brown hair.

The Martinsville Democrat newspaper was a source of information regarding the draft. On July 13, 1917 it lists Fred with draft #822 of 1501 registrants from Morgan county. He was not called in the first draft.

Then on April 26, 1918, 58 men were called to Martinsville to the conscription station. Thirty of those men were selected to go to Camp Taylor, Kentucky for training. This is to “fill Morgan county’s quota on the first call of the second draft.” It said that farmers would be given “deferred classification for the present if their cause merits it.”

Even though Fred was a farmer, he did not get the deferred classification & on Friday, May 3, 1918, he is included as part of the group of 33 men who left for training camp the Saturday before “to make themselves ready for actual service on Uncle Sam’s firing line in his great fight to make the world safe for democracy.” It is said that there was a large group of friends and family members at the train station to see the men off.

I got a copy of his service record card from the Indiana State Archives. It states he had the rank of Private in the 159 Depot Brigade, which was essentially the training brigade at Camp Taylor. He was inducted on April 27, 1918 in Morgan County, IN. He was discharged November 1, 1918. He did not go overseas.

The story is that Fred got the flu while in the Army and this is why he was not shipped out. In searching for more information regarding the flu epidemic during the war, I came across a blog post from January 4, 2011 from the Filson Historical Society <filsonhistorical.org>. It mentioned that at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, KY, there was an influenza outbreak in 1918 that killed 824 soldiers and caused 13,000 to be hospitalized. I expect Fred was one of those 13,000.

Fred’s service record card also lists his honorable discharge as S.C.D. When I searched the internet for this code, I found that it is “Service Connected Disability.” His card states that “in view of occupation he was, on date of discharge, reported 10% disabled.” So I guess his experience left him with some kind of permanent disability. I guess I’ll have to do more searching on what exactly his issue was.

Grandpa had a large oval photograph of Uncle Fred that he gave me. It is the same picture as above. It is very cumbersome & the frame is broken, so it sits in a box in my closet instead of hanging on the wall. There were also a few less formal photographs of him in uniform that were given to me by Grandpa.

Once he returned home, Fred spent the rest of his life in the Brooklyn, IN area, continued farming and served as the sexton of the Brooklyn cemetery. He never married. He died at age 81, March 8, 1972 at the Veterans Hospital in Marion, Indiana. Grandpa also had Fred’s burial flag. It is now in my collection as well.

One more thing: On November 15, 1918, the Martinsville Democrat had the front page story of “The end of the war, the world war, the greatest conflict between man and peoples that, we hope, will ever be recorded in this world’s history.” Unfortunately, there were more wars to come. But the end of the “Great War” is commemorated each November 11 as Veteran’s day. Thank you to all who have served.

© MJM 2016

80 Years Ago Today…

September 20, 1936, 80 years ago, my grandparents got married!

margloranLoran R McKinley was almost 20 and his bride, Margaret P Millikan had just turned 19 a few days before. Loran was the son of Oscar McKinley and Gertrude Portis. Margaret was the daughter of Arza Millikan and Mary Boone.

They got married in West Elkton, Ohio at the Friends Church at 5 p.m. Loran’s Uncle, Elbert Portis, performed the ceremony. I have no pictures of the wedding or from the wedding day that I know of. There are some snapshots from a trip they made to West Elkton in August 1936. Such a cute young couple!

There is a news clipping announcing the wedding. It mentions that Mr. & Mrs. Myron McKinley (Loran’s brother) were attendants. Listed guests included Margaret’s parents and brother, Clark; Loran’s mother, Gertrude; Uncle Elbert’s wife, Esther & some of her family who lived in West Elkton.

Grandma recorded in her diary from that “big day” that they had a big dinner with 4 cakes!

Also in her diary was a loose piece of paper that looks like the gift list. Some of the gifts they received were: a matching 7 piece water set, cookie jar & jelly dish; a 6 serving glass ware set with plates, pie plates, goblets; salt & pepper shakers, creamer & sugar bowl, 4 cake plates; a wool Indian blanket; a pie plate and medium baking dish; serving tray; pink & white candlewick bedspread; pale blue glass candle holders; mixing bowl; measuring cup; 2 piece juicer; additional cake plates; kitchen utensils; noodle cutter; double boiler; toaster; linens; towels; table lamp; magazine table; tea kettle. They actually got several salt & pepper shakers, a few potato mashers and a couple of egg beaters.

They started their life together in rented rooms in Middletown, OH. Grandpa was working at the American Rolling Mills Company (ARMCO Steel works). He was also training to become an overhead crane operator there.

They had 3 children together, 2 boys and a girl and moved several times through the years throughout central Indiana. They finally settled in Sheridan, IN, which is where Grandma was from.

Margaret also wrote “May I ever keep things as they are now—Happy—Love–etc. & may they ever grow deeper.” Sadly, while they started out happily, Grandma’s wish didn’t completely come true as they were divorced after about 28 years. But without this union, my Dad & his siblings wouldn’t be here to carry on the line through their descendants.

©MJMcK 2016