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Treasure Chest Thursday: G.W. Helbling and Anna May Beerbower Art

Drawings done by Gerard William “G.W.” Helbling as frames for pictures of himself and the love of his life, Anna May (Beerbower) Helbling.

Helbling Family, Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

This has been a challenging year and sadly the blog has been one of the (many) things pushed to the bottom of the list- so sorry. Hopefully now there will be some time for writing and posting, as there are so many stories and wonderful artifacts to share!

The above images are on dark gray cardstock, likely ink and paint for the backgrounds and the images cut from photographs. Gerard William, or “G.W.” Helbling, was an accomplished artist, silk screen sign painter, and even an undertaker (that takes artistic and esthetic skills).

G.W. was born in 1882 in St. Louis, Missouri, most likely, and Ann May Beerbower, the love of his life, was born in 1881 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since we do not have the 1890 census, it is more challenging to determine when GW and May might have met. Anna’s mother (Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower) was listed in the 1897 Indianapolis City Directory with her sons Edgar and Robert, and possibly daughter Anna May lived there as well- she likely would not have been listed, as she was only 16 at the time. Anna Missouri was listed as a widow, however she was actually divorced from her husband Edgar Peter Beerbower. (They would later remarry.) By 1900 Anna (Missouri) was living in St. Louis, where she was enumerated as living with her 23 year-old son Edgar S., and 18 year-old daughter “May.”

G.W. Helbling was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and his parents resided there between 1890-1900 per city directories and censuses. It is likely that the two met in St. Louis, after Anna moved there sometime between 1897 and 1900. They married on 24 November 1904, when Anna was 23, G.W. 22.

Their daughter, Mary Theresa (Helbling) McMurray, thought that he had created this art sometime in their early years together. Using pictures from when they were young teens- or maybe younger?- he painted the backgrounds first, then cut out the photos and glued them on. He was the “wild man” and she his “queen.”

The couple had almost fifty years together of their love story, but Anna died on November 9, 1954; their 50th anniversary would have been on the 24th. Their love story lives on in the sweet artifacts they left behind, and in the legacy of their children.

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos and artifacts.
  2. City directories and censuses.

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Amanuensis Monday: The Will of David Springsteen

The beginning lines of the will of David Springsteen (1697?-1763) of Newtown, NY.
The beginning lines of the will of David Springsteen (1697?-1763) of Newtown, NY. (Click to enlarge.)

Helbling Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Dated March 25, 1753.

In the name of God, Amen. I, David Springsteen

of Newtown, in Queens County, in the Colony of New York

Yeoman being in perfect Health and Strength of 

Body and of sound mind memory and understanding

Wills have pretty formulaic language to make sure the lawyers and the courts know exactly what the deceased had in mind for disposition of money and property after death. Most wills are just extracted by genealogists- basically, the important information is copied, sometimes with quite a lot of abbreviations- rather than a full amanuensis, or transcription, being done. In the case of David Springsteen’s will, however, we will make it a bit of a hybrid, because while we don’t want you to fall asleep, this document is important-  this will proves all sorts of relationships. It was really a gold mine for advancing our Springsteen research!!

I give and bequeath unto Anntie my Dearly beloved Wife the whole and Sole use Benefits Incomes & Profits of all and singular my dwelling Houses Messuages Lands Meadows Barns Orchards and Hereditaments with the Appurtenances in New Town…

Of course, there is always this caveat:

during so long a time as she shall continue my widow.

If a woman remarried, all that she had worked to build with the previous husband was not hers- it went to the next heir in line, usually the sons, and often there was a small amount for the daughters.

He also gave Annetie 1/3 of his movable estate, which included cash, furniture, the buggies, etc. The 1/3 was considered her ‘dower right.’ (A husband could not leave his wife with absolutely nothing.)

So we have confirmed the name of his wife, using the will he wrote in 1753. Always check the dates the will was written, proved, and probated- they vary, and are usually NOT the date of death- despite what one sees on many online family trees!

Now, on to their oldest son, who would usually get the majority of the estate:

I give and devise unto to my eldest son Casparus Springsteen the dwelling house in which I now live with the barn and orchard there and lands adjoining…

The will continues with detailed land descriptions and other parcels to Casparus. Next,

 I…bequeath unto my son Garret Springsteen…all that of my dwelling house and Tract of land there where… Garret now lives.

David also leaves his son Garret two pieces of meadow, one of which he

... had of my Father Casparus Springsteen Deceased.

So David’s will not only lists himself and his wife, and then children, but he mentioned his father as well! One more generation back confirmed… We also thus know that his father had passed away by the date the will was written, so that would be by 29 March 1753 at the latest.

The remaining 2/3 of his estate was to be divided equally among all his children, including, in addition to what they had already received through the will, a share each to Casparus and Garrett, plus a share to each of their married sisters:

Mary the now wife of Paulus Vandevoorst

Auriantie the wife of Jonathan Provoost

Charity the wife of Daniel Fleet

Grietie the now wife of Frederick Van Wicklen

So now we have the married names of the daughters as well as their first names- and their husband’s first names too. We also can assume that their son Joost, baptized on 21 July 1734 in Jamaica, NY, probably died as a child or young adult, since he was not mentioned in his father’s will of 1753.

David named his wife Annetie and his two sons, Casparus and Gerrit, as executors.

Yes, the will of David Springsteen was a gold mine. We started with a hypothesis of the parents of Gerrit Springsteen, our ancestor, and the will confirms his parents, siblings, and even his grandfather!

Nice that we can now read wills in our jammies rather than going to the courthouse!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999. Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923 (New York County); Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (New York County); Probate Place: New York, New York. http://www.Ancestry.com.

  2.  “…Messuages… and Hereditaments with the Appurtenances”  Messuages are out buildings and the land surrounding- like a barn and corral. The second phrase is a legal term that conveys specific rights, in addition to the items listed individually, such as rental income, right of way, etc. See Judy Russell’s “The Legal Genealogist” post of 5 Aug 2015, “A Deed Indeed.” http://www.legalgenealogist.com/2015/08/05/a-deed-indeed-2/

  3. Also see Black’s Law Dictionary– http://thelawdictionary.org/

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Thrifty Thursday: More About Peter Ashenfelter’s Taxes in 1798

1 October 1798 US Direct Tax list for Peter Ashenfelter, Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania- Headings.
1 October 1798 US Direct Tax list for Peter Ashenfelter, Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania- Headings. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Helbling Family, Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

Since today is the day third quarter estimated taxes are due in the US, and many property tax bills are due in September, it seemed a good day to post about another tax record found for Peter Ashenfelter.

We previously posted about the taxation on the stone house with real glass windows that Peter Ashenfelter owned in 1798 Pennsylvania. (See Peter Ashenfelter- 1798 Taxation.) Recently, when searching for Beerbower taxation records (Peter’s daughter Elizabeth Ashenfelter married Caspar J. Bierbrauer/Beerbower), we came upon another entry for a Peter Ashenfelter:

1 October 1798 US Direct Tax list for Peter Ashenfelter, Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania- tax record.
1 October 1798 US Direct Tax list for Peter Ashenfelter, Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania- Tax Record. (Click to enlarge.)

This entry is for one old log house, 24′ by 20 ‘ (you may have a single room that big!), 1 old log barn 48′ by 22′, and 1 new log joiner shop 24′ by 16’. The single dwelling house was worth $53, and the 158 acres were worth $656.

So is this the same Peter Ashenfelter? Or is it the son, also named Peter? The younger Peter would have been just 18 years old- somewhat young to own that much property. But it was possible, and since the buildings were so old, maybe the father had given his older property to his son?

The theory that these records are for two different Peter Ashenfelters is strengthened by the fact that both state a Peter Ashenfelter is occupying the property.

The log home tax record notes an adjoining land owner, Peter Gardner. Looking at property maps might help us determine if these Peters are two different men.

The stone house was on just 2 acres, and Peter was getting older- 54 in 1798. Might he and his wife Elizabeth (Reiser) Ashenfelter have moved to town, but still owned the farm and maybe his son(s) or hired hands helped him work it? Again, looking at property maps may help answer our questions.

One point suggests that these records are for the same man- they are not called “Sr.” or “Jr.” in the records, which was common when there were two men with the same name in the same township or county.

Additionally, there are records for other Peter Ashenfelters in Pennsylvania, and it appears that the son of Peter (1744-1822) also named Peter (1780-1846), was buried in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Some records, like an 1830 census found, do not have a male old enough to be either of these men. So possibly the son Peter moved to a different area.

Looks like it will take some deeper research and sorting out of these Ashenfelters to find the actual facts about this family.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Peter Ashenfelter- 1798 Taxationhttp://heritageramblings.net/2015/06/17/peter-ashenfelter-1798-taxation/
  2. There are no page numbers on the tax lists shown above. Both can be found on Ancestry.com.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Mystery Monday: Who Is ‘A. Beerbower’ in the Frances “Fannie” Isabella (Brown) Chapman Photo Collection?

A. Beerbower, Iowa City, Iowa photographer.
A. Beerbower, Iowa City, Iowa photographer. (Click to enlarge.)

Beerbower Family, Helbling Family (Click for Family Tree)

A kind lady who owns this photo contacted us after finding the blog’s stories about other Beerbowers. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly who this “A. Beerbower” is. We do have a few possibilities, and knowing the photographer and being able to determine approximately when he was in business and where can help us pinpoint who it might be. Thankfully, we have a scan of the reverse of the picture, and it includes the photographer’s name and place of business.

Isaac Augustus Wetherby was a portrait painter in Boston, Massachusetts in 1849, but by 1854 he had taken a photo of the old Iowa Capitol, so most likely the image of A. Beerbower was taken sometime around or after that later date. Further research listed on a walking tour in Iowa City stated that Wetherby had a commercial photography studio from 1854-1874 in Iowa City, so we now have our time frame for the photo.

A. Beerbower, Iowa City, Iowa photographer, reverse.
A. Beerbower, Iowa City, Iowa photographer, reverse.

Iowa City can be a transient place, since it is the home of the University of Iowa. Students from other states attend the university, and people often had their likeness made when they were visiting an area. So we know that just because the photo was taken there does not mean that A. Beerbower actually lived there.

Andrew C. Beerbower is one candidate for consideration as “A. Beerbower.” He was born about 1843 in Ohio (possibly Hardy, Holmes, Ohio) to George Albert Beerbower and Margaret Virginia Wolgamott. George was the son of Caspar J. Beerbower (1782-1851) and Christina (Reiber) Beerbower (1784-1849), as was Eleazer John Beerbower (1815-1882), our direct ancestor.

Andrew’s parents moved the family to Lincoln Twp., Madison County, Iowa, about 1852, when Andrew was about nine. Andrew was 17 when war broke out, and enlisted in Company H, Iowa 23rd Infantry Regiment on 29 Aug 1862. Might this image have been one he had taken for a sweetheart or his parents before he went off to war? Possibly, but often those photos would be in full military uniform. Also, Iowa City was 150 miles from Andrew’s home.

The photo was not taken when he came home, as he did not make it home- he was killed at the Battle of Milliken’s Bend, in Louisiana, on 7 June 1863- his birthday per one account.

Andrew’s brother was Albert A. Beerbower- yet another candidate for the above picture. Albert was also born in Ohio, about 1845 or so. He married his first wife in Montezuma, Powesheik, Iowa. Looking at census records, we find an Albert Beerbower in the 1880 US Federal Census- in Iowa City! He was 35 that year though, so could this be his picture? (Have not yet found him in the 1870 census.)

At first glance, one last candidate is Albert W. Beerbower, born September 1888 in Iowa to Orange J. Beerbower and Jennie B. Beerbower. When one reads back that our photographer was only in practice from 1854-1874, we see that we can eliminate this particular Beerbower.

There were a lot of Beerbowers in Madison County, Iowa around these years, so there may be others, or the man in the picture could have been from another state entirely. Right now though, my wager is on Albert A. Beerbower being the proper identification of this photo- if he was found in the 1870 census in the same place, it would be a very plausible conclusion, and age 25 may be closer to his actual age when the portrait was taken.

The only way we will know the name of this young man for sure is by someone else having the same image and knowing who it is. We hope that one of our readers will be just that person, and contact us!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. I. A. Wetherby– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Augustus_Wetherby
  2. “Old Capitol” in Iowa, 1854 by I.A. Wetherby- Isaac A. Wetherby image of Old Capitol at the time of the 1854 Johnson County fair. The Capitol was in Iowa City, Johnson Co., Iowa until 1857 when it moved to Des Moines. https://secure.flickr.com/photos/shsi-library/5330254063/in/photostream/
  3. Wetherby Cottage– http://eventful.com/iowacity/events/photography-walking-tour-iowa-city-/E0-001-011629261-7
  4. History of Madison County, Iowa, and Its People, Volume 1. Herman A. Mueller, editor,  S. J. Clarke publishing Company, 1915, page 298. http://files.usgwarchives.net/ia/madison/bios/madbioa-c.txt

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Thriller Thursday: Elsie Janis and “That Fascinating Baseball Slide”

Elsie Janis (Beerbower) in the April, 1913 magazine, "Theatre"- 'At Home' section. There, Vol. 17, No. 146, Page 225, via Archive.org.
Elsie Janis (Beerbower) in the April, 1913 magazine, “Theatre”- ‘At Home’ section. “Theatre,” Vol. 17, No. 146, Page 225, via Archive.org.

Helbling Family, Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

While some of our dear readers may not actually consider this to be a real thriller like some of the wild movies or tv shows that are out there today,  today’s post does at least have a “whodunnit?” component. And then there is the thrill of research, though sometimes gone too far… (maybe).

As has been mentioned previously on the blog, Elsie Bierbower (1889-1956) was the cousin of Anna May Beerbower (1881-1954), who married William Gerard Helbling. Anna May was the daughter of Edgar Peter Beerbower (1849-1916), while Elsie was the daughter of John Eleazer Bierbower (1858-1929). Elsie went by “Little Elsie” in her child-star years, and then used “Elsie Janis” as her stage name.

Elsie started her career in vaudeville and on the stage, but eventually added audio recordings and later movies. “That Fascinating Baseball Slide”- AKA just “Fascinating Baseball Slide,” was her first recording, in 1912.

Add for new Elsie Janis records in 1912, published in The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, PA), page 7, column 6, via Google Newspapers.
Ad for new Elsie Janis records in 1912, published in The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, PA), 28 December 1912, page 7, column 6, via Google Newspapers.

Those of us who grew up with piles of records alongside our turnables- actually called ‘record players’  at the time, ‘turntables’  probably later in the 70s- know that the name in parentheses under the title is the name of the songwriter. This record shows that Elsie wrote the song, as well as sang it with an orchestra.

Label from "Fascinating Baseball Slide" by Elsie Janis, 1912, via Library of Congress.
Label from “Fascinating Baseball Slide” a 10″ record by Elsie Janis, 1912, via Library of Congress. (Click to enlarge.)

A number of websites and other resources state that Elsie wrote the song.

Imagine the surprise when this result popped up in a search:

Copyright record for "That Fascinating Baseball Slide," in Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Volume 7, Number 1, Page 484, via GoogleBooks.
Copyright record for “That Fascinating Baseball Slide,” in Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Volume 7, Number 1, Page 484, via GoogleBooks.

I have been unable to find this song with Elsie as author, with or without the word “That” in the title, listed in the official copyright books printed by the government. (There were, however, many other entires of Elsie’s songs and screenplays in various government volumes.) The copyright of 20 April 1912 fits well with when the record was released, but finding a copy of the ‘Crescent music co.’ sheet music has been challenging. Additionally, finding H. S. Wittmaak in more than the copyright entry books has been unsuccessful. (Wittmaak did write other songs that were listed in the copyright books.)

Elsie was just 23 when this song came out, but she had been a huge star for many years. Did she really write “Fascinating Baseball Slide”? Or possibly she purchased the song from H.S. Wittmaak and paid for the right to list it as her own? Maybe she rewrote the song to some extent?

One more interesting tidbit- our leading picture shows Elsie sitting at the piano, reading sheet music. Surprisingly, in an article published in Liberty magazine later in her life, she stated that she did not know how to play the piano! She likely did know how to read and write music, however, if she was a songwriter and singer.

So that’s our “whodunnit”- hope you found it thrilling for this Thursday.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Hear the song “That Fascinating Baseball Slide” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84aPkozicqk
  2. Library of Congress version of song– https://www.loc.gov/item/jukebox.2903?#
  3. The song is also on a 2009 CD of Elsie’s music, called, “Sweetheart of the A.E.F.” by Archaeophone. It has 24 songs, including this one. Eight songs are also available on iTunes, as is one of her books and a movie that she helped write. The CD used to be on iTunes, but is no longer; I was surprised when the lyrics were noted as ‘explicit’- turns out some are racist, sadly- just FYI.
  4. Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. “Victor matrix B-12527. Fascinating base-ball slide / Elsie Janis,” accessed July 20, 2016, http://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/matrix/detail/200012723/B-12527-Fascinating_base-ball_slide.
  5. “McCreery and Company- New Victor Records for January- Elsie Janis Records” in The Gazette Times (Pittsburgh, PA), 28 Dec 1912, page 7, via Google Newspapers–  https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JBZRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=F2YDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5333%2C742293
  6. “Is Elsie Janis Guided by Her Dead Mother’s Voice?” Liberty Magazine, 28 November 1936, https://archive.org/stream/Liberty_v13n48_-_1936_-_MacFadden/Liberty%20v13n48%20-%201936%20-%20MacFadden#page/n13/mode/2up

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.