Income Taxes for Francis Helbling, 1886

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May 1886 Excise Tax Header for Pennsylvania.
May 1886 Excise Tax Header for Pennsylvania.
May 1886 Excise Tax for Francis Helbling.
May 1886 Excise Tax for Francis Helbling.                          (Click for larger and sharper images.)

 

Happy (??) Belated 101st Anniversary to the 16th Amendment, which was ratified February 2, 1913.

As our income tax information comes in this month and we scramble to understand the complex laws that will determine how much we owe Uncle Sam for last year’s income, it is worth noting that the US did not have an income tax for most of its early history. The few tax records remaining, however, will provide interesting information to family historians.

An income tax was proposed during the War of 1812, based on the British Tax Act of 1798. (A few levels of irony there…) The proposal was made in 1814, but because hostilities ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815, this progressive tax of 0.833% to 10% was never implemented.

By the time of the Civil War, however, the need for a federal income tax was apparent to pay the high costs of war, and income taxes were imposed on personal income in 1861. Any income over $800 was taxed at 3%. The Revenue Act of 1861 was repealed but another tax was implemented in 1862.

In 1894, an income tax was again passed to compensate for the reduction of federal income due to the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, which also reduced tariffs. Income over $4,000 was taxed at 2%, which only affected about 10% of the households in the United States. In 1895, however, a Supreme Court ruling effectively made this an impractical tax to impose, due to constitutional limits on direct taxes needing to be apportioned by the states per the census enumeration. Thus technically no ‘income taxes’ were paid to the federal government until ratification of the 16th Amendment on 02 February, 1913.

Amendment XVI to the US Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

“Excise” taxes, however, were imposed before this time, because it was possible to tax on property; such records may be found in the NARA records for the IRS. Some are available on Ancestry.com, such as the record above that shows Francis Helbling paid 85 cents excise tax on his two cattle (40 cents each) and one calf (5 cents tax). I have not proved that this is my ancestor, but it is possible since Francis X. Helbling was a butcher and lived in Pennsylvania at that time. Many families kept some cattle for their own use, too. I have also seen Civil War IRS records for other family members, but am not sure how to find those on my Ancestry tree without going through each head of household’s data sheet for the proper time period. It is great to find these records, though, as they tell us a bit more about daily life for our ancestors.

 

And I’ll bet our ancestors complained about paying taxes just as much as we do.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: National Archives (NARA) microfilm series: M603, M754-M771, M773-M777, M779-M780, M782, M784, M787-M789, M791-M793, M795, M1631, M1775-M1776, T227, T1208-T1209. Accessed 02/01/14.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States. Accessed 02/01/14.

3) Of course, other taxes were imposed such as road taxes, a poll tax to vote, etc. Those records are sometimes available as well.

 

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Mystery Monday- Murrell Family Bible of 1815

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W. A. Murrell and Mary M. Honts- Headstone in Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa. Posted with permission of photographer.
W. A. Murrell and Mary M. Honts- New Headstone in Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa. Posted with permission of photographer.

One of my wonderfully dedicated Murrell cousins brought my attention to a post on GenForum (http://genforum.genealogy.com/philips/messages/649.html) for a Murrell family bible that contains family history from 1758-1869. This cousin is so good about following up clues and revisiting information, and she has made great leaps in our knowledge  of what had been one of my brick walls for years. We are still looking for the parents of Wiley Anderson Murrell, however, and this family bible may contain clues.

Sadly the message was posted on November 30, 2007, and the email addresses no longer work. (IIRC, I had also tried the emails years ago.) A good genealogy samaritan had posted a note about a post he read on a website called “Treasures Lost and Found” by “Rmay424727@aol.com.”  Rmay was also a good genealogy samaritan when he purchased this bible in a second-hand store in El Paso, Texas, and then tried to find descendants who should own it.

The post stated that the bible listed that an Elizabeth Phillips had married a Murrell in 1799. Two funeral notices were on the inside cover, for Mr. George Simmons, with the date being 11-3-1866, and another for Capt. W. E. Murrell, 11-24-1869.

I had corresponded with a R. May many years ago, but he was elderly then so may already be hanging out with his ancestors. I have posted a reply- should have done that years ago- and reposted on the Virginia, Illinois, and Iowa lists. I love that GenForum has a box to check so you can be notified if anyone replies to your posts.

I also stated in my reply that I would be posting the Murrell Bible I have copies of, sometime this week. I’ll have to tear myself away from RootsTech webinars if I procrastinate too long, so look for those posts in the next couple of days.

Looks like we have a few new clues to research, with the 3 new names and some dates. Too bad we don’t know where Elizabeth Phillips married Mr. Murrell, but it will be fun to search for that information.

It would be nice to know who placed the new headstone for W. A. and Mary M. Honts Murrell, too- it surely isn’t 125+ years old. Not sure how to go about that since the cemetery is not really ‘run’ by any group that I know of, but maybe the local genealogy society will have some information.

By the way, RootsTech is a great conference with live-streamed, FREE events/lectures starting at 8:30am (Mountain time) on Thursday, Feb. 6th. The conference has been excellent in years past and looks promising again this year. You can even download all of the syllabi for the conference (https://rootstech.org/about/syllabus-materials/)- thank you, RootsTech! See roots tech.org for more info.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, 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.

Tombstone Tuesday- Israel I. COOPER and Bessie F. (MYER) COOPER

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Israel I. COOPER- Headstone- Hebrew. From Find A Grave, posted with permission of photographer.
Israel I. COOPER- Headstone- Hebrew. From Find A Grave, posted with permission of photographer.

The headstone of Israel I. Cooper in Franklin Street Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung, New York, USA took a very long time to find- many years. Finding the burial place of Israel and his wife Bessie was a wonderful collaboration of family, a local library, interested volunteers that aren’t even related, Find A Grave, and those who own the cemetery.

Israel I. COOPER- Headstone- English. From Find A Grave, posted with permission of photographer.
Israel I. COOPER- Headstone- English. From Find A Grave, posted with permission of photographer.

It is a peaceful feeling to know where ancestors are “quietly resting.”

Israel Cooper belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America. They are (still) a fraternal insurance society that also provides fellowship and service through their many chapters throughout the country. The following was in an Elmira newspaper on 24 Jul 1904:

Modern Woodmen Tribute to Israel. I. Cooper. Elmira gazette, 24 Jul 1904.
Modern Woodmen Tribute to Israel. I. Cooper. Elmira Telegram, 24 Jul 1904.

 

Bessie lived 28 years after Israel’s death, living with their daughter and son at various times. She died at the home of their son, Joseph Cooper, at Montgomery, Lycoming, PA, on Saturday, 28 May, 1932, at 1 o’clock, per her obituary that was published in the Elmira Gazette on 29 May 1932. The obituary states that she was a former resident of Elmira for 35 years. She was survived by 4 daughters: Mrs. Harry Tatelbaum and Mrs. Israel Kremer of Rochester, NY; Mrs. Joseph Oppenheim of Elmira; Mrs. Samuel Blostein of Worcester, MA; and 3 sons: Joseph Cooper of Montgomery, PA; Joseph B. Cooper (should be Jacob B. Cooper) also of Montgomery, PA; and Samuel Cooper of New Haven, CT. She had 27 grandchildren at her death, and 8 great grandchildren. The funeral took place at her son Jacob Cooper’s home at 165 Washington St, Elmira, on Sunday at 2 pm.

Bessie F. (Meyer) Cooper- Headstone- Hebrew Inscription. Posted with permission of Find A Grave photographer.
Bessie F. (MEYER) COOPER- Headstone- Hebrew Inscription. Posted with permission of Find A Grave photographer.

 

Bessie F. (Meyer) Cooper- Headstone- English inscription- Franklin Street Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung, New York, USA. Posted with permission of Find A Grave photographer.
Bessie F. (MEYER) COOPER- Headstone- English inscription- Franklin Street Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung, New York, USA. Posted with permission of Find A Grave photographer.

 

It would be nice to have the Hebrew section of their headstones translated.

Israel I. COOPER- Headstone_Hebrew Detail
Israel I. COOPER- Headstone_Hebrew Detail
Bessie F. (MYER) COOPER- Headstone_Hebrew Detail
Bessie F. (MYER) COOPER- Headstone_Hebrew Detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silly Sunday- Broida Family in Swimsuits c1910?

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John & Fannie Broida at the Beach, probably after 1904.
John & Fannie Broida at the Beach, probably after 1904. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Our last post with silly swimsuits was such a hit ( See Silly Sunday- Joseph Cooper Family in Swimsuits c1912)  that we thought we would share yet another high-fashion image to whet your appetite for the coming swimsuit season. At least with these swimsuits, one didn’t have to diet quite as much before the season started!

This image is of John Zelig Broida (1857-1938) and his second wife, Fannie. Her maiden name is unknown, but they married in 1904, when Fannie was 29 and John 47 years old. They lived in Pittsburgh, PA, and St. Louis, Missouri until their emigration to Palestine in September, 1920. John/Zelig died in Palestine, but we still don’t know much about Fannie and what happened to her.

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Broida family photos

2) Family oral history

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Helbling Family Home & School, Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, Part 1

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Helbling family home in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. From a family photo but image may also be found in St. Augustine Diamond Jubilee, page 40-2, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, PA. From a family photo but image may also be found in St. Augustine Diamond Jubilee, page 40-2, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, PA.
Helbling family home in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania.
From a family photo but image may also be found in St. Augustine Diamond Jubilee, page 40-2, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Lawrenceville, PA.

In the year 1854, the Franz Xavier and Maria Barbara (Helbling) Helbling home was across from the Allegheny Cemetery and halfway between Sharpsburg and St. Philomena’s Roman Catholic Church. The Redemptionist Fathers of St. Philomena’s often stopped at the home of the devout Helbling family when traveling between the Church on Fourteenth St. and Sharpsburg. (The home was still standing in the 1930s, but 4807-4809 Butler St., Lawrenceville, PA, is now an empty lot.) German Catholics were very devoted to parochial schools- they felt their children should start their day with a Mass and that they should be schooled in a Catholic school. The Helblings had eleven children, and there were many more children of German Catholic families in the town of Lawrenceville, PA, near Pittsburgh which was rapidly becoming an important industrial city.

The Helbling children attended the English-speaking school at St. Philomena’s on 46th St., but it was quite a long way to travel. Father John Hotz, C.SS.R. visited the Helblings at their home in the fall of 1854, and asked if the Helblings would board a teacher who could instruct their children. A schoolroom was set up on the second floor of the double house, and the teacher arrived.

 

Nine of the Helbling children attended school with this teacher: Elizabeth Barbara, Francis X., William, Philomena Rosanna, Catherine Josephine, Mary Sophia, John Baptist, and Joseph Anthony Helbling; sometimes Bertha Louise, just 2 or 3, attended class. The teacher was very stern and strange, only left the house on Sundays to go to Mass, and wore a long black robe but was not actually a priest. (He may have been a Redemptorist lay brother but no information has confirmed this.) He prayed to a picture of Our Lady of Guadeloupe constantly. The story told is that when, one day, Mrs. Helbling sent little daughter Bertha Louise to get some corn cobs from the yard, the child returned with them and said, “I got them.” The teacher, not being very fluent in English, thought that the child had said a curse word, and said, “Bertha Louise is surely going to hell.”

The adults in the family soon began to question the eccentric behavior of this teacher that their children greatly disliked and feared. The family never even knew his name- he was always just addressed as “Teacher.” As a mother, Mary Theresa (Knipshield) Helbling feared for her children that the teacher was about to lose his mind, and asked Father Hotz to dismiss him from their school and home. Fr. Hotz transferred the teacher to a school in Sharpsburg, where he did in fact lose his mind and have to be removed. Nothing further is known of him.

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) St. Augustine’s Parish History 1863-1938. Personal copy from a cousin, but the entire history may be found online at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/StAugJub-TC.html, page 11. Accessed 1-22-2014.

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