Tuesday’s Tip: Context- The 1888 Presidential Election

Leominster, Massachusetts Politics during the 1888 Presidential Election. Fitchburg Sentinel, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 18 October 1888, page 2, column 3.
Leominster, Massachusetts Politics during the 1888 Presidential Election. “Fitchburg Sentinel,” Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 18 October 1888, page 2, column 3.

McMurray Family, Payne Family, Springsteen Family (Click for Family Trees)

Tuesday’s Tip:

Look for the context of your ancestor’s life-

from politics to clothing,

from community happenings to the style of their house.

Thankfully most family historians have moved away from being collectors of names and dates, and now want to tell the stories of their ancestors lives. Without detailed daily diaries or bundles of old letters, how do we learn about their lives? Newspapers are a great way to learn what was happening in a community, and an ancestor might be mentioned in a story or obituary. Also, browsing the pages around where one finds an ancestor article can help us to fill in the blanks about the little things in their lives- or even the big things.

Politics can be messy, as we all have experienced these last two years of this what seems to be a never-ending election. (In Great Britain, they only have a certain number of WEEKS they are allowed to campaign- that seems much more sensible.) Elections in our country’s history have been just as bad, maybe even worse than this one, but learning about them will help us to understand our ancestors a bit more.

Edward B.Payne (1847-1923) and his wife, Nanie M. (Burnell) Payne (1847-1898), lived in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1888, the year of this article. Their only child, Lynette Payne (who later married William Elmer McMurray), was about to turn nine years old just eight days after this article was published. Rev. Payne was the pastor of the First Congregational Unitarian Church in Leominster. Further down this newspaper column about Leominster happenings was a report of the Porter-Davis wedding at which he officiated, but a few moments of browsing the paper turned up this nugget of context.

In 1888, the Democratic incumbent President, Grover Cleveland, desired a second term. The Republican nominee was Benjamin Harrison, and US tariffs were the biggest issue of the campaign. Tariffs are a tax on imported goods, paid by the importer, and until the Federal Income Tax began in 1913, tariffs were the main source of federal income- up to 95% of the total at times.

1888 Presidential Election- Tariff Reform poster for Grover Cleveland, via Wikipedia; public domain.
1888 Presidential Election- Tariff Reform poster for Grover Cleveland, via Wikipedia; public domain.

Since high tariffs, paid by foreign manufacturers and importers, provided income to our federal government, they reduced the need for taxes to be paid by our citizens. Sounds good- make the other country pay, right? Well, the bad part  is that U.S. tariffs make the cost of imported goods higher to the consumer in this country- the cost just gets passed through to the buyer, of course.

Tariffs that are high make domestic products more affordable than imports, and thus more desirable. Therefore those in U.S. industries, including factory workers, preferred high tariffs so that their own production had a lower comparative cost, and they could sell more. Our own citizens would be in high demand as workers, too.

Since the country was prospering and there were no wars going on in 1888, tariffs became THE issue. Grover Cleveland was adamant that high U.S. tariffs were hurting the consumer.  He knew that our citizens felt it every time that they bought an imported item, and it hurt their pocketbook. Cleveland thus proposed a large tariff reduction to Congress.

(But then would personal taxes go up? The money has to come from somewhere…)

Harrison, however, felt that high tariffs protected our workers and manufacturers.

Grover Cleveland-Benjamin Harrison presidential (1888) campaign poster about the trade policy of the two candidates. The map supports the work of the Harrison campaign.
Grover Cleveland-Benjamin Harrison presidential (1888) campaign poster about the trade policy of the two candidates. The map supports the work of the Harrison campaign. via Wikipedia, public domain.

Benjamin Harrison was a Republican from Indiana, and he gave speeches from his front porch in Indianapolis- our Springsteen ancestors, such as Jefferson Springsteen and his son Abram Furman Springsteen, may have been a part of those crowds. The Springsteens were Democrats, so may have been part of the hecklers, although they may have had divided loyalties. Their party’s man, President Cleveland, was against military pensions. Since Jeff had at least 2 sons who had served in the Civil War, one of which was Abram, the Springsteens may not have been so happy with Cleveland, either.

Back in Leominster, Massachusetts, where Edward B.Payne and family were living, the factory workers, as expected, were supporting Harrison with his views of keeping tariffs high. It is interesting that the shirt factory ladies were going to “unfurl one of the finest flags in town, bearing the names of Harrison and Morton.” (Morton was the V.P. nominee.) Since women in most states could not legally vote in a Presidential election until 32 years later, it was one small way they could voice their political opinions and help influence the outcome.

Rev. Payne was a Christian Socialist in his later years, and surely, with his devotion to the poor, he exemplified that philosophy even earlier in life. He most likely would have favored a candidate who had the middle and lower classes in mind. (Later in California, he registered as a Socialist; we have found no other documentation of his political leanings.) He worked quite a lot with factory workers though, so he too may have had a difficult time deciding between candidates when he was ready to cast his ballot in the Cleveland-Harrison contest. Although just 41 years old in 1888, he also was a Civil War veteran, thus probably liked the idea of a military pension in his future- after all, preachers really do not make very much income.

In 1888, America still was one of the biggest manufacturers in the world, and the costs for our products were among the lowest in the world. So the tariff issue may not have been of such importance after all, but it was the loudest of the campaign.

Harrison carried Indiana as well as Massachusetts, and received the majority of  electoral votes. Cleveland, however, received the majority of the popular votes. It was a close election, but as one of only four elections when the popular vote did not match the Electoral College vote, the Republican Benjamin Harrison became the next President of the United States.

The context of our ancestor’s lives in 1888 included tariffs; today, ours include trade agreements, which can affect prices and demand in similar ways.

Our ancestors needed to educate themselves well before they voted, just as we need to do today.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1. Image sources per captions.

2. “United States Presidential Election, 1888,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1888

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

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.



Military Monday: Army Recruitment in 1858

Army Recruitment Ad in the Daily State Sentinel, Indianapolis, Indiana, 27 April 1858, page 3, via Hoosier State Chronicles.
Army Recruitment Ad in the Daily State Sentinel, Indianapolis, Indiana, 27 April 1858, page 3, via Hoosier State Chronicles. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

This 1858 ad seems somewhat charming in a way, taken as is. Just $11-22 per month pay? That is about $300-600 in today’s dollars. No wife or child? It made sense to not have encumbrances, as at that time, the US Army was fighting Native Americans out west and in Florida, was involved in armed conflict with the Mormons in Utah, had become a player on the world stage, etc. Although our founding fathers had not wanted a standing army, by the 1850s it was deemed a necessity, hence this advertisement for new Army recruits.

But once this ad is put into the context of the times and our family, as well as our nation, it is actually a chilling foreshadowing.

The years leading up to the Civil War were contentious, whether the issue was overtly slavery or the deeper heart of the matter- state’s rights. Economics were in play as well, with not just the huge property value of slaves being an issue- the South felt that the federal tariffs were favorable to the North and penalized the South. Our nation was quite divided by all of these issues.

In May, another massacre had occurred in ‘Bleeding Kansas’ with pro-slavery forces crossing from Missouri into Kansas Territory, which was in the process of determining whether or not to be a slave state. The gang captured 11 Free-Staters who were not armed and had not been involved with any of the previous violence- many of them actually knew the gang leader and went willingly as they did not realize the intention was to shoot them down in cold blood. Five died in the incident, and only one of the gang members was ever prosecuted. (He was later hanged.)

[We had families by the name of Hemphill, Turner, Daniel, and Thomas in Missouri (although most were originally from southern states), possibly Joseph H. Payne in Kansas Territory, and quite a few families who lived in border states or the south during this time period. They all would have seen the violence and hatred up close and possibly personal.]

Abraham Lincoln in 1858. Ambrotype by Abraham Byers, Beardstown, Illinois, via Wikipedia; public domain.
Abraham Lincoln in 1858. Ambrotype by Abraham Byers, Beardstown, Illinois, via Wikipedia; public domain. (Click to enlarge.)

Not long after the above recruitment ad and the pro-slavery ‘Marais des Cygnes massacre,’ Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech on 16 June 1858 as he accepted his Republican party’s nomination for the Illinois US Senate seat. He was pitted against Stephen A. Douglas, who felt each state or territory had the right to choose whether or not they wanted slavery.

Here is the passage you might remember from history class:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

The famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates began that August, and although Lincoln did not win the Senate seat that election, his ‘House Divided’ speech helped to put him in the forefront of his party and the abolition/federal vs. state’s rights cause.

There was, most likely, a young boy named Abram Furman Springsteen (1850-1930) taking in all of this news and such advertisements with wide eyes. Although his father, Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) was a Democrat, because Jeff was active in local politics, Abram would have heard the latest news and discussions, probably from both sides, for quite a few years.  Abram was only 7 at the time of the ad, and he turned 8 in July, after Lincoln’s speech. By age 11, he was running away to join the Army, on the Union side. Apparently, Northern sympathies trumped his father’s political party, at least, for a young man in Indiana. Or maybe it was the exciting visit of Abraham Lincoln who stopped in Indianapolis on 11 February 1861, as he was on his way to be inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States… We will probably never know for sure, but it is interesting to see the history and context of the times of our ancestors through newspapers and other research, so we can determine how it may have motivated the events of their lives.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Army Recruitment Ad in the Daily State Sentinel, Indianapolis, Indiana, 27 April 1858, page 3, via Hoosier State Chronicles.
  2. ‘1858 in the United States’–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1858_in_the_United_States
  3. ‘Marais des Cygnes massacre’–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marais_des_Cygnes_massacre
  4. ‘Lincoln’s House Divided Speech’– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln%27s_House_Divided_Speech

  5. ‘The Abraham Lincoln Blog’–http://abrahamlincolnblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/lincolns-inauguration-journey-february.html
  6. Of course, the glamour and glory of going off to war may also have inspired Abram to enlist. He was quite a patriotic man in his later years, though, strongly believing in the United States and its government, so Abram’s reasons for enlisting were likely many.
  7. See also “Wisdom Wednesday: The Springsteens and Abraham Lincoln”– http://heritageramblings.net/2016/02/10/wisdom-wednesday-the-springsteens-and-abraham-lincoln-contd/

 

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.



Treasure Chest Thursday: 1863 Income Taxes of Abel (Abram?) Springsteen

1863 Income Taxes of Abel/Abraham? Springsteen of Indianapolis, Indiana
1863 Income Taxes of Abel/Abraham? Springsteen of Indianapolis, Indiana

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

On 3 June 1863, during the Civil War, “Abel Springsteen” was assessed taxes on income of $117 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This was recorded on a form for excise taxes, although detailed information is not written in at the top. The rate he was taxed was 3%, and the assessment was considered to be in Class A, which was apparently ad valorem duty. (Today many citizens pay ad valorem taxes on their vehicles.)

1863 Income Taxes of Abel/Abraham? Springsteen of Indianapolis, Indiana, part 2. Abel was line 9, the last line in this image.
1863 Income Taxes of Abel/Abraham? Springsteen of Indianapolis, Indiana, part 2. Abel was line 9, the last line in this image.

The total tax liability on income of $117.00 was $5.31!

In today’s dollars, that would be $2,137.58 in income, and $97.01 for taxes.

But their math is confusing, as 3% of $117.00 is actually $3.51. The tax paid was about 4.5%, if he really did pay the listed amount.

Wonder if the 3 and the 5 were just transposed when written in the list? Would Abel/Abraham have just paid the higher amount, or contested it? He didn’t have a lot of income compared to others on the same list, so he probably needed to save every penny he could; hopefully he paid the lesser amount.

And just who is “Abel Springsteen”? That name has not come up in other Indianapolis searches, so it might actually be “Abram” or “Abraham” Springsteen. Abram Furman Springsteen, “the youngest drummer boy” of the Civil War has been mentioned quite frequently in this blog, but would have been just 13 in 1863. So it is probably his uncle Abraham, who was born in 1824 in New York and arrived in Indianapolis by 1860. This Abraham was a master brick mason, and we know he was working in Indianapolis as a mason at the time of this tax. More to come about Abraham and his business, and that too has to do with taxes.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918. Ancestry.com Online publication, Provo, UT, USA. 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.
  2. Inflation calculator that actually includes to present day, not just 2013- http://www.in2013dollars.com

 

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.



Funeral Card Friday: Deaths from the Springsteen Family Bible

Page4 of Springsteen Bible Family Records- Deaths. (Click to enlarge.)
Page 4 of Springsteen Bible Family Records- Deaths. (Click to enlarge.)

Helbling Family, Springsteen (Click for Family Tree)

Although this page is technically not a funeral card, it does give more information about the deaths of our ancestors than a funeral card might. Since the Springsteens were Catholic, they would have had funeral cards made up if they could afford it. (It was surprising that none were found in the bible.) Unfortunately none have survived to this author’s knowledge.

[Left Column]

Joseph Springsteen

Died Tues May 20th 1862 Indianapolis

[Ed. Note: Last child of Jefferson and Anna (Conner) Springsteen; died before his second birthday.]

==================================

John Springsteen Sr.

Died March 19th 72 Indianapolis

[Ed. Note: The year was 1872. The father of Jefferson Springsteen, John Springsteen born 1782, died 19 March 1867 per his death notice in the “Indianapolis Herald.” Was the year of 1872 an error in the bible record, since the bible copyright was 1876 and thus the entry was written after the fact? Or could this be John’s father? Or was he called “John Sr.” because he was the grandfather of John William Springsteen?]

==================================

Laura May Springsteen

Died April 13th 73 at 359 E. Market St.

Indianapolis

[Ed. Note: The year was 1873. Laura May (Longfellow) Springsteen, born 1853, was the wife of Abram Furman Springsteen, and the mother of his first child, Laura G. Springsteen. She died just 24 days after giving birth to their daughter.]

==================================

Laura May G. Springsteen

Died Sunday Mar. 29th 1885 at the

Residence of her Grand parents

208 Daugherty St.    5-30 P.M.

Indianapolis Ind.

[Ed. Note: Laura Grace Alien Longfellow Springsteen, whose mother died less than a month after giving birth to her, was at the home of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen when she herself died. She most likely was being raised by her grandparents, although her father is listed in their household in the 1880 US Federal Census but she is not. He remarried, to Ida Belle Dumont- probably a sister to his brother Robert’s wife Anna Dumont- in 1881. Abram married again in July of 1885 to Emma Isola Coombs, after young Laura’s death in March. (We don’t know if Ida bell died or they divorced.)]

==================================

John W. Springsteen

Died May 2[?- scratched through] 1906.

Indianapolis Ind.

[Ed. Note: Oldest son of Jefferson and Anna (Conner) Springsteen. Death date was 2 May 1906. His wife predeceased him in 1887.]

==================================

[Right Column]

Anna M. Springsteen

Died April 17 1878 1887 Cairo

Sunday 5 P.M.

[Ed. Note: This is Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen, probably the original bible owner. At her death, she most likely was visiting her daughter Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower in Cairo, Illinois.]

==================================

Robert Warson Beerbower

Died Sept 12th-1900, Denver Colo

Wednesday, 2 A. M.

[Ed. Note: Robert was the oldest child of Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower and her husband Edgar Peter Beerbower. His only child, Roberta Pearl Beerbower, was born the month after he died, so he never saw his daughter. Colorado death records are closed to family historians unless immediate family, so we cannot know Robert’s cause of death. Around the turn of that century, many of those with tuberculosis went to Colorado for treatment and recuperation- could that have been the case with Robert, even though his first child was to be born soon? Or was he just there for railroad business?]

==================================

Jefferson Springsteen Jr.

Died Apr 14-1905 Indianapolis

Buried Crown Hill Apr 17- 2 P.[or A.?]M.

Age 56 years.

[Ed. Note: This is Thomas Jefferson Springsteen, born in 1848, son of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen.]

==================================

Jefferson Springsteen Sr.

Died Sept 15-1909 Indianapolis Ind

Buried Crown Hill Cemetary

Age 89 years_

[Ed. Note: Son of John Springsteen and Mary Logan, and husband to Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen.]

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest.

 

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.



Wedding Wednesday: Marriages from the Springsteen Family Bible

Page 3 of Springsteen Bible Family Records- Marriages.
Page 3 of Springsteen Bible Family Records- Marriages.

Helbling Family, Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

We continue our series of the Springsteen Bible family record pages with the happiest of days, when a whole new family begins- wedding days.

Transcription:

[Left Column]

Jefferson Springsteen

Jany 6th 1843. To Miss Anna Conner

by the Rev. Mr. James at his

residence on James St. New York

===========================

John W. Springsteen

Dec 187069 To Miss Jennie Taylor

by the Rev. Mr. Mendenhall at

Indianapolis Ind.

[Ed. Note: Son of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen. Ancestry’s “Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993” gives date of 17 Dec 1869 to “Jane” Taylor.]

===========================

Abram F. Springsteen

Jany 11th 1872 To-

Miss Laura May. Longfellow.

by the Rev. Mr.

at Huntington Ind

[Ed. Note: Son of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen. Minister’s name not included in bible.]

===========================

Charlie Springsteen To Miss

Katie O’Neil June 26 1884

at Rushville Ind

[Ed. Note: Son of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen.]

===========================

[Right Column]

Mary E. Springsteen.

April 17th 1872

To. Joseph E. Beckwith

by the Rev. Mr. Edson

Indianapolis Ind.

[Ed. Note: Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen.]

===========================

Anna M. Springsteen.

Feb 12th 1873.

To Edwardgar P. Beerbower.

by the Rev. Mr.Hanford A Edson

Indianapolis Ind

[Ed. Note: Anna Missouri Springsteen, daughter of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen.]

===========================

Robert Springsteen

May 19th 1880. To Anna

Dumont. Indianapolis

Rev. U. C. Brewer Central Christian

Church Ind.

[Ed. Note: Robert E. Springsteen, son of Jefferson and Anna M. (Conner) Springsteen.]

===========================

Mary G. Springsteen To

John Mithen Feb. 25. 188(6?)

St. Patrick Church

by the Rev. Father O. Donaghue

[Ed. Note: Relationship unknown. See upcoming “Mystery Monday for more details.]

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest.

 

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.