Mom & The Neighborhood Kids

get well cardWhen we moved to a new neighborhood in 1960, Mom got acquainted with all the neighbors, especially the children.  I was in high school, about to join my older siblings in leaving town, so Mom expanded her attentions to the young children still there.  When she was ill  once, the kids signed a card which she kept forever.

get well card int
get well card revThe names are familiar to me, but I don’t know where most of them are. Andy Enzmann died as a young boy – a huge tragedy on our street. John LaBelle now owns the home that he grew up in – probably a grandfather by now.

If Mom were still alive, she would probably still be in touch with them.  She had a big heart.

Mrs Hanson’s 3rd Grade Class 1954

Mrs. Vivian Hanson June 2014

Mrs. Vivian Hanson
June 2014

I had a most wonderful, unexpected encounter this last weekend.  I had gone to my hometown of Lakeside, California to celebrate Edna Kouns’ 100th birthday.  Hundreds of people there – lots of folks from my childhood.  Great party, but the special part was seeing my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Hanson.  She’s 94 now, healthy and sharp.  I know a few of my high school teachers are still alive, but it never occurred to me that some of the elementary teachers could also be.

She’s the only one of my early teachers that I’ve had a chance to thank.

This is our class photo – Lindo Park School, 1954.  I’ve put first names where I could, but I’m missing a few.  If you are in this photo or know someone who is, please contact me.

3rd grade Hanson 1Thanks, Mrs. Hanson.

William Duncan Part 5 (Alderman Descendants)

In 1920 according to the Federal Census William Duncan Alderman’s widow Ida was living alone in Waterloo, next door to Jane Roebuck, probably her mother.

William and Ida’s son Edward died 11 February 1955, having never married.
5 edwards dc5 edward obit

Ida Roebuck Alderman died 21 September 1955, age 87.
5 ida dc5 ida obit 1William and Ida’s daughter Lura married John W. Ritze 4 June 1913 in Waterloo.  They had two daughters, Marian and Gwen.  John died in 1971.  Lura Ritze lived to be 100 years old.  She died 23 October 1990 in Waterloo.

Partial obituary for John Ritze.

Partial obituary for John Ritze.

5 lura dc5 lura obitMarion Ritze (born 1915) married George David who died in 1948.  They had one daughter, Marilee, who had no children.  Marion married William (Bud) Eubank in 1950.  Marion died in 1982 and Bud died in 1984.*

Gwen Ritze (born 1918) married Erwin Petersen in 1938. He died in 1943. She married Bill Humenczuk in 1951. He died in 1998.  Gwen died in 2011 – her beautiful obituary is here.  She had one son, Bill Humenczuk, three grandchildren (John Humenczuk, David Humenczuk, Marie Denton) and two great grandchildren (Makaela and Levi Denton.)*

These are our original William Duncan’s (1838 -1863) descendants.

*These paragraphs and the link to Gwen’s obituary were generously provided by her son, Bill.  I am grateful to him and any others who help make this information accurate.  Thanks Bill!

William Duncan Part 4 (William D. Alderman)

On 4 January 1887 William Duncan Alderman married Ida Maretta Roebuck, daughter of Mary Jane and Nathan Roebuck. William and Ida lived in Waterloo, Blackhawk county, Iowa.  Two children were born to them here:  Edward Duncan Alderman, 18 February 1888, and Lura G., 3 March 1890. In 1895 Charles and Mary Alderman lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, with their son Albert according to the state census. On 21 February 1897 Charles E. B. Alderman, step-father of William, died.  Mary filed for a widow’s pension and it was granted.  Charles was buried at the Avoca cemetery in Oakfield, Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin. 4 chas alder death 4 accrued pension4. marys widow pension In 1905 (Wisconsin state census) and 1910 (Federal census) Mary Alderman was living alone in Oakfield.  It was in Oakfield that Mary O. Lurvey Duncan Alderman died on 22 December 1914, aged 71.  She was buried next to Charles in the Avoca cemetery.  There were many communications regarding her pensions and funeral expenses.  It’s nice because we get to see her son William’s signature on some of them. 4 mary ald dc 4 mary funeral cost 4 livery cost query4 livery cost ans On 29 May 1918 William D. Alderman, grandson of Thomas and Eliza Duncan, was the engineer on a train that plunged off the tracks where a bridge had been weakened by a downpour.  He and several other men died.

Waterloo Evening Courier & Reporter 29 May 1918 front page.

Waterloo Evening Courier & Reporter 29 May 1918 front page.


William Duncan Part 3 (William D. Alderman)

3 wda signatureOn 27 April 1865 Mary Lurvey Duncan married Charles E. B. Alderman in Milton, Rock county, Wisconsin.  Alderman was the son of Albert Eugene and Susan Alderman.  He was born 25 November 1838 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  He too was a soldier in the Civil War – he fought and was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Mountain 9 August 1862.  And after his discharge, he filed and received a pension.  This is from young William’s application but it gives an idea of the wealth of information in pension files.

3 synopsis

In the 1870 Federal census William Duncan, age 7, is living with Charles and Mary Alderman and their daughter, Ida, age 4.  They live in Waupun, Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin.
In the 1880 Federal census, our William Duncan is now William Alderman.  He is 18 and a fireman for the railroad.  Besides his half-sister, Ada, there are now Gertrude,10, and Albert, 8.  Charles is listed as a carpenter now.  They are living in Moorhead, Clay county, Minnesota.

This is from a later pension file - 1915, but it shows William's signature and his name using the middle initial 'D'

This is from a later pension file – 1915, but it shows William’s signature and his name using the middle initial ‘D’

And with this the Duncan surname became a middle name and Alderman is the surname for William’s descendants.

William Duncan Part 2 (Pension Records)

2 wm duncan pensionPart 1 can be seen here.

After William’s death in the Civil War, his widow, Mary, applied for a widow’s pension and a minor’s pension on their son’s behalf.  Civil War pension records can hold a huge amount of information.  If you try to get those records, I recommend that you ask for the entire file, not just the selection they want to send you.  It will cost more and I don’t know the current rates.

2 inc in minors pension

In Mary Duncan’s case, the files contained proof of her marriage to William with the person who performed the ceremony verifying it (see Part 1).  The files also showed affidavits proving that young William was their son.  The woman who attended the birth gave a sworn statement.  This is a gold mine for these years when certification was rare or non-existent.  The muster rolls documenting his service were included with many other papers.
2 mary duncan pension

Mary remarried (and lost her widow’s pension), but her 2nd husband was also a veteran and had a pension file.  When he died, she applied for the widow’s pension.  Much of the documentation for this series of posts comes from those pension records.
2 c alderman

Consider ordering Civil War pension files on any of your family who served.  They are available from the National Archives in Washington, DC.  When I ordered mine, it all had to be done by mail, but perhaps now there are electronic means.

I tell you – it’s a gold mine!


William Duncan 1838-1863 Part 1

William Duncan was born in Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland on 29 September 1838 to Eliza Cation and Thomas Duncan (story here).  He was christened on 7 October 1838.

He emigrated with his mother and two younger brothers, Thomas Cation and John, to the US in 1843 (story here) settling in New York state where his father joined him.

About 1848, the family moved to the Ottawa-Eagle area of Waukesha county, Wisconsin, farming there for many years.  In 1850, the Federal Census Thomas is 34, his wife Eliza is 32.  The children are William, now 12 years old, Thomas, 10, John, 8, David, 5, and Francis, 2.  All the children are in school.  The value of their land is $600.

1 1860 census

Duncan family 1860 Federal Census, Ottawa, Wisconsin.

By 1860, the family had grown.  In the census that year, William is 21.  Other changes:  Francis is now called Frank.  James, born in 1851, is 9, George, 5, and Eliza, the lone daughter, is 1.  The value of their land is now $2100.

On 21 October 1861 William became the first of his siblings to wed.   At age 23 he married Mary O. Lurvey in Palmyra, Wisconsin.  Later statements said she lived in Leroy, Dodge county, Wisconsin, at the time of her marriage, but no Lurvey is found there in the 1860 census.  There were many Lurvey families in this area, but I have not found her in the 1850 or 1860 census.  When she married William, she was about 17.  The birthdate on her tombstone is 4 June 1843.   On her death certificate, it showed her parents as Elisie George and B. Lurvey and her birthplace as Pennsylvania.  The informant was her doctor.

When she later applied for a pension, she had to prove that she was married to William.  This is the deposition of the minister given in 1863.
1 proof of marriage

On 15 August 1862 William enlisted in Company B, 28th Regiment of the Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers to fight in the Civil War.  He was mustered into service 13 October 1862.  It was recorded that he was 24, had blue eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, was 5’ 8” tall and was a farmer.
1 muster roll 1

Between enlistment and muster, his son, William Duncan, was born 10 September 1862.  Caroline Schutte was present at his birth and provided proof in 1866 for young William’s minor’s pension.  It’s a little short on punctuation, but proved the connection.
1 caroline affid

State of Wisconsin
County of Jefferson
Caroline Schutte being duly sworn on oath says that she resides in Palmyra County of Jefferson State of Wisconsin that she is acquainted with Mrs. Mary O. Alderman mother and guardian of William Duncan an infant & minor child of William Duncan deceased who was a private in Co B. of the 28th Regiment of Wisconsin Vol Infantry that she has known the said is Mary O. Alderman for more than ten years…that she was present at the birth of the said William Duncan who was born at Ottawa in Waukesha County on the 10th day of September 1862  that there was no attending physician present and no other person except Mrs. Grace Grant and Eliza Duncan mother of said deceased soldier.  that she has been…acquainted with said infant William Duncan and knows it to be the same of which Mary O. Alderman is guardian and minor child of William Duncan deceased…

From the regimental history:  the regiment organized at Milwaukee and mustered in 14 October 1862.  They left 29 December for Columbus, Kentucky; then moved to Helena, Arkansas in June.  This regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 13th Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of Tennessee.  They were part of the Yazoo Pass expedition and operations against Fort Pemberton and Greenwood, Mississippi.

1 muster roll 2

On 18 March 1863 William came down with typhoid fever.  On 30 March on the steamer St. Louis in front of Fort Pemberton, William Duncan died.  He was 24; he left a widow and young son.  Many accounts of his death were recorded in Mary’s pension application.
1 muster roll 3From his commanding officer:1 townsend formFrom the 28th Regiment’s physician:1 proof of death1 ag proof of death1 off cert death

Clifford James Duncan 1876-1951

Clifford James Duncan was my grandfather’s half brother.  Some of their story is here.  These photos are from 1921 when he was living in California and had a fine car.
cliff in his autoNot sure whose house this is, but I think that’s Clifford’s car.
cliffs car 1921And another of Clifford (left) with the car.
cliff L calif 1921