Sunday, January 18, 2015

Leonard Aloysius Lenzen

Leonard Aloysius Lenzen, seventh child of Mathias John and Theresia Mary (Schumacher) Lenzen, was born 6 June 1900 in Brown County, Minnesota.[1]
His birth occurred after the 1900 census enumeration date of 1 June, and the Lenzen family was enumerated in the Leavenworth Township, Brown County, Minnesota census. His father, Mathias J. Lenzen, was a farmer, and there was a mortgage on the farm. Theresia, Leonard’s mother, had given birth to six children, and five were living. Charley, the eldest child, had attended six months of school.[2]
On 12 September 1918, eighteen-year-old Leonard registered for the World War I draft at the Ashland County, Wisconsin, draft board. He was working as a farmer for M. J. Lenzen (who happened to be his father).  He was tall and had a slender build. His eyes were gray, and his hair was brown. Perhaps he didn’t like his middle name; he registered as Leonard Louis Lenzen.[3]
The Lenzen family was living near Glidden in northern Wisconsin on land that had been scoured by the glaciers during the ice age. The soil was poor, and families worked hard at making a living.
It was around this time that this photo of Leonard (on the right) and Henry Laux (on the left) was made. They are sharpening their scythes, hand tools used to cut grass or wheat. The house and the outbuildings can be seen in the background.   
Henry Laux and Leonard Lenzen, Glidden, Wisconsin, 1918.

[1] Matilda Evelyn Schmitt Wagner, The Family Tree of John Joseph Schumacher and Theresia Huiras (Privately printed, 1963), 47.
[2] 1900 U.S. census, Brown County, Minnesota, Leavenworth Township, Ed 39, sheet 1 (penned), 63A (stamped), dwelling 9, family 9, Mathias Lenzen; digital image, ( : accessed 18 January 2015), citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 758.
[3] “WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, ( : accessed 18 January 2015), Leonard Louis Lenzen, serial no. 1919, order no. 2031, Draft Board Ashland County, Wisconsin; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; no specific roll cited.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

John Niesz, Google, and Books

John Niesz, the son of George Niesz and Elizabeth Weaver, was born 2 January 1798 in Aaronsburg, Centre County, Pennsylvania. He died on 6 March 1872 in Canton, Stark County, Ohio.[1 He married Mary Young, daughter of Jacob Young and Barbara Herchelroth, on 23 May 1820 in Canton.[2] Both John and Mary are buried in the Niesz Cemetery in Canton.[3]
John and Mary (Young) Niesz
John Niesz was a United Brethren minister. The United Brethren Church was bilingual. German was the original language, but English use grew in the late 1830s. John Niesz championed the cause of the Germans who felt they were being neglected as the English speaking membership increased.[4]
He wasn’t always a religious person. “In early life [he] had imbibed infidel views, and at one time belonged to an organization in Canton that published a paper advocating infidelity.” [5]
John was ordained in 1839 and appointed Conference secretary in 1841. He was elected treasurer for the Benevolent in 1842. He was elected to the General Conference in 1844.[6]  John built the Niesz United Brethren church in Canton in 1841.[7]
The Niesz Church, Canton, Ohio

This should be enough, but John was also a writer. He translated the Conference minutes that had been written in German into English. [8] He wrote four books; two were about homeopathic issues, and the other two were religious treatises.
In 1851, he wrote the Short Treatise on the Use of Arnica (Canton, Ohio).[9] Arnica is a homeopathic remedy for muscle strain and soreness and is made from the dried flowers and sometimes roots of a few members of the daisy family.
Also in 1851, he wrote the 376-page Family Guide to Health and Husbandry (Canton, Ohio: Daniel Schell).[10] He put his knowledge of medicine and natural remedies to use. In 1864 he joined his son-in-law, Elam G. Smith, and opened a drug store, “Niesz & Smith,” in Kentland, Indiana. [11] John's probate inventory lists numerous medical jars and mortars and pestles.[12]
In 1854, he wrote “A True Scriptural Representation of Temperance and Intemperance.” As a minister, he was a temperance advocate,[13] but whiskey had been part of his growing-up years.[14]
Also in 1854, he penned the 740-page Immanuel!, a series of writings about the gospels.

A Google search for John Niesz and his books
My goal is to obtain copies of John Niesz’s books for no other reason except I’d like to have them. A Google search was conducted for the books.
Surprisingly, the Immanuel! book was found on eBay, and it was only $35.00.
The Short Treatise on the Use of Arnica and the Family Guide to Health and Husbandry were located on WorldCat, the catalog of library catalogs. The U.S. National Library of Medicine digitized them, and they were downloaded to my hard drive.
A True Scriptural Representation of Temperance and Intemperance is listed on WorldCat. The 32-page book is in the Drew University Library, and it has been requested on Interlibrary Loan.

[1] Certified Copy of Death Record, John Niesz (1872); transcript Stark County Record of Deaths, Vol. 1: 80.
[2]  Early Marriages of Stark County, Ohio 1809-1840 (Alliance, Ohio: The Alliance Genealogical Society, 1986), 68. Record of Deaths, Probate Court, Stark County, Ohio, Vol. 1, p. 18, no. 388; FHL film 897,621.
[3] Niesz Cemetery,” Cemetery Records, Stark County, Ohio (Canton: Canton Public Library, 1955), 201.
[4] Blake S. Arnold, History of the East Ohio Conference, United Brethren in Christ (np, ca. 1951), 9.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Esther D George, United Methodist Church Librarian, EUB Library, 601 W Riverview, Dayton, OH 45406, to Connie Lenzen, 31 October 1972.
[7] “Otterbein Church To Be Dedicated,” The Evening Independent (Massillon, OH), 28 Nov 1964, page 8, col. 4; digital image, ( : accessed 2 January 2015).
[8] Arnold, History of the East Ohio Conference, page 10.
[9] Thomas Lindsey Bradford, “Index to Homoeopathic Provings,” article, Homéopathe International ( accessed 4 September 2006).
[10] Transactions of the World’s Homeopathic Convention Volume 2 (Sherman: 1881), 1030, digital book (http://books., accessed 4 September 2006).
[11] “Elam G. Smith,” Counties of Warren, Benton, Jasper and Newton, Indiana: historical and biographical (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co., 1883), 743-744.
[12] Stark County, Ohio Probate Court Estate Record #657 N.S; Supplied by Genealogy Division, Stark County District Library, Canton, Ohio, 28 June 2006.
[13] John Niesz obituary, Religious Telescope, 27 March 1872.
[14] “[John Niesz] Personal Reminiscences,” Combination Atlas Map of Stark County, Ohio (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1875; reprint 1974 by The Bookmark, Knightstown, Ind), 19.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nellie S. (Baker) Miller

Nellie S. Baker was born 148 years ago on 1 January 1867, in Somerset, Hillsdale County, Michigan. She was the second daughter of Newton H. and Elizabeth (Hodgman) Baker.[1]  
Nellie’s life was short. She died a month after her 21st birthday. No photos show what she looked like. The only tangible artifact that shows she was on this earth is a metal grave marker that was found in her son’s basement after his death in 1963. The information on the marker is not completely accurate. She was not twenty, rather she was twenty-one.

Some of Nellie’s DNA is carried by her living descendants. While we can't see it, some of her is with her two grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.

Nellie in censuses
Nellie appears in the 1870 and 1880 censuses. By 1880, the Newton Baker family was living in Charlotte, Eaton County, Michigan, in the First Ward, and Newton was employed as a blacksmith. Thirteen-year-old Nellie and her older sister, Minnie, were attending school.[2]           

Seventeen-year-old John L. Miller, the young man who would become Nellie’s husband, was also in the First Ward.[3] John was attending school, and it was likely the same school as Nellie.           

The Millers owned and operated The Cottage House, a hotel near the railroad station.

The Baker sisters marry
Minnie D. Baker and Alex Rasey were married on 30 November 1882 in Charlotte. Rev. E. H. Teall, pastor of the Baptist Church, officiated.[4]
Nellie S. Baker and John Miller were married on 29 November 1883 in Charlotte. Rev. E. H. Teall officiated.[5]

The next years
John Miller’s father, Mathew Miller, was showing signs of instability that caused his wife Frances to take possession of the household and hotel finances.[6] John’s grandmother, Mary Miller, died on 24 October 1883.[7]  This freed up a room in the hotel, and John and Nellie took up residence in the Miller’s Cottage House Hotel. Sixteen-year-old Nellie would have been a welcome addition to the household.
Photo taken by Gerry Lenzen, July 1987.

Maud A. Miller, Nellie and John’s first child, was born 26 February 1886 in Charlotte.[8] She died from cholera infantum on 29 August 1886.[9] The disease was common during summer and was sometimes called “Summer Complaint.” The main symptom was diarrhea caused by infection. It seemed to be more common in children who were not breast-fed, and it was thought to be caused by the food the child ate. Treatment included castor oil and bismuth. Opium was used in some cases.[10]
Charles Franklin Miller, John and Nellie’s second child, was born 9 July 1887 in Charlotte.
Nellie (Baker) Miller died seven months later on 9 February 1888 in Charlotte. The cause of death was stomach cancer.[11] This is the same disease that claimed her mother on 29 October 1914.[12]

There are no photos that show what Nellie looked like, but there are photos of her sister Minnie. Minnie and Alex Rasey had two children; Claud H., born 13 August 1886,[13] and Dorothy “Beth,” born 27 December 1892.[14] The photo below shows Minnie and Alex with their two children.           

The following photo shows Minnie and Alex (back row), Newton and Elizabeth Baker (middle row), and Beth Rasey and Frank Miller, Nellie's son. (front row).

Photo ca. 1908.

[1] Michigan Department of Public Health, Certificate of Birth, no. 236 (1867), Nella S. Baker.
[2] 1880 U.S. census, Eaton County, Michigan, population schedule, City of Charlotte, 1st Ward, SD 4, ED 72D, page 4D (penned) 213D (stamped), dwelling 42, family 45, Newton Baker; digital image, ProQuest HeritageQuestOnline (access through participating libraries : accessed 29 November 2009), citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 578.
[3] 1880 U.S. census, Eaton County, Michigan, population schedule., City of Charlotte, 1st Ward, SD 4, ED 72D, page 5A (penned) 214A (stamped), dwelling 57, family 61, Matthew Miller; digital image, ProQuest HeritageQuestOnline (access through participating libraries : accessed 29 November 2009), citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 578.
[4] “Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” Alex Rasey and Minnie D. Baker (1882); index and image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 January 2015), citing FHL microfilm 2,342,470.
[5] Eaton County Marriages, Liber 5: 70; County Clerk, Charlotte.
[6] Frances took the hotel’s control into her hands in a series of deeds that began on 24 October 1879; Eaton County Deeds, Liber 72:144; Register of Deeds, Charlotte.
[7] Eaton County Deaths, Mary Miller (1883), Liber 2: 88; County Clerk, Charlotte.
[8] “Michigan, Births and Christenings Index, 1867-1911,” database, ( : accessed 29 December 2012), citing FHL film 966,584.
[9] “Michigan, Deaths, 1867–1897,”Maud A. Miller, 24 Aug 1886; index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Oct 2012).
[10] Sebastian J. Wimmer and Frank S. Parsons, The Physician’s Vade Mecum (Philadelphia: The Medical Publishing Company, 1894), 319–321; digital book, Internet Archive ( : accessed 27 December 2012).
[11] Michigan Certificate of Death, Charlotte, Eaton County, Reg. No. 96.
[12] State of Michigan, Division of Vital Statistics, Eaton County Return of Deaths, Liber 5, p. 69, Elizabeth Baker; FHL film #966,601.
[13] “Michigan, Births, 1867-1902,” Claud H Rasey, 13 August  1886; index and images, FamilySearch ( accessed 13 Nov 2012), citing FHL film 2,320,843.
[14] Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922,” Rasey, 27 December 1892; index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Nov 2012), citing FHL film 1,289,936.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daniel Hale Taylor, a bugler during the Philippine Insurrection

On 15 November 1901, Dan Taylor enlisted as a Private in Company L, 21st U.S. Infantry. When he enlisted, his description was given as blue eyes, flaxen hair, fair complexion, 5 foot 3 ½ inches tall, and a milkman by occupation.[1]
The 21st Infantry was in the Philippines where they were fighting the Filipino insurgents who were resisting the American takeover of the islands. The regiment was assigned an area where they were to pacify the natives. They also built roads and schools and protected businesses from the guerrillas.[2]
Dan was transferred to Company L, 5th U.S. Infantry and then to Troop I, 5th Regiment, U.S. Calvary. He was discharged on 14 November 1904 at Fort Keogh, Montana. The note, “very good trumpet”[3] was penned by his name.
A trumpeter, or bugler, was the person who sounded the “first call” alerting soldiers they should prepare to assemble. Ten minutes later, he would play “Reveille.” From that time on, the bugle sound was heard constantly, letting the soldiers know what they should be doing. The last call would be "Taps, "around 9:15 p.m.[4]

Dan Taylor
Dan rode a white horse. In ancient times, a king would ride a white horse into the city his armies conquered. In reality, the man on a white horse would be an easy target.

[1] Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, compiled 1798-1914, entry for Daniel Taylor, year 1901, page 229; digital image, Fold3 ( : : accessed 21 December 2014), citing NARA microfilm publication M233, roll 56. James C. Caine, Liaison Rep. United Spanish War Veterans to Veteran Claims Service, Washington, DC (1939).
[2] “The Philippine Insurrection,” 21st Infantry Regiment, online ( : accessed 24 December 2014).
[3] Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, compiled 1798-1914, entry for Daniel Taylor, year 1901, page 229; digital image, Fold3 ( : : accessed 21 December 2014), citing NARA microfilm publication M233, roll 56.
[4] David.Gettman, “Bugle Calls,” 2d Dragoons ( : accessed 24 December 2014).

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sy Lenzen and the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Applegate at Ruch, Oregon.

In April 1935, Sy Lenzen reported to Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington, where Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C) recruits were given a medical exam, a full meal, and a uniform.  
Sy’s first assignment was Camp Applegate, and he would be assigned to the kitchen police. Camp Applegate was located at Ruch in Southern Oregon.
Photograph in Sy Lenzen's personal papers.

Sy penned a hasty post card to Ella Taylor, his girl friend who he was leaving behind. He had passed everything OK, but he hadn’t been lucky in his assignment. Enrolees going to Ruch travelled by train to Medford, Oregon. He had figured that would be 312 miles – a long distance from home and Ella. When the enrolees got to Medford, a Greyhound bus would take them the remaining 33 miles to Seattle Bar. Sy may have felt he was going to the end of the earth.
Post card in Ella Lenzen's personal papers.

In 1935, the enrolees built and maintained trails, built and maintained telephone lines, improved stream habitat, improved campgrounds, cleared out rodents, and fought forest fires. The camp was considered old but in good shape. Each enrolee was issued a cotton mattress, sheets, pillow, and pillowcases to use on standee type bunks. Each enrolee laundered his own clothes, and the sheets and pillowcases were laundered weekly. The “facilities” were of the pit type latrine for the enrolees and flush toilets for officers.[1]

[1] Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, History of the Rogue River National Forest, Vol. 2 – 1933-1969; online, Forest History Society (( : accessed 2 November 2014).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ella Izora (Gillette) Taylor and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic

 Ella Izora (Gillette) Taylor, daughter of Prosper and Delia Ann (Selleck) Gillette, was born 24 June 1850 on the Erie Canal.[1] She died 22 January 1950 in Benton Harbor, Michigan.[2]

Ella Izora (Gillette) Taylor, about 1905

An article from January 14, 1950 issue of The News Palladium newspaper  (Benton Harbor, Michigan) captured information about Ella’s birth and a little about her life. [3]
Blind and almost completely deaf, Mrs. Ella Izora Taylor, who will be 100 years old next June 24, manages to keep sweet and cheerful despite her handicaps.The snowy haired little old lady who resides with a widowed daughter, Mrs. Edwin Newton, and a granddaughter, Miss Bertha Newton at 458 Ohio street is one of the few living “Erie canal babies.”She was born on a packet boat owned by her father, Prosper Gillette, who operated it on the famous Erie canal when it was an important artery of transportation between Buffalo and Albany.Her father, at different times, owned a packet, or passenger carrying boat, and a towboat, or freight carrying craft. These were drawn by horses, which walked along the canal bank, and were operated the full length of the canal from Buffalo to Albany and return.Boat owners at that time frequently lived with their families on their craft, which accounts for “Grandma” Taylor as a host of friends know her, being born on her father’s boat.She was born 11 years before the outbreak of the Civil war on June 20, 1850.When Ella was 10 years old her father gave up canal boating and moved with his wife, Della, and children, to Hannibal, MO., home of Mark Twain, the novelist and humorist. Mr. Gillette ran a hotel and was a section boss on a railroad there. When Mrs. Taylor was 11 years old the Civil war broke out and from then on Hannibal was a hotbed of Union and Confederate strife and much lawlessness and crime prevailed.At the age of 20 Ella married her late husband, Daniel H. Taylor, and the pair moved to Chicago. Mr. Taylor died there over a half century ago.Of Mrs. Taylor’s family of four children, only Mrs. Newton survives. Three sons, Elmer, Frank, and Daniel H. Jr., are dead.After coming here to live with her daughter, Mrs. Taylor has claimed both Benton Harbor and St. Joseph as her home. She has resided in the twin cities for more than 50 years.For seven years she was employed at Cooper Wells & Co., St. Joseph, where she was affectionately called “Grandma” by her many associates. The name has clung to her. She has been retired for about 25 years.Cataracts have gradually caused “Grandma” to lose her eyesight. She is also partially deaf. The hearing in one ear is gone completely, but she can hear a little in the other ear if one talks loudly directly into it.Unable to see or hear, there isn’t much that Granma can do to pass the time of day except rest and sleep. Active all of her life she still can’t get used to just sitting around. “I just don’t like it one bit!” she confided.She has been blind for 15 years. Outside of her blindness and deafness she appears to enjoy fairly good health. She has a good appetite and is particularly fond of sweets and fresh fruits.She has seven living out of 10 grandchildren and has 15 great grandchildren. Grandchildren residing here are Miss Bertha Newton and Mrs. Blanche Newton Hill well known in the twin cities as a pipe organist. Harold Newton, viola artist, now a music teacher at Northwestern University, Evanston, first viola in the Chicago Symphony orchestra, and director of the Kenosha, Wis. Symphony, is a grandson. 
When Ella said “I don’t like it one bit!” she may have been remembering another part of her life, the activist part.

She was the wife of Daniel Hale Taylor, a Civil War veteran. He was drafted and mustered into Company K of the 147th N. Y. Infantry at Clarksville, New York, on 13 July 1863.[4]
In 1866, Civil War veterans formed a fraternal society, the Grand Army of the Republic. Membership was open to honorably discharged veterans from any branch of service. The G.A.R., as it was known, became a political force. They helped elect several United States presidents and encouraged legislation benefitting veterans.[5]

Two auxiliary societies for women were established. The Woman’s Relief Corps was organized in 1883, and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic was established in 1896. Their goal was to work towards the establishment and improvement of veterans’ facilities.[6]
Ella was an active member of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic. Her badge (shown below) included medallions for past president (two), secretary, corresponding secretary and treasurer.

Yes, indeed, she was an active woman who would not have liked those last years of poor health.           

[1] Prosper Gillett Family Bible, 1817-1902, The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (Cooperstown, New York, 1838), “Births”; privately held by Gerald S. Lenzen, Portland, Oregon, 2014.
[2] Michigan Department of Health, Certificate of Death, no. 1101 (1950), Ella Izora Taylor; FHL microfilm 1,973,192.
[3] The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Mich.), 14 January 1950, page 9, col. 7-8; digital image, ( : accessed 29 July 2014).
[4] “New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900,” Daniel Taylor; digital image, ( : accessed 29 July 2014).
[5] “A Brief History of the Grand Army of the Republic,” online, ( : accessed 26 July 2014).
[6] “The Grand Army of the Republic and Kindred Societies,” online, Library of Congress, Bibliographies and Guides ( : accessed 26 July 2014).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Madame Marie Dorion

Marie Dorion Venier Toupin, known as Madame Dorion, was an Iowa Indian, born about 1790 near St. Louis, Missouri.[1] As the first woman to cross the American plains and to settle in the Oregon Territory, she was one of Oregon’s earliest pioneers.[2] Her courage and devotion to her children saw her through a harrowing ordeal in 1814 when they were lost in the Oregon wilderness after her husband and the rest of a hunting party were killed. Her survival skills kept them alive through that long, cold winter.[3]
As Seneca, the great Roman philosopher said, “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” Marie met that challenge and all of the other challenges in her life with courage.
In the 1840s, Dr. Elijah White, Methodist minister and Oregon Indian Agent, wrote that he was impressed with Marie’s “noble and commanding bearing.” The French-Canadians called her “Madame Iowa.”[4] At her death, she was buried inside the Catholic Church at St. Louis, Oregon,[5] one of the highest honors given to an individual.
Tom Brokaw once said, “Heroes are people who rise to the occasion and slip quietly away.”
Marie’s memory could have slipped quietly away. We can thank Champoeg Chapter, DAR, for keeping that from happening. A Daughters of the American Revolution memorial marker was dedicated on 10 May 2014 at the St. Louis Catholic Church as a tribute to this unique woman. I was privileged to speak at the dedication with my topic being Madam Dorion, an Oregon Heroine.
Dorion marker, St. Louis Catholic Church, St. Louis, Oregon

Connie Lenzen at the dedication

[1] Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Vol. 1 (Radcliffe College, 1970), 502; digital image, GoogleBooks ( : accessed 11 May 2013).
[2] Howard McKinley Corning, ed., Dictionary of Oregon History (Portland: Binford & Mort, 1956), 75.
[3] J. Neilson. Barry, “Madame Dorion of the Astorians,” Oregon Historical Quarterly , Vol. 30, No. 3 (Sep., 1929), 274; digital image, JStor ( : accessed 16 May 2013).
[4] J. Nielsen Barry, “Astorians Who Became Permanent Settlers,” The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul., 1933), 228; digital image, JStor ( : accessed 11 May 2013).
[5] Harriet Duncan Munnick, Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest, St. Louis, Oregon 1845–1868 (Portland: Binford & Mort, 1982), twenty-fourth page.