"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."

Dec6th2015

Happy Holidays!

by  Phyllis Zeck

del principeThis picture was taken Christmas Day in 1961.  Second cousins Rosemary Heneghan, Sandy Del Principe, and Susan Heneghan were celebrating at their grandparents apartment, Bernie and Florence Del Principe. Bernie and Florence’s home was on North Ave, across the street from the music store. The girls great parents were Amelio (Emil) Del Principe and Rose Solomon.  

My sister and I also received a doll like the one in Sandy’s photo. Below is a photo of me and christmas in villa park IMG_0004 (Medium)my sister Janice. Janice was born in 1958 so this photo was probably taken in 1960 or 1961. Looks like large dolls were at the top of little girls Christmas wish lists.

Thank you for sharing the photo Sandy.  As you gather with family this holiday season I hope you share photos and stories with the younger generations. I welcome any photos and stories you’d like me to post on our family website. Let’s honor our ancestors by keeping their stories alive.  “There is no time like the present to save the past”.  

Wishing everyone a warm holiday season filled with love and laughter, family and friends.

 
 

Jul12th2015

Pescasseroli’s Infiorata

by  Phyllis Zeck

A few weeks ago my cousin, Joe Del Principe, emailed me a link to a you tube video that we’d like to share.  Joe wrote “I thought you might like to have a copy of this Youtube video. It is from Pescasseroli this year during the Infiorata.” Infiorata means decorated with flowers. The whole community takes part in the tradition. The elderly collect flowers and the children and young people implement the designs. Flower petals are used to create amazing works of art in the streets for Pescasseroli’s annual flower art festival.  

Pescasseroli Italy

 

Joe explained “At about the 2 minute mark in the video the local priest is talking, and in the background, on the building behind him, there is a sign “B&B”. That is Salvatore Toscano’s B&B della via piazza where we stayed while we were visiting there.” Salvatore’s great, great grandmother Ester and my great grandmother Elvira were sisters.  I inquired about the church in the background and Joe explained, “it is the Chiesa Del SS Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, which is where many of our family had been baptized and married.”  

I love listening to the church bells chime. One day I hope to dig through those church records! Thanks for sharing Joe. Click here to watch the video.

 

 
 

Jun27th2015

Blown Up In Beer Tank

by  Phyllis Zeck

Beer Winkofsky

Postcard courtesy of J. Chuckman

That was the headline for a newspaper article published in the Chicago Tribune dated 28 Dec 1897. Three men were in the accident including Theodore Winkofske. Theodore was my 2nd great uncle and the brother of my paternal great grandfather Charles Peter Winkofske. Theodore was a contractor working with two of his employees cleaning five 1,200 gallon beer vats for the Independent Brewing Assoc. on North Halsted St in Chicago. 

The men were putting a coat of varnish on the interior of the beer vats. Theodore accidentally struck his incandescent light against the iron. The bulb was shattered and the enamel exploded. Theodore was thrown through a manhole and was killed instantly.  His two employees, Louis Imme and Leonard Schaller, were badly burned and could not be rescued until the fire subsided. Click here for the article from the Chicago Tribune Archive (which was found at Newspapers.com) and read the story in depth.

Theodore was only 24 years old when he died. He was married to Louise Scheel and they had two sons, Edward Ludwig Michael and Gustave.

 
 

May24th2015

Mount St Helens

by  Phyllis Zeck

mt st helens

Mount St Helens is in Washington, about 50 miles from my home in Portland, Oregon.  Thirty five years ago, on May 18, 1980, on a beautiful warm sunny Sunday afternoon Mount St Helens erupted.  The photo above could have been taken from my upstairs bedroom window, although it wasn’t.  You can see the top of the mountain peaking out above the trees. Our home is surrounded by Forest Park which is the largest urban forest in the United States. Looking across the Willamette River I saw the top of Mount St Helens and it’s plum of ash.  It was a vision I will never forget. The eruption rose 80,000 feet and ash was blown east, towards Spokane. We had a light dusting of ash on our cars.  What started out as an ordinary Sunday for me was a life changing event for so many others. Fifty seven people were killed in this tragedy including Harry Truman an 84 year old resident of the mountain who refused to leave his property. Harry was the owner and caretake of Mount St Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake. The eruption completely displaced Spirit Lake.  

 
 

May14th2015

The Sound Of Guns

by  Phyllis Zeck

Union Field Artillery

Union Field Artillery abt 1862. Lib. of Congress. Click to enlarge.

I have been contemplating what a brave man my 2nd great grandfather, Charles (Carl) Frey was. My paternal grandmother was Grace Norder. Grace’s grandfather was Charles Frey. How is it that I never knew Charles’ story? Why didn’t Grandma Grace share the amazing journey of this man with her 8 grandchildren?

Charles volunteered for two tours of duty during the Civil War, enlisting with the 2nd Battery Wisconsin Light Artillery. We’ve all read about the brutal conditions our hero ancestors endured during the Civil War. Lack of food, shelter, ammunition and clothing haunted the soldiers. I’m so proud that one of my ancestors survived the trauma of this passionate war. What a fighter he must have been!

I wrote a blog post about the fact that Charles served at the Battle At Deserted House in Suffolk, VA in 1863 which you can read by clicking here. Confederate forces under Brig Gen Roger Pryor crossed the Blackwater River into Virginia on a foraging expedition. Maj Gen John Peck commanded the Union garrison at Suffolk.  Peck organized a force to drive Pryor out of the area and assigned Brig. Gen. Michael Corcoran to its command. Anticipating an attack from the Union garrison, Pryor prepared his forces for battle near Kelly’s Store (AKA Deserted House), located 8 miles west of Suffolk. Corcoran’s cavalry engaged Pryor’s forces nearby. 

Last month Wes posted a comment on my blog post about the battle.  He told me that he is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Suffolk, VA and he was going to visit the area where the Battle At Deserted House was fought in 1863.  You can visit Wes’ Facebook page by typing Mid Atlantic Relic & Coin Hunters where you can see items from past relic hunts. Wes was curious – if he was able to obtain any artillery fire residue from the Union guns would I like to have some?  Would I ever!!  “Just think,” Wes said. “Your ancestor could have been the one that pulled the cord that had some of these case shot in them”.  

Wes sent me the photos above. They are from the 1st phase of the battle (see the map from Baylor University below). Wes explained that the picture looking over the green wheat grass is looking at the confederate lines where their artillery was posted. The other two pictures are where the union guns where placed and the union infantry staged.  The center photo is the middle of the battlefield. In front of the house and across the street is where the Deserted House, AKA Kelly’s Store, stood (which is gone now). Charles’ company saw action on 30 Jan 1863 at Deserted House or Kelly’s Store. 

Deserted House Battle 1863

Courtesy of Baylor University

The map above is reprinted with permission from the War of the Rebellion Atlas digital collection. It was produced by the US Government. You can click on the image to enlarge it.  

This next photo gallery are photos of relics Wes found on the battlefield.  Wes explained that the items are a US collar pin and a piece of the grape shot that didn’t break apart upon explosion.  Usually these pieces break apart into separate lead balls and rain down on the soldiers. 

While Wes shared his photos with me the day after his trip, I was once again at the mercy of the US Postal Service to delivery Wes’ package.  We all know how terrible I am about waiting patiently for mail to arrive. Wes emailed me that it was on it’s way and he said, “I hope your family will be thrilled to have a piece of your ancestors heritage where he fought to preserve his beliefs.”  

Civil War Ammo IMG_1065
The package from Wes arrived yesterday.  Wes enclosed four case shots (which are also called grape shot).  These four pieces were found on the actual battlefield in 1999. They were found on the Confederate side so they were fired by Union guns. The grape shot traveled 50 – 80 yards. He also sent two Civil War .58 caliber minie balls (3 ringers) which traveled a couple hundred yards.  Wes wrote, “I hope you and your family enjoy these artifacts from our nation’s greatest conflict.  I am honored to be sharing these with you.” I am thrilled and very grateful to Wes for his generosity!