Tag Archive | genealogy

Reminiscing Tree Ornaments and other Christmas Nostalgia

It’s that time of year when I usually have the house decorated for Christmas and almost all the presents purchased, wrapped and under the tree. hum -Not so this year!

Along with aging – comes a slowing, savoring of life and a choosing to use time for really important things. This year, we stayed with the season of Thanksgiving for awhile before moving on into the hustle and bustle of the commercial extravaganza America calls “the holidays”.

Like so many times before, my husband willingly put up our 9′ artificial tree on Friday. It’s not a fun chore, but this is his gift to me, and I appreciate it more than he knows. It’s an old tree that we purchased the first year we moved into this house. (2000)  Each limb has a certain slot and each row of slots has to be careful filled with just the right color-coded stem. It’s tedious work and each year as we drag the oversized, duck-taped box out of the garage, we declare that we’ll get a new, lighted tree right after Christmas when they go on sale.

But once our large round blue spruce is adorned with lights, ages-old rose garland and collected ornaments, we realize that the newer versions can’t possibly be as beautiful as “our” tree… so we never go to the tree sale. Maybe this year will be different.

Today, I turn on Michael Buble Holiday setting a mood for pilfering through many plastic storage containers of ornaments. So many deeply special ornaments are tucked securely inside their own little box with handwritten notes as to their origin. As I open the first ones, my mind slips away into fond memories of when I first put that ornament on our tree and who’s generosity and thoughtfulness brought that bauble to our home. I smile with thankfulness at each glimpse as if that was the first time I had seen the specially chosen ornament.

toKTfromGRAMMY1986  Lion from Grammy Birdhouse TenThousandVillages grammytokt  HummelfromGrammy

Precious little booties that came from Grammy on Katie’s first Christmas (1986) and more throughout the years; the lion, the carousel horse and the metal Hummel.

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The love birds and heart I purchased for us in 1985. The wooden bride & groom from Grammy on our first Christmas and the star tree topper for a very small tree so many years ago.

nativitygail  Nativitygaileurope sarahmoscowballet

Sister’s beloved nativities – and Sarah’s remembrance of dancing with the Moscow ballet.

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Kerry’s jumper from way before me and two ornaments from Liz – the ball from Spain when she was flying.

SuzanneConner2013 DebbieReberStainedGlass tree  TenThousandVillages

Artful and thoughtfully created gifts from Suzanne Conner, Debbie Reber & Ten Thousand Villages. So many people, such kind memories.

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sheilafromkevins   NancyWaugh

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A Wedgwood Blue Jasper Ornament from Susan who never really liked us – but she had great taste in expensive ornaments so we kept it on the tree! Sheila brought a fox and squirrel which I love. Nancy Waugh, a dear lady in whom I found Bluefield in common. She was from WV and me VA, but we hold them close in our heart. The Danish ornament (2002) from cousin Edith in Denmark, the train from Karen and angel from my sweet friend Anne. … and in spite of my utmost care to package all the glass ornaments carefully in molded paper apple trays from Albertson’s these many years , there is an occasional breakage.

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My most favorite and  heart-warming ornament this year is from the hand of Joanna Francis (www.joannafrancislivingwell.com). I purchased this from her last December as she celebrated her last Christmas this side of heaven and commissioned her to paint a bird’s nest piece. She was an amazing example of how to accept the challenges life gives and how to make the most of each treasured day was are privileged to enjoy. I cherish what little I actually knew her, but recognize what a huge impact she made on me and so many others. It was her relationship with Christ that made the difference. “The joy of the Lord” was her strength.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season filled with fun, family and fond memories. Remember to let go of small stuff and embrace what it truly important as we celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Happy Birthday Jesus!

 

 

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Happy Saint Patty’s Day!

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“St. Patrick’s Day was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans,” classics professor Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa told National Geographic.

On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. As Irish patriotism grew among American immigrants, the annual holiday began to grow in popularity with different “Irish Aid” societies holding annual parades. In 1962, as immigrants began to spread throughout the United States, a new annual St Patrick’s Day tradition was born in Chicago. In 1962, city pollution workers dyed the Chicago River green to commemorate the holiday.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day has become an international celebration. Beginning in 1995, the Irish government made March 17 a national holiday in an effort to boost tourism. Today, approximately 1 million people attend the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. (source)

But on this day, March 17, 2014, in honor of my DAUGHERTY AND DAVIDSON ancestors, I celebrate!

O'Doherty

We have exciting news!  … from a researcher I had been in contact with and we have now established our ancestor’s identity in Ireland!  The parents of James, William, John and Nancy! (Dougherty/Daugherty) Such a find -… There are several sources to be confirmed, …now we have some tangible information to follow up on, We are putting a list of researchers together for the O’Dochartaigh Clann Newsletter to publish contacts for other researchers to network with us that can further extend or ancestry and descendants.  We are now designated as Family Group #2264 in the Clann Database…. I was given our ancestry back 32 generations to 810 – Maengal, father of Ua Chart, the Patriarch of all O’Dochartaigh’s (source – Robert Bobby Scott)

What is this blog about?

It’s a reasonable question to ask, “Who is The Railroader’s Daughter and WHAT is this blog about? If you’re following this blog, you may wonder why you started following it.

Perhaps, your interest lies in railroads or the old bustling towns of Bluefield, WV and Bluefield, VA, built around the rise of the railroad industry.

On the other hand, you may be my family and you’ve been supportive of my efforts to uncover mounds of genealogy relating to our mountain roots in Russell, Tazewell and Mercer Counties and our relatives who fought to protect their families from the Indians and who were instrumental in establishing county governments and founding towns.

You may be an antique enthusiastic who shares my love of old things, primitive utilitarian items that tell a story of the pioneer ancestors who blazed the trails down through the Shenandoah Valley and into Southwest Virginia.

You may be totally unrelated to any of the above and just like the vintage junk that I drag home and transform into something fun or functional. Whatever the case…..

what is

Evolving over a period of years, The Railroader’s Daughter is an attempt to bring together all the things I’ve learned and loved. You’ll find an array of information, images, family history and surnames as they connect to my roots. There is a page of vintage finds for sale. I also showcase a collection of hand-me-down personal family items that reveal a glimpse into a child growing up in the mountains of southwest Virginia –  a lifestyle I now treasure.

Both of my grandfathers and several great uncles, my father and three of his brothers, one of my brothers and many of our cousins, my husband and I have all worked for the railroad. There have been good times, bad times – stories of coal mines and accidents, floods and survivals, living on the rails and beautifying the railway. It’s a strange way of life to many modern families, but a wonderfully exciting life for those who have experienced the romance of a dining car breakfast with fine linens, a childhood dream of a trip in the Norfolk & Western observation car or the stories of ancestors who moved all their worldly possessions in a boxcar. It’s a plethora of adventure.

I am The Railroader’s Daughter!  I am old enough to have learned a few things and to realize that those who came before me knew a little somethin’ about life. They had it harder than I have it. I appreciate my parents because they cared enough to teach me respect for my elders and how to say, yes ma’am, no sir and thank you. Although I moved away from the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia when I was only 21,  I well up with pride when I brag about East River Mountain and Ward’s Cove and my roots in Appalachia.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’ll come back soon.

The Engineman’s Tallow Pot

Before the widespread use of petroleum oils in the late nineteenth century, tallow — animal fat — was a useful lubricant for steam locomotives. Firemen and engineers used tallow pots to lubricate the cylinders of moving locomotives.   source

This tallow pot belonged to dad, Larkin Watson Buckland, Jr. and he used it during his days on the steam engines working both as a fireman and then an engineer on the Norfolk & Western.

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The oil can below belonged to my grandfather, L.W. Buckland, SR who was also a fireman, then engineer.

lwsr oil can

See how they used the oil can on a steam engine. This photo taken from (source)rail_str_0260_01

The Modern Railroad (1911)

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains…”

Just down the road from where I grew up, a woman named Jenny lives in the house of her childhood. She is an amazing photographer of birds, flowers, family and of our mountain. Throughout the year she posts pictures of our beautiful East River Mountain on Facebook, and I love to see those images.  Since Mom still lives about 1/4 mile away in a house facing this spectacular sight, I have Jenny’s birds-eye view (even though I’m 700 miles away) and know what the weather is like for Mom that day.
This morning Jenny posted a scripture and a message. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me. Thank you Jenny!
‘I look outside every morning to the same beautiful view my ancestors have seen before me. I say this scripture, that for generations has meant so much to my family,  from Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
This devotion really touched my heart and soul. Thank you Rev. Ray.’
Jenny Parris Akers East River Mountain 2013
The traveler app…roaches a distant mountain and all of it is in view. From a distance one might believe that it is easy to climb. The view is different at the foot of that same mountain. There all thoughts of an easy expedition vanish: it is tall, steep and deep. Step inside it’s forest door and the mountain becomes alive with character of sights, sounds and smell. It’s breeze touches you as though it was breathing an invitation to climb and explore the unsearchable ways of its creator.
The weary travelers of old would look out at the distant road they had to walk to get home. There were mountains and valleys to cross and go through. The trip would be with hot days and dark nights. They would travel together, no one should walk alone. There was no turning back; they would journey forward toward a better land; and they would find strength for the journey in a question and an answer.
The question came as they lifted their eyes to view the hilly path before them: “Where does my help come from?” The answer was (and is) always the same. “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)
Don’t give up when the way seems impossible. Ask the question and affirm the answer, then keep walking. We get to the top of each mountain by walking with God. The view is always different from the top then it was at the foot. From there you can see where you are going and where you have been. You also see something else: That God is high and lifted up, faithful, and greatly to be praised.
Grace and Peace,   Rev Ray

Rev. Raymond Amos
First United Methodist Church
Elizabethton, TN