Saturday, March 31, 2012

East End Residences

Click to Enlarge
If there was any doubt that "A River Runs Through Us," click on the map above and trace the Joneses through their homes in the East End.  Beginning in the 1840s, my Jones family gradually moved from the city center, to E. Front St. and settling in Fulton, now the East End. For more than 100 years, the family lived within a one-square mile area of the Ohio River. Here is the route they took:

1) Frame house on the riverbank located 250' southeast of St. Rose Church.

2) Charles Henry and Rachel purchased their two-family home at 2316 Gladstone Ave.

3) Charles "Fred" and Norine (my grandparents) rented from their Uncle Tom and Aunt Ella Jones living at 2269 Columbia Ave.

4) My grandfather purchased what was to become the home where my father and his siblings grew up at 2424 Eastern Ave. (now Riverside).

There were a couple of intermediate homes documented in the earlier pages of this blog, but these were the primary locations.  In addition, Rachel's mother and my gg-grandmother, owned a home on Collins Ave., also discussed in earlier posts.

The East End had (and still has) it's own culture.  It was largely a working-class neighborhood with both white and black residents.  Many of the white residents have Appalachian roots.  Many of the black residents came to the area from southern states as part of the great migration to the north in search of better opportunities.  It's one of those neighborhoods that gets in your bones.

Over the past couple of decades, the neighborhood has been going through a great deal of transition. Many of the homes have been torn down and are gradually being replaced by upscale homes and condominiums.  This trend started in the area closest to downtown and continues to move east.  The name of the street, Eastern Ave., was changed to Riverside Drive to reflect the area's new upscale image.

We were surprised to see that my father's home is now part of a group of homes that will probably be torn down in the next six months.  It's unclear what will happen with the school located across the street. You can see the sign on the porch column placed there by the developer.

But our East End story isn't going to end quite yet.  After all, my Mom and Dad haven't met yet -- and you just know that that is going to have something to do with the river . . .

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dad's Military Records

After a long wait, I finally got copies of Dad's military records.  Most of the records for World War II veterans were destroyed by a fire. I wrote for them once and got a form letter telling me of this. Other vets told me I needed to ask for his DD-214. It is a document produced at the time of a veteran's separation from service that summarized their service. It took four months, but the records finally arrived.You can click on these images to enlarge.

This document interests me because it verifies certain things I thought I knew.

  1. Dad did not complete high school.  It says the last grade completed was 10th Grade.  It also identifies his high school as West Night High School.  The last year of attendance was 1937.  Interestingly, it appears as if he stopped attending in the same year as the 1937 Flood.  Also, we have to remember that these were the years of the Great Depression.  Perhaps he worked during the day and attended school at night.  Tim and I went to the library and looked at the yearbook for West Night High School for 1937.  Dad was not a senior and we could not find him listed, although it is clear that the program was academic in nature.  I remember Dad attended "trade school".  I don't have any specifics on that.
  2. Pre-draft, Dad's job was truly that of a laborer.  He assisted in trolley maintenance but also "scrubbed out street cars."  Tom still has a $5.00 bill he kept his entire life that he found while cleaning a street car.
  3. He did have training in Colorado.  Dad used to say that when the conditions were right that he could pick up the WLW-T Clear Channel radio station from Cincinnati in Colorado.
Dad received a ribbon with a Bronze Star, a Good Conduct Ribbon and a Distinguished Unit Citation. Although his job was to load bombs on planes and some aircraft maintenance, his unit was responsible for some of the most important battles in Europe.  When he was discharged, he had the rank of "Corporal."  I love seeing his thumb print and that all-too-familiar signature. Below is a document recording his ranks and pay rates.

Sadly, they also sent a copy of the application for Dad's military headstone following his death in 1978.

I was glad to receive a copy of his Honorable Discharge papers.  Dad had a copy of this and I've published it before.  To keep the file complete, I post it again here -- with pride.  He was part of the Greatest Generation.

If you are interested in reading more about the 44th Bomb Group and the Flying Eight Balls, go to this link in the Jones Family Matters blog  Should you want your own copies of these records, just click on the print friendly button and print them out.

Note:  After a comment (see comments) received from John Darby, I decided to do a little research on the Lowry Base in Colorado where Dad was trained.  Here is a link:  There is a lot of additional information on this base which is now used only for administrative functions.  It has an interesting history.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Episcopalian? Presbyterian? Catholic? Man of God

At the Jones Family Christmas, I asked my siblings what religion our Dad had practiced as a child.  A few facts were beyond dispute:

  • My Dad was raised as a Protestant in a family that was divided -- girls were raised Catholic and boys were raised Protestant.  There was a reason for that and you can read about it here.
  • My Dad's father, Pop, was Episcopalian.  Both he and his son Charles were buried from the Christ Cathedral, downtown.
  • Dad's brother, Bob, converted to Catholicism, not telling his father, after marrying a Catholic.  He was buried from Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church.
  • My father spent his entire adult life attending Catholic Church with his family.  He was a member of the Holy Name Society and a very active parent in the parish.  He was a "Boy Scout Committee Man." He attended church every Sunday and worked multiple jobs so we could attend Catholic Schools.
  • He never "converted."  Fr. Allison came to the hospital as Dad was dying and gave him communion. Dad asked if this meant he was "a convert."  Fr. Allison replied that he didn't think he ever needed to be converted.  Good answer.
  • My Dad would get teary-eyed every time he heard the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" -- a favorite of his mother.
  • We all recalled being told that he was raised Presbyterian.  But how did this make sense?
My brother, Dan, said that he remembered Dad taking him down to a church on Eastern Ave. and that he was surprised how many of the church members immediately recognized him.  I started trying to identify Presbyterian Churches that had once been located on Eastern Ave. and came up with this one.

The former Sixth Presbyterian Church, 2106 Eastern (Riverside) Ave.
When I showed Dan this picture, it was exactly as he remembered it.  It went through several transitions and is now abandoned and listed for sale.

The debate about Dad's religious affiliation continued until my brother, Tim, found this among Dad's keepsakes. It's amazing that one pin can hold so many answers.  Not only is it clearly a "Presbyterian" pin, but we think it was a reward for Sunday School attendance.  A careful look shows an S.S. above the crown which we think may stand for "Sunday School."  Under the crown are the words "Second Year."  There is an additional attachment indicating three years of attendance.

My sister, Karen, had this picture of our Dad.  I am embarrassed to admit that I did not know it was him. Now that's a picture a mother would love.

In Tim's little container there was an additional pin.  This one seemed to symbolize Dad's "good citizenship" in school. Both of these artifacts must have been important to our Dad because he kept them his entire life.  I think they are indicative of the life he lived -- a religious man of good character and citizenship.  We are lucky to have had him as our father. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Taking a Second Look

Six months ago I wrote a summary of a presentation given by Doug Magee for the Hamilton County Genealogical Society. I wish I had paid more attention to my write-up.  While researching my Joneses in the East End, I have relied heavily on information derived from Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and Cincinnati City Directories accessed through the Virtual Library of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. One of the things Doug mentioned during his talk was that the library had a digitized copy of the Decennial Tax Valuation of Cincinnati Real Estate.

As genealogists, we know that the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed in a fire and does not exist.  We must make use of other sources to put together our story.  Since this tax valuation was published in 1892, I neglected to realize the contribution this book could make to my research.

I knew my early Jones family members lived on the banks of the Ohio River behind St. Rose Church. You can read about it here. Years ago I researched this property.  I knew that Nancy Torrence had inherited this property from her father, George Torrence.  My ancestors lived on Lot 10 and she had donated Lot 11 to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for St. Rose Church.  I believed that she continued to own this land and that my relatives were renters.  I did not immediately recognize, therefore, that the 1892 Tax Valuation would have a lot of relevance for me.  THAT ASSUMPTION WAS SO WRONG!

Lot 10 owned by Nancy Torrence
Note small building on the riverbank.

The Tax Valuation lists the value of real estate by Cincinnati Wards in existence in 1892.  There is a value for the land and for any structures on the land.  There is a description of the Ward boundaries.  The lot pictured above was situated in the First Ward.

I then looked for property owned by Nancy Torrence and found this:

From the table above, you can see that Lot 10 had a land value of $1570 and a building value of $170! I knew that this house, located on the riverbank, flooded nearly every spring.  As a comparison, I looked up the property values of other family members in the area.

In 1892, my g-grandparents, Charles Henry and Rachel Adela Jones, owned a two-family home on Gladstone (then called Fulton) that had a land value of $380 and a building value of $1220. The total value of both properties is very close ($1740 vs. $1600) but the values are reversed.

There was one more surprise. Cincinnati City Directories list Rachel's mother, Mary Elizabeth Wainright, as living in the home of her daughter and son-in-law, probably taking care of the children. Rachel died of  "consumption" in 1892. I knew when my great-grandfather remarried eight years after his wife's death, his mother-in-law took up residence in a home she owned around the corner on Collins (then Woodburn).  Despite the listing of her residence on Gladstone, the tax records showed that she also owned the property on Collins.

Although I've not been able to find a picture of this home, I know that the lot was only 30' across the front and that, typical of its time, there was no indoor plumbing.

Given what I was able to learn about my family from a year when there was no census, you may want to consider this resource. What's especially great is that all of this research can be completed with your laptop in a recliner (at least that's how I did mine).  Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Columbia Avenue Pictures

One of the joys of researching the East End was finding a facebook page dedicated to the neighborhood.  Bryan Phillips set up this page. Followers of this page have provided a wealth of wonderful information on the "old" neighborhood.  Today was no exception. One of the followers of the East End page provided a link to this study that had been completed about Columbia Parkway and River Road.  You can read the whole report by clicking on the link below this graphic.  The report contained some wonderful pictures of Columbia Ave. before it became Columbia Parkway.  Since our Joneses lived at 2269 Columbia Ave., I couldn't resist sharing some of the pictures contained in the study.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What We Remember . . .

Mary Jones, Pop holding Tom, Fred, Kathleen, and Norine looking on.

Before moving onto my Dad's generation, I wanted to try to capture something of what each one of the grandchildren recalled about Norine and Fred, preferably in relation to the Ohio River.  However, I've not been able to translate my "wish" into a post.  So this is what I decided to do.  I'm going to list all of the grandchildren by family group.  I'm going to try to contact each and every one of them and try to get a one or two sentence quote that I can post on this page.  As I get them, I'll fill out this page.  The fun thing about it is that I will be forced to contact each and every one of my paternal cousins.  That should be fun.  So here we go:

Rose and Norine
The advantage of being first-born
Rose - Once a week, Gan would get on the bus and come to our house and would sew with my Mom.  Of course, Gan always preferred girls.

Fred - During the war, I would get together with Pop and we would have to "exercise" the cars that had been left behind.  When I stayed with them, one weekend I would go to Mass at St. Rose and the next week I would go with Pop to the Episcopalian Church. (Note: These comments were based on a conversation that Tim and I had when we met with Fred.  He also told us how he would go on road trips with Pop because Jan liked to stay home.  They would visit the Harleys in New York and the Hodges wherever they lived.  They would sleep in the car and prepare meals using the heat of the engine.  Pop even let Fred drive the car when he was underage).

Bob B. - -

Fred -

Peggy -

Bob J. = I remember the carmels regular and fudge, listening to Reds games on the radio in the dining room (Sunday afternoons I think), running around the house inside and out with Ted, the stairway to upstairs in the bedroom closet, and playing on the fields across the street. All of my memories from their house are good. It always seemed to be a lot of fun.

Gina - Reading some of the comments from the cuz's I agree with those memories. Remember, even though my dad was the middle child, Bob and I are in the younger group of grandchildren. Rose's first born, Betsy is a year older than I am. I think I am Nan's age and a year younger than Ted. I will be 55 next month. Bob and I called Norine by her name because we remember she did not want to be called grandma. We called Pops by "Butch" why that changed I do not know. I do remember the neat pedal operated sewing machine and we could lay there next to it and move the pedal with our hands while she sowed. She would always tell us to speed up or slow down. Then the carmels she had hidden in the china cabinet in the dining room. I remember my dad would have me ask Norine for more carmels so he could have some. He loved carmels but Norine said they were for the kids. I was always able to get him some. Then we use to sit on the floor by Butch's chair and spit the carmel juice into his spitoon. We would pretend it was chewing tobacco. We would also listen to the train from the backyard and hear the Reds on the radio. I also remember the 1964 flood where the basement was flooded to almost the top. You could only go down a couple steps. I remember seeing chairs bobbing up and down, and I thought the upright piano was floating too. Seeing the top of the cabinet. I asked how could it float and I was told of the air pocket in the cabinet allowed it to float. I did not understand that then but I thought it was neat. Bob does not remember the piano floating, so do I remember correctly as I was 7. I also remember the big kitchen sink, like a mini bathtub, which I got baths in. Also the "cool" box in the window for pies to cool. The backyard was small and there was a big retaining wall holding the hill back by the garage. I also remember the boys able to play back there and get up the path to the garage roof. Then I remember playing across the street in Highland School's playground. They had swings, a slide and a merry-go-around. I loved that and would laugh and yell to make Butch and Daddy make me go faster. Today I still love spinning rides, wonder why.

Kath - I remember Mom and Dad taking me there to spend the night.  As a young girl, the lumber yard in Golf Manor caught on fire.  Looking out my bedroom window, it appeared as if our house was going to catch on fire. (It was at least half a mile from our house).  I had nightmares for a long time and felt guilty when I realized I had left Karen in the room we shared as I crept along the floor to Mom and Dad's room.  When I figured out that Jan and Pop's house was made of wood, I cried, screamed and refused to spend the night.  I was too embarrassed to say why.  Thankfully, Mom and Dad took me home.  I always felt guilty about that.  Jan was my Godmother. I also remember Pop sitting at the dining room window looking at the river, chewing tobacco and using a spittoon.

Tom - As Tom put it, Tim was a "gutsy" little kid.  He remembers Tim wanting to try the tobacco that Pop was chewing. (Tom corrected me and said that Pop typically chewed the tobacco from a cigar).  At any rate, Tom, Tim, Pop and Dad were on the front porch when they finally gave in to Tim's pleas for some tobacco. They then enjoyed laughing at Tim's reaction to the tobacco.  Comes under the heading -- be careful what you wish for.

Tom's favorite story was about the bank pictured at the left.  My Dad gave that bank to his mother, but she did not know the combination.  She would put money into it and then wait for a visit from my Dad to open it and take out the money.  Tom was later given the bank, and since only Dad knew the combination, it could not be opened.  Tom asked his son Mark to try to crack the code, and Mark did just that in pretty short order.  It's one of Tom's prized possessions.

Here is a list of some of the other memories offered by Tom:

  • In 1964, Tom went down to Eastern to help move things from the basement ahead of the river flooding.  He later went back to the house with Dad and was surprised to see 3-4' of water in the basement.
  • The river rose high enough that Tom was able to walk all the way around Highland School on a ledge that was normally a few feet above the ground.  Dad told Tom he had done that many times.
  • They had a very shallow fireplace with artificial logs in it.
  • Fred and Norine had a blue parakeet named "Arch" who was very entertaining.
  • Tom remembers a bread box outside of the back window, the stone wall in the back yard that was a haven for garter snakes, and the fact that there was a level above the wall that was high enough that you could step onto the garage roof.
  • There was always a lot of traffic on Eastern, but during one snow, Tom witnessed a local being pulled on water skis behind a pick up truck down the street.
  • Pop maintained a meticulous hedge that separated the house from the gas station next door.  Once someone in a car crashed into the hedge destroying a section of it.  The driver promised to pay for repairs to the hedge, but to Tom's knowledge, that never happened.
  • Tom remembers our Dad helping Pop paint the house in what Rose describes as "bus company" colors.
  • And last, but not least, he recalls the sewing machine -- high on the list of all of our memories.

Tim on ledge around Highland School
Tim - He used to say "ah, fish on it."  (Kath's note:  Dad used to say "crap in the bucket".  No cussing allowed). Tim also remembers going down to Fisher's grocery and questioning why can goods had prices like 13 1/2 cents.  It was to encourage customers to buy more than one.

Karen - I remember Pop always had a carmel to give us as soon as we got there and playing on Jan's sewing machine.  Note:  Rose told me they always spelled it "Gan".  We inherited Mom's spelling.

Ted - Ted's recollections seem to be similar to those of Tom's and Tim's.  He remembers going with Dad, Tom and Tim at the time of the '64 flood.  He also remembers walking around the ledge of the Highlands School during the flood.  But most of all, he remembers Sunday drives with Pop.  I (Kath) remembers them, too.  They always ended in ice cream.  Butter pecan was Pop's favorite.  I remember one day driving with the family on one of those Sunday drives down to Cynthiana, KY and having dinner at a restaurant that served dinner "family style."  That meant that bowls of mashed potatoes, veggies, and platters of meat were put on the table and passed around.  We figured out that Fred and Norine were 68 years old when Ted was born.  Contrast that with the 49-year old grandparents Rose knew.

Dan - I called Dan to find out what he remembered.  Just for the record, he was in Breckenridge, Colorado with his wife, Carol, and son, Chris.  The three of them are taking care of Dan's three grandchildren -- a grandson and twin granddaughters. Chris' wife is taking advantage of a photography class in Washington, D.C. -- a Christmas present from Chris.

Dan, remembers being taken to the nursing home where Norine was after suffering a stroke.  (I think all of us have that memory, but Dan was only five years old.  He remembers the '64 flood and going to 2424 Eastern to move things from the basement with Dad, Tom, Tim and Ted.  Tim remembers walking around the ledge at Highlands School during the flood -- Dan remembers not being allowed to do the same thing.
His memories of Pop are mainly of him living with Aunt Edith.  By the time Dan knew Pop, Pop was living with his daughter, Edith, suffering from macular degeneration.  He mainly stayed in a chair in his bedroom, chewing tobacco with a spittoon close by.  He told me that the Jones family boat was stored in Edith's garage during the winter.  Dan liked to go into the garage, climb into the boat and pretend like he was steering it.  He also recalls that John Kramer also liked to do that.

I share one of Dan's recollections that Aunt Edith always had a stock of Coca-Cola in bottles.  Going to her house meant getting a Coke.  The Joneses used Pepsi products -- sparingly at best.  Dan didn't realize there was actually a choice until he experienced a Coke at Aunt Edith's.  He liked it better than Pepsi.

Don - Don was only three when Jan died and seven when Pop died.  It was not long after Jan died that Pop moved in with his daughter, Edith. Both of them were 76 years old when Don was born. Contrast that with the grandparents Rose knew who were only 48 years old when she was born.  Don really didn't have the chance to "know" either of them  His main recollection is of the carmels.  Interesting that we all remember those.

Patty - My favorite and first memories was spending the night in the front bedroom and listening to the trucks roar by and shake the windows. I even remember Gi making a bed out of 3 chairs!! Morning was my favorite time b/c I would wake up go to the kitchen and Gi would be in front of the glass pantry and would be so HAPPY to see me and wish me GOOD MORNING !!!! She would then Squeeze me FRESH orange juice ! Oh my goodness I think of that when my own Grands are here and ALWAYS say Good Morning with a Big Smile…… then I go and pour a glass of Juice concentrate from the Refrig !!! LOL !

Being the Oldest of the Youngest Jones, it seemed our Grandparents walked slow, were Old, with gray hair etc. Pop would take us swimming at the LeBlond pool a dream come true for us Country kids!! One day he looked up to see my sister Jeanne who must have had enough running to their house, crossing busy Eastern Ave Street!!! Pop yelled Oh No, and took off RUNNING !!! Yes I had never seen him move that fast in my young life!!! Jeanne was 3 and boy did she get a spanking! God Love him, now I realize how frightening that must have been.

Although I too have the memories of Saturday night dinner, Bullhoof, Carmels, Ed Sullivan, Pop always staring out the window etc….. I was fascinated by the upstairs attic…I absoulutey thought it was haunted and that there were monsters up there. My favorite thing was the “CHUTE” that clothes were tossed in the bathroom and down they went to the basement. Jeanne and I used to ride our way down the Chute too!!! Something I wanted when Tom built our house, but b/c of the existing home he could not incorporate it L
My Gi Gi passed at the Nursing Home when I was 12 yrs old…..I remember going and crying so much and then looking at Rose and saying….YOU are the Luckiest of us all…..You being the oldest Grandchild Knew her the Longest!!!

June 18, 1968
One more thing, Tom put Pop in 1968 on his Honda 300 Motorcycle, helmet and all. I took a Polaroid photo of him and it look like he was riding it !We thought of this to Aggravate Sis (Edith) and my mother. Remember his sight was gone at that point, but the thought of aggravating his girls was enough to make him do it and I still have the photo to this day!

JeanneI remember going to visit them and stopping at China Town(one of our first discount stores).Mom would ask us not to mention this to GIgi,since she didn't feel it was a respectable place to shop. I too loved the carmel's in the china cabinet! The mysterious upstairs, the cool ringer washer machine,pedal sewing machine and the cold box in the kitchen! I love walking to Fischer's grocery store and have cooking lesson with Gigi,she taught me how to make Bull huff(roast with potatoes and carrots). I remember listening to baseball games with Pop,watching Lawrence Welk with both of them. Too many memories for words, most of all I remember their love!

Two-level backyard with remnants of a deteriorating garage in  background.
Photo Credit:  Bryan Phillips
Sue - I remember the backyard, I used to cut it with my plastic lawn mower and I remember the purple violets.

Nan - I certainly remember both the carmels and the sewing machine.  I also remember getting on the bus with Mom to visit.  She walked so fast my feet barely touched the ground.  I also remember Gee held the telephone upside down because of her hearing aid.  The smell of jasmine at her dressing table.  And that red rouge . . .

Tony - Norine died six weeks after Tony was born.  He was only four when Pop died.  Our grandparents had grandchildren over a span of 31 years.  What a difference in our recollections.

If I did my math correctly, there were 19 grandchildren.  Since Rose's kids were the same age as many of us, I'll add any recollections they (or any other great-grandchildren) would like me to include.  Just comment on the post any time.

Come on, Joneses, we're up to it.  Let's remember our grandparents!