Thursday, February 16, 2012

If the Walls Could Speak . . .

In the Family Matters blog, I wrote extensively about the research I did on my Grandfather's (Charles "Fred" Jones) career as he made his way through the ranks of the Cincinnati Street Railway Company.  As they converted from streetcars to buses, sadly in his opinion, he was the proud foreman of the Hewitt Ave. "car barn."  I had little idea of his proud history until I came across the Cincinnati Transit Historical Society.  You can read of my discoveries about Pop's accomplishments in this article in two parts.

In Margaret Ann's notes she wrote "what great years for us children -- we had love, support and fun."  But there were also tense times as one by one each son was called to serve in World War II.  Included are a collection of collages as one by one the three boys departed to serve their country during that tense time. As a mother, I just can't imagine the feelings.

Charles "Bud's" Departure
Bob's Departure

Johnny in World War II

If the walls could speak . . .

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great Ohio River Flood of 1937

Note:  This is a copy of a post printed on the Jones Family Matters blog on January 26, 2012. Since it had such relevance for "A River Runs Through Us" I chose to reprint it here.

View of 1937 Flood Looking East on Eastern toward St. Rose Church

Seventy-five years ago today the Ohio River crested in the Great Flood of 1937.  Over a million people were displaced from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois.  My Dad was 16 years old when it flooded and yet I feel like it is part of my DNA.  Their house was directly across the river and the water got up almost to the second floor.  I heard stories of them using a row boat and going into a second floor window.

My Dad's house across from Highland School at 2424 Eastern Ave.

The area covered by the flood was extensive.  The Cincinnati Post published this aerial view.

At one point, the city even lost it's water supply as flood waters submerged much of the Cincinnati Water Works pumping station on Eastern Ave.  One East End resident recently told me that they gave everyone a half hour notice that the water supply would be stopped.  Everyone was instructed to fill containers, tubs and anything they had before the water was turned off.  He said that he was a child at the time, came in and saw the tub filled with water and decided to give his dog a bath.  Somehow he didn't get the message.

One of my favorite childhood memories was when Dad would take us behind St. Rose Church so that we could see where they recorded each flood's crest on the back of the church.

Although you can't see the numbering from this distance, imagine the 80' crest at the top of the white rectangle on the back of the church.  The river had a normal pool stage of about 13' in 1937.  Changes to dams in the river have increased the normal pool stage to about 26' today.  Recall that our earliest Joneses lived 250' of the southeast corner of that church.  Their house on the river bank flooded every spring.  Good thing they were long gone before this disaster.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is sponsoring a wonderful commemoration of the flood and its impact on Ohio and surrounding states.  You can check out their wiki here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2424 Eastern Ave.

Margaret Ann's Family Notes

The year was 1929.  My grandparents had recently become parents, with eighteen years between the oldest and the youngest -- Edith and Margaret Ann.  Their home on Columbia Ave. was going to be demolished and it was time to move on.  Based on Margaret Ann's note, the home they built at 2424 Eastern Ave. was purchased for $5500.  It had two bedrooms on the first floor, an upstairs dormer and INDOOR PLUMBING!  It's location, just across the street from Highlands School, provided great views of the river from the dining room window.  Aunt Ella was now widowed and moved with the family of seven.  I don't know how they all lived there, but Margaret Ann's notes reflect "good years for us children  -- we had love, support and fun."

But then the world came crashing down.  This was the year of the 1929 Stock Market Crash.  Fortunately, Pop was already a Foreman in charge of a Car Barn for the Street Railway Company.  Since this was the beginning of the Great Depression, having a job was such a victory in itself.  Here is how the family is listed in the U.S. 1930 Census:

Click to Enlarge

The house has undergone a lot of changes over the years.  The once proud house has been through many transformations.  The once proud house with potted flowers, trimmed bushes,an awning over the porch and lace curtains in the win has suffered over time.

Fred, "Bud", Norine, Peg and Bud's dog.

As our cousin Rose has said, the house was painted in "bus company yellow."  Unfortunately, I don't have any color pictures of the way I remember it.  In 2001, I took this picture of the house.  The house pictured to the left was just torn down this year. In the shadow to the left is Highland School.  This shell of a building is now empty and for sale.  Much of Eastern, now Riverside Dr., has been purchased and the houses torn down and replaced with upscale condominiums.

From this home, the next generation was launched.  I can still see Pop sitting in a chair chewing tobacco just inside those dining room windows in full view of his beloved river.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fred, Norine and Five More

Pictured in a clockwise direction:  Fred, Edith, Charlie "Bud", Norine, Bob and Johnny

Margaret Ann was born eight years after Johnny.

Edith Norine
14 June 1910

Charles Frederick
4 July 1911

Robert Leo
15 July 1918

John Thomas
30 September 1920

Margaret Ann
22 January 1928

In the previous post, all five children of Fred and Norine were photographed on the front porch of the home on 2269 Columbia Avenue.  We know the family moved in 1929 and we guess that the picture was taken sometime in 1928 -- perhaps when Margaret Ann was going to be baptized. The family shared a home with Uncle Tom and Aunt Ella Jones.  It had to be a crowded existence with at least nine people living in a small house, but it is obvious from the picture that all was well and that they lived a good life on limited means.

2269 Columbia Ave. (Note that all houses had outhouses behind them.  No indoor plumbing).

So what role did the Ohio River play in the life of this family?  Last year we tried to find remnants of the foundation for this house as it was torn down to make way for Columbia Parkway in the 1930s.  Although the spot is currently covered with brush and vegetation, the view of the river is unmistakable.  If you know where to look, you can see the steeple of my grandmother's beloved St. Rose Church.

View of the Ohio River from 2269 Columbia Ave.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Next Generation

When Fred and Norine were first married, the best evidence shows that they lived at the Gladstone two-family.  This is based on the property record that shows that older sister, Edith, sued all of the heirs of Charles Henry to enable her to get her part of her inheritance.  A judge ruled that the property would have to be sold and the proceeds divided among his widow and three children.  Fred and Norine were listed as living in the home when the suit was filed two months after their marriage and four months after Charles Henry's Death.

A search of the Cincinnati City Directories and the 1910 U.S. Census shows the young family boarding with the Zins family at 2416 Eastern Ave.  They were living there when their first-born, Edith, was born.  Although birth certificates were not required until 1911 in Ohio, her birth was recorded with the city and later transcribed to an index card.  A link to these records is here.

Birth Record for Edith N. Jones

The young family didn't stay at this address for long.  Margaret Ann's notes referred to the family living on Dandridge.  Dandridge is a street in the Pendleton Area of downtown Cincinnati -- not part of the East End. I couldn't understand why they would have moved there, but then I remembered that Norine's brother, Albert, and sister, Addie, were living in that area.  A search of the Cincinnati City Directories showed the family living at 514 Dandridge Street and Albert and Addie Cronin living just around the corner at 1306 Pendleton.  Both buildings have since been torn down.  "Fred's" occupation was listed as "carpenter."  Albert Cronin was a bartender.

Charles Frederick Jones
I have to imagine that there was a strong call back to the East End.  By 1912 the City Directories list the family at 2269 Columbia Ave.  This growing family rented from Fred's Uncle Tom and Aunt Ella.  They would continue living here until 1929, when the city purchased the property to make way for the new Columbia Parkway.  My cousin, Tony Scardina, found this priceless picture showing all five children on the front porch of this property.

Pictured in a clockwise direction:  Edith holding Margaret Ann, Charlie (Bud), Bob, and Johnny
Anyone able to identify the blurry car in the background?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Marriage of Fred and Norine Jones

St. Rose Church

On December 16, 1909 my grandparents, Charles "Fred" Jones and Norine Cronin married.  St. Rose Church played a central role in the life of my grandmother.  She was a devout Catholic.  

Based on the collage of the interior of the church below, I'd love to imagine my grandmother walking down the aisle of this historic church dressed in a beautiful dress that she undoubtedly sewed.  The reality is that they most probably were married by the priest in the rectory and never set foot in the church.  My wonderful, religious grandparents were a "mixed" marriage.  When both potential spouses were not Catholic, they had to be granted a "dispensation" to marry and the non-Catholic spouse had to agree to raise all children Catholic.  I have several relatives on both sides of my family who got "married in the rectory."

There are so many interesting connections between the location of this church and my Jones family ties to the river.

  • My gg-grandmother, Elizabeth Kinley Jones, had a "cottage" located behind the church on the river bank.  The family lived there for at least 10 years after she was widowed.
  • Her son, Charles Henry, lived in that home and probably contributed to his family's support.  When he married in 1882, he and Rachel moved into a home on Gladstone.  This location was pretty much "up the hill" from St. Rose.
  • Charles died on September 9, 1909.
  • My grandparents married at St. Rose on December 16, 1909, a couple of months after his father's death.  I believe they were initially living on the Gladstone property.
  • On February 7, 1910 (102 years ago today), Edith Jones Hodges filed a lawsuit forcing the eventual sale of the property.
  • Fred and Norine became borders of the Zins family on Eastern where they began their new lives together.
  • Following the birth of their first-born, Edith, John and Caroline Zins became the Godparents of Edith who was baptized (where else) at St. Rose Church.
It doesn't look like we will be leaving the East End and the Ohio River any time soon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Alwilda Collins Jones

Before I move on to the next generation, I must tie up one lose end -- the marriage of my g-grandfather, Charles Henry, to Alwilda Collins in 1898.  There is pretty solid evidence that although it may have been a good decision for my g-grandfather to marry someone 16 years his junior, it was not perceived so well by his children and extended family.

I have written extensively about Alwilda on Jones Family Matters and you can read about it here.  (Great read if you haven't already read it). My grandfather, Pop, certainly didn't care for her.  I believe the picture at the right may have been from Charles' wedding to Alwilda, but no picture of Alwilda survives.  She was cut right out of the picture!  Secondly, I only discovered recently that her stepdaughter, Edith, sued Alwilda to get her portion of her inheritance by forcing their home to be sold and the proceeds divided among the heirs. My Aunt Margaret Ann's notes say that my grandfather swam out into the river at about the age of 13 to be a cabin boy on river boat.  It was said that this was in response to the death of his mother, but I think it was in all probability a reaction to the remarriage of his father to Alwilda.  He would have been 14 years old when his father remarried.  It was at this time that John and Caroline Zins befriended this young boy and later were to become landlords to Fred and his wife Norine.  John and Caroline were also Godparents to their first-born, Edith.

Alwilda survived her husband by 27 years. She never remarried and there is no evidence of much of a relationship with her stepchildren.  Even in her death notice there was no mention of her stepchildren. In a time before Social Security, life could not have been easy.  She died in 1937 and is buried next to her husband in Walnut Hills Cemetery.  It seems, in hindsight, that she got more respect in death than Rachel who is buried across the river in Kentucky with a grave marker that very much immortalizes the stresses in the family.


Monday, February 6, 2012

The Research Process

1910 U.S. Federal Census - Joneses boarding with John and Caroline Zins, 2416 Eastern Ave.

As noted in previous posts, I am fortunate to have records that were written by ancestors who took the time to write down my family's history.  Without this information, my task would have been so much more daunting.  However, lineage groups such as Settlers and Builders of Hamilton County require "proof" of the claims made when trying to get your family certified.  The process has taught me a lot.  To demonstrate the process, I made a chart comparing what my Aunt's documentation said vs. what the research indicated. I also included the sources of this documentation.

Clues from Margaret Ann
Results of Research
Sources of Evidence
Norine’s Name
Norine Augusta Cronin Jones
Norine L. Dailey Cronin Jones

I believe that Norine’s name at birth was Norine Lucy Cronin.  Since her mother’s name was Lucy, I think that’s what the “L” represented.  Lucy Probert Cronin was always a Cronin following her marriage to John Cronin.  However, extensive research shows that John Cronin died two years before Norine’s birth.  See related documentation in Jones Family Matters Blog.

Norine, was in fact called Augustine and is listed that way in the 1910 Census when she was living with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in northern Kentucky.  She was given the name “Augustine” when she was baptized, apparently in honor of her Godfather whose name was August.  See baptismal record in Jones Family Matters.

Norine gave her name as “Norine Dailey Cronin” on her marriage license application.  Norine listed her father as “William Dailey.”
Norine was born in Mt. Sterling, Ky, moved to Lexington, Ky and later to Cincinnati where her brothers owned a saloon and grocery.
Norine was born in Mt. Sterling.  Lexington City Directories list Lucy Cronin, widow of John living in Lexington in 1890.  Norine is listed in Cincinnati City Directories by 1903.

Listings in Cincinnati City Directories
1903 326 E. 6th St. (with siblings Addie and Albert)
1904 – Living at 711 Main St.
1905 – Living at 711 Main St. (brother, Joseph, listed as having a grocery at 711 Main St. but rooming at 625 Main St.)
1906 – 3641 Floral Ave., Norwood
1907 and 1908 – check clerk at 17 W.  5th Street, res Norwood
1909 – 2953 Gilbert Ave.
1910 – Married – 2416 Eastern Ave.
Renting from Zins family.
Lexington City Directory – 1900, Cincinnati City Directories  – 1903-1909.
U.S. Federal Census 1900
Copy of Baptismal Record from Archives for Diocese of Covington, Kentucky.

Married Charles Frederick Jones in 1909 at St. Xavier Church.
Margaret Ann’s initial notation listed marriage location as St. Rose Church.  This was accurate.
Copy of Marriage License on file with Hamilton County.
Copy of marriage record at St. Rose Church.  See blog.
Lived for a while on Dandridge, then moved into Zins home.
First lived with Zins family and then moved to Dandridge.
Cincinnati City Directories and birth records for Edith and Charles.
Rachel Wainright Jones buried in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky.
Rachel Wainright Jones buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Newport (Southgate) Kentucky
Evergreen Cemetery Record.
Picture of gravesite in Jones Family Matters blog.

If an item is not included in this table, then I have not been able to find any evidence to contradict what is stated in the letter.  What I've learned over the last 11 years is that most records I inherited are based on the "truth" as the writer understood it.  However, there are usually some facts that need clarification. Should a descendant of mine choose to continue my research, remember not to accept everything as presented.  After all -- that is both the challenge and the fun of genealogy.  Make that family your own.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Margaret Ann's Records

There is NOTHING that excites someone attempting to understand her family history more than a document written by someone who may have first-hand knowledge of the family. This document contains notes about my grandparents, Norine and Fred Jones. It was written by their youngest daughter, Margaret Ann. For years I've worked to prove or disprove the contents. Much of it has been supported by the research, with a few exceptions.  For readability, I have taken the liberty to add some punctuation and other minor changes to the transcription of her notes. Thanks, Aunt Margaret Ann.  You've been a big help.

Norine Augusta Cronin Jones
Born 1854 - Mt. Sterling, KY moved to Lexington then to Cincinnati where her brothers owned a saloon and grocery at 711 Main St. Later after working at the Manhattan Restaurant in the Mabley and Carew Tower married Charles Frederick Jones 1909 St. Rose Xavier Church.  Lived for a while on Dandridge St. (I think weeks) then moved to Zins home, a local saloon keeper and his wife who had been a friend to Dad when he ran away from home about age 13 and swam out to a river boat and worked as a cabin boy the reason for leaving his mother (Rachel Wainright)  had died when he was Leo (6) Dad (8) Edith (10).

Stepmother (Alwilda) laid to rest beside Dad's father in Walnut Hill Cemetery.  Rachel was buried in Ky -- Ft. Mitchell I think.

Later Mom and Dad rented from Tom and Ella Jones at 2269 Columbia Ave. moving to 2424 Eastern in 1929. The stock market crash came after the move but my faithful father made his payments.  Home cost $5500 and sold for $7500  -- What good years for us children.  We had love, support and fun.  Mom died in 1964 and Dad lived at 2424 until he moved in with Sis in 1966 at 3106 Kinmont.

If you become involved in a genealogical society such as the Hamilton County Genealogical Society and want to submit your family for various lineage groups, documentation such as that presented by Margaret Ann can be used to support your findings, but is not considered PROOF.In the next post, I will show how the proof differed in some ways from this GREAT source of information.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Step Back

Mary Elizabeth Darby Wainright pictured with her six grandchildren.
Clockwise from the lower left are:  Mary Olive Hutchinson, Charles "Fred" Jones, Mary "Edith" Jones, Leslie T. Hutchinson, Thomas Harvey Hutchinson, and Leo Wainright Jones.

In Jones Family Matters, I have discussed in detail research that I did on Charles H., Rachel, and Charles' second wife, Alwilda Collins.  I've linked some of the posts. You can search by their names on the Jones Family Matters blog for more information.  But I did not fully understand the role of Rachel's mother, Mary Elizabeth Wainright Darby, my gg-grandmother. (More information is available in Jones Family Matters).

I knew that Mary Elizabeth lived with Charles, her daughter Rachel and their three children on Gladstone.  Since Rachel had consumption (tuberculosis), I'm sure that she played a major role in raising the three children. What I didn't realize was that after Rachel's death in 1892, Mary Elizabeth continued living with the children until Charles remarried Alwilda, 16 years his junior, on December 26, 1898.  Since the household wasn't big enough for two women to run, Mary Elizabeth moved out.  However, she didn't move far.

By reviewing the Cincinnati City Directories, I discovered that Mary Elizabeth moved around the corner into her own home at 405 Collins.  She continued to live there for about eight years until about 1906.  The City Directory for 1908 has her listed as 432 Shillito.  By the 1910 Census, she was living with her granddaughter, Edith Jones Hodges, in Clermont Co.

I searched out the location of Mary Elizabeth's home located at 405 Collins.  As seems to be my luck, the property was purchased for green space as part of the Columbia Towers Condos located up the hill from what had been her property.  The house on either side are still standing. Here is a picture of the front steps:

Front Steps of 405 Collins Ave.
Barge Traffic on the Ohio River from Collins Ave.
 Note railroad tracks just behind the "arrow" sign.  Gladstone Ave. is off to the left.
Since my Aunt Margaret Ann's notes mention that my grandfather (Charles Fred Jones) ran away to be a cabin boy on a boat at the age of about 14, I can't help but think about the impact that his father's remarriage had on him.  Thankfully, his grandmother was never far away.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What Can Be Learned from a House

Remains of the 2316 Gladstone Ave. Home
I've been researching our family history for eleven years now.  I never knew how much information I could get from researching a HOUSE!  My geneabuddy, Liz Stratton, has tried to convince me that property records can contain valuable clues related to your family's history.  Taking her at her word, I decided to see what I could learn from this one house.  As it ended up, the property records did not disappoint.

The two-family that became known as 2314/2316 Gladstone was originally 632 Gladstone before the streets of Cincinnati were renumbered.  I traced it back to 1878 when the house was owned by George C. Spiegel. Here is what the records showed:

December 25, 1878, William Adelmann filed suit against George C. Spiegel for the mortgage + 8% interest totaling $1356.65.  Judge ordered the house sold.
Ownership of home transferred to William Adelmann and his wife on May 15, 1881.

Charles H. and Rachel Jones purchase the home for $1100.00 on June 16, 1882.

Rachel dies in 1892.  Charles continues to live in the 2-family with his three children and mother-in-law.

Charles marries Alwilda Collins December 26, 1898.  Mother-in-law moves out to a house around the corner at 405 Collins.
Charles dies on September 9, 1909.  Property is to be divided as follows:  one-half to Alwilda (wife) and the other half to be divided equally among three children (Edith, Fred and Leo).

And this is where it gets interesting -- on February 7th, 1910, the oldest daughter, Edith Jones Hodges, filed suit against everyone who has a claim on the property in order to get her share. Defendants include:  Emery Hodges, Charles F. Jones, Norine Jones, Leo W. Jones, Melissa Jones and Alwilda Collins and the Columbia Bank and Savings Co. asking the Common Pleas Court for "partition."  It was decided that the "premises could not be divided without manifest injury." The property was then appraised and assigned a value of $2750.00 and ordered sold by the sheriff. On September 1, 1910 the house was sold for $1850.00 to Charles Ulrich.  At the time of the sale, Fred and Norine and Leo and Melissa were sharing one part of the house and Alwilda was living in the other.  Based on Cincinnati City Directories, the new owners must have allowed Alwilda to rent her part for the next couple of years, as this continued to be her residence.

The house was owned by Charles Ulrich and his wife, Elizabeth, following her husband's death in 1922 for 44 years.  In 1930, the City of Cincinnati purchased part of the back of the property from Elizabeth for Columbia Parkway.  She received $9000 in this transaction.  The house was sold in 1954 to Ben Simkin for $1.00 and other considerations. Three other owners purchased the home in 1975, 1985 and 1991.  In 1984, the value of the home and property for tax purposes was $12,915.

To our knowledge, the home was torn down in 1996. My brother Tim was working for a company that was asked to bid on the demolition.  All that remains now is overgrown brush, a stone wall and front steps, railroad tracks, and a great view of the Ohio River.

Dusty and Tim at the top of the front steps

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What I Know

I know that my great-grandparents, Charles H. and Rachel Jones, married at Emanuel Protestant Episcopal Church on January 25, 1882.  On June 16, 1882, Charles and Rachel purchased the two-family duplex that would eventually be known as 2314 and 2316 Gladstone.  This was probably a good move because Rachel was pregnant with Mary Edith who would be born on October 29, 1882.  Charles was 32 and Rachel was 31 when Edith was born.

I've written extensively about Rachel because I've found her story to be so fascinating.  She was the daughter of Britton Wainright and Mary Elizabeth Darby.  You can read all about the challenges her family faced following the death of her father while marching to confront John Hunt Morgan of Morgan's Raiders here and here.

Lillian's letter described Rachel this way:

Rachel was a very refined, intelligent woman who was slightly crippled, I think, walking with a little limp. Her health was delicate and she died early. Charles Jones remarried, but his second wife was not a good mother to her stepchildren, mother said. Charles was a kind man, very easy-going, but the children needed Rachel's guidance. Had she lived she would have insisted on a good education for Fred, Leo, and Edith.

Rachel developed what was then described as "consumption," now known as tuberculosis.  From Census documents I know that Rachel's mother, Mary Elizabeth Darby Wainright, lived with the family and assisted in the raising of the children.

 Cincinnati Birth and Death Records, 1865 -1912

It had to be a difficult time for the entire family.  In the ten years that Charles and Rachel were married they had three children, she was suffering from tuberculosis and Charles was trying to support a family of five plus his mother-in-law.  I wonder if Rachel was consoled at all by the view of the Ohio River from their home.  

Mary Edith, Leo, and Fred

Since Edith was 10, Fred was 8 and Leo was 5 at the time of their mother's death, I have to assume that this picture was taken close to the time of their mother's death.  Recent research has enabled me to get a much better picture of how this family was able to move forward after Rachel's death.

Note:  I want to acknowledge the contribution of Betty Arnett, granddaughter of Edith pictured above.  Although we've never met, Betty had these and other PRECIOUS pictures in her possession and graciously shared them with me.  Her mother had saved them in a box. Fortunately for all of us, they were labeled.  I will be forever grateful.  You can read about "Betty's Box" by searching for it in

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Emanuel Protestant Episcopal Church

As discussed in the previous post, Charles Henry and Rachel Adela were married at Emanuel Protestant Episcopal Church.  Highlighted above is the two-family home on Gladstone where the family lived and the church on Eastern Ave.  It would have been a short walk down Collins Ave. to reach the church.

The Church first appears in the Cincinnati City Directories in 1876.  Several of the City Directory listings are included below:

The History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County published in 1894 by S.B. Nelson in 1894 listed the following Protestant Episcopal Churches in Cincinnati:

Not only did Charles and Rachel get married in this church, but all three of their children were baptized there.  I contacted the Episcopal Diocese to see if there were any records for the Joneses in this church.  Following a search, the archivist sent me this message:
We have one record book for the 1910-1920 period listing members, baptisms and confirmations. It included a note from an archivist in the 1940s that most of the parish records are lost.
The church was torn down not long after 1920.  This should be a surprise to no one, as its location on the banks of the Ohio River made it prone to yearly flooding.

Current location of LeBlond Park with Highland School and St. Rose Church in the background.
The church would have been in the approximate location of the soccer field.  The river is just off to the right.

My grandfather, Charles Fred Jones, was a life-long Episcopalian buried from the Christ Church Cathedral at the time of his death.