Monday, July 24, 1944: Sortie #5

7-24-1944 Army Situation Map

[July 24, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map.

Jerry flew two back-to-back missions to the French city of St. Lô in late July 1944. The first of these sorties– his fifth overall — took place on July 24, 1944.* This date marked the end of the Normandy invasion and the beginning of “Operation COBRA,” the next phase of the Allies’ push into France. The 12th Army Situation Map above shows the positions of Allied and Axis forces on this date.

By the time Jerry flew his missions to St. Lô, the city had be the scene of intense ground fighting and had been bombed by both Allied and Axis troops. St. Lô was so devastated by the war that then-journalist and later playwright Samuel Beckett famously dubbed it the “city of ruins.” The picture below shows why this name was so fitting.

Normandie Front [1944] St. Lô. Ein schwerbeschädigtes Stadtviertel.

Normandie Front [1944] St. Lô. Ein schwerbeschädigtes Stadtviertel. German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv)

According to the 8th Air Force Historical Society’s Chronology, Jerry’s B-17 and other “heavy bombers [were] scheduled to participate in a US First Army offensive (Operation COBRA) to penetrate the German defenses [west] of Saint-Lo [sic] and secure Coutances” on  July 24, 1944. The 457th Bomb Group’s narrative account of the mission provides the following background:

“The United States First Army, after overrunning the Cotentin Peninsula and storming Cherbourg, had regrouped on the north side of the straight road running from St. Lo to Lesay. It was now poised for a break-out into the French countryside to the south, and the Brest Peninsula. Fifteen hundred eighty-six heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force were called upon to assist in the grand drive…”

The Chronology reported “1,586 bombers and 671 fighters [were] dispatched” for the mission. They flew “a direct route to the front lines” but “the cloud cover below was almost complete,” according to the 457th Bomb Group Narrative, which continued:

“The coast was crossed with the target area sixteen miles away and still the clouds persisted. As no landmarks were visible the course could not be checked and corrected. Finally the formations came out into the clear about a mile north of the road, thirty seconds time for bombs away. All boxes were about a half mile to the right of their aiming points, but could not turn left because of crowding and the abreast formation. As American troops were 1500 yards away from the road, the bombardiers in the lead ships waited to release until they were sure bombs would not fall short. All bombs were away except those in the low box. The other three boxes reformed and made a 360 over the channel waiting for the low box to go back over the target area. On this second run, the clouds had moved over the German positions and no release was made. At this moment the entire operation was cancelled. Only 487 of the 1586 bombers had dropped their bombs.”

They would return the following day.

Text Sources:

* Jerry’s Sortie Record.

** The 8th Air Force Historical Society’s Chronology, available online at http://www.8thafhs.org/combat1944b.htm.

*** The 457th Bomb Group Mission Narrative, available online at http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA94.HTML

Photo Sources:

The map at the top of this post is” [July 24, 1944], HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map.” Allied Forces. Army Group, 12th. Engineer Section. Accessed through the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650. Library of Congress Catalog Number2004629087. http://lccn.loc.gov/2004629087

The second image above is “Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1984-043-03, Frankreich, St. Lô, Zerstörungen” by Unknown – This image was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv) as part of a cooperation project. The German Federal Archive guarantees an authentic representation only using the originals (negative and/or positive), resp. the digitalization of the originals as provided by the Digital Image Archive.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-de via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1984-043-03,_Frankreich,_St._L%C3%B4,_Zerst%C3%B6rungen.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1984-043-03,_Frankreich,_St._L%C3%B4,_Zerst%C3%B6rungen.jpg.

Wednesday, July 19, 1944: Sortie #4

Assembly of Bf 109G-6s in a German aircraft factory. Photo: German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).

Assembly of Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6s. “Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-638-4221-06, Produktion von Messerschmitt Me 109″ by Höss. Photo: German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).

This post is part of a series about the World War II experience of my maternal grandfather, Lt. Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick. He served as a B-17 navigator with the 8th Air Force 457th Bombardment Group, 749th Squadron, which was based at Glatton Air Force Base in England. To read other posts in the series, select “WWII” from the “People, Places, and Things” drop-down menu on the right-hand side of your screen.

On his fourth sortie, Jerry and his crewmates flew their B-17 along with 35 other heavies from the 457th Bomb Group in an attack on Augsburg, Germany. Their goal was to bomb the manufacturing facilities of the Messerschmitt aircraft company, which was based in the city.* Messerschmitt produced fighter planes for Germany, including the Bf 109Gs shown in the photo above.

Around the time of this mission, in response to a ramping-up of the “Allied air offensive against Nazi Germany … the Nazi leadership decided to construct underground installations in order to produce weaponry and related war materiel,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. This activity included creating protected places to produce Messerschmitt planes. The USHMM website states:

“Accelerated construction of such facilities required significant outlay of human resources. The SS provided concentration camp prisoners to carry out the most dangerous tasks, such as hollowing out tunnels from mountainsides and caves, constructing subterranean factories, and hauling construction materials. To facilitate these immense projects, it set up hundreds of satellite camps close to proposed industrial sites in 1944 and 1945.

In mid-1944, the SS established the Mühldorf camp complex in Bavaria as a satellite system of the Dachau concentration camp to provide labor for an underground installation for the production of the Messerschmitt 262 (Me-262), a jet fighter designed to challenge Allied air superiority over Germany. Between July 1944 and April 1945, when the US Army overran the area, more than 8,000 prisoners had been deported to the main camp at Mettenheim and to its subcamps.”

Forced laborers build the south wall of the foundation of the new Dachau satellite camp of Weingut I in Mühldorf . Germany, 1944. — courtesy of Stadtarchiv Muehldorf am Inn; US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The sortie on July 19, 1944 was part of a larger 8th Air Force mission involving 1,082 bombers and 670 fighter planes that were dispatched to western and southwestern Germany. The targets for this mission included two “plants producing hydrogen peroxide (an ingredient in V-weapon fuels), a chemical plant, 2 aircraft factories, 4 ball bearing plants, 6 marshalling yards, 4 airfields, and a river dam.” Some planes participating in the mission also attacked “strafe ground targets, including parked aircraft, locomotives and rolling stock, and road vehicles.”** The day’s “destruction was extensive,”  according to the 457th’s Mission Narrative for July 19, 1944. It had been “one of the more successful missions of the war.”***

This wide-ranging mission extended “even into Austria,” reported Eric Hammel in his Air War Europa. “Fourteen B-17s and three B-24s [were] lost” in the mission, while another “three B-17s [were] interned in Switzerland.”****

Text Sources

* Jerry’s sortie record, one of his military records I have in my personal collection.  457th Bomb Group Mission Narrative (http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA91.HTML)
and Loading List (http://www.457thbombgroupassoc.org/archives/loading-lists/loading-list_1944-07-19_457thBG_749thSQ.pdf) for this sortie. 

** 8th Air Force Historical Society Chronology: http://www.8thafhs.org/combat1944b.htm

*** 457th Bomb Group Mission Narrative: http://www.457thbombgroup.org/Narratives/MA91.HTML

**** Hammel, Eric. Air War Europa: America’s War Against Germany in Europe and North Africa: Chronology, 1942-1945. California: Pacifica Press, 1997, p. 341.

Photographic Sources

The photo at the top of the page is from the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv). “Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-638-4221-06, Produktion von Messerschmitt Me 109″ by Höss.  This image was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv) as part of a cooperation project. The German Federal Archive guarantees an authentic representation only using the originals (negative and/or positive), resp. the digitalization of the originals as provided by the Digital Image Archive. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-de via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-638-4221-06,_Produktion_von_Messerschmitt_Me_109.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-638-4221-06,_Produktion_von_Messerschmitt_Me_109.jpg.

The second photo, “Forced laborers build the south wall of the foundation of the new Dachau satellite camp of Weingut I in Mühldorf . Germany, 1944,” is used courtesy of Stadtarchiv Muehldorf am Inn and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in accordance with the USHMM’s “Terms of Use” policy. The original photo and others on the same topic can be found on the USHMM website: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006172.

The sources for information in this and future posts will be linked within the text. I also will compile and post a complete bibliography for this project in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions about anything discussed here, please let me know.

Sunday, July 16, 1944: Sortie #3

Detail of “World War 2 in the North Sea” Washington, D.C. : Distributed by the Educational Services Section, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Dept., [1944].

This post is part of a series about the World War II experience of my maternal grandfather, Lt. Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick. He served as a B-17 navigator with the 8th Air Force 457th Bombardment Group, 749th Squadron, which was based at Glatton Air Force Base in England.

On this sortie, “the field order was the same as before,” according to this narrative account of the mission published on the 457th Bomb Group Association’s website. “Bomb Allach if weather permits. Bomb Munich if clouds obscure the ground.”

The weather dictated the second option. The planes flew above the clouds and dropped their “bombs … from 27,000 feet” on Munich. The narrative stated that this high altitude guaranteed “that the bombs landed in the center of the city.”

It is useful to note that there were at least two main factories commonly referenced as “Allach” during this time. The target of these bombing missions, as noted in a previous post, was the Allach facility owned by BMW that was strategically important as a manufacturer of aircraft parts. Another Allach factory produced porcelain items and was run by the SS. Both factories relied on labor by prisoners held at the Dachau concentration camp. Please see the links here for additional information.

The image above is a detail from a map called “World War 2 in the North Sea.”

Source: Washington, D.C. : Distributed by the Educational Services Section, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Dept., [1944]. Accessed online through the Library of Congress website: http://lccn.loc.gov/2013593061 

“Navigators can’t daydream”

An illustration from the July 1944 Air Force article, “Navigators Can’t Daydream.”

 

As described in my previous posts, Jerry began his sorties as a B-17 navigator in July 1944. That month,  Air Force: The Official Service Journal of the US Army Air Forces (pp. 18-19) published a two-page article called “Navigators Can’t Daydream.”

Under this headline, was a clear message for Jerry and other navigators spelled out in bold type:

“The job of navigation is tough at best; don’t make it more difficult with over-confidence and laziness.”

The next two pages cataloged numerous cautionary tales about navigators who had not done their jobs correctly to the detriment of their squadrons and the overall war effort. The article ended with this reminder:

“Any man can err — the trick is to be aware of what might happen and take the proper precautions … You may not have a chance to make a second error.”

 

Wednesday, July 12, 1944: Sortie #2

Jerry kept this copy of The Stars and Stripes from July 12, 1944. It included a front-page article about his first mission of the war.

This post is the second in a series about the World War II experience of my maternal grandfather, Lt. Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick. He served as a B-17 navigator with the 8th Air Force 457th Bombardment Group, 749th Squadron, which was based at Glatton Air Force Base in England. To read other posts in the series, select “WWII” from the “People, Places, and Things” drop-down menu on the right-hand side of your screen.

After Jerry died in 2009, my aunt gave me his brief case. It was filled with his military service records, metals, and a few souvenirs he had kept from the war. One of his keepsakes was the July 12, 1944 issue of The Stars and Stripes shown above, which included a front-page article about his first mission of the war.*

Under the headline, “1,100 Bombers Batter Munich; Toulon Raided,” the article started:

“More than 1,100 American heavy bombers — one of the largest forces ever to strike a single German target — flew from Britain yesterday to batter objectives in the Munich area of southern Germany… Escorted by up to 750 Eighth Air Force P47s, P38s and P51s, the British-based Fortresses [B-17s] and Liberators [B-24s] did not encouter a single German fighter on their 1,000-mile round-trip through heavy cloud. Flak, however, was intense and 20 heavies and two pursuits failed to return.”

The day this article was printed, Jerry returned to Munich on his second sortie. He flew with the same crew as on his first mission, with one exception: Sgt. Bernard F. Sitek was replaced on this day by Sgt. Kenneth E. McGriff as the Ball Turret Gunner.**

According to the 8th Air Force Historical Society Chronology for the day, their plane joined 1,270 others bombers and more than 800 fighters on this mission. The 457th’s mission board for this sortie listed the Allach factory and Munich as targets.

Visibility was poor on July 12.  “Unable to visually attack units in and around Munich,” Eric Hammel wrote in his 1997 book Air War Europa: America’s War Against Germany in Europe and North Africa: Chronology, 1942-1945 (p. 338), the bombers used “radar to conduct an area attack on the city of Munich.” *** The Chronology linked above states that 88% of the heavies were able to drop bombs on Munich, while another “16 [planes] hit Enstingen and 10 hit targets of opportunity.”

The Chronology also listed American losses on this mission. Two men were killed and seven were wounded. Another 216 were listed as missing in action. Nearly 300 bombers were “damaged” on the mission, with four “damaged beyond repair” and “24… lost” completely.

Additional sources and notes

* The Stars and Stripes, London Edition, Vol. 4, No. 215, p. 1.

** “Combat Crew Loading List,” 12 July 1944, p. 2. 749th Bombardment Squadron, Office of the Operations Officer, Station 130, APO 557. Also, 457th Bomb Group Loading Lists, available online here.

*** As his plane’s navigator, Jerry would have been actively involved in this radar work. I have just started researching the Standard Operating Procedure — or SOP — for B-17 navigators and am currently looking for a copy of the Eighth Air Force Navigator’s Handbook.  When I have more information about Jerry’s day-to-day work as a navigator, I will update information here.

The sources for information in this and future posts will be linked within the text. I also will compile and post a complete bibliography for this project in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions about anything discussed here, please let me know.

Tuesday, July 11, 1944: Sortie #1

Munich map (1024x765)

Detail of a war map that was in Jerry’s personal collection and now in mine. When I received the map, the cities he bombed had been circled in ink, and areas where he flew missions had been shaded in pencil.

On this day 70 years ago, Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick boarded a B-17 at Glatton Air Force Base in England for his first bombing mission of World War II. He was the plane’s navigator.

According to the 457th’s loading list for that day’s mission, Jerry flew with the following men:

Lt. Harry J. Whitman (pilot),

F/O Albert O. Gilbertson, Jr. (co-pilot)

Lt. Leonard Stoner (Bombardier)

Sgt. Joseph P. Melly (Top Turret Gunner)

Sgt. Howard B. Munger (Radio Operator)

Sgt. Bernard F. Sitek (Ball Turret Gunner)

Sgt. William A. Scharnhorst (Right Waist Gunner)

Stg. Charles E. Fosson (GT)

Their B-17, officially described on the loading list as Ship #113, was one of 34 bombers from the 457th on this mission. Mission board records indicate that these planes carried a total of 18 250-pound general purpose (“GP”) bombs [source]. These planes joined 1,142 other bombers and nearly 800 fighter planes on a mission to bomb targets in the Munich, Germany area.

Although this mission was Jerry’s first, the 457th had already participated in 85 others during the war [source]. The 457th had attacked Munich on previous missions but recently had been involved in different campaigns. According to Ken Blakebrough in his 1968 book, The Fireball Outfit: The 457th Bombardment Group in the Skies Over Europe (p. 33), the July 11, 1944 mission marked the 457th’s return to “the 8th Air Force’s campaign against Munich.”

Blakebrough noted that Munich, as “the birthplace of Naziism, was … a psychological target,” as well as “a center for development of jet propelled aircraft. Experimental stations, assembly factories, and operational flying fields had blossomed in the surrounding area with the focal point being the huge Allach aero works.”

Allach was owned by BMW, which staffed the factory with prisoners from the nearby Dachau and Sachenhausen concentration camps, according to Daniel Uziel’s 2012 book, Arming the Luftwaffe: The German Aviation Industry in World War II ( p. 168). Promotional photos of the plant, including images of these prisoners at work can be seen on the BMW Group’s photo archive website. (The archive includes 150 pictures of the plant. To see photographs of the prisoners, click the link above, select the radio button for “100 results per page” and scroll down. The men are shown wearing striped uniforms and working over conveyor belts.)

Other locations bombed on the July 11 mission included the Munich marshaling yard, the Munich – Riem Airfield, the German towns of Augsburg and Eppingen, and “a bridge on the Autobahn” [source].

 

This post is the first in a series about the World War II experience of my maternal grandfather, Lt. Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick. He served as a B-17 navigator with the 8th Air Force 457th Bombardment Group, 749th Squadron, which was based at Glatton Air Force Base in England.

The sources for information in this and future posts will be linked within the text. I also will compile and post a complete bibliography for this project in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any questions about anything discussed here, please let me know.

Hendersons of Olive Hill, Kentucky

Detail from "Kentucky - Topographic Map Index 1926," from the Perry-Castañeda Library Maps Collection at the University of Texas

“Kentucky – Topographic Map Index 1926″ (detail), Perry-Castañeda Maps Collection, University of Texas Libraries

My genealogy efforts have largely been on hold over the last year. In addition to running my own consulting business, I was elected to local office and have been an active on the board of a nonprofit that supports schools here in Western Massachusetts.

While I was busy with these activities, my dad kept asking, “Have you done any genealogy recently?” I always had to respond, “No, I haven’t had time.” I hate that answer.

All of the activities that have been keeping me busy finally wore me down last week. I came down with a bad cold and spent three days in bed. That down time gave me the opportunity to start on a new genealogy research project.

My dad has been asking in particular about our ancestor Phoebe Bare. (Her given name is variously spelled Phebe, Pheobe, and Phoeba. Her surname has been recorded in official documents as Bare and Bear. For the sake of clarity, I’m going to go with Phoebe Bare, at least for now.)

Phoebe is my 3x grandmother. If you Google her, you will find photographs, as well as some family history websites that claim she was Native American, possibly Cherokee. I’m not convinced at this point, but my research is just beginning. I will post material here in the future about her background.

I know the names of her parents, as well as the name of her spouse (Robert Jasper Henderson, Jr). Early in my bed-ridden research about her, I quickly found out that her husband’s ancestors founded the town of Olive Hill, Kentucky (shown in the center of the map above). Because she and her husband lived in that area before moving to West Virginia, my hunch was that a little research into her husband’s family would probably turn up a lot of great information — both about the Henderson family and about the community of Olive Hill itself. My hope is that such information will provide rich context for research into Phoebe’s family.

The research process this far

While I was sick, I downloaded the latest edition of RootsMagic, and began adding information to my database about the Henderson family in Olive Hill. I went back through a few decades worth of census records, adding information about all of Robert’s extended family members I could find. This task took a while to complete, since it was common for his relatives to have a dozen or more children each.

After looking documenting all of these people and the sources I used to find them, I did a broader search online to find other information about the family. I included key details found in this search in my database, too, but was careful to note the quality of the data. Many of the latter details are just leads at this point; I don’t see them as facts, but as hints or “proto-facts” that need to be vetted through more thorough research.

Next steps

Now that I feel better and am back at work — and continuing my other activities — the question I keep asking myself is, “How am I going to keep this thing going?” I’ll post updates here.

Heading to the Library of Congress

Jerry in Indianapolis

Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick in Indianapolis.

I will be in the Washington, DC area for work soon. That trip has given me a great excuse to spend some time at the Library of Congress. While I am there, I will to do some background research for the book I am writing about my paternal grandfather’s experience in World War II. 

So far, I have about 50 pages of notes and 50 images — photographs, V-Mails, postcards — for that project. I have researched Grandpa’s training as a navigator in the United States, as well as all of the missions he flew on B-17s from Glatton Airfield in the UK. The one major thing I am missing is insight into life on the base. I want to know what it was like to spend time there when not on a mission. My hope is that materials included in the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project will help me fill in the gaps.

Have you done research at the LOC? Do you have any tips for a first timer?

Postcards from World War II

New Orleans Postcard - September 18, 1943

During World War II, my grandfather flew 23 bombing missions over France and Germany as a navigator on a B-17. He trained for this work at air force bases around the United States in 1943 and early 1944. My grandmother followed him around from base to base, taking up short-term jobs and having a big adventure along the way.

I visited the family farm in Ohio a couple of weeks ago and came home to Massachusetts with a box full of old postcards, many of which were written by Grandma to her parents during her travels with Grandpa during the war. The postcard above is one of the ones she sent home from New Orleans. On an earlier postcard, she told her parents that she was looking forward to visiting the city. It rained non-stop while they were there, and, on this card, she said she was ready to leave.

My aunt also gave me a briefcase full of Grandpa’s World War II records on my recent Ohio trip. I am planning to put the postcards together with the military records and some other historical reference materials to create a short book about the war in my family. More about that project in the posts to come.

Edward Alanson Patrick’s 1938 death certificate

Today, I was planning to describe a strange issue that cropped up when I was looking for Edward Alanson Patrick in census records, but I decided to hold off on that post so that I could show his death certificate first.  Of course, examining the death certificate before other documents is the correct genealogical research order. It also makes telling the census story easier.

Among the details shown here are the names of his parents, Alonzo Patrick and Louisa Beard. I will talk about Alonzo and Louisa in my post about the census.

Patrick family portrait, c. 1897 (or, Thanks for labeling your photos, Aunt Kay)

L to R: Edward Alanson Patrick, Leo A. Patrick, Ella (Askins) Patrick, Carl Amos Patrick. Circa 1897.

When my maternal grandfather, Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick, died last May, I realized how little I knew about his family. If pressed for details about my Patrick line, I would have said that Grandpa’s father was Carl Patrick (above right). I also might have guessed that the Patricks were Methodists and Ohio farmers. That would have been about it. Over the last 10 months, however, I have spent a significant amount of time researching my Patrick line. Today’s post marks the first in a series on the research steps I have taken so far to trace that line back from Carl to the end of the American Revolution.

This research project started in earnest when a cousin shared this photograph with me that had previously been in the collection of his grandmother, my great aunt Kay. Unlike other copies of this picture that existed in my family, Aunt Kay’s was carefully labeled with names the people in the portrait. Her label indicated that Carl’s father was named “Edward A. Patrick,” along with his birth (1857) and death (1938) dates. His actual middle name, which would turn out to be a significant clue during further research on the Patricks, would not become clear to me until I had a copy of his death certificate. While I waited for a copy of that document to arrive from the Ohio Historical Society, I started hunting for Edward and his family in the census. Tomorrow, I will talk about the questions raised by the census records I found.

Special delivery: two memoirs and a journal

I arrived home yesterday afternoon to find two packages on my kitchen doorstep. The first package contained a hot-off-the-presses memoir by my maternal grandmother’s 89-year-old first cousin, Mary.

Although I have never met Mary in person, we worked together virtually on A Century of Family History, the book of Grandma’s photos that went to press back in December. Mary contributed key information and priceless anecdotes through the book’s blog and via e-mail.  Through our e-mail conversations over the last few months, she knew that I wanted to learn more about our family history. She promised to send her memoir when she had finished it. I am thrilled that she did.

She also sent a copy of another cousin’s memoir and a journal written by one of my second great-uncles. Now I have a lot of reading to do.

A striking thing about this special delivery of family documents is that I never would have received it if I had not decided to “do something” with my grandmother’s photo collection last year.  Asking my relatives one question (“What do you know about the people and places in these pictures?”) yielded more information, insight, and genealogy leads in one year than I ever imagined possible.  Here is my new question: What’s next?

1908 Throckmorton family portrait, Morrow Co., Ohio

My cousin Joyce took me on a tour of our family’s home sites last year. Without her, I never would have found many old homes, because they have changed so much since our ancestors lived in them. Like many older houses in Morrow County, most of the Victorian features have disappeared from this house over the years.  The intricate woodwork is gone, and the original clapboards have been replaced with vinyl siding. Although the original iron fence no longer lines the road, a few fence panels have been moved to decorate the home’s current main entrance.

The people in the photograph are, left to right: Mary J. (Hicks) Throckmorton, my second great-grandmother; Lizzie (possibly a Throckmorton family foster child); Mary Edna Throckmorton (my great-grandmother); and Verner Throckmorton (Edna’s brother).  This photograph was taken on June 9, 1908 outside the Throckmorton farmhouse on Township Road 197 in Morrow County, Ohio. Mary’s husband (and the father of Edna and Verner) was Charles Wesley Throckmorton, who died eight years before this portrait was taken.

Elizabeth Patrick’s Election of the Widow, 1889

Unlike Emily (Salisbury) Throckmorton, the woman I discussed at length last week, Elizabeth (Sailsbury) Patrick accepted the terms of her late husband’s will. The following is a transcription of her “Election of the Widow,” a probate record dating from 1889. These two women would later be connected by the marriages of their step-grandchildren. Emily Throckmorton’s step-granddaughter, Mary Edna Throckmorton, would later marry Elizabeth Patrick’s step-grandson, Carl Amos Patrick. Edna and Carl were my great-grandparents.

Election of Widow

And now comes Elizabeth Patrick widow of Alonzo Patrick deceased, and in open Court made her election to take under the last will and testament of said deceased as follows towit:

The State of Ohio

Morrow County SS

Probate Court

May 29 1889.

I Elizabeth Patrick widow of Alonzo Patrick late of Morrow County deceased, fully understanding the provisions of the last will and testament of said deceased and of my rights under it, and also of my rights by law to take and accept of the provisions made for me in said last will and testament, in lieu of my dower interest and distribution share of the estate of said deceased.

Elizabeth Patrick

Subscribed in open Court, before me this 29” day of May 1889

L.K. Powell, Probate Judge.

(Source: Ohio, Probate Court (Morrow County), “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 428, Elizabeth Patrick’s Election of the Widow, 29 May 1889; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)

What I’m Reading Now: This Republic of Suffering

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, by Drew Gilpin Faust.

My concept of vacation reading is a little strange, I admit. Exhibit A: This Republic of Suffering, which I picked up at the Colonial Williamsburg visitor’s center last summer. In the post-vacation unpacking chaos, I lost the book. It resurfaced a few weeks ago when I was getting ready for my trip out to the Family History Library in Salt Lake. This book, written by Harvard University’s president, covers the ways in which American society’s attitudes about death, mourning, and burial — among other things — changed as a result of the Civil War’s carnage.