Treasure Chest Thursday – Memoir


When I was young I would sit and listen to my father ramble on about his genealogy research…it literally bored me to tears.  It was not until I was older that I could really appreciate all of the treasures that he unearthed.  One of the treasures is the memoirs of  our relative – Marie Antionette Bowlen Gardiner.  It gives invaluable information  about our family as well as glimpse into the past.

My Memoir – Marie Antoinette Gardiner

I,  Marie Antoinette Bowlen Gardiner, was born September 4, 1869 in the Village of Barnesville, MD, Montgomery County, Maryland in the foothill of the so called Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Dr. George Fairhurst Bowlen, my father, was a horse and buggy doctor, a graduate of the University of Maryland in Baltimore.  He was valedictorian of his class of 1856.  The essay he delivered was on the subject of chloroform, for which he received a valuable prize.  His associates lamented the fact that of his decision to become a family practitioner in a small town.  They believed he was wasting his talents, however, Papa, I’m sure never regretted his decision.  While studying at the University of Maryland his classmates nicknamed him G.W.  Thereafter he always signed his name G.W. Bowlen.  He was born on a plantation.  His father’s name was William Ezra Bowlen and his mother’s was Ellen Fairhurst.  An only son, he had five sisters and I regret to be able to give you any further information  regarding them.  Papa’s father wished him to carry on the family tradition and since he disapproved of him leaving home he gave Papa very little financial assistance.  Consequently, like many others he worked his way by teaching school for three years before entering the University.

Mother’s name was Felicia Edmonia Candler.  Born in Darnestown, Maryland in July 1837.  She had one brother, Montgomery.  Uncle Montgomery married a cousin, Betty Offutt.  Mama’s only sister Roseanna Sidonia Virginia was quite a few years younger than Mamma.  She was a petite brunette, loved horseback riding and enjoyed painting in oils.  My niece Bernadine has personal possessions.  She lives in Comus, Maryland and sweet little Auntie spent her last years there.  Auntie married twice but had no children.  Through the years when I would visit I usually took Mildred along as she would sit quietly while we would chat for hours after dinner.  Since she had no children they apparently make her nervous.  She had a small home in Berwyn, Maryland and spent her days there in growing beautiful flowers and reading her Bible.

Grandfather Candler’s name was Leonard William.  Grandfather kept store and was a postmaster in Darnestown for thirty-five years.  Mamma attended a private school in Rockville and each Monday  she would ride on horseback, and a small colored boy rode behind her in side saddle.  He would return for her on Fridays.  I still have her saddle also Papa’s saddle bags (pockets), which he would throw across the horse he was riding as he jogged along the country roads over a radius of about eight miles through the snowy wintry roads.  Mamma had a very lively disposition and everyone in the village loved her dearly.  Papa was of a much quieter nature but capable and untiring in his chosen profession.  She would often tease him by remarking, “Should I die I’m sure you will marry the prettiest young girl in the village but if you married Laura Hayes you would be very wise.”  Mamma died suddenly of pneumonia, January 1891.  Papa did marry cousin Laura Hayes after mourning for five years.  He passes away in 1906.

Every Sunday morning Papa spent in his pharmacy making the pills to dispense to his patients, as I grew older I he would permit me to assist him in the preliminary making of them.  He still obtsin the root of the sassafras and remove the bark in thin shavings for tea each spring and he a firm believer in taking calomel tablets in one-quarter grains every half hour until two grains at least were taken in the spring and fall to avoid a bilious attack and followed with Epsom salts in the A.M.

William Ezra Linwood Candler Bowlen my only brother was born in 1859 and died July 3, 1865 of pneumonia.  My parents were grief stricken.  In those days doctors did not hesitate to in telling their patients they were near the great divide and he made no exception telling brother, although he very solemnly said he did not wish to go down into the cold grave alone.  After explaining that only his body was placed in the earth and that his soul would go to heaven, brother asked if he would meet him there and Papa replied, “By the grace of God I will.”  Papa was reared a Quaker and he did not smoke or drink, except for the traditional Christmas eggnog.

Shortly after brothers passing, Papa began to studying the different Christian religions and after a year or two he became convinced if there was any truth in Christianity it was to be found in the the Catholic Church.  He was a humble man and of course his daily contacts with suffering humanity left  him with few allusions regarding the true values of life.  He found it no too difficult to accept the mystery of the Blessed Trinity and the Holy Eucharist.   Each child he brought into the world was to him a proof of God’s power.  How can you explain a soul?  God was indeed good and since he did not demand proof Papa received the gift of Faith and naturally Mamma became interested and they studied together.  Rev. Chappell of Rockville gave them instructions.  He had small parishes called missions all over the county and later was appointed Bishop of New Orleans.

Inez Anna Vistula, my only sister was born January 252, 1868.  While very small we occupied a trundle bed which could be pushed under our parents big four poster.  We attended the public school.  Were baptised by the Rev. Joseph Burch and also to whom we make our first confession and holy communion.  My parents were confirmed by Arch Bishop Spalding.  Their family album contain all of the photographs.  I have lovingly preserved it through the years.  After completing grammar school we were  sent to the Visitation Convent in Frederick.  Mamma’s parents were then living there.  They had a much finer house than ours since he did not consent to their furnishing the two parlors and the sterling, linens, china also supplying the pantry with the customary barrels of flour, sugar, and etc.  We still have the hand carved mahogany furniture in the living and reception hall here in Rockville.

Indeed those were carefree, happy days.  Each spring and fall we visited mamma’s parents in Frederick.  A dressmaker would come in and make our closthes which would suffice us for the two seasons.  Papa whenever possible would come and bring us homes.  Christmas was always very joyful.  After early mass and breakfast, Papa would will the old diamond cut glass punch bowl with eggnog and throughout the day friends called.  A half dozen cakes were baked into ginger and sugar cookies, mince pies and best of all were the Maryland beaten biscuits.  During the Christmas Holiday of 1888, I was invited to Washington by Mamma’s Uncle Milton Fischer.  They had two children, Henry Clay and Mary Ethel.  It was my fist visit there.  Henry was an army cadet and later became a Colonel in the Medical Corp.  He showed me a delightful time.  We attended Grover Cleveland’s Inauguration Ball and we visited all of the public buildings.  Walked to the dome from the Capitol and to the top of the Washington Monument also through the Botanical Gardens.  Truly we spent a carefree life and when I married the only thing I could make was a pot of tea.

My parents adopted an orphan girl and some years after she married returned to Barnesville and gave Father Joseph Burch a check for ten thousand dollars for a parish house and she requested a plaque near the entrance in memory of my Mother (on the front door).

Shortly after finishing school Inez married Henry Bernard Gardiner.  They had six children.  Anna Edmonia married Raymond King.  They have two children a boy and a girl.  Lucille married Mr. Harry Allison of Warrenton, VA.  They have two girls.  Bernadine married Mr. Oscar Leaman and have no children.  She lives in Comus and Anna in Clarksburg.  Lucille in Baltimore suburbs.  They all have a very comfortable homes and are very dear to me.  In recent years I have seen more of Bernadine since she is alone we seem to have more time to visit.  Bowlen married Cecilia Sullivan and  have one buy and three girls.  Bowlen died a few years ago and LeRoy was killed by a B. & O. train when he was about thirteen years of age.  Evelyn, the youngest, married John Brickley and they have three children.  She died about two years ago.  Bernard and Inez died in the fall of 1932 and are buried in Barnesville near our parents also our babies are there.

Quite soon after my sister’s marriage, Bernard’s brother Louis  began calling, although Papa declared there would be nor fire built in the parlor that winter.  We became engaged on Valentine’s Day 1889.  He proposed by saying, “Miss Nettie must say yes or no tonight.” Since he was somewhat older than I it became a habit I suppose and through all the years I addressed him as Mr. Louis.  Of course in those days there was more formality in every respect.  Older people were always loved and respected by the younger members of the family.  I was “my bride” or “my sweetheart.”  We were married November 6, 1889.  I often think November the happiest and saddest months of my life.

Our wedding took place in Saint Mary’s Church in Barnesville.  Nuptial mass by Father Riordan.  I wore the traditional white with long veil, long sleeves and white kid slippers with pointed toes.  Miss Sally Brown made all of my wedding clothes and she is still living and still doing sewing.  A bountiful reception was held at home.  Roast young suckling pig, hams, chickens etc. and we spent our bridal trip in Baltimore.  Visited a cousin of Mr. Louis’ of Whitehall, Harford County (Uncle Tom of Whitehall and Uncle John Green of Stewartstown) and Aunt Sue and her family, Baltimore. We settled on a home on the National Old Trail’s road, near Germantown, MD.  The village of Middlebrook touched the east corner of our home.  We named it Locust Grove.  Papa gave me and the home farm and Cousin Jim Clarke sold Mr. Louis the farm opposite, separated by the country road.  Together they totaled 365 acres.  Mr. William Clarke and Mr. William Gardiner came from Ireland together.  They married sisters from Frederick County.  Grandfather G. married Henrietta Simpson and Cousin William married Betsy Simpson.

Cousin Jim’s Mother, Betsy Simpson Clarke, was very spoiled and high spirited.  They were aristocratic and quite wealthy, owned many slaves.  Mr. William Clarke was very amiable and endeavored to please her but she frequently would fly into fits of rage and through revenge would set free some of the slaves.  Finally Mr. Clarke left and never returned.  She in time became poor and at twelve her only son, James C. Clarke, had to sop school and seek work.  He went to the Chesapeake Canal but they refused to employ him because of his age but he told them he must have work as he had a mother to support.  They admired his courage and he started as a water boy.  He in time became President of the above Canal.  While a boy he would ride the muled and would have to duck his head while passing under the bridge.  He also became the president of the Illinois Ohio Offices in Alabama.  He was fond of my husband and and always a generous , kind friend and cousin.  He had three sons names where Horace, Charlie and Winnie.  Two daughters Jennie and Laddie.  James C. Clarke is buries in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick in the lot next to Francis Scott Key.  His family are interred there and the companion and good friend of  his wife’s is buried in the same lot.  We attended General Clarke’s funeral.  George, Jamie and Edmonia also.  A special “hack” took us in the family procession.  The second monument designed as copy of Washington’s is the Clarkes.

Mr. Louis was the eldest boy in the family.  Believe another correction is in order.  William Thomas, Louis Green, Henry Bernard, Henrietta and Mary was first born.  Their parents: William Henry Gardiner and Ann Frances Green.  William had a slave woman who attended to him by the name of Hagar, consequently he was not well suited for the business world.  Sweet little Ann Frances continued to spoil him through the years.  Mr. Louis bought them a home in Gaithersburg soon after our marriage and Hetty lived with them since she did not marry.  She died about eight years ago in Redland.  Perhaps you would like to know who you r Uncle William (Thomas) married, Miss Lydia Ensley from Poplar Springs, Howard, County, Md. One son, Lee Gardiner blessed their union and Lydia died in childbirth. Then in the course of time he married Aunt Joe in Des Moines, Iowa.

They had six children and I pray my memory serves me now correctly.  I should confer with Sally, maybe.  Their names: Bernard, Louis, Mildred and Walker died of burns in a forest fire while Mildred was visiting us in 1918 during the influenza epidemic.  Poor dear, she contracted it and in the course of time the children who were home came down with it.  Mr. Louis stayed home and assisted me in nursing them as it was impossible to get nurses.  At that time we were living in Rockville and I realize that I am indeed ahead of my story.  There were two more children Donald and Jeanette, nicknamed Sally.  Now you children will have to consult with Sally for further information.

Mary married Ignatius Penn.  Their children, Carlton, Nannie and Melvin.  Carlton died a short time ago.  They also lived in Redland, MD.  I am sure George attended his funeral as well as Hettie’s.  Like Mr. Louis he is a true Christopher, always thinking of others and neglecting himself.  I’m sure a day never passed without them doing some kind deed and I am the selfish, self-centered on you may well think, so take heed , you youngsters, work hard and pray each day that the good Lord will understand and forgive your mistakes which have been made by all us oldsters, especially during this past half century. Truly we were so ignorant of so many problems.  Mamma, who was always thinking of others, spoiled us dreadfully.  Yet my husband was born of well-to-do parents  escaped being proud and haughty.  Such kindness and humility and faith, yet he was high spirited and full of energy.  I often thought if he had only had the opportunity  what a wonderful lawyer he would have made and he was a perfect diplomat in every sense of the word.  My son, George, who was named for my father and Mr. Louis is indeed a “chip off the old block.”  Mr. W. Gwen Gardiner who was our attorney, during the twenties, when we were sorely afflicted with a tenant on the farms in Middlebrook., was truly a fine man but we had signed a contract, before consulting him, and he was helpless to save us from a great loss.  So beware of the “False Prophets.”  Mr. Louis had always felt a man’s word of honor was sufficient but in this particular case we apparently misjudged. He always gave to all who seeked his aid and never accepted a note.  Many time he was disappointed in people am sure but he always believed they meant well and needed the money more than we, which was true no doubt at the moment.

Won’t you excuse me for reminiscing, the prerogative I trust, permissible, to one who is nearing her eight-fifth birthday.  We seem to enjoy thinking of the past rather than the present yet I must confess I do enjoy reading the daily papers, current new books, some magazines and also like baseball, I understand it.  My grandson Louis G. Buttell, is partly responsible for the latter no doubt.  The bible of course is a daily companion.

Uncle Will goes West

Lydia Ensey Gardiner

Lydia Ensey Gardiner

William T. Gardiner

William T. Gardiner

William (Will) Thomas Gardiner (1858-1938) born in Baltimore, Maryland was the son of William H. Gardiner (1827-1902) and Ann Frances Green Gardiner (1827-1902). In 1860 Will was 2 years of age and residing with his family in the New Market District, Frederick County, MD.  His father’s profession  listed as a farmer. The value of  real estate owned is $500 and personal value is $100.   The census also reveals that his paternal Grandmother, Henrietta was also living with the family[1].

In 1870 the family lived in the New Market District of Frederick County, Maryland but the postal office is listed as Urbana, instead of Frederick.  The family was still engaged in farming.[2] His grandmother no lingered appeared on the census as she [Henrietta Simpson Gardiner] died September 30, 1866 and is buried in the Central Church Cemetery, New Market, Maryland.[3]

In June of 1880 the family is found to be residing on the Cracklin District of Montgomery County, MD.  Will is 21 years of age, and working on the family farm. In addition to his direct family members they also have residing with them Thomas Smallwood, age 13 who serves as a houseboy and Stephen Musgrove, age 15 a farm hand.

On May 2, 1882 Will married Miss Lydia E. Ensey (1854-1886)[4]. The marriage application states that Will resided in Howard County, MD working on a farm.  One would speculate that perhaps he was working on the Ensey’s farm and that is where he met Lydia..of course this is just speculation.  Lydia was born in Poplar Springs, Howard County, MD.  Daughter of Richard L. (1823-1910) and Mary Jane Ensey. Richard L. Ensey was the postmaster for Woodbine, Carroll County, Maryland in 1855.[5] In 1880, the Ensey family lived in the 4th Election District of Howard County, MD.  The Howard County, Maryland Directory of 1878 lists the family living in Cooksville – described as being 2 1/4 miles from Hood’s Mills and that Richard L. Ensey owned and operated a hotel.[6]

Sometime between 1882 & 1886 Will and Lydia headed out west to Iowa to make a new home.  I have wondered many time why he headed to Iowa, was it in the pursuit of land, an opportunity or family? Curious to find a reason I search the censuses’ for Lydia’s brothers low and behold, the 1885 census reveal that John D. Ensey, Lydia’s brother, was living in Guthrie County, Iowa[7].  Since I cannot find Will T. on the Iowa census of 1885 I would assume it was late 1885 or 1886 when he went West.

On May 21, 1886 Will and Lydia were blessed with the birth of their son Lee Ensey Gardiner[8].  Sadly Lydia, age 31,would die during childbirth never knowing his mother[9].

Will would return to Maryland with his infant son and after Lee’s christening  Will began the journey out west to his home in Iowa without his son.  Lydia Ensey Gardiner is buried in Menlo Cemetery in Guthrie County, Iowa. Lee was left in Maryland with his maternal grandparents until he was 21 years of age.

10 years after the death of his first wife he would marry again[10].   In 1886 Will wed Miss Mary Josephine Gamber (1877-1936) daughter of Sarah Jane Watts (1832-1913) and John Gamber (1818-1889).

Josephine Gamber Gardiner

Josephine Gamber Gardiner

In 1900 Will and Josephine lived in Pocahontas Town, Iowa[11].  William Bernard (3) and Forest Cleland (2) their children were also listed.

The Iowa Census of 1905 show the family still living in Pocahontas, Iowa with the addition of two new children – Mildred and Donald.  The 1905 census lists only name and no other information about the family.

By 1910 Will and Jo added several more children to the family – Janet (Sallie), Louis G, and Lawrence Alva Gardiner.  I was also delighted to see that Will and his first son, Lee Ensey Gardiner were reunited and living under the same roof[12].  It is also interesting to note that several other people were also living with them – Cleland Gilchrist, partner, Jane Gamber, Mother-in-law, Earl E. Ensey is listed as a hired hand, but he is actually a nephew of  Lydia’s.  I wonder if he and Lee ventured west together.  Edward Taggert, hired hand and Charles Marcy also a hired hand.


In 1915 two more children appear – Frances J. who is listed as 8 years of age (must have been in the outhouse when the 1910 census taker came) and Walter Gardiner being 2 years of age. Josephine and the all the children list their religion as Methodist.  Will T. did not disclose h is religion.  They are all residing in Grant, Pocahontas, Iowa. Walter only appears once on the census records – Family memoirs state that Walter died in a forest fire in 1918[13].  This would explain his disappearance from the 1920 census records.

Sometime between 1915 and 1920 the family relocated to North Dakota, Grant County in the Melrose Township[14]. The family still engaged in farming.  However they did not stay long and we find them living back in Iowa by 1925.

The 1925 Iowa census have me confused as to the exact location. as they appear in two different locations – one listing them as being in Dickinson, Lake, Iowa and one being in Polk. Des Moines, Iowa.

back of postcard 1911In 1930 Josephine Gardiner is living with her son William in Plymouth County, Plymouth Township in Merrill Town, Iowa.  William is the proprietor of a hotel.  His wife, Mary V. is listed as a waitress at the hotel.  They have two boarder also listed: Andrew Littman and Clara B. Gardner[15].  I am unable to find Will T. on the 1930 census.

Mary Josephine Gamber Gardiner passed away in 1936 and is buried next to Will’s first wife in the Menlo Cemetery in Guthrie County, Iowa. William Thomas Gardiner passed away two years later in 1938 and is buried in the same cemetery next to both of his wives.

[1] Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: New Market, Frederick, Maryland; Roll  M653_475; Page: 0; Image: 402. Source Information: 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.

[2] Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: New Market, Frederick, Maryland; Roll  M593_587; Page: 412; Image: 211 Source Information: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2003. Original data: 1870.  United States. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C. National Archives and Records Administration. M593, RG29, 1,761 rolls. Minnesota. Minnesota Census Schedules for 1870. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T132, RG29, 13 rolls.

[3] Jones-Hudson, Kathi. “Central Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery.” USGenWeb Tombstone Project. Kathi Jones-Hudson, 25 June 2006. Web. 24 Sept. 2009. <>.

[4] “Howard County Marriage Licenses.” Howard County Historical Society. Web. 24 Sept. 2009. <>.

[5] United States Official postal guide with the name of Postmasters. Washington, DC: J. Shillington, 1855.

[6] The Maryland Directory of 1878. Baltimore, MD: J. Frank Lewis & Co., 1878.

“Howard County, Maryland Directory 1878.” New River Notes. (accessed September 2009).

[7] Source Information: Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

[8] Source Citation: Number: 481-09-3233;Issue State: Iowa;Issue Date: Before 1951. Source Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.

[9] Source Iowa Cemetery Records [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: Works Project Administration. Graves Registration Project. Washington, D.C.: n.p., n.d.

[10] Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Center, Pocahontas, Iowa; Roll  T623_452; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 162. Source Information: 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

[11] Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Center, Pocahontas, Iowa; Roll  T623_452; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 162. Source Information: 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

[12] Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Grant, Pocahontas, Iowa; Roll  T624_416; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 190; Image: 826. Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA Or (Gardiner)original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624, 1,178 rolls.

[13] Gardiner, Marie Antoinette Bowlen, “My Memoir” The Gardiner’s & Relatives (August 1954)

[14] Year: 1920;Census Place: Melrose, Grant, South Dakota; Roll  T625_1719; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 158; Image: 1068.

[15] Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Plymouth, Plymouth, Iowa; Roll  672; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 25; Image: 950.0. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

Monday Madness – Walter Gardiner

William T. Gardiner and Josephine G. Gardiner had a son named Walter Gardiner born in 1913 in Pocahontas County, Grant, Iowa.  The 1915 Iowa census confirms this.  A family memoir states that he died in a forest fire in 1918.  I have been unable to locate a death record, tombstone or article for little Walter Gardiner (1913-1918).  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Walter Gardiner Iowa 1915 census

Walter Gardiner Iowa 1915 census

Wendel Bollman (1814-1884)

General James C. Clarke named one of his sons “Wendell Bollman Clarke”.  Since I could find no family correlation to the name I began to research the name in hopes of finding a connection.  James C. Clarke was one of the most notable railway men in the nation.  James C. Clarke had an illustrious railroad career rising to the ranks of President of the Illinois Central Railroad and Mobile and Ohio Roads. His other accomplishments are too vast to list can can also be viewed on my blog. So the first logical place to begin searching for Wendel Bollman  was in railroad history.  My hunch proved correct.

I was delighted to find so much documentation on him.  Here is what I found out about Wendell Clarke’s  name sake.  The original Wendel Bollman (1814-1884) was born January 21, 1814 in Baltimore, MD.  Wendel’s father died when he was 11 years. It is ironic that both Wendel and James lost their fathers at an early age andWest Virginia B. & O. Bridge forced to find work to support themselves and their families. Both would find themselves working for the B & O Railroad. Wendel was only 14 years of age when he started working as a carpenter laying wooden railroad tracks. Wendel worked various positions rising eventually to Master of the Road – he was a self-taught builder and engineer. Bridge at Savage MillThe first Bollman Truss was built in the 1850’s over the Little Patuxent in  Savage, Maryland. It was the first bridge built entirely of iron in America. The nearby elementary school “Bollman Bridge Elementary” was named for him.  Bollman rebuilt the Harper’s Ferry Bridge in West Virginia in 1851.  This would become one of his most famous bridges and rebuilt many time using his system throughout the civil war due to enemy fire. Unfortunately the bridge was washed away in a flood in the 1930’s.

In 1852 Bollman was awarded a patent for his iron suspension truss design called the Bollman Truss.” He transformed bridge building from an art to a science. Bollman is  heralded as the first successful iron bridge builder in America.

Circa 1855 Wendel Bollman left the B & O Railroad and together with James Clarke and J. H. Tegmeyer would form the W. Bollman Company in Baltimore, MD located in Canton on Clinton Street & Second Avenue. The company was one of the first to design, fabricate and erect bridges. Baltimore County Circuit Court records (Libor GHC 25 Folio 55) reveals that J.H. Tegmeyer on August 30, 1859 leased the Canton Company of Baltimore with a 99 year lease renewable forever for manufacturing iron bridges or similar manufactured items for at least two years. It is a natural assumption that this is where they opened their business.  The company faced trouble and ceased to exist circa 1862. On January 8, 1863 Tegmeyer and Clarke executed a deed (Libor GES 216 Libor 539) agreeing to sell the factory to Bollman.  Baltimore was  facing trouble with wartime conditions in the city which contributed the company’s demise.

Advertisment 1857


Circa 1865 Bollman would form a new company  – Patapsco Bridge and Iron Works.  The advertisment below touted the fact that they where the only establishment in Baltimore to manufacture its own bridges.   In addition to building bridges Bollman is also credited as being one of the architects for City Hall in Baltimore.   In 1873 he supplied the iron castings for the splendid dome on City Hall. he worked at the company until his death in 1884 at which time the company was dissolved.

Wendell Bollman Clarke  born September 27, 1859 in Baltimore, MD. He was affectionately called Wennie.  An 1886  Frederick newspaper article stated “Wendell has a rather delicate constitution”.  The article further states, “He is a good, faithful business man and a general favorite especially with children.  He mends their toys, teaches them to ride the bicycle, and entertains them with his inexhaustible fund of stories.  Almost every evening he can be seen on the seated on the front steps of his father’s handsome residence with a crown of youngsters around him.  There is not a child among them that does not love him to distraction.  Such a son is always the joy of the household”.

Wendell Bollman Clarke died on March 21, 1920 and is buried with his family at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, MD.


"Gen. Clarke and His Boys." The News [Frederick, MD.] 10 July 1886: 4. Newspaperarchive. Web. 16
     Sept. 2009. <>.
Smith, William Prescott. The Book of the Great Railway Celebrations of 1857, Embracing a Full 
     Account of the Opening of the Ohio & Mississippi, And the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroads, And 
     the Northenwestern Virginia Branch of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. New York, New York: Appleton
& Co., 1858. N. pag. Google. Web. 16 Sept. 2009. <
Howard, George Washington. The monumental city, its past history and present resources. 1-2 vols.
     N.p.: J.D. Ehlers & Co., 1873. N. pag. Google. Web. 16 Sept. 2009. <
Griggs, Frank, Jr. "A self-Taught Engineer." Structuremag. NCSEA, Feb. 2006. Web. 16 Sept. 2009.
Wikipedia contributors. "Wendel Bollman." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. N.p., 11 Aug. 2009. Web.
16 Sept. 2009. <>.

Photo's from Library of Congress Website - Historic Engineering  Record, Library of Congress Compiled after 1968 [online image]
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Bollman Bridge, Spanning Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV

Monday Madness – William Gardiner

scan0007William Gardiner is DRIVING ME CRAZY!  William Gardiner was born @1794 in Ireland,  he supposedly immigrated to the United States in 1819. I have been unsuccessful in finding immigration recrods.  Family lore has it he stowed away on the ship and traveled with his cousin William Clarke.  It is recorded in a family bible that William Clarke was from Newtownards, County Down, Ireland.  In March of 1820 he filed a declaration to become a citizen of the United States.  August 23, 1823 he married Henrietta Simpson in Rockville, MD.  1825 he became a citizen in the same year I have a bill of sales where he sold a slave in Anne Arundel County, MD.   The last record I have for him is when his farm was sold at a sheriff’s sale in 1852.  After that he totally disappeared. He is not buried with his wife or his son.  My father has been trying to locate his gravesite as well as where he came from in Ireland for over 35 years!! Come out, come out wherever you are!!!

 Pictured is William H. Gardiner – son of William Gardiner.

Chronicling America

newspaper_searchThe Library of Congress features an online site titled “Chronicling America“.  Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

The website allows you to search newspapers  from 1880 to 1910 from the following states: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.  It has an effective search engine, zooming capabilities and print options.

 The site also gives you the option of searching newspapers  published in the United States from 1690 to the present. You can browse by title, or select several different search options.  The search results will also give you holding locations of the documents.  I applaud the Library of Congress for offering this valuable, free, on-line tool.  The website can be accessed  by clicking the link

I have found many invaluable articles and photographs to add to my family collection.  I hope you will utilize this site.  Happy Hunting.

Tombstone Cold Case – Howard S. Thomas

howard-s-thomasSo yes…I admit that I like to spend my time off wandering cemeteries. While this may sound strange to some, every true genealogist can relate to this obsession.  Today we explored the Fairmount Cemetery in Libertytown, MD.  It is a well-kept cemetery with attractive iron gates at the entrance. 

As we walked around something caught my eye. It was a tombstone carved from a large gray stone.  It marked the grave of Howard S. Thomas, born in Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania in 1860 who passed away in 1943. It is the only stone of its kind in the cemetery; and displays primitive qualities given the year of death.  As you can see in the photo to the left,  the top of the stone has a carved hand with the index finger pointing downward.  The epitaph reads  “RETURNED TO MOTHER EARTH”.  I began wondering who this person was; and why such why he had such an unusual stone. 

I went home and started researching. Through the 1870 census records I verified that he was indeed born in the Hanover Borough of York County, PA.  He was the son of Emanuel and Sarah A.  His father was a carriage maker, his mother keeping house,  and he had three brothers and four sisters.  The 1880 census revealed that  Howard S. Thomas was still residing in Pennsylvania, 20 years of age, and working as an apprentice stonecutter. His father was a retired gentleman, and his brother Jacob’s profession was listed as a dentist and another bother Edward a cigar maker. 

In doing further research I stumbled upon one of his siblings obituary: Miss Cora Ellen Thomas, a dwarf, daughter of Mrs. Sarah A. Thomas, died Thursday evening at 4:30 o’clock, at the home of her mother, on York Street, of a complication of diseases from which she had been suffering for the past few weeks.  She was aged 37 years, 3 months and 13 days. Miss Thomas measured only 37½ inches in height and 30 inches around the waist. When she was three years old, she suffered with blood poisoning, and since that time had not grown.  She usually enjoyed  good health and weighed 44½ pounds.  She retained childish manners all her life, the development of her mind stopping with the end of the growth of her body. She is survived by her mother, three brothers and three sisters, George W. Thomas, of East Middle Street, Dr. J. A. Thomas, of Reading, Howard S. Thomas, of Libertytown, Md., Mrs. William Strayer, of Aaneoka, Minnesota, Mrs. Emory Swartz, of York Street, and Mrs. William H. Melhorn, of McAllister Street.The funeral will take place on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the house.  Rev. M. J. Roth, pastor of the Trinity Reformed Church, officiating, assisted by Rev. G. H. Reeser, of Emmanuel’s Reformed Church.  Interment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.Hanover Herald – Saturday, December 02, 1899

While searching  The Frederick News newspaper I found and article from 1895 that stated, Miss Emma Thomas of Liberty is visiting her parents, Mr. & Mrs. James Baltzell of the same place.  In 1900 Howard  and his wife Emma K.  (born 1864 – MD). are residing in Libertytown, MD.  The census records indicate they were married in 1882.  They have two children that are listed as Harrie B. and Frankie.  His occupation is listed as a marble cutter. The 1910 census still find them residing in Libertytown, MD, his sons apparently gone off on their own, but a little surprise. They have a grandson living with them who is two years old and is named, Howard F. Thomas, most likely after his grandfather.   Howard is still working as a stone cutter in a Marble Shop. 

The 1920’s find Howard and Emma living together in Libertytown, no longer is he a stonecutter, he is now listed as a barber!  I began searching the newspapers for an obituary when I found an article that explained everything. Howard Thomas had been preparing for his demise for over thirty years leaving detailed instructions for his funeral.  It states that Howard built his own casket as well as carving his very own tombstone.  He proudly displayed his casket in his barbershop for all patrons to see.  I am not related to this family, but hopefully they will enjoy the article. Another genealogy COLD CASE mystery solved. howard-thomas4


Brickwalls from Followers

Help our fellow genealogists and researchers with their brickwalls.  If you can help them out please do so.  Good deeds and random acts of kindness never go unnoticed.  Let us know is you were able to help someone, or where helped.

Sharon Crisafulli – @Crisafulli


1. Looking for family of Clara Siegelin Roeschlein born 9-17-1879 ;died 10-03-1911 parents Benjamin & Margaret, Clay, Indiana; married W. Herb She was raised in Clay, Indiana where she and husband Wm. Herbert Roeschlein lived. She died 3 years after they married. 1 child; Helen M. @debbieloveslife.

 2. End of the paper trail in Clifton, Mesa, Colorado 1910 Census for William O. PARMENTER and wife, Harriet Matilda HILL. @valeehill

3.  Looking for death records of Catherine Gardiner-Simpson died in Maryland 26 Mar 1878. @Crisafulli

4. Ok, My g-g-grandfather, William Sweetland, died before my g-grandmother was born. I’m on and can’t track him to his place of birth. Know death city and aprox time: Pitts 1834, can’t find birth. @KatyDidsCards

5. Puckett -3 Puckett men in Tazewell VA marry 3 Corel sisters in 1839-1842 WHERE did they come from? !?! @hawksdomain.

6.Looking for where my family came from  immigrating to US from either Ireland or England 1861 – 1910 in Preston, West Virginia and 1920’s & 1903’s in Garrett County, MD @lynj65

Hit a Brickwall? Twitter it!


Even the most skilled genealogist hits a brick wall in their research. That aloof, evasive relative that managed to dodge the census takers, avoid immigration records and seemingly was never buried upon their demise. 

I have been using Twitter to try to assist people with their ” .”  I follow the hashtag #genealogy, and when one of my fellow researchers shares their frustration of hittin’ the wall, I offer to help.  Yes, sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes on old, old data.  So the next time you have hit the wall, ask for help.

When using Twitter be sure to use the the hashtags, #genealogy and #brickwall.  Hopefully someone will assist you.  If you receive a random act of kindness be sure to pass it on.  If you are not using Twitter feel free to post your brick wall or road block on this blog.

 With that said, I have a brick wall that I need help on.  I have researched every avenue possible that I can think us using standard genealogical research protocol.

 Here is the background on my brick wall:

William Gardiner was born in Ireland @ 1796 he arrived in America between 1819 and 1823.  I have census records& naturalization records to substantiate birth year and year that he became a citizen.  I have not been able to locate immigration record and family stories state that he was a stow-away.  Would love to know where he came from in Ireland.

Genealogy 101



Genealogy 101

Many people know very little of their origins.  You may know the name of your parents or grandparents and that is the extent.  If you find yourself desirous of tracing your roots I would like to give you a few pointers to get you up and running in the right direction.  If you simply find the task too overwhelming visit my website – for assistance.

Step One

Interview all of your living relatives.  Listen carefully to the stories and take copious notes.  You may be amazed how the smallest detail can open up many research avenues.  Use the family data tracking sheet on my website to record the generations.  Visit my website at for FREE research sheets.  Look through family photo albums and that old box of pictures.  Their may be clues on the photographs such as dates, location, and names.

Step Two

Research the United States Federal Census reports.  Census reports are filled with facts that can help you trace the geographic location, age, nationality, occupation, parents, siblings and other family members.  Census reports become available to the public after 72 years.  Census reports are available from 1790 to 1930 are available on several on line websites at the United States National Archives in Washington, DC.  Visit their website for more information at:  The records are also available on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) visit their website at  The LDS also have local family History Centers where you can access the records.  Please note that many states also had their own census records.   

Step Three

Use the Internet.  Simply type the name of the ancestors that you are researching into a search portal and see what results appear.  You may just be surprised to find that a long lost relative is researching your family tree. 
There are many wonderful companies that also have records and family trees available on line. and happen to be two of my favorites.

Step Four

Search the State Archives and local courthouses in the area where your ancestors resided.  Many states have or are in the process of digitizing their records and making them available on line. However I would strongly recommend making a trip in person so you can have an orientation of all of the resources that are available to you.  I visited the Maryland State Archives and found an absolute treasure.  The treasure that I found was a series of handwritten letters by my gggg-grandmother to the Governor of Maryland in the year 1865.  What a find! Be sure to search all avenues; land deed, wills, birth, marriage, immigration and death records.

Step Five

Each state has a Vital Records division.  The National Center for Health Statistics has a wonderful reference guide on their website with state-by-state instructions. the link is HTTP://
Please note that most states started recording vital statistics in the 1900’s. 

Step Six

Immigration and Naturalization records are also a great way to trace your origin.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service records start in 1906.  If you are looking for records prior to that time frame you may want to check the municipal court’s records.  Other on line sources that are free include and

Step Seven

Research newspapers and periodicals where your ancestors lived.  There are several on line companies that have a large collection of publications that are searchable on line.  My favorite site is