Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Father was a Con Man

This is a copy of a letter my father wrote to my wife, Ellen and I shortly after we were married and  lived in Urbana IL where I was in college. My dad always called my wife Bill.

Dear Ted and Bill

I have some explaining to do, also some mail to send so Bill may through me in the jug when she hears about this. Before we start I want a few things understood. First a jury trial, second in C.C Mercer's court.

Well here goes. We got a letter from Auto Insurance Co. and I Didn't forward it as I should have. Our honorable  post master had placed it very carefully in our box with the stamp end out toward the front of the box or to make it more plain the stamp was toward the  South  or to make it plainer the stamp was to the right as walk  in the P.O. so that put the opposite end of the letter  or the end that had the return address on toward the inside of the P.O. This might confuse you. The inside of the P.O.  in this case is the part the post master and his sister work. The place where they distribute the mail. The place where the clock hangs on the wall. Now don't get confused with the barometer over the desk in the lobby. This might confuse you. A clock is an instrument which tells the time of day. A barometer is an instrument that tells the condition of the air pressure which in turn might indicate whether it is going to rain of be clear. I hope I got part so you can understand it.

Now there is another letter from the same said Auto Ins Co.  placed in our box this time with the stamp end turn the other way or the opposite way of the first said letter. Now if if you will read the forgoing chapter you might figure out without me going to a lot of extra trouble to explain.

Now to get to the point, I wondered by not forwarding the first said letter I might have caused your insurance to lapse. So when the second letter came with the stamp end to the South, I thought I had better open it and rush some money up there. So I very carefully opened this letter and found out this letter with the stamp end to the North was quite a relief of one point but I might be facing  sentence.

So I will enclose the said letters, the one present as exhibit one that I failed to forward and the one marked exhibit 2, the one that might cause me to a life sentence. There is another letter I will enclose also.

Gale called yesterday eve and said they have a baby boy. Terry Lee Tingley. Rex's were down for dinner today. Will close for now. PS Mom is making pumpkin pie this eve to take to Women's Club tomorrow eve.

Your Dad

This letter was dated Sun. Nov 11, 1956.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My First Home # 2

Since I left at the age of 6 or 7 I don't remember a great deal about my first home. I can't even remember where I slept. It was a two story home with no running water and no electricity. It was heated by a wood/coal stove in a small basement feeding one large register in the front room and a wood/coal cook stove in the kitchen. I do know from hearing about it that mom got upset when the older boys brought the new riding horse into the house.

There was a bath tub in a small room you had to climb a few stairs to get to. There was a small tank at the head of the tub with a burner under it to heat some bath water. You had to carry water if you wanted a bath. We use kerosene lamps for light.

There was a barn, sheds, pig pens, chicken house, , fields, a small pond, some timber and a small ice house. We stored ice blocks cut from the pond in sawdust for summer in our ice box.

The depression force us out and one of dad's brothers who had money bought it. In the process of his remodeling he removed a lot of supporting structure from the inside and took off the top and made a flat roof. It soon started to sag and come to pieces and leak. It is no longer in use and is dilapidated or has been torn down.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

PFC Glenn Shely Shoenmann, Co.M, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, U.S. Army

A story in the Tennessean last week informed that DNA match had been made to a soldier left in Korea in 1950.   He was drafted in 1950 and was inserted into Korea at Inchon on September 15, 1950.  He progressed with his unit and was making a defensive stand at Pungnyuri Inlet east of the Chosin Reservoir.   The result of this encounter was that he was captured by the Chinese on November 28, 1950.   He died as a prisoner of war on December 29, 1950.  He was 20 years old.   He died of starvation.  He was returned to his family, three brothers and one sister at the Nashville Airport on Thursday, January 10, 2013 after 62 years absence from home.  Sixty years is a dam long wait for his family.

I told Ellen that I was going to the funeral scheduled for Saturday, January 11 with full military honors.   Normally when the remains of a soldier arrive in the USA a Prayer Shawl is blessed and presented to the wife or mother by a Chaplin at the location where relatives witness their arrival.  Ellen started the Prayer Shawl Ministry at church a few years ago and she suggested that I take Prayer Shawls to the sister and three brothers.  Inquiries verified that they had not previously received any Prayer Shawls.

So rather than go to the funeral I chose to go to the visitation to present the Prayer Shawls.   Ellen asked if she could go with me.

We arrived early to plan the presentation.   While waiting for the funeral home owner, a young lady, a relative, approached and introduced herself and after a short visit she took me by the arm and walked me into the room where the flag draped containment was, leaving Ellen to fend for herself, and introduced me personally to each of the sister and brothers.

Ellen had a long visit with the young lady and I visited with each of the brothers quite awhile.

We finally got around to the presentation about three quarters of the way through the visitation.   I made a little speech about how the Prayers Shawls were handled at Dover Air Force Base and Ellen made the presentation.   They loved them.

I got my third hug from the young lady and we drove home,  150 miles over mountain roads from Palmer, Tennessee in the dark.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My First Home

In the year 1849, before he went to California, Henry Leighty, my great grand father, purchased from the government agent at Quincy IL 160 acres of land for $500 which was situated and described  as the SE quarter of Section 15 of Township 4 N.  in Range 1 West of the fourth principal meridian in what is now known as Eldorado Township in McDonough County, Illinois.

The first deed to this land was given to a soldier, named Thomas Rowsey as payment for his service in the War of 1812 and was given to said Thomas Rowsey in 1818 and was written on a small sheet of sheepskin and therefore called a sheep-skin deed. It was signed by James Monroe,Pres of the U,S. He sold 80 acres and later bought it back. He broke up this raw prairie land with ox teams and a wooden plowshare.

He lived in a cabin he built until1857 when he moved into a house which on the property he bought back and which was about  one half mile West of the cabin.This what he they called the old house. I don't know what  year the new house was built.

He married again after his trip out west and one his children was my Grandmother. I lived there from 1931, when I was born until the spring of 1937 when lost the farm during the depression.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Henry Leighty Part 4

I decided to come back to Illinois as I had seen about all I cared to, so I left Mud Springs on March 10, 1852, went by boat from Sacramento to San Francisco, I left San Francisco March 12,1852, landed at Panama April 1st. I crossed the isthmus by walking fourteen miles, rode on a bungo down the Chagres river and took my first ride on a railroad train. We slept in hammocks at the Halfway House. Had to wait six days at Aspinwal for a boat. Left Navy Bay April 17th. We were in Kingston, Jamaica for two days while the was being coaled. The negroes did this by carrying it across the gang planks in baskets on their heads. They always sang and danced as they came back for another load. We landed in New Orleans on the 15th. We lay there till the night of the 17th, ten o'clock when we left for St. Louis. Arrived in St. Louis April 24th, and at Browning April 29th. James Crail was with me and we rode to Vermont, IL with a teamster who told some to the men, but did not tell me that they had buried my wife  just a few days before. I also learned my infant daughter had also died during my absence. I had only a son left.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Henry Leighty Part 3

We traveled through the black hills, going through Sweetwater. passed Soda Springs, and traveled along Bear River. We carved our names on a rock at Sweetwater in Wyoming. We went North of Salt Lake City to the Humboldt River. Here we crossed the dry sandy desert. We bound the feet of our cattle with burlap for these trips. We had barrels of water in each corner of our wagon, and we cut grass as all the emigrants did, and put it in our wagon. We stopped pretty often and dipped a bunch of grass in the water and gave it to the oxen. That way we gave them feed and water at the same time. We saw many wagons and oxen deserted. We also saw men with packs on their oxen and their own backs trying to get across the desert.

Traveling through the mountains was slow and often we traveled through snow. One night our cattle stampeded and we had trouble getting them rounded up. One of our men, who was afraid of Indians was sure it was an Indian raid, but we never knew what scared them.

We would see notices on boards or posts written by people ahead to their friends who were following them.

Finally, after five months of travel mostly on foot. we were near Sacramento valley. We had no provisions except a kettle of rice, left for our last meal, and while it was cooking some fellow kicked it over and spilled it all out on the ground.

We landed in Ringold August 27, 1850.

I tried mining at Diamond Springs for awhile, but I didn' like standing in water and I got chills and fever. I started teaming, taking supplies from Sacramento to the miners up in the mountains. One time I went up North to see my cousin and the man I left my outfit was a scalawag who made off with all my stuff and skipped out.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Henry Leighty Part 2

We stuck the South Platte River near Fort Kearney, had the worst wind and rain storm I think I ever experienced. From there we stuck out for Fort Laramie, crossed the South Platte on the way its a "pill" when we look at to think of crossing. But it was like many other places, either turn back or go ahead, and we preferred to go ahead.We were fortunate as there were some emigrant teams crossing when we got there, so we followed close behind. One great trouble, if you stopped a moment the cattle, wagon and all would sink down.  The sand would wash out from under, so you had to keep going. Most of the emigrants doubled up, put on eight yoke then go back. That was to much for us, one trip we thought was enough. We stripped all but our shirt and some waded along side of the cattle and kept them moving. The water was about waist most of the time.  It was said the river was a mile wide and it looked it. The wagon ahead of us had on eight yoke, and pulling it out on on the opposite side their cattle swung and upset the wagon in the water. There were two women and some children in it and you better believe there was some screaming and crying for they were in the water.  S om of the camping outfit had fallen on them. One woman's face was badly bruised. So, as near nude as we were, the only thing to do was to pitch in and tear the cover off and help them out.

The North Platte was the next bugaboo. It was the worst of all streams. There was a ferry to take wagons and emigrants over only. The cattle and the horses had to swim. and I presume it is about as hazardous a stream t o swim as there is in America.  It runs so swift and is so cold that the best swimmers failed and were drowned in the attempt. We were fairly fortunate in getting the cattle over.