52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #4 – Invite to Dinner

So many of our ancestor’s are worthy of note. Whether it is for their courage, fortitude or spirit, they have a story to tell. The best place to tell that story may be at the family dinner table. We grew up having dinner most every Sunday at my Grandparents home, Bernard and Francis Hancock. All the aunts and uncles and cousins would be there.  Everyone was welcome. You just needed to call Grandma before she went to the meat market on Tennyson, to let her know you would be there. “Dinner” was at 2:00 on Sunday. In the summer we would have picnic’s in the mountains and wade through the creeks and romp the forest trails. Maybe a little wiffle ball.

50th Wedding Anniversary Frances and Bernard Hancock

Left to right – Dorothy, Shirley, Pearl, Charlotte, Charlene and Robert. Seated – Bernard, Frances and Evelyn. Celebrating Bernard and Francis’ 50th Anniversary.

I can’t say that Grandma was a great cook, but she certainly defined the “feel good” meal. Best fried chicken, best pot roast, best chocolate cake, best lemon meringue pie and molasses cookies are some of the things I remember. Every now and then, in the summer, Grandpa would get out the old wooden churn to make ice cream and at the last minute throw in some fresh peaches.

Hancock Grandkids 1991

Hancock grandkids – Back row – left to right – Sharon, Kenneth, Gary, Bruce, Stephen, Scott and Kent. Kneeling – Karen, Linda, Margaret, Renna, Korbi, Robyn, Cathy Jo. Missing are Don and Carol, Trish, Lauri and Troy, Sandy and Roxanne.

Great Grand Children 1991 -62

Great, Grandkids – Back row standing –  Lindsey (Scott), Ginger (Sharon), Traci (Cathy Jo), Jeffrey and Jason (Bruce),  Danny (Karen), Valerie (Stephen), Amy (Renna), Michele (Robyn), Elizabeth (Renna), Brian (Robyn), Matt (Korbi)(on Brian’s shoulders) and Chad (Renna).  Bottom row – Katie and Chad (Kenneth) Stacey and Brian (Stephen),  Janelle and Nick (Gary).

Times were not always so easy. During World War II, some food wasn’t easy to come by. Not long ago I found a ration book with my mother’s name on it. With seven children to feed from 7 years old to my mother at 18, I’m sure Grandma needed that extra ration book to get the necessary food to keep this family of 9 from going hungry.  Every American was issued a series of ration books during the war. The ration books contained removable stamps good for certain rationed items, like sugar, meat, cooking oil, and canned goods. A person could not buy a rationed item without also giving the grocer the right ration stamp. The books were distributed by a local “board” operated by the Office of Price Administration. “Victory gardens” provided fresh fruit and vegetables. There was always a corner of the back  yard for a garden.

war ration book

I will always remember those Sunday afternoons we used to have when we were all together, sharing the best of our everyday lives.

Week #5 – In The Census


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #3 – Longevity

Many of our ancestors lived long lives. On my side of the family I’m not aware of anyone who lived to be 100, but many were well into their 90’s before they died. For this week’s blog on Longevity I wanted to highlight some things our ancestors built that have lasted a long time.

The first row of pictures, below, on the left, is David Foreman at his home about 1888 in Vernon, Colorado. Vernon is about 10 miles south of Wray, Colorado. He was a harness maker and he is sitting on a harness bench. In the background is the Christian church that he and his brother Jacob (my great, great grandfather ) built and were pastors.

On the right is that same church in a cornfield on the land John Foreman, Jacob’s son and Sid Foreman’s brother, owned. John Foreman hauled the church out to his farm in the early 1930’s, because a new and larger church was built in Vernon. When talking about old buildings and someone says “it’s still standing” you can see literally what they mean. The walls collapsed about 1970, but the remains are still on the property.  I took these pictures of John Foreman’s farm in 1998.

The second row of pictures are also from John Foreman’s farm three miles west of Vernon. The front part of the house was built of sod about 1885 and the addition, with dormers, is made of wood and was added when John Foreman purchased the property in the early 1920’s.

The picture on the right in the second row is an outhouse. John Foreman had quite a business going in Vernon making outhouses for the WPA. The Works Project Administration started in 1935 and provided jobs all across America. This outhouse is still standing and as well as it is built, I expect it will stand for another 100 years.

Next week #4 – Invite to Dinner.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #2 – Favorite Photo


Of the hundreds of photographs I have for our ancestors, both living and dead, this photograph is my favorite. It shows three of the strongest women pioneers in our family. Although many of our ancestors fought and struggled with the daily chores of living and the tragedies associated with pioneering life I believe this photograph captures the strength of our family.

The child in this picture is my grandfather Bernard Floyd Hancock 1903-1980. Interesting tidbit about this image – little boys wore “dresses”  or “gowns” because at this early age they were unable to cope with the difficulty of toilet training. Remember, zippers had not yet been invented. “Breeching” was that time between about two years old to six years old when the right of passage to breeches or britches (pants) was attained.

Seated at the center of the photo is Lois Emerette Goodell 1842 – 1924. Lois married William Franklin Totten in 1861 in Lockport, Niagara County, New York. Lois was born in Ohio in 1842 but her mother Elmina Brigham Goodell died in 1843 so Lois was raised by Goodell family members in Lockport, New York. William and Lois or as I think of her Emerette, had 11 children, 8 survived to adulthood. Mary Phoebe “Birdie” 1863-1938; Milton Goodell 1865-1930; Elmina Rosalie “Minnie” 1867-1948; Hattie Elvira 1871-1953; Edith Estella 1873-1945; Everett 1875-1876; alice Winifred “Winnie” 1877-1968; Celia 1879-1879; Clarence William 1881-1948; Edna Luella 1882-1883; Carl Albert 1883-1948.

The first two children were born in Iowa, the other 9 children were born in Kansas. Just imagine the thought of moving from New York to Iowa at 19 years old, having two children with no family nearby and within 4 years packing up and moving from Iowa to Kansas and over the next 16 years adding 9 more children, with 3 dying, while establishing a farm to support and sustain the family. Interestingly, the census for 1880 shows one of the laborers on this farm was a young man named John Champion Brace.

Standing to the right in this photo is Mary Phoebe “Birdie” Totten 1863-1938. Birdie as she was called married John Champion Brace in 1883 in Haddam, Washington County, Kansas. They had 9 children, Lulu Pearl 1884-1950; William Earl 1887-1962; Bessie 1889-1897; John Kessler 1891-1897; Hazel 1893-1897; Elwin 1896-1962; Lois Beatrice 1899-1983; Baby Boy 1902-1902; Althea Lois 1905-1948.

In 1897 while John worked in a nearby town typhoid strikes this family and Birdie was left to endure alone the tragedy of the death of three of their children. The fourth child died in 1902 and I do not know the cause of his death. In 1904 the family left Kansas and moved to Elbert, Colorado. Another tragedy for this family was the 1948 murder of Althea Lois Brace in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Standing to the left in this photo is Lulu Pearl Brace 1884-1950. In 1902 while living in Narka, Kansas, 18 year old Lulu Pearl Brace married 27 year old Nathan Brink Hancock and in 1903 Bernard Floyd Hancock was born in Narka, Kansas. Apparently someone’s parents were not too happy about this and “Brink” as he was called moved to Fairbury, Nebraska. He was living in Lincoln, Nebraska, had remarried and had two sons when he died in 1947.

In 1904 the Brace family including Lulu Pearl Hancock and baby Bernard move to Elbert, Colorado. In 1909 Lulu filed for divorce and in 1910 she married John Thomas Baber and they lived in Eastonville, Colorado and later in Peyton, Colorado. John Baber and Lulu had 8 children, Henry Kessler; Frank Hazard; Elizabeth “Bessie” Pearl; Lois Beatrice; Floyd Leo; Leon Calvin; Zona Edith and Cedric Keith.

Although Bernard never new his father he did try to find him but to my knowledge was not successful.  According to a Hancock cousin I talked with, Brink Hancock also tried to find Lulu but was unsuccessful. In life, Bernard was always very close to John Baber.

Next time in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #3 Longevity

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #1 – Start

Obituary for Levi Squires

From the Wisconsin Tobacco Reporter, Edgerton, Wisconsin, Friday, November 24 1882:

Again, we are called upon to chronicle the departure from this life of one of Rock County’s most respected citizens.

Mr. Levi Squires, late of the town of Porter, died at his residence in this village, November 19, 1882. He was born in Caldwell, Warren Co., N.Y. June 22, 1802. In 1839 he removed to Glenns Falls, N.Y. where he resided til 1848, when with his family he came to Wisconsin where he settled on a tract of wild land in the town of Porter. By his own industry it became one of the most desirable homes in Southern Wisconsin, where he resided til a few weeks before his death.

One of the pioneer settlers of the county, he became widely known for his reliable business qualities and integrity of character. In religion, he was a Baptist, which faith he embraced in youth, and ever found hope and consolation in the Bible, which was his companion to the end.

He leaves a widow, two sons and one daughter, who were present during his last hours, to mourn his loss.

The Family

Levi Squires married Sabrina Scofield in New York sometime before 1838, they had three children Edwin R. Squires 1838-1906; Jane Squires 1841- unknown date of death and Eugene Squires 1851-1925. They were all members of the Seventh Day Baptist Church. This “clan” of families, Squires, Scofield, Wheeler, Vaughn and a few others all left New York state and moved to Wisconsin about 1848, settling near the small village of Porter in Rock County, Wisconsin. Much of this history can be found in Roots Webb “They Came To Milton.”

Edwin married Mary Salina (Kenyon) and they had six children: Francis Charlotte 1860-1900; Mary Ivadine 1866-1921; Harvey Leon 1871-1953; Clarence DeLano 1874-1953; Jesse Eugene 1877-1960 and Grace Irene 1879-1933.

Jane Squires married  John Wheeler and they had one child Louis Wheeler and Eugene married Kathryn Pond and they had no children.

In Edwin’s family Francis Charlotte known as Hattie married Wilbur Allen and had four children Mary, Edwin, Jennie and Harvey; Mary Ivadine called Aunt Ivy by Grandma Hancock never married; Harvey married Sarah and they had four children, Jessie Byron, Arthur Byron, Harold and Joseph Squires; Clarence married Mae Florence Russell and they had three children Earl, Roy and Mae Squires Gresham. Jessie Squires never married and Grace Irene Squires married Robert Sidney Foreman and they had four children Mary Frances, Jacob, Margaret and Robert James Foreman.

Although I have met many of the cousins who descend from Clarence Squires it is the Greshams that I keep in touch with to share information such as the recent find of Levi Squires Will and the property owners of the City of Porter, in Rock County, Wisconsin.

Here is the map of the City of Porter in Rock County, Wisconsin. Levi Squires property is just to the right and a little above center. Edwin Squires property is just above Levi Squires.

City of Porter WI land ownership

Another interesting find included in the Will for Levi Squires is the letter from Edwin Squires regarding the reading of the will that he was unable to attend. Notice the letterhead which reads Taylor and Squires, Fine Leaf Tobacco.

ER Squires letterhead

My history of the family started in 1998 when my mother and sister, Linda, asked me to visit the library to get copies of records to qualify for the Pioneer license plates.  The search has taken me all the way back to the Mayflower passenger list. I love this unending search for the stories of our family. 

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #2 – Favorite Photo.