52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #34 Non-Population

How two sisters and a brother became two Sisters and a Brother

Sr. Ellen Mary Godfery SL 007

Seated are Edna Munsey Godfrey and husband Stephen W.J. Godfrey. Standing are Jane Elizabeth Godfrey, Robert James Godfrey and Ruth Mary Godfrey.

When my husband was born he was given a middle name of Godfrey. A strong family name from his Irish immigrant great grandfather David Godfrey.

Stephen Godfrey, pictured above, was the oldest child of David Godfrey and David’s second wife Elizabeth Ellen McNamee who were married in 1879 in St. Louis just after the death of David’s first wife Honora. David and Honora had immigrated from Ireland in 1872 with baby Patrick born in 1871.  Two children were born in St. Louis after their arrival, Mary Margaret born in 1873 and John Aliyious born in 1875. David and Elizabeth’s marriage added Stephen born in 1881, Bridget born in 1884, John Thomas born in 1888 and Frances Theresa born in 1890 (John’s grandmother) and Joseph Leo born in 1892. Elizabeth Godfrey became ill and died in February 1893 and baby Joseph Leo died in March 1893 at 4 months old.

It fell to daughter Bridget to help her father raise the younger children. David Godfrey died in 1909 and Stephen became the head of household.  All the Godfrey children had grown to young adults, maintained a deep Catholic faith and strong work ethic.

By 1911 Stephen married Edna Munsey and they started their own family with the birth of David in 1912, Ruth Mary in 1915, Robert James in 1918 and Jane Elizabeth in 1921. Stephen owned and worked in a clothing factory in St. Louis to support his children’s educational and religious training. He was also a partner in Manchester Hardware Company as Secretary/Treasurer with his older half brother Patrick Godfrey as President.

Left, Ruth Mary Godfrey; right, Jane Elizabeth Godfrey, the two sisters who became Sisters of Loretto.

Left, Sister Ellen Mary Godfrey S.L.  Right is Sister Jane de Chantal Godfrey S.L.

Sister Jane was the first to enter Sisters of Loretto in 1941 and professed her vows in 1946. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Loretto Heights College in Denver, a master’s degree at University of Notre Dame and her Doctorate at University of Southern California. She taught for 40 years. She was the Education Department chair at Loretto Heights for 7 years and at Berea College for 12 Years.

Sr. Jane Godfery SL 005

Sister Jane Godfrey

Sister Ellen Mary Godfrey graduated in mathematics from Webster College in St. Louis and received her masters degree from Catholic University. She pronounced her vows in 1944.  She also taught at Holy Family in Denver, St. Mary’s in Colorado Springs and schools in New Mexico and Illinois. After her teaching years she became known as a  catalyst of the  Lorretto Investment Committee and a pioneer in the investment community.

Sr. Ellen Mary Godfery SL 004

Sister Ellen Mary

And then there was Brother Bob. Robert Godfrey entered the order of the Society of Mary in 1936 and took his vows a year later . He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio and a master’s degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Brother Godfrey taught math and science at the old Coyle High School in Kirkwood Missouri, and became principal. He was also principal at McBride High School in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was assistant superintendent of schools for the archdiocese of St. Louis for 8 years before moving to San Antonio to become superintendent.

Brother Bob (Robert) Godfrey-05

Brother Bob Godfrey S.M.

And there you have two sisters and a brother who grew up to be two Sisters and a Brother.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #33 Family Legend

JJ Singer

Dr. Jacob Jesse Singer

Jacob Singer was born in Leeds, England, to Russian Jewish parents and moved with his family to the St. Louis area at the age of three. Dr. Singer was the brother of my husband John’s grandfather, Morris Singer.

After graduating high school in 1896, Jacob began to save up money to attend Medical School, believing that medicine “offered a field for which my qualifications seemed best suited… these are my love for science, my desire to help those in distress, and my willingness to devote years to attain the goal.” He enrolled in Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, where he worked closely with Dr. Evarts A. Graham, a Bixby Professor of Surgery at Washington University. Graham had established “the first modern chest clinic” at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, where Singer treated many sufferers of tuberculosis including several family members as well as his mother who died from tuberculosis in 1907 at the age of 45.

Dr. Singer and Dr. Graham performed the first pneumonectomy (removal of an entire lung) of a lung cancer patient in 1933 and wrote a textbook together called “Surgical Diseases of the Chest” in 1935. Dr. Singer was also a tinkerer, experimenting with new technologies to better identify and diagnose lung diseases. He patented his own “Singer Stethoscope” (resonating stethoscope) in 1915 and pioneered devices for illuminating photographic negatives (X-rays). Dr. Singer also constructed many of the tools still used today in thoracic surgery.

Stethoscope Patent

In 1937, Singer moved to Los Angeles to teach medicine at the University of Southern California and was hired by Cedars of Lebanon to serve on its medical staff. He soon became the city’s leading lung specialist and served as the President of the Tuberculosis Section of the Los Angeles County Medical Society.

Jacob Singer and Governor E. Rivers

Dr. Singer and staff with Georgia Governor “Ed” Rivers.

In 1942, Dr. Singer was appointed as Medical Director at the City of Hope, helping both Cedars of Lebanon and the JCRA’s Sanatorium to becoming national leaders in the fight against tuberculosis. He helped to transform the way both institutions treated the disease.

Jacob J. Singer, MD

Unfortunately, Dr. Singer suffered a heart attack just months after the discovery of streptomycin, a viable cure for tuberculosis, and had retired from medicine before the curative regiment had been perfected. He died in 1954 and was honored at a memorial ceremony at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #32 – Youngest

One of our youngest ancestral veterans was Jacob Foreman. Born March 18, 1793 in Mercer County, Kentucky. He was the third son of David and Elizabeth (Eli) Foreman the immigrant ancestors. This Jacob Foreman is my 3rd great grandfather, not to be confused with his son, Jacob Foreman my 2nd great grandfather who is the subject of my Civil War Blog.

On November 10, 1814, Jacob Foreman, then 21 years old along with his older brother David Foreman, joined George McAfee’s Company of the Kentucky Detached Militia under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Slaughter.

Gabriel Slaughter

Jenny Tenlen – The McAfee’s: Kentucky Pioneers (jtenlen.drizzlehosting.com/mcafee/warof1812.html) – “The company marched south to Louisiana to fight in the Battle of New Orleans. Along with the call for men, came a promise from the U.S. Quarter master of arms, munitions, and transportation down river, but these supplies were slow to materialize. Believing that the promised supplies would catch up, the Kentuckians departed with half rations, few blankets and tents, and no pay, on board boats that were mostly unfit to carry men across the river let alone fifteen hundred miles downstream.”

“The supplies never came, and on January 4, 1815, the Kentucky troops arrived at New Orleans almost destitute of clothing, blankets, and munitions of war. The winter weather of 1814/15 was unusually severe with daily downpours of rain. They entered into camp without tents, blankets, or straw for bedding, on open, miry ground as the temperatures hovered near freezing.”

“The Louisiana legislature and the citizens of New Orleans quickly answered the call and furnished what supplies that could be spared. Nonetheless, just over half the Kentuckians could be adequately armed, and as a result those without arms remained in a reserve position during the battle.”

“About eleven hundred Kentucky boys secured arms and Slaughter’s regiment took it’s place among them on the firing line to await the British advance.   It should not be forgotten that these men from Kentucky who bore the brunt of the assault, were not professional soldiers. They were family men, farmers, and tradesmen whose pride in country had called them away from a plow to travel fifteen hundred miles from home and hearth to confront an enemy army covered in glory from European battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars.”

“After the battle the troops remained at New Orleans until March 18, 1815. On this date the militias of Kentucky and Tennessee were released to return home. It was a long hard journey along the Natchez Trail, and the sufferings of disease and hardships claimed more men than the battle itself. They arrived back in Central Kentucky about May 1, 1815.”

Also from Luther Davenport in an e-mail message to me on June 11, 2012:


I have an account written by a captured British officer. The portion of the line that he faced was manned by the militia forces of Kentucky.

As the troops advanced on the American line, I with several of my peers of equal or lesser rank, stood upon a small rise on the field watching the men move forward. Observing the American defenses we saw a tall slender man standing alone atop the parapet. He was dressed in buckskin attire, with a wide brimmed hat that hid his face. Still beyond the range of our most forward ranks, he stood there fully exposed without fear, accessing the field. Finally, he pushed his hat off of his head and raised his weapon to the firing position, and pointed in our general direction. This action initiated a laugh from our group as the distance was so great the result could only be a fruitless waste of powder. A plum of smoke exhaled from the rifle barrel. Seconds passed and our laughter continued until a thud was heard over the chuckles. Looking around at my companions, it was noticed that a young Lt. to my immediate left was shot through the chest, and slowly crumpled to the ground. All eyes turned back to the hunter, only to see him obscured by another plume of smoke, and just as soon another of our number fell. We looked for cover, but the ground was devoid of any, and in the few seconds it took to realize this fact another of my peers was down. Our only action was to mingle with the advancing forces, and in all my years as a soldier, I had never welcome the danger of battle, as the smoke and dust hid me from the view of that frontier hunter.

This is not word for word, but written for you as I remember the story.

Luther D.

The ironic twist to this battle of New Orleans is the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, was signed two weeks before this battle. The battle of New Orleans lasted about 25 minutes.

Shortly after Jacob Foreman returned home in 1815 his mother the widow Elizabeth Foreman inherited land in Highland County Ohio from her brother George Horine. Elizabeth and seven sons with their families left Mercer County, Kentucky for Highland County, Ohio. Her daughters and their families stayed in Kentucky.

Remember the Johnnie Horton song – The Battle of New Orleans?
“In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans . . .

Are you familiar with the description “Kentucky long rifle sharp shooter?” This was Jacob Foreman.

Foreman headstone in Time Cemetery

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #31 – Oldest

There are many thoughts that come to mind with the prompt “Oldest” for this week. We have many family members particularly in the Foreman family that lived long into their 90’s. My husband’s aunt, Helen McMahon Bottenfield reached 100! Instead of choosing old ancestors to write about, I have chosen to tell you about an old artifact I recently received from cousin Vicki Foreman Wright, daughter of Bob Foreman, Grandma Hancock’s brother. Vicki’s grandfather is my great, grandfather Robert Sidney ‘Sid’ Foreman. That makes Vicki my 1C1R or first cousin, once removed.

Sid Foreman and Vicki

Vicki Foreman Wright and Robert Sidney ‘Sid’ Foreman (early 1950’s)

The item Vicki gave me is an autograph book which was used by Sid Foreman to collect autographs from his classmates and friends after finishing high school much like we use yearbooks. This autograph book has a deep red velvet cover and measures about 6″x 4″ and has about 50 pages. The Foreman family had left Time, Pike County Illinois in 1876  and settled in Coloma, Carroll County, Missouri before continuing their journey to Colorado in 1887.

Velvet cover

The first page indicates it was bought Dec 24th 1886, when Sid was 15 years old. Notice the colorful stickers that are on several of the pages.

First page

The first page is signed by Sid’s uncle Sol (Solomon) Watt. Sol is the younger brother of Sid’s mother Sarah Watt Foreman. The signature and verse is dated January 2nd, 1887, in Turner, Missouri. “The old year has gone with its dear memories, And we usher in the glad New Year. And with its entrance it has brought, Many a smile and pleasant thought. Sol Watt.” I’m thinking the Foreman’s spent the holidays with the Watt family.

James Watt

Cousin James Watt, son of Sol Watt signed his book on March 1st, 1888.

Cousin Delmar Watt from Turner, Missouri writes in June of 1887, “If you wish a laugh just look in my Autograph.

Also, cousin George Watt in Turner, Missouri, brother of Delmar and James Watt, writes “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” George went on to become a professional baseball pitcher for the Arkansas Travelers from 1900 to 1910.

Nora Kate Foreman

Sid’s sister Nora Kate Foreman

Mary Foreman

From Sid’s sister Mary Foreman “March 1, 1887, Coloma MO. Sid, No life can be well ended that has not been well spent. Your sister, Mary.”

Always some jokers in the group –  “For Robert, I dip my pen into the ink and grasp your album tight and for my life I cannot think a single word to write. Wrote by a friend Loyd Culver.”

“Friend Robert, Be a good young man and lead a good life go to Colorado and get you a wife. Your Friend Edward Welch.

David Foreman

From Sid’s uncle David Foreman, minister and farmer  from Condon, Colorado in 1888.

By following the dates and place names in this autograph book I have been able to document Sid’s travel from Time, Pike County, Illinois to Coloma in Carroll County, Missouri where the family lived for ten years and across Kansas, one signature showing Harper, Kansas and up through Unadilla, Nebraska settling in Vernon, Colorado in 1887.  Several Foreman’s signed Condon, Colorado as their home which was in Arapaho County, but doesn’t exist anymore. It must be near Wray or Vernon. Arapaho County extended all the way from Denver to the Kansas state line until 1904. There is also an 1898 signature from Elbert, Colorado from M. C. Cromwell. This information is a real advantage since the 1890 Federal census was lost in a fire. The census for 1900 shows Sid Foreman living in Elbert, Colorado, single, renting a house. In 1904 he married Grace Irene Squires at the Arapaho County Courthouse in Denver which was located at 15th Street and Court Place.

By comparing the information from those in the Watt family who signed this autograph book, I have been successful in adding birth and death dates and occupations and family members for all of Sarah Watt Foreman’s parents and siblings. Many who are buried in Bosworth, Missouri.