Sometimes the internet does not answer all questions. Especially in the realm of genealogy.  Information on the women is particularly difficult. There are always clues, and with some imagination a story can be written.  I have been fortunate in being able to piece together quite a bit about Jack’s family, but not all parts. The Maynard piece in particular has been elusive. The branches that grow from Jack’s grandparents Luther Fuller and Callie Mae French blossomed a little for me, and here is what I can share.

Luther Fuller was Jack’s grandfather.  He married Callie Mae French and their daughter Bonnie was Jack’s mother. Below, Luther:

Below is Luther’s obituary. If you click on the picture you should be able to read it better. John Fuller is listed incorrectly as Luther’s father. No one knows who his father was, and so far no records have been found.

Luther’s mother: Martha Fuller

From everything I can glean about Martha, she was a strong and independent woman. She did not depend on her children’s fathers for much, if anything at all. It may have cost her her family as she was “forced” to leave Virginia and move to Kentucky. I “found” some of her family on line and they said their families had lost touch with Martha’s branch many years ago….they were kind enough to send me the pictures of Martha and Luther that I have included.

Martha’s parents were “Col.” John Henry Fuller and Arminta Edwards. “Col.” is in quotations because it was a term of endearment and not a military title.

I was able to find a bit of information about John:

John Henry Fuller was born May 8, 1844, and died August 31, 1921. He was the son of Thomas and Anne (Gobble) Fuller. He was born on his father’s farm on the Russell Fork River, about one mile above the mouth of Frying Pan. Below, Col. John H. Fuller:

“John volunteered  for service as a Confederate soldier early during the Civil War. In 1862 the General Assembly of Virginia created Virginia State Line Organization. This company of Confederate soldiers were used as Home Guards to prevent invasion from the North and West. the company was formed from residents of Sandlick, and Clinch  River in the summer of 1862 by Ezekiel Counts for service under John B. Floyd.”

One story researched by Judge Elihu Sutherland on how John became called “Colonel”  is as follows: “While in the Civil War Battle of Bean Station TN. General Jackson was giving orders when John spoke up and said, “Scatter the soldiers on this end a little General.” and John Turner spoke up and said, “That’s it General, you should lay down your job and turn it over to Colonel Fuller.” The men had a big laugh and the name stuck.” Below, John Fuller’s grave stone:

John H. Fuller married Arminta “Mintie” Edwards. She was born June 26, 1842 in Patrick County, and died November 25, 1887 in Dickenson County. She was the daughter of the Elder Lewis Edwards and Nancy (Howell) Edwards. John and Arminta lived on the Neely Ridge section of Dickenson County. Arminta died on November 25, 1887, preceding her husband in death by some 34 years.

John and Arminta had nine children: Nancy Ann Rose, Martha Jane Fleming, Mary Catherine Perrigan, Hettie E. Viers, Lewis Fuller, Thomas Fuller, Sindusta R. Barton, Leah “Leear” Rose, and John Henry Fuller.

“Col.” John Henry Fuller’s parents were Thomas Fuller and Annie Gobble.

Thomas Fuller was born in Virginia around 1800, according to census records. He married Anne Gobble in Washington County, Virginia on November 6, 1823. Thomas and Anne bought 20 acres of land from John and Jemima Linder Gobble (Anne’s Uncle), according to a deed on record in Washington County. They gave $50.00 for the land located on the banks of the North Fork of the Holston River, just below the falls.

Thomas’ brother John had settled in an area known as Sandlick in the Sandy Basin. He sang the praises of this wilderness as a hunter’s paradise to his brother Thomas. Game was abundant. Thomas became interested in the area and began coming here on long hunting trips. There is a section of Dickenson County along Lick Creek that has long been known to the local people as “The Middle Of The World.”

Thomas was involved in the humorous events leading up to the naming of that section. Quoting from an interview by Judge E. J. Sutherland with Noah K. Counts on December 24, 1922: “One October, before anybody lived on Lick Creek, a party of hunters – Clabe Hicks, Joshua Counts, Jonas Rasnick and Thomas Fuller, from Russell County came out on Lick Creek to hunt. They camped at the mouth of Josh’s Branch. While out hunting on Lefthand Fork one day, Clabe Hicks got separated from the others and started back to camp. When he came to the top of the ridge where S. D. Counts now lives, it had become so foggy that he could see but a short distance. Seven times he left this gap and seven times he returned to it in bewilderment. He was completely lost. On the eighth attempt, he succeeded in reaching camp assisted materially by the shouts of his comrades who had become alarmed at his continued absence and started to search for him. In explaining his adventure, he said he believed it was the middle of the world as every path, ridge and hollow led to it.”

Thomas eventually brought his wife and settled in the area. We know they were living at Sandlick in the mid 1840’s because Anne joined the Sandlick Baptist Church in August, 1845. . Thomas was one of the first settlers in this area. He was a hunter and a farmer. By his hands, and the hands of hischildren, another section of the Sandy Basin was settled.

Arminta Edwards Fuller’s parents were Lewis Edwards and Nancy Howell.

Elder Lewis Edwards ca. 1880 This picture is a photo of the picture in the Sandlick Primitive Baptist Church in Sandlick

Lewis Edwards sounds like an old soul……..In his own words: ”

“I, Lewis Edwards, was born in Franklin county, Virginia, March 19, 1812. My parents were Brice and Jane Edwards. I was raised by pious parents, they taught me to be strictly honest and never to use profane language, and I can say now I never swore an oath in my life. My father moved to Patrick county in my 15th year, and though I was called a pious youth, I was a sinner, and sin was sweet to the flesh. I loved the company of young people and their sinful ways until I was about 16 or 17 years old, when my mind began to be troubled about my condition. I saw I was a sinner and not ready to die and the Bible said the wicked should be turned into hell. I became uneasy, for I knew I was a sinner. I became so uneasy and could see not rest; I thought I must try to pray; I did not want any one to know that I was trying to pray. At last I went off in a lonesome dark hollow where I thought no one would see me. There the devil tried to shame me out of it; he said I was too young to begin now; I would be slighted by all my comrades; I might have yet a great deal of pleasure with them, and then there’ll be time enough when I was much older. But I can say bless the Lord, He is above the devil.”  (WOW!)

And more: “Brethren and Sisters, I will give you an account of some of the hard trials I have went through when I moved to Dickenson County. It seemed like I was greatly blessed, I paid for my land and had plenty of property to live on, and in my first wife’s lifetime, seemed to be doing well and had plenty as common poor men. My wife was, I think, a good Christian and would very near always go to meeting with me and encourage me to go and it was a great encouragement to me in my trials while she lived. But, alas, the fatal day rolled around when I had to bid a final farewell for a while, though I believe we will shortly meet again, never more to part. It was a day never to be forgotten, for then began a day of trouble never to end until my eyes are closed in death. I was left alone in a world of trouble, with a family to maintain. Oh, how the lonesome hours passed away, none can tell but those that have tried it.”

Below, a new headstone for Elder Lewis:

I’ll pick up where we leave off here later on!


My grandmother was Josephine Lenore Schoene. She was born March 10, 1898. We called her “Granny”.  Here below, is little Josephine with her mother, Julia:

This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandmother, taken shortly after she was married:

In the 1970’s my mother sat down with her mother, Josephine, and recorded her memories. I wish a few more questions had been asked, but am thankful for what I have!

Josephine’s parents were Joseph Schoene and Julia Lenore Mitchell. Below: Joseph Zebulon Schoene and Julia Lenore Mitchell:

And, together:

Joseph was a self taught, itinerant “doctor” who made and sold “Dr. J Z  Schoene’s Household Remedies” and “linaments”. It was a family endeavor with aunts, uncles, cousins all helping to make the marvelous mixture. He traveled by horse and buggy selling his “medicine” in Ohio and Indiana.

It was while peddling his remedies that he met Julia Mitchell. When traveling the countryside, Joseph would often spend the night at the Mitchell’s house. Later, Julia’s family would help mix the elixir! Read the laurels below!

“Amid the prosy pursuits of the historian few opportunities afford him equal pleasure to the privilege of reviewing something of the lives, the associations, the peculiarities and achievements of men who have worthily earned honored distinction on the scroll of fame, particularly as benefactors of the human family at large.  In this relation it offers us pleasure to recognize the name of Dr. H. Schoene, of Zanesville, Ohio, who, together with his estimable son, J. Z. Schoene, under the firm style of Dr. H Schoene & Son, are extensively engaged in the manufacture and circulation of a marvelous panacea for almost every ailment in life, and extensively known as Dr. Schoene’s Invaluable Vegetable Pain Destroyer, the Great Ohio Liniment and Anti-Dyspeptic.  The Doctor, as his name infers, is a native of Germany, where he received a liberal education, espousing citizenship under the “glorious stars and stripes” in 1849.  Ever having been an apt scholar and diligent student in the pursuit of botany, coupled with the scientific application of Esculapius’art, he has perfected an absolute miracle in the grand remedy referred to.  For over thirty-five years has his Great Vegetable Pain Destroyer been before the public, and to-day stands a veritable panacea for every human ill.

“The Doctor is remarkably retired and unassuming in private life, being a great reader and close student in nature’ broad garden.  To this may be largely ascribed the wonderful success of his great remedy, particularly as he assumes no active professional practice outside the manufacture of his specialty preparations.  He also has an extensive sale for his Sure and Safe Cure for Worms, as also Dr. Schoene’s Anti-Bilious and Liver Pills, the whole of which preparations are put up with a scrupulous care and neatness absolutely unequaled by any other reliable standard preparation in America.  The greatest feature with Dr. Schoene’s preparations is the fact that they have never required the backing of capital, or yet been dependent upon advertising for notoriety, but in long years past have won their own renown, and engrafted themselves so thoroughly into public confidence that the demand for them, in the this day, actually taxes his energies to the utmost to keep pace with the increasing demand.  In comparative humble, rural seclusion, he conducts his studies, with the great God of Nature for his sole guide and instructor, while Providence seems to bountifully bless his labors.  Well may the human family accord to him such universal confidence, and his preparations such bountiful patronage, as from past and present indications they are  yet destined to a National reputation second to no other specifics ever yet introduced to the public.”

Above, taken from the book: 1794 History of Muskingum Co, OH, also, below:

A poem listed about Dr. Shoene’s Pain Destroyer:

Where sylvan pats wind gracefully,

And streamlets constant flow,

Below you’d castle’s towering heights

Behold rich pastures grow.

In nature’s rural garden,

‘Midst rocks, on plains, in dells,

Are gathered fragrant plants and herbs

God sent to serve so well.

Not that the few, but all men,

Such blessings great, might share,

Selected and compounded

With a physician’s care.

If Schoene’s Pain Destroyer, then,

Is sought for and secured,

A balm “twill prove for every ill

By human kind endured.

(bottles purchased on e-bay!)

My grandmother and her family owned several different homes during her childhood.  While Julia’s parent’s ( John and Mary Marshall Mitchell) were still alive, the Schoene family moved to Derby, Ohio to be closer to them. Granny  recalled memories of her grandparents: “Grandfather Mitchell had a great long beard.”, and “I remember riding in a closed carriage with my mother for grandmother Mitchell’s funeral.”

During the time in Derby they lived in a wonderful house, “Sylvan Place”:

Josephine: ” It was like a castle, a magnificent house. The living room had bay windows and the parlor door were made of mahogany. There was a long center hall that went the length of the house. The dining room had a fireplace and a butler’s pantry. There was a kitchen, and AN INDOOR BATHROOM! Upstairs there was a roof garden and a huge ballroom. There were dances all the time with orchestras and people coming from all around. There was a windmill.”

Later, Josephine talked about being in the 7th or 8th grade and a boy named Robert Vance. He dunked her curls in the proverbial inkwell and proclaimed: “You’ll be my wife someday!” On Josephine’s 16th birthday Robert gave her a pale pink cameo surrounded by perfect little pearls:

Josephine did marry Robert Vance, below, in his Asheville School class picture:

In 1917, Josephine left home and became a student at Wesley College. She was very homesick and would write letters to her little brother Jack, who years later she found out had saved everyone of them!

The Schoene family would have a dressmaker come and live at the house for two weeks every spring and every fall to sew clothes for everyone.

Later on, we hear stories of her childhood: I had a wonderful childhood, wonderful parents. I remember our horse and carriage, the sleighs and sleigh rides. We had sledding, and coasting parties and hot chocolate. We skated on the pond. I remember there was a little rocking chair I would sit on to put my skates on.I used to ride an old horse named Fanny, bareback!! We would go over this little bridge. I had a piano teacher who would come to our house from Columbus. Later on when I was 11 or so, I would take the Inner Urban train into Columbus and take street car #3 to 3rd and O’Neill for my piano lessons.

I remember going the old Beggs store—one of the most WONDERFUL stores around! There was a huge mezzanine and I remember Harry, DC (David Carson Beggs) and DW (David Wendell Beggs). DW was VERY handsome! DC was a very respected man in Columbus. Who knew that one day DW’s son would marry my daughter!

Below: My mom, Marjorie Ann Vance:

Above, mom with her brother, Robert Raschig Vance Jr.

Each of us grandchildren have our own memories of our grandmother, but it’s nice to hear about her life in her own words. Please add your own memories! It will make the entry all the more richer!

I remember the “ham loaf” from Piggley Wiggly that Granny was sure EVERYONE loved….only we didn’t! I think the only reason we suffered through it was to get to the Heath Bar Meringue dessert!

Also, My cousin Michael and I took a train one time with Granny back to Ohio. The train stopped somewhere and my grandmother made it clear we were not, under any circumstance, to get of the train. Michael promptly jumped off the train! Panicked, I followed!! He proceeded to put a coin in a little trinket machine and was awarded a little ring which he gave to me. I no longer have the ring, but I did treasure and hold on to it for many years.

It must have been on that same trip to Oho, because Michael and I were at it again. This time Granny told us to “go outside and play”. Now, as parents. we all know what those words REALLY meant! So, out we skipped….down to the creek, which I think was the Oletangy River, but at this spot was a creek……We noticed little fish swimming around. We decided we should catch some. We tried and tried to catch them with our hands, but not surprisingly, we failed! One of us had the great idea to take off our socks and use them as nets. This worked MUCH BETTER, and before long we had socks full of fish! Excitedly we headed back to the house to show our grandmother, all the while beaming with pride and sense of great accomplishment! We we proudly presented our catch, she just looked at us and told us to “go back outside and play”, and “to take our socks” with us! (KBH)

Alice and Ruth were sisters. Fun loving, close and family oriented. Their parents were Carrie Woodworth and Henry Beamer Milmine

My grandmother Alice Milmine Beggs died shortly after my parents were married. None of us had the opportunity to know her. And, while my father was still alive none of us thought to ask about Alice…..fortunatley I have “found” Ruth’s family! Ruth’s son Donald is alive and well and sharing stories and photographs! Later this month I look forward to having Donald’s daughter, my second cousin(?) come to Ithaca for a visit!

The grandmother of Alice and Ruth, Marietta Chamberlain Woodworth:

Marietta married Jonathan Scott Woodworth and together they had a daughter Carrie Ann Woodworth:

Carrie married Henry Beamer Milmine. Carrie and Henry:

Carrie was born in Michigan and Henry was born in Canada. The Beamer farm is still up and running in Ontario near the New York border! Henry immigrated between 1860 and 1870 and became involved in the iron business in Michigan along with his brothers.

Carrie and Henry had two daughters, Ruth and Alice. Ruth was born is 1880 and Alice came along  five years later. Ruth was born in Grand Rapids MI and Alice was born  in Toledo Ohio.

Ruth (with mother Carrie) and Alice Milmine:

Over the years I have searched for relatives of Ruth Milmine Applegate, hoping, just hoping I would someday find someone. As a child I had vague memories of a cottage in Grand Haven MI, summer retreat of the Applegates. My memories were fleeting and not very detailed, except for one: my father walking to the door of the cottage and being greeted very warmly by another man…his cousin Donald.  Not too may months ago, I searched again, and there it was: The Applegate Tree. At the cyber end of the tree was my second cousin Martha and the emails and pictures began flying! I am so grateful!!

More pictures of my grandmother Alice Mimine Beggs, on her wedding day.  Alice married David W. Beggs of Columbus Ohio.

The picture below is my favorite: Alice, my dad (in his little sailor shirt!) and his brother David.

I asked Donald Applegate (son of Ruth) if he had any memories of Ruth and Alice. He did!

“Alice VanTuyl Milmine was my mother Ruth’s younger sister.  Alice was born
in 1885.  My Mother was born in Grand Rapids MI to Henry Beamer and Carrie
Woodworth Milmine. I think Alice was born in Mi or in Toledo, Ohio where her
dad founded a company call the HB Milmine Co., a foundry that made iron

Alice, your grandmother was attractive, witty, very musical- played the
piano and sang and went to a finishing school in Gambier Ohio called
Harcourt Seminary. She was fun loving, for example, she taught me to say at
age 5, “Your gargantuan propensities are Lilliputians” which I repeated
incessantly and drove every one within earshot crazy. Gambier is also the
home of Kenyon College, an Episcopal liberal arts school noted for its
emphasis on English lit and Poetry. It was there that she met her husband
David Wendell Beggs who was very active in Kenyon college affairs.  There
was also a divinity school attached to Kenyon College and I believe that
your father Robert Woodworth Beggs attended this school.  Bob was a very
engaging young man who was especially skilled in magic and allusions.  He
had an audience with Howard Thurston who at that time along with Houdini
were the two leading practitioners of magic. Thurston specialized in
illusions and Houdini specialized in escape artistry.  Bob excelled in
football at Bexley High School.  Bexley was a well to do suburb of Columbus
Bob’s older brother David was a classic example of the era- coon skin coat
and Rah Rah college.  He went to Williams College where after a short
interlude he eloped with Jane Midgeley the only daughter of Thomas Midgeley.
Thomas was an arch enemy of environmental movement in that he invented Ethyl
gasoline as an additive to eliminate knocking in automobile engines. It
became widely popular to the determent of future generations due to lead
I am happy to say that Bob had nothing to do with all of this but continued
on with his career as a Minister.  I believe he was Chaplin at Cornell
University and also assistant to the Bishop of Ohio.”

And later he reminisced about both Ruth and Alice:

“Alice and Ruth on a trip to Quebec, Ontario. The year about 1904- prior to their marriages- both in their early 20’s- young and adventurous – in the words of a contemporary writer, Cornelia Otis Skinner, “Their heart’s were young and gay”.

While sight seeing (big hair, big hats), possibly horse drawn tram, through the old streets of Quebec, they were put off a bit by the babble of French coming from their fellow tourists. So in response, they devised a conversational ploy based on nonsense of that time- Ruth would lead off as follows:’

“Mares eat oats,

And does eat oats

And lambs and rams eat ivy,

And a kid will eat ivy too.”

Alice would respond, somewhat ungrammatically:

“In pine tar is, In oak none is

In mud eels are

In clay, none is”.

All of this, to be effective, must be rattled off in rapid-fire sequence.

Interestingly more than 50 years after, there was a spate of nonsense songs that became popular.  Among these was one called “Merzidotes” that more or less followed Ruth’s opener, above.”

How lucky I am to have found Donald and Martha. How lucky we are as a family to have these pictures and stories!

Herman Clark Mechling was born in 1855 in Pennsylvania, the son of William H. Mechling and Emmeline Clark.

Herman married Helen Evans. Helen and Herman’s daughter was Helen and she married Henry James Howlett Jr. Below, Helen Mechling on her wedding day to Henry James Howlett Jr.,  right, with their son Herman Mechling Howlett.

Herman Clark was a “metal man”, first with the Vulcan Iron Company, the Whittaker Iron Company and then The Wheeling Corrugating Company.In 1906 he had been with the Wheeling Company for fifteen years.

Below Vulcan Iron Works and Wheeling Corrugating:

On June 21, 1906 Herman Clark was on his way home from a meeting in Cleveland Ohio. Friends and co-workers invited him to go to Wheeling W. VA to see the plant, but he declined and headed home to New York  aboard the Twentieth Century Limited. This was this train’s fourth run.

above photo 20th Century Limited from Chicago to New York June 16, 1906

“The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train from 1902 to 1967. It traveled between Grand Central Station in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago. The 20th Century was known for its style: elegant lines, understated design and very exclusive. Catering to the upper class and the business traveler, passengers walked to and from the train on a plush, crimson carpet which was rolled out in New York and Chicago and was specially designed for the 20th Century Limited; thus, the Red Carpet treatment was born. In 1938 the Century was the world’s ultimate passenger conveyance — on the ground.”

“Mentor, Ohio Train Wreck

June 21, 1906


In the Most Horrible Railroad Disaster in History of Lake Shore Road — Twentieth Century Flyer Wrecked Last Night.

CLEVELAND, June 22. — White traveling at a rate of seventy miles an hour the famous Twentieth Century Limited, the fastest long distance train in the world, ran into an open switch at the little town of Mentor, east of Cleveland, at 9:20 last night, causing one of the most horrible accidents in the history of the Lake Shore road. Nineteen persons are dead as a result of the wreck.

Chief DALEY, general passenger traffic manager of the Lake Shore, says he believes the disaster resulted from someone tampering with the switch. He says after an investigation:

“The evidence points to a deliberate, malicious attempt, to derail the train.”

The engine was hurled into the ditch, part of the train was crushed on top of it, and the wreck partly burned. The train was crowded; practically all of its accommodations were taken when it left this city. It was behind time and great speed was being made to make up the time.

A particularly distressing feature of the rescue work was that the injured were so crazed when they were taken from under the mass of wreckage that they could not even reveal their own identity.

Assistant General Superintendent D. C. NOON, of the Lake Shore, who was on the scene soon after the wreck occurred, gave out the following statement:

“So far as can be learned the switch was opened and locked open by some party unknown – probably a crank – and evidently with malicious purposes. Train No. 10, the fast east bound, passed through the switch forty-five minutes ahead of No. 26, and it was all right at that time. It is certain no other train or engine passed through the switch between No. 10 and No. 26.”

Traveling at the rate of more than a mile a minute the heavy train was hurled to its doom with a momentum that was appalling.

The scene of the accident was at the Mentor depot. The switch that caused the trouble is located about 130 yards west of the depot. As the heavy engine struck the switch if left the main track and swung violently to the left. For a distance of twenty yards the engine ran on the rails, and then turned over on its side just to east of the depot.

The momentum was such that the heavy tender was hurled over the engine and buried in the depot. The combination car was hurled with terrific violence on top of the engine, and in a moment was enveloped in flames. The Chicago sleeper, immediately behind, crushed into the depot and was completely buried in the wreck of the building. The next sleeper following left the track, but the rest remained upright on the tracks.

An instant after the crash of the wreck the boiler of the great engine exploded with terrific force, scattering fire and steam through the wreck in a manner that made escape for the helpless and imprisoned passengers impossible.

The passengers and train men who were not injured started to rescue the imprisoned, but the heat of the fire soon drove them away. The fire department was called to the rescue, but it was after midnight before the flames were subdued and the work of taking out the dead and injured began.

The following is a revised list of the dead:

C. H. WELMAN, general manager of the WELMAN-SEAVER-MORGAN Engineering company of this city.

THOMAS R. MORGAN, of the same company.

A. P. HEAD, London, England, prominent English steel man.

JOHN R. BENNETT, patent attorney, New York City.

A. L. RODGERS, Platt Iron Company, New York City, died at hospital.

H. H. WRIGHT, traveling man Chicago, died at hospital.

WM. B. MICKEY, address unknown.

F. J. BRANDT, Toledo, died at hospital.

F. H. BREKWITH, New York City, advertising agent, died at hospital.

J. H. GIBSON, Chicago, traveling man.

E. B. WALTERS, Hamburg, New York, baggage master.

ALLEN TYLER, Collinwood, engineer.

J. A. BRIDGLY, Akron, died at hospital.

HENRY TRINZ, New York City, barber on buffet car.

H. C. MECKLIN, manager Wheeling Corrugating Company, New York.

L. M. ELRICK, manager, Keiths Theatre, Cleveland.

Seven unidentified dead, one of whom is supposed to be ARTHUR L. JOHNSON, of Comey & Johnson, Cleveland.

Five were seriously injured and a number slightly.

CHICAGO, June 22. — Vice President W. C. BROWN of the New York Central telegraphed today to President NEWMAN at New York, an official report of the wreck.

In it he states that train No. 10 east bound passed Mentor at 8:35 p. m., at which time the switches were all set for the main track. No. 26 followed fifty minutes later and no trains had passed Mentor in either direction during the interval. The conductor of No. 26 examined the switch immediately after the accident and called the attention of General Passenger Agent W. J. LYNCH, of the Big Four, who was on the train, to the fact that it was set and locked for the sidetrack and the lights extinguished.

The switch is not damaged and worked perfectly after the accident.

The composite car which was telescoped by the engine was burned. No other cars in No. 26’s train turned over. Number 26 was on time and as a matter of fact was running slower than No. 10 when it passed through Mentor, as the latter was late.

Every possible effort is being made to locate the party who misplaced the switch.”

Daily Journal Colorado 1905-06-22

Submitted & transcribed by Stu Beitler

Alexander Glass, below, president of Wheeling Corrugating  brought Herman Clark Mechling home.

Obituary for HC Mechling

Vulcan Iron photograph found on-line : Shorpy Historic Photo Archive,

In the 1800’s the Ohio River was a bustling thoroughfare linking towns and growing cities all along the Ohio, the Allegheny and the Monongahela.

Beginning at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers nesr Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Ohio River runs southwest, ending at the Mississippi River on the Illinois and Missouri borders. It is (980 miles) (1,557 km) in length.

Because the Ohio River flowed westwardly, it became a convenient means of westward movement by pioneers traveling from western Pennsylvania. After reaching the mouth of the Ohio, settlers would travel north on the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri. There, some continued on up the Missouri River, some up the Mississippi, and some further west over land routes.

Trading boats and ships traveled south on the Mississippi to New Orleans, and sometimes beyond to the Gulf of Mexico and other ports in the Americas and Europe. This provided a much-needed export route for goods from the west, since the trek east over the Appalachian Mountains was long and arduous. The need for access to the port of New Orleans by settlers in the Ohio Valley led to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

From the early 1800s to the early twentieth century steamboats were a major catalyst to the opening of the American West. Possessing the ability to inexpensively and swiftly deliver goods to the frontier, steamboats fueled the economy and led to the establishment of plantations, farms, towns, and cities.

The Vance family of Pennsylvania moved to Cincinnati sometime in the 1800’s.  Charles and Lewis became involved in the business of steamboat construction. Alexander and Charles are listed together in a Cincinnati directory. Alexander is a “potter” and Charles is a “ship’s carpenter” . “engineer”, and lumber merchant. It is not clear what role Lewis had, it may have been in design.”Mrs.Margaret E Vance is Charles’ and Lewis’ mother.

Vance, Alexander-Pa-potter, r near Gordon’s Yard

Vance, Charles-Pa-ship carpenter at Hazen’s yard

Vance, Margaret E Mrs-Md-r near Gordon’s Yard

1840 Fulton City Directory

Hamilton County, Ohio

My grandmother Josephine Schoene Vance, told my mother, Marjorie Vance, stories of Charles and Lewis building steamboats. She says there are plans of “their” boats  in one of the museums in Cincinnati. And although I haven’t been able to verify it, she said the brothers were involved in the construction of two steamboats in particular: The America and The United States.

“On December 4, 1868, the majestic packet steamer, the United States, the pride of the U.S. Mail Line, cast off from a wharf at the foot of Vine Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

(above, wharf in 1867, Cincinnati)

(below, the United States at a lock)

(two pictures below, steamer America)

“Captain Richard Wade, one of the skilled navigators of the two rivers, was her master, J. Reemelin was at the wheel.

“Dinner had been served. The great cabin was bathed in the rosy glow in the beams of the crystal chandeliers with crimson shades, which swung from the paneled and frescoed ceiling.”

“Two hours out it began to rain. It froze on the decks as fast as it fell. The upper works were covered in a mantle of ice that aptly gave the United States the appearance of a ghost ship. Pilot Reemelin was having a bit of trouble with her because of the prankish wind, which had increased in violence. She had a tendency to yaw and get out of the channel. Capt. Wade went up into the pilot house to stand watch with him and John Hamilton, the other pilot, was also standing by as a matter of precaution. It was a bad night on the river, but the passengers were unconscious of that fact.”

“Two miles this side of Warsaw, Kentucky is situated Rayl’s Landing. It juts some distance out into the stream. The channel follows it closely. This bend was the barrier from seeing each other’s lights. The America followed maritime law when her pilot twice sounded the whistle, which was a warning to any other boat that might be rounding the bend. Reemlin, in the pilothouse of the United States, failed to hear the warning whistle above the din of the rising wind. Hence no answering whistle from her. Again, Jenkins blew the whistle. This time, the United States responded, but the boats by this time were dreadfully close to each other. As the United States roared around the bend it was seen by the watchers on board both boats that a collision was inevitable.”

“In the circumstances, both pilots acted promptly. The engines were stopped and the America’s wheels were set to backing. but the momentum of the boats carried them on to swift and certain destruction. The prow of the America rammed the United States on the starboard side, just forward of the steps.”

“The boats were virtually locked together for a brief time, but the America backed away, but not in time to prevent the leaping flames, spurred into ferocity by the high wind, from communicating to her upper works.”

“To add to the terror of the situation, the surface of the river was covered with burning oil, and both shores were illuminated and teeming with fantastic silhouettes. The villagers of Warsaw heard the sound of the crash and saw the ruddy reflection in the sky. The church bells were rung. Carriages and wagons were commandeered and rescuers were on the way within minutes after the collision.”

“Both boats started for the Indiana shore, in the hope of landing and discharging passengers before the fire had complete control, but the perverse wind balked that attempt.”

“Driven from refuge to refuge by the heat, the billowing smoke, and the searing flames, the passengers on the United States finally turned to the river as their only hope of sanctuary, but this hope was in vain, as the burning oil on the water, swept along buy the current, overwhelmed those who dared to leap into the river. The old river never presented a more dreadful spectacle of death than it staged at that midnight hour. It was all over quickly.”

“There the America burned to the water’s edge. The survivors were taken to neighboring farm houses, where they were given primitive first aid for injuries. Very few of them escaped without being hurt more or less severely. The farm wives ripped up their pillow cases and sheets to be utilized as bandages. Couriers on horseback were sent in every direction to summon doctors. In one farmhouse alone there were twelve injured persons, lying side by side on the parlor floor. The true extent of this disaster never was revealed. The bodies of some of those who perished by drowning never were recovered. The nearest estimate to the number of dead was eighty, largely on the United States. Others say 170 perished. The America escaped with three fatalities. The news of this catastrophe did not reach Cincinnati until two days later, and then only when a rescuing steamer put in, having aboard the dead, the injured and numerous survivors who had not been harmed.”

The available list of dead shows these names: “Mrs. R.A. Jones and daughter, Pensacola, Fla.; Miss Mary Johnson, Louisville; Mrs. C. M. Hayes, Nashville; H.H. Burkholder, banker, Louisville; the Rev. Robert Parvin, Philadelphia; a Mr. Elfers; the Rev. F.S. Rising, New York; a Mr. Hammers; Mrs. Clarke, Lexington, Ind.; Messrs. Ferris and Briggs; Mrs. Commodore Thompson and woman friend; Harry Brunswick, Cincinnati; Mr. Garvin, Louisville; Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Crawford, Dayton, O.; O.B. Sappington, Madison, Ind.; Lew Vance, Madison, Ind.” (list is longer and there are significantly conflicting reports of the number of people who died)

“The America was built about a year before she was destroyed and the United States three years before.”

“The trial trip of the America took place on April 27, 1867, with the start from the foot of Vine Street. Two hundred persons were the guests of the Mail Line Company and the occasion was embellished with a superb feast spread in the commodious cabin. She had a gallery cabin over the main cabin and was equipped with 144 staterooms. She was 313 feet long, with a beam of forty-one feet, seven-foot hold, and had thirty-eight-foot wheels. She could make thirty miles an hour downstream and twenty miles an hour against the current. So could the United States.”

(above, the collision from an article in Haper’s Weekly 1868)

(above, United States after the collision/fire)

Lew Vance is listed in a couple of sources as among the missing and presumed dead. My grandmother ended her telling of the fiery endto the United States and America by recounting: “They found his pinky finger….they knew it was his because of the ring still on it. That was all they found of him.”

Excerpts from “Thrills on the Historic Ohio River,” by Frank Grayson, Jr., in 1930. Mr.Grayson was a writer for the Post-Times Star in Cincinnati.


James Vance was born in Porter’s Ferry (Portaferry), County of Downs, Ireland in 1753. The Vance family, originally from Scotland, formed part of a colony sent by the English Monarch to colonize part of Northern Ireland with a strong body of Scotch Irish Protestants.

When James was around 20, he emigrated to to America, landing in Philadelphia where he lived for awhile. In September of 1778 he enlisted in the Revolutionary Army . He served 10 months as a Private under Captain Reddin and Col. Chambers and engaged in the battles of Monmouth and Germantown. He spent the winter at Valley Forge with Washington’s Army. There is a note in one of the family trees that says: “He left New Jersey as an agent of the government on Indian Scout Work. He was in some very close calls”

After his service he bought a farm near Morristown NJ and married his wife Amy Slack. His children  were all born in NJ but they eventually moved to Greensboro PA where his sons began a pottery business. James and Amy’s children were James, Alexander, Mary and Rebecca. James and Alexander were the potters. And Mary married into the Boughner family and continued the pottery work.

His son James married Margaret Elizabeth Eberhart . This is our line. James and Margaret had nine children: Alexander, CHARLES, Sophie, Amos, James, Elizabeth, Christina, Louis and Albert. Charles was our Great grandfather. Charles and Louis would later become involved in the booming steamboat business along the Ohio River, and their story is next to be posted!

James is listed in the 1830 and 1850 census of Green County PA. On the 1850 census he is listed as a glass blower and other names on the census are Kramer, Reppert, noted New Geneva PA. glassworks/potter families.


The internet opens a wonderful world for piecing together genealogical information. Thankfully, people share bits of their own family history so that others can also learn about their roots.  Through the Boughner line ,transcripts from a family Bible have been made available.  The Bible includes the dates of births, deaths, and marriages. There is also a page from the diary of James Vance confirming his date and place of birth, and information on his wife Amy’s family.

A book published in 1923 called The History of West Virginia, Old and New by the American Historical Society Inc, Chicago, includes information on James.

Other records can be found in the Daughter’s of The American Revolutions books and Revolutionary War Rosters.

Amy’s grave:



Herman Mechling Howlett         Robert Woodworth Beggs
Air Transport Command Navigator                 Episcopal Minister
China, Burma, India Theatre                             Conscientious Objector