Beggs Family

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!

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:


Go back far enough in anyone’s family history, and you’re bound to find some interesting stuff. I figured there’d be royalty, or war heroes, or witch craft or illegitimate children. But, honestly I hadn’t thought about pirates. Let alone  pirates who worked for Captain Kidd.  (Only known portrait of Captain Kidd, below)

Welcome to the Van Tuyl side of the family. This line comes down to us through Dad (Robert W. Beggs). You may recall his mother Alice’s middle name was Van Tuyl. Below, Coat of Arms.

In 1662, Jan Otten van Tuyl, grandson to Jan Sandersz, killed a man in a tavern in Utrecht, Gelderland, The Netherlands and fled the town taking his wife, Geertruyd and baby son Otto (born 1661 in Gameren, Netherlands) with him. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to death. He was forced to flee a murder warrant and he and his small family set sail from Amsterdam for America on 16 April 1663. They were part of a group of 90 emigrants crammed aboard the Bonte Koe (The Spotted Cow)under Captain Jan Bergen bound for New Amsterdam, America. (Their names can be found on the passenger list)

(Above picture of the Bonte Koe is from the Holland Society and was published in the January 1996 edition of the Van Voorhees Nieuwsbrief.)

They arrived between 11 May 1663 and 17 August 1663 and settled in the poorest part of town: Wall Street.

It is presumed that Otto followed his father to sea and became a ship’s carpenter. After his father’s death Otto married  in New York City on June 14, 1693.  In 1696 he landed a berth, along with one of his brothers, aboard the pirate ship John and Rebecca captained by privateer John Hoar. Otto became the ship’s doctor! They headed to the Indian Ocean and raided Arabian and Persian coastal towns and took two prize ships. A few years later Otto met Captain Kidd while on the island off the coast of Madagascar. ( The book titled A Van Tuyl Chronicle says Otto sailed with Kidd’s rival, Captain Culliford, while other sources say he sailed with Kidd) In 1698 after a brutal but lucrative cruise along the Malabar Coast of India preying on gold laden Indian ships, Otto booked passage from St. Maries to New York on Captain Shelley’s Nassau , arriving home in 1699. Although Otto was then arrested, he was able to evade justice through bribery and connections.

Otto moved his family from a working class home on Broad Street to a more expensive location on Smith Street. Here he pursued a legal trade in Barbados Rum and was employed by the government as a legal privateer.

In 1705, now the father of four children, Otto again set sail but this time as Captain of the private ship of war, Castel Del Rey. She was an 18 gun war ship and displaced 130 tons. Leaving New York during an icy gale, she grounded on Sandy Hook in the lower bay where only 13 out of 145 crew members survived. Otto perished.

Otto had a son Isaac.  Four generations later a little girl named Mary van Tuyl was born to John Van Tuyl and Jane Sebring. Mary married Oren Chamberlain and their daughter Marietta would become Robert Beggs’ great grandmother. Below, Marietta holding dad, with Uncle David standing in the front.

(Note: the above information is compiled from many internet and book sources. Sometimes the information is conflicting….this is all for fun! No way to really know the truth of it all! Otto was real. His father did kill someone. He did sail on the Bonte Koe. He did work on pirate ships and he did die in a ship wreck.)

Marjorie Ann at about six months and also at two years old.

At 16 and at Bryn Mawr.

Marjorie’s father: Robert Raschig Vance (I’ll have to work on enlarging the picture!), and her mother: Josephine Lenore Schoene.

Robert Vance’s father: Herman Evans Vance and his mother: Florence (Fisk) Raschig (see blog story about Florence)

Josephine’s mother: Julia Mitchell and her father: Joseph Zebulon Schoene.

James Alexander Beggs was the son of Isaac Beggs. His mother may have been Elizabeth Walker, but it is not known for sure. He was born April 14, 1826 in Mercer County PA. Mercer County had been for quite a while, home to many of the original Beggs family  from Ireland. No doubt James heard many an Irish brogue growing up!

On July 3, 1850 he married Elenora Davis, daughter of a tailor from the District of Columbia. They were married in Montgomery County, Ohio.

In 1858 Elenora and James had a son, David Carson Beggs.  DC Beggs would become great-grandfather to Bob, Vance, Marcia and Kathy.

In 1861 after Lincoln had been elected President of the United States, the South Carolina legislature perceived a threat. Calling a state convention, delegates voted to remove the state of South Carolina from the Union known as the United States of America. Eleven states would become the Confederate States of America and the foundation for the Civil War would be laid.

On June 29th, 1863 James Alexander enlisted as a blacksmith/farrier in Company A 5th Individual Cavalry Battalion, Ohio. A voluntary cavalry.

The National Archives in Washington DC maintains thousands of military records. Through them, I obtained the records for James. Within the records, mostly pension requests, a small glimpse of who this man was and how his life changed can be found.

From a pension request dated 11th of Sept. 1863: “James Alexander Beggs was placed on duty to do some blacksmithing for his company and was riding from Camp Tod (near Cleveland) to Camp Chase Ohio to prepare the shoes for some of the horses for marching, and in crossing a wooden bridge over a ditch in said Camp Chase, his horse slipped and fell and on falling, fell on upon him severely injuring his  back and right hip.”

July 15, 1883 Private Frank Wolf provides this: “…..I was at the blacksmith shop about 20 yards distant and saw the fall. He was helped by some of the guards to get the horse off.”

James gives his own description of the ensuing events: “I treated myself with petroleum oil and such liniments as we had for use in treating our horses for hurts and sprains” ……After 4 or 5 days at home “I then started for and overtook the above command at Maysville Kentucky. At that time there was no surgeon with the Battalion and there was none until fully one month after that.” James was never treated.

Throughout the course of the rest of his life, James continued to apply for an increase in pension. Friends and relatives provided sworn statements over and over again. As the years marched on, it is apparent that James’ health deteriorated painfully.

From a statement by John Falkenback, 20 Feb. 1884: ” I have been acquainted with the above James A. Beggs for 28 years last past. We worked together in the same blacksmith shop before and at the time he enlisted in the above service, and I know he was then a stout man, in sound health….when he came back home from the army in 1864 I know he was sick or afflicted with some kind of trouble in his back and could not do any kind of work for a considerable time……from time to time he worked at places such as the carriage blacksmith shops of E &HF Booth, Thomas Anderson, Chris Brodbeck, and others, but he was always  so afflicted with trouble in his back he could never perform a full days work…..After working steadily at a place for one or two weeks he would seem to break down entirely and had to lay by and rest for several weeks before he could get strong enough to work again.”

Carriage maker Christopher Brodbeck, Feb. 20, 1884: “…..After that I went into the carriage business myself and he worked for me off and on from two to five weeks at a time up to about three years ago, when he seemed to become entirely worn out and broken down wholly unable to perform any manual labor at all by reason of the weakness in his back and spine. He was taken to City Hospital where I visited him.”

During this time, James shows up in strange places on the censuses. I thought he was in a boarding house, that maybe he and Elenora had separated. Remember, initially this is the time in their lives and relationship when their children were young. I think now perhaps, those “boarding houses” were in fact City Hospital…..

Towards the end of his life, doctor’s reports describe a man physically, emotionally and mentally broken. His body bent and twisted. His shoulders rounded and caved forward.  His hands contorted and paralyzed in an awkaward position that prevented him from grasping anything at all. Eventually he could not even lift himself up in bed. His death certificate lists cause of death as “paralysis and La Grippe”.

While we do see statements and signatures of James’ daughters for the pension requests, the  is no sign of James’ son David C. Beggs being involved with any of the sworn statements as to his father’s health. However, James’ gravestone is the largest in the family plot in Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus Ohio. Perhaps a telling tribute from a son and family  to a husband and father lost.

Next Page »