Friday, June 23, 2017

My Cousins Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane

Wild Bill HickokCalamity Jane
I’ve recently been doing some family history research in an attempt to verify the validity of some of the relationships revealed to me through the BYU tool “Relative Finder” and’s app “We’re Related”. It seems I have the western gun fighting days and years following pretty well covered with probable cousins such as Butch Cassidy, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Davey Crockett and Clyde Barrow.
Today’s new discovery from We’re Related, which I’m currently researching for validation, tells me that James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok is my 5th cousin 5 generations removed through my Strait family line. My maternal grandmother (Nannie Becker Flanders’s) mother was Emma Cornelia Strait. This chart shows my connection to Wild Bill Hickok.
Becky Margheim to Wild Bill Hickok
Also this week I was notified on We’re Related that Martha Jane Canary was my 5th cousin 4 generations back. Martha Jane was better known as “Calamity Jane”, who at one time tried to convince people that she was the wife of Wild Bill Hickok. No documentation has been found to prove that claim. This chart shows my cousin connection to Calamity Jane:
Becky Margheim to Martha Calamity Jane Canary_Mrs. Wild Bill Hickok
As you can see, this relationship is from my maternal grandfather Milo Flanders’ ancestral line. If Calamity Jane had indeed been married to Wild Bill Hickok, I could say my Grandpa Flanders’ cousin was married to my Grandma Flanders’s cousin.  For now I’m just content to consider that Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane were my cousins. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Cousin Connection delivered by Ken Burns

Recently on PBS, Tom Hanks hosted the program “Ken Burns, America’s Storyteller”

I only caught the portion about the Ken Burns production on The Civil War and remember how amazing that documentary was at the time of its release. As the program concluded, Ken told the story of Sullivan Ballou. I share this from Wikipedia:
Sullivan Ballou (March 28, 1829 – July 29, 1861) was a lawyer and politician from Rhode Island, and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for the eloquent letter he wrote to his wife one week before he fought in the First Battle of Bull Run, where he was mortally wounded.
In his now famous letter to his wife, Ballou endeavored to express the emotions he was feeling: worry, fear, guilt, sadness, and the pull between his love for her and his sense of duty to the nation.
The letter was featured prominently in the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War, where a shortened version of it was paired with Jay Ungar's musical piece "Ashokan Farewell" and read by Paul Roebling. The documentary excluded many of Ballou's personal references to his family and his upbringing. It has been difficult to identify which of the several extant versions is closest to the one he actually wrote, for the original seems not to have survived.
July the 14th, 1861, Washington D.C.
My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure—and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.
But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows—when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children—is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again.
As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.

The letter may never have been mailed; it was found in Ballou's trunk after he died. It was reclaimed and delivered to Ballou's widow by Governor William Sprague, either after Sprague had traveled to Virginia to reclaim the effects of dead Rhode Island soldiers, or from Camp Sprague in Washington, D.C.”
As I often do, I looked up the Ancestry of Sullivan Ballou. I discovered that he’s a distant cousin of the wife of one of my cousins. This chart shows that relationship:
Becky Margheim to Amber Essley to Sullivan Ballou
I was amazed and delighted to find this connection in my family to Sullivan Ballou. Others may not find it significant, but I find in noteworthy. I must share with my cousin Todd Becker.

My dear Genealogy friend Terri Kallio shared this YouTube link to the Letter as it was read on the Civil War presentation. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Terri!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Take My Hand: a Moment of Serendipity

DSCN3105I’m off work on Fridays so Friday morning is my alone time to do our laundry and clean our house. While I do that I like to listen to CDs of music from years ago. This morning my choice was Neil Diamond. As I listened to his love songs, with my work done, I explored some of the old German books from the collection I inherited from my father after his death in 2014. The book pictured above has the title “So nimm denn meine hande!”
We can see inside that it belonged to my grandfather, John Ludwig Margheim.
The book was published in 1910 when my Grandpa was 10 years old. It’s nice that the autograph also tells me that Grandpa lived at 414 E. 4th St, Hoisington, KS at that time.
I sat down at my computer this morning to look up on Google the translation of the book title. As I was doing so, I was singing along to Neil Diamond as he sang one of my favorite songs “Cant Help Falling in Love with You”. I particularly like the closing of the song, when he says “Take my hand, take my whole life too, for I can’t help falling in love with you.”
As I was singing that final phrase with Neil Diamond, the results of my Google search came up and I clicked to translate. Almost to my unbelief, what I found was “So Take my Hands”. Here are the words to the song, from which the book title comes:
Julie Hausmann, 1862; English text
So take my hands
And lead me
Until my blessed end
And forever!
I do not like walking alone,
Not a step;
Where you will go and stand,
Take me there.

2. In your mercy envelope
My weak heart
And make it completely quiet
In joy and pain.
Let them rest at your feet
Your poor child;
He wants to close his eyes
And believe blindly.

3. If I do not feel the same
From your power,
You bring me to the goal,
Also through the night.
So take my hands
And lead me
Until my blessed end
And forever!

I’m very fortunate to have possession of Grandpa’s book and especially happy that I was prompted to review it this morning. I won’t listen to Neil Diamond again without making the connection to my grandfather John Ludwig Margheim (1900-1978) and his little church book. Serendipity at its best!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Selections from my dad’s Army service 1942-1945

Margheim, Ernest, first husband of Ruby FlandersI recently posted a story (here) about receiving two letters my dad wrote to his in-laws while serving in France during World War II, in 1944. In response to that story, my cousin Shanon Martin asked for more details about Dad’s Army service. I’m posting some facts and pictures here in answer to her questions.
Ernest Ludwig Margheim entered the Army in July, 1942. This picture shows him with his younger brother Leonard and parents John and Mollie before he left the train station in Great Bend, KS.
Ernest, Leonard, Molie & John Margheim 1942
On July 9, 1943, while home on leave, Dad married Ruby Flanders in Hoisington, KS.
Ernest and Ruby Flanders Margheim, July, 1943
Here are assorted photos of Dad and Mom spending time together at the home of his parents at 114 E. 6th St. in Hoisington, KS.
Ernest and Ruby Margheim, Wedding Day, 9 July 1943Ruby and Ernest MargheimErnest & Ruby Flanders Margheim (2)Ruby and Ernest Margheim
This document is a timeline of Dad’s service.
Army timeline photo
Here are assorted photos of my father during his service in Europe.
Ernest L. Margheim in Luxembourg, 1944Ernest Margheim in Instrument Truck where he repaired binoculars and telescopes.3 May 1945 Landshut, Germany, on the Isar.Ernest L. Margheim in Reserves at Sheboygan, WI. Had eaten dinner with a Lutheran family.Ernest L. Margheim in active Army Sept. 1942. Camp Forrest, Tullahoma, Tennessee. 3rd Platoon Barrack. Taken after sundown facing west.Ernest Margheim
I have quite a collection of photos of the landscape in Europe during that time. Here are a few selected pictures.
SCAN0099SCAN1315SCAN1318SCAN1322-001SCAN132425 Jan 1945 Mecher-Dunkrodt, Luxembourg, BelgiumBarnich-Autelbas, Belgium 22 Dec 1944Wurzburg, GermanySalisbury, England Cathedral, May 1944England, close to the southern coast.
Dad served most of his tour as a Instrument Repairman. And of course with it being during World War Ii, he served under Gen George Patton and was a member of the troops at Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The mailman brought letters Dad wrote 72 years ago


Recently I received an email from a first cousin who told me she had discovered two letters that my father had written to my maternal grandparents, along with a few photos of me and my twin brother from the early 1950s. These discoveries were made as her family was moving her mother to another apartment. This cousin and I share the same grandparents.

My cousin offered to mail these treasures to me, and they arrived today. Pictured above is one of the envelopes I received. It’s very small, only 3.5” x 4.5“. It was mailed to my mother’s mother, Mrs. Milo Flanders, who at that time lived at 208 E. Morrell St, Stafford, Kansas. The postmark says Dec. 6, 1944. At that time, Dad was serving in France with the US Army.  This is the entire letter:


This second letter was written to my mother’s dad, Milo Flanders and mailed on Dec 9, 1944.



The expressions Dad used in his writing were quite colloquial for the time, terms such as “feller” and “Swell”. What I’m most happy to read are the words he wrote at the end of his letter to my grandmother: “ the Chaplain was to come for our service but he didn’t. Hope he finds us by Sunday cause one or rather about my best physical comfort and satisfying acts here is attending a service and Sunday, I think, is Communion. So keep faith.”

Dad was such a good man and a strong Christian. It’s wonderful to see that he was nourished even in France during World War II by his Faith in God. And his upbeat attitude shows in his closing wish to my grandfather: “Keep Smiling”.  I don’t think Dad would have offered that wish if he hadn’t “kept smiling” himself.

I’m grateful to my cousin for sharing this great find. Thank you, Mary Anne!

Friday, May 26, 2017

A cousin through my grandma’s line helped me find a cousin through my grandpa’s line

My mother’s mother was Nannie Becker, who was married to Milo Flanders in 1906. I’ve found that most (or all) of the people with the Flanders name in America are descendants of the immigrant Stephen Flanders (1600-1684). A few days ago Veva Young, one of my cousins from the Becker line, saw this post on Facebook from the “Traces of Texas” page:

WA Strain house Lancaster, TX Per Wikipedia, the W. A. Strain Farm House is a farmstead located in Lancaster, Texas, United States. "It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the W. A. Strain House in 1978. A boundary increase in 2001 expanded the area covered from 2 acres to 163 acres and the property listing name was changed to W. A. Strain Farm-Strain House.
The Strain House is an example of late Victorian architecture. It was designed by J. E. Flanders & Moad of Dallas. This firm also designed the Trinity Methodist Church in Dallas, and the Shackelford County Courthouse, which is part of an historic district in Albany, Texas. Joe Lyon built the house in 1896. The two and a half story frame structure includes a gabled wood shingle roof and the brick foundation has an asymmetrical plan.
The Strain Farm is believed to be the oldest working farm in Dallas County and is one of a small number of farms owned and operated for more than 100 years by a single family. The heirs of W. A. Strain have continued to live in the old family home, maintaining it with very few alterations and much of the original furnishings still intact."

When Veva read that this house was designed by J. E. Flanders & Moad of Dallas, she shared it with me and asked if I might be related to this architect. I had to do a bit of research online to give her an answer.

This site at  provides a very nice page of information about James Edward Flanders. And here we read of Jim Willis’s Research Collection about James Edward Flanders. Mr. Willis offers this short biographical paragraph:

As one of Dallas’ first resident architects, James Edward Flanders was instrumental in shaping the direction and style of architecture in Dallas. His career spanned 55 years and the majority of his projects were located in Dallas and western Texas. His early career began as an apprentice and draughtsman in Chicago, probably around 1870. After the Chicago fire of 1871, Flanders set up his own office and began to work independently. Flanders moved his practice to Minneapolis around 1875. Soon after, he began corresponding with Judge A.B. Norton, the postmaster of Dallas. At that time, Dallas was going through a period of enormous growth, and the city was in need of architects. Norton convinced Flanders to move to Dallas in order to take advantage of the abundant construction opportunities there.

Flanders moved to Dallas in 1876 and started a brief partnership with an established Dallas architect, J.M. Archer. Over the next decade, Flanders designed many of the buildings in the downtown area as well as residences of several prominent members of the community. Flanders married Mary Stafford and they had four children. Flanders' two brothers also moved from Chicago to Dallas, and both were employed by Flanders from time to time. The 1880s were Flanders most prolific years; he continued to focus on commercial and residential buildings, however he expanded his practice by designing buildings throughout West Texas.

In 1887, Flanders moved to San Diego, California, drawn by the booming growth and industry of the town. By 1891, economic growth slowed down drastically, and Flanders moved back to Dallas. For the remainder of his career, Flanders designed primarily schools and churches. In 1913, Flanders retired to southern California. Although retired, he did design and build a few structures that remained under family ownership including the Hotel Dupont (1925) in Hollywood.

There are over 300 buildings attributed to Flanders. The majority of his projects are located in Dallas and West Texas; however, Flanders designed buildings throughout Texas as well as in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and California. Among Flanders' most notable projects are the first Texas State Fair (1908), Shackelford County Courthouse (1883), Navarro County Courthouse (1905), and the Heard-Craig house in McKinney (1900).

Flanders was also instrumental in the development and elevation of the architectural profession in Texas. He was a charter member of the Texas State Association of Architects and actively fought for the first Texas chapter of the AIA, which started in 1889. Flanders was also an active member of the Scottish Rite of the Masonic Order and designed the original Grand Lodge Temple in Waco (1904) as well as a Masonic Widows and Orphans Home in Fort Worth (1906). Flanders died in Hollywood in 1928.

On the Family Tree at I was able to establish the ancestral line of James Edward Flanders. This chart shows how I’m related as a cousin to this architect.

Becky Margheim to James Edward Flanders 5c3r

I’m grateful to my cousin Veva Young for opening the window for me to discover another Flanders cousin!