The end of the year brings reflection as we put to rest one year while looking ahead to a new beginning. I’ll always remember 2010 as an incredible year for my Civil War soldiers project, as well as for the start of some new research projects.
In January, I met a descendant of one of my Civil War veterans. Martha Jewett is the second great-grandniece of Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford. Martha and her husband, Evan Marshall, drove to Fairport to attend my Illuminated History presentation for the Perinton Historical Society. After Martha and Evan returned home, we spent a frantic two weeks emailing and calling each other in order to meet the deadline for Mary Jewett Telford’s nomination to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. We will soon hear whether we were successful in our endeavor.
With February came a slight shift in my research, as I began to study the World War I soldiers of Pittsford. February was also memorable as it was the first time I have formally interviewed a research subject. Bill Cooper, a World War II veteran and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, was my assignment. Bill is a member of American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899. The stories he shared about his military experience and life with his wife, Margaret, were
inspiring. I also had the opportunity to meet with Philip G. Maples for the first time. Phil is the Director Emeritus of the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives. Since then, I have volunteered research time to the RMMA, as well as spent time with Phil, who is himself a Civil War researcher and enthusiast. I proudly headed to school in February to hear my daughter make her first presentation by portraying Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.
March rang in another opportunity to interview a Battle of the Bulge veteran. This time it was Ed Kinnen, also a member of Rayson-Miller. Ed and his wife, Ellen, graciously invited me into their home so I could talk with Ed about his World War II service. We share a common love of genealogy, and I was happy to hear them speak of their children and grandchildren and the importance of sharing the family history with them.
The next few months went by in a blur as I once again collaborated with Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson for our annual Pittsford Cemetery tour in May. Theo X. Rojo, who researches the men of the 13th NY Infantry and the 22nd NY Cavalry, contacted me in May and we have spent much time emailing back and forth regarding those units and others. June was the pinnacle of excitement. I gave a tour at Greenvale Cemetery for the Perinton Historical Society members. I was so pleased to meet Cheri Branca, one of my online friends and fellow Find A Grave contributor, who attended the Greenvale tour with her husband, Matt. Jane Andersen and Lynda Skaddan, descendants of Robert Telford, made a special trip to Fairport with Lynda’s husband Ray so I could meet them at Mary Jewett Telford’s grave to discuss her life. Mary was wed to Robert’s younger brother, Jacob Telford. In June, I also had the opportunity to meet Norman and John Henry Miller, who are the nephews of Henry L. Miller. Henry was killed at Belleau Wood during World War I. Norm and John are not only veterans themselves, but they come from a long line of men who served their country, beginning with their great-grandfather, Civil War veteran Henry L. Mueller.
Throughout the rest of 2010, I gave a presentation for the American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899 and discussed the
early history of the post and its members. Audrey Johnson and I hosted another tour of the Pioneer Burying Ground in October, and I started a Facebook page for Illuminated History. However, I think the biggest thrill has been meeting the veterans’ descendants and other researchers, both in person, by phone and online. I spoke by phone with John R. Bacon, grandson of WWI & WWII Lieutenant Colonel Howard Bacon and great-grandson of Civil War vet John Buckley Bacon, after emailing back and forth for several years. I spoke with veteran David Retchless about his military service, as well as those of his brother, father and uncle. Tyler Emery, the current owner of the Retchless military memorabilia, and I have corresponded via email and he has graciously shared photos of the contents of the trunk he owns. At the Pioneer Burying Ground tour, I met Gail and Marilyn, the daughters of World War I vet Raymond L. Hulbert. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Lloyd F. Allen’s daughters, Betty Anne and Katie, as well as his granddaughter, Elizabeth. Dr. Allen, like his friend and neighbor Howard Bacon, had also served in both World Wars.
2010 was an extraordinary year. Thank you for your interest in my project, and your appreciation for these veterans. With your support, Illuminated History will continue to shine the light on these heroes for many years to come.