I've neglected my look back and the eventful and at times tumultuous year of 1963 for the Rooney family. But I'll try to do better.
It started near the beginning of 1963 when my Grandpa Mike Rooney died on Jan. 13 at the age of 77. I was 5 years old, and I remember it being the first time I'd ever been in a funeral home.
A day later, Jan. 14, my sister Colleen turned 16.
A week later, Jan. 22, my brother Tim turned 15.
On Feb. 2, my dad, Joe Rooney, turned 46, and three days later my mom, Doris Carter Rooney, celebrated her 48th birthday.
In March, the road to the Indiana state basketball championship rolled from Muncie, with our beloved Central Bearcats going on to win their fifth state championship on March 23 at Butler Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
A week later, my parents celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary on March 30.
My family treated me to a wonderful chocolate cake on my 6th birthday on April 15. It's the first birthday that I remember, and I specifically remember turning my head to see Mom with a camera. She took the picture when I turned back to blow out the six candles.
On May 12, my big sister Maureen celebrated her 18th birthday, and about 3 weeks later she graduated from Central High School.
My sister Kathy had her 12th birthday on June 2.
Then on June 27, Maureen was married at the St. Lawrence rectory to David Jarnagin.
Less than a month later, on July 23, my brother Terry turned 14 years old.
In August, there were no birthdays, anniversaries or weddings, but there was the historic March on Washington. I don't have any memories of watching the event on TV, but I'm certain my parents followed the coverage and were moved and inspired by Martin Luther King.
Sadly, my lone focus as August was winding down was that September was approaching. The good news about September was that the NFL season was about to begin. The bad news was that I had to start school.
St. Lawrence School did not offer kindergarten (thank goodness), so my first experience of school would be as a first-grader in September 1963. (Seriously, just typing that makes me anxious)
I don't remember the date of the first day of school, but more than likely it was a day or two after Labor Day, which would have made it Sept. 3 or Sept. 4 of 1963. Although I didn't know what the date was, I knew what the day meant.
So I refused to go. I refused to get out of bed. It didn't go over well -- at all. Luckily, Dad had been taken to work at Delco, so I knew I didn't have that hanging over me. And Maureen was married and not living at home, and my brothers didn't really care. But I did have my mother and sisters Colleen and Kathy trying to pull me out of bed. Unfortunately, they succeeded.
I remember crying -- no, wailing -- and fighting my mom every step of the way. They finally threw me into the car and drove me to school. Once there, I didn't want to get out of the car. Mom, along with Sister Antoinette (first-grade teacher) and maybe others, tried to persuade me to get out of the vehicle. I was more agile then, so I was went back and forth inside the car, remaining on the opposite side from those who were after me.
Eventually, I wore down, and the nun (or nuns) and Mom were successful in cornering me in the car and extricating me. I was sobbing as I was dragged toward the church for Mass (scuff marks still visible on sidewalk). My mom was crying, too.
I truly thought I would never see my mother again. In my mind, if I was with my mother she would be OK. If I could see her, be around her, then nothing bad would happen to her. She wouldn't get sick, she wouldn't have to go to the hospital. The hospital was an awful place, in my mind, because the last time I was in one -- late in 1962 -- we were visiting Mom and Grandpa Rooney. Mom came home, but my grandpa never did. He died there.
And that is what I thought would happen to Mom if I wasn't there.
To this day, I always think about the transition from late summer to fall and the fear that I genuinely felt as September drew near. The fear, obviously, was unfounded and a product of my being profoundly spoiled. But to me, it was all too real.
to be continued ...
Thanks to Ancestry.com and its free weekend of New England records, I came up with a few new names to add to the Carter line. The one that caught my eye was Thanklorde "Thankful" Perkins, my 8th great grandmother.
She was born 20 Jun 1612 in Stepney, Greater London, England and died in 1681 in Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
Here's a story I found about her:
Posted by: Vickie Elam White, Date: May 12, 1999 at 06:41:55
The woman who married Ralph SHEPARD in St. Bride's Church, London, was Thank-the-Lord PERKINS, not Thank-ye LORD (the letter often mistaken for a y was actually a combination letter called a thorn, it stood for th). Their 21 May 1633 marriage record, complete with copies of their signatures, appear in a book by John Brooks Threlfall called Twenty-Six Great American Colonists To New England & Their Origins. This matter has been discussed in other genealogical publications as well, although I don't have the citations handy right now.
She was consistently referred to as Thanklord or Thankslord SHEPARD in Massachusetts records. "Lord" was part of her given name. It was very common for staunch Puritans of that time to name their children thusly. Other names of that time were Hate-evil, Fearnot, Be-courteous, Fight-the-good-fight, and even Fly-fornication! Boy, am I glad naming customs have changed! :-)
Anyway, even if the marriage record hadn't been found, it is evident that she was not a LORD. Thank-the-Lord's name doesn't fit the naming pattern in the LORD family, which didn't use Puritan names. She isn't mentioned in the will of Dorothy (BIRD) LORD, nor are any SHEPARD grandchildren mentioned, despite the fact that this will is very detailed and carefully written and did include other grandchildren.
And there was no known association between the LORD family of CT and the SHEPARD family of MA, despite the fact that the LORD family, from all appearances, was very close-knit.
Thank-the-Lord was born ca 1612, yet there is no room for her among the children of Thomas and Dorothy (BIRD) LORD, who were married in February 1611 and had children born/baptized in January 1612, September 1614, and November 1616 (among others). The parish registers for Towcester, Northamptonshire (where the LORDs lived), includes the baptisms for the other LORD children but nothing for a child with a name even remotely resembling Thank-the-Lord. And the registers are complete, not missing entries in this timeframe. Even if the 1612 date for Thank-the-Lord is off a bit, it doesn't fit.
Anyway, her name was PERKINS on her marriage record. This was probably her maiden name, although I suppose it could be said that she may have been a widow. The jury is still out on that. But you can safely say that she was not Thank-the LORD.
Some of you might not be aware of a connection in the Gilmore family in the state of Louisiana. Well, there was and still is.
One of the stories out of the Louisiana Gilmores involved the death of Matthew Gilmore. This Matthew was a son of great-great-grandfather Matthew Gilmore and brother of Darius Gilmore, our great-grandfather.
In 1915 in Franklin, La., in the parish of St Mary, Matthew Gilmore's body was found in a swamp. (I'm adding news articles from the St. Mary Banner from that time.) Police accused two people of murder -- a woman and Matthew's son Lawrence A. Gilmore. Apparently, the father (a widower) and son were in conflict over the woman.
Lawrence and the woman were found guilty of murder in June 1916. Lawrence received a life sentence, though not the death penalty, and was sent to Angola State Penitentiary in Angola, La., sometimes called the "Alcatraz of the South."
But in June 1919, Lawrence received a full pardon from the state of Louisiana and was released from prison. According to family lore, the woman in question who apparently came between the two Gilmore men was an ex-girlfriend of the St Mary Parish sheriff. So it appears that Lawrence was framed for the crime.
This latest information was provided to me by Molly Broussard Fitch, a granddaughter of Lawrence Gilmore who I recently became friends with on Facebook.
HERE ARE THE BRIEF NEWS ARTICLES ON THE MURDER OF MATTHEW GILMORE
From The Morgan City Review Bulletin, Friday, 19 Nov 1915
Mat Gilmore, a trapper, was foully murdered Thursday in a swamp seven miles from Franklin where his body was found. The fact has been revealed that he was shot in the back with buckshot. His wife and son have been arrested, charged with his murder. Mr. Gilmore was a relative of Hon. Walter T. Gilmore of Morgan City.
From The St. Mary Banner, Saturday, 20 Nov 1915
Mr. Matthew Gilmore was cruelly murdered last Wednesday afternoon about 5 o’clock in the swamp in the rear of Franklin. He lived in the swamp and was engaged in the business of trapping. Soon after the news of his murder reached this place, Deputy Sheriffs Charles and Arthur Martel, with District Att'y W. C. Baker went to the scene of the murder. They found the body of Mr. Gilmore riddled with buckshot, the shot entering entering through the back. His remains were brought to Franklin Thursday morning and buried the same evening. Rev. R. Hale officiating. The Coroner, Dr. W. J. McClellen held an autopsy which showed the cause of death to be as above related.
The Deputy Sheriffs who had been busy tracing the murderer or murderers, on Thursday arrested Lawrence Gilmore, son of the deceased and a woman who was living with the son as a wife, and charged them jointly with having committed the awful and unnatural crime. No one saw the commission of the crime except those that committed it, but we learned the sheriff has strong circumstantial facts that point to his son and his woman.
Mr. Gilmore was a native of Indiana [sic, Ohio], but for many years he was a resident of St. Mary Parish. He was a brother of Messrs. Alonzo and John Gilmore of Berwick and an uncle of Hon. Walter T. Gilmore of Morgan City, a member of the state legislature from this parish. To them, the Banner extends it's sincere sympathy in their sorrow.”
From The St. Mary Banner, Saturday, 27 Nov 1915
" Lawrence Gilmore and Eva Naquin, who were arrested last week suspected of the murder of Mr. Matt. Gilmore, were formally charged with the commission of the crime."
[According to descendent Mary Anne Sutphin, Matthew’s son Lawrence was convicted of the murder, served three years in prison, and Eva Naquin left town].
I received an email Tuesday (June 4) from a woman who had seen and copied several photos I had on my Ancestry.com family tree. The photos were of Carter ancestors' gravesites in Bloom County, Wisconsin.
She said that we were somehow related through Isaac Gay Carter. And she said her name was Jill Carter Wilson and that she lived in Pullman, Wash.
I responded with appreciation that she was able to find something worthwhile out of my tree. Then I found she was on Facebook, where we friended and had a nice chat. We determined that we are distant cousins -- 4th cousins once removed to be exact -- with Isaac Powers Carter (my 3rd great-grandfather) as our common ancestor (her 4th great-grandfather). Isaac Gay Carter (our link) and David Gay Carter (Jill's link) were brothers.
But it's always fascinating to find a cousin, distant or otherwise. She is a tech wiz at Washington State University in Pullman.
So the Carter family indeed spans the United States, with Isaac P. having been born in Maine and his descendants in Washington state.
Smith family, from left: George Washington Smith (father of groom), Henry Smith (brother?), Dora Smith (wife of George W), Betty Smith (sister of groom), Bob Smith (brother), Raymond Smith (brother), George A. Smith (groom) Anna Lou Mack (bride) and Gene (brother) standing in front.
A recent find through Ancestry.com came by way of a distant cousin, whose connections tie to Chillicothe, Mo. The line is through Esther Ann Carter, a sister to our great-great-grandfather Isaac Gay Carter. Esther married Matthew Rankin Smith, and they had 14 children, including a son George Washington Smith.
George and his wife had a son, George Washington Jr., who is pictured in this wedding photo from 1951 in Livingston County, Mo. The groom is George Alford Smith, son of George Jr.
I got this info through Leanna Smith Eversmeyer, a daughter of "Alf" Smith. She now lives in Oklahoma, I believe.
- We've recently discovered that there are 3 surviving grandchildren of Darius and Annie (Wilson) Gilmore. In addition to our beloved Aunt Bern, there are two daughters of David Gilmore still alive. David was a brother to our Grandma Grace.
According to our 2nd cousin Randy Gilmore in Kitts Hill, Ohio, the two are: Virginia Ruth (Gilmore) Rosenberg, age 88 (born Aug. 16, 1924); and Avanelle (Gilmore) Alley, age 77 (born June 27, 1935).
Randy says Virginia lives outside Charlotte, N.C., and Avanelle lives near Sandusky, Ohio, which is in northern Ohio next to Lake Erie.
Randy's father is George Herbert Gilmore, third child of David and Mary (Woods) Gilmore. Virginia is the eldest of David's children; Avanelle the second-youngest. The youngest, Rose Marie (born 1938) died in 2003.
It was 50 years ago today that we lost our Grandpa Rooney.
Michael Rooney died at 12:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, 1963, at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. As it is in 2013 and as it was in 1963, Jan. 13 fell on a Sunday.
Grandpa Mike had been ill for a while, but his loss was felt throughout our family. He was fortunate to be around for the birth of all but one of his 21 grandchildren. Speaking for this grandson, I wish he could have been around much longer so I could have gotten to know him better and not be so timid.
Through my research and talking with family, I do feel as if I know Grandpa better. He was a good man, a "sweet man," as my Aunt Bern calls him. In a way, that makes it more sad that he didn't live longer.
Love you, Grandpa.