Wednesday, July 30, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 29: Mary Isabel (Belle) Vernatti

click within image to enlarge
... continued from last week

Mary Isabel (Belle) Vernatti was born 3 Feb 1845 in Monroe County, IL  (southeast of St Louis, MO).

Belle’s mother Nancy Barclift had two husbands:

  1. Timothy Walton who died in 1841 (age 31) leaving her with 4 children, ages 10, 8, 3 and 1.  
  2. Jacob Vernatti (Belle’s father) who died in 1857 (age 45) leaving her with children ages 26, 24, 19, 17, 14, 12 (Belle), 10, and 2.  There is an interesting story about Jacob Vernatti: 

"A man came from Kentucky with two young boys on horseback. He had relatives in Illinois, so he left his sons Jacob (Belle's Father) and Allan with them, and went back to Kentucky and was never heard from, think perhaps he met with foul play. The children too small to spell, so Vernatti seemed to be the way, but I wonder if it might not be Van Etta."  --Grannie Finkbiner (1)

So anyway, Belle’s father dies when she is about 12, in 1857 and around that time, TW Blanchard travels as a young man from North Carolina to Illinois to stay with family.  There may have been many family members living in Illinois, but one of them was his Aunt Nancy (Belle's mother).  His Uncle Timothy had died in 1841, as noted above.

TW was in Illinois briefly and then volunteered to serve in the Civil War.  When he got home he married his step-cousin Belle.  Their early married life was described in last week's blog.  So here is where we continue TW and Belle’s story. They had left Missouri and went to Colorado, (probably on the train).

"Timothy Walton Blanchard came visiting the Vernatti's for he was a relative of Isabel's mother's [Nancy Ann Barcliff Walton] first husband (Timothy Walton) and married Isabel (my mother). They lived in Missouri for sometime and the west looked good to father [Timothy Walton Blanchard] so they came to Boulder." --Grannie Finkbiner (1)

Lindell Hotel at 11th and Larimer, by Richard Herndon,
Published in the Rocky Mountain News, 8 Sep 1940
Denver Public Library Western Art Collection

On 7 Jun 1880, Belle (35), TW (45) and their five children (12, 9, 5,3 and 10 months) lived at the Lindell House in Auraria, Colorado.  The Lindell House was a rooming house full of mostly single men with only  a few families living there.   (The Auraria neighborhood of historic buildings was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the College Campus that resides there today)  TW was listed as a miner.

On 1 Jun 1885, the family was living in Boulder.  TW (48) was a miner, Belle (40), their son Charles must have passed away (he would have been between 3 and 8 when he died).  Their other children are ages 17, 14, 10, 5 and their daughter Gertrude was born in Boulder in 1882 and was age 2.

"TW went into mining and was always very interested in the mines, he farmed tho & eventually bought the home in Boulder Canyon where we lived and raised cattle. "Blanchard Ranch", finally in time "Blanchard Lodge" as it still is." --Grannie Finkbiner (1)

In 1887, their daughter Elizabeth (Bess) is born.

Belle and TW Blanchard

"Looking down on the Blanchard Lodge"

On 10 Jun 1900, they were still in Boulder: TW (64) a miner, Belle (55), Anna (25), Walter (20), Gertrude (17) and Elizabeth (12).

Belle Blanchard with her
grandson Bayly in about 1913.

In 1917, Belle and TW celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  This newspaper clipping was in with other family memorabilia:

March 12, 1917, unknown newspaper
In 1918 TW and Belle were listed in the Boulder City Directory.

TW (82) died 21 May 1918.

Blanchard Lodge along Boulder Creek

“Blanchard Lodge took its name from the ranch upon which it was situated, homesteaded by Timothy Blanchard.  The lodge was built and operated by John C Dougherty, who had learned the resort trade in Maine and had come out to Colorado in 1919 to recover from a bout of influenza.  That next spring he took a job in the small resort that rancher Blanchard had operated on his property.

Blanchard Lodge in Boulder Canyon

In 1927, Dougherty married the youngest Blanchard daughter and both of them worked to expand the resort building cabins, expanding the log  and stone lodge, putting in landscaping.  Upon completion the lodge could house 40 overnight guests and feed 150 people.  Blanchard’s became a popular place for Boulderites to take out-of-town visitors.  The lodge radiated a distinct Rocky Mountain flavor in its stone and log construction, its large fireplace, its wicker and leather furniture and its home-style fare.

Note 1: "I wanted you to see how the dining room looked when you were at the Lodge."
Note 2: Bayly lived at the Lodge when he went to College.
He washed dishes for Aunt Bess for his room and board."  

John Dougherty died in 1947, after which his wife passed local operations onto a local couple she hired. She maintained overall supervision and was assisted by her son Neil and a staff of CU students.  Her son Neil Dougherty was killed in Korea in 1951.  Four years later the Boulder Chamber of Commerce built a park in John Dougherty’s memory, just east of Boulder Canyon Tunnel.  The Red Lion Inn opened at Blanchard’s Resort in 1963 under Christoph and Heidi Mueller.  The name Blanchard’s slowly dropped from their advertisements but the homey architecture, furniture, and atmosphere has remained the same.”  --The Interpreter, Archives, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, Number 59, David M Hays, Archivist.

Belle Blanchard
In 1920, Belle (74) was living with her youngest daughter Elizabeth (32), who is listed as a rancher.

In 1930, Belle (85) was living with Elizabeth (43) and her husband John and son Neil.

Belle died on 15 Apr 1931 at age 86.


  • (1) excerpt of letter written by Gertrude Finkbiner, Fall 1963 posted by Kristen Finkbiner
  • 1850, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1920, 1930 United States Federal Census
  • 1885 Colorado State Census
  • US City Directories, 1821-1989

Sunday, July 20, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 28: Timothy Walton Blanchard

click within image to enlarge
Timothy Walton (TW) was born 10 Dec 1835 in Gates County, North Carolina.

It appears that TW's father died in 1839 when he was 4 and his mother died in 1840 when he was 5.   TW had three sisters who were 7,4 and 2 when their mother died.

In the 1850 census:

  • TW (14) lived in Gates County, NC with his uncle Elisha’s family:  Elisha (35) and Mildred (30) Blanchard, (family #313)
  • His sister Lucinda (16) lived with relatives James(32) and Sarah Ann (30) Blanchard, (family #737)
  • His sister Mary (13) lived with neighbors, Wiley and Mary Fardess, (family #316) 
  • I don’t know what happened to the youngest, Sarah.  

Somehow, probably between 1854 and 1861, TW traveled over 900 miles and went west to Illinois.

The civil war began in April 1861, and many thought it would be a short-lived war, and soldiers enlisted for 3 month terms.   After the summer of 1861, recruitment began for 3 year terms or longer.

TW's roots in NC were southern, and NC was one of the states that seceded.  But he was living in Illinois now, and TW(25) enlisted on 15 Oct 1861 as a private in the Union Army, Company B of the 49th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Company B Roster

TW mustered out on 9 Sep 1865 in Paducah, KY.  In other words, TW served for nearly 4 years (nearly the entire war.) During those four years, TW was promoted to Full 1st Sergeant, then to Full 2nd Lieutenant, and then to Full Sergeant.  He must have been very brave, because his regiment saw a lot of action:

Excerpts from the 49th Illinois Infantry, Regiment History, Adjutant General's Report (with embellishments):

Battle of Fort Donelson, by Kurz and Allison (1887).
  • The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to 16, 1862. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River, an important avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of major general, earning him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant in the process (using his first two initials, "U.S.").  The Illinois 49th lost 14 killed and 37 wounded.

Battle of Shiloh by Thure de Thulstrup.
  • The Battle of Shiloh, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee.  Confederate forces launched a surprise attack on the Union Army. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day. Union reinforcements arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when the Union commanders launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi. The Illinois 49th lost 17 killed and 99 wounded.
  • January 27, 1864: moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and accompanied Major General Sherman in the Meridian campaign, returning to Vicksburg March 3, 1864
Battle of Pleasant Hill by C. E. H. Bonwell
as illustrated in Frank Leslie's Weekly, May 14, 1864.
  • April 9, 1864: engaged in the battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. The battle was essentially a continuation of the previous day's Battle of Mansfield, fought nearby, which ended around sunset due to darkness — night time provided a brief interlude in hostilities. Officially, the battle was a Union victory — as the Confederates were successfully driven from the field. However, because the Union Army had retreated so soon afterwards, many argued over who had really won.  
  • June 24, 1864: ordered to Illinois for veteran furlough. The detachment of non-veterans remained, commanded by Captain John A. Logan, participating in the battle of Tupelo, July 14 and 15, 1864.
  • After expiration of veteran furlough, rendezvoused at Centralia, Illinois, and proceeded via Cairo and Memphis to Holly Springs, rejoining the command. 
Federal outer line on December 16, 1864.
  • Dec 1, 1864: Took part in the battle of Nashville, December 15 and 16. The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater.  It was one of the largest victories achieved by the Union Army during the war.
  • December 24, 1864: ordered to Paducah, Kentucky, to muster out the non-veterans, since which time the Regiment has been doing garrison duty.
  • Mustered out, September 9, 1865, at Paducah, Kentucky, and arrived at Camp Butler, Illinois, September, 15, 1865, for final payment and discharge. (1)

TW (age 29) returned from the war in September 1865.

A year and a half later, TW (31) married Mary Isabell (Belle) Vernatti (22) on March 12 1867 in Brighton, Il. They moved to Millwood, Missouri, and TW became a farmer.

They had five children in 11 years: John (1868), Dora Mae (1871), Anna (1875), Charles (1877), and Walter (1879).

On March 17, 1876 (age 40) TW filed for a pension based on his war service. I wonder if he was ill?

Then they packed up the whole family and moved to Colorado in 1880:  TW (44) and Belle (35), the children, ages 12, 9, 5, 2 and baby Walter. be continued...


  • 1850 United States Federal Census
  • American Civil War Soldiers
  • U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
  • U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
  • (1)  © 1997 The ILGenWeb Project All Rights Reserved,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 27: Delbert Lawrence Day and Freda Helen Florence North Day

Delbert and Helen were my grandparents.  I have listed here the facts that I could find, with a few family stories.  I would love to supplement this post with the memories of my aunts, cousins and siblings.  If you’d like, please comment, message me or e-mail me and I will add your comments (or corrections).

Delbert  was born 27 Apr 1914 in Lotts Creek, Ringgold County, IA.

  • 1915: Delbert (1):  Lotts Creek
  • 1920: Delbert (6): Pine, Brown County, NE
  • 1930: Delbert (16): Ainsworth, Brown County, NE
  • Delbert lived with his grandma Ida for some amount of time in his youth.  
  • Delbert made his way from Nebraska to Casper sometime between 1930 and 1936.

Helen was born 12 Apr 1920 in Casper, WY

  • 1930: Helen (10) Casper, WY 
  • Helen attended Natrona County High School

Question:  How did Delbert and Helen meet each other?

On 14 Jan 1937, Delbert and Helen got married. They had three children in three years, Darlene, Bev, and Larry.

early 1940

1939: Home: rear 645 W 13th. Delbert’s occupation: driver. (his brother Kyle is listed with Green Cab Company, so perhaps they were both cab drivers.) His aunt (Lyle's wife, Mae) owned Mae Day Beauty Shop--love the name of the shop!)

In the 1940s, Delbert and Helen would go deer and elk hunting with 3 or 4 other couples, on horseback. The men would hunt and the women would “sit around and drink”  :)   (the children were staying with their grandparents).  Helen cooked elk a lot!  They had a big freezer to store the elk steaks.  The freezer was in the basement.  Fudge was stored there too, and the kids would steal the fudge out of the freezer!*

about 1942

Helen loved to garden and canned a lot of vegetables!  She was crafty with embroidery.*  (I still have some tea towels that she made)

Helen loved to bowl and was on a weekly league.  She also played cards with the ladies.  Every Saturday she got her hair done and went to the grocery store, where she visited with everyone in the store.  She love to read the National Enquirer, and believed all the Hollywood stories.**

stock photo of a hodcarrier
1941: Home: 1104 N Washington, Delbert’s occupation: hodcarrier

1943: Home: 645 E 14th, Delbert’s occupation: Construction Worker

About this time, Delbert was hit by a truck and suffered back problems.

1945: Home: 1429 W Railroad Ave, Delbert’s occupation: Line Mechanic at Manning & Brown in Powder River, 40 miles west of Casper.

Fred Manning sent Delbert to Bear School in Rock Island, Illinois to get training on alignment services.*

Their fourth child, Sandie was born.

about 1949
By about 1950, Delbert opened his own shop, Del’s Alignment Service, and Helen did the books. Delbert liked to hunt.  His brother Lloyd had a ranch and Delbert was a part owner.  They had a couple of horses and would ride bareback on tame horses.  If the horse was wild, Delbert was the only one to ride it.*

At the Railroad Ave house near the train tracks, Larry had a “fort” with his friend Tommy, where no girls were allowed. *

A guy robbed a bank or was a wanted criminal and was found by the police in the fort. ***

In 1953, their fifth child Pam was born.  Two more children were born, but died as infants: Fred R and Mary Lee (1960?).

1954: Home: 1262 S Conwell, Delbert’s occupation: Del's Alignment Service.  They had a dog named Brownie? who had a litter of puppies at the shop.

about 1958

At some point (in the 1960s?) Helen and Delbert and children moved to 2665 E 5th St, 307-235-1209.

After selling Del's to his brother Kyle due to heart attack Delbert went in to the insurance biz.  During that same time Delbert bought and ran Party Time Liquor in downtown Casper. Delbert was the bartender and got tired of hearing everyone's problems so he sold the bar, kept the liquor license and built a package liquor store. After regaining his health, Delbert bought two other alignment shops, Car Care and Ellis Alignment. **

In January, 1994, Delbert and Helen celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. Delbert and Helen were members of the First Christian Church. Delbert was a 50 year member of the Odd Fellows Lodge, and Helen was a 50 year member of the Casper Rebecca Lodge #13.

Delbert and Helen

“Del enjoyed collecting coins, his yard work, bowling, playing cards (poker with the Catholic priest and loved to cheat!), hunting, and he loved his cabin on the the mountain that he built and later sold. As a good Irishman, he could be stubborn and a bit argumentative and maybe “celebrate” too much on special occasions, singing ‘Hi Ho Silver’ on their 40th wedding anniversary. During family feuds, he was a great ducker from flying objects, and one time when Helen locked him out of the house, he responded by nailing the front door, nailing her in!  He had a twinkle in his eye, a dry sense of humor, adored his family and grandchildren and as a couple they were known as ‘Bert’ and ‘Bitty’. “

Helen died 22 Jul 1994, and Delbert died just about 3 months later on 1 Nov 1994.


  • 1920, 1930 US Federal Census
  • 1915 Iowa State Census
  • US City Directories
  • Obituaries
  • Family Stories: Aunt Bev*, Aunt Pam**, Sister Erin*** :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 26: Fredrick Harrison North and Emma Olga Hroch

click within image to enlarge.  Fred's family is still a bit of a mystery
 and  Emma's family were immigrants from Bohemia.

Fred North and Emma Olga Hroch were my great grandparents.  Just like last week, I welcome all memories from my aunts, cousins and siblings!

Fred was born 27 Dec 1887 in Marshall, Saline County, Missouri to Nancy Cooper and Marion B North. Fred’s dad, Marion died sometime before 1900, and Fred and his mom, Nancy moved to Nebraska.

In 1900, Fred and his mom lived with and worked for the widower Samuel Davis and his three children in Beatrice, NE. Nancy remarried, and Fred had a half-sister, Florence Pausner.

Fred served as a private in the Nebraska National Guard Infantry for two years, sometime in his early adult life. In 1910, Fred (22) lived as a lodger in a home in Wymore, NE with his fellow railroad workers.

Emma was born 2 Dec 1892 in Castalia, Charles Mix County, South Dakota to Anna Melichar and James Hroch.  She was the 5th child of 7. In 1910, Emma (17) was living with her aunt, uncle and cousins in America, South Dakota.  Emma’s parents and younger siblings moved to Wymore, NE and were enumerated in the 1910 census.

Fred (24) and Emma (19) were married in Wymore in 1911.  Millard was born in 1912, Opal was born in 1915 and Keith was born in 1917.

Fred (31) registered for the WWI draft on 5 June 1917. He was listed as tall, medium build, blue eyes and brown hair.

From Missouri and South Dakota
 to Nebraska and then Wyoming

In 1917, the family moved to Casper.

6 Feb 1920 census: they lived at 954 United, in Casper, and Fred was an engineer on a locomotive for the CB &Q. (The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad operated in the Midwestern United States and was commonly referred to as the Burlington or Q.)  Emma was pregnant with Helen (my grandmother) and Helen was born 12 Apr 1920.

Edward was born in 1927.

4 Apr 1930 census: Fred (42) was a Still Cleaner at the Oil Refinery. Also enumerated are Emma (37), and all five children: Millard (17), Opal (15), Keith (12), Helen (9) and Edward (2) and they lived at 722 Lincoln.

Looking south on Center Street in downtown Casper about 1938.
The Arkeon was a popular dancing academy.
Wyoming Tales and Trails photo. (1)

16 Apr 1940 census: Fred (52), an Engineer and Fireman at the Oil Refinery Company, Emma (47), Keith (23) and Edward (12) lived at 1027 N Jefferson in Casper.

Fred and Emma

Fred (56) died 30 Mar 1944 in Casper of stomach cancer.

In 1951, Emma still lived at 1027 N Jefferson (bsmt).  Aunt Bev told me that Emma (Grandma North) spent a lot of time with Helen’s family and with Ed’s family.  Emma was 5’10” and she was a happy person.  She liked to bake Chocolate Cream Pie and Cinnamon Rolls. *

Emma watched cousins Annette and Debbie during the day so Aunt Betty and Ed (Helen's brother) could work.  She was the typical wonderful grandma. **

Aunt Pam tells me, when Sandie and I were home Grandma North would come to the house to babysit if Mom and Dad went out of town.  Grandma was always nervous about watching me because of the asthma, she was afraid I would have an asthma attack.  Although by then I was old enough , even at five to do what was needed.  Once a week she would take a cab to town, walk around and pay all her bills and stop at Woolworths for a cold drink and then another cab home.  Jena learned to count by playing cards with her.

Aunt Betty, Mom, the nurse across the street and myself each took a day to "watch" her so she could live at home.  Aunt Opal lived with her so weekends were hers.  So Friday was my day and I would surprise her with a sandwich "fast food" and then we would play cards for a while.  Jena would say "Counting cards"! Then I would put both of them down for naps.  Grandma loved her soap operas. **

In 1978, Emma (86) died on 12 Oct in Casper.

Casper Skyline

  • 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 US Federal Census
  • 1917-1918 WWI Draft Registration Cards
  • (1)
  • *Aunt Bev
  • **Aunt Pam