Yesterday I left Dayton, for Uniontown, Oh. I spent the night with my mother’s only remaining cousin. We had a wonderful time sharing memories – mine of his parents, and his of my mother and grandparents. We went through an album of old pictures, and I was delighted to find that he had a picture of Howard G Affleck – the young man who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Shiloh.
I was especially surprised to find a picture of my grandfather’s maternal grandparents. Gottlieb Heil lived in Bridgeport, OH and had a butcher shop in Wheeling WV. His Catholic wife did not approve of the budding romance between their daughter, Mary Katherine, and the young man at the other end of Patterson Run. One Sunday, Mary Katherine set off, ostensibly for church, and met up with John G. Patterson – they eloped, were married and eventually had 4 daughters and 1 son. Every time a child was born, Katherine Heil would march up the street, knock on the door and announce “so I hear you’ve had another bastard.” Other than that, she never spoke to her daughter, or to any of her grandchildren from that marriage.
There was much artistic talent in this family. Sarah Forrer, the sister of my ggg-grandmother did this botanical, and others, as well as many pen and ink or other grey-scale drawings. She is also the one who drew the sketch of the teakettle in my previous post. on that – I wonder why she waited 49 years to try find the teakettle?
One of her daughter also had much talent, toured Europe (you’ll hear from those letters sometime in the future) and has a few smaller works in the Forrer-Woods-Peirce collection at the Dayton-Metro Library
I hoped to attend church, visit the Cox Arboretum or maybe both, before the library opens at 1pm. Instead, I spent 2 hours at the emergency room. Yesterday I had a bad fall – tripped on a badly heaved sidewalk while looking up at street numbers. You know that little dance you do to recover when you trip? Well – I didn’t recover, went flying through the air and landed on my face. This is not recommended. Have a serious cut inside my mouth but couldn’t stand the thought of not continuing yesterday’s work. This morning the library is closed, and luckily one of Dayton’s best hospitals is walking distance from my AirBNB residence. I am now off in search of a drugstore to fill a couple of anitbiotic prescriptions. Before I go, I wanted to share a small treasure I found in yesterday’s research
There is rich detail in the letters at the Dayton Metro Library. Some will be easier to read and transcribe than others. Have you ever heard reference to someone crossing their lines in a letter – I’ve seen this phrase in old literature and never really knew what it meant until today! This letter from Ann Howard to Sarah Howard has about 3 pages of crossed lines!!!
SEpt 12 – My research begins in earnest, at the Dayton Metro Library There are 78 letters written by Mary Howard Affleck to her sister Sarah (and many letters from others as well! Today I take a camera and will try photographing the letters. It feels amazing to hold these letters in my own hands – makes me feel very connected to the past, and startling when I recognize pieces of myself in these letters. The following quote is from 3/25/1838 (Mary Howard and Dr. Affleck were married 11/1/18837)
“I have just returned from a long and somewhat fatiguing ramble among the hills, being tempted by the fine weather and the hope of finding some spring flowers, but I found only a few green leaves and some buds, indeed a flower of any kind would be a refreshing sight, for I have not seen one for several months, and as far as I can discover the “good folks” here have not much taste for such things. I, however, hope to set them a better example….”