Thursday, January 7, 2016

Verdette Walters - Minister and ... cheer leader?

I made a fun discovery in yearbooks on Ancestry today. 
In looking for Walters family in Iowa, I found several entries for Verdette Walters, the younger brother of my great-grandpa Cecil Lloyd Walters. Both brothers would become minsters, although I don't believe my Grandpa Walters had any formal training. Verdette, however, attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The college was and still is affiliated with the Methodist Church.

Verdette was involved in several organizations while at school, including being president and vice-president of several groups.
From the yearbook, Verdette's Junior year, 1929:
To see "Shorty" coming down the street you would think he was going to a fire somewhere, but owing to the fact that he is so tremendously short he feels that he must hurry to catch up with himself. He finds time to be a student-pastor at a small church in Luton, Iowa, balance a tray at the Dorm, and display his pugilistic tendencies on the mat in the gym to a profitable advantage.
(Verdette had a twin sister who also went by the nickname "Shorty." I remember meeting her when I was young.)

Verdette added one more activity to his resume in his Senior year when he became a member of the Yell-leading Squad.
Before a really successful "Pep" Chapel can be held, it is necessary to have an organized team of yell-leaders to stir up the pep that is latent within us students. Accordingly, competitive tryouts for a cheering squad were held in the chapel a week before the first football game last fall. The judges, consisting of representatives from the faculty and three veterans...viewed the efforts of the ten or fifteen who had signified their desire to become contortionists for the glory of old Morningside. The hopeful aspirants, seated on the chapel platform, nervously awaited their turn. Each man led two yells, and when he had finished took his seat amid a storm of applause - whether any good or no. After considerable of [sic] solemn deliberation the judges decided upon Ervin Hutchison, a Freshman, and Verdette Walters, a Senior, to complete the roaring five. Our new yell squad, resplendent in uniforms of maroon and white, were first seen in action at the Augustana football game, where their earnest pleadings brought forth most satisfactory results, and gave promise of a successful cheer season.
Verdette Walters (far left) and he fellow yell-leaders

Following college, Verdette married Vera Schuetz, also a student at Morningside. The couple made their way to California and Verdette served in various churches and as a chaplain in the US Army. He was in World War II and the Korean War. A sermon given in 1943 quoted Verdette on his feelings of serving the troops. “Not many of us relish the idea of ‘this war’ --- but under the circumstances, this opportunity to really serve one’s country through serving the young men in the army --- is proving to be an experience I would not have missed.” Verdette enlisted from 1943-1946 and again from 1947-1954.

Sources: Morningside College Yearbooks, 1928-1930, 1933, Ancestry.com; Find A Grave; Department of Military Death Files, Ancestry.com; sermon by Robert Wells Kingdon.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ruth Lindberg (1885-1918)

Daughter of August and Alma Lindberg, my great-great aunt.

I sometimes find myself feeling a bit melancholy when I come across someone in my tree who died early in life. In a few generations, I wonder, will anyone be interested in the great aunts and uncles who died without leaving spouses or children? Will they be remembered?

Ruth, Esther, Agnes, Carl, Beda, Lillie, Jessie
Jeanette, August, Alma, Eldon
One such person is Ruth Lindberg. She was the daughter of August and Alma Lindberg, and sister to my great grandma, Agnes (Lindberg) Lundeen. Ruth died at the age of 23 as a result of the Spanish Influenza, a pandemic which (according to Wikipedia) killed 3-5 percent of the world population.

I recently visited the Wright County Historical Society to research some family. One of the things I was hoping to find was an obituary or some mention of Ruth in the local papers.  I wasn’t sure what I would find, mainly because much of the Lindberg family had only been living in Cokato, MN for about a year.

I was glad to find the following article in the Cokato Enterprise.
Obituary
Friday morning, when the sudden and startling news was broken, that Miss Ruth Lindberg was dead, her friends could hardly believe it.
Ruth was a healthy and robust young woman and was admired by all her many friends, for her sweet and smiling face that beamed with joy and gladness. She had the charm of life which made for her friends who learned to love and admire her.
Miss Lindberg was ever thoughtful of others and found that delight in whole-hearted Christian character helping others. Her unselfish and [sic] won her many friends. Miss Lindberg had been in poor health while helping her sister’s family, that was ill, and it was thought best that she be taken to the hospital, and though she seemed to gain, pneumonia developed and her death followed at 5 o’clock, Friday, Oct 25, 1918.
She was born at Alta, Iowa, Feb. 2, 1895, and gave her heart to Jesus Christ at an early age. She was a member of the Mission church and the Young People’s society and an earnest Sunday school worker. She leaves to mourn her, a father and mother, six sisters, two brothers and a host of friends. Peace to her memory. Ruth is gone, but to us her life speaks sweetly. Soon the promised great reunion will be here when Jesus Christ will bring them with Him, who have died in faith, when their bodies rise in resurrection glory and we shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Him in the air. What a gathering that will be. It is a blessed privilege to live in constant expectation of this morning. Then shall we know the mystery of our sorrows, and the tears wept down here will then sparkle like jewels, for we shall then find out that all these things worked out for good for them who loved the Lord. 

Ruth is buried alongside her parents in the Cokato Cemetery.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

New Amsterdam family, part 3

Magdalena Dircks > Christina Rosenkrans > Johannes Cortright > Elisha Cortright > Isaac Cortright > Mabel Cortright > Jameson Ransom > Charles Ransom > Lillian Ransom > Charles Walters

Continuing with my New Amsterdam ancestors. Part 3 of 3
(See Part 1 and Part 2)

Magdalena Dircks was the daughter of Dirck Volckertson and Christina Vigne. She was born sometime around 1635 and would have grown up witnessing the various incidents that her father was involved in (not to mention a wide variety of troubles her extended family caused, but that’s a whole other story). It is little wonder then, that Magdalena herself would cause some trouble.

In October 1652, Magdalena was married to Cornelius Van Dort. The couple had a daughter in 1654 and in 1655 Cornelius died. His death was probably a result of conflict with local Native Americans. Magdalena then married Harmen Hendricksen (also known as Harmen Rosenkrans) in March 1657, a time that also marks the beginning of Magdalena’s first bit of trouble. Court records for March 1657 charge Magdalena and her bridegroom with insulting the Fire Warden of the City and causing a "street riot.” Magdalena appeared in court without her new husband, where she admitted that she and her sister had made a joke about Fire Warden Litschoe as they passed his home. Magdalena seemed to think nothing of their comment, saying they always joked, but the warden took great offense to it. It was ruled that such behavior was not "and ought not to be tolerated on account of its bad consequences" and Magdalena was fined 2 pounds, one to be paid to the church, the other to the poor. She was warned if similar behavior continued other fines would follow.

Unfortunately for Magdalena, her wild behavior didn’t come to an end and unfortunately for our story, the exact nature of her actions weren’t including in surviving records. Whatever she did, it was bad enough for her to be sent back to Netherlands, on account of her “dissolute life.” In June 1658, Harmen and Magdalena petition to be allowed to return to New Netherlands. They asked that their prior offenses be overlooked and if they were allowed to return, they promised not to be involved in beer, wine or brandy. They said they would live honestly, knowing additional charges against them would result in further punishment.

A week later, the directors of the West India Company agreed to allow “Magdalena Dircx, alias the Flying Angel” and her husband to return to New Amsterdam, provided they lead a "quiet and honest life." The fact Magdalena’s name was mentioned in the document, and not her husband’s, suggests she was indeed the real reason for their banishment. (“Flying Angel,” it is thought, may have been the name of a tavern ran by Magdalena.)

Sometime around 1662, Magdalena and her family moved to Esopus in Ulster County. What may have started as a clean slate for Magdalena, did not remain that way for long. In October 1663, Magdalena was the defendant in a case against Roelof Swartwout, a local official who oversaw that the laws were kept. He charged Magdalena with hindering him when he was arresting Aeltje Claes. Magdalena said she didn't interfere, but only questioned Swartwout why he was arresting her. "Why do you want to disgrace her? She is neither a whore nor a thief.” Magdalena was told to submit evidence in the next session to clear her name.

The conflicts and allegations surrounded Magdalena carry on for many more years, however I have only been able to find partial books and records available online. There is mention of debts, theft, violence, vulgar insults and even Magdalena’s marital unfaithfulness. Someday I hope to find these records and sources for myself.

The last record of Magdalena is in the will of her daughter, Sara Rosenkrans, written in 1726, making Magdalena over 90 years old. Sara’s estate was left to her mother and following Magdalena’s death it was to be distributed to her siblings and nieces and nephews.


Sources: Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York, archive.org; Baptisms of New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church 1639-1730; Dutch Records in the City Clerk’s Office New York, part 1; New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch/New Netherland Documents, NewNetherlandinstitute.org; Invading Paradise: Esopus Setters at War with Natives, 1659-1663 by Andrew Brink, books.google.com; The Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674, volumes 3, 5, 7, archive.org; The Dutch Records of Kingston, Ulster County, New York, archive.org; “The Flying Angel,” Fulkerson.org.