Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Putting the Pieces Together February 27, 2015

This genealogical research is slow work and  I feel that I am going over the same ground again and again.  But the pieces are gradually coming together.  In 1882 when my paternal grandmother Mary Murdock Miller married a man considerably older than herself, she was taking on 2 step children, Lucy and Charles.  But these children were only slightly younger than herself.    These were the children that I had always thought she had come from Crown Point New York to Newark Ohio to care for.  But I was wrong.  She was age 19, the children age 16 and 15.  The father of Lucy Jewett Miller and Charles Dion Miller had been a widower for many years.  Lucy Gilman Jewett, his first wife, had died in 1868.

I have a copy of a very sweet letter written to Lucy by her father Charles in 1876 on the occasion of Lucy’s 10th birthday.   Charles was in Chicago (on business?)       (See a separate blog entry.)

Had my grandmother actually come out to Newark from Crown Point to be a housekeeper for Charles the father and a teacher for his children Lucy and Charles?  Had she responded to  an advertisement or was there some family connection? or other reason?

What became of Lucy and Charles?  So far as I can determine, Lucy never married and she stayed in Newark all her life, living to the age of 74 – she died in 1940.  Charles gradually moved around west of Ohio.  He married in Chicago Illinois.  He spent his final years in Denver Colorado. He married Maude Parr in Chicago (Englewood) in 1892.  They had 4 children – Lucy Maureen Miller, born in  Iowa      in 1894; Charles Oliver Miller, born in Sheldon Iowa in 1897;  Frances David Miller, born in 1898 in Sheldon Iowa; and Mary Jewett Miller, born in South Dakota in 1904.  His wife Maude died in 1911 at the age of 39,   He died in Denver County, Colorado 1960 at the age of 92 or 93.  He is buried in Denver.  His 2 sons Charles Oliver and Francis David predeceased him.

Family View – Ancestry

IMG_0013   my grandfather Major Charles Dana Miller

IMG_0014  my grandmother Mary Murdock Miller

IMG    my father Joseph Buckingham Miller, age 19 (?)

Dad's childhood home Buena Vista Hill Newark Ohio    the family home in Newark Ohio

IMG   1st wife Lucy Gilman Jewett (?),  or Lucy Jewett Miller the daughter



Array of 21 Scarves February 24, 2015

Filed under: Cats,Katerina,knitted scarves,Knitting,Scarves — Janet @ 6:43 pm

IMG_5853  21 scarves        IMG_5863


Isn’t it time I knit something else?  And sewed in the ends?




IMG_5866  the cat at play



Continuing the Search for Old-New Relatives

This is a continuation of my previous blog post outlining the descendants of my paternal grandmother – Mary Murdock Miller – tracing her 5 children who in turn had 10 children, making a total of 10 grandchildren for Mary Murdock Miller.  Her eldest child Myrtle had 3 children , her son Joseph had 4 children, and her youngest child Roy had 3 children.

IMG  her son Joseph with his daughter Ruth, picture taken in March (?) 1926, School Street, Belmont Massachusetts

My grandmother’s life straddled the 19th and 20th centuries.  She was born in 1863 in Crown Point New York, upstate New York near the shores of Lake Champlain Vermont.  Born at the turning point of the American Civil War, she experienced 3 more very significant wars in her lifetime – the short lived Spanish American War when William McKinley was President, U.S. involvement in World War One when Woodrow Wilson was President, and the much greater involvement in World War Two under President Roosevelt.  She died in 1954.

When she was born, Abraham Lincoln was in the Oval Office.  Lincoln was followed by Andrew Johnson ho was President from 1865-1869.  In 1869 Grandma would have been 6 years old, just hazily aware of who was President and the significance of that position.  President Andrew Johnson was followed by Ulysses. S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes (whose wife Lucy was the first First Lady to graduate from college), James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland again, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Warren G. Harding.  Harding and my grandmother were approximately the same age.

Following Warren G. Harding, we have  Calvin Coolidge, Herbert C. Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and finally Dwight D. Eisenhower.  It seems like ancient history merging into the modern era.

In a way,  my grandmother’s personal history goes even further back in time than her lifespan.  She can claim to go back almost another 30 years to 1836, the year her husband was born.

Identifying my grandmother by her children and grandchildren –  her daughter Myrtle had 3 children – William, Mary and Nancy; her son Joseph had 4 children –  Bob, Ruth, Nancy, Janet; and her son Roy had 3 children – Muriel, Roy, and Jeanne.


Discovering New-Old Relatives February 22, 2015

Filed under: Family,Family history,Genealogy — Janet @ 4:23 am

I have just discovered that one of my aunts married and acquired a stepson from her new husband’s previous marriage.  In fact, there were 2 step-sons from this previous marriage.  What relationship are these stepsons to me?  The marriage took place in 1921.

This aunt, Aunt Myrtle, was one of my father’s siblings.  I have met her only once in my life,  in 1947 when my sister and I traveled from Boston to Raleigh North Carolina where my aunt and her husband and children were living.  My grandmother lived with them also so this was an opportunity to visit her.  Oh how I wish I could remember more about this visit.  It was the only time I met my paternal grandmother.      my grandmother with my father in 1943

IMGme with my grandmother in 1947, Raleigh North Carolina  my grandmother was age 87 when this photo was taken

Aunt Myrtle married William Francis Upshaw in 192  .  He had 2 sons by a previous marriage, Sage Hardin Upshaw and William Francis Upshaw.  Sage was killed in Cambridge England in the 2nd World War.  William died earlier.

Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Will had 3 children – William, Ruth, and Nancy.  All born in Raleigh.   Nancy is the one I met not so long ago at my sister’s farm/home in New Hampshire.  Nancy, so far as I can establish, is still living.  Her husband was an obstetrician.  The day my sisters and I met with them at the farm, Nancy and her daughter Alice told us numerous anecdotes about “Daddy” and his Alzheimers episodes.  They thought it was very funny but I did not find it amusing at all.  This was 10 or 15 years ago.  I assume he is no longer living as I think he would be in his late 90’s if still alive.

Aunt Myrtle lived a long life, as did her mother, Mary Murdock Miller.  Aunt Myrtle was born October 2, 1884; she died 97 years later on October 31, 1981.  Myrtle’s son William W. was born in 1922 and died in 1996.  He served in the U.S. Navy and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Myrtle’s daughter Ruth Bryant was born in December 1924 and she died in February 1985.  Myrtle’s 3rd child, a daughter Nancy Miller Upshaw, was born in 1926.  So far as I can ascertain, she is still living.  The daughters, our cousins Mary Bryant and Nancy Miller, were real southern belles in their day.

Nancy had 2 daughters, Alice and Barbara.  I think Alice is deceased.  Barbara is still living.  She researched in great detail the life of our grandfather Major Charles Dana Miller, born in 1836 in Newark Ohio.  She was particularly interested in his service in the American Civil War.  The resulting book is A Struggle for the Life of the Republic, A Civil War Narrative by Brevet Major Charles Dana Miller, 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, edited by Stewart Bennett and Barbara Tillery.  Barbara is one of his great granddaughters.


Charles Dana Miller married my grandmother Mary Murdock in 1882.  Myrtle was the first child of their union.  There is much more to the story of some of my relatives but that will have to wait for another time.



Finishing a Book and Finishing Another Scarf February 18, 2015

Filed under: Books,Reading,Scarves,Yarns — Janet @ 9:12 pm

Life has been ticking along with a lot of projects on the burner.  I’m always reading something.  The latest book was A Story Lately Told by Anjelika Huston.  Subtitled Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York.  It was very good but I was slow in reading it.  Too many other time-consuming things going on, not the least of which has been FB (Facebook).       IMG_5759

I have also been knitting as we watch television.  There have been any number of good programs in January and February.  e.g. Foyle’s War for the umpteenth time (I could watch it endlessly), the Great British Baking Show, American Experience, Downton Abbey, and so on.  The scarf collection is multiplying.  Here is the the latest one.   IMG_5755  pictured with 2 skeins of Swedish yarn which I bought yesterday at the Nordic Heritage Museum shop, and the Anjelica Huston book.     IMG_5753


IMG_5752  3 recently completed scarves.



Family History – One Sided February 13, 2015

Filed under: Family history — Janet @ 4:48 pm

More family history research.

Janet's thread

Last week I started a new language course – this time it’s going to be Norwegian.  It’s a 10 week course for beginners.  I so enjoyed my Irish language courses while living in Ireland – now that we are in Seattle, and a particularly Scandinavian part of Seattle – it’s time to “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” so to speak.  Well, I don’t expect the speaking part to be my forte but it will be interesting to learn about the language and the country.  The course is being given by the Scandinavian Language Institute and the venue is the Nordic Heritage Museum, not far from our house.  In our first class we hardly learned one word of Norwegian…..but we had a wonderful potted history of Norway, fascinating.    The teacher introduced his talk by tracing his own genealogy, again extremely interesting and probably representative of many of the family…

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Abraham Lincoln and My Grandmother’s Poem

Filed under: Family history,Genealogy,Poetry — Janet @ 4:42 pm

Janet's thread

I have been writing about my grandmother’s little book of poetry, Late Flowers, written when she was in her 70’s.  The poem I want to quote today is her tribute to Abraham Lincoln.  Having lived overseas for so long I had kind of forgotten my U.S. history or maybe my history lessons slipped to the back of the queue in my brain.  Whatever, now being back in the U.S. on a more permanent basis I am refreshing and renewing my interest in matters historical on this side of the Atlantic.  I recently read the book Manhunt, the 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killers, by James L. Swanson.  One thing that struck me about the book was the fervor with which people reacted to the Assassination.  Abraham Lincoln is an icononic figure in U.S. history but in part it was the fact that he was assassinated that elevated him to such a…

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A Little Known Family Fact

Filed under: Uncategorized — Janet @ 4:42 pm


Janet's thread

  a little book of poetry written by my paternal grandmother in her so-called twilight years.  Self-published, written when she was in her late 70’s and a member of a poetry circle in Florida.

  her book of poetry was privately printed for her by The Beach Press, Daytona Beach, Florida.  She introduces herself as follows: 

     I was born in Crown Point, New York in 1863; married Major Charles D. Miller of Newark, Ohio, in 1882.

The best work, as well as the greatest joy of my life, has been the rearing of my four children to good American citizenship.

Spending winters in Orlando, Florida, in 1939 I was attracted to the Poetry Club and, although I had never before written any poetry, I found I could really turn out something with rhyme and rhythm.

The greater number of these poems were written for the Club before I left Orlando for…

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My Grandmother’s Poetry

Filed under: Uncategorized — Janet @ 4:39 pm

More photos of grandmothers.

Janet's thread

  I have the impression that it was very fashionable several generations ago for genteel ladies to write poetry.  I would like to think that my grandmothers would be numbered among such circles.  My maternal grandmother was very well educated, having attended Wellesley College in the early years of the 20th century.  My paternal grandmother also attended college, albeit less prestigious.  In fact it was called a  Normal School or a 2 year teacher training college – this school dated back to the 1840’s and is now a large university, SUNY.   I would like to learn more about their early lives.  One was born in 1863, the other in 1872.  One grew up in Boston, the other in upstate New York.  Each married and raised families.  One lived almost to age 70, the other lived into her 90’s. 

It was my paternal grandmother who actually compiled a little book of her poems…

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Carrying on the tradition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Janet @ 4:35 pm

Reflecting on my paternal grandmother Mary Murdock Miller 1863-1954.

Janet's thread

Many of us who knit are carrying on a tradition handed down to us by our forebears.  I did not know either of my grandmothers – one passed away when I was very young and the other lived too far away.  What I do have, however, is a little booklet of poems which my father’s mother wrote and had privately printed.  She titled this collection Late Flowers.  She wrote the poems in 1939-1944 when she was a member of a Poetry Club in Orlando Florida.  Born in 1862, she would have been in her 80’s when she had these poems printed.  In the front of the booklet is a picture of my grandmother wearing her Red Cross uniform.  This is a woman whose life spanned two World Wars.  I’m sure my grandmother wore that uniform with pride.  It was not the uniform worn by the Red Cross Angels of Mercy…

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