He Dreamed of Being a Marine

Week 21: #52 Ancestors – Military By Eilene Lyon Nathan Everett Halse entered this world at 3:30 p.m., Friday June 22, 1945, weighing six pounds, 3 ½ ounces. He was the fourth son born to Everett and Reatha Halse. Unlike his brothers, he was born in Corvallis, Oregon, not the family’s home state of South... Continue Reading →

A Beloved Mother Passes Too Soon

Week 19: #52 Ancestors – Mother’s Day By Eilene Lyon My grandpa, Laurence M. Smith, lost his mother when he was just nine years old. Though his family had known severe hardships in the early years, Laurence remembered the family’s better fortunes from the time of his birth in 1908 until his mother died. Mary... Continue Reading →

Reatha Gusso, 1932

Week 18: #52Ancestors – Close Up By Eilene Lyon Being an Army brat, I didn’t grow up close to my extended family. But I always had a special affinity for my paternal grandmother, Reatha (Gusso) Halse. Her home was in Corvallis, Oregon, and she worked at Oregon State University in the chemical lab supply room.... Continue Reading →

Dexter Cemetery

Week 17: #52Ancestors – Cemetery By Eilene Lyon This may strike you as a strange project, but I never claimed to not be weird. There is this little cemetery in Dexter Township, Codington County, South Dakota, where I am related to a vast majority of the “inhabitants” in one way or another. Note that the... Continue Reading →

Stella Braves The Storm

Week 16: #52 Ancestors – Storms By Eilene Lyon Stella Gusso didn’t ordinarily let the farm dog in the house, but something didn’t feel right. The building clouds were ominous-looking. Stella’s husband and the other men of the family were not home that evening, so Stella brought the begging dog indoors. The noise of the... Continue Reading →

Pay Your Taxes!

Week 15: #52Ancestors - Taxes By Eilene Lyon The moral of this story is written in the title – pay your taxes, or there will be consequences. In this case, I am referring to property taxes, and what could happen if you don’t pay them. One of the more intriguing (and mysterious) people in my... Continue Reading →

Unmarried, Childless, and Long-lived

Week 14: #52Ancestors – Maiden Aunt: Catharine “Kate” Rowley (1826 – 1912) By Eilene Lyon When I saw the prompt “Maiden Aunt” I immediately thought of Catharine “Kate” Rowley. She was one of eight or nine children born to Erastus Rowley and Mary Annable (4th gr-grandparents), and she outlived all her siblings, despite the handicap... Continue Reading →

Four Generations of Halse Homesteads

Week 13: #52Ancestors – The Old Homestead By Eilene Lyon This is the story of four homesteads for four generations of Halses (my maiden name), going back to my immigrant ancestors, my 3rd great-grandparents. First Generation Robert H. Halse and Eliza Jane Drake immigrated in 1850 and eventually settled in Winneshiek County, Iowa. Samuel Drake,... Continue Reading →

How It All Went Wrong

Week 12: #52Ancestors – Misfortune By Eilene Lyon By all measures, my cousin Orville Bodtker was a very unlucky young man in World War II. But I think for sheer, unrelenting misfortune, I have to turn to the story of my great-great-grandparents, Robert Ransom and Emma Jenkins, the parents of Clara Pearl Ransom. Robert was... Continue Reading →

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