My maternal grandmother was a Whetsel. This story is from that family line.

Louis Whetsel was born February 12 1862 and died November 6, 1940. He was the son of Layfatte Whetsel and Nancy Worley. On May 26, 1887 he married Alice Bean. Alice was the daughter of Jesse Bean and Amelia Long. The marriage took place in Ohio. Louis Whetsel and Alice had three little boys; Clarence, Jesse and Earl.

I am not sure of the time-line for their move, but I do know this family was living in Los Angeles, California area in 1901. Louis Whetsel worked as a carpenter. Alice Whetsel was in charge of a large rooming house with about twenty-five tenants. By December 1901 Louis and Alice were separated.

On December 17, 1901, Alice was busy cleaning small coal oil stoves. The stoves were portable and could be moved from room to room to heat water and such. She had lit a wick to check one of the stoves and when she blew, to put the fire out, the fire caught on in the coal oil reservoir, which in turn caused the glass to explode and the flames consumed Alice. Alice ran out of the room she was in and some of the tenants grabbed blankets to douse the flames. All the observers seem to know that it was too late for Alice. The firemen said she had breathed the fire and they could see she was burned from her knees to the top of her head.

The poor little boys were no doubt unable to process what was happening to their unfortunate mother. I read an account of the incident from the Los Angeles Times newspaper and I will quote what they said the boys were calling out to their mother. “Don’t worry, mamma; we’ll take care of the house.” “Come back fore next week, mamma, for you know it will be Christmas.”

This account is about as sad as it gets! The boys were my third cousins, 1x removed. My 3x Great Grandfather was their 2x Great Grandfather.




Thomas Jefferson Neal was born March 29th, 1817 in Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio. Thomas was one of eleven children born to Walter Neal, Jr. and Deborah Arnot (my 3x Great-Grandparents). The family moved from Lawrence County to Gallia County, Ohio while he was still a child. His mother died when he was twenty-six years old and his father remarried. His step-mother was Elizabeth (Griffith) Lanthorn. His father and stepmother had three more children.

On 26th of January, 1837 (Thomas was twenty years old) he married Belinda Allison, my 2x maternal Great-Grandmother. Belinda was the daughter of John Allison and Rebecca Carter; my 3x maternal Great-Grandparents. Belinda was born in Walnut Township, Gallia County, Ohio.

Thomas and his wife, Belinda had eleven children, five girls and six boys. All but one of their children lived to adulthood. Belinda died in 1896 and Thomas married a widow named Jemimma (Erwin) Hamilton. Jemimma died in 1908.

The celebration of the 100th birthday for Thomas Neal was a very large affair. I have a picture taken by the Newspaper of people attending and it is a treasure trove of relatives pictured there.

He was interviewed by a reporter and was asked what advice he would give boys: “The first advice I would give a boy is to join church and live right. Next, live sober and don’t use liquor or tobacco in any form…I never drank liquor in my life and I have always voted dry. I expect to live yet to see the country dry”.

 Thomas Neal died just days before his 101st birthday;



Mary Elizabeth Gatwood was the daughter of William Gatwood and Elizabeth McCracken, who were my 3x Great-Grandparents.  Mary was the fifth child born into the family. There was a total of thirteen children, seven girls and six boys; two of the girls died as infants. She was born March 10, 1815. She spent her early childhood in Wellsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia).

On February 5, 1835, Mary Gatwood married Aaron Aten. Aaron was born in 1808. His parents were William Aten and Jane Anderson. Aaron came from a large family. He was both a farmer and teacher.

In 1838 they lived in Washington county, Ohio. This was the summer that Aaron and other members of his family traveled west to Illinois, looking for a better life. In a letter that he sent back to Mary, he tells her that things are not great, but he feels that the quality of land for farming was very good. There was an abundance of land available and the soil was rich for planting. Crops were selling for a good price.  He had not gotten a job as a teacher while there, but he was sure there would be positions as a teacher available in the future. The letter made me think that he must have been very lonely without his family. His brothers were scattered to different areas and there was no easy method of communication for them to know whether they had gone back to Ohio or met with some terrible illness or accident. He tells Mary that he has not heard anything from them or about them and wonders what she could tell him about his brothers. Of course, he also wanted to have word about her and the children. Everything seemed to work out and the Aten’s would relocate to Illinois.

When Aaron and Mary left Ohio in 1840 they had two small children. After their move to Illinois they added eight more children to the family, including one set of twins. Aaron would teach and farm for the rest of his days. He died in 1889. Mary would live until 1907. When she died at ninety-two years old, she had outlived her husband and all but one of her ten children.


Jesse Woltz was born in Hagerstown Maryland December 15, 1792.  His parents were Dr. Peter Woltz and Maria Breitengross.   Peter and Maria were my Paternal 5x Great-Grandparents. Before leaving Hagerstown, it is likely he apprenticed with his uncle; George Woltz. George Woltz was a well-known cabinet maker in Hagerstown, Maryland. I have seen a picture on the internet of a clock he made and signed.

Jesse served as a private and sergeant in the War of 1812, Stonebrakers Company of Maryland Militia.

Jesse Woltz traveled to Lancaster, Ohio in 1816 with Samuel Herr who was also a cabinet maker. He began a business for himself that same year at Number 9 Wheeling Street in Lancaster, Ohio. He made all types of fine wood furniture and was successful. On September 30, 1816, Jesse Woltz married Elizabeth Canode. She was also from Maryland. The Woltz’s family would include ten children.

It was rumored that he made the cases for Timothy and Thomas Sturgeon clocks.

Later in his career, Jesse expanded his line to include making pianos and organs, including the organ in the Lutheran Church.

It appears that after 1837, Jesse was not doing as well. He advertised to sell the Lutheran Church organ and was taking in borders. He was selling ice cream where he had once sold furniture. In 1839, he moved to Chillicothe to live with his son and died that same year.

In 1842, Elizabeth (Jesse’s widow) married Isaac Hollenback. The Hollenback’s moved to Indiana and Ellizabeth died there in 1880.



Silas Duddleson was My 2x Great Uncle. He was the Child of Samuel Duddleson and Sophia Faust; my 2x great grand-parents and brother to my Great Grandmother, Martha Duddleson.

Silas was the first of the children to be born in Ohio. The others were born in Iowa. He was born in 1861. He was the fourth child, the third son.

In the 1870 census for Bloom Township, Fairfield County, Ohio; Silas was nine years old and attending school.

In the 1880 census Greencastle, Fairfield County, Ohio Silas was listed.  The record stated he was nineteen years old and had epilepsy. He was with his family.

Samuel and Sophia Duddleson; the parents of Silas, died in 1898. That same year, in the Fairfield county court house records, there was a Lunacy Inquest and Silas Duddleson was admitted to the state hospital. I have no information whether the family ever saw him again. I have wondered if he was there because of the epilepsy and they did not understand the ailment or if he was insane.

In the 1900 census, Silas was found at the Columbus State Hospital as an inmate in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. He was thirty-nine years old.

On January 1st, 1908 Silas died at the State Hospital. I have no further information on him. It is possible that he is buried in a cemetery on the grounds of the hospital.

This story about Silas may seem of little value, but I feel that all my ancestors deserve their stories to be told. Everyone was not a war hero or had some other “claim to fame”. When our descendants write about us, what will they find of interest? Something to think about.



My paternal Grandma, Mary Alice Delong was the fifth child born to James Thomas Delong and Martha Alice Duddleson. She entered this world on November 17, 1898. Since she was several years younger and the only girl in the family, I would assume she was a bit spoiled. The family had another girl who died just a few months before Mary was born. Mary was not a tall woman. She had lots of black, curly hair. In the 1900 census, Mary was 2 years old with her family in Bloom Township, Fairfield County Ohio. Her father was a farmer and owned his land. I don’t believe these were rich people, but they appeared to be living a comfortable life and had everything they needed. I have located a newspaper account of a paternity suit filed by Mary when she was eighteen years old. The defendant was William Aumock, Jr. He was only sixteen years old at the time. I have yet to see any further stories or documents on this subject. Nor have I found a marriage between Mary and William. I do know that the child was named Lawrence Aumock. This child was my Dad’s half-brother. When Mary and Lawrence joined the Alfred Gatwood family; Grandpa had a twelve-year old son, Tarlton. Together they soon had another boy, my Dad, James Alfred Gatwood. There were two girls born as well; Martha Belle and Alice Marie. Martha Belle died before she was two years old. Mary took her son Lawrence and her daughter Alice with her when she left her husband, son and stepson. They were divorced before the 1930 census. In that census Mary is living in Columbus, Ohio. I don’t think she ever lived on a farm again. Maybe she did not like that life. It was very hard. Even in modern times you have to work seven days a week and vacations are almost nonexistent. Mary was married for a second time to Harry Knighton. I am told that his nickname was Boots. Working on this part of my family, I found his tombstone and there it was; “Boots” at the top of the stone. At the time of her mother’s death in 1937, her name was still Knighton. I found the newspaper obituary for Martha Duddleson (Mary’s mother) that is how I knew she was still a Knighton at that time. I know the marriage ended in divorce, just not the exact date. Her third marriage was to someone with the last name Moody. I don’t remember a Grandpa with that name, but I remember this was her name until her fourth marriage to Howard Smith. She was still married to Mr. Smith at the time of her death. Unfortunately, I only have the marriage record to Alfred Gatwood and Harry Knighton as well as a few pictures. Genealogy is always a work in progress. You just keep digging to add bits of information to your work. It was not often, but I always loved to go to Grandma’s house. I got to take bubble baths and she had fancy stuff and pretty bottles of perfume. She gave us melba toast to eat with coffee that had lots of sugar and milk in it. She was a special Grandmother and the only “City Grandma” I had. She was always dressed nicely. She was active in Machinist Union District 52 AFL, past Finder Lodge 1651, retiree club of District 52, Women’s Auxiliary of Machinist 361 and a member of the board of YMCA. She was well known as a Union advocate. She had several strokes until the final one that took her life. She died on April 21, 1971 in Columbus Ohio and was buried in Green lawn cemetery.


Daniel Henry Whetsel was my Great Grandfather.

Daniel Henry Whetsel was born 6 January 1848 in Jackson County, Ohio. His father was Jacob Whetsel and his mother was Verlinda Maddox. There were eight children born to this family. Five of the children died of typhoid prior to Daniel’s birth. He grew-up with an older brother and a younger sister.

This family of five moved to Iowa in 1854. Many others relocated there around this same time. From my family’s line: Neal, Whetsel and Maddox were among them. By 1859, some of the relatives returned to Ohio. Daniel’s father, Jacob was able to buy his farm back.

In 1869, Daniel was twenty-one years old. He attended Wilkersville Academy in Vinton County, Ohio. He taught school in addition to preaching at the Methodist Episcapal Church.

On 15 April 1874 Daniel Henry Whetsel married Samantha Angeline Neal in the Neal family home. Samantha was the daughter of Thomas Neal and Belinda Allison. This couple would have eight children; four boys and four girls.

After 1876, Daniel took up farming and continued to preach.

Daniel retired as a minister and sometime after 1920, he and Samantha moved to Grove City, Ohio. Several of their children lived in the area, so I imagine that was the reason as they were getting older.

On 22nd of March 1923, Daniel Henry Whetsel died. He was 75 years old at the time of his death. His death certificate states that he died from heart failure. It was also noted that he was paralyzed on his left side. He was returned to Jackson County for burial in the Fairmont cemetery. Samantha died of pneumonia on 7th of June 1930 and she was also buried in the Fairmont Cemetery.

Anyone who follows my blog knows I have a few writings from my mother about her family. The following is what she had written about her Grandpa:

My mother’s father, Daniel Henry Whetsel, was a shouting Methodist minister. His prayers were especially expressive and long. As children we dreaded the evening prayer time, because of the length of those prayers. We had visited our grandparents in Jackson, Ohio and had returned home to Carlisle, Indiana. One day LaMar and I turned a kitchen chair upside down and took turns “preaching”. Mama caught us and spanked us for making fun of grandpa. However, years later as she told the story, she had a smile on her face. I’m sure she thought the prayers long, too, since many of them were for her.