Sunday, April 13, 2014

Biographical Sketch of Julia (Bentley) Weatherwax

Biographical Sketch of Julia (Bentley) Weatherwax
by Renee M. (Harris) Zamora
12 Apr 2014


Julia Bentley was born 9 Aug 1892, Greenwich, Washington, New York to Charles H. Bentley and Emmaline Sarah Green. This was a second or third marriage for her father. She was the oldest child of their union. She had two sisters, Lousinda and Florence, and one brother George. In the 1905 New York State Census we see her future husband John Henry Weatherwax, Jr. is living down the road from her home, working as a farm laborer. Julia is almost 13 years old at this time.  John is age 23, 10 years her senior. She marries John two years later at the age of 15 on 26 Sep 1907 in Greenwich.

Julia’s was 16 years old when her first child, daughter Eva was born on 1 Nov 1908. The baby was born at home with the help of a midwife, as were all her following children. Her second child, daughter Loretta was born 9 Aug 1910. Loretta was only 11 months old when she contracted black ear syphilis, or spinal meningitis and died. Julia is 18 years old at this time, and pregnant with her third child. We can imagine how tender her emotions must have been. Her third daughter Edna was born on 16 Mar 1912. At the age of 21, Julie gives birth to her first son on 28 Nov 1913 and names him Rachel. This is rather an odd name to select for a boy, especially after three daughters. His name may have actually been Horatio, since this is what Julia would refer to him as later in life.

A fourth daughter, Mabel joins their home 15 Oct 1915.  Joy was not to last, 10 months later her little son Rachel, who is 2 years and 8 months old, gets into her medicine cabinet and drinks carbolic acid. Which was medicine used to treat horse and cattle on their farm. Rachel died as a result on 28 Jul 1916. A short five months later, Julia gives birth to her second son, Paul on 23 Dec 1916. He is born during the Christmas season and how tender their hearts must have been at that time.

On 9 Jun 1918 Julia’s daughter Edna, who is 6 year old, decides to give her little 2-year-old sister Mabel a piggyback ride. Tragically, Mabel falls backward and breaks her back. She dies from her injuries. At this time, Julia is now 25 years old, she has given birth to six children and three have died.

 Julia has two more daughters, Nancy born 27 Aug 1919, and Martha born 9 Jul 1921.

15 Jun 1922 – The Salem Press newspaper reports in the “List of Deeds Recently Recorded in Washington County Clerk’s Office” the real estate transaction of property in Greenwich belonging to John J. Weatherwax and Julia V. Weatherwax to Charles Weatherwax and Clara Weatherwax. Charles was John’s brother, but we are unsure of the details on how and why John acquired this land and sold it.

We do know that John and Julie raised their family in a two-story home on Bald Mountain. John later built a home closer to the town of Greenwich and moved the family there. The Bald Mountain home became rental property. The census records show no mortgage on their property.

Julia’s mother Emmaline Sarah (Green) Weatherwax died on 2 Sep 1923. Twenty-four days later Julie gives birth to her 9th child and 7th daughter Alice Elnora on 26 Sep 1923. Less than a month later, on 19 Oct 1923, baby Alice Elnora dies in her mother’s arms. She may have contracted black ear syphilis or spinal meningitis, family records are unclear if it was Loretta or Alice Elnora that died from this. Julia is only 31 years old but she has now experienced the death of four of her children and her mother. She must have had incredible inner strength to endure such events.

1 Jun 1925 – New York State Census shows Julia’s mother-in-law, Harriet (Hewitt) Weatherwax is living with them. John’s father John Henry Weatherwax, Sr died a couple weeks earlier on 17 May 1925.

Julia goes on to have three more daughters, Harriett born 2 Nov 1925, Mildred born 16 Nov 1927, and Alice Erma born 21 Jan 1932 (named for the doctors daughter and not after her sister Alice Elnora that previously died.)

Julia’s father Charles H. Bentley died 6 Dec 1932 in Northumberland, Saratoga, New York

Her last child a girl, Florence was born 2 Mar 1936. Julia is now 43 years old and has given birth to 13 children and 9 are still living. Both of her parents are deceased.

Julia’s two youngest children were born during the depression. This did not seem to affect the family since they had always been poor. Living on a farm meant there was always enough to eat. The family had two horses, Mabel and Charlie. Charlie was loaned out to the town of Greenwich to mow the grass. Julia bottled the fruits and vegetables grown on the farm, helping them survive the winters. The family raised animals for their own meat.  There were goats, cows, pigs, ginny hens, chicken, sheep and John’s pigeons, that he enjoyed rising. Julia’s daughters Alice (Weatherwax) Harris and Florence (Weatherwax) Wilson Fish would comment that nothing went to waste. Julia would make head cheese and even blood pudding.

Even with all that they were able to product, the farm could not meet all their financial needs. John worked for a local man peddling eggs around town using a horse drawn cart. Julia worked for Frank Hollister as a farm laborer in Clark’s Mill. He would provide transportation to and from work since she was unable to drive. She would also do housework for him. All the children hired out as farm laborers to help support the family. Most of the children did not graduate from high school. Hattie and Martha quit school to work in a glove factory in Schuylerville. The older children helped raise the younger children and their education suffered for it.  

Census records state the Julia attended school and was able to read and write. However, her daughters Alice and Florence tell that their mother was very embarrassed by the fact that she could not read or write, and do not believe she ever attended school. It is likely the census taker was given inaccurate information to conceal this fact. They did eventually teach their mother how to print her name, but her signature was illegible. They would sign documents and write out checks for her.

The fact that Julia was illiterate was demonstrated further when later in life she cooked “gains burgers” for her daughter Alice’s family. It was actually dog food; shaped into patties that resembled uncooked hamburger.

John was able to read, and would read the bible to the family. Julia was a faithful long time member of the Methodist Church. There were some talents in the family. John was an artist and enjoyed drawing sketches, and Julia was able to sing.

One evening John was bringing the horse back to the farm during a thunderstorm. He was next to, or holding onto a metal pole when lightning struck. He survived but not long afterwards, he developed cancer of the neck. While John lay dying, Julia still needed to work to provide for the family. Most of Julia’s children were married or working, the two youngest were still in school. This meant no one would be home to tend to John. Her daughter, Alice at the age of 14, left school to stay home and take care of him. Alice lost a year of school tending to her father, and was unable to graduate from high school. She later commented that the sacrifice was worth it to take care of her father. John died 8 Jun 1946.

A year after John’s death on 2 Jul 1947 The Salem Press reports on the Deeds Recently Recorded in Washington County Clerk’s Office, the real estate transaction between Julia Weatherwax to Joseph D. Wilbur and Etha Wilbur of Greenwich; property in Greenwich. The family farm and home are now gone.

Julia and her two youngest daughters now move back and forth between family members’ homes. For a while, they live with daughter Hattie (Weatherwax) Hyde in Troy, NY. There were family squabbles over money and how they were treated during their time there.

Julia’s daughter Alice was working for the Grand Union grocery store in Glens Falls prior to her marriage on 2 Jan 1955. One day as she was cashiering she noticed laying on the conveyor belt a loose diamond. It must have fallen out of a customer’s engagement ring. She handed it into the office lost and found. The owner never returned for it, so Alice later received the diamond. Her mother never had anything of value so Alice took the diamond to the jewelers to have a ring made for her. Julia wore that ring for the rest of her life.

24 Feb 1955 – The Times Record, Troy, NY article “Greenwich Man Dies Leaving Mill” tells of Julia’s only surviving son, Paul’s death. He was working at Thomas Paper Mills, north of Schuylerville, when he died from a sudden heart ailment when punching out at the end of his shift. He was only 38 years old. A wife and four young children survived him, the youngest only 2 months old.

28 Oct 1958 – The Saratogian newspaper reports, Julia moves from Troy to home of daughter Mrs. Felix Brown and family on Bald Mountain. This is her daughter Edna.

Julia later moves to Battenville and lives in a trailer with her daughter Eva’s family. The trailer catches on fire and is a total loss. The family salvaged a few family photos with burnt edges. 

On 16 Dec 1966 Julia’s daughter Eva (Weatherwax) Rissue dies after a long illness at the age of 58. This was Julia’s 6th child to die before her.

In later years, Julia lives with a family in Fort Miller. The name and relationship to this family is unknown. She is removed from the home because she is not eating right. She is sent to a nursing home in Granville. Afterwards, she spends brief periods living with daughters Martha Hubbard, Florence Wilson and Alice Harris in their homes.

While living with Martha, her daughter Alice’s children, James and Brenda came to visit. A rather humorous event happened that they love to retell. Their grandmother, who was getting some dementia, was sitting and eating a huge bag of store bought popcorn. This was very appealing to the children, so Brenda asked her grandmother for some. There was no response. Brenda asked her again. The response this time was grandma suddenly flinging the bag of popcorn across the room at them. This caused the popcorn to explode all around the room. Brenda was so afraid she had done something wrong. Aunt Martha rushed into the room and upon learning, what had happened asked Grandma why she did that. Grandma did not have a reason why.

As Julia’s health failed, she went to live with her daughter Alice (Weatherwax) Harris family in Queensbury, NY.  They set up a hospital bed in their living room for her. Her granddaughter Renee was about 6 years old at the time. She does not remember her grandmother talking very much. She does recall that she would spend a lot of time in the bathroom and would sit on the toilet eating apples. It is funny what memories a young child will recall.

Personal note of Alice (Weatherwax) Harris
Momma died January 26th 1968 at 6:10 p.m. in Glens Falls Hospital from heart failure.  (She had the flu which turned to pneumonia.)  She was 75 yrs of age.  Her length of time in the hospital was about 3 hrs, admitted sometime between 2:15 and 3 o'clock.”

Alice had admitted her mother to the hospital. She then left to tend her children at home. She called the hospital later to check on her mother and was told that she had died.  She was shocked by the news and devastated she could not be with her mother, and she had died alone.  She was also upset that the hospital had not contact her right away.

Alice returned to the hospital with her 12-year-old son James Harris. He later recalls that when they brought out grandma’s clothes to her, she was so over-come with grief and was just sobbing he knew she was in no condition to drive them home. He asked his mother if she wanted him to drive.  He knew how to drive Stan Harris' tractor so he figured he could drive the car. She was able to compose herself and drive them home safely.

29 Jan 1968 – The Saratogian, Saratoga Springs, New York - Mrs. Weatherwax Was 75
Greenwich – Mrs. Julia B. Weatherwax, 75 died Friday at the Glens Falls Hospital shortly after admission. She was born in Greenwich and had lived the most of her life here. She was a member of the Free Methodist Church in Glens Falls.
She is survived by seven daughters, Mrs. Felix Brown, Mrs. Wilfred Brown and Mrs. Harold Hubbard, all of Greenwich, Mrs. Milo P. Hyde of Troy, Mrs. Mildred Pattaralli of Saratoga Springs, Mrs. Philip J. Harris of Glens Falls, Mrs. Raymond Wilson of Troy; a sister, Mrs. Joseph Gagne of Schuylerville.  Thirty grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews also survive.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. from the Garrett Funeral Home with Rev. H. Herschel Hutt, pastor of the Free Methodist Church, officiating. Burial will be in the Greenwich Cemetery in the spring. Friends may call at the Funeral Home on Monday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9.

Years later, Renee (Harris) Zamora interviewed her mother Alice (Weatherwax) Harris about her grandmother Julia (Bentley) Weatherwax. Alice said that she once asked her mother what she would have wanted to be if she had been given the chance. Julia said right away a Physiologist, Alice asked her what that was and she said "to study the human body".

Julia may have been illiterate and poor but it shows you that she had a mind capable of deep thought. Who knows if circumstances would have been different what she would have been able to accomplish in life. She had a love of science and wanted to understand better how the human body worked. Could this interest also have been born out of the desire to understand what had caused the death of so many people she loved? We will never know all about Julia Bentley Weatherwax, but we do know she was more than her circumstances allowed.

After Julia’s death, her daughter Alice received the diamond ring that she had made for her. Alice’s daughter Renee now wears it as her own engagement ring. The ring is a constant reminder of their love and devotion to family, and will be handed down to succeeding generations.

SLCC Genealogy Course: Post #26 - Biographical Assignment

I'm so incredibly behind in my assignments for the Salt Lake Community College Genealogy Course. My blog posts have suffered too. I honestly fear I will not get caught up before this semester ends. But, let me tell you something that has happened that makes those concerns seem like nothing to me.

The assignment I have been working on required us to write a biographical sketch on a ancestor. It was not meant to be an exhaustive history, but an introduction to them. We were to "flesh out" our ancestor so even a young family member could make a connection to them.

Over the years I have yearned to possess stories of my ancestors, similar to the great pioneer history others around me have. My family doesn't have anything like this. My parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was four years old. They did some genealogy work and passed it on to me. I have been the sole keeper of our family flame.

I envy those putting pictures and stories onto the Family Tree. Over the years I have been busy data entering what information we had into the computer and obsessively adding to it. In the past I wasn't good at submitting name to the temple for their work to be done. It was really hard for me to say they were researched enough. Recently I have been focusing on getting all their work done. I have about 5,000 people more to go. This is no small task for one person alone. The thought of getting stories and photos into the Family Tree has been a great desire, but I didn't think I had the time. But, I knew the very thing I didn't have time for would probably motivate family members to actually help me with this work. I just can't do it all alone.

This assignment made me sit down and begin to write my first story that I have now shared on Family Tree.  At first I thought I wanted to write my biographical sketch on my grandfather, John Henry Weatherwax, Jr. The more I thought about this I knew the story needed to be on his wife, my grandmother Julia Bentley instead.

Before my mother, Alice (Weatherwax) Harris died I had spent some time talking to her about the family, so I had some notes to go by. As I sat to write this biographical sketch I found stories and documents did not fit. I had questions so I asked my brother, Jim and my father Philip Harris what they recalled. What really needed to happen was for me to call my Aunt Florence (Julia's soul surviving child),  to ask questions about the family. I did just that, and found her open and warm and happy to tell what she recalled. I can't say all the stories fit, but it gave me enough to see common threads on them.

I have spent way to much time researching, studying, and thinking about Julia's life in order to put together a story in readable form, for just a school assignment. As the clocked ticked by and I became more and more late in handing in this assignment I knew something greater was happening. The story of my grandmother needed to be told. Her posterity needs to know what she went through and that she mattered. I needed to contact my Aunt Florence and open that door to start recording the rest of the family stories before she too is gone.

Before making the phone call to my aunt I knew it was best if I tape recorded it. My poor husband had to put up with my experiments, trying to record through the computer. I tried Audacity but for some reason I couldn't get the volume loud enough to hear the conversation coming from the other person. I finally decided to do a video with sound screen capture using the paid version of FastStone Capture. Which surprisingly might actually be a better way to go. It allowed me to pull up documents while we talked and as a result anyone watching the video later would see them too.

At RootsTech this year I was left with the distinct impression that I needed to start doing interviews. I thought I needed to do those for my blog readers.  After working on this assignment I now know the people needing to be interviewed are my own family. If I don't capture what is around me right now there won't be anything left for posterity. I can already see how living memory has faded over time. Happily, my Aunt Florence has agreed to continue talking with me once a week over the phone. She will have time to think about stories and eventually I will gather all that needs to be gathered from her. The hardest part about interviewing my aunt all along has been the asking, now that that's accomplished we are on our way.

As I worked on the story I used RootsMagic's Timeline View to see how other family member's events fit into the story of her life. It became overwhelming to me as I saw what was happening in her life as one person died after another. Can I say she is a real to me? Absolutely!

Last night I sorta finished Julia Bentley's biographical sketch. Every time I read it over there was something new to add or tweak here and there. It just came to the point that I had to call it "finished" so I could hand in the assignment and pass it to family members to review.  I know it's just the beginning.

I found the act of writing this biographical sketch made me think of new areas to research and records I need to find. I have tons more questions after writing the sketch then I went in thinking I knew. This genealogy course has been so eye opening to me. I understand better now how each report is beneficial to the entire research process. They build on each other, helping you understand what is known about a person or family and what is still needing to be discovered. This has been really hard work but so eternally worth it.

If you want to read my biographical sketch on Julia (Bentley) Weatherwax you can click the links below.

Renee's Genealogy Blog - Biographical Sketch of Julia (Bentley) Weatherwax

FamilySearch Family Tree - Biographical Sketch of Julia (Bentley) Weatherwax.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Mark Your Calendars - UVTAGG Meeting!

The next regular, second-Saturday-of-the-month meeting of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy
Group - UVTAGG (Formerly the Utah Valley PAF Users Group - UVPAFUG) will be on Saturday, 12 Apr 2014, from 9 am to noon in the LDS "Red Chapel", 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo. Information about the Group, meeting location, main presentations, classes, and class notes are available on their website and the press releases are at . On the blog you can subscribe to receive an email of the press releases when they are posted a week before the meeting.

The main presentation this month at UVTAGG will be by Luana Darby on USING STATE ARCHIVES AND LOCAL LIBRARIES ONLINE. With many state archives and local libraries posting one-of-a-kind information that many times has never been seen outside of that institution, the wealth of information now available to genealogists and family historians is astounding. Vital records, journals, obituaries, city directories, maps, photographs and more are accessible, if you know where to look. Learn how to search and where to find these elusive, but vital resources. These digital collections will enrich your genealogical experience and may offer that family breakthrough you are looking for!

Luana Darby is a professional genealogist and lecturer. She graduated from BYU with a degree in Family History and received her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. She is the owner of Lineages by Luana, a genealogical research company which focuses on US/Canada and Western European research and consultations and is co-owner of American Patriots and Pioneers Research Services, lineage application specialists. She has lectured at various regional and national genealogical conferences including NGS. FGS, RootsTech, UGA, BYU and ICAPGen. She has served as treasurer, vice president and president of the Utah Genealogical Association and is working on her accreditation in Midwest research.

 Her love for genealogy came from listening to her grandmother tell her stories of growing up on the Kansas prairies at the turn of the century. These stories created a desire to learn more about her ancestors and their stories. She has spent the last 35 years reconstructing these accounts and looks for every opportunity to connect with "cousins," some of the most recent coming from genealogical DNA breakthroughs. It is her goal to instill this passion and desire in everyone that she meets. More information and contact information for her is on her Association of Professional Genealogists page at .

After the main presentation the following classes are scheduled. Check the meetings page at for last minute changes or additions.

  1.  Can You Hear Me Now? Voice Recognition, by Luana Darby
  2. FamilySearch Subscription Site Access Preview, by Beth Ann Wiseman
  3. Software and Genealogy Ask An Expert (Personal Help), by Don Engstrom and Finn Hansen
  4. Video of last month's main presentation: Family History with Heart: Digging Info Out of Distant Relatives, by Suzanne Hansen
  5. Help With The MAC Software "Reunion", by Ron Snowden
  6. Ancestral Quest, by Gaylon Findlay
  7. Legacy, by Dean Bennett
  8. RootsMagic, by Sue Maxwell

All meetings of UVTAGG are open to the public whether members of the Group or not. The Group has the goal of helping individuals use technology to further their family history and there are usually about 100 attending the monthly meetings on the second Saturdays, most of whom are Family History Consultants. The officers are Gerhard Ruf, President; Laurie Castillo, 1st VP; Don Snow, 2nd VP; Liz Kennington, Newsletter Editor; Renee Zamora, Secretary; Kay Baker, Don Engstrom, and Rayanne Melick working with membership and finances, Bruce Merrill and Marie Andersen working with the DVD Library, and Chris Stevenson as the Webmaster. Some of these will be there to answer questions, help with membership, distribute the current issue of the monthly newsletter TAGGology, and check out and sell DVDs of past presentations and classes to members of the group. Many members don't live close enough to participate in the monthly meetings, but belong by paying the $10 per year dues to receive the monthly newsletter via email and purchase DVDs of the presentations and classes. Gift memberships are wonderful presents for family history-minded relatives, friends, and Family History Consultants. See more information on the websites above about the presentations, classes, and class notes, or to join the Group. You can also contact President Gerhard Ruf at (801-225-6106), or 1st VP Laurie Castillo at , or 2nd VP Don Snow at .

Sunday, April 06, 2014

NEHGS Special Evening with Doris Kearns Goodwin

The following is from the New England Historical and Genealogical Society.

New England Historic
Genealogical Society

Annual Benefit Dinner

Friday, April 25, 2014
Taj Hotel, Boston
Keynote Speaker and
NEHGS Lifetime Achievement Honoree
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer
and Presidential historian


Everlasting Legacies
"The people we love will live on so long as we
pledge to tell and retell the stories of their lives"

Bill Griffeth, co-anchor of CNBC's Closing Bell

Platinum Benefactor
Wells Fargo
Silver Benefactors
Judith Avery
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Thomas and Juliet Gede
Robert Pemberton and Barbara Jordan
David and Jean Kruger
Jennifer and Davie PiƱa
Susan Sloan
Nancy and John Webster
Warren Brinson Weeks, Jr.
Justin and Genevieve Wyner
Wilmington Trust