Stewart Franklin Hettig

The upcoming election certainly seems to have stirred up lots of drama. Every day there seems to be reports of corruption, scandals and cover-ups. But, drama during an election is no new thing and has been going on for decades. This is something I found out while researching my family tree.

Warrior Run, Pennsylvania is a small town that was begun during the heyday of the Pennsylvania coal mining days. Most of the residents were either employed by the mining companies or the railroads that transported the coal.

It wasn’t surprising that my second great uncle, Stewart Hettig, became a railroad foreman for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He was born December 5, 1873 in White Haven, PA to Augustus and Sarah (Keiper) Hettig. He and all four of his brothers (Reuben, Stephen, Charles, and Wilson) got jobs working for the railroad. Stewart moved to Warrior Run in May 1906, with his wife, Electa (nee Dennis) and their only child, Stewart Brazil.
Stewart became a prominent


The Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Sat. August 8, 1908, page 14.

figure in Warrior Run. Besides working for the railroad, Stewart, an avid hunter and fisherman, also became a game warden. He also opened a pool parlor in town.


On June 4, 1910, a primary election was held to cast ballots for a Pennsylvania state senator and a state representative. Stewart had been appointed to the Warrior Run election board as a judge. Serving with him were Richard Thomas and James Moore, inspectors; and John Stinson and Dr. N.H. Jenkins, clerks. Dr. Jenkins had been called away for a medical emergency, and Edward Williams, principal of the Warrior Run school and a deputy clerk of the election board, sat in his place.


The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Friday, June 3, 1910, page 23.



Pittston Gazette, Pittston, Pennsylvania; Monday, June 13, 1910, page 3.

On June 9th, Assistant District Attorney Michael M. McAniff appeared before Luzerne County Commissioners with charges of fraud in nearly all of the ballot boxes in the Fifth Legislative District. It was charged that the returns from Warrior Run were padded. After investigation it was noted that names looked to have been added after the ballots closed. Names were found to be people who later testified, that they did not vote that day, or they were living elsewhere in the country, or they were dead. Votes added after the polls were in a different handwriting than those written down during the day. It was also charged that certain voters were given shots of whiskey in order to buy their vote. The whiskey was rumored to have been purchased by the mining company. The District Attorney’s office investigated and on June 11th, arrest warrants were issued for Stewart, inspectors James Moore and Richard Thomas; and clerks Edward Williams and John Stinson. Also arrested was James O’Boyle, a hotel keeper, who was charged with bringing whiskey to the polling place and providing it to the election board. Witnesses later testified that they were paid by the mining company to vote for Senate Candidate, Edward James.



The Evening News, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Thursday, September 15, 1910; page 1 and 3.

After a trial and an unsuccessful appeal, Stewart, James Moore and Richard Thomas were found guilty and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.


“Pennsylvania, Prison, Reformatory, and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971,” (, citing Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Convict Reception Registers; Series: 15.56, Prisoner number B5838, Stewart Hettig.



Bradford Evening Star, Bradford, Pennsylvania; Tuesday, January 14. 1930, page 1.

After his release from the penitentiary, Stewart lived a relatively quiet life, until 1930. When he was the lone witness of a deadly train robbery. Four men were killed when bandits blew up a railroad car that held a mining company payroll as it traveled through Warrior Run.


Stewart and his wife moved to St. Petersburg, Florida around 1942. He died there in 1967.



WEEK 35: Mary Clare Logue – school teacher

I cannot believe that it is almost the end of summer. How does it pass by so quickly? Our kids even have classes starting up again this week. So, it is timely that this week’s theme for the 52 Ancestors Challenge is “School Days.” I have chosen my 2nd great aunt, a school teacher, to write about this week.

Mary Clare Logue was born May 16, 1873 to Manus and Ann (Brown) Logue, in Allentown, PA. She was baptized on May 25, 1873 at Immaculate Conception Church in Allentown. Her godparents were Manus McCarry and Hannah McHugh.

The Allentown Democrat  (Allentown, Pennsylvania) 27 Aug 1914, Thu • Page 8

The Allentown Democrat
(Allentown, Pennsylvania)
27 Aug 1914, Thu • Page 8

Although her father, Manus, never knew how to read and write, he made sure that all of his children went to school. They were all educated in the schools of the Sixth Ward of Allentown. So, it must have pleased Manus when Mary became a school teacher. She first taught at the Sixth Ward elementary school, and then moved up to the Sheridan School, the Stevens School and Hunsicker Junior High School. 


The Allentown Leader, (Allentown, Pennsylvania) 15 Sep 1904, Thu • Page 8

Thanks again to, I was able to find out quite a bit about Mary. Overall it appeared Mary was a respected and well-liked teacher. However early in her career, in 1904, she was charged with assault and battery after beating an 8 year boy who had talked back to her while she taught in the Sixth Ward school. The case was heard in front of a city alderman, and was going to settle the case by having Mary pay $10 in costs. However, she refused, and she was placed under $300 bail instead. This event did not seem to hinder Mary’s teaching career, as she continued to teach in the Allentown schools for several years afterwards.

The Allentown Leader  (Allentown, Pennsylvania) 8 May 1901, Wed • Page 8

The Allentown Leader
(Allentown, Pennsylvania)
8 May 1901, Wed • Page 8

The Allentown Leader  (Allentown, Pennsylvania) 11 Aug 1904, Thu • Page 8

The Allentown Leader
(Allentown, Pennsylvania)
11 Aug 1904, Thu • Page 8

A teaching position must have been considered prestigious at that time, because it seemed that every little thing that occurred to Mary, made the paper. In 1901, she had the mumps. In 1904, she stepped on a needle. Both incidents were reported by The Allentown Leader. Even her vacations were reported.

LOGUEMaryClare_obitAround 1916, Mary left Allentown, moved to Philadelphia, and continued teaching. She died in at the Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia on November 20, 1956 at the age of 83. She was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham, PA on November 23, 1956.

WEEK 34: Jonathan H. Gombert

The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors Challenge is to write about an ancestor who appeared on any of the United States NonPopulation Schedules. I have decided to focus on my 4th great-uncle, Jonathan Gombert, who appeared in the 1890 Veterans Schedule, along with his brother, Aaron Gombert.


Jonathan was born on June 19, 1835 in Mahoning Township, Carbon County, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest child born to Phillip and Sarah (Hoffman) Gombert.

In the Spring of 1861, the United States found itself within the Civil War. Jonathan heeded the call and on August 22, 1861, he enlisted in the Pennsylvania 81st Infantry Regiment. In September of 1862, Jonathan and his Company were fighting in the Battle of Antietam, Maryland. Jonathan was among the severely wounded at the end of the battle, having his right arm shot off.

Yet, Jonathan lived and returned home to the Mahoning Valley. He married Anna Hontz and had several children. He would serve Carbon as the Sheriff in 1900, a prison warden in addition to owning a large farm in the area of Mahoning Township known as Pleasant Corners.

Jonathan died on January 16, 1911 at his home. He is buried in the St. John’s Church Cemetery in Mahoning Township.

WEEK 33: Ulysses S. Gombert

After weeks of being behind, I think I am finally caught up on my posts for the 52 Ancestor Challenge. This week’s theme is “Defective, Dependent, & Delinquent” which focuses on any ancestor that may have been included in a special census taken in 1880 for he blind, deaf, paupers, homeless children, prisoners, insane, and idiotic.

Sadly, my 3rd great uncle, Ulysses Gombert, was included in this census. Ulysses was born December 27, 1868 in Mahoning Township, Carbon County, PA to Aaron Gombert and Lucy Hontz. He was the youngest child – and only male – out of 5 children.


In 1880, Ulysses was 11 years old. According to the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedule, Ulysses was determined “idiotic” since he was 4 years old. Ulysses was diagnosed with epilepsy and suffered from convulsions. This was determined to be the cause for his idiotic state.

Ulysses died on December 2, 1904 in Mahoning Township, a year after his mother, Lucy, had passed away. His obituary in the December 9, 1904 issue of The Lehighton Press was very short:

Pleasant Corner Chatter. Ulysses Gombert, 36 years old, an invalid all his life, died at noon Friday. He is survived these sisters: Mrs. Frank Moser, Mrs Levi Geiger, Mrs. Wilson Weaver and Miss Rena, all of Mahoning. The funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon with interment at St. John’s cemetery, Rev. Strauss officiating.

WEEK 32: Martin Abraham Tullos

Since this is supposed to be “Week 32” of the 52 Ancestor challenge, the theme is “32” which should focus on one of the 32 third-great grandparents in your tree. I am continuing on focusing on my husband’s tree again this week and have chosen his 3rd great grandfather, Martin Abraham Tullos.

Unfortunately, I do not have much information on Martin Tullos. He was born around 1830 in Pike County, Mississippi to Abraham Tullos and Nancy Mobley. Around 1850, he married Sarah “Sallie” Fowler in Jackson Parish, Louisiana. Martin and Sallie had 3 chldren: John Abraham, William Lewis and Malinda.


Martin A. Tullos enlistment. Louisiana Confederate Soldiers. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

On May 5, 1862, Martin enlisted in the Confederate Army. His enlistment papers stated that he stood at 5 feet, 9 inches, had a fair complexion and had blue eyes and dark hair. He was assigned to Company F, 28th Regiment, also known as Gray’s Regiment. Martin appeared on muster rolls until August 1863. Under remarks, “Prisoner and pareoled” were written. That was th elast of his Confedarate records. He did not appear in the 1870 Census, and his wife, Sallie, had re-married to a Greenberry Sanders by this time.

Could it be possible that Martin Tullos died during the war? Hopefully, I can someday break through this brick wall.

WEEK 31: Susan Catherine Caylor

This week’s theme for 52 Ancestors is “Easy.” Which ancestor is the easiest to research? I decided to focus on my husband’s 2nd great grandmother, Susan Catherine Caylor.

Despite the fact that she could be found in records with a few variations of her first name (Susan, Susie, Susa, Katie…) I never had much trouble finding information about her.

She was born on June 29, 1861 in Muscoda, Grant County, Wisconsin to David Harrison Caylor and Catherine Rice. Her father died of typhoid fever while away serving in the Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War when Susan was only an infant.

On November 11, 1875, Susan married Levi Davis in Richland County, Wisconsin. Levi and Susan had 13 children, and raised them in Monroe County Wisconsin. Susan died on April 8, 1941 in Angelo, WI and is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery.

Thanks to the wonderful resources at the Monroe County Local History Room, I was able to find some newspaper articles about Susan that gave a glimpse into her life in Monroe County. Probably the most interesting article that I discovered actually centered around her uncle, Calvin Rice. In the November 20, 1903 issue of The Tomah Journal, there was an article mentioning how Calvin Rice and his niece, Mrs. Levi Davis, were contacting the attorneys of William Marsh Rice, the founder of Rice University in Texas, who was murdered by his valet on September 24, 1900. The article states that Calvin Rice was the deceased millionaire’s brother and that Susan was his niece and that both were the nearest relatives to William Marsh Rice. Calvin was said to have been in correspondence with the officials to prove his claim.

Of course, Calvin and Susan were not related to William Marsh Rice at all. Perhaps it was a tall tale told by Calvin Rice, or a joke, and the newspaper caught wind and published a story about it, since it was one of the most shocking news stories at that time. So, I have not discovered if they actually tried to make a claim or not. I hope to uncover more information about this tidbit soon.

WEEK 30: John Thomas Rohn

It’s been a busy few weeks, so I’m a little behind on the 52 Ancestors challenge. So, it’s only fitting that I got stuck on the theme of “challenging” because it has been challenging to keep up with my posts!

My husband’s family has certainly been challenging. To start off with, the story my husband had been told was that his great-great grandfather was from Germany, but “fled” to Florida. The government found him and then came over and murdered him. His wife and young son fled Florida to Texas to escape. Sounds like a pretty tall tale, doesn’t it?

To date, I have found out very, very little on the family. I have only been able to go back as far as “the young son,” which is my husband’s great-grandfather, John Thomas Rohn. I first found him living in Richland Springs, San Saba County, Texas with his wife, Minnie Mae, and their children. But I could only find him as far back as the 1910 census. In order to learn more about him, I had written to San Saba County courthouse for any other possible records. I had discovered that on September 30, 1916, he had bought land with someone named Henry Knieff and his wife. I found a Henry Knieff living nearby in Richland Springs, but I did not know how these two knew each other.

It wasn’t until years later, someone emailed me after seeing an old post on a mailing list archives. It turned out that Henry Knieff was the half-brother of John. With that knowledge, I was able to find John Rohn back to the 1880 Census, living in Hopkins County, Texas in 1880. He was 12 years old and living with a F.A. Kaneff and his wife Mollie, and their children, Mollie, Stella and Henry. I had never stumbled on him before this because the record had been transcribed as John KOHN, instead of Rohn. And F. A. Kaneff turned out to be Francis Alexander Knieff.

I wrote to Hopkins County and they found a marriage record for a Mary R. Rohn to F.A. Kniff. There was not much information on that record to say what her maiden name would have been. The relative that had emailed me indicated that her surname might have been “Randall.”

Before 1887, the Knieff family and John Rohn moved to Milam County, where another son, Claude Alexander, was born. After that, Mary was not found again. I had never been able to find out a death record. Also, another family story surfaced that Mary had actually died in 1888 or 1889. After her death, F. A. Knieff left his children and moved back to Germany, where he was originally from.

To date, I have not been able to find any more records of where John Rohn and his mother, Mary had lived prior to 1880. John had always listed his birthplace as Florida though, so perhaps there’s a chance that the Florida part of the story is true. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to break through the mysterious childhood of  John Thomas Rohn.

14. Agnes V. Tolle – “The Singing Harpist”

WEEK 29: MUSICAL. The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “Musical.” I thought I would re-blog this post I did last year on Agnes Tolle, the only musician that I am aware of in our family.

Shaking The Tree

This past week, I was enjoying browsing through and finding old newspaper articles about various ancestors. That is when I stumbled on to this distant cousin, and immediately knew that she would be this week’s post for the 52 Ancestors challenge.

Advertisement from The Springfield Republican, Springfield, MA. March 17, 1946.

Agnes V. Tolle is my 1st cousin, 2xs removed. Her mother, Agnes Donnelly, was a sister to my great, grandmother, Elizabeth Donnelly. Their eldest sister was Mary Ann Donnelly, who was the grandmother of comedienne, Imogene Coca. So, I had always known there was a little bit of showbiz on that branch of the family tree.

She was born on February 1, 1905 in Philadelphia, the daughter of Albert and Agnes (nee Donnelly) Tolle. Agnes began playing the harp at the age of seven.

“Well, my mother decided that I should play the harp, and after all, it’s an…

View original post 407 more words

WEEK 28: My 2nd cousin 1x removed found out long ago… it’s a long way down that holiday road

This week’s theme for the 52 Ancestors challenge is “Road Trip.” I would say that my second cousin, 1x removed, hands down, went on the most epic road trip.

Back in 1983, Edna was staying with the family of her daughter, Catherine, in Kansas. However, Edna wanted to go stay with her son, Normy, who lived in Phoenix. Fortunately, her niece, Ellen and her family, from Chicago were coming to visit. They were passing through on a road trip to California. So Edna, and her dog, Dinky, decided to ride along with Ellen’s family and have them drop her off in Phoenix.

However, it was a tragic road trip for both Edna and Dinky. Ellen’s husband, Clark, was a terrible driver who was always driving above the speed limit and arguing with Ellen. Along the way, they stopped at a campground to eat. Clark tied Dinky to the bumper of the car, while they ate. However, Clark forgot to untie poor Dinky when they drove away. Clark did not realize his mistake until a state trooper pulled him over to cite him with animal cruelty. Dinky’s little body was not seen and all that was left was the leash and collar still tied to the bumper. Sadly, Edna also passed away at some point after a stop at the Grand Canyon. Instead of calling for officials, Clark wrapped up Edna’s body in a tarp, and tied her to the roof of the car. They dropped off her body at Normy’s house, only to find that he was not home. Clark insisted that they leave her body on his doorstep, in the pouring rain, and continue on to California.


Many of you are probably thinking that this story sounds very familiar. That is because my second cousin 1x removed is actually actress and comedienne, Imogene Coca, who played “Aunt Edna” in the iconic road trip movie, National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Imogene Coca was born on November 18, 1908 at 3009 North 11th Street in Philadelphia, PA. Her parents were Joseph Fernandez Coca, an orchestra conductor and Sadie C. Brady, who was a magician’s assistant and vaudeville performer. Sadie’s mother, was Mary Ann Donnelly, who was a sister of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Donnelly.

Imogene was encouraged to become a performer and took singing, dancing and piano lessons. She had her first job as a dancer at the age 11 and also sang at the Dixie Theater in Manayunk, PA. At the age of 15, she moved to New York City to try and become a singer and dancer on Broadway. She spent much of the 30s, unknown, and performing in various shows and clubs in New York. She became a comedienne by accident one night while performing in a theater where the heat did not work. She borrowed a coat from another performer in the show. She was only trying to keep warm, and began jumping up and down, dancing and performing a mock strip tease while dressed in the rather larger, woolen overcoat. The director thought it was funny and incorporated into the act. Critics also found it funny, which encouraged Imogene to continue to develop her comedy skills.

In the fall of 1950, Imogene was paired with performer Sid Caesar to star in Your Show of Shows. This was the show she was best known for. Imogene won a Best Actress Emmy for her work in 1951. The show lasted until 1954 when she and Caesar left the show to pursue individual careers. Imogene continued to work on several short-lived TV shows and many guest appearances.

Imogene was first married to music arranger, Robert Burton on January 7, 1935. They were married for 20 years, until he died in 1955. On October 17, 1960, she married actor, King Donovan.

On a foggy New Year’s Eve 1973, Imogene and her husband, King Donovan, were driving to their theater performance in Florida when her husband accidently ran a red light and crashed their car. Imogene had extensive facial injuries because the rear view mirror ended up entered her right eye and also smashed her cheekbone. She lost sight in her eye and had to undergo plastic surgery to repair the damage to her face. She also developed a huge fear of being in automobiles after that accident. This proved to be a challenge for her while filming Vacation, since most of her scenes were filmed inside a car.

Imogene had initially turned down the part of Aunt Edna, because she did not think she could play someone that mean. Eventually, did accept the part. However, even during filming, Imogene, who was actually a gentle and shy person, was concerned that she was being too mean to her fellow cast members.

During the filming of Vacation, Imogene also suffered a mild stroke. She had shot a scene during the morning. However, in the afternoon, she could not remember anything they had did. So, she went to the hospital. After being released, her husband, King Donovan, helped her re-learn her lines and soon she was back on set and finished the movie.

Imogene went on making guest appearances on several TV shows and on Broadway. In 1988, she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her role as the mother of character, Agnes DiPesto, in the TV series, Moonlighting.

Imogene died on June 2, 2001 in Westhaven, Connecticut at the age of 92 after suffering from Alzheimer’s. She had requested that there would be no funeral service and her remains were cremated. She had no children. However, many performers have said that she was a huge influence on their own careers. The television series, Your Show of Shows will always be considered a television classic.

WEEK 27: Daniel Davis – a fighter for Independence

This past weekend, we celebrated Independence Day. My husband and I both have ancestors that served the Continental Army and fought for our America’s independence. My 5th great grandfather, Johannes Serfass, was among these. But for this week’s 52 Ancestor Challenge, I will focus on my husband’s 4th great grandfather, Daniel Davis.

Daniel Davis was born December 25, 1744 near Reading, Pennsylvania. Daniel served as a private in the Company of Captain Charles Gobin of the Sixth Battalion of the Berks County Militia.*  An affadavit, filed many tears later, by Daniel’s son, Israel,  recounted that Daniel had told stories about fighting at the Battle of Brandywine.

Daniel married Sarah Albright, and had 17 children. The Davis family moved from Pennsylvania, to Carroll County, Ohio. Daniel died on November 16, 1846 near Dayton, Ohio at the age of 101.


*Page 237, Volume 5, Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series.