Sunday, June 21, 2015

James Hunter Obituary (d. 1902) - 52 Ancestors #25

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is The Old Homestead. I'm taking liberties with this theme, and writing about an ancestor who built homes for a living, including the one mentioned in the following obituary.

My second great-grandfather, James Hunter, lived in Allegheny City (now North Side of Pittsburgh) his entire life. I never knew that much about his life other than what census records and city directories provided me (his occupation was in construction), that he had ten children, and that he died before reaching 60 years old. (See his FindAGrave Memorial.)

My new favorite resource is, which I decided to subscribe to because it includes many Pittsburgh newspapers. One of the first names I searched for was James Hunter in 1902 (his death year), and I found a wonderful obituary that really "puts the meat on the bones" in terms of giving us much more of a sense of the man.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Mary Rosekrans Adsit (1868-1869)

Mary Rosekrans Adsit is my second cousin twice removed. She died at 20 or 21 months old and has a very interesting gravestone, at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Heirlooms from Marion Alston (d. 1885) - 52 Ancestors #24

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Heirloom.

I have many family heirlooms and I am lucky that I have ancestors who saved treasures and passed them down. A little over a year ago, I received the following small box from my mother.

Fittings off Mother's Glasses.

On this small box is the handwriting of my great-grandmother, Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter (1876-1967), referring to her mother, Marion Helen (Alston) Lysle, who died in May of 1885, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, when Marguerite was not quite nine years old and her brother, George Barton Lysle, was not quite seven.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Early 20th Century Hunter Sisters - Update

I have written about my grandmother and her sisters a few times:
Wordless Wednesday ~ Hunter Sisters Circa 1911
Wordless Wednesday ~ Hunter Sisters Circa 1909 (This date is in error, and now I've determined that some of the facts need changing yet again!)
Early 20th Century Hunter Sisters Stories

My maternal grandmother, Helen, was the youngest of five girls of Percy Earle Hunter and Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter. I know that the oldest sister, Marion, died on November 30, 1913, of pneumonia, at the age of 14. She died in Pittsburgh and I shared her death certificate here.

My mother's sister recently gave me some photographs from the 1900s and 1910s that had been developed sometime in the 1940s. This is one of them:
Mary, Helen, Margaret, Caroline

Compare this photograph with the one that my second cousin shared with me in 2013:
Caroline, Margaret, Helen, Mary

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bowmie Ashby's 1890 Wedding - 52 Ancestors #23

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Wedding.

I have written about many ancestor weddings. You can see all of the posts with the label "Wedding Wednesday" by clicking here.

As I have noted, my new favorite website to explore is I did a search for "Ashby" in location "Kentucky" with date "1890", and sure enough, one of the top results was for my great-grandparents, Charles Chapin Adsit and Mary Bowman Ashby, who was known as Bowmie. Previously, I had known that they married in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 30, 1890, but I didn't know anything about their wedding.

The following is from the Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), Friday, October 31, 1890, page 6 ( My comments are in [brackets].

Miss Bowmie Ashby Married To
Mr. Charles Adsit, of
   One of the prettiest home weddings of the season was that of Miss Bowmie Ashby to Mr. Charles C. Adsit at the home of the bride's aunt, Mrs. Henry C. Murrell [Emma Gorin Murrell, a sister of Bowmie's mother], on Second street, near Breckinridge, yesterday afternoon at 5 o'clock.
   The bride, a beautiful blonde [I wish there was a wedding picture!], has been one of the greatest favorites in the society of this city for several seasons.
   The wedding was a quiet one on account of a recent death in the family [I don't know who], and only the friends and relatives were present. The parlors were simply, but tastefully decorated, and the ceremony was performed in the front room under a panoply of green. The bride wore a handsome gown of heavy white faille with train. Her cousin, Miss Florence Murrell [daughter of Henry and Emma Murrell], acted as Maid of Honor and Mr. James M. Adsit [this could be his older bachelor brother or his father] as best man. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. Mr. Minnegerode. Immediately after the wedding supper, which followed the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. Adsit left for Chicago, the home of the groom.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Percy Earle Hunter's 1895 Commencement - 52 Ancestors #22

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Commencement.

I want to use this opportunity to share my new favorite resource: Now, as has been pointed out (by Susan Petersen of, among others), which newspaper website is best for you depends on what newspapers the website carries. It just so happens that carries many years of several newspapers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Percy Earle Hunter (1873-1937) is my great-grandfather. He graduated from Western University of Pennsylvania (W. U. P.) in June 1895.

"W. U. P. - 1895. Engineering School"
Percy Earle Hunter is at far right

I just found some newspaper articles from the Pittsburgh Daily Post and the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette in June 1895 that tell me a lot more about the excitement of that month for these young men (and yes, they were all men...).

On the evening of Thursday, June 13, there was a reception at the home of the Chancellor of the University.

The Pittsburg Post, June 13, 1895, page 2, col. 8.

A busy week: On the 16th, the baccalaureate sermon was delivered; on the 17th, the reading of the engineering thesis took place; on the 18th, the class day exercises were held; on the 19th, the alumni meeting was held, and finally on the 20th, the "commencement exercises proper" were held at Carnegie Hall in Allegheny (Allegheny City, later merged into Pittsburgh).

The day after the commencement exercises (June 21, 1895), there was an article on page 2 of the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette. I include parts of it below:

1895 was the 72nd Commencement of the University

I have not included the section that has a description of the meeting of the University's Alumni Association.

Percy Earle Hunter received a degree in mechanical engineering.

I have not included the listing of remaining graduates and honorary degree recipients.

The commencement speaker "spoke in favor of establishing a law school in connection with the Western university"
which, according to Wikipedia, occurred the following year.

The Western University of Pennsylvania became the University of Pittsburgh in 1908.

Percy went on to become a successful mechanical engineer, building many bridges in Pittsburgh, and receiving a few patents. I wrote about his life here. I shared a series of photographs of him here.

I descend from Percy Earle Hunter as follows:
Percy Earle Hunter
Helen Lysle Hunter
My mother