April 23, 2011

He Served the Nizam of India

I’ve started this story several times…and still I will not really be able to tell it all properly because many of the things I assumed at first have proven to be wrong!  And to add to that, I have missing pieces of information, but I’ll begin and maybe a reader will be able to help.

I am still researching the Witzgall family a little more, the family of my great-great grandmother Elizabeth Witzgall Delph.  One of her sisters, Sarah, who was born in 1842, married Charles Calvin Rule. The family lived in Sandusky County, Ohio – in Green Creek, now known as Clyde.  Charles was a dealer in groceries in 1900 and the couple had five children: Lulu, Frank, Hattie, and twins Earl and Carl.  By the census of 1910, Charles was a laborer in an autoworks at the age of 56 and only two children remained at home – Frank, 25, a dentist “who had his own shop” and Carl, 20, who also worked in the auto factory.

I had gotten just to that point in my research when I came upon this paragraph in a magazine posted online:
“Dr. Frank Rule of Clyde, Ohio, sailed May 21 for Bombay, India, where he goes to practice his profession on a three to five year contract.  He is expected to reach his destination on June 17.”
(Dental Summary, Ransom & Randolph Co., 1915)

Sometimes a stray social commentary in an old periodical can begin a real genealogical hunt and in this case, thanks to the help of my Maine cousin, another interesting story was discovered in the Witzgall family history.  My first assumption was that we had another missionary in the family and the fact that a contract is mentioned in the article just suggested to me that William Franklin Rule, known as Frank,  had made a commitment to the church to spend that amount of time working in India. 

Never assume.

I checked the federal census records up to 1930 and I couldn’t find Frank anywhere.  He wasn’t in the U.S. marriage or death records that I could access.  Sarah Witzgall Rule’s son seemed to have disappeared.
I checked for a World War I draft registration card and sure enough, on October 21, 1918, Frank filled out his card at the American Consul in Madras, India.  His occupation was listed as dental surgeon, employed in Baugalon, India, where he lived with his wife and two children.  He has had previous military experience as a Double Company Commander in the British Infantry – for seven years!
British Infantry?  He was in Clyde, Ohio in 1910.   How did he get into the British Infantry? 
The plot thickens.

My next discovery was a set of passport applications – one for William Franklin Rule.  On the passport,  dated March 13, 1919, he stated that he had been in India from June 1910 to January 1919, with his permanent residence being in Clyde, Ohio.  He worked as a dental surgeon and he wanted to return to India to resume his practice.  His brother, Carl, of Toledo, Ohio, swore that Frank was a citizen of the U.S. and his mother, Sarah, swore that she was his mother and his birthdate was July 25, 1884. Both signed the application.

The second passport was for Dr. Frank’s wife,  Ellen Orme Rule, also dated March 13, 1919. 
Wife?  Where and when did that happen?
Ellen Orme was born, according to her passport, in Nottingham, England on February 3, 1881.  She stated that she had lived in India from 1913 – June 1918.  She was accompanied by sons, John, aged 4, and Earl, aged two.  She was a housewife and she wanted to accompany her husband back to India.  Carl, her brother-in-law,  also swore that Ellen was a United States citizen and he had known her for nine months.   
Nell and Frank Rule

Then in a late night search (that is when the BEST things are found, it seems), I happened on The Wheal Family blog, where I found many, many photos of Dr. Frank and Ellen (know as Nell or Nellie) Rule.  Thanks to blogger, Joan, I received clues that I could use to go just a bit further in this hunt for Frank and Nell.  The blog even had postcards from India sent home by Nell to  her family in New Jersey.  The family had immigrated there from England.

My first find was a marriage record  from the http://www.familysearch.org/ India Marriages 1792 – 1948 collection.  William Frank Rule, at age 30, married Nellie Orme, aged 32, in Bombay, India on October 24, 1913.  That explains why she was in India in 1913, as stated on her passport.  

Dr. Frank was also NOT a missionary.  He served under contract in India to the last Prince or Nizam of Hyderabad.   Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadu was the last Nizam or ruler of Hyderabad and he was in power from 1911 to 1948 when all the small principalities merged into India or Pakistan.  It appeared the Nizam was considered to be the richest man in the world until his death in 1967.  He was a second son, but after the death of his older brother, he became ruler when his father died in 1911.  The Nizam had seven wives, a multitude of concubines and at least 40 - 50 children.

In those days, India was a mass of principalities and was under British rule ultimately.  Hyderabad was the largest state in India at the time and he was the highest ranking prince, an absolute ruler for 37 years.  He was known as a great supporter of education, the arts, research and the country progressed under his rule.  The Nizam was also known to be quite a penny pincher.  One author of a Time Magazine article wrote, “The last Nizam Osman Ali, however, used to follow a rather austere lifestyle.  He wore the same tattered fez for 35 years and ate off a tin plate on a mat on the floor of his bedroom.

When the British withdrew from Indian in 1947, the Nizam didn’t want to join either India or Pakistan, but the British said he had to do so.  First the peasants revolted against him, and then the newly merged country of India invaded and annexed Hyderabad in September 1948 after negotiations with the Nizam failed.  After only five days of fighting, the Nizam agreed and resigned.  When he died in 1967, he was given one of the largest funeral processions ever held in India.

So…how did Dr. Frank Rule of Clyde, Ohio, son of Sarah Witzgall and Charles C. Rule,  receive this contract?  He must have been in the British Infantry when he was there.  He was a double company commander, but I can’t find out his regiments or units.  How long did he stay in India?  I haven’t yet found a record of when he returned.  But I do know that they returned to Canada…hence the lack of U.S. records.
Dr. William Franklin Rule and Ellen Orme Rule
Frank and Nellie

The last find, to the present, has been their death records.  Apparently, after returning from India, they relocated to British Columbia, Canada.   According to the British Columbia Death Registrations, Ellen Orme Rule died September 30, 1958 at Coquitlam (just east of Vancouver) at the age of 76.  Her father was Joseph Orme and mother a Woodroffe.   William Franklin Rule died in Duncan, British Columbia on November 2, 1973 at the age of 89.  He was widowed, his spouse named as Lucy Theodor Rodgers.  Apparently, he had remarried. 

I have many more questions regarding this couple.
How did they meet?  She from New Jersey and he from Ohio?
Why was he in the British Infantry?   
How did he get this assignment? 
Besides sons John and Earl, they had a third child, Grace.  Where was she born?
When did their service in India end and did they immediately resettle in Canada or go elsewhere first?
Did grandparents Sarah Witzgall and C.C. Rule ever get to see their grandchildren ?
They were in India during WW I.  What was that like?

Who said genealogy was boring?


April 18, 2011

Book Review - Max on Life by Max Lucado

I have never read a Max Lucado book that I have not learned from in some way, and benefitted from spiritually.  Max on Life is no exception.

In a simple question-answer format, Max Lucado addresses a bevy of inquiries that many of us have pondered.  Some of these are really the BIG questions of life – about our beliefs, prayer, relationships, jobs, raising children, and death and grief.  Using Scripture for support and a clear, conversational style, Lucado expertly leads us through explanations of some very complex subjects.  It seemed like every page offered some application to my own life.

For me, this is not a book to be read cover to cover in a few days, but instead a book to be savored slowly as each question/answer can serve as a devotional moment.  A Scripture index provides additional suggestions for reading on each topic.  Lucado has a gift for linking these questions, Biblical answers and practical life examples to teach us.  A very readable, thoughtful book and one that I highly recommend for everyone.

*This book was provided to me through the BookSneeze program, Thomas Nelson Publishers, for my review.  The opinions are solely my own.

April 14, 2011

Book Review - Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

Larkspur Cove
by Lisa Wingate

Andrea Henderson, now living at a home owned by her parents in Larkspur Cove with her fourteen year old son Dustin, is broken from an unexpected and hurtful divorce.  Luckily, she has found a job as a social worker.  Matt McClendon, a local game warden on Moses Lake, is haunted by memories of accidental deaths in his family.  When a little girl is spotted with Len, a dysfunctional and slightly “off” occupant of the wrong side of the lake, Andrea and Matt decide to check on the situation and end up getting involved…in many ways.

One can’t help but become immediately taken into the lives of Wingate’s characters.  The dialogue is realistic, the emotions well-drawn, and the relationships complicated.  Each of the characters, even Len,  has a sensitive side that is revealed through the plot.  The fellows who hang out at the Waterbird for their coffee and talk add interest, along with Andrea’s intuitive boss, Taz and the chatty Rev. Hay.  Andrea’s son, Dustin, bitter from his parents’ divorce and longing for friendship and love from his father, is an evolving character in the story, as well.

I appreciated Wingate’s descriptive powers as she lets us see the surroundings near the lake and Len’s ramshackle house, and hear the crying of the mockingbirds and the night sounds of the water , setting the scene for the final dramatic moments of the book.    

Both Andrea and Matt must learn how to trust God more and to live in the present, rather than the past.  Each comes to the relationship with heavy burdens, but a charming little girl helps them put the focus on what is really important.  I gave this book the highest rating because I found it engaging and a joy to read!

*This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for my review. The opinions expressed in my review are totally my own.

April 9, 2011

Book Review - The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

The Girl in the Gatehouse
by Julie Klassen

Read it in two days!  That’s a testament to the intriguing plot twists and turns that Julie Klassen incorporates in her newest novel. 
Mariah Aubrey, banished from her father’s house over an indiscretion regarding a man, is sent to live in the gatehouse of her Aunt Francesca’s estate, Windrush.  After Francesca's death, her irresponsible step-son Hugh, makes life uncomfortable for Mariah.  Enter Captain Matthew Bryant, a naval man with a past he wants to forget, but eager to rent Windrush to impress a wealthy woman who previously scorned him.  Both Mariah and the captain need acceptance from families who have rejected them and forgiveness for past mistakes.  Klassen adds interest to the relationships at Windrush by giving more minor characters intriguing pasts that are slowly revealed – Martin, the manservant with the hook arm; Amy and Agnes Merryweather, occupants of the poorhouse; Prince, who walks the poorhouse roof with a spyglass and so many more. 

The author presents a society of the early 1800s that was so concerned with propriety and reputation that it often was too unforgiving, unlike our Heavenly Father who can forgive all, as some characters express.  I appreciated the snippets of the late Francesca’s journals that are included to help reveal past events and the parts of Mariah’s writings that give the reader an insight not only to her experiences, but also to the societal mores of the time. 

I enjoyed Klassen’s use of various authors’ quotes at the beginning of each chapter to either foreshadow events or cast commentary on what was happening.  Even though the finale might be surmised early on and the plot is tied up maybe a little too neatly, it is a wonderful read to get there.

**This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers for my review.  The opinions expressed are solely my own.

April 3, 2011

Caroline Delph

When I look back at my post on my mother’s great-uncle, Cecil Delph, and his story of teaching Native American students in Kansas and South Dakota, I realize now that he was just following in the footsteps of his aunt Carrie Delph, who also was a missionary teacher. 
Caroline Delph, great-great grandfather Philip Delph’s youngest sister, born in January 1848, was quite young when she lost both her father and mother.  Sometimes she was referred to as Carrie or Callie in various documents.

We don’t know where she was immediately placed after her parents’ deaths, but by 1860, Caroline Delph  was living with the Andrew Conn family in Van Wert, Ohio.  The family consisted of Andrew and his wife, Margaret, four grown children above the age of 20, one 6 year old and Caroline, whose age was 12.  No relationship is given between Caroline and Andrew and Margaret, so I am unsure how or why she was placed in this home, but this family raised her and made sure she had an education.
According to The History of Van Wert County (p. 758), “Andrew Conn was for a long period a very prominent citizen of Richland County, where he served as county treasurer.  He was engaged there in a banking business.  In 1855 he moved from Mansfield to Van Wert, and in 1860, he was elected treasurer of Van Wert County.  After completing this public service, he retired and his death took place in 1877.  He was the father of seven children.”

In 1870, she was still with the Conn family and she was working as a school teacher.  Her age was given as 23.  By 1880, after the death of Andrew Conn, she moved back to Crawford County where she lived with her sister, Margaret, husband Caleb, and their four children.  Perhaps she obtained a job there as her occupation again was listed as school teacher and her age was 34.

Without the 1890 census to guide us, we can only speculate the turn of events between 1880 and 1900, but we do have a few hints to help us.  We do know that by 1889, Carrie was teaching in the Sitka Industrial Training School, a missionary school in the territory of Alaska, sponsored by the Presbyterian Church.  The school was originally started around 1877 specifically for Tlinget Indian boys to educate them and to teach them various trades, such as carpentry, shoe repair, blacksmithing, baking and laundering.  Girls later were included.  Miss Carrie Delph was assigned to a schoolroom in 1889.  According to one source, the salary for a teacher was about $800 a year at that time.
Sitka Industrial Training School


One letter from Caroline has been found from 1889 in which she describes her experiences.

Carrie writes:
“I have been very much pleased with my school work here.  I found everything more in advance than I expected. I was surprised to see the children in the school, whom I had imagined before leaving home as savages, so polite and courteous, and so much advanced in various ways; all of which not only shows the efficient instruction of the teachers in the different departments, but is eveidence there must also be aptness on the part of the pupils.  It takes our white children fully as long to gain the same amount of knowledge, without having a strange language to contend with at the same time.
My work with them convinces me more and more that my first impression was correct.  By being careful to take the steps, very gradually, from the known to the unknown, excellent results can be obtained.
Owing to their being quite apt and eager to learn, one never tires in teaching them.  Never before have I seen children so anxious to learn about their Saviour as to catch the words in one’s mouth before they are fully uttered.  Surely the children in the East who save their pennies each week and carry them to Sunday-school, giving them that these hungry people may learn of Jesus, will receive their reward.”
Home Mission Monthly, Vol. 3, Issue 10, Presbyterian Church, 1889, p. 251.

To think that this female ancestor, a spinster by the standards of the day, took herself to the wild territory of Alaska in the late 1800’s to teach is remarkable.  I wonder about the modes of transportation that she had to take to even get there.  Could she take the railroad all the way west and then travel by ship to Sitka?   I think about the primitive living conditions, the isolation from family, the challenges to teaching to those who speak a different language. 

However, now I have to report that she met her husband there and married him in 1890.  Orville Tracy Porter was the U. S. Deputy Marshall of Alaska when Caroline Delph, the teacher, met him. 
 Orville had been married before to Matilda Biddle.  In the 1880 census, Orville and Matilda Porter were living in Harrisburg, Linn County, Oregon with their children: Walter B., 14; Nettie E., 12; Arthur E., 8; Alice A., 6; Estelle N., 3, and Orville T. 9/12 born July.  One older child was away from home and I have not been able to locate him in 1880 on the census: Tracy Darrow Porter who was born in 1863 and would have been about 17.  An eighth child was born in 1884, Chester Arthur Porter.  I would guess that Orville and Matilda divorced sometime between 1884 and 1890 when he married Carrie. Matilda died in 1927.

By the time Orville met Caroline, she was in her early 40’s and he was about ten years older.  All of his eight children were older, except for the last, Chester Arthur Porter,  who was about 6 at the time.   My mother had given me the clue that she married a Porter and had a child named Chester, although I didn’t know that it wasn’t Caroline’s biological child.  Prior to moving to Alaska, Orville, born in New York,  moved West to Oregon where he worked at various jobs, including editor of a paper and as a teacher.
Carrie’s days as a teacher in Alaska were short-lived as she and Orville moved back to Oregon by 1900 and there they lived the rest of their lives.  Carrie never taught again as far as we know.  Orville wrote a book of poetry about Alaska. 

In the 1900 census for Albany City West, Linn County, Oregon, taken on June 1st, Orville T. Porter,  a day laborer, and his wife, Carrie D. were enumerated.  They were in the same place in 1910 at 614 Elm Street, with the information that Orville was married twice, but to Carrie for 20 years.  Hence the marriage date was assumed to be 1890. In this same census, Orville’s ex-wife, Matilda is listed with son Chester A., 15, also in the city of Albany.  Matilda was 54 and she called herself a widow.
 Orville died January 30, 1916, and Carrie took in one of his daughters, Alice Azalea Cockerline, also a widow, to the Elm Street residence.  In the 1920 census, Alice was listed as head of the household there with Carrie, step-mother, and Alice’s sixteen year old daughter, Dorothy.

In the 1930 census, Carrie Delph Porter, at 85, lived as a lodger on Broad Street in Albany, Linn County, Oregon with Rosa Muths, head of the household, a single 59 year old, born in France and with French as her language, and another lodger, Clara Denny, 63 and single.   Carrie Porter died on January 16, 1933.

Unfortunately, no photo has been positively identified as Caroline.