12 February 2014


Wanted to share this picture that Family Tree Magazine posted on Facebook. 

06 October 2011

Edson Henry Hill (1891-1969)

My paternal grandfather, Edson Henry Hill was born on 1 July 1891.  According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Edson was living with his parents and siblings Minnie, Maudie, Nellie and Lewis in Unity Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.  This Census lists Edson's place of birth as Pennsylvania. 

By the 1910 Cenus, at the age of 18 Edson was living with his sister Nellie and her husband Arthur Wood on Kinsman Road in Cleveland, Ohio.  His place of birth is listed as Ohio. 

At this point, I lose Edson - I can't find any record of him between 1911 until 1923. 

Edson gets back on the radar in 1923 when he marries my grandmother, Mildred Schierbaum, at the Old Stone Church in Cleveland, Ohio.  Even his marriage presents a problem for me.  I have four different copies of marriage records and two different dates!  The Cuyahoga County Probate Court lists 24 May 1923 as the wedding date before Rev. A.B. Meldrum.  The church records list 25 May 1923 as the wedding date before Rev. A.B. Meldrum.  The only match between the probate records and the church records is the Reverend that married my grandparents. 

The good bit of news that I found in the probate records is confirmation that Edward was married once before.  It even gives me that date of divorce as "Feb. 1920 C.P.Ct."  (Time for the "happy dance").  The record also gives me addresses for Edson and Mildred (both in Cleveland) and lists Edson's occupation as a machinist.

In April 1930 (U.S. Federal Census), Edson and Mildred have two children and are renting a home in Parma Township and Edson is working as a sheet metal worker in the building trade.  A couple of years later, they had their third and final child (my dad).  According to my dad, around this time, Edson was being treated for turberculosis (TB) and in 1937 Edson had a rib and lung removed due to the TB.

In 1938 Edson applied for a Social Security Number.  At this time he is living at Randall Road in Cleveland, Ohio.  By 1942, Edson is working for Warner Sheet Metal on Holmden Road and West 25th Street in Cleveland, Ohio.

My dad has a very long picture of the street/scene after the 1944 East Ohio Gas Company explosion.  He told me that Edson was to supposed to work that day near the Gas Company, but his boss had him stay in the shop that day.  Which was good news because as the story goes, the only thing left from the car that went out there that day was the license plate.

After Edson broke his wrist and couldn't make a fist, he left Warner Sheet Metal and started working at Gundling Service Station near Fulton and West 41st Street in Cleveland.

In June of 1946, Edson and Mildred bought their first house in Cleveland for $2,300.  (I have the bank book to prove it!)  In either 1956 or 1957, Edson was working on the house, when the ladder slipped on rocks and he fell off and cut his ear with a putty knife.  

Edson died on 26 December 1969 at the age of 78 from myocardial infarction (heart), uremia (kidneys), and turberculosis.  I was four years old.  I don't remember my grandfather, but I do remember the toys he made that we all played with when we visited Grandma.

Of course, this is only part of Edson's story.  I will add to this story as I make new discoveries.

Thanks for reading.

16 May 2011

Federico Del Zotto (1900-1980)

Federico Del Zotto was born on 14 August 1900 in Udine, Cordenons, Italy.  His parents are Pietro Del Zotto and Luisia Brunetta.

At the age of 20, Federico sailed from Genova Italy aboard the San Rossore and arrived at Ellis Island on 25 May 1921.  According to the ship manifest, he was 20 years old, single, laborer, from north Italy, his father is Pietro and his final destination is listed as Minnesota International Falls (a lumber camp).  On 19 September 1925, Federico filed his Declaration of Intention with the District Court to become a U.S. citizen.  Federico returned to Italy and married Maria Rosa Zilli on 31 January 1926 in Udine, Italy.  He then returned to the United States aboard the Conte Biancamano and arrived at Ellis Island on 18 August 1926.  While Federico was in the United States, his daughter Lydia was born in Italy on 26 October 1926 at a house located in Via Montello number 79 by a midwife named Amelia De Anna.  Maria and Lydia remained in Italy until 1930 when they came to America to join Federico. 

Federico filed his Petition for Naturalization on 18 June 1929 and received his Certificate of Naturalization on 15 November 1929.  According to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Federico was living as a boarder in Cleveland and working as a laborer in the mason industry.  By 1931, Federico, Maria, and Lydia were living on West 32nd Street in Cleveland, Ohio.  The second daughter, Ada, was born in 1932. 

According to family members, Federico was a terrazo worker (marble) and helped build St. Rocco Church, the Halle Building, and St. Procop Church (closed).  I recently visited the Western Reserve Historical Society and viewed an exhibit on the North Italian Club located at 3121 W. 33rd Street in Cleveland, Ohio, and Federico is shown in pictures building the Club and also listed as a Sgt. at Arms. 

By 1936, when Federico applied for a Social Security Number, he was working at Otis Steel Company in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1937, the third child, a boy, Rino was born.  Federico then worked at and retired from Cleveland Marble Mesite. After retiring, he worked part-time at Boys Town which was located on West 25th Street. 

Federico died on 29 March 1980 at the age of 79.  He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lastly, here are a couple of interesting notes about Federico.  He never learned to drive in the U.S. and always traveled by street car or bus.  In their final house (the one I know), Federico built the basement which included a coal storage room for the furnace. That room was later changed to a bathroom with the help of his son-in-law who would bring home bricks from buildings being torn down and the scrap tile that Federico brought home.  Another room in the basement that Federico built was a cold/wine cellar where he would make homemade wine from grapes he grew and bought.

This post will be updated as new information and facts are learned about Federico.
Thank you for reading and, as always, I welcome your comments.

02 May 2011

Denis Michael Hill - Part 2

This is a follow-up to my first post about my brother Denis.  I wanted to add this to his story, but couldn't at the time - so here is a little personal story.  When Denis was sent to St. John School for the Deaf to learn sign language, someone was supposed to come to our house and teach us to sign.  However, someone only came to our house two or three times and then never came back.  My dad called and called, but no one else came to teach us sign language.  So, guess what happened?  Denis came home from St. John's and he was signing away and we were dumbfounded as to what he was saying.  Well, over the years Denis taught us some signs and we made our own signs.  In other words, we got by.  Except I always wanted to learn the proper form of American Sign Language.  I was envious (and still am) when I see people signing so quickly and effortlessly.  Well, I finally got my chance to learn ASL in 2002 when I took a couple of sign language classes at Tri-C.  Boy, I couldn't wait to go to Arizona see Denis and talk (sign) with him.  When I finally did, it was great! 

This is where this story gets very personal. 

While at Tri-C, we had to write papers about deaf individuals or events.  This is the first paper I wrote for my sign class ... and the most personal paper I ever wrote and ever shared.  I haven't read this paper in years and it made me cry reading it tonight.  It also made my class cry when I read it to them in 2002.  Here is my paper in its entirety:

I am writing about Heather Whitestone McCallum, the former Miss America who recently had a cochlea implant.  Heather became deaf at 18 months after getting meningitis.  She used a hearing aid which allowed her to hear muffled words and shifting shapeless sounds.  When one of her son’s got hurt and she could not hear him cry for her, the hearing aid suddenly was not enough and she decided to get the cochlea implant with the hope to one day hear her sons. 

I do not think this is something bad.  I think it’s great.  I was raised with an older brother who is congenitally deaf and has cerebral palsy.  Growing up I always felt bad for my brother because he could not talk to us and we could not talk to him.  We didn’t learn to sign until he went to St. John’s School for the Deaf when he was 13 years old.  I was 8 years old at the time.  As a family we learned very little sign language and very late in my brother’s life and we missed a lot of time talking with him.  I remember his frustration at times because he couldn’t hear and didn’t know what was going on.  He knew he was missing out on things and that he wasn’t the same as us and couldn’t do the same things as we could.  Part of that does have to do with the cerebral palsy, but not completely.  I remember as a young child saying my bedtime prayers and asking God to give my brother his hearing.  I even offered to switch places with my brother so he could hear our voices, and the sound of birds singing, and the sound of the rain.  Of course, this did not happen, but I always thought it unfair that he was missing so much of the world.  I realize now that its not all good that he’s missing – like the hatred, yelling, shootings, sirens, swearing – there’s a lot of bad things to be heard.  But he is also missing the good - the sound of voices talking and singing, music, rain, wind, a dog’s bark, a cat’s meow, the sound of dry leafs crunching on the ground, and the simple sound of “water running into a sink” like Heather recently heard for the first time. 

I hope the implant works for Heather and one day she will be able to hear her sons’ talk to her and laugh with her and all the wonderful sounds there are to hear.  I know I would like that for my brother.  I would like that very much.

Thanks for letting me share this very personal story about my brother. 

27 April 2011

Denis Michael Hill (1960-2011)

Denis Michael Hill was born on 6 November 1960 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Denis was the fourth child out of seven children and he is my brother.  Denis was taken from us at the young age of 50.  It is for this reason that I wish to share my brother with you.  Denis did not have an easy life, he was born deaf and with cerebral palsy, but he was a happy guy who enjoyed being around people. 

Denis was born three months premature and weighed only 3 lbs. 3 oz.  He had yellow jaundice as an infant, suffered from convulsions as a toddler, and had the German measles twice.  In 1965, Denis went to the Rosemary Home where he lived for 8 years.  It was there that he learned the basics to dress, eat, play, and swim.  Denis attended St. John School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1972 to 1976 where he learned sign language.  At the age of 16, Denis returned to his family in Cleveland, Ohio and went to the United Cerebral Palsy Workshop where he learned to do some basic work skills.  The Cleveland Board of Education developed a new work/study program at the Vocational Opportunity Center which he attended from 1980 to 1983.  Denis graduated from the program and attended the commencement ceremonies at Lincoln West High School where he received a special diploma.  He went back to United Cerebral Palsy and entered the adult workshop program where he learned work adjustment training.  Denis worked there until 1990 when he moved to Arizona with his mom, dad, and one sister. 

In Arizona, Denis lived with his parents for awhile before moving into a group home where he worked at various jobs and where he learned some basic home skills such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  He also learned basic life skills such as handling money and using public transportation.

Denis passed away on Thursday, 17 March 2011 from thrombosis - a blood clot in his lungs.  It was unexpected and very sudden.  (I still can't believe he's gone.)  My Ohio siblings and I flew to Arizona the next day to be with my parents and attend the funeral.  The day of the funeral was a cold and rainy day and out of sorts from the prior days.  My mother always said bad weather meant the person wasn't ready to leave this earth.  I believe my brother wasn't ready...we definitely weren't ready.  But then something happened at the funeral - Denis gave us a wonderful sign that he was okay.  He gave us a rainbow.

During his life, Denis was a very crafty person and made pencil cups, hot pads, picture frames and jewelry boxes out of popsicle sticks.  He even made a lamp and night light out of popsicle sticks (my dad helped him with the electrical).  My favorite items he made out of popsicle sticks is the sign for "I love you" and a cross.  Denis always enjoyed coloring and found his knack with the felt pictures - he was very good at choosing colors and putting them together.  My parents have quite a few of his pictures hanging in their home. 
Here is a sampling of some of Denis' artwork.  I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoy the items.

Thanks for reading this post about my brother.

06 March 2011

Edward George Caughey 1883 - 1936

Edward G. Caughey is my great grand uncle.

Edward was born on 3 August 1883 in Cleveland, Ohio.  His parents were George Sterrett Caughey and Flora Adell Coe.  Edward had three brothers and one sister.  Ed was 5 ft. 6-1/2 in. tall with brown hair and blue eyes.

Edward married Alice M. Thomas of Buffalo, New York on 17 April 1908 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio by William Brown, Justice of the Peace.  At the time of the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Ed and Alice were living in Cleveland and Ed was working in a machine shop. 

On 30 November 1917, when Ed was 34 years old, he joined the United States Army and served in the Quartermaster Corps Mechanical Repair Unit 302.  While at Camp Meigs in 1917, the camp was quarantined for smallpox. Ed was also having trouble getting paper and stamps to write home.  While in the service, Ed gave his nephew Paul, Jr. his tools to borrow and to keep if he doesn't return.  Ed served in France where he met someone from Toledo, Ohio.  He sent a couple pictures home to his sister.  When Ed returned to Camp Meigs in Washington DC he needed dental work done before heading home. Ed was discharged at Camp Sherman, Ohio on 20 June 1919 and received the Bronze Victory Button.  He arrived home with no wounds and in good physical condition.

By the 1920 Census, Ed was no longer married to Alice.  He was living with his mom Flora in Cleveland, Ohio and working as a garage mechanic.  According to a letter Ed wrote to his sister Agnes in January 1921, he was in living in Kansas, Missouri working at Packard Co. with his brother Robert.

Edward Caughey died on 16 August 1936 at the age of 53 from acute dilation of heart and is buried at West Park Cemetery on Ridge Road in Cleveland, Ohio. 

There is more to Ed's story and I am still researching his life.  I will update this entry as I make new discoveries.  I would like to thank my cousin Leon Schierbaum for providing me with copies of Ed's service papers and the bible pages of births, marriages, and deaths for some of the Schierbaum and Caughey families.

Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.