Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Calendar-Christmas Music

My grandmother could play the piano, and she played with spirit! My mother played the piano even better than that! At Christmastime, my mother drug out all her Christmas sheet music (suffice it to say there was a LOT). Silver Bells, Jingle Bells, Let It Snow, Frosty the Snowman and more. While growing up, I also played, but it wasn't something I enjoyed as much as my mother and grandmother did. But I love the memory I have of them playing this piano.

The piano pictured here was made in 1914 and has been in my family since about 1935. My grandmother, Esther Durfee Fitzwater, could play the piano with passion! The Fitzwater family farm house burned down in the early 1930's and my grandmother lost her piano and of course all the family photos in that fire. They rebuilt, but my grandmother needed another piano, so she bought this 'used' one from one of the neighbors who were having as especially hard time during the depression. She then gave piano lessons to help pay for the piano! Family story has it that my grandfather, David Holten Fitzwater, was none to happy about this purchase! My mother grew up playing this piano. (Her first goal in life was to be a concert pianist, but that didn't work out, so she became a nurse instead.) When my grandfather, David Holten Fitzwater, died, the family lost the farm and my grandmother and mother moved into town to live with my aunt, Francis Agnes Durfee Gassaway. Francis and Esther were sisters, but not friends. These would be hard years on my grandmother, and music was a way to keep herself happy. When my mother, Celia Jane Fitzwater, was settled in her own adult life, she got this piano, and I grew up with it in my childhood home.

After my mother died in 1976, my father banished the piano from the house as he couldn't look at it. It went to a cousins home and sadly saw some abuse after it left our care. It took 25 years and help from an uncle to get the piano back. Because of my mother's brother, David Durfee Fitzwater, I got my piano back! I paid a small fortune to get it here, and an almost equal sum to get the playing mechanism repaired. It is loved and wanted here! The top is filled with family photos of all sizes and eras, and the music is beautiful. My daughter is to receive this piano when I'm done here. She is a music teacher and she too is passionate about the music. I love this piano for the memories it holds in my heart, most especially at Christmastime.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oreo Truffles

Today was the day to make Oreo Truffles and a double batch of pumpkin bread. You can find the recipe for Oreo Truffles at Thomas MacEntee's site, And I helped. (He calls them Reindeer Balls.) They are wonderful! If you do use the white chocolate to drizzle over the top, use 1/2 to 3/4 of a tbsp. of white crisco to thin the chocolate so that it will drizzle. If the white chocolate gets hard, it's over cooked and you need to start again at a lower heat for less time. About the time I got the hang of the drizzling, I'd run out of truffles!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Food Traditions at Christmas

Thomas MacEntee over at "And I Helped" blog got me to thinking about family food traditions at Christmas. When I was growing up my mom did all kinds of sweets, much like Thomas does at his blog. One of the favorites was fudge, and after the fudge was done, it was always put in this crystal serving dish, ALWAYS. Mom also did Peanut Brittle, Divinity, pies, cakes and more. This was the first year in a very long time that I even thought about doing the fudge. Now that I've read all those wonderful recipes that Thomas has, I am in a baking mood! Look out neighbors, this stuff has to go somewhere! Thanks for the inspiration Thomas! My house really does smell good!!! Here are photos of the serving dish filled with fudge and mom's recipe book.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

China for the holiday meal

Does your family bring out the crystal and china for the holidays or other special events? It is tradition in my family to bring out these dishes.

I've never located another piece of this set, and it's not from lack of trying! :) I have registered with every china replacement facility I can, none of them have ever found a single piece of this pattern. My kids fear washing these dishes as none of them want to be 'the one who dropped' a single piece! Can't blame them, but I pray none of us is every 'that one.' This is a beautiful setting of 12 (!) with more pieces than I've ever used, but I'd still like to know if there were other pieces that I might not have. The set originally was my mother's wedding china pattern back in 1956. I recall my parents talking when I was a child about my brother dropping a cup and getting it replaced at that time.

If you ever see this pattern, I'd sure like to know about it! Here is the back of the dinner plate with the pattern number.

It says Fukajawa, ARITA, Pattern No. 804. (Made in Japan and handpainted.)

Chocolate Fudge Cookies

From the recipe box of Celia Jane Fitzwater Brinkley, 1932-1976. For the record, my mother loved sweets, and this one has its share of splatters on the page, so I'm guessing it was one that was made often enough!

Chocolate Fudge Cookies
1 ½ C flour
4 eggs (unbeaten)
2 C sugar
2/3 C shortening
½ block unsweetened chocolate (melted)
1 C chopped walnuts
2 tsps vanilla

Mix shortening, sugar and add the 4 eggs. Add flour & vanilla and last add melted chocolate and walnuts. Mix. [Her directions say to pour in large flat pan. You can chose a cookie pan or whatever other item might fill this need.]

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or more. When done and partly cooled, cut into squares.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Obituary Leslie Brinkley Lawson

I want to win one of these!

You can learn more about the book here: 

Geneabloggers is running this little contest to help encourage us to write our obituaries. If you died tomorrow, what would you have us remember about you? Newspapers are prohibitively expensive. So it seems to me that the only way my family can really afford to let the world know I've move on is with an online obituary posting.
So, here's my submission for the contest.

Leslie Brinkley Lawson, [Age, of [Place] died quietly in her sleep after a wonderful life spent loving her family and doing genealogy. She did genealogy research right up to the end of her life, the last client file was readied for mailing and left on her desk the evening before her death.

Memorial services will be held [date/place].

Interment will be at [cemetery ] Cemetery, [place], next to her parents.

Mrs. Lawson was born [date and place given] a daughter of [Father's full name & Mother's full name] Brinkley.  Leslie grew up in Truckee, CA, graduating from Tahoe Truckee High School in 19**. She and her brother [Murphy (nickname)] were in the same graduating class. They remained close all of their lives, speaking on the phone frequently, visiting each other every chance they got.

She was married to [him] from 1979-1989 and had two children.

On 16 November 1989, she married [a really wonderful man] Lawson in [place].

Mrs. Lawson worked for a number of years as an accountant.  Then she decided to follow her passion and became a professional genealogist.  Mrs. Lawson’s specialty was forensic genealogy.  She left the family tree for her descendants to find, always telling others to leave a clean trail for those who will come behind us. Her family was so very important to her.

Mrs. Lawson traveled all over the United States working on her family genealogy as well as that of clients. She really enjoyed the travels and went out of her way to also connect to distant cousins to share photos and family stories.

Survivors include her husband, [Mr] Lawson, [place], children, [names for both with place for both too].  A brother, [Murphy (family nickname) Brinkley, [where he lives now].  Several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her mother in 1976 and her father in 2006.

Memorial contributions are suggested for any genealogy society or genealogy related educational opportunity you can locate. Mrs. Lawson believed strongly in education and the opportunities  that education brought the individual.

Funeral home information here....

Please post the final good-bye on her blog:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ida Maye Brinkley Jennings & Julia Ann Brinkley

(left) Ida Maye Brinkley Jennings and her aunt, (right) Julia Ann Brinkley. Photo taken circa 1895.

Ida Maye Brinkley was born 1875 in Appanoose County, Iowa. She was the daughter of William Wallace Brinkley (1852-1916) and Permelia Jane Inman (1855-1937). Her first marriage was to William H. Jennings, 1 October 1892, in Kit Carson County, Colorado. Second marriage to James Sullivan about 1897. Third marriage to John M. Koser about 1909. Fourth marriage to Melroy Malone "Bill" Martin, 18 March 1926, Cheyenne County, Colorado. Ida died 8 February 1942, in Denver, Colorado. She was taken home to be buried in the family plot in Fairview Cemetery, Burlington, Kit Carson County, Colorado.

Julia Ann Brinkley was born 31 March 1871, in Appanoose County, Iowa. She was the daughter of John Wesley Brinkley (1826-1906) and Sarah Ann Clifton (1831-1911). Julia married Spencer Davis 17 April 1902, Unionville, Putnam County, Missouri. She had no children. She died in Iola, Allen County, Kansas, and is buried in Moran Cemetery there.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sisters, Minnie Brinkley Davis and Kessie Brinkley Webber

(Left) Minnie Brinkley Davis
(Right) Kessie Brinkley Webber
Daughter's of John Dennis Brinkley and Mary Alice Kinney

Glen Davis & Minnie Brinkley Davis

Glen Davis and Minnie Brinkley were married 27 September 1917 in Plano, Appanoose County, Iowa. This photo was taken not long after their marriage.

Glen Davis was born 9 June 1895 in Iowa. He died May 1978, in Washington, Washington County, Iowa and was buried in Livingston Cemetery, Livingston, Appanoose County, Iowa.

Minnie M. Davis was the daughter of John Dennis Brinkley and Mary Alice Kinney. Minnie was born 19 October 1892, in Appanoose County, Iowa. She died in 1963 and is buried in Livingston Cemetery, Livingston, Appanoose County, Iowa.

Glen and Minnie had one child that I know of, Beatrice Davis born about 1927.

Family of John Wesley Brinkley & Sarah Ann Clifton Brinkley

This photo of the John Brinkley family came to me dated with all parties identified! They are my ancestors and they are not a handsome lot!
3 December 1894
Back row (l to r): Charlie, Julia Ann, John Dennis, Sarah A.
Front row (l to r): William Wallace, John Wesley, Sarah Ann (Clifton), Mary Isabelle "Belle"

**Update** October 9, 2013: Thanks to cousin Jo Porter for catching the wrong name on the person in the back row, right side. This can't be Eliza Jane "Layde" Brinkley as she died in 1890. It has to be her sister, Sarah as she was still living. Thanks Jo, for catching that!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas J. Durfee

27 June 1940
The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, California

Lassen Couple, 50 Years Wed, Will Celebrate
Bieber (Lassen Co.), June 27.- Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Durfee will celebrate their golden wedding Saturday with a family dinner at the home of Mrs. Durfee's brother, R. E. Dunlap, and open house at the Durfee home in Bieber in the afternoon.

The couple have resided in Bieber since their marriage on June 29, 1890. Mrs. Durfee was Miss Lizzie A. Dunlap and was born in Sutter Creek, Amador County, in 1865. She came to Big Valley with the Dunlap family in 1884 and taught school in this vicinity.

Durfee was born in Providence, R.I., on September 27, 1864. He started west when he was 19, lived for a time in Spokane and San Francisco, and came to Bieber in 1885.

He worked at first as a ranch hand, then became a carpenter's helper, learned painting and paper hanging, clerked in Bieber's general stores, built two or three houses and finally, about 1898, opened a harness shop, which he continued to operate in the same quarters until automobiles put an end to the business. He was appointed postmaster of Bieber January 15, 1914, and held that office continuously until he was retired at the end of January of this year.

The Durfees have three daughters, Mrs. B.F. Gassaway of Pittville, Mrs. David Fitzwater of Fall River Mills, and Mrs. Carl Rosten of Pondosa.

Note: The last paragraph of the story refers to three daughters. Mrs. B.F. Gassaway [Benjamin Franklin Gassaway] was known as Frances Agnes (Durfee) Gassaway (1892-1981) [no children]; Mrs. David Fitzwater was known as Esther Durfee Fitzwater (1897-1982); Mrs. Carl Rosten was known as Dorothy Durfee Rosten (1905-1984). There was one other daughter not mentioned here, Mrs. Fred Wemple known as Grace Durfee Wemple (1900-1923).

Carl Edward Rollaine Rosten (1905-1993) and Dorothy (Durfee) Rosten (1905-1984), photo taken circa 1981.

Growing up, my most favorite Aunt and Uncle were these two! I felt truly loved by them both!

Carl Edward Rollaine Rosten (1905-1993) and Dorothy (Durfee) Rosten (1905-1984), photo taken circa 1981. They lived in Burney, California.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Kessie Jessie Brinkley and Lawrence Raymond Webber

Kessie Jessie Brinkley was the daughter of John Dennis Brinkley and Mary Alice Kinney. Kessie was born 8 March 1895, in Appanoose County, Iowa and died July 1981, Iowa. She is buried in Livingston Cemetery, Livingston, Appannose County, Iowa.

Kessie married Lawrence Raymond Webber, 9 January 1918, Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa.

Lawrence Raymond Webber was born 16 August 1896 in Putnam County, Missouri, and died 11 November 1986, Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa. He too is buried in Livingston Cemetery, Livingston, Appanoose County, Iowa.

They did not have any children. It is believed this photo was taken in 1917 at about the time of the marriage.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Joseph S. Cookus, Civil War Veteran

From his Civil War packet, we find that Joseph S. Cookus was born in Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, Virginia (now West Virginia). On 7 August 1862 at Mt. Vernon, Linn County, Iowa, he joined the Civil War as part of Company F, 24th Regiment, Iowa Infantry. He was discharged 17 July 1865 in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, more than a 1000 miles from home, but he made it home quickly. On 23 August 1865, he and his wife, Minerva sold their 'town lot' to Kitty Ann Peddycoat. He had been wounded in the war, and at one time taken prisoner. For his service to his country, he received a pension.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

George Alexander Fitzwater

George Alexander Fitzwater was born 5 June 1821, in Posey County, Indiana. He married first, Celia Ann Steppe Bunyard on 5 November 1846 in Crawford County, Missouri. They bought land in Holt County, Missouri on 19 March 1855; were in the 1860 census living in Claytonville, Brown County, Kansas Territory. They kept following the Oregon trail, son Martin Densmore Fitzwater was born in Oregon [expect Linn County] 17 August 1865. I don't know why the didn't stay in Oregon. The family pushed south to Shasta County, California where they were found living in Township 6, Shasta County, California for the 1870 census. Celia died, 17 May 1872, Millville, Shasta County, California. She was 43 years old, her youngest child was only 4. This family stayed in Shasta County for generations. They are buried all over the county. George remarried on 20 October 1874, to Leah B. Coots; they divorced in 1899. Then George married Frances A. Norwood on 25 May 1900. George died 14 November 1914, in Millville, Shasta County, California. Both he and Celia are buried at the Masonic Cemetery, Millville, Shasta County, California. Their gravesite is very close to the front gate.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In Memory of Those Who Have Gone Before...25 June any year

In an effort to acknowledge those who have gone before, I place their names here in hopes of learning more about them.

Leroy Brinkley Morgan, born 18 August 1898, Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio, died ?. Married to Beatrice Ann Datrymple, born 6 May 1896, Ohio, died  14 December 1983, Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio. They were married 25 June 1929, Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio.

Barbara Stinson, born 25 June 1925, Kirksville, Adair County, Missouri. Daughter of James B. Stinson and Wilma F. Brinkley. Sister of Virginia Stinson and Mary Ann Stinson.

Lottie Ellen Stephens, born 25 June 1901, Randolph County, Indiana. Daughter of Albert Luther Stephens and Millie Elma Garringer. Sister of Edna Olive Stephens.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Family of Joseph S. Cookus & Minerva Ellen Doty Cookus

I am only able to identify three people in this photo. The youngest standing person in the center of the photo is Ross Cubert Cookus. Second and third from left are Minerva Ellen Doty Cookus and her husband Joseph S. Cookus. The photo was taken between 1890 and 1895, best guess. These would be the surviving children of this couple.
The children of this couple are:
William P. Cookus (1857-1932)
Andrew D. "A.D." Cookus (1859-1927)
James Henry "Henry" Cookus (1861-1906)
Alwilda Mae "Allie" Cookus (1864-1898)
Charles J. Cookus (1866-1945)
Irena R. Cookus (1868 - ?)
Mary Eliza Cookus (1870-1941)
Flora E. Cookus (1876-?)
Ross Cubert Cookus (1878-1952) identified above as the youngest person standing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Memory of my Dad, Leon W. Brinkley

Today is Father's Day, June 19, 2011. Just five short years ago Father's Day fell on Sunday, June 20, 2006. That was the last Father's Day I was to share with my dad, Leon Waitte Brinkley. He was in the final stages of esophageal cancer. That morning we talked and we remembered well a Father's Day morning dated June 20, 1976. That was the day my mother, Celia Jane Fitzwater Brinkley, died. We talked of the memories of that day for only a moment. Dad then told me he was ready to go as well. I knew he was ready, he wasn't having a good time being here. His body had betrayed him and he wanted to be done with it. He was so ready to let go of this body and join the love of his life.

Leon Waitte "Lee" Brinkley was born 29 January 1929, in Stratton, Kit Carson County, Colorado to Louis Wallace "Wally" Brinkley and Thelma Ellen Scott. He joined an older sister, Wilma Auline Brinkley who had been born 9 August 1927 in Stratton. Lee's middle name was a hand-me-down, having received it from his grandfather, Edward Waite "Ed" Scott (1880-1973) who had received it from his grandfather, Wait Scott (1805-1859). Each generation spelled it differently just simply because there was no spelling standard. They passed the name on with their best guess of how it 'should' be spelled.

My dad always called me Sis, I don't remember him ever calling me by my name. My older brother called me Sissy when we were small children, and the nickname stuck for dad. I was Sis for life when he called me.

We spent that last Father's day quietly. Dad was pretty ill and was unable to eat much of anything.

I miss talking with him and hearing his quick wit. Whenever he talked with his grandson Josh he always had some bit of a quote or a poem he would recite off the top of his head. It always came out of no where and gave us all a laugh. I miss that wit more than can be guessed. He loved his grandchildren a lot. He loved hearing from Jenn in Oklahoma as she went through school, and was very proud of her when she graduated college. That was his last big trip anywhere, his health was failing.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I hope you and the others that have gone before continue to watch over us. I love you.