Thursday, March 23, 2017

It is said...

It is said that a person is remembered as long as someone remembers their name.

I give my Daddy, Wayne Rhodes Shields, My Grandfather, James Roscoe Shields, my GG Grandfather, George W. (Wayne?) Shields, and my GGG Grandfather James Shields.

There were, of necessity, 4 women involved, in order of appearance: Virginia Lancaster Shields. Wayne's wife and my mother, Mabel Rhodes Shields, Roscoe's wife, Maude Ames Shields, George's  wife and Mariah (Maria?) Van Steenbergen, James Shields wife. James was an Irish immigrant.

I find that in less than a hundred years, my grandfather, grandmother and greats George and Maude on my Daddy's side have been remember by one cousin Sandra, keeper of the records, it seems. She has the pictures, the stories, birth,death and cemetery records. She did not, nor did I know of James Shields, born in 1828 in Ireland, and immigrating to the U.S. circa 1836-.

I never knew or cared about my Daddy's people. They were from way up on the Great Lakes, Erie, Pa. to be exact. You can see Canada from Cousin Sandy's back deck. Summer up there consists of Fourth of July and two weeks of poor sledding.

After my dad Wayne Rhodes Shields died, there was little or no communication between the Northern Shields and the Southern Shields. That side of the family sorta' disappeared until I made contact with Cousin Sandy. My sister Sally and Sandra had been communicating for years.

Wayne Rhodes Shields
Patrick Rhodes Shields
I do remember Sandy sent me a packet of information on the Rhodes side. It went on about Cecil Rhodes of Rhodesia, Rhode Island being named for a Rhodes, etc. I didn't pay much attention. Then my Mama started talking about Rio Rhodes, her favorite of Wayne's people.

Rio Rhodes married Carrie Culbertson and they had Mabel, who married Roscoe. Carrie died when Mabel was about three, and Mabel was went to be raised by her maternal Grandmother. Mabel and Rio were never close, and there is evidence that Mabel never acknowledge Rio as her father, as the only father she knew was her maternal grandmothers husband.

James Roscoe Shields
Charlotte Shields, his daughter
mother of Cousin Sandy
Dogs in many of the Shields pictures
Carrie Culbertson,
Rio's wife
mother of Mabel Rhodes Shields, Roscoe's wife
Carrie looks a lot like my daughter, Allison

Janice and I go to WV in the summer to peddle pottery and play music with my WV buddies. August is when the two weeks of summer in Erie, Pa. officially begins.  It's the Big Hog of 100+ in Georgia It's good time to leave the cat in charge of the farm.

Sandy and I sat down the first day of our visit to book after book of documents her people had saved. There were pictures of real people, stories of men who help Commodore Perry build the ship Niagara, that ran the British out of the Great Lakes. Suddenly these people had faces, stories and personalities. I was hooked.

I knew my son Britt's, father in law did  genealogy research on the Shields. He found James Shields, the Irish immigrant. Even Sandy didn't have that piece of information. James Shields married a  pretty little Dutch girl,  a Mariah Van Steenbergen, and left Binghamton, NY. They ended up near Erie, Pa. That's as far a the trail leads, to this point. James magically disappears after the 1860 U.S.Census, leaving Mariah head of household in 1870 and no death certificate in Pa. to be found. Ah, the skeleton in the closet.

George Shields, James' son,  married a Maude Ames, and had 5 daughters. His only son was James Roscoe Shields, my grandfather.  Roscoe hired on with the Erie Railroad in 1906 and passed his steam test, becoming and engineer in 1912.  Roscoe was stationed in Meadville, Pa. His run was from Youngstown, Pa to Salamanca NY. 

Sandy wrote last week saying that a brass plaque would be installed in his honor if we could find his railroad records. Thanks to the miracle of the internet and researchers, I found J Roscoe Shields, his employment dates, payroll number, and all his certificates. He, indeed, deserves to be on a brass plaque. Roscoe died when I was 1 year old. I would have liked to have known all of them, grandfathers and grandmothers alike.

Now I have to get back across the big pond to see where James Shields came from. Maybe a couple pints of Guinness will make that task easier.

I leave this open to Sandra for correction and additional info.

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