Buffalo Escape… Why have Buffalo? (Others escaped too)

Buffalo who have escaped in the next county have been all over the news this week. A family that farms has been raising them for meat and a herd broke the fence. The school bus was driving their route and happened to come upon a herd of buffalo and alerted everyone. The farm is now catching all the buffalo and putting them back in their fence. In their case the buffalo are for meat. Buffalo are leaner than beef and therefore a little more healthy.

Growing up we had a buffalo, this was over 30 years ago, but also on a farm. We really had a whole menagerie with deer, a cow, a crow, a goat, and basically whatever showed up or my father thought might be a good idea. My father had tried a beefalo burger and decided it would be a good idea to go with a friend to get two buffalo. They came back with a male and a female and we kept the female. The male went to our friends by the campground, where it lived for many years and was joined by the female years later. Ours, that we named Buffy, became a family pet…. a huge family pet in a pen, but a unique pet.

We had animals that we didn’t even bother naming and animals that we were closer with and Buffy was one that we were closer with. I really just remember one great escape for Buffy. The deer on the other hand escaped a few times! Buffy’s escape resulted from an owl that was trying to steal chickens. The owl would come down and steal the chickens and then fly off with them. Of course we didn’t know it was an owl that was the thief, so my brother put the chickens inside the top of a silo that was part of the animals fenced in area. The owl folded up it’s wings and went down into the silo to steal the chickens but then couldn’t fly back out. It was making so much noise that the buffalo was frightened and ran directly through the fence.

Luckily our buffalo was easy to coax back into the fence once it was calm again. Over the years we did have escapes of other animals that were harder to coax back. There was a white fallow deer that escaped that was never captured and lived in the woods by Oakwood for years after she ran away. One escape involved a deer that stood up with at least 4 men on it’s back.

Our first deer was a buck we named Bambi (we were not very original). He was super friendly, but could be dangerous when he had antlers thinking he would play games of butting you in the head with his antlers…. like deer play in the woods. My mom tells about looking out the window one morning and seeing a deer when they realized it was Bambi. At that point, my dad ran out and jumped in a jeep to chase it. They went back and forth through the field, he thought he could tire it out! Finally he got back by the fences we kept the deer in and my dad jumped out to grab it and pull it in the pen. Bambi who had a full rack of antlers proceeded to pin my dad to the propane tank between his antlers. Somehow the story always stops there, but I know the deer did end up back in the fence – I’m just not sure how it got from my dad stuck between it’s antlers to the propane tank into the fence nearby. One of the days I’m going to have to find out the rest of that story.

Robbie with Rosy the Goat and White Deer

Look alikes and Kindergarten….

Hearing someone say that a whole group of people look alike and it’s all DNA reminded me of kindergarten and the fun a friend and I would have swapping places. The teacher couldn’t tell us apart, and we had a great time with that. We both had short brown hair and probably similar builds – kindergarten, everyone is fairly small…. Now I don’t think we look anything alike, but at the time it was fun. Each morning we would decide if we were going to be ourselves or swap name tags. Things were going great until the day that the school had a vaccination day. Back then if you didn’t get your shots at the doctor you could sign up to get them at school. I had mine but my friend hadn’t yet. Being five we didn’t know today was the day! Swapping seemed a good idea that morning, up until we found out about shots. For my friend Iva it worked out, for me on the other hand, I ended up with shots for a second time in just a couple months. The same shots I had just gotten! No amount of arguing would convince the teacher she had the wrong kid. Even the principal, who funnily enough was married to my cousin Reva, must not have believed me. I don’t remember anything but the story.

That year I was handful for that teacher. I also chased a boy around the room one day and ended up in the hall in trouble and my name. In my kindergarten handwriting I wrote a note saying my parents had changed my name to Maria and had gotten my mother to sign it. Apparently she thought she was signing something else, like maybe that I was playing school. On the other hand, I took the note to school and turned it in. The school changed all the records and was calling me by my ‘new’ name a few weeks later when parent teacher conferences came up. When my teacher called me Maria my mother found out what happened. All my records got changed back.

Actually the comment I saw was They all look alike and mentioned DNA, but the thing is to me that’s not an excuse and you can, I’m sure, guess what we were talking about. The discussion had turned to why blacks were targeted more than Caucasians. The person was commenting it was because they all look alike and blamed it on DNA. I’ll repeat that’s never an excuse. Once in a while people do get mistaken for others, but the first thing is to be aware of our biases and how we handle the situation after.

Grandpa McArdle

My grandfather Clifford McArdle (1916-1943) died young in a tragic accident. He was quite a character though! (and he came from a family of unique individuals) My grandfather McArdle lost his mother young (at 6) and was raised by his father (who was trick shooter, moonshiner, and all around character – if I remember the story correctly Elmer McArdle was even friends with Buffalo Bill Cody). He drowned in 1943 when my mother was only three while swimming at Ellsworth Park.

Grandpa McArdle

Most of the stories I’ve heard about him involve his ‘wild’ young days… plus one that involves him sitting in a creek with a high fever ‘rowing his little canoe’ while his sister Hattie Jane was caring for them.

Most of the stories include antics that my grandfather did with his brothers that were everything from dangerous to illegal. Stories include everything from running moonshine, with Clifford driving a decoy car to my uncles burning down a barn. My Uncle Frank chose to go to the military for that one and my Uncle Ralph went to jail. Ralph was released when they found he had TB. He passed away shortly after being released. Stories even include them breaking my grandfather out of the little jail in Belgiumtown Illinois that isn’t there anymore – they pulled the side off from what I remember.

The stories are like things you would hear as tall tales. Clifford McArdle even took a guitar and billy club from a policeman’s car one evening…. Hard to believe it’s true, but I’ve actually seen the guitar and billy club. I have no idea where they are now, but at the time they were being passed down through the family.

Another story included my grandfather going to a dentist during the depression and not paying. He had given a false name and knew the dentist wouldn’t find him. – I wonder how that worked since it’s such a small town you would think everyone knew each other!

Stories from growing up included my great grandfather Elmer expecting the boys to learn to shoot – setting up a small hoop and a bell and expecting them to shoot through the hoop and ring the bell. My grandfather and his brothers would also run around in my great grandfather’s house and reset all his clocks – he was determined to have lots of clocks, all set to the same time). They devoted a lot of time to pulling off pranks.

My grandfather died in 1943 when swimming at Ellsworth park by one of the spillways. The story I had always heard was that he was swimming with my mother and brought her to the shore and sat her down before venturing out into the river again. He was on the spillway when someone opened the gates on the dam upriver. The undertow from the spillway held him underwater for several days before finally releasing him. His hair was a bright red color and finally made it easy to find his body stuck in the trees with the sun shining on his hair.

Famous Distant Cousins?

Jared Ingersoll was an American lawyer and signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Ingersoll is my cousin through the McArdle line. Officially he’s listed as my 4th cousin 7x removed, which makes him very distant… but still in my tree. I usually don’t take my tree out this far at any point, but Ancestry has stories and thrulines that are constantly looking now for stories in the past that can be added to your tree, and Ingersoll came up in mine with a notice through email. The story Ancestry made for me is below. It was interesting for sure! I also learned about Benjamin Franklin being in Paris, where he met Ingersoll. I’m sure I must have heard that sometime in elementary school – but it isn’t in my memory.

My next step would be to look at that portion of the tree is doing and see what my direct ancestor on his line was doing at the same time. My 10th great grandmother was listed in as Alice Bevys. Alice Bevys tied to Ingersoll according to the ‘See relationship’ tag. Doing a search of the tree, neither show up, so finding the relationship in my tree isn’t as easy as it would seem.

In the stories I also noticed my great grandfather Elmer’s middle name was Ellsworth, which to me was a little ironic since my grandfather his son drown at Ellsworth park. I also noticed this morning that my 4th great grandmother Susan Cozard was listed as a farmer. That is so unusual it really needs to be explored more.

Jared Ingersoll’s information is:

American lawyer and statesman Jared Ingersoll was born 24 October 1749 in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of a prominent British official. He graduated from Yale College in 1766, then studied law in Philadelphia and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1773. He later spent more than 18 months in Paris, where he met Benjamin Franklin.

When the American colonies declared their independence, Ingersoll returned home and became a Patriot, despite his family’s Loyalist views. He started a law practice and became a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1780-1781. He later served as a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and was a signer of the U.S. Constitution.

From 1791 to 1800 and from 1811 to 1816, Ingersoll served as attorney general of Pennsylvania. He was also a U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania. Ingersoll is known for arguing two of the first cases to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court, “Chisholm v. Georgia” and “Hylton v. United States.” In 1812, he was DeWitt Clinton’s running mate as a Federalist in the presidential election, but they were defeated by James Madison and Elbridge Gerry.

Ingersoll died in Philadelphia on 31 October 1822.

Playing in Water!

Today was a great day to run down and play in the river. We have lots of land on the river, so we chose a spot with a sandbank. There were minnows swimming in the water, old mussel shells under the water, and fishing lines hanging from the bridge. I walked both directions down the river. Walking in the river, I could see the bottom everywhere I walked. There was some trash, but also lots of really cool rocks and shells. For those that haven’t gotten in the river water, it can be a little cold. The water in little shallow pools that are cut off warms up in the sun. Out in the river where the water is flowing, the water is just the right temperature to cool down in the hot sun in my opinion .

Salt Fork River from Sandbank South of the Bridge

While down at the river we ran into a few groups that were treating the our field area like public property. I remember years ago my father meeting people that were playing in our lake and asking who gave them permission. They all would claim to have permission from the owners, not even realizing it was the owner they were talking to.

My father and his first cousin, Don, made a really nice family get together area around the pond we all still have. There was a drive around a field, and originally a house that was rented out. The house quickly was destroyed, but the pond was somewhere we all got together at for a lot of my childhood. It included a sandy beach, picnic tables, and a bridge across the pond. I remember celebrating my brother’s birthday there with my grandparents and lots of other family and friends. The part that stuck in my mind was playing string tricks with the cord on the new camera my grandma had given me and losing it off the bridge. A family friend, Butch, dived several times to the bottom trying to get the camera, finally giving up. The camera is still somewhere in the bottom of that pond.

My father after too many instances of running into trespassers at the pond, decided to destroy the drive back to the pond, tear out the bridge, and let the pond get taken by trees. Now no one uses the pond – not even our family… My parents explained to us many times that it was a question of liability, and what happens if someone gets hurt on our property. Then there was the mass destruction that large groups of people using an area will cause. Trash and more!

Growing up we also used to go canoeing and play in the river. Playing on the sandbank was fun. So taking the kids to the river was high on my list of things to do. The path we took down to the river wasn’t one we had made, it was one someone using our property to put canoes in to the river had cut through the weeds and trees. While walking down it, we saw everything from discarded aluminum cans to the sprayer for a garden hose. The kids built sand pyramids at the bottom of the path and want to go back to check on them…. I couldn’t tell them that they wouldn’t even last one day with the traffic that cuts through our property.

While there a car was parked at the top of the trail, pulled over on our property. It didn’t move, the people weren’t around. I assume they were canoeing down the river. It had a hangtag from the local high school in the front window. They obviously felt comfortable enough to leave their car parked on our property for hours with no one around it. What’s funny is my family has always been welcoming I think. So people asking if it’s ok, not leaving trash, would be all it would take to not be trespassing.

Our other area Bailey’s Bottom has so much trash being dumped at the entry, we have given up keeping up the road. When we want to go back to the field we walk back, which means we rarely go, since it’s a good distance back. It was another place growing up the family would have parties, swinging out into the river on tire swings, having bon fires, paying on the sand banks! It was where I learned to drive a truck on the road beside the field.

Road to Bailey’s Bottom
Kickapoo Park Property (at the end of our lane)


Teresa Moretto Headstone

Looking at headstones recently I came across a headstone for Ethel Richter Dodge. I had assumed originally I was looking through my files for Ethel Richter (not my Aunt Ethel but another Ethel Richter), who had married into the Dodge family. We unfortunately lost my Aunt Ethel last year, so asking her wasn’t possible. I did find out she was named for a family friend and distant relative Ethel Oakwood as I was working on searching for the family link.

In the past as I’ve looked through the cemetery – and even looking through my own notes, I’m always surprised at the number of names that are reused. My grandmother Theresa Moretto was even named after her sister that passed away a few years before she was born. Her sister was said to have been named after an aunt that great grandmother didn’t want to forget. Reusing names was a way to honor the family member. My grandmother’s sister had come to the US with my great grandparents when they immigrated from Italy and passed away shortly after arriving in the US.

There is also a grave for a Janie Richter that was a sister to my grandfather. The story goes that she was kicked in the head by a horse and passed away very young. That name was also reused. An unusual name was Cleta. My aunt Cleta Fern Richter passed away at barely a year old from pneumonia, but also in the family as a Cleta Henning – My grandmother’s niece.

I had already thought about naming any daughter after one of my aunts. We ended up with all boys and I left it to my husband to choose the names. For each name we discussed the good and bad qualities for each friend, family, and sometimes others that we knew with the same name. None of the boys did end up named after anyone we knew, but we definitely discussed everyone we knew with each name before settling on a name. I always hope my kids are happy with the name they ended with.

Janie Richter HeadstoneI remember growing up trying to change my name a few times. I even successfully changed it once for a few weeks. I always liked my middle name more than my first name, and in kindergarten had come up with the idea to write a note saying my parents had changed my name to my middle name. – As an important note to remember it was in a kindergarteners handwriting, but I did get my mother to sign it. I should also mention a cousin’s husband was the principal, another cousin’s wife was the 1st grade teaching assistant and the janitor was a cousin too.

All that being said, they took my note and changed everything. My mother didn’t find out what happened until parent teacher conferences. – She did make them change everything back. Of course this was the same teacher that kept confusing my best friend and I (the fact that we randomly kept swapping name tags didn’t help), and had ended up accidently sending me for my friends kindergarten immunizations, while she got to skip ( I had already had mine, so I ended up with twice the dose and she got none)…. I often wondered if that was why that teacher quit the next year?

Names can be important, in researching your family, multiple family members with the same names makes following my family line takes some effort and knowing family stories as much as possible.