Building a shoestring so far….

I can honestly say that building has been eventful so far and I do fill a little alone, as the one with the past history of having lived in the country before.  This isn’t helped though by the fact that I moved off to college at 18 and have lived in a populated area ever since….  Things to deal with that I have to get used to are sun, dirt, mice, bugs, and the whole different ways of doing things. We are still plodding on though.

Our plans are pretty simple: to build on the farm that my family has been at since I entered second grade.  My parents bought part of the farm from a distant cousin and the part we are building on was purchased from another cousin years later.  The land is the land that my ancestors lived on and more recently my grandmother Mildred Eldridge Richter’s brother Ernest Eldridge had his house on and then his son James Eldridge.  My father buried the house for my great Uncle Ernest in the 80s.  – I have to admit I don’t remember ever being in the house, but I’m sure I was at one point or another while we live just down the road. Currently I’ve been picking up blocks and bricks from the dirt and adding them to a pile with a plan to reuse them in some way.

In the woods behind where we are building is a pig barn.  To make it more fun for my youngest, I’ve been calling it a secret hideaway, and it is very secret.   Years ago that area had pigs and horses – and I’m sure lots of other livestock running around, so it’s no surprise that there is still an old barn hidden in the woods.  Currently we have found a fold up chair sitting in it, and it looks like at some point someone has run some lighting out to the barn.  It doesn’t look immensely secure, but as a kids playhouse/hideaway out in the country it does look fun!  It makes me a little excited to imagine all the possibilities to explore with our youngest and his friends once we get moved in!

Getting a construction loan worked out was a little complicated, but we do have it set up.  Our plan is still to sell our house in Kentucky and pay off the construction loan, so we are juggling budgets.  The loan is worked out though, but to save money we haven’t surveyed anything. So as long as we can work out selling our current home before the construction loan reaches a year, we are find.   The tough part doing it this way is that we are so reliant on everything timing out well, and so far it’s really stressful!  Having a son that has autism makes for a little more need for structure and makes change a little tougher. We have been preparing him for the time that we will retire to Illinois for his whole live, so he isn’t having too hard a time with it – but moving and leaving his friends is tough anyway.  So we are trying to stick as closely as possible to the timeline to make life less stressful.

On the spot where we plan to build, a cousin previously had a trailer.  It was last occupied in the 80s or early 90s and is now just a home for what got left behind – and a lot of mice, ants and other wildlife.  The wheels that were previously under it have no way of being used anymore and my father had the county drop a huge pile of dirt in from the of trailer also so that no one could get in from of the frame even if it was possible.  All the copper, lines, furnace and anything useful had been removed from the trailer, so my mothers preference was to just light it on fire and then move the frame that was left.  Some friends were willing to come and cut the frame pieces off to have them recycled, and the frame would be all that was left – with a plan to cut it up later also…   It ended up with only the frame pushed up into the woods by the spot that a shed is being stored until the house is delivered.

To store some of our items, we did get a shed delivered. Other than the house down payment, house insurance and the amount for the loan , it was one of the first purchases.  The shed has two lofts, a metal roof and windows the open besides a door that locks.  It was probably an extravagance, but so far it seems worth it.

We have also had a friend excavate some area for driveway and had some large rock hauled in for a driveway base.  It isn’t great to drive on, but at least we have something.  Soon we need to have a smaller crushed rock added on top of the large rock.

Foundation :

Our modular includes the foundation – 4 blocks high, so the company was to do the foundation. Getting the date and time for when though was tough!  We ended up with the foundation contractor coming a week after the house had been promised to arrive.  Kind of discouraging when you are trying to stick to a timeline for a special needs child.  They did finally show up with any a few snafus. The person from the home sales place had originally told us that they would arrive about 3 hours later than when they actually showed up and that they would call when they got close – instead they arrived before we got there and were parked on an old well.  They did get the foundation footers poured – with the cement truck almost driving into the old septic tank!  They showed up later to do the foundation walls after I had already headed back to our house in Kentucky.

The foundation has a drain in the corner, a vapor barrier, insulation, vents, and pea gravel covering. We ended up with it two blocks under ground on one end and one block deep at the other end.  The also spread dirt out… They will use the dirt to backfill the foundation later. – Which they did just show up this week to put insulation board in and boards across the top of the foundation walls. They have backfilled, but we haven’t seen what it looks like yet, since we weren’t there at the time.

The Well:
In our area a bored well seemed the way to go. There were previous wells, but they weren’t of high quality, or we couldn’t find them.  Water is pretty important.  I’m not completely sure how my husband is going to do with the well, but first we had to get a well.  Drilled wells were a lot cheaper, but had a lot less chance of being productive.  Ultimately I decided to break down and spend the money for a bored well.  We found that many of the well known well drillers in the area wouldn’t return phone calls.  I was able to find the local well map and called a few of the recent well drillers and went will a company that had done some recent wells and seemed to be really responsive to questions.
At first while drilling it seemed we were hitting a dry well, but after giving it some time to sit we found that it was filling with water.  It appears to be filling at .7 gpm – fast enough! our next step on the well will be to get the pump and storage tanks hooked up.

For septic, we were going to use the old system.  We had located an old 750 gallon tank, but ugh, it turned out to have pipes that were busted when the foundation went in, so now we are going to have to price a tank and plan a leach field… Next Step. We are looking at a chamber system for the leach field.


For the electric, we’ve been lucky to have an electrical engineer in the family – so I’m really hoping that the house arrives in time to get help hooking power up to the house.  Right now our fingers are crossed!

The modular company though wasn’t able to tell us anything about the plumbing for the house until the last minute when they let us know that the plumbing needs completed under the house.  It would have been great to know ahead of time to plan, but at least we found out before we moved in!


Finally for the gas/propane, we have arranged for a company to come hook that up.  They are just waiting for the house to arrive. Finally something simple!

Col Morgan Morgan

Col Morgan Morgan is known as the first white settler in West Virginia.  I’m currently documenting my line from Col Morgan Morgan to myself.   He was born in 1688 and passed away in 1766.  he was thought to be friends with George Washington and had children go on to do historical things also.  His son who was my direct ancestor Zackquill, founded Morgantown besides being a Colonel himself and fighting in the Revolution.

Morgan Morgan arrived in what is now West Virginia in 1731. In January 1734, he, among others, was appointed to the ‘Commission of the Peace’, meaning that he was a magistrate. He probably received a Patent for 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) ‘[i]n the Forks of the Rappahannock River & Westwood of Sherrando River’ on December 12, 1734.[4] The long-standing claim that he was the first permanent resident there is, however, doubtful. In fact, the area now known as Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was probably settled by German-speaking immigrants as early as 1727.[5]

Morgan died at Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, now in West Virginia, and was buried in the Morgan Chapel Graveyard.[6]

Zackquill’s son Uriah (my direct line) is documented in the West Virginians in the Revolution book I’ve found Zackquill listed in.   Uriah was found in Tyler County where John McArdle married Nancy Morgan, but that is where I am finding my stumbling block.  I know Nancy Morgan is the daughter of Uriah Morgan and I have documentation showing her married to John McArdle in Tyler County.  John and Nancy McArdle then moved to Vermilion County Illinois before Nancy passed away (before Uriah’s death).  Nancy’s marriage license shows a Zackwell Morgan – most likely her brother, as a witness, but her father isn’t listed. Because of Nancy passing away before  Uriah, she is not listed in his will.

I am currently looking for the illusive  copy of the book of Col Morgan Morgan descendants that should list Nancy Morgan as Uriah Morgan’s daughter.  The book has been out of print for a while and isn’t available through any source I’ve found.  There are a few others also, but I would need to visit a library (not necessarily close to me) to find them.  I’m hoping someone online has a copy of the pages showing Nancy Morgan’s lineage.

I have everything from John and Nancy McArdle on documented, so I am just missing the one link.    Within the line, all of Nancy’s descendant’s in my direct line have met with deaths in accidents.  I am curious now also what happened to her, as she passed away at a young age.  Her son Uriah was run over by an oxen team while saving his granddaughter.  My great grandfather Elmer died in a fire, taking down his whole house with himself in it.   My grandfather drown at Ellsworth park in Danville Illinois while swimming with family and friends on flag day while my mother was only 3 years old.

It’s starting to look like I may have to take a trip to find the correct book.  I have found a site that has a downloadable scanned copy, but to view it requires entering a credit card to sign up for a free account.  To me this seems a little scary… The ecopy in Worldcat is search only:  Searching in the text shows:

Showing 1 – 1 of 1 Results for nancy AND morgan AND uriah AND john AND mccardle
  • Page 159 – 11 matching terms 

Showing 1 – 1 of 1 Results for nancy AND morgan AND uriah AND john AND mccardle
So I’m fairly certain this book has what I need.  The question is getting a hold of a copy of this page and the front pages with dates and information about the book for documentation.  The nearest copy to me is just over 100 miles away in Louisville and about 80 miles from my mother with no copy available to purchase on Amazon.

Corbley Vs. Wilson

Corbley Vs. WilsonAs I search for information about why my ancestor Corbley lost his farm, I find information on a lawsuit filed by a person named Wilson  against Corbley for slander.  The case went on to be used as a foundation of law as it was reversed by the supreme court at one point.  The law review book shown here describes the case as being originally lost by Corbley when Wilson presented a court case of the act Corbley had ‘accused’ him of and that the end result of the criminal case was not guilty.

When the case was appealed at the supreme court it was decided that the result of the criminal case had no baring on the slander case, so the original finding was reversed.

IMG_2471 IMG_2473 IMG_2474Each time the case was decided or reversed the case at the time made the paper being big news at the time. I haven’t found so far where to find the specifics of the trial case – what was Corbley accused of saying about Wilson?  I do know that Edward Corbley’s brother Lindsey was a lawyer and would have been surprised if he had not taken on a case involving his brother.  From what I know now, the plaintiff in a case normal doesn’t have to pay out until all appeals are resolved… So I would think from all of this that Corbley never had to pay out to Wilson. Lawyer fees would have been another matter.

None of the articles I’ve found so far include Wilson’s  full name or the crime he was originally accused of. I’m not completely positive of the year also….

The Supreme Court case was decided in 1878 (10/7) and in the paper is listed as Edward Corbley vs. Benj. Wilson.  So I am guessing Wilson’s name was Benjamin.  Muncie had been platted in 1875 and Corbley’s farm was sold for bankruptcy in 1881 (Sept).  Corbley was next found in Missouri in 1884.  His residence was listed in Missouri at the time he passed away in Illinois in 1891.  Interestingly enough his wife passed away in 1885 in Kankakee Illinois.  My great grandmother (their daughter) had married just a few years before (1882), so it may have been that Mary Ann Littler Corbley stayed, not wanting to leave her daughter and new grandchildren.  She may also have been in ill health.  Kankakee was the location of a hospital at the time.  Maybe even the selling of the farm caused health issues?


Interesting Stories from History – Ida M Fisher

Every so often you find a story as you search that is interesting. Ida M Fisher – The wife of Paul Scheffler apparently shot herself according to the newspaper article.

causeddeathWhat’s even more interesting is that the newspaper article not only tells what the cause of her death was, they tell the whole story.  They even include that she playfully kicked the boat with her foot, intending thereby to make Mrs. Lavar unsteady and spoil her aim….  Apparently Mrs. Lavar aim was thrown off (being a cripple according to the article) and Ida (Fisher) Sheffler was shot in the forehead causing “a gloom over the happy crowd”.

This was from July 26, 1906.  The Plymouth Tribune and is saved in the Library of Congress.  I’ve found a few articles cut from papers in photo albums my aunts had collected.  They include articles such as Mrs Richter went visiting to her daughter and son in law on Wednesday.

For small country towns, even going into town was a newsworthy even before the advent of cars (and when cars were first available, having a car was a BIG event)…

The event in the article is such a sad event, but yet the way it’s written gives a little look into the way newspaper reporting was viewed at the time.  Personally I almost view the newspapers of the time as ‘gossip rags’?  They are a great place to get information for family history though.




Source:LOC Newspaper Copy



Family Stories

Family stories are hard to find once your older relatives are gone.  On my mother’s side, my grandmother was the best source – and she didn’t know her father since he passed away when she was little.  I’ve heard rumors he was a small man compared to my great grandmother that was large.  He worked in the mines and had a hard life. I’m sure that the mines contributed to his lack of ability to fight the flu in 1918.  That flu killed off large amounts of middle aged people and was one of the worst epidemics in history.

Stories I’ve heard include how my great grandmother would work in the garden and stop long enough to come in, have a baby and go back out.  My great grandfather had applied for citizenship and my great-grandmother would have gotten it through him if he hadn’t passed away before completing the process.  Stories sound like she was always afraid they would send her back to Italy and not let her come back to the US if she tried to visit family back home.

The story I had heard was that they started in Clinton IN and then moved to Westville, IL.  My great-grandmother came over to the US with three girls in tow and passed through Ellis Island.  After coming to the US a daughter Theresa died in Clinton IN as a child.  The story is that Theresa was the name of a sister to my g-grandmother so she named my grandmother Theresa since she wanted to use the name (after the first Theresa had passed away).  The grave of the first Theresa in Clinton supposedly washed away many years ago.

Can you imagine coming to a foreign country on a LONG boat trip with three girls afraid that one would get sick and cause the new country to deny you entry?  My great grandparents left everything they new behind to come to the US with very few possessions to start over with.

Stories of Italy that my grandmother remembered included that they lived above the barn  in Italy.  The heat from the animals kept the house warmer.  My aunt Kate also told stories filled with superstition.  One I remember involved a beggar coming to the door in Italy and a relative throwing hot coffee out that landed on the beggars face.  A few days later a dog showed up at the door with a burnt face and they were sure it was the beggar. Of course these stories come to me not even second hand, but third hand in this case. My Aunt Kate was one of the youngest kids and she told me many years ago.  If only I had used a tape recorder then to preserve the stories….