Ole Larson's Folks

Sunday, May 26

Mostly a travel day. As previously mentioned, I revisited the Mohler Church of the Brethren near Harrisburg, PA for Sunday worship. The congregation was small, mostly elderly. Hymns were sung without accompaniment, and the preaching was simple and sincere, if rather underprepared.

Mohler church 2

After church, I drove back through Frederick, MD to West Virginia, returned the rental car in Charles Town, and boarded the westbound train at Harpers Ferry in late afternoon, for an all-night ride.

Monday, May 27

Distant cousin Tom Welch met me at Union Station in his home city of Chicago. He is a descendant of Madison and Harriet Myers, whose graves we viewed at Forty Fort. Ironically, this Memorial Day was one of very few days on the tour when I did not visit any graveyards.

Tom and George

The dog is named George, so I guess we are related, too (ha). Tom had graciously invited me to spend the night at his house in the city, but first, he drove me to the suburbs, and the home of another cousin, Melinda Morgan. Melinda and her daughter, Kristin Olsen, served us a delicious noontime feast, and showed us their extensive collection of artifacts and documents. As usual, click on any image to enlarge.

1818 sampler

This needlework is the oldest family heirloom I have yet had the privilege of viewing. Harriet Myers (1807-1889) was great-great grandmother to both Tom and Melinda, and third great grand-aunt to me. In other words, she was a sister of my third great-grandfather, Lawrence Myers of Sunbury, Ohio. Besides ornamental sewing, young Harriet also dabbled at painting.

Harriet painting

But it was Harriet’s daughter Miranda Myers (1837-1890), nicknamed “Randa,” who became an accomplished painter.

Miranda painting

This oil-on-canvas is said to depict the Pennsylvania home of Madison, Harriet, and family, before the landscape was altered by coal mining in the late 1800s and later development.

Another of Harriet’s daughters, Martha Ann Myers (1841-1922), nicknamed “Mattie,” was Tom and Melinda’s great-grandmother. To me, Martha and all her siblings were first cousins, four generations removed.

A spiral-bound booklet Tom and Melinda, and cousin Jack Young, prepared for a family reunion highlights Martha and her descendants.

2006 reunion title

After Martha’s marriage to Archibald J Weaver, her classmate at Wyoming Seminary, they both attended Harvard law school, and became friends of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. They then moved to Falls City, Nebraska, where “AJ” practiced law, later becoming a judge, and then a US Congressman. Their son Arthur J Weaver served as the 22nd Governor of Nebraska.

There is much of interest in the family reunion book, including several letters and a long interview Melinda conducted with the late Charles E Myers, as he led her on a tour of ancestral sites in the Wyoming Valley. But the bigger treasures were to be found in several boxes full of old letters and documents we brought up from Melinda’s basement. Looking quickly through them, Tom selected about a hundred to take home with him for scanning. I will show you a few of them in the next post. A thousand thanks to Tom Welch and Melinda Morgan! You can contact Tom directly at tom@twelchconsulting.com.


Forty Fort Graves
Basement Bounty