My genealogical research and musings, focused on the Leaves & Branches of my family tree, primarily in Southwestern Ohio. I search for the family history of the Ballein, Davis, Donaldson, Dudley, Wardlow, Ogden, Lamb, and Shaper families and their ancestors.
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I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone that next Sunday is the
10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.I’m also sure that each of us has a story to
tell about the 9-11 attacks.As I do my
genealogical research, I am often frustrated that it is only possible to get
small glimpses of my ancestors’ lives and not really get to know the
person. I would like to know how their lives were impacted by what we now consider history. I hope this blog will survive in
some form for a long time and that someday future generations of our family
will be interested in how major historical events impacted our lives.Today, I will share my recollections of
September 11, 2001.Next week, I hope to
share other family members’ memories of the major events of our time.
My 9-11 memory actually begins before September 11,
2001.It starts on Sunday September 2,
2001, the day before Labor Day.There is a carillon in Mariemont,
Ohio with concerts every Sunday and on holidays.Although I had often heard parts of these
concerts from time to time, I had never actually gone to Dogwood Park (or “the Bell
Tower” as it is more frequently referred) for the purpose of listening to one
of the concerts.September 2, 2011 was
the first time.
My then-six-year-old niece Alyssa joined me for the
concert.She played in the playground
while I watched her and waited for the concert.I saw the mostly elderly crowd – “the greatest generation” - drag their
lawn chairs into the park.The concert
began and, as I recall, it was mostly patriotic and traditional American
music.Toward the middle of the concert,
The Star-Spangled Banner was played.I
looked around me.The woman
sitting next to me was speaking on her cell phone.A couple of young mothers were chatting.I glanced over toward the area where the
concert-goers were seated.Around half
were standing in respect to their country and the national anthem.Many of the older
crowd – most of whom were able to carry their lawn chairs into the park – didn’t
seem able to stand for two minutes for the playing of the national anthem.
I was at work on Tuesday September 11, 2001.That morning, I heard a coworker say that a
plane had struck the World Trade Center.At first, I thought that a
small plane had struck the building in a terrible accident and didn't think much of it.That assumption didn’t last long, as word got
around that a second plane hit the World Trade Center. My mom called me and asked
if I heard about the terrible events in New York. I then heard that the Pentagon had been hit. After a while, I couldn’t bear to just sit at
my desk. News was slow in appearing on
the internet.So, I went to the
associate lounge where there was a television.I watched the video of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center as
Dan Rather emphasized that this was actual video and not an animation.Dozens of associates stood in the lounge area
in silent astonishment.
I returned to my desk and, although it seems silly now, wondered
if I would ever see my family again.It
was obvious that the country was under attack and no one knew at that point
what else might be in store.News came
in that a jet crashed in Pennsylvania and that there was a bomb threat at the
State Department.It was truly a
frightening day.I made it home that
day, of course, and fear turned to sadness and anger as we watched hour after
hour, day after day of news reports about the attacks.
I live near Cincinnati’s municipal air field, Lunken Airport,
and we didn’t hear the almost constant sound of aircraft overhead for several
days, since air travel was suspended. Many
companies closed for the next few days out of safety concerns and to allow
their employees time to mourn.At work,
I didn’t receive a call from outside of the company for the rest of the
week.A day or two following the attacks
I learned that one of my high school classmates perished in the World Trade
Prior to the attacks, my mom and I had made arrangements to
visit Washington, DC at the end of September 2001.We debated for several days whether to keep
our reservations.I would awaken in the
mornings and feel determined to stick to our plans and visit DC.I didn’t like the idea of terrorists
controlling my life.But as the day wore
on and I heard more and more rumors and news reports, I would end the day
wanting to cancel our reservations.This
continued for several more days until my mom and I decided to postpone our trip
until September 2002. When we finally made it to DC the following year, I was able to visit the September 11th exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
On Friday September 14, 2001, there was a prayer observance
on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati.My employer allowed time off for associates to attend.Thousands of people crammed the square.It might have been the only time in my life I
felt like I was truly part of “one nation under God, indivisible.”As I took my evening walks in the coming days,
I was struck by how much friendlier people seemed as we passedeach other in the streets. There was a feeling that we were all on the
same team.This was the positive that
came out of an almost unimaginably tragic and violent situation.
In the days that followed September 11, 2001 and quite often
since then, I have thought back to that day at the Bell Tower.I wondered if the national anthem had been on
the program for the September 16, 2001
concert if the young mothers would have stopped talking, if the lady would end
her phone call, or if more people would have stood to honor the playing of the
national anthem.I believe they would
have because we had all changed, mostly for the better.But, sadly, it was only a temporary
change.If the national anthem were to
be played at today’s concert, I believe the reaction would be much as it
was ten years ago.
We should never forget, but it seems we always do.
A few years ago I was looking through a collection of family
photographs and mementos.I was struck
by the number of photos of my grand-uncle, Charles Henry Dudley and his family.
Uncle Charlie was the eldest son of Jesse and Mary Shaper
Dudley and brother of my grandmother Mary Dudley Donaldson.He was born October 18, 1878 in Clark
Township, Clinton County, Ohio.Below is
the earliest photo I have of Charlie.
Charlie grew up in Clark Township with his brothers Lew, Frank, Ab, Tom, and
Clarence.By the time my grandma was
born in 1898, Charlie was already a young man.Just a little over a year later, Charlie married the pretty Anna
Dora Meyer and they made their home in Clark Township near his aunt Marietta
Dudley Himes and her family.Charlie worked as a day laborer.
On August 14, 1900, Anna gave birth to the couple’s first
child, Walter Sherman Dudley.Sadly, the
child died on September 17, 1900.After Walter’s death, Charlie and Anna had
three more sons.James Logan was bor…
My paternal grandfather, James Quincy Davis, was born July 11, 1906 in Brown County, Ohio to James Ulysses and Rosa Ogden Davis.
Grandpa was married more than anyone else I have personally known - five times. He was first married at 20 years of age. The family story is that he divorced his first wife because she liked to play cards too much. I later learned that the young lady was only a teenager when they were married. So, I guess grandpa was married to a teenage card sharp.
Grandpa next married my grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein. The story goes that they met at a store in Eastwood in Brown County, Ohio. There was a story in the Cincinnati Post several years ago about Freeman's store in Eastwood which, back in the day, was a popular spot for socializing. It is possible they met at Freeman's. My grandmother was visiting the store with her sister Freda and brother Oscar. My grandparents were married on grandpa's 25th birthday, July 11, 1931. They had two children, my dad R…
Robert Hamilton was my fifth great-grandfather (Robert Hamilton – Elizabeth Hamilton Dunn – Robert Dunn – Lulu Dunn Wardlow – Dora Elma Wardlow Ballein – Jennie Esther Ballein Davis – Russell Lee Davis – me).He was born in Ireland on May 16, 1760, but came to America as a teenager and soon thereafter joined the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army.
Robert first married Susannah Kean, my ancestor, on April 30, 1781.They had three children, Elizabeth, Robert Jr., and Joseph.After Susannah died, Robert married Ann Hays on February 23, 1792.Robert and Ann had one child, William Hays Hamilton.The Hamiltons moved from Pennsylvania, ultimately settling near Lebanon in Warren County, Ohio.Robert worked as a blacksmith. As I am writing this, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Civil War pension file from the National Archives on an ancestor on my maternal grandmother’s branch of the family.Military pension files are interesting not only because of the information they provide on an ind…