Parish Cemetery

The older of two cemeteries sitting astride the old National Road, U.S. 40, in the neighborhood of Arlington just north of Brookville, Ohio, this holds the remains of my great-grandparents on Dad’s side, plus a lot of my Rasor kin, who were probably instrumental in the church across the street.



On the educational side

In this family, education was taken seriously, within limits of practicality and with a strong dose of suspicion.

I had always assumed that Grandpa had finished high school. His father, however, had received only rudimentary schooling at the outset and after the Civil War. In North Carolina, the Quaker schools were the last to shut down, and reopened early in the years after with much assistance from Friends in the North.

Still, the 1870 Census reports 13-year-old Joshua was working the farm while his 10-year-old brother attended school. Grandpa’s mother and his wife both taught school for a while; a college degree was not required in those days, especially in the one-room schools.

TJ notes, though, “I don’t think my dad went beyond eighth grade. The boys had to work the farmland. I have my mother’s eighth-grade graduation picture, but not a high school picture. She did prepare for a teacher’s certificate and I assume she did teach, but not for long.”

Now I’m wondering just what drew Grandma to teaching.

Continue reading On the educational side

Arlington Cemetery

Two cemeteries sit astride the old National Road, U.S. 40, in the neighborhood of Arlington just north of Brookville, Ohio.

I have ancestors buried in both.




The newer one, Arlington, sits next to a United Brethren church founded in 1845 that wound up United Methodists after the mergers. No, this one’s not the famous national cemetery just outside the national capital.

My parents and grandparents and Uncle Leroy and Aunt Anna are buried here.

As I also learned scrolling though Census records, my grandparents had been childhood neighbors growing up on farms just south of here.

Homemade noodles, crates of oysters, fried chicken, and more

Because of the geographical distances, Dad’s sisters and their families were to a large degree alien to my sister and me. Family reunions, gathering the descendants of Grandpa’s father, Joshua, were no less confusing, even though they were attended largely by people who lived within driving distance of us. Only after I undertook the genealogical research did the connections become clearer. Fortunately, I launched into this project shortly after cousin Floyd had begun collecting materials and asking questions, and we were soon swapping our findings and hunches.

Reflecting on the reunions, Floyd recalled:

“Uncle James, no one enjoyed the food more, unless it was me. Remember the homemade ice cream! Aunt Erma with her quiet manner always enjoyed herself being with the family.”

Food, of course, quickly points to the kitchen where Grandma rolled out dough on tea towels and deftly cut with an unerringly accurate paring knife her homemade noodles – a vestige of her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, as I would learn. TJ details the process: “She would spread her homemade noodles on clean dish cloths on the kitchen table and then, after they had dried some, transfer them to dowels between two chairs.” In my memory, wooden yardsticks were used instead. Either would work.

Only when I was reading Emerson L. Lesher’s humorous The Muppie Manual: The Mennonite Urban Professional’s Guide for Humility and Success and came across his mentioned of how the generation moving away from the farm prefers “pasta” to “noodles” did it click – none of her daughters or granddaughters learned the recipe or the knack.

Only now do the vague memories linger of overheard discussion of scrapple and German-named specialties we children would never touch willingly in a million years – one sounded vaguely like, hog maws, pig stomach, or maybe “corn paws.” Another was their synonym for cottage cheese, along the lines of “shmear-case” (schmerkase). A Sunday after-church dinner typically included pickled eggs and pickled beets, possibly also from that tradition.

Grandpa’s steaks, meanwhile, would be pounded out with a tenderizing hammer, breaded, and fried Southern-style – definitely not the marinated ones we now grill and savor.

Continue reading Homemade noodles, crates of oysters, fried chicken, and more