idaho-lemhi-pass-PI have been re-reading the Tom Cover book ( Vengeance!  The Saga of Poor Tom Cover by Dan Thrapp)  in preparation for a trip I am taking to Montana later this month.  What a great book! I am not sure why the author chose to write about Tom Cover but I am sure glad he did.  As Joe Snyder has commented,  Tom Cover makes our lives seem  pretty small by comparison.  He had a huge life jam-packed with adventure, excitement and intrigue. Every time I read this book, my attention is drawn to a different part of his adventures.

During 1862, Tom led a group of 26 gold-seeking  prospectors  from Denver, Colorado to Montana. It says a lot about Tom that he  was chosen to captain this hard-bitten aggregation of men. The group that Tom led included a variety of individuals,  including at least three attorneys,  a future Congressman, men from various walks of life and  individuals of foreign descent. Dan Thrapp, the author of the Tom Cover book, surmises that Tom was anointed the leader of this group because of his considerable frontier  experience, his capacity to handle troublesome Indians, his leadership  qualities, courage and resourcefulness.

The Cover party, as it was called, included men mounted on horseback, others riding bull wagons and men walking. The Cover party traveled through numerous areas inhabited by Indians, some very unfriendly and dangerous and some not.  Make no mistake, the threat of attack from Indians was very real on this journey. To put this in perspective, the Cover Party’s journey occurred 14 years before Custer and 267 troopers from his 7th Cavalry  were killed by Indians at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in nearby Montana Territory.  Their  trip included travel through plains areas, through valleys, along and over rivers and into and over mountains, including stretches of the Northern Rockies. There were many adventures along the way. As they had started in the spring, many of the streams and rivers they crossed were very high due to melted snow runoff.  As the group crossed the North Platte River, Tom Cover’s horse sunk and he was able to reach land only after tremendous difficulty.

In late May or early June of 1862, the group crossed the Snake River near the present town of Idaho Falls.   The Snake River carried an abundance of ice-cold swift water which was hazardous to raft. The Cover party spent several weeks making rafts for the wagons and testing them in the  rough water of the Snake River. During  that time, one poorly constructed boat, made out of a wagon box, capsized  and two of the expedition drowned. Ultimately, they located and repaired an ancient ferry boat, that they used to ferry across the river the wagons, the horses and the men that could not swim. The Cover party became quite expert in using rafts to cross wide and dangerous rivers.

The Cover party faced the threat of  constant skirmishes with Indians and they had to picket their horses and cattle nearby every night and post guards to prevent losing their stock to the  Indians.   At times, they found game to be scarce and at other times, they found game in abundance, killing birds, elk and antelope. On July 4, they celebrated by slaughtering  one of their precious oxen.

The Cover party threaded through Lemhi Pass, a high mountain pass, to enter into Montana from Idaho. Lemhi Pass is in the Beaverhead Mountains, part of the Bitterroot range in the Rocky Mountains and within present Salmon-Challis National Forest. the pass lies on the Idaho-Montana border on the continental divide at an elevation of 7,373 feet.  Before they began the journey up the pass, they took apart the wagons , hid the pieces in the brush, cached their extra provisions and turned loose most of their oxen to graze, rest and fatten. Pack saddles were made for some of the cattle, a handful of men rode horses and the remainder of the men walked as they journeyed up Lemhi Pass, which is shown in the photo at the top of this post. Lemhi Pass is also of historical significance as it was the pass discovered  and used by Meriwether Lewis and members of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition in 1805. As Meriwether Lewis and his crew climbed Lemhi pass from the Montana side, they hoped to see the Pacific Ocean but, upon reaching the top of the pass, saw only further mountains as far as they could see.

The driving distance today from Denver to Dillon, Montana is 755 miles via interstate and/or modern highways.  Given the nature of the   roads and/or trails that existed at the time of the Cover party’s journey, they likely traveled over 1,000 miles through rough and   difficult terrain. In short, the Cover party’s  journey through the wilderness of present day Colorado, Wyoming , Idaho and Montana was long,  arduous and full of adventures, obstacles and unanticipated difficulties.


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPerry L. Cover was born in Johnsville on November 16, 1866. He was the son of Upton Aquila  and Susan (Lamb) Cover. Upton was the older brother of Mary Margaret (Cover) Biddle, one of my direct ancestors. So, that would make him my first cousin, three times removed. Perry never married. The census records indicate that he had a long time housekeeper, Mattie Parsons, who lived with him.  Perry was named after his uncle, Perry D. Cover, who served in the Civil War for the 87 Ohio Infantry and later moved to Riverside, California.  Perry died on September 23, 1945 and is buried in Forest Cemetery in Fredericktown.  I found the following biographical sketch about Perry:

Perry L. Cover, one of the progressive and well-known farmers and stock raisers of the vicinity of Fredericktown, Knox county, is a man who believes in doing well whatever he deems worth doing at all, hence his success in material things, and he is an advocate of clean politics and wholesome private and social living and as a result of his well-ordered life he is held in high esteem by all with whom he has come into contact. Mr. Cover was born on November 16, 1866, in Johnsville, Morrow county. Ohio. He is the son of Upton A. and Susan Cover, the father born in Maryland, from which state he came to Richland county, Ohio, when a child with his parents. The mother of the subject, whose maiden name was Lamb, was born in Richland county, this state, and there spent her girlhood. When the father was a young man he launched out in mercantile business with his brother, J. J. Cover, which they followed with continuous success for a period of twenty-seven years, maintaining a large establishment and enjoying an extensive trade all the while at Johnsville, Ohio, where the subject was born. They kept a general store where the villagers and country people could supply their every need and in return they bought everything the farmers had to sell, from their live stock and grain down to their butter, eggs and poultry. They were the first dealers in this part of the country to pack eggs in salt brine pickle, which was in vogue for years, until supplanted by cold storage. He was a very successful business man. his keen discernment and sound judgment never failing him and his courtesy and honesty in dealing with his many customers won their good will and friendship. He was one of seven brothers, all of whom but himself were Republicans in their political faith, he standing alone as a Democrat. He continued in the mercantile business in Johnsville until 1882, when he closed out his business and purchased a splendid farm a half mile southwest of Fredericktown, where he engaged in farming successfully until his death, in April, 1905, his wife having preceded him to the grave in August, 1896. They were the parents of two daughters and one son, namely: Emma E. and Mattie E., both deceased ; and Perry L.. of this sketch. Perry L. Cover was educated in the schools of Johnsville and Frederick- town, Ohio. He worked on his father’s farm in his youth, and after the death of the father he took the management of the same and here he has remained. This excellent farm, one of the best in Knox county, consists of one hundred and forty-three acres, which has been brought to a high state of improvement and cultivation and on which the subject has met with continued success as a general farmer and stock raiser. He has kept the buildings and fences all up to the standard and has so rotated his crops as to maintain the original fertility of the soil. Mr. Cover has never married. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic order at Fredericktown, and the chapter and commandery at Mt. Vernon. He is a Democrat in politics, but has never been, an office seeker nor an office holder, although he was land appraiser for Wayne township in 1910. In addition to his splendid farm in Wayne township, he has other valuable property in Colorado, some farming interests there. He has long manifested much interest in public improvements and is an advocate of good roads, in fact, everything that tends to advance the best interests of the masses. He is a man of” exemplary habits.


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IMG_5546Earlier this summer my Dad and I drove over to Mt. Gilead for a car show. The car show turned out to be a dud but we made a slight detour on the way into Johnsville and drove by a few family landmarks. This is a photo of the building in which Ora Snyder had his first funeral home. Ora and Marion Snyder bought this house in 1922.  His family also lived in this home. As you will note, the house is now very much in disrepair.  This house was also Dick and Helen Snyder’s first home after they were married. According to my Dad, the attached structure on the left contained an indoor basketball court where Ora’s sons, including Dave, Dick and Bob played basketball.

As I was taking this photo from across the street, an obviously rabid dog came bounding out of the house and gave me the business. The dog was soon followed by a man who demanded to know what I was doing taking a photo of his house. I explained to him that my grandfather had previously operated a funeral home in his house, that  my Dad had lived there in the 1930’s and that I just wanted a picture of the house. At that point, the demeanor of the current owner changed. He expressed disbelief that there had ever been a funeral home located in his house. I assured him that was the case and he seemed obviously upset, repeatedly saying “you should not have told me that.”  As I walked away, I could hear him muttering, “I did not want to know that.” Oh well, don’t ask a question that you don’t want the answer to!

Here is another photo of the house from a different view. IMG_5547


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Andy Snyder
I thought I might do a mini-profile of one of the younger members of our family who has really distinguished himself as an architect for one of the prominent architectural firms in the country.  Andy Snyder, son of Joe and Beth Snyder,  grandson of Dick and Helen Snyder and great grandson of Ora and Marion Snyder,   is a principal/architect at NBBJ.  Andy grew up in the Traverse City, Michigan area and graduated from Cornell University in 2005.
Founded in 1943, NBBJ has locations in Beijing, Boston, Columbus, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Pune, San Francisco, Seattle and Shanghai.  Their global network of “renaissance teams” includes more than 700 researchers, strategists, nurses, architects, anthropologists, planners and interior designers who generate ideas that have a profound and lasting impact.
Andy is the leader of NBBJ’s Science and Higher Education Practice and one of the firm’s most versatile and talented architects. He also leads the firm’s San Francisco studio.  His experience in differing scales and types of projects, from small renovations to new academic buildings and campus precincts, makes him a highly versatile designer and allows him to incorporate contemporary techniques within a complex settings.
 Andy is consistently recognized for leadership across a wide spectrum of experience–including academic research and learning, health and translational science, medical education, corporate research and technology projects. A frequent presenter at national conferences, he was recently named by the Design Futures Council as one of “40 under Forty” Emerging Leaders in Design.  When he’s not working or traveling, you can find him on the golf course or in a rowing shell.

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Stones River National Battlefield Cemetery

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a holiday for honoring those men and women who have died in the service of our country. Originally known as Decoration Day, it began in 1868 when mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants decorated the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

  I recently got away for a few days and toured several Civil War battlefields in Tennessee, including the Stones River National Battlefield.  I have been able to visit most of the major Civil War battlefields. This was one that I had never been to and it was definitely on my bucket list since two of our ancestors, Lieutenant John Biddle of the 101st Ohio Infantry and William Henry Harrison Phillips of the 64th Ohio Infantry, were killed in the battle of Stones River on December 31, 1862.  See my previous posts about them.

Stones River National Battlefield is a 570 acre park located in Rutherford County on the outskirts of Murfeesboro. The Battle of Stones River was one of the bloodiest of the war. More than 3,000 soldiers were killed and nearly 16,000 more were wounded. Some of these men spent as much as seven agonizing days on the battlefield before help could reach them. The two armies sustained nearly 24,000 casualties, which was almost one-third of the 81,000 men engaged. The Battle of Stones River resulted in a strategic and well-needed Union victory.  Within the boundaries of the park is the Stones River National Cemetery where 6,850 Union soldiers are buried.

As you may recall from one of my previous posts, Thomas M. Phillips,  the father of William Henry Harrison Phillips, traveled from Morrow County to Murfeesboro to retrieve his son’s body after learning that his son had died in this battle.

Thomas Phillips learned on January 10, 1863 of William’s death and within a week, he left on a journey to Tennessee to retrieve William’s body. Thomas took a train from Crestline to Cincinnati, where he got on a steamboat for the rest of his trip. Thomas Phillips’ diary indicates that he took a steamboat to avoid being captured and taken prisoner.  The excerpts from his diary describe Thomas’ efforts to locate William’s body, his trip back to Ohio on a steamboat full of wounded Union soldiers and the eventual return of William’s body to Ohio some five (5) months later.

Thomas would have been 63 years old when he ventured to Tennessee to bring back William’s body.  As I made the six and a half hour trip from Columbus to Murfeesboro on paved highways, I thought about what a difficult journey it must have been for Thomas Phillips to travel to Tennessee in 1863. I do not know for sure but I suspect there is a good chance that Thomas, who was a farmer near Johnsville, may have never left Ohio before that trip.

William Henry Harrison Phillips was re-buried in Shauck Cemetery. Likewise, John 1Biddle’s body was ultimately returned home and he is now buried in Biddle Cemetery in Crawford County. So, as we celebrate Memorial Day,  hopefully with a picnic and/or cookout,  lets give thanks for all the men and women  who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country, including John Biddle and William Henry Harrison Phillips. Here are photos of John Biddle and William Henry Harrison Phillips.

William Henry Harrison Phillips






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jack-lemmon-9378762-1-402  The famous actor, Jack Lemmon, is related to us. Jack is a descendant of Alexis Lemmon, Sr.,  one of our ancestors. (In my first post on this blog, I featured Alexis Lemmon, Jr., a Revolutionary War soldier,  who is buried in Shauck Cemetery.  Alexis, Sr.  is my sixth  great grandfather and also was Jack’s sixth great grandfather.

John Uhler “Jack” Lemmon III was born on February 8, 1925 and died on June 27, 2001.  Lemmon was an eight time Academy Award nominee, with two wins. He starred in over 60 films, such as Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Mister Roberts (for which he won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), Days of Wine and Roses, The Great Race, Irma la Douce, The Odd Couple and its sequel 30 years later, The Odd Couple II, (and other frequent collaborations with Odd Couple co-star Walter Matthau), Save the Tiger (for which he won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Actor), The Out-of-Towners, The China Syndrome, Missing (for which he won Best Actor at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival), Glengarry Glen Ross, Tuesdays with Morrie, Grumpy Old Men, and Grumpier Old Men.

Lemmon was born  in a suburb of Boston.  He was the only child of Mildred Burgess LaRue (née Noel) and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a donut  company.  His paternal grandmother was from an Irish immigrant family. During his acceptance of his lifetime achievement award, he stated that he knew he wanted to be an actor from the age of eight. Lemmon graduated from Harvard. He served in the Navy on the aircraft carrier, Lake Champlain, during World War II.

After college,  Lemmon took up acting professionally, working on radio, television and Broadway. He  studied acting and became  enamored of the piano, learning to play it on his own. He could also play the harmonica, guitar, organ, and the double bass.

He was married twice and his son, Chris Lemmon, was also an actor. Lemmon was well-known for being an outstanding “celebrity” golfer, who frequently played in pro-am tournaments. He is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park in Westwood, California, near his friend and frequent co-star, Walter Matthau.


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33444095_1437682818Thomas  Poland was the father of  Simon Poland, who was the father of  Cora Idella Poland,  who was  the mother of Marion Idella Lucas, who married Ora Otis Snyder, Sr. He was born on December 16, 1816 and died on February 17, 1896 in Indiana. He  has been described at different times as a carpenter, farmer and/or fruit farmer.  Here is a biographical  sketch about him that appeared in the Morrow County History of 1880.

“THOMAS POLAND, farmer, P.O., Lexington, was born Dec. 16, 1816 in Franklin Co., Penn.; his parents were natives of that state–his father , John Poland of Franklin Co. and his mother, Rachel (Cookston) Poland of Adams Co. His father was a farmer by occupation, and in 1832 he moved to Richland Co., where he lived four years. He then bought eighty acres of “school land” in this  county, on which he lived for more  than thirty years, when he sold it and moved to  Indiana. At the  age of  17, Thomas commenced working  at the carpenter trade which he followed for thirty years. When 19 he walked  to the city of  Baltimore and  returned as far as Pennsylvania, where he worked during the summer, and then came home.

He was the first man in this part of the  county to pack and ship apples; he was  engaged  in the produce business several years, and  in the lumber  trade some five years, during which he owned a portable sawmill a short  time. In all these ventures, he has been eminently successful, being now worth near twenty-four  thousand dollars.

He is a member of the I.O.O.F., and has been a charter member of the Patrons of Husbandry, of  which he is a lecturer; he also helped organize  a Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and is one of  the Directors. He was  married in July, 1838 to Mary, daughter of Lewis and Catherine Grimes. She was born Jan. 18, 1815, in Lancaster Co., Pa. To  them eight children were born; six are living–Simon, Mary A.,  Alexander, Hannah J,  Thomas J. and W. Scott. All are  married and the oldest three sons served in the late  war. ”

Around 1880, Thomas and his wife moved to Indiana  with their son Alexander.
They first located in Kosciusko County near where Thomas’  father John Poland and his youngest brother Jesse lived, also near where his daughter Mary, wife of George Tuckey, lived. In 1890 Thomas moved to South Whitley, Whitley County, Indiana. One of Thomas and Mary’s sons was Thomas Jefferson Poland, named after our country’s third president. Their son, Winfield Scott Poland, was named after Winfield Scott, a famous United States Army General and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1852 for the Whig party.  Thomas is buried in South Whitley Cemetery, South Whitley, Indiana.

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