10 April 2011

An Unjust Rebellion

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the American Civil War. In 1861, Theodore Raymo was 20 years old. To the best of my knowledge, he did not serve in the army.  I do not know whether he tried and was rejected, or if he never enlisted. However, we do have a glimpse of what his views on the conflict were.

Among Charlotte's family history papers was this handwritten essay with accompanying note and transcription. Charlotte writes: 

The original paper, written by my Grandfather Theodore Raymo (1841-1906), was given to me by Aunt Hazel (Mrs. William Krumm), August 15, 1960. It is written in ink on embossed stationery, and preserved in excellent condition.
Charlotte Raymo 
Chattanooga, Tennessee

It is dated "Ypsilanti, October 1st, 1861". Ypsilanti was a town about 13 miles west of Theodore's home in Nankin, Michigan. It is possible that Theodore was attending school there, probably at the Michigan State Normal School, which later became Eastern Michigan University. The essay is transcribed below.

An unjust rebellion is one of the most wicked acts that humanity can be engaged in; it fills the land with desolation and mourning; indeed it is impossible for us to comprehend the amount of suffering that it produces both in mind and body; it excites the most bitter feelings even in the same household; poisons the whole nation and destroys its mutual peace and happiness.
Let us for a moment look at our own distracted country which was once peaceful and happy, but now drenched with the blood of kindred, produced by the most infamous rebellion that ever existed. In the breaking out of the rebellion our government was controlled by traitorous hands, draining all its resources of self defense, and placing them in the hands of traitors, and when its overthrow was imminent the chief magistrate then in power with the greater portion of Congress, was unalarmed about its condition, not even attempting to put into execution the laws which were made for its protection. Such was the condition of our government when the present administration was inaugurated and the President seeing the peril which delay would occasion (and Congress not being in session) without delay and upon his own responsibility called upon the lovers of this country to uphold its integrity, and without a moment's delay thousands were ready to sacrifice themselves upon its altar, to sustain its rights against all treason, and although they have performed this mission faithfully, and many lie mouldering beneath the clods of the valley, yet men whom they have laid down their lives to protect cry out against the President for not waiting until it should have been ordered by Congress, running the risk of the capital being taken (which in the end would have caused the sacrifice of more of its children than it now does) not considering that the fault was not in the President, but in the former Congress for not acting when duty required; therefore they were transgressors not he. Again after many lives had been sacrificed, the administration discovers that the root and foundation of the rebellion (which is African slavery) is used as its drudge, throwing up breastworks against the defenders of our great and glorious government; and here they find action is necessary. In the first place they regard these slaves as property and confiscated them accordingly; but they find this is not sufficient, and hence they regard them as human beings and declare them free, and these slaves hearing the voice of freedom are aroused as only human beings can be who are in bonds, to obtain their freedom, and hence even if retained among the traitors be of the same to them they were before.
Again the fault finders howl against the administration for breaking this arm of the rebellion, and having mercy on our own brave soldiers and the African race; declaring that slavery was formerly sanctioned by the government but is now overthrown by it which is violating the constitution; again that it is an institution that should exist and is sanctioned by holy writ; that the administration is taking from the traitors the rights which the constitution has guaranteed to them making the whole thing a violation of constitutional law.
Let us for a moment (look) at those points and see if they are reasonable. Treason is punishable with death and if the government punish the traitors according to their just deserts who is going to be left to propagate slavery? It is certain their northern sympathizers will not do it for fear of coming to the same end; but if the government is so merciful as not to destroy them all, is it reasonable that the institution which caused them to rebel be delivered to them again to poison their minds and cause them to commit the same act again, and no one doubts but what African slavery was the poison which caused this rebellion. Therefore it is unreasonable for the constitution to protect any institution that does not protect it, especially an institution which has been a disgrace to our government ever since its existence. Again if these fault finders wish to go according to the Bible, why do they not go and tell their southern friends that it is time for the year of jubilee, and they should let their slaves go free; again that the government is taking their rights from them, we would respectfully ask if the constitution guarantees any other right to traitors except to be hung. It is of no use to argue this matter. It is plain to be seen that these men are but using the language of traitors of the most base and cowardly kind, advocating the continuance of an institution which has caused an infamous rebellion against the best government on the globe causing its soil to be steeped in blood which is enough to make any man shudder at the thought; hence we do not wonder that Senator Chandler said to trade such men for negroes and if there was any left takes mules for them, would be a good bargain for the government.
T. Raymo
The "Senator Chandler" that Theodore refers to is Michigan's own Senator Zachariah Chandler, who was a strident abolitionist in Washington at the time. Earlier that year, in February 1861, Chandler had written his infamous "blood letter" which forcefully called for answering the secessionist South with violent opposition. Chandler wrote "Without a little blood-letting this Union will not, in my estimation, be worth a rush." Chandler got his wish.

On the back page of Theodore's essay, he has also worked out in pencil some of his Algebra problems, as well as signing his name in the left margin.

24 March 2011

Buying the Farm

Around the year 1835, Booth Perry, a farmer originally from Connecticut, arrived in the sparsely populated Michigan Territory seeking to start a new life. He and his wife likely came from New England to western New York via the Erie Canal, which had opened up only ten years prior. From the canal's terminus in Buffalo, they then would have crossed Lake Erie to reach Michigan. Booth Perry had in his possession a document granting him ownership of a 40 acre parcel of land west of Detroit. This was a land grant provided by the United States Government.

The plot of land is described in this grant as "the North East quarter of the North West quarter of Section Twenty Seven, in Township Two". Township Two was Nankin Township, which was divided, like most of the lands in the Midwest, into 640 acre sections. Each section was subdivided into 16 forty acre parcels. Booth Perry now owned one of these parcels of fertile farmland.

Ten years later, in 1845, Booth Perry, for whatever reason, sold this land. I found the record of this transaction in the microfilmed Deed records of Wayne County, Michigan. (Wayne County Deed Book 26:137; FHL 947,901) On 26 November 1845, Booth Perry sold the same 40 acre parcel of land to Mitchell Raymo of Nankin for the price of $500. This was Mitchell's first transaction in the property records of Wayne County.

At that time Mitchell Raymo was 32 years old and married to his second wife, Margaret (Denniston) Mains. He had two daughters by his late first wife Laura, and two young sons with Margaret; four year old Theodore Raymo and his little infant brother Leonard Raymo.

In this 1876 map of Nankin, Michigan you can see "the North East quarter of the North West quarter of Section Twenty Seven" was by that time owned by T(heodore) Raymo and was the site of the Raymo farmhouse.

15 March 2011

The Dietzens

A photograph of Margaret Louise Dietzen (center, back row) and her family, 1933. Two years after this photograph was taken, Margaret married Chester T. Raymo.

Margaret's parents were Mary Katherine Dowling (1889-1961) and Leonard Phillip Dietzen (1886-1935). Mary was of Irish ancestry, and Leonard was the son of German immigrant parents.

Mary and Leonard Dietzen had nine children, including eight daughters, of which Margaret was the eldest, and lived across the street from the Raymo family on East Ninth Street in Chattanooga.

13 February 2011

Grandma's House

Charlotte A. Raymo with her maternal grandmother, Josephine (Greusel) Merrow (aged 72)

06 February 2011

Graduation Day

Chester T. Raymo (aged 24) on his graduation day from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1933. He is accompanied by his sweetheart from across the street in Chattanooga, Margaret L. Dietzen (aged 20).

After scanning this negative, I found online a terrific digital archive of University of Tennessee yearbooks. Here I found the yearbook pages of all three of the Raymo brothers.

Arthur J. Raymo, graduated 1930

Chester T. Raymo, graduated 1933

Roger D. Raymo, graduated 1934

02 January 2011

Hat and Coat

Roger D. Raymo

20 December 2010

10 December 2010

The 1930 Census

Eighty years ago, and for much of its history, the United States Census was not the self-reported mail-in form that it is today. In 1930, an enumerator would go door-to-door and make a personal accounting by hand of every resident in their assigned district. Here is the 1930 Census form of the section of Chattanooga that we are interested in, as preserved by the National Archives (click to enlarge).

This form was filled out by enumerator Leora Perry on 15 April 1930. In the first column, vertically, she has recorded the street she is visiting -- East Ninth Street. In the second column, the house numbers of East Ninth Street are recorded.

At 1025 East Ninth Street, lived the Raymo family -- Margaret A Raymo and her four children, Arthur J Raymo, Charlotte A Raymo, Chester T Raymo and Roger D Raymo. Margaret, as she was a widow, was listed as head of household in column 6.

Columns 7 and 8 record whether the residence was owned or rented, and what the home value or monthly rent was. The Raymo home was rented for $50 a month.

In 1930, the U.S. Government was interested in how widespread the radio had become in America. As indicated in column 9, the Raymos had a radio.

Column 10 asks if the residence is a farm. Not here in Chattanooga City!

Columns 11 through 15 contain a personal description of each individual, including gender, age and marital status -- very valuable to genealogists. In April of 1930, Margaret was 47 years old. Her children were aged 23, 22, 21 and 19 respectively.

Columns 16 and 17 record each individual's education. Arthur, Chester and Roger each had attended school in the past year. (All three were students at the University of Tennessee.) The whole family could read and write as indicated in column 17.

Where the individual was born is recorded in column 18, along with their parents in columns 19 and 20. As we know, they were all born in Michigan.

Columns 21 through 24 dealt with immigration and citizenship. The Raymos were all US citizens.

Columns 25 and 26 record the occupation and industry of each individual. In the Raymo home, the three boys were students and unemployed. The only one working was Charlotte, who was a library secretary -- a job she held for most of her life.

In addition to providing valuable genealogical data for each individual, the census forms are also useful for getting a sense of the area our ancestors lived in. By looking at the other individuals enumerated on the same street, you can see what kind of neighborhood they lived in. East Ninth Street looks like a typical middle-class street. The occupations of the Raymos neighbor include bus drivers, firemen, railroad workers, letter carriers and nurses. Most folks are native Tennesseans, but there is also a family of Russian Jews.

Also of interest is the household at the bottom of the page -- 1014 East Ninth Street, the home of bookkeeper Leonard Dietzen, his wife Mary and their seven (!) daughters. Their eldest daughter, 16 year old Margaret Dietzen, would five years later, become the wife of Chester T Raymo, and forty years later, my grandmother.

03 December 2010

The Giants of Ninth Street

Chattanooga, 1930

29 November 2010

Mother and Daughter

Margaret (Merrow) Raymo and her daughter Charlotte A. Raymo