Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Great Pickled Bean Experiment

First.  Let me be, well, just crystal clear about something.  I do not like pickled beans.  I don't like pickled corn or pickled peppers, either.  However, my husband's family likes all that stuff.  My father-in-law has consistently "set a churn" of Hungarian wax peppers every fall for at least the last 39 years, because that's how long Larry and I have been married.  One of my first memories of being at the Estep house is of Larry offering me a carrot from a crock of hot peppers.  When I resisted, he said, "Go on.  Taste it.  It's not that hot."  It was that hot.  Cracking hot as I remember and very, very salty.  I can't remember a time when I saw Larry's uncle from California that he didn't ask me if I knew how to make pickled beans.  No, no, I do not know how to make pickled beans, but Larry has talked for 39 years about how his grandmother made salt brine pickled beans in jars, not a crock, and how good they were.

Oddly enough my neighbor, just this week, asked me if I knew how to make pickled beans.  We had a long discussion about it.  He recounted memories of eating beans straight from the crock; I told him about Larry's grandma.  But I wasn't able to help him with making pickled beans.

I relate to a story I read on the internet in which a woman said the first time she had pickled beans, she quietly scraped them off her plate into the garbage after the meal because she thought they were spoiled, and she was embarrassed to bring it up in front of her hosts.  That's the way I feel about pickled corn, which I have made.  It really, really stinks.

Recently I signed up for a service on the internet that allows the user to search and view copies of old newspapers, some dating back to the 1600s.  I've been scouring over those pages, looking mostly for obituaries but eager to read any stories that relate to family members.  As I searched, I found many "hits" for Bessie Estep in the Charleston Gazette.  It seems that she liked to read a column called, "Tell Dottie", in which readers could ask questions about housekeeping and cooking, and other readers responded with answers.  Bessie liked this column a lot.

I found recipes she sent in for pea salad, milkshake pie, and stuffed pork chops.  Then, as if a light shone from heaven, the flickering screen of the computer revealed Bessie Estep's recipe for pickled beans.

"There are two primary ways for pickling beans, and we want to thank Mrs. Ruth McCray of Corley, Mrs. Pearl Wills of Madison, Mrs. Gypsie Vance of Spencer, Mrs. Bessie Estep of Powellton, Mrs. Owen D. Fields of Gandeeville, Mrs. Martha E. Miller of Danville, Mrs. Mack Green of Chesapeake and Mrs. Sarah Hatcher of Charleston for sharing their recipes with our readers.

The first method requires only one step and is quite simple.  The beans should be strung, cleaned, broken and washed as for table use.  Cover with water; bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.  Drain thoroughly; wash several times in cold water and let stand until completely cold.  Pack in sterile quart jars; put one tablespoon coarse salt on top and fill with cold water.  Seal tightly; let stand six weeks in cool place.  The beans will be ready to eat at that time."  The Charleston Gazette, p. 29, July 1, 1971.  The article goes on to describe another method using vinegar and salt in jars and yet another method using salt brine in a stone jar.

Larry confirmed that his grandma didn't use vinegar, and she didn't use a crock, so this has to be how she made her pickled beans.  "Are you going to make some of these," he asked.  "I don't like pickled beans," I responded.  "But I do!!," he said.

So this morning I was cooking beans at 7:30 a.m. so they would cool enough to put in the jars by 9:00 a.m. or so.  Things went as well as can be expected.  Other than accidentally sticking three of my fingers in scalding water, there were no major incidents to report.  It didn't take me long to get my fingers out of the boiling water.  Then came the big question.  The "recipe" doesn't say whether the jars should be sealed in a boiling water bath.

Cooked or not cooked?  Can you tell the difference?
You see, people have not always been so careful about canning procedures.  As my neighbor related this week, the canning was done in open tubs out in the yard over a wood fire.  And I'm familiar with canning food by heating the lids or other double-secret canning processes that are not exactly legit anymore.

I ended up with four quarts of pickled beans.  As I was "fooling" with one of the jars, it made that lovely pinging sound and sealed.  Did that mean that all of the jars should seal?  I discussed this with Larry, and he said yes, he thought the jars should seal before we set them away in that cool place for six weeks.  I said that each jar was like a little stone crock.  Corn and peppers set to pickle in a crock aren't sealed, and they last for a long, long time once they've properly fermented.  Does "seal tightly" in the recipe mean the jars should seal?  Should I cook them in a boiling water bath to seal?  It seems to me, I said, that the heat from the cooking might destroy the natural pickling process that would take place.

As things ended up, two of the jars sealed on their own, uncooked.  I turned on the stove and cooked the other two jars in a boiling water bath.  They sealed.  I labeled those two jars "Cooked".  Being of a scientific bent, I will now observe the four jars and note the difference in the product of each of the two types of processing.  I looked on the calendar, and six weeks from today is October 4.  I simply wrote "beans" on that date in pencil.

On October 4 the results of the experiment will be finalized.  A major problem will be that I can't tell the difference in spoiled beans and pickled beans.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our Amicks in Modern Times

Irvin and Lelia Amick
about the time of their
Irvin Starling Amick, the third child of Samuel and Martha Amick, was my grandfather.  Born on 6 December 1883, he earned his living by farming and by carpentry.  On 27 December 1905 he married Lelia Clingman Humphries, daughter of William and Lucinda Ott Humphries from Pool, West Virginia.   Their children were:

1) Leathel Delores Amick, born 6 July 1907
2) Teddy Carl Amick, born 30 April 1909
3) Carrie Mae Amick, born 2 May 1911
4) Irma Belle Amick, born 13 November 1915
5) Marylene Gathel Amick, born 10 October 1924.

They lived and farmed on the Amick homestead.  The children helped with the farm work including hoeing corn.  As my mother once told, they wanted the corn to be "knee high by the Fourth of July" because once the corn was of a certain size, they could go to Nallen to celebrate the Fourth of July.  My mother told that they played in the woods and along Anglin Creek, using rocks to make furniture for their pretend house and using moss for the carpets.  Ted caught some frogs, and they held the frogs up by their hind legs, pretending the frogs were chickens they were taking to market.  Lelia was afraid of the frogs, and she yelled at the children to put them down.  When Ted found out she was afraid, he boldly held onto his frogs.  I can imagine him laughing in a Puckish way, making his mom "holler" and "squall".  Lelia took the only course she could think of:  she threw rocks at the kids to make them put down the frogs.

Carrie Amick Tuck writes in Growing Up in West Virginia, My Memoirs, 
Irma Belle Amick,
about age 3.
      "Dad was a very good carpenter.  He built two nice homes in the area.  One cinderblock, two story, for Jake Amick, and another A-frame house for George McClung.  They are standing to this day.  He and my only brother, Teddy, went away to another town, Lookout was the name, and built a high school house.  His tools consisted of a hand saw, level, hammer and measure.  Dad was very smart with figures, down to one 1000th of an inch in his head.  No one ever knew how he could do that." 

Carrie continues by saying that Irvin began "public works" which took him away from home, and when Lelia's father died (1925), she and the children moved in with Lelia's mother, Lucinda Ott Humphries.  Irvin worked in Charleston for a while.  By this time Leathel had married Ray Hambrick and lived in Charleston.  Carrie writes that Ted was allowed to come and go as he pleased, unlike the girls, and that he and his friends met at "Drunkard's Roost", an old barn where Runa Road intersects Rt. 41, to play poker.

My mother (Irma) related in 1997 about how they celebrated Christmas:
"It began at school, a Christmas program centered around the birth of Jesus.  Everyone came.  The teacher gave us a gift.  Mostly a pencil, sometimes some candy, and always a program at church.  Everyone took part in it, and at last Christmas Eve, no tree but stockings were hung with the expectations of Santa filling them with a lot of candy, fruit, and nuts of which we only had once a year, if we were good.  If we were bad, Santa would only leave us a bunch of switches.  No turkey for Christmas dinner, mostly ham, sweet potatoes and the such because it was hog-killing time, and it sure was good." 
Irvin Amick, the carpenter.
The children attended school at Runa until around the mid 20s or so, but after they moved to Grandma Humphries', they attended school at Rocky Point, near Pool.  It was also about this time that Leathel's first child was born; John Bee Hambrick was born 8 February 1927.

Shortly after the family moved in with Lucinda Humphries, the house burned, leaving the family homeless.  When Irvin came home from his work trip, he needed to make arrangements for housing for the family, so he planned for them to move to Dwyer, West Virginia, a coal-mining town near Rainelle.  Ted, Irma, and Carrie walked on the railroad tracks to Rainelle to attend school.  Irvin was employed as a bridge carpenter for the C&O Railroad.  Grandma Humphries lived with them until her home in Nicholas County was rebuilt.  After the mine at Dwyer was re-opened by the Tuck family, a motor car ran between Rainelle and Dwyer which was used for transportation to take the children to school.  Irvin bought a Model A car, but he had to keep it in a garage in Rainelle because he couldn't drive it to Dwyer.

Teddy Carl Amick
The census in April 1930 finds Irvin Amick living in the Meadow Bluff district of Greenbrier County with his wife and four children, including their divorced daughter, Leathel (although Leathel's children are not listed).  Carrie and her husband, Vernon Tuck, live next door.  In the summer of 1930 Ted, who was also working as a carpenter at the railroad in Rainelle, was killed in an accident at work.  At Ted's funeral, one of the cousins, Irvin Champe, was broken out with a rash.  He came to stay for a while with Lelia and Irvin, only to find out that he had small pox.  Thankfully everyone survived the epidemic, but the family's grief over Ted's death was increased by the weeks-long illnesses that they endured.

In April 1931 Irma married Charlie Tuck, and they moved to Beard's Fork, Fayette Co., where Charlie worked in the mines.  More than 13 million Americans were unemployed by the end of 1932.  Banking problems caused customers to withdraw their money from the banks, and more than 9,000 banks had failed by early 1933.  By March of that year many of the banks were either closed or had been closed at some time.  Banks that had managed to stay open were operating under special rules meant to protect the banks from failure.
Irvin Amick, standing.
Seated on left, Cornelius Dorsey.
Seated on right, Walter Humphries.
(Dorsey and Humphries
not confirmed.)
After Irvin and Lelia moved to the Franzello Building in East Rainelle, Irvin was laid off from the railroad.  He had received a sum of money from the railroad because of Ted's death, and through his contact with a realtor in Rainelle, purchased a farm in Waverly (Sussex County), Virginia.  He felt that investing in property would protect their cash.  He and Lelia thought that if things got worse economically at least they could grow food on the farm, which also had a two-story house and a store on the property that sold goods to local farmers.  Irma and Charlie Tuck moved back to East Rainelle before Charles, Jr. was born in 1932; they stayed in West Virginia, but Marylene; Carrie and Vernon and their young daughter, Alice; and Leathel and her two young children made the move with Irvin and Lelia.

Shortly after the family moved, Irvin was miraculously called back to work on the railroad.   For a while, Irvin worked in Rainelle while the family lived on the farm in Waverly.  Lelia ran the farm and store mostly on her own, with family help and hired help.  In 1933 a whooping cough epidemic caused the death of Carrie's young baby, Roselyn.  Marylene and Alice, Carrie's other daughter, also suffered with the illness, but they survived it.

Leathel returned to Dwyer with her two children, and on 14 October 1935, she married Pat Tuck.  On 11 June 1936 Pat was killed by a slate fall while working in the mine in Dwyer.  The story is told that Leathel heard the whistle blow at the mine, meaning that there had been an accident.  She started out the back door, but the door stuck as if someone were holding it and sticking their foot in the door.  Leathel said, "Oh, Pat, quit!"  It wasn't long before someone came to the house to tell her of Pat's death.  After this, Leathel moved back to the farm in Waverly.

The farm and the store became too much for Lelia to handle on her own, so she moved back to East Rainelle, where she and Irvin had an apartment over Blair's Jewelry Store until they could sell the farm.  Marylene enrolled in school, and Irvin continued working for the railroad.  Carrie and Vernon stayed at Waverly, along with Leathel who enrolled in beauty school in Richmond, while her children stayed with Carrie and Vernon.
Mary Lelia and Leathel
Amick Fitzwater.

Somehow Leathel reconnected with an old school friend, John Fitzwater, who was in the Navy.  Carrie and Vernon took Leathel and her children back to Rainelle, where she and John were married on 26 June 1939 in Covington, Allegheny County, Virginia.  They settled in San Diego, California.

The 1940 census shows that the Amick family was spreading across the United States:
 1)  Carrie and Vernon lived in Waverly with Alice, their daughter.  Vernon was a truck driver.  He worked 40 hours a week and had made $500 in 1939.  They lived on Route 621.
 2)  Irma and Charlie Tuck lived in East Rainelle on 10th Street with their son, Charles, Jr.  Charlie was a miner, worked 35 hours a week, and had made $800 in 1939.
 3)  Irvin and Lelia also lived in East Rainelle, along with Marylene, who was 15 years old, on Main Street.  Irvin was a bridge carpenter on the railroad, worked 40 hours a week, and had made $1300 in 1939.
 4)  John E. and Leathel Fitzwater lived on 17th Street in San Diego, California, with their children, John B. Hambrick (age 13), Ladorma Lea Hambrick (age 10), and Mary L. Fitzwater, less than one year old.  John was a machinist in the U.S. Navy and earned $1032 in 1939.  Leathel had worked 44 weeks in 1939 to earn $528.
Carrie and Vernon Tuck
When Irvin sold the farm, Carrie and Vernon moved to Stony Creek, Virginia, where Marylene came to live with them.  She worked at Freeman's Feed and Hardware Store.  As World War II progressed, jobs became more plentiful, and Vernon went to work at Dupont in Richmond.  Marylene also found work at Dupont.

It was in Richmond that Marylene met William Coleman Rountree.  They married there, and their first child, Bill Rountree, was born there.  Later they moved to North Carolina.  Carrie and Vernon moved to Arizona.

Charlie Tuck also moved to Virginia to obtain work at the beginning of World War II.  He worked in the ship yards at Newport News.  He and Irma lived there with their three children:  Charles, Jr., Martha Jane, and Carol Ann. When their marriage ended on 10 October 1947 in Richmond, Irma and her children moved back to East Rainelle and lived with Irvin and Lelia.  The apartment over the jewelry store was crowded, and Irvin and Lelia bought a house on what is now Hughart Street to better accommodate the family.  Irma worked as a waitress and also as a clerk in the Men's Quality Store on Main Street.  A railroader named Austin "Red" Ballengee began coming in the store in the mornings to help her work the crossword puzzle in the newspaper.  They were married on 1 July 1949 at the Central Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia.  They also lived in an apartment in East Rainelle until Red built their home in the Osborne Addition about 1951, after the birth of their child, Janet, in 1950.

Irvin Amick working on the
addition to the house in East
This left Irvin and Lelia living in their new home in East Rainelle after Irvin retired from the railroad.  They built additional rooms onto the back of the house about 1953.  The new section would become their home, and they rented the front part of the house.  Lelia walked to the A & P on Main Street to shop for groceries or to the G. C. Murphy Five and Dime for all those extra household needs.  Flint's Hardware and Alder's Hardware were close, as well as several clothing stores, small groceries, and drug stores.  A benefit of retiring from the railroad was that Irvin had lifetime passes for him and Lelia, and they took advantage of the passes to ride the train out West in the winter months.  They spent time with Carrie in Phoenix and Leathel in San Diego until the warm weather returned to West Virginia in the spring.

Lelia's sister, Sadie Humphries Dorsey, was widowed and lived with her daughter in Quinwood.  Sadie's husband, Cornelius (Neely) Dorsey, was killed in a timbering accident 14 December 1928, and she had raised her eight children alone.  Sadie and Lelia were very close, and Sadie stayed at the Amick home quite often.  Games of canasta, croquet, and Chinese checkers filled the hours.  I remember one croquet game at the home of Emerson and Elsie Amick in Oak Hill that required flood lights to be hooked up because the game went on until midnight.  No one was willing to give up even after the sun went down!  Sadie and Lelia often traveled together to visit family.

Irma Ballengee standing
by the roses at her
parents' house in
East Rainelle. 
Irvin (or Granddad, as we called him) liked to walk the grandchildren up the street to Vance's service stations for a "pop".  Although I don't remember this, my sister, Carol, recalled that when he asked you what kind of pop you wanted, no matter what you asked for, he always got you an orange pop.  I do remember sitting on the swing on the porch of their house with him.  He asked if I knew how to spell "gnat".  Then he pulled a small dictionary from his shirt pocket and showed me in the dictionary how "gnat" actually did start with the letter "g".  He loved reading western novels, sitting in his chair by the front window with his leg thrown over the chair arm; he loved going west where the cowboys roamed.  He was the first person I ever saw eat a peach with the fuzzy skin still on it.  I was amazed that you could eat the peel, and I still do, often reminded of him.  He chewed tobacco, and once on a car trip to North Carolina to see Marylene, when we passed a scraggly, pitiful-looking patch of tobacco, he said that that patch was Five Brothers chewing tobacco (a cheap brand).  Firmly believing in the Democratic platform that brought the country through the Depression, he had a framed picture of FDR hanging on his bedroom wall.  He kept a perpetual game of solitaire going on the dining table, and when the cards stuck together, he sprinkled talcum powder on them to keep them easier to deal. 
Left to right:  Sadie Dorsey, Lelia Amick, Irvin Amick. 
Sightseeing on a trip to the West.

In 1962 Irvin was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 78.  He died 30 September 1962 at the hospital in Ronceverte.  He is buried in the Dorsey Cemetery near Runa, where Teddy Carl Amick is also buried.  Lelia continued to live in East Rainelle.  Aunt Sadie stayed with her quite a bit.  Around 1968 failing health caused Lelia to sell her home, and she went to live with her daughter, Marylene, in North Carolina.  In 1969 Carrie took her to Phoenix to live with her.  Lelia died 4 October 1969 of cancer and is also buried in Dorsey Cemetery. 

The picture below is a rare image of many of the Amick family members together.  Although it was technically not a good picture, I've tried to "remedy" it to capture the faces that are floating there in time.  I'm not able to identify all the people, but some of them I recognize, and some of them I "think" I recognize.  And so I've finally come to the end of my summary of the history of our Amick family.  This is by no means a complete and detailed history; I have plenty more stories to tell, but this remembrance is meant to ensure that the loves, sacrifices, tears, and smiles of our Amicks are not forgotten.
Child on lap is Bill Rountree, born in December 1946, which helps to date the picture. 
He is sitting on Irvin Amick's lap.  Lelia is the woman standing to the
left in the flowered dress.  The girl beside her may be Martha Tuck, and the
younger girl beside her is Carol Ann Tuck.  Behind her I believe is Alice Tuck.
Carrie Amick Tuck is sitting beside Carol.  The man who is barely visible
behind Carrie, may be William C. Rountree.  The woman beside
him is my mother, Irma, and the woman beside her may be Marylene.
 I do not know the identity of the two children who are seated on the left.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Our Amick Family on Anglin's Creek

In this last part of "The Amick Trilogy" the family will spend more than 100 years along Anglin's Creek before spreading out across the nation.  The Amicks from Pennsylvania and South Carolina had already  pioneered across Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, but somehow our branch was planted firmly in Nicholas County, Virginia, soon to become West Virginia.

Jacob Amick, Sr., and his brother, John Amick, left Pendleton County to amass hundreds of acres of land in Nicholas County.  By the time Jacob arrived in Nicholas County he had obtained land in Pendleton County, married Rachel Shroyer, and served in the War of 1812.  In the extensive pension application that Rachel Amick submitted after Jacob died, there was confusion as to where Jacob served.  By looking for further pension applications, I determined that another Jacob Amick living in Frederick County had served in Captain Mastin's company, and that the Nicholas County Jacob Amick, living in Pendleton County at the time, had served from February 1815 to April 1815 in Lt. John Bowers' company, as Rachel had stated on her application.

 In A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 (2011), Stuart Butler tells us that all able-bodied white males between the ages of 18 and 45 were required to enroll in militia districts.  Usually twice a year the units mustered at a courthouse, tavern, or church where they trained for about two hours.  If called to active service, a lottery system determined which soldiers were called up.  This is the probable explanation for Jacob's late entry into the war:  his number did not come up until 1815.

The War of 1812 was ended by the Treaty of Ghent on 24 December 1814.  News of this treaty didn't reach the United States until January 1815; the treaty was signed by President James Madison and approved by the U. S. Senate on 17 February 1815.  The Governor of Virginia, who controlled the militia units, ordered the units marching to Norfolk at that time to immediately muster out and return home.  Considering the dates of Jacob's enlistment, he may have been among those troops at the end of the war.

Henrietta Boley Amick,
ca. 1924.
By 1850 Jacob and Rachel are settled in Nicholas County where we find them on the census with three of their children still living with them:  Jacob, Jr., age 23 (who was a farmer and had real estate valued at $200), Rachael, age 20, and Polly, age 17 (a twin with Arthur).  In 1854, Jacob, Jr.'s first cousin (son of John Amick) married Mildred Boley of Monroe County.  Two years later Jacob, Jr. married Mildred's sister, Henrietta Boley, in Allegheny County, which neighbors Monroe County.  Henrietta, born in April 1838, was the daughter of Blueford Boley and Martha Howard Boley of Monroe County.

Jacob and Henrietta were married 12 September 1856, and just before the Civil War, they are found in Nicholas County in the Wilderness District with their two oldest sons, Samuel and Floyd, two other children, Sylus Herell and Enoch Herell, and Jacob's sister, Rachael, who is listed as a domestic.  Jacob has real estate worth $3000 and personal property worth $1000. Next door neighbors included Asa and Mildred Amick and Jacob and Rachael Amick.  Another son, Aaron, was born in 1861.

When war broke out Jacob answered the call of the Confederate states by enlisting in Company K of the 14th Cavalry Regiment at Lewisburg.  This unit was also known as the "Greenbrier Swifts" or Greenbrier Cavalry #2 under the command of Captain Benjamin F. Eakle from Greenbrier County.  Although there are more than one Jacob Amick in Virginia at the time, Jacob, Jr. is the only one of military age in 1862.  Muster records show that Jacob enlisted on 22 January 1862 and was discharged 16 July under the Conscription Act.  The 14th Cavalry fought in western Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley before it was disbanded in 1865.  The field officers were Colonels James Cochran and Charles E. Thorburn, Lt. Colonels Robert A. Bailey and John A. Gibson, and Majors B. Frank Eakle and George Jackson.
One of the muster rolls
showing Jacob Amick
 to be paid for service
in 1862.

The children of Jacob and Henrietta Amick were:
 1)  Samuel Amick, born 5 June 1857
 2)  Floyd Amick, born 12 October 1859
 3)  Aaron Amick, born 1861
 4)  Dennis Amick, born 1863
 5)  Henry Amick, born 7 September 1865
 6)  Mary Amick, born 3 February 1868
 7)  Sarah Amick, born 1870
 8)  Eliza Jane Amick, born 8 October 1872
 9)  Stewart B. Amick, born 25 February 1875
10) Elizabeth Ann Amick, 30 July 1877
11) Rosa Boley Amick, born 4 November 1880.

My mother, Irma Amick Ballengee, was old enough to remember Henrietta Amick.  She said that Henrietta was called "Little Grandma" and that up into her old age (she was nearly 91 years old when died) she could out walk most of the family over the hills of Nicholas County.

Pleasant Hill United Methodist
Church, 2007.  
Among the many land transactions for all the Amicks in Nicholas County is a deed dated 22 January 1894 from Jacob and Henrietta Amick to Silas Boley, William Pitsenbarger, Floyd Amick, John Richardson, and William O'Dell, who were trustees for the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  This tract of land in Runa was "for and in consideration of the love they have for said church" and "with covenants of special warranties".  The land consisted of one acre where Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church now stands.  My mother said that the first church sat closer to the road on the side opposite the cemetery, and that Jacob Amick sold a team of horses to get money to build the church.  Pleasant Hill was often referred to as "the Amick church".

Photo taken at Pleasant Hill Methodist Church ca. 1924.  This photo includes my mother, my grandparents,
my great-grandparents, and my great-great grandmother.
The last child of Jacob and Henrietta was Rosa Boley Amick, born 4 November 1880 when Henrietta was 42 years old.  She also had a five-year-old and a three-year-old at the time (Stewart and Elizabeth Ann).  Jacob and Henrietta are found on the 1900 Nicholas County census; he is 73 years old, and she is 62.  In 1909 Jacob died on August 11 of "old age".

Henrietta lived with her son, Samuel, and his wife, Martha, in the 1920 census.  She died 6 February 1929 of "old age" at 97 years old at Nallen in Fayette County.  Jacob and Henrietta are both buried in the cemetery at Pleasant Hill Methodist Church.

Their oldest child, Samuel Amick, was born before the Civil War began, and lived his entire life on Anglin's Creek.  He married Martha Jane Dorsey, daughter of Alex and Adeline Ewing Amick, on 14 February 1879.

Children of Samuel and Martha Amick
Date Born
Date Died
Newman A. Amick
December 1879
20 February 1887
Jacob Frank Amick
8 October 1881
Stella Massie
7 July 1949
Irvin Starling Amick
6 December 1883
Lelia Clingman Humphries
30 September 1962
Luverna Amick
27 November 1884
James Nathan Deitz
7 June 1968
Lovie Amick
6 December 1885
Elizabeth Ethel Amick
7 October 1887
Burpee Jackson Champe
11 April 1970
Emerson Walker Amick
22 July 1892
Elsie M. Humphries
23 June 1966
Arthur Henry Amick
October 1893
First.  Lola Moore
Second.  Julia Neff
28 October 1972
Albert Luther Amick
1 March 1898
Freda Virginia Tomlin
13 December 1961
Lila Emma Amick
1 June 1901
First. George Lewis Pitsenbarger
Second. Burton Clifton Richmond
20 October 1959
Mary Amick

Martha Jane Dorsey Amick,
daughter of Alex and Adeline
In 1880 the census shows Samuel and Martha living next to her parents, Alex and Adeline Dorsey.  In 1887, when their oldest son, Newman, was seven years old, he died of diphtheria.  By 1900 their family had grown to six children living at home, with Irvin, the oldest one at home.  Frank apparently had moved away from home, and in December of that year he married Stella Massie.  In 1910 Frank is shown in the Wilderness District operating a store.  Amicks populate the entire neighborhood, and Samuel and Martha are there, also, with three children remaining at home, Arthur, Albert, and Delila.  They remain in the same home in 1920.  All the children are gone, and Henrietta Amick lives with them.  Next door is their son, Irvin, and his wife, Lelia, with four children.  Samuel is the head of the household in the 1930 census; his son, Arthur, and his family are also living in the home along with Martha's 89-year-old father, Alex Dorsey.  In 1940 Arthur is listed as the head of the household with his family and the 83-year-old Samuel and Martha in the home.  I believe that Arthur lived in the Amick home place until his death in 1972.

Samuel died 6 December 1942 in Greenwood in Fayette County.  Martha died 11 February 1946 in Minden, Fayette County.  Both are buried in the cemetery at Pleasant Hill.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Anglin's Creek and Beyond, Part 2

In my most recent blog, I described Jacob Amick, Sr's, participation in the War of 1812, including a review of the 100 page application made by his widow for a pension based on his service in the military.  There were several discrepancies in the 100 pages of the application, and one of the discrepancies was the date of his service and the name of the commander of his company.

Further review of the application revealed that not only I, but also the Federal Government was quite confused.  In his application in 1854 for the 40 acres of land due to him as a land bounty, Jacob wrote that he served in John Bower's company from February 1815 to April 1815 and was discharged at Moorefield.  A bureaucrat responded that there was no listing for John Bower, but Jacob Amick is found on the muster roll of Capt. Francis Mastin's company from September 1814 to November 1814.

The answer to this question is that the Jacob Amick in Capt. Mastin's company lived in Frederick County, Virginia, and mustered into service in Winchester, Virginia.  There were two Jacob Amicks.

A search for the company of John Bower has not revealed any muster lists or history of the service of the company, but be it resolved that the Jacob Amick, Sr., who lived in Pendleton County and later moved to Nicholas County served only once in the War of 1812.  His term of service was actually after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed; he served in 1815, even after the Battle of New Orleans.  Leave it to the Bureau of Pensions to be eternally confused by the existence of two soldiers with the same name.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Anglin's Creek and Beyond

Johan Georg Amick in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was only one among several immigrants to America named Amick (Emig, Emich, Ihmig, etc.)  In York County, Pennsylvania, there lived another Amick family who immigrated to America:  Johannes Emig and his wife, Dorothea Rotter.  Johannes was born in 1722 in Alsace-Lorraine, and his relationship to Johan Georg is unknown.  If I were to research the European roots of Johan Georg of Bucks County, I would begin in Unterhoffen, the ancestral home of Johannes of York County.  A southern branch of Amicks descends from Johan Conradt Emig, who is said to be the son of Johann Georg Emig.  Conrad Amick immigrated to South Carolina, and I've wondered if all three of the Emig immigrants mentioned might not be related and possibly all be children of Johann Georg Emig.  The dates of marriages and births certainly indicate that all of the immigrants could be of the same generation.

I don't have the time or the energy to write about the global Amick family, so I will follow Johan Georg's children from Pennsylvania down to Pendleton County, Virginia, and then on to Anglin's Creek in Nicholas County.  Henry Amick, grandson of Johan Georg, left Bucks County around 1790 to move his family to Pendleton County.  He had served in the militia in the Revolutionary War, operated his father's mill when he inherited it, and had at least three children by the time of his move. His son, Jacob Amick, Sr., was born in Pennsylvania in 1789; another son, John, was born 6 September 1790 in Pendleton County.

Certificate awarding 40 acres to Jacob Amick
for service in the War of 1812.  From
From military pension records, we know that Jacob Amick was drafted into the Virginia Militia in Pendleton County during the War of 1812.  His pension file is a mammoth 100 pages long, and despite the numerous affidavits, testimonies, and written accounts, the dates do not always agree.  One record states that Jacob served from Sept. 1814 to Nov. 24 1814; the British burned Washington, D. C. on 24 August 1814, and that may have influenced his enlistment (either he was motivated to defend his country, or the country was motivated to draft more soldiers).  The Treaty of Ghent was signed on 24 December 1814, but the war continued (Battle of New Orleans) until January 1815.  Another record says Jacob was drafted 13 February 1815 at Franklin and continued in service for 14 days before being discharged at Moorefield in Hardy County in April 1815.  It's possible that he served two enlistments, and he was discharged in 1815 after the Americans beat the British at New Orleans.  In support of this theory, the land bounty certificate above states that he served in two different companies.

On 5 June 1814, three months before he enlisted in the militia, Jacob married Rachel Shroyer in Pendleton County.  Rachel is reported to have been born in 1797 near Dahmer in Pendleton County.  Things may have been a little crowded on the Amick homeplace.  After Jacob's mother died about 1809, his father married a woman, supposedly much younger than he was, about 1810.  They had a daughter shortly after. The 1810 census in Pendleton County shows Henry "Eamick" with five children younger than five years, one daughter age 10-15, three sons ages 16-25, and both a man and a woman older than 45 years (Henry and his new wife, Catharine).

Jacob's brother, Nicholas, had left about 1797 for Kentucky, and in the years after their mother's death, several of the other Amick children began moving on.  Children of Henry and Barbara Amick relocated to Nicholas County, WV, Fayette County, WV, Atchison Co., Kansas, and Spencer County, Indiana.  Henry Amick, Jr.(on the 1820 Pendleton County census) followed his brothers to Nicholas County, but he was not found in county records in later years.

Nicholas County was formed in 1818 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Randolph Counties.  Both John and Jacob Amick are listed on the Nicholas County census in 1820.  Jacob Amick is found on the 1830 census, which was enumerated on June 1 of that year, in BOTH Pendleton and Nicholas County (his father, Henry, is also listed in the 1830 Pendleton census).  The 1830 Nicholas County census lists John Amick and John Amick, Sr.

Jacob received a land grant of 80 acres there on 20 June 1823.  Other land grants were awarded on 7 June 1824 (325 acres, including improvements where Jacob Amick lived and adjacent to land of John Amick), 8 September 1824 (100 acres) and 11 April 1825 (73 acres).  Jacob also purchased land from Henry Eye (100 acres) on 1 March 1829.  As late as 31 August 1846, Jacob received a land grant of 200 acres in Fayette and Greenbrier Counties (recorded in Nicholas County) on both sides of Meadow River which included a small improvement and a mill above the mouth of Anglin's Creek.

Jacob and Rachel had nine children, five of whom were born in Pendleton County:
1)  John Amick, born 1815
2)  Samuel Amick, born 1816
3)  Henry Amick, born 1 November 1817
4)  Rachel Amick, born 1824
5)  Jacob Amick, Jr., born 1826
6)  Arthur Amick, born 3 March 1833 (twin)
7)  Mary Amick, born 3 March 1833 (twin)
8)  Elizabeth Amick, birth date unknown
9)  Catherine Amick, birth date unknown.

The Jacob Amick family is found on the 1840 census in Nicholas County, with Jacob listed as being between    50 and 60 years old.  He has a total of seven children.  On the same page of the census is found John Amick, Sr. and John M. Amick.  By 1850 the Nicholas County census reports that Jacob Amick, 62 years old, lives with his wife, Rachael, and their children, Jacob, Rachael, and Polly (Mary).  His son, Henry, lives next to them with his wife, Jane, and son, Jacob, who is one year old.

Numerous affidavits on the pension application of Rachael Amick in 1876 and again in 1887, when she lost her pension certificate and had to reapply, state that Jacob Amick, Sr. died 6 September 1859.  They swore to it!  But on the 1860 census we find Jacob and Rachael Amick; he is age 65, and she is age 60.  No children live with them, but all of their neighbors are Amicks, including their son, Jacob Amick, Jr.  The census is to include those people living in the home as of June 1, 1860; even if the count includes someone who had died in the last 30 days, Jacob would not have been included if he had died 6 September 1859.  I'm not sure how the witnesses in Rachael's pension application could not have remembered whether Jacob had died before or after the Civil War, but his death is listed in the Nicholas County records as having died in September 1868, as reported by his son, Jacob Amick, Jr.  Jacob's burial place has not ever been found, but it's believed that he was buried near the mill on Anglin's Creek.  W. D. Amick, who lives at Runa, says that he has looked extensively on that side of Anglin's Creek, and he has not been able to find any evidence of a grave in the dense woods.

As evidenced in her pension application, Rachael lived in the homes of her children and moved from one house to another.  That's how she lost her pension certificate in 1887.  In the 1870 and 1880 censuses she is found living beside her son, Jacob, with her unmarried daughter, Rachael.  When she lost her pension certificate, her address was listed as Big Clear Creek in Greenbrier County, and Dr. McClung of Rupert wrote of his examination of her.  Her first pension was $8 per month and was later increased to $12 per month.  According to the pension collection, Rachael was last paid her pension on 4 June 1894 and was dropped from the rolls due to her death, so her death occurred sometime around that time, certainly in 1894.  Her grave is also unknown, but it seems reasonable that she would be buried beside Jacob on the property along Anglin's Creek.  If her birth date of 1797 is accurate, she died at the age of 97 years old.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Before Anglin's Creek

For all of my life, the "ancestral" home of the Amick family has been on a tributary of the Gauley River called Anglin's Creek, but the family's history goes back to a time when the name was not even Amick.

Map of Germany from 1834 showing Wuerttemberg,
Alsace, and Palatinate.  The Rhine River was a major
avenue of transportation which ran from the Palatinate to
Rotterdam in The Netherlands.
Barbara Nichols wrote a well-documented and detailed history of the Amicks in Nicholas County, West Virginia, called John Amick, "The Miller", His Ancestors and Some Descendants.  It's from her work that I've summarized the story of the immigration and early history of the Emig/Amick family.  Nichols writes that the ancestors of the Amicks who settled in Nicholas County immigrated to America in 1749 on the ship Christian and that the roster of passengers listed 111 persons from "Wurtemberg, Alsace, and Zweibrach", so it's probable that the Emig family came from somewhere in what is now southwestern Germany, although some researchers think they may have come from Switzerland to southern Germany.  The territory of Alsace has been transferred between France and Germany over the centuries and is now located in France.  Today the state of Wuerttemberg includes the city of Stuttgart, and Zweibrach is Zweibruecken, a city in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which corresponds with histories describing a large migration to America from the German Palatinate in the 1700s.

The Palatine Emigration by Kraig Ruckel (2001) gives a good description of the circumstances that led to the mass migration:
  "The winter of 1708-1709 was very long and cold in the Rhineland. It was a very bleak period. People huddled around their fires as they considered quitting their homes and farms forever. By early April, the land was still frozen and most of the Palatines' vines had been killed by the bitter weather. Since 1702 their country had been enduring war and there was little hope for the future. The Thirty Years War lay heavy on their minds, a period in which one out of every three Germans had perished. The Palatines were heavily taxed and endured religious persecution. As the people considered their future, the older ones remembered that, in 1677, William Penn had visited the area, encouraging the people to go to Pennsylvania in America, a place where a man and his family could be free of the problems they were now encountering. 
 . . . Soon enough, their minds were made up for them as France's King Louis XIV invaded their land, ravaging especially the towns in the Lower Palatinate. In masses, the Palatines boarded their small boats and headed down the Rhine for Rotterdam. It was April 1709 and the first parties were afloat on the Rhine, many with only their most basic goods and their faith in God as their only possessions. . . The Elector, as expected, issued an edict forbidding the migration, but almost everyone ignored it. By October, 1709, more than 10,000 Palatines had completed the Rhine River journey. 
 The Duke of Marlborough was assigned by Queen Anne to transport the immigrants to England. British troop ships were also used. The Queen assumed these Protestants would help fuel the anti-Roman feelings developing in England. The ships from Rotterdam landed, in part, at Deptford and the refugees were sent to one of three camps at Deptford, Camberwell, and Blackheath outside the city wall of London."  

I want to include a note on German naming traditions at the time.  Children's names included a saint name first; for male children this was often Johann (John), so almost every German on a passenger list was named Johann or Johannes or Hans.  The given name came next, such as Georg or Heinrich or Jacob.  As for the surname, "Amick" did not exist at the time of immigration.  "Amick" is found spelled as Erig, Ihmig, Emich, Ering, Emigh, and for the first time as Emig in 1757.  

Johan Georg, the First Generation

Johan Georg Emig was born 7 July 1715.  He and his wife, Maria Elisabeth, had at least two sons in Germany:  Johan Heinrich (born about 1737-1739) and Johan Philip (born about 1741-1745).  They and their sons arrived in Philadelphia 13 September 1749.  Christian, the ship upon which the Emigs arrived in Pennsylvania, sailed from Rotterdam, "but last from Cowes in England", where the ship loaded supplies for the voyage to America.

The Emigs settled in Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia on the New Jersey border with Pennsylvania, and another son, Johan George, was born to them.  He was baptized at the Tohickon Reformed Church in Bedminster Township on 21 April 1751.  The family lived in Haycock Township.  The father, Johan Georg Emig, was naturalized as a citizen on 22 September 1765, and the son, Johan Heinrich Emig, was naturalized in July 1765.

Tombstone of Johan Georg Emig at the Old
Cemetery, Trinity Union Church, Springfield,
Bucks County.  Maria Elisabeth is
thought to be buried beside him.  Photo from
In The History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania by William Davis (1876), Henry Emig (Amey) is mentioned:  "Besides John Stokes, the original purchasers immediately around Applebachville were William Strawn, George Emig, the original for Amey, who took up a tract of two hundred and thirty one acres eighty nine perches, which was confirmed by Thomas and Richard Penn, the 13th of July, 1768, who left the same to his son George by will, in 1773.  Emig, who was born July 13th, 1715, died March 7th, 1773, and was buried in the Springfield yard." 

Barbara Nichols says that Georg Emig obtained land in a lottery of 231 acres which was called "Innovation".  She quotes from his will that Mary, his wife, should live on their land during her life, and his son, George, should have all his real and personal estate.  Georg left his Bible to the Dutch Reformed Church in Springfield.  The Bible, printed in 1747, is inscribed, "This Bible, according to the last will and testament of Johann Georg Emig of Haycock twp, Bucks County, has been bequeathed to the High German Reformed Congregation in Springfield Twp and Bucks County for use in the public church service and has been surrendered by his estate, this taking place in the year of our Lord 1780."

Children of Johan Georg and Maria Elisabeth are:  1) Johan Heinrich, b. 1737-1739 in Germany, 2) Johan Philip, b. 1745-1747 in Germany, and 3) Johan George, baptized 21 April 1751 in Bedminster, PA, died 17 August 1833 in Haycock, PA.  Philip married Barbara Hahn about 1765, and he is no longer found in Bucks County records after his father died.  George, who inherited his father's estate, married Anna Margaretha Lerch in 1771; the George Emig family's surname became Amey in later years.  

Johan Heinrich, the Second Generation

Johan Heinrich, the oldest son, stayed in Bucks County after his father's death even though he did not inherit land at his father's death.  Heinrich (Henry) owned land in his own right, some acquired through land grants and perhaps some of it given to him by his father.  On 4 December 1759 Henry married Anna Catharina Nicolas, and they had eight children: 
 1) Maria Elisabeth, born 5 September 1760,
 2) unnamed child, stillborn in August 1761,
 3) Henry, born 7 June 1762, 
 4) Julianna, born 29 April 1765, 
 5) Catharine Margaret, born 9 January 1768, 
 6)John Philip, born 11 December 1769,
 7) Mary Magdalene, born 30 January 1772, 
 8) John George, born 6 April 1774.  

Henry, Sr., operated a saw and grist mill on Tohickon Creek, and when he died, his son, Henry, inherited the mill.  No date is given for Henry, Sr's., death, but his estate was inventoried on 11 June 1777.  Henry's land in Bucks County now lies under the waters of Lake Nockamixon. 

Henry, the Third Generation

The son, Henry II (so to speak), married Elisabeth Barbara Niemand in Bucks County about 1784, which would have been after the Revolutionary War ended in 1783.  During the Revolutionary War, Henry Amick (Emig) served as a private in the Bucks County Militia in Captain Manus Yost's company of the first regiment of foot, commanded by Colonel John Keller.  He is found on the muster roll in October 1781, when he would have been 19 years old. (Muster Rolls, etc. 1743-1787, edited by Thomas Montgomery, 1906).  Henry and Barbara had 11 children: 
 1) Elizabeth, November 1784,
 2) Henry Amick, Jr., 13 January 1788,
 3) Jacob Amick, Sr.,
 4) John Miller Amick, 6 September 1790, 
 5) Mary Amick, about 1797,
 6) Elisabeth Amick, 1800,
 7) Barbara Amick, about 1803,
 8) Esther Amick, about 1805,
 9) Reuben Amick, about 1806,
 10) Christina Amick, about 1808,
 11) Elias Amick, about 1808.  
After Barbara died in 1809, Henry married a woman named Catharine, and they had a daughter about 1811, who was also named Catharine.  

Map showing the location of
Pendleton County in WV.
Around 1790 Henry, revolutionary patriot and mill owner, moved his family to Pendleton County, Virginia (now West Virginia).  His first deed in Pendleton County spelled his surname "Ame" and was dated 3 November 1791.  It was in Pendleton County where the surname "Amick" was first used.   Although the original buildings from Henry's homestead do not survive today, Barbara Nichols describes his home as a "two-story house built of logs with a narrow stairway.  The old Indian trail went through the upper pasture. . .It was the shortest way into Franklin.  Henry's barn was up on the top of the rock back of the house.  The nob east of his farm was known as Amick Nob."  Henry's cousin, Nicholas Amick (son of Philip) also lived in Pendleton County for a while before moving to Kentucky.  

In Pendleton County Henry built another mill.  He also again served in the militia.  He mustered with the Pendleton County militia in September 1794.  In Fourteen Children Geneva Amick Dyer, great-granddaughter of Henry Amick, relates the history of the family as told to her by her grandmother, Catherine Bowers Amick (wife of John Miller Amick).  Mrs. Dyer writes that the family owned a gun-powder mill in Pendleton County:  
   "One morning after having started the mill in operation, and had gone home for their breakfast, there was an explosion, which destroyed the mill.  Neighbors who lived many miles away heard the explosion, and hurried to grandfather's home confident the parents had been killed, each one deciding as they came , which one of the six or seven children they would take to rear." (page 1)  Barbara Nichols relates that a log was blown into the branches of a tree across the creek by the force of the explosion.  The cause of the explosion was unknown, but there were no casualties.  

Barbara Amick died about 1809 and is buried along with Henry on a family cemetery on the Amick farm.  Henry Amick died about 1830.  Remember the narrow stair case in his house?  Henry died upstairs with his boots on.  He was a large man, and his family and neighbors were stumped about how to get his body down the narrow, circular stairs.  The problem was solved by a man who volunteered, with confidence, to bring the body down.  He grabbed Henry Amick by the heels of his boots and dragged him down the stairs.  One version of the story says he went feet first with his head bumping on the stairs, but another, more genteel version, says he went head first, and it was his boots that bumped down the stairs.  

Henry's sons, Jacob and John Amick, left Pendleton County after the mill explosion and settled in Nicholas County on the banks of Anglin's Creek, of all places.  I've written only a summary of the early history of the Amicks; I highly recommend Barbara Nichols' work if you are interested in details and documentation.   Up next:  what happened on Anglin's Creek.