Colorado Springs During The Spanish Flu

16 Apr

Note: Most sources are linked or cited in the body of the text, so that you can read them or view them for yourselves. Those used only for slight reference are listed in the endnotes.

Most days are the same. I get up each morning, have a bowl of cereal or a fruit smoothie, a cup or two of coffee, and then get dressed and ready to go… nowhere. My boyfriend sets his laptop up, and begins to work remotely. At some point, I have an apple, a carrot, and bathe in the sun. Our dog typically joins me, reveling in the remains of the apple and the carrot. Some days, I can’t remember if I’ve had my apple or my carrot, or if it’s the day before I’m recollecting. The chickadees have discovered our bird feeder and bath, and come to visit and chatter each morning and evening. Our cat, Finn, comes running when he hears their call. The big excitement comes when we have a grocery pickup. I order days in advance to get a pickup slot, and until half an hour before the order is ready, it’s a guessing game as to what items will be in stock. After driving to the grocery and back, we empty everything onto the patio. We wipe down everything we need to put in the fridge or freezer and put everything else into a three day quarantine. I don’t know how long it will take for this to feel like a normal practice. Because of cell phones, video calls through the Portal and the Zoom app, and Facebook, I don’t feel too disconnected. Though, to read a story in person to my niece and nephews or go on a bug hunt or give my grandma a hug would be an occasion of great joy right about now.

As I ponder my own sudden confinement and the ways in which my community, state, and nation are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic, I find myself contemplating which of my ancestors would have experienced something similar about 100 years ago during the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918. To my knowledge, every one of my relatives survived this outbreak, and it is a point which gives me hope. In the photo below, are my great great grandmother Genevieve L. Paul (in the hat) and my great grandmother Genevieve A. Norris (in the lovely dark-colored dress). I fondly call them, “The Genevieves.” The young girl may be my grandpa’s sister, Barbara. I would love to identify the woman in the gorgeous white dress.

Genevieve Norris, Genevieve Paul,

Genevieve Paul and Genevieve Norris

Here’s what I know about their life during the Spanish Flu:

Doc, Genevieve, and Grandpa

Doc, Lawrence, and Genevieve Norris

On Jan. 16, 1918 in Golden, Colorado my great grandfather Samuel Ernest “Doc” Norris married Genevieve A. Paul. Doc attended dental school at The University of Denver. He grew up in Colorado Springs, as did Genevieve, so I suspect they knew each other from high school or some other Colorado Springs gathering spot. Doc’s mother, Minnie Norris, lived in Colorado Springs as well. Genevieve’s mother, Genevieve L. Paul, came to Colorado Springs after her husband John Charles Fremont Paul died in Washington. The story goes she came here with her two daughters, Genevieve and Ethel, for tuberculosis treatment. Her sister, Lillian Ogilvie, moved here around the same time. A third sister, Inestine Roberts (an adventurer famous for climbing Pikes Peak many times and going missing on her final ascent) lived in Colorado Springs by the early 20s as well. According to Colorado Springs City Directories, Genevieve L. Paul lived in a house on W. Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs. After marriage, Samuel and Genevieve lived there too for many years. My grandfather, Lawrence, was born in Sept. 1919, and then they all resided there together.

Doc was a dentist in town with his own practice in the Robbins Building on


A snowstorm in 1913 showing The Robbins Building on S. Tejon St. in Colorado Springs

Tejon St. (it looks quite different, but was right about where the Thirsty Parrot was located). In this photo from Pikes Peak Library District’s Stewarts Commercial Photograph Collection, you can see what that block looked like in 1913. It’s interesting, because there is a dentist office in this photograph in the Robbins Building, which likely belonged to C.A. Dennis who was still practicing in the building at the time my great grandfather opened his office.

Advice from Oct 1918 gazetteThe 1918 pandemic was said to have started in Kansas (either in Haskell County or at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas) as early as January 1918. (1) It  reached Colorado by the fall. (2) During that time, the city of Colorado Springs shut down operations in almost the same way as it has in 2020. An article from October 5, 1918 announced the closing of, “all schools and colleges, churches, theaters, moving picture houses, pool an billiard halls and amusement parlors.” It also noted that, “all indoor public gatherings, dances, lodge meetings, etc. be prohibited, and that the public be excluded from all court rooms and be prohibited from congregating in public buildings.” All public libraries were also closed as were the gyms and pools at the YMCA and YWCA. At that time there were four known deaths in Colorado Springs from the flu. The advice at right was included with the article.

Over a month later, a Colorado Springs Gazette article from Nov. 22, 1918 notes:

All members of the police department have been given strict orders to see that influenza rules are strictly observed. Yesterday patrolmen and officers visited all restaurants and hotel dining rooms in order to see that the rules were properly observed.

Another article on Dec. 5, 1918, announced a new regulation issued by the Health Officer in Colorado Springs, which required anyone with symptoms of the flu to quarantine in their home. Unless they were properly separated from others in the home, everyone in the house was also under quarantine. A white quarantine card was placed on the home and the only people allowed to enter and exit were doctors and nurses. The quarantine would end when the person with the flu was moved to a hospital. An article on  Nov. 30, 1918 announced a temporary hospital with extra space was set up in the YWCA building in town. Oral histories from the time recall how people would seem fine one day, and die the next. Check out what Harry Collier says in this one. Reports included new cases and cases of pneumonia, which was the major cause of death during this pandemic. It must have been a terrifying time in a sense. Then again, I can’t help but wonder in an era with so few vaccines, less travel, and so much uncertainty post World War I, if it actually wasn’t as scary to them as it is to us now.

On Dec. 13, 1918 it was announced the “Ban would be lifted next Sunday.” Unfortunately, I cannot see this full article right now, or order it since the library is closed for the exact same reasons as it was in 1918. An article the following day, however, lists rules that will be in place after the ban is lifted. These include filling only every other row in churches and theaters,  no gatherings of children from more than two families, no dances, no crowding around pool tables, no public funerals for those dying of influenza or pneumonia,  and additional notes that people who are sick must stay home and be reported. By Jan. 6, 1919, schools in Colorado Springs re-opened.

While it would seem life was back to normal, by January 1920 the city started shutting down again due to a flue epidemic. Schools closed indefinitely on Feb. 5, 1920, and the city health officer urged residents of the city to voluntarily keep away from, “needless gatherings.” Physicians of the time signed a petition noting that, “The mere advice to the people to refrain from public gatherings is inadequate.” They go on to describe what they believe should happen. Check out the article and note the similarities. It’s fascinating!

An article from Feb. 8, 1920 soon announced that public meetings were prohibited. This solidified the closing of,  “schools, churches, theaters, and the prohibition of all public gatherings, both indoors and out of doors.”


The house where my great grandmother lived on W. Platte

In order to get a sense of the space my great grandparents lived in during the 1918 pandemic and 1920 epidemic, I drove past their house on West Platte, which is still standing. It is small, only four rooms according to the assessors website. What’s interesting is that there is another small house behind it, which I determined was built in 1920. I couldn’t get a great photo of this second house. All this time, I imagined my great grandparents and great great grandmother all living together, but now suspect one family lived in the other house starting around 1920 until they moved to the house which became my Grandpa’s around 1924.

Like my great grandparents, our home isn’t super spacious, but we have a yard and can garden and sunbathe and wander about. The 1918 pandemic took place in the winter, though, so perhaps they spent more time indoors. Genevieve Paul had already survived tuberculosis (if the story is correct) and must have known the magic of sunshine. I have to believe if it was sunny, then they were soaking it in. She was also a painter and in the 1917 Colorado Springs City Directory she was described as a seamstress, so I like to imagine she was spending time creating in some way. I wonder if my great grandfather, Doc, was getting many dental patients during this time and how he protected himself and his family. By the time my grandpa was born in Sept. of 1919, did they believe they were safe from the flu, or were they bracing for another round? 

  1. Barry, J. M. (Nov. 2017). How the Horrific 1918 Flu Spread Across America. Smithsonian Magazine.
  2. (1976, Oct. 10) State Spanish Flu may have started among trainees. Colorado Springs Gazette, A 3:1. Retrieved April 16, 2020 from:

Happy 100th Birthday, Grandpa

21 Sep

navy picMy grandpa was a great man. I called him Grandpa Grandpa. As I grew older, I decided it was probably because one “Grand” wasn’t enough. He taught me many things – my appreciation for the Land of Oz, an interest in stamp collecting, how to make an omelet (with jam), the call of the chickadee, and how to count to twenty in Spanish. He had a massive movie collection, which I spent many hours admiring and organizing. We’d watch John Wayne and Cary Grant as well as the classic afterschool Disney lineup with our favorite, Ducktales. We’d also watch Where in the World in Carmen Sandiego, where I’m sure he greatly outdid me on geography knowledge. He always had Hawaiian punch (in the can), vanilla ice cream, chocolate pudding, and vanilla wafers on hand. There’s more, I’m certain. He is always sneaking up on me, reminding me of something that’s locked in my 37-year-old memory or of a little tidbit so ingrained that I forget for a moment that it’s him.

I had every intention of celebrating his 100 years by researching the pieces of his life that are missing from our lists and memories, and gosh, I still plan to, but today, I haven’t gotten very far. That isn’t going to stop me from telling you what I know, though, because while a perfect history is great, even a little is still grand…


Lawrence Ernest Norris was born on Sept. 21, 1919. His parents, Dr. Samuel Ernest Norris, a dentist, and Genevieve Armelia Paul Norris, had been married for about a year and were living with my great-great-great grandmother, Genevieve Paul, in her house on Platte Ave.

In 1922 they moved to the house I knew as “Grandpa’s,” in Ivywild. This is where he grew up, and where he raised his own family, buying the house from my great-grandfather in 1947. He attended Lowell and Ivywild elementary schools, both of which have been remodeled to contain businesses, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. He attended Palmer High School in downtown Colorado Springs when it was still called Colorado Springs High School. It was the only High School back then. I know that he was involved with drama from some old yearbook photos. He went on to obtain degrees from Colorado College, receiving his Master’s in Geology in 1942.

graduation june 1937Grandpa registered for the draft in 1940 at the age of 21 while a student at Colorado College. In 1941 he joined the naval reserves, served during World War II and attained the rank of Lieutenant. He met my grandmother, Dora Maria Norris in Washington D.C. She was working as a secretary for the Department of Agriculture. They were married in July 1945. Somewhere, our family has their wedding gift list, and I promise to share this at a later time. He had two children, my mom and aunt.


He was ordered back to active duty in 1951 for the Korean conflict. Service awards include the American Defense and European-African-Middle Eastern medals with two combat stars.

Between World War II and the Korean conflict, he was employed at Alexander Film Company in theater relations. He returned after the Korean conflict to work for the film company as well. Later, he worked for Montgomery Wards, retiring in 1981. In his youth, Larry drove tours through The Garden of the Gods and up Pikes Peak. He was a past member of the American Legion and always enjoyed working at The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. He also volunteered for Junior Achievement and the Pikes Peak Library District.

He passed away in 2009 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

retirementIn his life he did so much, and most of it is still to tell. Today, on his 100th birthday, though, I think, I can sum him up best with a quote often accredited to Maya Angelou:

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Grandpa, had a way about him, which made you feel like the most important person in the world. A kindness that radiated. This is what I hold tightly too — what I will never ever forget.



Family Photo of the Week: Harry Howell Hastings & His Brother Otho

10 Jul

This is my great-great grandfather Harry Howell Hastings, son of Z.S. Hastings standing with his brother Otho Ono Hastings. Harry looks so much like Dad and Grandpa in this photo. I love it!

Family Photo of the Week: Z.S. Hastings & Rosetta Butler Hastings Inside Their Kansas Home

11 Jun

I suppose I’ve failed to mention the gold mine of photos and information that Grandma found stashed in her closet last summer when we were in there looking for something else. (Isn’t that always the case?) Apparently, many years ago Grandpa received a book about the Hastings family history, as documented by a distant relative of his. The book is wonderful, but the best part is that our relative, Roger Taft, included  a disc with all of his scans of the original documents and photos that he put into the book. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this is. A few of these photos we had copies of, some others I’d seen online, but there are many I’d never even seen before. Thank you cousin Roger, wherever you are!

This photo is of Z.S. Hastings and Rosetta Butler Hastings (my great-great-great grandparents) inside their “retirement” home in Effingham, Kansas. Note the paintings of Z.S. and Rosetta Hastings that hung on the wall behind them. This picture cracks me up. I don’t have an exact date for the photo, but I imagine it was taken in the early part of the 1900’s. Z.S. Hastings died in 1925, so I believe this photo to have been taken 5-15 years earlier based on the way he looks in other photos we have of him which are dated 1914 and 1925.

Connecting the Civil War Norris Dots

7 Jun

In this letter from my great-great grandfather William Norris’s sister Mary to my great-great grandmother Minnie Rose Norris, she describes what each of her brothers did during the Civil War.

“Bro Dock was in the 4th Ala Regt. Col Bee commanding Hoods Div. Longsteets Cor L Company F or G. I don’t remember which. he was in the 1st battle of Manassas until he surrendered under Lee at Appomattox C H at the end of the war. Bro’s Jim and John was in the 20 Ala Regt company F or G. Capt Shapherd, Colonel Pettus under Joseph E. Johnston was captured a the fall of Vicksburg, Surrendered in Georgia I think. John was killed in Vicksburg during the siege 1st of June 1863, so you see I don’t know much about any of them.”

I wanted to confirm her information, so I looked up each of her brothers in the national park service’s Civil War database. As Brad Norris said in his genforum post, her brother Dock was Melville Norris. Melville was Alanson Blake Norris’s second eldest son, and was approximately 18 or 19 when the Civil War broke out. Mary’s information proves correct. There was in fact, a Melville Norris in the 4th Alabama Regiment company G. This is the link to his data in the National Park Service database:

She’s correct again when it comes to her brother Jim (James B. Norris). He was Alanson’s eldest son, and about 22 when the war began. Here he is in the 20th Alabama Regiment, company F: .

There was also a John Norris in the same regiment. However, according to this database, the only John W. Norris in the 20th Alabama Regiment entered as a private and exited as a corporal (quite the promotion). .

This is confusing, because Mary says he died in Vicksburg in 1863. Here’s some nice info. on the Battle: I’ve been trying to figure out if the database would list whether a soldier was killed in battle, or not. So far, I can’t find a list of soldiers killed in Vicksburg, or any record of John’s death. I can’t find him on a census after 1860 either. He would’ve been a mere 15 or 16 years old when the Civil War began. If Mary’s correct, that would make him 18 or 19 when he died.

My great-great grandfather William R. Norris wouldn’t have served in the war, because he was only one-year-old in 1860, and only five by the time the war ended. Alanson Blake Norris doesn’t seem to have served either, which would be logical since he’s rumored to be a Methodist minister and would’ve been around 44 at the time the war began. This would mean that neither of my direct great-great-great grandfather’s fought in the Civil War. Z.S. Hastings my great-great-great grandfather on my Dad’s side stated in his autobiography that he didn’t fight in the war, though some of his brother’s did fight for the Union. Like Alanson, Z.S. Hastings was also a minister.

Incidentally, as mentioned in a previous blog, William Norris’s future father-in-law Samuel Leslie Rose did serve. He was in the 30th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry and Swett’s Company, Mississippi Light Artillery. I haven’t looked into whether he was at any of the same battles as William’s brothers yet.

Family Photo of the Week: Genevieve Norris & Family

5 Jun

I was looking for something else, when I stumbled upon this photograph that I’d scanned and never shared. I know the woman on the far left is my great-grandmother Genevieve Norris, below is her daughter Barbara. I believe the older woman in the photo is Genevieve Bush Paul, my great-great-grandmother, but it could be Minnie Lee Rose Norris (my other great-great-grandmother). I’m not sure who the younger woman is yet, but possibly Genevieve Norris’ niece Lorraine. Based on the age of Barbara, I would say this photo is from the late 1930’s.

What struck me as interesting is that I recognized the street behind them. I’m fairly certain that it’s a road within  Evergreen cemetery in Colorado Springs. If you look closely, I think you can even see tombstones behind them. I don’t know why they took this photo in the cemetery. It could be Memorial Day or it could be for a funeral that I’ve yet to associate with that year. In any case, it’s a lovely picture of them, isn’t it?

And so it begins… In Search of Robert Norris

1 Jun

In this quick, and long overdue entry, I just want to share something I found over a year ago while searching for William Norris’s father Alanson Blake (or A.B.) Norris. It’s a post to a genealogy forum by Brad Norris (grandson of Elmer Norris, Minnie Lee Rose Norris’s eldest son). In it he shares two letters that my great-great-grandmother Minnie Lee Rose Norris received from her husband’s siblings regarding their father Alanson and grandfather Robert. It’s a bit of a mystery tracking down Robert, and I’ll be sharing that quest over the next few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy these letters with much thanks to Brad for posting them. Below is the text from his post, and here’s the original link:

This is a quote from a letter written by my gg uncle, James B. Norris, in 1912 from Elmore, Alabama to my ggrandmother, Minnie Lee Rose Norris in answer to her inquiry about his family. He was 73 when this was written:

“…In regard to my Father Family I know very little about them But I will tell you all I know. I think that he had 4 Brothers their names were John Harris Andrew and Singleton I think were the names of the Boys. My Fathers name was Alanson Blake Norris my GrandFathers name was Robbert Norris. I never did see any of them and I think there were 4 sisters there names were Jane and Nancy I have seen them the other two girls names were Hildy and Kissiah I think were all. I have seen Aunt Jane She married a man by the name of Joshua Smith. Aunt Nancy married Jacob Goodwin (my mothers Brother) and one married a man by the name of Maldin and Kissiah married Jubilee Chitwood. They all lived in South Carolina. Father left his People when he was eighteen years old and never visited them But once that I know of that was in 1846 Rode a fine Horse named Ball Hornett and lost his Pocket Book with two hundred Dollars in it. Borrowed $20.00 Dollars from his Father (my Grand Father) to Pay his way coming home he was gone about six weeks. My Mothers People her Fathers name was Ephraim Goodwin his wife’s name was SuSanna Shook (She was a Dutch girl) They lived in Cherokee Cty, Ala. I have seen them several times when I was small….”

And this from a letter written by Mary Norris Spigener, James B.’s sister. Written again to Minnie Lee Rose Norris in 1917 from her home in Arizona, Louisiana (near Athens, east of Shreveport):

“…I hardly know what to say to you, as I know nothing in reference to my ancestors. My Grandfather Goodwin came from Missouri, I believe grand father Norris from N.C. Buncomb Co I think. have no family bible other than my fathers. he was born Oct 7, 1815, his name Alanson Blake. Esther Catherine Goodwin, his [wife] born April 20, 1819. Bro Dock was in the 4th Ala Regt. Col Bee commanding Hoods Div. Longsteets Cor L Company F or G. I don’t remember which. he was in the 1st battle of Manassas until he surrendered under Lee at Appomattox C H at the end of the war. Bro’s Jim and John was in the 20 Ala Regt company F or G. Capt Shapherd, Colonel Pettus under Joseph E. Johnston was captured a the fall of Vicsburg, Surrendered in Georgia I think. John was killed in Vicksburg during the siege 1st of June 1863, so you see I don’t know much about any of them….”

The reference to “Bro Dock” would be Melville Norris. I have good info on the Shook and Goodwin Families (Google Jacob Shook, Clyde NC). I know Alanson was born in SC. James B. said his grandfather was “Robbert”. Mary says he was from NC, Buncombe County. That would put him in proximity with the Shooks and the Goodwins in adjacent Haywood County (They were devout Methodists, Jacob Shook and Francis Asbury being friends. The Goodwins were missionaries to Missouri, thus the birth of Esther Catherine in Missouri. Alanson Blake Norris was also a Methodist minister). I have long been stuck on the assumption that this Norris clan originated from Abbeville or Pendleton Districts of SC.

I’ve worked recently on deciphering and confirming what’s recollected in these two amazing letters, and have attempted to track down the elusive Robert Norris. More on that shortly… I’m assuming this is enough of a gem to enjoy for the time being! 🙂 I’m still hoping to get scans of the original letters from Brad. Thanks in advance!!!! 🙂

Genevieve Leoline (Bush) Paul

6 May

After being orphaned at 14, widowed with two small children at  30, watching her younger brother die of drug abuse, potentially surviving tuberculosis thereafter, and losing one of her daughters prematurely to cancer, this beautiful lady lived to be 85-years-old. She’s a survivor if I ever saw one, and I couldn’t be happier to call her my great-great grandmother.

Genevieve Bush was born in Smethport, Pennsylvania on August 12 1866 to Hiram M. Bush and Sarah Douglas Bush. She had two sisters, Lillian M. (the oldest), and Inestine C. (the youngest), and one brother Lionel (known as Lee). Her father Hiram worked as a lumberman and a farmer, and according to a very informative obituary written by Lillian for her brother Lionel, the Bush’s owned the flour mill and lumber mill in Smethport for a “good many years.” After her mother Sarah died around 1876, Hiram re-married at some point and the family continued to live in Smethport until his death a few years later on approximately Dec. 14, 1880, as seen in this Dec. 16, 1880 listing in the McKean County Miner.

Shortly before his death the 1880 census shows the entire Bush clan (minus Sarah) with Genevieve listed under the nickname Eva. This is the first and last time I’ve heard her called this. Interestingly enough, there is also a border by the name of Frank Ogilvie living with the Bush’s, who will later marry Genevieve’s sister Lillian.

Due to the lack of census data from 1890, the whereabouts of Genevieve and her siblings is hard to track after 1880, but not as difficult as it could’ve been thanks to the aforementioned obituary from 1898 written by Lillian about their brother, his struggles, and most interestingly the movement of each sister after their father’s death. Though it’s difficult to read, and we must take it’s accuracy with a grain of salt, this article gives many clues into the lives of the Bush sisters and their brother between 1880 and 1898.

According to Lillian, after their father’s death all three sisters and their brother went to Hamilton, New York to live with their “mother’s people” for about two years. Then, Lillian married Frank Ogilvie and they all returned to Smethport for a time and lived with them. In what could potentially be 1889 (it’s difficult to read), they all went to live in Washington Territory. Inestine had married Hugh J. Hamilton at that point, and Genevieve and Lee were the under the guardianship of a man by the name of William Haskell (connection to be determined). Genevieve asked to take charge of Lee, and according to Lillian he lived with her most of the time.

Genevieve at some point married John Charles Fremont Paul (a very difficult man to find) of Oakville, Washington (but born in Iowa). They had two children, Ethel, born in 1892, and Genevieve, born in 1896. Sadly, he died in 1896, the same year Genevieve was born. Family rumor had it down as a logging accident, but on the death index he’s listed as a farmer, and his cause of death was a “cerebral tumor.” We’ll talk more about him someday soon.

Shortly after John’s death, Lee was said to have come back to live with Genevieve, and was looking forward to moving with her and her daughters to Colorado Springs, where she was planning to go in the beginning of 1899 for health reasons. According to Lillian’s meanderings in Lee’s obituary she was at the time of his death in very poor health, presumably with tuberculosis.

By 1900 Genevieve Paul was living in Colorado Springs with her two daughters, along with her sister Lillian and brother-in-law Frank Ogilvie at a house on Colorado Avenue.

She’s listed on this census as an artist, which her sister Lillian had also mentioned in Lee’s obituary. This is well-known amongst our family members. In fact, two of her paintings hung at my Grandparents house for as long as any of us can remember. Recently, we discovered the one above the mantel was listed as a wedding present to my grandparents from her in their wedding gift log.

In 1910, she was living with her 13-year-old daughter Genevieve at a house on 616 West Platte Avenue in Colorado Springs. It’s hard to read what her profession was in this census, but she was working at home.

By 1920, her daughter Genevieve and husband Samuel Earnest Norris (a local dentist, and my great grandpa) were living with her along with their three-month old son, Lawrence (my grandpa). Genevieve is listed as a seamstress in this record.

In 1930, and in the recently released 1940 census she was living in the same house on North Platte, though here in the 1940 census the address is listed incorrectly as being on North Chestnut. This made it a bit of a challenge to find during my initial search of the 1940 census before it was indexed. She’s 73-years-old in this census record, which was taken the same year as the wonderful photograph at the top of this page.

In this photo of her from 1950, she’s celebrating her 84th birthday. We’re not sure who the girl on the far left is, but the other people in this photograph from left to right are her sister Inestine (Bush) Roberts, her granddaughter Lorraine(Essick) Crocker, her granddaughter Barbara (Norris) Shupe holding her great-grandson Bo, her daughter Ethel (Paul) Essick, and her granddaughter-in-law Dora (Collins) Norris (my grandma). The two girls right behind her are her great-granddaughters Vivalee and JoAnne.

She passed away the next year at 85-years-old. Note, the city of Smithport, PA is listed as her birthplace in the obituary below. This is also true in an article I’ll share about her sister Inestine’s death on Pikes Peak. It was only in searching for Smithport, and realizing there was no Smithport, that I tracked them to Smethport where I found a wealth of information about the well-known Bush family.

Our Confederate Connection

22 Apr

Rumors of our Alabama ancestors and their involvement in The Civil War have circulated through my family for as long as I can remember. Alabama being a Southern state made it likely that, despite our better hopes, we did have some members of the confederacy in our family tree.

During previous research, I’d tracked down both Alanson B. Norris and Samuel Leslie Rose (parents of William R. Norris and Minnie Lee Rose (respectively), my great-great grandparents) to Montgomery, Alabama. I’d also found an obituary that listed Minnie Lee Rose as a Daughter of the Confederacy. I hadn’t, however, tracked down the confederate connection, nor did I know if it was on the Rose or Norris side…. or both. I’d searched military records for Samuel Leslie Rose in Alabama, and found nothing.

I decided, then, that perhaps it was his father who was the soldier. After a bit of difficulty, I happened upon the Rose family living in Carroll, Mississippi on the 1860 census. The Rose’s were listed by initials only. There was A.C. Rose, M.J. Rose, and S.L. Rose amongst several others in the household. I knew this was the correct family, because in the 1880 census I found a Margaret J. Rose living with Samuel Leslie Rose and his wife Sarah Elizabeth Rose. She was listed in this record as his mother. You can check out both of these census entries below. The first two screen captures are from the 1860 census, and the last one is from 1880.

Finding the Rose’s in Mississippi was a huge break. By 1870, Samuel Leslie Rose is listed on the Alabama census with his wife Sarah and one-year-old baby girl Minnie. Placing them in Mississippi in 1860 meant they were more likely to be there when the war broke out, than in Alabama. Oddly enough, Samuel is listed as being born in Alabama, so it makes you wonder why they moved to Mississippi, and then back. I spent a lot of time trying to find A.C. Rose in another census entry, with the hope of finding out what his first name was. The only information I had on him from 1860, besides the initials of his family members, was that he was 53-years-old and born in New York. He was listed as an M.D., but it’s unclear to me what that is an abbreviation for. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either A.C. or Margaret Rose on any other census on or HeritageQuest. I’d hit a dead end with good ‘ole A.C., and I still didn’t know who the confederate solder could be.

In search of a lucky lead, I visited with the hope that either Samuel Leslie Rose or A.C. Rose would have a tombstone photo. I’ve noticed that some volunteers will take the extra step of listing related tombstones, and I was hoping that maybe an entry for Samuel Leslie Rose would lead to A.C. This, unfortunately, was not the case…

However, I did strike gold.

I could’ve sworn I’d searched for Samuel L. Rose’s tombstone before, but apparently not, because here in front of me there was suddenly a photo of a confederate tombstone, complete with his regiment. Sure enough, he served in Mississippi and not Alabama. I’m still not certain what the WATT part of the tombstone engraving means, but I did place him in the 30th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry and Swett’s Company, Mississippi Light Artillery. He entered as a private and exited as a Sergeant. I’m still working on locating his original records to see if I can find any more information. If you visit the National Parks Service site, however, you can find information about both Swett’s Company, Mississippi Light Artillery and the 30th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry and you can find Samuel L. Rose listed in both.

I later tracked down A.C. Rose’s name and a lot of information about his father (my great-great-great-great-great grandfather) on the East coast, but that’s a story for another day.

Denver Dental School

12 Nov

I stumbled upon this draft registration card for my great-grandpa, Samuel Ernest Norris or “Doc” on the other day.

It’s pretty amazing in it’s own right just to see, but probably the coolest part for me is that it says he’s a Dental Student at Denver University in Denver, Colorado. Now, according to family lore he was a dental student in Boulder at The University of Colorado. Mysterious, right? So which is it?

I googled “Denver University dental school 1917”, and found this entry about the history of the Denver Dental School.

It’s a little bit confusing, but as I understand it the first dental school formed in Colorado was indeed in Denver, and affiliated off and on with The University of Denver. The University of Colorado tried at one point to form a dental school in Denver, and there was a bit of an uproar about them putting it in Denver instead of Boulder. Thus, the two school’s combined to form the Denver Dental School, which was operated out of DU and even affiliated with DU at one point. I’m a little bit excited to go dig in DU’s records to see if I can find Doc listed. If he did go to The University of Denver instead of The University of Colorado, then we’re alumni together! I knew there was some reason I randomly ended up there. 🙂

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