Friday, September 25, 2009

More on Andersonville Survivor David Daub

In an earlier post, the Andersonville Survivors Association certificate of David Daub of Burgoon, Ohio was posted. Daub was born in York County, Pennsylvania and later moved with his parents to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he enlisted in the 45th Pennsylvania Infantry. Captured at Petersburg, he was imprisoned at Andersonville, Libby, and Danville.

Following the war, Daub moved to Jackson Twp., Sandusky County. In later life he settled at Burgoon, Ohio. Thanks to Richard Hanny for sharing this picture of David Daub, his wife Lydia, and daughter Sarah Catherine, standing in the front yard of the Daub home in Burgoon. Richard also brough us this albumen print of Daub with other Civil War veterans at an apparent reunion. Unfortunately, there is no date or location on the print.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Discovery of WW II Seaplane Confirmed as that of Fremont Native Lt. Col. Jack Zimmerman

More often than we might think, the past meets the present. In 1996, relatives donated materials to the Hayes Center, documenting the aviation career of Fremont native and pioneering pilot Lt. Col. Jack Zimmerman. They included his log books, photographs of his planes and fellow pilots, and articles appearing in newspapers and aviation newsletters.

There was no doubt that Zimmerman was one of those daring, early pilots whose every flight was filled with danger. He was one of a handful who catapulted TWA’s fledgling airline into a leader in the commercial aviation industry.

Zimmerman logged more than two million flight miles, crossed the Atlantic more than 100 times, flew TWA’s first Boeing 307, set numerous aviation speed records, and piloted TWA’s first flight into New York City's LaGuardia Airport. He also flew secret flights for the FBI. A 1942 biography, The Million Miler, the Story of an Air Pilot, chronicled Zimmerman’s aviation career

It was almost a given that he would enlist in the Army Air Corps when WW II broke out. In charge of a fleet of seaplanes that ferried supplies to Allied Forces in England, Zimmerman was the most senior pilot. In November 1942, Zimmerman’s seaplane foundered on take-off in rough seas. With seawater rushing into the fuselage through a damaged wheel well, the PBY Catalina
sank instantly. Fishermen from Quebec’s Longue-Pointe village rescued four of the nine men, but Jack Zimmerman was not among them.

The dark, cold waters of the Atlantic swallowed up the seaplane along with its brave pilot and four crew members – seemingly lost forever. That was until August 7th when I received a call from a Canadian who was searching for information on the Internet about Jack Zimmerman..

He said, “Didn’t you hear? It was in the New York Times, Bloomberg News , and in all of the Canadian newspapers. Parks Canada believes they have discovered the plane of Jack Zimmerman, the pilot you wrote about in your article!” He told me that during a routine survey, underwater archaeologists found the wreckage of a well-preserved seaplane in the area where Zimmerman and his crew were lost 67 years ago.
Side-scan sonar indicated the plane appeared to be well preserved. Parks Canada said that “in collaboration with the U. S. Government, they will be launching an operation to formally confirm the identity of the wreck and to explore the possibility of eventually recovering the remains of missing crew members. Parks Canada is dedicated to managing the discovery with the dignity and respect owed to lost American soldiers.”

On August 21st, Parks Canada, using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), confirmed conclusively that the PBY they had discovered was that piloted by Lt. Col. Jack Zimmerman. You can watch a video of the underwater archaeologists as they view the downed aircraft.

This post is an updated variation of an article published in the September 2009 issue of Lifestyles 2000.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Analyzing a Victorian Era Gown

Dating and identifying owners of 19th-century clothing can be difficult without documentation from individuals or descendants who know the history. When the Hayes Center received the George Buckland Collection from Jacksonville, Florida, a number of pieces of clothing were included in the donation. Among the items was an elegant silk dress. When it was made and for who remained a mystery until intern Alexandra Hutchings analyzed and researched its fabric and style. Below is Alex's analysis and description.

A one-piece elegant gold-colored dress features a fitted bodice and a train skirt, originally called a “mermaid’s tail,” a style that dates to approximately 1880. The bulk of the fabric used for this dress is silk. Hand-embroidered cream-colored silk flowers and leaves adorn the entire hem, skirt front, and bodice.

A matching gold velvet ribbon is sewn into the bottom of the bodice and wraps around to the back to form a bow with long ribbon tails. Cream-colored cording is used as lacing for the bodice front. Hand-sewn openings for the cording feature the same embroidery floss as the flowers and leaves. The sleeves puff slightly at the shoulder tapering down tightly at the wrist, ending with 1½” upturned cuffs.

Beneath the embroidered flowers of the skirt at the hem is ruching approximately 5½” in width. The lace placed on cream-colored silk on the front of the skirt gives the illusion of a complete under petticoat, but the lace in reality covers only the space visible to the eye. The same lace adorns the collar, cuffs, and shoulder areas.

There is a balayeuse or “dust ruffle” made of heavily pleated strips of fabric serving as a hem guard, with one ruffle in the front and three separate ruffles in the back under the “mermaid’s tail.” The dust ruffles are hand stitched loosely to a stiffer fabric perhaps for easy removal for washing.

Some of the manufactured items in this dress include: a belt secured on the inside back of the bodice to help with the weight of the garment. It includes a printed brand name, Cregmile Cincinnati. Quarter and half inch boning along with brass hook and eye closures were used in the bodice. Lace (different from the lace used on the bodice and front of skirt) found at the hem beneath the ruching of the skirt was also manufactured.

This gown has many qualities that fit the princess style dress dating from 1875 to 1881. The “mermaid’s tail” measures about 70” (evening gown length). The bustle, and the fitted and boned bodice are markers of the “princess style dress”.

The bulk of the dress was sewn by machine. However, the many finished edges were done by hand.

The overall appearance of this gown clearly emphasizes the hourglass shape.

A further search of the collection turned up two cabinet card images taken in Mora’s Studio at 707 Broadway in New York. One of the images was identified as “Elizabeth Huntington Rice, June 1881.” We later learned that Elizabeth Huntington married Brigadier General Edmund Rice, June 14, 1881 in Cincinnati, Ohio. We now know that the dress in our collection was Elizabeth Huntington’s wedding gown.

Andersonville Survivors Association

Discovered recently behind a framed picture was this certificate presented to David Daub of Burgoon, Ohio on the 2nd of January 1880 by the Andervonville Survivors Association.

Daub was born in York County, Pennsylvania on February 18, 1845. He was the son of Michael and Katherine Daub. He moved with them in 1855 to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Daub enlisted from Lancaster County as a private in Company B of the 45th Pennsylvania Infantry. He fought at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. Following the Petersburg mine explosion, he was captured. He was imprisoned at Andersonville for seven months and later at Libby Prison and Danville. Daub was paroled February 22, 1865 at Annapolis, Maryland.

The certificate recognized Daub as a lifetime member because of his imprisonment at Andersonville. The certificate further states that "his Health has been seriously impaired and he contracted General Disability during confinement in Rebel Prisons."

The organization was founded in the wake of the publicity surrounding the trial of Henry Wirz, the commandant of Andersonville. Former prisoners of war formed the organization to lobby Congress for disability pension legislation.

Following the war, Daub moved to Sandusky County and farmed 120 acres in Jackson Township. He married Lydia Shale and the couple had five children. In 1901, he moved to Burgoon, where he sold hardware and implements until fire destroyed his business. Daub was a member of Sandusky County's Eugene Rawson Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was also a road supervisor and a member of the Evangelical Church. December 5, 1919, Daub died suddenly of a heart attack.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Digital Diaspora Family Reunion

While working to compile the names and service records of Sandusky County, Ohio Civil War soldiers, I uncovered nearly two dozen African Americans, who served in the conflict. Some were born free; others escaped the bonds of slavery. From GAR membership rolls; the research project of Washington Courthouse High School students; cemetery records; and obituaries, I was able to piece together fragments of their lives. (You can read about them by following this link.) My great frustration was my inability to locate even one photograph!

I am hopeful that in the coming weeks, all that will change. This month Digital Diaspora Family Reunion goes live! The project is the brain child of New York documentary filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris. While working on Through a Lens Darkly, a documentary about professional African American photographers, Harris decided to explore broader themes. He has developed a web-based multi-media project, where individuals will be able to upload their family photos to a central archive. They will also have the opportunity to explore other family stories, make comments, and add data.

Using an “Antiques Roadshow” format, Harris held events in Georgia, Maryland, and other states, where he has already gathered and archived thousands of African American family photographs. He hopes that photographs lying hidden in shoeboxes and attics will be shared, allowing African Americans to explore the lives and history of their ancestors. Further, he believes that his initiative “will document moments in African American history that have been lost or overlooked - such as the inter-racial communities that flourished briefly but were later stamped out by Jim Crow laws and the Ku Klux Klan.”

Harris is correct in stating that “museums, historical societies, and archives have rarely preserved and interpreted the work of professional and amateur African American photographers.” One of the few African American photographs preserved at the Hayes Center is this cabinet card of Lizzie Breckenridge. Sadly, I have been unable to find much information on her. But I remain hopeful that through the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, I will have the opportunity to learn more about the life of Lizzie Breckenridge and those of other African Americans who lived in Sandusky County. Most especially, I would like to see the faces of brave Civil War soldiers like Edwin Leonard who, along with his African American comrades of the 54th Massachusetts, launched the Union attack on Fort Wagner.