Day 13 – Traveled from Chadron to Yankton, SD. This trip crossed off another state on our list and was also located near Springfield Township in South Dakota which is a location that Hudson Dexter Mead (my great-grandfather) appears on an 1880 census.
Day 14 and 15 – Traveled to Urbandale, Iowa and visited for two days with our niece Amy and her family. We had a great time visiting (except for the rain out of a baseball game), playing some games and going to church with them. Amy gave me a copy of a report she did on my father in which she interviews him about his life growing up. Learned a couple things and also need to verify a couple things, but that is for another day.
Day 16 – Traveled to Illinois for a day to see my brother David and his wife Julie, who is currently recovering from serious shoulder surgery. As always, we enjoyed our stay there and David and I always have some great conversations.
Day 17 – 19 – Traveled to Columbus and visited my daughter and her family. Lot of games, finished a jigsaw puzzle, soccer practices and good food and company.
Day 20 – After 4,728 miles, we make it back home. It is nice to sleep on your own mattress!
P.S. – Once home I received a package from my friend I made in North Dakota, which included copies of “The North Dakota Sheaf” (the “Official paper of the Bishop and District of North Dakota Protestant Episcopal Church”) from the years that my grandfather Frank was a minister in North Dakota (from 1922 to 1928). I will do more later on grandpa Frank as I put together a short biography of his life, as I know it anyhow.
One thing I did learn that I will share now, is that he went to St. John’s College (now a part of the University of Manitoba, go U of M!) for his theological studies. This college is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba which is where he married grandma Muriel. Since Muriel was from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I wonder now if she went to the same college and possible met grandpa Frank there.
Day 12 saw us off to Nebraska. Our first stop was in Kimball Nebraska, where my mother, Gloria Jane Mead, was born on March 12, 1931. Kimball is about 50 miles east of Cheyenne or a couple hours northeast of Denver.
Once in Kimball we were able to take a few pictures of the house where my Grandpa (Hudson Dexter Mead II) and Grandma (Mary Esther) lived when our mom was born. The address was from a 1930 census. They were married in 1927 in Chadron, Nebraska but later moved to Kimball. Sometime before 1936 they moved to Oklahoma where my mom’s brother Hudson Dexter Mead III was born.
We also stopped at the offices of the Western Nebraska Observer, a paper that has been around since 1885. They were kind enough to bring up all the archived editions of the paper for the year 1931 and allowed us to look through them. We found a birth announcement and an announcement of a trip they made to Chadron after the birth. The coolest thing I learned is that my mom was born at home!
Then off to Chadron, with a stop to see Chimney Rock on the way there. Chimney Rock was used as a sign post for the travelers heading across country in the 1800’s.
Once in Chadron, Nebraska, (where I was born) we went house hunting. I had the house number of 601 Ann Street which was listed on my birth certificate, and 259 Chapin Street from the 1920 census listing where Grandpa Mead lived (14 years old) and also just a street, Shelton, from the 1910 census when Grandpa was 4 years old.
I was born in Chadron during the time my dad went to college there, at least for the fall semester in 1951. He went to what was called Chadron State Teachers College, but is now called Chadron State College. They are a division II school (go Eagles!) and they compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
Just a short post as we headed from Casper Wyoming to Thornton Colorado to start a 4 day visit with my grandson Noah (and his parents!). We took a less traveled route down 487 and 30 to I-80 so that we could take the Happy Jack Road between Laramie and Cheyenne. The road was nice, but the weather wasn’t as it actually snowed about half the drive. At the exit on I-80 (323 in Wyoming) was a nice memorial of Abraham Lincoln, appropriate since this is the Lincoln Highway.
Traveled today from Billings Montana to Casper Wyoming. Beautiful ride all the way and the weather was great. We stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument about an hour outside of Billings. Was very educational and worth the visit. Not a lot to see in pictures. You are best served to come and visit in person.
They have about a 5 mile self guided tour, with informational stops along the way. You can look out over the fields and just imagine the battle going on, including all the markers where the various soldiers and warriers were killed.
From Montana we made it to Wyoming with a quick stop at the visitor center.
Once we got to Casper, we looked up on my Alltrails App for a good hike and ended going to the “Garden Creek Waterfall Loop” which was rated as easy. If this was easy I sure am glad we did not try the two hour moderate hike. We would have never made it without our trusty guide Mark who we met at the site and went with us all the way. It was quite wet and slippery with some fresh snow from a day ago, and even some logs to cross to get across the stream. In fact, Mary even had a little spill, but thankfully not down the hillside.
And here is a short video Mary took with her camera.
First a stop at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, a part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.
Then headed to Medora and the main entrance to the National Park. We took an auto tour through the park, except we could not do the whole loop due to part of the road being washed out, but it was awesome anyway. It’s hard to view all this beautiful, intricate and varied nature scenes and think everything just occurred by random chance. The more I see, the more I am convinced that evolution could not have possibly done this. Which leaves me no option but to believe God created everything. Amazing!
Wild people and wild flowers
Also stopped at the Pompey Pillar National Monument. Wilson Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame, stopped here on his way back east when canoeing down the Yellowstone River and left evidence of his journey on a rock face.
Today was all about our visit to Bismarck North Dakota. But our first encounter of the day was a visit to Frontier Village in Jamestown ND to see the worlds largest Buffalo.
Then on to Bismarck where we were very fortunate to meet up with Tom and Sharon Tudor who are members of and local historians of the St. George Episcopal church in Bismarck. We met them at St. George’s and got a tour of their current building. It is a beautiful church and designated as a memorial church for various reasons, but the main reason is all the stain glass windows, each of which include a border of stain glass pieces from various churches in England that were destroyed during WWII.
Fortunately for us, the original church now stands on the historical Camp Hancock site in downtown Bismarck. We may have missed this fact all together if it wasn’t for Tom and Sharon. They drove us to the location and provided a guided tour for us. All in all we spent about 3 hours with them and had a great time viewing this preserved church, as well as some sight seeing in Bismarck.
Grandpa Frank served from 1924 to 1928 according to the plaque on their wall. My records document that aunts Barb (b. 1922) and Marion (b. 1925) were born in North Dakota, so I am not sure what he was doing for the first couple of years he was in North Dakota. Perhaps he was an assistant to the current pastor at that time.
Last but not least, as we left Bismarck for our stay in Dickenson North Dakota, we had a view of “Salem Sue”. North Dakota has more than it’s share of oversize animals and sculptures. To see what I am talking about, just google “the enchanted highway”.
Today was a day spent in White Bear Lake Minnesota. Dad was born here in 1929 and he lived here until he went into the Navy in 1945. His dad lived here from 1928 until his death in 1945. He served all of those years until 1944 as the Minister of St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal church. This church is located about two blocks from the actual White Bear lake, the source of all of my dad’s big fish and adventure tales.
We had an address for the family of 708 1st Street from the 1940 census information. But that address could not be found, until we went to the City Hall of White Bear Lake. They had a hand written book listing the old 1st street numbers and the current numbers. 708 1st street is now 2168 1st street. And 2168 1st is the rectory for the church (or parsonage as I would call it) today, as it must have been when my dad was growing up.
We were able to pay a visit into the church and were directed to a wall with pictures of most of their past Ministers, including Grandpa Frank.
After the visit to the church, we went around to the other side of the lake and found the church cemetery and the gravestones for Grandpa Frank, Grandma Muriel (Gaga) and also for Uncle Don and Olive McArdell.
On to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Birthplace of my famous brother Thomas Davenport and also where Hank Aaron first started playing baseball for the Eau Claire Bears. Not sure which person is the most famous.
We started the day at the public library and dug up some good information. We have a copy of the birth announcement of Thomas. Along with that we got the address at the time of 136 1/2 Niagara Street. We also found an address in the city directory from 1954 for Frank and Gloria (Tom’s parents) on 2594 Birch Street.
Ted was born in Sacred Heart Hospital. The buildings that he was born in are now the Eau Claire Academy. There is still a Sacred Heart Hospital but it is in a different location and much larger and newer.
Our father was in Eau Claire to finish his education at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. The campus appears to be growing and vibrant with most buildings that we could see probably new since he went to school there. The school is only a few blocks away from where he first lived on Niagara Street.
All in all, we had a great day in Eau Claire. Eau Claire is a beautiful city with lots of bike paths and walkways everywhere we went it seemed. I would recommend it as a place to visit (ahem, Ted??).
Left Sunday afternoon for a multi-state trip to Colorado to visit my son Stephen and daughter-in-law Heidi and grandson Noah. The trip will also help us to check off a few states on our quest to stay at least one night in all 50 states.
But tonight we are still in Michigan, albeit a long way from Bay City in Escanaba. Tomorrow a stop and stay at Eau Claire Wisconsin where my mom and dad lived for about a year and where my brother Tom was born in 1953. Going to look for the place where they stayed and the hospital Tom was born in, if either still exist.
Mary and I took a short road trip to visit her son Brandon and his wife Markie in Chicago and to see my brother David and his wife Julie in Bloomington. The trip was great with a couple of days seeing the sights in Chicago followed by a few days visiting David and Julie.
The first day included an architecture river boat cruise. This was a spectacular way to see the architecture of Chicago. Hopefully the pictures can do it some justice.
The next day included a visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo and a photo op at the “Bean” as they call it (if you look closely, you can see Mary and I reflected in the Bean). Also, as you can see, we had to entertain Flat Stanley on our day at the zoo, but he was pretty well behaved.
We ended our journey at David and Julie’s palatial residence (tongue in cheek) in Bloomington. We had a great time visiting and learning some new board games and I finally was able to cash in on my dinner voucher just before it expired with a sumptuous meal at Baxter’s.