I've come to love my farmers for their ties to the land. As the family grows the land divides or nearby farms are purchased. Any moves tend to be along established migration routes; the farmers' travels documented by land records.
Perennial movers have me hitting the books. These are the sailors, train engineers, military men, traveling salesmen, ministers and even a few professionals. Anyone who has lived near an IBM facility knows the alternate meaning of those three initials - "I've Been Moved." Perennial movers might be found with a diligent study of sailing or train routes, military or church records, even company addresses.
Among the more difficult to track are those whose goods or services have limited demand: blacksmiths, plumbers, weavers and more. In large cities, there was enough work for a father and his sons to work side-by-side. Not so in rural areas. Once training was complete, sons dispersed with no more pattern than a random scatter plot.
|Asa Ashton Manchester (1870-1934), photographer unknown|
Asa Manchester (1870-1934) followed in his father's footsteps and became a copper smith applying his smithing skills as a plumber in Dayton, Ohio. Asa ultimately became Director of the Ohio State Bureau of Plumbing Inspectors precipitating his move to Columbus, Ohio. All of Asa's brothers were employed in the metal working industry in the 1890s and all but Asa and George remained in Dayton. Metal working skills were in high demand by National Cash Register (NCR) and the growing plumbing industry.
Asa's Grandfather and Grand Uncle were also copper smiths. Brothers, John and Richard, were plying their craft in the thriving steamboat building foundries of Cincinnati in the mid-1800s. When they left the Queen City for the rich farm land in west central Ohio, Richard became a farmer and ultimately followed the traditional migration trails west. Simple.
Not so with my ancestor, John. John trained his sons as copper smiths. When the small town could not support them all, the sons migrated to a scatter plot of locations near and far. George returned to Cincinnati; John moved to St. Louis; and Richard made his way to Dayton, Ohio.
Three families of metal workers, Asa - Richard - John took me on a journey from Columbus to Dayton to Piqua to Cincinnati in Ohio; Oklahoma City; Dayton Twp, Iowa; Manchester, England and places in between. Without census records and city directories, their whereabouts and stories might have remained a mystery.
This is a rather circuitous route to the Sepia Saturday theme beginning with boys studying books, reminding me of my favorite photo of a studious Asa, reminding me of reading censuses and directories, taking me full circle back to the Sepia Saturday 152 theme. Though I doubt the boys were reading city directories or census records! Read more inspired by the photo below at Sepia Saturday 152.
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