Monday, November 20, 2017

Eugene Richard Ackley (1931-2017)

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting any articles lately on this blog. My dad has been ill, and I have been traveling back and forth to Wisconsin to be with him as often as I can over the last few months. His struggle finally came to an end last week -- he passed away on Thursday, November 16. I am grateful to have been by his side with my sister, holding his hand when he passed peacefully just after midnight.

The sadness I felt after his passing has been balanced by the joy from the addition of a new member to the family -- my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl (our fifth granddaughter!) less than 48 hours before my dad passed. While I will surely miss my dad, the happiness that a new grandchild brings will help ease the sadness.  

Below is the obituary that was published in newspapers in our hometown in Wisconsin. At some point I will do a full life story as I have for other Ackley ancestors.

Gene Ackley

Eugene Richard Ackley, 86, passed away on November 16, 2017 after a three-year battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Gene was born on March 5, 1931 in Rockford, Illinois, the son of James E. and Anita (Luenzmann) Ackley. He was a long-time resident of Pewaukee, and attended public schools there, graduating second in the Pewaukee High School class of 1949. Following high school, Gene attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, but after his freshman year took a four-year break to enlist in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Gene and his brother Jim were control tower operators, and saw duty in both stateside and overseas locations, including Chin Hae Air Base in Korea. Following the war, Gene returned to the University of Wisconsin, where he majored in finance. He was a member of Theta Delta Chi Fraternity and also rowed for Wisconsin as a member of the varsity eight-man crew. Gene met the love of his life, Sally Freudenberg, at Wisconsin during that time, and the happy couple was married in Wauwatosa on September 9, 1955. He graduated from Wisconsin in 1957, and the family again took up residence in Pewaukee, where Gene and his brother Jim took over operation of the local school bus company, Studentline, Inc., which had been founded by their father. The brothers sold the company in 1967, and Gene left to pursue a career at the Heil Company, a truck manufacturer in Milwaukee. Gene served in various finance-related positions with Heil including credit manager and assistant treasurer, and was transferred to Alabama in 1986 when the company moved its manufacturing operations there. Gene and Sally spent several years in Alabama until Gene’s retirement in 1993, at which point they retired to their dream home in Fraser, Colorado. They enjoyed nearly 20 years of retirement in Colorado; after Sally’s passing in 2012 Gene moved back to the Pewaukee area to be closer to family.

Gene was active in many civic and community organizations throughout his life, including Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts, Lakefront Festival of Arts, Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, and National Sports Center for the Disabled. He was also very active in the Episcopal Church, serving on the vestry at St. Bartholomew’s in Pewaukee and St. John’s the Baptist in Granby, Colorado. In 1975 he served as the co-chairman for the Lakefront Festival of Arts in Milwaukee, one of the largest art festivals in the Midwest. Gene was an avid sailor, runner, skier, hiker, and mountain climber. He and his brother Jim were long-time members of Pewaukee Yacht Club, and competed in both E class and M-20 class scows. Gene competed in many marathons, including the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, the Atlanta Marathon, and the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama. He was always up for physical challenges, and climbed a number of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado as well as Mount Rainier in Washington, Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest peak in Africa), Mount Elbrus (the highest peak in Europe) and Mount Aconcagua (the highest peak in South America). While Gene’s family was extremely proud of his accomplishments and involvement, their greatest pleasure came from watching Gene make strong connections where ever he went. Some of their fondest memories revolved around recounting the antics that Gene and his friends played on one another, his mishaps while sailing, and his kindness and profound sense of humor shown to all. And, anyone who knew Gene knew of his incredible lifelong love for Sally.

Gene will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by his three children, Michael (Elizabeth), Karen Tredwell (James), and Jeffrey (Sara); six grandchildren, Sean (Susie), Elissa Grover (Brent), Erika O’Hern (Gabe), Christopher Tredwell, Christine, and David, as well as seven great grandchildren, Emma and Morrison O’Hern, Sarah, Ruthie, and Rose Ackley, and Eleanor and Beatrice Grover. He is further survived by his younger brother John (Helen), sister-in-law Carol, nieces and nephews Johnny, Donna Muehl (Mark), Jen Otte (Tim), Ted (Betty Anne), Joe (Leah), and Julie Bychinski (Todd).

Visitation will be at Yonke & Son Funeral Home, 205 Prospect Ave., Pewaukee on November 24 from 4 PM to 7 PM, and a memorial service will be held at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, N27 W24000 Paul Court in Pewaukee on November 25 at 1 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church or Waukesha County Food Pantry, 1301 Sentry Dr.,  Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Franklin Cady Ackley, Sr. and His Family (1841-1918)

Frankliln Cady Ackley, Sr.

Franklin Cady Ackley, Sr. (my 2nd great grandfather) was born February 1, 1841 in Akron, Ohio [1],[2]. He was the eighth of nine children born to Gibbons Ackley and Amanda Cady. Three of his siblings died in infancy or childhood; another brother died in his thirties having never married, and the surviving siblings were all women. As such, Franklin was the only descendant of Gibbons and Amanda to carry on the Ackley name. His father died when Franklin was only 10 years old.  By 1860, at age 19, Franklin was on his own, boarding with Robert Moffat and family in Akron, working as a jeweler [3]. About a year later, President Lincoln made his first call for troops to fight for the Union, issuing a proclamation to raise 75,000 troops on April 15, 1861. Franklin answered that call, joining G Company of the Ohio 19th Volunteer Infantry in May of 1861 [4]. The enlistment was only for three months; most of the first enlistments were for 100 days or three months of service because the President and many others believed that this would be a short conflict. His unit served in West Virginia under Brig. General Rosecran’s Brigade, and was involved in the Battle of Rich Mountain on July 11, 1861 in what is now West Virginia, during which Union forces engaged and defeated the Confederates in one of the first land battles of the Civil War [4]. Below is an account of the battle which appeared in Harper’s Weekly on July 27, 1861 [5].

A brilliant battle, resulting in a complete success, signalized the opening of the campaign of General McClellan in Western Virginia. It occurred on Thursday afternoon at Rich Mountain, where a force of 2000 rebels were strongly intrenched under Colonel Pegram. The official dispatch of General McClellan to the War Department, dated from Rich Mountain, states that he dispatched Brigadier-General Rosencrans, a young and able West Point officer of engineers, with four regiments of Ohio and Indiana troops, as an advance-body, through the mountains from Roaring Rum, a distance of eight miles, over which route they had to cut their way through the woods. After a march of nearly twelve hours, General Rosencrans came on the rear of the rebels, and, after a desperate fight of an hour and a half, completely routed them, driving them in the utmost disorder into the woods, and capturing all their guns, wagons, and camp equipage, or, as General McClellan says, "all they had." They also took several prisoners, many officers among them. Sixty of the rebels were killed, and a large number wounded. Of the Union troops twenty were killed and forty wounded. General McClellan had his guns mounted to command the rebel's position, but he found that the gallantry of Rosencrans spared him the trouble of going into action. 

An engraving of the battle that appeared in the same issue of Harper’s is below.

The service of this unit was recalled in an article that appeared in the Summit County Beacon on February 25, 1880 [6]. Franklin is among the soldiers mentioned in the article. In the article, General George McNeil recalls of the unit:  “ was an important service. They pushed right into the enemy's country, licked old General Garnett, took a lot of artillery and small arms and about 2,300 rebs.” [6]

The unit mustered out in August of 1861 [4]. In 1862, Franklin went into the jewelry business with Charles P. Starr in Akron [7].

Franklin was married to Maria Jeannerette on September 9, 1863 by an Episcopal minister, the Rev. Dr. Little, in New York City [8], [22], as mentioned in the marriage announcement from the Summit County Beacon shown below. Note that Maria's name is listed as Marie Jenneret Lockwood; there will be a future post explaining my search for Maria with details on the possible reason for this discrepancy.

In May, 1864, Franklin enlisted again, and served with F Company of the Ohio 164th Volunteer Infantry until August of 1864 [4]. Below are the records of his muster in and muster out. 

Franklin’s nephew Dwight Ackley Hibbard (the son of his sister Lucy Ann and Allen Hibbard), was in the same unit [4]. Their unit was dispatched to Washington, D. C., and was attached to 1st Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Army Corps. According to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, they were assigned to duty on the south side of the Potomac as garrison at Forts Smith, Strong, Bennett, Hagerty and other Forts and Batteries until August [4]. A map of the fortifications around Washington, D.C. is shown below [9].

A series of articles written by a soldier from Franklin's company, Company F, published in the Summit County Beacon confirmed that the company saw duty at Fort Corcoran in Arlington, Virginia, which can be found just left of center on the map above. This soldier, who signed his articles with the initials “H.W.”, wrote:

“We are encamped in Fort Corcoran, a most lovely spot, in full view of the capital… The identical soil held by the 164th regiment was once the property of the rebel General Lee. His house with pillars in front, is of the old Virginia style: not fine in architecture, but situated in the midst of a grove on an elevation, a little more than midway up the Hights.” [21]

Fort Corcoran was built in 1861 to provide protection for the Aqueduct Bridge, which had important access to Washington, D.C. A view of the bridge from Fort Corcoran is shown below left; on the right is a photo of the rear entrance to the fort:

A sketch of the fort that appeared in Harper's is shown below.

President Lincoln addressed the 164th Regiment just before their return to Ohio [10]. The text of his speech follows:

AUGUST 18, 1864. 
SOLDIERS:--You are about to return to your homes and your friends, after having, as I learn, performed in camp a comparatively short term of duty in this great contest. I am greatly obliged to you, and to all who have come forward at the call of their country. I wish it might be more generally and universally understood what the country is now engaged in. We have, as all will agree, a free government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed. There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle, the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed. I say this, in order to impress upon you, if you are not already so impressed, that no small matter should divert us from our great purpose. 
There may be some inequalities in the practical application of our system. It is fair that each man shall pay taxes in exact proportion to the value of his property; but if we should wait, before collecting a tax, to adjust the taxes upon each man in exact proportion with every other man, we should never collect any tax at all. There may be mistakes made sometimes; and things may be done wrong, while the officers of the Government do all they can to prevent mistakes. But I beg of you, as citizens of this great Republic, not to let your minds be carried off from the great work we have before us. This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter. When you return to your homes, rise up to the height of a generation of men worthy of a free government, and we will carry out the great work we have commenced. I return to you my sincere thanks, soldiers, for the honor you have done me this afternoon.

Franklin returned to Akron after his service, and his first son, Charles Jeannerette was born there in June of 1865 [2],[8]. Later in 1865 the family moved to Saginaw, Michigan, where Franklin went into the jewelry business for himself [11]. By 1869, he had left the jewelry business, and was employed by the Western Union Telegraph Co. as manager of their Saginaw office [12]. Sometime in 1869, Franklin, Maria, and Charles moved to Jackson, Michigan, where Franklin continued as a telegraph operator [13]. Franklin and Maria’s second son, Franklin, Jr., was born in Jackson in August 1870 [8]. Shortly after Franklin Jr. was born, the family moved to Adrian, Michigan, where their third son, James Parsons, was born in June 1872 [8]. Later that year tragedy struck – Charles died of scarlet fever [14]. Franklin was also a telegraph operator in Adrian, becoming manager of the local Western Union office. The article below from the Jackson Citizen Patriot [23] reports on his move from Jackson to Adrian to take over the Western Union office in Adrian.

Franklin remained manager of the Western Union office for several years; Adrian city directories from 1874 and 1876 list him as manager of the office [27],[28]. The family stayed in Adrian for many years, appearing on the census there in 1880 [15]. According to the article below from the Saginaw News [24], Franklin went to work for the Mutual Union Telegraph Company in Adrian in 1881.

The following curious article appeared in the Jackson Citizen Patriot in 1884 [25]. This is apparently a reference to Franklin's supposed association with Mayor Thomas Navin, who was mayor of Adrian from 1881-1882. Navin was accused of forging city bonds and took off from Adrian in 1882. In 1885 Navin was arrested in New Orleans, and was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling $20,000.

In the 1885 Adrian City Directory [28], Franklin is listed as a partner with William Schoolcraft in a saloon at 31 S. Main St. in Adrian. By 1890 he became the proprietor of the Hotel Emery bar at 19 and 21 S. Main St [29]. According to the article below from the Adrian Daily Telegram, during the time that Frank was the proprietor of the Hotel Emery bar he was the unfortunate victim of a robbery during a trip to Detroit in 1895 [31].

In the 1897 directory [30] Franklin is listed as the proprietor of the Hotel Emery Café at the same location. Below is a photo of the family from around 1890.

They were listed in Adrian again on a special state veteran’s census in 1894. Maria died in 1898 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Adrian [16]. Franklin was listed in the 1900 census in Milwaukee, Wisconsin [17], living with his son Franklin, who moved there around 1895. It appears that Franklin, Sr. was just visiting, because he was selected to be the steward of the Adrian Elks lodge according to the article below from the  October 4, 1901 Adrian Daily Telegram [32], and  he was found living in Adrian in the 1903 Adrian City Directory [18]. 

His application for a Civil War pension submitted in 1904 lists Adrian, Michigan as his home. He did move to Milwaukee shortly after that, and lived the rest of his life there. Below is a picture of Franklin with his son’s family at their Milwaukee home.

Franklin died November 27, 1918 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin [19]. He was returned to Adrian, Michigan for burial next to his wife and son in Oakwood Cemetery. He was originally buried without a headstone, but due to his Civil War service he was eligible for a headstone from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a marker was obtained in January of 2008. A picture of his newly installed headstone is below. His obituary from the Adrian paper follows [20].

Link of the Day

Below is the link for the Soldiers and Sailors Database website run by the National Park Service. If you are looking for information about the Civil War service of your ancestors, this is a good place to start your research.

Quote of the Day

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

-- Abraham Lincoln


  1. Franklin C. Ackley, Ackley Family Register, Filed with Civil War Pension Application, 30 Oct 1906.
  2. George Thomas Little, The Descendants of George Little, Who Came to Newbury Mass in 1640,  (Auburn, ME.  1882), p. 58.
  3. 1860 U.S. Census, Akron, Summit County, OH; page 1, line 39; NARA Microfilm M653, Roll 1039.
  4. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.
  5. The Battle of Rich Mountain.
  6. “Camp-Fire Talks:  Knapsack Calls the Roll of Summit County Boys”,  Summit County Beacon, Februrary 25, 1880.
  7. “Frank C. Ackley Jeweler – Newspaper Ad,” Summit County Beacon, December 11, 1862.
  8. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, Pension Questionaire 1915, Signed by Frank C. Ackley, 22 Mar 1915.
  9. Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C.,
  10. Abraham Lincoln, The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, V07,
  11. Indian and Pioneer History of the Saginaw Valley, Thomas and Galatian, East Saginaw, MI  1866.
  12. Robert I. Dudley, East Saginaw and Saginaw City Directory 1870-1, Enterprise Steam Printing House, East Saginaw, MI  1869.
  13. 1870 U.S. Census, City of Jackson, Jackson County, MI; page 32, lines 18-20; NARA Microfilm M593, Roll 678.
  14. Lenawee County Clerk, Death certificate for Charles Ackley,  (Volume A, Page 78).
  15. 1880 U.S. Census, Adrian, Lenawee County, MI; ED 148, page 16, lines 19-22; NARA Microfilm T9, Roll 590.
  16. Death Certificate for Maria J. Ackley, Lenawee County Clerk, Volume B, Page 303.
  17. 1900 U.S. Census, City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI; page 48, lines 31-32; NARA Microfilm T623, Roll 1803.
  18. Polk's Adrian City Directory. 1903.  Volume I,  (R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers), 38.
  19. Milwaukee County, WI, Register of Deeds; Register of Deaths, Volume 420, p. 42.
  20. Obituary for Frank C. Ackley, Adrian Daily Telegram, November 29, 1918.
  21. “From the 164th Regt. O.N.G.”, Summit County Beacon, May 26, 1864, p. 2.
  22. “Married”, Summit County Beacon, Sep. 17, 1863, p. 2.
  23. “Going to Adrian”, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Dec. 1, 1870, p. 4.
  24. “Open for Business”, Saginaw News, Dec. 7, 1881, p. 2.
  25. Jackson Citizen Patriot, May 21, 1884, p. 4.
  26. Adrian City Directory 1874, Burch, Montgomery, & Co., Publishers, Detroit, MI, 1874, p. 9.
  27. The Adrian Annual City Directory : Centennial Review of Historical Events in America During the Last 100 Years, The Directory Publishing Co., Toledo, OH, 1876, p. 50, p. 115.
  28. Adrian City Directory, Adrian, MI, 1885, p. 25, p. 100.
  29. Adrian City Directory 1890, Adrian, MI, 1890, p. v.
  30. Lenawee County and Adrian City Directory 1897, McEldowney & Sons, Adrian, MI, 1897, p. 42.
  31. “News and Notes”, Adrian Daily Telegram, June 28, 1895.
  32. “Elks News Room”, Adrian Daily Telegram, October 4, 1901.

Monday, August 14, 2017

My Genealogy Road Trip

I've mentioned in previous posts that some day I'd like to take a genealogy road trip to Haddam, Connecticut to do research on the earliest generations of my Ackley line. Well, that trip is still on my to-do list, but recently I was able to take a less ambitious genealogy road trip that I'd like to report on.


I've always been a planner, and this trip was no different. Given that my time at each location was going to be limited, I made an outline of the information I planned to look for at each library, court house, cemetery, etc. so that I could maximize the time spent actually doing research. The outline included name, address, phone number, and types of records available for each place I planned on visiting, as well as the names of the people I wanted to research as well as the types of information I hoped to find. I found some very good information about research resources on the web site of the local genealogy society in Akron which was very helpful in filling out my outline; if you are planning a research trip I would highly recommend consulting the genealogy society at the location to which you are traveling.

Some other things that I brought with me included my laptop, a lightweight flatbed scanner, and quarters -- lots of quarters (to pay for copying). Although technically not considered portable, the scanner I brought is small enough and light enough to fit easily in my back pack along with my laptop, notebooks, and other office supplies. A truly portable scanner would probably be easier, but I find the quality of the scans from a flatbed scanner to be much better than the scans obtained from running a wand-type scanner over a document multiple times. I also found that the libraries I visited were fine with me using the scanner to make copies of anything I wanted; I always asked a librarian if it was OK before I used it. The scanner also came in handy when visiting cousins (see below), who were very generous in sharing pictures and documents with me. Turns out I didn't need all those quarters since almost everyone let me use my scanner.

Akron, Ohio

The main focus of this trip was to conduct research on my 3rd great grandfather, Gibbons Jewett Ackley, and 2nd great grandfather, Franklin Cady Ackley, who lived in Akron. Gibbons was one of the earlier settlers in the area, arriving in 1834 and living there until his death in 1851. Franklin was born in Akron in 1841 and lived there until 1865. Although I had already collected a lot of information on this part of my family through correspondence with the local library and court house, I wanted to go there in person to see if there was anything I was missing.

My first stop in Akron was the Summit County Fiscal Office. This office holds all land records for the county, and I was hoping to find records of my 3rd great grandfather Gibbons Ackley's land ownership. It turns out that Summit County has digitized all of their land records, and they have self service computers available for patrons to do searches and print whatever they want on their own, which was very convenient (I did use a few of those quarters for this).

Unfortunately the records didn't begin until a year or so after Gibbons' death so there were no records for him, but I did find many pages of records for his wife Amanda's land purchases and sales. Apparently after Gibbons' death she supported herself at least partially by buying and selling property as well as renting her properties to store/shop owners.

An example of a deed record for Amanda Ackley

I also spent a couple of days at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. This is a very nice library with a large genealogy department that is very helpful. I had corresponded with the library in the past concerning some newspaper articles that I had requested from them, but being there in person and being able to see everything they have in their collections was definitely worth the trip. I made heavy use of their microfilms of the local newspapers, local history books, and old maps of the area. I was able to scan a very large map of Akron from 1856 in pieces, which I then was able to "stitch" together with software.

Akron-Summit County Library [1]

The other location I spent time at in Akron was Glendale Cemetery (formerly known as Akron Rural Cemetery). Glendale is a beautiful, historic cemetery that was founded in 1839. My 3rd great grandfather was one of the founders of the cemetery, and there are many Ackley ancestors buried there.

Glendale Cemetery Caretaker's Lodge [2]

I had a little trouble finding the plot where most of my ancestors are buried. As it turns out, most of their headstones have fallen over and are buried beneath a few inches of dirt. There is one small headstone still surviving that is readable that I finally found, and I was able to use that to get my bearings on the plot. Although they are no longer readable, I did find other ancestor's headstones that had toppled over and gotten buried over the years. Fortunately I have a photo taken years ago by a 4th cousin when the headstones were still standing. As well maintained as this historic cemetery seems to be, it was a surprise (and a disappointment) to learn that when old headstones fall over, they are left where they fall and many eventually get covered by dirt over time.

Canton and Massillon, Ohio

I spent some time in Canton and Massillon, both in Stark County just south of Akron, doing some research on Maria (Jeannerette) Ackley, my 2nd great grandmother and wife of Franklin Cady Ackley, Sr. I am preparing a future post about Maria and the sometimes frustrating search for her family, so I won't spend any time here discussing the details of her story. I spent parts of two days at the Stark County District Library in Canton, and part of another day at the smaller Massillon Library. While I didn't find anything that helped me knock down the brick wall associated with Maria, I did find a few useful tidbits of information that added to her story. I found the staffs of both libraries to be very friendly and helpful.

I also went to the Massillon City Cemetery to look for information on a woman who I believe might be Maria's aunt. Since Maria's family represents a major brick wall for me, I am researching any and all relatives I can find in hopes of finding links back to her immediate family. I found a picture of this woman's headstone on Find-A-Grave, so I knew she was buried there. When I went to the cemetery office, the nice lady there checked her computer records as well as some old record books she had. She could not find a thing about the burial I was searching for, but she was able to direct me to the section of the cemetery where the burial was supposedly located according to Find-A-Grave. I parked my car and stepped out, expecting to have to hunt for a while to find the grave in question. As luck would have it, the grave was right there next to my car, so I took pictures of it and all of the graves around it so I could report back to the lady in the office to help her with her records. She was happy to have the information, and a couple of weeks later she called me to let me know that she did indeed find a record of the burial in a very old record book in the office that she hadn't thought to look in when I was there. Ultimately there was no additional information in her records that was useful to me, but I was happy to have helped the cemetery straighten out their records.

Chardon, Ohio

My final stop in Ohio was the small town of Chardon. Before settling in Akron, my 3rd great grandfather and his family had lived in Chardon for a few years and had owned a store there. When I drove into the town it reminded me of a New England town, with a town square at its center. The small local library was on one side of the square; I headed straight there to see what they had. The genealogy department was small, and although I didn't find a lot of new information, the information I got from the local newspapers on my 3rd great grandfather's business made the drive to Chardon worthwhile.

Adrian, Michigan

Adrian is the town where my 2nd great grandfather Franklin eventually settled after he left Akron as a young man. This town was not originally on my list of places I intended to visit on this trip, but when I looked at the route I would be taking from Akron to my hometown in Wisconsin, I discovered that the interstate I would be on would take me within 25 miles of Adrian. So I decided to make a short detour to see the town and visit the cemetery where my 2nd great grandfather is buried.

My first stop in Adrian was at Oakwood Cemetery. Oakwood is another historic, well-maintained cemetery. My 2nd great grandfather and grandmother, Franklin and Maria Ackley are buried there, as well as their son Charles, who died at a young age from scarlet fever. When I first started researching this part of my family I learned that Franklin did not have a marker on his grave; since he was a Civil War veteran I filled out the paperwork to get him a marker from the Veteran's Administration and had it installed on his plot. Although I had a picture of the headstone that was sent to me by the cemetery superintendent after it was installed, I had never been to the grave in person, so I was happy to have the opportunity to visit the cemetery on this trip. One of the cemetery workers knew exactly where the graves were, and he was nice enough to take me straight there, which saved me some time.

With time running short because I was on my way to meet a cousin (see below), I decided to just drive down Main Street to see what it looked like. My 2nd great grandfather had had a business on Main Street when he lived in Adrian, and although the building where he worked was no longer there, there were some nicely preserved buildings from that era (1880s-1890s) that caught my interest. The building below had a date of 1898 on it, and it was across the street from where I figured my 2nd great grandfather had his business. It was a pretty neat feeling to be walking down the street and seeing some of the same things he saw 120 years ago.


The final stop on my trip was at my hometown of Pewaukee, Wisconsin (just west of Milwaukee). The major reason for going there was to visit my dad and sister, but I can never go there without doing some genealogy research since so many of my more recent ancestors settled in Milwaukee.

One of the places I visited while in Wisconsin was the cemetery in the small town of Watertown, about 30 miles west and a little bit north of my equally small hometown. My great grandmother on my maternal grandmother's side of the family was born there and was supposedly buried in Lutheran Cemetery. The town had a large German population, and there are three Lutheran cemeteries in the same neighborhood, so things got a little confusing. Two of the cemeteries are actually adjoining each other, with not even a fence separating them. I finally figured out that Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery was the correct cemetery, and fortunately the superintendent was there so he was able to look up the burial for me.

With his help I was able to locate my great grandmother's headstone pretty quickly, as well as headstones for a couple of her sisters. I learned from the cemetery records that her father and mother were also buried there, although there were no headstones on their plots. I also got some new information that indicates that my great grandmother may have had another sister that I didn't know about; there was another burial in the family plot (the records indicated she was a baby). I need to do some research to confirm this.

My Great Grandmother's Headstone (married name Jones, maiden name Misegades)

I spent a day at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee doing some research at the Area Research Center operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society (see "Link of the Day" below for more information). This facility is located at the university library, and has all kinds of paper as well as microfilm records for the counties in the southeastern part of the state. The microfilm records include extensive birth, marriage, death, probate, and tax records for the mid-to-late 19th and early 20th centuries. The use of the records is free, and you can make electronic copies of anything on microfilm for free, so I have made heavy use of this resource to gather records for my Wisconsin ancestors.

German language obituaries were the object of my research at the Milwaukee Public Library on this trip. The library building itself is a spectacular old building both inside and out that has been nicely restored, and the genealogy and local history room is large and well-stocked with a variety of resources.

Milwaukee Public Library [3]

Milwaukee was home to many German immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century, and most of my non-Ackley ancestors were German. There were close to 20 German newspapers in Milwaukee during that time, and fortunately there is a local genealogist who has made it his mission in life to index the obituaries in these newspapers. The library has most of these newspapers on microfilm, and I was able to find about a dozen obituaries for my German ancestors in an afternoon at the library.

The final cemetery I visited to look for ancestors' headstones was Union Cemetery in Milwaukee. My sister came with me on this excursion -- little by little I am trying to get her interested in this genealogy hobby of mine. Union Cemetery is in a not so nice part of town, and the cemetery itself is pretty run down and not very well maintained. On top of that, there is no rhyme or reason to the way the sections are laid out in the cemetery, so we had a tough time just finding the correct section to search for our ancestors. Unfortunately we were not able to find the headstones we were looking for (we did find the correct section); either they never existed or had long since been broken or destroyed (this was a very old section of the cemetery).

Meeting Cousins

The most satisfying aspect to this trip was meeting some "new" cousins along the way. I didn't start out planning to meet any of these people on this trip, but as I was planning the trip I was contacted by a fourth cousin on my mother's side of the family who I had begun communicating with when we discovered a DNA match. It turns out he was planning a genealogy road trip of his own (much more ambitious than mine) to do some research on some of his ancestors who had lived in Wisconsin. It so happened that our trips would overlap in Wisconsin, so we arranged to meet for lunch. That gave me the idea to contact some other cousins I have been in touch with who lived along my route to see if they'd like to meet, and they all said yes.

The first cousin I visited was Joyce, my dad's first cousin. I had actually met Joyce once before (I tracked her down when I found some of her genealogy information online), but it had been several years since our first meeting, and I welcomed the opportunity to catch up with her and her husband. They had recently moved to the same town where their son Jeff (my second cousin, who I had never met) lived, so it was an added bonus that he would be joining us for lunch so I could meet him. Even though Joyce and I don't know each other very well, we managed to talk about family for over 3 hours. And she had some photos of our family that I had never seen, which she was kind enough to let me scan. I also learned that my great grandfather had tried his hand at oil painting -- something I never would have expected knowing his background as a factory worker and foreman in a straw hat factory. Joyce had one of his paintings on her wall, and when she pulled it off the wall to show it to me she revealed that there was also a painting on the back; my great grandfather was known as a frugal man and probably painted on both sides of the canvas to save money. The painting was a portrait of a woman; Joyce had no idea who it was. But it was no mystery to me -- it was definitely my grandmother (his daughter-in-law), and I had the photograph of her that my great grandfather had obviously used as the model for his painting. Learning this type of information about ancestors is what makes genealogy so interesting to me. As much as I like doing the research and finding all the puzzle pieces that tend to tell a person's story, knowing these personal and sometimes surprising details makes it all the more enjoyable.

My great grandfather's painting and the photo that inspired it

The next cousin I met on my trip was Greg, a 4th cousin once removed on my mother's maternal side of the family. Greg and I first made contact a few years ago while communicating about our DNA match. Along with the help of another cousin from that part of the family (who I met earlier this year on a trip to California), we have managed to work together to knock down some long standing brick walls. As mentioned above, Greg had traveled to Chicago and then Wisconsin from California on a genealogy road trip himself, doing research on some of his ancestors who had lived in the area. Like me, Greg is a planner and had his trip jam packed with research activities in several different towns across the state, but we managed to catch up with each other in Appleton, which is about an hour and a half from my home town. My sister Karen went with me, and we had a very enjoyable lunch with Greg and his wife Barbara. We managed to talk for over two hours until it was time for Greg and Barbara to move on to their next stop.

From the left: Me, my sister Karen, Greg's wife Barbara, and Greg

The final group of cousins I met were on my mother's paternal side of the family. Chuck (my 2nd cousin once removed) and his wife Marsha invited me into their home for lunch, and also invited David (another 2nd cousin once removed), his wife Linda, and Joanne (the wife of a third 2nd cousin once removed who has passed away). As was the case with Greg, my communication with Chuck had begun because we had a DNA match on Ancestry.

After a delicious lunch of bratwurst and German potato salad in honor of our German ancestors, we spent the entire afternoon sharing what we knew about our ancestors. This group had a wealth of information about our common ancestors (my 2nd great grandparents), including many pictures I had never seen, silver that belonged to my 2nd great grandmother, and furniture that was built by my 2nd great grandfather, who was a carpenter. Chuck also had a copy of the same family tree scroll that my mother had, which somehow got lost when my parents moved the last time. He had made a copy of it, and generously gave me the original because he knew how much it meant to me. Once again I left feeling that I knew a lot more about my ancestors because of the personal stories that my new cousins had been willing to share with me.

Chair built by my 2nd great grandfather

Silver belonging to my 2nd great grandmother on top of a wooden chest built by my 2nd great grandfather

A portion of the family tree scroll; the full scroll is 12 feet long and goes back to the year 1600

My advice would be if you have a chance to meet cousins, no matter how close or distant, take every advantage of it!

Discussion Questions

  • Has anyone taken a genealogy road trip? If so, where did you go?
  • If you have taken a genealogy road trip, did you learn anything new or surprising about your ancestors?
  • What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking a genealogy road trip?

Link of the Day

Today's link is for the Wisconsin Historical Society's Area Research Center Network. The Wisconsin Historical Society has divided the state into 13 regions and has placed loads of good research materials in each of those regions, typically at a university library. The UWM library mentioned above is one of those centers. If you have any research to do in Wisconsin, I would recommend consulting this website to see which region your ancestor lived in and then finding out what types of research materials that region has available.

Quote of the Day

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

-- Sir Winston Churchill


1. Akron-Summit County Public Library,

2. Glendale Cemetery,

3. Milwaukee Public Library,

Monday, August 7, 2017

Gardner Ackley (1915-1998), Economist and Presidential Adviser

This post is a bit of a change of pace from the usual posts about my Ackley ancestors. Here we'll discuss Gardner Ackley -- if not outright a famous Ackley, at least a name that many people have heard. If you're old enough to remember Lyndon Johnson's presidency, you probably remember hearing the name Gardner Ackley. He was an economic adviser to President Johnson (and before that President Kennedy), and became Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in 1964. My minor in college was economics, and there was a popular macroeconomic theory textbook written by Gardner Ackley that was still in use at the time (mid- to late- '70's). We didn't use it in any of the classes that I took, but his name did come up in class more than once, and I can remember people asking me if I was related to him. I had no idea, and now all these years later I thought I'd do some research and see what I could find out.

Hugh Gardner Ackley [1]

Early Life

Hugh Gardner Ackley was born on June 30, 1915 in Indianapolis, Indiana [2]. He was the son of Hugh Mortimer Ackley and Margaret McKenzie. He rarely used his given first name of Hugh -- sometimes he was referred to as H. Gardner Ackley, but mostly he went by Gardner. According to Allen Ackley's online tree [3], Gardner Ackley was a descendant of Nicholas Ackley (so I guess I am related to him). The line of descent is:

Nicholas-->John-->John Jr.-->John III-->Oliver-->Revilo-->William-->Hugh Mortimer-->Hugh Gardner

Interesting side note -- Gardner's great grandfather's first name, Revilo, appears to be his father's name, Oliver, spelled backwards.

By 1920, the family had moved to Detroit, Michigan [4], and in 1930 they were living in Kalamazoo, Michigan [5], where his father was a professor of mathematics at Western Michigan University and his mother was a Latin teacher at a local high school [6].

Academic Career

After high school, Gardner remained in Kalamazoo and attended the school where his father was a professor, Western Michigan University. He graduated in 1936 with a degree in history and English [6], [8]. Upon graduation, he decided to pursue an advanced degree in economics because he was told it would be easier to get fellowships in that field rather than history or English. He was also motivated by the Depression, saying, ''I also had a general resentment against the Depression and felt there must be a way and that economics must be it.'' [6]

Gardner stayed in his home state for his graduate studies, attending the University of Michigan. He earned a Masters degree in 1937 [1], and completed his PhD in Economics in 1940 [1]. While he was a student at Michigan, Gardner married Bonnie Lowry; their wedding took place on 18 Sep 1937 in Bronson, Michigan [9].

University of Michigan Faculty

As we'll see below, Gardner Ackley alternately worked for the U.S. government and the University of Michigan throughout his career. Upon earning his PhD in economics from the University of Michigan, Dr. Ackley joined the faculty at Michigan as an instructor [1]. He became a full professor in 1952 [1], and was named head of the Department of Economics in 1954; he served in that position until 1961 [1].

During his time on the Michigan faculty, Dr. Ackley wrote the popular textbook "Macroeconomic Theory" (1961) [1] (see photo below); the book was republished as "Macroeconomic Analysis and Theory" in 1978 [8]. 

"Macroeconomic Theory" by Gardner Ackley (stock photo from

Early Government Service

As mentioned above, Dr. Ackley spent a good part of his career working as an economist for the U.S. government. Early in his career, he worked for organizations such as the National Resources Planning Board, Office of Price Administration, Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor to the CIA), and U.S. Office of Price Stabilization [1]. Several of these agencies were established to analyze and control prices during World War II and the Korean War and the period in between. Perhaps his first experience dealing with politicians occurred during his time as executive of the Office of Price Administration textile branch shortly after World War II. During a Senate hearing on textile prices in 1946, a Senator Bankhead from Alabama had the following comments for the young Dr. Ackley:

Obviously Dr. Ackley did not let these comments discourage him from pursuing a long, distinguished career as an economic adviser to the U.S. government.

Council of Economic Advisers

Dr. Ackley was appointed to the Council of Economic Advisers by President Kennedy in August, 1962. Below is a picture of his swearing-in ceremony.

Gardner Ackley being sworn in as a member of President Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisers (from John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website [11])
The official website for the White House describes the Council of Economic Advisers as follows [12]:

Dr. Ackley remained on the CEA after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and was named chairman of the council by President Johnson in 1964. It was during his time as chairman that Gardner Ackley became a household name in the United States. He even appeared on the cover of Newsweek Magazine on July 18, 1966:

Gardner Ackley on Newsweek cover, July 18, 1966 (photo from [13])
The position of Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers is never an easy job -- whoever holds the job must balance economics and politics and hope that the President heeds his or her advice. The position was especially difficult during Johnson's administration due to the pressures of the Vietnam War and Johnson's social programs that were being implemented at the time. The following excerpt from Dr. Ackley's obituary in the New York Times [6] best summarizes his success as chairman:
But Professor Ackley's finest moment, according to Professor Samuelson [Paul A. Samuelson, Nobel laureate and professor emeritus of economics at MIT], was in telling President Johnson in 1966 that the nation could not afford the escalation of the Vietnam War and the Great Society programs without a tax increase -- an increase that was not enacted until 1968, and for which delay, Professor Samuelson said, ''We paid dearly in the inflation of the 1970's.'' 

''He never told the press what he told the President,'' Professor Samuelson said, ''but President Johnson included it in his memoirs. I can't think of a better epitaph than that. It took guts, because usually people tell a President what he wants to hear.''

U.S. Ambassador to Italy

In January of 1968, President Johnson named Dr. Ackley to be the ambassador to Italy. In announcing the appointment, President Johnson described Dr. Ackley as "one of my closest and most trusted friends and advisers" [7]. The appointment of an economist to a diplomatic post might seem odd, but it actually makes sense considering that Dr. Ackley had two separate stints in Italy studying the Italian economy, the first in 1956-57 as a Fulbright Scholar, and the second in 1961-62 on a Ford Foundation faculty research fellowship [6]. He was ambassador until August, 1969.

Comments On Other Presidents

Even though he left the Council of Economic Advisers in 1968 and eventually returned to the University of Michigan faculty, Gardner was asked many times to comment on the economic policies of other presidents, including Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Dr. Ackley was not shy in providing his opinion, and his statements were often blunt and to the point.

Consider Dr. Ackley's comments from the Lexington Herald in 1980 [14] when asked about President Carter's lack of success in getting his economic policies through Congress:

In the same article, Dr. Ackley had the following additional comments about Carter administration economic policies [14]:

Another example -- his 1981 comments [10] on President Reagan's plans for drastic tax cuts that economist Arthur Laffer theorized would reduce inflation and lead to increased investment and stimulate the economy (an idea dubbed by some as "trickle-down economics" or Reaganomics):


Dr. Hugh Gardner Ackley died on February 12, 1998 in Ann Arbor, Michigan [15]. He was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Ann Arbor [16].

Link of the Day

The link below is for Dr. Ackley's obituary in the Washington Post:

Quote of the Day

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

-- Thomas Alva Edison


1. University of Michigan, Faculty History Project, "Gardner Ackley", (accessed 28 Jun 2017)

2. Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.

3. Ackley Family Genealogy website,, accessed 11 Jul 2017.

4. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch; Year: 1920; Census Place: Detroit Ward 21, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_818; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 628; Image: 867.

5. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002; Year: 1930; Census Place: Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan; Roll: 997; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0026; Image: 790.0; FHL microfilm: 2340732.

6. McDowell, Edwin, "H. Gardner Ackley, 82, Dies; Presidential Economic Adviser", obituary, New York Times, 21 Feb 1998 (accessed 11 Jul 2017)

7. Weil, Martin, "Economist Gardner Ackley Dies", obituary, Washington Post, 22 Feb 1998 (accessed 11 Jul 2017)

8. Wikipedia contributors, "Gardner Ackley," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed 11 July 2017).

9. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

10. Thornton, Mary, "Economists Give Hill Panel Conflicting Views on Taxes", Evening Star, Washington, D.C., 5 Mar 1981, p. 9.

11. "Swearing-in ceremony, Gardner Ackley, Member, Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)", John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website, (accessed 13 Jul 2017).

12. "Council of Economic Advisers", The White House website, (accessed 13 Jul 2017).

13. "7/18/1966 The Economy: Whats Ahead Gardner Ackley", Vintage Magazines, (accessed 13 Jul 2017).

14. Rattner, Steven, "Economic Historians May Categorize Carter's Policies As Too Little Too Late", Lexington Herald, Lexington, Kentucky, 23 Mar 1980, p. 54.

15. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.

16. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.