Tag Archives: Emma (Lawhead) Foster

A Funeral

Another three photographs create a grouping in my collection. Since everyone is dressed in black—at least they seem to be in the black & white photographs—I assume the foursome attended a funeral. Again, the time frame appears to be the mid to late 1920s. None of the women are wearing jackets, but the ground is covered by a light layer of snow. The tree limbs are bare. The photographer is unknown (since they never make an appearance). The petite woman standing next to Gladys is believed to be her Aunt Minerva, fraternal twin to Gladys’ mother Emma. Minerva’s dress is old-fashioned compared to Gladys’ stylish frock. The longer skirt hem and squarish collared neckline hearkens back the the World War I years. James (Jim) and Emma stand in the background. He was quite tall; his shoe can be seen on the ground next to Minerva’s feet. While Emma stands on the lower step—her boot just visible behind Gladys’ legs—creating the illusion that mother and son are the same height.

Gladys, Emma, & Jim Foster, with Aunt Minerva (Photograph from the author’s private collection)

I do not know whose funeral generated these photographs—especially since the mood is not particularly somber. Gladys smiles in both pictures. I have not discovered a Foster or Lawhead relative, living in the Terre Haute area, whose death occurred in the late 1920s, who would have prompted such a reunion. Perhaps I will someday…

[Photographs from the author’s private collection.]

©2018 copyright owned Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2018/01/28/a-funeral/

Another Photographic Series


[Emma (Lawhead) Foster holding her grandson, John Yegerlehner, 28 January 1932, Terre Haute, Indiana, photographs privately held by the author.]

Sometimes we know when photographs are taken. In this case,  my grandmother probably labeled the photographs, as the one of the far right refers to Emma as “Mother.” I do not know the occasion for the photographs, but the photographer (again most likely my grandmother) took several.  We think nothing nowadays of taking picture after to picture to get the correct shot, to make sure everyone is smiling, eyes are open, etc. Not so in the previous centuries. Film cost money, and you didn’t know what you shot until the film was developed.

FOS1932 James L. Foster with John - Terre Haute, 1932-02-28

James L. Foster, holding his nephew, John Yegerlehner, 28 January 1932, Terre Haute, Indiana, photograph privately held by the author.

If the photographs had not been dated, the automobile provides a great clue, especially to all the old car experts out there. Emma’s dress—although we don’t see much of it since John is in the way—does give some clues as well. Gone is the dropped waist of the 1920s. Seated on the car’s sideboard, the top of Emma’s dress blouses over a waist (left). Soft pleats may also be visible at the hip line (right) as well as a longer skirt. These are clothing characteristics of the 1930s. A great place to look for everyday clothing styles of the 20th century are the Sears catalogues, found at Ancestry.

Sears catalogue, Fall 1931 (Image courtesy of Ancestry.com)

©2018 copyright owned Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2018/01/22/another-photographic-series/


Momento Mori

This month our family lost one of its oldest surviving members. My father’s oldest cousin. The first grandchild of James E. Foster and Emma (Lawhead) Foster, my great grandparents.

Indiana birth certificate, 1914, “Waneta” Geneva McCammon (Image courtesy Ancestry.com)

Born in 1914, Juanita lived a long life! It was a life filled with tragedy early on. Her mother died when she was not yet five. Her only full sibling, Wesley, died in a car accident on his way to school, aged 11. Her father remarried and produced a large family with his second wife. Jesse McCammon survived until his 101st year, but his daughter surpassed him by celebrating her 103rd birthday last November.

I never met Juanita in person. I corresponded with her a few times after I discovered who she was. I even helped, in a small way, to bridge an introduction between Juanita and another first cousin whose branch of the family had disappeared for 50 years. Juanita shared some lovely stories of my grandmother and my great grandmother Emma. After Juanita’s mother died, she spent parts of her childhood living between her two sets of grandparents.

Gladys Foster with Juanita and Wesley, 1918 (Image author’s private collection)

My grandmother, Gladys, was only ten years older than her niece so they were close when they were younger. When my uncles John and Mark were young, Juanita came to stay for a while to help take care of the boys, while Gladys ran her beauty parlour and Roscoe attended medical school.

I am most grateful to Juanita because she left me a legacy, beyond her letters and stories. Her DNA. Several years ago, unbeknownst to me, her family asked her to do an autosomal DNA test. I use this data on a regular basis. Most likely, without really knowing it, Juanita has helped me to solve several family mysteries over the last few years. I will be forever grateful for Juanita’s willingness to take a DNA test. Rest in peace, dear cousin!

©2018 copyright Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2018/01/20/momento-mori/

Lots of Questions Answered (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut. R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
USN Base Hosp. #4
Navy 133
F.P.O. San Francisco Calif.
Jan. 14, 1943

Dear Mother,

Lots of questions were answered today because there was a bunch of Oct. mail. A letter from Dr. Cole, two air mail from you and a letter from Wayne W., a v-mail from The Brewers, a v-mail each from John & Mark and a birthday greeting from the boys. That particular bunch of mail must have been on the wandering order. It, of course, went to the old address and was then sent to Mob. 4 and then on to here.

I can understand why you didn’t mention anything about

[page 2] expenses of your mother’s funeral. I knew you had some policies but I thought those were turned over to someone or something when she got that pension. I guess if the insurance wasn’t enough Bob will hold off until we can pay. Hope I don’t worry you too much about expenses.

Right at the end of one of your letters you said something again about me writing a book. That has been so long ago I, of course, have no idea about what I wrote. You will of course note that my letters from here are different. Which is very easily explained. There are too many Drs. around. Where I was before I was the only one and the other officers had work to do

[page 3] and there was hours on end when I was alone but here someone is barging in most of the time or I’m barging on to someone else so without thought you can see the difference in ideas formulated, and anyway I don’t remember anything I wrote that was worthy of note. Maybe I was a little off that day.

Writing a book would be something but having someone else read it is another thing. You see you read my letters not for the same reason that most people read books and just incidentally pick up here and there a little something that might be catchy but that

[page 4] wouldn’t interest many people. Anyway I haven’t written one as yet and I doubt it very much if I ever will because my thinker doesn’t work that good.

The envelopes I’m using now are the ones Dave Mace sent me last Christmas. I mean Christmas a year ago. They were stored with my stuff when I went you know where.

Well, I guess I’ve about run down again so for now, Solong until tomorrow

Love Daddy

P.S. Ed Johnson’s v-mail letter also came today.


©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/10/08/lots-of-questions-answered-roscoe/

The Letters That Came Yesterday (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut. R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
USN Base Hosp. #4 Navy 133
F.P.O. San Francisco Calif.

Dear Mother,

I’ll try to say a few words about your letters that came yesterday. First of all it seems your air mail stamps on D’s pictures didn’t work because as yet those pictures haven’t arrived but the snaps of D. & Jimmie did arrive. It always seems when you write of an emergency that letter is delayed. The one telling about your mother just arrived yesterday.

I’m afraid I can’t make out much of that song you sent which you said was going around. In other word it doesn’t make sense to me but maybe it’s not supposed to.

Now about finances. What I

[page 2] really wanted was the final bank balance. I’m glad to get those other figures as they do give me, as you said, food for thought, but you need not go to all the trouble sending too many figures. I don’t quite understand what the $6.60 for tax was for. I just don’t seem to be able to figure that one out. The tax we pay to the county locally are or were taken care of in the house payments – so that really does give me food for thought.

I guess you got the word about those shoes you loaned. I really got a kick out of your answer – very cleverly put I’d say, but we will talk that over in due time.

Your community letter. I mean the one written at

[page 3] Christmas time with all the signatures was interesting. It brought me greeting more or less from the entire gang. I sure was glad to hear that you could all be together.

Just got a letter from John v-mail – thanking me for the Christmas present.

It has been so cool here lately – I’ve been wearing a sweater – gotten from the Red Cross – under my jacket. The wind must be directly off those mountains with snow that you were trying to locate while you were at Mutch’s. I’ll agree with you – most of our maps of this place are small so you probably couldn’t find too much, but even now, I can’t

[page 4] write much about all the surroundings. Not as much as I’d like to. In fact the mountains are fine but give me some level prairie for a change. I think I’d appreciate that lots. But I’ve said all that before so why bring it up again. However as I’ve said before it’s interesting writing & talking material.

Well, I’ll possibly read reread those letters again and make more comments later –

Love Daddy


©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/10/02/the-letters-that-came-yesterday-roscoe/

Auditing Board (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut. R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
USN Base Hosp. #4 Navy 133
F.P.O. San Fran. Calif.
Jan. 10, 1943

Dear Mother,

I’m writing today before mail time and hope I can add a foot note saying mail has arrived. The rumors have it that there is mail at the P.O. but rumors are not always true as you know.

Just got a call that the auditing board is to meet and since I’m a member must go and put in my two bits worth, by that time we’ll know if there is any mail.

The books are audited but still no mail and it’s getting well on toward 5 P.M. so I’m beginning to think there is no mail today. Seems as if

[page 2] that whole front page was used in discussing the no mail status, so let’s let it rest.

Lentz is out playing golf this P.M. and wanted me to go along and carry his clubs but I refused in a big way. I used to do that once in a while at Norfolk but I’ve changed since then. I have walked lots since coming here but not on the golf course. There are several pretty walks around the hills and valleys and over the river which some of us take ever so often in the P.M. I like to watch the fish in the water. Haven’t fished as yet because I have no gear and don’t want to buy a license. The license is something we didn’t have

[page 3] to have before – Just another draw back of civilization.

In Faye’s letter she said Dolores thought I’d be home in 18 months but knowing fellows here who have been out a little longer than myself I’m beginning to doubt that just a little. In fact I have all along. I think there is an effort being made but one can’t come home on efforts alone. We will just have to wait and see, but we have been thru all that in numerous letters before. However, that is still a very good topic of conversation and it isn’t hard to get things started from the newest member to the oldest. I mean

[page 4] in length of time spent out of U.S.A.

We have an accordion player in our midst now and he does the squeeze very frequently. There is also a “uke” player and they sometimes get in the rumpus room next to mine and make pretty much noise but I can take it. It’s only been in the day time so far. In fact yesterday P.M. was the first but it didn’t bother much.

Well, there still isn’t any mail – so Solong
Love Daddy

P.S. Mail did come after all – Yours of Dec. 8, 17, 24, 27, 27, 28 and Oct. 15 came. The 8 & 17 were v-mail. The Oct. 15th one was the one you wrote at Lafayette when your mother passed away.


©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/30/auditing-board-roscoe/

A Very Popular Place (Gladys)

Letter transcription:

Kentland, Ind.
Jan. 10 – 1944

Dear Daddy –

Yours of Dec. 28, 29 & 30th came today and the pictures. Imagine you drinking tea, but I am sure you enjoyed it. They look like very pleasant company.

It is still cold and clear. We can’t understand how we missed all the snow. It snowed quite heavily in Chicago, and other places, but no snow here. At least the skaters are glad. The pond is the scene of activity every day and night. Since Bob Schurtter has taken over the self appointed management, putting a light out there for the night skaters, the pond is a very popular place. He goes out and gets the skaters to clean the ice off so it won’t get rough from slush. Since he didn’t get an appointment in the Navy, perhaps the draft board will permit him to finish the school year before he has to go into service. They keep taking fathers from here. Of course some are new fathers but several pre-war fathers will soon have to go.

I thought I had written you that Jim had insurance to cover all funeral expenses. Burial was made in our lot.

[page 2] I thought that was the best place. Jim had an idea of going to Hutsonville, to the cemetery where so many of Mother’s family were buried, but I thought we should use our lot here. About the hospital expenses, I explained all that before but in case you didn’t get the letter, Mother had saved some, and Jim paid $100.00 so what we actually paid on hospital expenses amounted to some over $100.00. I hope you have received the detailed statement I sent covering the yr – 1943.

I went to see Joy Selene and Mother Arlene yesterday. Dr. Cole allowed them to come home a little sooner than with Donnie, but Arlene was in bed and I suppose will be a few days. Joy is quite a beautiful baby with thick black hair. That is one thing about going over time, the baby is well developed. Arlene was due the 14th and Joy was born the 27th – David having made a 3 weeks premature appearance, kept curled up in a little ball for about a month. However, you would never guess now, he arrived too soon. He is about over his thumb sucking habit. He slept thru the night last night and went right off for his nap today. He still doesn’t try to indicate when he needs the toidey, but will go to the bathroom if we ask him if he wants to toidey. He does so many cute little things every day, it’s quite impossible to put them down in ink on paper. But that smile gets us – it is very contagious.

Love Mother

©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/29/a-very-popular-place-gladys/

Re-read Your Letters (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut. R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
USN Base Hosp. #4 Navy 133
F.P.O. San Francisco Calif.
Dec. 28, 1943

Dear Mother,

I’ve re read your letters. The latest from you was the v-mail Dec. 13 and the next was your greeting card and letter – Dec. 12. The other v-mail was Dec. 11 and the letters were back to Dec. 5 but not all were present back that far. Some are missing.

I was amused at what you said wrote that John said about the money situation. Does he take after his Mom or his Pop? He should have a vote of thanks for thinking of the family finances. And the finances – what with those large chunks coming out for the piano, the loans, the hospital, etc., I think you have really done well. Next year we won’t have those things, but there is always something to th take the place of those things. You mentioned your mother’s hospital expenses. What are you or have you done about the funeral expenses. I assume you had Bob H., etc. and you have some arrangement with him. You perhaps wrote all this but it hasn’t arrived. Did you have take her to Shelburne? Or What? Maybe you would rather not write those things but I’d like to know.

[page 2] I hope you and the boys don’t get the flu – you mentioned in your last letter that it was pretty thick around. I suppose Dr. M. is worked pretty hard during conditions like that. He probably does what he wants to and lets the rest go to someone else. How about the Drs. in Sheldon? There were three there when I left, and our friend at Earl Park? And do you ever hear from Jim Openshaw?

Miller must have been sent out quick because the last time I heard he was in Tenn. or Mich. and had just been transferred.

Seems as if I’ve asked lots of questions in this letter rather than answered those your letter but those are some of the things I’ve thought of while reading your letters.

The mail hasn’t arrived as yet today or I should say it isn’t time for the mail to arrive so I’ll finish later – Later –

Yours of Dec. 9th came – a greeting card letter from Ruth & Floyd and a box from them also. So all in all it wasn’t a bad mail call –

Love Daddy


©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/05/re-read-your-letters-roscoe/

Walking (Gladys)

Letter transcription:

Kentland Ind.
Dec. 5 – 1943

Dear Daddy –

No letters for a week, but this is Sun. evening, so maybe I’ll get a few tomorrow. The weather was so warm today I took David out for a long walk. Lucile came out with Jimmy and we walked back to their place – Ed took some pictures of the two babies. This is Jimmy’s 11th month. He and David walk around in the house and have a good time together, just walking, walking. Makes me tired sometimes just to see them do so much walking, and I can’t imagine what it would do for you, unless you have changed your mind about the above mentioned exercise. This paper seems to have a few grease spots on it that keeps the ink from showing. Hope you can make it out. Took David to S.S. again. He jabbers but on the whole does pretty good to be as active as he is. He just isn’t the sitting type. He is just as restless around here. About the only time he wants to sit still is when his is being wheeled around or in t he car. Sometimes he gets a little hard to hold in the car. He says “gog” when he sees a dog and I repeat dog plainly to him but it still has a g sound when he says it. He was so hungry this evening I had to hurry up his supper – Must have been the long ride in the fresh air and sunshine – John stayed home listening to the radio and Mark played out in the yard with his football. Mark’s cheeks were so pink this evening. He needs good exercise in the out of doors. He had been looking pale. We have the Christmas tree up but no decorations on it yet. David likes to touch it but isn’t too anxious to get too close – it sticks him. Mark wanted to decorate the tree as soon as we brought it home but I put him off for a

[page 2] few days. We heard there would be a scarcity of trees so bought this one early. The Grab-it just got them in. So far the other stores haven’t had any.

I went thru our checks for 1943 to see where I had spent it all – In addition to over $500⁰⁰ going on house payments – I bought $131⁰⁰ bonds, $300⁰⁰ piano, $417⁶⁰ loan on ins., $130⁰⁰ Hospital (Mother’s hospital expense was about $250 – Jim helped on that and I figured I paid about $110⁰⁰ – then Mark’s & David’s amounted to about $20⁰⁰). I will send you a more detailed statement later if you want it, I am glad I paid everything by check – even tho it cost me $2⁸⁰ service charge over the year, I can sit down and see where it all went. We live very simply as you know, but that doesn’t make us unhappy. I was amused at John one day. A boy in school asked him if he had seen a certain show. John said no, he didn’t go to shows because his Dad was away and we didn’t have money to throw around. I really haven’t restricted them from going to shows – but our John likes records and would rather put his spending money in something more tangible than movies. I told J. & M. our funds are low now and they both agreed to be satisfied without a lavish Christmas. At present our bal. is about $50⁰⁰ and I have to pay Mr. Monroe yet this month – I think his bill will be about $7⁰⁰.

I hear David making a noise and must go see what he is grunting about.
Love Mother

Our Ins. was $439¹⁷ in ‘43

YEG1943-12 Gladys, David, Lucile and Jimmy Ed

©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/07/17/walking-gladys/

Fried Chicken (Roscoe)

Letter transcription:

Lieut. R.S. Yegerlehner USNR
USN Base Hosp. #4
Navy 133 F.P.O. San Fran Cal
Dec. 4, 1943

Dear Mother,

Another Saturday rolls around and another week gone. In other words this is Sat. night and I can’t say it compares with a like night at home. There isn’t even a show and of course there are no stores or streets to be crowded, but maybe that doesn’t happen there anymore. Seems as if you wrote something a month or so about Sat. night. I believe you wrote that the usual late buying was slow because of a lack of goods to sell.

Repeating – Three days ago I sent you a check and in the letters of Dec. 3. I sent each of the boys a money order – I hope they all get there in plenty of time for good usage. I know Mark will have a glorious time with his and D. probably won’t get much kick out

[page 2] of the whole affair and John will probably buy or want to buy some records. And you – please use that amount for a dress, etc. Something you feel you couldn’t or wouldn’t want to afford otherwise.

Just stopped to get a few magazines to read – a few copies of Life which I hadn’t seen before – Of course they are Sept. and Oct. issues but they make good reading or I should say good time passers. Especially in off hours.

I’m trying in my off moments to think up and view over in my mind the rudiments of Masonry so that I might attend lodge and also Rotary. I think either or both will be fun and good experience but so far I haven’t made any direct contact. I have found however that the Rotary meeting is at the noon day meal and that is a little difficult to attend.

[page 3] You came in for your share of praise from Ruth M. in her letter. Especially how you were getting along and carrying on thru your mother’s illness. I do hope you have not tried to over extend yourself and do too much on your nerve. Please try to take things easy and watch the sinus and throat infection this winter. I know it’s easy for me to say this but it’s an another thing to avoid the difficulty.

During our leave we had an occasion to have fried chicken. The natives here didn’t know how to prepare such so I went into the kitchen and did it myself and believe it or not it was browned to perfection with mashed potatoes and all the fixings. Everyone seems to be pleased – and why not? Because we had two chickens for three people. It was the first of things like that in ever so long so you know it was enjoyed.

So much for today –


©2015 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/07/16/fried-chicken-roscoe/