Category Archives: Genealogy

Well, that was going to be fun…

I was supposed to gone all last week on a research trip up to Humboldt County, Ca.  Two days before we were going to leave, this became US 101 between here and there.

Well, so much for my research trip (From McKinleyville Press)


Needless to say, I didn’t quite make it.  CA 1 was closed (but was south of this anyway), and the “alternate” root was already half in the creek, and CalTrans was desperately pouring rock trying to save the rest.  Somebody really didn’t want me to go!


Charles Boyles (1804?-?)

The thing that is the most fun  (I think) about Genealogy is that moment when you finally find the thing you were looking for, and you now know something about your family that nobody else does.  With that said, I think the part that irritates me the most is knowing that information is there, but not able to get to it.  Case in point, Mr. Charles Boyles.  I know other people have been looking for him, I’ve seen the “trail” of messages and posts they have left.  But I cannot for the life of me get in touch with any one of them.  So in the hopes this shows up in a Google search some day (because you are looking for this same guy maybe?), help me!

Charles Boyles was probably born in Kentucky around 1804-1806.  1850 census has him listing his age as “44,” but 10 years later he has apparently aged 12 years to 56 (I didn’t they had invented new math yet?).  I haven’t found him in the 1870 census yet, and the kids I have found have all moved out on their own in some fashion.  I have him marrying Harriet Shavers 0n 6 Feb 1844.  I also show a previous marriage in 1827 to a Rachel Poulson, but that is based solely on an member tree – I don’t’ have a lot of faith in it, but I don’t want to just discount it out of hand.  They have 4 boys (Frank, Francis Marion, William, and my [assumed] grandfather Sterling, and two girls Ashley and Martha).  That’s pretty much where I run out, at least for Charles and Harriet.  I can’t find them in the 1870 or 1880 census (and 1880 is probably pushing it, that is getting up their in ages).  I have nothing in the way of married names for the girls, so that’s going to be a fishing expedition.  After this, I have Sterling have a son also named Sterling, and then my grandfather, father, and then me.  Its pretty tidy, and almost “defendable.”  But the Boyles line stops dead at Charles right now and I would like to get farther back, so if anybody is reading this, help!

Missed it by that much.

There had always been talk in my dad’s family, that there had been another sibling besides his brother, possibly a sister, but nobody really knew for sure.  If there had been one they had obviously died while he and his brother were young enough not to remember.  As I have done my research, I’ve always kept that in the back of my head (trying to confirm or deny this persons existence wouldn’t be a trivial task).  One day while I was doing some work on that line, I ran across a WWI draft registration form.  This form had the same name as my Great Grandfather.  The next draft card had not only the same address, but the name of that which I believe to be his brother’s name, living in Wyoming (which we believe he did), both of them working for the railroad (which we know they did), with the correct birth date and location (in so much as we know up to this point), and his dependents being a wife and three children.  Bingo!  Quick trip over to the 1920 Census (the date being 1917, I should find them there) and, yep, there they are.  All four of them.  Sigh.  Whoever it was didn’t make it to 1920.  Missed it by that much.

Well, at least I know it probably isn’t a waste of my time to keep looking.  Maybe a birth or death certificate will show up.  Would be nice to find it while my dad is still here.


Martin Fortner Branstetter

This Account of the death of Martin Fortner Branstetter was published in The Weekly Standard, Eureka, California, dated Saturday, January 8, 1876.


Main Street. Ferndale, Ca.

A Horrible Affair -The recent cutting affair in Ferndale, incurring the death of M. F. Branstetter, has not its equal in the history of Humboldt County, and the more facts ascertained concerning the case a darker hue grows upon the whole. As before stated in the Standard, John Hendley and M. F. Branstetter in Ferndale, last Tuesday, got into a dispute over twenty-five cents while playing at a came of cards, when the latter rose and slapped Hendley in the face, who instantly grasped Branstetter by the shirt bosom near the collar, and drawing a knife, which had a blade seven inches in length, and stabbed his antagonist nine different times. The first gash disabled the unfortunate man, the blade having entered the shoulder and then passing down the arm to the elbow, severing the flesh clear to the bone the entire length of the cut. There were three other gashes in the same arm and two in the right, and one six inches in length across the stomach, severing his entrails in six places. Another took effect in the left breast, and the ugliest looking one of all in the back. All this work was accomplished almost before the bystanders could realize the horrible tragedy being enacted. At the preliminary examination we understand that witnesses testified that Branstetter kept retreating, evidently endeavoring to free himself from his murderer, and when a chair was put between them it was with difficulty that Hendley could be induced to let go of his hold. It seems he then started for the stable and asked for his horse, but an officer immediately took him in charge, thereby frustrating all motives of escape. The condition of Branstetter was revolting, his gaping wounds, his entrails protruding from his bowels, the human blood running over the floor, presenting a scene that many could not stand to witness.  In this fearful state he lingered twenty-eight hours. His family and a physician were summoned to the residence of P. F. Hart, where the already dying man was carried. But their efforts could not stay the hand of death, and after hours of intense agony M. F. Branstetter breathed his last. He was the father of eleven children, one being married, and all living. Being a man of more than usual nerve, he was resolute and suffered his pains like a martyr, and seemed perfectly conscious of his immediate death, telling those around him that he knew he was going to die, and there was no use of them concealing the fact. At times it became necessary to put him under the influence of chloroform that he may be quiet, and then again it would require the efforts of four strong men to hold him down.  Hendly is a single man, and has been known to carry a knife for several years, and has engaged in a row almost every time he came into town. His preliminary examination came off before a Justice of the Peace, when he was directed to await the action of the Grand Jury on a charge of murder. The prisoner was brought into the city yesterday, by Dave Roberts and P. Fulmer, and remanded to the custody of Sheriff Bulkjey, who immediately placed him in the County Jail. Hendley did not seem to be unnerved in the least, and dismounted from his horse, tied the animal to a railing and then conversed freely with some acquaintances, who happened to be present, while the Sheriff was reading the commitment.