Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Milton E. Kerr (1863-1895) at Chautauqua, 1879

On Sunday, August 17, 1879, sixteen-year-old Milton E. Kerr arrived at Chautauqua Lake in the westernmost corner of New York, where he would spend a week enjoying an educational summer camp experience. The experience itself had already come to be known as Chautauqua. For a great description and some photos, read The Endless Summers of Chautauqua by Marilyn Mathews Bendikson.

The first Chautauqua had been held earlier in the decade. It began as a way to educate Sunday School teachers, but quickly expanded in response to public enthusiasm, achieving the status of a Movement which continued to flourish into the 20th century. For those who couldn't attend in New York, the traveling Chautauqua came into being. In addition to religion, subjects included literature, science, and more. It became a forum for new ideas. Speakers included the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, and a number of U.S. presidents. Although its popularity peaked in the early part of the 20th century, Chautauqua continues to the present day.

Milton took a small autograph book with him to Chautauqua. It was signed by many friends during his week at camp, and additional entries were made later. Many entries are dated. Those dated between August 17-23, 1879 would have been signed at Chautauqua. Some entries also have a short message or verse. Signers often included their city and state:
  • Agnes S. Campbell, Greenville, Penna.
  • Job Fish Jr., Berlin Hts., Ohio
  • Claire A. Orr, Kankakee, Ill.
  • A.E. Brainerd, Boscobel, Wisc.
  • Ellis E. Moore, Franklin, Penna.
  • W.J. Preston, Detroit, Mich.
  • Fred Evans, Franklin, Pa.
  • Al Hughes, Franklin, Penna.
  • Thos. Scanlan, Mercer, Pa.
  • C.R. Henderson, Titusville, Pa.
  • May H. Page, Mercer, Penna.
  • Rafe Conover
  • William Butler, Olean, N.Y.
  • Inez C. Smith, Bradford, Pa.
  • J.A. Moore, SOS Cobbler Shop, Mercer, Pa.
  • Will Bignell, Greenville, Pa.
  • Elmer Houghton, Wellington, O.
  • Minnie Montgomery, Mercer, Pa.
  • John C. Orr, Mercer, Penna.
  • Emma Smith, Mercer, Pa.
  • Harry T. Williamson, Mercer Co., Penna.
  • Miss Susie Willse, Panama, N.Y.
  • Mary Love, Mountunion, Pa.
  • Anna Montgomery, Mountunion, Pa.
  • Minnie M. Brown, Randolph, N.Y.
  • Belle Jack, Mercer
  • Em McKee
  • Charley McCandless
  • Cora Black, Mercer, Pa.
  • T.J. Scanlan, Mercer, Pa.
  • Charley Kline
  • Geo. B. Hoag, Mercer, Pa.
  • Charlie Wing, Olean, N.Y.
  • Frances McKean
  • E.S. Wilson, Corry, Pa.
  • Z. Weir
  • Bella Hosack
  • Ella Seaton
  • Emma Montgomery
  • A.B. Carter
  • Harvey Seaton, Bristol, Pa.
If you recognize your ancestor's name, you might like to view the pages of the autograph book at Picasa Web Albums by clicking on the album cover below.

Autograph Book

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Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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