Family Reunion photo circa 1900
- Kate Goodheart or Kate Woost was David Apple’s great grandmother, she is the woman in the striped blouse to the right of the window. Her husband, Henry George Woost is on the other side of the window.
- Grandma Bearden, or Josephine Woost at the time, is Kate’s daughter. She became Bearden when married to Lee Bearden. She is David Apple’s Grandma-and is the left of the two girls standing in the right side of the picture.
- She (David’s Grandma) was named after her Aunt Josehphine Goodheart who was the older daughter of Lt. Goodheart. Josephine was David’s mother’s middle name also.
- The very old lady is David’s Grandma Koch, great grandmother, Maria Schoenfeld Koch
- The woman on Grandma Koch’s left is his grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Koch Woost and the man in the long beard is Heinrich Wilhelm Christian Woost, Mary’s husband. All of those older grandparents were born in Germany.
The Apple Family: a Reminiscence
By Lee Apple (David’s nephew) based on research by Ellen Taylor (David’s cousin).
My father and Uncle David grew up in the area around Alton, Illinois which is just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. From their home they could walk to the site of the Lewis and Clark staging camp used before the journey west. The abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy was persecuted and finally murdered in Alton and the last of the Lincoln/Douglas debates was held there. Mark Twain and his brand of River lore and literature was a major and active influence in their youth. Cahokia, a significant pre-Colombian settlement, is nearby. Every place has it’s own history and stories…according to Seneca life is long enough if you know what to do with it….my father and uncle found their adventure, purpose, joy and some disappointment away from where they grew up but it was with them always.
The “end” can highlight and bring perception of the “beginning”…. A sleepless night before giving a eulogy at Uncle David’s funeral I tried to look back…young parents… who had lived through the depression…the courage to start a family just after enduring such times…David was born on September 14, 1941…Grandma tending to a baby while listening to the radio and the news of Pearl Harbor and war…Grandpa Joe working so hard to make a living in his feed store…wondering what will become of his boys and what the future will bring…He suddenly lost his own father (1939) soon after having a son (my father)…living every day with the memory of the sad death of his brother Dean in 1926 who was just thirteen…struggles and challenges for my grandparents… but fundamentally a life of strength, faith, optimism, joy, and gratitude.
In baby books mothers record first smiles, first steps, first holidays and other precious moments for all parents.
“David was three months old by Christmas and was just learning to sit alone. We dressed him up in his little new suit and went to Grandmother Apple’s for dinner. He couldn’t eat much except baby food but he was a fine boy and everyone liked to hold him and play with him. Santa Claus and all the family brought him toys to play with, and he was very happy.”
“David was seven months old by Easter and he was a fine, big healthy boy with red hair and blue eyes. The Easter Bunny brought him eggs and candy but Bobby and Mother and Daddy had to help him eat them. We all put on our new clothes and went to Sunday School and Church.”
“David started to school at Bushy Grove September 1947. Miss Anne Huha was his teacher. At first he didn’t like school and he cried to stay at home. But in a few days he learned to like it and after that he loved it very much and made excellent grades. The most exciting day he had in the first grade was the day they chartered a bus and went to the Police Circus in St. Louis. Mother went too.”
Dad and Uncle David were born in turbulent times of war and depression but Grandma wanted to prepare them for a brighter future. There was memory and a record in her family, as in most families then, of tenaciously persevering on through adversity. Her own mother’s grandfather, Lt. John Goodheart of the 2nd IL US Cavalry, was killed by a sniper in the Civil War. Those memories from an era that dramatically affected every family were passed down with sensitivity and inspiration in some of them. Grandma nursed a younger brother who ultimately died when he was just eighteen. He was a special source of pride in the family as a very talented violinist. Grandma’s father had lost his mother when he was only five years old. Grandpa Joe’s father (Jacob) had a younger brother that died at fifteen in 1911 and two years later named his own son after that brother (Dean). That Dean also died very young (thirteen) thus Jacob had to live with loosing a younger brother and then a son.
The sweet letter Lt. Goodheart wrote to his young daughter Josephine was dated May 30th, 1862 and sent from Hickman Kentucky. His unit had been in the area at the time of the action against the important rail center of Corinth Mississippi and the Confederates evacuated on the same day the letter is dated. He tells his young daughter “that your kind and welcome letter came to hand today and I was glad to hear that you were well and learning so fast.” He then tells her to be more careful with her writing because bad habits become hard to change and that soon she will be teaching her younger sister. He closes the letter saying “you must kiss Katie for me, your old Daddy.” Josephine later became a beloved educator and the high school principal in Pekin. It seems she listened to her old daddy who never made it home! Her name was engraved on the school bell as an honor for her. Katie was Grandma Margaret’s Grandmother (Josephine Goodheart was a Great Aunt and inspiration for Grandma who also became a teacher).
Lt. Goodheart was killed in August, 1862 in a skirmish at Merriweather’s Ferry on the Obion River, TN. Interesting history and poignant moments can and should be passed along in families.
In that family Lt. Goodheart had two daughters before being killed while on the Apple side my great grandfather Jacob was born in 1881 to a veteran who had also served in an Illinois cavalry unit (10th Company B). Johnson Apple was a farmer from Christian County according to his enlistment record and obviously survived the war…the course of events for all families…According to an interview with Grandpa Joe’s Uncle Clay Apple Johnson was “not in any major battles but was under fire at times in skirmishes in the state of Missouri.” Johnson had a brother that died during the war at the notorious Andersonville Prison.
Clay talks about the life of the family and farming in the 1890’s and early 1900’s in Bond County, Illinois with mule drawn wagons and plows. They did not have electricity or refrigeration and “were poor but always had ample food.” They raised hogs, cattle and various produce including potatoes, corn, wheat, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbages, sugar cane and they had a small apple orchard. The record of that wonderful interview was in Uncle David’s papers and I know he deeply felt all of this family legacy his entire life.Grandpa Joe and Grandma Margaret met around 1930 when they were both students at Shurtleff College in Alton.I found an archive on line of year books and located pictures of both of my grandparents…the course of events for all families…Grandma moved to Alton from Pekin, Illinois to study which was not an easy thing for her to do at that time. Her father, Robert Lee Bearden, was a violinist who played in local symphonies, taught music to his children and others while also working for the postal service. He built furniture and could draw well. His father Daniel Bearden had a patent for some farming machinery and was supposed to have been quite a fiddler too!
My father named me after his maternal Grandfather Lee Bearden who he admired and with whom he shared a love of classical music. Dad had been named after this Grandpa and gave me part of that name too…a great grandfather with roots in Kansas and coming from a family that apparently had Confederate sympathies (naming a son after Robert E. Lee several years after the war was over). Kansas was bitterly divided and along with the troubles in Missouri was a major part of the ignition of all out war.
Beyond just the name given to me it was always made clear how much my father and Uncle David respected their Grandfather Robert Lee Bearden (born June 4, 1888 in Ellsworth County, KS). Apparently? As with any endeavor it doesn’t always turn out to be what it seems on the surface in family history. Although born in Kansas my great grandfather’s family was from Illinois and moved back while he was a boy. His mother had a brother named Robert and another named Lee so that was probably the source of his name. David and my dad’s first cousin Ellen Taylor has done a terrific job researching our family on this side and gave me the information on that particular point and a great deal more. She wrote on her website about the family:
It must have been a busy household. Grandpa Bearden was always remodeling some part of the house. He worked full time at the post office and taught violin to his own children and other children in the town. All of the children played some instrument and/or sang. I envision piano, violin, viola, cello being practiced at the same time with banging hammers and saws in the background. The Bearden’s had a string quartet or quintet, along with my mother who played the piano. They played for weddings funerals, and gave concerts. Lee continued to give violin lessons, after all the children grew up and left home. There were always students in and out of the house when we were visiting. He also made beautiful furniture, copied from pictures in books. The furniture all had inlaid wood decorations and he made pictures as well. One of my favorite memories was the smell of his basement workshop. He did pen and ink drawings as well, beautiful, intricate drawings. Sadly, he was color blind. I remember him sitting in his chair in the living room listening to classical music. He would laugh and laugh. He had the best posture of anyone I have ever known-ramrod straight. Posture was important to him, and I remember being admonished, “stand straight!” He could be a bit gruff, and many of us grandchildren were intimidated. I adored him. One time, when I was about ten, he complimented my drawing, and I was thrilled, and am to this day. He worked at the post office as a mail man, and then supervisor, until he retired in 1953. He bought a car, and planned to travel, and may have even taken a trip or two, but he died in 1954. We all thought way too soon.
His grandson David took some trips, all over the world, lecturing, and I’m sure Lee would have been very pleased. Dad and David had a Grandma (Corenna Apple), mother, and three aunts that were schoolteachers. I see how that could have been a bit overwhelming but they both looked back on their youth as being nothing but a positive and nurturing time…growing up with several cousins…sports, picnics, family gatherings, church, work, music, and study were staples of their early years in the mid western heartland in the 1940’s and 50’s.
None of the Grandparents or Great Grandparents had much or any formal education but they were clearly intelligent and resourceful people who worked and hoped for their children to have a better future. Both of David’s grandfathers were born in the 1880’s which means they lived at a time when the country was becoming more urban and young men were leaving farms for the cities. Ambition to educate and improve oneself was not a novel development but was more widespread in the expanding horizon of the early 1900’s.
Farmers, small businesses, school teachers, trials, loss, heartache, war records, a patent, perseverance, vision, faith, hard work, family….life in the mid west and the whole country for all families….an American story that led up to so many including David Apple having opportunities… and David made the most of his but he always remembered all of what made it possible.
Lee Apple, San Francisco CA. 2014.