Thursday, April 16, 2015

Trula, My Sister

I haven’t mentioned my brother and sisters because I have adopted a special standard of personal privacy.  I don’t write about anyone that is alive.  That way, no one gets in trouble. 

But, it has been nearly 30 years since my sister Trula has died.  It seems about time to write about her.  But, this is not a simple biography, no dates to hang your hat on.  This is a brief remembrance of a sweet woman.

I have never been able to figure out she got her name.  Mom and Dad could never remember how they came up with Trula, but they did.

Trula was five years older than me.  She was in high school before I was really cognizant of the life around me.  In high school I remember her art work.  She liked to work in clay, throwing pots and other pieces.  A piece that she was particularly proud of was large vase.  It had a glaze that was several shades of yellow.  Inside she had dried flowers and a peacock tail feather.  I remember this pot because I once tripped and my head fell into the dried flowers.  Some bizarre little ball of burrs landed in my eye and I was forced to visit the doctor.  For a week I was soaking my eyeball in warm water and Epsom salts.  At the same time the doctor was picking little slivers out of my eye.  I remember that vase very well!

Physically, Trula was short.  Around her, I felt tall!  But, beyond height, I couldn’t measure up to Trula.  She was hard working and persistent.  After high school, she put herself through college, first obtaining an Associate’s Degree in accounting, they later transferring to a four year college, the University of Utah.   There she acquired her BS in mine engineering. 

The one story I wonder about, but Mom swore that it was true: Dad always wanted an engineer in the family.  Neither John nor I had the interest.  Me, I didn’t have the aptitude.  Well Trula knew Dad wanted an engineer, so she majored in engineering. 

Dad was also proud of Trula and her intelligence.  In her senior year at the University of Utah, she won an award from the Mine engineering Department.  Dad was very proud of Trula, that night.

While she was at the University of Utah, she worked at a credit union.  She helped me negotiate a loan for my first car.  I was able to buy a brand new, metallic blue Chevette with her help.

After graduation she worked in coal mines in eastern Utah and Western Colorado.

Trula was generous to everyone.  During one of the several times that I was unemployed, Trula offered me a place to stay if I wanted to come down and work in Carbon County.  I stayed in Salt Lake, but her house was always open.  

Trula died too young.   She had two young boys. Unfortunately, I have not kept up with these two, but they have grown up into fine young men.   I am certain she is very proud of her two sons and her two grandchildren as well.

Trula was a unique lady.  She was kind, generous, and incredibly intelligent.  To this day, I miss her.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

Land records make for some interesting and confusing details about family history.  In the case of the Brubaker/Tiernan clan, I have found that Ellen Tiernan Brubaker and John Brubaker filed for at least three different land parcels under the Homestead Act of 1862.

In 1893, Ellen Tiernan filed for the final title of land on Section 15, Township 24, Range 51.  Family lore said that all of the Tiernan children filed for land then sold to her father John or her brother Charles Tiernan after title came through on the Homestead Act.  This may have been true.  The plat maps for the area round Snake Creek Township shows that John and Charles Tiernan owned a lot of land in that part of Box Butte County.

Just ten years later, Ellen T. Brubaker was filing for more land located on Sections 32 and 33 of Township 23, Range 44.  I believe this is an area south of Lakeside, Nebraska.  Ellen Brubaker claimed the land was filed under her husband, but he had deserted her.  Her petition stated he had left in July of 1904.  She stayed on the land until October.  She felt she could not care for her five children and work the land.  She left the claim and “went to her own people in Box Butte County.”  But she did not want to lose the land.  She petitioned the land title be assigned to her name.  She could not produce the original receipt of entry because John Brubaker had taken it with him.

Her petition must have been denied.  She remained married to John Brubaker.  A decade later, John H. Brubaker obtained 480 acres in Section 12, of Township 21, Range 50.

This all reminds me of the song: “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone."  I think it was fairly typical to move from one parcel of land to another to try to improve your economic condition.  In the defense of John Brubaker, he worked for the railroad and was constantly moving for work.  This may have been the situation, or something less favorable may have occurred.

I don’t know the circumstances.  But John Brubaker and Ellen Tiernan remained married and are buried together in Alliance, Nebraska.  The land records simply add to the confusion of their relationship, yet it is really very interesting.