The Beloved Old Flag

Hello Friends, Dale Leach, Great-Great Grandson of Sylvester Leach, and Leach Family historian has shared the following story.  It was written by Dale  in 2007 “based upon gathered information about Sylvester Leach’s (1842-1928) life from the eye-wiwtness recollections of family members: Lloyd A. Carr, Esther M. (Starr) Allen,, and Naomi (Lurvey) Blaine.” Many thanks to Dale for allowing me to post this story to “The  Family File: Leach Family” …….you’re in for a treat when you read it.

The Beloved Old Flag

The well-worn flag had always been  neatly folded with great pride and reverently kept by the old man in the top drawer of his white-oak, chest o’drawers.  Over the years, time had taken its toll as the flag had become somewhat faded and tattered from frequent use.  You see: this old gentleman had been the flag bearer  for the James Bradley G.A.R. Post no. 194, a Civil War Veteran’s organization in Clio, Michigan.  Sylvester Leach had always carried this revered national banner, with great dignity, in G.A.R. parades on Decoration Day (now Memorial Day), the Fourth of July, and Veteran’s Day.  However, sadly, this flag also witnessed the burial ceremonies of camp members who finally expired leaving a dwindling troop of old veterans who had once marched to local cemeteries such as Pine Grove, Forest Lawn, or Gunnell.  It was around 1912 that old James Bradley G.A.R. Post, located at 222 E. Vienna Rd. just west of downtown, was closed and disbanded for lack of membership because most of the old veterans were either too age advanced or had passed on.  It was also at this time that this flag, that had witnessed so many local parades, ceremonies and burials over the years, was permanently presented to its long-time bearer as a token appreciation.  This tattered piece of cloth was later to become Mr. Leach’s proudest possession.


Sylvester 1


This spring day of  May in 1928, however, the old flag was being used for a different purpose:  it being wrapped about the coffin of the seasoned veteran as if in reluctance to part with the one who had held it so high and proudly for so many years.  Many mourners gathered at the gravesite burial ceremony there in Pinegrove Cemetery located in the southern portion of Tuscola County, Michigan, and each possessed vivid memories of this man and hiss well-lived age of 87.  Among those present was a small girl of 9 years old whose favorite great grandfather was being laid to rest that day.  This child’s name was Esther Starr and she had always had a special connection with this old veteran because her parents, Arthur and Lena Starr, had purchased his home, located at the NE corner of Barkley & Birch Run Roads, and cared for him in his old age. Esther remembered  him fondly as fun-loving and amiable and well known throughout the local area as “the best clogger around”  This little girl of 11 remembered  her “Grandpa Leach” as a good natured, man yet one who on occasion could also be stubbornly independent and one that could be downright cantankerous at times when crossed. For example: there was the time when the very amiable old gentleman had taken the family’s horse & buggy to one of the local dances held at nearby Buell Lake.  It was later, after being gone  all night and returning, that Arthur and Lena foolishly attempted to scold the old man for his tardiness when he emphatically responded with ruffed feathers:  “Well I’m free, white n’ twenty-one and I’ll do what I damn well please!”   She had witnessed ol’ Doc Bishop, who had cared for old man in his last hours, and heard doctors seemingly callous statement after giving her great grandfather a shot to ease the pain:  “Well I just gave the ol’ cuss a shot so he can slip out easier”.  How nonchalant and cynical this comment must have seemed to such a young girl.  Or another great grandchild of similar age, Elmer Leach, who unexpectedly discovered the lifeless body shortly after death, came running home the short distance up the hill on Barkley Road exclaiming in great horrified amazement to his older brother, Carl, “why is grandpas’s face covered up and his feet sticking out from under the sheet?!!”.  This was also a far cry other times when “Great Grandpa Leach” had played similar tricks on the boys only playing dead under those same sheets, but this time was for real.


Sylvester 2


Or, among those a bit older in attendance at this burial ceremony, were Lloyd A. Carr, a nephew and local farmer by trade.  As a young man Lloyd remembered how his Uncle was well liked locally and also Sylvester’s stately team of giant Belgian workhorses were the envy of all around in the local township of Arbela.  To Lloyd:  this expired man represented countless fond memories of his dear Uncle “Vet” such as the time when this old gentleman, who walked a great deal and often traveled about, came to his farm complaining excitedly that he had misplaced the cloth satchel he always carried:  “I lost muh’ grip” and can’t remember where I left the darn thing!”  Or another time: upon seeing his uncle after a long absence, asked him where he had been to which the old man exclaimed: “Oh – I been layin’ low lately ’cause I got all loused up!”


Sylvester 3


As Rev. Stubbs, the officiating minister of local M.E. Church, spoke to the small group standing there at the gravesite and  offered a humble prayer to the All-Mighty, the casket was slowly lowered into the soil from whence it came.  No one seemed to take notice at first that this beloved and tattered, old flag was not removed and about to be buried with its long time bearer.  None the less: there were those that sad day that did agree with what they considered the flag’s being “disgraced” and chief among them was certain a grand niece on this brother, Enard Leach’s side.  As a result of this supposed affront: argument that ensued but it was Lloyd Carr, much loved great grandson, who calmly stepped forward and took control of the ugly situation saying: ” leave that flag be and let go to rest with this old soldier that loved it so dearly”


Posted with the  permission of  Dale H. Leach sole owner of the text and pictures contained in this document.

Copyright Dale H. Leach, All Rights Reserved.


2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Hi Sherman Family and Friends,

In November, Debbie Brockett, a writer for GV Magazine asked for permission to use a picture of Moses and Susie by their boxcar home in an article she was putting together for the December issue. GV stands for Grand Valley (Colorado) and the  magazine is a fun look at this community and the many activities available there.

We were happy to oblige Debbie’s request and enjoyed reading the article titled “Yes, Grand Valley, There is a Santa.” Seeing the picture of Mr. Ed’s great-grandparents Moses and Susie in the magazine was a real treat.

If you’d like to have a look at the article, follow this URL: http://www.dabrockett.com/article12.htm

Here’s the picture used in the article:

moses&susie in boxcar154

All for tonight.


Copyright 2013, Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington,  All rights reserved.

Picture is the sole property of Howard and Susan Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sherman Picture Gallery

Hi Everyone,

What do I do?  There are more pictures than I have posts for… so..  Here’s a gallery of various Sherman family photos.. all are thumbnails so click on them for a larger view. Many of the pictures are of logging in the “UP” of Michigan and you’ll see William Sherman among the subjects.  If you have corrections or questions don’t hesitate to contact me at susaned@me.com or leave a comment.  Enjoy!


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington, 1/10/2012  All Rights Reserved

Photographs are the sole property  of Susan  J. Edminser

Mr. Ed’s Great-Grandparents, Moses and Susan Sherman lived in Montana for many years during his employment with the Northern Pacific Railroad.  Drummond was their home when Moses retired November 8, 1938.

We thought it would be fun to map the Sherman’s movement in Montana and to do so we dug out a stack of old Post Cards (yes, penny post cards) sent to them by their son Murry, daughter Martha and various friends.  Because we were only able to track according to the mailing dates there’s some overlap in the years they received mail at a given location, but those cards told a story of their movement that we wanted to share. So here’s the  map we put together… we hope you enjoy it.  Oh, I should note that this graphic is one little section of a 1900 Northern Pacific Railroad map.

It was fun to note that one card was addressed to “Mrs. Sherman, 2 1/2 miles south of Drummond.”


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA. November 23, 2011

All Rights Reserved

Obituaries for Moses and Susan (Leach) Sherman, William and Johannah (Hartwell) Sherman and many others:


Moses Benjamin Sherman died Saturday at a local hospital.  He resided at 714 South 72nd Street and was a  native of Pennsylvania.  He was employed by the Northern Pacific railroad as a pumper and was a member of  Ruby lodge, F. & A. M. of Drummond, Montana and had been a Mason for more than 55 years.  He leaves his wife, Susan V. of the home; sons, William C. of Tacoma, Mury B. of Bellingham; daughter Mrs. Martha Shafer of Michigan, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.  Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Lynn Chapel, Dr. Milton A. Marcy presiding with Jos. Warren lodge F. & A. M.  Burial at New Tacoma cemetery.

Tacoma News Tribune, December 5, 1942



Mrs. Moses Benjamin (Susan Viola) Sherman died at the age of 102 this morning in a local nursing home.

Born in Tuscola, Michigan, she had lived in Tacoma since 1942, coming here from Drummond, Montana. She was the adopted grandmother of the Wilson High School Girls Club.  She was a member of Margaret Cummings Chapter OES, at Drummond.  She was also past matron of that chapter, a post which she took after she was 60 years old and she later had served as its chaplain for many years.

Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Martha Shafer, 80 of Muskegon, Michigan, two sons, William C. Sherman, 76, of Tacoma, and Murry Bird Sherman, 74 of Bellingham; eight grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.

Services will be announced by Mountain View Funeral Home.

The Tacoma News Tribune, July 3, 1962



William C. Sherman, 84, of 814 S. 72nd St., died Tuesday.

He was a retired warehouseman at Ft. Lewis, and had owned and operated Sherman’s African Violet Shop in Tacoma for many years.

Survivors include two grandchildren, Howard Edminster, of Seattle, and George Edminster of Wallingford, Conn.

Services will be announced by Mountain View Funeral Home.

The Tacoma News Tribune, July 16, 1969



Mrs. William C.  (Johannah) Sherman, 80, of 814 S. 72nd St. died Sunday in a local hospital.

She was born in Ironton, Michigan, and came to Tacoma 38 years ago from St. Regis, Montana.  She was the operator of the Violet Greenhouse for 15 years.  She was a  member of the Congregational Church and the Violet Prarie Garden Club.

Survivors in addition to her husband include two grandsons, 10 great-grandchildren, a great-great-grandchild and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be announced by Mountain View Funeral Home.

The Tacoma News Tribune, December 4, 1967



Murry B. Sherman, age 74 or 2339 Ellis St. passed away in a local hospital Wednesday, Feb. 27 following a short illness.   Mr. Sherman had resided in Bellingham for the past 29 years and was a retired logger.  He leaves to survive his wife, Frances E., at home, one son, Bird E. Sherman of Everett, two daughters, Mrs. Edith V. Decker of Laurel and Mrs. Ethel B. Tolles of this city, 11 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, one brother, William C., of Tacoma, one sister, Mrs. Martha Shaefer (sic) of Detroit, Mich., Funeral services will be held Friday, March 1 at 3p.m. in the Chapel of the  WESTFORD FUNERAL HOME with Rev. Russell H. Rea officiating.  Interment Greenacres.

Bellingham Herald, February 28, 1963



Bird Eugene “Gene” Sherman age 71, of Bellingham, WA, passed away May 7, 2001 at St. Francis Extended Health Care.

He was born August 24, 1929 in Blaine, WA to Murray (sic) Bird and Frances E. (Campbell) Sherman.

Gene graduated from Bellingham High School.  He married Lois Wyatt Larson in Bellingham May 6, 1968.

She preceded him in death April 28, 2001.

Mr. Sherman worked for  Georgia Pacific in Bellingham and retired from Scott Paper Co, of Everett WA.  He returned to Bellingham seven years ago.

Survived by his son, David Sherman of Stanwood, WA., daughters Diane Hanson of Everett, WA, Dona Garthley of Everett, WA, Darlene Laird of Marysville, WA,  sisters Edith Decker and Ethel Tolles both of Bellingham WA.

Private family services will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 1230 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225. Arrangements entrusted to Westford Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 1301 Broadway, Bellingham, WA.

Everett Herald,  May 9, 2001


EDITH DECKER (information from funeral card)

In Loving Memory

Edith Viola Decker

Born March 5, 1915 at LaClede, Idaho,  Died July 20, 2006 at Davao City, Philippines

Graveside Services, Greenacres Cemetery Monday Aughst 7, 2006 at 2p.m.

Officiant Rev. Rick Qualls


The following are brief death notices we recorded at the Bradford County Genealogy Society in Towanda, PA.  As you see there are multiple publications of some of the notices, most of which are rather cryptic:

SHERMAN,  Jacob d. Mar. 11, Overton; Reporter Journal, Th. Mar. 16, 1905

SHERMAN, Mrs. Eliza, d. Thur last week at son Charles, New Albany, age 56. surf. ch: Charles, Ernest, James, Ivan, Dori & Mrs. Fred Babcock.  Reporter Journal, Thu. May 9, 1901

SHERMAN, Mr.s Elizabeth A.  d. May 8, at dau., Mrs. W.W. Brooks, E. Troy, age 80, Bradford Star, Th. May 18, 1905

SHERMAN, Jacob, Overton, buried Tues. Monroeton Enterprise, Th. Mar 16, 1905

SHERMAN, Jacob, s/o Henry Sherman, d. Mar. 11, Overton,  age 71, b. Nov. 2, 1834, Co. G. 28 PA, m. Hannah Mussleman who survives.  Children George E., Frank, Oscar, Ernest, Fred, Lee, Mrs. Celia Chase, Mrs. Clara Lancaster .

SHERMAN, Henry  d. last Wed,  Overton, age 75, Sur wife, 6 day, 1 son, 1/2 brother Edward, Canton Reporter Journal, Th Apr. 17, 1902

SHERMAN, Mrs. Henry, d. June 10, E. Herrick, age 50,  Bradford Reporter, Th. June 15, 1871.

SHERMAN, Henry, d. Wed. last week – Overton, sur by wife, 7 children.  Vet.  Bradford Argus, Thu, Apr 17, 1902

SHERMAN, Death.  Henry Sherman, veteran of Civil War, died Overton on Wed. age 75 years. Survived by 6 children and his wife.  Bradford Repub. Thurs Apr. 17, 1902

SHERMAN Peter, d. Mar. 6, Albany Twp, age 58. Reporter Journal, Th. Mar 19, 1891

SHERMAN, Peter, d. Fri New Albany, buried Overton.  Twanda Weekly REview, Fri Mar 13, 1891.

SHERMAN, William A. of Overton, died Apr. 27, 1915, Wilkes-Barre. He was 47 years. Was son of late Henry Sherman.  Survived by his wife and 6 children. May 6, 1915. Bradford Star.

SHERMAN, Margaret, Ireland, w/o Nelson Sherman. d. Dec 6 at dau in New Albany, buried Catholic Cem – Overton, survived 1 daughter, 3 sons, 1 brother.  Bradford Star, Th. December 12, 1895

SHERMAN, Mrs. d. Fri. New Albany, buried Overton Catholic Cemetery.  Reporter Journal, December 12, 1895

SHERMAN, Death, Funeral of Mrs. Eliza Sherman who died in New Albany on Thursday, was held at Reformed Church, Overton.

SHERMAN,   Betsey, w/o late Henry Sherman was buried on Monday last.  She was of Overton.  Mar 16, 1882, Bradford Reporter

SHERMAN, Death – Nelson Sherman, Overton, died May 25, 1912 at Sayre Hospital, age 74 years.  He was son of Henry Sherman of Overton.  Born Oct 12, 1838.  Survived by 3 sons, 1 daughter. Buried at Overton.  2 sons, Joseph & Richard were in Spanish-American War.  Gradford Star May 30, 1912.

SHERMAN, Hannah Mussleman, w/o late Jacob Sherman, d. Jan 7, Overton, d/o Jacob and Hannah Mussleman.  b. Feb 17, 1843, M. 1865, buried Reformed Cemetery.   Had 6 sons, 3 daughters.  Survived by: Oscar (Rummerfeld), Fred (Endicott, N.Y.), Ernest (Chanango, Forks, N.Y),  Lee, (Whittier, CA), Mrs., Celia Chase (Elmira, N.Y.), Mrs. Clara Lancaster (at home).,  16 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren.


Obituaries and death notices were collected and assembled by Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA   November 17, 2011