Old Railroad Photos

Hi Everyone,

These old postcard pictures were among the items my husband inherited from the Sherman family, probably acquired when Moses and Susie Sherman lived in Montana and Moses was employed by the Northern Pacific RR.  They’re in thumbnail so just click to see the large version.  Enjoy!

Gallery of Montana Railroad Pictures


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA 11/5/2011 All Rights Reserved

Pictures are the property of Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA


This lovely picture of my husband’s Grandparents and Mother was probably taken about 1918-1920.  Names: William Clay Sherman (1885-1969), Johannah (Hartwell) Sherman (1887-1967) and Beatrice Ruth Sherman (1907-1933).


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA, November 3, 2011 All Rights Reserved

Picture is the sole property of Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, WA 

Martha Goes to School

Hello Friends,

I’m not sure where or when this article appeared in the news but if we take a guess it was a newspaper in Muskegon Heights Michigan.  Martha Shafer was 46 years old when the article was written (per the text) so it must have been about 1928. The article is very discolored so I’ll transcribe it for our purposes here.


Mrs. Martha Shafer Plans to Finish Course and Then Matriculate at Some College

Availing herself of the opportunities she missed in youth, Mrs. Martha Shafer  1909 Glendale Avenue, 46 years old, has enrolled as a Junior in Muskegon Heights High School and expects to be graduated from the institution a year from next spring after which she plans to matriculate at some college.

Housekeeper and cook for a family of five, Mrs. Shafer’s day is occupied from 4 o’clock every morning until late at night either in domestic duries, studying or reciting.

Mrs. Shafer is a mother of three children, all of whom are 21 years old or more.  Tables turned, they are helping her to obtain an education.

It was in the spring of 1925 that Mrs. Shafer received a diploma from the nurses department of Pasadena College, Pasadena, California.  The same night, her only daughter who is now 25 years old and resides in the west, was graduated from the same department.

In connection with her special training in nursing Mrs. Shafer was able to carry some academic subjects  This imbued her with a hope that some day she might be graduated from high school and possibly from college.

This fall she announced her intentions to a small group of friends.  Most of them ridiculed the idea or attempted to discourage her in her plans.  However, largely through the encouragement received from C.F. Bolt, Principal of Muskegon Heights High School and Dr. William S Chapin, city health physician, Mrs. Shafer entered school.  And she is happy with her decision.

Mrs. Shafer is classified as a special Junior.  Her subjects are Algebra, Latin, English and History.  She likes English best.

After completing her high school work, the Muskegon woman hopes to enter some college where she may take special work which will fit her as a public health children’s nurse.  She has had some experience in this work.  Last summer she had charge of the infant welfare clinic at Muskegon Heights.

Mrs. Shafer says that one source of embarrassment in her most recent quest of an education has arisen from the fact that a year ago last summer she was a nurse at the Paul Rader conference grounds where she became well acquainted with a number of Heights high school students who were working there in various capacities.

“You see it was different when I entered school at Pasadena” she said.  That was among strangers.  When I entered school here I met again boys and girls whom I had worked with at Lake Harbor.”

“But everyone especially Mr Bolt and the teachers have been very kind to me” the ambitious little woman said.

The Glendale avenue resident walks seven or eight blocks to school each morning, arriving at 8 o’clock.  Then for four hours straight, she recites, returning home shortly after 12:00  She has only herself to feed at noon, her husband and two sons carry lunches which she packs the night before  She tries to retire early because she arises at 4 o’clock to study, which she calls the best hour of the day.

Mrs. Shafer’s advice to youth is to obtain an education.  “It seems pitiful to think of children dropping out of school at 16 or 17 years of age.  There is so little for them to do and so little they can earn at that age.”

And then she recalled her own disappointing experience in youth. “When our family moved to a small village near Charlevoix I had to quit high school as there was no high school in this town.  I had just finished the tenth grade” she said.

Members of her own immediate family are encouraging her in her work.  “My son helps me with some of  my studies” she said.  School authorities say Mrs. Shafer is a good student.


SOURCE:  News article, newspaper and date unknown, clipping found in the scrapbook of Susan Leach Sherman, Mother of Martha Shafer.


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, All Rights Reserved

Article is the sole property of Susan J. Edminster

Martha’s autobiography provides some factual information about her family as well as  a snapshot of what family life was like when she was a little girl.  Included in her story is a considerable amount of information from historical books about Overton, PA written by Heverly and others.  Since those texts are readily available in a number of places I’ve chosen to not include them here and instead will start with her description of Moses Sherman’s life. I’ve pretty much left the text as written by Martha and made small corrections only for the sake of clarity. This, then, is Martha’s story:

“……Father’s brief personal history.

Moses Benjamin Sherman, born july 6, 1855, Overton, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Education I think rather limited.  His father taught him the blacksmith and wagonmaker trade.  Moses ran away from home and came to Michigan when he was a young man.  He had an Aunt living at Unionville, Michigan.  He was 5 foot – 6 inches tall weight 175 pounds and had good health.   He had dark brown hair, brown eyes. He was fond of horses,  liked to go fishing and enjoyed smoking.  He joined the Masonic Order in 1882 and was a member in good standing at the time of his death December 5, 1942.  He never cared for anything religious and was very much afraid of deep water, this may have been caused because that he was nearly drowned when a boy at home.  He was slow to anger and generous with anything he had.  He made friends easily but never seemed to get lonesome for his relatives until late in life.

Mother’s personal history:

Susan Viola Leach was born December 12th 1859, Arbela Township, Tuscola County, Michigan.  Educated in public schools, later learned the milliner trade together (with) dressmaking in Millington, Michigan  Height 5 foot – 1 inch, weight around 100 pounds. Good health, a good leader, liked music, fond of flowers, fancy-work etc.  She was prim, methodical and somewhat cranky in regard to dirt, disorder and waste.  Her linens were spotless, the dishes in her cupboards were stacked in precisely the same way.  Her beds were made in the same neat way.  Look in any way you would, your eyes would see samples of her handiwork.  One of my earliest recollections of mother was watching her make a straw hat.  First she soaked the oat straw, then she braided it, then sewed the braids together, then shaping the hat she had an article to be proud of.

Mother was not as generous as father, she was proud and very easily offended.  She had snappy black eyes and hair and was very ambitious, always working it seemed.  And as a girl was very popular, was full of fun and interested in social affairs, and was a much better manager than father.

Married March 28, 1880 at Caro, Michigan


Martha A. born  June 16, 1882 at Unionville, Michigan

William Clay born September 15, 1885, Tuscola

Murray* Bird born July 15, 1888, Arbela Township

* In some records the spelling is “Murry”

Solomon Leach, (my grandfather) was born in the state of New York March 17, 1814,  He was married to Harriet Fowler in the state of Ohio, in a few years she died and left him a widower with five sons and one daughter.  The five sons all served in the Civil War. He was married the second time to Mary Maynard who died in a few years leaving their two sons.  He then married for the third time Mrs. Susan Hoard, a widow with two sons in 1857

Mr. and Mrs. Leach then came to Michigan* and took up a homestead in Arbela township, Tuscola County.  To them was born five children  The third child Susan was my mother.

*According to marriage records Susan Hoard and Solomon Leach were married in Michigan, not Ohio.

Mr. Leach was a carpenter by trade and today one can still see a barn here and there that was built by him probably in the 1860’s or there-a-bouts.

I am quite certain that if his violin could talk it could tell many interesting things and some amusing tales about the jigs he played on it for the amusements of his family and the surrounding settlers.  No doubt it served as an outlet for tired and worried feelings sometimes.

Mr. Leach was a good man, energetic and a leader in the county and was adored by his family and died of old age at his home on January 19, 1892.

Susan Higley, Hoard, Leach, the third wife of Mr. Leach was born in Hamden County Massachusetts on January 3, 1825  She was previously married to Amos Hoard in Ohio June 2, 1844.  Amos Hoard was killed by lightening while sitting at the table eating his dinner.

Susan Hoard later married Solomon Leach in 1857, then came to Michigan (see note above).  Mrs. Leach was a small sweet woman, very quiet, reserved, even tempered woman, very neat and always saw the pleasant side of life and people  She was very fond of flowers and today blooming in a spot near where the old log house stood, stately lilacs stand as a memento to her memory.  She was a good mother not only to her own children but to her step children as well and was loved by everyone.  She only lived a short while after the new house was built, a stately red brick now owned by her granddaughter.  Mrs. Leach died November 8, 1902.

My ancestors on both sides were pioneers living at a time when various neighborhood “bees” provided the source of get-togethers.  Do you think the slicing of apples for annual manufacture of apple sauce butter, which they called cider apple sauce a drudgery?  Or stringing long strings of apple sections to be used later as dried apples a difficult task? Then the quilting bees in which the needles would ply back and forth throughout the day and then in the evening the young people would gather in, the fiddle would be brought out and young and old would join in dancing the “Virginia Reel.”

It was a lively circle as this my mother spent her girlhood days.  Later while working in a millinery shop and learning dressmaking in Millington, Michigan she met Mr. Sherman. It was there that the blacksmith’s son from Pennsylvania met farmer’s daughter, a blacksmith and wagon maker, a milliner and dressmaker – plain people from the “pioneers.”  Those people were married March 28,  1880 and lived in Unionville, Michigan.

On June 16, 1882 a baby girl was born to the Sherman’s at Unionville, Michigan, weighing four pounds and do I need to tell you they named her Martha Amelia Samantha Sherman.  Why they tacked on so many names I hae never been able to figure out.  Well, be that as it may they called her Martha with “little Jake” as a nickname.  But the child’s character was to unfold much more to the father’s pattern than that of her mother’s line.

Like most happy childhoods my early years lay back in a long procession of featureless days – here and there I remember patches, sensations, pictures – mother caring for a baby – the blacksmith shop near the house.  These are a few of the clearly outlined illuminations which are remembered.

If I seem to talk light-heartedly please do not to think me pert or talkative as I am quite the opposite, quiet and reserved.  I recall quite vividly of sliding down one side of the milk-house roof at my grandmothers.  You see, the roof on one side was quite near the ground, the other side had quite a drop.  This was due to the  location as it was built on a side hill.  We could climb up one side then slide down the other but unfortunately the milk-house was too near the kitchen.  Just would get in a few slides then out would come someone from the kitchen it might be an aunt or it would be my mother then look out Oh: of course we wouldn’t dare to do it again after we were told not too.  I think if my memory serves me right my cousin Philo Thompson was the one that kept me company and if I should be wrong, hope he will for-give me.

An incident in my earlier years which I recall quite clearly happened also at my grand-mothers.  I was probably five or six years of age. At that time if there was any work out of the ordinary to be done, my mother with her children, my aunt Mary and her son and Aunt Vieva with her children would all go home to help with the work.  Well this day I think it was thrashers or it could have been a barn raising I just am not certain.  Well the cook stove fell down.  Now don’t ask me what was cooking, I don’t know, I only know the stove fell down and as far as I was concerned it was a tragedy.  I hope I can describe the stove so that you can get some idea of how it looked.  As I recall it, there was four holes on top and there was four tall iron legs and up on one side was an elevated oven.  As I try to visualize it, it seems that one leg rested on a brick.  Anyhow grand ma got a new stove.

There are many memories.  Neither time or distance takes away or lessens the pleasant memories of ones yesterdays.  They tell of people and people,  no matter how long ago they have gone – Who can tell?  The living have become the dead, all their tears and laughter, their joys and heartaches, their hopes and their sorrows have been erased by time.  A broken chair, an old cracked dish or perhaps an old faded bed quilt can be a footnote in their story of yesterdays.

From my seventh birthday my memories begin to have a perspective continuity.  Up until then I knew little outside my own dooryard, my own amusements, and family, my little world was only made up of a mother, father and two small brothers.

At this time we were living on a farm in Tuscola county near my grandmothers.

When I was a little passed (sic)seven years old I recall starting out on a new adventure.  I was about to start school, dressed in a new print dress, my hair hanging in two braids down my back, and of course new shoes on my feet.  I started, a small active girl with a round plain round face, large brown eyes, with my pail of lunch and my reader under my arm on a mile and one half walk to school

The only interesting thing I can recall that happened during my first term was that I was called to the front of the room one day to spell the word “celery” for a class of older boys and girls.  Do you think I was proud?  Of course I was.  I began to win scholastic honors early, but let me give you a little hint the only reasons I was able was that for days I had been playing with a “Paines Celery Compound” carton and at that time was quite anxious to learn how to read and spell.

In those days there were no children’s books and a child used common things as play things.

Always from that time there has been something within me, a sort of longing to learn new things or in other words an overpowering desire to study.

In March 1890, my parents began to talk about moving, and they decided that my father would go first taking my oldest brother with him and the rest of the family following later.  To me this seemed so sad.  It seemed that they were going too far away, overhearing the conversation of people I thought it was a wilderness to which we were going, and I was sad indeed.  They did as they had planned and the moment came for my mother, my youngest brother and myself to leave.  I think we were all anxious to go but mother.  Of course it was not easy for her to go leaving all her people behind.  I can remember there was much crying, kissing and tears before we got started  I presume it seemed much farther then, due to the difficulty of transportation.  After going to Millington with horses and wagon we boarded the train and was soon traveling along with much more speed than before.  I had never been on a train before and like all things in life with which we are unfamiliar it terrified me.  After riding many hours we approached Gaylord, Michigan.  It was shortly after dark when the train stopped at the station  We got off the train and was met by my father and brother.  To me it all seemed so strange, the buildings were so large, there were so many lights and snow was everywhere.

Thinking back about it now I just had become started in school again when  my father said we are moving again.  This time however for only a short distance so when what few belongings that we had had been loaded on a wagon we all climbed in and went to Vanderbilt, Michigan to live………”


This is where Martha’s story ends.  Sadly, I don’t know just when it was written, but her recollections of times past is interesting, don’t you think?


SOURCE: The autobiography of Martha A Shafer, copy made January 1, 2011. Produced here with permission of Dale H. Leach.

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington, October 23, 2011 All rights reserved

Registration documents are especially interesting because even though they’re short, they include such things as physical descriptions,  birthdate, wife’s name and of course the applicant’s signature.  Here’s one William Clay Sherman completed September 12, 1919.

Since it’s a bit difficult to read, here’s what the various sections say:

1.  William Clay Sherman

2.  Drummond, Granite (County) Mont.

3.  Age: 32

4.  DOB: Sept. 19 1855

5.  Race:  White

6.  U.S. Citizen: Born here

7.  Rancher

8.  Employer: Self

9.  Drummond, Granite, Mont.

10.  Wife:  Josie Sherman

11.  Drummond, Montana

William is described as medium height, medium build with dark completion and black hair.  He had no physical impediments.  This picture of Will as a handsome young man was probably taken around 1905.

SOURCE:  WWI Registration Card, Ancestry.com, digital image, 1/19/2007

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington,  10/21/2011.  All rights reserved.

Picture is the sole property of Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington

Moses Benjamin Sherman was employed by the Northern Pacific RR for a number of years.  We aren’t sure whether he worked in multiple locations or not but do know he and Susie lived in Drummond, Montana for a number of years while Moses worked for the railroad as the “Water Tender” in that location.

Here’s a picture of Moses and his son William Clay Sherman sitting near the water tower and the superstructure is clearly visible. We assume the small building directly behind them is the home of Moses and Susie.

In 1998 Mr. Ed and I visited Drummond and found that a water tower is still in existence there but we assume this tower is the source of drinking water for Drummond.  The old NPRR tower was no doubt torn down years ago.

And last but far from least is Moses Sherman’s “Certificate of Annuity” from the railroad on his retirement November 8, 1938.


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, 12 October, 2011, All Rights Reserved

Pictures and certificate are the sole property of Susan J. Edminster

To my readers:

My husband is the descendant of Moses Benjamin Sherman.

I feel it’s important for me to offer a disclaimer for this descendant chart.  You see my husband and I researched the Sherman family about 13 years ago and as beginning genealogists who were very excited about the process we failed to note proper documentation and simply copied information from wherever we found it.  Now, all these years later we must pick up the pieces and provide the necessary source information for what we publish.

So having said that, I’ll provide sources for this information on this blog with the exception of this chart which is here as a sort of “jumping off place” for Sherman researchers.  I make no claims as to the accuracy until I prove it myself, at which time sources will be added.

Sincerely,  Susan Edminster

Henry Sherman was born 25 April, 1801 in Mifflin, Columbia County, PA and died 14 May, 1878 In Overton, Bradford County, PA.  He married (1) Catherine Hunsinger born about 1802 it Cherry Twp, Sullivan County, PA and died in 1834 in Overton, Bradford County, PA.  Married (2) Elizabeth Thrash, died 5 March, 1882 In Overton/

Children of Henry Sherman and Catherine Hunsinger:

George Sherman, born in 1824 in Mifflin, Columbia County, PA

Daniel Sherman. born in 1825 In Overton, Bradford, PA, married Lorinda Larabee.

Amos Sherman, born about 1827

Henry Sherman, born in 1829 in Overton, Bradford, PA and died 9 April, 1902 in Overton.  Married Catherine Rinebold.

Mary Sherman, born about 1831 in Overton, Bradford, PA and died 6 March, 1891. Married Charles Brown.

Peter Sherman, born in 1833 in Overton, Bradford, PA and died 6 March, 1891 in Overton.  Married (1) Phian Strevy, (2) Elizabeth Hatch.

Jacob Sherman, born 2 November, 1834 in Overton, Bradford, PA and died 11 March, 1905 in Overton.  Married Hannah A Musselman.

Children of Henry Sherman and Elizabeth Thrash:

Catherine Sherman, born in 1836 In Overton, Bradford, PA and died about 1907.  Married Abraham Kinney Woodley.

Nelson Sherman, born 12 October, 1838 in Overton and died 24 May 1912.  Married Margaret Rowe.

William Sherman, born 9 September, 1843 in Overton and died 5 March, 1899 in Forks twp, Sullivan County, PA.  He married Emily Molyneux

John Sherman, born in July 1844 in Overton and died 4 February, 1881.

Loretta Sherman, born 21 December, 1845 in Overton and died 18 October, 1909. Married Augustus Bleiler

Vielene Pauline Sherman, born 13 July, 1851 in Overton.

Caroline Sherman, born 4 March, 1855 in Overton, died 4 May, 1885.  Married Albert Molyneux.

Moses Benjamin Sherman, born 6 July 1856 (some records say 1855) in Overton, died 5 December 1942 in Tacoma, WA.  Married Susan Viola Leach.

Andrew Washington Sherman, born in July 1858 in Overton and died 7 February, 1926.  Married Nettie Hottenstein.

Ann (Anna) Sherman, born 24 September, 1860 in Overton and died in 1910. Married Bert King.

Edward Sherman, born 10 March, 1864 in Overton and died in 1941.  Married Della Bahr.