Tag Archives: Bill Roushey

Fish, part 3 (revised)

saltwater-fish-720
The third decade of my life was the most unpredictable, wondrous and insanely gratifying period of my life. It began my senior year at Roberts Wesleyan College.  The cast of characters in my life remained essentially the same except for the appearance of her.

I was determined to play out my senior year like the grand finale punctuating a fireworks display. Out of the starting gate, I competed on the cross-country team.  We were an unusually close-knit team and often participated in social activities as a group.  Wouldn’t you know it, she happened to be at some of these socials.

I continued to immerse myself in campus life, voted by my peers to escort the homecoming queen and serving as a lead character in the all college play, Cheaper By The Dozen.  My academic pursuits kept me unusually busy,  but somehow I kept running into her.

As the fall semester began winding down, I caught myself taking an interest in her.  She seemed to take her sweet time acknowledging my interest.  Worried that the semester would end before I had my chance to ask her out, I decided to get creative by distinguishing myself.  She committed to going on a date with me if I could run a personal best time in what amounted to our last home cross-country meet. (This meant running a sub 30-minute race over a distance of 5 miles, and faster than any previous attempt).  What had I gotten myself into?

The race itself was a journey to hell and back, as the course punished my body.  The effort helped our team win the meet and secure a winning record for our cross-country team.  The time, 29:46, qualified me for a date with her.

IMG_0409…Maybe it was the anticipation of having to wait a month to go out with her but after that first date magic was in the air. There was no question I was like a deer caught in the headlights, enchanted by the inner and outer beauty of this woman.            

Patty and I corresponded over the weeks separating first and second semester. Our letters deepened our mutual affection, and each of us hinted of a future together. A flame was now lit within my heart and it danced wildly like a flame on the bare wick of a candle fighting to stay ablaze as it burns itself down to the renewing and sustaining body of the candle wax below.

Bill Roushey, from the book Junior’s Hope

I became engaged to Patty in the spring, during my final semester of college life.  Immediately, she was welcomed into my family but I had yet to meet hers. When Patty called home to notify her parents of the news, I can only imagine what thoughts were going through their minds.

“Mom, I’m getting married!”

“To who?” Her mother asked, not expecting any news of this sort.

“Bill Roushey asked me to marry him and I said yes!”

“When are we going to meet this boy?” Her dad inquired, quickly picking up the phone extension.

“We’re coming home on spring break.”

I hadn’t thought about inheriting another set of parents until that moment.  I was in the process of separating myself from my own parents and now I was inheriting another set. Never in my life had I been this nervous about anything, but then again I had never been more in love either.

Sweat pooled under my armpits as I sat in an empty living room waiting for her father to meet me. The sound of  the shower running indicated it wouldn’t be anytime soon. Patty and her mom were off in another room having a mother/daughter reunion.  When her father came out and laid eyes on me for the first time, our conversation went something like this.

“Hello, sir.” I said warmly trying to hide my nervousness.

“You must be Bill,” he responded trying to assess the character of the man about to steal away his daughter.

“I’d like to marry your daughter.”

“Do you have a job? How do you plan on supporting her?”

“Yes. I have one lined up after graduation.”

“We want our daughter to graduate from college. Are you planning to let her continue on with her schooling?”

“Yes sir, that’s important to both of us.”

IMG_0377“Well then, okay,” he said as I felt the tension in the room evaporate.  Then, he added, “… and we’d like to pay for her tuition.”

I realized at that moment what kind and generous parents she had.

Several years later Patty and I had the means to build our own home.  It was during that time we entered into what I call the “Noah’s ark” phase of our lives, acquiring fresh and saltwater aquariums, birds, cats and a dog.

The Lord soon blessed us with two boys, which we taught to fish among other things. They experienced first hand the thrill of having unseen objects tug on their fishing line as they dangled a worm into the watery abyss.  Eyes went wide when they reeled in their prize.

IMG_0368

My freshwater aquarium experience of the previous decade paled in comparison to the unfathomable splendor of gazing into a salt-water aquarium.  The personal cost to acquire and retain such beauty is far greater, the care more delicate and tedious, the hardships more severe, but the final result is breathtaking.  Such is my comparison to my love and my life with her.

My spiritual journey this decade was one of continuance, generation to generation, father to son.IMG_0364  The closer I walk with God the greater my appreciation for His continuance, an eternal God whose love has no limit or end. (Psalm 36:5-7)

For all practical purposes this is a storybook ending, but as it turns out this is not the end.

To be continued…

Advertisements

The Final Tally

thank-youI wasn’t sure what to expect when I learned authors affiliated with Amazon could participate in a free book promotion for up to five days. Why not give it a try, right? I’m a virtual unknown to the Amazon reading community. My goal at this stage of my writing is to introduce myself to as many people to as possible and let my work (words) do the talking. You, the reader, can decide if it’s worthy of your time. So, my free book seemed like a good match for your free time.

I am pleased to report that 47 copies of Junior’s Hope were downloaded. Thanks everyone!

So what happens next? This was really something for nothing, right? Yes, there is no catch. BUT, if you want to help me out, here are some suggestions.

  1. Read my book (it is a great story).
  2. If you like the book, why not go to Amazon.com and search for Junior’s Hope in the Kindle store and write a short review on the book’s detail page (shoppers are more likely to buy a book if it has been reviewed)
  3. While you’re there, at the top of the page see if Amazon gives you the opportunity to share the book you “purchased” with a friend (I’ve seen the link but I haven’t tried to do this yet).
  4. Before you leave the detail page, about halfway down you’ll see my picture. Next to it should be a link to my Author Page at Amazon.com. If you go there, you’ll see my picture again with the word “follow” underneath it. “Following” me will keep you posted on any author news.

Thank you again for supporting me in my writing endeavor.

One More Day!

51B5mNZSEjL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Tomorrow, October 8th is the last day to pick up your free copy of Junior’s Hope for your Kindle or Kindle reader device.  I hope you will join the dozens of others who have already done so. For those of you who are Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscribers, my book will continue to be offered as a free read after this promotion is over. If you are undecided, here is a book review by B. Walsh, a student at my Alma Mater a few years back. He writes:

Every once in a while, one is faced with the opportunity to review a book, which reaches into the soul and connects the reader with the very human and God-like relationship between a father and his son. The book Junior’s Hope: A Memoir by a Father’s Son by Bill Roushey Jr. is one of those books.

The story begins with the Roushey family awaiting the outcome of surgery to remove the cancer from Bill Roushey Sr.’s prostate. The family is struck by the ominous news after long hours of surgery, that they doctors may not have gotten all of it. From this point on the author flashes back to his childhood, teenage, college, and middle age years in an attempt to give the reader a better understanding of the man Bill Roushey Sr. was. Over the course of this flash back, the reader gains insight into the character and struggles of both men as they work on their relationship in spite of the real threat of prostate cancer.

This autobiographical look at the relationship of a father and son is one, which is easy for men to relate to. One of the themes in this book is the desire for a son to become separated from his father. Bill Jr. does separate himself from what he believes are his father’s antiquated ways. Only years later does he realize the time lost and begins his efforts to build and strengthen their relationship. Another theme is the family’s ever-present reliance upon God to be faithful and to have “Thy will be done.” Bill Roushey Sr. led his family with faith in God and a permanent calm nature. The literary styling of this book causes the reader to be drawn into the emotional conflict and the eventual resolution.

I would recommend this book for that one day where you can spare two or three hours to sit down and read a book in one sitting. This story deserves to be enjoyed and pondered uninterrupted. This book is an excellent look at what the relationship between a father and son is designed by God to be.

Blessings on your day!

A big thanks!

success-word-surrounded-colorful-stars-15732594The first day of my free book offer has been a huge success.  Amazon uses sales rankings for each type and sub type of book.  A big thanks to all those who downloaded their free copy of Junior’s Hope yesterday.

“Free Sales” of my book drove it to #6 on the “Death and Grief” chart and #60 on the Parenting and Relationships chart.  Be sure to tell your friends about my free book offer that runs through October 8th.

I forgot to mention that you can download a kindle reader app for your computer if you don’t have a Kindle.  Click on this link 

If you enjoyed my book do me a favor and stop by Amazon.com and give it a favorable review.

Something for nothing!

Anyone with a Kindle is welcome to pick up a copy of my book, Junior’s Hope, available free of charge from October 4th (today) through October 8th on Amazon.com. My way of saying thanks to 51B5mNZSEjL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_those who have supported me in my writing endeavors.

Re-release of Junior’s Hope

BookCoverImage (1)Junior’s Hope will be available for purchase within the next seven days (that is if everything goes according to plan).  I intend to make the book available in paperback and ebook formats.

To commemorate the book’s launch I will be pushing out a blitz of blog posts over the next seven to ten days, covering my earliest days of writing to the present.  I hope I can create a buzz bigger than the lazy fly that is flying around my living room.

Beginnings…of my writing (and my family tree)

IMG_0423I have been on vacation this week so I was unable to put together a new piece.  Instead of offering you more “fish,” I thought I share with you the first piece I ever wrote (outside of required school assignments).  I entered this story in an international genealogy writing competition and came away with 2nd place, which included a small a cash prize.  I tested my “luck” again the following year with another genealogy piece and was awarded 3rd place.  After two awards in two attempts I had to consider the possibility that I had some writing talent.  My article included many citations, which I removed to make it easier to read.

“The Search for Grandpa Peter”

My adventure began almost two years ago at a summer family gathering. After everyone had eaten, a handful of us settled into lawn chairs for a chat. At some point during the conversation the subject of genealogy came up. For years I had avoided becoming involved with genealogy, mainly because I already had enough hobbies. I listened, however,  as my father and my brother-in-law, Paul, discussed the “brick wall” that stymied everyone researching our family history for decades. The unanswerable question was, “where did our ancestor Peter B. Roushey come from?”

As I listened to the conversation, something stirred inside me and I found myself wanting to get involved. I had just finished graduate school and there was a part of me that was looking for another challenge. This could be it I thought. What could be more challenging than to discover something that was believed to be unknowable?  Just like that I was hooked.

The next day I jumped in with both feet. I had no experience as a genealogist so I decided that I would use my grad school research training. One of my courses in college was called The Integrative Project, and in it we learned a multiple step approach to solving significant problems.  I shortened the process to four steps and adapted it to work for my needs. My first step was to create a research statement using the information that was already known about Peter. I was taught that the reason for doing this was to keep the research scope narrow and maintain focus on the objective. The second step was conducting the actual research.   My research would include researching Peter and his environment (the people around him, period history, culture, geography, etc.). The third step involved producing a theory based on the results of my research. The final step was proving my theory. If proof were not available, then at least I would have a strong theory. Likewise, if the proof I sought refuted with my theory, I would return to step two (research) and continue from there.

I photocopied the information my father had acquired on Peter B. It didn’t seem like much, but it would prove to be valuable data in the months to come when I attempted to prove my theory. The information included a biography written about William Carr Roushey, the son of Peter B., copied from the book, The History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  The other resource my father had was the unpublished genealogy notes compiled by his uncle, the late Reverend Herbert Roushey.  Uncle Herbert had spent his retirement years collecting information from cemetery caretakers, government agencies, and family members. He had documented our family tree back to Peter B. Roushey, but due to our brick wall he could get no further.

The William Carr Roushey biography yielded several important pieces of information. William C. was born in Hope, Warren County, NJ.  His parents, Peter B. and Rebecca Wolfe, were born in Warren County, NJ.  Additionally, Peter was a tailor by trade who removed to Luzerne County, PA in approximately 1816.

Uncle Herbert’s notes mentioned a family story about Peter that was handed down over the years. Tradition told of two brothers who came from Germany and settled in New Jersey. One of the brothers was said to be Peter B. Roushey and the other unnamed brother migrated west and was never heard from again.  As I worked through the exercise of reviewing the known information on Peter, it was obvious to me what my problem statement was. Who were the parents of Peter B. Roushey, tailor, born in Warren County, New Jersey?

I was convinced that my success or failure would depend on how much information I could gather on Peter and his surrounding environment. By trial and error I developed a systematic approach to gathering information. I used the Internet to locate people, places or groups that I could network with or visit. I also used keyword Internet searches to look for anything I could find on Peter B. As a practice I tried to validate any information I took directly off the Internet. This approach enabled me to join genealogy groups, find historical societies and libraries, correspond with newly discovered cousins, and locate other unique resources.

One of my greatest finds was locating the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, genealogy group referred to as The Courthouse Gang.  I credit this friendly, tireless group of volunteers with helping me locate Peter’s tombstone. They were also able to help me locate resources in Warren County, New Jersey.  The “gang” represented a wide cross section of experience in the field of genealogy and I have learned a lot from them. One of the joys of being a part of this group is being able to assist someone else looking for their ancestors.

Peter B. Roushey’s tombstone established a birth date of September 1, 1787, placing his parents in the Revolutionary War period. This discovery, coupled with the family story suggesting our German origin, seemed to be pointing to the possibility that Peter’s father was a Hessian soldier. This conclusion placed me on the same path taken by the other Roushey researchers, and led directly to our family’s brick wall. Maybe they had missed something. Could my use of the Internet permit me to succeed where the others before me had failed?

I returned to the Internet to search for resources or authorities on Hessian soldiers. I knew that there were thousands of Hessian soldiers who remained in America after the Revolutionary War. I had to narrow the list of possibilities if I was going to be successful. Family tradition held that Peter’s father was also named Peter, however I was not able to determine where the story originated. My research led me to a book written by John H. Merz, which I purchased. The book, along with the author’s assistance, helped me narrow my research to Peter Ruechert and Johann Peter Rosenberg.  However, neither of the two soldiers appeared to have set foot in New Jersey after the Revolutionary War, and neither of them had a son named Peter.

It looked unlikely at this point that our family originated from a Hessian soldier. Somewhat discouraged, I set my Hessian soldier information aside. There was still quite a bit of certainty about our German heritage so I turned back to The Courthouse Gang for more ideas. Someone in the group recommended the Wyoming County Historical Society in Tunkhannock, PA as a great place to conduct research with very helpful staffers. I still felt like a novice around other researchers and the causal atmosphere I was likely to encounter in Tunkhannock appealed to me.

By this time my wife and I were enjoying my new hobby together, and our road trips down the turnpike to Pennsylvania were becoming more commonplace. On our second trip to the Wyoming County Historical Society I made a discovery that I will remember for the rest of my life. The discovery was even more special because on this particular trip my Mom and Dad were with us.

That day, with four of us researching, we were able to consume the historical society’s resources at a healthy clip. The plan was to photocopy anything that looked like it might be useful with the intention of studying the materials sometime later. I had located the section of materials on New Jersey and was leafing though a binder of genealogy articles. One of them was an article on the Hope, New Jersey, Moravian Cemetery records.  I was on my way to the copy machine, scanning through the cemetery records, when I stopped dead in my tracks. This was no simple listing of tombstones. There was information given about the family of the each person who died. To my astonishment, while gazing at the R’s, I noticed there was a Peter born September 1, 1787, listed as one of the sons of the deceased Frederick Rauschenberger.

Rauschenberger???   I was not sure of what I had found. Euphoria and skepticism immediately IMG_0425began to battle in my mind. Had I made the amazing discovery I had set out to find?

After telling practically everyone I knew about our adventure in Tunkhannock, I realized I had better get to work and find the proof to back up my claims. My official theory was that Peter B. Roushey was born Peter Rauschenberger, son of Fredrick and Anna, and that at some point he elected to change his name. The facts already known about Peter B. Roushey would need to agree or compliment those I hoped to find on Peter Rauschenberger. I had now begun the last step in my research process, proving my theory that the two Peters were the same person.

The second most important word in the article I had found on the Hope, cemetery records turned out to be the word “Moravian”.  Over the next several months I learned all I could about the Moravians. They were Protestants who came from Germany as missionaries to minister to the Native Americans.  The Moravians lived in closed settlements (congregations) here in America, speaking and writing in German.

Once I knew that I was looking for the Rauschenberger surname in a Moravian setting, I was able to uncover a wealth of information. I learned that Peter Rauschenberger was born in Hope, New Jersey, and that his middle name at birth was Benignus, a German word meaning blessed.16 Peter learned the tailor’s trade between the ages of 13 and 15, while he was a member of the Moravian congregation in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  I was a little concerned that Peter’s father was named Frederick, and not Peter as our family had originally thought. However, I was able to find a reference listing him as Peter Frederick Rauschenberger in his father-in-law’s will abstract.

I discovered that Peter had a rough childhood. At age ten his father died, and at age eleven his older brother Heinrich suddenly became ill and died.  Two days after his brother’s funeral Peter showed up in Nazareth, PA and asked the Moravian elders if he could live there, which they permitted.   That same year Peter’s brother Jacob petitioned the Northampton County Orphan’s Court to have a guardian appointed for Peter, as he was without a father, and the court appointed Joseph Schweisshaupt.  At age 15 Peter’s involvement with the Moravians came to an abrupt end. He left without giving a reason, setting off into the night on his own.  Due to the above mentioned childhood events, I now had reason to speculate why our surname was changed from Rauschenberger to Roushey.

I was told that the only way to prove with almost certainty that the two Peters were the same person was to find a will record, death certificate, obituary, or cemetery record that mentioned both names in the same document. Since I wasn’t able to find any of those records in my research, I decided to keep adding to the circumstantial evidence I already had. If I could link one or two of Peter Rauschenberger’s brothers to the Roushey surname, then that would make the evidence overwhelming. I found references to a Henry Roushebre and Michael Roushy while searching for information on Peter. Was it possible that Henry and Michael were also Rauschenbergers?

I had previously located Michael Roushy of Southport, New York, on Joyce M. Tice’s website.  Returning to the Internet I searched for a place near Southport where I could find more information on Michael. The Steele Library in Elmira, New York, turned up in one of my searches. While at that library, I learned the name of the town historian, Sylvia Smith.  I contacted her by email, and she was able to give me vital information on Michael Roushy. From her notes on the Roushy family she stated that Michael was thought to have come from Germany.  Sylvia reported that Michael’s date of birth was August 7, 1781,  which matched the exact birth date I had for Michael Rauschenberger.28 Her last comment gave me chills when I read it. A great granddaughter of Michael stated that the Roushey name was originally Roushenberger, or something similar, but it was changed because it was too German.

I believed at this point that I had all the proof I needed to claim my Rauschenberger heritage, but I felt compelled to try to bring Henry Roushebre into my newfound family. I visited the Moravian Archives building in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to gather information on Heinrich Rauschenberger, hoping it would lead me to Henry Roushebre. At the Archives building, I encountered a problem – all of the Moravian records there were written in the old German script. Through the network of contacts I had established, I was directed to the “Transcribe” users group website that offered old German translation.

The Hope, New Jersey, Moravian Church diary stated that Heinrich Rauschenberger and Catharine Digeon were expelled on 22 January 1798, for secretly pledging themselves to each other in marriage without first bringing the matter to the church elders (a Moravian requirement).  According to the book, Sussex County, New Jersey, Marriages, by Howard E. Case, the two married 6 days later.  The marriage record indicated that Henry Roushebre (of Oxford) and Caty Disyoung were married on 28 January 1798.  This was a significant find for me because it dated an alteration of the Rauschenberger surname and linked it to a variation of the Roushey surname. In fact, Peter B. Roushey’s marriage to Rebecca Wolfe (26 April 1809) was captured in the same book three entries later spelled Roushberry.

The Heinrich Rauschenberger (Roushebre) story did not end there, however. Even though the Roushebre family was expelled from the Moravian town of Hope, they were still able to have their son baptized by the Moravian Church. Tragically Henry (Heinrich) never saw the birth of his son, because he died suddenly one month before his child was born. The baptism entry on 11 August 1799 identifies their son in the following statement, “Heinrich, (the) little son of the deceased Heinrich Rauschenberger, (black)smith, and his left behind widow Catharina, nee Digeon, residing not far from here in Knowlton Township”.   At this point I considered the evidence overwhelming, and knew that our brick wall had fallen.   The collapsing brick wall revealed three new generations of Rauschenbergers that I added to our family tree.

My plunge into genealogy began with a promise to my father to find the parents of Peter B. Roushey, and turned out to be an intensely gratifying experience. My research strategy proved to be a good road map, however it was my use of the Internet and the ability to network with other resources that made the difference. I owe a debt of gratitude to my network of friends, cousins, and some people I have never met, for without their help I would still be searching. It should be noted that I experienced numerous disappointments and dead ends along the way, all of which seem trivial now that I have removed the brick wall.

It seems, however, that I have encountered another brick wall in my search for “grandpa” Peter’s ancestors. I cannot locate the great grandparents of Peter B. Rauschenberger in Germany. Maybe I need to get rid of some of my other hobbies, so that I can devote more time to genealogy research!