Tag Archives: Roberts Wesleyan College

Couch to 5k: the result

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Race day, Saturday September 29th, was a sunny, cool 50 degrees.  I couldn’t ask for better weather.  It was hard to keep my heart rate down as I strolled over to the registration table.  After check in, I mingled with the crowd and talked to several friends and acquaintances who I was surprised to learn had entered the event.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 able-bodied individuals anxiously wanted to get the race underway.  After a few instructions and a prayer, the gun went off.  Like a herd of cattle we launched ourselves across a grassy field towards a pond we would encircle.  It was immediately apparent this was a serious group of runners who had been training much longer than me.  I, along with one other gentleman, settle back to guard the rear of the pack.

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In hindsight, my training did help me mentally and physically prepare for this run.  Mentally, I knew I had completed training runs longer that the 5k distance.  Physically, I knew I could maintain the consistent pace necessary to keep from being winded.  My strategy was simple, to complete the first two kilometers in around 20 minutes and then throw caution to the wind for the final three kilometers.  That didn’t happen.  Determined not to fall too far behind the pack of runners ahead of me, I completed the first 2 kilometers four minutes faster than planned.  My body was not used to running at this pace.  For the next kilometer I focused on controlling my breathing.  Then, feeling I still had energy in my legs, I decided to maintained the pace until my body told me something different.  I was surprised to see my time was about 40 minutes on the big digital timer at the finish line, a 15 full minutes faster than expected!

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As good as this whole experience has been for my health (I lost 25 pounds over the summer), I have not made any promises to myself or anyone else that I will continue training.  I’m paying close attention to my knees, which have been little sore off and on the last few weeks.

Perhaps if I lost another 15 pounds I could entertain running (jogging) another 5k.

Here is a picture of yours truly showered and dressed post race sporting my new t-shirt.

 

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Fish, part 4 (revised)

The fourth decade of my life could easily summarize in one word, successIMG_0361 My career at the plastics factory sprouted wings soared.  From my humble beginnings as a plastic materials handler, I graduated to operating injection-molding machines, and  changing the heavy steel molds that shaped melted plastic pellets into parts.  This was just the beginning. Within a few years I found myself supervising workers on a packaging line.

Within a couple of years, our company was awarded a contract to assemble disposable, one-time use cameras.  When the economics of reusing these cameras became favorable, our company was asked to start recycling them also.  Our involvement in this business grew to tens of millions of cameras each year. Our company’s success meant more supervisors were needed and managers to oversee the supervisors. Up the corporate ladder I rose.

Too busy to have anything to do with fish now, all my energy was being poured into my career, and finding ways to take it to new heights. Success fueled my competitive fire and I found new avenues of my life to express it.  Competitive sports such as softball, golf, volleyball, and bowling offered just that.  Academics also proved to fuel the fire. I pursued of a Master of Science in Leadership from my alma mater RWC.  The resulting crowning achievement was an appearance in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.  God was with me then but His voice was becoming increasingly harder to hear.  Success trumpeted loudly in my ears, blasting a beautiful melody.  I began to believe that what I had accomplished had less to do with God’s blessings on my life and more to do with my own abilities.

What free time I did have I spent trying to stay abreast of our sons’ ever-changing interests. As teenagers, they were more interested in how fast a boat could travel than experiencing the patience of fishing. Their interests included manning a space shuttle and traveling to other worlds on the starship, Enterprise.  So when we went for a cottage retreat on a lake, fishing was the lowest priority.  Instead, they experienced the thrill of being pulled in a tube behind a speeding boat and chasing after the model rockets launched into the sky’s great expanse. Computers and video gaming were becoming the rage and they fell in love with this sort of technology hook, line and sinker. 

My father never gave up on fishing, however, he continued to fish. His patience and steadfastness were richly rewarded whenever he reeled in a trophy-sized fish.

“Perhaps the most unusual object added to the room was a 40-pound stuffed and mounted Salmon caught by Dad while fishing on Lake Ontario years earlier. It was hung on the wall…and was the first thing he saw when he woke up every morning. It was a trophy that represented the patience, persistence and faithfulness that epitomized my father.” Bill Roushey from the book Junior’s Hope


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I distinctly remember two things of spiritual significance happening during this decade of my life. First, a sick feeling that rose up within me when I realized that unbridled success apart from a close relationship with God rang hollow. In the midst of all my success I can remember at one point wondering, “Is this all life has to offer?” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-14).  As a result, I began a period of connecting deeper with God, exploring a call to ministry and listening quietly for periods of time while I prayed. These periods of listening to hear from God led to the second event.

Abraham Lincoln

The sick feeling that I carried around in my being was replaced by an unexplained hunger, a.k.a. the second event.  For some reason I felt I needed to reconnect with my father and deepen my relationship with him.  The feeling grew in intensity and became so strong it compelled me to act on it.  Weeks went by and the feeling never left me.

Dad’s upbringing was grounded in genuine faith in God but due to the rules placed on its members by his (our) denomination of faith it was expressed outwardly as a list of do’s and dont’s, or legalism.  In grade school I was looked at like a child from another planet when I handed my physical education teacher a note from my parents explaining that dancing was against our religious convictions.  I , too, loved God but I rejected that religious legalism as a college student, punctuating my rejection with a fun rebellion.  Somehow rejecting legalism had led to rejecting my father.   I never felt close to him after that.  When the hunger inside me didn’t subside, I prayed for God to show me some vehicle I could use to reconnect with my father.  That vehicle turned out to be researching our family genealogy (see my post Beginning’s).

I rarely fished with my father or father-in-law during this time.  I was too busy wandering in the wasteland of my presumption.  The great fish caught in this decade of my life were not mine. These fish belonged to the faithful who fished with patience and steadfastness, and they were richly rewarded.  In my mind these fish stood as a reminder of how God honored the faithfulness of those who drew near to Him and did not take their faith for granted. (Proverbs 3:1-7)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Dad’s 40-pound trophy salmon stands as a tribute to his efforts.  For the rest of my days, whenever I gaze upon at that fish I will associate it with my father, a faithful man of God. The end of this decade brought me closer to my father than I ever had  been.

But a huge dark cloud appeared on the tranquil horizon.  One that struck fear in my heart…

Fish, part 3 (revised)

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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.

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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…

Fish, part 2 (revised)

IMG_0392St. Andrews Lake was not huge, but you couldn’t see the far end of it even from our elevated vantage point. The lake was kidney-shaped and its clear water darkened to blue as it deepened…Most importantly, lurking in the water like buried treasure, were largemouth bass, northern pike, pan fish and perch. All of them hidden from view…  

Bill Roushey, from the book Junior’s Hope

The August sun beat down on Dad and me as we waited for the fish to surrender or make another run for it. Impatience bubbled up inside me. Holding on to my fishing pole kept my hands occupied but the rest of my body squirmed, longing to do anything but remain pinned against the sun baked boat seat. The life vest hanging around my neck made me hot and sweaty. The vest’s past history became evident as it wicked up the moisture from my body and produced a rotten smell.  My standoff with the fish showed no sign of ending. The huge northern pike had done something to prevent me from reeling it in. My head hurt and I was ready to give up.

“Dad, the fish isn’t tugging on the line anymore,” I complained.

“That doesn’t mean its not there. Don’t give up,” Dad said trying to encourage me.

My father wasn’t ready to give up. An engineer by profession, part of his job involved coming up with solutions to problems. He took an oar out of the oarlock and pushed it into the water following the fishing line down, hoping to gain some understanding of why I couldn’t bring up the fish. Unfortunately, the depth of the water exceeded the length of the oar. Dad also rowed the boat in a wide arc around the spot where the line plunged into the water. He stopped four or five times during the trek to give me a chance to pull on the line from different angles. Nothing he tried worked.  We both knew there was only one thing left to do.

“Billy, pull steadily on the line so you don’t break the pole,” Dad said, voicing his solidarity.

“Like this,” I replied as I stood up and leaned back against the line.

The tension broke before I had a chance to brace myself.  I was pitched backwards by the sudden release of the line and landed in a heap between the seats.  I didn’t cry as I reeled in the empty line. Instead, I felt more like one of Dad’s fishing buddies and less like a kid who got to sneak off early that morning to fish with his father.

Fish or fishing in my earliest years validated the idea that just because something couldn’t be seen that didn’t mean it didn’t exist.  Fish, though unseen, were real and could be interacted with. To this day one of the most exhilarating things about fishing is the feeling of an unseen object tugging on your line. Being a person of faith, the picture of unseen fish models the existence of God who is present though not seen.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

My fish story does not end here, however.

The next decade of my life was one of drastic changes. Our family vacations to Canada continued. Fishing became truly a family affair. As our skill improved, so did the number of fish we caught. For me, fishing with Dad became an important way of relating to him.

Those carefree years came to an abrupt end, however, when I graduated from high school. I no longer had time for family vacations. Holding down a job and going to college were my priorities now. The remaining years of my second decade afforded me little or no time for fishing.

In my second year in college I happened to meet a freshmen who turned out to be a very funny guy. I don’t make it a habit of hanging around comedians but for some reason we hit it off and become good friends. He made me laugh more than anyone I knew.  Our definition of fun, however, sometimes clashed with the college rules.   In an effort to protect his identity, I’ll call him Boris.

Boris and I made plans to room together our senior year. Oops, I just gave away his identity. Anyway, we arrived early on campus in the fall and immediately began decorating our “bachelor pad.”  Because we arrived early, we were able to pillage the best room furnishings out of nearby dorm rooms. Conversations between us went something like this.

“Boris, our room is missing something.” I said

“All my stuff is here,” he countered.

“I’m not missing anything either. The room is missing something!”

“You mean besides the stereo, speakers, sofa and television?” Boris said.

This was 1979, before the widespread use of cell phones, personal computers, flat screen TVs and all of the game consoles we can’t seem to live with out.

“I need something for my desk.”

“How about a lamp?” He said, chuckling as only Boris could.

“I’m being serious.”

“How serious can getting something for your desk be.”

His cackle was contagious and soon he had me laughing.

“Let’s go down and take a look at brother Jim’s room.” Boris said pressing his palms together as if to portray himself as a wise sage.  Boris was studying to be a minister and often got carried away with the whole brother/sister thing.

“What does Jim have that we don’t?” I said, suddenly curious.

“You’ll see.”

We went down the hall to Jim’s room but he was not there. His door, however, was slightly ajar.  I had just recently met Jim but already I had him pegged as a bit of an eccentric.  Living in a dorm, it had been my practice to give eccentrics a wide birth until I understood them better.  Boris knocked hard on the heavy oak door, hard enough to make it open completely.

“Brother Bill, shall we enter?” Boris stated like he was rolling out a welcome mat.

“Can’t we get in trouble for doing this?” I said more afraid of being misunderstood by Jim than anything else.

“I’m an RA.”

I should explain that each floor in our dorm had a resident advisor, or RA, who was the liaison between the students and the dorm’s resident director, or RD. Boris was permitted to enter rooms on our floor as part of his responsibilities.  Tentatively, I entered Jim’s room and Boris followed.

“What do you think?” Boris said, gesturing towards the aquarium in the back corner of the room.

“Yeah, that would do the trick.” I said growing excited about the possibility,  “I wonder why it looks like he’s trying to hide it behind the door.”

“Are you working for the FBI now?” Boris said sarcastically.

“You’re the RA, you should be investigating stuff like this.”

“What kind of fish do you suppose those are?” he inquired, taking a closer look at them.

“Okay Sherlock, lets go get the fish tank.”

IMG_0374I can’t remember exactly how we acquired a fish tank, but I’m sure we did it legally. Putting fish in an aquarium drew me closer to them, close enough where I could fully appreciate their beauty. I felt a part of their world as they swam by me at eye level.  It’s a much different perspective than viewing fish from afar or looking down at them from above.

I would characterize this decade of life as the discovery of genuine relationships. These were more personal and fulfilling than the juvenile ones of my earliest years.  I fully immersed myself in these relationships and learned the joy of putting effort into them rather than just taking what I could out of them and moving on.

Spiritually, I was going through a major transition as well. As a child I believed in God because my parents did. It was their faith I held on to. In my second decade of life I discovered the beauty of a God who didn’t look down on me from above, rather his habitation was with me. He became my God.

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

As wonderful as this realization was, I was unprepared for what was about to happen.

To be continued…

The beauty of it stunned me

Question-MarkI’m reaching back almost forty years with this post, to my POW class (Principles of Writing).  I have to say I was surprised to discover that I held on to these papers from my freshman year in college.  We submitted our papers in our own handwriting (pre computer days) on college ruled paper.

I had to give myself credit for coming up with something this creative for my final paper.  Can you guess what object I am referring to?  Remember this is 1976.

As I walked into the classroom on the last day of class, I suddenly became overwhelmed at the beauty of the object before me.  It seems as though I had overlooked it for ten straight weeks.  Most people would say that it looked queer, or that it was homely, but I thought it had a sense of royalty deep underneath it’s shell.

The thing that first caught my attention was the way its turquoise coat reflected the sunlight, while the rest of it absorbed the sun.  Four knobby little legs extended downward, magnifying the size of its remaining body.  Its overall appearance gave it a highly intellectual look.  Each multicolored piece of jewelry added to its appearance.  The thing that impressed me most of all was the way it draped its long sleek tail across its body.

Something must be said about its quietness, however.  It seemed funny to me that this particular object would rarely talk when it was light.  Instead it would wait until darkness fell upon the room, but even then it would never talk unless it was told to.    

When someone told it to speak, its eye would glow, shooting out rays of light in countless colors.  How I marveled at this object.  

Food was never a problem with it either.  You never heard the object complain about being hungry because it only got hungry when it talked.  Then it would eat whatever the people would bring it.1413_Question-Mark-Photos

We can learn very much from this object when it speaks.  It contains a vast storehouse of knowledge which is free to anyone who wants to listen to it speak.

I guess sometimes we look at something, and concentrate on how ugly it is and we seem to overlook its good points.  People should overlook their first impressions and really look at the inside of things.  That’s why the beauty of that ____________________ stunned me.

Fish, part 4

It was the fourth decade of my life and I could easily summarize it with one word – success. IMG_0361 My career at the plastics factory grew wings and began to soar.  From my humble beginnings as a plastic materials handler, I graduated to operating injection-molding machines, and later to changing the heavy steel molds that shaped liquid plastic into objects.  This was just the beginning. Within a few years I was supervising a dozen workers on a packaging line.

A couple of years later our company was awarded a contract to assemble the internal components of disposable cameras, also called throw aways.  When the economics of recycling these cameras became favorable we were asked to start recycling them.  Our involvement in this business grew into tens of millions of  product each year. Our company’s success meant more supervisors were needed and managers to oversee the supervisors. Up the corporate ladder I rose.

I was too busy to have much to do with fish now. All my energy was being poured into my career and taking it to new heights. Success fueled my competitive fire and I found new avenues of my life in which to express it.  I challenged myself in sports such as softball, golf, volleyball, and yes even bowling.  In academics I pursued of a Master of Science in Leadership from my alma mater RWC, which included an appearance in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and for all practical purposes was my crowning achievement.  God was with me then but His voice was becoming increasingly harder to hear.  Success was as noisy as a loud trumpet playing a beautiful melody.  I began to believe that what I had accomplished had less to do with God’s blessings on my life and more to do with my own abilities.

What free time I did have I spent trying to stay abreast of our sons’ ever-changing interests. When they became teenagers they were more interested in the speed of a boat than the patience of fishing. Their dreams included manning a space shuttle and traveling to other worlds on a starship named Enterprise.  Our vacations were spent visiting the thrill rides at amusement parks and taking them to places we thought would expose their minds to the many possibilities life offered.  When we did visit one of Patty or my parents’ cottages, fishing was the lowest priority.  Instead, we encouraged them to experience the thrill of being pulled in a tube behind a speeding boat and chase after the model rockets they launched into the great expanse of the sky. Computers and video gaming were becoming the rage then and they fell in love with technology hook, line and sinker. 

My father never gave up on fishing, he continued to fish with my youngest brother and many other fishing buddies. His patience and steadfastness were richly rewarded each time he reeled in a trophy-sized fish.

“Perhaps the most unusual object added to the room was a 40-pound stuffed and mounted Salmon caught by Dad while fishing on Lake Ontario years earlier. It was hung on the wall…and was the first thing he saw when he woke up every morning. It was a trophy that represented the patience, persistence and faithfulness that epitomized my father.” Bill Roushey from the book Junior’s Hope
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I distinctly remember two things of a spiritual nature happening during this decade of my life. First, a sick feeling that rose up within me when I realized that unbridled success apart from a close relationship with God rang hollow. In the midst of all my success I can remember at one point wondering, “Is this all life has to offer?” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-14).  As a result, I began a period of connecting deeper with God, exploring a call to ministry and listening quietly for periods of time while I prayed. These periods of listening to hear from God led to the second event.

Abraham Lincoln

The sick feeling that I carried around in my being was replaced by an unexplained hunger, a.k.a. the second event.  For some reason I felt I needed to reconnect with my father and deepen my relationship with him.  The feeling grew in intensity and became so strong it compelled me to act on it.  Weeks went by and the feeling never left me.

Dad’s upbringing was grounded in genuine faith in God but due to the rules placed on its members by his (our) denomination of faith it was expressed outwardly as a list of do’s and dont’s.  In grade school I was looked at like a child from another planet when I handed my physical eduction teacher a note from my parents explaining that dancing was against our religious convictions.  I , too, loved God but I rejected that religious legalism as a college student, punctuating my rejection with a fun rebellion.  Somehow in my mind when I rejected legalism I rejected my father.   I never felt close to him after that.  When the hunger that continued to grow inside me didn’t subside, I prayed for God to show me some vehicle I could use to reconnect with my father.  That vehicle turned out to be researching our family genealogy (see my post Beginning’s).

I rarely fished with my father or father-in-law during this time.  I was too busy wandering in the wasteland of my presumption.  The great fish caught in this decade of my life were not my own. These fish belonged to the faithful who fished with patience and steadfastness and they were richly rewarded.  In my mind these fish stood as a reminder of how God honored the faithfulness of those who drew near to Him and did not take their faith for granted. (Proverbs 3:1-7)

Dad’s 40-pound trophy salmon stands as a tribute to his efforts.  For the rest of my days, whenever I gaze upon at that fish I will associate it with my father being a faithful man of God. The end of this decade brought me closer to my father than I ever had  been.

But a huge dark cloud appeared on the tranquil horizon.  One that struck fear in my heart…

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!