Corn Whiskey and Beer- My Childrens’ Heritage

2017 Week 1 Schedule:

Before getting started I’d like to thank my mother-in-law Joyce and her brother Bob for providing photographs and stories about Theodor MOELLER. I’d also like to thank my mom, Kay, and various relatives who shared photos and stories about James BULLOCK- most of whom are no longer with us. It reminds me to share what I have so others can enjoy it, too. One day we won’t have the luxury of sharing anymore. One quick reminder that when you’re done here you can click on through to my sister-in-law Becky’s blog at Down in the Root Cellar where she also blogs about her family history. (Also a quick reminder to Becky that we’re still waiting on that blog post about Granny BATES getting stuck in the chicken house…just saying. *hint hint wink wink*)

First things first: a little explanation and then let’s look at this week’s schedule.

The plan is (for as long as I can sustain it) that I will bake cupcakes to celebrate birthdays of the people I will post about and light candles for the people for whom we are honoring a death date anniversary. It will make more sense as the blog goes on but as an example, today we are celebrating the birthdays of James BULLOCK and Theodor MOELLER so I will be baking two kinds of cupcakes to honor each man’s birthday. On the 3rd we’ll be honoring the life of Laura BULLOCK RITER on her death date anniversary and on that day I’ll be lighting a candle for the day in honor of her life and it’s impact on me. Lighting a candle from sun up to sun down on a death date anniversary is an old Jewish tradition that I particularly like so that’s why I chose it. I actually chose this tradition prior to all the Ashkenazi Jew DNA information coming out. On the 5th we’ll celebrate the birthday of Nancy CHAMBERS HUBBARD. On the 6th we’ll honor the life of Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL. (I will share the recipes for the cupcakes I make and will try to post early in the morning so that if you would like to join with me in the celebrations in some way, you can.) On the in-between days when no blog posts are scheduled I will try to post a photograph relative to either mine or Bart’s family histories.

Here are the days I will be posting this week and the people about whom I will be posting:

January 1: Blog schedule for the week plus stories about James Mathaniel BULLOCK (my maternal 2nd great grandfather) and Theodor Hermann MOELLER (Bart’s maternal great grandfather). Today I’ll be making Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Cupcakes found on Creative Culinary food and cocktail blog and Blue Moon Cupcakes found on The Blonde Can Cook blog. You can also find both these recipes on my Pinterest board called Birthday Cupcakes- 2017.

January 3: Stories about Laura Ann BULLOCK RITER (my maternal great grandmother). On this date I’ll be burning a candle from sun up to sun down. You can buy cheap candles for just this purpose in the ethnic section at grocery stores. At the end of this post I have added in a photo of what my candle looks like.

January 5: Stories about Nancy Jane CHAMBERS HUBBARD (my paternal 3rd great grandmother). On this date I’ll make the Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream recipe from I may modify the recipe to use what I have on hand. It depends on how much time I have to go to the store for ingredients. In any case I’m looking forward to these. They look delicious!

January 6: Stories about Lucretia HUTCHISON MITCHELL (my paternal 4th great grandmother). On this date I’ll light a candle to honor the life of Lucretia.

By the way, I’ll probably be overdosed on cupcakes by the 7th so feel free to stop by and grab a few to take home! In addition to making the cupcakes above, I will already have Gin and Juice Cupcakes and Red Velvet Red Wine Cupcakes on hand from New Year’s Eve. If you’d like to make either of these cupcakes those recipes are also on my Pinterest board referred to above.

Corn Whiskey and James Mathaniel Bullock

A young James BULLOCK.

I remember my granny telling me about her grandpa James (my maternal 2nd great grandfather). She said that he liked his corn whiskey! I immediately pictured a man sitting on the porch in front of his log home in a rocking chair sipping moonshine from a jug. I have no idea if that was an accurate representation but that’s what I thought of. James was born in 1836 in Boone County, Indiana to James and Cynthia (DALE) BULLOCK. His military records state he had a fair complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes and no permanent marks or scars. The papers also state he was a farmer. By 1860 he was living in Humboldt, Allen County, Kansas and was single and working as a farm laborer for Eli and Maud GILBERT.

On 12 August 1861 he enlisted in the Civil War with Company H, 10th Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry which was originally organized at Paola, Kansas. He mustered in on 8 March 1862. Before and shortly after his muster date his regiment was in flux- absorbing other units and changing names according to The regiment was under the command of Colonel William F. CLOUD. In April of 1862, about a month after he mustered in, his regiment was sent to Fort Scott, Kansas and stayed there until 4 June 1862 at which time companies were sent on expeditions to Indian Territory with an Ohio Cavalry. These expeditions lasted from mid-June to mid-August of 1862. On 3 July they fought at the Battle of Locust Grove in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory. This location is only about 25 miles or so from my home so it was very interesting to me that he was there in 1862. In traveling to Locust Grove he came so very close to walking across my land and possibly he DID walk across my land depending on which route he took. The Battle of Locust Grove was fought at sunrise on 3 July 1862 and was a success for the Union. It had a great and negative impact on Confederate morale in the area and the soldiers who escaped capture and made it back to the Park Hill and Tahlequah areas caused widespread panic and large-scale desertions among Cherokee Confederate sympathizers. (

US Civil Engineering map from Kansas State Historical Society ca 1845 of the military road from Ft. Leavenworth to Ft Gibson Kansas State Historical Society website

The distance from Fort Scott, Kansas to Locust Grove, Oklahoma (then Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory) is about 145 miles. That was a long march! In mid-July 1862 James’ regiment was conducting renaissance from Grand River to Fort Gibson, Park Hill, and Tahlequah and were involved in skirmishes during this timeframe. In August they were in Missouri involved in a campaign against Coffey and Cockrell. James’ regiment was in Jackson County, Missouri area in mid-September. They were most likely fighting or somehow supporting the Battle of Lone Jack as they were in the right area at the right time but I can’t find information that specifically states they were in that battle. If they were, that’s pretty cool. Have you ever watched the movie True Grit? If you haven’t- stop reading, go watch the movie NOW, and then come back…ready now? Great! In the movie, Rooster Cogburn (played by the fabulous John Wayne) says he lost his eye in the Battle of Lone Jack and called it a “scrap outside of Kansas City”! When one of my favorite movies and actors meets up with some of my personal history I’d call that really cool! The Battle of Lone Jack lasted two days and was led by Emory FOSTER on the Union side and Vard COCKRELL on the Confederate side. To be honest, I think James’ regiment was en route to assist in the battle but got there too late based on the research I’ve done. I’m hoping my cousin Troy can do some research and figure all this out for me!

By the end of September the regiment was in Newton County, Missouri for the First Battle of Newtonia on 30 September 1862. On 4 October 1862 they gained occupation of Newtonia, Newton County, Missouri. Then his regiment headed back down my way. At 7:00 a.m. on the morning of 22 October 1862 Union soldiers (including James’ regiment) attacked the Confederates at Beattie’s Prairie in the Battle of Old Fort Wayne near Maysville, Benton County, Arkansas on 22 October 1862. James’ regiment was the third wave in the surprise attack on Stand Watie and other Confederate troops at Beattie’s Prairie that morning. The first wave struck the Confederates at 5:00 a.m. in Maysville, Benton County, Arkansas while the rebels were sleeping. They pushed through into Indian Territory as far as Beattie’s Prairie where the rebels put up a strong resistance but in half an hour they were overcome by the sheer numbers of Union soldiers and they retreated quickly leaving artillery and other equipment behind. Confederate troops retreated all the way to Fort Gibson, Muskogee County, Oklahoma which gave the Union significant and unfettered control of this part of Indian Territory north of the Arkansas River. Union Brigadier General James G. Blunt led the attack and wrote an account of it (and other movements the regiment made) here about 1/3 of the way down the page. (I’m a school librarian in case you didn’t know. If you’d like to read an historical novel that includes scenes in which James G. Blunt plays a part, try reading Harold Keith’s Rifles for Watie. You’ll find it in the juvenile section at your local public library.)

Old Fort Wayne battlefield. Wikipedia

Paul Ridenour photo.

I passed by this marker site at least twice a week almost every week of my childhood. Until this year I had no idea that one of my ancestors fought in a battle here.

I don’t know how long James’ regiment was at Fort Wayne but by 28 October they were in Cane Hill, Washington County, Arkansas. There were only two locations in Arkansas that saw fighting on this date. I tend to believe he was probably fighting at McGuire, Arkansas which is now a ghost town. I think this location would have been more likely to be classified as “Cane Hill” than Oxford Bend north of the White River near Fayetteville, Arkansas. James’ regiment closed out the year fighting at the Battle of Prairie Grove on 7 December and then they went on the expedition over the Boston Mountains at the end of December 1862.

James would fight another year in the Civil War traveling all over Missouri, Kansas and Indiana and even including a skirmish with Quantrill’s Raiders (Confederate guerilla fighters) before he was discharged on 12 December 1863 at Kansas City, Missouri. He was discharged due to a disability. His military paperwork noted that James had a severe cough due to Pneumonia dating from the winter of 1861. He was unable to perform his duty as a soldier at all for the final 60 days before his discharge. Further down in the document it says James had “Phthisis Pulmonalis with Hemoptysis and great prostration”. It deemed him unfit for field service or for the Invalid Corps and declared his disability to be “total”. All of this means basically that James had Tuberculosis and was coughing up blood and was often so weak he was lying down and couldn’t get up and move around- he was bed-bound. At some point during his life James lost use of his left eye and it happened when he was young- possibly in the war. I mention this now because eye problems play a factor in the next tidbit of information.

An elderly James Bullock. Notice he no longer has his left eye.

As far as I know, James never married until 1879. He married Druziller Mahala LATTY (sometimes spelled ‘LATTIE’). She was 20 years his junior. Together they had 8 children, the youngest two being twins. The youngest son, Oscar (twin of Alice) fought in World War I and is buried at the National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Benton County, Arkansas.

Despite how bad James’ health problems were at the end of the Civil War, James lived until 25 July 1903. when he died of “lung disease and blindness” caused by “exfusion”. I tried looking this up and the best I could find was “effusion”. The definition of effusion states, “an instance of giving off something such as a liquid, light, or smell such as ‘a massive effusion of poisonous gas’” OR “an escape of fluid into a body cavity”. I’m hoping some of my cousins who are nurses can help me figure this one out. I’m not sure if it was related to the Tuberculosis or if something else might have happened.

You can find James’ regimental history on National Park Service’s website or on Wikipedia. I’ve included Wikipedia because it is somewhat easier to read than NPS’s website.

One last bit of information I found about James. This information comes from The researchers on this website got much of their information from Harold MADDOX whom my Mom and I were fortunate enough to speak to years ago. Harold in turn got his information from older family members who were no longer living by the time I was old enough to research our family history. The following stories were told by Alice and Ed BULLOCK (James’ children):

“My grandfather’s name was James Bullock, he was a boot maker. And stowed away on a ship to the U.S. from England, with a brother, by the name of Ed(ward?). They never saw each other again after arriving in the U.S.
My Grandmothers name was Cyntha or Milly. They were married in the U.S.
Their Children were:
James Mathaniel , my dad.
Squire Bullock
Edd Bullock
Cyntha Bullock.”

I can remember my Granny BATES telling me this exact story just as Alice and Ed told it above. I’m not sure how accurate the story is, but it has been passed down consistently from one generation to the next for at least five generations. Another story told by Ed and Alice that I also remember my Granny BATES telling me is this:

“James M. Bullock was born at Indianapolis, Indiana. His uncle’s name was __?___ Johnson. His uncle wanted James to join the Confederate Army and James and his cousin __?___ Johnson, started out, but James wanted to join the Northern Army, so they split up. James going North and __?___ Johnson going South. ___?____ Johnson was killed very shortly after leaving James Bullock, who had already been stopped by the Union Army. James Bullock, joined the Army there and then.” The researcher at the website I linked to above states “This story is not quite accurate. James was living at Humboldt, Ks. in 1860 with a family by name of Gilbert, and joined the Army at Ft. Leavanworth on Aug. 12, 1861 into Company “H” 10th Kans. Vol. Inf.”. James’ military paperwork states he joined the Army at Paola, Kansas, not Leavenworth. So who is right and who is wrong may be forever lost to time.

One thing to note about Leavenworth, though, is this: Researchers “TomandColette187” on the Ancestry website state they found information in Kansas Adjutant General records stating that James was “absent on extra duty as Teamster from 26 October 1861 to November 1861, to which time he was absent by the civil authorities and put in prison at Leavenworth, charged with stealing a span of mules”. I’m not quite sure what to make of this and am hoping to get another opinion from my cousins especially those with military experience. I have checked Leavenworth prison records on the National Archives website and was unable to find James listed as a prisoner there. I will also note that in doing research on another ancestor in 2016 my information shows that Leavenworth didn’t open as a US Penitentiary until 1903. It was a US Disciplinary Barracks but even that didn’t open until 1874. So again, perhaps one day I’ll find documents to prove or disprove some of the information given above- or maybe I won’t. But I do feel like these stories need to be told so that if I don’t find this information maybe one day some other researcher will be able to uncover the truth.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate James’ birthday and his love of corn whiskey with some delicious Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Cupcakes and contemplate what he loved about the whiskey. Did he self-medicate? If so, was he medicating a physical pain or a psychological pain? Did he just like the taste of corn whiskey or was it an addiction he couldn’t conquer? I hope you’ll join me in celebrating and considering the life of James BULLOCK.

Theodor Hermann Moeller: He Was Serious About His Pinochle

Baby Theodor is in the middle of two of his siblings.

When my daughter was choosing names for her youngest son I was suggesting family names in the hopes she would choose one. She liked the name Theodor, but she added an ‘e’ on the end. I never knew Theodor personally and neither did my husband. Theodor was my husband’s maternal great grandfather. I asked my mother-in-law if she had any stories she could share with me about Theodor and she was kind enough to tell me what she could remember in the way of his personality. Theodor was a good man and a farmer all of his life. He was a first-generation American and his parents came from Germany. My mother-in-law said Theodor could sing O Tannenbaum in German and she always thought that was neat. Here’s a version I found on Youtube:

The night my mother-in-law was telling me stories, my husband and I were in a hotel room in Tulsa, Oklahoma with both his parents before our early morning flight to Hawaii the next day. Joyce (my mother-in-law) reminisced that Theodor loved to play Pinochle and he was very serious about it! My father-in-law, Bart Sr., interjected at this point and said he remembered the first time he played Pinochle with Theodor. Bart Sr. was on Theodor’s team and he made a wrong play. Theodor sternly reminded Bart Sr. that he was on Theodor’s team (meaning NOT on the other team). I’ve never played Pinochle. Maybe it’s time I learned. Here’s a little video if you’d like to learn, too.

Theodor was born in 1896 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. He was baptized in Dearborn Heights, Wayne County, Michigan when he was not quite 2 weeks old. Joyce’s family was all Lutheran as far as I know.

A young Theodor MOELLER

Theodor registered for the draft for World Wars I and II but I don’t have any information that he ever actually served. I’m not sure he would have been drafted for WWII considering we were fighting the Germans and he was only a first-generation American from a German family. His draft registration cards describe him as being medium height and medium build with light brown hair and blue eyes. On his WWI draft card he claimed exemption due to being “needed on farm”. On his WWII card he continued to list his occupation as farmer. In 1920 Theodor married Jennie Arelia SCHNEIDENBACH. Together they had four children.


Bart Sr. and Joyce recalled that Theodor was sick for the longest time and didn’t know what was wrong. He went to the doctor after awhile and once he got on the right medication he got better. I’m sure it was a relief to the family for him to get better. I didn’t ask what Theodor’s condition was. Theodor passed away in the fall of 1976 in Harbor Beach, Huron County, Michigan. He is buried with his wife in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Forestville, Sanilac County, Michigan.

Germans are known for their love of beer. So today I’m celebrating Theodor’s life with Blue Moon Cupcakes (or whatever brand of beer we have on hand today). I prefer Moscato wine over beer or whiskey. Over Christmas I found this wine on sale.

I thought it might be an appropriate wine with which to toast the lives of James BULLOCK and Theodor MOELLER before I partake of the abundance of boozy cupcakes in my home today. So cheers- to James and Theodor whom God chose to be mine and my husband’s ancestors and to you, my readers. Enjoy your week and don’t forget to buy your candles for later in the week! This is what mine looks like:

Until next time- bottoms up!
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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