Archive for the ‘McWhirters in Vermont’ Category

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I’ve been researching my McWhirter family line for over 20 years now, and have been tracking the descendants of Thomas McWhirter Sr. (1800-1867) and Eliza Jane Beatty (1800-1846) forward in time.

I recently came across some articles in the archives of an old San Francisco newspaper regarding Mary Jane “Jennie” McWhirter. Jennie was one of Thomas and Eliza’s granddaughters through their son Thomas McWhirter Jr. (1835-1876) and his wife Esther Sherer (1841-1885).

Mary Jane McWhirter  was born 31 August 1865 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

Mary Jane McWhirter Birth RecordSource Information: Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 

Jennie married John Jacob Klapperich (1864-1943) in San Francisco, California in 1886. They divorced 0n 2 April 1902,  in San Francisco, California. The following three newspaper articles appeared in the San Francisco Call Newspaper regarding their divorce.

I found the first one kind of amusing.

Mrs. Klapperich Files Answer

Mrs. Jennie M. Klapperich who is being sued for divorce by John J. Klapperich, filed an answer and cross complaint yesterday. She denies that she ever said her husband was crazy, or that the drove him from home by her ill treatment.  She also denies having compelled him to mend his clothes.  In her cross complaint the wife alleges that her husband deserted her.  The Klapperichs were married in 1886 and reside at 179 Albion Ave.

Klapperich Divorce FiledSan Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 113, 23 March 1902

Divorces were granted to…Jennie M. Klapperich from John J. Klapperich for  desertion.

Klapperich Divorce GrantedSan Francisco Call, Volume XCI, Number 122, 1 April 1902

John J. Klapperich, a wagonmaker, who was divorced April 2 1902, from Jeannie M. Klapperich, was ordered by Judge Seawell yesterday to be taken into custody and held in jail until he pays $100 back alimony to Mrs. Klapperich.

Klapperich Alimony ArticleSan Francisco Call, Volume 101, Number 74, 12 February 1907

Jennie remarried on 28 February 1912 to Hermann Schaffner (1851-1921). The following wedding announcement appeared in the newspaper.

   A quiet wedding was performed in the First Congregational Church of this city on Wednesday evening, when Mrs. Jennie Klapperich and Hermann Schaffner were married.  Only the immediate families witnessed the ceremony, which was performed by Dr. Charles F. Aked.  Mr. and Mrs. Schaffner are passing their honeymoon in the southern part of the state.  On their return they will reside permanently in San Francisco, where a pretty home awaits them at 1134 Castro Street.  Both Schaffner and his bride are well known in this city, with whose social life they have been identified for a number of years.  Before the catastrophe of 1906, Mrs. Schaffner was a prominent resident of the old Mission district, and since then she has resided in Ashbury heights.  Schaffner is a member of a number of fraternal societies, having been grand keeper of records and seal of the Knights of Pythias of California for 26 years.  He is also a past brigadier general of the uniform rank of that order, and a past imperial prince of the Dramatic Order, Knights of Khorassan.

Jennie McWhirter Klapperich RemarriesSan Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 94, 3 March 1912

Jennie McWhirter Klapperich Schaffner  died just nine months after her marriage to Hermann on 20 December 1912, in San Francisco, California.  The following obituary appeared in the newspaper on 22 December 1912.  It does not mention cause of death or where she was buried.

SCHAFFNER- In this city, December 20 1912

Jennie H., beloved wife of Herman Schaffner, beloved mother of Louis Klapperich, and loving sister of H.E. and W.J. McWhirter, a native of Boston, Mass. A member of Mission Lodge No. 296, G.F.B. (Boston Mass., papers please copy)

Interment private.

Mary Jane 'Jennie' McWhirter Klapperich Schaffner ObitSan Francisco Call, Volume 113, Number 22, 22 December 1912

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Tree Heart Border

Thomas McWhirter Jr. was born 26 January 1835 in County Tyrone, Ireland to Thomas McWhirter (1800-1867) and Eliza Jane Beatty (1800-abt 1846)

On the U.S. Federal Census taken in September of 1850, Thomas was living in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont with his father Thomas McWhirter Sr. (1800-1867), stepmother Sarah McWhirter (1800-?), and younger siblings, Samuel McWhirter (1836-1874), Eliza McWhirter (1838-1900), James McWhirter (1843-?), Mary McWhirter (1840-?) and George McWhirter (1846-1883). Younger sister, Margaret McWhirter (1841-1914) was living with older sister Agnes McWhirter Clifford (1827-1898) in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont, that same year.

My cousin, Laurie Winter, provided the following 1850 census record for the family.  The last name is  badly misspelled (Machosin…seriously?),  but all of the first names match up with our McWhirter family members.

Thomas McWhirter 1850 Census Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont, United States1850 U.S. Census for Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Taken: 25 September 1850

Thomas married Esther Scherer (1841-1885) on 10 November 1865 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, where he worked as a teamster.

Thomas McWhirter & Esther Shearer marriage RecordMarriage Record for Thomas McWhirter Jr., & Esther Scherer
10 November 1865, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Their first daughter, Mary Jane “Jennie” McWhirter was born 31 August 1865, in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. She married John Jacob Klapperich (1864-1943) in San Francisco, California, in 1887. Together they had two sons: Louis Henry Klapperich (1888-1947) and Milton S. Klapperich (1890-1891). She and John divorced sometime between 1900 and 1910.

Mary Jane McWhirter Birth RecordBirth Record for Mary Jane McWhirter, 31 August 1865
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Their first son, George Elbridge McWhirter was born 29 January 1867 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

So far, I’ve only been able to find  two  records for George. One is the 1880 Census for San Francisco, California, the other is the  Merced, California Voters Register in 1888, where he was employed as a printer.

George Elbredge McWhirter, Merced, California Voters Register 1888George Elbredge McWhirter, Merced County, California Voter Register
11 July 1888

Second son, Joseph Henry McWhirter was born 18 November 1869 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts and died 15 June 1872, at age 2 years 7 months, from scarlet fever. He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Mattapan, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

Joseph Henry McWhirter death recordJoseph Henry McWhirter Death Record , 15 June 1872
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Second daughter, Etta Esther McWhirter was born 24 January 1872 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts and died 2 October 1875 at age 3 from diphtheria. She is also  buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery,  in Mattapan, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

Etta Esther McWhirter Death RecordEtta Esther McWhirter Death Record
2 January 1875, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Third son, Willis Joseph Baker McWhirter was born 1 September 1873 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. His WWI Draft Registration Card gives his description as: “Tall, medium build with blue eyes and gray hair”.

Willis Joseph McWhirter WWI Draft Registration Card 12 Sept 1918 Willis Joseph McWhirter WWI Draft Registration Card 12 Sept 1918 (2)Willis Joseph Baker McWhirter, WWI Draft Registration Card
12 September 1918, San Francisco, California

He married Bessie Lenore Grenfell (1876-1964) Stanislaus County California on 29 July 1908, where he worked as a building contractor.

Willis McWhirter died on 23 February 1942 in San Francisco, California. He and Bessie never had any children.

Fourth son and youngest child, Harry Samuel McWhirter, was born 15 October 1875 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

The 1910 U.S. Census records him as living in San Francisco, California, with his sister Mary Jane McWhirter Klapperich, working as a bricklayer.

He registered for the draft in WWI on 12 September 1918 in Atwater, Merced, California, where he worked as a farmer. His description is given as: “Tall, medium build with blue eyes and brown hair.

Harry Samuel McWhirter WWI Draft Registration Card 12 September 1918

Harry Samuel McWhirter WWI Draft Registration Card
12 September 1918, San Francisco, California

Thomas McWhirter Jr. died 12 September 1876 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, at age 41, just eleven years after he married Esther. Cause of death was listed as “intemperance”. He left behind his wife, Esther, and their 4 remaining children, Mary, George, Willis and Harry.

He also left her a bit of money. The following public record for Probate Court proceedings appeared in the Boston Journal.

Thomas McWhirter Jr_edited-1

Probate Court Record Notice for  Thomas McWhirter
(Boston Journal (Boston, MA) 26 September 1876, pg 2)

Thomas McWhirter Jr.  is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery,  in  Mattapan, Suffolk, Massachusetts. 

Mount Hope Cemetery, Boston, MassachusettsMt. Hope Cemetery, Mattapan, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Esther moved with the children to San Francisco, California, sometime between Thomas’ death in September of 1876 and 1 June 1880. The U.S. Federal Census for that year shows all 4 children living at home with Esther at: 31 Second Ave., San Francisco, California.

Esther Sherer McWhirter 1880 US Federal Census San Francisco, California1880 U.S. Federal Census, San Francisco, California
Taken: 1 June 1880

Esther Shearer McWhirter died 22 November 1885 in San Francisco, California. The following articles appeared in two local newspapers following her death.

Estsher Shearer McWhirter Obituary November 1885

Esther McWhirter, Mortuary Notice
(San Francisco Bulletin (San Francisco, CA)  23 November 1885, pg 3)

McWHIRTER–In this city, November 22, Esther, mother of Jennie and GeorgeMcWHIRTER, aged 46 years. Funeral to-day, at 1 p.m., from No. 31 Second avenue.”

Source: Daily Alta California, 24 November 1885.

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celtic tree of life

Margaret McWhirter was born 21 September 1841 in County Tyrone, Ireland to Thomas McWhirter (1800-1867) and Eliza Jane Beatty (1800-?). She emigrated to the United States with her family sometime between 1841 and 1850. County Tyrone is located in Northern Ireland.


County Map of Ireland
(Tyrone County highlighted in yellow)


Sperrin Mountains, County Tyrone, Ireland photo by Edmond J.Sperrin Mountains, County Tyrone, Ireland
(Photo by Edmond J.)

When I began researching my McWhirter ancestors in Vermont back in 1993, one of the first people I came across was my 2nd great grand aunt, Margaret McWhirter (1841-1914).  Although I didn’t know how she was related to me,  I knew that she was. With so few people in Vermont with the last name McWhirter at that time, my theory was that they all had to be related somehow. As it turns out, I was right.

I first found Margaret on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census living with the William Simpson family in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont. Also enumerated with this family was the Robert Clifford family.  In 2011 I discovered that Robert Clifford‘s (1821-1891) wife Agnes, was Maggie’s older sister,  Agnes McWhirter (1827-1898).

Margaret McWhirter (highlighted) 1850 Census Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont, United States1850 U.S. Federal Census for Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont
(Taken: 29 August 1850)

She married Archibald Stewart (1837-1926) on 26 July 1865 in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont. Place of birth given for Margaret was Tyrone County, Ireland.  This record was the first time I’d ever seen reference to where the McWhirter family might have originated in Ireland.

Archibald Stewart & Margaret McWhirter Marriage RecordMarriage Record for Margaret McWhirter & Archibald Stewart
26 July 1865

To this union were born seven children: Mary J. Stewart (1866-?), Charles H. Stewart (1867-1893), Elizabeth Stewart (1869-1934), Lillian Stewart (1876-1939), Margaret “Maggie” Stewart (1878-1937), Gertrude Stewart (1881-1965) and Archibald Stewart Jr. (1883-1955).

In  1880, the Archibald Stewart family was living in Winfield, Cowley, Kansas where Archibald was employed as a stone mason.

Archibald Stewart 1880 Census Winfield, Cowley, Kansas, United States1880 U.S. Federal Census for Winfield, Cowley, Kansas
(Taken: 2 June 1880)

In 1900 Census for Rutland, Rutland, Vermont, Margaret McWhirter Stewart is listed as married and as head of the household. Living with her at the time were her children, Margaret, Gertrude and Archibald Jr., as well as her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Edgar Beardsley (1867-1940), and granddaughter Marguerite Beardsley (1898-1977). Her husband, Archibald Stewart Sr. was not in residence.

1900 United States Federal Census for Rutland, Rutland, Vermont, Taken, 9 June 1900  Margaret Stewart1900 U.S. Federal Census for Rutland, Rutland, Vermont
(Taken: 9 June 1900)

The following newspaper article appeared in the St. Albans Daily Messenger on 30 November 1903 regarding Archibald. It is not  clear what “home” is being referred to, but I’m guessing it was a care facility for Civil War Veterans.

Archibald Stewart Newspaper Article 1903 St. Albans (Vermont) Daily MessengerSt. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger, Date: 30 November 1903
{Newspaper Article courtesy of Charles Thomas)

Margaret McWhirter Stewart died 8 August 1914 in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont,  from heart disease.

Margaret McWhirter Stewart Death Certificate 1914Death Certificate for Margaret McWhirter Stewart
8 August 1914

Margaret McWhirter Stewart Obituary, Middlebury Register, Middlebury, Vermont, 14 Aug 1914, p4.Margaret McWhirter Stewart Obituary
From the Middlebury Register, Middlebury, Vermont, 14 Aug 1914, p4.
(Obituary courtesy of Charles Thomas)

Margaret’s  husband, Archibald Stewart, passed away 30 January 1926 in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont.  The following obituary appeared in the Rutland (Vermont) Daily Herald on 1 February 1926.

Funeral services for Archibald Stewart, 89, who died Saturday morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Frank (Lillian) Pierce, 80 Church street, will be held at 3:30 o’clock this afternoon at Trinity Episcopal church.
Mr. Stewart is survived by five daughters, Mrs. Charles (Mary) Chappel of Salt Lake City, Utah, Deaconess Gertrude Stewart of Changsha, China, Mrs. Frank (Lillian) Pierce, Mrs. E.S. (Elizabeth) Beardsley and Mrs. Phillip (Margaret) Start of this city and by one son, Archibald Stewart, Jr., of New York. He also leaves eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Mr. Stewart was born in Roxham, Quebec, Canada, January 22, 1837 and received his education there. He was a member of Roberts Post, Grand Army of the Republic, Mt. Anthony lodge, F. and A.M., of Bennington and Trinity church. He served in company G, fifth Vermont volunteers during the Civil war.

Both Margaret and her husband Archibald are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Rutland, Rutland, Vermont.

Margaret McWhirter & Archibald Stewart GravestoneMargaret McWhirter (Spelled MacWhirter on gravestone) & Archibald Stewart Gravestone
Evergreen Cemetery, Rutland, Rutland, Vermont
(Photo Courtesy of Jen Snoots)

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celtic tree of life heart

I love old family photographs. The ones I love best are the ones taken of people in unguarded moments, when the camera was able to capture their personality so completely, that you need only look at the photograph to know exactly what kind of person they were, heart and soul.

The following photographs are among my favorites for that very reason. Some of these people I knew while they yet lived, others I did not, and some are still living. Sometimes I’d have a picture first, and then, as I researched them, or came to know them personally, and the details of their lives, the things I discovered about them only confirmed what I’d already known from looking at their picture. Other times I’d know their story first, fall in love with them, wish I knew what they’d looked like, and then later, come upon a picture. Each time the latter occurred was a very emotional experience for me. Sort of an, “Ohhhh…there you are…I just knew you’d look like that…sniffle*, tears streaming down my face”, kind of a moment.

These first two photos are of my “Uncle” Brett. He was actually my mother’s first husband, and the father of my two oldest brothers, but that’s what the rest of us called him. In truth, he was like a father to us all. I have many fond memories of him from my childhood. One of my earliest and favorite memories of him is of him coming to our house early one Christmas morning, cooking breakfast for us, all the while singing and dancing around the kitchen with a shiny red Christmas bow taped to his forehead. I actually have a picture of that somewhere.

This picture of Uncle Brett was taken in Japan, in 1945, while he was serving in the military. Note the flower tucked into his hat, the mischievous look on his face, and the stance. I can pretty much guarantee that he was dancing a jig right before this picture was taken.

Uncle Brett Korea 1951Bretton Gilbert Smith, Japan, 1945

Uncle Brett loved the ladies and was an incorrigible flirt. This studio picture was taken just before he left for Japan. It is currently framed and hanging on the wall in the entryway of our home. I remember telling him once how much I loved his eyes and smile in this picture. He proceeded to explain that the photographer was a very attractive blond, and that he’d had a great time chatting with her during the photo session. Figures. =)

Bretton Gilbert SmithBretton Gilbert Smith, 1945

The next photo is of my cousin, George Bosmajian, myself, and his wife Shirley, at a Coons/Bosmajian family reunion in 2006. I had the opportunity to work with both of them on some of our mutual family history. We met for the first time at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2004. He was highly intelligent (he was literally a rocket scientist) and absolutely charming, as was his wife. George had a progressively degenerative spinal disease that made it extremely painful for him to stand in an upright position, which is evident in the photo.

Fresno Family ReunionGeorge Bosmajian Jr., Me & Shirley Bosmajian

I went to visit George and Shirley at their home for a week back in 2008 to help George organize boxes of family photos, stories, and memorabilia. George generously allowed me to scan all of the pictures he had of my ancestors that he had in his possession. Almost every photograph I have of my grandmother Edith Coons’ side of the family came as a result of that effort.

This picture of George was taken around 1941 in, I believe, Fresno, California. I love this picture of him because, for me, it absolutely captures the side of his personality I knew best. George passed away in June of 2011. Whenever I think of George now, this is how I see him in my mind’s eye.

George Bosmajian Jr.George Bosmajian Jr. 1941

In one of my previous blogs, I explained that all of my research began with my great grandfather, Harry McWhirter. His parents were Almira Blake (1837-1871) and Samuel McWhirter (1836-1874). Samuel had six siblings that I know of, the oldest being Agnes McWhirter Clifford (1827-1898). About a year ago, I was contacted by one of Agnes’ descendants, Charles Thomas, regarding some McWhirter family information I’d posted online. This was the first time I’d ever had any contact with someone from my McWhirter side of the family, and I’d never seen pictures of any of them. At that point in time, Charles didn’t have any either. But over the next few months some cousins he had contacted in Vermont sent him a few, which he then shared with me. Thanks Charles. =)

This picture is of Anna Thomas McBride (1876-1971), granddaughter of Agnes McWhirter and Robert Clifford (1821-1891), and her husband, William E. McBride (1868-1957).

You know that saying about someone having a “twinkle” in their eye? The woman is seriously twinkling…..

Anna & Bill McBrideAnna Thomas McBride & William E. McBride

Ok, last two photos. This picture is of my 4th cousin, Fred Thomas, father of the aforementioned Charles Thomas, and 2nd great grandson of Agnes McWhirter and Robert Clifford. Such a sweet face. If I were to give this picture a title I would name it “Heart of the Boy” because you can see his so clearly, right there in his eyes.

Fred Thomas c 1941Fred Thomas c 1946

I had the opportunity to meet both Charles and Fred last May while I was visiting my brother Rick in Chicago. They were both quite charming, and were wonderful hosts. I had such a great time. Thanks guys. =)

Fred & Charles Thomas 20 May 2012Fred & Charles Thomas, 2012

I went to Chicago again in March of 2013 for my brother Ricks birthday. Fred and his wife Jeanne met with us to help celebrate.

Jeanne & Fred Thomas, Jeannie Halversen March 2013 Chicago, IllinoisJeanne & Fred Thomas, Jeannie Halversen
Chicago, Illinois, March 2013

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My mom’s cousin, Mary Hardaway, sent me this photograph of a painting of my 2nd great grandmother, Almira Blake McWhirter.  It is just so beautiful, I had to share it. =)

Almira Blake McWhirter c1871 Vermont, United StatesAlmira Blake McWhirter c 1871 Derby, Orleans, Vermont, United States

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barrett, harry mcwhirterHarry McWhirter Barrett 1869-1940

When I was a kid I remember my mother telling me that her grandfather, Harry McWhirter Barrett, had been raised by a couple who were not his biological parents. I didn’t think much about it at the time, and I can’t remember why she shared that information with me in the first place, but years later when I began having children of my own I started to wonder about him. What was his story? Who was it that had actually raised him? And, what happened to his birth parents? So, I went in search of information on the internet and at my local Family History Library. So, after many years of searching, this is what I’ve found.

Harry McWhirter Barrett was actually born Harry B. McWhirter, on 4 July 1869 in Holland, Orleans, Vermont, to Samuel McWhirter and Almira Blake.  Harry had two older siblings, a sister, born 21 January 1861 who died just 13 days later, and a brother, Wilmer McWhirter born 28 September, 1864. I can find no death record for Wilmer, but he is not listed on the 1870 Census with his family. On 2 April 1871, Almira gave birth to another daughter, but both she and the baby died that same day, leaving Samuel alone to raise a then, 2 year old Harry.

Blake, Almira c1870Almira Blake McWhirter 1836-1871

In November of 1874, Samuel was working at a cotton mill in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  The following newspaper article appeared in the Fitchburg Daily Sentinel on 21 November 1874, announcing Samuel’s death on the 18th.  From the content of the article it appears that Samuel was both living and working in Fitchburg. I’m not sure where Harry was living at this point, but he wasn’t with Samuel. So, Harry was left an orphan in the fall of 1874 at the age of 5.

Samuel McWhirter Obituary_edited

Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, 21 November 1874

I found the following record from the State of Vermont regarding Harry.


Office Of Secretary Of State, 1 Northfield November 2, 1878. j I hereby certify that the foregoing three hundred and eighteen numbers are true copies of the Acts and Resolves passed by the General Assembly at its biennial session, A. D. 1878, as appears from the files and records of this office.

GEORGE NICHOLS, Secretary of State. 


Returned to the office of the Secretary of State, in pursuance of Section Eleven of Chapter Fifty-six of the General Statutes. 

 On the 17th day of October, A. D. 1877, Charles Barrett, and his wife Eleanor J. Barrett, of Titusville, in the county of Crawford and State of Pennsylvania, adopted Harry B. McWhirter of Derby, in the county of Orleans and State of Vermont. a minor, as their heir and .child, capable of inheriting, and name changed to Harry McWhirter Barrett. 

I had no idea how Charles & Eleanor Barrett were related to Harry, but I figured they must be family. I knew Almira’s last name was Blake, so I started searching through microfilmed records of the 1850 census for Vermont for her family.  According to the index, Almira’s family should have been in the specific area on the microfilm I was looking at, but they weren’t. At that point, I had been looking at microfilmed records for hours, and was disappointed and oh so tired. And then, I heard this voice in my head say, “I’m here, keep looking.”  I remember thinking  that, clearly, I’d been there waaayy too long…now I was hearing voices in my head. But, I kept on scrolling through the roll of film…and right at the end, filmed out of order, was the census page with Almira Blake’s family. Wow.

 1850 Census Derby, Orleans, Vermont

As I read down the list of names of Blake family members, I discovered who it was who had raised Harry. The Eleanor J. Barrett who was Harry’s adoptive mother? Was Almira Blake McWhirter’s  baby sister,  Eleanor J. Blake. And then, for whatever reason, I found myself weeping.

Blake Barrett, EleanorEleanor “Nellie” Blake Barrett 1846-1930

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Thomas/Krueger Ancestry

Family history for the Thomas and Krueger Families

Yellow Rose Productions

Where creativity is only the beginning

Hearts of the Fathers

Prepare thyself to search their fathers....shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their hearts? Job 8:8-10

Aileen Rose

Prepare thyself to search their fathers....shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their hearts? Job 8:8-10