From One Room to the Moon

From the Newsletter 

Presentation by Sharon Robinson, CFA Genealogist, at 2007 Annual Meeting.

Daisy Elzada Kocher was born 1 Apr 1884 in Lake Twp, Luzerne Co, PA to Nathan A and Ella Mae Miller Kocher. She had an older step-sister, and was the oldest of four siblings, Lucy, Lela, and Atlee.

Daisy attended the one-room “Rock School” and at age 16, went to Pleasant Hill Academy in Sweet Valley for a four-week course to prepare herself for the state teachers examination. She taught for at least four years at the “Rock School.” Daisy is listed as attending a “Teachers’ Conference” in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1908. In the 1910 census, she is listed as a domestic in a household in Wilkes-Barre, PA, while her son Clarence is living with his grandfather, Nathan.

In 1903, she married William Oberst, and had a son, Clarence born 5 Jan 1904. She later divorced William for desertion, and returned home with her son.

On May 11, 1912, Daisy married Frederick Cornelius Crispell (G-0205), whose first wife Olive Minor had died in 1907, leaving him with two surviving children. Iva (H-0281), Bertha (H-0282). For a time, Daisy and Fred lived with her father in Ruggles, Lake Twp. They then purchased a home on West Point Avenue, Lake Twp, where Fred lived until his death in 1952, and Daisy until she was moved to a nursing home in Binghamton, NY in August of 1974. She died in New York six weeks later.

To complicate matters, Daisy’s sister, Lucy, married Fred Denton Crispell (G-0214), a first cousin of Frederick Cornelius Crispell.

Daisy and Fred had four children: Ella (H-0284), Lela (H-0285), Delbert (H-0286) and Annabelle (H-0287). Delbert died young.

Ella married Edward Cobleigh and became a teacher like her mother, teaching at Lake Twp, PA and Johnson City, NY. She and Ed had one son, Delbert. Ella was the compiler of the “Pennsylvania Branch of the Crispell Family” published 1950, and its supplement, published in 1964. Ella died in 2004.

Lela married Lawrence Sickler and had five daughters: Emily (I-0420), Joan (I-0421), Jill (I-0422), Laurie (I-0423) and Elva (I-0424) Lela died in 2002.

Daisy was a tiny, bird-like woman, always flitting around with something to do. She was employed as a domestic for several homeowners at Harveys Lake until shortly before her move to New York. Over the years, she made quilts for each of her grandchildren. The last of her quilts is owned by Sharon Robinson (J-0392), CFA genealogist (and Daisy’s step-great-granddaughter).

In January 2007, Sharon received an e-mail (J-0392) from a woman in Apalachin, NY (Mary Beth Jones), asking if she could possibly identify the people in two large portraits taken from the Cobleigh home in Binghamton, NY. (Ella had died; her son Delbert had suffered multiple strokes and was in a personal care home. The family home was in the process of being sold.) Not only could Sharon identify the people, she had copies of photos she had taken of the portraits. Mary Beth’s husband, Merwyn, was, a cousin of Delbert’s on the Cobleigh side, had rescued the portraits and several boxes of snapshots. Sharon was offered the opportunity to visit Apalachin and go through the photos. Due to bad weather, the trip was put off until May, 2007.

To a family genealogist, visiting Apalchin was like visiting a gold mine. Not only were there Crispell “family” photos, but they were directly related to Sharon. Six large plastic tubs of photo albums, framed portraits, snapshots, and memorabilia were brought into a living room, where Mary Beth, Merwyn, and Sharon went through each one carefully. Upon completion, more items were brought out, including a crystal and gold bowl from Ella & Ed’s 50th wedding anniversary, and a porcelain doll which had belonged to Daisy. Mary Beth’s question was “How much of this do you want?” What a question to ask a genealogist/family member! Merwyn decided he wanted two photos of his grandfather from a Cobleigh photo album Ella had created. Merwyn and his son then loaded EVERYTHING else into Sharon’s car, and it now resides in Sharon’s garage where she’s carefully going through each box.

Items have been sorted & shared. A Cobleigh photo album went to the Cobleigh family genealogist (after photos were scanned & saved by Sharon). Ella’s 1934 Bloomsburg University yearbook, athletic letters, memorabilia from class reunions were hand delivered to the Archivist at Bloomsburg University. Photos of the one-room school, and Daisy’s doll were given to F Charles Petrillo, owner of the Outlet One-Room School (formerly owned by Albert Crispell).

As other items are unearthed, appropriate homes will be found for them, too.

How does this get us “To The Moon?” Ella’s son, Delbert, had an active career. He played trumpet in high school and with a religious group until his strokes. He coached and refereed various teen sports over the years. He graduated from Mississippi University, and served in the US Army Reserves.

Del worked for IBM and Linx in Binghamton, NY. His job included computer modeling. Under his name in the genealogy now appears the following: Designed RAF (Radar Allocation and Formatting) Task for PAR Radar.; created math models and programs to simulate motion of aircraft carriers for a real-time simulation of an A-7 aircraft computer. Completed system design for LDS (Lethal Defense System) — a visual representation of a war-gaming situation on a specially built color cathode ray tube. Assigned to tasks group to write mathematical models for the Apollo Space program; worked on math model design of Lunar Module IMU. Completed entire digital simulation of Lunar Module Landing Radar System. Part of project team which developed the “Stealth” bomber.

On a visit to Del in June 2007, Sharon learned how “hush-hush” his job really was. He was sent to Florida to work on various parts of the Apollo project. The work he did on the Stealth bomber is still secret. He proudly displays a graphic of the various projects he worked on, signed by his coworkers, when he left Linx.

So Daisy, a teacher in a one-room school, had Ella -who taught in an elementary school in PA, and a one-room school in NY, and a grandson, Delbert – who helped get us to the Moon. Not bad for just over a hundred years in one family!