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Blackberry Pie

When one of my DNA matches and I got to talking about family, she happened to mention that her grandma, Catherine Blubaugh (my 2nd cousin)   made such great blackberry pie that she won her husband, William Goode, that way.  I asked the DNA buddy if she could find a recipe, and she is trying to find it.  But when I saw big luscious blackberries in the market, I knew I couldn’t wait.

Blackberry pie close up

Blackberry pie, close up.

There’s still a chance she’ll come up with the recipe and we can compare it to this one.  I do know that great grandma used lard in the pie crust, and I didn’t–but she also made a chocolate cake, so maybe we’ll get that recipe.

Of course, it was more fun in grandma’s day because you would have that expedition into the countryside where you filled a bucket with blueberries, getting scratched in the process, eating berries as you went, and getting berry stains all over you.  However, there are many other benefits to eating blackberries.

Catherine Blubaugh

Catherine Blubaugh (Goode)

Seeing Catherine Blubaugh’s picture, I suspect it was more than just a pie that won her husband!

Like all my pies, this one starts with the Perfect Pie Crust.  If you haven’t tried this fool-proof recipe that calls for a bit of vinegar, maybe it is time.  As for me, I thought it was about time that I bake a pie with a lattice crust. So I did.  It certainly is not picture perfect, but it has the advantage of looking home-made.  You’d certainly never mistake this for a bakery pie, now would you?

Lattice top on pie

Before baking. Blackberry pie with lattice top

The Perfect Pie Crust dough is very forgiving, which makes it easy to handle for a lattice crust.  I cut the strips with a pizza cutter and after building up a higher than usual edge, started weaving the strips on the pie.

One other thing I want to show you is a recent acquisition.  You know how the edges of the pie tend to get too brown, because they stick up higher than the rest?  For decades, I have folded two strips of aluminum foil and awkwardly tucked them around the edges of the pie to protect it. Of course, when I pulled the rack out to check the pie, the hot aluminum foil fell off and it was a pain to try to get it back.

Recently I broke down and bought ONE MORE THING for my baking cupboard–a silicone edge protector.  How I wish I had one of these years and years ago. It is adjustable to fit all sizes of pie pans, and being silicone, will take the high heat you sometimes use to bake a pie shell.

Edge protector

Pie baked with edge protector.

Next time you see nice blackberries in the store, consider this pie. Even if you don’t need to win a husband. Not in the mood for pie? How about blackberry liqueur?

Let’s call it Blubaugh Blackberry Pie.

Blackberry Pie

Serves 6-8
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert


  • pastry for 2-crust pie
  • 4 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter (cut in small dice)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Roll out half of pie crust and line pie pan, forming a generous rim. Put in refrigerator
3. Mix sugar and tapioca, pour over berries along with lemon juice and mix gently. Let sit 15 minutes.
4. Put filling into pie shell and dot with butter.
5. Roll out 2nd half of pie crust into circle the size of the top of pie pan plus one inch.
6. Cut the circle of pie crust into 3/4 inch strips. Fasten one end of the strip along one half of the bottom crust. Fold back every other strip. Lay one strip perpendicular to the first strips, folding down the strips that are folded back. Fold back the strips that are now under the first perpendicular strip. Continue in this fashion to weave the top. Pinch the edges securely.
7. Brush top with egg yolk or milk and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Protect edges with aluminum foil or a silicone edge protector. Place pan on a cookie sheet to protect oven from drips. Bake at 400 degrees10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and bake until crust nicely browned and berries are bubbling.


This recipe will work with any berries. You may have to adjust the sugar, depending on the sweetness, and be sure you have a generous amount of berries if you use a large pie pan I made this in a 9" pan.


Random Ancestors: Susan Kaser, The Wild One

Try as I might to stay on track, I am easily distracted from my planned research path.  For instance, right now, I am trying to stick to the difficult tracing of the Smith family of Knox County, Ohio–family of a paternal great grandmother. One problem is Susan Kaser.

At the same time, however, I am trying to keep track of new DNA matches as they show up, and figure out how it is that I match them.  In order to find out how I match someone when Ancestry only gives me the vague 4th-6th cousin, high probability, or perhaps Ancestry gives me a list of names that match with the other person. Inevitably that includes a Smith, but some times it includes a list of eight different names, all of whom might be possibilities, so I have to track those families on my tree and on the tree of the person with whom I have a match.

Notice I said “I have to”.  That compulsion is not written in stone, but I simply can’t resist. This week I write about a couple of the people I chased through the forest of family trees.

The Wild One

Susan Kaser (also known as Susannah) 1st cousin 3x removed. Married (or maybe not) to a Lauer or Lower with whom she had a daughter named Rebecca and perhaps five other children. On Ancestry, I discovered a picture of Rebecca, the daughter (or one of the children) of Susan Kaser.

Rebecca Kaser Zaugg

Picture of Rebecca Kaser/Lauer Zaugg posted on by pbeecy.

Before a DNA match showed up on Ancestry, I only had an intriguing note in the Kaser History that indicated that Susannah Kaser (1824-1907) had 6 or 7  children but had never married!  She was born in Holmes County Ohio and her parents  were Jonathan Kaser and Mary Stahler.

I learned that my DNA match, Barbara, was related to Susan Kaser. Barbara’s great- grandmother Rebecca Kaser/Lauer 1847-1928, married John Zaugg.  Rebecca was the daughter of Susan Kaser Lauer/Lower, according to the Barbara’s family. Records show her as either Rebecca Kaser or Rebecca Lauer or Lower.  This seems pretty conclusive, since Barbara had been told the family history by her grandmother. But more concretely, an 1880 census gives evidence that Rebecca Lauer was living with one of the Kaser families. Unfortunately, Rebecca’s family did not know the first name of Rebecca’s father. I dug more deeply into Susan Kaser’s history.

But which Susan Kaser?  I found a bewildering array of Susan (or Susannah) Kasers A few could be eliminated fairly easily because I could trace their life and they did not have a daughter named Rebecca or lived at the wrong time.

Susan Kaser note

Note about Susan Kaser from Barbara  her great-grand daughter. Written by Barbara’s aunt.

A note in Barbara’s trove of family pictures (above) said, “Rebecca’s mother raised by Indians.”  I really don’t take that literally for several reasons.  Mainly, Susan would have been born long after the American Indians had left Ohio.  I had heard that phrase many times when I was growing up in Ohio, and it meant something like “This kid is uncivilized (wild) and wasn’t raised properly.” A slur on both the American Indian and on the child (and the child’s parents.)

In the 1850 census “Susan Cacer” is listed at 25 years old as the (probable) oldest of the children of Jonathan “Cacer,” who is 45 years old and is a carpenter  the same as his father, my 3x great grandfather, Joseph Kaser (1776-1842). The 1850 and 1860 census reports do not indicate relationship to head of household, but applying logic to the ages of the children, place of residence and place of birth often will indicate the relationship. However, if this is the mother of Rebecca, who would have been three years old in 1850, where is the child? I have not found Rebecca in 1850.

Susan apparently moved on and left her daughter Rebecca behind, because in 1860, when she was 13, a Rebecca Lauer was living with Edward Kaser, presumably her uncle .  However, it looks as though when Susan needed a home, Rebecca Lauer Zaugg took in her mother. In 1880, Susan Kaser is shown in the home of Rebecca and her husband as “mother-in-law”. Oddly, her occupation is listed as “servant.”  Note she is still called Kaser which means either she never married the Lauer who was Rebecca’s father, or she reverted to her maiden name.

According to the Kaser History, Susan died in 1907, so I should be able to find her in a 1900 census, but no luck.

Beyond that, I’m still trying to track Susan, including a possible marriage to a man name Sheneman, with whom she might have had five children. I found probate papers for Susan Lower, Wayne County, Ohio, that named those Sheneman children, but did not name Rebecca.  (An addenda included a letter from a Rebecca Miller claiming kinship–wrong last name.)  That legal filing would explain the Kaser History assertion that she had 6 or 7 children–Rebecca plus five. Perhaps the author of the Kaser History saw those probate papers?  If true, that would have been very handy, however it just did not work when I looked at the individual Sheneman family members. Census reports for 1860 and 1870 showed that the Susan married to a Sheneman in Holmes County Ohio was not the right age.

So Susan, for the moment at least, I’m left with the Zaugg family opinion of you–” she was a character … and she even smoked a pipe.”

With all these loose ends, I fully expect to be returning to Susan Kaser some time in the future.

Annie’s Siblings–The Isaac Smith Family

Ann Marie Smith (Butts)

Ann Marie Smith (Butts)

My great-grandmother Annie Smith  lived all her life in Knox County, Ohio. However, her father, Isaac Smith and mother, Mary Maria Krigbaum Smith started their family in Maryland, and Annie’s many brothers and sisters were born partly in Maryland and the rest in Ohio.


Birth and Death Dates of Smith Family Members

Those who lived to adulthood ( 8 out of 12, although one of those adults died at 22) nearly all made it into their 80s.

The order of birth, which is how I presented them here,  contrasts sharply with order of death.

Birth Order:

  • John Henry 1823
  • Mary Jane   1825
  • Jeremiah     1827
  • William J.     1828
  • George W.  1831
  • Susan          1833
  • Annie           1835
  • Priscilla        1838
  • Isadore        1840
  • James           1843
  • Dallas           1845
  • Rebecca       1847

Whereas, if we look at order of death, we find that the infant deaths occurred early and anyone who survived past the Civil War had a very good chance of reaching their 80s (with the exception of Isadore). Here is the age at death and year of death.

  • Susan (1)           1834
  • Priscilla (0)         1838
  • George W. (7)    1838
  • Rebecca (1)        1848
  • Jeremiah (22)     1849
  • John Henry (41)  1864
  • Isadore (39)         1879
  • William J. (83)      1911
  • Mary Jane (88)    1913
  • Annie (82)            1917
  • James (87)            1930
  • Dallas (88)            1933

In this age when death in childbirth was so common, none of three women in the family who had children, died in childbirth. Mary Jane (Stevens) had the most children–eight and Annie (Butts) had six.

Their Lives

The family moved to Ohio definitely by the time of the birth of Susan in 1833, and perhaps two or three years earlier. The information is lacking on George’s birthplace.

The adult men were mostly farmers, the women farmer’s wives and mothers. Most stayed right in Knox County, Ohio where they grew up. Here are a few more details.

John Henry, 1823-1864. I introduced the man who did not survive the Civil War earlier.

Mary Jane Smith (Stevens) 1825-1913.  Annie’s oldest sister had a very long and relatively unremarkable life as a farm wife and mother.  Born in Maryland, she married Cyrus Stevens (1821-1887) in November 1845 in Knox County.  Their children were as follows:

  • Rebecca Frances  (1848) Died before 1851
  • William (1850) Died young
  • Isaac (1851)
  • Aletha (1853)
  • Alice/Ann  (1855)
  • Ellen (1858)
  • Charles (1863)
  • Fulton (1877)

In the six years between 1886 and 1894, Mary Jane’s father died, then her husband (1887) and finally (1892) her mother.  1900 comes missing, but by 1910 at the age of 84, she is living with her sons Charles, a farmer in Knox County.  According to the Smith Family Bible records, Mary Jane died in 1913.

Jeremiah Smith (1827-1849) and destined to die young and leave no record of his life, except the family Bible. Maryland Catholic church records  show the baptism of an unknown child of Isaac and Mary Smith in May 1827.  The family Bible says he died at 22 years old.

William Jackson Smith (1828-1911), born while the family still lived in Maryland. I will write separately about William, an anomaly in several ways.

George W. Smith (1831-1838), probably another unidentified child in baptism records in Maryland. Death and birth dates recorded in family Bible.

Susan Elizabeth (1833-1834) Died at less than one year old.

Ann Marie (Butts) (1835-1917) I have written about Annie and her husband previously.

Priscilla Bell (1838) Died as an infant. (Note that the 7-year-old George died the same year).

Isadore Orilla (Critchfield) (1840-1879)  Isadore did not marry until she was in old maid territory–28 years old. Her husband, Thomas Critchfield only 24, was another farmer in Knox County.  They married in 1870.  The couple moved in next door to Thomas’ widowed mother and his two adult sisters.  After only nine years of marriage and no children, Isadore died at the age of 39.

James F. (1843-1930) Although James came of age during the Civil War, and registered for the draft in 1863 when he was twenty, he did not appear to have served. He married in 1870 and lived next door to his father, Isaac Smith.  James apparently had ambition and studied for the law. However, although he was listed as a lawyer in the 1870 census, subsequent census reports say “farmer”. By 1880, he and his wife Rebecca have a daughter Roxie, who was destined to die as a young teen.  He had no other children.  His brother William lived with him in 1910 in Howard Township, Knox County, but William died in 1911.

Rebecca and James moved into Millbrook Village, part of Danville, Ohio in their later years.  They both lived long lives, Rebecca surviving James who died in 1930 at nearly 87 years old.  I cringe when I think of the horrible death reported on this death certificate.  Starvation resulting from cancer of the face.”

Joseph Dallas Smith (1845-1933) Dallas, as he was called, led the most colorful life of all, and so I will be writing about him separately.

Rebecca (1847-1848) Unfortunately the last child born to Isaac and his wife Mary died when she was less than one year old.  My great-grandmother, Annie would have been twelve years old.  Isaac, in 1847 had reached the age of 47, and Mary was 43.

I will write more about the mother and father, Isaac and Mary (Krigbaum) Smith, who lived to 1886 and 1892 respectively, long enough to enjoy many grand-children. and great-grandchildren. That would include, potentially, my grandmother Mary “Mame” Butts (Kaser), my father’s mother who was born in 1868.