THE FAMILY MEMBERS
Eugene Punches, PFA # u Peter ca 1785
I came into
the world squalling and naked at 4:05 PM on 5 August 1940
being born to James Pirl Punches Jr. and Mildred Ternissia
Slone Punches in Oakshade, Ohio. My parents were at that
time just 22 and 17 years of age respectively. They had
been married on 19 October 1939 after eloping from Michigan
and Ohio to Angola, Indiana where they could be married
without the consent of my mother's parents since my mother
was but 16 at the time. I was therefore the first child
born to them and the eldest son. The other children who
followed me were Colin, born two years after me; Patricia,
born 18 months after Colin; William, born 3 years
after Patricia; Victoria, born in 1951; and Leslie Dwight,
born in 1952. These were the children born to my parents
during their marriage.
moved to California in 1948 where I spent about half of
my life, completing the mandated 12 grades of education
and graduating from Mira Costa High School in 1958. I went
to college and university in California earning degrees
in Mathematics and Engineering.
the first time at age 24, to Ann Lee Robinson with whom
I had two children, both daughters, Heather Alyson
and Alicia Michelle. I was divorced in 1972 and remarried
in 1984 to Debra Dianne Ralston with whom I fathered a son,
Ian Jameson Punches. Debra and I were divorced in 1987 and
I became a single father with custody of my son.
career has always been oriented toward the sciences. While
I was attending college and university classes, I worked
as a precision optician learning the trade of manufacturing
scientific optical systems including cameras and spacecraft
systems. I put my training to work in 1967 when I joined
the Hughes Research Laboratories facility, the Santa Barbara
Research Center in Goleta, California. I was part of a division
chartered to work exclusively on spacecraft systems. For
the next twenty years, virtually nothing un-manned flew
in space that didnít have a system on which Iíd worked aboard.
I worked for Honeywell Electro-Optics as an optical engineer,
Eocom Electronic Systems as an optical engineer, Pyramid
Optical Corporation as the Director of Engineering and finally
for Martin-Marietta Orlando Aerospace as a senior manager
and engineer where my tasks were related to military targeting
and weapons control systems. I became retired 1994 when
I developed heart failure and have been retired ever since
sister, Velma Golda Punches-Fouty had begun a genealogical
search into the familyís history when she died unexpectedly
in 1969. Her notes were forwarded to me in 1988 and I picked
up where she had left off. Fortunately for me, the Orange
County Public Library in Orlando, Florida, contains a large
Genealogical Library. I spent many hours there over the
next two years, being able to trace the family lineage back
my g-g-g grandfather, Peter Punches/Pontious. It also gave
me the ability to contact various genealogical and historical
societies for information and help. With this help, documentary
evidence came to light proving the family connections from
Peter to me, a span of six generations. Unfortunately, the
reverse chronology document trail ends in Pickaway County,
Ohio when Peter married Margaret Hager, daughter of John
Hager, on June 22, 1811.
of a trail before 1811 and of any clue as to Peterís parentage
led myself and other Pontius genealogists to decide to begin
a DNA project in an effort to find evidence which would
suggest new directions for research. This project began
in 2005 and is showing interesting results; not what was
expected. My time and effort is now taken up as the General
Administrator of the Pontius Family DNA Project.
Though I canít place my
family lines within those currently identified by the PFA,
I can provide photographic and other evidence for the marriages
of my forebearers.
identified of my forebearers are my great-great-great grandparents,
Peter and Margaret Punches. Since they were married in 1811,
well before photography, the written County record will
have to stand in place of a photograph.
thing about this record to me, is that it records Peterís
surname as Punchus. Iíve inserted a detail of the record
showing it enlarged for clarity.
isnít proof that Peter used the form of Punches or Punchus,
can anyone think of any reason why a clerk or scribe would
independently use that spelling in an official document
unless Peter used such a spelling himself? This record certainly
predates the 1828 documents where Peter signs as Peter Punches.
of my great-great-grandparents George W. Punches and Elizabeth
Beard, occurring in 1841 in Hancock County, Ohio, happened
before photography was available to record such things.
Therefore the county record of their marriage must suffice.
wedding photo therefore occurs with the marriage of my great-grandparents,
Edson Goit Punches and Eliza Ann Golden, in the year 1869.
Since George W. Had taken most of the family off to Allegan
County, Michigan in the late 1860ís, it required my great-grandfatherís
uncle, Peter Punches jr., to sign off on the consent to
marry for Edson and Eliza, because both were under age;
Edson being 20 and Eliza being 16, when the law required
ages of 21 and 18 respectively without parental or familial
One thing immediately noticable is that the
clerk spelled the surname as Pontious, whereas Peter jr.
signed it Punches, as weíve always known it spelled since
1828. Peter sr., is u Peter ca 1785.
was issued on September 9, 1869 and Edson and Eliza were
married on September 11, 1869. It canít be established if
the wedding photo was made before, on or after the marriage.
All that has been established is that it is the first photograph
of them together about the time of the marriage and that
it was referred to as the wedding picture. The original
is a tintype.
was a prolific marriage as far as children went, having
a total of eleven born between 1870 and 1899. Amongst the
children was my grandfather, James Pirl Punches, born in
1878 in Henry County, Ohio.
James Pirl married late. He was 30 before
he found and married the lady of his life. Her name was
Mary Blanche Butler. Her family owned a farm at Oakshade,
Ohio, in Chesterfield Township, Fulton County. She was a
farmerís daughter of 28 years.
Mary had a good life together and James earned his living
as a farmer in Oakshade where he owned a small farm. He
and Mary had six children all together, with four of them
surviving infancy. My father, James Pirl Punches jr., was
the sixth child born to them, in 1918.
was the first Punches child in his line to graduate from
high school. He graduated in the class of 1936 from the
high school in Wauseon, Ohio. He didnít really want to be
a farmer and chose to work off the farm. He met a winsome
young lass who was dating Kenneth Pontius of Morenci, Michigan
in 1938. She was Mildred T. Slone, daughter of Fred C. Slone,
who owned a nursery north of Adrian, Michigan. The chemistry
must have been good between her and my father because they
eloped to Angola, Indiana on October 19, 1939 and were married
by a Justice of the Peace because Mildred was only 16 years
became pregnant with their first child, a son, James Eugene
Punches, within two months of the marriage and he was born
in August, 1940. They went on to have a total of six children,
four boys and two girls.
James jr. took a job with the US government
printing office in Washington DC after the birth of his
first child, returning to Ohio with the US entry into WWII
where he entered the war industry. James jr. had purchased
the Punches farm from his ailing father, prior to the passing
of James sr., in 1940. During the war he sold the family
farm and his descendants have never returned to the occupation.
war, James jr. moved the family west to California in 1948
where some members of the family remain to this day.
Another marriage occurred in 1908 which was
captured in pictures; the marriage of Edson and Elizaís
youngest son, Peter R. Punches. Peter was born in 1889 and
married Gertrude May Kinder in Oakshade, Ohio on November
14, 1908. These pictures are important to my family because
one contains the last image taken of Edson Goit before his
death in 1911.
The following photo is the entire wedding
party at Peter R. and Gertrude May Punches' wedding in 1908.