Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (September 24, 2016)



After another brief hiatus, Saturday Serendipity returns this week with the following recommended items of interest . . .


1.   If you have not seen the series by James Tanner of Genealogy's Star blog, "Using Smart Technology to Jump-Start Your Genealogical Research," you can check out Part Eleven here and search back for the earlier parts. Well worth the effort.  

2.   UpFront With NGS, the blog of the National Genealogical Society, had a useful post abut the new availability of digitized newspapers from NEH (the National Endowment for the Humanities). You can read the news here.
  
3.  For the eighth year Bill West of West in New England blog is holding the "Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge." Read about Bill's annual challenge and get the rules here . . . then consider submitting a poem before the November 17th deadline.  

4.  Nancy Messier of My Ancestors and Me blog had a post this week to celebrate International Centenarians Day this past Thursday. Nancy highlights two centenarians in her family, but she also includes a very interesting list of inventions and major events her 100+ year-old relatives saw during their lifetimes.  See the post and Nancy's list here.   
   
5.  Before the computers and fancy programs available to genealogists today, it was all done manually by hand drawings, handwriting, manual typewriters, etc. Barbara Pole of Life From the Roots blog posted an interesting illustrated piece about the various kinds of family trees created in her family.  Have a look here.

6.  Every once in a while it is good to be reminded that very, very few things in life are truly permanent -- and this might especially apply to things in the new era of digital technology. How often do we replace/upgrade our computers? How often do we have to "upgrade" the software and applications we use? How often do we contemplate the unthinkable and consider what would happen to our genealogy trees and all the accompanying data, documents, and photos if stored with commercial genealogy companies or stored in the cloud? Janine Adams has thought about these matters and offers some thoughts worth reviewing yet again. Read Janine's solution here.  [P.S.  I use Family TreeMaker residing on my computer, periodic hard copy runs of my trees, periodic copy to CD/DVDs that go into our safe deposit box, hard copy book volumes of my blog, and a 1.5 TB external backup disk . . . and still wonder if I have everything covered!] 

7.  Do you have ancestors or relatives who worked in the lumber camps of Pennsylvania in the late 19th Century? If so, then you will want to look at the photos posted on The Vault by Rebecca Onion.  The photos might make nice illustrations (with proper permission of course) for your family genealogy to show the conditions in such camps. And who knows, maybe you might get really, really lucky and be able to identify someone from your tree in the photographs. Check out the article and the photos here.       

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Friday, September 23, 2016

40 Years Later -- A Genealogy Factoid For My Descendants (September 23, 2016)




Since this blog is as much a family history as it is a blog focused on more generic genealogy matters, and since the blog is gradually being reproduced in book form for my sons and other descendants,  I often include posts that are more personal history than "genealogy." The reason being that personal events from our family's lives will become "genealogy factoids" to enrich the understanding of us for our future descendants and relatives. As I have written before, these bits of personal information that I call "genealogy factoids" are "little bits of information that were important in the lives of [family members], but they are not the kind of facts that are likely to be found in some public document or record in the future -- the kind of document records generally accorded the status of primary sources." [See, this post for my original thoughts on the role of genealogy factoids in family histories and on genealogy-related blogs  http://filiopietismprism.blogspot.com/search/label/Genealogy%20Factoids]

This post is one of those genealogy factoid pieces that recounts events that will soon be lost to future generations if not recorded and preserved in some manner.  This genealogy factoid is admittedly lengthy and is being published first in blog form, but will eventually be reproduced in hard copy in one of the book volumes that preserves this blog against the loss or demise of the electronic version. 

Forty years ago last month, the closing ceremonies of the 21st Olympiad took place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada -- almost exactly three weeks to the day before Molly and I were married. We attended the Olympics in Montreal and had not been back until just a couple of weeks ago . . . which accounts for the hiatus from posting on this blog for the almost three weeks we were gone.

Shown above are the original Guide we obtained for the Montreal Olympics and the summary schedule of the times and locations for the various competitions. "Athletics" on the schedule is what we generally call "track and field events" and, as a long-time competitive runner, I had a particular interest in those  events.



The 1976 summer Olympics was the one where: Bruce Jenner won the decathlon with a record-setting 8,634 points; Nadia Comaneci became the first person ever to score a perfect 10 at the Olympics; runner Lasse Viren of Finland repeated for the first time gold medal performances in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races; Alberto Juantorena of Cuba became the first man ever to win both the 400 and 800 meter races in an Olympics; five American boxers (Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon and Michael Spinks, Leo Randolph, and Howard Davis, Jr.) won gold; the U.S. men's swim team won every gold but one and Jim Naber himself won four golds and a silver; American hurdler Edwin Moses set a world record in the 400 meter hurdles less than a year after he first took up the event; and John Walker of New Zealand, the first man to run the mile under 3:50, won the 1,500 meter race.

The Montreal Olympics was the first summer Olympics after the 1972 tragedy in Munich when eleven members of the Israeli team were taken hostage by the Palestinian Black September terrorists and executed. All eyes were on Montreal hoping for a return to peaceful, non-political competitions. Two major issues presented themselves as the Olympics approached. One was whether or not there would be a timely completion of the various competition venues along with the debt that was being incurred to stage the first Olympic games located in Canada.  The other was the boycott of the 1976 Olympics by 29 mostly African nations to protest the decision not to ban New Zealand from the games due to the New Zealand rugby team's tour of South Africa contrary to the U.N. sporting embargo call against South Africa.

As construction on the Olympic sites proceeded, it became obvious that the preparations were running behind schedule and the Province of Quebec finally stepped in and took over the construction. It was decided that certain aspects of the construction would be limited or halted so that only what was necessary to stage the games would be completed.  As a result, the tower at the Olympic stadium, which was designed to raise and lower a retractable roof was stopped and never completed until after the games were over. And although the mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, said "The Olympics can no more lose money than a man can have a baby" . . . the staging of the games left a debt of $1 billion and the Province of Quebec told Montreal it was responsible for paying off the debt.  It took Montreal over thirty years to eliminate the debt.

In 1976 my entire family drove from New Jersey to Montreal -- my parents, my two brothers, my sister and I. My sister had her future husband with her, the older of my two brothers had his future wife with him, and Molly was with me. The younger of my two brothers was only 15 at the time and he was solo and probably feeling somewhat left out. We stopped at the summer home of Molly's parents on Lake Placid both going to and coming home from the Olympics. It was a major event and a highlight of our family cohesion before we went off to form families of our own. We traveled north from New Jersey with a camper, two cars, tents, and a dining fly and set up our Olympics camp at a very comfortable campgrounds within easy distance of bus and Metro routes into Montreal and the Olympic sites.

Our campsite for the Montreal Olympics -- two Ford Pintos, a Chevy truck with a camper body, tents and a dining fly.

Most of the family -- my younger brother, my other brother's future wife, my sister's future husband, my parents, and Molly in the blue skirt with me in the yellow t-shirt.

During the Olympics, Molly and I were up early every day and off to see various events immediately after a quick breakfast.  We usually did not return until after dark and we made maximum use of the Metro (subway) and busses to see as much of the games and the city as we could manage.  When we did not both have tickets for an event, we hung around outside the venue until folks who had purchased excess tickets dropped the price to or below actual cost in order to not lose their entire investment.  We saw several extra events this way.  We visited the site of the Expo '67 world's fair on an island in the Saint Lawrence river that we heard was created using the slag and tailings from the construction of the subway system. We had a few very nice meals including a wonderful alfresco lunch at Place Jacques-Cartier, a car-free square down by the Old Port of Montreal.

We had not been back to Montreal in over 40 years when we decided to visit again as we celebrated our 40th anniversary this summer. When we returned to Montreal a few weeks ago, we sought out some of the locations we remembered from the Olympics 40 years ago and we explored some new parts of the city. Below are some "then and now" photographs.

My parents on a bench overlooking the Velodrome (center left) and the  Olympic stadium showing the lower part of the unfinished stadium tower to the right (1976).

The Olympic stadium during the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

A view of the incomplete stadium tower with the stadium in the background during the Olympics  (July 1976).

A view of the stadium with completed tower and the Center for Sports Medicine (Sept. 2016).

Close up of the stadium tower showing men doing periodic repairs and illustrating the scale of the stadium and tower (Sept. 2016)

View of the former Velodrome where cycling events took place with the stadium tower in the background.  The Velodrome is now called the BioDome and has 7 different environmental ecosystems inside with appropriate animals.  The right side of the stadium tower has a funicular car that you can ride up to the top. (Sept. 2016)

When we re-visited the Olympic stadium campus, we decided to pay for a tour of the stadium where we had viewed so many competitive events in 1976.  It was very interesting to see the inner sanctums of the stadium, to see some future Canadian olympians practicing their diving, and to actually stand on the floor of the mammoth stadium interior where so many memorable and historic performances had occurred in 1976.

The Olympic stadium while track and field events are underway in 1976.  The Jumbotron scoreboard is showing one of the pole vault competitors.  Notice the open top of the stadium, which was incomplete during the games since the retractable roof had to be abandoned to divert efforts to absolutely necessary construction.   

The Olympic stadium during the running events.  The Jumbotron actually indicates participants in the Marathon, but it is unknown at this point if the runners on the track are starting the marathon or if it is some other running competition and the Jumbotron is merely showing the current status of the marathon run.

Inside the completed and mammoth stadium.  Notice that a roof is now in place and after having to replace and repair the retractable roof post-Olympics, the roof is now a permanent roof of Kevlar and carbon composite. (Sept. 2016)

This is me thrilled to be standing on the floor of the stadium where so many running and other events took place 40 years earlier. It is hard to grasp the scale of this building from this snapshot, but it is truly enormous.  To give some idea of its scale, look at the three small lights immediately to the left of the three large lights near the roof and above my head.  The three small lights are in what are skyboxes or rooms for commentators and are probably 8 to ten feet high inside!

Inside the swimming venue that is part of the stadium complex.  The pool was being cleaned and maintained and the foreground part of the pool floor has been raised to allow the work. Notice the ladder sticking out of the pool floor in the fourth lane from the left. This is the pool where the U.S. men's team won every gold medal but one and Jim Naber won four golds and one silver! The diving pool is the blue area seen in the distance (Sept. 2016). 

The 3, 5, 7.5, and 10 meter diving platforms in the diving pool portion of the stadium complex.  Young divers -- said to be some of Canada's future olympians -- were practicing off the 5 meter platform and you can see the small splash in the pool from one of the divers (Sept. 2016).

This is a practice area to the right side of the diving pool as one faces the platforms. The young woman is practicing some complicated dives with tucks, twists, and pike positions.  Notice that she is wearing a belt around her waist that is tied to the black lines going up to the ceiling.  Her coach has control of the lines from the side of the pool just out of sight to her left and he can pull her out of any real mistakes in the dive that might result in injury (Sept. 2016).
During our return to Montreal, we also ventured out to the island where Expo '67 took place and that was repurposed as "Man and His World." The 1967 world's fair, called Expo '67, was so popular that rather than raze all the buildings, it was kept as a collection of international pavilions and renamed "Man and His World" ("Terre des Hommes" in French) until the buildings fell into disrepair. In 1971 it was closed for three years and completely rebuilt around what would be the rowing and canoeing basin for the coming Olympics with a few pavilions left after some were demolished to make room for the Olympic rowing basin, boathouses and changing rooms. The U.S. pavilion was a huge geodesic dome (200 feet high and 250 feet in diameter) designed by Buckminster Fuller with an outer skin and interior that housed four platforms with seven exhibit levels.  Just two months before the Olympics opened, a fire burned away the outer skin leaving only the geodesic frame and the interior platforms. The former pavilion site was closed until 1990 and has become what is now known as the "Biosphere," an interactive environmental museum. By the late 1970s the pavilions at the site had become so dilapidated that is was said to resemble the ruins of a futuristic city that had been abandoned and vandalized.  The site closed permanently in 1984 and in subsequent years the interlocking forms that were the "Habitat 67" pavilion became private residences owned by its tenants. The former French and Quebec pavilions are now the Montreal Casino.   

Close up from the street level of the former Habitat 67 (Sept. 2008).

Panorama of the former Habitat 67 as seen from the port of Montreal (April 2006).

The former U.S. pavilion at Expo '67 showing the geodesic structure and the exhibit platforms after the burning of the outer skin. It is now an environmental museum known as the "Biosphere" (Sept. 2016).

Molly standing before the Biosphere (Sept. 2016).

After visiting the Biosphere, we crossed the bridge to see the former Olympic rowing basin where we had watched several events during the 1976 games. We soon discovered that several different triathlon events were taking place and we stayed for a few hours to watch.  Like many former Olympic sites the basin has been repurposed and is used extensively for sporting events.

Observation tower at the former Olympic basin showing the logo for the 1976 Montreal Olympics (Sept. 2016)

Looking down the length of the former Olympic rowing basin with stands shown to the right. During the long distance events, the rowing and canoeing competitors would disappear from sight in the distance and one would not know the standings until they appeared during the return lap (Sept. 2016).

The former Olympic basin where triathlons were being hosted during our visit.  The finish line is shown in the distance and the stands and observation tower are to the left (Sept. 2016).
During the Olympics, we decided we had to see the Olympic Village where the athletes were housed during the games. In 1998 the buildings were bought by Metcap Living, Inc. for $64.7 million. In 2004 El-Ad Group bought the buildings and they were reportedly sold in August 2012 for $177.5 million.  They are now private residences. Below are photos of the Village as we saw them in 1976 and a more recent photo from 2008.

My mother standing by a fire hydrant with the Olympic Village in the background (July 1976)

A close-up with a street level view of the Olympic Village (July 1976).

Aerial view of the former Olympic Village as of September 14, 2008.
Of course we had to visit some of the restaurants in Montreal and so we ventured back to Place Jacques-Cartier where we recalled having a wonderful alfresco lunch 40 years ago during a break from the Olympics to visit downtown Montreal. The statue of Lord Nelson is still on his pedestal at the top of the sloping, stone-tiled square, but it was all scaffolded and undergoing repairs. The square looked much as it did decades ago with restaurants and outdoor eating down both sides to the port. We had another very enjoyable alfresco meal on a side street just off the Place Jacques-Cartier.

Statue of Lord Nelson undergoing repairs at the top of Place Jacques-Cartier (Sept. 2016)


Place Jacques-Cartier looking down toward the port from the statue of Lord Nelson (Sept. 2016).


The side street where we decided to have lunch alfresco (Sept. 2016).


Overlooking Montreal from the top of Parc du Mont Royal.  Note the Biosphere in the middle distance (Sept. 2016).

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All images from original photos or materials owned by and in the collection of the author exceptthe 1976 Montreal Olympic logo obtained from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1976_Summer_Olympics_logo.png and is said to be in the public domain; the images of the former Habitat 67 housing complex for which general permission to copy, distribute and/or modify has been granted by the creators https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Montreal_-_QC_-_Habitat67.jpg  and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Habitat_panorama.jpg; and the September 2008 image of the Olympic Village for which general permission to copy, distribute and/or modify has been granted by the creator https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Montreal_-_QC_-_Olympisches_Dorf.jpg.
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (September 3, 2016)



Saturday Serendipity is posted this week from the beautiful coast of Maine with the items of interest following some Maine views.







1.   UpFront With NGS posted again about the important issue of privacy vs. access and this time provides a link to the Power Point slides for the recent presentation on the subject by the Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) at the FGS Springfield 2016. You can view the post and get the link here. Another post at UpFront this week dealt with digitization of records from the War of 1812.  The private funding for this important and massive project has been declared complete, but (as the post points out) pension applications for service in the war are already available online. You can see the post and get the link to a search function for finding pension applications of your ancestors and relatives here.

2.  In the continuing saga of Randy Seaver's experiment in testing the updating of Ancestry member tree indexing, Randy reported this week that the indexing of his test tree updates has occurred. You can read Randy's good news update on his experiment here
  
3.  Janine Adams of Organize Your Family History blog has a brief, but illustrative, post this week about the importance of doing your own browsing and not relying solely on the work of others -- and particularly of the well-intentioned, but sometimes error-ridden, transcriptions by others. Read Janine's "Sometimes you gotta browse" post here.

4.  What do the old S&H Green Stamps have to do with genealogy today? To find out, have a look at James Tanner's interesting post this week about genealogical source evaluation at Genealogy's Star blog. You can read his post here
   
5.  Laura Mattingly of The Old Trunk in the Attic blog has posted another old photo of an unidentified little girl.  Have a look here and see if you can offer any assistance that might help Laura reunite the photo with a family member.    


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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Beautiful Garden of Prayer by Eleanor Allen Schroll (August 31, 2016)


I recently came across the above photograph of my father when he was about two or three years old.  The woman in the photo was completely unknown to me until I found other photographs (and another version of this one) that were captioned by my paternal grandmother -- in her idiosyncratic way of marking the face of photographs and snapshots.

A bit of Google searching revealed much more.

My paternal grandparents were both born and raised in Rhode Island, but there was a very short period when they moved to Kentucky due to my grandfather's job as a color and dye representative for a chemical company.  While they were living in Dayton, Campbell County, Kentucky, my father was born. When my father was less than four years old, the family returned to Rhode Island and both of my father's siblings were born there.

Another version of the photograph above is captioned by my grandmother and it identifies the woman with my father as "Mrs. H. Clay Schroll."


Two other photographs -- similarly captioned by my grandmother -- shows Mrs. Schroll and my father with the dapper H. Clay Schroll himself. Mr. Schroll was a banker.




Some quick Google searching on H. Clay Schroll (and a lucky guess that the "H" might stand for "Henry" after the famous Kentuckian, Henry Clay, who was a U.S Senator, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,  Secretary of State and Presidential candidate), led to the Find A Grave memorial for "Henry Clay Schroll" born January 16, 1878 in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky. He died in Campbell County on February 18, 1956 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery there.

H. Clay Schroll was married to Eleanor Allen, daughter of Issac Allen and his wife Ella Ros. Eleanor was born in Newport, Kentucky in 1878 and she died in Florida on January 8, 1966. She too is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Campbell County, Kentucky.

Among the above photographs (all taken around 1924-25) were some other papers from my grandmother including a short letter to my father. In the letter, my grandmother notes that the Schrolls were personal friends of my grandparents during the time they lived in Campbell County, Kentucky. She explains that the Schrolls had no children of their own and they made my father sort of their adopted son and "thought the world" of him.  Each Sunday my grandparents "took the Schrolls out " according to my grandmother.

Armed now with the identify of Mrs. Henry Clay Schroll, I did some additional research online and discovered (much to my surprise) that Mrs. Schroll -- Eleanor Allen Schroll -- was a very respected lyricist of hymns and she wrote the words to the well-known hymn, "Beautiful Garden of Prayer."
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All images above are from original snapshots taken by my grandparents. They are now in my possession and part of my family collection. No use may be made of the images without permission!
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Serendipity (August 27, 2016)



After another brief hiatus, Saturday Serendipity returns this week with the following recommended items of interest . . .


1.  On August 25th, Diane Boumenot of One Rhode Island Family blog posted her next to last entry in her must read series "8 Weeks to Better Rhode Island Genealogy Research."  This latest post is on military and pensions and can be read here.     

2.  If you or a relative have a family Bible that is in bad shape and needs rehab, you should have a look at a brief primer on the subject found by NEHGS at The Root.  If you then find yourself looking for a qualified and highly competent conservator, then let me recommend Jill Deiss of Cat Tail Hand Bookbinding outside Winchester, Virginia. You can read more about Jill's qualifications and her business at my blog post of January 21, 2013 here.
  
3.  UpFront With NGS has a post about privacy issues when publishing information about others. This is always an important matter and bears periodic revisiting, so this post is a must read and you can get links to other pieces on the subject.  Get to the UpFront post here.   UpFront also had an interesting and informative post about libraries that offer assistance in digitizing old photos and videos.  Read the piece and find out some of the libraries that offer these services by going here.   

4.  Since I am in the last stages of my blog series on Cumberland Cemetery 3 in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and I have gotten several nice responses, I read with interest Barbara Poole's post about cemeteries in Lowell, Massachusetts.  As always, Barbara provides some beautiful photos to go with her text. If  you believe you have ancestors or relatives from Lowell, you should have a look at Barbara's post here.
   
5.   With the subject of forced removals in the news of late, some might want to look at photographs of the forced removal of Polish Jews back in June 1940.  A post about the removal with several photos can be seen here at The Vault

6. The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, has a post where she simply recommends reading an article on the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement. This is a very useful and informative piece and you can access Judy's post and the necessary link here.

7.   And finally as an update on Randy Seaver's experiment to test the updating of the indexing of Ancestry member trees, as of August 19th (after 8 days of the test), none of the four persons Randy added to his tree were found in a search in Ancestry Member Trees.  This is despite being told by Ancestry, "We have . . . moved our hinting into a new system that updates automatically after 24 hours after an edit has been made."  Ahh well.
See Randy's updates to his original posting here.

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Rhode Island Historical Cemetery, Cumberland 3 (August 26, 2016) -- Part V




Ater 1941, the records for Cumberland Cemetery go silent until 1947 when Everett S. Carpenter received an inquiry from a woman in Wisconsin about any record of a George Lapham being buried in the cemetery sometime between 1828 and 1860. The typed inquiry letter, dated 2-19-47 in someone's handwriting, is shown immediately above.

On March 31, 1947, Everett Carpenter (my maternal grandfather) replied to Miss Olene Lapham to inform her that he had no record of the burial of a George Lapham in Cumberland Cemetery. He also told her that he had personally walked the cemetery to inspect all the remaining headstones, but could not find one with the name George Lapham on it.  As he explained to Miss Lapham, "[T]he old records for this cemetery have been lost, and the present members of the corporation are badly handicapped in trying to dig out any ancient history." Given that Miss Lapham could only date the death of her George Lapham sometime in a 32-year period between 1828 and 1860 (well before the incorporation of the Cumberland Cemetery in 1870), Everett must have been referring to burials in the area of the Cumberland Cemetery prior to lot sales that began in the 1870s. This inquiry and the response supply more evidence to support the belief that property within or adjacent to what is Cumberland Cemetery had been used as a burial ground for many years before the incorporation of Cumberland Cemetery and probably relates to the mention of "disused burying grounds east of the tombs" and other such references in the Trustee minutes and other documents previously posted in this series.



Another gap in the documents relating to Cumberland Cemetery occurred from 1947 until an undated, handwritten letter from a Mrs. Henry Barlow of 14 Grove street in Lonsdale, RI and a reply letter to her from Frank O. Lind, Jr., Town Solicitor for the Town of Cumberland, appeared in January 1952.

As shown immediately below, Mrs. Barlow had written a "Mr. Powers" at the Town of Cumberland regarding the care of various private cemeteries in the Town. The Town Solicitor had been instructed to investigate the Town's responsibility for such cemeteries and found that the Town had no funds for such activities and he referred Mrs. Barlow to my grandfather, Everett Carpenter, at his home address inasmuch as he was identified as an officer of the cemetery she was particularly interested in -- Cumberland Cemetery.


Sometime after January 23, 1952, Mrs. Barlow wrote to Everett Carpenter as suggested by Mr. Lind, the Cumberland Town Solicitor. Her letter was handwritten and she used the blank side of Mr. Lind's reply letter to her as a means of copying Everett with the nature of her inquiry.[1]  Mrs. Barlow's letter is shown below and is followed by a typed transcription to assist the reader.



                                                                                                        Mrs. Henry Barlow
                                                                                                              14 Grove St.
                                                                                                                Lonsdale, RI.

               Mr. Everett Carpenter
                    Dear Sir for the last two years I have been trying to interest some one in the
               condition of the Cumberland Cemetery it is a disgrace to any Town I am a shut
               in and unable to get out the last time I was in the cemetery I counted 30 flags for
               GAR men which could hardly be seen for the weeds and growth ___  ___ either
               from vandalism or age or the weather fences burned and broken I was always of
               the opinion there was a fund left to care for it and perhaps you could tell me about
               it the other cemeteries of the Town have been well taken care of by the Town men
               but but you know the reason why the older ones buried there were once big tax
               payers in the Town if only in respect for those who fought in the Civil War I think
               something should be done about it and hope to interest you in it.
                                                                         Sincerely Mrs. H. Barlow
                                                                                          14 Grove St.
                                                                                                         Lonsdale
                                                                                                                  RI

Myra Barlow was a very determined woman and she wrote to several others in 1952 seeking assistance to clean and care for the Cumberland Cemetery. On January 29, 1952, she wrote to Chester W. Williams, Division Chief of the State Division of Soldiers Welfare in Providence. She had recently read about the work Mr. Williams and Robert Scott were doing for cemeteries in which war veterans were buried. Mrs. Barlow drew their attention to Cumberland Cemetery and noted that "more than 30 graves" there had flag markings and most were for Civil War veterans.  She asked for their assistance in rectifying the conditions at the cemetery where flag markers had been broken, plants had become overgrown, etc.


Sometime prior to May 15, 1952, Myra Barlow wrote to Amos Egerton regarding the conditions at Cumberland Cemetery. Her hand written letter is undated, but it was specifically responded to by Everett Carpenter on behalf of the cemetery corporation on May 15, 1952. Mrs. Barlow's two-page letter with a transcription for the reader follows . . . 




                                                                                                                 Mrs. Henry Barlow
                                                                                                                      14 Grove St.
                                                                                                                Lonsdale
                                                                                                                       R.I. 
               Mr Amos Egerton [sic]
               Dear Sir I am trying to find out something about Cumberland Cemetery as they tell
               me you used to work there some times and I remember that they used to say there
               was a fund for the care of it if you did who paid you I tried three years ago [circa 
               1948?, see Everett Carpenter reply ltd of May 15, 1952] to get the Cumberland
               Official to have the Town men clean it up but no results and I saw a piece in Sunday
               Journal about them buying bonds to get more money to pay care takers but it did not
               mention that cemetery it is a disgrace to any Town to have such a looking place
               where all the family has died or moved away as the ones buried there paid takes [sic]
               many years I am a shut in confined to a wheel chair and unable to get out but my
               folks are buried there and I wish something could be done about it so if you know
               anything if there was a fund or not will you please let me know I am one of the
               Mowrys and I will thank you very much, and will try and write to the towns people      
                                                                                                and oblige

                                                                                                       Mrs. Barlow

On May 15, 1952,Everett Carpenter, Secretary for Cumberland Cemetery, Inc., replied to Mrs. Barlow's handwritten letter to Amos Egerton (shown above) and in essence informed her that there were "no funds  whatever belonging to the corporation" and that it receives "no financial aid from the Town of Cumberland." Everett detailed some history of the corporation and the cemetery explaining that the Cumberland Cemetery was incorporated in 1870, but that there existed a burial ground at the site "for many years prior to that date." He further elaborated and mentioned how membership in the corporation had gradually dwindled due to death until only one member survived and then in 1939 the corporation was "reorganized" under new members. At that time,  two bequests under two different wills were received by the corporation, but only "for the perpetual care of two private plots." The upkeep of all other individual plots was left "wholly the responsibility of the owners" and "[a]s long as there were interested survivors of those buried there, individual lots were kept in good condition and the general appearance of the cemetery remained good." In sum, Mr. Carpenter agreed that while cemetery had "deteriorated badly over a number of years," the corporation [was] powerless to make any improvements without any money."

Mr. Carpenter did, however, end on a hopeful note stating,

               There is but one course open. Membership in the corporation is open to any
               original owner of a lot or his heirs or assigns. With a large membership and
               the willingness of these members to each do a small amount of manual labor,
               the whole area can be put in good condition and so maintained. 


Amos Egerton did indeed work at Cumberland Cemetery and was paid from corporation funds received from bequests to care for specific individual plots in the cemetery. [See, Part IV of this series for the details.] As shown below in Mr. Egerton's invoice/receipt dated December 22, 1954, he provided care for the graves of Dr. Howe and Mrs. Dana as well as that of James C. Dexter. 



The  intrepid Mrs. Barlow was undeterred by the unfortunate news from Everett Carpenter and the Cumberland Cemetery and on May 19, 1952 she wrote again to Chester W. Williams who served as Division Chief of the Rhode Island Division of Soldiers Welfare and was a member of the Graves Registration Committee within that Division. She reminded him of her letter to him in January of that year and stated she had not as yet received a reply. As Memorial Day approached, she once again outlined the situation at Cumberland Cemetery and pleaded the case for providing improvement and care of the cemetery where so many veterans were buried. She offered whatever assistance she could provide.


On May 26, 1952, Chester Williams replied to the two letters from Myra Barlow. Unfortunately, Mr. Williams could only inform Mrs. Barlow that the Rhode Island Graves Registration Committee chaired by Ralph S. Mohr was embarked on a project to "locate and map all of the cemeteries in the State of Rhode Island" and that they would get to "your neighborhood" when the ongoing work in Coventry, East and West Greenwich, Scituate, and towns in that area was completed. He summed up his response by stating, 

               Our ultimate objective is to see that these cemeteries, especially where there 
               are veterans buried, are kept in a decent and respectable condition. It will take
               some time, of course, for all of this to be accomplished, but I can assure you
               that there [is] something definite being done about it and when
               our engineer and field men get to your territory, we will certainly have them
               call on you for any assistance that you may wish to give.


There is also among the records a handwritten letter from Myra Barlow to Nathaniel Brown.  The letter is undated, but from its content it appears it may have been written after her letters to Chester Williams and particularly after his reply of May 26, 1952. She refers in her letter to a meeting of "the Cemetery Committee" and notes that she has "tried for the last three years to get some one interested in [the Cumberland Cemetery] without results."  By the time of this letter, Mrs. Barlow was no longer living at 14 Grove St. in Lonsdale, but had moved to 417 Front St. in Saylesville, R.I. She once again notes that she is confined to a wheel chair and states that she had not been to the Cumberland Cemetery in 9 years. A copy of what appears to be the last correspondence from Myra Barlow follows (with a transcription to assist the reader) -- and it is there that the undaunted efforts of Myra Barlow to obtain care and maintenance of the Cumberland Cemetery comes to a close (probably around 1955). 



                                                                                                    417 Front St
                                                                                                          Saylersville R.I.

               Mr Nathaniel Brown [2]
                    Friend Nat
               I am writing this in regard too the meeting of the Cemetery Committee I have tried
               for the last three years to get some one interested in that cemetery without
               results it is a disgrace to any Town the conditions it is in I wrote to Everett
               Carpenter and he wrote back and said he believed there was a sum left for it
               keeps but he believed it had all been used up I have not been ____ there in 9 years
               as I am confined to a wheel chair the vandals have taken about every thing they
               could move I am enclosing a letter I wrote to them and was hoping that they would
               get around to doing something about it I hope you are able to do something about it
               as it is a disgrace I even wrote to the Town Council to see if they could do something
               and clean it up some but not on the right side of the fence 
                    Here hoping you can do something
               I remain sincerely

                                     Mrs H Barlow
                                        417 Front St
                                              Saylesville R.I.


The last post in this series, Part VI, will provide images of some miscellaneous documents in the Cumberland Cemetery records I have inherited and I will attempt to summarize my thoughts on the history of this historic burial ground.
   
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All images are scanned from original documents in the collection of the author.

[1]  As can be seen in the image of the typed reply letter from the Town Solicitor -- and from the handwritten, undated letter to Everett Carpenter -- there are ghost images of the reverse side of each letter showing how Mrs. Barlow used the back side of Mr. Lind's reply to write to Everett Carpenter.

[2] Nathaniel Brown might be Nathaniel Dana Brown born in 1872 and died January 30, 1962. He is buried in Swan Point cemetery in Providence. Susie [Dana] Smith, daughter of Samuel P. Dana, is one of the two testators who left bequests for care of specific plots in the Cumberland Cemetery.  In her case, the bequest was for "upkeep of the Samuel Dana lot, so-called, and of the adjoining Howe lot, and to use, in [the cemetery corporatin's] discretion, any balance thereof for the general care and upkeep of the whole cemetery." [See, Part IV of this series.]  Might Nathaniel Brown be Nathaniel Dana Brown and if so, was he of the same Dana family as Susie Dana Smith? According to the 1910 Census, Nathaniel D. Brown lived in Cumberland, Rhode Island and was employed as an insurance agent. He and his wife, Nellie A. [Bills] Brown, had one child at the time (Earl age 11) and they lived at 237 High Street, which is just down High Street from my grandparents home at 551 High Street and not far from Cumberland Cemetery on Dexter Street. By the time of the 1940 Census, Nathaniel and Nellie lived at 21 Abbott Street  (which they owned) in Cumberland with their 23-year old daughter Natalie D. Brown. It appears that Nathaniel was the son of Moses and Abby Brown of Cumberland, but no connection to the Dana family has been found as yet.

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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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