Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday (April 30, 2013) -- William Henry Tew

This gravestone is for William Henry Tew, the son of Adam Tew and Susan A. (Walker) Tew, my 2x great grandparents.  Little is known of William other than he was born in 1858, most likely in Coventry, Kent County, Rhode Island.  He died on December 20, 1883 possibly in Central Falls, Rhode Island.  He married Eva Almeda Blanchard on December 7, 1880 in Warwick, Rhode Island and it appears they may have had one son before William died in December 1883 -- Adam H. Tew who was born in 1881 and died in 1964.  

It appears Eva married Antone August Graemiger on February 7, 1885 in Scituate, Rhode Island about fourteen months after William's death.  William is buried in Coventry, Rhode Island in the Walker-Tew family cemetery (Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Town of Coventry 14).

William is the youngest brother of my great grandfather, John Andrew Tew, and he is my great grand uncle.  From the inscription on his gravestone, William was known in the family by his middle name, Henry.  The inscription reads. . .

          Dear Henry thou hast gone and left us
          And thy loss we deeply morn [sic -- mourn] 
          But again we hope to meet thee
          On the resurrection morn.
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Photograph of William's gravestone courtesy of Don Benoit, a cousin of the author. 

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Mom vs. Google: Note To Self . . . Always Remember Mom Can Be A Primary Source!

A few weeks ago, in this Friday Fotos post, I spotlighted the 1927 groundbreaking for the construction of the "Masonic Temple Lonsdale, RI" as captioned above on the back of the original photograph of the groundbreaking.  Prior to posting the photograph -- which shows the participation of my great grandparents and three others in the event -- I dutifully did some research on Google to see if I could find a photograph of the completed temple to use in the post.  The initial search term was obvious enough, "Lonsdale, Rhode Island Masonic Temple."  But the results did not reveal any photographs of the completed temple.  As I reported in the original post, "An internet search has thus far failed to find any additional information or a photograph of a completed Lonsdale Masonic Temple -- and so it is not known if the building was ever constructed or completed if begun."

The Google research did uncover the fate of the planned Masonic Temple in central Providence, which held its groundbreaking in 1926, but had construction halted in 1929 as a result of the start of the Great Depression.  I speculated whether this was the same fate that befell the planned Lonsdale temple.  I also asked potential readers for help in determining if the Lonsdale building was ever completed and if photos existed even if the building might no longer be there.

I did learn some information using Google and other on-line resources.  I was able to determine through discovery of a digital version of the History of Freemasonry in Rhode Island that the Lonsdale Masonic Lodge was actually named "Unity Lodge No. 34" -- and I found a list of officers in 1891 that included my great grandfather, Samuel Eber Carpenter.  This is where things sat until I heard from my mother.

Not surprisingly, my mother is one of the readers of The Prism.  She was born in Rhode Island and grew up in the house at 551 High Street in Cumberland that was the home of her grandparents, Samuel Eber Carpenter and Sarah Etta Carpenter, two of the participants pictured in the Lonsdale Masonic Temple groundbreaking photograph.  I had totally forgotten to go to my primary source for many things in life -- my mother!  She emailed me from my parents' winter home in Florida, "I know that the building was built and  used for many years---that was the lodge that Uncle David [her late brother] belonged to. It was across from the Catholic Oak and next to Blackstone Street School."

Back to Google I went, but this time I used "Cumberland, Rhode Island" instead of Lonsdale in my search terms.  And BINGO, in short order I had access to a .pdf of the 1998 revised version of Historic and Architectural Resources of Cumberland, Rhode Island by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission. 

Cover showing a "Bird's Eye view of Lonsdale, Rhode Island (1888);
lithograph, O.H. Bailey & Company, courtesy Rhode Island Historical Society

On page 37 of the publication (as shown below) was a confirmation of my mother's information and an indication that at least as of 1998, the building still existed. 

Back to Google again and very quickly I was able to determine that 15 years after publication of the 1998 revised version of Historic and Architectural Resources of Cumberland, Rhode Island, the former Lonsdale Masonic Temple still exists and, following email communication with its Executive Director, Russell Gusetti, I obtained permission to share here photographs of the Blackstone River Theater, which still occupies and thrives in the former masonic temple building. 

The main entrance to the former Lonsdale Masonic Temple, Unity Lodge No. 34,
now the Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland, Rhode Island

Full view of  the former Lonsdale Masonic Temple, Unity Lodge No. 34,
now the Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland, Rhode Island 
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Scanned image of the front cover and p. 37 of the Historic and Architectural Resources of Cumberland, Rhode Island publication of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission (Revised 1998) is used here under fair use and the belief it is in the public domain having been created with public funding.

Photographs of the building originally constructed as the Lonsdale, Rhode Island Masonic Temple, Unity Lodge No. 34 as taken off the website of the current occupants of the building, the Blackstone River Theater.  The photographs are used with permission.  For more information about the Blackstone River Theater, see, http://www.riverfolk.org 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (April 28, 2013)

Earlier this month there was a graveside ceremony in Reading, Pennsylvania.  It was held at the grave of Levi Schlegel, who was a private in the Civl War.  Levi was one of the lucky ones to survive that devastating conflict and he lived a long life until he died at age 91 in 1932.

During his Civil War service, Levi happened to have passed through the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and at some point during that transit, he lost a finger ring that had his name, company and regiment engraved on it.  It has been said that such rings were the Civil War version of the more modern "dog tag."

John Blue is today a heavy equipment operator from Manassas, Virginia.  Mr. Blue is also an experienced hunter of Civil War relics and back in 2005 he was pursuing his hobby in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Virginia when his metal detector signaled a possible find.  What he found was the finger ring of Pvt. Levi Schlegel.  It had been missing for 148 years since Levi lost it.

It took Mr. Blue a while to determine that he wanted to try to find any living descendants or relatives of Pvt. Schlegel, but with the help of a genealogist friend the path led to Reading, Pennsylvania where Ernest Schlegel was a member of the Reading Public Library Board.  It appears Ernest Schlegel is a distant cousin of Pvt. Levi Schlegel and in early April at the gravesite of Levi Schlegel, Mr. Blue presented Ernest Schlegel with the finger ring of Pvt. Levi Schlegel -- a true Good Samaritan moment!

Read more about Mr. Blue and see photos of the ring, the discoverer, and the ceremonial exchange here

[If you should choose to adopt this prompt to contribute stories of folks who have gone out of their way to  lend genealogy-related assistance to others, I would greatly appreciate a mention to Filiopietism Prism whenever you do so.  Thank you!  And please do use the same photograph above to illustrate the prompt and show it is adopted from this blog.  ;-) ]
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Photograph of the The Good Samaritan sculpture by Francois-Leon Sicard (1862 - 1934).  The sculpture is located in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France.  The photograph is by Marie-Lan Nguyen and has been placed in the public domain by her. See, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Good_Samaritan_Sicard_Tuileries.jpg 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Poem For My Broheim at 52

April is National Poetry Month.  With only today and three more days left to make another amateur contribution to the literary event, I take this opportunity to recognize in poem the younger of my two brothers, Robert, upon his reaching a momentous birthday this very day!  I call this one. . .

A Riff On 52 For You At 50 + 2

52 is not just your number of trips around the sun
Or the number that simply follows Fifty-one

52 is the number of weeks in the year
And on Route 52 your car you can steer

52 is too young to suffer from chronic delirium
But it is, chronologically, the atomic number of tellurium

52 is the number of piano white keys
And it's a number indivisible by 7s or 3s 

52 as a number is decagonal, an untouchable and a Bell
It is noncototient, and a Saros -- that's what Wikipedia will tell 

But most of all, most important for YOU
as today you reach the age of fifty + two . . . 

Unlike losing players at a casino in Quebec     
52 means, "You are finally playing with a full deck!"

Happy Birthday Broheim!

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"National Poetry Month" and the logo above are registered trademarks of the Academy of American Poets who encourage downloading of the official 2013 National Poetry Month logo for use in promoting poetry in April.  The Prism uses the logo here to encourage other bloggers to participate in National Poetry Month events and by offering up your own poems on your blogs.  Four days left including today!  ;-)
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday Serendipity (April 27, 2013)

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.  Alertness and serendipity go hand-in-hand.  Unless you are prepared, primed, and  alert to what you are reading, a serendipitous discovery will usually remain buried and undiscovered in the media.  Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy provides a wonderful example of how being alert can help unlock a mystery through recognizing the potential relevance of just two words in a one-paragraph announcement in an 1881 newspaper.  Go here to see the paragraph, discover the two words, and read the full story about finding part of the answer to a continuing genealogical mystery.

2.  There are only 320,000 residents of the country of Iceland (a population almost 1,000 times smaller than the United States) . . . and they just might be the most genealogy-obsessed people on the planet.  With such a small population and a history going back tens of thousands of years, the likelihood   of one Icelander being related to another in some way is pretty good.  So what kind of marketing opportunity does this bring to mind?  Why the need for an "incest app" of course!  Read more about this entrepeneurial by-product of the digital genealogical database of the inhabitants of Iceland here.
3.  With May Day a mere four days away, here is a nice read on the website of the Edina [Minnesota] Historical Society about the background of the disappearing tradition of the May Day Basket.  I am mentioning this also as a "teaser" for a special post I have scheduled for May Day 2013 here on The Prism.  I hope those of you who read this stop by on May 1st to see what I have to show you and pass on the link to those who might be interested.  Maybe we genealogy bloggers should mount a campaign to bring back the May Day Basket tradition?
4.  This week we also have two posts by two Heathers that deal with an extremely sad chapter in our national history -- the enslavement of other human beings.  First, Heather Kuhn Roelker at Leaves for Trees continues the saga of her brave ancestor, Daniel D. Lightner.  In Part III we find out how and why Daniel vowed to fight slavery not just with words, but with personally risky action.  And then there is another interesting post on Nutfield Genealogy, Heather Wilkinson Rojo's blog.  See and read about a 1779 petition for freedom by 20 enslaved men from New Hampshire.  These men were from the "Live Free or Die" State.  Five  eventually lived free -- the other fourteen were left to the alternative and died.  New Hampshire took a symbolic action on April 24, 2013 after 233 years -- but not until two legislators apparently had to be convinced that symbolic actions do matter.  Read about the petition, the petitioners and the result here.      

5.  With all the controversy we see and hear and read about with respect to the use of photographs posted by others, and the need to ask permission, and to give proper credit, etc., etc., here is a story mentioned in The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS.  It involves the gift that just giving an unencumbered  photograph can bestow.  Read the story here -- and then go scan those polaroids! 

6.  For those with roots in Rhode Island, or just an interest in Rhode Island history, the Providence Journal has a nice feature called Time Lapse Blog where they "post a photograph from Rhode Island's history every day at facebook/Providence Journal."  They maintain a Time Lapse Gallery that showcases "all the lead photos and links to the stories."  Have a look -- you never know what you might find!  

7.  Most of us love having some artifact or heirloom of a long-departed ancestor or relative -- and we will even pay for such items if we can afford them and can just somehow discover that the items still exist.  Well here is a site that might be worth checking out if the possibility of recovering relocated family heirlooms and antiques intrigues you.  Justajoy.com strives to be "the link between 'Orphaned Heirlooms' in the hands of antique dealers & collectors & the families who would cherish them."  There is a $20.00 annual membership fee for full feature access, but you might find it worth checking out.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Fotos (April 26, 2013)

Margaret (Collins) Hayes

Margaret (Collins) Hayes is my wife's great grandmother and my sons' great great grandmother. She was born in Ireland in February 1859 and she died in New York (the precise location and date presently unknown to me).  

Margaret Collins married Thomas Hayes in Ireland (date and location currently unknown).  She and Thomas emigrated from Ireland and arrived in the United States with three daughters in 1889 (according to the 1900 Census).  The family lived in Queens, New York.  Margaret and Thomas eventually had six children -- all girls: Mary (b. 1884); Nellie (b. 1886); Hannah (b. 1889); Margaret (b. 1891); Nora C. Hayes O'Kane (my wife's grandmother, 1893 - 1981); and Katharine (b. 1896).

Almost nothing is known at present about Margaret's husband Thomas, except that he died while all of his daughters were still young girls.  Margaret was left alone to raise their daughters, and, as reported by my wife's aunt, Margaret did so by keeping babies from the New York Foundling Home.  The babies were kept in the Hayes home for two years each and Margaret is reported to have kept 29 babies over the years as she struggled to keep her own family together.  Margaret had many and repeated offers from various social agencies to take some of her six girls, but she steadfastly refused to give up any of her children.  She raised them all to young adulthood.  As my wife's aunt says, "She is a woman to be admired."  She is indeed!  

What little I know of Margaret Collins makes me want to know more.  She is on a list of people about whom I need to do more research.  She clearly was a particularly strong and resilient woman. In the future, I hope to learn more about Margaret and her life -- and to report on any discoveries here at The Prism.
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Photograph of Margaret (Collins) Hayes courtesy of my wife's aunt, Grace (O'Kane) Herbert.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday (April 25, 2013)

Invitation to the 200th Anniversary of the Town of Attleborough, Massachusetts (Incorporated 1694)

The Town of Attleborough, Massachusetts celebrated its Bi-Centennial Anniversary on Thursday, October 18th and Friday, October 19th, 1894.  Above is the invitation to the festivities that was sent to citizens of the town and to "absent sons and daughters and all others interested in the occasion . . ."

The Town of Attleborough was originally incorporated from Rehoboth, Massachusetts in 1694 and was comprised of what is now the Town of Cumberland, Rhode Island and the Town of North Attleborough, Massachusetts.  Cumberland was part of Attleborough until 1747 and North Attleborough was part of the Town of Attleborough until 1887.  In 1914 the Town of Attleborough changed the spelling of its name to Attleboro and at the same time reincorporated as the City of Attleboro.

Attleboro is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts.  In 2010 it was reported to have a population of 43,593.  Attleboro is about 10 miles from Providence, Rhode Island and 39 miles from Boston, Massachusetts.  At one time, due to the number of jewelry manufacturers in the city, it was known as "The Jewelry Capital of the World."  Many people over the last 100 years have worn high school, college, fraternity, sorority, military and championship rings made by the L.G Balfour Company.  Balfour was founded 100 years ago on June 13, 1913 in Attleboro.  Balfour is probably the most famous of the jewelry manufacturers located in Attleboro and at one time Balfour had contracts with 90% of all national fraternal societies to serve as their official jewelers for rings and other jewelry. 

The invitation above was devised by the Committee on Invitations, of which Lucy B. Sweet was a member.  Lucy was Lucy Bliss Carpenter, daughter of Joseph Carpenter and his wife Nancy Mason (Bullock) Carpenter, who have been written about here on The Prism and in American Ancestors magazine (vol. 12, no. 4, fall 2011) as reproduced with permission here.  Joseph and Nancy Carpenter are my 3x great grandparents.  Their daughter Lucy married Everett Leprilete Sweet on March 6, 1851.  Lucy is my 2nd great grand aunt. 
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Invitation photograph is of the original invitation in the possession of the author. 

The Seal of the City of Attleboro is an official logo of a governmental entity and it use here is believed to qualify as fair use under the copyright laws of the United States as further explained here.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday (April 23, 2013) -- The John and Margaret Tew Family gravestones

Tew Family Plot in Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls, Rhode Island

I have written elsewhere at The Prism about the sadness that visited the nuclear family of my great grandparents, John and Maggie Tew.  Of the five children born to John and Maggie, only two survived beyond age two.  Their only daughter and eldest child, Edna Lillian Tew, and my grandfather, Arnold George Tew, survived to adulthood and each married and had one or more children.  The above photograph shows the gravestones of the entire John and Maggie Tew family.

As shown above, the small gravestones to the right are the markers for the first two sons of John and Maggie.  The first-born son, Charlie E. Tew, was born on August 25, 1886.  He died about two months shy of age two on June 15, 1888.  The third-born child and second son, Henry E. Tew, died not quite a year after his older brother Charlie died.  Henry was born June 18, 1888 -- three days after his brother Charlie died!  Close-ups of the brothers' gravestones are shown immediately below.

Gravestones of brothers Charlie and Henry Tew

Gravestone of Charlie E. Tew (1886 - 1888)

Gravestone of Henry E. Tew (1888 - 1889)

The headstone for John Andrew Tew, his wife Margaret "Maggie" (Conner) Tew, the third of their sons to die in infancy, and their two surviving children (and their spouses) is shown below.  As shown on the headstone, the third son of John and Maggie died just shy of eleven months after his father was hit by a train and killed.

One Hundred Twelve years ago today, John and Maggie's third son, John H. Tew, was born (April 23, 1901).
Sadly, he died on December 2, 1903.

The headstone above also shows the two children of John and Maggie who survived to adulthood and married.  These two children and their spouses are buried with John and Maggie.  The only daughter, Edna Lillian (Tew) Tarr, my grand aunt, (1885 - 1969) rests here with her husband, Edward Clifford Tarr (1884 - 1948).  The only son to survive, Arnold George Tew (1896 - 1958), my grandfather, is at peace here with his wife, my grandmother, Huldah Antonia (Hasselbaum) Tew (1898 - 1983).

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All photographs taken at Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls, Rhode Island by the author.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (April 21, 2013)

[If you should choose to adopt this prompt to contribute stories of folks who have gone out of their way to  lend genealogy-related assistance to others, I would greatly appreciate a mention to Filiopietism Prism whenever you do so.  Thank you!  And please do use the same photograph above to illustrate the prompt and show it is adopted from this blog.  ;-) ]

The parable of the Good Samaritan is from the New Testament of the Bible in the gospel according to Luke, and, as almost everybody knows, it is about someone helping a stranger when no one else would.  The phrase "a Good Samaritan" has passed into our language to describe generally anyone who is willing to go out of his or her way to help a complete stranger.  [And I am sure our favorite genealogist lawyer, Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist, would be able to tell us all about the Good Samaritan laws that exist in many states in the U.S. -- if she has not already done so in early posts of which I am not aware. ]  

Many charitable organizations and hospitals have used the idea and ideal of the Good Samaritan in naming their institutions.  Similarly, it is the idea and ideal of the Good Samaritan that provides the inspiration for naming this new blog prompt of mine after the parable about a stranger going out of his way to help another stranger.  In this instance, it is about folks in the genealogy community ( or those who simply recognize the value of genealogical items and/or information) who go out of their way to lend genealogy-related assistance to others they do not even really know. 

This first installment of "Samaritan Sunday" is dedicated to the Union County Fraternal Order of Police No. 171 in Ohio.  It is from a story I read earlier this year.

In December 2011, Tim Shier was the victim of a burglary at the shop building on his property in Marysville, Ohio.  In addition to his Ford-350 pickup, some cash and a gun safe he kept in his shop, he had his family's heirloom 300-year-old Bible stored there.  For some unknown reason, the thieves took the Bible!  The Bible was printed in 1706 and had been brought from Germany to America by Mr. Shier's ancestors.  The Bible contained seven generations of Shier family births, deaths and marriages.

After the four thieves were apprehended, a very understanding judge offered the possibility of more lenient incarceration if one of the thieves would trace down the location of the Bible so that it could be recovered for Mr. Shier and his family.  Sadly, all one of the thieves could offer was that the heirloom had been "tossed into a bin" -- indicating the thieves had taken something they had no interest in whatsoever.

Fast forward a year or so later and one of Mr. Shier's cousins, who must have an interest in genealogy, spotted reference to a very old German Bible on Ancestry.com.  It sounded from the description like it could be the Shier family Bible.  Detectives were contacted and the Bible's journey after being discarded into some bin began to be reconstructed.  It appears that the Bible somehow became a donation to Goodwill, who then sold it on line to raise funds for its work.  The trail then led to Louisiana and finally to Georgia where a couple claimed ownership of the Bible as the result of an innocent purchase for $405.  The couple did not want to be out over $400 for an innocent purchase they made and so they agreed to return the Bible to Tim Shier, but only if their purchase price was refunded in full.

The Union County Ohio Sheriff's Office had an understandable policy against buying back stolen property and so there the matter stood until Det. Mike Justice, President of the Union County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 171, and his organization decided on what I am sure is just one of many "Samaritan moments" for them.  The members of the Union County FOP recognized that this family heirloom was more than an ephemeral piece of personal property that was just another mundane item of theft; this was 300 years of family history.  They reimbursed the Georgia couple and Mr. Shier's Bible was returned to him compliments of these Good Samaritans! 

There are many stories such as this one out there and I hope to post more of them periodically here at The Prism.  You can read the story of the Shier family Bible and the Good Samaritans of the Union County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 171 here -- and you can see photographs of Tim Shier and his Bible.
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Photograph of the The Good Samaritan sculpture by Francois-Leon Sicard (1862 - 1934).  The sculpture is located in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France.  The photograph is by Marie-Lan Nguyen and has been placed in the public domain by her. See, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Good_Samaritan_Sicard_Tuileries.jpg 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Serendipity -- April 20, 2013

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.  Many blogs this week wrote about Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2013.  See, for example, Heather Rojo's posting at Nutfield Genealogy.   Thomas MacEntee at the must-read GeneaBloggers provided one of the earliest postings of the selections and listed all 40 blogs with links to each blog site and to the Family Tree article announcing the selections.  And then there was the prolific and excellent blog of Randy Seaver -- Genea-Musings -- that provided the added service of mentioning other excellent blogs that he thought could have easily also been awarded the laurels.  Randy invited others to weigh in on blogs that were deserving, but were left off the 2013 list.  All three of these blogs were 2013 Best Genealogy Blog selectees -- and deservedly so!  I suggest you visit their blogs and surf the selectees and should-have-been selectees to discover some good genealogy sources.  

[BTW, I echo many others in registering my shock that Judy G. Russell's The Legal Genealogist was overlooked this year.  Her blog is another must-read in my opinion and I look forward to the correction of this oversight in 2014!]   

2.   Think you might have some Welsh ancestry?  Check out this article that was a pick in The Weekly Genealogist by NEHGS this week.

3.   My hard drive provides as much evidence of my pack rat proclivities as my genealogy work space does.  I have many years of emails in subject folders including one for NEHGS newsletters.  Before the name change in August 2010, what is now The Weekly Genealogist was called NEHGS eNews.  I hereby confess that I have issues stored going back to at least January 2008 and that occasionally I go back to re-read some or finally get to others that my email application tells me are still "unread."  Here is an article from the NYT Magazine that was a "Story of Interest" in the January 16, 2008 NEHGS eNews.  The teaser for the article is, “The dewy and innocent milkmaid at the center of Thomas Hardy’s tragic novel 'Tess of the d’Urbervilles' is destroyed not by rape or heartbreak; what does her in is genealogy.”  However, the title of the piece is "Ancestral Allure" and the five-year-old article is an interesting view of our hobby complete with some dashes of snark.  Have a read.

4.   Since the Carpenter side of my family had known abolitionists in their midst, I am always drawn to stories about these good souls who were definitely on the right side of history and many times provide examples of profiles in courage.  There were different kinds of abolitionists.  There were those who spoke out and tried to convince others and then there were those who were activists and put words into action.  Heather Kuhn Roelker shares two posts with us about her activist abolitionist ancestor Daniel D. Lightner.  I highly recommend reading both Part I here and Part II here

5.  After this horrible week of terror, tragedy and triumph in Boston, take a few moments to look at the re-post of a photo piece on April in Lexington and Boston provided by Barbara Poole at Life From the Roots.  Barbara posted last Sunday -- the day before Monday's marathon tragedy -- some beautiful photos she took in April 2011.  They remind us that this is what the Boston area is really about in April -- and will be again.  This year was a sad aberration created by mad men. 

6.   Always informative about the legal issues involved in genealogy and genealogy blogging, Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist, gives us a cautionary word to keep in mind during our excitement over the recent launch of the "Digital Public Library of America."  All genealogy bloggers should take the time to read Judy's caution starting at "But . . ." 

7.  Geneabloggers just posted its weekly "New Genealogy Blogs" feature.  It contains an interesting new blog called "Ancestoring's Orphan Photos."  The new blog is devoted to posting photographs that have been orphaned -- meaning the people in the photos are unknown and the photographer is unknown.  You never know who you might find here, so it is worth a look for that reason -- or even if, like me, you just enjoy looking at old photographs.  
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Fotos (April 19, 2013) -- Helen R. (Cooke) Roberts

Helen (Cooke) Roberts (r) reading to her half sister, Constance Cooke

Helen Raeder Cooke, was the older sister of my grandmother, Ruth Eaton (Cooke) Carpenter. Helen was born on February 21, 1892 in Attleborough, Massachusetts and died in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on October 4, 1987.  She is my grand aunt.

Helen was a nurse and was married to Dr. Frederick A. Roberts of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The date of this photograph is circa 1930 when Constance Cooke was about 4 years old. Constance was a child of Helen's father, Walter Wilson Cooke (1869 - 1944), and his second wife, Flora Sayle.  Walter's first wife, the mother of Helen, my grandmother and four other children, was Florence Leonette Flagg.  "Nettie," as she was called, died in 1904 having been predeceased by both her sons who died in infancy.  
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Original photograph in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2013.  John D. Tew
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday (April 19, 2013) -- Mason Freeman's May 1, 1864 U.S. Internal Revenue License

Tax Day is a thing of the past -- at least for another year -- so it will perhaps now cause less anxiety and pain to post a United States Internal Revenue License from May 1, 1864 than it would have just a week ago.

License No. 3162 shown above is the one issued to Mason Freeman of the Town of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  It was in force from May 1, 1864 until its expiration on May 1st, 1865 -- essentially encompassing the last year of the Civil War.  Mason was the proprietor of a general store in Albion, Rhode Island.  This license was issued, as stated, for Mason Freeman to "carry on the business or occupation of a Retail Dealer at Albion . . . he having paid the tax of Ten Dollars therefor, conformably to the provisions of an Act entitled 'An Act to provide Internal Revenue to support the Government, and to pay interest on the public debt,' approved July 1, 1862, and the amendments and supplements thereto."

Mason Freeman (1820 - 1898)

According to the obituary for Mason in the April 11, 1898 Pawtucket Times:

Mr. Freeman was one of the best known residents of the Blackstone Valley. * * * Mr. Freeman, while a resident of Lincoln, did not take any very prominent part in the public affairs, but his reputation among his fellow was such as to make many of those who were active in politics seek him for advice when questions affecting the interests and welfare of the people were being considered.

Mason is my 2x great grandfather and the father of Sarah Etta (Freeman) Carpenter, my great grandmother.  He was born on June 14, 1820 in Massachusetts and he died at home (193 High Street, Lonsdale, Rhode Island) on April 10, 1898.
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Photographs from original documents in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Remarkable Anna Carpenter (Garlin) Spencer

Anna Carpenter (Garlin) Spencer
 [April 17, 1851 - February 12, 1931]

It was 162 years ago today (April 17, 1851), that Anna Carpenter Garlin was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  Anna was the fourth and youngest child of Nancy Mason Carpenter and her husband, Francis Warren Garlin.  Anna's mother Nancy was the older sister of my 2x great grandfather, Samuel Carpenter.  Nancy was also the author of the reply letter to Miss Emily Aplin as recounted in my article for American Ancestors magazine (Vol. 12, No. 4 -- Fall 2011) -- Echoes from the Dorr Rebellion: The 1842 Aplin/Carpenter Correspondence.  [The article was republished on this blog with the kind permission of the New England Historic Genealogical Society on January 14, 2013.  See, http://filiopietismprism.blogspot.com/2013/01/echoes-from-door-rebellion-1842.html]

Anna died in New York just shy of 80 years old on February 12, 1931  -- twenty-two years to the day after she was one of 19 women and 42 men who signed the "Call for the Lincoln Emancipation Conference in 1909."  That manifesto, now generally referred to as "The Call," was signed by sixty prominent African American and caucasian leaders.  The Call brought about a meeting of progressives of different races, religions, educational attainment, and socioeconomic means and they emerged as the founders of the NAACP. [See the March 12, 2013 post on this blog, Fearless Females -- Nineteen Who Joined "The Call." ]

Anna may have been the "baby of the family," but it was clear from a young age that she was a self-confident and motivated girl who became quite a remarkable woman in her time.  At age 17, Anna joined the Women's Suffrage Movement of Providence, Rhode Island.  In a description of what might have been her first appearance among the suffragettes of Providence, it was later written, ". . . a young girl then in her early teens, came into a small meeting of woman-suffragists of Providence, R.I. rose unannounced, and spoke a few clear, strong words for the advancement of women.  Her dainty girlish beauty was unknown to most of the persons in the little assembly into which she had come but the slight, expressive figure, the clear brown eyes, the dainty coloring of hair and skin and above all the musical voice and the nature of what she said did not fail to attract attention and more than one of those present divined that this fluty voice and those steadfast brown eyes had a message from a soul to deliver to the world." [1]

Unusually for a woman of her time, Anna spent the years from age 18 through 21 engaged in private college tutoring in Providence schools (1869 - 1871).   During this same time, and for years beyond, she also worked as a writer for the Providence Daily Journal (1869 - 1886).

By the time Anna was 24 years old, she had developed doctrinal issues with the Congregational church to which she belonged and so in 1875 she joined the Providence Free Religious Society.  This began a new endeavor for Anna as she commenced several years of preaching to such liberal religious organizations as the Progressive Friends in Chester, Pennsylvania and the Free Religious Society in Providence.  In 1878, she was a speaker at the Free Religious Association's annual meeting and it was there that she met her future husband, Unitarian Minister William Henry Spencer, who was also a speaker at the meeting.  Anna and William were married on August 15, 1878 and they moved to Haverhill and Florence, Massachusetts and then to Troy, New York as William pursued his calling as a Unitarian minister.  Anna was his assistant in all these assignments.

In 1889, the Spencers were living in Wisconsin where William had returned to assist in the Spencer family business (a loan collection agency) and word was received that James Eddy, patron of the liberal Bell Street Chapel in Providence, had passed away.  The Eddy family wanted Anna to return to Providence to assist the Eddy family in administering the James Eddy trust.  Anna agreed to the request and the Spencers returned to Providence where Anna, now the mother of five-year-old daughter Lucy, dove into civic and religious activities.  She became Vice President of the Providence Women's Suffrage Association (the organization she had boldly addressed in her early teens) and she joined other organizations in the city.  This return to Rhode Island and Anna's flurry of civic activity undoubtedly helped her recover from the still stinging misery of having lost her first-born child, son Fletcher Carpenter Spencer.

In 1890 Anna helped found the American Purity Alliance -- later renamed the American Social Hygiene Association -- and she became the Chair of the Family Relations section.  Then, in 1891, Bell Street Chapel voted unanimously to ordain her and she became the first female ordained minister in Rhode Island.  Anna served as pastor and President of the Bell Street Chapel for the next eleven years.

Anna in a colorized photo taken in the Bell Street Chapel (date unknown)
In the years 1891 - 1902, Anna had a long list of service and involvement in religious, social and political activities from her base in Rhode Island.  She was a member of the Board of the Rhode Island State Home and School for Dependent Children; Vice President of the Providence Society for Organizing Charity; Chair of the International Congress of Charities, Correction and Philanthropy at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago; Vice President of the Free Kindergarten Association; member of the Women's Christian Temperance Movement (Providence Chapter); member of the Board of Directors for the Free Religious Association and delegate to the Unitarian Convention, the World Parliament of Religions and the Free Religious Association.  Somehow, with all this involvement and the raising her daughter, Anna also found time to write.  Over the years, she had numerous publications and books to her credit in newspapers, magazines and the likes of the Journal of Sociology, Popular Science Monthly and others.

In 1902, the Spencers moved to New York City where their daughter Lucy started a career in theater. Ever active, Anna became an Associate Director of the New York School of Philanthropy (later known as the New York School of Social Work before it was merged into Columbia University as its School of Social Work).  Anna lectured at the School of Philanthropy until 1912.  She also was Associate Director of the New York Society for Ethical Culture.  Among her later academic pursuits, she was a lecturer on Social Service at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Chicago.  From 1913 - 1918, she was Professor of Sociology and Ethics at Meadville Theological School in Pennsylvania and she was a special lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1920 until her death.  

Anna's husband died in 1923 and Anna herself died of a heart attack in New York on Lincoln's birthday, February 12, 1931, while attending a dinner of the League of Nations Association.

Anna Carpenter (Garlin) Spencer on the right with Alice Stone Blackwell, daughter of Lucy Stone.

Anna Carpenter (Garlin) Spencer was an author, lecturer, ordained minister and social activist.  She is  my 1st cousin 3x removed.  

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[1]     Quote from a hand-written script found among the papers in the Anna Garlin Spencer Papers (DG 034), Swarthmore College Peace Collection. [Author unknown.]

All photographs of Anna Carpenter (Garlin) Spencer from photographs in the Anna Garlin Spencer Papers (DG 034), Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Military Monday -- And Then There Were Four: The O'Kane Brothers Service in WWII

Raymond C. O'Kane (1925 - 1988)

I posted here on March 11, 2013 about the O'Kane brothers of Great Neck, New York and their service during World War II.  My late father-in-law, Daniel J. O'Kane, Jr. (1919 - 2007), was the eldest of four O'Kane brothers.  On March 11th I stated, "The fourth O'Kane brother, Raymond O'Kane, was born in 1925.  I do not know if he served in the military during WWII; but in any event, I do not have a photo of him in uniform."  Just within the last couple of days, I received confirmation from a sister of the O'Kane brothers that indeed all four of the brothers served in WWII. 

Raymond O'Kane was the youngest of the four sons [Daniel, Edward, Thomas and Raymond] of Daniel J. O'Kane, Sr. and his wife, Nora C. (Hayes) O'Kane.  Daniel and Nora also had two daughters, [Mary and Grace] who were their fifth and sixth children.

Raymond served as an officer in the Navy as the photograph above shows.  The date of the photograph and the ship on which it was taken are presently unknown.

One can imagine not only the pride, but also the persistent worry that Daniel and Nora must have experienced with all four of their sons off to war during World War II.  Nora, of course, would have qualified for membership in the "Blue Star Mothers" [1] by virtue of having children in active service during the war.  It is presently unknown, however, whether or not she was actually a member.  While neither of the photos posted here on March 11th (showing Nora with her sons outside their home in Great Neck, NY), depict a display of "Service Flags" on the door or windows, Nora was entitled to display four such flags -- one for each son who was in the service.

A "Service Flag" being displayed in a window to indicate
an active service member in the household.
I have never seen any statistics on how many mothers had four or more children in active service in the armed forces during WWII, but the famous case of the Sullivan brothers must always come to mind when the service of multiple family members during WWII is mentioned.  The sacrifice of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan of Waterloo, Iowa stunned the nation.  The story of the Sullivans' loss must have also been a nightmare that Daniel and Nora O'Kane -- and many parents like them -- constantly fought to hold at bay.

The five sons of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan all enlisted in the Navy on January 3, 1942, but with the requirement that they all had to serve together.  Even though the Navy had a policy of separating the service assignments of siblings, the policy was not strictly enforced and somehow the five Sullivan boys -- George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert -- were all assigned to the USS Juneau (CL-52), a light cruiser.  

The Juneau participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal and sometime in the morning of November 13, 1942 it was torpedoed by a Japanese vessel.  Juneau had to leave the battle due to the damage it suffered and while it was headed to an Allied base with other ships from the battle, it was struck again by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine.  The ammunition magazines of the Juneau were hit and exploded.  The ship had no chance of survival and quickly sank.  Other Navy ships were ordered to continue toward the safe harbor of the Allied base because it was thought no one could have survived the explosion and quick sinking -- and because it was too dangerous to other ships to remain in the area looking for survivors.  It is thought some 100 sailors actually did survive the explosion and sinking, but they were left in the water to fend for themselves against the elements, hunger, lack of water and shark attacks.  Eight days following the sinking of the Juneau only ten survivors were rescued after being spotted by a search aircraft.  

The survivors of the Juneau sinking reported that Francis, Joseph and Madison Sullivan died almost instantly as a result of the explosion.  Albert Sullivan drowned on the first full day in the water.  The last of the brothers and the eldest, George Sullivan, was said to have survived for up to five days after the sinking of the Juneau.  Suffering from either delirium or grief at the loss of his four brothers, George was reported to have slipped over the side of raft he was in and was never seen again.  All five Sullivan brothers were dead, but for security reasons their parents never received notice until January 12, 1943. [2]  

The only surviving child of Thomas and Alleta Sullivan was their daughter, Teresa, who died in 1975. 

(L to R) Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George Sullivan.
Taken on board the USS Juneau 14 February 1942 -- nine months
almost to the day before the Juneau was torpedoed. 
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The photograph of Raymond O'Kane in uniform aboard ship during WWII courtesy of his sister, Grace (O'Kane) Herbert.

[1]  Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. is an organization founded in the U.S. in March 1942 to provide support for mothers who had children in active service during World War II.  There was a custom that a family with members in the service would hang a "Service Flag" in a window of the home (see the photo above).  A Blue Star indicated a living service member and a Gold Star represented  a family member in the service had given his or her life during service.  The idea for the Blue Star mothers was conceived by Army Capt. George Maines in January 1942.  He put out an inquiry for information regarding family members (usually sons) serving in the military and he got 1,000 replies.  By March more than 600 mothers had organized to form what became known as the Blue Star mothers.  At its height during WWII, membership in the Blue Star Mothers reached about 30,000.  Today there are about 7,000 members in over 200 chapters.   Read more about the Blue Star mothers here

The photograph of a Service Flag being displayed in a home window is from Wikimedia Commons. The author/creator has given permission to use, share and adapt the image so long as attribution is provided.  Necessary information on the image is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_Star_in_window_June_2012.jpg

[2]   Read more about the "Fighting Sullivan Brothers" here and here.  Two Navy ships have been named the USS The Sullivans: the Fletcher-class destroyer DD-537 and the Arleigh Burke-class "Aegis" guided missile destroyer DDG-68.

The photograph of the five Sullivan brothers on Valentine's Day 1942 is in the public domain as a work created by an officer or employee of the United States as part of his or her official duties.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sullivanbrothers.jpg 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Serendipity -- April 13, 2013

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few serendipitous discoveries from this week that I commend for inclusion on your reading list.

1.  While I have had my father (90 years old) and his 92-year-old cousin tested via a Y-DNA test over the past two years, I confess that I have not taken the necessary time to truly delve into the DNA testing aspect of genealogy (as yet).  BUT, a recent article on the most distant common ancestor for Y-DNA testing really grabbed my attention and imagination.  It appears that the serendipitous discovery of a unique DNA sample in the database of Family Tree DNA has led to a very significant extension back in the common ancestor lineage for the Y chromosome -- a 70% older line than previously thought.  This means, as one of the researchers put it, ". . . the last common Y chromosome ancestor may have lived long before the first anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa about 195,000 years ago."  The research on this unique sample may have pushed the most recent common ancestor lineage tree back to as far as 338,000 years ago!  Read about it here at The Genetic Genealogist.  
2.   One of my favorite genealogy blogs, Judy G. Russell's The Legal Genealogist, has an importnat "notice" article about the recent new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that is a real boon to genealogists and those interested in generational family health issues.  A new rule will make health records available 50 years after the death of the person involved.  HHS refused to shorten the open access period, but they also declined any suggestion that it should be extended to 100 years.  Read the details at Judy's post here.

3.   Why rent microfilm records when doing genealogy research -- and where do you find the ones you need?  Diane MacLean Boumenot at One Rhode Island Family provides some answers for you here

4.   JSTOR (Journal Storage), previously open only to academics and researchers associated with a participating college, university or other institution, is now available in a limited version FREE to individuals!  Read some details and get some links at Upfront With NGS.

5.   The Weekly Genealogist links to an article here that answers the question, "What do you do when the cost of grave sites is too high due to loss of property to development?"

6.   Would YOU walk 820 miles to follow the footsteps of your Loyalist ancestor from North Carolina to Canada?  William Timothy Walker (a blogger with the perfect name for his project!) would contemplate such a trek -- and he has done it!  Read about it here.  To "begin at the beginning" [December 9, 2012] as they say, scroll all the way down when you reach the site and then read upward.

7.   At Nutfield Genealogy, Heather Rojo has a delightful piece on the language spoken in NiHam- SHA.  Having lived there for many years in my youth, and retaining the faintest vestiges of the accent and pronunciation in only a very few words, Heather's post had me smiling, nodding my head and laughing so much I had to go out and "pahhk the cah" to regain my composure.  Have a read heeah -- it's wicked good. 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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