Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Fotos (May 31, 2013) -- One Hundred Years Ago Today!

As I have written elsewhere on The Prism this year, I am very lucky to have the diary written by my paternal grandfather, Arnold G. Tew,  in 1913 while he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.  From time-to-time this year I am posting entries from the diary.  

As shown above, my grandfather wrote the following on May 31, 1913 -- One Hundred Years Ago Today

                    Harvard Varsity beat Andover this afternoon in baseball 4 to 0.  Swett had to play
                    the whole game himself.  He knocked a three bagger in the ninth.  Hardly anybody
                    had their lessons for to day on account of the excitement of yesterday.  I managed
                    however to get a C+ in Latin Comp. by looking over Web Otis's paper.  Parmalee
                    was as "sore as a wet hen" in French class because everybody asked foolish
                    questions so he wouldn't get to the lesson.  Mr. Leonard gave us a Harvard New
                    Plan English paper for an exam to day. 

The "excitement" Arnold referred to was captured in his diary entry the day before -- May 30, 1913.

                    Today being Decoration Day we had no school: only had to go to chapel at
                    9.00 to 9.15 A.M.  The Andover-Exeter Track Meet was a tie 48 to 48 but
                    Andover won 7 firsts and Exeter only won 6.  The stars for Andover were 
                    Rodman, who won both hurdles, Macrae, who won the 100 yd. and got third
                    in the 220 by mistake, and Capt. Crary, who got second in 100 yd. and got
                    first in the 220 yd.  Exeter was so glad they held us to a tie -- for the meet was
                    ours by right -- that they celebrated in Exeter.  We didn't though.

My grandfather's room at Phillips Andover
 where he wrote most of his 1913 daily diary entries.

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Scanned images of documents in the personal collection of the author.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (May 29, 2013) : A First -- A Truly Wordless Post

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Scan of original announcement in the personal collection of the author.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Monday, May 27, 2013

For Heather's Honor Roll Project (Memorial Day 2013)

The Wallingford, Connecticut Town Hall (formerly Lyman Hall High School)

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy started an Honor Roll Project in 2010.  The goal of the project is to post photos of various war memorials and honor rolls along with the transcriptions of the names on the memorials/honor rolls in order to make the names available for search engines so people can search for family members, ancestors and friends.  This is a VERY worthwhile project and I want to participate in even a small way to support Heather (my blogging mentor and, incidentally, a distant cousin).  Unfortunately, the photo I have to contribute was taken years ago and before the project existed.  As a consequence, while I have a picture of the memorials, I do not have a transcription of all the names appearing on the memorial.  Perhaps I will be able to correct that on a future trip back to New England.

The photograph above is of the Town Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut.  It was formerly the Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford (named for Dr. Lyman Hall a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was born in Wallingford).  My father briefly attended the school when it was still at is original location on South Main Street.  The school was relocated to a new building in 1957 and still operates, but the original building is now the Wallingford Town Hall.   There are at least two honor roll memorials outside the Town Hall building -- one for the Korean War (pictured above) and one for World War II (pictured below).  My father was in the Merchant Marine during WWII and his name is on the WWII Honor Roll in Wallingford.

World War II Honor Roll Memorial in Wallingford, Connecticut

The only close-up of the WWII Honor Roll that I have is a small section in the Ts where my father's name appears.  The photo is shown above with seven names clearly seen.  They are:

                    Alfred J. Tessmer
                    Edward J. Tester
                    William F. Tester
                    Arnold Tew (my father)
                    Kenneth W. Theis
                    Joseph F. Thewlis
                    William Q. Thewlis
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All photographs by the author.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (May 26, 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 below to illustrate the prompt and show it is adopted from this blog.  ;-) ]

This week's Samaritan Sunday is about a couple of Good Samaritans who have embarked on a journey to look for a particular unknown person, persons, or family they already know they can help.  And perhaps some reader or readers out there can themselves become part of this journey and form a small band of Good Samaritans to complete the journey and the story . . . 

Fifteen years ago Pamela Gilliland was at an estate sale in Oklahoma when she spotted an old hatbox.  On a whim, she purchased the box for $1.00.  Unbeknownst to Pamela, the hatbox contained about 250 letters from the Harvill brothers of Drumright, Oklahoma to their parents.  At the time, Eural and Robert Harvill were serving in the Army during World War II.  The hatbox also contained photographs, postcards, Christmas cards and an insurance policy. Pamela carefully placed the hatbox and its contents in a closet.

Doug Eaton is an accountant with a law degree and a deep interest in history.  He published a book this past January with essential contribution by Wilma Hawes Connely titled, Letters From Walter: A Personal Look at World War II Through the Eyes of a Young Soldier.   The book was the result of Doug learning about Wilma Connely receiving some long-lost letters written by her brother Walter Hawes, a Staff Sergeant in Italy and North Africa during WWII.  [You can read more about the book and its availability, and about Doug Eaton's background,  here.]   The recovered letters from Walter to his aunt and uncle in Indiana are the basis for the book.  Walter's letters were stored away in his aunt's closet for almost 70 years and his sister never knew about them.  Walter died in 1961 without ever having mentioned his letters.  In 2011 Walter and Wilma's aunt sold her home and moved into a nursing home.  She left behind many unclaimed items and the new owners of the home placed them at the curb for pick-up and disposal.  Among the items was a small box that a curious family member who was driving by spotted and stopped to rummage through.  The letters were discovered and mailed off to Wilma who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Pamela Gilliland read Letters from Walter and was reminded of the hatbox and letters in her closet. Just a few weeks ago she contacted Doug Eaton, who lives in Tulsa, and these Good Samaritans are now on a journey looking-out for Harvill family members or perhaps a woman who is mentioned repeatedly by one of the brothers.  Read here about these Good Samaritans and the road they are now on looking for particular people they know they can help.  Are you perhaps one of those people -- or do you know someone who might be? 

UPDATE:  After publication of this post, another article appeared about these hatbox letters.  On June 6, 2013, Heather Clark of The Fort Campbell Courier (a publication of the Public Affairs Office of Fort Campbell, an Army base in Kentucky)  posted her story titled, "Hatbox letters mystery: Forgotten notes forge bonds."  See the article here.  
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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,
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (May 25, 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.  From Organize Your Family History comes a nice tip to a new feature at Mocavo called "Genealogy Karma," which you can check out here.  It is a volunteer genealogy help site and an account is FREE!

2.   Diane at One Rhode Island Family recommends several good reads.  As someone born in Rhode Island, the recommended read that especially caught my eye is the December 2011 book about Roger Williams.  John Barry, author of The Great Influenza and Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, published Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul in December 2011.  Barry is a very good history writer and I have enjoyed immensely both of his mentioned earlier works -- so his newest book about Roger Williams has just moved to the top of my "must read and add to my library" list!  You can read a NYT  review of the book here and find information about its availability in hardback, paperback, audio and Kindle versions here.  For those bibliophiles who love the feel of a hardback book and might want to add this one to their library, I highly recommend checking out Alibris for excellent deals on this and other books. 

3.  The new issue of NEHGS's American Ancestors is out and there is an article worth reading about a new book by Francois Weil titled Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America.  You can read a synopsis of the book itself and check out deals on availability here.

4.  Here is a nice little interview in the NYT with Ken Burns about his love for New England.  Anyone with roots in New England certainly knows what Mr. Burns is talking about!

5.  Jana Last at Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog  has developed a showcase page on her blog for a particular ancestor ("The Traveling Dentist") who has been featured prominently in her earlier posts.  This is a great idea for anyone with an ancestor who presents a wealth of information and accomplishment.

6.  I found an interesting article in the most recent issue of Adirondack Life, which you cannot read on line yet, but you might be able to see in your local library if you are not already a subscriber.  The article is by Ed Kanze and explains how two 100-year-old photographs pasted into a couple of albums his mother inherited from his grandfather led on a journey of discovery not only of the five people pictured outside a remote rustic cabin in the Adirondacks, but also, a century later, to the very site where the photos were taken. 

7.   Thanks to Jennifer Dunn at Jennealogy for the link to this YouTube post allowing one to listen to the voice of Florence Nightingale.  This reminded me of a compilation piece of the voices of 25 historical figures also on YouTube.  If you go here, you can listen to the actual voices of William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, Commander Robert Peary, Harry Houdini, Oscar Wilde, Leo Tolstoy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Grover Cleveland, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Shackleton, William Howard Taft, William McKinley, Edwin Booth (actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth), Buffalo Bill Cody, and others.    
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Fotos (May 24, 2013)

Phillips Academy -- Andover, Massachusetts circa 1913

The above photograph of buildings at Phillips Andover is believed to have been taken by my paternal grandfather, Arnold G. Tew, Sr., with his Kodak "Vest Pocket" camera in or around 1913. He was a student at Phillips Andover during this time.
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Photograph from the personal collection of the author.
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

You Never Forget Your First Time!

The romantic would surely envision and even suggest that the ideal first time should involve a yearning to be free, pristine natural surroundings by blue waters, a little adventure and exploration, and perhaps even some danger and uncertainty -- and these were all involved in my first time.  I will never forget my first time, as I shall reveal below with some detail  . . .

When I was 13 -- about the time my interest in girls really began to develop -- I spent much of my time wondering about life and the world of adults.  It was about this time that I also began listening to and enjoying the subtleties of adult conversation and the topics they enjoyed discussing and laughing about while the younger children in the family were occupied in games and childhood activities out of sight.  Piecing together what appeared to be coded clues from the adults led me to want to discover and delve into the activities that so clearly gave the adults such pleasure and fun that they enjoyed talking and laughing about them whenever they got together during holidays and occasions like weddings.

After my first time, the thrill was so intense, so entirely satisfying following the pursuit, that I felt I had fully matured and arrived.  I simply could not contain myself and, somewhat unusually, I had to immediately share the news and the story with my entire family!  Here is how it happened . . . 

I had been in pursuit of the females for a few years, but there had been five to try to conquer and I met resistance at almost every turn.  I was hitting a brick wall with every attempt to solve the mystery of the young women.  I was ready to give up and retreat back into defeat, but the goal and the anticipation of success drove me on.  I felt in my bones that the answer lay with the Cook and that I had to chase the quarry through her connection with the Church; the prospect of connecting with a Carpenter was simply wrong and clearly was not going to happen.  I decided the consummation of this ambition and the fulfillment it would bring were too important to abandon. It was necessary for me and for my future family to put this consuming desire behind me -- and I thought for some reason that my maternal grandmother really wanted to see me victorious even if she was no longer around to know about the extent of my efforts or the final realization of the dream that was beginning to obsess me.  With the thought of my grandmother firmly in mind, I decided it would be the Cook or nothing.

Within a few short months of my determined decision to pursue the Cook and abandon the Carpenter it finally happened. Eureka!  I had found the secret, conquered the female mystery and emerged triumphant.  I had to admit that it felt like nothing else I had experienced up to that time. It was transformative.  It was my first time and I knew I would never forget it.  

The emotion and the feeling of victory with Cook lasted for quite a while, but I admit that eventually it started to fade and although Cook was the one, The First, it really was not enough.  I had to reclaim that intense feeling and so after a few weeks I set my sights back on the Carpenter with renewed confidence and self assurance.  It was not the same as the first time and I suppose it never can be, but the Carpenter chase did have its own rewards and I have pursued many of them since.  I must also admit, that I did go back to a Cook again and had another intense eureka moment -- though via a different route. 

But . . . as all of you no doubt know, there is simply NOTHING like the first time that you are able to melt the frozen resistance to your concentrated efforts and appeals, that you are able to assail the brick wall and gain entrance to the inner secrets on the other side.  The feeling is so intense, so gratifying that you have to have it again and so you pursue it as often as you can knowing there will be more failures and obstacles than breakthroughs, but the rewards of success are just too great, so you are driven onward without end.  It is the same whether you are a man or a woman!
My grandmother was the one who said during an overheard gathering of adults during some long ago holiday event, that we were descended from adventurous stock that yearned for more freedom and that uncertainty and danger on a long ocean crossing preceded the exploration of a new world abundant with natural resources.  It was she who mentioned the name Warren, but she never said whether the connection was through the Carpenter line or the Cook(e) line.  She was a Cooke and her husband, my grandfather, was a Carpenter.  

Living in New England it was not long before we visited Plymouth Plantation and learned about the people who came to America on board the Mayflower.  There were no passengers named Carpenter on the Mayflower -- and definitely no Tews since they did not arrive until 1640 -- but there were father and son passengers named Cooke (Francis and John) and other passengers named Eaton (Francis Eaton, his wife, Sarah, and their son Samuel).  My maternal grandmother's maiden name was Ruth Eaton Cooke.  

Some years ago I began my pursuit to prove Mayflower descent, which no one in my family had ever done before.  Fairly quickly I abandoned any thought that the descent was through the Carpenter family of my grandfather and began looking into the Cooke and Eaton possibilities. So far those too obvious lines of potential connection have proved to be dead ends -- and it was, after all, the name Warren that my grandmother had specifically cited.  

Richard Warren was not a Pilgrim.  He was one of the "Planters" or "Strangers" recruited to the adventure and he came over on the Mayflower alone.  His wife Elizabeth and their five daughters came a couple of years later and then two sons were born in the new world taking shape as Plymouth Colony.  

Richard and Elizabeth Warren had the good fortune to have all their children survive to adulthood and marry, AND all their children had children.  There are many lines of descent leading back to Richard Warren and mine goes through the Cooke family for five generations back to the time Benjamin Cooke married Abigail Church.  Abigail was the daughter of Ebenezer Church whose great great grandfather married Elizabeth Warren, the fourth daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Warren. 

The direct connection to Richard Warren through his daughter Elizabeth was the first genealogical brick wall I broke through.  It was the connection I was able to discover and document sufficiently to be accepted for membership in the General Society of Mayflower Descendants -- and I still remember the eureka feeling when I made the necessary connections and they held up to repeated examination.  It was almost electric and it was the first time I had ever had such an intense rush of discovery!  It was not long before I had another eureka moment when I realized there was a second connection to Richard and Elizabeth Warren that went through Benjamin Cooke's son Russell Cook.  Russell married Mary Vinal Otis.  The Otis lineage led back to Mercy Little's marriage to Job Otis and it was Mercy's grandfather Thomas Little who married Anna Warren, Richard and Elizabeth Warren's second daughter.

Here are the details of my first time -- the discovery and documentation of my Mayflower descent.  I will NEVER forget how it felt when it happened!
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What follows is my double descent from my 10X great grandparents Richard Warren (Mayflower passenger) and his wife Elizabeth Walker.  Richard and Elizabeth had seven children, all of whom lived to adulthood, married and had children.  Their children were: Mary (born circa 1610); Anna (born about 1611/2); Sarah (born about 1613); Elizabeth (born about 1615); Abigail (born about 1619); Nathaniel (born at Plymouth Colony about 1624); and Joseph (also born at Plymouth Colony by 1627).  I am descended from two sisters --  Elizabeth Warren Church and Anna Warren Little. 

Richard Warren m. Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Warren m. Richard Church                         Anna Warren m. Thomas Little

Joseph Church m. Mary Tucker                                     Ephraim Little m. Mary Sturtevant

Joseph Church m. Grace Shaw                                     Mercy Little m. Job Otis, Sr.

Caleb Church m. Deborah Woodworth                          Job Otis, Jr. m. Thankful Otis 
                                                                                        (1st cousins)

Ebenezer Church m. Hannah Wood                               David Otis, Sr. m. Mary Vinal

Abigail Church m. Benjamin Cook                                 David Otis, Jr. m. Ruthy Otis
                                                                                         (1st cousins)                                   

Russell Cook m. Mary Vinal Otis                                   Mary Vinal Otis m. Russell Cook

George H. Cooke m. Susannah C. Appell                      George H. Cooke m. Susannah C. Appell

Walter W. Cooke m. Florence L. Flagg                           Walter W. Cooke m. Florence L. Flagg

Ruth E. Cooke m. Everett S. Carpenter                            Ruth E. Cooke m. Everett S. Carpenter
(my maternal grandparents)                                             (my maternal grandparents)

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The photograph of Mayflowers (Epigaea repens) or Trailing Arbutus, is by reverend barry.  It was obtained on flickr from Yahoo! under the permission and license granted there by the copyright holder. The owner's permission and license allows sharing and remixing so long as the original work is given attribution  -- such as this.  See, . 

Epigaea repens grew abundantly in the area of what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts when the Pilgrims arrived in 1620.  There is a tradition that the Mayflower passengers gave the flowering plant the name "Mayflower" and for this reason it was chosen as the state flower of Massachusetts.  [It is also the provincial flower of Nova Scotia.]

The photograph of the man with the scythe at Plymouth Plantation is taken from the website of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, of which I am a member.  Its use is believed to be allowed under fair use. 
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wedding Wednesday (May 22, 2013)

Arnold G. Tew, Sr. and Huldah Antonia Hasselbaum
on their wedding day -- July 16, 1921

My paternal grandparents, Arnold and Huldah Tew, were married at Calgary Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, July 16, 1921 by M.E. Bratcher, Minister of the Gospel.
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Photograph in the personal collection of the author
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Copyright 2013,  John D. Tew
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday (May 21, 2013) -- Hannah (Grant) Bishop

Gravestone of Hannah (Grant) Bishop
Rhode Island Historical Cemetery -- Cumberland 3

Namon Bishop is one of my 5X great grandfathers.  He is said to have been lost at sea.  Namon married Hannah Grant who was born circa 1753 and died in Cumberland, Rhode Island on November 8, 1805 at age 52.

Hannah's gravestone reads. . . 

               Our mother is gone and has left us to mourn
      She loudly has spoken twill soon be our turn.
      In the month of November she was laid in her grave
      O may we remember the warnings she gave.

My descent from Namon Bishop and his wife Hannah Grant is as follows:

               Namon Bishop m. Hannah Grant (1753 - 1805) 

               Amey Bishop (1781 - 1864) m. Asquare Miller (1775 - 1825)

               Eber Miller (1805 - 1877) m. Abby Hunt (1807 - 1893)

               Ruth Ann Miller (1828 - 1893) m. Samuel Carpenter (1828 - 1904)

               Samuel Eber Carpenter (1853 - 1929) m. Sarah Etta Freeman (1858 - 1945) 

               Everett Shearman Carpenter (1891 - 1962) m. Ruth Eaton Cooke (1897 - 1979)
               (my maternal grandparents) 

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Photograph by the author (March 2010).
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (May 19, 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 below to illustrate the prompt and show it is adopted from this blog.  ;-) ]

Sixty years ago Ray and Winnie Hewitt were married in England.  Ray gave his bride a gift on that day.  It was a silver Coronation crown coin mounted on a necklace and Winnie wore the necklace constantly thereafter. 

Winnie died with Alzheimer's at age 83 in December 2012 and so missed the wedding of her granddaughter Lyndsay nine days ago on May 10th.  She also missed the long anticipated moment when she and Ray planned to pass on the silver Coronation coin necklace as a gift to Lyndsay on her wedding day.  Tragically, Ray was unable to pass on Winnie's cherished necklace to Lyndsay on behalf of Winnie because five days before Winnie died some thieves broke into the Hewitt home and stole items from Ray and Winnie -- including the precious Coronation coin necklace!

But there is more to the story thanks to Good Samaritan Judy Gordon, a former editor at the Macclesfield Express.  Judy was given a silver Coronation crown coin identical to the one stolen from the Hewitt home.  Judy's grandparents gave her the coin because it was the year she was born.  Reading about the loss and sadness in the Hewitt family, Judy gifted the coin she never planned to part with to a family she had never met and Ray had a very special gift indeed for Lyndsay on May 10th when she wed Peter Anderson. 

Read more about this Good Samaritan moment here and see Ray Hewitt and his granddaughter Lyndsay with the wedding gift Ray was able to present to Lyndsay on behalf of Winnie thanks to Judy.  

Something old, something new, something gifted, and something blue . . . 

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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,
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (May 18, 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.  Last Saturday I mentioned an interesting read about how all of us in the Western Hemisphere could descend from Charlemagne.  This week I mention what I think is a MUST READ for anyone doing genealogy and constructing a family tree.  The Weekly Genealogist from NEHGS scores again with a link to this fascinating read at the National Geographic website titled "Charlemagne's DNA and Our Universal Royalty."  You really need to check this one out!  Teaser quote from the article . . . 

"When you draw your genealogy, you make two lines from yourself back to each of your parents. Then you have to draw two lines for each of them, back to your four grandparents. And then eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents, and so on. But not so on for very long. If you go back to the time of Charlemagne, forty generations or so, you should get to a generation of a trillion ancestors. That’s about two thousand times more people than existed on Earth when Charlemagne was alive."

2.  Last month Heather Kuhn Roelker at Leaves for Trees had a series of three posts about her ancestor Daniel D. Lightner, a brave and determined Abolitionist.  When I read the following article about the creative and desperate actions taken by some slaves to gain their freedom, I could not help but appreciate yet again the efforts of 19th Century American Abolitionists and of Heather's ancestor.  Read here at The Root about Job ben Solomon and especially about Henry Box Brown and the way each gained his freedom from the abomination of slavery.  HINT:  Mr. Brown's given middle name was not Box.

3.  All of us who do genealogical research at one time or another come across the frustration of name changes.  In my own genealogy I have more than a few such as Cook vs. Cooke, Shearman vs. Sherman, Miller vs. Millard.  Upfront With NGS provided some nice links about the challenge, frustration and even the whimsy of names over time and in genealogy research.  I recommend checking some of the links and especially the post at Genealogy's Star by James Tanner (one of FTM's Top 40 Blogs for 2013).  James offers his basic rules about genealogy research and the spelling of names in a post from last month called "Names -- A Blessing or a Curse.

4.  We genealogists (professionals, amateurs and dabblers alike) all search for and use obituaries at one time or another -- those brief attempts to summarize, inform and, occasionally, in the best written examples, to give color to a life that has run its course.  Obituaries can often be genealogical gold.  But have you ever wondered about those folks who labor to write those life summaries knowing they are to be published at a time when friends and loved ones are still raw with the pain of loss?  And have you ever read an obituary and found yourself saying something like, "Wow, I never heard of this person, but what an interesting life he or she led?"  Well, if so, you need to read this pearl about writing obituaries and the service they perform  -- AND you can learn what "Linear B" is, who Alice Elizabeth Kober was, and why she was a very interesting woman who was almost lost to history. 

5.  Last week in Saturday Serendipity I mentioned learning about the "Orphan Trains" while doing some research about the New York Foundling home.  This week I discovered at Dionne Ford's blog, Finding Josephine, that there is a new novel by Christina Baker Kline titled Orphan Train.  While the book is fiction, it is based on the factual history of hundreds of thousands of orphaned children being shipped on trains to the Midwest.  The author was interviewed on NPR's Weekend Edition last month.  You can listen to the 7 1/2 minute interview and learn more about Orphan Trains and the novel here
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Fotos (May 17, 2013) -- George Henry Cooke

George Henry Cooke (1843 - 1872)

Reverse side of photograph with handwritten indentification. 

George Henry Cooke was born on November 18, 1843 in Boston, Massachusetts.  He was the son of Russell Cook(e) and Mary Vinal Otis.  He was employed most of his adult life as a "glasscutter."

On December 19, 1865, George married Susannah Catherine Appell in Boston.  They had two known children, Flora Appelle Cooke, born May 1, 1868, and Walter Wilson Cooke, born October 15, 1869.  George died of smallpox in Quincy, Massachusetts on December 2, 1872 at the young age of 29.  Sadly, he left his wife Susannah and two children under the age of five.

George Henry Cooke is my 2x great grandfather.

My descent from Russell and Mary Vinal (Otis) Cooke's son George Henry Cooke.

                    Russell Cook(e) (1810 - 1884) m. Mary Vinal Otis (1806 - 1881)

                   George Henry Cooke (1843 - 1872) m. Susannah Catherine Appell (1844 - 1906)

                   Walter Wilson Cooke (1869 - 1944) m. Florence Leonette "Nettie" Flagg (1870 - 1904)

                   Ruth Eaton Cooke (1897 - 1979)   m. Everett Shearman Carpenter (1891 - 1962) --
                   my maternal grandparents
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The scanned images above are from the original photograph of George Henry Cooke in the collection of the author.

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday -- 1912 Phillips Andover Yearbook

The Pot Pourri, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts yearbook for 1912.

My paternal grandfather, Arnold G. Tew, attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts 100 years ago.  Elsewhere on The Prism I have occasionally posted excerpts from his 1913 Line-A-Day diary, which records his daily activities at Phillips Andover 100 years ago this year.

The Phillips Andover Yearbook for 1912, the Pot Pourri, is not merely a compilation of photographs and descriptions of the students of 1912 and their various activities, it is also a resource for insight into the times and lifestyle of the mostly very privileged students via the advertisers and advertisements in the yearbook.  

It is interesting to peruse the advertisements to see what firms and products were targeted at these teenaged young men with presumed bright futures involving financial and social success.  Many adverts are by the likes of Tiffany & Co., the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co., Aetna Insurance Company, Packard Motor Car Co., and The White Company: Manufacturers of Gasoline Motor Cars, Trucks and Taxicabs.  

The products and services being marketed to these young men include all manner of high-end accessories and luxuries such as Waterman's Ideal Fountain Pen, exclusive tailors and haberdashers, expensive restaurants and hotels, portrait-quality photographers, premier boot and shoe makers, upscale sports outfitters, custom straw hat producers, various jewelers, and elegant transportation options such as "KATY" train service on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway (The MK&T) that provided, "The Route of Unlimited Comforts To Oklahoma, Texas and The Southwest" on two "Fast Limited Trains" -- The Katy Limited and The Katy Flyer, each with "electric lighted sleeping cars and all modern conveniences." 
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The scanned image of the 1912 Pot Pourri is from the original yearbook in the collection of the author.   

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lyman Frank Baum -- A Giant of Children's Literature

Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 - May 5, 1919)

Children are certainly an integral part of genealogy – and children’s literature is a huge part of the world of children in many if not most families.  There are some giants of children’s literature whose influence is felt for generations.  Without attempting anything like an exhaustive list of the giants of children’s literature (or commenting on recent authors like JK Rowling), most American adults would agree that the following are among the giants: Lewis Carroll; Dr. Seuss; A.A. Milne; J.R.R. Tolkien; C.S. Lewis; and Roald Dahl.  Today is the 157th anniversary of the birth of an American-grown giant –  L. Frank Baum, the author and creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

A well-loved and often read Tew family copy of The Land of Oz,
L. Frank Baum's sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

I am not related to L. Frank Baum in any way, but since the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900 -- and especially since the Judy Garland film version in 1939 -- at least four generations of my family have been exposed to the Land of Oz through books, film, music, and on stage.  L. Frank Baum and his creation, the Land of Oz, are true American icons that have provided innumerable childhood and family entertainment moments for generations and millions around the world.  For this reason, a post today to explore and learn a little about the genealogy and life of the man who has provided so much to generations of other families is in order.

Lyman Frank Baum was born in Chittenango, New York on May 15, 1856.  Chittenango (from the Oneida meaning “where the sun shines out”) is a village in the Town of Sullivan in Madison County in central New York.  The Erie Canal passes just north of the village.

The future creator of the Land of Oz, was named for his father’s brother, but did not like the name Lyman and so went by “Frank.”  Frank was one of the five (of nine) children of Benjamin Ward Baum and his wife Cynthia Ann (Stanton) Baum to survive beyond childhood.  Cynthia Stanton is thought to be descended from Thomas Stanton, one of the founders of Stonington, Connecticut.  Benjamin Baum was of German ancestry and was a very successful businessman who became wealthy in the early oil fields of Pennsylvania after starting out as a barrel maker.

Young Frank enjoyed an almost idyllic youth in Chittenango on Rose Lawn, the large estate owned by his parents.  He and his siblings were tutored at home, but at age 12 his parents decided Frank needed strengthening and he was sent off to Peekskill Military Academy where he lasted two years before his parents allowed him to return home.  Although Frank’s son, Frank Joslyn Baum, later claimed in his much criticized biography of his father, To Please A Child, that his father suffered what was called a heart attack while at Peekskill, there is no evidence to support a heart attack at 15 years old.

In his teens Frank developed an interest in printing as the result of the gift of a small press from his father.  He and his brother, Henry Clay Baum, published The Rose Lawn Home Journal, complete with advertisements and this undoubtedly led to young Frank producing written product for this and later journals he published on stamp collecting and the raising of the Hamburg breed of chickens – both early interests and hobbies of Frank's in addition to his love of fireworks.

By the time Frank was in his twenties, he had developed an interest in theater and eventually his father built him a theater in Richburg, NY.  Baum began writing plays for his theater and also composed songs for musicals.  While he was on tour with one of his plays, his theater was destroyed by fire along with the only copies of his scripts from the time and all the theater’s costumes. The production at the theater when it was destroyed was titled, Matches.

On November 9, 1882, Frank Baum married Maud Gage, the daughter of well-known suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage.  In 1888 Frank and Maud moved to Aberdeen in the Dakota Territory where Frank opened a store called “Baum’s Bazaar,” but it eventually ended in bankruptcy and Frank moved on to the newspaper business where he wrote a column called Our Landlady for The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, which he also owned and edited.  Following the Wounded Knee massacre, Baum wrote a column that has generated much controversy since it was not entirely clear whether it was Swiftian satire or a serious advocacy for the total extermination of the indigenous native people.

Maud Gage Baum and her four sons (1900)

In 1891, Baum’s newspaper venture also failed.  By this time, he and Maud had four sons: Frank Joslyn Baum; Robert Stanton Baum; Henry Clay Baum; and Kenneth Gage Baum.  They  relocated to the Humboldt Park section of Chicago and Frank became a reporter for the Evening Post.  He also began writing collections of stories and rhymes on the themes of Mother Goose.  In 1899 his book of nonsense rhymes called Father Goose, His Book was a major success and then in 1900 literary history was made when a book called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published.  The book was an immediate hit and became the best-selling children’s book for the next two years.  It was the first of thirteen Land of Oz books authored by L. Frank Baum.

Gravestone of Frank and Maud Baum in Glendale, California

L. Frank Baum died following a stroke on May 5, 1919 -- nine days short of his 63rd birthday.  His last words were supposedly, “Now we can cross the Shifting Sands.”  At his death, L. Frank Baum was survived by his wife, four sons and some grandchildren.  Maud lived until just 21 days shy of her 92nd birthday and died on March 6, 1953.  She survived Frank by some 34 years.  Both Frank and Maud are buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California. 

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The photograph of L. Frank Baum (1911) was originally published by the Los Angeles Times. It is now in the public domain in the U.S. as a work where the copyright has expired because it first appeared prior to January 1, 1923.  See,

The scanned image of the cover of The Land of Oz is from a personal copy of the book in the collection of the author.

The photograph of Maud Gage Baum with her four sons (1900) is now in the public domain in the U.S. as a work where the copyright has expired because it first appeared prior to January 1, 1923.  See,

The photograph of the gravestone of Maud and L. Frank Baum (October 5, 2009) is by Gregorius24 who has released the work into the public domain.  See,,_CA-2009-10-05.jpg 
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For more information about Maud Gage Baum, see
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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