Friday, January 31, 2014

Funeral Card Friday (January 31, 2014) -- Dr. Robert Douglas Jeffs

Robert Douglas "Bob" Jeffs was my wife's uncle (younger brother of Molly's mother) and the grand uncle to our sons. Bob was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 14, 1924 and he died in Owings Mills, Maryland on August 28, 2006.

Bob Jeffs was the son, nephew, and grandson of physicians, so it was probably no surprise when he decided to go into medicine himself. When World War II broke out, Bob put his pre-med studies on hold and joined the Canadian Air Force in 1941.  He resumed his studies following the end of the war and graduated with his medical degree from the University of Toronto (his father's alma mater).

During a Fellowship at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital Bob became very interested in pediatric urology and when he returned home to Canada he began working at both Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. He became a very skilled and sought after pediatric surgeon and performed several surgical firsts including the reimplantation of a child's kidney. He and colleagues in Toronto later performed an early and large series of pediatric kidney transplants.

Beginning in the late 1950s, Bob began investigating in Toronto the possibilities for surgically correcting a birth defect known as "bladder exstrophy." This congenital condition results in a part of the urinary bladder being present outside the body.  It is caused by the failure of the abdominal wall to close during fetal development and a part of the bladder protrudes as a result.  It is a rare condition that occurs only once in every 10,000 to 50,000 live births, but it can be a devastating condition for a child and his/her family. The condition is twice as common in males as in females.

Bob began his work on surgical repair of bladder exstrophy cases and eventually developed a staged approach to the repair that brought worldwide attention to his surgical skills and methods. At first his surgical repair methods were deemed experimental and "cutting edge" treatment, but now it is the standard of care for most children born with this particular bladder abnormality.

Bob Jeffs was the Director of the Division of Pediatric Urology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto from 1960 - 1975. In 1960 he was also Chairman of Urology at the Academy of Medicine in Toronto. In 1962 he returned to his alma mater as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery.  Beginning in 1973, he served as the President of the medical staff at the Hospital for Sick Children for two years.

In 1975 Bob was recruited by the Chairman of the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins University to join the faculty and he became the founding chief of the Institute's Division of Pediatric Urology. Bob was Professor and Director of the Division of Pediatric Urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for 20 years from 1975 until 1991. During his time as Director of the Division, he instituted an annual picnic to bring together patients and their families to learn about urological illnesses in an atmosphere where they could also share their experiences with one another and with their medical caregivers.  The picnic continues today as an annual tradition.

Photograph from the program of the 7th annual
National Kidney Foundation Ball in honor of Dr. Robert D. Jeffs (1987)

When Bob died at age 82 in 2006, a decades-long colleague of his said, "Bob Jeffs took a birth defect of great magnitude and made it his own.  He changed the lives of children and adolescents who used to live lives of reclusiveness, embarrassment, and chronic disease and gave them new hope and new lives." 

The painting of Dr. Robert D. Jeffs that now hangs in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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Photographs from original documents in the family collection.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Those Places Thursday (January 30, 2014) -- Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico

Philmont Base Camp and Tent City seen from Tooth of Time Ridge

At roughly 138,000 acres, Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico is the largest youth camp in the world as measured by land mass. It is also a jewel among the high adventure bases of the Boy Scouts of America. The ranch is approximately 30 miles in length from north to south and about 12 miles in width from west to east at its widest point. All of Philmont is more than a mile above sea level (ASL). The lowest point on the ranch is 6,500 ft. ASL and the highest point is Baldy Mountain at 12,441 ft. ASL. Much of the interior of the ranch is mountainous (as depicted below), while the eastern and southern sections have no mountains. There is a fairly small area in the eastern part that is prairie.

Baldy Mountain at 12, 441 ft. above sea level is the highest point on Philmont Scout Ranch.

On the very cool and windy summit of Baldy Mountain (July 2004)

Topography and geology of Philmont Scout Ranch

Each summer from early June through late August a total of about 23,000 Scouts and adult "Scouters" arrive at Philmont to go on ten-day backpacking treks of 50 miles or more in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the ranch.  A seasonal staff of some 1,250 run the base camp facilities as well as certain backcountry camps where a variety of adventures and skills such as fly fishing, rock climbing, black powder shooting, archery, panning for gold, etc., can be experienced.

Near the summit of Mt. Phillips at Philmont.

Like National Jamborees, Philmont Scout Ranch backpacking treks have played an important part in our family history.  I first went to a high adventure trek at Philmont in 1967 when I was 15 years old and a member of Troop 59 in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. In 1999, when our older son was 15 years old, he and I went to Philmont as part of a crew from our home troop (Troop 961 chartered in Hillsboro, Virginia). I have been to Philmont for two other high adventure treks.  One was as a Crew Advisor in 2002 and my last trek was as a male Advisor with a co-ed crew of Venture Scouts in 2004. I have hiked more than 200 miles of Philmont's trails and peaks since 1967.  

The Philmont crews from Burlington County, New Jersey (July 18, 1967).  I am in the top row, ninth from the left.

The Philmont crews from Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, Virginia (July 26, 1999).  I am in the top row second from the left.  Our older son is in the middle row fifth from the left.

The traditional Philmont Scout Ranch neckerchief.

The coveted Philmont "Arrowhead patch" awarded only to those who
complete their trek and perform conservation service hours on the trail.

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Photographs taken by the author except group crew photos.  All are in the personal collection of the author.

Topography and geology graphic of Philmont from the author's personal copy of "The Philmont Field Guide" (1985).

For more on the history of Philmont Scout Ranch see,
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (January 29, 2014) -- Jamboree Security and Traffic Staff (TEAM C), 100th Anniversary BSA National Jamboree 2010 at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia

Jamboree Security and Traffic Staff,  TEAM C (August 3, 2010) -- I'm in there somewhere!
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Photograph in the personal collection of the author. Original photo by Team C member, Keith Rounds.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday (January 28, 2014) -- Grave Marker for Everett S. Carpenter, Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

My maternal grandfather, Everett Shearman Carpenter, was a World War I veteran. He died in Rhode Island in 1962 and was buried in the Knight/Carpenter family plot at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

Swan Point is located between Blackstone Boulevard in Providence and the Seekonk River. It is a 200-acre, non-sectarian cemetery open to people of all religions and races. Swan Point was one of the first so-called garden cemeteries in the country.  A "garden cemetery" is a burial ground in the style of a garden or arboretum and designed to use landscaping to achieve a park-like setting.  The cemetery was established in 1846 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Many notable people are buried at Swan Point.  There are four Medal of Honor recipients interred there, twenty-three Rhode Island Governors (including Union Army General Ambrose Everett Burnside and Thomas W. Dorr of the Dorr Rebellion of 1841-43), as well as such well-known people as U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich (grandfather of NY Governor and U.S. Vice President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller and his siblings) and Howard Phillips "H.P." Lovecraft (famous 20th Century author of horror, fantasy and science fiction).
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All photographs by the author (2005).
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Military Monday (January 27, 2014) -- World War I "Welcome Home Celebration" in Lonsdale, Rhode Island

My maternal grandfather, Everett S. Carpenter, served in World War I in the Army Ordnance Department. He enlisted on January 1, 1918 and was stationed first at Watervliet Arsenal near Albany, New York until May 10, 1918 when he was transferred to Camp Merritt, New Jersey to await transport to Europe. He sailed for France on May 26, 1918.

After landing at Bordeaux on Sunday, June 9, 1918, Everett served in France until July 1919 when he was ordered to Paris to receive reports he was to courier to Washington, DC.  He sailed with the reports from Brest, France on July 7, 1919 and arrived in New York on the 13th. He then took the night rain to Washington and delivered the reports with which he had been entrusted. He was honorably discharged from the Army at Camp Meigs in Washington, DC on July 17, 1919 with the rank of Ordnance Sergeant. Everett arrived home in Lonsdale (Cumberland), Rhode Island in the morning of July 18, 1919.

As the ticket above shows, a "Welcome Home Celebration" for WWI veterans was held in Lonsdale on September 13, 1919 -- two months after my grandfather returned home from his service in the war. [The formal end of WWI came with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany on June 28, 1919; however, the U.S. public objected to the Treaty of Versailles because of its creation of the League of Nations and so the United States did not formally end its World War I involvement until the signing of the 1921 Knox-Porter Resolution.]

The location of the Welcome Home Celebration banquet and dance was at Lonsdale Hall. Lonsdale is a village (and since 1984 a historic district) in Lincoln and Cumberland, Rhode Island. Originally the village of Lonsdale was part of the town of Smithfield, Rhode Island until the town of Lincoln was created in 1871 and named in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's villages include Manville, Albion, Lime Rock, Fairlawn, Quinnville, and Saylesville as well as Lonsdale.

According to the February 20, 1984 National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form for Lonsdale Historic District, Lonsdale Hall was built in 1869 by the Lonsdale Company as a community meeting place and commercial center. It was the "social and commercial center of the village." The Lonsdale industrial village, which is now a historic district, was built between 1831 and the 1920s by the Lonsdale Company.

The Lonsdale Company was chartered in 1834 and grew out of the Lonsdale Water Power Company founded by the firm of Brown & Ives in about 1825. The Water Power Company began buying up water rights and properties along the Blackstone River in the towns of Cumberland and Smithfield and in 1831 started construction of its first mill (Lonsdale Mill No. 1). Subsequently, the company organized a village around its mill and named the village "Lonsdale." The mill village included a school, church, store, houses, tenements, and -- in 1869 -- the construction of a community social meeting place known as "Lonsdale Hall."

I have been unable to find a photograph of Lonsdale Hall, but the National Register Nomination Form referred to above describes the building (at page 12 of the form) as follows:

                    A long, 3 1/2 story, brick building; its cornice is bracketed and its windows set
                    under segmental arches between brick piers. [As of the date of the 1984 report]
                    the first floor has been modified with large plate glass windows and a stucco
                    covering. The Hall was built by the Lonsdale Company as a community meeting
                    place and commercial center. It housed the local library, club rooms, and a
                    meeting hall on the upper floors; small shops occupied the first floor -- in 1888
                    there were a drug store, barber shop, dry goods store, and bakery here.  

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Original September 13, 1919 "Welcome Home Celebration" ticket in the personal collection of the author.

For more information about the Lonsdale Company and its records, see the "Guide to the Lonsdale Company Records 1831 - 1946" (2009) by the Rhode Island Historical Society 

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Prism's "Top 5 Most Viewed Posts" for 2013 (January 26, 2014)

In the year I have been blogging here at The Prism, I have seen posts on other blogs that are roundups of the most viewed posts on those blogs. Most recently I was reminded of this as a post subject by the roundup Bill West did of the 5 Most Viewed Posts on his seven-year-old blog West In New England. In seven years of blogging, Bill has accumulated a very impressive 244,479 page views of his 1,477 posts. It exhausts me just reading that Bill has posted almost 1,500 times since starting his blog! I have only posted 274 times as of the one-year anniversary of Filiopietism Prism.

I have 28,001 page views as of the time this post is being written, but like Bill I have no illusions about that meaning 28,001 people have stopped by The Prism to actually pause and read one or more posts.  A significant portion of those page views are obviously "drive-bys" generated by the same web crawler programs Bill referenced in his recent post. Nonetheless, the very idea that even a small percentage of those calculated page views represent folks who did stop by to read a post or two is encouraging and flattering -- and I do know from comments and "plussing" of many posts that some fellow bloggers and followers have enjoyed at least a few of the posts.  I appreciate all of them and their kindness in leaving comments and plussing posts they have liked!

So . . . I would like to join Bill West and some of my other blogging friends and acquaintances in posting a round-up of the "Top 5 Most Viewed Posts" on Filiopietism Prism in 2013. The Top 5 are as follows:

1.  Finding A Cousin -- Kismet, Karma, Fate or Simple Serendipity Made Possible By The New Golden Age of Genealogy?  Posted Monday, February 11, 2013.  [312 views].

2.  "PublicProfiler Worldnames" -- A Surname Search Resource  Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2013  [253 views]

3.  The Genealogical Mystery of Thomas Tew, the Rhode Island Pirate  Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013  [217 views]   -- This was a re-post of a piece first published in February 2012 on Heather Rojo's blog, Nutfield Genealogy, after her kind invitation to do a guest post.

4.  Family Recipe Friday [Thomas Tew's Blackfish Chowder]  Posted Friday, January 4, 2013  [204 views] -- And NO, it is not that Thomas Tew!

5.  Saturday Serendipity (November 2, 2013)  Posted Saturday, November 2, 2013  [177 views] -- "Saturday Serendipity" is an ongoing series of weekly posts recommending interesting reads found on other genealogy blogs or websites of interest. I have no idea why this particular Saturday Serendipity garnered so many more views than did other such posts.

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Serendipity (January 25, 2014)

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 recommendations for inclusion on your reading list.

1.  UpFront With NGS informed us this week about a positively fascinating detective job to identify a young girl in 1908 working in a textile mill during the sad era of child labor abuses in the U.S. If you only have time to read one article this weekend, this is the one you need to read. Author and historian Joe Manning is one tenacious and creative researcher, as you will see. He develops an idea of how to use the 1910 Census to track down possible solutions to the identification project he set for himself and then delves into what must have been a time consuming (but ultimately profitable) task. I can't recommend this read highly enough and I thank UpFront for publicizing its existence.        
2.  Randy Sever at Genea-Musings informs us in two posts this week about's recent addition of hundreds of FamilySearch collections to the Ancestry catalog; however, in his usual style of not simply noting such an event, he goes the extra step of delving into it himself and reporting back to his readers. Randy posts here about his venture into a new collection and what he found.   

3.  Here is a resource I wish I had known about earlier.  I think it is one all genealogists (amateurs and professionals alike) will want to bookmark. Abbreviations used in city directories can be viewed here AND there are bonus links to lists of common abbreviations for first names and for occupation abbreviations. The lists are provided by Genealogy In Time Magazine.    

4.  Do you have ancestors who were involved in the whaling industry in the time before the transition from off-shore whale hunting sailing ships to oceans-roaming modern factory ships? If so, here is a database resource where you can explore all known American pelagic (off-shore) whaling voyages from the 1700s to the 1920s. There are some 15,000 uniquely identified voyages and you can get the vessel name, port of registry or departure, departure year and month, arrival year and month, declared destination of the voyage, the ship Master's name, and the product brought home (sperm oil, baleen oil, and/or bones).

5. I really enjoy reading posts about the detective work genealogists do to solve questions or mysteries in their family history. This week Tracy Meyers of Family Preserves blog takes us along on her detailed mystery tour to try to solve a delicious puzzle about the actual name of her paternal grandfather.  Have a read. It is well worth your time and perhaps you can offer Tracy some thoughts about possible future avenues to explore.    

6.  Many of us have roots in 16th and 17th century England and so we are always interested in information about events in the UK during those times that might have influenced our ancestors to cross the pond to America. Political events, religious issues and catastrophes such as man-made and natural disasters and epidemics could all be catalysts to migration. In the summer of 1665 the "Great Plague of London" decimated the population and 75,000 to 100,000 of the total census of 460,000 Londoners died from bubonic plague.  The Vault provides an informative and horrible death tally of the causes of death (plague and many others) for a single week in London in 1665. It would be no surprise if many families with means decided to leave for America after reading these official statistics!

7.  And lastly for this week . . . They're here! For those who have been waiting to see the postcards that Jana Last obtained through the extremely kind Good Samaritan efforts of her new Irish friend, Ann (see the background post here), Jana posted the first of her new collection with a fascinating story discovered from a 1904 postcard. You will want to follow this wonderful story and see the treasures as Jana shares them with us. See her first postcard and the story that accompanies it here!      

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Fotos (January 24, 2014) -- Maria Johanna Hasselbaum nee Richter

1902 photo of Maria Johanna Richter (June 1, 1859 - April 1948) age 43.

Maria Johanna Richter was the mother of my paternal grandmother, Huldah Antonia (Hasselbaum) Tew. Maria was born in Germany June 1, 1859 and came to the United States in or around 1882 at about age 23. On September 19, 1886 she married Anton Hasselbaum in Providence, Rhode Island. Together they had six children (1 boy and five girls) all of whom lived to adulthood. My grandmother and her twin sister, Josephine, were born on July 16, 1898 in Providence and they were the next to youngest. The only boy, Oscar, was born on August 8, 1889 in Providence and he was the second-born child. The other children were Mary (born in 1888), Olga (born in 1896), and Helena (born in 1901).  

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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Those Places Thursday (January 23, 2014) -- Simpson's-in-the-Strand, London, England 1955

My late father-in-law was a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was competitively selected for a Fulbright Scholarship under the Scholar Grant program to lecture and/or conduct research at Oxford for a year.  In 1955 - 1956 he, his wife and three children (including my wife Molly) moved to Oxford, England for a year.

During their year abroad, my wife's family took the opportunity to tour England, Ireland and some countries on the continent.  My mother-in-law kept up a regular correspondence with family back home including her parents who lived in Toronto, Canada. Her parents kept the correspondence from their daughter and things like hand-drawn "thank you" notes sent from England by their grandchildren.  These documents were later returned to my mother-in-law and are now available to her children and her grandchildren (our sons).

In September 1955, receptions were held in London for the Fulbright scholars studying in England at the time.  My wife's parents attended, of course, and surely welcomed the getaway to London without the three children (who were 3, 4 and 7 years old). During their getaway, Molly's parents followed up on a suggestion from her mother's father (Dr. G. Douglas Jeffs of Toronto) to try a restaurant called "Simpson's." It was a good suggestion and, on September 26, 1955, Molly's mother sent the above post card back to her father in Toronto  reporting on the results of his suggestion.

The back of the post card from Molly's mother to her father reads as follows. . . 

                                                                                                            Sept. 26, 1955

               At your suggestion we tried Simpson's while Dan & I
               were in London, alone, for the Fulbright receptions.
               It's still good! A huge plate of wonderful roast beef.
               Be sure to put it on your list of places to eat.

                                                                 Love to all,

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Photograph of the original post card in the family collection.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, see

For more interesting information about Simpson's-in-the-Strand traditional English restaurant and its history, see's-in-the-Strand. One of the restaurant's most famous mentions is in the 1961 film "The Guns of Navarone," which obviously could not have influenced Molly's parents' choices in 1955.  In the film, David Niven's character tells his wounded comrade that he is sure to recover from his injury and they will return to London and go straight away to Simpson's and have roast beef! Simpson's is still in business today and its specialty is aged Scottish beef on the bone -- which further explains the front of the post card above. 
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (January 22, 2014) -- The Snowstorm of January 21 - 22, 2014

In western Loudoun County, Virginia early evening Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In western Loudoun County, Virginia early evening Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dawn on January 22, 2014

Backyard and woods on January 22, 2014

On the deck at 7:30 AM January 22, 2104 (wind chill of -15)

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Photographs by the author in western Loudoun County, Virginia on January 21 and 22, 2014.  Loudoun County schools closed both days.  The federal government in the DC area closed January 21st and on a 2 hour delayed opening on January 22nd.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday (January 21, 2014) -- Eber Miller Carpenter

Eber Miller (1805 - 1877) is my 3rd great grandfather.  He was married to Abby Hunt (1807 - 1893) and to my knowledge (thus far) he and Abby had two children: Ruth Ann Miller, my 2nd great grandmother (1828 - 1893); and Cornelia Crosby Miller (1833 - 1914). Eber, Abby and Ruth are all buried in  what is now designated as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery, Cumberland 3 on Dexter Street in Cumberland. In fact, many of my Carpenter, Miller and Hunt ancestors are laid to rest in this particular cemetery.

In late March 2010, I visited the Dexter Street cemetery and took many photographs of family headstones, but this sad one especially caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  For one, it was in remarkably good shape compared to most of the others in the cemetery.  For another, it involved a very sad loss of a young child by drowning AND it presented a mystery.

The headstone reads . . . 

                                        This monument is erected by
                                            Eber Miller,
                                     To   the   memory   of
                                            EBER MILLER,
                                                 son of
                                        John Jay & Susan
                                         who was Drowned
                                          Aug. 16, 1829,
                                      aged 4 years 6 mo's &
                                                   6 days.
                                                   *  *  *
                                Unveil thy bosom faithful tomb,
                                Take this new treasure to thy trust.
                                And give these sacred relicks room,
                                To slumber in the silent dust.

My 3rd great grandfather, Eber Miller, obviously had this headstone prepared for his young namesake, Eber Miller Carpenter, who drowned as a boy of less than five. The mystery was . . .  what was the exact connection between Eber Miller and John Jay Carpenter and his wife, Susan? Eber and Abby's daughter, Ruth Ann Miller, married into the Carpenter family when she married my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Carpenter, but that Carpenter connection was a generation away.  The drowned boy, Eber Miller Carpenter, was born in 1825 and Ruth Ann Miller, who would eventually marry my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Carpenter, was not even born until August 23, 1828 -- almost exactly a year before Eber Miller Carpenter drowned.  Eber M. Carpenter's father, John Jay Carpenter did not yet appear in my Carpenter family tree.

Consulting my copy of the 1896 Carpenter genealogy compiled by Amos Bugbee Carpenter (the "ABC") at page 297, I learned that the maiden surname of John Jay Carpenter's wife, Susan, was "Hunt."  John J. Carpenter is also buried in the Dexter Street cemetery, and his headstone states that he died May 21, 1879 -- the same date stated in the Amos B. Carpenter genealogy.

John Jay's wife Susan was born in 1796.  She and John Jay married on January 2, 1819. The supposition therefore -- yet to be confirmed -- is that Susan was the older sister of my 3rd great grandmother Abby Hunt who married Eber Miller.  Eber Miller provided the headstone for his drowned namesake, Eber Miller Carpenter, the nephew of his wife Abby.  

Eber and Abby's daughter, Ruth Ann Miller, would later marry Samuel Carpenter in 1852, so the question became, "Were John Jay Carpenter and Samuel Carpenter, related -- and if so, how?" This will be the subject of a future post.  
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Photograph by the author (March 2010)
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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