Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Immortality (January 3, 2017) -- Huldah Antonia [Hasselbaum] Tew

"Immortality Lies in Being Remembered by Family and Friends." -- John D. Tew 

My paternal grandmother was born Huldah Antonia Hasselbaum on July 16, 1898 in Providence, Rhode Island. She was a twin to her sister, Josephine Hasselbaum.  Both my grandmother and her sister Josephine are shown above with their mother, Maria Johanna [Richter] Hasselbaum, in a photograph taken in 1902 when the girls were four years old.  My grandmother, Huldah, is the one with the pronounced curly hair to the right of her mother as one looks at the photograph. Josephine is to the left. 

Huldah and her sister (as well as all their siblings) were first generation American.  Both of their parents came to the United States from Germany in the 1880s. Although the parents were thoroughly German, all the children were born in Providence and they were neither encourage to learn nor speak German; consequently while my grandmother could not speak to either of her parents in their native tongue, my grandfather, who took German in school at Phillips Andover, is said to have carried on lively conversations with his mother-in-law in the kitchen entirely in German (which pleased her I am sure).

My grandmother's father, Anton Hasselbaum, immigrated to the U.S. in 1884 and her mother, Maria Johanna Richter, immigrated in 1882. Anton was a very successful businessman in Providence and had his own liquor and bottling business. Anton died in 1916 and so he never experienced the devastation to his business and livelihood that Prohibition would have brought a mere fours years later. But he was able to provide nicely for his family and they grew up with all the advantages of a solid, affluent, middle-class family. When he died, he left his widow a large family house and one or two rental properties too.  Judging from the fashionable clothing my grandmother wore during her youth and young adulthood, and the beach vacations she enjoyed at Newport and at Horse Neck Beach in Westport, Massachusetts in the early part of the last century before she married, she led what must have been considered a very comfortable if not overly privileged life (as photos below will show).  

Photo and explanatory caption from The Evening Bulletin, Providence, RI (Tuesday, July 5, 1932)

Expanded view of the explanatory caption to the above photograph

My grandmother had four siblings in addition to her twin sister.  Three were older than she and her twin sister and one was younger. All were born in Providence.

The six children of Anton and Marie Johanna Hasselbaum.

Among a few of the peculiarities my grandmother possessed (as all of us do), was her penchant for writing across the face of family photographs and for referring to herself later in life as "Mother Tew."  As the photographs illustrate below, the captions she provided have been very helpful for placing people in place and time, but one wishes she would have done so on the reverse side of the photos.

Huldah Hasselbaum posing by the house she grew up in. Her niece, Dorothy Henry,
daughter of her older sister, Mary [Hasselbaum] Henry, is seen in the window

Huldah A. Hasselbaum in Vermont in 1920 before her engagement

In 1920, Huldah became engaged to my grandfather, Arnold G. Tew. They were married on July 16, 1921 at the Baptist Church on Broad Street in Providence.  In November 1922 the first of their three children (my father) was born.

My grandmother's engagement portrait (1920)

My grandparents (center) on their wedding day 

Huldah Tew on her wedding day. [For an explanation about the dark wedding attire,
see my previous post here

Huldah during the honeymoon at Grand Lake, Maine

Huldah [Hasselbaum] Tew with her first born child (my father) in 1923

Huldah Tew at age 40 (1938).

Huldah Tew at about age 40 (date unknown)

Huldah Tew with her husband and three adult children (April 1955)

Huldah Tew with her family (Christmas 1956). [That's me in my much cherished Davy Crockett suit]

My grandmother and grandfather in 1957 back at Grand Lake, Maine where they honeymooned in 1921. 

My grandmother lived to age 84 and she was able to see know all ten of her grandchildren. She died 34 years ago this day on January 3, 1983.  Gone but not forgotten!

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Photographs from the personal collection of the author.  Thanks to my Aunt Priscilla, my Uncle John, my cousin Bruce Marquardt, and others who have contributed to my collection over the years!
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Copyright 2017,  John D. Tew

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  1. This is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother, John. It's wonderful that you have so many photographs of her and others in her family. I especially like that sweet first photo of mother and twins and also the photo of and news article about your great-grandfather and his beer wagon. (Lucky you!)

    1. Thank you Nancy! I do feel very lucky to have all these genealogical "gems" and one purpose of this blog is to preserve them and share them more widely.