Mum & Pop

1957 ~ My great-grandparents, Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson & Amanda Eliza Hamblin, welcoming me to the family.

My great-grandfather, Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson, son and only child of Martin Edward and Elizabeth Emma (Freeman) Thompson, was born 29 March 1875 in Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died 13 July 1965 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married in 1894, his fifth cousin, once removed, Amanda Eliza Hamblin, who was born 2 August 1879 in Dennis, and died 6 July 1966 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts, the daughter of William Nelson and Anna Eliza (Baker) Hamblin.

Martin Thompson and Edward Swift

Martin was for a time the captain of the King Philip, a fishing boat out of Boston. He was a pilot and a sea-captain. In 1906 the couple resided at 69A Whiting Street, in Lynn, Massachusetts and later lived at 13 Wilson Drive in Abington. Probably sometime after his father’s death in 1928 they moved to the family home at 114 Depot Street, in Dennis Port, and were certainly there before 1957. For a time Martin & Amanda resided at 10 School Street in Woods Hole with their daughter and son-in-law, who were caring for his aunt and uncle, Edward and Susan Flora (Freeman) Swift.

Amanda had a very close relationship with Martin’s cousin, Annie (Thompson) Kelley. She cherished unrealized dreams of becoming an actress, but was well-known for the beautiful doilies she crocheted. Many of the doilies were given to her great-granddaughter, my sister Beverly, who seems to have inherited the crocheting genes. Beverly reproduced some of Amanda’s designs and has mounted some of the originals for safekeeping.

Amanda Hamblin (1879-1966)

Amanda suffered from dementia in her final years, and for the year after her husband died, could only accept that he was at sea, and would only be made to rest easier when she was told that he was coming home soon. Amanda was called “Mum” and Martin was called “Pop” by their daughter and grandchildren. Both Mum & Pop died of pneumonia, a year apart, and lie buried together in Swan Lake Cemetery in Dennis Port. Martin’s Namesakes: his father Capt. Martin Edward Thompson and his mother Elisabeth Emma Freeman. Amanda’s Namesakes: both of her grandmothers, Amanda Bearse and Eliza R. Eldridge.

Amanda & Martin were the parents of one daughter:

1. Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother), born 8 June 1906 in Lynn (Essex) Massachusetts, died 3 September 1996 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts. She married 30 November 1929 in Harwich, John Everett White, who was born 8 June 1905 in Rockland (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 4 April 2001 in Dennis, son of Samuel Minor and Emma Flora (Atwood) White. Emma & John were the parents of two children.

Farewell, Auntie Lil

Lillian Elizabeth (Chomiak) Rioux (1915-2016)

Last autumn we lost our aunt, who lived to be 101 years old. The various stories behind the above drawing presented a puzzle for us but after comparing memories we finally decided that the sketch was probably drawn on one of Auntie’s cruises. She kept it hanging above her bed for as long as I can remember, flanked on either side with the senior high school pictures of my sister and me.

Following is the obituary I wrote for the newspapers:

Lillian Elizabeth (Chomiak) Rioux, 101, of Storrs, Connecticut, died on October 27, 2016, at Mansfield Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation, after a short illness.

Lillian was born on January 30, 1915 in New York City, the daughter of the late William & Katherine (Fusiak) Chomiak, both immigrants from Ukraine. She married Leo Oscar Rioux on November 30, 1934 at Montville, Connecticut. Her husband died on June 5, 1957, leaving her a widow for 59 years. Lillian was predeceased by their two sons, Leo Adrian Rioux (1936-1984) and Lance William Rioux (1950-1979).

Lillian was also predeceased by six siblings, Mary Riback, Jon Stephen Chomiak, Augustine Chomiak, Augusta Jean Hereth, Olga Chomiak, and Theodore William Chomiak. She is survived by her sister, Ludmila Sabatiuk of West Virginia, her grandchildren, Leo Rioux, Jr. of Montville and Sarah James of Tennessee, seven nieces and nephews, four great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandson.

Lil was a graduate of Norwich Free Academy and was a seamstress employed at Hendel Manufacturing Company in New London for many years. She was a long time resident of Montville and later moved to Juniper Hill Village in Storrs to live closer to her brother. An avid traveler, beach bum and shell collector, she loved to sew, cook, grow orchids, do jigsaw puzzles and work with her hands.

A memorial gathering will be planned for next spring. Memorial donations can be made to Mansfield Town Senior Center, 303 Maple Rd, Storrs, CT 06268.

We had our memorial gathering for her on May 6, spreading her ashes on the graves of her parents and her husband and two sons, as she had directed. My Aunt Em read to us her memories of Aunt Lil’s earlier years.

Grave of Aunt Lil’s parents, William Chomiak (1882-1965) & Katherine Fusiak (1887-1943), Comstock Cemetery, Montville, Connecticut

Every year on Memorial Day, my father would drive Aunt Lil to these two adjacent cemeteries, so she could plant geraniums in front of the headstones, each one a different shade of red or pink. When my father could no longer drive, my sister and brother-in-law stepped in to take her. As he has been doing for years now, John once again planted the geraniums that meant so much to her, this time with family spreading ashes and telling stories.

Grave of Aunt Lil’s older son, Leo Adrian Rioux (1936-1984), St. Patrick Cemetery, Montville, Connecticut.

The story Auntie told me was that it was not permitted for her to be buried in the Catholic cemetery with her husband and sons because she never converted to Catholicism. But she married a Catholic and had her sons baptized in the church. It was her wish to join them in the cemetery by spreading her ashes on their graves.

Grave of Aunt Lil’s husband, Leo Oscar Rioux (1913-1957), and their younger son, Lance William Rioux (1950-1979), St. Patrick Cemetery, Montville, Connecticut.

At the last grave Tim read a poem my sister Beverly wrote in memory of Auntie for the occasion.

They were worker’s hands, never soft, never still.
It took me fifty years to catch them, hold them, keep them safe and warm.
A thousand times I watched them go:
knit and purl
peel and chop
turn the pages
stir the pot.

If hands could talk what would they say?
It took me fifty years to hear them, know them, find out how they spoke.
A thousand times I felt their love:
show and tell
hug and pat
acts of kindness
pet the cat.

I’d come to love her knobby hands
that always showed me what to do.
How those hands have touched my life!
They’ve one more job before they’re through:
stitch and mend
my broken heart.

~ Beverly Chomiak
(Her Hands)

Then we all went to eat at one of her favorite restaurants, Old Tymes in Norwich, finishing the meal with dishes of Auntie’s favorite black raspberry ice cream. ❤

The Farm on Keller Hill

Charles & Eliza are Tim’s 2nd-great-grandparents. Years ago we made a research trip to western New York with Tim’s aunt Delorma and were able to see the farm on Keller Hill Road in Hinsdale, and perhaps the cheese factory where their milk was brought. My memory has gotten pretty hazy, we saw so much too fast. We met the Hinsdale town historian and some distant cousins. I’ve never been able to find parents for Eliza, but after this trip was taken I learned that Charles & Eliza buried their 6 year old daughter, Lucy, in Prattsburg, about 75 miles to the east. Lucy died there in 1850 and after that her parents bought the farm in Hinsdale in 1857. So I’m hoping to make a trip to Prattsburg one of these days – perhaps Charles & Eliza were married there and perhaps I can find evidence of Eliza’s parents there.

Charles Munson Hamilton, son of Benjamin J. and Rachel (Gardner) Hamilton, was born 16 August 1815 in New Jersey, and died 12 June 1891. He married (as his first wife) 31 December 1840, Eliza Ann Devoe, who was born 26 January 1819, and died 6 April 1866 in Hinsdale (Cattaraugus) New York.

Charles bought the farm on Keller Hill in Hinsdale, New York on 16 April 1857, when he was 41 years old. Before then Charles & Eliza and their oldest three children lived in Prattsburgh (Steuben) New York. Eliza’s parents remain unknown, but her son was told that she was descended from a French nobleman, a cousin to Louis XVI, and that her ancestry was French, Dutch and Pennsylvania Quaker. I have found many French and Dutch Devoes (with many spelling variations) in New York and Pennsylvania, but cannot thus far establish any connections. [Curiously, Charles’ niece, Eliza Ann VanDeventer married one Elias DeVoe Bryant, who is a great-grandson of a Dutch woman named Lucy Davoe, and Charles and Eliza did name a daughter Lucy.]

Eliza’s obituary in The Cuba True Patriot, Vol IV, No 41, 13, April 1866, was sad and brief:

Sudden death. – A lady named Hamilton, who resided a short distance south of this village, died very suddenly on Friday morning last. She was taken by a fainting fit while sitting at the tea table and died in a short time. She leaves a child three weeks old.

After Eliza died, Charles married (as his second wife) a school teacher, Rachel A. Ferris, 11 March 1868 in Cuba (Allegany) New York, daughter of Cyrus and Miriam (—) Ferris. Rev. William O. Learned performed the ceremony, at the residence of the bride’s father. Rachel was born January 1836 and died 1 April 1875 in Hinsdale.

According to the Cuba Evening Review, twice a widower, Charles and his daughter, Addie, made a trip by train to Chicago in June, 1882. Since 1879 he had been living with Addie and her husband, Joseph D. Witter, who died shortly thereafter. His time spent with Addie must have been a great comfort to him after so many losses in a row. (His 6-year-old daughter Lucy died in 1850, wife Eliza died in 1866, 28-year-old son Elmer died in 1870, newborn daughter Myra died in 1871, wife Rachel died in 1875, and his mother in 1877 and father in 1880.) Charles was a Baptist and a Republican. He died of cystitis and catarrh of the bladder. He and both his wives are buried in Lot #11, Cuba Cemetery, Cuba, New York.

According to his son, Charles A. Hamilton:

My father [Charles Munson] was always kind to me, gave me spending money, took me to the circus, etc., but he was of the stern type, quite hard of hearing, and so much older than I that we were never pals. My memories of father are, on the whole, pleasant. He was stern, puritanical in faith and honest to the half cent. He hated anything low or crooked. I never heard him tell a risqué story, and he never used profanity. His cuss words were limited to “I swanny,” and “By George,” with, on extreme provocation, the expletive reported to have been used by General Cambronne at the Battle of Waterloo. He was hard-working, thrifty and a good manager. While not painfully pious, he was regular in church attendance, always asking the blessing at meals, and conducting family worship during the winter season. Sister Addie and I had a memorial window installed in his memory in the rebuilt Baptist Church at Cuba, which bears this quotation, “The Memory of the Just is Blessed.” His justice and honesty seemed to us his outstanding characteristic. He was afflicted with partial deafness, an affliction which seems hereditary among the descendants of Benjamin Hamilton. We were never close to each other until I became a college student, when he evidently considered me a man, and we discussed at length all sorts of questions. I deeply revere his memory.

The following is from The Patriot, Cuba New York, Thursday, June 18, 1891:

Death of Chas. M. Hamilton

On Friday, June 12, Mr. Charles M. Hamilton, residing south west of the village, departed this life, aged 75 years and 10 months. Mr. Hamilton had been ill for nearly three years, but death, when it came, seemed sudden, as it does under any circumstances.

Deceased was born in New Jersey and came to New York state when a boy, his home being in Chemung county. All his life he followed farming, his highest ambition when young, being to possess a farm of his own. Thirty-eight years ago he located on the place where he died, living there a happy and contented life and bringing into cultivation as fine a farm as can be found in this vicinity. He was twice married, both his companions in life crossing the river before him. Two children mourn the loss of a loved parent, Mrs. C. B. Conklin and Mr. Chas. A. Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton possessed the entire confidence of his neighbors and friends, and his life was one of honest work, uprightness and integrity. The funeral services were held Sunday at the home of his daughter, Rev. Cherryman of Scott’s Corners officiating.

Charles & Eliza were the parents of four children:

1. Elmer Alonzo Hamilton, a farmer, born 12 October 1841, died 20 July 1870 in Hinsdale, when struck by lightning. He is buried in Lot #11 in Cuba Cemetery. The following account of Elmer’s death was written many years later by his little brother, Charles, who was 4 years old at the time:

One of my most vivid recollections of this period is the death by a stroke of lightning on July 20th, 1870, of my only brother, Elmer Alonzo. He was my father’s first born, and had grown up into a strong, lusty farmer. He and father were more like brothers than like father and son. He was very fond of his little brother, and used to romp with me and at times good naturedly teased me. To me, there was no one in the world like Elmer. After dinner, on the day of his death, as he was starting for the hay field, I begged him to take me with him, but, as a thunder storm was looming in the west, he told me I couldn’t go. He went alone to the hay field, cocked hay until the storm came up, and a bolt of lightning ended his activities forever. His body was not discovered until the next forenoon, all covered with hay. His untimely death was a terrible blow to the entire family.

And from the Cuba True Patriot, 22 July 1870, Vol 9, No 4:

Killed by Lightning. On Wednesday last, Mr. Elmer Hamilton, son of Charles Hamilton, residing on Keller Hill, in this town was killed by lightning. The particulars as near as we have been able to learn them, are as follows. Just before the terrible thunder-storm of Wednesday Mr. Hamilton went over to his father’s farm, adjoining his own, and just across the Hinsdale town line, to grind his machine knives and repair his mower. Towards night as he did not return his relatives began to wonder at his long absence, and a search was instituted. They looked in every place where it might be possible he might be found, but failed to find him. A large number of neighbors were informed, who searched diligently for the missing man till about 2 o’clock A. M., when the hunt was given up till morning. Thursday morning the body of Mr. Hamilton was found, partly screened by a haycock. By his side, and protruding from the cock of hay was his pitchfork, with the tine end sticking out. Close by was his hat, which led to his discovery. One side of the head was scorched almost to a crisp, plainly indicating the cause of his death. It is supposed that Mr. Hamilton crept under the hay-cock to protect himself from the severe storm, and that the lightning struck the fork which he held in his hand. Mr. Hamilton was about 21 years of age, and a young man generally esteemed by all who knew him.

2. Lucy D. Hamilton, born 20 January 1844, died 11 November 1850, age 6. Lucy lies buried in the Prattsburgh Old Cemetery, Prattsburgh, New York.

3. Freelove Adelaide “Addie” Hamilton, born 1848, died 9 April 1912. She married (as her first husband) 16 September 1868 in Hinsdale, Joseph D. Witter, who died 6 June 1879. Addie & Joseph were the parents of four children. Addie married (as her second husband) 7 February 1883, Clarence B. Conklin, who was born 1850 and died 30 November 1925. Addie & Clarence had one daughter. Addie died of cancer when she was about 64. She had played quite an important part in her younger brother Charles’ childhood and adolescent period, being both sister and mother to him. Following are Charles’ thoughts about her two husbands:

Joseph Witter was one of the finest men I ever knew. Honest, industrious, a devout Christian, a fine husband and father. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and saw something funny in nearly all situations. My sister told me that, in their eleven years of married life, he never spoke crossly to her but once. He treated me as I had never been treated before. Joe, treated me as a man, made me drive the team, draw the milk to the cheese-factory, and work alone in the fields dragging. He gave me kindly advice and correction when needed.

Clarence was honest and upright, but painfully ‘close’ in money matters. Two months after their marriage, he lost his mind, and was incarcerated for several months in the Buffalo asylum for the insane. His mind was not very clear during his last years.

4. Charles Amos Hamilton (Tim’s great-grandfather), born 19 March 1866 in Hinsdale, died 28 October 1943 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. He married 30 June 1897 in Albion (Orleans) New York, Gertrude Mabel Hubbard, who was born 9 December 1874 in Albion, and died 31 May 1965 in Marlboro (Monmouth) New Jersey, daughter of Delorma Brown and Emma (Pridmore) Hubbard. Charles & Gertrude were the parents of one daughter.

Charles Munson & Rachel were the parents of a daughter:

1. Myra Eliza Hamilton, who lived for only three days in March 1871.

Namesake

5.6.17 ~ Katherine at the grave of her great-great-grandparents

She’s too little to understand just yet but I think she recognized her name, the one she shares with her great-great-grandmother, Katherine. We were at the cemetery to spread some of my aunt’s ashes on her parents’ grave, as she had wished us to do. Will share some things from the memorial we had for my Aunt Lil soon…

A Sea Captain

My 2nd-great-grandfather, Capt. William Nelson Hamblin, son of William and Amanda (Bearse) Hamblin, was born about 1844 in West Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 19 May 1883. He married 16 January 1868 in Dennis, Anna Eliza “Annie” Baker, who was born 2 October 1845 in Dennis, and died 2 December 1927, daughter of Benjamin and Eliza R. (Eldridge) Baker.

Hamblin home ~ 123 Fisk St., West Dennis

William was a mariner and became a sea-captain by the time of his death at age 39 of heart disease. William & Annie lie buried in West Dennis Cemetery on Fisk Street. William’s gravestone inscription reads:

Husband
William N. Hamblin
d. 5-19-1883 Aged 39 yrs,
We hope to meet thee in heaven.

Annie was a widow for many years. Next to her husband’s, her gravestone is inscribed:

Wife
Annie. E. Hamblin
d. 12-2-1927 Aged 82 yrs,
Gone but not forgotten.

Annie & William were the parents of three children:

1. Benjamin Francis “Benny” Hamblin, born 23 November 1873 in West Dennis, died 26 October 1955. He married 30 November 1899 in West Bridgewater (Plymouth) Massachusetts, Lillian Wright Pratt, who was born 16 September 1872 and died 20 May 1946 in Abington (Plymouth) Massachusetts, daughter of Ira A. and Lucy Ann (Hathaway) Pratt. Benjamin & Lillian were the parents of a daughter, Ruth Vivian Hamblin, who married Arthur John Coburn. Ruth was an only child, just like my grandmother, her cousin. Grandmother told me that she and Ruth considered themselves sisters more than cousins and had a very special relationship. Ruth’s husband, Arthur Coburn, made the cherry magazine rack that my grandparents, John & Emma White, gave Tim and me for a wedding present.

2. Amanda Eliza Hamblin (my great-grandmother), born 2 August 1879 in Dennis, died 6 July 1966 in Taunton (Bristol) Massachusetts. She married 1 February 1900 in Dennis, Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson, who was born 29 March 1875 in South Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts and died 13 July 1965 in Dennis, son of Martin Edward and Elisabeth Emma (Freeman) Thompson. Amanda & Martin were the parents of Emma Freeman Thompson, my grandmother and Ruth’s cousin.

3. William Nelson Hamblin, born 1 July 1883 in Dennis, two months after the death of his father, died 31 December 1958. He married Sadie Louise Crowell, who was born 11 September 1884 in Dennis, and died 23 March 1972 in Yarmouth (Barnstable) Massachusetts. Apparently the younger William did not follow his father to a life at sea. William & Sadie were the parents of two sons — Gordon and Francis Hamblin were the much-talked-about cousins of my grandmother.

The following is from the Sunday Cape Cod Times, June 22, 1980 article by Craig Little, pg 13, South Yarmouth:

[William] began selling Mobil gasoline from 55-gallon oil drums mounted in his Main Street front yard in 1914, when Main Street was still Route 28. Ten years later, when it was clear that cars were here to stay, he had the garage built a few dozen yards from his house. Even in 1935, when Route 28 was rerouted to the north and Main Street was relegated to a scenic bypass, there was enough business to keep the station going….. W.H. Hamblin bought the little candy store and moved it to the property in 1928 so his wife could sell ice cream. Now window boxes with geraniums decorate the outside, hanging below the old wood-framed glass display cases.

Hamblin’s Garage in Bass River is a living museum of roadside retailing, a dusty monument to the time when gas stations were stucco and red tile, not shiny plastic and chrome floating on a sea of jet black seal-coated asphalt………[Francis’] brother, Gordon, takes care of the mechanical work (“We don’t do any big jobs like transmission work or rebuilding engines. We do mufflers, brakes, tune-ups, exhausts. Yep, we do all that”). He’s been there since 1934, when he was right out of high school…… After Francis leaves, Gordon will stay on in the house behind the shop. He’ll keep on driving school buses for the town, something he’s done for years. For years he’s also serviced the South Yarmouth’s post office’s fleet of mail vans, working on them on an outdoor hydraulic lift installed in 1930. “Oh, I dunno, I guess they got about 18, 19, or 20 of ’em,” he says from under his cap, worn at an angle, Rootie Kazootie style. “I work on all of ’em — they usually get ’em down here about 5 in the evenin’. They need ’em in the day.”……. The Hamblins charge between $5 and $6 an hour for labor. It doesn’t seem to bother them that other garages get three times that for the same work……. “Yep, been an inspection station since I was a kid,” adds Gordon, twisting a final spark plug into place on Silva’s Mustang. “As far as I know, since the early ’20s.” Behind the car, in a corner next to a pile of old boxes capped with a dusty pith helmet, is a sagging easy chair where Gordon can sneak a break during his long days.

Like an archeological dig, the inside of the gas station has strata of artifacts. Peel back a tire sealant ad from the ’50s and you find a tobacco ad from the ’40s. Peel that back, and underneath is a flyer from the ’30s. Time stands still here…… But after 66 years of pumping gas and changing flats here, the Hamblins are selling out. “Don’t wanna die here,” says Francis, the talkative Hamblin who acts as the front man, pumping gas, taking care of the candy store and making small talk with the customers…….. Francis didn’t arrive until after World War II, when the brothers took over the business from their father, W. H. Hamblin……. Even in 1967, when a shiny new Mobil station was built down by the Bass River Bridge, the Hamblins managed to survive, by switching to Arco. “That’s comin’ too close,” philosophizes Francis….. The more you look around, the more you wonder why antique dealers didn’t clean out the Hamblins years ago. “Oh, I got some baseball cards of Babe Ruth and them at home. Must be worth $40 or $50 apiece,” says Francis, who knows by now that an old thing gets more valuable as it gets older…….. Probably the newest thing in the garage… a rototiller destined to carve out a garden for Francis in New Hampshire. “Just bought a place there last year,” he says. “Hope to have a good-sized garden…….. Because of the war, our father started closing Sundays,” says Francis. “He liked it so well he never got back to the seven-day week. We stay pretty busy, ‘specially at inspection time. Most of ’em is repeats…….. A lot of people come in to have work done on their old cars,” Francis says, nodding toward the 1936 Packard that someone dropped off in the back lot. “They hate to see us go. Oh, we’ve just gotten up in age and want to take it a little easier. Anyway, fella that wants to buy the place says he’s gonna try to keep it as a landmark… won’t do much modernizing. Geez, hope they pass those papers.

Memory Circle

William Franklin Raven (1851-1917)

Tim’s 2nd great-grandfather, William Franklin Raven, son of Henry Charles and Clarinda (Sweet) Raven, was born 12 July 1851 in Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York, and died 14 September 1917 in Escanaba (Delta) Michigan. He married, 5 March 1888 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, Elona Naomi Case, who was born 7 July 1853 in Cambridge, and died 22 January 1929 in Badaxe (Huron) Michigan, the daughter of Herman Roberts and Paulina (Minor) Case.

The following is from Col. Charles V. DeLand, DeLand’s History of Jackson County, (Logansport, Indiana: B.F. Bowen, 1893), 1075-1076:

Elona Naomi Case (1853-1929)

WILLIAM F. RAVEN

Among the representative farmers and dairymen of Columbia township, where he owns a fine landed estate of nearly three hundred acres, is Mr. Raven, who comes of ancestry long identified with the annals of American history. Mr. Raven is a native of the old Empire state, having been born on the parental homestead farm, in St. Lawrence county, New York, on the 12th of July, 1852, a son of Henry and Clarinda (Sweet) Raven, the former of whom was born in Merrickville, province of Ontario, Canada, while the latter was born in the state of Vermont. ……. The subject of this review passed the first ten years of his life in his native county, and thereafter was for a time a resident of Herkimer and Oneida counties. His early education was received in the public schools of the locality and period, and was supplemented by a course of study in Fairfield Academy, where he was graduated as a member of the class of 1873. Between his public school and academic courses he had learned the printer’s trade, and for some nine months he was employed as a compositor in an establishment on Fulton street, New York city. Thereafter he secured employment in connection with a lumber business at Ilion, New York, being thus engaged for four years, at the expiration of which, in 1877, he came to Michigan and after looking about the state in search of a suitable location finally took up his residence in the township of Cambridge, Lenawee county, where he made his home for the ensuing two years. He then, in 1880, effected the purchase of the Hoag farm of one hundred and thirty acres, in section 15, Columbia township, Jackson county, the same being most eligibly situated a short distance to the northeast of Clark’s lake. Since that time he has added to the area of his farm until he now has a finely improved and valuable landed estate of nearly three hundred acres. In addition to diversified farming he is now making a specialty of the dairy business, keeping a high grade of Jersey cattle and being known as one of the most progressive, practical and successful dairymen of this section. He takes a loyal interest in public affairs of a local nature and has been a member of the school board of this district for the past eight years, while in 1901 he was called upon to serve in the office of township treasurer, giving a discriminating and most acceptable administration of the fiscal affairs in his charge. Fraternally, he is a popular member of the Masonic order, in which he has passed the capitular degrees and also of the adjunct body, the Order of the Eastern Star, as well as the Knights of the Maccabees and the Grange. Mrs. Raven is identified also with the Eastern Star, the Ladies of the Maccabees and the Grange. In politics the subject is a stanch adherent of the Democratic party, taking an intelligent and lively interest in the questions of the hour, and in the community he commands the unequivocal confidence and esteem of all who know him and wields no slight influence in local affairs. On the 5th of March, 1888, Mr. Raven was united in marriage to Miss Eleanora Case, who was born in Lenawee county, Michigan, a daughter of Herman R. Case, a native of Connecticut, who came to Michigan in the pioneer epoch. Mr. and Mrs. Raven have seven children, all of whom are at home save the eldest, who is attending the Agricultural College, at Lansing, their names, in order of birth, being as follows: Paulina, Hermon, Marion, William, Emmett, Julia and Ayesha.

All the photographs on this post were contributed anonymously to Ancestry.com in 2013.

William & Elona (Case) Raven and their seven children…

The following is from an undated and unidentified newspaper clipping:

Sudden Death of William F. Raven

Remains Brought to Brooklyn for Burial

William F. Raven, formerly a resident of Columbia township, died suddenly in a restaurant at Escanaba last Friday morning of heart trouble. he had been in Chicago to attend a wool growers’ convention and had gone north in the interests of the state agricultural extension department, being at the head of the live stock section. The remains were taken to his home at East Lansing where the funeral was held and on Monday brought to Brooklyn for burial at Highland Cemetery. He was buried with special Masonic honors, the Master of the Lansing Masonic lodge coming with the funeral party.

William Raven was well and favorably known to every Columbia resident and few men have become so well known throughout the state. He came here, a farmer boy from Ohio, and working on farms and teaching for a few years bought a farm, now tenanted by one of his sons, William. He was united in marriage to Miss Elona Case of Cambridge and a large family came to bless their home. Besides the widow the surviving children are herman, John, Emmett, Marion and Will, daughters Paulina, Julia and Ayesha, all grown men and women, a family of honor and credit to the community.

Mr. Raven has for about ten years been in the employ of the state and made his home in East Lansing. He was for a time in charge of all the college extension work in the upper peninsula. He spent a year or two on the soil survey and had charge of the live stock extension work through out the state. Prof. R.S. Shaw, dean of agriculture, and Prof. R.J. Baldwin, director of extension work, of the M.A.C. paid tribute to Mr. Raven at the Exponent office on Monday. They spoke in highest terms of his work stating that he was the best informed and most reliable of any of the men on the extension work and that his death would be a distinct loss to the state.

And the following is from “Reminiscences” by Ayesha Raven Laidlaw, Elona’s youngest daughter:

In our neighborhood the community of Jefferson had a cemetery which was supported by the township, which did not take very good care of it, except for mowing. So the women formed an organization called the Memory Circle, and they raised money for that little cemetery. It continued for many, many years. they had Ice Cream Socials, and we had the biggest house in the township, so the Ice Cream Socials were always at our house in the summer. In the winter they had a Chicken Pie Dinner, and that, too, was at our house. Brother Herman always spoke of those dinners. When Mother was entertaining, he would say, “Well, Mother’s having another Graveyard Social.” As I said, that continued many years, and, as late as when we lived in Tecumseh on Democrat Street, Paulina and I entertained those women for Julia when she was home from the East. Many, many of them came from Jackson, Liberty, Cass Lake, and Jefferson and the community, and one lady, when she got out of the car, said, “Well, you don’t know me. I’m Zilla McCready.” And I was shocked because I thought she had been dead for many years. I think there were six or eight ladies there who were past eighty years old.

Elona & William lie buried in Highland Cemetery in Brooklyn (Jackson) Michigan. They were the parents of seven children:

1. Paulina Elona “Polly” Raven, born 20 July 1879, died 2 January 1959 in Lyon (Fulton) Ohio. She married 30 June 1917 in East Lansing (Ingham) Michigan, Frederick Elwin Morse, who was born 19 January 1876 and died 21 April 1958. Paulina & Frederick were the parents of two sons.

2. Herman Case Raven, born 24 April 1882, died 5 April 1937 in Portland (Multnomah) Oregon. He married 1 February 1908 in Cook Valley (Dunn) Wisconsin, Elvira Florence Scritsmier, who was born 1 February 1880 in Auburn (Chippewa) Wisconsin and died 28 January 1969 in Portland. Herman & Elvira had no children.

3. Marion Case Raven (Tim’s great-grandfather), born 18 October 1883, died 4 December 1926 in Jackson (Jackson) Michigan. He married (as her first husband) 20 June 1906 in Hanover (Jackson) Michigan, Catherine A. Verplank, who was born there 2 May 1885 and died there 27 July 1941, daughter of George Washington and Ermina (Huntley) Verplank. Marion & Catherine were the parents of three children.

4. John William “Will” “Bill” Raven, born 5 February 1886, died in Highland Park (Wayne) Michigan. He married (as his first wife and as her second husband) 13 February 1913 in Jackson, Emma Belle (Faxon) Clark, who was born there 17 October 1873 and died there 7 February 1927, daughter of Dewitt Clinton and Lucy Ann (Campbell) Faxon and widow of Harry B. Clark. Bill married (as his second wife and as her second husband) Evelyn (—). Bill married (as his third wife) Mabel (—). Bill never had any children of his own.

5. Emmett Leroy Raven, born 16 September 1889, died 20 December 1971 in Badaxe. He married (as his first wife) 23 June 1915 in Mulliken (Eaton) Michigan, Ethel Alvina Peabody, who was born 24 September 1892 in Roxand (Eaton) Michigan and died there 25 October 1927. Emmett & Ethel were the parents of four children. Emmett married (as his second wife) 18 June 1929, Mildred Nellie Gardnen, who was born 6 January 1890 and died 26 July 1979 in Colfax (Huron) Michigan.

6. Julia Agnes Raven, born 17 October 1891, died 29 February 1968 in Middletown (Middlesex) Connecticut. She married 17 May 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, William Homan, who was born 3 August 1889 and died 13 January 1951. Julia never had any children of her own.

7. Clarinda Ayesha Raven, born 8 June 1895, died 29 August 1987 in Fort Myers (Lee) Florida. She married 19 July 1917 in East Lansing (Ingham) Michigan, Orville William Laidlaw, who was born 14 July 1893, and died 24 December 1978. Ayesha & Orville were the parents of two sons.

Neadom Rodgers & Hanorah O’Brien

Neadom Rodgers (1837-1897)

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandparents:

Neadom Rodgers, son of Jacob and Mahala (Bedford) Rogers, was born 11 June 1837 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 30 June 1897 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 3 April 1866 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, Hanorah “Nora” O’Brien, who was born 12 December 1846 in Massachusetts, and died 16 January 1921 in Marshfield (Plymouth) Massachusetts, daughter of William and Mary (—) O’Brien.

Neadom was a mariner, and he probably met and married Hanorah, the daughter of Irish immigrants, in Boston after leaving Guysborough and before finally settling in Provincetown. They were married by Rev. Thomas Sheahan, and probably moved to Provincetown between 1867 and 1869, after their daughter Mary Jane was born in Boston. Neadom died of arterial insufficiency, and is buried with Hanorah in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown.

Hanorah & Neadom were the parents of nine children:

1. Mary Jane “Jenny” Rodgers (Tim’s great-grandmother), born 7 June 1867 in Boston, died 10 July 1916 in Somerville (Middlesex) Massachusetts. She married (as his first wife) on 18 February 1891 in Provincetown, her first cousin, George Lincoln Rodgers, who was born 1 January 1865 in Guysborough, and died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts, son of Elijah and Zippora Ann (Horton) Rodgers. Mary & George were the parents of one son. Mary Jane lies buried with her parents in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown.

2. John Neadom Rodgers, born 14 February 1869 in Provincetown. He married Bessie Bennett, who was born 29 June 1893. John & Bessie were the parents of one son, named for his father, who was born and died the same day, 30 November 1907.

3. George J. Rodgers, born 3 July 1871 in Provincetown, died there 17 March 1872, age 8 months, of “putrefied congestion of the lungs.”

4. Georgianna Rodgers, born 4 May 1875 in Provincetown, died 27 May 1941 in New York City. She married 6 December 1911 in Chelsea (Suffolk) Massachusetts, Edwin Ambrose Webster, who was born 31 January 1869 in Chelsea, and died 23 January 1935 in Provincetown, son of Edwin and Caroline A. (Emerson) Webster. They had no children. Georgianna was a nurse, and would not agree to marry Ambrose until he was financially established as an artist. She was 36 when she and the Provincetown artist were finally married by R. Perry Bush, Clergyman.

E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935)

Ever a modest person, Webster seems to have pursued his art and his teaching with remarkable talent, intensity, and intellect, but apparently with no bent for self-promotion.
~ Miriam Stubbs

He attended the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, under Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell, and Acadamie Julian in Paris studying with Jean Paul Laurens and Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant. In 1913 he exhibited at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, “Old Hut, Jamaica” and “Sunlight, Jamaica”. He started Ambrose Webster’s Summer School of Painting, and was a founding member of the Provincetown Art Association & Museum. After his death, Georgianna lived in New York City with her nephew, Karl Rodgers and his wife, Allegra, while she was in her final illness and while their daughter, Delorma was a small child. Georgianna left the house at 180 Bradford St. in Provincetown, where she and Ambrose had lived, to Karl when she died. The house remained in the family and was enjoyed as a vacation getaway until 2008, when unfortunately it had to be sold. Ambrose & Georgianna lie buried in an unmarked grave in the Webster plot at 2653 Hawthorn Path at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Timothy Webster Rodgers, Karl’s grandson, was given a portrait of Georgianna painted by her husband, E. Ambrose Webster, after whom Tim was named.

The following is from a booklet put out by Babcock Galleries in New York City, which still has many of Webster’s paintings:

Provincetown was already an established art colony in 1914 when the Art Association & Museum was founded with several prominent citizens and artists as its members:… E. Ambrose Webster and Oliver Chaffee, both Fauvist painters and exhibitors in the 1913 Armory Show….The summer art classes initiated by Hawthorne and Webster– painting outdoors on the beach with the model posed against the sun to teach the students to establish broad tone values and modeling with palette-knifed color– attracted serious students by the hundreds, taught them the fundamentals and gave the town new color….The beginning of the collection was five paintings donated in 1914 by Charles Hawthorne, Ambrose Webster, William Halsall, Oscar Giebrich and Gerrit Beneker.

The following is from the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, 460 Commercial St, Provincetown, Massachusetts:

If ever an American painter reveled in light and color it was E. Ambrose Webster. He was among our first and most forceful modern painters. After initial studies under Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson in Boston, he spent nearly three years in Europe absorbing the latest developments in the Post-Impressionist art world. By 1900 he returned to the United States and, having developed his own original idiom, became a prominent member of the progressive art community. Over the years he traveled widely in France, Spain, Italy, Jamaica and Bermuda, seeking the sunlight heightened color which inspired him. In 1906 while painting in the Caribbean he exhibited a work which secured the Musgrave Silver Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. By 1913 he was exhibiting in Boston and Cleveland with Charles Hovey Pepper, Carl C Cutler and Maurice Prendergast. Webster also exhibited at least two pictures at the 1913 ‘International Exhibition of Modern Art (Armory Show).’ He later worked with Albert Gleize and exhibited with Demuth, Zorach, Spencer and Tworkov. Babcock Galleries’ first exhibition of Webster’s work occurred in 1965 and since then his paintings have been included in many shows including The High Museum of Art’s ‘The Advent of Modernism.’ Webster devoted his extensive travels to finding light enshrined color. When he found it, he painted with a force and vigor that even today is astonishing. RED HOUSE, PROVINCETOWN demonstrates the vitality and exceptionally modern vision Webster possessed. His work and its influence rank him along with Alice Schille, Alfred Maurer, Oscar Bluemner and John Marin among the important painters of his generation.

On 24 August 2001, Aunt Delorma, Jon & Jannai, little Ella Grace, Tim & I attended the opening night of an exhibition of Webster paintings at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum. Most of the paintings and drawings were from private collections, and we met the curator, Miriam Stubbs, a relative of Kenneth Stubbs who was one of Webster’s students.

5. Naomi Mahala Rodgers, born about 1876. She married 2 August 1896, Henry Scott Akers. Naomi & Henry were the parents of one son.

6. Elijah Jacob Rodgers, born 1878 in Provincetown, died 1960. He was a baker and married in Provincetown, 27 April 1898, Clara Louise Bangs, who was born there in 1879, daughter of Perez and Julia (Smith) Bangs. Elijah & Clara were the parents of one daughter. They lie buried with Elijah’s parents and his sister in Gifford Cemetery.

7. George Levan Rodgers, born 2 May 1880 in Provincetown, died 13 November 1967. He married Sarah Schneider, who was born in Austria [now Poland]. George lived at 64 Mason St., and worked for the Coes Wrench Co. in Worcester, Massachusetts. There is a picture of George at work with the caption, “I believe this is a pump which was the first engine I ever operated. It was here I was allowed to Blow the factory whistle.” George & Sarah were the parents of two daughters.

George & Sarah’s great-granddaughter, Stephanie Thibault, is Tim’s third cousin. We “met” her on the internet in 2010 and exchanged genealogical information and pictures.

8. Alvin M. Rodgers, born about 1882. He married Anne Kahn and they were the parents of two children.

9. Inez Mitchell Rodgers, born about 1890. She married Alton Phillips Stephens.

The Great Basic Art of Agriculture

Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather, Henry Charles Raven, son of Peter George and Sabrina (Cummins) Raven, was born 11 December 1820 in Merrickville, Upper Canada [now Ontario], and died 5 January 1892 in Natural Dam, a hamlet of Gouverneur (St. Lawrence) New York. He married (as his first wife) 8 July 1840 in New York, Clarinda Sweet, who was born 22 September 1820 in Depeyster (St. Lawrence) New York and died 9 February 1875 in or near Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York, daughter of Josiah and Eunice (Day) Sweet.

Henry was a farmer. According to DeLand’s History of Jackson County, Michigan, Henry was born in Ontario and took part in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837, then came to New York and took up adjoining tracts of land in St. Lawrence County with four of his brothers.

He there continued to be identified with the great basic art of agriculture until his death, in 1891, prospering in his efforts and being held in high estimation by all who knew him. His wife [Clarinda] passed away in 1875, their children having been twelve in number.

Fifteen years after Clarinda’s death, on 28 March 1890, Henry married (as his second wife) Fannie E. Patten, who was born about 1824 in Upper Canada [now Ontario]. They were only married less than two years when Henry had an apparent heart attack and died. His obituary is from the Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, New York, 6 January 1892. The age of his death was erroneously given as between 50-60 years, but according to records he was actually 71 when he died.

A Blind Man’s Sudden Death
Gouverneur, Jan. 6 – The little village of Natural Dam was startled last evening by the report that Henry Raven, an elderly man, had been found lying on the floor in his house dead. He resided there with his wife. For many years he has been totally blind. A married daughter occupies a house near by. She has been ill for the past few days with the grip. Last evening about six o’clock he requested his wife to go to his daughter’s house and ascertain how she was then feeling. Mrs. Raven returned within half an hour and upon entering the house saw her husband lying upon the floor. She spoke to him and asked what he was doing there. Upon receiving no reply she became frightened and hastened to inform a neighbor. When they arrived he was apparently lifeless. Dr. Hassel of this village was summoned, but when he arrived Mr. Raven was dead. He was apparently in the best of health previous to his death, and the shock was a terrible one to his family. The cause of his death was probably heart disease. He was between 50 and 60 years of age. Mr. Raven was a man of some means and respected by all who knew him.

Henry & Clarinda are buried in Pierces Corner Cemetery, Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York. The inscription on Clarinda’s headstone reads:

My soul looks up and sees him smile,
While he the needed grace bestow,
All earthly sorrows to beguile,
And conquer the last foe.

Clarinda & Henry were the parents of twelve children:

1. James Henry Raven, born 25 September 1841 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died 19 March 1862 in Alexandria, Virginia. James served in the Civil War, De Peyster, New York enlisted G Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, New York, and died of disease at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia.

2. Lemuel Day Raven, born 24 March 1843 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died there by drowning on 28 October 1849, age 6.

3. Julia Agnes Raven, born 28 August 1844 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died about 1903.

4. Rachel Sophronia Raven, born 4 April 1845 in (St. Lawrence) New York. She married Ace Henry. Rachel & Ace were the parents of two sons.

5. John Van Buren Buchanan “JV” Raven, born 13 October 1848 in Rossie (St. Lawrence) New York, died 20 March 1911 in Bloomer (Chippewa) Wisconsin. John was a farmer who served in the Civil War, COB 193rd New York Infantry.

6. Josephine Clarinda Raven, born 10 October 1850 in Macomb (St. Lawrence) New York, died 21 August 1919 in Belleville (Jefferson) New York. She married 5 March 1873 in Ilion (Herkimer) New York, Lodowick Benjamin Martin, who was born 4 February 1831 in Ellisburg (Jefferson) New York, and died 27 May 1919 in Belleville. Josephine & Lodowick were the parents of two children.

7. William Franklin Raven (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather), born 12 July 1852 in Macomb, died 14 September 1917 in Escanaba (Delta) Michigan. William married 5 March 1878 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, Elona Naomi Case, who was born there 7 July 1853 and died 22 January 1929 in Badaxe (Huron) Michigan, daughter of Herman Roberts and Paulina Elizabeth (Minor) Case. William & Elona were the parents of seven children.

8. Myron David Raven, born 15 March 1854 in Gouverneur, died 15 December 1918 in Fowler (St. Lawrence) New York. He married Jane Ella Ward, who was born in October 1853 in New York. Myron & Jane were the parents of two sons.

9. Eunice Lucinda Raven, born 18 February 1856 in Macomb, died 2 February 1927. She married (as her first husband) about 1875, Royal Henry Huddleston, who was born about 1843 in New York and died in 1908. Eunice & Royal were the parents of three daughters. Eunice married (as her second husband) about 1908, Curtis M. Price, who was born 1846 in New York and died 1 April 1912.

Ella Aurelia Raven (1858-1918)

10. Ella Aurelia Raven, born 7 April 1858 in New York, died 10 May 1918. She married 25 April 1877, Jasper Alonzo Day, who was born 24 October 1848 and died 31 December 1927. Ella & Jasper were the parents of four daughters.

11. Robert Sheldon Raven, born 4 March 1862 in (St. Lawrence) New York, died 30 May 1906 in Seattle (King) Washington. He married 19 February, in Doland (Spink) South Dakota, Edith Ione Austin, who was born 27 November 1868 in Depeyster (St. Lawrence) New York, and died 19 March 1953 in Langley (Island) Washington. Robert & Edith were the parents of three children.

12. George B. McClellan Raven, born 30 July 1863 in New York. He married Lizzie Willhite.

a strange gift from our deep past

“The Ten Largest” by Hilma af Klint

In recent years, researchers have determined that most cases of autism are not rooted in rare de novo mutations but in very old genes that are shared widely in the general population while being concentrated more in certain families than others. Whatever autism is, it is not a unique product of modern civilization. It is a strange gift from our deep past, passed down through millions of years of evolution.
~ Steve Silberman
(NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism & The Future of Neurodiversity)