George Lincoln Rodgers & Mary Jane Rodgers

Tim’s great-grandfather, George Lincoln Rodgers, son of Elijah and Zipporah Ann (Horton) Rodgers, was born 1 January 1865 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) on 18 February 1891 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts, his first cousin, Mary Jane “Jenny” Rodgers, who was born 7 June 1867 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts and died in 1917, daughter of Neadom and Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers.

Mary Jane Rodgers
(1867-1917)

George was a fisherman and Mary Jane was a homemaker. According to the 1910 census, he arrived in America in 1883, when he was 18 years old. His uncle Neadom had come in 1858 and his parents followed him in 1891.

Three years before their marriage, George & Mary Jane lived through The Great Blizzard of 1888 that killed more than 400 people along the eastern seaboard.

George & Mary Jane were married by Ezra J. Riggins, Clergyman. They resided at 4 West Vine St. in Provincetown. They were first cousins; their fathers were brothers.

George Lincoln Rodgers became an American citizen on 1 April 1897.

District Court of the United States, Boston, Massachusetts

Sometime after Mary Jane’s death in 1917, George married (as his second wife and as her second husband) Mary Etta (Cushing) Simmons, who was born about 1867, and died 21 January 1938, daughter of John Walter and Deborah (Sampson) Cushing, and widow of Mark L. Simmons. In 1920 George and his second wife, Mary Etta, were residents of Somerville. George died soon after Mary Etta, of colon cancer. George lies buried with his second wife and her first husband in Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, Massachusetts. Mary Jane lies buried with her parents, brother and sister-in-law in Gifford Cemetery, in Provincetown.

George & Mary Jane were the parents of a son:

i. Karl Freeman Rodgers (Tim’s grandfather), born 22 October 1895 in Provincetown, died 27 March 1971 in Boston. He married (as her first husband) 18 September 1928 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, Allegra Estelle Hamilton, who was born 17 August 1900 in Newark (Wayne) New York, died 16 January 1992 in Keene (Cheshire) New Hampshire, daughter of Charles Amos and Gertrude Mabel (Hubbard) Hamilton. Karl & Allegra were the parents of two children.

Gifford Cemetery
Provincetown, Massachusetts

Mary Jane (Rodgers) Rodgers lies buried with her parents, Neadom & Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers, and her brother and sister-in-law, Elijah & Clara (Bangs) Rodgers.

Mayflower Cemetery
Duxbury, Massachusetts

George Lincoln Rodgers lies buried with his second wife, Mary Etta (Cushing) (Simmons) Rodgers, and her first husband, Mark L. Simmons.

Moritz Kalman Flanzer & Sadie Roth

World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918
for Moritz Kalman Flanzer

Tim’s great-grandfather, Moritz Kalman Flanzer, was born 15 September 1874 in Austria and died 8 December 1950. He married about 1895 in Austria, Sadie Roth, who was born about 1877 in Austria and died 17 February 1963.

Moritz was a watchmaker and Sadie was a homemaker. Moritz and Sadie arrived in America with their small daughter Rose in 1901, and settled in New York City. In 1918 Moritz was employed by a jeweler, James McCreary & Co., 34th St. & 5th Ave., New York. By the time of the 1930 census he is recorded as being the proprietor of his own jewelry store and his 20 year-old son Harry also became a watchmaker.

Moritz’s draft registration card says he was of medium height and slender build with brown eyes and brown hair. The 1930 federal census states that Moritz and Sadie’s mother tongue was Yiddish.

Moritz lies buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Maspeth-Queens (Queens) New York and Sadie rests in Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Glendale-Queens (Queens) New York.

Moritz & Sadie were the parents of seven children:

i. Rose Flanzer, born about 1898 in Austria, died 19 July 1956 in Manhattan (New York) New York. She was a public school teacher. She married 4 April 1931 in (Kings) New York, Samuel Semerik, who was born 14 March 1895 in Russia, and died 19 September 1972 in (Broward) Florida. Rose & Samuel were the parents of two daughters.

ii. Joseph Asher Flanzer (Tim’s grandfather), born 22 December 1901 in Manhattan, died 28 January 1997 in Willimantic (Windham) Connecticut. He married (as his first wife and as her second husband) 27 May 1929 in Manhattan, Lenore Naomi (Raven) Ladd, who was born 26 July 1907 in Jackson (Jackson) Michigan, and died 6 November 1961 in Middletown (Middlesex) Connecticut, daughter of Marion Case and Catherine Alta (Verplanck) Raven. Joseph & Lenore were the parents of two children and were then divorced. Joseph married (as his second wife), Marion E. Lucey, who was born 13 June 1923, and died 3 December 2013 in Windham (Windham) Connecticut. Joseph adopted Marion’s daughter and Joseph & Marion were the parents of two sons.

iii. Sophie Flanzer, born about 1904, died 19 March 1905 in Manhattan. Sophie is also buried in Mount Zion Cemetery.

iv. Reuben Flanzer, born about 1906, evidently died young.

v. Harry Flanzer, born 18 August 1908, died 1 April 1998 in Coram (Suffolk) New York. He was a watchmaker. He married 15 February 1938 in Brooklyn (Kings) New York, Naomi Shapiro, who was born 1 June 1913, and died 3 December 1981 in Brooklyn, daughter of Philip and Sarah (—) Shapiro. Harry & Naomi were the parents of two children.

vi. Frances Flanzer, born about 1912. She married after 10 October 1939 in Brooklyn, Irving Laschever, who was born 3 October 1903, and died 24 May 1996 in Woodmere (Nassau) New York. Frances & Irving were the parents of a daughter.

vii. Miriam “Mamie” Flanzer, born 20 May 1914 in Brooklyn, and died 29 June 2002. She married after 21 March 1938 in Brooklyn, Morris Sagman, who was born 14 December 1910. Miriam & Morris had no children.

~~~~~

The information on this family is very sketchy, partly because it is difficult to obtain vital records from the city of New York and partly because of a rift in the family. Tim’s mother was estranged from her father after her parents divorced, so Tim didn’t really know this grandfather. But Tim, Toby and Larisa went to the grandfather’s funeral in 1997 and met Joseph Flanzer’s youngest sisters, Frances and Miriam. They kindly gave Larisa the names of their parents (Tim’s great-grandparents), the fact that their father was a watchmaker, and a basic outline of their siblings, all with no dates. Bit by bit in my research I’ve found a few dates and places but I hope in the future to find more. While Frances and Miriam knew about Sophie, who died in infancy, they apparently didn’t know about Reuben, who I found on the census and who also must have died young.

to whole handfuls of jewels

5.11.21 ~ Haley Farm State Park
Groton, Connecticut

What a gorgeous day for a walk! First we strolled through a meadow full of blooming buttercups…

a sea of buttercups
brown-headed cowbird

Even though Brown-headed Cowbirds are native to North America, many people consider them a nuisance bird, since they destroy the eggs and young of smaller songbirds and have been implicated in the decline of several endangered species.
~ All About Birds website

path leading uphill to a forest
“the smallest leaf”

Nature will bear the closest inspection; she invites us to lay our eye level with the smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. She has no interstices; every part is full of life.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Excursions)

“an insect view”
Tim looking out

We climbed until we reached the lookout indicated on the map.

looking back down at the meadow
Chester Cemetery from above

Wouldn’t you know it, we spotted a tiny cemetery right below the lookout. We kept following the trail hoping to find a way down there. A man about our age came up behind us, noticed my camera and asked if I had spotted anything. I mentioned the gravestones and he led us along the path and pointed us to another path and gave us directions on how to get there.

more small details
the woods seemed to go on forever
“just as bright, just as blue, just as green”

To-day is very beautiful — just as bright, just as blue, just as green and as white and as crimson as the cherry-trees full in bloom, and half-opening peach-blossoms, and the grass just waving, and sky and hill and cloud can make it, if they try. How I wish you were here, Austin; you thought last Saturday beautiful, yet to this golden day ’twas but one single gem to whole handfuls of jewels.
~ Emily Dickinson
(Letter to William Austin Dickinson, May, 1854)

for my snagged oak leaf collection
unfurling
on and on we walked

It was a long way around but we finally came to the side path leading off to the right and to the cemetery. Much to my delight there was a “wolf tree” on the corner.

one side of the wolf tree

For an explanation of wolf trees see this post: snow melting in the oak-beech forest

Chester Cemetery

Sacred
to the memory of
Starr Chester Esqr.
who was born
Aug 23rd 1759
and died
Feby 12th 1812

This spot contains the ashes of the just
who sought to honour; and betray’d no trust.
This truth he prov’d in every line he trod.

Sacred
to the memory of
Mary Chester
relect of
Starr Chester, Esqr.
Born Nov 11, 1758
Died Jan 12, 1826
May faithful angels guard my moulding dust
until the general meeting of the just.
Then rise triumphant from the dark abode
to realms of light, to love and praise the Lord.

Since I have both Starrs and Morgans (Mary’s maiden name) on my tree I imagine these are distant cousins of mine…

While inspecting the stones two unusual things happened. First, a young man appeared above us at the lookout with a dirt bike. He rode off the edge of the precipice, flew through the air and landed a few feet away from us. As if he did such things all the time, as I’m sure he does.

the other side the wolf tree

Another retired couple was a little ways down another path and saw the flight, too. We got to talking and stood there for at least half an hour chatting about all kinds of things. They moved here from Pennsylvania to retire. They love the area, close to the sea. They’ve explored many of the same parks we’ve been exploring.

After we parted ways, we finished following the other trail, stopping to see the wolf tree as we joined it. When we got close to the car I heard and finally spotted another catbird. 🙂 What a lovely ending to a pleasant ramble!

gray catbird

strong as a great oak

3.3.21 ~ Great Oak Park, Ledyard, Connecticut

After a bitter cold snap we managed to get out for a good walk on Wednesday. Another new place for us. This time I brought my father’s cane to use as a walking stick so I wouldn’t have to find one in the woods. It fit perfectly and had a good energy! Papa was very fond of his cane because his father had carved it and used it. (A couple of pictures of him with it here.)

photo by Tim

Our daughter-in-law mailed us our old camera a couple of weeks ago so I could see how it compares to the one I’ve been using for several years now. But so far I haven’t felt inclined to pick it up so Tim took it along on this outing. It was fun with both of us having a good camera.

beautiful blue sky
still a bit of ice and snow in places

We were looking for the remains of a famous huge oak tree in the woods here. Before long we spotted the sign and were saddened to see just how very little was left of it.

During the summer of 1969, the gypsy moth defoliated an estimated 260,000 acres of trees in northeastern woodlands — more than triple the defoliated acreage of 1968.
~ Ralph L. Snodsmith
(The New York Times, April 19, 1970)

image credit: Ledyard Historical Society
The Ledyard Oak, c. 1910

The famous oak didn’t survive the gypsy moth assault in 1969. Fifty-one years later this is all that is left of it:

decomposing
devastation from an invasive species

My feet will tread soft as a deer in the forest. My mind will be clear as water from the sacred well. My heart will be strong as a great oak. My spirit will spread an eagle’s wings, and fly forth.
~ Juliet Marillier
(Daughter of the Forest)

This little oak was planted beside the original in 2009.
Maybe 400 years from now…

We continued walking and found a historical cemetery.

interesting roots
Lester family cemetery, early 1800s
In memory of Solomon Lester who died Dec. 4, 1840 aged 69
Miss Lucy Lester died Apr. 18, 1814 in her 70th year
unused fence post and its shadow on a tree
some kind of moss or lichen
a huge rooster
a hen (?) and said rooster

Within this park are more trails and the Nathan Lester House & Farm Tool Museum, presumably the home of the chickens. We will have to wait to explore when the pandemic is over.

Delorma Brown Hubbard & Emma Pridmore

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard, son of John and Lydia (Randolph) Hubbard, was born 8 May 1842 in Albion (Orleans) New York, and died there 21 March 1915. He married in 1866, Emma Pridmore, who was born 11 January 1844 in Great Dalby (Leicestershire) England, and died 7 April 1917 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, daughter of William and Ann (Sturgess) Pridmore.

Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard
(1842-1915)

The following is from the Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 22 March 1915, page 9:

Albion, March 21.—The death of Delorma B. Hubbard, a retired business man, occured this morning in his home, West Bank and Liberty streets, aged 72 years. He was born in Albion May 8, 1842, and had always lived here. Mr. Hubbard was an expert accountant. He was engaged for some time in the grocery business with Robert Wilkins. Later he engaged in the wholesale produce business with Charles Vandekar, and continued later with the late mayor, Eugene English.

Mr. Hubbard bore a striking likeness to the portraits of “Uncle Sam” and on several occasions participated in large parades representing that distinguished character. He has lived a retired life in recent years. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Emma Pridmore Hubbard, and one daughter, Mrs. Charles Hamilton, both of Batavia: also one sister, Mrs. Starkweather, who lives in the eastern part of the state. The funeral will be held from Mount Albion chapel Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock, Rev. W. J. Ford, pastor of the Albion Baptist Church, officiating. Burial will be in Mount Albion cemetery.

According to his son-in-law, Charles A. Hamilton:

The following is from Charles Amos Hamilton, An Autobiography, “The Memory of the Just is Blessed”, (Batavia, New York: Privately printed, 1941)

My father-in-law [Delorma] was a great believer in Luck. He would quote instance after instance of young men of his acquaintance who had gotten their start in a successful career through marriage with a rich man’s daughter, through inheritance of an established business, through association with some prominent man, etc.

According to his great-granddaughter and namesake, Delorma (Rodgers) Morton, Delorma disliked the feminine sound of his name, and so always went by his initials, DB.

DB & Emma married the year after the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Emma was a homemaker. She came to America in 1857 with her father, when she was about 16 years old, but it is not known if her mother died in England, or perhaps at sea, as no death record has been found for her thus far on either side of the Atlantic. According to her son-in-law, Charles A. Hamilton:

Mother [Emma] made her home with us, where she was supremely welcome.  She was the only real mother that I ever had, and we loved each other devotedly.

Emma Pridmore (1844-1917)

The following is from The Buffalo Times, Buffalo, New York, 9 April 1917, page 6:

BATAVIA, April 9—Mrs. Emma P. Hubbard, aged 73 years, died at the New York State Institute for the Blind on Saturday, following a long illness. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Gertrude M. Hamilton, wife of the superintendent of the State school, and two brothers, Reuben Pridmore of Albion and George Pridmore of South Bend, Ind. Burial will take place at Mt. Albion cemetery, Albion.

Emma died of cancer and is buried with DB at Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York. [The stone in the center of this plot has four surnames: HUBBARD, HAMILTON, PRIDMORE, RODGERS. The adjoining plot has a center stone with one surname, STARKWEATHER, a family DB’s sister married into.]

Delorma & Emma were the parents of three children, all born in Albion. Sadly, the two older children predeceased their parents:

i. John Delorma Hubbard, born 16 July 1867, died 25 July 1883, age 16. John is buried with his parents at Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York.

ii. Mary Estelle “Mamie” Hubbard, born 13 March 1869, died 22 May 1892 in Rochester (Monroe) New York, age 23, of Bright’s disease. Mamie was engaged to Charles Hamilton when she died, and he later married her younger sister. Mamie is buried with her parents at Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York. Mamie’s niece Allegra Estelle (Hamilton) (Rodgers) Lloyd, was named in her honor.

The following are from undated newspaper clippings:

Miss Mamie Estelle Hubbard, daughter of DB Hubbard, a popular teacher in the Grammar school, died in Rochester Sunday evening last, after an illness of several months, aged twenty-three years. The funeral services took place at the Baptist church, of which deceased was a member, yesterday afternoon. ?Animean may 26 1892?

A Loved One Gone: The hearts of very many in Albion were saddened when the news reached this village of the death of Mamie Estelle Hubbard, which occurred in Rochester Sunday last, May 22d.

For some time past Miss Hubbard had been in poor health, and was in Rochester undergoing medical treatment, but it was only a few days before her death that the seriousness of her case was realized. The tenderest care and highest medical skill could do naught to prolong her life, and she passed away surrounded by those who were dear and near to her.

She was the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. DB Hubbard, of this village, being twenty-three years of age. She graduated from the Albion High School in 1886, being the youngest member of the class, and she is the first one to pass away. For four years she has been engaged as a teacher in the schools of our village.

Since the early age of eleven years she has been a member of the Baptist church and has been faithful in attendance and participation in its services; also exemplifying in her daily life the teachings of Him whom she had chosen to follow.

The funeral services were held at the Baptist church Wednesday at 2 pm, conducted by Rev AC Barrell, assisted by Rev EH Rudd. The public schools were all closed and the teachers attended in a body. A large delegation of the members of the Albion Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen attended, and acted as escort, thus showing, in a marked manner, the high respect in which the daughter of an honored member of the Order was held. The high esteem in which the deceased was held was testified to by the profusion of flowers with which the casket and pulpit were decked, which had been presented by her former teachers, schoolmates, pupils and friends.

By the death of Miss Hubbard the community loses one of its loveliest and purest characters. All who knew her, even slightly, were impressed with her sunny disposition and equanimity of temperament, and those who, bound to her in the dearest relationships of life, have felt the inspiration and sympathy of her presence, and the grand wealth of her affection, while deeply mourning her loss, feel that, in respect to her, ”Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.’

Her influence for good will long be felt in the character and habits of those under her instruction, and all her companions will be elevated and purified by the remembrance and example of her upright Christian life.

Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayer,
Whose loves in Higher love endure,
What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is there blessedness like theirs?

iii. Gertrude Mabel Hubbard (Tim’s great-grandmother), born 9 December 1874, died 31 May 1965 in Marlboro (Monmouth) New Jersey. She married 30 June 1897 in Albion, Charles Amos Hamilton, who was born 19 March 1866 in Hinsdale (Cattaraugus) New York, and died 28 October 1943 in Batavia, son of Charles Munson and Eliza Ann (Devoe) Hamilton. Gertrude & Charles were the parents of a daughter.

Elijah Rodgers & Zipporah Ann Horton

Elijah Rodgers (1834-1925) & Zipporah Ann Horton (1838-1920)
of Guysborough, Nova Scotia & Provincetown, Massachusetts

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, Elijah Rodgers, son of Jacob and Mahala (Bedford) Rodgers, was born 4 October 1834 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 19 June 1925 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 15 December 1863 in Toby Cove (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, Zipporah Ann Horton, who was born 22 February 1838 in Cook’s Cove (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 6 March 1920 in Provincetown, daughter of Charles and Eliza (—) Horton.

Elijah was a fisherman and Zipporah was a homemaker. In the spring of 1873 Elijah may have been part of the rescue efforts to assist the passengers of the shipwrecked RMS Atlantic, which ran onto rocks off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Quite remarkably, Zipporah was 50 years old when she gave birth to her last child. A couple of years later, about 1891, the couple and their younger children emigrated from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod, joining Elijah’s younger brother Neadom, who had arrived in Provincetown many years earlier, in 1858, and their oldest son George, who had joined his uncle Neadom in 1883. Elijah & Zipporah resided at 72B Commercial Street in Provincetown.

In the summer of 1911, Elijah & Zipporah survived a deadly heatwave that killed more than 2,000 people in the northeastern states.

Elijah & Zipporah lie buried together, along with their son Charles, and with their daughter-in-law Adelaide (Williams) Rodgers, wife of their son Neadom, in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown. Elijah died of heart disease.

Gifford Cemetery, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Elijah & Zipporah were the parents of eight children, all born in Guysborough:

i. Alice Rodgers, born about 1864, died 2 July 1870, age 6. Buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Guysborough, next to her grandmother, Mahala (Bedford) Rodgers.

ii. George Lincoln Rodgers (Tim’s great-grandfather), born 1 January 1865, died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) 18 February 1891 in Provincetown, his first cousin, Mary Jane Rodgers, who was born 7 June 1867 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 10 July 1916 in Somerville (Middlesex) Massachusetts, daughter of Neadom and Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers. George & Mary Jane were the parents of a son. George married (as his second wife) about 1918, Mary Etta (Cushing) Simmons, who was born about 1867, and died 21 January 1938, daughter of John Walter and Deborah (Sampson) Cushing and widow of Mark L. Simmons. George lies buried with his second wife and her first husband in Mayflower Cemetery in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

iii. Harvey Rodgers, born 24 November 1872, died 16 November 1952 in Port Madison (Kitsap) Washington. He married 24 November 1914 in Seattle (King) Washington, Bertha Nyman, who was born in 1874 in California, and died 31 May 1945 in Seabold (Kitsap) Washington, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (O’Rourke) Nyman. Harvey & Bertha had no children.

iv. Charles Edward Rodgers, born 12 November 1873, died 6 May 1893 in Provincetown, age 19.

v. Neadom Oscar Rodgers, born 20 January 1876, died in 1953 in Provincetown. He married (as his first wife) 8 October 1908 in Provincetown, Adelaide Williams, who was born there 20 September 1875, and died there 24 October 1918, daughter of John and Marian (Campbell) Williams. Addie died of pneumonia, probably a victim of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Neadom & Addie were the parents of a son. Neadom married (as his second wife and as her second husband) 11 December 1923 in Wellfleet (Barnstable) Massachusetts, his brother’s widow, Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers, who was born 23 January 1885 in Grand Manan (Charlotte) New Brunswick, and died 18 September 1979 in Provincetown, daughter of Job and Catherine (—) Stanley, and widow of William Rodgers. Neadom & Lil had no children.

vi. William Rodgers, born in December 1878, died 13 January 1920 in Provincetown. He married (as his first wife) 24 January 1900 in Provincetown, Lizzie Ellsworth Newcomb, who was born there 5 November 1883, and died before 1906, daughter of John O. and Christina (McKinnon) Newcomb. William & Lizzie were the parents of a son. William married (as his second wife and as her first husband) Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers, who was born 23 January 1885 in Grand Manan (Charlotte) New Brunswick, and died 18 September 1979 in Provincetown, daughter of Job and Catherine (—) Stanley. William & Lil were the parents of two daughters.

vii. Edna Elizabeth Rodgers, born 5 November 1884, died 15 October 1967 in Provincetown. She married 22 November 1904 in Provincetown, Samuel Thomas Rich, who was born there 6 September 1882, and died 2 August 1979 in Hyannis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, son of Caleb and Julia Ann (Freeman) Rich. Edna & Samuel had no children.

vii. Osela Charles Rodgers, born 20 June 1888, died 20 June 1968 in Philadelphia (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania. He married 22 August 1917 in Portland (Cumberland) Maine, Sylvia Frymire, who was born 8 July 1894 in Williamsport (Lycoming) Pennsylvania, and died in January 1983 in Bethlehem (Northampton) Pennsylvania. Osela & Sylvia were the parents of a son.

winter-patience

1.13.21 ~ Stoddard Hill State Park
Ledyard, Connecticut

Several weeks after our first visit to this state park we returned to hike up the hill to the lookout, 183 feet (56 meters) above the river. The leaf-covered path started behind the cemetery and was much more steep than we had anticipated.

looking towards the Thames River from behind Stoddard Cemetery

It wasn’t long before I covered the camera lens and grabbed two strong walking sticks to steady myself. Tim already had his walking stick and was more steady on his feet, but had to stop frequently to catch his breath. I was starting to question the wisdom of embarking on this expedition! Especially when we lost the trail and decided to just keep going up…

several kinds of moss and lichen on a rotting log

When things leveled off a bit I got a few pictures…

mushroom
princess pine trying to poke through the layers of leaves

Near the top we turned around near this ledge and saw the cemetery way down below…

Stoddard Cemetery from high above

At last we could see an opening in the woods and views of the river, trees and railroad tracks below. Tim said it was a good thing we came in the winter because the leaves on the trees would have blocked these lovely scenes. Keep in mind, under these ridges is that jumble of glacial erratics pictured in the last post. We didn’t go close enough to the edge to peek down there.

even way up here there were a few dead fish

Only with winter-patience can we bring
The deep-desired, long-awaited spring.

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
(The Unicorn & Other Poems)

We found the trail again and managed to follow it all the way back down to the cemetery. I’m pleased to report that neither of us fell! I slipped a couple of feet once but my sticks saved me. 🙂 That’s probably enough of steep climbs for us!

hairy woodpecker, telephoto lens
same hairy woodpecker
mallards on Stoddard Cove, also telephoto lens
thin ice on Stoddard Cove

It was nice to finally stand on level ground and take a couple of bird pictures. Phew!

a light shines through us

12.28.20 ~ Stoddard Hill State Park
Ledyard, Connecticut

We took this walk along the banks of the Thames River a couple of weeks ago. Immediately we were confronted with dead, half-eaten fish littering the path. It was pretty creepy and we wondered what on earth was going on. We had to watch our steps!

probably Atlantic menhaden

Later, after asking around, we learned that this phenomenon has been spotted by others taking walks in other natural areas near the river. We tried to ignore the gruesome scene underfoot and enjoy what else the trail had to offer…

spotted wintergreen

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(The Selected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson)

fungi? lichen? growing in tree wound cavity
Stoddard Cemetery

We found a cemetery at the foot of a hillside of jumbled glacial erratics. We noticed a couple of stones for local Revolutionary War soldiers.

Stoddard Cemetery
a huge burl on a very thin tree trunk
glacial erratics seeming to tumble down the side of the hill
lichen growing on part of an erratic

In the past month, DEEP Fisheries Division staff have received and investigated numerous calls of reported sightings of dead fish along the Connecticut shoreline, from Darien to New London, and numerous points in between. These incidents, known as fish kills, involve a species of fish called Atlantic Menhaden, also known as “bunker.” Menhaden are the most abundant marine fish species on the east coast, and fish kills involving them are not uncommon. Menhaden fish kills can occur for a variety of reasons, most often due to natural or environmental factors such as school-induced hypoxia (lack of oxygen) or cold water temperature. While DEEP continues to investigate these events, staff believe the cause of the fish kills observed over the past month have been due to more Menhaden overwintering in the Sound this year, possibly due to a missed migration cue, leading them to succumb to the cold water temperatures and a lack of nourishment.
~ The Fisherman website, December 14, 2020

jumble of erratics from another angle
Norwich & Worcester Railroad tracks, Thames River
big scramble of glacial erratics cascading down off Stoddard Hill
looking down over the very steep riverbank
every few steps, another one
???
an open acorn stash

Recently I found a website with pictures of old postcards of huge glacial erratics, many from New England. When the pandemic is over, and if health permits, we might try to visit a few of these! Boulders of the United States

Augusta Jean & Jon Stephen

Augusta Jean Chomiak (1913-1986)
Jon Stephen Chomiak (1909-1919)
c. 1914

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may remember a picture of my Ukrainian grandmother and three of her eight children. (Katherine’s Children)

This picture is special because it is the only picture I have of Jon, who came to America with his mother when he was only 5 months old. He was born in Ukraine on 19 September 1909 and arrived on the SS Finland at Ellis Island in New York City on 4 March 1910. Sadly, he died at home of appendicitis when he was only 9 years old. His family was living in Buffalo, New York at the time.

At the time this picture was taken his older sister Mary was still living in Ukraine with their grandparents. The youngest four children (Lillian, Olga, Theodore, Ludmila) had not been born yet. There is a mystery child mostly unaccounted for, a boy named August or Augustine. No one seems to know anything about him except that he died as a toddler after ingesting something stored under the kitchen sink. I can find no birth or death records for this child, but it seems he was younger than Jon and older than Augusta Jean. It seems likely to me that Augusta was named after her brother who had probably died shortly before she was born.

Oddly enough, when one of my aunts filled out a family group sheet for me she gave August’s birth date as the same date as Augusta’s, leading me to consider that perhaps they were twins, however no one else in the family thinks this is likely. But it does seem likely that August was born in 1911 because Jon was born in 1909 and Augusta was born in 1913 and at that time most siblings were born about two years apart. And Lillian was born in 1915.

Anyhow, my Aunt Lil remembered that Jon was buried in “Father Baker’s Cemetery” in Lackawanna, New York. On a 2002 summer trip to western New York, we found the cemetery, which is now known as Holy Cross Cemetery, but we were disappointed to find no record of his burial in the office and no death certificate in the city hall. (Years later I discovered the family was actually living in nearby Buffalo, according to 1920 census records.) The kind people at the cemetery said that there were many graves not yet recorded in their database.

Aunt Lil remembered Jon fondly as a very loving big brother who bought his little sisters Jean (she went by her middle name) and Lil candy whenever he could. He was an altar boy at the church, and helped the family out by collecting coal from the railroad tracks, which we also located. We discovered quite a bit about Father Baker (1842-1936), and learned that the church where Jon must have served was replaced by the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory (consecrated 26 May 1926), which we toured.

Aunt Lil was four years old when her beloved big brother died and she spoke of him often through the years. Aunt Jean was six years old when Jon died. The middle name given to her only son is Jon. Lil and Jean were seven and nine years old when their baby brother, my father, came along. According to him they teased him relentlessly. 🙂

Today is Jon’s birthday and also the 7th anniversary of my father’s death. A bit of synchronicity that I would stumble across this picture today when I was looking for something else.