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.

where a battle has been fought

1.19.21 ~ Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park
Groton, Connecticut

Near the end of December we found the graves of a couple of Revolutionary War soldiers on a walk in Stoddard Hill State Park. Debbie, one of my readers, mentioned that they don’t have graves that old where she lives in Illinois. So, although I much prefer nature walks, I decided we could change things up a bit and take a history walk. Because of Debbie’s comment I have a new appreciation for the historic Battle of Groton Heights that took place right here in my town. (Link is for history buffs.)

DEFENDERS OF FORT GRISWOLD • SEPT • 6th 1781•

This is the historic site where, on September 6, 1781, British Forces, commanded by the infamous Benedict Arnold, captured the Fort and massacred 88 of the 165 defenders stationed there. The Ebenezer Avery House which sheltered the wounded after the battle has been restored on the grounds. A Revolutionary War museum also depicts the era. Fort Griswold was designated as a state park in 1953.
~ Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park website

Col. Ledyard memorial

There is some doubt about the details of this story. The shirt and vest Col. Ledyard was wearing when he was killed had tears in the side, suggesting a bayonet wound is what caused his death, not his own sword in the hands of a British officer.

parade ground in the fort
dried seed pods on the wall

Critical acumen is exerted in vain to uncover the past; the past cannot be presented; we cannot know what we are not. But one veil hangs over past, present, and future, and it is the province of the historian to find out, not what was, but what is. Where a battle has been fought, you will find nothing but the bones of men and beasts; where a battle is being fought, there are hearts beating.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers)

dried seed pods on the wall
a door in the fort wall
looking down at the lower battery, seen from the new viewing platform
USCGC Eagle docked across the Thames River at Fort Trumbull in New London

The 295-foot Barque Eagle is the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard. She serves as a training vessel for cadets at the Coast Guard Academy and candidates from the Officer Candidate School. The Eagle is the only active-duty sailing vessel in America’s military, and one of only two commissioned sailing vessels, along with the USS Constitution.
~ US Coast Guard Academy website

Tim at entrance to the tunnel through the wall of the fort
Tim at exit of the tunnel through the wall of the fort

From the tunnel we followed a trench down the hill. The trench hid the soldiers from enemy fire as they moved between the fort and the lower battery.

view from the trench
looking down the trench, it turns to the left ahead
after the turn, getting closer to the end
powder magazine, built in 1843
looking up at the fort, the trench zig zags to the right

Off to the side on the lower battery is the restored Ebenezer Avery house. It was moved to this location from a nearby street in 1971.

In the old times, women did not get their lives written, though I don’t doubt many of them were much better worth writing than the men’s.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
(The Pearl of Orr’s Island: A Story of the Coast of Maine)

Anna Warner Bailey

Sometimes I think that historical houses should be named after the wives and daughters who lived in them, to honor them, as they very likely spent more time working there than the men who were out and about in the world.

But on a plaque outside this house I found a picture of Anna Warner Bailey (1758-1851) and the note that she was one of the first women to tend to the wounded after the battle. When I got home I found this online: Our Petticoat Heroine by Carol Kimball

We’ll have to wait until the pandemic is over before we can tour the house. I discovered a bit of synchronicity, we happened to be visiting this place on the 170th anniversary of Anna Warner “Mother” Bailey’s death. And there is a house named for her close by, where she had lived.

entrance gate and Groton Monument, seen from lower battery

The Groton Monument was built between 1826 and 1830, and is the oldest monument of its type in the country. Built of granite quarried locally, the Monument stands 135 feet tall with 166 steps.
~ Fort Griswold Battlefield website

We will also have to wait until the pandemic is over before we can tour the monument and small museum.

When I was preparing this post I noticed I already had a category for Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park. With another nod to synchronicity, it turns out Tim & I visited the fort nine years ago, almost to the day! The trench looks a little different nine years later. We had climbed up on the fort wall, which is no longer allowed. They have installed a viewing platform on the wall sometime in the past nine years. My, how things keep changing… The views of the river and city below are amazing. My old post: Fort Griswold Battlefield

Zdynia, Poland

Konrad Fusiak
my great-grandfather

My paternal cousin has been doing a lot of research on our Ukrainian roots and has shared some of her discoveries with me. Our grandparents spoke Ukrainian and emigrated from there in 1909 and 1910, but it seems our grandmother’s parents were originally from elsewhere. I’ve always considered myself half Ukrainian and identifying 41% “Eastern Europe & Russia” on my DNA test seems to bear that out.

But Ukraine wasn’t showing up looking closer under that broad Eastern Europe grouping. Instead, my DNA was indicating “Poland, Slovakia, Hungary & Romania.” And then my aunt’s DNA was matched with another family from Poland! (Apparently the DNA was too diluted for my cousin and me to show up as DNA matches with these distant cousins of our great-grandfather, Konrad Fusiak.) Here’s the tentative line, yet to be proven with documents:

Piotr Fusiak (b. 1760 in Lug, Małopolskie, Poland)
Gregorius Fusiak (b. 1798 in Lug, Małopolskie, Poland)
Gabriel Fusiak (b. 1827 in Zdynia, Małopolskie, Poland)
Konrad Fusiak (b. 1855 in Zdynia, Małopolskie, Poland)
Katerina/Katherine Fusiak (my grandmother, b. 1887 in Luzok Horishni, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine)

Orthodox church in Zdynia by Tomasz Bienias

The province of Małopolskie is also known as Lesser Poland, a historical region. Zdynia is a tiny village, population 220. I can’t seem to locate Lug. (Perhaps it is Ług in Podlaskie?) From what I can tell from a cursory search there were several ethnic groups living in southern Poland. When my grandmother Katherine came to this country in 1910 she identified as a Ruthenian on the passenger ship manifest. Another aunt told me that Katherine’s mother, Ludmila Karaseck, was born in Prague and came to Ukraine to work in the salt mines. Wonder how she met Konrad from Poland? So many questions!!!

So, I’ve ordered a book, The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999 by Timothy Snyder, who “traces the emergence of Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian*, and Belarusian nationhood over four centuries.” I hope I can make some sense of the history of the region and gain some insight into my eastern European ancestry.

*Lithuania is a Baltic nation and in December 2019 I had 3% Baltic DNA. In September 2020 my son had 3% Baltic DNA and I didn’t show any. It seemed to be replaced with 3% Balkans. I suspect a mistake was made somewhere along the line. It will be interesting to see what shows up the next time they do an update/adjustment! See: ethnicity estimates.

shades of scarlet, saffron, and russet

10.24.20 ~ Connecticut College Arboretum
New London, Connecticut

Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron, and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under the harvest skies.
~ Sharon Kay Penman
(Time & Chance)

a copper and butterscotch harvest

The Connecticut College Arboretum Facebook page invited us over to check out the fall colors in all their glory. We were not disappointed! I had been reluctant to visit because New London was a designated coronavirus “red alert town” but now that Groton is, too, we decided we didn’t have much to lose.

black oak

One very nice feature of an arboretum is that many of the trees have identification tags on them.

fringe tree

In June, the above fringe tree has spectacular white fringe-like blossoms. (Janet may remember them!) To see a picture scroll down to the last few pictures on this post: late spring in the woods.

sweet gum
tulip tree
a maple (no tag)

But autumn leaves have another than their natural history — like autumn sunshine they have merits that concern the rambler, who cares not a fig for their botanical significance — what may be called their sentimental history.
~ Charles Conrad Abbott
(Days Out of Doors)

russet majesty
grove on top of a hill
evidence of the severe drought in the pond
scarlet tree growing out of rock in the middle of the pond
glacial erratic framed in saffron
(probably) ruby slippers hydrangea spent blossoms
(probably) ruby slippers hydrangea leaves
thanks to Melissa for help with identification
we got a little bit lost in there
heritage river birch

This might be my favorite tree in the whole arboretum. It is so tall there is no way I could get a picture of all of it. The texture of the bark is a pleasure to behold. The trunk splits in two and the view between them is spectacular. I love its energy. I have a dwarf river birch in my garden. It’s not nearly as tall.

looking up
looking out over the arboretum

We had walked for over an hour and I came home finally feeling satisfied that I hadn’t missed anything this autumn had to offer. 🙂

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.

Thomas Freeman & Roxanna Cash

My 4th-great-grandfather, Thomas Freeman, son of John and Abigail (Hopkins) Freeman, was born 6 April 1787 in Eastham (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died 17 January 1864 in Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married in Harwich, December 1810, Roxanna Cash, who was born there 30 November 1789, and died there 28 January 1863, daughter of Samuel and Patience (Phillips) Cash.

Thomas was a carpenter and Roxanna was a homemaker. The 1850 census shows them living with their 39-year-old daughter, Rosilla, and 10-year-old grandson, Gideon H. Freeman, and Joshua and Hannah Cahoon, both age 40. The 1860 census shows Thomas & Roxanna living with their 19-year-old grandson, Gideon. Thomas & Roxanna lie buried together in the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Harwich.

First Congregational
Church Cemetery,
Harwich

THOMAS FREEMAN
Died
Jan. 17, 1864,
Aged 77 years.
He was of the sixth generation from
Stephen Hopkin, one of the Pilgrims who
came over in the May Flower to Ply-
mouth A.D. 1620

ROXANNA
His wife
Died Jan. 28, 1863,
Aged 73 yr’s. 2 mo’s.
Peaceful be thy rest, dear Mother
All thy trials here are o’er
Weary days and nights of anguish
Never shall afflict thee more.

Roxanna & Thomas were the parents of four children:

i. Rosilla Hopkins Freeman, born 21 November 1811 in Harwich, and died there 10 February 1855. Rosilla is buried in the First Congregational Church Cemetery near her parents.

Miss
ROSILLA FREEMAN
DIED
Feb. 10, 1855,
Æ 43 Years.
Dearest sister, thou hast left us.
Here thy loss we deeply feel.
But ’tis God that hath (illegible) us.
He can all our sorrows heal.

~

ii. Warren Freeman (my 3rd-great-grandfather), born 25 July 1814 in Harwich, and died there 16 September 1894. He married (as his first wife) in December 1836, his double fourth cousin, Priscilla E. Long, who was born 22 October 1817 and died 7 December 1846 in Harwich, daughter of Isaac and Esther (Ellis) Long. Warren & Priscilla were the parents of two children. Warren married (as his second wife) 12 June 1848 in Harwich, another double fourth cousin, Elisabeth Weekes, who was born 6 November 1822 in Harwich, and died there 18 September 1908, daughter of Isaac and Elisabeth (Allen) Weekes. Warren & Elisabeth were the parents of five children.

iii. Sanford Freeman, born 8 October 1818 in Harwich, died there 6 October 1907. He married (as his first wife) 3 May 1840 in Harwich, Mehitable S. Baker, who was born 13 August 1823 in Harwich, and died there 14 December 1842, daughter of Joseph and Catherine (—) Baker. Sanford & Mehitable were the parents of two sons. Sanford married (as his second wife) 21 October 1847 in Harwich, Sarah Small, who was born 21 January 1827 in Harwich, and died there in 1921, daughter of Thomas Crowell and Sally (Allen) Small.

iv. Zeruiah Cash Freeman, born 14 June 1825 in Harwich, died there 11 September 1833, age 8. Zeruiah is buried in the First Congregational Church Cemetery. I see a picture of her gravestone on the Find A Grave website, but I haven’t located it myself yet.

Superintendent of the New York State School for the Blind

seated: Charles Amos Hamilton & Gertrude Mabel Hubbard
standing: Karl Freeman Rodgers, Sr. & Allegra Estelle Hamilton
children: Karl Freeman Rodgers, Jr. and Delorma Hamilton Rodgers

Tim’s great-grandfather, Charles Amos Hamilton, the son of Charles Munson and Eliza Ann (Devoe) Hamilton, was born 19 March 1866 in Hinsdale (Cattaraugus) New York, and died 28 October 1943 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. He married on 30 June 1897 at 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, the daughter of Delorma Brown and Emma (Pridmore) Hubbard.

Charles’ mother was 47 years old when she gave birth to him, and so he was born into a family with an 18-year-old sister and a 26-year-old brother. He was named after his father, Charles Munson Hamilton and his uncle, Amos Gardner Hamilton. Sadly, his mother died when he was only three weeks old and his father remarried two years later. His stepmother died when he was 9 years old. However, Charles adored his older sister Addie, who was like a mother to him. In 1885 Charles graduated from Cuba [NY] High School, and from the University of Rochester first on 19 June 1889, and again in 1892 with a Master of Arts.

From 1889-1907 he worked as a teacher and then a principal at the Albion High School, where he may have met his future fiancée, Mamie Estelle Hubbard. Mamie was a grammar school teacher who died tragically of a serious illness at age 23 on 22 May 1892. Charles spent much time grieving with Mamie’s mother, Emma (Pridmore) Hubbard, and eventually fell in love with Mamie’s younger sister, Gertrude.

Charles & Gertrude’s marriage was performed by Charles’ old college friend, Rev. Christian A. Clausen, in the presence of a few friends and nearest relatives. Charles was baptized, at the age of 37, on 26 April 1903 at the Newark Baptist Church. In 1923 he joined the Sons of the American Revolution through his ancestor, William Hamilton. In 1924 he sold the family farm in Hinsdale to Guy W. King for $9000. And in December of 1936, Charles retired and bought a house at 26 Richmond Ave. in Batavia, New York.

He was honored on 28 October 1939, when Hamilton Hall was opened and dedicated at the New York State School for the Blind, where he had served as superintendent for many years.

October 1911
Emma Pridmore,
Gertrude Mabel Hubbard,
Allegra Estelle Hamilton

Gertrude graduated from Albion High School and Elmira College, where she had been a special music student. On 17 August 1900 she gave birth to her daughter, and only child, Allegra. It was a very difficult delivery, the baby weighed 11 lbs., and two subsequent perineal operations were required. Gertrude loved family history and gave her research notes to her daughter, Allegra, who passed them on to me, happy and relieved to find someone who cared about genealogy as much as her mother did. Gertrude & Charles did go to England and visited the graves of her Pridmore ancestors in Leicestershire. Gertrude was a member of the Deo-on-go-wa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the First Baptist Church in Batavia. Charles & Gertrude are buried together, along with some of Gertrude’s Hubbard ancestors in Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York. She was named after her great-grandmother, Mabel (Sutleif) Hubbard.

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

After a month’s honeymoon trip through Albany, New York, Boston, White Mountains and Canada, we returned to Albion and completed preparations for our new, more responsible and fuller life. I am going to add right here, that, after nearly half a century of wedded life, I can truthfully say that I have never regretted either the step or my choice. As soon as we began housekeeping, we adopted a tentative budget. I left to Gertrude the running of the house, purchase of supplies, etc. For this, we set aside a certain amount, which usually proved sufficient. In addition, I gave Gertrude every month one sixth of my salary for her own personal use. This plan and this ratio I continued until my retirement from active work. I never called this her allowance, but called it her share. I could never have been elected to the Newark position had I not been married, and I considered her services as wife and helpmate worthy of some compensation beyond mere support. This as a business proposition, entirely outside of considerations of sentiment or duty. The plan has worked out very satisfactorily with us, and we recommend it to other married couples. It must be rather humiliating for a wife to beg a few dollars, or even a dollar, from her husband every time she needs it.

The following is from Buffalo Courier Express, Sunday, July 31, 1932:

Men You Ought to Know by H. Katherine Smith: Charles A. Hamilton, superintendent of the New York State School for the Blind at Batavia, was elected in June to the presidency of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. This honor was conferred upon him in recognition of his work in preparing young people without sight to cope with the problems of daily life and, in many cases, of earning a living.

For 25 years Mr. Hamilton has served in his present position; and during the entire period his aim for the school has been to achieve the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of its pupils, and to fit them to become useful and contented men and women.

Native of Cattaraugus County: Mr. Hamilton was born at Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, in 1866. Following his graduation from the high school of Cuba, NY, where his boyhood was passed, he entered the University of Rochester. He earned all of the expenses of his college education, turning his hand to whatever job came his way. For a time he lighted and extinguished street lamps in Rochester, rising every morning at 4:30 o’clock to turn out the gas before the sun was up. Later he found work more congenial to his tastes on the college newspaper. He worked on farms of the vicinity during his summer vacations with one exception. That was the summer he toured the Middle West as a book agent, deciding, once for all, that salesmanship was not his forte.

After his graduation from the University in 1889, Mr. Hamilton became identified with the Albion High School. During the eight years of that connection, the subjects he taught ranged from classic Greek to bookkeeping, and included Latin, physical geography, geometry, ancient history and civics.

At Albion he met Gertrude M Hubbard, who became Mrs. Hamilton. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton are the parents of a daughter, Mrs. Karl Rodgers of New York City, a graduate of Vassar College. Her two-year-old son is the chief delight of his proud grandfather, who finds the number of miles between Batavia and New York no small trial. In 1897, Mr. Hamilton became principal of the high school of Newark, NY, in which capacity he continued for ten years. Twenty-five years ago, he assumed the superintendency of the State School for the Blind at Batavia. Two of his most prized possessions are the portable typewriter and loving cup presented to him in June by graduates of the school in gratitude for his years of service to the blind.

“I thoroughly enjoy the work because I realize the great benefit of a school of this kind to its pupils,” Mr. Hamilton declared. “Our educational standards are identical with those of high schools throughout the state; for our pupils are required to pass regents examinations. Physical exercise, so essential to growing children, is included in our curriculum. Some form of it is obligatory twice daily, and our students attend gymnasium classes nearly every day. Every boy above the third grade is taught to swim, and the girls most of whom swim and dive, clamor for their turn at the pool. There are weekly dances and parties at the school, for the faculty and I deem the social development of the blind an important factor in their education. Nor is their religious training neglected: Every Sunday, they receive instruction in accordance with their respective religious denominations, and the Christian Endeavor Society, which they themselves conduct, is well attended.”

On Obtaining Positions: Mr. Hamilton’s answer to the present difficult situation regarding the obtaining of positions for his graduates is, “Teach them to be useful in their own homes.” For this purpose, greater attention has been given recently to the girls’ instruction in home economics. They become proficient in such domestic arts as cooking, sewing, and cleaning. At Mr. Hamilton’s suggestion, a suite of rooms has been fitted up as a housekeeping apartment, in which two blind girls live alone for as long as two weeks. Although a teacher is always within calling distance, she is rarely summoned; and the students take pride in the fact that they can prepare their meals and keep their apartment in order entirely unassisted.

With regret, Mr. Hamilton mentioned that the scope of economic activities for his boys is not broadening rapidly. At present, an effort is being made to introduce poultry-raising into his school. Chair caning and mattress making are, in Mr. Hamilton’s opinion, the industrial occupations best adapted to the boys without sight.

Besides speaking on his work with the blind before many organizations of Western New York, Mr. Hamilton has written on it for magazines of national circulation. A born teacher, he never misses an opportunity to conduct a class. He readily assumes the duties of any absent teacher, whether of a primary or high school grade, and through the contact of the classroom gains an insight into the thoughts and hopes of his pupils.

Mr. Hamilton has traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast and has made two trips abroad. His knowledge of the French and German language is sufficient to make him understood in any foreign city. He reads the periodicals and newspapers that keep him abreast of current issues and problems and the numerous modern discoveries and inventions, and is familiar with the best of contemporary fiction.

Mr. Hamilton, who has been active in the Batavia Rotary for thirteen years, was the third president of the organization. He is also affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Holland Club of Batavia. He is a past chairman of the Batavia Boy Scout organization, and a former chairman of the board of trustees of the Baptist Church of that city.

Helen Keller

On 21 June 2008, this undated, signed photograph of Helen Keller was found in the Webster house at 180 Bradford St. in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was originally given to Gertrude & Charles. Their daughter Allegra must have brought it to the Provincetown house where a lot of family treasures were found. The inscription reads: “To Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, With happy thoughts of their kindness and helpfulness in my work for the blind of America. Very sincerely, Helen Keller”

Charles & Gertrude were the parents of a daughter:

i. Allegra Estelle Hamilton (Tim’s grandmother), born 17 August 1900 in Newark (Wayne) New York, died 16 January 1992 in Keene (Cheshire) New Hampshire. She married (as her first husband) 18 September 1928 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, Karl Freeman Rodgers, who was born 22 October 1895 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died 27 March 1971 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, son of George Lincoln and Mary Jane (Rodgers) Rodgers. Allegra & Karl were the parents of two children. Allegra married (as her second husband and as his second wife) 26 July 1975 in San Antonio (Bexar) Texas, Lester Dean Lloyd, who was born 5 October 1903 in Red Oak (Montgomery) Iowa, and died 23 September 1988 in Schertz (Guadalupe) Texas, son of Noah R. and Mary Alma (McGimpsey) Lloyd.

William White, Englishman

This sketch of Salisbury is perforce an epitome; a catacomb of facts, tedious in the extreme, unless viewed sympathetically. The statistician’s only hope lies in the imagination of the reader. Then be a lithe hunter in the trackless wilds, a shrewd and cautious Hollander, a spare, twang-tongued New Englander, a Whig, a Tory, what you will, for there is no limit to your fictitious past. Leave for an hour the world of 1900 and these dry bones will be re-animated and invested with the charm of life in other days. The scene is set; you must be the player.
~ Malcolm Day Rudd
(An Historical Sketch of Salisbury, Connecticut, July 18, 1899)

The above note “to the reader” made me smile. While I find family history endlessly engrossing, most people I know find it “tedious in the extreme,” or at least, not viewed very “sympathetically.” It would seem to be the same for this writer 120 years ago!

But I have found an ancestral line I’ve been researching forever. My poor mother spent the last couple years of her life searching, too, mostly in person, traveling to town halls, county courthouses and historical societies with my father’s devoted assistance. I recently found some notes he took for her and added them to Ancestry.com. It didn’t take too long for “hints” to start popping up. Some didn’t fit, but some did.

My grandfather, John Everett White, had been told he descended from William White, the Mayflower passenger. They say most family legends have a grain of truth in them. As it turns out, his 5th-great-grandfather was a William White, but not that William White!

The line I had went back only 4 generations…

John Everett White 1905-2001 (my grandfather)
Samuel Minor White 1873-1949
William Martin White 1836-1925
Austin White 1806-1882
Oliver White 1764-1822

William Martin, Austin and Oliver all lived here in southeastern Connecticut and lie buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic. But where Oliver came from remained a stubborn mystery. My parents spent a lot of time trying to connect him to the Whites living in Rhode Island, many of them descendants of the Mayflower‘s William White. (I was interested, but very busy raising children.) Apparently not long before my mother died in 1991, they had set their sights on Salisbury, way up in the opposite (northwestern) corner of Connecticut. There a Lawrence White had a son named Oliver who was born the same year as our Oliver.

My father’s handwritten notes state this information was found in the Historical Collections of the Salisbury Association, Inc., Vol. II, p. 119. Whether they actually traveled to Salisbury or not is unclear to me. They might have found the book on one of their visits to the Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library in Hartford.

After adding this information to Ancestry and piecing together the resulting hints, the line now goes back 3 more generations to an English ancestor, who arrived in America 59 years after the Mayflower!

Oliver White 1764-1822
Lawrence White 1732-1812
George White 1694-1776
William White 1664-1750 (my 7th-great-grandfather)

I found the following paragraph about William in An Historical Sketch of Salisbury, Connecticut (1899) by Malcolm Day Rudd. When this pandemic is over I see a day trip to Salisbury in the works, health permitting.

William White, an Englishman, who died Jan. 5, 1750-51, in his 85th year, had long been a resident of the Dutch settlements, married a Dutch wife and was a sergeant in the Manor Company of 1715.

William was born about 1664 in Brading (Isle of Wight) England and died in Salisbury (Litchfield) Connecticut. He arrived in America in 1679, when he was about 15 years old. He apparently married Mary (Meales) Hayes, a young widow, about 1690. They were the parents of eight children.

Williams’s sons, George (my 6th-great-grandfather), Joshua and Benjamin are on the list of original proprietors of Salisbury, when the new township was publicly auctioned at Hartford in May 1738. The town was incorporated in October of 1741.

Lots of work left to do…