throwing away all of your possessions once a year

“Autumn in New England” by Maurice Prendergast

If you rake fallen leaves into a pile and then examine them, you will see that each one shows a consummately clean break at the same place near the base of the stem. The fall of leaves is highly choreographed: First the green pigments are pulled back behind the narrow row of cells marking the border between stem and branch. Then, on the mysteriously appointed day, this row of cells is dehydrated and becomes weak and brittle. The weight of the leaf is now sufficient to bend and snap it from the branch. It takes a tree only a week to discard its entire year’s work, cast off like a dress barely worn but too unfashionable for further use. Can you imagine throwing away all of your possessions once a year because you are secure in your expectation that you will be able to replace them in a matter of weeks? These brave trees lay all of their earthly treasures on the soil, where moth and rust doth immediately corrupt. They know better than all the saints and martyrs put together exactly how to store next year’s treasure in Heaven, where the heart shall be also.
~ Hope Jahren
(Lab Girl)

Katherine’s Children

Katherine Fusiak (1887-1943) and three of her eight children: Augusta Jean Chomiak (1913-1986), Theodore William Chomiak (1922-2013), and Lillian Elizabeth Chomiak (1915-2016).

It’s simply amazing what comes into the light when cousins start exploring family history, too. Several weeks ago I shared a picture one of my maternal cousins discovered and today I’m sharing a portrait found by one of my paternal cousins.

The woman is my grandmother, Katherine, who died long before I was born. I’ve always been curious about her because she is the one grandparent I never knew.

Катерина Фюшяк (Kateryna Fusiak ~ my Aunt Lil showed me how to write her name in Ukrainian) was born on 19 November 1887 in Luzok Horishni, Ukraine, when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She died on 22 October 1943 at New London, Connecticut.

Katherine’s parents were land-owning farmers. When her husband William, the son of peasants, left for America, she was pregnant with her second child and they already had a small daughter, Mary. According to my aunt Mary, who grew up with her grandparents in Ukraine, Katherine’s father, Konrad, who did not approve of his daughter’s marriage, was furious about not hearing from William, and with great resentment sold a cow to buy passage to America for Katherine and her new nursing baby boy, Jon. At the tender age of 22, on 19 February 1910, Katherine and 5-month-old baby Jon sailed to America on the SS Finland from Antwerp, arriving in New York City on 4 March 1910. She had no ticket, but was in possession of $19 which she used to pay passage for herself and her son. She was 4’11” tall with a fair complexion. She was identified as a “Ruthenian” on the passenger arrival record, a term used to refer to a group of Ukrainians living in Ruthenia and eastern Czechoslovakia.

Mary stayed behind with her grandparents and so Katherine did not see her firstborn daughter again until Mary was 18, when she finally joined her family in America after World War I. By then, Katherine and William were living on a farm in Montville, Connecticut.

Katherine was a devoted mother who admonished her eight children to stick together no matter what, as she believed that family was all they would have in this difficult world. Her grandchildren called her “Baba.” Katherine died of a strangulated hernia at the age of 55. She lies buried with her husband in Comstock Cemetery in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Three of her children did not survive into adulthood. Jon Stephen died when he was 9 years old, of appendicitis. Augustine was about two when he got into some pills or something that poisoned him. Olga, a toddler, met her death by scalding when she pulled a pot of boiling water off the stove, a horrific accident that my aunt Lil was old enough to remember first hand.

In the portrait above, daughter Mary is missing because she was still living in Ukraine. Jon had already died. My Aunt Jean is on the left, my father is the little boy, and my Aunt Lil is on the right. My Aunt Em was not born yet.

Katherine had a very hard life as a farmer’s wife who made it through the Great Depression living off the land. Her husband was a harsh, bitter man, who regretted leaving Ukraine and apparently hated this country. I admire her courage and fortitude.

My father always spoke of his mother with great fondness and missed her dearly. Even during his last illness he asked for her. He had enlisted in the army during World War II on 4 February 1943. Sadly, only eight months later, on 22 October 1943, his mother died. Only 22 years old, he came home on leave for her funeral and then returned to duty. I am struck with a little synchronicity here because Katherine was 22 when she saw her mother for the last time, and my father was 22 when he saw his own mother for the last time.

My father often credited his mother with raising him to respect women and appreciate their strengths. As an example, he often told the story of her ability to drive a hard bargain. A butcher came down from Norwich to the farm in Montville three times trying to buy a calf for less than the price Katherine wanted to sell it for! But she got her original asking price, impressing her son, and the sale was finally made!

comfort

7.13.18 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Sometimes I think it must have been much easier to live and die at the time of our ancestors, the Vikings.

When they buried their relatives, they also buried many objects together with the body. This was to be sure that the dead would not miss anything in their new environment. It was also an assurance for the family members who remained that they would not become obsessed with spirits of the dead and constantly be reminded of them because their possessions were still scattered all over the tent or mud hut. Very clever.

~ Margareta Magnusson
(The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself & Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter)

7.13.18 ~ Eastern Point ~ my camera decided to go Impressionistic for this distant cormorant

You might guess from my recent choice of reading material that I’m still struggling with the objects and possessions I inherited from our ancestors. Things started piling up around 2008. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years! I have managed to dispose of a lot of stuff but cannot rest on my laurels. What’s left is stacked halfway to the ceiling in a corner of what is supposed to be the genealogy/guest room. The corner takes up almost half the room.

7.13.18 ~ Eastern Point ~ there are three cormorants in this picture, which I didn’t realize until I saw the picture enlarged on the laptop

Trouble is, life (births, illnesses, travels, weddings, visitors, deaths) keeps happening and I need a good chunk of uninterrupted time to roll up my sleeves and dig in. Now that there is a lull in the stream of summer activities I am annoyed by the droning of the air conditioners. But I since learning about the autism I am aware now that I am much more sensitive to noise than neurotypical people, so, I will wait patiently for some cool, dry, quiet weather to return.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We enjoy going to estate sales. We rarely buy anything but a few days ago we found a large file cabinet in excellent shape at a great price. It is now in the genealogy/guest room waiting for me to make use of it. After my grandmother died my grandfather offered us anything we wanted in the house. I chose my grandmother’s mahogany secretary which I still have and treasure. Grandfather said he didn’t want us grandchildren to be burdened with all the stuff. I don’t want my children to be burdened either.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

I’m also sad about the changes at my beloved beach. The city has installed a gull repellent system. Every three minutes a recording of a gull in distress blares out from the loudspeakers. There are maybe two or three fearless gulls left on the roof of the beach house. All the laughing gulls are gone, all the different kinds of gulls are gone. I suppose I will never see my friend with the mangled foot again. It’s all too much for me to bear and I’ve been reduced to tears more than once this summer.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

I visited my elm tree, Grandmother Elm. I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since I have gone! I used to visit all the time when Tim’s brother was living with us, the year he died here of cancer. Now she has small stems and branches growing out at the base of her trunk, covered with leaves. When I read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben I believe he said this was a sign of distress. No other tree in the cemetery was like this. Perhaps she is suffering, too. Still, her wordless wisdom comforted me.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

Abraham Pridmore, Blacksmith

I cannot recall how or when we first made contact with Tim’s English cousins, and we have long since lost touch with them, but I owe them a debt of gratitude for all the family history material they mailed over the ocean to us. Perhaps one or both of them will see this post somehow and contact us again!

Tim’s 4th-great-grandfather, Abraham Pridmore, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Shepard) Pridmore, was born in 1790 in Brigstock (Northamptonshire) England, and died 20 March 1867 in Syston (Leicestershire) England. He married 9 June 1811 in St. Peter’s Church, Lowick (Northamptonshire) England, Elizabeth Bramston, who was born in 1791 in Lowick, and died 5 January 1866 in Syston, daughter of William and Alice (—) Bramston.

Abraham was baptized 27 July 1790 in St. Andrew’s Church, Brigstock. He worked as a blacksmith, and later as a machinist and a machine supplement maker. Abraham & Elizabeth were members of the Church of England. The following is from the notes Gillian and Gabrielle Rohowsky sent to us:

When they married Abraham was already resident in Thorpe Satchville, the age he was would probably mean that he had recently finished his [blacksmith] apprenticeship, usually marriage was not permitted during an apprenticeship, and of course Elizabeth was pregnant. The marriage was witnessed by Robert Pridmore, brother of the groom, and by John Brown who we think was a parish clerk.

The parish records for Syston parish church have suffered some damage, with sections totally unreadable. Syston is larger than Thorpe Satchville, we can only guess why the family moved there, maybe it was due to expanding trade and close proximity to the main city with better business opportunities, also Syston had a major rail link which would of been a benefit for the distribution of goods. Or maybe the move was purely prompted by family attachment, Christiana, George and Sarah were all resident in Syston. Abraham and Elizabeth probably moved there around the mid 1850’s.

The death date on the certificate states 5 January 1866, whereas the headstone states the 6 January 1866. The age on the certificate states 74, the headstone states 76. These discrepancies could arise from the informant Elizabeth Marchant being illiterate. Elizabeth Marchant was a widow whose husband died in an accident while working on the railways, she lived close to Abraham & Elizabeth and possibly worked as a housekeeper for them.

Elizabeth died of “paralysis justified” and Abraham died of pneumonia and they lie buried together in St. Peter & Paul’s Churchyard. Their headstone is inscribed:

Sacred
to the memory of
Abraham Pridmore
Who died Mar 20: 1867
Aged 77 years
Also Elizabeth his wife
Who died Jan 6: 1866
Aged 76 years
And of Sarah Randall
Granddaughter of the above
Who died Nov 15: 1863

Abraham & Elizabeth were the parents of fourteen children. Four of the sons (Thomas, William, Abraham, and Edward) made their way to America:

1. Thomas Pridmore, born 9 September 1811 in Brigstock, died 23 July 1890 in North Bergen (Genesee) New York. He married (as his first wife) 31 October 1842 in Canterbury (Windham) Connecticut, Jerusha Smith, who was born 20 March 1814 in Canterbury, and died 12 October 1851 in Clarendon (Orleans) New York, daughter of Ichabod and Actisah (Allen) Smith. Thomas married (as his second wife) 24 November 1852 in North Bergen, Mary Ann Grieve, who was born 25 October in England, and died 14 August 1885 in North Bergen, daughter of Stephen and Ann (Baker) Grieve.

An obituary for Thomas appeared in The Batavian in 1890:

Thomas Pridmore, Sr., died Last Wednesday (ed. July 23, 1890) about 4 p.m. For several years he has been in delicate health. He came to this country from Northamptonshire, England, when 22 years of age. He was twice married and was the survivor of both of his wives. Five children survive him: Chauncey, of Holley; Charles of Colorado; Frank of North Byron; and Thomas and Luella of North Bergen. He was in his 79th year. The funeral was held at the church last Saturday at 1 p.m. The interment was at the Root schoolhouse cemetery.

2. Mary Pridmore, born 1812 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England, died 3 August 1858 in Freeby (Leicestershire) England. She married 26 December 1831 in St. Michael’s Church in Thorpe Satchville, Joseph Morris, an agricultural laborer who was born 1810 in Freeby, and died there 9 September 1887.

3. Christina Pridmore, born 1814 in Thorpe Satchville, died 3 December 1855 in Syston. She was a servant and married 24 January 1845 in St. Michael’s Church in Thorpe Satchville, George Randall, a publican, inn keeper, and licensed victualler, who was born in 1811 in Milby (Norfolk) England, and died in Syston 18 February 1878, son of James Randall.

4. William Pridmore (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather), born before 23 April 1815 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England. He was baptized in Thorpe Satchville in St. Michael’s Church on 23 April 1815. He married (as his first wife) 13 October 1835 in St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby, Mary Anne Smith, who was born in Gaddesby, and probably died there before William married again. William & Mary were the parents of a son. William married (as his second wife) 16 August 1838 in St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby (Leicestershire) England, Ann Sturgess (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandmother), who was born in 1814 in Gaddesby, daughter of William Sturgess. William & Ann were the parents of six children. All of William’s children were born in England, and he worked both in England and America as a blacksmith. At the time of her marriage, Ann was employed as a servant. The time and place of Ann’s death are unknown. It seems possible that she may have died in England before William came to America in 1857(?) with their children, or perhaps she may have died at sea, because no mention is made of her or the youngest son, Thomas, in family accounts here. There is some mystery surrounding William – a family story says that he went to Chicago on a business trip and was never heard from again, and there is some evidence that he went to South Bend, Indiana with son George in 1875.

5. George Pridmore, born 1816 in Thorpe Satchville, died 16 April 1870 in Syston. He was a blacksmith, machinist, and mechanic and married 4 November 1855 in St. Peter & Paul’s Church in Syston, Mary Jane Dyball, a shopkeeper and dressmaker who was born 1828 in Hanford (Northamptonshire) England, and died 4 April 1888 in Syston.

6. Reuben Pridmore, born 1818 in Thorpe Satchville, died there 7 January 1842, age 24. He was a soldier and married 20 February 1840 in St. Pancras Church, London, England, Caroline Ward.

7. Sarah Pridmore, born 1819 in Thorpe Satchville. She married (as her first husband) 14 September 1846 in St. Peter & Paul’s Church in Syston, Robert Pickard, a husbandman and agricultural laborer, who was born 1816 in Syston and died there 19 December 1853, age 37. Sarah married (as her second husband) 14 October 1856 in The Parish Church, Great Yarmouth (Norfolk) England, George Randall, widower of her sister, Christiana (Pridmore) Randall.

According to Gillian and Gabrielle Rohowsky:

Sarah’s second marriage to George Randall was illegal because he was her brother-in-law, (previously married to her late sister Christiana). Because an act of parliament between 1835-1907 made such unions illegal and incestuous, attempts to change the law started in 1842 with the ‘Wife’s Sisters Bill’ which was put before parliament annually for 65 years until it was finally passed. Maybe this accounts for the fact that they married outside the district in Norfolk, but they later returned to Syston. Obviously Abraham did not object to the union, considering the contents of his will, he certainly held George Randall in high regard.

8. Abraham Pridmore, born 1821 in Thorpe Satchville, died 21 April 1878 in South Bend (St. Joseph) Indiana. He was a blacksmith and married Anna Sheehan/Scheehan, who was born 18 April 1834 in (Cork) Ireland, and died 28 April 1913 in South Bend.

Indiana Naturalization Records, Abraham Pridmore, Tippecanoe County, IN, Circuit Court, Volume 21, Page 536, Years 60:

To the Judge of the Tippecanoe Circuit in the State of Indiana, Abraham Pridmore, being an alien and a free white person, makes the following report of himself: upon his solemn oath declares that he is aged 31 years; that he was born in England that he emigrated from Liverpool in the year 1851 that he arrived in the United States at the City of New York on 17 July 1851 that he owes allegiance to Queen Victoria and that it is bona fide his intention to become a citizen of the United States and to renounce forever allegiance and fidelity any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatsoever. 6 November 1860.

9. Elizabeth Pridmore, born 1822 in Thorpe Satchville. She married 12 May 1851 in St. Michael’s Church in Thorpe Satchville, her first cousin, William March, a carpenter who was born 1828 in Brigstock, son of Daniel Blott and Esther (Pridmore) March.

10. Priscilla Pridmore, born 1825 in Thorpe Satchville, died there 1 July 1838, age 13.

11. John Pridmore, born 1826 in Thorpe Satchville.

12. Charlotte Pridmore, born 1828 in Thorpe Satchville, died 9 November 1896 in The Union Workhouse, Lincoln, England. She was a servant and married (as her first husband) 26 November 1849 in St. Michael’s Church, Thorpe Satchville, William Atkinson, who was born 1828 in Belgrade (Leicestershire) England. Charlotte had a relationship with George Hind, a groom who was born 1811 in Warsop (Nottinghamshire) England, and died 29 May 1897 in Lincoln. Charlotte married (as her second husband) 11 August 1880 in The Register Office, Lincoln, John Thompson, an engine fitter who was born 1820 and died November 1893 in Knight’s Place, Lincoln.

According to Gillian and Gabrielle Rohowsky:

Between the 1851 and 1861 census returns we have no information of Charlotte’s whereabouts. On the 1861 census she was in Lincoln under the name of Charlotte Hind, living with George Hind and their baby son Charles. On the 1871 census she was still in Lincoln, called Charlotte Hind, living with George and their 5 children. We are doubtful that Charlotte and George ever married, we have found no evidence but often people altered the facts to suit circumstances, possibly George was already married because he was 17 years older that Charlotte. If they had married Charlotte would have been a bigamist because George did not die until 1897. [after she married John Thompson]

It was always said within the family that Charlotte was a black sheep, who was disowned by her family, lack of communication between family could account for the fact that she classed Abraham as a blacksmith [on her 1880 marriage record], whereas he had long since been referred to as a machinist/machine maker, or maybe this was purely because of Charlotte’s lack of education, this could be said for her stating that her father was deceased, maybe she just presumed this because he would have been over 90 years old.

13. Eliza Pridmore, born 1829 in Thorpe Satchville, died there 27 July 1841, age 12.

14. Edward Pridmore, born 29 June 1831 in Thorpe Satchville, died 4 March 1910 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. He was a blacksmith and married (as his first wife) 28 November 1850 in St. Michael’s Church, Thorpe Satchville, Jane Marshall, a servant who was born in 1828 in Ashwell (Rutland) England, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Hinman) Marshall. After their marriage Jane & Edward left for America from Liverpool on the Cumberland, arriving in New York on 18 June 1852. Edward married (as his second wife) 11 January 1887 in Batavia, Eliza B. Ware, daughter of T. B. Ware.

An obituary for Edward, in possession of Delorma (Rodgers) Morton, reads:

Inventor of Harvesting Machinery Dead at His Home in Batavia

After an illness of several years with heart disease and complications Edward Pridmore, one of Batavia’s well-known citizens, died at his home at No. 532 East Main street at 2:20 o’clock this morning. Mr Pridmore had not been confined to the house all of the time of his illness, but had not been in good health.

Mr Pridmore was born at Thorp, Satchville, Eng, on June 29, 1831. He spent his boyhood working in his father’s machine shop, where he developed that taste for mechanics and that inventive genius which were so prominent in his after life. At the age of 21 Mr Pridmore came to America and soon afterward entered the employment at Brockport of Ganson & Co, a firm which later became the Johnston Harvester Company of Brockport and now of Batavia. He remained in the employ of the company until the time of his death, a period of over half a century. He was a skilled mechanic and invented a number of improvements and appliances which were afterward used by the harvester company. His inventive work aided largely in perfecting the harvesting machines and he received individual diplomas of honorable mention from the Chicago world’s fair and the St Louis exposition.

Mr Pridmore was twice married. His first wife was Jane Marshall of England, whom he wedded in 1850. By her he had three children, Elizabeth, widow of Homer M Johnston; John W Pridmore and the late Henry E Pridmore, all of Chicago. In 1887 he married Miss Eliza Ware of Batavia, who with two daughters, Fannie and Esther, survives him. He also leaves eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, all of whom live in Chicago.

In politics Mr Pridmore was always a Republican. For many years he had been a Baptist and was a member of the First Baptist church of Batavia at the time of his death. Mr Pridmore’s life illustrated the good old English virtues of honesty, thrift and generosity. Although he always lived without ostentation many friends and neighbors recall his kindly words of advice and of material help in their times of need. His integrity of character was above question and his business judgment sound. His death is a great loss to the business interests to which he gave so many years of faithful service and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Nauset Beach

10.16.17 ~ cloud drama in the sky ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

In October my sister and I spent a couple of nights at the Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge in Orleans on Cape Cod. The big draw was that the motel had a short path to Nauset Beach, a ten mile stretch of seashore facing the open Atlantic. We could hear the waves from our motel room. Pure joy!

10.16.17 ~ eternity ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

Wildlife sightings: from the road we saw wild turkeys and a coyote; hopping across our path to the beach we saw a bunny; and at the beach we saw gulls of course, and a little piping plover running along the water’s edge, and a seal bobbing in the waves.

10.16.17 ~ parallax ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

One afternoon we spent two hours meandering on the beach. Nothing but sand, sea and sky as far as our eyes could see. Beverly, the geologist, was collecting stones, and I was taking pictures. And contemplating the universe, the oneness of all things.

10.16.17 ~ gull ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

Being awake. Resting in the happening of this moment, exactly as it is. Relaxing the need to understand or to make things different than they are. Opening the heart. Just this — right here, right now.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Resting in the Happening of this Moment)

10.16.17 ~ posing ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ infinity ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves — the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds — never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.
~ Pema Chödrön
(Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living)

10.16.17 ~ yawning (no sound) ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ dune grass ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ resting ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

Few places on the earth possess a nature so powerful and so unspoiled that it would remind anyone living in a concrete world that he once belonged to a pre-industrial civilization.
~ Liv Ullmann
(Changing)

10.16.17 ~ adolescent gull ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ a young gull ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts
10.16.17 ~ Nauset Beach, Orleans, Massachusetts

It was windy and chilly and we were bundled up well. I even wore my mittens when I was not taking pictures. But eventually it was time to go back to our room and get ready for dinner. So back up the path to the motel. Our window was the one on the right in the white section of the building. There are only 12 rooms. A quiet, beautiful, windswept place to stay.

10.16.17 ~ view of our room from the path leading to the beach ~ Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge, Orleans, Massachusetts

I hope I will come back here again one day…

10.16.17 ~ view from our room, a hill with a path through the brambles, the parking lot and the beach are between the lawn and the water ~ Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge, Orleans, Massachusetts

light

7.23.17 ~ tiger lilies at Mystic Seaport

Light is the mother of life. The sun brings light or color. It causes grasses, crops, leaves, and flowers to grow. The sun brings forth the erotic charge of the curved earth; it awakens her wild sensuousness.
~ John O’Donohue
(Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

7.23.17 ~ flower box at Mystic Seaport

When you possess light within, then you see it externally.
~ Anaïs Nin
(The Diary of Anaïs Nin: 1939-1944)

7.23.17 ~ purple coneflowers at Mystic Seaport

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 five 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. Elizabeth Hamilton, born 28 March 1864, died 1 August 1864, age 4 months.

5. 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.

Last Revised:  25 November 2017

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.

Settlers of Albion, New York

JohnHubbard
John Hubbard (1804-1883)

These portraits of Tim’s 3rd-great-grandparents are of the oldest generation we currently have in our possession.

John Hubbard, son of Joseph and Mabel (Sutlief) Hubbard, was born 27 December 1804 in (Jefferson) New York, and died 1 August 1883 in Albion (Orleans) New York. He married 28 January 1828 in Clarkson (Monroe) New York, Lydia P. Randolph, who was born 24 March 1807, probably in Canada, and died 1 February 1901 in Albion, daughter of Abram and Jane (Koyl) Randolph.

The following is from The Orleans Republican:

Death of an Old Settler: John Hubbard, who was, we think, at the time of his death, the oldest resident in what is now the village of Albion, died at his residence on Clinton street, on Sunday evening. His last sickness was only of a few days duration. He gradually failed after the death of a dearly loved grandson, Johnnie D, aged 16 years, only son of DB and Emma P Hubbard, which occurred July 25, 1883. The deceased was born in Jefferson county December 27, 1804, and came to Albion in the fall of 1824. On the 28th of January, 1828, he was married to Lydia P Randolph, by whom he had six children, one son and five daughters. Of these four are now living — Jennie F, now Mrs. GA Starkweather; Eva L Hubbard, now Mrs. John B Hubbard; DB Hubbard, and Fannie E Hubbard. Miss A Louise Hubbard died in 1850 and another daughter, Mrs. Laura A Allen, died March 28, 1883. Mr. Hubbard followed the business of wagon making for many years, but retired from active business some time ago. He was well known in the community in which he had so long resided and had the respect of all who knew him.

Lydia P. (Randolph) Hubbard (1807-1901)
Lydia P. Randolph (1807-1901)

The 1880 Census states that Lydia was born in Canada and that her parents were born in Vermont. However, the 1900 Federal Census states that Lydia, age 93, was born “Canada/English” and that her parents were born “Canada/English” and that she immigrated in 1820, when she was about 13 years old. By 1892, after being widowed, Lydia was living with her son DB and his family in Albion, 13 Clinton St., where she died 1 February 1901. Boxes of her poetry were found in the Provincetown, Massachusetts house belonging to the husband (Karl Freeman Rodgers) of her great-granddaughter, Allegra Estelle (Hamilton) (Rodgers) Lloyd. John and Lydia are buried in Lot #111, Beech Avenue, Mount Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York.

John & Lydia were the parents of six children:

1. Jane F. “Jenny” Hubbard, born 9 September 1829 in Albion, died 27 September 1919. She married 2 November 1853, Rev. George A. Starkweather, who was born 4 December 1828 and died 8 October 1910. They are buried in the lot adjoining Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mount Albion Cemetery. They were the parents of a daughter.

2. Laura Amelia Hubbard, born 10 April 1831, died 28 March 1883. She married 12 June 1854, Tunis B. Allen.

3. Louisa Amanda Hubbard, born 25 January 1835, died 12 July 1850, age 15. She is buried in Lot #111, Beech Avenue, Mount Albion Cemetery.

4. Eveline Hubbard, born 7 December 1839 in Albion, died 8 March 1903 in Holly, New York. She married (as her first husband) (—) Braman, and she then married (as her second husband) John B. Hubbard, who was born May 1836 and died 28 April 1888. Eveline was a seamstress. She and John are buried in the lot adjoining Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mount Albion Cemetery.

5. Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather), born 8 May 1842 in Albion, died there 21 March 1915. He married 6 February 1866 in Marian (Wayne) New York, Emma Pridmore, who was born 11 January 1844 in Great Dalby (Leicestershire) England and died 7 April 1917. DB & Emma were the parents of three children, and lie buried in Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mount Albion Cemetery.

6. Frances E. “Fannie” Hubbard, born 15 February 1846 in Albion, died there 23 September 1883. She is buried in Lot #111, Beech Avenue, Mount Albion Cemetery.

We visited Mount Albion Cemetery in Albion, New York, on a research trip we took with Tim’s aunt Delorma many years ago. Unfortunately the pictures taken with a disposable camera (remember those?) didn’t come out well so we hope to return one day, now that we have a much better camera. Tim’s father, grandparents, great-grandparents, 2nd-great-grandparents and 3rd-great-grandparents (John & Lydia) are buried there.