Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: His Roots

1903 (possibly) McClellan Genealogy by Imogene McClellan-002.jpg

Imogene (Everson) McClellan was an avid genealogist. About 1903, several years after her husband George Roderic McClellan disappeared, Imogene began compiling her own genealogy. While doing so, she wrote on a small slip of paper all that she could remember about George McClellan’s immediate family, and gave it to her daughter Lillian McClellan. Lillian’s grandniece Maria McClellan discovered it years later, when she inherited Lillian’s papers. It was the first clue to discovering the origins of George Roderic McClellan.

It reads: McClellan Family

Dougal McClellan, son of Dougal McClellan and Mary Scott, born in Edinburg, Scotland married Christina Cameron, b. I[n]verness, Scotland Oct. 12 1817.Married 1834. Came to Nova Scotia soon after their marriage. Their children: Ellen Cameron McClellan, Mary Catherine McClellan, Annie McClellan (Sherman) born March 23 1840, John Duncan McClellan, William Murdock McClellan, George Roderic McClellan, James McClellan, Alexander Cameron McClellan.

 

1903 (possibly) McClellan Genealogy by Imogene McClellan-001.jpg

McClellan Family Genealogy, written by Imogene (Everson) McClellan for her daughter Lillian McClellan, circa 1903. Image courtesy of the author.

 

George Roderic McClellan was born 8 May 1848 in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, the youngest of eight children born to Dougal McClellan and his wife Christina Anne Cameron, who was also called Christiana Cameron. Dougal died when George was young and the widowed Christina, unable to support all of her children, had to place them in local homes, working as domestic servants or learning trades. While the specifics of George’s childhood are still elusive, he was likely placed in a home where he apprenticed as a mason. By the age of 12 his mother had left Nova Scotia entirely and was working as a domestic servant in the household of Dr. Charles W. Fabyan of Providence, Rhode Island, a wealthy Methodist physician originally from Maine. George’s eldest sister Mary Catherine followed their mother, where she soon found work as a governess in Providence. George’s second eldest sister, Christina Anne “Annie” McClellan, found work in Portland, Maine, where she met merchant John Doane Wells Sherman. They identified themselves as husband and wife in the 1860 Census in Portland, but their wedding was performed 14 January 1863 in Providence, Rhode Island. When George turned 21 he decided to move from Nova Scotia to seek work in New England, arriving in Portland, Maine in September 1869 and then making his way to Boston, Massachusetts. He may have gone to meet up with his sister Annie (McClellan) Sherman, whose husband John worked in Boston. John D. W. and Annie Sherman boarded at Adams House when they stayed in Boston. Together John and brother Thomas B. Sherman operated the trading company Sherman Bros. & Co. at 234 State Street from at least 1867-1870. As of the 1870 census, ‘Geo R. McClellan’ was working as a mason and boarding in Boston, Massachusetts with grocer Martin Godrin (29, b. Ireland).

1870McClellanGeorgeCensus - Copy.jpg

George Roderic McClellan in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census,  a 25 [sic, 22] year old bricklayer residing as a boarder in Boston, Massachusetts on 14 July 1870

In the spring of 1872 Barnabas Everson hired George McClellan to help with construction at his South Hanson saw-mill, including a tall brick chimney stack to help reduce the threat of fire from the wood-scrap-drive fires which help fueled the saws. George likely took the Old Colony train from South Station in Boston to the South Hanson train station, located right next to Everson’s mill on Main Street. The train station is still in use today. By 1888 Barnabas Everson had become the fifth-richest man in Hanson, MA, through income derived from his sawmill and from his agricultural produce on his 300+ acres of farmland.  [See my article about Barnabas Everson’s safe, which is held by the Hanson Historical Society]. Everson invited the 24 year old George McClellan home for dinner, where he met Barnabas’s 20 year old daughter Imogene.

 

 

 

Possibly tintype of George R. McClellan? Tintypes common ca 1860s-70s.

Undated tintype of George Roderic McClellan. Probably late 1860s or early 1870s. Courtesy of the author.

Imogene Everson say 1870s?

Undated image of Imogene Lillian Everson.  Photographer A[mos] H. Locke, 16 Main St., Plymouth, Mass. Possibly near the time of her marriage, Locke was a photographer in Plymouth in 1872. Courtesy of the author.

They courted and were quickly married in Barnabas Everson’s home on Indian Head Street in Hanson, 3 June 1872, by East Bridgewater Methodist minister Rev. William Freeman Farrington. The choice of a Methodist minister probably reflected George McClellan’s faith with his Scottish-Canadian roots rather than the Everson family’s religion. Barnabas Everson joined several faith groups throughout his life, as did his children Richard and Imogene Everson. As a child, Imogene was briefly raised in the South Hanson Baptist Church. By the mid-1850s, however, the Eversons became captivated by the Spiritualist movement and remained Spiritualists until the 1890s. In the 1890s Imogene began taking Christian Science courses from Mary Baker Eddy. She remained a member of Church of Christ Scientist until her death.

 

1872 McClellanGeorgeEversonImogeneMarriage-MAVRs - Copy.jpg

Marriage record of George R. McClellan and Imogene L. Everson in Hanson, Mass. on 3 June 1872

Imogene became pregnant immediately following her marriage. Their first child, George Cameron McClellan, was born 5 March 1873 – 9 months and 2 days following their wedding day. His first name honored his father and his middle name was in honor of George’s mother’s surname Cameron.

1873 McClellanGeorgeCameron Birth-MAVRs - Copy.jpg

Birth record of George Cameron McClellan, the first child of George Roderic McClellan and Imogene Lillian Everson, born in Hanson, Mass. 5 March 1873

Having no property and little cash to his name, George and his new wife Imogene McClellan moved into a rent-free house on the east side of Indian Head Street near Maquan Pond in South Hanson owned by Imogene’s mother, Deborah (Bates) Howland Everson. Deborah had lived there with her first husband, Warren Howland, until he died of consumption in 1846, followed shortly thereafter by the death of their infant son and only child Warren Howland Jr. After the 1848 marriage of the widowed Deborah (Bates) Howland to Barnabas Everson they rented out the Howland house for extra income, and Barnabas and Deborah  Everson moved into a newly built house across the road on the west side of Indian Head Street, where they raised their family, including daughter Imogene. In 1873 new father George McClellan was seemingly well situated to step into the family businesses which his father-in-law Barnabas had founded.

Barnabas Everson, like George McClellan, had trained as a mason and trained as a shoemaker, which he worked at when construction opportunities were unavailable or off-season. Barnabas was a talented businessman and soon began acquiring tracts of farmland, woodlots, and cedar swampland in South Hanson, turning his talents to market gardening and selling his agricultural products to larger towns on the South Shore and Boston. He built a sawmill by the South Hanson train station, using lumber from his woodlots and swampland in the cedar swamp in South Hanson, which manufactured box boards and shingles. Everson later sold the sawmill to John Foster and continued to farm until his death.

Everson’s eldest son, Richard A. Everson, two years older than his sister Imogene, followed in his father’s footsteps but also went his own way in business. In his teens, Richard apprenticed and worked as a shoemaker for several years before going to work in Barnabas’s sawmill. Richard then took an interest in cranberry farming and began acquiring a large number of cranberry bogs in Hanson. He invented the “Cape Cod Champion Cranberry Picker” and eventually became the director of the New England Cranberry Sales Company. Richard’s “varied interests are indicative of his enterprise and versatile mind, and the success he has made in his different undertakings shows his executive force,” according to a biography.

Perhaps the career of Richard A. Everson can provide some insight into his brother-in-law George R. McClellan’s next steps. Family stories, you may recall, suggested that George McClellan may have moved to Denver after leaving his family in Hanson, Mass. behind in the 1890s. But it turns out that George went to Denver much earlier than that, and not only once, but two times during his marriage to Imogene.

Hoping to strike it rich in the pioneer town, George McClellan first left for Denver in late 1873, leaving behind his wife Imogene and their infant son George. Gold and silver were mined in Colorado and then filtered through the city of Denver, where business and real estate opportunities abounded in the rough-and-tumble city. After a childhood spent apart from his family, and his adolescence and young adulthood spent moving from place to place in search of employment, he had finally formed roots in Hanson, Massachusetts with his new family. But after one year he was itching to move again, and this time -West.

But what led to such a huge move? A handsome and cocky young man, George likely bumped heads with his father-in-law Barnabas Everson. Although the two men seemingly had much in common, it appears that George McClellan was unwilling to step into his father-in-law’s business and wanted to come into wealth on his own. Barnabas Everson may have been a hard man to work under, since even his own son Richard A. Everson only spent a few years working in Barnabas’ saw mill before starting his own cranberry company in Hanson and building his own success in tandem with his father. However, if Barnabas and his son Richard had disagreements, they nevertheless worked closely together, both on a personal level and physically within the same town. For some reason, however, George McClellan wanted to put 2,000 miles between them. Barnabas himself had an appreciation for risk-taking, having successfully grown his own businesses from small start-ups into large, successful operations. Perhaps George heard about business opportunities from his brother-in-law John D. W. Sherman, whose trading company was also booming in the 1870s. And perhaps at first George even received seed money from Barnabas Everson to support his endeavors in Denver.

But would George McClellan strike it rich in Denver?

 

Up Next: Part Three: George McClellan’s First Adventures in Denver, Colorado

Previously: Part One: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan

Mystery Monday: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan

McClellanDisappearance

Part One: Family Traditions: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan

My grandmother’s house, the childhood home of my father, has been in the family for several generations. It holds countless memories and stories, and the story of its origin looms large in family lore. My grandmother is a McClellan from Hanson, Mass., but the introduction of the family surname to Hanson was surrounded in a century-old scandal. Built in 1903 for my great-grandmother Imogene Lillian (Everson) McClellan, the house was intended to be a fresh start for Imogene and her three children. Her husband, Nova Scotian-born (with Scottish roots) George Roderic McClellan, had abandoned the family several years previously, and by 1903 Imogene determined to file for divorce in absentia. She sold their house on Main Street in Hanson and built a new one on Phillips Street.

 

The story goes that one day during the 1890s, George said he was taking the train to Boston to purchase a rug for their house, and he never returned. Imogene hired a private investigator who reported a lead that George may have gone to Denver, but the trail ran cold and no further details could be determined. George was an itinerant bricklayer who had been hired by Imogene’s father, Barnabas Everson, one of the wealthiest men in Hanson, to help build a tall brick chimney for Everson’s sawmill. There he met Barnabas’ daughter Imogene, and they married in 1872. They had four children: George Cameron, born the following year who died young, Lillian, born 1876 who never married, Roderic Cameron b. 1882 and Sherman Barnabas b. 1886 who married the Ramsdell sisters Edith and Bessie, respectively. But sometime after Sherman’s birth, the McClellan marriage crumbled, and when Imogene built her new house in 1903, it was on land inherited from her recently deceased father Barnabas Everson, and thus stood in the shadow of the brick chimney that George McClellan had built years ago.

MainStChimney

The Barnabas Everson sawmill chimney stack, built by Barnabas Everson and George R. McClellan ca. 1871-1872, Main Street, South Hanson. Photograph courtesy Mary Blauss Edwards, taken 2010.

 

DononRoof

My grandfather sitting on the roof of the family house, with the Everson chimney in the background. Photograph courtesy Don Blauss.

And that was that, so far as the memories of George McClellan lingered in family stories.  A bit of Scottish pride from the surname itself, but mysteries surrounding the man who introduced it to the family. Many stories are preserved about Imogene, a tiny woman with a big legacy, but George always remained a question mark in the eyes of her grandchildren.

 

Over the past decade I have been trying to unravel the story of George McClellan, his origins, his time in Hanson, and his disappearance. The digitization of records from Canada to New England to Denver have been vital in this research process, and over the years I have pieced together incredible details about his life. It’s a tale filled with broken dreams of striking-it-rich turned to literal smoke, small and large family drama, and public scandals of political corruption involving bribery, gambling and prostitution leading to a tragic and deadly race riot. There were many twists in the process of uncovering the complicated life of George Roderic McClellan and his family left behind in Hanson – as well as discovering that following his disappearance, he went on to have a second family, entirely unknown to his first.

 

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

 

Up Next: Before arriving in Hanson, Mass. in 1872, where did George McClellan come from? Part Two: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: His Roots

Part Three: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: Success In Denver Turns To Smoke

Part Four: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan:Becoming Officer McClellan, the Farcical Moon Affair, and a Bribery Scandal in Denver

Part Five: The Disappearance of George McClellan: Anti-Chinese Riot and Officer McClellan’s Prostitution Scandal and Resignation from the Denver Police

Part Six: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: George and Imogene’s Life in Hanson

Part Seven: The Disappearance of George Roderic McClellan: Life and Death in Boston

Treasure Chest Thursday: The wedding dresses of Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards, 1949-1958

My husband’s grandmother Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards was a talented dressmaker.  From the ages of 14 to 16, she served a two year apprenticeship with a dressmaker in the west end of London.  She spent the majority of her working career as a ladies tailor or dressmaker throughout London. While working as a tailoress, she met her husband William James Stephen Edwards, a fellow tailor, and they married in 1913. In the 1930s she worked for a small couture dressmaker. During World War II, she worked as dressmaker for Debenham’s department store, remaining in London during the Blitz. She was very skilled, and would often make dresses for dowagers which cost thousands of pounds. Years later she shared that Queen Alexandra and later Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon preferred to have “Mrs. Edwards” as their fitter. At Debenhem’s, she quickly learned to write down the women’s statements and measurements exactly, especially if they quarreled over the measurements which Ida had taken (the women claiming they were smaller than their physical measurements had indicated!), so that later Ida could not be in trouble if the women later complained that the dress was too small, since she prided herself on her accuracy. Ida left Debenham’s after World War II and joined St. Francis Hospital in their linen room as a needlewoman where she worked until her retirement in the 1960s. During her time at the hospital, however, she missed dressmaking and therefore after hours would often work for commission or for free to create wedding dresses or other dresses for friends, neighbors, and others. Appreciative brides often sent Mrs. Edwards’ photographs from their wedding of “the dress”, which I have included below:

The dress she made for her niece Doris Fielder’s 1949 wedding:

1949SaundersFredFielderDorisWeddingPhoto-FrontClose

The dress she made for her daughter-in-law Rene Royce’s 1955 wedding:

Chris and Rene Wedding

The dress she made for her neighbor Rosina Newton’s 1956 wedding:

1956McCarthyJohnNewtonRosinaWedding-Front

The dress she made for Edna Dines’ 1957 wedding:

1957DinesEdnaWeddingDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s 1953 wedding:

1953-UnknownBridesDressPhotographerWadex-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s 1953 wedding:

1953DevilleBrideDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s 1958 wedding:

1958July-BridesDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s wedding during the 1950s:

1950s-UnknownBridesDress-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s wedding during the 1950s:

1950sBrideDressPhotographerDaborn-Front

A dress for an unknown bride’s wedding during the 1950s:

1950sUnknownBridesDressPhotographerCountyStudios-Front

Treasure Chest Thursday: Framing the Past: Identifying Crapo Family Ambrotypes

FramingThePastCover

I recently had an article published in American Ancestors (published by NEHGS) which explored my journey of identifying a mysterious set of ambrotypes which were found in my grandfather’s workshop.

Cover of American Ancestors, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring 2013

Cover of American Ancestors, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring 2013

These were the ambrotypes that were discovered tucked away in my grandfather’s desk, placed out of sight for years, which had never been seen by my grandmother:

CrapoAmbrotypes

Click on the image below to read the full article and discover how this mystery was solved!

Mary Blauss Edwards, "Framing the Past: Identifying Crapo Family Ambrotypes", American Ancestors, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring 2013, p. 42-44

Mary Blauss Edwards, “Framing the Past: Identifying Crapo Family Ambrotypes”, American Ancestors, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring 2013, p. 42-44.

As I stated in the article,  Henry Emerson Crapo and Isabella Frances Lannigan’s daughter Ada Marion (Crapo) Howland had three children. So if any cousins have labeled duplicates of these ambrotypes or other images of Henry and Isabella Crapo, please let me know!

Have you ever identified an unlabelled family ambrotype, daguerreotype or photograph through genealogical research?

Sibling Saturday: 1860 Letter from Ellen J. Bonney of Hanson, Mass. to her brother Otis L. Bonney of Boston, Mass.

Below are scanned images, a transcription, and explanatory footnotes of a letter written on 18 March 1860 by fifteen-year old Ellen Josephine Bonney (b. 22 Feb. 1845) of Bonney Hill, South Hanson, Mass. to her older brother, twenty-one year old Otis Lafayette Bonney (b. 2 Dec. 1838) who at the time was working for Daniel Allen & Co. in Boston, Mass. They were both the children of Ezekiel Bonney and Angeline White of Hanson, Mass. Three years after writing this letter, Ellen J. Bonney married Noah A. Ford at East Bridgewater in 1863. In addition to reporting local news relating to their family and friends, she also relates details pertaining to a debate club that her brothers participated in. The club seems to have consisted of numerous young male friends of the Bonney brothers. Yet Ellen is well-informed of their discussions, and a particularly wonderful image of the Bonney women “accidentally” overhearing the debates is casually mentioned by Ellen at the end of the letter: “Oh I forgot we had the door open last night so we heard all they said at the debating meeting”.

Front of envelope addressed to Otis L. Bonney

Front of envelope addressed to Otis L. Bonney

Back of envelope

Back of envelope

1860 Letter from Ellen J. Bonney to her brother Otis L. Bonney

1860 Letter from Ellen J. Bonney to her brother Otis L. Bonney

1860 Letter from Ellen J. Bonney to her brother Otis L. Bonney

1860 Letter from Ellen J. Bonney to her brother Otis L. Bonney

Transcription of the letter:

[Envelope (front) 3 cent stamp]

So. Hanson Mass.

Otis L. Bonney

Boston, Mass.

Care of Daniel Allen & Co.

[Envelope (back)]

[in different hand, pencil] South Hanson 1860

 

[Letter, page 1]

March 18th 1860

Dear Brother,

I will commence again to write as Theodore[[1]] received your letter last night and it was read with pleasure in the club room Theodore says the question was decided in the negative but then the most of them were in faver of the negative in the first place there was four on the affirmative they were Reuben S.[,] Alonzo B.[,]  Morton V.  and T.L. B. and on the negative they were Josiah B.[,]  Thompson P. and Joseph T. [,]  Lot. P. and George Stetson.[[2]] Theodore thought some of them that they didn’t decided according to the merits of the argument, the question for discussion next Saturday night reads thus, are early marriages condusive to the public good. Theodore says he should like to hear from you by Friday night if he could, if you can write then as it would give ample time for perusal he read your letter to the club with and it was received with great applause Theodore says they are going to they and fetch have that question brought up again after they have got through with the marriage ceremony next Saturday night.[[3]] The next is the condition that Bil Thomas is left in[.][[4]]

 

[Letter, page 2]

He had his court last Wednesday for getting his [corn?] hiding and they didn’t fetch in but five dollars for Ezra[[5]] to pay besides the cost of the court and then they took Bill as soon as the court was done with Ezra they took him for slander and he has so many enemies they say it will go hard with him he is bound over for one hundred dollars to appease to the court next Friday at Bourne’s hall here in Hanson they think they will have a greater time than at the court at Abington the court up there now was from nine o clock in the morning until in the evening and he would not have got home that night if it hadn’t been for Theodore and George Bonney[[6]] for he couldn’t get anyone to be bound for him as his father did not go up and so Theodore and George were bondsman until the next day and then Bill’s father l released them Bill seems to be up to his eyes in the law business at this time.

There was a gentleman spend the night here last night and he has

[Letter, page 3]

Just gone away his name is Elms he came here yesterday noon he wanted to be here to the debate he writes pieces for the Division he writes a good deal of poetry and reads it at the Div.

Mr. Levi Everson is dead he died last week and was buried last Thursday[[7]] and the doctor thinks that Marina will live until the fall if she gets any better they don’t let anyone see her only in the morning because she is not so well in the afternoon[[8]]. There was a lady drowned herself in Hanover yesterday but we haven’t heard what her name is yet[[9]] it is a pleasant day here today but not so pleasant as it would be in the city. Sarah and Melly are in here now and they send their respects to you and they are going down to the depot and I am going to and are going to carry this down[.]Sarah wants you to get your ambrotype taken and bring it home when you come home and give it to her she wanted me to write it in the other letter but I forgot it.

[Letter, page 4]

We are looking for you home fast time and bring your accordion to and Mother wants you to send her a box of soap home[[10]] and when you send it you let us know you can write when you write home again our spelling schools are going yet and we have good times. Oh I forgot we had the door open last night so we heard all they said at the debating meeting there were quite a number here it is a general time of health I came from Julia’s yesterday and they were all well.[[11]] We had an earthquake here last Wednesday night there was two of them[.] St. Patrick had a real pleasant day yesterday[.][[12]] I cannot think of any more to write this time but I will write again next Sunday[.] Good-bye.

Ellen

 

—————————————————————————————————————-

Ellen’s children are later mentioned in a letter written to Otis Lafayette Bonney by their cousin Ida which was previously transcribed here. If anyone has additional knowledge about the people or events mentioned in this letter, please let me know!

 


[1] Theodore refers to their twenty-three year old brother, Theodore Lyman Bonney (b. 27 Oct. 1836). T. L. Bonney died three years later during the Civil War of typhoid fever on 11 May 1863 at Aquia Creek, Virginia. Post 127 of Hanson’s G.A.R. was named in his honor.

[2] Otis and Theodore belonged to a debate club which met in Hanson weekly on Saturday evenings and whose membership largely consisted of male 20-somethings from Hanson, although this letter does not provide the club’s name. Apparently Otis was still able to participate in the club’s debates from afar by writing his answer to the weekly question in a letter. The fellow club members mentioned were probably 26 year old Reuben Smith Jr. (b. 29 March 1833, Otisfield, Me., son of Reuben Smith and Mary C. Whitney), 20 year old Alonzo Beal (b. 1840, son of Edwin and Sarah D. Beal), their 19 year old brother Morton Van Buren Bonney (b. 8 March 1841, Hanson, son of Ezekiel Bonney and Angeline White), 20 year old Thompson Pratt, 19 year old Lot Phillips (b. 13 Feb. 1841, Hanson, son of Ezra and Lucy Phillips), and their neighbor 27 year old George Forbes Stetson (b. 11 April 1833). No teenaged or twenty-something Hanson residents could be identified for “Josiah B.” – this was possibly their 32 year old second cousin Josiah Bonney. No teenaged or twenty-something Hanson residents could be identified for “Joseph T.” unless it was “Joseph F.” in which case it may have been 23 year old Joseph Fish.

[3] A marriage which took place in Hanson on Saturday, 24 March 1860 could not be identified in Hanson Vital Records.

[4] Possibly either William Thomas (b. 28 Jan. 1828, Hanson, son of John and Mary R. Thomas) or William Otis Thomas (b. 31 Oct. 1830, Hanson, son of Nelson and Anna Thomas).

[5] Possibly either Ezra White and Ezra Magoun.

[6] George Bonney was a second cousin of Otis and Theodore. George was born at Hanson, 2 December 1826, son of Nathaniel Bonney and Polly Robinson. He was married to Julia A. Smith, daughter of Reuben and Mary Smith.

[7] On 13 March 1860, 53 year old Levi Everson, a farmer, died of consumption in Hanson. He was the son of Levi Everson and Bathsheba Holmes and the husband of Mary T. Dunham.

[8] This may have been 23 year old Marina Winslow Turner Bearce (b. Hanson, 24 Nov. 1836, daughter of Isaiah and Marina A. Bearce). If so, not only did she “live until the fall”, she married 30 June 1860, Cyrus A. Bates and died in 1915.

[9] Angelina (Bates) Church, wife of Lewis C. Church and daughter of Calvin Bates and Elizabeth Stetson, a 41 year old married woman of Hanover. According to her death record, she died in Hanover on 17 March 1860 of “insanity, death by drowning”. She was born at Hanover, 11 March 1819.

[10] Their 52 year old mother, Angeline Dean (White) Bonney was born at Easton, 11 May 1807, the daughter of Howe White and Temperance Dean. She married Ezekiel Bonney 10 June 1827. She died of Bright’s disease at Hanover, 20 Feb. 1880, and was buried at Fern Hill Cemetery, Hanson.

[11] Refers to the family of their 28 year old sister Julia Ann (Bonney) Howland (b. 28 Sept. 1831). Julia married Martin Howland 6 November 1851. In 1860 they were living in Halifax, Mass. and had one child: John Francis Howland (b. 21 Aug. 1852, Hanson).

[12] St. Patrick’s day had been celebrated in Boston, Mass. since the 18th century.

 

Below are images of two of the Bonney brothers mentioned in this letter:

Theodore Lyman Bonney during the Civil War, circa 1863

Theodore Lyman Bonney during the Civil War, circa 1863

Morton Van Buren Bonney during the Civil War

Morton Van Buren Bonney during the Civil War

Tombstone Tuesday: WWI Rifleman Sidney Henry Payne

Sidney Henry PAYNE was born on 21 July 1898 in 125 Blackfriars Rd., Southwark, London, England, the son of Thomas Samuel Henry Payne and Edith Jane Scarrott. His name was also spelled as “Sydney”. He was the brother of Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards and the half-brother of Lucy Lilian Burns. He was baptized on 16 December 1900 in St. Mary’s, Lambeth, London, England.

Sidney/Sydney Henry Payne, 1917, World War I

Sidney/Sydney Henry Payne, 1917, World War I

At the age of 18, he enlisted for World War I at Southwark on 7 September 1916, and was assigned service number S/25413. From then until August 1917, he was stationed at Minster West, North Sheerness, where he engaged in rifle training and machine gun training. As Sidney’s letters to his sister Ida show, he became frustrated having to wait in England. He volunteered three times for service to France, but was turned down. Upon receiving advice from his uncle Henry Percy Scarrott, he volunteered again and was accepted for service in France. He wrote to his sister about the news, but asked that she not inform their mother, since he did not want her to worry unnecessarily. By September 1917, he was stationed in France.

He wrote to his mother Edith on 25 September 1917, “My Dear Mother, Just a line in reply to your most welcome letter and also to thank you very much for parcel and give my thanks to Lucy. I could not write before as I have just come out the line and I am getting on fine and am in good health and I hope you are not worrying over me, I hope the war to be over very shortly”.

On 26 October 1917, Sidney’s senior officer wrote a letter to Edith (Scarrott) Payne Burns, describing Sidney’s service in the war thus far: “ Dear Mrs. Payne, No doubt your son has told you he is servant to me in France and as I have just arrived home on leave I thought you might like to hear from me that he is quite well and as we are in a quiet part of the line he is quite safe for many a day to come. As an officer’s servant he has quite a good time as I think he will admit & I feel sure it will be a consolation for you to know that servant’s seldom if ever do any of the dangerous jobs. Yours truly, Roy Edwards, 2nd Lt. R.B. PS Your son asked me to tell you that I am getting his watch mended & will take it back with me.”

On 12 November, Sidney Payne wrote his last letter to his mother, written only 8 days before he was injured in the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917 and died of his wounds on 21 November 1917. “My Dearest Mother, Just a few lines in reply to your most welcome letter, and am so glad to know that you still are quite safe and you must cheere[?] and look forward to the best and you must not worry over me because I am quite allright, and I should like you to thank Lucy very much for photograph and I also answered Mrs. Butler’s letter, also I am jolly glad you have had some one to console you feelings during these awful air raids and you must thank Mr, [Maxter?] for me & also for cigarettes. Well how is Lucy getting on I hope she has been a good girl while I have been out, here also next line you write you might send me a few safety razer blades ask for Gilletts. Well how are you getting on; well I hope and not worrying about Fritz’s aeroplanes, I expect by now you are quite use to them any way I wish it was all over, you had better not keep my dinner hot because I don’t suppose I shall be home this Christmas very likely. You say in your letter Ma that my officer is a [sport?] well as a matter of fact he is one of the best officers we have got and all the boys like him. As Christmas is drawing near I think I would like you to get me a present. I should very well like a ring, if you think you can get me one, let me know and I will send you the one I have on my finger so you can get the size. Well this is about all I have to say and I hope you are all in the pink and that you will write again soon. Closing with heaps of love and kisses. I am Your Loving Son, Sid. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX PS Am enclosing a Gillett safety blade these are the sort I want.”

Although Sid didn’t know it at the time, his mother had very good reason to worry.

While in France, Sidney served as a rifleman in the military in the 10th Battalion, Rifle Brigade which served in the 59th Brigade of the 20th (Light) Division, which was a New Army division formed as part of the K2 Army group. They were stationed in a quiet section of France along the German Hindenberg line. However, his division was called in to participate in the surprise attack known as the Battle of Cambrai, which began at 8 PM on November 20, 1917.

From Wikipedia: The Battle of Cambrai (20 November – 7 December 1917) was a British campaign of the First World War. Cambrai was a key supply point for the German Siegfried Stellung (part of the Hindenburg Line) and the nearby Bourlon Ridge would be an excellent gain from which to threaten the rear of the German line to the north. The British plans originated from Henry Hugh Tudor, commander of the 9th Infantry Division artillery. In August 1917, as Brigadier-General, he conceived the idea of a surprise attack in IV Corps sector that his unit occupied. Tudor suggested a primarily artillery-infantry attack, which would be supported by a small number of tanks to secure a breakthrough of the German Hindenburg Line. The German defences were formidable. Cambrai having been a quiet stretch of front thus far enabled the Germans to fortify their lines in depth and the British were aware of this. Tudor’s plan sought to test new methods in combined arms, with emphasis on artillery and infantry techniques and see how effective they were against strong German fortifications. The battle began at 8 p.m. on 20 November, with a carefully prepared and predicted but unregistered barrage by 1,003 guns on German defences, followed by smoke and a creeping barrage at 300 yards ahead to cover the first advances. Despite efforts to preserve secrecy, the German forces had received sufficient intelligence to be on moderate alert: an attack on Havrincourt was anticipated, as was the use of tanks. Initially there was considerable success in most areas and it seemed as if a great victory was within reach; the Hindenburg Line had been penetrated with advances of up to 5 miles (8.0 km). The 20th (Light) Division, which Sidney Payne was a part of, forced a way through La Vacquerie and then advanced to capture a bridge across the St Quentin canal at Masnières. The bridge collapsed under the weight of the crossing tanks, halting the hopes for advance there. Of the tanks, 180 were out of action after the first day, although only 65 had been destroyed. Of the other casualties, 71 had suffered mechanical failure and 43 had ditched. The British had suffered around 4,000 casualties and had taken 4,200 prisoners, a casualty rate half that of Third Ypres (Passchendaele) and a greater advance in six hours than in three months there.

Sidney Payne was injured the first night of the attack on 20 November 1917, and he died on 21 November 1917 at the age of 19. He had been brought to a clearing station located just to the west of the line, where he died of his injuries. He was buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manacourt, France.

Two days after his death, the matron of the clearing station where Sidney died wrote the following letter to his mother:

“48 Car Clear Stn. 23 Nov 1917.

Dear Mrs. Payne [51 Rockingham St., New Kent Rd., London ],

It is with much regret I have to tell you of the death of your son 25413 Pte. S. Payne on Tues. from wounds sustained in battle. He was brought in to us that day, but we found him beyond our aid to resussitate, & all we could do was to ease his pain & make him comfortable. He passed very peacefully away to his rest. He is buried in the military cemetery nearby here. With very sincere sympathy, Yours faithfully, Matron”

Sid’s mother’s pain must have been amplified by having likely just received the letter from Sid on November 12th (which was packaged with his officer’s letter from October 26th) with assurances of his safety and how quiet the line was.

Battle of Cambrai, France, 20 November 1917, The 20th British Division in which Sidney Payne was stationed with the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade, moved from Gouzeaucourt to Masnières, France, where he suffered injuries and died the following day

Battle of Cambrai, France, 20 November 1917, The 20th British Division in which Sidney Payne was stationed with the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade, moved from Gouzeaucourt to Masnières, France, where he suffered injuries and died the following day

Not only did Sid’s mother and sisters mourn his loss, but he had also recently become engaged. Sydney Henry Payne and Emily Louise Fournier were engaged in 1917, probably during or just prior to his service in World War I, although it is likely they met before the war began. She was born in 1901 at Southwark, London, England, the daughter of Emile A. Fournier and Emily Brett.   While it is uncertain how long their engagement lasted, it may have taken place while Sidney was away during the war, since Emily Fournier’s mother had never met Sidney. Emily later married Robert Thomas Bastin, in 1926 at Lambeth, England.

95 years ago today, Mrs. Emily (Brett) Fournier wrote the following letter of condolence to Edith (Scarrott) Payne Burns regarding the death of Sidney, as reported by Emily:

17 St. Albans St. Kennington Dec 4th 1917

Dear Mrs. Payne,
Since Emily told me the sad news I have not had courage to write as I feel so sorry for you being your only son perhaps I should not have noticed it so much only Emily told me you had a letter saying he was an officer’s servant and would be allright for a time it seemed no time after all is finished in this world for him for Emily it is a wound that will heal but for your it will be for the rest of your life. I have never seen your son but as the child received his letters, she used to pass them to me. I will tell you his mother what I thought of him. I thought him a most noble character with all of the fine qualities to make a good man it seems to me so hard for you with no husband. I hope I am not hurting your feelings but I have wanted to write two or three times but could not do it. Mrs. Payne I have much to be thankful for as I have my husband and all of my children still and this is much to be thankful for. The eldest is 21 years next May he goes up again tomorrow, the next is in the army but still in England, and I have Emily and five younger. The youngest two next February and when I look around and know such lovely boys have gone I feelt frightened of what I should feel if I was in your place today accept my best wishes for your health and strength to help you over this great trouble.
Yours Respectfully.
Mrs. Fournier.
[Note, handwritten in blue pen by Ida Edwards: From Sid’s Fiancee’s Mother]

Sidney Henry Payne wrote numerous postcards and letters to his mother, Edith Jane (Scarrott) Payne Burns Hart and to his older sister, Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards during World War I, which were saved by sister, Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards. Sid often mentions that he has spoken to or wishes to speak with the two men in his immediate family who were also serving in World War I: his uncle, Henry Percy Scarrott, and his brother-in-law, “Will”, William J.S. Edwards, the husband of Ida (Payne) Edwards. He also often requested that his sister Ida send his love to his little sister Lucy Burns.

Sid’s letters show that he was a funny, stubborn, cocksure, brave young man. In his death at the all-too-young age of 19, he joined the almost one million casualties that the United Kingdom suffered during the Great War. Although but a small percentage of that overwhelming statistic, his death was greatly felt in his immediate family for generations to come.

So 95 years after his untimely death, here’s a moment to honor Sidney Henry Payne, beloved son, brother, uncle.

The gravestone of Sydney Henry Payne, Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery Manancourt, France, courtesy of the War Graves Photographic Project http://twgpp.org/

The gravestone of Sydney Henry Payne, Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery Manancourt, France, courtesy of the War Graves Photographic Project http://twgpp.org/

ROCQUIGNY-EQUANCOURT ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, MANANCOURT, FRANCE, where Sidney Henry Payne is buried

ROCQUIGNY-EQUANCOURT ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, MANANCOURT, FRANCE, where Sidney Henry Payne is buried. Image courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,  http://www.cwgc.org/

Sid’s gravestone is listed by the War Graves Photographic Project, and he also has an entry at FindAGrave.

Travel Tuesday: Connecting Hurricane Island, Maine to the San Donato Val di Comino Diaspora

Loreto Salvucci, a granite stonecutter from San Donato Val di Comino, Italy, left his home in the Comino Valley – and his usually pregnant wife Carmela (DiBona) four times to come to the U.S. to work in American quarries in 1899, 1904, 1905, and 1909. In 1906, his younger half-brother, Gaetano Salvucci, had moved permanently to the U.S., settling in Quincy, Massachusetts where he worked as a granite polisher. Additionally, Loreto’s mother-in-law Carmela (Paglia) DiBona, and several DiBona in-laws were also living and working in the granite industry Quincy, Mass. by 1900 – along with numerous extended friends and family members from San Donato Val di Comino who also settled in Quincy.

According to the family, Loreto’s wife Carmela and their four children Luigi (b. 1898), Lucio (b. 1903), Raffaele (b. 1906) and baby Eda (b. 1910) immigrated from Italy to Boston to permanently join Loreto and reunite the family. Their next child, Eva, was born at Quincy in 1912. All their remaining children were born in Quincy, and during the ten years after being reunited, Loreto saved his earnings to afford a home of his own in Quincy, having rented several apartments during that time.

With all these details, it seemed natural to assume that the family reunited in Quincy in 1910 and immediately began to settle in to home and work there. I had previously been unable to locate Loreto, either as a solitary granite worker, or with his reunited family in the 1910 Census. However, I knew that Carmela and the kids arrived in Boston in April of 1910, right around the time of the census, so guessed that perhaps they had not yet arrived and Loreto was simply lost in the shuffle or somehow mistranscribed in the census.

But a family photo pointed to a clue:

Lucio “Lou”, Raffaele “Ralph”, Luigi “Gig”, and Eda Salvucci, Hurricane Island, Maine, 1910

The back of the photograph was labeled:

Photograph Label for the Salvucci Children, Hurricane Island, Maine, 1910

Never assume!! I searched for Knox County, Maine, and located a family whose head of household was transcribed on Ancestry as “Lauis Salwrisi”. This actually showed the family of “Louis” and Carmela Salvucci – both listed as unable to speak English, only Italian. Enumerated 7 May 1910, just a week after Carmela and the Salvucci children arrived in the port of Boston on 28 April 1910 aboard the S.S. Canopic, the language barrier most likely was the cause of numerous errors that the census taker recorded for the family:

Louis [sic, Loreto] Salvucci, 38, married for 12 years, b. Italy, immigrated 1899, alien, a granite stonecutter, rents home

His wife Carmela, 35, mother of 4 living children, b. Italy, immigrated 1900 [sic, 1910]

His son Lugi [sic, Lucio] 6, b. Maine [sic Italy]

His son Raphael, 4, b. Maine [sic, Italy]

His son [sic, daughter!!] “Eighty” [sic, Eda, likely a phonetic spelling of nickname “Edy”], 6 months, b. Maine [sic, Italy]

His son Louis, 11, b. Maine [sic, Italy]

The family also lived with domestic Italian servant Mary Luxbring (21) and boarder Charles McCarthy, a crane car engineer.

They lived in the same dwelling house with two other families – likely it was a three family granite company tenement house.

In 1910, Hurricane Island was essentially a granite town, run by Booth Brothers & Hurricane Island Granite Company, which had been a thriving business until 1900 when demand began to wane and other quarries in New England offered easier access to the granite than an island off the coast of Maine. Hurricane Island granite was known for its pink-gray stone. The last shipment of granite from the island was in 1914, and by 1916 the island had been completely deserted, becoming a ghost town.

But in 1910, the granite company changed management, in an effort to try to revitalize the company, and likely Loreto Salvucci heard of their new job openings through the San Donato network, and hoped, along with the Hurricane Island Granite Company, for a new direction for both his job and newly arrived family. Numerous San Donato granite workers were located in both Quincy and Hurricane Island, passing word of jobs and connections through a wide network of family and friends. According to the history of Hurricane Island, workers earned $1.75-$2.50 per week, which went directly into an account at the company store.

Company houses at Hurricane Island, Maine, early 1900s, where the Salvucci family resided in 1910-1911, Courtesy of http://www.antique-photography.com/

Eastern End of the Hurricane Island Quarry

But the granite company struggled, and Loreto must have soon realized the stress of the struggling business was not worth the security of his family, so they returned to Quincy by 1912, where they had a larger support network of friends and family, and easier access to both necessities and comforts than they had found on the tiny island on the ocean off the coast of Maine. Choosing to leave Hurricane Island of their own accord, Loreto Salvucci unknowingly saved the family from the company’s final collapse: Hurricane Island Granite company’s final shipment was a barge of giant granite blocks en route to Rockport, which got caught in a storm on Nov. 8, 1914 and sank to the bottom of Penobscot Bay. That was the final straw for the company which ruined their finances. Management came to the island and announced the closing of the company and town immediately. Tools were left where they dropped.  The workers and families quickly gathered their possessions and got on the boat to the mainland.  All possible equipment was sold, and some still sits on the island abandoned. Several families remained for a few years, gathering abandoned possessions from the company housing tenements, and taking apart the buildings to sell for wood. At least the Salvucci family left on their own terms two years before this situation developed, and went on to prosper in the Quincy community.

[References: History of Hurricane Island; Booth Brothers and Hurricane Island Granite Company Manuscript Collection]

Mystery Monday: Part Two: The Unidentified Friends and Family of Maria Jane (Peeples) Publicover of Gloucester and Beverly, Essex, Mass.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the lovely autograph book of Maria Jane Peeples of Gloucester, Mass. from the 1890s. Last week I discussed the wonderful but unlabeled photograph collection of Maria Jane Peeples and included the first part of her collection, including unidentified family and friends from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and beyond.

Today’s entry will focus on her photographs of unidentified family or friends from Gloucester, Mass., where Maria lived for several years after moving from Nova Scotia. All of her siblings resided either briefly or permanently in Gloucester. Below is a brief genealogical sketch of her parents and siblings, taken from Canadian and U.S. Census records and Massachusetts vital records.

Thomas David Peeples was born at Nova Scotia, abt. 1828, son of James Peeples and Mary Crittenden. He died at prob. Melford, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, 1891-1893. He married at prob. Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, by 1854, Jeanette Rogers. She was born at Nova Scotia, February 1835, daughter of William Rogers and Janet (McNair) Murray. She died at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., aft. 1910.

Thomas D. Peeples was a head of household at Guysborough County, Nova Scotia in the 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 Censuses of Canada.

Children of Thomas D. Peeples and Jane Rogers:

i.   Martha Ann Peeples, b. at Pirate Harbor, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, March 1855; d. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 4 December 1906; m. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 25 February 1882, Charles W. McClellan.

ii.   Gertrude Ernestine Peeples, b. at Melford, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, November 1857; d. at prob. Gloucester, Essex, Mass., aft. 1910; m. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 23 August 1877, Ernest Robinson.

iii.   James David Peeples, b. at Melford, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, September 1861; d. at prob. Hartford, Conn.,  aft. 1900; m. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 28 October 1885, Mary McCormack.

iv.   Thomas William Peeples, b. at Melford, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, November 1863; d. at Danvers, Essex, Mass., 26 January 1902; m. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 14 February 1896, Edith Laurie.

v.   Drusilla Peeples, b. at Melford, Guysborough County, 24 September 1864; d. at Seattle, King, Washington, 28 November 1925; m. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 8 February 1893, Henry Calder.

vi.   Maria Jane Peeples, b. at Melford, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, September 1867; d. at Beverly, Essex, Mass., 6 January 1919; m. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 24 January 1894, Willard Binnie Publicover. Willard was b. at Nova Scotia, 12 May 1867, son of Daniel Publicover and Elizabeth Firth; d. at Beverly, Essex, Mass., 12 April 1940.

vii.       Susan Amelia Peeples, b. at Melford, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, December 1870; d. at Gloucester, Essex, Mass., 4 April 1903.

Perhaps  descendants of Maria’s many friends, local historians, or historic photo buffs might be able to recognize the individuals in these images – and maybe give a face to the signatures from her autograph book! Included are transcriptions of the photographer’s labels. [For additional details and the scanned backs of several of the portraits, see the collection on Flickr].

Unidentified Portraits by Known Photographers

USA – Massachusetts – Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: E. Adams, 192 Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: E. Adams, 192 Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: E. Adams, 192 Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass., 1888. Photographer’s Label (back): Adams, No. 120 Main Street, Gloucester, Mass. 1888

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Elite Studio, 192 Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Child, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Burnham, Elite Studio, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Burnham, Gloucester

One of my favorite photographs from this collection, featuring this unknown woman in a glittering cape and costume:

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Emery’s Boston [Studio?] 162 Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

And another favorite featuring this impressive hairstyle:

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Walter Gardner, Gloucester, Mass.
Cabinet, Jr.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Walter Gardner, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Child, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Walter Gardner, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Low, 68 [or 62?] Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: G. C. Mears, 8 Centre Street, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Children, Gloucester, Mass., 1889, Photographer’s Label: G. C. Mears, 8 Centre Street, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Mears, 62 Main Street, Gloucester

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Mears, 62 Main St., Gloucester

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: G.C. Mears, 62 Main St., Gloucester

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Mears, 8 Centre St., Gloucester

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass., 1889. Photographer’s Label: G. C. Mears, 8 Centre Street, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Mears, 62 Main Street, Gloucester

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: G. C. Mears, 62 Main Street, Gloucester.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass., 1889. Photographer’s Label: G. C. Mears, 8 Centre Street, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: G. C. Mears, 8 Centre Street, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: The Phelps Studio, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Baby, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: The Phelps Studio, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: The Phelps Studio, Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Child, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Silver’s Portrait Studio, 62 Main St., Gloucester, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Gloucester, Mass. Photographer’s Label: White, Gloucester, Mass.

Mystery Monday: Part One: The Unidentified Friends and Family of Maria Jane (Peeples) Publicover of Gloucester and Beverly, Essex, Mass.

This week Of Graveyards and Things was included in the blogroll from Geneabloggers. Welcome aboard, new readers! Earlier in the week I wrote about the lovely autograph book of Maria Jane Peeples of Gloucester, Mass. from the 1890s. With a few extra pairs of eyes on the blog, let’s see if anyone can help solve a related mystery pertaining to Maria. Based upon her autograph book and stories passed down in the family, it is obvious that Maria had a wealth of friends and family from the North Shore of Massachusetts, friends who worked or lived in and around Boston, family from Nova Scotia and Hartford, Conn., and beyond. She was quite the social gal, and in addition to her autograph book, she also collected an incredible collection of photographs of her friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, she did not label any of these photographs.

Last year, I had an excellent conversation with Tim Salls, the archivist at NEHGS, about the inherent problems with unidentified photographs. As the curator for the Hanson Historical Society, I had recently organized their photograph collection, which had a selection of unlabeled images. He recommended uploading the collection to Flickr and harnessed the power of crowdsourcing to help identify unlabeled people, places, and events. And what a recommendation!! Over the past year, HHS’s photograph collection at Flickr has generated interest and input from numerous residents, former residents, and descendants of Hansonites who have recognized photographs and generously helped to identify images. It has been a wonderful way to connect with the community.

Around the same time, I was motivated to purchase archival supplies and organize the incredible collection of documents, photographs, and artifacts of family history in my possession. In discussing the project with other family members, a few very generously gave me some items to add to the collection for preservation, including this unidentified photograph collection of Maria Jane (Peeples) Publicover from my aunt Maria. Once placed in archival folders, within archival boxes, labeled and organized, I felt these images would be better served digitized and put out there on the web – where perhaps  descendants of Maria’s many friends, local historians, or historic photo buffs might be able to recognize the individuals in these images – and maybe give a face to the signatures from her autograph book!

The majority of images have a photographer’s name and address, so I have organized the images here by town, with the completely unidentified images at the end. Included are transcriptions of the photographer’s labels. [For additional details and the scanned backs of several of the portraits, see the collection on Flickr]. Today’s post will feature her friends and family beyond Gloucester – next week’s will feature all of her Gloucester, Mass. photographs.

Unidentified Portraits by Known Photographers

USA – Massachusetts – Beverly, Mass.

Unidentified Girl, Beverly, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Novelty Photo Co., Beverly, Mass.

USA – Massachusetts – Boston, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Wm H. Allen, 58 Temple Place, Boston
Cabinette

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label (on back): Diamond Photo Co., 24 Tremont Row, Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Dunshee. Hill. 22 Winter St., Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Gray, 1030 Tremont St., Boston

Unidentified Man, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: B. Frank Hatstat, 521 Washington Street, Boston

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass., c. 1893. Photographer’s Label: Notman Photo Co., 480 Boylston St. and 3 Park St., Copyrighted 1893

Unidentified Woman, Boston, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Ritz Art Studio, 49 Temple Place, Boston, Mass.

USA – Massachusetts – Newburyport, Mass.

Unidentified Woman, Newburyport, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Frazier, Newburyport, Mass.

USA – Massachusetts – Salem, Mass.

Unidentified Man, Salem, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Haswell, Salem, Mass.

Unidentified Man (Willard B. Publicover?), Salem, Mass. Photographer’s Label: Haswell, Salem, Mass.
Handwritten label (on back): W.B.P.
[W.B.P. likely stands for Willard B. Publicover, indicating that this photograph is of or belonging to Willard B. Publicover, the husband of Maria Jane Peeples]

Unidentified Woman, Salem, Mass., c. 1884. Photographer’s Label (back): T& P, Taylor & Preston, 188 Essex St., Salem, Mass., 1884.

USA – Massachusetts – West Somerville, Mass. or Old Orchard, Me.

Unidentified Child, West Somerville, Mass. or Old Orchard, Me. Photographer’s Label: Whittemore’s Studio, West Somerville, Mass. & Old Orchard, Me.

USA – Connecticut – Hartford, Conn.

Unidentified Woman, Hartford, Conn. Photographer’s Label: Lloyd, 368 Main Street, Hartford, Conn. [Possible Peeples relative?]

Unidentified Child, Hartford, Conn. [Possible Peeples relative?]

Unidentified Man, Hartford, Conn., c. 1889. Photographer’s Label: Olsen Portraits, Hartford [Possible Peeples relative?]

USA – Illinois – Chicago, Ill.

Unidentified Woman, Chicago, Ill. Photographer’s Label: J. E. Waters, 414 E. 63rd St., Chicago

USA – New Hampshire – Milford, N.H.

Unidentified Child, Milford, N.H. Photographer’s Label: Perkins, South Street, Milford, N.H.

USA – New York – Lima, N.Y.

Unidentified Men, Lima, N.Y. Photographer’s Label: G. E. Bronson, Lima, N.Y.
Handwritten label (on back): Sue
[Were these men perhaps sons of a friend named Sue? They are wearing numerous prize ribbons.]

USA – New York – Manhattan, N.Y.

Unidentified Woman, New York, N.Y. Photographer’s Label: Hall, Broadway and 34th St., New York

CANADA – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Unidentified Woman, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia Photographer’s Label: Thomas Cook, New Glasgow, N.S. [Possible a Peeples relative?]

ENGLAND – Barrow-In-Furness, Lancashire, England

Photographer’s label:
H. J. Taphouse, Barrow-In-Furness

Unidentified Portraits by Unknown Photographers

Unidentified Child

Unidentified Child

Unidentified Man

This is one of my favorites:

Unidentified Man and Dog

 

Unidentified Man

Unidentified Man

Unidentified Women

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: The “Enigma” Regarding Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards, 1983 Letter, Yorkshire, England

Ida Edith Payne, London, England, about 1911

In 1983, Ida Edith “Eddie” (Payne) Edwards was living in Yorkshire, England, and was just a few months shy of 90 years old at the time. She wrote the following letter to her friends Joan and Ces Newbegin in Yorkshire, which she either never sent, or kept a duplicate copy of, in which she recorded a few thoughts about her own family history, documenting several stories about her maternal line. (Ida’s matrilineal haplogroup is H – “Helena” in Bryan Sykes’ Seven Daughters of Eve)

Below is a transcription of the letter, with names and dates of family members added in italics and brackets for clarification.

To Joan and Ces. 27/8/83
The “Enigma” re: Eddie.
My Grandmother [Rachel Scarrott, b. 25 Sep 1839, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, d. 20 January 1908, Lambeth, England] was a native of Birmingham, of good class. She was sent to London, to enter a good service, as the custom. She made the grade. Whilst there she met grandfather [Joseph Scarrott, b. 15 January 1844, Birmingham, d. 17 February 1886, London, England], a Londoner who had his own lamp business on the way to London bridge. They got engaged, or “Went steady”, finally got married [at Lambeth, 24 April 1869]. They produced twins, which died after six months. Next a daughter arrived, ‘my mother’ [Edith Jane Scarrott, b. 15 April 1874, Lambeth], next a son [Henry Percy Scarrott, b. 29 June 1877].
My Mother disgraced herself by marrying my Father [Thomas Samuel Henry Payne, b. 31 December 1855, Coventry], who was an electrical engineer of the working class British. Then I arrived with a “smirch”, being born out of class. [Ida Edith Payne, b. 9 December 1893, Lambeth]
However, Grandma [Rachel (Scarrott) Scarrott] took me under her wing until I was fourteen. Then she died and I started work in Court dressmaking in the West end of London. Two years apprenticeship. Owing to Grandma I was able to mix with the class. Well, I was born in St. Olaves House, Walnut Tree Walk, Lambeth in 1893. So doesn’t seem to be any n-s in the woodpile. So what am I?
Grandmother’s sister followed the same routine, ended up marrying into the Austrian Embassy.
Eddie
PS Not a Cockney. A sturdy mongrel?

First page of 1983 Letter from Ida (Payne) Edwards to “Joan and Ces”, detailing her family history, written in Yorkshire, England

Second page of 1983 Letter from Ida (Payne) Edwards to “Joan and Ces”, detailing her family history, written in Yorkshire, England

“Grandmother” Rachel (Scarrott) Scarrott, London, England

“My Mother” – Edith Jane (Scarrott) Payne, London, England (1874-1947)