52 Ancestors in 53 Weeks

52 Ancestors in 53 Weeks
Amy Johnson Crow, on her blog No Story Too Small, has challenged fellow bloggers to post 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Click on the image to navigate to the blog site.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

52 Ancestors #1/2019 - Occupations/ Occupational Patterns

 OCCUPATIONS -  #1/52 - 2019

Many women and men find their jobs/careers through networks / family.

I focus most of my research on North American ancestors. DNA has not revealed any DNA links to the Western Hemisphere, so I conclude (for now) all ancestors for both myself and my husband immigrated.
    Of course, most of the early immigrants to the new world, (on both sides of the family) farmers. The 1910 photo here is a family farm in SE PA, north of Gettysburg.

    There were school teachers, artists, some military (usually of short duration). No doctors or lawyers, but there was a long string of people who attended university before it was common (for another blogpost).

    There were plenty of drivers, or "livery" men.
    There were servants and cleaners/ "supers" - in New York City parlance.

    Most of  the women worked sporadically, as the household duties (especially on a farm) was far more time-consuming than we could imagine.

    1 I found that in the NW Territory (PA/Ohio) one notable, a Abraham Brinker, 1776-1850, ran the local inn.
    "Brinker was a prominent citizen of early Butler, [PA] where he erected on the Diamond an inn called The Mansion House."After 1809, he moved to the Bonny Brook settlement just east of Butler at Brinker's Mills,where he established several mills and a distillery in 1813/14; he was an officer in the War of 1812." ("History of Butler County Pennsylvania", 1883; Chapter 17, "The Borough of Butler", page 172)


    2 Many of my Long Island ancestors were surveyors (specifically, the Hawxhurst family).

    WE Hawxhurst, Surveyor, Long Island, NY

    Railroaders:
    -Generational- Johnson

    A - It appears, though it is not confirmed, that John Johnson of Sweden worked the early city railroad in Boston. If this is the ancestor we're looking for he died when he was crushed between cars in the yard in Cambridge Mass.

    B - John McGee Johnson (son of #1) worked on the Boston & Maine Railroad. He had a variety of jobs: conductor, station agent, station master mostly. He worked in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and in Eastern New York State (the B & M entered eastern NY).

    C - John Kendall Johnson Sr (son of #2) worked on the Boston & Maine Railroad. After he served as a Marine in WW2 in the South Pacific, he returned to New England and hunted for work. Not finding it he wandered to Florida at least twice with his family looking for opportunity. He eventually worked on the Boston & Maine, likely a job helped along by family associations and local friends. He finished his RR career in New York State. In 1976 he was an engineer on the B & M Freedom Train, commemorating the Bicentennial.
    B & Ms Freedom Train

    D - His son (still alive) worked for a short time (summer) fixing railroad tracks when the B & M was still running, and had a yard at Mechanicville NY.


    Prison Guards -Higgins

    Uniform for work
    A - Victor Higgins got a full-time job in upstate New York in the 1930s when New York began building large state prisons.  He spent the most time at the prison in Woodbourne, New York, finishing his prison guard 'career' working in the recreational yard.

    B -Several members of his family, all three sons, worked with the NYS Department of Corrections. Two were prison guards (or at a higher level), and one worked in teaching / vocational ed  (John and Joseph were the guards and Richard, who had no marriage and no children, taught).

    C- John Higgins Sr had three sons. One of the sons (still living) works in the power plant at the same prison or Correctional Facility that Victor Higgins worked in.



    5 - Multiple Jobs: Photographer-Horticulturalist-Manager =  My ancestor Charles J Tyson set up shop as an early photographer along with his brother Edwin (Tyson Brothers), in Gettysburg, PA. Coincidentally, right before the Battle of Gettysburg. They evacuated town, but returned, and along with their trusted young assistant (Tipton) took many photos of the town. They also did portraits, apparently. They were happy to find their photography studio was largely undamaged. Here are two photos the Tyson Bros took, one during the Union army's stay, the other during the Gettysburg Address (in November of the same year), Lincoln was under the "Witness Tree."
    Camp Letterman (Tyson Bros)

    Nov 11 1863 Gettysburg, PA



    But, things changed and Charles J Tyson sold the business to his assistant Tipton, moved to the countryside with his bride and got into the orchard business. In the meantime his brother wed and moved back to a large city (but kept up his photography).
    Later, for some reason, Charles Tyson went back to partner with Tipton (perhaps due to finances?). After a while Charles resold his portion of the photography studio back to Tipton.
    Tyson's orchard/farm was growing with the help of his wife's family. But farming is an uncertain source of income. Late in his life he & his wife moved to Baltimore to manage with a fertilizer business. As a farmer, he'd learned that farmers need manure--and that there is money to be made in that business. He made a good deal of money operating the Susquehanna Fertilizer Company.
    Eventually he and his wife Maria (Griest) eventually sold their share and moved back to Adams County, PA in their old age.
    Orchard country, Adams County, PA






    6 - Storekeeper - My husband's great grandfather John Levi Cook fought in the Civil War, and was wounded in the knee at Fredericksburg VA. He escaped north (apparently there were a lot of POWs in that battle), so I imagine it was easy to escape. He did not return to Massachusetts, but went to Winnegance, Maine (near Bath) and ran a general store there.

    7 - Nurserymen - Hicks of Long Island, NY - For over a hundred years the Hicks family on Long Island has dealt with trees and shrubs. At some point the sons took over the Nursery Business. In 2016 I stopped by and met the owner, who is named Hicks, of the current nursery. According to another cousin, the nursery is always inherited by a Hicks son. This ad from 1938 is the back of a Christmas postcard. It was in possession of my Great grandmother (Bertha Hawxhurst) whose mother was Marianna Hicks.


    1 comment:

    1. Thank you. Really interesting to look at jobs ancestors held - especially as we spend so much time working.

      ReplyDelete