Saturday, February 22, 2020

52 Ancestors #8 2020 Prosperity - How Charles J Tyson Made Money

Prosperity: Charles Tyson Pursued It

(This is not autobiographical). Only one direct ancestor really saw prosperity, that would be my mother's great grandfather on her maternal side, Charles John Tyson.
A newspaper said this of my gr-great grandfather:
"the architect of his own fortune...on his arrival in Gettysburg his ready cash consisted of $10 and was $150 in debt."
He was born in 1838.  For now let's jump ahead to 1901 when he's 62 and traveling throughout California. He is still in business though he's slowed his pace (he claims). In 1901 2 still things that engaged his interest from his early life: photography (he owns a Kodak camera--and takes photos), and the growing fruit, its sale and its distribution  How do I know? He wrote about both in a letter to a friend and which I have at the end of this post--so keep reading.
Charles J Tyson was born as far as I can tell in New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia but grew up in Philadelphia. Born  5 Sep 1838, to  Edwin Comly Tyson and Susannah Griffith. His father was of modest means.
Charles' Early Employment:
A newspaper article claims that when he was 11 Charles went to work for himself in a "house-furnishing company" in Philadelphia. Following that, he worked for six years in a grocery store.
Joins with brother Isaac in Photography and moves to Gettysburg:
Somehow he learned daguerreotyping. He and his brother Isaac Griffith Tyson were able to buy enough equipment to open their own business. But they decided to move to a small city (Gettysburg) to start the business. They moved to Gettysburg and opened their own "Photography Gallery"  in 16 Aug 1859. It went under a variety of names: Tyson & Bro; Tyson Brothers; etc.

1859 Tysons aggressively advertising in Gettysburg
The "Tyson Brothers Studio" made the first photographs ever finished in Adams County, Pennsylvania.
Charles J Tyson

The Civil War was raging at this time. (If you're not familiar with Adams County, it is a county on the south-east border of Pennsylvania, bordering Maryland. Though north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and in the "Union," this area and much of Maryland was still much-contested. Gettysburg is only a few miles away from the Maryland border.)
Charles Tyson joined the "Wide Awakes" of Gettysburg in 1860; a group who supported Abraham Lincoln and was against slavery.

In the middle of the war, Charles married his wife Maria E Griest, a local gal, on 30 Apr 1863 (b. 7 Mar 1840). She was the daughter of Mary Ann Cook and Cyrus Griest.
They had begun setting up house just 3 weeks before the  Battle at Gettysburg in July. They were still involved in the process when the battle began.
An officer came by to warn the citizens to evacuate ahead of the coming battle. When they returned a few days later, they had quite a mess to clean up, but most of their belongings were there (apart from some food and clothes).
The photography studio was in surprisingly good shape, apart from the soldiers' hunt for alcohol in some form.
Shell in wall of Tyson Bros Studios York St Gettysburg
With men still encamped in town, the brothers busied themselves taking photos of soldiers in the gallery in town. They also cobbled together a mobile photography studio to go on the trail, taking photos of the landscape after the battle, helped by their able young assistant, William Tipton, who was a teen.
William Tipton in Tyson Bros Photo "Mobile"  Gettysburg, PA 1863

The Springdale Nurseries and others:
1860 Springdale Nursery Brochure Cyrus Griest & Sons
Within a year  Charles was persuaded by the Cyrus Griest family that this was a good place to farm. So, in 1864 (while the war was still on), he bought a 1/3 interest in the Spring Dale nurseries of Cyrus Griest & Sons, (his wife's family). But he retained his interest in the photograph business. [See front of Griests' Catalog from 1860, found by my cousin]
In 1865 he sold the photography business. By then his brother Isaac had married another Griest, a cousin of Charles' wife Maria. Isaac and his wife moved away to set up a photographic studio in Philadelphia.

Then again in 1866 Charles bought back the photography gallery, but presumably was still involved in the nursery business.
In 1867 Charles bought the entire interest in Springdale Nurseries.
A Big House
In 1869 he bought a 167 acre farm in Menallen Township and moved into a house called “Mapleton” in Flora Dale, PA, very close to the Menallen Friends Meeting House. He lived in that house for some years.
"Mapleton" as it looked abt 1890
He still loved photography. So yet again, in 1874 he bought the 1/2 interest in the same photograph gallery. 
In 1875 he sold out his nursery business, only to buy, in 1878, a 1/2 interest in Chambersburg (PA) nurseries. (Don't worry, there won't be a test at the end of this!)
The 1860s and 1870s shows him working hard in learning the nursery business, buying and selling, as well as popping in and out of the Gettysburg photography. He and the young assistant from the earliest years had bonded (so much so that William Tipton named a son "Charles Tyson Tipton.")

Then came 1880:
Charles eventually disposed of the photography (as a business, but not a hobby) all together to Tipton in 1880. In doing so, he exchanged his half interest in the photography business for a house in Gettysburg.
About the Changing Nature of Farming in the US:
In his lifetime, many farms had changed from small family meant to feed oneself to larger farms which could provide for more than one family. Many farms had grown to the point they had to hire local hands for the farming, as it was too much work for the family members.
Between mechanized machinery to do the work, and the railroads, large farms could now sell produce to cities, where immigrants had greatly swelled the population, and where there was also established factories and men and women working there. Large cities required food and meat from from the countryside.
Tyson's Experience - Charles was born and raised in the city, but moved to the country. His parents still lived in Philadelphia. By 1880, I would guess he had made a good number of business friends, and by now, some decades into running nurseries, he grasped the value of fertilizer to farmers.
So in 1881 Charles was a charter member of the Susquehanna Fertilizer Company.
The Fertilizer Company built a factory near Perryville, Maryland with capital stock of $15,000. It increased in 1882, to $35,000.
Of course there was a Fire!
On 29 Sept 1883, the plant burned. Charles retrenched and moved on.

A Move and a Reorganization:
The company was reorganized in Baltimore with a paid up capital stock of $100,000. The new plant cost about $50,000.  It was renamed "The Susquehanna Fertilizer Company of Baltimore City"
Its officers:
1 - President: Charles J Tyson
2 - Treasurer: George B Passmore
3 - Superintendent: S. P. Broomell
How did the new company fare? In 1881 they sold 1,200 tons of fertilizer. 4 years later in 1885, they sold 11,000 tons.

Back to City Living
The retrenchment meant the Tysons had to take drastic measures. Charles and Maria moved into a much smaller home in Baltimore so he could oversee the company business. Maria was no longer near her family, she was no longer taking in fresh country air. And Charles was no longer a young man. 
But the factory disaster in Perryville could be viewed as a blessing because, once freed from the location in Perryville, Charles could focus his time and energy in Baltimore: living close to the plant allowed him to monitor the activity closely.

So, How did Prosperity Find Him?
It did not: he pursued prosperity with vigor. He worked most of his life, and he moved between very different jobs. He seems to be visionary, resilient, connected, and energetic. What finally made the most money? The fertilizer business. But he stayed interested in his first 2 areas, as mentioned.
Did he retire?
I'm not sure--in 1901, he was still working. They eventually did return to Adams County.
Charles had retained Mapleton (the house already pictured above).
He had built another house across the road. I don't believe he ever lived there, or if he did it was not for long. Son Chester and his wife and their large family lived there. And remains in the family today.
You may recognize it as the photo from the front of the blog:
Flora Dale, Menallen. Hill House where Chester & Bertha lived.
Charles Tyson eventually "settled down" at a house he dubbed "Loma Linda” in Guernsey, not far from the Menallen Meeting House. (This book calls it Loma Vista, but family records of Margaret B Walmer's "Loma Linda"). See 2 photos of the house below (the second one shows how large it is, from front to back). Also a photo of the barn at Loma Linda.

Loma Linda - Chas and Maria Tyson's final Residence; Guernsey MBW Collection

Barn at Loma Linda, Guernsey - Chas J Tyson

A Vacation! Yes, Charles and Maria Tyson took a well-earned trip West (quite a journey if you read his letter). They marveled at the flora of Southern California.

They stayed at the hotel pictured below.

Charles and Maria on vacation in California:

Charles Tyson Maria (Griest) Tyson in California 1901

 A letter he wrote to a friend in 1901 Letter from Charles (and Maria Griest) Tyson to friend in PA on their trip to the West Coast
Santa Barbara, California, April 1901 
Seneca P. Bromell
My Dear friend,
I received thy very welcome and interesting letter of the 24th and on the 4th inst we left Pasadena for this quaint old place of seven thousand population and a hundred years old. I am really and honestly ashamed of not writing thee long ago. [He adds the other letters he’s had to respond to in the meantime]
I find Sight seeing as hard work as I have tackled for many a day and occasional rest ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. On the 1st inst I had a wire on the death of Wm Wood. [Continues about the man’s illness and his widow]
We had a very pleasant and comfortable passage from Balt to N.O (New Orleans?) and four days there—one of rain and three of sight seeing. Of all places visited thus far, we found extremes meeting us there more decidedly than any other. The old part is old and quaint in the extreme and not over clean indeed, quite the reverse—while the new is very  beautiful. We find that a carriage and good driver enables us to do up a place in less time and more satisfactorily than any other way. We left N. O. on the 14th of 2nd mo and arrived in Pasadena seventh day eve the 16th. Found Clark at the Station to welcome us and take us to rooms he had engaged for us just across the street from the “Whittier” where he takes his meals and where he had made arrangements for us also. Next day he had a carriage come for us and we all took a ride. The most delightful one of the trip I think for all was so new. And surprises met us at every turn. Snow on the mountains in full view, and the most beautiful flowers in the greatest profusion on all sides, magnificent date Palms, pepper trees, live oaks and many other varieties comparatively new to us. Since then we have gone around a good deal—have explored several of the Canyons noted for their beauty and well deserving of all that is said about them. Have also tempted Providence by going to the top of Mt Lowe 6000 Feet above sea level on the backs of burros. When the path was not over two feet wide in some places and almost straight down for hundreds of feet on the one side and a corresponding slope upwards on the other, and we still Live! We have visited the noted “Catalina Island” and the wonderful “Avalon Bay” exploring its crystal depths through a glass bottom boat, the most beautiful sight I ever beheld. Rocks, ferns, fishes of many kinds large and small.  Many of them new to us and very pretty as they moved about so gracefully in and out among the rocks and plants nearly a hundred feet below us. We only remained there over one night. Catalina Island is 30 miles from the Main land which we leave at "San Pedro.”
We have visited Redlands and Riverside; the great orange growing center of the “Citrus Belt” When 40,000 acres are planted in oranges within a radius of 20 miles, and the finest fruit in the state grown–of this there is not a doubt. The variety in the greatest form is the “Washington Navel” sweet, juicy and tender when through with one, there is nothing left but the skin . Twenty thousand car loads of oranges will go from Southern California this year, and each car will carry three hundred and sixty two boxes. It is estimated that fully three thousand boxes will rot on the ground for want of cars to ship them After returning to Pasadena for a few days we went to “San Diego” stopping for a few hours at Capistrano and visited the Old Mission where I found much of interest to photograph. We took dinner with an Old German and his wife who keep store and accommodate travelers. The old gentleman informed us that the English walnuts on the table were grown on his place and that he had shipped his last crop—forty thousand pounds, to the east and realize 9 cents per pound for them—a great many are grown in that section and the quality is Extra Good. From San Diego we visited the Old and Diego Mission, the oldest in the state. Also took a forty mile ride into Old Mexico. Took lunch at Tia Juana, a queer little town consisting of a saloon, two stores, and half a dozen small houses, nearly all one story. Several Cowboys rode into town while we were there, full rigged and ready for the chase. I understand that San Diego is supplied with beef from that quarter. On our return we drove along the shore of the Pacific for nearly six miles which was very delightful. Our drive took us by the famous “Hotel Del Coronado” where we had spent the first day before. This hotel is owned by Spreckels the Sugar King of San Francisco and is one of the finest I ever saw, inside and out.
I have a 3 1/3 x 4 ¼ Kodak along and am taking “snap shots” as we go so as to illustrate our trip for future reference. I have developed and printed over a hundred but from now on I shall be obliged to store my undeveloped films until I get home. I find it adds much to the interest of the trip to feel that we are taking some of it along with us as we go. While at San Diego we also visited La Jolla, a very interesting spot on the Pacific about fifteen miles away.  Also, Chula Vista, Paradise alley, Sweet Water Valley, Otay Valley and a pretty drive through Mission Valley. A great many lemons are grown in that section, but it is not as well watered as some other places we have been and a California Ranch without plenty of water is valueless— 
On our return to Pasadena we stopped off at Ocean Side and took a nine mile drive to San Louise Rey Mission and the old Ranch house said to be Ramonas Home, Clark says there is some doubt about this and that the old Spanish house at Camulos is the genuine. So we called there on our way here and spent about six hours there, ate our lunch in the Old Chapel and had a very interesting talk with the daughter of the Old Senora, photographed the South Porch the Old chapel the watering plan, the Willows, the court Yard, the fountain in the garden, etc. I have just stopped to eat a couple of oranges bought from Pasadena. They are fine. I tell thee. We get none such in Baltimore. Wish I could send you a box but the expenses on the box would cost 15 cents per pound, almost as much by mail. And after all, would not be as good as they are here fresh from tree.
There is another old Spanish Mission here, but it is in a better state of preservation than any we have visited, and regular services are held. They are just now building a new and handsome Stone College and have it nearly completed. “Father Peter” who has charge of it informed us that he had been sent here four and half years ago by the Holy Father at Rome to take charge of and restore the mission of Santa Barbara and that since that time he has raised and expended $650,000 on the buildings.
This morning we took a twenty mile drive over the Boulevard which runs along over the foot hills of the mountains which overlook the town and for part of the way the Grand Old Ocean. Truly a very pretty drive. On third day next we move on to Pacific Grove and from there we will visit the noted Hotel Del Monte at Monterey and then go on to Santa Cruz and San Jose reaching San Francisco about the 18th or 19th and remain until 4 Pm of the 22nd when we take train for Berenda and Raymond, the entrance to the Yosemite.
On the same day Clark Vrooman and his friend Homer Hoopes from Media, PA who has spent the winter in Pasadena will leave Los Angeles and join us at either Berend or Raymond where we are due at 5:30 am on the 23rd stop for breakfast and at 6:30 start on a sixty nine mile stage ride into the valley. More anon?
We do not know how long it will require to do the valley. It will be Clark’s first visit and he will go prepared to carry away a lot of negatives. Homer is also very enthusiastic photographer and is very expert. From Yosemite we will return to San Francisco where we will remain for about a week, say, until the 5th of May or thereabouts during which time our address will be Grand Hotel, San Francisco, Calfor. From there we will go to Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago and home. Where we expected to turn up about June 1st. I am not sure I will get to the Cattle Ranch though have written to Jos. Pyle asking best way to go there after leaving San Francisco. 
I have kept very well all the time, though do get pretty tired and find it necessary to take a day off now and then for rest and recuperation. Maria and Elizabeth have had several days of not feeling up to par but both are better now and ready to move on. We are surely having a wonderfully good time full of interest at every turn and a trip we can live over and over again to the end of our lives. Thee and Rebecca must surely make it—you cannot afford not to do so. The time to do it will be next winter after thee gets through with the A.A. and before thee settles down to anything else. Everybody says we will be back again then but I see no prospect of it now. 
I was much interested in thy mention of the situation of things at the Canton factories and as I understand it concentration goes quietly on with the one end in view that of dispensing with every last man that can be spared and why not? That was the intention from the start and I have no doubt will be carried right along to the end, without fear or favor. I am glad to know that Arthur is likely to become a fixture and hope that a plan will be found for Charles and Len where they may earn satisfactory salaries. I would also like to see Frank comfortably fixed. Like thyself my concern for the boys has been greater than for myself.  I was surprised to learn that Will Ashly had gone to Hanover. The AA have parted with an exceptionally good man and one with more to them than he will get at Hanover. I am not surprised that Baugh and Sons are going to build. I wonder they did not do so long ago. The one great surprise to me is that the AA allowed them to get possession of that property. But smart people make mistakes sometimes, as well as green horns from the country. No doubt they know what they are about. Regarding the Veneer CO. I received a notice from Sec. Williams asking for a return of notes and 15% of my stock. I have not replied and do not intend to. All of that can wait I return.
Of course, it is to his interest to get some money into the treasury to pay his expenses. I have not the least particle of confidence in that man and believe the more we run after him, the more trouble we will run into. His last proposition is coming towards mine was he and Peck give back their notes and all the last issue of stock. Then we take of that stock for our notes. The other Stockholders who have done nothing ought to put up some of their stock or something to help put the Co on some sort of footing for business. We ought not to be asked to do anything more. We have already done more than our share, through gross misrepresentation. That’s the way I feel about it. But as thee says we cannot write very intelligently or satisfactorily on this subject. And it will have to wait as far as I am concerned until I get home. 
I have written right along, against time as I want to get this into the next mail. So, thee must make allowance for any mistakes that I have made. Would be glad to hear from thee at San Francisco if thee finds time to write. I have had several hitches at this letter, and it is now time to start to Pacific Grove. The 9th inst.. and the girls have their bonnets on and are saying hurry up. They say give our love to all. So I close with love and best wishes to everyone.
Afect. Thy Friend,              CJ Tyson

Page 1 of letter, Chas J Tyson from California

Final page of Chas J Tyson's letter from California
After Charles' death (22 Dec 1906) Maria moved into this house (where her daughter lived). She died 11 Mar 1927. See below:

Saturday, February 15, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #7 When Some Discoveries Better Left Undiscovered (Backgrounds You'd Rather Ignore)

Some Discoveries are…..Worse Than Ignorance.

If you’ve spent any time looking into the personal histories of your ancestors, you find out more than you actually wish you had. Personal history is the history of humanity—and there are a lot of sad stories out there.
There are lots of stories of men and women not raising their own children well, or even caring for them. Of married couples--not arranged marriages--who fight and argue, who betray, and who, as a by product of that, live in perpetual anger. Their anger inevitably affects their children. And there are heads of the families who pack up and leave, abandoning their children to relatives, or to older children in the family.
My husband’s grandfather is a sad story which incorporates some of those sad themes.

Birth- John McGee Johnson
John McGee Johnson

He was born John McGee Johnson, 25 Aug 1895 either in Boston, or in Foster, Quebec, Canada (his mother’s hometown). He died 25 November 1959 in Pinellas Park, Pinellas County, Florida.
Marriage and Children- John McGee Johnson and Minnie May Marion Kendall
He met his first wife, my husband’s grandmother, Minnie May Marion Kendall, in Foster, Quebec.
He was living there while working. He roomed with his mother’s stepson and his half brother (who was by another father), Fletcher Astels.
After he and Minnie wed that they had 5 children.
1) Margorie M 1916–1990
2) Gordon F 1918–1969
3) Ronald Luke Johnson 1920–1997
4) *John Kendall Johnson Sr 1922–1999 and his twin (died at childbirth) and
5) Reta G Johnson 1928–2010
His Background:
John McGee Johnson proved to be a lousy husband.
But I can’t say he had a good example in his own life.
His mother: 
Mary Catherine Caroline McGee set the pattern in many ways. His mother was born Feb 1863 Hopetown, Quebec, Canada and died in 1926, Cheshire County, New Hampshire.
Her own mother, had died when she was young. So she lived with relatives, so she likely didn’t have a female role model.
His mother (Mary CC McGee) had Baby #1 (Fletcher Astels, mentioned above) in Quebec, unwed, at about age 24. There is no information on his father.
Her son, John McGee Johnson's half brother, Fletcher was adopted by friends of the family. 
His mother moved back and forth between New England and Canada several times.
Then, after the birth of John McGee Johnson, she appears in Boston, but her son is not listed in the household.
In later census records Mary CC McGee appears as the wife of Albert Porter, and he (John McGee Johnson) is in the household as “stepson” of Albert Porter. A girl named Eva Porter is the “adopted daughter.”
I know it’s getting confusing. She’s moves all around, so does her son John McGee Johnson.

Back to John  McGee Johnson & Minnie May Marion Kendall:
Let’s jump ahead to the marriage of John McGee Johnson to Minnie May Marion Kendall.
As mentioned, the John McGee Johnson & Minnie Kendall had 5 children.
For most of their married life, they lived in New England, while he worked for the Boston and Maine Railroad (station master, ticket agent, etc). For some time, off and on, the three youngest children lived with Minnie’s sister Grace. Read on to find out why.
Grace (L) &  Minnie May Marion Kendall (middle) & their siblings
Sadly, John McGee Johnson was not faithful to Minnie Kendall.
He was with other women when they were married.
Then Minnie May Marion Kendall died March 1, 1938 in Keene, NH when she was 42, more than 20 years before her husband died.
And though her marriage was rocky, Minnie had one good thing in her life: a sister.
As mentioned, Grace lived in the same town. The three youngest were often taken in by Grace and her husband, whether on request, or due to financial concerns, or both, I don't know.
Grace and her husband ran a successful business which she continued after her husband’s death.
She provided a “rock” in the sea of doubt for the Kendalls (Minnie & Grace’s maiden name).
After Minnie Kendall Died:
One of her sons, my father-in-law was not yet 15 in 1938, and it’s been said he was crushed by his mother’s death. I am sure he spent as much time at his aunt's house as he could (and in his adult years he'd always stop by if he was in New Hampshire).
Two years after his mother's death, his father is still working for the B & M Railroad, but in eastern New York, not far from VT.
My father-in-law no longer had the security of being in the same town as his mother’s sister, Grace. Worse, he was forced to live with his father and his second wife, in another state.

What is even sadder to me is that his father, John McGee Johnson, was seeing another woman at the time of his wife’s death.
Family stories say he waited 10 days between burying his wife Minnie and marrying the woman he had been carrying on with, Dorothy. (I have yet to prove that).

One Happy Ending:
Despite what he saw modeled, John McGee's Johnson's son, John Kendall Johnson, was a good family man, and a good husband to his wife. He exceeded his father in kindness to people and animals.
  • We can all be grateful to those people in families who provide comfort and security!
  • We can be grateful to those people in families who "break" a cycle which creates stress, sadness and emotional abuse.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

52 Ancestors - # 6: Same Name, Part 2. Same Name in Same Place: a House of Worship for Quakers, Westbury, NY

II Same Name - Houses of Worship in Westbury, NY: Hicksite & Orthodox Friends

For a long period of time there were simultaneous Quaker Meetings in Westbury, not far from one another. So, yes, there would  be TWO Friends Meetings in Westbury, NY

In the Beginning

A Friends Meeting House was Built in Westbury:
When the "Friends" (Quakers) finally decided to build a meeting near Westbury (it was not the oldest one on the Island), it was 1701. That was built at Post Avenue and Jericho Turnpike in Westbury. The cost of the 3 1/4 acres of land was 4 British pounds.  (The current building is not the original, several have replaced it.)
"Hicksite" Meeting Westbury NY 1869 as it was
The Orthodox - Hicksite Split
- What could be more painful than a split in the same community?
In the early 1800s forces drove the Quaker community in the East into two main groups. It was not the only split, but it was a major schism for that time.

It was so deep that the Orthodox Quakers in Westbury (who continued the tradition preaching and recognized ministers within the meetings, as well as a structured Sunday School) decided they needed their own building.

So it was that that arm of the Society of Friends had an Orthodox Meeting House near Post Avenue in 1830. Most of the members were former members of the older meeting, which was right near them.

The other (original) branch (called "Hicksite") remained in the original building which was so aged they  had to replace. 
So though the Hicksite building site is older, and has had continuous worship for longer, the Orthodox Meeting House (which is close to the Hicksite building) has become the oldest building for religious purposes in Westbury.
"Orthodox" Friends Meeting Westbury, NY

Many years ago, the two branches of Friends in Nassau County came back together.
No doubt there were problems after the split, but how did these two peace-loving communities cope with being separate yet so close?  Unavoidably, families would be split between the two houses in close proximity if only because Quakers often married close cousins.

I have preserved letters which made mention of an ancestor who, when she was at her grandmother's house, naturally attended the other meeting. Of course, this hardly bears mentioning, except that they were physically and relationally close.

In another case, my great grandmother's maternal grandmother, Sarah Rushmore (Hicks) lived through the schism to see her collateral relatives attend the other Meeting.
(Sarah Rushmore married John Doughty Hicks).
This is a bit of bitter irony because Sarah's father-in-law, Isaac Hicks (1767-1820) had helped to fund Elias Hicks' travel and ministry--it is Elias who is most often associated with the split.
But, Sarah Rushmore Hicks lived through the split, and had family members in both parts of the Society of Friends in Westbury.
For example, her granddaughter Marianna Hicks and her husband, William Hawxhurst were Hicksite Quakers.
But her son-in-law's (William) sister, Margaret Hawxhurst, was an Orthodox Friend, as were many other friends, relatives and neighbors.

Now, you already know this story has a happy ending, but I found the letters and photos;
When my great grandmother Bertha (Hawxhurst) Tyson was young in the 1880s, the Orthodox Meeting was used by both Meetings for Sunday School.
Bldg Used for Sunday School in Westbury c. 1890

Apparently the worshipers at the Orthodox Meeting offered to give all the children of the Society of Friends in the area Sunday School. They held it in a little building near both Meetings (see photos).
So, while my gr, gr grandparents were Hicksite Quakers (William Hawxhurst & Marianna (Hicks) )  they sent my great grandmother to Sunday School taught by the Orthodox Quakers.

From her notes (I have digitized copies of Bertha's diaries and some letters), she enjoyed her time there enormously.
So much so, that she saved and labeled this photo of some of the women in the Orthodox Meeting in Westbury who were attached to the Sunday School. Her aunt is the 2nd from left, below.
Henrietta Titus, Marg Hawxhurst,Mary Post, Sarah Titus, Sarah Bunyan "Orthod Friends who conducted our Sunday School"

I know *Margaret Hawxhurst is the sister of William Ephraim Hawxhurst, my great great grandfather. The other women's names may or may not be married names, any information regading that would be welcome.
1 Hawxhurst has been spelled: Hauxhurst (and less often Hawkshurst)
2 The digitized photos, except for the second (of the Orthodox Meeting), are from the Margaret B Walmer collection or AC Johnson collection.

52 Ancestors -Week 6: Same Name Part 1 The Name Charity

Part 1: Same Name - Charity

I Same Name - A Person named Charity
Repeated names are so commonplace. It was a fun exercise to see how long an name can be passed unbroken from mother to daughter--or sometimes the son's daughter was named after her. 
The name Charity, as a first or middle name, has been documented all over the family tree, but I found it was handed down to me fairly directly since 1724. The line is not unbroken, but close!

I  Girl born in Oyster Bay, NY in 1724 named Charity Losee [1] (B 18 Aug 1724 D 1813)
This Charity Losee marries Timothy Titus (1726–1802)

II Their son is also timothy Titus (b 1765) he marries a cousin (Margaret Titus)
.And they name their daughter after Timothy's mother:
 .She is Charity Titus [2] (1802-1877)

III Charity Titus marries Ephraim Cock Hawxhurst (1793–1859)
Their son is William Ephraim Hawxhurst (1838-1908).

III William Hawxhurst marries Marianna Hicks (1842–1915)
....They name a daughter Bertha Charity [3] Hawxhurst (1881–1973)

IV Bertha Charity Hawxhurst marries Chester Julian Tyson (1875–1938)
.....They name a daughter Elizabeth Charity [4] Tyson (1904–1994)

V Elizabeth Charity Tyson marries Charles Bancroft Tilton (1902–1986)
.....They name my mother, giving her the middle name is Charity [5].

VI My mother & my father marry
........They name me, giving the sole daughter the middle name of Charity [6]

Each of the "Charitys" mentioned above, except for me
1 were Quakers
2 And except my grandmother and mother they were born near Westbury, Nassau County, NY.

The Friends (as Quakers were called) had their houses of worship in several places on Long Island, and one was in Westbury, New York. See "Same Name Part 2: Houses of Worship" for more on that!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

52 Ancestors #5 - So Far Away

So Far Away 

Remember the USSR? Remember the Cold War? The Communist Bloc? If you do, as I do, you are amazed at how things change--and other things are immovable. Like families, kids, loving home food, and your own langauge.

Let's get back to genealogy. 1900 was the year my last immigrant arrived. For my husband, the date is in the 20th century, but they just slipped over the Canadian border so it hardly counts.

But one of my sons married an immigrant, and so the cycle begins again. And it's true, that saying of immigrants universally.
"I thought America's streets were paved of gold, then I arrived in America and they weren't. Then I was paving the streets."
Girls in Romania 1950s.
 Here's what I understand of my daughter-in-law's grandparents: 
Some of her ancestors had come from the eastern part of Romania, which is now part of Moldova, and were forcibly moved after World War
Another group was from the Western part of Romania, in or around Arad (N of Timisoara), not far from the Hungarian border.                                                 
I suppose it's possible she's got Hungarian ancestors. Linguistically, Romanian is a Romance language (unlike Hungarian), as are Italian, Spanish, and French which Hungarian from the Finno-Ugric family Finnish, Estonia, and a few others). The other languages of the area (Moldava and Ukraine) are Slavic family group.
It's hard to wed someone whose language is so far from yours. More likely when the country of Hungary was formed (remember the Austrian-Hungarian Empire?) of course the locals ignored politics as best they could, and kept speaking the language of their forbears.
My daughter-in-law did a DNA test which we attached to the family tree. Predictably the results are meager. Romania is a poor country.  None of her 9 siblings have done a DNA test (yet!).
Her DNA ethnicity profile as of 2020:
- 72% Eastern Hungary, Easter Slovakia, Northwest Romania, and Western Ukraine
- 25% Albania, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia (a portion of Romania)
- 3% from Germanic Europe (Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland)

She's done both sides of her family as far back as she can recall. It only goes to her grandparents. This is her mother's side.

Gen 1 
Teresa Tomescu (female) B. Romania 1897–1949
Marioara (d Vasile and Floare)
Married  Unknown? Iovescu (male) b. Romania 1895–1957

Gen 2:
1 Vasile Iovescu (male) Born: Banat, Timis, Romania, 1922. Died, Romania, 1987
2 Aurelia Iovescu (female) 1928–1987
3 George Iovescu (male) 1932–1985

Vasile Iovescu (male) (#1 Gen 2) Married Floare Tamsa

Gen 3 Their children:
1 Marioara (female) Born in Ususau, Arad, Romania (her mother)
2 Aurelia (female)
3 Ion (male)
2 Vasile (male)
3 Florica (female)
4 Viorica (female)
5 Doina (female)
6 Daniela (female)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

52 Ancestors #4 Close to Home - Towns of Denning & Neversink and What Was Once There

Towns of Denning & Neversink and What Was Once There 
Cities tend to be the center of political power, so cities have a powerfull effect on the life and livelihood of those who live in small towns/the country. This is as true for New York, as it is anywhere. My area was impacted by the death of farming and the preservation efforts of the area by NY State for recreation and for NYC's water. (This is just a fact, not a judgment). The little hamlet of Sundown (it's not a town) is where I grew up. This is about places that are close to home, and here I’m including places that have disappeared. [This was my home more than a decade before my parents moved there. As it was in 1943]:

Sundown is, with Claryville, part of the Town of Denning. While the neighboring towns in this post are (for the most part) part of the Town of Neversink
Note: New York uses the word “Town” as a political designation, not a geographic one. (Contrast this with townships of PA which are largely geographic).

CLOSE TO HOME 1 - Claryville & Environs: Looking at areas in the Town of Denning
Claryville – Claryville was, in the 1800s and into the 1900s, busy tanning hides. After that halted, the town barely survived.
It got a bit of a rejuvenation when the YMCA built a camp nearby, and then added to it throughout the years.
It's only recently become a beacon for people looking for a 2nd home in the Mountains, a respite from Big City Life. A recent visit to the old farms on the plateaus surrounding Claryville, I noted many empty farms have renovated houses on the property. Claryville has gorgeous views, and clean air and water. (But some roads are not plowed in winter!) Claryville once had a one-room school. A post office and two churches were built: one Methodist, one Dutch Reformed. Now it's got fancy art place/reception hall, and a thriving artist colony.
View from old farm between Claryville and Sugar Loaf, NYS
Hall’s Mills – Close by is Hall’s Mills is named for a mill. Now Hall’s Mill is a blink of an eye, but noticeable because it retains has a covered bridge. Possibly, as you whiz by from Grahamsville to Claryville, you may notice the bridge.
Willowemoc – Willowemoc is great in its unspoiled beauty. It’s west past Hall’s Mills and Claryville. There is little else around it—and it’s 100 miles from New York City. From Sundown, I would go here only in summer as there was no reason to go here. It was likely a good place for logging in the distant past, as the forest is dense. Nearby Claryville was a beehive of tanning activity, so Willowemoc was likely quite populated by workers at the time.
Other Hamlets near Claryville are Branch, Denning, Frost Valley, Ladleton. 

CLOSE TO HOME 2: Grahamsville, Unionville and Curry.
Unionville- Right past the official edge of Grahamsville starts Unionville. Today they are no longer separate, but according to an 1875 map of the area, the Quaker Meeting house begins at the line separating the two towns. Unionville also had a church which was called the “tabernacle.”
The map shows a number of families named Curry, which is logical because barely though Unionville we are already in Curry (see next).
Curry – There was a post office from 1894-1963. But now you wouldn’t see it if you drove through it. Since my youth it had a small store and a gas station, a Post Office. Right now, it’s the intersection of the road from Claryville where it meets Rte 55. To be fair, across the Chestnut River, are several small settlements of homes nestled at the base of the hills.
Grahamsville – Named after General Graham who battled Indians in this area. Is the NYS historical marker announcing the reason for its name still there?
Street - Grahamsville, NY
It had post office, stores, boarding places, banks, mills, library, churches, liveries and so on. Also, a two-room school house was here. (Closed before my brothers arrived). I read somewhere that the first school in the area was taught by Revolutionary War soldier, Christopher Darrow. Each hamlet located in the area provided a schoolhouse until….
SCHOOL in Grahamsville: Since my 'hamlet' of Sundown was tiny, my youth revolved around school in Grahamsville.
  • After World War 2, the state reorganized all the schools in the area into a consolidation (called Union Free District), this led to the eventual centralization of all the schools in the surrounding area into one.
  • The new school was called, “Tri-Valley” after the three main river valleys contributing to the student population: the Chestnut (Grahamsville area), the Neversink River (Neversink area), and the Rondout River (Claryville, Sundown, Yeagerville, Greenville, and Peekamoose)
  • Tri-Valley Central School
  • My brothers attended school in the Neversink (post-reservoir, part of the Union Free District) schoolhouse from 1956 until the school was open in 1959. The "new" school is across the road from the Dutch Reformed church, church hall, and cemetery. 
LIBRARY in Grahamsville: Grahamsville's Daniel Pierce library was, in addition to the school library, the center of all my reading enjoyment. It was a fierce and drafty brick building with a cannon in front of it and a list of names of men who’d served the country in the war. Can you tell I spent a good long time sitting in a car?
Daniel Pierce Library as it was.
PLACES OF WORSHIP in Grahamsville: 
  •  “Dutch” Reformed, Methodist and Baptist churches were all represented (and likely more).
    Methodist Church in Grahamsville (still there)
 Though Grahamsville was largely a Protestant town but it did have a Catholic presence: 
  • Church of the Immaculate Conception (the parish) was in Woodbourne, but its priest made the trip to Grahamsville to perform Mass in a former music hall (I believe). The altar was on a stage, the statues in it were castoffs, for each had a chip in them in a prominent place. One saint’s nose was chipped, another, I think it was St. Francis, had a wire in place of a finger. The place had been built of lathe and plaster and was drafty. We used handmade wooden kneelers: one piece serviced a whole row. Before Vatican 2 came when some of the kneeling was done away with, I got calluses on my knees. We didn't have to ask if hunting season was on because the church would be filled with strangers in orange plaid coats. (Yes, we knew everyone). Then they’d vanish and the long cold winter would set in. There was little heat in that building, but it was comfortable in the summer mornings. Before 1963, nuns who come from someplace on Monday afternoon. We would be sorted by grades and given catechism by the nuns. 
  • And, the Quakers had a Meeting House:
    This remains the same.
Ok, it was in Unionville, but it is now part of Grahamsville. So it wasn’t in the heart of town. It began as Plains Meeting, then formed "Greenfield and Neversink Monthly Meeting." (Its partner, the Greenfield Friends Meeting, near Kingston was laid down, but its remains are next to a school on Rte 52 W, if you're curious).
Quaker Meeting Today (new roof)
This Meeting House with its bare benches, its wood stove and it paned windows was simple and neat. Apart from a new sign and fresh paint it looks the same today as it did in 1960, and probably earlier. I know it well, for my mother was a Quaker and worshiped here.
CLOSE TO HOME 3: Neversink, Bittersweet and Leroys Corners-and the Neversink Reservoir
“Neversink Sunk”
All the reservoirs in the Catskill system provide drinking water for New York City.
In the 20th century massive construction took place to send water to New York, centered in the Catskills for its  abundant fresh water.
On June 4th, 1953, Neversink (or Neversink Flats), Bittersweet and Leroy's Corners were flooded by the Neversink River to make the Neversink Reservoir. Note: the neighboring villages of Aden, Hasbrouck and Bradley were affected by the formation of the reservoir.
1.    Neversink – An early settlement (1800) at a location which is now a reservoir with that name. The residents had to move to higher ground with the flooding of the reservoir. The current location of Neversink is on Route 55, heading towards Grahamsville.
2.    Bittersweet –Presumed that name came because of an abundance of the climbing plant by the name of Bittersweet. There was a one-room school there. Residents were relocated.
3.    Leroy’s Corners- less well-known, this tiny place abutted the Neversink Flats and is barely remembered.
Neversink  Flats before the reservoir
CLOSE TO HOME 4: Montela, Lackawack, and Eureka – and the Rondout Reservoir
Rondout Reservoir Wipes Out Three Villages
Neversink wasn't the only reservoir close to my home. The closest one, and I think less well known, is the Rondout Reservoir. The Rondout's construction began in 1937.  Construction was suspended for World War 2 and for the Korean War. It was finished July 18, 1955.
But before that, three villages had to be evacuated: Eureka, Lackawack, and Montela. These tiny villages housed over 1000 people, and we’re not counting chickens (or other things).

Did you ever wonder what happened to the interred? Those buried in eight cemeteries had to be moved. (I don't know where).
1.    Lackawack itself was moved and remains (but in a different spot).

Sign on Rt 55- Eagle in background
 2.    Montela was the site of the Battle of Chestnut Woods (1778). It was only established in the late 1800s and it straddled Sullivan and Ulster County. Montela got a post office after the Civil war, and it was inside a store (as most were).
3.    Eureka was founded in the 1700s. It had a Post Office and a one-room school. and closed in 1942. The reservoir can be seen on Route 55A, from Grahamsville to Lowe’s Corners. If you turn off before Sugar Loaf Rd, you can circle the entire reservoir.
Map of Eureka 1875

Eureka, NY
Close to Home 5: Home and Beyond it, Just Spots on the Map
Lowe's Corners, Sundown, Greenville, Bull Run (Peekamoose).
1.    Lowe’s Corner – Lowe’s Corners must have been a corner at one time. I know there was a post office there for a brief period before the Civil War. A Methodist Church is there—and has been there for decades.
Sundown (Town of Denning and Ulster County). 
2.    Sundown: This was home, a “hamlet near the Denning line on route 46.” It had a school house, more than one church. When I was young a Methodist church and church hall, a post office (in our house), a general store with gas pumps (till it was outlawed for water health).
This 1925 paper is a bit chilling to read. I know most of the names--and knew some of the people. WOW!  (I guess I'm old).
Sundown and Montela Paper, NY 1925
Rondout near Sundown

Up Greenville Road

And Dots on the Map Beyond:
1. Bull Run -AKA Peekamoose – Go left at the Methodist Church in Sundown.  Its name was changed to "Bullrun" using one word. And later it was re-named "Peekamoose" in 1904 when Paul Sheeley was postmaster.
2. Greenville: Go right at the Methodist Church in Sundown. Greenville is near the east Denning line, on route 46.
Now I’d better stop because once we're in Yeagerville, we will loop back to Lackawack.


References and more reading from this area of the state:

A great place to visit for genealogy and history of this area. It has some records, photos of families. It also devotes a portion of the museum to the area before,during and after the building of the two large reservioirs:  
1. Time And Valleys Museum (Grahamsville, Sullivan Co, NY)

2 NYC Board of Water Supply:

3 WikiPedia:

 4 Grahamsville, NY  "Townsman" Newspapers

5 For Quaker Records of Greenfield and Neversink Meeting (NY), contact Swarthmore College, Friends Library, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Meetings Sunday at 10 AM

Private Websites:

Any and all mistakes about the accuracy of this post can be sent to Dave Higgins. :)