Friday, March 27, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #13: Always nearly Forgotten: the women. And I find a Suprising Connection

A Surprising Connection 

Who do you always forget when you do genealogy? the women, generally. 
Partly because I spend my time in the productive and record-heavy areas. For that reason, we often forget about the women’s lineage. Bad-bad-bad. Sometimes I research it because if someone else has done the heavy lifting, I can move on to the record-heavy lines (her father, or father’s father).

This week, I dug deeper into my MOTHER’s father’s grandfather’s line. The family name I was looking at was Louisa A Copes. Copes, not Cope.  In my research, stayed to the Copes line and found precious few (though there were many a Cope!) 
Louisa Copes’ father, John Henry Copes died 18 January 1860. His wife was Isabella Sarah Catherine Egbert (B. Staten Island, 14 Mar 1822 Died, 1862). 
JH Copes’ Copes’ birthplace was a mystery for years. Then I found his obituary and some old advertisements which helped. I began to suspect that “Captain” John Henry Copes was not local to New York, and that he was a “captain” and a “mariner”  At the time of his death he was captain of a dayliner (daytime excursions around the NYC area). Could it be he grew up somewhere else, along the coast?
Surprise:
I found a John Henry Copes in Virginia. Not where I expected him to be from! There was a Copes family  on the Eastern Shore of Accomack County of Virginia, and were seaman.
~John Custis Copes had a son John Henry Copes, both mariners, small enterprises on the Eastern shore (of the Chesapeake Bay). 

(If you don’t already know, the Chesapeake Bay is huge. The Chemung and Delaware Rivers in New York are the upper reaches of the bay, and they both contribute to it. The bay is so big, the “Eastern Shore” of the bay was carved up by 3 states (Delaware, Maryland, Viriginia or “DelMarVA”). The bay starts up in PA, but doesn’t open into the ocean till you are in the southernmost part of VA, near Newport News & Williamsburg.
I believe John Henry Copes made his way (I’m guessing by ship naturally) northward and then remained on Staten Island. Note in the ad pictured, it was a Philadelphia area ship.
There is evidence that his father’s land (John Custis Copes) was on a tiny island in the middle of the bay which is almost all covered over by water now.
Custis?
I was piqued by his father (John Custis Copes’) lineage, as genealogists know middle names such as “Bancroft” were likely once surnames. Any “Custis” coming out of Virginia reminded me of Martha Washington’s first husband: he was a Custis.
Indeed, John Curtis Copes was the son of Hancock Copes and Elizabeth Custis. So, I followed Elizabeth Custis’ line. Yes it seems that my lineage, and that of Daniel Parke Custis (Martha Dandridge Washington’s 1st husband) had a common ancestor named Custis. I'll leave it at that, it's  close enough to answer the question.


John Custis Copes' father, Hancock Copes (b 1765), was the son of Thomas Copes (3rd) b. 1735 born in Accomack County, VA and Susanna. 
Thomas was the son of Thomas Copes (2nd) (B. bef 1706-1742) and Comfort Dix. 
And Thomas (2nd) was the son of Thomas Copes (1st) of Northampton County, VA (b 1661 d 1721) and Mary Parker (1680-1713).
Thomas (1st) was the son of Giles Copes (the first, as there was more than one) B abt 1630 and Margaret. Giles married Ruth after Margaret, but it looks like Margaret was the mother to his children.
At this point here is a thumbnail summary of  my connection to:

Old Virginia Families (mostly Accomack and Northampton County)
Giles Copes & Margaret →Thomas Copes (1st) & Mary Parker→Thomas Copes (2nd) & Comfort Dix →Thomas Copes (3rd) & Susanna→ Hancock Copes & Elizabeth Curtis→ John Curtis Copes & Ann Outten → John Henry Copes


* Captain John Henry Copes moves to Staten Island, New York.
* John Henry Copes M Isabella Sarah Catherine Egbert (of Staten Island, NY) →Louisa Copes.
* Louisa Copes M. Henry A Tilton →William H Tilton (of Brooklyn) M Flora Bancroft (of PA) 

Wm Tilton & Flora Bancroft are maternal great grandparents.↲
 ____________
Before I forget:
Never forget the volunteers who diligently work on your records! I am thankful. This post was greatly helped by the Eastern Shore Public Library.
Without their helpful online information, I could not have done nearly as much research on the family in that part of the country. And, especially now that libraries are closed until the virus is weakened.
I thank tireless efforts of volunteers and librarians. One of whom, Mary Frances Carey, was paid tribute on their website. We owe a debt of gratitude for this important work. Volunteers who record this information, are people who should never be forgotten. An example of what is available here:
http://espl-genealogy.org/MilesFiles/site/p326.htm#i32522

Saturday, March 21, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #12 - Popular DNA, A Famly Tree & Finding a Missing Father

DNA & a Family Tree solve another Mystery
The popularity of DNA testing has risen and fallen off  (despite the fact that there is still an awful lot to learn, as well as more to unearth scientifically.)  But here's the thing. It's pretty useless without a way to connect you to other people. Which is why I always BEG people to build a family tree then to link their DNA results to that.
Like most people, when I tied together my family tree along with my DNA results, I get a lot of 4th cousins Also a hefty number of 2nd cousins. 
 And Then Came the Day It Was All Worth It
Then there was that day: the day I went on my DNA and found a new relation. I went over to my father's test results. The new relation was at the "1st cousin" level to him, that is quite close! 
In the past, I was the lucky recipient of DNA & a tree helping to break my brick wall, but in this one case my tree combined with DNA and some old school hacks helped another person thousands of miles away.
Solving the Mystery of the DNA Match
Let me jump back in time: 
In 1960 my parents scraped together some cash and we made a traditional American Trip. That is,  a cross country summer vacation.
Our route took us from upstate New York, through Ohio, the "i" states, Nebraska, KS, New Mexico,
Dad fixes a flat tire in New Mexico
and into Texas. Because we were so far west we stopped in at the only relative of my father's who had left the Northeast:
my paternal grandmother's brother (my father's uncle) & his wife. From there to the Air Force base in Wichita Falls, TX where my grandparents were briefly.
Denver yielded the glories of the mountains, a great trip up Pike's Peak. And we camped out at my father's uncle & his wife's house. We ate duck for dinner.
I remember Uncle Dick (not surprisingly) smoked and looked and sounded like my great uncles in New York City. Aunt Mae served us roast goose. Mmmm... That was it. (Could it have been my first genealogical trip before I studied genealogy?)
~58 YEARS LATER~
Oh, did I mention above, that it was 5 years ago that I had stumbled across my father's 1st cousin's DNA online? 
At the time, I sent a message to the owner of the DNA mentioning that he/she was a cousin of my father. Not knowing what else to say, I asked what state he/she was in.
The woman got back to me saying that her father was from the Midwest, and her mother was Mexican. She had no links to the East.
~Leaving it be
I let it drop there because I sensed either she was either busy, or not interested in learning more. 
~4 Years Later:
I got on Ancestry and found a message from the woman asking when were we in Colorado. (The DNA relationship verified that my dad was not her father).
However, my Uncle Dick had lived there for decades. He and his wife had had no children.
~A Month Passed
She told me that she found out she was adopted; I asked about the adoption records, were they unsealed?
Yes, she told me she knew her mother’s name. But, frustratingly, the father’s name was illegible
~DNA isn't Sufficient--You need Action
I got into Ancestry's database and pulled up the City Directory. I wrote down my Uncle Dicks occupation.
I pulled up a scanned photo of Dick & put it in a folder on my desktop (I scan all the photos I can--beginning with the oldest)
* Don't Throw Away That Address Book!
Next, before I emailed her back,  called my 92 year old mother. 
“Mom, can you give me Uncle Dick's  address from your Christmas card address book?” 
After a bit of rummaging around, she found it, read it off as I copied it down. 
 Circling Back
When I responded to the woman's message I had 3 valuable things to fill out the story:
1- a photo of Uncle Dick as a young man 
2 -Uncle Dick's occupation: He was a parole officer
Her bio father
3 -His exact address in 1960. 
 ~Shock and Reassurance
The adoptee wrote back both shocked and reassured.
1 - Shocked at the resemblance between her son and her bio dad (my great uncle).
2 - She had grown up right around the corner from my great uncle (her dad). To go anywhere by car, he had to pass the house she grew up in. She felt reassured that she grew up with two fathers to keep an eye on her.
3- Once she saw her biological father was a parole officer, she understood how it was that her birth certificate had been tampered with. You see, her adoptive father was the chief of police...



Thursday, March 12, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 #11- I'm the Lucky One

I'm the Lucky One

You cannot pick your children or any of your family, nor can you pick your parents. I consider myself lucky because my parents (though very different people from very different families/backgrounds) were loving to one another. And,that set a pattern in my life. This is post is how my parents "found" one another. From my mother's perspective, but had my father written it, I know he'd echo her sentiments.
----
Her Early interest directs path

I have to reach back for this memory to the time when I discovered I liked to draw. We were visiting Gram Tyson (my maternal grandmother) for a few weeks in the summer. I was on the front lawn in front of the Colonial period stone farmhouse where they lived. I told my mother that I’d dreamed about a white bear and she suggested that I draw a picture of it. That had never occurred to me, but I did. I have no idea what it was like or what happened to it, but I can thank my mother for getting me started. One of the things I enjoyed was making books of pictures. I remember I did one of a girl standing on a boat with a spyglass at her eye. Her legs were both straight, but one was shorter than the other, so I solved that visual problem by drawing a block under the shorter leg. My mother saved a watercolor I did in grade school of a house in which I added an attached shed. The teacher seemed delighted, but I was embarrassed because I heard her chuckle and tell another adult that I must have eaten butter with lunch because of the grease spot in the corner of the sky. (Note to teachers: Be careful what you say.)
Jenkintown, a Philadelphia suburb, had an excellent school system and I was able to have art all the way to 10th grade when we moved to the country. My father was in the Air Corps (as it was called at first) so I went to Biglerville High School, starting in the 10th grade.
There was an art teacher, but no art classes for the high school. Our teachers were either women or older men. I’m reminded of the popular song during the World War 2: it was a young woman’s complaint about the man shortage:
“The pickin’s is poor and the crop is lean. What’s good is in the army, what’s left will never harm me. I’ve looked the field over, and lo and behold, they’re either too young or too old.”
I couldn’t take art there, so I took first year Latin in my senior year. It was easy. I was in with freshman and spent many classes of kids reciting, sketching on the lined yellow tablets they gave us. I mostly drew young women.

College: Finding the Right Fit and Financing It
When we realized that I really wanted to study art, we looked at options. Moore Institute in Philadelphia had a good reputation as an art school, but it wasn’t co-ed and neither my mother nor I thought that was what I wanted. And I wanted some academic subjects, too. 
(At this point it looked as if I wasn’t going to follow the Tyson tradition of going to Penn State!)

We realized that the Rhode Island School of Design was the perfect fit. It was co-ed, it offered academic subjects, so I’d graduate with a bachelor’s degree. And it was a fair distance from home in what seemed like a rather exotic place, Rhode Island. It lived up to my expectations in every way. Plus, I met my future husband in my second year there.

Friends Introduce the Spouse-to-Be
My mother somehow got RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) to allow her to pay my tuition and room and board in installments, but that meant there was no extra money for me at all. Her sister who was childless, Aunt Margaret, sent me a dollar bill about twice a month, but that was it!

I got the names of my two roommates. One, Bette Jean (“Beej” to us pretty soon) Dukes whose divorced mother was well-off and owned homes in both Maryland and Delaware, not far from each other. The other was Shirley Thomson from Montclair, NJ so I took the train to her home and stayed overnight, and we went on to Rhode Island by train the next day. I thought they lived a rather elegant life, but knowing Shirley, I’m sure her mother was very good at keeping things in good shape. [For example, in school, every Saturday after we 3 cleaned our dorm room (imagine!).
Shirley would take out all her clothes, examine them for repairs, clean and press them! So, her modest wardrobe always looked great.] It was at their house the night before we left that I first tasted alcohol--wine. I didn’t care much for it then.

At college, we had a fairly large room with a skinny bathroom attached to it. (the only room with a bathroom. It was a charming very old building. A typical New England colonial building.)
>Rhode Island School of Design & Brown University Share Providence, RI<
Shirley was a beautiful blond with a gorgeous figure and had many more dates than Beej and I. We had some blind dates that were pretty awful. The dining hall was in another dorm (an elegant house dating from Edwardian times, I guess, which was my dorm for my other 3 years). The dining room was in that building (called Waterman house, it was on Waterman St.) and we walked about a block, through an alley between houses to get to the dining hall for all our meals. There was a fraternity house (for Brown University) across the street from Waterman house and the boys there sometimes dated RISD girls and invited us to their parties, sometimes.
Brown, and its female division shared the hill above the downtown part of Providence with RISD and several other colleges, I forget which, exactly.

As Luck Would Have It: One Man’s Loss Is Another’s Gain
In my junior year, a friend, but not very close, Nancy Dale, lived in one of the other dorms halfway down the hill [It’s still there, but no longer a dorm. They’ve torn down Waterman house (sinful!) and built a big, boring modern dorm].

One day Nancy asked if I wanted to go on a blind date with her and her friend Ed Muldoon’s classmate and friend. Of course, I said yes.
I don’t remember what we did...probably just walked downtown to Joe Bonana’s where you could get 5 cent beer in a big room with no d├ęcor, just low-backed booths. And then we ended up in Ed’s basement room on the hill.
Ed had been in the army and was older than all of us. Overweight and not very good looking but intelligent, witty and very funny. (He and Nancy married, lived in Connecticut, she free-lanced her typographical design work to NYC, and they finally retired to Florida. Nan is very athletic, owns a very small sailboat. Ed was not at all athletic, but a great talker). 
My BlindDate
My date was a super handsome, well-built guy, who was as intelligent as Ed and witty and funny…John Higgins. It turned out he wasn’t supposed to be on this date. They’d set it up for their buddy (whose name I forget. I never met him) who was very depressed because he was flunking out. He backed out and so John Higgins was called in at the last minute! I remember how handsome and funny and smart I thought he was.

It was the end of the school year. John walked me back to my dorm, but I don’t remember how many other dates we had that year. 
I knew I would be in a different dorm next year, but for some reason, didn’t tell John. I didn’t hear from him. Finally, the following fall he had to get Ed to find out from Nancy where I was.

John's Schooling:
John Higgins Sr-poss Freshman year
John could have attended Fordham for free because a local priest had gotten a scholarship for him and took him to visit Fordham. The iron gate clanging shut just turned him off and he didn’t accept it. How did he select Brown University? He had a list of colleges on offer with the Navy and choose the first on the list…Brown.. but it was alphabetical. 
It was our lucky day, though we didn’t know it.

John and Ed Muldoon were among the men on the GI bill who were getting their education from Uncle Sam, but with no frills!
I felt, even then, sorry for the young boys right out of high school, competing with these battle-hardened men, experienced, serious about their education and a few years older. John was at Brown because he joined the Navy ROTC. He got his education and $50 a month which had to cover everything else. These GIs didn’t live in Fraternity houses or dorms, but in rooms around Providence. RISD didn’t have dorm rooms for men, any of them, either. And we had men on the GI bill who were a good example of seriousness.
We did have some extra-curricular stuff including a chorus, which I joined.
A lack of $ was his problem all the way through. At one point he went to the authority at Brown to see if he could arrange a loan of some sort and was told to ask his father to send more money to him and they couldn’t seem to understand why that wasn’t possible.

Dating and Marriage
So, none of the 4 of us had any money. But it didn’t matter, we all loved talking and could make a glass of beer and a walk through the streets of Providence into a perfect evening out. John and I did lots of walking on our own.
J Higgins Freshman ROTC uniform

We’d walk up the hill through the rest of the city all the way to the river (which one, I’m not sure). I think it was the Seekonk. We’d stop at a diner and have apple pie and coffee sometimes.
And sometimes he’d take me to Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet which was a dance hall and we’d dance the Polka all Sat. eve. It was a largely Polish population there and could they Polka! Lots of fun.

Marriage
John and I were married the year I graduated but he still had a year to go. I’m not very proud of our behavior then. Yet both of our families were so patient with us although they knew we were being foolish. So, he worked that summer, or what was left of it. Brown did not know he was married (against the rules for the Navy). 

We lived in a large room on the 4th floor near the Brown campus. I was pregnant.  One of our good friends then was John Kinghorn (JK) who was the son of a well-off dr. from NY state. JK was the son of his old age, I think, and although intelligent, a little absent minded. He had made a foolish bet with some guy that he could gain a certain number of pounds by a certain time. John had brought his weights (for weight lifting) with him in our second hand car and we had them in our room.
JK would do the exercises my husband had scheduled for him in our one room.
Neither of them graduated that year! John missed graduating because somehow, he missed taking a music or art class in the required distribution list.

The friends from our double date Ed and Nancy got married, and our friend John Kinghorn stayed in Providence and did another year at Brown.
Luck Runs out?
But John had to resign from the Navy, of course, and we moved back to his home in Woodbourne, NY and lived with his folks (imagine!? They were so good to me!).
John worked at 2 jobs that summer and our first baby was born June 5. 
Our first years were difficult financially and probably a waste of our talents and his brain, but, we neither of us wanted to live in a city so we never moved far from that area.
Turning Hard Work into “Luck”
As it turned out, we lived where we wanted to.
John went on to earn a bachelors, Masters and, eventually a PhD in Economics, all while working full time and travelling and raising 4 children and becoming active in local government (the Town Planning Board Chairman for many years).
I knew he wrote scholarly articles but had no idea how many until after he died, and I found a folder of them in a desk.
I always thought he was the most handsome, intelligent man I ever knew.
Mr and Mrs Higgins about 1955

Sunday, March 8, 2020

52 Ancestors 2020 - #10 Strong Woman

STRONG WOMAN - Catherine Barnwell 1911-1992

Showcasing a single woman who I find in my family tree as “strong” is a tough choice: Not because there are so few, but because there are so many. Perhaps they did not cross the prairie to build a farm, but their life was full of problems.
The woman I knew, and who, in retrospect, must have grown stronger with time as she went through their troubles would be my father's mother.

Catherine came from impoverished circumstances and never finished high school (which wasn't uncommon). She went through a plenty of belt-tightening and a lot of heartache. But there was a lot of love in her life.

HER FAMILY
Catherine Florence Barnwell was born 2 September 1911 in New York, New York in Harlem (Washington Heights)  (died 4 Jun 1992, Sullivan County, NY).
Her father, John Joseph Lawrence Barnwell (1881-1948) was born in Brooklyn, her mother was Agnes McCune (1886-1948 of NYC).
All of her grandparents were of Irish heritage, apart from one who was Scottish (her mother's father).
Her parents had 11 children (that I have record of).

MARRIAGE & CHILDREN
Teen-age years: nonexistent. Catherine never had teen age years--she cut it short by getting married young. She married my grandfather Victor “Jack” Higgins (born in 1905) who was 6 years her senior. She was born in 1911 and married in 1927.
She was 16 when she wed, and her husband was an “old man” at 22 years old. Prior to turning 17 she had her first child, Alice, who died within a day. As it turned out, two of her children died within the first month of life, Alice and Edward.

By the time she turned 21 she had had 4 children, but only two were still alive: my father John, and his brother Thomas.

In the 1930s the family moved out of New York City for a job. This was good for the family (as they had money to live on), but it must have been difficult for her as she was no longer close to her family. In that era, driving the 100 miles from New York to the mountains Upstate was a long trip, not done in the winter. I imagine that being a Big City girl who's now living in the country, where you know almost no one, and are cooped up in the house most of year because you have to watch your children, etc.,  would have been a huge change as well as very boring and lonely.

LIFE

In 1943, before she turned 32, they were a family with 8 children.
That year, another son Thomas died (cause unknown), leaving a 5 year gap between my father (1929) and the next child, Joseph (1934).
After Tommy died she had 3 more children. In all, she had 14 children, 10 of them lived to adulthood.  

SUDDEN TURN OF EVENTS

Burned House


My father entered college in the 1940s. His parents had no money to call him (and likely no free time, either.) They surprised one day with a phone call in 1948.
They called to tell him that when he returned home on his next break, that "home" wasn't there anymore. They'd been burned out.
A kerosene heater had been knocked over and causing a fire that raced through the house.
My uncle Joe and my grandfather raced back inside to make sure  all the kids out.
As a consequence both of them had to be treated in the hospital for their burns.
At the time the (rented) house burned my grandmother was only 37 years old.
Uncle Joe awarded for heroism
After the fire, the helpful community generously gave them blankets and such to help get the family restarted. Note that it was deep winter--the fire had occurred on February 14. That huge family needed to live somewhere--and it needed to be a large place. Someone offered them a house which was empty as their temporary shelter.
The problem was the house. It was in New York in the winter and the house had no insulation, it also lacked plumbing.  As the house had been vacant, I imagine it was in bad repair.  But they had no other option.
Catherine takes a break

I learned through family interviews that they had lost most of their photos. (Poor people usually had few because you had to pay for development of the film). Members of her extended family gave my grandmother the photos she had given to them. What photos we have now are those which were given back to the family.
I was going through my aunt's box of photos and dug into the paper scraps at the bottom. One often finds interesting pieces of a story in written documents, and this day I found a bit of information. There was a letter from a lawyer to my grandfather in 1948. The bank had engaged the law firm to make sure my grandfather was good for a mortgage to build a new house.
But apparently my grandfather had borrowed about $800 and had not yet paid it back. Why or when he borrowed the money wasn't stated. But, of course, before he could get a mortgage, the letter informed him he had to deal with the lien. Somehow they figured out how to build the house. 
They stayed in the old "loaner" of a house until their house was built, probably finished 1949/1950.
It was a modest affair, built by a local carpenter. They could not afford the finest.  But it suited their needs. My grandmother had a washing machine in the kitchen, next to the refrigerator.
There was a half bath downstairs. and one full upstairs. Upstairs were 4 bedrooms (mostly filled with beds), and one downstairs. The driveway was unpaved, I think, until I left for college in 1973.

But they did move in to the new house. And by then my grandfather had had steady work for over 10 years. I think they must have felt they were living like royalty by then.

MORE FAMILY
Catherine's family lived in the greater New York City area, 100 miles away. But my grandfather had moved his own mother (who had married after he was grown) and his 2 half-brothers near them so he could look after his mother as she was often unwell, and couldn't work. She too lived on very little.
And for a short time his mother and half-brothers lived with Catherine & "Jack" but it was short-lived, as it "didn't work out."
Now that her mother-in-law and her husband's half brothers were settled nearby, there were more people to watch out for, to assist, to feed (if need be).
Of course, holidays huge with 12 in the family, plus the Higgins/Devaney (her in-laws), bringing the total to 15 people. Their new house was big but it wasn't huge.
Normally the family ate in shifts and they all learned how to be efficient.

HANK HELPS OUT
One day "Hank" Monahan came into their lives-probably in the 1940s.  With all those people, the work and school hours, there was a lot of work to be done, and it seemed Hank was almost always around to help out. There was always movement in that household.
Hank would babysit the kids when needed, help with some of the tasks at the house, and peel potatoes to name a few. Hank remained a single man (I assume he never married) and worked, and babysat, and was a "part" of the Higgins family.
Hank holding 2 of the children
Always ready to lend a helping hand in exchange for a meal, a cup of tea, and a place to sit. He always had a place at the table, or a seat in the living room. I have a photo of him helping out when they went back to the burned house. Hank's gravestone is near my grandparents in Woodbourne. (So the Find-A-Grave people now know he was no blood relative.)

LIFE BEGINS AT 40?
One by one the children moved away, went to college, got married.
It seemed each married child gave their parents several grandchildren (from 3 to 7 children a piece).

But then “Kitty”  Richard’s twin sister, wife and mother of four small boys died suddenly of diabetic shock. Her littlest boy found her still body. This was 1965, and Kitty was 29 years old.

My grandparents became substitute parents for the children, and my 54 year old grandmother was now the “mother” of these four boys. Their father could not give them the attention they needed.

In February 1969, one day my grandfather had been at work at the Correctional Facility where he was employed in Woodbourne. And the next day he was admitted to the hospital.
Within a week he was better and preparing to go home. The day he was to leave the hospital, he died, a complication brought on by his diabetes.

He had just celebrated his 64th birthday at the end of December. Her husband’s sudden death was 3 ½ years after her daughter’s death. When she became a widow, Catherine was 56, not yet 57 years old, she had survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, lost four children.

LIFE GOES ON

She lived for another 23 years after my grandfather died.


Catherine Barnwell & Victor “Jack” Higgins’ children. (highlighted children predeceased her)
1 Alice 1927-1927
2 John Victor 1929-2015
3 Thomas Patrick 1931–1943
4 Edward 1932–1932

5 Joseph Lawrence 1934–2000
6 Catherine F 1936–1965
7 Richard Michael 1936–2013
8   Girl 1 – B 1937
9   Girl 2 – B 1940
10 Girl 3 - B 1941
12 Girl 4 - B 1944
13 Girl 5 - B 1945
14 Girl 6 - B 1947

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

52 Ancestors -2020 # 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.
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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.