Thursday, September 25, 2014

52 Ancestors #38 Andreas Brinker, Swiss Immigrant to PA

The Swiss Family Tilton?
My mother’s father, Charles Tilton, always said he was English. And this is true, in part. But on his maternal grandmother’s mother he’s also Swiss (Zurich area) and German.

You're wondering: how? But you're afraid of a long answer. I'll give you the short answer. 
To do that, I have to break every rule in the book and genealogists reading this will hate me for doing it. I posted an easy-to-read chart with your answer. This chart shows how my grandfather, Charles Tilton (and anyone related or to him) is Swiss (and German).

How to read the chart:
~The bottom and the top green boxes show my mother (living) and the first male who emigrated from Switzerland to the colonies (USA). 
~The next ancestor, his son, who was also born in Switzerland and immigrated with the family, is on the left & below him in blue.
~All decedents on the left side are direct descendants of the original immigrant from Switzerland.
~Males are in blue, females in pink. 
~Marriages are indicated my any horizontal line.

~Only the foreign births are noted and bolded. I’m leaving the details to another post.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

52 Ancestors-# -37 - Ruth Ida Antilla, Mother-in-law

[I write here a stream of my own memories of my mother-in-law. But since she is my grandchildren's  great grandmother, I think this has a place in the Past Remains blog. For privacy (since this is the generation one before my own), I have used names of only deceased relatives. If you know the family, you’ll know the other names by the context.]
My mother-in-law Ruth was a predictable but sometimes puzzling to me—as all people are. She was very smart but never believed it of herself.
She was a sensitive to what people thought of her, and often sided with people she felt were being treated unfairly. I think her anxiety level was high good portion of her life (that she soaked up the news daily, TV news before bed and smoked cigarettes must have added to her natural anxiety. 
She declared her shyness but was always talking to strangers. Possibly she felt less nervous once she broke the ice talking to complete strangers.
She fairly blunt, and often spoke what was on her mind but tempered that inclination with age. She was a true believer in psychology. She always wanted to know why people did things, as though understanding their reasons might make a difference.
She read a lot. But she seemed to feel a bit guilty about reading, so she kept quiet about it. Occasionally I’d pick up a book on her table and ask her about it, perhaps begin reading it. If I borrowed it, upon returning it, I’d always ask her, “Why didn’t you recommend that book? It was good.” She’d just wave her hand dismissively or ignore my question.
She loved puzzles: crossword and other word puzzles.
Her husband-to-be, John, had returned from World War 2, (probably still traumatized) and thin. Ruth was likely dreaming of a making a home for a family–to-be, and getting away from her own home life, as many of their generation were looking forward to. They were married in July of 1946 in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, she was 21 and he was 23.

Old postcard of Pearly Lake; West Rindge, NH-not far from Jaffrey
They had a stormy marriage—but that’s not rare. However, they stuck it out, and were faithful to each other. They argued a good deal, and only late in life did they cease the continual, trivial bickering. But, they stuck to the marriage through all the ups and downs. I credit them both.

I got the impression they generally stuck to their gender roles pretty closely, but it is hard to determine why. Perhaps because they were of a generation in which gender roles were pretty definitely defined.
If I stayed overnight I’d find she’d made toast and had a cup of coffee all ready for me in the morning.
Free-for-all-ing it in the kitchen wasn’t standard practice: she’d make dinner and carry it to the table, or lunch or breakfast.
Now and then my father-in-law would pitch in with some of food preparation, but I think she liked doing things her way.
I once asked her why she did all the cooking, cleaning, etc. She said she liked doing it her way. Fair enough.
She also handled the books and paid the bills and did the correspondence. She was very hands-on about her household: she would allow relatives or friends to help her with work but she never did hire anyone to do her cleaning.
It seemed to me that laundry day was still a production as it had been in the 1930s when you had wringer washer, and hung the clothes out on the line to dry. Her washer and dryer were machines for which she seemed to have a certain level of fondness and respect.
After she had canned vegetables or made jam, she did something I have never seen before or since. She would make frequent trips back to the kitchen to check on the jars. I understand an occasional check, but she’d go in and look at them as if she’d just given birth. My husband speculates that it gave her a good feeling, perhaps a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of security by putting up canned goods.
She was not only smart, but she also had a great memory for my friends & relatives, and for prices and wages. I don’t think she forgot a friend of mine, even if she’d never met him.
She did have employment, usually part time, through the years.
Her Background
She was the eldest of the five children, with one brother (who died at 52 of alcoholism).
As she told it, her parents had a troubled marriage.
She was a naturally anxious person and the eldest child and became quite stressed when her parents would leave her to babysit the younger siblings—likely before she was old enough to do it.
Her father was an alcoholic and the parents would go out drinking and dancing, leaving her responsible for the house and siblings.
Remember, this was the 1930s, before cell phones and paved roads for cars were new but not very safe. Cars were quite unsafe. There were many fewer phones in homes, and pay phones tended to be in cities. Death by car accident was not unusual.
Her parents had her answer the door when a bill collector came—and she had to say her parents weren’t home. She hated that, quite sure the bill collectors knew she was put up to it by her parents. She felt guilty about lying for her parents.
She felt very close to her sisters and loved them very much. She always spoke of Jaffrey, New Hampshire as “over home” though she’d lived in New York for nearly all of her adult life (except for a short period in Florida & in New Hampshire).
Eastern New York where she settled was close enough to drive “over home” for a weekend or short holiday. Likely, living a bit far away made “over home” take on a nostalgic aura.
Ruth & I
Though our initial encounters were a bit rocky, I still miss Ruth. She died when I was living in Washington, DC. I’m glad she got to meet our daughter-in-laws, and she saw our sons grow up into fine, good and kind men.
1970s-Ruth and I have our first encounter
I first met Ruth in December of 1974; my husband and I were not engaged but only dating (if you call going to eat a sub together a date). He is the only son and has four sisters.
Initially Ruth was wary of me. It was nothing personal, at least, I didn’t think so.
For my first visit to their house I was with a group of college friends and we were on our way to attend a meeting in Albany. My husband had made his parents’ house available for us overnight as it was several miles northeast of Albany.  Ruth targeted me to sleep on her bedroom floor, perhaps so she could keep her eye on me? I think his dad was working overnight. While the rest of the crew slept downstairs, tucked away in various places. 
My husband’s youngest sister (who is my age) attended a different college in the same town. We got to know one another that first year and became friends (and still are).
Later, sometime in 1975, I was invited back to their homestead for another visit (I can’t recall the season or reason). I recall washing dinner dishes (she had no dishwasher there). By then we were informally engaged. I don’t know how supportive of it she was, but I’m sure she didn’t want her son being married young to some flibbertigibbet.
After dinner I offered to wash the dishes. As I washing them, she stood nearby and critiqued my dishwashing. That was fine up to a point.
When I was finally exasperated with her, I said, “Here, if you want to do it, then I’ll let you do it.” I stepped back from the sink, but she was mollified and let me continue in peace.
So was our pattern: if she nagged me, riding me too long, I’d eventually push back and she’d back off. I never was angry about it. I preferred that to her having a secret hatred for me. We had a very honest relationship.
Backing up a bit to our pre-marriage period:
What I didn’t know was that she was apprehensive about letting her son get married. She began to give my husband-to-be grief about it, putting him in a difficult and uncomfortable spot between his mother and his fiancĂ©.  Finally my husband’s youngest sister (and my friend) suggested she back off, that I was good for him, etc. Whatever she said, Ruth paid I thank you, little sister! (you know who you are).
Early Years: Wedding and Africa
1976 – Ruth and John (the parents of the groom) attended our wedding in the Catskill Mountains. She told  (broadcasted?) everyone how difficult is to find my parent’s house and how they had gotten lost on the way (the wedding was nearby our home). It seemed she talked to anyone and everyone at the wedding
Ruth and John @ our wedding (on end, leaning over) 1976
1976 -We lived in Syracuse for a few months before our first overseas experience together. We had a 2 bedroom apartment but very little furniture (no beds and one mattress).
Ruth and John came for their first visit to the son & daughter-in-law’s apartment. It dawned on me that I was to make dinner for four of us!
But I'd been busy working long hours at my job,  and we didn’t have a proper stove, just a hot plate and a used deep fryer from my mother.
I had gotten the vegetables and the potatoes ready for dinner but was puzzling over what to do with the chicken. I decided to fry the chicken, but was proceeding very slowly (never having made fried chicken before).
Ruth was in the kitchen and I could see she was getting fidgety. Having had her delicious cooking, I knew she was not only experienced, but also a good cook. When she finally offered to lend a hand I was relieved (and I am sure she was, too).
I don’t recall if we had dessert. If we did, it was likely ice cream. No, they didn’t stay overnight.
1977-In January we were headed off to Africa. At the time we didn’t know when we would return, we each had a one-way ticket and not all that much money.
We decided to spend Thanksgivings with my family and Christmases with his family (we added New Year’s Eve with my family later).
We spent the Christmas of 1976 with his family.
Ruth liked the little plastic snow-covered Christmas church which had a light inside. She placed it on the fake snow on top of the big boxy television set, then set the little wax figures of choir members around the church.

Christmas 1984
The Christmas tree they had in Valley Falls was real, it wasn’t slick (which is just as I like them). When the moved to Warrensburg they got an artificial tree.
[As an aside, perhaps it was that year that I first realized she waved goodbye to us the same way every time we departed from a visit: she stood at the window waving till you were far out of sight every time you left her house.]

Ruth and John drove us to my parents' house in January 1977. My dad drove us to the bus depot in Liberty, and we left for JFK (NYC) for our flight to Africa. I think this photo was taken the day they drove us to my parents' house. Ruth is holding an Instamatic camera, I believe.

January 1977 dropping us off

Africa 1
She made sure we stayed in touch while in Africa. (Remember this was before cell phones and the use of the internet by civilians).
We actually called home (via a landline) and talked to them one Christmas.
We  also tape-recorded ourselves and sent it to them; and they returned the tape to us with some chit-chat when her sisters and brother-in-laws from Jaffrey were visiting them. That was precious.
She sent us (for some reason which I forget) some cash (not much, $10?) in the mail. When this went through the Nairobi Post Office, it was stolen. It was an impulsive gesture and was an object lesson for us both.
We wrote long letters on aerogram paper and she responded to them with her husband adding a PS. She kept all the aerograms we sent her, and handed them back to us when we returned. That was a precious gesture to me.
~When our car wasn’t sold and someone “drove it off a cliff,” she handled the paperwork.
~When we (stupidly and belatedly) realized we had to pay taxes for the year before moved away, she handled that paperwork.
~When we tried to set up a business with a friend from college selling African-made trinkets, and when there was a dispute about money, she was (reluctantly) involved.
~She provided a storage place for the few items we wanted to preserve.
Were we shallow and selfish? Yes; are we  grateful? Yes! We returned to the US in 1979.

We were living in the Albany area, about a 25-35 minute drive from Valley Falls (in Latham, Schenectady, and Guilderland for very short periods).
We lived in the city of Albany for about five years.

I never had wedding china because I never wanted it or needed it. In the early 1980s a supermarket was making white-and-blue china available to buy with a certain number of stamps collected and the price was fairly low.
I had always liked her dishware from the 70s as it had symbols from the bicentennial (the year we were wed), called "Liberty Blue."
Ruth asked if I would accept some dishes that were similar. By then I needed some so gladly accepted and then I got hooked on blue-and-white plates. I have a few pieces of her 1970s collection.

Liberty Blue plate
The house in Valley Falls was a good retreat from the busyness of working, doing “things” (whatever 20 year old marrieds without kids do), taking care of our stuff on the weekend and dealing with friends who were slightly off-kilter (as many of my single friends in their 20s were).
Sunday afternoons we got in the habit of escaping to Valley Falls.
There we’d snooze and recharge and we’d have lunch and chat about nothing. Then, as Ruth’s delicious pork roast, or beef roast (or whatever was cooking) she’d ask if I wanted tea.
I wasn’t accustomed to having someone older than me wait on me. She’d sit in the living room and we’d talk about just about everything. 
I enjoyed talking to her, of course we didn’t always agree, but it didn’t matter and it never got in the way of our conversation. She was good at interviewing people, she had a high EQ, as they would say today.

Our children were born in the 1980s and she, when asked, would babysit them. She did love babies and came to visit each child right after their birth.  My own parents lived a good two-hour trip away and both worked full-time jobs. Ruth worked part-time for several years (I forget when she quit) but her job was within walking distance of their house, so she didn’t have a hard commute, so she was the more likely candidate for babysitting.

Getting satisfactory gifts for her 16 grandchildren over such a large age range probably wasn’t easy, and she tried to economize at the same time.

One Christmas she ordered handmade Christmas ornaments bearing each grandchild’s name. These were to be a special gift for the grandchildren to enjoy when they were older. She was quite pleased that she could give this to each of them.

For many years she knitted slippers for Christmas for each grandchild, her children and their spouses. She seemed gratified that they were in such demand.

Ruth was a very good cook and she enjoyed it. Granted, her foods were high in fat and salt, and traditional New England. Still, they were delicious.
Sunday dinner was quite the affair. If she knew we were going to be there, she’d often (I assume because I was the only daughter-in-law) call me first and ask me what I wanted to eat, or check to see if I “ate green beans” (or whatever). This is more common now with allergy concern and vegetarians but then this was not customary at all. Guests ate what was served.

She was particular about food: if she thought one brand was superior to another, she spent the extra money on it, though she economized in just about everything else.

Ruth was proud of each of her grandchildren. She’d frequently call to check on each family.
Ruth’s phone calls helped me out enormously in those times. It was supportive and helpful to talk to  an adult and not a peer, who had raised children. It helped me keep perspective (which is a large part of keeping your sanity).
When my husband was commissioned to be a diplomat in Washington DC, they came down to see his commissioning service. Ruth would still call me with frequently.

Visiting us in Mexico
By the late 1980s we were living in Mexico in the Mexican State of Tamaulipas.
We got Ruth and John to fly down to visit us (they flew to Texas and we drove them to Mexico). I bought a comfortable bed for guest room.  We had a patio so that they could smoke.
The parents enjoyed their stay.

Ruth said it was difficult to get used to having Maria (our days-only maid) make her bed. She'd ask:
“Don’t you feel bad about having Maria do things for you?”

“No, because she wants and needs this job, and we pay her well.”
“Does it bother you having her here in your apartment?”
“No, I do my work and she does hers. Then we have all weekend and holidays without her help.”
“I guess…but…”

Our maid Maria (blue sweater) her son & parents at their home c 1987
She never got used to having household help, she wasn’t comfortable with it. I think she felt she was a snob if she let Maria do anything.
Even after I explained that if we lived had we not hired someone and that it would be bad, as we’d be seen as too miserly to give someone a job, it was difficult for her to accept, although she understood it intellectually.

And traveling in Mexico...
Things went well during their visit: we went to go up to South Padre Island to the beach and visited the zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

The glamorous life of a diplomat in line waiting to cross from Mexico to Texas. 1987
We had plans to drive to Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the state of Tamaulipas.
Our trip to Ciudad Victoria took us across the barren interior of the state. Ruth and John and the children were in the back seats of the consulate SUV (borrowed with permission).

We had just crested a rise in the middle of nowhere when we came upon a make-shift roadblock. It looked like an informal militia, but my husband says it was regular members of the Mexican army. It seemed that there was one purpose of the roadblock: to extract money from travelers.

Guns were brandished about and my husband was explaining (in Spanish) that he was a member of the diplomatic community and so ….
I was thinking, I guess they’re not allowed to try to extract bribes from him as he’s a diplomat? I wasn’t sure if these men would grasp that fine point.
Still, my husband continued talking to them to wheedle our way out of the situation.
Quite suddenly Ruth exploded,
“They’re not getting my purse from me! Oh no, they’re NOT!”
Glancing over my shoulder I saw Ruth had the purse clamped under her arm and both hands squarely over the top.
My husband continued talking while I wondered at the scene—the son and mother both, in their own way, pushing back against a small group of armed militia who evidently felt it was OK to color outside the lines. It was somewhat comical.
The rest of us were mere spectators (except for my occasional emphatic nod to my husband’s rapid-fire, earnest insistence that he’s the ‘vice-consul.’)

They had some dogged Gringos on their hands. Finally, I don’t know if they were tired of the obstinacy, or whether my husband had chewed them down with his energy, they just let us go on through.

In the late 1980s we returned to the Albany area and were living in a suburb. The grandparents downsized and moved to Warrensburg, NY.
Ruth never did move “over home,” after all, her children and grandchildren were in New York, which was compelling enough reason to remain. 

The day she moved to Warrensburg, she burst into tears. After that it seemed, apart from reading the Troy Record, she didn’t seem to miss Valley Falls much.

Now and then I had mentioned to Ruth with her interest all things medical,  she could be a nurse.
Then, once she moved to Warrensburg, Ruth put her energy into volunteering at the town’s health clinic.
She also volunteered at the Methodist Church there (as she had been in Valley Falls).
In the 1990s both of us were returning university students and had jobs, and our children were in school. The pace of life had picked up and we were far too busy but visiting them in Warrensburg was still a Sunday tradition.

In 1990 my husband began traveling for weeks at a time internationally for his work. Calling overseas was extremely expensive and VOIP (using a computer, such as Skype) was something no one had (that I knew).
Ruth would call me at least once a week when he was on a trip, just to check on the family—that was very thoughtful.

Despite a postage stamp sized kitchen and an electric stove, she still served up wonderful Sunday dinners, we still visited over tea, spouses slumbered.
Ruth would keep something on hand for the kids, Goldfish crackers as a treat, or perhaps some Wise potato chips. She’d allow the children to watch the show of their choice.

They had two spare bedrooms and as she was a bit of a packrat, they were always full of things (did she still have her 1960s era set of encyclopedias?). There were old papers, very old paid bills and tax forms from many years past, kewpie dolls or other things she fancied from the 1920s-1930s, and silver coins she’d collected through the years. 

Occasionally, we asked them to watch the children if we needed to take a short overnight or two away. Apart from the (normal) boredom of being in a "grownup" house (nothing to do) and the perpetual haze of being with two smokers (sorry, kids!), I think they enjoyed it—and enjoyed being back home, too.
My father-in-law died in 1999 and Ruth died in February of 2010.

I think she was one of the more adept conversationalists I have ever met. I’d bet she might have made a good story teller had she wanted to.

If you asked me of my typical memory of her, she'd walk into the living room (whether in Valley Falls or Warrensburg), a cigarette in hand, just slightly behind her back. “Charity, you want a cup of tea?”
After my affirmative answer, she’d be back in a few minutes with a mug on a saucer and the mantra, “I don’t know how long you want that bag in.” Returning a few minutes later with her own cup, she’d light up another cigarette; take a drag and a sip of tea.

She'd begin:
“What do you think of what the president said on TV?” or,
Gah! Isn’t it terrible what happened in XYZ?” or,
“How are your parents, Charity? Don’t they get terrible snowed in?” 

[Good conversationalists always ask questions: open-ended opinion questions and then redirect depending on the response.]
We’d talk weather, news, politics, state politics, and religion.

She never forgot to ask me about my husband’s youngest sister (and my now best friend) as she knew we talked at least once a week.
Ruth gave me delicious recipes, some New England jargon and no, never lost her New England accent.

Ruth & son August 2007
Ruth asks me about genealogy 
She spoke fondly of her Finnish grandmother, Ida. I assume Ruth’s middle name comes from her grandmother’s first name.
Back when Ancestry and I were "infants" in online genealogy (in the days of DOS and dot-matrix printers) she wrote down the information on Ida Paavola of Finland, and the husband (her grandfather) Henry Antilla (Heikki Anttila) and gave it to me. She asked me to find out what I could.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found out much more than she gave me.
I can track the Antilla's  movement from the east to Minnesota (he was a stone mason) and their subsequent return to New England. But I’ve not gotten far in Finland. I did find out that Anttila is a very common Finnish name.

However, I know a good deal about her other ancestors. Today I could tell her that she’s got a long, long line of New England ancestors, almost back to the Mayflower.  And, that most of her ancestors were Revolutionary War soldiers.

Ruth's parents 
Antti (or Andrew) Antilla married
Marion Lottie  Cook on 10 Aug 1925 in Marlboro, NH (Ruth’s parents)
 Ruth Ida B. 1925 Jaffrey New Hampshire, 
Married: John Johnson 13 Jul 1946 (age 21) Jaffrey, NH
D. 17 Feb 2010 Glens Falls, NY
& 4 children: 3 younger girls and one younger boy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

52 Ancestors-#36 Bertha Charity Hawxhurst From 1899 to 1940s

Bertha Charity Hawxhurst From 1899 to 1940s
Bertha was the youngest of six children. Her eldest sibling, Mary Willis, was nearly 19 years older than she.  Sister Mary married Edwin (Ned) Comly Tyson in 1887, uniting the Hawxhurst family of Long Island, NY and Tyson family of Pennsylvania.
Then, in 1899 some twelve years after Mary & Ned's wedding, Ned's brother Chester his parents a letter apparently saying that he and Mary's sister Bertha were planning to get married. (I’m not sure where he was when he sent the letter). 
Here is Chester's father, Charles John Tyson's loving response:
1899 Chester's father's response engagement to be married
I can only guess that father Charles, knowing her upbringing (in an established family on Long Island), hoped Bertha was prepared to be content living in the country as the wife of a farmer.
Chester had received his parents' blessing and not long afterwards (Feb 16, 1901). Bertha and Chester were wed before a Justice of the Peace in Jersey City, N.J.
Chester J. Tyson as a young man

Indeed, Bertha did live the life of a busy farm wife. Not the least because she and Chester had many children: twelve of them over the course of 20 years (1901-1921). Two of the twelve were females, my grandmother was the eldest daughter. Her sister never had children. 

Though they lived in the country, several miles north of Gettysburg, life was busy.
But there are too many stories to cover in one blog post.
There were so many family events, farm events and business events, it seems that Bertha and Chester were always in motion. To simplify things, I've broken up the years between 1899-1940 into mini-eras:
~Children born 1902-1906: Don, Bob, Elizabeth, & Margaret
~Bertha's father-in-law Charles John Tyson dies 1906.
Bertha Charity Hawxhurst Tyson stylin'
The big town of Biglerville, some miles from the farm,1912
~Child born: Frederick
~Bertha's father William Ephraim Hawxhurst dies 1908

1910 Bumper Crop of fruit in Adams County
~Children born 1909-1915: Phil, Stan, June(Chester Jr), Ralph
~Bertha's  mother Marianna Hicks dies 1915

~World War 1
~Children born 1916-1921: Paul "Dix," Alan, Norman
The so-called Roarin' 20s were perhaps her busiest years of child rearing.
(Someone of that period wrote, “We didn’t know it was the Roarin' 20s until about 1935.”)

~ Bertha began keeping a diary regularly about 1925.
Tysons abt 1925
~Chester's mother (mother-in-law) Maria Edith Griest Tyson dies 1927
~Children Bob, Elizabeth, Don got married in the 1920s, (1926 & 1927) 

Will (left) and Chester at George School back in the day
Schooling & College
Many (not all) of their children at one time or another attended George School and/or Penn State.

Charles B Tilton, Penn State met many Tysons, incldng  Elizabeth Tyson.
1925-1928 -Financial Woes
Chester (and others, notably Ned) worked very hard at resolving the business's financial problems. In  1925 Bertha first mentions Chester has “involved” her. From reading the diaries it seems the burden took quite a toll on him.
Here are a few of the mentions from Bertha’s diary of 1925:
...Feb frequent mentions Chester's fatigue and worry
..on Feb 7-“Chester quite worried over finances”
..on Feb 10-“Chester much worried over finances – involving me!”
..on Mar 28 mentions Chester seeing "lawyer regarding payment"
..on May  1 – Chester… “finances again”
..The rest of May she frequently refers to Chester as,“very fatigued” “v. tired”
..on May 21 – “Can’t sleep-finances again!”
..on Dec 21 – “Chester worried about finances!”

1928 Bankruptcy
~After the bankruptcy (see article below) in 1928 Chester,Bertha & family moved to Crestmont at the Adams/Cumberland county line. 
This after all the holdings around Flora Dale were sold at Sheriff's Sale.
Crestmont had been bought at the sale by E. I. Nicodemus of Waynesboro. 
He gave Chester, Bertha’s husband, a good deal in return for running the farm for him: he had to just cover interest on the mortgage and pay taxes.

Skip ahead, or if you are interested in reading the details, below is an article about the sale of the farm from The Gettysburg Times.
The Gettysburg Times, Thursday, April 5, 1928
Six Tyson Farms Sell High; 'Crestmont' Brings $30,400; Orchardists are Gratified G. W. Koser, Trustee In Bankruptcy, Disposes Of Chester J. Tyson Real Estate, And Declares Results "Speak Well For Faith Of Prominent Orchardists In Industry Of Adams County"; All Purchasers Announced.
The Chester J. Tyson orchard farms in upper Adams county, at public sales held Wednesday by G. W. Koser, of Biglerville trustee in bankruptcy, on the various farms, sold for a total of $106,800. This is the largest sale of orchard property held in Adams county in years and expressions on every hand today by prominent orchardists are to the effect that the prices "are highly gratifying and hold out high hope for the future of the apple industry in the county." Practically all the farms brought prices considerably above the official appraisal value placed upon them, in the bankruptcy proceedings. Six farms were sold throughout the day, as advertised in The Gettysburg Times the last four weeks. The"Crestmont Farm" of 170 acres, situated partly in Dickinson township, Cumberland county and largely in Huntington township, Adams county, along the state road leading from Biglerville to Mount Holly Springs, brought the highest price of all the farms sold. It was purchased, by E. A. Nicodemus, of Waynesboro, prominent Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and Washington county, Maryland, fruit grower, for $30,400. That was the first farm sold during the day and the sale took place at 10 o'clock in the morning. The "Morrison Farm" of 58 acres, situated partly in the borough, of Bendersville and part in Menallen township, was purchased by Howard C. Hartley, of Gettysburg, for $6,500. "Edgemont Farm" Brings $25,500 The "Edgemont Farm," sold at 3 o'clock Wednesday afternoon on the premises, and the last farm sold during the day, brought the second high price of $25,500. It was purchased by E. V. Bulleit, Gettysburg attorney at-law, for M. E. Knouse, large owner in the Peach Glen cannery and prominently identified with the fruit growing industry of Adams county. This farm comprises 252 acres and is situated in Menallen township along the road leading from Bendersville to Arendtsville. The "Sheely Farm" of 149 acres, situated in Menallen township, also on the public road leading from Bendersville to Arendtsville, was purchased by the Loco Realty company, of New York City, for Heller Brothers, Inc., for $18,200, and the "House Farm" of 168 acres on the same road was bought by the same interests at a price of $16,400. The "Bream Farm" in Menallen township, comprising 128 acres and situated west of Bendersville along the road leading from Bendersville to Arendtsville, was purchased by C. H. Musselman, Biglerville canner, for $9,800. Mr. Koser expressed his satisfaction over the results of the sale, which "speak well for the faith, of prominent orchardists in the future of the business."

~Crestmont Orchards:

Within a year or two, Chester Tyson opened a fruit stand by the house. 
Legend has it that E.I. Nicodemus allowed him to keep all profits from the stand.
Instead of paying off the principal, Chester used those proceeds to pay for his children's schooling, including at Penn State and George School. 

In her diaries that Bertha often injects a monetary amount. This might be the day's take from the stand.
~In 1930 Bertha's sister Florence died.
~Then year following, 1931, Chester’s sister, Mary Anna died. 

Ann, Elizabeth, Margaret, and "Mardy" and Bertha, early 1931

"Mardy" and Elizabeth, Chester, Charles Tilton's mother, 3 Tyson men & Margaret c 1931 

Chester & Bertha Tyson 1932

Crestmont Orchard Ad 1935
Though the Depression was upon them, in June of 1937 they celebrated the 50th Wedding Anniversary of sister Mary Willis Hauxhurst and brother Edwin (Ned) Tyson.

50th Anniversary, the Tyson brothers with their wives. Chester & Bertha on right

Transcription from the Gettysburg Times:
Original Wedding Suit, Dress Worn At E. C. Tysons' 50th Anniversary.
About 75 friends and relatives assembled at the home of Edwin C. and Mary W. Tyson, Flora Dale, on Wednesday to commemorate the couple's fiftieth wedding anniversary. All of the bride's brothers and sisters, who also participated in the original ceremony, were present on this occasion, including Wallace W. and Harold E. Hawxhurst, Mrs. Frederick Sharpless and Mrs. Richard Carpenter, Westbury, Long Island, and Mrs. Chester Tyson, of Gardners..

Other guests from a distance included Mr. and Mrs. William C. Tyson, Oakland, California; Muriel Tyson, "New York city, and her daughter, Jacqueline; Mrs. Richard Lambert and daughter, Judith, Worcester, Massachusetts; Mr. and Mrs. Bliss Forbush and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Griest, Baltimore; Frederick Sharpless and Robert Hawxhurst, Long Island; Mrs. Charles. Knight, Mrs. Henry Pickering, Miss Eleanor Peters, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tilton, all from the vicinity of Philadelphia, and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet Coates, Lancaster county.

Mr. Tyson's brother. Chester J. Tyson, read the original marriage certificate and records of the twenty-fifth and fortieth anniversaries and all present affixed their signatures to the original document. Mr. Tyson wore his original wedding suit and Mrs. Tyson's bridal dress of 50 years ago was worn by her granddaughter, Judith Trowbndge Lambert.
The house was decorated with flowers, yellow and white predominating and arranged under the direction of Mrs. Frederic Griest. Refreshments were served and relatives and out-of-the-neighborhood guests were entertained later at the Flora Dale team room as the guests of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Tyson.”
 – from The Gettysburg Times, Thursday, June 10, 1937

Bertha's family, the Hauxhursts

~ In 1938 Chester died quite suddenly.
~The following year, Bertha’s sister Caroline died (1939).
Subsequently, Bertha moved in with one of her children--first with Don & Irene. 
From.... The Gettysburg Times, Tuesday, March 14, 1939
 "C. J. Tyson Farm Sold for $16,000  E. A. Nicodemus, Waynesboro, purchased the C. J. Tyson  farm on the Gettysburg-Carlisle road, near Gardners, at public sale Monday morning for $16,000.  Forty acres of the farm planted in peaches and apples were sold to *Ralph Tyson for $1,025. A large crowd attended the sale which lasted all day. Prices for farm and orchard implements were fair." -The Gettysburg Times, Tuesday, March 14, 1939
*Note: son Ralph Tyson eventually bought back the remainder of the deposed property.
The US entered World War II in 1942.
~Several of her sons signed up for service of some kind as the entire country mobilized for the war. 
~Although several of Bertha's adult children moved from the area, daughter Elizabeth, her three children and Elizabeth's mother-in-law moved back to Adams County from Philadelphia when her husband joined the Air Force.
~Bertha’s sister Mary Tyson died in 1941. Leaving Ned, Chester’s brother, a widower.
~“Ned” (Edwin Tyson) died four years after Mary in 1945, before the end of World War 2.
~Bertha’s brother Harold Ephraim Hauxhurst died in 1947.

"Thanksgiving 1948" by Margaret Tyson Keefer - Fred & Stan missing
Margaret Tyson Keefer's labels on back of same Thanksgiving photo
The house on Tyson Hill where the children were raised (c 1950)
Bertha Charity Hauxhurst - Vitals
24 Sept 1881 Old Westbury, Nassau, New York, USA to William Ephraim Hauxhurst and Marianna Hicks.

Family/ Siblings:
1 Mary Willis  (1862-1941), wife of Edwin Comly Tyson (& Chester Tyson’s brother)
2 Caroline H (1866-1939)
3 William Wallace  (1869-1952)
4 Florence Amelia  (1875-1930)
5 Harold Ephraim (1878 -1947)

At age 20 Bertha married Chester J Tyson in Feb 1901 in Jersey City, New Jersey, before a Justice of the Peace.

They had 12 children from 1902 to 1921 (almost twenty years) 
1 “Don” - Donald Charles – 1902 – 1980
2 “Bob” - Robert William  - 1903 – 1969
3 Elizabeth Charity - 1904 – 1994
4 Margaret Janet  1906 – 1994
5 “Fred” - Frederick Carroll  - 1908 – 1974
6 “Phil” - Edwin Phillip - 1909  – 1973
7 “Stan” - Richard Stanley  – 1911 – 1987
8 “June” - Chester Julian,  Jr - 1912 – 1972 Sometimes called “Jr” in her diaries.
9 Ralph Watts- 1914 – 1998
10 “Dix” - Paul F  -1916 – 2008
11 Alan Hawxhurst - 1919 – 1993
12 Norman Eugene -  1921 – 2010

Chester died in 1938.
After Chester’s death Bertha lived first with her eldest son Don and his family. Subsequently she lived with other children.

Death  age 91,  June 1, 1973 Baltimore,  MD
Burial  June 4, 1973 at Menallen Friends Mtg., Flora Dale, Menallen Twp., Adams Co., PA.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

52 Ancestors #35 -A Grandson’s Memories, Guest Blogger Billy Recalls Bertha Hauxhurst Tyson

A  Grandson's Memories of Bertha Hauxhurst Tyson

These are memories of my great grandmother Bertha Hauxhurst of Old Westbury,  Long Island who married Chester Tyson of Adams County, PA  as told by my uncle, her grandson. He was a young boy when he went to live in Adams County (my mother is older than he). 
Bertha Hauxhurst as a young woman
Bertha (nearing 70) and Elizabeth at Crestmont c 1950
Thank you, Bill (or Billy) for “guest-blogging” for me:
Guest Blogger Billy & Bertha Hauxhurst Tyson (in her late 60s) behind him


A Grandson’s Memories - Guest Blogger Recalls Bertha Hauxhurst Tyson

My maternal grandmother [Bertha Hauxhurst, wife of Chester Tyson] may have raised twelve kids, but she was not known for her nurturing attitude; at least by the time I came along. 

World War 2 Living Situation
Bertha was living in half of (her son’s) my Uncle Don’s quaint house as far back as I can remember, which would probably take us back to World War II. [Bertha's husband Chester Tyson died in 1938, prior to the start of WW 2.]

Uncle Don [Tyson b 1902, eldest child] had a very old place that was half log and half stone.  Bertha lived in the log half. They shared the stairway and the bathroom, which was upstairs, but Gram had her own small kitchen.  Their water came from a spring that was about 200 feet up the road past the barn, and everyone enjoyed the watercress that grew in there.  Unfortunately, this also meant that water pressure was pretty poor in the house, and even worse in the barn.
Did she drive a car? I might remember her driving a car, but by the time I really got to know her she no longer did that.  If I recall accurately, she owned the blue Studebaker which was at Don’s house, and it would have been one of their earliest post-war models. The Studebaker was the kind of style we joked about: the sort which you couldn’t tell the front from the back.    
Studebaker c 1950
  Staying With "Gram" at Don's
Don Tyson’s farm comprised 80 acres, I was told, and it adjoined Uncle Ralph’s huge fruit farm [Don’s brother & another son, Ralph Tyson, b. 1914] at the top of the hill behind the house.   
Up there along a woods on the property line Bertha would gather wild strawberries for her cereal, and sometimes she walked all the way up to Ralph’s that way.  The alternative route to Ralph’s was the highway on Pennsylvania Route 34, which ran up through Idaville and passed Ralph’s fruit stand right at the Adams County line.  
When my mother’s uncle Ned [Edwin Tyson, brother to her father, Chester Tyson] became visibly ready to die it was decided I should spend some time at Uncle Don’s. In those days my cousin Ken Tyson (b. 1933) was my favorite playmate, and Aunt Irene (Kenyon, Don Tyson’s wife) was a favorite too. 

I was about seven years old. [Edwin Comly Tyson was b 28 Aug 1864, Gettysburg PA. He died 21 Nov 1945. “Ned” married Bertha’s elder sister, Mary W Hauxhurst, prior to Bertha marrying Ned’s brother, Chester Tyson. Guest blogger was seven years old.]

So, I actually stayed with Bertha. Gram [Bertha] had a double bed while cousins Ken and Jim could barely squeeze into their tiny room with its bunk beds. 
It must have been winter as Bertha would send me to bed before she went up, with instructions to heat up the bed.  It was frigid as the heating system did not directly heat any of the bedrooms, and I have never forgotten those miserable long minutes until my own heat started to make the bed bearable.  The window was usually open anyway, held up by a notched apple crate slat, since there were no sash weights to counterbalance it.   

That was OK because you could hear not only the trucks laboring up Route 34 from Idaville, but the crashing stream that fell through a jumble of rocks less than fifty feet from the house. [As mentioned, Ned died at the end of November]
Not Quite Keeping Up With Gram
One day during my stay there Gram [Bertha] decided we would walk up to Uncle Ralph’s, but not over the hill and down to his barn.  Instead, she decided to go up the highway, perhaps to check the mailbox at the end of Don’s long lane. 
It must be a quarter of a mile from the house to the highway, and the last part is up a steep hill.  I got to the highway, but when she started up along the edge of the highway toward Ralph’s, I began falling behind. 
Once in a while she would turn around and shout, “Come on, Billy!” but she never broke her stride, and she got smaller and smaller as the gap between us widened.  
 For some reason that has always stuck with me, Gram [Bertha] knew I could do it and did not have any patience for a laggard, even for a little pre-schooler.  Being on the highway was not a big deal, except for the occasional truck.  Gas rationing ensured that there weren’t many cars on the road.
[Note: in 1945, the year Ned died, Bertha was 64 years old.]

Gram and Chester
One day while she was fixing lunch I asked Gram why she had so many children.  She replied, “I guess Grandpa just liked children.”  It was many years before I figured out what Grandpa really liked.  
Bertha & some Tysons c 1948 (circle around Bertha)
I never met [grandfather, Bertha’s husband] Chester J. Tyson because he died in June of 1938, one month before I was born.  But I was aware of his importance in the community.  
I often explored people’s property in the countryside where we lived, and people inevitably asked me who I was.  I soon learned to say I was CJ Tyson’s grandson, which got me instant recognition and approval nearly everywhere north of Gettysburg.  I was very proud of that.
Chester J Tyson c 1912

  Gram's Cooking (or Not)
Gram [Bertha] was not a very good cook, at least during the time I knew her.  I believe my mother said she was of that opinion also.  When Bertha was a young mother, she always had an American Indian girl from the Indian school at Carlisle Barracks as a maid and cook.  
 And when my mother [who was the eldest daughter] got old enough, she was pressed into service to help with the cooking, cleaning, and raising of all those little brothers. 
Her sister Margaret probably was too young to be much help [Margaret was 2 years younger, and the next in line].   
Gram did bake shoo-fly pie, but I didn’t care for it much.  I don’t know now whether it was just her version, or if I just didn’t care for that kind of pie.
Shoo-Fly Pie, if you don't know what it contains
 Gram's Quilts
At that time Bertha had a huge project that went on for many years.  She made quilts on a large wooden quilting frame in her living room.  She made them for all of her children [12] and all of her grandchildren (yes, I still have mine). 

She used to stand for hours over that work, with a thimble and thread, and a little electric lamp that sat on the quilt next to where she was working. 

Later Don got her a television to keep her company, but I think she went right on making quilts.  Most of the designs were cross-stitched through cotton batting.  And that’s all I know about that.

 Gram, the Non-Interfering Mother-in-law
Gram was not one to interfere with [her son] Uncle Don’s family.  Apparently she knew that the mother in law can be a real problem, so she seemed to pretty much keep to her side of the house except when invited to participate in something.   
Their back door was into a small vestibule, with Irene’s kitchen to the left and Gram’s to the left.  I think there was a refrigerator in the vestibule. 

One time a truck load of whiskey overturned on the curve in Gardners, PA.  Uncle Don was an apple buyer for Musselman’s and happened to be in the vicinity, so he went over to see if he could help.   
State troopers were smashing bottles from the cases that had burst open, and gallons of whiskey were flowing down the ditches. 
Uncle Don did what any civic-minded citizen would do in those circumstances and removed a few bottles for safe-keeping so that the troopers would not have as many to smash. 
Gram made the comment to Irene that she thought there might be some liquor in the house, but that it was none of her business.

 Gram Enjoys Traveling & Chris-Craft Spotting
In 1949 my mother bought a new car to replace the tiring 1938 Buick we had driven since her accident in the winter of 1943.  It was a brown Plymouth station wagon (Suburban). One of the reasons she wanted it was to have a reliable car to drive to my sister Ann’s graduation from Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, RI. 

Naturally we took Gram along, but not my sister Mardy [Margaret].  I’m not sure why; I don’t think she was yet married. She was still at Penn State.  Gram was a good traveling buddy. 

At the time I was engaged in counting every new fish-tail Cadillac on the road, they had introduced their new tail fins by then.  

Then when we got to Rhode Island we saw boats everywhere.  My life’s dream was to have us own a Chris-Craft [brand name], a very popular brand of upscale cabin cruisers and inboard runabouts.  
I had their catalog and knew every current model on sight.  From that trip onward,  whenever Gram would see a small boat in my presence she would say, “Look, a Chris-Craft!”  She was a good spotter, and this was fun when we four went out on Cape Cod all the way to Provincetown. 
But, when I was in my twenties it became a little tiring.
Chris-Craft ad 1951
 Gram's Lye Soap
There used to be a funny song about “Grandma’s Lye Soap.”  It was no joke to us. 
About once a year, probably after someone had butchered a hog, Gram [Bertha] would come spend an afternoon making soap.  She used a full lard can, but that’s the only ingredient I remember.  There must have been some pumice in it, too, and of course the lye.  

She did all the heating and stirring out on our back porch, behind the kitchen, and when she was done there were big pans of white soap sitting around to harden.  The type of vessel I remember was the kind of white porcelain pan you used to wash babies in (I guess you could wash dishes in them, too, but we didn’t.) 

After a few days someone took a large kitchen knife and cut that hardened soap into cubes of three to four inches on a side, and we used those for hand soap and bathing.  It worked really well, and just smelled of soap—no perfume in it.  According to the song, lyesoap was really harsh, but I don’t recall that it was. 
[Billy, I found the lyrics to Grandma's Lye Soap:
Do you remember Grandma’s Lye Soap,
Good for everything in the home,
And the secret was in the scrubbing,
It wouldn’t suds, and wouldn’t foam,
Oh, let us sing right out, sing out!
For Grandma’s Lye Soap,
Sing it out, all over the place!
For pots and pans, and dirty dishes,
And for your hands,
And for your face!

Little Therman, and Brother Herman,
Had an aversion to washing their ears
Grandma scrubbed them with her lye soap,
And they haven’t heard a word in years!
Mrs. O’Malley, out in the valley,
Suffered from ulcers, I understand,
She swallowed a cake of Grandma’s Lye Soap,
Has the cleanest ulcers in the land!

Gram, Later On
My only memorable encounter with Gram [Bertha] when I was in senior high school was when I was sent to Harrisburg, PA to pick her up at the train station, which at that time was the Pennsylvania Railroad--the same station where they were known to have held up passenger trains so that her husband, CJ Tyson, could get aboard.  (As told to me by my mother).  

I took my girlfriend along and we did meet Gram in the station. My recollection was that she was somewhat grumpy and did not seem overly impressed by my companion.  There was something about who would ride in the front seat and who would ride in back, but at this point I can’t remember how that worked out. 
Then I went off to college and didn’t see Gram until the summer before my final quarter before I graduated.  

Then in 1960, my parents had returned from being in Italy and were then stationed in Wichita Falls, Texas, at Sheppard Air Force Base.   
And Gram [Bertha] had gone to live with them, something my mother had sought for a long time. 
I had a summer job as a laborer for a plumbing contractor who was laying new sewer and water pipe in various new communities there in Texas.  I would come home from work pretty beat from the sun and the work, but Gram was always there to liven things up.  

My father bought their first TV that summer, so they could watch the political conventions, which used to be very interesting. 
Gram and I enjoyed discussions about most anything, but she mostly talked about the distant past. [In the 1950s Presidential Conventions were first televised for both parties, but it was not till 1960 that the Presidential Conventions were widely viewed. In 1960, Bertha was 79 years old].

Gram's Final Years
I suppose she was in the early stages of dementia, which in those days was known as “hardening of the arteries.”   
Recent events were much harder for her to recall, of course.  During that period Gram read every issue of the Gettysburg Times, and I think she read every word, including the ads.  But, of course she started with the obituaries, and would regale my mother with accounts of who had died and what she remembered about them.  Unfortunately, she liked to read out every item that interested her, but my mother tolerated it pretty well.

The last time I saw Gram [Bertha] was at Sheppard-Pratt Nursing Home in Baltimore, and she was to the point that the high point of her day was tossing bean bags with fellow residents.  

Unfortunately, the day we visited she recognized me right away.  This was nice for me, but hard for my mother to take because Gram did not seem to know who she was that day.  But we all knew that is the nature of dementia.

Gram [Bertha] was very proud of her Hawxhurst/Hicks heritage, and often mentioned her childhood.  She also often mentioned Aunt Mary [Hauxhurst], Uncle Ned’s wife, who was her sister.   
I think her loss was quite a blow to Gram, but by the time I met Uncle Ned, Aunt Mary was long gone. The house did have memories of her, including old appliances and devices, like an ice box and clothes mangle, that had been hers.

[Mary Willis Hawxhurst  was b. 1862 in Old Westbury. and died in 1941, only 3 years before her husband died. The guest blogger was only 3 years old when Mary died.]
Ned Tyson (husband's brother) & his wife, Mary (also Bertha's sister)