Friday, October 30, 2020

#83 - My Grandfather was a Spook, but not spooky

Really, a Spook?

My maternal grandfather Charles Tilton is in this blog: he is several posts. He and my grandmother lived in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania until World War 2 came along. 
When the US entered WW2, my mother was in 7th grade. And although Charles (finally) had a job he liked, by 1942 he signed up for the US Army Air Corps (called the AAF, the predecessor to the US Air Force). When Charles was deployed, his wife and family moved to Adams County, PA, close to relatives and within a few years my mother & her sister went off to college. 
But their brother was much younger brother so was home with his parents the entire time. This uncle kindly updated me of my grandfather's work most of which was after my mother was in college, or married with a family. 
My uncle's information expanded my knowledge of Charles'  his military and postwar career as a military officer and a civil servant. Though Charles set out to be a landscape designer, but somehow became a Spook. That is, he worked in intelligenceAnd I was told he worked for the Pentagon. You never know...
Most of this post is from my "guest blogger," my uncle. It covers a period of his life I had only sketchy information in previous posts. The post covers from when Charles entered military service early in World War 2 till he officially retired. (Thank you, Uncle Bill!)

~ Charles B Tilton’s Jobs from World War 2 On~
Charles not only came out of the war "unscathed," he also made an important contribution to the war effort.

He was an intelligence officer in the 390th Bomb Group (H), at Framlingham, United Kingdom. 

He briefed the B-17 missions to the crews, interrogated them after the missions, and interpreted their bombing photos to assess the damage done.
CB Tilton's Bombing Missions over Germany 1945
Charles had cut a manila folder into two strips and hand-wrote the key points of the nature and value of the target, the route to it, the expected German defenses, possible alternate target, and other pertinent information. 
[His son] donated his briefing notes for the notorious Schweinfurt mission to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, USA.
~ After the War~

At the end of the war he started a landscaping business in Flora Dale, PA.  

After he had landscaped the properties of all the wealthy potential customers in this area, mostly doctors plus the president of Masland Carpets, he had to fold up the business.

~ Back to Active Duty~
1948 comes to mind. During the reactivation period Charles  went back into Active Reserves for the [Berlin] Airlift.

As a USAF Reserve officer, he applied to go back on active duty. The Berlin Airlift started just then, fortuitously, and he was activated and assigned as chief of intelligence for the airlift. 
Form he filled out: Personal History - P 1 of 6 I have 
Berlin, Germany was deep inside the Soviet Zone, but the city itself had French, English, and US Sectors, besides the Soviet Sector. 

NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] was created during the Airlift (in 1949), so it may have become a NATO operation, but it was not a rebuilding of Europe project.  It was a skirmish in the Cold War. 

Charles' role was Chief of Intelligence for the Berlin Airlift, which was a joint English/US operation to save Berlin from starving and freezing to death when the Soviets blocked off all the land routes. 

However, he downplayed the importance of that significant-sounding job because the Airlift was basically a cargo-hauling operation. However, the crews did have to fly over Soviet-owned territory.

At the end of the Airlift Charles was chief of wing intelligence for Rhein/Main AFB, near Frankfurt (where his wife Elizabeth and son joined him).

At the end of that tour, he was assigned to select and study strategic targets in the Soviet Union for four years, in D.C.

He returned from the Air Force assignment in Frankfurt in January of 1952.

~ Back in the USA ~
Back in the USA from 1952 to 1956 he was in the CIA "targets" section in Washington, D.C.   

~Then Back to Europe Again ~
Then Charles was assigned to Naples, Italy, and it was a NATO job. 

There he represented the US Air Force in a "joint" role, rubbing shoulders with officers from other NATO participants. 

All 12 NATO nations (NATO was a response to the former USSR's efforts to basically take over Europe) sent officers to the various headquarters. 

The NATO located in Naples is for the whole Southern region, including the Middle East to the extent that NATO gets involved there. 

The original HQ of NATO was in France, but DeGaulle pulled out, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe.
SHAPE  (Supreme Headquarter Allied Powers in Europe) moved to Brussels, Belgium, where it is today.  
Eisenhower was the first SHAPE commander, I believe.  I know that's what he was when he retired and then ran for president.

Charles was at Naples, Italy between 1956 to 1960, but it was also a military job.  

Although in fact, the military really had little to do with rebuilding Europe.  That was mostly State Department and their implementation of Marshall Plan, I think. [George S Marshall was the US Secretary of State at the time].

In 1956 Charles was working as an intelligence officer in the Armed Forces South NATO headquarters near Naples, Italy, working with NATO officers from Greece, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, etc., in all aspects of headquarters intelligence work.

~ And Back to the USA ~
After which, in 1960, he was assigned as Deputy Commander.
Then, in his final year, he was Commander of the Air Force Intelligence Training School, which at that time was at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas (the school later moved to Colorado).

But, as a Reserve officer Charles could not legally remain on active duty past age 60 and was forced to retire. 
1962 Charles Tilton retires from USAF

As he was older, that is, he was 39 when he joined, he could have gotten 20 years needed for retirement had he not been in the Inactive Reserve for three years after the war. 
However, and fortunately, the law provided for a partial retirement pension for cases such as his.

~But Then ~ 
After a year or less of driving around and enjoying life Charles decided to go back to what he knew best, and applied for a Civil Service opening in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). 

He worked at Arlington Hall Station for part of his time there, and in the basement of the Pentagon for part of it (I think the Pentagon was first). 

I believe he was in that job for about ten years, and the only thing I know about it is that he was in charge of the "Cuban Biographies" office during the Vietnam War (when Cuba was not in the spotlight). 

Charles had two brilliant Army lieutenants working for him there.  One time he was tasked to brief the Secretary of the Army on the whereabouts of Che Guevara.  He worked hard to prepare a first-class briefing (which I'm sure he did). 

Afterward I asked him what his answer to the question was.  "We don't know," summed it up!
Proof of him Spooking: Intelligence Analyst (VA death certificate); no rank given (Adams County PA Veterans list)


1 Thanks to "Uncle Bill" for the writing.

2 Personal files (AC Higgins/Johnson)

3 MB Walmer Collection


5 Gettysburg Times Archives

6 Wikipedia

7 Deceased Veterans: Ancestry. Com: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1950-2010; Series Number: Series 4

8 Death Cert: Ancestry. Com Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014

Friday, October 23, 2020

#82 Barnwell - McCune Clan: An Endless Parade of Characters

The Barnwell/McCunes: An Endless Parade of Characters

My grandmother Catherine Barnwell, her husband and children moved from Harlem NY when my father was a boy. When she moved, she not only left city living behind, but also her wonderful and kooky family-- 8 siblings.
The Barwnell children were:
 1 Alice Barnwell (1905–1952) M McGee
 2 Lawrence Joseph Barnwell (1909–1991)
 3 * Catherine Florence Barnwell (1911–1992) M Higgins (*my  grandparents)
 4 Richard Barnwell (1913–1981) 
 5 Regina Mary Barnwell (1916–1980) M Waite
 6 Thomas Joseph Barnwell (1918–1976)
 7 Gerard Barnwell (1921–1985)
 8 Lucille Josephine Barnwell (1924–2000) M Traylor
 9 Vincent G Barnwell (1926–1990)
Clearly then, my father has a lot of cousins, and I have a lot of second cousins who unfortunately tend to rotate the same few first names. Hence there are several "Veronicas" and "Lucilles" as well as "Gerards," "Lawrences" and "Vincents." 
To help me sort out the different generations and to share photos, I made a Facebook group for the Barnwell generations. 
Once I formed the Facebook group, I enjoyed the online exchange. For example, I asked my cousins about the children of the Barnwells (birthdates, etc). 
(Understand, most of them live (or used to live) not far from one another and saw one another with frequency.) 
I listed the children of Gerard and Lucille Knapp and asked for help:
Gerard Barnwell married Lucille Knapp. 
1 Agnes Maria Barnwell 1944–1995
2 Gerard Barnwell Jr 1954–2000
3 XXX Female Alice AKA"Missy" –
4 Male #2
5 Daughter #3 –
6 Daughter #4-
  • This list prompted one cousin to say to Missy, “I didn’t know your first name was Alice!” 
  • And Missy wrote back to her: “Neither did I until I went to school!” 
From the Facebook Group came a story which is representative of this side of the family. It's about my great Uncle Larry, his wife and another relative of my cousin
My cousin on Facebook told this story:
>>Our uncle Larry (Lawrence Barnwell), Helen (his wife Helen Hannon) and a cousin’s mother’s brother Sonny had become fast friends, at the time all three of them were all in their early 80's. And, the three of them were invited to my cousin’s wedding in the mid 1900s (she, a dutiful niece to them all). 
They, along with many others drank. But those three, Aunt Helen, Uncle Larry and Sonny, got really drunk. 
Now, the couple and Sonny happened to live, not on Long Island, but in Long Island City (part of Queens, NY). 
People at the wedding saw how drunk their relatives/friends were and grew quite worried about them. They begged them to accept a ride home.
But for some reason, Sonny and Larry and Helen turned down the numerous offers of rides home.
So instead, all three of them went home together on the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) home. 
On the way, they must have fallen asleep and missed their stop. 
They wound up in the yards where the conductor found them all snuggled up together, sleeping quietly. 
Yep, here they were, cuddled up senior citizens sleeping off a drunk. 
As it was the end of conductor's shift, he loaded them into his car and took them to their homes. <<

Exhibit 2: When a Photo Speaks Volumes: all in one family photo

My father’s side of the family, as I’ve always said, knows how to liven a party. My brother claims they have the “wild gene.” 

The photo above has my grandmother's parents: John JL Barnwell & Agnes McCune, several of her brothers and sisters and spouses, a niece and a nephew. 
From Veronica "Vera" Higgins Gordon

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

#81- How Charles Tyson Made His Family Proud - A Recollection from His Son

How Charles Tyson Made His Parents Proud

Edwin Comly Tyson and Susannah Griffith, Charles' parents, would have been proud of Charles. As a young man he struck out, and learned a trade, settled in a new town, found a gal, had a family and became fairly prosperous. 

The point of family history is not to state the facts, but to fill in the "who's, why's and how's" answering questions such as, Why did he do this? Who helped him? How did he make his decision, or find his way? But unless we have recorded information, we can only guess or deduce some of those, and much of it we will never know.

I was lucky enough to find a letter from his son (my gr grandfather's brother) Edwin “Ned” Tyson (b. 1864). Ned was a genealogist and meticulous in his attention to detail. Apparently Ned wrote a letter in response to a letter from Albert Cook Meyers, a distant relative of his. Meyers had a question regarding Ned's father. Ned outlines for Meyers when, how and why his father came from Philadelphia to Gettysburg, PA.

The story was set in motion when my great-great grandfather Charles Julian Tyson decided to move: He headed out of Philadelphia in the 1859
Below is my transcription of Ned Tyson's letter to Albert Cook Meyers. Just a note: the photo is of Ned Tyson, Charles' eldest son, because Ned preserved so much family history. Though an uncle, he deserves some kind of honor in this space)
Edwin (Ned) Comly Tyson - Preservationist

Albert Cook Meyers
Moylan, Pennsylvania
January 29, 1940

Dear Albert:

Thy very interesting communication of the 26th finds me temporarily in bed as being the best place in the doctor's belief for me to complete recuperation from the effects of the Farm Show and I have had the Dictaphone moved down to facilitate my taking care of various business correspondence. The clipping for the 1860 Census taken by Aaron Sheely is interesting.

In 1859 Father [Charles J Tyson] left his home in Philadelphia where living conditions were none too rosy to strike out for himself. As he was born in 1838 he was then just under 21 years of age. Just why he started in this direction [towards Gettysburg] I don't completely recall, but he finally landed in York [PA] and called on a photographer at that place asking for a job.

The photographer had plenty of help, but suggested that there should be a good opening for a photographer at Gettysburg and recommended that Father proceed there and look over the situation which he did.

Upon investigation he decided that Gettysburg should be a good starting point, a situation which was concurred in by Judge Wills and several other prominent Gettysburg people whom he consulted. 
He found that Judge Wills had a building adjoining and in fact attached to his residence which, with certain alterations, would be suitable for a photographic gallery and upon consultation with carpenters it was determined that the necessary changes could be made for $200.00, and Judge Wills agreed to stake him for the room rent for a year and the carpenter for the carpenter work when Father divulged to them that he just had $10.00 to his name.
It was arranged that the carpenter make alterations at once which they estimated would take about two weeks.

And in the meantime Father returned to York and arranged to work for his board with the photographer previously consulted for the purpose of learning the business, he having no previous workable knowledge of it.

I think it was the following First-day [Sunday] after he had returned to Gettysburg and started a business that he learned of a settlement of Friends [Quakers] up this way [Menallen and Warrington Meetings], and hired a team and drove out to Meeting and was invited home to dinner by Cyrus Griest which proved to be a momentous trip and the start of a friendship which resulted in his marrying Cyrus Griest’s daughter in April 1863.

His business flourished and the report thee sends indicates that by June 1860 he had secured the assistance of his brother, Isaac Tyson, establishing the firm of Tyson Bros. and continuing for several years until Uncle Isaac returned to Philadelphia to open a gallery for himself in that city which he continued the balance of his life, he having in the meantime married a first cousin of Mother’s [Maria E Griest], Rachel Griest.

Father and Mother [Charles J Tyson & Maria Griest] lived on what was then the lower end of Chambersburg Street at the time of the battle [Gettysburg] between the homes of William Boyer who was then a grocery man with a store, which later became Eckerts store, and Annie Hannaway and only a few doors east of John Burner’s home.

They were warned to leave their home on the first of July and left before noon getting as far as Littlestown (south east) where they remained till the morning of the 4th [Jul 4 1863].

-- Ned Tyson

MB Walmer Collection

Friday, October 2, 2020

#80--How Old? The Hawxhursts of Shropshire or of Hawkhurst!?

How Old? 

The fun of having English ancestors is that English surnames can  give you a good lead on the origin of a particular branch of the family. Names like "Cook"  are not particularly helpful, but place names can be. My maternal lineage is the one I can trace back the furthest with reliability.

My mother's mother's maiden name was "Hawxhurst, and they came from Long Island." Hawxhurst is not a particularly common name in North America. I knew that the Hawxhursts had come from England.

Seeking Hawxhursts

I started with the assumption that the “Hawxhurst” surname came from the original place a Hawxhurst ancestor lived. English surnames often grew from their location. I found out that surname use in England grew between 1400s-1600s as populations grew and social customs changed. 

I searched online for a location in England which sounded similar to Hauxhurst. And I found one! There is a village in Kent, in south east England by the name of “Hawkhurst”--a likely candidate to me.

How Old is the Village of Hawkhurst? 

I’m hazarding a guess that at some point some of my Hauxhurst ancestors were living in “Congehurst” or Hawkhurst, England in the 800s AD. I wondered how old the village was and the village website said it was a Saxon manor which the Danes burned in 893 AD.  That is a long time ago. Ask yourself, when did England actually become England? Wikipedia claims it was 927 AD.

 I copied this from the Hawkhurst Village website:

>>Hawkhurst is a village in the borough of Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The oldest known settlement was the Saxon manor of Congehurst, which was burnt by the Danes in 893 AD. There is still a lane of this name to the east of the village.

The name Hawkhurst is derived from Old English heafoc hyrst, meaning a wooded hill frequented by hawks – 'Hawk Wood'.  And hurst (hyrst) in a place name refers to a wood or wooded area. 

The 11th-century Domesday Monachorum refers to the village as Hawkashyrst, belonging to Battle Abbey. 

In 1254, the name was recorded as Hauekehurst; in 1278, it is often shown as Haukhurst… By 1610, it had changed to Hawkherst, which then evolved into the current spelling. <<

 Back to the Hawxhurst Family:

Next I checked on locations: the village Hawkhurst is in SE England in Kent, but my Hawxhurst family came from Shropshire [alternatively Salop (abbreviated, in print only, Shrops)].

Shropshire is its own county, located in West Midlands near Wales. As mentioned earlier the village called "Hawkhurst" is in Kent, which is not near Shropshire. 

I’ll hazard a guess (and in genealogy everything is temporary until DNA proves it’s not) and say that my ancestor, William Hawxhurst, (my earliest known ancestor in Shropshire) had moved to Shropshire from Hawkhurst in Kent (but if not him, then one of his predecessors).

Having thus moved, he would have provided the Shropshire locals a reason to call him “William of Hawkhurst,” which would eventually be shortened to a surname: “William Hawkshurst” (or spelled "Hawxhurst)".

Spelling Doesn’t Count: Genealogists tend to spend more time focusing on the phonetic variations than on the exact spelling of surnames through time. 

The name Hawxhurst has been spelled: "Hawkshurst" (mostly in 19th cent and earlier docs) "Hawxhurst" and "Hauxhurst," almost interchangeably. In earlier days, there likely were more variations.

GENERATIONS of SHROPSHIRE HAWXHURSTS: 1 William Hawxhurst, 2 Christopher Hawxhurst, 3 Sampson Hawxhurst and 4 Christopher of England & the American Hauxhursts

Generation 1 Presumably, William Hawxhurst (of Shropshire) or his family had come from Hawkhurst in Kent. William had at least one son named Christopher Hawxhurst.

Gen 2 His son Christopher Hawxhurst, Curate of St. Chad’s
Christopher Hawxhurst was born about 1521 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire [Salop] England. He died in August 1576 also Shrewsbury, Shropshire [Salop], England.

A record states: “Christopher Hawxsworth [yet another spelling] married October 15, 1550, Elizabeth. They had William, baptized October 15, 1551.”
And Christopher had another son (Rev) Sampson, my direct ancestor.

Christopher Hawxhurst was the Vicar or “Curate” of St. Chad, Shrewsbury, Shropshire having been appointed to position on the accession of Queen Elizabeth. He succeeded John Marshall (who was ejected on the accession of Queen Elizabeth in 1558 for refusing burial in his church to Mr. Burton of Longnor).
With Elizabeth's ascent to the throne, it was an eventful time.
It suggests that Christopher and/or his father or wife was politically connected to the new Queen for a brief history of Elizabeth's changes see more at end of post.*

St. Chads was a 'Curacy' though it has been styled a Vicarage.  The Church of St Chad is a parish church in the area of Stowe in the north of the city of Lichfield, Staffordshire, in England. The current building dates back to the 12th century.

St. Chad's, Lichfield, England
Christopher died of plague, August, 1576. One entry reads: "Christopher Hawksworth, Died of Plague, Aug., 1576. "
Gen 3  His son Samson Hawxhurst
Samson Hawxhurst was born in 1571 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
• He matriculated Balliol College, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England on 6 Nov 1590.
• He was conferred with the degree B.A. from Balliol College, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England on 28 June, 1593.
• He was conferred with a B.D. Degree from Magdalen Hall, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England on 9 Jul 1607.
Lichfield Cathedral
From 1607-1622 Samson was Canon of Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield, Staffordshire, England.
Lichfield Cathedral in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires.
The Diocese of Lichfield covers Staffordshire, much of Shropshire, and parts of the Black Country and West Midlands.

Samson had at least three children with his wife Alice. 
His son Christopher Hawxhurst was born about 1615 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England.
Samson died in 1627 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, at the age of 56.
Gen 4 His son Christopher Hawxhurst 
Christopher in Nuneaton, Warwick, England. Baptized on 11 Jan 1615 at Dunchurch, Warwickshire, England
(*Warwickshire County Record Office; Warwick, England; Warwickshire Anglican Registers; Roll: Engl/2/1024; Document Reference: DRO 73;Registers. Warwick, England: Warwickshire County Record Office.)
He died aft. 1683 in Matinecock, Long Island, NY.
He immigrated with Robert Coles, and his sister, Mary who had married Coles, arriving in New England before 1643 (Salem and Ipswich). 
He soon moved to Rhode Island, and was elected deputy to the Rhode Island General Court. In Rhode Island he married Mary Reddock. They remained in RI for ten years, then moved with Richard Townsend and Joseph Carpenter to Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY. 
Once there he bought 70 acres at Matinecock in 1665.
Gen 5 - Children of Christopher and Mary:
~William B c. 1657: Ch: Sarah and William.
~Mary B c. 1660: M 17 Nov  1684, George Townsend
~Jane B c. 1663; M Jarvis Mudge, Ch: Jarvis, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, and Charity.
~Sarah B c. 1667; M William Crooker, Ch: Robert, William, Samson, Sarah, Benjamin, and Abigail.

~ Samson Hawxhurst (Gen 6)
Samson was B in Oyster Bay, Long Island, NY c. 1670. He died in Oyster Bay, NY on 25 January, 1733.
Samson married Hannah Townsend  on 18 January 1698 (Born abt 1680; D. abt 1757). 
Hannah was given 180 acres at Cedar Swamp by her father as a wedding present.
Samson's will dated 23 October 1732, and probated at New York 21 November 1732
Samson and Hannah had Joseph Hawxhurst. 
The successive Hauxhurst generations, all born in Oyster Bay, Buckram or Locust Grove:
Gen 7 Joseph Hauxhurst (M Sarah Mott)
Gen 8 William Hauxhurst (M Violetta Allen)
Gen 9 Ephraim C Hauxhurst (M Charity Titus)
Gen 10 William E Hauxhurst (M Marianna Hicks)

Gen 11 Bertha C Hauxhurst (M Chester J Tyson)- my great grandmother

* For more on religious events at the time which may have some bearing on Christopher Hawxhurst having been installed as a curate of St. Chad's.
"When Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne in 1558 her people were divided by religion. Her sister, Mary, had made Roman Catholicism the official religion of the country, but many of the people were Protestant, and there was a growing number of Puritans. 
To bring together these different groups and ease religious tensions, Elizabeth came up with what became known as the Religious Settlement. 
In 1559 she passed two laws:
 1-The Act of Supremacy: making Elizabeth the Supreme Governor of the Church, taking power away from the Catholic Pope in Rome. 
(Henry VIII had done the same in his reign, but called himself the Head of the Church, so her title as Governor implied she would be less dictatorial, more tolerant.)
2 -The Act of Uniformity
This made Protestantism England’s official faith and also set out rules of religious practice 
and worship in a revised prayer book. Between 1559 and 1563 introduced the acts which made up the Church Settlement. 
This returned England to the Protestant faith stating that public worship, religious books such as the Bible and prayers were to be conducted in English rather than Latin. The new Book of Common Prayer was introduced, adapted from earlier Books used under the Protestant Edward VI.
But Elizabeth was careful not to erase all traces of Catholic worship and retained, for example, 
the traditions of candlesticks, crucifixes and clerical robes. 
By pursuing a policy of moderation she was attempting to maintain the status quo and, although Puritans were particularly upset by the continuance of some Catholic traditions, an uneasy compromise was reached and maintained throughout her reign. " 
This information was accessed on Oct 3, 2020 from BBC:
Some Sources: (records)

Warwickshire County Record Office; Warwick, England; Warwickshire Anglican Registers; Roll: Engl/2/1024; Document Reference: DRO 73;Registers. Warwick, England: Warwickshire County Record Office.)

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record By Richard Henry Greene, Henry Reed Stiles, Melatiah Everett Dwight, George Austin Morrison.

History of Shrewsbury, Shropshire (Salop), by Owen & Blakeway, Vol. II., p. 212;

Incumbents of St. Chads and History of Shrewsbury, H. Owen, p. 153, Ministers of St. Chads.

 Village of Hawkhurst in Kent:

Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 (

England & Wales, Calendar of the Principal Ecclesiastical Dignitaries, 314-1853 (

Warwickshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 (

Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current (

Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s (Ancestry. com)