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

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