Tuesday, December 22, 2020

#89 - Resolutions for 2021

Review and Resolutions 

The year 2020 in review. 2020 started well, but it rapidly unraveled. It is akin to being on a cruise ship at port and not allowed to disembark.
It's been a year full of disorienting, scary and confusing global events. The number 1 problem is the coronavirus. Then a series of natural disasters, including prolonged wildfires in Australia and the West Coast. 
There were internet rumors and conspiracy theories gone wild, and a president who denied the virus, got it, then lost an election but still refuses to concede defeat. Meanwhile I was schooling grandchildren every day and not going anywhere. 
Shopping can be an event with many shelves cleaned out by others and the supply chain unreliable. 
And yes, some of my relatives contracted the CoVid-19, and a few of them died. 
As for the big holidays of the year, they were either canceled or minimal. Events were online. At the end of fall, right before winter, we got the 4th largest snow fall on record on this date. 
Resolutions 2021
I draw on what I learned in 2020 for my 2021 resolutions. I'll not allow events make me cranky - at least not for long.  
2020 served as a reminder that focus is a critical piece of my attitude adjustment. 
3 Practices to Retain in 2021:
In light of that, I list three practices to help with my focus (and by extension, my attitude)  in the coming year.
First, I want to rejoice in the moment. 
Second, necessary part of health is recreationI want continue to take the beauty outdoors. 
Finally, as a family historian, I think much of people. 
For those who have passed, I am thankful. For those still living, I'd like to cherish them more.
Genealogy-related resolutions are two: continue scanning photos and to go update the old entries to this blog.

1 Rejoice: 
No matter what the season, there is always something to engage in and enjoy.
1964 me enjoying the snowy day

2 Romp! 
Enjoy the great outdoors. It's a beautiful world!
Sundown: the little house surrounded by nature

3 Reflect and Remember
How people, not things, make/made my life sweet.
Ma or mom: she's the bomb!

Photos: ACJ collection

Thursday, December 17, 2020

#88- Winter Letters from an Esther Hicks to Margaret Tilton re Isaac Hicks of Long Island, NY


I love winter letters. They are the best. Especially when you have genealogy involved.
Isaac Hicks' home, father of Mariana Hicks Westbury LI NY

Book Esther refers to

Letter 1 from Esther Hicks (daughter of Henry Hicks) Emory to Margaret B Tilton (Walmer) on  cards picturing the Old Friends Meeting House in Westbury,  NY

 January 6 1995

Dear Mardy,

Thanks so much for your letter I am still in Westbury but expect to return to Foulkeways in about ten days.

 Did any of your family ever see the book “Isaac Hicks, Quaker Merchant”? He married Sarah Doughty, and their son John D married Sarah Rushmore, our common ancestor (on the Phipps property).

Isaac prospered in NY but retired in 1805 “with enough of the world’s goods” and built the house on Old Westbury Rd. which we knew as a Cocks home thru a daughter’s marriage.

It was sold for very little during the Depression and all Isaac’s 10,000 business records unopened for 130 years or more were brought to “the aunts’ parlor” [Grace & Marietta].

A history professor seeking a subject for a Harvard dissertation learned about them, was permitted access and researched a good publication. We all got to know him-Robert Davison-of nearby Hofstra University.

Isaac, who must be identified as Isaac I (he died in 1820 I think) had worldwide shipping interests. The first vessel flying an American flag to enter the Black Sea was his ship “Thames.” Another vessel was the “Sally.”

Papers for it were signed by George Washington and that document was found by Aunt Marietta in the treasure trove of papers. Well, she kept it and included in the “red books’ as we call them. Don’t tell anyone! – she shouldn’t have done it.

Last line: the 2  aunts who preserved; and were naughty!?

I wish I had known that your mother [Elizabeth Tyson] visited Old Westbury Gardens with a group. 
Perhaps  I could have arranged to join her for at least a short time.

Glad she was pleasantly received.  We are impressed with the friendly outreach of the place. - do not think of the Phipps family just as “rich folks.” Many volunteers contribute in all sorts ways.

I expect you have recovered from holiday activities. We had a fine time, ten people for several days with my daughter hosting a Dec 26 lunch, ourselves and Edwin’s descendants in town then.

The IH [Isaac Hicks] book is out of print—might be interesting to seek in book sale or otherwise.

Please tell me where and how Margaret [Tyson/Bouchelle] is.

Happy New Year, Love Esther [Hicks] Emory

Letter 2 Regarding Isaac Hicks (II) & Westbury

March 18, 1995
Dear Mardy

Thanks you so much for your letter and the books containing all the Meeting records you assembled. What an undertaking carefully completed!
    The Phipps family did live briefly in the house John Doughty Hicks built in 1825. They soon moved it south of the turnpike near the house I now have to empty.
It burned in 1910 so that is the end of that. There have been eight Hicks homes in direct descent, ending with Fred who know runs the Hicks Nursery business (started in 1853) and others as well, all of which I can remember and four others (only two gone) and all within about a mile.
    Our main highway is the Jericho Turnpike (Route 25). The area now the incorporated village of Old Westbury is on the north side of it. The rich sporting people bought it all up from the Quaker farmers starting about 1900. Now no business is allowed even tho’ the nursery still has twenty acres. Fred could sell only what might be grown on it, but he concentrates on a smaller garden center to the south.

     You asked what became of the 1837 house built by our ancestor Isaac Hicks II who changed from dairy farming to the nursery business in 1853.
I was born there, but my parents built one the south side in 1905. We came to call it the aunts’ house (for Grace and Marietta). It descended to my brother Edwin but neither he nor his son wanted to live there. It was bought by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. They renovated it and put it up for sale under their revolving fund, with restrictions. The first owner could rarely be there. That is the girlhood home of your great-great grandmother Marianna [Hicks M. Hauxhurst].

    When the big house built by the first Isaac Hicks in 1805 had to be sold at the bottom of the Depression years, all the business records Isaac brought from NY City came to the aunts’ [previously mentioned Grace and Marietta] house for safe-keeping. There were 10,000 letters, a dozen letter books, ledgers and journals.  

They all went later to the New York Historical Society, Port of N.Y Authority collection. I actually went there because I thought someone from my generation should see them. A few of the ledgers were brought out for me.

Isaac the merchant’s money was passed on: a record exists that his grandson John D Hicks (a posthumous child b. 1829) decided he would do better investing the money -$10,000-left to him by his grandmother Sarah Doughty Hicks than what he tried to make farming with his brothers

front piece of above book 

    Our ancestor, the second Isaac [Hicks] must have inherited the same and he also received the 20 acres where he built in 1837 and carried on a dairy farm before expanding into the nursery. He later bought the property on the south side of the turnpike and I believe it extended all the way to the railroad.
             Will write more in Westbury.

Esther [Hicks/Emory]

Letter 3  frm Esther J Hicks [Emory] b. 1902 to Margaret  Tilton [Walmer] 2 Apr 1995

Westbury, NY
Apri 2, 1995

Dear Mardy,  
    I am enclosing various papers, copies of originals, with your own books. High praise for all your work on them and thanks for letting me see them.
    Occurring south of Westbury is the largest natural prairie east of the Mississippi—twenty miles long and about sixteen wide. Hence the early names Plainedge and Woodedge. In the early days if was used as a common summer pasture and cattle and sheep (with earmarks) were returned to their owners in the fall. No trees grew there.
The aviation industry grew up there (also Lindbergh’s take-off and return) to be succeeded by shopping malls and suburban growth.
I can even remember, though, that it was open land in my childhood. We drove to Hempstead on rutted wagon tracks as the straightest direct way there.

Here is an enclosure of Westbury’s early history written by Harold Hawxhurst, brother of your grandmother Bertha [Hawxhurst who married Chester Tyson].
As I understand it, the house all the family lived in was moved a little north and turned the opposite direction perhaps just before 1900.

The four pages with pictures of many old homes was prepared from records I supplied (as well as the first article, which I wrote).
I had waited until now to send it to you—the map had been prepared for Aunt Marietta [Hicks] by Cousin Harold.
Turn  [it] so Jericho Turnpike goes east and west. I’m sorry this is such a poor print. Anyway, you will see where Marianna Hicks (Hauxhurst) grew up, daughter of Isaac Hicks II.

The “Old Fashioned Christmas” [see above] is a copy of a greeting sent out by our nursery [Hicks Nursery, 100 Jericho Tpke, Westbury, NY]  some years ago. It shows the house where Marianna, Gilbert and Edward Hicks, much smaller then.
I remember, from age 7, when the second story of the middle front section was raised to allow a big front bedroom and indoor plumbing at the back.  
The next [?] extension was only one story when built in 1837, roof raised next about 1866, back wing 1874 (big kitchen) Up to 1906, nursery office was in the back parlor. My gr gr grandfather Isaac Hicks II had converted a dairy farm to the beginning of the nursery in 1858.
I was born there—my parents were married in 1900 and built the house across the road, which I’m now supposed to empty, in 1995.

Your story of the supposedly destroyed piano is this –  Emma Jarvis came to teach in Westbury about 1860. (She boarded with the Hicks family) and married son Edward Hicks in 1866 and brought her melodeon [forerunner of the pump organ] from her Cooperstown, NY home.
I believe it was “Preacher Rachel” [b. Seaman, married Abraham Hicks, son of Stephen & Mary] Hicks who when calling, was about to lay her bonnet on it, said, “Isaac, I advise thee to chop it for kindling.”
It remained there till the time the house was bought by the Long Island Preservation Society.
We always called it “the aunts’ house” – Grace and Marietta [Hicks] were quite dominant in the business and in the family. 

Great preservers of old records which I am  not trying to get to the right places!
A last enclosure – a copy of a letter written by a young mother whose husband felt duty called him to accompany elderly Elias Hicks on his preaching missions.
He wrote a little later, “I feel clear to build us a new house next year.” (c. 1825)
That is the one on the site of the Phipps mansion.
That John D. [Hicks, of Isaac Hicks I] died in 1829, leaving Isaac II, Lydia, Robert, Samuel, Stephen and (posthumous) John D [she named most of his children] Sarah [R. Rushmore, his wife] brought up six children alone and lived to 103!

If you want further explanation and stories that may be rattling around in my heard, better ask me soon! How long will I live? Doctors have been interested when I relate that I had to go back to 1730 before I could find a maternal ancestor who had not lived to between 90 and 100—and that doesn’t count Sarah at 103 on the Hicks side. (Many of those mothers were over forty –as was I.)
I have rambled on too long with this poor pen and poor writing. How I wish I had taken a business course somewhere along the line. Even so, I could never master modern computers as you are doing—all hail to you!

[Note: Esther Hicks Emory lived part of the year at Foulkeways, a Quaker retirement community at Gwynedd  PA.  She died in 2004 at 102; the recipient of the letter Mardy, was b. 1930 and died 1998.]


Where'd I get all this?

1 Copy of the Hicks Home (Isaac--> John D--> Isaac -who built it ) from MB Tilton Walmer Collection. Mine is digital & colorized.

2 Advertising card of "Hicks Nursery" - Many of them. This was mine. AC Johnson, collection 

3 Letters between Esther Hicks Emory and Margaret B Tilton Walmer; MBW Collection Mine are digitized copies

4 Book: Isaac Hicks by Davison. My own copy.




Thursday, December 3, 2020

#87 - Genealogical Blooper: I Made Rachel Griest A Sister, not a Cousin!


My Ooops! moment comes about once a week--or more if I'm in touch with relatives who give me feedback.  Recently I even re-wrote my grandfather's career when my uncle gave me a detailed account.

Another OOPS! moment was pointed out to me by relatives: I mentioned that a gr-gr grandfather married a Maria Griest and his brother Isaac married her sister Rachel. Not True!

I was partly right: Isaac did marry a woman named Rachel. And the woman was related, but more distantly than I  had thought. But in genealogy, partly right isn't good enough.

Looking back I realized I made assumptions based on the identical last name. I know, what could go wrong?

Let me back up. 
There were two brothers: Charles J Tyson (my gr-gr grandfather) and Isaac G Tyson. They moved from Phila to Gettysburg and went into business together.
Their sisters:
1 Rachel Griffith Tyson (1836–1874)
2 Ruth Anna Tyson (1840–1913)
3 Rebecca Webster Tyson (1842–1923)

All three of the daughters married. Rachel and Rebecca lived in Philadelphia. Ruth Anna did too but there is evidence she spent time in Adams County: she died there in Biglerville, PA. She was buried in Philadelphia.


Early in his time in Gettysburg Charles wrote a letter home to his sister Ruth Anna. He had just met the Griest family and the bevy of females in the house: Jane, Ann, Maria and Elizabeth. 
He positively gushed over Maria.

The patriarch was Cyrus Griest.  He was born 23 May 1809 in Warrington Twp, PA and died 23 Nov 1869 in Guernsey, Adams Co, PA
Cyrus was married to Mary Ann Cook (1806-1884)
Cyrus Griest & Mary Ann Cook's children:
1 Hiram Griest (1826–1919)
2 George McMillan Griest (1828–1853)
3 Jane Cook Griest (1830–1899)
4 Ann McMillan Griest (1832–1900)
5 Cyrus Samuel Griest (1835–1918)
6 Jesse Warner Griest (1837–1885)
7 Maria Edith Griest (1840–1927)
8 Elizabeth Mary Griest (1843–1924)
9 Amos Willing Griest (1848–1930)

(#7 above) Maria Edith Griest, as I said, encountered these two newcomers to Gettysburg (Tyson Bros Photography). Her family lived outside of town, to the north.


After his first visit with the Griest family, Charles wrote a letter home to his sister Ruth. 
He left a little space for his elder brother. 
Here is a small portion of it from the copy (too long). You will see Isaac's short contribution after Charles signs off at the end.


2nd Mo. 20th, 1860

My very dear Sister Ruthie,

As Brother [Isaac Tyson] wrote to thee last, I will claim the privilege this time.

I have so much to tell thee I scarcely know where to commence, however, Brother intends to write also so that what I miss he may think of.(several pages later):

I expect thee has said before this “Well I declare I believe my little Brother is in Love.”

No, no Sis, not yet but to speak candidly I think few more visits up there would teach me how it feels to be in that predicament, as these is supposed to have some experience in that line of business.  Probably thee could give me some idea of the first symptoms, but if thee thinks I am wrong in regard to thy superior knowledge of such matters, thee must apply to Sis Rachie.

I think she could enlighten us both upon the subject without a doubt.

Well Ruthie I must soon come to a stop—this is the fifteenth page and it finds me “about played out” to use an inferior phrase.

I was pleased to learn thee had a prospect of soon teaching again. How are you getting along in the knitting business?         

I cannot tell when I will get to Philadelphia though I would like to in a few weeks. However, we must wait patiently till the time comes.

            Hoping to hear from you thee, I remain thy affectionate

            Brother Charles

            My love to all the family.

Dear Sis Ruthie,

            I have had the pleasure of hearing the content of the above voluminous letter and take the opportunity of giving my full sanction to all expression of pleasure wherein given. Charlie seems to think me old enough to take care of myself.  I came to this same conclusion and pitched in with all hands generally and Lizzie in particular, occasionally with Maria but found there was no show there when Charlie was about.


Bro. Isaac 

Maria and Charles wed in 1863, right before the battle of Gettysburg (which is where their new home and their business was).

So Isaac had moved to Gettysburg to help his brother put into operation a photography business called "Tyson Bros Photographic Studio." But would he, too, find love? 
I'm happy to say that he did.

Isaac's wife was a local woman, a first cousin and neighbor of Charles' wife, Maria. Their father's were brothers, so her last name was also Griest

Isaac married Rachel Ann Griest  in 1863 as well. Rachel's mother was Margaret Garretson and her father was Amos Griest (brother of Maria's father). 
Rachel Ann Griest, Maria's cousin abt 1865

Rachel Ann Griest was born on 7 Oct 1836 Menallen Twnp, Adams, PA and died 22 Jun 1907.
The couple married in 1863 (according to the US Fed Census).

By 1869, the couple, Isaac and Rachel (Griest) Tyson had moved to Philadelphia.  Meanwhile his brother was in and out of the photography business with Tipton (that's another story).  Both Charles and Isaac found out there was more money to be made in photography than just taking people's portraits: they had been trained on the battlefield at Gettysburg.

I know this through the certificate of removal that Isaac and Rachel moved their membership in the Warrington-Menallen Meeting to Byberry Friends' Meeting (rocf-see below:)

Proof Isaac and Rachel’s Removal to Philadelphia (Byberry Mtg) in 1869

2 rocf - received on certificate from- A certificate of membership was received from another monthly meeting. Byberry MM - Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) (abingtonquarter.org)

Why did he move? Perhaps because his parents and sisters lived in Philadelphia.  

But mostly, the city was a good deal larger than Gettysburg. Isaac continued his photography business in Philadelphia. 

He even persuaded his brother Charles (who had originally been his teacher) to sit for him. 
Charles J Tyson

Isaac made photographs of nearly everything.

Isaac and Rachel Ann Griest had children:
`Margaret Tyson (1864–1866)
`Charles Barclay Tyson (1865–1914)
`Chester Tyson (1867–?)
`Marian B Tyson (1870–?)
`Clara Tyson (1874–1930)

Children of Charles Barclay Tyson and Marion Baker (and grandchildren of Isaac and Rachel Ann):
`Eleanor R Tyson
`Clarence Burtis Tyson
`Anna Gertrude Tyson
`Charles M Tyson
*thanks to a reader for noting an error in this post and helping me right it!*


1 - Letter, copy, collection of MB Walmer, digital copy

A Friendly Glossary :: Friends Historical Library :: Swarthmore College

3 Rachel Griest (Tyson) in MB Walmer Collection; my digital Collection

4 Photo of Cabinet Card from book.

5 Photo of Charles J Tyson; my own collection ACHiggins-Johnson

6 Other information is a combination of 1)  MB Walmer's Collection (original copies, digitized) and 2) records from Ancestry.com