One Postcard Saturdays: Goffstown, NH

While I was reorganizing and sorting through some of my postcards, recently, I came upon this one of interest titled “Camp On Top of the Uncanvonuc Mountain, Goffstown, NH”. I thought that it would be nice to share it as a One Postcard Saturdays feature.

This postcard was published by Blaisdell & Co., Goffstown, NH and it was sent to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper) in North Attleboro, Mass., from “Sister Sue”. It was postmarked from Goffstown, on Sept. 13, 1928. I believe the sender to be Etta’s sister-in-law Susan (Henrich) James wife of Etta’s brother George L.P. James.

The handwritten message reads: “Hello Sis, Up here in N.H. since Sat. Lovely up here, expect to go up this mountain before we go home. We are right on the edge of the lake about four miles from main road. Hope you are well. Lovingly, Sis Sue”

According to the Goffstown website (accessed 16 Oct 2021), the town was incorporated in 1761 and is named for Colonel John Goffe. He was an early settler, a soldier and a civic leader. Goffstown began as a farming community and is located in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.

The village of Grasmere, located on the north bank of the Piscataquog River was the first area settled and was the seat of town government for more than 100 years. Due to the availability of water power, local industry developed around the falls on the Piscataquog River forming the village of Goffstown. There is quite a bit of history to be found of this town online if you wish to learn more and there are easily searchable websites with some valuable genealogy information if your ancestors lived in this area.

There are actually two mountains located in Goffstown, North and South Uncanoonuc Mountains (corrected spelling from what appeared on the face of the postcard). These mountains are located in the far southwestern section of the town. The following elevations listed for each mountain are according to the trails NH website (accessed 16 Oct 2021). The North Uncanoonuc Mountain has an elevation of 1316′ and the South Uncanoonuc Mountain has a 1296′ elevation. There are hiking trails in the area that can be researched online, if interested.

The pictured image on the postcard brings admiration of days gone by–horse and wagon days. Those two well-dressed men pictured must have faced some challenges as they camped on that mountain.

Until next time…

Note: If you would like to learn more about a certain surname that I have written about in previous blogs, such as Henrich, James or Hooper, you may go to my Home Page and there you will see various surname tabs. If you click on a specific tab, you will find some of the postings connected with that surname.


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One Postcard Saturdays: New Year!

As this new year begins, I feel a large dimension of hope for both myself and our community at-large. It is my sincere hope that better times are in store for us all, that these current pandemic days will soon be in the rearview mirror.

Early on in this unfolding new year, I have a good deal of hope for making progress in my family research, especially in determining ties to my mother’s biological family. In addition, I hope to further my research on my paternal side, adding to my genealogical tree.

As for my blog writings, I hope to complete posts more often than I have in the past. The content focus of each writing may vary and probably will not go in a sequential order; however, I will put links to previous posts that are related in nature, as needed.

There are many stories I have yet to tell. There are so many things I have yet to learn.

Last time, I spoke of Grammy Alice (link posted below) and her travel journals. My plan is to cover some of these travel stories in upcoming posts. Also, I need to complete further research on her family tree and would like to share some of that on this blog.

If I should be so fortunate as to make a definite determination on my mother’s biological parents and family, I will be sharing that, as well.

There are many stories still harboring in the ancestral tree of my adoptive grandmother (Gra Gra). Recently, I read a statement from someone online that indicated the importance of telling the family stories on behalf of those like Gra Gra that have no blood offspring. After many years of research, I have uncovered a few untold stories and some of the passed-down stories I have yet to prove.

For today’s posting, I have chosen two different New Year greeting postcards. I believe both were given or sent to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper). The sender’s of these cards are not members of her family, but after a little research I have been able to correctly identify them and provide a limited amount of their family background.

My featured postcard is repeated below, it contains a verse on the front as follows:

Happy New Year.

This year, next year, every year

I wish you all of life’s good cheer.

This postcard was published by the Owen Card Publishing Co. (1915-1927), of Elmira, NY. They published greeting and holiday postcards. On the front of the card is series number 534B.

The card is signed as sent by Mr. and Mrs. Orestes T. Doe. There is no postmark on the card.

In 1897, Orestes T. Doe, of Franklin, Mass., was named as Trial Justice for Norfolk County. Born in Parsonfield, Maine, Orestes died on January 5th, 1930 at the age of 65. He had presided on the District Court level for 31 years. At the time of death, his residence was listed as 29 School St., in Franklin. He had been a graduate of Boston Law School and belonged to fraternities including the Masons and Odd Fellows. At one time he had served as a town clerk.

Orestes T. Doe was married to Mabel P. Dow and they had three sons: Kenneth, Robert and D.B. Doe.

Their son, Kenneth married Lila Winchester, of Rutland, Vermont, on August 12th, 1930. Lila was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Winchester. Lila had a sister named Ada. Kenneth died at age 81, on March 20, 1983, in Portland, Maine. At that time he was living at Gooserocks Beach, Kennebunkport but was listed as formerly living in Franklin, Mass. Kenneth and Lila had one daughter and two grandchildren.

With my limited research time spent, the only additional information I uncovered regarding the other sons of Orestes and Mabel were that they had all been residents of Franklin at one time and were all lawyers.

The second New Year greeting postcard for this blog posting is shown below. It has a verse on the front as follows:

I wish you all good fortune,

Which twelve long months may give;

With loyal friends to cheer you,–

And a long, long life to live!

A Happy New Year

This postcard was published by Stecher Litho Co. (1887-1936), it has a series number 1605A. It was postmarked December 29, 1916, from Milford, Mass. The card was sent to Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Hooper (Aunt Etta and her husband) and the sender was Mrs. L. L. Milliken.

After a little research, I have uncovered the sender as Mrs. Lloyd L. Milliken. Her maiden name was Mary Evelyn Cahoon and she married Lloyd on April 14th, 1904, in Taunton, Mass. She was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George P. Cahoon. Her father was the former superintendent of the Taunton Wire Nail Co.

Mary Milliken was prominent in social circles and had been a stenographer and had an office in the Crocker Building. Lloyd Milliken, at the time of marriage, was in charge of the Hartshorn Farm, on Dean Street, in Taunton.

My research found that there was a historic house located at 68 Dean St., in Taunton, originally built in 1798 for Abiezar Dean. In 1905, the house was purchased by George Hartshorn. It was placed on the US National Register of Historic Places in 1984, known as the Dean-Hartshorn House. In the current day, the home exists as a senior nursing facility.

So, my curiosity is somewhat cured to have learned a little bit about the senders of each of these two postcards. It also speaks to genealogy clues that might be found on old postal items such as postcards or letters.

Happy New Year!

Until next time…

Links to related posts:

Happy Birthday Grammy Alice!

Born 100 Years Ago: Mom

Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures

Sources:

Boston Globe, 07 October 1897. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Boston Globe, 12 December 1904. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Boston Globe, 06 January 1930. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Boston Globe, 21 March 1983. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Fall River Daily Globe, 18 April 1904. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Metropostcard. Publishers, metropostcard.com/metropcpublishers.html. Accessed 02 January 2021.

Rutland Daily Herald, 13 August 1930. Newspapers.com. Accessed 01 January 2021.

Wikipedia. Dean-Hartshorn House, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dean-hartshorn.house. Accessed 01 January 2021.

One Postcard Saturdays: Charlestown Bridge in Boston

Timing is everything!

Much to my surprise today, when I randomly picked my featured postcard, I learned that in less than two weeks demolition will begin on the historic Charlestown Bridge. It is also known as the North Washington Street Bridge located in Boston, Massachusetts.

This very rare steel, swing drawbridge (center pier) structure was built between 1898-1900 by the Boston Transit Commission. Their Chief Engineer was William Jackson (1848-1910) and it was constructed by the Pennsylvania Steel Company, of Steelton, PA.

Several years ago, I developed a greater appreciation for the various types of bridges that are constructed. One of my children had an extensive segment in school learning about bridge history with all the different types and specific designs so they could learn to recognize such differences–the assignments included projects such as detailed drawings. Before that point, I really had little realization of such wide differences in bridges.

Bridge Details-

The Charlestown Bridge was 100-foot wide and about 1000-feet long. Being located on North Washington Street and going over the Charles River it connected the historic Boston neighborhoods of Charlestown and the North End.

This double-decked bridge was designed to carry the Charlestown Elevated Railway, as well as, vehicle traffic. There was an overhead structure built on the center lane of the bridge for the Elevated mainline tracks, with the lower deck for two 28-foot carriageways on either side of a 22-foot right-of-way for electric streetcars.

The draw span was about 240-foot in length and consisted of four pin-connected trusses. The turntable motors of this bridge were electrically operated and took about two minutes to open or close the span. The draw was last used in 1956 and was permanently closed in 1961.

The Elevated and surface tracks were eliminated on the bridge in 1975.

In August of 2018, construction began on a replacement bridge and is expected to continue until Spring of 2023.

A temporary bridge has been installed and will be used starting in less than a week, on July 17th, until the permanent one is ready. Sadly, demolition of the old historic bridge is set to begin on July 20th.

The new bridge being constructed is being called a “street over water” and it will include: two vehicle lanes in each direction; one inbound bus lane; cycle tracks in each direction; and sidewalks on both sides with an overlook and seating area.

Postmark Info-

My actual featured postcard, with message shown below, was postmarked from Franklin, Mass., and was sent to Mrs. Henrietta J. Hooper (1861-1943), in Plainville, Mass. If you would like to learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Postcard Message-

As best that I can make out, the message reads as follows:

Dear Etta, Hope you area feeling well. Am sorry I got so behind with the papers (?) but since inspection was over I have been cleaning house and for the last two days have been in the attic. I get so tired by night I can’t write or do much of anything but go to bed. All you can do is to scold me when you see me. It seemed like old times to see Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Wood at the Corps meeting. Don’t work any harder than you have to. Goodbye with love, Winnie

One of the organizations that Aunt Etta belonged to was the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC), which was the Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). So, I am assuming that is the Corps meeting referred to by the postcard sender. There are other postcards in Aunt Etta’s collection signed by Mrs. Stewart so I recognize that name but I don’t recall seeing a Mrs. Wood at the moment.

Postcard Publisher-

This postcard was published by the Tichnor Brothers, Inc. (1908-1987), Cambridge, Mass. They published a wide variety of postcard types.

If you are new to my blog, my posting today is part of a series I call “One Postcard Saturdays” where I feature a postcard that usually has some type of landmark picture. In turn, I explore the landmark with a little research and try to give a few details about it.

Until next time…

 

Reference Sources:

Webpages

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. North Washington Street Bridge Replacement, mass.gov/north-washington-street-bridge-replacement. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Historic Bridges. North Washington Street Bridge; Charlestown Bridge, historicbridges.org. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Metropostcard. Publishers, metropostcard.com/publisherst.html. Accessed 11 July 2020.

Wikipedia. Charlestown Bridge, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlestown_Bridge. Accessed 11 July 2020.

 

One Postcard Saturdays: Worcester Market

My series, One Postcard Saturdays, ran for a few weeks last year when I focused on providing background highlights on the subject pictured on each postcard. Once again, while sorting through some of my family collection, I have set aside a few postcards to feature another round of this series.

Not to be forgotten, I will at some point in the near future complete my three-part series based on old-time Radio Actress Bess Johnson. If you would like to read the first part of that series, please see my previous posting: Radio Star Bess Johnson: Fan Letter.

My featured postcard this time around is of the Worcester Market, in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was published by Henry Freeman & Co., in Worcester, Mass.

The City of Worcester occupies an area of about eight-square miles and is located midway between Boston and Springfield.

In the early 1900’s, Worcester’s commerce was centered around Main Street, between Lincoln Square and the Common.

The last period of growth for Worcester happened during the time frame of 1891 to 1930 when corporate enterprise became a major influence on the commercial district. In early times, there were smaller row buildings and they were replaced by larger office buildings.

Thought to be the largest grocery supply building in the nation, the Worcester Market was built in 1914. It handled all aspects of food retailing–replacing many of the city’s small suppliers.

The Worcester Market Building still exists in the present time as leased office space. It is located at 627 Main Street. It was designed by architect Oreste Ziroli.

This building was part of approximately 1,200 buildings that were researched in great detail between March 1977 and March 1978 for the submission of the nomination form to the National Register. The area was listed on March 5, 1980 as the Worcester Multiple Resource Area, National Register of Historic Places Inventory; US Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service.

Originally, there was a building located next door to the Worcester Market that is shown on the top left portion of the postcard and this was the Worcester Royal Hotel which no longer exists.

This featured postcard was postmarked on October 30, 1916 from Worcester, Mass., and was sent to Aunt Etta’s husband William Thomas Hooper (born 1860). They were living in Franklin, Mass., at that time. William was a son of Ephraim (1813-1885) and Isabella (Giddings) Hooper who were the parents of eight children.

William Hooper married Henrietta Jane James (Aunt Etta) on July 10, 1878.

The postcard was sent by William’s sister Sarah. She was born about 1856 and died on August 15, 1927, in Worcester, Mass.

Sarah’s message: Dear Brother and Sister. Got home all right. Will write soon. With love, Sarah

Sarah was married to Stinson William Hodgdon (1853-1930). “Stin” was one of nine children born to: Mary P. (Hurmant) (1831-1888) and David Stinson Hodgdon (1831-1894). David and Mary were married in 1852 in Wiscasset, Maine.

Stin and Sarah resided in Worcester for many years. There are many other postcard correspondence from them in Aunt Etta’s collection, some of them being real photo postcards taken by Stin. Hopefully, I will be able share more of them in future postings.

There is still more research to be done on the Hooper branch; however, if you would like to learn a bit more you might check out my previous blog posting: Don’t Jump Too Fast To Conclusions.

To learn more about Aunt Etta, you might like to read my previous posting: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Until next time…

Reference Source:

Website: npgallery.nps.gov; Accessed 02 May 2020.

A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

On this Thanksgiving Eve, I will briefly introduce you to our young (Martin) Leroy James and a postcard greeting he sent to Aunt Etta, postmarked from Buffalo, New York on November 24, 1908. To learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

Martin “Leroy” James was born in 1897 and died in Boston 1914–at the young age of 17, due to a heart issue resulting from rheumatic fever. He was the son of Martin Royal Van Buren James (born 1864) and Mary “Mollie” (Pease) James (born 1864).

Martin and Mollie, Leroy’s parents, were married on November 20, 1895, in Boston, Mass. The parents of Mollie were William and Catharine (Hickey) Pease.

Leroy, sender of the postcard.

My featured postcard was sent by Leroy to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper) sister of Martin, the father of Leroy. The paternal grandparents of Leroy were Charles and Julia Ann (Moore) James. To learn more about Grandma Julia, please see my previous post: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

The message reads: Dear Aunt Etta, We are all well and hope you are moved. So goodby(e). From your loving Nephew Leroy. This card was addressed to Mrs. William Hooper (Aunt Etta), in Plainville, Mass. “with” care of Mrs. Julia James. So we learn that Aunt Etta moved during this time, probably from Franklin to Plainville to be with, or near, her mother Julia.

In future posts, I will explore more of Leroy (sometimes known as Roy) and his parents as they all corresponded with family on a regular basis so I have many postcards to be able to share. At the time Leroy sent this card, he was 11 years old. He and his parents were living in Buffalo, New York at that time.

Shown below are some pictures of Leroy as a baby and as a young boy:

 

 

Shown below is one picture of Martin, Leroy’s father. In the future, I will share more pictures of Martin and perhaps his wife Mollie if I can correctly identify her.

Martin Royal Van Buren James, father of young Leroy.

At this time of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for this opportunity to share my family history via this blog and postal history exploration.

Wishing all of you a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time…

Works Cited:

Family Bible Records

“Massachusetts Marriages 1841-1915” Database with Images, Family Search.

“Massachusetts, Town Clerk Vital and Town Records 1626-2001” Database with Images, Family Search.

Suffrage and The Independent Man

Stop! Think for one moment. I ask you to consider just how massive the span of time that covers the course of seventy-two years. That was the expansive number of years it took for the struggle and fight by women in this country to achieve the right to vote.

The women’s suffrage movement was first launched in 1848. After decades of struggle, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was successfully achieved in 1920. This Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote.

I have taken the following definitions for the words “suffrage” and “suffragette” from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

The definition of suffrage is: “The right to vote in an election”.

On the front side of my featured postcard, it says, “Suffragette Vote-Getting, The Easiest Way”. The word suffragette means: “A woman who worked to get voting rights for women in the past when women were not allowed to vote”.

The back side of my featured postcard is unused, no writing, so I cannot be completely certain which of my three “leading ladies” it belonged to, see my posting Intro to my blog. However, my best guess is that it belonged to Aunt Etta who seemed to be very involved in civic organizations and such. As I was gathering background information for this blog, I gained much appreciation for my own ancestors that had a hand in the suffrage movement. To learn more about Aunt Etta, refer to my previous posting Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

At the end of this blog, I have a list of “Works Cited” since  I have used several sources for the information used in my details listed here today.

The featured postcard was published in 1909 by the Dunston-Weiler Lithograph Company and is Number 4 in what was a series of 12 anti-woman suffrage postcards. These lithographic cartoon postcards presented an argument that men would become feminized by woman suffrage (Palczewski).

The following quote was found in reference to this card:

In one card called “Suffragette Vote-Getting” for example, a woman campaigns by spontaneously grabbing a stranger while kissing him on the lips. Ultimately the effect is soft ridicule, not the vicious satire that appears on English postcards and occasionally on American examples as well (Florey 275).

Since the election is upon us, my goal would be to remind all of us, especially women, about the huge effort and fight it took for our ancestors to win the right for women to vote. Just think about those seventy-two years they fought for us to have that right–please honor their efforts by voting.

Rhode Island and the Independent Man

Since I reside in Rhode Island and I have a family tie to the statue that sits on top of our state house–a symbol of our independence–I thought the following postcard might be of interest.

The Rhode Island State House, located in Providence, was built during the years of 1895 to 1904. It has the fourth largest self-supported marble dome in the world.

The above Rhode Island State House postcard was postmarked July 16, 1909 and was published by A.C. Bosselman & Co., of New York. The card was printed in Germany. This card was sent to my grandmother Bertha James (Gra Gra), in Riverpoint (West Warwick), Rhode Island. If you would like to learn more about Gra Gra, see my previous blog posting Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital.

Below is a closer look at the publisher information on the back of the postcard.

Sitting on top of the Rhode Island State House is a statue known as “The Independent Man”. He was designed by George Brewster, a sculptor from Massachusetts. The statue originally began in New York City as a statue of Simon Bolivar and was composed of bronze and gold metal.

Mr. Brewster, the designer, formed a partnership with the Gorham Foundry, of Providence, where the statue was melted and cast into the “Independent Man”. The Gorham Foundry was started in 1831, by Jabez Gorham.

This statue was set into place on December 18, 1899 where it remained until 1975 when it was taken down for a one-year makeover in preparation for the Bicentennial. The repairs and gold leaf were done by the Paul King Foundry, in Johnston.

Gra Gra had often mentioned that her father was a moulder and that he had worked on the “Independent Man”–the one sitting on top of the Rhode Island State House. My great-grandfather, George Lang Parkhurst James was born on Cushing Street, in Providence, on February 25, 1869 and died on March 15, 1926. He was a son of Charles Henry and Julia Ann (Moore) James. He was a Moulder by trade, first learning by working at the Providence Locomotive Works. He went on to work for other foundry places in Providence, including the Gorham Foundry, before moving to the Riverpoint section of West Warwick in 1905. To read more about his parents Charles and Julia, please see my previous post Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

There will be more details about my great-grandfather and his family in future blogs but I will make brief mention here that he was very musically inclined. In addition to his trade as a moulder, he was sought after in the music world to furnish baritone and banjo solos. At times, he was a professional entertainer. Again, I will be sharing more stories and background as time goes on.

This old photo shown below, which previously belonged to my grandmother, has written on the back “Providence before the State House was built” so it would be from prior to 1895. It gives a glimpse into this area at that time, some of these buildings remain today, notice the church steeples in the background.

In closing, as we move forward to Election Day may we be reminded of those in the past that have fought for our independence and the right to vote. Whatever your choice, at least make the effort to vote. After the results, may we all go back to being kind to our friends and neighbors.

Until next time…

Works Cited

Florey, Kenneth. American Woman Suffrage Postcards: A Study and Catalog.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015.  books.google.com.  Accessed 06 November 2016.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  www.merriam-webster.com.  Accessed 06 November 2016.

National Archives.  www.archives.gov/historical-docs/19th-amendment.  Accessed 06 November 2016.

Palczewski, Catherine H.  Postcard Archive.  University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA.  www.uni.edu.  Accessed 06 November 2016.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorham_Manufacturing_Company.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhode_Island_State_House.  Accessed 06 November 2016.

http://www.rhody.com/the-man-atop-the-statehouse.  Accessed 06 November 2016.

Halloween Greeting Postcard by The Fairman Co.

My featured postcard Hallowe’en Greeting was published by The Fairman Co. of Cincinnati and New York, Series No. 6908. This company was known by the trademark The Pink of Perfection.

Here is the verse that appears on the front of the card:

Better be careful what you’re about

The goblins are here without a doubt.

 

This postcard was sent to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper) in Plainville, Mass. by her friend Olive. There is further research that I need to do on Olive, but for today I will leave it at that. The postmark on the card is from Providence and it looks to be 1919 (?), it is hard to read the year for sure. If you would like to learn more about Aunt Etta, please see my previous blog posting Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

The message written on the postcard by Olive reads as follows:

Just a line to let you know I am thinking of you. I expect to come and see you before the very cold weather.

Hoping to find you in the best of health. I still send my love.

Olive.

Today, I am keeping to this short and simple posting. During the week, if time allows, I do have some other Halloween postcards that I may share between now and next Monday.

Until next time…

Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures

My family has a long line of strong, independent-minded women and Henrietta Jane James was certainly one of them. By studying many of her postcard correspondence, I have learned she had a spark for adventure. Being the sister of my great-grandfather, Aunt Etta was actually my great great Aunt. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island on April 17, 1861 and lived to the age of 82, dying on April 24, 1943. She was one of ten children (siblings listed toward the end of this piece) born to Charles Henry James (1824-1892) and Julia Ann (Moore) James (1836-1914).

Learn more about Etta’s mother Julia (Grandma Julia) in blog post: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory

The earliest picture that I have found of Aunt Etta is shown here to the right, it is a tintype photo. Most likely, this picture dates to the mid-1870’s which would be her teen years.

At the age of 17, Henrietta was married to William T. Hooper on July 10, 1878. He was born about 1860 and died in 1932. According to the 1930 Census, William was living on Peck Street in Franklin, Mass., where he and Aunt Etta had lived for many years. He was still working as Deputy Sheriff for the District Court in Franklin. For some reason, on this 1930 Census, Aunt Etta was actually living on Spring Street, in Franklin, as a “lodger” in the home of Francis and Beatrice MacDonald. In the near future, I may find some clarity on this–were they separated, or perhaps she a caregiver of some kind? Over the years, Aunt Etta had lived in other places including at St. John’s Parish in Providence and for a time in Worcester, Mass.

This photo with bikes, to the left, was taken of Aunt Etta with her husband Bill around 1900 which would make her close to 40 years old at the time.

She and William had two children, both of whom tragically died early on: Ethel May was born on December 14, 1879 and sadly drowned on May 31, 1884; Irene was born on July 4, 1885 and died nine-months later on April 1, 1886.

There are two pair of shoes that belonged to Ethel May that have been passed down to me via my grandmother (Gra Gra). It seems that I remember my grandmother mentioning that someone in the family was a shoemaker that made them. These baby shoes were made in 1879 and 1881 and are pictured below.

The photo below was taken in 1913 with Aunt Etta wearing the print dress at age 52 and her husband Bill on the left in the picture. The other ladies I believe to be nieces, I am working on getting better able to specifically identify them. From the expression on her face, one can only wonder what she was thinking at the time.

In time, Aunt Etta became involved in organizations, one of those was the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC) which was the official Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The group of pictures shown below are from a very small luncheon brochure from 1926 that has been passed down that belonged to Aunt Etta, the last page of the brochure shows the symbol for the WRC.

The GAR, sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, was founded in Decatur, Ill. in 1866 by Benjamin F. Stephenson and disbanded in the late 1970’s. The membership was limited to honorably discharged veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marine Corps or the Revenue Cutter Service who had served from 1861-1865. The GAR held Annual Encampments with the final one being held in 1949, in Indianapolis, Ind.

The 49th National Annual Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic was held September 27th thru October 2nd, 1915, in Washington, DC. There is a postcard pictured below that Aunt Etta had sent to my grandmother (Gra Gra) on Friday, September 24, 1915. She noted, “I leave Boston Sunday morning, (September 26th) at 9 o’clock for Washington, DC with the Grand Army”. At this time, Aunt Etta would have been 54 years old.

The Annual Encampment, in 1915, recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Grand Review when in 1865 the Union Civil War Armies marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. This event in 1915 was to be a reproduction of the original Grand Review and included a parade which passed by President Wilson and cabinet members. Many aging Veterans participated in this march for the last time. Some of this information was found from a historical newspaper article that appeared in the Herald Democrat dated July 6, 1915 that had been published in advance of the event.

My featured postcard at the top of the blog is of the Tea Room at the Sweet Heart Inn, Shelburne Falls, Mass. This 1920’s postcard was from The Albertype Co., of Brooklyn, NY.

According to “The History and Tradition of Shelburne, Mass.” the Sweet Heart Inn was built in 1914. Later, more seating and foods were added and it became the Sweet Heart Tea House. Alice Brown made heart-shaped molded candy from maple sugar called “Maple Sweethearts”.

Living in New England, the fall season becomes a brilliance of color with the changing foliage. Even in the present day, we enjoy a beautiful fall ride along the Mohawk Trail, also known as Route 2, in the northwest section of Massachusetts. And so it was the opportunity for such an adventure, perhaps, that in 1922 on October 14th and 15th, Aunt Etta took a fall automobile ride which would include the Mohawk Trail. According to Aunt Etta’s budget list, one of their stops was for dinner at the Sweet Heart Inn. One of the other images shows the list of towns they visited: “going through” and “Returning through Mohawk Trail”. Their journey began in Worcester and went as far as North Adams, having gone through the Berkshires. Aunt Etta, age 61 at the time of the trip and is standing in front of the auto wearing the dark-colored hat and lighter colored dress in the front row along with her traveling companions.

 

 

 

One of the pictures above (with the little roof) is of the “well at Jacob’s Ladder” which would have been on the first part of their journey, the “going through” section of her travel list. The picture would have been from the Jacob’s Ladder Trail Scenic Byway, part of what is also known as Route 20, as they went through the towns of Chester and Lee. This trail opened in 1910 for the new “horseless carriages” and there was a 100-year celebration held in 2010.

As I will explore some of the family interactions via postcard correspondence in future blogs, it will be helpful for me to provide some genealogical information here and make additions to it along the way. The following list will show the siblings of Aunt Etta and their spouses, I will save listing any offspring for future writings:

  • Harriett Ann James was born in Dighton, Mass., on November 12, 1854. She married William J. Young (born 1858) on July 4, 1878 and in the 1880 Census they were living in Providence and William was listed as a Jeweler. Harriett died of childbirth on December 8, 1893.
  • William Henry James was born in Dighton, Mass., on November 4, 1856. He married Mabel A. Dollof on December 25, 1877, in Providence.
  • Charles Edward James was born in Providence, RI on February 10, 1859 and died July 13, 1861.
  • Martin Royal VanBuren James was born in Walpole, Mass., on May 22, 1864. He married Mary (Mollie) J. Pease on November 20, 1895 in Boston, Mass. 
  • Ethan Allan James was born in Providence on November 25, 1866. He married Jennie Taylor in Conn. He died on November 6, 1928 at Backus Hospital, in Norwich, Conn. They are both buried at River Bend Cemetery, in Westerly, RI.
  • George Lang Parkhurst James (my great-grandfather) was born in Providence on February 25, 1869 and died March 15, 1926. He married first to Martha Ella Carr in 1890 and second to Susan Mary Henrich, from Plainville, Mass., on October 12, 1899.
  • Charles Frederick James was born in Providence on December 27, 1870 and died on September 7, 1871.
  • Byron Madison James was born in Providence on September 23, 1874. He married (unknown name at this time) and divorced. He was said to have disappeared for twenty years and died about 1935 near Schenectady, New York.
  • Frank Daniel James was born in Providence on November 29, 1876 and died on June 5, 1883.

The picture, just above, with Aunt Etta standing on the right with the man sitting who I think is her brother Ethan Allan, not her husband. I may be able to make a better determination in the near future.

We will learn more about Aunt Etta together in future blogs.

The picture you see here to the left is probably one of the last ones taken of her, so it is most likely from the 1940’s.

My mother used to mention Aunt Etta from time-to-time since she was fortunate enough to know her in person. By reading her extensive collection of postcards, in part at least at this point, I have grown to know her better and find her fascinating.

For myself, and for those that may choose to read my blog, I look forward to learning and sharing more about her life, as well as, her extended family.

Until next time…

 

Intro to my blog

Welcome! Let me begin by introducing you to myself and my brand new blog.

My blog title of Darpity Jean’s Blog is based on my nickname that I had acquired from my best childhood friend, Debbie, to whom I dedicate this first post in dearest memory. Today, being September 8th, would have been her birthday and it just seems to be fitting to finally get this blog off the ground on this day.

With the exception of about six months, I have resided in Rhode Island for all of my life. Though it is the smallest state in the USA, it certainly is the greatest in many ways. Most of my life has been spent within the communities of Warwick, West Warwick and Charlestown (in South County).

My extended family would be considered to be what is called Swamp Yankees, they never threw anything away–so true, it is. Fortunate for the sake of this blog as I will have plenty of material to work with.

This blog has been on my “back burner” for quite a while now. Even in these recent days, when I finally decided to take the plunge, it seemed like I was never going to get to the actual writing due to the sifting through all the technical page settings. Please bear with me, on the technical end of this page, as I may still need to make fine tuning adjustments. By the way, I do have a saying that goes something like “learn something new every day” and this sure has been a learning process.

The intention of this blog is meant to be an exploration, on several levels. My plan is to explore some postal history, from my ancestors, in the form of postcard correspondence as many of these postcards reveal stories about their lives. There will be some family genealogy information shared, primarily from my James branch of the family tree. The actual postcard images that I share on this blog will also be explored, with any notes of a historical nature that I might be able to provide.

To begin unfolding my family stories, the first few blogs will focus on my three “leading ladies”. It is from them that I have inherited quite the postcard collection, many with great images from around the New England area. Each of the three ladies, my great great grandmother (Grandma Julia), her daughter Henrietta (Aunt Etta), and my grandmother (Gra Gra) will each have their own Intro posting, helping to provide some background information for each of them.

My goal is to continue my blog posts at least once per week. If time is short on my end there may be posts that simply show an uncirculated postcard image, or gallery of images with some brief background information.

There will be times when I may post something other than postcard images, like old photos or some vintage memorabilia.

The postcard image leading my blog today is of The Majestic Hotel, Arctic Center, in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The following information was taken from the RI Historical Preservation Commission Survey Report of 1987. The Majestic Block, was located at the corner of Washington and Main Streets, built in 1901 by Joseph Archambault (after the block previously burned down Nov. 3, 1900). In addition to rooms along the exterior, the Hotel contained a movie theatre, bowling alley in the basement, a bar and a drug store at street level. The postcard itself was from prior to 1920. In my younger years, I remember this building being Majestic Hardware, it has been gone now for several years–torn down–it was replaced by a park with gazebo.

My Logo, shown below, is an original drawing by my mom, from 1940. Thank you for viewing my first blog entry. Until we meet again…