Thanksgiving Greetings: Lionel and Bertha!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

I am grateful for the memories of holidays past and glad that I am able to share my family stories with you, including the one that follows. In today’s blog, I share a Thanksgiving Greetings postcard that was sent by Gra Gra (Bertha) and her brother Lionel to their grandmother (Grandma Julia), in Plainville, Mass.

The publisher of this postcard is not clearly identified, so I am not sure on that but it was postmarked in 1909 from Riverpoint (West Warwick), R.I. At the time this card was sent, Bertha would have been 18 years old and Lionel age 17. To me, it looks like Lionel’s handwriting on the card.

His handwritten message reads:

Love from your two big grandchildren. Lionel & Bertha.

Julia Ann Moore James (1836-1914) was a nurse as shown in the picture below. I have not yet identified who the other lady might be, whether it was a co-worker or a family member, I am not certain at this time.

Bertha Lillian (1891-1983) and Lionel Henry (1892-1969) were two of five children born to George Lang Parkhurst James (1869-1926). In addition to Bertha and Lionel, their sibling Howard Allan James (1894-1963) was the third child born to Martha Ella Carr James Cady (1873-1920). George and Martha were divorced in 1894. Since Martha had limited means, the two older children were placed with George and the baby Howard was allowed to remain with his mother.

The below pictures are identified, as follows: the top larger block is Bertha at 8 years old and is the earliest picture of her that I have found to this point, she is also in the picture just to the right of that at age 16 with the hair bow; the lady with the bangs is Martha and George next to her with Julia on the right which is a tin-type photo. I will show some pictures of Lionel further on in this story as I do not readily have a young picture of him.

George remarried to Susan Mary Henrich (1876-1956) and they had two sons together: Vincent Charles James (1901-1997) and Lester Hill James (1905-1996). Susan and the two younger boys are pictured below.

Bertha and Lionel remained close throughout their lives and he used to come to her house to help with things like shoveling snow or little handy tasks that needed tending to. Below is a picture of him after a winter snowstorm standing next to his car.

In my last blog, I mentioned about the summer cottage we had when I was young and we frequently had visitors including Gra Gra and Uncle Lionel. There is a picture below with myself, my brothers, my parents (my dad is hardly visible standing in back) and Bertha and Lionel. In my last blog, I mentioned about the back addition to the cottage and I thought it was about 1968 but this picture is from 1966 and I can see that the addition is already on the back by this point, so it was at least started by 1966.

In my last blog, I also mentioned a swimming area, in the Charlestown Beach area, called “Danger Deep” located at the shack. Below is a picture of Uncle Lionel swimming with us there. I am the blonde-headed kid in the water on the left side of the picture.

Although I am not able to gather with my children and grandchildren on this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful to spend some time sharing my family memories with you. There are previous blogs that I have written that tie into the family members listed here today and I will make a list of those links below.

Uncle Lionel military service: Uncle Lionel: Fort Greble, RI; Vet of WWI

Other Links: Turkey Day Memories

Thanks Mom for the Effort!

A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory

Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time…

Grandma Julia’s Christmas Postcards

Grandma Julia (Julia Ann Moore James) kept some of her most-prized postcards within an album, or two. The prize in this case was not a recognition of monetary worth but rather of her most priceless possession–her family and close friends. The same was true for Aunt Etta, daughter to Julia. However, Aunt Etta’s albums seem to be twice as thick, a sign of her times as postcards grew in popularity.

In this blog, I shall present a selection of Christmas postcards that were sent to Grandma Julia, from one of her albums. Next week, or so, I will follow with a similar selection of Christmas postcards that belonged to Aunt Etta. Finally, just prior to the holiday, I shall post a selection from my grandmother, Gra Gra’s collection. These are my three leading ladies as outlined in my Blog Intro Intro to my blog.

To learn more background on Grandma Julia, please see my previous blog post: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

Grandma Julia’s Siblings

Julia’s parents, George Martin Royal Van Buren Moore and Harriett (Daniels) Moore had eleven children: Clarissa, Harriett, Mary, Julia, Betsey, Florinda, Sarah, George, Ethan, Ellen, and Emma. In future blogs, I will do further exploration about them but make mention here, briefly, as a couple of the Christmas postcards shown below are from or about her siblings.

Grandma Julia’s Children

Grandma Julia was married to Charles Henry James and they had ten children: Harriett, William, Charles, Henrietta (Aunt Etta), Martin, Ethan, George, Charles, Byron and Frank. Again, I will explore them further in the future but wish to aid the reader when I reference the sender of the postcards that are posted below.

My featured postcard was sent by Aunt Etta and her husband William Hooper in 1909 to Grandma Julia, in Plainville, Mass. from Franklin, Mass. Here is the written side view:

There is no indication of a publisher on the featured card, but it shows that it was printed in Germany. This card has an embossed technique which adds texture to the surface.

The next postcard, shown here, “A Merry Christmas” was sent by Bertha, my grandmother “Gra Gra” to her grandmother Julia.  It reads: “Dear Grandma, I wish you a very very very Happy Christmas Day. Bushels of love from your granddaughter, Bertha.”

Gra Gra was 17 years old at the time she sent this card.

This card was made in Germany and was postmarked in 1908, from Arctic (West Warwick), Rhode Island to Plainville, Mass.

This is one of only a few cards in this selection that is not embossed.

Shown below is the written side.

The next two postcards shown are embossed style and say on the front “A Merry Christmas”. Each card was sent or given to Julia by her sister Emma, on two different years. There is no postmark appearing on the cards so I am uncertain of the date. One card reads: “We wish you all a Merry Xmas. To Julia from sister Emma.” The second card reads: “With much love to all. From sister Emma, sister Julia.”

And here is the reverse side of these two cards:

The postcard displayed here, “Christmas Wishes, To Greet You” was sent to Grandma Julia by her sister Ellen.

The postmark on this postcard was from Westwood, Mass., sent to Julia at 69 King St., in Franklin, Mass. The year is not readable, but I think it is 1913 as that is the street address which matches another card sent from someone else in the same year.

The written side of this postcard reads: “Dear sister and brother (Julia’s brother Ethan) – A Merry Christmas to you both – Lovingly – sister Ellen.”

The publisher of the card was B.B. London, printed in Germany.

Below is the reverse side:

The next few images are actually from a regular folding-style Christmas card, not a postcard. It was found inside of Grandma Julia’s album along with the other postcards.

This card is just beautiful, very unique I would say. The front cover says “A Merry Christmas”. The next page is a signature page, with verse: “To wish you every Happiness” and is written to “Mother” from “May and Will”. This would be Julia’s son William and his wife Mabel “May” (Dollof) James. The following page of this card has a very nice verse on it:

The verse inside reads as follows:

Christmas is here,

and with all my heart,

I send you a

greeting rhyme,

For upon your face

shines the tender grace,

Of a dear old

by-gone time,

So for old sake’s sake

take my words of cheer

And my warmest wish

for a bright New Year.

The embossed postcard shown below “A Merry Christmas” with Santa driving the old car was published by H.I. Robbins, Boston and Copyright in 1907. The card was sent in 1908 to Grandma Julia, in Plainville, Mass., by Dewey, from Hyde Park, Mass. He was a son of William and May (Mabel). The written side reads: “Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Dear Grandma, from Dewey.”

The next three postcards were sent from grandson Leroy James. To learn more about Leroy, please see my previous blog: A Thanksgiving Greeting from 1908!

This embossed postcard, Santa walking with the polar bears, was postmarked in 1911 from Boston, Mass., and was sent to Julia in Franklin, Mass., in care of W.T. Hooper (Aunt Etta’s house).

It reads: “Hurry up Grandma. Santa Claus is waiting for you, put on your old gray bonnett. With love from your grandson Leroy James.

At the time he sent this card, Leroy was 14 years old.

Below is shown the reverse side with his written message.

On the front of “A Merry Christmas” card, shown below, is a girl pulling a sled with a little “rider”. This card was postmarked in 1912 from Boston, Mass., and was sent to Julia, in Franklin, Mass. It reads: “Dear Grandma, I hope you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I hope you will get lots of presents from Santa Claus. From your loving grand child, Leroy James.”

At the age of 16, in 1913, Leroy would send Grandma Julia a final Christmas postcard. On the front side of the card it says “Season’s Greetings” and shows a lady, in a lovely purple dress, sitting within a wreath. There is glitter attached to the front.

This card was published by the National Art Company and Copyright 1906. It was postmarked from Boston, Mass., and addressed to Julia at 69 King Street, in Franklin, Mass. It was via the message on this card, from Leroy, that I was able to learn that the “brother” referred to by sister Ellen on her postcard (shown earlier in this blog) was actually Julia’s brother Ethan.

This is the message written by Leroy in 1913: “Dear Grandma, We had a lovely Thanksgiving with Aunt Etta and Uncle Will but I was sorry you were not here but we will make up for it at Christmas time with love to Uncle Ethan and a big share for yourself. From your loving grandson, Leroy James.”

Shown here below are the reverse sides of Leroy’s cards from 1912 and 1913.

 It is sad to think about, but both Leroy and Grandma Julia died within the next year, in 1914.

The following two postcards shown here below (just the front sides) are both embossed style. I believe they were sent to Julia from friends. The card shown on the right, has no postmark and reads: “With the Season’s Greetings. Mrs. Stewart.” The card on the left, is postmarked 1910 from Plainville, Mass. and it just has initials signed: “S.S.”

Finally, my last two postcards displayed below (again, just the front sides) have no writing, no postmarks but I thought they were nice cards to show. Both of these cards are embossed. The card, on the left, says on front “Bright be your Christmas” and was made in Germany.

So, there you have it, a few select postcards from Christmas past, during the very early 1900’s, by way of Grandma Julia’s album.

Until next time…

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.

Halloween Postcard by Artist Frances Brundage

Since the month of October is now upon us, I have been sorting through the family postcards looking for any that may be focused on Halloween…there will several posted here on my blog during the month.

Today, my rather brief posting will focus more on the artist rather than the family history. The featured postcard, illustrated by Frances Brundage, was postmarked in 1911. This postcard was printed in Germany, published by the Samuel Gabriel Company of New York, it was number 120 in their Halloween Series.

The following biographical information, on the artist, was found online from Wikipedia.

Frances Isabelle Lockwood Brundage, an American illustrator, was born on June 28, 1854, in Newark, New Jersey. She was the daughter of Rembrandt Lockwood and Sarah Ursula Despeaux.

Frances began her career at age 17, after her father had abandoned the family. Her illustrative art primarily focused on endearing Victorian children. She would go on to illustrate many books and postcards, as well as, other ephemera items.

In 1886, she married William Tyson Brundage (1849-1923) who was also an artist. They had one child, Mary Frances Brundage, who died in 1891 at age 17 months.

Frances Brundage died on March 28, 1937, at the age of 82.

Certainly, I will be sharing more postcard images from this artist in the near future, as I know there are others.

This particular postcard was sent to Grandma Julia James (2x great) in 1911, while she was living in Franklin, Mass., probably with Aunt Etta at that time. According to the postmark, the sender Mrs. Starck, appears to have lived in Plainville, Mass., where Grandma Julia previously lived. In the future, I will try to properly identify this Mrs. Starck as I know there are many other postcards that were received from her.

In the meantime, I am in the process of putting together the information for my next blog posting–also a featured Halloween postcard. There was a great mystery to be solved, which has been successfully unlocked–at least in part.

Until next time…

Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory

She was the fourth born of eleven children, Julia Ann (Moore) James and she was my great great grandmother. In 1907, according to the postmark on my featured postcard, Grandma Julia was residing at 18 Pleasant Street, in Plainville, Mass. Upon some effort on my part via the Internet, I made an attempt to find an existing home in the present day at that address with no success. Therefore, I assume either the address numbers on the street have since been changed or the home no longer exists.

The Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory, was operated by George E. Bitgood and was located in Farnumsville, Mass., which is a historic district encompassing the Village of Grafton. Located on the Eastern bank of the Blackstone River, the Village has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. According to the front of this postcard, Bitgood’s sold an Original Compound, vegetable syrups, ointments and powders including the use of roots and barks.

It seems that the postcard was sent to Grandma Julia to serve as a reply after her payment for an order was sent.

On the front right edge is a handwritten message for a receipt, to the best of my ability, it says: “Your check received allright, many thanks for same and promptness. Yours in Respect, G.E. Bitgood Farnumsville, Mass. 8/14/07”

Grandma Julia was born December 19, 1836 in Salem (Chesterfield), Conn. to George Martin Royal Van Buren Moore and Harriett Otis Daniels. Her father was born in the Chicopee Mountains, Monson, Mass., on April 5, 1804 and died at the age of 79 in 1882. He married Harriett Otis Daniels in Old Lyme, Toron, Conn., they had eleven children. In upcoming blog postings, I will get into more details about some of the siblings and other extended family as they come into play with exploring the postcard correspondence.   

Grandma Julia’s mother Harriett was born in 1812, the only child of Betsey Widger and Ransford Daniels. He was a sea Captain and was lost at sea, leaving behind his widow and daughter. Betsey Widger remarried to Stephen Otis and they had ten children.

At the right here is a tin type photo of Julia Ann (Moore) James probably from the late 1800’s.

In 1853, Julia married Charles Henry James, in Massachusetts, and they had ten children, two of whom died as infants. In a later blog, I will list their children. Charles Henry was born July 1, 1824 in Bennington, Vermont. He was the son of William Henry James and Catherine Jane (Simmons) James Northup. From his parents William and Catherine, he had two siblings Henrietta and Sally. After his father’s death, at about the age of ten, Charles Henry and his sister Henrietta were placed with the family of Dr. Wilcox who sent him to Williams-Town College. After the death of Dr. Wilcox he lived with a family named Mattison at North Pownal, Vermont.

According to my grandmother’s notes (Gra Gra), that were passed down to her from her own father…this William Henry James was a writing and music teacher. He hired a school and taught evenings in Providence and surrounding towns, 12 lessons for a $1.00. When he was not teaching, he ran a shingle mill.

After William’s death, Catherine remarried to Ichabod Northup, Jr. and they went on to have a son also named Ichabod. I may explore this further in future blogs, as my genealogy research continues on this branch.

Both Grandma Julia and Charles Henry James were Nurses by occupation. Julia retired in 1909, only five years prior to her death. In this photo, Julia is on the left. I am not sure who the other girl is.

Prior to 1860, Julia and Charles resided in Dighton, Mass., then in at least the 1860, 1870 and 1880 Census they lived in Providence, R.I. In reviewing some Census information in prep for this blog, I noticed in 1860 they had a Phillis Moore, age 84, living with them. There will need to be some more research with this but it is possible she is Julia’s Great Aunt. At first, I thought maybe it would be her grandmother but her father’s mother’s name is supposed to be Clarissa. So, perhaps I can get the mystery solved and share that another time.

Charles Henry James died on December 19, 1892, in Providence (sadly, notice that was on Julia’s birthday). From reading the postcard correspondence, from the collections passed down, I have learned that after this timeframe, Julia tended to reside in Plainville, Franklin and Attleboro, Mass.

This photo was appears to be taken not long before her death and it is actually a real photo postcard. The gentleman standing in the back would be her son, it was either William or Martin. The two ladies, I am not certain who they are but I think they would be either her granddaughters or nieces. I am still working on better identity for them. Although I have most of the genealogical data on this branch, trying to figure out who they are in the pictures can be a bit difficult.

Grandma Julia Ann (Moore) James died on April 12, 1914 at the age of 77 yrs., 3 mths., 24 days. Her residence was listed as 121 Peck Street, in Franklin, Mass. According to her death certificate, she had Cancer of the Pylorus (stomach) over the previous year and had been sick for a month from February 27th until the 12th of April. She and Charles Henry (along with their daughter Harriet) are buried in Springvale Cemetery, in Rumford, R.I. Since I learned this a few short years ago, I have made the trip a couple of times to visit their graves, I do have photos but they are not handy at the moment.

This introduction for my great great Grandma Julia is compiled of a few more “facts and figures” and a little less personal touch than I might like. However, as I am able to share some of the postcards that belonged to her and can share her correspondence between family members then more will be learned and shared about her life in a more personal way.

My next blog will introduce you to the last of my three “leading ladies” Aunt Etta (Henrietta). She is the daughter of Julia and Charles Henry…assumably named after Charles Henry’s sister Henrietta. 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…