One Postcard Saturdays – Revere Beach

Revere Beach, Massachusetts, was home to one of the largest roller coasters in the US, from 1925 to 1969, called The Cyclone. It was a wooden coaster, saw speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and had peaks of up to 100 feet high.

Known as “America’s First Public Beach”, Revere Beach is located about five miles north of Boston. This area was originally settled in 1630 as a farming village known as Rumney Marsh.

From 1900 until 1988, Revere Beach was well known for its Big Band music and dance pavilions. In addition, the area had several rides, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants and special attractions. Visitors would come from all over the world.

My featured postcard is of “The Shelter”, Revere Beach, Mass. I am unsure of the publisher but there is a number listed in the top left corner of the front side: S 54 and this postcard was printed in Germany.

This card was postmarked in 1909 from Revere, Mass., and was sent to Aunt Etta (Mrs. William Hooper) in Franklin, Mass. It was signed by “Maybel”, which I believe would be Mabel (Dollof) James, wife of William James (brother to Aunt Etta), they resided on Cleveland St., in the Hyde Park section of Boston.

The message on the postcard reads:

Dear Brother and Sister,
Alice and I are at the beach to day and having a fine time. With Love, Maybel

Since I know that William and Mabel had a daughter named Alice, I would think that the message is referring to said daughter. Once again, in future blogs I hope to explore this family further.

As for Revere Beach, it is still a public beach with restaurants, high-rise condo’s and single family homes. All the ride attractions have long since been removed.

Until next time…

Reference Material

Website:; Accessed 05 March 2019.

One Postcard Saturdays – M.E.S. Verse Card

My featured postcard has a verse and simple design of Violets. On the reverse side is printed “By a distinction all its own, The Sandford Message Card is known.”

On the lower right corner of this versed greeting postcard are the initials M.E.S., they represent Mary Elizabeth (Kennedy) Sandford. She was the writer of this verse and was founder of the Sandford Card Company of Dansville, NY, which began in 1907. The company published lithographic greeting and holiday cards.

The Sandford Card Company originated as a greeting card business but after time offered place cards, calling cards, calendars, program folders, napkins, banquet supplies, gifts and souvenirs.

Mary was married to Frank Sherman Sandford. After the death of Mary and her husband, the company was then operated by their daughter Ruth Louise Sandford. In 1948, Ruth hired John G. Holden as business manager. In 1965, the company moved from Dansville to Baldwinsville, New York. It continued to operate as a family business for several years then was sold to John G. Holden and later was purchased by Rodney Pease, the grandson of Mary Elizabeth Sandford’s sister Lillian Frances Pease. Rodney would eventually change the company name.

Six purple Violets hanging in a row

Carrying good wishes, everywhere they go

Number one brings happiness, — number two brings health

Number three brings luck-in-love, — number four brings wealth

Number five, contentment brings, — best thing on the list

Number six brings everything, that the rest have missed.

This postcard was postmarked March 10, 1921 from Boston, Mass., Hyde Park Station and was sent to Aunt Etta (Mrs. Henrietta Hooper), in Plainville, Mass., in care of Mr. Fuller. The sender of the card was her niece, Ethel–a daughter of Etta’s brother William James and his wife Mabel (Dollof). It is signed from Ethel and Charles. She had a brother named Charles; so, I am not sure whether this was her brother Charles or if that was the name of her “hubby” that she speaks about in her message. I need to do some further research to identify the name of her husband–something for a another day.

Ethel’s handwritten message is as follows:

My Dear Aunt Etta,
I am ashamed of myself for not writing before but I haven’t felt much like writing as we have had a hard time as hubby has been layed off most all winter. Until about a few weeks ago. He has got a good job now though. I am glad you have had lots of work this winter. If you write to me send it to Mother’s. We will be out soon. I will let you know when. With love from Ethel and Charles.

I can certainly relate a work lay-off. From her message, it would appear that Ethel and her hubby were staying with her parents in Hyde Park, as I know that was where they resided.

From a genealogy perspective, I am intrigued by the names I found in connection with the Sanford Card Company as my paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Holden and the last name of Pease is the maiden name of the wife of Aunt Etta’s brother Martin.

Until next time…

Reference Material

Sandford Greeting Card Company and Family Papers, circa 1839-2000; undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History; Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (; Accessed 01 March 2019.

One Postcard Saturdays – Hallett House

My featured postcard for today’s “One Postcard Saturdays” serial was sent to Aunt Etta by her Cousin Allie White, postmarked from Hyannisport, Mass., in 1905. Because I am still working on tying up all the loose ends to the James Family research, I will need to do a little digging in order to correctly identify “Allie”. She may be connected to the Moore side instead of the James. That research will have to wait for another day.

The Hallett House was a popular hotel located on Cape Cod, in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. It was built in 1872 at a cost of $30,000.

The hotel building could hold up to 100 guests and was four-stories high with on-site bowling, billiards, a poolroom and dining room. It was operated by Mrs. Emily Wheldon.

On the evening of Sept. 5, 1905, Labor Day, a fire broke out in the men’s washroom and quickly spread, engulfing the building–a complete loss within an hour, estimated at $10,000 (including contents).

The fire was caused by the explosion of gasolene, stored in a room near the kitchen. According to The Standard: “one of the kitchen boys went into the storeroom where the gasolene was kept and lighted a match. An explosion immediately followed, and although the boy was uninjured, he made no attempt to extinguish the blaze but rushed from the room.”

This postcard was published by The Rotograph Co., N.Y. City, printed in Germany.

The handwritten message on the front is as follows:

Dear Cousin;
Suppose you think it funny you did not hear from me. Sent for your address but I guess Grandma forgot about it when she wrote. Mama says to send this by mail. This is the hotel which was burnt down this summer Sept. 4, 1905.
Yours lovingly,
Allie White

I do have some good ideas planned for a few more extensive posts in the near future outside of these “One Postcard Saturdays” so keep an eye for those.

Otherwise, in keeping things short and sweet today–that is a wrap.

Until next time…

Reference Material

Sheedy, Jack; Barnstable Backstories: A coincidence of Hyannis Port fires; Barnstable Patriot; Opinion article posted online February 21, 2018; Accessed 23 February 2019.

The Standard: A Weekly Insurance Newspaper; Volume LVII; July 1, 1905 to January 1, 1906; Boston, Mass.; 1906; Volume 57, Page 228;; Accessed 23 February 2019

One Postcard Saturdays – George Washington

Next Friday, February 22nd, will mark the 287th birthday of George Washington, the first United States President.

My featured postcard today for my series “One Postcard Saturdays” depicts his inauguration which took place on April 30, 1789. He served for eight years (two terms) until March 4, 1797.

This postcard was postmarked on February 22, 1909 from Providence, RI and was sent by “Frances” to Aunt Etta (Mrs. Etta Hooper), in Franklin, Mass. If you would like to learn more about Aunt Etta, please read one of my previous posts, including: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

The publisher of the postcard was Raphael Tuck & Sons’ and it is noted as Post Card Series 156 “Washington’s Birthday”, and it was printed in Saxony.

Born on February 22nd, 1732, in Pope’s Creek, Virginia, George was the son of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington.

He married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6th, 1759.

In 1761, Washington inherited Mount Vernon. I have been fortunate enough to have visited Mount Vernon during a trip made with my Girl Scout trip way back in 9th Grade. During that trip, we also went to the top of the Washington Monument.

While doing a little research for this blog posting, I visited the website for Mount Vernon ( and learned that on Friday, February 22nd, as part of their birthday celebration there will be a Naturalization Ceremony for 85 people that have come from 41 countries. This ceremony is such an important part of our country.

Recently, I came across my maternal grandfather’s Naturalization papers, which are dated September 21st, 1918–he came over from Great Britain (England). To learn a little more about my grandfather, Thomas William Watts, please see my previous blog posting: LeValley Homestead, Fairview Ave and Moore’s Motor Service Postcard.

Speaking of the Carr-LeValley Homestead, I will be writing a follow-up blog posting to that initial one in the very near future–I have come across more pictures to include.

In the meantime, back to George…the Revoluntionary War lasted eight years, starting on April 19, 1775 and it ended on September 3, 1783. General George Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, having been appointed in 1775.

Washington was the first to sign the Constitution.

He died on December 14th, 1799 at the age of 67.

In closing, I have another Washington’s Birthday postcard from 1910 that shows a George Washington quote on the front side which I will reprint here. Although I have also seen it worded a little differently, I will print it as shown on the card.

I have always labored to keep alive within me that little spark of celestial fire called Conscience.

Until next time…

Reference Material

Facts listed were found on the Mount Vernon website:

One Postcard Saturdays – Abe Lincoln

During my own school days, one of our holidays off was February 12th, for Lincoln’s Birthday, which was soon followed by Washington’s Birthday on the 22nd–commonly falling during our winter school vacation week. These days, it seems a little sad that both holidays have been combined into one “Presidents’ Day” that falls mid-way between the two dates.

For certain, I am no expert on Abraham Lincoln, nor Civil War history but I feel quite fortunate to have visited some of the historic sites associated with his life. In addition to seeing the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, DC, and visiting the grounds of Gettysburg, (both on two separate occasions), I have also visited The Lincoln Home, in Springfield, Illinois and the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, located near Lerna, Illinois.

The sites in Illinois were visited on a trip I took with my children, made in the summer of 1998–just a few months prior to my mom’s emergency Cancer surgery. My dad’s first cousin, Eleanor, was living in Peoria at the time of our visit. Her mother, Hazel, was sister to my paternal grandfather. In future writings, I may expand on this branch further but will keep it brief today. On this summer vacation trip, we flew out together from RI with my mom but split up in our travel at Chicago; from that point, my mom went to Peoria and stayed with Eleanor while my children and I went on to St. Louis.

Photo taken prior to 1998 on a separate visit. Cousin Eleanor far left, my mom Marian in center and Great Aunt Hazel on the right.

During part of that vacation week, we made a loop-trek from St. Louis up to Peoria to visit, having stopped over in Springfield on the way. While in Springfield, we took one of those hop-on-and-off trolleys which I would highly suggest as a good way to get around and see the sites. The Lincoln Home was one of our stops which is located at the corner of 8th and Jackson Streets.

Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer and moved to Springfield, Illinois in 1837. He married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842 and they purchased the home on January 16, 1844. They had four sons, one died at age three.

The Lincoln Home is a National Historic Site, part of the National Park Service. Lincoln lived in the home from 1844 to 1861 before becoming the 16th President of the US–elected on November 6, 1860 and re-elected on November 8, 1864.

The Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, is located south of Charleston, Illinois, near the town of Lerna. In the park is a replica of the log cabin that was built and occupied by Abe’s father Thomas Lincoln. Note that the cabin was never occupied by Abe.

The history park is set up as a farm with animals and crops that would have been common during that historic timeframe. The farmstead is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves in ten states that were still in rebellion. Full abolition of slavery was achieved in late 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.

Photo taken at Gettysburg National Cemetery

The Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1-3, 1863. The Gettysburg National Cemetery, in Pennsylvania, was dedicated with The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863.

Photo taken at Gettysburg National Cemetery

My featured postcard for “One Postcard Saturdays” series was published by the E. Nash Co., copyrighted in 1908, it was a Lincolns Birthday Series, No. 1. This card sent by Mrs. Goff, in February of 1909 to Grandma Julia (Julia Ann Moore James), in Plainville, Mass.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, this postcard was titled “Lincoln Centennial Souvenir 1809-1909”–in recognition of one hundred years.

Also on the front of the postcard it says: “Abraham Lincoln, The Martyred President” and there is an Abe quote: “The brave men, living and dead, who
struggled here, have consecrated far above our poor power to add or detract.”

The bottom front of the postcards says: “Immortalized by an oration on the occasion of the dedication of The National Cemetery at Gettysburg, the field of the most sanguinary conflict of the Civil War, a struggle which decided the supremacy of the National Government.”

Photo taken at Gettysburg National Cemetery

President Lincoln was Assassinated in Ford’s Theatre, in Washington, DC, on April 14, 1865 and died on 15th–the following day. There is another postcard which tells about the assassination with printed information on the reverse side, there is no publisher listed. I am not going to display the actual card but I will reprint the information, it follows:

On April 14, 1865, Mrs. Lincoln made up a theater party to see Laura Keene at Ford’s Theater in “Our American Cousin.” On arriving, the President was wildly cheered and the orchestra played “Hail to the Chief!” During the third act, J. Wilkes Booth, a handsome young actor, glided into the President’s box, the door of which he barred, and armed with a revolver and a dagger approached his victim from the rear and fired the fatal shot. Lincoln’s head fell forward on his breast. Booth, crying dramatically, “Sie semper tyrannis!” stabbed Major Rathbone and vaulted the railing. The assassin’s spur, catching in the one of the American flags draping the box, threw him to the stage below, breaking his leg. Instantly he was up, and brandishing his bloody knife at the dazed audience he fled to the rear exit, where he mounted his horse and rode for his life. Several days after he was coralled in a barn, which was fired, and while thus at bay he was shot down. Lincoln died the next morning, April 15, 1865 at the age of 56. The following day Ford’s Theater was draped in mourning.

While preparing to write this posting today, I made an effort to find some of my pictures that I took at the Illinois historic sites but I was unable to locate them and did not want to spend more time looking.

On a separate road trip in 2015, I was able to visit the National Cemetery in Gettysburg (for the second time, the first time I was about ten years old). All of the digital pictures posted above and below here today, I personally took at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

In closing, I hope that young people may have the opportunity to learn about Lincoln and his Birthday, even if the day is not officially celebrated anymore.

Until next time…

Reference Material:

The webpage for the Lincoln Home:

The website for the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site is:

The webpage for the Gettysburg National Cemetery is:

One Postcard Saturdays: City Hotel Taunton, MA

My motto is: Learn Something New Every Day, which I certainly have fulfilled on this day. The morning began with my selecting what was to be a “simple” postcard to feature with some brief notations. The day ultimately unraveled into more extensive research than anticipated.

My goal initially was to provide “some” insight into this building called the City Hotel. As I continued to research, it seemed at each turn there was just a little more to “learn”. The end result is my notated efforts of combining the historical highlights of this building–which is no more–and the evolution of one which replaced it.

Today’s “One Postcard Saturdays” serial feature is an undivided card showing the former City Hotel, that was located in Taunton, Massachusetts. The postcard shows the location of the corner at City Square and Broadway, dates from 1904 to 1907 and was published by The Metropolitan News Co., of Boston, Mass.

Taunton was founded in 1637, was incorporated as a town in 1639 and then as a city in 1864. It is located about 15 miles from the Eastern border of Rhode Island. Also known as the Silver City, Taunton was a historic center of the silver industry.

There are a few points of interest displayed in the postcard picture, including the trolley tracks on the streets and set in the background (on the left side) is the Bristol County Superior Court building.

This particular card was not postmarked and has no message. It is my belief that this card was part of Grandma Julia’s collection as she lived over that way during her later years and is buried in Rumford, RI–one of our Eastern most towns. There were a few other postcards of Taunton which were under consideration today but I had to choose just one to post. If you would like to learn more about Grandma Julia, check out my previous blog: Intro to Grandma Julia and the Bitgood’s Pine Knoll Laboratory.

While researching for information about the site location and history of the City Hotel, I was able to learn a few things of interest. For one, way back in the early 1800’s, the site of this hotel was known as Tillinghast Corner, named after a lawyer of that era. In 1818, this site was purchased by Jesse Smith, who was associated with stages and stage lines. Mr. Smith, and other parties, built the Bristol County House here in 1833 for the accommodation of stage passengers. This building was destroyed by fire on June 24, 1848.

The City Hotel was built on the site soon after 1848 and by 1920 it had been renamed to The Taunton Inn. After being destroyed by fire in 1926 (this original City Hotel building), another Taunton Inn was built in 1929 at a different location of 33 Summer Street. The new Taunton Inn contained a well-known restaurant called The Herring Run Room.

The Inn closed in 1960 and was sold to the Diocese of Fall River, later becoming a skilled nursing center called Marian Manor–still in operation.

Until next time…


City of Taunton; Webpage:; Accessed 02 February 2019.

Emery, Samuel Hopkins, D.D.; History of Taunton, Massachusetts: From Its Settlement to the Present Time; D. Mason & Company; Syracuse, N.Y.; 1893;; Accessed 02 February 2019.; Webpage:

Old Colony History Museum; Webpage:; Accessed 02 February 2019.

Pineault, Sandra J.; Memoirs of the School Street Village; Blog posts from Sept 12, 2013 and Feb 26, 2013;; Accessed 02 February 2019.



One Postcard Saturdays! Hurricane Of 1938 – New London

Growing up in Rhode Island, I heard various pointed comments, from various family members, about the ’38 Hurricane on a semi-regular basis. What I learned along the way instilled in me a great respect for the power of that Atlantic Ocean–a force not to be taken lightly.

Recently, while looking through some of my grandmother’s old pictures, I came across a set of postcards focused on the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. They each show a different black and white photo from the Int. News Service and were printed by Tichnor Bros. Inc., of Boston, Mass.

Today, I have chosen to show one of the cards from this set for my new Serial posting “One Postcard Saturdays”.

This hurricane hit the coasts of Long Island, New York and Southern Connecticut just over eighty years ago, on the 21st of September, in 1938; it caused destruction throughout the rest of coastal New England, as well.  At the time the storm hit, my mom was staying at the Springfield Fair (now called the Big E), in Massachusetts; having gone up to the fair with her 4-H group, they were staying in dorm-style units. My mom would have been 18 years old at the time.

There were close family friends, and although not actually related, we called them Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill (Carpenter)–my middle name of Jean was named after her. They lost their original summer home during the hurricane; it had been located at Sand Hill Cove, Narragansett, RI. My mom often spoke with fond memories of childhood time spent at their cottage (prior to the storm). I heard stories of how bad the damage was in that area and how homes were swept off their foundations–only very few survived. Some time later, the couple built a new ranch-style cottage at Anawan Cliffs, in Narragansett, where I can remember visiting on several occasions.

My parents bought a small piece of land in the Charlestown Beach area, about one mile from the ocean, in the late 1940’s. They built a small two-room cottage by hand with help from my grandfather and other family members. They always said they purposely picked land far enough from the ocean in hopes to keep it safe should another hurricane hit that coastal area. It always made me wonder why there has been so much re-building on the beach since such devastation was caused by the ’38 Hurricane–it is a high risk decision for sure.

My mom often spoke about storm surge and tidal waves that come along with hurricanes and she told how the tidal wave from the ’38 Hurricane was said to be about 50 feet, which would seem unbelievable. However, when I did a little research for this blog posting, I did indeed see a fact listed on the National Weather Service website that showed the peak wave height for this hurricane was recorded at 50 feet, occurring at Gloucester, Mass.

Some additional facts listed on the National Weather Service site include:

  • The maximum recorded sustained wind was 121 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, in Mass.
  • The maximum recorded wind gust was 186 mph at the same location.
  • The storm surge peaked at 17 feet above normal high tide.
  • There were 700 Deaths
  • The storm left approximately 63,000 people homeless with approximately 8900 homes or buildings destroyed.
  • There were approximately 3300 boats lost or destroyed.
  • The economic cost was estimated at $620 million in 1938 dollars.
  • The hurricane made landfall near Bellport, NY as a Category 3.
  • There was a second landfall made in Connecticut between Bridgeport and New Haven, also as a Category 3.
  • New London, Conn., saw a record storm tide of 10.58′ MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water)
  • Bridges, utilities and railroads were wiped out and there was catastrophic damage to fishing fleets.

My featured postcard today shows a picture of many shattered boats and wreckage at New London, Connecticut.

This card is unused, so there is no postmark and no message. However, there is printed information, from the publisher, on the reverse side of the card, as follows:

September 21, 1938, will long be remembered as
the date of the Big Hurricane which swept New
England–in all history something never before
known to this part of the country.
The loss of lives was appalling; property damage
mounted to hundreds of millions of dollars and
the homeless counted to hundreds of thousands.
The tremendous fury of the wind left behind
destruction, destitution and utter ruin.

In the coming weeks, I may share a few more of the postcards from this ’38 Hurricane set and I also have some newspaper clippings tucked away that may lead to a longer piece–at some point.

Until next time…

One Postcard Saturdays: Naval Station, Newport

Today, I am starting a new series called “One Postcard Saturdays!“. My plan is to share with you special weekly postings, on Saturdays, highlighting just one postcard. These Saturday posts will be quite brief in comparison to my usual lengthy ones–which will continue as time allows.

This series of postcards will span multi-generations and may cover any number of subjects, places or holidays–in no particular order. I will try to list any known information such as the postmark (if readable), the publisher, the sender, the receiver, as well as, any message on the card.

I am starting the series with a 1942, World War II era, linen postcard. This card was sent to my dad, an aircraft mechanic during the war. You can learn more about his military service from my blog posting: My Dad: A Soldier of World War II

The sender of this card was Fred Martin AMM 3/c (Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Third Class) Co- 1014 Newport Training St., in Newport, RI and it was postmarked on November 24, 1942, from Newport, RI.

Fred’s message to my dad reads: Hi Earl, This is really the first time I have had to write. It’s a great life in the Navy, last night I went swimming in a pool and roller skating and tonight I’m going to a movie. Write you later, Fred

The card had first been addressed to Pvt. Earl Lindall, in Atlantic City but the address was crossed out and changed to Airplane Mechanic School, Goldsboro, N.C. My dad had been in Atlantic City prior to being transferred. There is a purple stamp on the back from the Army Directory Service, who perhaps had made the address correction update.

The front side of this linen postcard shows “Bag Inspection” at the U.S. Naval Training Station, Newport, RI.

The postcard was published by the U.S. Naval Training Station, Ship’s Service Dept., Newport, RI

Until next time…

Happy New Year Greeting Postcards

As the calendar begins 2019, I share with you today a few greeting postcards from at least 100 years ago. These particular cards were sent for Happy New Year wishes to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper), you may learn more about her from my previous blog posting: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

My featured postcard is re-shown below, both the front and reverse sides. The publisher is unknown and I cannot seem to locate any artist signature. The picture on the front, in my opinion, is quite intriguing–from dogs operating a flying machine and their shaking out bags of gold coins to the scene below of a train just exiting from a mountain tunnel. The greeting on the front is very simple, “A Happy New Year”.

This card, shown above, was sent to Mrs. W. Hooper, (Aunt Etta) in Franklin, Mass., and it looks like the sender’s name is Mary Markam. It was postmarked from Providence, RI, in 1913. The handwritten message says: “Wish you a Happy New Year. Hoping to see you soon.”

The next postcard, shown below, is artist signed by Frances Brundage (1854-1937). In a previous blog posting, I outlined some history of this artist, take a look: Halloween Postcard by Artist Frances Brundage.

This Brundage card was printed in Germany, published by the Sam Gabriel Co., it was part of their “New Year” Series, Artistic Postcard No. 1301. The greeting on the front says: “A Happy New Year”. The message side is simply signed: “From Frances”. I do assume that the sender of the card was from a friend of Aunt Etta’s named Frances, not from the artist herself. The card has no postmark, address or message information so I am just showing the front side.

The next postcard shows a snowman watching children playing in the snow. It has a verse on the front: “New Year Greetings. Of all kindly Wishes…old and new, A Happy Heart…is what I wish for you.”

This card was published by International Art Publishing Co. (1895-1915) and was printed in Germany, it has a number–Series 4672.

The sender of the card was Mary Louise Connor. It was postmarked from Franklin, Mass., on December 31, 1915. At the time, Aunt Etta was living in Franklin.

The handwritten message reads: “Am very sorry to hear of your illness, and hope that the New Year will find you much improved”.

So it would appear that Aunt Etta had some illness toward the end of 1915.


The next postcard was postmarked on January 1st, 1918, from Worcester, Mass. The sender was Mr. & Mrs. Clarke and the handwritten message reads: “With best wishes for A Happy New Year”.

Aunt Etta was living in Franklin, Mass., at the time.

This card was made in the U.S.A., but the publisher is unknown and I do not see an artist signature.

The lower left corner of the front side is marked as NY-103.

The verse on the front of the card reads: “May New Year chimes ring in for thee, Health, Wealth and Prosperity”.


At the end of 1918, Aunt Etta was living in Plainville, Mass., and the next postcard, shown below, was sent to her in care of Bernice Hatch. It was postmarked December 30, 1918, from Providence, RI.

The front side shows a steam train and seemingly the train station, with snowy weather. The verse reads: “New Year Greetings. A short toot-toot, from the engine flute, With a clang from the bell, so clear, And the train’s away with this to say: I wish you A Happy New Year”. The card is numbered on the front, N.Y. 130, was made in the U.S.A., but the publisher is unknown.

The handwritten message, on the reverse side of this card, actually lists a return address which is rare to find: “8 Western St., Prov., RI. Dear Friend, Just a word to greet you and wish you well, from an old friend, Rose”. As time allows, in future days, if I do some further research with Census records or City Directories I should be able to determine the last name of Rose.

My final New Year postcard, shown below, was published by John Winsch, the design was copyrighted in 1912. The greeting on the front side reads: “Best New Year Wishes”.

The card was postmarked on December 31, 1912, from Providence, RI and was sent to Aunt Etta in Franklin, Mass. The sender is listed as “The Three Graces” which I have yet to correctly identify but believe it to be cousin relations to Etta. In the message, the sender refers to “Myrtie” who I do not recognize but it may be a helpful clue in further research.

The handwritten message says: “Honey, did you receive the package I sent you for Christmas? How are you all. Thought you were coming in soon. Received Myrtie’s betrothal cards yesterday–suppose you have yours by this time. Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. with our love to all, from The Three Graces.”

That is a wrap for today!

With sincere wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

Until next time…


Uncle Lionel: Fort Greble, RI; Vet of WWI

Some of my fondest memories of Uncle Lionel are centered around his visits, when I was a young child, to the small summer cottage my parents owned in Charlestown, Rhode Island–about a mile from the water. They had built the two-room cottage themselves, around the 1950 mark, with family members pitching in to help. Every year, with the exception of one, my whole summer was spent at the cottage location and it was always a special day when Uncle Lionel and Aunt Elizabeth would drive down for a visit. Generally, they would bring Gra Gra down with them, too. If you would like to learn a bit more about Gra Gra, please see my previous post: Intro to Gra Gra & Volunteering at Kent Hospital

Uncle Lionel and Aunt Elizabeth, in 1962, visiting with us at the cottage in Charlestown.

Lionel Henry James was born on September 7th, 1892, in Providence, RI. He was brother to Bertha (Gra Gra) and Howard Allen James (1894-1963).

Their parents were George L. P. James and Martha Ella (Carr) James Cady. Their younger siblings, Vincent and Lester, were born of George’s second wife Susan Henrich. Although I still have research to do on the Henrich family, you could read a little more about them from my previous post: What’s in a Name, Lena Henrich?

My thoughts have been focused a lot on Uncle Lionel in recent weeks, with all the talk about the first World War ending 100 years ago and my remembering having knowledge of his military service, during that era. Fortunately, I found a couple of the postcards that he wrote during the war–I know there are others.

The featured postcard, shown again below of both the front and back side, was sent by Uncle Lionel and postmarked July 20, 1915 from Fort Greble, R.I. The card was sent to his sister Mrs. William Watts (Gra Gra), in Riverpoint, R.I.

Postcard from Fort Greble in 1915, showing the 14th Co. Barrack on lower left and the 109th Co. Barrack on the lower right. The fort hospital is the top photo.

Looking first at his message, I was able to learn a few details of his service. At the time of his writing, in 1915, he was of the rank Quartermaster Sergeant, serving in the 11th Co., C.A.C., R.I. N.J., stationed at Fort Greble, R.I. According to Wikipedia, the C.A.C. stands for the U.S. Army, Coast Artillery Corps which served coastal, harbor defense from 1901 to 1950.

The publisher of this postcard was Bobbe Litho Co., from New York City.

Fort Greble was on Dutch Island, which is located mid-way from Saunderstown (on the mainland) to Jamestown (Conanicut Island), and is part of the town of Jamestown, Rhode Island. According to Preservation RI, the island contains approximately 110-acres. The island was acquired by the federal government during the Civil War to serve as a coastal defense site.

In 1872-73, a barracks for government workers was built. On that featured postcard is shown pictures of two barrack buildings and a hospital.

During 1897-98, Battery Hale was constructed in honor of Captain Nathan Hale, of the Revolutionary War era. The battery had positions for three 10-inch guns with disappearing carriages.

The postcard, shown above, shows one of the 10″ guns from Fort Greble. This card was sent by Uncle Howard, it was postmarked on July 20, 1915 from Fort Greble, and was sent to Mr. & Mrs. T. W. Watts (Gra Gra and Pop Pop), in Riverpoint, R.I.

From this postcard, I was able to learn that Uncle Howard served during the first World War at Fort Greble, along with Uncle Lionel. The handwritten message from Howard reads: Dear Brother and Sister, Having a fine time, hope to see you Friday. Howard xxxxx.

Fort Greble operated from 1898 to 1947 and was named in honor of 1st Lt. John Trout Greble, 2nd Artillery–who was killed in the Civil War.

During the early 1900s, Battery Hale served in protection of the western entrance to Narragansett Bay, along with Fort Getty, in Jamestown and Fort Kearny, in Saunderstown (now the site of URI school of oceanography)–Narragansett Bay Harbor Defense System.

During the first World War, Fort Greble housed 14 companies of RI National Guardsmen, in a circa 1900 enlisted mens’ barracks near the northeastern end of the island. The batteries of Fort Greble were disarmed between 1917 and 1943 and use of the fort facility was ended in 1947. In 1958, Dutch Island was given to the state for conservation use.

This is a real photo postcard during the first World War and Uncle Lionel is second from the right side of the card. It appears he was the only one looking directly at the camera while the picture was taken.

During my research, for this blog posting, I was able to locate the World War I Draft Registration card records for both Lionel and Howard. In addition, I was able to find one for their cousin Clifford Foster James, born Aug, 29, 1885. He was the son of William and Mabel (Dollof) James–they lived for many years in Hyde Park, Mass. William was brother to George L. P. James, the father of Lionel and Howard.

Below are two pictures; one is of Clifford in 1937 and the other includes Clifford standing on the far right, with his Uncle Martin and his dad William (I believe William is the one standing in the middle).

Clifford Foster James

According to Clifford’s WWI Draft Registration from 1917, his nearest relative was Mabel Alice James, with address listed as: 52 Cleveland St, in Hyde Park. His occupation was listed as a painter for Farnum & Nelson, 1822 Aboretum, in Roslindale, Mass.

The date of the WWI Draft Registration for Lionel was June 5, 1917. It listed previous military service as six years and rank as QM Serg. (Quartermaster Sergeant). His address at that time was listed as: 52 Cleveland Street, Hyde Park, Boston, Mass. This was the same address as was listed on Clifford’s record, which would lead me to believe that Uncle Lionel was living with his Uncle William and Aunt Mabel during that time in 1917. His occupation was listed as wood finisher for John T. Robinson & Co, in Hyde Park. This company manufactured fine paper box and card cutting machinery.

In future blog stories, I hope to explore the family of William and Mabel James a bit further and this Hyde Park area, which is located on the outskirts of Boston. In the meantime, below are shown three unposted postcards of places located in Hyde Park. They were published by Herbert W. Rhodes of Norwood, Mass. They would date to 1907 or earlier, since they each have undivided backs. These cards were part of Aunt Etta’s collection, learn more about her in my previous post: Intro to Aunt Etta And Her Great Adventures.

This is an old postcard showing the Public Library at Hyde Park, Mass.
High School, Hyde Park, Mass.
Y.M.C.A. Building, Hyde Park, Mass.

I was able to find Uncle Howard’s WWI Draft Registration, dated June 5, 1917 and his address was listed as: 141 Lynnfield St., in Peabody, Mass. He was 22 years old and his occupation was listed as Shipping Clerk for Densten Hair Co., in Peabody, Mass., located off of Lynnfield Street. At that time, he was married to his first wife, Alfreda (Tedford) James. The card lists his Military service Rank as: 1st Class Gunner Sergeant, Coast Artillery, for one year, in Rhode Island. There is a question on the card saying: Has person lost arm, leg, hand, foot or both eyes, or is he otherwise disabled? The answer said: First finger, left hand, disfigured. This injury is something I never knew or heard about and I have to wonder if he received the injury during his service at Fort Greble.

Unfortunately, I am unable to locate a photo of Uncle Howard at this time. I am sure that I must have one in the large volume of pictures that have passed down to me but it will have to wait until a future story.

Since Uncle Howard died in 1963, I did not have the pleasure of knowing him as well as Uncle Lionel. I can remember his first wife, Aunt Freda, visiting on several occasions to Gra Gra’s house while I was there on a weekend or school vacation week. I do remember that she drove down from Massachusetts, so I believe she remained living in the Peabody area after they divorced.

According to Gra Gra’s family bible records, Uncle Howard married a second time to Mary E. Dempsey, in January of 1924. I do remember Aunt Mary fairly well and she lived nearby. Since the primary focus of this blog post is on Uncle Lionel, I will save Howard’s family details for a future post.

In November of 1917, Uncle Lionel married Mary Elizabeth Whitney, they had ten children–two of whom are still living and are in their late 80’s.

I found record of Uncle Lionel’s World War II Old Man’s Draft Registration, which was dated April 27, 1942. This registration was required for men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before Feb. 16, 1897. On this 1942 record, his address was listed as: 239 Bayview Avenue, in Cranston, RI. His employer was listed as Oscar Leach, Leach England Works, Charles Street, in Providence, RI.

In later years, Uncle Lionel and Aunt Elizabeth moved to West Warwick and lived for a time in a multi-family home on Youngs Avenue, which was the next street over from Gra’s Gra’s house on South Street.

Music was, and still is, an important element in the James family. My great-grandfather, George L. P. James, was a banjo player–known for playing throughout the Pawtuxet Valley area during the early 1900’s. According to a handwritten record by George, he states that his grandfather, William James, was said to have given music lessons, in Providence.

Gra Gra played the piano, the ukulele and the Hawaiian Guitar. I remember that Uncle Lionel played the banjo but I am not sure if he played any other instruments. I do believe all of his son’s played instruments: drums, banjo, guitar, piano and at one time they had a band.

Below are two pictures of the apartment where Uncle Lionel and Aunt Elizabeth lived during the early 1960’s, it was located on Youngs Ave., in West Warwick, R.I.

Photo from 1962, Gra Gra at the piano and Uncle Lionel watching from the couch, taken at his Youngs Avenue apartment.
Another photo of Uncle Lionel at the Youngs Avenue apartment.

My grandmother relied on her brother Lionel when she needed help with “handy” things and I guess that would include snow-shoveling. Apparently, there was a big snowstorm during 1963 and I found three pictures of Uncle Lionel in the snow.

Uncle Lionel, in 1963, in the snow with his car. It looks like he is parked outside Gra Gra’s on South Street at the bend which would mean the house in the background would be up on Greene Street.
Uncle Lionel on the steps of Gra Gra’s house on South Street.
Uncle Lionel and his snow shovel making a path in Gra Gra’s backyard on South Street, in West Warwick, RI.

During 1964, the town constructed their first elderly residence facility, the West Warwick Manor, and Uncle Lionel and Aunt Elizabeth were part of the first residents to live there. In 1967, they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary and there was a big party (I think it was a surprise) for them in the recreation hall of the manor. It was a great time and there was a honky-tonk band which kept everyone on their feet, including me–dancing and dancing along with my cousin Kim. It is one of my greatest memories.

Around that timeframe, Uncle Lionel was beginning to have some serious health issues and I can remember he was in and out of the hospital a few times. One of the things I loved most about him was his great sense of humor. Although his failing health was no joke he would try to make light of it by telling stories of the hospital nurses giving him the nickname “Old Ironsides”.

His body rebounded on several occasions, even though fighting a tough battle. However, his fight ended on January 19th, 1969. I can still remember that I had to bring a note into school for permission to be released early in order to attend his visiting hours. I was in sixth grade, at the time, and we were in Science lesson when I had to leave for the day. I do not remember going to the actual funeral, only the visiting hours, so I think my mom did not have me attend it.

Aunt Elizabeth was then alone to finish her journey in life, until I believe 1971. I am not positive on the year and I made an effort to find that information to be sure. I did find an entry in the family Bible of February 13th but there was no year listed. I remember her as having a huge heart. She treated everyone in a kind manner and seemed to have boundless energy. I can remember many events at church with her always being there–lending a helping hand.

Below is a picture of Aunt Elizabeth taken at Gra Gra’s house (I recognize the chair) and it may be one of the last pictures of her.

It was my intention to complete this posting sooner, closer to Veteran’s Day, but clearly that did not happen. I wish that I had thought about the first World War family connection sooner in order to allow for me to complete it in time. However, it is always nice to learn a little more about family history and how it ties into local locations. I really did not know much about Fort Greble prior to conducting some research for putting this piece together.

With the clues provided by the family postcards it really helps to serve as a base to learning more about history–events, places and people.

Until next time…