Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Snowy Winter Day.....

Garfield Street, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Not too much snow in my forecast today in Houston, Texas. It's supposed to be a balmy 70 today. I left winter snow far behind many years ago. Not too many pictures of snow in the family collections either. I guess people could barely stand to look at the stuff after a while, much less take family photos. This first picture is dated 1948 and is the Rogers family home on Garfield Street where my mother grew up. Plows hadn't made it there yet, I guess.
Garfield Street
This next one is the back yard with a path already cut to my great grandparents back porch next door. I think this was at the time my great-grandmother had died and my great-grandfather, Edward, was in the house alone.
These were the only snow pictures I could find from that generation or the previous one.
Amesbury, Massachusetts
This next picture is yours truly in 1956 standing in front of our house on Main Street in Amesbury. Why I'm in a raincoat and not a sensible snowsuit, I have no idea. I'm smiling so I guess I wasn't too cold, but this picture makes the grown-up me shiver.
Houston, Texas
And just to show the cousins that it DOES happen, this is 1410 Neptune Lane in 1973. We had a freak snowstorm over Christmas break. The snow actually stuck for a few days. We were all delighted.  

Count the number of snow pictures in your family collection. I'll bet even if you live in Minnesota or far east Maine there aren't that many.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Holiday Dinner Mishap

Fitchburg Sentinel, December 23, 1924
I love trolling the pages of old newspapers and especially the hometown newspaper of my Tapply and Rogers family members, The Fitchburg Sentinel. You never know when a curious article involving a family member will turn up. This is one from December 1924 starring Harry Tapply. Harry worked for the Fitchburg police force for many years and his name turned up frequently in the paper.

Apparently there was a bit of confusion over the groceries. I can understand why. When you look at a picture of a 1924 Ford Model T, you can see that one black car might look more or less like another parked on Fitchburg's main street.

a 1924 Model T
So this unfortunate gentleman went home without the holiday roast and I'm sure there was hell to pay....or was there? Could this be an early example of the the gold coin in the red kettle? We will never know. Officer Tapply to the rescue.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Memories Monday

Courtesy of Boston Public Library Photo Archives
This is Filene's and the date is 1954. My memories of going to Filene's at this time are of a visit to see
Santa. They had wonderful holiday decorations and amazing windows.  Everyone has heard of the wonderful Filene's basement- home to the most chaotic markdown scene anywhere. But this photo is more about walking into a real department store with one of my parents and enjoying the magic of Christmas.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Homestead- Three Brothers and a Little House

28 Boyden Road, Holden, MA
This is the Rogers family homestead in Holden. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places and dates to 1733. The account of the house provided by the Holden Historical Society lists many, many owners over the years and only a few of them were Rogers family members. Some the the town's prominent names are on the list of owners including Chaffin, Damon and Ware. However, members of the Rogers family were owners of the house for over 100 years. Thus, the name.

The description of the house calls it a Cape-type cottage of 11/2 stories dated from the early Georgian period.  It has a granite foundation, clapboard siding and rear lean-to which extends back to the barn. The grape arbor over the front door was part of the original design. The central chimney would have been the source of heating and cooking well into the nineteenth century. The double-hung eight-over-twelve paned windows are a really nice original feature. The basic structure of the house has been preserved over the years and apparently the inside was restored.

Originally the lot was 7.5 acres of upland and swampland and one of the original residents ran a blacksmith shop.  The building in the back with the red batten board is the location, which records show as original.  There were a number of businesses run out of the little shop; one of my Rogers ancestors was a cooper. That would be Benjamin Rogers, who lived here briefly between 1783 and 1810. Benjamin sold the house to his brother George Rogers (father of Winslow Brainard) in 1810. George soon moved on, but the Rogers family was not done with this house.

Aaron How Rogers, son of George, lived in the house with his family until 1841. It passed through yet another owner until Catherine Moore Rogers, widow of Moses, (sister-in law of Benjamin and George) bought the house. Her son Israel farmed here and her son Dexter is listed as a carpenter. Over the years more and more of the original land was sold off. Perhaps the little shop in back was put to new use. Catherine lived here until her death in 1877.

Catherine's daughter Maria Stockwell Rogers never married. The census records show her keeping house for her brother Israel and also for her mother. She was the next occupant of the little house. She died in 1907. The house passed at that time to her nephew, Samuel Walter Rogers, who was Israel's son. The census and directory records don't ever show S. Walter living with his family in the house. He was the associate managing editor of the Gardner News and seems to have lived in Gardner. Perhaps the house was rented to family members at this time. I can't find any Rogers family members in Holden on any official records, but by this time they had married into many of the Holden families.

This is the end of the line for the Rogers family in the little house. I have visited the property several times and never caught the owner at home, but over the years it seems more well-kept. Maybe some day I'll get a peek at the inside as well.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Matters of Life and Death


"Here lies the body of Thomas Mulford aged about 60 years. Died June 8, 1706". This is Thomas
Mulford who lies in the Old Cove Burying Ground in Eastham, Massachusetts.  He was one of the founding settlers of the town of Truro. The original settlers "claimed the land as their own" from the Pamet indians who lived there. No surprise. The history of Truro describes Thomas's land as:
"Thomas Mulford's two lots, one of which was near Hog's Back and the other toward the pond south of Pamet great river."

Truro is on the "upper cape" and you can see the area described on this modern map. It is all well within the area preserved and protected as part of the national seashore.  Mulford seems to have been a farmer, but perhaps did a variety of things. There was this note in the town history:
"The shells of the shellfish being needed for the manufacture of lime, in 1705 these proprietors enacted that after June first next no shellfish should be dug by any person not a resident of Pamet. In 1711 the proprietors voted that no wood be cut within the limits of the common lands for the burning of lime, except by the rightful owners." 
 So Thomas Mulford may have done a little farming, a little fishing and perhaps some lime production. For the cousins, here's how we are related to Thomas Mulford:


So we are actually related to him through two branches of the family. 

Ancestry has just released a whole series of will and probate records for most of the states. Some of the records are just "records of records" telling us where to find a will should we go looking. But some contain the actually will, and inventory and other interesting papers.
This is the actual will of Thomas Mulford.  I love that  he says "being weak in body but of powerful mind and memory. Calling unto mind my frailty and mortality..." He goes on to mention various family members and name his bequests. This is where this document becomes useful. If there are children who have seemed to "disappear" in  time, you can find them in the will papers. This is especially true for the married daughters. He also speaks of "my beloved wife Hannah"....very sweet.
The most fascinating part of the paperwork, for me, is the household inventory. It gives a window into life in the 18th century and a perspective on what was considered "valuable". You can see here the "iron pots, table, chair, trunk, earthen jars" etc. His total valuation was 141 pounds, 8 shillings, 7 pence.
That's approximately $15, 000 in today's money. Not rich, but certainly prosperous.

Aside from the rather "nosey" aspect of reading someone's will papers, there's a lot of valuable information here.  It certainly provides another perspective on the lives of my ancestors.

Monday, August 24, 2015

An Artful Mappy Monday

Cape Cod by B. Ashburton Tripp- Courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection
I love a beautiful illustration. Books, maps or anything done with real care and love. I was not able to find much online about the person who drew this map: B. Ashburton Tripp, but this is a lovely thing. If you are looking for interesting maps of places your family lived, look no further than the David Rumsey Map Collection. They have a whole collection of maps by Tripp.


The cartouche for Cape Cod is elegant and the little vignettes
all around the edges are outstanding. I love the four winds blowing, the hunter shooting at game birds and the fisherman in his yellow slicker.  The map has faded a bit, but if you go to Rumsey and look at their original scan, you'll get a much better idea of what a work of art this is. I know this will tickle Cousin Jill.

So why am I so interested in a map of Cape Cod? Well, the Rogers line of my family goes way back on the cape. I mentioned Aaron Rogers, who was born there and moved to Holden. But there were several generations before him. And they mostly lives "mid-Cape" in Barnstable County in the towns of Harwich, Eastham, Orleans and Chatham.

For my Rogers cousins, here's the direct line from Joseph Rogers who arrived on a certain ship in 1620, right down to Grandfather Harry Rogers. And if you look at the birth and death information, you pretty much see the same few towns over and over again in that first five generations. They were farmers for the most part. Funny to think about the Cape as farm country, but back then it was.








































When you zoom in really close, especially online on the original, he has carefully labeled all the little towns and added other small embellishments. (I typed in the black print to show the towns I was referring to)

The original must really be impressive. So check out the Rumsey collection. You may find an elegant map of your hometown.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Family Friday

No download or reproduction without express permission
Today's post is in honor of my mom. This is Primrose Rogers Fitzgerald at age 16. She would have been 91 today.