Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Memory Monday

Courtesy Boston Public Library Photo Archives-Charlestown Boys Club- library
Today is a salute to the Boys Clubs of America. My dad spoke often and fondly of his experience at the Charlestown Boys Club. This photo is of  the "library" or reading room. My dad spent a lot of time at the pool. No doubt this place was an anchor in his life.

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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday

No reproduction or downloads without
express permission
In honor of a hot July day, I thought I'd take a trip to the beach. My family liked to go up to the Maine beaches, but the back of the photo doesn't tell us where this was taken. From the back we have:
Lotta Smith, Primrose Rogers Tapply, Clara Smith, and Primrose (Primsy) Rogers. Love those bathing costumes and the bathing shoes. This was about 1930.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day- Remembering Winslow Brainard Rogers

Grove Cemetery, Holden, Massachusetts
Reading up a little this morning, I discovered that Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day and was established especially to remember those lost in the American Civil War. This Memorial Day I would like to remember the man who piqued my curiousity  about my family. Winslow Brainard Rogers enlisted in the Union Army in 1862. He was a bugler in Company G of the 36th Massachusetts regiment. He died of smallpox after the siege of Vicksburg on July 25, 1863. He was only 38 years old when he died. There is a marker in his name at the town cemetery in Holden, Massachusetts and his name is engraved on a plaque in the town hall. As a child we had a packet of letters written from WB to his wife Cassandria. I no longer have the letters available to me, but I remember how sad they were and how terribly he missed his family and his small hometown. For those who made the ultimate sacrifice, on this day we remember.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Now and Then in Holden, Massachusetts

I'm always on the lookout for interesting photos that relate to the family. Today I was noodling around
and ended up on the website of the Holden Historical Society in Holden, Massachusetts. It was
interesting because the photo was taken at the intersection of Main Street and Boyden Road. The Rogers family homestead, where members of the Rogers family lived for over 100 years, is just down the street about half a block.
Courtesy of the Holden Historical Society
You are looking down Main and you can see Boyden just to the right. The small cape style building on
the right was a school building known as Center School. It was built in 1820 to replace an earlier building, but this photo dates from 1880-1900.  I imagine members of the family went to school in that building. Amazing to see how rural Holden was even then!


So of course I had to go to Google street view and see what it looked like today. That little white building in the center of the picture is that same one-room schoolhouse which is now a hair salon. And you can see Boyden Road on the right. Main Street is a busy road these days, but Holden is still a pretty, green little suburb.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lotta May Smith

Lotta May Smith
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Isn't this a sweet picture? This is Lotta May Smith, my great grandmother's younger sister.  Lotta lived her adult life with her sister Clara, a schoolteacher, and neither ever married. My mother once included her and Clara in a short story which gives a pretty accurate picture of the aunts she knew as a child.
"Lotta, as tall and erect as her sister Cora, but already quite gray, looked out at the world through large, dark, anxious eyes. They (Lotta and Clara) seemed to live in a perpetual state of apprehension, nursing imagined slights and disappearing into their room or going off on walks to whisper..."

As a child, all I knew was that Lotta had had a promising musical career cut short and that she had to be institutionalized with some mental illness.  My mom's writing reveals the family story or perhaps my mother's version of it, "She had a magnificent singing voice...She was auditioning for the Metropolitan Opera. When Mama died, Lotta made a vow she'd never sing again - and she never has."

The truth is both sad and perhaps a little different. At the turn of the century she was singing with the Orpheus Quartet and shows up regularly in reviews in the Fitchburg Sentinel. By the 1920 census she was living with her sister and her mother in Worcester, Massachusetts and working as a clerk. By 1930 she was a hairdresser. What turned her from her singing career we'll never know, but by 1920 she was already 30 years old. Had signs of mental illness already begun?  She shows up one more time in the 1940 census living with Clara and doing hair, but by the time I was born in the fifties she was in an nursing home or institution.

Lotta's father George F Smith was from Litchfield, Maine. Her mother, Letitia Ellen Johnson, was from Spencer in Owen County, Indiana. It was researching her mother's line that gave me the first clue to Lotta's real story...or at least part of it. The 1860 census reveals this
1860 Census-Spencer, Owen, Indiana













Elizabeth would be Margaret Elizabeth, Lotta's grandmother. The note on the right gave me pause.
Letitia, Lotta's mother, was only 4 years old. Margaret was only 29. A quick email to a family member revealed that early onset Alzheimers ran in that side of the family.  At only 29 she seems pretty young for Alzheimers, but in those days they wouldn't have know what it was anyway.
The 1880 Census shows that by this time the family couldn't manage.
1880 Census- Indiana State Hospital for the Insane

What a terrible choice her husband would have had to make! I did a little online research on the Indiana State Hospital and found it horrifying. Now I understood what probably happened to Aunt Lotta. Luckily, Lotta's care was more benign and her sister Clara was devoted to her for her entire life.

No one goes into genealogy looking for medical ailments, but this story gives information that might be useful to me or to family members.  It also filled out my picture of Aunt Lotta. It's nice to know a little more about the charming young girl in the photo.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eugene Harrington Rogers


Eugene Harrington Rogers
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This is Eugene Harrington Rogers, son of Cassandria and brother of my great grandfather. I'm not really sure where this was taken, but perhaps this was his studio. I love the large artist's palette and his generous muttonchops. His life is not a great mystery; he was born in Holden, Massachusetts and lived most of his adult life in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. We're not sure when or if he had much formal training, but he married Mary Clark, opened a sign painting and advertising business at 304 1/2 Main Street in Fitchburg and lived on Arlington Street. They never had children and he died of a heart ailment at only 45 years old.

You may have noticed the large painting and recognized the "White Rock fairy". This is actually a very
good copy of a painting called "Psyche" by Paul Thumann.  Thumann's original was exhibited to some great attention at the Chicago World Exhibition and I would assume White Rock bought the rights after that. Being an artist myself, I always wanted to know about Eugene. A small oil still life hung in our house all my childhood and larger pastel of a Newfoundland dog hung in my grandmother's house. These were the only existing works the family knew of. My cousin, an illustrator and art restorer in Manhatten, looked around on the internet from time to time and discovered that some of his work was registered. Tracing backwards she found that it was in the collection of the Fitchburg Historical Society. Sure enough, when I visited I found an enormous charcoal drawing called "Overlook Reservoir and Mt. Wachusett". It was a lovely landscape with which our family was quite familiar as it's a popular hiking spot in Fitchburg. A little more research by my cousin, my aunt and myself found a mural at the local Baptist church and another large charcoal landscape at the Westminster Historical Society. My cousin says they are all quite good. Now all three of us were intrigued....

One of the best sources of small town information for genealogists is digitized newspapers. Luckily the
Fitchburg Sentinel has digitized much of its collection and Eugene showed up regularly between 1870 and 1900. The accounts of his sales are complementary and lively as is the story of his rivalry with another sign painter.  At this time he was doing landscapes, small still-lifes and animal portraits of hunting dogs in oil, pastel and charcoal. The Sentinel described his success this way "The sale increased so rapidly that the demand was far ahead of the supply within 10 days....Mr. Rogers' work went to the shores of the Pacific and throughout the West and South." Queries in the historical society newsletters have turned up no further clues. The signature on the work would be E.H. Rogers.
If you live in the West or South or even in New England and have a work with this signature, the family would love to hear from you.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cassandria

Cassandria Hooper Harrington Rogers
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Through this blog, I'm hoping to connect to family members and widen the research I started almost four years ago on family genealogy. At the heart of the mystery is this lady, Cassandria Hooper Harrington Rogers Kauffman. Here's what I know: She always maintained on census records that she was born in Massachusetts-Worcester to be exact. Now whether that was the City of Worcester or Worcester County I have no idea. She first shows up boarding in a house in Holden on the 1850 census. She and a group of young, teen-aged girls were all boarding with this family and from what I know of Holden she would have been a mill girl. One of my lines of research may be to find the mill closest to the boarding house and see if anything in the way of records exists-doubtful. Stranger things have happened. Being a newbie genealogist I didn't think at once of exploring this couple to see if there was a family connection, but once it occurred to me I did and couldn't find a family link. The next record is a marriage record which records her birth date as 1833 and her parents as Joseph Harrington and Nancy. No last name. This is where the brick wall occurs. Worcester County was full of Harringtons. There was a very old and established Harrington family and several were named Joseph. But in no document or family history can I find one named Joseph married to Nancy (or Anna, Hannah or Agnes-which Nancy was sometimes a nickname for) and sadly, before 1850 the census only listed the male head of household. Cassandria married Winslow Brainard Rogers of Holden in 1851 and had two sons, Eugene and Edward. Edward was my great grandfather. Born during the Civil War, Edward never met or knew his father. Winslow Brainard died of smallpox in Vicksburg just after the siege and capture of the city. When I was a girl, we had letters from him to Cassandria. They were incredibly sad. Cassandria stayed in Holden and lived with various members of the Rogers family until her sons were almost grown. At that point she married William Kauffman. She died in 1904 in Orange, Massachusetts. There are two registries for her death-one in Fitchburg, where she is buried. The other was a card filled out by William Kauffman. On it he lists the birthplace of her parents as Connecticut. This disagrees with the 1880 census but agrees with the 1900 census. I've looked for siblings both male and female in the Worcester County area who have matching data, but with little success. I did find a Joseph Harrington Junior who died in Shrewsbury, and his death card reads Joseph and ? Green. So I pursued Joseph Harrington and Nancy Green which led me to Windham County, Connecticut in the Barbour Collection. There's a marriage record, but no way to know if these are the right people. Oh, and Hooper? A red herring I think. A nice lady at the New England Historic Genealogical Society spent part of one afternoon trying to help me and was as stumped as I am, but for one thing. She found a Cassandra Hooper Bliss who was a popular evangelist in New York and Connecticut and Massachusetts around that time. She suspects this great great grandmother was named in honor of her. The photo is a gem. I love the expression and the large cat on her lap. Recently people have commented that I look like her. I don't see it, but maybe so. She was a strong lady, that's for sure. And sure of herself as well. When I got the pension application from the National Archives her name is signed in a strong hand Cassandria H. H. Rogers. Something in her name was important to her. Maybe someday soon I'll know what that was.