100 years ago: Memorial Day at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial outside Paris

This is quite a poignant photo; the War had ended just 18 months earlier and America had lost 116,000 servicemen—53,000 in combat and 63,000 from disease and influenza. These tragic losses were marked during this Memorial Day ceremony in Suresnes American Cemetery just outside Paris. If you enlarge the image by clicking on it twice, you will become immersed in a very solemn scene.

CLICK to enlarge. Cérémonie du “Memorial Day” au Cimetière Américain de Suresnes, le 30 Mai 1920 (LOC Prints and Photographs Division – No known restrictions on publication)

The NY Tribune, 29 May 1920 (Credit: FultonHistory.com)

MEMORIAL DAY

The circling year again brings round
This proud Memorial Day,
With mingled joy and grief profound,
We deck with wreaths the sacred mound,
Where patriot soldiers lay.

Tis meet that we this honor show,
And pledge this day anew,
Our fadeless faith, that all may know
How strong this faith will ever grow,
In loyal hearts and true.

Our land so broad, so grand, so free,
Pays homage to the band,
Who fought and bled, and died that we
An undivided nation be,
The peer of any land.

Pile granite to the vaulted skies;
Carve words of deathless fame;
Let marble monuments arise
Where’er the soldier-patriot lies,
In honor of his name.

The granite pile may sink to dust,
No more its words be read ;
The marble may forsake its trust;
The nation may, in reckless lust,
Forget the honored dead.

Their fame is fixed beyond the skies,
Their glory is of God ;
Twas not ambition’s sacrifice,
Nor eager gain for worldly prize,
That laid them ‘neath the sod.

They died our nation’s life to save,
Ere it were rent in twain,
For this each fills a soldier’s grave,
For this the glorious flag shall wave,
In honor of the slain.

They died : the clanking shackles fell
From bondman’s fettered hand,
And angels winged their way to tell,
While heavenly choirs the anthem swell,
Of freedom’s happy land.

Z. F. Riley*

*From Holiday Selections for Readings and Recitation compiled by Sarah Sigourney Rice (Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Company, 1920, pp. 187-188)

Link:
Suresnes American Cemetery – American Battle Monuments Commission

God Bless ALL of Our Fallen Heroes

Categories: Memorial Day, Miscellaneous, Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial | Tags: | 1 Comment

Turn-of-the-20th-century Oatmeal ads

To follow up on that last post about oatmeal, here are a few US newspaper ads from the 1890s/early 1900s that touted its supreme benefits. This seems to be when oatmeal really took off in the US as a breakfast food. Better late than never, our Irish, English, and Scottish cousins were probably thinking!

The Paducah Sun – Kentucky, 25 November 1902 (Credit: Library of Congress Digital Newspaper Archives)

The Evening Star – Washington, DC, 30 Oct 1910 (Credit: Library of Congress Digital Newspaper Archives)

The Portland Daily Press (Maine), 23 June 1894 (Credit: Library of Congress Digital Newspaper Archives)

Categories: 1890s, 1900s, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

A glimpse of Madame Jule De Ryther

The Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Journal, 6 December 1913, page 12 (Used with permission of Newspapers.com, ‘erichardson’ 5-20-20)

An image of Madame De Ryther has at last surfaced.

It’s not the best image, but I’ll take it. I have to thank Bill Simpson of Charlotte, NC, for pointing out this image’s existence to me (quite a long time ago, actually). Because he found it on newspapers.com, he did not feel he could share it for me to post, and of course I agreed with him on that. While the copyright has expired, sites like Newspapers.com and Genealogy Bank have user agreements that prohibit users from sharing their finds willy-nilly. Some get around this problem by finding articles on those sites and then looking for those same articles on free digital archive sites. But this particular Ohio newspaper—The Hamilton Evening Journal (published between 1908-1933)—was only available on newspapers.com.

So I had put this image out of mind—until recently, when I decided to take a closer look at the user agreement and discovered that “public domain content” can sometimes be used in very small quantities publicly if proper permission is obtained. So I sent off an email to ask newspapers.com for permission to publish on a non-commercial family history blog.

As you can see, fortunately for me, they said “yes.” Timing-wise it’s kind of spooky since Jule is discussing cleanliness and germs (albeit bacterial); on the other hand it’s good to see such discussions were in the news at that time. Forewarned is forearmed. We all know what happened in 1918/19.

Jule, who was born in Little Falls, NY, died in NYC of pneumonia on March 14, 1915, at age 69, so this article’s publication came towards the end of her career. She was living in a hotel at the time. Bill told me that he had discovered information indicating that she had been evicted from her home of 30 years prior to her death. A very sad end for a woman of such tremendous talent.

This may well be the only image ever published of her. I hope I am wrong about that.  If anyone ever comes across another one, please let me know.

Past posts on Madame De Ryther:

Categories: Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Health Matters, Little Falls, New York, New York City | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Monday miscellany: “Oatmeal as Human Food”

Augusta, Georgia, Chronicle and Sentinel, 10 July 1845 (Credit: Digital Library of Georgia – newspaper archives)

This 1845 article appeared in The American Agriculturist* before making its way into the newspapers. The Augusta (GA) Chronicle and Sentinel** is where it caught my eye while I was looking for articles on a different topic.

I’d forgotten that here in the US, oatmeal hasn’t always been considered an acceptable and even desirable food for humans. Back in 1845, oats were for horses and other animals, and farmers were focused on wheat and rye for human consumption. Today, many Americans appreciate its nutritious value, but it is still nowhere near to enjoying the popularity it experiences in a place like Scotland where it has been a staple for hundreds of years. The US is not among the world’s top oat producers, which include Russia, Canada, Australia, Poland, China, and Finland. Soybeans and corn are more profitable.

Perhaps, this article, which pulls on material published in Blackwood’s Magazine (Edinburgh and London), got some Americans talking about this subject especially since a challenge of sorts was laid down. Whether anyone took them up on that, I don’t know. Of course today, somebody would—you’d see Americans of Scottish descent loading up on “oatcakes, porridge, bannocks, and brose” and those of English descent getting their fill of “wheaten abominations” before fighting it out on YouTube or Instagram.

As superior and tasty as oatmeal may be, I did enjoy reading through the rather vast list of “wheaten abominations”, most of which sound delicious ;-):

Baking bread by Helen Allingham, English artist (1848-1926) – (Public domain due to expired copyright)

  • home made bread
  • baker’s bread
  • household bread
  • leaven bread
  • brown Georgies
  • fancy bread
  • raisin bread
  • baps
  • scones
  • rolls
  • muffins
  • crumpets
  • cookies
  • bricks
  • biscuits
  • bakes
  • rusks
  • Bath buns
  • Sally luns
  • tea cakes
  • saffron cakes
  • slim cakes
  • plank cakes
  • The Highland Shepherd by Rosa Bonheir, 1859 (Public domain image on Wikimedia Commons uploaded by “botautus”)

  • soda cakes
  • current cakes
  • sponge cakes
  • seed cakes
  • girdle cakes
  • singing hinnies
  • short bread
  • currant buns

**************************************************
Having lived in England a number of years, I recognized the baps, Bath buns and Sally Lunns. But some, like “brown Georgies” and “singing hinnies,” left me stumped. Turns out that singing hinnies are a kind of scone-like griddle cake that is popular in Northern England. Girdle cakes are thin scone-like griddle cakes cooked atop a stove rather than in the oven. I guess rusks are something you dip in your tea—like biscotti? No idea about plank cakes or brown Georgies. Please illuminate me, if you can.

Well, strangely enough, while I did enjoy oatmeal for breakfast this morning, I am suddenly feeling the need for a “wheaten abomination.” Best wishes to everyone for a safe and productive week. 🙂

*Volume 4, page 163.
**Published 10 July 1845.

Update 5/21/20: Meanwhile, another curious article from a test undertaken across the pond in 1852:

The Mountain Sentinel – Ebensburg, PA, 10 July 1852 (Credit: Library of Congress Digital Newspaper Archives)

Resources:
The Food of London by George Dodd (London: Longmans, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1856) – click here
“Is Oatmeal Healthy? Hear What the Experts Say” by Markham Heid, TIME online, published August 15, 2018 – click here

Categories: England, Food: Family Recipes & Favorites, Scotland, United States | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

A Florida Friday: Solomon’s Castle

The entrance gates at Solomon’s Castle

Solomon’s Castle is on my must-see list of Florida’s quirkiest places.  Like many others on that list, it’s off the beaten path and getting there requires a bit of effort.  We were staying in Sarasota a couple of years back when the brochure caught our eye. Shall we go? Why not? Early the next morning we headed east and eventually found ourselves in Florida’s rural heartland in search of the “town” of Ona. It was a hot sunny day during the off-season. Few travelers on the road. GPS was patchy at times; we worried a bit about getting lost, but fortunately, we found our way there.

Hardee County, in which Ona and the “castle” are located, probably hasn’t changed much in the last century. Its 1930 population of 10,000 has almost tripled; but that’s nothing compared to Lee County , which is where we live. Here the population has gone from roughly 15,000 to 620,000 during that same time span. Few contrasts could better reflect the great divide between the pace of life in Gulf coast towns and cities and inland areas such as this.

Solomon’s Castle was the brainchild of Howard Solomon, who died in 2016 of heart troubles. He was 81. Howard spent many decades commuting from his 55-acre property to his St. Petersburg cabinet-making and boat-building business to earn the money that fueled his creative passions. Why base himself in a place like Ona? The land was cheap, and there was plenty of it.

Photography is not permitted within the “castle,” but YouTube has footage of tours Howard used to give to visitors (see link below).  You’ll quickly see why the folks behind the Weird US publication called him the “Da Vinci of Debris”.  For a great article on Howard, click here.

Resources:
YouTube video – 1 of 4 – Start here.
Google Images
Haven Magazine article: “Solomon’s Castle: A Visionary’s Legacy”

From here on down, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Have a great weekend, everyone.

The approach to the Castle whose walls are covered with aluminum printing plates from a newspaper business 

You can gaze at the turrets, towers, and stained glass windows as you await your turn for a guided tour. I kept expecting to see King Friday even though Mr. Rogers’ castle looks much different.

Pitchfork and quirky garden decor in the foreground

Fun idea for flower bed or small vegetable garden

Lots of massive staghorn ferns hang from the trees here

Yes, there’s a boat with a moat—complete with the occasional alligator. Howard built it all. Climb aboard, for here and beyond are the restaurant and gift shop.

Veranda seating overlooking the restaurant boat — it was still quite early so no diners yet.

More seating and a gift shop on the left. Note the fabulous live oak festooned with moss and ferns—a signature element in much of old Florida

Categories: Florida, Miscellaneous, Ona | Tags: | 5 Comments

The Brackens of Blacklion, County Cavan, Ireland

Anna Bracken Nixon, b. 23 August 1847

The materials for today’s post come courtesy of John Boles of Dublin, whose grandfather Rev. William Armstrong Bracken (b. 1853) was the younger brother of Anna (Bracken) Nixon (b. 1847). She was the mother of sweet-spirited Jennie (Jane) and Louise Nixon, who have already appeared on the pages of this blog. Anna married Edward Nixon on July 11, 1883, in Blacklion Methodist Church, County Cavan, Ireland, with her brother, Rev. William Armstrong Bracken, presiding.

Jane “Jennie” Nixon, eldest child of Anna Bracken and Edward Nixon; taken somewhere near Belfast, John believes

William and Anna Bracken were two of the children of William Copeland Bracken of Toam, County Cavan, and Jane Armstrong of Inishmore, County Fermanagh, who were married on November 6, 1846, in the Old Church of Derryvullan, County Fermanagh.  A description of what remains of that church appears in the 1979 book by Alistair Rowan, North West Ulster: The Counties of London Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh and Tyrone (Yale University Press): DERYVULLAN OLD CHURCH: 1 km SW of Tamlaght Bridge. The ruins of a big hall, 28 ft wide, rebuilt in 1776. The E gable with its round-headed window and some 30 ft of the N wall still stand. In the gable a carved head taken from the medieval church on the same site.

Bracken family cousins (left to right): Jennie Bracken, eldest daughter of Rev. William Armstrong Bracken; May and Louie Bracken, daughters of Hugh Bracken, Blacklion merchant; Jennie Nixon, daughter of Anna Bracken and Edward Nixon; Ena Bracken, daughter of Hugh Bracken. A reunion with Jennie Nixon, who was visiting from the US.

The other children of William C.  and Jane Bracken were Mary Jane Bracken (b. 1849), Hugh Bracken (b. 1851), James Bracken (b. 1855), and Dr. George Bracken (b. 1858). The Bible pages John sent me show that they were all born in Tuam, townland in County Cavan that includes the border village of Blacklion. It was here in an inn that the founder of Methodism John Wesley purportedly found shelter one stormy night in the 1770s. And, according to John, “the Brackens were devoted Methodists right back to the time of John Wesley.”

The family’s devotion as Methodists is on display in a wonderful book by Reverend Alexander Fullerton, a traveling preacher who documented his decades of travel in Fifty Years an Itinerant Preacher : Being Reminiscences of Fifty Years in the Irish Methodist Ministry (Belfast; Irish Methodist Publishing Company, Ltd., 1912). I am grateful to John for alerting me to this book’s existence and providing me with the pages  mentioning Anna Bracken Nixon.

Interestingly the preacher met Anna both in Blacklion, when she was a young girl (1861) and a young woman (1872), and when she was living in the US (1896). She had moved there after she married Edward. He had emigrated to the US with some of his other siblings in 1868. (As an aside, Edward Nixon was my great-grandmother Sarah (Nixon) Boles’ oldest brother; thus Anna was my mother’s great aunt. My mother met her several times and remembers her with great affection.) The Reverend also mentioned meeting up with Robert Nixon, another brother of Sarah Nixon Boles who had ended up in the US and eventually sponsored my grandfather when he emigrated in 1912.

Below are the pages John sent me as well as a bare-bones family tree just so you can follow who’s who. These are some wonderful slices of life that have been preserved, thanks to the Reverend’s diligence in recording all of his travels in such amazing detail. Unfortunately the book is not available online, but Google books allows you to search for snippets, so if you are interested in seeing if other family members are mentioned, you can at least satisfy your curiosity by using their search box.






Categories: Bracken, Co. Cavan, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland, Nixon, Northern Ireland | Tags: , | 2 Comments

George Wills’ descendants in the US — another update

George Wills, 1793-1856, Image from our private family archives. George Wills’ original portrait was inherited by his daughter Martha according to his will.

Quite a long time ago, I did a number of posts on Wills family descendants in the US, specifically George and Mary Wills’ daughter and son-in-law Mary and William Sargent (original surname = Slaymaker) and their children: my great grandmother Elizabeth Sargent and her siblings Samuel, Sarah (Sadie) and William.  Of all the children, I knew the least about Sadie. From George Wills’ Descendants in America — An Update:

I discovered some census records that revealed that Sarah went by the name Sadie, and that she was married to Richard O. Hemion, a machinist, who was born in 1857 in Rockland County, NY,  to John and Catharine Hemion. In 1880, he was working as a cigar maker in Jersey City, NJ, and living with an older sister, Amelia Curyansen, and her family.  [I saw some message boards stating the surname was actually Auryansen, and was misspelled in that record. Auryansen is a Dutch surname, and evidently the history of the family in America goes way back.] It is in Jersey City that he must have become acquainted with Sadie. According to the 1900 census, they were married in roughly 1882. The pair settled in East Rutherford, NJ, and had four children: Cora, Mabel, Everett, and Edith (see below for dates). By 1920, Sadie is listed as a widow and living with children Cora and Everett, by then in their thirties.

Several months ago I spotted a public tree for the Hemion family on Ancestry. It had the wrong Sarah Sargent, a mistake that was logical given the family changed their name from Slaymaker before emigrating to the US after the Civil War. I was able to reach the tree’s owner to notify them of the error, and then we started sharing information. Turns out he and his brother are great-grandsons of Sadie and Richard, and they’d had scant information passed down to them about Sadie’s roots. I was able to share all the information in this blog with them.

At some point the brothers hope to locate the photo they have of Sadie; a recent move has temporarily displaced it. They did say that their mother Ruth Ramp remembered her grandmother as having very long waist-length snow-white hair and that she had worked as a pastry chef but had never had enough patience at home to teach her children the craft.

We also managed to find a date of death for Sadie and her husband and find their burial places as well as those of some other family members. Most are in Hillside Cemetery, Lyndhurst, New Jersey.

Below is an updated tree:

1-Sarah (Sadie) Sargent b. Jul 1860, St. Sepulchre, Northampton, 
  Northamptonshire, England, d. 12 Jul 1935, East Rutherford, Bergen, New 
  Jersey, Bur. 15 Jul 1935, Hillside Cemetery, Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
 + Richard Osborn Hemion b. Feb 1857, Rockland Co., New York, d. 15 Jun 1911, 
  Bur. 18 Jun 1911, Hillside Cemetery, Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
|-----2-Cora S. Hemion b. May 1883, Middletown, New York, d. 4 Feb 1959, Bergen 
|       Pines Hospital, East Rutherford, Bergen, New Jersey, Bur. Hillside 
|       Cemetery, Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
|-----2-Mabel Hemion b. 1 Aug 1885, New York, d. Dec 1974, New Jersey
|      + Edward N. De Blayker b. 4 May 1878, Passaic, NJ, d. After 1942
|     |-----3-Edward Harold De Blayker b. 25 Dec 1914, New Jersey, d. 23 Jun 
|     |       1980, East Rutherford, Bergen, New Jersey
|     |-----3-Gladys C. De Blayker b. Abt 1917, New Jersey, d. 5 Nov 1974
|     |      + Vincent H. Krieger 
|     |-----3-Sadie De Blayker b. Cir 1920, New Jersey, d. After 5 Nov 1974
|            + Dietrich 
|-----2-Everett Osborn Hemion b. 9 Nov 1887, East Rutherford, New Jersey, d. 7 
|       Nov 1940, Bur. Hillside Cemetery, Rutherford, Bergen Co., NJ
|-----2-Edith Amelia Hemion b. Aug 1889, New Jersey, d. 15 Apr 1948, 
|       Rutherford, Bergen, New Jersey, Bur. 19 Apr 1948, Hillside Cemetery, 
|       Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
       + Frederick Sampson Ramp b. 30 Jan 1895, New York, d. 9 Apr 1967, East 
        Rutherford, Bergen, New Jersey, USA, Bur. 11 Apr 1967, Hillside 
        Cemetery, Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
      |-----3-Edith A. Ramp b. 1919, d. 16 Oct 1924, Bur. Hillside Cemetery, 
      |       Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
      |-----3-Ramp b. 1922, d. 13 Apr 1922, Bur. 20 Apr 1922, Hillside 
      |       Cemetery, Lyndhurst, Bergen Co., NJ
      |-----3-Frederick Ramp III 
      |-----3-Ruth Hemion Ramp b. 4 Sep 1927, East Rutherford, New Jersey, d. 7 
      |       Jul 2017, Low Moor, VA
             + William David Jeffery b. 13 Jul 1922, White Plains, NY, d. 4 Jan 
              1967, Wingdale, Dutchess, NY
             + Rev. Robert Wanstall
Categories: Hemion, Hillside Cemetery Lyndhurst NJ, Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Sargent, Slaymaker, Trewin, Wills | Leave a comment

Mom turns 97 today

Mom turns 97 at 9:45 p.m. (Eastern) today—quite the milestone! No family coming over, sadly, given the situation, but we have already had a get-together on something like Zoom. Dinner will be shrimp and scallops, baked potato, and green salad followed by homemade dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate icing and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Any family members out there wanting to offer birthday greetings or even ask her a family-history-related question, feel free to fire away in the comments below or via my email address shown on the ‘About’ page. After all, she has been around since 1923!

Categories: Miscellaneous | 11 Comments

Hear ye, hear ye! (Some blog housekeeping)

Just a super-short post to advise readers that I have created an “Archive Index” page. See tab at top of the page. This displays all posts in order of oldest to newest. It may come in handy as a search tool.

 

Town Crier with Stick and Gong (Hearing) by Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685), Dutch Golden Age painter – In collection at National Gallery in Prague (Public domain in US due to copyright term = author’s life plus 100 years or fewer)

Categories: Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

Rev. Harry Baremore Angus (1883-1919)

Harry B. Angus, Rutgers College Class of 1905

I just came across the service of ordination bulletin from June 16, 1909, for  the late Rev. Harry Baremore Angus (1883-1919). Once again, I must thank my grandmother for being one to never toss anything out and my parents for holding onto it all these years.

I’d forgotten that Harry, son of Job Winans Angus (1856-1936) and Jeannette Tillou (1860-1932), died of the Spanish influenza—on April 30, 1919. Certainly that period in history is much more relatable now that we are in the midst of our own pandemic. Fortunately we are blessed with many more scientific advancements, although that is of little comfort to those who’ve lost a loved one. My sympathies to any of you who have found yourself impacted on a very personal level through the loss of a friend or family member.

Harry was in his mid-thirties and had been married to Miss Grace M. Kendall for less than four years. At the time of his death, his children were just 4 months old (Samuel Kendall Angus, later killed in Italy during WWII) and 2 years 9 months old (Elizabeth Dorothea Angus). Harry was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in the Angus plot. Grace survived to age 100.

A small bio of Harry appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 11, 1916, prior to his installation as pastor of McDowell Presbyterian Church in that city. Philadelphia. So much left undone at the end of the day. So much talent lost. But he’s not forgotten. Hopefully someday someone closely related to Harry will find this bulletin if perchance they don’t already have one in their family history files.

Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 October 1916 – Credit: Fulton History dot com

McDowell Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia; public domain image on Wikipedia

Categories: Angus, Elizabeth, Union Co., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Presbyterian | 6 Comments

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