I recently discovered this Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal clipping of Nettie Angus Moulden’s February 1, 1955, meeting with President Eisenhower reported in this previous post. Thanks go to my grandmother for putting it in an envelope for me to find decades later. (Her handwritten date up top is a year off.) Perhaps, Angus descendants will learn something new here. Have a good week, all.
Monthly Archives: February 2016
Winter scenes from Florida’s Fanning Springs State Park. Located along the Suwanee River, these first magnitude springs release 50 million gallons of water daily and are a constant 72 degrees F. On a cold winter’s day, with trees bare, steam rising from the spring, and Spanish moss festooning the trees, the setting looks very ethereal. Of all the Florida state parks we’ve visited, this was one of the most memorable. We stayed several days in one of the five comfortable cabins, enjoying the tranquility of the Springs and exploring the surrounding area.
Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1955: Youngest Woodruff daughter was “foremost quilt designer in the United States”
I wrote a post several years ago (my, how time flies!) about my great aunt Bertha (1888-1973), but after coming across this old newspaper clipping about her lifelong career as a quilt designer, I thought a follow-up post would be in order. Bertha was the youngest of the six Woodruff sisters. She appeared in that wonderful series of photos the sisters took at different moments in their lives. I wish I’d known her in her younger years; she was very fond of my father and he of her. Unfortunately, I caught her at the tail end of her life when old age and health problems deprived her of the joie de vivre she had once been so famous for.
By all accounts, including the one in the article, she lived a very interesting and creative life, and she certainly had a sea of admirers. For a look at her ‘Tree of Life’ quilt, click here.
The article mentions the Grand Tour of Europe my father took Bertha and his mother on in 1955. Bless his heart. He was a good son and a good nephew.
This pretty entrance with its ornate, wrought-iron arch overhead greets visitors to Evergreen Cemetery in Jim Thorpe (formerly known as Mauch Chunk), Carbon Co., Pennsylvania. And what special gates they are. I am missing page 1 of the accompanying article, but if you read down you will come to discover that these distinctive pillars and gates were given to the cemetery in 1913 by the nine surviving Brodhead children to honor the memory of their parents, Andrew Jackson Brodhead & Ophelia Easton.
A plaque on the left pillar says ‘Brodhead Memorial Gateway, erected 1913.’ (For a close-up look at the plaque, you can view this Instagram image.) If page 1 of the article ever surfaces, I will include it here; unfortunately I don’t know what paper it appeared in—the two pieces I do have are very old and beginning to disintegrate.
I love this image of the house at 924 Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, Union Co., NJ. It belonged to Mary Martha Winans Angus (1846-1922) and Austin Fellows Knowles (d. 1924), who were married on 4 September 1867. They had seven (?) children. The names I have at the moment are: Walter, James, Austin, Watts, Marie Gertrude, William, and Lawrence.
It must have been a wonderful home to grow up in. Sadly, this location is now covered by a rather ugly-looking parking lot where trees no longer line the streets.
The photo is undated, but I am thinking 1880s/early 1890s? The Knowles were married in 1867, so perhaps the older woman in black is Mary. As for the others, I don’t know. The younger woman to her right looks a bit too old to be daughter Marie Gertrude Knowles Chamberlain. (Thoughts, anyone?)
My previous post on the Knowles included an article about the 1917 golden wedding anniversary celebrated in the house. I have since found two other mentions of the home, the first of which warrants further research. Hopefully the son mentioned survived:
- New York Times, November 22, 1893: Risked Smallpox for His Boy. Austen F. Knowles of Elizabeth Goes with His Son to a Pesthouse. Elizabeth NJ, Nov. 21 – The Board of Health was forced to admit today that smallpox has become epidemic. During the past twelve hours four new cases have been reported. The malady is no longer confined to Italian families. […] A son of Austen F. Knowles was attacked by the disease at his home, 924 Elizabeth Avenue. Mr. Knowles is the agent at Perth Amboy and Port Johnson for the Reading Coal Company. He insisted upon going to the pesthouse with his boy to take care of him. Much sympathy is felt for the family. Their home is one of the prettiest in the city…
- New York Herald, Sunday, June 16, 1889: Mr. William F. Knowles, son of Austin F. Knowles, celebrated on Monday night his 21st birthday. Many of his friends assembled at his father’s house, No. 924 Elizabeth Ave., Elizabeth, and tendered their congratulations.
As always, additions, comments, corrections, clarifications are welcome. Have a great weekend, all. Thanks for stopping by.
Since writing my original post on my Dad’s Great Aunt Lavinia (‘Vean’) Pratt Angus (b. 9 February 1859, to James Angus and Wealthy Jaques), I’ve come across some old letters of hers as well as this brief obituary. In my original post, I’d assumed Lavinia passed away in the 1940s, but in fact she made it to 1953/54, reaching the age of 94. She and her cousin Nettie Angus Moulden, who was four years older than Vean and nearly reached the age of 106, appear to be the longest lived Angus children of their generation.
From reading Vean’s letters, I can tell that she was sharp as a tack at least almost to the end. It turns out that her old housemate Elizabeth Booth, mentioned in the original post, was actually a cousin of hers, but I still have not figured out how they were related.
Vean ended up leaving Montclair, NJ, in late 1949/early 1950 to move down to spend her final years with her niece Mildred Woodruff Brown (my grandmother’s sister) in Clayton, Gloucester County, New Jersey. Mildred (b. 1884) had been married to Dr. G. Carlton Brown, 25 years her senior, and was by then a widow.
In one of Vean’s letters to my grandmother (her niece Fannie Woodruff Brodhead), she revealed that she used to refer to her older sister Wealthy (Fannie’s mom) as ‘Jennie’—and that explains the question I had had about Wealthy’s ‘trendy autographed fan’ in this post. At the time, one astute reader had commented that Jennie used to be a nickname in the 1800s, and she was exactly right to suggest that that could have been the case with the inscription left on Wealthy’s fan.
Now, unfortunately, the obituary notice does not indicate the newspaper in which it appeared or the date. But, since she was 94, it would have to have been published between 9 February 1953 and 8 Feb 1954. If I ever find the exact date, I’ll update this post. Then the ‘mystery’ of when exactly Vean passed away will be solved completely. But, of course it’s not the start and end dates that matter, but everything in between, and it certainly seems like Vean lived life to the fullest and made the most of all the years she was given.
Today, I’m sharing a recent, very happy discovery: the commemorative brochure for the December 31, 1895, Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration of Andrew Jackson Brodhead and Ophelia Easton. The contents were written by their youngest child Richard Henry Brodhead who was 31 at the time. It is wonderful to hear him write so warmly about his parents and siblings—a very close-knit family of 12, greatly expanded by 1895 to include spouses and 27 grandchildren.
After being vacant for almost three years, our bird house finally has a new tenant… he’s not what we were expecting, but we’ll take him. Rumor has it that he thinks his new digs are toadly awesome!
I pulled back the blinds one morning last weekend and instantly felt that kind of ‘wow’ kids feel when they wake up in the morning and catch their first sight of an overnight winter snowfall. But instead of a blanket of white snow, I saw a preserve dotted in white—a patchwork quilt of white ibis, palms, and cypress trees. And for every white ibis I could see, there was a brown ibis blending in with the debris and dark waters on the cypress preserve floor.
I guess we can thank El Niño for this unusual winter sight. Record rainfall has filled swamp areas back up to summer levels, and these ‘gals’ and ‘guys’ have come to scour the grounds for bugs and other edible critters. And throughout the past week, they have continued to turn up daily to put on their show. Greedy for more, I am now hoping some egrets, herons, woodstorks and roseate spoonbills decide to join them!
When one sees ibis in such abundance, it’s hard (and sickening) to imagine that there was a time 100-odd-years ago when ibis and many other of Florida’s beautiful birds were hunted down and slaughtered for their plumage with populations being decimated as a result. The author of the accompanying article from the Rome Daily Sentinel, published on 18 August 1896, attests to the fact that hunting for the birds had gotten way out of control and measures were desperately needed to protect them. Thankfully, that eventually happened, and hence, sights such as the one in my backyard are not uncommon in Florida today (they are just uncommon in my backyard!).
The 1896 article mentions the scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) as particularly being singled out by hunters (image right) along with herons and snowy egrets, and song birds like mockingbirds and cardinals. (The American flamingo, mentioned in the article as being abundant in South Florida in the 1800s, has all but disappeared in the wild. If you happen to see one in Florida today, it is likely an escapee from an area attraction.)
I’ve never seen scarlet ibis in the wild in Florida, but apparently they are occasionally spotted. Their native range today appears to be along the northern and eastern coastlines of northern South America, down to São Paolo. They can appear as vagrants in Florida, Ecuador, and a number of countries in the Caribbean.
The current IUCN Red List of Endangered Species lists the scarlet ibis as a species of ‘Least Concern’, which would please the article’s author, no doubt, if he were alive today, as would knowing that all of Florida’s birds became legally protected in 1913.
The Smithsonian article “How Two Women Ended the Deadly Feather Trade” describes how this hideous trade ultimately came to an end:
Egrets and other wading birds were being decimated until two crusading Boston socialites, Harriet Hemenway and her cousin, Minna Hall, set off a revolt. Their boycott of the trade would culminate in formation of the National Audubon Society and passage of the Weeks-McLean Law, also known as the Migratory Bird Act, by Congress on March 4, 1913. The law, a landmark in American conservation history, outlawed market hunting and forbade interstate transport of birds.
One hundred years later, we are blessed to have these birds in our midst, but the picture is far from 100% rosy as Florida’s current list of threatened and endangered species attests. Thirty-six species of birds are on the list, including the snowy egret, brown pelican, and white ibis, which are classified as ‘species of special concern’, so if they were ever completely ‘out of the woods’ after 1913, they are back in them now…something to keep in mind and let others know about, if they don’t know already.
Well, enough said—time to take another look out the back window.
Have a great weekend, all, and thanks for stopping by.
Rome Daily Sentinel, 18 August 1896 (Credit: Fultonhistory.com):