Advice shared with newspaper readers 100+ years ago. (For info on that pandemic, see Spanish Flu on History.com; newspaper article courtesy of FultonHistory.com.)
Monthly Archives: March 2020
Advice shared with newspaper readers 100+ years ago. (For info on that pandemic, see Spanish Flu on History.com; newspaper article courtesy of FultonHistory.com.)
It’s the time of year here in South Florida when all of our orchids are in bloom or are on the verge of blooming. I thought I’d share some photos of some of the flowers that have appeared so far on our lanai. It’s always a time of wonder here. Perhaps these images will brighten your day, too!
An 1869 map is now on auction on eBay, or you can buy it now for $65. (Click here.) It shows the streets that eventually appeared on land owned by my second-great-grandfather James Winans Angus, who died in his fifties and left his wife Wealthy Ann with many mouths to feed. I recently posted a map that is in my family. This map on eBay is more extensive. I just took screenshots of the photos the seller has provided. If you look carefully in the upper left corner, you will see all the parcels still held by Wealthy. This is seven years after her husband’s death.
Just wanted to pass this tip along in case any Angus descendants out there would be interested. Have a good and safe day!
A long time ago, I did a post about 19th-century food writer Madame Jules de Ryther‘s recommendations on how to prepare “roast saddle of venison” from deer killed during hunting expeditions in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Perhaps you remember that post.
Well, I was scrolling through some antique postcards on eBay last week, and one in particular caught my eye–it was of two men in a canoe arriving at the side of a lake with at least a couple of dead deer in their vessel. The title was: “Adirondack Mountains. Bringing in the spoils.”
That Madame de Ryther post came to mind, so I paused to take a closer look at the scene. On the front right side was a small note written by the sender, someone named Ripley Watson: “Am up at Lake George, having a fine time. Remember me to your brothers, please. Ripley Watson.”
Then I turned the postcard over and was absolutely shocked to discover that the recipient was someone I knew from my family history research and had actually met over a half century ago when visiting my late grandmother in Plainfield, NJ. I was only a few years old at the time and don’t remember the visit, but I do have a photo to prove that I was there!
How amazing! I am still pinching myself. Life is full of strange little surprises. I felt compelled to buy the postcard, and it arrived the day before yesterday from Pennsylvania.
Miss Cecelia Bell Russum (1090 East Jersey Street, Elizabeth, NJ) was the postcard recipient, and she would have been 18 at the time. Some of you may know who Cecelia was. For those who do not: she was the only daughter of Cecelia Bensley Angus (1855-1933) and Thomas Bayley Russum (cir. 1850-1938) of Elizabeth, New Jersey, who also had four sons (Thomas; Charles, who died before Cecelia was born; Frank; and William).
These two Angus sisters were five years apart, but each gave birth to a daughter in 1888: Cecelia Bell Russum was born in June, and Wealthy’s daughter Bertha Woodruff in October. They all appear in the below group photo taken, I believe, in 1892 on the occasion of the funeral gathering for Wealthy Ann (Jaques) Angus. (Note: I have posted this group photo before. I think I have the Russum kids shown incorrectly apart from William and Cecelia, but plan to fix that label soon.)
I took a quick look to see who Ripley Watson may have been. Cecelia’s brothers all went to Rutgers College (classes of 1895, 1902, and 1910), and I found a Ripley Watson who was in the class of 1908. A few tidbits I found about him indicated that he was gifted academically and played varsity football (6′ tall, 186 pounds). Published almost a decade after his graduation, The Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Rutgers College… 1766 to 1916, published by Rutgers, gives the following information about Ripley: Born at Jersey City, NJ, Mch. 15, 1886. Lawyer. L.L.B. (N.K. Law School,1910). A.M. (Rutgers, 1911).
So here was Ripley in July of 1906 sending Cecelia a postcard from the Adirondacks. Perhaps, he had romantic intentions? If he did, nothing came of it. Cecelia remained single, living at home with her parents, into her early forties, when she met and married the much older Reverend George Rutger Brauer (b. 1871) in 1931. Unfortunately the marriage was short lived as George died in 1935 of a cerebral hemorrhage. His Find a Grave memorial has some photos of him as well as a long obituary that appeared in the New York Times. Click here if you are interested in seeing that memorial page (and here if you want to see the page for his first wife Eugenia Lathrop Brauer, who died in 1929).
Back to Cecelia. She died in Los Angeles in 1981 at the age of 93, outliving her cousin Bertha by almost a decade. Remarkably, we have the photo showing the two as young children and another showing them some seven decades later, sitting on the front porch at my grandmother’s house—with me and my sister the young children this time around. The ladies had remained good friends. I don’t know what happened to Cecelia after this or why she moved to California. But, how amazing is it that 114 years after that postcard was sent to Cecelia, it’s ended up here with me!
Yet another two pages from my grandparents’ guestbook. We are still in July 1908, and here we find a some Brodheads visiting from Greenville, Pennsylvania, a small town located in the northwestern part of that state.
This is my grandfather’s aunt by marriage, Jennie Vanderveer Smock Brodhead (1861-1938), and her son Richard Henry Brodhead Jr. (1900-1966), on July 21, and her two daughters Mary Ophelia Brodhead (b. 1892) and Estelle Smock Brodhead (b. 1890) on July 31. The family resided at 118 Clinton Street in Greenville. (A third daughter Jean Blakslee Brodhead was born in 1893 but only survived 24 days.)
Richard H. Brodhead Sr. was my great-grandfather Andrew Douglas Brodhead’s youngest brother (he had 6 of them and 3 sisters—the children of AJ Brodhead and Ophelia Easton). There were 11 years between the two, so Richard and Jennie’s children were about a decade younger than my grandfather Frank M. Brodhead and his siblings Lewis and Andrew.
Visiting with Jennie and her kids was Elizabeth Smock Ketcham, Jennie’s older sister, of 224 Summer Avenue in Newark. I found her on Find a Grave and evidently she remarried in later life and lived to a ripe old age of 94.
Among the other visitors, I see my grandfather’s younger brother, Lewis Dingman Brodhead (1884-1933), and possibly a girlfriend (Lina Ryan) on July 24. He’d have been 23 at that time, and this was three years before he eloped with Mildred Hancock.
The name Hefley (December 13, but for some reason on this page of July and early August visitors) sounded very familiar to me so I asked my Mom about them. She says the Hefleys, who gave their address here as 515 Chilton Street, Elizabeth, NJ, were good friends of my grandparents and that they were a very nice family. He, Morris Hefley, was a stock broker who lost everything during the Great Depression. She, Mabel Hefley, was a happy homemaker who was known for the great cakes she used to bake. They were members of the First Presbyterian Church and had six daughters, but had always hoped for a son. Daughter #6 Wilma was my mother’s age—Mom says they’d hoped for a William, but ended up with Wilma.
As for the other names, I’ll have to do a bit of sleuthing. Florence A. Earl of Conant Street, visiting on August 2, 1908, was probably one of my grandmother’s cousins on her father’s side of the family (William Earl Woodruff).
Thomas A. Kidd, who visited on July 25, lived at 225 Milton Avenue in Rahway, which seems to be the same address given by Alvira Anness earlier in the month (see last post). I found the small obituary shown here for someone with this name; if this was indeed the same person, perhaps he was boarding with Alvira and her family. Sounds like he experienced a great deal of tragedy in his life, poor man.
If/when I learn more, I will add the info to this page.
I’m back with another page of my grandparents’ guest book. Now this one is very interesting to me because it shows some visitors from the Lewis/Wait family line. These are relatives of my grandfather Brodhead’s on his mother Margaret Lewis Martin’s side of the family: Sarah Effie (Lewis) Nicholls and her 6-year-old son Raymond L. Nicholls, people I discovered a number of years back as I researched that line. And here I find them in the book on July 20, 1908, all the way from Blue Mound, Illinois! And joining them on that day were Margaret Lewis Martin’s sister Mary M. Andrews and her 12-year-old daughter (from her first marriage) Alvira Anness, who were living at 225 West Milton Avenue in Rahway.
You can look at the below tree to see the relationships. Raymond and Alvira were my grandfather’s much younger second cousins. Sarah was a first cousin to Margaret and Mary. The three all shared grandparents Margaret Lewis Wait and Jacob Lewis.
Other visitors were John Hunter, 566 Jefferson Avenue, Elizabeth, NJ, “Enjoyed a good dinner” on July 14, 1908, and Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Winans on July 24, 1908. I don’t know which Winans these were. Once I figure that out, I will update this page.
1-David Wait b. 20 May 1754, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, d. 11 Nov 1810, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ + Irene Bell b. 20 Oct 1764, d. 31 May 1804, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ |-----2-David Wait b. 15 Jan 1785, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 7 Nov 1825 |-----2-John Oliver Wait b. 10 Jan 1787, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. | 23 Nov 1876, Home of son James Wait, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ | + Elizabeth Crow b. 11 Sep 1792, Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 9 May | 1854, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ | |-----3-Margaret Ann Wait b. 7 Mar 1817, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., | | NJ, d. 26 Mar 1851, Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ | | + Jacob Lewis d. After 25 Mar 1851 | | |-----4-Charles Smith Lewis b. 22 Dec 1834, Perth Amboy, Middlesex | | | Co., NJ, d. 8 Feb 1921, Blue Mound, Macon, Illinois | | | + Nancy Elizabeth Clemmons b. 19 Nov 1841, d. 1905, (Hall | | | Cemetery, Blue Mound, Macon County, Illinois) | | | |-----5-Sarah Effie Lewis b. 26 Mar 1867, Blue Mound, Macon, | | | | Illinois, United States, d. Mar 1913, Blue Mound, Maco | | | | n, Illinois, United States | | | | + Elton Luther Nicholls b. 19 Feb 1864, Medina, Ohio, | | | | USA, d. 1 Sep 1905, Macon, Illinois | | | | |-----6-Raymond L. Nicholls b. 30 Apr 1902, Macon, | | | | | Illinois, d. 10 Jan 1989, (South Macon | | | | | Cemetery, South Macon Township, Macon, | | | | | Illinois, USA) | | |-----4-Sarah Augusta Lewis b. 26 Nov 1836, Perth Amboy, | | | Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 2 Apr 1900, (Alpine Cemetery, | | | Middlesex Co., NJ) | | + First Lt. Moses Martin b. 1833, Woodbridge, Middlesex Co., | | New Jersey, d. 1883, Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York | | |-----5-Margaret Lewis Martin b. 15 Jun 1859, Perth Amboy, | | | New Jersey, d. 25 Nov 1945, Elizabeth, Union Co, | | | NJ | | | + Andrew Douglas Brodhead b. 17 Aug 1853, East Mauch | | | Chunk, Carbon Co., PA, d. 6 May 1917, At Home, | | | Elizabeth, Union, NJ | | | |-----6-Frank Martin Brodhead b. 5 Feb 1882, Perth | | | | Amboy, Middlesex Co., NJ, d. 8 May 1951, 1321 Ra | | | | ritan Rd., Scotch Plains, NJ | | | | + Fannie Bishop Woodruff b. 11 Jun 1882, Conant | | | | Street Woodruff Farmhouse, Hillside, New | | | | Jersey, d. 5 Sep 1965 | | |-----5-Mary Marsh Martin b. 30 Sep 1863, New Jersey, d. 15 | | | Aug 1955 | | | + Winfield S. Anness b. 25 Oct 1861, Stamford, | | | Connecticut, USA, d. 29 Nov 1899, Woodbridge, | | | Middlesex, New Jersey | | | + Andrews | | | |-----6-Alvira W. Anness b. 13 Oct 1895, Middlesex, New | | | | Jersey, USA
Our ancestors had to deal with the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19; many of us who have researched our family trees have occasionally come across family members who succumbed to the flu at that time. I’ve only come across one person in my family tree who died of the flu in the late 1910s, and that was my grandmother’s sister-in-law, Georgie Duke Trewin. Everyone else made it through, which gives me comfort given how much more dire the circumstances were for that generation.
A hundred years later we are experiencing our own pandemic. Thankfully we have a healthcare system and scientific community that is vastly more prepared, and all the precautionary measures we are taking now will no doubt save a huge number of lives—the lives of our older members of the population and those with compromised immune systems.
How many older people are there in the US? The below government table shows that in 2010 there were over 40 million people in the 65+ category, and of those, most were not living in nursing homes, even in the 85+ categories. My mom is in the 95+ category, and at that time there were 424,608 people in that category with only 24.7 percent in nursing homes. That really surprised me, but it also made me realize I have lots of company. And all of you who are caring for your elderly family members at home or are tending to their needs from close range obviously have lots of company too—company that at times may seem invisible, but it’s there. And you are out there now, I’m sure, with a game plan for keeping your loved one(s) safe.
Obviously, we must be extremely careful about who we let into our homes and make sure we are careful when we go out to take care of necessities so that we don’t get the virus ourselves. I’ve just cancelled home health help for the next two weeks, which kills me to do since I need the help, but it makes no sense to have people coming and going who interact with a large number of elderly people daily elsewhere.
For those 60+, the best thing you can do right now, which you probably already know, is to “socially isolate” yourself (good article on why this is vital—it’s long but worth the read).
I don’t hear many people talking about this, but I think the other very important thing you can do is to take care of your immune system. Make sure you and your loved ones are getting enough sleep and are eating right, and focus on getting a dose of daily sunshine for your Vitamin D. Take some daily chew-able Vitamin C, and ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin A. If you are not getting it from your diet by eating certain foods, take it in tablet form. Zinc is important as well, and most of us get enough from our diets, but make sure you are not falling short there. And, of course, stay hydrated. Apart from water, we always try to have some Gatorade on hand. It also has its benefits: click here.
As we age into these medical “danger zones” like this 60+ category for the corona virus, we need to pay close attention to our immune system and keep our cells as healthy as possible. Healthy cells deflect viruses.
And, since we are here right now, I may as well mention something else very important for the elderly, and that is to avoid UTIs, which can cause delirium due to dehydration and lead to sepsis if left untreated.
When my mother broke her leg three years ago, the anesthesiologist predicted she’d only make it another 6 months max. Seeing what went on in the rehab center she was in after she left the hospital, I can see why he said that. In spite of being in the best rehab center in our town, she was the victim of some serious lapses in care, and if I had not been there every single day to play watch dog, I really don’t think she would have made it out of there. I caught numerous instances of nurses on the verge of giving her her medications incorrectly, several instances where she was given her medication incorrectly, and numerous instances of aides being careless and lackadaisical with “personal hygiene”. She had constant UTIs, including two that were antibiotic-resistant and required isolation, and even required hospitalization for one UTI two-thirds of the way through her three-month rehab. Anyway, after all of that and way more than I will go into here, we developed a “recipe” that works for us to avoid UTIs, and she hasn’t had one in 2.5 years. Check with your doctor first, of course, but perhaps this combination will help you/your loved one, too:
- Plenty of water daily
- 1 tsp D-Mannose powder mixed in her water daily
- 1 capsule cranberry extract
- 1 senior probiotic capsule (CVS brand is what we use)
- 1 500 mg tablet chewable vitamin C
- 1/2 Gram of Methenamine (doctor-prescribed) 2x daily
Fellow caregivers, I know you are out there in massive numbers, and I thank you for all you do. I know what you are going through, at least to some extent. You are in my prayers. If we all do what we need to do to minimize the spread, we will hopefully keep our elderly loved ones safe and get through the worst of this faster.
It’s hot as blazes out today and hot, sunny weather is expected through next week, which may be a good thing since UV rays kill viruses. But with America on quarantine, I am asking myself: what am I going to do for the next few weeks so that I don’t go stir crazy? And the answer seems to be to get out and do some yard work. The local tree-trimming company we’ve used is happy to drop off 11 cubic yards of mulch for free to the home that is closest to its last work stop of the day, and we are on the list to have that mountain delivered. It would be fantastic if it came during this nationwide stoppage.
Our yard most definitely needs lots more work. Hurricane Irma’s wrath whipped up enough water in this part of Florida to leave many yards at least partially submerged. Over two years later, many homeowners are still struggling to free their properties of all the weeds that washed in and never washed out. The most obvious invader at this time of year is “Florida snow” (aka Florida pusley and Mexican clover)—its little white flowers are everywhere. Our yard is no exception! It’s easy to remove when you find the main stem, and then you can just yank it up out of the ground with all its tentacles trailing after it. But when your yard is 90% Florida snow… well, if you choose to fight back, brace yourself—the flowers produce seeds rapidly, allowing “Florida snow” to spread uncontrollably.
Instead of fighting, we are strategizing ways to minimize its presence through the creation of a Florida-friendly landscape that relies on native plants and lots of mulch and pine straw. Regarding the “snow,” which is an invasive species, we are going with the flow and looking on the bright side: the plant’s flowers attract a ton of bees—so many bees, in fact, that I don’t dare walk across the grass in wide-bottomed trousers or a long skirt. And the flower itself is actually quite pretty. Don’t get me wrong—we are on a quest to slowly eliminate it. We are mulching over segments of our yard as we install all sorts of native plants. It’s the natives that easily grow and thrive here. Why plant species from elsewhere, as beautiful as they are, when they’ll require a lot of maintenance in the summer rainy season and lots of water in the dry winters?
Plus, water is expensive if you don’t have your own well, which we do not. And, of course, if you water your lawn in the winter to keep it green, you also have to mow it. We just go with Mother Nature’s flow and by doing so have only had to mow the lawn 3-4 times since September. That’s how dry it is and how slowly things grow this time of year.
Fortunately, we don’t live in an HOA-run community that makes homeowners keep their yards free of weeds. Having and maintaining a perfectly manicured grass lawn here is challenging. A chemical called Atrazine can be used to eliminate “Florida snow,” but who wants to use chemicals on their lawn especially given how sensitive Florida’s environment is? Fortunately, I’ve heard that someone in Tallahassee has introduced a bill prohibiting HOAs from banning the presence of “Florida snow” since it is so ubiquitous.
A tour of our front yard this past week alerted me to some more pretty little surprises, and before leaving you, I must point out the weed with the swirling pale-yellow flowers (see photo). It’s a Florida native called “common wirewood” (Sida acuta), and it is a BEAST! Check out that root. This is one tough cookie, and it takes real muscle to pull it from the ground. I’ve read that it can get quite large if allowed to grow unfettered and that it is high in protein, making it good deer food. In Florida’s natural settings, property owners are encouraged to let this plant grow. Anyway, gotta have respect for this one. My husband says to leave it where we find it; it’s earned its place here!
Some day when we are finished with our Florida-friendly landscaping project, I will share our “before and after photos”. Meanwhile, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s back to work we go… Stay safe, everyone.
I found this old image a long time ago among some family papers left behind by my grandmother. Today seems like a good day to post it. For more on this big event of March 1888, click here!
Today, I’m posting three more pages from my grandparents’ guest book, which went into service in June 1908. I have not had time to research the names I don’t know but figured I would go ahead and post the pages anyway since some of these unknowns may be known to you!
I love the entry made by my great-grandfather Andrew Douglas Brodhead, who clearly had a great sense of humor, and the “namesake” remark in the entry made by Mrs. F. C. Bishop, which confirms my grandmother was indeed named after her. Other visitors included my grandmother’s oldest and youngest sisters—Jennie and Bertha. I think Bertha in particular must have been a lot of fun. She was a very clever and artistic young woman and probably in art school in NYC at that time.
Another visitor was Mary E. Woodruff (Aunt Mary) and I believe this was probably Mary Elizabeth Woodruff (1835-1924), a younger sister of my grandmother’s grandfather Francis Woodruff and the younger sister of Ogden Woodruff (father of guest Fannie Woodruff Townley who appears as a guest here and in the previous post’s pages as well).
This Mary E. Woodruff’s address was 854 Salem Avenue, which is in present-day Hillside, NJ. If you Google this address, you will find a very grand 6,000+ square-foot home built in 1874. Incidentally, it is just two doors down from another home I have mentioned in this blog—the old Woodruff homestead at 866 Salem Avenue! Anyway, if Mary lived at 854, her comment in the guest book “A lovely little home” may have had her mentally emphasizing the word “little” as she wrote that. 😉
The most distant visitor was M. Margaret Fritz of Wilkes-Barre, PA. I know some Brodheads lived in Wilkes-Barre back in those days, and, perhaps, she was somehow related to them. In any case, I will leave you to enjoy these few pages and if you have any info to add, please do leave a comment!
- Jennie Belle Coleman – 902 Salem Road, Elizabeth, NJ – “Our fourth anniversary”
- William J. James and Harriet Eadie James – 920 1/2 Grove Street, Elizabeth, NJ
- Elizabeth A. Terrill – 1074 Lafayette St, Elizabeth, NJ – “We did not ride in a coach”
- Alice F. Rath – 141 Jefferson Ave, Elizabeth, NJ – “ditto”
- Homer L. Wandling – 518 Walnut St., Elizabeth, NJ – “ditto”
- William T. Rath – 141 Jefferson Ave., Elizabeth, NJ – “Good Luck”
- Gertrude L. Younglove – 407 Jefferson Ave. – Elizabeth – SS Teacher”
- Bertha W. Woodruff – Conant St, Elizabeth, NJ – “A diner for dinner”
- Vera A. Stinson – 157 5th Ave., Roselle, NJ – “A diner for supper”
- Adelaide H. Russ – 458 N. Broad St., Elizabeth
- M. Margaret Fritz – 820 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA – “On again, off again”
- Alice F. Rath – Elizabeth, NJ – “Here for lunch”
- Elizabeth A. Terrill – Elizabeth, NJ – ditto
- Fannie W. Townley – Elizabeth, NJ – “Here for tea”
- William E. Townley – ditto – “Baby with us”
- A.D. Brodhead – a wanderer – “Just for a shave”
- Mrs. F.C. Bishop – 920 Salem Ave, Elizabeth, NJ – “Namesake”
- Mary E. Woodruff (Aunt Mary) – 854 Salem Ave, Eliz, NJ – “A lovely little home”
- Anna Bowles Hesse – 154 Elm St., Eliz., NJ – “Everything fine”
- Louise Hesse – ditto – “Dinner a big success”