Monday, April 14, 2014

172 Beacon Street, Boston

My paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Adsit) (Pyle) Rust, lived in an apartment on Beacon Street in Boston for several decades before she died in 1983. (See her death notice here.)

I wasn't sure exactly when Libby and Pop (my step-grandfather, Edgar Rust) moved from their house in Chestnut Hill to Boston, so I explored the City Directories at The 1954 and 1955 Boston City Directories don't have alphabetical listings that get to Rust (their images may be of volume 1 and not volume 2), but they do have the street listing that includes Beacon Street, which is more fun because in one place, a researcher can see who else is living in the same building.

The 1954 Directory shows that the apartment at the 8th floor was not occupied:

1954 Boston City Directory
p. 1506: 172 Beacon Street

In 1955, Edgar Rust is now residing in the apartment on the 8th floor:

1955 Boston City Directory
p. 1406: 172 Beacon Street
So it looks like they moved in 1954. They had previously lived at 22 Reservoir Road in Chestnut Hill, where they were enumerated with many errors in the 1940 U.S. Census.)

172 Beacon (2013),
courtesy of
I was prompted to write this post after reading a recent post at the New England Historic Genealogical Society's blog, Vita Brevis, called A Genealogical Jigsaw Puzzle, which mentions a website called Back Bay Houses. This is a great and well-organized website that has information about the "genealogical history" of homes in Boston's Back Bay. I could click on Beacon Street at the top of the page, and scroll down to the numbers between Berkeley and Clarendon to find number 172. Visit Back Bay Houses/172 Beacon for more information about the history of this lot and the building that was on the site before this one was built in 1928.

Libby lived on the 8th floor of 172 Beacon Street (the floor with the railings outside some of the windows) and we visited her apartment a few times a year, usually at Thanksgiving, Easter, and one day during our December school vacation. (She came to our house in Dedham on Christmas Day.)

Just looking at this picture of the front of 172 Beacon Street reminds me of going to visit Libby and going up the old fashioned elevator (with a doorman to work the sliding metal cage-style door) which opened directly into her front hall.

According to Back Bay Houses, the building was converted into condominiums in 1977, so she went from renting the 8th floor to owning it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pair of Ambrotypes

I previously posted the image of an identified ambrotype in my collection, of my third great-grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Gorin.

I also have the following ambrotypes in my collection, which came to me with the T. J. Gorin ambrotype, but they are unidentified. I would guess that they are of Gorin or Ashby family members, but really don't know for sure.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Military Monday ~ Charles McAlpin Pyle, 1916

Back in May 2011, I shared the WWI Draft Card and WWII Draft Card for my grandfather. I also shared the following photograph I have of him.

His WWI Draft Card (June 5, 1917) asked what previous military service he had, and he reported that he had served for three years as a private in the Calvary in New York. I recently learned about his service!

This image is from a newly posted database at New York Mexican Punitive Campaign Muster Rolls for National Guard, 1916-1917.

Below I have done my best to transcribe the document, with the handwritten entries in blue. If anyone has thoughts on some of the handwriting under remarks, please let me know.

Pyle, Charles McAlpin
Age: 22
Date of Commission or Enlistment in State Service: 27 April 1914
Home Station or Company Rendezvous: Van Cortlandt Park
Mustered: 30 June 1916, Grade: Pvt; Company: C; Regiment: Sq A. Cav.
Left the Organization:
How: M.O. [Mustered Out?] When: 28 Dec 1916; Grade: 1C Pvt.; Explanation: With Troops at N.Y. City
Remarks: dropped for removal 5/29/16. S.O. 64 Sq. A.: taken up 6/23/16. S.O.I 08. Sqr. A.
Sick in qrs. in ll[?] Oct 4/16. A.W.O.L. July 9-12/16
Aptd 1 Class pvt from pvt. Aug 1/16 O-12

Age: 22 years; height 5 feet 9 inches; complexion light; eyes hazel; hair brown;
born Morristown N.J.; occupation business; residence Morristown N.J.;
married or single; name and address of wife or (if single) of parent or guardian James McA. Pyle
68 William St., N.Y. City; relationship brother.

Although the title of this database references the Mexican Punitive Campaign, I believe my grandfather remained in New York. Two reasons: one is that the explanation in the above document indicates: "With Troops at N.Y. City," and two, there is no family story about my grandfather going to Texas to patrol the Mexican border.

The National Archives has two articles about the Mexican Punitive Campaign Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Military Monday ~ John Gorin, Revolutionary War

As I noted in my Surname Saturday post for my Gorin line, I found John Gorin's Revolutionary War Pension file at, a subscription website which focuses on military records, and has a wealth of information on John Gorin. In fact, there are 95 pages associated with his name in the Revolutionary War pension file!

Deciphering the handwritten pension application is on my list of things to do, but one of the pages, in response to a query, is a typewritten summary of John Gorin's Revolutionary War service.

Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (
for John Gorin, of Virginia, Pension Number W 25643.

     In reply to your request for a statement of the military
history of John Gorin, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, you
will find below the desired information as contained in his
(and his widow's) application for pension on file in this Bureau:"
For ten weeks in 1777, he served ten weeks under Captain Thomas Pollard and Colonels Ramsay & Gilpin in Virginia. He then spend three weeks as a "Private To guard Gen. Washington's house."

In 1781 for four weeks, John Gorin served as "Pressmaster to raise a company of horse." He then spent four weeks as "Ordly.Segt." under Hugh Douglass and Summers & Merriweather. He also served four weeks as "Wagon Master Conveying Cornwallis's Baggage to Baltimore."
"Battles engaged in: Germantown and Yorktown.
Residence of soldier at Enlistment: Fairfax County, Virginia.
Date of application for pension: September 28, 1832.
Residence at date of application: Barren County, Kentucky.
Age at date of application: Born May 15, 1763, Fairfax Co. Va.
Remarks: His claim was allowed.
He married Elizabeth Duvall, May 26, 1825, in Barren Co., Ky. and
August 5, 1837 She was pensioned as his widow.
Had son Thomas J. (F) Gorin."
The NSDAR (National Society Daughters of the American Revolution) Genealogical Research System Ancestor Search summarizes John Gorin's service as:
1) Capt Hugh Douglas, Cols Summers, Meriweather
2) Also Cpl, Capt Thomas Pollard, Cols Rumsey, Gilpin, also Wagon Master

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ Gorin of Virginia and Kentucky

Virginia (courtesy Wikipedia)
The first Gorin ancestor I know about is the ancestor under whom I applied for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), John Gorin. He was born on May 15, 1763, in Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia. I don't know his parents or where they were originally from. There are some online (unsourced) family trees at that indicate his father's name is John Gorin; that he was born in France; that his wife's name was Gladin; and that there were at least three children from this union. I have NOT added this to my family tree, as more research needed here, but it is an interesting trail to pursue., a subscription website which focuses on military records, has a wealth of information on John Gorin. His Revolutionary War Pension file includes letters written by descendants in the early 1900s looking for information about his service in the war, as well as correspondence from the 1850s regarding the application by his widow (his second wife) for a pension as well as for bounty lands.

In a later 1793 record, he appears in muster rolls as a Sergt. Major for Russell's Reg't Cav. of the Kentucky Volunteers.

In 1799, he moved his family from Virginia to Barren County, Kentucky, after receiving a land grant for 200 acres as of August 27, 1799. At this time, this was the frontier.

John Gorin later served in the War of 1812, as a Major in the "10 Regiment (Barbour's), Mounted, Kentucky Volunteers."

Kentucky (courtesy Wikipedia)
He first married Elizabeth Franklin (about 1765-1824) in about 1786, in Alexandria, Fairfax, Virginia. With her, he had at least eleven children, the youngest of whom was Thomas Jefferson Gorin. His wife predeceased him, dying in 1824. He remarried another Elizabeth: Elizabeth Duval, on May 26, 1825, in Kentucky. She died in 1855, and it looks like she continued to receive a pension as John Gorin's widow until her death.

He died August 5, 1837, in Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, and is buried in the Glasgow Municipal Cemetery.

See his Find A Grave memorial, which includes a photograph of what is likely his original gravestone, as well as a newer stone indicating his service in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Generation 2: Thomas Jefferson Gorin (1808-1883) married Mary Ann Bowman in 1831.