Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Great Aunt Claude Freeland

Anna Claudine Freeland fascinated me because my mother remembers meeting "Aunt Claude" when she was a child in the early 1940s. She also was found by several different names in the federal census records. She is my mother's great grand aunt and my second great grand aunt.

In a post about my third great-grandmother, Nancy (Rainey) Freeland, I listed her children as:
Mary (1850-1902) - my second great-grandmother and the only one to marry and have children, listed here.
William (1854-1918)
Anna Claudine (1854-1952)
Edward (1858-1877) - twin
Emma (1858-1893) - twin

Census records show the following for my second great grand aunt:
Year      Name                          Age     Occupation            Head of Household
1860     Hannah E. Freeland      5            -                         her parents, James and Nancy
1870     Clara Freeland            15         at school               her widowed mother, Nancy
1880     Claude A. Freeland     25        School Teacher     her widowed mother, Nancy
1900     Anna C. Freeland        43        School Teacher     her widowed mother, Nancy

Aunt Claude
In 1904, I find Claude A. Freeland in a Pittsburgh City Directory living at 3623 Perrysville Avenue in Allegheny. This is the house that her sister's son, Percy Hunter, lived in for a couple of decades. See a photo of the house here and photos of people in front of the house here. The image here is of Aunt Claude in one of the photos.

By 1910, her mother had died, and "Claudie Freeland" was living with her unmarried brother, William, who was a conductor on the railroad. She is 41 [!] years old and a School Teacher.

By 1920, her brother William had died and "Glaudine Frieland," age 50, was a lodger in a boardinghouse and was still a teacher. (Actually, her age was about 65 so she was probably about to retire.)

In all of these censuses so far, she is living in Allegheny City, which became the North Side of Pittsburgh circa 1906.

In 1930, I find Anna Claudine Freeland as a 75-year-old "Roomer" in Orlando, Florida. With her birthplace as Pennsylvania, her father's birthplace as Scotland, and her mother's birthplace as Ireland, I'm sure this is my second great grand aunt. No occupation is listed. I wonder why she was enumerated in Florida in this U.S. Federal Census? Was she living there or just visiting?

In 1940, Claudine Freeland, age 85, is back in Pittsburgh as one of ten lodgers in a lodging house, no occupation listed. Interestingly, three of the other lodgers are teachers. I find it interesting to see that after she retires from teaching, she is willing to share her real age with the census takers.

And when the 1950 U.S. Census becomes available in 2022, I will be able to find her again, as she didn't die until June 14, 1952 about six months shy of her 98th birthday.

She was enumerated in ten U.S. Federal Censuses! I can only show eight, as the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed after suffering damage in a fire and the 1950 U.S. Census is not yet available.

Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2014),
Death Certificate No. 48672 / 4229. Record for Anna Claudine Freeland, died 14 June 1952.
Sadly, Aunt Claude died of an accident. The cause of death on her death certificate is listed as: "Hypostatic Pneumonia due to fracture of right hip caused by fall to floor." It is from her death certificate that I finally confirm her full name: Anna Claudine Freeland, and her date of birth: December 11, 1854. Both parents' names are accurately listed: James Freeland and Nancy Rainey. The informant, Samuel Knox Hunter, Jr. is a great-nephew (son of her sister Mary's son). She had the fall on June 5 and died eleven days later.

Along with so many members of my grandmother's immediate ancestors and extended family, Great Aunt Claude is buried at Uniondale Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. See her FindAGrave memorial here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Passport Photos's U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, is a great database to explore. Many of the passport applications from the early 1900s include photographs.

Recently I was exploring my connection to the Rockefeller family and came across the following passport photos for my second great uncle and his wife and daughter from April 1921.

David Hunter McAlpin

Emma Rockefeller McAlpin

Elaine Rockefeller McAlpin

I love the fact that they all signed their full names on their passport photos.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Connection to the Rockefellers

My great grandmother, Frances Adelaide McAlpin, was the only daughter of the ten children of David Hunter McAlpin (1816-1901) and his first wife Frances Adelaide Rose (1829-1870). Several of her brothers died young; the ones who survived did well for themselves.

Her next younger brother was named David Hunter McAlpin, Jr. (after his father, and an older brother who died as a toddler in 1853). He was born June 2, 1862, in New York City.

On December 12, 1895, David Hunter McAlpin, Jr. married Emma Rockefeller, daughter of William Rockefeller and niece of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil. (The links bring you to their Wikipedia pages.)

Searching for Emma Rockefeller in December 1895 in any newspaper database will bring up dozens of reports from all around the U.S. of this grand wedding.

To give you just a taste of the wedding description, I share just a few paragraphs of a very long wedding announcement found on page 2 of the December 13, 1895, Boston Daily Advertiser (from

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day ~ Charles M. Pyle, Jr. in WWII

My dad, Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr., briefly served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force towards the end of World War II. He was a navigator in a B-24 and would have seen a great deal more action had the war not ended in August 1945.

Here are some photos of him, likely taken in June 1944. He turned 20 years old that month.

Austin Studios, California

During his training, he was in Hawaii and sent the following to his mother and step-father:

[From:] Lt. Charles M Pyle, Jr.
C.C.R.C., Crew 44315
A.P.O 966, ℅ Post
San Francisco, Cal.

[To:] Mr. and Mrs. Edgar C. Rust
The White Elephant
Nantucket, Mass.

I think this was postmarked July 10, 1945 and the stamp toward the bottom looks like it was approved by the censor. Inside he innocuously wrote:

                      Greetings from HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
Hi -
It's a beautiful spot, and perhaps someday
we'll all be able to see it together. Saw some
of the sights on the way in.
                                           Love, Chas.

This first image is "Sunset on Diamond Head, Honolulu." It unfolds to show more than a dozen images of various sights in Hawaii.

If Dad spoke much about his service, unfortunately, I didn't pay much attention because I wasn't interested at the time. He died on April 12, 1993.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hallowell Grant ~ Guysborough County, Nova Scotia

In my recent Surname Saturday post about my Hull ancestral line, I mentioned that Moses Hull arrived in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, from Connecticut, with the Hallowell Grant settlers.

Guysborough County, Nova Scotia
Wikipedia Commons

As I have mentioned before, my favorite "go-to" book for Guysborough County is Guysborough Sketches and Essays, by A.C. Jost (originally published in 1950 by Kentville Publishing Company, revised edition published Trafford Publishing Co., in 2009). There is a chapter titled "The Hallowell Grant Settlers" which is my source for most of this information.

The Hallowell Grant was a grant of land to one Benjamin Hallowell, a Customs Commissioner from Boston. On October 22, 1765, he officially acquired 20,000 acres of land, located on the north side of Chedabucto Bay, which in the image above is the area of water with the arrow going through it noting roughly where the community of Boylston is. (Manchester is just next to Boylston.)

In 1765, this was barren land with few inhabitants. In fact, this wasn't even known as Guysborough County yet.

As a Customs Officer in the city of Boston at the start of the Revolution, Hallowell was not a popular man. By April 1776, he fled Boston, ultimately returning to London. In 1785, Hallowell wrote to a colleague that he wanted to return to Nova Scotia to "look after his property," but it is not known if he ever did. Hallowell did recognize the value of the land and looked to somehow develop it, in order to improve his financial situation, which needless to say, had declined during the war. Ownership passed to his two sons, Benjamin Hallowell, Jr., a successful British naval officer, and Ward Nicholas Boylston, who had taken the name of a maternal uncle with the promise that he would inherit lands in Boston. (See Ward Nicholas Boylston's FindAGrave memorial here.)

A town plot, named Boylston, in honor of his son, was developed, providing for sixty town lots, with a town common, and farm lots of varying sizes, averaging about 150 acres. The surveying was completed by the summer off 1786, when the settlers arrived. The brothers mentioned above, recruited settlers from the New England states, especially Connecticut. They were referred to as "The New England Colonists" and were more adaptable to the conditions in the area than some of the previous settlers who had come from the Carolinas and New York. (Stephen Pyle came from New York, and George Whitman came from South Carolina.)

For those of you with colonial Connecticut ancestors, you might be interested in the names of the men who settled on the land known as the Hallowell Grant, in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia:
Mansfield Munson          David Smith
Andrew Leet                   Ira Atwater
Gideon Bryant                Samuel Hull [son of Moses, and brother of Elizabeth]
Willis Stillman                William Atwater
Aaron Andrews              Theophilus Yale
Isaac Andrews               Josiah Hart
David Scranton              William Atwater, Jr.
Matthew Hawley             Moses Hull [father of Samuel above]
Walter Munson               Ebenezer Merriman