Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cousin Albert Spalding, Violinist ~ 52 Ancestors #29

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Music.

My second great uncle William Scott Pyle (1856-1906) had two sons and one daughter, Mary Vanderhoef Pyle, born in 1886, who married Albert Goodwill Spalding, a famous American violinist.

Courtesy Wikipedia
Albert Goodwill Spalding was born 15 August 1888 in Chicago, Illinois to James Walter Spalding and Marie (Boardman) Spalding, a contralto and pianist. (His father and his uncle, Albert Spalding, founded the sporting goods company.)

After studying violin in New York and Italy, he made his debut in Paris in 1905 when he was 17. His American debut was made in Carnegie Hall on November 8, 1908. Newspaper headlines of the day raved about his abilities.

He put his performing on hold so he could serve in World War I, and on 19 June 1919, he married my grandfather Pyle's first cousin, Mary Vanderhoef Pyle.

The Internet Archive has recordings (digitized from 78 rpm records) of his playing which is truly a wonderful use of the Internet. From 1934, you can hear Albert Spalding play Chopin's Waltz in B Minor and Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, both violin solos with piano accompaniment. You can also search for Albert Spalding and select media type "Audio" to find additional recordings.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Copeland Father and Son Travel to Maine in 1904 ~ 52 Ancestors #28

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Travel.

I've been enjoying scanning photographs from my aunt's collection. Both my aunt and my mother have photographs from their father's trip to visit his paternal grandparents in Calais, Maine, from Winnetka, Illinois, in 1904, a trip of over 1,200-miles!

This was a trip "back home" to see Henry Clay Copeland (1832-1912) and his wife Sarah (Lowell) Copeland (1833-1916). I can't tell from my collection of photos if my great-grandmother, Ethel, or grandfather's 18-month-old sister, Betty, went on this trip; there don't appear to be any family group photos.

What a trip this must have been for not-quite-four-year-old Lowell Townsend Copeland! At this age, my grandfather was known as Townsend, but his nickname of Towgie or Towg is noted on the back of some of the photos.

Lowell Copeland and his son L. Townsend Copeland in Calais, Maine
The back of another copy of this photograph reads: "Taken Oct 1904 in New Brunswick - beautiful drive - L.C. [Lowell Copeland] and Towgie [Lowell Townsend Copeland]."

From the back: St. Stephen / Towg - New Brunswick, Jul 1904
St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, is across the St. Croix River from Calais. The date on the back of this photo suggests that they were in Calais by July of 1904.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Samuel Greeley Supported Independence ~ 52 Ancestors #27

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Independence.

My 4th and 5th great grandfathers, both named Samuel Greeley, served in the Revolutionary War from Nottingham West (now Hudson), New Hampshire.

Samuel Greeley (1752-1798), who was "suddenly killed by the fall of a tree," was known as Samuel Greeley Jr to distinguish him from his father, Samuel Greeley Sr (1721-1802).

The History of Hudson, N.H. by Kimball Webster (Manchester, N.H.: Granite State Publishing Co., 1913) is a great resource for the history of this community and includes transcriptions of many old town records in addition to sketches for Samuel Greeley and other men of its early history. (A digitized copy of the book can be found at Google Books and at FamilySearch Books.) This book is considered a DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) source for the service of Samuel Greeley Sr, probably because it notes (on page 252) that the old military records of Nottingham West were lost or destroyed. Much of the following information is from this book, as well as from vital records sources in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Samuel Greeley Sr (DAR Patriot #A047894), responded to the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775, leading sixty-two men from Nottingham West, New Hampshire, to Lexington, Massachusetts. On their way, they were met by a courier who informed them that the British had retreated, so the men returned home. Many went on to fight in the Revolution, though not Samuel Greeley Sr, probably due to his age; he was in his 50s. It also appears that Samuel Greeley Jr didn't fight, but he did pledge his support for the Patriot cause. Both Samuel Greeleys are found to have signed the "Revolutionary War Association Test" which men were required to sign if they were supporting the Patriot cause:

WE, the Subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage, and promise, that we will, to the utmost of our Power, at the Risque of our Lives and Fortunes, with ARMS, oppose the Hostile Proceedings of the British Fleets, and Armies, against the United American COLONIES.

Samuel Greeley Sr was born on 10 May 1721 in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts, the oldest child of Samuel Greeley and Rachel Robenson. He moved, with his parents and younger siblings, from Haverhill to Nottingham West, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, in 1740.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Divorce in the Family ~ 52 Ancestors #26

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Black Sheep.

Not that divorce makes a person a black sheep of the family (if that were so, this branch might have a dozen or more black sheep), but this great uncle of mine married and divorced twice and it made the papers.

James McAlpin Pyle was born in 1884 in New York as the oldest of six children of James Tolman Pyle and Frances Adelaide McAlpin. (They gave all six of their children the middle name McAlpin.) He married Miss Anita Merle-Smith on April 29, 1912.

The following wedding announcement was in the April 30, 1912, issue of The New York Times:


(Mourning in the bridegroom's family referred to the death of his father, James Tolman Pyle less than two months prior.)

James and Anita lived in New Jersey and were enumerated in the 1915 New Jersey State Census and the 1920 U.S. Federal Census with their two daughters, Sara, born September 10, 1913 (in 1915 and 1920), and Anne, born September 28, 1915 (in 1920).
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However, the November 23, 1929, Central New Jersey Home News reported that Mrs. Anita Merle-Smith Pyle had requested a divorce from her husband, James McAlpin Pyle of Norodon [sic: Noroton], Connecticut, on the grounds of desertion. He had apparently deserted his family on September 6, 1927.

(Interestingly, James was found twice in the 1930 U.S. census, once listed with his wife and daughters in Bedminster, New Jersey, and also listed with his sister and brother-in-law in Noroton, Connecticut.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Charles Williston McAlpin (Another Charles) ~ 52 Ancestors #25

I am participating in this year's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from Amy Johnson Crow. Each week has an optional writing prompt and this week's writing prompt is Same Name.

There are several men by the name of Charles in my father's family. My father was a Charles, as was his father. I shared photos of them as children at Photos for Father's Day.

My father's mother was Elizabeth (known as Libby), and I have written about her many times. Libby's father and brother were both named Charles. Here is a photo of her father.

All of these men were known at times as Charlie, specifically spelled with the "ie" ending.

So who was Charley?