Monday, March 30, 2015

Grandfather Charles Pyle - Different - 52 Ancestors #13

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Different.

After summarizing my paternal grandmother's life last week, I thought I'd share what I know about my paternal grandfather. (No wonder they divorced; from all accounts, they were very different!)

Charlie Pyle
Charles McAlpin Pyle was born on September 6, 1893, in Morristown, New Jersey. He was the fifth child and third son of James Tolman Pyle and Frances Adelaide McAlpin. Their sixth and last child, a younger brother, was born about eight years later.

Young Charlie lived a very comfortable childhood in the family home on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and at the family's country estate, Hurstmont, in Morristown, New Jersey.

His father's death in February 1912, hit him hard. In 1914, he enlisted in the National Guard (which I wrote about here) so that when the draft started for World War I, he was able to indicate that he had some military experience. He was part of the Calvary; he always loved horses.

On March 1, 1919, he married Elizabeth Adsit, of Chicago. They lived in New York City for several years (where they are found in the 1920 U.S. Census), at least until my father, Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. was born in 1924, then they moved to Morristown, New Jersey (where they are found in the 1930 U.S. Census).

Apparently he had a tough time figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. The 1917 WWI Draft Card shows an occupation of Manager at the Cyclops Steel Company in Titusville, Pennsylvania. The 1920 U.S. Census shows him living in Manhattan with an occupation of "Manager." In 1930, his occupation is listed as "Broker, Stocks." And by 1940, he is living in Ellicott City, Maryland, working as "Operator, Farm."

According to Padre Pio: The True Story, by C. Bernard Ruffin, a book about his sister, Adelia (Mary Pyle), he "tried to invent his own religion, which he called "Egoanalysis." He even wrote a book called Your Way to Happiness and made calls to the Vatican in an attempt to interest the pope in his new doctrine." However, it is doubtful his new religion brought him happiness.

His first marriage (to my grandmother, Libby) failed by 1933, and soon after his divorce, they both remarried. Charlie's second wife was Feroll Claire Moore, originally from Florida. It is believed that she married him for his money, and when she didn't get it, they soon divorced (by 1941).

The 1940 U.S. Census shows Feroll Pyle, married, living in Manhattan (with her 1935 residence as Ellicott City, Maryland). Charles Pyle, married, is living in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Lucy and Charlie, 1941
In 1941, Charlie married Lucy Buford Triplett in South Carolina. I have not found much information about her.

He was living at "Spring Hill Farm" in Ellicott City, Maryland, in April 1942, when he was required to register for the World War II draft.

By the 1960s, they were living in Washington, D.C.

Sadly, my father was estranged from his own father and was rarely in touch with him throughout his adulthood. Soon after my parents married, my mother encouraged my dad to contact his father, which he did in 1964 (during a summer heat wave, as my mother remembers it: As they drove from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., they had to stop every so often so my pregnant mother could cool off in air-conditioned restaurants).

My grandfather, whom I never met, died at age 72 on August 17, 1966. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery, Culpeper, Virginia.

Four years later, in December 1970, the wife he was married to the longest, Lucy, died, and was buried next to him. I still have a pearl necklace (and a note from her signed "Grandmother Lucy") that she gave me as a Christmas gift when I was very young.

I shared a death notice for my grandfather here.

See his FindAGrave memorial here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Grandmother Elizabeth Adsit - Same - 52 Ancestors #12

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Same." Not only do I share the same first name as my paternal grandmother, we do have quite a bit in common.

This blog post is an opportunity for me to link to most of the posts I have made about my grandmother.

Elizabeth Adsit was born on June 18, 1897, in Chicago, Illinois, to Charles Chapin Adsit, a Chicago banker, and Mary Bowman Ashby. She had one older brother, Charles, Jr., who was five years old when she was born. (See a photo of the two of them here.)

Her family lived at 73 Bellevue Place in Chicago and then at 24 Ritchie Court. I couldn't find the family in the 1900 U.S. Census because they were traveling.

All of the official records that I have found show the name of Elizabeth, but she was known to friends and family (including her grandchildren) as Libby. (We never called her grandmother, or granny or gramma.) At left is one of the several photographs I have of Libby as a girl.

Libby was a talented tennis player in her youth. She is mentioned in a couple of newspaper articles in 1912 and 1916.

As befitted a young society lady, she attended what was known at the time as a finishing school: Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, between 1913 and 1916. After World War II, the school changed its focus to become a well-respected college preparatory school, which I attended almost 70 years after she did. (Although she was not able to be there to see me graduate, she was thrilled that I attended and enjoyed talking with me about her fond memories and about the changes that had taken place over the decades.)

After completing her studies in the spring of 1916, that fall, Libby made her society debut. I shared a couple of photos here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

NERGC First-Timers: Harold Henderson, CG and Me

The biennial New England Regional Genealogical Conference: Navigating the Past: Sailing into the Future will be held on Wednesday, April 15 - Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Providence, Rhode Island. This will be my first NERGC and I am looking forward to it.

Several bloggers were invited to interview speakers and I chose to interview another NERGC first-timer, Harold Henderson, GC. His speaker bio notes that he has been a professional writer since 1979, a professional genealogist since 2009, and a board-certified genealogist since 2012. (That's what the CG after his name means.)

Following are the questions I posed and his answers:

Elizabeth Handler: What got you interested in genealogy and how long have you been doing it?
Harold Henderson: Our younger daughter got interested in the late 90s, dragged me in, and I never left. I love seeing history from the bottom up. And I love the challenge of assembling indirect-evidence clues.

EH: I see from your bio that you were a writer for 30 years before you became a genealogist. Was that a natural evolution or have you found that being a genealogist requires a different skill set?
HH: Yes and yes. Genealogy is more decorous, and strives to be more scholarly, than journalism. But being accustomed to writing was a big help.

EH: One of your sessions is about writing down your genealogy. Not to give away your talk, but what is one suggestion you have for genealogists who have trouble getting started writing?
HH: Sit down and do it. Don't critique yourself as you write -- that leads to paralysis -- just get it down and fix it later.

EH: Your other session references NY Probate and Property. Was this research for your own family? Do you have any advice about researching in upstate New York? (I have a couple of brick walls there.)
HH: Yes. Make sure you work back and forth between probate and property records, they're like twins separated at birth.

EH: Do you have any upcoming articles that you would like to share?
HH: I'll have "Crossing the Continent with Common Names: The Case of Indiana Natives John and Elizabeth (Smith) Smith" in the March issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

EH: You told me this is your first NERGC. This is my first NERGC as well. What are you most looking forward to at this conference (besides enjoying the company of hundreds of other genealogists)?
HH: I'll be dividing my time between attending talks and helping out at the Board for Certification of Genealogists booth along with friend and colleague Patti Hobbs from Missouri. C'mon by and say hello!

I look forward to meeting not only Harold but many other genealogists at NERGC next month.

Harold will be teaching the following at the conference:
Finding Berrys in NY Probate and Property - Step by Step (Thursday, 1:45-2:45)
Why We Don't Write and How We Can (Friday, 1:45-2:45)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Granville Bowman - Kentucky Politician and Postmaster

In preparing the sketch for my 4th great-grandfather, Granville Bowman, last week, I found some additional information about him.

According to Collins' Historical Sketches of Kentucky: History of Kentucky, Volume 2 (found at GoogleBooks), by Lewis Collins, Richard Henry Collins, published in 1878, Granville Bowman was a State Representative from Cumberland County in 1816.

A few years later, he decided to try for the State Senate. Also from - a newspaper notice announcing his run for the Kentucky State Senate:

Frankfort Argus, 26 April 1821
We are authorised to announce Granville
Bowman, Esq. a candidate to represent the
counties of Cumberland and Wayne in the
Senate of Kentucky.
It's hard to tell from the first image when Wm. Wood's term ended. (It reads 1814- )


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Nancy Rainey of Ireland - 52 Ancestors #11

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Luck of the Irish." Do I have a favorite Irish ancestor? Actually, I only have three (possibly four) immigrant ancestors that I believe were born in Ireland.

The one I know most about is the one who lived into the 20th century, mostly from census records, city directories, and her children's death certificates.

Nancy Rainey was born in Ireland sometime between December 1813 (1900 U.S. Census) and 1821 (1860 U.S. Census). I wrote about her in census records here. She married Scottish-born James Freeland before 1850, when her oldest child, my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary was born in Pennsylvania.

Four children followed, all born in Pennsylvania:
William J. Freeland (1852-1918), who worked as a railroad conductor
Anna Claudine Freeland (1854-1952), who worked as a school teacher
Edward C. Freeland (1858-1877), twin
Emma L. Freeland (1858-1893), twin

Her husband, James, died in March 1863.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Granville Bowman of Kentucky - 52 Ancestors #10

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Stormy Weather." I couldn't find an appropriate ancestor to write about under this theme, so I am writing about an ancestor from my Kentucky branch.

Bowman vital records in
Gorin family bible
Granville Bowman is my 4th great grandfather who was likely born in Virginia and lived in Kentucky most of his adult life.

According to the Gorin Family Bible that I have, (see several family pages here and a closeup at left), Granville was born on March 21, 1786, and he died on August 11, 1841. (Note that this bible was published in 1856, which means that these birth and death dates were entered much later than the event.) Based on some Kentucky land grants given to a Granville Bowman in 1799, there is either another man by the name of Granville Bowman (possible), or my 4th great grandfather was born by 1778 (maybe 1776).

Granville was born in Virginia, probably Chesterfield County, where his father owned land and was listed in tax records. Kentucky became a state in 1792 and I believe Granville Bowman arrived in Cumberland County, Kentucky within a decade of statehood.

Cumberland County, Kentucky
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Granville married Polly Walthall on May 16, 1809, presumably in Kentucky. I find Granville Bowman in Cumberland County in each of the decennial United States censuses from 1810 through 1840, which list only the head of household and tick marks for the other household members. Following is a summary of what those censuses contain:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Townsend of England, Massachusetts and Maine

My Townsend line is a crumbling brick wall. I am working to find additional primary source evidence confirming the following line.

Norfolk County, England
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The immigrant Townsend ancestor appears to be Thomas Townsend. He was the third son of Henry Townsend and Margaret, baptized at Bracon-Ash, Norfolk County, England, on 8 January 1594/95.

He probably had at least two and possibly three wives.

He was in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts by 1638, when he was granted 60 acres at Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts. He arrived too late to be included in the Great Migration Study Project (which goes through 1635).

He is found in various records in Lynn, serving on a jury, signing various petitions and deeding land to a couple of his sons.

Thomas Townsend married Mary (possibly Newgate) as his second or third wife but it's unclear as to who is the mother of the children:
Thomas (b. about 1636 or about 1640)
Samuel (b. 1638)
John (b. about 1644)
Elizabeth (b. about 1648)

Mary is identified as mother of youngest son Andrew, born in 1654.

(Interestingly, there is also a theory (note: only a theory, no evidence) that he might be the father of Lydia Townsend, who married Lawrence Copeland, the immigrant Copeland ancestor. See Surname Saturday ~ Copeland. And Lawrence and Lydia's first child was named Thomas.)

Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Immigrant Thomas Townsend died in Lynn on December 22, 1677. His wife, Mary, died February 28, 1692/93. I descend from his son Thomas.

This Townsend line seemed to move to a different community in every generation. Following is my Townsend line which includes a series of maps showing Thomas' descendants' westward movement within Massachusetts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Close to Home - Joseph May of Boston - 52 Ancestors: #9

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Close to Home."

I have lived most of my life in suburban Boston, Massachusetts. My parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents all were born outside of Massachusetts. Only three of my 16 2nd great-grandparents were born in Massachusetts. (See my "heritage pie chart" for those sixteen here.)

Joseph May
However, I do have plenty of earlier Massachusetts ancestors. One prominent Boston ancestor is Joseph May, a 4th great-grandfather (and my 5th great-grandfather; I descend from him two ways).

He was born in Boston on March 25, 1760, one of thirteen children of Samuel May and Abigail Williams. He lived his entire life in Boston.

He attended the Latin school and was there until the outbreak of the Revolution. At that time, his family began to associate themselves with Old South society which identified with the patriot movement. Joseph was a talented singer from a young age and supposedly sang at Old South as a youth (as well as enjoyed music and singing throughout his lifetime). Joseph's father moved his family from Boston to Connecticut for a short time during the war for their safety.

The Old South society used King's Chapel for its services between 1777 and 1783 (because the Old South Church was being used by British troops), and when Old South returned to its own church in 1783, Joseph remained at King's Chapel, becoming very involved with the church and close friends with the ministers who served here.