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.

I'm not sure how she met her first husband, Charles McAlpin Pyle, as he lived in New York and New Jersey, but she apparently fell in love with him because he was a good dancer. They married on March 1, 1919, in Chicago.

The young couple lived in New York for several years (at 106 85th Street in the 1920 U.S. Census), also spending time at the Pyle family country estate (Hurstmont) near Morristown, New Jersey. They also took time to visit Atlantic City at least once. (Scroll down here to see them in a photo.)

December 1924
It was five years before their only child (my father) was born. Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. was born on June 16, 1924 in New York City, and soon afterwards, the family settled in a house in the Morristown area, where they are found in the 1930 U.S. Census. From what I can tell, Libby doted on her only son (and he doted on her).

The photo at the right shows my dad sitting on his mother's lap at the age of about six months. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

However, the marriage was not a happy one and by 1932, Libby had filed for divorce from Charlie. In August 1933, when the divorce become final, Charlie married his second wife, and Libby married a widower, Edgar Carter Rust, whom she had met on a trip to (or from) Europe. (However, I have never found a passenger list that puts them on the same ship at the same time.) They were married in New York City.

She and young Charlie moved to the Rust home in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where she was very happy, though I'm sure it was a challenge to be step-mother to Edgar's four children from his previous marriage. (One step-daughter married in June 1933, the other in June 1934.) I shared a 1937 love note from "Teddy" to Libby on Valentine's Day 2014.

Libby's father had died in 1931 and at some point in the late 1930s, her mother moved from Chicago to New York City to be near her son. When Libby's unmarried brother, Charles Adsit, Jr., died of pneumonia in 1944, her mother moved to Boston to be near her daughter.

Elizabeth was properly recorded in Chestnut Hill in the 1940 U.S. Census but the rest of the family was not accurately listed because she and Edgar were in California. By 1955, they had moved from their home in Chestnut Hill to an apartment on Beacon Street in Boston's Back Bay. Libby's mother, Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit lived nearby and died in 1956.

Libby did a lot of traveling (including to the White House, when Edgar's classmate, FDR, was president). She and Edgar also bought a second home in Manchester, Massachusetts, where, decades later, I was married. She kept many albums of postcards and photographs (not always dated) so I can see all of the places she visited with her second husband (and sometimes other family members).

July 1962
Libby's dear Teddy died on July 3, 1963, in their Manchester home. Later that year, she attended my parents' wedding in Pennsylvania.

I know my mother chose my name because she always liked the name Elizabeth, but I'm sure my dad and my grandmother liked that I was named Elizabeth, too.

Libby continued to live in Boston, spending her summers in Manchester until 1982.

Libby suffered from osteoporosis, breaking her hip in early 1983. She died on December 6, 1983, in Boston. See a brief death notice here. She is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Manchester, Massachusetts. Her FindAGrave memorial was one of the earliest that I set up.

Not only do I share her name, but I share her interest in genealogy. Unfortunately, my interest developed several years after her death so I never got to ask the kinds of questions I would LOVE to ask now. I do have several pedigree charts that she partially completed, as well as photographs and other memorabilia like the 1898 correspondence from a distant Adsit cousin here and here.

She knew her Adsit ancestry and her Chapin ancestry. She would have loved to see what I have learned about the family!


  1. Somehow it seems very appropriate that you have the same first name as your grandmother. You've compiled and synthesized a lot of really interesting information to tell her story.

    1. Sheryl - I'm glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the comment.