Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Grandparents of My Grandparents

Dana at and Jen at JenGenX Files both recently wrote blog posts to answer the question:

How many grandparents did their grandparents likely know?

This question intrigued me and I decided to figure it out while also looking for photographs of my grandparents when they were children.


Paternal Grandfather, Charles McAlpin Pyle

Charlie was born in 1893. He knew three of his four grandparents because they were all part of the same social circle in New York City and Morristown, New Jersey:
   James Pyle died in 1900, when Charlie was six and a half.
   His wife, Esther Abigail (Whitman) Pyle, died in 1921, when he was 28, two years after Charlie married.
   David Hunter McAlpin died in 1901, when Charlie was seven and a half.
   (His first wife, Frances Adelaide Rose, died in 1870.)



Paternal Grandmother, Elizabeth Adsit

Elizabeth (Libby) was born in 1897. She knew two of her four grandparents. She would have known her paternal grandmother, Susan Arville, because she lived in Chicago. Maternal grandfather, Daniel Morgan Ashby, visited his family in Chicago from Kentucky.
   Susan Arville (Chapin) Adsit died in 1906, just before Libby's 9th birthday.
   (Her husband, James Monroe Adsit, died in 1894.)
   Daniel Morgan Ashby died in 1907, just after Libby's 10th birthday.
   (His wife, Mary Elizabeth (Gorin) Ashby, died in 1891.)


Maternal Grandfather, Lowell Townsend Copeland
Townsend (known as Towsie as a young boy) was born in December 1900. He knew three of his four grandparents, the Copelands not so well, as they lived in Maine when he was growing up in Winnetka, Illinois, but he knew his grandfather Greeley very well:
   Henry Clay Copeland died in 1912 just before Towsie turned 12.
   His wife, Sarah (Lowell) Copeland, died in early 1916 when Towsie was 15.
   Samuel Sewall Greeley died in March 1916 when Towsie was 15.
   (His first wife, Eliza May (Wells) Greeley, died in 1880.)



Maternal Grandmother, Helen Lysle Hunter

Helen was born in 1907. She didn't know any of her grandparents; they all died before she was born:
   (James Hunter died in October 1902.)
   (His wife, Mary (Freeland) Hunter, died in March 1902.)
  ( George Lysle, Jr. died in 1900.)
  ( His first wife, Marion Helen (Alston) Lysle, died in 1885.)

Oh, the questions I would love to ask my grandparents to ask their grandparents... Thank you to Dana and Jen for this idea!


  1. Great topic. I noticed the Townsend on your maternal grandmother’s. My mother’s middle name was Townsend. Wonder what the connection might be. Although I always thought Mac and Charlie were close. Hmmm

    1. Harriet, glad you enjoyed this post. My Townsend line is at Surname Saturday ~ Townsend. A quick look suggests that your Townsend ancestors originally settled on Long Island where mine came from Massachusetts. Thanks for the comment!

  2. What a great idea for a blog post - I just might have to steal it at some point. How great that you were able to find photos of all of them - little Libby was adorable!

    1. Debi, thanks for the comment. Yes, I have many photos of Libby throughout her life. She was an adorable little girl!

  3. I'm glad you "played along" Elizabeth. Wasn't it an interesting way to look at our grandparents? And, I LOVE your family photos! I hate to pick favorites, but the photos of Elizabeth and of Lowell are SO WONDERFUL!

    1. Dana, yes it was a wonderful way to think about our grandparents. I know I'm very lucky to have so many photos of my grandparents. I really should have a Wordless Wednesday post every week!
      Thanks for the comment.