Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Evans Stewart, grandfather and business leader

Evans Stewart 1886-1955
beloved grandfather
founder of Victor Cleansing Co. in Providence

Obituary and death notice from 1955, glued into my family Bible
probably the Providence Journal, Providence, RI
The death notice at the bottom of the obituary gives the date of the funeral and burial of my maternal grandfather. I was too young to attend but I remember that my father's sister, Ann Broadfoot Crompton stayed with me until everyone returned from the funeral and the burial. It was a very long day.  My aunt and I sat on the couch on the sun porch at my grandparents home at 205 Wentworth Ave. When the hospital called to say my grandfather had died, my mother and grandmother took the train to Boston and my father stayed behind to confirm the arrangements. My mother told me that that was the only time she saw my grandmother cry. 

From these two newspaper accounts, I gained the name of the funeral home and the date of burial. They misspelled my grandfather's first name which was Evans, not Evan. This is the first obituary in which I am mentioned as grandaughter. My mother's brother died previously in 1951 and I am not mentioned as survivor.

All of the rest of this, I knew except that he was the former director of the National Institute of Dry Cleaners. I might be able to find out which year.
#52ancestors #11

Monday, March 05, 2018

Thomas H. Broadfoot, my father, my hero

Thomas H. Broadfoot, my father, my hero

cross posted with The Highly Caffeinated Genealogist
Obituaries and Death notice for Thomas H. Broadfoot
collection of Hannah Champlin Broadfoot, now in my possession, 2018
Thomas Harcomb Broadfoot (1917-1998)

My dad died in his chair in my parent's living room, comfortable in his pjs, slippers and bathrobe, after enduring the pain of lung cancer for many months. He slowly stopped breathing, just after midnight, with my hand on his arm. Late that afternoon he was talking and ate some food before becoming quiet and unresponsive. That's when the hospice nurse was called and arrived quickly with the pain medication and she called us to come right away. 

After he passed, I called his best friend (now deceased) who lived not far away and he kindly offered to write his obituary and fax it to the funeral home listed in the obituary. Many of the details are incorrect but neither my mother or I thought to correct what was sent. After some months, I sat down and asked my mother which parts were incorrect and we agreed. Now, it is time for me to correct these mistakes in my family tree so my daughter and grandsons won't wonder why what is "in print" was wrong.

The funeral home placed the notice in the Providence Journal and in the Cranston Herald and the Cranston Mirror. I don't think anyone put it in the Westerly Sun which was Dad's hometown paper. Dad was not born in Bradford. He was born at home at 7 Vose St. in Westerly. I continue to research his wartime service.

Many people came to his funeral and my family came to the graveside ceremony.

#52ancestors #9

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Uncle Bill: Family Croquet Champion

From the Family photo collection of Hannah Champlin Broadfoot
given to me by Barbara Trowbridge, now in my family collection, 2018
Little girl was a neighbor and playmate of Bill's.

Uncle Bill
Family Croquet Champion


Obituary from the  Providence Journal Wed. 2 Jan 1991

William B. (Beveridge) Broadfoot [Richmond, RI]
William B. Broadfoot, 71, of 16 River St. Alton and employee of the former Richmond Lace Works, died Monday at Westerly Hospital. He was the husband of Hannah (Champlin) Broadfoot.
Born in Westerly, he was a son of the late Thomas and Annie (Aiken) Broadfoot.
Besides his wife, he leaves a brother, Thomas Broadfoot of Cranston, and a sister Annie Crompton of Providence.
The funeral service will be held Friday at 2 PM at the Avery Funeral Home, Main St. Hopkinton. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Hopkinton.

My dad and Uncle Bill's wife Hannah were with him at the Westerly Hospital when he passed away. My dad told me that Uncle Bill gave a little sigh and was gone.

Dad always called him "Brother Bill". Bill was only 15 when his mother died and as the picture of the family has emerged though the years I have been researching, I think Bill must have missed his mother the most.

Dad told me that my Uncle was not expected to live when he was born. He was small and fragile. But, he did live and my dad carried him on his back to elementary school for years. I wondered if his mother had a difficult pregnancy or if she didn't get enough rest because she worked on her feet so hard with three other children to care for.

I knew Uncle Bill had a car accident some time ago and I thought it was that accident that disabled him but no it was not. It was because he was an epileptic since birth. My cousin sent me the newspaper articles about the accident and I think he was lucky to have survived the car wreck.

Quiet spoken and of few words, Bill always said, "Can't complain" when asked about his health. With his red hair and Rhode Island accent, Bill was a good listener. He embraced his love of his parents by learning as much as he could about the places where his parents came from.

Being disabled from the accident, didn't slow him down when it came to playing croquet. Nobody let him win either. When I think about him now, I realize that he most epitomizes what both my Broadfoot and Aiken ancestors looked like and how their mannerisms were in everyday life.

His wife was an angel. She catered to his every need and I don't know what we would have done without her to care for and love Bill. 

#52Ancestors #8

Monday, February 19, 2018

Jack Crompton: Coal Miner's Son

Uncle Jack: Coal Miner's Son

Death Notice and Obituaries from the family collection
of Hannah Champlin Broadfoot, now in my possession, 2018

These words do NOT do justice to the great man that was my Uncle Jack. He is the most interesting person to research and because he was born in the UK, it was fun. His parents came to America and moved back to their home area making the geographic area easy to find. My first cousin 1x removed, lives near there and was interested in what I discovered.

Jack was not only my paternal aunt Anne's husband and my godfather but he was my Dad's favorite person because he actually helped raise my father and was his friend after his parents passed away. We all loved him and enjoyed his English accent. He had some great slang sayings. 

To quote my cousin's wife, "He made the best highballs in the world." Truth.

Because of his days being in the coal mine, he liked things clean. He painted the walls in his house all of the time. You never knew what color it was going to be next. Everyone called him Jack and the information in his obituaries is correct except that he collapsed on the kitchen floor and died instantly. 

In the obituary on the right, probably from the Providence Journal, it says he retired in 1970 after being plant superintendent. I used that information to help me be sure of the date that grandmother closed and sold the business (from the property card 31 Dec 1971). I do think he worked at Victor for more than 20 years and he may have been the first person in my paternal family to work for my maternal family.

He did what was called "wet wash" and the area he worked in smelled strongly of the clean smell of bleach. He monitored the boiler and kept it working during the week and my father checked it on weekends. 
Notice the full date on the death notice. If I hadn't known when he died, the obituary didn't give that information. I will never forget you, Jack.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Ada Broadfoot Curry dies in Providence

Aunt Ada (Broadfoot) Curry dies in Providence, Rhode Island

From the family archives of Hannah Champlin Broadfoot
Privately held by Midge Frazel

My paternal aunt, Ada L. (Broadfoot) Curry was a patient in the Jane Brown section of the Rhode Island Hospital when she passed away in 1985. These obituaries carefully saved by her sister-in-law, Hannah Champlin Broadfoot and given to me by Barbara Trowbridge. The one on the left must be from the Providence Journal and the one on the right from the Westerly Sun.

The Rhode Island Hospital is the hospital where I trained as a student in the medical technology, MT (ASCP) program and after graduation, I worked there for a little over a year until I married. (history of this hospital) Ada was the widow of George J. Curry for only a few years when her health declined. 

Ada's devotion to her church and family was legend. She always remarked that she was a "dyed in the wool Baptist". My family can always work textiles and dyeing into their conversation.

After her parents died, Ada took over the household which included my father and my Uncle Bill. She was a laboratory assistant of chemist and dyer, George Curry and married him in 1939 and continued working. She was a strong willed woman and a talented needleworker.  

I will always remember her.


Monday, February 05, 2018

George J. Curry: Golfer, Chemist and RISD Grad

 George J. Curry
Golfer, Chemist and RISD Grad
Thanks to Barbara Fallon and the Westerly Library
 for the obituary help. (26 Jan 2018)

The Westerly Sun, Westerly, RI, 13 May 1982, p. 2

This obituary of my Uncle George gives us the year that he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and the day and place of his death and who was still living when he passed away. All valuable pieces of information.

His daughter, my late cousin, told me that he studied textiles and dyes. His obituary doesn't mention that he worked, first, for Bradford Dye,  in Bradford, Rhode Island where met Ada L. Broadfoot, my aunt.

His parents names and his birth date are correct from my oral interview of my aunt. My late cousin told me he left the BDA and went to work for George C. Moore Co.

Sine people lived in "mill houses" owned by the local mill, I think that Uncle George and his family moved when he changed jobs. sometime in 1962. 

Uncle George was a quiet guy until he started talking about golf, a passion he shared with my dad. I was pleased to see the name of the church he attended and that it was the one where his son, John and wife Frances were married in 1963. 


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dudley W. Stewart Dies In Milltown

Dudley W. Stewart Dies in Milltown, North Stonington
Sunday, July 4, 1886

Dudley Wheeler Stewart, was one of my maternal 2nd great grandfathers. He was the last child of his parents born when his mother was 40 years old  in (Milltown) North Stonington, Connecticut. This was his home with his wife Eliza Fish Denison Stewart and the likely location of the porch for the chair I inherited.

He grew up to be the owner and operator of the general store and was a selectman for his small town. He had no recorded birth for me to check so I use the date from my family bible and the gravestone. I do have certified copy of his marriage.

My friend and town historian for Stonington, Connecticut, Fred Burdick went to the nearby Westerly public library to find a record of his obituary, while I asked Gladys Chase to find his death record. His death, from consumption, says 3 July and the newspaper says 4 July.  The Mystic Press says 4 July, 1886.

I recently found this mention in the New Haven Register which states he died on Sunday the fourth. 

Nothing is perfect.

copyright NewsBank and/or American Antiquarian Society, 2004

Certified Death Record, North Stonington, page 41 obtained in 2005

Stonington Mirror. 10 July 1886 (obtained from the Westerly Public Library)
by Fred Burdick, Town Historian, Stonington, CT


Monday, January 22, 2018

Laid to Rest: Obituary of Eliza Fish Denison Stewart

Porch Chair which belonged to Eliza Fish Denison Stewart
Privately held in my possession since 1973 when I bought my first home.
Laid to Rest
Funeral of Eliza Fish Denison Stewart

Found in my family Bible, is the lengthy obituary of my 2nd great grandmother, Eliza Fish Denison, wife of Dudley Wheeler Stewart.  It is probably from a Rhode Island newspaper  because at the bottom (not shown here) is an article about the Town of Charlestown (RI). The archives of the North Stonington Historical Society also contains a copy of this obituary without any source listed. 
Source unknown

However, the Norwich Bulletin of Norwich, CT contained the above short death notice on 06 April 1909 on page 6.

Eliza attended Porterville Academy and at the age of 17, lived with family in Groton to attend school and help with the three boys of her uncle Simeon Fish. 

Considered a spinster at age 22, she married 33 year old bachelor Dudley Wheeler Stewart in 1856 and had the three children listed, including my great grandfather, prominent businessman, Charles Edward Stewart. At the "old age" of 67, in 1900 she moved in with her son Charles, his wife Adah and her grandsons.   

The Denison and Fish families were large ones. Eliza taught Sunday School in the Baptist church in North Stonington. Her brother was the famous minister, Rev. Frederic Denison.

Eliza wrote the names and dates of her family in the Family bible. 
I own some of her furniture, her writing desk and a few piece of jewelry. 

Ancestor #3

Monday, January 15, 2018

Just a Death Notice for Adah

Death notice for Adah Evans Stewart, 1934, probably The Providence (RI) Journal

Death Notice for Adah Evans Stewart

Glued in my Family Bible, under her husband's obituary, is this small death notice for my maternal great grandmother, Adah.  My interview with my grandmother for a college assignment states that Adah was very quiet, loved to read and was happy as a housewife.

STEWART: In this city, on June 4, Adah (Evans), wife of Charles  E. Stewart, in her 69th year. Funeral services to which relatives and friends are invited will be held at her late home, 135 Lexington Ave. Friday. Time to be announced. Burial at Mystic, Connecticut.

The Stewart home. Last place they lived.
There is no known photo of Adah. Her mother died at 20 and her father remarried and raised Adah. Evans is probably a surname from Wales. Adah was born in Adams, Massachusetts.

Ancestor #2 Adah Evans Stewart

Friday, January 12, 2018

Revisiting the Heritage Garden

Heritage Garden, photo by Midge Frazel, 2014, update 2018

Remembering Those Who Came Here
I don't really remember when my father came home from Westerly with a box of plants but it must have been on a Memorial Day when I was a young child. I am fairly sure he dug up those plants near the railroad tracks where he grew up. The tracks were down a steep embankment behind his parents house in Bradford, RI. A friend told me that her cousin told her, that my paternal grandfather used to go down to the tracks and play the bagpipes. Family history travels a winding road.

After my paternal grandparents died, and before I was born, my aunt lived with her husband, and her two brothers in the house on Bowling Lane. They had my first cousins, my uncle Bill got married (1951) and moved out but before that my father moved to Providence (abt. 1946) and married my mother. Census records and city directories confirmed what I learned from family.

Dad planted the lily of the valley in the wooded area behind our house in Cranston, RI. After we bought a house in Bridgewater, MA, Dad appeared with a box with plants in it. "Share the wealth!", he said, ever the tightwad Scotsman.

The plants flourished in our yard. He checked on them every year until he passed away in 1998. My mom lived a few more years and when she died, I went outside and checked on the plants. Selling your childhood home is hard. But, the neighborhood is strong and lives on.

When my daughter and husband bought a house, we dug some up and planted those in the wooded area behind their house.  We transplanted them again when they moved. I was worried they wouldn't survive so hubs bought established plants for our yard and this summer we added two or three dug up plants to add to ours.

Recently, I received the obituaries of my paternal grandparents. I will be writing about that soon. Life was hard for them but I am glad to know their whole story. 

So, now I have my own little garden of remembrance. Why don't you start one?