Uncle Jack: Coal Miner's Son
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.
|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.
|From the family archives of Hannah Champlin Broadfoot|
Privately held by Midge Frazel
|The Westerly Sun, Westerly, RI, 13 May 1982, p. 2|
|Porch Chair which belonged to Eliza Fish Denison Stewart|
Privately held in my possession since 1973 when I bought my first home.
|Death notice for Adah Evans Stewart, 1934, probably The Providence (RI) Journal|
|The Stewart home. Last place they lived.|
|Heritage Garden, photo by Midge Frazel, 2014, update 2018|
Remembering Those Who Came Here
|Obituary Transcription of Charles E. Stewart, |
privately held in family Bible by Midge Frazel
dated by hand, 7 Aug 1937
|2009 Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, CT.|
I have decided as part of the family history book I am writing that I will seek out and transcribe family obituaries. It is a tedious task and one that I have not been doing as I go along. It was more important for me to use the resources in my family Bible, family journals and census records in my last and ongoing project called "Close to Home".
I have been tracking family homes, a family business and finding the gravestones for more than 15 years now, knowing I might not be physically able to do so when I retired.
I may not follow the project guidelines (which are very good), but this Start week (January 1-7's) suggestion, included "a relative that started a business". That fits.
In this photo taken in 2009, on a hot day in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, CT, may not be very flattering but I am sitting on the huge gravestone of my maternal great grandparents, Charlie and Adah (Evans) Stewart. My mother called her grandparents, not by their first names but by their last. A formal, now "old fashioned" New England practice that has helped me be sure of surnames.
Charlie (Charles Edward Stewart 1859-1937) was the closest family historian to me. He died ten years before I was born so I did not get to ask him to dinner or find out why there are no photos of his wife. His interests in life mirror my own. He and his wife had two very different sons. He finally parted ways with one son and moved his business closer to his elder son who was my grandfather. Charlie was the owner of my family Bible and kept at age 15, a newspaper scrapbook journal. I copied the pages I wanted (and the cover) with genealogical information and then donated it to the North Stonington Historial Society.
My grandmother was his daughter-in-law and said that I was a "lot like him". So, it is fitting that this project is dedicated to him. However, I will not limit this project to my maternal ancestors, I will work on my paternal ancestors too because for a while, all of these people lived in the same town. That makes it interesting.
As you know, obituaries have changed drastically over the years and now that the funeral homes and families write them together, that will give a different slant. I wrote obitaries for my deceased in-laws and it still cost a thousand dollars each which were paid for by their estate money.
In high school, my English teacher taught a few weeks of journalism. I learned that the death notice, was required by law, here in New England. The obituary was optional but it was a journalist's first writing assignment. I am fortunate that my family was literate and the newpapers liked printing ones about my family.
My late aunt saved obituaries of my father's family and I inherited them. My friend and distant cousin, Barbara Fallon, volunteers in the Westerly Public Library and has been able to obtain my paternal grandparents obituaries. Those are heartbreaking and/or "sensational" news.
The problem with newspaper obituaries is that they are seldom dated or have the name of the newspaper. Great-Grandpa Charlie's is glued into my family Bible. I can't remove it to look at the reverse side for clues.
It must have been published in the Providence Journal (and Evening Bulletin) once a prominent and excellent newspaper in Rhode Island, published twice daily in the past. It is hard to imagine newspapers published twice a day or that postal mail was delivered twice daily.
This building, across the street from the Rhode Island Convention Center (taken by me in 2015), no longer exists. Beware of newspapers.
|Amy Johnson Crow's Logo, All Rights Reserved|