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?

Monday, January 08, 2018

Cleansing Firm President Dies

Obituary Transcription of Charles E. Stewart,
privately held in family Bible by Midge Frazel
dated by hand, 7 Aug 1937
Cleansing Firm President Dies

Charles Edward Stewart, president of the Victor Cleansing Company, died early today at his home, 135 Lexington avenue. Mr. Stewart, who was 78, had been active in business until the time of his illness nine weeks ago.

Mr. Stewart, was born in Mystic, Conn. in 1859, a son of Dudley and Eliza (Denison) Stewart. He was educated at Suffield Academy, Suffield, Conn, and went to work in the office of the gas company at North Adams, Mass.

In 1885 he married Ada Evans of North Adams. She died in 1935.

Mr. Stewart was engaged in the laundry business in Westerly for thirty years and established there the first dry cleansing plant in Rhode Island. He opened a branch store in Providence in 1911 and moved the business to this city in 1916, establishing the present plant on Cyr street.

Mr. Stewart was a member of the Providence Rotary Club for several years. The funeral will be held here but the body of Mr. Stewart will be taken to Mystic for burial in Elm Grove Cemetery.

Providence Journal-Bulletin (probably) labeled 7 Aug 1937 (by Dorothy Stewart Broadfoot) Glued into Stewart Family Bible

Ancestor #1 Charles Edward Stewart

Friday, January 05, 2018

52 Ancestors: Start

2009 Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, CT.

Fifty-Two Ancestors

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.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Joining Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Amy Johnson Crow's Logo, All Rights Reserved
This year, I am going to add new content to this blog by following Amy's writing prompts. [Link]

I am hoping to add new information on my maternal ancestors. My maternal line is large and I wouldn't have thought I'd have new content, but I do. 

Wish me luck.