Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lucky - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

From the Trenches April 25, 1918

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt for Week 11 was Lucky.  That was last month, but lucky is appropriate for this post.  The letter below was written 100 years ago today from the trenches of France by Sergeant Jerry Sullivan.  He was the third man in the column when the shell landed.  The first two men were finished with the war that day.  My Papa lived another 49 years.

The letter transcribed below was published on the front page of The Peterborough (NH) Transcript on June 6, 1918.  Click here to see the letter as it appeared.

Bennington, New Hanpshire
I believe the letter was written to Frank Hart of Bennington, New Hampshire.  There were 3 Frank H's in Bennington in the 1920 census.  Frank Haas was only three years old, so I don't believe he would have written to him.  Both Frank Hart and Frank Holt were 54 years old and married to Annie and Ada respectively.  Frank Hart was employed as a machine tender at the paper mill.  Frank Holt is a farmer with his own farm.  Family tradition is that my grandfather worked at the paper mill in Bennington NH before serving with the National Guard in Texas and the Army in France during WWI, so considering the letter is addressed to Frank and refers to Mrs. H., I believe he was writing to Frank Hart.  I believe the line " Can't tell much on that subject, so please drop that first on the address." refers dropping the "first" from "first sergeant" when addressing mail.

Letter from France.

Following has been received from a friend in Bennington, which is a letter direct from the trenches:

Apr. 25, 1918.
In the Trenches
Dear Frank:
   It has been quite a while since I wrote you last, but I have received a number of your letters and the papers have been coming regularly.

   We have been jumping around the country like checkers on a checker board never staying in one place long enough so that we could get our mail censored.

Sergeant Jerry Sullivan, noted on back "My son Jerry,
Paris" , from the collection of June Russell Casaletto
   I am in a quiet sector at present and I am thankful that it is, for a while anyway, as we need a little rest.

   The last sector we were in, we got our bellies full for a few days.  I suppose you will know all about it by the papers, as they wrote everything that happened at the other place.  I can't write the names of places, although they print them.  It seems so funny.

   We are in a swampy woods with water up to our necks in places and mud; well there's more than a plenty.  Rubber boots are in style here, boots that pull way up to our hips and fasten to our waist belt.  Dug outs are fair, but have to be pumped out three times a day.

   Now I'll try and tell you something about the last place we were in.  I guess I haven't told you about my being reduced to the grade of duty sergeant, by our new company commander-- a U. S. R. man. ( A Plattsburg Lt. has been put in, and the older ones reduced to make this place for him).  Can't tell much on that subject, so please drop that first on the address.

   Well, we were back in rest billets taking things easy, when we heard that the squareheads were making it nasty up front, so we were thinking of the real excitement in store for us, when we were told we were to go up and relieve another company.

   We got as far as our carts and mules could go (well into the range of the artillery) then started out with our guides.  I went along, with one section of my platoon.  It was very dark night and we had hopes of getting in O. K.  We were going along an open space just before we were to enter a trench, when bing when an 88" landed at the head of our column.  The first two men have finished with this war and I was the third man in the column.  Another and still another landed before we realized what happened, and then we fell back into a trench until those shells raked the road way back for about half a mile.  Maybe I wasn't a little scared for a few minutes as we laid in that trench listening to those shells landing all around us.  My old bean was ringing just like a bell.

   After the shelling stopped, I checked up my men and found one badly hurt (the man in front of me) and the guide, well he never knew what hit him.  They found him the next morning thrown way off the road, all in pieces.

   We got our equipment picked up, and started back with our wounded man to get him to the hospital and get a new guide.  I learned today that our man died from his wounds.  We took a different route and got in O. K. and found that old John Boche was only about seventy-five yards away from us in places.

   Just before day break, a large number of Boche came over to do us up.  They got as far as our front line trench and found it empty, as we knew they were coming long before they did come.  As soon as they got into our front line trench we called for a barrage and our artillery sent over a nice box barrage, that penned them in until daybreak.

   They were in a fine pickle, as some of them started back over the tops, but they never got far as most of our boys are good with the rifle, so they gave up that idea.

   After we had breakfast, we went down our communication trench loaded with hand grenades dropped a few down one door of a dugout and then the man at the other door would call "Come out Fritz" and what Fritzies there were left, would come our hands over their heads, cowering with fear.
After the prisoners were take back a ways (near the dug outs I was in) and were being searched, the boche started shelling right and left, right where we were.  Talk about Hell breaking loose; well, before we could get the prisoners down in the shell poof of our dug out, some of them were laying on the ground, victims of their own shells.  For about three hours, they sen over the hell fire.  Some of the prisoners were injured and so our hospital men fixed them up with first aid.  They were all standing up against the wall, and those than weren't able to stand, were sitting on the floor.  Some were cowards and yet a few of them were clean cut,.  One fellow especially, he was tall and straight as a stick.  A lot of them were puny looking.  They said they had plenty to eat while on the line, but when at the rear, almost nothing.

   This was only the first day.  For three days steady, they tried to come over and push us off the hill.  Six times in one afternoon, they tried one place, but they couldn't budge our boys, although we lost men, we didn't lose ground.  I guess those squareheads know what a Yank is made of now all right.

   Things were a little more quiet the last few days we wore in and we sure were glad when we heard we were to be relieved; not because we were afraid, cause our boys wanted to go after the boche, they were just so darn mad (they wanted to go after them with their firsts, and would have only for our officers).  It's an awful strain on a man to be watching all the time, especially at night.

   We were relieved O. K. and got back to our rest billets, slept around the clock the first day, then washed and shaved, then looked for the kitchen to find out how soon we would eat.  Spent a few days in rest, then back in again.  Thee old Boche doesn't bother us here, as he is quite a distance from us and we are just waiting for something to happen.

   Well I must close now as the boys have come in with the grub and we only eat twice a day, it doesn't stand around long.  I send my best regards to Mrs. H. and all my friends.  Will close now.

Sergt. Jerry Sullivan

Copyright 2018, Kathleen Sullivan. All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 16, 2018

Valentine - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Around the World With Aunt Retta!

This post is part of a project called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt for this week is Valentine.

Lauretta (O"Sullivan)
(Stewart) Kingsley
This week coming, up to Valentine's Day, I received an interesting and appropriate record hint from Ancestry.com.  It was a marriage record for Arthur Dennin Stewart and Barbara Vera Whitaker dated July 27, 1947 from the New Hampshire Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947 database.  Although he was always referred to "Dan", I knew this was Aunt Retta's son because of the marriage date, July 27, 1947.

Alexander (Junior)
Dan was my father's first cousin and he and Barbara married on the same day as my parents, leading to half of the family attending each wedding.  This record had a lot of information, including the name and residence of the parents of both the bride and groom.  Dan's mother, Aunt Retta, was 45 years old and living in Columbia, South America.  I knew Aunt Retta was born in Revere, Massachusetts, married in Camden, North Carolina, lived in Tanners Creek, Virginia, when her children were born in Norfolk, and eventually settled in Jacksonville, Florida.  I was not aware that she had lived outside of the country.  Surely, this should be Columbia, South Carolina?
Arthur (Dan) Stewart

Yet, 13 months later to the day, on August 27, 1948,  Aunt Retta  left New York City on the Santa Isabel V. 33, bound for Columbia, South America and scheduled to disembark at Buenaventura

As it turns out, Retta's husband George Kingsley was a photographer, and they spent several years in Columbia while he was on an assignment for Forbes, working on a book.

I would love to be in touch with any of Aunt Retta's descendants, if you find this blog please contact me!

Timeline for Lauretta Josephine (O'Sullivan) (Stewart) Kingsley
April 20, 1902 born Revere, Massachusetts
April 21, 1910 living at 29 Newbury Street, Revere, Massachusetts in the 1910 US Federal census
January 26, 1916 death of father, Jeremiah O'Sullivan
June 21, 1919 married Alexander Truman Stewart at Camden, North Carolina
January 7, 1920 living at Virginia Street, Tanner's Creek, Virginia in the 1920 US Federal census
March 21, 1921 birth of son Alexander Truman Stewart at Norfolk, Virginia
December 4,1922 birth of son Arthur Dennis (Dan) Stewart, at Norfolk, Virginia
May 18, 1930 living at 5 Bay Road, Revere, Massachusetts in 1930 US Federal census
December 12, 1931 marriage to George Kingsley, Portsmouth, NH
April 5, 1940 living at 15 Hillside Avenue Saugus, Massachusetts in the 1940 US Federal Census
August 27, 1948 in New York City, en route to Buenaventura, Columbia, South America
living at 30 Whittier Avenue, Haverhill, Massachusetts
October 28, 1994
died Jacksonville, Florida


Junior Stewart and
son Dennis

Lauretta Josephine, b. April 20, 1902, daughter of Jeremiah and Laura (Shaw/Chauvin) O' Sullivan, Revere, Massachusetts; m. (1) Alexander Truman, b. December 11, 1899, Wolfe City, Texas, son of Dennis and Cora (Danford) Stewart; he died July 3, 1967, Jacksonville, Florida; m. (2) George, b. June 8, 1903, Chelsea, Massachusetts, son of Francis and Sarah (Kingsley) Smith, and grandson of David and Josephine (Griffin) Kingsley;  he died March 31, 1966, Monroe, Louisiana; Lauretta died October 28, 1994, Jacksonville, Florida

Children of Alexander and Lauretta (O'Sullivan) (Stewart) Kingsley:

Alexander Truman (Junior), b. March 21, 1921, at Norfolk, Virginia; married July 9, 1946, Emma L. Collins; 1 son, Dennis, born July 7, 1949, died October 1969; Junior died October 30, 2001;
Dan and Vera Stewart
with sons Kevin and David

Arthur Dennis (Dan), b. December 4, 1922, at Norfolk, Virginia, married July 27, 1947, Barbara Vera Whitaker, daughter of Alvin and Vera (Partridge) Whitaker; Dan died October 27, 1977, Merrimac, Massachusetts; Barbara died October 21, 1996, San Diego, California; 2 sons, Kevin and David;

Copyright 2018, Kathleen Sullivan. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Favorite Name - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

A Parade of Priscillas (Part 3)

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.  The prompt this week is favorite name.  
My favorite name is that of my aunt and grandmother, Priscilla.  For over 300 years there has been a Priscilla in my direct line, or as a sibling of my direct line, in 10 of the past 12 generations.  I have covered the first two Priscillas in previous posts, Priscilla (Gould) Putnam and Priscilla (Putnam) Bailey.
Jerry, Priscilla and Priscilla (Lynch) Sullivan

Twelfth generation
Priscilla Gould, my 10th great grandmother, was born between 1585 and 1590 in Aston Abbots, Buckinghamshire, England, the daughter of Richard Gould  She married, circa 1611, John Putnam.

Eleventh generation
John Putnam, my 9th great grandfather, was christened on May 27, 1627, in Salem, Massachusetts, son of John and Priscilla (Gould) Putnam.  He married on July 3, 1652, Rebecca Prince,   There is no Priscilla in this generation.

Tenth generation
Priscilla Putnam, my 8th great grandmother, was born March 4, 1656, daughter of John and Rebecca (Prince) Putnam.  She married Joseph Bailey in 1675.    Joseph was born April 14, 1648, in Newbury, Massachusetts, the son of John and Eleanor (Emery) Bailey.  Priscilla (Putnam) Bailey died November 16, 1704, and is buried in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Ninth generation
Rebecca Bailey, my 7th great grandmother, was born October 21, 1675, in Newbury, Massachusetts, the daughter of Joseph and Priscilla (Putnam) Bailey.  She married about 1699, Isaac Annis, born April 12, 1672, in Newbury, son of Cormac (Charles) and Sarah (Chase) Annis.  Rebecca died July 15, 1748 at Newbury.

Rebecca was the sister of Priscilla Bailey, born October 20, 1676 at Newbury, Massachusetts, married 1693, Jonathan Walcott, born September 1, 1670, son of Jonathan and Mary (Sibley) Walcott at Salem, Massachusetts.  Priscilla (Bailey) Walcott died February 16, 1770, at Windham, Connecticut.

Eighth generation
Priscilla Annis, my 6th great grandmother, was born November 13, 1707, at Newbury, Massachusetts, the daughter of Isaac and Rebecca (Bailey) Annis.  She married July 1, 1735, Daniel Mace.

Seventh generation
Priscilla Mace, my 5th great grandmother, was born December 13, 1733 at Billerica, Massachusetts, the daughter of Daniel and Priscilla (Annis) Mace.  She married on January 6, 1763, at Billerica, John French, born May 27, 1730, son of William and Mehitable (Patten) French.  

Sixth generation
Elizabeth French, my 4th great grandmother, was born January 20, 1769 at Billerica, daughter of John and Priscilla (Mace) French.  She married Joseph Blodgett, born October 14, 1770 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire,  son of Jonathan and Molly (Fitch) Blodgett.   She died December 19, 1852 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Elizabeth was the sister of  Priscilla French, born September 1, 1766 at Billerica, Massachusetts, died September 27, 1799 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Fifth generation

Lucinda Blodgett, my 3rd great grandmother, was born August 26, 1798 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (French) Blodgett.  She married Jehiel (Hiel) Stebbins, born circa 1801, at Winchester, New Hampshire, son of Josiah and Martha (Belding) Stebbins.   She died January 8, 1866.

Lucinda was the sister of  Priscilla Blodgett, born 1804 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire and married December 31, 1840 to William Moors.  She died March 1, 1873 at Jaffrey.

Fourth generation
Mariette Priscilla Stebbins, my 2nd great grandmother, was born October 25, 1825 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the daughter of Hiel and Lucinda (Blodgett) Stebbins.  She married George Fairbanks, born October 22, 1825, son of Cyrus and Betsey (Jackson) Fairbanks of Troy, New Hampshire. She died March 20, 1896 at Jaffrey.

Priscilla (Sullivan) Reed
Third generation
Sarah Jane Fairbanks, my great grandmother, was born March 24, 1864 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the daughter of George and Mariette Priscilla (Stebbins) Fairbanks.  She married Fred Wallace Lynch, born June 17, 1868 at New Ipswich, New Hampshire, the son of  Wallace and Mary (Wilson) Lynch.  She died December 1, 1944.  There is no Priscilla in this generation.

Second generation
Mary Priscilla Lynch, my grandmother, was born October 25, 1901 at Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the daughter of Fred Wallace and Sarah Jane (Fairbanks ) Lynch.  She married September 1, 1924, Jeremiah Sullivan, son of Jeremiah and Laura (Shaw/Chauvin) Sullivan.  She died January 20, 1987, at Jaffrey.

First generation
Priscilla Fairbanks Sullivan, my aunt, was born April 21,1933 at Revere, Massachusetts, the daughter of Jeremiah and Priscilla (Lynch) Sullivan.  She married Frank Reed in 1954 in Germany.




Priscilla Gould

m. 1611

John Putnam Sr

Rebecca Prince

m. 1652

John Putnam Jr

Priscilla Putnam

m. 1675

Joseph Bailey

Rebecca Bailey, sister of
Priscilla Bailey b. 1676

m. 1699

Isaac Annis

Priscilla Annis

m. 1735

Daniel Mace

Priscilla Mace

m. 1763

John French

Elizabeth French, sister of

Priscilla French b. 1767

m. ?

Joseph Blodgett

Lucinda Blodgett. sister of

Priscilla Blodgett b. 1804

m. 1822

Jehiel Stebbins

Mariette Priscilla Stebbins

m. 1846

George Fairbanks

Sarah Fairbanks

m. 1891

Fred Wallace Lynch

Mary Priscilla Lynch

m. 1924

Jeremiah Sullivan

Priscilla Fairbanks Sullivan

m. 1954

Frank Reed

Copyright 2018, Kathleen Sullivan. All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 2, 2018

In The Census - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This post is part of a project called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt this week is in the census.  On January 9, 1920, my grandfather, Jerry W. Sullivan, was enumerated at Jaffrey, NH in the census.  On January 11, 1920, my grandfather, Jeremiah O'Sullivan, was enumerated at Revere, Massachusetts in the census ..... again.

Great Falls on the Contoocook River at Bennington NH
According to the family story, Papa left school and went to work as a courier or messenger boy at the office of the a paper company in Boston, sometime before June 1916.  He was sent, sometime later, to work in the company paper mill in Bennington, New Hampshire.  

In June 1916, he was among those called up by President Woodrow Wilson as a member of the New Hampshire State Militia, soon to become the New Hampshire National Guard.  His unit was sent to the Texas Mexico border by mid-July 1916. 
The NH National Guard in Texas
Upon his return from Texas, his unit was called to Camp Devens, Massachusetts and became part of the 103rd Infantry in the 26th Yankee Division, soon shipping out to France.

On his return from France in 1918, Papa shipped home with Martin Kidder of Jaffrey, New Hampshire.  Jaffrey is just 17 miles from his former home in Bennington.  Martin lived with his father Harry, just a few houses down Old Peterborough Road from where Jerry was living as a boarder and working at the tack shop.  Harry Kidder also worked at the tack shop, where Jerry was employed.

Jerry was listed as a boarder in the home of Charles H. and Philomene Howard.  Charles was born  in Massachusetts, but his mother was born in Africa.  I found this to be a BSO and thought he might be the same Charles Howard listed in the 1900 census, living in Boston, Massachusetts, also with a mother born in Africa.  Did Jerry and Charles know each other in Massachusetts?  According to Charles WWI draft registration, he had also served in the New Hampshire National Guard., so they may have served together in Texas.  

Since the Revere census also shows Jerry employed in a tack shop, I am reasonably sure his family knew he was living in New Hampshire.  I don't think he commuted the 75 miles as the crow flies from Revere to Jaffrey.  Or maybe they were just hopeful that he would return home soon!

Copyright 2018, Kathleen Sullivan. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dinner for Two - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

This post is part of a project called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, created by Amy Johnson Crow.  The prompt for this week is invite to dinner.

I would love to have dinner with my great grandmother, Laura Josephine (Shaw) Sullivan/O'Sullivan, also known as Marie Eleanora Chauvin.  For many years Laura was the penultimate brick wall in my genealogy research.  According to the family Bible she was born on January 22, 1878 in Montreal, Quebec.  I had looked for Shaws in Montreal for years, but never found a family that seemed to match what I knew.

Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal
I knew from later records that Laura's mother's name was Mary Ann McCarthy and she was born in Ireland.  I knew that Laura's father's name was Joseph Shaw.  In 2008 I made a research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I found an 1881 Canadian census for a Chauveau family with a French father named Joseph and an Irish mother named Mary A.  There were three daughters, with names and ages similar to Laura's known sisters, as shown below:

Josephine Chauveau compared to Josephine Shaw
Marie E. Chauveau compared to Laura Shaw
Louisa M. Chauveau compared to Mary Louise Shaw

Since this census was not available on line at the time, I had a copy printed to take home with me, just in case.  Fast forward to 2011, I was watching Who Do You Think You Are? with Rosie O'Donnell.  She was in Montreal viewing her great grandfather's baptismal record at Notre Dame Basilica.  I was sure if Rosie could find her great grandfather, I could find Laura.  I located Laura and all her siblings that evening in the Drouin database on Ancestry.com, as shown below:

Commonly Known As
Baptismal name
Date and Location
March 6, 1874, St Vincent de Paul, Montreal, Quebec 
Joseph (buried)
Sept 11, 1874, St Antoine de Pade, Montreal, Quebec 
Josephine Shaw
Josephine Sophronie Chauvin
Dec 25, 1876, St Bernard de Lacolle, Quebec 
Laura Shaw
Marie Elionore Chauvin
January 22, 1878, St Bernard de Lacolle, Quebec 
Mary Louise Shaw
Marie Louise Chauvin
March 27, 1881, St Joseph, Montreal, Quebec 
Edith Amelia Shaw
Emmilee Ida Chauvin
April 22, 1883, St Brigide, Montreal, Quebec 
James Simon Shaw
James Simon Chauvin
Feb 6, 1886, Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal, Quebec 

    Mary Ann (McCarthy) Shaw and a daughter
    In these records, the parents were identified as Joseph Chauvin and Mary Ann McCarthy.  Laura, her siblings and her mother emigrated to Boston by train in 1886.  I haven't found any record of her father, Joseph, in Boston, other than his mention in family obituaries.
    Some of the questions I would like to ask Laura are below.
    1. How did you lose your hearing, and what was it like living as a deaf person in the early 20th century?
    Family stories vary about how Laura lost her hearing.  I was always told that she had scarlet fever as a child, which left her deaf.  June was told that she lost her hearing because of an explosion where she was working.  My grandfather spoke to her with a kind of sign language. 

    We know that she belonged to a group for deaf people and that she had deaf friends.   My cousin June has a panoramic photo of a large group of deaf people, including Laura, visiting Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

    2. How did you cope with losing all your immediate family members in a 5 year period, from 1898 to 1903?
    In 1898, Laura's sister Josephine was the first to die, from pulmonary phithisis.  She was followed by sister Mary Louise from consumption of the lungs in 1900 and Edith Amelia in 1902 from phithisis.  Her mother, Mary Ann (McCarthy) Shaw, died in 1903 from phithisis.  This left Laura, age 25, with five young children, and her brother, James Simon, age 17, as the only surviving members of the family.
      Despite her deafness, and the prevalence of tuberculosis in her family, Laura lived to be 88 years old.

      Date of Death
      Cause of Death
      Josephine A. Shaw
      May 5, 1898
      Pulmonary Phithisis
      Calvary, Mattapan
      Mary L. (Shaw) Callhan
      Feb. 28, 1900
      Congestion of the lungs
      Calvary, Mattapan
      Edith Amelia Shaw
      June 5, 1902
      New Calvary
      Mary Ann (McCarthy) Shaw
      Aug. 28, 1903
      New Calvary

      3. When did you come to Boston, and who came with you?

      Other than Laura, who married in 1897,  the Shaw family has not been located in Boston in the 1900 census.  According to various birth marriage and death records they lived at 29 Spring Street, 5 Ransom Court and 42 Wall Street, all in the West End.  James Simon Shaw's naturalization papers, filed on February 13, 1922, state that he emigrated by rail on the 21st of January 1886.  He gave his birth date consistently as January 21, 1884, but he was baptized on February 6, 1886 in Montreal, Quebec.  He may not have known his actual birth date, and may have believed that he came to Boston around the age of 2 years.

      Copyright 2018, Kathleen Sullivan. All Rights Reserved