Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Photoshop" Early 1900's Style

Edward Olmstead and his wife Grace Alice Evans were married in 1892 and five years later started their family.   They had a family portrait taken after their four children were born:

Left to right are Charles Allen, Edward (Ed, father), Helen Elizabeth, Alice Sarah, Grace Alice (mother), Wilber Evans (Bill).

Fast forward, seven years after Alice was born, they had another child, Grace Louise.  So, how do you solve the problem of that wonderful family photo  hanging on the wall being incomplete?
Well, you "photoshop it" early 1900's style.

Pretty good job of photoshopping for an amateur long before computers, wasn't it?!
Except for Grace looking forward instead of at the photographer off to stage right, whoever did the cutting and pasting of the picture did a nice job of editing the family portrait, even lining up the shadows nicely.

Years later, one of Ed and Grace Olmstead's grandsons was showing me a copy of this picture and he mentioned that Grace Louise, the daughter, wasn't originally there and that he had a copy of that original.

Well, the scans of the two photographs arrived yesterday and with his generous permission, I am sharing them here.

Now, in our updated family portrait, left to right, we have:
Charles Allen Olmstead (1901-?), Grace Louise Olmstead (1909-1995), Edward Olmstead (1868-1959), Helen Elizabeth Olmstead (1899-1979), Alice Sarah Olmstead (1902-1996), Grace Alice Evans Olmstead (1868), Wilber Evans Olmstead (1897-1972)

The link to this post is
©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Regrets and Redemption Lead to a Present for my Family

I am sure that all good family historians have moments that they regret ... I wish I knew what questions to have asked my grandmother, Nana, Marian Evans Dakin, before she died in 1974.  As a result of not knowing ANYTHING about the DAKIN family back then, my work was extensive to piece together the story. I only knew my grandfather's name (he died when my father was 2 years old) and that he had died in the 1918 flu pandemic, along with his son and mother-in-law in less than one week.

When I was in high school, Nana brought some small brownish pictures of something [she said it was a power plant that her husband Rob worked on] to share one year when she came for her annual visit.  Of course, I was the uninterested teenager.  I'm not sure anyone else in my family was much interested either.  I think she brought them out just once during her annual six-month visit.

Years later, I was a 20-something who would drive down to visit her in Connecticut.  I helped her go through various things in her house, and made note of who she wanted them to go to and what things were.  Of course, we didn't find EVERYTHING since there still were surprises when I was her executrix cleaning out her home.  By then, I had enough sense to start asking some questions about the family -- clearly not all of the ones I should have, but I made a start.  On one visit, I asked her about those pictures of the power plant.  "Of, those, I gave them to the power company."

I contacted the power company and was told they did not know where the pictures were, but they did share some information on the power plant which helped me to understand how it worked along with some of the history of the Bulls Bridge Power Plant in Gaylordsville, Connecticut.

What I never asked my grandmother was the "rest of the story" which turned out to be quite interesting.
This year's Christmas present for my family is what I learned about this story AND about the DAKIN family.

In my grandmother's desk, when she died, was one of the surprises for this executrix -- the negatives for the pictures my grandfather, Rob Dakin took of the building of the addition to the power plant.  This book, Bulls Bridge:  The Story of a dreamer, a family farmer, a camera and the building of a power plant, is the result of much research.  It is not only the story of the power plant but includes information on the DAKIN family line, all the way back to Thomas Dakin, the immigrant settler in Concord, Massachusetts by 1652.

The "Readers Digest" version of the story of the power plant is about a politician with a dream to harness the Housatonic River, a farmer who sells a convoluted part of his farm for the canal to be dug right across the fields and past his house, a farm boy who watches the canal and power plant emerge, and then, the power plant is finished and does NOT bring any power to the surrounding neighborhood!  The high school boy, goes off to college (first in family), comes back as an assistant engineer and works on the addition to the plan which brings power to the neighborhood and documents it all with his camera. His pictures from 1912 are included in the book.

I learned a lot about my ancestors as people as I researched this book -- this was not a compilation of just dates.  Oh how I wish I had the sense to talk to my grandmother about this before she died in 1974.

The link for this post is:
©2013, Erica Dakin Voolich

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oh, What a Difference a Couple Hundred Years Make! ... The Sequel

Thomas was born “at Concord,MA 29 March 1723 and m. 1st before 10 3rd month 1744 (OS), prob. in Philips, Lydia, dau. of Thomas and Mercy (Coggeshall) Fish.  Lydia Fish was b. 10 Nov. 1725 and came to Beekman with her father and brothers Preserved and John Fish. [The Fish Family 37-8]

  Timothy came to Quaker Hill where he was taxed from Feb. 1744/5 through Feb. 1762 but we have not found h im taxed after that.  The will of Reuben Peckham written 19 July 1770 mentions “friend Ruth Dakin, dau. of Timothy Dakin of New Fairfield, Ct.” which would indicate that he had gone there [WN-YHS  VIII:43].  Timothy was assessed in Beekman in 1744/5 at £1 and the same in 1746/7, 1753 and June 1758.

   He was a customer at the Merrit store from 1767 on and traded with his son Thomas, Alexander Stewart, Amos Osborn, Ebenezer Hoag, Elihu Russell,  Joshua Sherman, Preserved Dakin, Robert Reynolds and Thomas Douglas.  [DCSB II: 56;; B:34; C:23; D: 20; E:10; etc.].

   He was mentioned on a road of 10 Oct. 1758 on a lot in the Oblong and also in the 1761 Oblong Quaker list.  [SBP 1:348, 113].  He was on the list of Quakers who enrolled 22 April 1755 and had to give a horse in 1757 and a steer and a heifer worth £9 in 1759 for not training in the Colonial militia.  [SBP 1:382, 383].  A deed of 1 April 1790, concerns land in lots 29 and 30 in the Oblong and mentions land Josiah Akin bought of Timothy Dakin [D 11:144].  This would be quite close to the Oblong Meeting House and in fact the Oblong quit rent list for 1761 has his name on a farm in lot 30, the same lot the Meeting House was in.  His farm was 48 acres and his quit rent was £2/2/1.  (His name was crossed out in this record, possibly because Akin had bought it by 1761).  He was very active in the Oblong Meteing and his name is on many pages of the Meeting’s records.  [FHL MF 17315, 1 through 527].

   In 1790 a Timothy Dakin was 3-1-3 in Pawling (listing between Ezra Sherman and William Russel) and in 1800 he was 1-1-0-0-1 and 1-0-0-0-1 between David Denton and Nathaniel Worden.  In 1799 Timothy Dakin of Pawling was assessed on a house and farm worth $423.75 and personal property valued at $40.  His ch. were  prob. all b. Pawling.  Lydia Dakin died on Saturday the 6th day of June at 9 o’clock AM 1812.  [PR 42].  She was probably the widow Dakin noted as a boundary in May 1810 in a mortgage on land in Pawling. [M 15: 494]”

The Oblong, Quaker Hill: "The eastern side of the country had been settled by Presbyterians from  Connecticut, and the western side along the Hudson River by the Dutch.   The feeling between them was far from friendly.  Their disputes had been  very bitter, and Rye and Bedfore had revolted from New York's  jurisdiction.  Their whipping posts stood ready for the punishment of any  from the river settlements who committed even slight offenses within  their limits.  As these two peoples naturally repelled each other they  had left a strip of land, comparatively unoccupied, between them... Into  and through this strip of land the Quaker stream flowed. ..."  [from  Quaker Hill by Warren H Wilson]

In April 1755, Timothy was one of the thirty-eight Quakers in Oblong  who claimed exemption from military duty.  His occupation listed on the  application is farmer. In 1779, a year after Lydia died, all the slaves had been freed on  Quaker Hill.  This was preceded by a querie at New York Yearly Meeting  (May 30, 1767) brought by Oblong Monthly Meeting:  "It is not consistant  with Christianity to buy and sell our Fellowmen for Slaves during their  Lives, and their Posterities after them, then whether it is consistant  with a Christian Spirit to keep those in slavery that we have already in  possession by Purchase, Gift or any otherways."  In 1775 Yearly Meeting  was in favor of emancipation without conditions.  The final slave owned  by a Meeting member was freed in 1777 (a newcomer freed his slave in  1779).  Since Timothy and Lydia were a members of the meeting when the  querie was originally sent to the Yearly Meeting and since such queries  would only be sent if there was concensus in the Meeting (Quaker decisions  are made by consensus and women participated in Meeting decisions), we  know Timothy and Lydia supported the abolition of slavery.  Timothy was still living in Oblong in 1778: "On his arrival, September 19, 1778, Washington, with his bodyguard,  were entertained for six days at the home of Reed Ferris, in the  Oblong.... His letters written during his residence were all dated from  "Fredericksburgh," the name at that time of the western and older part of  the town of Patterson. ... The Meeting House was appropriated by the army officers for a  hospital, because it was the largest available building. ... the use of  the building for a hospital continued three and perhaps five months.  Meantime the Friends' Meetings were held in the barn at Site 21... There is no mention, even by inference, in the records of Oblong  Meeting that proves this occupation of their building by soldiers.  It  was not voluntarily surrendered; other records show that the use of the  building was supported by force; its surrender was grudging, not a matter  to be recorded in the Meeting.  It is characteristic of the Friends that  they ignored it. This toleration of the Hospital was never sympathetic.  A letter...  to the Governor of the State of New York, Hon. George Clinton, by Dr.  James Fallon, ... He could get no one to draw wood for his hospital in  the dead of winter..." [from Quaker Hill]