Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label EVANS Elizabeth Radford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EVANS Elizabeth Radford. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memories of Elizabeth and Charles at the time of their deaths



Unfortunately, there is a gap without many life details from the last letter of 1849 from cousin Louise to the 40th anniversary in 1890, of all the years in Sherman, Connecticut where Elizabeth Radford Evans is a mother, a farm wife  -- who was she, what was her life like?  We have some hints from her own writing.

Evans farm on Evans Hill Road in Sherman, Connecticut





























After she died 5 December 1915, a former minister from the 45 years she was in Sherman, Connecticut and his wife each sent her children a letter of condolences from where they were working in Cuba.
These two condolence letters give us a hint of life in Sherman ... she was more than an unknown isolated country woman just caring for her children and working on the chores that helped to keep a farm family going.
To the Children of Mrs. Elizabeth H. Evans, 
Dear Friends:  
  The news has come to us of the home going of your beloved Mother.  
  You have a double reason for gratitude to God.   1st: For having given you such a noble gifted Mother, and also for having  spared her to you for so many years.  
   Many of Gods gifts to his Children are repeated.  He gives us a Mother's  love, and care but once, as if to teach us how choice it is.  During her  long friendship, stretching through over forty years, I have been  impressed by her many qualitites of mind and heart, her unshaken faith in God, her personal love for her Savior, her quiet unostentatious devotion to duty, and her capacity for true lasting disinterested friendships were  noticeable the light of her christian fidelity.



   I have afar from the hill of Sherman in the home she loved so well and  made sacred by her gracious presence and loving service.  
   My pastoral calls included frequent visits at her home where we always  received a hearty welcome.  We enjoyed our interviews and her conversations, which were uplifting and inspiring.  
   Her cheerful optimism impressed me.  She looked on the bright side of  everything and saw the best in every life, and that sweet smile which was  the expression of her joyful sould life, she carried with her into the  presence of her Lord with whom she walked by faith.




Nor do I forget her  kind and devoted companion and his pure quiet, unselfish life.  Theirs  was an ideal married life.  
   What maternal pride characterized her.  The mother heart followed with  tender love, each child as they went forth to form new homes and enlarged  to take in the grandchildren who will now miss her love and counsels.  
   She was a fine example of New England Christian womanhood.  We saw those  ideal puritan virtues in her life.  Reverence for sacred things,  conscientious and unselfish love of country, honest, uprightness perfect  veracity.  High ethic ideals, and all irradiated by a supreme affection  for God, and a sympathetic love for humanity.  May her blessing abide  with you all.  The most precious legacy she has left is the memory of  what she was, and did.  
  “How these holy memories cluster 
   Like the stars when storms are past, 
   Pointing us to that far Heaven 
   We too hope to reach at last." 

  You could not have wished her to tarry longer in the worn out tabernacle  undermined by the increasing weakness of old age.  
   She awaits your coming over there, where sighs give place to Psalms, and  the aged are forever young.  Mortality has been swallowed of life.  
    Doubtless you all recall the Thanksgiving days and the happy family reunions of the ended years, how she waited to welcome each and every one, with a love that stronger given with the added years.  
   And how you can look forward with a hope that never grows dim to the  family gathering younder and know that the Mother heart still yearns to  meet and welcome you all to the Thanksgiving Feast of Heaven.  
  May God in his infinite love grant this to you and his consolation and  peace.  
   This in loving sympathy,  
Rev. E.P. Herrick  

Thanksgiving 1894 in the house on Evans Hill Rd that Rev. Herrick mentioned in his condolence letter above.
Elizabeth and Charles are here along with their children and grandchildren.
Rev. Herrick's wife, Amelia also wrote a condolence letter.  The family typed a copy and shared carbon copies.

December 14, 1915 
Dear Friends:  
  It seems very hard for me to realize the active brain and warm heart of  your mother is no longer residing in the body on this earth.  For so many  years I have felt her to be a living, acting friend, one to whom I appealed for so many different things.  In sickness and death she was a strong tower.  Then when I came from the South with my family of boys,  what a help she was those summers when I had no help and no stove for  proper cooking.  No one ever made such brown bread and biscuits and doughnuts.  Then when I wanted to know of the new books, it was to your  mother I went, and she so often supplied me with reading.  You have so much to be proud of in your strong-minded, noble-hearted mother, and the  generations that follow her must have something of her talent and  character.  
   I always miss her in the old home, and shall miss her more now she is really gone to the other side -- the unknown home you and I will enter before long.  Each year the number increases of the forever-absent  friends, whom we cannot reach with our Christmas greetings, and we miss the name as we make out our list.  But how much happier for them to be  numbered with the redeemed ones who are where sorrow and sighing forever  fled away.  
  With your great sympathy for all of your family, and with love to each  member.  
Very Sincerely yours, 
Amelia G. Herrick 
In memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Evans, 
died Dec. 5, 1915. Age 91 and 11 mo.  December 15, 1915  

Reading these letters gives one the feeling of her as a beloved personal friend who knew how to reach out to others at just the right time (food, friendship, strength) and information on the books you ought to be reading!
Daughter and mother together.
Augusta Evans Bristol and Elizabeth Radford Evans in front of Augusta' home.





















The obituary for Elizabeth:
Mrs. Elizabeth Evans passed away, Saturday night, at the home of her son, Charles H. Evans, in Gaylordsville.  She would have been 91 years old, had she lived until January.  She was a woman of great loveliness of character.  Two sons, Charles H. Evans of Gaylordsville, and Edward Evans  of Great Barrington, Mass. and two daughters, Mrs. Agusta Bristol, of  Milford, and Mrs. Grace Olmstead of Newtown, survive her.  The funeral  took place on tuesday afternoon from the residence of Mr. Evans of  Gaylordsville.

The obituary says she died in Gaylordsville at her son's home, but her death certificate was issued by Great Barrington and said she died in Great Barrington.

Her husband Charles Evans died on 4 December 1903 -- 12  years before her.
Charles Evans heading up Evans Hill Rd to their farm.






































Rev. Herrick wrote to the family then too.

To the children of the Late Charles Evans-- 
Dear Friends-- 
   was made very sad when I heard of the illness of your beloved father and longed to hear that his precious life was to be lengthened but when I  learned the golden bowl was broken I felt keen sorrow for he was dear to  me -- a man whom I have known, admired and loved for over twenty years  --  Few children are favored with such parents --- May the life of your  dear mother be long continued.  Your father possessed many choice  qualities of mind and heart that endeared him to us all.  He was a keen  intellect  -- a memory well stored with interesting and profitable  information.  A kindly heart that throbbed with sympathy for all troubled  and needy men.  He had great descriptive powers and a choice flow of  interesting anecdotes of persons and events reaching into the long gone  past.  I recall some of the vivid word pictures which he drew so well--  all unconscious of his own gifts for he was one of the most modest and  unassuming of men.  I know of no man more competent to have written a  book on the early history of Sherman and its prominent citizens.  The law  of kindness was in his heart a born humorist-- a veritable wit-- his  deliverance of human foibles and failings never lead to wounding of  sensitive feelings.  His presence brought sunshine and good cheer -- his  wise counsel and cherry suggestions were always timely and helpful.  He  was free from osterlatim  -- self seeking and conceit -- quick to see and  appreciate what was good in others and speak of it.  I do not need to  speak of what he was as a husband and father -- it was touching to see  his deep love for you all and his paternal pride in our success.   Reticent as to his own spiritual beliefs and experiences -- yet was  reverential and appreciative of all things pertaining to religion.  We  felt we were in the presence of a good man.  Who put character before  creed and right living before outward professions -- one who guarded his  words and let his example rather than his lips tell what he was.  A noble  heart was slitted on the day when he went home -- he longed to go and god  granted the wish of the tired pilgrim.  He wrapped the draperies of his couch about him and lay down to pleasant dreams.  May the holy memories  he has left be ever your inspiration.  

   How delightful were those old  family gatherings in the old house on the hill.  How pleasant to look  forward to the Thanksgiving of Heaven when all your journeys ended, you  will all meet and be forever with him and forever with the Lord. To your father God I commend all your children  
Yours sincerely -- 
E.P. Herrick 
Matangar Cuba 
Dec. 28 -- 1903

You might recall, that the newspaper profile of couples of Great Barrington who were married more than 50 years, was written just 3 months before Charles died.






Two lives well-lived as told by the people who knew them.


©Erica Dakin Voolich 2014
The link to this post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2014/05/memories-of-elizabeth-and-charles-at.html





Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life at college for Elizabeth in 1844

It you have been following these blog posts about Elizabeth Radford Evans, you'll recall our surprise to read that she "graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in the class of 1845" reported in a newspaper interview with 88-year old Elizabeth about her long life.  You might also recall that I contacted Mt Holyoke Seminary [now College] and she never graduated, but she did attend for one year from 1844-1845.
“REMINISCENCES," in The Berkshire Courier, 
Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Thursday 20 March 1913, 
volume LXXIX, no. 12, pages 1, 8
























Mt Holyoke Seminary was a new institution, founded in 1837.  Their website has the history for anyone who is interested in what Mary Lyon did as is founder and first "principal" for an institution for women which began during an economic depression.

When its doors finally opened on November 8, 1837, Mount Holyoke Female Seminary embodied two major innovations in women's education. It instituted rigorous academic entrance requirements and a demanding curriculum conspicuously free of instruction of domestic pursuits. And it was endowed, thus ensuring its permanence and securing the principle of higher learning for future generations of women. With this remarkable achievement, Mary Lyon proved herself true to the words she would become renowned for: Go where no one else will go. Do what no one else will do.

So what was life like for a college student in 1844?
What did it take to for a woman to attend college in 1844?

I was going to try to pull out individual examples of the 1844-1845 catalog, but decided to include the whole catalog for those who would like to see who were the 249 students and what it took to get in and what life was like once you arrived as a young woman then.  This catalog was generously provided by Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.
The college had three levels, starting with the Senior Class, then Middle Class and finally the Junior Class.  If you look closely, they are from New England states and New York.  I did find one student from Ohio and one from Illinois.




The Senior and part of the Middle classes.







The Middle and part of the Junior classes.












Continuing with the Junior class.
































Here are the requirements to enter Mt Holyoke along with a description of curriculum for Junior and Middle class students.  Sounds like they will be busy.  There is a note that sometimes it takes more than one year to master the Junior class's curriculum along with Latin (which is a recommended study, not part of the required studies for Juniors).





























In addition to what the Seniors will study, there is a description of the studies for everyone: composition, reading, calisthenics, vocal music, the New Testament and linear & perspective drawings.  If you already play piano, you can continue with that study.  They list the textbooks to bring -- if  you have-- otherwise you can purchase them at school.

In order to attend, there are admission exams, and in order to join the next class, there are exams.  There is a reminder that the students should be studying Latin if they want to progress to the Middle and Senior classes.

The school year starts 2 October and goes through July -- three terms:  16, 14, and 10 weeks.  There is a 2 week break between terms and an 8 week break between school years.

Tuition and board is $60 a year.  This doesn't sound like a lot of money, EXCEPT, a young woman going to work in the Massachusetts mills in 1845 ("Investigation of Labor Conditions, 1845"  Massachusetts House Documents, no. 50, March, 1845;   http://courses.wcupa.edu/johnson/lowell1845.html) would be paid $16 to $30 per month, exclusive of board.

Everyone, faculty and students live on campus, it is a family structure -- no commuters.  Everyone also contributes to the domestic work of the school, however, they are not there to learn the domestic skills, but only to already have them to use (taught at home).  They are there to develop academic skills.



























Admission is for the whole year.  They must be at least 16 years old and well-prepared in the preparatory skills (see page 11).  The students bring their own towels, bedding, and two spoons.   

There is an expectation of punctuality for classes and attention to studies.  There are regular hours for classes and study and for recreation.  Visitors are encouraged to only visit during recreation on Wednesdays or Tuesday evenings.  If someone is traveling "from abroad" they can call a teacher to arrange a visit at another time, except on the Sabbath.   The students can not leave the school or receive visitors on the Sabbath.

New students are only admitted in October, they must be "young ladies of good degree of mental disciple, and maturity of character."  The first few weeks of school are probationary.


To get to the Seminary, young ladies can take a train to Wilbraham or Springfield or Cabotwille and then take a stage from there to South Hadley.

The examination schedule is given, and the final address (closing the school year) is on 31 July.  
The admission test schedule is included.  The list of what will be on the exam is back on page 11 of this 1844-1845 Catalogue.

















If you recall, one of the requirements was mastery of Adam's New Arithmetic.

If you are interested in the contents of what was considered "arithmetic" in the 1800s, I though I'd include the table of contents.




Elizabeth Radford started Mt Holyoke Seminary when it was a young school -- it had started in 1837, and she attended in 1844-45.  There were high expectations for their students to be capable of learning a rigorous curriculum.  For her farm family to send her was probably a big stretch -- $60 was a lot of money.  Her contemporary women on the farm who "went to the city" to work at that time would probably have gone to Lowell or New Bedford, Massachusetts and earned $23 - $30 a week to send home.  After a year of college, she worked as a teacher for 5 years -- I've not yet identified where.

We know she was corresponding with her cousin Louise Radford who was also thinking about important ideas of the day.  We know Elizabeth loved to play with words in her writing and even in describing her anniversary.  Years later she was reading the contemporary books and following the politics and the local newspaper wrote her up.  It is wonderful that her parents Beers Radford (1784-1876) and Harriet Higgins Radford (1785-1846) saw the value of sending their daughter to Mt Holyoke Seminary for a year.  













Monday, May 12, 2014

Elizabeth and Charles Evans' Aniversaries






































As I've been sharing information on Elizabeth Radford Evans (her newspaper profile, recipient of letters from her cousin Louise, author of poetry & letters), keep in mind that she married Charles Evans in January 1850.  The actual date of the marriage, seems to be a bit fuzzy.  The vital record I received from the Middlebury Town Clerk say 15 January 1850 which is a xerox of the page of the minister's journal.  Mount Holyoke Seminary's alum records say she was married on the 16th.  Her story below, says the 16th.  The published vital records for Middlebury Connecticut where they married, says they were married on the 14th or 15th.  How they ever met, has yet to be discovered, she lived in Middlebury and he lived in Sherman, 26 miles away.


The gem below she wrote describing their 40th anniversary celebrations, 16 January 1890 -- both the one they planned and the surprise one:

Written by Elizabeth Evans at the time 
of her 40th wedding anniversary-
Gaylordsville Jan. 16th 1890
    And it came to pass when Zachery 
Taylor ruled over the land, there dwelt 
in the east country one Elizabeth of 
the family of Beers.  And there came to 
that place one Charles whose surname 
was Evans, and he took Elizabeth for 
his wife and she went with him to 
his home in the land beyond the 
river even the Housatonic and they 
dwelt there-  And sons and daughters 
were born unto them.  The sons took 
to themselves wives and dwelt in the 
north country and the daughter 
dwelt in the south.  And when two 
score years were past, Elizabeth said 
to her husband, “Lo this forty years 
have we dwelt together, let us make 
a feast and invite our children and 
grand children that we may rejoice 
together” and the saying pleased him 
and he said “Do even as thou wilt.”  
And they sent this message to their 
sons who dwelt in the north “Come 
to us on the sixteenth day of they first 
month and bring with you your 
wife and your children” and they 
answered “We will come” and to the 
daughter was sent a like message and 
she said “we will come.”
     Now there was in the land one Susan 
who had dwelt there many years and  
had known Charles from his birth.  She 
was also one of the first to welcome 
Elizabeth when she was a stranger 
in the land.  When she heard of the feast 
she called her children and neighbors 
together and said to them “Lo these many 
years have this couple have dwelt in 
our midst, let us go in a company 
to their house and surprise them and 
let us carry a present to them and thus 
saying pleased her friends and they 
said “We will do so.”



    Now when the day had come the 
children and grand children assembled 
together and one Julia (who was at the 
marriage) and Henry her son and he 
that ministered to this people and his 
wife and children and twenty and 
one did dine there and all enjoyed 
themselves and one Nelson brought 
verses that the minister read before 
them.  And when the evening was 
come and they who could not spend 
the night had departed and the 
children were in bed there was a 
knocking at the door.  When Elizabeth 
opened the door it, there was Susan 
and some of her neighbors who had 
come on foot and with oxen and 
had brought with them baskets of 
things to eat that none might say 
“Where shall we get food for this great 
company” and they spake pleasant 
words to Charles and Elizabeth and 
wished them many days even a 
golden wedding.
    And Anna the daughter of Susan 
made coffee and prepared supper 
and when all was ready a small 
table was placed before Charles and 
Elizabeth and John whose sur-
name was Duncan put a lighted 
lamp there-on and he made a 
nice speech, saying the lamp was 
a present from the neighbors given 
with love and good wishes and 
hoping as age dimmed their eyes
the light of the lamp would remind 
them of the love that would be a 
comfort to them as they pass on 
toward the end of life’s journey.  
They were so astonished they could 
only say “Thank you” but in their 
hearts they will remember the 
kindness of the neighbors and bless 
them for their friendship.  
And at midnight they departed 
every one to his own home.  



     Now the rest of the acts of the company. 
How they raced for potatoes and 
attached a candle appendage to 
the donkey and other things they did 
are they not written in chronicles of 
Giddings St?














Sounds like they had quite the party that night in Sherman with their neighbors  after their family who couldn't stay over went home.  The Evans home on Evans Hill Road was in Sherman, as were the Evans homes on Giddings St, so I'm not sure why it is called Gaylordsville here and in the next article.

Fast forward 13 more years, where their long marriage was celebrated in The Great Barrington Courier (where they had moved in their old age to be nearer their sons, Charles H and Edward).




This article appeared just 3 months before Charles died at age 83.
The Courier (vol. LXIX, page 1, 3 September 1903) extolled "the Berkshire Hills region being especially favorable to longevity and conducive to dispositions"




















































“I. MR. AND MRS. CHARLES EVANS, GREAT BARRINGTON. 

   Mr. and Mrs. Evans are an adopted 
son and daughter of Great  Barring-
ton, having been residents here for 
the past four years.    Prior  to that 
they lived here for several winters.  
The celebration of their fiftieth 
wedding anniversary occurred at 
their home on Rosseter street Tues
-day, January 23, 1900, a few days 
later than it naturally would have  
been because of illness on the part 
of Mr. Evans.  The event was no-
-table  in that for the second time 
there was a reunion of all the chil-
dren and  grandchildren, of the latter 
of whom there were four more to 
participate  in the second than in the 
first family gathering.   
     Charles Evans and Elizabeth Brad-
ford [Radford] were married in  Middlebury,
Conn., May 16, 1850 [January], the ceremony 
occurring at the  early hour of six 
o'clock in the morning.  Neither the 
clergyman or anyone present at the 
ceremony, the bride and groom ex-
cepted, is now  alive.  Most of the 
married life of Mr. and Mrs. Evans 
was lived at  Gaylordsville, Conn.; 
where Mr. Evans followed the  occu-
pation of a farmer, and also did more 
or less work as a carpenter. 
    He was the youngest and is the 
only survivor of a family of nine  
children, while his wife is also the only 
survivor in a family of four children.  
Both are in fairly good health, Mrs. 
Evans in particular.  She  is the 
possessor of a vigorous mind and 
takes an active interest in the Thurs-
days Morning Club meetings and in 
current affairs generally.  Mr.  and 
Mrs. Evans have sons and daughters 
as follows:  Messrs. Charles H.  and 
Edward Evans, the well known con-
tractors of this village; Mrs. Samuel  
G. Bristol, Milford, Conn.; Mrs. 
Edward Olmsted, Danbury, Conn.; 
Mrs. D.  H. Bronson, Beacon Falls, 
Conn., and Mrs. Charles Edwards, 
Seymour Conn.   Besides these they 
have 13 grandchildren."  

I think the month of their wedding listed above is a typo.  Here it is listed as MAY 16th instead of January.  The family celebrated in January, delayed a few days because of the health of Charles Evans.  I'm not sure what the first celebration referred to actually was; maybe their 40th anniversary party.
We know that Mrs Evans [Elizabeth] is in particularly good health, is busy with the Thursday Morning Club and current affairs.  He would die in three months, she in a dozen years hence.

This story raises a question:  why would anyone get married at 6 AM?
Any ideas?

Beers Radford (1784-1876)

After their wedding in January 1850, it appears that Elizabeth continued to live with her elderly father, Beers Radford and is listed as "Elizabeth Radford" not "Elizabeth Evans" in the census.  When the US Census was taken in September 1850, she is listed living with her widowed father in Middlebury CT, and Charles is listed as living with his older sister Lydia Evans in Sherman CT.  Since their first child was born in October 1851, they did move together after that census was taken.













©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014






Friday, May 9, 2014

Elizabeth in her own words!

After thinking of Elizabeth Radford Evans as the silent correspondent who received the letters from her cousin Louise in upstate New York describing the life of an an 1840s woman and
of Elizabeth Radford Evans as an elderly woman, profiled for her memory of multiple presidential campaigns and up to date on current events; we have a few things written by Elizabeth herself which give us a hint as to who Elizabeth was.  She might be busy with the chores of a mother and farm wife, but her mind was working too!


ππππππ

At some point she was in a reading circle.   There is no year included in her minutes for the meeting but the minutes themselves give a hint.


     And it came to pass in
the 3d month on the 16th day thereof
that some members of the Reading
Circle met at the house of Gay 
whose surname is Buckingham.
     And the president said let
order prevail among you.
      And he further said as our
Scribe is not with us, choose
ye one who shall perform his
duties at this time, and the
mother of the absent scribe was
chosen and she read unto them
the report of the last meeting
and the members approved thereof.
     And the president read from 
the book wherin is written of
Mexico and its conquest by the
Spaniards.
     Then a recess was had, when



each held converse with his neigh
-bor, and stories were repreated
that the great temperance speak
er told the day before.
     After a time more was read
even about some distinguished
poets their manners and habits
and the scribe read of Miss
Flora McKlimsey who dwells in
the great city of Gotham and
though she owned 500 dresses still
had nothing to wear.
     And after that the president said we
will now adjourn till the 29th
day of this 3d month when we
will meet at the house of George
who dwelleth in the Straits and
they did so.
                    E. H. Evans
                           Scribe



I found a blog post about "the fictional 'Miss Flora McFlimsey of Madison Square' whose complaint was that she has 'nothing to wear.'"  She first appeared in Harper's Weekly in the 7 February 1857 issue.  The blog Secondat (Sunday 17 January 2010), includes the poem and magazine illustrations that date from 1857 to 1863 including Miss Flora McFlimsey.  That poem dates that Reading Circle meeting to that era, when Elizabeth was a mother and farm wife raising children in Sherman -- in 1857, she has two children 6 and 4; by 1863, three children 12, 10, and 4 and yet finds time to go to twice monthly meetings of the Reading Circle.

ππ

The family found poems she wrote and transcribed them to share among her descendants by typing them up using carbon paper.


             -: OUR WANTS
1 Man wants but little here below
     Nor want that little long
   Thus Goldsmith wrote long long ago
     But this is not my song

2  Our wants are many more than I
     In a short time can tell
   And if you should not hear them all
     It were perhaps as well.

3  A few of our most pressing wants
     To you I now will mention
   If for a little you will give
     To me a slight attention.

4  We want the house of worship here
     Where we have met tonight
   All covered o’er with coats of paint
     To make it nice and white.

5  And to the windows we want blinds
     Put up wihen this is done
   To help exclude the winters cold
     And heat of summer sun.

6 To pay for these we want the cash
     Greenbacks both new and old
    Stamps of Nationals will do
      And silver coin or gold.

7 Kind friends we want that you tonight
     Shall give at least a score
   Of dollars toward this last great want
     We’ll find no fault with more.

8 If with our exercises here
     You have been pleased then try
   To have the contribution now
     Your pleasure testify.

9 But, if your weary of it all
     And wished you’d staid away
   Call it a humbug if you like
     But don’t forget to pay.

Composed by Elizabeth Evans
    In year of 1862
Greenwood Lake, Orange Co. N.Y.

Not sure why she was fundraising for a church in New York state, possibly visiting or vacationing. Greenwood Lake is across the Connecticut border and south of Sherman, down on the NY/NJ border.

ππ

Poem Written by Grandmother Evans, found on the back of Y.M.C.A. Poster  (no date)

Wake up, turn over, yawn and sneeze 
The weathers changed -- my feet will freeze 
Oh dear, how thin the blankets are 
I wish I had another pair, 
But ere I could my wishes tell 
In Morpheus arms again I fell 
And neer before had such a train 
Of dreams passed through a troubled brain. 
I thought I wandered all alone 
Far northward in the Frigid zone 
The cold moon shone on all around 
And brightened up the snow-clad ground 
And still no sign of life was there 
And I was sinking in despair 
When my ear, distinctly fell 
The tinkling of a distant bell. 
and Lapplander with sledge and deer 
Upon that snow clad plane apprear 
But deaf is he to call and cry 
For alike the wind he passes by 
And I am left alone again.  

Whose turrets seem to touch the sky 
Rose to my view -- toward it I pressed 
Thinking her to find warmth and rest 
But turret high and heavy walls 
And spacious rooms and lengthly halls 
Were made of ice -- it might have been 
The plaything of the Russian Queen.  

No more a brilliant throng  
Of merry skaters sped along 
Now far apart -- now side by side they glide 
They move so swiftly and so light I think them spirits of the night I try to flee, 
theyre on my track 
They overtake and bring me back, 
Shivering I wake and leave the bed 
With chattering teeth and aching head, 
In haste I seek the warmth and light Made by the glowing anthracite.  

Waking up on a cold winter mooring and ending with seeking the warmth and light of burning anthracite coal.

ππ

Of course she wrote letters, but not many have survived, to my knowledge.

A letter written to Charles from his mother, no year given:

     Dec 1
My dear son
One would have thought if you was doing New Haven you would have visited the land of “Your ancestors”  They are in the crypt under the Center church.  Edward has been there--- Alling & his wife and son Fitch Alling-my grandmother was Hannah Alling- married to Timothy Higgins.  There daughter Harriet Higgins married Beers Radford, their daughter Elizabeth married Charles Evans so you see where you come in.
      I had written so much when I found my pen was dry so waited till Earl could fill it.  He did that for me though some one else would do it as well.  I dont remember the name of the first Alling neither did Edward so you will have to go to the Center church to find out.
[the rest of this letter is lost]

Here she is giving her son Charles H Evans the information on her ancestors who were settlers in New Haven, CT and where to find their tombs.  Too bad the rest of the letter didn't survive.

ππ

In a letter written to her 12-year-old granddaughter Alice Olmstead, she mentions her great granddaughter Marjorie Evans who was born 3 May 1913.  So this letter was written on 3 May 1914, a year and a half before she died:

      Sunday PM.
My dear Alice,
   It is so good that you can write letter when your mother is busy or has a headache or anything else to hinder her and I was pleased to hear from Newtown as I already am.   It is a lovely day.  I roded down to the street when Edward took your aunt Kathleen to church I don’t go to meeting as it not possible to hear much of the service it tires me to listen so intensely.  I presume E & L.W. & K and the baby have gone for a drive.  It will do Mrs Edward a deal of good.  She has been so confined and it has been such bad going the car has been out only a week but the ground is getting settled now.
While I think of it did your mother find my kid gloves and comb when she was cleaning house I thought they would come from somewhere sometime 
Have you sowed Sweet peas yet?  Edward has made no garden at all
Charlie sent me arbutus yesterday and it scents the room
Marjorie is one year old to.day.  I gave her a teaspoon, the boys a fork and her other grandmother a cup and grand mother Smith sent her a dollar.  She is very well but  has only three teeth.
I am glad to hear uncle Alan is away and better.   Of course he will be better if he gets away from old things and friends
something new to think about
Your mother says Wilbur isn’t well.  He ought to work out in school but hates to give it up now this last terms but there is nothing like working out of doors in this season.  So your father is a carpenter that is nice for him.  Your mother washes, irons, bakes and sews as usual making old clothes look like new and I hope her children appreciate all the work she does for them.
There is no news only Wooster has a car so K can go now.  She wanted him to get one two years ago so she could drive it but had their business then.
Love to all, 
from grandmother

This letter mentions various children and grandchildren.  Now, one of her children is doing well enough to own a car in 1914, which she mentions casually along with the day-to-day nitty gritty.  She does make a point of telling her granddaughter Alice to appreciate all her mother (Grace Evans Olmstead) does for her and her four siblings.  She is showing her age, 89: she finds the church services tiring and hard to hear, but otherwise, she clearly is still on top of things mentally.

All these writings by Elizabeth adds a bit of humanity.  She is not just the young woman school teacher receiving letters from cousin Louise, or the 88 year-old who has led a long life which she can tell fascinating stories about presidential campaigns (which only one was included in the paper).



Everything in this blog post was shared with me by my wonderful 2nd cousin once removed, Craig.   Thank you Craig!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014
The link to this blog post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2014/05/elizabeth-in-her-own-words.html









Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A News Clipping -- Surprise!

Charles and Elizabeth Radford Evans in front of the home that Charles' parents
built about 1801 in Sherman, Connecticut.  This picture was taken before they "retired" to
Great Barrington, Massachusetts to be closer to their two sons.
In the late 1890s, Elizabeth and  her husband Charles moved a few miles north to Great Barrington to be closer to their sons who had moved their Evans Bros. construction company north to become the Barrington Builders.

Elizabeth Radford Evans is the woman who was corresponding with her cousin Louise (in the 1840s) who wrote the two letters that I shared in blog posts: Dear Cousins Elizabeth and Augusta and Dear Cousin ... 2 1/2 years later.  If  you recall in the first letter, Louise was talking about her "light reading" of novels by Sir Walter Scott, that her cousin would probably be criticizing her for not reading and keeping up with more important things -- then later in the same letter, she was discussing the evils of slavery and declaring herself an abolitionist.  Louise was keeping up with the world far beyond Madison County New York in the mid-1840s.  Fast forward a few decades, now Elizabeth is an 88  year-old widow, living in Great Barrington, and the local paper interviews her.


“The Berkshire Courier, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Thursday 20 March 1913, volume
LXXIX, no. 12, pages 1, 8

“REMINISCENCES.
One of Great Barrington’ Old
Ladies and Some of the Things
She Has Witnessed During Her
Long Life. ---Memory Excellent and
and Interest  Keen for Current
Events.

     Mrs Evans, mother of E. B. Evans
 of the Barrington Building Co., is
one of those ladies of an old school type
that is fast passing away.  In her
88th year she retains her mental fac-
ulties to a remarkable degree, and
her stories of the days when the na-
tion was young are wonderfully in-
teresting.  She has lived under the
administration of 22 presidents of
the United States, and in the dawn
of the administration of the 23d 
president, Woodrow Wilson.  She
was a young girl during the adminis-
tration of John Quincy Adams, and
witnessed some of the exciting inci-
dents attending the canvass of An-
drew Jackson.  On incident she re-
lates was of an ardent admirer of
Jackson crowing over a group of the
adherents of Henry Clay.  He was
riding along in the stage coach when
they stopped near a group of men
digging in the ditch.
     “Hurray for Jackson!”  souted the
stalwart Jackson supporter.  Each 
man in the ditch grabbed up a hand-
ful of sticky clay and hurled it at the
Jacksonian and shouted in unison:
     “Hurray for Clay!”
     She has witnessed the campaigns
of Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison,
Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, PIerce,
Buchanan, Lincoln, Johnson, Grant,
Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland,
Harrison, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft
and Wilson.
     Mrs. Evans graduated from Mt.
Holyoke college in the class of 1845,
and is one of the few members of 
that class alive today.  She entered
Mt. Holyoke eight years after its or-
ganization, and when the noted Mary
Lyon, was its president.















   She has seen 23 states admitted to
the union in the period of her long
and active life, namely:  Arkansas in
1836, Michigan, seven months later
in 1837, Florida in 1845, Iowa in 1846,
Wisconsin in 1847, California in 1850,
Minnesota in 1858, Oregon in 1859,
Kansas in 1861, West Virginia in 
1863, Nevada in 1864, Nebraska in 
1867, Colorado in 1876, North Dako-
ta in 1889, South Dakota has the same
year, Montana six days later of that
year, followed by Washington three
days after, Idaho in 1890, Wyoming
eight days later of the same year,
Utah in 1896, Oklahoma in 1907, and
more recently the territories of New
Mexico, organized in 1850 and Ari-
zona, organized in 1863, admitted fi-
nally into statehood, as well as the
organization of the district of Alas-
ka as a territory in 1868 and Hawaii
in 1900.  She has seen the acquisition
of the Phillippine Islands and of 
Porto Rico and the Isthmian Canal
zone pass into United States posses-
sions.
     Among the stories she tell was one
related to her by her mother, of an
oratoron the political platform who
made this prophecy:
     “We now have a confederation of
13 states, but, gentlemen there ex-
tends beyond us territory sufficient
for 13 additional states, even to the
far west, to the banks of the Missis-
sippi river.”
     Mrs. Evans has live the see that
oratorical prophecy, then so improb-
able, fully verified, and to see this
to the Pacific ocean, and extend its
power to the far islands of the sea.
She remembers well the early stage
coaches, which in their day were re-
garded as a wonderfully rapid means
of transportation.  She has seen
them superseded by the railway
trains and witnessed the advent of
the trolley cars, the aeroplane and 
wireless telegraphy, the telegraph
and telephone, and the era of talk-
in movie pictures.
     Through all these years time has
dealt leniently with her and her con-
versational powers are wonderfully
interesting, and her interest in cur-
rent event continues unabated.”

Clearly for decades, Elizabeth was not "just" a mother of four and a housewife busy with all her chores on a farm in rural Connecticut, she was continuing to keep up with current events as she had learned from her mother (Harriet Higgins Radford 1785-1846) who had also done that.

The big surprise, to me in the newspaper was
     Mrs. Evans graduated from Mt.
Holyoke college in the class of 1845,
and is one of the few members of 
that class alive today.  She entered
Mt. Holyoke eight years after its or-
ganization, and when the noted Mary
Lyon, was its president.

She attended college!!!  I never knew that anyone in my family had gone to Mt Holyoke Seminary, or that any woman in the family had been to college that early.  I contacted the school archives, and she never graduated, but she did attend college, 1844-1845.

Thanks to my 2nd cousin once removed who mailed me a copy of this newspaper and made this discovery and blog post possible.  Thanks Craig!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014
The link to this blog post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-news-clipping-surprise.html

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dear Cousins Elizabeth and Augusta... A revealing letter from Louisa P Radford






































In 1848, Elizabeth and Augusta Radford in Middlebury CT receive a letter from their cousin Louise Pauline Radford in Morrisville NY.  It was written on one large piece of paper, folded, addressed and mailed.  It contains wonderful clues of the life of a woman in the 1840s in rural USA.  She might be busy with housework, but her mind was very busy!

She starts with pleasantries, updates on the family, complaints about the loneliness with few neighbors, busyness of household chores and sewing, and coping with the solitude of life by reading novels.

Morrisville  May 31, /46
Dear Cousins Elisabeth and Augusta
I shall attempt no excuses
for not before acknowledging the receipt of your very
welcome letter, for I think it a silly thing to render
excuses for that which is inexcusable.
  It is now quite two months since you and Cousin
Augusta found  me, and with my usual ingratitude
I am delayed to render the simple recompense which
the Etiquitte of Epistolary Correspondence demands and
which dear Cousin Lizzie, I now put before you at the Eleventh
hours. ——-of our health (always the first consideration you know
I can render a favorable account.  Mother is much improved
Father comfortable.  Brother Emory came from the west last March
and is with us.  Sister Sarah works in the Factory near us
and your humble Lieut., installed housekeeper in Earnest.
—I am very lonely in this novel business.  We are not blest
with near neighbors and all with whom I once associated
are married or removed; but I have been so very busy lately
with my daily cares and sewing which I take in, that my
solitude is to me worse than solitary idleness.  So, to make
amends for not getting time for recreation during the day
I steal from Morpheus and have read the Waverly Novels
through in this stolen time, which business my anti-novel-
reading cousin will probably think is about right to be con-
nected with thieves etc Lest you may think me a reader of  Nomondes
I must say that I renounced them six years since (at which time
I had read all in the vicinity) but have taken them up occasionally
at least as often as P.P. R. James’ fell into my hands. and now for the


She apologies from wasting time on light reading that her cousin will criticize her for doing before going on to discussing local schools run by the county.  Parts of the description could easily have been written about schools 160 years later!  I found it interesting to read of the structure, county certification, teaching requirements and teacher preparation available then.

first time the Novels of Sir Walter Scott are in my hands, but
I read them after bed-time so they do not waste my time.
I have anticipations of receiving a lecture on Light Reading
from Cusin Lizzie!  What are the possibilities?  I shall shall answer it.
I have said so much of my self that I will now stop, it can
be of little moment the tho you what I am about . ———
—- Then are some things however which you may like to know
of our schools, our pastimes (political) and so on.  Of our schools
I can say, that the support they derive from the State is seldom
sufficient to defray al Expenses and in such case parents and
patrons are taxed.   Something is being done to support the schools
Entirely by the Public funds.  Our Supervision is some what different
from yours.  An officer called the Co. Superintendent is at the Source
of management in the County.  Each Town has a Superintendent and
each school Dist. thru Trustees  and Cl. Town Supt’s  give Certificates
of qualification as also does the Co. Supt. Any Teacher who is thought
fully competent to teach any Common School, receives sometimes
what is called a Co. Certificate which licenses this teacher to teach
any common school in the county without being again inspected
‘till the certificate is annulled according to Law, which happens only
in cases of misbehavior  or non-compentency.   Our State supports
our paper called Dist. School Journal and the Association of Teachers
supports another called The Teacher’s Advocate in Syracuse.  I will
send you one. —— I suppose we have some excellent schools. —
An institution termed the State Normal School is in Session
at Albany.  It is supported by the state partly and is devoted
to the Education of Teachers.  10 shillings a week to Ladies
and 8 to Gentlemen are allowed towards board and all
travelling expenses paid.  Then they go thru a course of Studies.
Dear Coz, how I have pestered you with details ——————-
  You have thrown down the Political gauntlet and I sup-
pose I must take it up or be called any thing but
coeur de lion.  Perhaps we ought for mere Patriotism’s sake to


For the rest of the letter, Louise then gets into the serious discussion of what every woman should be concerned about:  slavery!  She sees the political discussions of the day, such as free trade or tariff, insignificant to the real problem folks should be discussing and acting upon.

make war upon each other that the worlds may have this 
benefit of the sparks of light shrink off in the conflict.
Perhaps I can give a few reasons for being an abolitionist besides
the weighty - one that my father is.  I must first put the bridle 
on my pen that my prose do not degenerate to poetry
—The questions of National Policy so woven with what ought to
concern every woman, I profess to know little about.  But there 
is enough I cannot help knowing which throws all these “Party
Hobbies” into the shade.  Of Free Trade or a Tariff, a bank or Sub-Treasury
I know not the choice; but there is to me something in the
“institution” of Slavery that conquers my indifference to Politics
and makes me a certain Kind of Politician.  My views being general
are probably correct in the main, as nearly all acknowledge.  All
admit the inconsistency of a Free County’s cherishing Slavery.
I doubt not Cousin you will do so.  In the next place which
is the most important to us, as a nation, a sound heart and 
body free from disease with coarse of one, or a system abused
and disorganized, with perhaps a degree of soundness of brain
which only renders the realization of suffering more acute == I have
used myself to look upon Slavery with the almost abhorrence 
and to … you  how I would act would inform you how
I would have the Nation act.  I will as I best may, do all I can
to pull down this Institution of Crime and Abuse, and wen I favored
(I should not consider it a favor in any other case) with the right of
suffage I should consider myself trifling with a sacred trust if
I did not use it in behalf of the oppressed.  Some ask, “how are
you going to effect your object?”  I answer, not my standing idly by
and excusing myself.  We have all duties to do; Political duties as well
as social and religious ones.  …. ….      note is merely
the creature of his own will and consider himself absolved from all
responsibility in its use, but give him as more enlightenment under-
standing and quicken his sympathies and this folly ceases. ——-

She declares herself as an abolitionist.

I will not say more.  You may understand me to be thoroughly
antislavery and Pro- abolitionist.  I believe in action exertion for this
common weal of the people and the Slave.  As, my dear cousin
but look this horrid monster in the face for a moment.
What on the little questions of Terrifs and bank which can result
only in the gratification of a party feeling (in my eyes) compared
with that existing evil which is but this very Sum of villainy?
Which degraded our notion in the eyes of those very notorious 
in affect to despise and which rendered  our boasted Land
of The Free” also the prison of the slave.   I confess I can keep
no terms talking on this subject.  To rid our country of
the disgrace  and  sin of Slavery is a work which lies
before the people and it ought to be accomplished.  Then
when the sun shines on all God’s children in this land
as common recipients of his blessings, let the smaller Q’s
of national economy be arranged.  How absurd to devote
all the energies of the Physician to curing a scratch while
the diseased and dying body demand his restoring powers.


[addressed part of letter when folded]


Do forgive me for troubling you with so much nonsense badly
written.  Tis provoking when written well.  Answer me immedi-
atibly and I provide you you shall complain no more of my
negligence as a correspondent.  Yours affectionately  L.P. R.


Twenty-one year old Louisa/Louise Pauline Radford (1825-1894) wrote this letter to her cousins, sisters Harriet Augusta (1821-1897)) and Hannah Elizabeth Radford (1825-1915).  Her cousin, Elizabeth Radford, is my great great grandmother [Elizabeth Radford Evans].  I do not know about Elizabeth's paternal grandparents-- possibly, they are grandparents for Louise too.

Elizabeth's parents were Beers Radford (1784-1876) and Harriet Higgins (1785-1846) and a census and family tree search finds Louisa was the daughter of David Radford  (1790-1885) and Cornelia White (1792-1870).

There are online trees with descendants of David Radford, but no parents.  All of the census sources say that David Radford was born in Connecticut, as was Beers and his children.  David's children were born in Madison County NY

I have one more letter from Louisa that Elizabeth saved, that will be another blog post.

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2014
The link to this page is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2014/04/dear-cousins-elizabeth-and-augusta.html



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ruth Kirby: Who are you? and A Big Opps!

For years I have been trying to figure out who was my GGG'grandmother, Ruth Kirby Evans.  According to church records, she died on 21 March 1844 in Sherman Connecticut at age 63.   My grandmother, Marion Evans Dakin's notes on her family tree says her great grandmother was Ruth Kirby, born either in "Dover, New York or Canada" and married Jonathan Evans.

According to the Beekman Patent book (vol. 1, page 817), Jonathan was the son of John Evans of Dover, Dutchess County, NY.  By 1800, Jonathan and Ruth are married (probably in Dover) and have a baby, Lydia.  Soon they move over the border to Sherman, Connecticut to a house they built on Evans Hill Rd, and lived in the rest of their lives [Sherman SENTINEL, 16 October 1868 story on the oldest houses in town], and raised their nine children. This old house, even after over 213 years, has been owned by only two families: first Evans and now Mosenthal.

The EVANS family house on Evans Hill Road in Sherman CT
with Charles Evans and Elizabeth Radford Evans
(son and and daughter-in-law of Jonathan Evans and Ruth Kirby Evans).


Born "in Canada" is a bit broad for searching.  So, for years,  I've been looking in the Dover NY neighborhood for a KIRBY family for my Ruth.  There were two KIRBY families in Pawling NY in the 1790 census, George and William.  She died in 1844 at age 63, so in 1790 she would have been about age 9.  Each had white females and so are possible families.  BUT, then I found the Beekman Patent Book (VII, 575-579) has no mention of any Kirby family with a daughter named Ruth born about 1781, including George's and William's families.  This doesn't seem too promising.

So I got to searching recently, wondered if maybe she had been born over the border in Connecticut.  I found a Mrs. Ruth Kirby who died in Litchfield CT, maybe that was my Ruth Kirby's mother and she was named for her mother?  Worth a look.  I was looking a bit closer on GenealogyBank -- a source of old newspapers.

I found widow Ruth Kirby, with neighbors concerned about her and holding a "woodspell" -- a term I had not heard before but clearly a "wood supply" help-your-neighbors-event:
Wednesday 23 January 1805, Republican Watch-Tower (NY, NY), vol 5, issue 333, page 4:
    “Faith, Hope and Charity -- the greatest
of these is charity.”
    Monday the 7th inst, was proposed as a day 
to have a woodspell for Mrs. Ruth Kirby,
widow of Col. Ephraim Kirby, late of Litch-
field, deceased.  On which day received, by way
of presents, upwards of one hundred loads of
wood, excellent both for quantity and qua-
lity.
    Such acts of benevolence, display an hono-
rable trait of goodness in human nature.--
They also demonstrate more than words can
do is what regard the character of Col. Kir-
by and his family are estimated in the town
of Litchfield, where their merits are best
known.
    The greatest order and even solemnity was
visible on the occasion.
Let gratitude in acts of goodness show
  Our love to God, in love to man below.
Be this our joy--to calm the troubl’d breast.
  Support the weak and succour the distress’d
Direct the wanderer, dry the widow’s tear,
  The orphan guard, the sinking spirits cheer.
Tho’ small our power to act, tho’ weak our
  skill,
God see the heart--He judges by the will. 
                      A. Mer.”

Sadly, I found the first death notice for Ruth Kirby, widow of Col. Ephraim Kirby just a month after her delivery of fuel for the winter:
Friday, 22 February 1805, Albany Register  (Albany, NY), vol. XVII, issue 1370, page 2:
“DIED,
At Litchfield, Conn. Mrs RUTH KIRBY, wid-
ow of the late Col. Ephraim Kirby, deceased.”

Followed over a month later by:
Friday, 29 March 1805, Albany Register (Albany NY), vol. XVII, issue 1380, page 2
    “In the account published in our paper sev-
eral weeks since, of the death of Mrs. RUTH
KIRBY, consort of the late EPHRAIM KIR-
BY, Esq. deceased, and which we copied
from the Pittsfield Sun, we are happy in
being able to inform our readers is amply 
contradicted.”

Opps!

I guess Ruth Kirby, upon reading the newspaper could sympathize with a future Mark Twain who sent an 1897 note to London reporter Frank Marshall White, "The report of my illness grew of his [cousin's] illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration." [en.wikiquote/wiki/Mark_Twain]

She did live another 12 years:
“Monday, 3 November 1817, Connecticut Mirror (Hartford CT), vol. IX, issue 19, page 2
“DIED...
--At Litchfield, on the 17th ult. 
Mrs Ruth Kirby, aged 64, relict of the late E. Kirby, Esq.”

The Ephraim Kirby family was in the 1800 census in Litchfield CT but Ephraim had died by the 1810 census.  Searching for any evidence of their children on Ancestry.com, I did find a few people who have put up trees for this KIRBY family, they have no daughter Ruth born any time near 1781.  More recently on Americanancestors.com, I did find the marriage of Ephraim Kirby and Ruth Marvin on 17 March 1784 in Litchfield, CT -- unfortunately that is 4 years after MY Ruth Kirby was supposedly born.

Anyone in Canada have a KIRBY family with a daughter named Ruth born about 1781?

EVANS/MOSENTHAL family house in September 2012
(various additions over the years)


The link to this post is: http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2014/03/ruth-kirby-who-are-you-and-big-opps.html

©2014 Erica Dakin Voolich