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 HEARTY Mary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HEARTY Mary. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Gaylordsville Tanner and the the Uppsala Swimming Society

Last May I received an email:

Dear Erica-
I am working on a short history article about the Uppsala Swimming Society for an upcoming issue of SWIMMER magazine, the official publication of U.S. Masters Swimming. In researching the topic, I came across your book, A Ring and a Bundle of Letters. I was intrigued by a note on page 194 that indicated that Knut Hellsten wrote a history of the Uppsala Swimming Society and I wondered whether you had a copy of that document or could you point me to where I might be able to view this history? (I’m based in Waltham, MA if that helps!) 

Many thanks for any assistance you can provide!

Well, of course there was a story and connection
surprise someone besides myself was interested.

Eric Helsten was born in Uppsala in 1822 and in Uppsala there was a swim society, Upsala Simaällskap, that was started in 1796 by the mathematician and astronomer, Jöns Svanberg. The goal was to teach swimming and water safety to the children in the local rivers until they built a swimming pool in 1841.  Eric grew up learning how to swim and 13-year-old Eric even won a wreath for his achievements in the annual competitions in 1835.

Eric must have been proud of this achievement, because when he came to the US in 1845, this laurel wreath traveled with him.  It was in his belongings after he died in 1903.  His granddaughter Marion Evans Dakin gave it to me years later, when I was on a swim team  throughout high school.

Eric was one of 13 children.  One of his younger brothers, Knut, was the "studious, intelligent" one of all the children.  Knut became a well-known and beloved educator in Uppsala.  Eric's father died leaving this large family for his wife to raise, the youngest was only a few months old when their father died.  So, it was a stretch for the family to keep sending Knut to school, and Eric was mailing money home from Gaylordsville, Connecticut to help the family in Uppsala.  Knut was the author of the history of the Uppsala Swimming Society for their 90th birthday celebration -- this booklet in Swedish is the information Elaine, my correspondent, hoped I had to share.

Elaine had a friend who read the booklet in Swedish and summarized it in English for her.
The Swedes weren't swimmers before seeing Russian prisoners who could swim, mostly "dog paddle."  The Swedish Swim society emphasized both front and back swimming, with and without clothes on, carrying someone, treading water, moving a stone under water, and more.  Much of this sounds like things I needed to learn for both my own safety in the water and maybe saving someone else-- however, I was only picking up something small on the pool bottom rather than moving a stone.

At the Society's 90th year celebration in 1886, there were honored guests, including Eric, who were given certificates.  Here is Eric's, but we have no evidence he actually made it to Uppsala for the celebration.

Four years after learning to swim in 1835, there was the pressing need to help support his family--his father died in 1839 leaving 13 children, the youngest was 7 months old.  Each of the older children worked in different jobs.  Eric as the oldest boy was apprenticed to be a tanner, just as his father and grandfather before him.  By 1844, Eric was a Journeyman tanner, traveling around the country for a year looking for work.  Then in 1845, he immigrated to Havilland Hollow, New York and went to work as a tanner.  He saved his pennies, and in 1849 he married and then, in 1852 he and his wife Mary Hearty moved to Gaylordsville, Connecticut where he had his own tannery.

Eric's tannery was on the Wimisink Brook, very near the Housatonic River.
Working hard over the years to maintain his businesses, Eric didn't forget what he learned in Sweden.  Sixty years later, Eric saved a man from drowning on 22 September 1895 and then wrote a pamphlet about how to do it.
I have not found a copy of the pamphlet.  I do have the copyright

and a letter about how to copyright and advertise and sell:

He did follow  D W Beach's advice and even got letterhead made:

And this brings us back to the Uppsala Swim Society and Elaine K. Howley's article.  She took the time to research the society and her article is in the September/October issue of SWIMMER magazine.

Right at the top of the article is Eric's ad that was run in newspapers across the country advertising the directions on how to save a man from drowning!

Isn't that part of what Eric learned in his swimming lessons back in 1835!

The link to this blog post is
©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2016.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Life Re-Routed thanks to the 1918 Pandemic

Marion Evans before her marriage, 1912 in Gaylordsville Connecticut

Marion Evans was born in Sherman Connecticut 11 February 1886, the 2nd daughter of Charles Harold Evans and Caroline Matilda Helsten.  Her father Charles and her uncle Edward had built houses next door to each other, at the foot of Evans Hill Rd. where their parents, Charles Evans and Hannah Elizabeth Radford lived on the top.  On the other side of that same hill in Gaylordsville, lived Marion's maternal grandparents, Eric Adolf Helstein and Mary Hearty.

Charles and Edward had a busy house construction business in Sherman and Gaylordsville.  In 1888, they decided to move their families and their business north to Great Barrington, Massachusetts where there was a building boom going on.  Charles and Edward Evans opened the Barrington Building Co. which ended up building not only houses but also a high school their daughters attended and other large buildings around the community over the years.

Neither Charles, nor his wife Caroline had any college education.  They might have attended high school but I don't know.  It is clear that education was important to them: Caroline was involved with the Current Events Club and Charles with the Sons of the American Revolution in Great Barrington.  Charles' mother, Hannah Elizabeth Radford Evans, amazingly had one year of college back in 1844-1845.  Caroline's immigrant parents -- Eric Adolf Helsten and Mary Hearty-- came in the mid-1840s and did encourage at least one of their 4 children (Sarah) to have education beyond high school.

Both Marion (1904) and her older sister, Clarice (1902), graduated from Searles High School.  Clarice taught in local schools before going on and getting degrees and eventually teaching at Jersey City State Teachers College in New Jersey starting in 1937.

As young unmarried women in the early 1900s, they needed to have jobs.  One might live at home, but unless you had wealthy parents, you needed to support yourself.   Both Marion and Clarice were in school at the same time, each graduating in 1908 -- Marion from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York with a degree in Domestic Science; Clarice from Connecticut's State Normal Training School in Danbury with a teaching certificate-- each with a two-year degree.

Marion's first job out of college was teaching high school domestic science in Saginaw Michigan.  Then she came back east and took courses at Columbia Teachers College for 2 years.    Her skills caught the attention of the philanthropist Helen Gould (daughter of Jay Gould) who hired her teach nutritional cooking classes for women in Roxbury New York during the summer of 1912.  She worked for Helen Gould all year, helping with setting up a new organization's chapter, the Campfire Girls, in Irvington New York and typing a book of sermons for a minister there.  When not working, she would be back home in Gaylordsville Connecticut.  Her parents were now living in her Helsten-grandparents' former home just over the Housatonic River from Robert Edward Dakin who was back at his parents' home working on the Bulls Bridge Power Plant addition.
Wedding of Marion Evans and Robert Edward Dakin, 1913

Marion and Robert Married on 13 September 1913 in Gaylordsville.  Rob was and engineer working projects around the state.  So, they would set up house-keeping and when the job required that they move, they did.  So they had three children born in three different towns. Robert Edward Jr was born in Danbury on 15 May 1915, dying the next day.  Theodore Robert was born in New Haven on 11 November 1916.  Edward Evans was born in Derby on 28 January 1918.  In August 1918 the family had moved again, this time back to Danbury so Rob could work on the dam at Stevenson over the Housatonic River.

Marion's busy daily life with children and running the household was abruptly disrupted by the flu pandemic that was sweeping all over the world.  On Saturday 30 November, Rob got sick.  Marion had two young children -- a two year old and a 10 month old along with a sick husband.  She sends her older child to stay with Aunt Mary in Gaylordsville and her mother Carrie Helsten Evans comes down to help.  By Wednesday 4 December, her son Edward was sick, as was her mother Carrie.  On Tuesday 10 December, her mother Carrie dies, the next day, her son Edward Evans died and on Thursday there was a double funeral.  The next Monday, her husband Rob died.  So, in 5 days, Marion lost her mother, son and husband to the flu -- she was now a 32 year old widow with a two year old son -- her life had dramatically changed.

She initially moved back to her father's home to decide what to do; he had lost his wife, son-in-law and grandson with all those deaths but they had no time to grieve.  Marion needed to go back to work, she had a son to raise.  What to do next?   In 1918 there wasn't social security for a widow raising a child.  Luckily she already had some education to build upon.  Probably not true for many other families who were devastated by the Influenza Pandemic.

Marion decided to go to the University of Chicago for courses in nutrition during the 1919 spring  term with her father going along as "baby tender" -- so Marion, son Ted and her father Charles traveled from Connecticut to Chicago and moved in with her sister Clarice who was teaching industrial arts at the Laboratory School there.
Marion at Pratt Institute

After a quarter at U of C, Marion was hired at her alma mater, Pratt Institute, to teach home economics.  Off they all go to Brooklyn New York -- Marion taught at Pratt for two years before being hired by Connecticut Agricultural College (now U Connecticut) as Connecticut's first Extension Nutritionist in February 1921.  She retired from U Conn in July 1946.  Her son Ted grew up on the Storrs campus with students who would trade child care for room & board. 

In her job, she was writing extension bulletins on food preparation and also giving talks to local groups and large Expositions and State & County fairs all over the state of Connecticut.  

You already know she had taken many courses and many different schools.  She decided to take a leave of absence for a semester and enrolled as a student in the college where she was on the faculty and completed her bachelors degree in teacher training in home economics -- graduating from Connecticut Agricultural College on 9 June 1930.  

When her father Charles died in 1928 in Savannah Georgia on a train home from Florida to New York, one of the obituaries listed his three surviving children and Marion was listed as the wife of a professor at Connecticut Agricultural College!!  Her husband had died ten years earlier, SHE was on the faculty, he NEVER was!

Years after she died, in 1974, the university decided to honor the "pioneer women educators" with a plaque and garden outside Holcolm Hall.  Ion 22 October 1991, went to the dedication as did Wilma Keyes, the only survivor of the honorees.

"The women were faculty members of the  School of Home Economics who lived and taught in Holcomb Hall.  Built in  1922, Holcomb Hall replaced the first women's building, Grove Cottage,  which burned in 1919. 
Memorialized for their pioneering efforts to educate UConn women  are:  M. Estella Sprague, Marion Dakin, Gladys Hendrickson, Wilma Keyes,  Lillis Knappenberger, Marie Lundberg, Lisbeth Macdonald, Edith Mason,  Elizabeth Putnam, and Elsie Trabue.  All taught in what was then the  school of Home Economics and is now the School of Family Studies.  Keyes is the only one of the ten still living.  Her art and design courses led  to the establishment of the University's present department of Art in the School of Fine Arts. 
The Pioneer Women Educators Memorial is a gift of three UConn women... 
'These women were part of the progressive wave who were seeking to  carve out new opportunities and careers for educated women,... Home  Economics was one of the new areas and these pioneers  taught our generations of women to reach beyond the accepted roles of teacher, nurse and librarian.' 
"Martha Fowlkes, Dean of UConn's School of Family Studies, comments:  'Our School is proud and grateful beneficiary of the contributions of the  women educators in whose honor the garden is dedicated.  Through their  accomplishments in the field of Home Economics, these women represent  both the University's history of women's educational achievement and its  attention to the importance and dignity of families and the lives of  women, both inside and outside the home..."  

There was irony of the picture of Marion at the top of this page.  She is sitting in the wagon, the mode of transportation around Sherman and Gaylordsville.  Soon after the picture, she married and her husband was an engineer who needed to travel around the state.  So, by the time he died, he was driving a car.  After he died and she took the job as the first Extention Nutritionist in Connecticut, in 1921 she was driving around the state to make presentations.   By the time she died, she & Ted had not only taken a boat to England to visit her sister in 1929, and then before she died she had traveled by plane to Sweden and then Japan.  To top it all off, she even watched the landing of man on the moon in 1969. Could she have even imagined the changes in transportation in her lifetime when sitting in that family wagon.

More details on the life of Marion Evans Dakin (11 February 1886-4 July 1974) are included in my article that was published in TIARA Newsletter, 2 September 2015, vol. 32, no 3.   TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) had a focus issue on Researching the Lives of Women.

The link to this post is
©Erica Dakin  Voolich 2016

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dear Uncle!

Eric Adolf Helsten immigrated to the United States in 1845.  He married Mary Hearty, an Irish immigrant, in 1849.  They worked hard and raised a family in Gaylordsville Connecticut.  None of his dozen siblings followed him, however, he kept in touch with letters that were shared back home between his mother and siblings.  One can only imagine how life in the the USA must have looked from afar to the children of a brother who was not doing very well back in Sweden.

Eric’s niece Johanna Carolina Hellsten decides to write to her uncle, appealing for funds to travel:

Sweden, Mosås and Södrabro
24 May 1867

Good Day, beloved Uncle!

Please be so good as to pardon me that I, as the daughter of Uncle’s Brother Carl, with this our taking the liberty to write these lines, which my father does not have time to do, to divulge my heartfelt wish and to beg for an affectionate and happy answer to the questions below, that for me are extremely important and have bearing on my future.

As my dear Father this last year has ceased his work as a brewer and country shop owner and now lives in reduced circumstances and therefore can not afford to keep all four of us children at  home, I, as a big, strong, healthy seventeen  year old girl, used to brewing, commerce, and rough work and who longs for work in an unknown country where no one finds fault with one’s honest work or despises the virtuous for his poverty.
This in addition to the fact that many of my acquaintances have already left for, the employer America, which is why I, too, this fall intend to go there, if some noble person would help me with travel money and good advice at the arrival.

Since I have heard that Uncle is rich and happy in the country to which many long to go, I now set my hopes and prayers to Uncle for a kind answer to:

Could my dear Uncle please be so kind as to via a postal order to Upsala or a letter give, or, if need be, loan me 200 Kr for travel money?

Could my Uncle have use for, or know somebody, me as hired help for anything?

Could Uncle extend a helping and protecting hand to me at my arrival and until I have a position?

 Does Uncle believe that a poor, but swift and untiring, girl can in an honest way earn a meager living through the work of her hands?

Please be so kind and make me  happy with a longed for answer mailed to my or my father’s address “Sweden Mosås and Södrabo”, which will decide my future fate, because if I receipt travel money and good advice, I plan to leave this fall.

My parents are, thank the Lord, in good health despite all their trouble and ask to send their heartfelt greetings in this letter, and also with loving thoughts for my future give me permission to leave.

In sincere hopes of Uncle’s loving kindness to me, with much respect, the grateful niece now persists.

Johanna Carolina Hellsten

Such a heartfelt appeal.  It turns out it came along with a letter from her father, Carl Robert Hellsten (Karl, Calle).  He confirms their desperate situation and appeals for both of them to come to the USA.

Örebro and Yellersta 
26 May 1867

Brother Eric

It is many years since we last exchanged letters and many things have happened since then.  You know from my last letter that I was thinking of going to America.  Now this trip has again come to my mind and even my oldest daughter Johanna wishes to do the same trip.  Wherefore she here encloses her letter to you.  

It is our wish since we hear many tempting letters from America from the ones how have gone there.  I do know that everybody is not lucky in America but that hard work and frugality is a way to blessing.  But here in Sweden it is a dishonor to work because vanity has taken over.  I have now been on my own for eighteen years and during this time made myself know to be frugal, sober and to work hard but this is not enough here.  Under this time of 18 years, I have  had a general store and during the last 10 years also had a brewery but in spite of all this I had to declare bankruptcy last fall and during this last winter have started to do cork cutting.  But loss in circumstances are such her that it is not worth it for the poor to try since [if] he has [declared] bankruptcy [and] if he manages to work, everything up again he loses whatever he inherits or earns without mercy. What then do you have for all the work you do?  

In the enticing letters I have read from America they testify to the one who wants to work there does not need to starve.  I think I know that all who go to America do not have luck there but it is even so an advantage that you do not have to be ashamed over earning a living in an honest manner.  If my information about America is not complete, I ask  you to inform me about this but judging from the information I have received, America has big preferences for Swedes.  Why should one then bind oneself then to this meager country?  

Some of my neighbors have now gone to America and others plan to but we don’t have the money to go.  Please give us a complete information as possible and if you consider it reasonable for us to try to work in America and then help us both with the money that  you have here in Sweden to lend us as travel money to America.  Our brother Theodor Emanuel in Upsala has them.  We want to work off the money when we come to you.  This is the only security I can give you if you would be kind enough to help me us.

Write an answer soon and  help us if you find you would like to do so.  Let me also know if brewing beer is profitable in America and also if cork cutting is profitable.  If the trip there happens, I would prefer to work in a brewery or, if that’s not possible, in another kind of factory.  I assume that  you  have some Swedish acquaintances in New York that you could be kind enough to address us to when we arrive.

Now dear brother I have written about all that concerns the trip to America.  We can have much to write about but it is much better to be able to have a real conversation about it.  I will also mention that all of us siblings are alive and as far as I know everyone is in good health.  

Lovis is married to a shop owner 20 Km from here whose name is A Nelzon.  Mari is close to Stockholm, Lina is in Upland and not far from Upsala Erica and Wennström are well.  Tilda is in Stockholm.  Ottiljana is in Upsala with our maternal aunt.   Now as before, Edla is a manager (director) at the Upsala Hospital.  Manne is a watchmaker in Upsala.  Frans is a goldsmith in Upsala Oskar is a watchmaker in Stockholm.  Knut is a teacher in the big school in Upsala.  Everyone has it well except for me and Oskar.  Oskar declared bankruptcy the same time I did and now I don’t know how he has it.

I hereby end this letter for this time with a kind greeting for yours from us.

Your brother, Carl

Carl Hellsten, Johanna's father

Such heartfelt appeals to Eric, uncle and brother in the USA who must have wealth and success from his hard work, doesn’t everyone?

Does Eric send the requested funds as his niece suggested and bring over his niece and brother?
Or, does Eric let then use the funds that their brother Manne is holding for Eric in Uppsala?

Erica does write in pencil on the bottom of Carl’s letter “From L there are two steamers leaving or more every week.”  He checks out the costs and availabilities for travel.  Travel is much better in 1867 than when he and his wife came in steerage in the equivalent of the “coffin ships” — no steamers for their earlier, much longer, trips.  The travel across the Atlantic Ocean has improved in the last couple of decades.

The letter beloe from his brother Manne (Theodor Emanual Hellsten) indicates Eric’s decision and the means of funding the trip, instead of just sending the suggested 200 Kr each to cover the trips.

Upsala 29 October 1867

Best Brother Eric!

From our heart I wish your daughter and son-in-law happiness and blessings.  We’d also like to thank  you for the pictures that you sent us.  As you promised in a letter to our brother Carl that he or his oldest daughter Hanna could borrow your inheritance from our parents to pay for the trip to America and Hanna decided to go, I have now sent the money to Lovis, she is married and living in the neighborhood of Örebro as you probably know with a request to her that she give the money to Hanna when she is ready to travel.  The reason why the sum of money isn’t bigger can be explained by the following statements.  While our mother was alive, she lent Calle 700 crowns which including interest 6% counted up to the day of dividing up the estate 3 November 1864 adds up to 77 crowns 37 öre which sum he has not been able to pay back.  When you subtract from this sum his inheritance he still owed each and everyone of his siblings 36 crowns, 45 öre.  About a year ago he had to go bankrupt without any assets.  At the time of the partition of the inheritance, we siblings did decide to send you at some time a gold ring that belonged to mother and she used and also a teaspoon since we wanted you to have a tangible memory from our parents’ home.  These things I will send to Lovis at the same time as the money and ask her to give them to Hanna to bring to you after a safe trip.  I now have to end these lines with many loving greetings from all of us to you and yours.

Your brother Manne

My wife sends many greetings to you and promises to write at another time.

So Eric will fund one of his two family members to travel at this time.
His mother Lovisa Charlotta Robert Hellsten died in 1863.  There was a small estate which brother Manne was the executor.  Eric’s share has been held in Uppsala and managed by Manne. BUT, the funds are not as large as Eric expected because there was a debt: brother Calle had borrowed 700 Kr from their dear departed mother and never repaid her and now that debt is shared equally among the other 12 siblings.

Manne has forwarded the travel funds to their sister Lovis in Örebro who lives near Calle and Johanna and Lovis will give the money to Hannah (Johanna) when she is ready to travel.  He did not forward the funds directly to his bankrupt brother.

Eric’s sister Otillia writes him on 29 October 1867:
Hanna who has the courage to travel to America[,] yes god[,] let her happily and well arrive there

This letter from Manne was written to Eric at the end of October 1867.
So, did Johanna immediately leave for the USA in the fall of 1867?

Maybe waiting till spring might make for a more pleasant transatlantic crossing.
Stay tuned.

©2015 Erica Dakin Voolich
The link to this post is

Thursday, May 14, 2015

That Elusive HEARTY Clan!

I joined TIARA's annual research trip to Northern Ireland for a week in May searching for the ancestors of Mary Hearty, my great great grandmother.

Owen Hearty was the father of Mary Hearty who traveled as a single woman on one of the “coffin ships” bringing Irish immigrants to New York in 1848. She married Swedish immigrant Eric Adolf Helsten in 1849.  They lived in Haviland Hollow NY until they bought a tannery and moved to Gaylordsville CT.  She received two letters from her father (1849, 1851), signed “your father Owen Hearty” and the return address said he was from Dorsey (letters mailed from the neighboring parish Newtownhamilton).  Her marriage certificate says she was born in Dorsey Townland, Creggan Parish, County Armagh. Dorsey is located in the Barony of Upper Fews and Union of Castleblaney.

Her father’s letters do mention various cousins: Owen Mooney, Peter Garvey, Ellen Mooney and Francis Hearty.  There is also a sister Elizabeth (Betty) mentioned.  But no mother.

The above is what is known from information on "this side of the pond."  What can be found in the Irish records about Mary's family?  Some the following,  I determined before my trip and confirmed when in Belfast.


We have Owen Hearty in the Tithe Applotment list, in 1828 in Dorsey.  Owen is no. 91 and has 4 Acres, 2 Roods, 12 Perches and a half yearly Rectorial Tithe of 3s. 8 1/2 d., he is listed along with Arhur Heatey and Patt Heatey in Dorsey.  

The tithe applotment is a list of farmers.  If he was included in that list, he wouldn’t have been included in the Ordnance Survey taken in 1837 because he didn’t own at least 5 acres [only two properties were listed for Dorsey].  

The Griffith’s Valuation was taken in the Dorsey area in 1864.  There are 5 Hearty families listed in Dorsey:  Bernard Herty Sen, Francis Herty, Mary Herty, Mary Herty and Patrick— but not Owen Hearty.  If he were still living and living WITH someone, he would not have been listed because, only the “leasee” was included.  

The Cancellation Books update the ownership of the lands listed in the Griffiths.  Dorsey Electorial Division, Union of Castleblayney, Parish of Creggan, Barony of Upper Fews, pages 10, 11 includes the handwritten notations of “(Owen)” after the name Patrick Herty.  It also includes, the second “Mary” crossed out and “Patrick” written above and “(Mary)” right after that.  The crossed out names mean that land was next leased to the person whose name was written above it.  The name in ‘(,)” is an unexplained notation.


I went thru the rent leases from the landlord,  Walter MacGeough Bond in the family Estate stored at PRONI — there were two Hearty leases:
(1) Terence Hearty (Acreage: 8.3.10), 1 Nov. 1800
• in the part of Dorsey called Tulinlavin, yearly rent 8.8.2
• length of lease: 3 lives, including himself, his eldest son James, and princess Amelia

(2) John Hearty, Tulllinlavin, 1 Jan 1801,
• written on front: Terence Mackin and Pat Hearty “Mary”
• the map inside includes land bounding the property of Bernard Hearty.
• length of lease: 3 lives including himself, his eldest son Patrick (age 10), and princess Amelia

Most of the extensive MacGeough Bond family files were not for Dorsey or didn’t included any leases related to Owen Hearty [I don’t know his parents, so don’t know if these two leases apply to Owen — a father, cousin, uncle, possibly.]


I went thru the only Catholic Register from that time period in that area that is still in existence:
Creggan Parish Upper, Crossmaglen, Marriage Records and Baptisms 1796-1803, 1812-1829, 1845-1881 [MIC 1D/43/1]  [The current Dorsey townland is 4 miles northeast of Crossmaglen.]

• 15 February 1814: Owen Hearratty and Cathe McKenna
wits Felix Hanratty and Patk McVeagh

• 16 March 1823, Mary and Bridt of Edward Herherty
and Mary Herherty of Thomas Rubb
and Anne Callaghan and Mary Herherty

• 23 July 1824, Anne of Jame Heart and Mary Quin
Gs Owen Heaherty and Brid. Owens

• 26 Dec 1824, John of Edwd Keane and Mary Gregory
Gs Owen Heaherty and Bridt McNally

• 6 August 1819, Owen Heaherty and Rose McConnel
Wits Bryan McCauve and Mary Megill

• 29 July 1818, Edmd of Owen Heaherty and Cathe Kelly
Gs Patk Hearherty and Sara Humphy

• 23 Oct 1797, Patk Heaherty and Cathe Nouds
Wits Adam Lamb and Anne Reilly

• 2d July 1797, Peter s. to Owen Heaherty and Cathe Holland
Gs Edmd Heaherty and Bridget Heaherty

• 9 Dec 1796, Patk. s to Ths Murry and Mary
Heaerty Gs Patt McShory and Anne Ronghan

• 23 Oct. 1796, Anne of Michael Hearty and Margt Donoehy 
Gs Thomas Hearty and Margt Callaghan

It is hard to tell if Owen Hearty married 3 times or if this is three different people.
There was no birth record for Mary Hearty in this parish register.
Parts were very hard to read.  Maybe this wasn’t the part of Creggan Parish that she was baptized.


I checked the Workhouse records for County Armagh and did not find Owen Hearty, Mary’s father in them. 

I looked for the school records — none survived for Dorsey when Mary Hearty or her sister Betty Hearty would have attended. The Dorsey description page in the Ordnance Survey said that Dorsey had a National School (1837) which the sisters  could have attended.  


The Hearty family/clan has been in the townland Dorsey for many years. 
According to the Dorsey page on the Creggan Historical Society’s site, Turlagh O’Heartye was in the 1664 Hearth Money Rolls valuation, and James Herety & Owen Herety were in the 1766 Census of Creggan.  So the Hearty family [O’Hearty clan] has been there for hundreds of years.  Mary and her father Owen Hearty were most likely descendants of Turlagh, James and Owen, but I could not find any connection between the generations.

My great great grandmother Mary Hearty Helsten was the daughter of a poor tenant farmer, Owen Hearty.  We do not know who was her mother or grandparents. We do know she had Garvey and Mooney cousins.  Possibly she had Garvey and Mooney grand or great grandparents along with Hearty grandparents.  But that is unknown at this point.  Unfortunately, as a poor tenant farmer, there is a lack of records.  They were not part of of a wealthy family like the MacGeough Bonds who were the land owners of the small plot Owen farmed and lived on.  That family is well-documented with thousands of pages of family and business records archived at the Public Records Office in Belfast (PRONI).  

The few records that do exist for all the folks living and working the land are actually ways to document in order to “tax.”  The Hearth Money Rolls (1664) were to tax folks based on how many hearths they had — taxing for warmth and cooking ability in your cottage!!  The Tithe Applotment Rolls (1828) was valuing the piece of land for collecting tithes for the official church, whether you were a member or not!  I guess as much as my ancestors probably felt unfairly taxed, hundreds of years later, I can be thankful that the officials kept good records!


After a week of searching in the Public Records Office (PRONI) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, my elusive HEARTY and  RICHARDSON ancestors remain elusive.  If you think I don’t know much about the pedigree of my HEARTY family — I know even less about my RICHARDSON pedigree in Ireland!

©2015, Erica Dakin Voolich
The link to this page is

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Letters from Home during the Great Famine in Ireland

Letter from home, 1849, written on one side, folded up and addressed
on the other side of the  piece of paper -- no envelope needed.

Mary Hearty was born in March 1823 in Parish Creggan, Townland Dorsey, County Armagh, Ireland.  She immigrated to Haviland Hollow New York in 1848 and married a Swedish immigrant, Eric Adolf Helsten in 1849.
After her granddaughter, Marion Evans Dakin died in 1974, two letters from Mary's father, Owen, were found in the family desk.  The two letters along with Mary and Eric's wedding certificate are the only family artifacts we have about Mary's family back home.

I have found her father Owen Hearty, in the 1828 Tithe Applotment in Dorsey as a small tenant farmer with 4 acres, 2 roods and 12 perches (a bit less than 5 acres)-- not exactly a large farm to support a family in good times, let alone the bad ones.  The letters mention a sister, Betty, and some cousins (Peter Garvey in Youngstown OH, Ellen Mooney in Syracuse NY,  Larggh Hearty in Philadelphia PA, and Frances Hearty in USA) but no mother.  I do not have a name for her mother.
Letter from Owen Hearty in Dorsey, to his daughter
Mary Hearty in Haviland Hollow, NY, 11 July 1949.
Haviland Hollow Putnam
County State of New York
Care of Benjamin Cowl
for Mary Hearty”

Mr Owen Hearty
Dorsey and Cragon
Newtown Hamletown
Aragon Parish

        “Dorsey July 11th 1849
My Dear daughter I am glad to Hear
That you are in good health and so are
we all in at present I am going to lot you
Know that Bety sent a leter and send as
much money as will Bringe Barney and Bety
Over to  you and the time is so Bad that I cant
send none and the will give it to you when
the will get it and this Country is going to the
Bad your father is not staut and if you can get
money send it Home No more at present
But remain your Father Owen Hearty
                    of Dorsey

Mary Hearty married Eric Adolf Helsten on 12 August 1849, shortly after the first letter was sent from  Ireland.  She has probably been working as a maid for Benjamin Cowl in Haviland Hollow and Eric has probably been working in Cowl's tannery in Haviland Hollow.  Times as tough back home, the potato crop has failed, please send money to help her sister Betty come to USA.  

Mary received one more letter from her father, Owen, dated 24 January 1851.  This is much longer, has some news from people back home who have come to the USA, still appealing for money.

Mr E. A. Helsten
Heviland Hollow P.Off
State New York America
postmark:  Castleblayney JA23 1851

Dorsey January 24th 1851
Dear Mary
I received your Letter
which gives me to understand that
you are in Good as we enjoy at Present
thank God = I also must inform you 
we felt very uneasy on account of you
not writing Sooner as it is all the Conso-
Lation the devised Children of erin has
a communication by Letter therefore
I consider it a duty incumbent on
you at Least to write 2 a year at ther 
Least I was also very much rejoiced
to hear of  your success and how luck
you and your Husband is doing ---
in that country as for this country it
is totally Gone to the Bad the Potatoes
is altogether failed & Markets are very
Low in Consequences of the Ports being
all opened
therefore on account of the Stater of
the Country thus is condition of Money
at all your sister Betty is inclined
for to go to that County only she is
embarrysed By the State of the time
and cannot find means to go therefore
I Would feel Greatly oblidged to you &
your Husband if you would send money
some assistance that would enable her to
Go & as Soon as she would earn it She would
See you Paid -- & in regard to sending money
there is no danger whatever as there can
Be a Post office order got in every Post
office that there is not the Least danger
in sending such = Do you need not Be the
Least timerous in sending it a she will
Surely Renumerate you for it = in regard
to Ellen Mooney her address is E..Mooney
Syracuse State Newyork =
So Larggh Hearty is in Philadelphia
I do not Know her address
I must also inform you that  your
cousin Francis Hearty is also gone
to that country & is your cousins
Owen Rooney & Peter Garvey is gone to
that country Peter is in college in
Youngstown State of Penna. & owen Rooney
is a clark in Syracuse State new-
york they are all doing well ---
your friends are all in good health
& also your neighbors
be all elevated to Learn you had 
the good fortune to get such a Husband
as I can Judge that he is an industrious
man & also a good tradesman ---
therefore Let  you Put your Confidence
in the almighty as he is our only guide
& Protector & May the Lord Bless You
is the Sincere Prayer of your affectionate
father ---- Owen hearty ---

He has news, but also is appealing 2 letters/year from her and for funds for Betty to come.  He clearly has gotten a letter from Mary telling her father of her marriage to Eric.  Clearly, Owen has hope that his daughter will be able to send funds, but life in the USA was not all "milk and honey" as imagined and she didn't have the money to send home at that time, according to the draft of the next letter.
We have no further letters from Owen Hearty to his daughter Mary Hearty Helsten.   The last piece of tangible information about Owen Hearty is that letter in 1851 to his daughter.  He is not listed as living in Dorsey in the Griffith's Valuation of 1864.  There is an Owen Hearty in the next town over -- whether it is the same person is to be determined.  In the Griffith's Valuation in Dorsey there is a Patrick Hearty and in the Cancelation Books in PRONI written in "()" is the word "Owen" --
Patrick Hearty (Owen).  
Not sure what that actually means.  Maybe Patrick was the tenant and Owen lived with him (just a guess).

We do have the notes for a draft of a letter, probably to Betty, Mary's sister, written by Eric some time after they have bought the tannery in Gaylordsville in July 1852.  Eric is no longer an employee, but now an indebted employer.  

   Dear Sister Elizabeth!   We have received
your letter which gives us the satisfaction that you
are in good health and have a good place where
you be also gave us to understand thatt you are
fully determined to go to America but have not the
strength on own expense to do so.  We think that if you
only was here you could do well butt how come i do nott know.
My situation is greatill different these year to whatt is was
last year.  Last year i did hire out and earnd money every day
and had money out on interest, but last spring
I took it all up and hired a tanyeard, about seven
milles from where i lived thern, and began on own hand
to work, laid out all the money had in hides skins and bark for so
stach my yeard and there is did not have enough i had to
borrow more money all i could get for i found out i had to lay out money
every day.  Tanning is a very slow buiseyness and it take
a great while before the money comes balk again.  I feel
sorrow to say thatt i could not give you any money for
your assistance but i ask you to not blame us for my situation
are so that i could not and my bussiness require money 
allwhile and i have nothing more then what i have
worked very hard for since i com to America and it seems
to me as i could make more money when i  worked as
Journeyman than i can now and beside that i have to now more
risk of loses among those Yankys now than before.  I ask you now
to be of a contented mind and save all you can if may perhaps be som oppening
for you in the future. If you could come we  would be very
glade to see you here and do what we can for you
then.  You know that your sister had to work for all that
brought her here before she started and so did i too.  i had
to work for years befor i could get enough together to bring me
YoJ received Fathers letter great while ago and also yours but you
must excuse me for we had not wrought Sooner my time has been
taken up very much all while and my wife could not write
it because she never leand it

This letter was not signed and not sent since it was with Eric and Mary's papers in the desk -- maybe copied and mailed to Mary's sister Betty.
Eric does offer to help her if she can get herself to Connecticut.  He cannot afford to pay her passage.    Over the years Eric and Mary did help various nieces of his from Sweden when they came, many lived with them and got jobs in the neighborhood until out on their own. Eric also hired new Swedish immigrants in the family  business -- as apprentices when it was a tannery, and as assistants as the business evolved over the years.

In my effort to find any more information on the Hearty family of Dorsey, part of Creggan Parish, I corresponded with Kiernan McConville at the Creggan Historical Society.   I shared the above letters with him.  He was thrilled to see some letters from the Famine Years written by ordinary people from South Armagh, which he commented were very rare.  He asked to include them in an upcoming journal of their local historical society.

Well, that upcoming journal has arrived:

Kieran McConville, "Hearty (of Dorsey) Great Famine Letters 1849-1851," Creggan, journal of The Creggan Local History Society, 2013/2014, no. 16, pages 80-84.

In the article, Kieran starts by putting the letters into context.  He describes the famine conditions, the cause and spread, and the ineffective efforts to relieve the famine.  He goes on to describe the migrations and death rate that devastated the Irish population.  He gives what background we know about the Hearty family and on Mary's family.  He mentions the hopes of sending a child abroad brought but in many times remained unfulfilled.  He ends with the transcription of the three letters.

I can only hope that maybe the descendants of Mary's family back in Ireland, survived and will see this article and/or blog and contact me.  If not, if the letters & article provide information for others whose ancestors came from Creggan Parish, then that is good also.

2014©Erica Dakin Voolich

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Family Story, a Bit of Investigation and the "The Rest of the Story"

My mother used to tell the story about her mother-in-law's Aunt Mary:

Mary lived to be 92.  In her old age, her family became concerned about  her living alone on the family farm.  They insisted that she move in with her daughter-in-law.  Each day, Mary would get up, hitch up the horse and  wagon, ride up to her home, spend the day and then return at night to sleep at her daughter-in-law's home.  When she died, Marion Dakin, her niece, helped to clean out the house.  Marion found all of the "new  fangled" gifts--a toaster, an iron, etc.-- she had given her over the  years still in their original boxes.


Mary Louise Helsten was the oldest child of Eric Adolf Helsten and his wife Mary Hearty.  Mary L was born in Patterson New York on 7 June 1850, and the next year her family moved to Gaylordsville Connecticut where she grew up. In 1878, shortly before turning twenty-eight, she married a widower, Charles Pomeroy, who had a teenage son Henry.   Henry was the child of Charles Pomeroy and Josephine Hallock Pomeroy

No one in the family told any stories (that I recall) of Aunt Mary Pomeroy as a step-mother, or wife -- just as an elderly woman who lived thirty-nine years after her husband died in 1903.  She was fifty-three years old when her husband died.  So what was she doing for thirty-nine years?  She never remarried.  How did she support herself?

A little bit of searching in the US Census:
• 1850 can't find Charles Pomeroy
• 1860 Charles Pomeroy (age 26) and Gertrude Pomeroy (16) are living with Ithamar (63) and Louisa (60) Ferris in New Milford, Conn.
• 1870 Charles Pomeroy (35) and his wife Josephine Pomeroy (24) are living in Litchfield, Conn on her parents' farm, Homer (60) and Caroline (55) Hallock.  Charles is working as a farm laborer.
• 1880 Charles Pomeroy (45) and Mary L (30) and son Henry (17) are farmers in Litchfield, Conn.
• 1900 Charles Pomeroy (65) and Mary L (49) are living in New Milford, Litchfield, Conn. and he is a farmer.
• 1910 Mary Pomeroy (59), widow is living in New Milford, has a hired hand (under relationship), who is listed as a "farmer," not "farm hand" (under occupation) ... THE REST OF THE STORY... 


I was looking at Miriam J Robbins site to search for city directories.  She had some links for New Milford, Connecticut and I was working my way through the directories checking out various family names.  I started noticing the ads.  This half-page ad was run in the directories for 1884-5, 1888-9, 1891, 1897:

Looks like Charles Pomeroy was not only farming.  If you take a look at his farm.  Sure looks like it is also a lumber yard on the right:

Not only does it look like both a farm and a lumberyard, but look between the buildings, set back, there is the house that Mary lived in with her husband Charles and, in her later years, would drive her horse and wagon to daily to spend her days in her latter  years.

Charles Pomeroy died in 1903, and by 1902, he no longer had his large ad.  He was listed, instead, in small listings under the individual items sold, such as "FERTILIZERS"

Now for the rest of the story.  What was Mary doing after her husband died?

Here is the listing for the various Pomeroy family members in 1914 in New Milford

"Pomeroy ...
--Mary wid Charles hardware and lumber Merwins-
     ville n Gaylordsville h do"

Written out without abbreviations:
 Pomerory Mary, widow of Charles, hardware and lumber [business] in Merwinsville near Gaylordsville, home ditto [she lived where she worked, a "home-based business" in today's lingo].

Looks like Mary was busy.  According to the small ads in that 1914  directory, she had listings under:
Hardware and Cutlery, Lumber, and Mason Materials.  Even if, in the address book section, she is "Mary, widow of Charles;" when listing 'Mary the businesswoman,' she was "Mrs. Charles Pomeroy" in the directory:

In 1914, she is sixty-four years old and clearly working at the family business that her husband started and ran in addition to the farm.

The next online directory I found for New Milford, was 1927.  Here she is listed as "Mary E wid Charles h Gaylordsville" and her grandson Charles, son of Henry is running the business.

In the 1930 census she and her daughter-in-law, Caroline Pomeroy (63), are living together in New Milford, they are each widows, she is the head of household at age 79. In 1940, she is still the head of household, now at age 89 she has her step-daughter-in-law Edna C Pomeroy (74) living with her in her own home, as she was in 1935.  She completed two years of high school according to the census.

In the 1930 census, the property listed right before Mary Pomeroy has Charles C Pomeroy, and it is listed as farm and lumber!  So, sometime before 1930, her grandson has taken over the family business.


One final thought.
I was looking at Charles Pomeroy's ad.  He is selling "Box Shooks."
"Shook" was a term that I wasn't familiar with.  So I looked it up in the Free Dictionary by  Farlex.
A shook:  "a disassembled barrel; the parts packed for storage or shipment"
Maybe you learned a new word today too!

The link to this post is

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2013

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One of my Irish Ancestors WASN'T Dropped in Haviland Hollow by Aliens!

For years I've been looking for Mary Hearty who I knew was born in "Parish of Creggan, County Armagh the town land Dorsy," Ireland (if the handwritten note on the back of her 1849 marriage certificate is to be believed).  But how she got to Haviland Hollow where she lived and married Eric Helsten on 12 August 1849 (if the front of the minister's marriage certificate is to be believed), has been one of those "little mysteries" in life.

I had begun to wonder if an alien space ship had dropped her off in Haviland Hollow, New York because I could never find her on any passenger lists.

Then today I looked yet again, and I found on, a "Mary Hart" age 25 indexed as arriving on 17 June 1848 in New York.  Since Mary had told the 1900 US Census that she arrived 52 years earlier, an arrival year of 1848 sure sounded right.

Here is the actual document:

and looking closely at passenger number 70:

It sure looks like Mary Hearty (not "Hart" as indexed) age 26, 3 months (not age "25" as indexed) from Ireland planning to stay in US.

This information is from the Famine Irish Entry Project, 1846-1851.  Washington D.C., NARA.

The link to this page:

© 2012, Erica Dakin Voolich

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Eric HELSTEN and Mary HEARTY HELSTEN

Eric A
1822 - 1903
Mary Hearty
his wife
1823 - 1902

I have been writing about Eric HELSTEN and his apprentice John CARLSON along with sharing his letter from his mother  yesterday.  I found Chris in her search for Eric and John when she posted this picture of Eric & Mary's tombstone in Gaylordsville Connecticut.

All of his family letters have the theme: "I want to see you."

He arrived as an immigrant in the United States on 16 December 1845 from Gavle, Sweden on the Neptunis.  There was discussion in some letters of his upcoming trip in 1858.  I've not found any evidence yet of his having made that trip.  I have evidence of his visiting his family in July 1877 (sailing from Göteborg to NYC on 27 July 1877 and a family portrait taken with all 13 siblings together) and again in 1886 when he was honored at a ceremony as a past winner of a special swimming award.
On 26 August 1835, Eric won a laurel wreath in swimming at age 13.  There was a booklet published about the swimming society UPSALA Simmsällskaps Matrikel.  (1796-1859) that lists the various winners and describes the background of the organization. On 22 August 1886, there was some kind of special anniversary celebration of this race, Eric is listed on the program as Factory segaren E A Hellsten and I have the certificate he was given at the ceremony.

I do not have a lot of information on his wife Mary HEARTY.  I do have a letter from her father which I will post some day.  I don't know when she arrived.  She was born in Dorsey, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland.  She married Eric on 12 August 1849 in Patterson NY.

How she got to the US, I don't know.  I've not found her in any published records for the US passenger arrival lists in the 1840's.  Maybe she came through Canada and down the Hudson.  I understand a number of companies recruited people in Ireland to settle in Canada to fill the boats going  to Canada (the boats came back filled with lumber).  If there are any immigration records coming into Canada or boat records, I've not found them.  I'll take suggestions on other theories as to how she might have arrived here.

I also have no idea how she supported herself once she arrived before she married Eric.  I have no idea if she came with anyone she knew or set out on her own.  I've never found an official document about her other than her death certificate.  The only reason I know where and when she as born is because it was hand-written on the back of her marriage certificate given them by the pastor, Abram Davis.