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 HIGGINS Harriet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIGGINS Harriet. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some BRONSON & RADFORD Characters Looking for a Link to the Family

Do you know any of these RADFORD or BRONSON folks?
Are they your ancestors?
I'd love to know how they connect to my family.

Beers RADFORD (1784-1876) and Harriet HIGGINS had four children.
I am descended from his daughter (Hannah) Elizabeth Radford (1825-1915) who married Charles EVANS.
She had a sister (Harriet) Augusta Radford (1821-1897) who married Julius BRONSON.

They had cousins in Madison County New York.  The pictures might be related to their cousin Louisa P Radford (1825-1872) who wrote the letters from Madison County NY I have blogged about, one might be her sister Sarah W (but if the date or age on the back refers to her, it doesn't fit Sarah W's dates).

First the RADFORD pictures:
Back:  "Bennet Radford  B Radford  age 85.9.23"

Back:  "Kate Radford"

Back:  "Sara Radford    S. A. R. age 80.7.16"

Maybe Bennet and Sara are husband and wife, both pictures were taken at same studio.  The studio name was cut off of Kate Radford's picture.

Now, for the BRONSON pictures.  Probably they have a connection to Julius BRONSON (1807-1895) and Augusta RADFORD (1821-1897), his wife.

Back:  "D E and John Bronson
Hill Photographer 100 Bank St.,
Waterbury, Conn.
Crayon portraits a specialty"

Back:   "George Bronson"

Back:  "Helen Bronson"

Some where there must be some descendant of the RADFORD and BRONSON family who would love to connect to this descendant Elizabeth Radford.

They are looking for connections, can you help?

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014
The link to this post is

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!


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
     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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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  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

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

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

     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-
     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

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