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 RICHARDSON Harry Bogart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RICHARDSON Harry Bogart. Show all posts

Monday, January 29, 2018

Remember the Women as we Climb the Family Tree, part 2b

I made the decision to focus on the women when I head up our family tree.  So many family history books tell you about the vital records of the men, extol their deeds and adventures and maybe if we are lucky tell us the full names of their wives and a hint as to her family.  I feel that family history should be more than just birth, marriage and death dates -- to celebrate our families, we should include their stories, after all they were people, not just a list of dates, and thanks to them we are all here now.  Not all of their stories are going to include record-shattering achievements of world leaders, and most likely no one in the family is that famous person.

Last year I focused on three women in my grandmother's generation:  Adelaide Copeland Harvey Richardson, Marion Elizabeth Evans Dakin and Clarice Theodora Evans.

This year it is time to move on to my great grandmother's generation:  Mary Alice Smith Dakin, Caroline Matilda Helsten Evans, Mary Louisa Helsten Pomeroy, Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson, and Alice Copeland Harvey.

In the other half of this blog post, Remember the Women as we Climb the Family Tree, part 2a, I focused on the first three women who were all from my paternal side.  Now, I'm going to focus on the two women on my maternal side, both great grandmothers of mine.  The first three women all eventually lived in Gaylordsville, Connecticut; these two women eventually ended up in Oak Park, Illinois, neither was born there.

Alice Copeland Harvey

Alice Copeland Harvey (23 February 1860 - 24 April 1921) was born on the Copeland Family Marino sheep farm on the border of the town of Jefferson, Wisconsin.  It was in the early days of settling Jefferson, her father had come out from Bridgewater, Massachusetts and settled on land that his uncle, the congressman John Reed, had purchased.  Another uncle had also come from Bridgewater with a friend to start a shoe company, Copeland Ryder Schools (Jefferson Shoe Company).  She came from a hard-working family with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins -- likewise for her husband.  Alice married Joseph Elliott Harvey from the next town, Lake Mills on 24 October 1879.  He came from a family of seven, his mother died when he was 5 and his oldest sister stayed home to raise him.

Alice and Joseph had four children:  Katherine Mary Harvey (born 22 August 1881), William Riley (born 7 January 1884), Charles Copeland Harvey (born 3 March 1889), and Adelaide Copeland Harvey (born 4 November 1893).  When they were raising their children in Lake Mills there were always plenty of relatives nearby to help with the children or to play with them.  Joseph was a salesman when he worked, and sometimes he had other problems, so life had extra challenges.  When her two oldest, Kath and Riley graduated from high school, they both wanted to go to college.  Kath taught school in Lake Mills, then Alice moved the whole family to Madison, opened a boarding house near the University of Wisconsin so they could attend.  Kath graduated with a degree in education, Riley in engineering in 1905. Cope wasn't interested in college, he was a musician and wanted to be a Big Band leader.  Alice moved her family to Oak Park, Illinois and enrolled her youngest in school.  Riley found work and Cope was jobbing.  Kath taught in Madison and then moved to Iowa when she married.

Alice learned frugality back on the farm and how to get by, which stood her in good stead though out tough times in her life.  But, not just frugality, she was educated and loved to read.
Her granddaughter told me: "Grandma Harvey sewed so much 'making over and making do'  she had a  great gentle sense of humor--said her epitaph should read 'Let it rip!'   She had read all of Dickens by the time she was 12 years old."
She was known as the person in her generation who knew of the "good New England Stock" which they came from which included folks on the Mayflower and she joined the
D. A. R. when living in Madison.  Unfortunately, not all of the family history letters, etc. that folks say they sent to her are among the things that I have or have access to.

When her youngest child married Adelaide and Bobbie lived with her. Alice was helping Adelaide care for their two young daughters, when Alice had a cerebral hemorrhage and died at age 61 on 24 April 1921.  Alice outlived her husband by six years, lived to see all of her children married, lived to see six of her seven grandchildren born, and lived to see her son Cope first as a Big Band director and then to go off to World War 1, returning safely from France.  She was at Cope's wedding, he and Julie left on their honeymoon, and she died while they were gone.

Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson

Martha (Mattie) Elnora (Nora) Worthington Richardson (17 November 1865 - 25 April 1939) was born in Chicago and she was named for both of her grandmothers, Martha Searing Worthington and Elnora Esther DeLoss Cobb.  Her father, Robert, had moved from Albany, New York to a farm in Wisconsin with his father, Denison, after his mother, Martha, died. His father Robert went to the "big city" to for work.  Her mother, Elnora Esther, had come with her parents (Nathan and Elnora Esther) to Chicago from small towns near Rome, New York.  Robert S. Worthington was working in freight forwarding and his next door neighbor Nathan Cobb was running a planing mill.  Robert married Elnora Esther Cobb, the girl next door.  They had one child, little Mattie didn't have many children to play with, but since Robert was the oldest of 10 children, it was not unusual for Mattie to have an uncle living with them as each started out working in Chicago and providing entertainment at home.  The family was doing well enough to be building a house, nearby.

Life changed when Mattie was five in October of 1871 with the Great Chicago Fire. Originally it looked like it was far away, but it grew closer and they spent the night on the North Avenue Beach, where Mattie met Emmy Sharp, another little girl her age and size -- they became life-long friends as did their parents.  When her family rebuilt, it was out "in the country" and nearby to where the Sharps also built a home.  This "country village" was Oak Park, which became one of the fastest growing suburbs of Chicago, thanks to the Fire.  The box of china which melted together in the fire, was taken as a lump and put into the yard of the new home when they built.  As awful as the Chicago Fire was, it was fortuitous in that is why her future husband's family moved to Chicago to help with the rebuilding.

Her parents were very involved with the Episcopal Church, first in Chicago, then in the mission in Harlem, and then with the founding of Grace Church Episcopal in Oak Park. Mattie was very proud that she knew the general confession backwards and would hit the middle word exactly when the priest did.

Mattie married Harry Bogart Richardson on 5 December 1889; and once married, started calling herself Nora [her mother Elnora Esther was still alive and her grandmother Elnora Esther had just died, so "Elnora" would be confusing, I suspect].  Nora and Harry had two boys:  Robert (Bobbie) Worthington Richardson (born 18 October 1890) and Harold Bogart (born 21 April 1894).  Harry worked downtown Chicago for his father's insurance agency or a local bank selling stocks and bond and insurance -- except for a couple of years --SURPRISE-- when he was in the Secret Service, one chasing counterfeiters in Denver. Nora was busy raising her boys and at one time traveling occasionally to see her husband who took the job out of financial necessity, then having Bobbie live in Denver with her husband and Harold with her in Oak Park..

Nora grew up in a household with her father quoting the classic poets, she loved learning.  As an adult, she never went to college but she was always furthering her education or volunteering for charities in the community.  She joined the XIXth Century Club, went to their meetings initially to learn and years later became one of the entertaining speakers there and at the Grace Episcopal Church mentioned in the newspaper.  She would study the issues, and so when she and her husband had a difference of opinion on the presidential candidates, there were "dueling" posters in the front parlor windows of the house in 1928.

In her final years, times were tough, her husband had died, as had her son Harold.  She did not have much income beyond the rent from next door.  She was hired by the W.P.A. [Works Progress Administration set up during the Great Depression to put local unemployed folks to work in their communities].  Six people were hired hired to help catalog and research the history of the town of Oak Park -- a perfect job for her.  She knew the town when it was a few hundred people and saw it grow into the thousands, she knew how to research, and how to write.  In 1937, the Historical Survey of Oak Park Illinois was published -- many of the chapters are authored by her [her initials appear on them] and the "Local History Index" became available in the Public Library.  The book is still being used by the Librarians when someone comes to the desk asking about the History of Oak Park!

Nora died on 25 April 1939 at the age of 73 from chronic myocarditis with emaciation and exhaustion contributing factors.  She outlived her husband and one son.  But she did live to see her oldest granddaughter start medical school and her youngest start college.  She must have been so proud of their education opportunities that she probably wished she had had.

Nora and Alice knew each other -- they met through their children who married, Bobbie and Adelaide.  Clearly they were also friends.   When Alice died in 1921, it was Nora who wrote the obituary in Oak Leaves, the local paper.
Death of Oak Park Woman Brings Memory of a Life Devoted to the Service of Others

    Alice Copeland, wife of the late Joseph E. Harvey, entered into rest on Sunday, April 24, after a brief illness.  Mrs. Harvey was born in  Jefferson, Wis., her married life being spend in Lake Mills and Madison, Wis., before coming to Oak Park about fifteen years ago.  She was essentially a home-maker, a woman of unusual charm and fine mentality, who lived a life of unselfish service to others.  A keen sense of humor carried her over many of the rough places of life, and her beautiful serenity of expression showed the power within. 
    Mrs. Harvey was a member of the Oak Park D.A.R., having a fine ancestry of which she was justly proud.  Her four children--Mrs. Alfred Rhodes of Esterville, Iowa; William Riley Harvey of Rogers Park; Charles Copeland Harvey, and Mrs. Robert W. Richardson of Oak Park, are left with the blessed memories of an unusually beautiful life of devotion to others, cheerfully given.
    Funeral services were held on Wednesday, with burial at Lake Mills, beside her husband.
    The one who sends this brief tribute feels that it has been a privilege to have known Mrs. Harvey, and that she has been enriched by having been one of her friends.


The stories here are quite condensed from the last 200 pages devoted to these two women's lives in my book Remember the Women! Heading up the Branches of our Women's Family Tree, Part 2.

©2018, Erica Dakin Voolich
The link to this post is

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Taken with a Large Grain of Salt"

Take a look at that wonderful family pictured above.
They are the case study for my talk: "Taken with a Large Grain of Salt" -- Verifying Family Stories.

I can tell you that the Richardson family did not make it easy to verify the family stories, but I found success with other records beyond the usual (vital, census, immigration, land, probate, etc.)

I will be giving the talk as a webinar on Tuesday 3 March 2015, at 2 p.m. (EST).

I will be giving a longer version of the talk at the Worcester Chapter of the Massachusetts of Genealogists (MSOG) on Saturday 7 March 2015, at 10 a.m.  Non-members are welcome to attend but there is a $3 visitor's fee.

Here is the sign-in information from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS) for the Webinar on Tuesday:

Join us on Tuesday, March 3rd at 2:00 PM EST when Erica Dakin Voolich presents "Taken with a Large Grain of Salt" - Verifying Family Stories".

Presenter: Erica Dakin Voolich is an author, blogger and teacher who has transitioned from using her problem solving skills in the mathematics classroom to solving family history problems.

Presentation Description: We collect family stories, but we can't assume veracity. Traditional sources don't always confirm the legend. Doing a case study, we look at other sources to verify the family information.

Time zones: Tuesday, March 3rd - 2:00 PM Eastern; 1:00 PM Central; 11:00 AM Pacific; 7:00 PM in London, England; Wednesday, March 4th - 6:00 AM in Sydney, Australia

(NOTE: No user name or password required. Please type in your first and last name; then click "Enter as a Guest".)  Please sign-in about 10-15 minutes early so that you are all ready to start at 2.

I hope you will be able to join me at one of the venues.

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mild-mannered Clerk or Secret Service Agent ... The Sequel!

In Mild-mannered Clerk or Secret Service Agent ... The Rest of the Story! I wrote about Harry Bogart Richardson's exciting adventures in the Secret Service chasing counterfeiters in Denver.  I included newspaper clippings of arrests and mentioned that I had confirmed that he worked for the Secret Service for 2 years, 1907-1909.

What I didn't have was any of the actual daily records of his life in the Secret Service -- if there was newspaper coverage of arrests and investigations, there must be more details.  I also have wondered why would someone who in all the decades in the US census was selling insurance or bonds or working as a clerk would have decided to become an Operative for the Secret Service?
The actual records from the National Archives might answer some questions.

Oh how revealing those records turned out to be!

One letter, dated 28 November 1906 from the Chief, thanks Harry for information sent to the Secret Service,

BUT  "in the hope we may be able to see you down here later on"  and is addressed "dear Dicky"

This sounds like John Wilkie, the Chief of the Secret Service, already knows Harry Bogart Richardson.
The next communication to Harry from John Wilkie  is 15 March 1907, 
telling Harry that his appointment has gone through -- not telling him what it is-- that comes on 18 March, sending him to Denver to report to Lucien Wheeler in the Quincy Building at a $4/day per diem.

Among the letters in the files from the Secret Service is a letter from Harry to John Wilkie, explaining why he needs the job.

"The present state of the stock market has virtually put me out of business, as the people with whom I deal are ... less interested in Wall Street-- Consequently they are either out of funds or are looking for bargains.."

A financial crisis starting after the Stock Market peak in 1906, developed into the Panic of 1907.  Clearly, the normal life of commenting to Chicago to sell stocks or bonds or insurance was not such a secure living for a family of 4 -- time to check with your friend who used to be a journalist in Chicago who then went on to be the Chief of the Secret Service, maybe he would have some work to offer.

This was just the beginning of Harry's adventures.
He spent the next year chasing folks involved in land fraud in Denver and the year after that chasing after counterfeiters.  There are many pages of daily reports in the National Archives about the day to day life of the agents in Denver.  They documented everything (not all of it is so exciting as the newspaper stories might lead one to believe).

This year's book for the family is the story of Harry's year chasing counterfeiters -- it has all the details of the daily life of the agents in the Denver office.

So, if you are interested in what the life of a secret service agent was like, or if you have some ancestor that the operatives where chasing in Denver, feel free to read Mild Mannered Businessman or Secret Service Agent or even buy it from  I donated copies to Allen County Public Library, New England Historic Genealogy Society, Oak Park Public Library, and St Louis County Library (NGS collection).  I have donated my previous books to libraries and historical societies and encourage others to do likewise.  

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2015

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mild-mannered Clerk or Secret Service Agent ... The Rest of the Story!

My mother had fond memories of playing with her grandparents who lived next door.  Her grandfather, Harry Bogart Richardson, told her and her sister stories of his working as a secret service agent in Denver trying to capture people who were shaving gold off of gold coins.  Her grandfather died when she was 15, so she had lots of years to hear those stories.

Was that creative story telling to amuse his granddaughters or was he really a secret service agent?

When he died in 1932 on a vacation visiting relatives in California, his death certificate says he was an insurance agent.  His obituary tells of his church membership and his founding membership (and first president) of the local tennis club.  His son's birth certificate (1890) lists his occupation as clerk.  In the US census for Oak Park IL he is listed as a grocery clerk (1880), dealer in stocks & bonds (1900), broker in a bank (1910), insurance broker (1920), insurance salesman (1930).  Sounds like a pretty ordinary daily life for a middle class family man.  No adventures tracking down crooks in Denver.

The one thing that didn't quite fit to the story of all those years in Oak Park ILLINOIS was that his son graduated from East High School in DENVER on 10 June 1909.  My mother said the family story was that her father was sent to school in Denver because they were afraid of TB and wanted a healthier climate for him.  The school has only Robert W enrolled (not his younger brother) and only one parent was listed as contact (his father).  Robert (Bobbie) enrolled in September 1907.

A few years ago I decided to search for any record of his serving in the Secret Service.  I had to file a Freedom of Information Act request with Homeland Security and send proof that he had died (couldn't send birth certificate since he was born in Canada before vital records).  The paperwork that came back told me that he WAS a Secret Service agent in Denver from 1907-1909, he worked for $4/day and then got a raise to $5/day.  There are probably records in NARA in Washington DC on the daily records for "Operative Richardson" but I have to go to DC to see them.

Yes he was an agent in Denver, BUT, was he capturing people debasing gold coins?

I recently discovered there were some revealing newspaper articles on

Monday 3 February 1908, Denver Post (Denver CO), page 5

  Harry B Richardson has been appoint-
ed assistant to Rowland K. Goddard,
government secret service agent in Den-
ver.  Mr. Richardson has been working
under L. C. Wheeler on land fraud in-
vestigations for some time, having been
temporarily transferred to the depart-

ment of justice for that purpose.”

So Harry was working in Denver and was moved to the Department of Justice (investigating counterfeiting might be part of the job).

Saturday 4 April 1908, Denver Post (Denver CO), page 4

Spied on Salt Lake Man’s Lab-
oratory and Saw Him at 
His Work.
About $1 of Gold Taken Out
of Each Coin in Wholesale
   Eben J. Gregory of Salt Lake City was
arrest last Tuesday at his home for
“sweating” gold coins after the officers
had watched his operations from the out-
side for some time and determined ex-
actly what he was doing.  Harry B.
Richardson and W. W. Fraser, govern-
ment secret service men from Denver,
succeeded in locating Gregory after the
$5 and $10 light coins had been de-

   Gregory has a wife and three children.
When he first went to Salt Lake City
he was a clerk for a mining company;
later he opened a cigar store.  Two years
ago he was forced  to close his store
because a saloon man leased the build-
ing.  When he had to vacate he hung up
placards which bore evidence of his in-
dignation, because he had to leave, one
of them reading, “Give an honest man a
chance to make an honest dollar.”
   Then he began to call himself a mining
   About five weeks ago it was found that
something was wrong with the gold coins
circulated about Salt Lake City.  The
chief of police notified the Denver branch
of the secret service department adn the
two men were sent out to find the guilty
person. Gregory had been pasing light
coins daily in big business houses of Salt

Lake City.
   The secret service men watched him
very closely and his methods were re-
vealed.  Nitriuc and muriatic acids were
used, and the face of the gold coin was
given an acid bath so that it looked as
if it had been badly worn.  The other
side was left in good condition.  When
passing the coins Gregory put the perfect
side of the coin up, and the side that
had been tampered with was not no-
   The man bought postoffice orders in
his wife’s maiden name and cashed them
at the central office, demanding gold in
payment.  He secured $600 in gold from
the postoffice each month.  He sent to 
other cities for gold coins that had not
been tampered with, and when he secured
enough gold he would cast it in a bat
and send it to the Denver mint.  He was
paid $385.34 for the last shipment March
22.  The gold was so pure that it indi-
cated that it was coin gold and aroused 
   While Gregory was getting his shoes
shined the secret service men arrested
him after they had seen him pass three
of the coins. He was placed in jail, and
the men found upon visiting his home
that his laboratory was a most complete
one for his work, and chemists say
could have been used for no other pur-
pose than for the “sweating” of money.
   While studying Gregory’s methods the
officers learned that he seldom left his
house before noon.  He spent the entire
afternoon passing three or four of these
coins, and after dinner at night he would
go to this laboratory and the light would 
burn for an hour.  After working on the
coins Gregory would go downtown and
stay until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.
He was a “well-known many about town”
and liberal. Whenever he has been of 
late the officers were shadowing him.
   Gregory said he was a broker, but he
had no office and there was nothing to
show that he was engaged in any active
business,  Banks and other large business
houses usually careful about accepting
gold coins took his money without ques-

Great details on what an agent does investigating and how the criminal worked -- even ideas for someone to follow if he wanted to go into the debasing coin business.  Here's the followup article:

Friday 10 April 1908, Denver Post (Denver CO), page 12

Gregory Made is Money Easi-
ly Until Uncle Sam Locked 
Him Up.
   Eben J Gregory,  the Salt Lake coin
“sweater” who was doing a land office
business reducing the weight of gold
money and sending the surplus to the
Denver mint when captured by Secret
Service Officers Harry B. Richardson and
W. W. Fraser of Denver, after some

clever detective work, comes from a
famous old English family.  He left his 
native country at the instigation of the
Mormons and joined their colony at Salt
Lake about twelve years ago.
   Gregory is only 32 years of age, but
in two years became on of the most
expert “sweaters” of coin in the country.
He had large bank accounts in Salt Lake
City, was known everywhere as a pros-
perous “mining” promoter, although he
never dealt in mines, and his wife and
three children were highly esteemed.
   Gregory was satisfied with from $10 to 
$25 profit each day, and that was about
his average.  He usually bought a cigar
in the morning with his first $5 or $10
gold piece and received silver for the 
change for the reduced gold money he
had given to the dealer.
  After he secured three or four easy
marks he would take the silver to the
bank and have it exchanged for more
gold.  He had a regular daily routine
that varied but little.
   Gregory lived in a double house and
he had his money-reducing plant in the
attic.  The owner of the house lived on 
the other side, but she never dared go
into the attic for fear that she would
be overcome with the acid fumes. 
   Gregory had no accomplices, but it is
believed that his wife knew at all times
that he was conducting an illegal busi-
ness.  The arrest of Gregory put away
the last money swindlers who have
been exceedingly busy in the last few
months in what is known as the Denver

"Coin sweating" sounds like a profitable business.  Here's another crook, not caught:

Tuesday, 23 June 1908, Denver Rock Mountain News (Denver CO), page 7
accessed on GenealogyBank on 20 February 2014

  GOLDEN, Colo.  June 22.--Several Gold-
en business men were well stocked up to-
day with counterfeit dollars, giving in ex-
change a small amount of merchandize
and real money.   A neatly attired strang-
er of gentlemanly bearing visited all the
cigar stores and thirst quenching par-
lors and paid for small purchases with
bright new dollars.  In this way he raked
in a pocket full  of small change in two
hours and boarded an electric car for
Denver about the time one of his victims
discovered the dollars were bogus.
   Sheriff Whipple telephone the descrip-
tion of the man to the Denver police but
it was later learned that he left the car
at Lakeside.  Secret Service Agent Harry
Richardson came up this evening to in-
vestigate and pronounced the counter-
feit coins the most perfect he had ever
seen.  It is believed that the man who 
worked Golden was one of the gang now
engaged in systematically flooding Colo-

rado with spurious money.”

Less help in the Denver office, more work for Harry and his partner:

Sunday 8 November 1908, Denver Post (Denver CO), page 22

  Thomas J. Callaghan, who has been
connected with the Denver district of the
government secret service for upwards
of a year, has received word that his re-
quest for a transfer to the New York
district has been granted, and he will
leave for his new field of work Dec. 1.
He was one of the secret service officers
who was down in the mine at Hesperus
when Joseph A. Walker was killed and
who had to be rescued by a rope after 
one of the party had scaled the walls
and reached the top.
  Callaghan is one of the youngest men
in the service and developed rapidly into 
one of the best as well.
   The change will greatly increase the
work of the two remaining secret service
agents, Rowland K. Goddard and Harry
Richardson, as Callaghan’s place will

not be filled, for a time at least.”

Another crook, this guy was minting his own coins:

Thursday 10 December 1908, Denver Rocky Mountain News (Denver CO), page 7

   Timothy Duffy of 3351 Kalmath street
was arrested yesterday by Secret Service
Agents Rowland K. Goddard and Harry
Richardson, on a charge of making and
passing counterfeit coins.  A number of
molds and counterfeit coins, said to be
the property of Duffy, were seized at the
same time.
   The prisoner declares that he was fur-
nished with the molds by other men in
Denver, and the secret service officials
are now looking for them. He will be
given a hearing before United States Com-
missioner Hinsdale this week, and if un-
able to give bond will be placed in jail to
await the action of the federal grand


Counterfeiting sounds like a profitable second job even for the well-known in the community (as Gregory above)

Monday, 15 February 1909. Denver Post (Denver CO), page 2

He Is Prominent in Railroad
Brotherhoods and a Glove
Waiter Positively Identifies Him
As Man Who Passed
   Frances E. Searway, 330 Nineteenth ave-
nue, glove manufacturer, prominent in the
Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, a lo-
cal Republican politician of note and a
member o a well known Denver family,
was arrested today by Government Secret
Service Agents Goddard and Richardson
on the charge of passing counterfeit ten

and twenty dollar gold coins.
  His arrest will create a sensation in
railroad circles, as he was one of the
best known railroad men in the state.
He is the legistlative representative of
lodge 446 of the trainmen.  An occupant of
the apartment house were Searway lives 
accidentally discovered a twenty-dollar
gold piece.  Investigating he found sev-
eral others.  Instead of keeping the money
he put it back and reported the matter
to Harry Richardson, the assistant chief
operative of the Denver district of the
secret service.
   The next night all of the money was
gone and suspicion fell on Searway.  Rich-
ardson followed up the clew and with
Operative Goddard secured what they be-
lieved was a complete identification and
evidence of passing on the part of Sear-
way.  The day after the coins were miss-
ing from their hiding place two of them
were passed in Denver.
  Charles Stringer, the night man at
Harry’s restaurant, 616 Seventeenth street,
took one of the coins, a $20 counterfeit
gold piece.  He says that Searway came
into his place at 9 o’clock at night, or-
dered a cup of coffee, sized up the crowd,
conclluded that it was too small and went 

  Stringer says he came back at 11 o’clock
the same night, Feb. 6, when the place 
was crowded, ordered a 25 cent meal and
gave the counterfeit gold piece in pay-
ment, getting silver in change.   Stringer
says he is positive that Searway is the
guilty person, as he had seen him in the
place several times before that.
  The next day, it is alleged that Searway
went into the Grant grocer between the
hours of 6 and 8 o’clock, when the place 
was crowded, bought two dozen eggs and
passed a counterfeit $10 piece.  The clerk
who waited on the passer of the sparious
money also says he is positive that it was
   The counterfeits are fairly good and are
made of antimony and tin or [?]
metal.  The twenties were dated [?] and 
the tens 1906.”

I guess those stories of adventures tracking down criminals out west were true.  The mild-mannered clerk took a couple years off and played Secret Service Agent while his son finished high school!  Who knew!  The census gave no clue about his other career.

The link to this post is
©2014 Erica Dakin Voolich

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Remember the women!"

"Remember the women!" is the famous quote of Abigail Adams to her husband John when he was off setting up the new government for the country.    I don't have any women ancestors who were writing the constitution (there weren't any), but it important for us to "remember the women" in our own family -- even if this is a different interpretation of her phrase!  So today's post is about my mother's grandmother, Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson, a.k.a. Nora, a.k.a. Mattie.  My mother had fond memories of living first upstairs from, and then next door to, her grandparents.


Martha Elnora WORTHINGTON was born in Chicago, 17 November 1865, daughter of Robert Searing WORTHINGTON (1830-1903) and Elnora Esther COBB (1839-1923). Her father Robert Worthington had come to Chicago in 1855 from the family farm in Wisconsin and taken a job as a clerk.  Her mother Elnora Cobb had come from Madison, New York with her parents either late in 1851 or early in 1852.  They married 12 February 1861 and had one child, Mattie.

Her father kept a scrapbook starting in 1865 (see the young man and the President, for an example).  Here is the back cover of his first volume.  The top article is from 5 August 1870 and the ad below is dated "4 Aug 1870."  I suspect these events, which I have transcribed, are linked.

near Union Park Congregational Church, an envel-
ope containing papers and currency.  The finder will
be rewarded by leaving the same at 574 Washington-st,
or at the office of Gibson, Chase & Co., 88 Market-st.
[hand written date of Aug. 6 1870]

  A little daughter of Robert S. Worth-
inton, Esq., had a providential escape
from death, on Wednesday evening. Mr.
W. was unhitching the horse before his
residence, No. 574 West Washington
street his daughter begin in the carriage,
when the animal ran away.  In turning a
corner the little girl was thrown out of the
vehicle upon a pile of stones, and but for a 
cushion falling under her, which was liter-
ally cut to pieces, she must have been
killed.  She received but a couple of
slight wounds on the head.

No seat-belts and child "car"seats in 1870!  It was fortuitous, our little Mattie survived her run-away-horse-wagon ride.


After the Chicago Fire, Mattie's parents decided to build a home out in "the country" at the end of the train line in Oak Park.  There she met Harry Bogart Richardson who had come to Chicago from Belleville, Ontario with his family, after the Chicago Fire as part of the rebuilding effort.

Martha Elnora married Harry on 5 December 1889 in Oak Park, Illinois.  When they married, her  parents built a house next door for them to live, affectionally known as "Rotten Manor."  They had two sons, Robert (Bobbie) Worthington Richardson (1890-1951) and Harold Bogart Richardson (1894-1935) who grew up next door to their Worthington grandparents.  And when her mother's parents (Nathan and Elnora Esther Cobb) were elderly, they lived and died there too.  This extended to the next generation when my mother, Alice, and her sister Madelon & their parents moved into Rotten Manor when she was in grade school.  Her father was Bobbie Richardson and her mother was Adelaide Copeland Harvey (Grawa).

One can only imagine the usual ups and downs of childhood in the upstairs apartment in Rotten Manor with two girls and a bulldog named Mark that my mother had brought home from the schoolyard.  The vet cleaned it up and by it's license traced it back to it's original owner in Springfield, Iowa (the dog had jumped out of their car and run away when they were on a trip).  The old owners allowed the new family to keep the dog.

The envelop on the left is addressed:
Alice Jell Richardson, Girl Skoot.
From The Society Eddytor

Inside was the following news bulletin!

******JUST REVEELED ******
A fearse Bull Dog lokated at 227 Wiskinsin Avenoo atacked a Pair
of Big Black Mules at that adres and litrly toad them to Shreds,
showing no Mersy.  After Komiting this Turrable Deed the Culprit
Slank away to a Nayboaring House where he lay on the Floor Lick-
ing his Pants-no- Panting his Chops-no-I shud say Licking his
Chops and Breething in Short Pants as if no thing Sinister had
When the Owner of the Big Black Mules diskovered the Holly Cost
and saw the Entrayls of her Butefull Big Black Mules strued on
the Ground she Uttered a Peersing Shreek and Dashed next Door
were her Muther was visitin.  Casting her Short Frales Little
Figger on the Divan she Wrung her Hands and Skreemed threw her
Tears and Nose "Muther, Mark has Etten my Butefull Big Black Mules".
Her Muther, in a low Modulated Voice as usual, sed "My darling
Dotter you shud be more cairfull with youre Properte and other Im-
pedymenta speshly Big Mules.  They shud have Lockedup in a Box
Stawl or something.  Upon herring these Wurds the Owner of the
Big Black Mules in a Frensy shouted ( as tho her Muther was Deef)
"I dont Cair", axsent on the Cair, "Those Mules are Runned".
The Culprit, foaming at the Mouth utherwise Chops, lept on the
Owner of the Big Black Mules, but when she Shouted in a Hi Shril

Voice "No, No, you Notty Dog" he turned Tale and Slank or Slunk, I
forget which, to a Sitting Posishun on top of a Radyater and looked
out of the Windo as if he had not shortly Purpetrated a Holly Cost.
The Grandfawther of the Owner of the Big Black Mules who waz wurkin
on a X wurd puzzel was shocked to heer of the Catsafterme ansd sed
"Dogonit I can't think of a Sinnynim for Hollycost in three letters
begining with A and ending with Z"
Granmuther, her feet on the Radyater, remarked in a Strong Di-ossy-
sen Suprana "This is Possytively Harrying, I dont supose you will be
abel to find as Large or as Butefull a teem of Mules in the Loup
or outside of it".
Meenwile the Owner of the Big Butefull Black Mules retreated to
her Home folowed by the Culprit at Heal.
Wen the Polees herd of this Turrible Kalamity they took no intrust
on lerning from an inosent bistander that the Owner of the Big
Black Mules was alsow a part Owner in the Culprit.  Thasall.

February 1929 [handwritten]

Only one press release survived.
This press release must have been special to the girl whose dog chewed up her beautiful black mules -- once she calmed down.  It was found in her personal papers after she died in 2001, seventy-two years later.

For those not in the Chicago area, "the Loop" is the downtown shopping area; and in this case, the grandfather who was told "This is Possytively Harrying" was named Harry.

©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich

The link to this post is

Ancestral Power Worthy!

When working on an upcoming post on my great grandmother Martha Elnora Richardson Worthington (1865 - 1939), I came across these his and her bookplates.

My first reaction was, isn't that nice, "his" and "her" bookplates.  Hers even came with her own name, Nora Worthington Richardson, and not "Mrs H B Richardson" as one might expect for the early 1900s.  The lower right hand corner has 1917, possibly the year they were printed or maybe the order/re-order number for the printer.

I found something odd on each, just above her name is "HBR," his initials.  Above his name is "Jr." and he wasn't a "Jr."

In the back of the scene on each is a "crest" with a Latin inscription.
Thanks to Googletranslate, I know what they say.

Hers:  "Virtute dignus avorm" = "ancestral power worthy"
His: "virtute acquirtur honos" = "virtues honor"

I agree, Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson is ancestral power worthy!

©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich
The link to this post is

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fact Checking: Can a Woman Lose her US Citizenship by Marriage?

When searching for something else, a headline in a 1914 newspaper caught my eye:  “AMERICAN WOMEN DENATURALIZED BY MARRIAGE.”
The first two paragraphs:
     “Mrs Ernest Thompson Seton, vice 
president of the Connecticut Woman
Suffrage association, has just recently
returned from a short visit to Cuba.  
On her return to this country she 
had it forcibly and disagreeably
brought to her attention that the
United States penalizes women who 
commit the crime of marrying a for-
eigner by depriving them of their cit-
izenship.  Such women, although they
may be American born and of the
purest American ancestry, they are hence-
forth aliens, unless and until their
husbands consent to naturalize and
thus to carry their wives back to into
American citizenship.
     Ernest Thompson Seton, although
he has become so thoroughly identi-
fied with this country in the minds of
the readers of his delightful books, is 
an English subject.  He was born at
Shields, in the County of Durham, and
his first residence, when he crossed
the Atlantic was in Canada.  He and
Mrs. Seton were married in 1896 but
even after marrying an American wife
Mrs. Seton is powerless either to re-
tain or regain her status of American
citizen.  Hence when on the steamer
coming from Cuba she wished to land
at a port in Florida, she found that 
she was not allowed to do so.   She 
must proceed as an alien to a port 
designated for the entrance of immi-
grants and moreover she had to an-
swer the long list of questions which 
is put to the men and women who 
come to this country from Europe or 
Asia.  Had it been discovered that 
she was suffering from any contagious 
disease or had she been a poor wom-
an and therefore in danger of becom-
ing a public charge, she might have 
debarred from landing and de-
ported--not to her native country, for 
that is California--a state where wom-
en are really citizens and have the 
vote--but to the country of her hus-

Quick summary:  Mrs Seton, a resident of US, born in California visits Cuba probably on a vacation.  She discovers on her way home that she is no longer a US citizen because her husband is British.  She can’t debark at the port where she had expected to debark, instead she had to go to the port where aliens were processed.  There she was treated like an alien: lots of questions to answer, physical examination to determine if she had any contagious disease, and determination to see if she were poor and likely to become a burden upon society.  Such a surprise for what was probably a prominent woman who was married to a well-read author.  She had lost her citizenship by her marriage and the only way to get it back was to have her husband become naturalized!  She could have been deported “back” to not her country (USA), but to her husband’s country, whether or not she ever lived there!

[and yes I know California isn't a country, but they had given the women the right to vote before the 19th amendment was passed in 1920.]
When I read that story, I thought of my own great grandmother Martha Elnora Worthington.  She was born in Chicago in 1865; and in 1889, she married Harry Bogart Richardson who was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada in 1863!  Did Elnora lose her citizenship?  Did Elnora ever leave the country after she was married?   Did Elnora have any difficulties?   

Time to Fact check the 1914 newspaper story, then answer the questions for Elnora.

Researching the accuracy of these claims, first brought me to Familysearch Wiki:
  • "From 1855 to 1922 a woman took the citizenship of her husband. An alien woman who married a United States citizen became a United States citizen.
  • From 1907 to 1922, a woman born in the United States who married an alien lost her U.S. citizenship and became an alien. For more information, read Marion L. Smith's article, Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940."

Marian L Smith’s wrote two fascinating articles tracing women’s naturalization from 1802 through 1940.  These are in Prologue Magazine. Read the first and click through to the second one.  Relevant to our Mrs. Seton in the above article.

“After 1907, marriage determined a woman's nationality status completely. Under the act of March 2, 1907, all women acquired their husband's nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date. This changed nothing for immigrant women, but U.S.-born citizen women could now lose their citizenship by any marriage to any alien. Most of these women subsequently regained their U.S. citizenship when their husbands naturalized. However, those who married Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, or other men racially ineligible to naturalize forfeited their U.S. citizenship. Similarly, many former U.S. citizen women found themselves married to men who were ineligible to citizenship for some other reason or who simply refused to naturalize. Because the courts held that a husband's nationality would always determine that of the wife, a married woman could not legally file for naturalization.”

Clearly, in 1914, the immigration agents were correct to treat Mrs. Seaton as an alien, she HAD lost her citizenship because he husband had never naturalized.  But, the law eventually changed: 

“Happily, Congress was at work and on September 22, 1922, passed the Married Women's Act, also known as the Cable Act. This 1922 law finally gave each woman a nationality of her own. No marriage since that date has granted U.S. citizenship to any alien woman nor taken it from any U.S.-born women who married an alien eligible to naturalization.  Under the new law women became eligible to naturalize on (almost) the same terms as men. The only difference concerned those women whose husbands had already naturalized. If her husband was a citizen, the wife did not need to file a declaration of intention. She could initiate naturalization proceedings with a petition alone (one-paper naturalization). A woman whose husband remained an alien had to start at the beginning, with a declaration of intention. It is important to note that women who lost citizenship by marriage and regained it under Cable Act naturalization provisions could file in any naturalization court--regardless of her residence.”

All of the discussions in Marian L Smith’s two articles are quite interesting and worth reading.  She takes the process and fills in the details of the rest of the story and illustrates it for a variety of women examples.  Interestingly, the rest of the original article about Mrs Seton, discusses some other suffragettes who had this same problem and then talked about junior suffrage league meetings and organizing. 

It turned out that the issue of denaturalizing women was connected to the issue of women’s right to vote.

“The era when a woman's nationality was determined through that of her husband neared its end when this legal provision began to interfere with men's ability to naturalize. This unforeseen situation arose in and after 1918 when various states began approving an amendment to grant women suffrage (and which became the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920). Given that women who derived citizenship through a husband's naturalization would now be able to vote, some judges refused to naturalize men whose wives did not meet eligibility requirements, including the ability to speak English. The additional examination of each applicant's wife delayed already crowded court dockets, and some men who were denied citizenship began to complain that it was unfair to let their wives' nationality interfere with their own.”
Back to our Martha Elnora Worthington, born in USA, who married Harry Bogart Richardson, born in Canada.  Elnora was the daughter of a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution.  Her husband was the grandson and great grandson of United Empire Loyalists.  Did she lose her citizenship by her marriage?  I know her son told stories of traveling to Ontario to visit relatives, so she did leave the country.

They were married in 1889, according to Familysearch Wiki quoted above:
  • From 1855 to 1922 a woman took the citizenship of her husband. An alien woman who married a United States citizen became a United States citizen.

“Just as alien women gained U.S. citizenship by marriage, U.S.-born women often gained foreign nationality (and thereby lost their U.S. citizenship) by marriage to a foreigner. As the law increasingly linked women's citizenship to that of their husbands, the courts frequently found that U.S. citizen women expatriated themselves by marriage to an alien. For many years there was disagreement over whether a woman lost her U.S. citizenship simply by virtue of the marriage, or whether she had to actually leave the United States and take up residence with her husband abroad. Eventually it was decided that between 1866 and 1907 no woman lost her U.S. citizenship by marriage to an alien unless she left the United States. Yet this decision was probably of little comfort to some women who, resident in the United States since birth, had been unfairly treated as aliens since their marriages to noncitizens.”

The key to her citizenship is whether her husband naturalized.  Harry Bogart Richardson came to the USA in 1871 as an eight-year old child.  In the 1910 US census he lists himself as naturalized.  He would have automatically become a citizen if his father naturalized while he was a child and most likely his name would not appear on any naturalization paper, just the father’s name.  

I have not successfully documented his  father’s naturalization.  When I contacted NARA, they sent me copies of a pile of cards, all men were named William Richardson and came from Canada in 1871 and lived in Chicago.  There was no way to distinguish which was OUR William Richardson.