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 WORTHINGTON Robert S. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WORTHINGTON Robert S. Show all posts

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blind Man's Bluff .... Is that What this Scrapbook is Playing with Me?

An illustration in Ella Worthington's scrapbook
-- notice the game is called "Buff" instead of "Bluff" in the mid-1870s

Since initially posting about my family's scrapbook initially in A Scrapbook with a Surprise, little did I know how this would challenge me to find out more.  I had no idea that so much could be learned from what looked like a simple scrapbook full of period pictures.  I shared some of that adventure in Some Logic, Some Help, and "Ask a Librarian" or two ... Gives an Answer.   Well the adventure continues and, as the blindfolded person in the above picture, I feel as if the clues are all around me -- IF I could ONLY see them!
Here's my latest update on the adventure.

Ellen Gruber Garvey, the author of Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance, commented on my first blog post about how she had scrapbooks which were made with all sorts of books that folks might have found discarded or passed along.  In her own blog post about the release of her book, Garvey says:

For many, scrapbook making was a salvage art.  They turned the trash of the newspaper into treasured volumes.  Where did they get the volumes to work with? Not only did they remake newspaper clippings into books, but they remade old books into scrapbooks.  As one scrapbook maker whose family was busy pasting papers in 1873 explained, they were not "using up good printed books" as her visitor accuses her of doing.  Rather "there is nothing in them that we want, and so we propose putting in something, rather than have them stand idle.... Some of them are old school-books, not much worn, but out of date.  Almost every library has some useless books."

So folks were "reusing"  what they considered "useless" volumes!  I'm sure librarians cringe at the statement about the library having some useless books!

She mentioned to me that she had copies in her collection of Patent Books and Congressional Record books as scrapbooks. 

The government helped supply nineteenth-century scrapbook makers with useless books.  The hefty yearly volumes the Patent Office issued, included their agricultural reports, were especially popular with scrapbook makers.  They neatly fit two columns per page and looked well on the bookshelf, one scrapbook advice giver explained.  And since Congressmen (all men in those days) sent them out free to constituents, at least in part so their constituents would have that good-looking binding around as a reminder of the Congressman's favor, why not refill the dull contents one's own uses? Thousands did. 

Government reports and other thick volumes, such as outdated city directories -- the forerunners of phone books -- lent authority to clipping collections.  An African American janitor in Philadelphia used such directories to past up over a hundred massive volumes mainly concerning black life.  His collection drew admiring comments from newspaper reporters who were pleased to see their own newspaper writing presented in such a dignified form.

So, did the Worthington family consider their copy of the Congressional Record  a "useless book" or did they have a copy for  a reason?  When might they have acquired this Congressional Record?  Knowing when they acquired it might give a hint as to whether there was a reason for their having it beyond a gift from their Congressman who hoped that Robert would remember his largess come election day.

In order to answer the question of when did the Worthingtons acquire the book, I needed to find out when it became available to the public.  You might remember from my previous update, the copy of the Congressional Record that they owned and that Ella Worthington used for the scrapbook was volume 8, part 1, from the 45th Congress.  The date that was visible was 14 December, and it turns out that the year was 1878.  The visible page, 190, was early in the volume and so I wondered how many pages were actually in the volume and what date was the end.  The librarian at "Ask a Librarian" for the Library of Congress was helpful yet again.   It turns out that volume 8 had three parts:
Part 1, 2 December 1878 to 3 February 1879, pages 1 to 928
Part 2, 3 February 1879 to 24 February 1879, pages 928 to 1804
Part 3, 24 February 1879 to 3 March 1879, pages 1805 to 2410

The Library of Congress Librarian referred me to George D. Barnum, the Agency Historian for the Government Printing Office (GPO).  He was very patient with my questions.  He pointed out that


The Congressional Record is published daily when Congress is in session (it is printed the morning following the date on the face).  The bound volumes are issued sometime later, usually after the close of the session Congress.  Daily issues and the bound volumes have separate indexes, since the pagination changes when the bound volume is issued.

On first glance, then some time after 3 March 1879, the volume 8 of the Congressional Record for the 45th Congress would go to press.  How much after?  I can imagine it takes a while to prepare, but I figured I'd ask George Barnum.  

At the close of the session, the daily issues would have been re-set (all type was still set by hand at GPO until 1904) for the bound edition.  Unfortunately, I really don't have any information that would tell me in what sequence the volumes might have been printed, or how long it might have taken.  Bear in mind that "going to press" is one step among a great many (editing, indexing, setting type, proofreading presswork, binding) all (except editorial) done here.

Comparing the production of the Record in 1878 with today would be impossible, since virtually every variable from the production of the index to the composing of  type, method of printing, construction of the binding, or the press of completing the work has changed.  The period between the close of the session and the appearance of the the Bound Record volumes varies, depending on how quickly Congress finishes and approves the editing, how big the individual issues are, how long the indexing takes, and what other work is in the plant, etc.  I believe that the lag is about 18 months presently.

George Barnum suggested that I might check with one of the Depository Libraries here to see what their acquisition date is for their copy of this volume.  I did check with Connie Reik, a wonderful genealogist and librarian and Government Publications Coordinator at Tisch Library, Tufts University.  They received the volume in 1898, but they weren't a Depository Library in 1879.  I need to check at an earlier Depository Library to get a sense of when it was distributed to the public.

It is definitely getting later and later for the actual acquisition of this volume of the Congressional Record by the Worthington family.  So, what I thought at first about what Robert was doing as a job back in the early 1870s may not be relevant to the question of why/how they acquired this.  He might very well have acquired this book when he was working as the Secretary to the Real Estate Board of the Chicago Board of Trade.

I shared my two previous blog posts about this scrapbook with George Barnum and he added:
Very interesting post.  Let me add a little information for you.  In those days, it was not at all uncommon for members of Congress to give all manner of publications away to their constituents, and the large numbers authorized in those days reflect that.  Congress authorized 7500 copies of the bound Record for the 45th Congress 3rd session, which amounted to 30,000 actual pieces (they were, according to our annual report, 4 vols. for that session), and practically all of those went to the House and Senate folding rooms for distribution to members.  Members are more circumspect these days, but you wouldn't have had to work too hard to get a copy of the Constitution (printed at GPO) out of one of your Congressional delegation.   In earlier days the popular ones were the annual Agricultural report (later the Yearbook of Agriculture), a big tome called Special Report on Diseases of the Horse that went through a bunch of editions and, obviously, the Record.

So my part 1 of volume 8 was one of 7500 printed, many of which were for distribution to constituents.  Not too rare, but probably one of the few decorated with only gorgeous pictures from Demorest's Monthly Magazine from 1876 to 1882.


One of the side effects of this research is that I am reading Ellen Gruber Garvey's book, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance.  People in the 19th century created scrapbooks to save the information that they had read and to be able to re-read and to share with others.  Whole families might scrapbook -- each member having his/her own.  I know Robert Worthington's two scrapbooks are very different from this book with all of it's gorgeous illustrations.  His started with news clippings of the assassination of Lincoln and then are various articles on things that interested him along with obituaries for family, colleagues at work and some friends. 

George Barnum, Agency Historian/Congressional Relations Specialist, Office of Congressional Relations, added one final thought:

This phenomenon of using books (and it seems to have been especially common for government documents) as the basis for scrapbooks has quite a history.  Thomas Jefferson did it.  http://americanhistory.si.edu/jeffersonbible/
I think because people got these government documents for nothing from members, they probably had a particular allure.

I remember hearing years ago that Thomas Jefferson "wrote" his own version of the Bible, by cutting and pasting passages from the Bible that he liked and enjoyed.  When I first heard that story, cutting up a Bible sounded almost sacreligious.  Giving it some thought now, Jefferson's Bible was in essence a scrapbook!

©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich




Friday, March 22, 2013

A Scrapbook with a Surprise, and a Question


A few years before my mother died, she took me upstairs to a chest where she had a couple quilts and some scrapbooks.  Two of the scrapbooks belonged to Robert Searing Worthington.  Mother said the other scrapbook belonged to Robert's daughter, Martha Elnora Worthington Richardson.  I suspect that this scrapbook belonged to Robert's wife, Mattie's mother, Elnora Esther (Ella) Cobb Worthington (1839 - 1923).

The scrapbook is full of illustrations that were originally published in the woman's magazine, Demorest's Monthly Magazine dating from 1876 to 1882.  Since Martha was born in 1865, I suspect her mother, Ella, kept the scrapbook because Mattie would have been age 11 when she was first saving pictures from a woman's magazine that included articles, prints, and paper dress patterns.  It turns out that the Demorests developed a business selling dress patterns, magazines and sewing machines among other things.



A few illustrations were in color.


There was a big surprise about this scrapbook that I accidentally discovered as I looked through the various pictures.  One picture became unglued over time.  I discovered this was not a regular blank book meant to be a scrapbook.  Instead of blank pages with pictures glued onto each one, this is what I saw:

The Congressional Record?!  YES, THE Congressional Record for the House.  I'm not sure which year, but this unglued page is December 14, the year would be on the top of the right hand page and all of those pages are securely glued down.  The year was probably in the about 1874 or 1875 since the pictures which have dates start in 1876 and the footnote on this page refers back to something in 1873.

For the curious about the business of the day in Washington then here is more of this page:

I got to wondering why the cover (above) didn't identify the book as the Congressional Record?  Was that flower strategically placed on the cover?  I looked at the binding more carefully and realized that the three lighter colored stripes of tan were actually tape, probably strategically located over the book title!

The book weighs 7 3/4 pounds.  The pages are quite thick.  Looking carefully at the book I and realized how she had constructed this.




For each page used front and back with pictures glued on, there were a bunch of pages equal in thickness cut out.  Then a page of tissue was glued in, using one of the cut out pages to glue to, before another page of pictures.


The page on the right has the print from the magazine, there is a page of issue paper inserted.  If you look closely towards the bottom of the page on the left,  you can see the stumps of the cut out pages.

So now my question:  Why would Ella Cobb Worthington own a copy of the Congressional Record?

In 1876, Ella and Robert Worthington were living in Chicago, and according to the Lakeside annual directory for the City of Chicago, he was a cashier.  Before the Chicago Fire, Robert worked for Gibson, Chase & Company (in freight forwarding).  After the fire, Gibson, Chase goes out of existence and Robert goes to work for J.N. & S.E. Hurlbut, commission merchants.  At some point, Robert goes to work for the Chicago Board of Trade Real Estate Committee, as the Secretary and is involved with the building of the new board of trade building which opened in 1885.  About 1877, they move to "the country," Oak Park.  Robert's scrapbook was full of articles from the newspaper that he found interesting, anything on Thackery & Dickens and obituaries of friends and family.

None of this points in my mind to a family who would have bought a copy of the Congressional Record -- not exactly a casual reading book at 2 1/2 inches thick (and now 7 3/4 pounds).

Do my readers have any idea?  Please post if you do!

The link to this post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-scrapbook-with-surprise-and-question.html
©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich






Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Young Man Runs up to the President-elect ....

The President-elect of the United States travels to Chicago after the election, a  young man runs up to him ...
So what do you think happened to that  30-year-old man who no one knew who he was when he approached the President?

Did the president's body guards, a.k.a. the Secret Service, immediately arrest him?

Actually if it were our current President, the young man might not have gotten into the the Tremont House Hotel where the President-elect was staying or any where near the parlor of the hotel where the future President was meeting with his Vice President-elect. But this didn't occur when our last president from Illinois was elected in 2008, but rather when our first President from Illinois was elected in November 1860.

That young man was Robert S Worthington, my great great grandfather.  He moved to Chicago from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin in 1855 at age 25.  In 1855, he is listed in a Chicago directory as a clerk for American Transportation Co.; in 1859, as a cashier.  In the 1860 Census in Chicago, he is listed as a bookkeeper and living in a resident hotel.  Definitely not a political wheeler-dealer in the world of Chicago and national politics who would be expected to be meeting with the soon-to-be sworn in president of the United States.

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Fast forward 140 years, to 2001, when my mother died and I inherited Robert's two scrapbooks.  They are chocked full of newspaper clippings, page after page, corner to corner.  There are interesting articles and obituaries.  I've actually spent time over the years working on making sure I've identified all the obituaries related to the family (some actually led to solving some genealogical problems); and when a genea-friend came to visit, we scanned and she posted information from the others on Find-a-Grave so that people seeking might find the information.


Inside the front cover of Robert S Worthington's scrapbook 
-- notice he even used the lightweight pages that were not 
meant for gluing stuff on to them.


Looking closer at the first page:





It is an article describing the assassination of the President and Secretary of State, "THE PRESIDENT EXPIRED THIS MORNING" and Robert has added the year 1865 to the page.  This is April 1865, just four and a half years after Lincoln was elected the first time, now he was dead.

Our young man, a month shy of 35, has started his scrapbook with the assassination of the President.  By now Robert is growing up.  He is married, and his wife Elnora is expecting a baby in November.  He works for the freight-fowarding company of Gibson, Chase & Co. and will do so until it goes out of business after the Chicago Fire when he re-invents himself again.

I had assumed that the enormity of the assassination of the president is what spurred him to start the scrapbook, not realizing that he, Robert, a clerk/cashier had actually met the president on that fateful day in 1860, just over four years before.

What I learned a couple of years ago, was that thirty years after Robert's encounter with the President-elect, he told someone the story and it made it into the local paper.  By then he was no longer a clerk/cashier in a freight-forwarding business, but rather the assistant secretary to the Chicago Board of Trade who had supervised the construction of the new building after the Chicago Fire. He worked as the Secretary for the Real Estate Board for the Board of Trade and basically seemed to be a "clerk of the works" managing the details of the construction [finished in 1885].

So, what did happen to 30-year-old Robert when he ran up to President-elect Lincoln back in 1860?




He got Lincoln's autograph!  No one questioned Robert's being there.  My how have times changed.
If someone had run up to Obama in a Chicago hotel, he probably would have been hauled off to jail--definitely not given an autograph.

So, do I have that autograph.  Nope, no idea what happened to that black book.  Never even knew about it until I read it in the paper.  Besides, we all know that everything we read in the paper is correct.



The link for this post is http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-young-man-runs-up-to-president-elect.html

©2013 Erica Dakin Voolich







Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Death on the Railroad Tracks, the Rest of the Story, part 1

When looking through my GG'grandfather Robert S Worthington's scrapbook, I found many family obituaries along with other articles and obits of interest to him.

Two of the articles/obituaries were the announcement of his father-in-law's death, Nathan Cobb on 24 June 1892.


So sad, an elderly gentleman, aged 85, walking with two canes and probably suffering from dementia is killed by a train.  The family clearly was caring for him at home and he slipped out of the house unnoticed.

How did he end up on the train tracks?  It wasn't far.  Looking at an earlier map of Oak Park from the 1870s (available at the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society), I noticed he lived a block and a half away.


Ironically, looking at the map close up


There is a picture of a Chicago Northwestern train right where Nathan was hit about 20 years later!

As someone who grew up in towns with trains running through them, the crossings all had signals, the tracks were a bit elevated and would be difficult to easily wander up to if walking with a couple of canes. BUT....

That is not how it was in 1892 in Oak Park.  Frank Lipo at the Oak Park River Forest Historical Society pointed out to me that the trains ran right down the middle of the road, no elevation at all.

Here is a picture of the Chicago Northwestern tracks at Harlem Ave (a few blocks away from where Nathan was hit):

photo thanks to Oak Park River Forest Historical Society
The corner of Harlem Ave and South Blvd

There is no challenge for someone walking with two canes to get onto these tracks!

Today those same tracks are up a full flight of stairs with North Blvd on one side and South Blvd on the other!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2012.
The link to this post is: http://genea-adventures.blogspot.com/2012/07/death-on-railroad-tracks-rest-of-story.html

Friday, June 1, 2012

Three shared photos 7 years apart united in this blog!

Tombstone of Martha Searing Worthington
 and two of her children, Harriet and William Henry.
Copyright 2012 by Stephen J. Danko.
Photograph used with permission.



In 2009, genealogist Stephen Danko was traveling to Albany to work on some of his ancestors and offered to photograph the grave of my GGG'grandmother, Martha SEARING who married Denison WORTHINGTON.  At that time I had just learned from the Albany city historian that Martha was buried in the Albany City Cemetery in the LaGRANGE family plot of her husband's 2nd wife.

Martha married Denison WORTHINGTON
at the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Albany
New York on 24 December 1829.

They had three children, Robert Searing
(b. 4 October 1830), Harriet (b. 20 July
1833) and William Henry (b. 23 May 1836).

William died on 19 September 1837, Harriet died on 5 June 1838 and then Martha died on 23 March 1839, leaving Denison, a single father with a seven year old son, Robert Searing.  If you notice, all three of these people died between 1837 and 1839; the small detail of finding their graves in the Albany City Cemetery was that it didn't open for burials until 1843.  Clearly the tombstone with all three names, with Martha at the top (the last to die), was done years after the first death; and at some later time the bodies were moved to this cemetery.  Here is the inscription on the tombstone:


    MARTHA
    wife of
    ??NISON WORTHINGTON
    Died March 23, 1839
    Aged 31ys & 13 ds
    -----
    ALSO
    Their Son
    WILLIAM HENRY
    Died Sept. 19, 1837
    Aged 1 yr 3 mo & 27 ds
    -----
    and Daughter
    HARRIET
    Died June 5, 1838
    Aged 4 ys 10 mo & 16 ds



Denison worked as a clerk and then about 1835 went into the grocery business with Mr Gilbert, it became Worthington & Davis until 1847 when Denison moved to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  Before moving to Wisconsin, he married Mary Ann LaGRANGE on 3 June 1840 in Albany NY.

I have not yet found out when the 2nd Presbyterian Church closed, but that is probably when the three bodies needed to be moved, most likely from the Church's cemetery.  Denison and his 2nd wife and children were already in Wisconsin and so the family of his second wife, his in-laws, Gerrit and Mary LaGrange,  must have arranged to move the graves of Denison's first wife and their children into the LaGrange family plot and add a tombstone for them.  He must have had a good relationship with his in-laws!

Over the next 15 years Mary Ann gave birth to seven children before she died 15 June 1856 in Summit Wisconsin.  Denison was left a single father with now 8 children, the youngest was 1 month old.  His oldest son, Robert, moved to Chicago and took a job as a clerk leaving Denison at home with Denison LaGrange (14), William Henry (13), Mary Frances (11), Martha (9), James LaGrange (6), Garrit Hazzard (2) and Frank Town (1 month).

By the 1860 census, Denison is still living on the family farm in Wisconsin with sons William (16) and James (11).
  

Meanwhile back in Albany living with their LaGrange grandparents are Denison (20) who is working as a clerk, Mary (15), Garret (6), and Frank (4).


Martha (13) is living with a physician in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin:


His oldest son, Robert (25) is still in Chicago, now living in a residence hotel and working as a bookkeeper.


He didn't marry his third wife until after the 1860 census, even though 1860 is the estimated  year of Denison marrying Julia PROUDFIT (widow of McNaughton).  She died four years later on 21 February 1864.

I thought I  had sorted out the story of my GGG'grandmother, not sure I'd find any real details of her short life.  Then seven years after I received a copy of the picture of her tombstone, Richard Worthington posted these pictures on my FaceBook page.  I've never seen either picture before, nor have I seen any pictures of Denison and Martha.  What a wonderful surprise!

Martha Searing,