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Tuesday, December 31, 2013


UPDATE - Willis has gone home!


This photo was found at the Antique Show at South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. Labeled "Willis E. Cobb" (or possibly "Willie E. Cobb") and the following dates are given:
Born Oct 18, 1855
Died Feb 25, 1872

The photograph was taken At A.J. Pierce Studio in Rockland, Maine.

The 1860 Census from Union, Maine (a community approx 15 miles from Rockland on the coast) shows a 4-year-old Willis E. living at the home of his father William E. Cobb, an inn-keeper, and his mother Elvira W. Cobb (maiden name Elvira Weston Snow). Also in the household are an older sister Mary, and several servants.

The 1870 Census shows 14-year-old Willis at the same location, while older sister Mary is no longer living at home. Otherwise the situation is relatively unchanged.

The fact that young Willis dies less than 2 years later is a bit depressing. The photo above must have been taken just a short time before that sad event.  I have not yet found the obituary or learned the cause of his early passing.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


This photo was found at an Antique show at the South Florida Fairgrounds. On the back are the photographer's marks "Dowens Photographer, Riverhead, L.I." as well as hand-written words "Peter Harvey Duryee".

The photo appears to have been taken around 1885, and the subject appears to be in his mid-20s.

1910 Census record for Suffolk Count, NY, finds Peter H Duryee living with wife Beulah, daughters Vivian, Clara E and Mary Hope, and son John W. He worked as a salesman at a "Feed store", or possibly "Seed store."

1920 Census for the same place, shows Peter is a widowed, and the eldest daughter is no longer at home. Occupation is salesman at a Hardware Store. Son John has the same occupation. Daughter Clara works as a bookkeeper in a Produce House, and Mary Hope works in a bank.

1930 Census shows Peter has remarried, a woman 16 years his junior, named Mabel. None of the children remain at home.

Further online research finds a man of this name who lived in Mattituck, NY, a town less than 20 miles from the photographer's studio.

The following obituary was printed in The Watchman newspaper on Aug 9, 1945:


  Mattituck lost one of its fine old gentlemen and best known citizens in the passing of Peter Harvey Duryee, who died at his home on Westphalia Road Monday morning of this week, in his eighty-fifth year.
  He was born in Brooklyn on Jan 19, 1861, a son of the late John Wyckoff and Elizabeth Verity Duryee, who moved to Mattituck about six years later and settled with several other Brooklyn families in the section known as Oregon. He spent his boyhood days in Oregon, and after marrying Miss Beulah Hallock, daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Silas Hallock, in 1889, he built the present home on Mattituck Creek, where he lived the rest of his life.
Their union was blessed with four children, Vivien, now Mrs Donald Gildersleeve; Clara, now Mrs Cedric Luce of Sound Avenue; Hope, now Mrs Alfred Furnivall of Riverhead; and John, all of whom survive. Their mother died in 1915.  Mr Duryee became a painter by trade, and was also engaged in other enterprizes. At one time he and Otto P Hallock, now of Riverhead, formed a partnership, Hallock and Duryee, for the manufacture and sale of fertilizers, with factory in Mattituck. He became associated with his brother, William V Duryee, in business when he built a hardware store on Westphalia Road and later transferred the business to its present site on Pike Street and Railroad Avenue. He continued at the store as long as his health permitted, and seldom missed a day there until the past year, when he came to the store only for short daily visits. 
He had also represented the Niagara and Hartford Fire Insurance companies for more than twenty-five years.  Mr Duryee was a man of fine and upright character, whose friendly and kindly ways won him friends in all walks of life. He took an active interest in all things for the betterment of his home town, and was a member of the Prebyterian Church, a charter member of the Mattituck Council 34, Jr O U A M; the Mattituck Yacht Club, an organization he was instrumental in forming, and of which he was, a few years ago, made Commandore Emeritus, in appreciation of his years of service. He also belonged to the Mattituck Grange and the Marratooka Club.
  One of his favorite recreations was boating, and he delighted in taking members of his family and friends on sails about the Creek and Sound. A lover of music, he palyed the piano and cornet, and was a member of several Mattituck bands and orchestras through the years, furnished dance music for the old Literary Society during most of the years of its existence, and sang until a few years ago in the choir of the Presbyterian Church. His home was a hospitable one, where he was continually looking forward to occasions when ones he loved would gather there for holidays and parties. He completed a full and useful life and will be greatly missed by all.
  He is survived by his widow, Mabel Hart Duryee, whom he married in 1928; a brother, William V Duryee; and by the three daughters and one son; also three grandchildren, Cedric Luce Jr, Nancy and John W Duryee Jr.
  Funeral services were conducted this afternoon (Thursday) at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church, by Mr Duryee's former pastor, Dr P E Radford, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, NY. Members of Mattiuck Council Jr OUAM attended in a body. Interment was in the Bethany Cemetery.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


This portrait is labeled simply "Mrs. Patrick Gleason."

The photo was taken in Warsaw, New York somewhere around 1885 to 1890 at the Duryea photographic studio.

The 1880 Census for nearby village of Pavilion, New York, has record of a farmer named Patrick GLEASON, age 46, married to Bridget, age 42, and children Thomas (11), Elizabeth (8), Mary (5) and Maggie (3).

The 1870 Census also includes older children John (13), Patrick (11), and Ella (7) and young Thomas was just 1 year old at that time.

The 1900 Census shows Bridget is living alone as a widow. The record indicates she had 8 children, 7 of whom are still living. That Census page states she was born in June 1838.

Cemetery records at the St. Mary's Cemetery in Pavilion show that Patrick (1825-1898) is buried there, next to his wife Bridget Kavanaugh Gleason (1837-1902) and daughter Margaret Gleason (1876-1903)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

RIPLEY, Frederick Augusta

Frederick and Malantha have gone home.

I found this photo over the weekend at an antique show in West Palm Beach, Florida, from a Virginia vendor who had a very large collection. Where he got the photo, I do not know, nor did he.

The photo is labeled on the front: "Frederick A. Ripley 1869" and on the back "Brother to Oliver Ripley." The photo was taken at the Collins Photographic Galleries in Westfield Massachusetts.

Armed with those details, it was literally a matter of a few minutes' research before the data came pouring in through such sources as Massachusetts Census and Death records.

This is Frederick Augustus Ripley, born in 1812 and worked as a farmer in Granville MA, a community near Westfield. He had a brother named Oliver (born 1811), also a farmer, and their parents were John Bradford Ripley and Elizabeth Barnard.

Frederick married Malanthy D. Noble (born 1818).  They had three daughters Lucinda, Mary (a dress maker married to William Clark, she lived to age 60) and Ella M. (she married Wilbert Loomis and died of consumption at age 26.) On Census records, a couple named Lorenzo Noble and Elizabeth Ripley Noble also lived and worked at the Frederick Ripley farm. Lorenzo was probably a relative of Malanthy, whose maiden name was Noble.

Brother Oliver had a larger family. His offspring on Census records include Hubert [Herbert?] (1846), Rascoe [or Irester] (1848), Horace (1851), Jabez (1853), Hetty (1855), Edward (1858), and Daniel (1864).

Death records reveal that Frederick died July 20, 1891 of dysentery following gangrene of the foot. He died in Granville and was buried in Westfield in the family plot at Pine Hill Cemetery.

UPDATE: I went back on the second day of the Antique sale and sifted through the box of photos again, and found something that made me so very happy I'd gone back.

MALANTHA NOBLE RIPLEY was Frederick's wife. Further inscription on the back identifies her as "sister to Lo Noble" who was presumably the Lorenzo Noble who lived and worked at the family farm.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


UPDATE - These two photos have been claimed and are going home!

At an antique show in West Palm Beach, Florida, I found these two photos which appear to have been taken around 1880. At first I thought they were of the same child because the faces are identical, but upon closer inspection, I could see that the older of the two children has longer, curlier hair. Only one photo (younger child) had any sort of identification on the back, so it is a small miracle that I actually bought both photos. Had I come across the elder child later in the same box, I might have not given her a second glance since she had no identification. Thank heavens they were right together!

I was convinced these two were related, so I bought them both.

The back side of both photos shows the same photographer's studio in Pawtucket, RI, but the younger child's photo bears the following inscription:

It says "G. LAWTON SPENCER, 1 year 2 months old". With a name and location, the search was on.

By the end of the day, both children were identified. The younger child, whom I originally thought was a girl, is actually a young boy. He is Gideon (also called George) Lawton Spencer (born 1879), named for his illustrious grandfather of the same name.  His year-older sister is Gertrude Spencer.

The grandfather (1803-1892) was a near life-long resident of Pawtucket, serving in several important roles, including President of the North Providence Bank.

The parents of these two children are Frank Gideon Spencer (1847-1922) and Lucy Maria Lawton. Frank served as a bank clerk for a time, but by 1887 was the Assistant Superintendent at the P & W railroad.

The 1901 Liber Brunensis Yearbook for Brown University, in Providence RI, shows a pupil named George Lawton Spencer (class of '04) as a member of Beta Theta Pi and the Yachting Club.

Young Gideon married Hazel Hunsley in 1917 and had two daughters, Lucy and Nancy.  The 1930 Census for East Greenwich township, RI, shows he was working as a Naval Architect. He lived a long life, dying in 1957.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


UPDATE - William Lightbody has been claimed by a cousin and is going home!

This is the very handsome William Russell LIGHTBODY. The photo was found in an antique shop in Glens Falls NY.

On the front of the matte there is a studio mark so faint it is almost unreadable. It may say "Edgar H Horton Co." Much more easily made out is the location "Providence R.I."  The back is labeled "William R. Lightbody".

Through some research, I was able to determine that this is William Russell Lightbody. Born in New Hampshire on May 12, 1882 to parents James G. LIGHTBODY and Alice FOLSOM.

The 1900 Census shows he was 18 and living at home in Manchester NH with his parents and sister Elizabeth "Bessie" who was 5 years younger.

He graduated from Brown University (Providence RI) in 1906 and worked as a physician.

At some point he was elected the City Physician for Manchester New Hampshire.

The 1930 Census shows he was living at the home of his widowed father in Manchester at that time.

His death certificate states that he died August 12, 1944 at the Veteran's Hospital in West Roxbury Massachusetts, indicating that he must have had a military career, presumably in World War I. His ashes are interred at Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester NH.


UPDATE - Lina has gone home!

This photo is a small "tin-type" photo on some sort of metal. It was found in California at the Pasadena Antique Mall.

On the back, in pencil, are the words:   "LINA JOHNSON LINDQUIST, 1870 Galesburg".  (I am not certain if 1870 is a birthdate, or was when the photo was taken. Based on the clothing which appears to be Civil War era, I suspect the latter.) The inscription might also give the surname as "Lindqvist".

There is also a photographer's studio mark, within a shield, which reads "Z.P. McMillen's New Art Gallery, cor. Main St. and Pub. Square, Galesburg, IL"

A bit of internet research reveals that this is Carolina "Lina" Susannah Johnson Lindquist who was born in 1851 in Sweden and lived in Galesburg, IL with her husband, Charles J. Lindquist.  Carolina immigrated to the US in 1869, one year before the picture was taken in 1870.  She died in Galesburg in 1918.

The 1880 census shows they had a daughter named Millie "Mildred", born on 8 Dec 1873.