Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thomas Harris's Ambition Takes Him To Larchmont, NY --Part one

1904 Hughes and Bailey Map
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Larchmont, NY huh?! Okay Thomas Harris, how did you get there and why? Hmm. If you missed my last post, Sometimes When We Search For One Thing, We Discover Something Else, here's a bit of a recap. Thomas Harris was my 2nd great grand uncle.  I had been researching newspaper articles on Thomas's sister, Hester Harris Pierce and her husband William T. Pierce, when I made the discovery that Thomas was living in Larchmont, NY.

I knew that Thomas Harris's resided in Wilmington, NC in 1880 based on information found on the Federal Census.

Source Information:  Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Wilmington, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: 974; Family History Film: 1254974; Page: 168C; Enumeration District: 147; Image: 0571.

He was approximately 14 years old at the time and was working as a waiter. I wonder what sort of restaurant he worked at? Did he hear in passing conversation that there was opportunity to be found up north? Perhaps a chance to start a business of his own, maybe even own his own home? Maybe this is how he came to the decision to move to Larchmont, NY.

Larchmont is located approximately 18 miles northeast of midtown, Manhattan. It's conceivable that Thomas may have found work in New York City first and then moved subsequently to Larchmont. I do know that in 1897 he was residing in that area.  

Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.  1897--New Rochelle, New York, City Directory.

The 1900 Federal Census clearly shows that Thomas Harris was a property owner.  His occupation listed as a liveryman corroborates the information I found in the city directory listing. Thomas was an ambitious man. He had his own business but that wasn't his only aspiration. 

Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Mamaroneck, Westchester, New York; Roll: 1175; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0075; FHL microfilm: 1241175.

  He suffered a setback in 1902 when a fire destroyed his stable.

 Democrat ChronicleJanuary 13, 1902.

This was not going to stop him. He rebuilt his business and set his eyes on another goal. Tom Harris sought the Republican nomination for the position of tax receiver for the village of Larchmont.

The Times Dispatch, Richmond VA, Feb 17, 1903.

Did they say he made $50,000 on his livery business?! Say What! I guess you could say he was successful. Wow!

New York Herald, February 19, 1903, Page 6

The lyrics of the song mentioned here may have proved helpful. Could 1882 be the year that Thomas Harris arrived in Larchmont? The Citizens Republican Club enjoyed the dinner that Tom had set out before them. Then things "got real" if you know what I mean very shortly. Folks didn't like all the fuss that this ambitious man of color was making.

The Wilmington Morning Star, Feb 28, 1903, Page 2

I've got to get ready to run errands now so the results of the election I will post tomorrow. I have to say though I am so impressed by Thomas Harris. He must have known this was going to be a battle but he went for it anyway.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sometimes When We Search For One Thing, We Discover Something Else

As I mentioned at the end of my post, 52 Ancestors: Hester Harris Pierce --My 2nd Great Grand Aunt, I was able to find leads on what became of couple of her siblings while I was looking researching newspaper articles on Hester and her husband. Just as a refresher I'll mention that Hester Harris Pierce was the daughter of my 3rd great grandfather Bristow Harris from Wilmington and New Bern, NC. I am a descendant of Bristow's second family who lived in New Bern, NC through his daughter Sarah Harris Whitney. Bristow Harris's second family consisted of Lemuel T Harris, Sarah's brother and Amy Brown Harris, Sarah and Lemuel's mother. Hester Harris Pierce was their 1/2 sister who was born in Wilmington.

Lemuel Harris became a waiter who settled in Boston, MA. Whatever became of Bristow Harris's other children that were from Wilmington? Here's a clue on one of them.

The New York Age,  July 4, 1907.

And just like that I had found the key to unlock the door on what became of Hester Harris Pierce's brother, Thomas Harris.

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Ladybug Birthday!

My ladybug turned 7 today. S-E-V-E-N! How is this even possible? My husband and I had a blast bringing up cupcakes to her school. Cupcakes have a magical effect on people. We passed by several kids and grownups in the halls on the way up to her classroom. Most stopped whatever conversation they were having for a minute just to say...Mmmmmh Cupcakes.

We had a little party for her over the weekend. It was just family which was lovely. It was nice to see her today though in her world with her classmates around her wishing her well. 

52 Ancestors: Hester Harris Pierce --My 2nd Great Grand Aunt

John W. Weeks Footbridge, Cambridge MA
Image courtesy of Wikipedia:  John W. Weeks Footbridge, shot 2006-03-31 by User:Scs

I found myself looking up the meaning of my 3rd great grandfather's first name the other night. His name was Bristow Harris and he was the father of Hester Harris Pierce, my 2nd great grand aunt. I think the meaning of his name has some significance considering some recent finds I've made in my research. Here's a definition of the name Bristow, I found on a website called ThinkBabyNames.com.

Bristow \b-ris-tow, br(i)-stow\ as a boy's name has the meaning "meeting place by the bridge" and is a variant of Bristol (Old English), place name: an ancient and important city in England, with one of the most important ports on the west coast.

Now why might I bring this up as I start to talk about Hester Harris?  Bristow Harris I consider to be the bridge linking me to kin who settled in Massachussetts. Hester Harris was the daughter of Bristow Harris and Rose Anderson of Wilmington, NC. You can read more about my 3rd great grandfather, Bristow, here.

Hester Harris was born based on information found on the 1900 Federal Census, sometime around May 1870.  She made the move to Massachussetts sometime prior to 1892. That's the year she wed her husband William T Pierce in the city of Boston. 

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Although it shows her birthplace listed as" Newberne," I believe in actuality that it was Wilmington, NC.  The reference to New Bern was most like due to her father who resided in that city for a period of time.

The 1900 Federal Census gave clues regarding the economic status of the Pierce family.

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Cambridge Ward 5, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 657; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0730; FHL microfilm: 1240657.

They owned their own home at 11 Clarendon Ave. Cool! Then check out the occupation there on William. He was an engineer. This family was educated! These folks were taking care of business.  

Hester Harris and William T Pierce had at least 11 children together. One of their children I have not been able to find a record for other than the notation on the 1900 Federal census where it showed Hester was the mother of 6 with 3 surviving children.  My guess is that the child probably died shortly after birth.

Aver B. Pierce (born 1895--died April 15, 1896)
Ruth May Pierce (born May 6, 1892--died before 1900)
James William Pierce (August 7, 1893--February 20, 1979)
Thomas Ellis Pierce (August 13, 1896--1965)
Henry C Pierce (March 10, 1898--?)
Clarence T Pierce (April 5, 1901--September 4, 1921)
Thelma A Pierce (December 15, 1902--?)
Joseph A Pierce (July 12, 1904--March 16, 1905)
Albert Franklin Pierce Sr. (October 12, 1905--July 16, 1988)
David Meyer Pierce (March 5, 1907--September  25, 1954)

In 1907, the family was still residing at 11 Clarendon Ave, in Cambridge, MA when sadly, Hester Pierce passed away.

Image courtesy of "Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N4M1-Q5L : accessed 13 Oct 2014), Hester A Pierce, 12 Mar 1907; citing Cambridge,,Massachusetts, 483, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2258906.

The cause of death was listed as Erysipelas with Lobar Pneumonia as a contributory factor. 

I had seen the word Erysipelas before but had no idea what that was. Here's what Wikipedia says about the condition.

Erysipelas (/ɛrɨˈsɪpələs/; Greek ἐρυσίπελας—red skin; also known as "Ignis sacer", "holy fire", and "St. Anthony's fire"[1] in some countries) is an acute infection[2] of the upper dermis and superficial lymphatics, usually caused by streptococcus bacteria.[3] Erysipelas is more superficial than cellulitis, and is typically more raised and demarcated.[4]

Poor thing. What a bad way to go. Thank goodness for antibiotics these days.

I found a couple a years back the death certificate for Hester Harris Pierce online through FamilySearch.org. This was at a time when I hadn't really began looking into researching newspaper articles. 
With my participation in  the 52 Ancestors blog prompt series, I finally have meandered my way back into looking for information about my Harris ancestors.  

Here's an obituary for Hester dated March 16, 1907 from the Cambridge Chronicle which indicated that Wilmington, NC was indeed her birthplace:

Cambridge Chronicle, March 16, 1907

Question:  What was a Sleeper School? Perhaps Sleeper was just referring to the name and not the type of school?  I found a couple of newspaper articles that provided some clarity on the subject.

Cambridge Chronicle, October 20, 1894

Cambridge Chronicle, September 17, 1898

It sounds like to me that the Mothers Club that Hester Pierce was a member of, was of tremendous importance to this school. I would think they probably provided assistance with teaching or monitoring students. Hester was a mom like me looking out for her kids and the kids of her neighborhood. I like it!

I was able to locate where the family home was situated by referring to a map from the Harvard University Library's Digital Collection. The link here is to G.W. Bromley & Co. Atlas of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts: from actual surveys and official plans. Philadelphia : G.W. Bromley and Co., 1903. It shows Clarendon Ave and if you zoom in you can see the names of the property owners written on each lot. W. F. Pierce and H. A Pierce's names are clearly labeled on lot 2397. 

Referring to the 1903 map was important because the street was renumbered at some point. I've marked on the following aerial view the approximate location of the original 11 Clarendon Ave.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Image courtesy of Google Maps
Orange marker notes the approximate location of the original 11 Clarendon Ave and blue marker shows the location of where the Sleeper School once stood.  The school building was torn down and was replaced by a park

By researching Hester Harris Pierce and her husband in newspapers I was able to locate information on the whereabouts of a couple of Hester's siblings. Those findings I will feature in upcoming posts.

Holy cow! I just realized something. I looked at the obituary again and saw just six children were listed in it. David Meyer Pierce was born on March 5, 1907.  Hester died on March 12, 1907, just one week later. Willim T. Pierce probably didn't know if his newborn son was going to make it after his wife died.

Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

On April 29, 1907, David Meyer Pierce's birth was finally recorded.  The infection Hester had contracted may have been a result of complications from childbirth.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Autumn Walk At One Of My Favorite Places

I took a little walk in woods yesterday at one of my favorite places. I love the Binghamton University Nature Preserve! I've been visiting this place on again and off again for over twenty years. It's a beautiful place especially this time of year.

Feeling recharged. 
Time to go home.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 49 --What Do I Sound Like?

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link: http://www.anglers-rest.net/book-of-me-written-by-you.html.

This week's prompt is - What do I sound like?

Describe your voice
Perhaps include an electronic recording of your voice reciting a poem or reading a piece of writing. Maybe even this prompt response
Do you have recordings of other family members?

My voice is quite similar to my mother's. We both have deep voices. So if you want to hear what I sound like, click on the recordings. I used a website called Chirbit.com to create these recordings. The first is short. It's just me saying my name and the name of my blog. The second one is a quote from a lecture that was given by poet, author, and genealogist Laurence Overmire.

Check this out on Chirbit

Check this out on Chirbit

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Not So Wordless Wednesday On Thursday: Point Of Pines, Massachussetts Postcards

I like to envision what the places my ancestors lived and worked in looked like. Postcards from those places help with this a great deal. I have to say I regularly scan ebay for bits and pieces that help to tell my ancestral stories. After I wrote my post on my 2nd great grand uncle, Lemuel T Harris, I took to ebay to see what I could find on a place called Point of Pines, MA. This is where he was employed as a waiter in 1890.

I went back to the newspaper article that I featured in my post about Lemuel to this specific sentance.

Lemuel Harris, companion of Seales on the night in question, said he worked at the Point of Pines, but has a room at 50 Melrose St.

So what did I find on ebay that came yesterday in the mail? That would be two postcards I purchased. Another is on the way, but these were the first to arrive.