11 February 2016

"Colored Citizens of Worcester" Honor Roll, World War II

Worcester professor Thomas Doughton recently brought my attention to the fact that this "Colored Citizens" of Worcester [Massachusetts] Honor Roll from World War II is currently missing. It was installed outside the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church at the corner of Clayton and Belmont Streets, but was removed during the construction of Route 290. I have asked for and received Prof. Doughton's permission to reproduce his photos of the memorial and pages from the dedication program. [1]

When the Worcester City Council met on 26 January 2016, the agenda included a request from William S. Coleman III to have the city administration support the efforts of Worcester's African American community to locate and [re-]establish a long lost World War II Memorial honoring Worcester’s "citizens of color who served our country.”[2] It was referred to the Veterans' and Military Affairs Committee. [3]

According to the program, the memorial was constructed by the Van Slett Advertising Company, sometime before August 1945 (the war was still on), on land donated by the AME Zion Church. Below is detail of a map of Worcester from 1891 in which the church can be seen, at the corner of Clayton and Belmont Streets. [4] Construction for Route 290 began in earnest about 1955-1960, I believe, so it was not up for long before it was removed and lost or destroyed.

A Google map of the area is below, rotated. It looks like the Route 290 E off-ramp is what used to be Clayton.

Here is a transcription of the names found on the memorial and in the booklet.

Adamson, Elijah
Harrison, Percy
Prince, Daniel J
Adamson, James
Hawley, Arthur V Jr
Prince, Walter A
Aikens, Mattie
Hawley, Erill
Randall, Geraldine W
Anderson, Kenneth A Jr
Hawley, William L
Richardson, Roland A
Anderson, Roger B
Hazzard, George W
Robbins, Alfred F
Bates, Ernest E
Hazzard, John H
Saunders, Kenneth B
Bates, Frederick S
Hazard, Leon
Schuyler, Webster W
Battle, John A
Hazzard, Leonard
Scott, Lyman E
Benjamin, Theodore R
Hencey, John E Jr
Shropshire, Louis T Jr
Benson, Eugene F
Hencey, Harry W
Smith, Carroll
Benson, William B
Higginbotham, Charles W Jr
Smith, Clarence E Jr
Black, Harold T
Higginbotham, Forrest I
Smith, James M
Boone, Frank
Higginbotham, Gordon H
Smothers, Tolbert Jr
Bostic, Edward S
Hogan, John H Jr
Spence, George O
Bradshaw, Andrew
Hogan, Thaddeus G
Spring, Ellis
Bradshaw, Wesley
Hoose, Howard F
Spring, Eugene R
Brevard, Ernest
Hopewell, Andrew C
Storms, Donald E
Brevard, Paul S
Hopewell, James H
Taylor, Waverly
Brevard, Robert D Jr
Hopewell, Robert D
Teixerla, Edward
Brisbane, James M
Howard, Alonzo E
Tolson, Joseph
Brown, Hadlin H
Jarrett, Robert
Toney, Albert M
Byard, John A
Jarrett, Willard
Toney, Frank A
Carlos, Stanley H
Jenkins, Rozell
Toney, Frederick L
Cato, Roy W
Johnston, Sidney W
Trusedell, Joseph N
Chatfield, Edward L
Johnson, William O
Tyrance, Leslie L
Clark, Robert C
Joyner, John A Jr
Vickers, Edward
Cole, Robert A
Kelley, Harry C
Wade, Robert A
DeBois, Joseph
Kelley, James W
Walley, Reginald H
Delgado, Antone J
Kennard, Henry C
Ward, James G
DeWitt, Arthur
Kennedy, Alfred Jr
Ward, James H
Downes, Clarence
Kennedy, Carlyle M
Wheaton, Bernard A
Dupree, Zack
Lane, Marvin A
White, James R
English, James L
Laws, John S
White, Wilmore H
Farrell, John W
Levicie, Lester P
Wicks, Luther B
Fisher, Earl F
Majors, George E
Williams, James D
Gaylord, Calvin D
Marshal, Ralph
Wilson, Charles F
Goldsberry, John J
Marshal, Robert
Wilson, Ellsworth
Gray, Holmes C
McCorn, William M
Wilson, Elwood P
Hadley, George L
Monroe, Henry D Jr
Wilson, Frank H
Hall, Eugene E
Nelson, William A
Wilson, Franklyn L
Hampton, Everett B Jr
Nevins, John J
Wilson, George M Jr
Hampton, Heywood
Nichols, Walter D Jr
Wilson, Herbert D
Hampton, Mahlon F
Perkins, Leroy D
Wilson, John D
Harper, Wesley H
Perkins, Leslie
Wilson, Leslie M, Jr
Harris, Harold L Jr
Perkins, Walter W
Wilson, Oliver U
Harris, Richard L
Pope, David F
Wilson, Ralph J
Harris, Waverly
Price, George W
Wilson, Robert W
Harris, Willie J
Price, Henry L
Wright, Carroll S

Wright, Robert C

Also inscribed on the stone is "United We Stand," and "They serve their country in many places: United States, Iceland, Iran, China, North Africa, England, Australia, Italy."

Below are Professor Doughton's images of pages from the dedication booklet.

So where is it now? Inquiries are currently being made. Stay tuned! I will update this when/if we can track it down.



1. Thomas Doughton, shared post to "Your (sic!) Probably from Worcester, MA if______," Facebook page, digital images and description of Colored Citizens of Worcester WW II Honor Roll memorial; Facebook (www.facebook.com : posted 1 February 2016).

2. Mike Benedetti, "Worcester City Council, Meeting Agenda, 26 January 2016"; Worcester.com, blog, (http://wrcstr.com : posted January 25, 2016).

3. "City of Worcester, Agenda of the City Council, February 9, 2016" Journal of the City Council, 26 January 2016; Worcester, Massachusetts, website (http://www.worcesterma.gov : accessed 11 February 2016).

4. G. H. and O. W. Walker, City of Worcester. Revised by Chas. A. Allen, C.E. (Boston: G. H. Walker, 1891); David Rumsey Collection (http://www.davidrumsey.com : accessed 11 February 2016).

29 November 2015

Garrald Fitzgerald, Goldsmith of Galway

In April of 1979 on a twenty hour train journey from Rome to London I met a chatty but cordial gentleman from Rainham, Kent. Amongst many, many other things, he told me that he was a coin collector. He had a metal detector and spent his time scanning dried up riverbeds and other places for his favorite treasure––Roman coins. When he found out my surname was FitzGerald he was delighted to present me with a coin he had dredged up from the banks of the Thames Estuary one particularly dry year. Since it wasn't Roman he wasn't interested in it, so he gave it to me.

Thames Estuary and Wind Farms from Space NASA taken by Operational Land Imager,
public domain file, created 28 Apr 2013; Wikipedia.com.
I’ve held onto this coin for thirty-six years: through all the time I lived in Rome, moving from pensione to pensione to apartment, then living in several apartments in the Boston area, my parents' house, grad student housing in England for a year, and two family homes in the 'burbs since 1989. That's a lot of moving, but I kept it stashed away with a few other treasures and keepsakes. I had always assumed it was a novelty token rather than a real coin.

Recently it has begun to gnaw at me. I Googled it a few times but never found anything like it. Finally yesterday I came across a fantastic website called Irish Coinage. I sent an email to the webmaster/author, John Stafford-Langan and he replied right away. I am so impressed by the extent of his knowledge and his willingness to share it with me. Here's what I learned.

The front (obverse) design is a set of arms  - he suspects of a goldsmith's guild - but has not been able to verify that. The name Garrald Fitzgerald surrounds the arms. The words that ring the coin are called the legend.

The reverse has a legend that reads "Goldsmith of Galway." Aha! I hadn't deciphered the "smith" part. John says, "It has a large 'I' with a small D above it - "double struck" so it looks like an 'L' (D was the old abbreviation for a penny (from the old French denier and originally the latin 'denarius'). Stars are often used on these tokens to fill the design around the denomination." So being double struck makes it hard to read both the word smith and the letter D. 

In summary, it is a penny token issued in the 1660s (!!) by Garrald Fitzgerald, a Galway goldsmith. There was a severe shortage of small change in the mid to late 17th century and many English and Irish merchants issued token coins to alleviate the problem. In 1673 they were replaced by official coin. There are over 800 different types from Ireland and more than 16,000 from England. It is probably made of brass, but I should get it checked, not by a regular jeweler, though, because they are apt to file a bit of it off to test it and that would reduce the value. It is scarce, as most of the Irish ones are, but not particularly valuable unless it turns out to be gold.

He says: "I'm assuming that the token is brass based on the colour and because these tokens were generally made of brass or copper. However a very small number of examples were made as presentation pieces in silver and fewer again in gold.  The silver and gold specimens are normally much better struck than the normal circulating brass and copper example so the doubling of the letters in the legend and the striking crack suggest that this is most likely a brass example. There are no known Irish examples surviving in gold, only a few from London (from where a great many tokens were issued) so a gold example is unlikely, but would be of significant interest." 

Normally the merchants who issued these tokens were prominent citizens - the city records often show them serving on the town council, or providing services to the town. I've traced my own FitzGerald line in Kerry only back to about 1790 or so. There is no way I could ever definitely tie them in with this fellow. But it's not out of the question to think that he could be related in some way. Pretty cool stuff lurking in my jewelry drawer all these years.

Tomasso Garzoni, Goldschmiede, or Ständebuch & Beruf & Handwerk & Goldschmied, Saxon State Library,
Dresden [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

23 November 2015

Where Were You the Day JFK Was Shot?

"JFK limousine" by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News - JFK-Motorcadee.gif, Penn Jones Photographs. Baylor University Collections of Political Materials. Waco, Texas.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

It's strange to think that when John FitzGerald Kennedy (no relation) died I was only eight years old. I didn't yet have a strong grasp on what that meant. I had experienced the death of my beloved Grandmother a year earlier and had taken that very hard, so I knew what a death of a loved one entailed.  I remember sobbing inconsolably in bed, and my brother yelling at me, "Stop bawling, Junior! Ma! Make her shut up!" This, of course, made me sob all the louder in my loneliness. I wondered why everyone else wasn't taking it all that hard, but of course their grief was tempered by the fact that she had been very ill in a nursing home and they had known it was coming. And they weren't eight.

On November 22, 1963, I was in third grade. Our classroom rarely was interrupted, but that day there was a knock on the door. When the teacher opened we saw two young teachers crying. They rushed into the room and whispered the horrible news.

Mrs. Murphy's 3rd Grade Class, South River School, Marshfield, Massachusetts, November 1963.

When they left she told us the sad news: President Kennedy had been shot and was seriously wounded. Shortly afterwards the principal came over the intercom saying that we should pray for the president and would be sent home early. In the face of this earth-shattering development (early release) it was hard not to get happy, but we knew it was the wrong response even at that age. The bus ride home was strangely somber. It's strange, but my memories are that it was before lunch. Yet looking at the time of the shooting, I see it must have been after: he was shot about 12:30pm Dallas time (2:30 Massachusetts time), so the release wasn't actually all that early. By the time we got off the bus that Friday, the president had been declared dead.

I knew the president was important because we had talked about him in class. In the same lessons where they taught us about George Washington, they'd wrap up by talking about President Kennedy. My favorite day of school ever was was February 20, 1962, when they wheeled in a giant TV on a cart so we could watch John Glenn be the first American to orbit the earth.  I knew that came at President Kennedy's direction.

By Cecil Stoughton, White House [Public
domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What I remember learning from this was that adults could care about people they had never met: people on TV, politicians, strangers. I remember the universal shock, the constant news commentary, Walter Cronkite's quivering lip even. People were glued to their TVs, an unusual situation, at least at my house.

When Ruby shot Oswald my mother witnessed it on live TV. I came in from playing outside and she was more agitated than I ever remember her being. I still didn't understand the importance, but I felt it. To this day I retain few details. I wonder how much my mind may may have filled in with things I've learned since it happened, too. Still, these are my memories of the day the President was assassinated.

10 November 2015

The Last Fighting Tommy: Private Henry John Patch

The last fighting Tommy
Pte. Henry John Patch (Harry)
C Company 7th D.C.L.I. [Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry]
17th June 1898-25th July 2009
Age 111
Fought in the battle of Passchendaele
During the 1914-1918 war
Freeman of the City of Wells
also representing all the brave young men
lost in The Great War. 

Harry Patch, 1898-2009
from Abroad in the Yard

Private Harry Patch was the last soldier who fought in the trenches of World War I to die. He suffered unimaginable horrors and carried many of the details into his late years, as told in an interview with The (London)Telegraph here.

He entered the war in June of 1917 and served as an assistant gunner in a Lewis Gun section, according to Lee Rimmer in Abroad in the Yard, and suffered injuries to the groin from shrapnel when a shell exploded killing three of his fellow soldiers.

This memorial is in beautiful Wells, England, in Somerset. In the photo below it is on the left side of the street on the left, just above the red car. You can read more about his life on his Wikipedia page, here.

20 September 2015

Would You Be Loyalist or a Patriot?

Sudbury Company Of Militia, Mountain View Cemetery, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts,
photo by Tina Clegg, 2007.
Have you ever stopped to wonder which side you would have chosen during the Revolutionary War? Would you have been a Whig (Rebel /Patriot) or a Tory (Royalist/Loyalist)?

I found a little Wikipedia article that discusses motivations for choosing a side. Not everyone actively made a decision, but supposedly about 40-45% were Patriots and 15-20% Loyalists. The other 35% just chilled and managed to get by without taking an oath pledging allegiance to either side. There are eight key differences. According to the article, on the whole:
  1. Loyalists were older, better established, and more likely to resist innovation. 
  2. Loyalists saw the Crown as the legitimate government, and resistance to it morally wrong, while Patriots asserted that the British government had violated our constitutional rights. 
  3. Men who objected to physical attacks on Royal officials took the Loyalist position, while those who applauded were being Patriots. 
  4. Most men who wanted to find a compromise solution wound up on the Loyalist side, while the proponents of immediate action became Patriots. 
  5. Merchants with financial and sentimental attachments to the Empire were likely to remain loyal to the system. Few Patriots were so deeply enmeshed in the system. 
  6. Some Loyalists were procrastinators who believed that independence was bound to come some day, but wanted to postpone the moment; the Patriots wanted to seize the moment. 
  7. Loyalists were cautious and afraid of anarchy or tyranny that might come from mob rule; Patriots made a systematic effort to use and control mob violence. 
  8. Loyalists lacked the Patriots' confidence that independence lay ahead. [1]
Where would you stand if this were happening today? Here are my reactions to these eight points.
  1. I'm old and reasonably well-established, though I don't resist innovation: Loyalist.
  2. I respect the government and our laws even if I know they are far from perfect: Loyalist.
  3. I don't like to hurt people, so I wouldn't be approving of the old tar and feathering: Loyalist.
  4. I'm a compromiser: Loyalist.
  5. I'm don't own a Fortune 500 company: Patriot.
  6. I'm not a procrastinator, but I'm really patient and believe that eventually things come to some kind of equilibrium: Loyalist.
  7. I just hate mob rule: Loyalist.
  8. I would be unsure as to the outcome and fear repercussions for the losing side: Loyalist.
King's Rangers at the Fort at Number Four, Charlestown NH,photo courtesy of Dan Dudley.
Of course, my opinion wouldn't have mattered at all because I'm a woman. But let's say I was male, and like most of my ancestors, a farmer. I can't imagine getting all that worked up about unfair taxation while worrying about crops and livestock, at least not enough to to to war over it. But that's female 21st century me, talking. You might imagine that I probably wouldn't have been schooled enough to know or care about the cause of republicanism either. But the concept is one easily grasped and I can see how it took root even among those who had very little education. It was a noble, rational, modern, uplifting concept, and I would have bought into it completely, so despite all of the above, I still don't know!

I've got bunches of Loyalist ancestors who did flee the country and ended up in New Brunswick, Canada. They came from New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island mostly. I have not delved into deep research on them but have collected bits and pieces from my mother's research and online records. There are published sources on early Loyalists that provide some help as well. The problems start to arise when we look at their descendants. Life was very rough up there and record keeping left a lot to be desired, so what remains today is sparse. I'm excited to plan a research trip to New Brunswick and really dig in.

Old Sturbridge Village, Redcoats and Rebels Event,
with King's Rangers Loyalist group, photo by Dan Dudley, August 2015.


1. "Patriot (American Revolution)," Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_(American_Revolution) : accessed 22 April 2015), citing Leonard Woods Larabee, Conservatism in Early American History (1948) pp 164-65; allso N. E. H. Hull,Peter C. Hoffer and Steven L. Allen, "Choosing Sides: A Quantitative Study of the Personality Determinants of Loyalist and Revolutionary Political Affiliation in New York," Journal of American History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Sept. 1978), pp. 344-366 in JSTOR; also Edwin G. Burrows and Michael Wallace, "The American Revolution: The Ideology and Psychology of National Liberation," Perspectives in American History, (1972) vol. 6 pp 167-306.

14 September 2015

GenStock 2015: On Being An Early Adapter

Yesterday was the final day of GenStock 2015, a three-day retreat for professional genealogists. GenStock was the brainchild of Billie Fogarty and Matthew McCormack who managed to bring to fruition a dreamy vision first conjured up 18 months ago after years of what-ifs discussed at conventional genealogical conferences. 
  • What if we could get together for longer periods of time, without the distractions of conference work? In a really relaxing, casual place?
  • What if we had time to really explore the state of the field of genealogy? And to examine what constitutes being professional in our field?
  • What if we had input not only from well established genealogists but also from newer professionals with the potential to imbue our community with new ideas and more energy?
  • What if we could view one another as colleagues instead of competitors?
  • What if we could find a way to give newer professionals the acknowledgement they often deserve without thinking they need to "come up the hard way," like we did.
The dream had us all coming together on a farm in Northern Michigan to ruminate on these concepts and more: alternatives for advanced education; how to market your business; whether there a need for a new publication, and so much more –– essentially, anything we all could think up to discuss.

Matt and Billie had no idea whether people would come. So hard to get to, no nearby repository to justify the expense of the trip. Early details were vague as they wisely left it to the greater group to discover its own purpose. Invitations were awkward. It would be impossible to invite every serious professional, so they introduced it in phases, enlarging the "guest list" each time, and eventually extending the invitation to all serious professionals, telling us, "invite colleagues you think would enjoy it." Still, a risky undertaking and some feelings were hurt, but I suppose that was unavoidable.

The resulting mix was 20 people that normally would not be thrown together like that: some nationally known, others pretty new to the scene; old and young, taking clients and not. So over the course of three days on Matt's beautiful farm in Alpena we gathered to share and learn. And now we want to disseminate what we concluded. 

The first words out of Billie's mouth were, "There are no wrong answers here." She set a tone of warm acceptance and no one violated that, to my knowledge. I did not hear any sniping and I must say it felt really nice after three days of constant discussions not to witness any animosity.
Colleagues want to know what we learned. I learned very little. But I stopped to dwell on some things that I've already recognized, but have not worked toward improving, and I will do so in the future.
  • Our awareness of others generally results from them being outstanding students in a course, being on the lecture circuit, being introduced by another colleague, or writing for journals. Many superior genealogists do not fall into any of those neat little boxes, and there are colleagues we may never have heard of who do great work.
  • Our colleagues can be supportive and encouraging when relieved of their fears and gently massaged in that direction. 
  • Experience in the field of genealogy is not the only criterion by which professionals should be judged. Those transitioning over from other professions may have research, writing and analysis skills that put them way ahead of the game. Advanced courses and the proliferation of primary information on the web speeds up their learning curve tremendously.
  • People are their own worse enemies, usually from insecurity. The cure is to date to reach out, share your concerns about yourself and soon enough your colleagues will help you overcome that barrier.
I did learn one thing. I finally got it through my thick skull that the SLIG Practicum is extremely useful, even (especially!!) for the advanced genealogist. So I am going to be brave and go for it in January. I'm secretly (not so much secretly after this) afraid that I won't solve any of them, but must admit that's probably not going to happen. I think if all of us could do just one think we're nervous or insecure about we'd all be a lot better off, so that's mine.

Billie and Matt, you have created a beautiful thing. You laid the ground work and then let it grow organically into an entity which will positively impact our field. Thank you for that. For those of you that did not attend, there WILL be a GenStock 2016, so stay tuned.