28 June 2013

William Frederick Fitzgerald: Lifespan--One Holiday Season

In Memory of Uncle Freddie, 16 November 1912 - 6 January 1913. At one month, 22 days he could coo, he liked high pitched sounds, and he was only another month away from sleeping through the night. Despite what everyone else said, his mother KNEW that he was smiling, not grimacing from gas pains. He smelled good. When his aunties held him he would gaze at their faces, already beginning to work out the complicated use of language and social cues. He couldn't roll over yet, but was tracking his brothers and sisters with his eyes. He was at the bottom of a very steep learning curve, but he had a big family to teach him.

One of the dormant projects in my "brick wall" category was the case of Uncle Philip. Or Freddie. Or, "it could be anything, really." Born after 1910, or maybe in the 1906-1910 sibling gap. Lots of maybes and what ifs. And a nightmarishly common name like FitzGerald in Boston at turn of the 19th century that dulled my enthusiasm for the hunt. So it remained on the back burner for decades.

In 1989 we went to Ireland to visit the townlands of my Irish grandparents. We read the parish registers and I tried to pump my mother for information. She suddenly told me for the first time of the existence of this baby! She couldn't remember his name, but thought it might be Philip. This would have been a bit odd since one of the other children had Philip as a middle name, but it happens.

One of the reasons it took so long is because research at the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records proceeds at a snail's pace. You consult an index, create a request slip, wait for a call for slips (every 20 minutes, and only 3 at a time!), wait 15 minutes for the books to come, and check them. If they are wrong start the process all over again. There were only open for 3 hours at a time, so you could never examine more than 12-15 records, and that only if you were very lucky, and a whiz, and not intimidated by the staff.

I tried it and realized I was none of those, so I waited until the records from this time period were moved to the Massachusetts State Archives where they are open for a full day and you have free access to the microfilm. I remember about fifteen years ago giving it a good try. The goal: examine every male FitzGerald baby born in Boston 1906 to 1915 or so [laughs shrilly]. After that, I put it away and forgot about it.

So here is why we love the internet. Last night I was just goobering around on FamilySearch because I was pouting about Ancestry's intention to remove the Old Search function. I'm sure it will be fine, but it did put my nose slightly out of joint... Anyway, I was using that delightful trick of entering parents names and seeing all of their children magically appear when I thought of long lost Baby Fitz. And I found him!

William Frederick Fitzgerald was born 16 November 1912 to my grandparents, Patrick J., Longshoreman, and Annie (Sullivan) Fitzgerald (this lower case g in Fitzgerald is making my relatives cringe but that's what the record reads...sorry, folks!) It gives 2 Lamson Court in East Boston as the family's address. [1] Now of course this makes me wonder about how little William F. was welcomed into the world. He had three brothers and two sisters: Mary, 15; Jack, 13; Teresa, 10; Frank, 6; and my father, James, 2. I'm sure Mary and Teresa helped their mother out around the house, and Jack probably had a part-time job to help the family. It was a busy household. Annie must have been out of-her-mind tired! And it was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

One month, 17 days after his birth, Baby Freddie came down with broncho-pneumonia. It lasted for 5 days. He would have been fussy, had trouble eating from his blocked up nose, and it must have been scary as anything to see a baby suffer like that, not having the reassurance of antibiotics in the back of your mind. Five days later, Baby Freddy died, on 6 January 1913, Epiphany. [2] (I just suddenly realized that my father was always adamant that the Christmas tree remain up until Epiphany. I wonder if that year they had taken it down earlier.)

Here is Freddy's death record. He died at home, at what I believe to be the correct address: 12 Lamson Court. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden, by undertaker NJ Kelly.


A quick phone call to the helpful lady at Holy Cross Cemetery reveals that he is buried in the Baby Section, at 7 South St. Anthony, Grave 99 West. He was the second baby to be interred there, the first being James Sullivan who was buried on 1 September 1912. There are also Baby Sullivan, and Nora Sullivan. The grave was purchased by Catholic Charities at the time of the James Sullivan's death, and she was unclear whether or not it had a marker. She recommended I apply for one if there is not, as they are free. She is emailing me a map and when I get a chance, I'll rope my dear sister into going over to have a look and lay some flowers down in Uncle Freddie's memory.

As a young mother I was absolutely terrified that something might happen to my babies. I used to wonder often how mothers in earlier times coped-- days fraught with tension even just about kids catching colds. Our fellows suffered from croup, ear infections, pneumonia, and allergies, but I always had the comfort of wonder drug antibiotics. Annie and Patrick didn't have that, and they suffered what I was so afraid to. It is no wonder that they are often described as being somewhat gruff.

Footnotes

[1] "Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915," online database linked to original images, William Frederick Fitzgerald, n. 18099, 16 Nov 1912, Boston, no v. number, p. 403, image 1152; FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : 27 Jun 2013). Also, same database, William Frederick Fitzgerald, n. 18798, 16 Nov 1913 Boston, no volume n., p. 418, image 422.  Second record is off by one year, as he died on 6 Jan 1913, but has correct residence address of 12 Lamson Ct.

[2] "Massachusetts Deaths, 1841-1915," online database linked to original images, William F. Fitzgerald, reg. n. 213, 6 Jan 1913, Boston, no v. number, p. 217, image 762; FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : 27 Jun 2013).

21 June 2013

Kilburn Merritt Cemetery–A Neglected Gem


Genealogists are so weird. We treat a visit to a cemetery like a day at the carnival. We are the happiest people cemeteries have ever seen, easily recognized by the camera, broad grin, and high-spirited step. I'm somewhat ashamed to confess that even at a funeral my gaze has been known to slowly wander towards the ancient slate-stoned section. I'm very sorry about that but it is completely involuntary.

I found myself in this delighted state of mind at a private burial ground in my hometown of Scituate, Massachusetts last week. Long, long ago, my best friend in high school, let's call her "P," told me of her family's private cemetery hidden deep in the woods behind her house. Or that's how I remembered it. I kind of remember discussing it during an episode of Tales from the Darkside, so my facts could be a tad confused. Sadly, we never managed to get out there to explore it.

Forty-plus years later my cousin, herein referred to as "C," sent me some photos of this burial ground and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I knew that the Town of Scituate, in their infinite wisdom, had commissioned a study of all of the burial grounds in Scituate, published in 2007. It is an exquisite little report, detailing the history, ownership and condition of each site, and making recommendations for improvements. Cousin C. also mailed me the link and got me jazzed up about it all over again, and we planned a visit.

The published survey says this about the history of this site:

"The Merritt Cemetery (also known as the Kilburn-Merritt Cemetery) was established c. 1811 as the family burying ground of the Merritt family who owned land in this area of North Scituate. Surrounded on four sides by a dry laid stone wall, the cemetery was originally accessed from two points, (1) a dirt road leading from Clapp Road southward in a straight line to the cemetery, and (2) via a meandering footpath leading from the Merritt home (on Clapp road to the east of the cemetery) through the woods. Today the meandering footpath is no longer visible, but the dirt access road remains. Other than the 1811 tomb, the earliest burials date to the 1830s and 1840s, and the most recent burial took place in 1938. Today, a descendent of the Merritt family, [Xxxxxx] Merritt, cares for the cemetery grounds. The cemetery covers approximately 1⁄4 acre of land."[1]

Six years after the report was published, I'm here to tell you that this cemetery is suffering from neglect, and I've got the photos to prove it. C and I wandered around, snapping photos, straightening flags and lifting those stones we could to a better position. Some will require heavy equipment. There is a lot of brush at one end that needs to be cleared. We left with a sense of purpose: find out if the Town plans to intervene, map out the stones, investigate WPA surveys from the 1930s, and especially, talk to P's mother to see if she has more information.

This stone cries out to be righted!

Tomb of Unknown Revolutionary War soldier
This cemetery does appear on FindAGrave and has photos of many stones, a few of which I didn't catch myself. [2] And I took a few that the FindAGrave author didn't have. I will upload them soon.

Until then, the only direct relatives of P that I've identified so far (but I've hardly begun) are her gg grandparents, Martin Dawes Merritt and Debby Bailey. Some of the stones, including this one, are very hard to read. More investigation imminent!!
MARTIN D. MERRITT
DIED
June 18, 1882
Aged 80 years &
DEBBY
His wife
Die May [1?] 1865
Aged [60?] years
--------
[ illegible]

Footnotes

[1]  Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, Fannin-Lehner Preservation Consultants, and CME Associates, "Scituate Burial Sites Survey" (prepared for Town of Scituate and the Scituate Historical Society, 2007); Town of Scituate (http://www.town.scituate.ma.us : 22 Jun 2013), 26.

[2]  "Merritt Cemetery," website with images of gravestones; FindAGrave (http://www.FindAGrave.com : 22 June 2013).

17 June 2013

The Miserable Life of Miss Dora L. Jones, Latter Day Slave

"Mrs. Ingalls Guilty of Slavery Charge," Boston Herald, 20 Jul 1947,
p. 1., cols. 5-6; GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com :
 14 Jun 2013)
My last post included a newspaper photo. On that same page I happened to notice this account of the bizarre and disturbing case of a couple who kept their maid in bondage for over 40 years! Mrs. Elizabeth Ingalls, 62, "descendant of Massachusetts colonial Governor Bradford," was "convicted... of enslaving her maid," 58-year old Dora Jones! The DA held that Mrs. Ingalls and her husband, Alfred Wesley Ingalls, 64, a former Boston lawyer and legislator (!), "reduced the maid to slavery for 40 years by threatening to expose her affair with Mrs. Ingalls' first husband, Walter Harmon of Washington." [1]

Now maybe everyone else knows about his, but I certainly didn't. It cries out for research! Why should the maid be afraid of the affair being made known? Wouldn't the married man be more worried? Maybe that's what caused the divorce. Wasn't it awkward having Dora living under the same roof with husband number two if she had had an affair with husband number one? Was this seriously the first slavery case tried since 1880? I found it curious, and decided to have a look in some original and contemporaneous records, working backwards from 1947.



What Do the Records Say?


In 1940, 52-year old lawyer Alfred W. Ingalls lived with his family at 28 Bassett Street in Boston. His wife, Myra E. was 51, and with them were daughters Ruth, 32, and Helen, 20, both single. Ruth was born in Washington, DC, Helen in Mass. Also with them was Dora Jones, 50, a maid born in Alabama whose race is described as "Neg." [2] This matches the newspaper account pretty well, assuming Myra's middle name was Elizabeth. Interesting to note is the 12-year gap in the daughters' ages.

Let's look at the 1930 census: The family are in the same house at 28 Bassett Street. Their ages are off somewhat: Alfred-47, M. Elizabeth-45, Ruth L.-22, Helen-10, Dora-40. They also have Elizabeth's widowed mother, Estelle Kimball, 70, in the household. Oh, and Dora's race is now white. [3]

In 1920: Same house, same cast of characters, ages are somewhat in line with 1930--Alfred-27, Myra-38, Ruth L.-11, Helen K.-2 months, and Dora-30, who this times is called Mulatto. [4] So they've all been together for at least 27 years.

In 1910 Elizabeth K. Harman, 26 lived in Washington, DC with her first husband, Walter P. Harman, a 29-year old government clerk born in Vermont, and their 2-year old daughter Ruth L., plus Dora L., 20, Mulatto. [5]

What happened between 1910 and 1918?? Well, for one thing, Elizabeth and Walter broke up. The WWI draft registration card of Harman gives his father as his closest relative. His permanent residence is at 137 Grove St., Rutland, VT, but he works in NY, NY. [6]

In 1920 Walter P. Harmon was 38 years old living in DC (born in Vermont), a single clerk working for the US government and  boarding with an 80-year old widow. [7]

On 15 November 1923, in Rutland, VT, Walter Penfield Harman of Takoma Park, MD, born Bennington, VT, son of Henry A. Harman and Ellen Bromley, married Myra May Hulst, his second marriage. [8] Another wife named Myra, just to confuse future genealogists. (For a while there, I thought Elizabeth might have been living a double life!)

In 1942 Walter Penfield Harman of Takoma Park, MD, registered for the World War II Draft giving his date of birth as 12 Jan 1881. He provided his nearest relative as Mrs. Walter P. Harman. This would have been his second wife, Myra. [9]

These records not only confirm information in the article, but help us put together a rough timeline of their lives.

Timeline

1907  (ca) Walter P. Harman and Elizabeth Kimball marry
1908  Ruth L. Harman, daughter of Walter P. and Elizabeth Harman, is born in DC.
          She is not Alfred's daughter.
1910  Walter Penfield Harmon and Elizabeth Myra (Kimball) Harman are living in Washington
           DC with daughter Ruth L. and a servant named Dora L. Jones.
          Walter and Elizabeth break up
          Elizabeth marries Alfred Wesley Ingalls of Lynn, MA
1918  Walter lists his father as next of kin on WWI Draft, so is probably single
1918  Helen Ingalls, daughter of Alfred W. and Elizabeth Ingalls, is born in Massachusetts
1920  Walter lives in DC, is single.
1920  Elizabeth lives with 2nd husband, Alfred Wesley Ingalls, at 28 Bassett St., Lynn, MA
1923  Walter remarries, to another Myra (!) in Vermont
1930  Alfred W. and family still live on Bassett St.
1940  The family is still at Bassett St.
1942  Walter Penfield Harman of Takoma Park, MD, registered for the World War II Draft
           giving his date of birth as 12 Jan 1881.
1942  Alfred registered for the World War II Draft, stating...
1947  Case comes to trial


Wider Implications for Civil Rights

Yikes! I mean, Mira Elizabeth Ingalls [13]
According to the article, the Ingalls were the first to be charged with slavery in the United States since 1880, a violation of the 13th amendment. In The Lost Promise of Civil Rights, Risa Lauren Goluboff refers to this incident as a "watershed case" and goes into considerable detail. It was the Ingalls' younger daughter, Helen (Ingalls) Roberts, who reported her parents to the Department of Justice. [10]

The sordid details of the case were that Elizabeth kept Dora working without pay and in bad conditions by threatening her with prison or a mental institution if she did not comply. Dora's offense thirty-eight years earlier, or circa 1909, was having had an affair with Walter and an abortion after that. She told Dora she could be arrested for that, and either go to prison or a mental institution.

Goluboff states, "For more than twenty-five years, Jones had been 'required to arise at an early hour in the morning and perform practically all of the household labor in connection with the maintenance of the Ingalls household. She was forbidden to leave the household except for the commission of errands and performed drudgery of the most menial and laborious type.'" She was forced to sleep in a car on the street, or in bathtubs, not provided with sufficient food, and given only cast-offs for clothes.

They were unable to convict Alfred, but Elizabeth was sentenced. What made this a watershed case was the fact that not only did Elizabeth have to pay damages to the US government, but she also had to pay poor Dora the sum of $6,000. Elizabeth's prison sentence was suspended, however, perhaps due to fears expressed by her counsel that her life would be threatened.

Some Questions Answered, But Take With Grain of Salt!

An article in the Toldeo Blade provides more detail. "The five-foot, 100-pound maid, Theodora Lawrence Jones... was 17 when she was befriended by the present Mrs. Ingalls, then Miss Elizabeth Kimball, a missionary school teacher in the reconstructed south. When Miss Kimball married her first husband, Walter Harmon, they took Miss Jones to Washington DC, where ten years later they were divorced...In 1918, the former Alabama teacher married Ingalls. [11]

Another article worth mentioning is "Slave Trial Jury Told Dora Jones Was Pushed Down Stairs." We learn more details of Dora's sad existence: that Helen had actually tried to rescue Dora from Elizabeth, who had struck and scratched her, among other things. And finally, we get some great genealogical information: Elizabeth's other daughter Ruth's married name was Castendyk, and she was in Chicago in 1947; Dora had at least two siblings--Myrtle Turrentine of Athens, AL and Arthur Jones of St. Louis! [12]

Alfred Wesley Ingalls, 1947 [14]
There are many, many articles on this case, and by reading them all, you can fill in the timelines with much more precision. Though sometimes contradictory or wrong, they do provide hints on where to search further. Here is a link to another one: "Coronado Couple Held on Charge of Holding Housemaid in Bondage," in which we learn that Elizabeth and Alfred married in 1907 and were divorced in 1917. There are more details of Dora's horrible treatment, and best of all, photos of the offending couple. [13]

Now I ain't no Judy Russell, but this is one interesting, groundbreaking, horrifying and amazing case. And the only reason I found it was because my little mind was wandering to other articles on a newspaper page!

Bygone Era Be Gone!

I found it interesting that "the Jury went out to dinner at 10:30 and resumed their deliberations at 12:00 o'clock." I wonder why they went so late. Was it perhaps to avoid the cost of putting up the jury overnight? I was also sort of surprised at this, too: "Mrs. Ingalls heard the guilty verdict without a quiver. She was remanded to the custody of the US Marshall, who escorted her and her husband to dinner." How very civilized that they were escorted to dinner. Why the hell didn't they take DORA to dinner? By all accounts she needed it. and clearly, Elizabeth was well nourished.

Oh yes, it was an era of stoicism and gentility and SLAVERY. We've come a long way since 1947, but even then this case was outrageous. Newspaper accounts about a crime like this can exaggerate or just be wrong, so these articles should not be considered completely reliable! You can read a summary of the trial at United States v. Ingalls, 73 F, Supp. 76, District Court, S. D. California, S. D., 29 July 1947. [16]

I like to imagine that Dora took that money, went back to her family and lived an easy life thereafter. She certainly deserved it. There are no words for the vile behavior of this couple and I can only hope that they were ostracized from their socialite community for the rest of their lives. They really should have gone to prison for life. It would have been sweetest if Elizabeth had been forced to work for a living, for someone such as evil as herself.

---------------------
Footnotes

[1]  "Mrs. Ingalls Guilty of Slavery Charge," Boston Herald, 20 Jul 1947, p. 1., cols. 5-6; GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : 14 Jun 2013).

[2] 1940 US census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Lynn, ED 19-34, sheet 64A, household 365, of Alfred W. Ingalls; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[3] 1930 US census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Lynn, ED 151, sheet 9A [penned], sheet 278 [stamped], dw. 130, fam. 260, household of Alfred W. Ingalls; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[4] 1920 US census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Lynn, Ward 3, ED 146, sheet 5A, dw. 69, fam. 103, household of Alfred W. Ingalls;  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[5] 1910 US census, District of Columbia, Washington, Prec. 10, ED 203, sheet 18A, 425 [Mien?] Pl., dw. 327, fam. 391, household of Walter P. Harman;  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[6] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," Walter Penfield Harmon, Serial n. 490, Order n. 1264, b. 12 Ja 1881, employed at ; 347 Madison Ave., NY, NY, Local Board Rutland, VT, for Div. N. 1, City of NY, NY, 7 Jan 1918;  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[7] 1920 US census, District of Columbia, Washington, ED 284, sheet 5A, 1613 Irving St., dw. 25, fam. 92, household of Maria J. Miner; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[8] "Vermont Marriage Records, 1909-2008," Harman-Hulst, n. 138, 23 Nov 1923, Rutland; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[9] "World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," Walter Penfield Harman, Serial n. 0303, no Order n., b. 12 Jan 1881, Bennington, VT, Local Board n. 3, Prince George's Co., 27 Apr 1942; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 16 Jun 2013).

[10] Risa Lauren Goluboff, The Lost Promise of Civil Rights (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2007), 162-68; GoogleBooks (http://www.books.google.com : 17 Jun 2013).

[11] "Slavery Trial is Opened for Couple in California," Toledo [Ohio] Blade, 24 Jun 1947, p. 2, cols. 7-8; GoogleNews (http://www.news.google.com : 17 Jun 2013).

[12] Ted McKenna, "Slave Trial Jury Told Dora Jones Was Pushed Down Stairs," The [St. Petersburg, FL] Evening Independent, Home Edition, 3 Jul 1947, p. 2, cols. 2-4; GoogleNews (http://www.news.google.com : 17 Jun 2013).

[13]  "Bondage Charge Faced by Couple," and "Coronado Couple Held on Charge of Holding Housemaid in Bondage," San Diego Union, 26 Feb 1927, p. 1, col. 3, and p. 3A, col. 2; GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : 17 Jun 2013).

[14] "Alfred Wesley Ingalls," San Diego Union, 26 Feb 1927,  p. 3A, col. 2.

[15] "Mira Elizabeth Ingalls," San Diego Union, 26 Feb 1927,  p. 3A, col. 2.

[16] United States v. Ingalls, 73 F, Supp. 76, (S. D. Cal. 1947); Leagle (http://www.leagle.com : 17 Jun 2013).

13 June 2013

Brothers United


"Plucky Veteran's Family," Boston Herald, 20 Jul 1947, p. 1,
cols. 4-6;  "Barnes Family Forum," Facebook
(www.facebook.com : posted 30 Aug 2012), citing
NewspaperArchive.com.
You may remember the story of little Stephen Barnes who was tragically killed by a trolley car on December 16th, 1947. The circumstances remain unclear to this day, but the pain caused in the family has been very real for over 65 years.

He left behind his three brothers, David, Robert, and William, and his parents, Russell Pierce Barnes and Margaret R. (Mumford) Barnes. Shortly after his death the brothers were sent to foster care and the parents split or drifted apart.

The three remaining boys never knew much about their family but thanks to an unusual family name, Israel Merritt Barnes (four of 'em!), and the wonders of internet searching, their children were able to reconnect with the Barnes family, including three half-siblings!

So it was that the ceremony described in my post of 12 October 2012 took place. The family gathered to erect a stone (inscribed with "Never Forgotten") on the site of Stephen's grave and to bring together what once was ripped apart by tragedy. Stephen's two older brothers had already passed away--Bobby in 2001, and David in 2007, and some of David's ashes were placed at Stephen's grave at the ceremony.

When Stephen's third brother, William, alias Hubcap (!), passed away in April of this year, his wife and son decided that they were going to bring his ashes from Texas back to Massachusetts to reunite him with his brothers. Yesterday, another small ceremony was performed, with Stephen's cousins and all three half-siblings, and we heard a little prayer of healing from William's eloquent son. Three of the brothers are in a sense back together, and children of the fourth were there to bear witness to the events.

Does it matter that their earthly remains have been gathered? Of course that depends on your own religious point of view, but I do know I witnessed incredible healing, and I so hope for my cousins that they can feel some peace. Yet there is still a lingering question: I know that all of us want to know what became of Margaret. She virtually disappeared afterwards, perhaps remarrying, perhaps just living quietly on her own. Though I've been able to trace her ancestry, I won't let this issue go until I find what became of her.