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On June 26, 1894, Ella's husband caught her in the act of having sex with another man. She and her lover were arrested and charged with adultery. Yeah. Adultery was a criminal offense in those days. The scandal was reported locally and in several regional newspapers. I can't imagine the shame and embarrassment that was ignited in our family back then.

All I knew before I ran into this little news clipping was that there was a vague family story about Grandfather having a half-sister or something. The family story wasn't specific, but the idea of a half-sibling kind of told me that it was about a shotgun wedding or a (gasp) child born out of wedlock.

Sure enough, it turns out that Ella gave birth to a daughter just six months after she married Newton Keet. Sadly, the daughter passed away when she was only nine years old. Her marriage was back in 1883 (Ella was born in 1856).

Ella and her brother, my great-grandfather, were legitimate siblings, but their half-brother, Frank, was born in 1866, seven years after Ella's father died. No, we don't know who fathered Uncle Frank. So the talk about a half-sister was alway interesting.

So there was some pretty good family dirt I had found. I figured that was that. Then I ran across this little news item in the 1894 Brattleboro, VT newspaper I found on the Intertubes (Library of Congress archives).

NewtonKeetAdulteryMasonArrest1894
Abbott Mason Arrest, Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, VT, 29 Jun 1894 p. 7

Holey moley, Molly. A real newsworthy friggin' scandal! More beyond the Cheezy-Poof.

This is Newton W Keet's cemetery marker (the one in the background) and his team of lawyers he hired to prosecute Doctor Abbott M Mason on civil charges of Alienation of Affection. Mr. Keet won those lawsuits to the tune of just over a $million award in today's money. The actual award was $30,000 in 1897. He only collected about $1000 of the award. It seems that the famous Cancer Doctor, a real Doctor and a certifiable quack, Abbott Mason, fled the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and died a few years later.

This is a sad and tragic story.

DCP_2247_1
It's not photoshopped. This really is Newton Keet's cemetery monument and four young racoons wandering through the cemetery in Northfield, MA in the afternoon. Whenever young racoons are cruising the daylight hours, the persistent cause is when their mother becomes roadkill. So I drove around a bit and didn't find her. Hopefully, these kits were grown enough to survive and their mother was just off somewhere else that afternoon. They sure were cute.They chattered away the whole time. They hid under my car and delayed me for an extra half hour. They sure were cute. Did I say they were cute? They probably thought I was a relative, wearing my sunglasses and all.

That little newspaper clipping just raised more questions. This read more like a romance novel plot than a real event. So I visited the Wheeler Public Library of Orange, Massachusetts to find the local newspaper reports. This version of the story was much better and filled in some details. It was clear that Mr. and Mrs. Newton Keet were well liked and were considered to be of excellent character and good examples of New England "stock". So it was a big surprise and a shock to the town. Dr. Abbott M Mason was thought to be drugging his patients for sexual favors. That seems to be a real possibility to me. Apparently, he "treated" other wives in the town and in nearby towns. According to the longer article, Dr. Mason was caught "with his pants undone" rather than caught in the act as the shorter article implied. Also, both parties of the tryst were arrested for adultery, not just Dr. Mason. The plan to arrange for the Sheriff to witness the crime was disclosed. The sheriff wanted solid evidence in order to get a conviction this time. It seems that the sly Doctor hired some effective lawyers again; ones that kept him out of jail for previous accusations of sleeping around.

Dr. Mason was married and had two daughters still living at home when he got caught with Aunt Ella,

Sometimes you get lucky when searching for more information about these folks. Two important factors helped me out. Everyone who dips into the genealogy and family history vortex figures out that anything with an unusual or rare name has a better chance of getting good hits than other names. That's one reason that Newton W Keet works well for genealogy searches. Sometimes when I run across a generic historical web site that is searchable, a name like Newton W Keet, if there are any hits, will often pull up a record that applies to the Newton Keet in my family tree. A name like Abbott Mason is probably going to get more hits, but the title of Doctor, the middle initial, and the place of residence will provide more than enough to narrow the hits down to the right person.

So let's look at some more information I was abloe to find.

Who was that Cancer Doctor Abbott M Mason?

Well, the old newspaper archive answered that question right away. In the center is Dr. Abbott M Mason's advertisement for his Cure for Cancer - All Types. This is from an 1890 edition of the San Francisco Morning Call newspaper: Dr. Mason advertised his quack false-hope elixir for a couple of decades in about a dozen major big-city and territorial newspapers; even as far away as Alaska.

Most of Dr. Mason's advertisements were similar to this one:

AbbottMasonCancerCure5Sep1890MorningCallSFCA  

It turns out that Dr. Abbott M Mason seems to have actually been a licensed physician. I didn't think so at first. His occupation is listed as a "drum maker" when he was a young lad in his twenties. He was either making drums for wagon wheels or musical instruments. Both industries were present near his homestead at that time. If he graduated from a medical school, I found no record of that. One could become a doctor through an apprenticeship and private instruction back then; the proverbial Country Doctor was the terminology. Toward the end of his life, Dr. Mason had stopped practicing medicine and listed himself as the president of a medical marketing company in New York. It's frustrating to not have any 1890 Census records to work with, but Ancestry has helped out and provides alternative sources for the missing Census period. I had no problem tracking the whereabouts of Doctor Mason. I sort of wondered why the Commonwealth of Massachusetts said that they were unable to locate Dr Mason. He was listed in the City Directories year by year. Law enforcement kept city directories on site. Perhaps this will remain a mystery.

On the other hand, the Chief of the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the guy who assigned cases to judges and managed the judiciary personnell was named Mason. This is the person who assigned the judges for the Keet v. Mason trials. And he was a 3rd or 4th cousin of Dr. Abbott Mason. I think this is just a coincidence and there didn't seem to be anything unusual that happened in the courts. Still, this adds a bit to the mystery.

There is a string of court cases involved here. One of the decisions established precedent in Massachusetts. But in truth, this ordeal lasted almost three years and had to be way difficult on many, many others.

The story in the paper clearly said that the arrest was planned. What the paper didn't report was the background of that. Apparently, Newton Keet had it all figured out in advance. He filed the lawsuits against Dr. Mason the next morning. It's likely that the paperwork was prepared well in advance.

Both Dr. Mason and Aunt Ella were charged with Adultery and ultimately found guilty. I didn't check that far into the newspapers to see when and how those nasty charges were discharged. One court listing in the paper showed a guy that got 10 months in the Greybar Hotel for a guilty pea for adultery. I thought that rather harsh, myself. I learned that Ella's husband testified in her defense in court. He thought that the Doctor was overpowering his wife with potions and elixirs or something. That would be the all-vegetable cure for cancer they were buying from the Doctor. That showed me that they were still a couple but torn by scandal. It had to be difficult for everyone.

Newton Keet went after Dr. Abbott Mason like a buzzsaw. He filed asking for $20,000 for Alienation of Affection. Caused by some interesting testimony from Ella's brother, my g-grandfather, in court, the judge decided that their affections may not have been as alienated as far in the past as they claimed. He awarded $1000 to Mr. Keet.

Newton Keet was determined to win. He appealed the case. His grounds included new evidence that would not change the decision of guilt or innocence but would affect the award. The state supreme court ultimately decided that the case was eligible for retrial. And that technical detail about grounds for a retrial became a precedent, even g the vote of the trial judge who was also a petitioner.

The retrial proceeded. Newton Keet won a $33,000 award this time. Of course, Dr. Abbott M Mason was still hiding out, away from Massachusetts, so nobody was ever going to collect the money.

Early in the ordeal, Ella moved to Fitchburg and sewed shirts at one of the shirt factories in business there. She was divorced from her husband Newton Keet in 1897. She never remarried. Ella was 38 when she started sewing shirts and she did that until she was 72 years old. She listed herself in the City Directory after her divorce as Miss Ella Keet. A few years later, she listed as Mrs. Ella Keet. After her ex-husband had died in 1925, she listed herself as Mrs. Ella Keet (widow of Newton). In the early 1930's, Ella retired from the shirtmaking labor pool and moved in with her half-brother, Frank, in their mother's old, small, farm house in Athol, MA. There, in the City Directories and the Census, she lists herself as Mrs. Ella A Keet (widow of Newton W Keet) and as the sister of her half-brother, Frank, the head of the household.

It looks to me like Ella still had a bit of a flame still burning for her ex-husband, Newton Keet. After all of that.

Dr. Mason passed away in 1902 of diabetes. His wife and daughters survived him.

Newton Keet remarried. He passed away in 1925, his second wife in 1936.

The widow, Mrs. Ella Keet, widoe of Newton W Keet, passed away in 1942. The estate papars say the she died in Montana of all places, but I don't think that this is true. I'll have to go back to the library in Orange or Athol to have a chance of finding an obituary for her. Odds are that she died at the home of her half-brother in Athol. I could break down and buy a copy of those records, but that isn't as much of a challenge. I'd rather dig through the old records and hold the papers in my own hands.

For me, hands on is the better way to go.

Today is Ask A Stupid Question Day.

Floor's open.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't have anything that exciting. but I am (17+ / 0-)

    beginning to learn something about my paternal grandmother's family. She died a few months I was born, so I never knew her. My grandfather, who lived to be 93 and survived three wives, thought of himself as a bit of a family historian. He, of course, did not have access to all the modern tools of the 'toobz. His data on his side of the family was pretty good, but it turns out that he managed to get my grandmother's family mostly wrong.

    The family lore was that my grandmother's family, maiden name of Seay (pronounced like the letter C), was Huguenot. A few years ago, I managed to contact one of my dad's cousins on the Seay side. He told me that the Seay family was not recognized by many of the Huguenot societies, and that my grandfather got a number of things wrong. In addition, my supposed Huguenot ancestor came to the US from the British Isles. I just found an article from one of the Irish publications. They looked at the distribution of Seay last names in the British Isles, and in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. All of the Seays appear to come from northern Ireland. While the name may originally be French, it is more likely to trace back to the Anglo-Normans. It is not related to the Huguenots.

    This has political implications. I was always told that my grandmother's family was French Protestant. I never questioned the stories I was told (just like Elizabeth Warren). Personally, I am delighted by this because it makes me even more Irish!

    •  My wife has some of that thar' Anglo-Norman (9+ / 0-)

      in her tree. They married some of those Huguenot hotties and, as they say, they procreated aplenty.

      My father's side was hardly known. I've been scouring the records and tromping the cemeteries and town halls. I've unraveled a lot.

      My wife's side is Ireland, England, France, Austria, Germany, and various indigenous folk. Oh. And Albanian. That's a challenge.  

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:45:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes the family tree has some gnarly branches (6+ / 0-)

        and the melting pot gets pretty spicey.

        Imagine a clergy family tracing back the generations, getting pretty good at untangling genealogy only to find, with some mortification, that their surname traced back into the 1400s at which point it was actually associated with a horse-back riding clan of fighters and brigands who for a millennium had a diligent practice of relieving traveling clergy and the wealthy of their worldly goods, and had a certain notoriety for mocking nobility (sufficient that a few actually were accepted as court jesters in both England and Scotland.) Also mocking the church, and anyone not able to appreciate their sharp, wry, earthy sense of humor. As their young men came of age, learning to ride, fight, carry out ruses, pranks, jests and tactics, they'd 'take a wife', by riding into town with their 'best men', execute a one-armed scoop to snag the one they desired, picking up a few wedding presents and spare horse or two, and head off to take her home, perhaps with a new name.  They managed to mix their gene pool with Scottish, English, Swedish & Danish (Vikings), and Anglo-Norman genes. Apparently invading or conquering England didn't succeed in every remote area where certain more feisty clans held or retook their ground, and even felt obliged to take a bit of their country back from them. If only they'd bothered to keep better records about the young brides.  Anyway, imagine the mortification produced amongst a family of peace-loving clergy with strong family values to learn the side of the family with longest heritage happened to include this darker yet somewhat colorful element.

        It seems reasonable to guess that a fair number of family trees statistically should end up a bit gnarly and may include a few pirates, brigands, con artists, nobility and military taking advantage of servant girls, incest, corrupt officials, impulsive indulgences, secret affairs, sexual slavery, etc.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:51:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And I don't mean to suggest women haven't been (6+ / 0-)

          actively influencing and shaping their destinies in all this, and for various purposes, and perhaps took their limited choices and made the best they could of them.  It's a bit harder to find such histories recorded or told from a woman's point of view, or to realize that there is a missing woman's perspective that might untangle a particularly gnarly knot of genealogy while there's still someone who can tell of it.  

          And it seems that folks are more likely to trace and record male lineage that goes back towards a higher social class than lower, even if perhaps it's wrong.  Many prefer feeling they were lost or pushed out of an entitled class or heritage, rather than that they were predominantly of the struggling bastard classes, perhaps the result of invaders intermingling with the women or worse. I'm sure 99.9989% of the stories of women making heroic choices to survive, escape, endure, avenge, make calculated alliances or to die with dignity or in sacrifice for others have not been passed down.

          When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

          by antirove on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 12:27:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've found that there's some truth to lineage hype (5+ / 0-)

            There are some supurb writings from a woman's point of view. I happened to be able to add Julia Ward Howe to my family tree a couple of days ago. I have a very large family tree database, currently at almost 30,000 people. Everyone is somehow related to me directly or through marriage, adoption, etc.

            Julia Ward Howe's biography was the recipient of the first Pulitzer Prize awarded for a biography. Two of Julia Ward Howe's daughters co-authored their mother's biography. I found the book online and in the public domain. Her daughters wrote one of the best biographies I've ever read.

            Julia Ward Howe is best known as the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and as the founder of Mother's Day in the US. She was also active in Women's Suffrage, Abolition, Prohibition, and other civic reform movements of the era.

            Two of her daughters became well-known writers themslelves. When their mother died, they decided to write about her life. And so they did.

            Here's the google books version of Julia Ward Howe's biography.

            I think it's one of the good stories about a great woman and her life. All too rare, as you say. Her daughters did her proud, I must say.

            "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

            by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 03:51:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  History, Family History Is Wonderful (10+ / 0-)

      isn't it. I come from a family of letter writers. My favorite letter is one written by great, great, great grandfather in 1867. An open letter to the local paper when he was running to be a judge. He starts off by saying he wants to introduce himself and tell the public a little about him. He then goes into a long winded history of how he came to southern IL from Scotland.

      How he "dug coal" and "worked the rails" to get here.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:45:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have several lines claiming French Huguenot ... (9+ / 0-)

      I've not looked into Huguenot society recognition for various reasons. One of the more likely believable ones is a guy who supposedly fled France to the Island of Jersey, then on to Mass. by the 1670s ... early records in around Salem are equally divided between LeGroves and Groves for his name. I know he was Protestant cause he wouldn't have made it too far in that community as a Catholic, but just how long his family was in Jersey I don't know.

      "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

      by klompendanser on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:56:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I found some, for sure (8+ / 0-)

        Huguenots, that is.

        And just got it confirmed on a visit to relatives in France.  It came from an ancestor with the last name of "Angevine" which I realized - duh! - meant from Angers (in the Loire Valley.)  I mentioned a family they'd married into, and the French relation, an avid genealogist herself, said immediately: "Mallett - they're prominent protestants."  In France today, that is.

        The history of the American Mallets is that a man with four (or so) of his sons were highly placed officers under Louis XIV.  That is until the Edict of Nantes got revoked in 1685, which spelled trouble for the Huguenots.  At least these officers thought so.  They liquidated their assets quickly, and fled to America.  They bought up some significant tracts of land in CT.  I don't know that any of them got prominent (elected mayor or captains of industry or anything) but there's a few colonial cemeteries in their part of the state that are full of Mallets, and numerous historic houses scattered about carrying plaques that they were built by Mallets.

        The aunt in Paris says the ones who stayed in France are old money prosperous with estate properties not far from Paris.  So I guess the end of the Edict of Nantes didn't spell trouble for all.  It might be that being highly placed officers was too visible and too political to survive in the style they were accustomed to.  At any rate, the reports I found suggested they fled in a hurry and in secret.

        The Mallets didn't Anglicize their name.  At least not the spelling.  Other early French settlers - Chamois/Shumway and Pouilly/Powley did, though I don't know those people's religious proclivities.

        I've also found a small but steady stream of Americans who became expats in France during the last century.  Most recently I came across a fellow, unmarried, who was the organist at the American Cathedral in Paris.  He drowned in the Seine, 1944, with no signs of violence found on his body.

        "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party (quoted by Paul Ryan without proper attribution)

        by Land of Enchantment on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:30:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  will you have more on this (8+ / 0-)

          w/your diary next week? I've been looking forward to more of your discoveries!

          "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

          by klompendanser on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:40:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The plan for next week (8+ / 0-)

            ... was to give a little primer on screen captures and PhotoShop.

            "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party (quoted by Paul Ryan without proper attribution)

            by Land of Enchantment on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:54:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I did, BTW, top 10,000 (8+ / 0-)

            .... entries on my Ancestry.com tree while in France.  Madame's many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and in-laws put me over the top.

            I had one other idea for a diary, one closer to this week's scandal topic, that I might do someday.

            I've been working on some other inlaw/outlaws lately, a man with multiple wives.  One had a daughter from a previous marriage who married a career naval officer.  Yesterday, I came across a clipping that he - graduate of Annapolis and rank of Commander - was being sued for divorce on the grounds of drunkeness, cruelty and abandonment.  She didn't appear to be doing very well in her efforts from the clipping I found.  One suspects that the Navy protects its own, perhaps even moreso a century back than nowadays.

            Oddly, in that region of the database - another spouse of the man with multiple wives - has an unusual family.  Landowners around Lynchburg, growing tobacco.  No slaves in the Census back to 1820.  A family with a dozen kids born between 1818 and 1840, the first two were named Powhatan and Pocahontas.  I'm not finding any clues to where that came from.  It's definitely intriguing.

            "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Party (quoted by Paul Ryan without proper attribution)

            by Land of Enchantment on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:03:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Other than Captain John Smith (7+ / 0-)

              marrying Pocahontas, I understand that his and her heirs carried her name forward in their descendents. Powhatan is Pocahontas' father? Am I right? Maybe not. This was way after those days by almost 200 years. So it is an interesting choice for a given name.

              Anyway, Capt. Smith had children from his first wife and I am distantly related through their offspring+, fwiw. So that's how the only Pocohontas is now in my family tree. Good luck finding an answer for yours.

              Yeah, that drunken cruelty will backfire in the end, don't ya know, eh? I've got Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in my tree somewhere. All those wives, ya know. But no polygamy in my direct line, darn the luck. Just Aunt Ella. And her Aunt. And her mother. Kinda the looser women in our family back then.

              May God bless loose women.

              "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

              by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:36:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I have at least one French Huguenot (7+ / 0-)

        a very distant relative.

        I attended school in St. Augustine, FL and there is a big Huguenot cemetery there.

        It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

        by raina on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:20:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Was At My Grandfather's Funeral (15+ / 0-)

    a few months ago. My mom and dad have been married for 47 years. Somebody said to me that my mother had been married before my father, back in the 60s. This was the first I heard of that. Didn't matter to me in the least. I mentioned this to my father. He said yes it was true. But I should never mention it again. Ever!

    That the reason his parents seemed to openly dislike her (I'd say hate) was because of this. So it isn't something we talk about. I found that sad.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 09:32:58 AM PDT

  •  Apparently one of my Keck grandfathers had (10+ / 0-)

    an affair with another woman.  It was either my gg-gfather or his father, don't have access to the records right now.  They were, apparently, 'encouraged' to leave the Pennsylvania Dutch area and headed west.  They ended up in se Iowa.  The Keck's came to the US in the mid 1700's from the Bavarian region of Germany.

  •  Another interesting diary GoG, and (8+ / 0-)

    the racoons are indeed cute!

    I notice that Dr. Mason is in good company with his ads. I wonder how many ads he had in how many newspapers? With so many potential customers able to find him, it is indeed a puzzlement that the law enforcement officers could not. What a sad tale for Ella and her family.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:00:01 AM PDT

  •  I don't know what I love more (11+ / 0-)

    Your diary title, or the four little racoons!

    The only thing similar that I came across was a death record from a German church book.  It announced the death of "Maria Eva Blankenheim, legitimately married to Johannes Peter Jacobs, who abandoned his wife and is living with the whore, Elisabetha Hules."

    Those clerics had their own way of getting indiscretions into the historic records.

    Stupid Question:

    Why is it that critters that grow up to be so destructive, start off by looking so freaking cute when they're little babies?

  •  'Tis that time (5+ / 0-)

    when we interrupt our regularly scheduled weekly series for an important announcement,  sending out a call far and wide to all volunteers to host Friday GFHC Open Thread:

    Oct 5      Land of Enchantment
    Oct 9 (Midweek)   TayTay
    Oct 12    larmos
    Oct 19    Desert Rose
    Oct 26    jeanette0605
    Oct 30 (Midweek)  TayTay
    Nov 2     DrLori
    Nov 9     open for adoption
    Nov 16   open for adoption

    Anyone?

  •  Puts my ancestral shame to shame. (9+ / 0-)

    In which one Littleberry Harrison came home from a 3-day drunk and chased his stepmother around for a bit threatening to hit her with a chair. He was eventually stopped cold by a couple of blasts from her shotgun. As the family were new in town at the time, it made an impression.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:25:42 AM PDT

  •  what an interesting story (6+ / 0-)

    and love that raccoon pic. Thanks for sharing.

    It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

    by raina on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:06:48 AM PDT

  •  A stupid question (5+ / 0-)

    Didn't you have someone you were searching for who died around the age of 19 or 20? I was thinking that was Ella, but obviously not. I'm confused.

    Great diary - I've been waiting for more of this story for a long time!

  •  A stupid question: (5+ / 0-)

    why do i let myself get sidetracked and end up wasting time and energy when i could be eating ice cream?

    * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:12:13 AM PDT

  •  My Family is German & Irish (6+ / 0-)

    Father's family goes back to the 1850's. Most ended up
    Farming in Ohio. Several members went west for the
    gold rush in California and Alaska.

    My Mother's family comes from County Cork. Grandma
    came over on the Boat and worked as a Domestic in Boston.

    Amazing thing about those Irish. They have that part
    of My family tree Mapped. I'm not talking about the branches.

    I'm talking about the tips of the Leaves.

    My mother got the Family book when Grandma had
    her 85th Birthday. The Last update was when my sister
    became a Grandmother last November.

    When My mother passes, the family book is going to
    be Copied and distributed to the entire family. It's all
    written in Her Will.  

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:42:31 AM PDT

    •  I don't have any Irish ancestors, but (5+ / 0-)

      I've helped other people who do with their genealogy.

      Often, I'm able to find out which county they emigrated from, but I've never been able to go back any further than that.

      If that information is all written down in a family book, that's great!

      Were your German ancestors the ones who settled in Ohio, or was that the Irish side?  One of my Germans first ended up in Cincinnatti, then after 10 years, moved on to Iowa.

      A different German ancestor, my gg-grandfather, first lived in Racine Co, WI, but then in the 1860s went to California to look for gold - in spite of the fact that the "gold rush" ended in the 1850s.

      Hey gramps!  Day late, dollar short.  Actually he was back home within 10 years, and then later became a very successful businessman, in spite of his initial misfire. Wish I knew where he was during that time in CA, though.

    •  Oh, what a treasure (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H, edwardssl, larmos, klompendanser

      It's my German and British maternal side that's got all the leaves filled in. It's in a cousin's possession. I have an Irish side that's unmapped. My paternal side is well-populated and improving, but still has dead ends that need to be resolved.

      Distributing the book is the best way to preserve it. A work of love, indeed.

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 12:25:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great diary GoG! (4+ / 0-)

    Sorry I wasn't around earlier--busy days around here. I'll pop in later to ask my stupid question!

  •  Okay, finally noticed (3+ / 0-)

    one of the other ads in the pic.

    "FAT FOLKS REDUCED"

    ha! they did have a way with words back then.

    •  With words, they had their way. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      klompendanser, edwardssl, Jim H

      That sounds worse.

      To this day, we're still working toward reducing fat folks. [so to speak].

      There were some funny entries in the society and gossip columns that got the library staff laughing. The partial notice of a meeting with the city assessors to the left of the "fat folks" ad is all about one of the big local problems that summer. There was a water main leak that turned out to be expensive to locate and repair. So people were all upset about the big hit in water taxes that was sure to be coming.

      Bicycles were all the rage in 1894. And that's what Newton Keet wanted to do with the money he figured to get from Dr. Mason. Although he didn't get all the money, he did get $1000 from a surely bond that Dr. Mason's sister-in-law had to forfeit when Abbott Mason skipped town. Newton Keet opened his own bicycle shop in Northfield, MA, his home town. Later, he converted it to an auto repair shop.

      The mid 1890's was boom times in Central Massachusetts. The population grew by almost 50% in that decade and the first trolley lines were built between Orange and Athol. It was the Gay Nineties.

      The "uptown" area of Athol, Southeast of the factories and the riverside parts of town, was where Ella's widowed mother, Sarah, lived with Ella's half-brother, Frank.

      One little gossip item that kept showing up in the paper that summer was about the local imaginary citizens, Mr. Newitt Hall and his friends, Mr. and Mrs. Toldya Sew. The New Home Sewing Machine Company was a major employer in Orange, MA in those days. That's where Newton Keet worked. The gossip columns were a lot of fun to read even using a microfilm projector to navigate though the weeks and months.

      There was also a GREAT article about the perils of Human Spontaneous Combustion in one of the 1895 papers.

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 07:30:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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