No Story Too Small has issued a New Year’s Challenge: “Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”
This week, I have documented what I know of the life of my 2nd g-grandmother, Katherine E. “Kittie”/”Kate” Perry. She is my paternal grandfather’s, maternal grandmother. Her father died when she was a young child and she went to work at a very young age. She married three times. Her first husband “disappeared” (unknown if due to death, divorce or abandonment) prior to her young daughter’s first birthday. Her second husband abandoned her for another woman; and her third husband (a very fat man) may have had an affair (and baby) with his neighbor and employee, a cleaning lady with an alcohol addiction. After her second marriage, Kittie left her only child, Georgianna, to be raised by her mother and sister Cordelia in New York while she removed to Massachusetts. Georgianna seemed to understand, saying that her mother had done the best that she could. Kittie was sick often but took the time to visit and write to family. She contributed to her community and attended the local Episcopal church.
Katherine E. “Kittie”/”Kate” Perry was born 12 October 1858 on the old Dominick Lynch Farm in East Rome, Oneida, New York—then known as Factory Village (near the Erie Canal) – to George Perry/Parry and Ann Jones.
She was the second of four. Siblings included: Cordelia Jane (b. 1857), William C. (b. 1860) and George H. (b. 1862). Her mother, Ann, immigrated in 1849, from Rhosneigr, Llanfaelog, Anglesey, Wales with her siblings and parents, Robert and Catherine (Owen) Jones, who, at the time of Kittie’s birth, owned a home about 6 miles away, at Floyd Hill, Camroden. The origins of her father George Perry are unknown, but he was likely Welsh.
The Perry’s were members of the Welsh Presbyterian Church [no known church records survive] and lived on the Lynch farm (in the area of what is now 3rd street), where Kittie’s father George conducted a milk route from 1855 to 1862. Around 28 Jan 1862, George died, leaving children aged three, two and one; he was in his early 30’s. Given that his widow was about five/six weeks pregnant (meaning he would have been present in Rome mid-December 1861) and there is no record found of Ann applying for a pension under Perry or Parry, his death was likely not related to the Civil War .
click on map to view larger version
In November of 1863, Ann and the children left the farm. Ann purchased a home on 507 E. Dominick Street, Rome (for $1 ?). The lot size was 70×150 with a 12×20 home. She subsequently bought adjoining lots 4 & 5, block 3 in Factory Village. One of the lots was purchased jointly with Ann Trainer, an Irish woman in her mid-60’s who lived with or next to the Perry’s in 1870 [their relationship is unknown; perhaps she helped Ann with the kids?].
Kittie likely received her early education in the brick school house in East Rome and then attended the Rome Free Academy (RFA) (her sister Cordelia is a confirmed graduate). By age 16, she took a job as a domestic, at Lynch Farm, a few doors away from her Dominick Street home, and resided there with Jane (James) and Meredith Pugh, a milk peddler, who served 150 customers twice daily (he took over the route in 1867).
Entire article, Mrs. Pugh’s “90th Birthday Anniversary”, can be read here: Rome NY Daily Sentinel 1919 – 0050.pdf
Kittie’s grandfather, Robert Jones, passed away 11 Aug 1875, we don’t know what their relationship might have been. The Floyd 1855, 1865 & 1875 New York censuses were destroyed, so there is no known record of her grandparents in this time period. By 1880, her grandmother Catherine was residing in Floyd with Ann’s sister, Kittie’s Aunt Elizabeth’s family.
Kittie’s mother Ann, [according to a court document dated 1902] married, on 1 May 1877, James Evans, an Iron Mill worker (about 10 years her junior), born in Madeley, Herefordshire, England, son of Edward Evans and Ann.
An article in the Oswego Daily Times, Jan 31 1876 indicates that Ann was possibly supporting the family by running a Boarding House (there were 3 “James Evans” living in Rome in 1875 – the others, both married, were listed as butcher and coal worker). An excerpt is as follows: “Upon her arrival there she inquired of the location of some private boarding house and was directed to one kept by Mrs. James Evans, on East Dominick street”.
The 1876 boarder was pregnant; she gave birth to a child who later died by “foul play”.
In the census taken 14 June 1880, Kittie, enumerated as “Kate Parry” was living on Elm Street, Ilion, Herkimer, New York working as a servant for Warren Ackler and family. Her mother, step-father and brothers were still together in Rome. Her sister Cordelia had married Marcus Palmer of Stanwix, New York on 27 June 1877. They purchased a home in Oriskany, New York on 28 September 1878 and were living there in 1880.
The 11 August 1880 edition of the Herkimer Democrat reports that on 4 Aug, Kitty Perry, of Rome, married John Hughes [parents unknown] of Ilion, at the residence of officiating clergyman Reverend Albert F. Lyle, in German Flatts [who was associated with the Presbyterian Church of Ilion].
There are many John Hughes/Hughs in Herkimer County around this time period. Some have been ruled out as the age would not seem appropriate to be marrying a young woman around 1880. There are potential John Hughes’ in the towns of Schuyler, Manehim, Little Falls, Ohio, Herkimer and German Flatts in Herkimer County, Deerfield in Oneida County and mention of one in New York City.
John and Kittie’s only known child, a daughter, Georgianna , was born on 13 Oct 1881. A few months later, on 5 Jan 1882, Kittie’s sister Cordelia Palmer had a baby, whom she also named Georgianna, she was born at 6:30PM, died the next day at 4:15PM and is buried at Wright Intermittent Cemetery [why? is Georgianna a family name?].
By 1883, Kittie, likely with Georgianna, had moved back to Rome and was living with her mom, step-father and brothers on 99 E. Dominick Street. It is unclear if Kittie was widowed or separated. No record of divorce was located in Herkimer County; Oneida’s only recorded divorces commence in the 1900’s and death records are spotty [the requirement to record births/marriages/deaths in New York was implemented in 1882 and in the early years many did not comply].
Sister Cordelia and Marcus had their second child, AnnaBelle b. 16 Feb 1885 reportedly in Rome.
Kittie’s mom and step-father relocated to Frankfort, New York about 1886. It is likely that Kittie, Georgianna, Cordelia, Marcus and AnnaBelle moved there as well. Cordelia’s 3rd child, Katherine “Kittie” Mae was b. 16 Mar 1887 in Frankfort.
On 1 July 1887 Cordelia and Marcus stopped paying their Oriskany mortgage (the home was foreclosed and sold at auction). Marcus Palmer died in Frankfort on 30 March 1888 [cause unknown], leaving Cordelia with two babies.
On 18 Feb 1889, in Frankfort, Kittie married second Frank D. Clough, a carpenter, born 11 Sept 1856 in Bath, New Hampshire, to Richard Clement Clough and Ellen C. Colburn. The 1889 city directory lists him as a boarder at 129 Main Street – a man named Humphrey Hughes is listed as a boarder as well. Soon after the marriage, Kittie and Frank relocated to Lowell, Massachusetts, leaving young Georgianna behind to be raised by Ann and James. In that year’s city directory, James Evans is listed as “watchman, house at E. Frankfort”.
On 14 August 1889, Cordelia married second Charles Eugene Spoor, a widower, with a young son, Leland (b. 16 Apr 1886) – his first wife, Annetta “Nettie” L Fort died of diphtheria in Feb 1888.
Around that time (before 1890), a family portrait was taken in front of the Frankfort homestead (address unknown). Georgianna is on the left with her aunt and cousins. Kittie is not pictured, Ann and James are out front. Some unknown folks are in the windows to the right. Sitting in the left window might be Cordelia’s second husband and his son.
Cordelia and Charles had another child, George Perry Spoor b. 7 Dec 1890. In 1891, they resided on 14 Church Street, Frankfort; Charles was listed as “foreman Railroad shops”.
About 1891, a portrait depicts Kittie’s mother, Ann with her 4 grandchildren and step-grandson. Kittie’s daughter Georgianna is the eldest standing in the rear.
The New York 1892 census shows James, Ann and Georgianna living in the 3rd election district. James is a blacksmith.
The Spoors lived in the same district (a few census pages away – unfortunately addresses were not recorded).
Cordelia’s 4th child, Gilbert James arrived 2 July 1893.
Meanwhile, Kittie’s 2nd husband Frank Clough appears to have abandoned Kittie and married another woman with whom he had two children. His whereabouts were unknown to Kittie. She filed for annulment, as he never divorced his first wife, of Bath. A notice published in the Lowell Sun [Massachusetts] dated Saturday, 14 March 1896:
THE LOWELL DAILY SUN:
To the Honorable Justices of the Superior court within and for the County of Middlesex: Respectfully libels and represent Kittie E. Clough of Lowell. In said county, that she was married in form of law not in legal effect to Frank Clough now of Seattle, Wash., and there afterwards your libellant and the said Frank Clough lived together as husband and wife afterwards until she learned and was informed that said Frank Clough at the time he married your petitioner had another wife living from whom he was never divorced, thus rendering his marriage to your petitioner void. Wherefore your petitioner prays that, a decree be entered declaring said marriage between her and said Frank Clough null and void from the beginning. Dated this first day of November A.D. 1895.
KITTIE E. CLOUGH
Elizabeth Bouvier, Head of Archives, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, reported Kittie filed a libel #1706 at Middlesex County Superior Court in 1896, it was continued to Dec 27, 1897 and dismissed on call without prejudice, she checked the Indices up to 1910 and there is no further entry.
Read Frank Clough’s story here: https://passagetothepast.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/declared-dead-before-his-time-frank-d-clough-52-ancestors-week-10/
Although Kittie had moved, the family stayed close, exchanging letters and post cards frequently. Kittie Mae Palmer’s grandson, Sam (my dad’s 3rd cousin, has many letters and postcards in his collection inherited from Cordelia, Kittie and AnnaBelle). Additionally, several newspaper articles document some of their visits.
- The Utica Observer: Wednesday, Sept 4, 1895 W. C Perry, delivery window clerk at the post office, left yesterday afternoon on a bicycle trip of 275 miles to Lowell, Mass.
- Utica Morning Herald, August 24 1896: Miss Georgiana Hughes of Frankfort, who has been visiting her mother at Lowell, Mass., has returned, and accompanied by Miss Kittie May Palmer of Frankfort, is a guest of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Perry of 414 West Dominick Street [Rome].
– Rome Semi Weekly Citizen, September 1, 1896: Miss Georgianna Hughes of Lowell, Mass., and Miss Kittie A. Palmer of Frankfort, NY , are visiting their uncle, W. C. Perry, 414 West Dominick street.
On 03 Nov 1896, Kittie’s mother Ann died from shock and injures sustained from being pushed into the Erie Canal, by a team of horses, while walking with three of her grandchildren.
Some time between December 1896 and 1899, Kittie relocated to Lynn, Massachusetts and was residing with her future (third) husband Franklin M. Shipman. We don’t know how or when they met. The Lynn City Directory reads: Kittie E Clough, widow of Frank D, house 73 Centre and Frank Shipman machinist boards 73 Centre. (Kittie claims to be a widow, but in reality, she was still married to Frank D. Clough).
In 1900, Kittie is listed as head of household in a rented home, at 25 North Common Street, in Lynn. She has several boarders including Frank, a machinist, who was likely working for General Electric . The census confirms that she has given birth to only one child in her lifetime. She is listed as a widow (it was common to lie about marital status as divorce or abandonment was disgraceful).
Although not included in the census, 18 year old daughter, Georgianna, in 1900, had relocated from New York (where she had likely been living with her aunt Cordelia) to live with her mother and Shipman, likely because Cordelia and her family had relocated to Galeton, Pennsylvania. She took a position as an operative in a Lynn shoe factory and suddenly begins to use the surname Clough instead of Hughes [Clough had abandoned Kittie and there was no known contact; it is possible that Georgianna used his surname as it was more “American” than Hughes, which perhaps aided her in finding a job].
The three continued to reside at 25 North Common together for a few years. Kittie, in early 1902, divorced Clough, on the grounds of desertion, and married Shipman on Saturday, 4 October 1902; her third marriage and his first. They were married by Reverend Herbert A. Manchester, Presbyterian Clergy.
The Shipman’s moved frequently and Franklin had many careers (see photos of city directories at the end of the blog about Frank – https://passagetothepast.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/52-ancestors-week-20-who-was-mr-shipman/). The threesome relocated to 108 South Common by 1903.
On 19 June 1904, Georgianna married Charles Milton Hall and moved to Malden, Massachusetts. About 6 months later, on 08 Dec 1904, Kittie’s first grandson, Charles George Hall (my grandfather) was born.
A few months later, on 17 Oct 1904, Kittie’s nephew, Cordelia’s young son George Perry Spoor (who seemed like an intelligent young man) died by accidental shooting.
By 1905, Kittie and Franklin, then a furniture dealer, resided on 740 Western Ave, Lynn. By 1907, he had started a restaurant at 979 Western Avenue, Lynn and lived next door. In early 1909, they resided at 63 North Common, Lynn. Later that year they moved to 93 Lafayette in Salem, where Shipman owned a lunch wagon, positioned on New Derby near Lafayette.
The 1910 census again places them on 93 Lafayette in Salem (Franklin still owns the lunch wagon).
Later that year, the city directory indicates that the Shipman’s moved back to Lynn.
In August 1911 The Utica NY Herald Dispatch reports: “Mrs. F. M. Shipman of Lynn, Mass and her daughter, Mrs. C. M. Hall, and son Charles of Malden, Mass[achusetts], are spending two weeks with Mrs. Shipman’s brother. W. C. Perry, 414 West Dominlck street, [Rome]”.
Between 1912 and 1915, the Shipmans purchased property; three adjoining lots, on Albion Street and Western Avenue, Lynn, where Frank also ran a restaurant.
Kittie referred to her daughter Georgianna as “Georgie”. She writes to her niece AnnaBell in 1912 about the “lovely dinner and good time” they had at Georgie’s over Christmas.
She seemed to write frequently, keeping in touch on Christmas, Easter and birthdays (interesting that she refers to her husband as “Mr. Shipman”):
On 02 Jan 1914, Kittie’s second grandson David Hall was born, but died in infancy.
On 26 May 1917 Kittie’s son-in-law Charles Milton Hall placed his father Ephraim Augustus Hall in Danvers State Hospital declaring him insane. The guardianship papers were witnessed by Ellen Nichols (Ephraim’s sister) & Kittie (indicating that Kittie had become close to her daughter Georgianna).
In the fall of 1918, Kittie spent a month in Rome, with her brother William, and upon her return to Lynn, became quite ill with influenza.
Kittie seemed to have recovered by Christmas 1918. She visited her daughter with Mr. Shipman and gave her grandson Charles “a Compass + Pedometer, two batteries, 4 books, $2.00. See a copy of the letter, describing Christmas, here: (https://passagetothepast.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/stranger-exchanger/)
In 1920, Franklin and Kittie were at the same address (living next door to four year old Eva Meyers, a heir to Franklin’s estate and perhaps a child he had out of wedlock). They owned the property mortgage free, had eleven boarders and continued to run the restaurant (they resided in this same home until their deaths and Frank retired from the restaurant only a year before his passing).
Kittie wrote a letter to her niece Anabelle in early April 1921 inquiring of her sister’s health; Cordelia died several days later, on 15 April 1921 in Galeton, Pennsylvania.
Dear AnnaBell and all I am wondering how your mother is this morning and I hope she is better. I am not so very well and I am getting so fat – and bloat – quite a pitter (?), I am taking Electric Treatments and I think they are doing me a lot of good. I hope I will get a letter today today that your mother is better. I suppose Kittie May is home now and that will help to make her feel better, write and let me know today – hoping to hear that mother is better – with love to all
In July/August 1922, Kittie again returned to Rome to visit her brother William and cousins Rev. and Mrs. Robert Roberts [son of Kittie’s Aunt Elizabeth (Mrs. Elias Roberts); her mother Ann’s sister].
Kittie died a few months later on 8 November 1922. He death was attributed to uremia (the illness accompanying kidney failure), chronic interstitial nephritis ( a disease which gradually causes kidney failure, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, fatigue, and anemia) and myocarditis (inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall).
Her obituary, published 9 November 1922, in the Evening Lynn Items reads: Mrs. Kittie Shipman, age 63, wife of Franklin M. Shipman, died today after a long illness at her home, 921 Western avenue. Born in Rome, N. Y., Mrs. Shipman came to Lynn some 25 years ago. She was a member of St. Stephen’s church. Order of the Eastern Star of Salem and Women’s Relief corps of Lynn, and leaves, besides her husband, a daughter, Mrs. Georgianna Hall of Malden; two brothers, William C. Perry of Rome, N. Y., and George Perry of Pennsylvania, and a grandson, Charles G. Hall of Malden.
**According to Wikipedia: The Order of the Eastern Star is a Freemasonry related fraternal organization open to both men and women. It was established in 1850. The order is based on teachings from the bible but is open to people of all religious beliefs. Members of the Order are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons.
**The Woman’s Relief Corps of Massachusetts honored the brave men of the Grand Army of the Republic. It had a cause that appealed to the sympathy and patriotism of the women of Massachusetts: To assist members and their families in sickness and distress, and all needy and sick soldiers, sailors and marines, or the widows and orphans of deceased soldiers, sailors and marines ; to do all in our power to alleviate their distress, to further the interests of all subordinate Corps, and institute new Corps throughout the State.
Kittie was buried in Wright Settlement Cemetery Rome (Oneida County) Oneida County New York, USA Plot: sect 3 near her parents. Her stone reads Birth: 1859 Death: 1922 Inscription: Kittie Perry wife of F. M. Shipman (she is buried alone, her husband was subsequently buried near his family).
Kittie’s estate included a savings account with deposits of about $1,250 (the jointly owned land/buildings were not listed). She died without a will, but may have left verbal instructions. After burial and probate expenses, 2/3’s was given to her daughter Georgianna and 1/3 to her husband Franklin.
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Rome Ward 1, Oneida, New York; Roll: M653_824; Page: 412; Image: 208. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.
Kittie’s brother William attended the brick school house in East Rome and sister Cordelia attended the Rome Free Academy (RFA), the assumption is that Kittie was given the same education.
On May 4, 1892, the house, 507 East Dominick Street, still owned by Mrs. Ann Evans of Frankfort and occupied by Thomas King, caught fire last evening about 8:30 from a defective stovepipe. The fire department was called out and extinguished the flames before much damage was done.