Posts Tagged ‘Malden’

The Lesson of James A. Wilson – There Are Exceptions to Every Rule!


Two things happened yesterday. posted a nifty “cheat sheet” which can be used to determine if your ancestors served in one of the US conflicts back to the Revolution.


Second, a third cousin, in my Wilson line, contacted me through asking to compare notes, which prompted me to review the pending “shaky leaves” for that line.

A Find-A-Grave hint popped up for James Alexander Wilson, my 2nd-great uncle and brother to my 2nd g-grandmother, Roxanna “Anna” Aurelia (Wilson) Hall (her story here).

family tree

Attached to this Mount Hope Cemetery grave record was a photo referring to 11th Regiment Massachusetts [Light] Battery.  A Google search revealed that this was a Civil War unit “Organized at Readville and mustered in for three years January 2, 1864 … Mustered out June 16, 1865″


The chart reads: “Civil War birth years 1811-1848”. Another mistake in my tree!  My James died on 14 Sept 1886, which matches the Find-A-Grave entry, but I recorded his birth at St. John, New Brunswick, on 27 February 1850, thus implying an age of fourteen in 1864. Did I have the wrong birth date?

I re-reviewed the records, most concurred – James was born in 1850!  Was it possible a 14 year old served in the Civil War?

At bit of research revealed at least 100,000 Union soldiers were boys under 15 years old and about 20 percent of all Civil War soldiers were under 18. Many lied about their age to join. As the casualties grew and more soldiers were needed, recruiters looked the other way. The exact number of children who enlisted during the Civil War is unknown, but it is known that 48 soldiers who were under the age of 18 won the Congressional Medal of Honor for their bravery and service.

Census/Marriage/Death Records Analyzed for Birth Year

No birth/baptism has been located at St John for James Wilson.

In 1851, a one year old James Wilson was enumerated with his parents, David and Elizabeth, in Saint John County, Dukes and Queens Wards,

1851 census

The 1855 Massachusetts Boston, Ward 03, census reports his age as five.


In 1860, he was enumerated in Boston Ward 3 as age ten.

1860 census

In 1865, he was residing in Boston Ward 3, listed as age 16.


He was 20 in 1870 when enumerated in Boston Ward 4.

1870 census

He was 21 when he married Susan “Susie” Jane Perkins, daughter of George Perkins and Margaret Taylor on 17 May 1871 in Boston.


He was listed as age 34 in the 1880 Boston census (the only record which implies a birth in 1846 – note that his parents were married in 1847 – their story here).


When James Naturalized in 1882, he gave a birth date of 27 February 1850.


A signature comparison (beautiful handwriting for a 14 year old!) confirms that the James Wilson who joined the Civil War and the James Wilson who applied for Naturalization are likely the same man.


fe59703e-bf46-4489-b186-a275f01b547b f3585473-252e-40ef-89ab-3e2d0b15afe7

James’ Massachusetts death entry dated 14 September 1886 lists his age as 36 years, 6 months, 14 days (implying a birth of 28 Feb 1850).  Cause of death was Consumption. The newspaper notice of his death also lists an age of 36.



Side Note: James was a Fresco Painter – I have not uncovered any information specifically related to his work. Given his beautiful handwriting, I wonder where he was educated, his mother was unable to write, thus he must have had schooling in this craft.  An article published in Massachusetts, in that time frame, describes the study:


Fold 3- CMSR for James

Fold 3 has digitized the Massachusetts Compiled Military Service Records.  Although James Wilson is a common name, knowing he served in the 11th Regiment Massachusetts Battery helped in locating the record. In his file, was a volunteer enlistment form, dated 2 December 1864, with a claim that he was seventeen and ten months.  The form includes minor consent from his father.

The enlistment occurred in Cambridge (the family resided in Boston, perhaps he intentionally enlisted in a place where he would not be known?) and James was described 5’4″ tall (quite short for an almost 18 year old).  He was given a $33 recruitment bounty in exchange for a one year commitment (the family was quite poor and likely needed the funds). His pay was later docked for loss of Clothing Camp and Garrison equipage (typical kid ?).

Fold3_Page_10_Compiled_Service_Records_of_Volunteer_Union_Soldiers_Who_Served_in_Organizations_from_the_State_of_Massachusetts Fold3_Page_9_Compiled_Service_Records_of_Volunteer_Union_Soldiers_Who_Served_in_Organizations_from_the_State_of_Massachusetts



Pension Search

Whenever I find a Veteran, I check for a pension file.  The pension laws changed frequently not everyone who participated was entitled.  A good place to start in understanding Civil War pensions is the Family Search Wiki – here.

There are two indexes, one on Fold3 and the other on Ancestry.  They can differ.’s  “U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934” (NARA T288) tells us that James’ widow Susan applied, and received a pension.

pension card

Fold 3’s Civil War Pensions Index (officially called the “Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900”; NARA T289) lists a widow’s pension and mother’s pension (the lack of certificate number means that the mother’s pension request was denied).

Fold3_Wilson_James_A_Organization_Index_to_Pension_Files_of_Veterans_Who_Served_Between_1861_and_1900 (1)

National Archives

This morning I headed to the National Archives in DC and placed my request for these two files.  If you ask that the file be delivered to the new Innovation Hub, not only do you avoid having to wait for a specific pull time (they pull it right away for you) but you can use their scanners for free and once scanned the digitized documents are posted on NARAs website for others to find.  If you don’t live near the Archives, you can place a request online (the fee is $80 for the first 100 pages – order here).

The two pension requests were consolidated into one file.  Nothing in the file mentions James’ enlistment age and the death certificate in the file implies a birth in 1850.


It seems that James’ mother, Elizabeth, age 70, who was unable to sign her name, applied for a pension in 1890 saying that her son was unmarried, without children and prior to his death she relied on him for some support.

Her witnesses included, Elizabeth’s daughter, my 2nd g-grandmother, “Anna” aka Roxanna (Wilson) Hall and Anna’s sister-in-law, Mary (Hall) Patten.  Elizabeth was residing in Everett, the address was c/o Charles Baker, Simpson Court. Later documents give her address as Richardson Court, Malden (the address of my Hall ancestors).



When James’ widow later placed a claim, Elizabeth’s claim was thus rejected. Elizabeth’s attorney stated that he was told there was no widow or children. Elizabeth, was likely desperate.  Her husband David had died, probably by suicide in 1879 (story here), thus she likely had relied on her eldest son James for some support.


The file (although one of the smaller I have pulled – just 36 pages) is chock full of family details (albeit nothing confirming my suspicion that James parents were born in Ireland)! A witness statement indicating that Susan was a laundress working for $1.50/week for 22 year old Margaret E. Clark who she had known for five years.  Susan relied on her minor children, two boys and two girls, earnings of five to six dollars a month, as aid. She owned some household furniture valued less than $25.


Susan was removed from the Pension rolls in 1895 as she was “reported dead”. She wasn’t deceased, she remarried Brenton B. Cook on 07 Oct 1895 in Boston (record here). She died 2 March 1908 from Chronic Brights Disease and Edema of Lungs.



In summary, while a great tool, use Ancestry’s “cheat sheet” as a guide.  There are always exceptions. Without the Find-A-Grave hint, I wouldn’t have searched for these records and I would have missed some great family details!

The Family of James Alexander Wilson 1850-1866


Service according to

The service of the 11th Independent Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery after James joined in December 1864 was as follows (text from Wikipedia):

Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865.

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run, also known as Dabney’s Mill, Armstrong’s Mill, Rowanty Creek, and Vaughn Road, fought February 5–7, 1865, was one in a series of Union offensives during the Siege of Petersburg, aimed at cutting off Confederate supply traffic on Boydton Plank Road and the Weldon Railroad west of Petersburg, Virginia. Although the Union advance was stopped, the Federals extended their siegeworks to the Vaughn Road crossing of Hatcher’s Run. The Confederates kept the Boydton Plank Road open, but were forced to extend their thinning lines.

 Fort Stedman March 25.

The Battle of Fort Stedman, also known as the Battle of Hare’s Hill, was fought on March 25, 1865, during the final days of the American Civil War. The Union Army fortification in the siege lines around Petersburg, Virginia, was attacked in a pre-dawn Confederate assault by troops led by Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon. The attack was the last serious attempt by Confederate troops to break the Siege of Petersburg. After an initial success, Gordon’s men were driven back by Union troops of the IX Corps commanded by Maj. Gen. John G. Parke.

 Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.

The Appomattox Campaign was a series of American Civil War battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865 in Virginia that concluded with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to the Union Army (Army of the Potomac, Army of the James and Army of the Shenandoah) under the overall command of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. In the following eleven weeks after Lee’s surrender, the American Civil War ended as other Confederate armies surrendered and Confederate government leaders were captured or fled the country.

Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2.

The Third Battle of Petersburg, also known as the Breakthrough at Petersburg or the Fall of Petersburg, was fought on April 2, 1865, south and southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, at the end of the 292-day Richmond–Petersburg Campaign (sometimes called the Siege of Petersburg) and in the beginning stage of the Appomattox Campaign near the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Union Army (Army of the Potomac, Army of the Shenandoah and Army of the James) under the overall command of General-in-chief, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, launched an assault on General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s Petersburg, Virginia trenches and fortifications after the Union victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. As a result of that battle the Confederate right flank, rear and remaining supply lines were exposed or cut and the Confederate defenders were reduced by over 10,000 men killed, wounded, taken prisoner or in flight.

The thinly-held Confederate lines at Petersburg had been stretched to the breaking point by earlier Union movements that extended those lines beyond the ability of the Confederates to man them adequately and by desertions and casualties from recent battles. As the much larger Union forces, which significantly outnumbered the Confederates, assaulted the lines, desperate Confederate defenders held off the Union breakthrough long enough for Confederate government officials and most of the remaining Confederate army, including local defense forces, and some Confederate Navy personnel, to flee Petersburg and the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia during the night of April 2–3. Confederate corps commander Lieutenant General A.P. Hill was killed during the fighting.

Union soldiers occupied Richmond and Petersburg on April 3, 1865 but most of the Union Army pursued the Army of Northern Virginia until they surrounded and forced Robert E. Lee to surrender that army on April 9, 1865 after the Battle of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Pursuit of Lee to Appomattox C. H. April 3-9.

the Siege of Petersburg ends with the Union assault and breakthrough of April 2. The remainder of the war in Virginia is classified as “Grant’s Pursuit of Lee to Appomattox Court House.

Moved to Washington, D.C., April 20-27.

Grand Review May 23 (note that James was enumerated with his family in the Massachusetts census on 1 May 1865 with no occupation listed. Records do indicate he mustered out June 16, 1865.  It is possible that whoever spoke to the census taker listed him as residing with the family even though he was not present).

The Grand Review of the Armies was a military procession and celebration in Washington, D.C., on May 23 and May 24, 1865, following the close of the American Civil War. Elements of the Union Army paraded through the streets of the capital to receive accolades from the crowds and reviewing politicians, officials, and prominent citizens, including the President of the United States, Andrew Johnson


52 Ancestors, week #16 – Boston Strong!

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.”

I ran and finished the Boston Marathon in 2009 with a time of 5:13.


I have watched the runners on Boylston Street (near the finish line) and in Copley after the Sox game, every year, for as long as I can remember.  “Marathon Monday”(Patriot’s Day) is one of my favorite holidays.  So much so, that in 2010 it led to my departure from a well paid finance position in Corporate America due to the boss’s refusal to let me take “Marathon Monday” as a vacation day. She deemed it “too close to quarter end”. Boss lady was not a Bostonian.  I was a telecommuter; I took the day anyway.

I missed the Marathon on 15 April 2013, for the first time in my adult life.  I was headed to the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) in Manchester, NH  on the 17th and was commuting with a friend from my new hometown of Jackson, New Hampshire. I decided to skip Boston versus driving an extra 6 hours and leaving my cats alone for two days.  However, I encouraged my husband (who had just returned from a business trip, and was in Boston)  to go watch the Marathon without me; he was busy with work, we bickered a bit,”work isn’t everything”, I said, “you should go” –  he didn’t listen; he drove back to his office in North Conway, NH that morning.  None of my many friends who attended annually were there – everyone, miraculously, had another commitment.

Today is the first anniversary of that horrific and tragic event that occurred in our city, a city often known for it’s accent where the “r” is “ah”.  Home to the Boston Tea Party, the precursor that sparked the American Revolution and eventually the birth of the nation. A place, where everyone, regardless of age, knows the names Yaz, Williams, Bird, Brady and Orr.  A society that came together to show the world that even one fatality is too much, “We Will Find You”. I am honored to be from this great, proud and STRONG city – God Bless Boston – I love my city and am proud of it’s protectors!  For that reason, I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to one of my family’s protectors.

The Malden Fire Department was established in 1820 when a bucket engine, Alert No. 1 was purchased and a company organized. In 1833 the Volunteer Engine Company was organized, and a new Hunneman engine was purchased. In 1848 the General Taylor Engine Company was organized at South Malden (now Everett) and in 1854 the Daniel Webster Engine Company was organized at Edgeworth.

In 1849 the City voted to pay it’s firemen $10 per annum and was one of the first  Cities in this Country to pay firemen for their services.

In 1864 the first steam fire engine was purchased, the Wanalancet No. 1, which was made by J.B. Johnson at Portland, ME.. the Thomas W. Hough steam fire engine was purchased in 1881.

In 1882 the Daniel P. Wise Hose Company was organized at Maplewood. That same year the John M. Devir Hose Company was organized at Edgeworth.


This week’s ancestor is Thomas Whitehead Hough, my 2nd great grand uncle through his marriage to Abby Frances Hall.   Abby was a sister to my paternal g-g-grandfather Ephraim Augustus Hall; daughter of Horatio Hall and Elizabeth Pinder (and sister to aunt Ellen Sophia Hall read of Ellen and the city of Malden, in that era, by clicking here).


Family Timeline

Thomas was likely born 14 Jan 1837 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire to John Hough (a carpenter/pattern maker) and Lurana(h) Young.

His mother Lurana(h) Young first married Nathaniel Hobbs on 14 July 1833 in Dover.  They had one known child, Nathaniel Hobbs jr. b. 1834.

Then on 21 March 1836, Mr. John Hough and Miss Lurania Hobbs, both of Dover were married by Benj. Brierly.

Thomas had six known full siblings: John b. 14 Nov 1838; Joseph b. 20 Oct 1840; Lurana(h) (Lorraine) Young, b. 27 April 1842; George Henry, b. 1844; Mary E., b. 27 Feb 1855; and Anna, b. 1857.

Siblings John (age 3) and Joseph (age 6 mons) died within four days of one another in April 1841 in Malden, Massachusetts, cause unknown

In 1850, John, Luranah and children,Thomas, Luranah & George, are found in Lawrence, Massachusetts living with John, Deborah & Charlotte Naylor (relation, if any, unknown). They were also enumerated in Malden, Massachusetts residing with John and Harriet Warren (relation, if any, unknown) [newspaper accounts mention homes in Dover, Lawrence, Malden and Providence, Rhode Island].

In 1855, John, Luranah and children,Thomas, Luranah & George, and Mary E., are residing in Malden; there is a 21 year old Bathiel Hough with the family (likely Thomas’s half brother Nathaniel Hobbs, jr.).

On 11 Mar 1857 Nathaniel Hobbs, jr. married Harriett E Turner in Malden.

Thomas married Abby Frances Hall 11 June 1858 in Malden and became a prominent Malden citizen.

Mary E. died 08 Aug 1858 in Malden, age 3, of hooking cough (likely whooping cough).

In 1860, Thomas and Abby are residing in Malden; Lorraine (who married Isaac Sawyer Evans, on 24 November 1859, in Amesbury, Massachusetts) has relocated to Charlestown, Massachusetts and Thomas’ parents are living in Andover, Massachusetts with their children George and AnnaNathaniel Hobbs, jr. and his wife, also reside in Malden.

On 8 Jul 1863, Nathaniel Hobbs, jr’s., death from apoplexy (the sudden loss of the ability to feel or move parts of the body caused by too little blood going to the brain) was reported in Malden.  He was a gunman in the US Navy and died aboard his ship.

By 1865, Thomas’s parents, George, Anna and daughter Lurana(h)/Lorraine with Isaac and their 4 year old child were residing in one household in Malden. Thomas and Abby are nearby, in a separate household (addresses are not given, but they are enumerated as families #209 & #214 on the same census page).

In 1867 George married in Lowell, Massachusetts, Mary A Sampson, daughter of Eden and Mary A. (Tufts) Sampson.

In 1870 & 1880, Thomas and Abby are residing in Malden; his parents are also in Malden, with Anna.  George is enumerated as “G H S Huff” in 1870 and is residing with his in-laws, wife and newborn baby in Malden, by 1880 he is residing in Chelsea, Massachusetts with his wife and four children. Lorraine is residing in  Irwin, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Anna married in Malden, on 22 Nov 1882, Francis O Bacon.

Thomas’s father John died in Malden on 12 Sep 1896 age age 82, 11 months and 2 days of “senile gangrene”.

John Hough obit

Thomas’s sister Anna passed away, 19 Oct 1887, age 30, of phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis or a similar progressive systemic disease), in Malden.

In 1897, Thomas’ mother, a widowed Lurana(h) was living at 20 Russell Street, Malden.

Thomas’s sister Lorraine Young (Hough) Evans, passed away on 5 February 1900 in  Irwin, Pennsylvania a week after her husband’s death.


By 1900, Thomas’s widowed mother, Lurana(h) moved to Chicago and was residing with her grandson Harry’s family (George’s son).  George is  residing with them and  listed as “widowed” (? his wife Mary died, from cancer, in Malden, 7 years later on 12 Feb 1907 – perhaps he left her?).

Thomas’s wife Abby died suddenly of pleuro pneumonia at age 61, in 1901. Her eulogy was touching.  The reverend described her as “a type of sunny brave and noble womanhood, a sturdy friend when days were dark and lowry”.  Much of the town, including the mayor, attended the services. The obituary declares, “few woman in this city were better known and will be more widely missed than the kindly wife of the man who for so many years [has] been at the head of the fire department matters in this city… In her home life, Mrs Hough was devoted and lovable. She entered into the ambitions of her husband with true womanly affection and maintained the deepest interest in everything that pertained to his business and political life…In the many societies with which she was identified, Mrs Hough was an active and zealous worker. She was a general favorite with all and her kind, genial ways will be missed by a large circle.”

On 27 November 1907,  brother George married, Charlotte Kalkofen,  a German woman (30 years his junior) in Grand Rapids, MI, where they resided in 1910.

A widowed Thomas Hough resided in Malden in 1910, with his Bermudian housekeeper, Eveyln Bean [who is named in his will], age 30.  He passed away in 1912, at age 75. Thomas and Abby had no known children.

death cert

Death records have not been located for Thomas’s mother Lurana(h) (she likely died before 1910 in Chicago) or brother George [who likely died between 1910 and 1920; by 1920, his wife, 46 year old Charlotte, is residing in Malden, and listed as widowed].


Much of Thomas Hough’s life was documented in the Malden newspapers:

Malden News, Saturday, March 14, 1885


Our Portrait Gallery

No. 4 – Thomas Hough, Chief Engineer of the Malden Fire Department

Chief Engineer Thomas W. Hough, of the Malden Fire Department, is one of our best known citizens, and a gentleman of high standing in the community.  He was born at Dover, NH, January 14, 1836 and is consequently 49 years of age. He was educated in the public schools of Dover and Malden removing to this place with his parents at an early age.

Upon attaining the age of seventeen years he learned the machinist’s trade, serving his time with the Mattapan Company, at Edgeworth, where the Nitre Works are now located. Since 1865 he has been in the sewing machine business as a member of the firm Hough & Rumney, 576 Washington and 16 South streets, Boston and also in Lynn. He has also recently taken charge of the business of the New Home Sewing Machine Company at 576 Washington street, Boston.

Mr. Hough is best known in Malden, however, as a member of many years’ standing of the Fire Department now standing at its head. At the age of sixteen years he joined the department (in the old volunteer days) as “torch boy”. Next he became a regular member, and was for many years foreman of the old “Wannalancett”.  For the past sixteen years  he has served as Chief Engineer of the department, having (until last January) been re-elected under town and city government year after year by a unanimous vote.

He is ably assisted by a corps of four associate engineers, and under their management during the last sixteen years the department has never lost the second building at a fire but twice, – one notable occasion being the great conflagration at the rubber works at Edgeworth, in December, 1875.

When Chief Hough first assumed his present duties, the department was in no such well-equipped condition as it is today. There was but one steamer, and the horses used on it were worked for the town, often occasioning much trouble and delay in responding to alarms.  Chief Hough’s first move was to secure a hose carriage and a permanent horse.

The  new Central Engine House was completed in 1874, the Hook & Ladder truck obtained about the same time, the fire alarm telegraph a few years later, and in 1881 the splendid steam fire engine now in use and so appropriately named the “T. W. Hough, No. 2” – the old “Wannalancett” ranking as No. 1, by virtue of priority in the service.

Chief Hough has under him an able and well-trained department of 47 men, divided as follows:

Four assistant engineers
12 steamer men
10 H. & L. truck-men
16 men (8 in each) in 2-hose companies
3 permanent drivers
1 steamer engine
1 stoker

The chief is a member of the Malden Lodge No. 352, Knights of Honor, Mount Vernon Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and all the Melrose organizations, including Hugh de Payens Commandery, Knights Templars, Wyoming. He belongs to all the Scotch rights, having attained the 32d degree.

In politics he is a Republican. He is a married man, and has a pleasant home on Linden Avenue.  He is a man of genial appearance and social inclinations, having a wide acquaintance and many warm friends.

Malden Mirror, April 11, 1891

Close of the Mirror Piano Contest
Thomas W. Hough, Chief Engineer, M.F.D., Secures the Elegant Everett Piano
Offered to the Most Popular City Employee.


Chief Engineer T.W. Hough of the Malden fire department is to be the fortunate possessor of the elegant piano, which the MALDEN MIRROR offered to the person in the employ of the city who should receive the largest number of votes.

At the time of our last publication, the vote of the three leading ones in the contest stood as follows: T.W. Hough, 11,650; Geo. W. Stiles, 10,842; Leverett D. Holden 10,420.  During the past week considerable work has been done or else a good many votes have been held back, for large bundles of coupons for the leaders were deposited with us, quite a number arriving just before the close of the polls. The polls closed, as advertised, precisely at 6 P M on Tuesday of this week, when it was found that the friends of Chief Hough had increased his number by 2968 since the last quotation , making a total of 14,634: for Geo. W. Stiles 2886 new votes had been received, swelling his total to 13,728; City Clerk Holden received 2305 additional votes, making a total for him of 12,725.

The piano will duly be presented to Chief Hough, with the compliments of the MIRROR, and his host of friends are all anxious to hear him play a tune on it. The piano has been on exhibition at the rooms of the agent, S. A. Hawke, Pleasant street, opposite the post office, during the weeks of the contest, and a description of it seems quite unnecessary, further than to say it is the latest style Everett cabinet grand piano , an elegant piece of workmanship and a very superior instrument.

Thomas W. Hough, the successful candidate in the contest, an excellent portrait of whom is above given, was born in Dover, NH and is 53 years of age. In his youth he also lived in Providence, R.I. and Lawrence, Mass. He came to Malden to reside when he was about 13 and at 16 he entered the fire department as a torch boy in the Volunteer engine company, which all old residents will remember.  He has been connected in some capacity with the department ever since, being the oldest in service, except one, in the city, and that one is Lewis B. Wilkinson, the genial fireman of the center steamer.

Chief Hough was for several years foreman of the Wannalancet steam fire engine, and was assistant engineer for some time. He was subsequently elected chief of the department, a position that he has held for more than twenty years, and rendered most excellent and valuable service. Since he became head of the department, the system of management and the apparatus used in controlling and subduing fires has undergone a complete change, and many great improvements have been made, necessitated by the rapid growth of the place, and made possible by the progress of mechanical invention and the development of scientific knowledge; and, today the Malden fire department stands second to none in the state for discipline and efficiency.

In social life,  Chief Hough  has always held a prominent place, and has made a host of friends. He is a member of the Converse Lodge. A. F. A. M., Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, Melrose Couneu; Beaumont Commandery , K. T.; a thirty second degree member of the Scottish Rites in Masonry,   Malden Lodge, I. O. O. F., Knights of Honor, Malden Club and Kernwood Club. He is president of the Malden Fireman’s Relief Association, of which organization he was the originator and is also a member of the National Association of Fire Engineers.

In business, he is a member of the firm of Hough & Rumney, 16 South street, Boston, sewing machines, the firm having carried on business for upwards of 21 years. His residence is at 64 Linden Avenue where his friends have found him always hospitable and fraternal these many years.

As an employee of the city, through which position he was an eligible candidate for the MIRROR piano, it may be properly stated in this connection that he has seen the longest service of an official now in the city’s employ. The MIRROR extends to him, in company with his numerous friends, its congratulations on his success in securing the elegant piano, and hopes it may be to him a source of great pleasure on account of its intrinsic worth as an instrument of concord as well as a beautiful souvenir of the attachment of his friends.

The final result of voting is shown in the following table:

T. W. Hough, chief engineer fire dept., 14,634
George W. Stiles, supt. Almshouse 13,729
Leverett D. Holden, city clerk 12,723
Arthur L. Doe, principal of Maplewood school 90
George E. Gay. Principal High school 60
Ida F. Lewis, teacher Belmont school 60
Miss Laura Leonard, principal of West school 41
John H. Hannon, captain fire dept. 23
Ella P. Payson, principal of Greenwood school 20
Eliza A Brand, teacher Linden school 16
Alice M Crane, teacher in Maplewood school 15
Marvin Lincoln, truant officer 14
Daniel W. Sullivan, deputy police chief 10
John L. H. Staples, clerk Steamer Co. 9
Sylvester Butler, janitor of Maplewood school 9
Annie K. Bragdon, teacher Center school 6
L.H. Richards, chief of police 4
G. A. Weatherbee, city engineer 4
O.J. Whitney, teacher Center school 3
M. D. Carr, police officer 2
C. A. Daniels, supt. of schools 1
Lillian A. Sinnott, teacher in Maplewood school 1
George A Gardner, clerk of common council 1
Frank Turner, driver hose No. 2 1
Vesta H. Sawtelle, teacher West school 1
Frank Vaughan, clerk board engineers 1
P. McShane, janitor Emerson school 1
Tristram Griffin, architect 1
A.K. Cox, street commissioner 1
Mary Ann Russell, Converse school 1

Generous Malden Firemen

Date: Tuesday, June 28, 1892  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Volume: LIX  Issue: 19345  Page: 3

generous fireman


Date: Tuesday, January 29, 1889  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Volume: LVI  Issue: 18277  Page: 1

annual report

John H. Hannan, Probable Malden Fire Commissioner

Date: Saturday, January 22, 1910  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Issue: 24923  Page: 2


Malden Fire Causes Loss of $200,000

Date: Friday, February 3, 1911  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Issue: 25285  Page: 1

Converse fire story

Declares Malden Fire Engine Fit. Commissioner Hough to Issue Statement on Converse Blaze

Date:Saturday, February 11, 1911, Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA), Issue:25293, Page:3
converse fire

Date: Thursday, March 9, 1911  Paper: Boston Herald (Boston, MA)  Page: 2

no likey

Burgess to Resent Act of Fire Commissioner Hough

Date: Friday, July 21, 1911  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA) Volume: LXXVIII  Issue: 25453  Page: 6

man fired


No Bonfires for Malden Boys on June 17 or July 4

Date: Tuesday, June 13, 1911  Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)  Volume: LXXVIII  Issue: 25415 Page: 9



Date: Wednesday, July 12, 1911  Paper: Boston Herald (Boston, MA)  Page: 3



The history of the Malden fire department, written in the 1920’s by former fire chief, John Hannan, describes a horrific fire at Edgerley’s Bakery in May 1864, the year after Thomas was named foreman. While the men were fighting flames on the first floor, the second floor gave way and collapsed on three on them; namely Thomas W. Hough, George E. Fredericks and James Pagan who died from his injuries.

On Saturday evening, 9 November 1872 word reached Malden of the “Big Fire in Boston”. The Wannalancet responded and did valiant duty.  A Maldonian, Walter Twombly, lost his life.

In 1882 a steam fire engine was purchased by the city and named in honor of Chief Thomas W. Hough. The steamer was in service 35 or more years before it was sold for junk.

The final paragraph of the history reads:


His obituary reads:

Tolling Bells for TW Hough
Veteran Former Head of Fire Department Succumbed Last Evening to long illness of Kidney Trouble At His Home on Linden Ave.
Was in Sewing Machine Business. Prominent in Masonic Circles. Head of Fireman’s Relief. Funeral to be at Universalist Church Monday.


The striking of 75 blows on the fire alarm system about 8 o’clock last night announced to the public the passing away of the former fire commissioner of Thomas W. Hough at his home, 64 Linden Ave, age 75. The end came peacefully at 7:45 o’clock after a long and tedious illness. His brother George and his wife, J. H. Hannon and the nurse Miss Freeman were at his bedside. Mr. Hough had been at the point of death for the past few days and kidney trouble and general breaking up was the cause [his death certificate indicates the cause was prostate cancer]. Dr. C. D. McCarthy was the atending physician and was amazed at the patient’s vitality.

He had been indoors for several months and his last appearance upon the street was just after new year. An only brother, George, of Grand Rapids, Mich. who came on from the West last Saturday survives him. The plans for the funeral were made by Mr. Hough several days ago and left in the hands of his former clerk J. H. Hannan. The body may be viewed by friends at the homestead on Sunday afternoon and the funeral will be held Monday afternoon at the First Universalist Church.

Fire Fighter for Half a Century

Mr. Hough had been at the head of the fire dept. for over half a century as engineer, chief and commissioner, and the fire dept. was part of his life, growing with his years. He retired about a year ago, but still continued an active interest in its affairs and its members. He was born in Dover, N.H. on Jan 14th, 1837 and was the son of John and Luranah Young Hough.  He received his education in Dover and this city, coming here to live at the age of 11.

His first employment was at Mattapan Iron Works in Edgeworth as a machinist after which he he associated himself with the Leavitt Machine Co. in Bowdoin sq. Boston, opposite the old Revere House, being in charge of the assembling room in the sewing machine dept. which was the largest branch of the concern’s business.

Hough and Rumney

He then went with Elias Howe manufacturer of the Howe sewing machine and later formed a partnership  with Isaac Rumney of Somerville as Hough and Rumney, sewing machines manufacturers, taking quarters on old Spring lane. The business grew and  they opened a shop in Lynn with offices in the Moore block in Central sq. Lynn. They also took larger quarters on South st. Boston.

For over 25 years he continued in the sewing machine business retiring some 15 years ago, since which time he has been in the stock and mining business until quite recently.

Thirty-Second Degree Mason

Mr. Hough was a 32nd degree mason, a member of the Converse lodge, Beauseant commandery, Melrose council, Tabernacle chapter and the Consistory. He was also a member of the Crystil chapter, Eastern Star, Middlesex lodge of Odd Fellows and other fraternal orders. He had been president of the Fireman’s Relief ass’n since it’s inception in 1885 and took great pride in its fine financial standing.  He was for years a member of the Malden club and one of its most influential directors.

He was always affectionately termed “chief” “T. W.” or “Major” by the members of the department. His wife passed away about 11 years ago and this was a severe blow to him.

In fire department circles, Mr. Hough was well known throughout New England having attended fire conventions as far West as Chicago. He entered the fire dept. at the age of 16 as a torch boy in the Volunteer Engine Co. of this city. He then became pres of the Wannalancet steam fire engine and later became asst engineer. For 20 years he was chief of the dept.

Mr. Hough was for years a political storm center. His rugged, positive personality made him a picturesque figure in local politics. He was a stalwart republican and never wavered in his allegiance to the G O P. For a generation he was a delegate to the congressional conventions and was a Barrett man in the great Barrett-Hayes contest. He belonged to the old school politicians most of whom are now dead and who ran Malden from the Malden Club in its early days Jas Pierre, A. H. Davenport, F. H. Odiorne, Benj Faulkner, S K Abbott and others.

During the Pierce administration in 1892 the city went to the legislator and had a fire commission of three authorized.  Mr. Hough of course was to be one of the three. But Mayor Pierce was defeated by Mayor Winn and Mr. Hough for the first time was left out in the cold for a year.  Spaulding, Scott and Newville were appointed. In 1894 Mayor Stevens came in an Mr. Hough was made commissioner.

“Brave and Gallant”

It  was during this fight that at a banquet of the old Faulkner Citizens association Winslow True Perkins, then supt, of the Eastern division, referred to the grim old fire fighter as “brave and gallant Tom Hough” an epithet that brought down the house and which stuck to Mr. Hough for years.

After he became commissioner he rarely interfered with the fighting of fires. Once, however, the old spirit was too strong for him and he broke through lines entering the thickest of the flames to lead his men.  A young policeman, not knowing who he was grabbed him by the collar and threw him out. He magnanimously complimented the policeman for doing his duty.

The boys in the department always found in him s warm friend. They would have to go pretty far astray before he would discharge them. He was a connecting link between the days of hand tubs and motor apparatus.

The Fireman’s Relief was his particular pride. He handled its funds judiciously and never misinvested a dollar. He was often under fire but held his own in all his fights and was strongly supported.

Date: Saturday, May 25, 1912, Paper: Boston Journal (Boston, MA)

 Volume: LXXIX, Issue: 25732, Page: 7

obit boston


Funeral Services at Universalist Church Largely Attended. City Hall Closed and Bells Toll. Rev Drs W H Rider and R E Sykes Officiate.

Former Fire commissioner Thomas Whitehead Hough was laid at rest beside his good wife at the family lot at Forestdale yesterday afternoon. Full fire dept hnors were paid the brave and gallant fire fighter who for over 50 years gave his time and attention to the local dept and is mourned in death by legions of friends. The body lay in state yesterday afternoon at the family home and hundreds came to view the remains.

The funeral services were held yesterday at 2:30 o’clock at the First Universalist church and the Rev Wm H Rider DD of Gloucester formerly pastor of the church and a close friend of the deceased officiated, assisted by present pastor Rev. Richard Eddy Sykes, DD. The Franklin male quartet rendered “The Eternal Goodness”  “Crossing the Bar” and “Nearer to Thee” after which the masonic ritual was conducted by the officers and members of Converse lodge of Masons. Wor Willis I Foss, presiding, assisted by E S Wellington as acting chaplain, Alvin F Pease senior warden and Arthur F Pease junior warden. During the reading of the ritual the quartet rendered “Gathering Home”.

Rev Mr. Rider pronounced a touching eulogy. He said that the “two blows” – all out- had been sounded for the deceased. He dwelt on the long and useful life of Mr. Hough and of his sterling qualities and kindly heart. He told of the unselfishness and devotion to duty, and other strong points in the character of the deceased. Rev Dr Rider also officiated at Mrs hough’s funeral 12 years ago.

By order of Mayor Farrell the City hall was closed durning the afternoon and the flags at half staff on City hall, the fire stations and at the Malden club.  Mayor Farrell and members of the city council were among the friends which gathered at his bier. Capt Brophy and other friends from the Boston fire dept, the chiefs of the neighboring cities a delegation from the Fire Chiefs club, ex mayors Fall, Richards and Warren. Hon A E Cox and delegations from Converse lodge, Beauseant commandery, Melrose council. Royal Arch chapter, Crystal Eastern Star, Middlsex lodge of Odd Fellows, the Workman, Malden club and other organizations.

The remains were escorted to Forestdale by a delegation of fireman in full uniform under the command of Capt John T Nicholls of Engine Co 1. They were hoseman Wm Moran of the Auto Co, Wm Prindall, H O Rounds and Peter Kelliher, Engine Co 1, Arthur B Stephenson, James Coombes, A S Smith, Richard Trapp, August Magnuson, Hose 2; John F Tracy, Thos Magner, Hose 3, Driver Goddin, Chemical 6.

As the funeral cortege passed through Central sq the bell on the Central sta tolled. The pall bearers were Wor Joseph W Sander, past master of the Converse lodge and Wm W Lee of Beauseant commandery, representing the Masons; pres John M Keen and Edw G. Wise of the Malden club. Capts J J Connell of Hose 3 and J L Stephenson of Hose 2 representing the fire dept; N G Laforest H Sargent and VG, N A Kendall from Middlesex lodge of Odd Fellows. Col Harry E Converse, a close friend of the deceased and an associate on the late board of fire commissioners was unable to attend the funeral and he sent a floral blanket, six feet long containing 75 red roses, which covered the casket. Other floral tributes were official emblems from Beauseant commandery, Converse lodge and Consistory of Masons, Melrose coucil. Royal Arch chapter, Crystal chapter Eastern Star, Middlesex lodge of Odd Fellows; standing wreath from Fire Chiefs club of Mass, pillow roses , Malden relief ass’n;  standing wreath of roses, Malden Fire dept; large wreath of sweat peas aroses, Malden club; Mr and Mrs Geo H. Hough, pillow of roses and carnations marked brother; Mr and Mrs J H Hannan, large spray roses; other pieces from Rep and Mrs A E Bliss, Mrs Blanche Chandler, H W Greene, C L Brett, Henry M Corliss, H M Crosby, H H Schenes, Miss Clara Preanen, Mrs Fred Fellows, Miss Elise Creme, Mrs C O Junkins, Mrs L F Gayton, Horatio Hall [his wife Abby’s brother], Mrs A F Howell, Ellen S Nichols [his wife Abby’s sister], Mary E Patten [his wife Abby’s sister], E A Hall [his wife Abby’s brother and my g-g-grandfather], C L Davenport, Mr and Mrs D D Hall, Mr. and Mrs. C M Hall [my g-grandparents], J F Vaughan, Mrs M E Tilson, Mr and Mrs C K Parker, Mr and Mrs H S Abbott, Mr and Mrs C F Shute, Hon and Mrs A E Cox, Mr and Mrs Robt L Stone, Mr snd Mrs H A Morse, Mr and Mrs E A Brooks, Geo A Metcalf, L D Holden, Mr and Mrs W A Keddie, Mrs Lovejoy, A W Latham and family, Ada K Cummings, Mr and Mrs Turner, R R Robinson, Mr and Mrs W H Brackett, Mr and Mrs J H Hadley, Mrs T H Buck and family, Mrs A H Davenport and family, Geo H Fall, Mr and Mrs Wm Ord, E D and F R Kaulback, Mr and Mrs Fred Chesley, Miss E S Tebbetts, Horace R Brown, and Miss Brown, Geo T Whitman.

[Note: Thomas’s death certificate says that he is buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge – Abby’s death certificate does not specify a cemetery – both obituaries indicate they are buried at Forestdale in Malden]


In 1912, Thomas’s estate was valued at $33,855.22 which included an interesting array of mining and sewing machine stocks and 1/14 interest in the estate of Elizabeth Hanson, late of Dover NH [$100 value]. In a will dated 1908, he left small sums and items to a number of friends.  These included: Mrs. Alice Woods Howell, wife of Augustus Howell of Dorchester $500;  Mrs. Nancy Ella (Linett) Buck, wife of Theodore H. Buck, now of Malden $1,000; Mrs. Mary E. Tilson, widow of Julius W. Tilson, $1,000; Mrs. Hattie E. Morse wife of Herman A. Morse of Malden, “my china dinner and tea set”; Mrs John Hannan, wife of John H Hannon of Malden, “my piano”; Miss Evelyn M. Bean, “my colored housekeeper”, $300.

He bequeathed $1,000 to his sister-in-law Mary (Hall) Patten; $500 to his nephew Charles M. Hall [my g-grandfather]; $5,000 and his residence consisting of house and its contents, stable and land located at 64 Linden Ave (total of 6580 square feet) to his brother George Hough of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The remainder of the estate was split 50/50 between his brother George Hough and the First Parish Universalist Church of Malden.  George Hough of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Harry E. Converse of Marion, Massachusetts were named as co-Executors.



History of Malden FD:

Dover Marriages recorded in the Old Books, 1816-1838 –

“Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Isaac S. Evans and Luranah Y. Hough, 24 Nov 1859; citing item 1, Andover, County of Esex, Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1433017.

“Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah Hough in entry for John H. Hough, 14 Nov 1838; citing Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, p 42; FHL microfilm 14774.

“Massachusetts, Births, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Mary E. I. Hough, 27 Feb 1855; citing Malden, Massachusetts, 124, Massachusetts Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1428235.

“Massachusetts, Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah Hough in entry for John H. Hough, 07 Apr 1841; citing Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, reference p 353; FHL microfilm 14774.

John Hough Obituary – Saturday, 12 Sept 1896, Boston Journal, Vol LXIII, Issue 20741, pg 3

“Massachusetts, Births and Christenings, 1639-1915,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah Hough in entry for Joseph Y. Hough, 20 Oct 1840; citing Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, p 42; FHL microfilm 14774.

“United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Lurana Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing family 93, NARA microfilm publication M432.

“Massachusetts, State Census, 1855,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 000953951.

“United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough, The Town Of Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,”; p. 112, household ID 918, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803506.

“Massachusetts, State Census, 1865,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Luranah W Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 0954570.

“Massachusetts, State Census, 1865,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thos W Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 0954570.

“United States Census, 1870,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), G H S Huff in household of Eden Sampson, Massachusetts, United States; citing p. 62, family 501, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552128.

“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Lurana Hough in household of John Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 427B, NARA microfilm publication T9.

“United States Census, 1880,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 378C, NARA microfilm publication T9.

“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Abbie F Hough in household of Thomas W Hough, Malden city Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 5B, family 72, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240662.

“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Thomas W Hough, Malden Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 897, sheet 9A, family 173, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1374614.

“United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2014), Charlotte F Hough in household of Mary E Newhall, Malden Ward 4, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; citing sheet 5A, family 69, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1820713.

Mason membership:


Memories of Nana (1 Oct 1907 – 25 July 1999)

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.”  Note: You can “click” on any image to view a larger version.

I remember my Nana, Edith Anna (Haines) Hall, known by friends as “Ede”, as a pleasantly plump, happy-go-lucky woman with an infectious laugh, who found the good in everyone and everything.


Edith’s early life wasn’t easy. Her parents had lots of mouths to feed. There were times when they had to go without; during the depression, they used coats to keep warm in the winter, as blankets and heat weren’t affordable.  Nonetheless, they learned to enjoy life.  The following poem, depicting their childhood, was written by Nana’s younger sister, Natalie:

You’re Only Young Once

… A rhyming version of Depression days

Depression Days were then at hand
(Financial woes throughout the land.)
A seventh child was added to
A family which grew and grew.

Their worries big, their money small,
Their laughter rang from hall to hall.
Each day brought on a new event
From buying shoes to paying rent.

They picked blueberries in the sun
And sang on rides ’til day was done.
The castles were all made of sand;
The water cool, the sunshine grand.

The root beer was, of course, homemade;
Each holiday, a new parade!
The bonfires bright, who can deny,
Were better than the last July.

The icy tunnels dug in snow;
The car would need a push to go.
The swan-boat rides meant trips “in town”.
The clothes were mostly hand-me-down.

The marks in school were of the best…
Such praise for every “A” in tests!
A photograph in groups, you know,
Would find them always in front row.

The house was clean, there was no clutter,
But, oh, “Go easy on the butter!!”
The Market on those weekend nights,
With pushcarts for their city sights.

Their visiting was done in groups,
But picnics called out all the troops!
A wink from Dad, a smile from Mum,
Would mean a happy time to come

With dishes washed and windows closed,
The bathroom busy, off they’d go!

Besides the Great Depression, Nana lived through her young husband’s nervous breakdown which caused them to live temporarily with a mother-in-law who disliked her [she considered her son’s marriage to my grandmother a social step in the wrong direction]. Nana worked tirelessly helping to manage the veterinary business and a household. She battled cancer and lost a breast at a fairly young age. One of her arms swelled and stayed that way (I don’t know if doctors ever discovered the cause – likely something to do with medications related to her surgery). She nearly lost her youngest son, to illness, while he was stationed in Germany. Despite the challenges, she loved life and was never without a smile. She had loads of friends, belonged to many social clubs, volunteered at the local hospital and joined every imaginable church committee.

Nanas knitting club












Among her many talents, Nana was an incredible painter [click to see a larger version].



An abstract by Nana (above); my favorite as a child. Below, other pieces in my collection.


After Grampa died in 1976, Nana spent years exploring the world with friends – London, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Austria, Vienna, Niagara Falls, Alaska, the list goes on….

Nana (far right) with friends Muriel, Barbara & unknown

She was one of my best friends – loving, kind and sweet.

8d6fd439-5e08-4561-b0f0-c14bf6092677nana grampa me
Me & Nana circa 1963                                             Me, Nana & Grampa 1967

Throughout the sixties and seventies, my parents dropped us three kids, at my grandparents, across town, every Saturday [four of us, in the early seventies, when my youngest brother was born]. The day would commence, with Nana and I assisting with the spay/neuter operations – she would administer ether while I held the dog/cat’s legs – we laughed and talked.

We spent Saturday afternoons making toll house or oatmeal sundae cookies (licking spoons and bowls), mock-cherry pies and/or cream cheese and maraschino cherry sandwiches (shaped like jelly rolls). We learned to knit and crochet. I still have the pink and white afghan personalized with my name that Nana made to match my bedroom.

We played games, like “The Oregon Trail”, Chinese checkers or chess.  Many weeks we took the bus/train [she didn’t have a driver’s license] to Boston where we sailed on the Swan Boats at the Public Garden, meandered along the Freedom Trail or gaped at the Jordan Marsh Christmas display. Many times we attended her church events (my favorite being “decorate your own cup cake” at the annual Christmas Fair).  Dinner was meat and potatoes on folding “TV trays” while watching Grampa’s favorite show “Let’s Make a Deal”.  My grandparents would drive us home Saturday after dinner.  We would pile into Grampa’s big green truck (or in later years, his green Dodge Dart) and sing old songs like “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I’m half crazy over the love of you….” or “I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck…”

recipes2014-11-27 18.49.31sundae cookies

Nana would call often when I moved to my first apartment in the mid-eighties.  I of course was at work, but had an answering machine.  My roommates and I adored her messages. She would start off with “Dear Linda”….then relay her message….and end with an emphatic “Love, Nana”  in a cheery voice.  It was so cute, I wish I had thought to save them.

Nana often spoke of her days working at John Hancock where one of her tasks was to alphabetize hundreds of index cards.  One day she tripped, dropping the entire pile down a flight of stairs.  Cards flew everywhere. It was a disastrous mess! She recollected this story frequently, each time belly laughing hysterically until tears formed in her eyes.

While in her late 70’s Nana was hit by a car while out for her daily walk.  As she lay in her hospital bed with a bruised body, she recounted how fun it was to go flying up in the air when the car struck her. “I was higher than the car roof!! It was sooooooo exciting,” she giggled.

In the nineties, we bought Nana a new phone for Christmas, after realizing she had been “renting” her rotary phone for years and years – likely paying several thousand dollars over time.  To discontinue the fees, she had to return the phone – so we decided to make a day of it!  As we drove, Nana confessed that it had taken her almost six hours to clean the “gunk” off the cord (so they wouldn’t try to charge her extra for cleaning). We arrived at the “phone store” and indicated to the man behind the counter that we would be returning their rented phone.  He looked at it and immediately hurled it 25 feet behind him to the “junk pile”.  I was mortified!  But in an instant, Nana began laughing uncontrollably, I joined her in hysterics. It took a good ten minutes for either of us to be able to speak and explain to the clerk that she just spent six hours cleaning the “junk pile phone”.  He felt so bad, he looked as though he wanted to crawl under a table, which caused us to laugh harder.

On another occasion, while in her late 80’s she decided to take the bus a few stops away to visit my dad who was hospitalized with cancer.  Several hours later she was nowhere to be found. My entire family was panic stricken.  Finally to our relief she arrived. She was happy as a clam.  Nana had taken the wrong bus and had traveled for hours having to change buses a few times to find her way back home with the help of some friendly bus drivers.  “The best part”, she exclaimed, “was that I got to see the ocean, and the whole trip only cost me a dime!!”

Years before her death, she labelled her collection of precious Hummels, ensuring that each of her loved ones would receive a keepsake (they were acquired in the fifties, while Nana was in Germany, visiting her youngest son, my dad, who was quite ill).


She was truly an amazing woman, who lived to be 91. While on her deathbed, she told me not to look so sad, she had had a terrific and exciting life.  In her last moments, she worried about her family, as was her character, not thinking of herself.


Edith Anna Haines was born at 101 Maxwell Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts on 1 October 1907; eldest child of John Glatis/Galatis Haines and Edith Bernice Lansil.  Soon after her birth, the Lansil home was sold and the Haines family relocated.  They moved frequently, residing in Melrose, Malden and for a short time Saugus (until sister Doris showed interest in a “colored boy”).

Siblings included  John “Jack” Galatis/Glatis Jr., Walter Lansil (who died at 11 months from acute enteritis and colitis), Doris, Marion Jeanette, William Alexander “Billy”, Bernice Frances and Natalie.

Nanas young

Edith’s elementary education was completed at the Ripey School in Melrose and she was a 1927 graduate of Melrose High School. Based on her yearbook description it seems that she was good natured, well liked and perhaps a bit sneeky, pretending to be sick when a “fun” activity interfered with her school schedule.

Nanas graduation

Edith met her husband, Charles George Hall, son of Charles Milton Hall and Georgianna Hughes/Clough at a dance at the Congregational “branch church” on Forest St., Malden; she asked the minister to make an introduction.  It later became an independent church, but by that time Edith had married, and enrolled her two sons in the Sunday School of the Congregational Church on Pleasant St., Malden.

Nanas 1927

They were engaged by March 1929, as reported by her employer, John Hancock.


They married 18 July 1930.



Ceremony Performed at Bride’s Home in Melrose by Rev. W.H. White..
Couple will reside in Boston.
Bride prominent in Forest Dale Chapel Activities..
July 18, 1930
A pretty home wedding was celebrated yesterday afternoon when Miss Edith Anna Haines, 8 Oxford St., Melrose, daughter of Mrs. John G. Haines became the bride of Dr. Charles G. Hall of Lawrence St. Linden.


The ceremony was performed by Rev. W.H.White, ass’t pastor of the First Congregational church.


The bride was attended by her cousin Miss Doris Marshall and Miss Doris Haines her sister.  Dr. Cornelius Thibeault of Reading attended the groom.


A reception followed the ceremony and over 50 attended.  A catered supper was served.  the couple left on a honeymoon by auto to parts unknown. They will make their home in Boston.


The bride was attired in white chiffon trimmed with lace.  She wore a tulle veil caught up with orange blossoms and carried a shower bouquet of birde’s roses and lilles of the valley.


Miss Marshall was gowned in embroidered organdy trimmed with blue and Miss Haines wore embroidered organdy trimmed with pink.  Both carried pink roses.


Miss Doris Jenkins of Milton rendered “O Promise Me” and was accompanied by Mrs. E.H.Thompson also of Milton.  John Haines Jr. a brother of the bride, played the wedding march. 


The bride is a graduate of Melrose schools and was employed at the office of John Hancock Ins. Co. of Boston.  she was a member of the Queens of Avalon of the Congregational church.


The groom is a graduate of Ohio State University and is a member of the veterinary staff of the Angell Memorial Hospital.  He is a member of the Omega Tau Sigma fraternity. He is also a graduate of Malden High and Linden school.
7e22934a-7f49-4d4a-a656-2cd05e5eb21eEdith 1930's
7071795861_9d3ba87369_oEdith & Charles
The business and their residence was located at 228 Main Street, Malden.  Grampa bought her the house next door as a birthday gift – it was occupied by tenants.  After Grampa’s death, her sons sold both homes and moved her to a studio apartment, #411 at The Heritage on Pleasant Street, Malden – keeping the phone number we all had memorized – 324-0278.


The “Haines girls” were talented poets.  The following (likely by sister Natalie) gives a glimpse of  Edith’s life:



… By a Younger Sister

Nineteen-Aught-Seven, in the fall
In birthing room off upstairs hall
Of Family Manse at “One-Oh-One”,
Her fruitful life was first begun.
First child of Edith and of John
The same room where her Mum was born,
Descended from the Grouts and Paines
Came Edith Anna (Lansil) Haines.


She stayed so sweet as years went by
(The apple of her family’s eye)
She was so loving, kind and good
(The one who always understood!!)
The next score years that family grew
And six more siblings Edith knew.
She learned there at her mother’s knee
That she was special – we agree!
She set the pace (her standards high);
Ours just to do, not reason why.


In Forestdale she really shone.
No wonder Charlie Hall came home
To claim his bride (his life long mate);
They started on their own sweet fate.
She pushed the prams and answered phones;
She cooked the meals, went out alone.
She smiled and mingled socially;
Held dogs and cats professionally.
She fretted for her growing sons
And all the while those four had fun.


Artistic talent came to fore
Creating “favors” by the score.
She mastered canvas stretched on a board
(Her “SEAGULLS” won a Grand Award.)
Her sons grew up to be fine men
With lovely wives…she breathed “Amen”!


And in the meantime (in between)
She never left our family scene.
So long, so well, she’d helped our Mother.
She tried to guide each Sis and Brother.
She shared in all our joys and tears.
And mellowed with us o’er the years.


Each niece and nephew she’s include
Within her ever-growing brood.
Of Grandkids, whom she loved galore
(They filled her heart…she asked no more).
For twenty years each “took a turn”
With “Nana Visits”… How they learned!


Today, within four generations,
Mid changing, sticky situations,
An anchor ‘twixt the ages, SHE
Can sympathize and easily
Remember how it is when young,
When every day “Life’s song is sung”.
A Daughter, Sister, Mother, Wife,
A Nana, Friend, a rich full life!
Upon this Earth she’s left her mark,
And earned the title MATRIARCH!



Nana’s 80th Birthday


52 Ancestors – week #12: Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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.”  Note: You can “click” on any image to view a larger version.

I grew up near Boston. In my college years and early twenties, my friends and I headed to the Purple Shamrock on St. Patty’s Day, to Studley’s in Somerville every Thursday night, and to the Improper Bostonian on Cape Cod most summer weekends – to sing along with musician Jim Plunkett (not to be confused with the football player) – there were lots of favorites – Sweet Caroline, Brown Eyed Girl, Love that Dirty Water (Boston You’re My Home), Charlie on the MTA….   This short video, filmed when the Improper closed a few years ago, gives you a taste:

During the “sing along”, Plunkett yells – “Let’s hear it from the Italians” – they all scream; Then… “Let’s hear it from the Irish” – they all scream.  Although I grew up in an Irish/Italian neighborhood, I believe I am neither.  Being blond with fair skin, I join in and cheer with the Irish, longing to belong.

Me – 2012 St Patrick’s Day in Boston

Come to find out, all these years later – I AM Irish!!! – my DNA results show between 4-38% – I know the the ethnicity estimates are, as Judy Russell puts it,”not a whole lot more than cocktail party conversation”, but still exciting!

Irish DNA

Turns out my known Irish heritage probably equates to about 6.25% through my 2nd g-grandmother Roxanna Amelia/Aurelia “Anna” (Wilson) Hall who was likely 100% Irish.


How ironic that I spent my life “pretending” to be Irish, while my Irish ancestors spent theirs proclaiming to be Canadian. Roxanna’s parents and eldest two brothers arrived in Boston in 1852/3 during the Irish potato famine.  After residing in New Brunswick for several decades, they likely passed themselves off as Canadians, to avoid discrimination in Boston.

Roxanna, youngest of six, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 12 Oct 1859 to David M. Wilson, a paper hanger/painter and his wife Elizabeth Long.  Siblings included James Alexander (1850-1886 b. New Brunswick), David M. Jr. (1852-1886 b. New Brunswick), Eleanor/Ellen Jane (1853-1910 birth recorded in Chelsea, Massachusetts and 148 Prince Street, Boston), Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” (1855-1932 b. ? – no birth located, “place of birth” on marriage record is blank, death record riddled with errors lists a Malden birthplace which is unlikely) and Charles L. (1857-1880 b. no birth located, one death record lists a birthplace of Lebanon (?), no state listed; another lists Boston).

family tree

birth record

What I know of Roxanna’s parents can be found in my blog post: I have not located their birthplace in Ireland.  I don’t know if Roxanna had aunts or uncles or whether her  grandparents also settled in Canada.  Names are common, records sparse.  Records that do exist claim a Maine or New Brunswick birthplace. The 1851 New Brunswick census is the only document that mentions their Irish immigration; a record I believe to be accurate. Her dad, son of Thomas Wilson and Jane,  immigrated in 1830, at age 6 or 7, and her mother, daughter of Alexander Long, in 1840, age 17.

Census Saint John County, Dukes and Queens Wards, page 136; FID 24398 –

1851 census

The 1860 census, lists her dad as a paper hanger, born in Maine.

1860 census

In 1870, a few boarders have joined the family (it is unknown if they are relatives).   Her dad is listed as having been born in New Brunswick and he has not become a US citizen.  Her mom can not write and her brother Charles is listed as blind.

1870 census

Roxanna’s birth reflects an address of 6 Portland (likely off Causeway in the North End). Her family moved frequently to various addresses in the North End, besides Portland Street, they resided on Prince Street and South Margin. Although today the North End is primarily Italian, between 1845 and 1853, over 14,000 Irish immigrants settled there; making the neighborhood predominantly Irish (Boston’s overall population went from Yankee/Protestant to a third Irish in just a few years). Between 1865-1880, the North End was almost exclusively Irish/Catholic, an area which was decrepit and impoverished.  Families were crammed into one room dilapidated apartments and beat up boarding houses.  By 1880, more than 70,000 Irish lived in Boston. A decade later, Boston had become the only city in the United States where the Irish represented more than half of the foreign-born population.

old Boston map


In 1871, Roxanne’s eldest brother James, a painter, who had become a US citizen, married Susan “Susie” Jane Perkins, daughter of George and Margaret (Taylor) Perkins.  They resided in Malden and Boston, Massachusetts and had 7 known children – Walter Francis, Ella/Ellen May, Herbert, George Frederick, Thomas Cutting, Grace Adelaide and James Alexander.

Sometime between 1872 and 1880 the remaining Wilsons settled in a rented home at 177 Bennington Street, East Boston. Here Roxanne’s father died, on 31 August 1879, reportedly by suicide (or perhaps trying to relieve a toothache –

By 1880, Roxanna was working in a rubber factory, and was still living on Bennington Street with her mother, brother David, and a boarder (relation unknown). Her blind brother Charles had passed away earlier that year, 31 March 1880 (in Malden), at age 23, from inflammation of the bowels, after a week of sickness. Roxanna’s sister, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie”,  five years earlier, on 25 Oct 1875, had married a Malden boy, George Ira Pratt, son of James Pratt Jr. and Clarissa Corson – in 1880 they were residing there with two young children. Her sister Eleanor’s whereabouts are unknown in 1880 (she married in 1884 – in 1880 there is a Jennie [Jane?] E. Wilson of the right age working as a servant, living on 12 Bennett Street, Boston, who is a likely candidate).

1880 census

Bennington Street at Day Square in 1918

Bennington Street, East Boston, circa. 1915-1930


About a year after her father’s death, on a cool, perhaps rainy, Tuesday evening, 7 Sept 1880, a 20 year old Roxanna married Ephraim Augustus Hall, a 26 year old milk dealer living in Malden, Massachusetts; youngest child of Horatio Hall and Elizabeth Pinder. The marriage was performed by Rev. Dr. Lewis Benton Bates a Methodist of East Boston, affiliated with the Meridan Street Church.



Roxanna’s brother-in-law, (Bessie’s husband) George Ira Pratt was the son of James Pratt Jr. and Clarissa Corson.  The Pratt’s were well known, large landholders, having been in Malden for generations. George and Ephraim were two months apart in age and likely school chums. In 1880, George was also employed by a rubber factory, perhaps the same employer as Roxanne.  Perhaps George made the introduction.

George and Bessie had at least eight children (Ira Wilson, Clara Rebecca, James A., Daisy Bell, Charles Mellen, Walter Edgar, Florence Gertrude and George Harrison) – Ira changed occupations frequently, also working as a metal caster, butcher, boot maker, farmer and carpenter.  The Pratt family resided in Malden;  Melrose;  Townshend and Athens, Vermont; Madbury and Dover, New Hampshire.

birth Ephrain and George

Once married, Roxanna relocated to Malden where she resided in the Hall family’s rented home on Richardson Court with Ephraim’s parents and his siblings Horatio Jr., Lucy and Mary (and Mary’s husband David Patten).  Roxanna and Ephraim’s only child, Charles Milton Hall was born six months later, on 7 March 1881. Roxanna likely named him after her reportedly blind brother, Charles Wilson, who died a year earlier.

By 1883 Ephraim was working as a foreman at the Malden fire department. A few years later he became a carpenter.

In 1886 Roxanne’s two remaining brothers passed away – James (died 14 Sep 1886, consumption) and David (who never married, died 20 Jun 1886 of meningitis, he was also living in Malden).

In 1887  a $1 land sale was recorded.  George Ira Pratt gave to his sister-in-law Roxanne (Wilson) Hall  lots 2, 3 & B on the intersection of Forest/Sylvan & Echo Street in Malden.   However, the couple, continued living on Richardson Court with the Hall family.


In 1891 another sale is recorded of $1 from George Ira Pratt to his sister-in-law Roxanne (Wilson) Hall – lots 8 & 13 on the intersection of Forest/Sylvan & Echo Street in Malden  – subject to a $1,200 mortgage to Lizzie Knapp and payment of 1891 taxes. Roxanne and Ephraim relocated to the property that year.


The home (today numbered 335 Forest Street), was directly across from the Malden Poor farm, pictured below.

UPDATE: From Martha Prince Warren via Facebook – “I think the White House in the background behind the field is actually in Melrose. The wall goes all the way across the boundary of Malden and Melrose. The building on the far right along the wall is the piggery and the larger building is the barn. The house on the corner of Forest and Sylvan was across from the horse pasture. This area was our playground when we were young. The wall is still there from the Forest street side all the way going east at least to the back of the Forestdale school”.


The home as pictured/described today: Bedrooms: 5 beds; Bathrooms: 2 baths; Multi Family: 2,232 sq ft; Lot: 6,534 sq ft; Year Built: 1880; Last Sold: Jul 2012 for $388,650.


In 1894, a third land deed was recorded: $1 from George Ira Pratt to Ephraim Hall on the intersection of Forest/Sylvan & Echo Street in Malden – lot 4 marked A. The 1897 map, below, depicts the land transfer from the Pratts to Roxanna and Ephraim.

map 1897

Roxanne’s mother, who had relocated to Malden, passed away on 25 Feb 1897, from diabetes.

death mom

By 1900, Roxanne, Ephraim (a carpenter) and 19 year old Charles (a last finisher in the shoe industry) are living in same two family home, renumbered to 309 Forest Street.  They are renting to Roxanne’s older sister Eleanor/Ellen and her husband James Mellon Chase, son of George W. and Margaret (Bartlett) Chase (married 17 years, with no children).

1900 census

On 19 June 1904, Roxanne’s only child married Georgianna Hughes/Clough, daughter of John Hughes and Katherine “Kittie” (Perry) Hughes/Clough/Shipman, born in Rome, New York, who was residing in Lynn, employed as an “operative” at shoe manufacturing company (likely where she and Charles, nicknamed “Garrie” met).

Six months later, on 8 December 1904, Georgianna gave birth to Roxanna’s only grandchild who survived to adulthood, Charles George Hall.  They lived less than a mile away, on 17 Dale Street.

Pictured 1905: Buster the dog, Charles G. Hall and Roxanne.



Pictured – 3 generations – Roxanne’s husband Ephraim, son Charles & grandson Charles

In 1910, Roxanna and Ephraim (a carpenter) were living in same home, now mortgage free, renumbered to 315 Forest. They were renting to 31 yr old Clara A (Pratt) Williams, Roxanna’s niece, daughter of George and Bessie (Wilson) Pratt, and her husband Charles.

1910 census

Malden Square – 1910

In Januray 1910, Roxanna’s sister Eleanor/Ellen passed away from ovarian cancer.  Roxanna died that same year, on 1 November 1910 of chronic heart disease, at the age of 51.


Her obituary and funeral notice published in the Malden Evening News reads:

Mrs. Anna A Hall – Mrs. Anna A., wife of E A Hall, passed away last evening at her home, 315 Forest st, after a protracted illness, heart disease being the immediate cause of her death. Mrs Hall was born in Boston and educated in the public schools of that city. She was the daughter of David Wilson and had lived in Malden over a generation. In 1880 she was married in East Boston to Mr. Hall by the late Rev Dr L. B. Bates. Her husband, a son Charles M. and a sister, Mrs. Bessie Pratt of Dover, NH survive her. Mrs. Hall was a member of the Rebekahs and much interested in their work and they will assist at the funeral which will take place on Friday at 2 o’clock.  Mrs. Hall was a devoted wife and mother and was endeared to all who knew her. During her long residence here she became highly esteemed and her passing away means a distinct loss to friends and neighbors.


The funeral of Mrs. Anna A, wife of E A Hall of 315 Forest Street, a well known and esteemed resident, was held at her home yesterday afternoon.  Rev M C Hunt, pastor of the Forestdale Chapel conducted the services. The house was filled with relatives and friends and Mrs Mina Rich Sargent was the soloist rendering “Face to Face” “Passing out of the Shadow” “My Heavenly Home” Resolute Rebekah lodge members attended the service in a body and the usual ritual of the order was conducted by the NG Mrs. D E Kelley; V G Mrs. H R Campbell and Chap, Mrs. F.A. Magee.  There was a most beautiful profusion of floral tributes from friends and relatives. The interment was at Forestdale.


Odd Fellows, recognizing the need for a woman’s touch and her helpfulness in carrying out the principles of Odd Fellowship, brought into being the Rebekah degree, founded upon the principles of faithfulness, hospitality, purity and dedication to the principles of the Order as portrayed by women characters of the Bible. 

I believe in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of man, and the Sisterhood of woman.
I believe in the watch-words of our Order – Friendship, Love and Truth.
Friendship – is like a golden chain that ties our hearts together. Love – is one of our most precious gifts, the more you give, the more you receive. Truth – is the standard by which we value people. It is the foundation of our society.
I believe that my main concern should be my God, my family and my friends. Then I should reach out to my community and the World, for in God’s eyes we are all brothers and sisters.

Ephraim Augustus was committed to the insane asylum at Danvers State Hospital (Massachusetts) in 1916.  His son filed for guardianship of the $2,807 estate, which included the Forest Street home.  Ephraim’s sister Ellen signed along with Kittie Shipman (his son’s’ mother-in-law). Less than a year later, Ephraim died from septicemia following gangrene of the foot.

Roxanna and Ephraim are buried at Forestdale Cemetery, Malden, Massachusetts, burial plot: section 33, lot 22 with their son Charles M., his wife Georgianna, grandson Charles G. and his wife Edith Anna (Haines).

911167ef-5cdb-4dbc-8165-306c455fdbf2 7b9dcbe2-9a3f-4d9f-a96d-b6654bbeb3ba

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all – a day to celebrate that I REALLY am Irish!


Thoughts and future research….

(1) Roxanna’s parents David M. Wilson (son of Thomas & Jane) and Elizabeth Long (daughter of Alexander) were wedded Tuesday evening, 20 July 1847, by Rev. Wm. Harrison on who was affiliated with St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Main Street, Saint John, New Brunswick.

Follow up – Church records for the St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Saint John, New Brunswick are microfilmed –  at PANB.  Either I (or a hired researcher) need to look through them for Wilson/Long – baptism, marriage, death and other church records. Perhaps there will be a reference to an area in Ireland or other relatives who if traced could reveal Irish place of origin.

church records

(2) In 1851 & 1861, all of the census records that survive of Anglicans with the surname “Long” place them in Donegal (note that many census returns were destroyed). Could this be Elizabeth’s place of origin?

1851 and 1861 irish census NB

(3) There is one Alexander Long in New Brunswick, b. 1811, he is likely too young to be Elizabeth’s father (she was born 1823), he arrived in 1821 (she claims to have arrived 1840), but lots of similar family names – maybe a relative? There are three Long families who are neighbors in Westfield, Kings County, NB – Westfield was a parish very close to Saint John’s County (the Long/Wilson marriage location).

1851 and 1861 Long families

(4) What does the “M” stand for in David M. Wilson?

– Daughter Roxanna names her child Charles Milton Hall.  I believe Charles is for her recently deceased brother – could the Milton be from her dad’s name? [her husband did have an uncle Milton Hall]

– Daughter Elizabeth names a child Charles Mellen Pratt – could this be the M. in David’s name? [her sister Ellen married Charles Mellen Chase – coincidence?]

– Son David M. Wilson, jr. died in Malden in 1886, age 36, single – his birth/death records do not list anything other than “M”.

(5) It is possible that David Wilson’s parents are also living in Westfield in 1851 – a Thomas, Jane with a son John are listed but with an 1837 arrival date (David in 1851 claimed an 1830 arrival).  Note that they are neighbors with the Elliot’s, Note that a Jane Long married Thomas Elliot on April 12 1851 in the Portland Parish – perhaps a relative of Elizabeth’s?  The 1851 Portland Parish (SD 68) census does not survive.

1851 Wilson

By 1861, John is running the farm, Jane is living with him in Westfield, and a “nephew” John S. Breen has joined them.  Did one of John’s sisters marry a Breen?  Did father Thomas die between 1851 and 1861? In 1861, Jane is listed as Presbyterian, not Anglican.

1861 Wilson

I looked through the PANB records online and found no evidence of the death of Thomas Wilson or the marriage of a Wilson to a Breen.

(6) In the 1851 & 1861 censuses, the Wilson’s (all Presbyterian) living in Westfield claim to come from Derry – – could this be David’s birthplace?

(7) Witnesses to David Wilson & Elizabeth Long’s marriage in Canada were James & Catherine Crawford – who were they?

Help Solve My Mystery! (#52 Weeks)

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’s focus is a “brick wall”…. Perhaps someone in cyberspace knows of a source that could solve my mystery!

My 3rd great grand uncle, Brian Hall, was born to Brian Hall and Polly Lane in Norton, Massachusetts on 24 May 1797. He was one of eight children who lived to adulthood.  Siblings included Polly, Isaac, Sophia, Marcia, Milton, Horatio and Ephraim Lane.

Around 1821, the family relocated to Rhode Island.

In 1830 & 1832, Brian a junior laborer, was living on Hope Street, in Providence, with his parents1.

Between 1832 and 1835, Brian married Henrietta Hutchins of Providence, daughter of Richard Hutchins and Henrietta Woodward. She is mentioned as his wife, giving up rights of dower in numerous land transactions between Brian and his brothers on a piece of land called India Point in Seekonk, which today is part of Providence, RI2.

485654da-b87d-48c9-b4f2-fbda1ba89079India Point about 1840,

They had one known child in February 1835, who died at the age of two weeks. Henrietta died 11 March 1838 at the age of 433.

About a year later, on 23 March 1839, a marriage intention was filed in Seekonk between Brian Hall and Lucy Mason4. Five days later, Brian died on 28 March 1839 at age 425.  No marriage record has been found.

marriage intention Brian and Lucy

Brian, a Yeoman, died intestate, his assets which were valued at $1,369.45 ($345.73 after debts were paid), included one hundred acres of land (he was holding the mortgage), buildings, furnishings, farm animals and equipment and a half a pew in the Baptist Meeting House. Seven siblings are mentioned in the probate documents, each receiving $49.39; Lucy is not named.

The land is described as follows: “…the real estate of said deceased consists of two parcels of land which are under separated mortgages the first of which contains seventy acres more or less is bounded Northerly by a road and Westerly by land of Jm (?) Mason & land which the said deceased purchased of William Hill – the second of which contains thirty acres more or less and is bounded Northerly by a road easterly by the first above mentioned lot, Southerly by the land of Jm (?) Mason and Westerly by land of Josiah Kent and Thomas L. Peck…” [In 1840, Josiah Kent, Thomas Peck and James Mason are enumerated within a few names of one another in Seekonk, Bristol, Massachusetts].

Brian Hall deeds Bristol

Grantee Index (Brian is the buyer)

Brian Hall grantor

Grantor Index (Brian is the seller)

Brian Hall cancel

April 15, 1840, James Smith cancels the mortgage given to him by Brian Hall.

Brian’s brother, my 3rd g-grandfather, Horatio Hall, later named two of his daughter’s Lucy Mason Hall:

 Lucy Mason Hall [#1], born 2 February 1840, daughter of Horatio and Elizabeth, died of dropsy at age 5 on 4 November 1844 in Malden, Massachusetts6.

A portion of the obituary of the Lucy #2 reads: “Miss Lucy Mason Hall of 29 Richardson Street died at her home Saturday noon of heart failure after an illness of less than half an hour.  Miss Hall was at work in the kitchen when first taken ill and had suffered heart attacks before. She was born in this city and was the daughter of Horatio and Elizabeth Pindar Hall7.

Brian’s Lucy Mason went on to marry Abel Cooper in 18428and lived in Rhode Island until her death on 7 Jan 18839. Abel died in 1857 of Typhoid Fever; for a time Lucy resided with her sister Martha Mason and became a Tailoress10. By 1880 she resided in a home with her brother-in-law William Cooper and was reported to have consumption (likely pulmonary tuberculosis)11.

So many questions, but what I really want to know:

– How did Brian die?  Was it a tragic/sudden death or was he sick? If he was ill, did he expect to recover or did he file the marriage intention knowing his days were numbered?

– Why did Horatio name his daughter(s) Lucy Mason Hall? Were they close? Did Lucy stay in touch with the Hall family after Brian’s death?

I thought maybe Lucy was pregnant and Horatio raised the child as his own, but the dates don’t work; Lucy Mason #1’s birth was recorded ten months after Brian’s death.

(1) U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Providence, Rhode Island, City Directory, 1830, pg 76
(2) History of Providence County, Rhode Island , Edited by Richard M. Bayles. In two volumes, illustrated. Vol. I. New York:  W. W. Preston & Co., 1891.
(3) North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island, Plot: section BB. Note: infant age 2 weeks Henrietta Hall in 43rd year; recorded by Frank Williamson c.1860 but not found by F.T. Calef in 1923 or John E. Sterling in 1994; info from Sterling’s book North Burial Ground, Providence, RI, Old Section 1700-1848.
(4) Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, by James N. Arnold, Vol 1, pg 202.
(5)  “Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Database Index”, entry for Brian Hall 1988c – 28 Mar 1839; Transcriptions by volunteers of Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project; index compiled by John Sterling, digital image, New England Historic Genealogical Society (  :  accessed 26 July 2009)
(6) Malden, Massachusetts, Births ,marriages and deaths in the town of Malden, Massachusetts (Printed at the University press for the city of Malden, 1903), 349.
(7) Malden Evening News, 6 May 1907, p. 4, col. 5, Hall Family Papers, privately held by Linda Hall-Little, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,],  2010.
(8) MASON Lucy and Abel Cooper both of Seekonk, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, by James N. Arnold
(9) Rhode Island, Deaths, 1630-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
(10) Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: Rhode Island State Census, 1865. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.
(11) Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Seekonk, Bristol, Massachusetts; Roll: 523; Family History Film: 1254523; Page: 199A; Enumeration District: 072; Image: 0179.

A Life Changing Aunt

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.”

Ellen Maria Sophia (Hall) Nichols’ estate was valued at $71,363.60, when she passed in 1923; about the same buying power as $970,000 in 2014.  On the Hall side of the family, four nieces, one nephew and one brother, Horatio, survived her. The majority of her estate was left to her 42 year old nephew, my g-grandfather, Charles Milton “Garrie” Hall.

My 18 year old grandfather, Charles G. Hall,  was bequeathed $500 (about $6,800 in 2014 buying power), a small fortune for a teenager. It would cover the $27 -$32 quarterly tuition, and much of his living expenses, during his four years at Ohio State Veterinary School (

Grampa and Aunt Ellen must have been close; but I knew nothing of Ellen or her husband Levi.

Ellen Maria Sophia Hall was the fifth of nine children born to Horatio Hall (born Norton, Massachusetts and moved to Providence, Rhode Island at the age of 19) and Elizabeth Pinder (born Ipswich, Massachusetts and moved to Malden, Massachusetts, after her father, a mariner, drowned when she was 5). Ellen was the first born in Malden, on 17 Apr 1842 (her siblings were born at India Point a section of Providence, Rhode Island and Seekonk, Massachusetts). Her father had a sister Sophia for whom she was perhaps named.

Ellen was born at home, on Barrett Lane in Malden, a picturesque town, five miles from Boston, a farming community, population 2,500. Nearby Salem Street, now a main thoroughfare, was a country road lined with thick barberry bushes, sumac, blackberry vines, broad burdocks and sweet wild roses with species of tiny turtles, bullfrogs and mosquitoes. Ellen’s siblings included Mary Elizabeth (b. 1832), David Brian Pinder (b. 1827), Abby Frances (b. 1838), Lucy Mason (b. 1844 and died at age 4 of dropsy), Horatio (b. 1844 and died of consumption at age 2), Lucy Mason #2 (b. 1846), Horatio #2 (b. 1850) [in that time period, a common naming custom involved parents giving a subsequent child the same name as their deceased offspring] and Ephraim Augustus (b. 1853), my 2nd g-grandfather.

Ellen lived through many innovations and developments. In 1844, the Boston and Maine Railroad, Andover line, expanded eastward, with stops at North Malden, Malden and Boston, resulting in industry and population growth. By 1850, population had grown to 3,500, despite North Malden being set off under the name of Melrose. An 8 year old Ellen was living with her parents, siblings and 64 year old maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Jones) Pinder.  Her dad was not working. The town was divided into 5 school districts with 11 schools. Ellen attended “the old school house” on Pleasant Street, a short walk.

Her grandmother, the only grandparent that she had known, passed away in March 1853 of cancer in the bowels. By 1855, her father had a job as a dyer at William Barrett’s Dye Mills (Malden Dye House), a silk-dyeing business, the largest employer in Malden through the first half of the 19th century.


Malden 1857

In 1858, the same year the first horse street railway arrived (essentially a train car pulled by a horse), connecting Malden to Haymarket Square in Boston, sisters Mary and Abby married. Neither had children.

In May, Mary married David Marsden Patten, the son of John Patten and Nancy Ames. They were united by Rev. Wm. F. Stubbert of the First Baptist Church. He was a baker, who for many years ran a cracker and biscuit route for Warren Mansur of Charlestown. They initially settled in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Abby wed, a month later, Thomas Whitehead Hough son of John Hough and Laura Young.  Abby’s husband was a machinist for Mattapan Iron Works in the Edgeworth section of Malden, when they married. He  became a well known and popular citizen, who among other things, acquired the status of Malden Fire Chief and Commissioner and was a partner in Hough & Rummy Sewing Machine Manufacturers of Somerville.


By the start of the Civil War, Malden’s population had grown to almost 6,000.  Ellen, her parents and unmarried siblings, except David, had moved to Richardson Court, Malden, where all, excluding Ellen, remained for their lifetime. Horatio continued employment as a dyer and by 1860 a 17 year old Ellen had joined him working for the dye house.  The whereabouts of Ellen’s brother David is unknown from 1856 until 1871 when he appears in Quebec, Canada.

By 1865, Mary and her husband  had moved from Danvers back to the homestead on Richardson Court, where they remained until their deaths.  That year, Ellen was unemployed, Horatio was a laborer and the family had a 19 year old German boarder, Charles Weigel, a dyer.


By 1868, Ellen’s dad, Horatio, became a farmer.  In 1870, 2,200 Maldonians established a new town, named Everett, leaving Malden’s population at 7,300, albeit tripled since Ellen’s birth.  Horatio is listed in the census as a laborer (likely working on a local farm), Issac Butler, a 23 year old painter resides with the family.  A 28 year old Ellen is unemployed.

On Monday, 26 June 1871, Ellen, age 29,  married 36 year old Levi Farnham Nichols.  Levi, born in the area of Malden which later became Everett, resided on Cross Street in Malden with his mom. He was a trader, the son of George Nichols (deceased) and Mary Farnham.  Prior to becoming a trader, he was engaged in the leather business in Lynn, Massachusetts as a hide finisher and huckster and then worked as a milk dealer.  Levi was second of six; his siblings included George Jr. (blind from disease), Mary, Adeline, Lucy Ann and Benjamin Harris. The nuptials were  solemnized by Rev. Samuel W. Foljambe of the First Baptist Church.  The weather was a fair 68 degrees with light winds.

The newlyweds resided on 95 Cross Street on two acres of land, east of Henry Street near Levi’s mom, who was at 92 Cross. The adjoining property was owned by Levi’s siblings George and Mary (Mrs. Thomas Balcom).  Years later the houses were renumbered – Levi and Ellen to 283 Cross and Levi’s mom 276 Cross.

map  levi

Nine months after marriage, on 29 March 1872, Ellen gave birth to her only child, Gertrude May Nichols, who sadly passed away a day later; due to “severe labor and a diseased heart”.  A devastating loss.

In 1872, Ellen’s brother David, also a Baptist married Elizabeth Meline Lavery, a Catholic, daughter of Joseph Lavery and Elizabeth Allaire in Montréal, Québec.  Later that year, Ellen’s niece, Ida Loiser Hall was born, one of five who lived to adulthood. In 1876, David’s wife died during childbirth. In 1878, he married second, Sofrine Allard, daughter of Michel Allard and Appoline Guérard. A year later he was baptized a Catholic. They had seven children, three who lived to adulthood – Stella Amelia, Levina and Dorothy.

During the active years of her life, Ellen was a member of the Old and New woman’s club.  The Old and New was founded in Malden in October 1878 by Harriette Shattuck who had just returned from the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Women.  The time was ripe for women to band themselves together for literary and educational purposes. The primary objective was declared to be “to secure all women better moral, mental, physical and social conditions with a more through understanding of the question of the day and a confidence to utter their own thoughts”. The club started with 12 members, but by 1898 had 150 members and a waiting list.  They were the first to petition the State Legislator to ask that the age of consent for girls be raised from 12 to 18. When the law was passed in 1879 allowing women to vote, a member of the club was the first in the state to register as a voter (, pg 652).

By 1880, Ellen and Levi had a boarder named Willard Sears, a carpenter from Brewster, Massachusetts, who would reside with Ellen for close to 40 years, until his death in 1919. The couple still lived on Cross, near Levi’s widowed mother, blind brother George, widowed sister Lucy (her husband died of heart disease at age 39) and her two year old son Charles Adams Sanborn.

Ellen’s brother Ephraim Augustus (my g-grandfather) on 7 September 1880 married Roxanna Aurelia Wilson, daughter of David M. Wilson and Elizabeth Long.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. Dr. Lewis Benton Bates, a Methodist of East Boston.  Six months after their marriage, Roxanne gave birth to Ellen’s only nephew, Charles Milton Hall. They resided on Richardson Court, with the family, until 1891, when Roxanne’s brother-in-law, George Ira Pratt,  gave them a home on Forest Street in Malden for $1.

In 1881, an act of legislator granted Malden a city charter and Elisha S. Converse (founder of Boston Rubber Shoe Company, a large Malden employer) was elected as the city’s first mayor, a city of 12,000.

Ellen’s father died on 11 May 1884, age 81, from pneumonia.  The funeral was held at his home.  The Baptist Rev. Samuel W. Foljambe conducted the services. Two years later, she lost her mom on 22 July 1886 to brain disease, at 76.  They were  buried together at the Salem Street Cemetery.

Electricity came to Malden in 1886, the same era when the 8 room brick Lincoln School and Baptist Chapel were erected next door to the Nichols. The school was built on land donated to the city by Levi.

American Architect and Architecture published the following :
mayor blodgett

levi land3

school deed

Levi and his boarder/friend Sears had purchased an adjoining property together.   Ellen and Levi’s acreage in 1897 was one of the largest tracts of personally owned land in the area.

map  levi2

They were a block from the Suffolk Square shops (at the intersection of Cross & Bryant).  The area surrounding Suffolk Square had been predominantly Protestant, lower middle class. By 1912, over 50% of the residents were Jewish and by 1928, almost 75% of the ward was Jewish.  The Lincoln School was demolished several years ago and today the Nichols property is known as Suffolk Park in the Faulkner section of the city. There are dense 3-family houses with suburban-like low-income and senior public housing, in the area where Levi’s mother resided.


cross street

Photo: Malden Historical Society, 1920/30’s 

Ellen belonged to the Ladies Aid Association of the Malden Hospital organized Dec. 3, 1892. The members not only relieved the sick and suffering, but they gave material help toward the maintenance of the Malden Hospital.

By 1898, Malden’s population had grown 12 fold since Ellen’s birth to 32,000 and the city was very prosperous. Its firms manufactured shoe lasts, coal tar, and linen fire hose, among many other products. By 1899, Ellen’s brother David had relocated from Canada to Lowell, Massachusetts another booming city, with his wife and four daughters. He was employed first as a tanner, then a foreman in the leather industry. David lived in the Lowell/Dracut area until his death in 1915 at the age of 78 (cause was a strangulated hernia).

Ellen’s remaining siblings lived within a mile. In 1901, sister Abby passed away of pleuro pneumonia at age 61. Her eulogy was touching.  The reverend described her as “a type of sunny brave and noble womanhood, a sturdy friend when days were dark and lowry”.  Much of the town, including the mayor, attended the services.

Another sibling, Lucy Mason Hall, who had never married, died suddenly at home at age 58, in 1907 from Miocaritisis, she had had previous heart attacks. Ellen is listed as the informant on her death certificate. For nearly 25 years, Lucy was the birth census taker for the city clerk. She is buried at the Salem Street Cemetery.

Ellen’s brother-in-law David Patten passed away the following year. He was 80 and the oldest member of the Mt Vernon Mason Lodge in Malden.

On June 30, 1910, Ellen lost her husband Levi of arteriosclerosis after a long illness of heart and kidney troubles. He was 75. Some time prior to Levi’s death, they had become Methodists. Levi was a well known resident who had been retired about 20 years.  In his last will and testament, signed in 1888, he named Ellen as executrix.  His estate was valued at about $58,000. His assets included $16,800 in real estate (283 Cross St., 276 Cross St., 278-280 Cross St., 16 Henry St. and 3 Dana St.) and $42,864 in personal assets which included about $5,500 in deposits in six different banks.  Secured mortgages and notes, extended to 25 individuals, made up the remainder. It appears that during his retirement he became a mortgagee.

levi landlevi land2

He left a sum of $3,000 to his sister, Lucy Sanborn [now Lucy Adams] ; $1,000 to his nephew Charles A. Sanborn,   $1,000 each to his wife’s sisters Mary Elizabeth and Lucy Mason [Lucy predeceased him]; and the remainder to his wife. His brother Benjamin and nieces Lucy Mills and Mary Greenwood (his sister, Mary Balcolm’s children) were living, but not named in the will.

A few months later, Ellen’s sister-in-law Roxanne Aurelie (Wilson) Hall passed away.  Ellen’s boarder Williard Sears was named as one of the estate appraisers, an estate valued at $2,350 which included the Forest Street home.

By 1911, Ellen had relocated to her home at 3 Dana St., Malden. Their boarder, Willard Sears, still employed as a carpenter, joined her.

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Malden 1910/11

Abby’s husband Thomas Hough passed away in 1912, at age 75, of prostate cancer. His estate was valued at $33,855.22; he left small sums and a piano to a number of friends, $1,000 to his sister-in-law Mary (Hall) Patten, $500 to his nephew Charles M. Hall and the remainder was split between his brother George Hough of Grand Rapids, Michigan  and the First Parish Universalist Church of Malden. Ellen was not named. Abby and Thomas are buried together at Mt Auburn in Cambridge.

Ellen’s brother Ephraim Augustus (my 2nd g-grandfather) was committed to the insane asylum at Danvers State Hospital (Massachusetts) in 1916.  His son Charles Milton Hall filed for guardianship of the $2,807 estate, which included the Forest Street home.  Ellen signed along with Kittie Shipman (Charles’ mother-in-law). Less than a year later, Ephraim died from septicemia following gangrene of the foot. Ephraim and Roxanna are buried together in Forestdale Cemetery.

Williard Sears, Ellen’s longtime boarder, and likely close friend, died in 1919.  She was the informant listed on his death certificate and both still resided at 3 Dana.  He was 79 and cause of demise was uraemia from chronic brights disease and chronic cystitis. He was buried at Quivet Neck Cemetery in East Dennis, Massachusetts, likely with his ancestors.

Ellen’s sister, Mary Elizabeth (Hall) Patten, died in 1920, of chronic endocarditis, while sitting in a chair at home, she was almost 88. Her estate was valued at $1,400 which was split equally between her heirs. She and her husband are buried at  the Salem Street Cemetery.

Ellen passed away at 6AM, after a week of sickness, on 13 Aug 1923, of apoplexy. at the age of 81 years, 3 months, 23 days. At the time of her death, she was the “oldest, native born, Malden woman”.  Her nephew, Charles Hall of 17 Dale Street, Malden, was the informant listed on her death certificate.  He got her name wrong, listing her as Ellen Sarah Nichols.  He correctly named her parents, but incorrectly listed their places of birth. Ellen was buried at Forestdale Cemetery in a grave with her husband, his parents, his siblings George and Mary and Mary’s husband Thomas Balcom.



In Ellen’s lifetime, the Malden population had grown almost 20 times larger (2,500 at birth to 49,103 at death).  Besides the changes in her own city, she had seen an amazing array of inventions. Besides the obvious (cars, telephones, production lines and airplanes), some of my favorites include, the stop sign and traffic light, zippers,  the teddy bear, American baseball and football, donuts, jellybeans and potato chips.

Ellen’s last will and testament is undated, it was likely written prior to Mary Patten’s death in 1920, since she is named.  After Ellen’s debts are paid, she asked that her assets be distributed as follows:

  • A trust of $5,000 to her trustees (Charles M. Hall and Dudley Bailey of Everett or Ernest Fall of Everett should Dudley be deceased) to hold and manage, collect interest and income, pay taxes, insurance and otherwise and to pay over the net income remaining monthly to her brother Horatio for the term of his natural life, if he should require more for sickness or comfortable support, the trustees are authorized to dispense a portion of the principle
  • $5,000 to  sister Mary Patten [deceased, not paid]
  • A total of $10,000 divided to the widow of her brother David and his daughters Ida Blaine, Amelia Thibeault [Amelia Guy], Levina Gagne and Dorothy Hall [Dorothy Jaques] of Lowell – $2,000 each
  • $500 to Charles G. Hall of Malden
  • $1,000 to Sarah C. Mentzer* wife of William A. Mentzer of Hudson, Massachusetts [died before estate settled, paid to her estate]
  • the residue to her nephew Charles M. Hall of Malden ($48,549.68 after all debts were paid, or about the same buying power as $660,000 in 2014 dollars)

*Sarah Mentzer was likely a longtime friend.  She was born Sarah Carter Robinson, in 1844, in Malden, to Samuel Robinson and Abigail Wheeler;  in 1860 at age 16, she worked at the Malden Dye House with Ellen. She married William, a retired farmer, in 1862. Both died in Revere, Massachusetts –  William in 1918 and Sara in 1924.

Ellen owned land and buildings at 3 Dana Street, Malden, 3,274 square feet, valued at $3,400 and had $500 in furniture and personal effects. After Levi’s death, she continued as a mortgagee. Ellen had managed (likely with her nephew’s assistance) 19 mortgages and notes; which at the time of her death were valued at $28,000.

ellen land 1

The remainder was invested in 17 deposit and trust companies, first and second Liberty Loans (government bonds) and shares in American Telephone and Telegraph, Boston Edison Light and Massachusetts Gas.

By 1924, Ellen’s brother Horatio, a retired Malden firefighter, who gave 34 years of service and never married,  had relocated to the home at 3 Dana. A year later and until his death in 1930 he resided at 335 Forest St., a home formerly owned by his brother Ephraim and nephew Charles Milton Hall. He resided with the Littlefield and Ross families (no known relation).

Historically, the Hall’s had been successful businessmen and large land owners in the United States as early as 1727.  But Ellen’s generosity, changed the course of the financial life of my g-grandfather, Charles Milton Hall, which had significant impact on future generations of the Hall family.


The Careers of John Galatis Haines (Week #4 – 52 Ancestors)

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.”

A man of many talents, John “Jack” Galatis/Glatis Haines, my Nana’s dad, was the son of William John “John” Haines and Jennie Ferguson both of Ricibucto, New Brunswick, Canada.


My g-grandfather was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, 22 February 1885, second of eight.  His siblings included Edith, Alexander (who tragically died aboard the Ticonderoga –, Ella May, Margaret Elizabeth, Joseph, Minnie and Jennie. He attended school through the 7th grade [1940 census; as reported by his wife].

He married Edith Bernice Lansil, daughter of Edwin Lansil (of Bangor Maine) and Jane Catherine Roberts (of Llanfairfechan, Wales) on 26 June 1906.


They had eight children – Edith Anna (my Nana), John “Jack” Galatis/Glatis Jr., Walter Lansil (who died at 11 months from acute enteritis and colitis), Doris, Marion Jeanette, William Alexander “Billy”, Bernice Frances and Natalie.

edith and Jackedith and Jack2john galatis haines and Edith Lansil honeymoon NYC

1. (top) Jack, Edith and young Edith; (bottom) Jack, Edith, young Edith and Jack Jr.;  2. Bernice & Jack (rear), Doris, Marion & Edith holding cousin David Marshall and cousin Doris Marshall 3. Jack & Edith on their Honeymoon in NYC;

Daughter Natalie (who was 14 when her dad passed) recalls a childhood of dad buying homes, moving them in, fixing them up, selling them for profit and moving again; a pattern repeated a few times.  There were many mouths to feed through the Great Depression (1929-39). The Haines lived in Melrose, Malden and for a short time Saugus, Massachusetts (allegedly departing Saugus when Doris showed interest in a “colored boy”).

Jack first appears in the 1904 city directory at the age of 19 and over the next 38 years claims at least eleven occupations –  a Salesman, Chemist, Brakeman at the railroad, working for a lumberyard, a Road Builder, Steel Riveter at a ship yard, Carpenter, Plasterer, Mason, General Jobber and an employee of a radio manufacturer as a machinist.

1900 – no occupation – living with his parents at 154 Wordsworth, East Boston; [census; at 15 he is not attending school  nor is he listed with an occupation; his dad is a Carpenter and has been listed as such since his US arrival in the early 1880’s; perhaps they are working together]

1904 – Salesman; boards 154 Wordsworth, EB

1905 – works 480 Chelsea St. EB  [Walter S. Hill Chemical, manufacturing –] as does his dad who has become a Chemist; boards 154 Wordsworth.

walter s hill

1906/7 – Chemist; home 154 Wordsworth, EB [marriage record & Edith’s birth]

1906/7- Salesman; boards 154 Wordsworth, EB

1908 – Salesman; home 101 Maxwell, Dorchester [his wife Edith’s family home]

1909 – Salesman; home 154 Wordsworth, EB

1910 – Brakeman/Railroad; home 27 Blaine St., Boston/Allston [census & John Jr. birth]

1910/11 – Salesman; home 27 Blaine St., Boston/Allston [census, rents home]

1912 – Lumberyard [Walter Lansil’s birth]

1912-16 – Salesman; home 167 Forest St., Melrose, MA [& Doris’s birth]

1916/17 – Road Builder [Mason membership card, Mount Vernon Lodge, Malden, MA & Marion’s birth]

1918 – Riveter, Bethlehem Ship Corporation, Quincy; home 30 Plymouth Rd., Malden [draft registration – company built WWI destroyers – – Chapter III] 

1919 – Steel Riveter; home 30 Plymouth Rd., Malden [Billy’s birth]

1918-20 – Road Builder; home 30 Plymouth Rd., Malden

1920 – Carpenter; home 30 Plymouth Rd., Malden [census, rents home]

1922/4 – no job listed; home 45 Naples Rd., Melrose

1926/9 – General Jobbing;  home 45 Naples Rd., Melrose

1930 – Plasterer; home 8 Oxford St., Melrose [census, owns home valued $4,000 and radio set]


1930 map Oxford St. & Naples Rd., Malden, MA, location of two homes Jack bought and sold

1930 – General Jobbing; home 8 Oxford St., Melrose

1932- [not listed in either Malden or Melrose city directories, likely the period they spent in Saugus]

1934/36 – Plasterer; home 28 Ripley, Malden

1937/39 – Plasterer; home 18 Everett, Malden

1940  – Mason, Building Construction; rent home 18 Everett, Malden [census; his wife Edith is the informant]

1942 – National Company, 67 Sherman St., Malden; home 18 Everett, Malden [draft registration & undated SS card; manufacturer of professional, military and amateur radio equipment; National Radio was first incorporated in 1914 as the “National Toy Company”. By 1916 they had broadened their product line to include household goods so they changed their name to the “National Company, Inc.” They got started into radio in the early 20’s. By 1923 the National inventory included trade marked toys, Magnetic Dancers, Roberts Mixers, DMB Covers, Victrolene, and radio components.]


1942 – well known Plasterer; home 18 Everett, Malden [obituary]

1942 – Radio Machinist; home 18 Everett, Malden [death certificate]



* when source not noted, information came from city directories

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