Friday, March 20, 2015

The Pleasant-Looking Woman

My cousin Bob recently shared with me another family photo.  The man in the photo is my great-grandfather Henry F. Winchell.  Bob wondered who the pleasant-looking woman was.  She is as new to me as the photo.  Gazing at it for a while, I realized that there was a strong resemblance between the two people.  I thought it likely that the woman was a female cousin.  Then I started going through my records to see who it might be.
My top candidates are Mary Lucinda Strong Church and Lucinda Surriner Bailey.  Mary Lucinda "Lucinda" Strong was born on 24 February 1853 in Great Barrington, Berkshire Co., MA.  She was the daughter of Henry’s aunt Samantha Winchell and her husband Isaac Strong and lived around the corner from Henry on the main street of Housatonic, Mass.  She married Albert N. Church on 20 November 1872.  

Lucinda Surriner was born on 28 August 1863 in Great Barrington, Berkshire Co., MA, the daughter of Henry’s aunt Henrietta Winchell and her husband Uriah Surriner.  She lived with her parents around the corner from Henry on Kirk Street.  Her husband William Bailey died in 1901 at the age of 41. The federal census records did not always list the locality these women and their families were living in, but I think they were always in Housatonic. I wonder why the first name Lucinda was popular at this time.

Then I recalled I had this photo:

I thought I'd written about this photo before.  There are at least six women from my family pictured.  However, I'm not sure how the author of the caption read the photo. Did s/he start from the front of the table on the left or the left edge of the photo?  Either way it does seem that Mary Lucinda Strong Church is the last woman on the right.  There's slight highlighting near her eyes that make it look like she's wearing glasses.  Her hair is dark, though, and her face seems different, heavier.  Is it safe to say, then, the female cousin in the photo is Lucinda Surriner Bailey?

The other candidates are Grace G. Warner and her sister Nellie E. Warner.  They were the daughters of Henry’s aunt Julia Winchell and her husband Asahel Warner.  They are less likely because they eventually moved away from the area, but about the same age, so I’m including them. Their cousin Nathaniel Warner owned a large parcel of land right behind the John Winchell home on Hart Street.

Grace G. Warner was born on 28 September 1878 in Great Barrington. She and Paul Millard Elsden were married on 28 November 1901 by Robert F. Elsden of Stockbridge, MA in Great Barrington. After their marriage they lived in various places that Paul’s work took them:  1905 in Norwich, Chenango Co., NY; 1910 in Waverly, Bremer Co., IA;  1918 in Sacramento Co., CA; and 1925 in Boonville, Oneida Co., NY.

Nellie E. Warner was born on 2 February 1866 in Great Barrington. She and Elery D. Smith were married on 16 November 1887 in her hometown. They lived in the area until they moved to Springfield, Hampden Co., MA, USA in time to appear on the 1920 census.  

Perhaps someday something will be found to confirm the identity of this cousin.  This photo gives me a good feeling.  It is usually nice men who take the time to pose easily with their female cousins for photos.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Another New Role

It looks like I'll be taking on another new role: keeper of the family tombstones.

I received a message back from the president of the Mellenville Union Cemetery Association.  I have permission to clean my great-uncle's tombstone, and he said no one else would do it.  That makes it pretty clear.  My great-uncle and his wife lie behind the large rectangle stone near the center of the photo.

I wonder if it's the same case in Berkshire County.  At one time I visited the cemetery near the old Great Barrington Fair.  I think it was after the tornado hit the area.  Most of the tombstones were illegible.  I believe they were cleaned the wrong way some time in history.  That was a great shame.  The old tombstones are more delicate that you'd think.

I was warned to wait until the snow melted and the mud dried up.  I guess he doesn't expect everyone to be a country girl.

I started a spreadsheet of family graves, starting with the earliest known one for George Winchell.  There are a lot of graves in Berkshire County!  It's difficult to know the best way to format the spreadsheet, but I do need it.