Sunday, April 10, 2011

Charles Lawrence Tobey 1867-1935

Charles Lawrence Tobey, my great grandfather, was born to Christopher & Mary Seyter Tobey in Caton, New York. He worked on his father’s farm until he got married.  He wanted to go into business instead of farming, but according to his daughter, Helen, his father would not pay for him to go to college. Charles paid for his own tuition and graduated from Meeker’s Business Institute, after which he decided to open his own business, a retail footwear store. Once he and Theresa Haselbauer got married he returned to Caton to help on his father’s farm. He absolutely loved his horses. He put a lot of skill and energy into his horses’ stables, even to the point that he put in tongue and groove paneling.

Charles moved to Elmira by 1920, where he was listed in the census as a machinist in an auto factory. The directories of Elmira, show he only lived there for 2 or 3 years before he moved to Interlaken, New York to pick up farming again.  He and Theresa had nine children, seven girls and two boys.  The girls helped on the farm as much as possible, but the heavy work fell to Charles and the boys.
During the depression, Charles became despondent when he lost 5000 baby chicks. His grandson, Bruce, who was living with him during that time recounted, “My Grandfather built a new chicken house and put in 5000 little chickens. Just as they began to get feathers on their wing tips, a deadly intestinal disease called coccidiosus struck. The only less-than-effective treatment was a high nicotine material called Black Flag. My brother and I had to gather dead chickens in 5 gallon pails morning and night until the flock was pretty much gone. It was a morning not long afterward as my brother and I were dressing, we heard my Uncle Ed come crying into the house, running to our Grandmother [Theresa], “Mother , Dad shot himself!” My aunt Theresa had heard the thump of the shotgun during the night but thought it was the downstairs stove.” The destruction of the chickens had been the final straw. He felt he had been ruined and probably didn’t feel as though he could start over yet again.
Charles left a wonderful legacy to his children because he encouraged them to excel in their schoolwork. Helen, his daughter said, “he was a strong advocate for education. He expressed his certainty that the women in our family should be educated to support themselves in case of catastrophe or some untoward happening made it necessary for us to be self-supporting.  He was "before his time", in a manner of speaking!  He was proud of our accomplishments and our scholarship.”  He took in his two grandsons, Gerald and Bruce Hildreth, when their mother was divorced, adding two more mouths to feed.
His wife, Theresa, my great grandmother moved her family to a smaller place after he died and she died just three years later at the age of 63

Front: Marjorie, Helen, Theresa, Catherine
Back: Charles "Tom", Jane, Charles Coon, Jane's Husband, Theresa Rosalia, Charles Lawrence Tobey

Monday, March 14, 2011

Theresa Rosalia Haselbauer Tobey -- 1875 - 1938 my great grandmother

Some memories from her daughter, Helen Tobey Burr related to me in 1998
Theresa "Tessie" Rosalia Haselbauer
 Mother must have had at least a grade school education.  I recollect that I always admired her handwriting, always observed in our excuses we carried to school, or her grocery lists.  It always puzzled me that she closed her notes to our teachers with the words (the closing): "and oblige" _____.  Her wording was always logical and punctuated correctly.  Theresa Haselbauer was pampered and spoiled (I believe), having been born after her two brothers!  She owned her own horse and rig, at a fairly early age.  (I suppose the equivalent of today's kid having his first car!)  The horse was white and was frequently stained from lying in the "effluvia" collecting in the stable.  On her own, Mom made a "diaper" for her horse out of her waterproof raincoat, fastened it on her horse's rear.  Mom was SO surprised in the morning to find her beautiful coat trampled in the mess in the straw in the stable.  Her own mother was furious at her, at such foolishness and such a loss!
Mom was a beautiful young girl.  She admitted that when Dad was courting her, she entertained him on the front piazza, while a second suitor was waiting to call on her on another porch on their home.  That hopeful young man was the grandfather of our present congressman from our area: Senator Armory Hougton, who is now rapidly approaching his retirement year.

I recall this story of Dad's (Charles Tobey) courtship:  they each possessed the great 3 wheel bikes.  On a Sunday afternoons they wheeled out for picnics.  Sometimes their destination was Rorick's Glen, on the side nearest to Corning - the south--the park still exists, close to Elmira, but in a different mode, more commercialized--less rustic as it was in those days.  I recollect, in the early 20's that mom would accompany Alice (5 years older than I) to a dance pavilion in Rorick's Glen.  Alice had no date.  Mom just chaperoned her.  We went by trolley car.  I sat with Mom while Alice "danced the light fantastic"  I guess it was called a "jitney dance".  The fellows bought 10 cent tickets to dance.  Alice was a popular "free-lance partner".  I recall getting SO tired before we could catch a trolley for home.  Mom was kept alert because of Alice's popularity and daring...she never did anything to disgrace us but she was more of a "free spirit" than any of us!  Mom tried to hold her in--and she succeeded, I know, but they did have quite a few arguments, which always distressed me.  I always took Mom's part (in my mind) and felt that Alice was unappreciative.  I guess this was in the "flapper period--the early 20's"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Joseph Gillett and the Bloody Brook Massacre 18 Sep 1675

In 1675 our ancestor, Joseph Gillett was age 34, the same age as my son, with 7 children living in the outpost of Deerfield, Massachusetts.  He and his wife, Elizabeth Hawks moved to Deerfield after they got married in 1663 to seek their fortune.  It was on the edge of the frontier at that time. During September, 1675, bands of warriors roamed the Connecticut River valley, attacking villagers as they worked in the fields or traveled between villages on business.  The villagers decided to move their families to the fort at Hadley, Massachusetts until the violence settled down.  The men went back to Deerfield along with Captain Lathrop and 80 men to bring their grain into the fort. Joseph was one of these Deerfield men.

“The force was so large, surely no warriors would attack them. As the convoy emerged from the dense forest into a narrow, swampy thicket, it slowed down to cross a brook. Realizing the crossing would take a long time as each heavily-laden cart lumbered across, the soldiers tossed their rifles on top of the wheat and prepared to relax. Some soldiers began to gather the grapes growing alongside the brook. At a given signal, hundreds of warriors, who were lying concealed all around the spot, opened fire on the convoy. Chaos followed, bullets and arrows flew from every direction. Captain Lathrop immediately fell. Of the 80 soldiers, only 7 or 8 escaped; none of the Deerfield men who were driving the carts survived.”

Battle of Bloody Brook
Our ancestor, Joseph, age 34, father of seven was killed. Because of the nature of the slaughter, the brook was renamed “Bloody Brook” by which name it is known today.  I was fortunate enough to stand at the side of that brook and stand by the monument that was erected in honor of those who were killed. 
His four year old son, John, our ancestor, was kidnapped by Indians and taken to Canada 21 years later—but that is yet another story.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

James Ernest Haselbauer 1871-1921

I started this blog not only because I wanted to share stories, but I also wanted "somewhere" to share my "finds"--well I had a "find" yesterday!  I've looked and looked to find out more about my grandmother's (Mary Tobey Hildreth) uncle. I had learned quite a bit about his life and family through newspapers and the typical census records, etc., but I HAD to know when and where he died. Well, facebook scored again!  I was contacted on facebook by the wife of one of his descendants. So now we're sharing!  Hopefully she will have a picture and then I can "put him to rest"
There is a lot to say about James Ernest Haselbauer. He also went by Ernest Haselbauer.
He was son of a master glass engraver at Corning (Augustus Haselbauer, my great, great grandfather), he tried his hand at glass cutting, but eventually became a tailor in Rochester, New York.  Interesting to think that profession also takes precision. I'm always curious what ancestor has the traits that we find in ourselves--although my sister, Shari, keeps reminding me that we are our "own" persons with a huge mixture of ancestor traits running in our blood!
When he was a young adult he gave his widowed mother quite a bit of angst.  My research in some old newspapers revealed that he was known as "Windy" and was sentenced to a short term in jail because of robbery.  There was also an incident where the police were called to his home because of a severe altercation with his mother. However, eventually he settled down, married, had two daughters, and became a tailor in Rochester, New York. 
All I needed for me to "put him to rest" was to know when and where he died. Voila--facebook and Lucille Brown! She had the answer.
 For some reason he was in Missouri when he died (Yes, I do want to find out why) when a train hit his car. He died in Kansas City, Missouri on July 9, 1921 at age 50.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she knows someone who has a picture of him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mary Hazel Tobey Hildreth 1900-1974

Mary and Bruce

Mary with Gerald (L) and Bruce (R)
Mary was born on 3 Feb 1900 in Caton, New York to Charles Tobey and Theresa Haselbauer. She died on 18 Apr 1974 in Interlaken, New York at age 74, and was buried in Grove Cemetery, Trumansburg, New York. Mary married Frank Judson Hildreth, son of Frank Judson Hildreth and Myrta E. Nichols, on 21 May 1923 in Elmira, New York. The marriage ended about 1925 when Frank deserted Mary and the two boys.
      Mary graduated from Horseheads High School in June 1918 and Meeker Business Institute in 1920 after which she taught at Meeker for two years. After she married Frank she worked at Pennsylvania Railroad as a stenographer and they lived at 449 Pennsylvania Avenue in Elmira, New York.
    She worked as a stenographer in Elmira to support herself and her little boys, but the boys had to live with relatives since she had no way to take care of them. She visited them when she could, but it must have been heart breaking to be away from the boys. In the 1930 census she still listed herself as married and her sister and another young lady were living with her. The children returned to live with her when they were in junior high school.  She worked for Elmira Women’s College as Secretary to the President for most of her career. 

Who do you Think you are? Frank Judson Hildreth 1899-1991

      Kim Cattrall's hunt for her grandfather on "Who do you Think you are" mirrored my own hunt for my grandfather.Frank Judson Hildreth who left Mary, Bruce and Jerry about 1926-27.  He changed his name to Peter Gilmor, left New York state and went to work in Detroit.  Mary and Frank had only been married about 3 years when he left her with two toddlers.  My grandmother Mary never remarried.
      My hunt began in earnest after my father, Bruce, died in 1990.  I didn't want to meet him, particularly, but just wanted to know about his life. The Social Security Death Index showed that he died in 1991--AFTER my father died--but it didn't give the state where he died.  About 10 years ago, I was checking, yet again, and found he had died in Manatee County, Florida.  It was a short hunt to find his obituary and contact his survivors. Voila!  I found his second family, Keith and Larry Hildreth.  Not only that, I met Keith and his wife in Florida and he gave me more information about Frank "Pete", including a couple of pictures about him. Keith and Larry and I are still in touch.
      Frank Judson "Pete" was born 9 Feb 1899 in Elmira to Frank Judson Hildreth, Sr. and Myrta Nichols and died 24 September 1991. Before Frank met Mary he enlisted in the army in World War I  on May 8, 1917 at the age of 18. He was discharged September 26, 1919. His record stated he was 5 feet 7 ¼ inches tall with light brown hair and blue eyes. Helen Tobey Burr, Mary’s sister, remembers that he was very handsome and was an accomplished pianist. In later life he was a painter, eventually moved to Florida where he died.
       I may never know why he left the family, but I know this chapter is closed for me.  It is interesting that some of us want to know more about our missing grandfathers.  I have helped several others find their own grandfathers who abandoned the family.  I guess it's our "need to know" the end of the story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bruce Franklin Hildreth--1924-1990

Bruce’s father, Frank Judson Hildreth, left the family when Bruce was only about 18 months old. He went to live with his Aunt Jane Tobey Coon and her husband Charlie Coon since his mother had to go to work and couldn’t take care of her two small children. Bruce had many fond memories of Charlie and never forgot him. Charlie died when Bruce was about 8 years old so he went to live with his grandparents Charles and Theresa Tobey on their farm in Pony Hollow, New York. His brother Jerry already was living with them so at least the brothers were able to grow up together until they were in junior high when they went back to Elmira to live with their mother.
Bruce graduated from Southside High School in Elmira and from the University of Buffalo with a degree in physics and mechanical engineering. He worked in different industries, until retiring from Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan. His career moves took the family from Buffalo, New York, to Wallingford, Connecticut, Willingboro, New Jersey, and finally Livonia, Michigan. He retired to Simpsonvile, South Carolina where he died in 1990.