Back to the Westbrook Commercial Academy, but no luck with #88

Mary Burke #88 – This name is so common that without more information there’s no way I can narrow the identify of this young lady down. No one by this name, or close to her age was living in Cattaraugus county, New York in the 1925 census – or at least wasn’t recorded! But maybe a family member will recognize the name and/or photo and she’ll find a home after all.

#88 Mary Burke

#88 Mary Burke

Uncle Henry & Aunt Ethel

Henry and Ethel Fowler, Hattie's aunt and uncle

Henry and Ethel Fowler, Hattie’s aunt and uncle

More of the Hattie Belle Grace story: this photo is of her uncle Henry with whom Hattie lived in 1910, along with her Fowler grandparents. That’s really all we know about Hattie’s interaction with her uncle other than she kept this photo of them. So let’s explore Henry and his wife Ethel.

Henry(i) A. Fowler was born on December 7, 1870 in Washington, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. On his birth record his “ethnicity” is listed as Canadian, just as Hattie Grace’s was. He was the oldest child of Clinton and Ellen Fowler. Like many NH residents of the time, Clinton was a farmer.

Henry married late for his time. At the age of 32 he married Ethel Barton in 1913. Ethel was 10 years his junior at 22. Later census show her to be even younger. In 1920, Henry and Ethel lived in Henniker, Merrimack, New Hampshire with little Andrew, age 5. Like his father, Henry was a farmer. By 1930, he’d changed professions and was working as a trucking teamster. Andrew appeared to be their only son. In 1930 Andrew as 15 and Henry 59.

Three years later in 1933 Henry died in Henniker. He was 62 and his son only 18. I’m not sure how Ethel was 22 in 1913 and managed to be 43 in 1940. She shaved off the years somewhere. No record of her death has been found yet. Andrew appeared to live until 1994.

The Demise of Willie Hopkins, solved!

The Obituary of William Hopkins

The Obituary of William Hopkins

It was a mystery what happened to Hattie Belle Grace’s first husband William, but that’s been solved now! The generous woman who sent me the original photo also sent me this: Willie’s obituary.

Willie Hopkins, who died Feb. 21 at West Hopkinton, was brought to New Boston on the 30th of April and buried there. He was 45 years old when he died and was a long and painful sufferer. He is survived by a wife, daughter, mother, one sister and two brothers. At one time he made his home in Milford.

Definitely makes one wonder what exactly he died of at a young age that was so “long and painful.” Rest in Peace Willie.

One wild ride for Hattie Grace Hopkins Lashua Nantelle

Hattie Lashua of New Hampshire

Hattie Lashua of New Hampshire

Hattie Lashua is a name in my family tree that gives my constant grief when searching for information on her. Therefore, I was extremely disappointed when the “Hattie Lashua” identified in this photo turned out to be a totally different Hattie. My own disappointment aside, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to find out more.

The photo to the left is labeled Hattie Lashua, the young man is unidentified. A second photo was labeled Uncle Henry and Aunt Ethel Fowler. They were from New Hampshire. That was enough to find a treasure trove of information on Hattie and her aunt and uncle.

Here then is what I know about Hattie and her wild and crazy life!  (I’ll have more photos and posts from this same album soon). A timeline is the easiest way to follow her trail, so here goes…

December 26, 1899 – Hattie Belle Grace is born the day after Christmas to George K. Grace and Addie B. Fowler. Her birth records state she is “Canadian” ethnicity even though she was born in Wilmot, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

1900 – the Merrimack, New Hampshire federal census shows that Hattie (age 6 months) lived with mom and dad.

1910 – By 1910, Hattie (age 9) is living with her mother’s family: grandparents Clinton and Ellen Fowler and Uncle Henry. An 8 year old Etta M. Grace also lives with them, her sister. What happened to her parents (George and Addie)?? Likely they died, but I haven’t found the proof of that yet.

March 16, 1916 – At the age of 18 Hattie married 39 year old William B. Hopkins in Milford, New Hampshire.

1920 – Hattie and William with baby new Christabelle Hopkins (age 9 months) lived in Hopkinton, Merrimack, NH next door to her sister Etta, now married to Jesse Hoyt. William worked in the local paper mill.

About 1921 – William either died or the couple divorced. His fate is still unknown.

April 24, 1922 – Hattie Belle Hopkins (age 22) married the much older Edward Lashua (50) in Canaan, New Hampshire. This was Edward’s third marriage. His first wife passed away, he divorced his 2nd wife – who coincidentally was the sister of my husband’s great grandmother! That’s as far as I’m connected to this Hattie.

1924 – Sister Etta Grace Hoyt dies.

Now it gets interesting…

1929 – A baby boy, Frank Nantelle, the son of Hattie Grace and Ralph Nantelle died shortly after birth. Hmmm? Is this our Hattie? Yes, but we only know this if we continue the time line…

1930 – A Hattie Nantelle with daughter Addie Nantelle and son Edward Nantelle live in Alexandria, Granfton, NH where Hattie works as a housekeeper. She’s listed as married but no husband is in the household. Not to forget about little Christabelle Hopkins. She is unfortunately living at age 11 in the Laconia State School in Laconia, NH. A home for the feeble minded, which some very non-pleasant stuff has been written on :(  But why isn’t Hattie with Edward? He lived with his brother in 1930 and is listed as divorced. Where did “Nantelle” come from? Read on.

January 1933 – Edward Lashua died.

May 30, 1933 – Hattie Belle Grace (now 34) married Ralph Edward Nantelle (29) in Hinniker, New Hampshire. So, it appears she finally got to marry the man she was having children with. An odd situation all around, but we discover even more in 1940.

1940 – Ralph and Hattie are living in Ashford, Windham, Connecticut with John C. and Addie E. Lashua aged 16 and 15 respectively. These were the children of Edward. They are listed as Ralph’s step-children despite the fact that Hattie was using the last name Nantelle for Addie and herself in 1930. Where John was in 1930 is unknown. Hattie and Ralph also have children of their own: Edward Ralph (13) and Rose E. (7). That makes 6 children with 3 husbands in all for Hattie that we know of, including baby Frank who died early. Christobel (as her name was sometimes spelled) was still in Laconia State School too.  The next question, where was Ralph Nantelle in 1930 when he and Hattie were obviously involved?

1957 – A newspaper article in Kentucky is the next clue. Edward Ralph Nantelle, son of Mrs. Hattie Nantelle died in Kentucky. He was a veteran and had most recently served in Korea. He left a wife and two small sons behind. Interestingly no Mr. Nantelle was mentioned in the article. Was Hattie divorced again?

1972 – a Ralph Nantelle born 12/3/1904 died in April of 1972. He was living in New Hampshire, although from Connecticut. Is this Hattie’s husband? Hard to know for sure. If so, they hadn’t lived together for some time.

1980 – Hattie Belle Nantelle died in Connecticut in March. She is said to be the Widow of Ralph. She is buried in West Stafford Cemetery.

Lots of questions remain, but a very interesting trail none the less. Hopefully family members can fill in the gaps. Despite the last name of Lashua on the back of the photo, it seems that it was not a name Hattie had for very long!

Melvin Beckett, a Macon boy to the core

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

Melvin Beckett, 1935 Macon High School

An Illinois boy through and through. This 1935 graduate of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois was a veteran like his classmate. He served his country for 5 years beginning in 1941. But at the time of this photo, Melvin was 18 years old, born on June 23, 1916. He lived with his parents (Alvin Ray and Icephenia Grupp Beckett) in Macon, Macon county, Illinois. He was the oldest child, with 2 younger sisters and 3 younger brothers.

The whole family was born in Illinois, including his parents. His father, Alvin, worked as a farm laborer and a Railroad carpenter. Melvin distinguished himself in Macon through the Post Office, serving ultimately at Post Master. Thanks to his obituary we know he married in 1947 and had children and grandchildren to surround him.

Melvin died in November of 2004 in Macon and is buried there as well. More surprisingly his mother, Icephenia Beckett, was born in 1894 and died in 1995. She lived to be 100 years old! Her obituary states that she married in 1915 at about age 20 and was preceded in death by her husband in 1975. What amazing changes she must have seen in her life! I wish I had a photo of her to go along with Melvin.

William Chynoweth, if only ALL the obituaries were this helpful!

William Chynoweth, one of the 10 in the 1935 class of Macon High School in Macon, Illinois. From his obituary in 2006:

William was born Oct. 2, 1917, in Macon, the son of Ray and Irene Chynoweth. He received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1940 from the University of Missouri. Bill was a member of the Army Air Corps serving the Pacific Theater in World War II as squadron flight engineer to the 879th Bomb Wing. During his service, he was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. Bill attended the University of Illinois where he received his master of science in electrical engineering. After receiving his degree, he lived in Chicago, where he met Ruth Oakes of Summit, N.J. They soon married and, in their 52 years together, raised four children. During his career as an electrical engineer, he was instrumental in developing new technology for General Electric and Honeywell and was directly responsible for three patents. His sharp and inquisitive mind, his continual spirit of giving and his quiet, nurturing soul have been a help and inspiration to his family and friends. He was a resident of Good Samaritan Village and formerly lived in Fort Collins, Colo.

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

William R. Chynoweth, 1935 Macon High School, Illinois

I was going to write a full article on William, but his obituary is so complete it seemed redundant! Such rich genealogy detail in an obituary. Here’s an interesting tidbit though: if it weren’t for the 1940 census stating where someone lived in 1935 (the year of this photo) I may not have found him at all! William and his family moved around a lot. Luckily the lived in Macon, Illinois in 1935, because by 1940 they were in Columbia, Boone, Missouri where his father Ray was a traveling Salesman. And travel he did.

William’s youngest sister Virginia was born in South Dakota in 1931, where the family was registered in the 1930 census as well. They has been in Macon before in 1920. Ray was born in Arkansas. And, as you can see from the obit, William eventually resided in Colorado.

I hope this photo makes it’s way to willing descendants.