Peekskill, New York 1934: A gem of a 5th grade class

Fifth grade class of McKinley School in Peekskill, NY 1934

Fifth grade class of McKinley School in Peekskill, NY 1934

What a wonderful photo this class makes. This is the 1934 Fifth grade class of McKinley School in Peekskill, New York. I love the way the individual pictures are arranged and the background – they really do look like little angels!

I’ve randomly chosen one of these youngsters to research. His name is Joseph Palmiotto (2nd row from bottom in the middle). Joseph was born in New York in 1923 to Italian immigrant parents. He would be about 10 in this photo. Pascuale and Philomena Palmiotto (that’s a mouthful) likely married in New York. Pascuale came over in 1911 and Philomena in 1921 – according to the 1930 census of Peekskill. Pascuale was a yeast maker. I can only imagine the yummy pizzas in that household!

Joseph Palmiotto, age 10Joseph was their first born of eight children – at least that’s all they had had by 1940. He died in New Jersey in 2003, just a few days after his 80th birthday. His parents are buried in Assumption Cemetery in West Chester County, NY along with several siblings. But Joseph is not there.

That’s about all I’ve discovered in my quick search on Joseph. I hope to find a family who would enjoy seeing him as a spry 10 year old!

Wrapping up the boys of Adams High School, New York, 1941

It’s been a crazy fun time these past 10 days, and because of that my blogging has suffered greatly. To make up for lost time I’m going to research four young gents in this post. This information will wrap up all the boys of the 1941 class of Adams High School in Adams, New York. They are, in order of appearance: David Woodall, Francis Murray, Edwin Nicholas, and Charles Brown.

David Woodall was born in New York in 1923. Adams was his home from at least 1925 to 1940 but the household shifted. In 1925 David lived with parents Ira Woodall and Mary Abbey, siblings and an aunt; down the street from Ira’s parents. In 1930 the family had moved in with grandfather John Woodall. It was a large household. John (the grandfather) was head. His daughter Alma and her son lived with him as well as son Ira and his 6, including David. No in-laws listed (Alma’s husband or Ira’s wife). Ira was the only household member listed as having a job; he was an electrician. Hard times in 1930!

By 1940 the household had shrunk. Aunt Alma Nutting was now the head. She ran boarding house. Four Woodall children lived with her, 2 nieces and another nephew and Alma’s son. The oldest niece, Barbara Woodall at 18, worked as a maid in a private house. The oldest nephew, William at 21, was a chauffeur for a publishing company. David was in his 3rd year of high school. I don’t know if David ever married or had children. I hope to find some trees bearing his name to pass the photo onto.

Francis Murray – unfortunately there are far too many Francis Murray’s in the area to successfully identify this young man. Hopefully someone will recognize the photo (even though it’s a little on the fuzzy side).

Edwin Nichols was born in New York in 1924 to Raymond & Hattie Nichols. In 1925, one year old Edwin lived with his parents and several boarders in Wilna, Jefferson Co., New York. His father was a farm laborer and his mother a house laborer. In 1930 and 1940 the family lived in other towns near Adams. Lorraine in 1930, with the addition of a sister. His father was still farming. By 1940 the family had really expanded with the addition of 4 children. They lived in Worth, New York at the time. He married Alice Hobbs in 1945.

Edwin died on March 11, 2002 and is buried in Lorraine where he likely spent all his adult life. At the time of his death, he had 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. What a rich life! According to his obituary,

Mr. Nichols bought his family’s farm in 1955 and operated it until 1987, when he retired from farming. Earlier in his working career, he had been a mechanic for 10 years at C.N. Snyder & Sons, Adams, and for two years for R.H. Ennis, Burrville. He had done custom spraying for farmers in the area and was town of Worth highway superintendent for 32 years, retiring in January.

Charles Brown has a very common name, and while I’m not 100% certain on the ID, I’m fairly confident this is our man. He was the son of Walter and Bertha Brown, born in New York in 1924. The family lived in Lyme, Jefferson county, New York from 1925-1940 at least. In 1925, father Walter was a farmer originally from Canada. They had 11 children, Charles was the youngest. The oldest, son Claude, was 23! The family looked much the same in 1930, but several children had left home. And in 1940, Charles is one of 3 children still at home, which was still Lyme. Bertha was head of household, so likely that Walter had died by this point.

Charles Thurston Brown, I believe his full name was, died in 1988 in Hawaii. His parents, and many siblings are buried in Three Mile Bay Cemetery in Jefferson County. It’s possible that Charles joined the war effort and ended up in the Pacific, but I haven’t been able to confirm that.

James Whelan

James Whelan #114

James Whelan, another Westbrook Academy student from 1925, was born in New York in 1908. His parents were Richard and Catherine/Katherine Whelan. The family lived in Olean, New York in 1910, 1920, and 1925 according to the census records. For some reason Mr. Whelan (Richard) didn’t live with the family in 1925, but appears in all other census. In 1930 they had moved to Buffalo. James had about 6 or 7 siblings – including a pair of twins on the end (named Mary & Joseph!)

Father Richard was from Ireland and worked as a machinist in a steel company. In 1930 James was a clerk in the steel industry as well. There are several James Whelan’s in NY in 1940 both born in 1908 one married to Elizabeth with 2 kids, working as an accountant, one married to Geraldine with no children – not sure which one is the right one, but I’m sure his family does.

Hope to reconnect James with some descendants!

“Our daughter Annie”

Annie Pihlasky, New York

This one brought out the researcher in me. I found a photograph of an adorable baby girl with a hand written note on the back. The note reads (exactly):

“This is the picture of my our daughter Annie and if Goldie will send me the picture of her baby I will send her one two. Best regards form all. Harry & Sadie Pihalski. Your nephew & neice”

The photo of little Annie was taken by H. Berger on Avenue B in New York. Harry, Sadie and Annie actually weren’t too hard to find despite the fact that the last name Pihalsky never appears in documents – but many variations do.

Harry and Sadie were both born about 1890 in Russia. Harry’s parents appear to be Meyer & Rachel Pollsky (I’m sure that’s not spelled correctly). Annie was their first child, born in 1914 in New York. According to census records Harry & Sadie Pialsky/Piulsky/Peolsky lived in New York, New York in 1925, in Brooklyn, NY in 1930, and in Bronx, NY in 1940. They had other children, Jack (1916), Rose (1919), and Leo/Louis (1922).

The 1930 census is particularly wonderful – Harry was the manager of a shoe store. The couple had married at age 21 (about 1911) – both of them. They spoke Yiddish at home. As did almost everyone on that page of the census record; clearly they lived in a Russian immigrant neighborhood. Annie, 17 at the time, is an office stenographer. By 1940, Annie (still living at home) was a typist at a book publisher; her father still worked in shoes. Sister Rose was worked as a beautician. Interesting that neither of the brothers worked – perhaps they were in school.

This is such a wonderful picture and note that I certainly hope to find some family member who can cherish it.

Freddy B. Steves

Freddy B. Steves, 1 year and 1 week

This is a fabulous little tin type of Freddy B. Steves, who, according to the back of the photo, is 1 year and 1 week old and was taken on May 25, 1868 in New York. That’s some great information!

Only one Fred B. Steves shows up in the documentation from New York born around 1867 (one year before the photo). Hopefully, it’s the same one! Fred B. Steves appeared to be the only son of Oliver and Aurelia or Lucy Steves. In 1870, Freddy and family live in Lansingburgh, Rensselaer, New York with an Eliza Brown who was 56 – likely Aurelia/Lucy’s mother. By 1880, the family had moved to Trenton, New Jersey.

Unfortunately, by 1885, at age 18 a Fred B. Steves died in Trenton, NJ of heart disease. There’s more evidence of his death than his life. He was buried in Oliver P. Steves lot. A very sad end to such a cute little boy. All the more reason to continue to promote his life!