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Howard Benjamin Parshley

How about this little cutie? In excellent condition mounted in a protective folder, it is identified as Howard Benjamin Parshley at 8 months old.

Howard Benjamin Parshley crop

Howard Benjamin Parshley

The photo was taken in New Haven, Connecticut. Howard was born in West Haven, Connecticut on 5 April 1923 to Edward R. Parshley, who was a mechanical inspector for the railroad and his wife Laura (Newson) who was born in Prince Edward Island Canada – she was the youngest of 15 children. Howard died 6 February 2010 in Alabama and is buried in Dogwood Trails Memorial Gardens in Oxford, Alabama.

If you are close family and would like to have the photo sent to you at no charge, please contact me.

Alida Bisco? I think not.

Alida Bisco

I rescued this photo from an antique shop. It is identified on the back as Alida Bisco. I set out to research Alida Bisco to see if I could get the photo returned to a family member. I found Alida, living in Dudley, Massachusetts, born in October of 1850 in Connecticut. Alida appears in every available census from 1860 through 1930 and then appears in the Massachusetts Death Index in 1938. It appears that Alida never married. The problem is that every record lists Alida as a woman. Do you think this is a picture of Alida? I think not. Perhaps it is her brother Alton Bisco, son of Jacob and Emeline Bisco, who was born in 1857. We may never know. I hope someone from the family discovers this post and can clear up this mystery.

Laura Barrett – A Photograph Discovered


This cabinet card, taken about 1891, is identified as Laura Barrett age 19. A little research uncovers that Laura was born in July 1872 in Ashford, Connecticut the daughter of George G. Barrett and Marilla Kidder.

She married Marvin W. Fisk on 5 November 1892 in Warrenville, Connecticut. He was born in Stafford Springs, CT in August 1867, the son of John M. Fisk and Jane Prouty.

The couple had two children neither of which lived to adulthood: Wilbur born July 1896 and Earl born Nov 1898. Sadly, Earl died on 8 December 1901 at age 3 of Diphtheria and paralysis of the heart. Wilbur died 28 February 1902 of Scarlet Fever and heart failure at the age of 5. It appears that the couple had no other children.

Perhaps her old photograph turned up in an antique shop in Townsend, Massachusetts, because she left no descendants. I hope a niece, nephew or cousin would like to have her photograph returned to the family. If so, please contact me!

Laura Barrett front

Laura Barrett back

Friday’s Faces From the Past – William L. Jones

William Jones 001

This tintype is identified as “William L. Jones, etc.” Thank you VERY much for THAT identification! Who ARE these people? I did a little research (okay – a lot of research). Tintypes were created between about 1855 and 1900, peaking in popularity between 1861 and 1871. William L. Jones was born in April 1836 in Weld, Maine to Jacob Jones and Almira Jenkins. He served in the Civil War enlisting in Company D, Massachusetts 22nd Infantry Regiment on 06 Sep 1861 and mustered out on 17 Oct 1864 at Boston, MA. William was married, for the first time at age 39, on 4 May 1875 to Sarah A. (Irving) Russell, a widow who was ten years his junior. It was her second marriage having married for the first time at age 20, but widowed by the time she was 28. It is perhaps her seated beside him in this photo. She died a little over 3 years after their marriage of tuberculosis, so neither of the young men pictured are his children. Sarah and her first husband had two children: a daughter named Addie who was born in January of 1867 and a son, Harry born about 1868. If the woman is Sarah, the latest this photo could have been taken is 1878 when she died. Her children from her first marriage would have been 10 and 11 years old. Neither of the younger people pictured match that age and gender. In 1880, 14 year old Addie lived with her stepfather. I have been able to rule out that Addie is the woman seated beside William Jones – I have several photographs of her as a younger woman – this woman is not her. Who are these people connected to William L. Jones? Disappointingly, we may never know. But don’t you just love the impish look on his face?

It does not appear that William Jones had any children of his own. However, there may be hope that there are relatives who would like to have the photo. William had siblings, in fact, quite a few siblings: George born about 1835, Cordelia born about 1840, Sarah born about 1841, Luther born about 1843, Charles born about 1845, Oren born about 1847, Ellen born about 1848, Jacob born about 1852 and Sophronia born about 1854. I am hoping that one of their descendants would like to have the photo.

Please contact me if you are a relative and would like to have the photo.

William Jones 002

The Winchester Sisters

Louise and Mary Winchester

I absolutely adore this carte de visite. The worried look on the little girls’ faces explains why they cling to each other. So sweet, sisterly love. Protective love. It appears that protective love continued throughout their lives. Read on.

I had a little trouble identifying them at first. To me the back read May Morton Winchester and Lois or Lorie Walker Winchester. It turns out May was often called Mary in records and her sister was Louise Walker Winchester. Both were born in Eastport, Maine to Andrew Morton Winchester and Louise Loud, Mary born 26 November 1869 and Louise born 30 August 1871.

Louise and Mary Winchester verso

It appears that the two sisters lived together all of their lives. Mary was the oldest of the three children who survived to adulthood, followed by Louise and Walter (there was a 4th child who died young). The family lived in Eastport, Maine in 1870, but by 1880 the family had moved 245 miles south to Portland, Maine. About 1892, Mary married J.Wesley Benner and she and her husband continued to live with her parents (and her sister Louise and brother Walter). By 1900 the family had once again moved south, this time to Boston. Note that by this time 26 year old son Walter, had become a dentist and 30 year old Mary was a healer/practitioner in the Christian Science Church, 28 year old Louise had no profession. The three children and Mary’s spouse continued to live with her parents, Andrew and Louise. By 1910, the children’s mother had died and Louise, age 38, and Walter, age 35, were both unmarried. Louise (a late bloomer) had now become a bookkeeper in a dentist office (perhaps her brother’s office?) Mary had been married for 18 years but had no children. By 1920, Mary was a widow, working as a librarian in a reading room (Christian Scientist). By 1930 the three siblings were still living together in the same house, their father Andrew had passed away. It appears that neither Louise nor Walter had ever married. And Mary had no children.

I am hoping that a cousin comes forward who would like to have the photograph.


Herbert L. Converse

Herbert Converse

This cabinet card identified as Herbert L. Converse was taken by Partridge of Boston, dated September 1885. Herbert Lewis Converse was born 15 September 1882 in Dorchester, Mass. His parents were Herbert and Virginia Leroy Lewis Converse. His father, Herbert Brooks Converse, was a realtor in Boston, who was the son of Benjamin B. Converse and Hannah Elizabeth Brooks, born in Boston on 29 December 1852.

Herbert was a salesman for a battery company who married later in life at the age of 35. His wife was Isabelle, who was born about 1886. Herbert and his wife Isabelle had a son, Herbert Ware Converse, born about 1927, who married Ruth Janet Batchelder on 21 October 1951. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer R. Batchelder of Reading, Massachusetts. They also had a daughter named Virginia born about 1925. The family lived in the house that had been occupied by his father and his grandfather at 39 Florence Street, Arlington Heights, Massachusetts – the house in which he grew up!

Herbert L. Converse verso

Any descendants who would like to have the photo? Please contact me!

Mary P. Sawyer

Mary Sawyer

Mary P. Sawyer

Mary Sawyer verso

This curly haired little imp is identified as Mary P. Sawyer. Found in an antique shop in Townsend, Massachusetts, the photo was taken in Illinois. A little research reveals that Mary P. Sawyer was born about 1868, to Hannah M. Peabody and John Sawyer. Her father was a clergyman who was born in Illinois. So how did this picture end up in Massachusetts? Her father died 26 February 1878 when Mary was just 10 years old. It turns out Mary’s mother was born in Massachusetts, and it appears that Mary was born in Massachusetts as well. Although the 1870 census says that Mary was born in Illinois, the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census, as well as her marriage record state that she was born in Massachusetts.  Although Mary and her mother remained in Illinois for a number of years after John’s death, by 1900, Mary and her mother had moved to Los Angeles where 32 year old Mary was working as a vocal teacher and accompanist. Sometime after 1900 Mary and her mother moved back to Massachusetts where Mary finally married Willis Corey on 28 November 1906 in Melrose, Massachusetts. It was a first marriage for both of them and they were both 39 years old.  The marriage record states that Mary was born in Gayhead, Massachusetts. In 1910 Mary and  her husband were still living in Melrose, Mary’s mother, Hannah, was living with them. By 1920 the couple had moved to San Diego (Hannah had perhaps died). It appears that the couple had no children and Mary died in San Diego in 1940. She is buried in Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita, CA.

Although Mary was an only child and had no children I hope there is a relative who would like to have the picture returned to the family.

Bessie Linda (Moore) Griffin

 Bessie L. Moore

Bessie L. Moore verso

This is a photo I rescued from an antique shop. I am hoping that a descendant would like to have the picture.

Bessie Linda Moore was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on 25 Sep 1881, the daughter of George Clifford Moore (b. March 1849) and Ella J. Gilchrist (b. June 1852).  On 30 January 1906, she married Harry Sherman Griffin, in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. He was born 16 July 1869, son of John M. Griffin and Catherine M. Mcfadden.  He was 12 years older than Bessie. He was born on a farm in Kansas and lived in Lowell in 1899, probably how he met Bessie. At the time of their marriage he worked as a purchasing agent for S.H. Knox and Co. in Buffalo, New York.  It was a first marriage for both of them. They had one child, Elizabeth born 25 December 1906 in New York. The S.H. Knox Company, founded by Seymour Knox, grew to over 100 five and dime stores before Knox merged his business with his first cousins, Frank Winfield Woolworth and Charles Woolworth, becoming the F.W. Woolworth chain.

A woman of wealth and leisure, she was part of a delegation of National League of Women Voters who called on President Hoover in 1929 promising their support of him. They urged him to encourage passage of a bill in Congress which would provide renewed federal appropriations to the program for aid to maternity and infancy care. In 1922 she travelled to Havana, Cuba with her brother. Bessie died 24 April 1923 in New York at the young age of 41. She is buried in Lowell Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Her husband, Harry, died 17 Nov 1932. He was a Mason in the Massachusetts Ancient York Lodge and travelled all over the world – sometimes taking his daughter Elizabeth with him.

Bessie’s father, George C. Moore, was a wealthy woolen manufacturer who took over the reins of his father’s business, George C. Moore and Co’s Wool Scouring Mill located in North Chelmsford. Founded in 1877, it was the largest mill in North Chelmsford and grew to international importance, later to become the Silesia Worsted Co. before it was sold to the United States Worsted Company for $3 million.

George Clifford Moore ~ photo owned by Bill Johnston and used with his permission

Major Simon Willard Descendants

This group of photos started with Grandma Willard. Born Mary Ann Mason in 1831, she married Solon Willard who was the 5th great grandson of Major Simon Willard, who has also my ancestor – my 9th great grandfather. Simon Willard’s life and career are well documented from the early days of this country in the Willard Memoir. A plaque in his honor stands in the center of Concord, Massachusetts.  Mary Ann and Solon had five children – two of whom are shown below, Eva and Emery.

Mary Ann (Mason) Willard

Mary Ann (Mason) Willard

Eva A. Willard 1_20151004_0001

Eva A. Willard 1857-1915

Eva A. Willard Marshall_20151004_0001

Eva A. (Willard) Marshall

Emery Mason Willard 1855-1913

Emery Mason Willard 1855-1913

Emery Mason Willard and his wife Nellie Morse Coombs had three children, two of whom are shown below, Mabel and Arthur.

Mabel Vaughan Willard 1889-1960

Mabel Vaughan Willard 1889-1960

Arthur Emery Willard 1887-1948

Arthur Emery Willard 1887-1948

 I purchased this collection of family cabinet cards at a flea market in Central Massachusetts. Included in the grouping was a photo of  Lizzie Atwood Willard who was the wife of Everard C. Willard (brother of Emery and Eva).

Lizzie Atwood Willard wife of Everard C. Willard

Lizzie Atwood Willard
wife of Everard C. Willard

Although I am distantly related to these people (7th or 8th cousins at best) I would like to see the group go to a family member more closely related who is willing to take on the responsibility of preserving these 100+ year old photos. I have put them up on Ebay with a reserve of what I paid for the group. See the listing here:

A Bucket Full of Fun

This little cutie is identified as Dorothy Darling. She was born on 24 May 1899 in Ipswich, Massachusetts to Edward L. Darling and Mabel L. Barker. She was their only child. Her father was a photographer and no doubt snapped this photo of his darling little Dorothy in November of 1899. It won a prize from the Boston Daily Post and was on the front page of the paper titled “Bucket Full of Fun.” She married Howard MacCharles and appears to have only one child named Priscilla, born about 1931. Dorothy died July 20, 1985 and is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Priscilla married M. Henry Rice, Jr. in 1953. Any descendants out there?

Dorothy Darling

Dorothy Darling verso