Tag Archives: Maternal

William H. Hammersley, Sr. – Profile (with death)

From History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith, Vol. II,
Publ. 1912 – Page 848-850

william-h-hammersley-srIn the death of William H. HAMMERSLEY, Sr., Lake Geneva and vicinity lost one of its most valued citizens. The latter part of his life, covering over forty years, was spent here and during that time he took an active part in the general progress of the county. He belonged to that type of progressive business men who believe in carrying the Golden Rule into their everyday affairs. Always quiet and unostentatious in manner, he nevertheless left a strong impress of his individuality upon all whom he met. He had the happy faculty of seeing the beautiful things of the world, enjoyed nature, loved flowers, appreciated noble traits in mankind and had an optimistic outlook on life, so that to know him was to respect and admire him for his exemplary characteristics.

Mr. HAMMERSLEY was born January 8, 1832, in Hanley, England, and was the son of William S. and Ann (PEDLEY) HAMMERSLEY. His paternal grandfather, Ralph HAMEMRSLEY, died in England when about seventy-five years old. He was a man of strict integrity, a consistent Christian and for many years was a deacon in the Congregational church.

William S. HAMMERSLEY, father of the subject, was a manufacturer of chinaware in England, which business he followed until 1843, in which year he emigrated to America, locating in New York city, where he became an importer of china and earthenware. In 1855 he moved to Flint, Michigan, and retired from business, and now he and his wife are both deceased; they were members of the Presbyterian church. They were the parents of the following children: Ann Jane, widow of Henry C. WALKER, lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan; William H., of this review; Lucilla Oakley is the wife of Edward M. MASON, of Girard, Kansas;
Fannie is the wife of W. B. BUCKINGHAM and lives at Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

William H. HAMMERSLEY, Sr., was twelve years old when his family brought him to the United States. He had attended school in his native land, and soon after coming to New York he began clerking in his father’s store. When he reached manhood he became associated with his father in business and so continued until 1853. On October 6th of that year he was united in marriage with Elizabeth S. SMITH, daughter of Henry and Phoebe Ann (BARKER) SMITH. She was born in Erie county, New York, near Buffalo, and in her early life the family move to New York City, where she lived until her marriage. Her parents had come from Saybrook, Connecticut, to New York state and settled at Butterworth Falls (correction: Buttermilk Falls, now Highland Falls), near West Point, subsequently moving to Erie county, where Mrs. HAMMERSLEY was born.

In 1863 Mr. HAMMERSLEY and family came to Walworth county and lived a year on the farm. He then went to Lake Geneva and went into business as a dealer in drugs, books and stationery. He had a well stocked store and enjoyed a large trade. In later years he also engaged in the floral business, having charge of the Lake Geneva Floral Company. He was very successful as a business man and was known to all with whom he had dealings as a man of the highest integrity.

Politically Mr. HAMMERSLEY was a Republican and he took more than a passing interest in public affairs, and held a number of township offices, such as township clerk, and he was chairman of the board of supervisors.

Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. HAMMERSLEY: Grace C. is the wife of C. D. GILBERT, a grocer of Lake Geneva, and they have one daughter, Lizzie; Charles H., who was a florist in Lake Geneva, married Ida C. GILBERT, which union was without issue, and his death occurred in 1894; William H. married Emma M. SEYMOUR and they have three children, Seymour, Henry and Evelyn; he is in the drug business in Lake Geneva, having succeeded his father.

William H. HAMMERSLEY, Sr. was a Royal Arch Mason, a prominent member and officer of the Congregational church, and an earnest Christian. He was one of the prominent and influential men of the southern part of the county, being a man of steadfast purpose in all the relations of life, whether religious or secular, conscientious and faithful to every trust. He was summoned to his reward on April 14, 1906.

Golden Wedding at Fairfax

Golden Wedding at Fairfax

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel D. Alfred celebrated their golden wedding at their home in Fairfax on Saturday night last. Quite a large number of guests participated in the celebration–mostly old inhabitants of the locality; the guests numbered about forty–and their average ages would be about seventy years old. An excellent supper was served and a thoroughly enjoyable evening spent, six of the seven children of the couple whose semi-centennial was being celebrated were present and took part in it, one only was absent, a married daughter residing in Iowa, whose health was not such as to permit her to be present. Mr. S. D. Alfred was for a long time one of the leading merchants of Fairfax, but has been out of business since 1865. Several valuable souvenirs of the occasion were presented to Mr. and Mrs. Alfred.

The Burlington Free Press
(Burlington, Vermont)
29 Nov 1882, Wed • Main Edition • Page 3


A. S. Alfred, Paper Man, Succumbs

Widely Known Coast Manufacturer Dies Here After Brief Illness

Almon S. Alfred, 85 years of age, of 1500 West Ninth Street, one of the most widely known paper manufacturers and salesmen on the Pacific Coast, died yesterday at his home after a brief illness. He had been a resident of Los Angeles for the past fifteen years, and was prominent in business and civic activities. Mr. Alfred was born in Vermont, where he entered the paper manufacturing business at an early age. For several years he was the personal representative in the United States and foreign countries of one of the largest paper manufacturing concerns in the industry. He leaves two daughters, Alice Alfred of Los Angeles, and Helen L. Alfred of Orange. N. J., and two sons. Clarence and Elbridge Alfred of Orange, N. J. Funeral arrangements have not been completed. The body will be sent to Lake Geneva, Wis., for burial.

The Los Angeles Times
Thursday, April 28, 1932
Page: Page 18

Almon Alfred: “There is a particular charm to the Southwest which grows each time I come here.”

Almon S. Alfred, accompanied by his daughter, is registered at the Hayward from New York City. He is one of the oldest traveling salesmen coming to the Pacific Coast, and has been in Los Angeles annually at this season for twenty years, and with each coming his enjoyment increases. This time he has brought his daughter, and may remain indefinitely. “There is a particular charm to the Southwest which grows each time I come here,” said Mr. Alfred. “It has grown to such proportion that I shall soon retire and come here to make it a permanent home. To me there has been nothing so wonderful in the entire United States as the growth of this city. On each succeeding visit I have been forced to marvel at the building developments. Years ago we looked upon Los Angeles as more or less of a joke, but I am afraid that the joke is all on the doubters.”

The Los Angeles Times
(Los Angeles, California)
23 Jan 1910, Sun • Page 111


The Arrival and Naturalization of Stephen H. Lewis

It looks like Ancestry.com has added new naturalization petitions for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and it just so happened that I did a new search on Stephen H. Lewis and it revealed three new records with some additional information on his arrival from Nova Scotia.

We already knew his birthdate, though this is yet another citation for it: 13 December 1857. Also added additional citations for birth town (Five Islands), birth county (Colchester), and birth province (Nova Scotia), as well as his occupation in Somerville, Building and Carpenter.

He arrived in the port of Boston on 10 April 1883, and on 9 October 1893, he made his Declaration and Intention to become a citizen of the United States, renouncing “forever all allegiance and fidelity” to Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

On 30 December 1901, Stephen H. Lewis “having produced the evidence required by law, took the aforesaid oath and was admitted to become a citizen of the United States of America.” He was living at his longtime residence, 44 Kidder Avenue in West Somerville, Massachusetts. An interesting note is that Edward VII was now the King, following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

Joseph B. Went (51 Hall Ave, Somerville) and George A. Richardson (20 Wesley, Somerville) were the witnesses.




741 Main Street – Hammersley Block

The Hammersley Block is a two-story commercial vernacular building that shares party walls with both of its neighbors. It has a red brick front and is decorated with a pressed metal cornice that features dentils and a sawtooth motif. Above the second story openings are heavy label moldings that suggest the late Italianate style. Openings are filled with single-light sashes. The original storefront of this building was typical of the era: large show windows with transoms, iron columns, and a central entrance. In 1929, though, the building was given a “modern” copper and glass front that has been identified as being from the Brasco Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

The new storefront appears hi a catalog from the Brasco company published in 1927. It features a much deeper central entrance so that the display windows are considerably longer. The storefront has a thin copper framework and low copper aprons under the show windows so that the primary construction material is glass. Above the show windows at the front of the building there is a multi-light transom and between the long show windows there is an arched ceiling. The two entry doors flank a narrow showcase and the entire entrance is topped with a large fanlight. This beautiful storefront is in excellent condition.

The Hammersley Drug Store was one of the most prominent businesses in downtown Lake Geneva. The business began with W. H. Hammersley in 1865, who operated the drug store until 1905, only one year before his death. He was located in the old building on this site, which he replaced in 1885-86. Upon his death, his son, also William H., succeeded him in the drug store. In 1920, his sons, Seymour and Henry, entered the business and operated it until a fourth generation took over, operating the store until the 1980s.

“Forty Years in Business,” Lake Geneva News, 28 September 1905, p. 1; “W. H. Hammersley,” Lake Geneva Herald, 13 April 1906, p. 1; “W. H. Hammersley Associates His Sons With Him,” Lake Geneva News, 8 April 1920, p.l.

The second important and long-time drug store in Lake Geneva was the Hammersley Drug Store. W. H. Hammersley was a native of England who came to the United States hi 1844. He was in business in New York with his father, who imported china and crockery. He remained in this business until 1863, when he came to Lake Geneva. In 1865, he began his drug store business, also selling books and stationery in a small frame building. In 1885-86, Hammersley had a new brick block constructed for his store (741 Main St.) and the business remained in this location for almost 100 years. In 1906, Hammersley’s son, W. H. Jr. took over the business, then passed it on to his sons, Seymour and Henry, who had graduated from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin. During the mid and late twentieth century, a fourth generation of Hammersleys carried on the drug store, affiliating with the Walgreen chain. The Hammersley Drug Store stayed in operation into the 1970s.

The Hammersley Block is one of the best-preserved buildings in the historic district. It still retains its 1929 copper storefront and most of its historic second story details. The Hammersley Drug Store was one of the longest and most popular of Lake Geneva’s retail businesses, and W. H. Hammersley Sr. was a prominent member of the community. Because of its long-time association with the Hammersley Drug Store, the Hammersley Block is historically significant for commerce.


The Oblong

It is fascinating when you come across something–in this case a place–that you had never heard of before. In a death notice, the father’s birthplace was listed as “Oblong,” Mass. — just like that, in quotation marks. And whether it was added at the same time or at some point down the line, it was clarified as the S.W. corner of state.


What the heck?

At first, Google was unhelpful as I searched for an Oblong, Massachusetts. But I started to massage my query, looking at a modern map and seeing Mount Washington as being the town in that corner of Massachusetts. Eventually, I came upon this link that was finally referencing something called the “Oblong.” Love how the blogger starts the post:

I love a good border dispute. (Not a fan of the bad ones of course.) And I really love when the combination of a 200+ year Connecticut border dispute, a great hike, some perambulation fun, multiple geographic extremes, absurdity, a great word like “oblong”, found money, blueberries and upsetting those weirdo genealogy freaks all come together in one CTMQ page…

A page about a 4 foot pillar in the woods.

The pillar he refers to was set in August 28, 1899, in the same location as a stone heap made by the New York-Connecticut Commission of 1731 to mark the northwest corner of the “Oblong.” It all comes down to a border war between New York and Connecticut that ended with Connecticut getting its panhandle, and New York getting the so-called “Oblong.” More from CTMQ and the Connecticut State Library:

So in 1683 the boundary between Connecticut and New York was generally recognized as a line parallel to and twenty miles from the Hudson River north to the Massachusetts line. However, New York, acknowledging most of Connecticut’s settlements in (now) Fairfield County, gave up a claims to a 61,660 acre rectangle east of the Byram River, which became the area sometimes referred to as Connecticut’s “panhandle” or the “handle of the cleaver”. In return, (This would be the Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan bit.)

Connecticut gave up its claims to Rye (no loss there) and ceded to New York a strip of land 580 rods (1.81 miles) wide “equivalent” to the area of the panhandle that extended north from Ridgefield along Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties, New York, to the Massachusetts line. This territory came to be known as “The Oblong”.

As you can imagine, genealogical research for this area is difficult to say the least. Some information may be in Connecticut records, other information may be in New York town or county records, and there are some people and families that either were simply missed or chose to be uncounted. “Lost to the Oblong,” so they say.

As far as Silvanus Jones being from the “Oblong,” that research continues, because I have always been under the assumption he was from the Cape or southeastern Massachusetts.

Samuel D. Alfred – Obituary – Vermont Watchman

ALFRED.–Samuel D. Alfred was born at Springfield, Mass., June 14, 1804, and died at Fairfax May 5, 1889. November 25, 1832, he married Miss Polly Smith, who survives him. His parents died when he was quite young. He learned the cabinet-maker’s trade, which he followed until his marriage, when he went into the mercantile business at Berkshire Center, and later at West Haven. In June, 1842, he moved to Fairfax, where he remained in active business until the spring of 1865, when he sold his business to his son John. He had ten children by his present wife and two by a former marriage. Seven are still living, with nineteen grandchildren, three of whom are married. Mr. Alfred was a very strict man. In business his goods were all marked, and he never varied from the price. The youngest child could be send to his store and was sure to get the goods as cheaply as the parents could. Said one who served a three years’ apprenticeship in the mercantile business with Mr. Alfred. “When boys we used to think that Mr. Alfred was an awful mean man to work for. But I now know that the three years I lived with him were worth more to me than all the rest of my schooling. I feel that to Mr. Alfred I am indebted for all I am.” Every apprentice who served with him has turned out a successful business man. Mr. Alfred knew the value of good credit. In 1857, when everybody was failing, his oldest son was in business in Illinois. In the fall he wrote that he would not come East, as he could not meet his bills. Mr. Alfred wrote his son to send on a list of goods that he wanted, with what money he could raise. He then went to his own creditors in New York, secured an extension, which was readily granted, after buying what goods he wanted. He then went to his sons creditors, paid his bills and ordered his goods, thus giving his son a high rating, which he always maintained. It was a great wonder to the New York merchants how a western man could meet his bills, and they never knew how it was done. The funeral services were held from his late home Thursday, May 9, Rev. Henry Crocker officiating, with remarks by Rev. J. G. Loramer, who said that he came not as a minister but out of respect to one to whom he owed a debt of gratitude for assistance in getting his education. Mr. Alfred will long be remember as a true friend to the right, not only by his family, but by a large circle of friends also.

The Vermont Watchman
22 May 1889, Wednesday
First Edition
Page 1

The_Vermont_Watchman_Wed__May_22__1889_ copy

Cape Cod Lobsterman, Aged 91, Still Lays His Traps Daily

Comfort Hunt Dixon - Boston Globe

Cape Cod Lobsterman, Aged 91, Still Lays His Traps Daily
Boston Daily Globe
September 10, 1922

“In the downhill of life, when I find I’m declining
May my fate no less fortunate be
Than a snug elbow chair can afford for reclining,
And a cot that o’erlooks the wide sea.
John Collins.

The poet who thus anticipated the crowning of “a youth of labor with an age of ease” sang of his three score years and ten. Older by more than a score of years is Comfort Hunt Dixon of Manomet, Cape Cod, but he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the existence of a downhill of life. No snug elbow chair is sought by this vigorous youth of 91; as for the cot overlooking the sea, the mere idea he would laugh to scorn. No less than the sea itself contents his adventurous spirit, and daily he sets forth in his dory to his lobster pots. He is probably the oldest lobsterman on Cape Cod.

Mr. Dixon was born in Belchertown, Mass, in February, 1831, one of a family of 12 children. He went to sea at the age of 20 and had many thrilling adventures in those colorful years when sailormen were “made of iron.” He was shipwrecked off the Louisiana coast and subsisted for many days with his fellows on the wild hogs and other animals shot by the marooned seamen. Later he witnessed the chase of a runaway slave in fever-infected swamps. The slave was pursued by bloodhounds, which sniffed of Mr Dixon and his companions before they were convinced that they were not the desired prey. When the negro was sighted the infuriated master aimed his shotgun at Him. Like Mr. Winkle, the immortal Pickwickian, he erred in his sense of direction, and a fellow seaman of Mr. Dixon was the recipient of a copious charge of buckshot.

Mr Dixon’s life story is a veritable romance of the sea. He has retired from the active career of the mariner, though he still tends his lobster-pots as told above, and is usually rewarded by a good catch. He is remarkably robust, and reads without glasses. He goes frequently to Plymouth to enjoy the moving pictures, and is a familiar and welcome figure on this daily walks about Manomet.

Mr. Dixon has two sons, One, Edward Dixon, served for many years in the regular army, and is a veteran of the Spanish War and of the recent Mexican expedition. The other, Charles A. Dixon, is a member of the coast guard and has been stationed at Manomet Point for 29 years. With the latter and his wife, Mr. Dixon makes his home.

Clustering for more on PEI’s William G. Wright

When William George Wright married Sarah Dennis on 28 December 1848, there were two witnesses to the marriage listed on the marriage record: Isaac Smith, Jr. and James Douglas.

William G Wright Sarah Dennis

As I have written before (and here and here), William Wright was a carpenter or builder in Charlottetown, and there are several historic houses that can be tied directly to him. Proving that the house builder and the ancestor are the same person isn’t at a 100% “fact” yet, but using some cluster research on one of the names of the marriage witnesses moves it that much closer.

Isaac SmithIsaac Smith, Jr. was born in Charlottetown in 1822 to Isaac Smith and Jane Smith. Isaac, the senior, was one of the most prominent builders, contractors and architects for the capitol region of PEI:

Wherever the future Fathers of Confederation looked in the Charlottetown of 1864, they would have been confronted with the work of builder/architect Isaac Smith. They conferred in a legislative building designed by Isaac Smith. On the same square, coming and going from the sessions which conceived the Dominion of Canada, they could observe an Episcopal church designed and built by Isaac Smith, and a round market house constructed by him. They were feted in a Lieutenant Governor’s residence designed and built by Isaac Smith. The very ship carrying the Canadian delegates had been guided into Charlottetown harbour by a lighthouse designed by—Isaac Smith. (Source)

It would only be appropriate to think that Isaac the son would follow in his father’s footsteps, and the fact that William Wright was is the same business also lends itself to the same conclusion that the witness to my ancestor’s wedding was in fact the son of the famous Isaac Smith. Taking it another step, the same magazine article the above quotation was taken from notes that Isaac Smith worked on several of his projects with one Nathan Wright. Finally, both William Wright and Isaac Smith were lay pastors in the Methodist Church. Could this Nathan Wright be my ancestor William’s father? Did the business (and religious and potentially personal) relationship between Isaac and Nathan directly resulted in the friendship of William and Isaac, Jr.? I, for one, would have to answer yes to both questions.

And now that I am thinking about it, how would have my ancestor Stephen H. Lewis–a much accomplished homebuilder in Somerville, Massachusetts, after emigrating from Nova Scotia–have met William’s daughter Laura when he was born and schooled in Five Islands, N.S.? Well, look at this line from his biography:

Mr. Lewis was employed for two years by an uncle at Prince Edward Island


Though proving Nathan and William to be father and son is still on the docket, there is little doubt in my mind that the Wrights who built many of the great structures of 19th century Charlottetown with the more accomplished Smiths are in fact relatives, if not my direct ancestors.