Travel Camping 1926

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Week 39 – Map it Out

My 2nd great uncle, Ralph Chesley Berry (1887-1966), wrote a travel journal in Family Camping Magazine about a cross country camping trip that he, his wife Millicent, daughter Dorothy, Dorothy’s boyfriend and a family named The Smiths made.  They drove from Craigs Landing OH to San Bernardino, CA with a caravan of three cars, and only one book of strip maps between them.  It’s an entertaining story – enjoy!!

family-camping1family-camping2family-camping3family-camping4family-camping5family-camping6family-camping7family-camping8

 

 

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A Move Across the Country and Back Again

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Week 37 – Mistake

When my second great grandfather moved to California to help rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake, his wife chose to pack up the family and move to be with him.  James, Marion and their four children lived in Massachusetts, so packing up the family and moving across the country took much time and effort.

However, this was the not the first time he left his family to go a large construction project.  I have been told that he helped build the housing for the workers who would later build the Panama Canal.  If that was the case, he was likely gone during 1903 and/or 1904.  Marion would have been home with a newborn and three older children.

So when James said he was headed west, Marion said they were all headed west.  James went first and began not only the work of rebuilding but also finding a home nearby for the family.  Their Massachusetts home was a rented house, so they didn’t need to sell the house, just sell extra belongings and then pack what they would need to move.  Of course that trip was likely made by railway.  My research leads me to believe they would have taken a train from Boston to Chicago and then from Chicago to Seattle and then from Seattle to San Francisco/Oakland.  The trip would have taken more than a few days.

The earthquake occurred on April 18, and by midsummer, there were plenty of craftsmen at work.  The average wage for a carpenter was $1.76/day, but in San Francisco the carpenters were making $5 a day.  Lumber came in by the ship and trainload; the redwood and Douglas fir forests of the North Coast were cut down to rebuild the new San Francisco.

By June of 1906 the family arrived in Northern California.  The climate is quite different from the Northeast, and I’m not sure how prepared Marion was for that.  Temperatures year round average between high 50’s to low 70’s.  That’s quite different from what she was used to.  December through April is the ‘rainy season’, where temperatures hover around 60 degrees and it is damp and gloomy.  Family lore says that Marion didn’t like the rainy weather and the family moved back soon after.  I don’t know that’s the true reason but I do know that by 1910 they were back in Waltham MA and James was working as a carpenter.

Some people might call it a mistake to move the family out west.  I prefer to think of it as an adventure.  I am sure they had tales to tell about the sights they saw and the people they met along the way.

Happy Grandparents Day!

My maternal grandparents (Grandpa and Grandma) were married on May 30, 1935 in Acton MA.
Alfred Leslie Harris 1943(1)
Alfred Leslie Harris
Born April 4, 1910 in Acton, MA
Died March 28, 1963 in Lakeville MA

HARRIS, Hope and g-grandkids

Hope Ellen (Turner) Harris
Born May 30, 1913 in Waltham, MA
Died January 19, 1985 in Middleboro, MA

 

 

My paternal grandparents (Morfar and Nana) were married on April 18, 1919 in Brockton MA.

Scan 10Gustaf Harry Thorell

Born December 14, 1889 in Brockton MA

Died February 12, 1955 in Brockton MA

 

 

Scan 34Astrea Oskara Emannuela (Thornberg) Thorell

Born December 1, 1897 in Goteborg Sweden
Died November 7, 1979 in Brockton MA

Hope E. Turner, Acton High School

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Week 36 – School Days

Hope Ellen Turner, my maternal grandmother, graduated from Acton High School (Acton, MA) in 1931. Here is a picture of the graduating class, and an enhanced photo of her.  She is standing third from the right, in the upper row.

Here is the Acton Concord Enterprise, June 17, 1931 article about the graduation exercises.

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Zooming in on the Class Statistics shows that she was the ‘faculty pet’.

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When I look at this picture of Grandma, I can see the resemblance of so many generations of our family.

 

 

 

 

Edith H. Carbone, Librarian

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Week 35 – At work

When you think of laboring at work, you don’t often think of librarians. However, in addition to being a librarian my great Aunt Edith was a Library Trustee, a president of the Women’s Club, a member of the Maynard Garden Club, Emerson Hospital Auxiliary, Walden Guidance Association and Treasurer of the Emerson Hospital Board.

She had been a Library Trustee for seven years when the Maynard Public Library was in need of a head Librarian. Aunt Edith resigned from her Trustee position to become the Maynard Librarian. While she was the librarian she enrolled in educational courses in Library science, as well as continuing her other worthy pursuits. Upon her retirement at age 65, the Town of Maynard honored her for her service to the community by proclaiming March 26, 1972 as Edith H. Carbone Day. The proclamation described her as someone who has “constantly striven to perfect her competencies as a librarian”.

Carbone, Edith Day

Carbone, Edith_Proclamation

She was surprised when more than 300 townspeople attended her retirement celebration.

aunt edith

My great aunt, Edith Hope (Turner) Carbone was the fourth, and youngest, child of James Nicholas and Marion Hope (Walker) Turner.  Edith was born on March 26, 1907 in Fruitvale California.  At the time of her birth, her brother Ralph was 19, her sister Ruth was 15, Marion 12, and Emma was 4.  The family had recently moved to CA recently to join their father James, who was a carpenter and had moved to California after the 1905 earthquake to help with the rebuilding of San Francisco, chronicled here.  The family returned to Massachusetts within a couple of years and by 1910 they were living in Waltham, MA.  The entire family, along Ralph’s wife and stepson lived together in one home.  James, Ralph and Ruth were employed, and the younger children attended school.  By the time Edith was 12 years old, the family mad moved to Acton MA.  In the 1930 census, Edith’s occupation was a sales lady in a gift shop.

On May 24, 1936 Edith married Walter Epimenio Carbone.  She was 29 and retained her position a sales lady.  He was 27 and although his occupation was listed as an electrician, he had graduated from Northeastern University in 1928 as an electrical engineer, and I assume his position was more of an engineer than an electrician.

By 1940 Aunt Edith and Uncle Walter had purchased their house at 185 Great Rd., Maynard MA and Edith opened her own gift shop just a few steps away from their house.  I remember the house and gift shop on Great Road.  One day when we were visiting Aunt Edith took me for a walk to the gift shop and let me choose an item to take home.  The shop was just like her – neat, orderly and welcoming.

As a true testament to the legacy that Edith and Walter Carbone left the community of Maynard, there is a street named Carbone Circle (This street was constructed on the lot where the house used to sit) and there is a park named for them.

Carbone Park, Maynard MA

On Sept. 23, Boy Scout Troop No. 130 — 23 strong — showed up at Carbone Park, Maynard, to give it a makeover. Troop members removed trash, repainted the sign, cleared the woodland trail and replaced one of the bridges that cross the modest, muddy stream which transverses the park.
The daylong (pizza interrupted) event was organized and managed by Evan Jacobson as his Eagle Scout project. To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Although many options are available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The top three ranks require community service projects. Approximately 5 percent of Boy Scouts reach Eagle Scout.
This was just the latest of several Eagle Scout projects that have benefited Maynard’s trails and conservation land. In 2015, Scouts constructed a 16-foot-long bridge for the Assabet River Trail, accessible from Concord Road and Colbert Avenue. Other past efforts improved ability to walk on the future route of the Assabet River Rail Trail, and also clearing the historic Marble Farm site on the north side of Maynard.
Carbone Park is very much a “pocket park.” Located at the corner of Summer and Florida streets, it is approximately 70-by-100 yards. The front third facing Florida Street is a grassy area with five benches. The back two-thirds are wooded and hilly, with a dirt trail that crosses two short bridges over a muddy stream. The woodland is dominated by maple trees plus a sprinkling of beeches, oaks and a few dying elm trees. The stream is a remnant of a longer creek that once started farther to the north and bisected the land where the ArtSpace building now stands.
Trees at the entrance to the trail sport colorful plastic fringes. This is an art installation “Thistle” by ArtSpace-based artist Catherine Evans. This example of public art is supported by the Maynard Cultural Council. In early spring the park is a good place to spy emerging skunk cabbage — first the alien-looking spathes, followed by the unfurling of green leaves. Farther up the trail there are examples of glacial erratics — rounded boulders left behind by glaciers. One large boulder is spotted with lichen. The park has a bit of an invasive species problem. The Scouts cut a goodly amount of burning bush, which was dominating the undergrowth. The woodland closest to the grassed area has some Japanese barberry, Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose. Toward the north border there is some poison ivy, but this is a native hazard, not a foreign one.
Carbone Park was named after Walter E. Carbone, a life-long resident of Maynard, and according to the Maynard High School yearbook from 1927, “Boy who has done most for the class.” The town’s Conservation Commission was founded in 1967. Walter, who had previously served on the Planning Board, was one of the original appointees to ConsCom, and remained a member until his death in 1993. The park was so-named in 1987 to honor Walter’s 20 years service. However, the town did not get around to erecting a sign until 2005. Twelve years later the sign was showing its age, so the Scouts included repainting the sign as part of their makeover.
Walter is not the only Carbone who triggers memories in longtime residents. Edith, his wife, served Maynard as librarian from 1953 to 1972. She was in this position in 1962 when the library got its own building (now the police station). For many, many years, Uncle Pete Carbone’s Twin Tree Cafe prospered on Powder Mill Road. It was well known regionally for Italian-American food, with seafood a specialty. Pete was actually Vito A. “Pete” Carbone. And it appears he was not a close relative of Walter. Anyway, in 1965 the business was sold to Pete’s chef, John Alphonse Sr., in time going to John Alphonse Jr., always named Alphonse’s Powder Mill Restaurant. Today, the building is home to the Maynard Elks, Lodge No. 1568.
Fifty of David Mark’s 2012-14 columns were published in the book “Hidden History of Maynard.” Subsequent columns are posted at maynardlifeoutdoors.com.

Wicked Local Maynard, October 27, 2017

Improving the community they lived in was not work to them, but was a labor of love for Edith and Walter Carbone.

 

 

 

Elsa’s Diary

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Week 23 – Dear Diary

This is a work of fiction. It is not Elsa’s actual diary, but it is what I presume she would have written. I am fascinated by this story and often think about their journey.

June 21, 1910
Amerika!!  Can you imagine!  Tomorrow we will arrive in a new country!  The children wore themselves out today and are sleeping soundly. But I am so excited I cannot sleep!

What a busy and thrilling few months it has been.  I remember every word of the conversation with Aunt Ebba the day we talked about making this journey.  Momma was so mad!  She had sent me to Aunt Ebba’s house for a few days to bring them some food and to help with the children.    Momma said Aunt Ebbe and Uncle Victor did the best they could, but they were overwhelmed with five little children and couldn’t always afford to put food on the table.  It was so sad to go there and see how hungry those five little ones were. I knew my visit would help to lighten their spirits.

One evening while I was there we were talking about how at ease I was with the children. I said that having helped Momma raise four younger ones at home had taught me how.  Aunt Ebba then told me that Vivi and James were going to be adopted by Aunt Ebba’s sister and brother-in-law. They didn’t have any children of their own and wanted to help by adopting the oldest two.  Aunt Ebba cried and said it broke her heart to do it, but she knew it would help them all have a better life.  She said the hardest part of this was that her sister lived in the US and she wasn’t sure if she would ever see the children again.

“How will the children get there” I asked.  “Well, they must go by ship but they can’t go alone.  My sister has sent me money for the children’s fare and enough for a caretaker to travel with them. I have an idea that I want to talk to you about” she said.  “You are very good with them and they love you as you do them.  I want you to take them to America. You would be the adult along the way, and my sister will meet the ship at Ellis Island.  After that, you could live with them and help with the children and the housekeeping.”

I was speechless.  Was she really asking me to leave my family and friends to move to a strange, wonderful country?  My thoughts ran wild.

I don’t know anyone in the United States.  I have never even met by Aunt Rosa and Uncle Howard. But I would be staying with my family, and I would be with Vivi and James.

I don’t speak the language.  But Aunt Rosa speaks both Swedish and English.  She would need to teach the children how to read, write and speak English, so I could learn at the same time.
How could I leave Mama and Papa with the four children?  The children are growing quickly. Rosa was now 14, Astrea was 13, Arnold was 11 and Lennart was 9.  They were hardly babies anymore.  The girls were old enough to help Mama with everything.

“I will do it”  I said.  “But first we must talk to Mama and Papa.”
Mama was skogstokig!!  “I cannot believe you spoke with Elsa before asking me! You are not only sending your babies away and now you want to send mine, too?!?!” Mama, Papa and Aunt Ebba talked for a long time that night and finally agreed to it.

It didn’t take long to fill out the papers and purchase the tickets. And then we were on our way to board the ship. We boarded the ship and said our tearful goodbyes to Mama, Papa, Aunt Ebba and Uncle Victor. The children cried themselves to sleep that first night. Actually, for a few nights. But we are together and have had some fun adventures on this crossing. After spending more than a month in charge of them I feel more like their mother than their cousin.

America!! The sky is beginning to brighten and soon we will be docking in New York and entering Ellis Island. I guess I have stayed awake all night thinking about what will be. When the children awake we will dress in our fine clothes and have our picture taken on the ship before we arrive in New York. And soon, the next part of our adventure begins!
_____
I believe the picture below is of James, Rosa and Vivi and was taken while they were aboard ship.  Coincidentally, this journey occured 119 years ago this week.

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*This is a re-post.  I somehow deleted this from my WordPress site and only through the kindness of my cousin Crister does this post still exist.  I did not have it backed up or saved anywhere else, but fortunately he did.  Thanks again!!

 

Norumbega Tower

This post is part of 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Week 26 – Legend

A.D. 1000 A.D. 1889
NORUMBEGA
CITY·COUNTRY·FORT·RIVER

NORUMBEGA = NOR MBEGA
INDIAN UTTERANGE OF NORBEGA THE ANCIENT FORM
OF NORVEGA·NORWAY·TO WHICH THE
REGION OF VINLAND WAS SUBJECT
CITY
AT, AND NEAR WATERTOWN
WHERE REMAIN TO-DAY
DOCKS·WHARVES·WALLS·DAMS·BASINS·
COUNTRY
EXTENDING FROM RHODE ISLAND TO THE ST. LAWRENCE
FIRST SEEN BY BJARNI HERJULFSON 985 A.D.
LANDFALL OF LEIF ERIKSON ON CAPE COD 1000 A.D.
NORSE CANALS·DAMS·WALLS·PAVEMENTS·
FORTS·TERRACED PLACES OF ASSEMBLY REMAIN TO-DAY
FORT
AT BASE OF TOWER AND REGION ABOUT
WAS OCCUPIED BY THE BRETON FRENCH IN THE
15TH 16TH AND 17TH CENTURIES
RIVER
THE CHARLES
DISCOVERED BY ··············
LEIF ERIKSON·1000 A.D.
EXPLORED BY ··············
THORWALD LEIF’S BROTHER·1003 A.D.
COLONIZED BY ··············
THORFINN KARLSEFNI·1007 A.D.
FIRST BISHOP ··············
ERIK GNUPSON·1121 A.D.
INDUSTRIES FOR 350 YEARS
MASUR·WOOD [BURRS]·FISH·FURS·AGRICULTURE·
LATEST NORSE SHIP RETURNED TO ICELAND IN 1347.

This plaque is on the side of the Norumbega Tower in Weston, MA.

Norumbega3“On the Tablet of the Tower one may read that Norumbega was the name of a fort at the base of the Tower, of the river flowing past us, of a city on its banks, and of a country that reaches from Long Island Sound to the St. Lawrence; and that memorials of the people who occupied the country are strewn throughout this vast region.  And now to be still more specific, I may say that there is not a square mile of the basin of the Charles that does not contain incontestable traces of these people, which traces will presently be as obvious to others as they are now to me.”

Eben Norton Horsford
A communication to the President and Council of the American Geographical Society at their Special Session in Watertown, November 21, 1889
Norumbega1

Norumbega Tower, built in 1889 to commemorate the spot where Lief Ericsson discovered  North America in 1000AD, still stands at the junction of Stony Brook and the Charles River on land that was owned by my ancestors, the Kingsbury family.

In the late 1880’s Professor Eben Norton Horsford, a professor of chemistry at Harvard, leif_statue1was very interested in exploring Vinland settlements in several towns along the Charles. Towards the end of his career, Horsford met Ole Bull, a Norwegian violinist and nationalist who made regular visits to America and shared his interest.  Together, they worked to raise funds to fulfill Bull’s dream: a statue of Leif in America. The dream was not realized until after Bull’s death, but Horsford saw the project through to its completion and this statue was commissioned and placed on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

Horsford then decided to search for the location of the Vínland settlement. He used the research methods that had served him so well in his chemical researches. Using the Vínland sagas as his source, he hypothesized the location of Leif’s settlement in Vínland.  To test his hypothesis, Horsford started digging at the spot. Horsford found a mishmash of stones and proclaimed the site to be that of Leif’s home.

leifur_stoneHorsford placed this stone tablet to mark the location of Leif’s house. (The tablet is located at the junction of Memorial Drive and Gerry’s Landing Road in Cambridge, between the traffic light at the intersection and the Mt. Auburn Hospital.)

Horsford continued his research, finding evidence of Norse era dams, canals, piers, and settlements in Watertown, and a Norse era fortification in Waltham. Horsford oversaw the re-creation of the fortification: a stone tower in the Norumbega region of the Charles River.

In 1890, Horsford claimed that he found Norumbega itself on the banks of the Charles near Weston. Horsford described finding the fort of Norumbega: “When I had eliminated every doubt of the locality that I could find, I drove with a friend through a region I had never visited, of a topography of which I knew nothing, nine miles away, directly to the remains of the fort…I had predicted the finding of Fort Norumbega at a particular spot. I went to the spot and found it. No test of the genuineness of scientific deduction is regarded as superior to this.”   Horsford believed there was an extensive series of North American settlements, with a population of nearly 10,000 people, which thrived for three centuries. He proposed that the economic basis for the settlements was mazer wood, the round burls that grow on the sides of trees. These burls are valuable for the ease with which they can be worked into bowls, cups, and similar round objects. Horsford hypothesized that the burls were harvested in the forests and floated down to the Charles in canals, for which he claimed to have physical evidence.

Horsford wrote extensively about his hypotheses. After his death, his daughter continued publicizing and writing about his work. Articles appeared in popular publications as diverse as National Geographic and Popular Science Monthly. Popular travel books of the day guided tourists to the important Norse sites described by Horsford along the banks of the Charles River.

In the early 1960’s, my 2nd Great Uncle Ralph C. Berry wrote about the tower in his memoirs:

The Charles was only a small one as rivers go, but it had a most interesting history antedating even Columbus discovery of America by almost five hundred years.  Only a short way from our home, by the junction of Stony Brook and the Charles River, stands a seventy-foot tower, circular, made of rough field stones and boulders, cemented together, with circular stone steps up to an observation platform at the top which overlooks the Charles.  Cut into a marble slab at the base of the tower is an inscription asserting that the Charles River was discovered by Leif Ericsson in 1000AD., explored by his brother Thor in 003AD and was colonized by Thorfinn Karlseine in 1007AD.  The Norsemen harvested, while there, masur wood or sections of large old oak trees containing gnarled burrs or ‘burls’ as they are called in the big trees in California.  These burrs were cured and used in making maces, goblets, bowls, and many articles of value in those days.  The last Norse Ship ‘it says’ returned from the Charles River to Iceland in 1347AD.

This tower was erected by Prof. Been Horsford of Harvard University who spent much time and money to further his belief that the ‘lost’ city of Norumbega searched for by explorers for years stood at this spot along the Charles River.

The tower was erected in 1889 at the spot where Prof. Horsford was sure the main town of Norumbega stood.  It was on land that was owned by the Kingsbury family who were my mother’s ancestors. The stones of which the tower was built were also taken from the Kingsbury land.

Many times through the years I have climbed these stone steps up to the top of this Norumbega tower and gazed at the beautiful view of our river.

The Town of Weston chose Norumbega Tower as the symbol of their 200th Anniversary celebration in 1913.  The town has also produced a video about the tower:

https://archive.org/details/Weston_300_Chronicle_The_History_of_Norumbega_Tower

This is such a great piece of my family history and would be so much better if it were only true.  It is, unfortunately, not the actual landing spot of the Vikings.  Since 1960 scholars have debunked Professor Horsfords theories and generally agree that there is no hard evidence to prove his theory and it is likely that the Vikings landed in Newfoundland, not New England.

For more reading about the unravelling of this legend, visit:

Needham History Center and Museum

The Straight Dope

Scandinavian Agression