Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday's Faces from the Past: Aunt Ella, Uncle George, Aunt Lillie and Nellie

That's Ella Mae Wilson with her arm around Uncle George B. Hewitt. Ella's cousin, Nellie Mae (Hewitt) Lee is seated in front of them and looks like she's worried they're going to topple onto her. Ella lived with Aunt Lillie, Uncle George and Nellie at 24 Grand Ave., Middletown, New York.

Liiian (Clark) Hewitt with her daughter Nellie Mae (Hewitt) Lee

Aunt Lillie (Clark) Hewitt posed for the camera with her only child, Nellie Mae (Hewitt) Lee.

Nellie Mae (Hewitt) Lee and Lillian (Clark) Hewitt

Nellie and Aunt Lillie were having a little fun 'showing some leg'.

Ella Wilson was my grandmother's sister (Viola Lillian Wilson). Likewise Nellie was  her cousin and George and Lillian Hewitt her Uncle and Aunt.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WORKDAY WEDNESDAY: Grandfather Lewis Penny Doty, Iceman

Ice Cutters in Toronto, Canada, 1890's, Courtesy of

Ice Cutters in Toronto, Canada, 1890’s
Courtesy of

Great Grandfather Lewis Penny Doty began working for the Middletown Ice Company in 1914 when he was about 47 years old driving an ice wagon. He had moved his family within the Middletown city limits from their Wallkill, (Orange Co.) New York home.

Lewis Penny was employed by the Middletown Ice Company until 1925 and perhaps for a few years after. The Middletown, New York city directories confirm he was a driver and laborer from 1914 to 1925.

A little research proved to be very informative and I must say I’ve  acquired a new respect for Great Grandfather. My mother recollects Lewis Penny “as a giant” of a man. That was fortunate because his job required great physical strength.

I consulted, the free internet encyclopedia, and am sharing parts of two articles with you describing the cutting and harvesting of the ice. [1], [2]

“Ice cutting was a winter occupation of icemen whose task it was to collect surface ice from lakes and rivers for storage in ice houses and sale as a pre-refrigeration cooling method. Kept insulated, the ice was preserved for all year delivery to residential and commercial customers with ice boxes for cold food storage.

Ice harvesting generally involved waiting until approximately a foot of ice had built up on the water surface in the winter. The ice would then be cut with either a handsaw or a powered saw blade into long continuous strips and then cut into large individual blocks for transport by wagon back to the icehouse. Because snow on top of the ice slows freezing, it could be scraped off and piled in windrows. Alternately, if the temperature is cold enough, a snowy surface could be flooded to produce a thicker layer of ice. A large operation would have a crew of 75 and cut 1500 tons daily.

The occupation generally became obsolete with the development of mechanical refrigeration and air conditioning technology.”

Wikipedia also has a silent amateur film dated 1919 showing ice harvesting in Pennsylvania which I highly recommend you watch. You can view the film at the Wikipedia website noted with my article sources.  

The local newspaper reported when the harvesting began.

Middletown Times Press, December 31, 1915 edition, Begin Local Ice Harvest

Middletown Times Press
December 31, 1915 edition

The Doty in the Doty & Shoemaker Ice Company was George W. Doty, a nephew of Lewis P. Doty.

As you can see from the next news article the weather was a concern for the ice companies.

Middletown Times Press, February 15, 1919 edition May Be Shortage of Ice This Summer

Middletown Times Press
February 15, 1919 edition

The 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929 Middletown directories indicate Lewis Penny Doty was a laborer but don’t state his employer’s name. By1930 my 62 year old Great Grandfather and my grandfather, Frank L. Doty, were both working at an ice cream factory in Middletown.

Middletown Ice Company 1915 Advertisement, Middletown City Directory

Advertisement from the 1915
Middletown, New York City Directory
 page 226

My line:
Great Grandfather Lewis Penny Doty and wife Emily Wight Taylor
Grandfather Frank Leroy Doty and wife Viola Lillian Wilson
My Mother

[1] Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
[2] Ibid,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Matrilineal Monday: MARY ANN BROWN and Others, Plaintiffs Vs. MARY A. WHITE and Others, Defendants, Chancery Cause, Augusta Co., VA, 52 Ancestors

Staunton Spectator and Vindicator, Staunton, VA, April 4, 1902 issue
Staunton Spectator and Vindicator,
Staunton, Virginia
April 4, 1902 edition 

Mary Ann Brown and Mary A. White were cousins, daughters of sisters, and granddaughters of John Zimmerman, a German emigrant to Augusta County, Virginia. 

The named defendant, Mary A. White, is my 2nd Great Grandmother born Mary Agnes Brown to James Alexander Brown and Mary A. Carpenter/Zimmerman. Mary Agnes would later become the wife of John William White. Her mother, Mary A. Carpenter, (also known as Zimmerman—Zimmerman is a German word meaning carpenter) was John Zimmerman and Elizabeth Weed’s daughter born May 15, 1819. The codefendants were 2nd Great Grandmother’s brothers—Henry Weed Brown and Isaac Stuart Brown.

The named plaintiff, Mary Ann Brown, born Mary Ann White to James R. White and Louisa W. Carpenter/Zimmerman would marry Fulton W. Brown in Augusta County, Virginia. Her mother, Louisa W. Carpenter/Zimmerman was my 3rd Great Aunt, also a daughter of John Zimmerman and Elizabeth Weed born July 3, 1816. Mary Ann (White) Brown’s siblings, John Clemens White, Martha Jane White, James Franklin White and Lucinda Catherine Douglas were the ‘other’ plaintiffs.

The Browns and White’s intermarried on a few occasions so I prepared the following relationship chart for the cousins to help understand the lineage.

Chancery Case 1907-043 revolves around 75 acres John Zimmerman owned in the South River District. In his will probated March 23, 1858, 4th Great Grandfather John Zimmerman left his property and house to my 3rd Great Grandmother, Mary Ann (Carpenter/Zimmerman) Brown “for life”. I was a little unnerved when I read John Zimmerman’s will and realized he explicitly stated he wanted to provide ‘a home not subject to the debts of her husband now or hereafter contracted nor subject to his control in any wise’. He appointed his friend John S. Ellis a trustee for Mary Ann during her lifetime. Oh dear, I imagine 3rd Great Grandfather James A. Brown was not happy about that!

Grandfather Zimmerman also stipulated after Mary Ann’s death the tract of land was to be equally divided between her heirs and those of his other daughter, Louisa Miller. (When the will was probated, Louisa was married to her 2nd husband, Daniel Miller.)

3rd Great Grandmother lived on the land for many years. Her sister Louisa moved with her children to Coffey County, Kansas shortly after the Civil War. Aunt Louisa died in 1888 and 3rd Great Grandmother passed in 1898.

By March 1902 it was time for the sisters’ children to get an equal share of the lands. It was determined that the land wasn’t able to be partitioned and Commissioner William Patrick deemed the lands would be sold at public auction. 

John W. White, Mary Agnes’ husband, offered to buy the lands for $800 which was considered a fair price February 6, 1907.

It seemed as though the Commissioner was receptive to the sale until J. J. Palmer appeared in open court and offered an advanced bill of $850 at which price ‘the land was knocked off to him’.

It had taken five years for the case to be finally heard and settled on October 10, 1907. Plaintiff Mary A. (White) Brown had died in the meantime (September 1902) and her share was divided between her children—Benjamin Brown, E. B. Brown, H. H. Brown, R. B. Brown and C. L. Brown.

Louisa’s other children, John C. White, James Franklin White, Martha J. White and Lucinda Catherine Douglas individually received $85.60.

2nd Great Grandmother Mary Agnes White and her brothers, Henry Weed and Isaac Stuart Brown each got $85.63.

FUN FACT: Now if you’re up to more family fun and confusion, here’s a new fact:

2nd Great Grandmother’s husband, James Alexander Brown and Fulton W. Brown, the husband of plaintiff Mary A. (White) Brown was half-brothers.

My Line
4th Great Grandparents John Zimmerman (aka John Carpenter) and Elizabeth Weed
3rd Great Grandmother Mary A. Carpenter and husband James Alexander Brown
2nd Great Grandmother Mary Agnes Brown and husband John William White
Great Grandmother Ella Virginia White and husband James Clyde Clemmer
Grandmother Lucy Leora Clemmer and husband James McFall Joseph
My Father

Source: Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia, Digital Collections, Chancery Records Index website

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY: 2nd Great Grandparents John Wm. and Mary Ann White

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cemetery Visit
Ladd, Virginia

Ladd is located in Augusta County, Virginia on the outskirts of Waynesboro.

John W. White Tombstone, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cemetery, Ladd., VA

John W. White
Mar. 4, 1850
Mar. 28, 1936


Mary A. White Tombstone, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cemetery, Ladd, VA


Mary A. White
July 27, 1854
Nov. 24, 1932


John William and Mary share a tombstone with inscriptions engraved on the front and back. Each of their mothers is buried close by. That’s me in John Wm.’s tombstone pic standing at his mother’s grave--Mary A. (Shelley) White Huffman.

This past week I published JOHN WILL WHITE, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather as well as TREASURE CHEST THURSDAY: John Will White's Death Certificate. I hope you enjoy reading about Great Grandfather.

My Line of Descent:
2nd Great Grandfather John William White and wife Mary Agnes Brown
Great Grandmother Ella Virginia White and husband James Clyde Clemmer
Grandmother Lucy Leora Clemmer and husband James McFall Joseph
My Father