MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Honoring My Great-Grandfather On This Memorial Day 2019…

 Joseph Pettey Littlefield

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My great grandfather Joseph P Littlefield was injured in the Civil War. He was a member of Co. C, 9th Maine Regiment. He was wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia and sent home to Maine to die. He died on Sep 3, 1864 of his massive injuries but also of typhoidal pneumonia. His wife and the 3 oldest of his 8 children died within months of him from it as well leaving my grandfather Charles G Littlefield at age 9 the oldest of the five remaining children. A tragic story and once we learned about it felt compelled to find their graves and honor them. Their small plot is off the beaten track in Rome, Maine we found it and traipsed through the brush to get to it. Worth the trip indeed.  This was very emotional in that Joseph, Martha Jane, Margaret, Adison and Atwood have become very real to us and we feel very close to them.  We weren’t able to bring them flowers but left 5 pennies to indicate we were there and remembering them.

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Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

 

 


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Maine – Cemeteries and Meanderings Part I…

My daughter Deb and I made a recent pilgrimage to Maine, not only to enjoy the beauty and crisp autumn weather but to visit the graves of our relatives.

Our first night was spent in Ogunquit at the beautiful Colonial Inn.

 

You cannot go to Maine, or Ogunquit and not do these two things… have lobster roll and maybe blueberry pie too, which we did at Barnacle Billy’s.  Yum.

 

…and walk on Marginal Way and down on the beach.

 

One of the main reasons for our trip was to visit this tiny little cemetery in Rome, Maine where my great-grandfather Joseph P Littlefield, my great-grandmother Martha Jane Ellis and their 3 oldest children (they had 8), Margaret, Adison and Atwood are buried.

My great grandfather Joseph P Littlefield was injured in the Civil War at the Battle of Cold Harbor, he was sent home to Maine to die, which he did, not only of his massive injuries but also of typhoidal pneumonia. His wife and the 3 oldest of his 8 children died within months of him from it as well leaving my grandfather Charles G Littlefield at age 9 the oldest of the five remaining children. A tragic story and once we learned about it felt compelled to find their graves and honor them. Their small plot is off the beaten track in Rome, Maine but Deb found it and we traipsed through the brush to get to it. Worth the trip indeed.  This was very emotional in that Joseph, Martha Jane, Margaret, Adison and Atwood have become very real to us and we feel very close to them.  We weren’t able to bring them flowers but left 5 pennies to indicate we were there and remembering them.

That’s Deb’s car parked on the side of the road by the telephone sub station box, the path to the cemetery is where the flag is.

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From Rome, Maine we headed to Waterville, Maine where my mother was born and where my above mentioned grandfather, Charles G Littlefield is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery. Although my grandmother’s name, Albra Mae Littlefield is on the stone she is actually buried on Martha’s Vineyard with her third husband.

Also in this plot is my mother’s sister Tessa Mae Littlefield Robertson Poulin,  her husband Joseph Ezra Poulin, one of their daughers, Helen Brown and her husband Laurence Brown.

 

Thus ends our first full day in Maine and our cemetery visits.


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My Great-Uncle, Louis A Young … The Incredible Man With No Hands…

 

Louis A Young 1887 – 1952

When he was 14 years old in 1902 Louis lost both his hands in a chemical explosion in Newark, NJ where he lived.  One arm gone above the elbow, the other several inches above the wrist.  A devastating accident but did it stop Louis from living a full and productive life… absolutely not.

He dressed himself, played baseball, boxed, he shoveled snow and coal for exercise. He  was an avid fisherman who could rig his own line and reel in his fish without any help.  He also supported a wife and family and his father.  He could use artificial appliances but did not advocate them which he believed to be too heavy and rendered muscles insensitive. Instead he used a simple leather strap, between the strap and his arm he placed the object he intended to use, such as a knife or fork and by tensing his muscles he could hold it firmly.

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By vocation he was a news dealer in New York City.

His newsstand at Union Square.

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He was a volunteer instructor at The Institute for Crippled Men in NY and for the U.S. government in its rehabilitation work among soldiers.

He was an amazing man and although he was my great-uncle I never knew about him until recently.  He was one of my paternal grandmother Josephine’s brothers, but she never talked about her family… that generation seems to have been very closed mouthed about a lot of things unfortunately.

But… along comes Ancestry and all kinds of  information becomes available.  I want to take a moment here to thank Ancestry and our new found cousins for the opportunity to not only know about this particular uncle but in gifting us with new family members 🙂

Back to our story.    My daughter Deb got notification from Ancestry about a possible match. The match is Louis’s grandson, Bob Jr whose father, Bob Sr is Louis’s son. Bob Sr was turning 89 in July and would we be interested in meeting the family and celebrating Bob Sr’s birthday with them???????? Um… yes, very much so.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in July off we went to Long Island to meet the family and what a wonderful day it was.

 

So not only have we found out about our incredible relative, Louis Young, but we have also met the nicest people you could imagine…and… they’re family… how terrific is that.

It is great to connect with new found relatives and to find out about ancestors, but also, in my opinion, is finding out the stories about them.   With Louis Young it’s an awesome story about fortitude, bravery, perseverance and optimism and I’m glad and proud to know his story and pass it on.  🙂

 


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Memorial Day 2018…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

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On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds. He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. He was sent home to Maine to die. He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine. Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.

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Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried. Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862. He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.

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Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

Have a great Memorial Day and enjoy the weekend whatever you’re doing.

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Downtown Newark, NJ Walking Tour…

What a fun thing to do on a gorgeous April Saturday.  A walking tour of downtown Newark, NJ with Have You Met Newark tours.  Newark is where I was born and grew up and it’s exciting to see what’s going on there.  Here are some pictures of our tour.

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Pictured below is the Prudential Center arena (The Rock) and the NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)

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The Old First Presbyterian Church was established in 1666 by the founders of Newark, NJ.  My 10 times great-grandfather was one of the founders of Newark and he, along with some of my other ancestors were buried there.

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The City Hall, and Broad and Market streets, known as the 4 corners.

 

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The Prudential buildings. The Prudential came to Newark in the late 1800’s, the original building was demolished in 1956 to make way for Prudential Plaza which opened in 1960.  A few blocks away in July 2016 the Prudential Tower opened.

Prudential Plaza                                                          Prudential Tower

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Right in downtown Newark are three lovely parks.  Lincoln Park, Military Park and here is Washington Park.  The Newark museum and library are located on one side of the park.

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Newark always had lots of department stores.  Pictured here are Bamberger’s (which became Macy’s).. and Kresge (which is the K in K-Mart ), there was also Orbach’s and S. Klein all within a two block radius.

But the department store that was always a bit above the others, literally and figuratively was Hahne & Co Hahne’s closed its doors in 1987 and sat empty for 30 years, it has been totally renovated and is gorgeous.  In addition to retail space the new renovation includes 160 apartments.  Note the original Hahne & Co sign.

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I’m a big fan of Newark, not just because I was born and raised there but because it’s a terrific place to visit.  Learn about what Newark is planning for the future, like this beautiful new park. IMG_4200 But also learn about Newark’s place in our history. A fun way to do that is with a group from Have You Met Newark.

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Remembering My Great-Grandfather…

On this Memorial Day I am remembering my great grandfather, Joseph P Littlefield

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The following is copied from post my daughter Deb wrote … I couldn’t have said it better.

“Remembering: JOSEPH P. LITTLEFIELD of Rome, Maine. 40-years-old and father of eight children, my great-great-grandfather joined the Union army in the summer of 1864, just as the Civil War was grinding to its bitter, violent end. He was in Company C of the 9th Maine Regt, and badly wounded in the battle of Cold Harbor, shot through his left hand into his lower back. He was sent back home to Maine where he died two months later on 30 Sep 1864. According to his 24-year-old doctor, he died of “Typhoidal Pneumonia induced by wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness, VA … the deceased soldier came to this death by reason of disease induced by a wound through the hand, contusion in his back, and subsequent exposure and fatigue in the field of battle, causing fever or “Typhoidal Pneumonia” from which he never recovered.” The pain must have been horrible.

Worse, adding insult to grievous injury, within a month of Joseph’s death, his wife and three oldest children also died, presumably from Typhoid or some other contagious fever. This left my 10-year-old great-grandfather Charles Littlefield the oldest of the five remaining children. I know how desperate both sides of the Civil War were by 1864 for men, but the idea that a 40-year old father of eight would sign up is appalling. And the fact that he not only died—horrible, but not unexpected for a soldier–but that he took his wife and three of his children with him?”

On this Memorial Day, remembering all who gave their lives for our country.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage…

This week we are to share a photo of something that says “heritage” to us. My  daughter Deb and I have been deep into genealogy and tracing our roots.  On my father’s side our family, the Freeman’s go back to the original founding fathers of Newark, New Jersey.  My 8th times great grandfather (not sure of the number), Stephen Freeman, along with Robert Treat and a host of other men from Milford and Branford, CT founded the city of Newark in 1666.   I am the last of our particular Freeman line to be born in Newark as was my father, my grandfather etc.

There are two monuments to the founders of Newark in the city.  One is in Fairmont Cemetery where many of my family are buried. That’s Robert Treat on the top.

The other monument, which had fallen into disrepair was restored and put in its new location last year for the 350th anniversary of the founding of Newark.  This monument has the founders names on it… there’s my 8times great grandfather, Stephen Freeman.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/heritage/


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Newark, New Jersey Adventures…

Newark, New Jersey is where I was born and grew up.  As you can tell by the clock it’s a timeless city 🙂 Last week my daughter Deb, our cousin Kris, our friend Dawn and I went off on our adventure

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Our family, the Freeman’s go back to the original founding fathers of Newark.  My 8th times great grandfather (not sure of the number), Stephen Freeman, along with Robert Treat and a host of other men from Milford and Branford, Ct founded the city of Newark in 1666.  It has just celebrated its 350 birthday in 2016.  I am the last of our particular Freeman line to be born in Newark as was my father, my grandfather etc.

The monument to the founding fathers fell into disrepair and actually disappeared for many years.

(The 9-foot-tall monument, which weighs 13,000 pounds, was lying on its back underneath a tattered blue tarp in a city lot at the city’s Division of Traffic and Signals. Without further inspection, you’d think it was discarded junk.The marble base was detached. The wooden pallet that held the monument was in standing water between a trash bin and a gaggle of inoperable traffic lights.Not exactly what Newark’s stakeholders had in mind when they gave it to the city in 1916 to celebrate its 250th anniversary.) You can read more of that article by CLICKING HERE…

Thankfully it was restored and put in its new location in 2016 for Newark’s 350th anniversary.

There is also another founding fathers statue which is located in Fairmont Cemetery.  Just so happens many of our ancestors are buried there but that will be in another blog post.

My daughter Deb, myself, our cousin Kristan.

We headed to the Court House to see the ‘Seated LIncoln’ statue of Abraham Lincoln sculpted by Gutzon Borglum who was the creator of the Mount Rushmore sculpture of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.  CLICK HERE to read about the Seated Lincoln statue in Newark.

The main reason I wanted to visit this sculpture was to try and recreate a picture my mother and grandmother had taken in the 1920’s.

My grandmother and mother                      Me with daughter Deb.

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Surprising to many who don’t know much about the city of Newark, it has some beautiful parks in it.  Washington Park, Lincoln Park and the newly revitalized Military Park.  CLICK HERE PLEASE…

Military Park

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The newly revitalized park reopened in June 2014.  There are outdoor tables, walking paths, statue of John F Kennedy, ping-pong tables, nice umbrellas which my group utilized to get out of the 87 degree heat the day we were there, and the Liberty Pole.

*From Wikipedia —  Military Park is a 6-acre city park in downtown Newark, New Jersey.  From 1667, when the city was planned, until 1869 it was a training ground for soldiers.  In 1869 it became the town commons.*

The most impressive thing in Military Park is the ‘Wars Of America’ sculpture by Gutzon Borglum (who also sculpted the above mentioned statue of Lincoln).

*From NJ.com -The bronze masterpiece consists of forty-two human beings and two horses and commemorates America’s participation in the Revolution, War of 1812; Indian Wars; Mexican War, the Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I.

It is in Military Park, which dates back to 1667–when the park was a training ground for soldiers and, later, a drill field for the Colonial and Continental armies–where the colossal Wars of America statue stands in striking relief. It is the centerpiece of the park.

CLICK HERE to read about this beautiful sculpture…

Thus ends my latest trip back to Newark.  Since we’ve been delving into our family ancestry and our connection to the city I come from we’ve been back to Newark more times in the past two years than I had been in the last maybe 30 years.  I have a feeling we’re not done yet 🙂


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Plymouth, MA – This and That …

Part 4 of our trip..

This is the National Monument to the Forefathers

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The monument lists the names of the Mayflower Pilgrims and also on the four buttresses are seated figures emblematical of the principles upon which the Pilgrims founded their Commonwealth; Morality, Law, Education and Liberty.

According to Wikipedia : {The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument, commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims

 CLICK HERE

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And this is the Pilgrim Hall Museum ..CLICK HERE

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The nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum houses an unmatched collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of brave and determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world. See William Bradford’s Bible, Myles Standish’s sword, the only portrait of a Pilgrim (Edward Winslow) painted from life, the cradle of New England’s first–born, Peregrine White, the great chair of William Brewster, and the earliest sampler made in America, embroidered by Myles Standish’s daughter.

The only thing we were allowed to photograph were these beautiful stained glass windows

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And that….  that’s two of the most delicious, mouth watering, , heavenly New England lobster rolls… 🙂

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This concludes part 4 of our Plymouth, MA trip.. actually it may conclude this series all together, or it may not !!  Hope it’s been as enjoyable to read about as it was to have experienced it 🙂

(pictures are mine and Debs)


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Plymouth, MA – Standish and Alden …

Part 3 of our trip into the past to visit the Myles Standish Burial Ground and the John & Priscilla Alden House.

Our first stop in the charming and historic town of Duxbury, Massachusetts was the Myles Standish Burial Ground, the oldest maintained cemetery in the United States.

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It’s not a large cemetery, only 1.5 acres.  It is the resting place of several of the original Mayflower Pilgrims including Myles Standish and John & Priscilla Alden.   I felt a kind of peacefulness as I meandered around.  I felt respectful and humbled, it moved me more than I anticipated.

The Myles Standish grave site

pizap.com14454779088691The John and Priscilla Alden grave site

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Second stop in Duxbury… the Alden House Historic Site… CLICK HERE

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We arrived at the house only to find out that tours had stopped at the end of September so unfortunately we weren’t going to be able to go inside the house !

We wandered around and took some pictures  but of course it wasn’t like being inside.

pizap.com14454824657531As we were leaving we noticed two cars in front of the administration office so decided to walk over and say hello.   We were SO glad we did.  Not only were the two young women pleasant and smiley and full of information but… they said they’d give us a tour even though the house was closed.  Golly, wow.   So off we went… back into the past into the house of  John & Priscilla Alden.  I don’t know what they a actually looked like but I like this painting of them.  He was 21 and she 18 when they married.  They had 10 children.

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mosaica87ee7b48553477f85f6c668a051d66c06edb741Our tour guide (Trish) was terrific, she peppered historical facts with humorous family stories.  Why wasn’t history like this when I went to school… it was all about names and dates and not about people’s lives and adventures.

For instance the reason for wall paper and newspaper on the walls in this small closet, or as they called it, a clothes press.  The walls were covered with newspaper to protect clothing from getting snagged or caught on the rough walls.  Later on someone covered the newspaper with wall paper.  I believe our guide said the newspapers were from the time of the War of 1812.

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We did some quick gift shopping and Deb joined the AKA (Aldin Kindred of America) while we were there.   We hated to leave but we alas we had to come back to the 21st century.

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🙂  🙂  🙂

This concludes part 3 of our trip and I thought this was going to be the last installment… but no, there’s a bit of ‘this n that’ still to come !!

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)