MV Obsession

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


Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence…

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For a few years now my daughter and I have been visiting cemeteries where our ancestors and family are buried.  We have found cemeteries to be beautiful, peaceful places … monuments become works of art and epitaphs become poetic homage to those who have passed.  We have visited beautifully manicured and well cared for cemeteries, the one above was not one of those though.   Although this cemetery in Goshen, New York, the resting place of several ancestors, is over grown and sadly neglected there is a silent beauty to it.



Remembering My Great-Grandfather…

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


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.



Memorial Day 2017…

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.

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.


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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Civil War monument in Fairmont Cemetery…

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.




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.



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.


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 -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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March Calendar Pictures …

pizap.com14513497203761My wall calendar picture on the left was taken at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, New Jersey when I visited it a year ago.  CLICK HERE to find out more about it.

My desk calendar picture on the right is one of the windows in the John & Priscilla homestead in Duxbury, MA.  I visited there last October… CLICK HERE to find out more about it.