Friday, August 20, 2021

Ella Martin Parker, Vermont/New Hampshire, 1860s

"Ella Martin
(Mrs Scott Parker)"

I had some difficulty researching the woman in this photograph. I was unable to find an Ella Martin who married a Scott Parker and lived in New Hampshire. I was, however, able to find an Ella Martin who married a Clark Parker and lived in Springfield, Vermont, which is right on the border between Vermont and New Hampshire. The ages between this woman and the one in the photograph match up. Ella spent the last years of her life in Massachusetts, where this photo was purchased. I think the details are close enough to be her- what do you think?

Ella Martin was born in Springfield, Vermont, on April 21st, 1852 to Dexter Martin, a chair manufacturer, and his wife Charlotte. She was one of 10 children, though several of her siblings died while still young. Two twin siblings, Collins Dexter and Lucy Jane, died on the same day in 1843 at the age of 3. An older brother, Horace Haywood, served with the 7th Vermont Infantry in the Civil War. After sailing aboard a steamer to Louisiana and witnessing the Battle of Baton Rouge in August 1862, Horace fell ill with tuberculosis. He died at the Marine Hospital in New Orleans at just 22 years old. Tuberculosis took another of Ella's brothers, Frederic Edmond, in 1869 at age 23. I have to wonder if perhaps Ella herself fell ill around this time, which would explain her short hair.

In 1876, when she was 24, Ella married Clark Converse Parker. They lived together on their farm in Springfield, the town they were both born and raised in. Ella and Clark had four children: Lula, Carl, Ernest Martin, and Alda Lottie. I couldn't find any record of Lula and Carl as adults, which leads me to believe they may have died young.

In 1908, 56-year-old Ella lost both her older brother, John Henry, and her husband, Clark. She continued to live in Springfield with her son Ernest, who worked as a machinist, her daughter, Alda, a teacher, and her sister, Lucy. 

In 1920, Ella is living as a boarder in the home of the Lawton family in Chester, Vermont. Her occupation is listed as "companion." 

In 1930, Ella has moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts. At 77, she is living with her son Ernest and his family. In 1937, Ella fell ill. She spent the last months of her life living with her daughter Alda in Reading, Massachusetts. She passed away there on December 17th, 1937, at age 85.

If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Pansy Niver, Caton, New York 1900s

Pauline "Pansy" Eola Niver was born in Caton, New York in 1888 to blacksmith Abner Niver and his wife Mary. Pansy was the only girl among three boys- Clay, Cloy, and a younger brother, Drexel. Another brother, Grover, died as an infant. I believe this photo, taken sometime between 1904 and 1907, may show the interior of the Niver family home in Caton. A few details tell me this is taken in a home rather than a studio: the natural light creeping through the window shutters, the framed photo on the wall, and the large family Bible sitting amongst other books on the side table. 

In 1907, 19-year-old Pansy married William E. Beaman (sometimes spelled "Beeman.") William worked for the New York Central Railroad. Together they had two children. Their first son, Niver, was born in 1911 and was named for his mother's maiden name. Drexel, named for Pansy's brother, was born in 1917. That same year, Pansy's mother Mary passed away. In 1920, William, Pansy, and their sons are living with Pansy's widowed father, who continued to work as a blacksmith in a repair shop. 

By 1930, Pansy and William had divorced. William remarried and remained in New York, while Pansy moved with her sons to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Here, she worked as a waitress and took in boarders.

Niver served in the Coast Guard Reserves during WWII before becoming a successful reporter. Niver was the city editor of the Waterbury American, a Connecticut newspaper, when it won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1939. He went on to write Fat Man in a Phone Booth: Notes Off a Newspaperman's Cuff, a collection of comedic stories from his time in journalism. Later he left journalism to serve as California Governor Earl Warren's publicity director. Drexel, like his brother, also served during WWII. He married Jane Hamberger, with whom he had six children.

Pansy passed away on November 1st, 1954 at age 67. At the time of her death, Pansy's last name is listed as "Wagner" and her death certificate notes that she is married. Her obituary, however, mentions no husband, only her sons and her two surviving brothers. 

If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!