A Very Special Day

05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling
05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling

McMurray Family,  Helbling Family, Cooper Family, Broida Family, (Click for Family Trees)

Today is a very special day in our family- there will be a wedding!

Young brides and grooms think that their wedding is a celebration of their love, and it definitely is that. It is their most special day, to long be remembered by themselves and all the loving family and friends who share the joyful event.

But…

♥ Every wedding is a reaffirmation of love and how it endures through the years.

♥ Every wedding is the start of something- a new chapter in the book of life, in which one builds a career, maybe a business, a set of new relationships, and (hopefully) a lifetime of love and support.

And…

♥ Every wedding is a reinforcement of the new family as a small unit within a much larger set of families.

So it is also a time to think about all those marriages that came before and helped to make us who we are, with our random inheritance of DNA.

Today, let us take a bit of a walk through the past, remembering the marriages of our ancestors and the happiness they must have felt on their own special day, or that of their children. Joy fills our hearts as we think of the life these couples built together, and the legacy they have left us.

Abraham Green and Rose Braef/Brave- Wedding Picture? About 1884.
Abraham Green and Rose Braef/Brave- Wedding Picture? About 1884.

The above is the oldest wedding picture we have.

Wedding Photo of Joseph and Helen Cooper
Wedding Photo of Joseph and Helen Cooper, about 1901.

Cooper was Helen’s maiden name- they were second cousins- so that made things easy name-wise.

Some folks eloped so we have no actual wedding picture of them:

1974_02_40th Wedding Anniversary of Gertrude Belle (Broida) Cooper and Irving Israel Cooper.
1974_02_40th Wedding Anniversary of Gertrude Belle (Broida) Cooper and Irving Israel Cooper.

Sure seems like there would be wedding pictures somewhere within the Payne-McMurray family, but don’t have any for this couple either:

Wedding announcement for Lynette Payne-William McMurray wedding in The Oakland Tribune, 22 June 1899.
Wedding announcement for Lynette Payne-William Elmer McMurray wedding in The Oakland Tribune, 22 June 1899.

Lynette was just nineteen, and had been living with her maternal uncle, Court K. Burnell, after she moved from California to Iowa. C.K. travelled quite a lot, and that may be why A. S. Burnell gave permission for Lynette’s marriage.

Marriage license of Will and Lynette Payne, 6 June 1899.
Marriage license of Will and Lynette Payne, 6 June 1899, Newton, Jasper, Iowa.

A.S. Burnell was most likely another maternal uncle, Arthur Strong Burnell, who was living in Newton, Jasper, Iowa, in the 1900 US Federal Census. Both uncles had daughters around Lynette’s age (and C.K. also had sons) so Lynette had quite a bit of family in Newton, where she and Will McMurray spent the rest of their lives.

1960s? Will and Lynette (Payne) McMurray in Iowa.
1960s? Will and Lynette (Payne) McMurray in Iowa.

These were all long marriages.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Today’s wedding ceremony fills our hearts to bursting, and it surely will overflow into tears- but they will be (mostly) happy tears.  Today, it is our child- a product of our love- who marries, and who continues the legacy of love through time.

Oh, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest of photos.

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Labor Day: Celebrating the Labors of Our Ancestors

First Labor Day Parade in the US, 5 Sep 1882 in New York City. Via Wikimedia.
First Labor Day Parade in the US, 5 Sep 1882 in New York City. Via Wikimedia. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Labor Day officially became a federal holiday in the United States in 1894. “The Gilded Age” included the rise of big business, like the railroads and oil companies, but laborers fought- sometimes literally- for their rights in the workplace. Grover Cleveland signed the law to honor the work and contributions, both economic and for society, of the American laborer. Celebrated on the first Monday in September, ironically the holiday was a concession to appease the American worker after the government tried to break up a railroad strike but failed.

The Labor Day weekend is a good time to think about our ancestors and the work they did to help move our country and their own family forward.

Jefferson Springsteen was a mail carrier through the wilds of early Indiana, traveling for miles on horseback through spring freshets (full or flooding streams from snow melt), forest, and Indian villages. Samuel T. Beerbower, who would be a some-number-great uncle depending on your generation, was the Postmaster in Marion, Ohio, for many years. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Edward B. Payne, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio.
Edward B. Payne, Pastor, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio.

Bad weather, gloom of night, ocean crossings in the mid 1800s, and the threat of disease or injury did not stay our minister, deacon, and missionary ancestors from their appointed rounds either- especially since the felt they were appointed by a higher power. We have quite a number of very spiritual men in the family. Henry Horn became a Methodist circuit rider after coming to America as a Hessian soldier, being captured by George Washington’s troops in Trenton, NJ, then taking an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, and serving in the Revolutionary Army. The family migrated from Virginia to the wilds of western Pennsylvania sometime between 1782 and 1786. A story is told of how he was riding home from a church meeting in the snow. The drifts piled up to the body of the horse, and they could barely proceed on, but Henry did, and was able to preach another day. He founded a church Pleasantville, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania that still stands, and has a congregation, even today. Edward B. Payne and his father, Joseph H. Payne, Kingsley A. Burnell and his brother Thomas Scott Burnell were all ministers, some with formal schooling, some without. Edward B. Payne gave up a lucrative pastorate because he thought the church members were wealthy and educated enough that they did not need him. He moved to a poor church in an industrial town, where he was needed much more, however, he may have acquired his tuberculosis there. He also risked his life, and that of his family, by sheltering a woman from the domestic violence of her husband, and he testified on her behalf.

Abraham Green was one of the best tailors in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1900s, and many in the Broida family, such as John Broida and his son Phillip Broida, plus Phillip’s daughter Gertrude Broida Cooper, worked in the fine clothing industry.

Edgar Springsteen worked for the railroad, and was often gone from the family. Eleazer John “E.J.” Beerbower worked for the railroads making upholstered cars- he had been a buggy finisher previously, both highly skilled jobs.

Sheet music cover for "Bless Your Ever Loving Little Heart," from "The Slim Princess."
Sheet music cover for “Bless Your Ever Loving Little Heart,” from “The Slim Princess.” (Click to enlarge.)

The theater called a number of our collateral kin (not direct lines, but siblings to one of our ancestors): Max Broida was in vaudeville, and known in films as “Buster Brodie.” Elsie Janis, born Elsie Beerbower, was a comedienne, singer, child star in vaudeville, “Sweetheart of the A.E.F” as she entertained the troops overseas in World War I, and then she went on to write for films. Max Broida also did a stint in the circus, as did Jefferson Springsteen, who ran away from home as “a very small boy” to join the circus (per his obituary).

Collateral Lee family from Irthlingborough, England, included shoemakers, as that was the specialty of the town. They brought those skills to Illinois, and some of those tools have been handed down in the family- strange, unknown tools in an inherited tool chest turned out to be over 100 years old!

Will McMurray and his wife Lynette Payne McMurray owned a grocery store in Newton, Iowa. Ella V. Daniels Roberts sold eggs from her chickens, the butter she made from the cows she milked, and her delicious pies at the McMurray store. Franz Xavier Helbling and some of his brothers and sons were butchers in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and had their own stores.

Some of our ancestors kept hotels or taverns. Joseph Parsons (a Burnell ancestor) was issued a license to operate an ‘ordinary’ or “house of entertainment” in 1661 in Massachusetts, and Samuel Lenton Lee was listed as “Keeps hotel” and later as a saloon keeper in US Federal censuses. Jefferson Springsteen had a restaurant at the famous Fulton Market in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1840s.

From left: Edgar B. Helbling, (Anna) "May" Helbling, Vi Helbling, and Gerard William Helbling, on Flag Day 1914.
From left: Edgar B. Helbling, (Anna) “May” Helbling, Vi Helbling, and Gerard William Helbling, on Flag Day 1914. Note ‘Undertaker’ sign- yes, it was all done in his home. (Click to enlarge.)

Many of our family had multiple jobs. William Gerard Helbling (AKA Gerard William Helbling or “G.W.”) listed himself as working for a theater company, was an artist, then an undertaker, and finally a sign painter. George H. Alexander was artistic as well- he created paintings but also worked as a lighting designer to pay the bills.

Sometimes health problems forced a job change. Edward B. Payne was a Union soldier, librarian, and then a pastor until he was about 44 when his respiratory problems from tuberculosis forced him to resign the pulpit. For the rest of his life he did a little preaching, lecturing, and writing. He also became an editor for a number of publications including, “The Overland Monthly,” where he handed money over from his own pocket (per family story) to pay the young writer Jack London for his first published story. Edward B. Payne even founded a Utopian colony called Altruria in California! He and his second wife, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne, later owned and conducted adult ‘summer camps’ that were intellectual as well as healthy physically while camping in the wild and wonderful northern California outdoors.

Other times, health problems- those of other people- are what gave our ancestors jobs:  Edward A. McMurray and his brother Herbert C. McMurray were both physicians, as was John H. O’Brien (a Helbling ancestor), who graduated from medical school in Dublin, Ireland, and came to America in 1832. He settled in western Pennsylvania, still wild and in the midst of a cholera epidemic that was also sweeping the nation; he had his work cut out for him. (It appears he did not get the same respect as other doctors because he was Irish, and this was pre-potato famine.) Lloyd Eugene “Gene” Lee and his father Samuel J. Lee owned a drugstore in St. Louis, as did Gene’s brother-in-law, Claude Aiken. Edith Roberts McMurray Luck worked as a nurse since she received a degree in biology in 1923.

We have had many soldiers who have helped protect our freedom, and we will honor some of those persons on Veterans Day.

We cannot forget the farmers, but they are too numerous to name them all! Even an urban family often had a large garden to supplement purchased groceries, but those who farmed on a larger scale included George Anthony Roberts, Robert Woodson Daniel, David Huston Hemphill, Amos Thomas, etc., etc. We even have a pecan farmer in the Lee family- William Hanford Aiken, in Waltham County, Mississippi, in the 1930s-40s.

Lynette Payne, December 1909, wearing a purple and lavender silk dress.
Lynette Payne, December 1909, wearing a purple and lavender silk dress. (Click to enlarge.)

We must also, “Remember the ladies” as Abigail Adams entreated her husband John Adams as he helped form our new nation. He/they did not, so 51% of the population-women- were not considered citizens except through their fathers or husbands. Many of these women, such as Lynette Payne McMurray, labored to get women the right to vote, equal pay, etc. (Lynette ‘walked the talk’ too- she was the first woman to ride a bicycle in Newton, Iowa! Not so easy when one thinks about the clothing involved.) Some men, like her father, Edward B. Payne, put their energy into the women’s suffrage movement as well. Many of our ancestors worked for the abolition movement too, including the Payne and Burnell families.

A woman worked beside her husband in many families, although she would get little credit for it. Who cooked the meals and cleaned the rooms for the Lee and Parsons innkeepers? Likely their wives, who also had to keep their own home clean, laundry washed, manage a garden and often livestock- many families kept chickens even if they didn’t have a farm. They raised and educated their many children too, sometimes 13 or more. Oh yes, let’s not forget that women truly ‘labored’ to bring all those children into the world that they had made from scratch. (Building a human from just two cells makes building a barn seem somewhat less impressive, doesn’t it?) Some of them even died from that labor.

June 1942- Claude Frank Aiken and his wife Mildred Paul in their drugstore.
June 1942- Claude Frank Aiken and his wife Mildred Paul Aiken in their drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri.

Working alongside one’s husband could be frightening due to the dangers of the job. A noise in the Aiken family drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri in 1936 awoke Claude and Mildred Aiken since they lived in the back of the store. Claude look a gun and went into the store while Mildred called the police. Claude fired the gun high to frighten the intruder- Mildred must have been very scared if she was in the back, wondering who had fired the shot and if her husband was still alive. Thankfully he was, and the police were able to arrest the thief, who wanted to steal money to pay a lawyer to defend him in his three previous arrests for armed burglary and assault.

 

We applaud all of our ancestors who worked hard to support their family. Their work helped to make the US the largest economic power in the world, and a place immigrants would come to achieve their ‘American dream.’ We hope our generation, and the next, can labor to keep our country prosperous and strong.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. There are too many folks listed here to add references, but using the search box on the blog page can get you to any of the stories that have been posted about many of these persons. Of course, there is always more to come, so stay tuned!

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Thankful Thursday: Ed McMurray’s Whooping Cough Party

"Whooping Cough Party" from left: John Warburton, Dick Barquest, Mary Lou Harvey, Mary Warburton, Bob H[arvey?], Edward A. McMurray
“Whooping Cough Party” from left: John Warburton, Dick Barquest, Mary Lou Harvey, Mary Warburton, Bob H[arvey?], Edward A. McMurray
 

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a dangerous disease that has taken the lives of many  infants and children throughout the years. Adults can get it as well- often from their children.

The initial symptoms of this highly contagious bacterial respiratory disease are often mild and may be misdiagnosed. Also called the “100-day cough”, pertussis then causes violent coughing fits that may cause fainting, hemorrhage, rib fracture, brain injury, and even death, especially in young infants. Making it hard to breathe, the coughing occurs in clusters of 5-10 coughs and then a ‘whoop’ as the patient breathes in. Typically this stage lasts six weeks but often continues ten weeks or longer; the whooping may last for some time even after the person has recovered from pertussis.

There is no real treatment for whooping cough- antibiotics are sometimes given to reduce how infectious the person is (that period may last 5 weeks or more) and possibly reduce side effects of the disease. Vaccination is currently the only way to reduce the risk of acquiring pertussis, and the immunity fades over time, requiring vaccination throughout the years.

There had been an average of over 175,000 cases of whooping cough reported per year in the US before a vaccine was available in the 1940s. The incidence decreased to only about 1,000 cases per year until 1976, when cases again began to rise. In the US, in 2012 there were more cases reported than since 1955; in 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a 30% increase in cases. (Keep in mind that many cases go unreported, so actual numbers are probably higher.)

1939 Whooping Cough Party. The Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida.
1939 Whooping Cough Party. The Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Back at the turn of the twentieth century and into the 1930s, whooping cough epidemics scoured our nation. Schools would be closed because such a large number of children were absent due to the cough, and there were many deaths. Epidemics would occur every 2-5 years.

Imagine a large family of children, maybe a newborn and children aged 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12,14, and all of them coming down with whooping cough, one at a time, each at a different stage of the illness…   The disease may last 100 days, so an entire year or more might be spent with a family dealing with whooping cough, and the very youngest might not survive. The ‘whooping’ children would get bored and be distraught that they could not enjoy their birthday or other happy event. So parents invented “Whooping Cough Parties” to entertain the sick children- only those infected or who had already had the cough were invited. Parents as well as children were thankful for a respite from being sick.

New Zealand also dealt with whooping cough as an epidemic, as did countries around the world: Whooping Cough Party in Bay of Plenty Times. A creosote mixture was a part of the meal as a relish, and prizes were given for those who could whoop the longest and loudest; a booby prize was given to those who whooped the least.

There was even a mention of a whooping cough party in both the The American Journal of Clinical Medicine and The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal!

Back to the picture above- there are two sets of siblings in the picture, which shows how infectious the disease was. The photo was taken probably about 1930 in Newton, Iowa, at 609 South Sixth Street. Ed McMurray and Johnny Warburton were best friends, and they lived across the street from each other. Ed stated that his mother planned the party since so many were sick. This may have been an April birthday party, or a party just to keep those poor coughing kids occupied.

CAUTION- PLEASE NOTE:

None of the information in this post should be considered medical information or advice- please consult a doctor if you want more information or think you or a loved one may have whooping cough.

Pertussis is the only disease with increasing occurrences today that has a vaccine available. Sadly, the increasing number of persons who are not vaccinating their children or getting them booster shots increases the risk for all of acquiring this sometimes fatal disease. At least 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks, and in some areas of the US, 75% of the parents are NOT vaccinating their kids, thus there is no “herd immunity.” (Measles and polio are coming back as well because of so many not vaccinating.)

I have seen queries online about having a “Whooping Cough Party” to infect one’s child to develop the immunity- that is NOT what these parties were years ago, and it can be very dangerous to hold these ‘parties’. In the early 1900s, the parties were for children who were actually sick. Since some of the children may have attended while still infectious, some states enacted laws against these gatherings:

Whooping Cough Party Hostess is Arrested. 21 Dec 1911, San Francisco Call.
Whooping Cough Party Hostess is Arrested. 21 Dec 1911, San Francisco Call.

So please don’t hold a “Whooping Cough Party”- it is very risky and we don’t want to lose any of those cute little timeless faces like in the above picture to such a horrible, preventable disease.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) “Whooping Cough Party is Success for 25 Children” accessed 10/13/14 at http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-N5PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=r1QDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5627%2C5984160

2) See also an 1899 article from Australia about whooping cough, in which a sick child had 27 of her friends with the same illness: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/89827706

3) New Zealand Whooping Cough Party article: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=BOPT19070925.2.42

4) CDC information about pertussis and current outbreaks: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis

5) Creosote compounds were used for their antibacterial properties that helped with respiratory illnesses, and given frequently for tuberculosis. Guaifenesin, currently used in Mucinex and other medications, is a synthetic modification of these compounds. See Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creosote.

6) Pertussis article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pertussis.

 

 

 

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Wishful Wednesday: Elsie Janis

Sheet music cover for "Bless Your Ever Loving Little Heart," from "The Slim Princess."
Sheet music cover for “Bless Your Ever Loving Little Heart,” from “The Slim Princess” stage musical. (The movie used a different actress.)

Elsie Janis’ real name was Elsie Bierbower (or Elsie Beerbower), so if you are a Helbling or Bierbower cousin, you may be related to this very-famous-in-her-time comedienne, actress, singer, mimic, and entertainer of our troops in World War I. Those troops gave her the nickname, “Sweetheart of the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Forces)” and she truly earned the accolade.

Why is this a “Wishful Wednesday” post? It is because Elsie’s 1st cousin once removed, Mary Theresa Helbling, wanted so much to be a singer like Elsie. Mary’s mother, Anna May Bierbower Helbling, was Elsie’s cousin, and talked about her often as Mary grew up. Mary also loved the movie magazines and cut paper dolls from them, when she was allowed to have such expensive and scandalous magazines. By that time Elsie was mostly a writer for the movies- she never transitioned well from the stage to talkies as an actress. Elsie led a glamorous life though, and was often pictured in the magazines. Mary, when young, wished she had a life like that too.

Mary Theresa Helbling- 1940s Glamour Pose
Mary Theresa Helbling- 1940s Glamour Pose

Mary also loved to sing- she had a very beautiful voice. She loved listening to light opera and singing along to it and all the wonderful old movies with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, and the fabulous musicals of the 1950s and 60s. Her voice was good enough to have sung on the radio back in the late 1930s or 1940s- wish I could remember more about that. Later, Mary and the love of her life, Edward A. McMurray, Jr., would sing together around the house, with a beautiful harmony and sometimes mooney-eyed in-love looks at each other even when they knew the kids were watching.

This is also “Wishful Wednesday” because I wished for so many years to be able to hear Elsie’s voice. There was a university in Idaho, IIRC, that had old recordings, including those of Elsie. Back then, I wrote a letter on paper (!) and sent it to them, asking if there was any way they could record Elsie’s voice on reel-to-reel tapes (!!) for me. No answer, despite repeated requests, even once the internet started up and I sent an email. (Maybe because I was not a scholarly researcher?) Many years later, there are now digital recordings of her music available to the public- even on iTunes. Wonder what Elsie would make of that???

Elsie Janis-Sweetheart of the AEF Audio CD Cover
Elsie Janis- Sweetheart of the A.E.F. Audio CD Cover

Downloading Elsie’s music was my first time for music with ‘Explicit’ material. I was sort of shocked- why would Elsie’s music be labeled as such? I then realized that some of the material was racist, such as that from minstrel shows or musicals that showed the races in the context of their times, the late 1800s-early 1900s, not our times. (Still hard to listen to some of those songs because of that.) I have also been able to buy one of her records on eBay, but no longer have a turntable so have not been able to listen to it.

The internet sure has made the amazing world of the past available to us all in seconds, and even while in our pajamas! It is wonderful to have my wish to hear Elsie come true; sure wish Mary would have had that opportunity.

More to come about Elsie’s interesting life!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) See the International Movie Database at  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0006059/ for details about the stage musical and movie, “The Slim Princess.”

2) Elsie Janis Find a Grave Memorial # 10334. The bio is inaccurate although I have contacted the person many times. The family links were finally changed but it still erroneously states that she was the daughter of Lou Bierbauer. See also the memorials for her family members on Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=10334. A Bierbower researcher had also added a memorial for her: Memorial # 33617289 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSvcid=186286&GRid=33617289&.

3) “Sweetheart of the A.E.F.” is the title of the audio CD that contains 20 of her most popular songs. It is available on smile.Amazon.com and iTunes.

4) Remember Mitch Miller and Sing Along with Mitch? It ran from 1961-1966 on NBC. Mitch had a male chorale and also featured other excellent singers, like Leslie Uggmans, on the show. (Bob McGrath was one of those in the chorale; he later went on to be a long-time host of Sesame Street.) Mitch is regarded as the inventor of today’s karaoke, as the program featured the words shown on the screen, so the whole family could sing along. (There was no bouncing ball though.) For more information, see the Archive of American Television– http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/shows/sing-along-with-mitch. YouTube has videos of some performances: Sing Along with Mitch, Part 1 of 4– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dY9gtYeHhk. (The commercials are wonderful- frozen foods were just becoming popular. I remember the whole family eating frozen TV dinners on the folding metal TV trays while watching Mitch!)

5) Sheet music and photo of Mary Helbling in personal collection of the author.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.



Friday’s Faces From the Past: Edward Biron Payne

From left, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne, Maude McMurray, Edward McMurray, Lynette Payne McMurray in front with her father, Edward B. Payne, in back.
The Payne Family. From left, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne; little Maude McMurray & young Edward McMurray, Lynette Payne McMurray’s children; Lynette in front and her father, Edward B. Payne, in back. Taken at Wake Robin Lodge, Glen Ellen, California, c1907. (Click to enlarge.)

It is fitting to add this post today, on the anniversary of Edward B. Payne’s birthday, July 25, 1847.

Sorry that I haven’t been posting much due to real life, which sometimes interferes with genealogy. 😉

I have also recently had an article about Edward B. Payne (fondly known as EBP in our house) published in The Russian River Recorder, Spring 2014, Issue 124, which is the journal of the Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society, Sonoma County, California. The article took a lot of time to write, mostly because I was supposed to distill this complex man and his long life into 1200 words. I just couldn’t do it. I was so happy that they expanded the issue and I was able to use 1500 words. I will be posting the article soon.

The Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society  currently has a wonderful exhibit called “Visionaries, Believers, Seekers, and Schemers: 19th Century Utopian Communities of Sonoma County.” The community founded by Edward B. Payne, “Altruria,” although short-lived, was “… a glorious failure” according to some writers.  The Russian River Recorder has four articles about Altruria, plus numerous articles about the other three Utopian communities founded in Sonoma in the late 1800s. They are a very interesting read.

There were no known images of Altruria, as far as my research or that of others, until I contacted the Huntington Museum a couple of years ago. In some of Charmian London’s scrapbooks, the archivist found two images of Altruria. I requested a copy of the whole page, to get the images in context, and was surprised to see that there was also one image torn from the page- I would love to know more about that missing image! (I would be matching up the torn back of any loose photos with the remains in the scrapbook, but alas, the archivist states there are no loose photos.) These images too will get posted here on the blog, but I do need to get permission from the Huntington first; they did give their kind permission to publish in the journal above. It has been exciting to email back and forth with curators, archivists, and librarians for this research. They are all unsung heroes in my mind.

Edward B. Payne lecture advertisement. Possibly c1920, October 9.
Edward B. Payne lecture advertisement. Possibly c1920, October 9. (Click to enlarge.)

When Edward B. Payne could no longer preach due to his ‘pulmonary affliction’ (he acquired tuberculosis when he lived in New England), he earned a little income from lectures he provided throughout the Bay Area of California.

Lots more to come on EBP.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) The Healdsburg Museum has a wonderful exhibit of the four Sonoma County Utopian communities through Aug. 3, 2014, plus their June 2014 The Russian River Recorder details these communities. See http://www.healdsburgmuseum.org for more information. They are planning an online video tour of the exhibit, so watch for that soon.

2) Images from family photo archives.

 

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