Langone and Prevete in Boston

I just watched the movie “No God, No Master” about the Italian anarchist movement in Boston. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I looked up Sacco and Vanzetti on Wikipedia and noted something of particular interest to me. “At Langone Funeral Home in Boston North End, more than 10,000 mourners viewed Sacco and Vanzetti in open caskets over two days.”[1]

The name “Langone” associated with funerals rang a bell. I was pretty sure he was the undertaker for one of my ancestors. So I got out the death certificates to have a look and, sure enough, I was right. Joseph A. Langone was the undertaker for my gr-gr-great grandmother, Angela Tuzzo Prevete, in 1901.  See the death certificate below.

Death Certificate - Angela Tuzzo Prevete - 1901 - cropped with citation

A couple of other Boston undertakers for my ancestors included A. A. Badaracco and Michael J. Porcello.  If anyone knows about these funeral homes or undertakers, I’d like to hear from you.

______________________

[1] Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org), “Sacco and Vanzetti,” modified 16:06, 8 August 2014.

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Consideration of the Love I Have

Sarah Lanier Dell Fletcher passed away, according to her headstone, on 31 July 1894. She is buried with her husband, John Almarine Fletcher, in Pleasant Grove Cemetery in what is now Dixie County, Florida. She was a minister’s wife and, twenty years before her death, deeded property for the use of a church. The terms of the deed, I believe, reveal her heart. Below is an image of the deed with the transcription following it.

Lafayette County, Florida, Deeds, C:81, Sarah L. Fletcher to Methodist Episcopal Church South, 23 October 1894; Clerk of Circuit Court, Mayo; digital image received in email from Betty Mikell, 18 August 2013.

Lafayette County, Florida, Deeds, C:81, Sarah L. Fletcher to Methodist Episcopal Church South, 23 October 1875; Clerk of Circuit Court, Mayo; digital image received in email from Betty Mikell, 18 August 2013.

State of Florida           §          Know all men by these presents

County of Lafayette   §          that I Sarah L Fletcher for and in

Consideration of the love I have

For the cause of church and from an earnest desire to promote his heritage on Earth do give and grant and by these presents convey unto Charles Dell Fletcher John J. Gornto John L Fletcher Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and to their successors in office for the use and benefit of said Church The following described lands

To wit: The North West quarter of the North East quarter of Section fifteen Township Eight South of Range Thirteen east containing (39 92/100) Thirty nine Ninety two one hundredths acres Lying & being in the County of & State aforesaid In trust that said premises shall be used kept & maintained and disposed as a place of Divine Worship

for the use of the Ministry and membership of the afore said church also as a place of Residence for the preacher who may from time to time be appointed to said place in the mission or circuit subject to the discipline [?] & ministerial appointments of said Church or from time to time authorized and declared by the General Conference of said church and the annual conference within whos [sic] bounds the said premises are situated and that said Trustees to have and to hold the property aforesaid for the use aforesaid free from the Claimes [sic] of myself my heirs my executors or administrators and from the claims of all others whomsoever

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand

and seal this the Twenty first day of August eighteen

hundred and Seventy four

In Presents of Witnesses         §    Sarah L. Fletcher  (seal)

M M Michan                          §

N C Singletary                       §

Emma D. Michan                   §

Recorded the above deed on the 23rd day of October

A.D. 1875                              Howell Hawkins

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only a Headstone to Mark Her Death

Laura Lee Fletcher passed away from this earth, but the exact date has yet to be documented other than the headstone which states her death occurred on 24 July 1924. She is buried in O’Brien Cemetery in Suwannee County, Florida, with her husband, James Ball Fletcher. The mystery of her death date stems from the fact that a search of the records of all the counties in Florida for the entire year of 1924 did not reveal a death certificate on record. If you ever wondered what happens when you order a death certificate that cannot be found, look at the image below.

Death "certificate" for Laura Lee Fletcher

Death “certificate” for Laura Lee Fletcher

I really know nothing about this great grandmother except that her oldest granddaughter (my aunt) looked very much like her. An obituary request to the Suwannee (Florida) Valley Genealogy Society yielded no results. I can see that a road trip is going to be necessary to scour newspapers of the time and place to hopefully find out more about this lady. You can see her photo and memorial (#16943146) at Findagrave.

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Minerva’s Last Years

She became a widow in 1909 when her husband unexpectedly died at their home in Coalton, Jackson County, Ohio. Her son, Miles, a bachelor, still lived at home. The following year the two of them moved to Saginaw, Michigan, to live with her oldest daughter and family, according to the 1910 census. When the family moved to Florida around 1914, she did not accompany them.

In the 1920 census, Minerva (Abrams) Bennett can be found in two censuses in Ohio. On 2 January 1920, she was enumerated with her son Miles in Coalton, Jackson County, Ohio. On 3 January 1920, she was living with her granddaughter, Fern Johnson, and her family in Trimble, Athens County, Ohio, but Miles was not listed.

The next time I located Minerva, my second great grandmother, was at her death on 5 July 1922 when she was living in Trimble, Athens County, Ohio.  The informant on her death certificate was E. E. Johnson, her grandson-in-law. Apparently, during her last days she suffered from uterine cancer, and the cause of her death was uremia (kidney failure) which she had for a little over two months. A photo of her, as well as images of her marriage and death certificates can be seen at Findagrave (Memorial #41564459) or by searching for Minerva Abrams Bennett. If you read my last post, Died on the 4th of July, you’ll notice that she died 52 years and one day after her mother, Nancy (Bridgeman) Abrams.

The following two images from her widow’s pension file document Minerva’s death date.

Drop Report, 9 Sep 1922, Minerva Bennett, widow's pension application no. 930678, certificate no. 693999; service of Philander Bennett (Pvt., Co. B &H, 56th Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of  Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Drop Report, 9 Sep 1922, Minerva Bennett, widow’s pension application no. 930678, certificate no. 693999; service of Philander Bennett (Pvt., Co. B &H, 56th Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Envelope returned to Department of the Interior, postmarked 3 Sep 1922, Minerva Bennett, widow's pension application no. 930678, certificate no. 693999; service of Philander Bennett (Pvt., Co. B &H, 56th Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of  Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Envelope returned to Department of the Interior, postmarked 3 Sep 1922, Minerva Bennett, widow’s pension application no. 930678, certificate no. 693999; service of Philander Bennett (Pvt., Co. B &H, 56th Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Died on the 4th of July

My third great grandmother shares something in common with the second and third presidents of the United States. They all died on July 4th.  John Adams and Thomas Jefferson actually died on the same day – the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – in 1826. Nancy (Bridgeman) Abrams Canter died in 1870 in Jackson County, Ohio, well before the days of mandatory death certificates.

In my genealogy research I have found an interesting document attesting to her death date. This was a sworn affidavit by her daughter and son-in-law, Minerva and Philander Bennett, on behalf of Minerva’s younger siblings’ pursuit of their father’s pension for his service in the Civil War. Here is an image of the affidavit with the transcription beside it.

Affidavit of Philander and Minerva Bennett in Pension file #370556 of Samuel Abrams.

Affidavit of Philander and Minerva Bennett in Pension file #370556 of Samuel Abrams.

 

 

“We were neighbors at the time and were present at the funeral and are able from personal knowledge to testify that Nancy, the wife of Samuel Abrams, above named, died in Jackson Co. Ohio, on the 4th of July 1870. We remember the date by a good memory and that it was on the “Fourth” of July and the year by the circumstance that we have a child born the previous year, 1869.”[i]

 

 

Have a Happy “Fourth.”

________________________________

[i] General Affidavit, 5 Nov 1891, Philander Bennett and Minerva Bennett, minors pension application no. 270031, certificate no. 370556; service of Samuel Abrams (Pvt., Co. H, 191st Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of  Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

William Shakespeare and My Grandfather

What do my grandfather and William Shakespeare have in common?  You might think that a strange question, but it is a legitimate one. They both died on their birthdays. The 19th of June was also Father’s Day in 1938. There was probably no celebration taking place in the home of John Anthony Damato, Sr. on that day. Forty-nine years earlier, Joseph and Angelina Damato were certainly celebrating the birth of their first child in Jacksonville, Florida. Having native Italian parents, John was baptized at the Immaculate Conception Church by Father William Kenny on 1 September 1889. This was the priest who was to later become Bishop Kenny for whom the Catholic high school in Jacksonville was named; several of my Damato cousins attended this school.

John Damato baptism record-1889-cropped

John Damato baptism record-1889-Immaculate Conception Church – Jacksonville, Florida

Even after the Great Fire of 1901 in which their home was destroyed, my grandfather had a real attachment to the city of Jacksonville for some reason. His father moved the family to Boston so his brother-in-law, who was a physician, could treat him for cancer.  After his father’s death in Boston in 1906, John wanted to return to Jacksonville, so he ran away. He sent a postcard of the skyline of Jacksonville to his mother and brother in Boston. In the message on the postcard (which my father saw as a young adult), he stated that Jacksonville was where he was born and was his home and he planned to live there. He also told his mother that if they would come back to Jacksonville to live, he would provide for both of them. His mother responded positively to the invitation and, according to the 1908 Jacksonville city directory, the three of them were reunited. My grandfather kept his word to his mother and, to my grandmother’s credit, she carried out my grandfather’s promise after his death. John followed in his father’s footsteps as a tailor and, after some less than positive business partnerships, eventually owned his own business. Some of his customers were the city fire department and local theaters. In this day of mass produced clothing, it’s hard to realize that at one time uniforms were handmade by a tailor and fitted for the individuals who would wear them. Up until the 1970s, theaters employed ushers who would assist moviegoers to their seats, settle complaints, and enforce theater rules and courtesies; they wore uniforms to easily identify them. My daddy tells that because my grandfather made the uniforms for the theaters, he would often receive free movie tickets for the family. My daddy usually sat between his parents when they went to the theater. But on one occasion, their seats included one next to the wall where they let my daddy sit so my grandparents could sit together. At some point during the evening, there would be a drawing for $100 cash based on a particular seat in the theater. Wouldn’t you know that on this night, the prize went to the seat my daddy was sitting in, but he was ineligible to receive the prize because of his age.

Week of Nov 1 1937 - Fire Dept

John Damato Ledger Book for week of November 1, 1937. Note Palace Theater and City Jacksonville Fire Department entries.

John was not only skillful with his hands as a tailor, but also in several other ways. I had noticed a lapel pin he was wearing in one photograph in particular and wondered exactly what it was. I zoomed in and it appeared to be scissors and a square. I thought it must have something to do with being a tailor, but I wondered if it represented a tailor’s guild or association. After a lot of searching online, I couldn’t find anything that seemed reasonable. About two years ago, my cousin gave me a tailor’s box that had belonged to my grandfather with priceless items inside that my grandmother had saved. Among the memorabilia was a square piece of thick cardboard with this very design of the lapel pin. I suppose it was his logo, and now I believe the lapel pin was an original design by my grandfather. John Damato- hanging pendantDesign for Lapel Pin             My daddy has a bookshelf his father made from wooden spools thread had once been wound on – a resource from his trade. My sister has a wooden trunk he made for my grandmother. I believe my own daddy’s skill in woodworking was probably inherited from my grandfather. John Damato trunk - front-cropped for blog According to my daddy and his two older brothers, their father was only about 5’4” tall but strong and stocky with a deep, rich baritone voice. My daddy remembers on Sundays his father would sit in bed shaving with an electric shaver while singing “Old Man River.” He appeared in local minstrel shows as one of the end men who made jokes with the interlocutor. When he wasn’t performing, he made costumes for the shows. His community and social involvement included membership in the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Jr Chamber of Commerce pin - frontJr Chamber of Commerce pin - back       IOOF card NOTE: In order to do justice to my grandfather, I will finish his story in a later post.

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sgt. Paul W. Ragan – Heroic Deeds in the World’s Time of Need

Today commemorates the anniversary of D-Day – 6 June 1944 – sometimes called “The Beginning of the End.”  My father-in-law, Paul W. Ragan, was a staff sergeant in Company A, 741st Tank Battalion, 2d Infantry Division in the Normandy Invasion. Although he would never consider himself a hero, he certainly did some very heroic deeds on that day and the days following. He later received a Silver Star for his actions. You can view the citation here: http://projects.militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=110878

Paul W. Ragan

Paul W. Ragan

You can also read some accounts of what actually happened on that day about Sgt.Paul Ragan by searching GoogleBooks using the terms “Omaha Beach” and “Paul Ragan” with the quotation marks.

I’m so grateful for the sacrifice he and so many other young men made for the freedom I experience today. I’m also very grateful that, unlike many other equally valiant young men, he was able to live through the ordeal so I could have the privilege of knowing this wonderful man and benefiting from the influence he had on my husband.

Posted in Family History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment