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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

An Almost Famous Person (AFP) Barbara Bernert Keyser

Barbara Keyser was a special person.  Unfortunately I never got to meet her husband (that I recall) but know they led interesting lives.

I know little about Jack, but I see in his son  his father's love for tinkering and making reuse of many things.  Being a farmer, Jack no doubt found it advantageous to repair machines that had hiccuped.  He also was a builder, of their home and other structures that met their needs.

A member of the family had a Hillman Minx -- a rare car.   Hillmans were manufactured in Britain and imported to the US in a "foreign invasion" of our GM, Ford and Chrysler dominated market.

Barbara's father, Christian (or Crist) Bernert, came to America in 1906 from Hungary with his wife Julia Roff Bernert and their children Elizabeth and Peter.  Three years later in 1909 the family returned to Hungary.  While in Panscova, Austria-Hungary, their daughter was born...Barbara (Barbala) Rose Bernert (later Keyser) on July 26, 1909, a Leo astrologically.  When she was almost 4, Barbara emigrated with her family to New York, America, on the Ship Ivernia.  This must have been quite an experience for a young girl.

Barbara's father ultimately worked as a Tool and Die Maker for Ford Motor Company and joined the Teamsters.  He also worked for Hercules Tool and Die in Warren, MI when they made and sold generators to the U. S. Army.  At one point the Teamsters, who were communist leaning, had Christian signed up to go to Russia with the Teamsters group; they were to be paid in Rubles.  Crist decided he did not want to go; five of those who did "disappeared" in Russia.  Christian was friendly with Walter Reuther (President of the UAW from 1946-1970).  Many Teamsters attended the funeral of Barbara's father, Christian.


Barbara loved orchids.  A hobby and fascination that has been passed down to her son and daughter-in-law who both have many lovely orchids hanging from the limbs of their trees.

Barbara Keyser died October 22, 2003 following a good day and following enjoying ice cream for dinner.  Her heart simply stopped even though she wore a pacemaker for several years.  She was cremated and buried alongside her husband Jack at Evergreen Cemetery in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Barbara died in Melbourne, FL, near the home of her son, daughter-in-law and grandson.  Barbara also received many visits from my dad until he passed away before her.  She missed his visits very much.  Barbara was SO much like my own grandmother Alice Southworth Healey that it was amusing to see the similarities.  If they were not of the same generation, I would have wondered if one was a reincarnation of the other!  Nice.

Barbara is an "AFP" (Almost Famous Person).   Barbara worked for a period of time for a corporate lawyer, who became a good friend of the family. In 1945 she had Roger and stayed home about one year. Grant and Johnny, her stepsons, were living with her and Jack. Their lawyer friend visited with Jack and Barbara regarding land in Vermont which was very inexpensive. Jack loved it and moved the family to Vermont in one week - a sizable feat! Their first Vermont home had a little gas station on the land in Colchester Vermont, Jack built the garage. This was a 4 bedroom house. They were able to have boarders and Barbara used to bake pies for restaurants (and for boarders). Then she got a job with an insurance company in Essex. Her boss was a State Senator. Barbara, having lived in Colchester for a mere 3 years was elected as the Town Clerk, a position she held for 17 years. She was the first woman in Vermont to be a Town Clerk - an Almost Famous Person!

At one point she and Jack bought a farm and traded all the farm machinery to buy a grocery store (Keyser's IGA) in Colchester.

Jack and four others started a volunteer fire department in Colchester and donated a piece of land for the fire station. This fire station is now fully staffed with paid firemen.

After Jack had a heart attack in Vermont, they moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Notes: After they had been married about 3 years, Jack built a home at 17 Collington Avenue, East Detroit, MI. He actually dug the basement by hand and then eventually sold the home.  And, did you know she was  the ENTIRE complaint department for FTD florists during the war?

A Brownie Recipe of Barbara Keyser's

1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
1 can of Hershey's syrup (about 10 oz?)
and add lastly: 2 c. self-rising flour

Bake at 350 degrees F. in an oblong pan.

Add chocolate icing!

I loved her so much.  Donna Fuller Cator

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Marian Loretta Ridgeway and her descendants

Marian is my husband's Great Aunt Marian Loretta Ridgeway who married Robert H. Beach.  Marian's sister was Ruth Alice Ridgeway, our ancestor.    Marian passed away in the 1980's and her obit tells quite a tale about large families and their descendants.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Saving the passengers and the pets on the Ship Susan Gilmore in 1884

My 4th Great Grandparents are Capt. Phineas Pendleton (1780-1873) and his wife Nancy Gilmore Pendleton, daughter of Lt. Peleg and Ann Park Pendleton. Phineas and Nancy had a daughter Mary who married Capt. Woodburn Carver.  Woodburn and Mary had Nancy Pendleton Carver who married Capt. Andrew Sherburne Pendleton and they had daughter Marietta Park Pendleton, who never married.

Andrew and Nancy's daughter Marietta Pendleton was born on July 4th, 1868 on the Bark Thomas Fletcher in the Bristol Channel off Cardiff Wales.  Her father Andrew was the bark's captain.

Interestingly, Nancy Pendleton Carver Pendleton's brother, William McGilvery Carver, was captain of the Ship Susan Gilmore in 1884 when it was shipwrecked.  Capt. Carver swam to shore through the surf and carried a rope which he then tied to a tree.  With this small rope he pulled a larger line to shore, fastened it to a tree, and a breeches buoy was set up and hauled to and from until every person was saved, and then he went back and saved all the pets.  Our kind of man!

Note: Winslow Homer painting of a Breeches Buoy in 1884. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Great Great Grandmother's Recipe for a Very Good Sponge Cake

·        Three eggs
·        One and One-half cups sugar
·        Two cups flour
·        Two cups cold water
·        One teaspoonful cream tartar
·        One-half teaspoon Bird's soda
·        Salt
·        Flavor to taste

·        Take one cup of flour and sift the cream tartar well into it
·        Beat the eggs lightly and stir in sugar
·        Add flour and cream tartar mixture
·        Dissolve the soda into the water
·        Add water/soda, and salt and flavoring
·        Add the other one cup of flour
·        Bake slowly
·        Sprinkle sugar over the top when the cake has been in the over a minute or two
·        When done, the cake will have a light color and a sugary crust

This 1913 recipe is thanks to:
Emily Jane Pendleton Beach, my great great grandmother whose husband was Orin Utley Beach, Jr..   Emily was Esther Beach Eaton Bennett Homer's grandmother!


This is my great great grandmother's recipe.  It was published in the Knyvetta Cookbook in 1913, four years before she passed away in 1917 in Searsport. 

My mother used to talk about Emily' Jane's son, Capt. James Hervey Beach who worked for Standard Oil Company as a Captain and later a pilot on the rivers in China.  When Jim was 27, he married Eugenie Ella Staples who was born in Havre, France in 1875 and died in 1914 in Shanghai, China.  Their children were well liked by my mom. The three daughters were Ella, Doris and Helen, all of whom never married! My mom, Marjorie Emma Bennett, was named after Doris “Marjorie” Beach!

This photo is of my grandmother, Esther (Nana) being held by her mom, Emily Prudence, sister of Capt. Jim.  Looks like Capt. Jim's photo on the wall may be the one on the left.  This picture was taken on the family farm on Turnpike Road in Searsport.  Interesting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mom's Budget-Friendly and Easy Goulash

q     In 1 tblsp oil, cook (about 10 minutes) and drain:
q         1 1/2 pounds of hamburger
q         1 small onion chopped
q         1 green pepper chopped

q     Add: 
q         2 cans of Franco- American spaghetti
q         1 can spaghetti can of water
q         Season with Salt/Pepper

q      Simmer ingredients in the large fry pan for about 10 minutes
·                                  Serves about 4                                                 
This family recipe is thanks to:

My mom, Marjorie Emma Fuller, who never liked to cook really. 

Mom did easy stuff...often bland stuff like we tend to think of New England
boiled dinners  - not spicy!

This is her very easy, and I loved it always, goulash made with Franco-American 
spaghetti.  I never knew this; thought it was from thin spaghetti pasta. 

My sister knew her secret though!

Not sure Franco American Spaghetti in cans is still available, 
but anything similar would do - maybe even Spaghetti-Os!


Bond Bakery and Nanny

Bond Bakery and Nanny

 My sister and I spent many an hour watching Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger, all in glorious black and white on the small screen – quite small screen at home.  Bond Bread sponsored Hopalong, and I believe it also sponsored The Lone Ranger.  Great times.

 Interestingly enough, this was the period in which milk was delivered to your door by the milkman and bread by the Bond Bakery truck driver.  We got the milk that way, but I don't recall the bread deliveries. 

 Not a problem though!

 Our grandmother, Alice Edith Southworth Healey, worked for Bond Bakery in Hartford CT in the 1950s or so.  On occasion we would pick her up after her shift ended.  Just approaching the Bond Bakery would cause drooling.  The aroma, oh my, so very wonderful. 

 Nanny would come out with her white bakery cap still covering her white hair.  She smelled wonderful to cuddle up to on the trip to her home or ours.  We likely ate a lot of Bond Bread when growing up, although I remember Wonder Bread as well.

 Our great grandmother Alvra, our Nanny Alice, Aunt Jane and “Uncle” Eddie had goodies when we would come to visit or spend the night.  One treat was the Bond Bridge Cookies.  We would play a game called auction bridge with Nanny and Jane and they occasionally served these cookies which were cut in the shape of clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.  So appropriate.  So memorable.

        Alice with her Great Grandson Joseph efef

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Public Schools in the 1800s in America

This was a time when demographics were changing America from localized rural schools to more city schools. During this time children did not always go to school because of responsibilities to help the farming family or the family business and when poor children and orphans had to work in factories that paid them for their cheap labor. School was not mandatory. In 1852, Massachusetts passed school laws that required students to attend. Shortly after that New York did the same. Within 50-60 years all states had such laws on their books to at least get America's pupils through the elementary school years. Catholic schools emerged as private schools. The Supreme Court in 1925 allowed children to attend public or private school, stopping any legal battles over compulsory public schooling.

Localized schools were small and tended to have boys on one side of the room; girls on the other side. Some schools had individual desks in neat rows. Others used tables and benches. Students of all ages were often in the same classroom and the older students would help with the care and teaching of the younger ones. Students tended to be gathered by subject, and not by age, so the children learning a math assignment, for example, might be younger students as well as older ones. Chalkboards were common, and inkwells or quill pens were the norm.

The August 17, 1999 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch shared with its readers that patriotism and citizenship were taught in schools, along with the three Rs. The Pledge of Allegiance was a daily practice. Teachers were often strict, and discipline was routine. Actually, the parents would not be pleased if a teacher was lax in disciplining the children for misbehavior. Whipping a child was banned in 1830s, but not the use of switches or paddles. Children were well trained to pay attention to the teacher, rather than the kids sitting around or next to them. Each was expected to know their lessons well. Children learned from others in the room too because as they would be working on their assignments others might be learning a different subject from the teacher that interested them too. Classrooms were noisy and children spent a lot of time memorizing lessons from textbooks and the Bible. They often recited their learnings before the teacher. Older children tended to the woodstove in the classroom to offer some comfort from the exterior cold. Some parents still felt that school was a waste of time for their students. Most of the learnings a person acquired were from textbooks, family and schooling as most families did not travel and have new more worldly experiences.

Black children were not allowed to attend school. Any teachings for them were done secretly. Some were taught by the white town members or missionaries who wanted them to know how to read the Bible. Even this was dangerous as the teachers were subject to being jailed or fined, and the students to being punished or whipped.  After the Civil War ended, many blacks chose to go to new schools as Freedmen.  

Today we go to school, typically, year round except in the summer. To help with the farming, children in the 1800s would work the fields in the spring and fall and go to school in the summer and winter. Some of the older boys helped on the farms in the summer too. Teachers might be tested, but often were just grown students now hired to teach the next generation. Teachers might have their own place to live, but could well be boarded by various student families throughout the year which was known as being "boardround."

Children walked to school, or rode horses. They might bring their lunch or might not eat at all. They did get recess. At about age 10, boys might be "apprenticed" to learn a job, which could stop their schooling days. Girls might be married by 15 or so and no longer in school. Penmanship was a course that was given serious attention, along with the reading, writing and arithmetic.

This look back more than 100 years makes me curious as to what schools will be like in the next 100 years. No doubt they will still be centered around the 3 Rs, but I find it hard to truly imagine the vast amount of future technological advancements that will enrich schooling and lifelong learning experiences.