Monthly Archives: December 2014

Church Street, Burlington Vermont – 1880 & 1930

I tend to grab photos from eBay auctions that relate in some way to my family.  The Bacons (my great-grandmother was Delia Bacon) lived and worked on or near Church Street in Burlington, and apparently at some point I grabbed a couple photos of that street.  I happened to discover them this morning and I liked the contrast between the two photos very much.  If you look carefully you can see that several of the buildings are the different, but most are the same.  It’s fun to play “what’s the same, and what has changed?”.

[Click on photos to enlarge or download.]

Church Street, Burlington, 1880's

Church Street, Burlington, 1880’s

Church Street, Burlington, 1930's

Church Street, Burlington, 1930’s

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Thomas Family Religion

I thought it might be interesting to post any information I could find about the religious beliefs of the Thomas line of my family.  I may add to this as I find out more.

My 3x great-grandfather Charles H. Thomas (1821-1873) married Louisa A. Pond (1823-1896) around 1845, probably in Burke, New York.  Before her marriage, Louisa had been one of the founding members of the Burke Presbyterian Church per an historical article published in the “Malone Farmer” in 1933.  The article also mentions many members of the Morse family (Louisa’s mother was Sally Mariah Morse).

“Other charter members were [..] Miss Lois Pond…”

"Malone Farmer", 1933

“Malone Farmer”, 1933

My great-great grandfather, Horace Luther Thomas [son of Charles and Louisa] married Anna Clifford on 3 Jul 1872.  The official was listed as “Rev. A. J. Ingalls, Methodist Pastor”.  Rev. Ingalls was the pastor of the First Methodist Church in Winooski during the years 1871-1872 according to the “History of Chittenden County”, p 568.  So Horace and his wife attended the Methodist church in Winooski at least that early.

Thomas / Clifford marriage, 1872

Thomas / Clifford marriage, 1872

My father simply called Horace a “Protestant” in this little story about his great-grandfather:

“Horace was a Protestant and he was a strong Republican. And he lived in Winooski which was a very Catholic community, very union-dominated, so the Democratic Party was real strong in Winooski because they were in those woolen mills which was the lifeblood of the whole town.  So it was Election Day and he had just voted. And the union had a couple of thugs outside the polling place to try to intimidate people. And these two union guys were talking to each other and they see my great grandfather coming down the sidewalk and they says, ‘Here comes one of those Goddamn Republican Protestants right now.’ And my great grandfather steps up to the guy and he flattens him right on the side with one punch. “

Horace was confirmed in the “Holy Trinity Chapel” in Winooski, Vermont on 15 Jul 1896.  He was 49 years old, and the confirmation happened around the same time his son, Horace Jr., was confirmed (14 Jun 1896), and on the same day that his daughter Anna Thomas was confirmed.  I believe Holy Trinity, which was established in 1876, was an Episcopal Church.

Horace Thomas confirmation, 1896

Horace Thomas confirmation, 1896

Both Horace and his wife Anna had their funerals at “Trinity Episcopal Church” in Winooski.  Presumably the same one where he was confirmed.  Anna was a member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary there.

Their daughter, Emma Thomas (1878-1931) was married at the Trinity Episcopal church in Winooski.

Their son, Robert Erwin Thomas (1887-1965), was a member of the Trinity Episcopal church in Winooski, Trinity Episcopal in Milton, Vermont, and his funeral was held at Saint James Episcopal Church in Essex Junction, Vermont.

Their son, Frederick Clifford Thomas Sr. (1889-1976), married his first wife, Delia Bacon, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Delia, like her entire family, was Catholic. Fred was listed as a member of the Episcopal Church of Winooski in his obituary.

Frederick Clifford Thomas Jr. (1918-2006) was married at the Universalist Church in Essex Junction, Vermont.  His wife, Mildred Jean Forrest, was a member of the First Congregational Church in Saint Albans, Vermont, where she was a Deacon.  My father wrote about his parents:

“My father was not at all religious and attended church only when forced by my mother.  I know that he was originally baptized in the Catholic Church which would have been the religion of his mother.  My mother was a devoted Christian and was active in the Congregational Church.  She taught Sunday School for many years, was a member of the choir, and eventually became a deacon of the church.  The Congregational Church is now called The United Church of Christ.”


McWhirter Family Timeline in America

Agnes McWhirter (1827-1898) was my 3x great-grandmother.  She was born in County Tyrone, Ireland and came to the US sometime in the 1840’s with her entire family.  She married my 3x great-grandfather Robert Clifford (also from Ireland) in Winooski, Vermont on 15 Sept 1847.

This is a chronological timeline for the core immigrant McWhirter family in America after arriving from Ireland.   This has been on my Ancestry.com tree for years, but thought it should probably go up here also.  It’s helpful to know which family members were where and when.  I will add more to this, but it’s a good place to start.

1843
Arrival in US per Eliza Jane McWhirter

1847
Agnes in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont

1849
Arrival in US per Margaret McWhirter

1850
Agnes in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont
Margaret in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont
Thomas in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane Baite (as “Sarah”) in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Thomas Jr. in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Samuel in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
James in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Margaret (as “Mary A.”) in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
George in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont

1851
Agnes in Rouses Point, Clinton, New York, per birth certificate of daughter Anna.

1856
Agnes in Cornwall, Addison, Vermont

1859
Samuel in Manchester, Hillsborough, New Hampshire

1860
Agnes in Alburg, Grand Isle, Vermont
Thomas Sr. in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane Baite (as “Sarah”) in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
James in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
George in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Samuel in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Margaret (as “McCarter”) in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

1862
Samuel in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
James in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

1863
Samuel in Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont
James in Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont

1864
Thomas Jr. in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

1865
Margaret in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

1867
Thomas Sr. dies in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Samuel in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont

1868
Agnes in Alberg, Grand Isle, Vermont
James in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Thomas in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

1869
George in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts

1870
Agnes in Alburg, Grand Isle, Vermont
Samuel in Holland, Orleans, Vermont
Eliza Jane McWhirter in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane Baite (as “Sarah”) in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

1874
Samuel dies in Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts
Thomas in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

1875
Thomas in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

1876
George in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Thomas dies in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

1880
Agnes in Colchester, Chittendon, Vermont
Eliza Jane McWhirter (as “Sarah”) in Salisbury, Addison, Vermont
Margaret in Winfield, Cowley, Kansas
George in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts

1883
George dies in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts

1891
Agnes in Winooski, Chittenden, Vermont

1898
Eliza Jane in Salisbury, Addison, Vermont
Agnes dies in Winooski
Margaret in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont

1900
Margaret in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont
Eliza Jane dies in Salisbury, Addison, Vermont

1910
Margaret in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont

1914
Margaret dies in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont


Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks Letters – Index

This is an index of all the letters written to or from my 3x great-grandmother Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks.

25 Sept 1846 – Rev. William Duff to Jane (prior to marriage)

19 Oct 1846 – Reply from Jane to Rev. William Duff (prior to marriage)

30 Jul 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining

17 Aug 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining (Partial letter)

Summer 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining (Partial letter)

1 Oct 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining

18 Oct 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining

2 Nov 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining

13 Nov 1855 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining (Partial letter)

16 Jan 1856 – Jane to Mary Fairbanks Twining

Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks c1855, courtesy of Catherine Duff

Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks c1855, courtesy of Catherine Duff

Jane Fairbanks & Child (From the Archives of Nancy Prescott Forrest)

Jane Fairbanks & Child (From the Archives of Nancy Prescott Forrest)


Letter From Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks – 2 Nov 1855

Another letter written from Braco, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on 2 Nov 1855 by my 3x great-grandmother Jane Elizabeth Fairbanks Duff to her cousin Mary Martha Fairbanks Twining in Halifax.  This is probably the saddest letter out of all of them, as Jane and Mary discuss the recent death of their mutual first cousin Frances “Fanny” Allison.

There is also some ominous foreshadowing.  In the letter Jane writes: “It is indeed a solemn warning to us who are in health and strength to be also ready seeing we know neither the day nor the hour when death shall come.” She would die only months later.

[Transcription follows the letter itself.  Click on the images to enlarge or download.  Letter courtesy of Catherine Duff & Family.]

Pages 1, 4, & 5

Pages 1, 4, & 5

Pages 2, 3, and 6

Pages 2, 3, and 6

== Page 1

Braco Nov. 2nd [1855]

My Dear Mary,

If I had not been very much engaged for the last week, I should certainly have thanked you very much sooner for your kindness in writing [words crossed out]  at a time when you knew I should feel very anxious to hear although you did not say anything in your first letter to alarm me about Fanny.  I felt quite uneasy about her after receiving it and thought frequently that there was cause for apprehending danger.  I don’t know that I should have thought so much about it had it not been for the death of a young person here in somewhat

== Page 2

similar circumstances – she was just Fanny’s age and died in an equally sudden manner, she too was sick for a day and then was seized with vomiting and after your mentioning that I could not get her out of my thoughts.  Although I cannot say I was in any way prepared for the sad reality when your second letter came.  Poor Aunt Mary. I feared almost to hear again dreading what might be the effect of such an overwhelming blow as this, we all know her intense affection for her children and although she has been sorely tried before this in the removal of younger ones, former afflictions must have been light in comparison to this.

[Frances Elizabeth “Fanny” Allison was the daughter of Jane’s aunt Mary Ann Fairbanks Allison (1800-1896).  Fanny died 21 Oct 1855 at the age of 24.  My records indicate Fanny died in Bermuda, but I’m not sure word would have gotten back to Halifax so quickly as to be sent to Jane before November 2, 1855.  Jane mentions that Mary Ann was “sorely tried before this”, making reference to the fact that Mary Ann’s children Ellen and Agnes died in 1836 at the ages of 1 and 2 years respectively.  They are on the same tombstone in the Old Burying Ground in Halifax.  Mary and her husband David Allison also lost their son Joseph at age 3 in 1839. ]

== Page 3

Fanny must have been everything to her this summer while dear Aunt Eliza’s loss [“must have been” is crossed out] was so fresh and the want of her society so keenly felt, and now my heart aches to think of such a desolating bereavement as hers.  [words crossed out here] her death under any circumstances would have been an awful hole but it seems so very sad that she was not aware of her danger at least as far as friends could know, for many hope at least she was not unprepared by the many of Him with whom nothing is impossible.  It is indeed a solemn warning to us who are [crossed out word] in health and strength to be also ready seeing we know neither the day nor the hour when death shall come.  I have thought more of Aunt Mary’s

== Page 4

sorrow knowing the intensity of her feelings, but alas there are many to share in it.  Her husband and children so suddenly bereaved, the latter can have at present little sense of their loss but poor Sam [Fanny’s husband, Dr. Samuel Wells] will be utterly unprepared for such dreadful feelings and his friends will deeply sympathize in the grief of all.  May he who has sent the stroke administer consolation also, for earthly friendship can do but little.  Mrs. Cossman was here the evening I received your letter telling of her confinement and she told me thought she had never seen any person look so strangely as Fanny.  She said her face has such an unnatural color and appeared to her to be very much swollen so what she said alarmed me also, but still I hoped

== Page 5 [sideways on page four]

all would be well.  It is so natural to hope for the best.  I have had letters from all at home since, but yours contained the most particular account and I must again thank you dear Mary for your kindness and thoughtfulness in writing for I daresay you did not feel very like doing so at the time.  There was some hair in the envelope was it Fanny’s?  Perhaps you intended saying but closed without [saying].  My poor baby has been quite ill for a whole week and although she is better she had two days she will scarcely let

== Page 6 [Sideways on page 3]

any one look at her and for hours will not let me put her out of my arms.  She is so very cross.  Her teeth have been the cause of it but I hope the worst is over now.  We are all tolerable well, but  Aunt Margaret and myself have been very busy with house cleaning getting up stores and other arrangements necessary at this season.  We shall have more leisure soon, I hope.  It did not matter at all about the chemises, just send them when quite convenient.  I must not write more today but with much love to Martha and all at Dartmouth.

Believe me dear Mary your ever affectionate

Jane E Duff