gerisullivan: (Frog on Rock)
A few weeks ago, on election day, I took my Squier plate along with me to the poll, thinking to show it to our primary town historian, David Worth. David was home, recovering from surgery, but Town Clerk Leis Phinney told me David and Kaye would be glad to have me drop by, so I did. While there, David gave me a shallow black & white bowl that came from the Squier House. It's seen better days; decades ago it was broken clean through and repaired, and later, repaired again. Thanks to David, it's "back in the family."

A few minutes ago, the sound of loud knocks permeated through headphones and the attention I was paying to Neil Gaiman's A Calendar of Tales while working on the layout of the next issue of AIR.

David Worth was at the door. Once he knew I was here, he reached into his car, then followed me inside carrying the tattered remains of very old scrapbook and an envelope of photos and some negatives. He's sorting and organizing his own historical files, and came to give me those from the Squier sisters.

OMG. A couple of years ago, he brought me the first of his Squier files, a folder of newspaper clippings about the house being torn down, a few family letters and papers, and a small handful of photos of the Squier sisters, Phyrne, Ruby, and Helen. Helen is the distant cousin who corresponded with my great-uncle Ted, the one who led Ted to write to my Grandma Dorothy in August, 1970, about hearing from "Miss Helen Squier of Wales, Mass." The letter Grandma the sent to my parents, that my Mom kept in her address book and that my sister found is the only reason I know I have family roots in this town, in this area, going back hundreds of years.

And now I have photos -- lots of photos -- some of them identified, many not, but I know they were the Squier family photos here in Wales. Photos of Phyrne, Ruby, and Helen, of their parents and friends, of family pets, the cats, dogs, a duck, cows, and a horse in front of the barn. Photos of outings around Massachusetts, from Marblehead, Holliston, and more, all from 1919 and thereabouts, just a few from the 1930s.

I snapped a few with my camera phone before setting them aside and getting back to work. Some of those will likely show up on G+ in the not-too-distant future.

Edited to correct bowl colors: I thought it was a dark navy blue and white; it's actually a black and white toile picture print, not blue and white.
gerisullivan: (Twinzy Man in the Moon)
Saturday afternoon, after dropping off dry-cleaning and taking pictures at Squier Lumber in Monson, I stopped at the house up Moulton Hill Road from the cemetery. It was my best guess as the likely Squier family home based on what the librarian in Monson told me about its location.

Because it was something [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. would do with excellent results, and also since it was only polite, I knocked on the door. A youngish woman greeted me while her mother kept their eager dog firmly in hand. Sure enough, yes; it was the Squier House.

The McCann family has owned it for 20 years now; the daughter has lived there since she was 4. She's a nuclear med tech (for which there are very few jobs in the area) and is studying nursing. They farmed the land for years. Now another farmer brings in the hay and such. The chickens are gone, as is the cow.

The current house was built in 1838. What's now the master bedroom upstairs has a wooden spring floor -- the Squier family used to hold "kitchen dances" there. Bouncy-bouncy. I'd never heard of a sprung floor in a house before Saturday. Monday I learned that there might have been one in the Squier House here in Wales, too. More research, more research. I expect there's always more research to do, especially for someone as driven by Story as I am. More details about the Moulton Hill Squier house. )

Walking east across the fields toward Squier Pond, I met a carpenter and his son. The carpenter told me there's an Indian Mound in the fields between the house and pond. Someone dug it up in the 1950s and took lots of arrowheads out. His young son told me about finding an arrowhead while digging out there himself. I wonder how many generations of children digging in the yard, in the fields, in the woods will pass before there are no more arrowheads to be found. They were certainly plentiful in southern Michigan when I was a kid, but I don't hear much about kids finding them these days.

The McCann family has sold a few lots off of the land at various times over the years. A friend lives across the street in a newer home. The carpenter built the house and his barn workshop "recently" but modeled it after the old style in both design and look. It's pretty convincing from the outside. When I first saw it a few weeks ago, I wondered if it might not be the homestead instead of the house on the corner.

Squier Pond is a large pond in the woods at the east end of the fields. At the north end of the pond, there are some large square stones that the Indians used to harvest ice from the pond. I don't know how and I haven't seen them yet. The carpenter's son ran across the fields to tell me about them as "something else you might think is cool about the pond." Oh, yes; yes, indeed I do. I told him it may be Spring before I come back, but that I do want to see those stones. The boy told me how to get to them; it wasn't obvious from the part of the Squier Pond I visited.

I came home, wrote up an earlier version of these notes while they were fresh, fresh, fresh in my memory and sent them off to my sister and nieces. Then I headed over to Wales Cemetery #4 in the hope of finding Helen and Ruby Squier's gravesites before it got dark. Success there, too, and more Gobsmacked by Genealogy adventures followed on both Sunday and Monday, and more may well come yet this afternoon.

When I talked with the woman working at the library on Saturday, she was astonished at how quickly I've learned so much about the Squier families I'm related to, how many personal stories I know about them. Her brother has been working on family genealogy for years and has nothing anywhere close to this. Yeah, I'm astonished, too. It's two months tomorrow since my sister sent me the email with the electrifying news that in 1970, "Miss Helen Squier of Wales, Mass" had shared family geneaolgy information with our Great-Uncle Ted Squier.
gerisullivan: (Twinzy Toy)
OMG. OMG. OMG and All That Jazz....

#1) The Manuscript Reading Room at the Library of Congress is a wonderful place and an even better resource.

#2) Microfilm readers are easier to use than I remember them being.

#3) On my first, brief pass it's utterly clear that there will never be enough time.

#4) OMG Redux: The librarian told me there was a journal, too. When he brought the single 15-foot roll of microfilm over, he apologized, saying "I may have mislead you. This is a different Ephraim Squier." (He noticed that from the date.) Oh, my. It's Ephraim George's grandfather, Ephraim B. Squier. The one who lived in Ashford, CT, 19 miles from Wales, and was the cousin of my 4 or 5 great-grandfather Daniel Squier, also of Wales. The journal is from 1775 September 7 - November 25 and documents Ephraim B's "march with his battalion (under the command of Roger Enos) from Cambridge, Mass. to Quebec via the Kennebec River as part of Benedict Arnold's Canadian invasion forces." There's also an "account (1777 September 4 - November 2) of another march from Providence, R.I. to Albany, N.Y. including references to the battles at Saratoga and Burgoyne's surrender."

Daniel may have been along on one or both of these campaigns.

Sorry for the placeholder post; backstory to follow.

I'm off...

Oct. 28th, 2010 01:55 pm
gerisullivan: (Individual-I by Drewan)
...and I'm going to go anyway.

National Mall, here I come. Person by person, we'll gather and Rally to Restore Sanity".

And before that, I'll spend as much time as I can in the Library of Congress Manuscript Reading Room looking at the papers of Ephraim George Squier. I've recently learned he's my 3rd cousin, 4 times removed. If I'm counting correctly, that is. About 6 weeks ago, I was gobsmacked by genealogy, starting with the news that I have family going back to the early 1800s...in Wales. My Wales.

Film at 11, for very large values of 11.

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