Friday, August 10, 2018

Betty Clay

Today I am remembering my cousin Betty Clay, who lived in Danvers 93 years. I visited her last October, and enjoyed hearing her stories of earlier days.

News of Betty's death reached me today in CA, where I happen to be visiting Stuart Brewster, her cousin and mine.

You can read about her life here:   Salem News notice re Betty Clay

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4th memories

I have memories of large family gatherings at Pine Knoll for the Fourth of July. We sat outdoors in the shade of the large pines beside that old house, and visited with the great aunts May and Margaret Nichols, who still lived in that house where they had grown up. A beautifully carved watermelon looked like a basket with a large handle; inside the rind/basket was a delicious assortment of cut fruit. There were of course many other foods served this picnic, and many cousins and other relatives in attendance. As a small girl I barely knew who was who, except that they were all somehow related to us, part of this extended family with connections to this old-fashioned house on the pine knoll in the Hathorne section of Danvers.

I've written before about my memories of Pine Knoll, including tales of July 4th.  (Use the Search Box, upper left, with keywords "july fourth" or Pine Knoll, to find my previous posts.)

Today, instead of repeating those tales, I'm reflecting about how much more I now know, and appreciate, about the family history. For many months this year I have been immersed in "The Pine Knoll Story" – a long book-draft compiled and written by my cousin Janet Nichols Derouin. With her permission, I've been making some edits and preparing the files for sharing. Yesterday I was puzzling out possible designs for a new website on which to post illustrations and charts (e.g., genealogy) to accompany the written story. Stay tuned. I'll announce the site if/when I get it created.

Many family descendants who recall those Fourth of July picnics at Pine Knoll may be interested in the back story, of how and when and why that homestead was built, and the love-story leading to the 1861 marriage of Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Nichols, who had 8 children at Pine Knoll.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Essex Aggie teacher

Peter Tierney, President of the Essex Aggie Alumnae Association, sent me this image of an old torn photograph of "Miss Nichols," a former teacher at Essex Aggie:

Miss Nichols, Teacher
He assumed that she might be related to me.  I'd never seen this photo before, but agreed that she was likely one of my great aunts. At first I thought of Aunt May, a well-known teacher in Danvers who retired in 1932. But soon both Peter and I realized that her younger sister Margaret was the one. 

Peter did a bit more research and confirmed that Margaret Nichols was teaching at the Aggie in 1919. By 1928 she was listed as a former teacher.  Peter says that the photograph above was taken in 1921, and that she taught Home Economics.

Margaret Appleton Nichols was born in 1878, and graduated in the Holton High School class of 1898. See her graduation photo in my March post; she does indeed look like the woman in this 1921 photo. 

I wondered about the setting of that photo. Those steps remind me of porch steps at Star Island, a place that my great aunts often visited. Peter thinks the photo was taken during an outing to Comono Point in Essex; he shared this image of a building there: 

Peter knows a great deal about the history of Essex Aggie. Since 2016 he has been Editor of the Aggie newsletter for alumni.  He invites you to see the newsletters at this address: 
If you download the January 2017 issue, and scroll down to the 12th page, you see that he reprinted (with my permission) an article I had written for the Danvers Herald about the Hathorne Post Office. He added more information at the end, with a photo of the Hathorne train station that was well used by Aggie students.