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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Working Farm to Pony Rides in 70 years

A Day in the Life: February 5th

(Aged 14)
Wea. Cloudy                                 WED. FEB. 5, 1896                  Ther. 36

Went to school.                     

(Aged 16)
Wea.    Snowy                               SAT. FEB. 5, 1898                    Ther.  32

Stayed at home + helped ma wash in the A.M.  Pa went up to the hollow in P.M. helped Chas Slater draw 5 loads of manure for which I am to get 15 cents. In P.M. Pa, Ma + Rollie went over to grandma’s.                     

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                              SUN. FEB. 5, 1899                         Ther. 

In A.M. got the milk from the other place + brought it over + got grandma.

Took a bath + went to Sunday school.  Frank Warn came down to stay all night with me and Lydia Lawson rode down from S. S. + waited here till I went to the burg.  In eve. Frank, Lydia + I went down to the burg to church.   After church Frank + I saw Percy Johnson + he wanted us to come up and spend the eve with him some night + I guess we will go.  We are going to have social here on Fri. Feb 17.  Mr. Springer was over.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                               MON. FEB. 5, 1900                      Ther.

Stayed at home in A.M.  In P.M. went down after the mail with Mearle Cowan.
Pa took off a grist.  In eve, Pa + I talked about raising the barn and putting an underground stable in.

Cocoa on the old Cass Farm, 1971

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              TUE. FEB. 5, 1901                         Ther.

Went over to Grandma's (?) and drew a load of manure and also went after the rack that Frank K gave me.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                             WED.  FEB.  5, 1902                      Ther.

Ray + I killed 3 hogs.  Frank + Irma were down.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              THUR.  FEB.  5, 1903                    Ther.


(Aged 22)
Wea.                                                FRI. FEB. 5, 1904                         Ther.

Stayed at home all day.


Editor's Note: I believe the underground stable did come into being because I remember the barn from when I was a child and Uncle Rollie owned it and leased it out.  It was right next to the road but down  a slope.  The door was level with the road but the rest of the barn was lower and there was a small bridge from the road to the main door.  In fact we had pony rides there.  Our all-time favorite was Cocoa.

Note the mention of Mr. Springer!  I find this interesting on many levels.  There is no first name given which means it is a formal relationship.  No "Ed Harrington" or "Chas. Slater" type of friendship or a first name would be given.  Mr. Springer was most likely there on business with Frank in his position of Justice of the Peace but I wonder if there was tension because of what may (or may not) have been the history with the Springer Family and The Cass Family in regards to Luella's birth.  At this point Luella is 15 years old and living life as an Eccles.  So the bad blood might have thinned by this time.  I know it is all conjecture but I think conjecture is a huge part of genealogy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

From School and Courting to the Daily Grind

A Day in the Life: February 4th

(Aged 14)
Wea. Snowy                                 TUE. FEB. 4, 1896                         Ther.  34

Went to school.               

(Aged 16)
Wea. Clear                                    FRI. FEB. 4, 1898              Ther. 4 below

Went to school eat dinner at Mrs. Mason’s. Rode home with Luther Warn.  The thermometer registered 32 below zero at Saratoga.              

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                              SAT. FEB. 4, 1899                          Ther. 

In A.M. Ma + Rollie went up the Hollow asking the folks to come to Maxwell’s surprise party next Tues. eve.

In P.M.  I went with her + we went up over Oak Hill then down to the burg and got them an album + toilet set.

Freddie Page came over + played with Rollie.

Pa + I took the rifle apart + got a piece of a cartridge out of it.

Where it was all happening that day.


(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              SUN. FEB. 4, 1900                          Ther.

Stayed at home in A.M. In P.M. went to S.S.  In eve Alice and I took a sleigh ride and went to church.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                             MON. FEB. 4, 1901                        Ther.

Drew Pa’s logs to the burg in A.M. In evening Alice + I went down to the burg and got the paper for Frankin (?) house.  Mr. + Mrs. Bunce + Mr. + Mrs. Elldriges’s folks came in the evening also.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                             TUE.  FEB.  4, 1902                        Ther.

The mail didn’t come today.  In P.M. I went over to pa’s got the bucher (sic) knives and we fixed the deed.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              WED.  FEB.  4, 1903                       Ther.

Ma came over.


(Aged 22)
Wea.                                               THUR. FEB. 4, 1904                      Ther.

Stayed at home.  Got Bill shod and cutter till fixed.


Editor's Note:  Looks like a good old-fashioned "play date" for Rollie.    It is funny to remember how much has changed in the world and that, unlike today, most of us didn't grow up having our parents schedule our play time with others; it was much more organic than that. 

Funny that Allen and Nora would go up over Oak Hill to Frewsburg since it was not the most direct route.  They were living on the Ivory Road and Oak Hill would have been in their backyard.  Maybe they went down Bunce Road and cut across Wigren.  Perhaps it was a pretty day and Nora wanted a different view.

Another Clue to Luella's Story

My sister and trusty co-blogger/photo archivist has produced another puzzle piece to figuring out  the beginning and trajectory of Luella Eccles' life.

It would seem that Mary Cass was either briefly married to a man named Springer prior to marrying Gilbert Eccles which is totally possible since there is a family of the name Springer in the area or perhaps she didn't marry him at all.  I have not ascertained who might be the man of interest (read baby daddy) since one was already married and the other never did.  Are you with me?  Was our poor Mary left at the altar and saved by Gilbert Eccles?  Or was she widowed like I believe Gilbert was?  Where is the Maury Pauvich of the 19th Century?

I have no record of this mystery marriage between Mary Cass and (?)  Springer but it would totally explain why Gilbert could marry Luella in time for the 1920 census.  He really was just her Woody Allen and not her biological father.  Still, tongues must have wagged.

Luella's story is far from over for us and I am tracking down another lead on her life post-Gilbert.  So stay tuned and enjoy her pretty face.

Luella Eccles

Back of photo in Mabel Cass Lucas' hand

Thursday, February 3, 2011

January Roundup for 1898

What You Might Not Know:

 I have learned for certain that Valley Gate Farm was built in 1895 so that throughout journals 1896, '99 and 1900 this is where Allen is living though he would have lived his first 13 years in Lone Pine and would live there again when he and Alice Warn marry.  This is your January roundup for the year 1898:

School continues to dominate Allen's world but little brother Rollie is more prominent as are the Warn Brothers and Irma Bunce.

The Curious Case Of Luella Eccles

A Day in the Life: February 3rd

(Aged 14)
Wea.  Snowy                                MON. FEB. 3, 1896                        Ther. 33

Went to school.  In evening went up to Mr. Maxwell’s.

(Aged 16)
Wea.  Clear                                  THUR. FEB. 3, 1898                     Ther. 6 below

Went to school rode down with Pa he went to Jamestown.  Leon Page rode down with us it was awful cold.  Stayed all night with Mrs. Mason had a good time with Alice Peterson she boards here.  In evening went to church with Irma Bunce + Mrs. Merric came + sat with us.  HA! HA!                

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             FRI. FEB. 3, 1899                           Ther. 

Drove Tom + buggy to school.  Alton Bunce + I used the microscope for 2 divisions this P.M.  Pa + Ma went down to Mr. Flaggs.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              SAT. FEB. 3, 1900                          Ther.

Mary Cass Eccles; Gib's wife; Luella's mother
Rode Big Bill up to Gib's.  Had Ed Harrington’s saddle.  When I went up I saw a fox track  we put the dogs on but they hadn’t come back when I came home. Mearle Cowan took Luella to a dance last night.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                               SUN. FEB. 3, 1901                        Ther.

Did chores + stayed at home all day.  Ed + Ida Harrington came down in evening.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                             MON.  FEB.  3, 1902                      Ther.

Awful stormy.  The mail didn’t come.  We split wood + done chores.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                             TUES.  FEB.  3, 1903                     Ther.

Alice’s folks came down and stayed to dinner.

(Aged 22)
Wea.                                               WED. FEB. 3, 1904                      Ther.

Stayed at home all day.


Editor's Note: At 16, Allen sure is having a lark with all the girls.  Presumably Alice Peterson is much like Clara Londquist in the "too old" category but he loves the flirt just the same.  Then shenanigans ensue at Church when Mrs. Merric tries to insinuate herself into the happy duo of Allen and Irma.  "HA HA" indeed. 

It seems age has a lot to do with title usage.  For example, in younger journals Allen refers to Sarah Mason as Grandma Mason but later she is Mrs. Mason.  Here too, at 18 we see Unkle Gib is now Gib. Very Man-to-Man now.  I know this is Unkle Gib because Luella is his daughter and Allen's first cousin.  Now here is where it all gets confusing...If Census information is to be relied on Luella is a bit of an interesting thread that leads to a few different places and possibilities...some unsavory. 

First off the happy version:  Gilbert Eccles married Mary Cass in 1888 and had 6 children the oldest being Luella.

The rest of the story concluded by interesting census revelations/conflicts:

Gilbert was possibly first married to a Mary from Indiana...clearly not Mary Cass.
Luella was actually born in 1884.  Four years BEFORE he married Mary Cass in 1888.
In the 1920 Census Gilbert at aged 78 is married to 35 year-old Luella.   (Scooby-gulp here)

So there are two ways I can resolve this in my mind.  In 1920 the Census Taker mistook the daughter for a wife and Mary Cass simply gave birth out of wedlock in 1884.  But this doesn't take into account the odd reference to the Indiana Mary.

If we are to acknowledge the Indiana Mary as having existed and not excused as enumerator error, the second way to resolve this is to say Mary Cass had Luella with an unknown husband,  married Gilbert who then gave Luella his name.  Indiana Mary dies, and the widowed Gilbert marries Mary Cass and has five more children.  Widowed again, he marries the woman he raised as his daughter.  Unsavory in the Woody Allen variety to say the least.

This is what I love/hate about genealogy.  It is a fabulous puzzle but sometimes pieces are just gone.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Family Portrait

A Day in the Life: February 2nd

Photo of the Cass Family in 1911 at Lone Pine

Front: L-R Willard; Mabel; Alice and baby Allen; Allen and baby Ruth  Back: L-R Ruth (Warn) Wescott and baby George; Mrs. Wescott; Myrtle Wescott; Pearl Warn

(Aged 14)
Wea.  Cloudy                                SUN. FEB. 2, 1896                        Ther. 32

Stayed at home.           

(Aged 16)
Wea. Snowy                                 WED. FEB. 2, 1898                  Ther. Zero

Drove to school.  went over to Mrs. Masons.  It is awful snowy + windy + cold.  Have talked of having a sleigh ride as it is very good sleighing.  When I cam home Mr. + Mrs. Woodcock rode up to Silas White’s.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             THUR. FEB. 2, 1899                      Ther. 

Ma + I went up to Jamestown.  I had my picture taken again as ithe others didn’t suit us.  I got me a pair of pants coat $2.

In eve Pa + Ma + Rollie went up to Maxwells.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                             FRI. FEB. 2, 1900                           Ther.

Stayed at home all day.  In eve Pa + Rollie went up and got the mail
Pa brought down Ed Harrington’s saddle which he lent me.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                               SAT. FEB. 2, 1901                         Ther.

Did the chores and we all Alice, Rollie + I went out and shelled 4 bushels of corn(?).  Pa came home.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                             SUN.  FEB.  2, 1902                        Ther.

Alice, Willard + I went over to Pa’s.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                             MON.  FEB.  2, 1903                      Ther.

I took Alice over to Ma’s to do her washing.

(Aged 22)
Wea.                                              TUE. FEB. 2, 1904                         Ther.

Jim + I worked up in the woods all day.


Editor's Note:  We thought it was about time to roll out some more family photos.  This one is wonderful because you can see Alice's sisters Ruth and Pearl and apparently Ruth's in-laws.  You can also see the built-up shoe on Allen's lame leg.  Our grandma is Mabel.  Allen and Alice's oldest daughter Dorothy is missing from the picture as is their son Morris.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Roundup for 1896

What you might not know:

In 1896, the Cass family owned two farms.  “Lone Pine” on the corner of Kennedy and Page Roads where the family had been since the early part of the 19th Century and “Valley Gate” which Frank had  built on the Ivory Road.  You could just about look across the fields from one farm to the other.  During this year it seems the Cass family rented out “Lone Pine” to James Anderson starting in March and Grandma (Diantha Woodward Cass) who had been in "Lone Pine" took up residence in “Valley Gate”. 

Don’t forget to visit the “Cast of Characters” section of the Checkered Chicken (always under construction) to find out who people were!

This is your January Roundup for 1896 in the form of a word cloud representing the most important things in Allen's life based on the frequency he uses each word:

Not surprising for a 14-year-old who only just started wearing long pants to school.

A Political Animal

A Day in the Life: February 1st

(Aged 14)
Wea. Cloudy                                SAT. FEB. 1, 1896                           Ther. 40

Stayed at home.  Pa + Geo Walters went to Frewsburg as caucus.
Political Cartoon from 1902
                                               Library of Congress

Frank Cass was great supporter of the Republican Party

 Another example of Frank's political value.

(Aged 16)
Wea.    Cold                                 TUE. FEB. 1, 1898                          Ther. 16

Went to school.  Rode down with Leon Page and home with him.  Rec’d a letter from Frank Warn also one from France E. Long.  At night it was down to zero and the wind blowing hard.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             WED. FEB. 1, 1899                        Ther.

It’s awful cold the thermometer was 12 below zero when I started for school + I had to go up to Bradley’s and get a check before school.

Pa paid Colburn all up today.


(Aged 18)
Wea.                                              THU. FEB. 1, 1900                        Ther.

Stayed at home all day.  In eve Leon Page came over to get me to stay all night with him but I didn’t as there is so many chores.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              FRI.  FEB. 1, 1901                         Ther.

Drew down pa’s logs from the sugar bush to the road.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                              SAT.  FEB. 1, 1902                         Ther.

Ray + Lawrence cut bolts.  I went to factory + drew logs.  Got a dividend $22.34.

(Aged 21)

Wea.                                              SUN. FEB. 1, 1903                          Ther.

Ma + Rollie came over in the afternoon.

(Aged 22)
Wea.                                               MON. FEB. 1, 1904                        Ther.

Went over to Dry Brook with Lyle to buy a boiler.  He bought one of Bill Forbes.


Editor's Note:  Frank was thoroughly interested in politics and a Republican Party supporter.  The letter, while later in date than the caucus referenced, demonstrates that Frank was regarded as having  a position in his community that might hold sway over other constituents.

Leon Page seems to be a very good friend of Allen's.  He is one year younger and most likely lived right "next door" in farm speak.  After all, the Cass Farm was on the Page Road and their family names appear next to each other on NY State Census of 1892.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Courtship of Nora Babcock

Nora Babcock Cass
Franklin Smith Cass and Nora Babcock were married in 1879.  They would live to celebrate 53 years of marriage together and have two sons,  Allen, their eldest and author of the journals transcribed here at The Checkered Chicken and Rollin his younger brother by a decade.  Frank Cass was a farmer but also a community leader.  And in this position of authority he took to write a most important letter to a young woman whom he had met and could not forget.  Below is a copy of the actual letter and a transcript.  The wooing is subtle but the hope is there.

Carroll Oct 9th, 1878

Miss Babcock
                     As it falls on me to employ a Teacher for the coming term of school in this district and if I am not mistaken you have made application for it before when it was taken.  I drop this note to you to see if you are intending to teach this coming winter.  If so, would you like this school, + what would be your price per week + could you board around the district?  This is something that I hate to ask a Lady to do but as it is practiced in the dist I do not wish to violate their rules.  The school will probably average 18 or 20 (small) scholars.  Please reply as soon as convenient as I have plenty of applications at present.
                                     Yours Respectfully
                                     Frank S. Cass
Dist. No.5                               Frewsburg, NY


Five months later they were married on March 12, 1879.  Talk about a whirlwind.

Frank S. Cass*

 * I realize I have posted this photo previously in relation to the horse but I ask you, doesn't it bear another viewing?  Frank cuts a helluva fine figure.

It's Not All Academic

A Day in the Life: January 31st

(Aged 14)
Wea.   cloudy                               FRI. JAN. 31, 1896                       Ther.  40

Went to school in the evening went to a party at Mr. Marshall’s  + rode home with John Warn. 
Ma + Grandma went to Jamestown.

(Aged 16)
Wea. Cold                                     MON. JAN. 31, 1898                     Ther.  18

Went to school.  Geo Walters is moving onto the place where James Anderson lived.  Got me a pair of rubbers.  During the regents examinations I passed History, Arithmetic + Reading.  I am now taking Elem. English, Physiology, Geography + Civics.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                              TUE. JAN. 31, 1899                       Ther. 

Rode to school with pa he went up to Bradley’s after some money to pay Colburn.  Walked as far as Thorntons when pa met me + took me home the rest of the way.
I began the study of Physics today.

 Photo circa 1890.  Our Grandmother's first teaching job was in the one-room school house "where all the Cass Children went to school".

Library of Congress Map Collection

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                               WED. JAN. 31, 1900                     Ther.

In A.M. drew a load of manure. 
In P.M. stayed at home all the time awful cold.  The thermometer is about zero and the wind blows bad.


(Aged 19)
Wea.                                              THUR. JAN. 31, 1901                    Ther.

Drew a load of logs to the burg in the A.M. and did the chores.

(Aged 20)
Wea.                                              FRI.  JAN.  31, 1902                       Ther.

Lawrence, Ray + I cut logs all day.  In eve I went over to pa’s + got a sack of flour.

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              SAT.  JAN.  31, 1903                      Ther.

Dave + I cut a big hemlock tree and a beech.  Pearl + Ruth came down.

(Aged 22)
Wea.                                               SUN. JAN. 31, 1904                      Ther.

Stayed at home all day.  In eve Alice went to church.


Editor's Note:  So our boy does well on his Regents exams and moves to the head of the class--well maybe not but there's so much more for him to study.  In discussing with my sister where exactly Allen would have gone to school we have opened a new line of investigation.  For some reason I thought he went into Frewsburg but my sister assumed that he went down the road to the one-room school house in Poland.  Then I found a picture my grandmother painted of said school house with the notation "Where all the Cass children went to school".  I must confess I don't know if she meant her generation or her father Allen's as well.  So I will pursue.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to Dress a Pig

 A Day in the Life: January 30th

(Aged 14)
Wea.   misty                                  THUR. JAN. 30, 1896                   Ther.   30

Went to school.

(Aged 16)
Wea.    Clear                                SUN. JAN. 30, 1898                        Ther.   -8

Pa, Ma + Rollie went over to grandma’s.  I stayed home all day. 
In evening I took Irma Bunce to church.  Alice Smedley rode down with us but stayed down.  Got home at 10 o’clock.

(Aged 17)
Wea.                                             MON. JAN. 30, 1899                      Ther. 

Drove to school.  I passed in Drawing + Geography last week.
Ray Harrington rode up with me.

Clark Colburn + Geo. Stoddard are going to stay here all night.

(Aged 18)
Wea.                                               TUE. JAN. 30, 1900                      Ther.

Drew 3 loads of manure awful cold + blustery.
In eve went up to Ivory and got the mail.  Went up and saw Alice.

(Aged 19)
Wea.                                               WED. JAN. 30, 1901                    Ther.

Drew a load of bolts to the burg.


(Aged 20)
Wea.                                              THUR.  JAN.  30, 1902                 Ther.

In A.M. Ray took a load of logs to the burg 532 ft.  I helped pa dress a pig.  In P.M. sawed logs.  I sold the cart I got of(f) pa to Ray for $25.
"I helped pa dress a pig"

(Aged 21)
Wea.                                              FRI.  JAN.  30, 1903                       Ther.


(Aged 22)
Wea.                                                SAT. JAN. 30, 1904                      Ther.

Went down with Lyle to get a boiler but didn’t. 


Editor's Note:  Is it just me or does anyone else think Allen shafted Ray in the cart deal?  Allen got it at a serious family discount of $2.50 and sold it to Ray for $25!  All Ray seems to do is work for the Cass men and this is how he gets thanked.  I hope there was some more to it than how it looks from here and that Allen wasn't so mercenary. 

Finally Allen got to see Alice (Warn) again!