Now to go back a few generations…I recently found, folded between pages in an old family bible from the Osborne branch of the family, a collection of newspaper obituary clippings. Included among them was the following obit for the (apparently insane) reverend/poet Jones Very (not a direct ancestor — his mother Lydia was the sister of Hannah Very, who was grandmother of reverend/poet Louis Shreve Osborne, who was grandfather of not-reverend-but-poet Louis Osborne Coxe (so she was my great-great-great-great-grandmother). As it’s an obituary, it’s a bit more complementary than the standard bios of the man (here’s one as an example: http://americanliteraryblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/birth-of-jones-very-flee-to-mountains.html), and focuses more on Very as a good man than a noteworthy poet:
REV. JONES VERY
By the death of Rev. Jones Very, which occurred on Saturday morning last, our community loses one of its most upright, conscientious and guileless members. He was of a truly devout and earnest spirit, and through all the trials of a lack of due appreciation in his chosen profession, maintained a cheerful piety and benevolence of feeling which made his society welcome and valued in the limited circle which knew him well. His early poetical writings were published in a volume now nearly out of print, which were greatly admired by that class of superior minds who regarded Wordsworth as the standard of excellence; but no succeeding volume was ever published. He was for many years a valued contributor to the poetical department of our Gazette—always upon the cheerful aspects of nature, in which he took great delight. His latest contribution to the Gazette was the following, suggested by the Channing Centennial:
The Influence of Channing
Stern creeds and outward forms must pass away
Their purpose served to guard the life within;
We hail the Advent of a milder Day.
Whose dawn on earth at length we see begin!
Channing, though thy frail form no more we see,
Nor hear as once thy calm, persuasive voice,
Thou livest still! We hail thy Jubilee,
And in thy growing influence would rejoice.
The love of God and man thy simple creed,
The love of man as an immortal soul,
That has the slave from cruel bondage freed,
And shall War’s desolating wrath control.
Still may thy influence spread from clime to clime,
And win new victories with the years of time.
Mr. Very was born in 1813, and at the time of his death, his age was 66 years 8 mos. 10 days. He was a descendent of one of our oldest Salem families. His father, Jones Very, was a shipmaster who lived at the corner of Essex and Boston streets, commanded his first vessel at a very early age, was engaged in privateering in the last war with Great Britain, and was at one time a prisoner at Halifax. He commanded vessels owned by William Gray. In at least two of his voyages he took his young son to sea with him. When only nine or ten years of age, the subject of this notice went to St. Petersburg with the father. At one time, during this early period, he went to school at New Orleans. Mr. Very graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1836; was appointed tutor of Greek shortly after his graduation; studied for about three years at the Divinity School, and was licensed as a preacher by the Cambridge Association in 1843. He was never ordained over a society, however, or permanently settled, though he preached at various places, including Eastport, [illegible], and North Beverly, remaining longer at Eastport than at any other place. Mr. Very’s last sickness was of about three weeks duration. He leaves two sisters, Lydia L. A., and Frances E. Very, both of whom were, for many years, teachers of both public and private schools. A poetical talent seems to belong to the family—his brother, the late Washington Very, and his sister Lydia, possessing gifts in this direction, decidedly above the average order of this class of writers.
Mr. Very was a man of the purest mind and thought. No one could know him without the profoundest respect for this marked trait in his character. He lived upon a plane of existence often difficult for the busy man engrossed with the multifarious affairs of life to understand and appreciate. He was not ambitious or envious of the world’s distinctions. His wants were few and his life the simplest. He lived and died in a trust and faith that were absolute—that had full possession of his heart and mind, and that controlled his estimate of money, and the things that money bring and men strive for. These controlled his life and thought, and made his contemplation of death the mere approach of the fulfillment of what had to him always been clearly written by the hand of God both in nature and in his own soul. The man who walked for an afternoon with Jones Very would find him an ardent admirer of the wild flowers, not necessarily for their fragrance or their beauty, though he admired these, but for the living evidence they were to him of God’s care for every work of His creation. To kill or ruthlessly push aside any living thing, was to him sacrilege, so long as it was doing no harm. He lived in an atmosphere of reverence for all created things. It was not always easy to fully understand and put one’s self in complete sympathy and harmony with his line of thought. This was often the misfortune of the listener rather than the fault of himself. Mr. Very’s was a religious and devout nature. He saw things with an intuitive sight which can never be reasoned out to a mind not similarly favored; and yet the sublimity of his faith somehow seemed the product of an inspiration that carried with it conviction to others. He was interested in the affairs of life. While his experience in life conflicts and toils was in a sense extremely limited, his views were, in another sense, as broad as the universe. He was neither narrow nor bigoted. He was interested in the best thought of the time, and never spoke otherwise than charitably of those who entertained views with which he was not in sympathy. He uttered no unkind words of others, but had charity for all. We have many times known him to speak well and kindly of what we felt to be poor original poetry in our own columns. He had the power of discerning and placing himself in sympathy with a train of meritorious thought and emotion concealed behind crude effort.
He never ridiculed effort, but addressed himself to what he could find in the fountain of expression, however poor the expression might be. Though living in a devout religious atmosphere with which scientific men are not as a class, in conspicuous sympathy, he was always interested in scientific progress and discovery. He was a frequent and always welcome visitor at our office; and the best papers of men eminent in science, as published in the New York Tribune’s admirable reports of the scientific conventions, were always, at his request, laid aside for his careful perusal. To him scientific advancement was only new evidence in support of his conception of God and the Eternal Life. He was not a recluse, nor an indifferent or contemptuous beholder of the works and strivings of enterprising men. He knew their value in the world’s economy, and never claimed that the world should come to that standard of daily living with which he was content and satisfied. His own life was one of meekness and humility; and his death that of a sincere and good man. No unpleasant thought will linger around his name, and his memory will be kindly cherished as long as those live who knew him best.
Here’s something my sister Inger found that I can’t believe I’d never seen before — a profile of my grandfather Louis Osborne Coxe written by Willard Thorp: “Hey family genealogist, Do you have this article and picture already? From a 1955 Princeton Alumni Weekly. Is Dad fishing in that pic? He looks awfully excited about it. And Grandpa looks an awful lot like Dad does now.”
That IS a young Robert Winsor Coxe in the back, armed with fishing pole. I loved Thorp’s line: “If he does not watch out, Coxe may become a popular poet.” THAT certainly was never a problem. So many little details in this piece that I never realized about him, particularly around the production of his Broadway play “Billy Budd” and an unpublished play about the Salem witch trials called “The Witchfinders” that I’ve never read that Thorp says was to be delayed until after the new Arthur Miller play “The Crucible” would be forgotten…and he says in his mind “Coxe’s play is the better of the two.”
But the most interesting part to me at 37 is to read this bio of my grandfather at the exact same age, with my 8-year-old Dad posed there in the boat looking remarkably similar to my own nine-year-old son, and marvel at everything he had already accomplished at that point in his life…
My Dad responds: “I’d forgotten about that article Willard wrote; you can see why he was my dad’s favorite professor ( and one of my godfathers). That picture was taken in Digby, Nova Scotia in the summer of 1955. Same summer those old black & white snapshots were taken of the 4 of us sitting on the grass outside Fridhem. By the way, the boat we were fishing from was a beautiful 16-foot lapstrake rowboat called the Micmac, originally owned by my grandfather. My dad eventually gave it to a friend of mine in Digby, Robert Burnham.”
Speaking of Weston’s illustrious uber-financier (if not quite robber baron) Robert Winsor, I couldn’t resist drooling over this real estate listing I saw for a $21 million-dollar house there that used to belong to Queen Elizabeth (really?) on Robert Winsor’s “home site.” Note that despite the hefty price tag, it comes with only 3.9 acres of land…RW’s full Chestnut Farm estate measured a whopping 472 acres:
(I should of course point out that my Dad quickly said of the Weston house: “Robert Winsor would never have built anything this pretentious…”)
The aforementioned scene of the girls including Mrs. Cook and her son swimming in the “very shallow and muddy” river…I can see what he means. It doesn’t look terribly enticing, especially considering that they aren’t far from the ocean. Love the old-time bathing suits!
Continuing with the scrapbook of the Winsor train trip: Robert Winsor Jr.’s journal entry for March 12, 1919, describes a pretty epic picnic:
Sunday, March 12th
Foggy in the morning, but cleared here at about 9:30, though we heard later that it was foggy in San Diego all day. Beautiful day with us. Bessie arrived in Mr. Smith’s car about 10:30.
A big crowd of us went on a picnic up to the Gorge; a grove beside a river, up beyond San Miguel. There must have been twenty five in the party; five automobiles full, and five of us rode (Bessie, Mary Allen, Bud, Forbes Amory + myself). The Newlands, Mrs. Barron, Miss Lu [or Lee?] + her friend, Mr. and Mrs. Cook, cousin Russell and cousin Ella, Dorothea + Morris, Dick, Mrs. Goes, Dr. and Mrs. Dunbar, motored up. Morris, Dick, Phil and Mr. Cook left shortly after lunch for San Diego (by motor) to see Gotch [must mean Frank Gotch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Gotch] wrestle three men. Some of the girls, and Mrs. Cook and her young son, went in swimming in the river. It was very shallow and muddy, but they all seemed to have a fine time.
We started home around four o’clock. The fog came in just before we got back. Everyone met at tea at our house. Mother hadn’t come with us, as she was tired, but received us at tea. After everyone had gone, Mary A., Bud + I rode the horses over to the Allens’. I tried to carry a heavy basket of stuff on Rowdy, + got run away with!”
There was one remaining pic from the March 11th page of the Winsor train trip scrapbook, showing a couple of amazing old cars. Unfortunately it doesn’t identify who is in the vehicles, but the fact that the car in the foreground features young women suggests that it might be Mary Pickard Winsor and Mary Allen.
This one’s a mystery, an old photo that had been so obscured by mold that you could barely even see that it was of people until I had a retoucher friend do some digital enhancement.
Based on the condition of the photo and the technique, I’m guessing it’s 1870s, if not earlier.
Sadly, there is no identifying information, although it was in a frame at my grandparents’ house in Brunswick, which signifies that it was an ancestor worth preserving.
Does anyone happen to know who it might be? The baby doesn’t quite have that classic Winsor forehead…
The blog has already connected us with another long lost cousin: Polly Winsor (born Mary Pickard Winsor), daughter of Paul Winsor Jr! She wrote me: “Hello cousin, I just came across the notebook of Robert Winsor, Jr. you put on Tumblr four years ago. Fascinating to me, that my father Paul Winsor Jr and his brother Felix, age 16 and 14 I think, with their father (mother Jessie is not mentioned and probably did not go with them) were in Bonita, CA in 1916. I was born in 1943 and never heard that my father had travelled anywhere. Are you still running the family blog? I have the photographs my grandmother Jessie Baldwin Winsor took and a few others from 19th and early 20th century. I hope you are well and still pursuing these matters.”
I guess that means I should post more from that train trip!
Now time for a couple of old photos of moms and their babies…
Above, a very sweet shot of Susan Revere (Baker) Winsor and…I assume Bobby? But maybe it’s one of his sisters? I can’t be entirely sure, but the baby certainly looks more boyish than girlish. (This is about as close as Susan ever comes to smiling in photos, by the way.)
Pammy responded: “I suppose the only real argument for that baby being Bobby is that it is a photo of Susan holding him alone, with no other children nearby. If it were of, say. Edie, one would expect Bobby standing by her side while she held baby Edie. Otherwise, the baby is so very young, who can tell?”
Lydia also chimed in: “How beautiful was our grandmother, Susan! Wow. I never knew her, though maybe my sisters did. I believe she died in 1961, when I was 6. I agree that the baby looks like a little boy.”
This one is over on the Coxe side of the family, but I recently came across an obituary and photo of my great-great-great-grandfather Charles Hutchins Doolittle, judge and mayor of Utica, New York (and briefly political opponent of his future in-law relative, Roscoe Conkling), who was lost at sea when he went overboard on the Abyssinia on his way from New York to England. It’s cool to see the similar appearance of the two men (beard and hairstyle, obviously popular in the Civil War era). May we all be so lucky as to be publicly remembered and praised for having “little patience for stupidity.”
Obituary of Charles Hutchins Doolittle:
Birth: Feb. 19, 1816
Death: May 21, 1874
To-day, while busy hands were preparing floral offerings for the graves of our fallen heroes, a painful rumor spread swiftly through the streets to the effect that Judge DOOLITTLE was dead. The rumor was too soon resolved into knowledge of the terrible fact. Nine days ago, shortly after the Abyssinia left New York on his way to England, via Queenstown, Ireland, for a vacation, bearing Judge DOOLITTLE as a passenger, he was lost overboard and drowned. In the meantime a loving family and countless friends were congratulating themselves on having induced him to take some needed rest, and were waiting in hopeful expectancy of a dispatch announcing his safe arrival at Queenstown. A cable telegram came to-day. But it bore no good news. It was signed by a friend who had accompanied the Judge, and it carried the awful tidings which we have already recorded.
In the immediate presence of a grief which the whole community shares, we turn sadly to the duty of sketching the life that is lost to us forever. CHARLES H. DOOLITTLE was born in Herkimer in 1816. He came of a family known and honored in the earlier annals of New England. The rudiments of his education were obtained at the Fairfield Seminary. He subsequently entered Amherst College, where he graduated with distinction. He immediately entered upon the study of his chosen profession, the law. He passed his preparatory years first, in the office of Mr. FORD at Little Falls, and afterward with DENIO & HUNT in this city. He was admitted to practice in 1839, and rose by slow but satisfactory degrees to the highest rank in a calling where legitimate distinction is gained only by the severest exercise of the best faculties of the mind.
In 1869, after thirty years of active duty as a practitioner at the bar, CHARLES H. DOOLITTLE was chosen to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of our State. Many who thought they knew him well questioned the wisdom of his choice. He possessed a nervous, active temperament which made him vigorous in his new office. But from the day that he took his seat upon the bench he proved himself an excellent Judge. If he was not always considerate towards stupidity, he was at least careful and cautious in his judgments. His sense of justice was keen, his learning was so liberal and his impulses were so pure that he seldom erred in his decisions. The rapid movements of his mind spurred slow counselors to exertion and accelerated the business of the Courts. Idleness was so foreign to his nature that it was impossible for him to rest unless he tore himself away from the duties surrounding him.
In politics Judge DOOLITTLE was educated to the Democratic faith. He left the party on the issue of slavery, and was always after counted among the Republicans. But in his last years, when time had ripened his wisdom, the political faith of his earlier life reasserted itself and brought him into substantial sympathy with those from whom he had separated himself so long ago. His fine sense of the requirements of his judicial position kept him aloof from any participation in partisan strife, however, and perhaps it ought to be added that he was too good a lawyer to be much of a politician at any time.
He was an active and practical Christian. His religion possessed his soul and was not paraded for the admiration of men. He was discriminating in his charities, kindly in all the relations of life, loyal in his friendships, and passionately devoted to the family that mourns his untimely death.
It is not many months ago that we were called upon to record the death, by an accident at sea, of RUFUS W. PECKHAM, a Judge of the Court of Appeals. He and DOOLITTLE were friends and comrades in other years. Both had won their way to judicial eminence, and now both slumber together in the great winding sheet of waters, in unmarked graves, whose place none shall know till the sea gives up its dead.
We cannot describe the heavy sorrow which has fallen upon our city to-day. The shadow of this grief shuts out the sunshine of May and brings tears to the eyes of men unaccustomed to weep. The community loses a man whose life seemed necessary to its welfare. In this hour the sympathy of all will flow freely out to the sorely afflicted family, who have parted with all that was most dear to them on earth. May He who holds the sea in the hollow of His hand calm the tempest of sorrow in these wounded hearts.
[On December 1, 1847, in Rochester, New York, Charles married Julia Tyler Shearman, daughter of William Pitt and Maryette (Andrews) Shearman. Julia Tyler Shearman was born in Rochester, New York, April 7, 1823. They had five children: 1. Charles Andrews 2. Maryette Andrews [married Alfred Conkling Coxe; mother of Charles Shearman Coxe] 3. William Shearman 4. Julius Tyler Andrews and 5. Mary Isabel.]
A great discovery by cousin Peter Winsor Pruyn of a biography and image of Henry Winsor (older brother of Frederick Winsor), founder of the Winsor Steamship line (although, as this article shows, it really grew out of the holdings of Phineas Sprague & Co. – also a family business).
It’s especially interesting to me to see him engaged in shipping from Philadelphia, where on the Coxe side the Eyre family built the nation’s first naval shipyard and the first ships for the U.S. Navy during the Revolutionary War.
I know several relatives have mentioned old Winsor Line posters or brochures — does anyone happen to have an image of one they could share with the group?
This is one I ran past my Dad and his siblings a good six years ago, but we had no luck identifying the people featured. But my Dad did say then: “The only thought I have is that the girl on the left in the chair looks a little like Bitsy, which would suggest Winsor lineage. Beyond that, I’m stumped.” So now, to a broader group: Do either of these gals ring any bells?
I unfortunately can’t even hazard a guess at the year, as the photo I have is a modern copy of an older pic. But their attire certainly suggests it’s quite a long time ago.
This great shot of Frederick Winsor and his family in 1875 comes from cousin Peter Winsor Pruyn’s blog, which kindly carries the following key to ID people in the shot: “Top row, left to right: Frederick Winsor, Jr., Dr. Frederick Winsor, Ann Bent Ware Winsor, Robert Winsor. Front row, left to right: Annie Ware Winsor, Mary Pickard Winsor, Paul Winsor, Jane Loring Winsor, Elizabeth Ware Winsor.” [note: that’s a different Elizabeth Ware Winsor than Diddy — two generations older.]
Lydia responds: “Cool pictures! Thanks to you and Peter for those. Our mum’s maiden name was Elizabeth Ware Winsor before she got hitched to T. Leaming Smith, so it’s fun to see her predecessor. These folks are relatives, so I can say without sounding snotty that they look like they just jumped off the wagon train, don’t they? Not like the bunch of intellectuals they were.”
And Peter added a question for the group: “Thank you, Charles, and everyone else. I’m delighted to know others for whom such artifacts have meaning. One of my current hobbies is going through a collection of letters that were written to Dr. Fred Winsor between 1829 and 1868, mostly by his eldest brother, Henry Winsor (1803-1889). Henry moved from Duxbury, MA to Philadelphia to run a steamship company. What I’d love to find are any of his descendants in Philly. There is a Henry Winsor in Philly on LinkedIn, but he has not responded. If anyone has any leads to Winsors in that neck of the woods, please let me know. The ultimate goal would be to see if they have any of Fred’s letters that he would have written in reply to the letters I have from Henry.”
A warm welcome is in order to cousin Peter Winsor Pruyn, who is now included on this sporadic email list of family history. Thank you Peter for all the great research on Frederick Winsor! If you haven’t checked out his Ware Winsor blog yet (http://warewinsor.blog.com), you should — there’s lots of great
family info there from generations before most of the people we discuss here.
Peter was kind enough to send along a scan of a map of the cemetery in Weston where many Winsors are buried, a cemetery I had been looking for for several years: “Six of the seven Winsor children are buried very near each other in the Weston Linwood Cemetery,” Peter says. “Only Annie and Joseph Allen had their ashes spread near Seal Harbor and plaques put by their driveway to their house there, Grayrock. The main plot is Lot No. 3, Plot C, which is in Henry Greenleaf Pearson’s name.”</p>
<p>”Robert and family are right next to it, including his infant sons. I
found it very moving.”</p>