Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Farewell to an old Friend

This week I attended a memorial service for an old friend, Mary Elizabeth Partridge Albright.

I met Mary in 1995 when I transferred into her DAR chapter.  Despite the fact that she was old enough to be my grandmother we became friends.

During my term as DAR chapter Regent she was very helpful and supportive.  In fact, she was willing to hold offices even though she was up in years and had already served as Regent.  It was because of that the chapter honored her by naming her an Honorary Regent.

Honorary Regent Ceremony - Mary is on right
Mary helped me join some other organizations as well.  In addition to the Daughters of the American Revolution, we were both members of New England Women, Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company, Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, and Daughters of Colonial Wars.  Mary was very proud of her New England Heritage, having descended from families like the Partridges and the Bulkeleys.

Mary encouraged our chapter to hold a special grave marking ceremony for a previous chapter Regent, "Brownie" Beak.  Mrs. Beak was active in the state and national DAR and had served as First Vice President General.  The grave marking ceremony was held on September 12, 2001.  Despite the events of the previous day, many DAR ladies from around the state were present.

Brownie Beak Grave Marking - Mary is 3rd from left
One day, Mary happened to make a comment that, despite the fact that her middle name was Elizabeth, nobody had ever called her "MaryBeth".  Ever since that day, some of us fondly called her "MaryBeth".  She enjoyed that little nickname.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, her health had declined and she no longer attended meetings of our lineage societies.  We still stayed in touch.

Mary died on 7 July 2014, just one day shy of her 99th birthday.  She is now resting with her husband in Cornell, IL.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Society Saturday - Heritage Weekend Begins

We are in the midst of the Second Annual Illinois Heritage Weekend.  This year we have 4 more organizations joining us and more attendees as well.

A national organization joined us for our luncheon - The Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen 1607-1783 was planning to have 2 national representatives join us and give our luncheon program.  While this organization traditionally meets in April during Lineage Week, they try to have an occasional fall meeting somewhere outside of Washington DC.  They thought that our Heritage Weekend would be a good opportunity for them to visit Illinois.

The Guild was founded in 2004 to honor our working-class ancestors.  Men and women who descend from a colonial artisan or tradesman are eligible.  The Guild website has a listing of these colonial trades - some of which are no longer in existence.

President General Nell White was planning to fly in from her home in Arkansas.  Unfortunately this was the same day as the air traffic control disaster, so her flight was cancelled.  Honorary President General Jeannine Kallal stepped in and gave her program about the "Trades of the Mayflower Passengers". 

We learned that many of the passengers were weavers, some were merchants and one was a blacksmith.  It was a very interesting program and inspired many of our attendees to look for an artisan or tradesman in their lineage.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Society Saturday - Touring Ansel Brainerd Cook's House

Our fall meeting of the Lac des Illinois Colonial Dames 17th Century chapter was in Libertyville, IL.  We started out with a tour of the Ansel Brainerd Cook house.

Ansel Brainerd Cook was born in 1823 in Haddam, CT.  He moved to northern Illinois in 1845, then to Chicago in 1853.  While in Chicago, he started a stone masonry business.  He provided the masonry for the iconic Chicago Water Tower, one of the few structures to survive the Chicago fire.  The stone came from a quarry which is now the site of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower - another iconic Chicago building.

He was an alderman in Chicago, and also served in the Illinois State Legislature for 3 terms - initially from Cook County and later from Lake County.

In 1878 he built his country residence in Libertyville, on the site of that town's first post office.  After his death in 1898 he willed this house to Libertyville for use as a library.  He stipulated that his third wife be allowed to live there until her death in 1920.  The house was used as a library until 1968 when the present Cook Memorial Library was built adjacent to the home.

The house became the headquarters of the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society and contains many donated period pieces, including furniture, small items, and many wedding dresses on display.

One interesting item was a banner on display for the Wide Awake Club.  This was a Republican Campaign Club that existed to aid in the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.  The Libertyville delegation was the largest contingent to march in a torchlight parade on Chicago's State Street.  At the bottom of the picture are 2 of the torches carried in that parade.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Society Saturday - Merci Train part 2

OK, so this isn't really about a Society event, but it is a follow up to a previous Society Saturday post.

I previously discussed the Merci Train, which I learned about through a program at a Sons & Daughters of the Pilgrims meeting.

On my way to the Ohio Genealogical Society conference (back in April), I stopped to see one of the Merci Train  box cars.  This car is in Port Clinton, Ohio on the Camp Perry National Guard Base.  I was surprised at how short the car actually was.

A week later, I picked my daughter up from Indiana University in Bloomington.  We stopped in the Memorial Union to see "Ugolino and His Sons" by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875).  This sculpture was one of the archival gifts from France to the U.S. that was transported on the Merci Train that was destined for Indiana.  It was a lot bigger than I expected.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Society Saturday - Lest We Forget

The Illinois Chapter of the National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America had their annual summer meeting in Bloomington, IL.  As is our custom, it was a joint meeting with Illinois Daughters of Colonial Wars and Illinois Court Ancient & Honorable.

This meeting was a special occasion as we welcomed our National President Irene Walker.  Irene and her husband Terry traveled from Pennsylvania to be with us.  After our lunch and business meetings, Irene gave her program on "Lest We Forget".  The flower for NSDFPA is the Forget-me-not, and Irene's theme for her term corresponds.

She told of her national project to support the Fisher Houses for families of wounded soldiers.  A Fisher house is a residence near the military or VA hospital.  They enable families to be together while the soldier is recovering from injuries sustained overseas.  So far in her term, DFPA has donated over $9000 to support this worthy cause.

National President Irene Walker (2nd from left) flanked by members of the Illinois Chapter