Category Archives: Newspapers

My Favorite Newspaper Clippings

I have to admit, first thing, that I’m very envious of family historians who have access to historical newspapers and find their families in them all the time. Because the two places where my family lived – New Jersey and Maine – haven’t gotten into the digitized newspaper game yet, the clippings I have are those that have been handed down through the family. I am very grateful for the articles that I do have!

Here are a few of my favorites:

My grandmother, Hazel Coleman Adams, cut out her wedding announcement from the Calais newspaper, probably the Calais Advertiser, and saved it. I never thought to ask Grandmother about her wedding day, so this article tells me all that I will ever know. My grandparents married on 19 July 1920.

I do remember that Grandmother said Clara Dwelley was her best friend – she helped serve the refreshments. Pauline Stuart and Helen Tarbox were cousins of my grandfather.

This article, much later (1975), I found hilarious. (It’s safe to say that because no one was hurt.) Dave’s grandmother, Pearl, was 77 years old when this happened. I’m not sure how you drive a car INTO the store, but that is what she did. It happened in Norman, Oklahoma. The clipping is from The Norman Transcript and it looks like it was front page news. How embarrassing!

I had saved this article for many years – it’s about my kitten, Missy, who went up the tree in front of the house and couldn’t get back down. Howard, a childhood friend, saved the day! He also kindly shared this digital image of the article, which he has kept all these years. Mine disappeared decades ago. Missy was the sweetest little cat. The story was published in the Passaic Herald News.

My great grandfather, Hartwell Coleman, passed away on 29 March 1938 in Calais. His title of “Captain” wasn’t an honorific – he was a tug pilot and master mariner who sailed the waters in the Bay of Fundy and in Boston Harbor. This obituary would have been published in the Calais Advertiser, like my grandmother’s wedding announcement.

I don’t recognize the four pall bearers, but Fred McPheters, Phillip Becket and Fred Scott, were all born in 1898. I am guessing that they were classmates of my grandfather and knew the Coleman family. Luther Barnes was born in 1906, younger than the others, but he lived on River Road and perhaps was a neighbor of Hartwell Coleman.

This last article includes my mother-in-law, Ruby Sturgell Stufflebean. She was in the Class of 1937 of Anadarko (Oklahoma) High School, so this article was probably published around May 1937, but I have no idea about the name of the newspaper.

Ruby never did become a stenographer. She married Edward Stufflebean one year later, in June 1938, and was a stay-at-home mom except during World War II.

This brought back memories of my own high school days when we had our own questions and answers published. However, ours didn’t make the local newspaper, they only made it into the school newspaper!

What are your favorite newspaper articles? Are you one of the lucky ones who finds them in paper after paper or did you inherit them like me? Share your stories, please.

 

Adding Detail to Our Ancestors Lives with Newspapers: Case Study – Hartwell Thomas Coleman (1868-1938

The amount of details that can be learned from newspapers about our ancestors’ day-to-day lives is incredible. Even if we already know a lot about an individual, news items were very gossipy and informative back in the day and can give a much clearer sense of what life was like.

Hartwell Thomas Coleman is one of my maternal great grandfathers. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have ever known him personally, but Grandmother told me many things about him. I know his exact dates of birth, death and marriages – all three of them – know that he was a master mariner who lived and worked in Calais, Maine on the St. Croix River, but also spent several years working in Boston Harbor in the 1920s and am even fortunate enough to have inherited several photos, from Grandmother, of Hartwell both as a baby and in later years.

His work was mainly as a tugboat captain, piloting steamers up and down the St. Croix River. As he got closer to retirement, he opened a general store, which my mother and aunt loved, because he sold candy and would treat them when they came to Maine on vacation.

A photo of his store has even been handed down to me:

I am a big fan of trolling through old newspapers looking for family information. However, Maine hasn’t been quick to get on the digital newspaper bandwagon and the newspaper I would most like to read, The Calais Advertiser, is still nowhere to be found in historical newspaper collections.

However, Bangor, Maine isn’t all that far from Calais, about 95 miles) and I recently discovered it on one of the subscription websites. The Bangor Daily News in the early 1900s was truly a regional newspaper and had local news columns for Calais and other towns within a wide radius.

I wasn’t sure how much I would find, but Captain Hartwell Coleman was mentioned over 20 times between 1900 and the early 1930s.

Look at all the interesting tidbits I now know about his life:

Hartwell Thomas Coleman

15 April 1900 – earned his master mariner license
18 Nov 1911 – elected Calais harbor master
15 June 1912 – elected Senior Sagamore (1st Vice President) in Etchemin Tribe of the Order of Red Men
19 Aug 1912 – while master of the tug Wesley A. Gove, and while standing on deck of the schooner Ellen M. Golder, he was attacked with a belaying pin by a drunk mentally unstable sailor
13 April 1916 – elected Calais harbor master
15 Jan 1917 – elected trustee of Order of Red Men, 3 year term
28 Dec 1917 – served on committee that agreed to loan tug Henry Wellman for Canada’s use for two months
28 Mar 1919 -noted as having piloted the largest sailing vessel on the St. Croix
28 Mar 1924 – resigned his job in Boston as captain for Bay State Dredging Company & returned to Calais
2 Apr 1924 – Pump and gasoline tank privileges awarded by Calais
2 June 1924 – Grocery store and gas station opened at Bog Brook (Calais)
29 Oct 1932 – Piloted Norwegian steamer Mervion up & down St. Croix River. Carried 2500 tons of coal.
19 Feb 1933 – Subpoenaed as a witness in Bay State Dredging Company v. Grand Manan Steamboat Company.
1 Mar 1933 – Kickapoo ice breaker took on Captain Coleman to guide them through the St. Croix River to break up the ice and make is passable
2 Mar 1933 – Piloted Norwegian steamer Dagia up St. Croix River
27 Apr 1933 – Piloted Norwegian Boomstad down the St. Croix River
19 Sep 1933 – Piloted a Norwegian steamer carrying 1300 lbs of coal down the St. Croix waterway
23 May 1934 – Piloted Kickapoo ice breaker – took five days to open the waterway
15 Feb 1937 – Record for largest ice fishing catch at Nash Lake – 8 lb. salmon
13 May 1937 – Kenneth Scott, wife & 2 children called on Hartwell & his family. Kenneth arrived back home down hardscrabble Road before his family. Wife heard a gunshot and he had killed himself.
9 Feb 1938 – Captain Coleman has been in ill health, but feeling better
31 Mar 1938 – Death announcement of Captain Coleman

I have learned so much more about my great grandfather. I know exactly when he became a master mariner and I know the names and dates that he piloted various sailing vessels.

I’ve learned that he was an avid fisherman, not a surprise given where he lived, but that he also enjoyed ice fishing on nearby Nash Lake.

As for the general store that Mom remembered, I know exactly when it opened and even when he was okayed to sell gasoline.

Sadly, I did not know about Kenneth Scott. He married 17 year old Beryl Boone in 1929. Beryl was one of Hartwell’s step children by his third wife, which explains why the young family was “calling on” Hartwell.

I never knew Beryl, but did know her sister, Doris, and visited once with her and Grandmother’s half sister, Lydia. They told me many family stories, but they were focused on the Coleman family, not the Boones.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Doris was a distant cousin of Grandmother, Lydia and I through her father’s line. It also happens to be the line that adds Mayflower passenger George Soule as a branch on my family tree.

Now that I know how much news was picked up by the Bangor Daily News, I want to read the Calais Advertiser even more!

 

 

 

Was Your Ancestor a Veteran? Local Newspapers Share Military News

This post is being shared with Elizabeth O’Neal’s November Genealogy Blog Party on Heart of the Family. Be sure to visit and check out the other military family history stories.

Veterans Day is just a few days away. Was a member of your family a 20th century veteran? If so, Chronicling America and subscription-access digitized newspaper websites might fill in details of his/her wartime activities.

People today think society has no privacy anymore. Well, in some ways, it was even worse during the early to mid-20th century. Everybody knew everyone’s business, whether you were visiting out of town, missed church on Sunday or were getting divorced. That’s because it was all reported in the local newspaper that the entire community read!

However, there are some definite positives to all those newsy events appearing in print. We are given a nice clear picture of what life was like for our families at a given point in time.

Reporting news about the “local boys” who went off to Europe to serve in the World Wars was just part of keeping the community informed. Those same tidbits of news might well include our own family members and the types of news articles varied tremendously.

First, it let everyone know who was next to be shipped out:


Part of a long list!

It also brought more distressing news from the war fronts:

Family visits were duly reported:

Everett Bell of Baltimore, Maryland made a trip all the way to the Ozarks to visit his sister while on leave from the U.S. Army.

Correspondence from servicemen was also shared in print:

Did Fred Woodruff survive the flu pandemic and World War I? Yes. After the war was over, he married and set up a medical practice in Denver, Colorado. He married twice and had at least four children. I wonder if his grandchildren ever heard the story of surviving the flu?

The flu was of military concern at back at home, too:

Private James M. Scott wrote his mother from France:

Private Scott survived the war, too, and might have been one of the longest surviving veterans of the Great War, as he died on 21 December 1991 at the age of 98 1/2 years old!

Oliver Planchon, evidently in Navy boot camp, unexpectedly met a neighbor:

Tom Caldwell enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was home on furlough after 18 months of service:

He was stationed on the USS Rhode Island:


Source: Wikipedia

Frank Conley was in Army boot camp at Camp Pike, Arkansas. His parents made a trip to St. Louis and, on the way back home to Monett, Missouri, stopped at Camp Pike to see him.

Camp Pike wasn’t exactly along the way home, but I am sure Mr. and Mrs. Conley were very happy to see Frank, even if for a short time:


Monett to St. Louis to Camp Pike (today Camp Robinson)
Source: Google Maps

Lastly, war cost a lot of money and efforts to raise funds to support the effort were also part of the daily news:

If you have never read vintage newspapers and think that your family won’t “make the news,” you are probably wrong, particularly if you are looking for military service information.

All of these articles came not just from a single issue of the Monett Times of Barry County, Missouri, the articles are all found on page 7 – a single page – of the 4 October 1918 issue.

World War II era papers did the same type of articles as everyone sought news of the local men and women serving and of how the war effort was progressing.

World War I papers are available on Chronicling America, but if you are interested in World War II, watch for free access days on the subscription websites if you don’t already have a membership with them.

There is lots to be learned about those who fought in the world wars and it was all reported in the local newspaper.