November 12, 2017:


It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Phoebe, Oh Phoebe

Lots of action lately on the Family Tree front.  Some things I can talk about, some things I can't.

One of the wonderful things I have discovered while understaking this ardurous task of hunting down and verifying ancestors is people ready, willing and able to help me along my way!  I have connected with several shirt-tail relatives from different branches of the family tree and we've shared information and insights to our mutual enlightenment and furthering of our goals.  It is almost like magic!

Isn't Gertrude lovely?  Gertrude was one of my Grandpa Frank Newton's sisters.  There is a sgtrong family resemblance, but not with me -- with my youngest brother!  Seems strange to say that, but they have the same brow and eyes, and something about the structure of the face, plus the dark curly hair.  When I received this photograph last night in email I gasped when I opened it, the resemblance was that strong.  I don't know how old Great-Aunt Gertrude was in this photo, but I think she doesn't look out of her teens.

Just the past couple of days things have reached practically volcanic eruption pace with regard to my Newton ancestors and particularly my search for more information about Phoebe, Gertrude's older sister.

Phoebe Newton???

Phoebe, Phoebe.  I am obsessed with finding out as much as I can about the who and why of Phoebe. I am not sure if this image is Phoebe.  I cropped it from a family photo of Great-Grandfather David Newton, wife and some of his children.  Judging by the clothes, it was taken in the earlyto mid teens 1900's.  My instincts tell me it is her, but there is no positive identification.

Phoebe was born on August 11, 1881 and died of cervical cancer with complications on April 16, 1948. I knew Phoebe's birthdate, but not her death date.  That information and the fact that she died from cancer, and more information, came last night via email from a new contact through a contact I established months ago with a relative of descendants of another of Grandpa Newton's sisters, Florence.  Thank you both!

Phoebe evidently had a mind and will of her own, and was a truly liberated woman long before that term ever was dreamed up by Gloria Steinem, et al.

I have confirmed, thanks to other people also looking into Phoebe's past, that I did not overlook anything --(you can drive yourself crazy with that because you just can't find anything in information and records online, but you wonder - what am I missing?  What am I not doing right?  There just are no records of her marriage(s) to anyone at all prior to her giving birth in 1901, 1906 and 1914.  So my original surmise that Phoebe was an unwed mother appears to be the truth. 

GASP!  No big deal these days, millions of women around the world every year give birth to children outside of marriage.  But back then, in this strict Roman Catholic family - I cannot even begin to imagine have three children under such circumstances!

Her first two babies died; indeed, the first child was stillborn.  Her second child died a month after she was born.  I cannot even begin to imagine that, either.  Having a baby and he being dead; or having a baby and she dying a month later of pneumonia.  Maybe she was premature -- you know back then, they didn't have the means to save a premature child whose lungs were not yet fully developed.  Even President Kennedy and Jacqueline lost a baby that way.  So sad. So sad.

On the 1920 U.S. Census she still listed herself as Phoebe Newton, along with her daughter, Geneva, who had been born in 1915. Phoebe listed herself as single. 

By the time Great-grandfather David Newton-Villeneuve died in 1925, Phoebe was Phoebe Mineau.  She was the "informant" on David Newton-Villeneuve's death certificate as "Phoebe Mineau."

On the 1930 U.S. Census, Phoebe was Phoebe Mineau, and she was a widow.  Geneva, now 15, was listed as Geneva Mineau, but I think that was just a courtesy.  Sometimes back then children of the wife took the name of their step-father.  There was no legal adoption, etc. involved, it was custom.

Right now I'm on the hunt for Mr. Mineau. Thanks to the new information provided to me last night, I have first name(s).  I spent part of today doing searches and I think I have found his family and the records to back up my suppositions.  Now I need to find HIM when he was all grown up!

1 comment:

  1. Jann,
    I love that picture! So pretty! I know I owe you an email. Been really busy...
    Will write soon!