December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

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!