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Full text of "Blakes of 77 Elm Street : a family sketch"

Gc 

929.2 
B57604h 
1847948 



GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 01205 2442 



THE ELAKES 

OF 

77 ELM STREET 



A FAMILY SKETCH 

BY 

Alida Blake Hazard 



QUINNIPIACK PRBSS, INC. 
NBW HAVEN, CONN. 



AO^d-^^J^iO 




To Pierre and Nancy, 

their children and all the younger 

generation 

PU have always seemed interested, 
dear Pierre and Nancy, to know 
something of your mother's family, 
°=^ so I have here set down what I hope 
will be a picture of an interesting group, the 
central figure being my beloved grandfather, 
Eli Whitney Blake. 

This is not a genealogy, neither does it 
make any claims to accuracy. Dates and names 
are all to be found in large volumes which 
trace the history of the family way back to 
England. So I shall not be disturbed if anyone 
calls my attention to such a slip as, for ex- 
ample, the order in age of our grandfather's 
brothers. 

Of Elihu Blake, my great-grandfather, I 
have no personal recollection, but he was still 
in the memory of his grandchildren when I 
was young, and from the many stories told of 



him he must have been quite a remarkable, 
if very quaint, old gentleman. His wife was 
Elizabeth Whitney, sister of Eli Whitney, 
inventor of the cotton gin, for whom our 
grandfather was named. They had ten chil- 
dren, all of whom lived to grow up — seven 
sons and three daughters. The sons were 
Philos, Eli Whitney, Josiah, Elihu, John, 
George and Edward. The three daughters 
were Elizabeth Whitney, Maria and Frances. 
How our great-grandparents ever brought up 
this large family, educated them and started 
them in life is a mystery. Besides the small 
farm on which they lived near Westboro, 
Massachusetts, the only other source of in- 
come appears to have been our great-grand- 
father's talent in mathematics. Today he 
would be called an expert accountant. In 
those, he was called a "mathematician," and 
his services were in great demand through 
the country side and even in far away Boston. 
It was on one of these business trips, which 
he always made on horseback, that an ad- 
venture befell him which became a family 
byword. At a crossroads an Indian, in full 
war paint, suddenly leaped from the bushes 
and seized the bridle of his horse. Pointing 
in one direction the Indian said, "Old Injun 
come dis way, 'quire me gone dat way, tell 

44 ► 



him me gone t'other way, would ye?", and 
disappeared, probably to the relief of the 
traveler. In the notice of the death of Elihu 
Blake in the church records he is described as 
a "Worthy, Pious and Very Learned Man". 
Wherever could he have acquired his learn- 
ing? However, he saw to it that his sons had 
such advantages as were possible. Our grand- 
father was sent to Yale by his uncle and name- 
sake, Eli Whitney. Josiah went to Harvard. 
The other sons were content with graduating 
from the academies of Massachusetts. Not 
only did our grandparents do well by their 
children, but they provided for their own old 
age. 

Elizabeth Whitney died when her husband 
was nearly seventy. He soon married again 
and had some twenty years of quiet life in a 
simple but comfortable home. His second 
wife was always known in the family as "the 
Widow Holbrook"; more than that about her 
I was never able to discover. I once asked 
my grandfather what her name was. He 
seemed surprised at the question and replied, 
"Sarah, or Susan, or something like that. I 
don't know which. Ask your Uncle John." 
Whatever her name; she seems to have had 
patience with her husband's hobbies. He 
turned his inventive faculties to odd uses. 



When a guest came to call he was taken into 
a summer-house. No sooner was he seated 
on a bench than the lid of a chest opposite 
flew open and a stuffed tiger jumped out at 
the startled visitor! To calm his nerves he 
was then taken to admire a view. As he sat 
on a chair to rest jets of water spouted on him 
from all directions to the amusement of his 
host. Rather a trying old gentleman! Never- 
theless the children of Westboro adored him, 
and it was his habit to frequently invite all 
the school children to spend a happy afternoon 
being frightened by tigers, wet with water, 
and to enjoy a feast of cookies at the close. 

After his death his son Josiah bought the 
house and place from the widow, but what 
became of the tiger and the other practical 
jokes I don't know. They were not in evidence 
when I saw the place many years later. Neither 
do I know what became of "the Widow Hol- 
brook." She fades out of the family picture 
as nebulously as she came in. 

Two of my grandfather's brothers went into 
business with him later under the firm name of 
Blake Brothers, manufacturing the Blake 
Stone-crusher, which was the invention of our 
grandfather. These two brothers were Philos 
and John. 

■«j{ 6 }*<• 



Philos married Esther Babcock. He was a 
very tall, large man, well over six feet, and 
she was very small. She was a very old lady 
as I first remember her but always very active. 
She wore a black silk dress the year around, 
a very ornate cap, and a black front, which 
probably concealed gray hair. She wore about 
her waist a silver chain, from which hung a 
bunch of keys. As soon as guests were seated 
these keys were used to open a large sideboard 
and bring out the cake and wine which were 
always offered regardless of the hour of the 
day at which the visit was paid. Children 
were treated to oranges and cake, so a visit 
to Aunt Esther was rather a popular proceed- 
ing. There were several children, none of 
whom are now living and only one of whom 
was survived by children and these have now 
passed away. 

Uncle John married Sarah Hotchkiss. She 
was a niece of Aunt Esther though not very far 
from her in age — a tall, blonde woman, who, 
we were told, had been a beauty in her day. 
They had four daughters and two sons. George 
the younger of the sons, was drowned while 
boating on Lake Saltonstall. John, the other 
son, was a very clever man, and my father 
always thought would have done much in 
scientific work had he been willing to work 
4 7 ]^ 



along recognized lines. He was very erratic, 
however, and his inventions and discoveries 
all went to the advantage of other people. 
The sisters were all rather unfortunate in their 
marriages and their children are none of them 
living now, I believe. 

Josiah Whitney Blake was for a time in- 
terested in the South American trade and had 
several vessels which sailed from Boston. He 
married Clarina Lord. Her sister married 
Michael H. Simpson, who was the owner of 
the great carpet mills at Saxonville, Massa- 
chusetts. In later life Uncle Josiah became 
treasurer of these mills, which position he 
held for over thirty years until his death. He 
had two daughters, one of whom died very 
young and the other, Mrs. Miner, soon after 
his own death, leaving no children. 

Uncle Elihu started as a surgeon, but having 
the Blake talent for invention became in- 
terested in inventing dental appliances, and 
finally took that up altogether. He married 
Adelaide Mix of New Haven. His practice, 
however, was in New York, where he lived 
until he was a very old gentleman, when he 
retired to his farm at Cherry Hill near New 
Haven. He was the father of William Phipps 
Blake and Theodore A. Blake. Cousin William 
was a very well-known geologist and was the 



father of Joseph A. Blake, the surgeon; Frank 
Blake; Theodore Whitney Blake and Con- 
stance, who was Mrs. Toomey, and who died 
very young. Uncle Elihu also had two daugh- 
ters, Adele, who married George Panton of 
Jamaica, West Indies. She was a great beauty 
but died in her early twenties. The other 
daughter was Emma, who many of you should 
remember. 

Uncle George was in the South American 
business and spent most of his time in the 
Argentine. He died there of yellow fever, 
leaving one daughter, Cousin Isabel. She lived 
very much at our grandfather's and we are 
all much attached to her, as I am glad to say 
she is still with us. 

Uncle Edward lived in Pittsburgh all his 
life and seemed to have very little to do with 
the rest of the family. He came on once and 
made a visit in New Haven, but he was so 
erratic that I doubt if anyone regretted that 
the visit was never repeated. I think that all 
his family have now died out. 

That completes the list of grandfather's 
brothers. Now for the sisters. 

The oldest, Elizabeth Whitney, married Rev. 
John Barstow, D.D., minister for fifty years 
at the Congregational Church in Keene, New 
Hampshire. They had two sons, John Bar- 



stow, who went to California as a young man, 
lived and died there; and Dr. J. Whitney Bar- 
stow of New York, who was an authority on 
mental diseases and was much beloved by the 
whole family circle. He married Flora Mac- 
Donald of Flushing, Long Island, and three 
daughters still survive. 

Maria married a Mr. Burgess, who was a 
New Hampshire man, but I know very little 
more about him. As far as I know none of 
their descendants are living. 

The younger sister, Frances, married Rev. 
William Orcutt, D.D., who was the executive 
secretary for years of the African Colonization 
Society. This was formed in the days before 
the Civil War to send freed negroes back to 
Africa, and was the foundation of the present 
Republic of Liberia. After Mr. Orcutt 's death 
Aunt Fanny made her home with our grand- 
father, to the joy of us all for she was a very 
delightful old lady. They had one daughter, 
who died as a child. 

As I have said, his Uncle Eli Whitney sent 
our grandfather through Yale, where he grad- 
uated in the class of 1814. He taught in all 
his vacations, helping thus to meet his ex- 
penses. At that time there was a long vacation 
of ten weeks in mid-winter. During that 
period students taught in the country schools, 
•»*{ lO p- 



which was all to the good of the children. 
Grandpa used to tell amusing stories of his 
scholars. In those days while men were dis- 
carding the pigtail and letting their hair grow 
naturally, the boys were still bound to the 
' 'que' ' . One day my grandfather noticed a small 
boy sitting with his mouth wide open and a 
very distressed expression on his face. When 
Grandpa said, "Henry, shut your mouth", he 
replied, "I can't; my que's tied too tight"! 
On another occasion a boy was sent from an 
adjoining school with high recommendation 
from the teacher. He failed to live up to this 
and was a dull scholar, so grandfather ques- 
tioned him as to his general deficiency when he 
had been called a bright boy. His answer was, 
"Can't help it, Mr. Blake. I ain't got the hang 
of the schoolhouse yet". There was always 
Bible reading at the opening of the school and 
one day the teacher's gravity was sorely 
tested when a small boy read in sonorous tones, 
"These twelve sat upon rhoms judging the 
twelve tribes of Israel". Grandpa used to say 
that the boy spoke more wisely than he knew 
for certainly any twelve who had to judge 
the twelve tribes of Israel would sit upon 
thorns, metaphorically at least! 

After his graduation our grandfather at- 
tended the law school of Judge Gould in 
^ II ]^ 



Litchfield, Connecticut. He was admitted to 
the Bar but never practised, though he always 
conducted his own cases for infringement of 
patent both for his uncle and the cotton gin, 
and for his own stone-crusher. He was re- 
garded as such a successful patent lawyer that 
he was frequently consulted in other patent 
cases. 

Deciding not to make a career of the law, 
he traveled in the south for his Uncle Eli 
Whitney in the interest of the cotton gin. 
The south in those days was rather a troublous 
part of the country and our grandfather's 
travels were not without adventures. On 
one trip he was in a stage-coach in which 
were two young ladies traveling alone. They 
were insulted by a young man and were very 
frightened. Grandfather intervened and after 
some altercation the persecutor left the stage 
threatening that my grandfather should "hear 
more of this." As it turned out that the man 
was James Watson Webb, a weJl-known fire- 
eater in the South and afterward a truculent 
editor in New York, grandpa was not at all 
surprised to receive a visit, a day or two later, 
from a man who presented himself as Second 
for Mr. Webb and challenged grandpa to a 
duel. As the challenged party grandfather had 
the choice of weapons, and when, with the 

^{ 12 1^ 



usual formalities, he was asked what they 
would be, he replied, his fists! Greatly shocked 
the Second demurred and suggested pistols or 
swords. Grandfather said he disapproved en- 
tirely of duels, but if attacked he should cer- 
tainly defend himself with the weapons which 
nature had given him. The would-be duelist 
looked the tall, vigorous Yankee up and down 
and evidently did not like the prospect. Per- 
haps also James Watson Webb thought the 
better of it, for grandfather never heard of it 
again. 

It was during these travels that our grand- 
father acquired his horror of cards, which he 
never lost. Gambling was very prevalent in 
the south, and seeing the misery that it en- 
tailed grandpa could not forgive even the 
innocent medium. Liberal as he was, for his 
day, letting his children dance, go to the 
theater, and even have plays at home, cards 
were and remained anathema. 

Soon after our grandfather's return from the 
South he was made superintendent of his 
uncle's works at Whitneyville, and not long 
after that was married to Eliza Maria O'Brien. 

To understand our grandmother and to fully 
appreciate all that she meant to her husband 
some account must be given of her family 

4i3> 



and especially of that extraordinarily domi- 
nant personality, our great-grandmother. 

The Pierrepont family had been among the 
first settlers in the New Haven colony, and 
the old maps and deeds describe them as 
"Gentlemen", whatever that meant — probably 
a tribute to their Stuart descent and kinship to 
the then Duke of Kingston. At all events they 
fully appreciated their social standing, and 
none more so than great-grandmother. From 
the time when as "Pretty Polly Pierrepont" 
she had been the "toast" of the day, and made 
a runaway marriage with a French-Irish, or, 
Irish-French stranger, to her later days as the 
discreet and severe wife of that most respecta- 
ble (if somewhat dull) citizen, Edward Foster, 
she ruled not only her own family but all who 
came within her orbit. 

Her first marriage turned out better than 
might have been expected. Edward O'Brien 
was a descendant of an Irish gentleman, who, 
remaining loyal to James II., followed him to 
France and was attached to the forlorn little 
court at St. Germain. There he married a 
French lady and became the grandfather of 
our maternal great-grandfather. This grand- 
son, Edward O'Brien, was quite French, speak- 
ing but little English when he first reached 
New England. He came out to Maine (then a 
•»*{ 14 ]p- 



province of France), and from there drifted 
down to New Haven, where he became a 
publisher and assisted Noah Webster with the 
famous dictionary. He also published a 
pocket-dictionary of his own, the first ever 
published in America. It is now extremely 
rare and copies bring enormous prices. 

This marriage only lasted about five years. 
There were two children, our grandmother, 
Eliza Maria, and a son, Henry. Edward 
O'Brien was sent by the Federal Government 
on a mission to the French West Indies. There 
he died of yellow fever. The son, Henry, 
lived to grow up and took to the sea. He 
made several voyages and was finally lost 
somewhere off the South American coast. 

Great-grandma did not remain long discon- 
solate. She had suitors by the score, but this 
time she picked out a worthy man, much 
older than herself, and one who would ap- 
preciate her right to rule. That being estab- 
lished they lived in harmony for a number of 
years. They had three sons, Pierrepont, 
Eleazer K. and Edward Foster: also four 
daughters; Harriet, Mary Ann, Jane and Caro- 
line. These ladies (our grandmother's half- 
sisters), as "the aunties", played quite a 
part in our family life. Although they were 
middle-aged women at the time of their 

4 ^sh 



mother's death, they were quite submerged 
as long as she lived. After that they made a 
happy and useful household. Aunt Harriet 
devoted herself to w^hat w^ould now^ be called 
social service. She w^as the founder and 
for many years president, of the New Haven 
Orphan Asylum, which is still a flourishing 
institution. Aunt Mary Ann took the society 
end, made the formal visits which etiquette 
demanded in those days, received callers and 
generally upheld the tradition of social pres- 
tige. Aunt Jane was the housekeeper, and a 
wonderful little housekeeper she was too. 
Aunt Caroline was the gardener and her 
plants, even in winter, v\^ere a wonder to see. 
Pierrepont Foster, irreverently knov/n to 
the younger members of the family as "Uncle 
Pip", married three times, but beyond the 
fact that two of his wives, were sisters and 
that their names were Bishop and that he had 
one son, Will Law Foster, I know little of 
the family. Uncle Eleazer was a very dis- 
tinguished jurist in Connecticut and is quoted 
with much respect in so important a book as 
Bryce's, American Commonwealth. He mar- 
ried Mary Codrington, daughter of Governor 
Codrington of Jamaica, West Indies. He had 
three sons, Eleazer, who married a Miss San- 
ford and founded Sanford in Florida; William, 
^{ 1 6 }?* 



who married Miss Betts and was for many- 
years editor of the Buffalo Express and Courier; 
and Dr. John P. C. Foster, well-known even 
to your generation as "Cousin John." He 
married, as you well know, his second-cousin, 
Josephine Bicknell, whose mother, cousin 
Teresa Pierrepont, was the granddaughter of 
Uncle Hezekiah, our great-grandmother's 
brother. Uncle Eleazer was a most delightful 
person. He was very out-spoken even as a 
child. The story is told of him that he was 
taken to see some religious waxworks. The 
other children were all much impressed, but 
Uncle Eleazer, pointing at a figure representing 
David and his Harp, demanded to know loudly 
"Who's the old devil playing on a fiddle?" 
Though his sisters, the aunties, were in a 
chronic state of being shocked at Eleazer, 
they all missed him sadly enough when he 
passed on, as indeed did we all. 

Edward, the youngest son, lived always in 
Potsdam, New York. He was married and had 
one daughter, Mary, but I do not know the 
maiden-name of his wife. 

One other member of great-grandma's house- 
hold must be included in this brief account, 
as his wanderings and adventures thrilled two 
generations of nephews and nieces. This was 
UncJe John Pierrepont, a brother of great- 

^i{ 17 )?«- 



grandmother's, but whether older or younger 
I don't know. His history, for us, began in 
India. He had gone out as supercargo on a 
ship, but left to engage in some business for 
himself. This enterprise was apparently suc- 
cessful as after some years he sailed for home, 
this time as a passenger, bringing his treasure 
with him. Unfortunately the captain of the 
ship was a villain, and finding out about the 
treasure, concocted a scheme to get hold of it. 
So one fine day he sailed into a port on one of 
the Malay Islands. There he persuaded Uncle 
John to land with a mate and some sailors, 
saying the vessel would stay some time. Very 
soon, however, the men slipped away, returned 
to the ship, and off they sailed, leaving Uncle 
John marooned. The ship finally arrived in 
England and reported that the passenger, John 
Pierrepont, had been lost at sea, and so the 
news came to his family in this country. The 
captain got nothing by his treachery, as all 
the time Uncle John had his "treasure" on his 
person and not in his sea-chest, where the 
captain counted on finding it. For nearly 
twenty years Uncle John lived on that island 
and many and marvelous were his adventures, 
according to his own account at least. One 
day great-grandma was told a gentleman wish- 
ed to see her. On entering the room she was 



greeted most affectionately by an apparent 
stranger. When she demanded to know what 
he meant and who he was, the man cried, 
"Good God, Polly, don't you know your own 
brother!", at the same time holding up his 
left hand. This convinced Great-grandma 
as her brother was born with no little finger 
on his left hand. How glad she was to see 
him after the melodramatic return, I don't 
know, but she took him in and he made her 
house his headquarters for years. Toward 
the end he became a victim of gout and ex- 
cessively irritable, so perhaps the poor lady 
may have regretted that the Malays did not 
keep him altogether. 

When our grandparents were married they 
went first into a small stone house in Whit- 
neyville, just opposite the Whitney Works, 
of which grandpa was superintendent. This 
house was still standing when I was young 
and we children took great interest in it as 
"the house Aunt Mary was born in". My 
impression is that the two eldest children were 
born there, but I am not sure. The house was 
small for a growing family. Grandpa also was 
working on his invention of the stone-crusher, 
and with Uncle Philos and Uncle John had 
formed the firm of Blake Brothers, with a 
foundry at Westville. A house had recently 
^(19 }^- 



been built next door to great-grandma's and 
had now come into the market. Grandpa 
bought the house, which, as 77 Elm Street, 
was to be not only his home, but the heart 
of the family as long as he lived. No one was 
ever turned away from its door, and under 
its roof any of the clan knew they had always 
a kindly refuge. 

It may seem odd that the young couple 
should have chosen to settle down so near the 
autocratic mother-in-law. It seems grandpa's 
brothers and their families were not without 
misgivings on that subject. However it 
worked out very well. Great-grandma had a 
high regard and evidently a sincere respect for 
her quiet, dignified son-in-law, always ad- 
dressing him as Mr. Blake. He, on his side, 
treated her with the courtesy he always paid 
women, and spoke of her and to her as "Ma- 
dame". Years after her death I had a chance 
to ask grandpa about her. We had been talk- 
ing over old times, and, finding him to be in a 
confidential mood, I asked him what sort of 
person great-grandma really was, so many 
stories had grown up about her memory. He 
paused for a little to consider and then replied 
judicially and deliberately, "She had a fine 
character, and she carried her burdens 
bravely". I have often thought that is as good 

20 ]^ 



4 20 ]^ 



an epitaph as one need to have. There you 
have the fundamentals, the peculiarities were 
extraneous after all. 

Now what sort of a place was New Haven 
in the days when our grandparents started 
their home at 77 Elm Street? It makes it easier 
for us to imagine it all, as the two houses, 
great-grandmother's and grandfather's, are 
still standing and, outwardly, not much 
changed. The Pierrepont house, built in 1767, 
is owned by Yale and is used as a Faculty Club, 
for the ladies as well as the men, while 77, 
also owned by the University, is the Graduate 
Club. 

In those early days Elm Street was really a 
country road, the Green opposite assured a 
southern outlook and the beautiful elms must 
have been in their prime. The houses stand 
quite near the street, the gardens being in the 
back. As I remember all that came out of that 
garden I marvel. A straight path led down to 
the end where there was a square of grass 
(not big enough to be called a lawn) and a 
summer-house. On either side of the path ran 
a bed of flowers, always gay and sweet. Back 
of these came vegetables, and such vegetables! 
I have yet to see lima beans to equal those. 
Along the side fences grew currant and rasp- 
berry bushes. In one corner was our Grand- 

'4 21 h 



mother's herb garden, for, like most gentle- 
women of her day, she was learned in the use 
of herbs and simples and her remedies had a 
great reputation. All this was cared for by 
one man of all-work and, when they had the 
time, by members of the family. Both grandpa 
and grandma loved gardening, and they cer- 
tainly had what is known as a "growing 
hand." 

Across the street the Green was a very differ- 
ent place from the Green of these days. Uncle 
Henry Blake has written a delightful book 
on the "History of the Green", so I will only 
say here that even in our generation it was a 
lovely, shady place. You will recall that 
Connecticut used to have two Capitols, New 
Haven and Hartford. The State House stood 
almost opposite grandpa's in the Green and 
some little distance back from the street. We 
children regarded it with admiration, and 
thought it very impressive, though, as I think 
of it now, it must have been already dilapi- 
dated. It had a portico and columns and was 
supposed to be Grecian, but it really looked 
more like a magnified tomb than anything else! 
Some years after Hartford was finally made 
the sole Capitol the structure was pulled down. 
We youngsters mourned its going as a cannon 
was always fired from its doorsteps at sunrise 

^{ 22 ]^ 



on the Fourth of July. The joy of this some- 
what rackety performance was greatly en- 
hanced by the fact that on the evening before 
a policeman in resplendent uniform always 
called at the house with a caution as to 
leaving all windows open so that the glass 
might not be broken by the concussion! 
Probably the elders in the family were quite 
reconciled to the passing of this custom. 

The College campus faced on the Green, and 
in those days seemed to be almost a part of it. 
Even as I remember it the campus was beauti- 
ful, with very simple, colonial buildings, grass 
and trees, instead of being the overbuilt, over- 
ornate piece of ground it is now. 

The three churches in the Green held a more 
important place in the life of New Haven of 
those days than is now the case. Centre Church 
held the supremacy for years. Then, as the 
town grew, some of its members felt they 
were not accorded sufficient recognition and 
they set up for themselves in a new church 
called the North Church. Trinity represented 
the comparatively few Episcopalians. Our 
grandparents belonged by inheritance and con- 
viction to Centre Church. Great-grand- 
mother's second husband, Edward Foster, 
seceded to North Church, and two of his 
daughters with him. Uncle Eleazer Foster 

4 23 h 



became an Episcopalian, as did his sister, 
Aunt Mary Ann. So the family was represented 
in all three churches, which was rather 
unusual. 

It is easier to imagine the material New 
Haven of the early 1800's than it is to picture 
the social life. Of course Yale College played 
an important part in the little community. 
The College was small, not as large as several 
of the fashionable preparatory schools of our 
day, the faculty was limited in numbers but 
composed mainly of men well qualified to 
influence, not only the young lives entrusted 
to their care, but the whole town in which 
they lived. They were poorly paid, few had 
any private means and they and their families 
set an example of high thinking and plain 
living which survived (as a tradition at all 
events) down even to my generation. The old 
families were closely bound together, often 
by kinship and often by generations of faith- 
ful friendship. It is a temptation here to name 
a few of the families whose steadfast friend- 
ship still survives, but this is only a family 
sketch and all that must be for another time. 
As one reads the letters of those days the 
impression one gets is of an atmosphere of 
friendliness. The pioneer days, when all the 
settlers were dependent on each other, had 

424^- 



passed, but the tradition of helpfulness re- 
mained. There were no rich people (as riches 
are measured now) and there were no suffering 
poor. That generation knew nothing of or- 
ganized charities, but each well-to-do family 
had, as a matter of course, a group of pen- 
sioners. These might be worthy or they might 
be unworthy, but in any case they were cared 
for. These dependants played quite a part 
in family life. Some of them were real char- 
acters, as for example, one of grandmother's 
proteges, Sylvester Potter. He was a very 
unworthy person, who lived on a small farm 
at the edge of the town, his chief claim to 
celebrity was the fact that he drove a cart to 
which was harnessed a pair of trotting bulls. 
This was considered a great curiosity and he 
was pointed out to visitors as one of the local 
sights. Unfortunately he was often withdrawn 
from public life by sojourns in jail, owing 
to his addiction to New England rum. This 
weakness lost him many friends, but dear 
grandma persisted in believing the never- 
failing protestations of his reform. My uncles 
used to tell with glee of one interview between 
grandma and "Vet", as he was called, Potter. 
He had emerged from jail and was assuring 
his listener of his conversion; "Yes, Mrs. 
Blake, I sure am reformed this time. When 



I was in jail I felt so terrible to think how 
I had disappointed all my friends that I made 
up my mind to kill myself. I was just getting 
ready to do it when I hern a voice from the 
ceiling, and the voice says, 'Vet', it says, 
and I says 'Yes, Lord', and the Lord says, 
'Don't do it. Vet, don't do it, good men is 
skase' ". 

Another character was Mrs. Bemis. She 
was a very pious person and was so addicted 
to religious observances of the camp-meeting 
type that her husband left home and disap- 
peared. Two of her hon-mots were especially 
cherished in the family. She was telling 
grandmother of a visit of condolence she had 
paid to a friend: "Yes, Mrs. Blake, I says to 
Betsy, I says, now Betsy I know you feel 
bad to lose your husband, but you got a lot 
to be thankful for. You know where Truman 
is and I never know when Bemis might turn 
up any minute." Her daughter Maria had 
been ill and Uncle George went to take her 
for a drive with grandma's gentle pony. Maria 
hesitated about going, but Mrs. Bemis de- 
cided the matter by saying, "Now Maria, 
you'd better go with Mr. George; like as not 
enough the next ride you g^x. will be in your 
hearse". 

^{ 26 ]*^ 



Mention must be made of Lois Thompson, 
whose great claim to distinction was that she 
was the last slave to be sold in Connecticut. 
Three or four men, our grandfather among 
them, bought her in and gave her her freedom. 
She seemed to feel that this gave her some 
special hold on them. They had made her 
free, now it was up to them to look out for 
her, and that attitude she maintained quite 
successfully throughout a long life. She was 
a strange looking old negress and could have 
posed as a Voodoo priestess. She made great 
claims to medical knowledge and her remedies 
were strange enough. On one of her visits 
she found one of our aunts suffering with a 
severe headache. She stood looking at the 
victim until Aunt Eliza, vexed at the scrutiny, 
said, "Well Lois, can't you do something for 
this pain in my head?" "No, Miss Eliza, 
no I can't, and no one else can; dare's only 
one cure for such headaches and dat's grave- 
yard mold." To another patient in the family 
she earnestly prescribed, "black cat's blood 
in cream, be sure and take it on the full of the 
moon". She had many so-called husbands, 
and was, I fear, quite an unworthy old person. 
Indeed worthiness seems to have had little 
to do with these cases. There was no idea of 
charity on either side. The group were like 



household pets, sometimes amusing, frequently 
annoying, but always to be cared for. 

Of course the small size of the industrial 
plants at that time made it possible for the 
owners to be in much closer touch with 
their work-people than they could be now. 
Grandpa and his brothers took a great in- 
terest in the men working in their Westville 
foundry. They cared for them and their 
families, and often played the part of surgeon 
in the injuries the men received at their work. 
Doctors were few, widely scattered, and not 
to be had in a hurry. Employers were often 
called upon for "first aid", though that term 
was not then invented. So successful was 
grandfather in his treatment of burns that he 
was twice invited to address the State Medical 
Association on that subject. The men had 
great confidence in his skill and expected him 
to cure their children as well as themselves. 
One day a workman brought a small boy in 
to grandfather's ofhce. The poor child had 
stuck a stone into its ear vv^hich resisted all 
efforts to take it out. The stone could be seen 
but the forceps the doctor had used in trying 
to extricate it had only inflamed the ear and 
the poor little thing was suffering terribly. 
Grandfather had them apply hot water until 
the inflammation had somewhat subsided. 

■4 28 ]^ 



He then painted the exposed surface of the 
stone with some very strong glue. Taking 
one of the small, round lamp wicks of the day 
he unraveled the end and put the unraveled 
surface on the glue covering the stone. Leav- 
ing this for several hours to be sure it was fast 
grandpa then applied warm grease all about 
the stone and very gently pulled on the lamp 
wick until little by little the stone came away. 
This was deemed such a clever method of 
meeting an emergency by simple means that 
the stone and lamp wick were preserved for 
a long time by the New Haven Medical 
Society and may be there yet for all I know. 

It was into this extremely simply, demo- 
cratic but at the same time highly intellectual 
community that the twelve children of our 
grand-parents were born. Ten of them lived 
to grow up, and a happier household never 
existed. They were very individual but also 
very congenial; they often agreed to disagree 
in the most cheerful manner and one of the 
favorite family amusements was a "Blake 
argument", v/hich Vv^as conducted with a 
vigor which gave outsiders the impression 
that a violent quarrel was waging but which 
meant nothing at all. 

These children were Mary Elizabeth, Hen- 
rietta Whitney, Charles Thompson, Henry 
■4 29>- 



Taylor, Frances Louise, George Augustus, 
Eli Whitney, Jr., Edward Foster, James Pierre- 
pont, and Eliza Maria. The two children 
who died young were Robert and another 
Eliza. 

Mary Elizabeth (whom you knew as your 
Grandmother Bushnell) was a second mother 
to the younger children. My father often 
spoke with gratitude of her care and affection. 
She was a clever woman and in some way 
managed to carry on her studies after she had 
left school and was taking her full share in 
the burdens of such a large family. Grand- 
mother sent Mary and Henrietta to a famous 
boarding school of the day for two years, 
though it must have been a sacrifice to her to 
part from her two eldest daughters just as 
they were becoming really helpful. Grand- 
mother was ahead of her age in many ways 
and one was in a desire to have her children 
acquire foreign languages. When Charles and 
Henry came to school age they were sent to a 
French gentleman who had opened a school 
for boys at Litchfield. All the lessons were 
conducted in French and so thorough was the 
teaching that the two men preserved a perfect 
command of the language all through their 
lives. Uncle Henry told me, when he was 
well over ninety, that he often caught himself 

■»*( 30 }^ 



thinking in French. The French school did 
not receive the patronage it deserved and w^as 
given up. So the younger sons were sent to 
the New England academies, mostly to 
Leicester Academy in Massachusetts. By the 
time the two younger girls came along there 
were good schools in New Haven and they 
were not sent from home. 

All of the six brothers went to Yale and all 
graduated with honors except dear Uncle 
George. He was always delicate and after a 
severe breakdown in his Sophomore year it 
was decided he had better not go on with his 
college course. The Senior Societies were not 
in existence while Uncle Charles and Henry 
were in college, but my father, Eli Whitney 
Blake, Jr., and his brother Jim were both 
in Bones. Uncle Ned and some of his class- 
mates founded Scroll and Key. 

When not being educated the young people 
seem to have found plenty of amusement. As 
I have said before our grandparents were very 
liberal in their views, and that generation was 
allowed many pleasures from which their more 
strictly brought up friends were debarred. 
While grandfather was a great believer in 
temperance in all things, he was much op- 
posed to prohibition (I don't know what 
he would have said in these days !) he believed 



that young people should learn to control 
themselves, and that anything to which they 
were accustomed in everyday life would offer 
less temptation when they went out into the 
world than if it were a novelty. So there was 
always beer, or ale, or wine on the table at 
dinner and never (as far as ever I heard) was 
its use in any way abused either then or in 
later life. 

The New England Sunday, which was such 
a bugbear in many strict households, was 
rather a pleasant day at 77 Elm Street. There 
was but one rigid rule in regard to its ob- 
servance and that was that nothing should 
be done w^iich entailed work on other people. 
The girls and boys might go for v/alks, but 
there must be no driving, as that meant taking 
out the horses and work for some servant. 
Sleighing and skating in winter; rowing, 
sailing and picnics in summer were the chief 
out-of-door diversions. 

From vv^hat old friends have told me from 
time to time I infer that the adventures and 
misadventures of the Blake boys provided 
friends and neighbors with plenty of material 
for conversation. Praise of their mother, 
her patience and courage was always included 
in the remarks which usually ended with dire 
predictions of the ultimate fate of these 

■4 32 1*- 



"harum scarum youngsters." Predictions 
which fortunately were not fulfilled, though 
truth compels us to admit that they came 
within a narrow margin of fulfillment more 
than once. The first recorded excitement was 
caused by Mary (your Grandmother Bushnell) 
at the age of three. By some means or other 
she got hold of a whole nutmeg, and managed 
to eat it. When it was found what she had 
done old Doctor Ives was sent for in hot 
haste. When he came he said the danger was 
from the narcotic attributes of the nutmeg and 
that on no account must the child be allowed 
to go to sleep. Strong coffee was brewed and 
fed to her. It was summer and nearly all night 
she was kept out of doors and in motion. 
After dawn the doctor decided it would be 
safe to let her sleep. What modern physicians 
would say to this treatment I don't know. 
Edward (Uncle Ned) was reported as 
drowned and was only resuscitated by a 
miracle. 

Eli Whitney Jr. (my father), in experiment- 
ing with gunpowder, blew himself up so 
seriously that he lost the ends of two fingers 
and for some days it was not known if his 
eyes could be saved. This happened on the 
day that grandfather was giving a men's 
supper party to some magnates of the Ameri- 

4 33>- 



can Association of Science, which was holding 
a conference in New Haven. Poor dear grand- 
ma, how did she ever put it all through! 
With all her cares and anxieties, and down- 
right hard work, for things were not made 
easy for the housewife in those days, she was 
determined that grandpa should not be sub- 
merged by his family or his work. It was 
really owing to her courage that grand- 
father kept up his scientific interests and 
friendships. Such a tiny little lady too, 
slight and graceful. Still pretty as I remember 
her in her sixties, with very brilliant dark 
blue eyes. She did not talk much, but when 
she did speak all listened. Grandma was 
asked by Harriet Beecher Stowe to contribute 
to a symposium on the best way to bring up 
children to be conducted by well-known 
women with large families. Grandmother 
wrote that her experience with ten taught her 
that there was no general rule. Each child 
was a case by itself. Answering a request 
for a "guiding maxim" she replied, "It 
might be summed up into "What Not To 
See." Needless to say, all that was far too 
unorthodox to be published in those days. 
Clever as she was and well educated for her 
generation, grandmother had a strong vein 
of superstition which came to her probably 



through her Irish ancestry. For example, 
the warning of the O'Brien Banshee in the 
form of a bird was a very real thing to her, 
and, as I shall have occasion to show further 
on, she was not without striking examples 
to prove her contention. 

Grandmother was devoted to poetry, and 
having a wonderful memory, she could repeat 
pages of Milton and long passages of Shake- 
speare. Wordsworth, among the moderns, 
held the first place in her esteem, and I well 
remember her endeavor to teach me his 
"Ode to Immortality". Alas in vain! 

To Mary, (your Grandmother Bushnell,) 
fell the lot of not only being the eldest daugh- 
ter in a large family, but of being the eldest 
child. That meant she was her mother's 
chief assistant from very early years. This 
may account in part for her serious nature. 
She was serene and she was ever cheerful (as 
you will remember) but she lacked the buoy- 
ancy which was a marked characteristic of 
the three other sisters. A sad early love affair 
may have helped to give her a different 
outlook on life. She was engaged to Mr. 
Robert Rumsey of Buffalo. He came of 
excellent family and seems to have had a 
charming personality. All our family liked 
him very much and nothing could have been 

< 35 1^- 



more hopeful than the prospects of the two 
young people. Unfortunately Mr. Rumsey 
was taken ill with what was then called 
"consumption". There v/as but one remedy 
then known which was a change to a mild 
climate. So he sailed to spend a v/inter in 
the West Indies. His letters to Mary v/ere 
cheerful and he seemed to be steadily improv- 
ing. One day in late spring a letter came 
saying he should sail for home by the next 
vessel. Mary sat in the wide hall, which ran 
through the house, reading this letter, the 
doors at either end were open and through 
one of them flew a bird. Grandmother, 
much upset, begged that the bird be put out 
very carefully, but the bird did not go. It 
circled around Mary and finally fell at her 
feet quite dead. When it was picked up it 
proved to be of unknown species. Taken up 
to the College it was identified as a West 
India bird, only one other specimen ever 
having been seen in New England. When 
the sailing vessel came in, on which Mr. 
Rumsey was expected, it brought the news of 
his death which had taken place suddenly 
on the very day the bird came. Of course 
grandmother was convinced that it was the 
warning Banshee. At all events the bird was 
stuffed at the College and placed in their 



collection, where, as a child, I saw myself, 
"Aunt Mary's Bird". 

Your dear Grandmother Bushnell had a 
very close friend Eliza Skinner, in whose love 
affair she took a great interest. Eliza was 
engaged to a young clergyman, the Rev. 
George Bushnell. She died very suddenly after 
a brief illness, and the two bereaved young 
people agreed to console each other. Your 
mother means to write her own reminiscences 
some day and the history of her parents will 
come in there, so I will only say that after 
two very successful pastorates in New England 
Dr. Bushnell took a church in Beloit, Wis- 
consin, then really the West. While the 
family vv^ere, for those days, far off, they 
never lost touch with the old home to which 
they returned to live after our grandfather's 
death. Of course you know the children, 
but I put them in as a matter of record: 
Colonel George E. Bushnell, Medical De- 
partment U. S. Army and an authority on 
tuberculosis; Eliza S. (Aunt Lila), who mar- 
ried George S. Merrill; Mary (your mother), 
vv^ho married Rowland G. Hazard 2d, and 
Dotha, who never married. 

Henriette Whitney (Aunt Hettie), the 
second daughter and next in age to her sister 
Mary, was quite a contrast to her. Mary 

<37> 



was one of the fair Blakes, Henrietta belonged 
to the dark branch. Dark brown hair, dark 
eyes, a tall lithe figure, all helped to make 
her an attractive young woman. She was 
very clever too. The most intellectual of all 
the four sisters, but not perhaps the most 
intelligent. She had a quick mind and a 
passion for absorbing learning, the more ab- 
struse the better. She was an excellent Greek 
and a fair Hebrew scholar. Had she lived in 
this generation she would probably have 
utilized her gifts as a professor in some 
woman's college, but no such fields were open 
in her day. So she lived at home and took her 
share in the work of a busy household, help- 
ing in the care of the younger children, if not 
always as expertly as her sister Mary, at all 
events always cheerfully and kindly. It must 
not be supposed that her erudite studies made 
her either solemn or pedantic. On the con- 
trary she had the family sense of humor in a 
highly developed form, and was a great 
favorite socially. She had many friends and 
correspondents among learned men. One of 
our University lights once amazed me by 
saying, "I thought at one time I was going 
to marry your Aunt Hettie but unfortunately 
in a Greek ode which I wrote to her she 
found two misplaced accents, and so she 



turned me down". I don't know if this was 
meant for a joke or not, but at all events it 
typified her love affairs. 

None of this generation, it is safe to say, 
ever heard of the Yale "Gallinipper" much 
less ever saw one of the four copies it published 
in its brief but brilliant career. Nevertheless 
it achieved a success at the time, a tradition 
which lasted for years, which has never been 
attained by any other college publication. It 
appeared mysteriously, it poked fun at all 
indiscriminately. Neither the callow under- 
graduates nor the reverend college magnates 
escaped its sting. At first it was ignored, by 
the powers that be, then, much irritated an 
investigation was begun which ended no- 
where. Had the authorities only known 
enough of insect life to know that only the 
female mosquito, the gallinipper, had a sting 
they might have held the clue. But alas, 
Sherlock Holmes was still to be born! A 
group of clever young women were responsi- 
ble for all this excitement, and chief editoress 
was Henrietta! It was never easy to get Aunt 
Hettie to talk of her share in the enterprize, 
but two of her special friends, Lizzie Baldwin 
(Mrs. William D. Whitney) and Louisa Tor- 
rey (Mrs. Alphonzo Taft, mother of ex- 
President Taft), were much less reticent and 

<Z9> 



gave most entertaining accounts of it all. 
They both declared that Henrietta planned it 
and wrote much of the material. The girls 
were helped, at the business end, by four 
young men, all seniors. They were suspected 
and finally brought before the Faculty. 
Among these was Leonard W. Bacon, the 
grandfather of your cousin Leonard Bacon. 
Your Uncle Nat used to relate with great 
glee how the four were questioned and how 
they "lied like gentlemen" denying any 
knowledge of the guilty screed. Then came 
the hat, "Very well, we believe of course 
that what you say is true. You know nothing 
of the publication, you are and always have 
been perfectly unable to control it in any 
way, but we only remark that it would be 
most unfortunate for you if other copies 
should appear as in that case you would all 
be expelled". Needless to say another copy 
did not appear. 

As so often happens when a girl has many 
admirers, Henrietta made a strange choice in- 
deed when she married. Alexander McWhor- 
ter was the only son of a well-to-do widow of 
Baltimore. He was brought up to believe 
that he was above the need of work, and 
apparently only took Orders in the Episcopal 
church because it looked better to have a 

^{ 40 }f^ 



profession. How he came to drift to New 
Haven I don't know, or how so clever a 
woman as Aunt Hettie ever was taken in by 
him I can't imagine. The only especial sym- 
pathy between them that I can think of was 
their love for unusual and useless learning. 
Our grandparents were not pleased with the 
match, but there was no interference, and so 
they were married. In a few years they were 
back at 77 Elm Street. Two positions in 
Episcopal theological seminaries which Mr. 
McWhorter had held he had lost by his 
incorrigible disinclination to work. His prop- 
erty, inherited from his mother, had slipped 
through his hands through sheer inefficiency. 
Of course they were taken in, ostensibly, for 
a brief visit, and there they stayed for over 
twenty years. My grandfather, with all his 
kind heart, was too sincere to profess a 
cordiality he did not feel, and a more sensitive 
man than Mr. McWhorter might have felt 
the situation intolerable. However, he had 
very comfortable quarters; the brothers and 
sisters, for Aunt Hettie's sake, made things 
as smooth as might be and a casual visitor 
would never suspect that there vv^as anything 
amiss. The only thing we ever heard of his 
ever attempting to do in all those years was 
to act as one of the consultants in the new 

•>*f 41 >■ 



version of the Bible, and it was suspected that 
in that case his wife had done most of the 
work. 

A most incongruous member of the house- 
hold was the Rev. Alexander McWhorter, 
and a quite impossible one in any family less 
truly tolerant and for-bearing. At last he was 
taken from this world after a mercifully brief 
illness. Aunt Hettie had been a loyal wife 
and she was a truly grieving widow. She 
lived on with grandfather and managed every- 
thing for him until his death. In those years 
he reaped the reward of his long patience. 
After her father's death Henrietta went out 
to California to her brother Charles. Though 
they were lovely to her she was not con- 
tented; California did not appeal to her. So 
she went abroad. There in Siena, Italy, she 
joined forces with a cousin of your's but not 
of her's, Anna Vernon. The two elderly 
ladies lived together for some years, and then 
Aunt Hettie passed away, far indeed from 
New England. She is buried in the English 
cemetery in Siena. 

The oldest son and third child was Charles 
Thompson, so named for an uncle of great- 
grandmother's, Elizabeth Whitney. This 
Charles Thompson was an important person 
in his day as Signer of the Declaration of 

•^ 42 J^ 



Independence, Secretary to the first Congress, 
selected to notify George Washington of his 
election as first President. Should anyone be 
lucky enough to find in the family archives 
a package of his letters it would be a treasure- 
trove indeed. Next to Button Gwinnette the 
autographs of Charles Thompson bring the 
largest prize of any of the Signers. Uncle 
Charles belonged to the fair Blakes and was 
the one stout member of the family. He was 
always kind hearted and enterprising and was 
adored by his younger brothers and sisters. 

As has been already said he had two or 
three years at a French school in Litchfield, 
then went to the Hopkins Grammar School 
until he entered Yale. He had many friends, 
but his special chum was Charles Palmer of 
Stonington. They were in school together, 
classmates in college, and as soon as they 
graduated were off to California together. 
These were "The days of old, the days of 
gold and the days of '49". It is impossible 
here even to hint at the wonderful stories of 
those days, Uncle Charles used to tell so 
delightfully. It is certainly up to his sons, 
Anson or Edwin, to write down the history 
of their father's early days in California and 
Idaho. 

4 43 h 



It was nearly twenty years before Uncle 
Charles came back to New Haven and then 
he came on a visit with his bride, who, 
strangely enough, had been almost a daughter 
of the house at our grandfather's all through 
her school life. Harriet Stiles was related to 
many old family friends and was beside a 
devoted friend of the youngest daughter, 
Eliza. So when her parents went out to San 
Francisco and she was left to finish her edu- 
cation, what more natural than that 77 Elm 
Street should become her second home. When 
at last she left to rejoin her family the steamer 
she was on was captured by the Confederate 
raider, the '' Alabama \ and Aunt Hattie used 
to tell us interesting tales of the adventures. 
She had not been long in San Francisco when 
Uncle Charles went to call on the young girl 
who had so recently left his relatives. Small 
wonder that a romance grew out of that first 
meeting and that before very long they were 
married. Uncle Charles was much older than 
Aunt Hattie, eighteen years if I remember 
rightly, but this disparity made no difference 
in a singularly happy marriage. Uncle Charles 
had a youthful spirit and an active mind 
which rose superior to mere physical age. 

They lived for many years in San Francisco 
at 4 Vernon Place. When that part of town 

A 44 ]^- 



was utterly spoiled by the cutting down of 
hills and putting streets through, they moved 
across the Bay to Berkeley. Their house, 
wherever it was, was a second 77 Elm Street 
in its hospitality to all visiting relatives. 

Their surviving children are Anson Stiles, 
who married Anita Symmes; Eliza S, who 
married Sherman D. Thacher; Edwin Tyler, 
who married Harriet Corson; and Robert 
Pierrepont, who married Nadja Lezinsky, a 
charming little Russian lady. All of these 
you know but I put them in for record. 

Henry Taylor, the second son and the fourth 
child in age, was named for our grandfather's 
classmate and beloved friend. Judge Taylor. 
Uncle Henry was a curious contrast in ap- 
pearance to his brother Charles. Uncle 
Charles, fair and stout; Uncle Henry, dark 
and always very thin — one of "Pharoah's lean 
kine" he often called himself. He was tall, 
over six feet, but had a "scholar's stoop", 
that, with an abstracted expression some- 
times deceived those who did not know him. 
Uncle Henry was fond of telling his adven- 
tures with confidence m^en. On one occasion 
a man came up to him in the Grand Central 
Station in New York and extending his hand 
cordially exclaimed, "How are you, Mr. 
Clarke?" Uncle Henry gave the stranger one 

4 45 > 



of his piercing glances and replied, "How are 
you, Mr. Bunco?" He used to add that the 
man disappeared as suddenly as if the earth 
had swallowed him. 

At one time in his life it looked as if Uncle 
Henry was to carry on the line of inventors 
in the family. In his senior year in college 
he perfected a machine for fastening hooks 
and eyes on cards. Just as it was finished the 
foreman at the Westville foundry, who had 
helped him with the working model, died 
very suddenly. At the same time a change 
in fashion substituted buttons for the before 
almost universal hook and eye. These two 
things coming together so discouraged Uncle 
Henry that he gave up the project altogether, 
left off inventing and devoted himself to the 
law. 

Outwardly Uncle Henry's long life seems 
very uneventful. He became Clerk of the 
Court for Fairfield County and held that 
position for many years, commuting to Bridge- 
port from New Haven daily. He took much 
interest in politics, and as a young man had 
several opportunities to enter public life, but 
his was a too independent character to brook 
party dictation. It is told of him that he 
greatly puzzled some party leaders who wished 
him to express his adherence to certain poli- 
•^f 46 ]?«• 



i 



cies. When he declined to do so one of them 
exclaimed, "You're a queer Republican. What 
are you anyway?" To which Uncle Henry 
replied, "Oh, I'm a Radical Conservative". 
Which, if they did but know it, was a pretty 
good definition. 

He wrote much. While in his early thirties 
he published a book called, "The Rise of the 
Fall". It's thesis was that vv^ork was not a 
curse pronounced on man, but the greatest 
of blessings, without which there could be 
no development. Very unorthodox then, al- 
most a commonplace now. He was an author- 
ity on Colonial history, especially of Con- 
necticut and the New Haven colony. His 
comments on our Puritan ancestors were often 
more caustic than laudatory, but always en- 
tertaining and informing. Read his book 
"The History of the New Haven Green". 
After he retired from active law practice he 
became head of the Park Board in New Haven 
and did much valuable and interesting work 
for the City. 

He married Elizabeth Kingsley, daughter 
of James Kingsley, and they lived in a brick 
house on the corner of Grove and Temple 
Streets belonging to his wife. The bricks 
in the house were brought from England, 
and they must have brought English tradi- 

4 47 h 



tions with them as the house inside and out 
was a perfect example of late Georgian or very 
early Victorian ideals. It was so perfect that 
it seems a pity it could not have been kept 
as an example of that era. Aunt Lily (as she 
was called) was very English in her ways 
and views and very loyal to her English 
antecedents. She was quite nearly related to 
the English novelist, Charles Kingsley. Her 
English relatives always came to her, when 
they visited this country, as a matter of 
course, and very interesting many of them 
were. 

Uncle Henry and Aunt Lily had three sons. 
Edward F., who died as a young man; Henry 
W., who married Ida Jewett; and James 
Kingsley, w^ho married Helen Putnam. He 
died before his father. Henry W. survived 
his father, and he and his wife were devoted 
in their efforts to make Uncle Henry's last 
days happy. Aunt Lily passed away some 
ten years before her husband, who lived to 
be ninety-three. 

In any large family there is always one who 
is regarded as the ultimate arbiter in all 
differences or perplexities, and that position 
was filled by Uncle Henry. His time, his 
thought, were ever at the disposal of his kith 
•448>- 



and kin, and neither his heart or purse were 
ever closed when there seemed need of aid. 

The next in the family, in order of age, was 
the third sister Frances Louise (Aunt Fanny). 
She was named for grandfather's sister, Aunt 
Fanny Orcutt. She was the dramatic member 
of the family. As quite a young girl she wrote 
plays to be acted by her friends, and after 
her marriage she wrote another, which, 
though never printed, survived as an acting 
play for two generations. In this she satirized 
her own propensity to magnify the small 
troubles of life in the character of "Mrs. 
Worry". It is long since I saw a copy of the 
play but I recall it as being very entertaining. 

In one of Bernard Shavv^'s plays he says of a 
character, "She is such a born wife and 
mother that she is hardly human". This 
description comes into my mind when I 
think of dear Aunt Fanny. She was too de- 
voted and too unselfish for the good of those 
around her. Her husband, Arthur D. Os- 
borne, came of a well-known Fairfield County 
family. His father, Judge Thomas B. Osborne, 
was a prominent man in Connecticut's po- 
litical life. It was rather a curious coincidence 
that Uncle Arthur Osborne and Uncle Henry 
Blake were born on the same day. They were 
classmates in Yale. Uncle Arthur married 

< 49 > 



Uncle Henry's sister. Uncle Henry became 
Clerk of the Court in Fairfield County, from 
which County Uncle Arthur came; and Uncle 
Arthur became Clerk of the Court of New 
Haven County, where Uncle Henry belonged. 
They were lifelong friends as well as brothers- 
in-law and both lived way on into the nineties. 
Uncle Arthur was an able man, rather 
conventional perhaps, but friendly and hos- 
pitable. He was really devoted to his wife, 
but his was rather an exacting nature and the 
more he asked the more she gave. The house 
and their lives revolved entirely about his 
pleasure and convenience. There were two 
boys; Thomas B., named for his grandfather, 
and Arthur, named for his father. Both parents 
were devoted to these boys though not always 
in the wisest way. From what I have said 
it must not be inferred that there was foolish 
overindulgence in the training of the children. 
They were very intelligent, bidable boys, al- 
ways doing well in school and taking honors 
at Yale where both made Bones. Their 
home bringing up was sensible and, in the 
view of today, strict. It was when the supreme 
sacrifice came, the sacrifice all parents are 
called upon to make, the willingness to let 
the young go out into the world for them- 
selves, to stand on their own feet, to make 

4 50 h 



or mar their own lives, that Aunt Fanny and 
Uncle Arthur failed. With ample means 
they seemed to feel that there was no occasion 
for the boys to leave home and were quite will- 
ing to make it worth their while to stay here. 
For Tom I doubt if this made much difference. 
He was such a steadfast character, so fine and 
so dependable and, even as a very young man, 
so wrapt up in his scientific work that en- 
vironment played but a small part in his life. 
With Arthur, or "Ard" as he was called, it 
was very different. A delightful young fellow, 
and a great favorite socially, he had neither the 
strength of character or the ambition of his 
brother. He realized that himself and knew 
that his one chance lay in having to work. 
He was anxious to go west with his friend 
and classmate, Sherman D. Thacher (who 
much later married our cousin Eliza S. Blake), 
but his parents would not hear of it. He made 
an attempt at practicing law, drifted into idle 
ways and into not the best class of friends 
and deeply to the regret of us all frittered 
away a wasted life. 

But you will say this is not about Aunt 
Fanny, it is about her family. In defense I 
again quote Bernard Shaw. Her life was 
in her family and for them she lived and 
breathed. She was a delightful conversa- 



tionalist and was much sought after socially. 
She died comparatively young after a brief 
illness of pneumonia. Uncle Arthur would 
have been entirely at a loss had not Tom and 
his devoted wife, Elizabeth Johnson, given 
up most of their lives to his care. He lived 
to be way over ninety. Tom, whose work in 
biological chemistry won him many honors 
abroad as well as in his own country, died 
much younger than he should. We have al- 
ways felt that the strain of his unselfish 
life added to the strain of his scientific re- 
search was more than anyone should have 
been called upon to bear. 

The sixth child and third son was George 
Augustus (Uncle George). The story of the 
way he came by his name is rather amusing. 
He was to be named for grandfather's brother 
George. That seemed simple enough and quite 
natural. When, however, grandmother realiz- 
ed that the whole name was George Washing- 
ton she decidedly objected. Not that she did 
not revere the Father of Our Country, but the 
name was not only hackneyed, it had been 
adopted so frequently by the colored popula- 
tion as to seem to belong to them. Apparently 
in those days a boy must have a middle name, 
so various substitutes were suggested but not 
accepted. Finally, just as the baby was 



to be taken to church to be baptized, it was 
realized that the name-question was still un- 
settled. Grandfather then took the matter 
in hand, "Bring a college catalogue", he 
commanded. That being produced, he an- 
nounced, "The first middle name after George 
is the name the baby shall have". That name 
turned out to be Augustus, and so Fate wished 
on our dear Uncle a name he especially dis- 
liked and never used! 

Uncle George was the least vigorous of a 
very sturdy family. He was delicate as a boy 
and his frequent enforced absences from school 
handicapped him very much. He entered 
college, but in his Sophomore year had a very 
serious breakdown. He was slow in rallying, 
and it was decided, to his great disappoint- 
ment, that it was better for him not to re- 
turn. He had much artistic ability and his 
architectural drawings were beautiful. He 
was also a really learned botanist and was 
passionately fond of flowers and all growing 
things. With these gifts it seems hard that 
his always constant ill health prevented his 
making a career for himself. He lived on at 
77 Elm Street, and never was there such a 
delightful invalid. It was hard to believe, 
when with him, that there was anything 
amiss. He not only never complained, but 

< 53 > 



always seemed to be in the best of spirits. 
It was Uncle George who was always ready 
to help in any family emergency. If there 
was a tiresome guest it was Uncle George 
who took the entertaining of them on his 
hands. Were any of the children ill it was 
Uncle George who read to them or told them 
stories. He it was who visited the sick and 
afflicted, especially in the dependent class, 
and always left them cheered and consoled. 
With all his sweetness of disposition he had 
a keen insight into human nature and his 
shrewd comments alvv^ays hit the mark when 
needed. We had in the family connection a 
really great beauty whose ability to keep a 
number of devoted suitors on the string was 
a never-failing topic of family gossip. Some- 
one said, "She weighs all the advantages of 
her admirers so carefully". Uncle George 
replied, "Well Louise has a queer set of 
weights. She may have ounces and grams too, 
but she certainly has no scruples"! 

We are often told in modern teaching that 
it is far more important to be than to do. 
If that is so, no one ever achieved more 
than Uncle George. His Being was a blessing 
and its remembrance an inspiration. 

Eli Whitney Blake, Jr., (my father) was, 
of course, named for his father, and it is 

4 54 > 



interesting that he should have inherited his 
father's strong scientific bent as well as his 
name. 

My dear father had a troublous childhood. 
When about four years old he had scarlet 
fever. He was making a good recovery when, 
through the carelessness of a nurse, he had 
some exposure, which resulted in a lameness 
which lasted all his life. He was always 
experimenting with dangerous things, and on 
one occasion (as has already been mentioned) 
blew himself up with gun powder. The result 
of that adventure was the loss of the tips of 
two of his fingers. He bemoaned this chiefly 
because it obliged him to give up his violin 
playing, to which he was devoted. 

My father went to the Academy in Leicester, 
Massachusetts. He always spoke well of the 
teaching he had there, and gratefully of the 
pleasant holidays at his sister Mary's (your 
Grandmother Bushnell), then living in 
Worcester, where Dr. Bushnell had a large 
church. 

Though Eli Whitney, Jr., had already de- 
cided on a scientific career and Yale offered 
little in that line, he never the less took a 
high stand in his class. His Societies were 
D. K. E. and Bones. When he graduated it 
became a question where he could go in this 



country to pursue the studies he was so 
anxious to continue. Even then he had de- 
cided to specialize in acoustics and electricity, 
the last named subject being almost in its 
infancy. While he was looking about for 
an opening he went into mechanics from the 
high mathematical angle and from the prac- 
tical side as demonstrated in his father's 
foundry. These studies were afterwards of 
great use to him when Professor of Mechanics 
at Cornell and Brown. 

His marriage to my mother, Helen Mary 
Rood, was a turning point in his life in many 
ways. Helen Mary Rood was a sister of 
your Grandmother Hazard. Now you see 
how I come to be such a near cousin, and able 
to tell you about all sides of your family. 
Your Grandmother Bushnell and my father 
were brother and sister, which makes your 
mother and me first cousins. Your Grand- 
mother Hazard and my mother were sisters, 
which made your father and me first cousins. 
Add to that the fact that I married your 
father's cousin Barclay Hazard, and it is no 
wonder that I have to keep in touch with all 
sides. 

My mother was a comparative stranger in 
New Haven. Her Aunt Mary Ogden came 
there, bringing with her my mother and her 
^{ 56 }^ 



brother Ogden N. Rood, that the latter might 
go to Yale. Uncle Ogden was a brilliant 
man but always very temperamental. In his 
Sophomore year he distinguished himself by 
shooting an arrow into the face of the College 
clock, thereby stopping the hands to the great 
disturbance of academic routine. Perhaps 
I should explain here that the face of the 
clock in those primitive days was of wood as 
were also the large and ponderous hands. Of 
course no one had seen the arrow fired and no 
one knew anything about it. Unfortunately 
when the arrow was retrieved it bore the 
initials of its owner who was promptly 
"rusticated"as it was called in those days, 
suspended we should say now. This so in- 
furiated our hot-tempered uncle that he de- 
clined to return and was sent to Princeton 
to finish his college course. He spent the 
greater part of his life as Professor at Colum- 
bia and it might be thought that recollection 
of his own early escapades might have made 
him tolerant of others, but he was always 
known as the most severe disciplinarian on 
the faculty. While disappointed that her 
nephew did not return to Yale, Aunt Mary 
Ogden, who had settled down and built a 
house, decided to stay where she was. My 
mother (your Aunt Helen Blake) soon found 

<S7> 



her way into the inner circles of New Haven 
and became great friends with our Blake 
aunts. She was a very intellectual woman 
and took the deepest interest in her husband's 
studies. 

Soon after their marriage her Aunt Mary 
Ogden died and then the young couple decided 
to go abroad to give my father the oppor- 
tunities for scientific training that he could 
not have in this country. I was a small baby 
when they made the move. The Civil War 
was just beginning. My father's lameness 
prevented his going to the Front, as did his 
best beloved brother Ned, the colleges were 
almost deserted for the four years of the War, 
so it seemed that the best thing for them to 
do was to stay abroad until the war was over 
and in the meantime for my father to acquire 
as much learning as possible along his own 
line, which he foresaw even then would be of 
value to the country in its development. He 
studied at Heidelberg, Marburg, Leipzig Ber- 
lin, Munich. Not only did he learn much 
in those years but he made many scientific 
connections and friendships which lasted as 
long as he lived. 

On his return to this country he held a 

position in Burlington, Vermont, and for one 

year substituted for Uncle Ogden Rood at 

-«{ 58 }*- 



Columbia. It was during that year that his 
son Eli Whitney Blake, 3rd, was born. About 
this time Ezra Cornell was founding 
the university which was to bear his name. 
The staff was composed mostly of young 
Yale men, and my father joined the group. 
He was greatly interested in the work and 
most enthusiastic, but unfortunately my 
mother, always delicate, could not stand the 
cold climate and rather primitive conditions. 
She was taken to her sister's house in Provi- 
dence (your Grandmother 'Hazard's), and 
there she died. My father returned to Cornell 
for a year and then went to Brown to fill the 
Chair of Physics just founded by your great- 
grandfather, R. G. Hazard. There he remained 
for twenty-five years. This is no place to record 
his scientific work. All that is on record 
elsewhere. I must, however, mention his 
labor on the telephone in its early days. In 
the "Precious Heritage" your Aunt Caroline 
has told of the early experiments with the 
telephone at Peace Dale. That same year, 
while at 77 Elm Street, my father. Professor 
Brush and Professor Wright rigged up a 
wire from the parlor of the house, down the 
long garden to the summer house at the end. 
Our grandfather took the greatest interest in 
these experiments and was most helpful in 

< 59 > 



his suggestions. An outgrowth of the tele- 
phone was my father's success in photograph- 
ing sound waves. The first time it was ever 
done. 

After my marriage to your cousin Barclay, 
in 1881, my father married for a second time, 
his wife being a cousin of yours, Elizabeth 
Ellery Vernon, a sister of the Miss Vernon 
with whom Aunt Hettie McWhorter lived in 
her last years. 

My father always felt that his talent lay 
along the lines of research work and deplored 
the fate that he was born too early to profit 
by the wonderful laboratories of the great 
electrical companies. He found teaching 
exhausting and always looked forward to the 
days when he should be free to do his own 
work. He resigned at the end of twenty-five 
years, but alas too late. He died that autumn. 

Interested and absorbed as he was in his 
scientific studies he was intensely human and 
sympathetic. Old and young, rich and poor, 
clever and stupid, all alike found in him a 
true friend and very often a wise advisor. 

Of my immediate family it is very difficult 
for me to write and the little account I gave 
of my dear brother, Eli Whitney Blake, 3rd, 
was greeted with protest from those who 
saw the sketch. There was an unanimous de- 
^{ 60 ]^ 



mand that I should give a fuller account of 
what all joined in calling a unique and bril- 
liant personality. Eli Whitney Blake, 3rd, was 
never physically very strong. He was tall, 
over six feet, but very slight and his active 
brain was always too much for his body. 
He graduated at Brown with honor and during 
his college course was one of the editors of the 
Brunonian and very active in all dramatic 
affairs of the College. On graduating from 
Brov/n he had three years in the Harvard 
Law School. While there he was one of the 
editors of the Harvard Lampoon. Although 
he took a high stand in the Law School he 
decided not to practise law. On looking back 
I can see that it would have been better if he 
had taken a position as an instructor in a law 
school as he always said that he thoroughly 
enjoyed the theory of law but the practise 
did not appeal to him. He went to Hampton 
for a year where he had charge of the Indian 
boys, in whom he was much interested. He 
also was the first executive secretary of the 
Charity Organization Society in Providence. 
He was in Syracuse in the Solvay works there 
for a time and then in New York. He was still 
young when he passed on and it is very hard 
to g{\e an idea of his charm, which not only 
made friends but has kept them. It is very 

^{ 6 1 ^ 



touching to me to find how generally and 
lovingly he is remembered by all his con- 
temporaries. I am constantly meeting some- 
one who says, "You know, there never was 
anyone just like your brother Whitney". I 
feel this but how can I make you all under- 
stand it.l 

Edward Foster (Uncle Ned) named after 
Grandfather's stepfather, was next in age to 
my father and was his very best beloved 
brother. So, though I have no personal 
recollection of Uncle Ned, killed in the War 
while he was still a baby, he has always been 
to me a very vivid individuality. 

Until he was nearly four years old his 
parents were greatly worried lest he should 
be dumb, "tongue-tied" they called it then. 
He evidently heard, so he was not deaf, evi- 
dently understood what was said to him so 
his brain vv^as all right, but talk he would not. 
The first Harrison presidential campaign was 
on with much shouting for "Tippicanoe and 
Tyler Too", log cabins, hard cider, and all 
the rest of it. Undoubtedly the older boys 
echoed the excitement and at least even Uncle 
Ned was m.oved to cry, "Hoorah for Harri- 
son"! After which he talked perfectly with 
no intermediate stage of baby talk. 
•»j( 62 }^ 



He stood high in his class in Yale and was 
one of the founders of Scroll and Key. After 
he graduated he studied law and had just 
been admitted to the Bar when — came the 
War! 

We who have lived through the World War 
think we know what War means, but the 
scene of that was far away. The Civil War was 
in our own front yard, so to speak. Just as 
no quarrel is as bitter as a family quarrel so 
no war is so bitter, so relentless, as that 
waged between two sections of the same 
country. 

I am well aware of the rule which does not 
admit as evidence a statement alleged to have 
been made by a person now deceased unless 
corroborated by written testimony. Never- 
theless I must try to give you an idea of the 
state of our dear grandfather's mind when 
confronted with this terrible menace. I feel 
the more assurance in doing this as in a talk 
I had with Uncle Henry, not very long before 
his own death, his memory of his father's 
sentiments agreed exactly with what I re- 
; membered grandfather saying to me. 

In the first place grandfather felt no sym- 
pathy with the extremists of either side of 
the controversy. He had served, some years 
earlier, on a federal commission whose object 

<i 63 ]^ 



was to find some rational way out of the 
slavery issue. That commission recommended 
the buying of all slaves by the Government 
and their very gradual emancipation, much 
the plan which was later adopted by Brazil. 
This plan, my grandfather always felt, would 
have had a good chance of going through 
had it not been for the Abolitionists who 
raised a great cry of ' 'compromising with evil' * . 
Of course the opponents of the measure at 
the South caught at that to justify themselves 
and it all came to nothing. Then our grand- 
father had been much at the South, knew 
the people and realized how deadly in earnest 
they must be to take such a desperate step 
as war. Never for a moment was he deluded 
by the Northern cry of early war days. "A 
ninety-day war". He foresaw only too clearly 
what was before the country. When, how- 
ever, the step was taken and the die cast he 
realized there was nothing to do but put 
it through. He showed his patriotism in the 
most practical way; he canceled profitable 
business orders to do Government work at the 
foundry at the lowest possible price. Even this 
price, by the way, he could not collect in full 
until twenty years after the war. So while 
profiteers were making fortunes our dear grand- 
father, if not ruined, was very seriously 
^{ 64 1^ 



crippled financially by his endeavors to help 
an ungrateful Government. But that was as 
nothing to the sacrifice he was called upon to 
make when Uncle Ned decided to enlist. 
Grandmother could not be reconciled. She 
told me herself how, when Uncle Ned told her 
he was going and she was begging him to 
reconsider, a bird came and tapped on the 
window. A little later when he came to her 
with his Commission as Major the bird again 
appeared and, "Then", said poor little Grand- 
mother, "Then I knew he would be killed", 
and so he was, in the second Battle of Cedar 
Mountain. He had been at home for three 
days* leave and had been gone only forty- 
eight hours. Grandmother went into his 
bedroom to get something and there, perched 
on the headboard of the bed, was an owl. 
She came out and meeting one of her daugh- 
ters said, "Ned is dead". "Oh no, mother", 
was the answer, "he was to go to Washing- 
ton". Even as they talked came the telegram 
with the news. He had been sent directly to 
the front instead of stopping in Washington 
as first ordered. 

Forty years or so after Uncle Ned's death 
we heard some particulars of the end. This 
came about through a remarkable series of 
coincidences. Uncle Henry was at the south 

4 65 ► 



and, falling in one day with a Confederate 
veteran, they talked over the war. The Con- 
federate officer mentioned the fact that he 
had been in the battle of Cedar Mountain 
and Uncle Henry said that he had lost a 
brother in that battle. The veteran was at 
once interested and said that he remembered 
they were opposed by Connecticut troops and 
then told of finding a Connecticut officer, a 
major he thought, dying and giving him water 
and what comfort he could. More questions 
made Uncle Henry quite confident that this 
officer was Uncle Ned, but he sent north for 
photographs of Connecticut officers in those 
regiments. From these, over twenty in num- 
ber, the Confederate unhesitatingly picked out 
the picture of Uncle Ned. So there was no 
doubt at all of the identity. 

Of course his parents were both dead, but 
your Grandmother Bushnell was still living 
and was much overcome by the opening of the 
old wound. To us who had not known him 
it was a comfort to think that kindly (even 
if enemy) hands had ministered to him in 
those last moments, but to dear Aunt Mary 
it was as if her darling young brother had died 
over again and she begged us not to speak to 
her about it. 

^[ 66 ]^ 



"Those whom the Gods love die young**. 
That is true in many ways and not least 
in the halo of the memories they leave. It is 
easy for us to discount the personality of a 
young man of twenty-four and ascribe part 
at least of its charm to his early and tragic 
death, but there must have been a real founda- 
tion for the love which he inspired, not only 
in his devoted family but in a large circle of 
friends who never seemed to forget him. 

James Pierrepont (Uncle Jim), the youngest 
of the six brothers, and next in the family to 
Uncle Ned, was one of those bright sunny 
natures that seem born to attract friends. The 
only black mark against his childhood was 
an incurable propensity to run away. The 
first time he indulged in this wanderlust he 
was only a little over three years old. The 
whole family were thrown into a panic when 
he was found to be missing and the town 
was ransacked. An hour or two later he was 
discovered a mile or more from home, down 
on Meadow Street, absorbedly watching a 
blacksmith at work, a half peck basket 
gracefully draped on his head in place of a 
hat. Finally the family became used to his 
vagary and neighbors and friends often brought 
back Jimmy who had turned up in the most 
unlikely places. 

"**( 67 ]^ 



He was a great favorite in College and when 
he graduated was voted the handsomest and 
most popular man in the class. Bones, of 
course. 

The war was over and the young men just 
graduating were thinking how best they 
could help in binding up the wounds of the 
terrible conflict. Uncle Jim had taken much 
interest in the colored race and their past 
and present status. So he offered his services 
to the Freedman's Bureau, organized to help 
and protect the negro on their new path. 
With his friend, Daniel H. Chamberlain, Uncle 
Jim was put in charge of the work in South 
Carolina, with headquarters at Charleston. 
He had been there for some six months and 
the charm of his personality was breaking 
down the hostility and prejudice of the 
Charleston people to the Northern Bureau 
and its object, when he was drowned in 
Charleston Harbor. Uncle Jim was an ex- 
cellent oarsman, had been a member of one 
of the college crews. One evening he, with 
another young man and two girls, went for a 
row in the Harbor. In some way the boat 
upset. Uncle Jim, a fine swimmer, could 
easily have saved himself but he went to the 
rescue of one of the girls, she, terrified 
4 6SP- 



clutched him about the throat in such a way 
that they both sank. 

So ended a life which had not much more 
than begun but which left only happy mem- 
ories behind. 

The youngest of this family of ten was our 
dear Aunt Eliza, named, of course, Eliza 
Maria for her mother. Coming as she did 
after the older brothers and sisters were 
practically grown up, she was naturally a 
great pet, not only to her parents but to them 
all. It was a wonder she was not completely 
spoiled, but she had a very unselfish disposi- 
tion which kept her sweet and unexacting. 

She was extremely pretty. Slight, small, 
graceful, dark hair, dark eyes and a brilliant 
complexion. So much coloring in fact that 
its naturalness was sometimes questioned 
by the envious. She married, quite young, 
Frank Seeley. He came of the Connecticut 
family of Seeleys who had moved west. The 
young couple went out to Des Moines, Iowa, 
where Mr. Seeley expected to practise 
law. Des Moines was in those days a frontier 
community and the bride found herself in a 
very different atmosphere from staid New 
England. The Civil War was raging, and the 
outlying western communities were in con- 
stant danger of attack by guerrilla bands. 

-41 69 p' 



However, her stay there was of short dura- 
tion. Soon after the birth of her son (Edward 
B. Seeley, now of Berkeley, California) Mr. 
Seeley died after an illness of typhoid fever. 
So she returned to her father's house, a young 
widow with a baby. Of course she was made 
more than welcome and all that love could 
do was done to console her. 

Such an attractive widow could not remain 
without suitors and Aunt Eliza's were nu- 
merous. However, she seemed so determined 
never to marry again that it came as a surprise 
to everyone when after some twelve years 
she married Mr. John Rice of an old Massa- 
chusetts family. They had two children; 
Elizabeth, who lives in Northampton, and 
Professor John P. Rice (who married Ethel 
Poole) of Buffalo University. They should 
write of their mother's later life — how they 
lived for some years in Santa Barbara and 
then went abroad — how after Mr. Rice lost 
most of his property Aunt Eliza bravely put 
her shoulder to the wheel — how after his 
death she returned to this country and became 
the House-mother of Albright House at Smith. 
Her years there were happy and useful and the 
women who as girls came under her influence 
never ceased to love her. She had two major 
operations and years of suffering but was 



always her cheery, amusing self. The last 
time I saw her she said, "If you don't see me 
again, dear, I want you all to remember that 
I had a very happy life". Braver words were 
never spoken. 

Our grandfather had always said that he 
should retire from active business at seventy 
and give the rest of his life to his scientific 
studies. This plan he virtually carried out, 
though he was a few years beyond the seventy 
mark when he felt entirely free. At eighty-six 
he published a treatise on Aerodynamics, 
which attracted much attention in the 
scientific world on both sides of the ocean. 
Lord Kelvin (then Sir William Thompson) 
wrote my father, thinking from the name that 
he was the author, that it was "a remarkable 
performance". "It takes a young man like 
yourself to have the courage to make such a 
new path." My father wrote at once to say 
that it was written by his father at eighty- 
six! Sir William Thompson could hardly be- 
lieve it possible but the British Association 
of Science gave grandfather a gold medal for 
his brilliant work. Only the other day I 
saw it quoted in some scientific article on 
flying problems. How grandfather would have 
reveled in airplanes ! He had full twenty years 
of the study he loved and these were happy 
•»^( 71 ]**• 



years, though he missed our grandmother 
sadly. They celebrated their golden wedding 
and in 1876 she passed on. At first we feared 
grandfather would break under the blow, but 
with his usual courage he rallied and never 
allowed his own sorrovv^ to cloud the lives of 
those about him. 

So the life at 77 Elm Street went on. Aunt 
Hettie took beautiful care of grandfather, the 
children who lived in New Haven came al- 
most every day to see him and there were long 
visits from the families who lived aw^ay. It 
was a beautiful old age, the sort you read 
about but rarely see in real life. When the 
end came it was no long illness, only two or 
three days and then release. At over ninety 
we ought to have been reconciled to have 
him taken but we were not. We knew only 
too well that never could the family life be 
the same again. 

How I hope, dear Pierre and Nancy and all 
you other young people, how I hope I have 
succeeded in giving you some idea of what 
this side of your family was like — have made 
you feel how loveable and how human they 
were. They are all gone now, but they who 
lived such lives of the spirit, who cared so 
little for the material things, can never really 
die. They had great sorrows, great losses, 
-4 72 ];> 



great cares, but through their indomitable 
courage they rose above them, and through 
their buoyancy and cheer they helped count- 
less others on the road. 



<73> 




N. MANCHESTER 
INDIANA