Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 5

Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Excerpts From Harry’s Letters
(Here I have changed the grammar and spelling. The photo is Harry's brother, Ralph about 1913. )

About brother Ralph Buzzell’s animals, written January 23, 1915, Orlando, Florida, to Mother
How are all the folks up there now? I am sorry there is so much sickness. I hope this finds you all well. Is Ralph working as hard as ever? He wants to take care of himself. Are his colt and cows and pigs doing well this winter? I wrote him a letter sometime ago, but haven’t heard from him. I hope his colt and all the rest are doing well.


to be continued



Monday, June 29, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 4


Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

A Few More of My Impressions of Harry's Letters

There is an on-going discussion about money that he apparently sends home to be used by the family and for the church.
While in the army, he describes going on a hike for five miles and then having to shovel gravel. In the autumn when he first arrives at the army camp, there is no heat in the barracks, no hot water to shave with, and only a straw tick he had to make himself for a mattress to go on the iron frame bed.
The six letters that Harry sent home from overseas have the mark and signature of the army censors. These letters seem to hold back a lot, both in tone and in information.
Harry was killed at age 24 on October 20, 1918. The armistice ending the war came just 22 days later. He was buried in France. His last letter was written October 18, two days before his death. The last letter was not even postmarked until October 23 and certainly would have arrived in his mother’s mail much later.

For More Information:

There are two websites with information about Harry:
My website with all of Harry’s letters

The American Battle Monuments Commission website with information regarding the cemetery where he is buried

to be continued

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 3

Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Some Impressions

I reread the letters this week and made a few notes about things that impressed me this time through. In one early letter, he talks about his job “firing line cars” and how he did not like doing this. He rode on the train car loaded with potatoes and had to keep a fire going in the woodstove so the potatoes wouldn’t freeze.
He writes about visiting with his Connecticut cousins and spending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with them. Uncle Fred Buzzell was Colby’s brother and had a family of seven girls.
He begins his letters with “Dear Mother” and frequently ends with “Your ever loving son Harry Buzzell.” He often asks about the farm at home and the many close and extended family members. At one point he asks for his family picture to be sent to him. (Here it is, with Harry on the back right. The inset oval is brother Clyde who was away at war when the photo was taken.)

He tells about the church services he attends and asks for news of the Colby church at home. He makes comments about many of the local people that his mother must have given him news about in her letters. He philosophizes about the war and his fears and hopes for the future. He tells about his daily routines, the food and clothes in the army, and his homesickness and his wish for a furlow. He tells his mother not to worry about him. He hopes his brothers won’t end up in the war.

to be continued

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 2

Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

Summary of the Letters

Harry Irving Buzzell was born in Woodland, Maine on November 20, 1893, the fifth child of Mary Thomas and Colby Buzzell. There were eleven children altogether, 7 boy and 4 girls. My grandfather Chester was number 11, the last one, born in 1905 and only 11 years old when Harry died. The photo detail shows Mary with some of her children in front of their farmhouse. Harry is the little boy on the left.
There were a total of 60 letters written from 1914 to 1918. Harry was 21 years old when the first letter was written and 24 years of age when he wrote the last letter just two days before he died.
The first 20 letters were written before he was in the army and were written from Springfield, Massachusetts where he worked as a clerk; from Orlando and Pinecastle, Florida where he worked in the fruit groves and in a box mill making celery crates; and from Hartford, Connecticut. The other 40 letters were written after Harry was drafted into the army during World War I. They were written from Fort Devens, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and England and France.

to be continued

Friday, June 26, 2009

Harry Buzzell's World War I Story, Part 1

Time to start thinking about and getting ready for the 4th of July. Harry Buzzell, my grandfather's brother, automatically comes to mind as he is the one in our family who made the ultimate sacrifice in 1918 during World War I in France. His story was captured in his own words in 60 letters that he wrote home from 1914 to 1918.
I've written about him before some and even presented a speech once. But now I want to look at it again and thought that I would create a series about him in anticipation of the upcoming holiday weekend.

I'll begin with the same introduction from my speech at our family reunion in 2002 pictured below:

Harry’s Buzzell’s Letters
Buzzell Reunion July 7, 2002
Colby Baptist Church, Woodland, Maine

Finding the Letters

I have been asked to share some information regarding the letters that Harry Buzzell sent home to his mother in Colby Siding. The letters were found in three small stationary boxes in my great-aunt Stella Buzzell’s house after she died. Harry’s mother, Mary, saved the letters that Harry sent home.
The letters came to me last fall (2001). I decided to transcribe the letters on my computer at home. It seemed important to keep all of the original spellings and grammar as much as possible. Some of the handwriting was difficult to decipher.
The first step was to put the letters in chronological order. They were in very good condition and many were in the original envelopes. I put the letters and envelopes in sheet protectors in a notebook.

to be continued

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tell Me Thursday: Olga and Her Mother


Yesterday's post was a portrait of my grandmother Olga Susanna Asnabrygg and her mother Greeta about 1922.
Today I have posted another formal portrait of Olga when she was about 20 years old.
Olga was born in Finland in 1904 and at age 10 immigrated with her mother to Boston in 1914. When they arrived in the US, they walked to Maynard, Massachusetts, following the railroad tracks until they found a man who spoke Finnish who helped them. Their first accommodations were in a rooming house with a central bathroom.
There's a lot of confusion about the surname my grandmother used. Her mother apparently opted to use Kangas, a shortened version of her maiden name Leviakangas. Olga apparently was legally bound to the name Asnabrygg as evidenced by her citizenship card from 1941.
Olga's brother Antti "Andrew" Kangas, eleven years older, immigrated a year earlier. I know they found each other presumably in the Maynard area, but the details are unknown to me.
Both Olga and Reeta worked in the woolen mills as weavers.

Olga is said to have postponed her marriage to my grandfather in order to take care of her ailing mother. Olga did marry Alexander Gates in 1929 in Maynard, MA. They had one son and three daughters, including my mother.
Olga died in 1970 and is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Auburn, MA where she lived fo 37 years. Greta died at age 67 in 1930 and is buried with her son's family in Glenwood Cemetery in Maynard, MA.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Antti Kangas, Maynard, MA


Someday I hope to visit, but meanwhile I have my Uncle Robert's photo to share.
Antti Kangas was my maternal grandmother's brother. He was born in Finland in 1894, immigrated in 1913, and is buried with his wife Lempi (born in Finland) and son Martti and daughter-in-law Onerva at Glenwood Cemetery in Maynard, MA.
Antti's mother is also buried in this cemetery.
Transcription:
1892 Antti 1960
His Wife

1893 Lempi 1975
1917 Martti 1985
His wife
1918
Onerva 1983

Friday, June 19, 2009

Firing Line Cars



Harry Buzzell was my paternal grandfather's brother who died in France in World War I in 1918. His mother saved 60 letters from Harry in three small stationery boxes that were found in a closet many years after her death. ( A daughter-in-law was the last relative to live in the Buzzell home in Colby Siding, Maine before it was sold out of the family a few years ago.) I was fortunate to be given the letters in 2001 and transcribed all of them. I tried to follow the original spellings, grammar, and text of the letters as Harry wrote them.

In the following letter, "firing line cars" refers to the practice of hiring a worker to accompany a wood stove that was put in each railroad car to keep the potatoes from freezing on the way to market. My great-uncle Harry was hired to move from car to car to keep the fire going. It was a dangerous job with the possibility of falling off the moving train while moving from one car to the next.

    Springfield Mass
    Nov 22, 1914
Dear Mother, Just a line to let you know I am sory to leave you so far away but I thought it is best for me to be hear or I would not have don it. Don't think A H Phillips courel [corralled?] me he did not he thought you would blame him for me not cumming back, he wants me just the same but I don't want eny hard feeling.
I am well and happy wishing you all the same I go to work tomorrow don't know as yet ware but expect it will be in the holsale [wholesale] first.
Don't worey about me I've got a good neat little room in the same house with Mr Bradbery cousins to Phillips he looks out for me.
How is all the kids is buster still traning his calf. Whare are you going to spend thanksgiving this year. I wrote a card to Hanah yesterday to let them know I am near to them expect to go and see them soon. I did not like firing line cars . I got cold but is all gorn now I was about sick when I reached hear the dust and smoke made me sick one night.
Mr. Bradbery and I are going over to Mr Phillipps this afternoon, Mr Bradbery runs a small store for Phillips I was with him all day yesterday that is all but a little while.
He seams real nice I like him he watches me like a cat watches a mouse when we are on the street, he seams to think a feller like me cant look out for himself but I's no kid no never again. Give my best wishes to all for a bright happy thanksgiving Write soon for I expect to be for sum hear for a while at least cant think of eny thing but of that train wrect that was arful it faily made me sick when we went past thirtywone cars piled up 9 cars of spuds they were driving about 60 miles an hour when a third of a whele droped out No train men hurt but they thought thers was to or three bows [hoboes] on. They dident know when we went by if they were in the wreck or not they hadent found them My adress is. Springfield mass
32 holyoke St
With love and all best wishes your
loving son Harry Buzzell

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tell Me Thursday: Siblings Sadie and Bill Buzzell

I love yesterday's portrait.
(Tuesday I told the story of Bill Buzzell so today here is some of Sadie's story.)
Yesterday's portrait shows siblings Sadie and Bill Buzzell, two of my grandfather's ten siblings. The photo was taken about 1917 in Woodland, Maine.
Sadie was born in 1895, almost four years after her brother Bill. I have a letter that she wrote to another brother Harry while he was working for the winter in the Florida orange groves with her future husband Mark. From the letters she wrote, she loved to garden and enjoyed watching the birds.
Sadie Buzzell was a Caribou High School Junior Class Exhibition speaker on Thursday April 9, 1914 presenting the selection “Cutting from ‘Evangeline.’” I have a copy of the evening's program that I found in a box of old letters that Sadie's mother kept in her closet from son Harry who was killed in France in World War I in 1918.
The photo to the left is likely her engagement portrait to Mark Randall from about 1919 in Woodland, Maine.
I always think of Sadie as a happy girl. Probably because the photos of her when she was young are so endearing, especially the portraits taken with her husband. Wonder what they were up to in the picture below?


Sadie was a teacher before she married Mark Randall in 1919. They had two sons and eventually moved to southern Maine. Their Golden Anniversay was celebrated in July 1969 with their sons Halston and Harry present.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Stella and Bill Buzzell


Here is my grandfather Chester's sister Myra and her son Clyde Learnard and Stella and Bill Buzzell (Bill is Grampy's brother) in the early 1940's in Colby Siding in Woodland, Maine. Myra was visiting from Washington state. You wouldn't be able to replicate this photo with all those fish today!
Uncle Bill and Aunt Stella grew potatoes on the family homestead on Buzzell Hill starting in 1919. An elderly lady stopped by our table at a local restaurant a few years ago to tell me how Bill used to deliver cream to their house which they used three meals a day!
Stella had no children of her own, but was mother to many of her neighbors and relatives. She was hostess for many holiday gatherings and always had the coffee pot on.

We have an old movie film taken about 1958 in their icy yard of Bill pulling my little sister and I on a sled. At one point I'm holding their cat on the sled. At another point my sister falls off the sled and cries.
Another old film shows Bill and Stella on the beach in Florida one winter, probably about 1959. My father was taking the movie. I was probably crawling around in the sand in the middle of the circle of my father's aunts, uncles, parents, and grandmother, all taking a brief respite from the northern Maine snow.
Bill donated land for the construction of the Baptist Church in Colby Siding. Years before his mother Mary had been the one who had asked the minister from nearby Caribou to come start a church in her little town.
At the July 2002 Buzzell reunion at the Colby Baptist Church, the Rev. Otto Palmer told a story about Bill Buzzell during the morning sermon. He said Bill came often to visit at the parsonage across the street from the farm. One time he stood in the picture window and related wishfully that he desired that someday a church would be built there. And it was eventually. Rev. Palmer also told how he and his wife would go up to Bill and Stella’s every Sunday after church for a snack.

Obituary: “William E. Buzzell Caribou, March 6 (1960)-William E. Buzzell, 68, died at a local hospital Sunday after a short illness. He was born in Woodland September 11, 1891, the son of Colby and Mary (Thomas) Buzzell. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Woodland and had been a Sunday School supervisor for 25 years. He was a director of the Aroostook Federation of Farmers of Caribou, and a director of the Colby Cooperative Starch Company of Woodland and Caribou. He was a farmer for over 50 years. He is survived by his wife, four sisters, Mrs. Fannie Jacobs, Presque Isle, Mrs. Sadie Randall, St. Albans, Mrs. Myra Learnard, Allen, Wash., and Mrs. Bessie Todd, Passadumkeag; four brothers, Ralph, Arthur and Earl, all of Caribou, and Chester of Stockholm. Friends may call at the residence at Colby Siding Monday afternoon and evening. Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon [March 8] at 2 o’clock in the First Baptist Church at Colby. The Rev. Otto Palmer will officiate. Burial will be in the Woodland Cemetery in the spring. Bearers will be Alfred Margison, Leonard Thomas, Arthur Todd, Harold Rasmunsen and Richard Hallowell.”

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tell Me Thursday: The Small Ladies

This photo shows my great grandmother Mary Olive Thomas Buzzell with 6 of her 11 children about 1898 on the farm on Buzzell Hill in Colby, part of Woodland, ME.
Back to yesterday. . .
Mostly yesterday's image of the Small ladies is still a mystery.
The girl with the "x" is my 2x grandmother Sarah Hannah Small (b. Jan. 1, 1842 Limington, ME; d. Nov. 22, 1913 Woodland, ME, age 71.)
Her mother Olive Black Small and five other daughters, Mary S., Ruth Ann, Irene Lyndon, Sophronia Black, and Harriet Theresa, are shown probably about 1859 when the family moved from southern to far northern Maine to Lyndon (later Caribou.) Sad to say I don't know which sister is which. . .
The mother in the photo, Olive, married Robert Small on Mar. 17, 1825 in Limington. They also had 3 sons, William Hobson, Israel, and Alvah.
Olive died at age 62 in 1867 just 8 years after the family moved to Aroostook County.
Her daughter Sarah married Benjamin Franklin Thomas on Nov. 8, 1862 in Lyndon. They had 7 children: Mary Olive ( my great grandmother), Alice Bell, Emma Francis, William Henry, Dorcas Russell, Franklin Perez, and Charles Edwin.
Two sisters married two brothers. Sarah's sister Harriet married Moses Thomas, brother to Sarah's husband.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: George Henry Buzzell


He is buried here but she is not.
My 2X grandfather's stone at Woodland Cemetery, Aroostook, ME
George Henry Buzzell, b. Aug. 19, 1838 Hollis, ME, d. Feb. 25, 1897 Woodland, Aroostook, ME
His wife Frances E. Jose, b. Feb. 28, 1840 Hollis, ME, d. Jul. 30, 1912 Rockville, CT

Wedding Belles: Myra Sampson Buzzell


Myra Sampson Buzzell was my grandfather's sister. She was the third in the family to get married (the eighth of eleven children) and just 18 years old. The invitation says that the reception was held at the home of my great-grandparents on the Colby Road farm in Woodland, Maine. My grandfather Chester would've been almost 12.
Myra moved away from her Aroostook County home in Maine, first south to Gorham, Maine until the 1920's and eventually to Washington state where her husband Heman worked in the shipyards. She had three sons by the time she was 30 and eventually six grandchildren.
I probably have more pictures of Myra's branch of the family than any other. I guess she sent home a lot of pictures to keep in touch.
They did come back to Maine to visit at least several times as shown by the snapshots of Myra's sons with the relatives. I even remember that they came to visit my grandmother just before she died in the early 70's.
Eventually both Myra and Heman came home for good as they are both buried on top of the hill at the fantastically beautiful Perham Fairview Cemetery a few miles west of my home. The marriage lasted for 53 years.
Transcript:
Mr. and Mrs. Colby O. Buzzell request the honor of your presence at the wedding reception of their daughter Myra Sampson to Mr. Heman Allyn Leonard on Wednesday evening, November fourteen one thousand nine hundred and seventeen from seven until nine o'clock at their home Woodland, Maine
This photo was likely taken as a wedding picture: Myra and Heman Learnard, 1917, Woodland, ME

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mad Monday: Joe McNeal

Here is my aunt Maxine Buzzell about age 11 and my great grandparents "Nana" Myrtle (Brown) McNeal standing behind her husband Joe McNeal, about 1940 on the porch of their farmhouse on the Brown Road in Woodland, ME.
Joe is a roadblock. I wish I knew more.
He died shortly after this photo was taken when my father was just 10 years old. I know he was a potato farmer and a chain smoker. He had a son who took over the farm and 2 daughters (my grandmother Lena Rose and Dora.) My sister used to pick potatoes on the farm when she went for overnight visits to Nana's house which I only ventured to do once.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Super Saturday: Photo of the Week

Shown is the Fred Buzzell home in Connecticut.
I assume Fred's wife Annie and some of his 8 daughters are among those pictured with perhaps a grandchild being rocked on the porch. My great grandfather Colby lived out his life in Woodland in Aroostook County, ME. His brother moved south to CT to eventually establish his family and picture-framing business. Visits back and forth and cards kept the brothers in touch throughout their lifetime. Fred's daughter Emma was especially good at keeping contact.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Finds: From My Collection

1918 Photograph of my Buzzell family including front row: Ralph, Mary, Chester (my grandfather), Colby, Fanny; Back: Clyde (inset), Myra, Bill, Sadie, Bessie, Arthur, Earl, Harry;

Clyde had left for World War I. Arthur served in World War I also. Brother Harry was killed in France during World War I on Oct. 21, 1918.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting Started


One thing leads to another. Retirement led to Facebook, then Twitter and quickly to tweets of genealogy buffs. Time to start telling my own story, they tweeted. Twenty or more years ago I borrowed completed family history charts at a Buzzell family reunion in Woodland, ME so that I could handwrite my own copies. A few years later we purchased Reunion software for the MAC which revolutionized expanding the records of all sides of the family for both my husband and me. We have password protected websites for our two families. So as they say, we've come a long way baby, from 1979 when this photo of us was taken at a family supper at my Mom's.