After my photo album puzzle was solved within what seemed like minutes of being posted (thank you, everyone!), I did some quick research: Monhegan records around 1900 contained none of my husband’s family names. Seems likely his ancestor was just another visitor to the island – a tourist who was also a talented photographer, or who appreciated the skills of a photographer who, like many artists, was drawn to the beauty of Monhegan. Still, the images in the little album drew me in. I wanted to know more about this island situated twelve nautical miles off the coast of Boothbay, Maine. Continue reading Monhegan puzzle pieces
Our house has lots of dusty boxes that came from the houses of deceased family members. There’s the box of stuff from my father’s bachelor brother, William “Bud” Buzzell, who served on an LST during World War II and who sold me my first car for a dollar. There are several boxes from my mother’s mother, Thelma Jane MacLean, about whose Telluride parents I have written before.
Not to be outdone by my family’s packrat tendencies, we also have boxes from my husband Scott’s Inglis, Milne, Munroe, and MacCuish ancestors. The Inglis family hailed from Galashiels, south of Edinburgh; the Milnes were from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The Munroes left Scotland to settle in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We believe the MacCuishes emigrated from the island of North Uist in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides to Newfoundland. Continue reading A photographic puzzle
When I first started working at NEHGS in November 2015 and was introduced to Gary Boyd Roberts, he shook my hand and said, “Tell me about your family.” I told him my mother was half Cape Breton Scottish and Yorkshire English, and half Croatian (see my previous posts). His eyes glazed over. When I said my maiden name was Buzzell and my paternal grandmother was an Ordway from Medford, I could tell that little wheels started turning in Gary’s head: Yankees!
When my father was alive, I often asked him where his family was from. His response was usually “nowhere,” but sometimes he filled this void of information with a romantic genealogical fantasy: perhaps they were Huguenots banished from France? Continue reading The man from nowhere
Concluding the story of my great-grandparents’ years in Telluride, Colorado:
During her second pregnancy, my great-grandmother Alice (Pheasey) McLean suffered from a kidney ailment then known as Bright’s disease. Alice’s eyesight and her health in general seemed be on a downward spiral following her husband’s death. A December 1905 news item stated: “Mrs. Alice McLean has been real sick for a week.” In February, the paper described Alice’s condition as “very serious” and said that “Doctor Hadley [was called] several times yesterday and last night.” Continue reading ‘Day from night’
Life marched on for lawman Kenny McLean and his wife Alice as their daughter Thelma was growing up.
The heat of summer was making for a lot of shady dealings in Telluride, Colorado. In June 1905, Kenny went to a nearby town to collect a miner who had left “without going through the formality of liquidating” bills he owed; the man was jailed for eighty days for refusing to pay. There was also a story about a self-described “big, wealthy sheep man” who was writing bad checks to unsuspecting townspeople. Marshal McLean threw the man in jail “just as though he were a common sheep herder instead of a sheep owner.”
There was one wholesome event that July in which Kenny took part, however: a baseball game between employees of the Smuggler-Union and the Liberty Bell mines. Continue reading ‘Hard to go’
In the first year of Kenny and Alice McLean’s daughter’s life, labor strife at the Telluride mines was affecting the community.
On 1 September 1903, difficult and scary times came to Telluride. Union members demanding an eight-hour rather than a twelve-hour workday walked out of Telluride’s ore processing mills. This shutdown caused the closing of area gold and silver mines. When the Tomboy gold mine tried to reopen with nonunion workers (strikebreakers or “scabs”), the union posted armed picketers to prevent the new workers from entering. Continue reading Turbulent times
Amongst the family papers I inherited from my grandmother and great-uncle (orphans Thelma and Fred McLean in my earlier A Telluride story post), I found several old shiny Xerox copies (remember these?) of news articles my great-uncle Fred had made. He must have kept his local library swimming in copy revenue judging by the many such copies I found amongst his papers.
Fred McLean was our family genealogist. He dutifully typed up family stories, transcribed census records and letters, and then sent copies to his sister and her four children, one of whom was my mother, Thelma Jr. I wish Fred were alive today because it was due to him that I have an interest and now gainful employment in the field of genealogy. Continue reading In the news
There are many stories that reside in the papers and photographs our forebears set aside to keep. These stories sometimes lack a key, but here is one that, thanks to a loving sister, retains its general outline.
Kenneth Angus McLean was born in 1873 in a farmhouse on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the youngest of nine children. As a young man, Kenny left the family farm to join his older sister Christine in Boston, where he would have a wider choice of occupations. He didn’t last long in the confines of the city. Kenny, like so many others, decided to seek his fortune out west. He took out a $1,000 life insurance policy, named his sister as beneficiary, and got on a westbound train. Continue reading A Telluride story