Third Great-Uncle Milton K. White, aka James M. White

According to his naturalization papers, Milton K. White was born on March 30, 1849 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. This is a very crucial fact, as we shall see later. Milton was the fourth son and fifth child of Job R. and Elizabeth Phoebe White.

As far as I can tell, Milton immigrated to the United States with his parents on 1869. Like his father, He worked as a carpenter for many years. By 1876, Milton decided to become a US citizen. He is the only member of his family for whom I’ve found any naturalization paperwork. It was from this paperwork that I learned his birthday. At this time he was living in Chelsea, Massachusetts, not too far from his family in Lynn.

Two years later on August 28, Milton married Amelia Martin by Methodist minister George Sutherland. The Chelsea marriage register notes that this was Amelia’s second marriage, but I cannot tell whether Martin was her maiden or married name. As far as I can tell, Milton and Amelia did not have any children.

City directories show Milton living in Boston and working as a screenmaker then an upholsterer until 1892. For a long time, I thought Milton just dropped off the face of the planet.

Meanwhile, I found an entry in a Boston death register for a married son of Job and Elizabeth White named James M. (or N.) White. This James was a phrenologist living on Boston who died of cardiac and renal disease on January 9, 1900. I had assumed that James was just another son of Job and Elizabeth until I tried matching up tick marks with people under Job White in the 1861 Nova Scotia Census. There seemed to be one too many sons! I assumed that perhaps James may have been John David White, but I didn’t know for sure. I tried doing more research on James, then I carefully examined what I knew about each of Job’s sons.

Extract of James White entry in 1900 Boston Death Register from familysearch.org

Extract of James White entry in 1900 Boston Death Register from familysearch.org

When I looked over the death register once more, I noticed it gave James’ exact age to the day: 50 years, 9 months and 10 days. Calculating backwards, this made James’ birthday March 30, 1849, the same birthday Milton gave on his naturalization paperwork! James was Milton and Milton was James! There was no “extra son”.

I figure that Milton must have changed his name sometime after 1892. It’s a mystery to me why he would do this, and why in the world a former carpenter/upholsterer would become a phrenologist. According to Wikipedia, phrenology is “a process that involves observing and/or feeling the skull to determine an individual’s psychological attributes”. Was this a field that Milton/James was always fascinated with?

Milton/James was laid to rest somewhere in nearby Malden, Massachusetts. So far, I have been unable to find his wife Amelia on the 1900 US Census or in a potential remarriage. Perhaps new records in the future will help me figure out the mystery of Milton.

Advertisements

Great-Great Uncle Edwin Scott Colomy

All records indicate that Edwin Scott Colomy was born to Frank Colomy and Jennie White on Oct 28, 1878 in Lynn, Massachusetts. Like his father Frank and grandfather George, there are times in Edwin’s life that finding a supporting record has been hard! However, we are able to find out much about him.

Like his progenitors, he worked as a shoemaker from 1898 to 1906. It was a profession he returned to from 1909 to 1911 and finally in 1914. I suppose that, living in Lynn, this was a path that many took.

Edwin married nineteen-year-old Mary Abbie Johnson in July 3, 1899, the ceremony performed by L.J. Thomas. At first, they lived at home with his mother Jennie and sister Bertha until 1901 (probably when Jennie married James Starbard), then a couple of years with his father Frank and grandmother Lucy at 52 Lynnfield Street. Finally in 1904 they settled in their own place at 43 Springvale Avenue.

Both Edwin and Mary were involved in Masonic organizations; Edwin at the Knights of Malta and Mary was a Mistress of Finance at the Paul Revere Temple. Later (between 1908 and 1919), Edwin was also involved at the Paul Revere lodge.

In 1906 so many changes came into Edwin’s life. He became a conductor on the Boston & Northern Railroad. And on April 4, 1906, Mary gave birth to their son, Roy Edwin Colomy. The joy of new parenthood was short-lived, however. It seems that Mary probably did not recover from childbirth as she should; she contracted metritis, an postpartum infection of the uterus, which led to septicemia. Back then, there were no antibiotics; there was no cure. Mary quickly succumbed to her illness on May 11, leaving Edwin and Roy behind. Mary was buried in her family’s plot in Pine Grove Cemetery (Spruce Avenue, Lot 447), with the inscription, “Mother of Roy E. Colomy” on her tombstone.

Of course it was unusual for a man to be raising a newborn alone. Mary’s parents, Charles Johnson and Vera Torrey, took Roy in and raised him until his grandmother’s death in 1915.

Meanwhile, Edwin worked as a salesman, a shoe cutter, and a salesman again. Although he moved briefly to nearby Malden, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, it seems that he found time to spend with his son.

Edwin and Roy Colomy; I'm guessing this might be Red Rock in Lynn, MA.  Courtesy Deb Thompson Colomy.

Edwin and Roy Colomy; I’m guessing this might be Red Rock in Lynn, MA. Courtesy Deb Thompson Colomy.

In 1914 Edwin moved back to Lynn to his mother’s house. It seems that Edwin found love again! On April 17 he married widow Eleanor Mabel (Roach) Elwell, the ceremony performed by Arthur E. Harriman. They lived with Edwin’s mother Jennie till her 1915 death. I assume that after Vera (Torrey) Johnson’s death in April 1915, Roy moved into the home at 63 Autumn Street. I can only wonder about his youthful thoughts, having seen both grandmothers die within the same year.

It wasn’t long before the Colomy family moved just a few blocks away and began to rent at 24 Lafayette Park, which was to be Edwin’s home until 1927 (and has a lovely view of Goldfish Pond). On July 21, 1916, the family expanded as Mabel Eleanor was born.

1918 was the year that Edwin began his five-year stint as owner of a variety store at 59 Ocean Street (it doesn’t appear that this location is still standing). 1918 is also known as the year of the deadly influenza epidemic. I was just reading that it was bacterial pneumonia occurring as a result of the flu that lead to most of the deaths in 1918 – 1919. Eleanor had contracted pneumonia, and I wonder if it may have been part of this epidemic. Sadly, she passed away on December 11, 1918. She was buried two days later in Plot F, Lot 59 at Pine Grove Cemetery. Edwin obtained a two-person plot, and made sure “Wife of Edwin S. Colomy” was inscribed on her stone.

Eleanor Colomy's final resting place.  Author's collection.

Eleanor Colomy’s final resting place. Author’s collection.

At this time, Roy was twelve years old and his little sister Mabel was two. To me, this seemed like an arrangement that Edwin might be able to handle, as opposed to when Roy was born. If either child stayed somewhere else after Eleanor’s death, I don’t have any record of it. And perhaps his childless sister Bertha was able to watch the children as he worked.

Well, wouldn’t you know that good fortune smiled on Edwin again. No later than January 12, 1920, he met and married Pearl (whose maiden name I believe was Hutch). The family of four was together for a time; however, it seems that Roy joined the Navy for a period and eventually ended up in the Philadelphia area, where he met Marguerite Olive Fry. Based on their 1930 Census answers to “age at first marriage”, it seems that they got married in 1924. They went on to have eleven children, some of whom I believe are alive today. Roy and Marguerite stayed in the greater Philadelphia area, moving to southern New Jersey. Marguerite died in 1974 and Roy later in 1986. Both are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Newfield, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Edwin continued on with his involvement in the Masons, being part of Mt. Carmel Lodge from 1923 to 1933. He also went back to being a salesman in 1925. This makes me wonder if Edwin had an outgoing personality. Sometime between 1928 and 1930, Edwin, Pearl and Mabel moved to Winthrop, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Edwin and Pearl remained there for many years.

Shortly before 1940, Mabel married George Willis Archibald. They went on to have two children and eventually moved to Stuart, Martin County, Florida.

The Depression and World War II must have had an impact on Edwin’s usual salesman occupation, for in 1942 he worked for the Works Progress Administration. Of course, that job probably only lasted as long as the WPA did. Edwin eventually went back to sales, probably with the post-war boom.

As they got older and probably because they were so far away from both of his children, Edwin and Pearl moved to Stuart, Florida in mid-1951. They had only a couple of years to enjoy the sunny weather, for on January 8, 1953 Edwin died of coronary thrombosis. He was buried on January 14 at Fernhill Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in Stuart, where his daughter Mabel was later buried in 1967.

Much more can probably be said about Edwin and his progeny, but at this point I enter into living memory and territory more familiar to my cousins than I.