Remembering and honoring all who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice with their lives on this Memorial Day. Importantly, it is more appropriate to say “Remembering” and/or “Honoring” vs. “Happy Memorial Day” because Memorial Day is not a happy occasion for families and friends who have lost those who served. Talk to anyone who has lost someone in the line of duty, and they will tell you it is not “Happy Memorial Day.” Be sensitive. Words matter.
Remembering American Military Veterans on this Memorial Day (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
My son put out the American flag today, in special remembrance of America’s military veterans and in celebration of Memorial Day 2014. Putting out the flag has become somewhat of a tradition for him throughout the past few years, particularly since it was a requirement for one of his achievements as a Cub Scout. Today, he put out the flag as a new Boy Scout. Last evening, my family also watched the Memorial Day tribute celebration on television, as broadcasted by PBS. That has also been a tradition in my family for many years. This year is the 25th anniversary of the annual Memorial Day broadcast.
In remembrance of military veterans in my family, I have authored this article, having arranged photos and/or memorabilia of all of those known family members and/or ancestors who have served in the American military. I am thankful for those who have risked their lives and/or who have given their lives for the freedoms that I enjoy.
One important issue to keep in mind, however, is that our freedoms may be our right, but should also be practiced with appropriate reason and rationalization. I stated this, particularly due to interpretations of the Second Amendment of our country’s Constitution, in regard to the right to bear arms. We should all keep in mind that while we have a right to bear arms, that does not mean that we have the right to take another’s life, unless circumstances absolutely warrant it in matters of self-protection. Let us not allow the right to bear arms, as well as monetary-backed interests to that aim, to remain more important than protecting people’s lives.
May we all strive to live together in peace and harmony. Let us all remember the sacrifices of those who serve and who have served in our military forces so that not only our freedoms are maintained, but so that the spirit of democracy may infuse those in other countries, as well. May our military forces stationed in Afghanistan soon return home, and back to our wonderful democracy!
I am also aware that one of the Tomaszewski men (formerly of Gowanda, New York, and now of Chicago, Illinois), a cousin to my mom, was a pilot in the Air Force, possibly in the Vietnam War.
These photos, information, and memorabilia represent individuals within my family, and from my family ancestry, who have served in the American military. My former spouse also briefly served in the military. I salute you for your risks, sacrifices, and in the case of David Briggs, his ultimate sacrifice of his life, for the freedoms and protections of others. While I have taught history, and honor and appreciate our military veterans, I am not one who has the will to risk my life in possible sacrifice in the military. You all are a credit to our country for your service, and to the preservation of democracy.
My Krakowiak Family Ancestry, Including Drewin, Tomaszewski, Babcock, Spires, O’Malley, and Clark (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
My mother, Anna Maria (Krakowiak) Babcock (born 1944) is from the Krakowiak Family; she was the middle child. Her parents are Wladislawa “Lottie” (Bulera) Krakowiak (November 12, 1914-December 13, 2007) and Janek “John” Krakowiak (October 24, 1907-December 1, 1967). Lottie’s and John’s other children include Peter Krakowiak, Maria Anna (Krakowiak) Spires Walker, and Larry Krakowiak.
Lottie’s parents were Wawryniec and Katarzyna (Mordka) Bulera, and John’s parents were Walenty and Jozefa (Stepnion) Krakowiak. Lottie had two sisters, Staca, and Marianna (Krakowiak) Drewin. Staca did not stay in touch with Lottie after her family immigrated to the United States in 1950, so I do not know what became of her. Marianna had three marriages, and had a son with each of her husbands. I only know the last name of her third husband, and not the names of the previous two.
Marianna’s sons have several children between them, and they likely have grandchildren and perhaps great grandchildren by now. Marianna and her family lived in Kielce, Poland, and I was able to visit and meet most of them (15 of them) when I studied abroad at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow Poland in 1992. Once Marianna died, no one remained in touch with each other, as only Marianna and Lottie communicated with each other at that time.
John is one of about 10 children from his family. As an adult, he had one glass eye. I don’t know what experience or situation caused him to get the glass eye. I do remember my grandmother telling about how John’s mother had told him that no one would ever want to marry him because of his glass eye. Once John married Lottie, and the family later moved to Germany, and then on to the United States, there were no further contacts or communications maintained between John or any of his family members.
From what I understand, both Lottie’s and John’s parents were farmers. When Lottie was a young girl, she herded geese on the farm – that was her job. In bare feet and on frosty mornings, she herded geese. My grandmother had about a third grade education, and was fluent in Polish and German. She took some classes in English upon coming to the United States, though never learned to write more in English than her name. She also did not drive and never had a driver’s license. She walked to her places of work (or was driven by others), and she walked to stores and businesses in the Village of Gowanda. She worked at the garden nurseries of Knowles and Fisher, and she also worked additional jobs, such as being a waitress at the local diner in Gowanda (now Olympia).
The Krakowiak Family came to the United States through Ellis Island, and to the Buffalo and Western New York State area, in 1950. Cousins to the Krakowiak’s were John and Josephine Tomaszewski of Gowanda, New York. John Tomaszewski secured a guarantee of employment for John Krakowiak at the Moench Tannery in Gowanda. Thus, the Krakowiak Family was guaranteed a sponsorship by the Tomaszewski’s, a condition that was required of immigrants for entry into the United States at that time. The Krakowiak Family (all but John) moved to Germany from Poland in about 1948. The reasons for the family’s move were to escape the effects of World War II, and to seek a better life in the United States. They did not want to experience another war in Europe.
As a result of their citizenship in Poland, Germany was the best route out of Europe for them. So, Lottie and her young family traveled on foot and by train to Germany where she worked at two or three large corporate farms, particularly in the kitchen. (In her later years, Lottie was able to secure a number of financial security payments from the German government due to proof of her work at the farms.)
For about two years, Lottie worked on the farms until the Polish government allowed John to leave Poland. Lottie and the children were forced to wait those two years because the Polish government had desired John to remain in Poland. It was a tense situation during the wait because the family worried that John might not be allowed to leave Poland. Once he died and reunited with his family, they sailed to the United States from Germany.
Once in Gowanda, the Krakowiak’s lived with the Tomaszewski’s until John was able to purchase a house. The Krakowiak Family then remained on Union Street in Gowanda, often experiencing flooding in the basements of the two different homes in which they had lived due to rising waters and/or flooding by the Cattaraugus Creek that runs through the center of town.
For about the last one to two years of his life, John developed and suffered from cancer. My family believes that the cancer was caused by John’s handling of the many chemicals at the Tannery without any protections. John died from the cancer in 1964 when he was 60 years old. My grandmother, “Babcia,” as we called her and is the word for “grandmother” in Polish, was healthy and well, living independently until she was 86 years old, at which time she was placed in the Gowanda Nursing Home. She died as a resident of the Nursing Home when she was 93, about seven years after moving there.
My father, Bruce Babcock, married my mother, Anna (Krakowiak) Babock in 1963. In 1971, I was born, and the following year, my brother was born.
My aunt, Maria (Krakowiak) Spires (and later, Walker) was already married to Eugene Spires (May 7, 1919-November 7, 1993) when I was born. Maria and Gene had two children, Desiree “Desa” (Spires) O’Malley and Phillip Spires. Desiree is married to Joseph O’Malley. They have one son, Joey, and live in Connecticut. I met Joey when he was a baby. Phil married Dawn (Clark) Spires on October 17, 1992. They have one son, Benjamin – named after his great grandfather, Ben Spires. Phil is a Corrections Officer.
After my uncle, Gene, died after struggling with cancer for two years, Maria met Roger Walker. Gene was 25 years older than Maria, and had been previously married. Gene’s first wife died from cancer. Maria then married Roger; they live in Florida.
My uncle, Gene, was also a veteran of World War II, having served in the US Army, fighting in France during the war. Gene worked for the State of New York at the Gowanda Psychiatric Center in the maintenance department, and as a painter. Gene and Maria also operated a farm; and Gene owned a gun shop for many years, being a licensed firearms dealer. My aunt also worked for the State of New York at the Gowanda Psychiatric Center, as well as when mental health patients were transitioned to community housing, then still being employed by the State through J.N. Adam Developmental Center. She retired from there after about 27 years of State service.
To my knowledge, Peter Krakowiak never married, nor had any children. Once he graduated from high school, he went into the Navy. Once he completed his service in the Navy, he moved to and lived in Chicago for the remainder of his life. My family has not heard from him in many years; he had kept in touch with my aunt, but she stopped hearing from him many years ago.
Larry also moved to and lived in Chicago for several years, where he was married to and divorced from a woman named, Pam. Sometime following the divorce, he moved back to Gowanda, where he has lived and worked since then. He does not have any children.
Much of the Tomaszewski Family still lives in or near Gowanda, though I am aware of John’s and Josephine’s oldest son and his family living in Chicago. John and Josephine had three children, including two boys and a girl. When the boys became adults, they married and had children. The daughter, Gloria, is single and does not have any children. The eldest son of John and Josephine is an airline pilot, likely long retired by now. He may have also served in the Vietnam War, as I recall. The Tomaszewski’s, therefore, are cousins, far-removed, from me; they would be considered my third cousins.
Other family related to the Krakowiak side of my family include the Covelli’s from Buffalo, New York, and the Turdly’s from Brooklyn, New York City.
John and Lottie Krakowiak, and John and Josephine Tomaszewski, are bured in Holy Cross Cemetery of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Gowanda, New York. Eugene Spires is also buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Gowanda.
To follow is a collection of photos that I have of the Krakowiak’s, Drewin’s, Babcock’s, Spires’, O’Malley’s. and Clark’s.
Author’s Note: Information and images identifying my brother have been removed from this post as of April 27, 2016 as a courtesy per his request.
Bruce and Anna Babcock, and Parents at Wedding, July 1963, Gowanda, New YorkThis is a photo of my parents on their wedding day in July 1963. From left to right are Emmett Sprague, Bernice Gale (Briggs) Babcock Sprague, Bruce Babcock, Anna (Krakowiak) Babcock, Wladislawa “Lottie” (Bulera) Krakowiak, and John Krakowiak.
This is a photo of me when I was about two weeks old, just after I was baptized at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Gowanda, New York. In the photo are: front, left to right: Phil Spires; Desiree Spires, Me (the baby), Maria (Krakowiak) Spires, and Eugene Spires; rear, left to right: Anna (Krakowiak) Babcock, Emmett Sprague, Bernice Gale (Briggs) Babcock Sprague, Wladislawa “Lottie” (Bulera) Krakowiak, and Fr. Rog. My dad took the picture.
All photos of my cousin’s wedding reception were taken by family friend, Alice Tschopp.
I hope that you have enjoyed my information and photo record of the Krakowiak side of my family!
Eighty-five: Valley Bugle (1985). Gowanda Central High School Yearbook. Gowanda, NY: Jostens.
Photos and information of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014), 1974-1992. Snellville, Georgia.
Photos and information of Wladislawa “Lottie” (Bulera) Krakowiak, 1950-2007. Gowanda, New York. Now the Property of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014). Snellville, Georgia.
Tschopp (1992). Photos of wedding reception of Phil Spires and Dawn (Clark) Spires. Property of Michele Babcock-Nice (1992). Gowanda, New York.
Other photographers of other professional photos, unknown.
My Gale, Henn, Cole, McGee, and Bulson Family Ancestry Photos (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
The families of Gale, Henn, Cole, McGee, and Bulson are a big part of my family ancestry on my dad’s mother’s mom’s side of the family. The Gale’s came to the United States from England. William M. Gale, who is my Great Great Grandfather or Great Great Great Grandfather, was born in England. Emily Esther (Costard) Gale (born on Isle of Jersey in the Channel Island, England on January 29, 1849-died in North Collins, New York on July 11, 1917), is possibly the mother (more likely) or a sister of William H. Gale, though I am unsure if he was William Hamilton Gale or William Henry Gale. There were also other Gale’s in the family, including Walter Allen Gale, Harry Hamilton Gale, Julia Emily Gale, Alice Costard Gale, Lydia Ada Gale, and Carrie Camilla Gale. Either William Hamilton Gale or William Henry Gale married Anna (Henn) Gale, and they had a daughter, Emily B. Gale. Harry Hamilton Gale (September 14, 1878-March 1930), an uncle of my grandmother, served in the military in New York State.
All of the Gale’s lived in Hamburg, New York, but for Harry who is later said to have moved to Canada. William (Emily B. Gale’s father) was a successful barber, and owned and operated his own barber shop in Hamburg for decades. They lived on Main Street, and the barber shop was close by their residence. Julia Emily (Gale) Briggs was married to Clarence Briggs, and they had a daughter, Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague, my grandmother – my father’s mother.
My Great Great Grandmother Emily (Costard) Gale’s sisters remained in England, but stayed in touch with her and sent photos and letters to her through the years. Irish ancestry, through marriage, came from one of my great great grandmother’s sisters, Julia McGee; her son was named William McGee. He married and had two daughters, Dorothy and Phyllis. Dorothy married Mr. B. Apps on August 2, 1937.
There were also several members of the Henn Family, who had immigrated to the United States from Germany. From what I have uncovered, I believe that Frank Henn married Anna (Goetz) Henn. They had children, including Fred and Louis, and possibly Anna, Frank, William, and Charles. Fred (Frederick) (born October 20, 1843 in Bavaria, Germany) was a soldier in the Union Army and fought in the Civil War in Louisiana and Virginia. He was a private in Company D, 116th NYVI Regiment of Buffalo. He was wounded in Louisiana, and spent 2-3 months in the hospital, there, recovering. He was honorably discharged due to the end of the war. There is a photo and record of his service on file at the Hamburg (New York) Historical Society. I also have a photo and an item of memorabilia reflecting his service in the Army. He was married to Mary A. Henn, who died in 1896.
When Emily B. Gale died in 1986 and her estate was sold, my family missed acquiring Fred Henn’s medal from his service in the Civil War because it was grabbed quickly by an antique dealer who had a special interest in such memorabilia, and who had arrived just ahead of my parents for the sale. It would have been a wonderful piece to keep in the family. Additionally, I have a beautiful and colorful marriage certificate of a Friedrich Henn and Mahole (Thompson) Henn, reflecting their wedding date as July 27, 1897 in Germany. This is believed to be a different Fred Henn than the man who fought in the American Civil War. Also remember that Emily B. Gale was the only child of William H. Gale and Anna (Henn) Gale.
The Cole’s are part of my family ancestry through Carrie Camilla Gale’s marriage to Frank Cole. Carrie was the eldest daughter of William and Emily (Costard) Gale. Frank and Carrie had a son, Arnold, who married Grace Cochran. They then had three sons and a daughter, including Arnold Cole, Jr., William E. Cole, Eugene Cole, and Norma G. Cole. I have several photos of Arnold Cole as a baby and as a private school student in Buffalo, New York.
I have one image William M. Gale, and a few photos of Emily (Costard) Gale. I do not have any photos of Frank Cole, though I do have a couple of photos that include Carrie with her sisters, Julia and Alice. Julia was my Great Grandmother – my Grandmother’s mom. Emily B. Gale, my grandmother’s cousin, lived with her parents, and never married. She inherited the family home following the death of Anna (as William had predeceased her), though was placed in a nursing home in Hamburg, New York, where she died in 1986. Emily B. Gale owned many amazing antiques and treasures, including antique furniture; dolls; photographs in frames; and Civil War memorabilia of Fred Henn. My family was able to purchase a few of those items at her estate sale just after her death.
William H., Anna (Henn), and Emily B. Gale, and Frederick and Mary A. Henn, are buried in Prospect Lawn Cemetery in Hamburg, New York.
This is an image of William M. Gale, the father of William H. Gale. The image is printed on a postcard, and would have to be from the early half of the 1800s.
Here is Emily Gale with Julia Gale, in Hamburg, New York in about 1890.
This photo is thought to possibly be that of a Gale boy.
This is a photo of Alice Gale, who was one of William Gale’s sisters or nieces.
This photo is of Emily Esther (Costard) Gale, in Hamburg, New York in later life, around 1900-1910.
In her later years, Emily (Costard) Gale also worked at Condenseo Mince Meat in or around Hamburg, New York. This is the best photo that I have of the employees of this company, a photo that also includes my Great Grandfather, Clarence Briggs, and one of his brothers, Howard Briggs, who both also worked there at that time. Emily is seated in the middle, front row of the photo, while the Briggs men are standing at the rear.
This is a picture of Emily (Costard) Gale’s sisters, Julia McGee and Martha Bulson, from 1929 in England.
Here is Martha Bulson an her sister, Julia McGee, in England in 1923. They were sisters of Emily (Costard) Gale.
Here is Julia McGee at Christmas in England in 1923. The flowerettes were painted on the photo by William McGee, who painted pictures. I believe the William was either her husband or son.
Here is Martha E. Bulson with her sons and grandchildren at her ‘Manor House’ in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, England, on November 27, 1932.
Again, here is a photo of Martha E. Bulson with her sons and grandchildren at her Manor House in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, England, on November 27, 1932.
This is a photo of William McGee in England in 1933.
Here is William McGee (right) with his family. William’s wife is at the far left. The McGee’s daugther, Dorothy married Mr. B. Apps on August 2, 1937. The woman standing next to William is the groom’s mother. The McGee’s daughter, Phyllis, is sitting.
This photo is of Ronald Bulson in England. Ronald was Martha Bulson’s grandson.
This is a photo of my Great Grandmother, Julia Emily (Gale) Briggs as a girl.Here are the Gale girls of Hamburg, New York around 1890.
This photo is possibly of Alice Gale and a daughter, although I am not sure. It is from 1908.
This is a photo of Anna (Henn) Gale with my Great Grandmother, Julia Gale, and Anna’s only child, Emily B. Gale, in Hamburg, New York around 1900.
Anna (Henn) Gale is shown in this photo, in Hamburg, New York around 1910.
Pictured is William H. Gale, husband of Anna (Henn) Gale, and father of Emily B. Gale, of Hamburg, New York around 1890-1900. He was a barber in Hamburg for decades.
This is a photo of my grandmother’s cousin, Emily B. Gale, as a young girl, wearing a fur coat in Hamburg, New York around 1900.
This is another photo of Emily B. Gale as a young girl in Hamburg, New York around 1905.
Again, pictured is Emily B. Gale of Hamburg, New York around 1910.
Here, William Gale is pictured as an elderly man. He was 91 years old in 1938 when this photo was taken, just outside the Gale Family home in Hamburg, New York.
This is a photo of Harry H. Gale, a brother of William H. Gale.
This is a photo of Harry Hamilton Gale as a Union Army soldier out of Buffalo, New York in the 1880s.
This is a photo of Frederick Henn and his wife, thought to be named Anna, in Hamburg, New York around 1890-1900. Notice that Fred is wearing his medal for service in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
This is a funeral card for Mrs. Fred Henn, whom I believe would have been the lady in the photo preceding this image. She died on March 19, 1896 in Hamburg, New York at age 58.
This is a photo that is thought to be of Fred Henn, around 1870-1890, in Hamburg, New York.
This copy of a photo is of Fred Henn, also identifying his regiment in the Army in which he fought in the Civil War. I obtained copies of these items from the Hamburg Historical Society in Hamburg, New York in 2001.
This is a photo on display at the Hamburg Historical Museum/Society. I took a photo of the picture when I visited there. My grandmother’s cousin’s uncle is Fred Henn, who served in the Grand Army of the Republic’s Company D of the 116th Regiment during the Civil War.
This is a photo of Louis Henn, a brother of Fred Henn, in Hamburg, New York around 1890.
This is a photo of a man believed to be a member of the Henn Family.This is a photo of Arnold Cole, the son of Frank and Carrie (Gale) Cole, in Buffalo, New York in 1892.
Here is another picture of Arnold Cole, with his toy horse, probably in Buffalo, New York around 1895.
Here is another picture of Arnold Cole as a boy.This photo of Arnold Cole was taken in 1908 in Buffalo, New York when he was 16-years-old. It was taken outside of a private school that he attended in Buffalo.
Here is another photo of Arnold Cole at age 13, outside of another private school that he attended in Buffalo, New York, in 1905.This is another photo that shows Arnold Cole in Buffalo, New York as a young man in 1909.
These represent some of the many photos that I have of these of my family ancestors. My grandmother, Bernice, had loads of vintage and antique photos that she kept for many years until she decided to burn most of them in a burn barrel used for burning trash in the back yard of her home. One day, when I was a girl, when I was visiting her and there was “trash” burning in the barrel, I asked what she was burning, and she told me. I remember getting very angry and upset, and stated to her that I wanted the photos, and not to burn any anymore. I could not believe that she would burn such valuable memories related to her family heritage!
Therefore, I have many photos of my family ancestors, but would have had many more had my grandmother not put them up in smoke. Additionally, I used to have many more tin types, especially those of the Henn’s, however when my family moved from Collins to Gowanda, New York around 1992, they were unknowingly discarded by my parents. I was heartbroken that such valuable family treasures had been thrown away.
This photo reflects the 15 tin types of my Gale, Briggs, and Henn ancestry that were accidentally discarded by my parents during my family’s move from Collins to Gowanda around 1992.
Again, as in previous posts of photos of my ancestors, the dates included represent the best possible accurate dates and/or estimates of dates of the images.
References and Sources:
Family photos and information of Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague from 1860-1987. Collins, New York. Currently the Property of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014). Snellville, Georgia.
Ryther, James F. (Undated). Personal War Sketch of Frederick Henn. Buffalo, New York. From Hamburg (New York) Historical Society, 2001.
Some Photos from my Briggs, Staffin, Ritter, and Gale Family Ancestry (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
Nearly all of my vintage and antique family photos are from my dad’s side of the family. Because my mother’s family were immigrants from Poland to Germany to the United States through Ellis Island around 1950, I have fewer than a hand full of vintage photos from my mom’s side of the family, the Krakowiak side, though I do have a few. Photos and tin types from my dad’s side of the family include those from the following families: Babcock, Briggs, Gould, Hoyler, Staffin, Gale, McEwen, Crawford, Cole, Ritter, Henn, and Goetz. And, those are just the images, while there are other families who are part of my ancestry, including Rump, Rodgers, and others.
My direct ancestral heritage – in addition to that of Poland from the Krakowiak family – reflects people from England, particularly the families of Gale, Bulson, and McGee; the French and German ancestry of Adelia Staffin; and the German ancestry gained from the families of Gould, Rump, and Henn; and both Hoyler and Ritter (through marriage). The Briggs’ and Babcock’s were also from England, but had been settled in the United States prior to the Gale’s. My ancestry can also be traced back to England’s King Henry VIII, as a result of his many marriages; and Clement Briggs, one of my ancestors, who traveled to Plymouth, Massachusetts from England in 1621 on the Mayflower. The name “Briggs” has many variations; and is believed to have been derived from Saxon William atte Brigge of County Norfolk, England in the 1200s. That is the furthest back in time that I have been able to trace some of my ancestry.
The following photos and tin types are those that I have selected to reflect some of the many images of my ancestral heritage from the Briggs, Staffin, and Gale families, as I know it, so that the richness of culture, values, and family can be shared and enjoyed outside of my family, as well. The photos were taken in North Collins and Collins, New York, near Buffalo. I will make additional posts with pictures reflecting the other families identified in the near future. Note that for photos that have estimated dates, I have tried to date them as best as possible to reflect an accurate time of when they were taken.
This is the oldest tin type that I have that reflects ancestors of my family. The tin type was in the condition seen in the photo when I got it from my grandmother, Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague, so I have carefully preserved it as best as I can.
Adelia was said to have been a short, but fiery and tough woman. It is possible that she was married through an arranged marriage to my great great grandfather, Wallace Briggs, because they married when they were kids. It does not even appear that Adelia is 13 years old in the first picture in this post, however it is believed that she and Wallace were married at about that age. Adelia and Wallace had five boys (Clarence, Howard, Harold, Sumner, and John); and while I am unsure about how Adelia died, it is possible that she died in childbirth. She would have been 26 when Clarence was born (the second oldest son) and 37 when John was born. The oldest boy was Sumner, born in 1879 when Adelia would have been 23.
No one in my family seemed to know how Adelia died, or if they did, they did not talk about it. I know that she seemed to have died at a young age (possibly under 40 years old), and Wallace married a second wife, Veronica, having four boys (Ivan, William, Lawrence, and Leo) with her. Therefore, nine Briggs’ boys grew up and at least seven of them (all but for Howard and William “Bill”) had families in North Collins, New York in the 20th century. Birth and death dates that I have, as recorded by my grandmother, for Adelia’s and Wallace’s sons are as follows: Sumner (1879-1939), Clarence (1882-1953), Howard (1886-1944), John (1892-1934), and Harold (1893-1965).
Sumner Briggs married Frances Creed, and they had four children, including Rexford, Emerson “Coon,” Harriet, and Buddy. Howard Briggs was a bachelor. John Briggs married Ella Rieckhof, and they had one child, Lois, who married Harold Rodgers. Lois and Harold had a daughter, Margo, who had a son, Eric, who would be about my age. Harold Briggs married Emma North; they had a son, James, who married Mabel Orton. James and Mabel had three children, including Beverly, Barbara, and Bruce Briggs. I know that Ivan married Louise Gullo, and they had three children, including twin girls and a son, David (who died in the Vietnam War). Bill married Ruth, but they did not have any children. I don’t know about descendants of Lawrence or Leo.
Adelia (Staffin) Briggs was the daughter of John Staffin and Phoebe (Wilcox) Staffin; and she was the sister of Mary Ann (Staffin) Smith (who married John Smith) and William Adam Staffin (who married Cora Wickham). John Staffin was born in 1830 to Adam Staffen (1804-1869) and Anna (Mathias or Mathis) Staffen (1807-1886), and was brother to 10 siblings. Anna’s father was Johann Mathis, who was a blacksmith, and her mother was Anna Maria (Schmitt) Mathis. Adam and Anna sailed to the United States through Ellis Island from France in 1840, purchasing land in Collins, New York. They had left their home in Saarlouis, Germany to sail from the Port of LeHarve in France, coming to the US with $800.
Adam and Anna were schoolteachers, teaching in a large room of their home; and Adam was also a stone mason and farmer. At that time, the Staffen’s school was the only one in the area, and young men traveled from miles around to be educated by them. They taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and were paid in kind with raw materials rather than money. When Adam and Anna Staffen came to the United States, they spoke fluent French and High German. They were Roman Catholic, and are buried in the Langford Catholic Cemetery in Langford, New York.
Adam Staffen was one of three sons (Jacob, Adam, and Nikolas) of Johann Steffen (1748-1814) and Susanna Girlinger (1766-1833). Susanna’s parents were Phillip Girlinger and Maria (Bauer) Girlinger. Phillip was a farmer in Germany. Johann Steffen was the son of Simon Steffen (1716-1771) and Catharina (Schwartz) Steffen. In 1741, the marriage record of Stefan Simon (who changed his name to Simon Steffen around 1847) reflects that he married Catharina Schwartz, and that her parents were Franz Schwartz and Apollonia (Everhard) Schwartz. Simon’s parents were Dominicus Simon and Catharina (Corsain) Simon. Around 1838, Simon and Catherine moved from Longville, France to Ittersdorf, Germany, although rule changed from German to French rule at that time. It is possible that the move and name change were due to political reasons.
Cora (Wickham) Staffin’s parents were Chauncey L. Wickham and Rosene (Spaulding) Wickham. Cora married William Adam Staffin – brother to Adelia (Staffin) Briggs. Cora and William had (I believe) four children, including Marion Staffin, Charleton W. Staffin, Burton W. Staffin, and Burnell E. Staffin. Somewhere along the line, I do not have an exact record of at least one generation of the family, somewhere in-between Anna Staffin marrying Edward C. Ritter. I do know, however, that Cora (Wickham) Staffin’s grandchildren included Sara Jane Staffin, Mary Ann Staffin, Robert C. Staffin, and Norman R. Staffin. I just don’t know whose children they were – Charleton’s, Burton’s, or Burnell’s.
Marion Staffin married, though I do not know what her married name was. I believe that they had a daughter or granddauther, possibly named, Anna, and she married Ed Ritter. Ed Ritter, to my knowledge, had several siblings, including Fritz Ritter, Herbert Ritter, Mrs. Hoyt Prince, Mrs. Guy Hickey, Mrs. Clarence Simmons, and possibly another sister and another brother, though I am unsure of their names. Ed and Anna Ritter did not have any children. To my knowledge, Ed was a butcher, and I have a tin type of him reflecting that.
This is a tin type that shows my great great grandfather, Clarence Briggs, as a young man, possibly around 1900-1910. I do not know the identities of the other young men in the image.
This photo shows my 15 additional tin types from my Gale, Briggs, and Henn ancestry that were accidentally discarded by my parents during my family’s move from Collins to Gowanda around 1992.
My great great grandfather owned and operated an ice carting business in North Collins, New York. He transported blocks of ice to people’s homes for their use in refrigeration, such as in their root cellars.
This is a photo of Clarence and Sumner Briggs, and possibly Howard Briggs, from North Collins, New York around 1890. It is the best photo that I have of them as young boys.
From what I understood from my grandmother, this photo was supposed to be a silly picture of three of these Briggs’ young men. They went on an outing and had several different photos made on this day, reflecting different backgrounds and venues.
This is a photo of my grandmother, Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague, as a baby in 1912 in North Collins, New York.
In this photo, my grandmother was about two years old.
This is a photo of my grandmother either on the day of her engagement or wedding to my grandfather, Charles A. Babcock.
This is the only photo that I have that shows both of my great grandparents, Clarence and Julia (Gale) Briggs, in the same photo. This was taken in 1946 in Collins, New York at the childhood home of my father, Bruce Babcock.
This is a photo of John Briggs, a brother of my great great grandfather, Clarence Briggs, from North Collins, New York in 1917 before he went off to fight in World War I. There were several Briggs’ brothers who fought in the War, and they all returned home alive.
This is a photo of identical twins, Marie and Veronica Briggs, from April 1941. They are daughters of Ivan Briggs and Louise (Gullo) Briggs of North Collins. David Briggs was the son of Ivan and Louise, and died while serving in the US Army during the Vietnam War. For many years, there was a memorial to David outside the front of the Catholic Church in North Collins, New York.
Here is another photo of the twins. They were about three-years-old in this picture. Veronica was named after her grandmother, Veronica.
I hope that you have enjoyed viewing these photos. I will make additional posts with photos that reflect the others of my ancestral families that I identified, shortly.
References and Sources:
Anna Emerling Spengler (~1980). The Emerling Family Tree: Chapter 7 – The Staffins. Springville/Collins, New York.
Family tin types, photos, and information of Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague from 1860-1987. Collins, New York. Currently the Property of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014). Snellville, Georgia.
The Name and Family of Briggs: Manuscript Number 341 (1984). New York, NY: Roots Research Bureau, Ltd.
Wentland Funeral Home (1968). Funeral Card of David I. Briggs. North Collins, NY: Wentland Funeral Home.