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.
Happy Mother’s Day (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
Mother’s Day is here again! Wow, I can hardly believe another year has passed already!
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there. May you have a blessed, peaceful, and enjoyable day. If you are working, may all go smoothly!
“Remembering 9/11” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
We will always remember 9/11…
Twin Towers, Statue of Liberty, and Manhattan (1)
The safety and security of our country became a thing of the past on September 11, 2001. Terrorists highjacked large airplanes, crashing into our beloved Twin Towers and Pentagon, as well as (supposedly) a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, taking the lives and security of 1,000s of victims with them. In the aftermath, countless families, friends, emergency responders, medical personnel, and all of America was deeply affected by the tragedies.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 showed America the face of evil and hatred. As Americans living in our safe and cozy world of freedom and democracy, many are oblivious to the terrorism, hatred, and evil that occurs around us throughout the world – and on 9/11, in our own country.
Twin Towers, 9/11 Terrorist Attacks (2)
About 27 years ago, I had a vision in a dream of the terrorist attacks on the…
View original post 654 more words
Happy Father’s Day (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
May all of you who are fathers enjoy a happy Father’s Day. Hopefully, you will get a chance to enjoy some R&R, and do something that you like. A special hat’s off to those of you who spend quality time with your children. They are the next generation of leaders, and need you to be good and positive role models for them. Be safe and enjoy this Father’s Day!
Remembering 9/11 (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
This is to honor and remember all the innocents lost in the tragedies of 9/11, as well as to be in support of their families and friends. They are no longer with us in body, but remain ever-present in spirit. May we always remember and never forget. May they rest in peace, and may everyone strive to live in peace and harmony with each other.
Happy Mother’s Day! (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s and moms-to-be, today! Motherhood – and parenthood – are such wonderful blessings that are bestowed upon us. We have so many wonderful opportunities as women and mothers to be the role models, protectors, guides, teachers, nurses, counselors, religious, safety officers, and coaches (and so much more) that our children and family members need in our lives. As mothers, we wear so many hats in our lives. Motherhood is definitely a blessing for me, and a vocation in which I always strive my best, as with everything that I do.
May all women who are mothers remember, cherish, and practice with sensitivity, responsibility, compassion, and seriousness the gift that we have been given. Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂
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 Babcock, Gould, Crawford, Kibbe, Prince, Curtis, Mather, McEwen, and Hoyler Family Ancestry Photos (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
My great grandfather, Jonathan Mead Babcock (1878-1933), was the son of Samuel and Jane Babcock of Villenova (Balsam), New York, near South Dayton in Western New York State, outside of Buffalo. Beyond them, I do not know anything more about my Babcock side of the family. While there are several Babcock’s buried in Villenova Cemetery, the resting place of my great grandfather and great grandmother, Bertha B. (Gould) Babcock (1880-1963), I am unsure whether or not Jonathan had any brothers or sisters. I would tend to believe that he was an only child. When he was born, he weighed 13 pounds. Perhaps that was enough for his mother to desire not having more children, I don’t know. Jonathan Mead Babcock was born in 1878 and died on May 5, 1933; he was only 55 years old. As a man, he was tall at 6’4.” He worked as the Collins Railroad Foreman and Collins Town Constable.
Bertha B. (Gould) Babcock, Jonathan’s wife, was born in 1880 and died on May 11, 1963; she was 82 years old. Both she and several of her family’s ancestors are also buried in Villenova Cemetery. Bertha was one of two daughters born to Albert Allen (called “Arnold”) Gould (1856-1940)and Nancy Ann M. (Rump) Gould (1859-1914). Nancy was Albert’s first wife; she died and Albert married his second wife, Addie (Prince) Gould. (Addie Prince had a sister, known as Mrs. Hoyler, whom Bertha called, “Grandma;” I have a photo of her. I believe that Mrs. Hoyler was Addie’s mother.) Albert Gould’s parents were Alden Gould (1829-1913) and Arvilla (Barstow) Gould (1829?-1906, age 76). Bertha’s sister was Hazel (Gould) Crawford Houston.
Addie Prince’s first husband was Job Prince. They had at least three children, whom I know to be Bessie Prince, Glenn Prince, and Mrs. Harry Trimmer. Bessie Prince married Charles J. Woodmansee, and they had two daughters, Adiline Woodmansee and Vivian Woodmansee. I know that Vivian married Clarence Stoddart, and they had two daughters, Joyce Stoddart and June Stoddart. Glenn Prince married May L. (Baxter) Prince, and they had two children, Winston B. Prince and Ruth V. Prince. Ruth married Ed C. Sterry. They had two sons, Ed B. Sterry and Clendon Sterry. That is as much information as I have on the descendants of the Prince Family.
Hazel (Gould) Crawford (and later, Houston) and her husband had two daughters, Bessie (Crawford) Kibbe and Thelma (Crawford) Ulander. Hazel’s first husband was Frank Crawford, who moved to South Dayton from Ohio, as an employee of the Stove Mill Company. After Frank’s death, Hazel married her second husband, Vernon Houston; they had no children. Thelma and her husband lived in Jamestown, New York; they did not have any children.
Bessie (Crawford) Kibbe married James Kibbe, and they had one son, Bryan Kibbe. Both Bessie’s husband and son predeceased her; Bessie lives in Falconer, New York and is 95 years old. Bryan developed multiple sclerosis when he was about three-years-old, and struggled with it throughout his life. He died as a bachelor a few years ago at about age 50. James Kibbe also died a few years ago. There are several Kibbe’s that live in Falconer and throughout the United States. They are all cousins (now far-removed) to my family.
Cousins to my dad on my great grandmother Bertha’s side of the family further include the Curtis’ and Mather’s. One of Nancy Rump’s sisters was Louise (Rump) Curtis. Louise married Albert F. Curtis, and they had two children, John Henry “Henry” Curtis and a woman known as Mrs. George L. (Curtis) Mather – it is possible that her first name was also Louise, just as her mother’s. Henry Curtis never married, and remained a bachelor all of his life. Henry was an army veteran of World War II. Albert and Louise Curtis’ daughter married George L. Mather, and they had two children, Curtis G. Mather and Lettie Mather. Lettie Curtis Mather was born in South Dayton on July 13, 1891 and died in Jamestown, New York on October 9, 1962.
Henry Curtis had been engaged in his early life, though his fiancé broke off the engagement. From what I understand, he became a miserable and unhappy person after that, and seemed to never recover from it. I remember meeting him at my grandmother’s home when I was about 10 years old. All of the other adults did not want me to be around him, and I discovered why – because nearly every other word that he spoke was profanity. He also spoke very loudly, actually shouting, though he may have done so because he was hard of hearing, I don’t know. At that time, he was about 95 years old. I felt sorry for him, and wondered why anyone could be so miserable and unhappy. Henry died when he was 98 years old – the oldest of my known ancestors.
Curtis Mather, the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Mather, worked for an electric company. A tragedy occurred during his work in which he was electrocuted, and died. Therefore, Lettie Mather continued on the descendants of that side of the family. I discovered this upon speaking with the mother of Michael Denea (formerly of Gowanda, New York) when we began talking about family ancestry while I was about 14 years old.
At the time, I was taking summer piano lessons from Michael, who is an accomplished pianist, and now also an attorney, possibly living in Arizona upon my last knowledge. Mrs. Denea informed me that she was a descendant of the Curtis Family, which would make she and her family far-removed cousins of my family. Michael is a fifth cousin to me. Mrs. Denea provided me with several antique bibles that had been kept in her family. She handed them down to me – four bibles – which I still have and maintain.
Going back to the Babcock side of the family, Jonathan and Bertha (Gould) Babcock had three children, including Eunice (Babcock) McEwen Hembury, Louise (Babcock) Heppel, and Charles Albert Babcock (1911-1961). Charles worked at the Ford Motor Company factory in Lackawanna, New York for a few years before becoming employed with the State of New York in Gowanda in the business office of the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. Charles married Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock (and later, Sprague) of North Collins, New York (I have presented photos and information about her and her family in prior posts).
Eunice Babcock married a Mr. McEwen (I don’t know his first name), and they had two sons, Clarence “Clair” McEwen and Leland McEwen. Clair married Mary (I don’t know her maiden name), and they had five children. Their children were Butch, John, Dicky, Betty, and Tom McEwen. When Mr. McEwen died, Eunice married her second husband, Floyd Hembury; they did not have any children.
When I was in my teens, Clair and his son, Tom, visited my family in Collins, New York, having traveled from Pennsylvania. Clair was very elderly at that time, and he had wanted to get in touch with the family in Collins. Likely, Clair died shortly after that; we have not heard from them, nor stayed in touch following that time. I know that Betty married Joe Hembury; Eunice married her second husband, Floyd Hembury after Mr. McEwen died; and Tom McEwen is father to two girls, including Keeley and another daughter whose name I do not remember.
Louise (Babcock) Heppel married George Heppel in Collins, New York; they had no children. My father remembered that Louise had epilepsy, and experienced seizures. He also said that whenever Louise visited his family’s home, George never accompanied her. He said that he never met George during his life. Therefore, we don’t know much of anything about George, and have only one picture that includes him – the wedding picture that includes him with Louise, as well as Charles and Eunice.
Charles A. Babcock married Bernice Gale (Briggs) Babcock (and later, Sprague) (1912-1987). They had one child, a son named, Bruce (born 1943), who is my father. Bruce married Anna Maria (Krakowiak) Babcock (born 1944) in 1963, and they have two children, Michele Elizabeth Babcock-Nice (me) (born 1971) and my brother (born in 1972, who is divorced and does not have children). (I will provide more detail about the Krakowiak Family in another post.)
My dad worked for the State of New York in Gowanda, New York at the Gowanda Psychiatric Center (34 years) and Gowanda Correctional Facility (3 years), once the State Mental Hospital was transitioned into the Gowanda Prison. Nearly the entire time that he worked at the Psychiatric Center, he was a stationary engineer in the Power Plant. My parents also owned and operated a Sears Retail Catalog Store in Gowanda, New York for many years.
I married John Robert Nice, Jr. (born 1966), a high school physics teacher, in 2002. John and his family are from Jacksonville, Florida, though John moved to and has lived in the Atlanta, Georgia area for about 20 years. John has one sister and several half and/or adopted siblings, through the marriages of his parents. John is a graduate of Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute in Rochester, New York. He also attended Florida State University to obtain his teaching certificate. (I will provide more detail about the Nice Family in another post.)
I moved to the Atlanta area for a professional employment opportunity in teaching in 2000. I had interviewed in many states along the East Coast of the United States for full-time work in teaching; DeKalb offered me the best package, and so, I moved to Atlanta. I had been a volunteer, substitute, and short-term substitute teacher in several school districts in Western New York State for a few years, but was not offered any full-time teaching positions there, though I had applied to about one dozen school systems.
Still single, and having no immediate family ties of my own holding me to the Buffalo area, I decided to move since I was in financial need and had no full-time work in my field. After living in Atlanta for about 1.5 years, John and I were introduced to each other, blindly, but through a mutual teaching colleague in the DeKalb County School System. Within 1.5 years of meeting each other, John and I were married. The next year, our wonderful son was born; he is now nearly 11. John divorced from me in 2009, following our separation, totaling 3 years. We have each remained single since then.
I am a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo (University of Buffalo); the State University of New York College at Buffalo (Buffalo State College); and Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I also attended the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland through the University at Buffalo’s Study Abroad Program; and I am currently attending Argosy University in Atlanta. I have two bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree; am certified as a middle grades teacher (grades 4-8) in social studies and science, and in grades 4-12 social studies; and I am pursuing my second master’s degree, this one in counseling. My total teaching experience, including voluntary, substitute, and full-time work, spans 15 years.
Jonathan and Bertha (Gould) Babcock, Alden and Arvilla (Barstow) Gould, and Albert and Nancy (Rump) Gould, are buried in Villenova Cemetery in Balsam, near South Dayton, New York. Clarence and Julia (Gale) Briggs, and Charles Albert Babcock and Bernice Gale (Briggs) Babcock Sprague, are buried in the Protestant Cemetery in North Collins, New York.
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.
This 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.
Michael Denea is my fifth cousin. We are related because my great grandmother Bertha (Gould) Babcock’s mother, Nancy Ann (Rump) Gould, was a sister to his great great grandmother, Louise (Rump) Curtis, on his mom’s side of his family.
Since the captions associated with each of the photos are self-explanatory, I have not added more information to follow each one in this post.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading and understanding more about my family heritage!
Dexter Press, Inc. (West Nyack, NY) and Aerial Surveys, Henry DeWolf (Rochester, NY), 1960-1970. Gowanda Psychiatric Center Aerial View, Helmuth (Gowanda), New York.
Photos and information of Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague, 1860-1987. Collins, New York. Currently the Property of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014). Snellville, Georgia.
Photos and information of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014), 1960-2013. Snellville, Georgia.
Sears Portrait Studio (2003). Photo of Nice Family at Christmas. Conyers, Georgia.
Other photographers of other professional photographs, unknown.
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.
North Collins, New York Photos from Yesteryear (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)
Recently, I was looking through photos of my relatives and ancestors, in order to show and explain to my son about some of his ancestral history. There are many excellent original photographs that I have of people, and groups related to schools and Girl Scouts in North Collins, New York, where my grandmother, Bernice “Bernie” Gale (Briggs) Babcock-Sprague was raised by her parents, Clarence Briggs (of North Collins) and Julia (Gale) Briggs (of Hamburg, New York). My grandmother was born in 1912 and died in 1987.
I also have many great original photos of people, and sports teams in Collins, Collins Center, and Gowanda, New York that I will provide in separate posts. For now, please enjoy viewing these photos from yesteryear. Please note that I have identified as many names of the people in the current photos as possible.
This is a photo of my grandmother when she was 11 years old.
This picture is of my grandparents after they were married.
This picture is of my grandparents with my dad when he was four years old. My grandfather would have been 37 years old in this picture, and my grandmother, 36. They waited until they were older before having a child.
Here is a picture of Main Street in North Collins from 1906. Notice the horse and buggy approaching from the far end of the road.
This is my grandmother’s second grade class in North Collins, New York from 1920. It was the end of the school year at the time this photo was taken. They had school in a one-room schoolhouse.
This is a photo of my grandmother’s Sunday School Class in North Collins, New York from 1923. She was 11 years old. Notice that all of the girls are holding rabbits. I believe they were rabbits from the teacher’s farm, where the photo was taken. The teacher is identified as Mrs. Lee Whaley.
Here is a photo of my grandmother’s first grade class with Miss Rockwell in North Collins from 1918 or 1919. My grandmother is seated at the far left row, in the third desk.
A listing of all but four of the the students in this photo includes the following: (Left to Right, Front to Back): First row: Doris Theil; Loretto Ognibene; Bernice Briggs; Naomi Heim; Joseph Diadoto. Second row: Angeline George; John Alessi; Josephine Tempio; Daniel Mecca; Bertha -; Unknown name; Myrle Long. Third row: Anthony Pelligrino; Elmer Bellanca; Joseph Musacchio; Carmella Cocca; Unknown name; Leonard Long; Harold Titus; Unknown name; Sam Agio; Charles Cocca; Sam Compisi; Ethel Valone; Dominic DeMaria. Fourth row: Anthony Veccio; Woodrow Hunter; Jacob George; Peter Compisi; Milly Long; Unknown name; – Compisi.
Here, the 6th grade class of North Collins is pictured from 1923, with my grandmother seated in the middle row, at the far right. All student in the photo are as follows: (Left to Right, Front to Back): First row: Daniel Mecca; Charles Cocca; Leander Russell; Woodrow Hunter; Jacob George; John Riefel. Second row: Leona Reith; Elton Whaley; George Butler; Louis Taravella; Charles Pelligrina; Sam Compisi; Joseph Valone; Joseph Diadoto; Loretto Ognibene; Salvator Schillace; Paul Burgio; Bernice Briggs. Third row: Wilma Mackey; Josephine Macaluso; Marie Ognibene; Nina LiVieeche; Catherine Compiere; Rose Veccio; Lee Percy; Genevieve Geiger; Anna Vara; Mary Thomas; Marion Mendola; Jennie Vara; Conqetta Savage. The teacher, in the middle, back row is Elmer Stearns.
This photo is of the North Collins High School 8th grade class from 1925. My grandmother is standing, just about in the center of the picture. She was a top honor student all throughout her education.
Students in this picture are: (Left to Right, Front to Back): First row: Jacob George; Woodrow Hunter; Charles Pelligrina; Salvator Schillace; Jacob Scheflin; Sam Compisi; Elton Blakely; Leander Russell; Frederick Teltz; Harold Rebmann; Albert Smith. Second row: Wesley Herman; Elton Whaley; John Reifel; Nina LiVeeche; Catherine Compiere; Josephine Macaluso; Marguerite Lawton; Leona Reith; Bernice Briggs; Wilma Mackey; Madeline Thiel; Genevieve Geiger; Mary Thomas; Loretto Ognibene; Charles Cocca; George Butler; Daniel Mecca. Third row: Mae Rehm (Teacher); Myrle Whaley; – Renaldo; Harlan Penharlow; John Ball; Joseph Diadoto; Louis Taravella.
And, how about this photo of the North Collins Girl Scout Troop 1 from about 1927. My grandmother is standing in the rear at the right, next to the woman holding the trophy.
Pictured are, from left to right, front to back: First row: Jean Thiel; Doris Thiel; Edith Dickman; Margaret Ball; Dorothy Twichell; Jeanette Roeller; Rosemary Hewitt; Emogene Stearns. Second row: Helen Ormsby; Delight Tice; Audrey Mitchell; Marguerite Lawton; Lillian Burnham; Marion North; Leona Reith; Pamelia Ormsby; Bernice Briggs; Jessie Walburg. Third row: Josephine Tempio; Nine LiVieeche; Alice Butler; Elizabeth Thiel; Evelyn Ames; Dorothy Geiger; Genevieve Geiger; Marjorie Tarbox.
Family photos of Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock Sprague from 1918-1948. Collins, New York. Currently the Property of Michele Babcock-Nice (2014). Snellville, Georgia.