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.