Extra Extra, Read All About It

Sometimes when doing family research, I feel like there is a lot of focus on the BMDs – the “born, married died” data. But if a specific person lived a span of years – say 1850—1940, what happened during that “dash” between the dates is probably a lot more interesting than just the birth and death dates. Instead of reading vital records or searching for a name in an index, it is fun to read about a family member in the newspaper.

My subscription to the New England Historical Genealogical Society comes with access to two different sets of old newspapers, from the earliest printed in the US, up to 1900. This is where I found a death date for Daniel Franklin Blood. But I also found information about a cousin, Sarah Beels Proctor, who committed suicide in 1842. I had her death date, but now know a little more about the event. I found a story about Minnie Blood Hayes Royce Royce, who was charged with, but acquitted of theft. These newspapers require payment for access, but there are other sources that are free.

Chronicling America website is part of the Library of Congress and holds digitized newspaper pages from 1860 to 1922. The website also has a newspaper directory that tells about newspapers that have been published since 1690. The website uses OCR to make the papers searchable. OCR means optical character recognition – when the paper is scanned, the story is converted into text that can be cut and pasted into another document. However, it pays to also save a copy of the newspaper image, and compare the text to the original. OCR isn’t exact. For example, the “i” is frequently interpreted as “l” so the word “ride” might be recognized as “rlde”. This site is where I found the story of cousin Fredrick Vroom, actor, and how his 2nd wife shot him for being unfaithful. He took off for the Alaska gold rush, and without a complainant, charges were dropped.  Want to see his most famous silent film “The General”?  It is at Archive.org and you can watch it on your computer at http://www.archive.org/details/TheGeneral1926.  See the newspapers at  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

The University of Pennsylvania has a list of digitized newspapers, sorted by location. I have not checked them all out, but some are free, some are not. (Don’t you hate it when they say “free search”? Of course the search is free, but the results require payment!) Looking in the Florida papers, under St Petersburg, today I found Aunt Etha’s middle name, and the date she became a US citizen. http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/guides/hist/onlinenewspapers.html

Wikipedia also has a list of world-wide newspapers that are available on line, and is more clear about what is free, and what isn’t. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_online_newspaper_archives

You can find even more by googling “historic newspapers”.


Jane Vroom born 29 June 1809

Jane Vroom was born 29 June 1809 in Clements, Nova Scotia, the first of ten children of Henry Vroom and Abigail Ditmars.  The Vroom and Ditmars families were American Loyalists of Dutch descent. 

Jane Vroom wrote a diary, and it is clear that she was a very religious person.  Much of the diary consists of details about church services and preachings and quotes from the bible.  The Diary also includes references to births, marriages, and deaths of family and friends.  I have transcribed the diary.  It is 33 pages long, and I will not include it here, but if you want a copy, please let me know. 

1838 Mar 13 (or 18) Left Clements the place of my nativity to form new acquaintances and friends.  [This probably refers to a move to Wilmot.]

This past winter has been a time of great prosperity to Zion in this place, the latter part of Dec my father and Mr. Samuel Young and a few other commenced to holding prayer meetings once a week at our house (for we are without a chapel).  The people came in from all quarter, we soon found it requisite to have our meetings three times a week, and sometimes 4, when we had preaching, which was seldom.  The house has been filled to overflowing most every night and often we have found it necessary to open doors and windows to get a little air into the house….

Jane’s sister Harriet married Calvin Wheelock in 1839, and they had three children. 

1840  July 5 Our Chapel at Wilmot was opened today.

1845  July 6 Father, Mother, Calvin, and Harriot have gone to Clements to hear the funeral sermon of my dr cousin Isaac Ditmars, a blooming youth drowned on his passage from Boston.

Jane’s father Henry died 3 February 1846 in Middleton. 

1846 Feb 7th Saturday my dear father was burried he had but 9 days of sickness.  Mr. Barrett preached his funeral sermon in the Baptist Chapel, Pine Grove, from Isaiah 38,5.  Mr. Smithson gave an exhortation and Mr. Bill prayed.  There was a very large solemn assembly, a solemn day indeed, death has entered our family the Lord only knows who next shall be called, may the lord help us each to prepare that our end may be peace as was our dear Father’s.

In 1846, Jane travelled to Boston for a church meeting.

1846  Sept 13th Sabbath this morning went to Mr. Taylors church, heard a sermon from John 15, 14… In the afternoon went to south Boston, heard Mr. Pool preach.  14th Monday morning came to Lynn, in the evening set sail for Nova Scotia, arrived safe on Thursday morning, 17th.

Jane’s diary entry regarding her brother (my 3rd great grandfather) John Ditmars Vroom was my source for his death:

1847 Death has entered our family and taken our brother Ditmars, a great sufferer he has been the last 3 years of his life, he died Saturday June the 12th, was burried Monday the 14th.

Apr 29th Saturday accompanied Sister Wheelock and family to Aylesford whither they have moved.

1854  Dec 12 Catherine was married today to Mr. Thomas Raland by Mr. Lockhart.  [Catherine was the widow of Jane’s brother John Ditmars Vroom.]

1857  Harriet died 28 July 1857 in Morristown.  Death has again entered our family, my dear sister Harriet departed this life July 28th she died with a canso in her breast, great were her sufferings for months, which she bore with patience, her end was peace, she was laid by the side of her Father and Brother in Wilmot.  Mr. Engwin preached her funeral sermon.

Three months later, Jane married Calvin Wheelock, and became mother to her sister’s children.  September 26th I took my sisters place, may the Lord help me to be faithful in discharging my duty.

It appears that Jane did not have children of her own, she was 48 when she married. She wrote in her diary infrequently, although she did record deaths, noting diphtheria in the area which claimed four children in one family.  Jane cared for her father-in-law who was part of household, until his death in 1862 at the age of 90.  Her last entry is from June 1863, recording the marriage of her son Wesley. 

Jane died 30 October 1867, and is buried at Pine Grove in Middleton.  She shares a headstone with her sister Harriet and husband Calvin. 


Thomas Roland m Cassie Nichols 28 June 1887

Thomas Roland was born about 1820 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, son of Joseph Roland of Germany, and Olivia Clark of Granville, NS.  The name is also seen as Rhuland and Rholand.  Joseph moved the family to Annapolis County, and he died there about 1841. 

Thomas married Ann Elliot 18 March 1845 in Wilmot, NS.  They had one son, Albert, born in 1845 in Wilmot.  Ann died sometime in or before 1854.  On 12 December 1854, in Wilmot, Thomas married Catherine Jones, widow of John Ditmars Vroom, who had died in 1847.  She had two daughters, 14-year-old Abigail, and 8-year-old Henrietta.  While in Wilmot, Thomas worked as a hatter. 

In 1858, Thomas moved the family to Factorydale by Morristown and purchased a farm.   I have been unable to find the family in the 1861 census.              

In 1871, the family lived in the Morristown area.   The household included Thomas and Catherine, his mother Olivia, and 20-year-old Adelia Roland.  I don’t know who Adelia is, but if she is Thomas’ daughter, her mother would have been Ann, as he didn’t marry Catherine until four years after Adelia was born.  The census did not list family relationships.  The Nova Scotia Directory lists Thomas in 1871 as a farmer.  His property was below the Morristown Baptist Church cemetery (the old side). Thomas’ mother died in 1875, and is in the old Morristown Cemetery.  

In 1881, the family was in Morristown.  The household now included Thomas and Catherine, plus Catherine’s widowed daughter Henrietta Hodges, and grandchildren Etha and Frank Hodges, who had returned to Nova Scotia from Massachusetts.  Catherine died 2 December 1882 in Morristown, and is buried at the old Baptist cemetery.  They had been married 28 years and been the step-parents for each other’s children.

On 15 May, 1883, Thomas married Mary Jane Foster, widow of Frederick Benedict.  Mary Jane died 16 May 1886. 

On 28 June 1887, Thomas married Cassie Nichols in Auburn NS.  She is listed as a widow,  the daughter of Gilbert and Mary. The record doesn’t list their last names, so I don’t know if Nichols is her maiden name or her married name. 

In the 1891 census, Thomas and Cassie were living in Millville (Morristown area).  He is listed as a farmer.    

Thomas died 29 December 1895 in Morristown, and is buried in the old Baptist cemetery, next to his mother and wife Catherine. 

Cassie Roland traveled to Boston arriving 3 May 1900.  She travelled on the ship “Prince Arthur” from Yarmouth.  She was counted in the 1901 census living with George and Martha spinney in Kingston NS, occupation domestic, retired.  I was not able to find her in the 1911 census.

Cassie died 2 December 1912 in Waterville, and is buried at Greenwood.  The death record doesn’t list parents, but cause of death was apoplexy.

Helen Marie Brooks d 27 June 1927

Helen Marie Brooks was born 27 January 1899, in Bartlett, NH.  She was the fourth child of Nelson Cleveland Brooks and Elizabeth B Cota.  Nelson worked in a barrel factory, and Elizabeth worked in a peg mill.  Shoe pegs were small pieces of hardwood, about the diameter of a wooden match, that were used to attach the sole of a shoe to the upper part.  Helen’s brother Harvey died young, so she grew up with sisters Inez and Althea. Family lore is that Helen was somewhat of a surprise baby, as she came along nine years after the next oldest.  The family lived in Bartlett at the time of the 1900 census.  

Helen’s father died of Brights disease when she was only two years old.  Her mother married William Philips in 1904, but her Helen’s stepfather died in 1905 of pneumonia.  Elizabeth married Willis Nash in 1909, and this was the father figure for Helen, and called grandpa by her children.  In some records, she is called Helen Nash.

By 1910, Willis, Lizzie, and Helen were living in Plainfield NH.  Her sisters had moved out of the household by this time. 

On 9 April 1915, Helen married George Henry Laber, son of Frank T Labor and Lizzie LaClair.  George had previously been married to Effie Chapman, but that marriage ended in divorce. 

In 1916, they lived with Helen’s mother, at 11 Mahan, in Lebanon.  In 1918, they lived at 7 Foundary Street, according to George’s WW1 draft registration.  He was listed as an unemployed machinist. 

In 1920, Helen and George lived at 112 School Street in Lebanon, with their year-old daughter [name withheld, still living].  George was a machinist in a machine shop.  In 1921, Helen and George had a son, Edmond.  He only lived nine months.  Cause of death was “fermentative diarrhea”.  A book on feeding infants, published in 1917, says that this can be caused by a combination of heat (much more common in summer) and may be related to unpasteurized or unsterilized milk.  Edmund was buried at Glenwood Cemetery.  Helen had two more children, Althea Elizabeth (1922-1989) and George Edward (1927-2007).  Helen worked in the area mills.

The following is based on information provided by one of Helen’s children:  In 1926, Helen was seven months pregnant and weighed around 200 pounds. She slipped and took a bad fall on the ice hitting her head against the ground. A short time later, the daughters caught the measles and passed it on to Helen. She was so badly infected that she nearly died and the skin on her face looked raw. When George Edward was born in January of 1927, he was the first child that she had not been able to nurse. With an eight year old, a four year old and a three month old baby, they moved back to the farm which had no lights, running water or plumbing. The big barn out back had just blown down, and there were no friends or anyone close by to talk too. George Henry had to leave early and travel over dirt roads to get to and from work often getting home late in the evening.   Helen began to get what was called “felons” on her fingers…pus sacks around the fingernails…and used home remedy cures rather than see a doctor. She also began to get headaches so bad that her mother Lizzie agreed to come and stay with her. The combination of all these problems resulted in the situation which awakened George Henry one evening when he heard the sound of a gunshot and found Helen laying outside on the step with a wound in her head. He dragged her inside and tried to stop the bleeding but had to drive to the nearest house a half-mile away or better just to call the doctor and the sheriff.

Helen’s death was recorded as a suicide which may have been the case, since there were reportedly two previous unsuccessful attempts.  Her poor health record and the post partum depression, an illness of which people knew very little about at the time, may have contributed to the cause. It is also important to indicate that the house had been empty for about three or four years and occasionally hobos and transients would occupy the house, since there was evidence of prowlers. This is possibly why George Henry had kept a loaded gun in the bureau.

I do not have a burial location for Helen.  George remarried, and died in 1944 in Lebanon.  His second wife reportedly honored his request to be buried with his wife and son Edmund, so they should all be at Glenwood. 


Elizabeth Cota d 26 June 1940

Elizabeth Cota was born 18 April, 1858, the first of eight children of Henry Cota and Elizabeth LaClair, in Essex, VT.  The family was counted in the 1860 census in that town.  Henry was a railroad laborer, and had real estate valued at $300, with personal property valued at $100.  The household included the Lewis and Julia Leade family, and the Nichols family, but in 1860, relationships were not noted in the census. 

Henry and Betsey moved their family 100 miles back to their hometown of Milton, Quebec, and the family was recorded there in the 1871 Canada census.  The family now included Elizabeth’s siblings:  Mary Jane, William, Martha, and Cordelia. 

Elizabeth’s family was in the 1880 census in Hartford VT, but Elizabeth was not with them.  There is an Elizabeth Cota working as a house servant in Ferrisburgh VT who is about the right age to be this person.  There is a story that she fell in love at sixteen and wanted to marry but her parents refused permission.  She and other siblings worked to help support the family. 

In the 1880 census, Nelson Brooks was working in a peg mill in Bartlett, VT.  Mary Cota (probably Elizabeth’s sister) was also boarding at the same house.  Perhaps she introduced them.  The census was taken on or around 14 June 1880, so Elizabeth and Nelson were married after that.  probably in 1880 or 1881, and probably in Bartlett.  Nelson and Elizabeth had four children.  Son Harvey Fred was born in 1883, and died young.  The other children were Inez Fannett (1886-1964), Althea Eloise (1890-1983), and Helen Marie (1899-1927) who married George Laber. 

By 1899 Lizzie and Nelson had settled in Bartlett, New Hampshire. Nelson worked in a barrel factory; Lizzie worked in the peg mill.  This was probably Kearsage Peg Mill, which made hardwood shoe pegs. 

The 1900 census lists Elizabeth and Nelson living in Bartlett NH.  He worked as a day laborer.  The record confirms four children born, and three still living. 

Nelson died 18 April 1901 of chronic Bright’s disease (kidney failure).  On 17 April 1904, Elizabeth married William Philips in Glen, NH.  William was a painter, son of Robert Phillips and Caroline Famler (Farmer?) from Lowell, MA.  This was the second marriage for both, as he was divorced and she was widowed.  Sadly, William died on 8 November, 1905, of pneumonia, in Bartlett.  It appears that they had no children together.

On 2 November 1909, Elizabeth married Willis C Nash, in Meriden, NH.  He was a farmer, the son of Fields Nash and Jane Walker.  Willis had previously been married to Ellen Johnson, but she had died of tuberculosis in 1907. 

The 1910 census shows them in the nearby town of Plainfield, and the household included Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, Helen.  Willis operated a truck garden.  Elizabeth and Willis were still together in 1920, living at 11 Mahan Street in Lebanon.  Willis was a piecer in a woolen mill. Elizabeth’s daughter Helen had married George Laber.  George’s sister Lana (and husband Tim Woodward and three children) were living with Elizabeth.  Tim was a weaver in a woolen mill.  Lana was a stitcher in an overall shop – perhaps with Elizabeth’s sister Martha who lived next door.

The Lebanon town report shows that Willis Nash died 7 August 1920.  Cause of death and place of burial were not recorded. 

On 30 April 1922, Elizabeth married Albert E Tibbits.  He was 73, born in Barre, Canada, and retired. He was the son of William Tibbitts and Eliza Bennett.  This was his second marriage (his first wife had died) and Elizabeth’s 4th.    This marriage ended in divorce about 1926.

Albert died 16 June 1928 in Keene.  He had been a harness maker, and died of pneumonia. 

In 1930, Elizabeth Tibbetts was living in Lebanon.  Her house was valued at $1000, and she had no occupation listed.  The address is hard to read, but might be #11 Hanover Street.   

Elizabeth died 26 June 1940, in Lebanon.

Ella Lillian Tourville born 25 Jun 1882

Ella Tourville was born 25 June 1882, at Tennessee Pass in Eagle County, Colorado.  Her parents were Charles Tourville and Maria Langevin.  Charles and Mary were still in Chateaugay NY on 16 June 1880, when the census was taken, with Ella’s older brothers: Henry, Willie, John, and George.  Shortly thereafter, the family moved from New York to the area of Leadville CO, and Ella was their first child born in the west.  The historian at the Catholic Church in Leadville had records showing that Ella was christened as Helen, and guessed that this was because the officials thought she should have a “good Catholic name”. 

The Colorado state census, taken in 1885 shows the Tourville family in Eagle County.  Her father was a charcoal burner.  The family included siblings Charles H, William, John, and a younger 1-year-old brother George.  It appears that her first brother with that name died, and a subsequent little brother was given his name.  Sadly, that second George also died young, at age 2, and is buried at Leadville.  The 1887 Colorado State Directory lists the Tourvilles as living in Cooper.  After working his charcoal business for the mines, Ella’s parents homesteaded in the Edwards area.

On 10 July 1899, when Ella was 17, she married Thomas William Pallister in Minturn CO.  He was the son of John Pallister and Sarah Maughan.  Thomas was born in England, and came with his parents and brothers to Colorado about 1886. 

In 1900, Ella and Thomas lived in Lakes, with their daughter Hannah, who was born in May.  They lived next door to her in-laws, John and Sarah Pallister and Thomas’ brothers, and near her parents Charles and Mary, and her brother Charles and Versalia.   Thomas was a farm laborer. 

It appears that Ella had a rocky marriage, at least to start, as only a few months after Hannah was born, the following notice was published:  1900 – Aug 18, Eagle County Times, Red Cliff

NOTICE:  To whom it may concern–My wife Ella Pallister having left my bed and board without just cause or provocation; I hereby warn all persons against harboring or trusting her at my expense.  Thomas Pallister, Edwards, Colo., August 15, 1900.  They apparently reconciled, and eventually had a total of 13 children.  I have only identified eleven or twelve. 

In 1910, she lived at East New Castle, Garfield Co, CO with husband and children. Thomas worked at odd jobs.  The census reports that she has had five children, four still living.   My records do not have a child listed who died before 1910, so that would probably be the unidentified child.  In 1916, Ella’s son Dick was struck by lightning and nearly killed during a severe thunderstorm as he was rushing home from school.    

By 1920, Ella and Thomas had purchased a small general farm, and were living in Lakes.  Her daughter Hannah was married and son Richard and daughter Nellie were living with Hannah.  Son Thomas was living with her parents in Glenwood Springs.   Ella’s three-year-old son Charles had died.  William, Margaret, and Ethel were in the household with Ella and Thomas.  They lived next door to his mother Sarah Pallister

In 1930 Ella and Thomas were still working their farm in West Lakes Creek.  The children at home were Margaret, Ethel, Lola L, Lucile F, and Grandville A, who was 3 years, four months old.  Grandville is another of my questioned children for Ella.  Doing the math from the date of the census would make him born about December 1926.  But I also have a Glen A Pallister  born in 1927. I’m not sure if Grandville and Glen are the same person.  If so, I still have another unidentified child to identify for Ella’s family, as both her obituary, and her husband’s say there were thirteen.

Ella died 5 September 1936, and her obituary was posted on Rootsweb:  PALLISTER, Ella – Friends and neighbors of the PALLESTER family of West Lake creek were both surprised and shocked to learn of the death of Mrs. Tom PALLISTER last Saturday evening. Mrs. PALLISTER was stricken suddenly and her husband and a neighbor, Bill DeGRAW had started to bring her to a doctor in Eagle, when she died in Mr. PALLISTER’S arms before they had more than got started. The physicians pronounced the cause of her death to be heart trouble. Ella Lillian TOURVILLE was born on June 25, 1882, at Tennessee Pass, and died at her home on West Lake creek in Eagle county, Saturday evening, September 5, 1936, at the age of 54 years, 2 months and 19 days.

She was married to Thos. PALLISTER July 10, 1899. To this union were born thirteen children, of whom ten are left to mourn her death, as follows: Mrs. Hannah MATNEY, Eagle, Colo.; Richard PALLISTER, San Ann, Calif.; Thomas PALLISTER, California; Mrs. Nellie DAY, Wolcott, Colo.; William PALLISTER, Edwards, Colo.; Mrs. Margaret SCHOENFIELD, Cripple Creek, Colo.; Mrs Ethel ROBINSON, Edwards, Colo.; Miss Lola PALLISTER, Lucile PALLISTER, and Master Glen PALLISTER, of the home near Edwards, Colo.; besides an aged mother, Mrs. Mary TOURVILLE, of Glenwood Springs, Colo.; one brother, Wm. TOURVILLE, Salida, Colo.; a brother, John TOURVILLE, Glenwood Springs, and a sister, Mrs. Carrie DORSEY of Findley, Ohio. One brother, Henry TOURVILLE, passed away in Oklahoma in 1911. There are also five grandchildren, besides a host of neighbors who mourn her passing. The community was sadly stricken when Mrs. PALLISTER was taken from its midst. She was a kind, patient, loving wife and mother, never complained with all the pains and aches which we all seem to have. Funeral services attended by a large concourse of neighbors were held at the Edwards hall Wednesday afternoon, September 9, Rev. Mr. McDIVITT conducting the services, and the body was laid to rest in the Edwards cemetery.

Ella’s niece Loretta wrote in a letter in 1974: Ella married a poor farmer by the name of Pallister.  They were wealthy in children only.  There were 8 or 9 kids.  Poor soul, she lived miserably all her life, never having known even one luxury in her life.

Many of the Pallister family are buried at Edwards cemetery.  This is a small and poorly maintained cemetery near Berry Creek Middle School.  There are graves in a chain link enclosure.  The Pallisters are behind that.   It appears that someone has inventoried the cemetery, as there are now 136 names for this cemetery on Find-A-Grave, most just added this week.  There is a Leonard Pallister 1921-1922, with no family links listed.  This could also be one of Ella’s children, as I have not found indications that Thomas’ brothers married or had children.  There is also a James Torval, with dates or family links listed.   This is probably supposed to be Tourville, but I don’t really know who he is.

Frederick William Vroom died 24 June 1942


Frederick Vroom was born 11 November 1857 in Clementsport, Nova Scotia, the first of at least five children of Albert Douglas Vroom and Charlotte Maria Morse.  The family was counted in the 1871 census in Clementsport.  Their religion was Wesleyan Methodist, and they were of Dutch descent – their ancestors were Loyalists from New York and New Jersey.

The Vroom family moved to Boston, and Fred and his brother Otis arrived in Boston, from Bear River NS, on the schooner “Alert”.  Frederick’s father died there in 1874.   Frederick became a naturalized citizen on 9 October 1879 at the US Circuit Court in Boston.   I have not yet found Frederick in the 1880 census.  His mother and two siblings lived in Pennsylvania, but he was not with them.

William married Georgianna F Wheeler on 17 September 1883 in Melrose.  The marriage was also recorded in Boston.  Georgianna was 31, the daughter of Gardner and Sarah Wheeler and a resident of Melrose. He was 25, a clerk, and a resident of Boston.  This was the first marriage for both.

Frederick took up the profession of Shakespearian actor.  Browsing old newspapers, I found a lot of references to plays where Frederick was one of the supporting actors – never the headliner, but always in the upper part of the cast.

The earliest reference I found was in the Boston Daily Advertiser of 15 January 1887, which said that Lawrence Barrett’s troupe was performing Rienze.  In February they were in Chicago, and in March they visited Milwaukee.

In October of 1886, Frederick played Popilius Lenas in Julius Caesar.  Edwin Booth played Brutus.  Edwin Thomas Booth was the famous actor who toured throughout America and the capitals of Europe, performing Shakespearean plays.  He is also remembered as the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln.

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported a slightly different kind of story on 5 November 1887.  A young lady answered an advertisement to become an actress.  She contacted the alleged theatrical agent, and paid him a $10 security, went home to wait to hear from him.  “Mr. Frederick Vroom, of the Booth and Barrett Company, happened to be boarding at the house.  Vroom told her that she was a dupe, and went with her and made the phony agent give back the money.”  She filed charges, and the man was arrested.

On 07 Feb 1888, the Daily Picayune (New Orleans) reported that the Booth-Barrett troupe was in town presenting Othello.  Frederick played Gratiano.

In June of 1889, the troupe was in Portland, OR, presenting As You Like It, with Frederick playing Adam.  In July they were in Denver, and in September, they were in Chicago.

On 19 October 1889, The New York Times reported that Much Ado About Nothing would be presented at the Broadway Theater, Mr. Booth will act Benedict and Mme Blodjeska will be  Beatrice.  The part of Leonato was to be performed by Frederick Vroom.

At the end of September 1890 the troupe was in Milwaukee presenting Hamlet.  In November, they were in Baltimore with Othello, the Moor of Venice – Iago played by Edwin Booth.  Montano by Frederic Vroom, Ludovico by Edward Vroom (Frederick’s brother.)

On 25 Jan 1891, the New York Times reported the play “Guido Ferranti” was to be presented, and Frederic Vroom was to play Simone Gesso. In April 1891 the group was in Philadelphia to present a military play called Shiloh.

In 1893, Frederick was touring with Thos. W Keene, the star of Richard the Third.  Frederick played the Duke of Buckingham, and the newspaper stated that he had been in Edwin Booth’s company for many years.

In 1894, the Newark (OH) Daily Advocate advertised an upcoming performance with Walker Whiteside, and Frederick was a supporting actor.   In October of 1895, the group was in Portland OR presenting a biographical play about Edgar Allen Poe.

On April 22, 1896, a Philadelphia newspaper reported activities planned to celebrate the birthday of Shakespeare.  Frederick was going to help present a scene from Hamlet.  The newspaper also mentioned that he was travelling with his wife.

In June 1897, Frederick was in Atlanta in the Merchant of Venice, playing Antonio. In October of 1898, Frederick was travelling with Madam Modjeska to Lincoln NB to present Cleopatra.  Madame Modjeska was a well-known actress from Poland.

On 7 April 1898, Frederick married Grace A Addison, in Louisville, KY.  She was also an actress, and they formed their own company of actors.  A story published in Reno in the summer of 1899 stated that the Vroom-Addison Company would be coming to the Opera house next month.  Frederick Vroom was a member of Lawrence Barrett’s company five years, and Miss Grace Addison was a member of the company headed by Jodjeska.  They have an excellent repertoire and will appear here about the middle of next month.  A few weeks later, the paper published an  ad for Mr. Frederick Vroom & Miss Grace Addison and their company of 14 talented players, presenting a charming and picturesque comedy called “The Duke’s Pledge, plus “Pygmalion and Galatea” and “Love and Duty” admission 25, 50, and 75 cents.  The performance apparently went well, as Frederick got good reviews:  The Vroom Addison company  presented the comedy of “Pygmalion and Gallatea” to a delighted audience at McKissick’s Opera House last evening.  Mr. Frederic Vroom gave immediate satisfaction in his portrayal of Pygmalion, the Athenian sculpter, and his grace, tone of voice, and precision of action made his character harmonize and blend with artistic taste. 

On 13 May, 1900, the newspaper San Francisco Call reported that Grace shot Frederick.  She had suspected him of being unfaithful, and had a detective follow him.  She learned that he was allegedly involved with another actress from their company.  Grace confronted the other actress and at gunpoint, obtained a confession from her.  She then confronted husband, who allegedly struck her.  She in turn, shot him.  Friends took him to a doctor, and she went to her sister’s home.  The shooting was not reported to the police, but did get reported in the newspaper.  Grace turned herself in to the police, but she apparently gave a convincing performance as the Judge only ordered a $25 bail, and police took her home to get the money.  Frederick apparently left on an already planned trip to Cape Nome by way of Seattle, and did not stay in San Francisco to swear a complaint.  Grace also blamed Frederick for losing about $3000 that she had put into the company, because his misconduct caused the company to disband and she lost her money.  The next day, the “other woman” gave her statement to the newspaper, denying that no illicit relations existed between her and Actor Vroom.  She said she only confessed because she feared for her life.   Grace later denied even having a revolver with her when she confronted Maud Morell and extracted her confession.   The same paper reported on 25 May 1900 that Grace sailed north to Nome to join a theatrical company.  I wonder at the coincidence as this was also supposedly Frederick’s destination when he left San Francisco.

I was not able to find Frederick  in the 1900 census.  Perhaps he was on his way to Alaska and didn’t get counted.  I did find a Mrs. Grace Vroom, born Oct 1856 in Ohio, no occupation listed, in Seattle at Arlington Docks.  There were no other family members with her.  It appeared to be mostly single people, many miners and prospectors perhaps waiting to go to Alaska.  The census was dated 18 June 1900, just a few weeks after the news report that she was headed north.   I found no more references to the shooting, so perhaps, as predicted, charges were dropped for lack of a complaining party.  I found no more records for Grace Addison Vroom.

A news item dated 28 August 1907 in the Oakland (CA) Tribute reported that Frederick Vroom was a guest at Hotel Touraine.  The item didn’t mention whether his wife was still with him.

I have not yet located Frederick in the 1910 census.  However, his brother Otis died in 1910 in Pennsylvania, and that obituary says that brothers Frederick W and Edward J were living in New York.

When Frederick arrived in California, he began working as a film director, with The Tie That Binds in 1914.  He soon returned to acting, this time in motion pictures.  The newspapers began advertising his films, rather than plays.  Frederick was functioning as stage manager for the Thanhouser film company, later heading the company’s West Coast troupe from 1913 to 1914. Vroom’s screen-acting career began around 1912 with “The Forest Rose” and continued to 1939 with an uncredited role in the James Stewart movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

In 1916, the California voter registrations list Frederic Vroom living in the Malibu precinct on Sycamore road, working in motion pictures.  He was a Republican.  He did not have a wife listed.  Others on the page listed both spouses, so I suspect that he was again divorced and  had not yet remarried.  I have not found a death or remarriage record for first wife, Georgianna, and did find someone in the 1920 and 1930 censuses in Boston who matches her.   She died in 1931 in Boston.

On 11 January 1914 in Los Angeles, Frederick married Florence Estelle Peck.  She was the widow of Rodney Newton Parks, and had three grown children.  She was a musician and music teacher.

Frederick and Florence were in the 1920 census.  They lived in a rented home at 1856 West 11th Street in Los Angeles.  He was an actor in motion pictures, and she was a voice teacher.  He reported coming to the US in 1870, and becoming a naturalized citizen in 1879.  He was actually about a year off but still did pretty well, considering it happened 40 to 50 years earlier.

The 1921 Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual listed Frederick.  Apparently he had worked for several different studios since moving to California.

1921 Nov 17 Trenton (NJ) Evening Times – Frederick Vroom, former Shakespearian player, and for the last eight years a photo-play actor, with more than 300 appearances in presentation of the largest concerns to his credit, is to be the director general of the new enterprise.  Their plan was to make short films about Bible subjects.  The article says Mr. Vroom won distinction with his appearances with Edwin Booth and Lawrence Barrett from 1886 to 1891.  He became affiliated with the film industry about ten years ago as a director, but later became an actor.  He has appeared with practically all of the leading film stars.  At the time of this article, he was with Paramount studios.

The California voter registration for 1922, 1928, 1930, and 1932 listed Frederick Vroom actor, and Mrs. Florence Parks Vroom, musician, living at 1210 Flores street, both were Republicans.

In 1924, Frederick was in the Buster Keaton film The Navigator, playing “the girl’s father.”  In 1927, he was again with Buster Keaton in “The General” playing a southern civil war general, and not the title role, which was actually a locomotive.  These are probably his two most well known roles, and can be seen on television from time to time.

The 1930 census shows that Frederic and Florence Lived at 1210 Flores, in Beverly Hills, in a house valued at $18,000, the most expensive on this page.  His occupation was actor in pictures.  She was a teacher of music and reading.

Florence died 15 April 1932 in Los Angeles.  The 1934 CA voter registration shows Frederick still at 1210 N Flores.

The 5 April 1935 Oakland Tribune has a grainy photo of Vroom and other dignitaries in a beer-testing event.  They voted that Brown Derby Beer was most like pre-prohibition Pilsner.  Apparently it was more advertisement than news, as the story was repeated several times.

On 5 February 1938, the Los Angeles times reported that Frederic W. Vroom, 80, 1210 Flores Street, and Geraldine Baker, 69, 33 Highgate Street, Boston Mass had purchased a marriage license.  I do not have the actual date of marriage.  Geraldine was the daughter of John Mechan and Mary McTaggart, and she was born in 1864 in Newark NJ.  She was previously married to Leighton Baker.   The 1940 census lists the couple at 842 Hudson, with his occupation as “charactor actor” in motion pictures.

Frederick died of a heart attack on 24 June 1942 in Beverly Hills.  Obituary:  Funeral services for Frederic William Vroom, 84, Shakespearean actor who toured with Edwin Booth 60 years ago, will be conducted privately at Pierce Bros. Hollywood Chapel.  Interment will be in Valhalla Cemetery.  Vroom was said to have been an organizer of one of the first motion-picture companies here, located in the Hollenbeck district.  Later he was with D.W. Griffith and the old Essanay Co.   In recent years he had been a character actor.  Vroom died at his home, 832 N Hudson Avenue., Wednesday, leaving his widow, Geraldine Vroom. 

Frederick was buried at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood.

Geraldine Vroom died 11 February 1955 in California.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0904143/ has a list of Frederick Vroom’s films. Thanhouser is now a film preservation organization specializing in the early silent film era.

Martha E Josephine Cota died 23 June 1941

Martha Cota was born 6 October 1866, probably in Essex VT, although some records give her a birthplace of Canada.  Her parents were Henry Cota and Elizabeth LaClair.  Elizabeth Laclair was sometimes called Lizzie, which caused some confusion in sorting out family stories relating to Lizzie Laclair Labor.  They are not the same person, this Elizabeth is 30 years older, but I haven’t researched her family to see how far back I would have to go before I found them to be related.  Martha had seven brothers and sisters, and probably most or all were born in Vermont.

Martha’s sister Cora was born in 1869 in Essex, and sometime after she was born, Henry moved the family 100 miles northwest to the parish of Ste Cécile de Milton in Quebec.  Henry was a farmer, and the family members were listed as Henry Cóté 34, Félisité Coté 32, Elizabeth Coté 13, Mary Jane Coté 11, Wm Henry Coté 6, Martha Coté 4, and Cordélia Coté 1.  Milton Corner had been established by British colonists about 1825, but they were soon replaced by a tide of migrating French Canadians. Settlers arrived from neighboring parishes, and the States, and in 1864 they founded the municipality of Sainte-Cécile-de-Milton, which became the first Catholic parish in the Shefford county.  

Martha’s parents moved back to Vermont, and her brother George was born in 1872, sister Etta in 1875, both in Vermont, and Lilla in 1878 in Bartlett NH.  The family moved to Hartford VT and was counted there in 1880. 

At age 16, Martha married Charles H Nye on 18 January 1883 in Hanover NH. On the record, she stated that she was a residence of Hartford, and that she was 21 and he was 22. He was the son of Charles D Nye and Emma Laura Bishop and born in Norwich VT.   It was the first marriage for both.  According to the 1870 census, he was actually born in 1863, so was only 20.   

That marriage was short-lived, and at age 17, Martha (called Mattie in the record) married William John on 20 May 1884 in Concord NH.   He was 31, she claimed she was 19, both were residing in Concord, and this was the second marriage for both. He was a laborer, she did not list an occupation. The index card did not say whether the bride or groom were widowed or divorced. William was the son of Charles and Sophia John. This may be the same family as William St John, born in 1849, living in Granville VT in 1860, with parents Charles and Sophia St John.  If this is the same person, then he was actually 35 when he married Martha. 

I am not aware of any children born from either marriage. 

About 1893, Martha married Harrison Woodward.  His wife had died in October of 1893, leaving him with seven children, the youngest being Timothy who was only 3 when his mother died.  I have not yet found a marriage record, but they were probably married in Lebanon as that is where Harrison’s first wife died. 

The 1900 census shows the family in Lebanon.  Harrison and 18-year-old son Thomas were peddlers although the census doesn’t say what thet sold.  Martha kept house, and Tim was at school.  This census says that they were married seven years, and she had had no children.   

In 1910, the family was living on Mehan Flat in Lebanon.  Harrison was 73, and did not list an occupation.  Martha was 43 and working as a seamstress in an overall shop.  Also in the family was Etta Woodward.  Etta was Martha’s younger sister, and she had married Harrison’s son Leon, thus becoming Martha’s step-daughter-in-law as well.  Etta’s daughter Eva was in the household (Martha’s niece and step granddaughter).  Tim Woodard, Harrison’s youngest child, was the final family member. 

The 1920 census shows the family still on Mahan Street.  Family members include Harrison age 80, Martha age 53 and a stitcher in an overall shop, plus Mary Sloan (Martha’s older sister) and a boarder named Peter Rolly.  Next door to Martha is her sister Elizabeth with third husband Willis Nash.  The Nash household at 11 Mahan Street included Harrison’s son Tim, with his wife Lana (Labor) and their three children.  Coincidentally, Elizabeth and her first husband Nelson Brooks had a daughter Helen, who married Lana’s brother George Laber. 

Harrison died 12 December 1925, at age 85 in Lebanon from bronchitis and general arteriosclerosis. He was buried at Glenwood, in Lebanon. 

The 1930 census shows Martha living alone at the house on Mahan Flat.  The house was valued at $2000, and she owned a radio set.  She still worked as a stitcher in the overall factory.  It appears that she reported her age at first marriage as 18.  Her sister Elizabeth Tibbets, married for the fourth time and now divorced, lived a couple houses away.   

Martha died 23 Jun 1941 in Lebanon at the age of 74.  Cause of death was coronary thrombosis and arteriosclerosis.  Informant for the death certificate was her sister Etta (now Plastridge).  She was buried at Glenwood, in Lebanon.

Clarence Alvin Royce born 22 June 1885

Clarence Royce was born 22 June 1885, in Chelsea VT, son of Calvin Dexter Royce and Mariette E Blood.  As far as I know, he is the only child of this couple.  Mariette was divorced from George Hayes in 1883, but there is some question about whether she ever married Calvin Dexter Royce.  However, in Calvin’s death record, he listed his wife as Mary Hayes.  Clarence’s father Calvin was a farmer. 

In 1900, Clarence was living with his mother (recorded as Minnie) in Camden, Maine.  Her occupation was listed as housework.  Next door is Clarence’s half-sister Grace Simmons.  Minnie had married Dexter Walter Royce in 1895, but it looks like she is listed as widowed.  Perhaps they were just separated at the time.  (Calvin Dexter Royce was Dexter Walter Royce’s uncle.)

Clarence was listed in the 1906, 1908, 1909 and 1912 Quincy MA city directory as boarding with Dexter Royce at 75 Bay View Avenue.  Wives weren’t listed in the city directory, but it is likely that Clarence’s mother was there as well, as she was listed in the 1910 census at that location with Dexter W and Clarence.  Clarence worked as a shipper in a store. 

On 16 October 1912 in Somerville, MA, Clarence married Catherine May Hunt, daughter of James Hunt and Alice Maurzerall.  They were from New Brunswick but had moved to Somerville a few years earlier.  Catherine was a sales lady in a dry goods store.  Clarence was a machinist.  In 1914, Clarence and Catherine lived at 12 Cedar, in Somerville.   

Clarence registered for the draft for WWI, from Somerville, but I have no record that he served in the military.  They were living at 27 Sumner. 

In 1920, Clarence and Catherine were counted in the census, still living on Sumner in Somerville.   Clarence was a dry goods salesman. 

Clarence died 9 August 1926 in Somerville.  I do not have a death record, but his death was listed in the Somerville city directory.  Catherine was listed as late as the 1940 Somerville directory (the last year of the directories on Ancestry), living at 14 Josephine, but I do not have a death record for her.  I found no record of any children for Clarence and Catherine.

Wright A Taylor d 21 Jun 1937

Wright A Taylor was born in June of 1852 in Hatley, Quebec, son of Horace Taylor and Elsie B Fowler.  The 1861 census lists the family in Hatley.  Horace was a farmer, and they lived in a 1 ½ story single-family frame home.  Religion was recorded as “Independent”.  The family was still in Hatley in 1871, but this time reported their religion as Church of Christ.  The family moved to the US in 1873. 

Wright married Fanny Elizabeth Hall on 25 February in Hanover NH.  She was the daughter of William Hall and Almeda Waterhouse.  Wright was a farmer.   

In 1880, Wright and Fanny were living with her parents in Hanover.  He was a farm laborer.  In 1900, Wright and Fanny were living in Hanover, no address listed.  He was a merchant.  The census record indicates that Wright and Fannie had no children.  

In 1910, Wright and Fanny lived at 63 Marginal Street in Marshfield, MA.  Wright was a salesman in a general store.  William and Almeda lived with them.    William and Almeda died, and Wright and Fanny moved back to Lebanon.  They lived at 94 Hanover Street, and he was a napper at a woolen mill.  Fannie died in 1920 of heart disease.  

By 1922, Wright moved to 152 Hanover Street.  He was listed there in the 1930 census.  His home was valued at $3000, and Wright was a travelling salesman.  Wright died 21 June 1937 in Hanover.  He and other family members are buried at the cemetery in Etna, and are on Find-A-Grave. 


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