Alvin Merrill Vroom died 3 November 1942

Alvin Vroom was born 27 May 1857, son of Isaac Ditmars Vroom and Mary Ann Hall.  The Vrooms were Dutch Loyalists who moved to Nova Scotia during and after the Revolutionary War.  Alvin’s mother died when he was about five, and his father married his cousin Saraphina Augusta Ditmars. 

The 1871 census lists Alvin living with his father, step-mother, sister Florence, and half-sister Mary, at Hessian Line, in Annapolis County.  Isaac was a farmer, and the family was Weslyan Methodist.  Hessian Line was the southern part of Clements Township, and was named for an area of land grants given to Hessian soldiers who served on the English side in the American Revolution.   

On 19 January 1881, in Hillsburgh, Alvin married Edna Purdy, daughter of William Purdy and Celia Wright.  This was probably the first marriage for both.  They were counted in the 1881 census living in Hillsburg, listed as Methodist, Dutch, and Alvin was a shingle maker.  The 1890 Nova Scotia directory lists Alvin as a mason, living in Deep Brook.  The 1891 census lists them in Hillsburgh.  Alvin was a blacksmith, and the family included their three children:  Mildred (1885-1970), Clifford (1887-1966) and Fredrick (1889-1970).  Edna’s mother lived with them. 

On 7 October 1891, the Vroom family arrived in Boston from Yarmouth, NS, on the ship SS Boston.  Alvin was listed as a mechanic. 

The SS Boston was a new ship, built the year before, and was rated as the fastest single-screw steamer of her dimensions, in the world.  The SS Boston often carried shipments of blueberries.  To learn about the blueberry shipping and marketing, and see a photo of the SS Boston, go to    

The family settled in Exeter NH, and the 1900 census shows them at 8 Centre Street.  Alvin was a blacksmith, and Mildred, Clifford, and Frederick were attending school.  This record says that Edna had four children, three still living, but I have not found the name of the fourth child.  (8 Center street is now the address for Exeter Big Brothers and Sisters and is probably a new building, not the original house.)

Alvin became a naturalized citizen in 1903, renouncing his allegiance to Edward VII and Great Britain (Canada) in favor of US citizenship. 

The 1904, 1905, and 1907 Exeter city directories list Alvin M Vroom with a blacksmith shop on Court Street at the corner of Bow, with a home at 5 Gill.   The house currently with that address is a large 5 bedroom home and supposedly built in 1900.  If this was their house, it would seem that the family was doing well. 

The 1910 census lists the family at 94 Front Street in Exeter.   Alvin continued to work as a blacksmith, but his wife and three children, now in their twenties, had no occupations listed.   

The 1911-1912 Exeter directory specifies that Alvin Vroom is a horse shoer at 1 Bow.  A separate advertisement says:  A.M. Vroom, Blacksmith, Automobile Work a Specialty.  Wagon building and repairing.  Jobbing and General Machine Work. 1915-1917 Exeter directory has the same entry. 

The 1920 census lists the family renting a home at 8 Center (or Centre) Street.   Alvin has a wheelwright shop.  The children are not living at home.  The 1921-1923 and the 1924-1926 directories lists Alvin’s blacksmith shop at 18 Court, and residence as 8 Centre.  Mildred was now employed as a librarian, and Clifford was an assistant manager. 

By 1930 Alvin had moved to Auburn Street, and was operating a taxi.  Mildred lived with her parents and was a librarian at Philips Exeter Academy.  The 1930 directory lists Vrooms at 56 Auburn, near Buzzell, and still lists him as a blacksmith at 14 Court.  (This is the area of the Exeter Hospital.)

The 1941-43 directory lists Alvin M as retired, living at 56 Auburn.  The directory says Edna died October 1940.  Mildred lived with her daughter.  Clifford was the manager of the Exeter Inn at 90 Front.  An advertisement for the inn says that it was owned and maintained for the public by the Philips Exeter Academy, and says: Always Dependable for Good Foods and Good Service at Reasonable Rates.  Their website now says:  Hospitality at The Exeter Inn has been a tradition since the Inn was built in 1932. The Inn provides a level of service and lodging that is indicative of our commitment to meet our guests’ every need. 

Edna died 28 October 1940, and Alvin on 3 November 1942, both in Exeter. Will take you to a section of a history of Rockingham County, NH, published in 1915 which tells about Alvin.  There is reference to him living in New York for a short time.  I found no records for him there, but in Mildred’s passport application, she stated that she had lived in Exeter, and Briarcliff Manor NY, so perhaps he was there as well. 



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