Clara Hemmings 1896 – 1977

Clara Josephine Hemmings was born 23 Feb 1896, in Barton, VT.  She was the 8th and youngest child of William Hemmings and Josephine Laclair.  Her nickname was “Kitty”.

In 1900, the family lived in Barton.  The household consisted Clara’s parents, her older brother William Jr, and his wife and son Vernon, and Clara’s sister and brother, Minnie and Roy.  William Sr was a carpenter. 

In 1910, Clara and Roy were still living at home with William and Josephine.  William was a carpenter, working as a home builder, and Roy was a farm hand. 

I have not yet found Clara in the 1920 census, which was taken on the 20th of February.  Her parents were living in Barton, and William had a dairy farm.  None of the children were living at home, but next door was the Joseph Barton family.  On 12 June, 1920, Clara married the boy next door, George G Barton, son of Joseph and Alice (Damon) Barton.  George was a laborer.

Clara’s father died in 1926.  In 1930, Clara and George lived in Barton.  They owned a general farm, and that was George’s occupation.  Clara’s mother Josephine lived with them, and they lived next to George’s parents, on South Barton Road. 

Clara’s mother died 28 Jan 1933, and her husband died later that year, on 12 Nov 1933 in Barton.  Both were buried at Willoughby cemetery.  In 1940, Clara was working as a servant in the household of an older couple, Herbert and Edna Orcutt.  He was a farmer, and Edna was the Barton postmaster. 

Clara remarried on 6 Mar 1941 in Eden, VT to Lloyd Wesley Kerr, son of George Wesley Kerr and Clara J Rider.   Lloyd died 12 February 1963 at the Veterans’ Hospital in Hartford VT.  Clara died 13 Sep 1977 in Norton, MA, and they were both buried near other family members at Willoughby cemetery.


Rosa Hemmings 1880 – 1962

Rosa May Hemmings was born 19 September 1880, in Mansonville, Quebec, the third child of  William Hemmings and Josephine Laclair.  The family was counted in the 1881 census, living in Potton, Quebec, and Rosa had an older brother, William, and older sister, Florence.  The family was Methodist, and Rosa’s father was a farmer.   Rosa eventually had four more siblings born in the next ten years – Laura born in 1883, Robert in 1885, Minnie in 1888, and Roy born in 1891. 

In 1891, the family still lived in Potton. Rosa’s father now worked as a carpenter joiner – someone who works on the interior of houses, or makes cabinetry or furniture.  Rosa’s brother Robert died in 1893, after being struck by lightning.  The Hemmings family moved to Barton, VT, and Rosa’s youngest sibling, Clara, was born there in 1896.

I have not yet found Rosa in the 1900 or 1901 census.  On 18 May 1901, in Meredith, NH, Rosa married Austin J Swain.  Austin was about 20 years older, the son of Levi and Rachel Swain, and he was a farmer in Meredith.  Rosa was a mill operator.  Her father’s occupation at that time was contractor.  Rosa and Austin had a daughter, Clara, born 11 May, 1904 in Danvers, MA.  Austin was working as a motor man. 

The 1910 census lists the Swain family in Meredith.  Austin was still farming.  The family included Austin’s elderly uncle, George Willey.

Rosa and Austin divorced, and in Tilton NH, on 5 January 1915, Rosa married Clark Delman Stevens.  Clark was a carpenter in Concord, and he was also divorced.  He has been born in 1866 in Whitewater, Wisconsin, son of Edward Stevens and Mary Lowell.  Rose and Clark had three children, Pauline born in 1915, Walter in 1917, and Helen in 1919.  In 1920, the family lived in Bradford, NH.  Clark was a merchant, operating a grocery store, and Rosa was going by the name Mary. 

In 1930, Rosa’s daughter had married and moved out, but Rosa (still called Mary) lived with Clark and their three children in Bradford village, NH.  Clark was a house carpenter. 

In 1940, Rose and Clark lived in Bradford, in a house they owned, valued at $1500.  Clark was Chief of Police.  Their grandson, Robert Gage, lived with them. 

Clark died in 1952, and Rosa in 1962.  Both are buried at Pond Cemetery in Bradford NH.

Edward Lavine 1835 – 1888

Edward was born about 1835, probably in Burlington, VT, the second child of Pierre Dextera dit Lavigne and Excelia Martel.  This family was counted in the 1850 census in Millbury, MA, where Peter worked as a laborer.  Both parents, and all the children except Edward were born in Canada.  Edward had at least 8 siblings, some of whom died young.    

In 1860, at age 25, Edward lived in Newton NH, with Betsey J Lavine age 29.  Although this year’s census did not list relationships, I did not find a sister for Edward named Betsey, and this woman was born in NH, so is presumed to be his wife.  Edward was a laborer, with no real estate, and personal property valued at only $50.  The rest of Edward’s family had moved to Hatley, Quebec, at the north end of Lac Massawippi.  They lived in a one-story log house and Edward’s father was a farmer.

Edward served in the Civil War, joining the 2nd Regiment of the New Hampshire Infantry, Company E.  He enlisted on 3 Jun 1861, listing Newton NH as his home town, and mustered out on 29 August 1861 at Washington, DC.  The regimental history for the 2nd Regiment indicates that it was first formed primarily by men who enlisted for three months.  Regulations changed the enlistment term to three years, and most in the unit re-enlisted for three years.  When I saw Edward’s muster-out date, I thought that he might have opted not to re-enlist.  However, I located another record that said that he had received a disability discharge from Company E.  Based on his dates, and the regimental history, it appears that Edward was in the first Bull Run battle, on July 21, 1861, where the regiment’s loss was 7 killed, 56 wounded, and 46 missing.  In August, his unit moved to Bladensburg, Maryland, and Edward was released at the end of that month.

It is likely that Edward’s marriage to Betsey ended in divorce, as I found records of Betsey J Lavine of Newton NH marrying George W Goodwin in 1865 and another record of Betsey J Lavine marrying Charles A Brown.  Unfortunately, the records do not name her parents, and do not indicate if she was previously married.  I did find an 1870 census for Charles A and Betsey J Brown, with a daughter Mary, age 8.  If this is the same Betsy, then Mary could be Edward’s daughter.  I have not found a birth record for either Mary Brown or Mary Lavine in 1862.

The next probable record for Edward is the 1870 census.  A man with his name, age 40, although born in NH, was a farm laborer, living in the Lewis Lamprey household in Exeter, NH.  Marital status is not listed in this census, and Betsey is not in the census with him, which is consistent with her having marrying someone else a few years earlier.  Newton is 10 miles from Exeter.  Later information in Edward’s pension also places him in the Exeter area prior to the War.

Edward moved to Barton, VT, and on 21 December, 1876, he married Anne Laclair, daughter of Barney Laclair and Sarah Ann Hawkins.  This record lists his parents as Peter Levine and Excellie (no maiden name listed for her.)  Edward was a laborer, and this was recorded as his first marriage.  He was 36, and Anne claimed to be 16, born in Conway, NH.  She was actually 14 ½. 

Edward and Anne’s first child, Lula May, was born 4 December 1878 in Barton. Edward’s occupation was listed as farmer, born in Montpelier. 

On 16 February, 1880, Edward E Lavine purchased property from J. P. Baldwin and T. W. Drew, paying $100 for 19 acres.

The 1880 census shows the family living in Barton, where Edward worked as a farm laborer.  They are living next to his brother Philip and family.  The second child, Florence Martha, was born 2 April 1880 in Barton.  Edward was listed as a farmer, born in Burlington. Since the census was taken in June, Florence should have been listed. 

Edward and Anne’s son Edward was born in Barton 12 September, 1882.  The father was a farmer, with birthplace listed as Burlington. Daughter Lavinia was born in September 1884.  Daughter Alvie was born 12 July 1886.  This record says that her father was born in Burlington, but as occupation, says in Hospital Insane.  

Edward died 21 May 1888, at the Vermont Asylum in Brattleboro, of apoplexy, a term used to describe a stroke, but the term can also mean an extreme rage or excitement.  I do not know where he is buried.

Anne was not able to keep the family together, and the children went to live with other families.  Son Edward was raised by Charles and Josie Royce, who had no children, and he took the Royce name.  Vinnie lived with a widow named Sophia Sawins, and most of her records use that last name.  Alvie ended up at age 13 living with and working as a servant for John and Ellen Ryan in Jay, NY, on the west side of Lake Champlain.   Anne remarried four years later, and died in 1937.  All of Edward and Anne’s children married at least once, and had children of their own. 

Records show that Edward Lavine had filed for an invalid Civil War pension on 30 June, 1880, but the card does not show a certificate number, so it appears that he did not get a pension. Charles Fairbanks, special examiner for the pension commission, investigated Lavine’s claim for a pension.  This investigation included sending an examiner to Barton.  Lavine’s file includes a letter to Mr. Fairbanks, written 23 August 1887, from C. H. Dwinell, Overseer of the Poor for Barton.  He reported that he had the care of Lavine’s family since he was taken to the asylum.  The examiner had come to town to establish whether his (Lavine’s) family had insanity.  Dwinell had found what seemed to be positive evidence on that point, but the examiner had been recalled and didn’t take his testimony.  Dwinell reported that Lavine was hopelessly insane and not expected to live but a short time.  He offered to forward his testimony.  This letter didn’t say what his evidence was, nor whether it would indicate if Edward’s family did or did not “have insanity.”

The examiners took a statement from George Dacoto, whose family lived across from Lavine’s parents, in Kaleville, near North Hatley in Quebec.  He stated that when Edward came home from the army, he stated with his parents for about three years.  He was sick all the while and did no work.  Mrs. Lavine sent George into the woods for tamarack gum, which she used to make medicine for Edward.  George said Edward coughed blood, complained of headaches all the time, and had fits.  They occurred from once a week, to as often as twice a day. George said Edward told him that he got the fits, headache, and cough while in the army, saying specifically that they were caused by sunstroke. 

Another neighbor, Joseph Bresett, also gave a statement, saying that he had known Edward before he went in the army, and then saw him when he came back to visit his brother Jerry Lavine.  Bresett thought he heard the Lavines say that their son had fits before going in the army.  He also testified that Edward told him that he had sunstroke in the army and had headaches and dizzy spells ever since.  Bresett also remembered that Mrs. Levine had used roots to make medicine for Edward. 

The examiner took a statement from Edward’s wife, Anne.  She said that they had lived and kept house in Barton until about the time he went to the asylum, and that her family was supported by the town.  She stated that they had five children, the oldest was nine, the youngest 15 months.  Anne said she had only known Edward a few weeks before they were married and didn’t know that he had medical problems.  Soon after they were married, she became aware of him having spells of being absent minded, which lasted one to three hours.  He wouldn’t know anything nor respond if she spoke to him.  He complained of pain in the head on those days.  He told her he had been bothered by these spells ever since he came home from the army, and he told her the spells were caused by sunstroke.  Anne also said that Edward told her that he had fits from the time he was a little boy, and his father also had them.  They were fits of epilepsy.  Anne said that the fits were real bad for the first few years of their marriage.  Anne also said that Edward’s brothers Philip and Jerry told her he had fits since a child, and another brother had a fit and drowned.  Anne described some fits where he would fall down, froth at the mouth and bite his tongue.  She also described spells where he didn’t fall or froth. 

Andrew Currier provided a statement that he had seen Edward have “queer spells” while in the service, and that he had one within a day or two after the first Bull Run fight, in Washington, DC.  He said Lavine acted like a crazy man, and he helped hold him down.  Currier didn’t think Edward had been injured in the battle, and didn’t know he had been “sunstroked.” 

The special examiner also took a statement from Jacob Carlisle of Exeter, on 13 November 1887.  Carlisle said that Edward Lavine had worked for him for about two years prior to his enlistment, as a stone worker.  Carlisle testified that Lavine would be “taken suddenly, drop to the ground, and froth at the mouth.  After a few minutes, he would get up and go back to work.”  Carlisle said that before he witnessed any fit, Lavine had told him that he was subject to fits, and not to be frightened as he (Lavine) should come out of it all right.  Carlisle said that other than this, Lavine was sound, and didn’t show signs of mental troubles. 

The examiner wrote to the hospital, asking for Lavine’s date of admission, and information that would show the cause of the disease.  Dr. Joseph Draper, superintendant, report back that Lavine was admitted to the Vermont Asylum for the Insane on 18 January, 1886, “laboring under mania of three or more months’ duration.”  Dr. Draper was not able to identify the cause of the mental disease. 

A document written by special examiner Charles Fairbanks dated 19 November 1887 says that Jacob G Grey was Edward’s guardian, and lived in Barton.  He had been given notice of a hearing scheduled in Concord NH, but neither Grey nor an attorney attended.  The finding was that the attack which Edward had just after the Bull Run battle was a repetition of what he had had many times before – epilepsy.  Fairbanks concluded by giving the opinion that the mental trouble from which Edward was now suffering was related to the epilepsy, and congenital, and in no way due to his army service. 

After the investigation, on 23 November, 1887, the pension was formally rejected, as having existed prior to enlistment. 

After Anne remarried, to James Hyland, she filed for a widow’s pension in 1911, and also for a pension on behalf of the minor children.  Alvie, the youngest, was 25 by then. 

On 11 May, 1911, son Edward applied for pension benefits, on behalf of himself and his sisters, all of whom were under the age of 16 at the time of Edward senior’s death. On the form in the space where cause of death was to be listed, Edward wrote “Army causes”.  The form was pre-printed to include the name of  P.J. Lockwood of Washington, DC, who would act as the family’s attorney. 

On 25 July, 1911, the Bureau of Pensions denied the family’s claim for pension, “as the soldier’s death from apoplexy cannot be accepted as due or connected in any way with his military service.”  On 31 July 1911, Ed responded to the rejection letter, pointing out that his father was honorably discharged from the army, on account of disability, arguing that the disability was sunstroke.  Ed’s argument was that two doctors had told him that apoplexy could be caused by sun stroke, as “both are a brain trouble.”  Ed’s letter confirmed that Edward had received no bounty or pension for his service.  Ed alleged that his father was “insane by spell from the time he was discharged until his death, and left his family destitute.” 

It appears that as late as 1938, family members were still trying to claim a pension or other benefits.  Vermont Congressional Representative Charles Clason, contacted the pension office to ascertain whether the now-adult children were entitled to benefits at this time, since they had not applied for nor received benefits when they were under the age of 16.  The pension office responded that pension record shows that Edward Lavine filed a claim of pension on 1 June 1911, but it was disallowed because the veteran’s death from apoplexy was not due to, or connected to his military service.  Because his death wasn’t related to his service, and the children were all over the age of 16, they were not entitled to benefits.  I’m not sure what would have inspired a family member to bring up this issue 27 years after the previous petition was denied.  Anne had died in 1937 – perhaps someone found old pension papers in her property and decided to try again.

In researching Edward’s family, I found that the “Lavine” spelling was used almost exclusively, except for daughter Alvie.  In some newspaper stories, where her maiden name was used, it was spelled Lavigne.  However, the older Quebec vital records for Edward’s parents and siblings use Lavigne and Dextera or Destera.

Florence Elizabeth Hemmings

Florence Hemmings was born 19 June 1878, probably in Mansonville, Quebec.  She was the second child of William A Hemmings of England, and Josephine Laclair of Conway, NH.  She had an older brother, William Jr, and sister Rosa was born in 1880. 

In 1881, the family lived in East Potton, in Brome, Quebec.  William was listed as from England, religion Church of England, a farmer.  Even though she was born in New Hampshire, Josephine was listed as being of French descent, since her father was French Canadian.  She and the children (William 4, Florence E 2, and Rosa 7 months) were Methodists.  This record indicates that young William was born in the USA, but Florence and Rosa were born in Quebec, so they probably moved north about 1879.  This community was probably mostly English-speaking, based on the names and ethnic origins listed.

Florence’s sister Laura was born in 1883, Robert Burton (probably named for his grandmother Eliza Burton) was born in 1885.  Minnie was born in 1888, and Roy was born in 1891.  The family was counted in the 1891 census living in Potton.  William worked as a carpenter-joiner, or furniture maker.  Florence’s mother and brother William were born in the US, but all the rest of the siblings were born in Quebec.  It appears that her father was “Church of England” but Josephine and the children were “Advent”.  In 1893, Florence’s 7-year-old brother Robert was killed when struck by lightning.

In an index of New Hampshire marriages, I found a record for Florence W Hemmings born in 1878 in South Barton, marrying John F Connolly on 31 May 1898.  This record lists parents of the bride as Frank Hemmings and Florence, but I believe the index is incorrect and this is the daughter of William and Josephine.

In 1900, John and Florence lived in Thornton, NH.  The record says they were married two years, and have no children.  John was a stocking knitter.  Florence also had an occupation listed, but the writing was too faint for me to read.  They also had two boarders.

Florence and John moved to Massachusetts, and in 1910 were at 17 Summit Avenue in Mansfield.  John was a wool sorter in a woolen mill, and the record says they had no children.  In 1920, they were living in a rented home on Elm Street in Norton.  John was a sorter in a woolen mill. 

Florence’s sister Laura Hemmings Caverly died in the flu epidemic of 1918, and Laura’s husband died in 1920, leaving a daughter Althier, who had been born in 1915.   She went to live with Florence and John, and was with them in the 1930 census in Mansfield, MA.  John was still working as a wool sorter in a woolen mill.  They owned their home at 35 Allen Street, and it was valued at $3800.  They also owned a radio.

Florence was living in Norton in 1936, according to the obituary for her brother William.  In 1940, Florence and John lived on Elm Street in Norton, and the census record indicates that they lived in that same house in 1935.  John was still working as a wool sorter in a woolen mill. 

I do not have death dates for Florence or John.

Alvie Lavine 1886 – 1975

Alvie Lavine was born 12 July 1886, the last of five children of Edward Lavine (Lavigne) and Anne M Laclair.  She and her siblings were all born in Barton, VT.  Edward was a farmer, probably born in Burlington.  When Alvie was born, her birth record stated that her father was living “in hospital, insane.”  I recently found out that Edward had applied for a Civil War pension, and I am interested in researching that in more detail to see if his pension application might explain his need to be hospitalized. 

When Alvie was two, her father died in Brattleboro, which was the home of the state hospital.  Anne applied for a widow’s pension, and also applied on behalf of her children.  After Edward died, Anne was not able to keep the family together, and they went to live with other people.  These were probably informal arrangements – two of the children, Vinnie and Edward junior, eventually took the last names of the people who raised them, and some subsequent records for them named their adoptive parents, while other records for the same children named Edward and Anne. 

Although Anne remarried in 1892, to James Albert Hyland, the 1900 census shows none of the children were living with her, not even the unmarried children.  The family apparently stayed connected to some degree, as Anne’s obituary names all her children, with their married (or in Edward junior’s case, adoptive) names.

In 1900, age 13, Alvia was living in Jay, New York, working as a servant in the household of John and Ellen Ryan.  Jay is on the west side of Lake Champlain, 150 miles from Barton on modern roads.  I do not know how she ended up at that location.  John and Ellen were from Ireland, and the two children still in the household were born in New York, so I didn’t find a Vermont connection in that record. 

In 1905, the New York state census shows that Alvia T Lavigne is still living in Jay, working as a servant for Ellen Ryan.

In 1908, Alvie married John Edder Dennett, son of Albert Dennett and Saraphine Houle.  Their first son, John Edward, was born in November, 1908.  In 1910, they lived on Black Brook Road, in the township of Black Brook.  John was a laborer, doing “general work.” 

By 1920, the family had grown to include four daughters, Patricia, Alvia Anne, Ilene, and Alberta.  The family lived on Mill Street in Jay, and John was a laborer in an industrial plant. It is hard to read the type of plant, but it might something like “Glutrin”.  In researching the Robeson Process Company (listed in John’s obituary), I found that at a paper mill in Virginia, a company of that same name was used for a liquor disposal plant. This plant used the sulphite liquor left over after pulping to make glutrin. Glutrin was a product used as a binder for sand cores in foundries, as a disinfectant and as a priquetting agent for fine coat and iron pyrites.

In 1930, the family lived on Intervale, in AuSable Forks, which was an unincorporated area of Jay.  Sons Donald and Paul had arrived.  John worked as a fireman in a quarry.  Alvie had no occupation listed, but with seven children from  21 down to 4, it can be assumed she worked. Edward was a chauffeur at a truck construction business.  Patricia (19) and Anna (17) worked as finishers in the paper mill. 

In 1934, the youngest child, Paul, died at age 9 but the death notice in the paper did not give a cause of death.

In 1940, the Dennett family lived on Mill Road in AuSable Forks.  Married daughters Anna (Mrs. Delbert Savage) and Patricia (Mrs. Ross Snow) lived adjacent to them.  All three men worked in the paper or pulp mill.  Alvia ran a laundry from her home.  Eileen was a secretary in an insurance office.  Donald lived at home but didn’t have an occupation listed.  Son Edward and family lived nearby, and also worked at the paper mill. 

Alvie’s husband died 18 June 1956. They had been married about 48 years.  John was 74, and his obit says that he had been employed by the Robeson Process Company and J.J. Rogers Company, an  iron company that had been in business since 1832.

Alvie’s son Edward died 19 May 1972 in a car wreck. 

Old newspapers from northern New York are available on line, for free, and contain lots of social items from AuSable Forks.  Newspapers of the time reported who had come or gone to visit, who was sick and who was recovering from being sick.  An item from the Plattsburgh Press dated 23 July 1973 reports:  Mrs. Alvia Dennett of West Church Street observed her 87th birthday on July 12 at her home.  She was the lucky recipient of a birthday cake from Angelo’s Bakery in Plattsburgh.  Various members of her family gathered at her home that day to observe properly the happy occasion.  Mrs. Dennett has 41 great-grandchildren, 20 grandchildren, and a son, Donald, and four daughters, Mrs. Alberta Gray, Mrs. Pat Snow, Mrs. Eileen Cassevaugh, and Mrs. Anna Savage, all of whom live in town.

Alvia died 5 September 1975, at age 89.  Her family was affiliated with Holy Name Church, as most funerals were held there, with most burials in the family plot in Holy Name Cemetery at AuSable.  Alvia also seems to be the one child of Edward and Anne who reverted to the Lavigne rather than Lavine spelling of her last name, in records where her maiden name was listed.

Wilmer E Laber 1902 – 1929

Wilmer Laber was born 16 April 1902 in Lebanon, NH, the eighth of nine children of Frank T and Lizzie Laclair.  His older siblings were all born in Barton, VT.  The farmhouse they lived in had eight small rooms and a water pump in the kitchen, and a barn and out-house.  At the time Wilmer was born, Frank listed his occupation as stone mason. 

I have not yet found this family in the 1910 census.  Wilmer was in the class of 1920 at Lebanon High School.  In the 1920 census, Wilmer lived in Lebanon with his parents, his older brother Frank, and his younger sister, Ruth. 

Wilmer must have been popular with his nieces and nephews, as family photos show him posing with a handful of kids sitting on his motorcycle.

Wilmer married Kathryn Isabel Stephens, daughter of Henry T Stephens and Julia Frances Rahn. Kathryn was born in Lebanon NH in 1905, but later lived California.  I have not yet found their marriage record. Wilmer moved to California, and was listed in the 1923 Los Angeles city directory, working as a conductor for the L. A. Railway.  I don’t know if he was married, as it doesn’t appear that wives were listed in this directory.  One cousin believes that they married in California.  The 1926 California voter registration does list Wilmer E and Isabel K Laber, living at 334 McBride avenue, in Laguna precinct.  She was a housewife, he was a conductor.  They declined to state their political affiliation. 

Wilmer and Kay returned to New England, and Wilmer had a job in Springfield, VT.  That job did not work out.  Wilmer had some dental work done, then he and Kay went back to California.  He developed complications from the dental work and badly needed a blood transfusion.  Wilmer’s brother Frank, and family friend Harry Ryan drove to California to provide the blood and what little money the family had raised.  However, Wilmer died on 13 November 1929 in Los Angeles.  He is buried at Forest Lawn, in Glendale.

Although Kay was married twice more, when she died, she was buried as Kathryn Laber, next to Wilmer.  They both have Find A Grave memorials.