PIECING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE OF THE NICHOLS-CARNEY PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION PART VII

A trio of unidentified faces seek re-connection with their families. The final installment of photographs from the NICHOLS-CARNEY collection.

TINYPE #1      2.5″x 3.5″, 1/6 plate 

Unidentified young woman, circa 1880-1882, Pennsylvania.

This young woman is smartly dressed for her portrait in a rustic setting. The props, such as the tree branches, and the tree backdrop, lend the appearance of an “outdoor” setting. I can’t determine what she is sitting upon. Is it a covered bench?

The image is a tintype, taken about 1880-1882. As with all of the photos in the NICHOLS-CARNEY collection, it originated from Pennsylvania.

I referred to Dressed for the Photographer, Ordinary Americans & Fashion, 1840-1900, by Joan Severa, and found an image of a woman wearing a very similar dress and hairstyle. I learn new vocabulary each time I refer to the book, but not terms I intend to use in daily conversation.

“The ‘casaque overdress, a distinctive style of the first two years of the eighties, is distinguished by its long, slim shape and symmetrical drape. Together with the generous coat sleeves, reminiscent of the past decade, the style pinpoints the early date of this photograph and the corkscrew bangs confirm it.”

Wearing the latest fashion for the early 1880’s, the woman gazes confidently at the photographer. The striped pattern of her silk dress contrasts nicely with the smooth satin lapels, cuffs and trim of the inverted V casaque.  The bodice is closely fastened with ornate metal buttons. A braided cord is tied around the fluted collar and adorned with a lapel pin. Sitting with her hands folded in her lap, her torso slightly turned,  there is a sense of anticipation on her face. A drop earring dangles from her visible ear.

Her hairstyle, popular in the 1880’s, shows corkscrew curls over her forehead. The hair was cut short around the temples and curled with a hot iron. The remaining hair is worn coiled atop the crown of the head.

 

TINTYPE #2      2.5″x 3.5″, 1/6 plate 

Unidentified young boy, circa 1885-1900, Pennsylvania

Although this young boy is also dressed quite fashionably, I’m not certain he is as pleased as his mother was when she purchased the outfit.  He has a very serious look on his face. The Fauntleroy suit, (also known as the Buster Brown suit) became popular from 1885 until the turn of the 20th century. In 1885, the English-American writer, Frances Hodgson Burnett, published her first children’s novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy.  The book created a fad in middle-class America to dress children in black velvet suits, fancy shirts with lace collars, and ringlet curls. Not all wore the complete Fauntleroy suit, just certain aspects.  Fortunately for this boy, his hair is cut short, parted on the side and slicked down with pommade.  Under his dark jacket he wears a fancy white shirt with a large ruffled collar. An immense plaid taffeta bow envelops his neck and upper chest. Poor lad, he sports the largest bow I found while searching Fauntleroy suit images.

He stands with his arm resting on the back of a tasseled chair. The backdrop and carpet props provide an indoor setting. It is difficult to determine the date of the photograph because both his hair and clothing style were popular from 1885 until the 20th century.

 

Photo # 3 – copy of an image

Unidentified bearded man, circa 1890, Pennsylvania

His face weathered by the sun and the years, an elderly gentleman poses for his portrait in an informal setting. The man wears a long, black, wool, sack coat fastened by just the top button, with a matching vest and pants. His white shirt is barely visible under his long flowing white beard. He gazes intently at the photographer.  Perhaps it was a traveling photographer who visited this farmer? One work-worn hand rests on the paisley covered wooden table. His other hand holds a walking stick.  A ceramic vase adds a touch of refinement to the otherwise rustic setting.

Probably taken about 1890, this photograph could be Phillip CARNEY, the father of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bell CARNEY NICHOLS, and the grandfather of Helena May NICHOLS LEFKOWITZ. In 1890 Phillip CARNEY was 76 years old and farmed in Armstrong County, Pennyslvania.

All of the NICHOLS-CARNEY photographs were important enough to be saved and passed on for over 100 years. If only they had labeled these treasures.

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Posted in My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , | 6 Comments

PIECING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE OF THE NICHOLS-CARNEY PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION PART VI

Seeking information regarding the identity of this unidentified mother and child. Last possible location – Pennsylvania. Associated family names: NICHOLS and/or CARNEY.

Unidentified mother and child circa 1890, Pennsylvania.

A mother and daughter pose with their heads nestled together in a cameo portrait.  A hint of a smile plays across the mother’s face but the daughter looks a bit pensively at the photographer. The little girl, about 5 years of age, wears her hair dressed in ringlets gathered in a side part and fastened with a barely visible bow. Her cotton striped dress sports a wide lace-edged collar with a satin bow. Her mother wears her hair loosely piled atop her head, almost a Gibson style. Only her blouse is visible in the portrait. The finely pleated front is offset by a white lace jabot with a circular pin attached in the center. Based on the clothing and hairstyles, the portrait was likely made 1900-1905.

I do not have the original photograph, just a copy, so I don’t know if there was any writing on the reverse side. Please see a previous post for more details about this collection of NICHOLS-CARNEY photographs.

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Posted in My Family Ancestry | 7 Comments

PIECING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE OF THE NICHOLS-CARNEY PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION – PART V

Would the real Elizabeth Bell CARNEY please step forward.

Please let me know if you think the two babies featured are the same child.

NICHOLS_0010

A serene young mother lovingly holds her baby. Both mother and child have such an endearing look upon their faces.  The woman’s short bangs and small topknot indicate the portrait was taken in the 1890’s. The dress style is also indicative of the 1890’s. The full sleeves appear to be leg-o’-mutton that became popular after 1892. The bodice has a striking number of tucks and pleats set off by a contrasting collar and dark trim.  A pearl and gold pin adds a touch of elegance to the neckband. The baby wears a fine cotton gown.

Is this the same baby I featured in a previous blog about Helena May NICHOLS?   If so, then this woman could be her mother, Elizabeth Bell CARNEY.

Is this the same baby?

NICHOLS_Helena_1895_1

Helena May Nichols, 6 1/2 months old. Photographer A.S. Schreckengost, Kittaning and Apollo, PA.

I have copy of the photograph, not the original, so I don’t know if something is written on the reverse side.  The photographer, John J. Garvin, had a studio in Pottsville, Pennsylvania from about 1880-1910. I’m going to use my imagination to explain why this photograph might be Elizabeth Bell CARNEY. In a previous post I included an image that I suspected was Elizabeth CARNEY.   I have reconsidered for the following reasons.

  • Several years ago when I shared information with the owner of these photos, she mentioned that there was one photograph of a mother and a baby. The back of the photograph was labeled “Lizze B. Nichols” (Elizabeth Bell CARNEY NICHOLS used Lizzie as her nickname). Unfortunately, the owner of these photographs is deceased and I did not receive the original. Obviously, I need to find out who has the originals.
  • The time frame fits for this to be a photograph of Helena May NICHOLS (born May 1895), and her mother, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Carney NICHOLS.
  • Helena’s paternal grandfather, Thomas Ackley NICHOLS, lived in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He died in February 1895, but left his son, Charles Knerr NICHOLS, as guardian of his underage children. Charles and Lizzie may have traveled 250 miles from Apollo, Pennsylvania to manage his father’s affairs or visit family. Lizzie and Helena probably accompanied him, and they had their photograph taken one afternoon while Charles was occupied.

The logical, analytical part of my brain tells me not to jump to conclusions. The romantic side of my brain wants to believe this is Helena and her mother. Of course, until I have conclusive evidence I will apply logic. What do you think dear reader?

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Posted in My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , | 10 Comments

PIECING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE OF THE NICHOLS-CARNEY PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION-PART IV

Mystery photos of an attractive young woman posing for a portrait. How is she related to the NICHOLS and CARNEY family?

Elizabeth Bell CARNEY NICHOLS – Is this you?

 

 

 

 

 

An attractive young woman poses for her portrait at the West Side Gallery of Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Could these be photos of Elizabeth Bell CARNEY NICHOLS, the wife of Charles Knerr NICHOLS , and the mother of Helena May NICHOLS? There are three cabinet cards. None of them are labeled. I would have been quite content if just one photo were labeled.

The card stock used for the photos is square and heavyweight, has different colors for the face and back of the mount, and gold beveled edges. These clues indicate the photograph might have been taken between 1885 -1890. If this is Elizabeth, she would have been 20-24 years old. Perhaps Elizabeth CARNEY exchanged photographs with her soon-to-be-husband, Charles NICHOLS. He had his photograph taken in 1892. During this time Elizabeth CARNEY lived with her parents (Phillip and Lucinda Jane Fiscus CARNEY), in Park, Armstrong, Pennsylvania. Park is located 26 miles from the photographers studio in Greensburg.

Using clothing and hair styles is another method to date a photograph.  The young woman’s corset fitted style dress has a high collar, cloth covered buttons, and contrasting pattern lapels. She poses slightly different in each portrait. She also accessorizes her ensemble with variations. In the first photo she wears a satin ribbon around her neck, a straight gold lapel pin, and a gold chain looped around a button. (An observant reader noticed that the gold chain has a pair of scissors attached – thanks Janice Webster Brown of Genealogy Bloggers).  The second image she chose an umbrella lapel pin. In the late 1880’s jewelry tended toward novelty. In the third photograph she ties the ribbon on the opposite side of her neck and wears the umbrella lapel pin. Her dainty gem stone earrings are the same in each picture. Her fluffy bangs and hair piled atop her head reflect a hairstyle typical for the late 1880’s. I consulted “An Illustrated History of Hairstyles 1830-1930”, by Marian I. Doyle, and found a photograph of a woman wearing a very similar hairstyle and dress. The estimated date was 1883-1886.

If only pictures could talk. What would this young woman tell me?

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Posted in My Family Ancestry | Tagged , | 11 Comments

PIECING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE OF THE NICHOLS-CARNEY PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION –PART III

PIECING TOGETHER THE PUZZLE OF THE NICHOLS-CARNEY PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION –PART III – HELENA MAY NICHOLS

NICHOLS – CARNEY family photos and documents.

In 2016 I received a package. It included 16 photographs and assorted land documents for the ancestors and descendants of Charles Knerr NICHOLS (1865-1951), and his wife Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bell CARNEY (1865-1955). Charles and Lizzie passed these treasures on to their only child, Helena May NICHOLS. She in turn passed them on to her daughter, Sara, (Sally) LEFKOWITZ BOZEK TOWLE. Unfortunately, only three of the pictures have names. The puzzle is to piece together the bits of information I know, and share it in the hopes that someone will recognize the unidentified faces. Please contact me if you have any suggestions.

HELENA MAY NICHOLS – 6 MONTHS OLD

A faded cabinet card shows a bald baby girl. She sits propped up against a plush animal skin throw. A wide ruffled lace collar encircles her little intense face, and a dainty cotton dress envelops all but her tiny hands. She gazes intently at someone, perhaps the photographer, A.S. (Agnish Simeon) Schreckengost. The back of the cabinet card is labeled Helena May Nichols, 6 1/2 months old. The only child of Charles Knerr NICHOLS and Elizabeth Bell CARNEY, Helena was born May 25, 1895 in Ap0llo, Pennsylvania. She was named for her paternal grandmother, Helena KNERR NICHOLS who died in 1875, twenty years before her granddaughter’s birth.

Helena May Nichols, 6 1/2 months old. Photographer A.S. Schreckengost, Kittaning and Apollo, PA.

 

Helena May Nichols, 61/2 months old

TWO MYSTERY PHOTOS – HELENA NICHOLS?

There are two additional photographs that I believe depict Helena May NICHOLS in her early years.  The first portrait features a pretty young girl about 7-10 years old, seated with her hands gently folded in her lap. She wears a fine white cotton dress, the high neck edged in lace.  Eyelet enhanced ruffles drape over the bodice and full sleeves. Long ringlets cascade over her shoulders and a large bow sets off a few wayward curls on her forehead. A bracelet of gold links encircles her left wrist and she wears a delicate gemstone ring on her left middle finger. The photograph bears the label Holyer.  This is the same studio that took the photograph of Helena’s father, Charles, about 1903-1905, when he visited his younger sister, Bertha NICHOLS DONALDSON in Trenton, New Jersey. I think it’s possible that Helena accompanied her father on this trip, and had her photograph taken at the same studio.

Is this Helena May Nichols? Photographer Holyer, Trenton, New Jersey.

A third unlabeled photograph features a poised young woman approximately 15 years old. The clothing style indicates a time period around 1912. I believe this portrait is also Helena May NICHOLS.  All of the facial features, including the shape of the face, as well as the small mouth, the nose, the eyes and the ears are the same as in the previous photograph. Seated on a padded bench, a nature scene in the background, the slender young woman poses in an elegant fashionable dress. The bodice and sleeves are trimmed with narrow tucks and embroidery.  A sheer over skirt delicately drapes over the lustrous silk taffeta  under skirt. I imagine the dress in pastel colors and can almost hear the soft rustle of the fabric. Her left hand gracefully holds the folds of her dress. She wears a gemstone on her ring finger and a gold bracelet adorns her forearm. Befitting her status as a young woman, “Helena” wears her hair swept up into a “Pompadour” style. There is no identifying information on the photograph indicating where it was taken. Perhaps the photographer’s studio was near Pittsburgh where the NICHOLS family lived in 1910. What was the special occasion that prompted this studio portrait? Perhaps it was the first time “Helena” wore her hear styled like a young woman?

Is this young woman Helena May Nichols?

Are these pictures of Helena May NICHOLS? Based on the provenance of the pictures and the photograph clues, I am almost positive that these two photographs depict Helena. What do you think?

HELENA’S STORY

Census records indicate that Helena lived at home with her parents until 1920.  According to a family source, Helena served as a Red Cross driver volunteer in WWI. I couldn’t find any information about her service but supposedly a framed certificate exists somewhere in the extended family.

I found one intriguing travel record for Helena. On March 18, 1924 she traveled from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. Did the 28-year-old young woman travel alone?   During the 1920’s Cuba became a popular pleasure destination for Americans and Europeans. In 1924, Helena was one of 30,000 visitors to seek out the pleasant island climate.

MARRIAGE

About 1925 Helena married Charles LEFKOWITZ (1893-1983), a 32-year-old pharmacist and immigrant. When he immigrated to the United States in August, 1908, fifteen- year old Charles arrived with the name Kaplan Leokovics. The passenger list for the German ocean liner Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm, described Kaplan as  5 feet tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed, occupation- farm laborer. He was accompanied by his sister Berta, age 16,  4’8”, fair-haired, brown eyes, and occupation – maid. The  The two siblings were born in Telek-haza Austro-Hungary. Their home at the time of their immigration is noted as Szecsudvar, which was also part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  After WWI this area became part of the independent country of Czechoslovakia. Today that same village, Szecsudvar, is called Dvorianky and is part of Slovakia. In 1918 Charles applied for U.S. citizenship. His application notes his height as 5’8”, 138 pounds, and his occupation as a druggist. Charles received his U.S. citizenship on January 2, 1924 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Kaplan Lefkovics – Charles Lefkowitz – Naturalization Records, ancestry.com

After their marriage Helena and Charles settled in New Kensington, PA where Charles established a successful business. He started on Fifth Avenue with one drug store and expanded the Central Drug stores to 26 locations.

CHILDREN

Between 1925-1931, Helena and Charles added three children to their family.

  1. Charles (Charlie) Nichols LEFKOWITZ born September 27, 1925 Pittsburgh, PA – died September 2015, Arizona. (Charles legally changed his name to Charles Lefkowitz NICHOLS).
  2. Robert (Bob) Nichols LEFKOWITZ, M.D., Ph.D., born November 15, 1926, Pittsburgh, PA – died August 31, 2007, Asheville, NC. (Robert legally changed his name after 1950 to Robert Lefkowitz NICHOLS.)
  3. Sara Elizabeth (Sally) NICHOLS BOZEK TOWLE born November 14, 1931 Los Angeles, CA  – died February 10, 2014, CA.

THE LATER YEARS

About 1958 Helena and Charles relocated to sunny Arizona.  Helena died at age 69 on March, 23, 1965 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Reverend Lyle Burns conducted her funeral service at Valley Lutheran Church. Charles died at age 90 on July 28, 1983. His funeral services were conducted by Rabbi Samuel Seicol, at Sinai Mortuary Chapel. Helena and Charles are interred together at Green Acres Cemetery, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Charles and Helena Lefkowtiz, Green Acres Memorial Gardens, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Until a few years ago, I was ignorant of Helena’s existence. I  still only have snippets of information about her. When  and why did my relatives lose contact with Helena and her family? Was it the distance of 940 miles from Pennsylvania to Nebraska? Was it simply the passage of time and generations? In speaking to my mother, she recalls her grandmother, Mabel NICHOLS HYDE spoke warmly about the LEFKOWITZ family in Pennsylvania. At the time she did not know how they were related. Contact may have been lost after Mabel died in 1954.

Helena is my 1st cousin, 3 generations removed. Far removed, as my husband says.  However, it is through distant cousin connections that we find the missing pieces of the puzzle and create a more complete family story. Perhaps one of these cousins can help solve the NICHOLS brick wall through DNA testing and combining our research. Who are Helena May NICHOLS’ 2x great-grandparents? What is their story?

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Helena NICHOLS
Parents: Charles Knerr NICHOLS and Elizabeth Bell CARNEY
Spouse: Charles LEFKOWITZ
Children: Charles Lefkowitz, Robert Lefkowitz, and Sara Elizabeth
Relationship to Kendra: 1st cousin 3x removed

 

Posted in My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

OLD PHOTOGRAPHS SERENDIPITY & COUSIN CONNECTIONS – The First CHARLES KNERR NICHOLS

Nichols family photos and documents.

Nichols family photos and documents.

Piecing together the Puzzle of the Nichols-Carney Photograph Collection

Six months ago I received a package that included 16 photographs plus assorted land documents for the ancestors and descendants of Charles Knerr Nichols (1865-1951) and his wife Elizabeth Bell Carney(1865-1955). Since only three of the pictures have names written on the backside, the puzzle is to piece together the bits of information I know and share it.  My previous blog I began with the easiest piece of the family puzzle, a photograph of Thomas Ackley Nichols. His name is written on the back and it  matched copies of two more pictures.

Sticking with the obvious choice of the second labeled photograph, let me introduce the first Charles Knerr Nichols. (Yes, there are three men with the same name, three different generations, all related but not directly descended from the first one. The name undergoes a slight variation over time. Can you detect it?)

 

                                 Lines of Descent from Thomas A. NICHOLS & Helena KNERR
John Mathews NICHOLS                                                                1. Charles KNERR NICHOLS
Frederick Mathew NICHOLS                                                          Helena NICHOLS
2.Charles KNERR NICHOLS
3.Charles KNEER NICHOLS (my second cousin 1x removed)

Charles Knerr Nichols, circa 1900-1903, Trenton, New Jersey, Holyer Photographers. Matted photograph 7 3/4″ x 6″.

The photograph of the first Charles Knerr Nichols depicts a very handsome man stylishly dressed in a double-breasted wool suit. He sports a patterned bow tie and crisp white shirt with a stand-up collar. His dark wavy hair is neatly combed and his full mustache well-groomed. The photographer of this image, Mr. Holyer,  operated a studio in Trenton, New Jersey. I found an online article detailing the Holyer family history. It noted that Albert and John Holyer owned the studio between 1900-1910.[1] I believe that this photograph of Charles dates to about 1903-1905.

Although a third image is not labeled, the resemblance to Charles is strong enough that I am certain it is a photograph taken when he was a few years younger. The image is a cabinet card with all the edges trimmed.  Was it cut to fit in a picture frame?  Again, Charles wears a double-breasted wool suit but the material is not as refined as in the first photo. His ready-to-wear suit covers all but the stiff white-collar of his shirt and the top of his patterned necktie. Although he still sports a mustache, it is thinner and his wavy hair is shorter. A hint of a smile plays on his lips. Fortunately the backside of the image states the date of delivery, May 24, 1892. I had difficulty deciphering the photographer’s name on the back of the image; the location is easy to read, Pittsburgh. Using the blog, Cabinet Card Gallery, I searched for photographers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and found the one I sought, Joseph G. Morris. Located at 16 Sixth Street, Joseph Morris and his father, David, worked as photographic agents from about 1880-1910 in Pittsburgh.[2]

Charles Knerr Nichols, 1892, Pittsburgh, PA. Cabinet Card Photograph -trimmed - original probably 4.5"x6". Joseph Morris Photographer.

Charles Knerr Nichols, 1892, Pittsburgh, PA. Cabinet Card Photograph -trimmed – original probably 4.5″x6″. Joseph Morris Photographer.

 

 

Morris Photographer, No. 16, Sixth Street, Pittsburgh. Delivered May 24, 1892.

Morris Photographer, No. 16, Sixth Street, Pittsburgh. Delivered May 24, 1892.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARLES KNERR NICHOLS – Early Years

By combining research from census records, church records, and newspaper articles, I constructed a basic biography for my 3x great-uncle. Charles Knerr Nichols was born 3 March 1865 in St. Clair, Pennsylvania to Thomas Ackley Nichols,(age 40) and Helena Knerr Nichols (age 33). Charles, the third child, joined his 8-year-old brother, John Mathews Nichols (my 2x great-grandfather), and 3-year-old Bertha Virginia Nichols. He arrived three months before his father’s discharge from the Union Army. His mother, Helena, stayed at home with the three children and Thomas resumed work as a clerk at a nearby coal mine.

1870 U.S. Census, St. Clair, Schuylkill, PA, Middle Ward,,p 658B; dwelling 237, family 232, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1870 U.S. Census, St. Clair, Schuylkill, PA, Middle Ward,,p 658B; dwelling 237, family 232, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

The family dynamics changed in 1875 when Helena died of unknown causes at age 43.  How this affected ten-year-old Charles is unknown but later in life he named his only child after his mother. In the 1880 census 15-year-old Charles lived at home with his father Thomas, a clerk at a coal mine, and his sister, 18-year-old Bertha.

1880 U.S. Census, Shuylkill Co, PA,Saint Clair, p. 75C, dwelling 33, family 33, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1880 U.S. Census, Shuylkill Co, PA,Saint Clair, p. 75C, dwelling 33, family 33, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

His elder brother John moved to Omaha, NE to seek work in the expanding railroads.[3] In December of 1880 the Nichols family of three expanded when 55-year-old Thomas remarried the much-younger 26-year-old Lillian Watson Bull.[4] Within three years Charles had three younger half-siblings, Mary, Florence, and Howard.

Father and sons -L-R - John Nichols (24), Thomas Nichols (40), Charles Nichols (abt 37).

Father and sons -L-R – John Nichols (24), Thomas Nichols (40), Charles Nichols (abt 37).

What physical resemblances do you see between the father and two sons?

Marriage and Family

What did Charles do between 1880-1890?  Although I can’t be certain, I believe that he moved to the Pittsburgh area and began working in the expanding steel industry.  During this period he met and courted his prospective bride.  On July 29, 1890 Charles Knerr Nichols (25) married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bell Carney (25) at the home of her sister in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.[5] The bride and her parents, Phillip Carney and Lucinda Jane Fiscus Carney, resided in Apollo, a former coal-mining region located 35 miles NE of Pittsburgh.

Marriage Notice Luzerne County, PA, July 28, 1890, Charles Nichols and Lizzie Carney. Familysearch.com

Marriage Notice Luzerne County, PA, July 28, 1890, Charles Nichols and Lizzie Carney. Familysearch.com

Life Changing Events

Two major events occurred in the Nichols family in 1895. One involved the passing of life and the second focused on new life. On February 15, 1895 Thomas Ackley Nichols died; he left three orphans who needed a home. A maternal aunt and uncle took in 13 year old Mary. The two remaining siblings, 11-year-old Florence and 10-year-old Howard, presumably went to live with Charles and Lizzie. The Orphans Court named Charles the guardian in October 1895.[6] He probably felt a great deal of sympathy for his younger brother and sister knowing what it felt like to lose a parent so early in life.

Guardianship granted to Charles Nichols for his younger siblings. Compiled Service Record, Thomas A. Nichols, Lt, 9th Regiment, Co. K, PA Cavalry (92nd Volunteers); Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1780’s-1917, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Guardianship granted to Charles Nichols for his younger siblings. Compiled Service Record, Thomas A. Nichols, Lt, 9th Regiment, Co. K, PA Cavalry (92nd Volunteers); Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1780’s-1917, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Three months after his father’s death, the Nichols family  celebrated new life.  At age 30 Charles became a father when Helena May Nichols arrived on 25 May 1895 in Apollo, PA. Her name combined her maternal grandmother’s name with her birth month.

The 1900 census showed Charles listed as a Roller at a steel mill while Lizzie tended the home. They owned their own house on Lafayette Street in Allegheny Township, part of Vandergrift Borough, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.[7]

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop. schu, Westmoreland, ED 0075,p.6B, dwelling 104, family 117, Charles Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop. schu, Westmoreland, ED 0075,p.6B, dwelling 104, family 117, Charles Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

Located nearby was the West Penn Steel Company. The works produced about 20,000 tons of steel annually and presented job opportunities for men who were willing to work hard, such as Charles Nichols. Fifteen-year-old Howard, Charles’s younger brother, lived at the Soldier’s Orphans Industrial School in Scotland, PA.[8] Florence, age 16, moved to Trenton, New Jersey where her older half-sister, Bertha Nichols Donaldson, lived. I believe Charles visited Bertha in Trenton about 1903 and had his photograph taken at Holyer photography studio.

The next record I found demonstrates Charles and Lizzie’s religious convictions. On 1 April 1900 a young evangelizing minister from the First United Church in Vandergrift, PA, William Wallace Youngson,  baptized 4-year-old Helena May Nichols.[9] She was one of two children baptized that day. Three months later, 8 July 1900, Charles and Lizzie became baptized members of the congregation along with 31 other adults and children.[10]

“Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for William Wallace Youngson, Pastoral and Statistical Records First United Methodist Church 1898 & 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”

“Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for William Wallace Youngson, Pastoral and Statistical Records First United Methodist Church 1898 & 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”

I found it interesting to examine the Pennsylvania church records on ancestry.com and then find newspaper articles about the growing church movement in the community. In 1898 the First United Methodist Church had 189 full members, 25 children baptized and 14 adults. In 1900 there were 404 full members, 29 children baptized and 23 adults.[11] A gospel temperance rally held in July 1898 by the Methodist Episcopal Church offered meetings featuring sermons on the work of the Holy Spirit and other religious topics. Reverand William W. Youngson himself converted at the meeting held in 1898.[12]

During the next decade, Charles gradually climbed the ladder in the steel industry. In 1909 West Penn Steel built a new plant in the growing community of Tarentum, PA, located 15 miles from Vandergrift. The plant estimated to cost about $500,000 could employ 1000 men in the beginning.[13] Charles must have been part of this expansion. In the 1910 census Charles and his family lived on Second Avenue in Tarentum and rented a home. Charles worked as a Manager at a Steelworks. In addition to Lizzie and Helena,  a 24-year-old mine engineer, Henry L Vane, lodged with the family.[14]

1910 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop sch., Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 0246, p. 10B, dwelling 200, family 214, & dwelling 209, Charles Nichols & Howard Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com

1910 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop sch., Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 0246, p. 10B, dwelling 200, family 214, & dwelling 209, Charles Nichols & Howard Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com

It was only as I wrote this article and re-examined the 1910 census record that I realized Charles’s younger brother, Howard, lived just a few houses down the street. Lesson learned, check records several times for clues.

Charles Nichols, 1914, Tarentum, Pennsylvania; VP of Brackenridge Country Club.

Charles Nichols, 1914, Tarentum, Pennsylvania; VP of Brackenridge Country Club.

Interested in his community, Charles became a founding member and Vice-President of the Brackenridge Country Club. A 1914 newspaper article I found provided a picture of the mature Charles. He still has thick dark hair and a well-groomed appearance but no longer wears a mustache. Active in business and civic affairs, Charles also served as president of the First National Bank of Tarentum.

 

 

 

 

As General Superintendent of the West Penn Steel plant, Charles handled the 1915 employee strikes that resulted in a slight increase in pay. Again in 1919 Charles agreed to the justice of the worker’s demands. They received the eight hour work day they desired.[15] How many hours were they working before the strike? Did Charles feel  sympathy for the workers since he understood the plight of the common man?

Successful at his job, Charles owned his own home in the 1920 census and served as the Assistant Manager at a Steel Mill at age 54. The household members included Charles, Lizzie, 24-year old Helena and the retired brother of Lizzie, Adam L. Carney.[16]

1920 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch. Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 831, p.5A, dwelling 85, family 103, Nichols, Charles K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1920 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch. Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 831, p.5A, dwelling 85, family 103, Nichols, Charles K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

After ten years as general superintendent, Charles received a promotion in February 1921. The new vice president and general manager was noted in the Pittsburgh Press as “prominent in  independent steel circles.”[17]

The year 1925 was an eventful year for Charles. He retired from the Steel Mill at age 60 with a successful career behind him. A 1925 newspaper article listed Pittsburg residents who paid more than $500 in Federal income tax, most of the people paid between $1000-$3000 in Federal Taxes; Charles paid $10, 398.94.

FAMILY CONTACTS

I am always curious about contact between family members when they live far apart from one another. Even there are no letters saved from the Nichols family, I did find evidence that the siblings maintained some contact with one another. Charles assisted his extended family a couple of times. I found his name and address listed as a reference on a passport application for his nephew’s wife in June 1919. Charles sister,Bertha, married Warren Donaldson and settled in New Jersey. Their only son,  Lt. Warren Donaldson, married Marie Heinen from Luxemburg on June 16, 1919.[18]

“U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2017), entry for Marie H. Donaldson, Volume 169: Paris, France, citing National Archives.

“U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2017), entry for Marie H. Donaldson, Volume 169: Paris, France, citing National Archives.

In the 1930 census Charles and Lizzie had settled in Natrona Heights, a township not far from Tarentum. They shared their $30,000  home with Charles’s nephew, John Lee Nichols (1890-1967), the youngest son of John Mathews Nichols. Thirty-nine-year-old John Lee, a WWI Veteran, must have sought help from his uncle who had connections.

1930 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch.,Harrison, ED 0622, p.g10B, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Chas. K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1930 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch.,Harrison, ED 0622, p.g10B, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Chas. K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

John found a job as a yardmaster at a Steel Mill. How long he stayed with his uncle is unknown. Charles and Lizzie also opened their home  during 1930 to her 76-year-old brother, John Carney.[19]

I found a second link between the two brothers, Charles Knerr Nichols and John Mathews Nichols and their families. This one would please my mother.  She grew up knowing very little about the Nichols family and often wondered if they lost contact with one another. My mother only recalls  frequent visits to her grandmother, Mabel Nichols Hyde (1888-1954), and Mabel’s younger brother, John Lee Nichols (Uncle Johnnie). Did Mabel ever visit her Uncle Charles, or did he visit his brother and family in Omaha? When Mabel’s only son, John F. Hyde Jr. married Anna Jane Beaton in June 1935, Charles and Lizzie Nichols must have received an invitation to the wedding. I can say this with certainty because my grandmother, Anna Jane, noted a generous gift from Charles and Lizzie in her wedding gift registry.

Wedding gift registry for Anna Jane Beaton and John F. Hyde from Charles and Lizzie Nichols.

Mr. and Mrs Chas. Nichols 927 Freeport Rd, Tarentum Penns. – 50 pieces of Franciscan china July 20, 1935. Wedding gift registry for Anna Jane Beaton and John F. Hyde Jr.

 

 

franciscan_china_yellow

They sent a 50-piece set of Franciscan ware. I wonder if this is the colorful Franciscan china that I remember Grams setting on her table when I visited her? As I wrote this article it occurred to me that I have 7 pieces of brightly colored Franciscan ware I inherited from Grams.  It would be rather fitting if these are the same pieces Charles and Lizzie gave to my grandparents. ceramic-mugs

 

 

 

nichols_helena_pa_addressbk_2

Reviewing all of the documents I received I recalled an address book that belonged to Helena May Nichols. She started writing in the book prior to her marriage as it lists her maiden name.

 

 

 

 

Addresses: Fred [Nichols] 5417 N. 16th [Omaha, NE]; John [ Mathew Nichols] 1402 Jaynes St. Hyde [Dr. John F and Mabel Nichols Hyde] 3227 Lafayette [Omaha, NE]

Addresses: Fred [Nichols] 5417 N. 16th [Omaha, NE];
John [ Mathew Nichols] 1402 Jaynes St.
Hyde [Dr. John F and Mabel Nichols Hyde] 3227 Lafayette [Omaha, NE]

Helena noted the address for her Uncle John Nichols, his son Fred, and for Mabel Nichols and Dr. John F. Hyde. The address for Mabel and John matches the U.S. 1920 census record.

 

 

 

The Later Years

In 1940 Charles and Lizzie no longer lived in their own home.  They moved in with their son-in-law Charles Lefkowitz, daughter Helena Nichols Lefkowitz,  three grandchildren, and two maids, at 927 Freeport Road in Harrison, PA.[20] The 1940 U.S. census noted that in 1935 Charles and Lizzie lived in Los Angeles, CA. When did they move to CA? How long did they live there? Did they move back to PA to be with family because of poor health? The entire family moved again in 1949 to nearby New Kensington. Perhaps they required a larger house?

1940 U.S. census, Allegheny Co., PA, pop sch. Harrison, ED 2-216, p 5A, house 927, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com

1940 U.S. census, Allegheny Co., PA, pop sch. Harrison, ED 2-216, p 5A, house 927, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com

One of the newspaper articles I received in the package of photos described Charles’s and Lizzie’s 60th wedding anniversary in 1950. The couple celebrated at the home of their daughter Helena.  One-hundred-twenty-five guests from Ohio and Pennsylvania joined the couple for their Diamond anniversary.[21] I wish I had a list of all the guests who attended.

“Mr. and Mrs. C.K. Nichols Diamond Wedding,” (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Aug 1950, p14.

“Mr. and Mrs. C.K. Nichols Diamond Wedding,” (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Aug 1950, p14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, three months after the celebration Charles died from a heart attack on October 30, 1951 at age 86.[22] Lizzie passed away three years after Charles in July 1955, also due to heart problems.[23] They are both buried at Mount Airy Cemetery in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

Did you notice how many times the #3 appeared in Charles’s life?

As I continue to post pictures from this family I hope that a reader will recognize some of the unidentified faces. Fortunately, I have one more labeled picture to present in the next article and speculation about two other images.


[1] Walker, Peter. “George Holyer (1810‐c1890).”  pdf (2011): n. pag. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
[2] “Cute Young Woman Wearing a Plume Hat in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” The  Cabinet Card Gallery. https://cabinetcardgallery.wordpress.com,  13 December 2016.
[3] 1880 U.S. census, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Saint Clair, Enumeration District 204, p. 75C, dwelling 33, family 33, Nichols, Thomas A; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com: accessed 22 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication  1255192, roll 1192.
[4] First United Church (formerly First Methodist Episcopal Church) (Pottsville, Pennsylvnaia). Marriage Book. Parish Rectory, Pottsville.
[5] “Married.” The Plain Speaker [Hazleton, Pennsylvania]. 4 July 1890. Newspapers.com. Web. 15 Feb. 2017. http://www.newspapers.com.
[6]Compiled Service Record, Thomas A. Nichols, Lt, 9th  Regiment, Co. K,  PA Cavalry (92nd Volunteers); Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1780’s-1917, National Archives, Washinton, D.C.
[7] 1900 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny, Enumeration District 75,p. 6B, dwelling 104, family 112, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 17 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication 1241496, roll 1496.
[8] 1900 U.S. census, Franklin County, PA, population schedule, Greene Township, Enumeration District 42, p13B, line 86, Nichols, Howard R; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 17 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication 1241412, roll 1412.
[9] “Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for Helena Nichols, Baptism, First United Methodist Church, 1 April 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”
[10] “Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for Charles and Lizzie Nichols, Baptism,First United Methodit Church, 8 July 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”
[11] “Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for William Wallace Youngson, Pastoral
[12] “Termperance At Valley Camp.” The Pittsburgh Press [Pennsylvania]. 22 Jul 1898. Newspapers.com. Web. 16 Feb 2017. (http://www.newspapers.com)
[13] “To Build $500,00 Plant West Penn Steel Will Let Contracts Tomorrow.” The Philadelphia Inquirer.[Pennsylvania]. 17 Jan 1909. Newspapers.com. Web. 16 Feb 2017. (http://www.newspapers.com)
[14] 1910 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tarentum, Enumeration District 0246, p10B, dwelling 200, family 214, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication 1375310, oll T624_1297.
[15] “Employees in Allegheny Steel Plant Against Strike.” Pittsburgh Daily Post [Pennsylvania]. 21 Sep 1919. Newspapers.com. Web. 15 Feb 2017.(http://www.newspapers.com)
[16] 1920 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tarentum, Enumeration District 0831, p5A, dwelling 85, family 103, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives, roll T625_1529.
[17] “Steel Man Promoted.” The Pittsburgh Press {Pennsylvania]. 11 Feb 1921. Page 9. Newspapers.com. Web. 15 Feb 2017. (http://www.newspapers.com)
[18] “U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 5 Feb 2017), entry for Marie H. Donaldson, Volume 169: Paris, France, citing National Archives.
[19] 1930 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrison, Enumeration District 0622, p10B, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives,microfilm 2341698 .
[20] 1940 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrison, Enumeration District 2-216, p5A, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives,roll T627_3405.
[21] “Mr. and Mrs. C.K. Nichols Diamond Wedding,” (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Aug 1950, p14.
[22] “Pennsylvania Death Certificates 1906-1964.” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Feb 1017), entry for Charles K Nichols, Certificate Number Range: 087751-090300, citing Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission;PA, USA.
[23] “Pennsylvania Death Certificates 1906-1964.” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Feb 1017), entry for Elizabeth B Nichols, Certificate Number Range: 087751-090300, citing Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission;PA, USA.

 

THOMAS ACKLEY NICHOLS
Name: Thomas Ackley Nichols
Parents: Matthias Nichols and
Sarah [Ackley?]
Spouse: wife #1 Helena Knerr, wife #2 Lillian Bull
Children: #1 John Mathews Nichols m. Mary Nelson;   Bertha Virginia Nichols m. Warren Gore Donaldson; Charles Knerr Nichols m. Elizabeth Bell Carney                                                                                                                                                                  #2Mary Watson Nichols Dietsche[later Ditchey], Florence Ackley Nichols Snyder, Howard Ransloe Nichols
Relationship to Kendra: 3x Great-grandfather

  1. Thomas Ackley Nichols
  2. John Mathews Nichols
  3. Mabel Elvina Nichols Hyde
  4. John Fay Hyde
  5. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  6. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

 

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

OLD PHOTOGRAPHS SERENDIPITY & COUSIN CONNECTIONS

nichols_photos_mixed4

Nichols family photos and documents.

Old photographs with unnamed faces gaze at me asking to be identified and treasured. Labeled photographs ask for their story to be revealed and shared. I’m fortunate that several of my ancestors saved and passed on so many pictures. However, there are other family lines with gaping holes where there should be smiling faces. What happened to their family photos? According to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective,“Photos aren’t inherited in a direct line, most times they pass to a relative interested in preserving them. When that doesn’t happen pictures go missing, get destroyed or are sold.”[1]

Using serendipity, cousin connections, and blogging, I’ve managed to fill in some of the missing faces. Taking inspiration from Cathy Meder-Dempsey’s blog, Opening Doors in Brick Walls, and her articles about Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can, I decided to write a series of posts about discovered photographs.

THE FIRST BIG DISCOVERY

His pale somber eyes gaze at me from the computer screen. Unruly dark hair pokes out behind his pronounced ear lobes. A full mustache drapes over his lips and a slightly graying goatee hides his chin. Although the photograph depicts only a head and shoulder view, he appears slender.  So, this is what you look like Thomas Ackley Nichols? I’d scoured the internet for months looking for his portrait. Serendipity struck on the day I published my first blog about Thomas A. Nichols when I found his photograph on a “defunct” website. You can read more about his story here.

nichols_thomas_3photos

Adjutant Thomas Ackley Nichols, 9th PA Cavalry photos taken about 1864

Cousin connections and blogging led me to two additional photographs of Thomas.  I think the original photograph is the center image and the two identical photographs are copies and reverse images. Although Thomas is not wearing a hat nor can we see a belt buckle, his buttons on the first and last photo are reversed.

  1.  A third cousin read my blog and shared the  photograph of Thomas on the left.  He also emailed me images of Thomas’s second wife (Lillian Bull) and their three children.
  2.  A distant collateral cousin connected with me through ancestry.com; we share a 7x great-grandfather. She generously sent me a collection of Nichols’s family photographs, including the photograph of Thomas on the right.

Some of the photographs in the Nichols collection are labeled, unfortunately, others are not. Prior to receiving the images,  I had very few photos of Thomas and his extended family. He had two wives, six children, and fifteen grandchildren, so my hope is that someone among his descendants is interested in family history and can identify the mystery pictures. I look forward to introducing additional members of the Nichols family and comparing family resemblances.


 

Genealogy Sketch

THOMAS ACKLEY NICHOLS
Name: Thomas Ackley Nichols
Parents: Matthias Nichols and
Sarah [Ackley?]
Spouse: wife #1 Helena Knerr, wife #2 Lillian Bull
Children: #1 John Mathews Nichols, Bertha Virginia Nichols Donaldson, Charles Knerr Nichols                                                                                                                                                            #2 Mary Watson Nichols Dietsche[later Ditchey], Florence Ackley Nichols Snyder, Howard Ransloe Nichols
Relationship to Kendra: 3x Great-grandfather

  1. Thomas Ackley Nichols
  2. John Mathews Nichols
  3. Mabel Elvina Nichols Hyde
  4. John Fay Hyde
  5. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  6. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

[1] Taylor, Maureen, “A Mystery Photo from the Big Easy,” The Client Files (https://maureentaylor.com/mystery-photo-big-easy/?mc_cid=f8a8de703d&mc_eid=670c5a87f4 : accessed 10 February 2017.

Posted in My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , , | 7 Comments