Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Lena LaRock Houlihan Perkins story


This is another story related to me by Barbara Perricelli.

If I ever met Aunt Lena, I’ve forgotten. I do have a photo around here somewhere with Lena and her 2nd husband, Welser Perkins, taken in Aunt Nellie’s driveway.  The same place as your photo of Bea Marney.


“ Aunt Lena married Frank Houlihan, [Francis “Frank” Robert Houlihan] on 8 July 1903.  Lena 1881 – 1961, was 22.

But her family did not approve, so decided to take matters into their own hands.  Big bro Joe LaRock hired someone to murder a bum, with the proviso that evidence would be left, so that Frank Houlihan would be found guilty of murder.  All went accdg to plan, except either John or your ancestor Frank found out about the scheme, thought it terribly unfair, so warned Frank Houlihan, just in time for him to escape to Canada, by the skin of his teeth.  [As a result, although he occasionally sneaked back into the US, Frank lived out his life in Canada.]


Meanwhile, back in Oburg, Lena was pregnant, and did not feel she could live with her family, after this betrayal.  She accepted an invitation to move in with Frank Houlihan’s widowed mother.  I am not sure, but think they said it was a house on Albany Ave, right behind the one where your mother lived on Mansion Ave, but 2d from the corner on Albany.


For months, the LaRock’s were denied access to Lena.  When they heard that she had given birth, they began to get worried.  Finally, one or more of the LaRock brothers broke into the Houlihan house and kidnapped Lena and her baby.  It turned out that Mrs. Houlihan was vindictive!  She had been trying to pay Lena back for the murder scheme, by trying to slowly starve Lena and the baby to death.  I don’t know if you knew, but Marge Fladd had a glass eye.  Marge said her loss of sight in that eye was due to this malnutrition, as a newborn infant.


Eventually, Lena divorced Frank & remarried, before moving to Rochester, to get away from the whole sordid mess.  Marge said that her mother put her in a church school, and then walked her to and from school every day, year in and year out, because Lena was so afraid Frank would show up and kidnap Marge off the street.  The school faculty had strict instructions to keep a close eye on Marge and be on the lookout for any strange men lurking around the playground.


I don’t seem to have Marge’s birth date in my computer, but I think it was ca 1903. [Margaret “Marge” Houlihan was born on 9 December, 1903 in Ogdensburg, NY at 77 Green St. (between Morris & Hamilton.]  Since Lena was pregnant when it happened, you could probably use that date to find something in local newspapers to verify the “Houlihan the Murderer” tale.”


If my dates are correct; Lena’s Marriage on  8 July 1903 and Marge’s birthday of 9 December, 1903 means Lena was 3 – 4 months pregnant before wedding.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Aunt Josie story


Aunt Josie; 1886 – 1962 was married in 1904 at age 18.

“It seems that aunt Josie was quite the swinger for the times.  She used to sneak out on dates by crawling out the bedroom window, and down an apple tree, there at the house where aunt Nellie lived.   So eventually Josie married and had a baby. [I do not know if it had been a shotgun wedding.] Anyway, she loved dancing and was not about to let a baby keep her from it.  In those days, people would hire a fiddler, and roll up the carpet in the parlor, so they could have dances at home.  It was a bitter cold winter night, so Josie wrapped her baby to keep it warm and she and her husband, pushing the baby in a cutter, set out on foot for a party in ‘the shipyard.’ The ship yard was on the edge of Ogdensburg’s west end, on the river , of course, where ships were built at the time.  I don’t know where Josie and her husband (John “Major” Mastine) lived at the time, but from aunt Nellie’s house it was at least 10 blocks.  When they arrived and unwrapped the baby, the infant girl was lifeless and couldn’t be revived - - suffocated by the blankets.”


I can’t say if this story is true, I never heard a whiff of such a tale in my growing up years.  Aunt Josie lived directly across the street from my Oak Street house with her son John “Buck” Mastine and his wife Irene.  From as long as I remember, aunt Josie lived there separated from her husband “Major” Mastine who lived in the “shipyard.”)  I remember going with Buck to visit him on a couple of occasions. I spent a fair amount of time there at Buck and Irene’s, especially on nights when the sisters; Josie, Nellie, & Addie, would gather there weekly to play cards.  No name for the deceased child was mentioned nor can I find any grave marker for a deceased infant of the LaRock clan other than that of Willard whom I told you about last night.


If Josie was sneaking out the bedroom window at the house aunt Nellie grew up in I have to add this; there was never an apple tree at that house.  There were only 2 bedrooms in that house and one was the parents whose windows (2) opened out onto the front porch and the one window in the other bedroom opened onto the back porch.  I admit that memory can be an imprecise relater of facts but seems weird to confabulate an infant’s dying.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Uncle Ed.


I remember the night Uncle Ed died. It was the 14th of March, a Friday night. I was 12 1/2 yrs. old.  I was at aunt Nellie and uncle Ed's, which was common for me, watching television.  I'm not sure if we had a tv at home yet, we got our first tv when I was around 12, but aunt Nellie and uncle Ed had had one for a few years and I was over to their house frequently, which was only a block or so from our house.  It was probably shortly after supper that Mary Ann Lavigne Marney called to ask if uncle Ed could drive down to Newberry's and pick her up and drive her home.  Mary Ann's Husband, Tim Marney, was aunt Nellie's great nephew.  I don't know the particulars but enough to say that this would not have been uncommon.

Aunt Nellie and I stayed and were watching TV and uncle Ed left in their Packard to go get Maryann.  It doesn't seem like it was very long before we heard the Packard pull in the driveway.  Shortly, Mary Ann came to the door without Uncle Ed.  Mary Ann was visibly shaken and teary when she said, when asked, to Aunt Nellie that he was in the car and she thought he was dead.  She said she had found him slumped over the wheel when she came out of Newberry's and not sure what to do, drove him home.  The details of what happened next elude me but someone drove the car with uncle Ed and aunt Nellie to the hospital and there he was pronounced dead.

I ran home to tell mom and dad.  Dad wasn't home from work yet so I told mom.  Shortly thereafter we heard dad drive his oil delivery truck to our garage one house over and mom told me to go over and tell him when he got out of the truck.  To this day I don't know why she sent me to tell him instead of waiting 'til he came in the house.  But just as well, because when I got to the driver's side of the truck and dad was just opening the door he asked what was up  and I burst out that uncle Ed had died. He burst outta that truck quicker than a lightening bolt and grabbed me roughly by the shirt and yelled at me to stop horsing around, "you're not funny," he shouted. Quivering in my sneaks, thinking I would pee my pants, I stuttered; "no, really dad, I'm telling the truth".  After that he ran to the house so fast that I couldn't keep up.

Some back ground;  Aunt Nellie was my Dad's father's sister.  She and uncle Ed had no children.  Dad's mother died when he was 3 years old and his dad died when he was 13. After his father's funeral, dad went to live with an older brother in Panama 'til he was 16 then came back to Rochester to stay with an older sister.  When  he was 17 he came to live with aunt Nellie and uncle Ed until he joined the Army Aircorps in WWII.

So, for me, Great aunt Nellie and uncle Ed were, for all intents and purposes, my surrogate grandparents for all of my growing up years and acted as such.

Where does Mary Ann fit into this scheme of things?  Well, One of aunt Nellie's sisters, Josie, who just happened to live directly across the street, with her son Buck, from mom, dad and myself , had a grand son named Timothy Marney.  Timmy was the son of Josie's daughter who lived two houses down from us; about half way between us and aunt Nellie.( there was a plethora of relatives in our neighborhood.  So much so that for most of my growing up years I thought I was related to everybody in our city.) Anyway, Timmy, My 2nd cousin, married Mary Ann and that's how she fits in.