Tag Archives: Thomas Gordon Smith

Scotch marriage record of my ancestors (my Smith grandfather’s great-grandparents)

 

 

John Gilchrist-Agnes Christie marriage record.jpg

 

 

I am one fourth Scotch through my paternal grandfather Thomas Gordon Smith (1885-1967).

Posted here is the marriage record of my grandfather’s great-grandparents on his paternal grandmother’s side.

My grandfather’s great-grandfather on his paternal grandmother’s side was John Gilchrist of Scotland. John Gilchrist married my grandfather’s great-grandmother Agnes Christie. Their daughter Jane (Gilchrist) Smith (my grandfather’s paternal grandmother) emigrated to the United States in 1872.

The marriage of John Gilchrist and Agnes Christie took place in Paisley, Scotland in 1833. “MC” on the marriage record stands for Middle Church. Middle Church describes the area around a parish and also the religious denomination associated with that area. The couple were Presbyterian.

If any family member ever goes to Scotland, they might want to check out Paisley. The newlyweds John and Agnes lived on North Croft Street in Paisley in the late 1830. They later moved to Niddry Street in Paisley, where they were living as recorded in the 1841 Scotch census.

Paisley is where their daughter Jane, my grandfather’s maternal grandmother, was born in December 1834. She died in Boston, Massachusetts in 1907.

Paisley was at one time famous for its weaving and textile industries. Prior to emigrating, Jane (Gilchrist) Smith, my grandfather’s maternal grandmother, was employed as a “winder of cotton.”

Jane’s father John Gilchrist, whose marriage record is posted here, is described as a blacksmith in early records and later as a “boilermaker journeyman.” He was born 1811 to 1815 (a range of years deduced from ages shown on later records). The year 1811 is likely. There was a John Gilcrhis [sic] baptized to a John Gilcrhis and Jean Cameron on 1 Dec 1811 in Paisley (Abbey). This is probably my ancestor.

 

— Roger W. Smith

    May 2018

 

 

*****************************************************

 

See also my post:

 

“Jane (Gilchrist) Smith (1834-1907)”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/04/02/jane-gilchrist-smith-1834-1907/

 

names

 

 

IMG_0924.JPG

 

I passed a clothing store today, Vivaldi, a boutique located on the West side of Third Avenue on the corner of 79th Street.

I have noticed this store before. I used to live on the East Side. The name of the store ANNOYS me.

Why? one might ask.

Because, giving a fancy clothing store such a name is done for no other reason than to create an impression — a faux impression — of unmerited sophistication. It’s almost the same, say, as if my parents gave me the name Wolfgang. What does a famous composer have to do with women’s styles? Nothing. It’s a bad attempt at sophistication showing an ignorance that is irksome.

I don’t mind the use of famous names a priori: say, the Ted Williams Fishing Tackle Store. That wouldn’t bother me. (It might, however, brother Williams’s heirs because of rights to the use of Williams’s name.)

There is a famous bookstore in Paris called Shakespeare and Company. It’s a bookstore and meeting place for anglophone writers and readers. Books. Shakespeare. Shakespeare and Company, meaning the Bard and other great English writers, his literary descendants. One can comprehend that.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Later in the day, I got to thinking a bit about personal (given) names. I tend to be rather conservative in this respect. I tend to prefer names already commonly in use. I am not crazy when a name like Tiffany or Amber catches on and suddenly everyone is naming their daughter Tiffany or Amber. (I realize I have no really good reason to object.) And, I don’t like it when kids are given unusual names like Trig and Chastity.

I don’t like it when parents give feminine names to boys (e.g., Shirley; one of my cousins was married to a man whose first name was Shirley) and boys’ names to girls. I feel it could lead to kids having some identity confusion (read sexual identity) and to being teased.

I happen to like my first name, Roger. (So there!) It doesn’t call attention to itself; it’s a standard name that’s been around for a long time. Yet, it seems a bit distinctive in that it’s not that common.

 

*****************************************************

 

By the way, I found that paying attention to names helped me with genealogical research. For example, my grandfather’s name was Thomas Gordon Smith. He was formally known as T. Gordon Smith as an adult, and was informally known as Gordon. I thought Gordon was his first name.

It turned out that he had an ancestor from Scotland, his paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Gordon. Information about her was hard to find. My grandfather’s middle name was an important clue; he got it from his grandmother.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

  August 30, 2017

a trip to Massachusetts (and its disappointing aftermath)

 

 

 

During the month just ended, I took a trip to Massachusetts to attend the American Literature Association’s annual conference in Boston, and also to take photos of personal interest from the point of view of my personal history and also from a genealogical angle.

I grew up in Massachusetts, in the Greater Boston area.

Practically all of my relatives came from Massachusetts. My father’s ancestors, on his father’s side, emigrated from Scotland to Boston in 1872. His relatives on his mother’s side emigrated during the colonial period and lived mostly in Essex County, north of Boston, and subsequently in the Greater Boston area.

My mother’s relatives were originally mostly from Cape Cod; some of my relatives continue to live there.

The following is a trip itinerary with photographs.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Wednesday, May 24

I went to Danvers, Mass., which is where my mother grew up and photographed the house and block where she lived. Danvers was originally an outlying area of Salem; it was known as Salem Village. The Salem witchcraft trials arose from incidents that took place in what is now Danvers.

My mother lived at 19 Braman Street from around 1920 through 1940. The house looks shabby now.

 

 

1.jpg

19 Braman St., Danvers, MA

 

 

2.jpg

19 Braman St.

 

 

 

3.jpg

view of Braman St., Danvers

 

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

From Danvers, I headed south, in the direction of Boston. Although my focus was mostly family history, it occurred to me, why not make a stop in Winchester, Mass., where the world famous Russian émigré sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin, one of my heroes, lived?

Sorokin, his wife, and their two sons resided at 8 Cliff Street in Winchester. (Sorokin died in 1968. One of his sons still occupies the same residence.) I was interested not only to see the residence of a world renowned scholar and writer, but also to see the house because it was famous for its grounds: a garden developed and maintained by Sorokin himself, for which he had won awards from horticultural societies and of which he was proud.

I drove up the block, which was on a steep ascent, using GPS to guide me. The GPS system advised me that I had arrived at my destination, 8 Cliff Street, on my left. I saw 6 Cliff Street, but where was number 8? Number 8 was shrouded and hidden by a profusion of flowering bushes. It reminded me of the Forest of Thorns in “Sleeping Beauty.”

 

 

 

 

Pitirim A. Sorokin residence, 8 Cliff St., Winchester, MA. Photographs by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Next, I drove to Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, Mass., which was close by — a beautiful cemetery where my Scotch ancestors are buried — and photographed gravestones. This required a return visit a couple of days later because a cemetery worker suggested I have one of the gravestones, for my great-great grandfather and great-great grandmother, cleaned, at the cost of seventy-five dollars.

 

 

 

1

Gravestone of my father’s paternal grandmother Jennie H. (Wright) (Smith) Simpson and her 2nd husband, Capt. George F. Simpson. Marjorie (Smith) Farrar (my father’s aunt) was her daughter. Elva Farrar, who died in infancy, was Jennie’s granddaughter.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

I then drove all the way, heading south, to New Bedford, Mass., which was a flourishing city in the nineteenth century but now has a depressing look and feel to it. My maternal grandmother grew up there. I took photographs of the house where she was born in 1894. The house is on South Sixth Street. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Wing Street in New Bedford. I intended to photograph the house, but it is no longer standing.

 

 

120 South Sixth St, New Bedford.jpg

120 South Sixth St., New Bedford, MA. My maternal grandmother, Annie Congdon (Hart) Handy, was born there in 1894.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Thursday, May 25

I drove to New Bedford again early Thursday morning to visit Rural Cemetery, an old cemetery where many burials occurred in the nineteenth century. There, I located the grave of my mother’s great-grandfather, John Congdon Hart. He died in 1883. He had two wives and thirteen children. His gravestone reads “J. C. Hart / 5th Mass. Batt’y.” No dates are carved on the stone. John C. Hart was a Civil War veteran. The inscription on his gravestone clearly indicates that he was proud of his Civil War service.

 

 

1.JPG

Section of Rural Cemetery, New Bedford, MA where John Congdon Hart (1829-1883), my maternal grandmother’s paternal grandfather, and his family are buried.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

From New Bedford, I drove to Cape Cod, a drive of about 45 minutes. I went to Cataumet Cemetery in the town of Bourne (Cataumet being a section of that town). It is a small cemetery across the street from a Methodist church where many ancestors on my mother’s side worshiped. Many of my mother’s ancestors, surnamed Handy, are buried there.

 

 

Cataumet Methodist Church.jpg

United Methodist Church, Cataumet, MA

 

 

 

Henry T. Handy & family grave.jpg

Gravestone of Henry Thomas Handy, his wife Lydia Perkins (Ellis) Handy, and three of their children, two of whom died in infancy, Cataumet Cemetery, Cataumet, MA.  Etta H. Handy was my mother’s aunt and a close relative. Henry T. Handy pursued a career as a whaler in his early adulthood and later became a farmer on Cape Cod.

 

 

Ralph E. and Annie Handy gravestone - atlernative view.jpg

Gravestone of my maternal grandparents,  namely Ralph Ellis Handy (1894-1946) and Annie C. (Hart) Handy (1894-1972), Cataumet Cemetery, Cataumet, MA. Also named is Clifton Edward Handy, my mother’s younger brother, who died in infancy.

 

 

 

 

another view of Ralph E. and Annie Handy gravestone.jpg

Another view of my maternal grandparents’ gravestone, Cataumet Cemetery, Cape Cod.

 

 

 

 

Cataumet Cemetery.JPG

Cataumet Cemetery

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

I then drove to Pocasset, also on Cape Cod, which is right next door. I photographed the beautiful house and grounds where my mother’s uncle Robert S. Handy lived. My mother and her cousins spent many enjoyable times during summer vacations there. One can’t miss the house from the street, although it is set back and is fronted by an extensive greensward. It is a neighborhood landmark.

 

 

 

1.jpg

The late Robert S. Handy’s residence, County Road, Pocasset. Robert Handy (1881-1972) was my mother’s uncle.

 

 

 

2

Front yard, Robert S. Handy residence, Pocasset.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

From Cape Cod, I drove to Dorchester, Mass., to the section known as Mattapan. Dorchester is part of Boston. It took me a long time navigating local traffic to find 67 Woolson Street in Mattapan, a modest house where my father, Alan Wright Smith, was born in 1917. I had never seen the house before.

 

 

 

1.jpg

67 Woolson St., Mattapan (Boston), MA. My father was born there in 1917.

 

 

2.jpg

67 Woolson St.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

I got lost and stuck in Boston traffic on my return and had to call it a day.

 

 

 

Huntington Ave, Boston.jpg

Huntington Avenue approaching Symphony Hall, Boston. (Photo taken from my car window.)

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

 

Friday, May 26

Friday was a total change of pace: the American Literature Association (ALA) annual conference at the Westin Copley Place hotel in Boston. I attended a few lectures and the annual meeting of the International Theodore Dreiser Society.

Attendance at the Dreiser Society meeting was sparse, but I was very glad to be able to participate. I had the opportunity to meet noted Dreiser scholars such as Thomas P. Riggio, Renate von Bardeleben, Yoshinobu Hakutani, and Miriam Gogol, all of whom I already knew (not necessarily well) from prior acquaintance. Professor Hakutani made some very interesting observations comparing a work of Richard Wright’s (he is an authority on Wright), Black Boy, to an autobiographical work of Dreiser’s. I made a mental note to purchase and read Black Boy.

Other scholars present include Ashley Squires, a professor from Moscow who gave a fascinating presentation on the reception of Theodore Dreiser in Russia, where he has been for a long time — and is still — very popular. Being seated right next to her, fortuitously, I struck up a conversation. “For a Russian, you speak awfully good English,” I said. It turned out that she’s one hundred percent American and grew up in the heartland. It just so happens that she is teaching in Moscow.

I had a very enjoyable conversation with a graduate student from Oklahoma who delivered a paper on Dreiser. It was a pleasure to experience for a few minutes her sincere commitment to her studies and enthusiasm for them. A male companion was with her. They are both rabid baseball fans and were very excited about the prospect of attending their first game ever at Fenway Park that evening.

In the afternoon, I had an enjoyable get acquainted chat with a noted American literature scholar, Jerome Loving, a biographer of Whitman, Twain, and Dreiser. He was interested in talking with me about the Chester Gillette murder case, upon which Theodore Dreiser’s novel An American Tragedy was based. I have done extensive research on the case.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Saturday, May 27

On Saturday, I went back to Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett and photographed the gravestone of my Smith Scotch ancestors, which had been cleaned.

 

 

 

1a.jpg

Gravestone of my Smith ancestors, Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett, MA. They included Thomas Smith, my father’s great-grandfather (who was born in Scotland); Thomas’s wife Jane (Gilchrist) Smith (also a native of Scotland); their son Thomas, Jr., my grandfather’s  father (also born in Scotland); and Wlliam G. Smith, an uncle of my grandfather. (He was born in Boston just after his parents emigrated in 1872.)

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

I then drove to Cambridge, Mass., where I lived until age twelve. I photographed the house on Mellen Street, a ten or fifteen minute walk from Harvard Square, where we lived. The house is in excellent condition and looks the same, except that the back yard where we used to play has been paved over. Lesley College (now Lesley University) bought the house from my father in the 1960’s, and the section of Mellen Street on which the house stands has been made into a private way and renamed.

 

 

27 Mellen St, Cambridge.jpg

27 Mellen Street, Cambridge, MA. I lived there from birth until 1958.

 

 

 

27 Mellen St, Cambridge (2).jpg

27 Mellen St., Cambridge, rear view; the fire escape is still there.

 

 

I went over to the next block, Everett Street, where my best friend, Francis Donlan, lived. I photographed the apartment complex at 11 Everett Street where he lived. It looked the same, which is to say it sort of “reemerged” into my visual memory/consciousness — I had forgotten. Francis’s father was the janitor there. Parking in Cambridge must be notoriously difficult. Everett Street was one way, and restricted/no parking signs were everywhere.

 

 

Everett St, Cambidge.jpg

Apartment house on Everett St. where my best friend Francis Donlan lived.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

My last stop in Cambridge was Oxford Street, where I photographed my old elementary school. I walked right past it. Remembering the order of the streets, I was sure I had missed it, but how? I was looking for the familiar old building and schoolyard. I asked a middle aged man in a playground with two children, “Is there an elementary school near here?”

“Yes,” he replied, “the Baldwin School,” pointing in the direction which I had come from. The school, which I had inadvertently passed, was a block away.

The school when I attended it was named the Agassiz School. I always liked the sound of the name; it sounded distinctive. It was also hard for an elementary schooler to spell.

The school was named in honor of Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-1873), a world renowned Swiss-American biologist and geologist who was a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University. The school’s name was changed to the Maria L. Baldwin School in 2002, due to objections to the theories of Agassiz, which have been characterized as racist. Maria Louise Baldwin (1856 -1922), an African American educator and civic leader, was principal of the school from 1889 until 1922.

I didn’t recognize the school building, and the playground where I used to play kickball was gone.

 

 

 

Maria L. Baldwin School (formerly Agassiz School), Oxford St., Cambridge, MA. Photographs by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

 

Oxford St.jpg

Oxford St., Cambridge, MA

 

 

The theories of Agassiz that have led to his being discredited are based on polygenism, the idea that races were created separately, that they could be classified on the basis of specific climatic zones, and that they were endowed with unequal attributes. It appears that the attribution of racism to Agassiz is not such an open and shut case. He did not support slavery, for example. In general, the renaming of buildings and monuments to conform to changing views makes me uncomfortable. A couple of former classmates whom I have mentioned this to feel, on the contrary, that the change of the school’s name was entirely appropriate.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Leaving Cambridge on Saturday morning, I drove as fast as I could to Oak Grove cemetery in Falmouth, Mass., on Cape Cod, wishing to arrive there before the cemetery supervisor, who works a half day on Saturdays, left. I got stuck in a traffic jam of holiday travelers crossing the Bourne Bridge, which spans the Cape Cod Canal.

At the cemetery, I found quite a few ancestral graves in the same section. I never would have found them without the cemetery supervisor’s help. My mother was born in Falmouth. Her maternal grandparents are buried there, as are several of their ancestors.

 

 

 

grave of William and Love Hewins et al..jpg

Gravestone of William Hewins (1801-1893) of Falmouth, MA and his wife Love (Handy) Hewins (1804-1884), as well as two of their sons. William and Love were great-grandparents of my maternal grandmother Annie C. (Hart) Handy on her mother’s side.

 

 

 

 

John Swift 2nd gravestone (2)

Gravestone of John Swift, 2nd (1806-1864) of Falmouth, MA. He was my maternal grandmother’s great-grandfather on her mother’s side.

 

 

 

 

Frances L. Swift gravestone.jpg

Gravestone of Frances Lincoln (Weeks) Swift (1807-1868),  wife of John Swift, 2nd, my maternal grandmother’s great-grandmother on her mother’s side.

 

 

 

Llewellyn R. Hewins gravestone (2).jpg

Gravestone of Llewellyn Russell Hewins (1834-1908) of Falmouth, MA. He was the grandfather of my maternal grandmother, Annie (Hart) Handy, on her mother’s side. The birthdate on the stone is off by a year.

 

 

 

Arabella F. Hewins gravestone (2).jpg

Gravestone of Arabella F. (Swift) Hewins (1834-1868), first wife of Llewellyn Russell Hewins of Falmouth. She was the grandmother of my maternal grandmother.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

From Falmouth on the Cape, I turned around and drove right back, heading north and west, to Arlington, Mass., a town adjacent to Cambridge and only six miles northwest of Boston. It was practically a second home town for me in my youth. I photographed the big, stately house on a hilltop on Cliff Street in Arlington Heights where my paternal grandparents, T. Gordon and Esther (Whittredge) Smith, lived in the 1930’s and ’40s, which I remember visiting.

 

 

 

Views of 18 Cliff St., Arlington, MA,where my paternal grandparents lived during my early childhood, and of Cliff Street itself. Photos by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

And, the house on Wellington Street, near Arlington Center, where my grandparents lived in the 1950’s and ‘60s. I used to take the streetcar from Cambridge to visit them at the latter residence.

 

 

37 Wellington St, Arlington.jpg

37 Wellington St., Arlington Heights, MA

 

 

 

It was adjacent to Spy Pond, which I photographed, and there was a baseball field across the street where I would sometimes watch games with my grandfather. I photographed that too.

 

 

Spy Pond.jpg

Spy Pond, Arlington, MA

 

 

 

baseball field in park adjancent to Wellington St.jpg

baseball field adjacent to Wellington St.

 

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

I then drove to East Boston, where my Smith Scotch ancestors lived and where my paternal grandfather, Thomas Gordon Smith, was born and raised. My great-great grandfather, Thomas Smith, settled there in the 1870’s after emigrating with his wife and children from Scotland. I found the house where my paternal grandfather was born and the house he moved to with his widowed mother and siblings when he was about ten years old. I found the residences where his grandfather, my great-great grandfather, lived at 606 and 635 Bennington Street. They are in good condition. The latter residence is owned and occupied now by the Salesians of St. John Bosco, a religious order.

 

 

606 Bennington Street.jpg

606 Bennington St., East Boston, MA.  The family of Thomas Smith, my great-great grandfather, lived their briefly in the 1880’s.

 

 

 

 

Photos of 635 Bennington St., East Boston. My great-great grandparents lived there for over 20 years. Photographs by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

I left East Boston at around 7 p.m. on Saturday evening and drove northward, hoping that I could perhaps reach Crane Beach on the North Shore before it got dark. The beach is located in the town of Ipswich. I remember going there with my parents in the 1950’s. My mother knew the beach well. It is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Massachusetts.

 

 

North Shore 7-49 p.m. 5-28-2017

View of countryside, Essex County, MA, near Crane Beach. Photograph by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

Crane Beach 8-03 p.m. 5-27-2017.jpg

Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA. Photograph by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

 

 

Crane Beach 8-02 p.m. 5-27-2017.jpg

Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA. Photograph by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

Indeed, it is.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   June 2017

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Addendum:

 

A main objective of mine on this trip was to photograph ancestral sites and graves. Graves are very difficult to find; it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But, I succeeded beyond my expectations. Not only in finding graves, which are invaluable as genealogical sources, but also in finding and photographing ancestral residences and streetscapes and, most importantly, the houses, hitherto unknown, where my father’s father and mother’s mother and also my father were born.

I decided to share this information with as many descendants as I could, emailing them photographs with commentary.

Their response, in most cases lack of response, was much worse than I could have anticipated — disappointing, and in, a couple of instances, not just disappointing, but inconsiderate and mean spirited. Hardly anyone bothered to acknowledge having received the photos.

Worst of all was the response of some of my relatives (I shared photos and pertinent information only with descendants of the ancestors whose graves and houses I had photographed) who actually COMPLAINED, saying that because I emailed the photos and information to them, they found it to be a nuisance. It had taken me about to week to go through the photos, select the best ones, tweak them, identify them correctly, and write commentary so that my relatives would know whose grave or house it was and how that individual was related to us.

I wrote back to the disgruntled respondents, my relatives, merely saying: “This has involved a great deal of time, effort, and expense on my part.” I mentioned, in replying to them, the time, effort, and expense merely for purposes of comparison: what went into the project versus what would be required for someone to open emails, read them, and download what was perhaps a total of 25 photos. (I do not recall the exact number.) Considerable effort over several days (not counting the spade work, planning, organizing, and dissemination of the materials) versus a few minutes of one’s time for each email.

Regarding the supposedly great inconvenience of being bombarded with emails, what the pros and cons are, it’s not worth discussing here, but I would have thought that someone could have overlooked this (despite whatever their preferences are) in consideration of receiving hitherto unavailable photos and information that were obtained at great effort and considerable expense, and which were available nowhere else, that they would never have known about or had access to otherwise. I am talking about things such as gravestones and homesteads of people such as my nineteenth century ancestors, my ancestors from Scotland, the houses were my father and two of my grandparents were born, and so on. (When, say I “my,” I mean also “their,” that is, our relatives.)

I felt it incumbent upon me to share these materials with as many relatives as I could think of contacting and had the email addresses of, hoping that they would disseminate them among their children and grandchildren. I thought they would be appreciative of this and was taken completely by surprise.

It seems to me that it’s a matter of weighing in the balance what one would rather have: the “inconvenience” (as they conceive it to be) of having a few additional emails (of course, they will say, “what do you mean, a few?,” as if they were greatly imposed upon, put out, inconvenienced; choose your participle) within the space of a couple of days in their inboxes, and having to download a photo or two with a simple click, versus the thought, which does not seem to occurred to them, of what goes into ascertaining the facts thorough prior research (such as, where was such and such ancestor buried? where were my father and grandparents born? where in Boston, at exactly what address, did my great-great grandfather and his children live?). Using those facts to locate materials, planning such a trip, driving to various locales not necessarily close to one another, locating the actual graves and houses, and so on. It would seem that the favor and services done for them far outweigh the “inconvenience,” as they perceive it. But, people seem to take things for granted. The last thing they would ever do is look up such stuff themselves. When it is handed to them on a silver platter, they don’t appreciate it but instead complain, vent, and find cause for fault.

I enjoy such projects and find them rewarding, despite the effort involved. And, it is my credo that such materials should be disseminated as widely as possible among parties to whom they would not, presumably, be of no interest or relevance. But, I have experienced such lack of appreciation and inconsiderateness in the past. From persons who have made inquiries of me and requests for information and materials related to scholarly or genealogical research. I always go all out to respond and share what I have. It is incredible how often people don’t even bother to acknowledge receipt or say thanks.

My Grandfather, the 1912 World Series, and Harry Hooper’s Catch; Plus, a Couple of My Own Favorites

 

 

In the 1912 World Series, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Giants four games to three, with one tie.

The eighth and final game was played on Wednesday, October 16, 1912, at Fenway Park in Boston. The attendance was 17,034. The location of the game was determined by a coin toss, which the Red Sox won.

In the game, Boston rallied for two runs in the tenth inning to win the game and the Series, thanks to two costly Giants fielding misplays.

In the fifth inning, Giants second baseman Larry Doyle hit a long drive to right but was robbed of a possible home run by Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper, who made a great running catch in front of the low fence.

My paternal grandfather, Thomas Gordon Smith, witnessed the catch, as he told me years afterward.

Hooper’s catch was described as follows by Red Sox pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, their ace (who pitched in the game in relief), in an interview for the classic book by Lawrence Ritter (who “moonlighted” as a finance professor at the New York University school of business) The Glory of Their Times:

Larry Doyle hit a terrific drive to deep right center, and Harry ran back at full speed and dove over the railing and into the crowd and in some way, I’ll never quit figure out how, he caught the ball — I think with his bare hand. It was almost impossible to believe, even when you saw it.

Red Sox center fielder Tris Speaker, one of the greatest outfielders of all time, called Hooper’s “running, leaping catch,” as he described it, “one of the greatest catches I ever saw.”

This accords with what my grandfather told me. “I was at the World Series game when Harry Hooper caught the ball and fell into the stands,” he said.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

To return to the overall game, and its dramatic denouement.

Smoky Joe Wood, who had taken a pounding on the mound the day before, entered the game in the eighth inning in relief of the Boston starter, Hugh Bedient. Christy Mathewson was pitching for the Giants.

The game went into extra innings with the score tied at 1-1. The Giants scored a run in the top of the tenth inning, making the score 2-1 in their favor. They were three outs away from a World Series victory.

In the bottom of the tenth inning, the Red Sox rallied for two runs to win the game.

The last half of the tenth featured a famous misplay, “Snodgrass’s muff.”

Red Sox pinch hitter Clyde Engle (batting for Smoky Joe Wood) led off with an easy fly ball to Fred Snodgrass in center field. Snodgrass dropped the ball, and Engle reached second base. The next day’s New York Times described the play as follows: “And now the ball settles. It is full and fair in the pouch of the padded glove of Snodgrass. But he is too eager to toss it to [left fielder Red] Murray and it dribbles to the ground.”

The next batter was the above mentioned Harry Hooper, he of the miraculous fifth inning catch. He flied out to deep center — Snodgrass making a fine running catch, right after his error — but Engle advanced to third.

Red Sox second baseman Steve Yerkes was walked by Mathewson, putting the winning run on base.

The next batter was center fielder Tris Speaker (a future Hall of Famer). He lifted a foul popup on the first base side, but Giants first baseman Fred Merkle, pitcher Mathewson, and catcher Chief Meyers allowed the ball to fall untouched in foul territory. Snodgrass later claimed that Red Sox bench jockeys had disrupted the players’ timing.

Given new life, Speaker singled home Engle to tie the game 2–2, Yerkes advancing to third. Mathewson walked the next batter, left fielder Duffy Lewis, intentionally, loading the bases.

The next batter, Red Sox third baseman Larry Gardner, flied to Josh Devore in right field deep enough for Yerkes to tag up and score, and the Red Sox won the game and the Series.

The Boston outfield consisted of Duffy Lewis, left field (famous for “Duffy’s Cliff”); Tris Speaker, center field; and Harry Hooper in right. It is considered one of the best outfields of all time.

(How is it that the Red Sox seem to usually have great outfields? They had a pretty good one in the fifties when I was a young fan: Ted Williams in left; Jimmy Piersall in center; and Jackie Jensen in right. Then, later, there were the outfields comprised of Red Sox stars such as Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, and Dwight Evans, in various combinations.)

From a Wikipedia article, at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1912_World_Series

Fred Snodgrass’s error went down in history as “the $30,000 muff”, a reference to the difference in the winning and losing shares, $29,514.34. (Note: this figure was calculated with respect to the total amounts of the two teams’ shares.) After the series, Snodgrass tried to explain, saying “I didn’t seem to be able to hold the ball. It just dropped out of the glove, and that was all there was to it.”

Christy Mathewson later wrote that “As I look back upon the 1912 series, when we lost to the Boston Red Sox, I see it was the same. Pitchers, outfielders, the whole team collapsed under the strain.”

My grandfather was age 27 at the time of the final game of the 1912 Series. He was employed as a bank teller in Boston. See photo below.

 

 

T. Gordon Smith

Thomas Gordon Smith (1885-1967)

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

Addendum:

 

Harry Hooper’s catch is not often written about, but it was one of the all time great catches.

I would like to mention two of my favorites.

Opening day at Yankee Stadium on April 14, 1967 pitted the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox. Rookie Billy Rohr was the Red Sox starter; it was his first Major League game. He was pitching a no hitter through eight innings.

In the bottom of the ninth, left fielder Tom Tresh led off for the Yankees. He hit a long drive to left field. Left fielder Carl Yastrzemski, who was playing shallow, made a remarkable over the shoulder, tumbling catch to preserve the no hitter.

Yastrzemski’s catch is viewable on YouTube at

 

 

Unfortunately, Rohr lost the no hitter when the next batter, Elston Howard, singled.

Then there was the catch that Dwight Evans made in Game Six — game six of the 1975 World Series between the Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, that is.

In the top of the eleventh, with Ken Griffey on first, Joe Morgan hit a deep drive to right field that looked to be headed over the fence. Evans, however, made a spectacular catch near the visitors’ bullpen to rob Morgan of a homer, then he made one of his herculean throws to double Griffey off first. The first baseman was none other than Carl Yastrzemski.

Evans’s catch is viewable on YouTube at

 

 

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   December 2016