Almyra Brooks 1849-1927

Almyra Brooks, about 18 years of age.

Almyra (Myra) Brooks was born the 9th of June in 18491. Her family was most likely living in Albany, New York at the time, although we do not know that for sure as they do not show up in directories, or the census, in 1850. But they are listed in the directory in 1849 and 1852, at 162 and 152 Patroon St. respectively. She was the 6th child and the fourth girl born to her parents, so she was pretty much one of several middle children. Her mother’s ancestry is pretty much a mystery, as we know only the names of her mother’s parents, and that they were both born in New York, that is it. Her father’s ancestry is a lot of Dutch, with some English thrown in, on both his father’s and mother’s side.

Now, while Myra might have been born in Albany, she did most of her growing up in Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont. Which is where her parents moved sometime about 1854-’55, when the family last appeared in directory in Albany. She was about 7 years old.

Her father supported the family as a cigar manufacturer / tobacconist in Albany, and when they moved to Burlington, Vermont he continued at this occupation. I wonder if the children learned how to roll cigars to help out with the business. It is unclear if they had a shop in the bottom of the house and sold wares there, or if he just manufactured the cigars and then sold them to local grocers, cigar shops, or dry goods stores.

The image just below is the earliest image found for the property, (taken in 1933 when they were fixing the streets of Burlington). It appears from early maps that they lived earliest on the property on the right side of picture, then they moved to the left side by the 1870s or so.

Fixing the street their business/home is on in 1933. From the Burlington Archives.
Current view of house. Google Street View.

Almyra probably attended school, but for how long I just don’t know. I will guess that at a minimum she went until the 8th grade. Although it is possible that she went through high school.

Almyra was another ancestress who was a city girl. In fact it appears that for at least a few generations back her family were all city folk, who ran businesses or worked in trades. Her parents had some money and were, if not well to do, then at least comfortable. They lived in a decent house and owned several properties.

After she would have been done with school Almyra most likely helped her mother around the house, and possibly even helped her father make the cigars he sold to support his family.

Then one day in about 1872 she met a man by the name of Dillon Franklin Hatch. Dillon was going places, he had a nicely established moneyed background, not rich, but well to do. He was a sober man with strong values and good work ethic. All-in-all a pretty good catch.

Shortly after their marriage Almyra’s new husband and her brother-in-law, David Walker, started their own business, the Walker & Hatch Lumber Company. A business which kept the Hatch family in silks for at least 10 years. Until the day everything went “tits up”.

This major set-back did not keep her husband down for long though, he found a job running a furniture factory in Ohio. So the family packed up their household and moved west to make a new beginning for themselves. And it was here they stayed.

D. F. Hatch and family left town last week for their new home in Cleveland, O. Mr. Hatch is to be mill superintendent of the Sturtevant Lumber Company there.

‘Various Burlington Brevities’, Argus and Patriot, 6-29-1887, volume XXXVII, Issue 31, page 2, Montpelier Vermont.

By this time, 1887, Almyra and Dillon had had three children together. However, they had lost their eldest child Harry in 1883, when he was 9, to croup, an “inflammation of the larynx and trachea in children, associated with infection and causing breathing difficulties.” There is about a 9 year gap between the birth of their first child, Harry, and the second, Florence, who had been born a few month before Harry died. It’s possible that Almyra had a few miscarriages during that time, or, they just couldn’t get pregnant. Census records confirm that she had 4 children, only 3 of whom survived to adulthood.

Details of 1900 federal census Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio:
HATCH, Almira,  wife, white, female, born Jun 1849, age 51, married 27 years, had 4 children, 3 living, born NY, parents born NY, can read write, speak english

page 11A [83 written], 3rd Ward; ED 42[?]; SD 12[3?]1; series T623 roll 1264 p25; 1 June; lines 45-50; 235 Deadend[?] Decker[?]; 243/258

Their last child, Charlotte, would be born in Ohio in 1888.

When they first moved to Cleveland the family lived at 101 Sibley, in downtown area (see map below).

Section 40 is where their house was, 101 Sibley (later 74 Sibley), and the business Dillon was running is in section 26 (see red/purple dots on map).
Up close view of property on Sanborn map in 1886; the house and other buildings are along the far left edge of property, Sibley street is at the bottom of the map.
This photo of Almyra’s three children was taken about 1893, a date estimated by guessing the ages of the children — Kate about 10, Herbert about 8, and Charlotte about 5.

The photograph, just above, of Almyra’s children, was taken probably at the Sibley St. property in Cleveland, and probably in the 1890s. We know the family was living at 101/74 Sibley St. using directories. However, these Cleveland directories skip 1893-1895, so we can’t confirm that they were here at that time, and they are not in the directories from 1896 to 1900. (By 1900 the family was living in Sandusky, Erie County, Ohio.) My belief that the photograph was taken in Cleveland seems to matches the Sanborn map showing the property. The large bit of land to the left, the driveway to Sibley street in front of the house, the house is off to the right, out of view of the photo. (In other words, this photo appears to be taken looking down the property to Sibley Street.) This also is a lovely historical image of downtown residential areas in Cleveland at this time. Unfortunately the property is now part of a business and parking lot by the Freeway system.

Current satellite view of same part of Cleveland from Sanborn map in 1886, see dots for house and business locations. Looks like they tore down all of downtown Cleveland and rebuilt it from scratch.

Dillon and Almyra don’t appear to have ever purchased their own home, always renting instead. They moved around town a bit, but not excessively. Except for the short time they lived in Sandusky, Ohio, they were usually found around the Cleveland area.

Almyra raised her children and kept a home for her husband. She probably entertained socially due to her husbands position as a factory manager. They had money and were financially well off.

I know pretty much nothing else about my great grandmother. She hasn’t shown up in many newspaper articles. So far.

As Dillon was a follower of temperance, I would imagine that Almyra was probably of the same inclination, her sister having been a member of temperance groups in Vermont. Maybe they celebrated with a cold glass of lemonade when prohibition was passed in 1920. She most likely was a member of several ladies organizations or charities in town. The type of activities that occupied many a middle class ladies time. As of yet I do not know what those actives might have been.

The family was musically inclined. The photo below of the piano in the parlor shows Almyra playing. Dillon participated in several local musical entertainments back in Vermont, and was part of the Glee Club before he married Almyra. He possibly continued these same activities in Ohio, and might have encouraged his children to study music. Although, I don’t believe that their daughter Charlotte continued any interest in music after she married and left home (I am sure that someone will let me know if I am wrong). Her sister Florence, however, taught piano to make money.2

Almyra did go back to Vermont for visits as seen in this 1922 article (they got her ‘of’ wrong).

LOCAL NEWSCAMBRIDGE NEWS
Mrs. Schweig, Mrs. Sinclair and Mrs. Humphrey of Underhill and Mrs. D. F. Hatch of Boston[?] were guests of Mrs. Mary Wallace and Mrs. James Watson Friday and Saturday

News and citizen. (Morrisville, Vt. ;), 22 Nov. 1922, image 5; (Morrisville, Vt. 😉 1881-current. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn97067613/1922-11-22/ed-1/seq-5/>

She was also back in Vermont for her sister Charlotte’s funeral in 1906.

Burlington weekly free press. [volume], August 16, 1906, Page 5, Image 5

No doubt there were other trips back east when needed. And there was even a trip out West to Washington State, where Dillon also bought property. Maybe they were investing in lumber. After all Dillon was part of the building trade back home in Ohio.

While I might not know much about Almyra’s life specifically, I can imagine what living in Cleveland might have been like. It was a bustling growing city, full of interesting possibilities.

For example–Almyra probably shopped downtown at the Arcade, which was built in 1888:

This is a beautiful building. Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

Cleveland made history in the year 1914 when they installed the first electric traffic lights to be put in anywhere in the world. Maybe Almyra went through these lights when she headed with family to the beach to enjoy a little relaxation.

Did Almyra drive? Public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
1905 A popular spot in Cleveland on the shores of Lake Michigan. Euclid Beach, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
1909 panorama view of Cleveland, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.
1912 panorama view of Cleveland, public domain, Wikimedia Commons.

By 1910 all the children had left the nest. Now is was just Dillon and her. Although, neither of her two eldest actually went too far, they both stayed in the Cleveland area. Charlotte, the youngest, is the one who moved farther away.

When Almyra died the 20th of June in 1927 (just over a year after Dillon’s death), the only surviving member of her family was her eldest brother John Brooks, jr. He died about three years later at 92 years of age. They had a total of 7 grandchildren to indulge while they were around, two more were born after they had both died.

Hatch-Almira Brooks, wife of the late Dillon, mother of Herbert Hatch, Mrs. Florence Hart and Mrs. Charlotte Shaw, 1632 Elberon Avenue, on Monday, June 20. Remains at Charles Melbourne & Son’s 12737 Euclid avenue, where services will be held on Wednesday, June 22, at 3 p. m.

Almira Brooks Hatch entry  Id#: 0137853; database gathered by the staff of the Cleveland Public Library.

In the parlor picture above you can see a silver tea pot in the room beyond, that silver tea pot is now in my sister’s home. I love having this picture of items that have been passed down in our family, and seeing them being used by our ancestors.

(Related Hatch Article about her son Herbert.)

Sources:
1.  John Henry Brooks file, cert. no. SC955 486, pension file can no. 19689, bundle no. 20, (Washington: National Archives) ordered online so do not know what microfilm was searched. Dec 6, 2006. Pension file contained transcribed births from bible that had been given to Almira and John Brooks when they married, by John’s mother.

2.  1930 Federal Census; Census Place: East Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0585; FHL microfilm: 2341518

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