My Ancestor – Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

Last June I  read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Alfred Duryee Guion; (2) Alfred Peabody Guion; (3) Judith Anne Guion


Alfred Duryee Guion

Alfred Beck Guion

Ella (Duryee) Guion

Excerpts From Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion:

In 1884, the year I was born, that part of Fifth Ave., New York City, where my parents lived, was “uptown” which meant somewhere above 59th St.

                   Alfred Duryee and Elsie May Guion about 1895

From the time I was 3 years old until I was married, we lived in Mount Vernon, a small suburb some 13 miles from Grand Central.  My only sister Elsie was born there in a house on 11th Avenue.  Soon thereafter we moved into a brand-new house which my father had built in a newer part of town known as Chester Hill.  Here I spent most of my childhood.

My father worked for a brokerage firm in Wall Street and was quite conscientious, so much so that in years of panic (today we would call it depression) losses of his clients, as well, I suspect, as of his own, worried him to the extent of bringing on heart trouble.  He died in his 40’s from angina pectoris, leaving a heavily mortgaged home and comparatively little life insurance.  A Masonic friend of my father’s kindly stepped in and negotiated sale of the Lincoln Avenue house for a  smaller house on Dell Avenue, with a small cash surplus.  It entailed a considerably lower standard of living.

fr: Ella Duryee Guion, Elsie Guion; back: Alfred Duryee Guion, Aunt Mary and Aunt Lillian

After my grandfather died, my aunts, Mary, Lillian and Lizzie (who preferred to be called Aunt Betty) came to live with us and helped share in living expenses.

The interval between moving out of the Lincoln Avenue house and carpentry work on the renovated Dell Avenue house was finished, we spent in a rented house, and while there I contracted Scarlet Fever.  The house of course was quarantined and my patient mother was my nurse.

As Lincoln Avenue was the home of my childhood and boyhood, 71 Dell Ave., Mount Vernon, was the home of my youth and early married life. There I emerged from High School, started a business, married and began bringing up a family.

In my sophomore year of High School I became more and more obsessed with the idea that my duty and responsibility was to get out and earn my own keep instead of continuing to be a burden financially to my mother; thus I would sooner be able to feel I was really helping to support my mother as it was my duty to do.  I finally put up to my mother the idea of quitting high school and going to work.

Excerpt form Grandpa’s Resume:

I don’t recall what here I first started into work as an office boy at the Bankers Life Insurance Company on my first job at 4 dollars a week, but I do know that in May, 1903 I was working there at 31 Nassau St., New York City.

At the end of May 1903, I took a job across the street with a much larger company, the Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The next year I took the job as stenographer in the purchasing Department of the American Smelting and Refining Company, controlled by the seven Guggenheim brothers.

On October 30 I left Smelting to take a job with the estate of C.  P.  Huntington.  It was while there I bid on a set of Sheraton furniture for my boss in competition with Mrs. Vanderbilt.

I was fired from there with a month’s salary in advance and a week later landed a job with Saint Nicholas magazine.

           Arla Mary Peabody

             Alfred Duryee Guion


   Certificate of Marriage, Alfred Duryee Guion and Arla Mary Peabody

Grandpa holding Dan and Grandma holding Alfred (Lad).

During the six years I was with the Century Publishing Company, I was married and two little boys (Alfred and Daniel) arrived to make our hearts glad and worry their mother by riding kiddy cars down Darling Avenue Hill.

Arla Mary Peabody Guion with her first five children – Dan, Lad, Ced, Dick and Biss

On February 19, 1917, I left to take a better job with the Celluloid Company, and Ced and Elizabeth put in an appearance.  This was during the great world war.  I was exempted from the draft because of my family but I did join a home defense league and drilled with a club to protect the building from possible rioters.

My boss left Celluloid Company and went to a bigger job with the National Aneline and Chemical Company, and persuaded me to come with him.  In 1920 Dick was born and we moved to Trumbull, soon after which I left National and in the fall of 1923 I joined the Bridgeport Brass Company.

In March 1928, I left to start my own company, Guion Advertising in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

For a much more detailed report of Grandpa’s life, check out my posts in the category “The Beginning”, published every third week on my blog.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters from 1944. All five brothers are serving Uncle Sam, all around the world, and Grandpa tries to keep them well- informed of all the goings-on of siblings and friends.

Judy Guion


One thought on “My Ancestor – Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

  1. Janet McKee says:

    Reblogged this on Janet's Thread 2 and commented:
    Following this blog fascinates me. There are a number of parallels with my own father’s life 1891-1949.

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