Special Picture # 335 – Trumbull House – Then and Now – 1945 – 2018

Recently I spent a night in the Trumbull House visiting with Paulette – Aunt Chiche to family and friends – and took quite a few pictures. For the next few Saturdays I will be posting pictures taken during this stay as well as older pictures of similar places taken over the years, when I have them. I hope you enjoy.

One of my bedroom windows in the attic

Similar view, maybe in the 1970’s

Martin and Flor Williams, Lad’s friends from Venezuela, 1945

Lad and Smokey, 1945

Tomorrow, in My Ancestors, I’ll be highlighting Alfred Beck Guion, Grandpa’s Father.

Next week, we’ll return to 1943, when Lad and Marian’s story begins.

Judy Guion



Trumbull – Dear Sons (2) – Work Around the House and Yard – April 21, 1946

Grandpa, in the Alcove, writing his weekly letter on his Remington typewriter.

Meanwhile, things go on here as usual. A few commodities are back on the store shelves but nothing like in normal times. Food is still scarce, supplies are spotty. We have had no butter to speak of in months and only occasionally is margarine obtainable. Today, in spite of its being Easter, we had neither. And prices are exorbitant. With plans for sending wheat to the starving people in Europe, we are facing a period of flour shortage — something we did not have even during the war, when everything else was rationed — which means less bread, cereal, cookies, cakes, etc. In spite of that fact, Dave, we will do our best to around you out a little physically — I assume you have attended to doing that mentally yourself.

I took Good Friday off and with the aid of Lad, Dick and Paul, we used almost 100 gallons of oil and almost a winter’s supply of ashes fixing up the driveway, and a pretty good job we did of it too. The surface is now as smooth and even as I’ve seen it in a long while. The Seagels, who live in the stone house, have also spent quite a bit of money, apparently, in grading, filling in with many yards of dirt and, with the aid of a bulldozer, have extended the lawn in front of their house and the rough land between their road and the brook into what promises to be a park-like stretch of ground. Dick and Paul have been busy repairing the picket fence between Ives’s corner lot and our eastern boundary, which improves appearances considerably. Yesterday afternoon I relayed the bricks in the fireplace hearth in the music room — not a very good job but making it look better than it did anyway.

No letters this week from either Dan or Ced, which only makes it more likely that news from either England or Alaska, possibly both, may be on the way. News from my “foreign correspondents” will inevitably taper off. Soon Dave will be out of the reporting picture, then, before the year is out (I hope), Dan will be delivering oral reports and it will be Ced only who will be the object of my Sunday afternoon correspondence, but then, I will have firsthand reports to give to my new French daughter-in-law and a grandfather’s version of the growth and progress of two new grandsons or granddaughters.

Right now I’ll have to possess my soul in patience, and so with best Easter greetings to you all, from all of us here, I remain

Your affectionate,


Tomorrow more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, another post about my Ancestor, Alfred Beck Guion, Grandpa’s Father.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (1) – Dave’s Plans to Arrive in Trumbull – April 21, 1946

Easter Day, Trumbull, Conn., April 21, 1946.

Dear Sons:

Except for being just a bit cool today, weather-wise, it is a typical Easter Sunday — bright, warm sunshine, a gentle breeze, a cloudless sky, grass getting green, leaves beginning to bud  — all the signs of nature awakening from its long winter’s sleep. It brings back memories of other Easte’s in the long ago when you kids were little tykes and all agog for hunting hidden nests of Easter eggs, candy bunnies, etc. I wonder what you are all doing today. It is perhaps as diversified an Easter as the family has had. I picture Dan somewhere in old England, perhaps journeying with the English holiday crowd to visit perhaps his friends in Cornwall, where the scene of the book I am now reading – “The Kings General”, was laid. Ced probably is back for the day with some church choir, recalling perhaps the sunrise service he attended one year in Putney, while Dave is riding out his Easter on the surface of the vast Pacific somewhere between Manila and Honolulu, possibly watching “the sun come up like thunder over China ‘cross the Bay”, England, Alaska and the Pacific — truly an international Easter for representatives of the Guion family. When another Easter dawns in Trumbull perhaps these wandering ones will be watching the lilacs coming in to bloom in our own backyard.

       Lilac Flowers

           My reference to Dave on the high seas is founded on fairly good authority. Have had two letters from him this week, as follows: April 5th, Manila. I’m truly sorry for neglecting to write at such an important time. I left for the depot on schedule just as I wrote. But there wasn’t room for me on the boats that were here at the time. I’ve been waiting at the depot ever since. As things stand now I will leave here sometime around the middle of the month, getting into Frisco the first week in May. The ship I’ll probably sail on is the General Heinzelman. It’s arrival in Manila and it’s estimated time of arrival in the states is not yet definitely known because of storms in the Pacific. But you can be pretty sure of seeing me sometime between the 15th and 20th of May. I’m well and unhappy — this business of waiting three weeks for a ship isn’t easy. Don’t be surprised if I’m a little thin when I get home — hot weather never did agree with me and I had 14 straight months of it. But it’s nothing that a little of your cooking won’t fix up in a short time.”

And four days later: “Yup, still here. Rumors still say we are to leave here April 13th, but the Geeral. Heinzelman still hasn’t arrived. I have three letters here which I shall answer. The first is one written on Feb. 6th and sent to Dan by mistake. As this is all about the office I’ll wait till I get home before I answer it. I was glad to get a report on how things were shaping up, tho. The second was written on St. Patrick’s Day. It contained little news but was nevertheless important. A letter is a letter – even if it is a short one. The third letter quotes one of mine in which I tell of being relieved of duty. This one I presume is to be the last I receive. It was written March 24th and said you were sending a copy to Aunt Dorothy in case I didn’t get it here. By the way, thank you for Aunt Dorothy’s new address. She sure does get around. I probably wouldn’t have been able to find her if I hadn’t gotten this letter. This brings me to your predictions on my arrival date in Trumbull. The day before I received your letter I set a date in my mind — a goal, so to speak. Figuring on leaving here the 13th and taking 17 days across the Pacific, 7 days across the country, 3 days in Fort Devens and one day to get home, my guess would be the same as Lad’s — May 11th, say 3:30 or 4:00 P.M. The only trouble is that I’m allowing no time for the inevitable delays in Army transportation. I’m figuring on no time in California. And I don’t think 7 days across the country is particularly slow for an army troop train.

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If I leave on the 13th, tho, I most certainly should be home sometime during the week of May 12th. My thanks to Lad for any and all work done at the office. I know you’ve been up to your neck, Dad, and I guess you had a real need for the help. Anything Lad does now will make it easier for me too, so thanks again, Lad. It looks to me as if Dan were having as much trouble getting to England as I’m having trying to find a ship with my bunk on it. I hope Dan’s nerves aren’t taking the beating mine are. I’ll have had three weeks in the depot next Saturday. The usual wait is 3 to 5 days, and to top it off there’s no shoulder to cry on. Guess this does it for this time. When I get definite news that I’m leaving Saturday I may not have time to write but I’ll try to say something, even if it’s just I’m leaving; so, “ ‘til we meet again”, Dave.

This is the last word we have had direct from Dave but last evening Biss called up to say she had just received a letter from Dave to the effect that on the 11th when he wrote, he had definite word he was sailing on the 13th. Maybe I’ll get a letter tomorrow confirming this.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of this letter to Dan, Ced and Dave.

On Saturday, more Special Pictures of the Trumbull House – Then and Now.

On Sunday, Another post about an Ancestor, Alfred Beck Guion, Grandpa’s Father.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Duet – All About the Home Front – April 14, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., April 14, 1946

Dear Duet:

With David on the way home my “outlanders” have shrunk to two. I assume Dave is on the way home because I had no word from him last week. (I have had no word either from Dan or Ced but am not so optimistic to assume for this reason that they too are on their way home). As a matter of fact I intended starting this letter by saying word from Dave had just been received as follows: “(quote                                         end quote), but on second thought, I don’t think I’ll bother with it — it’s pulled too many times on the radio to have any novelty.

Well today we “boys” put in a pretty full day outdoors– the weather was like that — the first job being the transportation of the root of the Maple tree that used to stand by Ives fence, weight of which being varyingly estimated at from 1 ½ to 2 ¼ tons, from the place where it grew for so many years to the “stockpile” of big wood to be cut, back where the old Playhouse used to stand. This Herculean task was eventually accomplished by the aid of sundry pieces of chain, rope, an old auto tire, crowbar, Paul (Warden, living in the apartment with his family) and the little old Chevrolet. It was lots of fun. Dick has been working on it for several days in an effort to pry the roots loose from the ground. Last night (or afternoon) Dick and Lad really went at it and with the aid of the Chevy, Paul’s rope and block and tackle , finally wrenched it loose and dragged it out of its foxhole. We then tackled other jobs such as transferring a big flagstone from where it was doing no good to outside the door leading upstairs in the barn, using the old broken pieces that used to serve this purpose as a baffle for the drain leader outlet near the back door. I did some lawn raking and after dinner some of them played a game of badminton and did some exercising with a big rubber ball. Biss, Zeke, and the kids came up and it being a near-June day, we got out the porch chairs and sat out in the sun just like old times.

Dick’s trench mouth trouble has practically disappeared, this fact being especially welcome to Jean who has religiously kept all Dick’s dishes and silverware separate from the rest and has sterilized them after each use. A few more days will see this safety first measure no longer necessary.

Jean (Mrs. Richard) and Marian (Mrs. Lad)

Both the girls have been busy sewing and knitting, Marian getting ready for the “blessed event” and Jean getting a running start on Christmas presents. Aunt Betty keeps well and religiously performs her daily chores, Lad daily helps me at the office and Dick has been busy with sundry jobs outdoors around the house. At night Lad has been doing some painting, room fixing, etc. to get ready for young master’s arrival. I still go on percolating about as usual. And that’s the home news to date. We burnt the last of the furnace coal two or three weeks ago and since then have depended on oil heaters and fireplaces to take the chill off the rooms. If we have a few more days like today or a bit warmer, even this will be unnecessary. Everything is beginning to look green and spring-like and I often thought, as we were working around outside today, how you all and especially Dan would be enjoying it if he were home. Well, anyway, Dave will be getting home soon to enjoy most of May and June, I hope. Paul estimates he should be home pretty early in May, barring unforeseen delays. Here’s hoping.

A letter I wrote to Dave the middle of February has just been returned — a bit of evidence that he has really left Manila. I am sending this on to Dorothy, as usual, in the hope that Dave lands at San Francisco and has time to contact her before he starts east. A few clippings from the current news might be of interest. I guess that about finishes up all that I have to report. For full details you will have to apply in person. Ask for        A.D.G.

I’ll finish out the week with another letter from Grandpa to Dan and Ced, his two remaining “outlanders”.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan (2) – Notes to Ced and Dave – April 7, 1946

Dear Ced:

In case you are wondering what the above is all about, let me quote Dan’s last letter from Antwerp, March 26th. “The last month or so has seen an incredible melee of activity without progress. If you were to trace my itinerary it would go something like this: Metz, Paris; Paris, Calais; Calais, Paris; Paris, Le Havre; Le Havre, Paris; Paris, Calais; Calais, Paris, Versailles; Versailles, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Brussels, Lille, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp; Antwerp, Calais; Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp. During this period I have managed to be in Calais nearly 50% of the time. Ostensibly, we are trying to get to England. Actually, while waiting for a boat, we are having quite a

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vacation. Tomorrow at long last we are scheduled to board a small British ship which will take me to Folkstone. All the delay has been caused by our truck. It seems that only a limited number of ships are authorized to carry vehicles, else we should have gone right on to England from Le Havre. Frequent trips between Calais and Antwerp were made to see if the boat had come in yet. P.S. It hadn’t. “Chiche” is doing fine. She has been a promising herself to write you a letter in English, Dad, but only a “Richard” could say when. She plans to write it first in French, then translate as well as possible using a dictionary. The result should prove highly original considering how different are the word groupings between the two languages. Latest orders and cancellations: (1) Please send three women’s blouses with long sleeves and collar. Material and color governed by availability. Suggested cotton, white, yellow, red. (2) If electric flatirons with adjustable thermos-controls are available please send one. Ordinary electric irons are obtainable here but none thermo-controlled. (3) You may cancel both dress cloth and cradle cloth orders. They are becoming more common and more reasonable over here. The items that are most sorely lacking now in France are the staples of life such as flour, potatoes, dairy products, etc. Potatoes can be found only by going to the country and carrying them home yourself and the price runs around 6 or 7 cents per pound. Bread, which was un-rationed during the early winter months, is now rationed more stringently than ever and the quality is poorer than it was. In Belgium conditions are much better but prices are startlingly high. And now for the third time I mentioned that the next letter I write will be from England. Dan.”

And that’s the news from your next older brother. Saw Mrs. Ives this week and she asked about you. She has been visiting a friend in Jersey whose husband is dying from cancer and expects to go back there soon. In last week’s letter I neglected to enclose the statement promised so I sent it later in another envelope together with some watercress seeds for the Hopkins’ which I hope will be there when they reached Anchorage.

Dear Dave:

I suppose, and hope, that by this time you are on the high seas so I will not attempt to send a letter to you at the old address but shall instead take advantage of Aunt Dorothy’s good nature and use her for a temporary post office box, carrying the privilege of reading the mail. We have all been working outside today which has been sunny and fairly warm, tidying up the place to look nice for your homecoming. Dick has even gone so far as to give Smokey a shampoo and haircut. April 3rd we celebrated Lads birthday in a quiet manner just among ourselves at home. We had a treat in the way of beefsteak and Marian of course made a birthday cake which was a humdinger. Business keeps coming in pretty well, and if it weren’t for Lad helping out in his usual, quiet, efficient and neat way, I’d be swamped. Miss Platt (who left Grandpa’s employ to open her own printing shop) told me the other day she now has five employees. A couple of competitors have sprung up but apparently there seems to be business enough for all. Lad and I witnessed a demonstration of a multilith last week and it looks like something we could use. Price about $500. I told the salesman I would do nothing in the matter until your return, secretly hoping you might be able to get one as a veteran from army surplus stock and save several hundred dollars. Oh well, I suppose it will be time enough to talk shop after you have returned and gotten Pacific seaweed combed out of your hair. I am certainly looking forward to a vacation at the Island, however toward the end of the summer. And that’s about the only reason I’ll be glad to see you wither. Until you stumble up our old, stony driveway, I’ll remain your same old


For the rest of the week, I’ll be posting letters from Grandpa to Dan and Paulette and Ced. He won’t bother trying to send a letter to Dave because he should be on his way home, joining his brothers, Lad and Dick, their wives, Grandpa and Aunt Betty. The Trumbull house if filling up again which makes Grandpa very happy.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Dan (1) – Response to Dan’s Letter (Quoted Tomorrow) – April 7, 1946

Trumbull, Conn., April 7, 1946

Dear Dan:

Here is a short note from Dave which interests me greatly. It is dated at Manila, March 22nd, and says: “Dear Gang: This is it! Well, it’s a start anyway. Tomorrow I leave for the Repple Depple. I should be on my way home within the next two weeks — possibly within a few days. I’d planned on getting some things as presents to bring home but my time came to suddenly. In fact, I’m rushed right now, so I’ll close this. It may be my last ‘til I get home, so Be seein’ ya. Dave.”

Of course we are all speculating here whether by this time he has actually started or whether the reported typhoon has held him up; also whether he will make stops enroute where he can make reports of his progress by airmail. From all I can learn, he will probably be landed at San Francisco, where he can call on Aunt Dorothy, catch up with his mail and if he has time, pay a visit to Marian’s folks at Orinda. I haven’t heard whether lately there is as much delay as formerly in getting transportation to the east, but in any event he could probably make pretty good time by expressing his belongings East and hitchhiking as so many others have done. The combination of his uniform and friendly smile ought not to make the job too difficult. It is not unreasonable to hope that by this time next month he may be back again in old Trumbull.

I note from your letter that you have been doing a lot of hopping around and should be getting quite well acquainted with France, Belgium and vicinity. It is good to know Chiche is feeling O.K. and of course as the time draws near we are all increasingly interested in what fortune holds for the future of the Guion family. Marian also is carrying on in good shape (perhaps that is an unfortunate word to use in this connection), in fact she is dieting a bit at the doctor’s suggestion to keep from gaining too much weight. I’ll be looking forward eagerly to receiving my latest daughter’s first letter in English, and like very much her spirit in attempting it. As I wrote you in one of my more recent letters which you probably had not received when you wrote yours of March 26th, the dress cloth and cradle trimming material both were sent you some weeks ago and should have been received before this. As for the blouses, the girls tell me there is not a thing to be had, and by the time there is and it is purchased, shipped and received, the lapse of time is apt to be such that again you might write that blouses are now obtainable in France, so under the circumstances, I’ll disregard this item. I am trying to get an electric iron from G.E. direct as the kind you want are still not readily available. If I don’t forget to do so, as I did last week, I shall enclose another $5 Birthday present. In England I suppose you will, if you have time, try to visit the Seamews Nest and also look up the Ward-Campbells. In both instances give them my best.

Tomorrow I’ll post the rest of this letter.  More letters from Grandpa fill out the week.

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (2) – Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody – 1865-1944

Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody, daughter of Anders Westlin and Anna Brita Kling.

Anders Westlin was born November 20, 1830 at Nas, Delarna, Sweden, . He married Anna Brita Kling, born June 24, 1829 at Rodon, Naskatt, Jemptland, Sweden. Her father, Johan Kling was born in Delarna, Sweden and her mother, Katherina Tjarnstrom was born in Jemptland, Sweden.

Anders and his wife Anna had four sons, none of them living beyond the age of four, before Anna Charlotta was born on May 13, 1865, and Christina was born August 30, 1866, at Ostersund, Sweden.

In 1882, Anders Westlin and his wife sold their property in Ostersund and sailed with their two daughters to New York in the “City of Rome”, arriving at Castle Garden on June 24, 1882. Anna Charlotta would have been just 17 when they landed.

Their destination was North Dakota, and there they established a cattle ranch on Silver Prairie in the vicinity of Sandoun (now McLeod), Richland County.

At some point, Anne Charlotta met Kemper Peabody and they married at Wagon Landing, Wisconsin, June 26, 1889. Kemper’s jobs kept them moving throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa when their first six children were born. Burton  Westlin, their oldest daughter, Arla Mary (my Grandmother), Kemper Francis and Helen Perry were all born in North Dakota, between 1890 and 1899. Laurence was born in Iowa in April of 1901.

In 1901 they moved to New York where he was employed by the New York Central Railroad. Their youngest daughter, Dorothy Westlin, was born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1904. The whole family was quite active in the Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon. It was there that Arla Mary Peabody met Alfred Duryee Guion.

Grandma Peabody

Anna Charlotta was kept quite busy with church activities and raising her children. She visited Trumbull fairly often along with her other children. All of Alfred and Arla’s children knew their Grandma Peabody quite well.

Grandpa notified his sons, away from home, about her death in the letter dated January 23, 1944. He wrote:

Dear Boys:

Grandma died last Tuesday at 11:30 A.M., having been unconscious from the night before. She passed away quietly and peacefully, and if the expression may be permitted, happily, with her loved ones near. Death is at best a lonely adventure and is made more so when none near and dear are close by. Helen and Dorothy were there; Burton and Anne arrived later, as did Ced who was in New York and happened in about 11:30 to see them all. At Grandma’s request no funeral service was held, which, all with the exception of Kemper, met with the approval of the family. She was cremated Wednesday. Dorothy expects to continue living in the same apartment.

Grandma’s life span marks an era in American history which is fast becoming legendary. Born in Sweden, she came to this country as a young girl and with her parents settled as pioneers in what was the raw Far West in those days. Battling fierce Dakota winter storms and summer’s heat and drought, life was lived under the most primitive conditions. With Grandpa frequently away from home for days at a time, with the constant fear of marauding Indians, often facing periods verging on privatization and want, she raised a family of seven children, never for once lowering her ideals of honor and integrity. Not knowing what the next day would bring she still carried on. In the light of these struggles when your mother was a baby, the words of that beautiful old hymn take on for me a greater significance:

Lead, kindly light, amid th’encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

Lead Thou me on.

Keep thou my feet! I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I like to think of Grandma going to join Grandpa and your mother — going home, as it were, after a long and useful journey:

So long Thy power have blessed me, sure it still

Will lead me on.

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone;

And with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost a while.

In the intimate service which we hold, each in the stillness of our own hearts at her passing, I am reminded of a little prayer which years ago, as director of a church boys club (the Brotherhood of St. Andrew) was customarily part of our closing service: “Guide us all the day long, oh Lord, through this troublulous life until the shadows lengthen and the evening come and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in Thy tender mercy grant us a safe lodging and rest and peace at last with Thee.”

So passes from this earth one whom it has been good to know and who can set for us all an example of courage and faithfulness to ideals which can be a treasured memory, and an inspiration.

Source: The Ancestry of Franklin Merriam Peabody, Collected and made into this book as a mark of affection by his grandfather, Franklin Asbury Merriam, 1929.

Tomorrow I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1946. Dan and Paulette are approaching the arrival of little “Jean Pierre” and the rest of the family, especially Grandpa, are anxious for the announcement from France.  Both Lad and Dick, with their wives, are living in Trumbull and working in Bridgeport. Dave should be headed home and Grandpa is also expecting to have him stumble in to the old homestead in the very near future.

Judy Guion