My Ancestors (30d) – Rev. Elijah and Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion – The First Two Daughters Marry – 1860’s

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) Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion; (2) Alfred Beck Guion; (3) Alfred Duryee Guion; (4) Alfred Peabody Guion; (5) Judith Anne Guion

All during the girlhood’s of my mother and aunts, the slavery issue was coming to a head.  New Orleans had the biggest and worst slave-market in the nation — the one that Lincoln saw as a young man, and never forgot — but here was one moral issue on which the Rev.  Elijah Guion sided with the South.  Northerner as he originally was, he took his Bible literally, and it happened that at the height of the pre-war controversy, an event occurred that made real history, and is part of our family story.

This was the publication, in the north, of a pamphlet by an Episcopal Bishop, entitled: “The Bible View of Slavery.”  It went through seven editions, was read throughout the Church, created a storm of controversy in the North, and was hailed with equal satisfaction in the South.  The Episcopal Church was the only  Protestant Church that didn’t split into a “North” and “South” church during the Civil War, and this pamphlet was the reason.  It was written by the Bishop of Vermont, who was the Rt. Rev.  John Henry Hopkins, DD., L1.D. — one of the most outstanding patristic scholars and polemical writers of the Episcopal Church, and its Presiding (Senior) Bishop during the last years of the war.  Bishop Hopkins was my grandfather.

This pamphlet (it still is to be found in old Southern libraries) amounted to a justification of slavery on Biblical grounds, while deprecating its cruelties and abuses.  It’s argument was simple and abundantly documented: slavery had been an institution in Biblical times; the Bible referred to it without condemnation; the Bible was the Word of God.  Here was the perfect “out” for Southern Episcopalians, who normally were kind to their slaves; in the North, of course, it created a storm, which the “Fighting Bishop” had undoubtedly expected and probably loved.  This doctrine, uttered by the outstanding polemist and perspective presiding Bishop of the Church, had a wider following even in the North then today’s history-books commonly recognize; and its result in the South was to hold the Episcopal Church together despite the war.  Bishop Hopkins became Senior or Presiding Bishop in 1865, and the culminating moment of his life was at the first post-war General Convention, when he welcomed the Southern delegates into the still-united Church.

The Rev Elijah Guion fully endorsed the Hopkins pamphlet and preached its doctrine at St. Paul’s.  In one other respect he offended his Confederate congregation, and his rigid adherence to ritual, whether doctrinal or inwardly pro-Union in its motivation, cost him his job about the time of Lincoln’s assassination, as shall be seen.  Meanwhile, a prime instance of his rigidity in his domestic capacity was causing trouble and in fact, real tragedy, at home.

This came about in connection with the engagement and marriage of my aunt Clara, eldest of the girls.  The French custom, by which marriages are arranged by the parents, existed to some extent in New Orleans; it appealed to Guion, who was a dominant man.  As Clara’s husband he selected his friend, Stephen Gay, a man of his own age, by no means Clara’s choice.  Gay had been married before and had a son, Harry, as old as his intended bride.  Clara was heartbroken; she resisted the marriage up to the moment of the ceremony.  My grandmother resisted it too, but Guion was adamant and for once she lost.  Guion performed the marriage ceremony himself.

Clara was dutiful; she bore Gay four children, two of whom, my cousins Florence and Eleanor, survived.  But it was an unhappy marriage and ended in Gay’s leaving, shortly before Eleanor was born.  By that time the Guions were in the West, and Clara rejoined them, her life wrecked.

I recall her, 20 years later, as a silent, sad-faced woman whose only consolation was religion.  Parental authority hadn’t worked.

Second to marry was Josephine; this was a love-match.

Up in Far-North Vermont, the thirteenth and the youngest child of Bishop Hopkins, Frederick Vincent, had studied science, especially geology, at the University of Vermont, from which he graduated in 1859.  Previously he had been educated at the Bishop’s Church school, at Rock Point,  near Burlington; like all Hopkinses, he had been trained in music, he had painting talent, and an inventive, inquiring mind.  He was perhaps 17 when the “Bible View of Slavery” was published; he shared that view, the more intensely because of the controversy that raged about the Bishop’s august head.  In 1861 the Civil War broke out; in New England the abolitionists were in full cry.  Rather than fight in a clause in which he religiously disbelieved, young Hopkins left his home, made his way to Pittsburgh, and proceeded to get him an open boat and float down the Ohio River, toward the South.

He floated down the Ohio and down the Mississippi too, landing months later at the waterfront of New Orleans, exhausted, starving and broke.  The details of that trip were never revealed — we know only the beginning and the end, must imagine the rest.  This was early in the war and the river still was open, but Vicksburg was fortified and he must have passed it somehow.  How he ate, lived, slept, survived at all, we do not know.  He made this trip alone.

He seemed to have had it in mind to take refuge with a clergyman named Hawley, a Vermonter and marital relative, who had a church in or near New Orleans.  This was stated by Hawley’s daughter, Mrs. Marion Canfield Hawley Swan, whom Ed and I knew in California years ago.  Hawley gave young Hopkins shelter and care, then sent him to the Rev. Mr. Guion, who received the fugitive into his home. — my mother, aged 19, petite and charming, and of rather Spanish appearance, was now the presiding daughter of the household, her elder sister having married.  On September 15, 1863, at the height of the war, Frederick Vincent Hopkins and Josephine Beck Guion were married.

This time, Guion didn’t oppose.  Apparently he helped the young man to obtain employment, first as a teacher of science in New Orleans, then as a geologist for the State of Louisiana, in which capacity he made the first geological survey of that state and published some still-remembered reports.  The couple moved to Baton Rouge, where in 1866 my eldest sister, Clara Leoline, was born.  My father became Professor of geology at the University of Louisiana.

Next Sunday, I’ll continue the story with how Rev. Elijah Guion lost his position at St. Paul’s in New Orleans and the marriages of his two remaining daughters.

Sources:

COLONIAL ORIGINS of the CALIFORNIA GUIONS, An Informal Genealogical Study by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, finished in 1952.

Next Sunday, I’ll continue the story of the Rev. Elijah, Clara and their large family in New Orleans.

Tomorrow and next week, I’ll continue the story of Grandpa, Alfred Duryee Guion, from the beginning with “Reminiscences of Alfred D. Guion,” written in 1960 while on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.. This is his story, in his own words, beginning in the early 1880’s, when he was a child in Mount Vernon, New York. 

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 341 – Grandpa’s Selfie – Late 1890’s

Grandpa (Alfred Duyee Guion) took this picture of himself in front of a mirror dressed in his Sunday-Go-To-Meeting clothes. I believe this was taken at some point prior to 1899 when his father passed away and  he, his mother and sister had to move out of their fancy house into one much more modest.  Grandpa was born in 1884 and he looks to be about 12 or 13 in this picture.

Special Picture # 283 – 2000 New York Census

Alfred Beck Guion, Grandpa’s father, passed away on March 2, 1899. A little over a year later, his wife Ella had sold the fancy Lincoln Avenue house and bought a much smaller place on Dell Avenue. Two of her sisters had moved in to help. This was quite a drastic change for Alfred, (Grandpa) only 15 years old. 

The 2000 New York Census – this page was completed on June 6, 2000.

 

This particular section shows Guion, Ella, 69 years old,  head of household, Alfred D, son, 15 years old, student, Elsie M, daughter, 12 years old, student,  Duryee, Lillian, sister, 40 years old, Lizzie, (also known as Aunt Betty) sister, 36 years old.

 

fr: Ella Duryee Guion, Elsie Guion; back: Alfred Duryee Guion, AuntLillian and Aunt Lizzie, also known as Aunt Betty, who came to Trumbull to help with the children after Arla passed away in 1933.

 

 

Special Picture # 262 – Elizabeth Beck (Guion) Randol – My Great-Great-Aunt

 

This is a picture of Elizabeth Beck (Guion) Randol, sister to my great-grandfather, Alfred Beck Guion, father of Alfred Duryee Guion, or Grandpa. Elizabeth and Alfred were the most prolific of  the 11 children of The Rev. Elijah Guion and Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck Guion. Each has at least 150 descendants.

Special Picture # 253 – Lincoln Avenue House, Mount Vernon, NY

This is a picture of the house my great-grandfather built in the late 1890’s on Lincoln Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY. The following pictures were taken in 2013 when my cousin Arla and I took a road trip to Mount Vernon and were able to find the house and actually visit with the current owner. Many of the details Grandpa recalls in his Reminiscences, written in 1960, are no longer there or visible in the present house.

Lincoln Avenue House, Mount Vernon, NY, taken in late 1900’s

 

Fireplace in Lincoln Avenue House taken in 2013

 

Detail of Fireplace and green stone hearth in Lincoln Avenue House, taken in 2013

 

Wood detail around fireplace in Lincoln Avenue House, taken in 2013

 

Original Tile entryway in Lincoln Avenue House, taken in 2013

 

Stained Glass Window on Lincoln Avenue House, taken in 2013

 

Trumbull – Dear Comrades (2) – A Halo for Dan – June, 1945

The following is Dan’s personal account of what transpired in Belgium, Holland and Eastern Europe after the German armies capitulated. A vivid picture. You can easily envision it as it is transpiring.

Dan in uniform @ 1945

And Dan, from Holland on May 6th, rec’d. June 1st. “The first inkling of the affair came on May 4th when I happened to be across the border in Belgium. We had just left the American Red Cross Club of an Army military Hospital where we had been killing time listening to a “jam session” of several musicians, patients, dressed in pajamas and bathrobe. We were on our way to our truck, on the point of departure, when we heard the first rumors – – all the German armies in Holland, Denmark and Western Europe had capitulated! We drove to our destination in the center of town and learned from some civilians that the report was true. But things were quiet in Belgium. They had been freed several months earlier – – and the war was not yet over! The town band, however, which happened to be practicing in a café across the square from us, staged an impromptu march through the streets, but it was already dark and no one turned out to celebrate except a few well primed GI’s, who were walking back to their billets, shouting and singing on general principles. We returned to Holland before dawn next morning and were surprised to see the streetlights turned on and small flags hung out – – this at 4 o’clock in the morning. The streets were deserted. May 5th. Saturday. “Gesloten” Every shop in town except the cafés were “gesloten” all day, which in perfectly good Dutch means “the joint is closed, Brother”. Every shopkeeper and his friends and relations were decked out in bright orange (for the Queen), and red, white and blue (for the Fatherland), in preparation for the grand Promenade in the streets – – to continue the spontaneous celebration that we had missed the previous night. As the afternoon waned, the holiday spirit waxed anew. Bands of youngsters waving Dutch flags and festooned with Orange trappings organized little parades through the streets, beating on drums which were improvised from 5-gal. gasoline tins. One group paraded an effigy of Hitler, hanged from a pole. More and more flags appeared from windows. Everyone wore orange. About 4 o’clock in the afternoon a crowd of civilians gathered about a group of German prisoners who were erecting a series of fence poles around a public square – – now serving as a parking lot for all vehicles. The prisoners were guarded by Yanks. The crowd was kept back by civilian police. No one said a word. It was strangely symbolic on a day such as this. I didn’t envy the lot of those subdued and muddied jerries. As the evening progressed the excitement fever mounted. Crowds swarmed through the streets, some strolling aimlessly, others marching arm in arm, singing Dutch songs. Their ardor was unclenched by lowering skies and spats of rain. When it began to drizzle steadily – I thought the celebration would suffer a slow drowning, but I was wrong. It seemed even that the rain was fuel that kindled even brighter flames of conviviality, for as the lights came on again the streets became crowded with merrymakers, men women and children, who almost brought traffic to a stand-still. G I trucks made progress only by incessant blowing of horns and racing of motors. Occasional rockets and flares lit up the murk of the clouds overhead. Along the main street the celebration reached its apex under the stimulation of a series of amplifiers which blared fourth continual music. Crowds joined hands and danced wildly in circles. Couples waltzed, rhumba-ed and jitter-bugged according to the tempo of the varying tunes. At one time recordings were broadcast of ancient speeches made by Hitler, Goebbels and Goering, while the crowd “Seig Heiled” in mock frenzy. The interminable rain continued unnoticed by all except a few glistening umbrella tops. I returned to the convent (which is our home) about 11 o’clock and the celebration was in full swing, showing no more sign of abatement than the falling rain. Today (Sunday) our menu for dinner included fine, gaily decorated cakes, baked for us by the Sisters of the convent. On each cake they had written the words, “With greatest thanks to our liberators”. You can imagine how much we are enjoying it all.”

Hearsay has it that Erwin Laufer has been permanently and honorably discharged and has gone to the camp in the Adirondacks for a rest before coming back to look for a job. I don’t know what he expects to do. He never got over to meet the girls. I saw him for a few moments one afternoon in the drugstore.

The young people in the apartment are very pleasant and friendly. There is not the same amount of visiting back and forth that there was with the Wardens. Ted Southworth and his wife Marj. (21 and tall for her age) and Jimmy Watson are their names. The boys both were in aviation but were discharged on account of their eyesight. They are still interested in flying, in fact been giving lessons when opportunity permits. They have redecorated the entire place, kitchen walls and floor and living room walls, and trim. The bathroom is next on the schedule as soon as they can be sure Carl has fixed all the leaks. They either didn’t like the oil stove or couldn’t make it burn properly. In any event, they took the whole business down and carted it down into the cellar and consequently when the balmy March was followed by a raw April and May, they have practically chopped up all the smaller pieces of fallen trees I had so laboriously gathered in one place, leaving only the bigger trunks to be operated upon by the proprietor or his sons. I think you boys would like them after you got acquainted. This in answer to Dave’s question. By the way, Signaler, did you ever get a watch, either as part of your equipment from Uncle Sam or on your own?

Lad, I suppose you and Dan have both figured out your points but you have said nothing in your letters to me on the point. Of course, Lad, when you get time it will be interesting to hear more about your trip over. Dan’s pen picture of the Dutch celebration was quite vivid and was next best to being there to see it with their own eyes.

For many weeks now we have been enjoying (?) a very spasmodic supply of hot water furnished by the old, coal-stove heater, but next week, I believe, a Sears Roebuck automatic oil water heater will be installed, and according to Elizabeth, will give satisfactory service at much lower cost than the electric heater. Tanks for the latter have not been made since the war started. And so, for today, nighty-night.    DAD

This weekend, two days of letters from Biss to her father. She is really trying to keep him informed about what is going on in her life in St. Petersburg.

Judy Guion

A Tribute to Arla (7) – 1922-1925

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

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

In 1922, during a family vacation, Arla found out about a house in Trumbull, built in 1756, went to see it and fell in love with it. She eventually had her way and the family moved in to their new house in December of 1922. The story continues in Grandpa’s autobiography:

Meanwhile, I was having serious commuting troubles. Each winter the trains were frequently late. This, together with the antagonistic attitude of my immediate boss at the

AD Guion Letterhead, business cards and membership cards

AD Guion Letterhead, business cards and membership cards

office, made my frequent, late arrivals at work increasingly disagreeable incidents. Also, the seven mile auto ride to and from Trumbull in all kinds of weather, the 2 1/2 to 3 hour train ride to Grand Central followed by a crowded subway ride to the Battery, and this twice a day, not only was physically exhausting but also necessitated my leaving home early and arriving home late. There seemed only one sensible alternative – to seek employment in Bridgeport. A letter campaign from New York to Bridgeport manufacturers proving unfruitful after months of vain effort, in desperation I resolved to take drastic measures. With five little ones to feed and clothe I simply had to get a job, so, burning all bridges behind me, I quit my New York job cold to wage an all-out on-site search to find something in Bridgeport. To make this step was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but within two weeks I became Assistant Advertising Manager of the Bridgeport Brass Company and a few months later, Advertising Manager, which job I held until I left to start an advertising agency of my own.

In Trumbull we became interested in local activities. A local volunteer fire company was started in which I was a charter member. To raise money to buy firefighting equipment we ran annual carnivals which were successful for many years, and which the old Waverley Electric Car played a part.

Arla’s children shared a few memories of her in their recorded childhood memories.

LAD – I don’t have many memories of my mother. I remember that she was involved with the Women’s Club, and was very, very well-liked by everybody. We always had a lot of visitors. She was very outgoing and friendly and quite pretty. She was very active in the community. Other than the fact that Mom was involved in the community a great deal, she was a good mother. We all like her very much, got along with her.

CED – I don’t believe Mother had a single enemy in Trumbull. She was President of the Women’s Community Club, and she was very, very good to the family. She had practically all of our aunts and some of our uncles living with us in Trumbull at various times. We had a big house and most of them lived in New York City. When they had vacations and when we had holidays, they’d all come up on the train from New York. Sometimes they would drive – it would take them about four hours on the Post Road. I remember those trips too. Traffic was all over the place, stop and go, stop and go.

I always said that I knew one person in town that my Mother didn’t like. This woman had two sons who were friends with us. I don’t believe that the woman ever knew that my mother didn’t like her because this woman was very critical of other people and that bothered my mother.

My Mother was very active in town, she was very public spirited. She helped plant flowers on the green, that sort of thing.

Our house was the center for the local population. All the kids our age congregated in our house because of everything, and my mother, of course. She was very pro-social, in her own life and in ours. She was a wonderful woman. We were really one big happy family and we really had fun growing up. Arnold Gibson was part of the group; he was more a part of the family group. He was very fond of our family, and spent a lot of time with us. Arnold was devoted to my mother, too. Everybody that knew her loved her.

DICK – One of my earliest memories is Mom at the front Dutch door, talking to someone from the Red Cross. I was standing next to her and she was running her hand through my hair… It was heaven.

BISS – Dick and I were sitting on the radiator in the back bathroom and it was so cold there was frost on the window. We take one of the pieces of our Erector Set, putting it in a hole of the oil heater to heat it up and touch the frost on the window. At one point I leaned over a little too far, fell down on top of the oil burner and tipped it over. I had always been taught that if there’s a fire you run out and close the door… which I did. Dick was still on the radiator in back of the fire, and then the fire started up the curtain. I screamed for Mother and evidently she heard the panic in my voice and she responded immediately. As soon as she got upstairs and realized what was happening, she yelled for Lad to bring the fire extinguisher. As she got to the top of the stairs and started walking towards the bathroom, her very flimsy gown caught on fire and I remember she put it out. Mother then took the rug from the hallway and threw it on the fire and put the fire out, but the door was scorched where the flames had licked at it.

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lsd and Biss

Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Grandpa writes a very long letter to his sons, scattered around the world, which I will post Monday through Friday. 

Judy Guion