Peabodys and Duryees – Christmas Greetings to Ced – December 18, 1944

This week I will post the last note and letter from 1944.

CDG - Envelope from Christmas Card from Helen Human (front) - Dec., 1944

CDG - Envelope from Christmas card from Helen human (back) - Dec., 1944

CDG - Christmas card from Helen Human (front), Dec., 1944

CDG - Christmas card message from Helen Human (inside) - Dec., 1944

CDG - Christmas card from Helen Human (back) - Dec., 1944


Dear Cedric  —

Indirectly we’ve heard from you several times since we saw you last Christmas time. We always enjoy those carbons your dad sends out.

No one is no more as much surprised as we are to still be here. Ted expected to be in Bolivia weeks and weeks ago.

When are we going to see you again. Love from all of us.

Aunt Helen and Uncle Ted

Our best to Rusty too.

And Dear Cedric  —

I just don’t know where my good intentions go! Every time one of dad’s long “round-Robins” arrives, I say to myself, “I must write Cedric and Lad and Dave and Dick. And the first thing I know another letter has arrived from dad and I am saying the whole thing again ! I never even thanked you for bringing down that wonderful load of wood last winter – and we did enjoy it so much!

Right now I am getting ready for a trip to Los Angeles! I am just as surprised as you are! It was all very unexpected and I am still trying to catch my heart. After I get there I’ll write you a real letter. In the meantime all my love – Aunt Dorothy

Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, a letter from Grandpa to his boys which includes greetings from various family members. This will wrap up 1944  and in three weeks, when we get to this consecutive time frame, I will begin letters from 1945.

Judy Guion


Special Picture # 348 – Grandpa And Most Of His Grandchildren – September, 1964

ADG - 1964 Christmas Card - pg. 12 - Grandpa and grandchildren

This picture was taken on Labor Day weekend in 1964. It is a copy of a page from the last Christmas card created by Grandpa, “Chancellor” of  Guion University, Trumbull Connecticut, “Devoted to the development of family unity”. Grandpa passed away on September 13th, 1964, two days after his 80th birthday and not long after this photo was taken. To be completely accurate, another grandchild was born after he passed away, so he and Grandma Arla actually had 21 grandchildren.

For many years, Grandpa created a variety of Christmas Cards, printing and sending them to over 200 friends and family. The theme for this one was inspired by the college graduation of one of his grandchildren in June of that year, the high school graduation of  three of his grandchildren (including me) and one grandchild’s college graduation in June of 1963. You can view the entire card, as well as the other Christmas Cards, in the Category “Christmas Cards”, listed in Categories on my Blog.

I am standing in the back row, all the way to the right, peeking between two cousins.

Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 1962 – An Old Fashioned Christmas

ADG - 1962 Christmas Card - An Old-Fashioned Christmas - front

ADG - 1962 Christmas Card - An Old-Fashioned Christmas - message

Remember that Christmas morning thrill, when you came downstairs and Mom opened the door to the parlor or living room and you caught your first glimpse of the Tree and all the presents underneath?

Whatever happy reminiscences these times call to mind: whatever memories they bring of a glad world crowded with friendly folks and important happenings – that is the kind of Christmas I would wish again for you this year.

And speaking of bi-going days, reproduced inside is the first page of a Bridgeport newspaper published at Christmastide in the year of my birth.

As a former advertising man, I found it interesting to note the names of some merchants who are still advertising their wares in a Bridgeport newspaper after the passing of 78 years.

Even if you have to dig up a magnifying glass to read the fine print, you will be surprised to note that the D. M. Reas of that day advertised a December 15 sale on December 26, and by coincidence another Reid John H., Conducted a jewelry business on Main Street, still being run by the same family today under the name of Reid and Todd.

So much for Christmas three quarters of a century ago. Your good-will, expressed in so many kindly ways (and it has been, you know), makes me want to hope that your 1962 holiday season may be a right glad some one.

Al Guion

ADG - 1962 Christmas Card - An Old-Fashioned Christmas - Newspaper ads

Tomorrow, another segment of the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis in 1851.

On Sunday, more information about the Rev. Elijah and Clara Guion and their children in New Orleans.

Next week, Grandpa’s Christmas Cards on Monday and Tuesday, then Special Pictures for the rest of the week.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 1961 – History of the Christmas Greeting Card

ADG - 1961 Christmas Card - History of Greeting Cards - front

ADG - 1961 Christmas Card - Vignettes - page 1

Top: Having once undertaken to create a home-made Christmas card and being encouraged by a few kindly comments to annually repeat the experiment, one he eventually reaches the point where he is expected each year to come up with an idea at least as good as the last one; and this you will readily agree, can in time he come quite a chore. So be charitable if I slip occasionally.

For my 1961 card, son David suggested that my trip around the world might afford material for a card based on the manner in which Christmas is celebrated in foreign lands. A bit of research along this line soon shunted be off on a related topic.

Running across an unsupported statement that 1861 was the first year in which an American Christmas greeting card first made its appearance led to the idea that this year’s theme might encompass its Centennial and set the stage for my 1961 card.

The resultant facts gathered are here presented in the following brief history of the

C H R I S T M A S  G R E E T I N G   C A R D


( depicted on front cover)

On a December day in 1843 in England, an Englishman, Henry Cole, sat in his London home addressing what was probably the first Christmas card ever printed. In all, 1000 copies of this card were produced. In later years Mr. Cole was knighted.

A card for a similar purpose, published by W. M. Egley in England, for many years purported to be the first Christmas card, made its appearance in 1848.

Before that period, however, the “merrie” celebrations of the English of the Middle Ages, that have come down to us in song and story, had given place under the rule of Oliver Cromwell to more dour deportment; the Puritans indeed trying to put an end to Christmas and its celebration. Massachusetts in 1659 imposed a fine of five shillings on anyone caught celebrating.

But by Mr. Cole’s time this stern view of things was softening. Perhaps the side panels in the picture depicting “clothing the poor” and “feeding the hungry” helped to offset the convivial atmosphere suggested in the center panel. At least by 1860 throughout the British Empire the custom of sending Christmas cards was growing in popularity, perhaps encouraged by the writings of Dickens in the story of his Scrooge.

ADG - 1961 Christmas Card - History of Greeting Cards - page 2


in the year 1450 in Germany’s Rhineland the rude woodcut pictured above, actually a New Year’s card, shows the Christ-child standing in the bow of an ancient galley, manned by angels, with the Holy Mother seated by the mast.

The inscription reads: “here I come from Alexandria and bring many good years to give generously. I will give them for almost no money and have only God’s love for my reward”.


( Note misspelling of the word “variety”)

there seems to exist considerable doubt among experts as to when the Christmas card made its first appearance in this country.

At least the one reproduced above, while bearing no identifying date, is a very “early” card and may have been the one referred to as having made its debut in 1861. R. H. Pease, whose name appears in the picture, was an engraver and lithographers of Albany, N.Y.

ADG - 1961 Christmas Card - History of Greeting Cards - page 3


By the “father” of American Christmas Cards

Lewis PRANG, a German immigrant, penniless when he came to this country in 1850, did more than anyone else to popularize the custom of sending Christmas cards.

By 1860 Prang was running 45 presses in his shop for the production of small artistic picture cards. His colored art reproductions were selling abroad as well as in this country.

Then came a day in 1874 when a new idea was born. A woman employee suggested that the words “Mary Christmas” be printed on small decorated cards. He experimented with his British customers first and the next year tried out the card on the American public. Five years later he was turning out 5 million cards a year and employing 300 people. Even today Prang’s satin and plush cards with their silken tassels and fringe are eagerly sought by collectors and librarians.


Each Christmastide I have an “address Book Party” – – All on myself.

what a heartwarming experience it is to go over one’s Christmas card list! Here in recollection pass by ones closest and most intimate friends, without whom life’s path would be dull and gray. Remembrance of them brings a warm glow to the heart and calls to mind many kindly act and friendly associations – memories of the days that are no more, old friends we seldom see but whose yearly greetings are one more link in the golden chain that binds us to the past.

Here are names of some we have not seen for years and we sometimes wonder what useful purpose is served by keeping them on our list; but so precious a thing is friendship and so strong the feeling is sentiment that we are reluctant to make deletions from our list.

So, if through the intervening months our pen seems in active please consider this, today’s seasons greetings, and accumulation of much good-will and affection at this blessed season from,

One of your old well-wishers,,

AD Guion

ADG - 1961 Christmas Card - History of Greeting Cards - back

Tomorrow, another Christmas Card from Grandpa. On Saturday, the next installment of the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis in 1851.

On Sunday, information on Rev. Elijah and Clara’s family life in New Orleans.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 1960 – VIGNETTES OF LIFE

ADG - 1960 Christmas card - Vignettes of Life - opening

Wayward Donna succeeded in completely wrecking grandpa’s Florida trailer but spared the New Hampshire Island retreat at Lake Winnipesaukee.

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Grandpa Arrives Home From Florida

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Lad and Marian

Lad, Marian and four children (two now teen agers) are each helping to make the world a better place in which to live.

Notes – the name “FROUGE” on the flatbed and the steam shovel our references to Lad’s work for the Frouge Construction Company as a large Machine Mechanic. The sign in the upper right states, “to Marian’s Kindergarten School”, which she’s set up in our church because the town did not provide kindergarten classes. The two children on the right, watching, are my twin brother and I. The boy on the scooter, carrying a baseball bat, is my younger brother who was an accomplished baseball player, and my little sister is riding her bike. 

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Dan and Chiche

Dan continues to take engineering problems in his stride with time to spare to join Chiche (Paulette)  in community activities, P.T.A., etc., along with caring for five active youngsters. You can see Dan has sights set on new subdivision expected in May.

Notes: Dan is shown using the equipment he regularly uses as a surveyor, his wife is bringing him a hot lunch, reference to her abilities in the kitchen, each of the streets are named after the four children they currently have and the “new subdivision” references a fifth child due the following May.

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Ced and Fannie

Ced and Fanny have started on a new life and business in Keene, New Hampshire. The future looks bright for little Artie and Neil and their devoted parents.

Notes: the large helicopter and the name “Sikorsky” on the right reference where Ced had been working, the two smaller helicopters are emblazoned with the names of his children and “UNITED RENT-ALL” is the name of the business he and wife Fanny have started in Keene New Hampshire.

,ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Dick and Jean

Notes: “Scott & Williams Knitting Machines” is where Dick works in Meredith, New Hampshire, not far away from our island on Lake Winnipesaukee. Jean is pictured with their two daughters.

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Biss and Zeke

Notes: this picture has Biss picking Zeke up at work from the Singer Sewing Machine Company with both boys and their sister in the back seat.

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Dave and Ellie

Notes: Dave, Ellie and their son are standing outside the Remington-Rand Company, where Dave works and are looking at a billboard announcing the adoption of their baby daughter.

ADG - 1960 Christmas message from Grandpa


To paraphrase a well-known verse;

“The world is so full of serious things

We should all now try to be happy as kings”

– – not that I believe the few remaining monarchs still enthroned these days are particularly happy, but it would seem worthwhile to forget for a moment the world tensions and crises and take time out to view our own little family circle activities in a lighter vein.

So in a spirit of good-willto all, I offer this family review believing you will discern between the lines a sincere hope – – a personal wish – – that this sacred season for you may be a truly joyous oneof peace and contentment within your own family circle. The older I get the more important such things seem to be.

AD Guion

ADG - 1960 Christmas Card - Santa

I’ll finish out the week with two more unique Christmas Cards created by Grandpa.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 1959 – A Trip to Africa

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - cover

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa Trip - inside cover

(On preceding page is a view of Pretoria looking westward through one of the arches of the government buildings)

Inherent in Christmas is the spirit of goodwill.

It prompts the sending of greeting cards to those who we especially cherish. It disregards all color lines and geographical boundaries. It underlies our whole Christian faith.

So, now that I have returned from a visit to Africa – – Cairo to Cape Town – – I want to emphasize that in no place in this world where it has been so far my privilege to visit, have I found so great a manifestation of “goodwill toward men” as in East Africa, the Rhodesians and the Union of South Africa. It abundantly manifests itself at slightest opportunity in courtesy, sincerity, honesty and cheery on selfishness. “White Africa’s” Christmas spirit, prevalent here the year ’round, is an outstanding memory I bring back from my five months’Safari among these friendly folks “down under”.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - page 1

All my life I have had an urge to travel. But bringing up six children through two world wars and depressions, fulfilling business obligations, etc., All have conspired to make time and money for travel unavailable until arrival of the “calmer year”.

A trip to England and the continent in 1954 encouraged a more ambitious trip to Africa this year; but “Why Africa?” Is  frequently asked. the mountain climbers answer, “because it’s there” is as good as any.

As a confirmed freighter traveler I left New York January 20 on a new region ship making its maiden voyage to the Persian Gulf – – first stop Genoa, Italy. Black line shows route from Cairo to Cape Town.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - page 2

(Top Note): My camel driver, on the short ride from hotel to the Sphinx of the great pyramid, confided to me that his beast was “the real McCoy – – his name Pepsi Cola”.

(Bottom Note): The Great Mosque of Cairo as seen from the Citadel. Cairo, Africa’s largest city, the metropolis of the Nile, traces its origin not to the ancient Egyptians but to Arab invaders.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 3

Flooding of a portion of the Sudan upon completion of the proposed Aswan dam may endanger this 3000-year-old Temple built by Ramses III, — “Farrow of the Exodus”. Notice the small carved figures between his feet, depicting wives – – quite unimportant factors by ancient Egyptian standards.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - page 4

A Maasai lion killer wearing headdress made from the main of a lien indicates he has killed a lion with his own spear. Designs on Shield designates hunters clan. These are one of the fiercest tribes in Africa.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 5

A plane flight over the equator from Khartoum in the Sudan brought me to Nairobi in Kenya (pronounced Kenya). While within just a few miles of the equator, the city enjoys ideal “June” weather because of its 5500 foot elevation. A superior grade of coffee and Sissel fiber for twine, mats and bags are important products of this region.

The much-publicized amount now troubles caused by a comparatively few of the fanatic native population a few years ago have now been practically wiped out. Ports in American newspapers of native unrest in Africa I believe are greatly exaggerated, as also reports in African papers of our own Little Rock troubles.

These boys are not worrying about it.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - centerpiece

One of the charms of Victoria Falls is its unspoiled natural beauty. No hot dog stands, motels or souvenir shop Mart its appearance.

It was discovered by David living stone in 1855 and probably looks today just as it did then. It is more than a mile wide and from 256 to 343 feet high – – from 2 to 3 times the size of Niagara it is said to be the only place in the world where one can see a rainbow by moonlight when the moon is full. The rising cloud of missed make taking photos difficult except at low water. Readers of Rider Haggard’s books will be interested to know that the scene of his King Solomon’s Mines was located nearby.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 8

“treetops”, situated on the perimeter of a huge game preserve, was where I watched from a 50 foot balcony of heard of 32 elephants dispute with a single ornery rhinoceros possession of a combination salt lick and waterhole. The elephants, while exhibiting no fear, concluded it was not worth battling the ugly, cantankerous rhino, so they all stood in a semi circle for perhaps an hour watching the interloper take possession of their salt lick, until, with a snorting contemptuous departure, he strolled off to allow his bigger cousins to resume their interrupted feast. The other animals gathered here, baboons, wart hogs, water buffalo, wildebeest, all accorded the rhino a healthy respect and gave him plenty of room.

Here also at Treetops in 1952 was in acted a modern fairy story. The van Princess Elizabeth and her husband Philip stayed overnight to view the wild animals. Next morning a royal messenger arrived announcing that her father, the King, had died overnight and she had awakened to find herself Queen Elisabeth of England.

Incidentally, a few years later the mom mouse burned treetops, later rebuilt as pictured.ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 9

Lake Tanganyika is said to be the longest lake in the world. Assuming it to be situated in the U. S., with one and in Bridgeport (Connecticut) it would find the other and halfway down the coast of North Carolina

On the two day journey from Kigoma to Moulunga the shore on both sides was visible on clear days.

Lake steamer on which I traveled was built in Germany before World War I, dismantled in pieces small enough to be transported through the African jungle on the backs of natives and reassembled on the shore of the lake. When, during the war, things were going poorly for the Germans, they thoroughly greased it and sunk it in the lake so that just the tops of the smokestacks showed above water. There it remained for four years. By treaty at wars and written acquired the territory, the boat was raised and reconditioned and these same engines were used to propel me to my destination.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 10

A Zulu village which I visited about a days bus ride from Durban, consisted of six kraals (the chief had six wives) . Each wife has her own round hot or kraal (pronounced crawl).. The chief himself as we arrived was washing his feet from a quart size tin can. This fact did not seem to bother him nor his wives who seemingly had no urgent domestic chores. Everyone, including a horde of youngsters, soon lined up and went through several native dances, even the two-year-olds taking part, while a puppy to goats watched nonchalantly from the sidelines.

A chief, I am informed, can acquire a good-looking wife for 20 cows, holier ones for as low as 60. Quite some negotiations are necessary before the headman can acquire a wife. Her family are all called into conference – – uncles, aunts and even grandpa gets into the act. The girl herself has little to say in the matter.

If after the lapse of two years however, there are no little Zulus running around, the girl isn’t back to her folks and efforts made to get the purchase price back, often unavailingly.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 11

Both Johannesburg (Jo-Burgfor short) and Durban, judged by American standards, are prosperous and progressive cities. Woolworth stores, supermarkets, frozen foods, etc., rank them ahead of most European cities in this respect. The people one sees on the streets are stylishly dressed, neat and clean looking – – one might indeed think he was on Fifth Avenue in New York.

American autos are numerous – – Chevys seem most popular and gas stations are almost exclusively Socony, (While Lad was in Venezuela, he worked for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company)  Atlantic  (He had an Atlantic Service Station in the middle of Trumbull)  and Shell, with their familiar signs. Highway markings – – solid and dotted white lines are the same – – the only difference being that everyone here drives on the wrong side of the road.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - page 12

Here are a few statistics which may be interesting.

Total time of trip, one for one days

Average cost, $15 per day

Freighter service excellent but not recommended for those who must rely on tight time schedule.

The Orient still remains to be explored. Perhaps someday I may qualify as a seasoned world traveler.

A frequent site in Africa is the huge aunt Hills. This spire in Kenya was 35 feet high when the picture was taken. Some tribes relish aunts as a delicacy.

ADG - 1956 or 1957 Christmas Card - Africa - inside back cover

For the rest of the wek, more unique Christmas Cards from Grandpa.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 1958 – GUION’S MID-WINTER FLOWER SHOW

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - cover

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 1

Timely Mesage From

The Old Gardener . . . . . . . . . . .

We are issuing our Christmas Bulletin early this year in order to get the combined force of a Thanksgiving and Christmas good-will message.

After all, Christmas and what it stands for is surely a cause for Thanksgiving; and from a practical standpoint relieving Uncle Sam’s couriers of a small part of their holiday rush (and one’s friends of a surfeit of cards arriving at the very busiest time of the year), it is itself a gesture of good-will – – or at least we hope you will so regarded, because as always, an overflowing measure of good wishes is what we have been trying to convey in this our 1958 holiday season greeting.

PS – Incidentally, the flower pictures were drawn by our young “budding” artists.

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 2

this favorite group of popular perennials, all members of the Alfredo-Mariana ( my parents – Alfred (Lad) and Marian)family, consists of six varieties, each one different. Colorful and easily raised, they thrive best when not transplanted to frequently. Partly indigenous to California (Mom was raised there), the tall variety grows especially well in “truck” (reference to my father being a construction equipment mechanic) garden. One variety prefers warm climates (Marian grew up in California), the other thrives best in cold weather (Lad).  Twin buds (my brother and I) frequently develop into entirely different blossoms. This is one of our prize plant groups.

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 3

This choice variety has been developed from two main groups in the Paulette-Danneo combination of popular strains. One imported favorite is an offshoot of the noted French Lily f)amily which quickly adapts itself to changing locations. (Dan met and married Paulette in France during the war. The other branch frequently associated with foundation plantings. (Dan loves to work outside in the gardens.) Both are great nursery favorites. (Reference to the fact that Dan and Paulette have five children.)

The smaller members of this attractive group are easy to grow. Despite the delicate appearance these tiny very flowers are among the world’s heartiest.. They will bloom for years with minimal care – – a constant delight for you and your friends. Be sure to see them when you visit our garden.ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 4

FLOWER SHOWS like this reach fullest beauty and fragrance only as they blossom in the mind of the beholder. We can invite you to our main gardens in Conn., Or to our winter quarters in Naples, Florida, but deep back of it all lies the fruit you yourself must find in this Season’s Greeting from an old well-wisher.

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 5

This is one of the newer and promising additions to our selected line. For many years the largest growing member of this group – – the well-known bachelor button – – was found frequently growing high above the frost line, flourishing well in Alaskan climate. Ced remained a bachelor and lived in Alaska for over 6 years.) Another a variety flourishes near highways (pikes to you) (Ced married Fannie Pike) . A miniature offshoot is often designated as a night Bloomer. (They have a son who is a year old) Holds promise of increasing popularity as a home favorite.

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 6

This hardy group blossoms the year-round and thrives with frequent transplanting. Among the five color assortments comprising this group, some prefer sunshine to shade (Biss), others flourish best near shady trout streams and woods (Zeke). They bring color and loveliness to any home. They are frequently found growing near a variety of dogwood with thin bark, sometimes identified by the code name-Spooks. (Their dog.)

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 7

Habitat, northern New England. Found most plentifully near lakes They live 15 minutes from our Island on Lake Winnipesaukee.). Grow tall and thin on graceful stems. (Wife Jean and both daughters are tall and thin.) Largely self-supporting, especially when transplanted to southern climes. One of the prize offshoots from the famous Mortensen (Jean’s maiden name) family of beauties. Round eyed Susan  is one of the well-known varieties. Two attractive miniature flowers in this group bloom indoors in every room of the house all winter long. Every lovely flower is a true and perfect specimen, exquisitely dainty and colorful – – not to be confused with ordinary run of seedlings advertised for $.12-$.15 each.

ADG - 1958 Christmas Card - Flower Show - pg. 8

Here is the latest achievement in the development of grafting technique in starting an entirely new strain – – a venture we are watching with considerable interest and anticipation (Dave and Ellie have adopted a son) At present at the prospect of a high measure of success is highly encouraging, in an environment combining background of careful Dutch cultivation (Ellie’s ancestry) and large plant tendencies associated with the well-known Bullardinia and Remingtonius stock, (Dave has worked at Remington-Rand plant in Bridgeport.) this young addition to our growing family of potential prizewinners is off to an auspicious start.

I’ll finish out the week with more of Grandpa’s Christmas cards.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 200 Years in Trumbull

This Christmas card contains quite a bit of history, both of Trumbull and the family Homestead of the Guion’s.  This house remains in the family to this day. 

ADG - 1956 Christmas Card - 200 Christmases in Trumbull


ADG - 1956 Christmas Card - inside

The present home of the Guion’s in Trumbull commemorates its 200th anniversary in this year of 1956.

The ancient deed, dated 1758, mentioning “dwelling house and barn” and reproduced on the front of this card, was obtained from old town records with the patient help of Stratford’s eminent local historian, Mr. William H Wilcoxson.

Further evidence of the age of our old home is supplied by the discovery of a hand-hewn chestnut log in the main fireplace which bears the inscription of initials and the date, “1776”.

This house, then, appears to have been built 20 years before the revolution. What momentous changes this comfortable old house has witnessed with its 200 passing Christmases. What is now Trumbull, in 1756, was North Stratford. The French and Indian War was giving grave concern. George Washington was a young man of 24. The house was 17 years old at the time of the Boston Tea Party, and 21 Christmases had passed when the American army found itself encamped at Valley Forge. It was 32 when Washington was inaugurated, and 41 when Trumbull held its first town meeting. The national capitol was burned and raided during the 58th year of existance of what is now the Guion home. 109 winters had passed at the time of Abe Lincoln’s assassination. When the first ship passed through the Panama Canal, this place had been giving shelter for 158 years.

In 1922, when these walls had been standing for 166 years, the Guion clan gathered around the hearthstone for their first Christmas in Trumbull. Roads were unpaved. There was no city water or electricity. The children walked each day to a 3-room rural school, each room heated by a wood-burning stove.

By neighborhood standards, the house had quite modern conveniences. In addition to a de-luxe two-seater “Chic Sale” in the back yard, there was a complete bathroom upstairs and a watercloset downstairs. The house was unique in that it had electrical wiring powered by a generator and a series of batteries in the barn. They were, however, inoperative so that lighting was furnished by the usual candles and kerosene lamps. Drinking water was supplied by two shallow wells, and domestic water from the Pequonnock River, and pumped to a large tank in the cellar.

And so, looking back through the nostalgic vista of 34 Christmas seasons in Trumbull, we renew our traditional greeting to you, of peace, friendship and goodwill.

ADG - 1956 Christmas Card - Back - 30 yr. old card

This 30-year-old Christmas card is based on the legend of the flight to Trumbull on horseback in 1779 of Mrs. Mary Silliman, who “from a home on Daniels Farm Road near the present center of Trumbull” watched the burning of Fairfield by the British. The “home” later was identified as the Elikiam Beach homestead adjoining the present Guion home.

For the rest of the week I’ll be posting more of Grandpa’s personal and unique Christmas cards.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Guion Christmas Card – 1954 – PASSPORT

ADG - 1954 Christmas Card - Passport - cover

ADG - 1954 Christmas Card - Passport - page 1-2



Emerging from Europe’s Dark Ages, Charlemagne’s death marked the emergence of the French and German nations. Here, at first, petty principalities for self-defense against marauding Norsemen, Huns, Tartars and other barbarous hordes, were headed by Duke, count, Bishop or Baron.

One such was an ancestor, Jean Guyon, created Baron in 1289, who from his big stone castle erected on top of Roche-Guyon, still overlooks the surrounding country through which the stately Seine winds its way northwest of Paris to the sea.

From this vantage point these early overlords kept a watchful eye over their subjects, protecting them from armed robber bands and acting as chief of police, judge, patron of church and monastery, and generally maintaining peace and order throughout their small domain.


As the centuries rolled by there gradually developed in Western Europe and ever growing battle between Church and State with the “common people” in between, exploited by both.

In France, a bitter feud  between the Catholic and Protestant (Huguenot) made matters worse. There were endless massacres, torturing’s and burnings at the stake. The Huguenots were a powerful minority and had their share of rich nobles. One, Henry of Navarre, King of France, strove for peace but in the late 1600’s things became so unbearable that groups of Huguenots from time to time were forced to seek refuge in other countries.

ADG - 1954 Christmas Card - Passport - page 3-4


Long a thorn in the side of the Church of Rome, this city had for some years been the home of the Guion family. Lewis, our ancestor, had been born and brought up there. He was evidently a man of some means; his title, Ecuyer, (Squire) denotes land ownership.

Acting on a tip that government agents were after him, he and his family hastily sailed from La Rochelle to seek refuge first in England and later in the New World.

It was a near thing. As old Lewis told it, “they left the fire burning on the stove and the pot boiling on the fire.”


Huguenot Street, New Rochelle

It was around New Years Day, 1687, that a shipload of Huguenots reached New York. In the spring of that year, they bought land from the Dutch and founded “New Rochelle”. The son, Lewis Guion, built the family house there in 1696 – – a “one and a half storey cottage with dormer windows, made of hand-axed oak beams and stone-filled walls”, still standing, I am told.

ADG - 1954 Christmas Card - Passport - page 5-6


famous old hostelry once standing in Eastchester, N. Y.

Charles Guion operated the in during the Revolutionary period. The famous election of 1733, known in history as “The Great Election”, marks a highlight in the life of Guion’s Tavern, for the debates and discussions held there did much to solidify the spirit of the people to resist all forms of tyranny and oppression.

Tradition has it that George Washington spent three days at the Inn when he was ill, and upon leaving, he rewarded the wife of the proprietor with a kiss for the excellent care she had given him. And legend further says that the wife of the proprietor never after washed the spot which his lips had touched.


In 1776, John (fourth of the American Guions) now 52 years old, was living quietly on his Westchester County farm with his wife and 11 children. His 10th son, Elijah, my great grandfather, was aged five.

The homestead lay between the British and colonial lines. One day the redcoats raided. They caught the elderly man in his farmhouse, beat him severely while wife and children stood helplessly by, stripped the farm and left him for dead. He never fully recovered. In 1798, at the age of 28, Elijah married 19-year-old Elizabeth Marshall and in 1802 the family moved to New York City. Here in 1809 my grandfather was born. He studied for the ministry, and visiting New Orleans, fell in love and married the talented Cuban-born Clara Maria de los Dolores de Beck. His original pastorate was at Glenville, Conn., and during the Civil War at New Orleans.

Here in 1853 my father was born. Coming north in his youth he married and settled in Mount Vernon where I was brought up, only a short distance from the spot the first Guion had chosen for his home 200 years before.

ADG - 1954 Christmas Card - Passport - Back cover

For the rest of the week, I’l be posting more of Grandpa’s unique Christmas Cards, sent to family and friends, near and far.

Judy Guion