Peabodys and Duryees – Our Branch of the Family Tree (1) – December 6, 1939

This document was created by Aunt Betty Duryee from (possibly) her own research or at least papers belonging to her family.


Peabodys and Duryees - Our Branch of the Family Tree (1) - December 6, 1939

Tomorrow, I will be posting the last page of the documents Aunt Betty Duryee sent to Lad while he was working in Venezuela in 1939.

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – History of the Duryee Family – A Note From Aunt Betty Duryee – December 6, 1939

This is a re-post of last week’s letter to Lad from Aunt Betty which included  The History of our Family. I thought I might remind you of the sequence of events leading up to Aunt Betty sending this information to Lad.

Dec. 6, 1939

Dear Alfred,

It occurred to me while I was writing the letter I sent to you on Monday that perhaps you would like a copy of the History of the Duryee Family.

I hunted up my papers and had a copy typewritten.

You will see it was as I said that David (I don’t know who this is but my guess is that he was someone Lad met in Venezuela named David Duryee. Lad may have written to Aunt Betty to see if she know whether they were related.) may be descended from the ancestor mentioned in the paper and I think he also will be interested.  The crest is really not complete, it should have underneath a scroll with the motto (Future Promise) but in French, not English.  But I do not have the complete copy here.

Both on your Grandfather Duryee’s and Guion’s side you have a fine lineage.

Lots of love to you and my best regards to David.

Aunt Betty

The beginning of this history has two pages of illustrious ancestors from France, Holland and Scotland. I am not going to post this information but tomorrow and Friday, I will post  Our branch of the Family Tree, prepared By Aunt Betty Duryee, beginning with our original ancestor,  Joost Durie (Duryer, Duryea or Duryee). He was a French Huguenot who emigrated from Manheim and settled in New Utrecht, Long Island and then moved to Bushwick Long Island.

Judy Guion

Friends – Dear Al – Job Opportunities in Venezuela – December 4, 1939

Friends - Dear Al-Job Opportunities in Venezuela-December 4,1939


Wallingford, Conn.

Dear Al –

At last, after all these months, I finally found out why you didn’t answer my letter.

Well Al, I sat down one sunny day last spring, and wrote an eight-page letter just so some darn fool could turn over in a truck and mess up the letter so badly you couldn’t even read it.  That’s life for you.

It seems as tho’ last spring you wrote to Mr. Hagan telling him of the opportunity for trained men down in Venezuela.  In fact you were so convincing that I sat right down and wrote to see if you knew of anybody who could use me.

I don’t know if you know what I have been doing, so I will give you an idea.  I was operating engineer at the Connecticut Gas Prod. Co, of So. Meriden, Conn. where we produced oxygen.  This is, of course, all high-pressure compressors, etc.  I was handling air comp’s up to three thousand #/__.  I was also in charge of an old 4 cyl. 2 cycle Worthington.  Boy did I have my hands full there?  I would no more than get the breather valve fixed, when an old crack in the cylinder would open up and I would have to replace the cylinder.  Get that running a few days when the fuel pumps would go on the lam.  It was a lot of fun but a lot of headaches too.

I was offered more money by the Wallingford Ice Co. so I went to work for them.  Here I had a 2 cycle  15″x20″ Fairbanks-Morse and a small 3 cyl, 4 cycle 9 1/4″ x 14″ Wolverine to play with.  You must remember the engine, it was on the floor while we were at school.  When the cold weather set in the job blew up so I am now with the Wallingford Steel Co., but I am most anxious to get back to diesels.

Now what I hoped for, Al, was that you might know of some outfit down there that could use a man around engines, or that you could tell me where I could write.  I also wish that when you answer this, which I hope you do soon, you will give me some idea as to the cost of the trip down, and how much I will need to carry me over till I get located.  You might also give me an idea as to what kind of clothes, and how much of the same I will need.  I would also like to know what kind of country for a woman.  I have an idea I should like to get married sometime this coming year.  In other words Al, I would greatly appreciate any and all the advice you can give me.

Well I guess that sort of takes care of that end of things.  Now for a little news.  Since I am up in Wallingford, I don’t see many of the fellows or know what they are doing.  You must remember Walt Budnick, don’t you? he up and got married a couple of weeks ago.  He is still in the Bakery and I guess he will stay there.  I guess you know that George Strom is still with Mr. Hagan.  You know that Mr. Hagan bought a new house?  Boy he sure has a beautiful home.  Last week he bought a 1940 Ford.  He still sticks to the V8’s.  I understand that you fellows use quite a few of them down there.  That must be tough country on any car.  I finally got rid of my old Buick, and now I drive a ’34 Chev.  I can’t say that I am any too fond of it either.  It’s O.K. but it’s not the car that the Buick was.

Well this letter just seems to go on and on, but I think I had better bring it to a close.

I don’t think I will get a chance to write again before the holidays so I shall take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and I do wish you all the luck in the world.

Please answer this soon as I am most anxious to hear from you.

Ever yours,


Richard W. Huskes

218 No. Elm St.,

Wallingford, Conn.

For the rest of the week, I will be posting a letter from Aunt Betty Duryee and her copy of “History of the Duryees”.

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – Holiday Greetings From Grandmother Peabody – December 4, 1939

Grandma Peabody

Grandmother Peabody (Anna Charlotta (Westlin) Peabody, Mrs. Kemper Peabody). This picture was taken in 1914 shortly after my Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion, was born.

New Rochelle, N.Y.

December 4, 1939

Dear Laddie,

I have waited a very long time in writing and thanking you for your dear and welcome letter. It’s so long ago maybe you have even forgotten you wrote to me!

Your letter was one of the most interesting I have ever had, and all the family enjoyed it so much. You know I have been very sick, having had two major operations. The second operation was to complete the first. The only out-of-doors I have had since July 16th are four rides in the ambulance between the hospital and our apartment. But I think that in another two or three weeks I may be able to take a real auto ride.

Well, how do you feel about being an uncle? I haven’t heard from Elizabeth since I wrote congratulations to them. I hope she and the Raymonds are all fine.

You mention Biss’s marriage. Laddie, she could have done an awful lot worse. As I saw him, he seemed like a really nice fellow, and they certainly seemed very happy. They seemed really congenial, and all we Peabodys like him very much.

Ted and Helen (Peabody) Human) have been staying with us (Dorothy and myself) for some time. Of course you know, Anne (Peabody) Stanley and her children), Gweneth and Donald went to Staunton, Virginia, to make their home for a while. We are hoping they will spend Christmas with us.

Sometime ago I received a letter from Cedric saying they wanted to make us a visit one Sunday. Then he called up and said he had to work that Sunday. We were disappointed not to see them.

My letter is pretty tame compared with yours but there is really so little to write about. Everything is tame here.

I hope this letter will reach you by Christmas and that your Christmas may be very happy. I know we shall be thinking about you. I don’t dare to say I would like to hear from you again.

My love and best wishes,

Grandmother Peabody

Tomorrow, a letter from a classmate of Lad’s, wondering about job opportunities in Venezuela. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a letter from Aunt Betty (Duryee) with a copy of “The History of the Duryee Family” enclosed.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Santa Claus (3) – Bits and Pieces of News – December 3, 1939

This is the last portion of the letter from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela.  It includes several pieces of additional information.

APG - Lad (head only) on horseback in Venezuela - 1940

Lad in Venezuela, at Karnopp’s Camp in 1939.

page 3 of R-52

This week I got a letter from Burr Davis who had seen in the papers an account of the fire at Maracaibo.  He says: “When Alfred Jr’s.  birthday came along we sent him the annual birthday greeting and in reply I had a very interesting letter from him from Venezuela.  About a week ago when news came over the radio that there had been a very disastrous fire in connection with the oil fields in Venezuela, we wondered whether or not Alfred or Daniel were in this catastrophe. (Obviously, Burr Davis did not know that Dan had left Venezuela and was back in Trumbull.).

If you care to write to him Burr Davis) you can reach him care of the Columbus Coated Fabrics Corporation, Columbus, Ohio.

Another letter this week is from Harold LaTour.  I will enclose it with this letter.  I shall reply telling him where you are and it would be nice if you have the time and inclination to write to him yourself.

You said something in your last letter about letting you know how my business is going.  There seems to be lots of newspaper talk here about the return of prosperity, the number of people who have been put back to work, war orders making everyone busy, much better prospect for profitable Christmas business in the retail stores.  That all may be so from the newspaper standpoint but I have seen very little evidence of it in my business and many of those to whom I have talked also have seen very little to warrant the belief that things are any better than they have been, which is rotten.  We have had a few more orders recently than before but it is almost impossible to collect money from those who owe one while those to whom money is owed, and in my case they are a goodly number, are beginning to clamp down all in a bunch and get awfully tough, so that some days I come home mentally very much wrung out.  I have only Miss Denes and George now and lately Dick has been coming in after school to help out.  George, by the way, got married the other day (over the Thanksgiving week end) to a Polish girl who is the head nurse in one of the wards of the Bridgeport Hospital. I have not seen her yet.  She intends to keep on working, I understand.

You are now an investor in the Investors Syndicate, I having given Mr. Shedden a check for $130 last week, after hearing that you had signed the necessary documents.  This will cost only $130 a year and I think will be a good investment.  Your insurance premium is due next month and I shall also have a deposit to make in the building and loan.  By the way, the regular check for $125 arrived as usual on the 1st.

Well, it’s getting late and I have several other things to do before I retire, so let’s call it off until next week, and if this letter is delayed so that it reaches you only a few days before the 25th, you know I will be wishing my absent boy all the compressed good will, full up and running over.  It has been more than twenty long years that Christmas Day has found us all together and I am going to miss you more than ever on this account.  However if loving thoughts and kindly wishes can speed through the air from Trumbull to Pariaguan, the air channels are going to be very busy on that day.


Tomorrow I will post a letter from Dan, written on the back of page 3, about an interesting Thanksgiving Day fox hunt. On Friday, a letter from Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa’s Aunt, about the Duryee family history.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Santa Claus (2) – Grandpa’s Advice to Lad – December 3, 1939

This is the second portion of the letter I posted yesterday.  This portion includes grandpa’s advice to lad regarding his prospects for work.

Blog - Lad in Venezuela, head and chest, in camp

Lad, in Venezuela, at one of the Camps.

page 2 of R-52

Aunt Betty had brought up with her the letter you had sent to her and this too was read at the table after yours had been read.  Who is the man in the Company that makes the decision as to whether you are put on diesel work or garage or transportation?  Who is the second in command that might influence the big boss?  You, of course, can see what I am driving at.  Sometimes a direct frontal attack won’t get you so far so quick as taking a round-about route.  If Mr. Starr, for instance, is the big boss and in spite of the fact that you have left no doubt in his mind as to what you would like to do on the diesel proposition, still refuses to see the thing your way, he must have some reason that seems good to him, at least.  He either believes that you do not know enough about Diesels to put you on the job or he needs you more on some other job that he believes you can do.  If the first assumption is true,  then it might be well not to say anything more to him about your desires but silently work to convince those whom he consults, like the second in command, or the new diesel man, or someone else that you know from observation or circumstances is a person having influence, and without letting this person know your reason, fix it so that every opportunity that arises he is impressed with your diesel knowledge.  Meanwhile, if you do the jobs that are handed you in a thorough, capable manner, in spite of the fact that the boss knows you would rather have something else, he will be impressed by your loyalty and good spirit and will make him feel all the more like rewarding you. All of this seems awfully trite as I write it and maybe it will seem the same way as you read it, but sometimes it is these very obvious things that one cannot see when he is too close to them; and of course, it may be that not knowing the set up, I am off at an entirely wrong tangent.  While I don’t like the idea of your overworking, it is good to know that they are putting these jobs up to you and that they would not do so if they did not have confidence that you could handle them.  While Mr. Leander is away, can’t you work up some system that the boss will approve such as an official order that all garage jobs will be handled strictly in the order in which they are received and no one except the big boss has authority to make any change to this schedule, and before the garage can put any job ahead of another, there must be a signed order from the big boss to that effect.  If that or some other plan you may be able to devise will help morale and keep tempers and make for peace of mind, Mr. Leander will probably be grateful to you for removing a big bugbear, and the big boss will see in you not only a good mechanic, but a good diplomat as well, which is something that Roy evidently lacked.  Here, again, my steer may be entirely wrong, in going to the big boss with any such idea may be exactly the thing not to do and might make Chris sorer than anything else.  However, this long-range advice can’t do any harm as long as you don’t take it, and you probably won’t if after thinking it over it doesn’t seem to fill the bill.  I’d be interested to hear from time to time a little more about the internal politics.  If Chris is hard to get along with he probably knows it and while not admitting it to you, probably appreciates your easy-going way of quietly going about your business no matter how nasty he knows he makes himself.  The fellow that knows he is a crank and still finds someone that can work along smoothly with him, often develops a real friendship for his assistant and stands by him loyally in times of stress.  It is interesting to get these little sidelights in your letters of the underlying spirit of the place.  In every big organization there is a lot of politics being played and I have found that in general the best course to pursue is not to take sides but just plug ahead, keep your mouth shut and strictly tend to your knitting.

Come to think of it, before you get this letter, Chris will have returned and by that time circumstances may be entirely different.

Tomorrow, I will post the last page of this letter and on Friday, A letter from Dan attached at the end of this letter.

Judy Guion

The Island – Then and Now (1) – Early Building -1945 – 2021

Since the prominent theme this past week has been about the purchase of the Island and Grandpa’s thoughts and  questions about the development of our Future Camp, I thought I would give you a view of changes that have been made to the Island since the beginning. Enjoy. 

ADG - Grandpa and the boys on Spring Island (cropped) - 1948

My guess is that this picture was taken in the spring of 1946, although I do not remember Ced being home at that time. Lad and Dick came home from the war in the late summer and the fall of 1945. Ced came home from Anchorage, Alaska for Thanksgiving in 1945. Left to right: Lad, Dick, Ced and Grandpa. Dan is in France (still in the Army) and Dave is in Manila, Philippines). My bet is that Rusty Huerlin is the one holding the camera. This might have been their first trip to the Island as the owners.

The area directly behind them is where the Cook Cabin was erected, after trees and brush were removed.

Spring Island - Winter - Pete Linsley with Cook Cabin in background

This picture, taken in 1954, shows the Cook Cabin, the first structure on the Island. It is a one-car garage that Lad purchased on the mainland. It was taken apart, all boards numbered, transferred by row boat and re-build on the Island. My Dad, Lad, was in charge of “mechanical installations and upkeep”, and this is Pete Linsley, one of my Dad’s friends, a member of the work crew to open and close the Island each year and a regular visitor with his family during our two-week vacation on the Island. The picture was taken when three couples (Lad and Marian, Chet and Jean Hayden and Pete and Barbara Linsley) came to New Hampshire in the winter.

Spring Island in winter (3) - Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion with Suzanne @ 1954

They visited with Dick and Jean Guion, living nearby, and brought Jean and her oldest daughter, a toddler, to the Island for a quick visit for the day. (Dick may also have been part of the group.)

Spring Island in winter (8) - Marian (close-up) walking back @ 1954

Marian Guion (Lad is probably holding the camera)

Spring Island in winter (6) - walking back to States Landing @ 1954

Walking back to the cars on the mainland.

Tomorrow, I will be posting pictures from the 1950’s and more recent photos.

Judy Guion



Trumbull – Dear Sonny (2) – Advice On Money Owed By Interamerica, Inc. – November 26, 1939


This is a continuation of a letter posted yesterday from Grandpa to his only son, Lad, who is working in Venezuela for the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company.

Trumbull House in winter - (cropped) - 1940

The Trumbull House in winter

I want particularly to have you refer to the letter where I suggested you write to McMillan (Office Manager of the New York Headquarters of Interamerica, Inc., the company both Lad and Dan originally worked for in Venezuela), asking him to act as the go-between with Maxudian (Yervant Maxudian, Owner and President of Interamerica, Inc.), as far as payment for the tools are concerned. I did not send the letter to Nolan that you sent because I learned that most of the boys have been paid their back salary or a good part of it, and in view of the fact that McCarter told me he had the money on hand to pay you, it seems unnecessary for you to file your claim through Nolan and the others, who, by this time, may have been paid and would not therefore include your claim in the demand which they may have found unnecessary, and you would therefore be out on a limb, so to speak. Furthermore if they did go through with this, a lawyer would charge them about 20% for his services – – at least that is what one lawyer charged one of the boys for making collection, and $50 in American money is better in your pocket than is in that of some unknown lawyer. Again you have security that they have not got in the shape of tools that are worth a large part of the amount due you, and you have further a record in the hands of McMillan signed by Maxudian, promising to pay you the money as soon as the tools are returned. Your position is therefore much stronger than that of the others and my best advice to you is to cash in on this at once by getting a letter straight off to McMillan telling him you learned from the Interamerica New York office that they have $252 ready to pay you in accordance with the signed agreement that Maxudian, signed in the US Consulate the time Dan was there, and that you are sending the tools in question on to McMillan, unless he advises you promptly not to, and ask his friendly help in turning the said tools over to Maxudian as soon as the latter delivers to McMillan a certified check or other payment equivalent to cash, and that you will be willing to sign any form of release that seems reasonable under the circumstances. That seems the simplest, most direct way of getting this whole thing cleaned up cleanly and quickly. A letter from Ted (Uncle Ted Human, married to Grandma Arla’s sister, and the Civil Engineer in charge of the road construction job for the Venezuelan Government, who was based in Caracas, and hired Lad and Dan to work for the company) this week indicates he thinks things are nearing a settlement in his case, so the quicker you act the better chance you will have of closing this last sad episode in your adventure with Interamerica.

Next time I write I will tell you about what happens on Thanksgiving. As far as I know Aunt Betty and Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) will be our only guests. As usual I shall act as chef and I hope it turns out O.K.

Thursday night Bruce Lee dropped in with his young daughter. They were on their way home from a visit to New Haven, and stopped and had dinner with us. In his usual generous manner, he went out and bought ice cream for dessert. He had not heard from Rusty (Huerlin, a family friend who later became a famous artist of Alaskan life) lately, who presumably was still with his folks at home in Wakefield (Massachusetts).

We started the furnace this week and it certainly is lots more comfortable to come into a house that doesn’t feel like the barn. That’s about all the news that I can conjure up at present. Besides, I have to study my part in the play and help Dave with his lessons, so adios until next week.

As ever,


At the beginning of this letter, Grandpa mentions both Dick and Dan were sending their contributions and I will be posting Dick’s letter tomorrow and Dan’s on Thursday. I will finish the week with a letter from Aunt Betty Duryee (Grandpa’s Aunt) to Lad.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – News About Family And Friends – November 12, 1939

This is the second half of the letter I started yesterday from Grandpa to Lad in Venezuela. In it Grandpa fills Lad in on local happenings with family and friends.

Last night Dick went to a party at Kascak’s and this morning, because the minister was away, was designated to assist the substitute minister in running the morning church service.

No letter arrived from you this past week so I am looking forward to two letters this week.

I have invited Aunt Betty up for Thanksgiving which occurs in Connecticut on the 30th, while in New York it is set for the 23rd.*  I haven’t heard from Aunt Elsie and I have invited none of the New Rochelle folks, principally because of the lack of funds.

I haven’t heard yet whether Cecelia got her flowers and cigarettes, and you also have not told me whether you want me to renew your driver’s license and your P. S. license.

Ced has put up practically all the storm windows and yesterday afternoon Dan and Dick took all the accumulated ashes out of the cellar and spread them on the drive. We have not yet started the furnace, trying to get along as long as we can with the oil stoves and fireplaces. I have to get some coal some way and start the furnace for Thanksgiving on account of Aunt Betty. If I can weather the financial storm this first year, my hope is that business will pick up and enable us to get by. At present (with the $165 a month Selectman’s salary out), I am not quite able to cover monthly expenses with the income. This is the one thing that worries me more than anything else right now.

It occurs to me that every letter I write has this sour note in it, which is not pleasant for you, and I shall therefore cut out all references to financial difficulties in future letters. There is no use making you the safety valve when I have to blow off steam occasionally.

Have you heard anything recently as to how much of the road is completed that was supposed to connect North and South America? I believe it is entirely finished now as far as Mexico City, but I am wondering if a continuous highway has yet been constructed through Central America, and if it would be possible to drive down, say to Ciudad Boliva (where Lad is based) , with a fair chance of reaching one’s destination without chartering a marsh buggy.

Dave informs me that Cecelia told him the other day she had ordered a new Ford car. Probably you know all about this.

Election Day in Bridgeport resulted in McLevy going back again for a couple of years, which of course was expected. The voting, however, showed a tendency of not giving him such a large majority as in past years, both the Republican and Democratic votes coming up.

And that’s about all I can think of to keep you up with Trumbull doings. Any inquiries about things or people will have my best attention. Meantime, don’t overeat on turkey and plum pudding of Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Tomorrow, we’ll be continuing with more news from 1939. Share this blog with others you know who might enjoy this look back at history viewed by one particular family.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Reader – The End of an Era (3) – July 21, 2021

The Trumbull House has been sold.  From what I understand, the new owner plans to create nine one room Studio Apartments in the main house, two more apartments in the barn and to add on to the Little House to form a home for his family.

I will be devoting at least the next few weekends – maybe many more – to a Memorial of the house that has been an anchor for my family for almost 100 years and to the people who made it a HOME.

I find it especially hard to decide what to post because I have been writing about this house and the people who lived there, daily, for almost 9 years. Do I want to focus on the individuals – special events – everyday events – pictures – I just cannot decide which direction to choose. This weekend I am going to focus on pictures of the six chidren who spent their childhood there – Lad, my Dad (Alfred Peabody); Dan (Daniel Beck); Ced (Cedric Duryee); Biss (Elizabeth Westlin); Dick (Richard Peabody) and Dave (David Peabody).

Last weekend I posted the earliest pictures taken of the children. This weekend, I will post some more pictures of them through the years in Trumbull.

Lad @ 1922

                            Lad @ 1923

SOL - Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad & Biss with their dog

                                       Dick, Dan, Ced, Lad and Biss @ 1925

It appears that Patsy, their dog, has found something that interests all of the children.

Guion Kids on side porch - @ 1928

Guion children on side porch about 1928

Dan, Dave, Lad, Dick, Ced, Biss

Guion kids as adults - posed as 1928 photo - 1992

This picture is out of order but it was taken at our Family Reunion in 1992. They posed in the approximate position of the 1928 photo above. This was the last time all six children were together.

Standing – Lad, Seated – Dan, Dave, Dick, Ced and Biss.

Trumbull House - Grandpa and kids - 1928 (2) Steps and Landings, steps and landings - @1928

This picture was probably taken in the spring of 1929.

Back row: Grandpa and Lad; Middle row: Dick, Ced, Aunt Dorothy

Front row: Don Stanley (cousin), Dave, Biss, Gwen Stanley (cousin)

Tomorrow I will post more about the Trumbull House.

Judy Guion