Special Picture # 320 – Kemper Foster Peabody – Arla (Peabody) Guion’s Father – 1886

Kemper Foster Peabody (my great-grandfather) was born at Plymouth, Wisconsin, August 2, 1861. He attended Shattuck Military School in Faribault, Minnesota. He was a Civil Engineer and about five years after this picture was taken, was a member of the Second  Legislative Assembly of North Dakota. On  June 26, 1889, he married Anna Charlotta Westlin, born at Ostersund, Jemptland, Sweden, May 13, 1865.They had 7 children: Burton Westlin, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, Kemper Francis, Helen Perry (Peabody) Human, Anne Westlin (Peabody) Stanley, Laurence Kane and Dorothy Westlin Peabody. 



Trumbull – Grandma Died Last Tuesday (1) – January, 1944

Grandma Peabody

          Grandma Peabody

Trumbull, Conn   Jan. 23, 1944

Dear Boys:

Grandma Peabody) died last Tuesday at 11:30 AM, 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 it 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 privation 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 of greater significance:

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,

Lead thou me on,

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

Lead thou me on.

Keep now 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 hath blest 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 the 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 troubulous life until the shadows lengthen and the evening, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in thy tender mercy grant us a safe lodging and rest in 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.

Tomorrow, the conclusion to this letter.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures of the Island during the very low-water season in August, 1999.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – To My Scattered Flock (1) – A Censor’s Note – January, 1944

Trumbull, Conn.  Jan. 2, 1944

To my scattered flock:

There are several matters of import to record in this my first letter of the new year. First, about Grandma. Burton phoned me at the office early in the week to say that his mother was very weak and the doctor had told them she had not many more days before starting out on the great adventure. Might be a week, possibly two weeks, but to be safe and in accordance with Grandma’s wishes, all the children were summoned to her bedside. Thursday, Ced, Jean and I, together with Elizabeth, her two kids, Flora Bushey and Red all went down on the train together. We phoned to Anne from Elsie’s shop and learned that Grandma would like see us that afternoon, so, Red and Flora having planned to attend some movie, Jean and Ced and I went to Grandma’s while Elizabeth stayed at Anne’s apartment some blocks away with her two children, then Ced and Jean left to meet Red while I went back to Anne’s to amuse the kids while Elizabeth went over to see Grandma. Grandma looks very bad, but is alert and interested in all that goes on. She was interested in reading Marian’s letter and also one from Dan, doing so propped up in bed without the aid of her glasses, too. Physically she is extremely weak, there apparently being a combination of intestinal and liver trouble. Helen was there with Anne. Dorothy had gone to work. Kemper, Marian and Larry had come on but Larry and Marian, with Alan (now 7 years old) had gone to see old friends in New Rochelle and Kemper had gone to Mount Vernon. Before we left Anne’s apartment to come home, Larry phoned from the Grand Central and he and Marian came down and we all had supper together. I neglected to say that Dave had gone down to see Grandma the day before and to my place at the office Thursday, as otherwise I would have had to close up shop.

Two airmail letters from Dan, one in the first part of the week and the other the last day of the old year, sort of ended up 1943 in good style. His first letter mentioned having had a very pleasant Thanksgiving Day with Mr. and Mrs. Heath, of whom he says he has never encountered any people more sincerely generous than the Heaths. He mentions receiving three invitations to Christmas celebrations, but “the old fox is waiting to see which invitation will be most worthwhile”. His second letter describes a short furlough which he spent in a visit to Cornwall in a little town called St. Ives (of Mother Goose fame) and a short distance from Penzance, immortalized by Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates. He was guest of a very hospitable elderly retired couple named Burnett who were introduced to him by mail through the kindness of one of the Red Cross workers.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Dear Dan:

Lt. P. R. Martin, the Censor who usually goes over your letters, felt it his duty to remove the Heath’s address, but he very courteously wrote the following note: “Send the articles to T-5 Guion. Sorry I must cut the address out; however it is of little importance.” Accordingly, I had D. M. Read Company make up a package of bath salts, powder and soap and will get it off to you early in 1944. Are you getting some good movies or Kodachrome pictures or won’t they allow the use of a camera in England? Send me another list of things you want sent, now that we know they arrive, even though somewhat delayed. I think hereafter, that with every package I send you, I shall include some item of cosmetic or toilet article as gifts to those who are so good to you, BUT, please, in every letter make a definite request which I can show the post office as otherwise packages will not be accepted for mailing overseas. We all enjoy your letters very much and it’s so good to know you are well and content.

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion of this letter, with notes to Lad and Marian. On Thursday, another letter from Marian and on Friday, another letter from Grandpa with some news for the family.

Judy Guion




Special Picture # 297 – Ancestry of Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion – 1829

Arla Mary Peabody’s Grandfather, Anders Westlin, was born 11.20.1830 in Sweden and in 1862 married Anna Brita Johansdotter, born in 1829. Anna had two children from a previous marriage. Her oldest, Peter Olaf Blomberg, moved to America in 1880. Her oldest faughter, Carin Blomberg, moved to Stockholm in 1876.

Four of the children of Anders and Anna died before they were 5 years old. Anders and his wife, Anna Brita moved to America 6.02.1882 with their two surviving daughters, Anna Charlotta, who had just turned 17, and Christine, just 15 years old. 

They must have moved to Minnesota to be close to other Swedish families. Anna Charlotta met and married Kemper Peabody at Wagon Landing, Wiscosin, 6.26.1889.

They must have moved to North Dakota shortly after their marriage because their first child, Burton Westlin Peabody, was born  in Dunbar Township, North Dakota,  on 4.1.1890. Arla Mary was born in Sandoun (now McLeod), North Dakota on 2.9.1892. Two other children, Kemper Francis and Helen Perry (who married Ted Human) were also born in North Dakota. 

In 1901 the family moved to New York so Kemper Peabody could take the position of Building Inspector in the Engineering Department of the New York Central Railroad. Three more children joined the family, Anne Westlin (who married Fred Stanley), born in New Rochelle, NY, Laurence Kane (interestingly born in Dubuque, Iowa) and the youngest, Dorothy Westlin, born in Mount Vernon, NY. 

Dorothy was only 9 years old when her oldest sister, Arla Mary, married Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa) on 3.27.1913 in Mount Vernon, NY. Their first five children, Alfred Peabody (Lad), Daniel Beck, Cedric Duryee, Elizabeth Westlin and Richard Peabody were all born in Mount Vernon, New York.

In 1922, Alfred and Arla moved to Trumbull, Connecticut because Arla fell in love with a house that they discovered while on vacation. Their youngest child, David Peabody, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1925.



Trumbull – Christmas Report From Trumbull, Connecticut (3 of 5) – December, 1945

By 4 o’clock the spiritual part of our being having been filled to repletion we then turned to the more practical of ministering to the inner man, and there in the dining room, with the holiday setting much like old days, with a luscious turkey done to a turn, a welcome and generous gift from the Vermont Peabody’s, a festive air lent by the candles supplied by Aunt Elsie and topped off with delicious plum pudding with hard sauce illuminated by the eerie blue flame of burning brandy, it was an event worthy of a place with past memories. During the meal,

Christmas Report    page 4

Naturally, you boys were frequently in our thoughts and at Aunt Betty’s suggestion, we toasted Dan and Paulette, Dave and Ced, and hoped that this time next year would see us all together gathered around the table. We recalled that Christmas 10 years ago in St. Petersburg, Florida, wondered if Dan was able to get to Calais to spend the day with Paulette, tried to imagine what Dave was doing and conjectured on just how far Ced had gotten on his daring flight to Anchorage.

Incidentally, we received an airmail letter from Ced, postmarked Grand Prairie, Alberta, dated 10 P.M., December 23rd, written on a dismembered airmail envelope, decorated with pencil drawing of Santa Claus and his reindeer, and bearing the command, “Don’t open until December 25th”, which said: “May use anything for paper from now on. I’m getting back into God’s country. Stayed over last night in Edmonton, spent all yesterday afternoon and most of this morning trying to promote some Army cold weather equipment. Finally succeeded in getting, on a loan basis, a sleeping bag, flying boots, jacket and pants, all fleece lined. Expect to make an early start tomorrow A.M. and possibly make Watson Lake tomorrow P.M. (weather permitting). Actually this is a town I am in (Grand Rapids) but in spite of boasting a nice hotel there is no stationary and I didn’t think to buy any. Probably I’ll see no other town until I hit Alaska. There are one or two on the route but I’ll most likely miss them on gas hops. Well, don’t expect to hear from me too frequently for a while as mail will probably be slower through Canada. Everything fine so far except I’m spending lots more money than I had expected to. Did it ever miss? Well, I’ve enough to make Anchorage and then I’ll rob a bank or grab a tin cup and some pencils. Fervently, Ced.”

I have been following Ced’s progress with just a bit of anxiety, not relieved any with the formidable attack of weather we here in the East have been experiencing practically ever since he left, and while I have every confidence in his flying skill and good judgment and common sense, I also realize the flying hazards with an un-seasoned plane, a strange territory and unfavorable season, so it was with profound relief and a lifting of spirit that I received over the phone this afternoon a wire from Western Union, being a night letter from Anchorage, as follows: “Arrived Anchorage December 28th, 1 P.M. Leonard and Marian met plane at airport. Everything fine. Go to work Monday for Pacific Northwestern Airline, formerly Woodley Airways. Located room in very nice private home – 30 a month. May take an apartment in February. Good to be back here running again. Signed “Buick”. Congratulations with a big C, Ced, old bird. You have accomplished a difficult task well, and there is in one father’s heart not only a deep thankfulness for the outcome so favorable but also quite a bit of justifiable pride and respect. I hope you will have time to give us a day by day account of all your adventures, disappointments and pleasant happenings, dangers, etc., and any snapshots you may have taken en route. Also where you spent Christmas Day. It would also be interesting to hear from Dan and Dave as to just how they spent December 25th.

Because this is a 7-page letter, this week’s posts will be longer than usual but I certainly think you will enjoy them. On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – A Christmas Report From Trumbull, Connecticut (2 of 5) – December, 1945

And it is perhaps in keeping with the story of the First Christmas that in my case there were three high spots to make “my day” a particularly bright one. And speaking of this First Christmas, let me digress a moment by quoting a columnist we all read quite regularly here – Walter Kiernan, writing under the daily heading “One Man’s Opinion”. Here is his account in modern parlance of this first Christmas:

Well, it was quite a night there at the Inn. Some of the boys were in town to get enrolled with the tax collector and one reunion led to another and the joint was jumping. And along came this couple and wanted to put up for the night. The man got the proprietor over in the corner and gave him a sales talk on why he needed the spot for his wife. But they weren’t regulars and didn’t look like much fun — the quiet type — and out they went. The “No Rooms” sign was up anyway. It was his hometown but he had been away and he didn’t know which way to turn. Bethlehem can get pretty cold at night. So they finally headed for a cattle barn. Anyplace was better than just being outdoors, and the cattle didn’t seem to mind. In fact, cattle aren’t supposed to be very intelligent, they were more friendly and gave the people a better break than the mob at the Inn. And during the night the woman had a baby. And they put it in the manger and the cows breath kept it warm. And one of the boys came stumbling out of the Inn later, buttoning his coat up. It was cold, like I said before. And there was a big bright star shining down on the old barn. BUT HE DIIDN”T SEE IT.

Here are my three big moments. First I must explain that as you know for some ten years I have been receiving and sending letters to you boys and have accumulated clippings and booklets on travel, island cottages, Income taxes, investments; accumulated records must be saved such as Justice of the Peace records, old checks (canceled), receipts, etc., so that the place had become pretty much cluttered. For some time I have wished I had a filing cabinet in which I could store these things for easy record, so much to my surprise and gratification, toward the end

Christmas Report    –    page 3

of the gift distribution, Lad and Dick left the room and came back carrying a four-drawer Shaw-Walker metal filing cabinet, which all had chipped in to purchase — one of those lasting gifts that one longs for for years but, because of the cost, never gets around to purchasing. It was a most welcome gift.

The second high spot is a bit difficult to get over to you in the way it hit me. You would have had to be here, seeing the sequence of events that led up to it, observed the lordly, yet gracious manner in which the deed was done, the expression of voice, and of face, in fact all those intangibles that lose so much in the telling. It illustrated for me the true spirit of Christmas, innocently and unconsciously symbolized by the youngest of us all. Following the old custom, Butch and Marty, some days ago, had dictated to Elizabeth a letter to Santa Claus in which a formidably long list of gifts wanted by each of them was duly recorded. As the great day drew nearer, perhaps warned by their mother that they might not expect to receive everything on their list, they began to be a bit fearful that they would not get enough presents, but when the Day came and one after one presents from the big pile under the tree were labeled Marty or Butch, it must have dawned on Marty that his erstwhile fears were indeed unnecessary. At least he was thoroughly enjoying himself, stopping quite frequently in his job of handing me packages to unwrap his own, keeping up meanwhile a running comment on events, not noticing or caring whether anyone heard him or not. During one spot when a particularly frequent run of gifts bore his name, he said, half to himself, “I guess I’m getting too many presents. I’ll give some to Butch”, and tearing off the gift wrapping of an attractive picture book he had just received, he unconcertedly, but with a kingly grace and nonchalance, yet with a conscious knowledge that he was bestowing something of real value, he carelessly passed the book to Butch and went on with the business of the day. It was all so matter of fact I don’t believe he really remembers even now that he did anything to give his Grandpa and perhaps, others that may have noticed it, such an big kick.




My third big moment came toward the last of the gift distribution and while not strictly material, like my filing cabinet, nor purely a thing of the spirit, like Marty’s symbolization of the Christmas idea, it occupies sort of an intermediate niche of its own, and no one, not a Grandfather, can fully appreciate it. It came by way of one of Lad and Marian’s attractive homemade photographic Christmas cards, addressed to Dad, and reading as follows: “We can’t let the rest of the family get too far ahead of us. The doctor tells us that we can expect our baby in July”. Now what more appropriate than Christmas Day for the great news. We have our own “herald Angels” singing to us, and while coming to us not strictly speaking “on a midnight clear”, it was nevertheless a “glorious song of old”, and as the secret had been well-kept, it was a real Christmas surprise to all of us. (Lad and Marian’s “baby” was actually twins, my brother and I, born at the end of June, 1946.)

Since this is a 7-page letter, this week’s posts will be longer than usual, but I think you will enjoy them. On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion


A Christmas Report From Trumbull, Connecticut (1 of 5) – December, 1945

December 30, 1945


To loved ones in

Europe, Asia and Alaska, U.S.A.

(As an observer on the scene we shall try to bring you a comprehensive account of the day’s doings, realizing that much of the true spirit of the season refuses to be captured and confined to paper by mere words.)

Christmas Eve. I had not been feeling too energetic for a week or more due to the enervating effects of a cold. Then, too, for many years past as Christmas Day approached, the burden of the responsibility for the multitude of “must” things to be done seemed to pile up to the point where much of the peaceful spirit appropriate to the season was snowed under by considerations of tree trimming, stocking filling, giftwrapping, food arrangements, home decorations, cleaning up, and a hundred and one other last-minute jobs that left one little time for serene contemplation of the great day and its proper impact upon children. So it was with sincere relief that I saw this year all these burdens taken over by younger and more energetic hands, and never a doubt or worry arose to the efficient way in which all necessary arrangements would be taken care of. And my confidence was fully justified. Tree bought, set up, tastefully decorated; stockings filled and “hung by the chimney with care”, dinner arrangements taken care of, house cleaned up and bearing a jaunty festive holiday air that I must leave to your imagination. The tree this year was located just inside the alcove archway on the north wall, just adjacent to where the floor lamp usually stands. During the evening Anne (Peabody Stanley and her son and daughter), Don and Gwen first arrived, three wise men of legendary fame bringing their gold, frankincense and myrrh in the shape of a huge pile of boxes containing plum pudding and bottles of the necessary “spirit” to make that blue flickery flame so typical of a Christmas plum pudding. Later Elsie (Duryee, Grandpa’s sister) arrived fresh from conquest of numerous holiday customers in the Grand Central, adding a “light” touch to the festivities by her contribution of big fat red holiday candles. And outside the weather was behaving in typical Christmas manner, white snow mantling the green trees and fences and making the glowing logs and the big living room fireplace all the cozier for the bluster outside. There was so much to see and do and talk about that I am afraid I did not get to bed very early, but at that, I left the younger ones still carrying on. Lad had taken Anne and Gweneth over to Biss’s for the night while Don slept in the attic and Elsie slept on the living room couch — unofficial guard of tree and stockings. Gradually however the radio left off its caroling of the old familiar Christmas hymns (interspersed with Rinso White, happy little wash day song, and such like), and eventually all “had settled our heads for a long winter’s nap”. However, the “clatter” which then arose, according to the old and beloved verse, did not materialize until later the next morning when the younger Stratford contingent arrived, but that account belongs more properly to Christmas “Day” then to Christmas “Eve”, to the account of which we will now proceed.

Christmas Day. We all slept late the next morning, there being no little pattering feet of fond memory to rouse us from well-earned rest by insistent clamoring in the gray light of dawn to find what Santa had left in the bulging stockings that hung so invitingly on the bedpost. After a desultory breakfast by stragglers undertaken in

Christmas Report    –    page 2

leisurely manner, the day really began with the arrival of the Zabel’s and Stanley’s from Stratford. As you may imagine it was not long thereafter that the two youngest members insisted that the stockings be taken care of. The usual procedure, which you so well remember, then followed with all of this in the living room, the tree in the background with attractively wrapped gift packages piled high around its base, giving promise of even better things to come. Tangerines, nuts, candy bars, lollipops, etc., having been customarily disposed of there then ensued a brief interval during which dinner was started, repairs to broken airplanes, which the two youngsters had received in their stockings, and which were greatly enjoyed by the “big” boys, in the course of which, under the guise of showing Butch and Marty how they worked, Don (Stanley, son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Arla’s younger sister) and Lad and Zeke and Dick illustrated several crash landings with the inevitable toll to wings, tail, nose, etc. It reminded Don of the time his father had given him an electric train for Christmas and was then forbidden to touch it while Fred (Stanley, married to Anne (Peabody) and grandpa (Kemper Peabody, Building Inspector for the New Central Railroad father of Arla and her six siblings), who was of course an enthusiastic railroad man, played with it most of the day while Don sat and looked on.

Finally we got around to the big event — distribution of gifts. Again, we were seated in the living room, I in the entrance to the alcove, Marty passing me the gifts and Butch distributing them to the proper party. As usual, I think that each one felt that he had been particularly fortunate in the gifts bestowed upon him. I can only speak for myself.

Because this is a 7-page letter, this week’s posts will be longer than usual but I certainly think you will enjoy them. On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion