My Ancestors (31) – Alfred Beck Guion – 1854 – 1899

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

My great-grandfather, Alfred  Beck Guion, was born on September 24, 1853, in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The earliest documentation I have been able to find was the 1860  U.S. Census.  He is listed with his father Elijah Guion, 50 years old, classified as Clergy (Episcopal); his mother Clara D.  Guion, 41; and siblings Clara B, 17; Josephine B, 16; Elijah B,  14; Adolphus B, 12; Covington B, 10; Elizabeth B, 9; Alfred B, 6; Almira B, 4.

The next Census I have found him listed in is the 1875 New York Census, living  with  Mary L. Guion. His relationship to her is recorded as a cousin. (I have determined that Mary L Guion is actually Mary (Lyon) Guion, widow of Rev. Alvah Guion, first cousin to Alfred Beck’s father, Rev. Elijah Guion.)

In the 1880 U.S. Census, he is also recorded as living with Mary L. Guion in New York City. He is recorded as her nephew and his profession is recorded as a Stock Broker.

On the 16th of September, 1882, he married Ella Duryee of New York City.

Alfred Beck Guion

 

Ella (Duryee) Guion

Alfred Duryee Guion (Grandpa)

The birth of a son, Gaion, on September 11, 1884 is listed in New York City birth records. This is the birthdate of Alfred Duryee Guion, my Grandpa. The name must have been corrected at a later date.

My grandfather records the following memories of his father in Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion:

In 1884, the year I was born, that part of Fifth Avenue, New York City where my parents lived was “uptown” which meant somewhere above 59th Street.  At that time my mother could recall looking out of their dining room window and seeing cows in the nearby pasture.

Soon after the birth of my sister, we moved into a brand-new house which my father had built in a newer part of town known as Chester Hill.  Here I spent most of my childhood.  My father, who insisted on having the best regardless of expense, was quite proud of this house.  He had an architect designe it.  My grandfather, Joseph W.  Duryee, being in the lumber business, was able to procure exceptional lumber for its construction so that each of the rooms was finished differently, one in Cherry, one in Black Walnut, one in Quartered Oak, one in Circassion Walnut, etc., all selected for their beautiful graining.  On the ground floor was what we called the “round room” in which even the windowpanes were curved glass.

My father liked sea trips, one summer took me to Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy with its tremendously high tides. On the voyage I saw my first whale.  Later he also took me to Newport News and Richmond, Virginia, on the old Dominion Line.

Papa was quite active in Masonic affairs, being eminently successful in this as in most other projects that interested him, was generally very popular, a good entertainer and storyteller, prominent in the local Episcopal Church of the Ascension where he was a vestryman.

My father seldom drank any alcoholic beverage stronger than beer.  One hot summer day both father and mother had beer at their evening meal.  It looked so cool and bubbly I asked for some.  My mother said, “No” but my father said, “Oh, let him have a taste.”

My parents did not believe in frequent or promiscuous spankings but we knew we would get one when we deserved, and then not a slap or two, but pants taken down in my case, and the back of a hair brush vigorously applied enough times to create a healthy respect for the punishment.

My father took me aside for a serious talk on the evils of smoking for a growing boy.  He exacted no promises of me but did say that if I did not smoke until I was 21 he would give me a gold watch.  When he died a few years later and I inherited his own gold watch, I felt doubly bound by the obligation and kept faith in spirit and letter.

My father was apt to be short-tempered at times, energetic, quick to form opinions, intense in his feelings, forceful and eloquent in expressing himself and alert-minded.  In any social gathering he usually outshone the rest by his personality.

He worked for a brokerage firm in Wall Street and was quite conscientious, so much so that in years of panic (today we would call it depression) losses of his clients, as well, I suspect, as of his own, worried him to the extent of bringing on heart trouble.  He died in his 40’s from angina pectoris.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting a week of segments from Reminiscencesof Alfred Duryee Guion.  Grandpa tells the story of his early life in his own words. 

Judy Guion

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Trumbull – Extracts from the Diary of Alfred D. Guion (2) – July 18, 1943 – The Mountain Went to Mohammed

This is the second half of a letter from Grandpa to his four sons who are all in service to Uncle Sam.

Daniel (Dan) Beck Guion

Daniel Beck Guion

Thursday, July 15.

Up betimes this morning – a bit after 5 AM to be exact, because this was to be the day when the mountain went to Mohammed. Dan has been consistently evading accepting furloughs that his C. O. has been trying to force upon him on numerous occasions lately, and I made up my paternal mind that I wouldn’t let him get away with it any longer but would seek Daniel in his den, so off I goes to Lancaster. From 1:34 until 7:00 I tramped the country surrounding Lancaster without even seeing one lion, even less Dan, finally learning that his whole outfit had been moved, bag and baggage, to a rumored place about 40 miles distant. With tired heart and sinking feet (or vice versa), but with the old Guion spirit which refuses to be licked, I started to trail T-5 and at 9:30 that night, after sampling bus transportation in Pennsylvania, I arrived at a Service Club in Indiantown Gap (an exact replica, Lad, of the Service Club in Aberdeen) and was tapped on the shoulder and a level (or transit) voice inquired if my surveying of the premises indicated I was searching for anyone in particular. And who do you suppose it was? Right! We never decided who was the more surprised, and I guess we’ll never know. I stayed in his barracks that night by permission of the Sgt., ate a  soldier’s breakfast at six something and after a nice long talk, in which I forgot to ask several things I had come down to find out about (one was what disposition Dan wanted made of his auto which is standing unused in the backyard), I took the 10 AM bus on my return journey (Dan’s time was up anyway), and after transportation delays and journeys in air-conditioned cars which weren’t conditioning, finally arrived back home a bit after 8 PM. Dan expects to be shipped out soon, but when or where is a deep, dark secret.

Saturday, July 17.

Aunt Anne phoned to ask if it would be all right for her and Gwen to come up to stay over with Aunt Dorothy. Gwen, it seems, is with her mother in New Rochelle for the summer but expects to go back to school in Vermont in the fall. Today was Jean’s birthday, which she spent with her family in Stratford.

Sunday, July 18.

Due to being back on the old kitchen detail, I have to divide my Sunday time now, once again, to getting dinner and trying to do odd jobs around the house. Today

I wanted to do some repairs on the old washing machine and also get the laundry tubs in working condition, but had time only for the latter. And I didn’t get the grass cut either. (Dave was busy praying for his father who failed to keep holy the Sabbath day). Carl is now in the Merchant Marine, but can’t land the kind of job he wants because of his colorblindness, so he says he may be peeling potatoes or doing any other job where it won’t matter if things are pink or purple. Barbara is being given a farewell party tonight by the young people. I was invited and intended to go, but it was so late when the Aunts finally got away and I needed a shave and had not written my weekly blurb (even now it is 10:20 and the shave is still to be) and I haven’t had any supper, and it’s getting near the end of the page so I’ll end this now.

Your faithful

DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Bissie to her older brother, Ced, in Alaska.  On Saturday, the next installment of the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis and his Voyage th California. On Sunday, in my series, My Ancestors, a post about Alfred Beck Guion, my great-grandfather. 

If you are enjoying these letters from an earlier time, please share them with others you think might also enjoy them. If you click FOLLOW VIA EMAIL and enter your email address, each post will automatically be delivered to your inbox. Now how easy is that???

Judy Guion

Trumbull – TRUMBULL SUNDAY CLARION – July 11, 1943

My Grandpa’s gifts with words, printing and advertising all came together this particular Sunday and we are the recipients of those gifts. This is the “letter” he sent out to his sons scattered around the world. Lad, the oldest, is in Camp Santa Anita in California,  training auto, truck and diesel mechanics for the Army; Dan, next in line, is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, awaiting transfer to London with the rest of his Civil Engineering Unit;  Ced, son number three, is in Alaska working at Woodley’s Airfield, which has been taken over by the military, working as an airplane mechanic and bush pilot; and Dick, son number four, is in Indianapolis, awaiting transfer to who-knows-where.

I’ll give you a little background information on each of the stories.

Trumbull Sunday Clarion, July 11, 1943

                      T R U M B U L L   S U N D A Y   C L A R I O N 

Sunday, July 11, 1943

“Novel News for Native Nomads Needing Nourishment for Nerves”

COOKS VACATION ENDS

Guion Resumes K.P. Duties

_______________

Due to the fact that Mrs. Peabody has been feeling slightly under the weather, and it seemed wiser for her to assume as little ordinary work as possible, the former chef smilingly don’s his erstwhile apron and tackles the meal getting chores. Lamb and prune whip on today’s menu are prepared in usual form and proclaimed as up to the best former standards. Miss Dorothy Peabody,  who visited Trumbull again this week and reports having rented as of August 1, a larger apartment and as soon after that date as can be arranged,  she expects to have her mother living with her again in New York.

Mrs. Peabody is the Grandma referred to in many of the letters. She is Grandpa’s (Alfred Duryee Guion’s) mother-in-law, the mother of Arla, his wife, who passed away in 1933 after a long battle with cancer. That event was the lynch-pin that set all of the events in the letters in motion.

________________________

  PERSONALS

________________________

D. Guion has just reported another near miss in securing furlough. We’ll keep on trying, he stated recently.

June and July issues of Alaska Sportsman arrived this week – – gift of C. Guion. Thanks, Ced.

Mrs. R. Guion reports still building Army morale, particularly among the M.P.’s in Indianapolis.

No postage stamps were on sale at the Anchorage or Arcadia post offices  recently. Is Rationing Board added again?

It is rumored that Sgt. Guion is trying to arrange matters so that he can spend his vacation furlough with friends in Trumbull. Reception Committee tents.

Miss Anna Rakowski recently died of a heart attack.

Poppa is well, Aunt Betty is well, Dave is well. All send greetings and await mail. The Box is No. 7

D. Guion refers to Dan, in Pennsylvania, who is trying his hardest to get a furlough to travel the 250 miles home for one last visit before he heads overseas.

C. Guion has subscribed to the Alaska Sportsman for his father, possibly to give him a better idea of what life is like in the northern territory.

Mrs. R. Guion is Jean, Dick’s wife, who has followed her MP husband from Miami to Indianapolis and will follow him until he is sent overseas, when she will return to Trumbull to stay in the family homestead.

Sgt. Guion refers to Lad, in California, who is trying to plan a furlough to travel across the country to visit family and friends.But, as it always is with the military, you don’t know anything until it actually happens, particularly during a war.

I have no idea who Miss Anna Rakowski was.

At this point in time, Papa (Grandpa), his Aunt Betty and youngest son Dave are the regular residents in the Trumbull house, since Grandma is supposed to leave in a couple of weeks.

B. PLUMB BECOMES WAC-Y  

Local Organist successfully

Passes Examination

_____________

Passing both physical and mental test with flying colors, local Trumbull girl will soon leave for training,  having resigned her business position in Bridgeport. Miss Evelyn Hughes will replace Miss Plumb as organist of the local Church. The latter started to duties today and performed her duties well.

Barbara Plumb is Dan’s girlfriend and has been for a while.  The brief article tells the rest.

CAROL ELIZABETH WAYNE 

Moves to Trumbull

Likes her New Home

___________

After a short sojourn in the Bridgeport Hospital, the young lady, with little persuasion from her father and mother, decided to permanently locate on Daniels Farm Road. Her father spent the day sailing together with Paul Wardenand Walter Mantle, to Port Jefferson. Father Carl, anticipating an early call to the colors has enlisted in the Merchant Marine, and leaves for his new duties, Wednesday. No information has yet been announced as to what will become of the gas station which Mr. Wayne has been conducting. His father recently has been aiding in the work. However with the stringent gas rationing, is becoming increasingly difficult to find gas station personnel.

Her father, a close friend of the older boys, is running the gas station that Lad worked at when he was in his teens and early twenties. You might remember his letter to Lad in the post titled “Trumbull – The Red Horse Service Station – Carl Wayne”. He couldn’t wait to tell my father all the news in town, especially the fact that his sister (Elizabeth, Bissie to family and friends) had eloped.

SHOE SHORTAGE HITS INDIANAPOLIS

Local girl finds following Army from camp to camp hard on feet. Buys new pair of shoes.

This is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Jean must be wearing out her shoes following her husband from Trumbull to Miami to Indianapolis.

I hope you found this particular post as interesting as I did. My Grandfather continues to surprise me.

Tomorrow and Thursday, extracts from Grandpa’s Diary, On Friday, a letter from Biss to Ced, 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Saludos Amigos (1) – Happenings In and Around Trumbull – July 4, 1943

 

This week’s edition of the letter, with carbon copies for everyone, is filled with local news and news about what each of the boys are up to. Lad and Ced remain stationery, Dick is on the move and Dan is expecting to be shipped overseas any time now. He’s trying to get home for a visit before he leaves, but it doesn’t look too likely.

 

Trumbull, Conn.

July 4, 1943

Saludos Amigos:

I don’t know what this means, but it sounds like a friendly Spanish phrase and being the title of one of Walt Disney’s pictures, it ought to be good, hence appropriate in starting off a letter to all my young hopefuls.

Today I made a Nazi prophecy come true and opened a second front on the garbage incinerator. With Lad’s flamethrower I succeeded in reducing the enemies stores and ammunition dumps to a heap of ashes. The ruins are still smoldering as I write. The next problem is where to dispose of the remains. Steve Kascak will still accept them as a help to increasing his “waterfront”, but with gas doled out by the spoonful, I can’t make five or six trips with my car hauling the blasted stuff. Any suggestions anyone can think of to relieve the situation will be given due consideration.

We had company today for dinner. The extras were Dorothy (Peabody), Elsie (Guion, Grandpa’s sister), Biss (Elizabeth, Grandpa’s daughter) and her two young imps Butch (4) and Marty (2).. We played an unofficial game of find the fire tongs, or hammer for ringing the dinner gong, or the top to the brass teakettle that hangs on the stand in the dining room fireplace, or any other articles that are not nailed down, starting as soon as the firm of Marty and Butch get inside the outside screen door. Usual occupations cease and everyone turns to a combination of nursemaid and policemen — they usually go well together in real life, I am told. After everyone is thoroughly exhausted (except the children themselves) and the last farewells are said, we go round the house picking up things here and there and restoring them to their erstwhile resting place. It’s sort of an unorthodox method of getting things dusted.

On June 30 a little Wayne girl made her appearance at Bridgeport Hospital. Things I understand went very well and everybody is happy. Grandma (Peabody, mother of Arla (Pebody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who passed away in 1933)  has not been feeling as well today but came down to dinner after having had her breakfast in bed served by daughter Dorothy. She feels better tonight. Elsie is up taking a nap, which is part of her Trumbull routine when she comes to visit. This time she plans to stay overnight. Dorothy asked me to send her best to all of you and tell you she thinks that you all frequently.

Among the correspondence this week is the letter from Pvt. Donald Sirene (Red, a good friend of Grandpa’s sons) from Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. He says he is working on the railroad, surveying — interesting work and keeps him from KP or other jobs below his dignity. “Girls down here get married young and don’t need any “literature” because they are rather prolific. I had a hot date with a three-year-old blonde, but had to break it because she got engaged, ah, me. I’ve seen those strange, hard cased animals called t armadillos, caught alligators and chased a cotton mouth – but not very far. You should see our Toonerville Trolley, as I call the G. I. railroad. The tracks were laid on soft clay (we have crews out all the time just hunting for the tracks.) Derailings are quite common. We have a novel way of being trained to face artillery fire. We were out in an open field, lining a curve (R.R.) when a sudden electrical storm jumped us. I saw trees within 500 feet of me blown up by lightning. At least four bolts struck within 1000 yards of us. Stumps were still burning two days later. Needless to say, I was glad to leave that spot.” signed Fatty Sirene

Tomorrow, the rest of the letter.

Judy Guion

 

Trumbull – Dear Guions (1) – Father’s Day – June 19, 1943

Grandpa is just ending a family Father’s Day celebration – minus his four oldest sons – and even though it’s 10 PM, he still sits down to write his weekly missive to them.

Trumbull, Conn.

June 19, 1943

Dear Guions:

It is now nearly 10 PM, and I have been, since 3:30 this afternoon, trying to get started on this letter. Dorothy and Anne had come up last night and after dinner we sat on the cement Terrace and chatted, then they got ready to catch the five o’clock bus and found it didn’t leave until six on Sundays, and just as they got on the bus Elizabeth popped in with the children. They left about an hour ago (it is quite impossible to write with those two youngsters around), and just as I at last pulled out this machine, Dave arrived home, having been out all day with Paul and Carl and Walter to launch Paul’s new boat, and of course I had to hear about their adventures, so I am just now getting started.

First, the Aunts asked to be remembered to you. Don (Stanley, the son of Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Arla’s sister. He is in the Navy.)  is off again, no one knows where but it is possible this trip he is to bring home prisoners of war from North Africa. Elizabeth yesterday went to Edna Beebe’s wedding, I taking the children to be cared for meanwhile up at the Zabels. So much for the scanty news.

This was a 100% letter week – – Lad, Dan, Ced and Dick (by proxy) made it a bang up Father’s Day for me. Jean sent me a nice card, a box of Dan’s things arrived with some toilet articles and razor blades for me, the girls brought up some crullers and a coffee cake. Your letter, Jean, as always, was much appreciated. Of course we would be delighted to hear from Dick and learn a bit about his daily work, his accomplishments, trials, etc., and I do hope when you are not there to pinch hit for him he will not neglect to keep us informed. You have certainly been awfully good about keeping us informed as to how he is getting along.

Dan, your packages arrived safely and I liked your selection of toilet articles. Thanks, old boy. I took the batteries out of your radio, as requested. They are putting you through your paces, all right, and it all may prove a blessing in disguise, but we’ll be mighty glad to see you just the same when you get that July furlough.

By the way, if you fellows want to make the most acceptable Father’s Day gift, please send me, each of you, a snapshot or photo of some sort of yourself in uniform.

Lad, I had to renew the note again at the bank. It would clear up what has now become somewhat of a mystery, if you would explain just what the situation is on that remittance that never came, as unless I can offer the bank somewhat of an explanation, it puts me in rather an embarrassing position. Every time I see them I tell them I’m Marian Irwinexpecting daily to hear from you, and your last very sketchy reference leaves me up in the air as much as ever.

After so long a silence it was good to get your two-page letter to learn a bit about what you are doing. I was particularly interested in the nice things you had to say about Marian and hope someday you can wangle an extra snapshot from her and send it to us. How do you plan to spend your furlough when you get it? What is ”goldbricking”? Good luck to you and your staff rating affair. Of course I’ll see you through your vacation funds. Just let me know the amount and when you want it and the check will be forthcoming. It’s just as easy as that.

 

Marian Irwin

Tomorrow, I’ll post the rest of this letter.  For the rest of the week, two more letters from Grandpa to the four sons who are away from home serving Uncle Sam.

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 # 340 – Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion and her Sisters

This is the only picture I have of the four Peabody Girls – my Grandma Arla and her three sisters. There were also five boys in the family . Arla, the oldest girl, was born in 1892. 

Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, (my Grandmother) Helen (Peabody) Human, Dorothy Peabody.