Trumbull – Dear Decorations – Aunt Dorothy Chimes In – May 30, 1943

This weekend, some family members and two neighbors join Grandpa and his household for a Sunday dinner outside to celebrate Decoration Day, known as Memorial Day now. The weather is beautiful and Grandpa waxes poetic about his “Little Flowers” away from home.

Alfred Duryee Guion

May 30, 1943 at Trumbull, Conn.

Dear Decorations:

Surely that’s an appropriate salutation for today’s letter. And how are all of Daddies Little Flowers?

Excuse, please. This is me – – your Aunt Dee (Dorothy Peabody, youngest sister of Arla (Peabody) Guion, Grandpa’s wife who passed away after a long illness in 1933) – – I feel like a brute since your Dad had to get out of his comfortable chair so I could take my turn at the typewriter. And when I say take my turn it sounds easy. But this is work! – – Not writing you (Daddy’s Little Flowers), that is a delight – – but doing it on this machine. Doubtless you have all taken a “turn” yourselves,, one time or another, and you will understand what I mean. And in case you don’t – – I mean this particular machine isn’t streamlined. Catch? (in case you haven’t seen your cousin Gweneth in the last couple of years you may not know that that is one of her favorite expressions.) By the way, Donald is back on these shores from his maiden voyage – why, please, do they call a man’s trip his maiden voyage? Unless it might have something to do with Donald’s stay in Ireland –for details of which please contact him yourself. Anyway, he said the girls in Ireland were alright! I’d better stop and give Dad a chance — much love to you all – – I think of you often – – and we all missed you muchly today. Your ears must have burned plenty for you and your far-flung stations took a good bit of our conversation time. Love again to all – – and my best to Jean (if Dick dares let her read what Donald has to say about traveling.) Aunt Dee

Hi ho, it’s me again. (Grandpa) I was just developing the flower thoughts when Dorothy volunteered to add bits of variety to the weekly bugle, for of course you know there is the bugle plant. Yes, we really have quite a little family garden. There is Lad who stays up dancing until all hours of the night – my Night Blooming Cereus; and Dan used to be so good about going to bed early nights (used to be, I said) and up bright and early – our Morning Glory; Ced in the far North typifies Snow on the Mountain; Dick with his leading towards jazz bands is our Red Hot Poker, and Jean with her 17 pairs of shoes, well, what more appropriate than Lady Slipper. Of course, given time, I could work up something about the Honesty Plant, the Forget-Me-Not for those that don’t write and the Angels Trumpet for those that do, and if I felt mean I could bring in the Lily somewhere. As it is I’ll end this little digression by admitting that I am very happy to have so many son flowers.

The weather has been grand and glorious both yesterday and today. Elsie and Dorothy both trained up from New York, Elizabeth and her two mischiefs came over for dinner, which we held out under the old half apple tree, in which we were joined by Mrs. Ives, who we called away from a weeding job in her Victory Garden, and Mrs. Warden. Paul has just purchased an 18 foot sailboat which he and Dave brought up here on Walter Mantle’s trailer for repainting. Carl is rushing repairs to his boat so that it will be in good shape for sale as he has just received word from Uncle Sam to report Tuesday. He hurt his finger a while ago and has had it bandaged for a couple of weeks so that may possibly delay his induction. It is pretty near time for young Carl to put in an appearance, so it may work out that instead of Carl missing seeing his new baby by a foot he will make it hand-ily. Joke.

Dan has written quite regularly once a week lately, and we did so hope he might be able to get home this weekend. Jean, too, has been faithful and conscientious about writing. Her letter this week says that Dick has been moved to another hotel preparatory to leaving for Indiana or Ohio.



Tomorrow, another segment from the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis and his Voyage to California in 1851 to visit his brother in San Jose.

On Sunday, more about My Ancestors in New Rochelle, New York.

Judy Guion


Peabodys and Duryees – Don Stanley Writes to Ced – September 16, 1946

September 16, 1946

Dear Ced –

Trust you are contentedly plucking icicles from your beard whilst counting the revolutions of one prop and another. Do not forget to reverse your parka come next grass.

Heard about the Great Flight, and your short visit here at 10 Perry. Was sorry that I was unable to be here at that time, but due to an unavoidable condition of water and distance, had to miss you. Guess you have already heard of our Christmas visit at the now fully domesticated Guion Home in Trumbull. Had a good time there, and was glad to have been able to see those of your family that were present. Haven’t been back up that way again, but expect to sometime in the near future. Very near.

(In this space consider the usual questions pertaining to your health and general condition, etc., fully and adequately entered.)

But now the reason for this unexpected letter: in the first place and as a little beginning, I guess you might remember the fellow whom you met when you were here last time; one Norbert Sickle. And I trust you remember me (One of your relatives. Don Stanley by name.) Well, he and I have spent these last few months at the unpleasant task of trying to acclimate ourselves to the daily grind of office work, routine, subways and soot. Ah, yes, we have ground away at this task, but so far have been able to get nowhere. In fact we are ready to quite well give up the whole project as lost, and do so with a good deal of glee. Our minds have wandered far afield, and in these wanderings, we have brought up the fact of Alaska, and how it is that you, Dan, and Dick, seem to like the place so much. Also our mutual friend Rusty the Rustic. So, from that, and other verbal references, we have been wondering just what it really is that this chunk of land has to offer- in fact we are wondering so much we have fairly near come to the conclusion that we will be arriving up there sometime early next Spring. Work our way around there ala steam ship, either around the world or through the canal. (Find one can’t be choosy now days.) So, the whole thing boils down to the fact that we are heading out of this territory, and so far, are planning to get on around to Alaska. In consequence, we wondered if you would be able to drop us a short line and give us a general idea of what opportunities there are for making a livelihood. As it is that I shall be putting out to sea again as soon as this current seaman’s strike is over, I should appreciate it ever so much if you would send the info you can as soon as possible, for I would like to hear from you before I am again underway.

Well, Ced, hope that I am causing you no great inconvenience, and will really be appreciative of what data you can send me.

Don’t know anyone up there, but give ‘em my regards anyway.

The family sends their sincere regards and love and this and that and the other.

Y’rs of the Subway-Shattered Nerves –


Tomorrow, another segment of John Jackson Lewis’s Voyage to California in 1851.

On Sunday, we follow the Guions in New Rochelle, New York. We continue the story of Louis and Thomasse Guion and their son, Isaac.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Judy and Doug Write to Grandpa – September 4, 1946

This is the very first letter I wrote to Grandpa. I was only about 2 months old and he was up on the Island for a much-needed vacation. Mother (Marian) wanted to keep Grandpa informed about family happenings while he was away.

Judith Anne Guion

Sept. 4th

Hello, Grandpaw –

Thank you very much for your card. I don’t need the pillow case, really, very much of the time, so I’m glad you are able to use it. Doug and I would like to be up there with you – but Mother says “we are too young.” Imagine !

We received an announcement of Bar (Barbara Plumb) and Pete’s (Linsley) wedding yesterday. Their picture was in the paper, so I cut it out and saved it for you. I thought you would like to have it. We also received a package from Marian and Larry Peabody. Doug and I got rompers and booties. They also enclosed a wedding gift for Mom and Dad. Will you tell Aunt Jean there is also one for her and Dick too. We put it up in their room.

Everyone here is just fine – Mother manages to keep busy – she seems to think we take up quite a bit of time – Aunt Betty is fine – and Uncle Dave is more than busy at the office. But he doesn’t mind.

Tell Aunt Jean that Mother enjoyed Bar’s shower very much. There were about 30 people there, and Bar got some lovely gifts. In case she’s wondering, Aunt Jean gave her a Fostoria Cake Plate. Mother heard that Edith Rogan had a baby girl – and Beryl Woods and the Feller boy who used to work at Herb’s (Market in Trumbull Center) (Stanley ??) are engaged. They are to be married in Oct. sometime. Doty Mae is one of the bridesmaids.

Love to all,




Douglas Alfred Guion

Sept. 4th

Dear Old Man Pablum –

Enjoyed your card very much – It’s sort of monotonous around here these days – what with eating and sleeping – and sleeping and eating, so any diversion is most welcome. Glad to hear that your hay fever is no longer with you. The weather around here has been a little on the chilly side in the mornings and evenings –around 50 degrees – but the days are fairly warm.

When I was reading the paper the other night, I came across the enclosed clipping by Walter Kiernan. Mother practically had hysterics over it, so I thought you might enjoy it, too. It’s sort of torn, but I think you can read it.

We are also enclosing two letters – one from Ced and one from Dan. Ced’s letter enclosed a check, which we gave to Uncle Dave. He said he’d take it to the bank for you. Dan’s letter contains some good news. From what I’ve heard of French girls, I’m really looking forward to meeting Cousin Arla.

Drop us a card again when you have the time. The whole family enjoys them.

So long Old Man –


Tomorrow, a letter to Ced from his cousin, Don Stanley, son of Aunt Anne (Peabody) Stanley, Arla’s younger sister).

On Saturday, another installment of the Voyage to California by John Jackson Lewis.

On Sunday, more of My Ancestors, especially Louis Guion, Jr.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Kith… (2) – A Request From Grandma Peabody – April 18, 1943

This is the second half of a letter, dated April 11, 1943,  addressed to: Dear Kith (I won’t bother with the kin tonight) AND, of course, Jean. It includes a request from Grandma Peabody.

Grandma Peabody

Grandma Peabody

What struck me as one of the saddest letters I have ever received reached me last week from Grandma – – sad, not so much in what she says but in what it implies. Here it is: “Dear Alfred: I am in bed and it’s nearly midnight, and as much as I am in quite a predicament and not very good at beating around the bush, I thought I better write to you, plain as possible. I am very anxious to leave here and I wonder if I could come and stay at your house again. I could not do any more work than I did before but I would like to come if it is possible for you to let me. I went to stay with Kemper last May against my will, the same as I went with them to Vermont, against my better judgment. But at the time it seemed the only solution and Ethel told me she wanted me. These two people are very trying to live with day after day, month after month. I have kept out of their way, staying in my room hunched up in my chair, so to speak, ever since we came here. I am feeling fine now, thanks to some vitamins I have been taking regularly for many weeks. I have plenty of bedding for my use and as I am not very big, a cot bed would do me very well. Please let me know as soon as possible. This maybe, is a strange letter, but if I see you I can explain things. I have been so lonesome and you know I believe that most of my children are not welcome here. Not for a night or a meal. Do write soon and let me know. Mother.

It must be cold. My window is completely covered with ice, but fortunately the wind is from the south somewhere so my room is warm. Dorothy’s apartment is too small for two people. I hope you can take pity on me. Mother.”

This is due notice to you all, that if or when the time ever comes when I am not welcome at my children’s homes, that is the time to drop a big load of arsenic in my coffee.

After discussing the matter with Dave and Aunt Betty, I wrote to Mother and told her to come ahead, and after she arrived we would talk over room arrangements. I told her as tactfully as I could that no changes could be considered as far as Aunt Betty’s and Jean’s room is (or are) concerned, but that, as Dave plans to sleep on the sleeping porch this summer and the attic room could be used as a spare room for the boys on furlough, if she didn’t mind the lack of privacy, the room off my room would be available. Up to this writing I have had no further word from her.

A letter from Dan, bearing evidence of manfully struggling with a post office type of pen, says: “Notice has been posted that Co. D must devote this spring and summer to training for overseas duty, and must be prepared to leave at any time. How much significance can be attached to this notice can only be conjectured. Our work has not been altered yet in any manner.”

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Jean (Mrs. Richard) Guion

Saturday brought a welcome letter from Jean. Her train arrived three hours late but model rpg-dick-in-uniform-without-mustache-1945husband Dick was there to meet her. His C.O. had given him an overnight pass, and later in the week another, so he ranks high with Jean. Dick thinks he is tops also. Jean is in a small hotel just across the street from the beach, and likes it very much. Dick has a nice tan and looks the picture of health. He seems to like Army life very much, including his C.O. (Yes, Jean dear, I shall send your check by airmail as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, however, if the family vaults can be rifle for your benefit, just say the word. And tell that lanky son of mine, will you please, to answer my letter about his insurance premium so I’ll know how he wants it handled.)

Alaska and California didn’t report last week, but here’s hoping this week may bring some news from these far Western outposts.

Catherine Warden (the tenant in the apartment) came back from the hospital today. Paul had painted the apartment and some of the furniture and the girls had put up some draperies. Barbara (Plumb) had furnished a beautiful bunch of flowers and altogether the apartment looked very attractive. The children come home next Sunday, according to plan, as the German reports have it.

Well, for a fellow with headache and bloodshot eyes, I seem to have done right by you little Nell’s as far as two pages of correspondence this evening is concerned, and now methinks I will take a well-earned rest, but I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you won’t forget to write your one and only               DAD

Tomorrow, a letter from Lad, written on Hospitality Center of South Pasadena stationery. Fridayday brings another letter from Grandpa to finish out the week..  

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Sons (2) – Fatherly Advice – August 18, 1946



Aunt Betty Duryee, Grandpa and Aunt Elsie Guion, summer, 1946

Page 2    8/18/46

I got to thinking the other day what changes the year has brought to the family, so for just a sort of check-up, let’s turn back the pages and see what the status was a year ago – in August, 1945.

This was the month of the first atomic bomb, of the Russian declaration of war, of Japan’s offer to quit. Ced was seriously thinking of buying a plane of his own and was in the market for a secondhand Army ship. Jean was all agog over her first planned trip to far off Brazil to join Dick. Lad, attending his brother’s wedding in Calais had “just missed the boat”, and instead popped in on us on the 16th. Marion quit working for Sikorsky in consequence. Dave received the surrender news at Okinawa and a short time after took a plane ride to Manila. Dan was enjoying a French honeymoon and home here, we were enjoying buying tires and gas and canned goods without ration tickets.

Just a year before that Dave was at camp Missouri complaining of chiggers, etc. Lad traveled from S. Calif. to Jackson, Miss., in a car with a hot box and Marian followed in the Buick and trailer. Dan made his first crossing of the English Channel and wrote from an orchard in Normandy. Dick was in Brazil saying very little and Ced wrote his classic account of fishing procedures in Alaska.

Some months have passed since I have directed any moral bombshells at you, but don’t surmise I have ceased to campaign for my favorite topic of finding what you want to do and going after it. The recent death of H. G. Wells recalls a book he once wrote in which there was a man who is tired, as he says, of following little motives which are like fires that go out by the time you get to them. All about us, these days, are men and women without any great meaning or momentum. These people move by fits and starts and are easily stalled in the muck of their own aimlessness. So was Mr. Wells’ man. “I do not deserve to be called a personality. I cannot discover even a general direction. I am much more like a taxicab in which all sorts of aims and desires traveled to their destination, and get out”. There it is – – little motives, so many of them worthless, marginal destinations, so many of them unimportant. The most majestic thing in creation – – human personality – – reduced to the status of a hackney bus, taking on and letting off a conglomerate of impulses, wishes, half-hearted purposes, half-baked ideas. Aimlessness should be called the “occupational disease” of the unoccupied. The cure is to agree with one’s self on at least one great consuming  purpose which gathers up all lesser motives just as a general gathers his armies into a unified command. “He who keeps one end in view”, says Browning, “makes all things serve.”

If you don’t like these occasional bursts of fatherly advice, I can point one way out – keep me so busy quoting letters from France and Alaska I shall be so occupied in so doing that I shall not have to write something like the above to fill up the space. I’m sure you would far rather hear from your brothers then get a dose of Dad’s morality. But there, be of good cheer, when I leave Trumbull for New Hampshire the letters will probably be few and far between. Meantime, happy days to you both and the speedy return to Old Trumbull.


Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons, Dan and Ced, the only ones still away from home.. Then a letter from Ced and one from Dave to his father, on the Island, about business doings. Judy


Trumbull – To the Guion Squad, Quartette, Foursome, or What Have You, Greetings – Family News – April 1, 1943

Alfred Duryee Guion

Jean and Dick Guion

Trumbull, Conn, April 4, 1943

To the Guion Squad, Quartette, Foresome, or what have you, GREETINGS:

Here again it is time to sum up the weekly events as it affects far-flung Guion family, it’s relatives and friends. First in the field of Correspondence Received, there is a three-page letter from our Alaskan outpost, all in red (probably inspired by the income tax he so lately filed), which relates in some detail a week-and skiing adventure conducted amid great tribulations due to a combination of meeting army trucks on narrow roads too narrow to permit passing, necessitating backing up a hill for a quarter of a mile, plus the back wheel of his car coming off; the damaging of one of their planes through the failure of a five-ton tri-motored Boeing to properly take off, etc.

A letter to Jean from Dick urged her to come to Miami in view of the news he had just received to the effect that Dick had been notified his group were being trained for service overseas after a short period of training was completed. So Jean promptly applied for and received a leave of absence, bought her ticket, wired Dick to get ready for a second honeymoon and this morning left on the Silver Meteor for Florida. Dave and Aunt Betty and yours truly made sure she and her baggage were properly entrained at Bridgeport. Barbara (Plumb), too, accompanied us, intending to go to New York with Jean. On the way down in the car, the lure of adventure was too much for Dave so on the spur of the moment he decided to skip Sunday school and go along to New York with Barbara and Jean.

Still another item of correspondence was a letter from Anne ((Peabody) Stanley) announcing receipt of a cable from Donald (Stanley), reading “All well and safe, love”. No date or place given, but the words “sans origine” furnished a slight clue. She also enclosed a clipping from a war correspondent, which in part reads: “Those who don’t know the M.P.’s are ignorant of one of the finest groups in the Army. The military police don’t have the taint to them that they had in the last war. This time they are a specially picked, highly trained, permanent organization. Their training starts where commandos leave off, and from the M.P.’s I’ve seen, their demeanor and conduct, I believe that next to Rangers and Paratroopers, they are really the pick of the Army.”

Also a letter from Grandma to Aunt Betty quotes Anne as writing: “Jean and Dick’s wedding was the most beautiful and strange wedding she had ever seen. She said “I don’t believe there will ever be one like it.” Grandma’s letter also mentions that Burton (Peabody) was in N.Y. recently. He looks fine and has gained 10 pounds. Helen (Peabody) and Ted (Human) are in Mexico, and Larry (Peabody) plans to have a big vegetable garden this summer. Kemper and Ethel (Peabody) are busy helping to relieve the meat and milk shortage. We all owe Grandma a big vote of thanks for interesting and newsy letters. If it were not for her, we would have difficulty in keeping up with the Peabody doings. If you boys could find time to write her once in a while, it would be fine.

It was Lad’s birthday yesterday. For over a month now I have been trying to get him an army (khaki colored, with Army insignia) pen and pencil set, but each time was told they were on order but not yet received. Yesterday, I did find a set not as good as the one I saw some time ago, and of course not good enough in my opinion for Lad, but I sent it to him anyway. (If the nib does not suit your hand writing, Lad, almost any shop out there where they sell fountain pens will substitute the pen itself for one of your liking, at a small fee.

Love from us all here.


Tomorrow I’ll post another entry from the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis during his Voyage to California.

On Sunday, another of My Ancestors, namely Joseph Marshall Jr.

Judy Guion


My Ancestors (5) – Joost Durie (Duryea, Duryee) and Descendants – 1675 – 1919

Because I am in the process of trying to clarify information from the 1600’s on Louis Guion, I am going to hold off posting about this ancestor for now. Instead, you will learn about the Duryee side of the family, Grandpa’s mother’s  ancestors.

(1) Joost Durie, (2) Charles Duryee, (3) Jacob Duryee, (4) Abraham Duryee, (5) Jacob Duryee, (6) Joseph Woodward Duryee, (7) Ella (Duryee) Guion, (8) Alfred Duryee Guion, (9) Alfred Peabody Guion, (10) Judith Anne Guion

I have very little information on our Duryee (Durie, Duryea) ancestors so I will post information on the direct line from Joost Durie to Ella Duryee, who married Alfred Beck Guion and was the mother of Alfred Duryee Guion, my Grandpa.

In researching the origins of Joost Durie, our original Duryee ancestor, some facts remain constant but a few are not. Some of the information I have found states that he was born in (1) 1635 in Nord, France; or (2) 1635 in the Netherlands; or (3) 1650 in France; or (4) 1650 in Mannheim, Germany; or (5) 1650 in Nord, France; or … you get the picture.

Joost Durie might have been married in (1) Mannheim Germany, on 28 Feb 1671 or (2) 18 May 1673 or (3) 28 Feb 1672 in Mannheim or (4) 28 Feb 1672 in France. The most often reported date is 28 Feb 1671 in Mannheim.

All records show that he married Magdalena Le Fevre or Magdalena Antoine Le Fevre and that he died about 9 June 1727.

It is possible that Joost Durie, b. 1635 in France could be the father of Joost Durie, born in 1650 in Mannheim, Germany. With the same name, some early information could be incorrectly reported for an individual, such as birth date and place.

Consistent information is that Joost Durie (Duryea, Duryee) emigrated about 1675 on the ship “Gilded Otter” from Mannheim, on the palatin of the Rhyn. He was a French Huguenot and was accompanied by his wife, Magdalena Le Fevre. He settled in New Utrecht, Long Island, and afterwards moved to Bushwick, Long Island. He had seven sons and two daughters. He died in Bushwick, Long Island about 9 June 1727.


Charles Duryee, fifth son of Joost, was born about 1688. He married, first, Cornelia, daughter of Johannes Schenck, and second, Mary Robertson. He died in 1753 leaving his homestead in Bushwick, Long Island to his son Jacob.


Jacob Duryee, fifth son of Charles, was born 5 May 1730. On 24 Dec 1752, he married Cornelia Schenck, daughter of Peter Schenck. He lived in Bushwick, Long Island and died 19 Sept 1796.


Abraham Duryee, fourth son of Jacob, was born in Bushwick, Long Island, 14 Jan 1762. On 7 Feb 1790, he married Temperance, daughter of Corrporal Joseph Woodward, who served in Captain Isaac Sergeant’s Company, Major Ebenezer Backas Regiment Light Horse, Conn., he served in New York, September – November, 1776, was taken prisoner of war and died on the prison ship “Jersey” in New York harbor.


Jacob Duryee, son of Abraham, was born in Bushwick, Long Island, 14 Mar ____ (year left out). He married, first, Eliza Dean, and second, Hannah O’Dell. He was a veteran of the war of 1812, and an Elder and Trustee of Market Street Reformed Dutch Church for many years. He died 7 Mar 1861.


Joseph Woodward Duryee, fifth son of Jacob, was born 9 May 1823. He married, first, Eliza Pell Beadel and second, Mary Dean Wells. For many years he was a prominent merchant of New York City (See last week’s post about Alfred Beck Guion for more information on his business). He died 25 Jan 1896.


Ella Duryee, second daughter of Joseph Woodward Duryee and Eliza Pell Beadel, was born 2 July 1850. She married Alfred Beck Guion on 16 Sept 1882. They had two children, Alfred Duryee Guion and Elsie May Guion. Ella  died 5 Sept 1919.

Note of interest: Lizzie (Elizabeth) Duryee, fifth daughter of Joseph Woodward Duryee and Eliza Pell Beadel, was born 11 Oct 1863, and after the death of Arla (Peabody) Guion, spent many years living in Trumbull, taking care of the house and family. You may recognize the name Aunt Betty from some of Grandpa’s letters.

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1946, beginning with a special announcement.

Judy Guion