Army Life – Dan’s Trip Abroad (1) – The Atlantic and England (July, 1943) – May 13, 1945


This is a copy of a carbon copy of a letter typed on airmail (onionskin) paper and extremely difficult to read. Context helped with most things except the spelling of the various towns and villages he visited.


Dan in uniform @ 1945

Daniel Beck Guion


DBG - Letter about Atlantic trip (July, 1943) - 5.1945

Manstricht, Holland, Sun., 13 May, 1945


Enfin, ___, sopino! (?)

The censor has deigned to whisk aside certain drapes which have been canceling our actions, although VE day is only a step in the right direction. I propose then, to start this letter with a “flash back” to the last days in America, nearly 2 years ago —

Toward the end of July we left Indiantown Gap for the “staging area” at Camp Shanks, N.Y. here we stayed a few days getting our clothing and equipment into shape and taking care of all our financial, physical and moral problems. We learned how to descend from a ship by the use of rope ladders. We went on hikes and we did calisthenics. On the eve of our departure we were given passes to go into New York City. I had sprained my ankle that morning going through an “assault” course, but I hobbled my way through a rather bibulous and quite hilarioous evening in the vicinity of Times Square. So long, America!

We set off one evening from Camp Shanks, laden with _____ (anti-gas) clothing and carbines and gas masks and cartridge belts and barracks bags and helmets and a thousand other items that an imaginative Army had thought up for us. We boarded a train that took us to a ferry terminal, possibly on the Jersey side. We loaded ourselves on the ferry and set forth for the docks. We passed the Normandie, lying on its side like a sick white elephant. It was dark on the Hudson but a glow of lights from the two shores reminded us that New York could carry on after we left and would be waiting for us when we came back. We arrived at the docks and stood in long queues while Red Cross girls passed out lemonade, donuts and cigarettes. We could see a huge ship at dock but we didn’t know if it was destined to be ours. About nine P.M. we went aboard. It was the “Aquitania”. We were crowded into every available place. In my room some of the men were without bunks and slept on the floor. In the evenings the heat was intolerable because the portholes remained closed for security reasons until lights out. We were not allowed on deck that first night. It was early in August and very hot. We left next A.M. and we were allowed on deck. It was the first time I had seen a ship cross the ocean which was not bid adieu by bands, crowds and confetti,diluted by 50% alcohol.

Our escort for the first day was a Navy blimp and several planes. Our recreation consisted of stepping over, around and through the masses of G.I. flesh and equipment that crowded the decks, for a breath of fresh air. Our plane escort left us after the second day. We were on our own. The big ships (Queen Mary, etc.) never traveled in convoy because they could out run the U-boats. Our only danger was being interrupted from our bow by a lucky torpedo or a floating mine. Later, as we neared England there was the Luftwaffe with which to reckon, but the sky over the Atlantic, even back in August, 1943, was allied domain, and the only excitement we had was a practice run that broke out suddenly on deck one afternoon — cannon and machine guns shooting and stuttering defiance at an empty sky.

As we approached Ireland we saw a plane dropping depth bombs, but we were several miles from the scene and never knew what it was all about. We reached the Clyde on (I think) Aug. 13 (right here the “13” was crossed out and 11th substituted “by courtesy of the censor”) we disembarked on Scottish soil in the little town of Coureek (?) (This could very possibly be Gourock, Scotland. http://“US 5th Division Infantry arrives at the harbor in Gourock, Scotland”I have to thank reader Valeris for this additional information which makes sense to me.) That night we traveled the length of England — the Midlands were reached about dawn — Manchester, I think, where we had tea and sandwiches served to us in the station. People seemed glad to see us despite the fact that thousands of G.I.’s must have passed through already. In Scotland on the previous evening, everyone had waved to us from the streets and windows as we rumbled by in our troop train (Continental coaches, not boxcars). Here in England the welcome was less spontaneous, but we were excited by our first night of barrage balloons. We left the train at Richmond Station, west of London. We hiked to our billets at Kew, where we stayed up to the time we left for France.

For the rest of the week, I will continue with pieces of this letter covering Dan’s original trip overseas.

Judy Guion


Trumbull – Dear Lad (2) – Things Do Not Look So Hopeful – May 24, 1939

This is the second page of a letter posted yesterday that Grandpa wrote to Lad.

The Trumbull House

Page 2 of R-24

Sunday, P. M.

Well, I have received a letter from Dan, but alas it was written April 30, mailed from Maracaibo May 11th and reached me on May 23rd. He, of course, had not then received my letter written early in May telling him what Ted’s advice to him was about seeing the lawyer in Caracas.  So Lad, be sure he sees all your copies of letters because I have not written him or at least have not sent him the letters I have written you both, for the last two weeks.

Things, according to Ted, do not look so hopeful. Max (Yervant Maxudian, owner and President of Inter-America, Inc., the company Uncle Ted and Lad worked for and the present employer of Dan)  is back in Caracas, Rudolph is in New York, why is not known, but on Ted’s advice I have written a letter to the Connecticut Congressman whom I know and asked him to see that it reached the proper man in the State Dept. A copy is enclosed so that you will know what is going on.

As for town news, the darn old Taxpayers Association have presented another petition asking for another town meeting.  More fuss and bother.  I have passed it on to the lawyers to ask if I should legally call a meeting.  If they say “no” and I refuse to do so, I will be accused of trying to hide some wrongdoing.

We also may have to move the office.  We have gotten behind in the rent and have been told we will either have to pay up or else.  By the time you see me again all my gray hair will be white.

Ced and Dick have just been invited by the Hughes’ to go down with them tomorrow afternoon to visit the Fair  I have heard various reports of it.  Some say it is only half finished, others say it is beautiful at night.  Others that they soak you an unmercifully high price for food.  Dorothy (Peabody) says the theaters in New York are practically on the rocks.  Instead of having a busy season as they expected, apparently all the N.Y. people who have money to spend on amusements are going to the Fair instead of the Theater.

Today was a real warm sunshiny day.  We badly need rain, as now the grass is beginning to dry up.  The lilacs are almost gone and the iris are now coming out.

Lad, I listened to a talk on the radio tonight (Ford Hour) which was rather good.  I have written to the Ford Co. asking if they will send a copy of the talk to you.  I have also sent a couple of magazines which I hope will reach you safely.

Yesterday I took Dave down to the new Warner (old Cameo) to see Union Pacific, which is the best picture of that type I have seen recently.

Well, here’s the end of the paper and it’s getting late, what with the time spent on the enclosed letter to my Congressman, so goodbye and good luck, from your old DAD

Tomorrow I will post the long letter to Mr. Austin, the Connecticut Congressman that Grandpa knows, asking him to pass it on to the State Department.  In it Grandpa tells the history of Lad and Dan’s association with Inter-America, Inc. and Yervant Maxudian. 

Judy Guion

Peabodys and Duryees – Aunt Helen (Peabody) Human Writes to Lad – March 16, 1939

Aunt Helen (Peabody) Human

March 16, 1939

Dear Lad-

To-day your father got a letter from you which he showed to me.  When I returned to Trumbull from New York, I learned that he had not been kept informed during that period, which was definitely a mistake — I had requested that those letters from you and Mr. Rudolph  be opened here by Gr. P (Grandma Peabody) and for Cedric to telephone highlights of letters to me in N.Y. She did not realize that your father should have been given information.  I guess she didn’t know he hadn’t heard from you.  Anyway it is all straightened out now — only I am sorry that it went as it did, when you specifically, in one letter, asked that he be told you wouldn’t be writing for a while.

Your last letter, which arrived last Saturday, came shortly after I had mailed one to you.  Thanking you again so much for your reports on T.H. Jr. I am so glad he is getting along well.  I’ve had two notes from him to date, so I feel lots better.  I imagine it will be some time before he will be really strong.

I said nothing until a recent letter to him, about the fact that I was staying in New York — I had no idea how long I would be there, but I wanted to stay until he was really well on the road to recovery and to be close to telephone communications in New York.  I can tell you that I was completely bewildered and lost for a while, which can’t compare with what he has gone through and must have suffered.  Also, I can tell you that things are very much brighter than they were four weeks ago.  Perhaps from the money angle things are much brighter than they were four months ago!  Have you got your 12 Bs. (12 Bolivars) back yet? I hope you are still able to buy cigarettes.  It’s bad enough not to have enough food, but cigarettes !! One can’t live without them.

we’ll try to get some more of the enclosed for you — maybe for the next letter that goes.

I am glad you had a chance to see Daniel, even if it was only for a little while — he is so isolated that I think at times it bothers him quite a bit, but his family gets very amusing and interesting letters in spite of that.

The best of luck to you and success — I hope you like Venezuela — do you really, or don’t you?

As always,

Helen Human

Tomorrow and Sunday I will continue the World War II Army Adventure as Dave  is nearing transfer from Basic Training at Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, to some unknown location.

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Ex-Trumbullites (And Marian) (2) News About Family and Friends- February 20, 1944

page 2          2/20/1944

Nary a word has been received this week from Dave outside of a letter received last Monday, written the Saturday previously and expressing doubt as to his future movements. I assume he has been sent to some other camp for basic training and has been so busy he hasn’t had time to write. I hope tomorrow’s mail will bring some definite word.

Richard (Dick) Guion

Richard Peabody (Dick) Guion

Dick has delighted us with a whimsical letter giving us a sort of a psychoanalysis of his Brazilian horse, as well as a glimpse into the family life of one native family with a daughter of marriageable age. I wish space permitted my quoting it in full, as the whole thing is quite delightful and shows considerable writing skill. In fact, as in Dan’s case, it seems too bad that those possessing such ability do not practice more on the home folks. It makes me quite envious and somewhat ashamed of some of my own efforts. To you, Dave, Dick says he’s glad you like the Army. He thinks the Air Corps is one of the best branches to get into. He hopes you make the grade and will be able to go to school for 15 months as he feels sure that by that time the war will be over. Amen to that.


Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

 Marian Irwin Guion (Mrs. Lad)

I am going to award a home decoration to Marian for faithfulness in writing. Another letter this week, in which Lad also adds a pleasant promise of future epistles to, tells about their being temporarily established in a “fairly nice auto court, with room and a bath”, with the prospect of later obtaining furnished rooms in a new federal housing project. Lad keeps pretty busy with his intensive training job but is able to get home most nights. Marian will try to find some job to keep her busy during the day. For your information, all of you — their present mailing address is Box 154, Hooks, Texas. Be nice, and drop them a line. Marian, as a little reward for your devotion I am sending a sort of Valentine myself which I hope may prove useful in your little apartment. You don’t think your husband will mind other fellows sending you a Valentine, do you?

Dan must be pretty busy also because I haven’t heard from him now for about a month. I am wondering if the recent London air raids came anyway near where he is staying.

A letter this week from Dorothy )Peabody), written from the New Rochelle hospital, says she expects to have an operation on the 18th and hopes to be back in New York in a couple of weeks. She has been out on a 10 day visit to Larry’s place(Larry Peabody and his wife, Marian)  in Ohio and says it is even lovelier than she had anticipated.

Paul has received word from Remington that due to the fact that supplies of ammunition are so far ahead of needs that he and several thousands of others are to be laid off March first. He plans to enlist in the Navy, if possible, if not in the Army, leaving Kit and the children to occupy the apartment. Ethel just received a letter from Carl in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is one place his trip has taken him.

Aunt Betty is slowly getting used to her Acousticon and thinks she will like it better as time goes on.

It is now 8:30 and I hear outside a chorus of “Young Peoples” who still continue to pay us Sunday night visits. Bob Jennings just came in and says Eleanor (Kintop, Dave’s future wife) heard from Dave. He has left Devens but he does not know where his new camp is located.


Tomorrow and Sunday, more of the St. Petersburg Adventure for Biss.

Judy Guion


Special Photo # 339 – Grandpa’s Pictures of Dell Avenue House – circa 1901

These two pictures are among about seventy-five negatives I found in the pages of his Mother’s (Ella D(uryee Guion)  Prayer Book. I believe they are pictures taken by Grandpa as a young teen with a camera much like the Brownie Camera which was my first camera.It is visible in the last picture, his “selfie” taken in the mid-1990’s.


Front view of the Dell Avenue house


Dell Avenue House in 2013 – front porch has been enclosed)


Side view of the Dell Avenue House


Front and side view of the Dell Avenue house in 2013


Alfred Duryee Guion self portrait – circa 1995

Starting tomorrow I will post a week of random memories that are not in chronological order and need to be moved to a more appropriate place in this collection of Childhood Memories .

Judy Guion


The Beginning (22) – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Childhood Memories of Larchmont Gardens

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.

Lad and Dan

A.D. – We had chosen our lot in Larchmont primarily to be “out in the country”, but the place was growing rapidly and became a thickly settled community.  It was getting difficult to find sleeping accommodations for frequent guests, five children and their parents.  Then, too, the boys were active little tykes, and like children the world over, frequently got into trouble, like rooting up vegetables in the neighbor’s garden, running around his house carrying a raw carrot leaving a yellow streak on his new paint.  If my neighbor had boiled over and said some harsh things I would have felt better, but he took it to good-naturedly so that I felt doubly worse.  We had, from time to time, offers from those interested in buying the house for considerably more than it had cost us, and all these were contributory causes for looking for a larger place further out in the country.

LAD – I think he had a garden in the backyard with green beans growing.  Dan and I each took 2 or 3 green beans and walked around and around his house, with the beans rubbing on the house, wearing them down until they got short.  Then we would throw them away and get some more beans.  So Roger (Bachelder) was kind of upset about that.

When we moved in, there were two houses on Lansdowne Drive, ours and another one at the top of the hill.  When we left in 1922, there were probably eight or ten houses.

I don’t know why but my father started calling me Lad and gradually it got to be my nickname.

A.D. – Before anything definite materialized along these lines, however, an epidemic of chickenpox turned the Guion ménage into an amateur hospital, and to make it even harder for head nurse Arla, Dad also got the bug. While it seems a laughing matter to relate, don’t let anyone tell you it is any fun for an adult to have chickenpox.


LAD – When I started school in Larchmont, either kindergarten or first grade, I went to school in a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter.  I just remember being awfully cold.  In the warmer months, mother drove me to school.  Dan may have started school there; he was only a year and half behind me.

Once in a while, we had to walk home from school.  I went across the street from the school and there was a fire hydrant on the corner.  Just for the fun of it, I jumped over the hydrant.  Well, for some reason or other, there was a short in the power somewhere and I got an awful shock.  I’ve never forgotten it and I’m always cautious when I come to a hydrant.


CED – I don’t remember much about the Larchmont house on Lansdowne Drive.  I do remember the milk was delivered by milkman with a horse and buggy. Lansdowne Drive was on a hill and at the bottom was a creek.  One day the horse and wagon went down the hill faster than usual – they went bouncing down the hill.  I don’t remember if the horse went in the brook or not.  I was pretty young at the time, about four, maybe.

BISS (Elizabeth)

BISS – The only memory I have of Larchmont is a vague picture of the living room.  It had a fireplace and it seems to me a piano or something, but I’m not sure.  My impression is of hardwood floors but I can’t remember what the furniture looked like.  I was four when we left there.

Tomorrow I’ll continue this with the story of how the Guion family ended up in Trumbull, Connecticut.

I will finish out the week with more stories of their early years in Trumbull.

Judy Guion

The Beginning – Reminiscences of Alfred D Guion (1884 – 1964) – Larchmont Gardens

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

At this point I will begin adding the memories of the children as they were growing up.


Alfred Duryee with Daniel in his lap, Arla (Peabody) with Lad in her lap

A.D. – After I had been with the Celluloid Company for about 5 years, my boss was a offered and accepted a job with a large die manufacturer recently grown to huge proportions because the dies, which up to the opening of hostilities, had been a German monopoly.  Mr. Abbott, shortly afterwards, offered me the job of Assistant Advertising Manager of the National Aneline & Chemical Company, which I accepted.  My senior, the Advertising Manager, was a sneering, sarcastic individual who evidently resented my being assigned as his assistant, which did not make for very harmonious relations between us and created the sort of atmosphere in which I found it difficult to do my best creative work.  However, the salary was generous and my growing family made it unwise for me to take too independent and attitude.

The house on Landsowne Dr. in Larchmont Gardens, Larchmont, New York

It seemed about time also for my increasing brood to have a home of their own.  We finally decided on a lot in Larchmont Gardens, and with the money I had saved, I bought 1 of the firstt “Redi-cut” homes on the market and with the help of my father-in-law, who was Construction Superintendent on the N. Y.  Central, aided by one of his workmen on his free days, the house was erected.  The garage to hold the Franklin car, I built myself with the aid of friends and neighbors on weekends and holidays, in sort of an old-time building bee fashion.  My two nearest neighbors, the Burnhams and Batchelders, became lifelong friends.  My brother-in-law, Fred Stanley, on one of these weekend parties, brought along a fellow artist, Rusty Heurlin, who at once won all hearts by his personality and was responsible for many happy times.  He is one of Alaska’s leading artists of Arctic life.  The children all loved him and he was always a welcome guest and cherished friend.

Lad – When I was five, Dad and Mom were building a house in Larchmont.  They had a contractor build it and it was on Lansdowne Drive in Larchmont Gardens.  I accompanied them, well, maybe three or four times, when they went out to look at it.  Mom told the carpenters what she wanted changed.  She was quite conscious about what she wanted.

It took four days for the workers to build our garage.  The neighbors put theirs up in one day.  Later, a strong wind came up and blew down the neighbor’s garage but ours stood strong.  Roger Batchelder was that kind of a guy.

Rusty Heurlin was introduced into the family by Fred Stanley, (Aunt) Anne’s husband.  They were both artists, so it was through Fred Stanley, who married Anne Peabody, that he became acquainted with the Peabody clan.  Later, he met Dad.  We were kids, still living in Larchmont, so I was under five and the other kids were younger.

Cedric Duryee Guion

A.D. – With the exception of Dave, our youngest, who was born in Bridgeport Hospital, all our children spent their early years in Larchmont.  Dan was a mischievous little imp.  I recall one time when baby Cedric was taking his afternoon nap on the screened porch; Dan procured a bottle of shellacking and proceeded to paint Ced’s face with it.  You can imagine his Aunt Dorothy’s shocking surprise when she glanced in and saw our baby son suddenly changed into a Negro.  On another occasion, I walked into the kitchen and found Dan seated on the floor by the refrigerator busily breaking eggs on the linoleum.  Lad, early, showed an interest in mechanical things and was always quite a help in fixing things around the house.

On one summer’s day Arla and I motored to Mount Vernon to visit Mother Guion, leaving the children in care of their Aunt Anne. Ced, who was playing on the window seat in his upstairs nursery, somehow loosened the window screen and both he and it fell to the ground below, Ced landing on his head in the flower bed. Anne at once phoned us and I recall breaking all speed laws and safety regulations speeding back to Larchmont.  Apparently no harm resulted and in a short time the youngster was playing as usual.

Tomorrow I will continue the story of the Guion children in Larchmont Gardens.

Judy Guion

The Beginning (20) – Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip. 

Only one incident during this time caused me alarm.  With the arrival of children I felt it wise to take additional life insurance but was turned down by the examining doctor because of a “heart murmur”.  I applied at it different company and was given a rated-up policy.  The incident caused me considerable concern under the circumstances and I went to our old family doctor to learn how serious the condition was.  He checked and told me he found nothing to worry about, and then said something that I have repeated to others several times since, to the effect that it is a good thing when a young person learns that his physical condition necessitates his being careful in following the ancient Greek motto of “moderation in all things” because he is apt to live longer than the person who boasts: “I’m perfectly healthy, never had a sick day in my life. I can do anything.”  For that is the person whose excesses frequently lead him to overdo with disastrous results.  A few years later I applied again for life insurance and because of my previous rejection was given an extra careful examination.  This time things were entirely normal.  Even the company who had given me the rated-up policy found no trace of a heart murmur and canceled the overcharge in premium.

Things had been going so well financially with the Century Company, so seeing the handwriting on the wall, I looked around for another business connection, and because of my combined advertising experience and college training, I secured a better paying job in sales promotion work with the Celluloid Company under a fine man as my boss.  I was with this concern for about 5 years.  One event stands out in my memory connected with this time.

Draft Registration card for Alfred Duryee Guion

The First World War was being fought to “make the world safe for democracy” in the words of President Woodrow Wilson.  Employees of the Celluloid Company had been issued nightsticks and been trained in their use if emergencies arose.  The size of my family had increased and the number of babies I had to support gave me a low rating on the draft call list.  The war finally drew to a close and then one day that those who do not live through it can never appreciate; there occurred what came to be known as the “false armistice”.  Word came from overseas that the war was over.  The whole country went unrestrainedly and completely mad.  Men, women and children of all ages and degrees, completely forgot themselves in the fervor of the moment.  With bells of all churches wildly ringing, auto horns blowing, sirens on fire trucks screeching, steam ships in the harbor sounding off and people wildly shouting in the streets, everyone for the moment went berserk.  I went down the company elevator to the street and as soon as I stepped outside the door some man I had never seen before or since grabbed my hand and shook it heartily.  Over in Washington Square, a few steps away, was a statue of Garibaldi.  In front of it a shabbily dressed Italian man with his arms raised in the air and tears streaming down his cheeks, was making an impassioned speech to Garibaldi in Italian.  No one was paying the slightest bit of attention to him – just he and Garibaldi having a heart-to-heart talk.

Tomorrow, another excerpt from a letter writen by John Jackson Lewis about his Voyage to California.

On Sunday, I’ll continue the story of My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion, my Dad.

On Monday I’ll begin week of letters written in 1943.

Judy Guion


The Beginning (18) – Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion – 1884 – 1964

The following memories are quotes from “Reminiscences of Alfred D.  Guion, written in 1960 while he was on a four-months “around the world” freighter trip.


             Alfred Duryee Guion

             Arla Mary Peabody

With the three years college ordeal behind me and the girl of my choice looking upon me with favor, the future looked promising.  Two main objectives were to be achieved.  I now had a promising job with a respectable company – St. Nicholas Magazine – and a definite incentive for making good.  My job was to solicit advertising for this leading, high-grade children’s magazine.  It seemed natural that children in better high-class homes and pedigree pets belonged together, so I proposed starting a “Pet Department” in the magazine.  The idea was approved and I was made “Manager”.

Of course nothing but the best in a diamond engagement ring was good enough for my girl, so on June 1st, seated side-by-side alone on the lower deck of an excursion boat then running to and from New York City, I slipped the ring on her finger.  It apparently came as no surprise and was evidently quite acceptable.  For many years, when circumstances permitted, we celebrated June 1st by taking a boat ride of some sort.


     Certificate of Marriage – Alfred Duryee Guion – Arla Mary Peabody

On March 27, 1913, we were married at quite a large wedding at the Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon, where we had many friends. Two ministers tied the knot – one newly called to the church and a famous author of boys books named Cyrus Townsend Brady, and the other, its former Rector who had been superseded by Doctor Brady and under whose guidance we had grown up in the church, named Rev.  Robert P.  Kreitler.

We chose Bermuda for our honeymoon and there we spent a delightful two weeks, marred only by an accident Arla had on a bicycle caused by the fact that she was not familiar with the operation of the coaster brake with which the rental machine was equipped, so she did not know how to slow speed at the end of a long downhill grade and chose crashing into a stone wall by the roadside in preference to smashing into a horse-drawn vehicle which was blocking the road.  Outside of skinned hands when she was thrown over the handlebars onto the rough stone and a few bruises, no damage resulted, but the bike was pretty badly smashed.

   Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion holding Alfred Peabody Guion (my father)

Back home again, we spent the first few days fixing up an apartment I had rented in the Bronx for my bride.  With my savings we bought some substantial dining and living room “Craftsman” furniture, some of which is still in use some 47 years later, and there we lived for about a year, little Lad having arrived in the meantime to add to our happiness.

Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion holding Daniel Beck Guion – circa 1917

          Both Arla and my mother were very fond of each other, and both being easy to live with, we decided it was better for the new baby to get out of the big city so we moved back with my mother on Dell Avenue.  Little Daniel soon joined the clan and for several years things ran along uneventfully.

I will finish out the week with two more segments of The Reminiscences of Alfred Duryee Guion.

Judy Guion

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