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.