August 30, 2005

August 18, 2005

Howell The Good

In wondering about the origins of the Howell name, longtime Howell researcher Dorothy Carroll comments "The Welsh didn't have last names but all admired Good King Hywel. Most undoubtably why there are so many Howell's."

Hywel Dda (King Howell The Good) born circa 880, died 950 in Wales.

The illustration is from a manuscript containing
a Latin copy of the Laws of Hywel Dda. It portrays
the king sitting on his throne holding a sceptre.
(From the National Library of Wales)

From The Wikipedia encyclopedia:

Howell the Good

Howell the Good (c.880?

Posted by jhowell at 9:49 PM

August 13, 2005

August 3 Sackville Tribune-Post:

"Hickman family boasts rich history in Dorchester - Reunion draws family members from across North America"

The article consists of an in-depth interview with Marlene Hickman, by reporter Katie Tower - providing a nice recap of the family history. And it features a photo of the Howells with some of the Hickmans!

The entire article can be viewed here
An archived copy here in ".mht" format (not supported in all browsers).
A larger copy of the photo can be viewed here.

Posted by jhowell at 2:04 PM

August 11, 2005

The Hickman Family Reunion!

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell
(click above to see relationships)

As mentioned in the April 28th entry - the Hickman Family reunion (download invitation) was something we were looking forward to with great anticipation.

Marlene Tingley Hickman and Judy Hickman Morison make a great team and they put a huge effort into making this a great and memorable event for all. A huge thank-you is in order!

It was perfect.

The reunion was held in Dorchester, New Brunswick, Canada at the "Joseph Hickman House" - 2x-4x Great Grandparent of the Howell's living today. The current occupants of the now two-unit house are descendants of Joseph Hickman - brother and sister Judy and Bob Hickman, and their spouses Cole Morison and Marlene Tingley. The house, located just minutes from one of the very northernmost tips of the Bay of Fundy, has remained in the Hickman family continuously - many of the beautiful furnishings are the original pieces from the 1830's - no doubt some imported from England on Hickman-built sailing barques.

Judy Hickman Morison and her brother Bob Hickman welcome the crowd
Our researcher - Marlene Tingley Hickman and local author & historian Helen M. Petchey who wrote The Hickmans in Dorchester's Heyday!

There was so much 'new' (to me) family history information made available from Marlene's resarch that it will take months to digest it all. Not only researched, but photocopied and placed in binders to take home! Marlene gave the group a bus tour of the area showing the locations of the various historical points which ended at the Dorchester graveyard where many of the Hickmans are buried, including our own Alma.

After dinner Judy provided a PowerPoint slide show of old photographs of the various Hickman owned businesses and properties in and around Dorchester. Brief introductory comments were made by several present. Joe Hickman noted for us all that a hallmark theme of the Hickman family has always been it's hospitality - clearly in full-force on this occasion.

Some of the many items on display at the Hickman House

Charlie Hickman is another very active Hickman researcher with whom I correspond, and it was great to meet him and his family in person. He and his father are both avid sailors. Charlie and Marlene have gathered much on the ships that were built, owned and operated by the Hickmans.

Alma Minora Hickman Davison - is Dad's 2x Great Grandmother, and is our first link with the Hickmans as we go back generation by generation.

Alma Minora Hickman Davison (1855-1884)

Among the many family artifacts and photos on display were this large framed drawing (above), and the photo (below) of Alma Hickman - very exciting to us Howells as these are the first images of Alma we have seen!

Apparently because Alma died at the age of 29 when her daughter Nellie Davison was 4 years old there is very little information about her. The discovery of who Alma was, is a relatively new thing to the Howell family - in fact I noted that we had located her gravestone in an entry here Nov 18, 2003. A few months prior to that I didn't even know her name and had never heard it mentioned in the family. We have come a long way with the discovery of these images.

"Alma Hickman"
From a photo album in the Keillor Museum on loan for the reunion.
(image approx. 3" x 5" - click here for larger version)

Now we have a starting point to look through the Davison family photos in Nova Scotia, and see if we can find a match!

Trinity Anglican Church, Dorchester, NB (est. 1836)
July 31, 2005

A final highlight of the reunion for us was attending the special service at the Trinity Anglican Church in Dorchester. Only a few steps from the Joseph Hickman House, the Hickman families have attendend and suppoted this small church since the early 1800's. Marriages, funerals, baptisms - you could almost hear the echoes.

And a most fitting end to our visit - as we went back to the very place where our family association with the Hickmans began 125 years ago when Alma Hickman and E. D. Davison, Jr. were married.

(Update: August 13, 2005 - Just learned that the Sackville Tribune-Post ran a nice article on the reunion. Complete with photo! Click here to view the archived copy.)

Posted by jhowell at 12:25 PM

August 10, 2005

A visit with Catherine Leavitt

Davison -> Howell
(Click above for relationship tree)

Our final stop in Nova Scotia was a visit with cousin Catherine Davison Leavitt at her apartment in Halifax.

When we asked hear about Nellie, Cahterine said she remembers that she was "a very beautiful woman", and faintly remembered a dinner in Bridgewater (1920's?) that included Nellie Davison and her husband "The Baron" (perhaps Gruenburger?) who were visiting from Europe. The unusual thing about it was that The Baron would not sit down at the table for dinner, which was set for 13, until a 14th guest was located!

This is the first time Dad or I have heard anything about Nellie returning from Europe - even for a visit. Catherine also seems to think Nellie was married in Europe.

Seated: Catherine Doran Davison (Rooke) Leavitt

It was also interesting to hear Catherine pronounce Doran: 'Dooren'

Posted by jhowell at 12:05 AM

August 9, 2005

A visit with the Lathrop's at Red Top

Davison -> Howell; Davison-> Lathrop
(Click above to see the relationship)

View from 'Red Top' of the La Have River near Bridgewater, NS This schooner belonged to Budd Davison, and this photo was the centerpiece of Budd and Marj's Christmas card (taken perhaps in 1950's. - photo from Stuart Davison's collection)

'Red Top' is a long-time summer gathering place for many in the Davison clan and their families in Canada. One hundred years ago, Red Top was a cook-house for one of the lumber mills belonging to E.D. Davison & Sons.

We (Dad, Claire, Susan and I), were invited to a wonderful lunch here, and an impromptu family gathering hosted by the current owners - cousin Ned Lathrop and his wife Diane. Also present were Ned's brother & sister, John Howland Lathrop and Margot Lathrop Brebner who also have homes nearby. We were especially honored that D. Whiting Lathrop (age 91), and father/grandfather/great grandfather of the clan present, was there. Whiting's wife, our cousin Margaret Helen Davison, was to arrive in a few days, but Dad and I did get to spend a few minutes with her on the telephone - more on that in a minute.. Also present: Ned and Diane

Posted by jhowell at 1:03 PM

A visit with Stuart Davison in Nova Scotia

Stuart Davison (relationship chart) won't admit it, but he re-arranged his sailing vacation to meet us and show us the locations of the old E. D. Davison & Sons lumber mills, and the old family homes in and around Bridgewater. Stuart was a great guide, and it was nice to finally meet him in person as we have been corresponding since June 2004 via email.

L to R: J. Spencer Howell, Stuart F. Davison, John S. Howell, Jr.
near Pentz on the La Have River, Nova Scotia. (obviously Stuart gets his hair from some other genetic pool...)

Stuart presented us with an original copy of the "E.D. Davison & Sons Lumber Co." photo - very much appreciated and suitable for framing! I also made a copy of the multi-page, handwritten Davison family tree that Stuart had in his files - researched by his uncle (and our cousin)Charles Donald Davison. I've been updating my files with this information, and noting some (mostly minor) confilicts to be investigated.

Another item of interest from Stuart's files is an orginal copy of the form letter sent by E. D. Davison & Son's to their customers dated June 23, 1903 that announces the sale of the company to J. M. Hastings. (click here to see original). The letter begins:

"Dear Sirs:- Ever since the death of our senior member, Mr. E. D. Davison, which followed the loss of our former partners and made such a blank in our management, we find it impossible to conduct the business on the same scale as we have been doing the last 10 years. The undertaking of introducing new men was a larger task than the remaining partners feel like attempting, and we were rather prepared to entertain several offers made us for the purchase of the property. We therefore opened negotiations with Mr. J.M. Hastings, of Pittsburgh, whose very high character in lumbering and financial circles of the United States encouraged us to think he would conduct business of the firm in much the same style of honorable dealings which it has always been the policy of our seniors to maintain."


But one of the nicest things in Stuart's collection of family stuff was the compendium of family stories that that his sister Catherine gave to him for his 50th. One hundred stories - two for each year! We read several of the stories aloud to each other...

In one of the stories Catherine recalls an outing in uncle Ned Davison's (1899 - 1959) convertible when the they were kids. Somehow, Stuart and Catherine managed to grab Ned's hat off his head - (he always wore one apparently), but then the hat accidentally blew away! Ned's reaction was a brief flush of anger - promptly followed by much laughter - contagious to all.

When Dad and the rest of the Howell's who knew him, speak of Ned they always remember his great personality and generosity - just as Catherine and Stuart do - interesting that even today Ned helps us find common ground with long lost sides of the family.

I really can't think of a better gift than this.

Posted by jhowell at 9:54 AM

August 6, 2005

The Sacrifice of the Shannon by W. Albert Hickman

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell
Click above to see our family relationship

The Sacrifice of the Shannon
By W. Albert Hickman
2nd Edition, 1903
Frederick A. Stokes Company
New York, Publishers

On our latest tour of the Maritimes of Canada, my reading list included William Albert Hickman's The Sacrifice of the Shannon published 1903. The Hickman Family reunion in Dorchester, New Brunswick was drawing near, and I wanted to read the book to get a feel for the man, and the the places we were to see. My curiosity further piqued since William Albert Hickman and Nellie Davison were first cousins - two years apart in age - so they most surely knew each other.

Rarely am I so positively surprised! The book is a little gem and I recommend it to you without reservation.

This review by Cecily Devereux sums it up beautifully:

"W. Albert Hickman
"Another reason I want to tell you the story is that the girl is a wonder, a living wonder, and I know you'll be interested in her, though some women have expressed their interest in queer ways which were not always intended to be complementary. If you analyzed them you usually found that they were complementary if they were anything, no matter what they were intended to be. I've called the girl a wonder, because though if you take the average girl as your criterion she is far away from it, still, from a cool, unbiased, critical point of view, she is normal, - thoroughly normal. Kindly remember that "normal" is not "average." She's got a circulation that swings a crimson flush in under her sun-tanned cheeks. She walks like a tiger, and looks at a thing or a person, not for the effect of her eyes, but to see. Incidentally she gets the effect a thousand times better than if she tried for it."

And from p. 120

"The girl was ready when we arrived. She was dressed in a gray blanket snow-shoe suit faced with crimson, and her sweet, clear-cut features and sunbrowned brilliant colouring made her as lovely a picture as any man may see in this life. I have often sat in the old St. James, and in later years in the Carlton and the Savoy, and looked around at the crowd, especially the women. Heavens! what an exhibition it is for a man that loves sincerity and simplicity. If you had stripped the majority of those women - some who have been known as beauties for many seasons - of their dress, their jewels and their powder and paint, ripped their nets off, loosened their hair up a bit, dressed them as this girl was dressed, and compared them with her, how many would have stood the comparison. It makes me laugh now to think of the row of beauties as they'd show up in those blanket suits. And this girl was not only more beautiful than they, but she could talk better, perhaps sing better, and certainly do everything else in the wide world much better. She could beat the majority of them - perhaps all - at tennis, and some other things; if she had them in a boat race with her she'd frighten them into hysterics - most of them; her greatest pleasure was giving, theirs receiving; they were always blas
Posted by jhowell at 10:23 AM