Tag Archives: Mary (Curcio) Laurence

The Laurence Family’s Wells St. Home In Gloversville, N.Y.

Sepia Saturday 600. Twenty-second in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

By the time the 1920 federal census[1]FamilySearch requires free login to view 1920 census records. was taken, my great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo had moved with their sons Tony and Joe into a newly-built home of their own at 12 Wells St. in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.

They may have moved there as early as 1917, since Peter gave a Wells St. address when he registered, at 45, for the WWI draft.[2]FamilySearch requires free login to view WWI draft records.

Circa 1923: The Laurence/di Lorenzo family on the front steps of 12 Wells Street, Gloversville, N.Y. From left, Joseph B. Laurence, Mary (Curcio) Laurence, Antonio W. “Tony” Laurence and Peter Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo). Scan by Molly Charboneau

The large Laurence house was right around the corner from the home of Mary’s parents, Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio, at 128 E. Fulton Street.

A home of their own

How proud Peter and Mary must have been to finally have a home of their own where their teenage sons could grow into adulthood. The Wells St. house even had a barn out back for Peter’s horse and vehicles — and was within walking distance of the junk dealership he took over from Mary’s father.

The wide steps where they posed, above, led to an open side porch to the right. Later owners narrowed the front steps and enclosed the side porch — as shown in the 1992 photo of the house below.

1992: Former home of the Laurence/di Lorenzo familiy in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. The house originally had wide front steps and an open side porch. Later owners narrowed the front steps and enclosed the porch. Photo by Molly Charboneau

My mom’s Wells St. connection

In 1992, my mom — Peg (Laurence) Charboneau — and I took a family history grand tour of her Gloversville, N.Y., hometown. One of our stops was the former Laurence home at 12 Wells St.

After taking the above photo, I noticed Mom looking wistfully up at the house. That’s when she made an unexpected revelation.

“I was born in that house,” she said. Wow, this was news to me. My siblings and I are from the Baby Boom generation — and we were all born in hospitals.

My grandfather Tony holding my mom Peggy, born 4 May 1926. This photo appears to have been taken outside 12 Well St. — possibly by my grandmother Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence, a photo buff who is not pictured. Penciled on the back is “May 1926, Tony & Peggy.” Scan by Molly Charboneau

So, I was astonished to learn my mom had been born at home — and in her grandparents’ house at that. Yet after researching my Italian ancestors, I am no longer surprised at mom’s home birth.

Welcoming extended family

In true Italian fashion, my Laurence ancestors quickly opened their home to extended family — starting with their oldest son.

After my grandfather Tony and my grandmother Elizabeth Stoutner got married in 1924, they set up house with the Laurences at 12 Well St. and lived there for several years, through the 1926 birth of my mother Peggy — their first child and the Laurences’ first grandchild.

Nov. 1926: A studio portrait of my mom Peggy at 6 months. My maternal grandmother Elizabeth , who was a fashionable dresser, seems to have gone all out on my mom’s cute winter outfit. Scan by Molly Charboneau

By 1930, the federal census shows[3]FamilySearch requires free login to view 1930 census records that my grandparents Tony (by then a garage proprietor) and Elizabeth — along with my mom and her younger sister Rita — had moved across the street to 9 Wells St.

The same year, my great-grandmother Mary’s younger sister Millie, her husband Frank Somella (a junk dealer) and their children Anthony and Marie were living with the Laurences at 12 Wells St.[4]ibid.

And so it went. House sharing, job sharing, mutual support — that was a way of life for my maternal Italian ancestors as they helped one another make progress for themselves and their children.

And much of it was wrapped up in the Laurence house at 12 Wells St.

Up next, Season’s Greetings and a holiday break for Molly’s Canopy. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.


References

References
1 FamilySearch requires free login to view 1920 census records.
2 FamilySearch requires free login to view WWI draft records.
3 FamilySearch requires free login to view 1930 census records
4 ibid.

Circa 1915: Tony and Joe, the Laurence Teens

Sepia Saturday 597. Nineteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

At one time, the teen years weren’t recognized in U.S. popular culture as a special time of life. That changed after WWII, according to Derek Thompson in his Saturday Evening Post article titled “A Brief History of Teenagers.”

“The teenager emerged in the middle of the 20th century thanks to the confluence of three trends in education, economics, and technology. High schools gave young people a place to build a separate culture outside the watchful eye of family. Rapid growth gave them income, either earned or taken from their parents. Cars (and, later, another mobile technology) gave them independence.

This sociological development occurred after my maternal grandfather Tony Laurence (b. 1902) and his brother Joe (b. 1903) were adults. Yet their adolescent photos shown below, from circa 1915, seem to reveal the type of teenage changes we recognize today.

Circa 1915: My maternal grandfather Antonio W. “Tony” Laurence at about age 13. He posed for this photo at Forbes Studio in Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

More mature expressions

In his baby and toddler photos, my grandfather Tony looked playful and sported an infectious grin. In this teen picture, however, he looks more serious and worldly in a stiff-collared shirt, suit jacket and tie.

The same is true of his younger brother, my mom’s Uncle Joe. Although he was a “tween” in 1915 — about the time these photos were taken — he also looks more staid and serious than in his youth. Every hair is in place and he also wears a suit, shirt and tie.

Circa 1915: My maternal grandfather ‘s younger brother Joseph Bernard Laurence at about age 12. He posed for this photo at Forbes Studio in Gloversville, N.Y. Scan by Molly Charboneau

The Forbes Studio

Tony and Joe posed for their photos at Forbes Studio of Gloversville, N.Y. — a different studio than the one their parents took them to as children. So I went online see what I could find about this photographer, and discovered an interesting ad.

Gloversville Morning Herald, Oct. 12, 1915. Source: fultonhistory.com

Forbes Studio apparently joined other Gloversville businesses in the raffle of a “Pony outfit” — which I am guessing may have been a Halloween costume, since the ad appeared in October 1915.

Forbes Studio placed other ads in the Gloversville newspapers over several decades encouraging parents to bring their children in for portraits at the start of each new school year.

Headed for adulthood

Whatever the impetus, I am glad my great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence/di Lorenzo took my grandfather and Uncle Joe to have these photos taken at a transitional point in their young lives.

In 1915, my Laurence/di Lorenzo ancestors were still living at 128 E. Fulton Street — in the crowded Curcio household of Mary’s parents (and my great-great grandparents) Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro ) Curcio. My grandfather Tony and his brother Joe were both still in school.

Yet how handsome and mature they looked as they headed toward adulthood. And how grateful I am for these portraits — the only adolescent images of Tony and Joe that I have found in the family photo collection.

Up next, my grandfather Tony in a mystery photo. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

1905-06: The Other Laurence Brothers (The Two Peters)

Sepia Saturday 596. Eighteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Most family history discoveries are happy ones — finding previously unknown relatives, linking up long-forgotten branches of a family tree and generally adding richness to ancestral stories.

Yet there are also sad discoveries — and finding evidence of children who died young are among the most heartbreaking.

Alas, such untimely deaths were not unusual in the 19th and early 20th centuries — and my maternal Italian second great grandparents Peter and Mary “Mamie” (Curcio) Laurence/diLorenzo experienced two such tragedies in 1905 and 1906.

Memorial cabinet card for Peter Laurence, Jr., who died in 1905 at age 2 months. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Remembering a lost son

Among the photos of my Italian ancestors I found a memorial cabinet card for a child my Laurence ancestors lost — their third son Peter Laurence Jr., who died on 9 April 1905 at age 2 months. The card was printed by H.F. Wendell & Co. of Leipsic, Ohio — a company that specialized in memorial lithography.

Peter’s card features a lovely poem below an angel of peace carrying a child and a bouquet of flowers, with pastoral background images of a waxing crescent moon, stars and a church.

Grave stone of the first Peter Laurence, Jr., Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. (1992). Photo by Molly Charboneau

I was already aware of Peter’s untimely 1905 death from his gravestone in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. — which my mother and I found during a 1992 trip to her home town. However, the memorial card was an unexpected discovery in an album of ancestral photos.

A second heartbreaking loss

On the same trip to Gloversville, my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau and I discovered a second stone nearby with the same inscription — only that one was dated 1906.

That’s how we learned that Peter and Mamie had lost a another son — who they also named Peter — the year after their first loss. How devastated they must have been by these tragic deaths so close together.

Grave stone of the second Peter Laurence Jr., Prospect Hill Cemetery, Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. (1992). Photo by Molly Charobneau

There is no memorial cabinet card for the second Peter among the Laurence family photos. Could my second great-grandparents have been too overwhelmed by this new loss to have one printed?

The brief lives of the two Peters

Having discovered the two Peters, I wondered if I might be able to memorialize their brief lives in some way. So I turned to the New York State birth and death indexes to see if they had been recorded.

Amazingly, they both appear in the birth index — and the second Peter’s death appears in the death index. The first Peter’s date of death is not in the index but is printed on his memorial card. So below is a record of the brief lives of the two Peters — the lost, but not forgotten, Laurence brothers.

NameDateWhereNYS No.
Peter Laurence 1Born 17 Feb 1905G’ville#4936
Peter Laurence 1Died 9 Apr 1905G’ville
Peter Laurence 2Born 25 May 1906G’ville#21839
Peter Lawrence 2Died 26 Sep 1906G’ville#40340
Birth and death dates of the two Peters, the other Laurence brothers.

Fortunately, Peter and Mamie’s older sons — my maternal grandfather Antonio W. Laurence, born in 1902, and his brother Joseph B. Laurence, born in 1903 — lived into their senior years. That they survived and thrived must have been a healing balm to their parents.

Up next, the Laurence brothers Tony and Joe as teens. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.