My Three Georges … and Fred, too

My husband and I were watching a comedian’s skit recently and the fellow mentioned something about being able to name all of your great-grandparents. As in: What a ridiculous thing for a person to be able to do!

Pfft! Quickly, I ticked off the eight names of my great grandparents to dear Hubby. He can name his, too, and he’s not even that into genealogy. As I named my great grandparents, for the first time, realized that 3 of my 4 great grandfathers were named GEORGE.

George Byron Garrison

George Byron Garrison (1860-1943) was my father’s maternal grandfather. He was born in Rochester, Monroe County, New York. He lived in Rochester his entire life, and I’m awed to think of all he saw pass during his life: the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression. He experienced the beginning of electricity, telephones, the camera, motion pictures, sound recordings, automobiles, radio, and so much more.

George followed his father, Minard Garrison, into the mason trade and lived at home with his parents until he married. The family resided at 79 Pinnacle Rd. in Rochester and the house is still there.

M H Garrison and Son - 1889 Rochester City Directory

M H Garrison and Son – 1889 Rochester City Directory

79 Pinnacle


At age 27, George married Jennie Harris and they had four children: Edna, Howard (“Budd”), Florence and Mildred. Sadly, their only son died of scarlet fever as a child. George and Jennie raised their three daughters in a comfortable, middle-class area of the city, first at 4 Walton St. and later at 663 S. Clinton St. Neither house is still standing.

When George’s father, Minard Garrison, passed away in 1899, he left his only son all of his masonry tools and equipment along with a two deeds.

Bequests to George

New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 via

In 1923, George and Jennie celebrated 35 years of marriage by taking a spring-time cruise to Rio De Janeiro aboard the ship Vauban (Blue Star Line). What a couple of adventurers!

While WWII was raging and the fate of the world was undecided, George passed away due to atherosclerosis.

I believe George and Jennie enjoyed a good, comfortable life together. They had their share of tragedy with the loss of their only son, but hopefully their daughters and grandchildren were a great comfort to them. George, Jennie, Budd, and Florence are all buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, as are many other Garrison family members.

George FeisterGeorge Ralph Feister (1885-1955) was my mother’s maternal grandfather.

I’ve already written about him here: (Curious (About) George).

GeorgeBeachIrvineGeorge Beach Irvine (1885-1955) was my mother’s paternal grandfather. He was born in Duke Center, McKean County, PA. His father, Arthur Irvine, was born in Montreal, came to the U.S. as boy in the 1850s, and later served in the Civil War. George’s mother, Amelia, was born in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

George grew up in McKean County, PA. His father was a machinist and George followed him into the trade; though, throughout his life he would try his hand at many different occupations, doing whatever it took to care for his wife and family. In 1909, at age 24, George married Clara Rose Snyder.

George and Clara started their married life in Duke Center where George ran a machine shop. Clara gave birth to two daughters and three sons: Katherine, Mary Genevieve, John (“Jack”), Kenneth and Richard. In 1912, little Mary died of pneumonia when she was only a year old. By 1920, business must have been slow, for in the 1920 Census George had switched to selling insurance and Clara was working in a shop. Ten years later, the 1930 Census shows George running his own machine shop again.

In 1932, with the Great Depression in full swing, George moved his family 370 miles northeast to Hudson Falls, Washington County, NY, near to Clara’s sister, Emma Snyder. The 1933 Hudson Falls directory shows George running a bakery and daughter Katherine listed as a pianist.

1933 Glens Falls Directry

A few years later, George and family relocated 350 miles west to Olean, Cattaraugus County, NY, where he again was back in the trade of machinist. (At last! Olean is where my grandparents met!)

My cousin Christine and her husband, Mike, were the trailblazing family historians and many years back they wrote a piece about the Irvine family in which they wrote about George and Clara’s final years:

On May 7, 1940 Clara passes away, leaving George with Ken and Richard still living at home. Ken is 17 and Richard is 14. Tragedy is ready to strike the Irvine’s again, as George is diagnosed with tuberculosis in October of 1940, just five months after their mother dies. George is sent to a sanitarium in Geneseo, NY and the boys are moved into a boarding house in nearby Dansville. George’s stay in Geneseo is short and he is moved to Rocky Mountain sanitarium back in Olean. Later he is moved to Liberty, NY. and the Bernard McFadden Health Camp. Ken and Dick are moved to Webster, New York, outside of Rochester to be near their older brother Jack and his new family. The are still living in a boarding house just half a block from Webster High School. In 1942, George is in remission and returns to Hudson Falls, New York. where he works in a liquor store. Ken has entered the U. S Coast Guard. Dick, now left alone, is moved out of the roaming house and moves in with his brother Jack to finish high school.

After Dick graduated from Webster High School, he moved up to Hudson Falls to be near his dad. Dick moved in with his aunt, Emma Snyder. He worked at W. T. Grant’s in the stock room for six months, but then decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy rather than be subject to be drafted into the Army.

Ken and Dick both returned to Hudson Falls after there stints with the military. Shortly after Ken and Dick returned, George fell ill again, this time he was placed into a “Cure Cottage” on the shores of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack mountains. The accepted cure for TB at that time was to get plenty of fresh mountain air. George never recovered from this last battle with TB. He died on Christmas eve in 1955, in Saranac Lake, Essex County, NY. [Irvine Family McKean County Pennsylvania, PAGenWeb]

Fred Verres Marsh Fred Verres Marsh (1870-1943), my father’s paternal grandfather. Fred was born and lived his entire live in Rochester, Windsor County, VT.

Fred was born on his father’s farm and would be a farmer, too.  Some of the land was wooded with maple trees used for sugaring or lumber. In 1892 he married Nellie Hunton. The had one son, Merle, and three daughters, Mildred, Anna and Adeline (“Addie”). There were many Marshs,  Huntons and allied kin in the area, many of their families having been on the land since the just after the Revolutionary War.

Perhaps due to hard times brought on by the worldwide economic collapse, the 1930 Census shows Fred was off the farm and found a new trade working as a carpenter at a marble quarry. (Vermont is known for its marble.)


Wikimedia Commons


Fred continued to work as a carpenter after the Great Depression ended. He lost his wife Nellie in 1937 when she died of heart failure at age 67. Fred went on for another 5 years, passing away in 1943 from complications of arteriosclerosis.

Did you notice that my two paternal great grandfathers, George Garrison and Fred Marsh, both died in 1943? And my two maternal great grandfathers, George Feister and George Irvine both died in 1955? Weird.

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