Those who study genetics find that the DNA we inherit from our ancestors isn’t equally distributed, as this blogger explains. I like to believe that besides inheriting my middle name from my great-great grandmother, Delia, I also inherited the patriotism she shared with my great-great grandfather, William.
It was no accident that they chose to be married on July 4th. They both grew up during the Civil War and experienced their fathers going off to fight in the war to preserve the Union. Both of William’s paternal great-grandfathers, Jonathan Tidd Jr. and William Bond, were veterans of the Revolutionary War. Going back further, he could claim eight Revolutionary War patriots. Delia’s great-grandfather, John Norton, was a Revolutionary War veteran, as were two others that I know of.
As cited in the newspaper clipping above, William and Delia were married in Stoneham, Massachusetts, in 1874; he was 24 and she was 19. Their first child, William Squires Tidd, was born 9 months later, on Apr. 12, 1875. William was named for his grandfather, Squires Tidd. After William came Harriet Martha, born Aug. 6, 1878. She was named after her two grandmothers, Harriet Wheeler (paternal) and Martha Bancroft (maternal). John David followed, born Jan. 23, 1881. He was named for Delia’s father, John, who died of consumption when she was just 2 years old, and the step-father who raised her, David N. Emery. Lastly came my great grandmother, Laura, born Oct. 29, 1883, in Malone, NY.
Before settling on Olean, William relocated his small family several times. By 1883, the family was in Malone, Franklin County, New York. It would have been a significant change in scenery, from a town about 9 miles from Boston, the home of their ancestors going back to Colonial times, to far northern New York, near the St. Lawrence River. What an adventure!
Malone was essentially a mill town, but it also maintained several tanneries. William may have heard of an employment opportunity. The Stoneham area was flooded with people working in the leather/shoe industry, so perhaps competition for jobs was steep. It appears things didn’t work out for William in Malone. A few years later, in 1887, the family was back in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, this time in the town of Marlborough. They remained there through about 1899, when they decided to try New York again, only this time they went southwest, to Cattaraugus County.
By 1900, they were settled in Olean, NY, where they raised their family, were involved in civic organizations, and lived out the remainder of their days. William was an Oddfellow, which I find quite amusing. From photos and a couple of newspaper clippings, I am led to conclude that William was a good-natured soul. Below is a little rhyme he submitted to an Olean newspaper in 1921, and the ad he placed for his shoe repair business in 1912. Both seem to portray a rather amiable fellow.
Delia belonged to a Rebekah Lodge and was very active with the Women’s Relief Corps during the Great Depression. My impression of Delia is that she was strongly influenced by her hearty, New England Yankee heritage. These are tough people who lived by the axiom, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
Below is a lovely photo, circa 1900, of these two lovely people with their adult children. I am drawn to William, with those smile/laugh lines around his mouth and the twinkle in his eye. That mustache! His sitting posture is relaxed and confident. Delia is proper and composed, as a good Yankee daughter ought be. I never knew them. But I do. And I will, in the hereafter.
Happy anniversary, William and Delia! Over the chasm of time, I love you both and thank you for persevering through this life of toil and troubles, that I might have life. See you in the forever after!