Postcards from Austria

Davison -> Howell

Earlier this summer J. Spencer Howell visited with Betty Howell Traver who passed along some fascinating old postcards showing Nellie Davison’s and Alfred Grunberger’s home in Vienna, Austria circa 1907, as well as one of piano virtuoso Theodor Leschetizky.

These cards reinforce two big themes we find running through Nellie Davison’s life, namely: politics (her father, her second husband), and music (her mother, herself, her first husband and his family.) The musical theme continued when Nellie’s daughter Atze married Paul Passini, the great grandson of composer Felix Mendelssohn.

Alfred Grunberger was Nellie Davison’s second husband, who in the Austrian government from 1920-1932 served as Minister of Public Nutrition, Minister of Commerce, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs ambassador to Paris and Madrid. Theodor Leschetizky, teacher of the famous Paderewski, was also Henry Howell’s music teacher. Henry of course was Nellie’s first husband.

The card of Theodor Leschetizky was sent to Nellie’s mother in law, Emma Berrien Heard Howell, in 1903 and the ones of her home were sent in 1907 to Helen F Kilpatrick, a cousin of Henry Howell, in White Plains after she and Henry were divorced.

Click images to see reverse side and larger images

Georgia Archives posts Howell photos


Nellie Davison Howell and an admirer by the piano in Atlanta UPDATE: 9 Apr, 2006 – Betty H. Traver, who donated these photos identifies the ‘Admirer’ is the photographer, Malcolm Howard Kilpatrick. ” Cousin Howard had a new gadget that would activate the camera by itself on a timer so he could be in the picture. He was 5’1″ tall, a patent attorney in N.Y.C. He was in the uniform of an A&M College (Auburn) cadet.”

The Georgia Archives has posted some (new to me) photos of Henry Howell and Nellie Davison Howell and their home in Atlanta. The photos were taken by Henry’s first cousin, Howard Kilpatrick (1878 – 1957) in 1897 according to the Archives, but I would guess the date is more likely circa 1900 after they were married. The prints were made from glass plate negatives.

To view the photos, please click on the links below:

1) Nellie and her admirer by the piano (larger version of above)
2) Nellie & (Henry?) reading
3) Henry Howell house exterior
4) Henry Howell house dining room

Click here to view the images as posted on the Georgia Archives, Galileo site.

One curious point about the photos – the men do not look like the same person. The photos seem to be taken on the same day: Nellie’s dress is the same. The man reading appears to have less hair and appears older than the man by the piano. Perhaps there is a family resemblance between the man by the piano and other Howell men, but is this man 14 years + older than Nellie – as Henry Howell was?

Two steps forward…one step back….we need more photos of Henry!

Davison – Howell marriage in London, England

Davison – Howell marriage in London, England

Davison -> Howell

Another small mystery solved! Nellie Davison and Henry Howell were indeed married in London, England – just as dad remembers.

I found an entry in “The England and Wales Civil Registration Index” which shows they were married in the quarter ending June 1900 – “Pancras District, London, Middlesex, England.” She appears by her full name in the index as Ellen Minora Davison, and he appears as Henry Howell. This further confirms the family stories that they were married in England and also confirms the entry in the Clopton Family Association Genealogy which says married “London”.

Researching the Pancras Civil Registration District in London shows it was abolished in 1903, and is now part of the Camden District. Sub-districts included: Camden Town; Gray’s Inn Lane; Kentish Town; Regent’s Park; Somers Town; Tottenham Court. (The same districts were used to compile the census returns for the years 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901)

St. Pancras Church is believed to be one of the oldest sites for Christian worship in England – (No details yet of where exactly Henry and Nellie were married within the Pancras District – this would be an interesting place to research however)

Today, according to Wikipedia:

St. Pancras is the name of a place in London. However, it is no longer very much used as a name for the district, having been largely superseded by several other terms for overlapping places.St Pancras was originally a medieval parish which ran from close to what is now Oxford Street north as far as Highgate, and from what is now Regent’s Park in the west to the road now known as York Way in the east, boundaries which take in much of the current London Borough of Camden, including the central part of it. However, as the choice of name for the borough suggests, St Pancras has lost its status at the central settlement in the area. The district now encompassed by the term “St Pancras” is not easy to define, and usage of St Pancras as a place name is fairly limited.

Old St Pancras Church and its graveyard have links to Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and the Wollstonecraft circle. Immediately to the north of the churchyard is St Pancras Hospital, formerly the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases. St Pancras is one of the best known railway stations in England. It is currently being extended and is due to become the new terminus for the Eurostar services through the Channel Tunnel in 2007.

Since Nellie and Henry appear in the US Census taken June 15, 1900 living in Marietta, GA “married for 0 years”, they must have departed for America by ship shortly after their marriage.

A visit with Catherine Davison 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’

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 original 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.  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.”continues……

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.

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

Discovery of Nellie Howell’s letters!

Hickman -> Davison -> Howell

Marlene Hickman wrote to say she found some letters in her files that were written over one hundred years ago by Nellie DAVISON Howell! Marlene transcribed the letters and they appear below.

Ellen M. “Nellie” DAVISON Howell

The “Uncle John” to whom these letters are addressed, is most likely John Howard Hickman, b. 1858 who married Theresa Hay in 1893. John Howard Hickman is the youngest child of Joseph Hickman and the 3 years younger sibling of Nellie’s mother Alma. (see chart)

September 9, 1900
Lowndes Building, Room 610
Atlanta, GAMy dear Uncle John:

Your letter with the Express Orders for Fifty-six dollars was received on Friday. I thank you very much for sending it and I am glad you did not give it to me before. I am sure I would not have thought of spending in such a nice way – buying shares – as I witness doing now. We have moved into Atlanta for the winter and have four rooms in a very pretty building. They are on the 6th floor so we have a beautiful view and at present a lovely breeze which is a very important feature of this climate. We expect to be just as warm this winter – In the rooms are heaters with hot water.

Thank you very much for your invitation to stay with you in Dorchester. It will be lovely to go back again and I want to go north next summer if possible. Mr. Howell asks me to thank you to for him. Much love to Aunt Teresa.

I am yours affectionately,
Nellie Davison Howell

November 20, 1901
3 Crescent Avenue
Atlanta, GA

Dear Uncle John:

Many thanks for the $3000 which arrived safely. My husband wrote you at my request explaining why we telegraphed. I have not been at all well lately and am going tomorrow to Marietta for a weeks rest. You remember perhaps I was there the first summer after I was married. I will take Alma and the nurse and Mr Howell is coming up to spend Sunday. I include the receipt you sent me to sign. Give my love to Aunt Teresa. Hoping to see you next summer.

I remain, yours affectionately,
Nellie Davison Howell

See Joseph Hickman’s will – the $3,000 referenced in the above letter is probably the $3,000 left to Nellie by her grandfather Joseph Hickman in his will -to be given to her on her 21st birthday. Nellie was 21 on 9 Nov 1901.

There are many “firsts” – to me at least, that come from Marlene’s discovery. Among them:

1) The first correspondence I have seen from Nellie.

2) Confirmation from Nellie that she was married to Henry Howell and that her grandparents were Joseph & Ruth Hickman. (Remember the first connection discovered to Hickman was mentioned in the Nov 2003 entry in this Genealogue – in connection with the discovery of Nellie’s mother’s gravestone – it’s nice to have some confirmation!)

3) Evidence that Nellie’s daughter Alma was born before the letter dated 20 Nov, 1901 (I had no date for Alma’s birth)

3a) Which gives evidence to support that Alma (Atze) was older than her brother John Edward Howell b. 1903. (we actually thought she was younger)

4) Confirmation from Nellie that she lived in Marietta, GA. (the first evidence I found of this is the 1900 census, Cobb County, GA, Ellen Howell, boarder, white, female, born Nov 1880, age 19, married for “0” years, mother of 1 child, “0” children living, born Canada (Eng), parents born Canada (Eng), reads, writes and speaks enlish).

4a) Evidence that she and Henry were married cir 1900 – 1901 “I have not been at all well lately and am going tomorrow to Marietta for a weeks rest. You remember perhaps I was there the first summer after I was married.”

5) Confirmation from Nellie that she lived in Atlanta after Marietta, GA

6) Evidence that Nellie received a considerable inheritance from her grandfather Joseph Hickman ($3,000 in those days would have purchased a nice home from the looks of the other items on the will) – up until this, we were under the impression that Nellie’ financial needs were provided mainly by her father and then after his death in 1902 by her younger half brothers.

We owe a debt of thanks to Marlene Hickman for locating, transcribing and sending these wonderful letters along!

Planning a visit to The Maritimes

As part of an extended tour of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we are most looking forward to saying hello to our cousins attending the Hickman family reunion this summer in lovely Dorchester, New Brunswick, Canada!

The reunion will take place at the original Joseph Hickman House, a home that has continuously remained in the Hickman family since Joseph built it in 1834.

Cousin Judy Hickman Morison writes:

“….an old photo of the house taken by Albert Hickman and was accessed through the archives in Fredericton. There are no barns on the property now – in it’s heyday it was said to be an experimental farm. It was build by my great great grandfather Joseph Hickman (1821-1889) and run following his death by John Howard Hickman…”

Joseph Hickman is our Ellen M. “Nellie” (Davison) Howell’s grandfather. Our Hickman cousins, some living in the home today, and with whom I am now regularly corresponding, all descend from Nellie’s mother’s (Alma Minora (Hickman) Davison’s) younger brother by 3 years, John Howard Hickman (1858 – 1921).

To visualize click here

It is particularly interesting to be re-connected with the Hickman branch of the family. The lack of contact and knowledge from our end was likely due to a series of events that started with the untimely death of Nellies mother, Alma Hickman, at age 29, when Nellie was only 4 years old and living in Bridgewater, NS – 180 miles from her relatives in New Brunswick.

Plans for our trip “up north” are now underway!

Nellie Howell’s London Connection

Today, I finally uncovered something that might actually support that Nellie and Henry Howell were married in London, England.

It appears that Nellies first cousin, William Albert Hickman (“Sea Sled” fame, Harvard educated, author of “Sacrifice of the Shannon”) and just two years her senior, was living in London, England around 1900.

Of course William Albert HIckman may have absolutely no connection with the marriage..but what is interesting is that this keeps open the possibility of a marriage in London, England….other possibilities being London, Ontario and Georgia.

Click here to see Nellies relationship tree to William Albert Hickman.

H. R. Remsen Coles – Davison book

Davison -> Howell

Art Davison was kind enough to send me a photocopy of H. R. Remsen Coles book titled “Genealogical Record of the Davison, Davidson, Davisson Family of New England”, published 1899 in New York. There were 300 original copies made.  A PDF copy can be downloaded here.

The book contains several errors, but has interesting stories about the family.

Remsen Coles confirms that our Davison line in Nova Scotia comes from Daniel Davison who married Margaret Lowe in Ipswitch MA in April 1657.