Blanche Larzelere (1860 – 1923) was Henry Howell’s second wife. We don’t know that much about her, so I thought I’d pull together what I’ve found so far in this post.
What a difference a generation makes. Henry, a native of Georgia, his father a doctor in the Confederate Army, marries Blanche from Philadelphia, whose older brothers served in the Union Army.
After Henry’s return from Austria he moved to Philadelphia and opened a piano studio. The reason Henry selected Philadelphia instead of a city in his home state of Georgia is not clear.
Blanche and Henry married in Philadelphia in 1908. She was 47 and he was 42. As far as we know, Henry was her only marriage and there were no children. They lived at 165 Harvey Street in Philadelphia.
We know little about Blanche other than our family lore says she was a member of society, and a patron of the arts in Philadelphia, and therefore likely to have met Henry through his music.
Philadelphia Times, Friday August 8, 1902: “Mrs. Rebecca Lazerlere and her daughter Miss Blanche Elder Lazerlere are at Belmar for the rest of the summer.”
Blanche was the youngest of six. She had a sister Annie and four brothers: William, Washington Irving, Clifford Earle and Benjamin Franklin. It would be interesting to hear from their descendants.
Some details about the Larzelere family emerge from Blanche’s mother’s obituary in The Churchman – Oct 13, 1906
Another obituary of unknown source…
Mrs. Rebekah Larzelere, Eldest daughter of the late Captain William T. Elder, of the artillery service of the War of 1812, and widow of William Larzelere, a merchant broker and a member of City Councils, died yesterday morning in her eighty-fifth year.
Mrs. Larzelere was prominent in church and charity work, being instrumental in the formation of two parishes, that of the Holy Cross of Germantown, now St. Michael’s and the Incarnation, whose church is at Broad and Jefferson sts. She was a lineal descendant of one of Philadelphia’s old shipping merchants, William Thomas Smith, a West India planter who came here before the Revolution. His wharves are still known as Smith’s wharves.
Mrs. Larzelere was actively engaged in charities for the soldiers during the Civil War, and especially interested in the Cooper Shop Hospital and the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon. Her two oldest sons were in the army then. She is survived by two sons–Clifford Earle and Washington Irving–and two daughters–Miss Blanche Elder and Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Haverstick.
Henry and Blanche were married for 15 years until her death in September 1923.
Her will, dated May 11, 1917, names Henry Howell executor. A part of her will reads as follows:
I would like, if my husband so desires that my home be kept intact, and all contents to remain as they are during his lifetime. At his death, should my sister Annie, or my brother Clifford be living I desire that they should have and control the family silver, tea set etc., cut glass and old mahogany hall clock.
Within months of Blanche’s death Henry moved to Cuthbert, Georgia where he shared a home with his youngest brother Edward Lathrop Howell, and his two sisters, Mildred Eva Howell, and Bertha Howell Camp. (Please also see: Cuthbert, GA – Home of Henry Howell)
Blanche is buried in the West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd. It is the site of many notable burials, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Others in her family are buried a few miles away in the St. James The Less Episcopal Churchyard which is also in the National Historical Register.
According to the Dictionary of American Family Names, Larzelere is an Americanized form of French La Resiliere, which may perhaps be a habitational name from la Roussillière in Rhône.