A. E. Forcter
Bath Beach, Brooklyn, New York
This is Arthur E, Forster and I am at my hone at 421 Pou
Station Road in ltarrington. Florida.
Over the years I have told my sons of some of my experiences
and they said they would like me to make a record of that.
And for the record I am 84 years old and I was born February
24, 1890. As of now I don't know exactly what I am going to say,
but I am going to try and talk about my life time and I'm going
back as far as I can remember to what I think is 1895, hat was
in Bath roach which was Erooklyn, New York at that time. y Grands
father, Peter Bur tchel~1ad a saloon there and the family lived up
stairs. There was an election sometime in the fall, that is I know
it was getting toward winter so that must have been in 1iovember 1895.
I remember the saloon was closed, but you could get in the back way
and it was crowded with people all day. I remember that because of
the crowds that were there around election time and the fights they
had there. Also there was a big bomb fire and they burnt up the
election booths and they brought truck loads of barrels to burn and
it was quite a thing. They must have saved up the barrels for that
particular occasion on election night.
< f < r
A.. ES. Forntor
Buffalo Pll in Grandfather's Saloon
I remember there was saw dust on the floor of the bar room
and there was great big spit toons and big brass rails and mirrors
behind the bar. There was one thing in particular I remember and
that is this fellow buffaloo Bill. I didn't know who buffalo Bill
was, all I knew was that he use to come down into the bar on his
horse. They would come through the front door three or four of
them riding horses and they would have there drinks at the bar
sitting on there horses and of course it was quite the thing. Grand-
father was glad to have them come. They always brought a lot of
other people with them. Buffalo 1ill use to come regularly and
drink over the bar sitting on his horse at Grandfather's saloon*
They seemed to be good friends.
'here was a stair case partitioned off from the bar room and
in this stair case bulk head there was a peep hole that the Grand-
father used in order to see what was going on in the bar room and
of course when buffalo Bill came that's where we, all the kids
stayed and watched what was going on there.
There was also three or four pool tables in the back of the bar
room and like every saloon in the old days, had a ladies room that
is a side entrance where woman could go in and sit down at the tables
with men to drink.
I know there was a lot of gambling going on down stairs but
up stairs my grandmother, Zyra, Burtchell- she was pretty
straight laced and wouldn't allow a playing card in the house. Oh
no not that dirty thing in my home she probably failed to realize
that this place down stairs was giving her a lively hood up stairs.
That is it was giving her something to eat and a place to stay up-
stairs when my Grandfather, that isPeter Burtchellcame in he didn't
have much to say because Grandmother Klyra she seemed to be the big
In addition to the Grandfather and Grandmother, there was Uncle
Walter, Uncle-George, Anmt Josee, Aunt Jenny and at that time they
happen to have visitors and the visitors were a sister or a daughter
by the name of Clara Forster. And Clara brought with her four Fors-
ter brats and you spell that brats. Brats. That family would refer
to us as the Forster brats and that was Willie, Hattie, fM~4R 4o
Ernest. At that particular time Ernest was about 3 years old. This
is about as far back as I can remember on Ernest.
As I remember my grandmother, then, she was big and fat and did-
n't do any walking around. And she bossed everything and everybody
that came near her.
I didn't see much of my Mother at that time and I guess it was
because she had to go out and go to work but she wasn't there.
" 1A B. Tr I-ftrfor
FirIt 7E1th TIb
Pnrtlcularly I rA-bf',rb-r Sa~turOry night and I remember it war
cetttn- pretty coldup to that time I h- never green a bath tub,
I don't remember Rnytlini a2bait whore we were .r.th.- '- ferr this
j-.pticuil. tine but I yrrr~nr we r'r' et that pl-cr ran, what ts
in my Gr-,ffathe r's hret, it tis big b.rrel, whiskey i:.rrel or
wine barrel cut in hIlf, th-rt is around n.--r the center,and one
half of the wbrrel wes used for P bt-th tub.
Somne of the stfayos In t-,' both tub wore loni:r: than the
others so th-,.', could mlke phndlo c r.i puttit;-- w-holoe in them
so they could vcwtuolly lift the tub by the handles, I reT-rnher
that in -Irtcu.lanr, one day when I was -ttttinr. a bath in that tub
I r1lip' 1 rn.md fell on one of those Ir.n'les.
either Aunt Jfr~rn or Aunt J~Tiv would get us sta;i"- in the
tub in warmn trtcr n~n tihe', would give us a bath,>we would have to
sit down, bath ourselves all over, our heads and Cvcrythn--" ann then
they woul. d .r.: stand up and th'!., would t-:;tj a pan of vhy.lrant ":-Lter
rnd in the winter time and ,:eIr it over the top of our heods and lot
us yell as loud aos we wvntr-,' to yell, I .-.:uess they thought It was
the n-'.17 .ay to kIeep us fr-- c atching cold while etti:i- off the -p-
Path Deach Volunteer Fire ef'ortmnnt
I also remember that at .nth Beach, at that time they had
what was 1:no-n as a volunteer firn department* jhat is if they
had a fire, the fire men would rot out and a,,t to the pumps and
pull the puiPer to 'ihere rvecr the fire was. They would do a lot
of hand puivping s r-' they also ir'- the so called bucket brigades and
they would do a lot of that kir-' of fire fir-htic. I fgu,-11 I rC.w
the l.cst of thsat 1:i:nd of fire fightlir- that was in the aitth ':c-'.eh
area because rh-rtly after that they had a horse dr-::n fire eavine,
.'r 't is one of those nri rrnerz where the fire comes out of the top
of the' and I guess you have c-on those thoey are nowr old fashion and
out of r -te.
The p oplr) in !Utth Deach ouild invariablely turn in false fire
alarms so they could see the fire di.nwrt::!nt in action golrn: down
ff 1 A* :'. r-er
'"-i c lantern Show
It was winter time and all theo idcs in the neighborhood were
fiolin~ to :1,7t was Irm!o as s *;1ic lantern show* This maglo lant-
ern show was just rb.ut a blocki from w-he!re we livr.:!, it was over a
grocery store. I believe it w~s the odd fellows hall. The top
floor over the hall was whore we h ad this :n:.Ic Inl:ut'cr, show. That
was two flights up there, there were werI.inn stairs gcinl up to that
place -n"I as I r.-.::r.b; or ther- was vry,' little light. -; -::,-t up
there nr-". :. -~.t in and the place was crcl:,.~r:-'. heoy ],-rF one of those
pot belly stoves, the bottom of it all painted white, but the top
of th.? stove lwas red. hot. eo did. soo the r--..ic lntern show and we
did manage to g'-:t out of the place and ;'r:t h.n;"r safe.
In reference to this *':rtlcul:-r building. dome years later I
went to that build 'n" jurt to look it ,ovr to see what it was like
and hcera niur.t-.i the lvay I fnc
andf if you rented h1r m ,'o. oil you h: t" :.;_t it before it got r~'r:.
That cerc-' to have boon the law in those fC ys. :-.t was a safety
factor. If you n'.th:1 Ierosenc oil you had to get it before dark.
PBut if you q-ntedd;to see wrheore it was stored, it w1,as rl-i'tt un6de r
the stairs and that -,::n the stairs I went up that day to see the
eiag Im latern :h.i:: n:.' for instance that kerosene oil would h've
taken firo not only Tm but the ,h.*'l, business of us t-ould hlsve been
I A. 2. :r;:tor
Fire at Coney Island
While I was lying in bed. one night all the family was up
and locking out of the front window of the house looking out at
a fire. The fire was at Coney Island. I had never been to Coney
Island and they were talking about the big elephant being on fire
on Coney Island. I didn't know what the big elephant was but later
on I found out it was a building built in the shape of a big eleph-
ant, that had been there for several years. I don't know how it
caught firo, but this particular night it burnedd&-omwn We can check
the dates that the big elephant burned down in Coney Island. I re-
member seeing that fire.
If you went to the front of the house and looked straight down
the street for about three blocks you could see water. That was
Graves End ity. That was the beach that what is known ns Bath reach,
which is at Graves EnTd Day, 1y unole 1.tlter had a shooting gallery
and eve 'ry thing was painted white. He had rows of clay pipes, bells
and spinning wheels and at night he had to light the place up with
oil lnaps and candles. He only hnd about six guns, They were small
rifles, about what they use at tho present time. I don't know of
any prizes he ever h'd. I think the people just wont there to shoot
the guns. I know this nioo white paint that he had was nothing but
whitewash that is lime. I guess that is what they used ath that time*
They used it like they use it todny, I know it was put on with a
wide brush and he had water buckets full of it.
1 A E rcit..r
Grandfather Peter Birchel
Pattern *ker by Tade
uy grandfrhther, Peter Burtchell he is the fellow that owned
this r.loon, I don't know how he :ot An the faloon business, but
he rt s Infact a pattern maker. El. served his apprenticeship at
the Trooklyn i3avy Yard as a pattern maker, And during the Civil
!.r he was trying to join the Navy. That is he wanted to get in
as an office r and he didn't make it of course, because they dald
he had T. B,, which of course he didn't hbve. But they told hii
if he had Two hundred dollars he could probably get in the navy as
an officer. But he didn't have the t-rn-hundred dollars. He haid a
stroke about 1903 and died about 19]3. I probably will speak more
of him often, later
Bath Beach Steam Locomotive
I remember away back: then the streets were not paved. There
was mud all over everything when you got out in the weather. There
was about a a three car train that use to go from Fath Peach, that is
from Brooklyn to Coney Inland. snd it was pulled by a steam locomotive,
I rmenTber the railrond ctntion was nbout one block from the house
and everytime a train would cone in everybody in the town it seemed
would go down and cie the train cone in.
Aunt Josee Davidson in Harlem
I don't remember making n move but here I am living with Aunt
Josee Davidson on 126 Street near Third Avenue In what is known as
Harlem. Her husband Tom Dvlidson and he was a scotsman, he was
a paper hanger b trade and like t par ha b tde a li os p r hngers he liked his
drinking around when he could get it. I remember this Aunt Josee
and it seems when I would go to see her she vr-s oslwyc maing
clothes for me. Also there obn' !illire1 I liked him because he took
re to town or in the neighborhood somewhere, and bought me shoes.
We rould go to a shoe repair shop and we would pick out a pair of
shoes thvt -aoro not crllcd for Pnd if they fit he would pay for them.
'.hero they livoCe I gueor you would c.ll that a coli water flet.
In other rorCs It veE a four story building and as far as I know
there wia not hot running w .ter in the place. The front of the flat
openedup with, I think, about two windows on 126 street, The other
tinclous in the back opened in a big yard. In about the middle of
the building thore irc an air shaft and the windows from the bed
room and 1bthroom npened up into this air shaft. It rss just a
brick iall all white irc. hcd with windows in it and I remember one
of the first delllghtl of sy life ras lceifng ornt this air shaft,
down into the bottom of it where they h.d a German bannd about three
piece bind of German ::usiscns and they came around every week or
125 street and Canta Claus
Another experience I had and that was P.round 125 Street.
I had-hcardi some tnlk about Christn.-c and Snnta Clnus. but not
much, you know we were very poor folks. tut anyhow I was over on
125 Jtreet and I saw the entrance to one of those big department
stores. :.Whn I was looking around into the windows, I couldn't
see much in the place the winrlown were pretty much covered up with
this froct. The only place y-u could see into the winrdonw was
where they had. those ~ae lam-ps ann, it made a round circle where
the gas la-ps wrcG atnd that is where I went to look into the windows
I noticed tha-t there ~rc an old fella, he hod a beanrl and a red
suit, a bir re' hat and he rzs meeting all the people. All the boys
end girle an-1 Mothore. They were gettint off the hacks and cabs
anr, goinS into the place. ieirould open the doors for them and I
resrober me, I was there nlEo looking into the window not able to
see much ant I was cold, I know I was cold I i rsn't dressed very
well. I know I didn't look l1ke the sweet little boys that were
getting off the c'!rringos.
And I noticed when they got off they would have to t.ke there
nandio out of there nice little nuffs, where they had there hands
wmmi, Inorder to shake hinds with LCnta Claus. Now that was too
bad TnY-:n't it. But n:nywpy Just about that tine Santa Claus was
opening the door and going in side with these nice little boys and
girln, I tried to sneak in with the others and he turned around
quitc, r-.nd he r id to me got out of there you little son of a bitch.
# 1 A. W. ,-)r-rtor;
126 Street Cold rater Flnt
let's get bc1e: to this cold iwtor flat train on 126 :-trent.
I remember there was a toilet thrt h-r a water tank above it, about
six feet over the herd ant you had to pull the chain inorder to flush
the toilet. It seems you could always hear the toilet looking from
this tank. There was a small table thst held a. Twah basin. The bath
tub tuc tin and ris p.intoed green on the outside, It had a seat rail
on top of it made of woooLd. 'lT e 7 an cold winter in the tub cnnd it did
drnin. Where the hot enterr cene from, if it ever did, I don't know*
Another thlrz a-bout this flat, the ohly lights we hd were gas.
There::was Cs. fixturoc thrnouh out the appnrtment. Another thin:
about this flat, all the c-:c ipins; was on the outlsde o'f the v.ll.
That is you could see the piping which in my opinion wn put there
oft;r the bulldrinn rs built. Now tho e buildings must have been
.awfully old butildinjZ to be thee bere b re they hadl '-q in the city of
I'm gCoil to talk a little more bout my experiences in nirlem,
That is on 126 Street, Up the street where we lived was a police
ct?-tion and snco of the kidt in the neighborhood, me for one, use
to go up to this police stntion rndl just sit around there and see
whtt .as gcoinS on. The police would rrect peddlers with push carts
loIraed down with bananas -.nd a.pples and any other kind of fruit, dry
gocrks, clothing -ndl thirnz liker that. They would push these carts
right up to the baconent of the police station and they would look
up these push cvrts. lihen these peddlcrs would got out to get there
push carts, probably the next day or so, they would push them out
on the street and they were always so glad to be free that any of the
kids right oloco to the heihborhocd who where up there beg-ing for
a banana would probably get one. As far as I can remember that was
" 1 A.. h,. ForStCr
126 Street Cold N*.-ater Flat
the first time I had ever tP.tor! a b-ann#, i-r in front of that
police station on 126 Street in 1R96.
Another thinE the -oIvation Arry, I remember they had a banIr
and they us e to p1Ty on the street corners, th-t is they use to sins
nn; play nnd they would rrthor the cro.n, andn there would be some-
body doing the trlkinM" and. tihn they would march hbck to headquarters,
which was on 125 street t and the kids would all get br-::inrl them and
arch lack with them nrd go up stairs to where they would again play
and cisi ain preach .nd they aln.ways gave something to eat. You could
always get a little something to eat and I cuess that wia the reason
we went there plus the fact we had to keep warm, it t.s winter time
at this particular time w:hen I reOnt,
# 1 A. E. For' er
Living With 17r rather in Bayonne, Kci Jersey
I guess the next place I can remember is Bayonne, :ew Jersey.
I lived on what was known as Bro.ndr.y and it was about three blocks
from- the end of the street, that is the end of Broadway. And there
was a Ferry there that w nt over to Staten Island and there was a
cm'.ll body of water. This body of wter was known as the Killvon
Kove and it omptied into New York 'khy. TouT that didn't mean a thing
to me at that time, but I found it out later, Now when I moved to
Bayonne I was getting old enough to remember and that is the first
time I remember living with my father. I didn't know him til that
time, he was there nnI my mother, Tny older brother Willie, my sister
Ifcttie, my younger brother :nnest and my self. 1y father use to
work in Staten Island. He worked in some iron company over there.
I didn't know what he did but he t:orked over there and from time to
time we would meet him coming home from work on that ferry boat that
I spoke of before and I'd have to walk a distance to the home.
We lived in a two story house and there was a store on the
first floor but it was empty and we lived up stairs and we had all
brand new furniture. ~M another went down to one of tho;:o furniture
companies and furnished the house, We had straw carpet on the floor
and linoleum in the kitchen, we were fix:red up nice. We stayed
there about four months or until it started to get chilly, probably
September. I remember my mother took me dowm to enroll me in school.
,:' I A* 1 r'.?l1;*-*. '
Liviln- With Vi'y Pther In L.yonn, -ow Jersey
Anr I h-d to be vascinted, 'i.t I was never vclnated there and
I ,rvpr went to school there. ''"le I w :s living in Bayonne, I
re-:nber we use to .r, down to the ralrr-"r~ trac'Tr with a, bahn roil
pick up old pieces of coal re could find. ';-.t is we would look
thrci-,h the cinlers to find coal. e had to t;a~e stick to l:in.'
of help Ich ;.-: it cut. e ni o would go dmwn to the water to get
as much drift--' o ,s we could find. As we could an handle and
get home. I r.-T- ;.r one time I found a bi~ bag full of csaw dust
big heavy cuts of sjduct and I ti.. ~"ht It would 1mOk fine fire
wood and I brought it home nnd, it laid or-. n'' tho uabucer:: for a
d y or so nd I hid to throw. it out and had to got rid of it.
Circus C(-- to "-.. "w Jerr-mo
One of the h?}rp.i: times of my life in layonne waxs u:T-n the
Circus came to town. It wa- .a'r alleyy and they came through
with big str5.;- of elephIats and, other nnimals and this steam
Crily ifo an all the p- rmr(es went ,; -,t "r -":'';,: where we were living.
And :we could look out the wi-."ow: frc"i upn stairs r.:d see it all. 0e
h- gr nd stn ns-.,ts and then it w-ent down to where the forr-: iwa
wont over about a block or so and went 1' -cl the other ,way. And we
.- t. to see the other siI.e. r!- wasn't r:n, y houses out there, so
there w"rs plenty of room for us to scee eu:vi- .thing. Ac f-r as I
knew,: u kids were all on the streets and 'y ,' their was at home
ten:in- care of everything r my father was working in .l;ycnne.
F I7- in .rnn!:Tln pith .'nt J-nn"
The noxt thin we knot, my othcr had us all on the tr'in to
take us bnck to 'rrn-1:lyn n ~ she r,..rr.te& us all. Some of us roro
grign to come kin, rcer w-orr egolt to others, I rr!',mbe.r where I
wrnt, I .rnnt to an Aunt by t!ih name of Jenncy Albiroe rn'i she was kin
to my Cr .:''n'-.ther. She live:I in the country, part off Bath e :Eh,
r.72_r.- l(r a stwmp* In a *''y or two I mas down with lr'l:'i -a n-. I
h'd .'.1 ria on ri off for a couple of r'nnthir or so. To my kno':l'ig.r
I never cnsw -y sister or brother r.:-,':n until I saw them in roontlyn,
.An, that's another story. Also I haov never seen my father again
iT rly, Fcmi ly
I received this information from my uncle, .Walter Burtchell,
in 1952 in Brooklyn, New York. He, told me this information came.
out of a trunk that belonged to his grandfather and his father would
never open the trunk. .The trunk loid around for a good rnThy years
but ..'h:n his father died he opened it and he found the information
in it about the family. I don't ;:nor' what else he found in the trunk
but he did find the information about the family.
There was a Peter Burtchell who was married to a Sarah, I don't
know whot her last name was. They were both born in Villkcnny, Ireland.
They were also married there on February 26, 1811. They had 15 child-
ren of which David Burtchell was the first born. He :r's born on
Aprill 20, 1812 and the fifteenth child, ::.elir, Was born on September
27: 1838. I have all the names of the children and all the dates
of their birth. They will be on a senoarte piece of paper, not on
.the records here.
'Now David Burtchell waYs married in February 1835 or in other
words he was married three years before the last child was born so
he must hove been married in Killkenny, Ireland. He was married
to Jane liarpool. Now this David Burtchell was in .'merica and he.
lived in 'erienrk, New Jersey.'' His, first child was born, that waS
Peter Burtchell, he was :my grandfather. iHe .s born in 1840o in Newark,
New,,Jersey. He married on May 9, 1864 and he died on December 14, 1914.
He is buried in Cypress~ Hills Cemetery, that is in Broo'-lyn and he was
married to Mari Cecelia Gerard.
The next son wass David. He died in 1910. I went to his funeral,
that is E. Forster, I went to his funeral in Long Isl'nd City, New
York in 1910. His wife's name was-Sophie Kornback.
The next child was i.ry Jane Burtchell and she was married to
George Mechin. There was s John Burtchell, he died in 1926 in New arK,
Early Family 2
New Jersey and he' was single. Th.t is all I know about. mii. There
was another one and I only have it as a record and his narre was
lonzo Burtchell. I don't know heree they got the name from but
I've talked about this David Eurtchell and his family but I'm
going back further on him. Now I understand from the family thv.t
he first came and .worked in lie'nrk, :iew Jersey. Later he ,went to
work for the Carbon Lock Company in Hertford, Connecticut. He become
a foreman there and, while he was there lhe sent for some other members,
of his family. Is other members came over, they, helped some more
,members of the family until thew whole 15 were actually in the United
States. :o:: that is information I received from my uncle, Walter
Burtchell. He didn't say anythin v about the old folks, that is the
parents of David. .They "-robably died and .were buried in .'illkenny,
Ireland. The years they came over to this country they had to go
through whhat w s knon.m as Castle Gr rden. That w as the same as Ellis
Island that was-used later. Ellis Island has .been done awny with es
a receiving point for inmrrni.rants in this country. I don't ktno:r ho':
they Cet in now.
This is a list of Peter Burtchell and Maria Cecelia Gerards'
children. The first w.as ,Clara Cecile, she was born February 3, 1867.
There was is ria. I!mira, she h.was born -pril 20, '1869. There was Wialter
David, he wias born November 11, 10C72. Josephine ,,was born on .":-t em ber.
15, 1875. George Gerard was born on Tpril 27, 1877. There ,was an
'rthur, he was born on .'March 1, :1881 and William.: was born on March 1,
1882. Jane:Francis, she was the eighth, Wr.s'born on' 'ril 13, 1184
and Emma, the ninth child,i was born in March 1887. They were ail
either born in Long Islond City or Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn.
Three of these children I didn't know, that was !rthur, William and
rEmma. They were born in 1881, 1882, and 13887 and they died in 88il,
1882, and 1887. In other words, they didn't live very, long 'n-i it
vas before I was born but they were buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery
and I have a record from the cemetery of their burial.
There was one son, George Ger.'rd, he died on December 30, 17"9,
.in the Phillipine Islands, 'He was a soldier c nd he.is buried at
Cypress Hills ''Cemetery and he ,was single.
Peter Burtchell's oldest child was Cnara Cecile Burtchell, that
wos my mother. She married '.illiiam ndrew Forster. She was born
September 3, 1867 in !lillinrl.burg, that is in Brooklyn. i 1My father
was born in 1856 .in nv nnr:h, Gorcir They married on October 31,
1?`5 in !storia; that is in Oueens County, New York. My mother died
on June 22, 1913 in Brooklyn, Ncv York. She is buried in Greenwood
Cemetery, Lot 14888, Grave 104. Now '.'. father's frthei"'s name was
Charles H. Forster and the mother's namee was Rebecca Kato. I. only
get thot from the records, from the marriage certificate. Now when
my mother married she married pretty young and I don't think it set
very well with her father. However, ,she married. yv father was
wor-in" for the Steinw.y .Pia no Co.j::n.v. He- -was .building a .building,
that is he iwas .j oriin for a contr ctor. But my grandfather was
working for the Steinway Piano Com'.-nv as o-pattern maker 'nd thnt
was how they happened to meet that's my mother and father. Well
vhen they married, my' father left home with my mother and he had 'a
job in Charleston, South Carolina. He worked down there until
.ugust 31, 1886 and that w s when they had the earthriuake in
Charleston, South Carolina. He left there and went to Fernndinn,
Florid: to go to :or!:.. ; i' brother Willy, Illliar.: L. Forster, vims
born on October 12, in Fernni n., Florid. He died on
September 17,. 1907. He died in Santa : Cuba of yellow fever.
He is buried in the Cypress Hills 'itional Cemetery. He vws in the
15th Cavalry, United ."trtes .*rmy. My sister Harriet T:vrtle Forster
wias born Februi.-ry 1, 1889 in Phiiladelohin. I don't 1:no: what nmy
father was. doing in Philadel-hio at the time. In 1913 she married
:.1-red '.:rn and she died on October 18, 1963. Sheis buried'in
Pine Lon- Cemetery, long Island, Hew York I said she w.s married:,
to flfred hnrn he ws born on .Iovcibrr 27, 1880 in Broo'-lyn, :lew
York. He died on-J:,nulrry 21, .1960 and he is buried at Pine Long
Cemetery, Long Island,' New York. They have three daughters; "t the
prcc-hnt time two of the Jr-ughters are married andliving in Lon-,
Island and they i ha c hi.ldren. The.oldest daughter is living in
South Florida ond she is also married ond has one child that has
children or in other words, they are grandparents. In fact, both
oldest .daughters have grandchildren.
Next on the list is ;rthur -iEd:in Forster. I was born on
cFbru a .-ry 24., 1890 in Brooklyn, eITc- York.. I married on. fril 13, 1920
to .Erma Kennedy Pou. ".:, mother told me, that ai s rftcr I was .':r.'n,
I was a man, she told me thrt whilch I was .living in Brooklyn in
Ridgc\:ood in the rea where I. was born, I ,-ot lost and I h"d been
lost for a lon-" time. She 'couldn't find me. She finally found me
rbout- a mile away from ,'here I lived rinthe police station. I must
.1.'. Iy I &l~ 4.
have been somewhere close to three years old, to have walked a mile
or more. I'm icrely making tha,'t statement because on i.ugust 24, 1892
in Both Beach, 'c.. York, that was ':here my brother. was born. Now: I
believe my mother took us all there just before my brother Ernest
was born and i~we probably stayed there.until I rc,,c::,ber in 1895.
I remember living in D-th Beach -ith my grandfather in, 1895. I'11
say more about that later.
I o-. getting back to this -rnest Gerard, I snid he Was "born on
/ugust 24;, .892 1in Bath Beochi, Yor:-. He died on i.ugust 12, 1919,
he is buried in Greenwood Cemetcr ':, Broo1:lnm, Nc w York alongside his
mother., He was a soldier and he was sintile. The only way I:kno;w he
was a soldier,. he wrote me a 'c tter, nd I L.:? :-.sOrc i'..h':re down
in To::c.- I think some time ago i'-:en he was do"n there in the Cavalry.
He said he :as hav.i: n a hor.l.i time because he lost his saddle, .the
Mcyticans stole, it *-i hE had to -,' for it.- Now, he died-on .,ugust 12,
1919.: nd he died in St. Louis, -.:icsu.ri. I ha d .him nhinped back to :
Brooklyn. : He was i:orl:in-.' in St. iouis at the time *ts o tool maker.
I know that because the ri chinist union sent me a check, for $50 in
payment of the death benefit. I. lso had to poy ,?50 out of r-0.' oIn
pocket in order to ,;ct his tools that ,the officiralsin St. Louis had.
Thc-y wanted to put c(.vr.' thin,'-, th t bclon:ed to my brother in cash and:
merely have it put in the bank. ; So later on vfhen I was oble to drove
that _rnest was my brother, they sent me the money as being the heir.
T.f:it is probably the r~-. ht, 7wayto, h-'ndle it, -I don't know, bu t it was
prtt:' inconvenient for meet the 'time,.e
Yr ly, F -_ r
Now my wife, I'r. .. c lnneld, Pou, ,.s born on.September 26, 1900
in Ponnrncolo, Floride. I think. sco.-cnce I G.- I : r married on
april 13, 1920 .nd shc died .n i.-y 14, 1i'3. She is buried in
St. John s Cemetery, Pensacolao Florida. I hove two' sons', Frnnk-
and DSn. Both of them were in ITorld .Tr II end, re fortunate and
returned home. Both have r-oorl jobs st the p:recent time and nice
jt this time I'm not roinn to snc'- bout n- .notler's brothers
and sisters. I moy get to that i-ntcr on. I r,. goin; to speak a
little. bit about myr:._ nmoth' r, that is her family. ,.:o.. her father's
name wos Steven Jason Gerard and her ::other's nrrle wes Jane. Cut:''idge.
I don't- know much about either one of. them, 'that is os f: r *as dtes
of births and so forth but I hve ~ statc'cnat here that is accreditedc
to Steven Jeson Gerard. 'Io'r I get this fro;.: the family also, I"
..ouldn't be old enough tol :now, .I understand that he vm s a government
representative in Chi.-. He .'ent nnd returned 7'.ron1 Chins vin the
prccent route of the P-n .nr Cn- 1. That is. .n n'- City tind' BL3b. '-
over :ou ntnins on p ick mules with guides in the 1840's .nd was 'ith.
his, faImily. Todw I do n't now .what members of, the fr-.mily that his
r-ference to but there were other '."r-..il es in the '.- ty going their
wy and r.: turning. :The next I.hearrd :. vus in the tobacco bci .1. s ,.
in tew Orleans, Louisiana. Now tthint wa s where r.iy grnrio. rather, :-rin
Cecelia Gerard, we,, s born in ;,:w Orleans, Louisinn in 184l. 'There
is-no mention their e r.s. to just how l1on1, ,he' was in :-,.i Orleans in the
.tobacco business..'-bThe next I heard from -1him, he .'"._ -in' the, shi:smith'
Early F lyiily 7
buiinccs .in Long.Island City, ITel: York?. I believe he lived tho'r? in
Long Island City, :;-'. York bi'-: -use another duh;thter, Josephine Gcr- rd
that married Thomaes Marshal1 D .vison,.n as born May 30, 1C54.in New,
York end Francis, who married Oscar F. Dubuis, was born in 1'52- and
it says Long Islnd .City, -ce York. So I .uerGs he was in the ship
businesss !bcrore the Civil War and probably during the Civil ':.r. The
records I have received ,iy thick Steven Jcson Gerard had nine children.
There wa, s ::'irid Cecelia .Gorard thhtrmarried Peter Burtchell; Josephine
Gerard that married Thoi.,c, Marshall Divlson; .Hilliam Gerard that
married i-'.ol' Ruch; Francis .Gerard that married. Oscar F. Dubuis and
there are five others thl-,t I, never met. There is David, I don't' knov'
r:.ything about himn l; lnmirdc, that r. rried John Collocr; 'llen rnd :-
both of them single I'. and, Lollie married Canie ,Ma mic.
SNow this, illiam1r, :'-. was known as Uncle Uilly, he married Buela
-iich;" I never met her but I found this inforir, tion in the records.
i t this iril-i-', Gerard, Uncle Willy Gerard, I kn. w him. Hen s an
onern singer; I. don't, mean' that he was the head opera sinr'.e, -he w.-s
in .the chorus and he used to o ..out .every year, every ,winter, and he
,was in 'the o'cr. Some opera, I don't know which or where he w:'ent
but he went througth'- t tih..: Unit"; d States on an opera tour.. i'hon.he
came bnc-k he would come back as a drOccsra.i. :er,. He used to make ladies'
dreses It cc -.?e E .to be a funny business to be an or)ern ."ingr.r rnd
a dressmaker but that was his business and he seemed to do prctt ,' well
by it.. He just went out of n'. mind, I don't know \:hat happencd to
Now getting bnck to my .f,:'i ly a.ain. When we moved from U:i-r.:-
wiood w-hen.-Iwas a. child and .before. my brother. was born, :I guess that
Wos m';ien my foCther 3.cft his"AmriJly, pmobobly' forlthE MAiSt KAIC; I
Woit know. Y think j%6jidI T bxb on6 Qrebruwry, 2t4, 1)901 I"y
VAolNl i-w nozt es bor on fij ,ut: 24., 1892.. That imale- te just
qboyut b t~o ndn hqlf :y"'r Oldl#r thon Uim.