December 11, 2014

Cornell Family Dialogue Via Blog Post Comments




KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY was the most commented on post on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, an online magazine-style blog. It’s connected numerous persons delving into the Cornell family (Twitter hashtags #Cornellgenealogy, #Cornellfamily).

  • Hi Carolyn, I am the great, great, great grandson of William and Margaret O’Neal Cornell of Bedford PA.  I’m trying to figure out if I belong to the New England family line or the French Huguenot family line or a lesser known family….Maybe you could help!  Patrick, received on CAROLYN’S BIO July 23, 2013

I decided to post a list of these comments separately from the list of a review of other CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS comments because the information is valuable for Cornell family researchers.

NOTE: This article is being rewritten. Upon review I discovered I made multiple writing errors which I will correct after January 1, 2015, on the CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS follow-up blog, CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE. To reread the edited copy type CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE after January 15, 2015.

Below are the Cornell family comments on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS:

  • this story fascinates me! I found it a couple of years ago when I came across clues that suggest we’re also Cornell descendants here in Oklahoma! I had to buy the book. I’m reading it again because I want to share the story with my family on my blog, American Saga. I will track back to you when I get it written. Jan
  • Thomas Cornell was my eighth great grandfather. I’m going to Rhode Island in three weeks to visit these spots you mention and others. Were you able to find the graveyard where he is buried? Cameron Cornell  — January 3, 2009
  • I recently spoke to the author, Dr. Crane, who assured me she had found the family burial plot deep in the overgrown woods. It is not located on the government property. I visited this spot in Rhode Island a month or so ago, and walked back in the woods, but did not go deep enough to locate the plot. I’ll try again in the spring. John W. Cornwell  — January 22, 2009


July 12, 2014

Photos of Cherished Relics



The WordPress photo challenge for July 11, 2014 asks What images does “relic” conjure for you?  My husband Monte asked what a relic was, so I looked up the definition:

Relic (noun):

  1.  Something that has survived the passage of time, especially an object or custom whose original culture has disappeared: “Corporal punishment was a relic of barbarism”(Cyril Connolly).
  2. Something cherished for its age or historic interest.
  3. An object kept for its association with the past; a memento.
  4. An object of religious veneration, especially a piece of the body or a personal item of a saint.
  5. or relics A corpse; remain

The third definition of relic hit a chord—I have numerous objects I keep for their association with the past. However, these items also have historic interest, so the second definition also suits the following photographs.


This post card of a boat named Arabella was given to me by a collector in East Lamoine, Maine. It was built by my great grandfather, Allan Walker, who had a second home in East Lamoine:

The 39-foot boat the Arabella was built in the barn behind Woodward School, Quincy MA, in 1921

The 39-foot boat the Arabella was built in the barn behind Woodward School, Quincy MA, in 1921

I also have in my memorabilia collection copies of the old funeral cards of Allan’s father, Charles F. Walker, and Allan’s brother, Charles E. Walker:



The following picture is of a


May 29, 2014

Between a rock and a hard place for anchovies and Maine settlers





(From Pacific to Atlantic oceans)


The northern anchovies had a choice: be eaten by a predator in their coastal water site or seek shelter in a harbor. They instinctively knew the danger in their waters. They couldn’t predict the danger in the harbor. After all, a harbor is reputed to be a safe haven.

They didn’t know whatever choice they made would be fatal—being eaten by a predator or deprived of oxygen in the harbor. They couldn’t know they would become a pungent-smelling silvery blanket on the harbor’s water surface, which would create a feeding frenzy for harbor seals, pelicans, and seagulls.*

The between-a-rock-and-a-hard place-story took place in Marina Del Rey, California.


This story takes me back to my time of my ancestral discovery in Maine—to Old Orchard Beach and Thomas Rogers, who wed Esther Foxwell in 1657, to be specific.

Googin's Rocks at Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Googin’s Rocks at Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Thomas was an inhabitant of Old Orchard as early as 1638. He was probably a gardener bred. His house and plantation in Goosefair were near the sea and in the middle line of a   patent. The fruit trees and grape vines he planted, some of which were standing in 1770, led early coastal explorers refer to his cultivated land as Rogers Gardens. The remains of his orchards gave the town its name: Old Orchard.

Then the Indians attacked his house. After a severe struggle, in which some of them were slain, they withdrew. Mr. Rogers and his family immediately moved to Kittery. Having left some goods in his house at Goosefair, his sons and others went to remove them.

Googin's Rocks...

Googin’s Rocks…

Local oral history relates the following story:

 While gathering their belongings Native Americans attacked the Rogers family, which escaped to the out-jutting  rocks on the beach, where they could hide. As the tide rose, they were confronted with a choice: (more…)

May 24, 2014

Recognizing a Veteran: Robert W.Cornell




If you were a student of Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell,

I’d like to hear from you.

Please make a note in the comment box following this post.

It’s not surprising that a child follows in his/her father’s footsteps, It’s a twist when the child is separated from his/her father and his family at an early age, having no paternal contact or influence.

This is my situation. My parents were divorced before I began school, and before that his Navy career kept him away from the routine contact we would have had had he had a job where he came home every night.

Thus, it is a twist that when I first picked up a camera in my early teens I used it creatively and with joy. I wrote of our connection earlier: Two Photographers Named Cornell  

Being that this is Memorial Day I’m departing from posting pictures I’ve taken and, as a twist, I am posting a few pictures shot by my father, career Navy man Robert W. Cornell, Chief Naval Photographer.

Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell

Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell




April 17, 2014

WP Daily Prompt: Humble Pie—Apology Letter



Hug for Tim


(WordPress Prompt for November 30, 2013)

Dear Tim,

I hope you have a recipe for humble pie . I need you to bake one for me.

Let me explain.

We, as fellow writers, have been friends for many years. Once we discussed starting a writing group together. However, the Foothills Writers Group only began when YOU took the initiative and set up meetings in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

The group met successfully for more than six years. Then you had too many obligations to continue it, and I was relocating to another community. Thus, the Foothills group of loyal writers became discontinued.

Yes, we were friends. However, there was an issue on which we always conflicted. It was an issue that brought out my…well, my frustration with you, and perhaps a hint of anger…because you never seemed to consider my background, which differed from yours and all the other group members.

The conflict was based on your great pride about living in the mountains, in the rolling hills, of Southwestern Pennsylvania. You speak of your ancestral home providing you with a sense of place. Thus, whenever you set up a prompt, it was related to Southwestern Pennsylvania.

1 IMG_8162E

Tim, you knew I couldn’t relate to the hills, the topography, the place of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Yet I believed you expected me to write impassioned responses to your prompts. After all, everyone else (more…)

May 19, 2013

WP Daily Prompt: Helping Hand: A Handwritten Letter



The WordPress daily prompt for today, May 8, 2013 is Tell us about the most surprising helping hand you’ve ever received.


Perhaps it isn’t the most surprising helping hand I’ve ever received. However, it is the first thought that comes to my mind.

The helping hand was one holding a pen, writing a letter, putting it in an envelope, stamping it and mailing it.


The letter dropped on the floor through our old-fashioned mail-slot. My husband Monte picked up the mail that day and handed me several pieces of mail. I sat down on the stairs to open it.

Davis was the name on the return address of one envelope.

Darn, I thought. “I just submitted my article on the Davis’s 50th wedding anniversary. The information in this letter had better be good if I am to recall the article and amend it.”

I slit open the flap and two pieces of paper fell out. This letter didn’t concern the newspaper article. It was from my father’s cousin in Florida and most likely contained something about my family genealogy.

I opened up one sheet. It was a genealogy, but I noticed the more recent section had more names on it than what I already had. What I read changed my perception of who I was and where I lived.

“Monte,” I said. “Bob is playing a trick on me.”

“Oh?” he questioned.

“Yes. Somehow he (more…)

December 30, 2012

Boilo: A Pennsylvanian/Lithuanian Yule Beverage




 New Word: Boilo
Pronounciation: BOY-low
Definition: alcoholic yule-tide cocktail; coal country cocktail, …1
(Not just any coal country. Pennsylvania coal country.)
…a name unique to a handful of Pennsylvania counties.
And not just any Pennsylvania coal county.

My sources speak of counties that, more than one hundred years ago, were BRISKAY, ALBERT PIX 005epopulated with Lithuanian immigrants who mined anthracite coal. This includes the Schuylkill County community of Minersville, town where my the family of my maternal grandfather—Adam Borinsky, a. k. a. Albert Charles Briskay—emigrated from Europe to America in 1894 when my grandfather was two years old.
Thus it can be concluded that boilo is a part of my heritage, probably consumed, and perhaps made by, my ancestors, who lived in boilo’s epicenter: Brewing up a batch of wassail-like boilo is a time-honored traditional event, with roots in the early mining communities and cultures of northeast Pennsylvania, especially in the Schuylkill county area.2
The invention of (more…)

November 18, 2012

A Record for the Most Santa Hats on Two Continents Simultaneously





What have Brockton, Massachusetts and Mullingar, Ireland had in common?


A competition to see which community can gather the most people together wearing Santa hats.


In 2008 Brocktonians gathered together to set a world record for the most people wearing Santa hats. Over 500 persons participated.

The following year the Irish Echo reported that Mullingar had joined in on the fun and broken Brockton’s record with a gathering of 780 persons.

The competition was on. In 2010 Brocton reclaimed its record with 982 participants, and maintained the record in 2011 with 1780 participants. This year the two communities are collaborating rather than competing. They aim to set a world record for the most simultaneous Santa hat wearers on two continents. Readers can view a live simulcast with a CLICK HERE FOR LIVE SIMULCAST at 1:00 p. m. today, November 18, 2012.

NOTE: If you live in Ireland click on the site at 6:00 p. m.1


I must confess that even though the competition turned into a collaboration intrigues me, I have an ulterior interest in Brocton. My father, Robert William Cornell, was born and raised on Cross Street in that city.

My husband Monte and I visit the community when we travel through New England.

In 2003 Monte and I raced a storm and reached Brocton a half hour before the mid-February blizzard. We were there for the funeral of my aunt, Nyllis Gardner.

On another note:


What do Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and Brocton, Massachusetts have in common?


Mary Rugh Cubbage Cornell, the granddaughter of Michael Rugh, one of the original pioneer settlers in Westmoreland County (my home county), married Broctonian Irving Cornell and lived out her post-marriage life in Brocton.

Let me explain. Michael and Elizabeth Rugh’s daughter Elizabeth migrated to Iowa and Illinois in the mid-1800s. She wed William Cubbage. Mary, one of their daughters, when grown, took a vacation to San Francisco, California. While there she shopped for a pair of shoes. At the shoe store she met a shoe distributor from Massachusetts, Irving Cornell. It must have been love at first sight, because they married and moved to his hometown, Brocton. Mary is buried in Coweeset Cemetery.

One of Mary and Irving Cornell’s three children, William Cornell, wed Ida Victoria Berg. One of their children, Robert William Cornell, is my father. That makes Mary my great-grandmother.

When my husband and I retired we decided to move into the Westmoreland County (PA) community where my daughter lived, the very same county where Mary’s grandfather Michael was born and raised.

So I’ve brought the circle to a close by returning to the ancestral roots Mary Rugh brought to the Brocton Cornell family.


The Santa hat event was inspired by the story of the first department store Santa, Brockton native (more…)

June 28, 2012

Air Show in Latrobe (PA) Features the Navy Blue Angels


AIR SHOW IN LATROBE (Pennslyvania)


I wasn’t seated in the best spot to watch the Westmoreland County Air Show last weekend. I wasn’t on the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport  (Latrobe, Pennsylvania) tarmac.

I was on a grassy hill on the nearby St. Vincent College campus.

I chose being in the shade because I had a lobster-red sunburn acquired on Lake Erie during a visit there—at a time when the temperatures reached almost as high as the century mark that many persons seek to live to. Being with my two young grandsons I stayed in the water too long. But then, that’s another story.

My choice of watching the show from the college campus meant I could watch the show while luxuriating in the shade of a canopy of limbs belonging to old unidentified trees.

It also meant I would miss all the activities below the tree line and on the ground—among them the Smoke ‘N Thunder jet car run, the Medical helicopter demonstration with local Emergency Medical Services, and the Alabama Boys, Greg Koontz comedy routine and truck top landing (this last I watched today on the Internet:

I also missed an up-close view of the North American B-25 Mitchell medium-range bomber, a World War II relic. The B-25s were used by Lt. Col. James Doolittle and his men who flew the first raid over Tokyo in April 1942, about four months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.3


More important, I missed being in as close a proximity to the Navy’s Blue Angels as was possible, which meant that I lost opportunity to nudge up to a pilot who was willing to (more…)

May 1, 2012

Elwin Holland: Heuvelton, New York



NOTE: This article was first published in the Gouverneur, New York, newspaper, the Tribune Press, in recognition of Elwin’s 90th birthday, May 2, 2010. Some changes have been made to update it, and pictures have been added.

Elwin Holland was born May 2, 1920, in his family’s Maple Ridge Road farmhouse.

<—Elwin at age3

On May 2, 2010, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. he celebrated his 90th birthday at an open house at the AMVETS Post #1997 in Heuvelton, New York. Friends were asked to share their reminiscences to this event.

Holland was the fourth of ten children born to the late Edwin P. and Gertrude Stevenson Holland. His surviving siblings are Marjorie Dier, Edwards; Grace Londraville, Watertown, and Monte Holland, Laurel Mountain Borough, Pennsylvania. His late siblings are Ardis Bigelow, Lynn Holland, Fern O’Brien, Alton Holland, Worth Holland and Joyce Odell.

Holland’s first memory is standing in his high chair at age 3, watching a fire in a tenant house on the farm.

Holland and his only first-grade classmate, two of 35 students at a District 11 one-room schoolhouse, failed the grade because (more…)

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