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Showing posts from January, 2016

Mary Jones Blake

Mary Jones Blake, my maternal great-great grandmother was born on this day-January 12th in 1861.  One hundred and fifty five years ago.  I grew up hearing the occasional anecdote about her, but never really learning the facts of her life. 
Mary's life was an ordinary one, but at the same time extraordinary. She was born four months before the United States Civil War and died after the conclusion of the second World War.  The 1865 New York Census lists her parents as basket makers and they lived in Johnsontown, NY a rural hamlet forty miles and a lifetime North of Manhattan. Mary's parents were born in Johnsontown, and I suspect their parents were as well. So was her daughter and all five of her grandchildren including, in 1906 my grandfather.
In the 1920's and 1930's when Mary was a grandmother, Johnsontown and several surrounding towns were demolished by NY and NJ Pallisades Interstate Park Commission to make room for Lake Welch, a swimming area, park and picnic area fo…