Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cousin Albon Hatch Holden

Like any good family tree researcher, Sarah Cummings is slowly, methodically, contacting living relatives from each of her mother's siblings. She received this letter on 24 Sep 1880. I just love the letterhead, it is more than the Chicago Enamel Paint company, it's the Celebrated Chicago Enamel Paint company! I wonder if the drawing of the house is a picture of his office, or his house? Maybe it is both. Either way, Cousin Albon was very hard to place. He signs his letter, just like his name is printed on the letterhead, A. H. Holden. To make matters worse, his letter is written on an onion skin paper and the ink he used must have had a high acid content. It is eating right through the paper and makes for a difficult read.

He starts his letter like so many of the letters Sarah received - with an apology for the long delay in answering. If I were answering Sarah's letter, I would probably need the same apology! He then goes on to mention his vacation. He was camping on an Island in the St. Lawrence. I was intrigued by this, as the St. Lawrence is quite a distance from Chicago. He mentions a clue, he states the island was across from Ft. Covington. A quick search and I think I have found his vacation spot. He undoubtedly is talking about the 1,000 Islands region. Supposedly, this is the place 1,000 Island dressing is named for. In the latter part of the 19th century this was the summer hangout of the rich and famous from New York and Chicago. This might explain why cousin Albon Holden was there. He had accumulated a nice estate, thought he was quick to point out to Sarah, "not so much money that I still have to work to earn a living". I clipped a small announcement from the Chicago Tribune dated 30 Apr 1888. It was letting the residents of Chicago know the 1,000 Island region was once again open and ready for a new season of vacationers.

Cousin Albon also mentions that Uncle Milton Holden came by to visit while he was camping. Uncle Milton is the camphor refiner I mentioned a couple of posts back. I wonder if he had a faint smell of mothballs? His letter really does not go into any great length about his family. He mentions both his first and second wives and lists a couple of children. He also mentions some of his siblings. I know he is not a son of Josiah, Adams, Phineas, or Milton Holden. That only leaves two male Holden children, William Cummings Holden b. 16 Aug 1791 or David Holden b. 27 Dec 1802. David dies in 1833, and Cousin Albon mentions his mother died before in 1846 and his father was still living. So it must be William Cummings Holden is the father of Albon Hatch Holden. When I check the Holden Genealogy (which I have cited in previous posts), Albon is indeed listed as his son. There is also a footnote by the author stating that a portrait exists of William Cummings Holden and is owned by one of Albon's children.

I included the 1880 Federal census for Chicago, Illinois. It has the household for Albon Holden and some of his children. I was hoping to find a little more out about the Chicago Enamel Paint company, but didn't turn much up. I suppose you might be able to find more information with a visit to a library or historical society in Chicago...

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