.jump-link{ display:none }

Thursday, 15 February 2018

The Sad Tale of a Valentine Day's Baby

 On 14th February 1888 Arthur Valentine Mason 
was born in Brooklyn, New York.   

He was the seventh child of John Mason and Alice Rawcliffe, sister of my great grandmother Maria Rawcliffe. The New York Passenger Lists online showed that John Mason sailed from Liverpool to the USA in 1886, to be joined a year later by his wife.

What had prompted the decision to leave their home and large extended family in the fishing town of Fleetwood, Lancashire to live in the teeming tenements of Brooklyn? 

 Alice Mason, nee Rawcliffe

33 year old Alice travelled with  six children between the ages of 1 year and 11 years - Robert William, Jane Elizabeth, John Thomas, James Richard, Margaret Alice and George Rawcliffe - all family Christian names. She managed  with just two pieces of baggage!. What on earth was life like for them all on the voyage? 

Arthur Valentine was their first born on American soil but his life proved short, and he died 3rd April 1891, just after his third birthday.

But Arthur's name lived on in the family, with son Harold Arthur Victor born a month later on 8th May 1891.  More American born children followed - Lilian Eveline in 1894, Bessie Irene in 1896, and Florence Adelaide in 1898. 

John Mason with his youngest daughter Florence Adelaide, c.1906

Sadly Lilian and Bessie, too, did not survive infancy. Was the loss of three children in New York something to do with the crowded living conditions they encountered there?

The 1900 census for the City of New York, Brooklyn showed the large Mason household of ten living at 72 Hall Street,  in what was probably an apartment building with four other families at the same address. John was described as an insurance agent.

By the time of the 1920 Census, the family had moved across river to New Jersey, and their descendants remain there today. 

Standing:    Robert & Harry
 Middle: Thomas (John Thomas), Jenny (Jane Elizabeth), Mother Alice, Father John,  & James
Bottom :  Alice (Margaret Alice), Florence & George 

There is no date on tins photograph , but I would guess around 1920,  judging by the age of Florence.  

It is all thanks to the power of the Internet and then my blogging activity that I discovered the story of my American connections, with thanks to Bonny, my third cousin, granddaughter of Florence above.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment which will appear on screen after moderation.