This information was contributed by Nancy Searles - New Haven Town
Historian, and transcribed by Mary Lou Guindon. For further information
on any of the names below, or the resources available for New Haven, please
check our Town Historian & Historical
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Elizabeth DeAngelis Wells Shepard
D. September 29, 1922
Mrs. Elizabeth Shepard was raised by her parents farm here in New Haven. At an early age she was sent to Buffalo to finishing school, living with an aunt. She met and married Mr. Shepard at her aunt's house in Buffalo. They had three children. After the death of their first child, they traveled to Europe, they also had a third son, C. Sidney Shepard.
In a letter written by C. Sidney Shepard to a reporter, concerning some untruths, he wrote, "My mother was told in effect in Italy by a teacher who brought out all of Rossini's Operas that her voice did not have the great power that it should have had in order to fill an opera house. She was studying merely for pleasure and the suggestion of her instructor was a great surprise. She was married from her aunt's house in Buffalo many, many years before going abroad." This tells of her lovely voice.
Mrs. Elizabeth Shepard, was very active in New Haven Congregational Church, having the kitchen and dining room area built onto the church.
In 1911, C. Sidney had a Franklin car built to special order for his mothers use. She was chauffeured by the same chauffeur and never over 30 mph. After her death the car was put on blocks and never drove again. In 1934, after C. Sidney passed away, the car was sold.
She was very interested in astronomy, so her son had a tower built with one of the finest telescopes in the world for her pleasure. Until 1916 when she broke her hip, she spent many hours in the tower. Mr. Westinghouse, a friend of C. Sidney, was then called upon to design and install a commercial radio for her pleasure. It is said Mr. Westinghouse came to New Haven, himself, to make sure the radio was installed and working properly.
Mrs. Elizabeth Shepard, also had a 150 foot flag pole installed. The flag was put up and taken down by six men every day. She always wanted t see an army tank, so her son had one sent from Oswego.
She was a lady in every respect and did much for individuals in the community, as for the community itself before her death.
Following her death and burial in the family musoleum in Buffalo, her son suffered depression and spent little time in New Haven the following year. Eventually, he went back to his business as usual spending more time at the New Haven Estate. He died at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York in 1934.
Anna Spencer was born to Daniel and Ruth Jerrett Spencer in New Haven New York. She had three brothers, being the only girl she was expected to help with all the household chores, cleaning dishes, serving meals, etc. She longed to be outdoors with her father and brothers. Today we would call these feelings, that of a "tomboy".
One day when she was about nine, the call of summer activities beckoned her to go out in the fields with her father and brothers, not doing the dishes or the other chores given. When she returned home, the kitchen chores were waiting! She remembered over fifty years later, that day. Her mother did not speak to her for over a week. She said that "Silent Treatment" was the worst kind of punishment for a child. She never forgot it!
Anna had hoped to become a registered nurse but never found the time to attend a hospital school of nursing... Her education in the Dowd country school, a mile from home gave solid teachings attested to by her achievements. She never left home in New Haven except for a brief time when she nursed her brother Daniel, who had T.B. and was sent to Saranac Lake for treatment. After his death, she returned to the 110 acre Brick Homestead on NY 104.
In 1937, she opened her home to taking in a person to care for as she had her brother and parents. By the second year, she had five patients. In those days there were no nursing homes. Her brother, Richard, unmarried, lived in the family home too. He helped care for the patients. She never had intentions of operating a nursing home, but her skill was widely known to others. She soon had a large number of patients and a state license for operating a nursing home. Her brother, Richard, not only helped with the breakfast but helped her by raising fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, and poultry for their diets.
Her hobby and love were flower gardens, especially the roses. She had many rare species. She would spend all of her free moments working in her flower beds alone on the west side of the driveway. At the age of eighty-nine, she was allowing most of the nursing care of the patients to be done by her able assistants. But the ordering of foods, supplies, bookkeeping, payroll, and patients' records were still ably done by her until one week before her death at age ninety-one. At the time of her death, three of the assistants had been there for over twenty, fourteen, and nine years which indicated the loyalty, confidence and pride in their work at the Spencer Nursing Home. With the death of Anna Spencer, her legacy was carried on by Mary Searles. Mary continued to operate the nursing home for two more years and then converted it into an adult home. The adult home operated until 1984, when due to state regulations it was forced to close. The brick structure still remains today, much as it did in 1877 the year Anna was born. It is again a private home.
I was introduced to this homemaker, mother and ancestor through daily diaries that she kept from 1867 - 1890. Each day she noted the weather and told about her husband, John and her son, Herbert and their daily work. John and Herbert were usually noted for farm chores, doing the wood or going to the "Grist Mill" at the Hollow. There is some entries of them drawing milk to the cheese factory run by the Jerret-Keefe-Spencer family.
Rhoda was engeaged in the caring for the family's needs. Getting the children off to school, preparing meals, washing and scrubbing clothes, pressing the clothes, or mending them. In August 1872, Rhoda tells of picking and washing saffron with her daughter Mary. Saffron was used as a dye for cloth or as a seasoning.
Christmas 1873, was spent with the Barkers, George and Emily Searles and Mr. & Mrs. Squires, showing the importance of their extended family. Rhoda speaks often of traveling by sleigh and horse to Smithville, Brownville and Adams to visit family.
Churning butter was a part of daily life, with no refridgeration, the cream was churned daily to butter and stored in the cool cellar. She told of selling 30-50 lbs. in the city of Oswego.
Rhoda was very faithful and attended church weekly. People stopped at her home for a meal or to stay overnight as they traveled to Watertown, Rome or other places. It was similar to a modern day "Bed and Breakfast."
1884 diary entries
Feb. 4- "John failing and sufferin' she gives names of men taking care of him
Feb. 14- John breathing his last and went to rest five minutes before 3 p.m.
Feb. 17- John buried today 12 o'clock from the house. Herbert bad, seems failing
June 16- my poor boy left us half past 7 p.m. Mary's baby is very bad
June 17- staid all day baby is very bad, very bad.
June 18- the little one sinking fast
June 19- I came back last night our pet past away this morning, half past four. my poor boy to his last visiting place.
June 21- We buried our pet 2 p.m.
June 23- I worked in the garden, one week tonight since my boy went
November- I went to Schuyler Barker I got him to go to the village to see and help about getting the monumetn. It is...
Mrs. Elizabeth DeAngelis Wells Shepard
Compiled from C. Sidney Shepard letters, clippings, etc. in the Town of the New Haven History files. A box of genealogy and materials in separate file were also used for this article.
MISS ANNA SPENCER
Compiled from an article in the Palladium Times Newspaper, 1965 and from personal knowledge.
RHODA GREEN SEARLES
Compiled from daily diaries that she kept from 1867-1890. They are in possesion of her great-great-granddaughters.
1999, 2000 Laura Perkins / New Haven Town Historian - Nancy Searles / Mary