Saturday, January 12, 2019

Florence Darlington: An epilogue about the beginning

Previously on the Florence Darlington chronicles...

It's been a heck of a week for research on Florence Darlington, who has a minor but apparently crucial tie to my family history. In posts this past Sunday and Tuesday, I finally discovered and confirmed some details about her life with reasonable certainty. That includes her date of death and place of burial.

The biggest piece of the puzzle still missing was information about when and where she was born. But reader Charlie Connelly has swooped in as a history hero and provided some information to fill in the blanks. Connelly, who contacted me on Twitter, is an author whose books include the splendid Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast, a history of BBC Radio's iconic maritmie weather report. You can check out his spiffy website here.

Here's the information that Connelly provided about Florence Darlington, which kind of brings things full circle. He says he found much of it on (which I don't have a subscription to).

  • Florence was born on June 24, 1895, in Wilmington, Delaware. Her parents were Ida L. Walker and Evan J. Darlington.
  • She was issued a Social Security number by Delaware in 1973 (which helped to provide secondary confirmation for her dates of birth and death).
  • She is listed in the 1940 United States census, as the 45-year-old wife of Leon G. Moore. Fifteen-year-old daughter Jean is also listed on that census. Leon is listed as a brokerage salesman. There is no occupation noted for Florence.
  • And here's a little more about Florence's parents. Her father, Evan J. Darlington, was born on August 31, 1856, in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Elisha and Sidney P. (Stern) Darlington. Her mother, Ida J. Walker, was born on May 22, 1858, the daughter of John Walker Jr. and Sophia D. Heck. Evan and Ida were married on April 8, 1886. Evan is described as follows: "He is a bookkeeper in Wilmington. He is a crack marksman, having inherited a love for the use of firearms, and with it a rifle which belonged to his grandfather; and, like his father, is noted for proficiency with this weapon."
  • Florence's siblings were Bertha W. Darlington (born 1887) and Helen Darlington (born 1889). Recall that it was Helen Darlington Husband's 1979 obituary that provided one of the key clues on this interesting research journey.

Thank you again, Charlie! It's fair to say that we now know, as recorded in this week's three posts, all of the key genealogical details about Florence Darlington Moore's life and death. We don't some of the fun stuff, such as books she liked, her favorite meal, her hobbies and her pets. But those are, sadly, the things that get lost in the sands of time if they aren't recorded in letters, diaries or blogs. And we don't know the circumstances of how she knew my great-grandparents and introduced them, or if they even kept in touch after that. But some mysteries will always remain, won't they?

Friday, January 11, 2019

1907 RPPC: Feeding the ducks

This real photo postcard features a nice woman who is feeding and watering the ducks. I hope she's not fattening them up for the dinner table, but I reckon that's a possibility.

The card was postmarked at 9 a.m. on August 15, 1907, in New Holland, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (The Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs, 5-1, on that day. The Cubs, with Tinker, Evers and Chance, won the World Series later that year.)

The postcard was mailed to Miss Mary E. Steinmetz of Reading. That fits a person I discovered who was born in 1905, so I guess it's possible this postcard was sent to a toddler, perhaps as a "hello" from a relative.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Happy 71st birthday, Mom

Mom would have turned 71 years old today. I've written a lot about her life in the past two years here under the Mom's Life label. Today, I just wanted to share some cool pictures of her. These exist as 8x10 photographs, probably circa 1967 or 1968. There's no date or further information on the back of the prints. Perhaps she was helping a fellow Lycoming College student by serving as a model for a photography class; the interplay of light and shadow seems to be some of the focus. Whatever the case, I think they're pretty neat.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Newspaper items from
100 years ago today

It's always interesting to dip into the past and see how much things have changed. And sometimes how much they have not changed. These items are from the Thursday, January 9, 1919, edition of The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat of Keokuk, Iowa.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In Search Of... Florence Darlington
(aka Florence Darlington Moore)

Keeping up the momentum from Sunday's honkin' huge post, I think we can say at this point with 85 to 90 percent confidence that Florence Darlington Moore is the Florence Darlington we're looking for. The one who introduced my great-grandparents and thus helped, as one of the butterflies flapping its wings far away, to assure my existence.

We think we know:

  • She's from Delaware
  • Her mother was Ida L. Darlington, who died in 1925
  • She married Leon G. Moore, who died at age 72 in January 1966
  • She had a daughter named Jean Darlington Moore
  • Jean married World War II veteran John Woodside Croft, a South Carolina native, in May 1949

What we still don't know yet are the birth year or death year for Florence Darlington Moore. We think we know that she was alive, though, as late as May 1979, when someone with her name is mentioned as a survivor of her late sister, Helen.

So let's turn our attention today to her daughter and son-in-law. They lived more recently, and so it was easier to find a little about their lives.

  • John Woodside Croft was born on January 10, 1922, and died on February 12, 1977, at age 55.
  • Jean Moore Croft was born on July 26, 1924, and died on October 26, 2004, at age 80, having outlived her husband by 27 years.

Jean's obituary on Find A Grave, frustratingly, doesn't mention her parents:
Jean Moore Croft,
Rehoboth summer resident
Jean Moore Croft, 80, who spent summers in Rehoboth Beach, died Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, in Houston, Texas.

Mrs. Croft was born July 26, 1924, in Wilmington. She attended Stuart Hall Preparatory School in Staunton, Va. and graduated from Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Mrs. Croft spent every summer at the family's beach house in Rehoboth Beach. Although Mrs. Croft spent the majority of her adult life in the south, Rehoboth Beach was always "home."

Mrs. Croft was a member of The Junior League Tea Room, Houston Racquet Club, Retired Officers Wives Club and St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John W. Croft, in 1977.

Mrs. Croft is survived by her children, Linda Moore Croft of Atlanta, Ga., Diane Croft Murray, Holly Croft Hardin and John W. Croft, Jr. all of Houston; and her grandchildren Laura Murray, Ryan Murray, John H. Croft, Cara Croft and William Hardin.

Services were held in the Old Church of St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas. An additional funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004 at St. George's Chapel at Angola with burial following in the adjacent All Saints Cemetery where Mrs. Croft will be buried near her beloved hometown of Rehoboth Beach.

Contributions are suggested in loving memory of Mrs. Croft's husband to the American Cancer Society, P.O Box 570127, Houston, TX 77257.

Arrangements by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Lewes.
So, she lived out her days in Texas, but was buried back near her "beloved" Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I wonder if she's buried near her parents.

* * *


And it was then, using "Jean Moore Croft" as my search term in, that I discovered Florence Darlington's obituary...

She died on Thursday, December 22, 1988. This is the entirety of her obituary in The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware:
Florence D. Moore
REHOBOTH BEACH — Florence D. Moore, 94, of 11 Pennsylvania Ave., died Thursday of heart failure in Lewes Convalescent Center.

Mrs. Moore was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Her husband, Leon G., died several years ago. She is survived by a daughter, Jean Moore Croft of Houston, Texas; four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in All Saints Cemetery, Angola.
The "died several years ago" part about her husband is an understatement. She outlived her husband by 22 years. I'm a little bummed that the obituary doesn't include more information, such as when she was born. But we can assume, given that she died in late December 1988, that she was probably born 1894. Which is close to what I reckoned all along.

It looks like mother and daughter are, indeed, buried in the same cemetery: All Saints Cemetery in Angola, Delaware.

Here's a final fascinating bit of Twilight Zone level trivia: Florence Darlington Moore died exactly one week after my great-grandmother, Greta Miriam Chandler Adams, who herself had died at age 94 on December 15, 1988.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Mount Zion Lutheran Church cemetery photos

Longtime readers know that I love a good old cemetery. We have many of them here in central Pennsylvania. In this case, these are the artsy-fartsy Instagram versions of photographs that I took while I procrastinated on my Christmas shopping on December 15 at Mount Zion Lutheran Church at 2164 Mount Zion Road in Springettsbury Township, York County.

According to the church's website, "Mount Zion’s beginning goes back to 1844 when farmers in the area met in various homes to worship and hear the preaching of Reverend Martin, a Lutheran minister. Within a few years, a Reformed pastor was added to the ministry. By the cooperative efforts of the Lutheran and Reformed parishioners, the first Mount Zion Church was built with the cornerstone for the wooden structure laid in 1851. Later in 1890, a new and larger brick structure was built. The bell from this church now rests in front of our present building."

I didn't take any photos of the church buildings, just the graveyard, which dates back to the very beginnings of the church in the mid 19th century. Here they are...

Related photography posts

Some nice Postcrossing arrivals from the holidays

My mailbox was full of festive and fun ephemera throughout the holiday season, much of it thanks to Postcrossing. Here are some of examples of the international goodness that came my way...

Above: The postcard showcases the museum port of Carolinensiel in East Frisia, Germany, near the Netherlands. The postcard is from Jeanette in Leiden, Netherlands, who writes: "Hello Chris! My downstairs neighbour's also called Chris Otto. That's really weird to see. Hope you had a nice birthday and I wish you happy holidays! This is the time of year that I love for the lights and coziness, decorations and friendly atmosphere."

Above: "13 Dec. 2018. 11° C. Hello, Chris! Greetings from Japan. My name is Michiko. I live in Yokohama where is famous for Chinatown. On this postcard, you can see one of a scene from The Tale of Genji that is classic Japanese literature written by Murasaki Shikibu. The left stamp is Issun Boshi (one-inch boy) of fairy tale. And the right one is a Japanese folk song Hamabe no uta (At The Shore). Now, I'm going jogging. Have a nice day!"

Above: The caption for this Ceci Chui illustration states: "Da-sui-yan. 'Hitting villains' is a popular folk ritual in Hong Kong. People going through hard times visit hitters to seek revenge against enemies or rid themselves of bad luck. For a nominal fee, these hitters exorcise demons by chanting, beating paper effigies of villains with a worn shoe, and burning the effigies." Meanwhile, the postcard message, in a lovely combination of print and cursive, states: "Greetings from Hong Kong. My name is Kathy. I work as a nurse in hospital. I love travelling and collecting dolls from different countries. Sometimes I take photos of my dolls when I go travelling just like my avatar. Merry Christmas!"

Above: "Hi, Chris. I'm CHIA-KAI, CHANG. I am a high school student. I live in Nantou in Taiwan. In Nantou, I can see the mountains, but Nantou is in the center of Taiwan; I can't see the sea. How about you?"

Above: "9/12/18. +19° C. Greetings from Taiwan! This is an ad card, but I like the Christmas image on it, hope you'll like it, too! Jenny."

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Staged shelfie just for the halibut 2

"I've been looking forward to this for a long time."

In Search Of... Florence Darlington

In June 2016, I wrote about Florence Darlington, who, it seems, is a somewhat mysterious and crucial figure in my past. I have a single family photo of her, upon which is written "Florence Darlington, Wilmington, Del., Introduced Greta Chandler to Howard Adams, 1914?"

Greta Miriam Chandler Adams (1894-1988) and Howard Horsey “Ted” Adams (1892-1985) are great-grandparents of mine on Mom's side. If we are to take this photo inscription at face value, then Florence Darlington is responsible for their first meeting in the same way that Marty McFly is responsible for his parents' first meeting. (OK, not the same way at all.) Without Florence, they might have never met and married, and I obviously would not be here. Zoinks!

That's the operative assumption, at least. How much can you really trust one inscription on a century-old photograph?

I have long wanted to discover more about Florence Darlington. The only thing I had to go on is that she would have been based for at least part of her life in the Wilmington, Delaware, area. I also assumed that she was roughly the same age as Howard and Greta, and thus was probably born in the 1890s.

On the other hand, I don't even know if Darlington is her maiden or married name. A big mystery, indeed.

Here is the process that I've gone through online in trying to learn more about Florence's identity and life. As you will discover, it appears there were some missteps along the way.

* * *

1. A gravestone

This gravestone, discovered at Find A Grave, is for a Florence B. Darlington who lived from 1856 to 1930 and was buried in Cumberland Cemetery, 447 North Middletown Road, in Media, Pennsylvania.

The intriguing aspect is that Howard and Greta lived much of their married life in Swarthmore and Wallingford, which are adjacent to Media in Delaware County.

But the dates don't seem to work. This Florence Darlington would have been nearly 60 when she introduced my great-grandparents to each other.

Quality of this clue: 1 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

2. A fatal explosion

On the afternoon of November 21, 1929, an old hot-water boiler — years past due for inspection — exploded in the basement of the McCrory's five-and-dime store at 416 7th Street NW in Washington, D.C. The final death toll was six, with about three dozen injured.

Reports of this event mention a Mrs. Florence Darlington.

An Associated Press report in the November 22 edition of The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware, states: "Those seriously injured were: Charles Decker, five years old, internal injuries; Mrs. Ida Decker, 34, fractured skull and internal injuries; Warren Thayer, 50, fractured spine and broken neck; Mrs. Florence Darlington, 50, internal injuries, and Miss Lulu Carter, 34, both legs fractured."

A different version of the Associated Press' coverage, featured in The Scranton (Pennsylvania) Republican on November 22, adds this: "The last victim to be identified was Mrs. Florence Darlington, whose husband, alarmed at her failure to return home, found her in a serious condition with internal injuries at the hospital."

A day later, this Florence Darlington died. The November 23 edition of The Baltimore Sun has this news item: "Washington, Nov. 22 (AP) — The death list in the explosion under a five and ten cent store yesterday rose to six today with the death of Mrs. Florence Darlington, 50, who succumbed to internal injuries."

We can assume that Darlington was the married name of this particular Florence. Her age would put her birth year around 1879, which is closer to the range we might expect but still about a decade off. Frustratingly, none of the news coverage of this Florence Darlington states where she was from. We might guess it's somewhere near Washington, D.C., which would make it less likely this is the person we're looking for.

Quality of this clue: 1 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

3. Memorial Day high school festivities

Memorial Day was on May 26 in 1913. The next day's edition of The Morning News of Wilmington, Delaware, reports: "There was no address at the opening exercises at the Wilmington High School yesterday morning, but the student exercises were well rendered. ... Miss Florence Darlington (read) "Labor," [sic] by Thomas Carlyle."

There's a high probability this is the Florence Darlington we're looking for. In this case, Darlington is her maiden name and, being a high school student in 1913, she was likely born between 1894 and 1896, which is the ideal time frame for knowing Howard and Greta.

This clue, however, doesn't give us much of a lead for what happened to her later in life.

Quality of this clue: 6 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

4. An obituary from 1979

Flashing way ahead to the May 26, 1979, edition The News Journal of Wilmington Delaware, there is an obituary for Helen Darlington Husbands, who died at age 89. It mentions that she is the sister of Mrs. Florence Darlington Moore of Rehoboth Beach (also in Delaware).

It's very likely this is our Florence Darlington. She would have been in her mid 80s in 1979. She married a man named Moore and took his last name, and she was still living in Delaware.

Is this information — a married name that's quite common — enough to discover more about Florence Darlington?

Quality of this clue: 8 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

5. An engagement announcement from 1945

Plugging "Mrs. Florence Moore" into and searching for Delaware news, I came across this item in the May 16, 1945, edition of The Morning News of Wilmington, Delaware:
"Announcement has been made of the engagement of Miss Rose A. Moore, daughter of Mrs. Florence Moore of Stanton and Mrs. Thomas Moore of this city, to Staff Sergt. Frank W. Pirozo of Norristown, Pa."
BINGO! Three new full names to work with: Florence's husband (ex-husband?), daughter and son-in-law.

(This is assuming that the Florence Darlington Moore mentioned in the 1979 obituary is the one we're looking for, and, crucially, that this is the same Florence Moore.)

Quality of this clue: 9.5 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

6. A picture of the daughter

A few days later, on May 25, 1945, the News Journal repeated the engagement annoucement, this time accompanied by a picture of Rose A. Moore. Here are photographs of the possible mother and daughter side by side...

Quality of this clue: Pending.

* * *

7. Florence's daily life

In a May 16, 1947, article in The News Journal, Mrs. Florence Moore is listed as the member of the faculty at Krebs School in Newport, Delaware.

Quality of this clue: 5 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

8. Florence had a son, too

The June 12, 1953, edition of The Star-Democrat of Easton, Maryland states: "Mrs. Florence Moore, of Wilmington, has been spending a two week vacation with her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Moore."

Quality of this clue: 8 (on a scale of 10).

* * *

9. Rose had a baby

The August 14, 1953, edition of The Star-Democrat states: "Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pirozzo and son, Robbie, and Mrs. Florence Moore are the guests this week of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Moore."

Alarmingly, however, this gives us a different spelling of Rose's husband's last name. We now have Pirozzo and Pirozo as possibilities.

Quality of this clue: 4.5 (on a scale of 10).

* * *


Now I have a headache. This obituary is from the the January 29, 1966, edition of The News Journal of Wilmington, Delaware.

L.G. Moore, Retired Broker, Dies
Leon G. Moore, 72, a retired manager of the Francis I. du Pont & Co. brokerage office in Wilmington, died unexpected Friday in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Mr. Moore had lived at 11 Pennsylvania Ave., Rehoboth Beach, since his retirement and was vacationing with his wife, Mrs. Florence Moore, in Florida at the time of his death.

Mr. Moore was a World War 1 veteran...
We now, unless I'm going crazy, have two different strands of Mr. Florence Moores from Delaware. The "Mrs. Florence Darlington Moore" mentioned in the 1979 obituary (#4) is noted as being from Rehoboth Beach. So was she the one married to Leon G. Moore?

And then we have the whole separate thread, I think, of the "Mrs. Florence Moore" who was married to Thomas Moore and is mentioned in #5 through #9. Now that I think about it, there was a leap of logic between #4 and #5 that might have been faulty. Upon further review, I'm not sure the maiden name Darlington appears in any of the news items that discuss the woman who was married to Thomas Moore.

Quality of this clue: 9 (on a scale of 10).
Frustration involving this clue: 11 (on a scale of 10).

I think I have to go back a few steps, probably starting with searching about Leon G. Moore. Doing that, I find...

* * *

11. A fresh Darlington connection

A series of classified advertisements in late May and early June 1925 editions of The News Journal state that Leon G. Moore was the assigned executor of the estate of a Wilmington resident named Ida L. Darlington.

BINGO! (Wait. Where have I heard that before?)

This can't be a coincidence or faulty logic, can it?

So it appears that Leon G. Moore is much more likely to be the actual husband of the Florence Darlington who is possibly responsible for my existence and, by extension, this blog. (What a legacy! If only she knew.)

And Ida L. Darlington is, most likely, Florence's mother.

If that's correct, we can forgot all about those other people I mentioned in the middle of this post.

These Moores, meanwhile, had a daughter, too.

The February 26, 1949, edition of The News Journal announced this:
"Mr. and Mrs. Leon G. Moore, 726 Nottingham Road, announce the engagement of their daughter, Jean Darlington Moore, to Mr. John Woodside Croft, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Croft, Aiken, S.C. Miss Moore is a graduate of Stuart Hall, Staunton, Va., and Harcum Junior College, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Mr. Croft, a graduate of Clemson College, served for three and a half years in the Army with a motar [sic] battalion in Europe and as a captain in the CIC In Japan. He is with the DuPont Company. The wedding will take place in the spring."
Here are Florence and Jean (from the News Journal engagement announcement), side by side:

This time, I think, there might just be some resemblance in the eyes and mouth. I think we're definitely on to something here.

So I have Jean Darlington Moore and John Woodside Croft to research, moving forward. I hope I can use their histories to trace backward and find some more information about Florence Darlington Moore. That will have to be another day, though. I'll close (finally) with this picture of Jean and John on their wedding day in May 1949.

Conclusion of the search