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|GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION FROM HELEN LAND|
Birth February 14, 1910|
Meta Helen Land, known as Helen, was born on February 14, 1910 in the town of Smithtown, village of Hauppague, the daughter of Percy A. Land, age 24, carpenter, and Meta Petermann, age 24, born in Hoboken, New Jersey, she was the second of two living children. Attending physician, Roland Hazler (?). Percy is listed on the birth certificate as being born in Hauppague, this is obviously in error.
Smithtown Messenger, May 25, 1923
Among the papers that Helen gave me were several copies of the following article from the Smithtown Messenger, May 25, 1923.
"Quite the daintiest play we have ever seen, and the nicest play on the Smithtown stage, was given last Saturday evening by an energetic and fearless tribe of clear voiced and bright eyed youngsters, in Assembly Hall for the benefit of the library. The play started with a prologue which was fetchingly recited by Lillian Dvorak, and airy Fairy Lillian she was in truth. Cinderella, the Daisy was excellently played by Irma Norton Conn. The Proud Sisters, Hollyhock and Tiger Lilly, were certainly fine, and real spitfires, (but only on the stage, we hope.) Ruth Purick, as the Fairy Godmother, played her part with dignity, while Phyllis Deutzmann, as the Bonnie Bee, serving as a little page to Cinderella Daisy, proved to a very busy bee, indeed and seemed to rouse the risibles of the house, which only added to her own enjoyment. The Butterflies, Eva and Edith Schecter, were true, flitterers, and kept going from flower in truly proper way, and did well, Robin Red, the Prince's Herald, or Helen Land, made up splendidly, and was very clear in her diction and expressive in her playing, while Ruth Crane, as a really and truly Prince, with a great wavy plume and picture hat, and Hessian boots, that went flippity flop in truly romantic style, made a wonderfully pretty Prince. She sung well and spoke clearly. All the little flowers who were the guests in the ball, Evelyn Lawrence as the Poppy, May Moseley as the Pansy, Grace Courier as the Daffodil, Marjorie Deutzmann as the Violet, Margaret Simonton, as the Tulip, Elva Jones as Lily Bell, Muriel Ludder as Sweet Pea, Lois Gould as Narcissus, Margaret Richards, Isabel Lawrence, Vivian Swensson and Clara Jones as Sunbeams, and Florence Valentine, Thelma Anderson, Florence Reynolds, and Lillian Dvorak as Raindrops, made pretty pictures, did their parts well and the singing throughout was well timed and enunciated. Much credit is also due to the accompanists, Miss Louise Martinson at the piano, and Mr. P. Kappardaki, violin.
| Helen in her Cinderella in Flowerland costume
Among the people mentioned in the article were two of Helen's cousins, May Moseley and Grace Courier, and two of her long time friends, Lois Gould and Ruth Crane.
Helen's photo album contains photos of her years at Syracuse.
The first photos are dated 1930-31 and include pictures of "Babcock Cottage" (I would assume that this is were Helen lived her first year at the university) and group and individual shots of her freshman classmates
There were no photos labeled 1932 or 1933.
Photos labeled 1934 include group shots of sorority sisters from Alpha Gamma Delta and Helen's room at Alpha Gamma Delta.
Helen graduated from Syracuse University in June 1934.
To see pictures of Helen's graduation go to The Land Photo album
"Mr. and Mrs. Percy Land, Allen Land and Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Land motored to Syracuse this week to attend the commencement exercises of Miss Helen Land, who graduated for the College of Library Science."
More on Helen
Not long after her graduation Helen was in St Luke's Hospital in NYC where she had an appendectomy (The Long Islander, July 6, 1934).
After college Helen worked in Riverhead for a few years. There are several photos of Helen with co-workers dated 1936 and 1938.
She worked as a librarian the Locust Valley Library for 35 years until her retirement in 1972.
I was told that I was named Marguerite Helene after my father's mother and sister. My father's mother was called, Meta, and his sister was called, Helen. In fact neither my grandmother nor my aunt was actually named Marguerite.
Perhaps it was the name affinity (or actual lack thereof) that initially made me feel a special bond with Helen. Helen never married. She lived with Meta in Smithtown, Long Island. We lived in New Jersey and went to visit at Christmas and in the summer. Consequently, as a child, I did not see Helen often. But when I did I was very taken with her. She had a certain air of mystery about her. She smoked unfiltered Pall Malls with absolute elegance and blew the most consistently perfect smoke rings.
Despite the availability of a larger room in the house she remained in the small bedroom of her childhood. A visit to her bedroom was a treat. She would let me rummage around in her jewelry box. I was not allowed to wind the music box it contained but we would sit and watch the ballerina whirl after Helen had set it going. I was also very intrigued and a little jealous that her mirror and dressing table were filled with photos of children I did not know. Pictures of my cousins and siblings were all around the rest of the house but Helen's room was the special province of these strangers to my life who were clearly competition for a place in Helen's heart.
I was most intrigued by Helen's ability to read very fast. Helen was the librarian in Locust Valley, Long Island for 35 years. She would come home from work in the evening with several books. The next morning she would leave with the same books. When I asked her why she bothered to carry them home when she obviously didn't have time to read them in one night she told me that she skimmed them so she would be able to tell the clients of the library what they were about. She then showed me how she would speed read the books (years before Evelyn Woods). It's a trick I have still retained to some degree. Once she came home with four books and left the next morning with three. When I suggested that she didn't have enough time to read them all even with her special fast method she told me that it was an exceptional book that she really wanted to spend more time with and enjoy fully.
As I got older, I became (as many of the young do) involved with my own life and did not go on the family trips to the Island. For many years I only went to visit a handful of times. Occasionally I would see Helen at my parents in New Jersey or at some family function. It was always a treat to cuddle up next to her for a long chat.
|Bud and Helen, December 1979|
|Photo Maggie Land Blanck|
Years later, after my father, Bud, had a stroke, we started taking him out to the Island in the summer for the Smithtown High School Reunions. These "reunions" were held in a pavilion at Long Beach and everyone who graduated during a 25-year period was welcome. This included Helen and some of my mother's siblings and their spouses so I made contact with a lot of people I hadn't seem in a long time. We would usually stay on the Island for a few days so part of the trip always included additional visits to Helen. We would look at the family photo albums and my dad and Helen would reminisce about the family and the old days in Smithtown.
|A Smithtown High Reunion|
|Photo Charlie Edgar|
Then Helen moved upstate to live with her niece, Jean, in Inlet and I did not see her for five years.
By the time she returned to Long Island to live with Ruth Ann (the daughter of her good friend, Ruth Crane O'Berry) my dad had died. In the meantime I had moved to Brooklyn and, having reconnected with folks on the Island, was going out there fairly frequently. St James was an easy and pleasant trip on the train. A short walk to Ruth Ann's house brought me to Helen. I was also by then interested in genealogy. Helen had done some work on the Land family a few years before. She provided me with some very important keys: where the family came from in England, where they were in Canada, the Sykes relatives in Toronto and the Land relatives in Philadelphia. Over time she entrusted me with the family photo albums and her genealogy notes. One of the last and best presents she gave me was the jewelry box with the twirling ballerina.
Eventually I also became friends with one of the unknown children from the photos in Helen's room. They were, of course, the children of her dear friend, Ruth Crane O'Berry. Helen loved Ruth's daughter, Ruth Ann, like the daughter she herself never had. She was also extremely fond of Ruth Ann's husband, Raymond, who could really make her laugh like a young schoolgirl. Helen was like family to Ruth Ann and Raymond.
When she was in her late eighties the wheels of her mind were slipping a bit here and there but for the most part she was still sharper than a lot of people her age. She loved to go to the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook and she loved my Uncle Charlie Edgar. Charlie was married to my mother's sister, Peggie. Once Tom and I invited Helen, Charlie and Peggie to lunch at the Three Village Inn. Charlie and Peggie went in their own car. Tom and I picked Helen up at Ruth Ann's house. Helen had a note written by Ruth Ann telling her the time we were picking her up and mentioning that Charlie and Peggie were joining us. She got in our car as if she knew us but when we were almost in Stony Brook Helen asked, "Who are you two anyway?" We explained who we were but she kept waving her note and saying, "It says here I'm supposed to be having lunch with Charlie Edgar." We arrived at the restaurant and were about to go in just as Charlie and Peggie pulled up. The minute she saw him she exclaimed "I knew it was Charlie Edgar I was going to have lunch with." Later during lunch she clearly knew who Tom and I were. She called Tom "the famous doctor who takes Maggie all around the world" and she remembered the names of all our kids: pretty amazing!
She took a dramatic mental downturn when she got sick the Christmas before she went into a nursing home. She became very disoriented and fearful. She rebounded slightly for a few months and then started slipping more and more. From the onset of that illness she did not know who I was and often called me a "nice young man". Some times, to please me, she would say, "Of course I know Maggie", but I really don't think she did. She thought Ruth Ann was her mother, Ruth. She often greeted Ruth Ann with a huge smile and a "Hi Ruthie". The interesting thing was that for a very long time she knew the people in the old photos I had enlarged to 8x10's. She really loved to look at them. Every time she saw a picture of Teddy Weidenkeller she would laugh and say exactly the same thing, "There's Teddy Weidenkeller, that little rascal." She appeared to be able to remember things up to about 1939 and could identify anyone in the photographs as long as they had entered her life before that time (regardless of how old they were in the picture). For instance she always knew her mother even in photos taken very late in life. She rarely, if ever, could identify my mother who married my father in 1942.
Eventually even the recognition of the photos went and she actually became quite agitated when looking at them.
She did like to listen to music and she was a good sport about going to the events that the nursing home had particularly if there was music involved, which there often was. She loved plush animals and played with them as a child would.
While her condition, particularly mental, was much diminished, her demeanor was such that much of the time she appeared to be at some sort of social event in the late 30s (perhaps the happiest times of her life). She liked to drink coke and, not infrequently, referred to it as something stronger. She almost always had a smile for anyone that walked in the door and smiled at her. The aides liked to duck into her room and chat with her (perhaps to get some relieve from some of the other patients who were not a congenial). There were, of course, off days when she was not so convivial but for a long time she could be turned around with some good cheer. While spending one's last years in a mentally diminished capacity in a nursing home is sad in and of itself, Helen, adapted better than many people. Adaptability was a trait she had perhaps mastered many years before.
Some have called Helen "shy" and she was quiet at home. Others knew her differently. Charlie Edgar who knew her since his youth says that Helen was "quite the party girl".
Helen and her life long friend, Ruth Crane O'Berry, were friends with Pop Edgar and his second wife, Maida Edgar. Pop Edgar was Charlie Edgar's father.
|Helen and Maida Edgar, date unknown||Helen and Pop Edgar, date unknown|
|Photo collection of Charlie Edgar|
Pop and Maida Edgar were quite the party givers. They were big into theme parties: "Come as a bum", "Come as you are", "Come as your favorite song". Pop and Maida were also amateur filmmakers and many of their parties were filmed. I have watched some of these old films (now on video) with Helen at Charlie and Peggie's house. I can't tell you how much pleasure Helen got from those videos. The parties were very lively and looked like lots of fun. Helen does not appear at all the "wall flower" in any of them.
|Helen at Charlie and Peggie's|
|Photo Charlie Edgar|
In the late 1930s or early 40s Pop Edgar's brother, Alec Edgar, was a widower with several children. As told to me by in parts by Helen, Ruth Ann, and Charlie, Alec Edgar and Helen had a relationship that ended in a proposal of marriage. Supposedly, Helen's father, Percy, did not approve because he thought Alec "too fast". Alec apparently liked fast cars and fast boats (not necessarily fast women). Perhaps Percy didn't approve of the partying that the group so clearly enjoyed, or the fact that he was 10 years older than Helen. For whatever reasons Helen choose to capitulate to her father's wishes and did not marry Alec Edgar. Several years later he remarried. Helen carried a picture of herself sitting on Alec Edgar's lap until at least the fall before she went into the nursing home, which was the last time I saw it.
|Ruth Crane O'Berry, Bud O'Berry, Ruth Ann O'Berry and Helen|
|Photo collection of Helen Land|
She continued her friendships with Ruth Crane O'Berry and Maida and Pop Edgar for most of her adult life.
|Come on Helen where's the BEER!|
|Photo collection Charlie Edgar|
Charlie gave me the above picture of Maida Edgar, Helen, and Dickie Land dated July 1960 with "Come on Helen where's the BEER!" written on the back. All the years Helen "went over to Ruth O'Berry's house" were, I believe, a euphemism for a wider circle of friends that she preferred not to talk about at home.
Alec Edgar's first marriage was to Ruth Carnes O'Berry's sister, Maude Crane.
SSDI: Helen Land, BIRTH: 14 Feb 1910, DEATH: 6 Feb 2005 - Greensburg, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, CIVIL: New York
Obituary from the Smithtown Paper, 2005
Helen M. Land, a lifelong resident of the Smithtown and St. James area, died at St James Plaza Nursing Facility on Sunday, February 6.Clipping courtesy of Peggy Goehle Edgar
GENEALOGY NOTES FROM HELEN LAND
Among the papers that Helen Land gave me was a folder marked "Genology". In the folder were several sheets of paper on which Helen had made notes. Some of the information in the notes is a repetition of information listed under Law and Elizabeth and their individual children. I am including below only excerpts that contain new information. I have divided the papers into four sets depending on the type of paper and the focus of the information.
The following information is taken from seven lined sheets of 8 by 10 paper white paper. The first four pages of notes were written in blue ball point pen. The last three were written in black ball point pen. There are corrections and additions to the notes in blue or black ball point pen, red pencil, and pencil.
On the top of the first page Helen wrote in pencil
" Started working on this in 1983"
Excerpts from the first page of Helen's notes.
Helen made a note that she based the dates of 1891 and 1895
"From write up in biographical volume of 5v set of Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk, L.I."
There is a note on the top of the page,
"Started working on this in 1983 after request from Janet Clark Land Shaw at "Last Prom" in 1983 at New York Ave School."
Grace family info for Janet
William Grace October 14, 1848-July 3, 1927
Marie Louise July 8, 1860-Jan 5, 1922
William Grace October 14, 1848-July 3, 1927
Marie Louise July 8, 1860-Jan 5, 1922from Grace marker, Hauppague Cemetery
Here is what I can remember of the GRACE FAMILY
Muriel married Wilfred Phillips have one son, Arthur, 2 grand children.
Flloyd (Jeff) deceased married Dorothy Robinson
2 sons, Flloyd + ? Roger?
Aunt Vic would go to visit someone named Zoie in nursing home in Brentwood- don't know relationship.*
found this in old paper when looking up obit for Pop died 1950
See Clarence for information on the Grace Family.
*"Zoë (Zoe) was Vickie's aunt. The eldest child of Robert and Sarah Warburton Grace from Liverpool England, she was born Sarah Smith Grace. For reasons we do not understand, she changed her name to Zoe after coming to the US. She lived with her brother William Grace (Victoria's father) and was over 100 at the time of her death. She is buried in a plot owned by William in Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn." Janice Grace, April 2011
Helen did note on this page that Meta Petermann was baptized under the name Marguerita Helena. I was alway told that I was named for Meta. However, Helen's notes contain the only indication that her name was Marguerite. All the records I have found list her as "Meta".
The following information was taken from two sheets of yellow lined legal size paper. The first page was originally written in blue ball point pen with corrections in pencil. The second page was written in pencil.
Two sheets of yellow legal paper written in pencil, no date. The paper is colored with age.
The only paper in set three is a questionnaire written in black ball point on one sheet of paper and answered by Helen in a variety of inks. To differentiate between the question and Helen's replies, I have written the questions in black and Helen's replies in blue. The first part of the questionnaire deals with the Petermann family and is the only information in the Genealogy folder that addresses the Peterman genealogy.
In Helen's writing at the top of the page:
"Does the inscription in the wedding ring Arnold has give the year they were married?"
Helen answered the last question on the bottom of the page.
Children of Barny + Sophia
The remaining papers in the folder are:
|More Pictures of Helen|
|Meta and Percy|
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