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Yay! Happy to see that you responded. After seeing that your last post was in 2008, I
wasn't sure that you would. Yes, always nice to find another relative. May I ask what
began your search for John Francis and how you are related, etc.?
I called my Aunt Peggy today (Harry's 1st daughter, Margaret, who, btw, also wants to
know who you are :-)) to see what she could share with me and also visited a couple of
cemeteries. Here is the break down. Oh, before I begin, yes, his nickname was indeed
"Dougie". I'm fairly certain he got it in the war. My cousins and I called
him "Pal". His wife, Marion, adopted the name "Honey" as well. I
remember talk of two "Honeys" as a child. I was born in 1973 and only have a few
memories of him before he passed away in '77. His wife, my grandmother, passed away in
Let's take it from the top:
John Sampson Lewis
Born: 10/27/1875 Died: 7/25/1944
My GG grandfather's mother was indeed a Sampson (with a "p") as you
mentioned in earlier message. Not sure of when she was born or what Lewis she was married
to. Regarding the name "Samson", I had always assumed it was without the
"p" because that is how it is spelled on my grandfather's marker. Heck of an
eternal screw-up there. I'll have to enquirer more about that mishap.
Buried at Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island. Section SGBN Grave 978
A picture of the headstone can be found here:
Note: John Sampson and Bertha share same grave.
Bertha (Skerritt) Lewis
Born: 9/13/1877 Died: 3/24/1948
My mother, Jacqueline, has her middle name. I know she was one of a several sisters,
including Ethel Skerritt, who, according to my Aunt, was sometimes referred to as
"Ponnie" (Not sure of the spelling there). Other than that, I don't know
much about her except that she helped raise Harry with her husband, John Sampson, which I
will get to in a moment.
As you well know, John Sampson and Bertha had a few children:
Born: 7/21/1897 Died: 7/1964
You were only off by three years here! Many people referred to him as "Jack". It
is possible that my mother "may" be named after him. Anyway, the family and I
paid a visit to Fairview this afternoon and found the marker, which can be found here:
(High resolution so you can zoom in and see date for yourself)
Here is an interesting tidbit about the marker (which is still in bad condition).
According to my Aunt - Harry built it himself!
Other siblings of John Francis include:
Caroline, who we called "Aunt Cali" sp? - I remember her fairly well. She passed
away in the 80's.
William, who, according to earlier post, was living in same household as Harry during 1930
census. It is possible that he may have been the one who made the entry of
"Nephew" in reference to Harry, before realizing his error and changing
it to "Son" to reflect the relationship in context to head of household.
Maisy (sp?), who I know nothing about.
Helen, another great aunt I know nothing about. I think my Aunt Peg referred to her as
"Big Helen", which I found amusing.
Okay, so now for the big win here, John Francis' wife and my great grandmother.
Catherine (or Katherine) Mary Cannon.
According to my Aunt, John Francis and "Kate" were married and then separated -
but were never legally divorced!
John Francis and Kate did indeed have children (Kate, John Jr. and Harry) but as I
understand it, John Jr. died at a very young age. Possibly less than two years old to some
childhood disease of the time period.
So, why was Harry raised without his Mother and Little Kate? Well, according to my aunt,
Harry's mother was diagnosed with T.B. in the early 20's. I am not sure if this
was before or after the seperation, but during treatment, Little Kate went to live with an
aunt and Harry was left to be raised by his grandparents (John Sampson and Bertha) and his
father, John Francis.
Harry, from what I understand, was always upset with his mother for not coming back into
his life fully after she was well. I'm not sure of her reasoning here but who can
blame him? I will ask about this again if I can as I am curious.
My Aunt also said she died about three months after John Francis so that would make it
1964 as well.
She told me that Catherine was buried at St. Peter's Cemetery out here on Staten
Island but I will have to investigate that at a later date. I wonder if there is marker
there for John Jr. as well. It might be nice to have that. Also, I got the impression that
Little Kate was older than John Jr. but according to your information in the '20
census, John is the oldest. May have to investigate that one a little further as well. Do
you have the obituary for Little Kate? The one who died in 2008?
I hope the information was helpful!
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