Wednesday, June 12, 2013

life in clippings: loose ends and odd bits

as much as i've tried to put together some kind of neat thread of the story, there are things i have clues about, but no solutions.

i think ben's father married twice and that his father's second wife is rachel of binghamton, but to really know for sure i have to dig in more records than i'm ready to dig through.

i know that louis hurwitz is a cousin of ben, and accounts suggest he is part of the syracuse family, and quite frankly, tracking mintz relatives who are not carrying the mintz name is just a bit trickier, plus it's syracuse, which has a larger population and is also therefore harder to search.

likewise, i believe the anna mintz in the news items is associated with louis's household, but they are hard to track once louis moves with part of the family to newark, nj. this is partly because louis dies in 1917, and partly because it's harder to get newark records online.

the ithaca daily news reports that mabel, louis's daughter, is injured in the newark trolley disaster, but there's no corroborating source. there are no newark articles i can find that place her among the injured.

there are accounts of the lawsuit surrounding hiram's will in which both the (alleged) common law wife (interloper!) and aaron's daughter, hiram's (great?) niece each claim part of the estate. i have not been able to find records of how that was settled.

i sort of thought "it's a shame they have a family dispute that comes to lawyer involvement", but really and truly, any CONVERSATION in the family is likely to involve lawyers.

because lawyers.

and ben's half-brother brother harry is an interesting guy in his own right.

for starters, while he's at hamilton college he goes ahead and wins the 1901 clark prize for his oration "israel in history", which gets limited press.

when maurice b. rich subsequently delivers the same address at brown university commencement in 1903 it is received so well that it wins mr. rich the gaston medal and some additional press coverage.

then at some point harry goes out west "for health reasons" to live among the cheyenne and when he returns home he gives a lot of lectures to bemused audiences about the humanity and dignity of the american indian.

i am not kidding about this.

there is a cheerful racism in american culture of this time by which white people feel it is totally appropriate to take for themselves native cultural identity and "improve" upon it, notably by excluding "red" men from clubs in which white men pretend to be the inheritors of native culture.

and harry goes to these gatherings and gives lectures at which amused and disbelieving audiences hear him tell them that the american indians aren't actually savages, but people.

what? they have a sense of humor?
what? they marry and have families?

disbelieving american white audiences are amazed! how exotic! how newsworthy!

and while we're on the binghamton mintzes, i have seen some evidence that they are republicans! imagine the family drama at THAT thanksgiving table!

and this is totally not an important detail, but it is a detail i like: the ithaca mintzes apparently like to play cards.

1 comment:

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I love the patience you have to persue this. I am losing my mind trying to do my own genealogy!


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