Honoring Our Ancestors – Another Story

The other night, I attended a talk about the book, Honoring Our Ancestors, Inspiring Stories of the Quest for Our Roots. The talk was given by the author of he book, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.

A link to her book:


Megan spoke about some of the stories that are in the book. The stories that “you just can’t make up”. (my words)

What came to mind was one of my own stories.

My wife and I do family research on our ancestors, so we take day trips to cemeteries and to places where our families lived. Each of us, though in different directions can get to these places within a couple of hours from where we live.

On one such ‘adventure’ we wanted to visit her grandparents gravesite in Brewster, NY, in the Milltown Cemetery.

A link to the Cemetery:

We found where her grandparents are buried. This cemetery was chosen for her grandparents, because it was just up the road, and in view of, her grandfathers favorite fishing ground just down the road. In view of the cemetery.

Since we were in the ‘area’ we decided to go into Brewster to the museum in town to look around. Found a the train station that her grandfather was the station master. Her Aunt Mary worked in a small diner between the train station and the museum.

In my research, I discovered that when grandparents were married (1913), they moved to, of all places, Brewster, New York. I never knew that they had lived in New York. The only other thing that I knew was that he worked on or managed a farm at a sanitarium there, where a Dr. Miller was ‘in charge’.

Since we were in the area, had a couple of questions that the Museum couldn’t answer, we stopped by the County Archives, just down the block. The Historian just happened to be there. So, while Patti was looking for what she wanted, I asked the historian where Dr. Miller’s sanitarium was located. “Just across the street where I grew up” was the answer. Well, OK then, where might that be. This gentlemen gave us directions, jumped in the car and drove a couple of miles.

Wouldn’t you know, that we drive right by the Milltown Cemetery. We found where Dr. Millers sanitarium had been. Nothing much left, but a few stones from an old wall that was there.

Wow, that was interesting. Returning home, we told my parents of our discovery. “Oh yeah, we moved back to West Chester, Pennsylvania on Armistice Day”. OK, I didn’t even know that my dad ever lived away from West Chester, let alone in New York. “I remember going down the road to drag blocks of Ice that we cut from the local lake, by horse back to the Ice House”.

Could it be that Edward Lord Applebey (1880 – 1956) and Henry Russell Worthington (1887 – 1956) knew each other? But, the best we can tell, they shared that common reservoir in Southeast, (Brewster), Putnam County, New York.

Oh, did I mention that it wasn’t until this blog was being put together that we realized that they died in the same year (1956).

You just can’t make that stiff up. Or as Megan calls it a Genealogical Serendipity.

One Response to Honoring Our Ancestors – Another Story

  1. Ancestral Paths and My Photo Journal says:

    Thanks for sharing a really interesting story!

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