Monday, November 19, 2018

An Update to "Where Have All the Bodies Gone?"

Readers who were interested in the story posted in 2010 about Calvary Cemetery in Cohoes will be happy to learn that the Troy Irish Genealogy Society will be posting a listing of Catholic interments in Calvary Cemetery.  Check this page in the coming weeks and "merci" to the Troy Irish Genealogy Society who were successful securing the list.

Update January 16, 2019

We are still monitoring the Troy Irish Genealogy Society site for the update on Calvary interments. Stay posted.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Happy Birthday Arthur Homer Mylott - you're 100! My visit to Omaha Beach in June 2018

Arthur Homer Mylott is 100 years old. He died almost 12 years ago but is not forgotten.  Born on a Champlain canal boat near Chambly, Quebec during the busy shipping season on the canals of New York and Quebec, his family always thought he was born on a boat but never knew the details. He was the youngest child of seven and only he and two brothers, Edgar and Milo lived into adulthood.

 His father died when he was 18 and soon afterwards he enlisted in the US Army.  Sent to the Panama Canal Zone, he developed malaria while serving there.


1940 US Census, Fort Clayton, Panama Canal Zone

In 1941 when preparing for discharge and listening to the radio he heard the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On that day, his life and countless others were forever changed.  He was now in the 1st Division of the US Army and was in the North African Invasion as well as the Sicily and the Normandy Invasions.  He survived it all. Eventually, wounded in Belgium, he was sent to a hospital in Paris and in the last days of the European conflict returned stateside.

A photo sent home to mother, Edith Mylott

Arthur Mylott never spoke to me about his time in those invasions.  Eventually, he allowed his grandson to interview him for a school project. Below is the video originally recorded in 1998.  His eleven year old grandson prepared some questions.  Arthur has some difficulty hearing and responding but answers while I recorded. 

Standing on Omaha Beach in June 2018 recalling that 74 years before my father came ashore with the 1st Division chilled me more than the cold strong winds blowing the sand in my face that day.  The vastness of the empty beach and the silence despite the winds crept into my body and I was moved beyond words. 

After the invasions, Arthur was discharged with medals and the Purple Heart but the experience made him a pacifist and he never condoned US troops in Viet Nam and US military actions anywhere.  He came back to the Waterford -Cohoes area, married and worked in breweries in Troy, the D&H railroad and other various jobs until he landed a job at the US Federal Arsenal in Watervelit.  Although he paid dues to the VFW post, he would never march in a parade with veterans.  He just did not believe in war.  Something had happened to the young man who went to war. He never handled stress well and was content to do the little things. He apprenticed at the arsenal as a  tool and dye marker retiring in the 1970s. 

Below are several photos of Arthur's life after the army and the war... it was a quiet life.  The medals, including the Purple Heart, were put away and forgotten. The shoulder stripes have a few moth eaten holes; the leather case is moldy.


Transgender Dressing at Murphy's Friend's Lake Inn: from left to right - Arthur, one of the Chards, Irene Chard, Pipere Rivet, Dorothy Mylott and Al Rivet. Circa 1948.

In his later years, after retirement from the Watervelit Arsenal, he worked in the antique business his wife created and developed a special niche collecting early science fiction paperbacks and selling them in the store in Bolton Landing. At Christmas time, he was St Nicolas with a long white beard

He was a faithful husband, a good friend, a true father, and a very good grandfather. I miss him everyday!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Calling on FrancoAmerican descendants to take part in St Jean Baptiste Day in Cohoes, NY June 24, 2018

If you are of a descendant of Franco-Americans from Cohoes, NY, this event may interest you.  On June 24th, 2018 at the Harmony Mills you can bring family artifacts, photos, treasures and more to be memorialized in the New York Heritage Digital Collection.  Listen to the songs of Josee Vachon and hear from a speaker, Cynthia Fox, about Franco-Americans in Cohoes. MAKE A RESERVATION by CALLING 518-782-6769.

Details from the organizer, Ms Janet Shideler of Siena College, are below:

"With generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), on June 24, 2018, faculty and students from Siena College and their partners from the Spindle City Historic Society will host an event to preserve and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Franco-Americans in upstate New York. A free performance by renowned singer/songwriter Josée Vachon and a lecture by University at Albany professor Cynthia Fox will be held at Harmony Mills Lofts in Cohoes in order to preserve and subsequently present the story of Francos and the French-Canadian families of which they are the descendants. Digitization stations for preserving historic artifacts brought to us by Franco-Americans will be open from 12 noon to 3 PM; the lecture at performance begin at 1 PM.
Cohoes is located less than 200 miles from the Canadian border, and thus drew French Canadians in search of financial security. Initially 20 families made the city their home in the 1830s. By 1881, Cohoes was the adopted home of over 6,000 Québécois, a number that comprised over a third of the city’s population. The community supported four French-language parishes, three bilingual parochial schools, five French language newspapers, and three French-language amateur theatre companies. The industrial city of Troy also had a French-Canadian immigrant population of nearly 4,000 by 1881, ensuring that the Franco-American community had a significant presence in the region. French Canadians also made their way to the state’s “North Country,” further contributing to their numbers in the state but also compounding the problem of preserving their collective history. Experience and knowledge of New York’s Franco-American heritage are fading fast. In Cohoes, for example, the average age of its francophone residents is 70. In the state’s northern counties, more than 20% of the population still proudly identifies itself as Franco-American. However, assimilation, movement from these rural areas, and the passing of many Franco-Americans mean that this number is down from more than 60% in towns such as Ogdensburg and Tupper Lake. Nonetheless, in 2000 nearly half a million New Yorkers still reported their ancestry as “French,” the term used by most Franco-Americans to identify themselves. In short, throughout upstate New York, one finds a similarly rich Franco-American history and the same need and urgency to preserve it.

That's precisely what this event is intended to do! Those who attend on June 24 are invited to bring a variety of artifacts for digital preservation: family photos, immigration papers, toys, sheet music, immigration papers, religious medals, etc...items that tell the story of the lives of this sizable ethnic community at work, at play, at worship, at service in their new homeland.  The project will continue past the June 24 celebration as we take mobile digitization equipment "on the road" throughout upstate New York this summer and next."