Thursday, July 17, 2008

Henry Lewis Olyer Early Resident Lyon Mountain

The last few post have been about this man's family history lets take a look at Henry's genealogy and life in upstate New York.
Henry Olyers father was Philip Olyer bn 1822 Dannamora,Clinton Co. son of Philip Olyer [olier] born in France according to census records. The mother of Henry, was Lucretia Fanny Leach born 1825, Plattsburgh, Clinton Co. her father was Henry L. Leach, born abt 1800 New Hampshire., mother Phyneth Smith, born 1803, Rutland, Vermont. The photo is the Railroad station at Lyon Mountain

Henry's father was a carpenter, his net worth in 1870 was $100, this was pretty good at the time. Wages at the mine was $2.25 a day for a 10 hour shift for foreman, only $1.00 day for drill boys, so the carpenters did pretty well. our Henry was the third son of nine children born to Philip.

Working life of Henry started probably at about age 14, he went to the iron mines as most males did at the time. He lived at home,in the 1880 census he has advanced to being a engineer with the narrow gauge railroad called Chateaugay Ore and Iron Railroad. Most of his time was spent hauling ore from mine to breaker building. As time passed this railroad evolved into the Delaware and Hudson, but Henry became a machinist, working in the
round house [turntable were the engine could be run onto and then the whole unit moved to turn the engine around, to send it back in direction from which it came.
Also buildings were constructed that the engine could be run in under cover to be worked on in bad weather.
The one in the photo is located in Colonie, New York and is
probably were Henry worked. a position that let him live in Dannamora, instead of being on the road.

24 Sept 1881 he married the 17 year old Josephiene Sweeney, daughter of Joseph Sweeney and Lauraette ["Lois"] Kingston, of Canada. The family lived in Dannamora, were they brought up a family of 11 children. Harry 1883, Ross 1884, Ralph 1886, Mabel 1890, Winifred 1892, Richard 1894, Isabel 1897, Roland 1901,[died infant], Bertha 1902, Charles 1904, Gerald 1906

Something happened in this family just before 1920 census.

In this 1920 census Henry is living in Dannamora, Clinton co, with his son Charles S. 16, and son Gerald age 14. but Josephine or "Jossie" can not be found in 1920 census, or 1930.
1923 she is living at 22 Dorsey St., Saranac Lake, New York, from there she has been motoring with Mr & Mrs Joseph Jock, to various places in the area including the County fair.
July of 1929 Josephine Olyer has serious operation at, Elizabethtown Gen Hospital.

In the same period, we find Henry in the 1930 census, living in home with his daughter Bertha Olyer Caswell, and her husband Allen, no mention of Josephine. Instead we find Josephine in the 1930 census living in Franklin Co.,Saranac Lake,N.Y. [looks like Dorsey st.] age 63 Div. Rooming house $5,000 bn NY father Ire., mother Eng.
also having one male boarder

I have not found a Obit for Josephine but she is casually mentioned in newspaper account of Henry's Obit 16 Sep 1938. "Mrs Olyer died 7 yrs ago [1931]"

There was a lot of upheaval in the family from 1919 until 1930 things that would be difficulty for a family to handle, one son went to war and came out with deep emotional scars causing him to take his own life. A daughters failed marriage resulting in grand children being separated from family,sent on the Orphan train to Kansas.
Josephine had some serious medical problems her self, and three of her sons involved with fast money of bootlegging, combined it might have been to much for her to handle. We can only assume this, based on the public information that is available now.

Newspaper account states the Henry was 99 years old and worked 62 years for D & H. I think this is incorrect.

In two census records 1870 and 1880 his parents indicate he was born 1854, in the 1910 ,
1920 census he gave information to census taker and said he was born 1854. sometimes we find errors in the census but this is four consecutive census, were the information is in agreement.

In the 1930 census he is listed as 79 years old making him born 1851. I am inclined to think the four census dates of 1854 are correct and a error was made in the 1930 census. so he would have been 84 years old when he passed away.
I am not sure of the D & H Railroad but the New York Central R.R., had policy of retiring there employees at age 65, if this was their policy Henry would only have been able to work from age 14 until 65, making his record only 51 years.

There is another contemporary Henry Olyer, but he lived in Champlain, N.Y. and perhaps some of his dates are confused with our Henry.
It has been handed down that Henry voted for Lincoln twice, In order for him to have voted in 1859 for Lincoln he would have to have been born 1838 he would have been 32 in 1870- census
but his parents gave his age as 15. The error seems to be, who it was that voted for President Lincoln, off hand would say it was his father Philip, who was born 1822 and was in the 1880 census as being 58 years old, could have been possible for him to vote in 1859 and 1863.
Another story, he was to young for Civil War, that is correct if born 1854, he would not be 18 until war was over-we can not have it both ways, two young to enlist but old enough to vote for President Lincoln.
There is almost always a grain of truth in family legend's but occasionally they need a little adjusting. You do not increase your popularity when you challenge family lore, but I feel it is just as interesting if we can adjust them with proof.

1 comment:

Distressing Delilah said...

Nice post, as usual!!! Hi pop.