Saturday, January 23, 2016

Carson Perrie Boyd

1930's Department Store Window

     A month or so ago, I was working a style set at my store.  A style set is visually merchandising the store.  One of my jobs was to dress the mannequins in the windows...something I had never done before.  Fortunately, I had help from someone who had.   The visual manager came around to see how we were doing and exclaimed how good the windows looked.  Laughing, I responded, well my cousin WAS a window dresser in New York City back in the 1930's.

     I was never certain that this was not an apocryphal story or one based in some fact.  Frankly, after researching, I still don't know for certain; however, I did find a story to blog about.

     My Dad had several "family stories" regarding his mother's cousin, Carson VanGilder.  Checking my genealogy records, there was no Carson VanGilder in the tree; however, my Grams, did have a cousin named Carson Boyd. Apparently Dad figured all of his Mom's cousin's had to have the surname of VanGilder since she did...LOL  Carson was a VanGilder.  His mother, Sallie Ellsworth VanGilder married William Milroy Boyd.  Sally and my paternal great grandfather, George Ethelbert VanGilder were siblings.

     Carson, my paternal first cousin, two times removed, was born in the Morgantown, West Virginia area on February 7, 1897.  Oddly, I was not able to locate a birth record for him.  He joined five brothers and sisters.  Six more siblings were added to his large family.

     My paternal great grand aunt Sallie seemed to chose family names as the middle name for her children.  I have yet to find out what family line Carson's is from. Perhaps it is a Boyd woman's surname. To be fair, I have not researched them.  I should also add, I have no idea where Aunt Sallie's middle name, Ellsworth, came from and she is in a tree where I have done decades of research ;-)

     The 1900 West Virginia Federal Census places the Boyd family in Morgantown and William Boyd is providing for his family as an oil rig builder.  Of interest to me:  the census enumerator is my paternal great grand father, George Ethelbert VanGilder.  He would be Uncle George to Carson. (Year: 1900; Census Place: Morgan, Monongalia, West Virginia; Roll: 1767; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0083; FHL microfilm: 1241767)

     Carson's World War I Draft Registration does list his birth date and place. He was employed in 1918 with the Jeannette Coal Company in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, not far from Morgantown.  He is listed as medium height, with grey eyes and brown hair.  (World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918).  According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, Carson served from September 4 1918 to March 25, 1919 World War I as a private in the United States Army. (Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.)

     Following his service with the United States Army during World War I, Carson married Betty C. Craft in a wedding ceremony in Cumberland, Maryland on November 2, 1919.

     There is a listing on the 1920 West Virginia Federal Census for the newly weds.  C. P. Boyd and wife, Elizabeth.  They are living in Morgantown and he is employed as a laborer with a brick company.  The birth information for C. P. Boyd's parents is not correct; however if Elizabeth was the person the enumerator was talking with, she may not have known.  (Year: 1920; Census Place: Morgantown Ward 4, Monongalia, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1964; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 107; Image: 1002)

    Carson and Betty had one child, a son, Carson P. Boyd, Jr., born February 6, 1921 in Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). World War II Veterans Compensation Applications, circa 1950s. Records of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Record Group 19, Series 19.92 (877 cartons). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

     On April 2, 1925 there is a brief article regarding the divorce of Carson and Betty Boyd on page 7 of The Morning Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

     By 1929, Carson is listed as living with his mother and several siblings at 271 Stewart Street in Morgantown and employed as a clerk.  (Polk's Morgantown City Directory 1929-1930.)

     The 1930's brings me to "the story of interest" for Cousin Carson.  According to the 1930 New York Federal Census, he is living in Manhattan at 128 East 29th Street as a lodger in an apartment. Interestingly, the building still exists.  Carson is listed as divorced and employed as a salesman with a New York department store.  He is sharing the apartment room with a married couple who are both in theater.  How cool is that!  Fifty-eight year old H. McRae Webster a director and his wife, a thirty- two year old actress, Genevieve Webster.  From the census information this is not H. Webster's first marriage, although it could be Genevieve's.  (Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1558; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 1191; Image: 859.0; FHL microfilm: 2341293.)

     Harry McRae Webster, a well known and regarded writer, producer and stage and film director. (all director, writer and stage information taken from various Internet websites)    
Director (17 credits)
 1914 The Devil's Signature (Short)
 1914 Seeds of Chaos (Short)
 1913 The Brand of Evil (Short)
 1913/IV The Boomerang (Short)
 1913 In Convict Garb (Short)
 1913 The Spy's Defeat (Short)
 1913/I The Broken Heart (Short)
 1912 The Girl of the Mountains (Short) (as Henry McRae Webster)
 1912 The Fall of Montezuma (Short)
 1911 His Friend's Wife (Short)
 1910/II Love's Awakening (Short)
 1910 A Fortunate Misfortune (Short)

Hide  Writer (4 credits)
 1913 In Convict Garb (Short) (scenario)
 1913 The Spy's Defeat (Short) (scenario)
 1912 The Fall of Montezuma (Short) (scenario)

Hide  Producer (2 credits)

Angels Don't Kiss
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Staged by H. McRae Webster
Apr 05, 1932 - Apr 09, 1932
Air Minded
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Directed by Harry McRae Webster
Feb 10, 1932 - Feb 1932
The Fatal Wedding
[Play, Comedy, Revival]
  • Directed by Harry McRae Webster
Jun 02, 1924 - Jun 1924
Lilies of the Field
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Staged by Harry McRae Webster
Oct 04, 1921 - Feb 1922
Lieut. Dick, U.S.A.
[Play, Melodrama, Original]
  • Written by Harry McRae Webster
Nov 20, 1905 - Closing date unknown 
     How exciting for Cousin Carson to be living with this exciting theatrical couple while working in NYC.

     Carson's mother, Sallie Ellsworth VanGilder Boyd, died in 1933.  How long he lived in New York City is unknown; however, there is a Morgantown City Directory for 1935, which lists Carson living at the Boyd home, 271 Stewart Street with his sister, Edna and father, William.  Carson appears to have continued living at the 271 Stewart Street address into the 1940's, employed as a salesman. 

     I do not know when Carson married Mary M. Tamasy, perhaps in the late 1940's or 1950's.

     There is a listing for Carson P. Boyd in the public records index as living at 410 North Water Street, West Newton, Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately the date of the listing is not available.  (U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2)  

     At some point in time, Carson and Mary moved to Venice, Florida.

Captured from Find A Grave
Photograph by Kathi Lynn King
     On Find A Grave there is a photograph of the tombstone for Carson P. Boyd, listed as Carson Perrie Boyd and his wife, Mary M. Boyd in West Newton Cemetery, West Newton, Pennsylvania.  He died at the age of eighty seven, on September 7, 1985.  I was able to locate an obituary for his wife, Mary M. Boyd, nee Tamasy.  Mary was born on August 10, 1908 in Reduction, to Barney and Mary Tamasy.  She died on Feb 27, 2000 at the age of ninety three in Green Tree, Pennsylvania. No children were mentioned in the obituary.

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