Tuesday, April 5, 2016

George W Hartley's Later Years in Cedar Rapids

George W Hartley and Rebecca Paul (1806-1901, daughter of Robert Paul and Sarah Davies).  From a private calendar put together by a Hartley cousin.

How I'm related to these characters.

I don't know when family reunions began to be in vogue, but a few years ago I was surprised to find that one of my direct ancestors, George Washington Hartley (1805-1880), oldest son of Solomon Hartley (1775-1815) and Mary Gwinnup (1772-abt 1850), conducted one in the streets of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to the following newspaper article from NewspaperArchive:

The Cedar Rapids Times
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4 Sep 1873
Page 3

Family Reunion.--A novelty in the way of a "Family reunion" took place on Monday last.  Mr. George Hartly, an old resident of Cedar Rapids, and somewhat eccentric, appeared upon the streets in a carriage, in which was his wife and one son, followed by wagons and carriages containing his children and his children's children, to the number of 26.  The procession was headed by the Bohemian Brass Band, and the wagons and carriages were decorated with the American colors.  The procession halted on Washington street, between Engle street and Iowa avenue, and Mr. Hartley, standing in his carriage, addressed the crowd which gathered about the wagon, and which kept increasing until it swelled high up in the hundreds.  In his speech Mr. Hartly referred briefly to his life, his children, his  family discipline, etc., and interspersed his remarks with interesting incidents and reflections, winding up with a eulogy on Tom. Laine [I'm not sure who this is], of whom he is a great admirer and in whose doctrines he seems to be a firm believer.  Taken as a whole, this was a rather novel affair, and one which the crowd upon the street seemed to enjoy.

I wish I had a transcript of this speech George gave!  It made an impression on the newspaper guys, as they mentioned this incident in George's obituary 5 years later (from NewspaperArchive):

The Cedar Rapids Times
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
10 June 1880
page 3

Another Landmark Gone - Mr. George Hartley, one of our [oldest?] citizens, died at his residence Sabbath morning, June 6th, aged seventy-five years.  He was born in Philadelphia, Pa., and was brought up by a Quaker lady in New Jersey [I am assuming this is Mary Gwinnup].  He came to Cedar Rapids twenty-seven years ago, and has been a resident of our city ever since.  He was at one time, we are informed, a Methodist preacher, but in later years made no profession of religion of any kind.  He was a man of more than ordinary general intelligence, very eccentric in his speech and manners, very positive in his opinions, earnest and enthusiastic in all his undertakings.  Some years since his children and grandchildren in California and Missouri visited him here, and the old gentleman was so elated to have them visit him and so highly pleased that all were so comfortably fixed in life that he got up a reunion street parade, himself and wife in a carriage leading the procession, while his children and grandchildren followed in wagons and buggies.  He halted on Washington street and gave a concise and interesting history of his family, interspersing it with many thrilling incidents and unique remarks [arrgghhh, and why couldn't any detail of those things be mentioned??].  He was a man of considerable property, and was a good citizen, honest, upright and trustworthy in all things.  He leaves a wife and nine children; three sons in California, one daughter in Missouri and five in Cedar Rapids.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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