George & Rosanna

2014.04.20

Happy Easter - He is risen!

From Rosanna’s collection comes a card sent 100 years ago for Easter 1914. This postcard was mailed from Providence, RI by Gertrude Swailes to her cousin, seven year old Bernard Swales of Fall River, MA.

Gertrude wrote:

Tell your Pa I have’nt answered his letter yet but It’s coming. It’s on it’s way. Eat lots of eggs but don’t burst.

From Gertrude

For an explanation of the use of Swailes vs. Swales, see this previous post .

2014.04.18

A Good Friday greeting from Rosanna’s collection.

This Easter card was sent to Rosanna’s son, Bernard, from her sister Katie (Catherine Cuppello Tomlinson) more than 100 years ago.

2014.04.01

Remembering my beautiful and sweet Grandma, Florence Bouchard Swales on her 106th birthday. 

Florence (Florida/Florilda) Bouchard was the wife of George and Rosanna’s son, Bernard. She is seated on the right in the top photo which was taken in 1928. Below that is Florence and Bernard in 1946 followed by a 1955 photo of Florence and her mother, Leontine Roussel Bouchard. Lastly, we have Florence enjoying the summer sun on the front steps of 45 Sycamore Street.

2014.03.27

For this Throwback Thursday we go back 100 years to Burnley, England in 1914. Seven year old Bernard Swales posed on a sidewalk with his treasured Irish Mail. Named for the Irish Mail train, the fastest train at the time, the four-wheeled velocipede was propelled by pumping the handle and steered with the feet.

Residents of Fall River, Massachusetts, Bernard and his mother, Rosanna, visited England from July of 1914 to January of 1915 to spend time with Rosanna’s ailing mother. I’m not sure if the Irish Mail was purchased in Fall River before the trip or while in Burnley, but it did make the return voyage back to the States. Years later, Bernard’s children and grandchildren delighted in playing with the sturdy toy.

I’ve learned of the history of the Irish Mail thanks to an article written for the Anderson Herald Bulletin by Beth Oljace of the Anderson, Indiana Public Library. According to Beth, the Irish Mail was created in 1902 by Hugh Hill, who worked for his family’s pump and tool manufacturing company in Anderson, Indiana. The new hand cart became so popular that the company ended up focusing solely on toys, eventually adding scooters and playground equipment to their line of products. The business boomed and the company sold over 1.5 million Irish Mails worldwide in a twenty year span. Above is an advertisement for the Irish Mail from the January 1910 edition of the Hardware Dealers’ Magazine.

2014.03.17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Today’s card is posted in honor of George’s mother, Mary Duffy Swales, and Rosanna’s mother, Catherine Lally Cuppello, both “daughters of Erin”.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today’s card is posted in honor of George’s mother, Mary Duffy Swales, and Rosanna’s mother, Catherine Lally Cuppello, both “daughters of Erin”.

2014.03.15

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!
From Rosanna’s collection, this postcard depicts some well know objects from the home land; shamrocks, a clay pipe and an Irish jaunting car.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!

From Rosanna’s collection, this postcard depicts some well know objects from the home land; shamrocks, a clay pipe and an Irish jaunting car.

2014.02.23

Today we remember George and Rosanna’s son, Bernard Vaughan Swales, on his 107th birthday. In his honor, we’ll look back at Bernard’s early years from birth through his early adulthood.

Born on February 23, 1907 in Burnley, Lancashire, England, Bernard was the youngest of three children, all sons, born to George and Rosanna Swales. Bernard was the only one of the couple’s children to survive through childhood. 

Just months after Bernard’s birth, George and Rosanna emigrated to Fall River, Massachusetts, a city which was already the home to George’s sisters, Rose and Eliza. Fall River also offered the couple hope of steady, high paying employment in the city’s numerous textile mills. While his parents worked the arduous hours of mill operatives, young Bernard was cared for by his Aunt Rose, Rose’s daughter Ellen, and Aunt Eliza. Based on the 1910 census where three year old Bernard is mistakenly listed as the grandchild of his Aunt Rose, I believe he often lived with Aunt Rose during the week and spent the weekends with his parents.

Because George and Rosanna both worked throughout Bernard’s childhood, they earned enough to ensure that Bernard was able to attend grammar school and go on to high school, no small feat for the son of immigrant mill operatives. Upon his graduation from Fall River’s B.M.C. Durfee High School in 1925, George and Rosanna had hoped to send their “bright boy” to college. However, economic hard times hit the Fall River textile industry in the years following World War I and to make ends meet, the couple was forced to use the money that they had saved for Bernard’s education.

With college out of the picture, Bernard, had to find a job after graduation from high school. His keen mathematical mind was well suited to the clerk position that he landed at the Mechanic’s Mill, located at 1082 Davol Street in Fall River. After a two year stint at the Mechanic’s Mill, Bernard moved on to a similar job at the Weetamoe Mills, just down the road at 1290 Davol Street. By 1931, Bernard was married and had changed jobs again, working as a clerk at the Arkwright Mills. You can read about his frightening run in with armed bandits in a previous post on the Arkwright Payroll Robbery.

Pictured above are a number of photos of Bernard during the 1920’s.

  • The top picture shows Bernard with his beloved dog.
  • The second is from the B.M.C. Durfee High School Yearbook for 1925.
  • The third photo shows Bernard with his soccer team, the Oaks. Bernard loved to play soccer, but saw limited playing time due to heart problems resulting from a bout of rheumatic fever in his youth.
  • The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh photos show Bernard among his many friends during the “Roaring 20’s”.
  • Lastly, we have two of the mills were Bernard worked. The Mechanics Mill is on the left and the Weetamoe Mill is on the right. For those of you who know Fall River, you might recognize the Mechanics Mill as the home of the popular restaurant, Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill. 

2014.02.17

Happy Presidents’ Day!
Today’s card from Rosanna’s collection features our nation’s very first president, George Washington. Washington was born February 22, 1732 and died on December 14, 1799. The phrase  “First in War, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen” was part of a eulogy for Washington by a fellow Revolutionary War patriot, Henry Lee. Henry’s son, Robert E. Lee, later went on to lead the Confederate Army in the Civil War.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Today’s card from Rosanna’s collection features our nation’s very first president, George Washington. Washington was born February 22, 1732 and died on December 14, 1799. The phrase  “First in War, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen” was part of a eulogy for Washington by a fellow Revolutionary War patriot, Henry Lee. Henry’s son, Robert E. Lee, later went on to lead the Confederate Army in the Civil War.

2014.02.14

Happy Valentine’s Day

Today we have a pretty little 1920’s Valentine card from a pretty little lady, Florence Bouchard, to her love and  future husband, Bernard Swales.

2014.01.26

Today we remember George and Rosanna’s eldest child, John Swales, who was born 111 years ago, January 26, 1903. John was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England and named after Rosanna’s father, John Cuppello. 

All of the photos above were taken in Burnley. The top photo comes from a post card that was sent to George’s sister Rose and her daughter, Mary Ellen, who lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. The message reads:

To Aunt Rose Ann and cousin Ellen

From Daddys Champion 

With kind love and a X smacker

The 3rd photo shows John dressed in his best at approximately age 3. The bottom photo is the last know picture of John. It was taken in the spring of 1907, just before Rosanna and the boys left England to join George who had emigrated to Fall River a few months earlier. Poor little John died in Fall River of scarlet fever on April 3, 1908, less than 7 months after the family was reunited.