Tuesday, August 26, 2014


On 4 February 1919, little more than a month after hostilities in World War I ceased, my great uncle Harry Francis Longmore, son of Cecelia Longmore, while serving in the American Expeditionary Force, United States Army, 348th Infantry Regiment, 87th Division, Company M, contracted a disease (most likely influenza) and died in Bordeaux, being laid to eternal rest in Plot A Row 16 Grave 8 of the Suresnes American Cemetery, in Suresnes, France (although he may have initially been buried in a cemetery in southwestern France). He enlisted for service 28 May 1918 at Camp Dix, Wrightstown, N. J. and served as the company bugler. His unit never saw action, having arrived in France late in the conflict. I am not sure exactly when the family was notified of his passing, but on 17 February 1919 his mother posted a letter that obviously he never read (and its existence may be the result of it being returned by the War Department to Fort Dix on 22 March 1919 and to Trenton on 25 March 1919). Sadly, his elder brother James Brook (after whom apparently my father was initially named), who enlisted 3 September 1918 and served in 10th Battalion, Company 37, 153 Depot Brigade, died of pneumonia at the age pf twenty-eight at Fort Dix on 8 October 1918, so Harry's death was a double blow to Cecelia and the whole family. Herewith the unread letter, a missive to her son, hopefully read by a ghost on his way to heaven. [I tried to transcribe it exactly as on the pages.]

My Dear Harry

I hav got the letter of Jan 6 and am looking for a letter again every time I see the Carier I am looking for the letter I mean the Great one - of things that - are wonderfull. Oh Harry I have something to tell you when I see you. Dad was up to the 2nd Pres Church with me Sunday. all the children are well Laura & Joe sends love to you, a great many of the Boys are geting Discharged from Dix & other camps as well Gorge Gildea says he will run all the way home from Camp Dix if they only give him chance and his Discharge Uncle Joe's James gets one to Day so uncle Joe told us yesterday young Joe is in som land near Spane. Harry I do hope you will only keep well and get home soon for we do want to see you so badly Harry send me a postal card picture Just bust so that your Face is large and your Hat of [off] do write to me soon for it is so long since we got a letter from you Dad sends love to you and he as got Ducks & Chickens so you will have a good time when you get Home I send Love to you I do not want a large picture for Maby I would not get it in the mail so Just Postal kind so it will not cost much

I close with love to you

You asked of Jack Flager he is fine look as if he was never sick Mrs Emdy is fine Dad see her evry day or to she is not geting letters eather only 2 from Burnard since he left home 2 months since one from Frank or Conard she is looking for them home Henry Mullan in Brooklyn is like Police so fat and John is fine & in France

Monday, August 25, 2014


In one file I found a beautiful little card, delicate and intricate, addressed to Emily Longmore. Since she died in 1887 at the age of seven, it is possible that this note dates from around 1886-1887. It seems like a valentine, but also might have some other goal. I'd like to think some little boy gave it to her and she cherished it for a while, which may be why someone kept it and passed it along. It could have some other significance, I don't know, but I'll let myself be sadly romantic.


On 25 March 1878 L. M. Emsley of Philadelphia wrote to my great, great grandmother Cecelia Longmore:

I neglected to answer your letter, because we were talking about moving, and I waited to know where it should be; but, at present, there seems no prospect of such an event happening.
You are to come down in April, or as soon as you can before that time. I am dying of curiosity to know what you have to tell me so come right away.
Martha had a very baby boy born Jan. 26th, it lived for nearly two weeks, and then died of inward spasms.
We school-teachers are nearly wild for we will have to wait until the 1st of May instead of the 1st of April, and most probably until October, so no new clothes for us.
It is a most horrible windy, dusty day and dust an inch thick on everything.

With love to all, I remain your friend,

I wonder from this short note if Cecelia too was a school teacher. Was Martha family or classmate or former friend? Ms. Emsley's writing is beautiful and light, and pretty easy to read, much better than most writing of this era that I have struggled with. Why keep this note? So many questions, but it is part of what made me love history.


Tucked away in a soiled and worn, undated, un-notated brown envelope there was a small photograph of a child, appearing to be between the age of one month to six months perhaps, his/her feet bundled in knitted socks and wearing a white sleeping gown. The hair appears blonde, which would match a clipping also enclosed within the envelope. An accompanying card feature "Past Present and Future", a drawing or lithograph of three maidens in different stages of life. Who was this child? The photograph was take at John Bainbridge Art Studio, and establishment that existed (according to local historians) from 1878-1884, a rather manageable six years. The best candidate for me is it might be Emily Longmore (the first child of Cecelia and Charles Longmore), who was born in 1880 and died in 1887. She therefore would have been my great-great aunt. It is possible she could also be Elizabeth Laura Longmore (Sigley), who was born in 1882, or Hannah Lydia Longmore Hartpence, who was born in (1884). Somehow, though, because of the poignancy of the card, which seemed to hold a wish that there had been a longer life, I like to think it might be little Emily.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


After World War II, my grandparents Fran and Lee Tidd adopted a Ukrainian boy, Alexander Rybalkin. He has been a shadow person in my life. I think I met him a few times as a child, but even my Dad lost track of him several times. He apparently traveled back and forth from the United States and Ukraine. I know he lived in Baltimore in the 1990s, as well as in his birth town of Donetsk. Exactly why he left Ukraine while his mother was alive, I am not sure.

Here (I think) we have Alex (on the left) with his mother in 1970. The two other people are apparently his nephew and his wife. This picture was taken in Donetsk.

Not sure at all about this picture, but it may very well be of Alex with his nephew and his wife. It was undated, but clearly Alex is older, so I am guessing 1990s.

Alex apparently was in Moscow during protests against Yeltsin and the war in Chechnya. He apparently supported Lebed. He seems to have been poisoned during his stay there, though how bad it is not certain. Here is an undated pic of Alex "hanging" Yeltsin, although I do not know where it was taken.

Undated, but taken in Donetsk, this photo was trimmed off the original, and it makes me wonder who he was standing beside. A former wife? girlfriend? Who knows?


Cecelia Morley Longmore (2 April 1857 - 27 February 1929) was my great great grandmother, mother to Elizabeth Laura Longmore (who married Joseph Wright Sigley on 22 November 1904), who was mother to my grandmother Lillian Morley Sigley. Cecelia's husband was Charles Richard Longmore (d. 7 January 1924). This beautiful woman had a rough life in many ways, losing at least four children in tender years, as well as two grown sons at the end of WWI. She was a lifelong resident of Trenton and a member of the Third Presbyterian Church.

Cecelia's mother apparently was Emma Brook Morley (making her my great great great grandmother). She looks like a stern woman, but you can never tell from photos.


Milton Tidd (14 September 1855 - 16 November 1906), my great great grandfather, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Horace T. Tidd and Mary A. Tidd. He suffered from partial deafness from the age of sixteen. By the 1870s he was a pharmacist for several concerns, including working for Samuel Dickinson (of Trenton), the Southern Dispensary of Philadelphia, and John Anistaki (of Trenton). In 1880 he started his own drug and paint store (not sure why the two were connected) on Broad Street, and later a second store on Hamilton Avenue. In 1903 the Tidd Drug Company was formed. Apparently he suffered from Bright's Disease. This photo is from 1905. I don't know if the gentleman shown is in fact Milton, but it would be a good guess.