Two Bachelor Uncles

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Thursday, August 24, 1911: Although the weather looked exceedingly threatening this morning and continued to drizzle now and then all day, Ruth and I went over to Ottawa on the train in spite of the silvery rain drops. I have two bachelor uncles living there and wanted to go over so bad after an absence of seven year anyway, if not more. Our visit was but of short duration, but we intend however to visit them again this coming fall. Making a longer visit than this one and to visit a certain park not far away.

Recent photo of the railroad track by the Muffly farm. It's hard to picture, but there once was a feed mill by the tracks--and it was a flag stop for a passenger train.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma and her sister Ruth probably flagged down the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train at the feed mill near their farm. The train stopped at every hamlet between Watsontown and Berwick—and Ottawa was a stop on the line.

Ottawa is a tiny village in Limestone Township, Montour County—and is located about 12 miles east of the Muffly farm.

Transportation was more difficult a hundred years ago than it is today, but it seems somewhat surprising that Grandma hadn’t seen two uncles who lived only a few miles away for at least seven years.

I think that the bachelor uncles were Samuel and George Muffly.  They were brothers of Grandma’s father. According to the 1910 census Samuel Muffly was a 43-year-old single male. He lived with his 34-year-old brother George and his 59-year-old widowed sister Mary Feinour and her two children, 19-year-old S. Kathryn and 14-year-old John.

It seems odd that Grandma only mentioned her uncles and did not mention her aunt and cousins—but maybe they had moved out of the household by 1911.

(In case you care—The Church of Latter Day Saints Family Search tool makes it really easy to search old census records.  I also found Samuel in the 1920 census. He was still single and was still living in Limestone Township, Montour County—but he was living alone.)

4 Responses

  1. Interesting how diaries provide an interesting view of the family relationships — tantalizing, but never quite enough.

  2. [...] Two Bachelor Uncles Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  3. [...] Grandma and her sister Ruth—Grandma calls her Rufus in this entry— probably took the train the ten or so miles to the small town of Ottawa (Montour County), to visit their uncle Sam Muffly. [...]

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