Posts Tagged With: newspaper.com

Boyd Gray: Cycle From New York City to San Fransisco

One day while on newspapers.com. I decided to search for black cyclist during the late 1800s, early 1900s and I came across a story from 1894 about a cyclist named Boyd Gray. According to numerous newspaper articles, Boyd was in his early 20s and a resident of Yonkers, NY. He also worked as at the Getty House Hotel which was also located in Yonkers, NY. His father, who lived in Georgia, wrote Boyd and asked him if he could assist with payment their family farms mortgage. According to The Yonkers Herald dated August 13, 1894, “Gray did not have very much money, and night after night conjectured about a way to make money to save the farm. He at last hit upon an idea of riding through the country and earning money by blacking boots.” Boyd left New York City, The New York World Building (aka the Pulitzer Building) to be exact to cycle across the country to San Francisco on May 10, 1894. An article in the Democratic Chronicles Newspaper from June 23, 1894, described Boyd as “…a muscular young man, black as coal, and about five feet seven inches in height.”

Boyd arrived in San Francisco on October 17, 1894, and was able to raise the money to save his family farm. In addition to boot blacking he was also promoting for the bike company Derby according to The Rock Island Argus newspaper. “He not only carries a boot black’s box, but on the red sweater which he wears are the words “I ride a Derby.” So that between what money he makes at shinning shoes, he receives remuneration of the manufacturers of the “Derby” bike which he rides.” Most days Boyd rode anywhere between 60 miles to over 100 miles per day on his journey. In each place along his route he stopped he blacked the boots of the local towns people as well mayors, police chiefs and other notable people in those areas. He was well received in most places except in Chicago , where he was denied the opportunity to blacked the boots of Mayor John P. Hopkins according to an article in the El Paso Times dated April 13, 1895.

Below are some articles I found about Boyd’s trip but I haven’t found much else besides they articles about his epic adventure. I also haven’t found anything about Boyd Gray’s upbringing or life after his trip but, I did find a 1905 New York State Census for a man named Boyd Gray was living in Yonkers and working for a family as a butler. I’ll keep searching to see what else I can find out more about him and his journey.

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Learning More About Your Ancestors Through Newspapers

 

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is hosting a webinar: Learning More About Your Ancestors Through Newspapers. Tonight, Jan 9th @ 7pm (EST) Click here  for more information and to register.

I’ve found so much from newspapers like obituaries, birth and marriage announcements, information regarding court cases, land transfers, local event news and much more.  Newspapers give me a better idea of what my ancestor’s lives during the times especially when newspapers when other records are few and far between.

Newspapers.com has a 7 day free trial, check it out and see what information you can find.

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Newspapers.com find

My 2x Great Aunt Rebecca E. Burke Tompkins is featured in this article I found the other day on newspapers.com I felt really proud and happy when I found this article, I could only imagine how she felt or the rest of our family felt.

 

If you are not utilizing newspapers in your research you should really think twice about it because you can really find some gems and get a better look into your relatives lives.

 

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02 Sept. 1909

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 An Honest Man’s the Noblest Work of God. Pt. 1

Duffie Headstone_Findagrave

Photo taken by Monika Cantrell (for findagrave.com)

My Great Uncle Duffie was only 25 years old when he died, the circumstances of Uncle Duffie’s death was sort of a mystery to me for many years. I knew he had been shot but didn’t know by whom or for what. I’ve heard family stories of a family member being behind his death but I didn’t and at this point I still don’t have any real proof that family member had anything to do with his murder.

While at RootsTech 2018 I stopped by the Genealogybank.com exhibit booth and was able to search on their computers and during my search I came across an article in The Macon Daily Telegraph Newspapers from 01 Jul 1923 about Uncle Duffie’s death. This was the first time I had seen anything regarding his murder. The article was a little difficult to read due to a fold in the paper. I contacted Washington Memorial Library in Macon, GA which houses The Macon Daily Telegraph archives but they had the same folded copy I had. I did some more searching this time using Newspapers.com. I   had to played around with keyword before I found another article in The Montgomery Advertiser also dated 01 Jul 1923. The article is almost identical to the one I found in The Macon Daily Telegraph. 

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

 

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

 

 I intend to continue the search for more information regarding Uncle Duffie’s murder.

 

 

 

 

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