Purcell Family of America
An association to help those trace the Purcell family line
The Purcell Name
Reynolds Family Genealogy
Posted: 14 July 2011 at 12:21 p.m.
A Story by J. F. Purcell
My father’s family gathered for the photo above around 1919; clockwise from the bottom left are Baby Jack (my uncle), Grandmother Edith; Aunt Bonnie, my father Thomas Abram, and Grandfather Thomas E. Purcell. I wouldn’t be writing this story about my grandmother Edith Cora Reynolds Purcell Windle and the Reynolds family history without the efforts of the following individuals and resources:
1) Grandma Edith’s Signature Book (circa 1900)
My Aunt Cecile and Uncle Jack Purcell who, between them have shared
family stories over the years, including two that helped me locate both my
Purcell and Reynolds Family Histories.
4) Shirley (Reynolds) Cole
5) Annette (Reynolds) King
6) And the work of unknown (now known) Reynolds’ family members.
Each contributed to the resurrection of the Reynolds Family History that dates from the late 1500s in England to the marriage of my grandmother Edith Cora Reynolds to Thomas E. Purcell on 23 May, 1907, (see marriage seal image on the right.)
I became interested in genealogy in general in the mid-1970s, shortly after I married Francine Roberta Karasik in February of 1976. I managed to make several visits to the New York Public Library between 1976 and 1979 when our first son Jason was born. With time now focused on family, and the realization that genealogy was most time consuming, I put it on the back burner. While I had more Purcell genealogical information, the Reynolds line was intriguing because it ended in the late 1800s. However, with the name Reynolds being so common, I might just as well have written “Smith” on a library research slip to try and do research. It was destined to be a research project to be tackled later in life.
Grandma Edith lived with her second husband Robert ‘Bob’ Windle in Billings, MT, and moved to Long Beach, CA, when I was a little boy. I remember visiting southern California a couple of times and going to the pier in Long Beach with its smell of diesel fumes and the sea shore. I remember being there when I was six and seven, especially in July of 1957. It was there, I am told by a family friend, that my Mom, Marion Frances Simon Purcell, had the first signs of uterine cancer that would ravage her body and take her on January 1st, 1958.
My loving ‘Granny’ came to Billings and took care of me for approximately a year until my Dad got back on his feet emotionally. My Dad was a poor school teacher and he didn’t believe in giving an allowance. So, it was with great elation and gratitude that I got a 5-cent allowance from Grandma Edith, which I promptly spent on penny candy. If I was real ‘good,’ I even got an occasional dime or quarter. My Dad would remarry twice, first to Mary Larsen (only lasted one year), and then to Alice Tangen Affeldt. Dad and Alice were married for the remainder of their lives until my Dad died in February of 1989.
As the years went by, Grandma Edith would end up in a nursing home and develop dementia. When I returned home during my college years I would visit her, but she would not recognize me. She died at the age of 85 when I was in fashion/merchandising school in New York. She was buried in Billings, MT, in 1973.
So, from the early 70s, I had wondered about the Reynolds side of the family. This situation remained unchanged until 1982 when I took some notes from my Uncle Jack (John Calvin in the photo above) and Aunt Ce, including passages from my Grandma’s Signature Book. These notes remained in my ‘Reynolds’ Notebook, long forgotten until my Uncle Jack Purcell passed away in March of 2010. After that, Aunt Ce forwarded Grandmother Edith Reynolds Purcell Windle’s Signature Book to me. When I read through it, I made copious notes, including the Reynolds family living on Trout Brook Farm in Battenville, NY.
When I entered “Reynolds” and “Trout Brook Farm” into the Google search engine, it took me quickly and stunningly to The Reynolds’ Annex. There, in minutes, I found The Reynolds Family History, including my own line, with the Purcell heritage, that left me speechless and in tears.
Using my Mac computer, however, I had trouble navigating the Annex web site, which is designed to work with Internet Explorer. I didn’t discover this until I was preparing for the Reynolds Family Reunion in mid June in So. Glens Falls (Moreau township), NY, which is about three-four hours north of NYC off I-87. Now I was using my Windows-based laptop and I discovered that Brad Watson of California had executed The Reynolds’ Annex. When I called him, he said he he had gotten much of his Reynolds lineage from Bill and Marlin Drake of Crestview, FL. It was indeed the Drakes who had created The Reynold’s Annex. I called and spoke at length with Bill Drake and he told me he captured much of The Reynolds Annex from a Reynolds Family Association book he had seen from his wife’s uncle, Dr. George and wife Ruth Rubright of Warnesville, PA. It was entitled The History and Descendants of John and Sarah Reynolds, 1630-1923, of Watertown, MA; Wethersfield, Stamford & Greenwich, CT, by Miriam H. Reynolds, edited by Mrs. Anna Rippier; copyright 1924.
I had no idea the scope of this book until I visited the NY State Library in Albany on Friday June 17th and saw it firsthand. (It was one of approximately 16 volumes on the Reynolds Family.) Amazingly, there were no books for the Purcell Family, so I am recommending that we donate a set of Purcell Family of America Journals to NY State Library. (This will be discussed with the Board before a final decision is made.) Coincidentally, I discussed this with Shawn Purcell, who has been in the library’s Genealogical History area for over 25 years.
After departing Albany, I traveled up to the Saratoga Springs Library’s Local History area and met my distant cousin Annette (Reynolds) King. It was not hard to find her as her materials were spread out on the table. We quickly joined forces examining resources courteously provided by the Library staff, including two outstanding resource librarians. I would seriously recommend getting to know your local resource librarian as he/she can be of invaluable assistance in travel planning. Annette and I discovered how valuable a local resource librarian can be when she visited the Greenwich, NY Library and got not only a local map of the Greenwich Cemetery, but also had one of the staff graciously volunteer on her day off to drive Annette (Reynolds) King to the Trout Brook Farm, once the property of Lincoln Edward and Emma (Watson) Reynolds. Annette and I would visit this family farm after our Reunion in Moreau earlier in the day.. It would not have been possible to find this farm and house without this valuable guidance.
The Reynolds Reunion in Moreau on Saturday, June 18th attracted about 10 individuals including organizer: Annette (Reynolds) King, myself, Vivian & Donald Bush and their daughter Christine Levo; brother and sister Cara and Chris Brownell, Alan Lant, Harry & Pat Prutsman. The highlights of the picnic were exchanging family stories, and the recipe for Bush’s Better Baked Beans from Vivian Bush.
That evening, Annette and I managed to find Trout Brook Farm in Battenville, NY -- about 45 minutes south/southeast of where we had the Reunion in Moreau (South Glens Falls.) This is where my Great Aunt & Uncle lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
On Sunday morning, June 19th, we drove to the Old Reynolds Cemetery at the NE corner of Reynolds Corners south of Moreau, and then down to the Greenwich Cemetery in Greenwich, NY (pronounced Green-witch) about five miles west/southwest of Battenville. There, armed with a map Annette had procured the day before, we were able to find 20-to-30 headstones of our direct and distant relatives. The oldest of my direct relatives were GGG grandparents: Abraham Reynolds, (Sept 10, 1784-Feb 05, 1853) and Mariah Strever (Apr 11, 1787-Feb 22, 1865) as well as GG grandparents Capt. Abram Reynolds (1827-1903) and Mary Kasson (1835-1911). I know that Mike O’Shea and Tony Marostica have Reynolds ancestors. If any other members share these roots, I’d be delighted to provide additional details.
Can you share your family stories like those that can be found on The Reynolds Annex? Do you have a favorite Purcell story or recipe? Or Purcell family lineage? Please share them with us. Thanks.
Joe Frank ‘J.F.’ Purcell
President, Purccll Family of America
Comment from Raymond Reynolds (21 April 2013 at 11:17 a.m.)My dad was from,PA. his name was Esley Frank Reynolds, just looking for his side of the family. If you have infomation please send it to email@example.com thankyou sincerely Raymond Reynolds 10799 st hwy 111 east Yoakum,Tx 77995
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