Letters from Family



January 31, 2006


Dear David,

I came across this clipping which I had meant to send to you. Perhaps I already sent a copy of it to you. Anyway, in case I didn’t here it is. (see below). If you recall Great-Grandma Seawright’s obituary mentioned that she had been a a member of the “Degree of Pocohontas”. For years I wondered what that was. While looking up something else in an old encyclopedia, I noticed “Red Men”, a fraternal order. And there in the write-up was the explanation of the Degree of Pocahontas. Much to my amazement, it had nothing to do with Indian ancestry!

Has anyone in the family done anymore research on Mary Ann Gadbeau, Great-Grandmother Seawright’s mother? I can’t figure out how she came here from Paris, was part Indian.

My mother, Leona DeLong, is doing well in West Virginia. She gets out and about – belongs to several organizations. She will be 90 this summer. She used to love to go to the reunions.


Connie Mosher


Attachment to the above letter:

RED MEN.  Improved Order of Red Men. American secret civic and benevolent society organized at Baltimore, MD, Oct. 14, 1833. Its motto is Freedom, Friendship, and Charity. Although Indians are not eligible to membership, the society ritual is founded upon the manners and customs of the red men. Attempts to preserve Indian relics and traditions are among the aims of the Order, and Indian nomenclature, sign language, etc., are used in the ceremonies. Non-members are “pale faces,” the meeting place a “tepee,” the meeting itself a “council fire,” etc. Women relatives of Red Men may become members of the Degree of Pocahontas. In 1951 there were about 200,000 Red Men.


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July 4, 2006

Dear Dave,

Received the Hughes North reunion notice yesterday, Monday, and if I don’t sit down and answer it now, I’ll never get around to it. In the snapshot in the middle section of  William Hughes, the next man is my brother, Floyd Appleton and then my Dad Lyman Appleton.

You ask about some of addressing missing [a number of address updates were provided]. My sister Mary bird is now in an assisted Living Home. She is 98. My son James DeLong, Jr has been living with me for 3 ½ years. Came to help me care for Ed when he was so ill and has stayed ever since, except 2 or 3 times a year flies to see his sons families in Denver. My son Rev Lawrence DeLong  now lives in New Jersey with their 2 adopted 5 year old children Sadie & Seth. His wife, Valerie, is a Lt. Col. in the Army. It’s so nice to have them closer. They were previously stationed in Alaska for 3 years.

I’m afraid we won’t be able to make it to this years reunion. Jim has arranged a DeLong family reunion in Old forge the following week, with everyone who can coming in from WVa, Colo, NJ, Mass, Conn, New York, etc. and at my age that’s all I can handle if I’ll be able to do that. I’ll be 90 on the 6th, the day of the reunion. My church here is having a big “Meeting at the River” party that day also, which is always a lot of fun and which we love to attend.

I’m doing pretty good, I can walk well, after having both hips replaced. Two or three times a week I do a water aerobics at a local Spa which helps a lot. I’m certainly lucky to have Jim here. He does all the outside work. We have a double lot on a side hill, which is quite a challenge to mow and lots of shrubs to keep trimmed. He also has a nice vegetable garden, where he has already harvested lots of lettuce and spinach and this week he picked green beans, peppers, broccoli and pepper .

Jim and I (Ed used to before he got ill) are active in our local colleges’ Elder Hostel program. “Lifelong Learning”. We have courses Fall and Spring semester and it is a lot of fun and keeps us busy.

You probably wouldn’t have heard but Robert Pearsall, my sister Dorothy’s husband passed away early in March. She was ill in the hospital at the time and had to stay at a Rehab facility in Booneville for quite awhile before she could come home. The funeral wasn’t held until early May (cemetery is closed till May 1st). Jim and I were able to go up at that time to be with her and help what we could. It’s a two day trip from here. She is doing quite well now but it’s hard for her. They had no children.

Hope all is well with your family and that the reunion is a great success. Hope I’ll still make it some year.




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July 17, 2006

Dear Dave

I should have written to you much sooner but things have been kind of hectic for me. I’m always glad to get a notice from the Hughes/North Reunion.

1st I want to tell you that my husband Robert Pearsall passed away on March 6th 2006. He had been in nursing home in Boonville since May 2005. I was in the hospital at the time so wasn’t able to have his funeral until May 13th 2006.

Next Mary Bird is my sister. She is 98 and in an assisted living home called the Avalon. (note from Dave – If anyone would like to write to Mary – I understand that she’s quite sharp – call me or Email me and I’ll provide the address.)

I think my sister Leona DeLong has given you information on the DeLongs. I don’t have all of them at this time but I can get them if necessary.

Also there is a picture of William Hughes and Lyman Appleton. The gentleman between them and that is my brother, Floyd Appleton. My full name is Dorothy Appleton Pearsall.

I would like to attend some of the reunions but am unable to get there. I did go but it’s been over 30 years I think. I’m 84 now and probably wouldn’t know anyone anymore.

I love to get your notices. I don’t have any children to add to the list.

Thank you so much for keeping in touch.

Dorothy A. Pearsall.

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July 30, 2006

GRANDMA SEARIGHT  as narrated by Mary-Ellen Hughes Vitto
     Mary Jane Barrett, daughter of Pall Barrett and Mary Jane Gadbau, was born on November 2, 1865 in Brasher Falls, New York. When Mary Jane was about eight years old, her father received a "Bill of Divorcement" from his wife, Mary Jane Gadbau. Some time after that happened, Mary Jane Gadbau stood at the gate in front of her ex-husband's house while he was at work in the fields, and she called to her daughter to come to her. She then took her daughter away and, to disguise her daughter, she "bobbed" Grandma's hair, as Grandma used to call it. That meant she cut her hair short, and Grandma always told us that after that her hair was never again cut. However, Mary Jane's father did manage to find her and Mary Jane Gadbau went back to Paris, France. She did not see her daughter again until 1908 when she returned to this country from France. At that time Grandma Searight was pregnant with her last child, Mary Searight, and Grandma Searight's eldest daughter, Inah Hughes Williams, was also pregnant. Grandma Searight recalled that she hid behind the door when her mother knocked because, at that time, pregnant women did not "show themselves in public". She was overjoyed to see her mother again, and one of the things that her mother brought back was MACARONI, which Grandma had never seen or heard of before.  I recall, when Grandma Searight would come to visit us from time to time, every night when she got ready for bed, she would brush her hair 100 times, put on her night cap, read her Bible, say her prayers and then go to bed. I used to sit with her at bedtime a lot and she would tell me many things.
     In 1879, when Grandma was 14 years old, she married William James Hughes, who was born in 1858, the son of Abileney Curtis and Benjamin James Hughes, and he brought his bride to live on the Hughes family homestead in an area called number 4 near Petrie's Corner in the town of Watson, near Lowville, New York. It is unknown when Benjamin died, but Abileney later married a Civil War veteran named Philo Radley, and the newlyweds made their home with his mother and step-father. Mary Jane and William worked the farmland for his mother. Grandma Searight used to tell me how hard they both worked. She worked in the fields until her babies were ready to be born, then walked back to the house, delivered her baby herself, wrapped it in a cloth which she tied around herself, and went back into the fields to work until dark!! When we were small children growing up, Mom and Dad (Sarah and Bill Hughes) would take all of us to the old homestead where Aunt Mary Hughes (Grandpa Hughes' only sibling) still lived and we would all go into the woods there to pick blackberries and blueberries, which Mom would can for the winter. It was a rustic old house, there was no electricity, but Aunt Mary was a wonderful cook (when she was younger, she used to cook for some of the big hotels in the Adirondack mountain area) so we always had something special to eat. Mom especially loved Aunt Mary's jelly roll cake. A beautiful brook ran beside the house and in mid-July the water in it would be ice-cold! Aunt Mary had a large wooden box built into the inside bank of the brook and she kept milk, home-churned butter, cheese, eggs, meat, etc. there. It had a lid so critters couldn't get at the food. The water in the brook was as clear as a bell and tasted soooo good! Aunt Mary kept a horse, a couple of cows, pigs, chickens and I think I remember a goat, too. He probably kept the grass around the house cut!!!
     Mary Jane and William had five children: John Benjamin Hughes, born 8/20/1880, and he married Lillian North, Mom's sister, and they had 10 children; Lois Hughes, born 1882, died 1884; Inah Agnes Hughes, born in 1884, and she married Edgar Williams, and they had 11 children; Lyman Maynard Hughes Appleton, born 8/10/1887, and he married Grace Yerman and they had 4 children (Lyman was adopted by William and Mary Appleton after his father died and the Appleton family moved to Old Forge, New York in 1893); William James Hughes, born 8/17/1889, and he married Sarah Anna North (sister of Lillian North Hughes) and they had nine children. Mary Jane's husband, William James Hughes, died on June 3, 1890, less than a year after my father, William Hughes, was born. After that , Great Grandma Abileney didn't want Grandma to live with her anymore, but she kept John and Inah with her and sent Mary Jane away with Uncle Lyman and Dad. Mary Jane had to find a job, which was not easy with two small children to care for, so when the Appletons asked to adopt Lyman, she agreed but she always kept in contact with him. She kept Dad with her as long as possible, but eventually she had to place him in an orphanage, but she never lost contact with him either.
     Mary Jane married Henry Wright in 1891 and they had 4 children. One child, Annabelle Wright died in infancy; Newcomb Benjamin Harrison Wright, born 8/27/1892, married Elmina Graves and they had one child, Lucille (he later married Pearl Edick Carpenter and had a step-daughter named Edna Priest); Emma Wright, born in 1893, married Clarence Sackett and they had 6 children; and Eva May Wright, born 5/30/1901, married George Ambrose DeWolf and they had 2 children. Henry Wright died in 1904.
     Mary Jane married Joseph Halliday in 1905 and they had 1 child. Charles Halliday was born 5/27/1905 and he married Lena Chawgo and they had 1 child. Joseph Halliday died in 1907.
     Mary Jane married Thomas Searight in 1908 and they had 1 child, Mary, who died in the flu epidemic of 1918. Thomas Searight had 3 children by a previous marriage. Thomas also had a grandson, Charles Searight, whose parents both had died in the 1918 flu epidemic and Mary Jane and Thomas raised Charles. Charles had a brother who lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
     In years past, it was the custom for families to take into their homes widowed mothers and also aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., who needed a place to live. There was no social security or retirement plans for any of these people and there certainly were no "retirement homes". There was a poor house, but no self-respecting person would hear of putting a family member in there. So, our grandmothers, both widows, spent time in one or another of all of their children's homes, and there were times when both Grandma Searight and Grandma North visited us at the same time. We were always happy to have them with us and I always delighted in spending time with them. They always called each other Mrs. Searight and Mrs. North, never by first name. Actually, they always called their husbands by Mr., not by his first name. It was a more polite society in those days. Whenever Grandma Searight arrived and got settled in, she would ask Mom if she had any socks that needed darning and Mom would happily hand over a basket full of socks for Grandma to work on. That's how I learned to darn socks! I learned many things from our grandmothers as well as from my Mom and my big sister Inah! Each grandmother had to have a bedroom of her own so the boys all had to share a room and the girls had to share one also. Sometimes when even more people were visiting, Verna and I got to sleep with Grandma North who was nice and plump and we could cuddle up to her and she was wonderful to all of us. When Mom wanted to have chicken and dumplings, she would always ask her mother to make the dumplings because she made them perfectly. One of the things I remember watching Grandma Searight do (once the socks were all mended) was to draw a picture (a flower pot, a house, a tree, or anything that came into her head) on a piece of cloth and then she would embroider it, and they were passed down to many children and grandchildren.
     When I was in my early teens, Grandma Searight got a job keeping house for an elderly gentleman. Mr. Myers would drive to our house in his old Ford (which looked new, but it wasn't) to pick up Grandma. He was such a lovely gentleman with beautiful manners. He would greet us pleasantly and escort Grandma to his car and help her in, and she would go to his house to clean and cook for him, and after dinner he would bring her home, help her from the car, bring her in the house and exchange pleasantries again and leave. Finally they decided to get married so she could live with him and not have to go back and forth, but, unfortunately, Mr. Myers developed a bad cold which turned into pneumonia and he passed away two weeks before they had planned to get married. We were all very sad for him and for Grandma.
     I have gone over and over the Family History book, counting and re-counting and I am sure that by now there are certainly at least 500 of Grandma Searight's descendants!