Life is a box of chocolates

On Valentine’s Day I read a tweet from my youngest daugther that was so deep rooted in pure, raw emotion it moved my soul and touched my heart. I have found Twitter to be a place to express feelings -feelings otherwise we might not bother to share. In 140 characters or less she expressed a heart felt sentiment, “Never knew how much a box of chocolates and a hug could mean to someone until it’s gone, rest in peace Pop I love you.” Sometimes it is the smallest gestures, a modest gift, that create our most treasured memories. For you see each Valentine’s Day my father would deliver a small red box filled with a few chocolates and a lifetime of love. Yes Valentine’s Day will never be the same without you and that box of chocolates. We love you Pop (Bernie Gardiner) and you will forever be in our hearts. For your girls – life is a box of chocolates.



Who do you think you are? My research revealed a Vaudeville Star!

Charles Cartmell & Laura Harris

I love nothing better than rising early on Sunday’s and delving into my genealogical research with a hot cup of coffee in hand.  I often find myself jumping from one familiar line to another.  I wrote out my research objectives for the day and began searching for information on my GREENE lineage.

I had no idea the delightful surprise I would unveil! The Greene/Green lineage is typically stuffy people with lofty accomplishment.  One of the most noted  is  Thomas Greene  (the second proprietary Governor of Maryland. But today the discovery of an entire family of performers has shed some liveliness on the family line.

The research focus of the day was my 2nd great grand Aunt – EMMA GREEN (1858-1910?). EMMA was the daughter of ELIZABETH CLARK (1825-?) and GILES THOME GREEN (1803-1863).  Elizabeth being much younger than her husband found herself a young widower and left to the rearing of EMMA and her brother ANDREW.

EMMA lived and worked in her mother’s hotel in Uniontown, MD  and on February 19, 1880, EMMA married THOMAS HARRIS (1855-1934)  in Carroll County, MD.

EMMA and THOMAS are listed twice in the 1880 census. One listing their residence and place of work at their mother’s hotel in Uniontown. The second entry was in Baltimore, MD but when I looked at the occupation it listed them both as ACTORS!  A husband and wife team well…well…well.  Finally a little bit of fun in the Green family!  woohoo.  This discovery inspired me to dig a little deeper, after all these are the first actors in the family.

By the 1900’s EMMA and THOMAS were still residing in the Baltimore area and their family had been blessed by the addition of four children.  The 1900 census also revealed that two of the children THOMAS, JR. and LAURA are also actors!  So now I am really excited a family of actors!  What a fun Sunday this was turning out to be!  Errands and household chores could wait.  Due to the excitement I abandoned my typical research protocol and turned to the universe for answers…translated that means to google. So my chubby little fingers deftly typed  LAURA HARRIS + THOMAS HARRIS +ACTOR and Bingo.  The very first result returned was a bio from Will Rogers book – “The Papers of Will Rogers from Vaudeville to Broadway.” Here is the excerpt:


So now we can add ANOTHER actor to the family, CHARLES CARTMELL, husband of LAURA HARRIS. If you have lost count we are up to five actors in the same family.

The trio appeared on Broadway together in 1903  All three where on stage for the opening night of the musical comedy “Mrs. Delaney of Newport.”

In 1908 CHARLES & LAURA found themselves on Broadway again in GEORGE M. COHAN’s “Fifty Miles to Boston.” One of Cohan’s featured song’s written in the musical was “Harrigan” Click  here to listen to a great recording of the song I found on YouTube.

Words and Lyrics by GEORGE M. COHAN:

H-A- Double R-I
G-A-N spells Harrigan!
Proud of all the Irish that’s in me.
Divil a man can say a word agin me!
Oh, H-A-Double R-I
G-A-N you see!
It’s the name,
That no shame has ever been connected with
It’s a name that a shame never has been connected with
Harrigan, that’s me!

By 1910 the three actors  – THOMAS, CHARLES and LAURA were  residing in Manhattan, NY .  The census confirmed again that all three were still performing.

In 1912 CHARLES would go on New York’s Broadway theatre solo in the musical comedy, “The Sun Dodgers.” He is listed as performing a dance specialty.

The newspaper archives are filled with rich stories and complimentary reviews of “CARTMELL & HARRIS Vaudeville performances. They travelled all of America and Europe delighting audiences with their talents. One of their most famous numbers that all three performed in was a dancing, comedy skit titled “Golfing with Cupid.”

Below is a picture and excert from the review of their skit:

Cartmell & Harris in "Golfing with Cupid"

Click on the link below for the full article.

<a href=”” >Review of “Golfing with Cupid”</a>

In 1918 they performed opening night in Raymond Hitchcock’s HitchyKoo a musical revue with two acts and 14 scenes on Broadway.

The 1930’s found the three actors residing in an actor’s colony in Freeport, Long Island, NY.  Vaudeville actors established the community around 1910 and lived there while not on the road performing.

Another point  of interest is THOMAS HARRIS is now listed in the census as “THOMAS MCSWIGGAN”  Perhaps his birth name was McSwiggan, and his alias of Harris was a stage name. Personally I like it, sounds like a bartender on Grey’s Anatomy.

I love finding obituaries, and I was hoping that the obit of THOMAS HARRIS would answer all of my questions.  However it only created more!  Now I find out that his wife, EMMA GREEN was also an actress and prior her death they also performed together. So if you are still counting we are now up to six actors in the same family.

In addition to that fact the obit lists her name as EMMA MURRAY – who the heck is that?  Her maiden name was GREEN.  Ok – I will just chalk this up to another stage name.  This story is now is now frustrating me. Two steps forward and one step back.

From the best that I can tell with my preliminary research THOMAS MCGUIGAN was born on February 3, 1855 in Philadelphia, PA the son of a saloon-keeper.  At the age of seven he joined a minstrel troupe as a young boy he tap-danced for Abraham Lincoln. In 1875 he made his first appearance at Fox’s Theatre in Philadelphia. In 1876 he formed a team with JACK  MCNEIL.

In 1879 both Harris & McNeil joined “The Three Arnold Brothers”,  while performing with the minstrel troupe the two would dissolve their partnership.  At that point THOMAS began performing with his wife EMMA.  The playbills listed them as “The Harrises.” They performed together until 1889 when Thomas took a stock engagement at the Odeon Theatre in Baltimore.  He remained there 10 years performing one season with his son Tommy and daughter Laura calling themselves “The Three Harrrises.”  He then worked for four years with his daughter and son-in law under the bill of “Harris and Cartmell.” He had an illustrious career and continued performing almost to the end of his days.  He was also lovingly called the “Colonel” and the Mark Twain of Vaudeville.   Thomas Harris aka McSwiggan aka McGuigan passed away in Freeport, Long Island New York in 1934.

Below is the obituary for Thomas Harris:

Charles Cartmell, husband to Laura Harris passed away a few year later.

Below is the obituary of Charles Cartmell:










While I don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle in place.  I have discovered something about my family that I never knew.  It certainly brightened my day and I hope it brightened yours as well.  You just never know what you discover.


The port where my great grandfather set sail for America

The year was 1880 and my great grandfather, Terrence Daniel O’ Sullivan, was leaving the village of Loughfouder, County Kerry Ireland to set sail for America. Family lore tells that all of the O’ Sullivan children departed for the new land from Cobh.  Cobh, translates  into “cove”; and is pronounced the same way. When my great grandfather set sail it was known as Cobh but had several different names over the years, first being known as Cove in 1750. In 1849 it was changed to Queensland the name remained until it was changed back to Cobh in 1922.

On our recent trip to Ireland it was my intention to retrace his footsteps as best possible. We started with a lovely family reunion and then visited the homestead where he was born in 1865.  We then decided to travel to Cobh to see the port from which he emigrated to North America.

Cobh is situated on Great Island, one of three large islands in the Cork Harbor in County Cork, Ireland.  Over 6 million people emigrated from Ireland during the years of 1848-1950. 2.5 million sailed from Cobh making it the single most important port of emigration. Sadly Cobh is also famous for being the last port of call for the RMS Titanic on her tragic voyage. 123 passengers boarded the RMS Titanic on April 11, 1912.

Upon arriving the first thing that drew our attention was the view of the harbor.  Cobh is hilly and descends towards the water. The clean and narrow streets are lined with  brightly colored homes, stores and pubs that face southward towards the waterfront.  The people are exceptionally friendly.  My daughter and I walked up and down the streets and visited the lovely Kennedy Park.  The park was filled with people of all ages and a spectacular display of flowers.

Colleen & Puppy

We ran into a woman with an adorable puppy, just a mutt; but adorable just the same.  She immediately and without hesitation offered her sweet puppy to my daughter to hold.  She happily obliged.

Kennedy Park

The neo-Gothic cathedral of St. Colman is simply stunning.  It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and sits high on a hill overlooking the harbor as if it is protecting the town and the harbor.  The Cathedral is in everyday use for worship and prayer. It took 47 years to complete the building.

A trip to Cobh would not be complete without a visit to the museum to experience “The Queenstown Story”; which walks you through your ancestors emigration from the Great Potato Famine to the 1950’s.  They also chronicle the tragedies of RMS Titanic and Lusitania with several interactive displays.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Cobh.  I could not help but think of Great Grandfather Sullivan and wonder what emotions were running through his head on the day of his journey.  Was he sad, excited…both?  One will never really know I guess.  I spent a lot of time gazing out into the harbor and envisiong him sailing on the ship headed to America.  The picture of the harbor is one that I cherish for it is from this port and this harbor that my line of the O’ Sullivan’s began the journey of a lifetime.

Cork Harbour

Loughfouder, County Kerry, Ireland to Washington, DC

O' Sullivan Homestead

O' Sullivan Homestead

As I shared with you in my previous post I was setting to embark on my journey to Ireland for a family reunion.  One of the highlights of the reunion was a special visit to farm where my great-grandfather Terrence Daniel O’ Sullivan was born. He would drop the O’ from his name when he emigrated to America.   The farm sits on approximately 75 acres in Loughfouder, County Kerry, Ireland.  It is still owned by a direct descendant of Jeremiah born 1861.   It was an emotional journey walking in the same footsteps of my great-grandfather. Stopping several times down the deep descent to dab at the tears welled in my eyes.    I am not sure of the exact age of the home; but was told it was approximately 203 year old.  I do know that Terrance was born in the home in 1865.  While the home has deteriorated you can still enjoy the splendors of the farm and use your imagination to picture and warm and loving home some 200 years ago.The views seem to go on and on – green as far as the eye can see.  You can see livestock from adjoining farms, peat bogs and the glorious mountain ring around County Kerry.  According to the 1900 census Terrence immigrated in 1880; being 15 years of age.  I have never been able to substantiate this as I cannot find any details of his immigration. Someone once told me that when a family member set sail for America they hold an American wake; a metaphor for the departure of emigrants.  Often it was the last time they would ever see their family members alive.  Family lore states that when our ancestors would leave for America they would sew coins in the coats for safe keeping.

The were three rooms that we could access in the house and a flight of stairs that were not safe to climb.  In the kitchen you can see the remnants of the large fireplace where the food was cooked over the open hearth.  The home never had the modern conveniences of the 19th century.


Back of the Sullivan Home

11 children were born to James O’ Sullivan and Mary O’ Connor in this home.  The interior is small and I cannot imagine raising such a large family as the children worn all born close together (1861-1876).

Of the 11 original children the following had direct descendants represent them at the visitation of the homestead: Mary (1863), Edmond (1864) Terrence (1865), Patrick (1869).

It was very moving to see all of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren all visit the home as a family unit.  I could feel my great-grandfather smiling down from heaven as he witnessed my father, his grandson, walking through the same door that he did many times as a lad.

Descendants of the O'Sullivan children

Descendants of the O' Sullivan children

View of the Family Farm

View of the Family Farm

Great and Great -Great Grandaughters of Terrence Daniel O'Sullivan

Great and Great -Great Grandaughters of Terrence Daniel O'Sullivan

Josephine Bridget Fealy Sullivan

The Funeral Announcement of my Great Grandmother


Long Flight of Runaway Horse

Washington Post January 1, 1905

Ring of Kerry

My great grandfather, Terrence D. Sullivan, was born in 1865 in Loughfouder,Knocknagoshel County Kerry, Ireland. 100 years later I came along. As I prepare for my pilgrimage to the O’ Sullivan reunion and homestead I cannot help but stop and reflect upon the man I know so much, but yet so little about. Terrence Daniel Sullivan, son of James & Mary Connor O’ Sullivan was born in the year 1865. When he was 15 years of age he came to America.

While in America he worked as a harness maker in Washington, DC. It has been passed down thru family lore that he used the famous Irish stitch on the saddles he made.

In 1888, he married Josephine Bridget Fealy.  They would go on to have 9 children total with only three surviving to adulthood; one being my grandmother – Cecilia Sullivan.

I can’t keep my mind from wandering of the genealogical treasures that await in Loughfouder.  Will there be any evidence that my great grandfather once roamed the hills. Perhaps initials carved in the stone wall surrounding the homestead.  Perhaps a note he sent home neatly tucked in the family bible.

I depart in just a few days and  I will share with you my journey back to County Kerry, Ireland for the O’ Sullivan Family reunion.  I can’t help but feel the smiling eye’s of Terrence and Cecilia beaming down upon me.

Wordless Wednesday – Gardiner Children



The cute little fellow in the dress (front right) is my Grandfather -Bowlen Green Gardiner.

Monday Madness – Gardiner from County Antrim Ireland

Looking for the parents of William Gardiner (born 1794) in County Antrim, Ireland.  Came to the USA @ 1819 with his sister, Catherine Gardiner and cousin William Clarke.  Oh Willie who the heck are you parents?

Below is an abrieviated time line for William, his wife Henrietta and son William H. Gardiner

William Gardiner Timeline
1790 Henrietta Simpson Gardiner born
1794 William Gardiner born in Ireland
1820 William Gardiner emmigrates to America
1822 William Gardiner filed declaration to become citizen in Rockville, MD
1823 William Gardiner marries Henrietta Simpson Rockville, MD
1825 William Gardiner becomes citizen of the US
1825 William Gardiner sells slave May Ann in Anne Arundel Co.
Liber JS 22 Folio 581 to Thomas Hammond of Frederick County, MD
1825 William H. Gardiner born son of William & Henrietta in Montgomery Co. MD Unity
1828 William & Henrietta Gardiner own 2 acres in Unity, MD 20 sq. ft of
land around a grave near the road leading from Henry C. Gaither’s house
Libor BS1
1829 William Gardiner received $2,000 from Dr. Gustavus Warfield
for slaves & belongings of house
1831 Sheriff Sale of William Gardiners property in Unity formarly owned by
Francis Simpson
1833 William Gardiner declared insolvent in Mo. Co. William Price set as trustee
other men mentioned William Lands & Henry Bushey
advertised in Md. Free Prep
1833 100 acres sold by William Clarke that belonged to Francis Simpson to satisfy debt
Hannahs Purchase & Brooke Grove
1833 William Gardiner rented house moved from Unity to protect his little sons life
1825-1834 Dr. Gustuvus Warfiled has accounts of doctor visits to the Gardiner’s
1835 William & Henrietta Gardiner gave testimony in the case of Williams vs. Clarke
1840 William & Henrietta moved to Clarksburg with son William H.
1850 William & Henrietta moved to Frederick, Co.
1851 William Gardiner & Son purchase farm on Glisans Mill Road
1852 Wiliam Gardiner & Son lose farm on Old Annapolis at Sheriffs sale by
Thornton Poole, trustee
1854 bond recorded state of Maryland from Thornton Poole paying bond to state
in accordance with the bond.
1857 Titus Atlas show a W. Gardiner in New Market adjacent to Mrs. Hammond
1858 William Gardiner dies
1859 Article published in National Intelligencer looking for William Clarke in case
Williams. Vs. Clarke
1860 William H. Gardiner, Ann and children on census with Henrietta in New Market, MD
1857 Titus Atlas shows then next to Mrs. Hammond.
1862 Richard Hammond to Henrietta Gardiner 9/26/1862 BGF 7 & Folio 706
took out mortgage to buy 4 acres of Peace & Plenty Farm. Mortgage was
assigned to James C. Clarke & recorded in BGF 8, 422
1863 Henrietta Gardiner writes to Governor Augustus Bradford telling of the alleged
swindling of her land by Chief Justice Richard J. Bowie when he served as her
general counsel.
1866 Henrietta Gardiner dies in Frederick County
1870 William H. Gardiner appears on the 1870 census with his family minus Henrietta in the New Market District 9 Urbana Post Office
of Urbana
1884 William H. Gardiner purchases “Addition to Unity” close to “Snowdens Purchase
at one time owned one of the boundary markers states “a store planted at the SW
corner of a lot formerly owned by Francis Simpson conveyed to Andrew Graff
1885 William H. & Ann F. Gardiner sell to Joshua Russell 4 acres of Peace & Plenty
William being the only legal heir.

Inez Vistula Bowlen Gardiner


I love when I stumble upon an obituary for a family member that is well written and informative.  The following obituary is for my Great-Grandmother Inez Bowlen Gardiner.  As the obit states she was riding in the car with my grandparents while taken ill and rushed to the hospital. What it neglects to mention is that she was holding my father, Bernard L. Gardiner in her arms.

Frederick New Post,  December 20, 1932.