NOTES FROM MOM, LAURA ELIZABETH MANCHESTER LEASK
Things That Bare Repeating
Written down by Laura Elizabeth Manchester Leask in the 1980’s and Edited in 2010 by her daughter,Ann Burgess Leask Knope
The Family Tree
I think that I shall never see
The finish of a family tree
As it forever seems to grow
From roots that started very low;
‘Way back in ancient history times,
In foreign lands and distant climes.
From them grew trunk and branching limb,
That dated back to time so dim,
One seldom knows exactly when
The parents met and married then.
Nor when the Twigs began to grow
With odd named children, row on row.
‘Though a verse like this is made by me,
And the end’s in sight as you can see;
‘Tis not the same with family trees
That grow and grow through centuries.
By Mr. Willis G. Corbett
707 South West Westwood Drive
Portland, OR 97201
LEASK – BURGESS FAMILIES
Haldane Burgess Leask
Born June 24, 1912
At home: 554 Gladwin Avenue, Detroit, MI.
Family moved to West Orange, New Jersey, in 1919, across from the Jones’ Mother House.
Burg was 7 years old.
Moved to East Orange and lived at several addresses:
Birchard Avenue, Linley Street, and Springdale Avenue.
Then moved to Bridgeport, CT, East Main & Beardsley Park Terrace, near Jack Heckerd’s.
Burg went to Warren Harding High School.
Moved to Dixon Street (off Park Avenue), then to Ellis Street near the Post Office on the Post Road in Fairfield, CT.
After high school, at the age of 21, Burg went with his Mother back to Detroit to open up the Gladwin Avenue home and sold it for his Father.
While there in Michigan, Burg entered the University of Michigan in 1933.
His family moved to Riverside Drive in Fairfield, CT, and then to Rolland Road, also in Fairfield.
His family then moved to Colony Street off Meadow Brook Road, and then Burg’s Dad build the home on Smedley Road where they remained until they died.
Laura Elizabeth Manchester Leask
Born on Vinewood Avenue in Detroit, MI, September 14, 1914.
Family moved to Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit when Laura was 4 years old to 221 Woodward Avenue.
The house burned down when Laura was in the 4th grade.
The family moved to a small house on Lincoln Avenue in Birmingham while the Woodward Avenue home was being rebuilt and remodeled after the fire.They moved back to 221 Woodward Avenue and lived there until Laura was in the 6th grade.
When Laura was in 7th grade hard times hit and they lost the house on Woodward and moved to a brick house on Oakland Avenue.
Ruzzy & Helen went to Junior College in Bay City.Then they moved to Ann Arbor, MI where Laura attended the 8th grade at Tappan Junior High, and then Laura went to Ann Arbor High School.
In Ann Arbor they lived on Forest Avenue, Division Street, Prospect Street, and on the corner of Oxford & High Street.
They finally settled at 1619 Pontiac Road.Laura and Burg held their wedding there on November 1, 1941.
While Burg’s family remained in Fairfield, CT, Burg remained behind in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and worked at the Blodget Memorial Hospital in Grand Rapids.At the time Bob Church was sick.
At the age of 29, Burg felt it was safe to marry and start a family in 1941 because he was not drafted and did not expect to be.Mac (John McPherson Leask) was born in October of 1942 while Laura was at Smedley Road in Fairfield, staying with Burg’s parents.The War had heated up and Burg was drafted into the army quite unexpectedly in 1942.
He went to Fort Devons.Then off to Camp Pickett in VA for 8 weeks, and then to Fort Benjamin in Harrison, IN, for 6 months.From Indiana he went to Fort Mead, MD.
Mac was born October 21, 1942 at St Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, CT under the care of Dr. Kemp, a general practitioner.
Laura and Mac followed Burg when he was in the army as much as they could.They lived in Valley Forge, PA, Macomb, IL, while Burg was at Camp Ellis, Muskogee, OK, and Cisco, TX.Then Burg was shipped overseas and Laura and Mac returned to Ann Arbor and stayed there until Burg came home.
Walter (Walter MacGregor Leask) was born while Mac & Laura were in Ann Arbor, December 14, 1944 at St Joseph’s Hospital in Ann Arbor under the care of an OB-GYN specialist.
After the war, Burg, Laura and the boys moved to Smedley Road in Fairfield, and Laura gave birth to Charles (Charles Burgess Leask) on May 16, 1947 at Bridgeport Hospital.
When Charles was 2 weeks old the family moved to Wormwood Road.
They fell on hard times and moved back to Smedley Road in Fairfield, CT.Ann (Ann Burgess Leask) was born at that time on December 12, 1950.And then William (William Manchester Leask) was born July 30, 1952, also while the family lived at Smedley Road.
The Leask family name can be traced to the Buchan branch of Clan Cumyns of Scotland, then to the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Isles where 25% of the people in 1804 and 1954 had the same nine family names, one of which was Leask.
Other names found in the Leask family tree are: Movat, Southerland, McPherson, Goudie, Jamieson, Flause, and Smith.
The Burgess family name is found in Aberdeen, Scotland, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Isles.
Other names found in the Burgess family tree: Aitken, Jamieson, Arcus, Williamson, Laurenson, and Smith.
Aevir – Giant
Affrug – backwash of waves
Almark – straying sheep
Anyoch – enough
Ayre – beach between waters
Baas – hidden shoals or rocks
Baed – dwelt
Baess – cattle
Bedral – bedridden person
Benon – on top
Birzed – compressed
Bow, of meal – boll, 140 lbs.
Bow, in general – buox
Brether – brothers
Broor – enjoy
Bruck – broken pieces
Clack – inshore fishing grounds
Coft – bought
Craigs – fishing seat on rocks by th shore
Dad – thud
Daek – stone wall
Dee – objective case of Du
Dip Dee a Start – sit down a little while
Doel and When – woe and lamentation
Dowed – faded and soured
Drysook – drought
Du – you, familiar form
Elbucks – elbows
Fagareek – cigarette
Fornenst – opposite
Fowerereen – four-oared boat
Gawpenfus – handfuls
Gio – narrow rent in cliffs
Gluff – sudden fright
Grointed – grunted
Haaf – deep sea fishing ground
Hank – skein
Hardi – Tide bore in Blue Mull Sound
Heth! – Faith!
Hoided – Hip
Hurl – wheel barrow
Homlit – without horns
In biggit – self-centered
It fairlies me – it will be a ferly or strange thing to me
Juppies – Jersies
Kishie – straw basket
Leashed – lashed
Leidfully – diligently
Linn – to rest for a short time
Looderhorn – Horn used in foggy weather by fishermen
Lornshune – shoes
Lume – calm or oily patch
Maa – sea gull
Moorikov – blinding snow storm
Narked – nagged
Peenkled – peered and blinked
Peerie – small
Pluffed – emitted short puffs
Purling – groping with fingers
Raab – demolish
Raabit – demolished
Raaze – to grate the surface from
Riving O’ the rim – Daybreak
Rivlins – heelless shoes of skin
Roog – heap
Rooked – smoked
Sained – blessed
Sang – in phrase, be me sang! – by my blood
Says – wash-tubs
Scurm – shell
Shakes (no great) – of no great account
Shot – after room of small boat
Sixern – boat of six ors
Spanged – jumped
Steuch – thick cloud of dust, etc
Streen – the streen – yesterday evening
Swap – hasty movement
Trivil – grope
Trows – trolls
True du me! – Believe you me!
Ulie kig – keg in which fish livers were kept
Undumious – tremendous
Vill – strong pull on the oars
Wap – throw
Whilly – small boat
Whitrit – weasel
Yoag – cockle
HALDANE BURGESS LEASK’S ANCESTORS AND RELATIVES:
Maggie Jamieson – niece to Burg’s Father (John McPherson Leask, Sr.) – and daughter of Margaret Leak Colvin – was Burg’s cousin.She corresponded frequently with through the years with her American cousins, writing letters.
Maggie had a son, John, and a daughter, Margaret Johnston, and a grandson, Colin Johnston, who fathered Peter John Johnston, who was 21 ½ months old on August 3, 1984.
Burg’s Father, John McPherson Leask, Sr. left information about his Grandfather, George Leask, as follows:
George Leask had 2 wives.
The first was Elizabeth Moat, Mother of James, Laurence and Margaret LeaskShe died in childbirth.She was the daughter of “Lord Cullister.”
The second wife was Agnes Sutherland.She gave birth to George Leask, Jr.
Their were 4 McPherson girls.
Three of the McPherson girls married the three Leask brothers.
George Leask, Jr. (Half brother to James and Laurence) married Elizabeth McPherson.
George and Elizabeth had one son who died very young.They cared for two nieces (named Goudie).John McPherson, George’s brother, also had two wives, Helen Goudie and Christina Jamieson. George died in 1916 in Detroit, MI.George and Elizabeth were good friends to John McPherson Leask, Sr. & Ann Jane Burgess Leask, Burg’s parents, while they lived in Detroit, MI, where John and Ann were married on August 2, 1898.Ann came from the Shetland Isles to marry Burg’s Father.
James Leask married Sarah McPherson.
They had 5 children, George, Elizabeth, John, James & Sarah.Elizabeth married George Smith, a wool merchant.
Laurence Leask married Catherine McPherson.
They are Burg’s Grand Parents, the parents of John McPherson Leask, Sr. who married Ann Jane Burgess.Laurence and Catherine (known as Kitty) had 4 girls and 2 boys.Three of their daughters never married.Ellen (Helen) Leask, became the family baker and was drawn by John.Katherine (Kate) Leask was a great letter writer and loved children and lambs. Mary Jane Leask was the family bookkeeper and was very shy.Elizabeth (Maggie) Leask Colvin’s husband died at sea in 1916.They had two children, Ina & Maggie.John married Ann, Burg’s Mother.And Laurence, Jr. married Isabella Ingram in 1897.Laurence Jr. and Isabella gave birth to a daughter, Isabella (known as Bella).Burg visited them in Edinburgh during WWII, spending the weekend.They were impressed at how much Burg was like his dad.
A fourth sister, Christina McPherson, never married.
George, James, and Laurence Leasks’ sister Margaret Leask married Thomas Flause who died in death valley in 1909.They had a son, Jack Flause who lived in California.
The 4 sisters had 2 brothers, John McPherson, who ended up in Vancouver, Canada, and James McPherson who went to California.
George Leask was Burg’s paternal Grandfather.He is the George Leask that married Elizabeth Moat, and then Agnes Sutherland.George and Elizabeth Moat were the parents ofLaurence Leask, Sr.who fathered John McPherson Leask by Catherine McPherson Leask.John McPherson Leask, Sr is the Father of Haldane Burgess Leask and his siblings by Ann Jane Burgess Leask.
Catherine McPherson Leask’s Father was John McPherson.He was married toHelen Goudie and then Christine Jamieson.Catherine’s half brothers were John McPherson, Jr. and James McPherson.John Jr married a girl by the name of Mary.They had no children and lived in Canada.James and his wife [name tbd] had two sons and lived in California.Their son, John, died in the Building of the Golden Gate Bridge.Their 2nd son was a Lieutenant in World War II, and was then a dentist in San Francisco.
George Leask & Elizabeth Moat Leask were the parents of Laurence Leask, Sr. who married Catherine McPherson and had John McPherson Leask, Sr who married Ann Jane Burgess Leask and were the parents of Haldane Burgess Leask.John McPherson Leask, Sr was born in Shetland as was Ann Jane Burgess.John came to the United States via New York in 1893, but not thru Ellis Island.He arrived in New York and took a train to Canada to stay with his uncle, John McPherson and his wife Mary who were childless.Ann Jane Burgess left Shetland to come to the United States and marry John.She came in thru Canada and then she and John went to Detroit to be married.
Burg’s maternal Great Grand Father was Thomas Aitken who was married to Ann Margaret Jamieson.They gave birth to twins, Ann Margaret Aitken & Elizabeth Aitken.
Charles Burgess married Ann Margaret Aitken; they were Haldane Burgess Leask’s maternal grand parents. They had 3 daughters: Ann Jane Burgess, Margaret, and May.
Ann Jane Burgess became Haldane Burgess Leask’s Mother.
Margaret Burgess married Thomas Williamson and lived in Ferwick, Shetland.
May Burgess married a Mr. Laurenson and lived in Ferwick, Shetland.
Charles and Ann Margaret also had a son, George Burgess who was a Gordon Highlander in the 1st World War.He died in as German prison camp as the War was drawing to a close.
Charles Burgess later married Janice Williamson.They had one child together, Charles Burgess, Jr. who died at age 16 from a heart condition complicated by infection.
Poem written by Burg’s Grand Mother, Ann Margaret Aitken:
Courage, Still Endures
Hope whispers, Courage, Forward go,
March in the line of perfect truth;
Heed not the thought that whispers, No;
Guard well thy footsteps in thy youth.
Break every spell that would obsess
Thy conscious thought of what is right;
Thy soul in perfect peace possess
With knowledge that each wrong needs light.
Thy light of wisdom, thee to guide,
Keep thee from doing what is wrong;
Pierce, purge thy soul till it abide
Beneath the star of wisdom, strong.
Strong in strength that blossoms out
Into a manhood, noble, pure;
Full of right purpose, without doubt.
March forward, Courage, still endure.
By A.M.A (Ann Margaret Aitken)
Original with Edna Hutchinson along with other family papers
Memories of John McPherson Leask, Sr. and Ann Jane Burgess Leask, the parents of Haldane Burgess Leask:
John McPherson Leask, Sr., Burg’s Father, was born November 4, 1871, in the Shetland Isles and came to North America as a very young man.He arrived in Canada via New York by train in about 1889.He did not go thru Ellis Island.
He would quit a job and move on when he could make 25 cents more somewhere else.
He stoked boilers, caught hot rivets in a pail on construction jobs, and went into the grocery business.
He was foreman at a foundry that made street car wheels where they amused themselves at lunch by weight lifting using the wheels and doing hand over hand rope climbing.
John went to work for Park Davis in Detroit, MI, and became a foreman in the benzine house.He had a firey temper as a young man and was therefore nicknamed “Benzine Jack.”While foreman in the benzine house he developed a practical method for manufacturing chloratone on a large scale.
This was a push button process.Chloratone is a preservative used in multiple dose vials for keeping medication sterile and was still widely used as of the the 1980’s, and is still used as of 2010.
Since John was not a college graduate (his formal education consisted of only 3 years of schooling at this point), the management, at first, scoffed at his process for making Chloratone, so he went out to the Park Davis dump and found enough materials to make a small working model to demonstrate the process.On seeing the success of this experiment, the entire side of a 2 story building was removed to install the final working machinery.
John received an award of gold dollars for developing this process.
When Burg attended Pharmacy School at the University of Michigan in 1933, he toured Park Davis and the machinery was still in use.By the 1980’s a new building for the process had been constructed.
CP Beckwith and Dr. King at Park Davis encouraged John to study chemistry and provided John with some books.He was then transferred to the analytical laboratory at Park Davis where he worked until he ran into a situation requiring mandatory retirement after working 20 or more years.
Having a large family, he moved everyone to West Orange, NJ, where he went to work for Calco Chem Co for about 5 years.
He then went to work for McKesson Robbins in New York.The name “New York Quinine” enters into the place he worked.
Robbins told John that if he told anyone that he was not a college graduate they would have to fire him.His education was by himself through I.C.S., and international correspondence school.John built a chemical lab o the 3rd floor of 72 Wheeler Street in West Orange in order to pursue his studies thru ICS.
John worked in New York until McKesson Robbins moved to Connecticut after being purchased by the “Girard Company,” a manufacturer of shoe polish.Girard Company was owned an operated by Coster and the Dietrichs of “Musica Brothers” fame (notoriety perhaps?).John maintained that he was always treated well and with much fairness by them.
John retired from McKesson Robbins with a pension at the age of 75 after World War II.
Though Dr. Omahandra had the title of head of the department, John was the actual head of the research lab at McKesson Robbins.
John’s Scottish ways were strongly encouraged in his children.Burg and his brother John delivered newspapers in New Jersey for 3 ½ years.They were given fifty cents a week from the proceeds, the rest went into a $500 endowment that was most useful to Burg when he pursued his education to be a Pharmacist.
As a young man John had a temper and was a very strict disciplinarian as a father but he was fair in his judgments.His children respected him, and to Burg, his father was God himself.
John Jr & Burg told Laura, Burg’s wife, that their father never went to sleep at night without getting on his knees and saying his prayers.To know him was to love him.He was most loyal to his wife and family.He was a Presbyterian, but did not attend church after he left Detroit. He also taught his children to respect women, and this is something that Burg taught his sons.
John died on October 11, 1955, in Fairfield, CT.
John’s wife, Ann Burgess Leask was born August 23, 1874, and was a practical nurse in the Shetland Isles before her marriage to John.She went out on cases when needed, and continued to do so when she came to the United States.She also helped to register German Nationals in Detroit at the time of the 1st World War.She was also active in the Red Cross.She was a strict Baptist.
Ann came to Detroit, MI, to marry John.The wedding was on August 2, 1898.
They had eight children together; all were born in Detroit, MI, at home on Gladwin Avenue.The family left for West Orange, NJ, in 1918, after World War I.Burge was six years old at the time.
Ann died in 1956 in Fairfield, CT.
THE CHILDREN OF JOHN MCPHERSON LEASK, SR. AND ANN JANE BURGESS LEASK
The firstborn was Catherine Leask, born in 1899.Catherine died of diphtheria in December of 1901.It is said that thenurse who came to the house to deliver their second born, Anne, brought the diphtheria into the house from her last case.
Second born was Anne Burgess Leask (Hutchinson).She was born December 20, 1901.Catherine died shortly there after.Anne married Mike Hutchinson in 1919.They had two children, John Hutchinson and Edna Hutchinson.They stated in Detroit for a while and then moved to New Jersey.Mike was in construction work and fell and broke both his legs.He later went in to the grocery business as a manager in a store in New Jersey.John married Susan and they had a son, Wesley.Edna married Lloyd Merrit and they had four daughters.Michael Hutchinson died in Florida in 1970, soon after Anne and Michael’s 50th wedding anniversary.Anne married again to Vernon Drake on June 26, 1983.Vernon was married to Anne’s sister Helen.Anne and Vernon married after Helen died.
Next came Elizabeth Marjorie Leask on June 25, 1903, know as Betty.She married Tom Jones on September 24, 1924.They had a daughter, Barbara, who married Bob McGrory and had two daughters.Tom was an investment banker.Betty and Tom divorced.Betty married again on December 9, 1961, Oswald Rooman Love, who died in 1980.He was very good to Betty.
Fourth born is Elinor Sarah Leask on May 13, 1905.She married William F Millar.They had one child, a son, Robert Millar.Robert is married to Betty Pfingston.They have four children, Michael, Bonnie, Robin, and Robert, Jr.Elinor lives in Ft Lauderdale and as of this writing is 104 years old!
A fifth daughter came along in 1907, Edna Lillian Leask.Edna died as a teenager from an infection on her lip.Edna was an outstanding young lady.She won a prize for her artwork.Her death was a very bad experience for her Mother, Ann.John and Ann believed in Christian Science and prayed fervently for Edna to recover, but to no avail.
Next came daughter number six, but also their first born son!Helen Jean Leask and John McPherson Leask, Jr. were born on November 26, 1909, twins!Helen married Vernon Drake.They had two children, Vernon, Jr. and Glenda.Vernon Jr. had two daughters.Glenda married a minister, Chas Feiler, and they had a son and a daughter.Helen died of Parkinson disease in November of 1982.Vernon married Helen’s sister Anne in 1983.
John McPherson Leask, Jr., Helen’s fraternal twin, was also born on November 26, 1909.He was a banker in a trust department and then became a CPA in Fairfield, CT and married Margaret Harris.John and Peggy had 3 children, Margaret Ann (known as Peggy Ann), David Leask, and Mary Lou.Margaret Ann married David Olney and they had four children, three boys and a girl.David married twice due to a divorce.He had a daughter and a son by his first wife, and two boys and a girl by his second wife.MaryLou married Robert Carlson.They have two sons, Robert and Jeremy.MaryLou is an artist and art teacher in Redding, CT.Robert is being cared for in a facility in Southington for Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally, along came Haldane Burgess Leask on June 24, 1912, which completed John and Ann Burgess Leask’s family while they were still in Detroit.Burg went to University of Michigan and became a Pharmacist.He married Laura Elizabeth Manchester on November 1, 1941.They had 5 children between 1942 and 1952, 4 boys and girl.,John, Walter, Charles, William, and Ann.
LAURA ELIZABETH MANCHESTER LEASK’S ANCESTORS AND RELATIVES:
Laura’s ancestors first came to America in 1638. Thomas Manchester, born in Yorkshire in 1618, worked his way to Connecticut in 1638 by signing as a bond servant. With Ezekiel Rogers, a non-conformist minister, Thomas helped found New Haven, CT, in October 1638 and his first winter was spent with Richard Perry, and ancestor of Commodore Perry, who gained fame on Lake Erie in the war of 1812. In 1643, Thomas married Margaret Wood of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
The Manchester line in the New World in Laura’s ancestry is as follows:
1st Generation Thomas Manchester 1618 – 1691 arrived in New England in 1638
2nd Generation John Manchester tbd – 1708
3rd Generation John Manchester tbd – 1766
4th Generation Isaac Manchester 1717 – 1780
5th Generation Isaac Manchester 1762 – 1851
6th Generation Benjamin Manchester 1785 – 1857
7th Generation Isaac Manchester 1816 – 1886
8th Generation Hugh A. Manchester 1837 – 1919
9th Generation William Charles Manchester 1873 – 1943
10th Generation Laura Elizabeth Manchester 1914 – 1998
Laura’s paternal grand parents were Hugh A. Manchester, born March 5, 1837, and Susan Rose Anna Squier, born September 27, 1837.
Hugh and Susan had seven children.
Mary Ellen Manchester, born June 20, 1861, who died at age 19 of typhoid fever, September 22, 1880.
Laura Electa Manchester Tanner, born December 5, 1862. She married Prior Tanner (5/22/1861 – 7/31/1928) of Canfield, OH on June 23, 1891. They had 2 children. Laura Electa died February 1, 1928.
Fanny Cora Manchester Bowman, born July 8, 1865. Fanny married Comfort Ellis Bowman. They had one son, Hugh Manchester Bowman. The date of Fanny’s death is tbd.
Isaac Asher Manchester, born July 22, 1867. He married Stella Stuart, the great grand daughter of James and Ann Wilson Stuart. They had no children, but raised Jesse, an orphan from West Virginia. Date of death tbd.
William Charles Manchester, born December 25, 1873. William graduated from Northeastern Ohio Normal School with and AB, and University of Michigan Law School with and LLB in 1896. He practiced Law in Detroit and after the crash of 1929 in Ann Arbor, MI. William married Margaret MacGregor on December 27, 1898 and lived in Detroit. They moved to Birmingham, MI, in 1919. Margaret and the children live in Bay City for one year after the 1929 crash, and then the family moved to Ann Arbor to be with William. William and Margaret are Laura Elizabeth Manchester Leask’s parents and had seven children together. William died in May of 1943.
Curtis Asa Manchester, born November 6, 1876. Curtis married Leona Eckis (3/25/1905 – dd tbd). They had four children, Hugh Wallace, Curtis Alexander, William Leroy, and Florence Rosanna.
Leroy Alexander Manchester, born May 6, 1883. Leroy married Josephine Schaff. They had three daughters, Rosanna, Josephine, and Marianne.
Laura’s maternal grand parents were Duncan Gregor MacGregor and Martha MacDonald. Duncan and Martha met at a Christmas party in Algonac, MI. Martha was a librarian. They had five children from their marriage.
Robert Mac Gregor, birthdate tbd. Robert married Caroline, the daughter of a commander at West Point. They had two children, Margaret, who married Brink Pricheta, a graduate of West Point, and had 3 girls, Peggy, Polly, and Pat; and Robert and Caroline’s 2nd child, Duncan McGregor who also graduated from West Point. Robert attended West Point and changed the spelling of his last name to McGregor. He was a Colonel in the army and died in the Philipines of appendicitis at the age of 35.
Helen MacGregor, born October 29, 1858. Helen taught school in Bay City, Michigan for over 50 years, and was principal of Fremont, a grade school. Helen never married and died in 1947. A middle school in Bay City was built and named MacGregor Junior High School, named after Helen and her sister Mary who also was a teacher. Dd tbd.
Mary MacGregor, birthdate tbd. Also taught school in Bay City, Michigan for over 50 years, and never married. She was principal at Garfield School. Helen and Mary were actively involved in the lives of their nieces and nephews and were favored aunts in the family. Dd tbd.
Margaret Katherine MacGregor, born January 30, 1874. Margaret was Laura’s mother. She graduated from the University of Literature School in 1896. She and William Charles Manchester married and had 7 children. Laura was the youngest. Margaret died in January of 1945.
Walter MacGregor, birthdate tbd. He was an engineer, graduated from the University of Michigan. Walter married Marian Knapp. They had 5 children, Elizabeth (died young, drowned in 1914), Katherine (Muir), Dorthea (Lindsey), Marian Kay (Fake), and a son, Robert. The children of Margaret and her brother Walter spent summers together in Bay City, Michigan. The cousins have many fond memories of the family get-togethers. DD tbd.
William Charles Manchester and Margaret Katherine MacGregor, Laura’s parents, had seven children.
Their firstborn was Hugh Alexander Manchester, born on October 23, 1899. At age 18, Hughdied in the battle of Swasson, while leading a squad against a German machine gun nest. A corporal in the 26th infantry, 1st Division during the 1st World War, Hugh entered the army at the age of 17 and served on active duty in France for 18 months before his death on July 19, 1918. His best friend, Don Rankin, was killed on the same day in a different battle nearby.
Mary Katherine Manchester was born on August 31, 1901. She married Cady Hall. They had a son William Cady Hall. Mary and Cady divorced. Mary lacked a few credits at University of Michigan and did not quite graduate. She worked as a Buyer in Detroit, MI, and then went in to Real Estate. Mary succumbed to cancer in the 1950’s, dd tbd.
William Charles Manchester, Jr. was the 3rd born to William and Margaret on December 31, 1902. He married five times. First to Louse Taylor, they had one son. Then to Mary Carolina, then to Anna. His fourth wife was Georgia. The had 3 children together, Thomas, Stephen, and Georgia (Gigi). His fifth wife was Anne and they were married for 25 years. William, Jr. died in 1983 in Belefonte, PA., dd tbd.
Helen Margaret Manchester came along on June 3, 1907. She graduated from Northeastern Michigan at Ippsilante. She married Alexander Krezel. They met at a bomber plant where Helen worked during World War II. They had 3 children, Alexander Anthony Krezel, Jr. who graduated from Law School at the University of Michigan, married, had 1 son, and moved to Texas; Angus Krezel who married and has 3 children. They live in Australia where Angus teaches special education; and Martha Krezel, married to Carl John Ostertay. They moved to New Mexico. Carl passed away in 2009. Helen’s dd tbd.
Born 5th on October 25, 1909 was Susan Rosannah Manchester (Rozzy). She married Thomas Kruger, a refugee from Germany. He worked for GM as an overseas operator and they live in Venezuela, Mexico City, Etc. They had 4 children, Julie (Graduate of Mt Holyoke, married Bob Bachus, lived in London, Italy, Brazil, 2 children), Thomas (Grad of U of M and Harvard Law, married Joy, 3 children), Peter Stefan (grad of U of M Med School, 2 children, and Konrad Rudolf (Chip, grad of Trinity and MA from Tufts, Banker in NY, married Ann Krunne of Cincinnati).
Frances Jane Manchester, the 6th born, came on February, 1, 1912. She graduated from U of M majoring in Play Production. Frances married Thorn Pendleton, and industrialist of Warren, OH. She met him while she was working for the Cleveland Play House in OH. They had 3 children, Austin (grad of Yale Drama School, Actor, Director, Drama Teacher, married Katina, 1 daughter, Audrey; Alexander (grad of Williams College, MA, married, 2 daughters; and Margaret (grad of ??, married Warren Flint, lived in Lincoln, MA, 2 children, Sarah Abigail and Thomas Manchester.
Finally, Laura Elizabeth Manchester, born September 14, 1914. Laura graduated from U of M with an AB in 1936 on the 40th reunion of her Father’s graduation class. William and Margaret Manchester, Laura’s parents had no idea it would take so long to raise a family when they first started out. They said they “might not have started our family if we had known!” They laughed as they said it, we hope!!!
MEMORIES OF LAURA ELIZABETH MANCHESTER LEASK ABOUT HER FAMILY:
William Manchester and Margaret MacGregor became acquainted at University of Michigan and were married at Bay city, Michigan, Margaret’s hometown, on December 27, 1898. Before marriage, Margaret taught high school Math and Latin. She did not like teaching. Some of her male students were bigger than she was.
When William and Margaret married they lived in Detroit, Michigan, where “Charley” as William was known, practiced Law. They lived on Vinewood Avenue. Charley and Margaret had seven children, 5 girls and 2 boys, plus one child that did not live.
When their 2nd born, Mary, was born she was a very small preemie baby. Since they had no incubators at home in those days, the new baby, Mary, was kept in the oven for a brief period of time until she was strong enough to be treated as normal baby. All of the children were born at home which was the custom of the day.
“Charley”, Laura’s father, did very well as a young Attorney in Detroit. He was a Corporation Lawyer and was Attorney for the Brewer’s Association of the State of Michigan.
Until the 1st World War when the availability of inexpensive help changed, the Manchesters had a cook and laundress who lived in. “Madge”, as Laura’s Mother was called, said that they used to be able to hire Swedish and/or German girls who were just off the boat from Europe at very reasonable rates, $7 per week. There was often a problem with language. One of the cooks who could not speak English would recognize certain canned items by the picture on the can. When the labels were taken off cans by one of the children, it caused much confusion on what vegetable might be served for dinner.
In spite of the language problem these girls worked out very well and were a great help to Madge during the years her children were small. Madge said that a girl willing to work around that many children was a good person. The children were fed and in bed before the dinner hour. Thus the adults had a leisurely, well served dinner after the children were in bed.
William Charles Manchester, Charley, also dabbled in politics. He always enjoyed politics and took active interest in various political campaigns. Laura votes in every election because of his influence. Charles Manchester was a member of the Michigan Legislature which rewrote the Constitution for the state of Michigan when it was revised for the second time in the history of Michigan. This Constitution went into effect January 1, 1909. It has since been revised again in the 1950’s. Charles was a staunch Republican and was a friend of Senator Vandenburg, also a Republican. Senator Vandenburg served Michigan in Washington, DC, for many years.
While the family lived in Detroit they were members of the Fort Street Presbyterian Church where Charley was a Deacon. Many years later, when Susan Rosannah, Laura’s sister, was living in Detroit with her husband Tom Kruger, the Krugers became active members of this same church when Herbert Hudnut was Minister. (Herbert Hudnut was married to the sister of Laura’s Aunt Josephine Manchester the wife of LeRoy Manchester. Herbert Hudnut was a nephew of Richard Hudnut, the organizer and founder of Hudnut cosmetics and perfumes.)
The summer of 1914 just before Laura was born (9/14/1914) was probably the worst summer that Madge ever spent. The family spent the summer at the St Claire River with Madge’s brother Walter MacGregor and his wife Marian Knapp MacGregor. Marian was pregnant with Dorothea (the 3rd of five children that Walter and Marian had together) and Margaret was pregnant with Laura (the youngest of Madge’s 7 children). This being 1914, there was no news except on weekends when their husbands arrived for the weekend. There were no phones and no radios in those days at St Claire River. World War I started that summer and Aunt Marian’s oldest daughter, Betty, was 4 years old. Betty fell off the dock and drowned. All in all a very discouraging summer and Madge never again spent her summers at the cottage at St Claire River. The memories were too unpleasant.
The Manchester family moved to Birmingham, MI, when Laura was 4 years old, in 1918. Laura’s oldest brother, Hugh Alexander Manchester, had joined the army when the USA entered into World War I. He was in the First Division, Company L, which was sent to France for training. Hugh and His best friend, Don Rankin both signed up and were in the First Division together. They both died in the battle of Swasson in July of 1918 just a short distance from each other. Don Rankin’s father was a Captain and was able to get the details. Hugh died while leading a squad against a German machine gun nest. He was a Corporal in the 26th infantry. He enlisted at the age of 17 and served in France for 18 months before his death. Hugh’s name is listed on a monument to the First Division which is in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. Hugh is buried in an American Cemetery in France.
One of Laura’s earliest memories is when she was 4 or 5 years old, living in Birmingham, MI. Two men in Army uniform came to call on Laura’s mother, Margaret, probably about Hugh. Laura was sent out on the front porch while they talked to Laura’s Mother. Mother refused to join the “Gold Star Mothers” because she said she did not want to “capitalize on Hugh’s death.” She did not discuss it, but she never cared to go to any of the war movies. She always made a birthday cake on Hugh’s birthday, October 23rd, and decorated it with silk American flags instead of with candles.
Laura was told that before Hugh left for the war he boarded up the fence so Laura could not escape as was her habit, but Laura always managed to run away anyway. While still in Detroit Laura would escape thru the fence. The police would always round her up and buy her an ice cream cone before bringing her back home in the “Black Maria.” Laura enjoyed it immensely. When visited Bay City, the police were not as nice so Laura gave up her habit of running away.
The home in Birmingham was at 221 Woodward Avenue. Birmingham was a suburb of Detroit. The town had wooden sidewalks at the time that the family moved there after World War I. Woodward Avenue was the main road thru the town. It was an import connector between Detroit and Pontiac, MI. The house was halfway up the hill and In the winter, the large canvas trucks delivering supplied for the automobile industry had a hard time getting up the icy hill. They would use chains on the tires and the chains would slap under the wheels to finally get to the top of the hill.
The neighbors to one side were the Fergusons, and the Shermans on the other side. Father had law offices in Detroit and there was a street named after him there. Manchester Street was next to the old Ford Motor Company building which faced Woodward Avenue.
As a young Attorney in Detroit, Charles was attending convention meetings held in Detroit and was in a car full of young Attorneys when it was hit by an interurban street car at a crossing. All except for Charles died either immediately or within a year of the collision. Charles was laid up for a year or so, but survived. He never really cared to drive a car but he finally did years later when the family lived in Ann Arbor. While we were in Birmingham he had a big 7 passenger Buick, but he had a driver for it, Pat McQuarter, and Pat used to use the car at night to take out his girl, Violet Ray. Because of the serious accident, Charles was much interested in doing away with Rail Road Crossings in Michigan. He worked toward making “grade crossings” safer.
When Laura was in the about the 3rd grade at Hill School in Birmingham, their home on Woodward Avenue burned. The upper floors were badly gutted. No one was injured but the family had to move out while the house on Woodward was renovated after the fire. They rented a very small house on Lincoln Avenue in Birmingham for one year. It was hard on Mother, but she never let the younger children know.
With the help of the insurance money, Father was able to renovate the home. He had considerable remodeling done as well. When he was done there was a 30’ living room, a 20’ dining room, and a large formal hall with a wide handsome staircase with white posts and a mahogany colored handrail. It was a friendly home with frequent guests at dinner because Mother was always ready to set an extra place or more at the table. She did have one rule, though, for the children. They had to ask her privately about their friends staying for diner or for an overnight stay so she could say ‘no’ if it was inconvenient. She usually said ‘yes.’
Woodward Avenue became a very busy street with heavy traffic so Father sold the house and bought another home on Oakland Avenue in Birmingham. Laura was happy with the move because the new home was across the street from her best friend, Ruth Stanford. Ruth and Laura would now be in the same school (Adams School), and they could ride their bikes to school. They were in the sixth grade and would spent manly overnights at each other’s home. They spent most of those overnights at Laura’s home because Ruth was an only child and she loved being around Laura’s big family.
Ruth’s mother was an art teacher at Bloomfield Hills school. It was a private school (Cranbrook) in Bloomfield Hills which was on the outskirts of Birmingham. Ruth and Laura used to attend Saturday morning classes taught by Mrs. Stanford. It was an opportunity to work in many different mediums and was completely enjoyable.
When the family moved to Oakland Avenue, the children had fun with the bell on the floor under the dining table. Its intended purpose was to call the maid into the dining room, but since there was no maid, the children used it on each other. There was a swinging door between the pantry and the dining room which became a problem when parties on opposite sides of the door tried to use it at the same time. This confusion with the swing door is probably why they went out of vogue.
There was a large screened in sleeping porch in the house on Oakland Avenue. Rosy, Laura and Ruth used to sleep on it during the summer and in the winter. In the winter they would wrap up in woolen blankets and crawl under even more blankets. Some mornings they would wake up with their hair frozen to the pillows! Michigan winter nights were cold.
During summer visits to Bay City, Uncle Walter Manchester and Aunt Marion would bring their children to visit with Manchesters. There would be big parties with thirty or more people, swimming every day and many picnics. Some of their friends were the Wilcox’s (Peggy dated Jimmy Wilcox and had great fun riding around in his Ford.), the Carpenters, and the McCleans, also Fan Merrill.
The depression of 1929 hit Birmingham very hard. The Manchester family was not spared. When people could not afford the pay their bills, the first bills not paid were usually the ones to Attorneys. The Manchesters lost their home on Oakland Avenue. The furniture was put into storage, and Madge and the four daughters still at home, Helen, Rosy, Frances, and Laura went to Bay City to stay Madge’s two sisters, Aunt Helen and Aunt Mary for a year.
Father stayed at a Hotel in Detroit and used to come up to Bay City on some weekends and holidays. He did not have a car at that time so he would take the train which was not easy. The Christmas we spent there at Aunt Helen’s and Aunt Mary’s was a really “Blue” time. Aunt Helen and Aunt Mary were very good to the girls and they felt at home there because they spent summers there throughout their childhood. But they were not used to the big Christmas celebrations we had always had an of course Mother and Father were probably quite broke.
Mary Manchester, our sister, was working in Detroit at Himelhocks, a woman’s specialty store, and she came up on the train on Christmas Eve and brought Christmas with her.
In Bay City during that year Laura was in Junior High; Frances was in Senior High; and Ruzzy and Helen were in Junior College. We all did very well because being nieces of the two Miss MacGregors, both school principals, we were expected to be good students and we were. We had many friends at school. Laura was special friends with Betty Loveland and Bernice MacDougall. The three of them giggled a lot – normal for 7th graders.
Father and Mother decided that with four daughters to educate they should move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, so they could attend the University of Michigan when read for college. Father made plans to move his law offices to Ann Arbor. Ruzzy (Rosey), Frances, Laura and Mother went to Ann Arbor in early fall, just before school term, and lived in a rooming house while they found a place to rent. Laura remembered, “We ate breakfast and lunches at the rooming house and I can remember our real amazement and amusement when we discovered ‘sliced bread’ at the grocery store. It was new and different and we thought the height of laziness! We found it convenient to use in our rented room so got it as a novelty and have been using ever since!”
Mother rented a house on Forest Avenue and the rest of the family, Helen and Father, joined us. Father and Alfred Rice opened Law offices in Ann Arbor. Father’s daughters took turns working as secretaries for them in their spare time. Ruzzy worked most steadily in this job – the rest of the girls only helped occasionally.
The house on Forest Avenue was and English Tudor, dark and gloomy, and expensive to rent. The family moved to a less expensive house on Prospect Street. Laura attended Tappan Junior High for 8th grade and loved it and the people in her class. Frances attended Ann Arbor High School where she was quite a leader and was in numerous school plays. Ruzzy attended the University of Michigan and was active on the Michigan Daily Newspaper at the college. Helen went to Normal School in Ypsilanti where she joined a sorority and became close friends with Agnes Hope. Kay MacGregor, a cousin, lived with the family while going to Art School at University of Michigan. Doddy, her sister, also came to live with the family during her Junior year and then returned to her “beloved” Smith College where she graduated. She later told Laura that she realized that the professors she had at Michigan were of higher caliber than the professors at Smith, except for her favorite, Mary Ellen Chase, who taught at Smith. Laura graduated while the family lived on Prospect Street. And then attended University of Michigan.
From Prospect Avenue, Father rented a fancy home on the corner of Hill Street and Oxford Drive – a huge place with 7 or more fireplaces and many oak trees in the yard. It was a beautiful home but expensive to rent and keep up. Mary and Cady Hall were married while we lived there – a nice setting for a wedding. The oak leaves demanded much raking in the fall.
Father and Al Rice had a serious automobile accident. Father had a concussion and was unconscious for a long time – a day or so – he was in the hospital for a while and then in bed at home. While Laura was visiting Roe Manchester in Youngstown, Ohio for 5 weeks during the summer, Helen, Ruzzy and Mother went house hunting for a less expensive rent. They did insist that the house have a fireplace.
The family moved to 1619 Pontiac Road about five miles from campus. That is where the family lived for many years. Laura finished college while on Pontiac Road and was married there as was Ruzzy and Frances. Mother and Father purchased the house after a few years. It was owned by a dentist and he sold it to them. The dentist who had rented the house to them used to come over to listen to the radio show “Information Please.” He was impressed with Mother’s general knowledge and ability to be on top the answers to the questions.
In 1930, Father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died 12 years later in 1943. He continued to practice law but was ill much of the time. Father was very fond and close to his grandson, Bill Hall, the son of our sister, Mary, and Cady Hall. Bill lived a block or so down Pontiac Road with his parents. Billy called him “Pop” and Bill’s friends called Father “Mr. Pop.” Father died in May of 1943, and Mother died in January of 1945. After their deaths Helen went to Kansas and married Alex Krezel, and lived where Alex was stationed in the Army. They met at the Ford Motor plant where they both worked.