Thurber Hoard Heath
1875 - 1897
Little Falls, NY
Thurber Hoard Heath was born in 1875 to George and Mary Heath. Unfortunately the life of my great grandfather was cut short in 1897 by a freak accident while away at lunch from the Little Falls Nickel Plating Factory. The family story goes that, apparently, he was walking in front of the Little Falls bicycle shop, S & F Cycle Works, when a tire exploded in the window. He was hit in the head from flying debris, sustained a severe concussion, and died. His wife, Lillian Howe of Fulton, NY, was pregnant with their first child, Thurber Howe Heath, who was born in 1897. Lillian subsequently died of tuberculosis in 1899, but we like to think it was more from a broken heart. Thurber Hoard's parents, George and Mary Heath of Little Falls, raised Thurber Howe. George and Mary moved with Thurber Howe to Haverhill, Massachusetts in the early 20s, after Thurber graduated from Vet school in Toronto.
The Heath's owned a bakery and confectionary shop on Main Street in L.F. for many years. We aren't sure where the money came from. Probably Mary's side of the family. I believe her father George Hoard owned a funeral home in L.F. My mother can remember her great grandmother always dressed very fancy even when just taking out the garbage. I would really love to find more about the bakery that the Heath's owned in Little Falls. The building is gone now for apartments, but the memories are not.
My mother and I poked around some of her really old photos and found the attached photos of George and one of Thurber, wife and son. George Heath is my gg-grandfather and the father of Thurber, whose photo you found. The other photo is a print of 3 different photos created into one, by its appearance made around the turn of the century. My grandfather Thurber Howe Heath was born 6 months (give or take) after his father died. Lillian died in 1899 two years after her husband Thurber. Research has been difficult as there are 3 generations of only children. I've been trying to find the last name of George Heath's mother for years. I visited the Little Falls town hall and found the mention of her name once, but the hand writing was poor.
Thurber Howe Heath's WWI draft registration from Herkimer County states that he resided at 328 3rd Street, Little Falls, and was born April 2, 1897 in Fulton NY. At this time, Thurber worked for Dr. George Edward Koch in Canada. His kin to notify was Geo. H. Health, also of 328 3rd Street, Little Falls.
George Hoard Heath
Lillian Howe Heath, Thurber Hoard Heath, Thurber Howe Heath
The Story of the Lucky Find.
EXCERPTS from the correspondence regarding finding the photo in August 2006, considerably edited:
I'm responding to two queries you posted on our site in the late 1990s. Today I found something important belonging to your g-grandfather G. Thurber Hoard Heath. Hope you're still at this address!
John's Old Queries
John Heath Mitchell Mon 29 Dec 1997
John Heath Mitchell Thu 26 Feb 1998
First I'll tell you about "THE FIND." Yesterday afternoon I went to an outdoor antiques show... . I was going through a miscellaneous "instant ancestors" photo box and found a fine cabinet card of a teenage boy, hand-titled on back "Thurber Heath, Little Falls, N.Y." From the way it's written, this is not a later i.d. but probably his or his parent's titling.
Thurber appears to be 14 or 15 years old by today's standards and is wearing a suit of fine mohair (very obviously mohair, w/ detailed texture to the fabric, beautifully cut, much nicer than boys usually wear in the old photos), starched high collar shirt, and exquisite and fashionably tied checked cravat. It's obvious that the family was prosperous (or had only one child to spend on), for a teenager to be dressed like this. He has wavy blond or light brown hair, dark eyes that droop down at the outer corners, and a dignified look to him. An unusual thin face.
The photo was taken by J.J. Butman, 314 West Main St., Little Falls, N.Y. I've never seen this photographer's name on L.F. photos. The matboard style is approx. 1890-1893, without the gilt beveled edging that was popular by mid-decade. There were no other Little Falls photos or any Heath family paper with it. Photos in the box were from all over the country.
Last night I put Thurber into the Herk/Mont search engine and your old queries came up, the hand-placed ones before Rootsweb's queries boards. Then I went to ancestry.com and found him in 1880 with his parents but in 1900 he's gone. This [the photo] is definitely Thurber, son of George and Mary. Then I emailed you and crossed my fingers you'd see my note soon."
It was exciting to receive your email with the news of the existence of the photo. But that does not compare with the excitement of opening the envelope to hold it in my hand. My family is so grateful to your sleuth work. However, I am sure that the joy of such a find was more fun than any gratitude I could ever send your way. I often look through the old photos thinking I could find someone I know for similar reasons. It is just plain fun.
To think 120+/- years have passed since this photo was taken. What was going through his mind at the time? Was it the challenges of the future or getting out of that hideous suit to go play ball. I am sure at the time it was considered quite stylish.
I look forward to continuing our discussions about NY. The issue of migration to this area of the northeast following the Revolution fascinates me. Apparently, the Heath's began migrating around 1790 and my direct line in 1799 to 1801, first to Springfield and then to L.F. and German
Flatts. Until then, I am,
From: The Journal and Courier, Little Falls NY, unknown date in April 1898
HEATH- At the home of her parents in Fulton, N. Y., of consumption, April 24, 1898, Mrs. Lillian Heath, of Little Falls, relect of the late Thurber Heath, aged 20(?) years.
Interment at Fulton tomorrow.
Copyright© 2006 John Heath Mitchell
All Rights Reserved.