Sunday, October 21, 2012

Young Alice Packard Studley: 1891-1921

When our Grandma Nute died in 1976, her obituary gave the standard information for a woman at the time - age, where she went to church,  how many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and where she was buried.  At the time she died, she was 84 years old, attended Perry Christian Church, had four children, 10 grand children and seven great-grand children, and was survived by her sister, Nettie.  She had been living with daughter, Jeannette, in Painesville, Ohio, and she was buried alongside Raymond, Sr., in Perry Cemetery.

Her unwritten history, though, is not revealed in an obituary, birth, marriage, death or census records.  With family photos, Alice’s scrapbook, and information about the times and people around her, perhaps we can stitch together her early life.

When Alice was born in 1891, Fall River was a thriving, prosperous city  with three daily newspapers, a host of textile mills, and daily steamboat trips to New York City.   The high school was a four story, towered, granite building that had its own astronomy observatory and telescope. BMC Durfee High School was built in 1886 in the upscale Highlands neighborhood, and is now designated as a historic building housing a probate and family courthouse.

BMC Durfee High School
Alice was descended from two Mayflower passengers, Richard Warren and William Bradford, from Revolutionaries, and two grandfathers who were Civil War Veterans.

Alice's father, Sidney Elmer Studley, was born in Maine months after his father went to the war, and lived in a blue collar, working class neighborhood in Boston most of his young life until marrying Martha Hathaway Borden in Fall River in 1887.  He had been a clerk in Boston, but the hard working young man worked his way up to owning his own grocery in Fall River.  The family lived in rentals but by 1910, Sidney had bought a home in a nicer neighborhood.

Sidney Elmer Studley (1863-1941)
Alice's mother, Martha, came from the Borden family who had been in the vicinity since the 1600's.   Her father, Stephen Bailey Borden, had also been away to the war when Martha was born.

Martha Hathaway Borden
Both photos appear to be around the time the young couple married.

Nettie was the firstborn child for the young couple in April 1889, and Alice followed in August 1891.  This is the earliest photo we have of the two girls, likely in 1892, the same year as the Lizzie Borden axe murders of her father and stepfather in Fall River.

Alice and Nettie,1892
Alice about a year later, very likely on her second birthday,

Alice, probably 1893
and both girls in matching dresses in the following year.

Alice and Nettie, 1894

The girls and Martha seem to be warmly and fashionably dressed while traveling about the city in the mid-1890's.

Alice, Mother Martha, and Nettie

We have little photographic record of the girls until the following family photo which appears to be turn of the century.

 Aunt Nettie Borden Howland, Martha H Studley, Uncle Harry Howland, Cousin Ida Borden
Nettie Borden Studley, Alice Packard Studley
Nettie Borden Howland is Sidney's sister, young Alice's paternal aunt. She was married to Harry Howland.  Ida Borden is a second cousin, niece to Stephen Bailey Borden.

We have a photo of Alice dated December 1905, and labeled age "14 years, 4 months",

Alice, December 2005
and another dated 1907, age 16, likely 10th grade at BMC Durfee, that wonderful high school with the observatory pictured above.
Alice in 1907
This full length photo appears to be around the same time as the portrait above, but may have been a year earlier.  She is wearing, as always, those beautiful embroidered dresses and the same gold locket.  I know it is gold as she and Raymond gave this writer a similar engraved gold locket.  I have wondered what happened to Alice's locket.

Alice in high school
A photo with Nettie on the left and three girlfriends is undated, and leaves to imagination what was the occasion.  A wedding, a graduation, or just going to church.  How ever did they keep these white dresses clean, what with all the horse poop there must have been in the streets, and that is the subject of a future post.

Nettie on far left, Alice on far right
The following two photos are a mystery, as they are labeled by someone else.  The labels refer to visiting someone in Tilton, New Hampshire.  She would have been old enough to travel on her own to New Hampshire after high school, but who did she know there?  Tilton is home to a private preparatory school which also gave degrees to women for a period.  She may have been visiting a girlfriend who went away to school.

"Alice P Studley, after Nute, as she visited me in Tilton, NH. Cross Road"
"Alice Studley as she looked when visiting Tilton"
Would she have had two portraits done in New Hampshire?  Or, made in Fall River and sent later to her girlfriend.  She is clearly maturing and beginning to wear hats.

She graduated in 1911, at age 20 from BMC Durfee and worked in the office at Fall River Gas Company where Raymond's father, Joseph, was manager.   

A 1914 photo shows a lovely young woman, perhaps her engagement portrait,

Alice in 1914
and the same year a photo with both Nute and Studley families, indicating Alice and Raymond had likely started their relationship by this time.  Very possibly, they knew each other at BMC Durfee High School as they were about the same age, or from Alice working for Raymond's father, Joseph, at the Gas Works.

From right: Aunt Jennie Borden, in back Susan Simmons (Harriett's servant), Mother Nute (Harriett), Aunt Annie Wilkins, Alice's mother Martha Borden Studley, and Alice in 1914
Raymond went off to school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a year latter changed to Massachusetts Agricultural College, now University of Massachusetts, and graduated in 1914.  We first have a photo of Raymond and Alice together dated November 3, 1915.  

Alice and Raymond, Nov 3, 1915
Alice and Raymond were married on November 8, 1915 in Fall River and the occasion was reported in two newspapers.  A Fall River newspaper described a wedding held at the home of the bride in the presence of immediate family, followed by a reception for friends and relatives.

Home Wedding of Well Known Young People Last Evening

... The house was most artistically decorated for the occasion.  Southern smilax screened the walls and was entwined about the stair case and chandeliers.  The fireplace of the room where the ceremony was performed was banked with autumn leaves through which shone red electric lights.  Pink and white chrysanthemums were also used in clusters to good advantage in the decorative scheme.

As the bridal party left the upper rooms and proceeded down the stairs, Lohengrin’s Wedding March was played by Edmund Bottomly, piano, and Miss Helen Borden, violinist.  The bride was accompanied by her sister, Nettie Borden Studley, and by the sister of the groom, Helen Nute.  They were met under the nuptial arch by the groom and his attendant, Murray Lincoln of North Easton, a classmate at Amherst.  The ushers were Alden and Warren Nute, brothers of the groom.  The double ring service was used and during the ceremony, the musicians rendered “Perfect Love”, “O Promise Me’, and for the recessional, Mendelssohn’s Bridal Chorus.

There were about 150 present at the reception at 7 o’clock.

The bride wore a beautiful gown of white gros de londris, made en train and trimmed with pearls and Duchess lace.  Her tulle veil was caught in cap effect with lilies of the valley and she carried a bouquet of the same flower.  The bridesmaids wore watermelon pink crepe de chine trimmed with silver embroidered silk net and rosebuds.  They carried arm bouquets of Killarney roses.  Mrs. Studley wore a handsome dress of grey crepe de meteor with old rose vestee and silver trimmings.  Mrs. Nute wore the gown which she wore at her own wedding.  It was white faille silk trimmed with duchess lace.  The gift of the bride to her maids were gold brooches of filigree work set with pearls.  The gift of the groom to his attendant was a tie pin.

There was a handsome display of wedding gifts, including mahogany, silver, linen, china, heirlooms of both families and money in checks and gold.  The bride is a graduate of the Durfee high school and has been employed for some time in the office of the Fall River Gas Company.  Mr. Nute was a student at Durfee High School and M.I.T., and graduated from Amherst agricultural college in 1914.  He is at present manager of a farm in Lakeville, Mass.

Alice and Raymond made their home at the Lakeville farm, outside of Fall River, for the next 5 years and started their family with the birth of their first two children, Ray Jr. in 1916 and Jeannette in 1920.  Alice matured into a young farm wife and mother, but still elegant as shown at the 1917 wedding of Raymond's sister, Helen, held at the home of Joseph and Harriett Nute, yes in the fashionable Highland neighborhood of Fall River.

Raymond Jr. Alice, Raymond Sr, Joseph Nute and Harriet Gove Wilkins Nute, July 2, 1917

In 1920 Alice was 29 years old. The young woman used to her finery, the lace, the silver and chandeliers, along with Raymond, young Ray Jr. and infant Jeannette, took the bold step to migrate west to Kentucky, the first in their lines to move out of New England in 300 years.  The rest we know in Mr. Nute's Peach Fed Free Range Turkeys.


izzegirl said...

That's a bold move - going to KY. I will have to keep an eye out for a horse manure story... Love all the photos!

jessee bentley said...

Interesting. I just picked up a small photo, at a yard sale, of Alice, dated May 17th, 1906.

Katharine Dixon said...


Amazing. Do you suppose we could have a copy of the photo?

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