Bertha Trowbridge Chandler

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    While the Chandler family grew up in Canada, the Trowbridge family, ancestors of Harry's wife-to-be, Bertha, became established in Connecticut. Bertha’s grandfather, Asahel Trowbridge, married Betsy Doty in 1819 and lived on a farm in New York. Asahel also worked as a county coroner. They had five children, including Mortimer Asahel Trowbridge, their youngest son, who was born in 1834. They attended the Presbyterian Church.

    As a young man, Mortimer Trowbridge worked for his older brothers, Demetrius and Lyman Trowbridge, in their shingle mill in Lockport, New York. They manufactured staves, or thin slots of wood, that were used to form the sides of a barrel or bucket. Mortimer married Lovina Carr in 1858. He and his brothers moved the business to Ohio in 1864, and Mortimer became a partner in a firm known as Trowbridge Brothers. They operated a mill in Toledo and later in Napoleon, Ohio. Still later he moved his business to Saginaw, Michigan.  He and Lovina had three children, Alta May, Bertha Abby, and Melva Anna.

    Bertha, the middle daughter, was born in 1864. She later wrote about her childhood, describing visits to relatives, playing with a kaleidoscope and riding in buggies behind black horses. She and her sisters wore "fine white dresses and blue sashes, high button bronze shoes, white openwork stockings and wide brimmed hats with blue ribbons" to church. She enjoyed visiting her Uncle Chorley's farm and seeing all of the animals. School was not as much fun, Bertha explained:

    "l was always frightened coming and going by two bad boys, Mickey Shay and Tommy King, who tormented me, threatening to cut my ears off. I hope they came to some bad end! For it was a period of torture for me."

    As Bertha grew up, she took her studies seriously. A very intelligent young woman, she graduated from high school as the Valedictorian of her class in 1883. Bertha saved the graduation announcement and newspaper article concerning the commencement. The article included the speech she made during the graduation ceremony:

    “We thank you, kind friends, for the interest you have manifested, both on this and other occasions.

    It has stimulated us to better work and greater zeal in the performance of our duties. And we trust, as we bid you farewell, you will never have cause to regret the interest you have bestowed on us.”

    “To the Board of Education, we are deeply indebted, not only for the privileges and favors you have granted but also the practical course of study provided and your wise selection of teachers. Your untiring efforts have been duly appreciated, and as we return our heartfelt thanks for the privileges and favors no longer to be shared, we express the hope that you will feel they have not been in vain.”

    Bertha graduated from high school when she was nineteen. For the next several years, she lived at home with her family, enjoying an active social life. Friends often got together to play music or attend lectures. From her writings, it appears that she met Harry Chandler around 1890 at a Chautauqua meeting. During the nineteenth century, people attended Chautauqua meetings to hear lectures or musical recitals. Bertha enjoyed these meetings, along with dramatic plays, picnics and lawn parties.

    As Bertha and the other young people grew up, their parents aged. In 1895, after 50 years of preaching in the Baptist Church, Joseph Chandler died at age 84. Mary Ann Chandler lived to 1912, dying when she was 86. Lovina Trowbridge, Bertha’s mother, died in 1919, of the age of 80.


    ♦Exhibit Home 10. Marian Chandler ►


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