The Families of Adam Keith

“Once upon a time ...”, family facts and tales


Grandson’s recollection

Eli Singer [1835-1908] and Caroline Slough Singer [1842-1934]


Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Maria Catherina [Gieg] m. [John George] Slough2>John George Slough, Jr.3>John George Slough III4>Caroline [Slough] m. [Eli] Singer5>Cyrus Albert Singer6

An article by Eugene Albert Singer, son of Cyrus Albert Singer, grandson of Eli Singer.


Eugene A. Singer is also a co-author with John Singer of, A Singer family of colonial Vermont and Canada, including the Overholt, Staats, Hunsberger, Slough, Will, Hertzel, Terryberry, Dufford, Swackhammer, Snyder, Freas, Moore, Flock, Dean, Boddecker and Dooley families, 3rd ed. (Lahaina, Hawaii: privately published, 2001).


My recollection of my grandparents is right at the edge of my memory. We lived in Niagara Falls NY and as a small child I periodically learned that we would be "going up to Grimsby" (in Canada). To me, in the early 1920s, it was a great lark. It was always for a funeral. The numerous family elders were ageing and funerals were about the only time they saw each other anymore. The reason I was overjoyed was that we did not have a car, so would be taking the 30-mile trip with Uncle Jack (John Singer) who had the only car in the family. Uncle Jack was looked up to as a successful man. He was a salesman and was always nattily dressed.

There were many experiences for a little boy at grandma's house. It was a small, cheap house but amazingly it is still there and occupied. Reworked a little, of course, but what a memory when I saw it again recently! It was grayed wood siding with a tiny porch. The downstairs had the living room and her bedroom with a lean-to addition that was the kitchen. Behind that was the woodshed for her wood stove and heater. The lot sloped downward to the back, with a path leading to the outhouse amongst a number of old fruit trees. You can imagine how fascinating that was to a 5-year old -- that 1925 high tech kid who had a bathroom inside his house! The privy was a two-holer, with a little wood bracket that was kept filled with old newspapers.


While the outside was fun to explore, I was totally intimidated inside. I remember staying close to my mother's skirts looking around the living room filled with old people talking about things that were outside my little world. Most of them were the women of the family, the widows left behind. They would invariably be wearing a long black dress with a huge skirt and topped with a black hat I always thought was a cloth bowl.


We sometimes stayed overnight, and that was most fun of all. I'd go two houses down the street to Aunt Annie's (Georgianna Singer Anderson) where I'd be put down in a featherbed!


I've often wondered at the power of memory. My lifetime has been full of marvelous experiences and people, many of which are forgotten. But those trips to grandma's are still with me, seventy years later.