Monday, July 02, 2012

Kenneth McLintock

My father, Kenneth McLintock, was born on May 21, 1920, in Mamaroneck, New York, where his family lived through 1925. He was the younger son of Fredrick Seybel McLintock and Edith Cavannaugh. His brother, Thomas McLintock (1912-1996?), worked in the Forest Service. Kenneth graduated from Greenwich (Connecticut) High School in June 1939.

Edith was born in Savannah, Georgia, on November 30, 1880; her parents were Augusta Young and John Henry Cavannaugh. Dad admired his maternal grandfather greatly, and mentioned him often in his memoirs.

Fredrick Seybel McLintock was the son of Sophia Louise Seybel and Archibald (Jr.) McLintock.

There were several Archibalds in the McLintock line; Archibald Sr., my father's great-grandfather, immigrated from Scotland with his wife Hannah Boag McLintock around 1849-1850. Archibald Jr. (Dad's grandfather) also had a son named Archibald, who married Nan Benedict.

Sophia Louise Seybel (b. February 9, 1853) was the daughter of Fredrick Seybel and Sophia Voeltgel. Her two brothers were Frederick William Seybel and Daniel Edward Seybel.

Frederick S. McLintock of New York and Edith E. Cavanaugh of Savannah, Georgia were married on November 6, 1907, according to a marriage license issued by the State of Georgia.

Frederick McLintock died on December 11, 1951; Edith died on November 10, 1953.

Frederick must have been employed at the Stamford (Connecticut) Advocate at the time of his death; a note to his widow from the publisher, dated December 14, 1951, says that "Mr. McLintock was respected and beloved by everyone in this office and will bs sorely missed."

During World War II, my father served in the 146th Field Artillery Battalion, 37th Infantry Division. His memoir from that period may be found at Pacific Memories.

He received his Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University on June 12, 1960. Towards the completion of this degree, he wrote an essay on Edwin Arlington Robinson titled "Man over Mannerism: Robinson's Challenge to the Genteel Tradition", which he submitted on May 15, 1960 to one Professor Creeger.

He married my mother, Stella Leonard Block, on August 24, 1958. They moved to South Windsor, Connecticut, around 1964, and raised their two children (Leonard, b. 1963, and Stephanie, 1964-1992) there.

Ken McLintock passed away on October 2, 2000.


Tales My Mother Told Me

Ken McLintock
a memoir of his mother, Edith Cavannaugh

Savannah-born and Georgia-educated (Wesleyan Female Seminary, Macon), my mother came north to complete her musical education. Some of her musical instruction -- both piano and voice, I think -- was under a Miss Coburn, who was related to the actor Charles Coburn. The Coburns and the Cavanaughs (my mother's family) were good friends, and my mother always referred to Charles as Charlie. (She also had a way of slighting the r in his family's name, so that what I always heard were references to "Miss Cobin" and "Charlie Cobin.") Although he was always "Charlie", she was always "Miss Cobin," so I think she must have been his aunt rather than an elder sister. That he did have a sister I am sure because both of them were in the theater and even appeared on the stage together. As I said, the Coburn and Cavanaugh families were friends, and more than once Mother told me of the time Charlie saved her from drowning when she was caught in an undertow off Tybee Island.

For years, so far as I knew, Charles Coburn -- if he was still living -- was retired and still living in Savannah. But one day (I was probably in high school by then), I was reading aloud some movie advertisements in the newspaper to help my parents and me decide which movie to see. Among the cast listed for one movie was Charles Coburn, which I pronounced carefully "Charles Co-burn", not having the faintest idea who he was. "Oh! Charlie Cobin!" my mother exclaimed, surprised and delighted that her former "beau" was in Hollywood, having taken up a movie career. However, I thought I'd better tell her she was mistaken. "No, Mother, not Cobin -- Coburn." I don't recall what her reply was, but I think she was puzzled. After all, she had been pronouncing Coburn "Cobin" all her life.
P.S. We saw that movie, and nearly every subsequent movie in which Charlie appeared.

P.P.S. Coburn had evidently kept in touch with some of the Savannah people over the years. Mother's sister, Aunt Blanche, who had moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, showed me a Christmas card she had received from him. It showed what had evidently become, over the years, his trademark: a tamoshanter and a monocle -- no face: just the tam and monocle.

Once she was in New York City, Mother studied with Mrs. Eames, mother of the Metropolitan Opera soprano Emma Eames. The Eameses were from Bath, Maine, and Emma was among the first American-born singers to sing at the Met. Needless to say, Mother attended many of Emma Eames's performances, and for years pictures of the singer in her various roles -- Elsa in Lohengrin, Marguerite in Faust, Desdemona in Otello, among others -- hung on the walls of our home.
Mother received excellent training; after all, her teacher had also been the opera singer's teacher. One result of the training was a fine sense of pitch. If she heard a singer on the radio singing flat, she would utter a cry of pretended pain and make upward motions with her hands as if to push the singer back up on key. Thanks to her training also, her pronunciation of German, French, and Italian was excellent. It was, if anything, too good. She once told me that after a recital, a woman who had been in the audience came up to her and began speaking to her in French -- an embarrassing moment. She had learned to sing French words flawlessly but had never learned to converse in French.

Mother's training, though, was not for the opera stage. Instead she sang with New York's Oratorio Society for years, and was soloist in a number of churches in the New York area. She also was a member of at least one church choir and even one synagogue choir (that of the famed Temple Emanu-El). Among the members of one of the choirs was Harry T. Burleigh, composer and arranger of Negro spirituals (as they were then called), including "Deep River". Burleigh was already well on in years when Mother knew him, and as the years went by, he would announce solemnly each year that this would be the last year he would sing "The Palms" at the Palm Sunday service.

Mother knew, directly or indirectly, a number of interesting and prominent (at least in their day) people in the music world. There was Frank Damrosch, brother of Walter. I don't recall what musical group he presided over, but my mother would say that he must have had something against tenors because he would tell the tenors exasperatedly to "sing with your brains as well as your voices." There was Victor Harris, director of the Oratorio Society, whom she admired. There was Kurt Schindler, who not only was choir director somewhere but also was compiler and arranger of a collection of songs by Russian composers (Glinka, Tschaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, et al.). One director (I don't recall who) had a stammer, and to break the stammer he would sweep his hand across his face. And there was Keith McLeod, who directed a male chorus on one of the New York radio stations, WEAF, now WNBC. It was he who got Mother a spot on WEAF for a short time. I recall seeing a note from him to Mother and noticing he had signed it with his initials, K. McL. -- my initials, too!

Most people, I suppose, who are fond of "classical" music rate the celebrated Beethoven Ninth Symphony highly. My mother did not. I think that was mainly because when the Oratorio Society performed that symphony with the New York Symphony Orchestra, the altos were always placed close to the kettledrums, and Beethoven could be unstinting with the use of that percussion instrument, especially in the Ninth, where the kettledrums attack the listener repeatedly with fortissimos. And, according to my mother, you never got enough used to them not to jump.

Besides her concert and church work, my mother did other singing: recitals. Early in this century, musicians were invited to the homes of well-to-do people -- either their New York mansions or their country estates. One such family, the Sooeysmiths (an odd name) had a place in Greens Farms, Connecticut, and my mother had happy memories of that family and that place. (I think they were the people who owned a St. Bernard dog named Clumsy.)

Finally, there were the army hospitals. World War I ended almost two years before I was born, but even as late as the mid-1920s, when I first heard about her singing to the wounded, the sight and voices of the men -- especially the faces of the "shell-shocked" casualties -- still haunted her. What did the men of the men of the hospitals enjoy hearing? I don't know, but I suppose the songs included "There's a Long, Long Trail", "Roses of Picardy", "Over There", and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary". These, particularly the first two, were probably the very first songs I heard (that must have been when I was three or four) and the first I learned to sing. (I was particularly fond of "There's a Long, Long Trail".)

I must not neglect to mention what we in our family called the phonograph, but which others called, perversely, the grammophone, and which still others, yielding to vulgar commercialism, called the Victrola. The one we had usually sat on the floor and usually in the way, though now and then it sat on a large round wicker table, which itself was even more in the way. (A more expensive model featured the standard record player at a convenient height, with record storage space below.) Our phonograph, made by the Victor Recording Company, was, in size, about a two-foot cube. It had a deep lid, with the familiar picture of the fox terrier listening to "his master's voice" inside. The front had two doors that opened out, revealing a slatted sound chamber from which came the music or speaking voices. The steel turntable, 12 inches in diameter and covered with green felt, was nominally one-speed (78 RPM), but the machine was equipped with a speed control that pivoted: "Fast" at one end of the arc, "slow" at the other end. Being a boy, I could not resist the temptation to find out what the music sounded like at either extreme -- an experiment that annoyed my mother exceedingly. Sound was picked up from the record by the old acoustical device, which simply amplified the vibrations produced as the rotating record grooves passed under the "needle" held by the pick-up. (Needles were either steel or "wooden" -- i.e., bamboo. Both wore out after only a few plays, so the phonograph was provided with built-in cups to hold new or discarded needles.) The turntable was powered by a spring-driven motor, and a removable crank was used to wind up the spring when necessary.

Like most of the things in our home during my early years, the phonograph had already been there before I became aware of it, but the reason for its presence was obvious: the many records made by some of the singers of opera's "golden age". Caruso was certainly among them, Alma Gluck was another. I'm not sure of any of the others, though we (that is, Mother) might have had a recording or two of one of the DeReszke brothers, Jean or Eduard.

Mother got memorable glimpses of musical people, which she shared with me. One was the sight of Australian composer Percy Grainger walking up a New York City street one winter day in a snowstorm, coatless, hatless and wild-haired, and carrying a harp. She would have agreed, one guesses, that Harpo Marx could not have looked more bizarre.

An Exclusive Resort

There was never any concrete evidence for it, but my mother used to relate that her father - Henry D. Block - aroused curiosity with his prominent nose, swarthy complexion, and sharp business acumen; there had, she said, even been a running joke among his friends: "Hey, Block, are you a Jew?"

Had he answered in the affirmative, he would have found himself unwelcome at the hunting lodge in Maine where he met my grandmother. The spirit of the New York State Civil Rights Act of 1913 had not reached the state of Maine in the 1922 season, and a brochure from The Firs in Rockwood advises:
Buy your ticket to Kineo Station. Check your baggage to THE FIRS, Kineo Station. Remember - don't take the steamboat to Mt. Kineo if coming to THE FIRS. Auto from Camp will meet you at Kineo Station; name on cars, "THE FIRS". References in booklet; and references required. Bring light and heavy clothing. No dress suits or evening gowns needed, but wear what you want to. Secure your accommodations early. Hebrew patronage is not solicited.


Leonard Family Scrapbook

born 3-25-1834
died 12-3-1911
Father of Abner Leonard and grandfather of Guy P. Leonard, Grace Leonard Block, Frank V. Leonard, Stella Leonard Libby and Florence Leonard Turner.

born 9-3-1872
died 2-27-1907
Born in Deer Island, N.B. Eldest daughter of Guy P. Boynton and Joanna Holmes Boynton. Mother of Guy P. Leonard, Grace Leonard Block, Frank Leonard, Stella Leonard Libby and Florence Leonard Turner.

born 6-24-1866
died 3-15-1926
Son of James Leonard and Emma Bizanson Leonard. Father of Guy P. Leonard, Grace Leonard Block, Frank V. Leonard, Stella Leonard Libby and Florence Leonard Turner.

Eldest son of Abner and Stella (Boynton) Leonard was born in Eastport, Maine on April 8, 1884. His early childhood was spent in Eastport and Jacksonville, Florida where his father was in the retail fish business. After the death of his mother in 1907 he (with his sisters and brother) went to live with his maternal grandparents on their farm in West Lubec, Maine. After completing grade school he went to live with his aunt Ethel (Leonard) Menard in Boston, Mass. Here he worked for the next few years attending night school to secure a high school education. He was stationed in France during World War I returning at the close of his service to New York State. In 1919 he and Martha Marshall were married. Twin sons were born to this union.
The GI Educational Bill enabled him to complete two years at Syracuse University. After one year of teaching his dream of finishing college and a teaching career was shattered by illness as he had unknowingly contracted tuberculosis while in the service. After his recovery he went into merchandixing. Some years before his retirement he worked during the winter months for the Internal Revenue Service.
After the death of his wife he sold his New York home and returned to Maine the state of his birth to make his home with his sisters Grace Block of Bath, Maine and Stella of LaGrange.
He dide at age 80 on Nov. 25, 1974 at the Veterans Hospital in Togus, Maine.

GUY P. LEONARD [obituary]
BATH - Guy P. Leonard died Nov. 25 at the Veterans Hospital in Togus. Born in Eastport, April 8, 1894, the son of Abner F. and Stella (Boynton) Leonard, he was a veteran of World War I. He is survived by two sons, Guy Jr. of Georgia and Boynton of New York; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; three sisters, Mrs. Grace Block of Bath, Mrs. Stella Libby of LaGrange, and Mrs. Florence Turner of Long Beach, Calif.

Grace Boynton (Leonard) Block daughter of Abner and Stella (Boynton) Leonard was born in Eastport, Maine July 18, [1896]. In the spring of 1907 she left her parents Jacksonville, Flovida home to live with her grandparents in West Lubec, Maine. The reason for this move was the death of her mother.
She graduated from grade school and taught for a time in a country school before entering Washington State Normal School from which she was graduated in 1921. She taught in Bath, Maine until her marriage.
On April 26, 1925 she married Henry D. Block a pharmacist from New Jersey. She and Henry made their home in Jersey City, New Jersey where their two children were born. After the death of her husband, she and her two small children (Fred and Stella) returned to Bath, Maine where the children grew up.
Because of an eye problem she did not return to teaching but did food catering for special events from her home and acted as companion to elderly women. She was an active member of her church and club where her artistic talent made many events outstanding.
She lived in her home until crippling arthritis made it impossible for her to live alone. In 1979 she was forced to give up her home and and enter the Plant Retirement Home in Bath, Maine.

Frank Vernon Leonard third son of Abner and Stella Boynton Leonard was born September 28, 1899 in Eastport, Maine. At age seven he went to live with his grandparents Guy and Joanna (Holmes) Boynton on their farm in West Lubec, Maine. A few years after completing a grade school education he left the farm to be on his own.
On Oct. 21, 1920 he married Martha Bailey. He and Martha had two children, a daughter Clara born in 1923 and a son Charles born in 1926. They lived for some time in Princeton and East Cornith, Maine before moving to Bangor, Maine where he had a shop in which he sharpened saws and like tools.
He lived and worked in Bangor until 1947 when he was tragically struck down and killed while waiting at a bus stop. The intoxicated driver lost control of his car and ran into Frank. Frank died at the scene of the accident.
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