Friday, October 17, 2014

The Hyde Famiy: from Connecticut to California

The following research is for a short presentation to be delivered at the JFK ASSASSINATION CONFERENCE NOV 22-23-24 Dallas/Arlington. Although that final talk will be much shorter than the full story allows, so I will present the research here first and then winnow it down in a condensed version that can be more easily followed by listeners.
Linda Minor
The Big Picture
By Linda Minor

Ruth Hyde Paine
Ruth Paine has often been referred to as "Marina Oswald’s babysitter” during the eight months preceding President Kennedy's assassination. She has been called other names as well, but mostly there has been a big question mark concerning (1) what role she really had  and (2) which organization, among the plethora of intelligence groups active in those months, assigned her that role.

Ruth clearly was someone’s tool. Was she merely an implement of care and compassion emanating from a woman who wanted to practice her Russian-speaking skills? Was she, as wife of Bell Helicopter design engineer, Michael Paine, working as an agent of death and deceit on behalf of her husband's employer?
Michael Paine

My goal as an objective researcher is not to find evidence that would answer those questions. Only you can answer them for yourself. My job as I see it is to explore whatever databases I have access to in order to make this woman a little less mysterious, to learn about her family dating back several generations, possibly discovering details she herself has never known, possibly some of which is irrelevant. However, when all the dots of her her life are pinpointed on her historical timeline, her place in history will fall into its proper context.

The HYDE family history

Sixty-one years before John Kennedy was murdered, Ruth Hyde’s father was born in Palo Alto, California, and given the name of William Avery Hyde. The ancestry of his grandfather, William Penn Hyde, a Methodist minister who had been born in Mystic, Connecticut, has been traced back to his first American ancestor, William Hyde, born in 1583, who, with wife Anne Bushnell, had a son named Samuel, born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1637. Samuel married Jane Lee, and from their union sprang several distinct branches of the family, two of which eventually spawned Ruth Hyde. 

Samuel Hyde's son Jabez, born 1677, descended through Phineas I, Phineas II, and John, down to William Penn Hyde. Jabez’s brother John descended through Captain James Hyde (wife Martha Nevins), Rev. Charles Hyde (wife Mary Ludlow), and Peter Ludlow Hyde (wife Harriet Clapp), down to Charles Ludlow Hyde, the father of Carol Elizabeth Hyde, who married William Avery Hyde. Small world, as they say!

There is a third distinct line, seemingly unrelated at this point, that descended through Samuel's son Thomas down to Henry Baldwin Hyde, who in 1859 founded the Equitable Life Assurance Society in the United States, leaving the company’s control in the hands of his son, James Hazen Hyde upon the older man’s death in 1899. We will talk about that branch later as the research continues.

Reuben Hyde Walworth's book is online.

William Penn Hyde in California

William Penn (W.P.) Hyde, suffering ill health from which he hoped to recover in California, retired from his Methodist ministry which had sent him to Rhode Island after a variety of pastorates in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1859 he had married Seraphine Smith Carr with whom he had eleven  children, and in 1881 the family moved to Santa Clara County, California, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. 

Leland Stanford was also a transplant to California, having previously been in business in Albany before moving to California after the 1849 gold rush. As a supporter of Abraham Lincoln in the Republican convention in 1860, he attended the new President's inauguration and supported his plans for the transcontinental railroad. That same year he was elected governor of California, and in 1863 president of the Central Pacific Railroad, subsequently renamed the Southern Pacific. Made land-rich by the federal grants made to finance the construction of the railroad, by 1881 Stanford owned thousands of acres of land in Santa Clara County where William Penn Hyde settled that year with his large family.

334 Lincoln - Hyde residence
Stanford's teenage son, Leland, Jr. died of typhoid fever in 1884, and his father, former governor and future Senator, as a memorial to his only child, began creating a university--and a new town to house it--out of his acreage. Even before construction was complete, the Hyde family moved within the same county, settling permanently in Palo Alto.

Herbert Hoover, 1894
When Leland Stanford, Jr. University opened its doors in 1891, future president Herbert Hoover was among the ten or so students who would study geology and graduate in the class of 1894. The first campus bookstore was managed by William Fletcher (W.F.) Hyde, eldest son of W. P. Hyde, who would remain in that position for sixteen years. His sister, Bessie Hyde, had married in 1891 to a minister named William A. Kennedy, and moved to Denver. Rev. Kennedy did not live long, and Bessie and her daughter Laura eventually moved back to Palo Alto to live in the stately Lincoln Avenue residence with her maiden sisters, which they operated as a boarding house after W.P. died in 1919.

The Hydes lived in a three-story home at 334 Lincoln Avenue in the now historic area known as Professorville, where William Avery Hyde's uncle, James McDonald Hyde--thirteen years younger than W.F.--had grown up and where he lived while attending Stanford in the same class as Herbert Hoover's older brother Theodore, both of whom studied geology. James McD. Hyde later became a Stanford professor of metallurgy. Their sister, Mary Hyde, studied back east and became assistant librarian at Stanford, living with Lillian, a teacher, and Laura, who ran the boarding house. Their brother Edward L. Hyde, operated a stationery store at 160 University Avenue and lived with his wife, the former Lauretta Coe, at 381 Lincoln.

William Fletcher Hyde and Martha Smith

W.F. Hyde, who had been 20 when his family moved west, had not had the benefit of a formal college education, but he did well in business. He married Martha Constance Smith in 1900, and they proceeded to have three children--William Avery, Theodore, and Sylvia Alden Hyde, all born before 1910. In that year the census shows them living at 959 Bryant (also known as 301 Addison) in the Professorville section of Palo Alto, while W.F. managed the Stanford bookstore. Martha's mother, Elizabeth Avery Smith, widow of yet another clergyman, Rev. William Augustus Smith who died in 1887, lived in the same house.

It is not known how William Fletcher Hyde and Martha Smith met. Her family tree, surprisingly, also traces back to colonial Connecticut, her first American ancestor being Christopher Avery who arrived from Devon, England, to New London, Conn. in 1630 with his wife Margery Stephens of Exeter. The wife of John Foster Dulles (Janet Pomeroy Avery) was a member of that same Groton Avery clan, although the nearest common ancestor she shared with Martha was born around 1650, making them extremely distant cousins.

Nevetheless, there is another link through Martha's father which almost connects her to this other Groton branch. Her father's brother, Augustus Ledyard Smith (born 1833) was given the maiden name of his grandmother, Catherine Ledyard Childs, daughter of Benjamin Ledyard. Benjamin moved to the area now known as Aurora, New York  from Groton, Connecticut in 1793, becoming one of its founders, and, intriguingly, his mother, Mary Avery Ledyard, descended from the same Avery line as Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles, mentioned earlier.

Martha's maternal grandfather, Addison Avery married Sylvia Moseley in 1834 in Wilbraham, Mass., where his father, Abraham Avery, a dedicated Methodist, had helped in founding the Wesleyan Academy. Abraham also was instrumental in the establishment of Wesleyan University at Middletown, Conn., where he served as a trustee. A dealer in leather goods as a tanner and saddle maker, he taught this skill to his grandson, Addison Avery, Jr., who operated a leather shop in Denver in 1892, according to a listing in a Denver directory of that year.

Augustus William Smith was, like Abraham Avery, one of a handful of the men involved in the creation of Wesleyan University in 1831. One of sons, William Augustus Smith, married Abraham Avery's granddaughter, Ann Elizabeth Avery, in 1862 in Philadelphia. The newlyweds soon departed for the wilds of Illinois, where Rev. W.A. Smith died in 1887. About her father-in-law we learn as follows:

Augustus William Smith was born in Newport, New York on May 12, 1802. He attended Hamilton College, from which he graduated in 1825, and went on to teach at Oneida Conference Seminary in Cazenovia (located southeast of Syracuse). In 1831, Smith was among the founding faculty of Wesleyan University. He taught astronomy and mathematics at Wesleyan for twenty years before his selection as Fifth President of the university in 1851. After eight years at the helm of Wesleyan, Smith accepted a position as Professor of Natural Philosophy at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He remained in this post until his death on March 26, 1866.
Smith was an accomplished scholar. In 1860 he was selected by the U. S. government to be one of the corps of astronomers sent to Labrador to observe the annular eclipse of the sun. He was reputed to be an excellent mathematician, and authored of several textbooks, including an An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics (New York, 1846). He married Catherine Rachel Childs, by whom he had several children including a daughter, Katherine Louisa. A convert to the Methodist-Episcopal Church, Smith also held a life-long interest in denominational affairs and was active in that capacity.
Addison's sister, Martha's Aunt Julia Avery, married Rev. John Roper in Boston in 1842. After only four years of marriage, Rev. Roper died in Ohio, and Julia returned to Massachusetts, where she married George Curtis Rand, owner and operator of a large printing firm in Boston. Addison Avery, who had been educated first to be a minister and then a lawyer, gave up both professions to become a partner with his brother-in-law, creating Rand & Avery. Rand died in 1878, and Addison Avery in 1893. Five years after Rev. Smith's death, Ann Elizabeth Avery Smith obtained a passport for herself and Martha to travel abroad. Martha's biography at Northwestern states she studied in Berlin and Paris that year, then did graduate work at the University Chicago in 1894 while she also taught Latin and English. In 1898 she attended Stanford, followed by a year at UC Berkeley, before marrying W.F. Hyde in 1900.

Northwestern University Alumni Records

This was the family of William Avery Hyde's mother, Martha Constance Smith, another of whose paternal aunts was Helen Fairchild Smith, mentor to the wife of President Grover Cleveland.
Stay tuned for next section of Ruth Hyde Paine's family connections.

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