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Moss Family History: Herbert Julius Moss, 1856 - 1943

Herbert Moss

H. J. Moss was born in Cheshire April 24, 1856. He was educated at Wilbraham Academy, Wilbraham, Massachusetts. He married Minnie Hemingway who was born in 1857 and died in 1911. She was a member of the Hemingway family of Montowese and East Haven. I was taken around to be seen by these relatives when I was much too young to remember them, but I have heard my father say that the Hemingways had a brewery with a cold storage cave under East Rock. They also were in the glue business and I've heard jocular remarks about an Uncle Ralph who drove around the countryside buying up dead horses. The family was reputed to be one of the first in New Haven to own an automobile and I very faintly remember riding in it in the year 1910 or 1911 when Mother brought her two babies up from Virginia for a visit with the family.

Grandfather apparently was a progressive business man when he was young. He had a coal and ice business with his own railroad siding in West Cheshire. Besides that, he had several teams of men and horses, and did grading and plowing etc by contract. He worked on the building of the railroad between New Haven and New Britain when it went through West Cheshire, and he lived to see that railroad line done away with. In my time there were still the remains of a canal that pre-dated the railroad along part of this stretch. In 1918, Grandfather showed me a photograph of a cellar and foundation job that he had completed in Norwalk, Connecticut. He moved many houses and I watched him on at least one of these jobs. He impressed me very much by his complete command and authority with his men. Everything went so smoothly, and he seemed to know exactly what was going on everywhere at the same time. I can remember a fantastic array of jacks, wedges, clocks, pulleys and ropes around the stables at the West Cheshire property. In addition to this, he found the time to be a member of the State Legislature at Hartford. Grandmother Hemingway didn't seem to have anything to do with the business - not at all unusual for wives at that time. There had been a German cook in the house when my father was young, and he surprised us children once in a while with a German word or phrase that he had learned from her. If I recall correctly from adult conversation that I overheard when I was considered too young to notice, Grandmother concentrated on being a lady and loved society and chocolates. The latter were supposed to have helped cause her early death from sugar diabetes. Shortly after she died, Grandfather married the woman who was the current cook and maid. She was Louise* Humiston who was born in 1870 and died in 1940. I know very little of her background except that she had two well-to-do aunts who lived in a yellow house with high front porch pillars on Grove Street, West Cheshire. It was ironic that they left her not a penny when they died. I heard this discussed among older relatives but never at my own home. Louise had two brothers, John and Jessie Humiston, who worked for Grandfather at different times. The Grammar school in Cheshire was named the Humiston School, but I never knew what the connection was between it and the family of our generation.

* Emma Humiston is engraved on the tombstone