Who Was Jim Mason?

Who Was Jim Mason (1919 – 2020)

James Robert “Jim” Mason was the son of James Patrick Mason (1883 – 1955) and Mary Agnes Lathrop (1885 – 1972) *

Mary Agnes Lathrop

The following is his obituary taken from findagrave.com

Jim Mason

Mary Agnes Lathrop Mason was the daughter of Edward Palmer Lathrop (1855 – 1925) and Margery McBride (1857 – 1925). Edward Palmer Lathrop was the brother Charles Ozias Lathrop (1860 – 1939), my great grandfather. Edward P and Charles O were sons of Frederick Lathrop and Laurinda Palmer Lathrop of West Cornwall, CT.

Mary Agnes Lathrop Mason was first cousin to Edward Starr Lathrop and James Robert Mason was 2nd cousin to Edward Lathrop Sr and his brothers and sisters. He was my 2d cousin once removed.

*Mary Agnes Lathrop seems to have been born with the name Agnes Elizabeth Lathrop but is buried with the name Mary Agnes. It looks like she changed her name somewhere along the way.


Who Was Toddy Crotty?

To me, the story of Toddy Crotty begins with a sad ending. The following, rather bland, obituary tells us about all there was to know about him, at least in his final years.

As you can see, Toddy’s real name was Thomas, Thomas Albert Crotty, to be exact. The reason I am familiar with the June 12, 1968 part of the Toddy Crotty era is because I was there. I was a pallbearer for Toddy, along with my father, Uncle Walt, Uncle Howard and two guys who worked for John C Freeland.

Though I really didn’t have a keen understanding of the situation, I now understand the four of us were riding in the hearse together because we were next of kin. Actually, I only gained pallbearer status because I worked for my father in his television shop on 9 Main St.

My father used to help Toddy out all the time. Not only did he fix Toddy’s TV, as you would expect, he also fixed anything else in Toddy’s house that needed fixing.

Toddy lived alone at 16 Stillman Ave for more than 15 years, when the time came that Toddy needed to go to a nursing home, my father made the arrangements that put him there. I do remember that Toddy was in The Keating Nursing Home. I also remember my father was very upset when someone who might have been his cousin called him at the store one day and said, “Crotty’s dead” and then hung up. At this point, my father didn’t have time to mourn but he was truly taken back by this rude call. He rightly was put into a period of grief by Toddy’s passing but the unnecessary bluntness of the phone call greatly exacerbated it!

The funeral wasn’t well attended but my father’s sisters were there. There weren’t many others. It was obvious the Lathrop family was Toddy’s family but anytime I ever asked my father or Aunt Mimi how we were related, they would just say, “he’s some kind of cousin.”

In the few weeks he spent in the home, Toddy knew it was his final days. He told my father, “I would have had something to leave you Edward but the problem is I lived too G D long! Then, what little I did have left, these people took.” He was talking, of course, about the Keating Nursing Home.

Toddy did have a way with words, that’s for sure. For many years he lived on Keeler St. In his final decade and a half, he lived on Stillman Ave which is very close to Sacred Heart Church. So, he started attending mass there. He walked to church every week. My father asked him why he became a church going man when he never was before in his life. “Well, you know, Edward, around here, it’s the G D style.”

Though he walked to church, he drove everywhere else and he had his driver’s license for a long time. I’ve seen probably a couple hundred World War I draft cards. One of the questions they ask on this card is “Can you drive a car?” The overwhelming majority of answers I have seen to this question is “no.” This was 1917 and just not that many people drove back then yet. I know that Toddy drove during my lifetime and he loved to.

I have great memories of Toddy Crotty! He surely was a colorful character. I remember he was a professional wrestling fan and he believed it to be 100% real! At 9 years old, I too, loved professional wrestling! Toddy and I would often compare notes about “The Masked Marvel,” Bruno Sam Martino and Chief Jay Strongbow. For sure, we had a common interest and we were both emphatic about how bad the bad guys were and how good the good guys were! “DID YOU SEE THAT SON OF A B$%#&*” he’d burst out when the villain pulled one of his dirty tricks. My father, a non-believing wresting observer, would just coast with it. To him, Toddy truly was family. It took until about 55 years after Toddy’s passing, but now, I think I know why.

I looked at the 1880 census to find my father’s grandparents and his Uncles Mike, Ed and Tom, and his aunt Susan, who passed away at a young age, all living in Ralston, PA. His mother hadn’t yet been born. Below this family was Edward, Bridget and Minnie Crotty. They lived either next door or probably in the same house, albeit a different household, as the Keatings

The 7-year-old daughter, Minnie, is actually Mary Crotty, who in later years would be Mrs. John Dunleavy of Danbury Ct.

Then we move up to the 1900 census and look at the two households, here’s what we find:

Both families are living in Danbury, Conn. The Crotty’s are living on Starr St and the Keatings in South Bey Limits. There’s a new member, Thomas, in the Crotty family and Margaret, “Ma,” is now a part of the Keating family.

In 1880, since they lived so close together, it would be reasonable to suspect that the elder Margaret Keating and Bridget Crotty were sisters. Remember Margaret’s married name was Keating but her maiden name was also Keating. It becomes more suspicious since the two families moved to the same town at the same time. To raise suspicions even further, the 1900 census tells us both Margaret and Bridget immigrated to the United States in 1864. All these things would make you think Margaret and Bridget could well be sisters but Minnie Crotty Dunleavy’s obituary tells the rest of the story.

Of course, Margaret Keating’s husband was also a Keating.  However, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1863.  Also, Thomas Keating was born in January 1850 and Bridget Keating Crotty was born in March of the same year.  So, the siblings were Margaret and Bridget.  Margaret, by the way, was born in 1847.  So, there is no gestation period conflict there.

Though we don’t yet know the name of the Keating Girls’ parents, it would have to be the coincidence of the century if they were not sisters. We have the genealogical proof the elder Margaret Keating and Bridget Keating Crotty were sisters. This means Margaret Ma Keating Lathrop and Toddy Crotty were first cousins. Toddy was the last of the living Keatings of my father’s mother’s family and it seems the reason my father was so close him is he was holding on to the last vestige of his mother’s family.

The marriage of John Dunleavy and Minnie Crotty never bore any fruit, in a Biblical sense, and Toddy was never married. Minnie passed away in 1951, eleven years after her husband. So, from 1951 until 1968, Toddy was the lone relative of his mother who was still living and all this time, my father was a wonderful friend to him!

Their relationship was first cousins – once removed. This peripheral pallbearer was Toddy’s first cousin twice removed. The same is true of my two sisters and all my Lathrop cousins.

I think about him every now and then, and the memories are all good. I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated his line about the “G D style.” Still, in the interest of being better late than never, now it’s time for us to recognize Toddy Crotty as a true Keating/Lathrop family member!


Who Was Colonel Lathrop?

Who was Colonel Lathrop?

In the book, “The history of Danbury, Conn” the authors talk about the hatting industry in Danbury, Ct going all the way back to about the year 1810.

They talk about very tough times in the industry and in the economy in general. They also discuss the wool hat coming into fashion in 1841. When local hatters were in search of a true expert in the wool hatting field, they found Colonel Lathrop of Roxbury. When the authors say, “at present time,” I assume they mean 1896.

So, it looks like Colonel Lathrop set the world straight on the best way to manufacture wool hats. He seemed to have knowledge about the process of wool hat manufacturing that few others, if any others had. With a good imagination, and/or perhaps a healthy supply of Lathrop genes floating around inside of you, you might conclude he saved the hatting industry in Danbury long before it hit its full stride!

So, now we know what Colonel Lathrop did, but; who was he???

First of all, there is no Colonel Lathrop, at least that I could find. However, I found a “Captain” Amasa Lathrop of Roxbury. This man was born in Colchester, Ct in 1792 and died in Roxbury in 1871. He was also known as “Amsie.” Amsie was a nickname, I will assume. Most importantly, Captain Amasa “Amsie” Lathrop was a Hatter from Roxbury as we can see in the 1850 Census.

Amasa’s father was Daniel Lathrop. He also had a brother Daniel Lathrop. His father Daniel Lathrop, however, (b1765 – d1861), at the age of 93, got a lawyer and had just about everyone else in his home town, (his home town was New Milford) vouching for his integrity as he insisted, he fought in the Revolutionary War but signed up under a fictitious name because he was underage. In one of his correspondences with the government he wrote the names Barnabas Lathrop, Daniel Lathrop, (himself) and Amasa Lathrop who everyone called “Captain.” The army wanted to know the genealogy of these 3 men. Whether or not he gave the correct answer is unclear but we know positively, Barnabas, that is, the Reverend Barnabas Lathrop, was his father and one of his sons was Amasa. It appears the reason why he mentioned his father and son Amasa is his father was a minister and ran a congregational Church and he had a son was well known by the title of “Captain!” If the United States Army couldn’t take the word of these men, who possibly would they ever listen to???!!!

What Daniel says about Amasa is demonstrated to be true by his church’s record of his death. So, for whatever it is worth, Amasa was, indeed, known as Captain Lathrop.

So, when you take into account the Amasa Lathrop family was the only Lathrop family in Roxbury between 1820 +/- until 1880 +/- and that Amasa was a hatter, and that his church buried him under the distinguished title of Captain Amasa Lathrop, he was positively the man the Hatters of Danbury went to see when they needed information on how to be a successful wool hat manufacturer. The Colonel title was just an error or a printo (that’s what I refer to as a typo before there were typewriters), or maybe they meant it with the upmost respect when referring to the man who saved their town’s economy!

Here are 2 by the ways: First, Amasa was a Captain in the Militia in his area. This is a far cry from being a real Colonel in the army but it is the top rung in the militia ladder. The local militias were most active before and during the Revolutionary War but hung around even after it was over and Amasa was active in his.

By the way number 2: At 94 years of age, Daniel Lathrop (actually Daniel Lathrop Sr) was denied his claim to receive a pension for serving in the Revolutionary War on the basis he could not prove he had served the minimum required length of time, which was 6 months. Still, they acknowledged he did serve in the Revolutionary War for some period of time. So, when I fill out my application to join the Sons of the American Revolution, I will do so under his name. He was my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather. He was the father of Daniel Lathrop Jr. (Amasa’s brother) who was the father of Frederick Lathrop of West Cornwall who was the father of Charles Ozias Lathrop of Bethel.

To answer our original question Who is Colonel Lathrop? The answer is Captain Amasa Lathrop is my 3rd Great Granduncle, the man who saved the economy of Danbury, Ct!

From the Lathrop Family Bible. It was partially written by Daniel Lathrop, Jr.


The Geography of South Bey Limits

The Geography of South Bey Limits

The two maps below are the same map. However, the second one is blown up in the area of and around Manions Lane.

The map was published in 1950 but by 1950, it wasn’t 100% accurate. It is probably a more accurate 1945 map. When looking at Manions Lane, two things stick out. First, the green line shows us the demarcation point between the City of Danbury and the Town of Danbury. You’ll notice the Beginning of Manions Lane was in the city and the rest of it was in the town. The significance of this is that the town and city were two separate entities. The town had a Selectman and the City had a mayor and the rest of the governing bodies were completely different. Also, the Town of Danbury post office was way out in the Star’s Plain section. So, the mail being delivered to Manions lane at this time was coming from the Bethel post office. So, for many years, the mailing address of the houses on top of Manions Lane was “Bethel, Conn.” Actually, the address did change to Danbury after a couple decades of using this false address but the address wasn’t “Manions Lane, Danbury, Conn,” it was “MR19, Danbury, Conn.” It was apparent neither the City of Danbury or the town of Bethel wanted to lay claim to this small strip of land that lied between them. With the Town of Danbury serving areas like King St, Stars Plain and Mirey Brook, it did not seem too wild about South Bey Limits either.

The second thing that sticks out on the map about Manions Lane was that it was a dead end. Actually, by 1950, it probably was no longer a dead end but for many years it was. There was no road that passed by the Gozzi and Dachenhausen houses which was true because there were no Gozzi or Dachenhausen house in the area prior to about 1949. This meant there was no roads that connected Manions Lane to South St on the Bethel side of Carney’s Crossing. I have heard that this part of the road originally was cut in from South St to the Gozzi driveway and no further. Still, by 1950, the road was completed to be how it is now. In other words, there is a road from approximately where the arrow is on Manions Lane to South St.

Manions Lane became Manions Lane in about 1931. Before that it was South St. Rd, South St extension or “Off South St.” At one point, they just referred to all the houses in the area as being on Carney’s crossing. Fortunately, that was not geographically correct! Before “Off South St,” the area was known as South Bey Limits. In those day, there was no road the houses of South Bey Limits sat next to. For part of this era, there simply were no cars and when cars came on the market, the people of South Bey Limits didn’t have any. So those on the top of hill of South Bey Limits walked to their houses through people’s yards taking what was the current path of least resistance, I would suppose. “Manions Lane”, south Street Ext”, etc. were names of roads, South Bey Limits was the name of a place. Before there was a named road, there had to be a horse path or walking path or something similar, it would seem, but there was no city or town road to attach a name to. We can see from looking at Thomas Keating and (Edward) Starr Lathrop entries in Danbury directories, the area was called South Bey Limits for roughly 30 years. In 1889, we see my Great Grandfather, Thomas Keating living in “South Beyond Limits!” It sounds like a place I frequented in the 60’s!

In the first directory above, you will see Thomas Keating, listed as a hatter. Perhaps he was a hatter in his first few years in Danbury. However, he was always a railroad worker or laborer and was listed as an “RR lab” in the 1900 census. So, he made have been a hatter for a while or the Thomas Keating listed was his son Thomas, though he was only 14 years old at the time.

When South Bey Limits finally got a road, the first house on the road, and maybe the only people on the road to own a car lived in the James Manion home. So, it was the Manion family who applied for the permit to construct a private road.  So, the private road, Manions Lane, was built!

For many years, the road was private and the upkeep of it was up to the people who lived on it. It also cost the people money to keep it private and it was up them to keep a “Private Road” sign near the beginning of the road.

At some point in time, I’m going to guess around 1957, the Manion family was no longer on Manions Lane.  The last family member, Albert “Allie” Manion passed away on January 1st, 1956.  The Town of Danbury, in the words of my father “took the road from us!’ Don’t be misled by this quote, he couldn’t have been happier as he continued, “Let them plow the snow!” In fact, when we thought the road was still private, we noticed that a town snowplow had driven through the road and cleared a deep snowfall. We had all thought someone who worked for the town was just being nice to us. After a few more of these serendipitous snow removals, we realized the town now owned the road. Let it snow!

The City of Danbury and the Town of Danbury consolidated in 1965. The only noticeable effect this had on the people in the area formerly known as South Bey Limits, aside from their taxes going up, was that their mailing address became “Manions Lane, Danbury, Ct” and almost immediately a road sign was erected that read “Mannions Lane” and the city has been misspelling Manions Lane ever since!

There are two more things I have noticed after looking at the map. The first is Rogers Park. You can find it by looking at where the green line intersects the misspelled “Mannions Lane” and following it to the left to Rocky Glenn and then looking north a bit. You will notice a short road from Rocky Glenn goes to Rogers Park and that’s it! That was all there was to Rogers Park in 1950.

The reason for this is The War Memorial wasn’t built until 1951. It wasn’t until the building of The War Memorial was completed that a road was cut in from the intersection of Main St and South St. I never remember Rogers Park being very much different than it is today so after a road was put in to allow you to park behind The Was Memorial, the development of Rogers Park as we know today must have happened very quickly, but in 1950, there wasn’t anything there.

Finally, there is one more thing I have to mention about the map. Part of the red line that separates Danbury from Bethel is x’d out. A mistake was made and no white out was available and the map wasn’t drawn with a computer program. So, we have benefited by being able to use a copy right free map. I think the x’s add a lot of charm to it! Ah! The good old days!


Who was Bob Lathrop – President of Kraft Food Services?

This story starts with the page of a Danbury phone book. It is a 1932 phonebook. We’re on the page where the names start with L. We’re looking for Starr Lathrop but we can’t find him. However, I do spot a familiar name! It is that of my Aunt Gert!

Probably Starr knew in his heart that a new-fangled contraption like a telephone would ever get catch on. So, the forward thinking one in the family, Aunt Gert, who would have been about 20 years old at this time, signed up for one of those crazy contraptions.

If you’d like to give her a call, her number is 2689. I also see my great grandfather Chas O’s number. Then, below Chas O and Miss Gertrude M Lathrop, I see a Robert Lathrop. Who the heck is he???

Well… He is Robert Alvin Lathrop, a younger brother of Starr’s. as you can see, he lived on Southern Boulevard. As you can’t see but you’re going to have to take my word for it, he was born on August 22, 1896 in Bethel, CT and died April 30, 1976 in Kansas City, MO. He was married to Hellen Elizabeth Murphey. (We could open up a whole entire new can of genealogical wax with her!!!)

Robert Alvin Lathrop moved to Kansas City shortly after this phone book came out. We know this because is son Robert Alvin “Bob” Lathrop, Jr was born there in 1935. Despite being 22 years younger than my father, he is first cousin to Edward J Lathrop and Aunt Gert and all the other Starr and Margaret Lathrop offspring.

So, what’s the story on this Robert Alvin Bob guy? For this answer, let’s let his obituary do the talking.

Robert Lathrop – Nephew of Starr Lathrop Obituary

“Robert “Bob” Lathrop, age 76, of Bucyrus, KS died April 4, 2011 at Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park, KS. He was born on August 27, 1934 in Danbury, Connecticut, the son of Robert Alvin and Helen Elizabeth Murphy Lathrop. He was married to Cecily McConnell on August 9, 1958 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Prairie Village, KS. They celebrated 52 wonderful years of marriage. Bob attended Rockhurst High School and Rockhurst College graduating with a degree in business and also served in the Army during the Korean War. He was a member of the Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, playing cards with friends and anything to do with electronic technology, especially his IPAD.

After retiring he and his wife traveled around the country in their motor home and going to Mesa, Arizona staying at the View Point RV and Golf Resort. Bob was an avid fan of the KU Jayhawks and the Kansas City Royals. Bob”s career in the food service industry spanned over 40 years and he was viewed as one of the most respected experts across the country by many companies and was employed at Lipton Tea, Continental Coffee, Sysco, PYA Monarch, Edward Don, Food Services of America, White Swan, and retired in 1995 as the President of Kraft Food Service Metro New York.

After his retirement from foodservice he and Cecily moved back home to Overland Park, KS and he worked for St Andrews Golf Course. In the most recent years Bob drove a school bus for the Blue Valley School District for special needs children.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Helen Mahoney. Survivors include his wife, Cecily, of the home; three sons, Tim Lathrop and wife Sherry, Overland Park, KS; Bob Lathrop and wife Kelly, Gold Canyon, AZ; and Pat Lathrop, Rogers, AR; one daughter, Kelly Ames and husband Roger, Stilwell, KS; two sisters, Joan Hamilton, Sunrise Beach, MO and Mary Stewart, Maineville, OH; nine grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. at Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church Wea, 22779 Metcalf Road, Bucyrus, KS. The visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00.p.m. prior to the funeral mass at the church. Private burial in the Holy Rosary Cemetery. Memorials Contributions may be given to Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church or to Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer www.SPOHNC.org.

Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church 22779 Metcalf Road Bucyrus, KS 66013


Saturday, April 09, 2011 12:00 PM


Saturday, April 09, 2011 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM”

R.I.P. My first cousin 1 X removed, Bob Lathrop – President of Kraft Food Services