Monday, November 16, 2009

Grampa Gust Doyle

My grandfather, Gust Doyle, was born on November 17, 1888, in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania. His parents were William and Tressa Rose (Froman) Doyle.

I love this photo of my grandfather. I love how he looks directly into the camera lens. It almost feels like he's looking directly at me, across the span of time that separates us. When I saw this photograph it was the very first time I saw what my grandfather looked like. The original photograph, which was a beautiful sepia, belonged to Aunt Tressa. She thought, because of the two different hats, that perhaps he'd had it taken at a fair or a carnival. No matter that it's a very poor copy of a very tiny original which was, perhaps, about 1 1/2" x 3". Considering how small the original was, it's amazing it came out as well as it did.

I just noticed that the hat he's wearing in the photograph on the right, above, looks like the same hat he was wearing in the photograph on the back porch of the farmhouse. He doesn't have a bowtie in the farmhouse photograph, but the shirt, coat, and hat look the same. Perhaps both photos were taken the same day and they had a professional photographer at the farmhouse to take family photographs that day.

Grampa Gust is the grandfather I never knew: he died when my dad was just 20 years old. Because I didn't hear stories about him growing up, I didn't learn about him until after Dad died when I asked Aunt Tressa, Dad's half-sister, about their father. She so willingly answered every question.

She described Grampa like this:
"Dad was not a tall man -- about 5 ft. 4 or 5 inches at the most. He had blue eyes and brown hair -- a nice looking man.

"Dad was easy going, yet serious and extremely kind. He had a great compassion for the under privileged. I remember the story he told about helping a crippled boy at the Wesleyan Camp Ground. A 'Big Bully' was teasing and making fun of him. Dad knocked the 'Bully' down and made him apologize to the crippled boy. This was Dad's nature to protect and be good to people. He was strong and never backed away from a fight....

"Dad wasn't extremely talkative but he was a good conversationalist and had a great knowledge on many subjects. He had a good sense of humor and liked to joke and tease the family. He never failed to catch us in April Fool Jokes.

"The only story I can remember about Dad's childhood is the one he told about the last day of school. He always threw his lunch pail away on the way home. I don't remember why he threw it away. It could be he was happy to be out of school for the summer. He completed 6th grade. I think that was all that was required at that time."
I'll post more of Aunt Tressa's words about Grampa Gust and the rest of the family later.

I'm thinking of you, Grampa, and sending you and Gramma love. Happy Birthday!


  1. I love these pictures of Gust, it looks like he has such blue eyes. I really like the memories of him from Aunt Tressa too.

  2. Nancy,

    It's good that you have a source to ask questions of!

    I've nominated you for the Kreative Blogger Award, you may view this at Desperately Seeking Surnames.


  3. I awarded you the Kreativ Blogger Award! Come and get it at Heritage Happens!


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