Monday, April 1, 2013

Maritime Monday: Leslie Gordon Mood

Leslie Gordon Mood
My husband's grandfather, Leslie Gordon Mood, was born May 2, 1901 in Shelbourne County, Nova Scotia to Master Mariner Charles Hanson Mood and Eliza Jane Smith (Mood).  Leslie was the second of eight children in the family. The Mood and Smith families were long time residents of the Lower Woods Harbor area on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia where many of the residents earned their living as fishermen. Leslie lived in Nova Scotia until December 1916, when, at 15 years of age, he boarded a passenger ship headed to Boston, Massachusetts.

According to the "Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to US from Foreign Contiguous Territory," his passage was paid for by his father and he had $10 in his pocket when he arrived at the harbor in Massachusetts. He had never been to the United States and the manifest records his "race or people" as "English." Destination? Somerville, Massachusetts to be met by his Aunt _____ Larkin.  (I have yet to establish the connection with her and cannot decipher her first name on the manifest.)  According to the manifest she lived at 27 Packard Avenue, Boston, MA. The current property record for that address shows that the house was built in 1900, so, in all likelihood, it is the home in which Leslie lived when he first arrived in Boston.

Charles Gordon Mood and uncle,
 Captain Norman E. Smith
After arriving in the United States, Leslie joined the team of seamen who worked for his Uncle, Norman Emmons Smith. Smith was the captain of the American S.S. Ruby which appears, from record,s to have been registered to the Ward Line. Leslie started as a seaman and quickly rose to become the 3rd mate ultimately serving as the 2nd mate aboard the ship. The Ruby generally carried 35-40 crew members who were from all over the world including Belguim, Greece, Mexico, Cuba, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Venezula, Norway and the United States. There are many records showing the SS Ruby and her crew arriving at the port in Brooklyn, New York, often having departed from ports in England, France, Italy, and Spain, and, in the 1920s, Cuba including Matanzas, Jucaro, and Guantanemo. One of the manifests on a trip from Cuba has, written at the bottom, "Arbuckle Sugar Refinery." The United States had a large interest in the sugar industry in Cuba in the 1920s and  controlled a great deal of the sugar trade from Cuba. I suppose we could conclude that the trips from New York to Cuba were to bring the raw sugar to the Arbuckle Refinery in New York.

Leslie's name appears on the SS Ruby's crew lists from 1916 until 1921. Leslie eventually returned to Nova Scotia and married Gertrude Eileen Griffiths on October 24, 1922. Gertrude, or "Eileen" as she was commonly known, was born in Sandy Cove, Digby, Nova Scotia. Their marriage record in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, shows that Leslie was 21 years old and that Gertrude was 19.

According to City Directories from the Boston area from 1923 to 1938, it appears that Leslie, along with his bride, returned to Massachusetts, retired from the sea and began his married life as a painter. They lived at 56 Russell Charleston, Boston, MA. Over the next twelve years they became parents of five children: Robert Lindsey, Charles Gordon (my husband's father), Harold Emmet, Phyllis Louise, and Edward. Over the years of raising children they lived in Medford, Massachusetts at 113 Princeton, Medford, MA and 63 Princeton, Medford, MA.

The 1940 US Census shows the family of seven with children ranging from age 6 to 17 years old living at 22 Webber Street in Medford, MA with Leslie employed as a railroad car painter working 48 hours per week and earning an annual salary of $1280.  Robert, 17 years old, the eldest son, was employed as a machinist at a tool manufacturer. The US Census was taken on April 2, 1940, Europe was at war and the United States was just 1 1/2 years away from what President Roosevelt called, "the day that will live in infamy."

Next week, part two, Leslie returns to the sea...

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