Saturday, February 25, 2012

Florence Hazel Skinner

My paternal grandmother was Florence Hazel Skinner. She was known as "Hazel" during her life-time. Hazel was the 3rd child and oldest daughter of John Francis (Frank) Skinner and Annie Florence Betts. She was born on 6 September 1894 in Valley Falls, Rhode Island. 
F. Hazel Skinner about 1898
Hazel had 2 older brothers both also born in Valley Falls. Harold Fulton Skinner was born 25 February 1892 and died at the age of 4 months of cholera on 16 July 1892. Second son, Harold Lamert Skinner was born on 23 January 1894.

Despite the 19 month age difference between Harold and Hazel, they were in the Valley Falls School 4th grade together when they received year end report cards on 24 June 1904. Both were good students although it looks like Hazel did better than her brother Harold in all subjects except arithmetic.
Subjects they received grades in were:
Grade 4 report cards for Hazel and Harold Skinner,  June 1904
Hazel's family was living on Carpenter Street in Valley Falls in 1900 as enumerated in the Federal Census. The family moved to 18 Abbot Street by the time of the 1905 RI state census. Hazel lived at this address until her marriage on 15 January 1918 to Ralph Westcott Grant.
Hazel about 1910

Hazel about 1915

Hazel about 1944

Hazel died at age 50 on 12 January 1945 just as she was about to be released from the hospital after a routine surgery. Her obituaries are posted here. My father had just turned 23 and his sister was 19. Hazel's husband, my grandfather Ralph, had predeceased her. She was buried with her parents in Moshassuck Cemetery in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
Death Certification of Hazel Grant
Department of Health. State of New Jersey, certificate # 330, 12 January 1945

I don't really know much about my grandmother. Her family were Baptists and she was active in the Valley Falls Baptist Church groups growing up. By the time she and Ralph moved to New Jersey and had children, religion was less important. She was an accomplished pianist and she and her husband often enjoyed playing in string quartets with friends. My father told me it was a disappointment to his parents that he and his sister had no musical talents (and neither do I!).


  1. Wendy, your grandmother was beautiful. I especially like the 1910 and 1915 photos. Her dress is (or is it a skirt and waist?) beautiful!

  2. Thanks Nancy! Although I am a totally casual dresser, I love the clothes that I see in pictures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They all appear to be beautifully detailed (but of course, eveyone is wearing their 'best' for the formal photos and everyday wear was more simple). Some of the fabrics look so rich too! I think the large hairbows look a bit much though, and I'm glad that fashion passed long before I was a young girl.


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