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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Mason

Dot Huson, the Ultimate Blogger

My great-aunt Dot would have been the ultimate blogger. Long before the internet took off, she was sharing our family history — through extensive genealogy legwork and through the written stories she left behind. In fact, much of her work inspired my own. Unfortunately, she never knew that.


Dorothy Jane Williams Huson was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on January 2, 1916. Sort of.


Why sort of? I'll let Dot herself tell us. Here's what she wrote in a story called "Times I Remember" in 1987:


An older man and woman sitting on a couch and smiling. They are both wearing white shirts and turquoise pants. The woman's shirt has orange, turquoise, and gray decorations.  The man's shirt is plain.
Dot and Millard Huson
I was born at home on January 2, 1916 with the help of a mid-wife named Dr. Seymour. Actually, I arrived at midnight on New Year's Day, but because my mother's sister Mildred Wood Johnson's birthday was January 1, my mother chose to let me have my own day. In those days, no one was watching the clock that closely, especially since it had been a hard birth because the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. I was blue for several days.

Through Dot's writing, I learned why my great-grandparents moved from Brooklyn, New York to Springfield and what their early life was like:


Black and white photo of adults and children smiling and standing in front of a tent. Text reads: Williams and Brooks families, 1913. When his daughter Helen was about 8 years old, my parents moved to Springfield, Massachusetts from Brooklyn, New York on the advice of his cousins, the Brooks, who had a place above 5 Mile Pond on Boston Road. There were good opportunities there for employment, they said, and so my parents lived in a tent and as fall approached started to build a house.
My grandmother, Helen Williams, is the girl in the center, wearing a plaid dress. Her mother, Emma Wood Williams, is standing to her right.

I learned that her family kept chickens, and one was almost a pet:


A gray rooster with a red crest. Text reads: They had a chicken coop and kept chickens, one of which was so tame, she would peck at the window to be let in, and lay her eggs on the window bench in the dining room. Dorothy Williams Huson, 1987.

I learned that she played the bugle as a child and was a school athlete in the early 1930s, playing on the soccer, swimming, and basketball teams. I learned her family played records on a wind-up Victrola — possibly the 1917 model with the enormous red horn that I found decades later in my parents' attic. And I learned that she met her husband Millard while working at the New York Electric and Gas Corporation in Brewster, New York. (She earned $25.00 a week in 1942.)


Dot's stories drove home for me the importance of family history. I hope to continue what she started with my own stories. And I'd love to help others tell their family stories as well!


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