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My grandfather, Walter V. Grace, was raised by Charles Grace and his wife, Ethel (Hall) Grace, in the house at 21 C Street, in Barre, Vermont.

Ethel and Charles Grace on the front porch at 21 C Street

Charles and Ethel were my grandfather’s parents.  By birth, Grandpa was the son of Charles’ younger brother, Eugene.  When Eugene died in 1925, Charles and Ethel became his father and his mother.  Charles’ daughters, Catharine, Agnes, and Julia, were my grandfather’s sisters. 

Agnes, Walt, Catharine, and Julia

Charles died in 1951, about 7 months after my father was born and given his grandfather’s name as his middle name.  

By all accounts and stories, and by all evidence, the house at C street was a loving home, that fact having much to do with Ethel, her loving kindness is remembered fondly by anyone who knew her. 

I enjoyed hearing from my Aunt Alice recently, who told me that her grandmother told her that Charles would always, “tip his hat to the Lord,” upon passing a Church. 

In 1930, almost 20 years after the passing of the family patriarch, Edward, and after most of the family’s children had left Vermont for work (many of them having gone to Bristol, Connecticut),  C St. seems to have become the last existing center for the family to come together in times of crisis.  The death certificates of Charles’ brothers, Patrick, John, and Edward, all list 21 C St. as their place of residence at their time of death.  Of course, the same goes for Charles, Ethel, and Julia.

My father took me to the house a couple of times growing up, usually on the way to or from Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Burlington.   I can remember Agnes and Catharine, and one time, a very sick Julia who would soon pass away from cancer. 

From lft to right: My dad's sister, Susan; Dad, Julia, Grandma Ethel Grace, at 21 C St.

My father showed me a big boulder in the backyard beside the detached garage on which my grandfather carved his name as a little boy.  I went to the house last year after seeing on-line that it was for sale.  I knocked on the door and three young, giggling teenagers answered and gave me permission to look at the big rock beside the garage.  I pushed through the weeds that grew over it, only to find it so covered in moss that it made my search impossible.  It was a hot and humid day, so the search ended pretty quickly.

Grandpa at 21 C Street, Barre. You can see the number by the door.

The house is off the market for now, I’ve found no public records of a sale.  It’s a small house in what is now a crowded, small-city neighborhood.  Its existence is nondescript, it could be any house, in any town, built for an industrial boom now almost a hundred years gone-by.

Grandpa at C St. with his childhood dog.

Most people wouldn’t think about the family that was born, lived and died, and were thankful to call these walls home.

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Since having written this post about Edward and Catherine (Travers) Grace, new evidence of their life in Montreal has come to light. 

Ancestry has published both baptism and marriage records from various parishes in the province of Quebec.  These records include St. Columban and Montreal.

The first record we find of Edward and Catherine is from St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal:

I can just imagine Edward walking through the doors of this Cathedral, holding in his arms the tiny first-born son named for his own father, Patrick Grace.   The day was 24 March, 1866, the baby was just one day old.

He must have been proud to show his son to the world and present him to be entered into the Faith of his parents and grandparents. 

I wonder if my great-great grandmother, Catherine, was left at home to recover from giving birth, waiting anxiously for her new family to come back to her side; her baby wailing and hungry.

St. Patrick’s was the center of Montreal’s fast-growing Irish Catholic population.  The Gothic-Revival Church was less than 20 years old on the day that Edward and Catherine had Patrick baptized.

The Priest was Fr. John Chisholm, the Godparents were Alexander Woods and Catherine Grace.  Catherine was Edward’s sister, married to Joseph Phelan.  Edward’s profession at this time is listed as “police man.”