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The Tumultuous Family Life of Amos and Aurelia Tryon

by Julia A. McAleer, 23 Feb 2023

No record for the marriage of Amos Tryon to Aurelia Rulofson has been found to date, but a collection of census records, vital records, and newspaper accounts indicate that the couple likely married just prior to 1880, had children together between 1880-1894, and separated around 1900. They resided in Meriden, New Haven County, Connecticut, and first appeared in records together as the parents of Effie Tryon on her birth record and in the 1880 Census. (1)

The first indication of family turmoil came later that year when Amos Tryon was charged and arrested for non-support of his family.(2)


The Meriden [CT] Daily Republican, 26 Nov 1880, p.3

Though acquitted, Amos Tryon did not turn his behavior around. He was arrested again for non-support in 1883 and a newspaper article suggested that Aurelia had gone to live with her mother for a time.(3)


The Meriden [CT] Daily Republican, 12 Nov 1883, p.3


This separation did not last, for the Meriden Vital Records show more children were born to Aurelia and Amos, including Mattie in 1882 and Freddie in 1884. Two additional children born to the family, William in 1887 and Grace around 1888, were not recorded in vital records for unknown reasons. Presumably, the family was recorded as a unit for the 1890 Census and unfortunately those records were destroyed by fire.(4)


The Meriden [CT] Journal, 25 Jan 1887, p.3


By 1892 the Tryon family was so destitute that the City Mission and Humane Society stepped in to provide food and clothing for the children. The newspaper describes horrible living conditions of poverty and squalor, lack of food and clothing, a dirty environment, and no access to education. The Humane Society brought the family to court where Judge Wilbur Davis committed three of the children to a county home. The eldest daughter, Effie, and the youngest children were left in the care of their parents. On 24 Feb 1892 Mattie age 10, Fred age 7, and Willie age 5, were admitted to the New Haven County Home. The cause of their placement was simply described as “parents destitute, father demented.”(5)


The Meriden [CT] Daily Republican, 23 Feb 1892, p.1


Extended family seemed to get involved in the care of these children occasionally. Fred was released from the county home to his grandmother, Mrs. Rulofson in July 1892. Mattie was most likely the “daughter of Amos Tryon” who received placement in a private family in East Hartford, only to be mistreated and removed when her grandmother complained of abuse in June 1893. She was released to an Aunt, Mrs. Bacon.(6)


The Journal (Meriden, CT) 20 Jun 1893, p.8


Even after this turmoil the couple had two more children, Charles in late 1892 and Arthur in 1894. Amos Tryon was again charged with non-support in 1897, and Charles was among a list of children boarding at the New Haven County Children's Home in 1898. (7)


By 1900, an undiscovered catalyst separated the family and spread them across the state. The 1900 census displays the separation as Amos was described as a divorced man in Harwinton, while Aurelia worked as a servant in Waterbury. Neither parent was enumerated with any of their children. No divorce record has been found to date, but this appears to be the end of their union.(8)


The Tryon Children in 1900: (9)

  • Effie, the eldest child, was an adult by 1900 and settled with her husband Henry Stanley.

  • Mattie lived with her grandmother, Susan Rulofson and married her husband, Frank Randall, a year later.

  • Grace, aged 11, was placed as a boarder in the home of Sherman and Emery Fancher in Canton.

  • Charles, aged 7, was formally adopted by Ira J. and Eleanor Padgett of Goshen, CT after spending almost two years in a county home.

  • William, aged 13, and Arthur, aged 6, have not been found in the 1900 census to date, but were most likely placed in private or county homes.

Aurelia remarried in November 1900 to a crippled man named Alfred Culver who lived in either Cheshire or Watertown, New York or Connecticut. The record and accompanying newspaper articles give the impression that this marriage was hasty and perhaps unplanned. The couple arrived at the courthouse without an appointment and sought out any judge they could find, settling on Judge John Martin from the Probate Court. The information provided for the marriage license is curious as well. Aurelia stated her birthplace as New York City and her residence as Millerton, NY, but the newspaper stated she lived in Cheshire, CT. She also claimed this to be her first marriage. If not for her parents’ names clearly included in the record for this marriage, we would assume this was a different person altogether. (10)


The Meriden [CT] Daily Journal, 22 Nov 1900, p.2


Aurelia was referred to as “Mrs. Aurelia Culver” in her mother’s obituary in 1907. After 1907, Aurelia moved to Springfield, MA and used the name Mrs. Aurelia Tryon for the remainder of her life. She lived with her daughter, Effie, and later with her sister, Libbie Rulofson. She passed away on 5 July 1928 of heart disease and is buried at Springfield Cemetery.(11)


Amos Tryon never recovered from his undefined disabilities. In 1907 he was arrested for intoxication in West Haven and taken to the New Haven jail where they found him to be delirious and suffering from severe frostbite and gangrene which ultimately caused his death, and a very memorable headline.(12)


Meriden [CT] Daily Journal, 20 Feb 1907, p.3


Grace Tryon resided in varied housing in the early 1900s, including The William L. Gilbert Home for Friendless Children in Winchester. Around 1904 she was placed in the home of the Osborne Family in Canton. There she was able to attend school and met her first husband, Klass O. Hultman. After creating a newsworthy scandal by running away together, Klass and Grace returned to Canton and were legally married on 16 June 1906. They had three children together, Arthur, Roy and Raymond, before Klass passed away from cancer in 1913.(13)


The New Hartford [CT] Tribune, 15 Jun 1906, p.2


Grace remarried in 1917 to Frederick C. Hyres in Torrington. They also had three children together, Charles, Frederick, and Frieda. Grace remained in Torrington for the rest of her life and passed away in 1983 at the age of 95. Her family describes her as beautiful and kind. Though her childhood was far from easy, it seems her strength and optimism kept her going.(14)


The other children of Aurelia and Amos also seem to have surmounted their tumultuous childhoods and went on to have successful family lives, as much as we can infer from records. Their marriages seemed intact and most of them had several children. Effie, Fred, Martha and William lived nearby each other in Springfield, MA.(18) And we can speculate that they maintained a relationship with each other and with their mother, Aurelia who also lived in Springfield. Even Charles, who used his adoptive name Padgett, maintained a relationship enough that his biological siblings were included in his obituary.(15)


Though records don’t tell the full story of human emotions and trauma, or of strained relationships, it is nice to believe that the children of Amos and Aurelia were able to overcome and stop the cycle of turmoil in their own adult lives, maintain some connection within their family, and persevere.


~Grace Tryon~


~ Effie Tryon ~




Authors Note: All newspaper articles from Newspapers.com by Ancestry, subscription paid by author. Research commissioned by (anonymous) January 2024. For questions and comments please email Julia A. McAleer at heartstonegenealogy@gmail.com.

(1) Meriden, CT, Office of the Town Clerk, Births 6:416; 1880 U.S. census, New Haven Co., CT, population schedule, Meriden, E.D. 59, Page 5, Dwelling 31, Family 39, Charles E Davis Household; imaged in "U.S. Federal Census Collection," Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/categories/usfedcen/ : accessed 21 Jan 2024). Carrie is named in error for Effie.

(2) Meriden Daily Republican (CT) 26 Nov 1880, p.3.

(3) Meriden Daily Republican (CT) 12 Nov 1883, p.3.

(4) Meriden, CT, Births 9:48 (9 Jan 1882) Mattie Tryon; Meriden, Births 9:178 (21 Nov 1884) Freddie Tryon; for William see Meriden Journal (CT) 25 Jan 1887, p.3; for Grace's birth see Julia A. McAleer, "Hyres Research Report," proof argument, Jan 2024; privately held by author.

(5) Records of New Haven Co. Temporary Home,“Admitted & Discharged,” 1886-1894, pp.220-1, entries for Mattie Tryon, Fred Tryon, Willie Tryon; CT State Library, Hartford, Record Group 061; “Poverty and Squalor,” Meriden Daily Republican (CT) 23 Feb 1892, p.1.

(6) New Haven Co. Temporary Home, “Admitted & Discharged,” 1886-1894, pp.220-1. Mrs. Bacon has not been identified to date; “Is Being Abused,” The Journal (Meriden, CT) 20 Jun 1893, p.8.

(7) Meriden, Births 31:5 (4 May 1894) Arthur Tryon; Meriden, Births 12:50 (4 Dec 1892) Charles Tryon; “Non-Support Case,” Morning Record (Meriden, CT), 21 Jan 1897, p.8; New Haven Co. Temporary Home, “Boarding,” 1896, p.34, entry for Chas. Tryon.

(8) 1900 U.S. census, Litchfield Co., CT, Harwinton, E.D. 237, Sheet 5, Family 125, Amos Tryon; 1900 U.S. census, New Haven Co., CT, Waterbury, E.D. 427, Sheet 8, House 27, Aurelia Tryon.

(9) 1900 U.S. census, Middlesex Co., CT, Middlefield, E.D. 278, Sheet 9, Family 209, Effie Stanley; 1900 U.S. census, Hampden Co., MA, Springfield, E.D. 578, Sheet 3, Family 66, Susan Rulofson; “Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Records, 1840-1916,” online database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Feb 2024), Martha Tryon to Frank E. Randall (19 Jul 1901); 1900 U.S. census, Hartford Co., CT, Canton, E.D. 578, Sheet 6, Family 110, Grace Tryon; CT Probate Court, Winchester District, v27, p52-3, “Adoption of Charles Tryon by Ira J. and Eleanor Padgett” (29 Jan 1900).

(10) Wallingford, CT, Registrar of Vital Statistics, Marriages 5:15 (22 Nov 1900) Aurelia Rulofson to Alfred Culver; imaged, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 1 Feb 2024), film 7730807, image 427 of 484; Daily Morning Journal and Courier (New Haven, CT) 23 Nov 1900, p. 3; Meriden Daily Journal (CT) 22 Nov 1900, p. 2; Record-Journal (Meriden, CT) 23 Nov 1900, p. 3.

(11) 1910 U.S. census, Hampden Co., MA, Springfield, E.D. 628, Sheet 11A, Family 221, Harry Stanley; 1920 U.S. census, Hampden Co., MA, Springfield, E.D. 124, Sheet 7B, Family 189, Aurelia Tryon; MA, Certificate of Death, reg. no. 1168 (5 Jul 1928), Aurelia (Rolofson) Tryon; privately held by author.

(12) “Toes Fell Off,” Meriden Daily Journal (CT) 20 Feb 1907, p.3.

(13) New Hartford Tribune (CT) 15 Jun 1906, p.2; “Collinsville,” The Hartford Courant (CT) 13 Jun 1906, p.9; CT Bureau of Vital Statistics, Marriage License, Town of Canton (16 June 1906) Klas O Holtman to Grace Tryon ; privately held by author; Canton Record of Deaths, 1913, p. 616, (19 Oct 1913) Klas O. Hultman; microfilm, CT State Library, Hartford; “Death of Klass O. Hultman,” Hartford Courant (CT) 21 Oct 1913, p. 10; 1910 U.S. census, Hartford Co., CT, Canton, E.D. 138, Sheet 1A, Family 2, Klase O Holtman; New Hartford Tribune (CT) 15 Jun 1906, p.2; “Collinsville,” The Hartford Courant (CT) 13 Jun 1906, p.9

(14) CT Dept. of Public Health, Vital Records, Marriage Record, no. 204 stamped, Town of Torrington, Frederick Charles Hyres to Grace Holtman (9 Jun 1917); privately held by author; CT Dept of Health Services, Certificate of Death no. 356 (2 Dec 1983) Grace T. Hyres, reprint 14 Jul 2015; Privately held by author; “Frederick C. Hyres,” Hartford Courant (CT) 12 Jun 1972, p.5; 1920 U.S. census, Litchfield Co., CT, Torrington, E.D. 212, Sheet 14A, Family 288, Fredk C Hyers; 1930 U.S. census, Torrington, E.D. 30, Sheet 16A, Family 372, Frederick C. Hyres; 1940 U.S. census, Torrington, E.D. 3-45, Sheet 6B, Visit 133, Fred Hyres; 1950 U.S. census, Torrington, E.D. 3-58, Sheet 2, Line 28-9, Dwelling 19, Fred Hires.

(15) 1940 U.S. Census, Hampden Co., MA, Springfield, E.D. 22-124, p.2A, House 73, Effie Stanley; 1940 U.S. Census, Springfield, E.D. 22-124, p.19B, House 14, Frederick Tryon; 1940 U.S. Census, Springfield, E.D. 22-146, p. 8A, House 40, Martha Randall; 1940 U.S. Census, Springfield, E.D. 22-119, p.5B, House 76, William Tryon; “Charles Padgett Dies at Home,” Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) 19 Jul 1953, p.1.


© 2024 Julia A. McAleer, Heartstone Genealogy LLC

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