This blog is dedicated to the sublime instruments called nose flutes and which produce the most divine sound ever. We have chosen to discard all the native models from S. Pacific and Asia, for they need fingering to be played. We'll concentrate on "buccal cavity driven" nose flutes : the well patented and trademarked metal or plastic ones, plus, by a condemnable indulgence, some wooden craft or home-made productions.

Sep 17, 2012

Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part II

With the "Nose Flute Pioneers" series, enters a little cycle of research. I hope it won't be too arid for a blog, but I really think that the facts I found have to be published. The sources : Google patents, US Census and an access to newspaper archives. But also, depending on the topic, correspondence by e-mail with descendants. Let's better say : internet searching tools available for a Frenchie not able to access US real paper archives.


Nose Flute Pioneers: William Carter - Part II

William Carter: Tinsmith and Family Head

[sequel of Part I]

With his new money, Carter, on his mid fourties, probably felt he was ready to get married, and in 1895, William G. Carter wedded Elizabeth M. O'Brien.

Elizabeth was born around 1862 (she's 16 years younger than William), in the State of New York, from irish immigrants [Jeremiah O'Brien (1835-1880) and Mary D. Donovan (1822-1901)], who married in Albion (Dec 5, 1858). "Lizzie" is milliner.

That is also in 1895 (4th of July), that William and Elizabeth have a son : James Adelbert [this mean the child was conceived before marriage :) ]

Elizabeth has one brother, Daniel F. O'Brien (oct 1859 (Albion)-09/20/1915), who is a butcher, settled in Albion too. This is also in 1895 that Daniel marries his wife Bridget (they will have a son, Daniel, in 1903).

In 1898, William and Elizabeth have a second child : Mary Louise, born on 21st of July.
And in 1900, another daughter, Mabel Elizabeth, born on 1st of June.

The 1900 census sheet is interesting, because we learn that the Carters live in Main street. Albion Main street is - as it indicated by its name - the biggest and longest street of the town. However, 2 families before having made the survey at the Carters, the enquirer was in Liberty Street, and 5 families later, he is in Orchard street.
This helps to locate the Carters' home at the very North end of Main street, near the Erie Canal.

The following map dates of 1880, and in 1900, almost any building of this very part of Main street has been skimmed over and rebuilt in the 1880s. However, the environment stayed the same :

In 1905, the census sheet notes that William Carter is Tinsmith (at home) and in the type of activity box, adds (o.a.). I suppose it means "own activity". So, Carter works on his own and at his home. He has no shop, and I assume he is a kind of subcontractor of one or several shops/craftsmen in Albion.
Also, the census shows that Elizabeth is also milliner at home, but in the activity box, we can read Emp., meaning that Mrs Carter works for a clothing shop.

1908 is a very informative year for us. Indeed, the only Albion City directory available in the archives dates of that year, and it is also more or less the year that several postcards of Albion were published.

What is bizarre in the directory, is that William doesn't appear anywhere. Contrarywise, Elizabeth is listed twice in the regular list, as a milliner, but also through the advertisment she published! She is associated with Mrs. Julia Kirby, and their shop is located at the 1st floor of the 55 Main Street.

Elizabeth appears a fourth time in the directory, as 1st Vice-President of the St Joseph lodge. St Joseph is the cathotlic parish and is lead by the Rev. Francis Sullivan. On the postcard below, we even can see the Rev. Sullivan on the flight of steps of his parsonage, and the building on the left is (probably) the school of the Carter's children.

It is not immediately possible to locate the 55 main street on a current Albion map, since the street numbers have totally changed since. But I checked any line of the directory (!) and crossing it with the Street directory page, a "souvenir book" dating of 1905 and some postcards, I have been able to draw this 1908 map, with the shops and their owner/tenant.

So, the Carter living and working at the 55 (the ground level being occupied by Peter H. Peters, a harness maker), it became possible to show you their place. The first floor probably for Elizabeth's millinery shop (with the 2 white shades), and the second for William's workshop and Carter's home (currently the #125).

In the City Directory, we also learn that Daniel O'Brien's (Elizabeth's brother) shop, the Meat Market, is located 121 Main St., that is, exactly next to the Hotel McMann (probably the one where William was living when bachelor, and invented the Nasalette).

The Hotel McMann, now The Gurney's Olde Coach Inn, in which the Nose Flute may have been invented (just besides the small Meat Market of Carter's future brother-in-law):

Another interesting fact (for obsessed people like me) is this one : On an early picture, not dated but probably around 1900 or maybe earlier), we can see the shop located at 98 Main St. This shop is hold by Mr Eugene W. Wilcox, and is a hardware store.

Mr. Wilcox is an eminent member of the Executive Comittee of the Albion Chamber of Commerce, and is not all a tinsmith or a craftsman. He is a merchant. Here in 1905 :

Now, in 1907-08, the front of the shop has changed. E.W. Wilcox is still the owner, but an extra sign has been added. With just a little effort, we can read "TINSMITH" on it.

So, in 1908, Wilcox is able to accept orders of tincraft. And being not himself a tinsmith, he certainly had to subcontract the business... You see my point?

The shop still exists, and is still a hardware shop:

In 1909, the Carters moved to Rochester.

>> Access Part III


On the same topic :

- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: William G. Carter - Part III
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Ernest W. Davis - Part I
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Ernest W. Davis - Part II
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Nelson Ronsheim
- Nose Flute Pioneers: Garrett J. Couchois