Friday, May 18, 2012

Ernest Calvert and the HL Latch

Marash Girl remembers the first time she ever saw an early New England home, with HL latches on every door.

It was the first thing that Ernest Calvert told Marash Girl's family as he bowed to enter his (Union?), New Hampshire home, built in the late 1600's or early 1700's.  The house had the lowest ceilings Marash Girl had ever seen; it was lived in by the tallest man Marash Girl had ever known -- her father's best friend, Rev. Dr. Ernest Calvert (born in 1912 as her father had been, but born in Needham, MA, a long way away from Marash, Armenia, where her father had been born), and Ernest Calvert's wife Dorothy (who was not tall at all and could easily fit through the doorways without bowing).  But perhaps that was the point.  Perhaps everyone in the early days was tall and had to bow (reminding them of their place in the world) before entering the doors of their homes, although history tells us that the doorways were low because the people were small!  The doors -- that is what Marash Girl remembers, because on every door, at least the outside doors, were hinges in the shape of HL (Holy Lord), protecting the home with God's Grace. And she remembers the humility of Rev. & Mrs. Ernest Calvert.  Rev. Clavert would blush at any compliment, or even at a subtle sign of love from his wife.  And it was then that Marash Girl fell in love with Dorothy & Ernest Calvert, with brilliant humble people, and with old homes, homes with HL latches, homes with hundreds of years of stories never to be told.

Trying to find reference to Ernest Calvert on the internet, Marash Girl found the following  in  A History of Union, New Hampshire (USA) (1775-1992) by Louis E. Tibbetts
"Dr. Ernest Calvert, Union's minister at the time, assisted me on this occasion. The house was also owned by Justin Moore." and in the same book, she found the following:

Chapter 5, Main Street
On the next lot north was a house (5-27) that was owned, and perhaps built by Thoder Gilman, an old name in this area. At one time, Al Woods ran a store downstairs. James Tucker, the first master of Unity Lodge of F. and A.M. was an engineer on the railroad and lived here in the 1850s before moving to Sanbornville. It is possible he may have moved to Sanbornville when the railroad was extended to Sanbornville in 1871. Two of his daughters were born here, and one married Willis Hansen, another railroad man, well known here and also a member of Unity Lodge. The other daughter married Irving Rice, a railroad engineer and another member of Unity Lodge. He later moved to Dover and lived to the ripe old age of 98, dying in 1957, at which time he had been a member of Unity Lodge for 75 years. This was a sad but memorable occasion when several members of our lodge motored to Dover to perform the Masonic funeral service with many Masons from Dover attending the rites. Dr. Ernest Calvert, Union's minister at the time, assisted me on this occasion. The house was also owned by Justin Moore, followed by Laura Emery in 1921.  

And in Chapter 7 - North Main
Attached to the rear (west side) of the church is Drew Chapel. The cornerstone of Drew Chapel was laid in 1954. It was dedicated June 18, 1961 while Ernest Calvert was the minister. It was named in honor of Ernest Drew, the son of Lyle and Harriett Drew. He lost his life in the Pacific while on a mission in World War II.  

Searching for other references to Ernest Calvert brought little luck, but Marash Girl received the following courtesy of Thomas Wilcox, Acting Director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

He wrote, "I'm not a professional genealogist but here are a few details about Ernest Calvert:

Ernest R. Calvert was born on 24 June 1912.  He died 2 October 1999 at Binghamton, Broome County, New York.  He was the son of Ernest E. Calvert (born c. 1880 at Scotland) and Pearl R. Calvert (born c.1881 at Canada).  The 1915 Needham city directory, under Stationers, listed Ernest E. Calvert at 545 Highland Avenue.  In the 1917 directory the business address was the same and the family’s residence was listed as 75 Greendale.  The family resided in 1930 at Needham, Norfolk, Massachusetts.  His father in that year was a manager in the retail clothing business whereas in 1920 he was the proprietor of a dry goods store; in 1930 he owned his own home valued at $10,000; he immigrated in 1896 and had become a naturalized citizen.  Pearl immigrated in 1905 and she, too, had become naturalized.  In the 1935 Needham Directory, Ernest R. Calvert was listed as a student and living at home at Dana Place.  In 1943 he was pastor at the Newfields Community Church in New Hampshire.  In 1943-44 he was an instructor in Sociology at University of New Hampshire.  Between 1954 and 1955 Ernest R. Calvert received his Social Security card (002-28-2331) in New Hampshire.  In 1961 he was minister of the Union (NH) Congregational Church and had been since at least 1956.  He was pastor of the Eastside Congregational Church by 1963 until prior to 1985.  In 1968 his wife was a member of the Women’s Fellowship of the State Conference of the United Church of Christ; she (and presumably they) lived in Binghamton, NY.  In 1992, the Reverend Ernest R. Calvert resided at 100 Chenango Pl Apt 902, Binghamton, NY, 13901-2825."
Ernest Calvert was an integral part of Marsh Girl's childhood, an integral part of her father, Peter Bilezikian's youth.  Marash Girl can't help but be amazed that both of her father's best friends (Rev. Ernest Calvert and Rev. Ian MacDonald) were (1) ministers and (2) 1st generation American citizens of Scottish descent.  Perhaps that is where Peter Bilezikian learned to love the poetry of Robert Burns.


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