Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Losee Place 1912: When Research and Possession Come Together

I love it when I find a document that relates directly to a family heirloom. The first time had this experience was looking at the Inventory of Estate for my 4th great grandfather, Leonard Losee. The first line of the list of his possessions was "bible." Now I did not own the bible but I had seen it. It belonged to a distant cousin who has since passed away. Sadly, I do not know who owns it now or if it is even still in existence but to see an object I had seen and touched listed on a document from 1886 made my heart flutter.

I had a similar experience while doing some newspaper research. Several years ago I found an article on page 5 of the Brooklyn Eagle from December 2, 1912 entitled "Find Mass of Honey in Freeport Relic." The article is about the property once owned by Leonard Losee. In 1912 the property was sold by Leonard's son, John Losee, Sr. to Mr. Albin N. Johnson, a prominent real estate developer in Freeport, New York.

The article is focused on a specific building on the Losee Place property; the old Methodist Church that Leonard Losee had moved to his property in 1860.

Funny enough is that I own the photos taken in October 1912 of the property. They were passed down to me from my paternal grandmother. She inherited them from her mother-in-law, Ethel Losee-Earle. The front of the photos are labeled "Property of G. Losee." G. Losee must be Georgianna Losee, the daughter of John M. Losee, Sr; Ethel's aunt. 

The scans are not very clear but here is a picture of John Losee, Sr. standing by the old Methodist Church in October 1912. 

I believe the author of the caption to be Amy Johnson, the wife of Albin Johnson. The caption on the reverse reads as follows: 

Picture taken October 1912, of houses on Losee Place, Freeport, prior to making any changes on said tract.
The smaller building was moved there about 1860 and before that time was used as a M. E. Church near the corner of Babylon Turnpike and Seaman Ave., being the oldest church in the vicinity. The old barn was made of timbers taken from the wreck of Nestor or Mexico about 1860.
John M. Losee, Sr. in foreground

To own a photo of the subject of a newspaper article like this solidifies for me the feeling that I am holding a piece of family history and in this case community history. I cherish the photos like no other possessions I own.


  1. This is fantastic April. To see the pics, and associate them with our family is absolutely amazing. i love the work that you are doing to preserve the Losee name. i personally know nothing about the Losee side of my tree, except for the fact the Lydia Smith and Leonard Losee are the parents of my great great grandmother, Sarah.Keep up the great work, Donna.

  2. Well then, Donna, there is a photo of Sarah's oldest brother, John. I'll keep posting Losee things!