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Recent posts:

Winter Party Fundraiser December 2017 Talk: Preservation Advocacy, August 17th Open House at 1300 Mount Curve Avenue East Lake of the Isles Walking Tour May 21st New Research on the “Lost” Healy Block: Tour May 7th A Presentation on Master Builders Ingham and Parsons, Saturday, March 18th. Healy Project Winter Party Henry Ingham’s Yorkshire Healy Project Fundraiser at the Lowbrow, May 9th Healy Block Historic District Tour: April 17th Healy Project Holiday Old House Reception CANCELED–Healy Block Historic District Walking Tour–November 8 More Hauntings: Houses Built by Henry Ingham Healy House Hauntings Tour Intro to the History of the North Wedge North Wedge Architectural Walking Tour, October 3rd Healy Phoenix #2 Healy Phoenix #1 Report on the Event: A Great Dinner for a Good Cause A Child’s View of T.P. Healy’s Family Big Win for Healy Block Residents: Revised I-35W Expansion Plan T.P. Healy: Farmer, Commission Merchant & Wholesale Grocer in Nova Scotia Open April 25th: Restored 1885 House in Wedge Learn from the Past, Learn from the Present Grandstanding and Stonewalling at City Hall: Trashing the Public Trust Orth House Demolition An Open Letter to Minneapolis City Council Regarding the Orth House Demolition The Truth Will Out II: More Lies That Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South The Truth Will Out: Lies that Brought Down 2320 Colfax Avenue South Judge Denies Injunction against Wrecking 2320 Colfax Avenue South Poisoning the Well: Testimony about 2320 Colfax Avenue South “City Ghosts” Visit Victorian House Historic North Wedge Walking Tour: Sunday, September 7th Combining New and Old: A New Vision for the Orth House A Place That Matters Healy Project Files Suit to Stop Demolition of the Orth House Happy Earth Day, Zero-Credibility City of Minneapolis Stop Demolition: Allow a designation study for the Orth House Perverting New Urbanism II: Greenwashing Demolition Perverting New Urbanism for Fun and Profit Size Matters: Development at Franklin-Lyndale DEN$ITY: Building Utopia in Gopher City Hypocrisy at City Hall: Planning Department Scorns Sustainable Development Déjà Vu All Over Again: Threats to Healy Houses Renewed Healy Project Special Kickoff Tour Saving Private Houses In Landmark Decision, City Council Stops Demolition of 2320 Colfax Avenue South What’s the Greenest Building? Who Lives in Lowry Hill East? Revoltin’ Developments VI: What You Can Do Revoltin’ Developments V: Sappy Citizens and Maudlin Attachments Revoltin’ Developments IV: Density and City Planning Revoltin’ Developments III: Density and Livability Revoltin’ Developments II: Healy Houses in the Wedge Revoltin’ Developments, Part I Healy Descendant Acquires the Bennett-McBride House On Memorial Day Lost Healys on the Healy Block More Lost Healys The Broom House: 3111 Second Avenue South More on Round Hill Happy Birthday, T.P. The Edmund G. Babbidge House: 3120 Third Avenue South Brightening the Corner: 3101 Second Avenue South 2936 Portland Avenue The Andrew H. Adams House: 3107 Second Avenue South Clones: 2932 Park and 1425 Dupont North The J.B. Hudson House: 3127 Second Avenue South Second Healy Family Home: 3131 Second Avenue South Schlocked: ‎2639-41 Bryant Avenue South 1976 Sheridan Avenue South: Preserved Exterior The William L. Summer House, 3145 Second Avenue South Two More in the Wedge Weapon of Mass Healy Destruction: I-35W Construction The Third: Healy Builds in the Wedge The Second: 3139 Second Avenue South Healy’s First House: 3137 Second Avenue South Anders Christensen, T.P.Healy, and the Healy Project

A Child’s View of T.P. Healy’s Family


Top row: Alice, Charles, Dora, Lena Middle: Reginald, Theron, Mary Ann, Erena Bottom: Birdie, Chester, Bessie

Many of you have seen this family portrait of Theron Potter and Mary Ann Jefferson Healy with their children, taken c. 1887, the year after they moved to Minneapolis. This clear digital copy was recently sent to me by a Healy great-grandson, Charles Woodrich.

His mother, Phyllis Healy Woodrich, daughter of Charles Evans Healy and Nettie May Olds, had passed away in April eleven days shy of her 95th birthday. A couple of decades ago, she had typed up her childhood impressions of the people in this photo and affixed these to the back of the photo. They are a wonderful view of the Healy family in the 1920s as seen through the eyes of a young girl:

Aunt Alice was a pleasant lady who helped me with knitting on her front porch at Newton and Oliver (21st St.). She was married to Uncle Frank Johnston who was the exact image of a Dickens character – sunken eyes, bald, pale complexion – like Scrooge maybe. I shied away from him so I don’t know if he was as mean as he looked.

Charles was my father. I was 12 when he died and I don’t remember him very well but from all I hear he was a very jolly man and once sat on a wet sponge the entire evening thus making the people who put it there as a joke very uncomfortable as he didn’t acknowledge it was there. He was a potato broker and in those days there were no government subsidies. He went broke several times but my brothers told me that many years he was a millionaire. We always had a maid, moved to Arcola for the summer. He belonged to Lafayette and the Athletic club. All the relatives spoke well of him.

Dora married Percy Wood – nice as I remember. He sold fire engines for a living but only sold one in his lifetime. They were not well to do. They had 2 sons: Jim who married a woman who felt that her family was socially above everybody. She got polio and walked with difficulty after but she was very creative and made silk lampshades, lovely needlework. She didn’t like any of us except my mother. The other son was Granville who was a hydro*** ?. The hole in his head never closed so his head kept growing but his body didn’t keep up. He spent his life in a wheelchair and made rag-rugs. He was extremely good natured.

Lena I really liked her but didn’t know her too well. She had broken blood vessels on her face and was very good natured and happy.

Reginald married Aunt Marge. He borrowed a large amount of money from my father and never repaid it. Aunt Marge was cheery and very smart. They had two children: Ann Strothman and Barbara who was a war orphan from France and somehow never found her place – She always seemed unhappy. She eventually married (a cad) and ended up shooting herself some years later.

Erena married Joe White who was a handsome vain man, lived on the corner of Sheridan and 21st. He made marvelous molasses taffy. Eleanor, Dick and John were their children. Eleanor at 90 is the star of the family.

Birdie I don’t remember at all. She married a Hooker and moved to Calif.

Chester everybody said was awful. He married Lulu whom we all liked. He gave me the footstool in the living room when I was 6.

Bessie was the matriarch of the family and never lost her English accent. She terrorized everybody and was very mean to Mother. We always had to show up at her apartment before Christmas. I must say she did have a fascinating tree and always made lovely cookies for the children. She was secretary at St. Paul’s Church all her life. Never married but had a woman friend we called Aunt Jessie. I was 20 before I found out she wasn’t my real aunt.

*      *      *

Note: Another child, Ernest Theron, born in Halifax in 1874, died in infancy.

bessie 1913

Bessie in 1913. Photo courtesy St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Minneapolis.

We are indebted to Phyllis Woodrich for giving us this glimpse into Healy family life nearly a century ago. Thanks also to Charles Woodrich for passing this on.

As a footnote, I’d like to urge those of you who care about your family history to write notes on the back of family photos giving a who-why-when-where of their subjects, as did Phyllis Woodrich. So many old photos are discarded because no one knows who’s pictured. My father was very good about this and wrote similar comments about his aunts and uncles on the back of a family portrait from the early 1900s. Without these, the greats- and great-greats have no clue about the personalities and lives of their ancestors.

In Memoriam Phyllis Gertrude Healy Woodrich, April 25, 1920-April 14, 2015