Generations by

Howard Charlesworth and Elsie Williams Charlesworth

Introductory Price: only $19.95! (includes free USPS domestic shipping)

ISBN-13: 978-1-941075-11-1. Total pages: 256.

ISBN-13 Kindle Edition: 978-1-941075-12-8.

Generations

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About the Authors

Howard Charlesworth and Elsie Williams Charlesworth both grew up on small farms in Cattaraugus County in Western New York during the Great Depression and World War II. They candidly and humorously discuss farm life, going to school in one-room school houses, eccentric family members and neighbors, and attending High School during World War II.

Howard Charlesworth was a small businessman, successful farmer, and skilled carpenter... without ever owning a cell phone or computer, or borrowing money, or even obtaining a credit card. Family economics precluded him from going to college, but diligent work and study resulted in a remarkable life.

Elsie Williams was an intelligent and eccentric farm wife who was much more comfortable driving a tractor or a bulldozer than cooking dinner. She was an avid self-taught horticulturalist who could make almost anything grow, and she was an accomplished amateur artist and musician. (And her pies were always wonderful!)

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From the Publisher...

Generations contains two biographies: Howard Charlesworth and Elsie Williams Charlesworth.

This book started as a ninth-grade school project. In ninth grade, our son John was given the assignment of writing to his Grandparents and asking questions about what their lives were like when they were growning up. So John started writing to my mother, Elsie Williams Charlesworth. She enthusiastically responded with amusing and detailed answers to his questions. She enjoyed that so much that she decided to write a book on her memories of growing up “Great” on a farm in Great Valley, NY.

Inspired by Mother, my father wrote a clear and concise summary of his memories of growing up on a farm in Napoli, NY. At the time they wrote the books, I read them, talked with our kids about some of the things that they wrote about, and set them aside.

Then last spring, a friend of mine from High School named Ernie Dankert approached me asking about what it would take to publish a second edition of a fascinating biography called Beyond Zoar Valley that Edna Busekist wrote about her ancestors, Frederick and Fredericka (Carrie) Meier Bueskist. They emigrated from Germany and settled in North Otto in the mid 1800’s. After communicating about this with John Busekist (and later his sister Rhonda), Ron Pfieffer, and Keith Blatner (all of whom we went to High School with), we all decided that Debbie and I would publish a second edition of Beyond Zoar Valley.

Ironically, when Carrie first came from Germany in the 1860s, she was befriended by a next-door neighbor girl named Anna Botsford, who went on to be the first woman professor at Cornell and wrote a handbook on nature study that is still in print today. One of Ernie’s and my best friends in high school was a young man named... Steven Botsford, who was descended from the same Botsford family group.

This all intersected my ancestry, as my ancestor Nathan Charlesworth, came over from England in the 1840s to work at a woolen mill in Otto, NY. The Busekist book got me interested in the geneology of both the Busekist family and the Charlesworth family. Nathan and his wife Hannah had quite a few children, some of whom stayed in the area. Nathan’s son Joseph was in the Civil War. He fought in several major battles, and was honorably discharged after a six-month stay in a Philadephia hospital where he recovered from wounds he received at Gettysburg. One of Nathan’s grandchildren was named Vernon Charlesworth, and Vernon owned a farm in North Otto that was only a little ways from... the Busekist farmstead!

Joseph married Roxanna Higbee, had several children, and stayed in Cattaraugus County. His son John, my great grandfather, married Joanna (Daisy) Milks, had two children, and stayed in Cattaraugus County. Their son John married Georgia Morton, and my father Howard was their first son.

In 1950, Howard married my mother, Elsie Williams, who grew up on a farm in Great Valley, NY. Her ancestors were mostly tied to the Ellicottville / Great Valley / Salamanca area (although there was a persistent connection with Hornell, NY that Mother discusses in her book).

My dad died in November, 2017, and Mother just passed away in August, 2022. Debbie and I went back and reviewed the two manuscripts that Father and Mother had written, and decided to put them into book format and publish their story.

This turned out to be more labor intensive than we thought, as the old manual typewriter(s) that they used produced pages that are mostly immune from scanning and character recognition. So we had to retype most of what they wrote. We did succeed and get proof copies printed in time for Elsie's memorial service in South Carolina.

My parents were unusual people in may ways (as those who knew them can attest). They never owned a cell phone. They never used a credit card (or for that matter, borrowed money). Father did his taxes with a pencil and a yellow pad, even when he was on the farm and had to track the depreciation of each investment. Computers were thought of as useless things that lived in public libraries. But they knew how to run a successful farm, understanding the horticulture, animal husbandry, busi- ness, and equipment maintenance aspects of making a living off the land. Father built two houses from scratch during his life and significantly remodeled another. After moving to South Carolina and starting over in the 1970s, he helped start the Antreville Volunteer Fire Department while he and Elsie built a successful dairy operation and learned how to farm in a completely differ- ent environment... and developed a whole new set of friends whilst doing so.

And, thank you Bryan Charlesworth for consulting on the project and providing most of the pictures!