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von Holstein, Holstein,

Replies: 30

Smothergill Connection

Posted: 1020860874000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1088032882000
Richard Bond's mention of Casper Holstein in a recent posting reminded me of a Smothergill connection to this legendary figure. I was about to post what follows in reply to Richard's message, but then came across this old thread on Holstein which probably is the more appropriate place for it.

Caspar Holstein's obituary in the New York Times (April 9, 1944, page 36, column 6) read in part:

"He succumbed to a long illness on Wednesday in the home of a friend, Al Smothergill, 98 Morningside Avenue, it was learned last night."

A second Smothergill is mentioned in this description of Holstein's last days that appears in Guirty's book, "Harlem's Danish-American West Indians, 1889 - 1964":

"[Casper Holstein's] last days were spent under the roof of the late Rosa Styles on the same street near his Holstein Court. Rosa's daughter, Mercedes Smothergill, and her mother gave him daily care". (Guirty, G. p. 63)

Al Smothergill, in all likelihood, was Alvertson Gamaliel Smothergill who was a cousin of mine. He was born on St. Croix in1902 and died in New York in 1986. His father was James Augustus Smothergill and his grandfather was James Thomas Smothergill.

Mercedes Smothergill is new to me. The combination of Guirty's passage with the Times's obituary suggests that her father may have been Al Smothergill. Does anyone know more about Mercedes Smothergill or Rosa Styles?

My thanks to Karl Frederiksen for bringing both references to my attention.
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