52 Ancestors: #5 – Our Closet Mystic

Since March is women’s history month I thought I should write about the women in our family for the remainder of the month.

Ada Jane Booth
Ada Jane Booth

Our maternal great grandmother was Ada Jane Booth b: 9 Oct. 1867 in New York, Her parents were Joseph Booth and Ada Jane Jones. She grew up on Staten Island, Richmond County, New York.  In the 1870 US census at the age of 3 she is found in Castleton, Richmond County, New York with her parents and 4 of her siblings.

Joseph Booth Family- 1860 US Census Richmond Co., New York page 198 Town of Castleton
Joseph Booth Family- 1870 US Census Richmond Co., New York
page 198 Town of Castleton

Ada had three older siblings George M. Booth, Walter L., William R.,and four younger siblings Isaac S., Harriet W., Charles L. and Emma L. Booth. In the 1880 US census Ada is 13 and attending school.

Ada J. married Charles R. Heap, 25 Nov. 1885 in Staten Island, Richmond County, New York.

marriage CHeap & ABooth0002

25 Nov. 1885 Charles Heap Marriage to Ada Booth, Richmond Co. Records
25 Nov. 1885 Charles Heap Marriage to Ada Booth, City of Castleton, Richmond Co., State of New York Records

Charles Heap came from Cheshire England in April of 1882

from Charles R. Heaps Naturalization papers New York Common Pleas  Sept 4, 1888
from Charles R. Heaps Naturalization papers New York Common Pleas Sept 4, 1888

In the photo below, Ada J. (Booth) is shown seated with Husband Charles, eldest daughter Ada (standing),  May (seated to the far left) and son Walter in front of his father.

Charles Heap Family about 1904
Charles Heap Family about 1904

I do not have a lot of information about our great-grandmother. Grandma Dougherty didn’t like to talk about the paranormal in front of Grandpa Dougherty who thought it was all a bunch of “hooey” and my impression was that grandma Doughertys mother was a believer.
My grandmother received a letter in 1926 from her mother that illustrates to me what was all the rage during this time period. Mystics, I do believe there are a lot of things out there we can not explain but I assume that there is an explanation that fits into the realm of the physical world. Yet being a little Irish leaves a smidget of room for speculation.

Letter to daughter 1926
Letter (pg.1) to daughter 1926

From this letter I take it that Seances, and readings were quite the thing with a group around my great grandmother. The letter reads

Dear Ada,

I know you will be anxious for this letter. Just got home from the meeting (11:30P.M.) I put your letter on the table for her to read. She took it in her hand rolled it and smoothed it.

She said for you to sit alone. This influence was not good at Mrs. U. Too much antaigensimn. The devil you saw ment evil influnce. The man taking on armor was protecting you. Your Guides. Your are very eicick and strong. She says.

Now this is what you are to do. Tell no body. But Me. (When we talk of what we get and see scatters the vibrations. And we lose) Take 15 mintuets every morning. Put a glass dish with pebbles water and a flower bulb in, any kind of flower bulb. And another one with water in it, Right along side. Making two glasses. Get finger bowls if you can. But I think any kind will do. But it must be glass. (Plain glass),  Now put a picture up on the wall, out side of your room. And try and penertate it.

Be very calm. forget every thing And watch the bulb unfold. And as it unfolds so will you. And you will see alkinds of colors, in a little while. She told me. Do you understand about the picture?

She asked me who it was so melacoly around me. I told her Uncle Gene  She said, yes Brother-In Law.  My he’s enough to drive you crazy. He’s up in the air for the least thing. He wants somebody to tell him wear he is. Whats he so meloncoly about. If he had done something for Her (Aunt Hattie) when she was here. It would of been better for him. She wouldn’t come back. She was very unhappy here And is very happy there now. Discufred her fine.

Now, if you want to any thing more. Just let me know. And I will take the question to her. But Wright it. They like hand writing best.

I am going to join class in the fall.

I hope you have luck with your house. It has been very warm today. (Hot). Pa was down to Princess Bay all day.

Walter goes away monday morning.

June and I go to Kinsburg friday. Come on and go with us. Lots of fun and swiming to.

I must get to bed now. Pa”s reading and it is now 12P.M.  Good night. Love to all from us all.

Mother.

P.S. If you don’t understand this Ask some more. Don’t go and work your self sick. This hot weather. Just let things go untill the fall.

A strange letter but quite interesting too. I’m sure Grandma did as instructed. I definitely can see her doing this. I do wonder what was going on in there lives that they were seeking answers from a mystic or physic in 1926

Ada J. (Booth) Heap, Ada (Jones) Booth, and Ada R. (Heap) Dougherty (kneeling)
Ada J. (Booth) Heap, Ada (Jones) Booth, and Ada R. (Heap) Dougherty (kneeling)

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Next week hoping for a story from my sister on Grandpa Ike Putnam.