Wednesday, February 21, 2018

More About the Geigers

As often happens, my interest in a house--in this case, 94 North Fifth Street--led to an interest in the people who lived in the house--Leonard Geiger and his family. When I reported on Monday that the remains of Leonard Geiger had been cremated at the Gardner Earl Crematorium in Troy, I suggested there would not be a monument to him in the Hudson City Cemetery. I was wrong. With the help of Gail Grandinetti, the cemetery clerk, I found it this morning, in Section 4-A.

It seems the ashes of Leonard Geiger and the remains of his wife and eldest son are interred beneath this stone. The names of his two youngest children, Rosa (whose name often appears in newspapers and public records as Rose) and Lily, who were born in the same year, which suggests they were twins, also appear on the stone, but the years of their deaths have not been completed, suggesting they were both buried elsewhere.

Photo: Historic Hudson
There are more discoveries about the Geiger family to share. On April 28, 1904, the Columbia Republican reported that Lily Geiger married John R. Billingham, in a "quiet but pretty church wedding which was witnessed by only relatives and intimate friends of the contracting parties." The wedding took place at the Universalist Church, where Billingham was the choir master. So we now know that the Mrs. J. R. Billingham who was advertising apartments and flats to let at 94 North Fifth Street was Geiger's daughter Lily.

It seems that Lily and her husband, who is sometimes referred to in the newspaper as "Prof. J. R. Billingham" and whose occupation is listed in the city directory as "Musician," inherited 94 North Fifth Street when Margaret Geiger died in January 1912. Rose (a.k.a. Rosa) seems also to have been provided for. On October 8, 1912, the Columbia Republican reported that a new house was being built for her on North Fifth Street.

Although the newspaper gives the location of the house as North Fifth Street, it was actually being erected at the end of North Fifth Street, on Clinton Street. The city directory for 1916 lists Rose and her brother Frederick residing at 500 Clinton Street, in this house, just a block away from the house where they grew up.

Rose Geiger's name appears often in the newspapers of the time, in connection with charitable and cultural events--hospital benefits, exhibitions at the D.A.R., Red Cross fundraisers. It is of some interest that the city directory for 1925 lists Rose Geiger's occupation as "asst matron N.Y.S.T.S. for Girls"--the New York State Training School for Girls. 

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