“I get by with a little help from my friends,” has been playing in my mind all morning, including the hour I spent in the dentist’s chair. I had nothing for a post in mind. I was toying with using something from one of the instagram accounts I follow, syracusehistory (https://www.instagram.com/syracusehistory/). The last few posts on syracusehistory have been about Harold MacGrath and his home at 1618 James Street.
I wondered if MacGrath was a fraternity man. In searching, I found out his wife, Alma Kenyon MacGrath, was a member of the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi. In the January 1922 Alpha Phi Quarterly, it was noted that she “says that she and her husband Harold MacGrath (the wk novelist) are not going abroad this year as had been stated by Syracuse newspapers. She is to be at home and will add her bit toward making the fiftieth anniversary of the Fraternity a success.”
But some more searching made me confused. In the marriage section of the 1899 Quarterly, it was noted that Alma J. Kenyon Alpha ex-’94 married Waldo Ballard Tourtellotte, a Cornell man on August 24 at Syracuse NY. A later issue noted, “By an error the address of Alma Kenyon Tourtellotte Alpha ex-’94 was incorrectly given in the November issue Sister Alma lives at 352 W. 117th St., New York.” A search of her gravestone lead to an article stating that she had divorced Tourtellotte and married MacGrath in 1905. MacGrath died in 1932, and in 1936, she married a Syracuse student (and younger man), Augustus Beauchat. (In researching, I found this blog post about the MacGraths and Skaneateles, one of my favorite places, https://kihm6.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/harold-macgrath-at-glen-haven/.) I fell down a giant rabbit hole and I was as confused as when I began. Suffice to say, Alma Kenyon (Tourtellotte) MacGrath Beauchat must have been one colorful woman. Oh, to have afternoon tea with her and hear her life story, wouldn’t that have been fun?
I left that idea where I found it. The loose ends could not be tied up, so I headed to facebook feed for a read of what was happening in my friends’ lives. My Alpha Gamma Delta friend, Nann Blaine Hilyard, whose friendship spans 30+ years, commented on this post:
I am intrigued by buildings, too, and the stories they tell. I wanted to learn more about the book Lilac Girls so I went to Martha Hall Kelly’s website. It turns out that she, too, is an Alpha Phi and was initiated into the Alpha Chapter at Syracuse. I hope to listen to the book on one of my upcoming drives and I will keep you posted. Congratulations, Martha Hall Kelly on bringing ten-year’s worth of research to life.
Congratulations are also in order for my friend, Sally Brancheau Belknap, as she takes the helm of the Indianapolis Alumnae Panhellenic. I am certain she will do great things during her presidency.
One of my Hillsdale Pi Phi friends, Susan Bruch, sent me this and I offer congratulations to Beth Walker, West Virginia’s newest Supreme Court justice.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory.