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Condon, Kleckner, Gilles, Ethen, Milton, Meyer, Mitchell, and Liston Family History

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This page consists of the writings of Alexanderene Elizabeth Liston Fischer

Alex, as she was known, is related to me on my mother's side.  She is a half cousin because her grandfather, Alexander Graham Liston, Sr., had two wives and a number of children with both wives.  Alexanderene's grandfather Alexander was married to Agnes Graham, whereas the line I come from were the children of Alexander Liston, Sr., and Christine Stewart.  Alex Fischer is of the same generation as my great-grandmother, Agnes Mitchell Milton, but was about the same age as my grandmother, Laura Milton Ethen.  Alex corresponded with my mother and aunts, and was interested in family history.

I have several letters and other material from Alex, which are shown below.  I've transcribed the content of the letters, as well as showing scans of the original letters.  There is also a scan of a family tree provided by Alex, which was not transcribed.

Although Alex mentions that the Liston line died out, there were so many children of Alexander Graham Liston, Sr. that there must be many unknown cousins.  If any others immigrated to the U.S. is unknown, but I provide this material in the hopes of connecting with an unknown branch of the Liston family.

1973 letter    1976 Letter    1978 letter    1978 card    1981 letter

This first letter is dated 1973 (when Alex was 75) and consists of 6 pages of text and a Family Tree list.

1973 letter, page 1
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1973 letter, page 2
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1973 letter, page 3
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1973 letter, page 4
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1973 letter, page 5
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1973 letter, page 6
Page 6

6505 N. Waukesha Av.
Chgo., Ill. 60646
Aug. 8, 1973

Dear Betty,
    I was so glad to hear from you.  Your letter was forwarded from Fla.  We have sold our home here & are in the process of selling off & giving away our extra furniture & household goods preparatory to making our permanent home in Fla. at the address you have which is a condominium right on the ocean which we both love.  Lou likes the sea just as much as I & we drive down to Port Everglades almost every Sun. to see what ships are in & why.  We see them passing from our balcony where we keep binoculars in readiness.  With only the apt. on our hands we will be able to do more traveling though we managed a 40 day
European cruise in Apr. & May.  Met about 15 cousins & second cousins in Southampton & four more in Helensburgh, Scotland.  They're all a jolly crowd & we had lots of fun.

I learned two new facts about the Liston family; first, there were 19 children, not 25; 8 in the first family & 11 in the second where we fit in and second, there is not a Liston clan because our forebears came from Holland & the name was originally Van Liston.

Alexander Liston was born at Boness [Bo'ness], Linlithgowshire, Scotland on Mar. 17, 1818.  He died in Clydebank May 28, 1886.

Agnes Graham was born at Balfron, Scotland, 1836

Married Sept. 9, 1856 at Balfron.  Both are buried in the churchyard at Balfron together with a son Peter who died at 17 of appendicitis, the only child not to grow to adulthood.

We learned this year that Grandpa managed an oil refinery in Balfron
area & is said to have invented the process of extracting petroleum jelly from crude oil.  Between 1870 & 1874 the family was transferred to N. Wales living in Leeswood.

Andrew & John after careers in sailing settled in Southampton.  Andrew married a widow whose daughter married & lived in Johannesburg, S. Africa.  John had 2 daughters & a son (the only Liston in the 2nd generation & he died in 1966 leaving a daughter Pamela (Glasgow now) so the name died out with him in spite of Grandpa's huge family.  This son, Alexander, was commended by the gov. for his excellent management of the huge docks at Southampton during W.W. II & a plaque in his honor is hung in Southampton.

James migrated to Capetown S. Africa & made his fortune in constructing bldgs. & homes.  The youngest sister, Mary Jane on this list but Aunt Jane to all of us
lived in Durban, S. Africa having married Wm Battison.  Her daughter Nancy Innis lives in Durban & her son Peter in Johannesburg & another son in Port Elizabeth.  I correspond with Nancy and Peter.  Jim's family (Capetown) have all passed away.  I visited them in 1934 & enjoyed them a lot.  He had 2 daughters:  one a spinster, the other Ella McGregor had 3 children but I've lost track of them.

Nellie Liston Warnock lived in Southampton but is gone now.  I know she had a daughter & a son but I don't know their whereabouts.

My father, your great grandmother Agnes Mitchell & Elizabeth (must be the Mary on the list) came to the U.S.  Eliz. lived in Osage, had one son (married Pearl) & he had 2 girls Esther & ______ Robertson.

Wm Liston lived in New Orleans for many years working for
the United Fruit Co. but returned to Buchlyvie, Scotland about 1909, married a spinster & ran the Red Lion Inn there.

I learned also on this last trip that the "Clachan" the 240 yr. old thatched cottage in Balfron where my father & your grandmother were born has been declared a "Nat'l. Monument" to be preserved & maintained by the royal government.

The ship you speak of went to Alex.  I guess.  He gave it to me & last year I gave it to Sadie's grandson.

Thanks for your felicitations on our wedding, Bettie.  We are extremely happy.  Lou is a retired lawyer & banker & like me has no children of his own.

I hear from your Kate & Barb at Christmas time so
am able to keep up on their activities.

You'll notice that Grandpa Liston's birthday was the same as your mother's, Mar. 17.

Hope this information is not too muddled.  Write again if it is & I'll try to clarify it.  My father was the last of the family to die ---at 93.


Am enclosing a family tree I got this year.

This scanned document is the family tree mentioned above.  It does not appear to be done in the handwriting of Alex Fischer, but I don't know who wrote it out.  She mentioned meeting some cousins in Southampton, England and in Helensburg, Scotland, so perhaps she obtained it in one of those places.

Liston family tree

This is the second letter, dated July 19, 1976.

1976 letter, page1
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1976 letter, page 2
Page 2

Dear Betty,
    It was good to hear from you & to know that someone is interested in the family history.  I am enclosing an obituary of John's son Alex. the only Liston in the 2nd generation.  He had no boys, only one daughter, so out of the huge Liston family of nineteen children, the name died out with him!  Seems unbelievable, doesn't it?

Dad built little model ships after he retired & gave one of them to you[r] Grandma, I believe.  He was a ship builder having learned his trade at Brown's on the Clyde.  They are the firm that built the Queens & many famous ships of lines other than Cunard, in fact they built the Swed. Amer. "M.S. Kungsholm" on which we went around the world last year.  The story is that Dad [Alexander Graham Liston, 1865-abt. 1958] ran off to sea at 14 as captain's boy but met his older brother, a capt. with the Union Castle Lines.  He was thrashed &
ordered to leave the ship on its return to Scotland to learn his trade, which he did.  Then he went to sea again to sail until upon docking in Boston the rats fled the ship.  Since to the sailors of the time this meant the ship's next trip would be fatal, he went to work for the Amer. Ship Bldg. Co. until after World War I when he retired.  We do have a young cousin, Willie Reid of Kirkintilloch, Scotland who is capt. of a Gulf oil tanker sailing to Capetown this trip.  He has a lovely wife & 3 yr. old daughter whom we met three years ago on a North Cape Cruise.

Glad you keep up your music & that your children are also musical.  Though Lou is 88 & I almost 78 we still play the piano & enjoy it.  Lou is taking organ lessons from a Canadian neighbor who's down here every winter.

Would like to be there when you three girls & your families get together.  Bet you have fun & make your Dad happy.  I'm so glad to hear from any of you when you have time to write.


This is the third letter, dated Oct. 14, 1978, At home [The Fischers, 901 Tiffany Gardens E., 1600 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach, Fl, 33062]

1978 letter, page 1
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1978 letter, page 2
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1978 letter, page 4
Page 3

Dear Betty,

It was so good to get your nice newsy letter & to know that you three girls & Dick & your Dad had been together.  I'd like to have been a little mouse listening in.  I generally hear from Barbara at Christmas time & a year or so ago had a picture of her handsome family.  My your family surely is scattered but I think this is true of most families these days.

Glad to hear your Nancy is interested in a fine Scotchman!  They all are, aren't they?  Kate's oldest girl Mary is also
dating one --- Kelly Graham!  He's in his last year of law school at Univ. of Mich.

I delayed answering your letter until after our Chgo. trip feeling certain that if there were a Scotch cookbook Field's would have it.  There is none & both the clerk & I had a good laugh because let's admit it the Scotch are not noted for their cookery --- well maybe porridge & broth!!  I hate to blast your hopes Betty, but that's the way it is.

Now here are some cousin's addresses,
1. Nancy Reid (Mrs. Peter) Pa's niece
46 Parkburn Av.
Kirkintillock, Scotland G.664 A.D.

2. Wm & Janice Reid (her son)
12 Douglas Rd.
Glasgow, Scotland G.664 N.W.

3. Margaret Thomas (Pa's grand niece)
7 Castle Rd. Castle Hghts.
Bittern Pk.
Southampton, Eng.

4. Esther Goffe (Pa's niece)
54 Mill Rd., Regent Pk.
Southampton, Eng.

5. Juliet Liston Foden (Pa's niece)
1 Rowan Close
Woodhatch, Reigate
Surrey, Eng.

6. Robt. & Pamela Bryson (Pa's grandniece)
2 Vinicome St.
Glasgow, W. 2, Scotland

Then we have real nice cousins in Durban & Johannesburg S. Africa.

Hope this list will help
Nancy with her Scotchman.

As I learn more about the Scotch & Irish I become convinced they are one people (the Celts) who were both Catholic & Protestant.  Many years ago Caldwell Taylor wrote a fascinating book "Grandmother & the Priests" --- a delightful story about a wealthy very Protestant widow living in the Highlands who, being certain the neighboring priests never had a square meal invited several to her home each week for dinner.  The book records what transpired & is really hilarious.

Love to you all,

Lou (90) & I (80) are both fine.

This third document is a Christmas card.  I believe it dates from 1978 because Alex mentions Scottish independence from England, which was the Scotland Act of 1978.  It failed to get approval the following year.

1978 Christmas card

Hi! How are you & the youngsters?  Since you are truly interested in Liston family history, did you know that the house in Balfron where they were almost all born called "The Clachan" has been made a national monument, maintained by the government & that Scotch independence from England has passed the Hse. of Commons.

Happy holidays,
Lou & Alex.

This is the last letter that I have that was written to my mother, dated Feb. 16, 1981.  Of note here is the fact that Lou is still alive and would be about 93 years old at this time.  Alex would be 83, based on their ages of 90 and 80 mentioned above in the letter of 1978.

1981 letter, page 1
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1981 letter, page 2
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1981 letter, page 3
Page 3

Dear Betty & Bill,

I do enjoy hearing from you.  Since I'm sort of "a nut" on the Liston family I am anxious to have Mark share my interest.  In fact it was that that gave me my travel bug, I started with So. Africa though!

I just finished writing to the grandson of Agnes Graham Liston Wilson who lives at
12 Douglas Rd.
Lenzie, Glasgow, Scotland G. 664 N.W.

His name is Willie Reid & he is first officer on a tanker plying the Persian Gulf.  His grandmother was "Little Agnes" -- yours, Betty, was Big Agnes"

He is married & has two little girls.

Another cousin, Pamela Liston Bryson lives in Glasgow at
2 Vinicombe St.
Glasgow W. 2

Her father was Alexander G. Liston who supervised the port of Southampton during the war & won a citation & a bronze plaque in the ton hall for his excellent job.  *He was the last of the Listons.

His niece, Margaret Thomas, lives at
7 Castle Rd., Castle Hghts.
Bittern Pk., Southampton

His sister Esther Goffe is at
54 Mill Rd.
Regents Pk., Millbrook
Southampton 73882

Her son went to see [sea], mar
ried of [a] Brazilian lady & settled in Rio.

*He was the last of the Listons because all the boys in the original family had daughters who, of course, married & changed their names.

Hope this is all clear.  Tell Mark we have more relatives of whom I've lost track.  The son of a cousin in Johannesburg & his wife visited us last summer.  They were real fun & great travelers.

Betty, I didn't hear from Katie this year.  Are she & Don okay?

Glad your Dad is fine.  We are too.


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