Ella Frances Moon
Ella Jane Terpeny (known as Jane)
Alice L. Terpeny (The verbal history noted above can be read in its entirety on Alice's page).
Arthur E. Terpeny
Harold R. Terpeny
Eugene Terpeny was born in Syracuse, New York in 1849. The next notation of him is in the 1855 Census for Cicero, Ulster County, New York where he is listed as 6 year old Eugene Tarpenny, along with his parents Daniel and Matilda Tarpenny.
A verbal family history taken by Bertha Bostworth of Eugene's daughter, Alice Terpeny, states that an "overly strict Corning (of the Corning glass fame) Aunt raised him until he was 14, when he ran away to sea wearing a top hat, the story goes."
The next documentation that I have of him is his marriage in Beverly Mass. on July 23, 1887 to Ella Frances Moon. He is listed on his marriage certificate as a Shoemaker. His age is 38. His birthplace is listed as Syracuse, NY, his father as Daniel Terpeny and his mother as Matilda, last name unknown. View the marriage certificate.
Eugene became the lighthouse keeper or assistant lighthouse keeper at Baker's Island Light in Salem, MA around 1887.
On October 10, 1894 he was commended by the Treasury Department office of the Lighthouse Board for heroics in the rescue of the schooner "Hero." The medal and commendation are framed and in the family's possession.
He remained there until 1896, when he became the lighthouse keeper at
Cuttyhunk Island off of New Bedford, MA. Alice states in her verbal
history that the move was prompted by Eugene's growing family and the fact that
there was no town or school on Baker's Island. Alice says of the trip
"From Baker's Island we went on a train to Boston and down to New Bedford, and the the government service steamer brought us, and my mother's furniture and everything and brought it right up to the West End and landed us near the boathouse. So when you landed up there we had not seen the house yet. I think my mother thought she was going to the middle of nowhere. She didn't bring any big things. Some of it was put into the boathouse until the weather was good, you know, but a lot of it went by the rowboat in the pond."
I do, in fact, have a newspaper article (view it here) in which Eugene Terpeny was left $30,000 by a Lavina T. Corning of California, out of a total estate of $200,000. It states Lavina was a native of Syracuse, New York, and all of her family is still living there with the exception of one branch of the family in Virginia and one in New Bedford. It states one of the bequests was to go to Eugene Terpeny or his heirs, and states Eugene was formerly the lighthouse keeper at Cuttyhunk, but died "several years ago." The article is not dated, but as Eugene died on August 29, 1909, it would have been "several years" after that. This appears to substantiate the "Corning Aunt" connection spoken of by Eugene's daughter, Alice.
Eugene died on Cuttyhunk Island on August 29, 1909 and is buried in the cemetery there. His Certificate of Death lists his age as 60 years, 5 months and 29 days. It lists his father as Daniel Terpeny, birthplace unknown and his mother as Matilda Goslin, birthplace Canada. His wife is Ella Francis Terpeny and his occupation is a lighthouse keeper - Cuttyhunk Island.
The Terpeny Family on Cuttyhunk, 1908.
Back: Ella Jane, Eugene, Arthur
Front: Ella with baby Harold, Alice.