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Letter Box


A letter from an alum reflecting on his 50th reunion

May 23, 2004


My father, his three brothers, and his two brothers-in-law all graduated from Harvard in the '20s and '30s. The two brothers-in-law were Captains of Harvard Varsity Football Teams in the successive years of 1929 and 1930.

It is therefore little wonder that when I matriculated to Princeton as a freshman in September of 1950, I was kiddingly referred to as the "Traitor of the Family", an appellation I've had to live with all these years before and following my graduation and beyond. This reputation was further exacerbated by the fact that my sole college application was directed to Princeton. I never applied to Harvard although I had a rather strong legacy there. I had none at Princeton.

In 1997, however, aided by the advent of the computer and the Internet, I initiated a part time five year odyssey of compiling, expanding, and tying together the loose ends of an extensive family tree of some 4,000 names, many of whom had been temporarily lost in time through past animosities and kinship denials precipitated by the Civil War.

Leaving Harvard to my father, my mother came from Memphis, Tennessee, so most of my known ancestors from her side of the family had been supporters of the South, many of whom actively served in the Confederate Army. My research, however, uncovered a long ignored family branch from the Philadelphia/Cranbury/Princeton area that not only boasted of many illustrious Princeton (College of New Jersey until 1896), graduates but also included some of its founders.

My Six-Greats Grandfather Benjamin Fitz-Randolph (1663 - ?) was taken as a child with his parents to Piscataway, New Jersey about 1670 and as a young man moved to Princeton in 1696 where he purchased 100 acres of land from Richard Stockton.

His son, Nathaniel Fitz-Randolph (birth and death dates unknown), my Six Greats Uncle and the brother of my Five Greats Grandmother Ruth Harrison Fitz-Randolph [Snowden] (1695-1780), by deed dated January 25, 1750 gave 4.5 acres of the 100 acres inherited from his father to the College of New Jersey (Princeton) on which Nassau Hall is located, thus becoming "the Patron of Princeton".

It can now certainly be argued that, from an historical family perspective, the recent Harvard influx, introduced by my mother's marriage to my father, is the traitorous element in a longer standing and far more significant ancestral affiliation with the Founders of Princeton.

Charles Pope Day Jr. '54
Short HIlls, N.J.

HARVARD Connection:

Charles Pope Day, H.'27 (1904-1955) [Father] Bernard Pope Day, H.'25 (1902-1967) [Uncle]
Joseph Paul Day, H.'27 (1901-1968) [Uncle] Fairfield Pope Day, H.'36 (1912-1977) [Uncle]

Arthur Eugene French, H.'29 (1906-1961) [Uncle] Harvard Varsity Football Captain married my
Aunt Pauline Pope Day (1905-1999) in 1929.

James Elmer Barrett, H.'30 (1907-1967) [Uncle] Harvard Varsity Football Captain married my Aunt Laura Taylor Pope Day (1910-1941) in 1930.


Margaret Quay Treadwell {Day} (1902-1978) [Mother] Mary Overton Snowden {Treadwell} (1871-1938) [Grandmother] Colonel Robert Bogardus Snowden (1836-1909) Confederate Cavalry [Great Grandfather]

John Bayard Snowden (1808-1863) [2 Greats Grandfather] Reverend Samuel Finley Snowden (1767-1845) [3 Greats Grandfather] Isaac Snowden (1732-1809) [4 Greats Grandfather] Ruth Harrison Fitz-Randolph {Snowden} (1695-1780) [5 Greats Grandmother] Benjamin Fitz-Randolph (1663 - ?) [6 Greats Grandfather]

Nathaniel Fitz-Randolph (? - ?) [6 Greats Uncle] donor of the 4.5 acres on which Nassau Hall was built, son of Benjamin Fitz-Randolph and brother of Ruth Harrison Fitz-Randolph {Snowden}.

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