My father, Robert Hultgren (or "Bob"), was born in Villa Park, Illinois, in 1921. He attended Washington University and later graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He was a U.S. Army captain with the Anti Aircraft Branch and served 3-1/2 years in the Pacific during World War II.
My mother, Frances Miller Hultgren (or "Fran"), was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1920. She graduated from the Louisville Collegiate School, Vassar College, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She was also active during World War II in the American Theatre Wing War Service. Her stage name was Frances Fielding.
Dad worked as a program producer/director for the National Broadcasting Company in New York City, starting in the late 1940s. His credits include The Howdy Doody Show, The Pinky Lee Show, Ruff and Ready, The Shari Lewis Show, Jeopardy! and General Electric College Bowl. He also directed numerous specials, including The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and national election coverage for NBC. He filled-in occasionally as the director of The Today Show and The Tonight Show. Dad worked for NBC for 20 years..
My father's family: a simple life
My father's family is descendant from Johan and Anna Jonsson, who lived in Hult, Sweden, in the early 1700s.
My great-grandfather, Lorenz Otto Hultgren, was born in Nodjehult in 1841. He ran away from home after his mother's death and worked for a wealthy family, taking care of their horses, until he was 15 years old. He then moved to Stockholm and learned the cabinet maker trade by age 17. He traveled to Germany, Russia and finally America where he lived in Chicago and worked for such firms as John A. Colby & Sons, Kimball Piano Co., A.H. Andrews Co., and Brunswick-Balke-Collander Co.
In Chicago he married my great-grandmother, Alma Matilda Nelson, who was born in Norkoping, Sweden, of poor parents. After her father left for American, she and her mother made a meager living by selling home made sausage in the open market. After her mother's death, she went to live with her father in Chicago.
My grandfather, Arthur Carl Fredrick Hultgren (known as A.C.), did not have a high school or college education. After starting work as a newsboy, he went to work for the railroad and retired as Traffic Manager for the Shell Petroleum Company in New York City.
My grandmother, Eloise Madeline Wersen Hultgren, was a accomplished artist.
My mother's family
My mother came from a family that for over two centuries had taken a very active role in the civic, political, and judicial life of Louisville and Kentucky.
My great-grandmother, Mary Floyd Welman, lived in Louisville through the age of 99 and was highly regarded for her many years of service in civic affairs and as a Democratic campaign volunteer and speech maker. At the age of 91, in 1954 she served as honory chairman of the Volunteers for Adlai Stevenson. By this time she was regarded affectionately throughout Kentucky as "the Grand Lady of the Democratic Party." Her endorsement was eagerly sought by politicians in virtually every major campaign.
My great-uncle, Neville Miller, served as dean of the University of Louisville Law School and later as Mayor of Louisville in 1933-37.
My great-great-grandfather, John Miller, married Barbara Anne Neville and into the Neville family in 1851. Ten generations before me lived William Neville, who was the first from his family to come to America. That family, originally from France, went to England with William the Conqueror. An old noble family, several Queens of England were from the Neville family, including Ann Neville, wife of Richard III. Ann's father, a powerful nobleman, was the Earle of Warwick and known as the Kingmaker. Other branches of my mother's family include Hugh Capet, King of France, and numerous Counts, Countesses, and Marqui.
My great-great-great grandfather, Col. Robert Miller, a native of King & Queen County, Virginia, crossed the Cumberland Gap in 1796 and settled in Lower Pond, Kentucky (now known as Valley Station). His wife, Cassandra Moore, was the daughter of James Frances Moore, a captain of the Eighth Pennsylvania Regement during the Revolutionary War. In 1780 he was on the staff of Gen. George Rogers Clark, stationed at the Falls of the Ohio (now the city of Louisville). He filled many positions and offices in Jefferson County. As soon as Kentucky became independent of Virginia he was elected to the Legislature and in 1803 to the Senate, where he served continuously until 1810 when he died upon the floor of the Senate in Frankfort. In 1809 he was Humphry Marshall's second when he fought his celebrated duel with Henry Clay. He was one of the five commissioners named by the Virginia Assembly in "Clark's Grant" and served on that commission until his death. When he died he had 55,000 acres of land in the State of Kentucky and he controlled the great salt wells of that state. His brother, Col. Nicholas Ruxton Moore, was a Congressman from Baltimore. His sister and her husband, James Harrod Sr., fathered James Harrod who surveyed and laid out the first town in Kentucky, at Harrodsburg, and helped in the building of the fort at Louisville.
another Miller line, my fourth great-grandfather, Benjamin
Harrison, was the fifth in a long line of politicians from the
Harrison family. His son, William Henry, and his great-grandson,
Benjamin (my great grandmother Frances' brother), were the 9th and 23rd
Presidents of the United States. As Chairman of the Committee of
the Whole, Benjamin Harrison led the discussions in the
Continental Congress leading up to the signing of the
Declaration of Independence, which Benjamin signed in 1776.
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