Calvin Castine's Notes & Info:
New Yorker Calvin Castine and I became acquainted in 1999 while he was putting together a TV show about movie cowboy Tom Tyler for his weekly OUR LITTLE CORNER cable TV series. His show on Tom Tyler first aired on October 31, 1999.
About Port Henry, New York --- Tyler's birthplace:
The Town of Moriah is located in Essex County, New York. If you look at a map of New York State, the northeastern tip is Clinton County, this is the border with Quebec to the north and Vermont to the east. Immediately below Clinton County is Essex County. It's on the western shores of Lake Champlain, and the easternmost part of the Adirondack Mountains. As the crow flies, I'd guess that Port Henry is about 60-65 miles south of the Canadian border, and 20 miles due north of historic Ticonderoga (also located in Essex County).
The Markowski Family:
The Markowski family included five children: Frank, Vincent (Tom Tyler), Joe, Molly and Catherine (or Katherine with a K). The latter three lived in the Detroit (Hamtramck) area. Tyler's obituary states that he was living with his sister Katherine Slepski at the time of his death in 1954.
"My father became a boyhood friend of his when my father, sister and their parents immigrated to this country in October, 1907. We know that they made their first communion together around 1908-10 in a small church in Mineville. Evidently the Markowski's moved to Detroit not much longer after that. My grandfather was a shoemaker in Mineville during that period. They too moved their family to Detroit around the same era as the parents of Vincent did. When he decided to go to Hollywood for fame and fortune he talked my father into going with him. They worked their way across the country, making a stop in Denver, where, as the family story goes, my father lost his wallet and evidently his nerve or desire to become a movie star and returned home to Detroit. He later moved back to the Mineville area, met my mother who was from Vermont, got married and started a family. At one point in time, Tom Tyler did ask my father to come to Hollywood, however love prevailed and he remained in the area. He passed away in 1963."
Based on this information, as well as info from Mike Tyler (Frank Tyler's son), following is a summary of the Tyler family.
Lisa Bulger's Notes & Info:
... as for the family being listed as 'Polish' (i.e., Frank, Jr. appearing as a 'Polish labourer' in the records of the steel company) when other sources have them as Lithuanian, I may be able to throw some light on this:
Poland and Lithuania were united from 1386 to 1795, at which time most of the country was annexed by Russia; from 1569 on, after the signing of the Lublin Union, Poland and Lithuania formed the Commonwealth. And Mike Tyler told me that Tom's father was Lithuanian, and that his naturalisation papers listed him as being a citizen of East Prussia. So, although the family has a Polish-sounding surname, they were Lithuanian.
One piece of information which I do have has more to do with Port Henry than with Tyler himself. Are you aware that Port Henry had its own film studio? From January 1919 on, the Artic (sic) City Studios was located in Port Henry. It was rented out to independent producers, and its chief attraction was a large zoo of trained animals. Edward Small was its agent. Now, according to Buck Rainey, Tyler's family stayed in Port Henry until his graduation from high school, which goes against what one usually reads, that the family moved to Detroit circa 1913. If Rainey is correct and the family DID stay in Port Henry until Tom finished high school, then the very interesting possibility arises that Tom had exposure to the film studio and got the acting bug there from.