Five Generations: The Helms-Robinson Family of Roslyn
This year, in observance of Juneteenth, the Local History Collection celebrates a local family with deep roots in the Roslyn community. Thanks to Ms. Margie D. Robinson, a longtime Bryant Library patron, we recently learned that her family’s past in Roslyn dates back to the early nineteenth century.
Records show that Margie D.'s great-great-grandfather Sidney Helms was born in Smithtown, Long Island in 1841. A Civil War veteran, he is listed in the 1900 Federal census as a resident of Roslyn, along with his wife, Mary J., stepson, Harry Lyons, and son, Charles. Born in Roslyn in 1888, Charles Helms was a life-long resident who worked as a driver for C. Woodin’s Ice Company. Later he became a night watchman for the R.B. Hamilton Moving & Storage Company. Charles is Margie D.'s great-grandfather and the husband of Julia Ann (Mills) Helms, her great-grandmother. As a young girl, Julia migrated north from Littleton, North Carolina in 1908 to join her three brothers who had settled in the Roslyn area.
In 1910, Charles and Julia married at the Salem A.M.E. Church. They settled in a home on Powerhouse Road where they lived with their daughter, Mary Julia. The photo above shows Mary Julia (right) with her granddaughter, Margie D. Robinson (center), on the day of Margie's graduation from Roslyn High School. With them is Julia (left), Mary Julia's mother and Margie D.'s great-grandmother.
A detailed tribute describing Julia Helms' life and extensive career in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, appeared in the November 29th, 1992 issue of Newsday, the text of which can be viewed here: Julia Ann Helms, Roslyn Cemetery.
The Helms family and their descendants maintained close ties to Salem A.M.E. Church. In 1969, Julia Ann Helms was one of three octogenarians honored at a Special Mother’s Day Service at the church.
Although members of the family moved away over the years, several of Charles and Julia's descendants continued to live in Roslyn through the 1990s. This includes their granddaughter, Margie L. Robinson, great-granddaughter, Margie D. Robinson, and great-great-granddaughter, Julia Robinson. Julia is pictured below as a young child, standing outside the Bryant Library in May 1989.
Through Margie D. Robinson's dedicated research, the Local History Collection has been able to add the story of Charles and Julia Ann Helms to our archives. As a life-long patron of the Bryant Library, her efforts continue to enrich the Collection and uncover information that contributes to the cause for wholistic representation of Roslyn's complex history.
Happy Juneteenth from The Bryant Library Local History Collection!