The Coursens

          Shortly after they married  Peter and Marguerite relocated from Hudson to Tarrytown, New York, another town on the east bank of the Hudson, but ninety miles closer to New York City. Margueritte had a cousin five years older than her, Marguerite Delaney, the daughter of her mother’s brother Michael, who had started teaching grade school in nearby Mt. Kisco around 1915. Marguerite was hoping to teach in the area as well. In July of 1922 the Coursens  had their first daughter, Marguerite,  known as “Chickie”. Two years later they managed to move to Mt. Kisco.

          In 1925 Peter Coursen Sr. also moved his family from Hudson, N.Y. to Mount Pleasant , New York,  a short distance from Mt. Kisco. The elder Coursen, now 64 years old and still with two children at home, had been working in a bottle plant in Hudson, but after he moved he found employment as an elevator man, and later on, during the depression, as a laborer doing street repairs.

          In April of 1925 Marie “Fay” Coursen was born and the following year Marguerite started teaching in the public schools. By 1930 she had secured a permanent position at P.S. 21 in the Bronx, a commute of nearly thirty miles, but nevertheless a godsend in the face of the coming economic collapse. The Coursens had another daughter in December of 1932, Barbara Ann, but she only lived a little over a year. In 1936 they had their last daughter Joan Anne. The Coursens had purchased a home on Oakridge Rd. in Mt. Kisco and meanwhile Peter had worked his way up in the meat department of the A&P food chain. By 1940 he was the superintendent of  the department.

         William Fay, Marguerite’s father, was in the habit of visiting his daughter and grand-daughters in Mt. Kisco. At the beginning of the Depression he had found a job selling cigars in a small shop in Brooklyn. At that time he was renting a room in the apartment of a widower, Rebecca Galvin, on 1st St. But by 1935 Marguerite and Peter had located a place for him in Mt. Kisco.  They arranged for him to rent a room just around the corner from them on Grove St in the household of Stanley Anderson, a lawyer. Stanley and his wife  Elizabeth had two young children,  and apparently an extra room to rent out – this was, after all, in the depths of the Depression and every source  of income was welcome. William, now in his seventies, was able to find a sales position at the local United Cigar Store in Mt. Kisco. This arrangement allowed him to spend a lot of time with his granddaughters, who simply adored him.


          Life was good in Mt. Kisco. The country pulled out of the economic doldrums as the war in Europe opened and the United States ramped up its manufacturing capabilities. “Chickie” graduated from high school and went on to attend Russell Sage College, graduating in 1945.

       On October of 1945 William Fay Sr. passed away at the age of 82 years. His state death records say he died in Yonkers , N.Y.  He was however interred in the Coursen family plot in Mount Pleasant.

        In October of 1948 “Chickie” married Ernest Genett from Bedford, N.Y. Ernst had gone to the same high school in Katonah that “Chickie” had attended and then served in the Navy in World War II. Upon his return he worked for the Katonah Building Co. The Genetts settled down in Katonah, a scant five miles from Mt. Kisco. They had five children – four girls and a boy. Ernest died in 1991.

       “Fay” Coursen married Thomas Joseph Fitzgerald on April 11, 1953. They lived in Pleasantville , south of Mt. Kisco towards Tarrytown. They too had five children – also four girls and a boy. In 1969 the family moved out to California to the Los Angeles area. “Fay” died in San Diego in 2016.

       Joan Coursen graduated from the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Poughkeepsie and became a school nurse in the Katonah school system. In 1965 she married Francis Thomas Fleischer who was teaching school in the Croton-Harmon school system. They settled in Sommers N.Y. adjacent to Katonah. There they had three sons. Frank Fleischer passed in 2010.

        The girls’ father, Peter William Coursen, retired as the district meat manager for A&P and shortly thereafter died, in February of 1964.  Marguerite survived him by another 16 years, passing away in 1980 at the age of 84.  She had retired from teaching in 1961, but continued to pursue her interests. She was very much involved in church activities, and had a life long passion for playing bridge. Marguerite and Peter had always maintained their connections with their Hudson friends and relations. Joan Fitzgerald remembers as a young girl traveling to Hudson with her grandmother (Margueritte) to visit Bart Delaney, Marguerite’s cousin and her husband’s best friend from his youth. Here are some family photos from those days.

Peter Coursen and a Delaney . . . . . Aunt “Et”, Bart and Margaret Delaney , and Peter Coursen