What Is Love?


What Is Love?

The “All Surnames” button takes you to a page that contains most of the names I’ve been researching.  The flyout buttons take you to pages specifially about that family.

The music being played is "What Is Love?" from the comic opera by Victor Herbert, titled "Wizard of the Nile" (1895). It was graciously sequenced for me by Benjamin Robert Tubb. His wonderful site is full of music from the 1800's. If you appreciate old music, please visit his site.

In the mid nineteen-teens, my grandmother was a singer in what was then the Studio Club, in Cleveland, Ohio. This group performed light operas. This particular night, my grandfather was in the audience, watching the performance of "Wizard of the Nile". My grandmother played the part of Cleopatra. Sometime later, the following article appeared in the Cleveland newspaper.

The words are directly from the paper. It was titled:


Romance Dead?

"Maybe It Is - But Here's the Story of a Doctor Who Fell in Love With a Voice; Met and Fell in Love With Its Owner and -- Well, Read.

Could Cupid ever hope for circumstances more conducive to the birth of a romance?

A shadowed theater --

A pretty girl on the state --

A lonely young man in the audience --

And the softly, sentimental strains of "What is Love?" from the "Wizard of the Nile," sung by the pretty girl, stealing out over the footlights into the shadows --

Cupid decided he couldn't. So, in addition to directing the singer's voice straight to the young man's heart, he unslung his bow and sent a quivering arrow through the heart. Then, with the contented smile of certain success, he waited. And, success was his.

For Friday, Dr. and Mrs. Claude L. Difford beat a hasty retreat from congratulating friends and started on a honeymoon tour through the east.

They were married Thursday night at the Windermere Methodist church by Rev. William B. Armington.

Mrs. Difford, twenty-three, was formerly Miss Loretta E. Eggleston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Eggleston. Dr. Difford, who is thirty-five, lives at .......Mrs. Difford has been a member of the Studio Club for several years and has been a leading figure in their annual musical productions. She is a contralto.

Last spring the club produced the "Wizard of the Nile" at a local theater. Dr. Difford attended the performance. His wife-of-a-day sang one of the leading roles.

'It was a case of love at first sight and as soon as I heard her voice,' Dr. Difford said Friday. 'We
had mutual friends and I obtained an introduction. No further explanation seems necessary.'"

Loretta as Cleopatra
Loretta, on the right, as Cleopatra

Romance Dead?


Loretta Elizabeth Eggleston
Wedding Portrait of Loretta
Elizabeth Eggleston



Claude lighting the lamps in Cleveland, OH

Claude Leroy Difford was born in Olmstead Falls, Ohio, the son of Albert S. Difford and Mary Jane Locke, daughter of William Locke and Mary Ann Williams. He, with his family, moved to Cleveland when he was a child.

In his early years, he had the job of lighting the street lamps in Cleveland, as he is shown in this picture.

Claude received his education at Western Reserve School of Medicine, graduating in 1905. He set up his practice on Lorain Road and West 65th street, and continued to practice here until his death in 1931.

He married first, Harriet Neal. She, and his first son, Thomas Neal, died together in 1914, and are buried in Fields Cemetery in North Ridgeville, Ohio.

Claude with Indian Tribe
Click for larger image

This picture of Claude (man on left holding Indian child’s hand) was taken at Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde, Colorado, we thought!  The black and white photo toward the bottom of the link is the same group of houses as in the background of my grandfather’s picture.  Until very recently, we had no idea about anything in the picture.  Can anyone help identify the Indians in the picture?  We have since learned the following:

“I looked at the photo you included and realized immediately that it was not taken in Mesa Verde National Park. However, Mesa Verde does have a significance with the site because what you see in the background is a collage of sites found in the park. What happened is that Virginia McClurg, a reporter for a Denver newspaper and later socialite, worked to get Mesa Verde declared a national park. She was very successful in her efforts, but then another Washington socialite, Lucy Peabody, became equally involved. Virginia wanted her husband to be the first superintendent and decided that the only way that could happen was for Mesa Verde to become a state park instead of a national one. Lucy Peabody really wanted Mesa Verde to become a national park and was more successful in her lobbying efforts. Virginia pulled out of the effort at the last minute. She was upset and decided to build her own cliff dwellings. She actually used Cliff Palace, Balcony House, Square Tower House, and Spruce Tree House (all large dwellings in the park) as backdrop examples and took stones from the park to help in the building of her site. She located the site in Manitou Springs, Colorado. It is still a private tourist attraction open to the public. It was built around 1906 or 1907. That would probably work out well with the dates of your grandfather's birth. I do not know who the Indian people are, but they could easily be Plains people or even Ute people. The man on the left has a face reminiscent of a Ute person.” 

This explanation was received from Linda Martin, Supv. Park Ranger, who very kindly replied to my question.  I thank her for taking the time to reply.

Mesa Verde Museum



The following is from the Encyclopedia of American Biography -- Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of A NOTABLE ADVISORY BOARD -- Published under the Direction of The American Historical Society, Inc., New York, 1935

DIFFORD, CLAUDE LeROY, M. D., Physician -- The life of a physician, in its quiet service to humanity, often overshadows the lives of persons who are more in the public eye, for the real measure of greatness, after all, lies not in public acclaim but in public benefit.

Dr. Claude LeRoy Difford, well known to his medical colleagues in Cleveland, Ohio, for the excellence of his professional training and accomplishment, lived a life literally filled with usefulness to his fellowmen; and though in years that life was all too short, measuring but fifty years, it was large in effort; and this effort, with the sense of duty done, was its own reward, the only reward sought by Dr. Difford.

Born at Olmstead Falls, Ohio, May 26, 1879, Dr. Difford died in Cleveland, February 22, 1931. He was a son of Albert S. and Mary Jane (Locke) Difford, who removed to Cleveland when he was a child, so that always in after years he considered Cleveland as his native place. Here he received his preparatory academic training, then entered Western Reserve University, and from Western Reserve School of Medicine took the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1905. For his period of internship he went to New York City, where he was connected with the Lying-In Hospital, afterward coming to Cleveland to serve in Lakeside Hospital. In 1908 he opened offices in the West 65th Street and Lorain Avenue district, where he practiced continuously until the time of death. His practice, large from the commencement of Dr. Difford's activity, was of a general character. Ethical always, constantly alert to the latest methods at the profession's command, he gave his patients the best within himself, as a healer of minds as well as of bodies; such was his ability to exact trust from a patient that others declared his presence alone accounted for fifty percent or the cure. At this remark Dr. Difford would smile, yet its truth cannot be doubted. Constant study kept him abreast of the latest professional science; he performed research of value to his fellow-workers and to the world and frequently was asked to write on special subjects for the press of the medical profession. Of a genial and warming nature, he made friends readily, and their esteem for him deepened with further acquaintance. He took pleasure in social diversion, yet could spare little time for purely social pleasures, preferring to give his leisure hours to his home.



Dr. Difford married (first) Harriett Neal, a nurse of Lakeside Hospital, who was also a native of Olmstead Falls. After her death he married (second) Loretta Eggleston. Mrs. Loretta Difford is a well-known singer, being soloist in the Lakewood Presbyterian Church. Of this union were born two children. Mrs. Difford continues to reside in Cleveland with her children.

The doctor belonged to the Lakewood (Ohio) Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was also a member of several medical societies. Public-spirited, he contributed much to the development of Cleveland, as a private citizen interested in his community's advancement, and was ready at all times to help in programs with that end in view. He Well merited the respect and friendliness with which he was universally regarded, never at any time doing anything to disappoint those who gave him their confidence. An accurate judge of men, he found men good and deemed none of them unworthy of a second chance when confronted with error and the will to improve. He was charitable in thought, free and open of mind, slow to anger, ready always to take the fair and straightforward course, a man to inspire others to better things. The influence of his life upon those among whom he lived was of incalculable value, not only as physician and healer but as an example and an inspiration.


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