My research may not be completely correct and should be taken as a work in progress. Please do your own fact-checking. I welcome collaboration from any distant relatives.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

52 Ancestors #35 - Revolutionary War Surgeon

Originally published in July, 2012 ~

Dr. James Freeland is my 5th great-grandfather. He lived and practiced in Sutton, Massachusetts . my 4th great-grandfather Dr. Timothy Carter trained with him and became his son-in-law when he married Dr. Freeland's daughter, Frances. Dr. Freeland lived in the northern part of Sutton that became the town of Millbury in the early 1800s. 

Showing James Freeland, surgeon in the First Brigade of the Continental Army
Col. Ebenezer Learned
An overview of the service of James Freeland
I found several sources of information relating to Dr. James Freeland's service during the Revolutionary War period. The pamphlet Jonathan Holman, a revolutionary colonel provides some context for the early war period. If you really want to stretch the familial bonds, Jonathan Holman is my half 3rd cousin, 8 times removed! 

"In comparison with other towns of Worcester County at the beginning of the struggle for American Independence, the old town of Sutton stands well. Resistance to British aggression had often been contemplated by the hardy yeoman of this hill-crowned island town. Within her borders were many veterans of the old French war who had done valiant service at Crown Point, Lake George, and had seen the standards of France go down before the victorious army of England...Hopes of better things had led him [Joonathan Holman] with others to wait for wrong to be righted, but the hand of oppression was not to be easily shaken off. the clouds of a coming storm gathered thick and fast as the months rolled on. Before the shot was fired whose echo spread far and wide, the men of old Sutton stood ready for the call. It came at last, and the minute men of the North and South Parishes saddled their steeds and spurred for Lexington. they had been tutored by one who knew by experience the grim-visaged war meant death to many strong brave hearts. That tutor was Jonathan Holman." 

Ebenezer Learned is my first cousin, 8 times removed

A firm friend of Col. Holman at this time was Ebenezer Learned of Oxford, who, though connected to the patriot cause, bravely espoused the side of freedom. With Jonathan Holman he had bravely fought in the war with France, and had participated in the glory that came by the conquest of Canada. In 1775, Learned was early in the field. As a trusted officer for the regiment which he had organized he sought Jonathan Holman; the latter was chosen major, and the others he threw a line of brave hearts at Bunker Hill to shield patriot homes near that shrine of liberty. For several months Holman served in the region of Boston, preparing for the great conflict he saw was sure to come. An occasional visit to his home in Sutton was made, to look after the business interests intrusted [sic] to others.

From what I've pieced together, James Freeland served several short enlistments and also participated in town affairs relating to the war efforts. He started in 1775 at Roxbury and then went to Rhode Island, the unit was then during the siege of Boston, his unit was stationed on Dorchester Heights until the British evacuated the city. His final active service came when his regiment was ordered to New York to assist in the Battle of Saratoga. After the British surrendered, he went back to Sutton. Also from the Jonathan Holman paper: 

In 1776 Boston was evacuated. In the Rhode Island Plantations this year the regiment of Holman did effective service with other troops from Massachusetts. Gen. William Heath of Massachusetts had been ordered to New York. On the 30th of March he arrived in that city, and under the date of July 17th he writes as follows in his diary; 'A regiment of militia, under the command of Col. Holman, arrived from Massachusetts.' Thus we find the whereabouts of our hero at that time. On 27th of August of that year his regiment received a baptism of fire near New York that steeled its men for harder conflicts to follow. the result was disastrous to the American arms but the spirit of liberty yet burned bright in the men from Worcester County and elsewhere.In October the regiment of Holman met the foe at White Plains. Although no great advantage was gained, it nobly bore its part in the fray. The entire command of the Sutton officer received the commendations of his superiors.

There were a number of documents where he was listed as the doctor who certified someone unfit for service. This is for his Col. Ebenezer Learned and shows Dr. Sutton's signature. 

From Centennial History of the Town of Millbury (bold is mine):

On March 1, 1779, Ebenezer Waters, John Elliot and Nehemiah Gale were chosen on the "Committee of Correspondence, Inspection and Safety." On June 21, Lieut. William King, Ensign Nathaniel Carriel, Lieut. Joseph Elliot, Jr., Samuel Waters, deacon Willie Hall, John Harbeck, Joseph Waters, Dr. James Freeland, James Bond, Nehemiah Gale, and deacon Asa Waters were chosen as a committee "to procure men to serve in the Continental Army. 

On April 10, Lieut. William King, Ensign Nathaniel Carriel, Lieut. Joseph Elliot, Jr., Mr.Samuel Waters, deacon Willie Hall, Mr. John Harback, Mr. Joseph Waters, Dr. James Freeland, Mr. Jonas Bond, Nehemiah Gale, and deacon Asa Waters were chosen as a committee to settle with the nine-months men, since their time had nearly expired.

On May 1, Dea. Tarrant Putnam, Lieut. Wm. King, deacon Asa Waters, Capt. March Chase, Col. Jonathan Holman, Col. Timothy Sibley, Elder Jeremiah Barstow, Dr. James Freeland, and Elder Daniel Greenwood wee selected as a committee "to consider the Constitution and make a report to the Town of what they do approve of and what they do not approve of." - I am assuming this is the Constitution for the state of Massachusetts since the national Constitution was still about a decade away from being written.

A requisition was made upon Sutton for thirty-three thousand six hundred forty pounds of beef. Capt. March Chase, Mr. John Hall, and Mr. Moses Hovey were chosen as a committee to purchase the amount and fifty thousand, four hundred sixty pounds were appropriated to meet the expense. At nearly the same time a call came from the General Court asking the town to furnish thirty-one men to serve for three years in the Continental Army or during the war. Col. Timothy Sibley, Capt. Abijah Burbank, Capt. John Putnam, Capt. Andrew Elliot, Lieut. Solomon Leland, Mr. Abraham Batchellor, Jr., Dr. James Freeland and Mr. Ebenezer Waters were chosen as a committee "to class out the town into classes in order to procure the thirty-one men for the Continental Army." At an adjourned meeting, the town "voted that if any person in any of the classes refuses to pay his proportion as assessed in the class he belongs to he shall be assessed his proportion as he was in said class and half as much more."  - I guess that's one way to get people to pay their taxes!

Dr. Freeland died in 1796 and is buried with his wife, Mehitable (Mellen) Freeland in the Dwinnel Cemetery in Millbury. This is from the Centennial of the Town of Millbury:

The Dwinnel cemetery is located close to the northerly road running from Millbury to Auburn, about a mile from the Greenwood Crossing of the Providence & Worcester Railroad. This quiet spot is the resting place of many members of early families, including Revolutionary soldiers, both officers and privates, as well as soldiers in other wars. the place is now but little used. Among the soldiers of the Revolution here buried are Solomon Dwinnel, Joshua Carter, Robert Goddard, Dr. James Freeland, Capt. James Greenwood, the Hollands, the Bancrofts, and the Bonds. the place was neglected until 1861, when on June 21st, the proprietors deeded it to the town for one hundred dollars ($100). " 

Dr. James Freeland died Oct 5, 1796, aged 52
Mehitable, wife of Dr.James Freeland, died March 1792, aged 44

Fold3.com - images of records relating to Dr. James Freeland's service
Centennial history of the town of Millbury, Massachusetts including vital statistics, 1850-1899. Published under the direction of a committee appointed by the town. 1915. Accessed 2012 on Open Library.
Jonathan Holman, a revolutionary colonel. A paper read before the Worcester society of antiquity, December 5th, 1893. by John C. Crane. 1884. Accessed 2012 on Open Library

Dr. James Freeland & Mehitable Mellen
Dr.Timothy Carter & Frances Freeland
Elias Mellen Carter & Rebecca Ann Williamson
Augustus Mellen Carter & Rebecca Williamson
Edward Mellen Carter & Fannie May Capen
T. Richard Carter - my grandfather

Ebenezer Learned - son of Col. Ebenezer Learned, Sr.; son of Isaac Learned, Jr. - my 8th great-grandfather - a branch of my Carter line

Jonathan Holman's great-great grandfather was the second husband of my 10th great-grandmother, Amy Glass - a branch of my Cotton line.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

52 Ancestors #34 - A Love Letter to a Future Wife

Have you ever wondered what dating was like in the 17th century New England colonies? Sometimes one can find some correspondence to give a little insight. I found this letter in this book. It is from my 9th great-grandfather, John Capen, to his second wife and my 9th great-grandmother, Mary Bass, while they were courting. He had been married once before so that may have been a reason he seems to be pressing her for an answer in the section I have marked in bold. 

To his Deare and Louing and much respected friend Mary Bass, at her father house in Brantrey, giue this I pray you.

My kind loue and affection to you remembred; haueinge not as convenient opertunety to see and speake wth you doe oft as I could desire. I therefore make bold to take opertunety as occasione offers it selfe to visset you wth my letter, desiring yt it may find acceptance wth you, as a token of my loue to you; as I can assure you yt yours haue found from me; for as I came home from your faithfull messenger, wch was welcom vnto me, and for wch I kindly thank you, and do desire yt as it is ye first: so yt it may not be ye last, but yt it may be as good a seed wch will bring forth more frute: and for your good counsel and aduise in your letter specified, I doe accept, and do desire yt we may still commend ye casse to god, for direction and clearing vp of our way as I hope wee haue hethertoo done; and yt our long considerations may at ye next time bring forth firme conclussions, I mean verbally though not formally. Sweetharte I haue given you a large ensample of patience, I hope you will learne this instruction from ye same, namely, to show ye like toward me if euer occasion be offered for futuer time, and for ye present, condescendency vnto my request; thus wth my kind loue remembred to yor father and mother and Brothers and sisters wth thanks for all ther kindness wch haue been vndeseruing in me I rest, leaueing both them and vs vnto ye protection and wise direction of ye almight.

My mother remembers her loue vnto yor father and mother; as also vnto your selfe though as it vnknown.
                           Yors to command in any thing I pleas.

Ffrom Dor. Ye 5th of ye 3 mo. 1647             John Capen

In the end, they said "I do" on September 20, 1647. 

John Capen & Mary Bass
James Capen & Hannah Lawrence
James Capen & Elizabeth Call
James Capen & Sarah Pinson
Thomas Capen & Mary Wyman
Thomas Capen & Mary Abbott
Timothy Capen & Sarah K. Abbott
Edward Abbott Capen & Mary Jane Abbott
Fanny May Capen & Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Edward Abbott Capen & Mary Jane Abbott were second cousins - Timothy Capen's sister, Deborah was Mary Jane's grandmother. Deborah married William Ackley - their daughter, Sarah Ackley married John Abbott and they were the parents of Mary Jane. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #33 - The Price of Desertion

William Hedges married first in England and the name of his first wife is unknown. He emigrated to America and settled first in Lynn, where he was made a freeman on May 14, 1634. He moved to Sandwich and then to Yarmouth. He was involved in a number of court cases during his lifetime involving everything from keeping a hog unringed to letting an Indian have a gun. His will was dated June 30, 1670 and his executor, son Elisha, was called to appear at Plymouth to prove the will on July 5, 1670. 

When Captain William Hedges of Yarmouth, MA drew up his will, he left his second wife only 12 pence. It seems that Blanche, widow of Tristram Hull, had deserted Captain Hedges. His inventory estimated the value of his estate at four hundred eighty-seven pounds and sixteen shillings, of which, Blanche was given twelve pence! All other beneficiaries start with "To my beloved..." but here is the part referring to Blanche.  

"And whereas Blanche my Wife hath dealt falcly with mee in the Covenant of Marriage in departing from mee, therefore I doe in this my Last Will and Testament give her twelve pence, and alsoe what I have Received of hers my will is shal be Returned to her againe." 

William Hedges & First Wife
Elizabeth Hedges & Jonathan Barnes
Mary Barnes & John Carver
Mary Carver & Moses Barrows
Moses Barrows & Deborah Totman
Asa Alden Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood, Jr. 
Asa Freeman Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Nina King Ellingwood & George Gibbs
Annie Florilla Gibbs & Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

Sunday, September 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #32 - Humphrey Atherson's Quaker Curse?

First published on March 16, 2012 ~
Humphrey Atherton, my 9th Great Grandfather, was a prominent man in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He became assistant governor and in that capacity he was part of the prosecution and execution of Quakers who had been banished from the colony by law. Sources provide modern researchers with two Quaker trials associated with Humphrey Atherton. I started researching because I struck by the unusual manner of death described in accounts online. 

Humphrey Atherton died September 16th (or 17th), 1661 after being thrown from his horse. Various accounts list the reason for the fall as either the horse tripped over a cow or was startled by a cow. Either way he suffered a serious head injury that resulted in his death. Wikipedia provided a starting point for my research and provided most of the pictures and Google books was a great resource for checking original sources. 

First Case: 
Mary Dyer was a Quaker who was executed in 1660 for repeatedly returning to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in violation of a law banning Quakers. Mary and her husband, William, were supporters of Anne Hutchinson (not a Quaker) and followed her to the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It is unclear why Mary returned to Massachusetts Bay Colony as a Quaker. She was in the company of William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson. They were caught once and warned that the punishment for getting caught again would be severe. Stevenson said he felt called and sent by God to be in Boston and both he and Mary returned and were soon jailed. Mary refused pleas of her family to recant. She was spared from gallows by a last minute reprieve on October 27, 1659. Stevenson was not so fortunate and was hanged. Still Mary chose to disobey orders and returned to Boston again in May of 1660. This time there was no reprieve and she was hanged. Humphrey Atherton was on the court that sentenced her and present at her execution. "General Atherton cracked the silence, 'She hangs there like a flag,' he said." (Plimpton, p.188)

Wenlock Christison was another Quaker who repeatedly returned to Massachusetts despite banishment. He was put on trial in May 1661 and sentenced to death. However, the law was changed before his sentence was carried out. Several sources state that Wenlock Christison warned Atherton that he would soon face God's judgment. 

"Wenlock Christison Defying the Court"

Joseph Besse, Quaker author, provides the following account of Atherton's death: 
"Humfray Adderton, who at the trial of Wenlock Christison, did, as it were, bid defiance to Heaven, by saying to Wenlock, 'You pronounce Woes and Judgements, and those that are gone before you pronounced Woes and Judgements; but the Judgements of the Lord God are not upon us yet,' was suddenly surprised: having been, on a certain day, exercising his men with much pomp and ostentation, he was returning home in the evening, near the place where they usually loosed the Quakers from the cart, after they had whipped them, his horse, suddenly affrighted, threw him with such violence, that he instantly died; his eyes being dashed out of his head, and his brains coming out of his nose, his tongue hanging out at his mouth, and the blood running out at his ears: Being taken up and brought into the Courthouse, the place where he had been active in sentencing the innocent to death, his blood ran through the floor, exhibiting to the spectators a shocking instance of the Divine vengeance against a daring and hardened persecutor; that made a fearful example of that divine judgment, which, when forewarned of, he had openly despised, and treated with disdain.' "  (Besse, Woodward)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow includes the following in the final scene of his play, John Endicott. Governor Endicott is speaking to Richard Bellingham and asks if it is true that Humphrey Atherton is dead. Bellingham replies. "His horse took fright, and threw him to the ground, so that his brains were dashed about the street." Endicott's response is "I am not superstitious, Bellingham, and yet I tremble lest it may have been a judgment on him." 

So was it God's judgment for Atherton's persecution of the Quakers that caused his death? Was it a clumsy horse? Was it a wayward cow? Whichever scenario you prefer to believe, it is an unusual death. 

Humphrey Atherton is buried in the Dorchester Old North Burying Place in Boston. 

Humphrey Atherton & Mary 
Mary Atherton & William Billings
Mary Billings & John Whiting
Jemima Whiting & Jonathan Wight
Joseph Wight & Abigail Ware
Abigail Wight & Enoch Spurr
Roxanna Spurr & Edward Stanley
Mary Frances Stanley & Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward M. Carter & Fannie Mae Capen
T. Richard Carter


Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. John Endicott. Act V Scene III.

The following were accessed using Google Books: 
Woodward, Harlow Elliot. Epitaphs from the Old Burying Ground in Dorchester. Boston Highlands. 1869. p.6 

Mary Dyer: biography of a rebel Quaker by Ruth Talbot Plimpton p.188.

Besse, Joseph. William Sewel. The history of the rise, increase, and progress of the Christian people called Quakers: intermixed with several remarkable occurrences. J. Sowle. 1722. p. 343

52 Ancestors #31 - Capt. Anthony Brackett

Capt. Anthony Brackett lived at Falmouth (now Portland), Maine. 

History of Hampton, New Hampshire, Joseph Dow
"On the 9th of August, 1676, some Indians killed one of his cows, and he complained to a chief, named Symon, who promised to bring the culprits to him. Two days later Symon appeared, early in the morning at the head of a party, and said: 'These are the Indians that killed the cow.' Then they entered the house, seized the guns, and asked Capt. Brackett whether he would go into captivity, or be killed. He preferring captivity, the Indians bound him, his wife, and a negro, and carried them and five children away as prisoners. In November following, Captain and Mrs. Brackett, one child and the negro made their escape in a leaky canoe. The wife, Ann, died soon after, and the remainder of Capt. Brackett's life is identified with Hampton."

"When Col. Church had the memorable fight with the Indians at Casco, Sept. 21, 1689, Capt. Brackett was killed. After this, his wife and children went to her father's at Hampton, but finally returned to their possessions." 

Children with Ann Mitton:
Anthony, Seth, Zachariah, Mary, Eleanor, Keziah, and Jane

Children with Susannah Drake:
James, Zipporah, Zachariah, Anne, Sarah, and Susannah

9th GG
Capt. Anthony & Susannah (Drake) Brackett
Zachariah Brackett
Sarah Brackett
Thomas Sawyer
Hannah Sawyer
Catherine Hilton
Loann Churchill
Anna J. Rowe
Eva D. Hayes
Linona A. Yates - my grandmother

9th GG
Capt. Anthony & Susannah (Drake) Brackett
Zachariah Brackett
Sarah Brackett
Amy Sawyer - sister of Thomas
Samuel Hilton
Catherine Hilton - see above

9th GG
Capt. Anthony & Susannah (Drake) Brackett
Sarah Brackett
Samuel Proctor
Humility Proctor
Hezekiah Moody
Dolly Estes Moody
Charles G. Blake
Harriet May Blake
Clayton L. Blake - my grandfather

52 Ancestors - A Fickle Female Loses Her Love

This story comes from Dow's History of Hampton, New Hampshire. He doesn't tell where the story comes from but I thought it was interesting. 

Maurice (or Morris) Hobbs, according to tradition, left his native country under the following singular circumstances. He had been paying his addresses to a young lady, who, from some cause not mentioned, turned him off; and thereupon, he determined to emigrate to America. When the lady knew of it, she relented, and, knowing he would pass her residence as he proceeded to embark, placed herself in his view, hoping to bring about a reconciliation. To her grief, she found him inexorable; and although she accosted him with the affectionate enquiry, "Whither goest thou, Maurice?" yet he deigned not to turn his head or to look upon her. And they never saw each other more. 

Morris came to Hampton, New Hampshire between 1640 and 1645. He married my 10th great grandaunt, Sarah, daughter of William Eastow. They had ten children. 

I always wonder about these family "stories" and how embellished they are. What is the story from the side of the young lady? 

William Eastow
Mary Eastow - sister of Sarah (Eastow) Hobbs - my 10th great grandmother
Ephraim Marston
Jeremiah Marston
Elisha Marston
Mary Marston
Hannah Prescott
Mary Edgecomb
Benjamin Perley Philbrick
Lizzie Philbrick
Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother