Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Genealogy Resolutions

This is more a goal-setting exercise since I'm not a big fan of resolutions. I am more likely to keep plugging away at a goal but once a resolution is broken, it seems like my mind goes, "oh well" and it's all over. Several other genealogy bloggers have posted resolutions for 2013 and I'm hoping the goals give me more focus than my typical ADHD approach to genealogy. I tend to start researching one thing and then some interesting story/web site catches my eye and I'm off on a tangent that may not even pertain to my own family tree. So here are my resolutions:
  1. Research with focus: Choose a relative and conduct systematic research...and document the research steps taken so I don't accidentally re-do fruitless searches. 
  2. Blog with regularity: I will strive for at least 1 post per week and 100 posts for the year. I didn't start until late February and have a little over 80 posts for 2012 so this seems realistic. My posts seem to come in clumps with some long gaps of inactivity. This will be difficult to remedy given the other demands on my time but I'll make an effort. Does anyone have any good ideas on how to handle the busy times when your blog takes a backseat to life? 
  3. Trim the tree: I will continue to work on documenting and verifying my ancestors with an eye toward eliminating errors. 
  4. Solve at least one brick wall: The first step will be to create a blog post about a few of my stubborn brick walls in hopes of finding someone who can help with suggestions or information to further my research. 
  5. Pictures: I want to work on scanning pictures that may be in the possession of various family members to preserve them for future generations. Hopefully, I will also get some good stories from talking to the relatives while the pictures are being scanned. 
I think five is a good number for my first attempt at annual genealogy goals so I'll stop here. I could go on and on but then I think I would just set myself up for failure. Stay tuned for progress updates! Thanks to Vintage Kin for the clip art! 

Need some inspiration? Check out these links.
Legacy Family Tree Resolutions
Cousin Bill West's Review of his 2012 Goals
Olive Tree Genealogy 2012 Resolutions
10 Genealogy Resolutions

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Real Tea Party

On December 16, 1773, a group of colonists participated in one of the most significant protests in American history. They dressed up like Indians and dumped 342 crates of tea belonging to the British East India Co. into Boston harbor. Contrary to what many believe (including those who have co-opted the name of this event to label their political philosophy), this was not a protest over taxes. It was protesting a British Law, the Tea Act, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea for less than the colonial smugglers. This would help save the company from ruin because few colonists were buying tea from this company when they could buy it cheaper from colonial merchants. The company's investors were not happy with all the unsold tea piling up in warehouses. This is the aspect of the revolution that is rarely discussed. The real issue was not the taxes. Most of the the taxes, such as the tax on sugar, were significantly reduced after the French & Indian War. The issue was freedom of trade and the restrictions placed on the colonies under the mercantile system. For decades the British had turned a blind eye to enforcing their laws but the debt from the war with France ended this period of salutary neglect. This Tea Party movement was protesting a law that gave tax cuts to the wealthy and big businesses and hurt the average working-class family by raising the prices on the goods they needed. Hmmm....

Back to the Boston Tea party...fearing punishment, many of the participants fled to avoid arrest and their families tried to keep their involvement a secret. According to this web site, 116 have been identified. The first name on the list is that of my 6th great-grandfather, Francis Ackley. He was captured and imprisoned but at some point he escaped and found his way back to Boston. He fought and died in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 19, 1775. That's quite a story. I'm still trying to find more details and to track down any connections I have to other names on the list of participants.

Francis Ackley & Tabitha Bull
Samuel Ackley & Elizabeth Moody
William Ackley & Deborah Capen
Sarah Ackley & John Abbott
Mary Jane Abbott & Edward Abbott Capen
Fannie May Capen & Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog Caroling

Footnote Maven is a genealogy blogger I discovered last spring. While following her blog and her Facebook posts, I have become a huge fan of her indomitable spirit, sharp wit, and wicked sense of humor. This has been a very tough year for her dealing with complications from knee replacement surgery and I wish her a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2013. One of her traditions is blog caroling. Writers post the lyrics to their favorite Christmas carol and she links them to her site. It's a fun way to share some holiday spirit and discover some wonderful genealogy bloggers.

I chose to share "Away in a Manger" in part because it's one of my favorites but it also links to my family history. Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger were the first two Christmas songs I remember learning as a child. Growing up in Bethel, Maine, a highlight of the holiday season was the living nativity put on each year -  featuring a real family with a newborn, real animals, costumed shepherds, angels, and a choir singing Away in a Manger (and other carols). It was impressive and it's something I miss. If you're in the Bethel area on December 23rd, you should check it out.

Away in a manger
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus 
Lay down His sweet head

The stars in the sky
Look down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side 
'Til morning is nigh

Be near me, Lord Jesus
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray

Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Uncomfortable History

While looking for news articles about my family, I came across this column of Bethel news and was shocked by the juxtaposition of the mundane with the shocking - the revelation that the KKK had a meeting (apparently well attended) in the church my family attended!! I transcribed the entire column to show the matter-of-fact reporting -indicating that a Klan meeting is no more remarkable than finishing haying or recovering from surgery. 

As a history teacher, I know the history of the Klan in the 1920s and even know there was a considerable presence in Maine. It was part of the backlash against Catholic immigrants. The Maine Memory Network has some pictures and a brief history titled "Uncomfortable History." I can't help but wonder if any of my family attended the meeting. I'd like to think they didn't but it's probably easier since no attendance records were kept. I haven't seen any evidence that Bethel formed a chapter but it is likely that at least a few people were associated with chapters in other towns or the state-wide organization. Maine was a one of the states with a large Klan presence and supposedly they helped elect a governor and the mayor of Portland. I've linked some additional sources of information at the end of this post. The bold print was added by me for emphasis. 

The Lewiston Daily Sun - July 30, 1924 
Bethel, July 29 - The young people's department of the M.E. Sunday School will hold a social Wednesday evening in the dining room of the church.

Wade Thurston has finished cutting hay on the Augustus Carter place and has begun cutting his own hay. 

The auditorium of the Methodist church was comfortably filled last night by an attractive audience gathered to listen to an exposition of the tenets and principles of the order of the Ku Klux Klan. Dr. Leonard, of Boston, who is touring Maine lecturing for the order was the speaker. Literature regarding the women's organization, the Kamelia, was distributed. 

Perry Lapham is so far recovered from his recent surgical operation as to resume work at the Merrill Springer Co. - Miss Julia Stockbridge.

More resources
Uncomfortable History
More from Maine Memory Network
KKK in Brunswick newspapers
PBS - Portland Maine elected Klan mayor

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Let...Thanksgiving Bee Made For All Men"

"Let supplication and Prayer and Thanksgiving bee made for all men...Remembrance of the good done to us...Confessing God to be the Author and giver of it...Cheerfulnesse, being glad of an occasion to praise him, and doing it gladly, with joy"  ~ Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson, minister at St. George of the Martyr Church in Canterbury never came to the colonies but his ideas reflected the ideals of the early New England immigrants

Wilson was the author of A Christian Dictionarie. The dictionary has been used to provide clues regarding the Pilgrim's religious motives and it allows scholars to have some idea of how Pilgrims interpreted the Bible and used its words.The dictionary is listed in inventories of the estates of famous Pilgrims - William Bradford, Samuel Fuller and Myles Standish. Thomas Shingleton, John Kemble, and Robert Cushman were members of Wilson's congregation in Canterbury and later moved to Leiden and joined the Pilgrim Leiden Church. The Pilgrims were serious about studying the Bible and used a variety of books to help them in their studies. Wilson's dictionary was a best-seller and Dr. Ian Green called it the most popular Bible study aid. Given the importance of Bible study in the daily lives of the Pilgrims, this dictionary must have been highly regarded. 

So what does all of this have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, Wilson used his own definitions of everyday words and included quotes from the Scriptures to provide examples. Wilson's dictionary offered a religious definition of thanksgiving that included “An acknowledgement and confessing with gladnesse of the benefits and deliverances of God…to the praise of his Name" along with the quote that starts this post. The Pilgrims make repeated references to thanksgiving and it's pretty cool that one of my ancestors had such influence on their worship and daily lives. 

Robert Cushman (a member of the Pilgrim group in Leiden) called him "a very excellent preacher in Canterbury, who was both a lover of goodnesse and good men." 

Historian Peter Clark wrote the Thomas Wilson was "probably the most distinguished preacher in early Jacobean Kent [who preached] themes from middle-of-the-road Calvinism." 

10th Great-Grandfather
Rev. Thomas Wilson & Christian Ower
Theophilus Wilson & Elizabeth
Seaborn Wilson & David Fiske
Anna Fiske & Timothy Carter
Benjamin Carter & Sarah Stone
Timothy Carter & Sarah Walker
Timothy Carter & Frances Freeland
Elias M. Carter & Rebecca Williamson
Augustus M. Carter & Mary Frances Stanley
Edward M. Carter & Fannie May Capen
T. Richard Carter & F. Lyndell Cotton

Monday, November 5, 2012

Politics Will Make You Crazy

Timothy Jarvis Carter was born in Bethel, Maine to Dr. Timothy and Frances (Freeland) Carter. He was the older brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, Elias Mellen Carter. He died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 38. His good friend and fellow Maine represenatative, Jonathan Cilley, had been killed in a duel on February 24, 1838. Timothy was so upset over the death of his friend that he went insane and died on March 14, less than a month afterwards.

From the Daily Ohio Statesman, March 21, 1838
We have but little Express news. Both Houses of Congress attended the funeral of the Hon. Timothy J. Carter, a member from Maine, on Saturday last. Mr. Carter was confined to his room at the time of Cilley's murder. On hearing of that fatal deed, he became insensible and never fully recovered. 

From the New Hampshire Patriot, April 9, 1838
DEATH OF HON. T. J. CARTER - The melancholy duty devolves upon us to-day to announce the death of another member of the delegation in Congress from this State. - The Hon. T. J. CARTER is no more. The particulars of his death will be found in the subjoined letter of a correspondent...He was one of the most pleasant and amiable men living - and was strongly endeared to a large circle of personal and political friends, who will deeply regret his early death. Although not in the habit of participating in debate, he possessed a sound and discriminating mind - and his opinions were entitled to, as they received, the respectful attention of his friends. 
From out Correspondent
Washington City, Thursday Morning
March 15th, 1838
Dear Sir: - Again the badge of mourning is hanging at the door of Berth's boarding house - the friend, the colleague, the fellow boarder of the martyred Cilley has followed him to the land of shadows - the Hon. Timothy J. Carter is no more. Mr. Carter's health has been feeble for several months past, but, as he himself informed me within the past month, he was getting better, and until the day that consigned his noble hearted colleague to the tomb, he was regularly in his place in the House. On that day, while the parties were out, I conversed with him while in hope that the affair would be amicably settled and that both parties would return unharmed! Alas! had that hope been realized, Maine would not now be called to mourn over two of her most upright and promising young men. The shock occasioned by such an effect upon Mr. Carter that his brain became disordered, and I have been told that in his delirium his constant idea was that he had been challenged to fight a duel. He continued to lose his strength gradually, under the effects of his disease, until last night, when death terminated his sufferings. With a sad heart do I reflect upon what has occurred here within the past three weeks, and with feelings in my bosom that I dare not trust my pen to express I leave this melancholy subject with a hope and conviction, that these mournful events will have the moral effect which shall cause the whole nation to frown down a practice only worthy of barbarians in a barbarous age. 

From the National Aegis, March 28, 1838
The following beautiful eulogium, upon the character and virtues of this gentleman was pronounced by Mr. Evans, in announcing his death to the House of Representatives, of which he was a member. 
Mr. Speaker - These bades of mourning which we still wear denote that death has been in the midst of us. Again his arrow has flown; and again has the fatal shaft been sent, with unerring aim, into a small and already broken rank. it is my melancholy office to announce that since the last adjournment of the House of Representatives, Timothy Jarvis Carter, then one of its members, from the State of Maine, has surrendered up to the Being who gave it, a life upon which many anxious hopes depended, and for whose preservation many an ardent prayer had gone up to the Father of all spirits. He died last evening at 10 o'clock, at his lodgings in this city, after a sickness of not very protracted duration, but of great and excruciating intensity of suffering and agony. The ways of a righteous Providence are inscrutable, and while we bow in submission, we are not yet oppressed with deep and solemn awe. 
Our deceased friend and colleague, was a native of the State and the district which, so lately, he represented in this branch of Congress; and he, therefore, brought with him the confidence, largely bestowed, of those who had known him from his earliest years. Well did he deserve it. His character for probity, integrity, uprightness, morality, was free from spot or blemish. His principles were well founded. Loving the country of his birth, and its institutions, with all his heart, he pursued with fidelity such measures as his judgment deemed best calculated to promote the welfare of the one and the durability of the other. He was a lawyer by profession, faithful, just, discriminating, attentive, humane, in its practice. 
Of manners, mild, courteous, affable; and a temper, kind, conciliating, patient, he won respect and attachment, even from those who differed from him in matters of opinion; and probably there lives not human being who has a single resentment, or one unkind recollection to bury in his grave. He has gone in the strength of manhood, and the maturity of his intellect, the road that all must once pass: - "calcanda semel, via, lethi."
The ties that bound him to life are severed forever, as all human ties must be severed. 
"Liuquenda tellus, et domus, et amaus
Uxor; neque harem quas celis, arboruia
Te practer lavisas cupressos
Ulla, broven dominum secuffiur"
Although when his eyes opened for the last time upon the earth and the sky, they fell not upon his own native hills; though the sod which will cover him will not freshen in the same influences which clothe them in verdure and beauty; though he died far from home, the companions and the brothers of his childhood were with him, - the sharer of his joys, the solace of his griefs, stood by him, and the hand which could best do it assuaged the bitter pains of parting life. The last earthly sounds which fell upon his ear were tones of sympathy and kindness, and affection, and support - tones which ceased not, even when they vainly strove to pierce the cold and leaded ear of death. Tears shall flow copiously, and deep sighs be heaved over his lifeless form; tears not more scalding, sighs not deeper drawn, nor mingled with any bitter recollections - any unavailing regrets. 
If human means could have availed - if devoted, fraternal sympathy and care - if constant, abiding, self-sacrificing affection, triumphing over exhausted nature and bearing up a feeble frame, unconscious of weariness, through long and painful vigils, would have saved his life, he would have been spared to the friends who now deplore his death and to the State and to the country which he served. To that stricken bosom we proffer - alas! How little will it avail! - our sincere sympathy and condolence. He has gone from this place of earthly honors and human distinctions, to a seat in that "House which is not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens." 


Photo Credits -
Newspaper articles accessed on Genealogy Bank

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Surname Saturday - Gawkroger of Platts

One of the more interesting names in my family tree is Gawkroger. Depending on which source one finds, it means something along the lines of "awkward or clumsy" Roger or "left-handed" Roger. Tracking down the Gawkrogers gets interesting as some of the family of immigrants used the surname Platts. Heather Wilkinson Rojo wrote a post about the family last July. Platts is a place name and evidently used to distinguish my ancestors from those of another "awkward/clumsy/left-handed Roger."

Names and History: People, Places, and Things by George Redmond uses the Gawkroger surname to demonstrate the linguistic and social development of a surname (p. 38-39). "In a roll of 1545, for example, six individuals were taxed in Sowerby and two more in Hartshead and Liversedge. It was not a prolific surname but probably more numerous than these figures suggest, for there would be some families who were not sufficiently well off to be included." He goes on to trace the evolution of the name to various aliases that different branches started to use. The name Platts came from a property and the family was said to be "of Platts" and some eventually took Platts as their surname. Another branch of the family lived near Sowerby Bridge and took the surname Brigge. Yet another became Barker - possibly from the northern England word for a tanner. He concludes "The lesson for genealogists is clear, for while they would probably accept that Gaukroger might have such variants as Gawkroger and Gaukrodger, or even Corkroger and Cockroger, they would find it more difficult to to come to terms with aliases such as Barker, Platts, Brigg, Ro(d)gers, Gawke, and even Cockrobin."

Mary Gawkroger was the daughter of Abram and Martha (Riley) Gawkroger. She married John Prescott on April 11, 1629 in Sowerby, Yorkshire, England. The couple went first to Barbadoes and then became one of the first families of Lancaster, Massachusetts.

Mary Prescott married Thomas Sawyer and had a daughter, Mary.
Mary Sawyer married James Houghton and I descend from two of their sons, Ephraim & Thomas.

Ephraim Houghton & Hannah Sawyer
Elisha Houghton & Meriah Pierce
Moses Houghton & Martha Haskell
Sally Houghton & James Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Nina Ellingwood & George Gibbs
Annie Florilla Gibbs & Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton

Thomas Houghton
Hannah Houghton & John Pierce
Meriah Pierce & Elisha Houghton (first cousins, once removed)

Names & History: People, Places, and Things

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Surname Saturday - Ballard & Alcock Descendants Marry

Arresting a witch
In 1692, Elizabeth Ballard contracted a fever that she could not shake despite the best efforts of her doctors. Although Elizabeth lived in Andover, the witchcraft hysteria that was sweeping Salem was spilling over to other communities. It was decided that she must be a victim of witchcraft. Two of the afflicted girls, Ann Putnam and Mary Walcott were summoned to Andover and they fell into fits at the sight of Ann (Alcock) Foster. Ann's mother was Ann Hooker, sister to Rev. Thomas Hooker, founder of Connecticut. The fits were enough to get poor Ann arrested and taken to prison. Having a powerful family didn't help her. Some sources say Joseph Ballard was trying to get the land that belonged to Ann. My grandmother, Fern Lyndell Cotton, is a descendant of Ann Alcock Foster and her husband, my grandfather, T. Richard Carter, is a descendant of Elizabeth Phelps Ballard. 
Salem Witch Trials

Ann was the Ballard's neighbor and a 72 year old widowed mother of five. Her daughter, Hannah, had been brutally murdered by her husband, Hugh Stone, just two years prior. While in jail, Ann claimed she saw the devil several times in the form of a bird but continued to deny the accusations against her. Then Ann's daughter, Mary Lacey, and her granddaughter, also named Mary Lacey, were accused of witchcraft. The elder Mary Lacey decided to admit to being a witch and accuse her mother in an attempt to save her daughter. Next Ann confessed to save her daughter and granddaughter. Ann was convicted and died in jail on December 3, 1693. Her son, Abraham petitioned to clear her name and reimburse the family for the expenses associated with her incarceration and burial. 

Elizabeth Phelps & Joseph Ballard
Joseph Ballard & Rebecca Johnson
Elizabeth Ballard & Thomas Abbott
Aaron Abbott & Sarah Abbott
Sarah K. Abbott & Timothy Capen 
Edward Abbott Capen & Mary Jane Abbott 
Fannie May Capen & Edward M. Carter 
T. Richard Carter - my grandfather

John Alcock - brother of Ann Alcock Foster
Sarah Alcock & John Giddings
Elizabeth Giddings & Mark Haskell
Mark Haskell & Martha Tuttle
Martha Haskell & John Safford
Ruth Safford & Samuel Haskell
Martha Haskell & Moses Houghton
Sally Houghton & James Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Nina Ellingwood & George Gibbs
Annie Gibbs & Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother m. T. Richard Carter

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My DNA Profile started a new DNA testing program that is open by invitation only while it is in Beta testing. Because I've been a customer for quite awhile, I received an email invitation to take part in this program and they were offering a significant discount to those who accepted. Having seen the testing done on Finding Your Roots, the PBS show about celebrity genealogy, I was intrigued to find out what my DNA would say about my ancestors. My own research has shown that most of my ancestors from both my father's and my mother's families came from the British Isles to the American colonies in the early 1600s. While I figured I would have predominantly British ancestry, I was still surprised when the results came back as 100% British Isles.  No traces of intermingling genes with marauding Vikings or Barbarians, no evidence of dalliances with Frenchmen, Germans, or Italians...I seem to be about as white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant as it is possible for one to be. A bit boring to some but it does make tracing ancestors a bit easier. 
It does seem to explain my love for the British Isles. And why it is that I felt so comfortable and at home whenever I've visited England or Scotland. So I'll continue to embrace my ancestors and the culture I love. I'll find diversity in friends to make up for the lack of diversity in my genes. I had a great time last year helping my students trace their family trees to Italy, Scandinavia, and Germany. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Surname Saturday - The Strange Death of Florence Whitridge

Florence Norman was the sister of my 10th great-grandmother, Margaret Norman. They were the daughters of the immigrant, Richard Norman. Florence was born about 1619.  She was married twice, first to John Hart in about 1629 and second to Thomas Whittridge about 1657. Florence took her own life on or shortly before 2 Aug 1672. A coroner’s inquest “appointed upon the sudden death of Flouranc Whiteridg, late wife of Thomas Whitridg of Ipswich, on 2:6:1672 [Aug 2, 1672] found her ‘accessory to her own death by stifling or drowning herself in the water."

From the Memoir of the Rev. William Adams accessed on - see link below.

I went to Ipswich and at Wenham had from Mr. Newman the full relation of ye strange death of Thomas -- Thomas Whitteridge his wife, being a woman of no commendable life was by a fortune-teller told ye she should meet with great trouble, if she escaped with her life; afterward being in great horror, Mr. Richard Hubbard gave her several scriptures to consider of. When he was gone she turned ye Bible the best part of an hour saying there was another scripture if she could find it, which what it was or whether she found it being unknown to others she clapt the Bible too and said she would never look into it more, which by the just judgement of God she never did. At night she told her son, a youth about 12 or 13 years at ye most, yet it wold be as ye fortune teller had said -- the boy desired his mother yet she would not mind what he had said, for he believed that he was a lying fellow, but yet she would mind what was said in the word of God. At this word she flew up saying (as some report) He is come! The door either by her or of itselfe being opened with great violence she ran out. And being presently followed no sight could be had of her, but a shrieking or groaning or both was heard. The next morning there was to be seen a path made thro the thickest places of weeds and briars as if a great timber log had been drawn there which being followed her coat was found therein, and she a little further with her face thrust into a little puddle of water not sufficient to cover all her face, lying dead. Quam inscrutabilia judicia Dei!

I'd love to know more about this colonial era fortune teller. It seems so odd to think about a fortune teller being accepted in Puritan society. And most likely this was not a common occurrence and frowned upon on by majority of the population. Was it a travelling con man? Why did Florence have an interaction with this man? It is likely that the Norman family was not strictly Puritan and perhaps more open to exploring other aspects of spirituality. This is based on various court records that seem to indicate that they were not the best at keeping the Sabbath. Still there are many unanswered questions.

Richard Norman - father of Margaret & Florence
Margaret Norman & Richard Morgan
Samuel Morgan & Elizabeth Dixey
Samuel Morgan & Sarah Herrick
Luke Morgan & Ruth Stone
Luke Morgan & Martha Pulcifer
Samuel Morgan & Judith Dennen
Martha Morgan & William Yates
Moses Yates & Martha Whittle
Gilbert Yates & Laura Emmons
Estes Gilbert Yates & Eva Delphinia Hayes
Linona Alice Yates - my grandmother


Robert Charles Anderson. Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-33 [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2000 The Yates book: William Yates and his descendants: the history and genealogy of William Yates (1722-1868) of Greenwood, Me., [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On the Ledge by Lucy Larcom

Restored unto life by the sun and the breeze!
Rich balsams float down from the resinous trees, 
Stirring into quick health every pulse of the air;
Released once again from imprisoning care, 
At the gate of green pastures my soul lieth free,
And to go in or out is refreshment to me.

Lo, yonder is Paradise! Softly below, 
The river that watereth Eden doth flow!
I behold, through blue gaps in the mountainous west, 
Height ascending on height, the abodes of the blest;
And I cannot tell whether to climb were more sweet
Than to lap me in beauty spread out at my feet.

There sways a white cloud on yon loftiest peak, 
A wind from beyond it is fanning my cheek;
Through the oak and the birch glides a musical shiver, 
A ripple just silvers the dusk of the river.
-- Though I may not know how, each is part of the whole
Perfect flood-tide of peace that is brimming my soul.

Here is shelter and outlook, deep rest and wide room;
The pine woods behind, breathing balm out of gloom;
Before, the great hills over vast levels lean, --
A glory of purple, a splendor of green.
As a new earth and heaven, ye are mine once again.
Ye beautiful meadows and mountains of Maine!
Bethel, ME., September 1879.

Lucy Larcom was born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1824. Her father died while she was young and her mother moved the family to Lowell. Starting at age 11, she worked in the textile mills of Lowell to help support her family. She started writing and her poems caught the attention of John Greenleaf Whittier. This poem describes the natural beauty of my hometown. Bethel is where all my lines converge and where my interest in family history began.

Thank you to cousin Bill West for hosting the Fourth Annual Genealogy Poetry Challenge. Check out his blog at


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Surname Saturday - Carter

Reverend Thomas Carter
According to The History of Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass.: From the Grant of Its Territory to Charlestown in 1640, to the year 1860 by Samuel Sewall, M.A., Reverend Thomas Carter was the first pastor of the church in Woburn. He was born in England and earned two degrees from St. John's College at the University of Cambridge - a Bachelor of Arts in 1629 and a Master of Arts in 1633.  It is interesting to note that he was at Cambridge at the same time as Reverend John Harvard, founder of Harvard College. They became ministers in neighboring communities. 
Main gate of St. John's College - Source: Wikipedia
He was ordained as the minister in Woburn in 1642. Capt. Edward Johnson in Wonder-Working Providence describes the ordination: "After he (Thomas Carter) had exercised in preaching and prayer he greater part of the day, two persons in the name of the Church laid their hands upon his head and said, We ordain thee Thomas Carter to be Pastor of this Church of Christ, then one of the elders present, desired of the Church, continued in prayer unto the Lord for his especial assistance, of this his servant in his work, being a charge of such weighty importance as is the glory of God and the salvation of souls, that the very thought would make a man to tremble in the sense of his own inability to the work." 

Painting by Albert Thompson - Hangs in Winn Memorial Library, Woburn, MA - Source: Wikipedia

 The town of Woburn gave Thomas Carter a house and a starting salary of 80 pounds annually. He got one quarter of it in silver and the rest in the necessities of life (goods). In 1674 it was added that he receive twenty cords of wood annually delivered to his door. Reverend Carter died in 1684 and left a verbal will which was recorded by his assistant pastor, Jabez Fox and attested to by this wife, Mary and sons, Samuel, Thomas, and Timothy. His inventory shows his estate was valued over £403 with £50 due from the town and about £21 worth of debts. 

Thomas Carter
Timothy Carter
Benjamin Carter
Timothy Carter
Dr. Timothy Carter
Elias Mellen Carter
Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward Mellen Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Surname Saturday - Rand

I am going to make an attempt to post about one surname each Saturday as part of the prompt series. I've been having trouble finding/making time to work on and write about my genealogy and maybe having a goal will help.

Francis Rand came to New Hampshire with Capt. John Mason, who had been given a land grant by King James I of England. This would be the King James who commissioned the popular King James Bible. Captain Mason sent several shiploads of settlers and supplies but never came to New Hampshire himself. 

Today's story comes in part from the Hampton Memorial Library page and involves the Brackett's Lane Massacre that occurred on the 29th of September 1691. An estimated 20-40 Indians landed at Sandy Beach and attacked some families who were not protected by the garrison. Some of the men were out cutting hay. After an alarm was sounded and word sent to the nearest militia, a group of men was dispatched the next day. By then, the attack was over. Overall, about twenty people were lost including two old men and some women and children. Ten bodies were found and three were found burned in their houses. Seven were missing and presumed carried into captivity. Children who were too young to be taken to Canada were "dashed against a large rock that stood on what is now Wallis Road, near Brackett Road." The account on the library page says this rock was removed to make way for a new road. One of my favorite genealogy bloggers, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, also wrote an account of this event and has pictures of the memorial markers that commemorate this event.

Francis Rand's wife, Christina/Christian, was also killed by Indians prior to this event. She was old and nearly bind and one day she had a premonition. She begged her husband not to go to the mill because she sensed Indians around and was scared to be alone. He didn't take her seriously because he didn't believe there were any Indians in the area. He took his corn to the mill and upon returning, he found his wife had been killed and scalped. The death of Francis wasn't the end of the family members being killed by Indians.  The History of Durham states that their son, John Rand and his wife, Rembrance Ault, were probably killed by Indians in 1694.

The other family that lost their patriarch that September day was Anthony Brackett and the attack is called the Brackett's Lane massacre because it was concentrated near his house. He is my 9th great-grandfather on my mother's side. Brackett's Lane is now known as Brackett's Road. But I'll save the Bracketts for another day.

Picture from submitted by arch0945
Francis Rand & Christina/Christian
John Rand & Remembrance Ault
Nathaniel Rand & Elizabeth Marden
Joshua Rand & Ruth Philbrick
Philemon Rand & Sarah Rand - Yes, they are first cousins according to my research but I'm still checking sources to verify it.
Lazarus Rand & Elizabeth "Betsey" Clark
Eunice Rand & Timothy Cox
Christiana Cox & John H. Cotton
Francis Llewellyn Cotton & Nina K. Ellingwood
Ray Everett Cotton & Annie Florilla Gibbs

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - T. Richard Carter - Part 2


My Grandfather - Thomas Richard Carter

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shopping Saturday - Mammoth Mart & Grammie

The Geneabloggers daily prompt of Shopping Saturday got me thinking about my earliest shopping experiences. When I was born, we lived on the same farm as my dad's parents. There were two houses with the barn dooryard between the two. I was the first grandchild and my grandmother spoiled me rotten. She took me everywhere with her. One of her favorite places to shop was the Mammoth Mart in Rumford (Maine). We would go in her VW bug and my favorite place to ride was in the well above the motor in the very back - no car seat rules then. How did we survive without car seats, bike helmets, riding in the back of pickup trucks or on the top of a loaded hay trailer? Grammie had a big checkbook with bubblegum pink checks - the kind with the stub on the left side for recording the check information instead of a separate check register. It was impressive to my child's eyes. My sister was more fascinated by the color and once questioned Grammie at the checkout, "Are those the ones that bounce?" Oops! Be careful what jokes you make around little kids because who knows when they will come back and repeat your words. I doubt my grandmother ever actually bounced a check but her joking comment was remembered and my sister had a knack for just saying the first thing that popped into her head (and she was only about 3). So this post is in honor of my grandmother, Lyndell (Cotton) Carter, Mammoth Mart, and old VW Beetles. Thanks for the memories!
Not the store in Rumford but it looks very simiar
1960 model - I can't remember the color or year of Grammies's but this must be close
Fern Lyndell Cotton Carter - I miss you every day!