Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Funny - Too Much For Her

I found this while searching on Genealogy Bank for articles about my relatives in Bethel, Maine. I'm not sure why it showed up in by search but the story is too interesting not to share. I can't imagine a hen laying an egg that is 8"X6"! No wonder she died in the process!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Military Monday - Enoch Spurr

Enoch Spurr was my 4th great-grandfather. He served three years in the Revolutionary War and when he was discharged at West Point, his paperwork was signed by Gen. Henry Knox. Knox would go on to become the first Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President George Washington. 

After the war, Enoch moved from Massachusetts to Otisfield, Maine and in April 1818 he petitioned for a pension. Pensions were not guaranteed and the selectmen of the town had to state that he was in need of the money before he could get it. The selectman, Nathan Wight, is likely the brother of Enoch's wife, Abigail Wight. 

Enoch wrote his own description of his service but it is too long to insert as an image and I haven't transcribed it yet. But this is his signature at the bottom of the page he wrote:

Enoch Spurr & Abigail Wight
Roxanna Spurr & Edward Stanley
Mary Frances Stanley & Augustus Mellen Carter
Edward Mellen Carter & Fannie Capen
T. Richard Carter - my grandfather

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tracking the Williamsons

After posting my St. Patrick's Day tribute to my Williamson ancestors, Chris Dunham, of the Maine Genealogy Network, found and shared additional information on William Williamson. The Obituary Record of the graduates of Bowdoin College and the Medical School of Maine contains the following information:

Next, I began looking for records to verify this information. The 1860 census shows my 4th great-grandparents, John & Ann (McClure) Williamson living  near their son, William's family. The children appear to be Julia and Jane (not James, as the Bowdoin book suggests). I couldn't help but notice that Lydia was much younger than William. 
This divorce record shows that a divorce was granted to Lydia (Alfreda) in 1866. According to the obituary, William would have been completing his Civil War service about that time. I wonder if leaving his much younger wife for a couple of years contributed to the divorce. I noticed that he is the defendant and his wife is the one requesting the divorce. 

I haven't found any further records for Lydia Alfreda (Bean) Williamson or for the child, Jane. It is possible that another child was born between 1860 and 1866 and named James but I found no record of that. It would seem likely that she remarried since she was only about 35 when she was divorced. In 1870, William is living in Bethel with his 14 year old daughter, Julia and his uncle, William. Would a young girl be living with her father if her mother were alive? Or at 14 was she acting as housekeeper for her father and elderly uncle? My 4th great-grandmother died and my 4th great-grandfather, John Williamson, remarried a woman named Jane. William's sister, my 3rd great-grandmother married to my 3rd great-grandfather, Elias M. Carter. They are all living in close proximity with only the Farwell family between them. 

I am still looking for a death record for William in Kansas. I'd love to know why he chose Kansas and moved at age 68. Perhaps it was for better farming. Did his Civil War service cause him to prefer agriculture over working as a doctor? I'm still looking for Civil War records for him. Did he ever remarry? It doesn't sound like it from the obituary. Was he alone in Kansas? The obituary says both his children died "in youth." Julia was alive at age 14 so when did she die? I'd like to find a death record for her. What happened to William's wife after the divorce? I've explored some of her family to see if I could find her living with any of them but no luck yet. I've looked for marriage records and found one possibility but it needs more investigation. I don't have a death record for Lydia so perhaps she died fairly young without remarrying. So many questions and so little time! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mappy Monday - Connections to Downton Abbey

Whiteparish, West Dean, and Romsey

John Emery was baptized on March 29, 1599 in Romsey, Hampshire, England. He married Alice Grantham, daughter of Walter and Eleanor Grantham. The wedding took place on June 26, 1620 in Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England. The Grantham family was from West Dean, Wiltshire, England. Notice the nearby town of Downton. The names reminded me of the BBC series - where Downton Abbey is a fictional Yorkshire country house, belonging to the Earl and Countess of Grantham. Of course, one cannot connect fictional characters and places with real ancestors and their homes but, being a fan of the series, I was entertained by the similar family and place names. 
Green marker is Yorkshire where the fictional Downton Abbey is located. Other markers show the locations of Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed and the villages in which my ancestors lived. 
John Emery and Alice Grantham are my 11th great-grandparents
Eleanor Emery
Sarah Bailey
Eleanor Cheney
John Safford
Ruth Safford
Martha Haskell
Mary "Sally" Houghton
Florilla Dunham
Nina King Ellingwood
Annie Florilla Gibbs
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2013!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! My closest Irish ancestors are Rebecca Williamson Carter and her father, John Williamson. They came from Manorhamilton in county Leitrim. Since I haven't had the opportunity to go there, I visit vicariously via the wonders of the internet. This video is the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manorhamilton on March 17, 2012. 

A comment on a previous post led me to this document from FamilySearch. It is a naturalization record of William Williamson, the brother of my 3rd great-grandmother, Rebecca Williamson. It shows her husband as one of the witnesses and gives a date of arrival and confirmation that Manorhamilton is indeed the place the family lived before coming to the United States. Thanks to Chris Dunham of the Maine Genealogy Network for sharing this record with me. I have no idea what became of William. I guess I should work on tracking down that information before next year. 

John Williamson & Anne McClure
Rebecca Williamson & Elias Mellen Carter
Augustus Mellen Carter & Mary Frances Stanley
Edward Mellen Carter & Fannie May Capen
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Case of Domestic Violence

On June 5, 1632, Henry Sherburne arrived in Boston on the James.  He came from Odiham, Hampshire, England where he was baptized on March 28, 1611. He married his first wife, Rebecca Gibbons, on November 13, 1637 and she was the mother of all of his children. Sherburne settled in southern New Hampshire where he owned land in the Little Harbor and Sandy Beach regions of the Piscataqua settlement. Henry ran a ferry and kept an ordinary or inn, and was involved in town affairs, serving as town clerk for three years and a local justice for twenty-five years among other offices. During that time, Henry and his wife raised a family and seemed to have been good citizens of the colony. Only two incidents indicate any conflict. In 1649, Henry successfully sued Thomas Wedge for slandering his wife. Records do not reveal what Wedge said about Rebecca. Then in 1665, when there was some opposition to the authority of the Massachusetts Bay Colony over the Piscataqua area, Henry was arrested and charged with sedition. His defense was that he was influenced by his neighbors to attend a meeting at Strawbery Banke where a Mr. Corbett read a petition and asked those present to sign. Henry refused to sign the petition because there were some words in it “concerning the usurpation of power over the people here by the Massachusetts government.” It is unclear whether Henry supported the aims of the petition but was simply astute enough not to sign the document or whether he truly supported the Massachusetts authorities. 

After Rebecca died, Henry married Sarah, widow of Walter Abbott. That seems to be the start of a series of troubles. Walter Abbott was a Portsmouth innkeeper who died in 1667 and left his affairs in disarray. Because he married Sarah, Henry became involved in several protracted lawsuits involving Walter Abbott’s property and debts. Even more troublesome was the relationship between Henry and Sarah. Within a year of their marriage, they were in court where they each admitted to beating each other. Henry confessed to beating his wife “several times” and was fined. Sarah confessed to “beating her husband and breaking his head” and she also had to pay a fine. Two years later, they were presented to the court again for “disorderly living and fighting.” The next year they confessed once again to living “disorderly” and fighting and they were given the choice of paying 50s. each or being whipped ten stripes. They paid the fines.

After Henry’s death, his neighbor, Edward Bickford, his wife and children were summoned to appear before the court and “answer sundry objections about Mr. Sherburne’s death” but they were released when no evidence of foul play was found. There had been some conflict with this neighbor regarding Bickford’s hogs, cattle, and horses causing damage on Henry’s land and the Bickford children being accused of stealing Henry's pears. Neither of these minor disputes seems like something to kill someone over but apparently Henry’s death was unexpected and hard to explain so his family was seeking answers. Walter Goodwin Davis speculates that perhaps Henry disappeared during a winter storm in 1680 and his body was not recovered until spring. However, he notes that he has no evidence to support this hypothesis. 

Henry Sherburne was my 10th great-grandfather. His name is spelled in a variety of ways as was common at that time - Sherborn, Sherborne, Sherburn, Sherburne, etc. 
His youngest daughter, Ruth, married Aaron Moses. 
Ruth Moses m. Timothy Waterhouse
John Waterhouse m. Alice Babb
Lydia Waterhouse m. Richard Garland
Alice Garland m. Isaac Hayes
Richard Hayes m. Rebecca Greenwood
Sidney Hayes m. Apphia Delphina Cole
George Hayes m. Anna J. Rowe
Eva Delphinia Hayes m. Estes Yates
Linona Alice Yates

Davis, Walter Goodwin, and Gary Boyd Roberts. Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis (1885-1966): A Reprinting, in Alphabetical Order by Surname, of the Sixteen Multi-ancestor Compendia (plus Thomas Haley of Winter Harbor and His Descendants) Compiled by Maine's Famous Genealogist, 1916-1963. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical, 1996. 

Robert Charles Anderson. Great Migration Begins Index: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Funny - Sales Marries Buys

I found this while looking for information on one of my ancestors. John Sales was born in Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England and migrated to Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1630. In 1632, he was convicted of stealing corn, fish, and clapboards from a variety of people. He was sentenced to forfeit his estate to pay double restitution to those he "hath wronged," and to be whipped & bound as a servant for three years. His daughter was also bound for fourteen years to Mr. Coxeshall, the same man to whom her father was bound. He was married twice, first to Phillip Soales. There are no records of her in New England or New Netherlands. His second wife was Maria Sloofs, widow of Jan Sloofs. 

His children with his first wife were:
1. Phebe Sales, baptized in England May 1, 1626. 
2. Sarah Sales, baptized in England, July 27, 1628. 
There is no further record of Sarah but Phebe married twice. Her first husband was Theunis Nyssen. Her second husband was Jan Cornelison Buys. So Phebe Sales married Jan Cornelison Buys. 

Robert Charles Anderson. Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
Original data: Robert Charles Anderson. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33. Vol. 1-3. Boston, MA, USA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Annie Gibbs Cotton

I was very fortunate to know three of my great-grandparents. Annie Gibbs Cotton was one of them. She was the mother of Fern Lyndell Cotton, my grandmother. I remember my mother taking us to visit or run errands for her when she lived in Bethel and from visits to my grandmother's house when she lived in the Odd Fellows Home in Auburn. She died March 21, 1987 at the age of 94.

The Lewiston Journal - Mar 23, 1987

West Paris     Annie Gibbs Cotton, 94, died Saturday at Ledgeview Memorial Home, where she had been a patient since 1982. Prior to that she had been a resident at the Odd Fellows Home, Auburn, since 1973.

She was born at Paris, Aug. 19, 1892, the daughter of George and Nina Ellingwood Gibbs. She was educated in Paris grade schools and South Paris High School. She married Ray E. Cotton on July 21, 1909, at Paris; he died in April 1962. She worked at Cotton's Restaurant, Bethel, for 12 years. She was a practical nurse and cared for many persons in their homes in the area. 

At one time she had extensive doll collections, one of which was considered one of the best in New England. She also dealt in antiques at Mechanics Falls, Bethel, and Bridgton for several years. She was a member of the Mechanic Falls Baptist Church. She served as worthy matron of Dwinal Chapter, OES, was past noble grand of Sunset Rebekah Lodge and a past district deputy president of the Rebekahs. 

Surviving are a son, Albert Cotton of Bethel, two daughters, Mrs. Lyndell Carter of Bethel and Mrs. Ada Cummings of Rosell Park, N.J., 14 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and 10 great-great-grandchildren.