Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Murder in Charlestown

We tend to associate slavery with the Southern colonies  and forget that slavery was legal in all thirteen colonies. The more I research, the more records I find involving slaves in New England. Like this story, they usually do not involve my ancestors but I get caught up in reading the accounts and this story in particular seemed worth sharing. It is shocking in many ways. 

In 1755 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, three of Capt. John Codman's slaves, Mark, Phillis, and Phebe, decided to poison him...although there is no primary record that tells why, it appears that Mark was separated from his family. The deposition, of Phillis, indicates that Mark came up with the idea because he really wanted a different master. The conspirators tried a less direct approach at first - working together Mark and Phillis burned down part of the property, hoping it would force a sale but that didn't happen.  Some secondary accounts say Capt. Codman was a strict taskmaster and a stern disciplinarian who had been violent on occasion.  The mastermind of the plot was Mark and he was able to read the Bible. He came to the conclusion that it was not a sin to kill if it was accomplished without spilling any blood. It might also be harder to detect. Mark was joined by fellow slaves, Phillis and Phebe, who put the poison in the food and drink. Other slaves belonging to other masters were accessories as they helped procure the arsenic and kept quiet about the plot. It did not take long after Capt. Codman's death for the crime to be traced back to Mark and Phillis. 

At the trial, they were both found guilty and sentenced to different, but equally gruesome, deaths. On September 18, 1755, Phillis was burned at the stake. She was one of only two people in colonial Massachusetts to receive this punishment. The other was another female slave, Maria, who in 1681,  tried to kill her master by setting his house on fire. On the same date, Mark was tarred, and gibbeted, or hanged in chains or a cage. Gibbeting involved leaving the body hanging as a warning to others and was most often used with pirates, as seen in this image of the pirate, William Kidd.  

The tarring may have acted as a preservative - read this excerpt from Pirates of the New England Coast.

Nearly twenty years later, Paul Revere even used the spot as a landmark when describing the route he took that fateful night in 1775. "I set off upon a very good Horse; it was then about 11 o'Clock, and very pleasant. After I had passed Charlestown Neck and go nearly opposite where Mark was hung in chains, I was two men on Horse back, under a Tree. when I got near them, I discovered they were British officers."

Phebe appears to have been sold in the Caribbean - a place notorious for its brutality and others may have also suffered the same fate. 

Some sources for further investigation:
From The Freedom TrailCelebrate Boston and New England's Hidden History at
Gibbeting in Colonial America
The Trial and Execution for Petit Treason of Mark and Phillis
Pirates of the New England Coast

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Annis Pabodie

On September 14, 2013, Randy Seaver issued his weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge. This is titled "Do Some Semi-Random Research." Here is my entry.

1. Use the first two letters in your first name and look in your genealogy database for the first surname that starts with those two letters. My first name is Pamela and the surname in my database is Pabodie. Alphabetically, the first Pabodie in my database is Annis Pabodie.

2. What do I know about her? Not much at first but I did a little digging and got a bit more information. So here goes!

Annis was the daughter of John & Isabel (Harper or Brittaine) Pabodie. All of my information about her family comes from the Great Migration Project and was accessed on www. Annis is my 10th great-aunt and the sister of my 10X great-grandfather, William Pabodie. William was born between 1616 and 1619 and his brother, Francis was born between 1612 and 1614. There appears to be one other brother, Thomas without a known birthdate. I will surmise that Annis was born between 1610 and 1625 and probably closer to 1618-1625.

Annis married John Rouse (or Rowse, spelling was not standardized at the time) about 1638 or 1639. John Rouse came to Massachusetts about 1634 and his origins are unknown. He was a servant to Gov. Thomas Prince and in August 1634, Gov. Prince traded him for Richard Willis, servant of John Barnes. He is later called a planter. In June 1658, Rouse and Humphrey Norton were brought before the court for their Quaker beliefs and whipped when they refused to swear an oath of allegiance.

Unfortunately, records for women are scarce. The Great Migration profile of her husband states that her will was dated 10 November 1687 and proved on 12 September 1688 so we know she died sometime between those two dates. In her will she bequeaths a gun, sword, and belt to "my servant Samuel Cornish" and various other items to her daughters, Elizabeth Bourn, Mary Price, and Anna Holmes. It also mentions two sons, Simon and John. These children are also listed in the Great Migration profile of John Rouse along with a son, George, of whom there is no further record.

The only other record I could find for Annis comes from the database on, U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700. This data come from the book of the same title by Clarence A. Torrey. It lists her death date as 1688 and marriage as 1640. I could not find any record for Annis on Findagrave.

My descent from William Pabodie:
Mary Pabodie & Edward Southworth
Mercy Southworth & Moses Soule
Alice Soule & Barnabas Perry
Diman Perry & Susannah Lincoln
Apphia Perry & Moses Judkins
Betsy Judkins & Calvin Cole
Apphia Delphinia Cole & Sydney Hayes
George Hayes & Anna Rowe
Eva Delphinia Hayes & Estes Gilbert Yates
Linona Yates - my grandmother

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Funny - Not My Ancestor - First Installment

One comes across a lot of names when researching one's family tree. Occasionally, those names ring a bell or bring certain image to mind and it makes me smile. Here are a few from my tree to start you off.

Isaac Hayes, son of William & Olive (Garland) Hayes, was born in 1774 and died in 1812. Not be be confused with Isaac Hayes, the musician, although I feel certain my 5th great-grandfather had a lot of soul!

Robert Barker, my 10th great-grandfather, was born about 1616 in England and died between February 18, 1689 and March 14, 1692, in Duxbury, Massachusetts. He came to Plymouth in 1632 and worked as a ferryman and innkeeper. I wonder if he ever went by "Bob" Barker or if his price was right?

Mary Buckett was the wife of Pilgrim George Soule and my 10th great-grandmother. Of course, her mother was Mrs. Buckett or was her mother a Mrs. Bouquet, like Hyacinth?

William Wallis was the husband of my first cousin 9X removed, Comfort Cotton (can't make this stuff up). I wonder if he was brave like William Wallace or looked like Mel Gibson?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Obituary Sunday - Julia F. Carter

This obituary comes from a newspaper clipping that my grandmother kept. Recently my sister found it while going through her keepsakes and gave it to me. I'm not sure what paper published it but I think it was probably the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Julia F. Carter
Paris - Julia F. Carter, 95, of Paris Hill and formerly of Cincinnati, Ohio died Wednesday at the Norway Nursing Home, where she had resided for several months.

Born in Montclair, N.J., Sept. 8, 1884, the daughter of Jarvis L. and Mary B. Carter. Miss Carter graduated from Montclair (N.J.) High School, Wheaton College (Mass.) in 1905 and Pratt Institute of Library Science in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1906. After graduation, she became the first full-time children's librarian at the New York Public Library. During her fifteen years there, she was granted leaves of absence to assist in the children's divisions in the libraries in Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Portland, Ore.

In 1918, she led a Red Cross unit in World War I, directing a library for American troops near Dijon, France, and Trier, Germany, following the Armistice. After the war she returned to the New York Public Library, and in 1924 became the children's librarian at New Haven, Conn. In 1927 she began a 28 year career with the Cincinnati Public Library where she was supervisor of the children's department of the entire library system of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio. She directed the opening of 14 branches.

Miss Carter presented the first Caldecott Medal and was the first national president of the Division of Library Work with Children and Young People of the American Library Association. She was the first president of the Zonta Club of Cincinnati; the Cincinnati Library children's room was furnished in her honor by Zonta International. A bronze plaque and other honors displayed in the library commemorate her long service there.

Winner of the first Caldecott Meda
In 1955 she retired to her family home in Paris Hill, where she assisted in the Hamlin Memorial Library  program, conducted correspondence, collected memorabilia of the town's history and was historian of the Paris Hill Historical Society. She was also an honorary member of the educational society Delta Kappa Gamma.

Survivors include her sister Mrs. Roger (Dorothea) Davis of the Norway Nursing Home; two nieces, Mrs. J. Eric (Nancy) Bucher of Oklahoma City, Okla., and Paris Hill, and Mrs. A. K. (Frances) Alexander of Paris Hill with whom she resided; two grandnieces; two grandnephews; and two great-grandnieces.

Julia F. Carter was my 3rd cousin, twice removed. She died in January 1980. 
Dr. Timothy & Frances (Freeland) Carter were her 2x great-grandparents. They are my 4x great-grandparents.  They were the parents of, among others,  Elias Mellen Carter and Timothy Jarvis Carter.

Elias Mellen & Rebecca (Williamson) Carter, Augustus Mellen & Mary Frances (Stanley) Carter, Edward Mellen & Fanny May (Capen) Carter, Thomas Richard & Fern Lyndell (Cotton) Carter - my grandparents.

Timothy Jarvis & Arabella (Rawson) Carter, Samuel Rawson & Julia (Hamlin) Carter, Jarvis Livermore & Mary Blanche (Carter) Carter (Julia's parents were 2nd cousins), Julia F. Carter - my 3rd cousin, twice removed.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mappy Monday - Moving in an Oxcart

The migration of the Spurr family from Massachusetts to Maine

From A History of Otisfield p. 589 (see citation below). 
"They (the Spurr family) moved from Dorchester to Wrentham, previous to 1774 and lived there seven years. It is said they lived in Mansfield, Me. or Mass. for a time. They came to Maine in 1776 and lived one year in Saccarappa, a year and a half in Windham, and moved to Otisfield, September 3, 1779. They settled on lot 16 a little south of Spurrs Corner on the west side of the road. Some lilac bushes and the ruins of the old foundation remains (1930). John Spurr lived in the house afterward and then Joseph Knight moved it to his place on the opposite side of the road and occupied it for a woodhouse. It is said that the first night they spent in Otisfield, they camped beside a large stone near the road. (A portion of that stone has since been moved to Spurr's Corner and a memorial tablet placed upon it.) He is buried in the yard south of Spurr's Corner. Through a mistake of the stonecutters the name is spelled Spyrr, instead of Spurr. They had nine children living, all born in Dorchester, and all came to Maine unmarried. They came to Windham in an oxcart and were the fourth family in town."

Going to Otisfield to photograph the stone and tablet is on my genealogy road trip list. 

Joseph Spurr was born November 19, 1731 in Dorchester, MA and died June 17, 1805. He married Miriam Lyon on September 13, 1753. They were my 5th great-grandparents. 

Enoch Spurr b. January 28, 1761 in Dorchester, MA married Abigail Wight b. May 31, 1767 in Wrentham, MA. 

Roxanna Spurr married Edward Stanley on November 2, 1815. 

Mary Frances Stanley married Augustus Mellen Carter. 

Edward Mellen Carter married Fannie May Capen. 

T. Richard Carter was my grandfather. 

Spurr, William Samuel. A History of Otisfield: Cumberland County, Maine from the Original Grant to the Close of the Year 1944 by William Samuel Spurr. Otisfield, Me.: Published by the Otisfield Historical Society, 1994. PDF.