Friday, May 22, 2015

He Died Easy and Happy - 52 Ancestors #21

The letter no wife wants to get. A fellow soldier wrote to Harriet C. (Bean) Brown to let her know her husband had died in a hospital in Louisiana. Simeon F. Brown was serving with the 12th Maine Infantry, Company D. The image quality, handwriting, and spelling leave a lot to be desired but here is my best attempt at a transcription. It is a kind note and I wonder how well Harriet knew the author. Simeon was buried first at Cypress Grove and later moved to Chalmette National Cemetery. His name is on a tombstone in the East Bethel Cemetery where his wife is buried. 

Caselton Camp Parish? 
in ?  5, 1863

It is with regret
that I pen you a few 
lines informing you
of your Husbands + my
Friends Misfortunes in 
Ware abroad as well as at 
home life is not but a dream
here to day + thare tomorrow
You have been aware of 
his sickness. When he 
was first sick he was 
taken to the hospittle at
Caselton only 2 miles
from our incampment.
I was often to see him 
but he had to bee removed 
to the Marine Hospittle that
being at New Orleans at
this phase they have things 
in good shape. The nurses
are all ? + are
called Sisters of Charity
+ no doubt but he had good
care. His disease was the 
Swamp Fever with the diarhierr. 
He has gone to the land of
dreames + is better off 
thare no doubt. He left ous
about 11oc P.M. Jan the 9. 
I was not thare at the
time of his death. I have 
seen the Doctor + his nurse
she (scribble) told me that he
was not in no very great
pain + died easy + also
happy. You may think that 
strange by not receiving
newes before but I have 
been waiting to get his
money to send home
but not nowing when 
we shall get paid ??
I now give you the 
response. I tride to get 
his clothes to send to you 
but owing to thare being
no recriasion (requisition?) being maid
out I could not get them. 
This was owing to the
neglance of our Officers
Thare is between $60 + $70 dollars
coming to you + I will 
be forwarding to you as soon 
as we are paid off
+ now I hope you will
excuse the neglance of 
me not riting before
my best respects
to you Madam + 
????. Write me
soon as you (get - scribbled out)
receive this + I will
give you more particulars. 
Give my respects
to Orpha + ??
my health is good
I must now go
on drill ? the
same as usual 
Your Friend, 
James K. Pinkham

Page 1

Pages 2 & 3
Page 4
Simeon is the ancestor of my grandfather, Clayton L. Blake. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Branded Thief - Black Sheep 52 Ancestors #20

Zaccheus Perkins was my first cousin, 9 times removed. He was the nephew of my 8th great-grandmother, Frances (Gould) Shumway. Zaccheus was the son of Thomas & Phebe (Gould) Perkins. Zaccheus fought under Capt. Joseph Gardiner in King Philip's War and was present at the Great Swamp Fight (famous for the destruction of the Indian village of Narragansett). The Perkins family was from Topsfield, Massachusetts. 

After that experience, he seems to have gone down a bad path. He got in trouble by falling in with a thief, Nicholas Jennings (described as a Frenchman he met while serving in King Philip's War). They went out drinking and Zaccheus held the horses while Jennings went off and returned with a sack of goods that he later divided and shared with Zaccheus at the shop of Mr. Thomas Maule. 

Zaccheus was also implicated in the thefts of a silver cup belonging to Mr. Joseph Whiting, a gold ring belonging to Goodman Robinson, and goods and money from a Mr. Batten. 

On May 4, 1680, Zaccheus was convicted in the thefts and sentenced to be whipped and branded on the forehead with the letter "B", also to repay Mr. Maule £250 and Mr. Batten £24. 

Frances Gould & Peter Shumway, Sr.
Peter Shumway, Jr. & Mariah Smith
Hepzibah Shumway & Obadiah Walker
Sarah Walker & Timothy Carter
Dr. Timothy Carter & Frances Freeland
Elias Mellen Carter & Rebecca Williamson
Augustus Mellen Carter & Mary Frances Stanley
Edward Mellen Carter & Fannie May Capen
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Friday, May 15, 2015

Funny Friday - Not My Ancestor - Second Installment

There are certain names in my family tree that always give me pause when I see them because they are shared by much more famous people.

Nicholas Edgecomb is my 9th great-grandfather. His grandson, John Edgecomb (my first cousin, 9 times removed) married a woman named Grace Kelly. Since the woman married to my cousin died in 1738, I'm fairly certain she never had a glamour shot like this one.
"Kelly, Grace (Rear Window)" by Paramount publicity photographer. - Dr. Macro. 
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Samuel Morse is my 10th great-grandfather through two lines. However, he was not the inventor of the telegraph. Still when I hear his name, I think of the more famous Samuel Morse.
"Samuel Morse 1840" by Unidentified photographer - Smithsonian Photography Search. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 
James Joseph "Jim" Parsons aka Dr. Sheldon Cooper is not my relative (as far as I know). However, James Parsons, born in 1658, is my 9th great-uncle. Son of Jeffrey & Sarah (Vinson) Parsons. I wonder if the Jim Parsons in my tree was quirky, inventive or had great comedic talents.
"Jim Parsons at PaleyFest 2013" by iDominick -
 Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Nicholas Edgecomb - Robert Edgecomb - Thomas Edgecomb - Gibbins Edgecomb - Thomas Edgecomb - Mary Edgecomb - Benjamin Philbrick - Elizabeth "Lizzie" Philbrick - Ray Everett Cotton - Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

Samuel Morse - John Morse - Joseph Morse - Priscilla Morse - Priscilla Grant - Abigail Ware - Abigail Wight - Roxanna Spurr - Mary Frances Stanley - Edward Mellen Carter - Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather - Second line: Samuel Morse - Mary Morse - Elizabeth Bullen - Mary Wheelock - Nathaniel Ware (father of Abigail in line #1). 

Jeffrey Parsons - Jeffrey Parsons - Jonathan Parsons - Abigail Parsons - William Rowe - William Rowe - Stephen B. Rowe - Charles H. N. Rowe - Anna J. Rowe - Eva D. Hayes - Linona Alice Yates - my grandmother

Here is a link to the first installment of Not My Ancestor.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Knights of Romsey - 52 Ancestors #19

The tangled tale of the Knights of Romsey, Hampshire, England. Try to follow all the family connections if you can. 

William & Elizabeth (Carter) Knight lived in Romsey, Hampshire, England and had at least four children according to baptismal records. The oldest son, Richard, was baptized in May 1589 and buried in June 1596. Next came daughter, Thomasine, who was baptized in June 1590. The other two children, John (baptized in January 1595) and Richard (baptized in January 1603) came to the Massachusetts Bay colony on the James in 1635 and settled in Newbury. They are both called tailors. 

John Knight was married and had several children but only two were living when they family came to the colonies. He married Elizabeth Vincent on March 29, 1624 in Romsey. Their children were:

  1. Elizabeth baptized on May 16, 1625 and buried two days later. 
  2. John baptized on May 14, 1626.
  3. Elizabeth baptized on October 13, 1628 and buried six days later. 
  4. Elizabeth baptized on May 22, 1632 and no further record. 
  5. Mary baptized on August 10, 1634.
  6. Sarah was born after they came to the colonies, probably about 1636.
Elizabeth (Vincent) Knight died on March 20, 1645 in Newbury and John would marry again. 

He and his son, John, married a mother and daughter but there is no record that shows which marriage came first. John, Sr. would marry Agnes (Langlye) Ingersoll between 1644-1652 and John, Jr. would marry Bathsheba Ingersoll before 1648. 

John Knight, Sr. appears to have been quite prosperous as he had a servant, William Nef. He also paid court fines for two women. On April 8, 1651, he paid a fine for Frances Usellton so she would not be whipped but her crime is not listed and I can find no other information on her. On March 27, 1666, he paid the fine for Elnor Bryer so she would not be whipped for the crime of fornication.  A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845, by Joshua Coffin shows a Richard Bryer married Eleanor Wright on December 26, 1665. She died August 29, 1672. and the couple had three children born between 1667-1670. It is unclear if this is the Elnor Bryer for whom John Knight, Sr. paid the fine but it is the only reference to an Elnor Bryner that I could find. 

Richard Knight, brother of John Sr., married a woman named Agnes before 1626. The couple had children born on both sides of the Atlantic. 
  1. A Stillborn child was buried on June 17, 1626 in Romsey. 
  2. Richard was buried July 15, 1627. 
  3. William was baptized on December 7, 1628 in Romsey. 
  4. Anna was baptized on May 5, 1631 in Romsey. She would come to Massachusetts and marry Henry Jaques on October 8, 1648. 
  5. Richard was baptized on October 18, 1633 in Romsey. 
  6. Elizabeth was born between 1634 and 1641. She married Anthony Morse on May 8, 1660. 
  7. Rebecca was born on March 3, 1642 and married Abiel Somerby on November 13, 1661. 
  8. Sarah was born on February 23, 1648 and married John Kelley on May 20, 1663. 
Richard Knight was in the court record on May 5, 1663. "Richard Knight and Hugh Marsh" were presented "for playing cards at the house of the former." One of the witnesses against them was Bathsheba (Ingersoll) Knight, wife of John Knight, Jr., nephew of Richard Knight. 

John Knight, Sr. died in May 1670 and Richard Knight died on August 4, 1683. 

So ends the tale of these two Knights of Romsey. 

Lines of descent:
William Knight - John Knight, Sr. (he married second Agnes (Langlye) Ingersoll and his son married her daughter) - John Knight, Jr. (he married Bathsheba, daughter of Richard & Agnes (Langlye) Ingersoll. Bathsheba testified against her husband's uncle, Richard Knight) - Richard Knight -Henry Knight - Eunice Knight - Hannah Sawyer - Catherine Hilton - Loann Churchill - Anna J. Rowe - Eva D. Hayes - Linona A. Yates - my grandmother

William Knight -Richard Knight - Anna Knight - Elizabeth Jaques m. Richard Knight (see above)

Richard Ingersoll m. Agnes Langlye - George Ingersoll ( I also descend through his sister, Bathsheba, who married John Knight, Jr.) - Samuel Ingersoll - Dorcas Ingersoll - Jonathan Rowe - William Rowe - William Rowe - Stephen B. Rowe - Charles H. N. Rowe - Anna J. Rowe (see above).

Hugh March (Marsh) - George March - Sarah March - Elizabeth Deering - Eliakim Emmons - Jacob Emmons - Laura Emmons - Estes G. Yates - Linona Alice Yates - my grandmother. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Third Time's A Charm

 Beginning in 1663, the town of Topsfield, Massachusetts had a bit of difficulty with its ministers. Following the retirement of William Perkins, the town hired Thomas Gilbert. Gilbert seemed to have good qualifications and had recently arrived from England. However, his grandiose words and dramatic style of preaching shook up the stoic Puritans.

The town officials reported him to the Essex County Court which ordered him to appear at the General Court in Boston. In May 1666, he was given only a reprimand and had to pay a small fine. Gilbert appeared unrepentant and prayed that "the necks of all who opposed the ministers of the Gospel should be broken."

In 1670, Thomas Gilbert was back in court with quite a few townsfolk complaining about his drinking. The charges included witnesses to slurred speech, stumbling about after consuming too much communion wine, and fleeing his church when parishioners started to giggle because his singing was so garbled. Sarah Gould testified:
"I did [see]his eyes grow very dim and he did sink down in his chair leaning back...and presently we heard him vomit." 

Mimicking Martin Luther's protest, the minister nailed his defense to the meetinghouse door. He and his wife claimed that he suffered from
"chronic distemper" caused by fasting, rainyweather, and overwork. He would not let go of his grudge against Sarah for her testimony. He sued her for slander and her husband countersued the minister on her behalf. John Gould went so far as to say that he would like to cut out Gilbert's tongue. Thomas Gilbert responded by suing John Gould for assault. The judges seem to have been sick and tired of all the antics and suggested that Gilbert leave public life and called for him to behave "more soberly and Christianlike." By 1672, he had either resigned or been fired.
"chronic distemper" brought on by fasting, rainy

Jeremiah Hobart (also spelled Hubbard) was the next minister hired in Topsfield. His background included preaching at Wells, Maine, and Lynn and Beverly, Massachusetts. By 1678, Hobart began to come into conflict with town officials.

Thomas Baker was in court for "unseemly carriage and laughing in time of public worship." Evidently he took umbrage at Hobart's assertion that good Christians did not care about acquiring "lands and great farms." Hobart came into conflict with town officials over his compensation and soon harsh words were flying between Hobart and Baker over this issue. Baker sued for slander and Hobart was forced to make a public apology in the court. The disputes with the town were compounded by the reports of several women, who were caring for Hobart's wife, claiming Hobart made sexual advances towards them.

When the town refused to accede to Hobart's compensation demands, he threatened that the town "would never have a quiet town meeting until they gave him half the parsonage." He railed against the selectmen and said "I wish the parsonage were afire and some of them in it." This led to the dismissal of Hobart in September 1680.

This brings us to the third minister, Rev. Joseph Capen. He was a Harvard graduate, was ordained in 1684, and stayed on the job for the next forty-four years!

Rev. Joseph Capen was the son of John & Mary (Bass) Capen. He married Priscilla Appleton in 1684. He is my 8th great granduncle and his parents are my 9th great grandparents.

John & Mary (Bass) Capen
James & Hannah (Lawrence) Capen
James & Elizabeth (Call) Capen
James & Sarah (Pinson) Capen - yes, three James in a row
Thomas & Mary (Wyman) Capen
Thomas & Mary (Abbott) Capen - yes, two Thomas & Mary couples
Timothy & Sarah K. (Abbott) Capen
Edward Abbott & Mary Jane (Abbott) Capen - a bit of Abbott intermarriage in this line...
Edward Mellen & Fannie May (Capen) Carter
Thomas Richard Carter - my grandfather

Adapted from Diane Rapaport's column: Turbulent Topsfield: A Tale of Two Ministers, published in American Ancestors Magazine, Winter 2010.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fatally Wounded at Antietam

William Kilburn Yates was born on January 27, 1826 to William & Dorcas (Hall) Yates. He married Zilpha Dustin on January 20, 1848. When the Civil War broke out, William enlisted in the Fifth New Hampshire and went off to serve his country. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862 and died ten days later. Antietam was an especially fierce and bloody battle; it left 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing after twelve hours of fighting on September 17, 1862.
I took this picture of Burnside's Bridge on a visit to
Antietam in July 2009. It's hard to imagine the carnage
that marred this beautiful scene in September 1862.
According to The Yates Book,  William died "not sensing enough to send us any word or say anything except to wish he could live to do more service." I'm not sure if that is a phrase the author of the book came up with or something said in a letter sent home to his family, but it seems like a very touching sentiment that captures why many fought for the Union. He was survived by his wife and two sons.


  1. Herbert A. Yates was born on February 19, 1851 and married Ida Anderson, Mary Rogers, Eva Fuller, and Myrtle Estes in that order. 
  2. Alvah N. Yates was born on September 7, 1861 and died on September 8, 1866. 
William was my 1st cousin, 4 times removed. His grandparents are my fourth great-grandparents, William & Martha (Morgan) Yates.

Other Civil War ancestors include
John H. Cotton
Octavius Yates
Simeon Brown 
More about Simeon
Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Augustus Mellen Carter

Sunday, May 3, 2015

How Old Do You Look - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

So this week's challenge from Randy Seaver is to have some fun with the "How Old Do You Look" app and your family photos. As you will see below, it could use some work. Sometimes I get a great (read much younger) age and sometimes it is so far off that I wonder if what I see in the mirror is real (I can't possibly look THAT old, right?). So without further ado, here are some of the pictures that I tried out using the app. 

My cousins and I with my grandparents in 1976. I don't know the exact age of all my cousins so I had to estimate. My poor cousin, Rusty, evidently looks like an old man! 
Five generations - got my great-grandmother's gender wrong, but it didn't have any huge errors (unlike some of the other attempts). April 1982.
September 1992 - Ages should be 6 (not bad), 9 months(not bad), 10 (WAY OFF) and 8 (not bad but I don't think he would like looking younger than is little brother). 
My college graduation in 1993. I'm almost 30 and mom is only 54.
Me and my youngest son in 1994. I like this one...
Last fall - 5 Generations - the oldest two come off the best with guesses that are 12 years younger than their actual ages. Five years added to mine, two years added to my grandson, and eleven years added to my son - must be the facial hair! 

Last summer after a haircut - I was almost 51.

The takeaway seems to be not to take this very seriously. It depends on the angle, the quality of the photo, and many other factors. It didn't even get the gender right in a number of the photos of people I tried. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Where There's A Will...There Might Be Slaves: 52 Ancestors #18

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt deals with wills. I recently came across my first direct line ancestor who owned slaves. I found this out from his will which is transcribed in the book, Francis Lyford of Boston and Exeter and Some of His Descendants.

Stephen Lyford was the son of Francis & Rebecca (Dudley) Lyford. He was born about 1687 and died on December 20, 1774 in Exeter, New Hampshire. He married Sarah, daughter of Moses & Dorothy (Dudley) Leavitt. She was born about 1694 and died on October 13, 1781. Stephen & Sarah had six sons and one daughter, Stephen Jr., Samuel, Francis, Biley, Moses, Theophilus, and Elizabeth (Betsey). My line comes through the son, Moses. According to his will, Stephen owned several slaves that he bequeathed to his son, Biley. Moses inherited a small sum of money, "Five Shillings to be paid him by my executor within one year after my decease," and "during his natural life the use and Improvement of my Orchard and the acre of Flats thereto belonging commonly called Conners orchard-..."

Excerpts from The Will of Stephen Lyford
...Item I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah after my debts and funeral Charges are first taken out all of my stock of Creatures of all kinds all the debts due to meat the time of my decease and my negro Girl Nancy all to be at her absolute disposal - I likewise Give my said Wife the use of all my Household Goods and my Negro Woman Syl during her my said wifes Natural Life...

...I give to my son Bile Lyford my Negro Woman Syl after my said wifes decease - I also hereby confirm to my said son Bile the gift of the Negro Boy Phil already made to him...
"Marchands d'esclaves de GorĂ©e-Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur mg 8526" by Rama - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Francis Lyford
Stephen Lyford
Moses Lyford
Oliver Smith Lyford
Ann "Nancy" Lyford
Oliver Smith Philbrick
Benjamin Perley Philbrick
Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Philbrick
Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

Francis Lyford of Boston and Exeter and Some of His Descendants