I received my eagerly-anticipated copy of Martin Hollick's revised edition of New Englanders in the 1600s. It now sits beside it well-used predecessor, and contains even more families, detailing all modern scholarship which has been performed on a given individual or family from 1980-2010. I use it constantly for work, but rarely ever sat down with it to review my own early New England lines, and became inspired to do so this weekend.
I'm always touting the significance of using current, scholarly research, since so many early genealogical works contained errors, small or large, which were then repeated ad nauseum throughout subsequent books - and then with the advent of the internet, exponentially spread far and wide. But then along comes a modern article published in a respected genealogical or historical journal which corrects those mistakes, or discovers brand new avenues of research. Thankfully, many of those articles are becoming available online, particularly through NEHGS, and are therefore easier to access. With that in mind, I am a bit sorry to admit that up until this point, I have never truly sat down to evaluate my early New England lines. The excuses? Sure! Working for the past five years at NEHGS, I often had clients and patrons ancestors running through my head instead of my own. And when I did have some time to work on my lines, I tended to focus on either the brick walls on my father's lines, or the complete unknowns on my mother's lines. Dad was lucky enough to come from several generations which had at least one or two people interested in genealogy, beginning with my great-great-great-grandmother Imogene (Everson) McClellan, and therefore I inherited a big chunk of work already "done" (especially those early New England lines) - whereas my mother, who descends entirely from Irish immigrants who ended up in Boston, had no idea what her roots were beyond the immediate family that she knew. And then of course I married and gained a whole new set of lines to research, since my husband's British father knew nothing concrete beyond his mother in London, and my husband's mother had only two generations back to Italy, with various details to be discovered. Add to that the fact that between me and many of my Great Migration ancestors are 13-14 generations. At 14 generations of ancestry, one has a whopping 16,382 ancestors - quite an overwhelming number of people to study exhaustively. So that's a few mea culpas to add to the mix!
Grandma Imogene's genealogical research, which largely dates from the first decade of the 20th century, was placed on the "someday" pile to review, and her beautiful fan charts were copied into my Rootsmagic software as tentative. Imogene's work deserves a full blog entry - or several - as I have been lucky enough to inherit several wonderful pieces of her research. Handwritten letters to and from town clerks across New England, her notes on various contemporary published genealogies, her ancestral charts, as well as primary documents from her father's line, including some of his deeds and probate (and those of his ancestors), as well as material culture such as quilts and silverware [which has been occasionally highlighted in previous entries].
Imogene descended entirely from early New England roots. And even after just one weekend of digging deeper at her research, it is quite impressive how much of her work holds up to this day. Many little red flags showed up, particularly around the identities of wives of Great Migration immigrants and other 17th century wives, who were falsely identified in genealogies dating to the 1800s - which of course is what Imogene would have been using as her reference works. I developed a folder for all the Great Migration sketches pertaining to her ancestors from Robert Charles Anderson's series. Imogene's work was essentially limited to mere names and dates, so works such as the Great Migration are a wonderful way to access modern scholarship which fully documents the lives of those immigrants (the good, the scandalous, and the mundane!).
So far, so good in terms of general accuracy. But then I worked my way to the Big Two: Imogene's two gateway ancestors to royal descent. Any wagers on the conclusion? Both lines were completely bogus, perpetuated by early authors hoping to connect early New England immigrants (with no known ancestry) to more noble families in England with the same surname.
BOGUS GATEWAY ANCESTORS:
1. John Dingley of Marshfield, Plymouth, Mass. According to TAG 56:207-210 and 61:234-40, he was unlikely to be the son of Francis Dingley and Elizabeth Bigge who descended from the Neville line.
2. John Churchill of Plymouth. Many attempts to connect him with the ancestry of Sir William Churchill, which ties into a royal bastard line. But his origins remain unknown.
That eliminated all of Imogene's royal lines. I wasn't all too surprised to discover it. And frankly I equally love discovering new lines as much as I love disproving false ones. At work I had a running log of bogus "Indian princess" lines as well as a log of particularly egregious 19th century historians who not only made mistakes, but outright fabricated lies and documentary evidence (including writing false vital records on a piece of paper and then dipping it in tea to make the paper seem historic!). But there was a certain appeal to claiming descent from Charlemagne.
Then I began thinking about my extended family. As I mentioned, Imogene's work has been known in the family since the early 1900s - that's quite a few generations who took some pride in their royal descent. In my father and grandmother's generations, quite a few uncles, aunts, and cousins have taken frequent trips to the British Isles, seeking out their "ancestral castles" along the way. Did I have the heart to break it to them?
I called it a night. On Sunday I went back to investigating a few more of Imogene's lines, to continue adding documentation to her lines, and discovered that an "unknown" wife in Imogene's time has subsequently been discovered and verified, and traced her line back to the Puritan minister Rev. John Maverick and his wife Mary Gye.
NEHGS genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts compiled The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants, which includes Mary Gye as a true gateway ancestor. 12 generations between Mary Gye and Henry III, King of England and his wife Eleanor of Provence. Huzzah! The ability to tell the cousins that only some of the castles they visited were bogus connections... except Gary writes: "Further documentary proof of generations 7-9 would be desirable". That's because it looks like this:
1. Henry III, King of England, d. 1272 = Eleanor of Provence
2. Edmund Plantagenet, 1st Earl of Lancaster = Blanche of Artois
3. Henry Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Lancaster = Maud Chaworth
4. Eleanor Plantagenet = Richard FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel
5. John FitzAlan, 1st Baron Arundel = Eleanor Maltravers
6. Joan FitzAlan = Sir William Echyngham
7. Joan Echyngham, said to be married to Sir John Baynton
8. Henry Baynton = (_)
9. (said to be) Joan Baynton = Thomas Prowse
10. Mary Prowse = John Gye
11. Robert Gye = Grace Dowrish
12. Mary Gye of Mass. = Rev. John Maverick
Now, I haven't had a chance to review all the footnotes to get the full story of why if generations 7-9 are considered sketchy in terms of evidence [though the two "said to be"s surely stick out], that they are accepted as more true than not. Gary had enough faith in the line to include it, but even he feels the connection could use additional documentation.
So in the course of one weekend, I went from erasing all lines of Imogene's royal descent, to gaining one royal line, to discovering that line, while considered valid, is still a bit sketchy... call it a possible royal line? Martin has discussed the complications of medieval genealogy, but he has been able to document a line of royal ancestry from scratch - perhaps a more thorough review of the sources documenting the ancestry of Mary Gye could upgrade her royal descent from a possibility to a probability.
Henry Munroe [variously spelled Munro, Monroe, etc.] Jr. married “Mary Millar” at Pembroke,
Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 12 September 1771. Vital Records of Pembroke
notes that no intention was recorded for this couple at Pembroke churches or the Pembroke town clerk. Their marriage was a
double wedding, with Henry’s older sister Mary Munroe marrying Jacob Bearce on
the same day.
Henry and his sister Mary were the children of Henry
Munroe Sr. and Hannah Josselyn, who lived at present-day Main Street in Hanson.
Both the families of Henry Munroe Sr. and Jr. were members of the
Congregational Church of Hanson (then part of Pembroke) under the leadership of
Rev. Gad Hitchcock.
The family bible of Nathan Munroe, the son of Henry
Munroe Jr. and Mary Miller provides the following details about Mary Miller:
·Henry Munro Jr married Mary Millar Sept
·Mrs. Mary Munroe- wife of Henry Munroe
died Aug 26 1813 64th year
Pembroke VRs records the death of Mary as: Mary
Munro, w. Henry, Aug. 26, 1813, in 64th y.
However, this does not provide her exact birth date [only
indicating she was born about 1750] or her parentage.
Joan S. Guilford's The Monroe Book (Franklin, NC: Genealogy Publishing Services, 1993) p. 320-321 mentions that Henry Munroe's children "are variously attributed to "Sally", "Mary", and "Margaret", but they are all by Mary. Pembroke VRs list the first five children born to "Henry and Sally Munro" and the next two to "Henry and Mary", the next to "Henry and Margaret", then the remaining two to "Henry and Mary". Gad Hitchcock's baptism records of the Munroe children all list them as simply the children of Henry Munroe, with no wife's name listed. However, it does appear to be a matter of the town clerk reporting back variations of Mary's name, rather than Henry Munroe having four separate wives - there are no subsequent marriages of Henry Munroe, or deaths of additional wives, and in subsequent death records for the children of Henry Munroe, they typically list Mary as their mother [for example, Mary (Munroe) Sturtevant's death record in Halifax, 6 Oct 1858, listed her as the daughter of Henry and Mary Monroe, despite her birth record stating she was a daughter of Henry and Sally Munro]
Mary’s parentage is very much a question, in part
because of the rarity of the surname in Pembroke at that time. During the 18th
century, there were only three Millers recorded at Pembroke:
Andrew Miller and Jane Macklucas married
at Pembroke, 19 December 1727
Josiah Miller, husband of Mary, died at
Yarmouth, 15 April 1729, a. 50, and his information was recorded on the
gravestone of his wife Mary Miller, who was buried at Pembroke Centre Cemetery.
[G.R.1. in Pembroke VRS]
Mary Miller, the wife of Josiah, died at
Pembroke, 15 February 1772, a. 94, and was buried at Pembroke Centre Cemetery. [G.R.1.
in Pembroke VRs]
JOSIAH MILLER AND MARY (BARKER) CROSBY of YARMOUTH, MASS.
Josiah Miller (b. 27 October 1679, Yarmouth, Mass.)
married Mary (Barker) Crosby 13 August 1708 (b. 14 April 1674, daughter of
Isaac Barker and Judith Prince). Mary (Barker) Miller was the granddaughter of
Gov. Thomas Prince of Massachusetts. The family of Josiah Miller resided in
Yarmouth, Mass. However, his widow Mary (Barker) Miller died in the home of her
son-in-law, Reverend Thomas Smith of Pembroke. On
28 August 1734, Rev. Thomas Smith had married Judith Miller (23 Aug 1716,
Yarmouth – 31 July 1785, Pembroke), the daughter of Josiah Miller and Mary Barker.
Since Mary Miller was born about 1750, she obviously
could not have been a daughter of Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby, since
Josiah died in 1729. Considering the possibility that she could have been a
granddaughter of the couple that perhaps came to Pembroke with her widowed
grandmother Mary (Barker) Crosby Miller in the early 1770s to the household of
Rev. Thomas Smith, here’s a look at the children of Josiah Miller and Mary
(Barker) Crosby, from Yarmouth Vital Records:
and Mary Miller had a daughter dead born in March 1710
also another daughter dead born in April 1712 (of Josiah and Mary Miller)
Miller son of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller he was born on the 29th day
of July in the year 1713; Josiah, son of Josiah and Mary, died 13 December,
1717, aged 4 years, 4 months, 15 days.
Miller daughter of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller she was born on the
23rd day of August in the year 1716; Mr. Thomas Smith and Mis Judeth Miller was
married August the 28th 1734
Miller son of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller he was born on the 8th day
of August in the year of our Lord 1719; Mr. John Miler of Yarmouth and Mrs.
Hannah Parker of Barnstabel... published November 5th 1738; John, died 31
January, 1747/8, in his 29th year; John Miller died on January 31st 1747/8 son
of Josiah Miller. John Miller and Hannah Parker had a daughter:
oMary Miller she was born August the 22nd
1744 (of John and Hannah Miller), Yarmouth; Josiah Hedg and Mary Miller both of
Yarmouth... entered [intentions] February the 4th 1769; she married second at
Yarmouth, 1 January 1789, Deacon Josiah Thacher. Mary (Miller) Hedge Thacher
died at Yarmouth, 15 January 1811, in her 67th year.
Miller daughter of the abovesaid Josiah and Mary Miller she was born on the
13th day of December in the year... 1721; Mary Miller the daughter of Mr.
Josiah Miller she departed this life September 22nd 1724; Mary, daughter of
Josiah and Mary, died 22 September, 1724, aged 2 years, 9 months, 17 days.
abovenamed Mr. Josiah Mary Miller had a son dead born on the 9th day of
November in the year of our Lord 1724
So of the seven children born to Josiah and Mary
(Barker) Miller, only two survived to adulthood: Judith, who married Rev.
Thomas Smith in 1734, and therefore could not have had a illegitimate daughter
named Mary Miller born circa 1750, and John Miller, who died 1747/8, and
therefore also could not have had a daughter named Mary Miller born circa 1750.
Although he did have a daughter named Mary Miller, born 22 August 1744, she
remained in Yarmouth and married twice there before dying in 1811.
Therefore it seems unlikely that the family of
Josiah Miller and Mary (Barker) Crosby had any connection to Mary Miller, the
wife of Henry Munroe Jr.
ANDREW MILLER AND JANE MCLUCAS
The only other Miller record in Pembroke prior to
Mary Miller’s marriage to Henry Munroe in 1771 was the marriage of Andrew
Miller and Jane Macklucas, who married at Pembroke, 19 December 1727. Could
they have had a daughter Mary born almost 22 years into their marriage? [Which
is not unreasonable – in fact, my line of descent from Henry Munroe Jr. and
Mary Miller is through their youngest child, Mercy Miller Munroe, who was born
20 May 1794 – almost 23 years after their 1771 marriage] Or a granddaughter?
The trouble is that Andrew Miller
was probably not originally from Pembroke (since there are no earlier Millers
in town records) and Jane McLucas was definitely not from Pembroke – she was a
resident of Marshfield and married Andrew Miller after a scandal. Jane
Macklucas/McLucas/Lucas "of Marshfield" had an illegitimate daughter,
Mary, baptized at Scituate 23 October 1726 [Second Church of Scituate,
now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, CR2 in Scituate VRs]. At the time,
fornication prior to marriage was still considered a crime.
When Jane’s illegitimate
pregnancy was discovered, she was called to the Plymouth County Court of General
Sessions to account for her crime. At the Court held March 1724/5: of recognizance
of Jane MacLucas was recorded [meaning that she officially recognized that she owed
a debt to the court].
At the Plymouth Court of General Sessions held September 1725, Jane Maclucas,
singlewoman of Marshfield, “confessed fornication and w[as] fined 4 pounds”,
which was paid. [PCR 2:43, 47].
So a year after Jane McLucas of
Marshfield had her illegitimate daughter Mary baptized at Scituate, she married
Andrew Miller at Pembroke.
There is no birth or baptism
record for Andrew Miller in any town in Plymouth County. Only two Plymouth
County towns had several Miller families who left records prior to 1727:
Middleborough and Halifax, and a smaller number from Plymouth and Rochester.
And there are no birth or death
records for any children born to Andrew Miller and Jane McLucas in any Plymouth
County towns subsequent to their marriage. There also are no Mary Millers born
or baptized in any Plymouth County town vital records collections circa 1750.
Neither Andrew nor Jane Miller had a Plymouth County probate. I haven’t had a
chance to search if Andrew or Jane Miller had deeds in Plymouth County.
So without any evidence
suggesting that Andrew and Jane Miller stayed in Pembroke and had children,
there is nothing directly tying them to the Mary Miller who married Henry
Munroe. Until more is known about Andrew and Jane Miller’s lives subsequent to
their marriage, it is impossible to recommend or discount the possibility that
they are the parents of Mary Miller. Did she come from a town outside of
Pembroke? Outside of Plymouth County?
If you have any thoughts,
speculations, or answers to this week’s Mystery Monday, let me know in the
William Sumner Crosby, One Line of
Descendants from Dolar Davis and Richard Everett (Boston, MA: Press of
George H. Ellis Company, 1911) p. 56.
You never know what genealogical treasures you may find!
This lovely photograph was found in a trunk of photographs that my mother-in-law inherited from her aunt. It's a photograph of Carmela (DiBona) Salvucci (b. 1875) and her first child, Luigi (b. 16 Oct 1898) (he later preferred "Louis" "Lou" or "Gig"). At the time, they resided in San Donato Val di Comino, Province of Frosinone, Italy. The family immigrated to Quincy, Massachusetts in 1910. According to the caption on the back, the photograph was taken circa 1900.
I was working on French genealogy today, and came across a handy site, genealogie.com (although it does require a paid subscription).
In addition to having some great records indexed, I couldn't help but laugh at their advertisement on the page, "Who are your ancestors?": (note the same smirk on each "ancestor"! The costumes may change, but the grin and wink remain the same)
Jean A. Douillette recently published Lakeville, Massachusetts Gravestone Inscriptions, 1711-2003. I have eagerly awaited this book for several years, after reading an article about Jean's work on Lakeville gravestone transcription work for their 150th anniversary in 2003. Transcription is a time-consuming process - but when they are compiled into books such as this, they serve as invaluable tools for genealogists and those interesting in family history!
Earlier postings in this blog documented a few unsuccessful (but enjoyable!) trips to Lakeville and Middleborough to locate Ramsdell ancestors (Ammon-Booth, Richmond Cemetery). This book listed John and Sarah (Robbins) Ramsdell's gravestones, as well as the stones of Stephen Cornish Ramsdell (son of John and Sarah Ramsdell, and brother to my ancestor, John Ramsdell Jr.) and his family, whose stones I will visit and photograph once the weather warms up. Turns out the Robbins cemetery where John and Sarah Ramsdell were buried later served as a pauper's cemetery. My trip down Race Course Road brought me close to its location - but I was looking on the wrong side of the road! John Ramsdell Jr. and Maria Jones are probably buried in Middleborough with their son Edgar Ramsdell - perhaps someday there will be a Middleborough, Massachusetts Gravestone Inscriptions published!
I wrote the following book review for Jean's website: Lakeville, Massachusetts Gravestone Inscriptions is a remarkable genealogical and historical book that lists the gravestones and inscriptions from the 31 known cemeteries in the town of Lakeville. The organization of the book is very user-friendly; each cemetery chapter provides a history of the cemetery and directions on how to locate the cemetery, an important feature for readers who would like to physically visit the gravestones. Each chapter organizes the gravestone transcriptions alphabetically, and includes the epitaph, information about the physical state of the stone, and the carved artwork on the stone. Informative maps of each cemetery are included, and stones can be located alphabetically or by numbered location. Jean Douillette spent seven years documenting these gravestones, and her hard work reveals the fascinating stories of Lakeville citizens that were cast in stone. Douillette includes references to vital records and previous Lakeville gravestone research such as Charles M. Thatcher's 19th century Massachusetts gravestone transcription project. Since the time of Thatcher's compilation, some of the stones and cemeteries have unfortunately been lost, or the epitaphs faded. Douillette's book, therefore, serves not only as an essential collection of genealogical information about the lives of Lakeville's and Middleborough's residents for the past three centuries, but it also preserves that history for future generations. Lakeville, Massachusetts Gravestone Inscriptions is an essential book for anyone interested in the history and genealogy of Lakeville, MA.
I run the USGenWeb website for the town of Hanson, MA, and have always been interested in the history and genealogy of the town. Therefore, I am always on the lookout on eBay for Hanson memorabilia. I just won a letter, which I have transcribed:
The envelope is addressed to "Mr. Otis L. Bonney, Hanson, Mass." and was stamped "Oil City, PA, NOV 5, 2 PM". Otis must have handwritten, in a different script, "Answered, Nov. 10/ 1887"
The letter is handwritten in pencil on white paper with red lines.
If you will excuse this paper and pencil I will write you a long letter and think you will be rather astonished when you have finished. Yes I have been very very busy in getting up Miles Standish, the entertainment was to have been given last evening, but when nearly time for the audience to gather[,] a fire alarm rang and the fire spread very rapidly and for a time the whole north side of the city was in danger, so we were obliged to postpone our entertainment until Tuesday the 8th. Alas[,] I am to be Priscilla, I did not wish to take any part but they all said I must be Priscilla [,] so I suppose it must be so. I am still ver homesick and I think I shall be just as long as I remain in Oil City, as you say [,] if I had Jack and Carl here I might not be [,] but Willie is as much as I can attend to at once [;] he is a little mischief and goes from one thing to another about as fast as I can follow him. You say there may be a grand spring opening. The Dr. which I have had in Oil City says it will never do for me to teach school again, never in my life; now that may astonish you. You have asked me several times and so has cousin Grace whether I would talk or not but I have always avoided answering that question and thought I would continue to avoid it but have decided to tell you also about something and ask you if you can help me any. You have always been so kind that I feel almost as if I was imposing upon you. Well the truth of them matter is here I lost my voice again June 17th and from that time on have been unable to speak above a whisper, but can sing, I guess perhaps I have spoken aloud six words in that time, and the prospect of my speaking aloud is apparently just as far distant as it was April 24, 1886. My cough is very bad and the Dr. told me three months ago that my left lung was slightly affected but thought it might be nearly a cold but I had no cold at the time that I knew of, still he may have been right, any way my cough acts no better, but is harder than ever before. Well now comes the great secret which I have kept from you. After finding that my voice was not to be depended upon I knew that I must fit myself for something where a voice is not as essential as in public school teaching, so I pondered over it an concluded that short hand and typewriting would be the best thing, so Villa said I could take lessons of a young lady in the city here [,] so Sept 2 I took my first lesson and yesterday took my last lesson on the [theory?] so can now write any word in the English language & have noe to practice for speed, at present can write on an average of 42 words a minute. Now what I wish to do is to return east by Jan. for then I shall be able to write rapidly, and get private pupils and teach for six months then perhaps my voice can be depended upon and I can get a good position in some office in Boston. It seems to me I can't stay in Oil City another day but will try to stay until Jan. then the holidays will be over and I can settle down to work; What I want your help about is this, do you suppose you can get me any pupils? It will hardly pay for me to start with less than ten or a dozen. I wrote to Carrie Ford and asked her and she said she has asked several and Addie Brown would like to study it after she graduates, Barbie Raymond and Charles Ford will also take, I want if possible to be near Hanson, because you know Lillie and Jessie are there. Wouldn't you like to study it, Cousin Otis? I would love to give you lessons, now I will just explain the principle on which the system is founded, and you can judge of its simplicity. You will find that every word in the English language has one or more of the follow[ing] sounds or phonics for convenience take three positions in reference to the line (on this paper do not use the second line) e o ai ou a o oi a oo
and are pronounced in the following words, eat, ate, arm, odd, ode, mood, hit, met, hat, hut, ire, oil, out Now when the consonant r is combined with the phonic slants to the right (ere air ar) and so on, when l is combined they slant to the left ( ele, ale, al) and so on then there are other combinations which are just as simple and are easily learnt. Here is a part of Death of Little Nell, by Dickens [two lines of phonetic transcriptions] Translated, it is, "She was dead, no sleep so beautiful and calem for free from trace of pain so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God and waiting for the breath of life not one who had lived and suffered death" Will you write me at once what you think of it and whether you think you can get me any pupils. I love to write shorthand, but still think I love school teaching just a little bit better. Give my love to all and tell Cousin Grace I will try and answer her kind letter soon.
If any wish to know my terms tell them $3.50 for short hand a month and $1.50 extra for typewriting. I think that is very reasonable.
I have not yet been able to identify who "Cousin Ida" was. From the letter, she may have had a son "Willie" William who lived with her in Oil City, and perhaps two sons, or brothers, named Jack and Carl who apparently remained in MA. She also indicated that someone named Villa suggested she take typing lessons in Oil City, perhaps a friend, kin, or husband.
Her cousin was Otis Lafayette Bonney (2 Dec 1838, Hanson, MA - 11 Aug 1922, Hanson, MA). He married Grace C. Cobb (28 Apr 1842, Hanson, MA - 1 Apr 1904, Hanson, MA). She may have been the "Cousin Grace" referred to in the letter.
Otis L. Bonney's sister, Ellen Josephine Bonney (b. 22 Feb 1845, Hanson, MA) married Noah A. Ford, and they had several children, including Carrie and Charles Ford, who most likely were Ida's potential pupils Carrie and Charles Ford.
Addie Brown may have been Addie R. Brown, born 8 April 1870 to Thomas and Lucy Brown.
Barbie Raymond may have been the daughter of Lewis Raymond and Mary C. Godfrey. In the 1880 Census, this family also included the brother of Barbie Raymond, George L. Raymond, age 26, with his wife Ida W. Raymond and their infant son William S. Raymond. In the 1900 Census, William S. Raymond was living in Hanson, MA with his grandmother, Mary C. (Godfrey) Raymond. Ida W. Raymond was the daughter of Ira R. Bailey and Laura A. White. This may be the "cousin Ida", however I have not yet been able to identify a direct connection between Otis Bonney and this family.
The mother of Otis Bonney was Angeline D. White of Easton. The mother of Ida W. Bailey was Laura A. White of Easton, so perhaps the connection is through the White family of Easton, MA.
The letter is extremely compelling, considering the "astonishing" news she had to give to her cousin Otis L. Bonney. If Ida W. (Bailey) Raymond was indeed "Cousin Ida", it seems that she returned to Hanson, MA, and perhaps taught typewriting and short-hand to a number of pupils.
Perhaps somewhere out there is the response letter written by Otis Bonney. If anyone knows more information about the identity of "Cousin Ida" or why she moved to Oil City, PA for a period of time, please let me know!
In memory of MARGARET, servant to Mr. Joseph Crawford and wife of Mr. Anthony Kinnicutt, who departed this life October the 8th 1775 in the 49th Year of her Age. [slave gravestone, North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island]
I have been reading one of my favorite publications, the Annual Proceedings of the Dubling Seminar for New England Folklife.
The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife is a continuing series of conferences, exhibitions, and publications that explore New England's material culture, folklore, folklife, etc. In 2003, the focus of the seminar was on slavery in New England. Their Annual Proceedings 2003 contained a series of articles dealing with slavery in 17th and 18th century New England, Native American "apprenticeships", the abolition movement, life before and after emancipation, and the memory of slavery in New England.
Peter Benes, who is the director of the Dublin Seminar, wrote an article on slavery in Boston. I know of Benes as the author of Masks of Orthodoxy: Folk Gravestone Carving in Plymouth County, MA His wife performed a research study of probate records of Suffolk County, looking for instances where people would either leave slaves as their children's inheritance, or provide manumission for the slave. Benes then performed additional searches of vital records, church records, newspaper notices etc to provide an in-depth view of the families who owned slaves and stories of the slaves themselves.
I have been performing similar research on records from Plymouth County, and never cease to be fascinated by the stories these old records reveal. Although slavery is acknowledged as existing in New England's history, it still is not widely known or understood in what ways slaves, African and Native American, played a role in New England's culture and economy. I look forward to more research.
Googlemaps has come out with a wonderful new feature called "Street View". It allows you to explore neighborhoods visually through photographs. You can click on a spot, then see what it looks like from 360 degrees, and "travel" along the road.
There are only a few cities available in this mode, and unfortunately Boston has not yet been added. But I explored New York City and then took a tour over the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn. I've always wanted to get to Brooklyn to explore and photograph the large cemeteries in the area, and see the gravestones of some of my New York ancestors. So of course I looked for "Street Views" of roads that run parallel to Brooklyn cemeteries, in order to get a look at them!
The other day Holly & I went to explore Cole Mill in Carver. It is located right near her home, a wonderful old farmhouse, and set back in the woods. We picked up a copy of the Carver, MA Images of America book, because I was interested in comparing photographs of how the mill formerly looked like versus how it appeared today.
But first some history (and of course a bit of genealogy!): The first colonial settlement in Carver, MA was in North Carver, along the North Carver Green, known today as the Lakenham Green and district. Carver was originally the South Precinct of Plympton, which had branched out from Plymouth. One of the key features of this early settlement was Cole’s Mill, which was built in 1706. John Cole built a grist mill in 1706 and added a lumber saw mill in 1723 in the same area. He dammed the pond, now known as Cole Pond, off the Winnetuxet River, to use water power for his mills.
Here is the dam: “As the mill expanded in the 19th century, it provided the industrial focus for the Lakenham region. The grist mill provided a place for farmers to have their grain milled, and the saw mill provided lumber for houses in the village center. The family-run business made shoe shipping boxes in the 1850s, supporting a local cottage industry, and began making cranberry shipping barrels in the 1890s to support the burgeoning cranberry business in the town.”
Cole Mill operated continuously from 1706 until 1947, producing lumber, barrels, boxes, and tacks. Over the years Cole Mill represented a number of buildings and several different types of mills, but they were all located on the land along the pond, and therefore simply referred to as a single entity.
John Cole Jr. built a home on High Street in the early 1700s at the head of the dirt road that led to the mill and pond. It has served as the Cole homestead for almost 300 years. I have not been able to find the succession of ownership through the mid-1700s, but it was passed at some point to Hezekiah Cole (born 27 JUL 1777 – 17 FEB 1843), who ran the mill, followed by his son, Harrison Gray Cole (born 1818) ran the mill throughout much of the 19th century. Harrison’s son Theron Cole (born 1843) became the owner at the turn of the century, and the business was passed down to his son Frank, and later Frank’s son Larry Cole.
Here is the last remaining mill building: Many old foundations of previous mill buildings and structures can be seen: Here is an old piece of mill machinery still in the river:
Cole Mill is a beautiful historical site. Although almost nothing remains of the man-built buildings and mill structures, hints of what it once was are left behind: bits of iron tools in the dirt, overgrown foundations spread around the pond and river, even broken old cranberry boxes that were more recently produced there. Time has brought great changes to the place - now just a few yards away from where the mill was, the new section of Route 44 cuts through. John Cole would scarcely recognize the place. Yet it is incredible to consider how long the mill served as a cornerstone to the community, changing its products to fit the needs of its consumers, from the colonial period to modern day. Cole Mill is remarkable piece of local history.
I was contacted the other day by Donald Thompson, one of three Civil War researchers who run a wonderful website and related blog about the Civil War, and specifically the 18th Regiment of Massachusetts. Donald Thompson, Tom Churchill, and Stephen McManus research and collect records, memorabilia, letters, etc. about the men who served in the regiment, and have compiled great biographies of the men.
One of those men from the 18th, my great-great-great uncle Erastus Everson, was recently featured on this blog as the subject of one of my genealogical biographies. He served in three regiments, and sustained head, chest, groin, and leg wounds during his service. But he was dedicated to the cause of the Union, and continued to work for the Freedman's Bureau and as an army assessor. He later became a newsaper man, as passionate a writer as he was a soldier. The story of Erastus's colorful life, and his run-in with the Ku Klux Klan after the war, are currently being featured on the blog "Touch the Elbow".
The phrase "touch the elbow" comes from a popular Union song, "Comrades, Touch the Elbow", to gather strength and unity before a battle.
When battle’s music greets our ear, Our guns are sighted at the foe, Then nerve the hand, and banish fear And comrades, touch the elbow
Touch the elbow, comrades elbow Elbow comrades, touch the elbow Nerve the hand, banish fear Comrades, touch the elbow
The blog features a wide variety of information and stories about the Civil War, and provides wonderful advice for those interested in researching the Civil War. "Touch the Elbow" is attached to their website on The Eighteenth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. For researchers, this website is a treasure trove of information. Nowhere is there such centralized information offered on the 18th Massachusetts regiment. Donald, Tom, and Stephen are working to publish a book about the 18th, and they have already published The Civil War Research Guide, on how to research ancestors of the Civil War.
Additionally, they have ventured far and wide to many cemeteries, gathering genealogical information and photographs, a past-time Donald refers to as "chasing the dead" - which is at the heart of this blog! If you are new to this site, please take a read-through, and share your thoughts!
Yesterday my new genealogy software arrived in the mail! I have been thinking about buying new software for awhile now. I have Reunion, a wonderful program for the Mac. But I also have a subscription to Ancestry.com, which uses FamilyTreeMaker as its featured software. FamilyTreeMaker seems to be the most popular Windows program, so I decided to order a copy for our Dell laptop and see what the fuss was all about. I've had fun exploring its features over the past two days! Here's some of my initial observations:
Pros: - FamilyTreeMaker is directly integrated with the Ancestry.com website. That means it gives me hints and links to records on Ancestry that match with my personal tree. I can then merge the record with my ancestor! - It has wonderful publishing tools. It can generate a variety of reports, printed versions of trees or families, with lots of neat details and images. - My order came with an extra nifty little program called "GenSmarts". It looks at your family tree and then generates a huge number of places to further research your ancestors. The program is "smart", and suggests websites and records that would have further information on your ancestor. I have already viewed many of the records it suggests, but it still has a lot of neat features.
Cons: - I was hoping the program would have better web publishing capabilities. The automatic website you can generate only allows 2,000 members in a tree (but my basic family file has double that amount! So I can't easily use it). -There's still no easy way to edit your family file once you have posted it to Ancestry.com through a GEDCOM. I am always adding new information to my family tree on my software. But unless you delete and upload your updated information as a separate GEDCOM or physically edit your posted tree on the website (after you have already edited the info on your software), there doesn't seem to be a straightforward solution. - Maybe I haven't played with it enough, or have just used Reunion for so long - but stylistically, I prefer how Reunion looks and feels through its user interface.
So there you have it. I think I will still use Reunion as my primary genealogical software, but use FamilyTreeMaker whenever I want to print family files, trees, reports, etc, and use its research recommendations.
To my readers: what genealogy software do you use?
Elizabeth Ann O’Reilly was born in November of 1852 to Thomas and Eliza O’Reilly, the fourth of nine children. In 1860, the O’Reilly family was living in Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont. Fairfield is in northern Vermont, slightly to the east of St. Albans, and to the south of the Canadian border. Thomas and Eliza O’Reilly had immigrated from Ireland, and had probably entered the United States through Canada. Franklin County, Vermont was full of many Irish and Scots that had immigrated first to Canada, and then crossed the border to America. Probably a younger Irish son with no prospects of inheriting land in Ireland, Thomas O’Reilly came to America and began a new life. The O’Reilly’s were poor, but began a small farm in Vermont and raised nine children. Almost fifteen years after immigrating, both Thomas and Eliza were still illiterate.
The O’Reilly’s were a large Irish Catholic family. The kids were all born in Franklin County, Vermont. Mary O’Reilly was born in 1847, followed by John in 1848, Julia in 1850, Elizabeth Ann in 1852, Thomas in 1853, Edward in 1855, Helen in 1857, and twins William and Emily in 1864. By 1870, the family had moved west one town over to St. Albans, a larger town than Fairfield. The outskirts of St. Albans were still rural, and Thomas O’Reilly continued as a farmer there, maintaining a small farm amongst other agricultural immigrant neighbors of French Canadian, Canadian, and Irish descent.
Click here to see St. Albans and Fairfield, Vermont. Click here to see Swanton, VT, close to the Canadian border and St. Albans, VT to the south.
Elizabeth O’Reilly soon met and married John Mahon of Swanton, Vermont. A man almost twice her age, he was born in February of 1830 in Ireland to Daniel Mahon (b. 1800 in Ireland) and Mary Conneley (b.1806 in Ireland), who immigrated from Ireland in 1834, when John was still a toddler. There may have been other Mahon children were born and died young or went unrecorded. For certain, John Mahon had one much younger sister. His mother Mary Mahon gave birth to Jane Mary Mahon (refered to by many nicknames over her life – most commonly Jennie) in 1846. In 1850, the census records 20 year old John and 5 year old Jane living in Swanton, Vermont with their parents on a farm. Two adult Irish farm laborers were living with them, 25 year old William McCue and 47 year old Michael Larrand. John Mahon was a skilled carpenter and a farmer. By 1860, John was living with and helping his aging parents with their farm in Swanton, and doing independent carpenter and joining work in Franklin County.
In 1870, John’s sister Jane’s husband, Jacob Coulombe, passed away, leaving her with two toddler sons and an infant daughter who had been born earlier that year. Jane, her three young children, John (now 40 years old) and their father Daniel all lived under the same roof in Swanton. Their mother, Mary (Connelly) Mahon, had passed away three years earlier in 1867 and was buried in the Swanton Catholic Church cemetery. Irish Catholic immigrants found a welcoming community along the Canadian border, unlike further south in Protestant New England, because of the long history of French Catholic Canadian settlement. Jesuit missionaries had posts in the area back to the earliest colonial days. The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church in Swanton was the first Catholic church in town, and that is church the Mahons attended weekly. The church had been built in 1836, but received its first permanent priest in 1854. Prior to that, Catholic priests from nearby towns in Canada and St. Albans, VT would travel to the towns in Franklin County to preach. In 1851, the Swanton town hall & academy burned, from 1854-55 a severe drought caused severe forest fires, in 1858, Turillo’s hotel and the Catholic church burned. After so much destruction from fires, Swanton formed its first fire department the following year, in 1859, and rebuilt the Catholic church. The cemetery beside the church hosts a wide variety of French and Irish surnames, of which John’s mother, Mary Mahon, was just one.
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church, Swanton, VT:
At the rather late age of 45, John Mahon married 23-year old Elizabeth O’Reilly in 1875 and they went on to have eight children, who were all baptized in the Swanton Catholic Church, with many Irish and French Canadian friends and family from the parish serving as godparents (almost all of the O’Reilly aunts and uncles served as a godparent to one of the Mahon kids!). Laura Catherine was born in 1876, John Francis in 1877, Mary in 1879, George Frederic in 1880, Thomas William in 1881, Helen Anna in 1882, Edward Daniel in 1884, and Daniel Patrick in 1889. John’s father Daniel Mahon continued to live with John’s growing family in Swanton until Daniel’s death in 1882.
1881 was a sad year for the Mahons. In March, five year old Catherine Mahon became ill and died. Several weeks later, Elizabeth Mahon, still mourning the death of her oldest child, gave birth to her fifth child in April. She named him Thomas, in honor of her father, but a mere five months later, Thomas William became sick and died at the age of five months in September of 1881. Three more Mahon children would be born after 1881, but losing two children in one year was a terrible loss for the Mahon family.
John and Elizabeth Mahon moved their family to nearby Fairfax, Franklin County, Vermont by 1900. John and George were living independently as boarders nearby, while Mary, Helen “Nellie”, Edward, and Daniel still lived at home. But another family tragedy would unite the family. John Mahon died probably in 1901. All of the Mahons then uprooted their lives to an entirely foreign state and city – Boston, Massachusetts. Coming to Boston, a large, bustling city, from a lifetime of rural farming in a small northern Vermont town must have required significant adjustment for the Mahons. I have no stories or records for why they came to Boston. Perhaps they knew someone in Boston who offered them assistance. Whatever the case, Elizabeth and all of her children relocated to Roxbury by about 1902.
City life was hard for some of Elizabeth’s children. Her daughter Mary became pregnant, and gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Catherine Mahon, in April of 1903. Boston’s well-known Catholic St. Mary’s Infant Asylum and Laying-In Hospital was little Catherine’s birth place and death place, and possibly Mary’s as well. Catherine died a month later in April at the hospital and was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury. Mary Mahon died before 1910, possibly as a result of her giving birth.
Elizabeth’s other daughter Helen Mahon fared better. She met and married Eugene McCarthy in 1907, a young man originally from Marlborough, but working in the city. The McCarthy siblings and Mahon siblings shared dinners and special occasions with each other, and Edward Mahon soon fell for Eugene’s younger and only sister, Mary McCarthy. They married in 1910.
Elizabeth Mahon and her family boarded her sister Julia (O’Reilly) McGinley in 1910. They lived at 6 North Avenue, in Roxbury. Perhaps it was her sister Julia who first arrived in Boston and encouraged her widowed sister Elizabeth to move to Boston. Elizabeth died between 1910-1920 in Boston, in her 60s. Her son George Mahon then went to live with his aunts who had both moved from Vermont to Boston, Julia (O’Reilly) McGinley and Emily O’Reilly, and they ran a boarding house in Boston.
From the Canadian border to the heart of Boston, Elizabeth (O’Reilly) Mahon raised a large family, and faced countless joys and sorrows along the way. Those stories often become lost over the years. My grandfather had heard that his great-grandparents (John and Elizabeth Mahon) were from Vermont, and that there was a family plot (perhaps there is a Mahon or O’Reilly plot somewhere in Franklin County, VT), and they had been in Vermont “forever”. But alas, there were no Puritanical roots or colonial settlers in this family line! As far as Irish immigrants go, however, the Mahon and O’Reilly stories are fascinating to consider both their relatively early timeframe of immigration (1830s and 1840s for Mahons and O’Reilly’s, respectively) and their route of migration, from Ireland to Canada to America.
Adelia D. Everson was born on June 3, 1849 in the town of Hanson, MA. Her parents, Barnabas Everson and Deborah Bates, had married the previous August of 1848. Adelia was Barnabas's first child, but the second for Deborah. 1846 had been a terrible year for Deborah, in which she first lost her husband Warren in January of consumption, and then lost her 9 month old son, also named Warren, of "cholera infantum". The widowed Deborah lived next to Maquan Pond, and she remarried Barnabas Everson, a neighbor who owned a large property across the street from her that extended back to Wampatuck Pond.
Adelia grew up in the house along Hanson Street (what is now Indian Head Street and Route 58). Her father Barnabas was a talented man: a farmer, a mason, a town selectman, a road surveyor, and eventually a saw-mill factory owner and worker in South Hanson, he was a well-known man and accumulated a substantial amount of real estate in South Hanson. Adelia was soon joined by her brother Richard in 1850, her sister Imogene in 1852, and two siblings that died extremely young - Lucia, born Dec 30, 1853, died 5 days later on January 4, 1854, and Lucius, born ten years later on July 17, 1863, died on the same day.
The Everson kids probably attended school on Maquan Street, which was the closest school building, located today near where the St. Joseph the Worker church is. The school was across the street from the almshouse, which today would be located near where the old Hanson middle school was. The Everson's home was slightly below where the intersection of School Street and Indian Head Streets are today, on the left-hand side. They would have been well-acquainted with their neighbors: Beals, Howlands, and Whites, who all had property along the road and extended back towards Maquan Pond.
Here is a map from 1859 showing the Everson's home and some of their neighbors:
(Barnabas's main home and property is on the left side of the road. Across the road, and neighbored by the Lyons and Beals is the home that Deborah owned after her first husband's death)
The Everson's neighbors below them, closer to Indian Head Pond, was the family of Asa and Cynthia Howland. (Their home is on the bottom of the map above) Adelia and her siblings knew the Howland kids (George, Nathaniel, Albert, Cynthia, and Lydia) well: they would have attended the same school together, and played together.
Perhaps Adelia and Imogene played with Cynthia and Lydia, who were just about their ages, and ignored the older Howland boys while Richard Everson ran off to play with them. But as they grew older, Adelia soon had her eyes on one of those Howland boys: Albert Howland, born on November 15, 1847 and two years older than Adelia. Albert, like so many men in the area, began working as a shoemaker. In October of 1867, when Albert was 20 and Adelia was 18 years old, they were married in the Congregational Church on High Street by the Reverend Benjamin Southworth.
Their happiness was to be short-lived. Just one month later, on November 30 1867, Adelia suddenly became sick and died unexpectedly. Both Albert and her family were shocked and filled with grief. Albert, still very young at 20, turned to the Eversons to arrange for her burial. Adelia was laid to rest alongside her two baby siblings, Lucia and Lucius at Fern Hill Cemetery, across the road from the church in which she had been married in such recent memory. Later, her parents, her sister Imogene, and Imogene's children George and Lillian would join them in a large family plot.
Here is her gravestone:
Albert remarried in 1872, five years after Adelia's death, a woman named Cordelia Gray, and they went on to have a family. That year Adelia's younger sister Imogene was also married: to George McClellan, who had been helping Barnabas Everson build a large brick chimney near Everson's newly acquired-saw-mill along the railroad tracks in South Hanson. Although life moved on, Adelia's memory was continuously honored by the preservation of several of Adelia's possessions. Adelia's mother Deborah owned a bible, which had been produced in 1833. Deborah, 14 years old at the time the bible was published, was probably given this bible from her parents, Moses and Deborah Bates.
On one of the first pages is written in a lovely cursive: Deborah ______ East Bridgewater
The last name is torn away, but it most likely read "Deborah Bates", who was born and raised in East Bridgewater. Deborah carried this bible through her two marriages, and when Adelia was married, Deborah gave Adelia her treasured bible. Adelia had been working on some needlework, and decided to try her hand at creating some bookmarks. She created one for her father Barnabas. It is a floral wreath and reads:
Adelia To Father
The second is a lyre, a classical musical instrument:
The final bookmark reveals the tragedy of Adelia's young death. The book mark is of a floral arrangement set in a large urn. But the stitching is only half-completed, for Adelia never had to chance to finish the bookmark.
At the very bottom of the bookmark reads : To my husband.
Albert returned the bible to the Eversons, along with Adelia's bookmarks. Placed inside of the bible, the bookmarks remained there as they were passed down from woman to woman through the generations, a tribute to Adelia Everson Howland, whose short life is remembered in part by three small hand-crafted tokens of affection for her loved ones.
In 1871, Erastus Everson was summoned by a government committee which was investigating the “Ku-Klux Klan conspiracy”. Erastus had worked for the Freedman’s Bureau after the Civil War throughout South Carolina, and had accumulated a great deal of experience regarding racial relations in the South. In particular, he was summoned for an experience he had after his duty in the Freedman’s Bureau, when he was working again for the army as an assessor. Erastus was an inadvertent witness to the Laurens County, SC riot in October 1870. He was to testify his belief that the riot was planned in advance in part by the Ku Klux Klan.
Erastus had to travel to Laurens county to purchase a horse for his boss. On the way over, he encountered a great deal of armed men. In the town, he inquired to a colonel who was stationed there with his troops, and was told that an election was occurring the following day, and advised to stay in town until the election was over. While staying at a hotel that night, he overheard a plot to throw the election that was to occur the following day, by capturing the ballot boxes, and starting fights with the state constables and any colored voters. He sent word to both the army colonel and his troops stationed in the town, as well as a note of warning to Mr. Crews, a colorful politician who led the local armed colored militia. Perhaps Erastus briefly saved the election day. Crew lined up his colored militia in his front yard, and white agitators called out threats, but no physical fighting occurred. Although tensions flared, the election went seemingly went smoothly. But it was not enough.
That night Erastus heard conversations and drunken boasts that the ballot boxes had been stuffed. But that was soon to be the least of Erastus’ worries. The following day, the infamous “Laurens County riot” occurred, in which thousands of armed riders came into the area, where brawling soon became deadly as the riot turned “into a negro chase”. Erastus ran outside to determine what was happened, and avoid the brawling and gunshots now spreading all over the area. Erastus fell in the street, and rolled out of the way of the chaos. Mr. Copeland, the general store owner, and mason, took in Erastus in the midst of the riot, and promised him a safe place to stay for the evening, and then Copeland soon left. Men came in and out of the house all evening, and some of them were bragging about the death of Wade Perrin, the most powerful black politician who had been elected the previous day. Erastus found himself in a difficult position – he discovered too late that he had been saved by Klan sympathizers. He could not escape into the night with the horse that he had purchased, because the roads were filled with vast amounts of armed men looking for a fight. After Erastus went to bed, a man called for him – it turned out to be Hugh Farley, a former Confederate officer who Erastus had dealt with a few years previous. Although a former enemy, Erastus considered him a gentleman, and when Hugh Farley promised to help Erastus get out of the area, Erastus took him up on the offer. They rode off into the night from Laurens County to Newberry County, almost 40 miles. Farley rode with Erastus and would often go ahead to picket groups of men along the way, then let Erastus pass. The rioting had spread throughout the entire county, with thousands of men searching for and causing trouble. Along the way, Erastus was threatened and almost shot several times. Through discussion with Farley on their journey, however, Erastus was soon horrified to discover that Farley was a probable Ku Klux leader. Once in Newberry, Erastus encountered a large group of men, several of whom he had formerly arrested as “bushwhackers” – who were not pleased to see “that God-damned Everson!” Farley had promised Everson safe passage, and then made Erastus Everson agree that he would make a statement supporting them later. He was to tell the government that the riot was necessary, and that no one was to blame in the matter. “I had promised Farley that if he would see me safe through, I would come down here and go before the executive committee of the reform party to make a statement, but I had to do things that a man would not ordinarily do. I went back on my word, because I could not do such a thing. I think, however, that I had no other way of saving my life. I know it, and so I have never been before that committee, and I never will go, because I cannot tell them what he wanted me to tell.” Once in Newberry, he was handed off to another man, but Erastus soon escaped and ran to the train tracks, where he caught a train. Aboard, he found three state constables who were escaping as well, along with Senator Owens. Erastus and the Senator hid in the mail-car privy, and made their way to safety.
Erastus Everson, a conservative repulican who had taken seven bullet wounds during the Civil War for the Union, and then dedicated years of service to the Freedman’s Bureau, helping to protect the rights of newly freed slaves in the South, inadvertently had found that his life had been saved by Ku Klux Klan members or sympathizers. He broke his promise to them, however, and reported all that he heard during his stay and remarkable escape from the Laurens County.
Learn more about the Laurens County, SC riot here.
Erastus W. Everson was the eldest child of William F. Everson and his wife, Salome B. Crocker. He was born about 1837 probably in Hanson, MA. Three years later, his brother Frederic O. Everson was born, followed by his sister Sylvania Everson. They grew up on Pleasant Street in Hanson.
In 1850, at the age of 13, Erastus was living in Hanson with his family, and a 17 year old servant (or boarder) named Fidelia Hunt. He and his siblings were attending one of the small schoolhouses in South Hanson. Next door to them, extended Everson and Crocker relatives had a small shoemaking shop, and Erastus’s father most likely worked here during the day. To the north of them them was the Baptist parsonage, where Asa Bunson, the Baptist clergyman lived. Across from the Everson family was Levi Thomas’s family (Levi Thomas’ son, Levi Zelida Thomas, was a 23 year old school teacher at the time, and would eventually have a Hanson school named in his honor).
In 1860, Erastus, now in his early twenties, had moved up to Dedham, where he was staying at a hotel in Dedham village while he worked as a copyist. The hotel hosted a wide variety of individuals and families. There Erastus probably interacted with the hotel keeper and his family, W.H. Crossman, along with his wife and three young children. Perhaps he briefly befriended Frederic Eley, a 21 year old law student, as well as a 35 year old wood carver and his family, a 30 year old physician and his family, and many more who moved in and out of the small hotel.
But war was coming. Erastus enlisted for the Civil War as a Sergeant on 16 April 1861 at the age of 24 from Dedham, MA. He enlisted in Company A, 3rd Infantry Regiment Massachusetts (The Halifax Light Infantry) on 23 April 1861, and was mustered out on 22 July 1861. His brother, Frederick O. Everson, had also enlisted as a Corporal on 16 April 1861 at the age of 21, and several days later, on 23 April 1861, Fred enlisted in the same company as his brother Erastus. Fred was mustered out on 22 July 1861. Frederick did not enlist again, but Erastus was attracted to the army, and decided to provide more service.
Erastus soon enlisted in Company H, 18th Infantry Regiment Massachusetts on 24 August 1861 and was then promoted to Full Sergeant 1st Class on the same day. A year later, he was promoted to Full Lieutenant 2nd Class on 01 August 1862. At the end of the month, he was wounded on 30 August 1862 at the second Bull Run, VA. He was then again wounded on 13 December 1862 at Fredericksburg, VA. Several months later, he was promoted to Full Lieutenant 1st Class on 25 February 1863. He was honorably discharged from Company H, 18th Infantry Regiment Massachusetts on 10 December 1863, and the following day joined Company D, 20 Veteran Res. Corps, as a 1st Lieutenant.
In 1866, Erastus was assigned as the inspector general of the South Carolina troops for a period of eighteen months, and was stationed in Charleston, SC. He then served as an aid for the Freedman’s Bureau for three years, during which time he traveled all over South Carolina and made many acquaintances. One of his main tasks was to find and arrest “bushwhackers”, who were men that engaged in guerilla warfare attacks during the Civil War and Reconstruction. From 1869-1870, Erastus was stationed in Anderson, SC as an assistant assessor, and then he moved to Columbia, SC in 1870. In October of 1870, Erastus was present for the Laurens County, SC riot, in which he overheard and tried to prevent presumed Ku Klux Klan activity. He narrowly escaped with the assistance of several men in the area, who he soon was horrified to discover were probably Ku Klux members, and therefore responsible for the riot. My next posting will deal more with this fascinating event in Erastus’s life.
Erastus was a skilled verbal negotiator and eloquent writer (and from his writings and interviews, he had a sense of humor!). After serving as a soldier during the Civil War and sustaining a total of 7 bullets, he served as an aid that was not involved in direct battles. He was commissioned by General Howard to the Freedman's Bureau, and spent the early part of the Reconstruction negotiating and inspecting issues regarding things such as black labor and dealing with abandoned plantation property. The Freedman’s Bureau became very political towards the end of its time, encouraging blacks to vote for the Republican party, and was disbanded in 1869, although Erastus preferred not to be “mixed up” with politics. He was a self-proclaimed conservative Republican and greatly admired Abraham Lincoln and the reconstruction efforts. After his time with the Freedman’s Bureau, Erastus became an editor for the Union, SC newspaper, which was a Republican newspaper. “It is considered a conservative newspaper up North. They are sending me letters all the time, thinking that I am going astray!.. I am not a radical at all. I am not a radical republican, and never have been; but I believe in fair play”. Erastus spent the rest of his life as a newspaper man, both in the role of editor and writer. The 1880 Massachusetts census lists him as the “editor of a newspaper”, and in 1894 he is listed as a “journalist” from Marshfield, MA.
While a wealth of fascinating documents exist regarding Erastus’s time with the army, it is more difficult to ascertain the state of Erastus’s marriage from the documentary evidence. On October 28, 1869, Erastus married Harriet Rebecca Fales in Dedham, MA. Harriet’s father had died when she was two, and she had lived with her widowed mother in Dedham. It is unknown how long their courtship had been, due to the fact that for the majority of the 1860s, Erastus was not in Massachusetts. They married in the midst of his commission as an assistant assessor for the army in Anderson, South Carolina. They are listed as living together in Anderson, SC in the 1870 census, so Harriet moved down to South Carolina to be with him.
By 1880, the Eversons had returned to Massachusetts. The 1880 Massachusetts census presents a bit of a mystery, that either indicates a mistake made on behalf of the census takers, or that the Eversons were separated. Erastus is listed as living in Hanson, MA with his 65 year old parents and his 14 year old niece, Ella Gurney, the daughter of his sister Sylvania (who died in 1866). He is marked under the column for single, not widowed or divorced. Harriet is listed as Harriet Everson, living with her mother Rebecca Fales in Dedham, MA. She is noted as “married”. The Dedham census was taken on June 14 1880, and the Hanson census was taken on June 16, 1880. Perhaps Erastus was simply visiting his parents during this time, and the census takers in each town recorded incorrect information - the census taker is supposed to record who is living in the household, even if they are away on business, at school, etc. Certainly the census contains mistakes.
Harriet died September 28, 1887 in Dedham, MA at the age of 45, and is listed as the wife of Erastus Everson. They had no children together. Perhaps this was in part due to Erastus’ war wounds, or estrangement. In his pension application, Erastus is listed as an invalid, but certainly he could walk, ride, and travel long distances, which he did for the Freedman’s Bureau, and when he was charged with arresting bushwhackers, although he claimed to be easily tired due to his wounds.
Erastus next appears in the 1894 Marshfield, MA Directory, seven years after his wife’s death. His residence is listed as “North, on Green’s Harbor” and his occupation as a journalist. Family legend says that Erastus was granted the land north of Green Harbor, and the small island on the river as a reward for his Civil War service. I would like to research more about this. When was he granted the land? Did he have a permanent residence here? Certainly by the 1890s he did. Here is a photograph of Erastus in front of his hunting shack with two hunting dogs, supposedly on the Marshfield island which our family now owns:
Erastus died in 1897 in Marshfield, MA at the age of 60, having lived a very colorful life. Family legend says the Marshfield island was passed to Sherman McClellan, but at the time of Erastus’ death, Sherman was only 11. Sherman, Roddy, and Lillian’s mother was Imogene Everson. Both Imogene Everson and Erastus Everson were great-grandchildren of Levi Everson and Eunice Briggs. Erastus, having no children, passed the land via his cousin Imogene, and the land was eventually handed to Sherman McClellan. Further deed research is needed to verify the succession of ownership. That is a project for another time!
This blog is a supplement to my genealogical research. Here I discuss cemeteries I have visited, interesting gravestone art or epitaphs, and highlight some of the interesting stories, histories, and lives I have researched.