Thursday, July 31, 2008


I've written before about my ancestors' experiences and
encounters with the Native American peoples of New England.
In researching the Barker brothers I found several references,
including Mitch Barker's here, of them temporarily leaving the
Bethel, Maine area after an Indian raid. This turned out to be
what is considered the "Last Indian Raid" in New England and
it took place 227 years ago on 3 Aug 1781.

At that time Bethel was still part of Canada and was named
Sudbury. There has been many clashes between the English
settlers and Indians over the previous 150 years but there
had also been occasions when various tribes allied themselves
with the English against the French, but with the French
departure from Canada and then the American Revolution
the political landscape had changed. Neither the Indians
nor the Americans could count on the British as an ally
against the other.

While most of the Indians in the area were friendly with the
settlers, one leader, Tomhegan(supposedly an Anglicization of
Tumtumhegan) was not. One account cites a dispute over
lands near Rumford Falls as one reason for his animosity.
Whatever the reason for it, on the 3 Aug 1781 Tomhegan lead
a small group of followers on a raid that went through the areas
of Bethel and Gilead, Maine and then crossed over to the
vicinity of Shelburne, NH, where a settler named Peter Poor
was killed.

At Bethel the raiding party had killed a man named James
Pettengill and captured two of the prominent citizens,
Nathaniel Segar and Benjamin Clark, along with two other
men who managed to escape. Tomhegan kept Segar and
Clark as hostages, forcing them to carry the loot taken from
settler's homes as they went north. Eventually they reached
Canada where Segar and Clark were sold to the British.
The men were kept captive at Montreal until the following
year when they were released and returned to Boston on a

The families in the Bethel area had fled to safety at the
approach of the attack and eventually returned to the area
along with more families. The 1790 census for Sudbury and the
surrounding area shows my ancestors Amos Hastings and
Jonathan Barker(and his brothers) among the inhabitants.
The town incorporated itself as Bethel in 1796 and in 1931
held a celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the

As for Tomhegan, he was eventually captured and killed. Benjamin
Willey in his "Incidents in White Mountain History " claims he was
tied to the back of a horse which was set loose in an apple orchard
so that the branches of the trees tore Tomhegan to bits but there is
no official account to verify what seems to me folklore.

The final irony is that Tomhegan's name mainly lives on not as the
leader of the Last Indian Raid in New England but in the names of
various places in the Moosehead Lake area of Maine, one of which
is the Tomhegan Wildlife Sanctuary.

You can view Peter Poor's headstone here at the First Mountain
Forest site. Brief entries on prominent Native Americans in the
Bethel area can be viewed here at their site. Willey's account
of the incident is here at Googlebooks.

Written for the 53rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Since I've been getting a bit more traffic lately, I thought I'd
do a list of the surnames in my family genealogy in case some
of my readers might be researching them as well.

On my mother's side, there are the McFarland and White
families of Ireland and Boston, Ma., as well as the Offlincher/
Offlinger family of Germany and Boston. That's all I have so
far on my maternal line.

My dad's line is composed of families that migrated to Western
Maine in the late 18th and early 19th century, mostly to Oxford
County Me. with a few in Coos County, Nh. There are two major
groups, the families mostly from Essex or Middlesex County and
the families from Plymouth County with a few from west of

These include the following:

North of Boston (Middlesex and Essex County)


South of Boston(Plymouth County)


West of Boston(Worcester County)


There's more but those are the ones I can think of and list easiest.
I'll add more as I recall them.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Well I finally took the plunge and joined MySpace and Facebook.
Two cousins and several friends already had been MySpace for
years but I'd resisted the temptation of adding another page to
my two blogs. And I was a bit hesitant about joining the other
members of the genealogy blogging community on Facebook
fearing that it might result in this blog being neglected in favor
of Facebook. But it looks like I can import things I post here
over to there so I can kill two birds with one stone.

So far I was kept busy adding friends and favorite blogs
although I still have more to add of the latter.

So in for a penny, in for a pound! We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I like to read mysteries, especially those based in the Boston
area, such as the books by Robert Parker and Dennis Lehane,
but I also am an avid reader of medieval mysteries because of
my lifelong interest in the period. I went through all of Ellis
Peters' Brother Cadfael series and for awhile after that
writer's death couldn't find anything else to measure up to it.
But over the past four or five years the works of some British
authors have begun to be published here in the states and I
now check regularly for books by Susanna Gregory, Bernard
Knight, Michael Jeck and Peter Tremayne, especially the latter
two, since Jeck's characters have connections with one of my
possible ancestors and Tremayne writes about medieval
Ireland in the pre Norman days.

Peter Tremayne is the pen name of Peter Beresford Ellis, a
Celtic scholar and a prolific writer. His detective is Sister
Fidelma, a nun in seventh century Ireland when both Ireland
and Britain were divided into small kingdoms. She also
happens to be a dalaigh, or in more modern terms, a lawyer
of sorts, and an administrator of justice for the King of
Cashel who is her brother. All these circumstances combine to
put Fidelma in a position to investigate mysteries involving
religious communities and/or political intrigue.

But it's not just the mysteries that fascinate me, it's also the
unique presentation of the Irish and Anglo Saxon cultures of
the time. For one thing, Fidelma is able to do things women
in other medieval countries were not permitted to do, and this
is because of the rights women were entitled to under Irish
laws. In no other country in the medieval period would you
find women judges, for example. Ireland was a beacon of
learning in these "Dark Ages" and women scholars studied
beside and argued with their male counterparts, again
something women were seldom allowed to do in other

Tremayne also uses the relationship between Sister Fidelma
and the Saxon monk Brother Eadulf to examine a conflict
between the Celtic Church and the Church of Rome. One
major difference was Irish clergy were allowed to marry and
often times there were religious houses inhabited by both
men and women, while Rome at the time of the novels was
beginning to try to enforce celibacy among its clerics.
As advocates of Rome's view pressed their case with the
rulers of the various British kingdoms, politics became
entangled with religious debate as kings tried to determine if
accepting Rome's view had advantages for them in advancing
their own agendas. And as the attraction between Fidelma
and Eadulf grows in each book the reader wonders how the
pair can resolve the conflict between their Churches'

So far there have been over twenty novels in the series with
most of them made available herein the states in the smaller
paperback size. I've enjoyed the exploration of Irish and
Anglo Saxon cultures as well as the mysteries and characters.
Fidelma is a bright, intelligentwoman but is no saint, and Eadulf
is a not just a "Watson" to her "Holmes" as they conduct their
investigations.(although I must confess I root for Eadulf. He
doesn't have an easy time of it as an Saxon living in Ireland.)

All in all, a very enjoyable way to learn more about my Irish

Written for the 7th Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture


Just a couple of notes whilst waiting for sleepiness:

First, congratulations to footnoteMaven on the write-up on
her Shades of the Departed blog in the latest issue of
Internet Genealogy magazine. It was very complimentary
to her and to contributors Jasia, George Geder and
Craig Manson. Way to go, ftM!

Secondly, has anyone else had their Norton security software
suddenly block access to Eastman's Genealogy Blog? This
happened yesterday when I was doing my usual genealogy
blog browsing and I thought it might have been something
I was doing wrong at the time. But I just tried to view the site
again and once more had it blocked. I won't go into the details
here but I had to ask to see if anyone else is having the
same trouble. Email me if you have any idea what this is all

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Hmm. Summer! Warm days and cool nights, and family
cookouts and picnics.

What food does your family serve at picnics? Are there
traditional foods or family recipes? Is there one particular
relative's specialty you wish you could taste again or one
perfect picnic day you wish you could go back and relive?

I know what my answers are and I'll post them in a future
article and I thought I'd invite my fellow genealogy bloggers to
participate as well. If you decide to come along, post your
article to your own blog and send me the link and I'll include
it with my post here. I had a lot of fun reading the responses
to the Geneablogger Parade so I'm hoping there are some
folks interested in a Geneablogger's Picnic!

The deadline is August 1st and I'll post the responses a few
days later before I go off on vacation.

And don't forget to bring some potato salad!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I'm going on vacation in a few weeks with my sister and I
decided I better become more comfortable with using my
digital camera. So this afternoon I got in my car and took a
little trip down memory lane, which in this case was a tour of
the various places my family has lived her in Abington.

What I found is that while you can go home again, it might not
necessarily look the same as it did when you lived there.

The first place I went by was the house on Bicknell Hill Rd
which was actually built for my folks by a local construction
company. You can see what it looked like back then here in a
picture I used for the Carnival of Genealogy on Pets. The
house was originally brown shingled with an open air patio.
My dad enclosed the patio, putting a sliding glass door on the
back wall to a new concrete patio and jalousie windows on
the front side. He poured new cement steps for the
front door that went off to the side, and planted shrubs along
the front of the house. And on the day in 1967 when the
Red Sox won the pennant, Dad and I were painting the house

It's been nearly forty years since we moved out. The green
shingles have been replaced by yellow vinyl siding. The
jalousie windows on the former patio were replaced by a small
bay window. The large window in the parlor is now a large
bay window, the cement stairway replaced by smaller brick
steps and the shrubbery all gone. Also gone is the apple
tree in the front yard where Dad would leave the Christmas
lights up until Spring.

There didn't seem to be anyone home. I wonder what sort of
reaction I'd have received if I'd knocked on the door and
introduced myself as a member of the first family that lived

But I drove on to the next place in town instead.

Friday, July 18, 2008


The 52nd Carnival of Genealogy is up and is over at Lisa's
100 Years in America! It looks like another great selection
of genealogy bloggers writing, so take a look if you haven't

As for myself, I'm going to have to wait to read it all until
after I get home from work tonight. Bummer!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


If you visit Boston, you should know that certain sections of
the city and their inhabitants have nicknames while others

For example, South Boston is "Southie". There's even a song,
"Southie is My Hometown." If someone's street address is
on a street with a number or letter for a name(such as "D
Street") they're most likely from Southie.

East Boston is sometimes called "Eastie" but I'm not sure if
this is as common as it was when I was a kid fifty years ago.

Jamaica Plain is sometimes called "J.P.". Again, this might
not be as common as it once was, but if you mention "J.P." to
a Bostonian of a certain age no explanation is necessary. And
no, the residents are not called "Jammies".

People from Charlestown are "Townies".

Roslindale residents live in "Rozzie". (although I don't recall
ever hearing anyone say that.)

Dorchester residents may have attended "Dot High".
(Dorchester High School) or talk about driving down "Dot Ave."
I lived a few blocks away from "Dot High" when I was a kid.
When former Dorchester residents meet for the first time and
if they are Catholics they don't ask what street they used to
live on, they ask what parish they had lived in. I lived in
St. Matthew's Parish.

'Im told that some people from West Roxbury call themselves
"Westies" although, again, it's a term I've never heard used.

Some areas such as Hyde Park, Allston and Mattapan don't
seem to have nicknames or at least they didn't when I lived in

But there is one nickname that is never used by
Boston natives.

No one but out-of-towner reporters calls Boston "Beantown".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


My three times great grandmother Arvilla Ames West was
born on 26 Jan 1810 in Livermore, Oxford County, Maine
and died on 25 April 1907 in Hermon, Oxford Maine at the
age of 97. During the course of that long life much occurred
and much changed in the American way of life.

There were 4 wars in her lifetime: The War of 1812, The
Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American
War. She lived through the terms of 23 presidents. James
Madison was in office when she was born, and Theodore
Roosevelt was in office when she died. Three Presidents,
Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley were assassinated, and
Andrew Jackson survived an attempted assassination.

There were 17 states when Arvilla was born. There were 45
before she died. A few months after her death, the 46th,
Oklahoma, joined the Union. She would have known her
grandfathers, Revolutionary War veterans John Ames and
John Griffeth and possibly others who'd taken part in the
founding of our nation.

Arvilla struggled with the rest of the nation through five
financial panics that occurred in the years 1819, 1837, 1857,
1873, 1893, and died while the nation was in the throes of
the panic of 1907.

Americans either invented or perfected such marvels as
the telegraph, the telephone, the phonograph, the elevator,
motion pictures and the electric light bulb. Houses went from
using oil lamps to using electricity for lighting.

People went from traveling by horses to railroads to
"horseless carriages" and the first airplane was flown by
the Wright brothers.

Arvilla gave birth to 10 children and had over 30 grandchildren
and many great grandchildren. She outlived 4 of her children
and 4 of her great grandchildren.

We today talk about how quickly our world changes because
of the advances in science and technology. But we have been
born into an age of technology and we are used to new
discoveries happening nearly everyday.

Our ancestors, people like Arvilla Ames, were born at the end
of the previous age. For them, their whole world changed at
a much more drastic way than ours does, mostly for the
better but in some cases for the worse.

What an lifetime of miracles it must have seemed to Arvilla

Written for the 52nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy


Yesterday, Monday, July 14th the newest member of our
family joined us. Noah Adam weighs 10 lbs 1oz and is 21
inches long.

He and his parents, my nephew Paul and his wife Jen, are all
well and happy, as are the grandparents, my sister Cheryl
and my brother in law Peter!

Welcome to the family, Noah!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


While doing my usual Sunday genealogy browsing breakfast,
I ran across this article about some questions about Abraham
Lincoln's ancestry. It puts in doubt his descent from the
Lincolns of Hingham, Massachusetts.

The article is based on research by R. Vincent Enlow and
you can read about it at "Genealogy Today".

Of course, this theory is viewed with considerable skepticism
about the evidence used to support it and you can read a
rebuttal by Edward Steers Jr. here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I mentioned in my previous post about John Prescott that
there is a romantic (and probably romanticized) story about
his son Jonas Prescott's courtship of Mary Loker. I've found it
recounted in several different books on Google Books, and
while I'm not entirely sure it's true, it does make for another
interesting family tale.

The story is that Jonas and Mary fell in love but her parents
John Loker and Mary Draper had other plans for their
daughter. They wanted her to marry a lawyer, a man of
prospects, not the son of a blacksmith who was following his
father in the family trade and they forbade Mary from any
more contact with Jonas. One version told by Caleb Butler in
"The History of the Town of Groton" says the Lokers even
went so far as to install gratings on the windows of her room
and would lock her inside if Jonas was nearby. But even this
drastic measure didn't stand in the way of love:

"He (Jonas) took opportunities when the cold wind blew
and the
pelting storm raged when no listener could overhear
the soft
whispering of true lovers to place himself beneath
her grated window and
there enjoy sweet communion
with his dearly beloved ."

But eventually Mary's parents found out about this trickery.
Perhaps Jonas' idea of a whisper in a storm was a bit too loud?
At any rate, Mary's parents next decided to send her away to
a secluded village so Jonas could not find her while they looked
for a more suitable prospect for Mary's hand in marriage.
They sent her off to the small frontier town of Chockset which
is now Sterling, Massachusetts.

Jonas searched for Mary until one day while traveling near
Chockset he met some men of his own age and asked if they
knew of any pretty girls in the area. They told him there was
a quilting and a dance that night in Chockset and invited him
to come along.

You can see where this is going, I bet!

Jonas found Mary Loker and they continued to meet in secret
for some time until her parents once more found them out.
Mary's stubborn insistence that she would never marry any
man but Jonas Prescott at last forced her parents to give in,
although they did so with the angry condition that they would
provide no dowry for the bride. Legend says that the young
couple set up their household with so few essentials that
Mary used a large hollowed out pumpkin shell!

I'm a bit skeptical about that pumpkin part but I think the
opposition of the Lokers to Jonas Prescott pressing his suit for
their daughter might have some truth to it. After all, although
Jonas' father John was well off, he was not exactly in the good
graces of the Puritan government, and the Lokers might have
had their hearts set on young Mary marrying someone who
could eventually rise to a position of power. Ironically, the
Prescotts eventually became one of Massachusetts' most
distinguished families.

I am descended from Elizabeth Prescott b 23Jan 1676,
d. 18Mar 1644.

She married Eleazer Green about 1694 or 1695. Their daughter
Elizabeth married John Ames(Eames), and their descendant
Arvilla Ames married my ancestor John Cutter West