Sunday, August 23, 2009


My 10x great grandfather Ralph Farnham (Farnum, Farnam, Varnum) left Southhampton
England on 6Apr,1635 on the ship "James" along with his wife Alice and three children:
Mary, Thomas, and Ralph. They first settled in Ipswich but eventually moved to Andover
where a good many of my other ancestors also settled.

I believe the Ralph Farnham Jr in the following transcription to be the grandson of the
first Ralph. For one thing, Ralph the I was reportedly 32 years old when he arrived in the
New World. The events here take place in Sept 1682, and Ralph II who was born
around 1633 is a far more likely candidate for the "Ralph Sr." of the transcript. His son
Ralph III was born in 1662 which would put him at 20 years old when the accusation
against him was made.

Ralph Farnham Jr. was accused by Elizabeth Gould, a servant girl, of being the father
of her child. Such incidents were of course frowned upon in Puritan New England and
penalties ranged from whippings and/or imprisonment to fine and marriage. It looks
like Elizabeth Gould's pregnancy caused a bit of a stir in the area, judging by the
testimony given by witnesses in the case. Two other men seem to have been among
those Elizabeth insinuates fathered her child.

Interestingly enough, Ralph apparently never testified in his own defense:

"Andrew Allen, aged about sixty-six years, deposed that having heard of
Elizabeth Gold's condition and he being at work one day, Elizabeth's
master Andrew Foster, sr., came to deponent's house and he told him he
was sorry to hear of what had happened in his family. About three days
after, the old man came again to his house and told him privately that
Ralph Farnums was the father of the child, as she said. Foster's son
Abraham desired him to go to Farnums and ask him if he would own it.
Toward evening deponent went to Foster's to speak to the maid first and
they called her into the room where "they kept" and she confessed.
Deponent heard Hester, wife of Abraham Foster, say that her father-in-law
detected the trouble before they sent said maid to Chelmsford.
Sworn June 16, 1682, before Daniel Denison.

Elizabeth Allen, aged about eighteen years, testified that Elizabeth Gold
told her that Ralph Farnum was not the father and she did not know who
was, but that Deacon Frie had spoken to him about it and Farnum did not
deny it, and she would have him as sure as his name was Ralph. Deponent
heard her say at her mother's house, etc. Sworn June 16, 1682, before
Daniel Denison.

Joseph Barrett, aged about thirty-two years, testified that sometime in
November last, being at the house of Samuell Foster, sr., of Chelmsford,
Abraham Foster, son-in-law of said Samuel, desired him to take Elizabeth
Gold into his house and if she proved chargeable he would satisfy him for
all expense. Deponent asked as to her condition and hesitated about taking
her. Last spring deponent came with some others to Andover and going to
Abraham Foster's house told him privately that Elizabeth charged him with
being the father. He did not deny it, but stood pale and trembling for nearly
a quarter of an hour and said he would not answer until he had spoken with
Betty. Deponent told him he was going to the selectmen to have a place
provided for her, her apprenticeship being out, and Foster said they would not
do it, but he had provided a place at Hugh Stone's. They went there, but
Stone refused to receive her. Sworn in court.

Bridgit Chandler, aged about forty years, testified she was asked to determine
as to Elizabeth's condition, so she went to the house of Andrew Foster, sr.,
etc. Deponent's sister Allen desired to come into the room, but Elizabeth
would not allow her, etc. Sworn June 16, 1682, before Daniel Denison.

Susanna Ossgood, aged about thirty years, testified that she told Elizabeth
that her sin was aggrevated by her not telling who was the father and asked
her how she could clear John Allen, etc. Sworn June 16, 1682, before Daniel

Dudley Bradstreet, aged about thirty-three years, testified that Ralph Farnum,
sr., told him that his son Ralph had so solemnly denied it that he could not
believe him guilty. Later he questioned Elizabeth and from what passed
between them he was convinced that she lied notoriously.

Faith Allen, aged about sixty years, deposed that she chided Elizabeth for
what she had done, etc. Deponent's sister Chandler, etc. Sworn June 16,
1682, before Daniel Denison."

Not a very flattering picture of Elizabeth Gould, is it? But keep in mind, as
my Mother used to say, it takes two to tango, and Elizabeth seems to have
had more than one dance partner. That seems to have swayed the court in its

"Ralph Farnam, jr., charged with being the father of Elizabeth Gould's
child, was discharged, there being no evidence that she charged him
with it. Several testified that she denied it and said she did not know
who the father was."
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts

1680-1683 (pp381-383)

So the case was dismissed, although I have a few questions, such as why Ralph
was brought to court in the first case? Was the rumor causing so much trouble that
the town officials filed the charge to clear the air? Or was it some enemy of the
Farnhams hoping to embarrass them in a public arena?

And of course, I'd really like to know what happened to Elizabeth Gould and just
who was the father of her child?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


So last night I took that list of spelling variations of the name Haskell and when a-hunting
for legal case records on Google, using " (the name) +Essex+ court" as search parameters.
I didn't find anything that I hadn't already seen. So I switched over to some of the ancestral
names I hadn't tried yet, and found a few things that were blogging material:

Woodbury: A case between a Thomas Woodberry and a Richard Stackhouse over sails
and another between Thomas Woodberry and a Thomas Patch over rent. Thomas appears
to be the brother of my ancestor Isaac Woodbury.

Farnham/Farnum: The case of Ralph Farnam Jr. accused in Sep 1682 of fathering the child
of a servant, Elizabeth Gould. This one is rather interesting. I'm working on this for my next

Besides those three cases, I also found several wills that I'll add to my records here.

I also relearned that it's not just last names that have spelling variations. In one record I
spotted the name Mighill. I blinked at that one, then realized the name was Michael!

Friday, August 21, 2009


While most of my posts here have been about my Dad's Yankee ancestors,
I'm Irish-American on my Mom' side, and I have a passion for Celtic music.

So I have to put a post in here that a great Boston based Celtic music group,
Rud Eile, will be playing at the bookstore I work at tonight. I have their album
and they are really good, and if you drop by tonight for the free show I think you'll
agree with me.

That's Rud Eile, tonight, Aug. 21st at 7pm at Borders Bookstore in Braintree.
(Exit 17 off Route 3).

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This has to be one of my favorites of the court record transcriptions I've recently
discovered. One reason is the statement Roger Haskell gives in his own defense;
it could be a Yankee farmer two hundred years later commenting on fools he doesn't
want to suffer gladly.

The second reason is that this illustrates why we need to check every imaginable
alternative spelling of names in old New England records. In the course of this one
document the name Haskell is spelled ten different ways! These are:


Here's the case:

Osmand Trask v. Roger Hascall. Battery. In assaulting him upon the highway, 
striking himseveral blows with a pitchfork, bringing blood and bruising his 
body. Verdict for plaintiff.

Writ, dated, 13: 9 : 1661, signed by Hillyard Veren, for the court, and served 
by Benjamin Balch, constable. Roger (his mark) Haskall bound for his 
appearance at next Salem court. 

Wit: Roger Conant.

Roger Conant, Henry Herick and Benjamin Balch certified that they had 
measured the highway at the clay pit by Roger Hoscal's hill, and found it two
 poles and five feet in breadth and four poles to the further part of the pit.

Summons, dated, 14 : 7 : 1661, to Osmond Trask of Salem, upon complaint 
of Roger Haskell that said Trask had taken away clay in a forcible manner to
the damage of the highway, to appear at Epswidg court, and signed by 
Samull. Simonds.

Hosea Traske's bill of charges, 21i. 2s. 4d.
Jefferie Massey, aged about seventy years, testified that the clay pit in the 
lane near the house of Rodger Haskoll was within the bounds of twenty acres
 of land long since granted to William Wodberie and widow Brane. Sworn 
before Hillyard Veren, cleric.

Nicolas Woodbery, aged about forty years, and William Haskell, aged about
forty-two years, deposed the same.

John Harris, aged about eighteen years, testified that he saw Roger Hasgall 
come out to Osmond Trask with a pitchfork, and strike him two blows on the 
head or shoulders, so that said Trask cried out, whereupon deponent's master, 
William Dodge, together with Jo[hn] Dodge, William Fiske and deponent ran
to them. Sworn in court.

William Dodge deposed that he saw Osmund Trask digging clay over against 
Roger Hascall's door, and the latter threw said Trask down and told him " he 
would fetch yt would Sett him further." Sworn in court.

William Hasksall testified that the old fence that was set up formerly did stand
over part of the clay pit hole, and that the four poles set out for the highway did
not reach over the said clay pit by six feet, etc. Robert Hebord deposed the same. 
Sworn in court, 12: 10:1661, before Hillyavd Veren, cleric.

Georg Emory testified that he let said Trask's blood on Sept. 12, being distempered
in his body. Sworn, 17 : 7 : 1661, before W. Hathorne.

John Dodge, aged twenty-two years, testified that he took the said Hasgall away 
from Trask, and asked him if he would kill the man, etc. Sworn in court.

John Saffal, aged about thirty years, testified that he was going- to Salem on 14
 : 5: 1661, when he heard the dispute. Roger Haskal, being surveyor, ordered Trask
to stop digging, etc. Sworn, 9: 25: 1661, before Daniel Denison.

John Miller, aged about twenty-two years, deposed that Hascall gave Trask leave
to dig clay there.

Philip Fowlar and wife, Mary, testified that about a year since they were coming to
Hasscall's in the evening and both their horse and themselves were in danger
from the clay
pit in the highway, etc. Sworn, Oct. 19, 1661, before Daniel Denison.

Elizabeth Thorndike, aged twenty years and upward, deposed that she was at 
Haskall's house, during the stir between plaintiff and defendant, and looking 
out through a broken place in the window, she saw Haskall go down the hill. 
She did not see him strike Trask, but the latter held up his spade and made for
said Haskall two or three times, etc  Sworn, 21:8:1661, before Wm. Hathorne.

William Haskall, aged fifteen years, deposed that when Traske came to get clay,
father told him to go with him to the lower side of Trask's oxen. That the 
latter struck at his father, whereupon Haskall took up a pitchfork, etc. Trask held 
deponent's father by the neckcloth. About three weeks before, his father had 
forbidden  Trask digging clay there and had driven away his oxen. Sworn, 21: 8 : 
1661, before  Wm. Hathorne.

Roger Hascoll's plea: That he had a right to his own land, according to law; that he 
could bring sufficient evidence to prove his damage in having a pit nearly six feet 
deep laid open so near his door, which was very dangerous for his cattle and carts, 
being so near his gate;that he could prove that he had possessed this land thirteen
or fourteen  years, and he had never forbade any person passing over it, yet they 
did so by his  sufferance; that he should like to know how those who said it is a 
highway, know it to be so, as he had enjoyed it longer than some of them had 
known their right hand from their left, and if it were so, he would have known it 
before a stranger; he forbade  plaintiff digging clay there on account of the 
danger to those  who passed that way,  and because Trask had no need of it, 
having a great deal of  clay at his own door much nearer than Hascoll's land; he 
was continually doing  damage by pulling down defendant's fences, carting over 
his land, letting out his  cattle and letting in swine  which rooted up his ground, 
pretending to have leave;  that he struck said Trask  only in self-defence, etc.

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts Vol II
1656-1662 (pp323-324).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I'm not certain if this is my direct ancestor Eleazer Rogers with an alternate
spelling of his last name or if it's another descendant of Thomas "The Pilgrim"
Rogers who was a Mayflower passenger. Either way, he's kin. I winced the first
time I read his petition:

Eliezer Rogers' Petition 1698.

"To the Honoble" William Stoughton Esqr Lieutenant Governour and to the Council
and Representatives in General Court Assembled, The humble petition, of Eliezer Rogers
of plymouth

That your Petitioner being a Soldier under the Command of Captain Thomas Dymock did
on the ninth day of September last (1697) receive Several Wounds in an Engagemt with the ffrench and Indians att Winagauts. particularly he was shott through the Thigh, and
through the right side of his head which put out his Eye, and has made him in a great
measure incapable of his Employment

Yor Petitioner therefore humbly prays that he may have his Cure perfected att the publick Charge, and may have Such further Stipend and pension as to this Honoble Court shall
Seem reasonable, and yor petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray &c

Eleazer rogers

May ult. 1698 Read in the House of Representatives
and Committed.

June 7'h In Answer to this petition
Ordered, That the petitioner shall be allowed and paid out of ye publick Treasury the Sum
of Twenty pounds in full compensation for smart money, and for the loss and damages abovementioned, by him sustained

Sent up for Concurrance.
June 8th 1698. In Council.
Read and Resolved a Concurrance
Isc Addington Secry./ "

Baxter, James Phinney, ed .Documentary History of the State of Maine Vol 5 Containing the Baxter Manuscripts Maine Historical Society Portland 1897 (p512)

It's possible it is Eleazer. I've found records of him and his wife Ruhamah Willis Rogers
selling land to two different doctors which might be to help pay for medical treatment made necessary by the wounds. But I've also seen him referred to as a seaman by trade in the
early 1700s.

What fascinates me is the fact that Eliezer or Eleazer was able to survive such a severe
wound in a time when medicine was far from the exact science it is today.

They were amazingly resilient people in those days!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


As I've previously posted, Susannah Buswell's husband, Isaac Buswell, Jr. apparently
died before her first appearance in court in 1677 at which time she was described as his
relict or widow. She was charged with theft and burglary and I've speculated that this might
have been caused by a dispute over her late husband's estate. I think this from the Salem
court records of April 1679 bears this theory out:

"Susanna Buswell, relict of Isaac Buswell, jr., was appointed administratrix of the estate
of Isaac Buswell, and was ordered to bring in an inventory to the next Hampton court
to take good care for the maintenance of the children."

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts Vol VII
1678-1680 (p 195)

There's no record I can find online as to what exactly happened next. Perhaps it was the
ordered inventory that was the cause of a dispute now between Susannah and her father-
in-law Isaac Buswell Sr. Whatever the exact cause, we do know that it all ended up again in court:

"Ephraim Winsley deposed that he was desired by old Goodman Buswell to go with
him to hear some discourse between Buswell and his daughter-in-law Susana Buswell
concerning some estate of Buswell's that she challenged as belonging to her and her
children, it being due to her husband Isack Buswell. Isack Perkins and his wife, Samll.
Felloes and Joseph Dow were also present and the agreement was that Isack was to
take the two eldest daughters of Susana Buswell, pay for their bringing up, pay all debts
of his son Isack, pay Susana 201i. and to the daughters of Isack Buswell 301i. at the age
of sixteen years. Susana gave up her right in the house and land of Isack, also her half
of eleven or twelve bushels of barley, and she was to have the household stuff of her
husband, two cows, a colt and two swine. This was done about July 13, 1679. The wife
of Isack Perkins desired old Goodman Buswell to let Susana stay in that house two or
three days or a week until they could bring her to Hampton, and then he would take her
to his house and she should not trouble him nor his any more. Sworn, Nov. 13, 1679,
before Nath. Saltonstall, assistant.

Samuell Fellows, aged about sixty-one years, testified that Joseph Dow was there to
write the agreement but he did not write it as it was concluded. Deponent was a witness.
Sworn, Nov. 11, 1679, before Nath. Saltonstall, assistant." (p 279)

And so the eighty year old Isaac Buswell finally brought an end to the turmoil caused by
his daughter in law. True to his word, he did take in his son's two oldest daughters, and
provided for them and the third girl in his will.

As for Susannah, she wasn't home with her parents for long. She married William Fuller
of Ipswich on 29Jun,1680 and they had a daughter Abigail.

Looking at the individual mentions of Susannah in the court records, it would seem that she
was a troublemaker and perhaps a scandal in the eyes of her contemporaries. But from a
modern prospective, it might also be put forth that she was a woman struggling against the
restraints of Puritan society on her rights to control her own finances.

But I think it is safe to say things were at least never dull around Susannah Perkins

Monday, August 17, 2009


Well, it's been a long hot day today and I did a lot of browsing and
digging about online.

I finally found what I was looking for to complete the Susannah Buswell
series and that'll teach me not to forget to bookmark a site I need for
something I'm writing.

Thanks to Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life for the term "short dictator"
and Diana at Random Relatives for GADD(Genealogical Attention Deficit
Disorder.) I got a big grin reading them both as well as footuiteMaven's
"Hey Cisco... Hey Pancho!" post. Check out all three.

And on that short note, good night!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


You would think with a name like mine I must have ridden a horse many a time.

After all, my last name is West.


I have only a very vague memory of ever being on horseback. It had to have
been sometime in the early to mid 1950's when we were living still in Malden.
There was a place over on Rte 1 in Saugus, a mini amusement park with a kid size
roller coaster, carousel, and ferris wheel. It also had a pony ride, which I recall
taking at least once on a pony that was, I think, a pinto.

I have no photographic proof of the event. Neither do I have pictures of me on
a rocking horse, nor on a carousel horse. In fact, my lack of equine experience is
a bit embarrassing looking back.

To make matters worse, the Range Rider's sidekick was named Dick West.

And the nun who taught my First Communion Class was the first person I can remember
telling me to "Go West, young man, go West!"

Nevertheless, I was a loyal Western fan. It didn't matter to me, whether it was North(Sgt.
Preston) or South (Tales of the Texas Rangers) or in the air(Sky King), if it was a Western,
I watched it. I had a Roy Rogers lunchbox. Okay, officially it was a Roy Rogers and Dale
Evans lunchbox, but that was never mentioned And of course, there was the Lone Ranger.

Later on when the new ABC network came along, there was a whole slew of Warner Brother
westerns: Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Lawman, Bronco, Maverick.

And of course I read all the Black Stallion books. Strictly speaking, they weren't Westerns
but my philosophy was that if you were going to be a cowboy you needed the best horse,
and the Black and his offspring were the best.

One summer when we were visiting Aunt Flossie and Uncle Herbie up in Milan NH, some
pictures were taken of me wearing a cowboy hat and toting cap pistols. I'm pretty sure they
belonged to my cousin Bobby. One of them is a group picture with my parents and sister
standing in front of the garage that I would come to know oh so well a year or so later
when Mom taught me how to ride my bike. By that time we'd moved to Boston and after
the infamous Blackfoot Indian incident I wasn't quite so enthusiastic about Cowboys and

I don't think I wore a cowboy hat again until my Charlie Daniels period in the late 1970's-
early 1980's when I wore a black cowboy hat, denim vest, jacket and pants, and drove a
green Chevy pickup. And now I've bought sort of a straw cowboy hat.

And that ladies and gents, is the sad tale of this horseless West.

Written for the 78th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy


Well. It's Saturday night and time once again over at Randy Seaver's
Genea-Musings blog for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. This one's called
UGG, or Ultimate Genealogy Goal:

Here is your assignment if you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible

1) Answer these questions:

* What is your UGG - your "Ultimate Genealogy Goal" for the genealogy
research that you wish to leave to your heirs, descendants and the genealogy

Easy to pick for me: to fill in the blanks on my tree by breaking down
the two brick walls: the parentage of John Cutter West on my Dad's side,
and my Mom's Irish great grandparents on her side.

* How long do you think you have have left to fulfill this ultimate goal?

Who can say? I'll be 61 this coming Thursday, the same age as my Dad
when he died. My Mom was 72 when she passed away. On the other hand,
some of my grandparents and great grandparents lived into their mid
eighties. Que sera, sera.

* Are you prioritizing your time adequately in order to achieve this goal?
* If not, what should you do to achieve the goal?

I'll answer these together. No. My first priority is keeping a roof over
my head, food in the fridge and pantry, and my light bill and car insurance
paid. This means I work full time in a bookstore 5 days a week. One of
my days off is Sunday, when all government offices and many other
resources are closed. Genealogy research is limited to what I can find
online nights and to what I can do for research trips during my three
vacation weeks a year. I expect that this will continue for the forseeable
future because I'm not going to be able to retire anytime soon. Research
trips are dependent on my personal finances which are always tight. For
exanple, my New England Genealogical Society membership expired
recently and I haven't renewed it because I can't afford it.

* Will you do what you need to do?

I'll try, but there are weeks when the $10-12 total cost to take the
commuter rail (including the parking) into the Mass. State Archive can't
be spared.

UGG indeed!

Friday, August 14, 2009



We got up early on Sunday morning. The weather forecast called for rain moving
into New England during the afternoon and traffic back down to Boston is bad
enough without factoring heavy downpours into the travel time. So we were
out of the room by 7:45 (I think...I wasn't entirely awake yet) and then went downstairs
to say goodbye to Aunt Dot before we left. Gary and Diana planned to take the make
a loop up through the Rangeley Lakes area and then down along the Maine coast
to do some sightseeing before heading back to Ohio. It had been fun seeing them all again
and meeting Gary's mom Peg. And it's always great to spend time with Dot talking about
the family!

We were on the road at around 8am and after a quick stop for coffee at a Dunkin' Donuts
(a sure sign of civilization is a town with a Dunkies!) we headed south. The weather most
of the way was fine and I took some pictures of the scenery along the way. I should mention
here that I didn't take as many pictures as I should because I was spooked by finding a shot
on the camera late Friday night that looked like your tv when you get a lot of static. Cheryl
kiddingly suggested it was from a ghost at one of the cemeteries. So I must have reviewed
all my pictures 30 times over the weekend to make sure I hadn't lost anything!

We stopped at Concord NH.for brunch and gas. The weather held until we reached Massachusetts and then began to cloud over but except for a few sprinkles the rain
held off until after we were home. Cheryl dropped me off here at the apartment at around
12:30, and our weekend trip to Maine was over.

Once again I want to thank Cheryl for hauling me around the country and putting up with
my rambling about which ancestor did what in which town. Love you, sis!

And so ends the tale of "Son of Road Trip"!


After lunch the reunion business meeting was held inside the garage. The minutes of last
year's meeting were read, and Jerry mentioned the passing of several Ellingwood
relatives since last year. Prizes were given out for the oldest attendee (a young lady in
her 90's) the youngest attendee (a baby girl less than a year old) and the attendee from
the furthest away(which was my Aunt Dot from Ohio this year.) Attendance at this
year's reunion was 44 people. Somewhere in the middle of this I gave a brief talk
to introduce myself and those with me, the first descendants of Clara Ellingwood to
come to the reunion since Grand Uncle Clarence had some years before. I can't
remember much of what I said about my genealogy research so I hope I didn't
babble for too long!

Just before the meeting adjourned Jerry mentioned that he'd been corresponding with
a descendant of one of Asa F. Ellingwood's siblings and it turned out the young man
was there. Plans were discussed about perhaps merging the two lines' reunions into
one shared event.

Then we all went outside for group pictures, first of those descended from each of Asa
and Florilla's children and then of the family as a whole. I was asked to take the pictures
of some of the other families and I hope those pictures came out ok!

Shortly afterwards we had to leave because we were heading home on Sunday and we
wanted to visit the Ellingwood gravesites at Wayside Cemetery in West Paris on Saturday
afternoon. All in all, we had a good time at the Ellingwood Family Reunion and I think
Jerry, Bonnie, Al, Lori, and the others did a tremendous job!

We found the Wayside Cemetery without much trouble. It was finding the graves of Asa
and Florilla Ellingwood that was the challenge. While the others scrambled up a hilly
section I walked further down the road to another entrance and started in there. At about
the time that the others found the Ellingwood headstones, I found those of what I thought
were Florilla's parents James T. Dunham and Sally Houghton Dunham. I took some
pictures and then joined the others to take shots of the Ellingwoods.

Then it was back to the cars. There was one more stop at another graveyard in an
unsuccessful search for two other relatives, after which we drove back to Gorham
for dinner and then on to the motel. We talked for awhile with Dot and Diana and
I heard a few new family stories Then we said our goodnights and went to our rooms.
I got out my genealogy binders and was able to confirm that it was indeed the graves
of our Dunham 3x great grandparents I'd found, and then I checked my camera to
make sure all the pictures were still there.(A wee bit of paranoia there.)

To be continued...

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The plan for the next day was for us all to attend the Ellingwood Family Reunion in
Norway, Me. I'm afraid I was the last one downstairs(say, have I mentioned here
before that I hate stairs?)and into the car, and then I knocked over Cheryl's coffee
climbing into the SUV. Ah well.

We got back on Rte 26 and retraced our trip from the previous day back to Bethel
and then on to Norway. It was a nice sunny, cool day and I enjoyed looking at the
scenery. So many of my ancestors came from the towns we'd driven through during
the trip: Paris, Upton, Woodstock, Waterford, Newry. I wondered which of the older
buildings we passed had been standing during my ancestors' times. I also wondered
about the large pen of reindeer on the farm we drove past! (We speculated about that once
we arrived at the reunion. I like my cousin Diana's theory that they were on vacation.)

We arrived at the reunion around noon time. It was first held back in 1923 in honor
of Asa F. Ellingwood and with the exception of the World War 2 years it's been held every
year since. In recent years it's been held at the home of Jerry Ellingwood in Norway. He's
got a great view of Lake Norway from his house and younger family members were
outside playing volleyball and other games when we drove up. There was a canopy up for
dining and family memorabilia and pictures were on display on tables inside the garage
where they were out of the bright sun and wind.

Once we signed in I had the chance to meet people I'd met through email and Facebook:
Lori Grippo, the family historian and editor of the yearbook given out at the reunions,
Bonnie Atkinson, the secretary/treasurer of the reunion committee, and Jerry Ellingwood.
it's president. I browsed through the memorabilia and added some copies of two document
transcriptions I've posted here on the blog; one was Cyprian Stevens' letter to the Bay
Colony Council and the other was John Ellingwood's petition for compensation due to
the loss of his finger in fighting the Indians. I chose these two because Florence O'Connor
mentioned them in her book The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood
and Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood.

By the way, Jerry has copies of the book available which is printed to be kept in
a three ring binder. This makes it possible to add yearly updates with family
events to the original book. The cost is $11.70 and if you are a descendant of
Ralph Ellingwood of Beverly Ma. it's well worth buying the book for all the
information you'll find in it!

Lori Grippo mentioned that another attendee wanted to ask me about my West family so
I spoke with Evelyn Chamberlain and two other ladies who remembered my great uncle
Clarence West and his wife Mabel attending past reunions. I called over Aunt Dot to speak
with them. Now she'd hoped to find relatives of her Uncle Willie Tidwell, my grandfather's
half-brother through Clara Ellingwood's first marriage. I didn't seem the Tidswells had
shown up often for the reunion but the three ladies did know Uncle Willie so Aunt Dot
enjoyed talking with them. We also saw that Grandpa West had attended at least one of
the reunions years ago when his name was found on one of the older lists of attendees!

Jerry Ellingwood and Al Atkinson cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs and everyone
enjoyed their meal under the canopy before the business meeting was held.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We visited with Aunt Dot, Diana, Gary, and Gary's mom Peg until we could check into
our room and unpack. Then while Cheryl made a run to a nearby store I sort of dozed off
until Cheryl returned and woke me up so we could get back on the road. Cheryl and I
hadn't been back to the area in years so we'd follow Gary and the others.

We were going to drive up to Upton Me to visit the cemetery where our ancestor John Cutter
West is buried. The plan was to head up Route 16 through Berlin and Milan alongside the
Androscoggin River until we reached Errol, then get on Route 26. I looked for some of the
places I remembered from the last time I was there years ago but most of them were gone.
The old ski jump in Berlin which was once the tallest east of the Mississippi River is still
standing but is obscured by trees. And when we reached Milan itself we passed the garage
I crashed into when my Mom taught me how to ride my bike over 50 years ago. It's still
painted the same white with green trim!

Wwhen we reached the center of Milan we found that there was a road construction
detour that put us on Rte 110 which snakes around until it rejoins Rte 16 further north.
Rte 110 took us up Milan Hill which at one time was named Barrows Mountain after
my ancestor Asa Barrows and we spotted a road sign for an "Asa Barrows Rd"(which I
haven't been able to find on any online map since I came home). By the time we made it
back out onto Rte 16 there was a light rain falling. I kept a lookout for any moose grazing
by the Androscoggin but despite the many signs warning us of hundreds of car-moose
collisions we didn't spot any moose on the whole trip!

Eventually we reached Rte 26 in Errol and crossed over into Maine. Our first destination
was Back St, which is a dirt road right off the highway where my Grandfather West had
a cabin. Pop's place had burned down and there are considerably more buildings on
the road than there used to be, so we weren't able to pick out exactly where the building
once stood. We all did get a chuckle when we reached the end of the road. The last
property on it sat at the end of a long entranceway that had a sign calling it "Further
Back Street". We turned around and headed back out onto Rte 26. The rain had stopped
but there were clouds hugging the tops of the mountains ahead of us.

Not far down Rte 26 from Back Street a small unmarked graveyard sits on the side of the
road. We stopped and got out and then climbed through some weeds and walked towards
the back of the lot, where my 3x great grandfather John Cutter West is buried. Nearby are
the graves of three of his children, Ruth Ellen, David Pingree, and Arvilla Electa, and that
of Orpha V. (Reynolds), the first wife of my 2x great grandfather Jonathan Phelps West.
The ground was covered with moss (it felt like we were walking on sponges) and it hid
part of Arvilla's headstone which had fallen over. We took pictures of the gravestones and
then we all headed back to the cars because we were being attacked by a horde of very
hungry mosquitoes. Perhaps city folks are gourmet food for country mosquitoes?

Route 26 took us into Bethel, Me where we turned onto Rte 2 and followed that back into Gorham. We'd made a big loop through NH and Maine. We stopped in Gorham for dinner,
then went back to the Mt. Madison Motel. It had been a long day of travel, and Saturday promised to be the same, so we made plans to meet in the morning and then retired to our rooms for the night.

To be continued...

Monday, August 10, 2009


Last year my sister Cheryl and I took a weeklong road trip out to Ohio to visit
my Aunt Dorothy which I've blogged about here. It was a lot of fun and we
decided to make it a yearly thing. This year, for various reasons, we couldn't
do a whole week but we could do a weekend trip up to Western Maine to
attend the Ellingwood Family Reunion. We'd meet up with Aunt Dot, her daughter
cousin Diana and Diana's husband Gary in Gorham NH and go to the reunion and
visit some family related places as well.

The original plan was for Cheryl to pick me up here at around 6am but she changed
it to 7 which was fine by me. It's been years since I got up before 6am. Heck, there's
nights where I've been up blogging and went to bed at 3:30 in the morning, but once
I'm in that bed, getting up and awake is a bit harder! At any rate, I was outside and
waiting with my suitcase and backpack(loaded with 3 three-ring binders of genealogy,
among other things)when Cheryl arrived and after loading everything into the car we
set out for Maine. Cheryl had a GPS device and it sent us north through Boston and
onto Route 1 thought Saugus and other North Shore towns. As we drove, Cheryl and
I talked about how the time estimated for our arrival in Gorham seemed much shorter
that the three hour or so drive we remembered from previous trips when we were younger.

That thought kept niggling away at us and by the time we got to Dover, NH Cheryl decided
to check the GPS. And that's when we discovered that the set destination was Gorham,
Me., not Gorham, NH! A quick change and we were off on a 76 mile course across NH on
Route16. Estimated arrival was now about 11:45 am.

The weather was nice and the traffic wasn't too bad so we made pretty good time until we
reached Conway, NH. Conway's certainly grown over the years and the traffic on Route 16
was so bad it added an hour to our travel time. It began to cloud up a little and there
were some light sprinkles but nothing major as we drove up through the White Mountain
National Forest on 16 and right into Main St at Gorham. We were all staying at the Mt.
Madison Motel but we didn't see Gary and Diana's van when we got there, and since check
in time wasn't until 3pm, we decided to go eat lunch. We found an Italian restaurant
on Main St. and I wish I could remember the name because the food was good. Cheryl had
Italian wedding soup and I had an eggplant parmesan sub.

I'd noticed that the air was cool and windy when we'd gotten out of the car and by the time
we started back to the motel at around 1:30 there were clouds moving in so it looked like we
were in for some rain. Our Ohio relatives were at the motel when we entered the parking
lot and we visited with them in their room until it was time to check into our own.

But the first day of the weekend wasn't over yet.

To be continued....

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I was in a motel room in Gorham NH when I saw this week's Saturday Night
Genealogy Fun over at Randy Seavers' Genea-Musings. So I had to wait until this
afternoon to post mine after I came home and posted some Ellingwood Reunion
Pictures to FB and some gravestone pictures to the Maine Genealogy Network
site. Anyhow, the challenge is to list my 16 great great grandparents and
figure out their ethnicity and what percentage of the 16 came from what

Here are my 16 great great grandparents:

1 Jonathan Phelps West was born on 16Jan 1834 in Letter B Plantation (now Upton),
Oxford, Me. He died on 8Jul 1917 at the age of 83 in Upton, Oxford, Me.
Jonathan was buried in Upton Cem. Louisa Almata Richardson and Jonathan Phelps
West were married on 31Jan 1865.

2. Louisa Almata Richardson was born on 23 Jun 1837 in Wilton, Me. She died on
4Oct 1925 at the age of 88 in Upton, Oxford, Me. Louisa was buried in Upton Cem.

3 Asa Freeman Ellingwood was born on 4Apr 1828 in Milan Hill, Coos, N.H.. He died
on 11Mar 1921 at the age of 92 in North Paris, Oxford, Me. He was buried at
Wayside Cemetery at West Paris, Oxford, Me. Florilla Dunham and Asa Freeman
Ellingwood were married on 22Aug 1850 in Woodstock, Oxford, Me..

4. Florilla Dunham was born on 29Aug 1832 in North Paris, Oxford, Me. She died on
21Feb 1917 at the age of 84. She was buried in Wayside Cemetery,West Paris,

5. Nathaniel S. Barker was born on 13Mar 1830 in Newry, Oxford, Me. He died on
20Mar 1884 at the age of 54. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Bethel, Oxford Me. Elizabeth Coburn and Nathaniel S. Barker were married (date unknown before 1860).

6 Elizabeth (Lucy) Coburn was born on 10Aug 1842. She died on 15Nov 1904 at the age
of 62. She was buried in Songo Cemetery. Bethel, Oxford, Me.

7. Amos Hasting Barker was born on 19Nov 1828 in Rumford, Oxford, Me. He died
on 5Nov 1907 at the age of 78. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Bethel, Oxford,
Me. Betsey Jane Moore and Amos Hasting Barker were married. (date unknown around
1855 or 1856. )

8. Betsey Jane Moore was born on 16Aug 1842 in Waterford, Oxford Me. She died
on 12Mar 1924 at the age of 81 in Newry, Oxford, Me.

9 UNKNOWN White Father of Edward J. White born (date unknown) in Ireland

10. UNKNOWN Mother of Edward J. White born (date unknown) in Ireland

11 UNKNOWN Offinger(Offlincher, Offlincer) father of Pauline Offinger born
(date unknown) in Germany(?)

12 UNKNOWN Mother of Pauline Offinger born (date unknown) in Germany(?)

13. Michael McFarland was born (date unknown) in Ireland. Nora and Michael
McFarland were married in Ireland.

14. Nora UNKNOWN was born (date unknown) in Ireland.

15. Patrick Kelley was born (date unknown)in Ireland. Anne Byrne and Patrick Kelley
were married in Ireland

16. Anne Byrne was born (date unknown) in Ireland.

Well, it's pretty obvious that overall their ethnicity is 100% European. Of that,
the dominant nationality was English at 50% of the great greats, all on my
Dad's side, all descendants of early Massachusetts settlers. Of the remaining 8 from
my Mom's side, 6 were from Ireland for 37.5% and the remaining 12.5% come from
the two Offinger great greats who tradition says were German!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Well, two more days until we head north to Maine. I did a little shopping for some
things: a pair of sneakers, a hat, some socks, pens and notebooks. (As my cousin
commented on Facebook, "someone's planning on doing a lot of interviews!")

I need to finish up the Susannah Buswell series before I go, and then make some copies
of some documents to take with me for the Ellingwood Family Reunion. I have checked
past copies of the Ellingwood Reunion Newsletter to see what's been in them and
hopefully the items I bring will be new to everyone.

On another front, I've been posting some old posts from this blog to my blog over at
the Maine Genealogy Network. These include posts about Jonathan Barker's Revolutionary
War pension file and on my brickwall ancestor, John Cutter West. Going forward I'll
be posting any new posts about my Maine ancestors to both blogs.

And now, off to the laundromat!

Monday, August 03, 2009


One day last week my sister sent me some great photos taken when she and her
husband took her grandson to a local zoo. He's started walking and there was one
shot in particular of him walking past a chain link fence that I wanted to post here
and show everyone how cute my grandnephew is. I needed to wait until today because
his parents had gone away for the weekend and I wanted to get their permission first
before posting it.

Then I heard this story on the radio this morning about a family right here in Abington
who discovered that a picture of their infant son they'd posted on their family blog was
being used in an adoption scam on Craig's List. An anonymous e-mailer had tipped them
off about it.

I have a few thoughts on this. The first is, why doesn't Craig's List police their site

The second is, I won't be posting any pictures of my grandnephew here for the foreseeable
future, at least not for several years.

Like maybe twenty.

Read the story here.


Isaac Buswell Sr. arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony sometime around 1639,
took the oath of freeman 9Oct 1640 and was one of the first settlers of the town Salisbury
in Essex County. He was married twice, his first wife having died on 29 Sep 1642 and his
second on 31Mar 1676 or 1677. Isaac himself died in 1683 and was over 90 years old at
the time. He had at least five children, among whom was Isaac Jr.

Isaac Buswell Jr was 23 years old when he married Susannah Perkins on 12May 1673. The
couple had three daughters but apparently Isaac Jr. died sometime before April 1677 court
session in which Susannah was described as his relict or widow and convicted of burglary
and lying. What could have caused her to steal six shillings from her brother in law
William and then apparently lie about doing it?

Perhaps a clue lies in a ruling cited after her case in which William is named administrator
of the estate of a local widow. Could William have been appointed an administrator of his
dead brother's estate? Perhaps Susannah needed money which William was reluctant to
give her and the theft was the culmination of an argument? It seems to me that her
punishment was comparatively light in an era where penalties were often harsh. If this
was seen by the court as a family squabble that had gone too far, that might explain the
leniency shown towards Susannah.

It's another one of those things I may never know because I've yet to find more information
on this incident.

Things seemed to not go very well afterward for Susannah. In January 1677 she was fined
for excessive drinking to which she admitted. Then in the Oct 1678 records is this footnote:

"From Samuel Dalton's Commissioner Records. See ante, vol. V, p. 235.
Wm. Allin, sr. v. Sarah Taylor; for going from his service in a disorderly way and for
accusing his wife of cruelly beating her; judgment, that the girl went away disorderly
and she was found guilty of many contrary tales. that she had met with evil counsellors
which was the main trouble, and that in the complaint against Goodwife Allin for cruel
correction, there was found no legal conviction but considering the poverty of the girl's
relatives, each party was to pay his own charges, also that Ann Person, the girl's mother,
take care of her in the future to see that she be placed out in some godly family, and in
the meantime to refrain from the company of Goodwife Houldredg and Susan

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts Vol VI
1675-1678 (p340 )

So now Susannah was considered an "evil counselor". Was it because of her drinking, or
because she'd encouraged Sarah Taylor to leave a cruel mistress? After all, although
the accusation of "cruel correction" against Goodwife Allin was dismissed, the court
recommended Sarah Taylor next be placed out with some "godly family".

At any rate, Susannah Buswell's own future seemed very much in doubt.
(to be continued)

Sunday, August 02, 2009


First day of vacation!

I'm looking forward to the trip up to Maine and the Ellingwood family reunion
at the end of the week. Meanwhile I'll try to keep myself occupied and out of trouble
until then.

I spent sometime reading the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture 14th edition
over at Colleen Johnson's CMJ Office blog and enjoyed a vicarious trip to Ireland!

I've held off on posting the next part of my series on Susannah since I think
I'm one generation off on how we're related. The William Buswell I'm descended
from was born in 1692 and too young to be Captain William Buswell of the court
case. There's several Williams and Isaacs in the family around that time so I'm
doublechecking who was who and should have the next part of the series available
either tonight or tomorrow.

Something to keep myself occupied, right?