Monday, December 26, 2011


I've been reading the Leonard Ellinwood book The Ellinwood Family and I
found these two accounts about John Wesley Ellingwood's wife. The first occurs
in the entry for John Wesley himself, who Leonard refers to as "Wesley":

"His wife was brave and strong-willed. When the "black-diptheria" was sweeping
Milan, she took her oldest boy(then eight years old) to help another family where
everyone was sick; during the day she had to lay out three bodies, one of which 
was a small child who had been playing on the floor when they arrived"

Now John Wesley Ellingwood's first wife and mother of his children was Mariah
K.Flint. Their first son, also named John Wesley, died in 1851 at age six so the
son in this story would have to be their second oldest Oscar who was born in
in 1848. If the information in the story is corrrct and Oscar was eight years old,
that would place the incident in 1856.

The other anecdote is in the entry for son Enoch Merrill Ellingwood(Leonard
uses the name "Merrill") 

"As a boy his leg was so badly infected the doctor wanted to amputate to save
his life.His mother would not permit it, saying that it was hard enough getting
through life with two legs and that if God was going to spare his life he would
spare him whole.She called on an Indian woman who went into a swamp and
gathered roots, etc. with which she made a poultice and cured the infection."


Leonard Ellinwood was given both stories in a letter from Cecil Ellingwood, who
was Enoch Merrill Ellingwood's grandson. Since it's anecdotal it's possible the
boy in the first story was six year old John Wesley Ellingwood Jr. and Hannah
made a mistake in bringing him with her, but I think if that had been the case
such a tragic story would have been something Cecil would have heard about as

I think some of us forget that Northern New England was just as much a frontier
as other parts of the country long after Southern New England was settled. And
Mariah K Flint Ellingwood was one tough pionerr woman!


Carol said...

What wonderful stories. I have story envy.

Canyon Wolf said...

Bill, would you please share the birth date for this "Enoch Merrill Ellingwood" who was treated by a local Native American. I would like to date the story to at least the decade it might have occurred in. Was the family still in Milan or had they perhaps moved away?

I am always on the lookout for these little bits and pieces which are so often all we have to let us know the Abenaki People were still around and well known to locals.

I can place an Abenaki family in Gorham (NH) in 1870 that may have included a healer. Sounds like the story is much too recent to be the famous Molly Ockett.

It certainly is a piece of Native history that should not be overlooked or forgotten. Thank you for posting it.

Nancy Lecompte for Ne-Do-Ba

Bill West said...

Nancy, Enoch Merrill Ellingwood was born on 23Sep 1850 in Milan Nh. His grandparents John Ellingwood and Rachel Barrows were among the first white settlers in the region, arriving sometime around 1820-1821 and their oldest child Isaac Harris Ellingwood was the first white child born in Milan(the Milan Hill area) on 20Apr 1822.

So that's well within the time period that the healer you know of to possibly be the one who healed Enoch's leg!

Canyon Wolf said...

Thanks for the detail. I would speculate this took place perhaps between 1855 and 1865 (age 5 to 15).

Certainly too late to be Molly Ockett who was long dead by then. Probably too early to be the family at Gorham in 1870 because that family was based out of Odanak (St. Francis du-lac, PQ) and constantly moving about.

The History of Milan talks about a local Native family that I have not been able to identify, but may be more contemporary to this story.

Thanks again for sharing this.

Bill West said...

Nancy, you might be interested in this post from way back in 2007 which has my 2x great grandfather's memories of Mettaluc. I'm not sure how much of it might have been embellished by the author of the book which was written back in 1907.