Wednesday, January 28, 2015


John Cutter West

Continuing the story, my ancestor John C West was lost on a frozen lake in Maine
in a snowstorm with his friends Enoch Abbott and  Joseph Chase. When Chase
decided to lay down and take a nap, my 3x great grandfather took drastic measures:

West applied the brad, then laid his
goad the length of his back, at the same
time in  peremptory tones commanding
him to get up and walk or he would take
his pelt. Chase with a temper at fever
heat leaped from his recumbent position
and for a few minutes a fierce fisticuff
ensued. Chase was by this time well
roused and after due explanations peace
was restored and they resumed their

They soon came to more fresh tracks
when West ordered  halt,  "Now," said
he "we have all this time been playing
fool We are beyond a doubt traveling
in a circle like all bewildered people.
These cattle know their way and can
keep their course much better than we
can. Now I propose to turn them loose
and let them take the lead. They are
tired and hungry and will make the near-
est habitation." All agreed and the poor
tired creatures were soon set at liberty.
The master ox belonging to West with
a low cow bossy call to the others start-
ed off followed by the entire herd.

As it proved the ox knew best. On
they plodded for a half hour or more,
when the leader began toi low and quick-
en his pace.  "Good!" exclaimed West,
"we are near some habitation. Old Star
never tells lies."

Anon they found themselves in Joe
Stone's dooryard. Joe hearing the low
of the oxen came out to bid then wel-
come. The house though small would
accommodate the men but how about
the oxen. A small log hovel for his cow
was all the out-house he possessed. A
stack of hay stood near the hovel to
which the oxen made way. Joe
came out, mounted the hove, thence the
haystack, undid the fastenings at the
top and completely buried the oxen in
hay. "There." said he, " they are all
right for to-night, now for supper."

After a hearty supper of moose and
deer steak, they looked to their oxen to
find them all resting on the soft hay,
each ox beside his mate. Next morning
the cattle made their way to the sleds,
were yoked and sped for home.

I'll have a few concluding thoughts in the next post.


I've posted about this incident before but never actually transcribed the article
until now. It's about my3x great grandfather and two friends, Enoch Abbott and
Joseph Chase lost in a snowstorm in northwestern Maine. As we just weathered
the Blizzard of 2015 here in Massachusetts, I thought this was appropriate:

Oxford County Advertiser, Friday, February 3, 1905

The Value of a Compass
by Mark Tapley

We have often admonished people
 who frequent the unbroken forests, espec-
ially those unaccustomed to hunting and
camping,  of the safety in having a pocket
compass, which can be obtained at the
cost of a few cents, and may ofttimes
save the possessor much trouble and
even save a life. We are cognizant of sev-
eral instances where people even old
foresters have become bewildered, in
which case they can always travel in a circle,
and were saved by the instinct of domes-
tic animals, which is seldom at fault.

It was some sixty years ago, before
the Berlin Mills Company monopolized
the timber throughout the Lake country,
that Enoch Abbott, John West, and  Jo-
seph Chase, three prominent citizens of
Upton, then known as Letter B, started
one fine winter's morning each with two
pairs of stalwart oxen laden with hay
and bound for the loggers' camp sit-
uated on the Swift Diamond stream, a
tributary of the Magalloway river. The
sledding was fine and the teams in good
heart. They arrived at their destination
and disposed of their loads before noon.

At one o'clock they started for home
but long before they reached the lake
the sky became overcast and soon devel-
oped into a a thick northeasterly snow
storm. The old track was soon obscured
and the blinding storm completely ob-
scured the distant shore. But on they
drove thinking to reach the opposite
shore before dark. Every few minutes
fresh tracks were discerned in the dim
twilight. These they thought to be part
of the old track leading off the lake.
This would give the fresh courage and
serve to quicken their pace. Darkness
came on and still no signs of land.

Chase began to lag behind but finally
caught up with his sled, threw himself
down complaining of drowsiness and
concluded to take a nap. The others
well knew this to betoken the sleep that
knows no waking, so they combined to
rouse him if possible. But shaking and
warning  of the impending danger was of
no avail. So like the old man with the
saucy boy in the apple tree they resorted
to force.

To be continued, like all good cliffhangers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


((I first posted this back in January 2011. With the "Blizzard of 2015"
raging outside right now, I thought I'd repost it.)) 

We're supposed to be getting a blizzard here tonight. I thought an
excerpt from cousin John Greenleaf Whittier's poem Snowbound
would be an apropos blogpost before I head off to bed:

"Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores."

Sunday, January 25, 2015


The Woodbury family aren't the only relatives of mine to have been accused of
doing things Puritan society discouraged. In this case, my 8x great granduncle
Ephraim Herrick found himself in hot water, along with a young woman named
Susanna Read:

Writ, dated 3 : 12 : 1668, signed by Hillyard Veren,t for the court, and served by John Hill,t deputy constable of Bass river side.

Warrant, dated 11 : 12 : 1668, to Ephraim Herick and Susana Reed, upon complaint of uncleanness, also Mary Wood and Elizabeth Whithaire, as witnesses, signed by Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Writ, dated 3 : 12 : 1668, signed by Hillyard Veren,t for the court, and served by John Hill,t deputy constable of Bass river side.

A "complaint of uncleanliness" doesn't refer to a failure to take baths: 

Susanah Read deposed concerning a criminal assault upon her by Ephraim Herrick when his wife was in Salem, she having been engaged to work for him during Indian harvest. Sworn, 2 : 12: 1668, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Mary Woods deposed that about three years ago when Joseph Herreck was married, a company of them went from Richard Lechards to Efram Herreck's house, etc. She further deposed concerning the latter's lewd conduct toward her in the presence of four or five persons. Sworn, 27: 1: 1669, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Hennery Herrick, aged about twenty-eight years, deposed that Ephraim Herrick often fell out with Susanna Read about her work, and Lydia, wife of Henry, deposed that Susanna said that said Herrick would not give her victuals and tobacco for her work, etc. Sworn before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

William Raymont, aged about thirty years, deposed that he heard Susanna Reade tell at the house of Anthony Woods the latter end of last December concerning the assaults by Herrick, and that at one time John Herrick was nearby in the field with them. Mary Woods, aged about twenty-six years, deposed the same. Sworn, 27: 1 : 1669, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Elesebeth Whiteheare deposed that about three years ago she went to Herrick's house to wash with his wife, she rode with said Herrick, etc. Sworn in court.

Elysabeth Herrick, aged about twenty years, deposed that being at Ephraim Herrick's house she heard Susanna Reede say that Richard Haines affronted Goodwife Balch, etc. Lidia, Herrick, aged about twenty-six years, deposed the same, and that Susanna later denied the story. Sworn in court.

John Herricke, aged about nineteen years, deposed that Ephraim Herrick was with him all day, etc. Sworn in court.

Zacreiah Hereck, aged about thirty years, deposed that he had heard Susana Read say, etc. Sworn in court.

Elizabeth Herrick, aged about twenty years, deposed that being at her brother Ephraim's house, etc. Sworn, 27 : 1 : 1669, before Wm. Hathorne,J assistant.

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1667-1671 (Google eBook)
Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1914

So it boiled down to "He said, she said". and all those Herricks testifying were Ephraim's
siblings, the children of my 9x great grandparents Henry Herrick and Edith Laskin. What's frustrating is there are some details missing. (Those dang etc's!! ).  Whatever they said,
it must have been persuasive, given that all this testimony was given for this case:

Ephraim Herick v. Susana Read. Slander. Verdict for plaintiff.*


Continuing on with the 2015 edition of Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.
at her No Story Too Small blog:

My 7x great grandfather John Walker had married Bethia Simonds, daughter of William
Simonds, another prominent citizen of Woburn Ma.:

SIMONDS. William Slmonds, Sen., settled in Woburn about 1644, near a place still known by the name of Dry Brook. He married, 18 Jan. 1643-4, Judith Hayward, widow of James Hayward, who had married her, when Judith Phippen, a fellow passenger, and a fellow servant, on board the "Planter," from London, 1635. By her, Simonds had:
(1) Sarah, born 28 July, 1644.
(2) Judith, b. 3 March, 1646.
(3) Mary, b. 9 Dec. 1647.
(4) Caleb, b. 16 Aug. 1649.
(5) William, b. 15 Apr. 1651.
(6) Joseph, b. 18 Oct. 1652.
(7) Benjamin, b. 18 March, 1654.
(8) Tabitha, b. 20 July; died 20 Aug. 1655.
(9) Joshua, b. ; died 16 July, 1657.
(10) James, b. 1 Nov. 1658; married to Susanna Blogget, 29 Dec. 1685.
(11) Bethlah, b. "9: 3 mo," 9 May, (3: 9 mo: 3 Nov.?] 1659; md. to John Walker, Sen., 13 August, 1696.
(12) Huldah, b. 20 Nov. 1660; md. to Samuel Blogget, jun., 1683.

William Simonds, Sen., died 7 June, 1672: Judith Simonds, widow, died 3 Jan. lC*3-90. [Woburn Records of Births, Marriages, etc, etc; Savage's GeneaL Diet.]


The History of Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass. from the Grant of Its Territory to Charlestown, in 1640, to the Year 1860 (Google eBook) (Samuel Sewall, Charles Chauncy Sewall & Samuel Thompson)

Fellow geneablogger Heather Wilkinson Rojo and I have yet another cousin connection
through our ancestors William Simonds and Judith Phippen.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Well, another year has come and gone, and here I am at the eighth anniversary of this blog.
As is my yearly tradition, here is the story of how it all began:

"Yes, now it can be told. My first geneablog was a failure. I was new
to this whole idea and started out enthusiastically and wrote
five posts within a few days for my blog which I'd named
West of New England. But when I went to add a new post a day
or so later, I discovered I couldn't recall the password for the blog.
After about a half an hour I gave up and just recreated the blog.
I'd saved what I'd written so I created a new blogger account
and started a new geneablog, West in New England. And that's why
the first five posts are all dated Jan 23,2007.

And that's also how I learned the first rule of blogging, "Don't forget
your password!" 

And I should mention that I was inspired to start my own blog by seeing the blogs
written by Randy Seaver, Chris Dunham, and Tim Abbott, who as it turns out, are
all my cousins. I found their blogs while googling the surnames of my ancestors,
and it gave me the idea that writing a blog might help me find more relatives, especially
those related to me through my Mom's father. Eventually it did.

Some states: I have now had 365, 779 pageviews and I've written 1682 posts. I have 293
followers, still slowly inching towards 300.

The all time top five pages viewed remain the same through the first three but the last
two are newcomers:


MEMORIES OF MALDEN                                                                                    938 pageviews


ANCESTRY.COM, 'NEW SEARCH' AND THE C.H.O.P. PRINCIPLE.                  618 pageviews

THE BOOK OF ME, WRITTEN BY YOU 3: THE SKIN I'M IN.                             584 pageviews

One thing I've noticed is that many of the other geneablogs listed under the Links
heading are no longer active.  I've been lucky, I guess. I still enjoy finding things out
about my ancestors and sharing them here. I suppose the day may come when it's
no longer fun, but hopefully that won't be for a long time yet.

Finally, thanks to you folks who read what I write and encourage me by leaving comments!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


This is a picture of my 2x great grandparents Jonathan P West and Louisa (Richardson)
West with my grandfather Floyd West Sr and my granduncle Clarence West. It was
taken from The History of Wilsons Mills and the Magalloway Settlements
(Wilsons Mills, Me.: The Town of Wilsons Mills, Maine 1975.). As you can see,
it's somewhat faded:

Last night I was looking through a cd that my West cousin Lewis Wuori had sent me
sometime ago and found another copy of the picture:


I fiddled with it a bit with Irfanview and this is the best version I ended up with:

Seeing the picture holder on the cd version makes me think that multiple copies of the picture
were probably made and handed out to family members. Both versions show damage but the
cd had much less than the one used in the book. Louisa and Jonathan's clothes are darker
and so are the boys. It's possible now to see that is a white blanket on the rocking chair and
not a blank spot from damage. Also, I can see the picture hanging on the wall behind Louisa
more clearly now and I am positive it is this one of her father Philip Richardson:


I wonder what those pictures are on Jonathan's desk?


My relative Thomas Woodbury had been found not guilty of charges of lewd and lascivious
behavior with Hannah Gray, one of the household maids. I wondered what happened to
Hannah afterward. The witnesses in Thomas'  trial had said it was the girl acting improperly,
and in early colonial Puritan Massachusetts, they didn't just ignore such behavior. Sure enough, Hannah was brought to trial in the same court session Thomas had been tried in earlier.

There was more testimony about Hannah's unseemly ways:

*Mary Sollas, aged about seventeen years, deposed that sometime in the summer last year, as she came near Thomas Woodbery's house, she heard Hana Gray laughing, and going in quick without knocking, the door being open, she being a neighbor, saw said Hana and Andrew Davis together. Deponent told of many other occasions when said Hana was guilty of lascivious carriages, and deponent's brother Robert told her how Hana would entice the "scoller boys," and that she was guilty of baudly language and acts among the boys and girls. Sworn, 2 : 11: 1673, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Hanna Grove, aged about nineteen years, deposed that she had seen Hanna Gray riding about the field astride upon her master's mare and she also lived with her one winter. Sworn, 12 : 11 : 1673, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

John Batcheler, sr., aged sixty-three years, deposed that when Hanna Gray lived in his family, she was a lying little devil and his wife Elizabeth could say the same. Sworn, 12 : 11 : 1673, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Freborne Black, aged about forty years, deposed that he gave Hanna's dame warning about her a year ago. She was so rude to his children in abusing and beating them, and when he spoke to her about it, she would mock him to his face. As for his neighbor Thomas Woodbery, he had lived by him thirty-five years and had never seen any uncivil carriage in his childhood or later years. Sworn, 12 : 11 : 1673, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.

Elizabeth Hill, aged about thirty-eight years, deposed that going to Macrell Cove about two and a half years ago, and passing Woodbury's house, went in to see his wife, etc. Sworn, 12 : 11 : 1673, before Wm. Hathorne,t assistant.


Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 5 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, Salem Ma. 1916


Given this testimony and that from Thomas Woodbury's trial, the outcome was predictable:

Hanah Gray, for great offences, was ordered to stand at the meeting house at Salem upon a lecture day, with a paper on her head on which was written in capital letters, I STAND HEERE FOR MY LACIVIOUS & WANTON CARIAGES. Also at the lecture at Beverly, in like manner, or else be whipped, and the marshal and constable to see it done at Salem, and the constable of Beverly at Beverly.*

Being a Puritan girl or woman must have been incredibly frustrating for free spirits like
Hannah Gray!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The Woodbury family seems to have had trouble finding good help. Elizabeth (Hunter)
Woodbury had been brought up on charges of slapping a relative's maid. But her son,
Thomas Woodbury, would face a more serious charge in March of 1674 at the Ipswich, Ma.Quarterly Court:

In the complaint against Thomas Woodberry, putting himself for trial upon a jury, the jury found him not guilty.f

As always, the juicy details of the case are in the footnotes(it always pays to read the footnotes!):

fWarrant, dated 5 : 11 :1673, addressed to Henry Skery, marshal of Salem, for apprehension of Thomas Woodbury of Beverly, at Mr. Gardner's, to answer the complaint of NicholasManning, and his wife and daughter, signed by Wm. Hathorne,* assistant. On the reverse: "Thomas Woodbery coming to me sayd nicklas manning tould him of this bisenes: & sayd he had bine with y* mager: & he tould him he had giuen a warrant to apprehend him to y* marshall & that I might take ball of my brother or Goodman Massey: & I did then serue y* warrant vpon his body he tendred to me & took his father Woodbery with himselfe" on the bond; signed by Humphery (his mark) Woodbery and Thomas Woodberey.*

Mary Thorndike, aged about twenty-five years, deposed that she lived in the house of Thomas Woodbery about half a year, he being at home about half the time, and she never saw any evil, lascivious or wanton behavior by him in all her life, neither did she hear him use any "vaine or frothy speeches." Sworn, 30 : 1 : 1674, before Wm. Hathorne,* assistant.

Peter Woolf, aged about seventy-three years, deposed that his meadow was near Thomas Woodberey's, and he had never seen him making hay with Hannah Gray, but his children used to make hay there daily. Sworn, Mar. 17, 1673, before Samuel Sympnds,* Dep. Gov.

Elizabeth Fowler deposed that about two years since she nursed the wife of Thomas Woodberry. There was a girl who dwelt there named Hanah Gray, who was a lying girl, and several times in the night when deponent waked, she missed her and heard her laughing and giggling at the boys' bed which was in the same room. Further deponent had known Thomas Woodberry a great while and while his wife was sick did not require the girl to get any victuals for him, etc. Sworn in court.


Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 5 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, Salem Ma. 1916

What it boils down to was that Thomas Woodbury was being accused of lascivious behavior with a maid named Hannah Gray while Thomas' wife was ill.

Reading this, I had questions:

Why did the Manning family bring the charges against Thomas? Were they somehow related
to Hannah Gray, or just busy bodies?

Given the testimony by Peter Woolf about his meadow, was "making hay" an euphemism
for "making whoopee"?

And if Thomas was found not guilty, what happened to Hannah Gray?

While I don't have answers to all the questions, I do have an answer for the last one.

To be continued....


As we saw in my last post, my ancestress Elizabeth (Hunter) Woodbury was brought
before the Essex County Massachusetts court for striking Elizabeth Herndon(sp?) the
maid of Elizabeth Woodbury's friend Elizabeth Hubbard. (Too many Elizabeths!!!).
Besides the testimony from various witnesses, I found the following letter from Mr.
and Mrs. Hubbard concerning the incident and the character (or lack thereof) of their

"To all Persons vnto whom these prsents may Come.

"Know yee, that whereas of late some persons have vnworthily (as I conceive) Endeavered, to present Elizabeth Woodbery, the wife of Humphry Woodberry, vnto the county court at Salem, as I am informed for strikeing a maide servant of ors, (Wee coulde have wished that the rules of charity had been attended herein Especially seeing or neighbours were not ignorant where we dwelt, & might have truely vnderstood the right of the business had they pleased to have spoken w'h vs which had doubtlesse prevented trouble to the grand-juror, & sinn in others. How farr the matter is gonn, or how farr prejudice may Carry it we know not. Nor is or purpose to charge any, or to bring discredit upon them, much lesse to blaze abroad the infamy of a servant, knone to all both in Lynn & Salem, that knew her at all, to be most vnfaithfull, and untoward in everything: So bad, unruly, sulen, careles, destructive, & disobedient, that we may truely say, she was fitter for bridewell, or the house of correction, then for any bodyes servant: Haveing occasion to be from home, & not dareing to leave such an one with or childe and house alone wee desired the aforesd Eliz Woodbery, or Lo. friend & Kinds-woman to be over her & in place of vs, and noe more then needs, if we had power to discipline such an unruly servant, so had shee from us: whither our Couzin gave her a blow or not we know not, but are sure such an vntoward provokeing wench Deserved enough, & did or Couzin at any time eyther then in or absence, or at any other time, when she ran from her mistres & worke, telling lies, at neighbours houses & refuseing to come home, we say did she first or last or any time strike her, when as shee was sent for her, & || she || refused to come home, while this wench was servant, w°h she was to the Later end of may 64. we doe both of us warne her in it and affirme that she did noe more then she had or authority for, & that her mistresse if prsent would have don the same; & we doe much wonder that there should so much be made of it, when as we conceive, had it been a breach of law for or couzin to have strook her, w'h it is not, she doeing of it by or power & reprsenting us; yet as we understd, there hath been noe wittnes brought th— testify aga. her: and if any of or neighbours, should out of envie to her, or us affrme and testify anything against her, wherein she hath offended them in striking or servant; we must professe, in or prsence she never strook her, nor gave her any bad language, and inor absence (as we sd before) she wasimpowered by us, as also when we sent her up and downe among the neighbrs to fete her home if she strook her at any time, we justify & allow her in it she was or servant a sad & bad one, and wt or sd kindswoman hath don is as if her mistresse had & we must owne her in wt she hath or might doe, & they may as well prsent us as her; who are ready to answer, knowing no law of gd nor man to be broken in this case; I wish or people as forward in prsent reall breaches of ye law of god, & man, as they are in this, w°h we feare not w'h out grounds to be an act of malice to her & us let su know, they doe not as they would be don by: P vs

"Jer. & Eliz. Hubbard.*"


Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1662-1667 (Google eBook)

 Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1913

So apparently Elizabeth Woodbury was a cousin to one of the Hubbards and was authorized
by them to mete out any punishment she might have felt Elizabeth Herndon deserved for failing
in her duties about the house! 

I love this letter for several reasons. One is that it is rife with the frequent misspelling common to
the early colonial documents. Woodbury alone is spelled two different ways in the second
sentence! It also is full of the florid phrasing of the period.

The best part is the description they give of Elizabeth Herndon. First they say they don't want to
"blaze abroad her infamy" but then they do exactly that, even going so far to say she should
probably be in "the house of correction" rather than being anyone's servant. It sounds like
something Carson from "Downton Abbey" might say if he were in a high dudgeon!

 And I wonder if Elizabeth Herndon was able to find work after she left the Hubbard household.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Today's excerpt from the Essex County,  Massachusetts Court files concerns Elizabeth
(Hunter)Woodbury and a bothersome servant. Elizabeth was my 9x great grandmother
wife of my ancestor Humphrey Woodbury. It seems that she was accused of striking a
maid named Elizabeth Hiritton(Herndon?):

Presentments, dated 30 : 9 :1664, signed by Henery Skerey, sr.,f in the name of the rest:—

Elisabeth, wife of Umphery Woodbery, was presented for striking the maid of Mr. Hubbard, Elisabeth Hiritton, several times. She owned that she struck her, but it was by order of her master. Wit: Robert Morgane and wife, and Joseph Harie. She was also presented for denying that she struck her, but was acquitted. Wit: Joseph Haire, Mary Lovett and the wife of Captaine Lowthrupp.

 Bethiah Lowthroppf deposed that "Being called to witnesse what I heard goody woodbery Say concerning mr hubbards maid: I did hear her say that she did never strike the maid. the Blow was yet to give that ever she gave her either in the house or out of doore & this she said more then once or twice." Owned by the parties, 20 :12 :1664, before Hillyard Veren,f cleric

Robert Morgan* deposed, Dec. 17, 1664, that being cited before the grand jury at Salem, who told him that there was a matter of battery left to them by the former jury, concerning Eliz. Woodbery, which wanted proof, he said that she never saw Goody Woodbery strike Mr. Hubbard's maid, except once at his own house. Said Morgan and his wife affirmed that the maid never complained to them of any bad language to her from Eliz. Woodbery and that she was very loving and kind to her, etc.

Elizabeth (her mark) Herendone certified that Elizabeth Woodbery never struck her but two blows in her life, and those might have been given to a child of two years. She offered to strike her once at Mistress Gardenares house, but said Elizabeth kept it off with her hand. Wit: Elizabeth (her mark) Dickes and Sarah (her mark) Carpender. Arthur

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1662-1667 (Google eBook)

 Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1913

So, the maid says Elizabeth only struck her twice, and not very hard. The witnesses agree.
Just what was this all about?

The answer is in a letter written by the people the maid actually worked for, and that will be
in the next blogpost.

To be continued.