Tuesday, August 21, 2018


While researching my Benson line, I came acrossa bit of scandal involving some Benson cousins and a case of hanky -panky. It took place in Wareham, Massachusetts and the couple involved was Joseph Benson abd Mrs. Abigail Muxom.  This account is from William Root Bliss' book Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay:   

A troublesome case of discipline was that of Abigail Muxom, who in 1750 became the subject of a town scandal which was probably relished by the gossips as thoroughly as similar scandals are relished now. Three years later the church took notice of it on the complaint of four members, the gist of which was that "this our sister has been guilty of immodest conduct." It met to consider the evidences on which the complaint rested. These were three old and unsworn statements, running as follows :—

"Elisha Benson Saith That he was at Edmund Muxoms house some time since & saw sd Muxoms wife very familiar with Joseph Benson by talking of balderdash stuff & kissing & hugging one another in the absence of her husband. At another time I saw them coming out of the house together & discovered none but they two. Middleborough, Octr. 1750."

"Caleb Cushman & his wife do Testify & say That we some time since have seen Joseph Benson & Abigail Muxom at our house & their behaviour was uncommon for married people; she fawning about him & sometimes in his lap or upon his knee & he haleing of her, running his face up to hers, & as we suppose kissing of her or aiming to do so & talking & joacking like young people.—Plymton, Octr. 1750."

"Jedidah Swift wife to Ebenr Swift Junr Saith that she was at the house of Edmund Muxom four times the summer past & his wife Abigail Muxotn did several times call her child to her & ask the child who its father was, & the child would answer Doctor Jo's at which she would laugh & make sport of. — Wareham, Decern'. 3. I7SO-"

The records, written by Parson Thacher, state that the complaint and "the above evidences were read to the church in the presence of this our sister. She denyed the two first evidences as having no truth in them, but the last she owned to be true." She was then, by a vote, "suspended from the communion table till she give a christian satisfaction ;" and soon the matter was forgotten.

Colonial Times on Buzzard's Bay   Houghton, Mifflin, Cambridge, Ma 1888

But it didn't stay forgotten. The matter would resurface to cause controversy twenty years later.
To be continued.


My 6x great grandfather John Benson 3rd seems to have lived a quiet life in Rochester, Ma. Here's what William Winfield Scott says about him in his History of Pasaic and Its Environs:

III) John (3) Benson, son of John (2) Benson, was known as “John, junior.” He lived at Rochester, Massachusetts. In 1708 and again in 1709 his father conveyed to him certain lands in Middleboro, Massachusetts. Some time before 1688 he married Elizabeth Briggs, daughter of Samuel Briggs. They were both living in 1725. Among his sons was William, of whom further.-p150

History of Passaic and Its Environs Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922 - Clifton (N.J.)William was the ancestor of the New Jersey Bensons.

William Richard Cutter has a bit more information:

III) John (3), son of John (2) Benson, was born about 1660. He settled in Rochester,Massachusetts, and married Elizabeth . Children, born in Rochester: 1. Mary, March 10, 1689. 2. Sarah, July 15, 1690. 3. Ebenezer, March 16, 1693. 4. John, July 10, 1696, settled perhaps at Newport, Rhode Island. 5. Joseph, March 16, 1697. 6. Benjamin, twin, March 16, 1697; married, March 17, 1714-15, Elizabeth Bryant, of Plympton. 7. Bennet,September IO, 1698. 8. Martha, March 5, 1703- 9- Joshua, January 29, 1705. 10. Caleb, twin with Joshua. 11. Samuel, March 22, 1707-p1864

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 4 Lewis historical publishing Company,  New York   1914

Interesting that there were two sets of twin sons among John's children. Caleb Benson is my 5x great grandfather. I need to see if I can find any of the land sale records in Middleborough mentioned in Scott's book.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


 My 7x great grandfather John Benson Jr.'s wife isn't mentioned in the following selections.Some sources give her name as Elizabeth Marsh but no record of the marriage has been found,

First, from William Richard Cutter's book:

(II) John (2), son of John (1) Benson, was born in England, about 1630. He settled at Hingham and Hull, Massachusetts. Children: 1. John, mentioned below. 2. Joseph, married _____ Prince; (second) Mary Curtis, of Scituate; (third) Alice Picketts, daughter of Nathan, of Scituate; John Benson, of Bridgewater, was doubtless his son.-p1864

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 4 Lewis historical publishing Company,  New York   1914

William Winfield Scott has a bit more on John Jr. and his mother in his History of Pasaic and Its Environs:

(II) John (2) Benson, eldest son of John (1) and Mary Benson, was brought to this country with his parents, as evidence by t'he ship’s list. He became one of the executors of his mother’s estate and filed an inventory at her death in 1681 showing that among her “movables” she possessed one half dozen napkins with broad work; one half dozen napkins with narrow work; a silk grasse bed; seven pewter plates; four pewter porringers; five spoons; a gun and a sword to the value of £64. John (2) Benson resided first at Hull and later at Rochester, on the western shore of Buzzard’s Bay, and according to the town records, in which he is frequently mentioned, he took a prominent part in the affairs of the town. He died March 10, 1711, leaving no will, probably having divided his estate before ‘his death.--p.150

History of Passaic and Its Environs Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922 - Clifton (N.J.)

 Actually, Rochester is one town inland from the shoreline. I haven't been able so far to find the details of John Jr.'s involvement in the town government or affairs.

I am descended from John Jr.'s son John. 


My 4x great grandparents Asa Barrows and Content Benson were first cousins 1x removed. Content's mother was Patience Barrows.   She was also related ti the Briggs, Ellis, and Freeman families through her father Caleb Benson.

John Benson Sr. was my 8x great grandfather. William Richard Cutter has a short entry about him in Volume 4 of his New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: 

(I) John Benson, immigrant ancestor of the American family of Benson, was born in England, doubtless at Coversham, Oxfordshire, whence he came in 1638, in the ship "Confidence," to Boston. He gave his age at that time as thirty, indicating he was born in 1608. He settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, where he had his first grant of land in 1638,He married Mary . Children: John,mentioned below; Mary, came with her parents.-p1864

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of Commonwealths and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 4  Lewis historical publishing Company, New York   1914

But at some point one of his descendants moved to New Jersey because I found this short piece in William Winfield Scott's History of Passaic and Its Environs:

 (I) John (Binson) Benson was one of more than 20,000 Puritans, most of whom came from the eastern counties of England to New England between 1630 and 1640, their principal reason for leaving their native country being to escape the religious persecution then being carried on by King Charles I through the Earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud of Canterbury.

John Benson settled with his little family in Hingham, Massachusetts, receiving a grant of land from the proprietors in the autumn of 1638. He continued to live there until 1657, when he sold his lands and moved his family to Hull, Massachusetts. In 1662 he was chosen one of the selectmen to manage the town's affairs. On April 16, 1678, "being weake and decaying in bodily strength," he made his will, and died soon thereafter. According to the ship's list, he was now about 70 years old. He signed his will with his mark, an old English "I" instead of a cross, evidence that before he fell ill and lost his strength he had been able to sign his name. The signature was witnessed by his pastor, Zachariah Whitman, who appeared in court March 26, 1679, and swore to the signatur

History of Passaic and Its Environs Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922 - Clifton (N.J.)

I'm descended from John Benson Jr.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Before I go on one of cemetery tours I usually check Find A Grave to see if
there are any relatives listed as being buried in towns I planned to visit. I
don't care if someone has already taken pictures; I want to take my own,
and if there isn't a picture, then I plan to post the one I've taken.(although
I'm woefully behind that at the moment).  I usually just look at the list of
interments, print out the list of photo requests, and then  write the names of
relatives to look for at the bottom of the list. But I'd left the list at home when I'd
set out for Middleboro.

When I got back here to my apartment and sure enough, I'd written Caleb
Benson on the South Middleboro Cemetery.  I hadn't spotted it on my own so
now I cheated and looked at the Find A Grave photo. No wonder I hadn't
spotted it: it wasn't a headstone, but one of those small ground level markers.
The next day I went back, found the stone and took my own picture.

That night when I shared the picture with Ellingwood cousin Mary Ennis, she
commented on the title "Rev."  Neither one of us had known he was a clergyman,
nor was there any indication of it in cousin Florence O' Connor's book on the
Ellingwoods. A Google search turned up a reference in Michael J. Maddigan's
South Middleborough: A History to a dispute in the Third Baptist Church between
Deacon Caleb Benson and a new minister. I also discovered other facts about Caleb
One was that he had a twin brother named Joshua.

The second and more fascinating was that several of Caleb's children were Loyalists
and were among the New Englanders who fled to Canada during the American
Revolution. Meanwhile, his daughter Content Benson was married to my 4x great
grandfather Asa Barrows who was a Minuteman and supporter of the Revolution.
As to Caleb's own sentiments, I have no clue as yet.Since he stayed in Massachusetts
I would think he was not a Loyalist but I could be wrong.

It's another thing to add to my list Family history questions to be answered!

Monday, August 13, 2018


 The 10August Findmypast Friday record releases are:


 Irish Officers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

Search over 1,000 records to learn more about the Irish officers who died in the First World War. Discover where and when an officer died, as well as the cause of death. You may also uncover details of an officer's family and pre-war life.

Originally published in 1916 as Our Heroes, this book covered the period August 1914 to July 1916. It contained photographs, with biographical notes, of officers of Irish regiments and Irish officers of British regiments who had fallen in action, or who had been mentioned for Distinguished Conduct. Also included in this volume is a brief history of the chief events of the Great War (to July 1916) in which Irish regiments were engaged

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Honourable Women of the Great War, 1914-1918

Discover your female ancestor who served during the First World War. Learn about the wartime activities your ancestor was involved in as well as her pre-war life. You may also find a photograph of your ancestor.

Each search result includes both a transcript and an image of the original document. 

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British Subjects Who Died In The Service Of The Indian Empire

Uncover the stories of British subjects who died in the service of the Indian Empire.

This collection contains over 1,100 records and each result includes both a transcript and an image of the original document. Records will reveal a combination of the individual's name, birth and death years, rank, regiment, and service history. 

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Airmen Died in The Great War, 1914-1919

Discover your relative in this index of airmen who died during the First World War. Discover your relative's name, birth and death years, cause of death, rank, and more.

These records come from the Naval & Military Press. The service branches designated in this collection are as follows: Australian Flying Corps, Miscellaneous Airmen Casualties, Pre-War Casualties, Royal Air Force, Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service, United States Air Service Casualties Attached to the Royal Fighting Corps/Royal Air Force, US Navy Casualties, and Women's Royal Air Force. 

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Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards

Over 58,000 additional records have been added to the collection. The new additions cover recipients of the Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Medal, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Distinguished Service Order and Commando Gallantry awards.

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British Newspapers

This week we've added 144,026 pages to our archive of British newspapers, tipping the total to over twenty-seven million pages. Additional years have been added to five of our existing titles, including:
  •     Liverpool Echo - 1989-1990
  •     The Newcastle Journal - 1992
  •     The Music Hall and Theatre Review - 1908-1909, 1912
  •     The Scottish Referee - 1893, 1895-1896, 1899
  •     The Wicklow People - 1914, 1917-1929, 1931-1976, 1986-2001


((I'm about to start on some posts about my Benson ancestors, so I am preceding those with these
two posts from 2011 about my search for the grave of my 5x great grandfather Caleb Benson.))

After my success finding relatives in the cemeteries along Rte 58 in
Carer and Plympton, Ma., I decided next to search in the nearby towns
of Middleboro and Rochester. I was especially hoping to find the grave
of my 5x great parents Caleb Benson and Deborah (Barrows) Benson.
The day I set out to search, though, I left my list of cemeteries in the towns
at home. When I realized it, I decided it was a nice day for a ride and I'd
just wing it.  I took the roundabout route, driving down Rte 58 and then
across to drive up Rte 105 in Middleboro and watching for cemeteries
along the way until I spotted the South Middleboro Cemetery  by the
South Middleboro United Methodist Church.

My third cousin 4x removed.

I'm not sure how I'm related to these folks yet.

Benson Burial Plot

The gate to the plot.
The moment I got out of the car and walked through the entrance
into the cemetery I spotted a number of Benson headstones. Since
the Benson branch of my family tree has a lot of blanks I didn't recognize
most of the family members buried there so I made sure I took pictures
of every Benson grave. 

Grave of Consider Benton, brother of my ancestor Caleb Benton

The church was founded in 1748, which was the same period that my
ancestor Caleb Benson had lived. Yet I hadn't found his headstone there.
So where was Caleb Benson's grave?

Sunday, August 12, 2018


For many years when I worked in the bookstore one of the books I sold every Thanksgiving was Sarah Morton's Day, a picture book about a young girl living at Plimoth Plantation. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I found out Sarah Morton was my ancestress.

Her father was my 9x great grandfather George Morton. He was a merchant who  arrived in Plymouth from Leiden, Holland in 1623 on the ship Anne, but because he died only a year later he didn't have much of a chance to leave his mark. With him came his wife Julianna Carpenter (whom he had married in Leiden on 22July 1612) and their five children.

Julianna (Carpenter)Morton was related to many of the most prominent Pilgrims, one of whom was  Governor William Bradford.  He took in young Nathaniel Morton as secretary to himself and the colonial government and Nathaniel eventually wrote a history of early Plymouth. In it, he wrote this about his father George Morton:

The latter of the two forenamed, namely, Mr. George Morton, was a pious, gracious servant of God, and very faithful in whatsoever public employment he was betrusted withal, and an unfeigned well willer, and, according to his sphere and condition, a suitable promoter of the common good and growth of the plantation of New Plimouth ; laboring to still the discontents that sometimes would arise amongst some spirits, by occasion of the difficulties of these new beginnings ; but it pleased God to put a period to his days soon after his arrival in New England, not surviving a full year after his coming ashore. With much comfort and peace he fell asleep in the Lord, in the month of June, anno 1624. -p.65

New-England's Memorial   Congregational Board of Publication, Boston, Ma.,  1855

Monday, August 06, 2018


These are the new record releases for the 3August Findmypast Friday:

1939 register update

Over 37,000 additional 'open' records have been added to the 1939 Register. Since the Register was launched, Findmypast has matched more than four million 'closed records' to multiple data sources to correctly confirm the date and location of death for individuals recorded.

The 1939 Register now contains more than 33.9 million searchable records. Each record includes the names of inhabitants at each address, their date of birth, marital status and occupation. A wealth of contextual information, including period photographs never before seen online, infographics, region-specific newspaper articles and historical and contemporary maps, are personally tailored to each record, offering a rich and unique user experience unrivalled by any other family history research tool to date.

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Cumberland Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Cumberland. This collection currently comprises one title: Monumental Inscriptions in the Graveyards of Brigham & Bridekirk, 1666-1876.
Published in 1878, the title consists of 111 pages. The preface notes that 'the whole of these inscriptions were copied with great care, and the same care has been extended to the printing of them; it is therefore hoped that no errors of an important character will appear in any portion of the work'. Brigham is a village dating back to Neolithic times, and Bridekirk is a parish and township.

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Derbyshire Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Derbyshire. This collection currently comprises one title: The Brave Men of Eyam, 1665-1666.

The Brave Men of Eyam, 1665-1666 – Or A Tale of the Great Plague Year, by Edward N Hoare, rector of Acrise, consists of 265 pages. Eyam is a civil parish and village in the Derbyshire Dales district. The village is particularly known for the 1665 outbreak of bubonic plague and the villagers' response to it: isolating themselves to prevent further spreading of the plague. The preface of this title attempts to explain the extent to which this work is factual and fictional. It is stated that the statistics regarding deaths, dates, and some leading incidents are historical, and 'the object of the book is to tell, in a popular form, the tale of a "mighty woe"'.

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Devon Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Devon. This collection currently comprises one title: Parish Registers of Hemyock, 1635-1837.

Parish Registers of Hemyock, 1635-1837 was published in 1923. Included in this title are 282 pages of baptisms, marriages, and burials, as well as bishop's transcripts from 1602, 1606, 1609-11, 1617, 1625, 1626, 1633, and 1636. Additionally, a list of the parish's rectors and chaplain priests is included. Hemyock is a civil parish and village. The production of wool was the village's main source of wealth from the 1500s to the 1800s. It is said that the Cadbury family originated in Hemyock.

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Cheshire Registers & Records

Explore registers and records from the English county of Cheshire. This collection currently comprises five titles, including parish registers and histories and funeral certificates.

Currently, there are five titles within this collection:

  •     Cheshire Funeral Certificates, 1600-1678 – This title was published in 1882 and is the sixth volume published by The Record Society. This volume was edited by John Paul Rylands, fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
  •     Gawsworth Church and Parish – This title was published in 1924 and written by Reverend H E Polehampton, rector of the parish. The preface was written by the Lord Bishop of Chester, Henry Luke. The book includes chapters on the church's exterior and interior, churchwardens and parish clerks, and church life. Gawsworth is a village and civil parish.
  •     History of the Parish of Eastham, 1871-1920 – This title was written for the Parish Magazine, 1874-76, by Isabel Tobin. Included are notices of the church restoration by Reverend H J Storrs. This edition was published in 1920, with the permission of the author.
  •     Notes on the Parish of Burton in Wirral – This title was published in 1908 and authored by F C Beazley. Illustrated by Graham Johnston, the book includes seven plates and numerous coats of arms. The village of Burton is located on the Wirral Peninsula.
  •     Parish Registers of Holy Trinity, Chester, 1532-1837 – This volume was transcribed, indexed, and edited by L M Farrall. Biographical and genealogical notes are included in the indexes on this title.
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British & Irish Newspaper Update

This week we have added 143,678 pages to The Archive. We have added one new title, the Oxfordshire Weekly News, and we have continued to augment our Irish collection, with updates to three of our Irish titles. We have also added more pages to the Liverpool Echo, with titles now spanning the years 1879 to 1988 for this particular newspaper.

The coverage years added to the collection this week include;

  •     Oxfordshire Weekly News - 1869-1895, 1898-1926
  •     Irish Independent - 1995-1997, 2000
  •     Belfast Telegraph - 1995-1997, 2000
  •     Liverpool Echo - 1987-1988
  •     Evening Herald (Dublin) – 2002 

Explore British & Irish Newspapers

Sunday, August 05, 2018


 My 8x great grandfather Richard Willis Jr had, it would seem, an unfortunate life. His father died in 1642, the same year as Richard Jr's birth. Like his father, he died young at the age of 36 in 1676. The most notable event in his short life was his marriage to Patience Bonham, daughter of one of the more prominent citizens of Plymouth Plantation, my 9x great grandfather George Bonham.

George Bonham was one of the colonists who did a lot of buying and selling of land and one of those deals was the purchase of some land from Richard Willis Sr. along the Eel River. A few years later he married Sarah Morton on @0 Dec 1644 and they raisecd a family of four children. He was active in the colony and was a grandjuror. George had  business and personal dealings with several other of my ancestors: he bought more land along the Eel River from John Barnes and "stood surety" for John Dunham.

I have a double descent from George Bonham. Besides Patience's marriage to Richard Willis Jr., his eldest daughter Ruth is my 7x great grandmother through her marriage to Robert Barrows.