Sunday, April 22, 2007


I mentioned earlier that I’d recently found information that
disproves the belief that my ancestress Lydia Phelps was the
daughter of Jonathan Phelps and Beulah Parker. I’d googled
around with intentions of doing a post about ancestors who’d
been called to arms at Concord and Lexington when I found
this at “The Ancestry of Overmire, Tifft, Richardson, Bradford,
Reed,” by Larry Overmire, RootsWeb World Connect Project,
2000-2007 on John Ames, Lydia Phelp’s husband.

The line that caught my interest right away was one concerning
John teaching his stepson Sampson the blacksmith’s trade. This
was the first I’d ever heard of stepchildren, so I then read Larry’s
entry on Lydia Phelps:



Lydia was of Scottish descent, her parents born in Scotland. She
was known as a "remarkably vigorous woman." She and her
second husband John Ames migrated to the wilds of Maine about
-Larry Overmire, The Ancestry of Overmire, Tifft,
Richardson, Bradford, Reed.

There followed two quotes:

"My father was John Ames, who was born in Groton, Mass., and
mother was Lydia Phelps, who was born in Hollis, Mass... When
father married second wife, the widow of Sampson Read, she had
three children, Sampson, Lydia and Amy, then children by John
Ames were: John, Jonathan, Zekiel, Polly, Betsey, and Ralph;
all born in Groton, Mass., except Ralph, who was in Merrimac,

Mass., and myself in Hollis." --Aunt Betsey Putnam, as told to Axel
H. Reed, Genealogy, p. 17.

"Lydia Phelps, my mother, was of Scottish decent [sic], whose
parents were born in Scotland, and from whom the Reads got
their light eyes, so father Ames used to say."
--Aunt Betsey Putnam, as told to Axel H. Reed, Genealogy, p. 17.

((The source for the quotes is: "Genealogical Record of The Reads,
Reeds, the Bisbees, the Bradfords of the United States of America"
in the line of Esdras Read of Boston and England, 1635 to 1915.
Thomas Besbedge or Bisbee of Scituate, Mass. and England, 1634
to 1915. Governor William Bradford, of Plymouth, Mass., and
England, 1620 to 1915." By Axel Hayford Reed, Glencoe, MN,

The list of children given for John and Lydia by Betsey Putnam is
what I had already in my records but the information that Lydia’s
parents were Scottish-born was new and negates the supposed
descent from the Phelps of Andover. This is a personal account of
one of John and Lydia’s own children, after all.

And now I’m left with another question: if Lydia was the second
wife of John Ames, who was the first?

My thanks to Larry Overmire for permission to use his research!


Miriam Robbins said...

Bill, we have this in common: the ancestor couple we wrote about for the Carnival was a second marriage for the male; and we know little or nothing about the first marriage.

In my experience working with my family tree (this has happened numerous times, the name of the first child of the same gender of the deceased spouse will be identical to that deceased spouse. In other words, Polly (the first girl of John and Lydia) may have been John's first wife's name. Polly is a nickname for Mary. I would look for a woman named Polly, Mary, or perhaps even Betsey as the woman who was John's first wife.

Janice said...


The NEHGS database, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 shows John Ames Jr. married Martha Park, 9 May 1771 Brockton MA

Could that be the first marriage?

Also the story says Lydia was born in Hollis MA. I don't believe at that time there was a Hollis MA, only a Hollis NH that was part of Dunstable MA. Around the time that Lydia Phelps was born there was indeed a Phelps family living in Hollis NH, however I did not find a birth record for a Lydia in the History of Hollis (which you can find in Google Books).

Hope this helps a little. Happy hunting.


Janice said...


Did you check out THIS Lydia?

Lydia Phelps, dau of Nathaniel and Bethia, Oct 24, 1751 Reading MA
Nathaniel Phelps & Bethia Upton


Bill West said...

Thanks for the suggestions, guys!