Sunday, July 29, 2007


Chris Dunham’s post over on The Genealogue about the
upcoming book “The Naked Quaker” by Diane Rapaport
reminded me of a story about a divorce that might or might
not be among those in the book:

In June 1682, a twenty five year old man named Ralph found
himself being divorced by his young wife Katharine, who stated
words to the effect that she’d rather be dead than live with him.
She sued on grounds of her husband’s insufficiency to consummate
their marriage.

Ralph for his part did what any man in 17th century Salem Ma.
might do when faced with such an embarrassing situation: he
claimed that it had to be witchcraft. Not exactly original, and
highly ineffective in the light of the character witnesses Katherine
called to testify in her behalf.

It must have been the talk of the town. Both husband and wife
were given physical examinations, Katherine by a panel of
“goodwives” and Ralph by two men(one of them a chirurgeon)
appointed by the Court. Based on their reports the Court granted
Katherine her divorce and ordered she be allowed to take
whatever clothes and property that she had brought with her into

All of this might have been lost in the mists of time except that
there was a court record of the proceedings and several centuries
later the case was cited in articles and a book about women in
Puritan society. I’ve not been able to read any of them in their
entirety but what I have read makes no mention of what
happened after. So in the interest of fairness to Ralph, here’s the
rest of it:

Ralph remained single for nearly 9 years but in August of 1691 he
wed Martha Rowlandson. The marriage lasted nearly 20 years
before her death.

They had 7 children

We don’t know what happened to Katherine after her divorce
from Ralph, There is no record of her maiden name. Hopefully
she too remarried and with a man she loved and who gave her
children of her own.

We’ll never know the exact reason why the marriage of my
ancestor Ralph Ellingwood and his first wife Katherine ended so
scandalously. Possibly it was an arranged match between a man
and a deeply unhappy younger bride. Possibly Ralph was not the
perfect husband and possessed bad manners and lousy personal
hygiene. Perhaps there just wasn't any...spark.

Perhaps he could have used a talk with Dr. Phil, but alas, there
was no Dr. Phil on 17th century Salem.

But obviously Ralph felt he had a point to prove to all of Salem,
and judging by the 7 children he fathered, I guess he did it.

He wasn’t “insufficient”!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I spent part of the afternoon on the Great July Organize Your
Genealogy Files project. I’d been so wrapped up first in the John
Ames file and then Aunt Dot’s Memories transcriptions that I
hadn’t made very much headway. But I had bought a denim sort
of material expandable file case a week ago to move some of my
files into and today was the day I got that done. These are the
original family sheets Aunt Dot sent us years ago that have been
kept in several manila file folders for years now. While they were
in order most of the time, they frequently would get shuffled
around when I was going through them looking for something.
They certainly look better in the case filed alphabetically by
family name.

I was also looking for some links to some of the places Dot
mentioned in her memories and found one for Gould Academy. I
glanced at the history page and I think either Mr. Hanscom or
Mr. Ireland was the headmaster who finally asked her about my
Dad. I couldn’t find any suitable sites for Wilson’s Mills or the
Azicohos(or Aziscoos) Dam so I’ll have to wait until later for that.

I’ll get back to the John Ames files again in the next few posts.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I'm not certain which one of my cousins Aunt Dot is holding in
this photo, but from left to right, this is my grandfather Floyd E.
West Sr., Aunt Dot and child, and my great grandfather Philip
Jonathan (P.J.) West. The photo must have been taken in the
late forties or early fifties. P. J. passed away in 1954 at 86.


This is the final installment of my transcription of my Aunt
Dot's thirteen handwritten pages of memories of her and my
Dad's childhood growing up in Oxford County, Maine during
the Depression years. This one shows ..well..a bit of a rebel
strain in them both. Man, if I'd known about this when I was
growing up, I'd have never let Dad live it down!

Up until now I've transcribed everything as written but for
this blog post I've edited two words(the reason should be
self explanatory when you see them) and the left out the
first and middle name of Dad's grade school teacher. My
transcribed copy in my records is unedited.

Our social life was rather sparce. We always looked forward to
the Young Peoples Meetings. It was a group that got together
once a week at a different home each time. We had a short
prayer meeting, played games and had refreshments. Our
minister, Rev. John G. Mantor picked us up and brought us
home each time.

Bud was in the Boy Scouts for several years. Rev. Mantor was
the Scout Master. Bud learned to swim really well during that

Fun at School--

Our grade school was only 2 rooms and all twelve grades were
taught by two teachers. The state changed the requirements

for high school graduates when Bud was in the eighth grade so
he was off to Gould Academy in the fall. Hazel had quit school
during the fall of her junior year but thought it would be great to
go to boarding school so she enrolled as a junior. Guess it wasn’t
that great for her because she quit GA in December and never
went back.

Bud gave folks at Gould a hard time. He wasn’t in to rules and
regulations and did some fancy bending of the rules. He was

caught smoking and was punished. He went into the pool hall
and was suspended for two weeks. Did another stint at home
but I don’t remember what for. After all that-in his junior year-
he came down with the mumps and was sent home again. When
he applied in the fall he was turned down so he didn’t graduate.
-The next year he joined the Army Air Force. During my senior
year I roomed in the headmaster’s home. During the whole 4
years he had never once mentioned Bud to me. It did my heart
good when he asked me one day- that last Spring- what had
happened to my brother. I was so proud I got real brave, for me,
and said, “Oh, he is attending Iowa State Teacher’s College". I
didn‘t bother to mention that the Air Force sent him there to
train for some sort of radio communication.

Back to Grade School

Basically we had some very nice teachers. Only remember one
that none of us liked and of course she was the one who stayed
for three years. Her name was * * Ritchie. One time the boys in
Bud’s class (there were 5 of them) each had to sing a solo -same
song- but each one had to stand in front of the room and sing-
The song went-

In the prison cell I sit
Thinking Mother dear of you-

When it was Bud’s turn he sang- (he was in the 6th or 7th grade)

In the prison cell I sit
With my britches all be sh*t

Miss Ritchie grabbed him -threw him down in his seat and
grabbing him by the ears- slam, slam, slam, his head kept
hitting the desk. Guess she was unhappy with him!

Another time- (I’m in 3rd or 4th grade) I was given an English
paper to write. I was to copy it from a book on the desk behind
me. I kept writing and not looking at the book. She finally
asked what I was doing. I told her doing my lesson. When she
came to look at it I crumpled the paper-ran down front and put
the paper in the bottom of the waste basket. She dumped
everything oh her desk and smoothed out my paper. It said
(about 5 times)

Miss Ritchie is an old b*tchie.

Bud worked several places during the summers-
He worked at road construction when the road below the dam

that went across the river was built.

He worked in the woods with Pop- cutting logs for lumber at
the mill and cutting, loading, and hauling pulp to be pushed into
the river to go to the Berlin paper mills.

There was farming to do for a neighbor so we would have use
of his pasture and hay for our cows.

Also worked at the saw mill.

Guess that is all I remember for now. Sorry this is so messy.

Love to you,
Aunt Dot.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


This is the fourth installment of my transcription of my Aunt
Dot's memories of her and my father Bud growing up in Oxford
County, Maine in the 1920's and `30's.

I knew Dad had shot himself in the foot in his early teens but he
never gave us the real story of how it happened. I do recall seeing
a small round scar on his foot when he happened to be barefoot.

Bud loved to fly fish. We would go down to the river where there
was a great fishing spot at the foot of the old sluice that used to

be used to shoot logs over the dam and down the river. This was
about a mile down river from the dam. The water ran so swift
that it made a roaring noise not unlike the ocean waves coming
onto a rocky shoreline. We really enjoyed those trout.

Bud never left me out when his friends came to play ball. I could
neither catch a ball nor throw it where I wanted it to go. As for
batting, I always swung at the ball but never hit it. Never-the-

less I was never left out of his games and his friends knew better
than to make anything other than encouraging comments.

"The 22 rifle that Bud had was one he bought from a friend-Pop
paid half on it and said that half was mine. We were never

allowed to take the gun out except to target shoot at the corner
of the house. We had set some traps on the mountain behind
the house and wanted to take the 22 when we went to tend to
them. We were told NO! So I went in a back room and stood the
gun out the window. When we left we sort of passed that way
and took it along. When we got to the first trap there was a
skunk in it, Bud loaded the rifle and shot it, then he loaded it
again and stood the barrel on the toe of his sneaker to wait and
see if he needed a second shot. I told him he shouldn’t hold it
that way & he said it was OK because the safety was on. A few
minutes later some chips flew up and hit me and he had shot
himself in thru the foot. He said we needed to hurry home.
The ground was rough and I was winded and lagged behind.
I told him to hurry on as I knew the way. He wouldn’t leave me
behind so I just had to hurry faster. When we got home I ran to
the nearest neighbor to phone for Pop to come home. He got
the gunshot dressed and the doctor came every day and pushed
a swab with iodine on it all the way throu his foot. Bet that felt

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This is the third in a series of posts that are word for word
transcriptions of 13 hand written pages given to me by my
Dad's sister Dorothy. They are her memories of their childhood
growing up in the Depression era in Oxford County, Maine.

This section deals mostly with grandfather Floyd E.
West, Sr. and what jobs he worked at.

"Pop was always afraid of the water-afraid of drowning or of
some of us lost to it.

He had a tiny hut at Beaver Brook- across the lake from where
we were living. He tended traps there all winter crossing the
lake on snowshoes and carrying a pick-pole. When ice started
breaking up in the spring it was pretty scary watching him
leave with his heavy pack sack strapped to his back. He would
step onto a large chunk of ice and shove with his pick-pole until
he got to another chunk big enough to hold him-then step onto
it-or push the chunk out of the way and stay on the one he was
floating on. I always wondered if and when he would come back.
He was gone several days and I used to be afraid the ice would
be all gone when he was ready to return.

When Flossie was born Mother went to Bethel and stayed for
two weeks. She had made new dresses for Hazel and me and I
can still rember those dresses hanging up high on the wall. They
were orange with white daisies with bright blue centers.

While Mother was gone Pop took us out to the dam every day.
Bud & Hazel were allowed to go to the house to play with
cousins Lee and Leita but since Aunt Mabel had a girl (Ruth),
younger than me, he thought she shouldn’t have to watch two
little ones. He always took me to the longshop where he was
building a motorboat for Clarence. I took my naps in the boat
he was working on. The finished boat was named the Kiko.
The last time I saw the Kiko was about 1959/60. It was no
longer the beauty it had been.

Pop had a 9 passenger green buick, convertible, touring car.
The only time I remember riding in it was when we went to
Bethel to get mother. in the late 1930’s Pop cut that car in half
and made a farm tractor out of it. The jitter-bug was all the
rage at that time. There wasn’t money for tractors and many
people were converting old cars to use in the fields. The back
tires were big truck tires.

Among other jobs -Pop was a guide for the fishermen who
came from the big city’s and didn’t know where to catch
anything. Most of the men in town were guides. Besides
knowing where to fish - the guides did the cooking and
entertaining of these guests. Story telling was a great asset.
These men could string out some pretty outlandish yarns.

We moved into the Will Hart place when Flossie was a year
old- 1931. There was a big old barn in the field close by. The
owner had a fishing lodge where he floated his 2 cows to
every summer. In winter we kept the cows in his barn- so had
milk & butter from June to Labor Day. Bud & I loved to climb
in the loft and pitch hay onto the barn floor then jump down
into it."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Phew, time for a breather.

Since coming home from the wedding I’ve been a busy genealogy
beaver. I sent out copies of the John Ames file to my cousin Diana
in Ohio and didn’t realize I was flooding her email box! So it took
several tries to straighten that out.

I spent a good part of Saturday night trying to send some pictures
to my Aunt Emily, her daughter Winnie and Winnie’s husband
David since the email address I have for them was incorrect. I
think that’s been straightened out as well since the last attempt
hasn’t bounced back at me since Sunday morning. Either that
or some stranger is enjoying old wedding photos!

And then of course I’ve been transcribing the material Aunt Dot
gave me which is a process of scanning the page and then typing
…then stopping to reread again what she wrote because so much
of this is fascinating to find out about Dad. (Well for me at least!
Hopefully I’m not boring those who read this blog with all this
stuff I’ve posted lately.)

So I took a break to catch up on the latest Carnival of Genealogy
which is full of great posts about surnames. And there’s those
new free World Vital Records databases Randy mentioned in a
post on Genea-Musings I want to look into.

But for the moment, I think I’ll call it a night!

Monday, July 23, 2007


This is the second segment of my transcription of the 13 page
handwritten memories of my Aunt Dot on her and my Dad's

"Pop" is my grandfather Floyd Earl West Sr. and "Mother"
is my grandmother Cora Berthella Barker. Hazel was my
Dad's older sister, and Flossie the youungest. "Uncle
Clarence" and "Aunt Mable" were my grand uncle Clarence
West and his wife. Uncle Clarence was the caretaker for over
fifty years at the Aziscoos Dam.

I'd heard the story about the geese from Dad when I was a kid
but I never knew the story of how he came to be called Bud nor
that he had been called "Pudge" in high school.

And I am quite certain he'd never have told us about setting the
bed on fire!

"My brother, Floyd Earl West, Jr. was probably never called by
his sir name. Hazel was taught to call him brother and it came
out budda- hence the nickname Bud. In high school at Gould
Academy, he was known as Pudge and when his class mates
ask about him to this day- -he is still Pudge!

Bud always took good care of me---

When we lived on the lake shore Hazel was in grade school and
had walk out to the dam to get on the bus. Mother often went
to meet the bus and walk Hazel home. If she got to talking with
Aunt Mable it was sometimes awhile before they returned. Bud
was left in charge and most of the time we would be taking a
nap when she left. One time we got to playing with a box of
matches on Pop’s bed and set it on fire. When mother got home
the wall and bed were pretty well in flames. Bud and I were in
the doorway. He was buttoning my coat.(We were in the
neighborhood of being 3 & 5 years old as Flossie hadn’t been
born yet.) She got water from the lake and put the fire out. We
had a constant reminder as there was a large wood clock on a
shelf above the bed and one end of the clock was charred.

We always had lots of snow and loved to pile it up and make
tunnels and snow houses. One winter Hazel, Bud, & I made a
snow cave and Bud crawled inside and was cleaning it out
when the whole thing caved in on him. We were frantic trying
to uncover him. Yelled for Mother and she came down the hill
and dug him out. Was I scared!!

One of our favorite things to do was to battle with Uncle
Clarence’s geese. That goose and gander came up the lake
every day and always got out of the water at our place. We
were told to stay up the steps where they couldn’t reach us but
we just knew we could get the best of them. We made plans to
stand back to back-one of us had a broom and the other a
clothes stick to beat these geese back to the lake. They went
back all right-each carrying a screaming kid by the seat of our
pants. Mother always rescued us before they got in the water.
Our back “cheeks” had an awful lot of big black spots but we
were already planning how we would get the upper hand and
win tomorrow. "


The top trio are my younger brother Phil, my sister (mother of
the groom) Cheryl, and
The next group are my niece and nephews. To the left is Paul the
groom, his younger(and taller) brother, Mike, and their sister
Sarah. To the right is Phil's boys P.J (in the blue jacket) and
And finally, Paul and his bride, Jen!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


This the first in a series of posts which are my transcriptions
of 13 handwritten pages. They were written by my Aunt Dot
 (Dorothy West Bargar) and given to me yesterday when we attended
my nephew Paul's wedding.

Some explanations of the names mentioned: Phillip was
Phllip Jonathan West, Dot's grandfather and my great
grandfather. Hazel was her older sister and Flossie(Florence)
the youngest.

"Dingle" is a new term to me and sounds like a shed.

"Our family lived on Back Street in Upton from about 1830 to
1927. I have a picture of Bud and Hazel, taken Aug., 1926 that
was given me by Pop’s cousin Louie West (his dad was great
uncle Paul -Philip’s brother). This was the first I heard that I
ever lived in Upton. My birthday was in April of that year.

From conversations, I think I remember we probably moved
to Magalloway for a short time, then to Wilsons Mills. Phillip
stayed in Magalloway.

The first place I remember living was in a little square cabin on
the shore of Azichoos lake back a trail from the dam house.
There was a wagon trail past an old stone quarry and a foot
path along the lake shore. The quarry was home of the bear
that we always looked out for. The cabin was partitioned off in
one corner-a room big enough for a white iron double bed and a
built in double bed with a bunk (half size) up under the eaves.
There was a path between the beds wide enough for a dresser.
The remainder of the cabin was one L shaped room (except the
L was upside down & backwards) (end p.1)

The back door opened to a covered walk that led to a dingle

where we kept outdoor tools and dry wood for the fire. The
space from the door to the dingle was about the width of a
standard sidewalk. I have always remembered the dingle
because that is where the bag of toys that Santa brought was
kept. I only remember one Christmas that we received presents
and must have been when I was three because Flossie was not
yet in the family.

Don’t remember what Hazel& Mother got. Pop got a necktie,
Bud got pocket knife. (he would have been 5 years old) and I got
a pull toy -it was a green platform with red wheels & a red pull
string and had a white celluloid lamb on the platform. We also
got a tiddle wink game, which at my age was a great failure at,
but liked it anyway. That was probably 1929.

In years later we always decorated the house and had fun
making our decorations from newspapers and magazines. For
many years we had carefully saved the few fold out paper
Christmas bells and a few pieces of red & green rope that had
come with the family before any time that I recall."(end p 2)


These are the pictures I mentioned in my previous post that my
Aunt Dot gave to me at the wedding.
These are five of the daughters of Amos Hastings Barker and his
wife BetsyMoore(?). One, Lottie/Charlotte/Charlot Lovenia
is my great grandmother and the others my great grandaunts.
The aunts are posed together in the first picture:
Lelia Barker (Skinner?)
Mary Elizabeth Barker Mills
Melinda Jane "Lena" Barker Smith
Hannah Eldorah"Dora" Barker (1)Wyman (2)Brown
And the second picture is of Lottie and her housekeeper who
has her broom in hand. Lottoe married her cousin Frank and
their daughter Cora married my grandfather. Looking at the
Barker women I can see much that my grandmother's own
What really pleases me is that I was able to send copies of
these off to the Barker cousin who I only "met" just last week
and who had given me so much helpful information!


My nephew Paul was married today and it was a nice wedding.
He was handsome and his bride Jen was radiant and they are
both such good young people.

Man, does that ever make me feel old, looking at that.

I rode down to the reception with my brother and his two sons
and along the way I explained about the family tree. By the
time I was done, my youngest nephew Matt complained his head

There was a little mixup with the table seatings but we ended up
where we were supposed to be with a table with my two aunts.
Aunt Emily from my mother’s side came with her daughter
Winnie and Winnie’s husband David. From my father’s side there
was his sister, my Aunt Dorothy, and cousin Louise her daughter.
My mom’s friend Joe B. who was as close as a grandfather to
Cheryl’s kids was also there with us along with the minister who
had performed the ceremony.

I’d brought along photocopies of my Grandfather West’s WWI
draft card and John Ames’ Revolutionary War pension files for
Aunt Dot. I also brought copies of great Grandfather White’s
WWI draft card, the cards for the McFarland brothers, some
census pages and other information on that side of the family
for Emily and Winnie.

And it turned out Aunt Dot had the same idea. She brought a
folder with pictures of Grandfather and Great Grandfather West
and pictures of Great Grandmother Lottie Barker and her four
sisters. There was also a copy of Grandfather West’s WWI
discharge papers from the Army and a copy of a certified abstract
of the marriage of Arvilla Ames' and John C (Cutter) West’s
marriage record.

But the best of all are the thirteen handwritten pages entitled
“Memories” that are Dot’s reminisces of her and Dad’s childhood
in Maine. I will be posting most of it here over the course of the
next week or so.

We had a good time talking about family history and genealogy.
I even learned a few new things about Grandfather White that I
hadn’t known concerning the reason Aggie divorced him.

I guess the minister learned more about our family than he

All in all, a beautiful day.

The sun shone on us all.

Friday, July 20, 2007


So far, I’ve had no success in discovering the identity of Andrew
Bowman or the location of his house where John Ames and other
colonial soldiers were quartered in Cambridge during the siege of
Boston. But as to the claim of frequently seeing Generals Lee,
Putnam and Washington during the period, it’s more than likely
John did. Both Israel Putnam and George Washington frequently
rode about the different positions of the colonial forces to inspect
the troops and defenses, Putnam especially being know for his
speaking to and exhorting the troops. And the fact that Obadiah
Wetherell who testified in John’s behalf was an Orderly Sergeant
in Captain Lawrence’s company leads to the intriguing idea that
they knew each other because John Ames was an orderly,
although again there is no proof so far and in all likelihood John
was just a private and regular soldier.

Lawrence’s company was involved in two notable engagements
during the siege of Boston. One was the “Battle of Bunker
(Breed’s)Hill" in which some of Lawrence’s men fought, and the
other the raid on Noddle’s Island. If John had been present at
Bunker Hill I’m convinced he or his heirs would have made
mention of it the pension request. Bunker Hill was even more
famous than Concord or Lexington.

Noddle’s Island, however, was one of two islands(Hogg Island
was the other) raided to drive off livestock and deny the British
hay for their horses. The raid turned into a small battle. So it’s
possible John might have participated in the fight ….if he’d been
in Asa Lawrence’s Company.

But he wasn’t. He was in Oliver Parker’s and John missed being
part of those actions.

By this time John had briefly returned home and then enlisted in
the new Continental Army. Apparently the militia companies
enlisted together as units and Col. Parker’s nine companies
comprised the 10th Massachusetts Regiment.

The petition about the issue of wishing to serve under Capt
Lawrence instead (as the militamen claimed had been promised)
of under Oliver Parker might have been more of a testimony of
Lawrence’s popularity with his men than a rejection of Parker. It
seems there were other incidents similar to this, even ones where
groups of soldiers and officers sent statements to the new colonial
government expressing their satisfaction with their present
commanders or requests to be returned to serving a previous one.
I suspect Washington’s comment about letting the men choose
their own captains reflects his disenchantment with the
minutemen that David McCullough detailed in his book 1776.

It wasn’t until August of 1775 that John rejoined Asa Lawrence’s
Company. He served out his enlistment time until the “six weeks
men" arrived. Tim Abbott’s earlier comment about what the term
“six weeks men” meant is on the mark. While I haven’t found
anything specific about them in regards to Groton, other sources
do speak of how towns would call up their militias as needed
before the Revolution to serve for designated periods including
six weeks and were compensated by the Town Councils for their

In January,1776, John Ames left the Continental Army and went
home as many other minutemen had or would do, much to
General Washington’s chagrin.

And so ended John Ames’ brief career in the American Revolution!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I hit pay dirt at Googlebooks.

I used the keywords: Groton+history+Revolution and came
up with :

Groton During the Revolution: With an Appendix
by Samuel Abbott Green (1900)

I then ran a search in the book for “John Ames” and found
four references. The first was a practice of the times that I’d not
heard of before. It concerned something called Coat Rolls

As part of their service, many Massachusetts militiamen were
issued coats, preferably ones that had been made in their own
towns. Asa Lawrence’s men were among those entitled to such
coats and if they had died their family and heirs could claim the
coat in their place.

Samuel Abbot Green transcribed from the Massachusetts
Archives of his times the requests sent by the various units or
heirs in regards to their coats:

Cambridge October 30 ye 1775
To the Comity of Soplys Beples to Diluer to Asa Lawrence Capt
in Colonel Wm Prescuts Rigement Each a fusane
[fustian] Coat
to which our names are under Subcribe. (p209)

John Ames is among those listed along with David Hason, a
Solomon Gilson, Obadiah Wetherell, & Eleazer Parker. Based on
this I assumed that I read “Saml Gibson’ for “Sol Gilson” among
the list of fellow soldiers given in his petition.

Fusane or fustian refers to the material used to make the coats.
The Wikipedia defines it as a general term for several heavy
woven cloths, made from different materials over the ages but
from what I can tell whatever the material, the common thread,
so to speak, was the durability and practicality of it.

No frippery for the Yankee militiamen but a practical, durable

Green drolly notes that ‘fortunately the men could fight better
than they spelled; and their personal prowess outweighed any
deficiencyin their early education” (p207)

On page 21 I found a "muster roll of Asa Lawrence’s Company
to the first of August, 1775" which includes John Ames, a
Solomon AND a Samuel Gilson, Jonathan Lewis, John Hason and
the others already named on the Coat Rolls. Under “Towns
whence they came” Groton is listed for John, his time of
enlistment April 25, and 98 days listed under “Time of Service”

On page 23 is A return of Capt Asa Lawrences Company in Wm
Prescott Regiment.
John Ames is listed as a private

On page 118 is a list of supplies issued to the militiamen gathered
at the Groton Meeting House on the morning of April 19th ,1775.
On the list is John Ames Jr given 20 bullets and 6 flints, and a
John Ames given 30 bullets and 2 flints.

And so armed and equipped Asa Lawrence and his men, including
John Ames, set off to Lexington. The trouble is, by the time they
got there the British were gone. John and his friends may have
been among those who harassed the Redcoats all the way back to
Boston from Concord and Lexington but they didn’t fight at the
Battle of Lexington as far as I can tell. The accounts I have found
had them getting there too late.

John Ames was 18 years old in 1775 and was nearly 75 in 1832.
Looking back, perhaps that pursuit of the British from Lexington
expanded into being there in the larger engagement.

Either way what I found was further evidence that he had indeed
been a militiaman from Groton.

But could he really have seen Lee, Putnam and Washington “many

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I've learned that genealogy is a process of searching for facts and
once they are found establishing the veracity of what you've

So what have I learned so far from John Ames’s pension file?

Well, while I’d already known he was said to have been a veteran
of the Revolution I hadn’t known any details nor had any actual
proof that he was indeed a veteran. Now I did.

He claims to have been at Lexington and then Cambridge and to
have often seen legendary figures of the Revolution, namely
Generals Lee, Putnam and even George Washington himself. The
details of the file in that regard raised intriguing questions for me:

Was John Ames actually at Lexington as he claimed?

Did he participate in any other actions during the siege
of Boston?

Why did John and his comrades prefer to serve under
Asa Lawrence and not Oliver Parker?

What were “six weeks men?”

One of the witnesses, William Spaulding, testifies that he knew
John Ames from childhood and that when he “was a boy I went to
school with him at his fathers house in Groton.” If John’s father,
who was also named John Ames, was a school master, this is the
first I’d seen mention of that. Was this true?

Who were these people who’d given testimony? What happened to
John’s sons and daughters, other than my ancestor Jonathan
Phelps Ames?

Lastly, was there any other proof to back up John’s claim that
he’d fought in the Revolution other than statements given by two
friends? Yes, he’d been given a pension (posthumously) but
there’s that little skeptic in me.

So even as I was transcribing the file I was googling for answers.


Image 8 is a page handwritten in a firm bold hand. The
penmanship is excellent and a bit ornate. I have a suspicion
that this might have been actually an earlier page in the file
and that in my haste to mine all I could I may have dl it out
of order but then I realized this pertains to his heirs after
John's death:

" N 11.634
Application of heirs of
John Ames
for pension.

In: Ames served as a private
from Apl 1775 to Jan 10, 1776
at least 8 mps &10 days

in Parker and Lawrence’s
companies Prescotts Regt
Mass. Troops

O. Witherell his orderly Sgt.
Wm. Spaulding Esq. a pensioner
who served in same Regt.

Also Deps.(?)of
C. Holland Member of congress
Chs. Fuller Esq on file in
War Department No.11.634
Case prepared by Wm Allen Jr

Image 9 is the other side of the page and the
handwriting in image show through. The document
is entirely handwritten by a different clerk:

“State of Maine
Kennebec County, Js:
Supreme Judicial Court
October term A.D. 1833
Be it known that on this twelfth day of October
1833, it has been satisfactorily proved in open Court
before the Supreme Judicial Court of said State
holden(?) at Augusta, within & for said County,
that John Ames late of Canton in said State
was an applicant for a pension under the Act of
Congress of June 7th. 1832 and that he died at
Canton aforesaid on the Seventh day of April,
1833, that Lydia Ames, his widow, also died on the
fifteenth day of the same month of April and
that his only children & lawful heirs are
John Ames, Jonathan P. Ames, Ralph Ames his sons;
and Sally Fuller wife of Isaac Fuller; Betsey
Putnam wife of James Putnam & Polly Poland
wife of Sylvanus Poland, his daughters.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto
subscribed my name & affixed the
seal of said Court, this 12th day of
October, 1833
J.A. Chandler, Clerk of the Judicial
Courts, Kennebec
County “

Image 10 is the last image and shows two pages of a

The left-hand page is another preprinted form with
handwritten entries. The preprinted parts are shown here
in boldface:

File No. 31.518
John Ames
Pri Rev War
Act: June 7th 32
Index:-Vol. 2, Page 8
[Arrangement of 1870]

The next page is all handwritten.
“Mas 1796 sold pensioned
Azel Ames
161 Shawmut St
Chelsea Mass. “

I’m assuming that last translates out to “Massachusetts
1776 soldier pensioned”

But who was Azel Ames? A descendant who requested a
copy of the pension file?

Monday, July 16, 2007


Does anyone else ever get a case of descendant’s guilt, a feeling
that while you’re pursuing leads on one group you are neglecting

Well, I was feeling a bit of it the other night when I mentioned
Cora Barker(my grandmother) and Louise Almata Richardson,
my great great grandmother. I’ve been so lucky with my searches
on the Ames, Abbots and Ellinwood lines that I’ve spent more
time on them than the other two lines.

So I started googling for Nathaniel Barker and ended up at
Rootsweb’s World Connect where I found on a member's page
a Nathniel Barker on who was married to a Huldah Karsting.

Mine was married to a Huldah Hasting.

Figuring it was worth asking I sent an email to the website owner
listing Nathaniel with my information and it turns out our
Nathaniels look to be one and the same and I broke through a
brick wall. Not only that but it turns out there are several other
connections between this person’s line and mine.

I’m not going to go into all the details now but the reason I’m
bringing it up is that it reminded me again this afternoon as I
exchanged emails with this new-found cousin that if this were say,
15 or 20 years ago, before the age of home computers and the
internet, I might have eventually found the information but I’d
probably never have made the acquaintance of the person who
shares my ancestry.

And that’s the biggest effect computers have had on genealogy.
Instead of just solitary researchers who might belong to a local
genealogy society, we also now have a global network of people
who might belong to a genealogy society on the other side of the
continent and who are able to make use of the archives from
their home as well as being able to meet and share information
with people on the internet who share their ancestry.

I know, I know, I've said all this before I think.

But isn’t technology great?

Sunday, July 15, 2007


A reminder that all spelling, abbreviations and punctuation is as
found on the document.

In that regard, it seems poor General Putnam 's name is written
as Putman for the second time in the file!

There are parts of the document that are preprinted forms. I've
put those parts in boldface.

Image 6 appears to be handwritten on the back of the next
page as the printing of a form is visible from the other side.

Center top is written: 11.634

The following is handwritten below:

“John Ames

April 20th 1833

Obj(?) 2(?). 3.5(?)

died 7 April 1833
Private 8 mos 10days

Letter 30 Sept 1833

John Ames, Jonathan P. Ames,
Ralph Ames, Sally
Fuller, Betsey Putnam &
Polly Poland, children of
the deceased.

William Allen Jr.
Norridgewock, Maine.”

Image 7 is the other side of the page from the one on
Image 6. It’s a preprinted form. At the top the figures
11.634 are once more handwritten in:

Brief in the case of John Ames
County of Oxford in the State of Maine
(Act 7th June, 1832)

1. Was the declaration made before a Court or Judge?

2. If before a Judge, does it appear that the applicant
is disabled by bodily infirmity? (illegible two lines that might
be a y and s)

3. How old is he? 76.

4. State his service as directed in the form annexed.

At this point the form is divided into four columns
across the page. I can’t reproduce it in that form here
but here is the information under each heading as written in:

Period: In 1775

Years, Months, Days,: about 8 1/2 months
(having enlisted for 8 months.)

Rank As a: Private

Names of General and Field Officers under whom he
Capt. Parker, Col. Prescott
Genls. Putman, Lee, and Washington.

5. In what battles was he engaged? Lexington

6. Where did he reside when he entered the service?
Groton, Massa.

7. Is his statement supported by living witnesses, by
documentary evidence, by incidental evidence, or by
the rolls? A Credible Witness who proves 8 months service.

8. Are the papers defective as to form or authentication?
and if so, in what respect? Correct

I certify that the foregoing statement and the answers agree
with the evidence in the case above.

F. Waugh examining clerk
March 12.1833


At times I stumble across things that are about people who might
be related to one of my ancestral lines. I've made a note of them
and twice now have lost those notes somehow or another.

So, just so I'll be able to find this again, I'll post this here. It's a
link to a story about a town called Albion in Central Maine and
makes mention of Abbotts who might be from my line.

Or may not.

But at least now I'll have the information where I can find it!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


You might have noticed that many of my blog posts deal with
ancestors with surnames such as (E)Ames or Ellingwood/
Ellinwood/Ellenwood or Abbot(t) on my fathers side of the family
more than on my own surname of West. The reason is simple and
quite common among many genealogists: I have a brick wall.

The furthest back I can go in my direct West line is to John Cutter
West who is believed to have been born in Plymouth Ma. on 8 Oct
1802 but neither I or others before me doing the family genealogy
have been able to discover any record of his birth as of yet. This is
why I like to refer to him as the Elusive John C.

There are any number of reasons why this is the case. One is that
it was an error by the census taker; an incorrect date, birthplace,
or he misunderstood the information and the middle name was
not Cutter but something else. There was a Cottle family, for
example, that was involved with the Wests descended from the
line of Francis West of Duxbury, Ma. Another possibility is that he
was not born in the town Plymouth but in Plymouth County.

There are other ways that the information on the Elusive John C.
could be wrong and I'll explore them further in other posts.

John and his descendants for the most part don’t seem to have
been all that big on writing so I’ve not found anything written by
them. There’s not much else on them that I’ve been able to find
so far outside of something written about a man I believe to be
Jonathan Phelps West, my great great grandfather. But even as
frustrating as it might seem I was lucky enough to have material
to start with and even a picture. I think. That fellow up there at
the top right of the screen is supposedly the Elusive John C.

Of course the problem with having a name like West is that it’s
such a common name and any browser search on “John West”
yields a lot of hits. I just checked it on Google and I got 859,000
on just the name without adding other words to the search. “John
Cutter West” yields 9...mostly posts from this blog or queries I
sent to forums. “John C. West” gets 15,500 references.

Still, I keep looking for the Elusive John C. I’ve found a few things
here and there, and meanwhile I also research the families of
women the West men married: Arvilla Ames, Louisa Richardson,
Clara Ellingwood, and Cora Barker. Maybe I’ll stumble across a
lead on John C. while exploring those other leads but even if I
don’t I’m enjoying the hunt. I’m finding out fascinating things
about relatives I didn’t even know anything about before.

That’s the joy of genealogy

Friday, July 13, 2007


Image 5 of John Ames’ Revolutionary War Pension file is a
collection of various statements fit around the page any way they
could be written in. It appears as though it might have been the
original cover sheet for the witness statements and is once again a
preprinted statement. What is interesting is that the form was
intended for use in Kennebec County but the word Kennebec is
crossed out in the first line and Somerset is hand written above the
crossed out word in a large hand. The name of the clerk John A.
Chandler has also been crossed out and that of James Dinsmore
written in :


Somerset, ss.> I, James Dinsmore, Clerk of all the Judicial
Courts held within and for the County of Somerset, hereby
certify that the Honorable Nathan Weston Jr. before whom
the within proceedings was had, is a Justice of the
Supreme Judicial Court of said State; I also certify that
the within contains the original proceedings of the said
Court in the matter of the application o
f John Ames for a

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand
and the seal of the said Court, this
twenty seventh day of September,
A.D. 1832
James Dinsmore Clerk.

The top center of the page contains the last two paragraphs of the
statement of Obadiah Wetherell from the previous page which
must have been folded over when the image was scanned. But
now there is an addition enclosed in large parentheses:

“I (unreadable) Obadiah Wetherell, (farmer?) depose on oath and
say that the within named(?) John Ames served the within dates
(?)of eight months as a private in the summer and fall of 1775. I
knew him well before he entered the service time(?) of eight
months he was a faithful soldier; I understand that he is now dead;
that he died in April 1833.

Obadiah Wetherell."

"State of Maine Somerset County } ss. Subscribed and sworn to
this fourth day of September 1833 before me by above deformant
(?) who is an intelligent, credible witness.
William Allen Jr.
Justice Peace. "

Rotating the image clockwise, we next see a statement from a
William Spaulding. There was a Spaulding mentioned on image 3
but the first name was not given. This must be he:

“I William Spaulding of Norridgewock Maine age seventy three
depose and say that I well knew the within named John Ames;
when I was a boy I went to school with him at his fathers house in
Groton. I know that he entered into the army in the year 1775 I
saw him in the army at the Bowman house in the summer of 1775
and I have no doubt that he served the full term as he has stated
within as a private. I am also a Revolutionary pensioner.
William Spaulding"

Beneath that going across the center of the page just above the
printed State of Maine is the following, As it goes along, it’s
bordered by Obadiah’s statement on right and James Dinsmore’s
on the left and becomes narrower as space becomes taken up by
a large seal:

"State of Maine.
Somerset County }ss
sworn & subscribed the
ninth day of Sept 1833
by the above mentioned
William Spaulding Esq
a person by me well
known as a credible
witness before me
William Allen Jr
Justice of Peace"

On the left hand side of the page another statement runs across
the page and nearly meets William Allen’s at the center:

"State of Maine
Somerset County }ss
I Elias Cobb Clerk of all the
Judicial Courts in the county of
Somerset and State aforesaid do
hereby certify that William Allen Jr
is a Justice of the Peace in and
for said county duly commissioned
and qualified, that his commission
was dated the ninth day of March
A.D. 1832 and will expire on the ninth
day of March 1839 and that his signature
above written is genuine.
Given under my
hand and seal of
said county this
sixth day of
September, 1833
E. Cobb, Clerk"

Apparently John’s death made it necessary to repeat the
statements by the witnesses. Perhaps because his children were
now the petitioners?

Also this is the first mention I’ve seen of a school in the Ames

Something else to look for after!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I was reminded earlier tonight when I looked at J.L. Bell’s Boston
post that I still hadn’t responded to being tagged with the
Eight Things meme by Tim Abbott.

So here it is. I have not tagged anyone else though because I’ve
already tagged people with genealogy blogs with the Thinking
Blogger, and most of the other blogs I read are not for public

But here’s my Eight.:

#1 I once nearly ran into Richard Cardinal Cushing…literally.
Schools from the Boston Archdiocese sent teams to Boston
College for a “Catechism Bowl” sort of thing. Our team was
eliminated early and we joined the kids running around in
stocking feet on a basketball court until some janitor yelled at us.
We all grabbed our shoes and ran, and as I bombed out the door
I nearly collided with the Cardinal but some aide’s arm prevented
it. Bad enough that Sister was going to kill us for being eliminated
early, but if I’d knocked over the cardinal I would have been
DOOMED!! I don’t think I ever told my folks about that.

#2 I was known in Abington High School as “Willy”. My English
teacher kept calling me Will instead of Bill and my classmates
turned it into Willy. I was never called that before or since, so if a
middle aged person walks up to me and says “Hey, Willy!” I know
they are from my AHS days.

#3 I write. I’ve been writing off and on since high school, including
on the high school newspaper and in the literary magazine. One of
my first poems is “AN ODE TO MARGARET CHASE SMITH”
which questions if a woman could be president. Hey, it was the
`60’s and I was a callow youth who knew no better. Most of my
current writing is fantasy because I…

#4 Roleplay on line on Mirc for nearly 10 years now in a
room with mostly other older folks who were born too soon to
catch the Dungeons and Dragons experience.

#5 I read. A lot. I have six books cases of various sizes throughout
my little hobbit hole of an apartment.

#6 Because I read a lot and have worked the book business now
for about 17 or 18 years I often time can recall the title of a book
or the name of its author without resorting to the computer. One
of my coworkers once joked they should put me in a box with a
fake screen and kb. I also am very good at Trivial Pursuit.

#7 As a teenager I used to have 3x5 index card files with names
of ancient and medieval historical events, people, and myths
written on the cards with bits of information. I also copied the
royal genealogies onto graph paper especially of the Plantagenets
and Habsburgs.

and finally…

#8 When I first started in genealogy and saw some of my
ancestors might be Plantagenets, I started a bit of a running gag
at work. When co-workers I’ve been friendly with leave, I present
them with a fake proclamation in which I, as the 9 millionth in line
to the throne of England bestow a fake title on them which
has disclaimers like “Void where prohibited by law” in fine print
on the bottom. The latest recipient was proclaimed “Queen of
Quincy” with the understanding that the title doesn’t take effect
until I’m King of England….which…well….isn’t going to happen any
time soon.

That’s all. folks

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Image 4 is a handwritten statement from witness
Obadiah Wetherell. All punctuation and abbreviations
are as written in the original:

"I Obadiah Wetherell aged Eighty five years a Revolutionary
pensioner depose and say that I was born and brought up within
about five miles of the witness(?) named John Ames knew him
well when a boy and I know that he enlisted under Capt Parker
in the spring of 1775 and that he served under said Parker and
under Capt Lawrence in Col. Prescotts Regiment the full
term of eight months. I was the orderly Sergeant in Capt
Lawrences’ company and distinctly recollect said Ames and
the circumstances of his enlisting under Capt Parker and that
he and several others were at their request transferred to Capt
Lawrences’ company as within stated; at the expiration of the
eight months I was appointed Ensign and marched with
the army to New York. I was afterwards appointed Lieutenant;
I have no particular knowledge of said Ames remaining
in the service after the expiration of the eight months as
I have no distinct recollection of him after I was appointed
Ensign and entered the years service for 1776-- But I have no
doubt of the truth of his statement that he remained in
the service as he has stated. Obadiah Wetherell

subscribed and sworn to in open court , Sept27, 1832
the (illegible) being a credible witness, Before
Nathan Weston,Jr
Just. S. J. C. "


Another midmorning at the keyboard with toast and coffee.

Transcribing John Ames’ Pension File has been fun although I
once again wish I could type faster. But it’s gone faster than I
thought it would. One reason is I am using the split screen method
Randy Seaver talked about over on Genea-Musings. The other
reason is that Nathaniel Weston had good penmanship.Believe me,
that’s a BIG help.

You know all those documents we see with the graceful writing?
Well, they most likely were copied from drafts by clerks and
secretaries who had a “good hand”. Some of the records I dl from
Footnotes take a bit to decipher, and one for a Benjamin Abbott is
well…it’s impossible to read. The writing looks like some child had
drawn waves across the page. It took me several times before I
realized that it’s not about Benjamin Abbott but about a Joshua
Sargent of Lyndsborough,N.H. I can make out John Abbott’s
name and references to the Battle of White Plains and then a Lt.
Benjamin Abbott. I’ve tabled that one for now until I finish with
John Ames and Asa Barrows.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is how much they tried to cram
onto one page. Yankee frugality, perhaps? Waste not, want not!
At any rate the writing gets smaller and the lines closer together
as the end of the pages draw near. The next image I’m working on
is from Obadiah Wetherell, and it appears the image after that is
of the backside of his statement, where the various entries go all
about the middle of the page picture frame style. That’s going to
be fun to transcribe!

I find myself stopping to check out the names mentioned in
John’s statement, first over at J.L. Bell’s Boston 1775, then at
Chris Dunham’s Maine Genealogy and Oxford County Genealogy
Notebook sites, and finally by Googling the names. John’s
statement and what I’ve found will give me more to post about
after I’m done with the transcriptions. I’d like to finish these
before my nephew’s wedding a week from this Saturday where
I’ll have a chance to talk with my Aunt Dorothy.

Good thing I’m on vacation this week. It’s hard to stop working
on this.

Guess I am a genea-holic!


The next image is of a page with the printed heading
The setup of the page is hard to reproduce here since I
hesitate to post the image itself. Also, I've placed all
preprinted parts in boldface. The punctuation and abbreviations
are as they appear on the document. Any word or name I am
unsure of is followed by a (?).

" Declaration
In order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress of

the 7th of June,1832
Oxford County
on this twenty seventh day of September, A.D. 1832
personally appeared in the open court at Norridgewock
before the Hon. NathanWeston, Jr. Justice of the Supreme
Judicial Court of said State, John Ames, a resident of Canton in
the County of Oxford and State of Maine, aged seventy six
years; who being first duly sworn ,according to law,
doth on his oath make the following declaration, in

order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the
Act of Congress, passed June 7, 1832. That he enlisted in
the Army of the United States in the year 1775 with
Captain Oliver Parker and served in Col. Wm Prescott’s
regiment of the Massachusetts line or troops under the
following named officers: namely, first, the said Parker,
afterwards Asa Lawrence, Captains; William Prescott, Col;
Putnam, Lee & Washington Generals; about eight months and a
half to wit from the last of April 1775 to the 10th of January,
1776; that he first marched to Cambridge, Massachusetts and was
quartered in a barn afterwards in Andrew Bowman’s house in
Cambridge very near the meeting house in Cambridge near Boston
during the first of his enlistment which was for eight months; that
after he had served out the full term of his enlistment his officers
persuaded him to remain in service till a detachment of militia,
called six weeks men, came in, or until new enlistments were made
for the year’s service in 1776; that he accordingly did remain on
duty in Cambridge in the army till the 10th of January, 1776; that
he was then dismissed but did not receive any written discharge.

And to the interrogatories propounded under the
intentions of the war department he answers: that he was
born in Groton near Lexington in Massachusetts in August 1756,
that his age is recorded in the town books in Groton that when he
enlisted he was living in Groton that he had enrolled himself with
a company of militia men under Capt Lawrence in the fall of 1774
was often called out to do military duty, was at the Lexington fight
on the 19th of April 1775 and marched with Capt Lawrence’s
company to Cambridge in pursuit of the British troops when they
returned to Boston and then remained several days at Cambridge
and in the vicinity of Boston and then returned to Groton, and in
a few days he thinks in April he enlisted under Capt Parker, with
the assurance that he should have the privilege of serving under
Capt Lawrence if he chose it but after his company joined the
army Capt Parker refused to let him or any in his company leave
him to join Capt Lawrence until they applied to the Committee of
Safety and until their case was laid before Genl Washington their
commander in chief: who gave directions for the men to select the
Captains under whom they wished to serve that he then was
transferred to and joined Capt Lawrence’s company in July and
served out his time and ten days as above stated; that Genl
Putnam and General Lee had command at first afterwards Genl
Washington; that he often saw them; that Col. Gerishs (?) Regt
was stationed near Col. Prescott, that Henry Wood was his
Major, that Obadiah Wetherell was his orderly sergeant and the
next year was Ensign and then Lieutenant, that John Hazen,
David Hazen, James Shea, Saml Gibson, Jonathan Lewis and
Eleazer Parker were also privates in the same company; that he
continued to live in Groton twelve years after Rev. war, then lived
in Hollis, N.H. four years; then in Livermore, Maine, then in
Hartford & then in Canton where he has lived at eight years."

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a
pensionor an annuity, except the present, and he
declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll
of any agency in any state.

After this is another handwritten entry:
“Obadiah Wetherell Esq who was his orderly sergeant and
____ Spaulding who was in the army in Cambridge with him can
testify as to his account. Hon. Cornelius Holland, member of
congress and Charles Fuller of Canton, Maine and all his
acquaintances and neighbors will testify to his character for
veracity and other tales of his record as his service as a soldier of
the Revolution; that he never received any written discharge.”
Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid
in the open court before me, Nathan Weston Jr, Justice of the
Supreme Judicial Court.
And the said Justice, before whom said court was held(?) does
hereby declare his opinion that the above named
applicant was a RevolutionarySoldier and did serve as
he states.
Nathaniel Weston Jr."

John Ames’ name is signed just off to the right of the page slightly
above the last section.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I've written about finding the Revolutionary War Pension Files
for some of my colonial era ancestors and have been transcribing
them to my genealogy program

This first one is for John Ames who was born in Groton, Ma.
on 23 Aug 1756 and died in Canton Me. on 30
Sep 1833. His file consists of 10 images.

The first is of a lined page with several headings and entries
below them.
Below Service is "Mass." On the far right hand of the same
line is the heading Number and below that is "S.31,518."

John Ames' name appears on the line dead center between
"Mass" and "S.31,518"

The next image is of two pages from a book that appears to have
been ledger size.

The right hand page is mostly blank except for three notations:

At the top of the page is : B.L. 25.566-160.35

Further down are some figures which become important when
you look at the facing page. First comes this :

Six hash marks ( I I I I I I I ) separate this from a second set of

55 54

The left hand page has the heading “Maine” handwritten in big
letters in very fine penmanship over a double line. Beneath it are
the words:

“John Ames late of the Oxford Co. in the state of Maine who
was a private in the Comp commanded by Captain Parker of
the Regt. commanded by Col. Prescott in the Massa---
time for 8 mos.& 10ds.”

The next paragraph is enclosed in large brackets:

“John, Jonathan P. & Ralph
Ames, Sally Fuller, Betsey Put
-nam & Polly Polland heirs-
died 30th Sep. 1833”

Another double line across the page and then this:

Inscribed on the roll of Maine-------
at the rate of 27 dollars 77 cents per annum
to commence on the 4th day of March,1834

Another double line, then:
Certificate of Pension issued the 11th day of Dec
1833--------and sent to W. Allen, Jr. Norridgewock”

Under another set of double lines the math from the other page
comes into play:
Arrears to the 4th of Sep.’33 $69.42
Allowance ending 30 Sep’33 3.12
{Revolutionary Claim}
Act, June 7,1832

Recorded by Geo. C. Stiles Clerk,
Book 6 Vol 2 Page 1

This appears to have been some standardized form and those
words I've put in bold letters seem to have been preprinted
on the page.

Also,the word "Settlement" is the first word on the line with
Allowance but I don't know how to display a crossed over word
so I left it off.

The list of John's heirs confirms the information about his family
that I learned at Larry Overmire's site.

So, John Ames was granted a pension but died before he could
recieve it and it went to his heirs instead.

But what exactly did he do in the Revolution?

Monday, July 09, 2007


One of the perks of vacation time when you have no plans is being
able to sleep in late. In fact, I think it’s probably a constitutional
right! Anyway, once I finally bestirred myself from bed earlier
today I did what I usually do when I have a day off: I make coffee
and toast, then I check the email and surf other folk’s genealogy

Today I was rewarded with a fascinating email from katiefloring.
She’s a distant cousin of Katharine Fearing Loring who married
my distant cousin Francis Ellingwood Abbot, and her comment on
my original post has information filling in some of the background
of Katharine’s family. Katie mentions she is working on a book
about David Loring and I look forward to reading it.

Speaking (or blogging) of Abbot(t)s, Tim Abbott of Walking the
is the subject of an article in the Litchfield County
Times. Tim’s back from vacation and his posts about Monhegan
Island are wonderful reading and dang, I wish I could write as
well as he does!

Finally, Strange Maine has two posts that had me laughing. In the
first case, all of New England has been laughing about the man who
disguised himself as a tree to rob a bank in Manchester, N.H. I feel
I must point out that the bank branch was on Elm St. And no, his
disguise didn’t work. Perhaps he’ll learn his lesson and turn over a
new leaf, or at least use bigger leaves next time.

The second post concerns strange laws in Maine. One of them
makes clear why we'll never see news reports of a skydiving moose
in Maine.


Sunday, July 08, 2007


Having exhausted my known Revolutionary War kin searching on
Footnote I find myself wishing I’d had already filled in some of the
information on my ancestor’s siblings on the family tree. I’m sure
there must have been some who put in for pensions or land grants
but in many cases trying to search by surname alone yielded too
many hits to handle. And despite the James Dunham error I did
find the records for Asa Barrows and John Ames and that was

I also understand that not all the Records are up as yet so at some
point in the future I will return for another look.

I’ve scanned some photos of a family picnic at Plymouth from a
very long time ago which include shots of Uncle Tommy and Aunt
Frances. There should be a post here in the next few days about
them and Aunt Katie.

I’m on vacation this next week. Since finances are low I'll be
spending it mostly at home either reading, writing, or doing
genealogy work. I might make it in to the Mass State Archives or
Boston to look up some records. This will require that I make a
plan first and organize my files a bit more.

Speaking of which, I’ve taken the “tidy up’ pledge and downloaded
the forms made available by Miriam and T.K. I don’t know how
much progress I’ll make or how quickly but it can’t hurt to get
started, can it?

Finally, as to the 07/07/07 hype: I had a different set of numbers
in my head on Saturday:07/07/27. That is my mothers’ birthday.

She would have been 80 years old yesterday. Hard to believe.

Harder still to know she is gone.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I mentioned the other night I had found some Revolutionary
War Records over on for some of my ancestors,
including James Dunham.

Well, I was half right. I found records for James Dunham but
he isn’t my ancestor.

I think I mentioned before that some of my ancestors had very
common names. Dunham is one of them. To make matters worse,
they often lived in the same area with other families who had the
same last name, and they even later moved to the same area!

So, I searched Footnotes for surnames of ancestors who lived at
the time of the Revolution and was excited to find James Dunham
of Hebron, Maine on three different petitions as a witness for three
pension applicants. I downloaded them and moved on to search
for others intending to come back to more closely examine the
records afterwards.

Tonight I opened the files and read them. James gave his
testimony in 1832 and stated he was 78 yrs old.

Something struck me as not right. I looked up James (Thomas)
Dunham in my genealogy records and saw what was wrong. James
Dunham…my James Dunham…was born in 1775. Obviously, he
couldn’t have fought in the Revolution unless he was a VERY
mature infant.

So who was this James Dunham?

I went to Rootsweb’s World Connect Project, entered James
Dunham and then Hebron as a place of death, and voila!, two hits:
my James Dunham and another, both of whom died in Hebron,
Oxford County, Maine within a few years of each other. The
James of my downloaded records was born in Bridgewater,
Plymouth County, Mass. in 1754 which would indeed have made
him 78 at the time of his testimonies. My ancestor had been born
less than twenty miles away in Carver, Ma.

Ah well. Good thing I reread these things!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Hmm. Genealogy is a funny thing. You can go days without much
and then… BANG.. a bunch of stuff turns up! Such as:

- I read on Randy’s Genea-Musings about the
free 7-day trial membership. I went over, signed up, and found
Revolutionary War Pension & Land Grant Files on Asa Barrows,
James Dunham, and John Ames. More on these in future posts.

- I found information about another Ames relative that
VERY interesting and that too shall be the subject of future posts.

-I was contacted through about my ancestor John
Ellingwood Jr. An exchange of email determined the person who
asked is descended from his son Oscar P, Ellingwood, younger
brother of my great great grandfather Asa F. Ellingwood. So I’ve
found another cousin(although I haven’t heard anymore since).

-And I’m looking into another matter which if it pans out might
mean I’ve another distant cousin.

Is there the genealogy equivalent of the Snoopy Dance of Joy?

Sunday, July 01, 2007


The Fourth of July when I was a kid meant cookouts or picnics
with hot dogs, hamburgers and lemonade. Sometimes there were
small fireworks set off by the adults but more often than not we’d
end up at Franklin Field in Dorchester watching big fireworks
shows there while kids ran around waving sparklers.

In my teen years after we moved to Abington the cookouts were
more common as multifamily picnics faded away. My folks joined
the VFW so the holiday was a day they were marching in parades.
Fireworks were at the Abington’s Night Before The Fourth event
which also included a large bonfire down behind the Frolio School.
And in the first years after we moved here, sometimes we’d get in
the car and drive around looking for fireworks in the sky.

As I got older, the marching aspect of the Fourth continued as my
brother Phil, after years watching my folks march, joined a drums
corp. So he’d be marching somewhere as well! There were still
cookouts such as those held down in Marshfield at cousin Bobby’s
place but I rarely went along to now. By then the Fourth meant
a day off from work and a chance to sleep in for me. The Night
Before the Fourth became an annoyance as the crowds had grown
bigger and people would park anywhere they could, including in
my parking space or in front of our driveway. But I still would sit
on the stone wall outside the house on Monroe Street and watch
the fireworks myself.

Nowadays, there are cookouts, somewhere, but I’m not there. I’m
working; time and a half plus holiday pay is a thing I can’t afford
to pass up. My apartment has no view of the fireworks those years
the town has them; every year now becomes a drama of whether
or not enough there is enough money for The Night Before the
Fourth. So I watch the broadcast of the Boston Pops concert and
fireworks from the Charles River Esplanade.

Maybe I’ve become cynical in my middle age. It seems as though
the Fourth of July doesn’t have as much importance to as many
people as it did in earlier times. In 21st century America, holidays
are just excuses to run another themed sale. the Fourth of July is
no different from another holiday to the stores: Bargain Blast!
Revolutionary Savings! Commercials tout products with shots of
fireworks while a Souza march plays in the background. And even
though many stores won’t see a lot of sales, none of them will be
the first to blink and close for the holiday next year, because
they’re afraid they’ll lose customers to their competition.

It’s the 21st century. Stores and businesses stay open on Sundays
and even on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why should the Fourth
be any different?

I found the Revolutionary War Pension Records of several of my
ancestors on over the last few days. I wonder
what they would think of us now? They fought for a country
based on “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I’m afraid that now its more like “Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of Profits.”