Sunday, May 31, 2009


It's Saturday Night Genealogical Fun again over at Randy Seaver's
Genea-Musings blog.

This week's challenge:

1. Go to the web site.

2. Read his Bad Jokes page. What was the first one that popped up?

3. Click on his Birthday Calculator link. What are five Fun Facts you
didn't know about your birthday?

4. Click on the "what your name means" link. What are your Number,
your Soul Urge number and your Inner Dream number? Do the descriptions
of your numbers match your perception of yourself? Note - females need to
enter their birth name, not married name.

5. Tell the world your answers (with as much privacy protection as you wish)
in a blog post or in comments to this post.

So, here we go

The bad joke:
A woman in Brooklyn decided to prepare her Will and make her final requests.
She told her rabbi she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated,
and second, she wanted her ashes scattered all over Bloomingdales. 'Why
Bloomingdales?' asked the rabbi. 'Then I'll be sure my daughters visit me twice
a week.'

The Birthday Calculator:

I was born on a Friday

I was born in the Chinese Year of the Rat

My age is the equivalent of a dog that is 8.68845401174168 years old.

I share my birthday with H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Plant. (Different years,
of course)

I'll have 61 candles on my next birthday cake, which could boil 6.97 ounces of

What My Name means:
Strong helmet or resolute protector (in other words, stubborn?)

My name number is 11
The characteristics of #11 are: "High spiritual plane, intuitive, illumination,
idealist, a dreamer."

My Soul Urge Number is 6: This means, among other things that:
"With a number 6 Soul Urge, you would like to be appreciated for your ability to
handle responsibility. Your home and family are likely to be a strong focus for you,
perhaps the strongest focus of your life. Friendship, love, and affection are high on
your list of priorities for a happy life. You have a lot of diplomatic tendencies in
your makeup, as you a able to rectify and balance situations with an innate skill.
You like working with people rather than by yourself. It is extremely important for
you to have harmony in your environment at all times."

Finally, my Inner Dream Number is 5:
"You dream of being totally free and unrestrained by responsibility. You see
yourself conversing and mingling with the natives in many nations, living for
adventure and life experiences. You imagine what you might accomplished."

Hmm. I guess liking to write qualifies me as creative and a dreamer. I do like
working with people, which is why I do well in bookselling, I suppose. As for
dreaming of being totally free, if that means financially, then I guess we all do,
don't we? But I have to confess I'm not a big numerology believer.

Thanks Randy for an interesting challenge!

Friday, May 29, 2009


After finishing the post about the "Sixteen States of Maine Song"
I made an attempt to come up with a "Fourteen States of Massachusetts"
equivalent. I'm dealing with a nagging sinus headache today so I didn't
get very far. Or maybe I could do a song with my ancestors names.
But no luck as yet.

And then it hit me: an idea for a genea-blogger challenge. And so, I
present The First Great Genea-Bloggers' Just Make Up Some Lyrics

The rules are simple:

1. Set the names of your ancestors to the music of any song. It can be
any number of names, any song. Just remember to mention what song
you are using so we can all sing along as we read!

2. Publish your efforts on your blog and send me the link. If you don't have
a blog( and you really should, you know, they're easy and fun to do) then send
me your song in a comment to this blog.

2. Dead line is June 30th. I'll publish the final list here on the 4th of July!

There. There's a lot of talented people out there in the genea-blogging
community and this should be fun. Maybe people will sing their songs to
each other at genealogy conferences. Flutaphone accompaniments would
be optional.

Er..ok..maybe not...


One of my weekly web surfing stops is Roxanne Moore
Saucier's "Family Ties" column at the Bangor Daily News
website. Roxanne is an experienced genealogist and I
enjoy reading her articles about different aspects of
both genealogy and life in Maine.

Recently she wrote about how she learned the names of all
sixteen counties in Maine by being taught a song set to the
tune of "Yankee Doodle":

The 16 counties in our state

Are Cumberland and Franklin,

Piscataquis and Kennebec,

Oxford and Androscoggin.

Waldo, Washington and York,

Lincoln, Knox and Hancock.

Sagadahoc and Somerset,

Aroostook and Penobscot!"

Great, right? She also gives another variation of the song
the lyrics to the "State of Maine Song". Check out this column here.

You can also search some of her past "Family Ties"
writing by clicking on the "Lifestyle" drop menu. Trust me, you'll enjoy it.


Whatever the reason for his recall, Jeremiah Swain moved quickly to
obey his orders, perhaps showing how tired he was of the campaign's

Letter Majr Sweyne to the Govr s Council Nov. 13. 1689.
"To ye Honrd Governr & Councill Sitting
att Boston Novembr 28. 89

Hithertoo by Sickness being prevented I now take ve boldness to give yor Honors
an account of my proceedings, persu- ance of an Ordr to me directed from yor
Honors with referance to or drawing off or fforces leaving Garrisons Soldiers

Portsmouth Novembr 13th. 89.
Att a Councill of warr for ve Safety of ve provinces of New Hampshire & Maine,
my Self with yor Majttes officers in Comission in ye army with some of ye principal
Gents of both Provinces, ye Councills ordr being read several questions were
propounded to ye sd Councill of warr, viz how many Soldiers wr of absolute
necessity to be left in all. 2ly how many in each province. 3ly. where to be posted,
4ly under wt conduct & how vy should be maintained. It was thought necessary
on all hands vt Sixty men Should be left there twenty in Hampshire & forty in
Maine, vn I desired of vm to know how many of those Sixty vy would raise in ye sd
province, after debate vy agreed to raise ten, & so att Cochecho to post 4, att ve
widdow Heards Garrison 8, att Capt. Jno Gerrishes, att Oister river, 4. att Capt. Jno
Woodmans, & 4 att Robert Burnums — And for Maine it was thought need- full
vt 14 were posted in ye ffrontier Garrisons att Wells, & ye rest in Kittery, &
Berwick 4 att Majr Charles ffrosts Garrison, & 5 att ve most notherly Garrison in
ve front of both townes, ve rest att ve ffort att Salmon Falls & ve houses adjacent
& all to be quartered with ve inhabitants in each places where vy were posted.

It was adjudged meet also vt one of ye Captaines in Comission in ve army should
take ve charge of vm, I urged vt some of ye officers vr should do it, but vy replyed
vr Government was so lame vt vy could scarce comand each man his family, & it
would be an undoing thing not to leave one of vm in comission there because ve
Soldiers & inhabitants stood in some more fear of ve Bay vn of vr own officers.
So it was concluded to leave one, & I left Capt. Gardner for ve psent 'till further
orders from yor Honors ordering him with part of ve Soldiers to scout about ve
outside of yv townes as farr as vy could for ve snow in tollerable weather to see if
vy could finde either Skulking Indians or vr tracks but not to expose himself or men
too much to hazzard So leaving vm to Gods protection & ye Capts care & conduct
I tooke my leave of vm & returned home & disbanded ye rest and so subscribe my
self yor Honors Humble Servt

Jer Syene."

Jeremiah Swain's military career was once more over.

Found in "Documentary History of the State of Maine" pp70-74

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Not long after Jeremiah Swain sent the last letter, it seems colonial political
affairs occurred that would lead to his recall.

Back in 1643, the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut
and New Haven had formed the New England Confederation to deal with
matters of mutual defense against the Indians. It's high point came during
the King Philip's War but it had begun falling apart even before the end of
the war. Now, in 1689, an attempt was being made to revive it, and it
now weighed in on the Maine campaign. Jeremiah Swain was the commander
of the troops from the Bay Colony, while those from Plymouth Colony were
under Benjamin Church's command. Now word came down from the
Confederation Commision that Swain and his men were to be withdrawn.

It's interesting to see that the order was recorded in triplicate!

"Ordered vt Major Jeremia Swaine and his officers with al the Soldiers in ye
Countryes Sarvis from Wels Westward be forth with drawn of: Exsept so
many of hiered men and others unto a competent numbr for the Secureing
Such places as thay shall Judg needfull for the present:

Leiveing them under Such Comanders as said Swaine & his officers shall Judg
meet pticular acct being tacken of them vt are so Left.

9 br 6th 1689 past in the affirmative by the Representatives
Ebenezer Prout Clerk."


"Boston : 8° November 1689.
The Comissioners of the Colonys haveing comended it to the Governor & Councill
that the Souldiers belonging to the ffrontier Town's now at any of the head Quarters
together with all Sick, wounded and otherwise unfitted for Service be forthwith

dismissed home: As also the Troopers there or elsewhere; And in case there be not
a prospect of an Oppertunity to prosecute the Enemy that then the Indians that are
upon Service and so many of the English Souldiers as may with Safety to the People
of the remote Plantations be spared be as conveniently & privatly as may be returned
home -

It is Agreed and Ordered in case there be no prospect of prosecuting the Enemy, That
Major Jeremiah Swayne Comander in chiefe of the Forces at Newichewannick or

Salmon Falls, with the advice of his Comission Officers and Some of the principal
Gentlemen of the Province of New Hampshire and Maine (neerest to him) do post a
sufficient number of Souldiers at such Garrisons and out plantations in those parts as

may secure the same and Offend the Enemy in case of Attempt, to be disposed under
suitable Officers for their good Government and Order, takeing distinct Lists of the
names & number of souldiers Ordered to remain at Each place.

And the said Comander in Cheife. and other his Officers and Souldiers as privatly as
may be forthwith to draw off home and be discharged./.
Voted by the Gouernor & Council
la: Russell p ordr
Consented to by the Representatives.
Dated as abovesd
Ebenezer Prout Clerk"

and finally....

"Boston 8 Novembr 1689. Major Swayne
Inclosed is Copy of the Order of the Convention of the Governour and Council and Representatives Pursuant to what is contended to consideration by the Comissioners
of the Colonys as to yor drawing off with the Forces under yor comand in case there
be no prospect of prosecuting the Enemy, In which you are to. advise with yor
Comission Officers, and the Officers and some of the principal Gents of the Provinces
of New Hampshire & Mayne (nearest unto yon ) For the Setling of such Garrisons as
may be needfull for the Security of those parts before you come off, not exceeding
what are of absolute necessity And releive the Garrison Souldiers at Cochecha posting
some fresh men there in their stead if there be need of continuing any there and such

as you leave behind let those men who were hired out upon the Service be part of the
number and others such as may most conveniently be spared from home; But use yor
utmost Endeavours with the Gentlemen of the Province that they Supply the Garrisons

as much as may be with their own men, that the fewer of ours who have been long
upon duty be left abroad. The above is recommended to yor care and prudence by ye

Governor and Councill./.
By Order in Councill
Isc. Addington Sec17-
To Major Jeremiah Swayne
Comander in Chiefe of ye Forces at Salmon Falls "

Found in "Documentary History of the State of Maine" pp70-74

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This is another in a series of posts about my ancestor, Jeremiah Swain.

In this letter, Jeremiah discussed some of the disipline problems he faced
among his troops:

Letter from Jer. Sweyne

Barwick att Salmon falls Octobr 15, 89. Much Honrd Sirs

After humble Service presented to yor Honors these are to lett you understand
vt thru ye goodness of God I am in good health att present hoping these few lines
will finde yor Honors so, also vt I received yors 10th instant. & according to yor
Honors directions I have published yr signal concerning ye Maquas, further I shall
give yor Honors an account of or further proceedings since or Last to yor selves
Capt. Wiswell with ye biggest part of his part of his company scouted up westward
into ye chestnut woods 4 dayes but found none of ye Enimy nor yet where vy have
lately binn, it is Supposed vt small party of Indians may be in ye Chestnut country
beyond Groaton, also ye most part of Capt. Converses company with a party of
Indians with vm Scouted about ye woods above Cochecho & above Oyster river in
those thick woods 2 or 8 dayes because it was reported ye Indians have binn often
seen vr but ye could finde none nor any Signs of vm, ye all returning we vn being
in a Strait wch way to bend or motion tooke advice not only of or own officers but
of ye Gents of ye place as wee use to do in like case viz Majr ffrost Capt. Wincoln,
Capt. Hooke. Capt Haman Mr ffryer &c. besides ye Gents of ye Bank & it is
thought advisable to send a considerable party to Ossape & Pigwaquit, white hills
&c. ve wch wee are preparing for but are under great disadvantage by reason of ve
sickness of many ve want of a chyrurgeon & an armorer for we are exposed to
send almost 20 miles to have or guns mended, & sutable cloathes for ye men for
such a march I pray for a supply with all speed for we must borrow rhum & wt
cloathing wee can, for ye supply of this psent march wch will be about a fortnight
as we suppose, wee are informed vt ve sloope vt Majr Church sent to Pemiquid is
returned bringing newes vt ye fort is burnt & vt ye gunns lie in ye ashes ye houses
are all burnt but one & no Indians to be seen in those parts, Some think vy are
moved away to ye ffrench being strongly inticed thither, I would also informe yor
Honors vt Daniel Mathewes one of Capt Gardners men & a hired man is run away
& remembered his love to his Capt: & told him vt he would meet him att Pemiquid
with fourscore men, & another man of Capt. Gardners by name Martin Williams
is a prisoner with us for coyning of money he was a redcoat a companion of ve
aforesd Mathewes also 4 of ye troopers from hence are run away, 3 of Marblehead
viz Jno Rowland: Jno Oakes: Thos Roads; of Lin one viz Jno Engals they run away
4th instant, wee had sent newes of it before but vt I heard vy intended to return, I
pray vt there be a Speedy & Severe course taken with such psons. I hope government
will be maintained with yor Honors. I have much ado to maintain it here among a
company of prayerless people & such as are of an antiministerial Spirit, wee have
punished several of vm by laying neck & heeles & fineing &c: vy talk of rising
Sometimes but ye officers & soldiers stand firmly by me & altho some do hate ve
Baye government & threaten us with braces of bullets, yet I hope vy are Subdued.
& tho wee Speake thus of some yet wee must acknoledge vt ye principle Gents are
very candid & ingenuous & faithfull to ve Bay government, wee have also Sent you
a coppie of or first letter wch as we are informed came not to yor Honrs hands tho
it is not a perfect coppie because wee were in hast wn we writt it So desiring yor
Honrs prayers I rest yor Honors most humble Servant

Jer. Sweyne.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

JEREMIAH SWAIN PART 10: "...not to trouble your Honors further..."

Part 10 in a series of posts about 9x great-grandfather Jeremiah Swain:

Letter from Jer. Sweyne

ffrom or head quartrs att Salmon falls in Barwick
Octohr 8. 89
Honrd Sirs
After ye tender of my humble Service to yor Honors, these are to acquaint yor Selves
yet thru ye goodness of God I am in pretty good health hoping yet these will finde
yor honors so, also to acquaint you that I received yor letter yesterday about 5 of
ye clock in ye afternoone & wt referred to ye Maquas wee coppied out & Posted
awaie to Majr Church with some other business of or owne in yor Honors letter we understand vt you have not had any account from us of or proceedings ye wch I do exceedingly wonder att. & am as much troubled to hear for I thought I had tooke an
effectual care vt yor Honors might have advice of all or motions, wee wrote you a
letter dated 16: Sept. giving account of all from Haverhill 'till vt day & sent it by one
of or own Soldiers Joshua Blanchard by name who lives on Mistick side belonging to Charlestown pray lett him be called to an account about. vn from vt day to ye 5th
instant we gave yor Honors an account by Quartr Master Whitmore of Medford &
since vt time wee have another scout returned from Wemepesiocke who marched round
it Supposed to be a 100 miles, found a barne of corne & some small things but none of
ye Enimy Supposed to have bin there this fortnight by their paths but one path to ye Westward but ye biggest path towards Ossabe, wee also Sent to Majr Church to advice
him concerning or next motion, whether Estward or westward to ye Chestnut Country
where some suppose some of ye Enimy is gon, wee by or last gave yor Honors an
account of three men Surprised by ye Enimy att Saco, ye next day was seen uppon ye
Sands about 200 Indians marching Estward since vt wee have not heard of them, or
men are many of them sick lame & stand in need of a Surgion, & good medicines further
we have bin moving to ye Gentm of Portsmouth that about 60 men be raised in that
pvince in case of or moving Estward & by reason of ye deficiency of so many of or
Soldiers I think I must call off Capt Noyes in case of or motion Estward. pray send
us more cloathes of all sorts. not to trouble yor Honors further att psent I rest &
subscribe myself yor Honors most humble servant att command.

Jer: Sweyne.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I'd thought I'd use my 501th post (and who'da thunk I'd make 500!!) to explain
those strange little words Jeremiah Swain used in his letters: "vm, vn, vt, vs" and
so on. Part of the explanation lies in transcriptions in the book "Documentary
History of the State of Maine";the rest lies in my transcriptions of those

Now in the edition I used, which is available here on Google Books, the words
such as "vm" or "vy" appear as "ym " or "yy".It took me longer than I care to admit
to puzzle this one out. I believe the spellings are a result of one of two possible
reasons: actual 17th century penmanship or usage of what appears to be the modern
lower case letter "y" for lower case "v", or human error made when the original
transcribers misread a flowery letter "v" for our letter "y". Either way, I eventually
puzzled out that the "ym" in a sentence made sense if translated as the full word
"them", or "yy" as "they", and so on. So I made the decision to change the spellings
to "vm", "vy", "vs", and others to make reading the letters easier.

Another problem was the use of superscript, as in the word "ye" where the letter "e"
is smaller and raised slightly above the line. While I can reproduce that on Word or
Works, I've yet to discover how to do so on Blogger.

Lastly, there's the matter of copying and pasting the whole page to begin with. Most of the
Google Books pages are jpg images and I usually use the "view plain text" tab in the right
hand sidebar to copy the page into Work. This usually leads to some strange changes in
words such as "comand" which became "coiiiand" so I usually compare the text version
to the image version and correct such instances. It did lead to one funny instance where
Jeremiah's address to "Yor Honrs" became "Yor HonTM" as the text converter read the
"rs" as a registered trademark!

Anyway, vt's the story.

And vs concludes my 501th post!


One day years ago I was listening to David Brudnoy's talk show. It was around St.
Patrick's Day time and David had some expert on Irish history and genealogy on
to answer questions from callers about their Irish ancestry. I decided to call and
ask about the McFarlands, my Mom's maternal line. When I got on, Mom
listened in on the radio out in the kitchen.

I can't recall exactly what he said. All I do recall was that he said McFarland was
from Northern Ireland, probably Scottish in origin and many of the name were
Protestant. He theorized that some of the name emigrated to Ireland when the
British settled Scottish Protestants in the Ulster area and later converted to
Catholicism for convenience.

What I DO recall was my Irish Catholic Mom's vivid remarks after the call was
over and I walked out to the kitchen!

I didn't really think much about it again until I started researching the family tree.
I know that my great grandfather John McFarland' s wife Annie Kelley was born
in Roscommon which is in the north central part of the island (or so I've been
told by family tradition) but I've no idea where he himself was born.

The website Irish Surnames says the name originated from the Gaelic name
of the "...Mac Parthalain Sept that was located in County Armagh in the North of
the country..." and that many of the descendants can be found in Ulster. Apparently
"Parthalain" is the Gaelic form of "Bartholomew" and a mythological figure who
led an invasion of Ireland from Magna Graecia (Sicily) 300 years after the Flood.
"In the 16th century MacParlan appears chiefly in Co. Leitrim where, along with
Armagh, it is principally found today." (The Surnames of Ireland by Edward
Neafsey, p. 6)

Every source I've found online gives a similar history and origin. Of course, the
Scots were originally from Ireland, so ultimately there is an Irish origin for the
name. But if I accept that, there are a questions that need answers. Michael
McFarland and Annie Kelley were Irish and married in the Catholic Church but the
marriage took place in Edinburgh, Scotland. Did Michael look for work in Scotland
because he had Scottish kin? If Michael was Catholic, did he convert or had one of
his ancestors converted after coming to Ireland(if indeed his ancestors were Scots).
And of course, I've yet to discover where and when Michael McFarland himself was

Hmm. My late Mom wouldn't be happy about this! I better find some answers!

(written for the 13th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture)


This is the 9th part of a series about my ancestor Jeremiah Swain:

Jeremiah Swain to Gov. Bradstreet.

Newechewonock Salmon falls in Barwick
Octobr 4th 89 att 5 of ye clock in ye afternoone Honrd Srs
After ye tender of my humble Service to yor Honrs these are to acquaint yor selves
vt I with a small troope with me consisting of 39 psons taking with me Capt.Willard
& Capt. Convers wee advanced toward Casco 17th of Sept. last & upon or march
found ye people att Saco Black point & Blew point in a pore expos'd condition uppon
ye knoledge thereof wee were forc't to divide Capt. Willards into six parts for ye
present & so wee advanced to Casco where we had a relation of wt we done there,
an account of wch yor Honrs wee suppose have had from Majr Church

Then my self with about 35 marched into ye woods with Majr Churches fforces
about 18 or 20 miles out & home but could finde none of ye Enimy, ye next daye
wee received a post from Black point, Signifying vt ye Garrison att Blew point ws
attact att Mr ffoxwells house where a young man ws Slayne & a lad taken Captive,
wee came over Casco ferrie in ye night & ridd to Black point ye same night, forth
with sent a partie of horse to understand their condition att Blewpointbutt could
not come att vm by reason of ye tides, & ye canoes were taken from ye banks by
ye Eniimy as we supposd, ye night before. I therefore tooke a sloope & put a board
about 30 men & Sayled up ye river to see if I could understand their condition, ye
wch wn Wee understood by advice of ye Captaines with mee wee all mounted &
with much difficulty wn ye tide Served wee all gott over ye Rivers but before wee
come there about Sun rise ye Enimy had attackt ye Garrison againe being a remote
place & weake handed, & wn wee come on Blew point Side wee espied ye Enimy &
perceived vy had ambusht us, where uppon wee were forc'd to lead or horses up ye
bank on ye marishes for wee had no other waie to move except wee had gon right
back againe ye wch by ye help of God wee resolv'd not to do, upon ye marsh, wee
mired all or horses, broke or tackling where ye Enimy made Shot uppon us & wounded
several of or horses but th`u mercy not one of or men hurt, & after wee had securd
or horses under ye Garrison wee Sallied out after ye Enimy on foote, ye ground being disadvantagius to ye hors, but wee understanding their ambushments beat ym up
made shot att each other a considerable time, & tho' some of or men narrowly
Escaped yet God so ordered it yt none of us we wounded or hurt, neither do wee
know whether any of ye Enimy ws hurt, yet there we a great out crie wn vy called
off their men where uppon 'tis supposd some might be hitt vy mov'd awaie with all
Speed, wee followed vm a mile or two, & tooke from vm 48 Sheepe a live, 4 dead
swine, found a pore mans house on fire where all his corn ws, wee put out ye fire
Sav'd his corne & returnd to ye Garrison, & found ye lad wch ws slayne, & brought
him thither, & procured part of Capt. Willards men to Strenthen ye Garrison wch
we by ye consent of Majr Church before wee come from Casco. vn attending ye tide
wee rid in ye night to Saco & Strenthned their Garrisons & so return'd to or head
quartrs ye 28 Sept: in ye night where I received an account of ye officers of ye
several companies of their Scouting gathering of corne bringing in haye etc. & vn
sent out such of or men as had cloathing about 120 Capt: Gardner with 40 to Oister
River Lieut fflag with 30 to Wennipesockee: & about 30 of Capt. Convers & about
30 of Capt : Wiswall to Bonniveage Pond wch stayd out 3 dayes & 2 nights but
could finde none of ye Enimy nor where vy had lately binn, I should have told yor
Honrs before vt there ws about 50 or 60 Indians vt ingaged us att ffoxwells

This very hour I received advice from Capt Willard vt two of his men & a Garrison
soldier ws surprised by ye Enimy att Saco, his two men are found dead & ye other
lost, vy were all three fetching up a fatt beast within sight of ye Garrison but on ye
contrary side of ye river, ye Indians call'd to ye Garrison told vm vt vy would goe
up to ye falls & burne ye mills & ye fort, Soone after vy Saw great fires vt waye,
wee intend to make out after vm, this is ye sum of ye newes att present, Mr Benj.
Backworth is come into ye river ye Comissory has received his invoice, by wch
wee perceive vt we shall stand in great need of more Shooes & Stockins & all Sorts
of Cloathes & three or four peeces duffalls because ye English as well as ye Indians
desire blankits to lie in, in ye woods wee have great neede of a Chyrurgeon for
many of or Soldiers are out of order, by reason of lameness Sickness &c. Except
you have provided other waise wee judge Lieut Prescot of Conchord to be a very
meet person & willing to come, you promised to send us up a minister but none
coming_wee procured Mr Jno Emerson who has bin helpfull to us ever since wee
come up & are sattisfyed in his help so vt you neede not trouble yor selves to send a
nother Wee have had a great deale of trouble in setling of Garrisons by reason of ye refractoriness of some persons too large here to give yor Honrs a particular account
of. Sudden business coming upon us Wee Crave yor Honrs pardon for breaking of so
abruptly desiring yor prayers att all times I rest yor Honrs most humble

Servant att comand
Jer: Sweyne/

" For
The honrd Symond Broadstreet Esqr
Governr of ye Colony of ye Massathusets
& Councill
Hast Post hast.

duffals 4 peices two peices of Red Cotten 20 axes 30 hatchets more shoos & stockins
and all sorts of Cloaths for our men are almost naked: more Rhum to be Used about
persons vt are ill to be applyed Externaly & Internaly 60 men to keep Garreson at
black & blew point Salco and winter harbor & wells vt Cap Willards men may be
released, for he is much wanted, If he be drawn off those places must be thrown
away. Chees is convenyent to Carry into ye woods: lether for Indian Shoos. pray
let this be minded.

Jer Sweyne/

Some men are Sick & lame some released by yow selves Some were wanting from
ye first Coming out our companyes are very lame to march to ya head quarters
If we can have where vy be pray lett us have a supply to fill up our Companyes

Jer Sweyne
pray send a few shoe nails


Alright, it's Saturday Nightand once again time for Randy Seaver's
Saturday Night Genealogy Fun over at Genea-Musings!

This week's challenge:

"For this Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, please:

1) Make up a/some Bumper Sticker(s) that describes your genealogy addicti..,
er, passion in 12 words or less. You could recite some of your favorite tag lines
like those found here or here. Or you could be very creative and make up
your own!

2) Post them to your blog or to comments on this post.

3) Extra credit if you make them look like a real bumper sticker!"

So, here are mine:

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This is the eighth in a series of posts concerning my 9x great
grandfather, Jeremiah Swain.

A month after receiving his orders and instructions from the Governor and
his Council Jeremiah Swain sent the following letter detailing events after
his arrival in the province of Maine. I think George Washington would have
sympathized with Swain's concern over clothing and supplies!

I should also make note here of Jeremiah's writing style. As will become
more evident in some of his later letters, he frequently abbreviated words
and rather creatively in some cases. Note how he abbreviates September in
the date of the letter! I have changed a few things, changing "v"s to "u"s in
some words to make a sentence easier to understand, for example, but I've
left the original puncuation most of the spelling as Jeremiah wrote this.
I believe "Captain Noise" to be "Captain Noyes". And I never noticed until
just now that Jeremiah spelled his own name as Sweyen!

As in the previous post, my source is the Maine Historical Society's
Documentary History of Maine :

Salmon ffalls in Berwick 7ber 15 1689

Honored Sirs
After the tender of my most humble service to yor honrs. These few lines
humbly Sheweth the accot of my proceedings hitherto, as I came along by
Haverill, I left Orders wth Capt Noise to Scoutt upon ye Skirts of said
towne, & downe as far as Almsberry wth ye whole or pt of his Compee &
ye Troopers drawn out of ye Regiment Soe I advanced to Berwick where I
found the people in as much Danger of Some among them as of ye Enimy
for want of a well Settlement of ye Militia am. them, Then I sent for some
of ye principall Persons of ye place, and also of Hampsheir Gentlem And
advised with them, where wee agreed of ye Settlement of Severall Garrissons
wth their owne men and appointed Comanders of the same not without great
Opposition by some When I had almost done and intending to advance
towards Casco, I had news Sent me of a house poorly fortifyed at Oyster
River that it was taken by ye Enimie being about Sixty in ye Compny though
part of Capt Gardners Compy lodged the night before at said house & were
moved away about half a hour before ye assault and were got to Cocheecha
where a post overtooke them and they faced about & per sued ye Enimy but
could not find them. Our Souldiers not haveing pvission nor Amunition to
stay out were forced to return, Than I borrowed all ye Amunition & Bread I
could procure of the Inhabitants and sent pt of Capt Converss his Compny
to Cochecha to meet & Joyn with Capt Gardners who Persued ye Enimie
three dayes but finding none of them returned, but before yr returne, one
of ye Captives made his escape two dayes after he was taken, whom ye
Indians tould that they had beleagerd ye place three dayes and when they
knew how many men belonged to ye house & seeing ye all gathering Corn
came & killed them first, and then sett upon ye house where were onely
Woomen children & two Boyes, they killed & Captivated Eighteene
persons none escapeing, whereupon I ordered all ye Garrisons here abouts
(for time to Come) not to leave any Garrisson without less then 4 or five
able men upon ye Gentry at all times, we are Endeavouring but cannot yet
find any of ye Enimy by our Scouts, onely now & than there is a report of
Indians Seen & men are shott att. whereupon I offord Gaurds to ye
Inhabitants about their bussiness I cannot as yet have any Intelligence of
their head quarters but by ye Captive boyes accot he perceived or Judged
it was upon an Island at Winipessawket which is a small lake; Honed Sirs
I am now advancing towards Casco, having set there two Companyes upon
duty, Some few of or men are Sick & some lame Soe yet we are in want
of a Chirurgion, many of ye Souldiers are in much want of Cloathing &
Tobacco & please send some more good pork and bread in Convenient
time for a Recrute that we may not want as before, ye first barll of pork
we opened proved so bad could not spend it, for pease here are good to
be procured ; I hope you will be pleased to send lawes & Orders for ye
Comp. which is all at psent from Your Honors Humble Servt to

Jeremiah Sweyen

The Council took note of the request for clothing and took action:

The following in the hand-writing of Secretary Addington:
Memo for Cloathing./.
Shoes and stockins, Trucking Cloth for blanketts.
Shirts drawers Coats and wast coats./.
Men wanting in James Convers his Company
Two from Capte Hamonds Company
Two of Cambridge went back from Woburn.
One wanting from Reding another went back from

But Jeremiah would need more than extra supplies for this campaign!

JEREMIAH SWAIN PART 7: "...ffight take Kill"

Towards the end of 1689 relations with the Indians inhabiting the area which is
now the present day state of Maine were worsening. Several factors contributed
to this, including the presence of French agents and of Indians who had fought
the colonists with King Philip now seeking refuge with the northern tribes. An
expedition led by Governor Edmund Andros in the spring of 1688 had destroyed
a French settlement on the Maine coast and led to open hostilities with the Indians
allied with the French. A series of attacks on English settlements followed.

By now many of the commanders from King Philip's War had died or were too old
to take command in the field. There were however a few prominent officers left
from that campaign, among them Jeremiah Swain and Benjamin Church . So in
August of 1689 it was decided that a more forceful strategy was necessary and
troops were to be sent to Maine. Accordingly, Jeremiah Swain received the following
letter from the Governor and his Council:

"Aug- 29th 1689. The Convention of the Governr and Council and Representatives
of the Massachusets Colony in New England—

To Jeremiah Sweyne Comander in Cheife :
Whereas the Kennebeck, and East Indians, with their Confederates have Openly
made Warr, upon their Majesties Subjects in the Province of Main, New Hampshire
and of this Colony, barbarously Murdering, and Captivating of many, Burning their
Houses, and Spoyling them of their Estates and whereas You Jeremiah Swayne are
Appointed Commander in Chief of all the forces now raised, and detached out of the
Several Regiments within this Colony for their Majesties Service for an Expedition
agst the Comon Enemy, Indians their Aiders and Abetters—

These are therefore in their Majties Names to Authorise and Require you to take
into your care, and Conduct all the Said Forces, and diligently to intend that Service
by Leading and Exeercising Yor lnferiour Officers, and Soldiers Commanding them
to Obey you as their Commander in chief, and to ffight take Kill, and destroy the
Said Enemies by all the waies and Means you can as you shall have Opportunity, And
you to Observe, and Obey: all such Orders and Directions as from time to time you
shall Receive from the Governr and Council of this Colony; In Testimony whereof
the Publick Seal of the Above said Colony is hereunto Affixed.

Dated in Boston the 29th day of Augt- 1689.
Anno qs RR et Regina Willielmi et Maria Anglia & p m—
Sealed with the Publick, Seal, and Signed by the Governr and ye Secretary."

-Court Records, Vol. 6, pp. 74-5

- William Chester Swain, Swain and allied families (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Press
of Swain and Tate Company, 1896)

Of course this was Puritan New England and there were certain expectations from
the government in the conduct of military commanders as the new Governor
Bradstreet and his Council made clear in the instructions they issued on 4 Sep

"Sept. I4th. 1689.
Instructions for Major Jeremiah Swayne
Comander in chiefe /
In Pursuance of the Comission given you to be Comander in chiefe of the Forces
raysed within this Colony for their Majesties Service in the present Expedition
against the comon Indian Enemy, Reposing confidence in yor wisdom prudence
and fidelity in the trust comitted unto you for the Honour of God the good of his
people and the Security of the Interest of Christ in his Churches: Expecting and
praying that in your dependance upon him you may be helped and assisted with
that grace and wisdom which is requisite for the carrying of you on with
Success in
this difficult Service And though much must be left unto yor own
prudence and
direction as providence and oppertunity may present from time to
time in places of
Action yet the following Instructions are comended unto yor
Observation and to be
attended so far as the State of matters with you in such a
transaction will admit./

You are with all care and diligence to Improve the Severall Companys of Souldiers
under yor comand now quartered at Groton, Havarill & Newichewannick, together
with the Company of now sent out under the conduct of Captain Noah Wiswall and
such others as may be added unto you, in prosecution of yor Comission for the
pursuing, discovery, subduing & destruction of the said comon Enemy as you shall
have oppertunity, Intending likewise the safe guard and defence of those out Towns
that lye most open and in danger of incursions by the Enemy, Especially at such time
as they are now employed about their harvest, takeing care that they be sufficiently

You are to take Effectual Order that the worship of God be maintained and kept up in
the Army. And that both Morning and Evening prayer to God be duely attended, and
far as the Emergency of yor Service will admit, that the holy Sabbath be duely

You are to see that yor Souldiers Armes be alwaies fix't and that they be furnished
Amunition provisions and other necessarys that so they may be in a readiness
to repel or
Attacque the Enemy.

And in yor pursuit take especial care to avoid danger by Ambushment or being
under any disadvantage by the Enemy, In your marches keeping out
Scouts and a forlorn
before your main body as shalbe requisite.

You are to Suppress all mutinies and disorders among yor Souldiers as much as
in you
lyeth and to punish those who shall disobey the comand of their Officers,
desert their
Company or neglect their duty And to prevent what may be and
punish such as shalbe
found guilty, of prophane swearing curseing drunkenness
or such other sins as do provoke
the Anger of God:

you may Encourage your Souldiers to be industrious & vigorous in their service
to search
out and destroy the Enemy promiseing them the benefit of all captives
and plunder that
shalbe taken unto their own use, and the reward of Eight pounds
for every ffighting Indian
man that shalbe by them slain over & above their stated

You are from time to time to give intelligence and advice to the Governor and
Councill of
yor proceedings and occurrences that may happen; And how it shall
please the Lord to
deale with you in this present Expedition.—You are to maintain
a correspondence by
intelligence as you can have oppertunity with Major Church
Comander in chiefe of the
Forces gone farther Eastward, and to yield mutual
Assistance Each to other as you can
conveniently come to joyne any part more or
less of yor severall fforces./ And if yor
fforces or any part should hapen to come
neer to Each other you must agree upon some
Signal whereby yor Indian may be discriminated from the Enemy.

You are to take notice that Cap Willard and Cap Hall with their Companye are put
the comand of Major Church to joyne the Plymouth fforce.

You are to assigne to Cap Noah Wiswall Ten or more able hardy Englishmen to be
of his
Company as he shall desire to mix with his Indians.

You are not to draw off the Forces now Quartered at Groton untill farther

Signed S: Bradstreet Govr
Boston 14 Septr 1689.
Past by the Governor & Councill
Isc Addington Secry "

-Maine Historical Society, Documentary History of the State of Maine (Portland,
Me. , Lefavor-Tower Company, 1907) pp 54-56

So having received his orders and instructions from Boston, Major Jeremiah
Swain and his troops set off for the territory of Maine to conduct an Autumn

Unfortunately, it was not to be as easy a task as the Council back in Boston expected.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Just when I thought I had only enough information for one or two
more posts on Jeremiah Swain, I've found more! Another search
on Google Books brought the Documentary History of the State of
Maine which includes correspondence between Swain and the
government back in Boston. One is a letter of instruction to him
which is pretty lengthy but I'd like to publish it in its entirety
because of the insight it gives into the Puritan mindset. So I
now probably will have six or seven more blogposts on old
Jeremiah. Who knew I could find this much in my 9x great

It'll be a day or two before I post them though because I like to
send the information out to my Aunt Dot and Cousin Diana
before I post it here!


I have some news of a non-genealogical nature I wanted to share.

For some time now I've been writing stories and poetry in the
fantasy genre. I've always been an avid reader of the genre as
well as of history and mythology, and like my distant cousin
Tim Abbott I've role-played as well. Despite being told by
friends and family that I should submit something to a publisher
I've been a bit hesitant to do so. Okay, more like forty years
hesitant to do so.

Long story short:I finally submitted some of my poems to
a magazine, and one is being published in Renaissance Magazine,
probably in issue #69.

So in a few months, I'll be a published poet!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I've written before about Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg
up in Webster, Ma., most recently about the discovery that the town sign
has misspelled the name.

Now Steve Hartman has reported on it as part of his Assignment: America
segment on the CBS Evening News.

It's a funny piece and you can view it here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I haven't as yet found any material on Jeremiah Swain's actions in Maine during
the campaign of 1677.So this might be a good spot to pause and discuss his
life outside the military.

On 5 Nov 1664, Jeremiah married Mary Smith, probably at Reading, Ma. She was
the daughter of John Smith and Catherine Morrill, and granddaughter of Francis
Smith, an early settler of Watertown, Ma. and one of the first setters of Reading.
By the time Jeremiah took part in and was wounded at the great Swamp Fight in 1675,
he and Mary had six children, (two of whom, both named John, had died in infancy)
and three more followed after.

Although Jeremiah was a physician, he led a very active political life. He was a Reading
Town Selectmen several times over his lifetime, the first time in 1673. He seems to
have been voted out because there is a gap until his next election in 1677, which in light
of the controversy over the militia post in that year might indicate how much of a political
furor there was in the town that year. Jeremiah served three years until 1680, then in
1683, 1684, 1697, and 1701.

He served as Reading's representative in the General court in Boston from 1685-1689,
again in 1694 and then from 1702-1706. Finally he was a Governor's Assistant in 1690
and 1696.

So whatever occurred in Maine in 1677, Jeremiah led a busy and prominent life afterward
and in 1689, he would once more resume his role as an officer in the Massachusetts militia.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've been a bit lazy posting to my blog the last week or so. Usually
I post in that period just after I've napped in front of the tv set and
go at it until I'm sleepy enough to head off to bed. But this past week
I can't work up the ambition to write so I putter around the web and
Facebook instead.

But I WILL get my brain back in gear, honest! I think it's the change
of seasons and warmer weather making me lazy!

Meanwhile, I'd like to thank Greta from Greta's Genealogy Blog for
awarding me the Friendly Blogger Award! Thanks Greta, it' s
much appreciated! Of course, by now most of the geneabloggers
who I'd instantly nominate for this have already received it. For now,
I'm nominating all those blogs in my Blog Roll because any and all of
them deserve it. The Geneablogger Community is filled with folks
that are friendly and willing to lend a hand or answer questions!

Thanks again, Greta!

Monday, May 04, 2009


This Summer?

This Fall?

As an early morning show on MSNBC at 2 in the morning?


Perhaps the network will "jazz it up" or combine the concept with another of
its shows?

"Chuck" has quit his job at "Buy More" so maybe he can go to work at the
NEHGS in between spy missions.

Or they could strand five researchers in the Library of Congress in a new reality
show called "I'm a Genealogist, Get Me Out of Here!"

"Medium" could include a synopsis of the genealogy of the ghosts Alison
DuBois talks with.

Genealogists could examine family trees for errors in "Last Gedcom Standing."

Anyone else have any ideas?


If you haven't already caught this before, here's something to watch
while waiting for NBC to decide when and if it will air "Who Do You Think
You Are?" . It's a program called "Lost Royals" and the WGBH TV(Boston)
website has the following description:

"This program sifts through 900 years of history in a search for unfaithful English monarchs — and their unknowing descendants. With the help of genealogists Stephen Thomas and Anthony Adolph, host Jennie Bond, a former royal correspondent for the BBC, traces the illegitimate offspring of famed philanderers such as Charles II through history, and tracks down their modern-day descendants — most of whom are unaware of their royal heritage."

It will air in Boston on Monday May 4th at 9:30pm on Channel 2 and Thursday May 7th
at 8pm on Channel 44
. Check your local listings to see if your local PBS station
is airing it as well!

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has issued his weekly Saturday Night Genealogy
Fun challenge:

"Let's do a Top Ten list of Favorite Genealogy Web Sites. These can be record
databases, data portals, how-to sites, family trees, software, entertainment, blogs, etc.
Your choice, your opinion - what educates, helps, or entertains you in your genealogy
quest for a big GEDCOM file?"

So here's my list in no particular order. I and my ancestors are from New England and
these are the most helpful sites in my research:

1. for the census images and vital records.

2. because of all the Revolutionary War
Veteran Pension File images I've found of my ancestors.

3. FamilySearch, where I first got started
in online research. Looking forward to the new version.

4. RootsWeb, the second place I discovered at my

5. Essex County Massachusetts GenWeb page.

The Massachusetts USGenWeb Archives

7. Massachusetts American Local History
Network page from USGenNet.

8. The New England Historic Genealogical
Society Website.

9. Google Book Search. I've found a wealth
of material here. Most of my recent posts about my relatives in the New England Indian
Wars are based on the information I've found in books on Google Book.

10. The Early Vital Records of Massachusetts Project
Page. Transcriptions of the "Tan books" and searchable by name and town.

To this I'd add the multitude of blogs that I read like Randy's or Chris Dunham's that
have so much information!

Friday, May 01, 2009


I live in Abington, Massachusetts, a "bedroom community" in the area south of Boston
called the South Shore. It's a pleasant town with a long history. William Lloyd Garrison
and other Abolitionists held rallies in Island Grove Park. Bare-knuckle boxing champ
John L. Sullivan spent his last days on a farm on the western end of town. And one
hot August day in 1893, it was the site of the North Abington Riot.

Previously, railroads had replaced horse drawn vehicles as the most used form of
transportation, but it faced competition in the late 19th century from the new
technology of electric streetcar trolleys. Today we tend to think of them as having
been used in the big cities, but some suburban areas had trolley systems as well. Such
was the case in the this area where residents of Abington, Whitman and Rockland
could travel about the towns using the trolleys of the Abington-Rockland Railroad
Company. However, there was a problem in North Abington Center where the
tracks of the Consolidated Railroad Company(also known as the "New York, New
Haven and Hartford Railroad")blocked the trolley tracks. Passengers heading in either
direction had to exit their trolley, cross the railroad tracks on foot, and board another
trolley to continue traveling to their destination.

The inconvenience of this situation eventually caused the town in 1889 to grant the
trolley line the right to lay its tracks across the railroad's tracks. The Consolidated
contested this in court, lost and exhausted all its appeals by 1893 and was notified
by the trolley line that the construction would begin on August 16th. The railroad
responded to this by sending out its own crew of 300 men, mostly Italian immigrants,
under the supervision of J.C. Sanborn. There was an uneasy truce for several hours
with both work gangs stood idle. Then at 1pm, Sanborn ordered his men out to tear
up the trolley line tracks closest to the railroad. By this time there was a crowd of
townspeople watching events unfold.

I've seen several versions of what happened next. The town Road Superintendent
warned Sanborn that he was breaking the law. Sanborn reportedly said he would
take the risk. Then three town police officers moved forward to begin arresting the
railroad workers and fighting broke out. According to one newspaper account some
of the onlookers became involved and stones were thrown. Workers chased after
citizens with picks and shovels and then the trolley workers joined in the fighting as
well. The situation was now so out of control that the fire alarm was rung and the fire department trained two water hoses on the railroad men, driving them back to the
railroad tracks for a time. A counterattack resulted in the hoses being destroyed by
the angry workers and windows being smashed in the shops along North Avenue.

At this point there came a lull in the fighting and a truce was called. By this time the
town officials had sent for help and a number of State Police arrived(ironically by train)
along with a court injunction ordering the railroad to desist from interfering with trolley
line construction. The North Abington Riot was over.

Believe it or not, while 16 people were hurt (two suffering bullet wounds) and several
thousand dollars worth of glass windows were shattered, nobody died. But Sanborn
and four other railroad officials were arrested and served time in prison for their

So the two sections of the trolley line were finally connected.

A few years later, the advent of the automobile heralded the eventual death of the
Abington-Rockland Railroad trolley line.

And several times over the years, the North Abington Riot has been reenacted...
with waterballons!

Written for the 71st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.