Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The biggest help in my research on my Ellingwood relatives has been
cousin Florence O'Connor's The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa 
Freeman Ellingwood and Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood. (1979).
I knew there were other family histories out there and I've
wanted to get a look at them for years now. But the prices on them
were so high I decided to wait until I had a chance to make a trip
into the NEHGS and read them there. Then last week I saw a used
copy of  Leonard Ellinwood's The Ellinwood (Ellenwood/Ellingwood)
Family 1635-1963 (1963) available for $15 and I snapped it up.

It arrived yesterday and with a display of unusual self-control I set it
aside to be read last night. Finally after dinner I opened it up, and
began reading. Leonard Ellinwood's branch of the family kept
the earlier spelling of the name and descends from Thomas Ellingwood,
son of Ralph Ellingwood II and younger brother of my ancestor
Ebenezer Ellingwood. I started skipping through looking to see
what there was of my line. Then I came to my the entry for my 3x
great grandfather John Ellingwood and looked at the list of his
children. Next to the name of my 2x great grandfather Asa Freeman
Ellingwood were the initials N.F.R.

No Further Record.

It's something I encountered when I first started researching my
family in several branches of my tree. The book The Upton Memorial
stops in my line with 2x great grandmother Betsy Jane Moore. A cousin's
genealogy of the Barker family has no mention of my branch past my 4x
great grandfather.

Of course in some cases it's because of when the book was published.
The Upton Memorial, for instance, was published in 1874, five years
before the birth of great grandmother Lottie Barker, Betsy's daughter.
And even though I was disappointed in that N.F.R. next to Asa's
name in Leonard Ellinwood's book, I appreciate the difficulties he
would have had in putting together his book. From the entry for
himself I know he was 59 years ol when the book was published and
had a busy professional career. Compiling his book probably was
something he did in his spare time. This would have been done in the
years before computers and in a time when interstate travel over
long distances was not as easily done as it is today.

I was lucky to have Florence O'Connor's book and the information my
Aunt Dorothy sent us as a starting point for my genealogy research.But
the scarcity of information about my family online and in books when I
began has been the motivation for sharing what I've found here on this
blog and in family trees I've posted online. We live in a wonderful time
for genealogists; there are so many records now available online and more
are being added everyday. Even someone like me with a limited income
and (for the moment) limited transportation can find information online
now so that now it's less likely than an ancestor's name will just have the
initials to it in our databases.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Photo courtesy of Cynthia Shenette

Cousin Chris Dunham sent the following comment to my last post about
my granduncle Henry Lee Barker:

"In the late 1890s C. Owen Demeritt was engineer at the spool mill 
in Locke Mills (Greenwood), where I grew up. In fact, he and Lucy 
rented the house where I grew up. Their daughter Cora was born in 
Greenwood in 1899, probably in the same house.

So far I've found five or six children likely to have been born in the

house. And perhaps five people who died there, which explains the
creaking floorboards at night."

Now, Chris is my cousin through my Dad's paternal great grandmother
Floriilla Dunham. and  Lucy Barker DeMerritt was Dad's maternal grandaunt.
So a cousin from one side of my Dad's family grew up in a house once
rented by relatives from the other side of Dad's family!

Yep, it''s a small, small world!

Monday, November 28, 2011


In my post about the four marriages of my great grandmother Lottie
Barker I mentioned that she'd been left with children when my
great grandfather Frank W Barker died in 1905 and that one of
them,  Henry Lee Barker, was 15 years old. The problem was that
Frank and Lottie had married in 1898.

So who was Henry's birthmother?  I'd only just found the image for
Frank and Lottie's marriage in New Hampshire and it told me that
Frank had been widowed at the time he married Lottie. But I couldn't
find a record for his first marriage anywhere online. So I turned to
Henry Lee's records.I found the image for his marriage to Marian Rich
on 13Dec 1917:

On the back where the parents of the wedding couple are given I found
my answer: Henry's mother was named Cora DeMerritt. Now that I had
a name I tried to find a record of Frank and Cora's marriage but didn't
find it. However, I did find  the website for the Mt Will Cemetery in
Bethel Maine and Cora's information is there. She died on 16May 1891,
nearly a month after giving birth to Henry, so complications from the
birth might have caused her death.

She is buried near her parents and her brother Charles Owen DeMerritt.
Charles' wife was Lucy Barker, Frank Barker's sister.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


My cousin Diana sent me this email tonight with a great poem
that her Mom, my Aunt Dorothy, likes. With Diana's permission
I'm posting it here for you to enjoy as well!

"I have my mother's poetry book that she got on VE Day , May 8, 1945
This was her favorite poem in it:
   Mary Dow Brine
The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng.
Of human beings who passed her by,
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of "school let out".
Came the boys like a flock of sheep
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping had to her--
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir.
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troup,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
"I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow.
"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand.
"If ever she's poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.
And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was "God be kind to the noble boy
Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!" "

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today was one of those days that illustrated the wisdom of rechecking
databases for records.

I was trying to fill in the blanks for the family of my 2xgreat grandfather
Daniel J Barker early this afternoon. He was the son of my 3x great
grandparents Nathaniel and Lucy (Coburn) Barker and for some reason
I hadn't spent any time researching him. A few minutes on Ancestry filled
in those blanks (and turned up some fodder for another blogpost). Then
I moved on to other Barkers and eventually came to my great grandparents
Frank Wesley Barker and Charlotte(Lottie) Lovenia Barker.

I've written about Frank and Lottie before. They have the same last name
because they were first cousins: Frank was the son of Nathaniel S Barker
and Lottie was the daughter of Amos Hastings Barker, (Daniel J was the
older brother of Nathaniel and Amos). Frank died 21May 1905 of
"pneumonia following of La Grippe" according to the Maine Death Records
leaving a pregnant Lottie with two small children and an older fifteen year old
son.  I'd already found records of her subsequent marriages to Dennis Mahaney
in !913 and Charles Blacquere in 1920 in Ancestry's Maine Marriages database.
But they'd added the Maine Marriage Records images since then so I decided
to see if I could find the images for those two marriages. I searched the Ancestry
"Birth, marriage, and death"  database and found the two images.

And I found a third.

There'd been another husband, Luther Hodson. Lottie's first husband, my
great grandfather Frank, had died on 21May 1905. She married Luther
Hodsdon  on 24May 1906. Sometime between those two dates her
youngest son Harry H Barker was born.

I decided to take a quick look over on FamilySearch hoping to find an image
for Frank and Wesley's marriage in New Hampshire, and again I was lucky
and found it. But in doing so, I found anther mystery Look at the record and
see if you can spot it. The clue is in what I've told you here about Lottie's

 To be continued....

Friday, November 25, 2011


I've written before about my ancestor Ralph Houghton who was one
the original settlers of Lancaster Ma. But the town was abandoned
after the destruction of the town in 1675/6 in the colonial Indian Wars.
Ralph and the other townsfolk retreated back to the coast by Boston
until it was once more safe to go back to Lancaster. But while some of
his children did return, Ralph himself ended his days on a farm in the
safer location of Milton Ma. 

Ralph's land sits near the Blue Hills and among it's features was a spring
fed pond that the local Indian's called the Hoosic-Whisck. While the
Indian name was still occasionally used as late as the early 1900's, over
time the pond became known simply as Houghton's Pond.. Today the
pond and the land Ralph Houghton once farmed are part of the Blue
Hills Reservation where among other things copperhead and timber
rattlesnakes roam in sight of the skyscrapers of Boston.

Milton is right next to the Dorchester and Mattapan sections of Boston
and when we were kids our parents occasionally took us to Houghton's
Pond for a swim during the summer(although not as often as we went to
Houghs Neck in Quincy). It amazed me when I started researching the
family tree to find out we had went swimming in a place named after
someone we were related to and we never had a clue!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


 Note- For Some strange reason, whenever I've split a link 
between two lines of text, the first part of the link doesn't work.
But if you click on the part on the next line, it does. Don't ask me 
why; I'm a genealogist, not a techie! 

1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region
one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written!
Or if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video
of someone performing the song.

2. Post the poem or song to your blog (remembering to cite the source
where you found it.)

3.Tell us how the subject of the poem or song relates to your ancestor's
home or life.

4.Submit your post's link here to me by November 20thth and I'll publish
all the entries on Thanksgiving Day, November 24th!

We've got a great bunch of genealogy based poems this year. There
are posts covering every area and era in American history and

I opened the Challenge to entries from other countries which widened 
the scope. Australia is represented by a strong showing of seven entries,
one of which, "Said Hanrahan" is the winner of this year's "Willy Puckerbrush
Award" for most humorous poem.

So without further ado, here are the entries to the Third Annual Great
Genealogy Poetry Challenge:

Pam Beveridge of Heirlooms Reunited starts us off with her post,
"Poem Written by F. P. Ormsby, Fayette," Maine, on Her 85th Birthday".
There's a bit of a genealogical mystery with this wonderful poem. Perhaps
our readers can help solve it!

I'm fascinated by the many old stone walls I find on some of my walks in
the woods. You can find them all over New England. Maine poet Holman
Day wrote about the back breaking labor that went into building them in
the poem "An Old Stun' Wall". I posted it here on West in New England 
along with some pictures I've taken.

Facebook friend Michelle Qualey doesn't have a blog but wanted to take
part in the Challenge. She's sent me a poem from her boyfriend's family
that epitomizes the pride in family that many genealogists have. I've posted
it here on my blog as "`The Green Murphy Tree ' by Gilda Rae Murphy

New Hampshire
Heather Rojo sent me this poem that was posted by TJ Rand
at the Epsom, NH  blog..  "Welcome Poem by Nellie F. Sherburne" 
was written to welcome a new minister and his family to his new church
and does so wonderfully.

Then at her own Nutfield Genealogy Heather tells us that two of her
relatives celebrated America's Bicentennial in 1976.(Can it really be 35
years since then already??). You can see where Heather gets her own
writing talent from in  "Bicentennial Poems by Family Members" .

New York
Barbara Poole asked if she could resubmit her entry from last year. It
was such a great poem, how could I say no? As Barbara says, "A Long
Life Ended" is as much an obituary as it is a poem. You can find it in
"Obituary Poem for Bill West's Second Great American Local Poem
 at Life From The Roots.

North Carolina
During World War I, Francis Allyn Newton wrote a letter home to
his mother in November 1917, he added as part of a postscript
a humorous poem written by his tentmate "Pvt. Van Zandt". Now
his granddaughter  Debra Newton-Carter shares that poem with us
at her blog, In Black and White: Cross-Cultural Genealogy. Learn
all about it in `The Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge:
"The OD Pill"'

"Bascomb Falls: A Family Portrait" is described by Ekizabeth Swanay
O'Neal as being a "quasi-autobiographical poem" by her uncle Dr. John
Lee Swanay, PhD. It's set in a mythical Tennessee town and Elizabeth
shared part of it last year. This year she's posted "Another Excerpt From
Bascomb Falls:A Family Album" entitled "The Kitchen"  at the Little Bytes
of Life blog.

There are hundreds of poems written about the battles and heroes from
both sides of the American Civil War, so if you know which regiment or
brigade your ancestor served in,  there's a chance you can find a poem
about it. Becky Wiseman of Kinexxions hit paydirt with "Wilder's Brigade
at Hoover's Gap"

Indiana resident Sue McCormick brings us a poem from "Hoosier Poet"
James Whitcomb Riley that she associates with her grandmother's cousin
Lide who had a rough childhood. It's the classic "Little Orphant Annie"
that Sue posted in "Poem for Bill West's poetry `collection'"
at the FrustratedGenealogist blog. By the way, this brought back some
memories for me of learning the poem at the Frank V. Thompson school
in Boston when I was 9 or 10 years old!

Linda Gartz' father wrote a poem to his wife on the occasion of their
10th anniversary.You can see the actual poem and read the details
of their wedding day at Family Archaeologist in Linda's post
 "Happy Anniversary, Fred and Lil, 1942- 2011"

Despite losing his sight Kristin Cleage Williams' relative James McCall
was a successful newspaper publisher in Detrot. He was also a poet
One of his poems was about an area in Detroit. It's title is
 "Winter in St. Antoine by James McCall" and it's posted at Kristin's
Finding Eliza blog

America has often used poems to commemorate anniversaries of
historical events. At her Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay blog,
Dorene Paul shares "The Islands of Erie by Dr. Robert R. McMeens" 
which was first read publicly in 1858. Read her post and find out what
event it memorializes.

Al Dawson saw my comment on Facebook that at the time entries for
this years Poetry Challenge was down from last year. So the spur of the
moment he wrote a short humorous genealogy poem to submit even
though he didn't have a blog. I've gladly posted it here on West in New
England as "Two Ancestors From Limerick by Al Dawson" . Thanks, Al!

Denise Spurlock's great grandfather managed sawmills in Missouri and
Texas. The lumber business is a dangerous one (as I remember from seeing
the fingers missing from my own grandfather's hands when I was a kid) and
Denise chose one of Robert Frost's poems, "Out, Out!" to illustrate just how
perilous a sawmill can be. You can hear it recited and read the words at her
"Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge" post on Denise's Life in
the Past Lane

Denise has contributed a second post, a poem she found in a scrapbook
kept in a scrapbook. It was written by her brother, Denise's granduncle,
and it's entitled Of Friend-Ships

People of all nations have marked the passing of a loved one with poetry
since ancient times. Southwest Arkie on Genealogy Junkie brings us a
poem written by Eller Fitzhugh after his mother's death, "Mother- Mary 
A. Schoggin".

Another form of poetic memorial are the epitaphs found on grave markers
and gravestones. In the American West, they tend to be laconic and to the
point.Judith Richards Shubert of Genealogy Traces details one such
instance with  " He Was Accidentally Shot on the Banks of the  Pacus River"

A relative of Michelle Goodrum often wrote poems on whatever scrap
of paper was at hand. One of them was titled "The Snob" and Michelle
shares it with us, then discusses how to source something written on
scrap paper on The Turning of Generations  "Great Genealogy Poetry 

 As I said earlier, poems of grief are universal. When Maria Northcote's
great grandmother died, three of her sons published memorial poems
in the newspaper every year on the anniversary of their mother's death.
Maria's posted them in "Memorial poetry about a much-missed mother"
on her Wishful Linking Family History Blog

On her Geniaus  "Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge" post
Jill Ball shares a bit her Irish and Australian heritage with "Said Hanrahan"
by John O'Brien. I have to say that this and Michael John Neill's submission
are my favorites in this year's Challenge.

For her submission Cassmob chose a poem to honor her father's service
during WWII with the Australian munitions trains. Read all about it at
 "Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge to honour my father:
 The Trains by Judith Wright on her Family history across the seas blog.

Marilyn Terlich is another genealogist without a blog yet but she's written
a terrific poem about how physical characteristics link generations. It's
called "Mixed Blessings" and yu can read it here.

Meron R's roots run deep in the Australian Western District of Victoria
with many of her ancestors being farmers. She chose a poem by  C.J.
Dennis, "When The Sun's Behind The Hill" to honor that heritage. It's
a great poem and it's at "Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge"
at Meron's Western District Families blog.

The author of  Anglers Rest  had an early 19th century ancestor who was
an officer in the East India Trading Company, a poet, and a watercolor
artist. Go to  "Description of the Island  of St. Helena" where you can
read a poem and see a painting that resulted from his visit to the island.

Like Jill Ball, the author of the A Rebel Hand  is an Australian of
Irish descent. In her post  "The Song That Inspired `A Rebel Hand ' 
she shows how a song about an Irish rebellion has ties to her ancestor
Sharon Brennan is another Australian with Irish roots. Her visit to the
Broagh region of Ireland where her 2x great grandfather came from
prompted her choice of Seamus Heaney's poem "Broagh" posted at
The Tree of Me in "The Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge".

When Michael John Neill told me on Fb that he was working on a unique
post for the Challenge, he wasn't kidding! Michael has ancestry from
Ostfriesland  in Germany and it was while researching in an Ostfriesian-
American ethnic newspaper from 1903 that he found an "Ostfriesian 
First Name Poem" . (It has me pondering a poem out of the first names
of my ancestors!) Read it out at Michael's

Jasia of Creative Gene feels a special affinity with Polish poet Stanislaw
Jachowicz because he came from the same region of Poland that her
ancestors did. Jachowicz wrote many children's poems such as "Sunset",
the poem Jasia chose for "Jachowicz, Poet of Poland, Poet of Children".

John Newmark over at the Transylvania Dutch blog  recently concluded
that some of his ancestors cane from the Vollhynia region of Russian and
selected a Vollhynian poet for the Challenge. You may remember "After
My Death" from the Colunbia Space Shuttle tragedy memorial service
in 2003. Go to John's "Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge"
post for the poem and a short biography of poet Chaim Nachman Bialik.

Finally to close out, we return to Heather Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy for
a story and poem about a Thanskgiving tradition .Even though the story
 it's based on turned out to be a myth, I think you'll agree that "Five
Kernels of Corn for Thanksgiving" is a great tradition anyway.

And that concludes the Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge.
I want to thank all the participants for finding so many great poems to share
with us, and I look forward to seeing what folks will find for next year's

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


John Wesley Ellingwood was born in May 1824, four years before my
2xgreat grandfather Asa Freeman Ellingwood. This means he was about
eight years old when their mother Rachel Barrows Ellingwood died in
1832 and not quite twelve when their father John Ellingwood Jr died
five years later. The five living Ellingwood children were taken in by
various relatives, but I don't know in whose home John Wesley
lived for the rest of his childhood.

The first record I found of Wesley(as he was known in the family)
is on the 1850 Census as a 26 year old miller with his wife Mariah
(Flint) and two sons. The oldest, also name John W. was five years
old so the couple was married at least by 1845. The family is still
in NH for the 1860 census, and Wesley is on the 1863 Civil War Draft
Registration in Dunner NH in 1863. But by 1870 Wesley's family had
moved to Mooers, NY. By now, there were seven children in the family.
It was the place of birth for the  two youngest children is given as Canada.
The older, Electa Maria was four years old, and the younger, Benjamin
was two. So between 1863 and 1870 the family had lived in Canada, and
they would be back there by 1871 when they are enumerated on the 1871
Canadian Census as residents of Hereford, Compton, Quebec.

The travels of Wesley and his family don't end there, though. Wesley,
Mariah and their three youngest children were back in New Hampshire by
the 1880 Census but in 1888 Wesley is registered as a voter in Ferndale,

Now all of what I've posted so far I found in Florence O'Connor's book
and on I know what happened to Wesley in his family in
California, and the story is sad in some cases.But I found the information
here on Find A Grave and I don't want to use it on my blog without the
permission of the owner of the memorial. So if you want to know the end
of the story for John Weley Ellingwood and some of his children, visit
the site and remember to click on the links for his wife and children. It
also will tell you the probable reason for all the moves made by the

Not all of his children moved to California. Some of them either remained
in or returned to Hereford< Quebec, and I'll discuss those next.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Whenever I am talking or writing about my Mayflower descent, for some
ironic reason I always forget about Remember Allerton. The reason for the
irony is that both my Dad's parents were Allerton descendants: Pop from
Remember Allerton and Grandma Bertha from Mary Allerton.:

My Warren ancestry also comes through my Barker line 

Allerton through Ellingwood Line

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Remember Allerton & Moses Maverick
Abigail Maverick & Samuel Ward
Martha Ward & John Tuthill(Tuttle)
Martha Tuthill(Tuttle) & Mark Haskell
Martha Haskell & John Safford
Ruth Safford & Samuel Haskell
Martha Haskell & Moses Houghton
Sally Houghton & James Thomas Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Phillip Jonathan West
Floyd Earl West Sr  & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr &  Anne Marie White

Allerton through Barker 

Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris
Mary Allerton & Thomas Cushman
Sarah Cushman & Adam Hawkes
John Hawkes & Mary(Margery)Whitford
Eva Hawkes & John Bancroft         Eunice Hawkes & Jacob Walton
John Bancroft & Mary Walton
Sally(Sarah)Bancroft & Francis Upton
Hannah Upton & Cyrus Moore
Betsey Jane Moore & Amos Hastings Barker
Charlotte Lovenia Barker & Frank W Barker
Cora B, Barker & Floyd Earl Wesrt Sr
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

Warren Line

Richard Warren  &  Elizabeth (?)
Mary Warren & Robert Bartlett
Mary Bartlett & Jonathan Mowrey(Morey)
Hannah Mowrey(Morey) & John Bumpas
Mary Bumpas & Seth Ellis
Mary Ellis & Ephraim Griffith
John Griffith & Mary Boyden
Polly Griffith & Jonathan Phelps Ames
Arvilla S. Ames & John Cutter West
John Cutter West & Louisa Richardson
Phillip Jonathan West & Clara Ellingwood
Floyd Earl West Sr & Cora B Barker
Floyd Earl West Jr and Anne Marie White.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Back when I first started researching the family genealogy online I was
thrilled to discover we were descended from several Mayflower passengers.
At one point I even carried around a small folded up piece of paper
in my wallet with the lines of descent to show when discussing genealogy
with some customer at the bookstore. But I lost that some time ago, so I
thought I'd post them here for other family members.

The first two lines come down through my Ellingwood line from
Stephen Hopkins and Thomas Rogers.

Hopkins Line
Stephen Hopkins and..
Constance Hopkins & Nicholas Snow
Elizabeth Snow & Thomas Rogers
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Rogers Line
Thomas Rogers
Joseph Rogers & Hannah___
Thomas Rogers & Elizabeth Snow
Eleazer Rogers & Ruhamah Willis
Experience Rogers & Stephen Totman
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Chilton Line
Roger Chilton & ?
Isabella Chilton & Roger Chandler
Sarah Chandler & Moses Simmons
Moses Simmons Jr & Patience Barstow
Patience Simmons & George Barrows
Moses Barrows & Mary Carver
Deborah Totman & Moses Barrows Jr.
Asa Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood Jr
Asa F. Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Clara Ellingwood & Philip West
Floyd West Sr & Clara Barker
Floyd West Jr & Anne M White

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The other night when I mentioned on Facebook that the contributions
for this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge were lagging behind
the total for last year's edition, Fb friend Al Dawson wrote this short
humorous genealogy poem on the spur of the moment. I think the
late Terry Thornton would have gotten a chuckle out of this:

Two ancestors from Limerick
Being hard to detect
Were turned into snakes
And banished by Patrick


 Michelle Qualey, one of my friends on Facebook, sent me this great
poem for the Challenge. She tells me:
"Here is a poem of my boyfriend's 3rd great grandfather. His first cousin
once removed gave it to him at his grandmother's funeral . Gilda Rae
Murphy Love has since passed away." 

The Green Murphy Tree

The road of our youth has passed away
Like a vapor blown by the wind
Our common childhood days used up
Now back behind the bend

To those of us who still travel
The road that lies ahead
There remains a personal legacy
One common golden thread

Tho’ we’ve grown and moved and married
To carry on each separate tree
The golden thread that binds us all
Is the old Green Murphy Tree

Each generation has added
New people into our fold
And as each one has departed
I pray they reached their goal

I herewith pay tribute to all my kin
Tho’ acquainted we all may never be
In the hope you will stop and contemplate
Your role in the Family Tree

How many of us have ever heard
Of Green and Margaret, Mahala and John
Do we know Aunts, Uncles and cousins
Or that three of us have just passed on?

No matter if your life is happy
In a turmoil or calm as the sea,
Hold your head up high
In your heritage take pride,
You’re a branch on the Green Murphy Tree!

By Gilda Rae Murphy Love


Every year when I run the Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge I have
some submissions from folks who don't have genealogy blogs yet. So
I try to post their poems here because I want to share what they've
found or, in some cases, written.

Maria Northcote of  the "Genies Down Under" podcasts recommended  
my blog to her fellow Australian Marilyn Terlich and Marilyn has sent along          
this wonderful poem for the Challenge. Enjoy!

                                   Mixed Blessings

We may not live in times gone past but the past is present in us
         when parents search a new-born’s face and finer points discuss.
When we walk a mile in someone’s shoes, we’re in his feet as well,
         and see the world through another’s eyes, whose we cannot tell.

Grandma Kelly’s bunions or Grandpa’s knobbly knees,
         Aunt Em’s squinty eye and very funny sneeze –
We can’t choose our inheritance, what goes in the mix
         is of Frankenstein proportions, nature playing tricks.

 We think we control our destiny, we choose and wisely ponder,
         so much is predetermined as ghostly relations linger.
We’ll never see our progeny a hundred years from now,
         but we’ll be in that time machine and qualities endow.

 We’re a ‘one-off’ composed of thousands, unique and wonderfully made
         of the genes of generations, each one slow to fade.
We’re the sum total of millennia, each whole person, rare,
         for the fire of life within us, is a gift beyond compare.

                                © Marilyn Terlich 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011


For my own contribution to this year's Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge,
I'm returning to a subject that always fascinates me: the stone walls of
New England. I don't know how many times when I've been out for a
walk somewhere in the woods that I've run across a stone wall that
seems to me to be out in the middle of nowhere. I look at it and then
at the trees rhat surround it and wonder if all the area had once been
cleared for pasturage or farming. How long had the land been part of
a farm, who had owned it, when and why had the land been reclaimed
by the woods?

Most of my ancestors on my Dad's side of the family were farmers in
Maine and New Hampshire. It must have been hard grueling work to
dig up those rocks, haul them away and then use them to construct
those stone walls!

Awhile back I posted Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" here which
talked about the yearly practice of checking the walls between neighboring
farms for repairs. Since then I found a poem by Holman Day on the
construction of the walls. I've shared one of his poems before, "The 
Wangan Camp"   .  Mr.Day was one of the regional poets of the late
19th-early 20th century who wrote poems ablut local subjects, often
using the local dialect to convey how the words would have sounded
spoken by a person who lived in the area.

So, imagine yourself sitting on the front porch of a Maine farmhouse as
a weathered old farmer tells you what he thinks about building " An Old
Stun' Wall":


If ye only knew the backaches in an old stun'
O, Lordy me,
I'm seventy-three! —
Begun amongst these boulders and I've lived
here through it all.
I wasn't quite to bub's age there, when dad
commenced to clear
The wust of ninety acres with a hoss team and
a steer.
And we've used the stun's for fencin' and we've
built around the lot,
O, I've tugged and worked there, sonny, ontil
gracious me, I've sot
And fairly groaned o' evenings with the twinges
in my back;
Sakes, there warn't no shirkin,' them days; it
was tug and lift and sack,
For it needed lots of muscle, lots of gruntin',
lots of sand
If a feller calculated for to clear a piece of
Bub, it isn't any wonder that our backs has got
a hump,
That our arms are stretched and awkward like
the handle on a pump,
That our palms are hard and calloused, that we
wobble in our gait
— There's the reason right before you 'round
the medders in the State.
And I wonder sometimes, sonny, that we've
any backs at all
When I figer on the backaches in an

 If ye only knew the backaches in an old stun'
We read of men
Who with a pen
Have pried away the curses that have crushed
us in their fall.
I don't begrudge them honor nor the splendor
of their name
For an av'rage Yankee farmer hasn't any use
for fame,
But the man who lifted curses and the man
who lifted stones
Never'll hear a mite of diffrunce in the
Heavenly Father's tones.
For I have the humble notion, bub, that when
all kinds of men,
The chaps that pried with crowbar and the
chaps that pried with pen,
Are waitin' to be measured for the things
they've done below
The angel with the girth-chain's bound to give
us all fair show.
And the humble man who's tussled with the
rocks of stubborn Maine
Won't find that all his labor has been thankless
and in vain.
 And while the wise and mighty get the glorious
credit due
The man who took the brunt of toil will be
remembered too.
The man who bent his aching back will earn
his crown, my child,
By the acres he made fertile and the miles of
rocks he piled.
That ain't my whole religion, for I don't propose
to shirk
What my duties are to Heaven,— but the gospel
of hard work
Is a mighty solid bed-rock that I've built on
more or less;
I believe that God Almighty has it in his heart
to bless
For the good they've left behind them rough old
chaps with humped-up backs
Who have gone ahead and smoothed things with
the crowbar and the axe.
For if all our hairs are numbered and He notes
the sparrow's fall
He understands the backaches in an

from Up in Maine: Stories of Yankee life told in verse (Small,
Maynard & Company, 1900) p.31

Friday, November 18, 2011


Back in October when had it's anniversary it made fifteen
different databases free over the first fifteen days of the month. Since I
already have a U.S. Database membership, I was more interested in
which foreign databases they might make available. The one that I
jumped on right away was church records from Quebec.

I have some relatives who moved to Canada back in colonial times,
Coburns and Ellingwoods. But I recently discovered another more
recent group of Ellingwoods who moved north of the border during
the mid-nineteenth century. They were the children of John Wesley
Ellingwood, the older brother of my 2x great grandfather Asa Freeman.
Ellingwood. John W. married Mariah Flint and had nine children. During
he course of their lives they lived in New Hampshire, New York, Canada
and finally in California. Two of their sons, Enoch Merrill Ellingwood
and Oscar Phipps Ellingwood raised families in Canada and one daughter,
Rachel died there.

It'll take a few posts to tell the whole story. For now, here's one of the
images I found on back in October, the record of
Enoch Merrill Ellingwood's death and burial in Hereford, Quebec,

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Thanksgiving is approaching and it brings back memories of Thanksgivings
when we were kids.

If we were hosting the family that year, Dad would be up early in the
morning cooking the bird. I don't know how many companies do it
today but back then many employers gave their workers a frozen
turkey for Thanksgiving so when that happened my parents would
decide if it was big enough for the whole family and guests. If not,
it would stay in the freezer and they'd buy a bigger turkey. The smaller
one would be used for a Sunday dinner for the family a few weeks later.

When the rest of us got up my sister and I would watch the Thanksgving
Day parades on TV while Mom and Dad started on the rest of the food.
The most critical part of the preparations was the stuffing which had to
turn out moist at the meal. I don't know exactly how this was done
nearly every year except that for most of my childhood my folks used
Bell Stuffing in the bird. (When we were older, there was often "backup"
Stove Top Stuffing for when the "made in the bird" stuffing ran out).
But no matter whether we were hosting Thanksgiving or if  it was at our
Uncle Ed and Aunt Mimi's house, there were certain traditions. One was
the kids' table, usually in the kitchen or at the doorway between the dining
room and the living room. In the early years, four of us were seated there:
myself, my sister Cheryl, and our cousins Winnie and Richie.For us, the
most important part of the meal was who was going to get the drumsticks.
After all, there were only two drumsticks and there were four of us! Our
parents at first solved the problem by using a rotating system that was based
on age: Winnie and I were the older and would get the drumsticks at that
Thanksgiving, and Cheryl and Richie would get them at Christmas, since
the families served turkey for the holiday dinner then, This worked for a few
years until my Aunt and Uncle had two more boys, Little Eddie and Vincent,
but by that time somebody had figured out they could buy extra drumsticks
at the supermarket and chaos was averted.

Eventually, one by one, we all outgrew the kids' table and the need to be
the one who ate the drumstick. I found out that I liked the slices of dark
meat better and that cranberry sauce was my favorite part of the main
meal. I also learned that if we were eating at my Aunt and Uncle's house
I should leave room for the second course of all the Italian food, especially
the lasagna. If the meal were at our house, there was a later leftover
sandwich with turkey and stuffing and maybe a little more cranberry sauce
on it.

One not so pleasant Thanksgiving memory was the turkey I forgot. I was
working somewhere at the time, (I forget now if it were for Child World or
Big L Drus Discount Stores) and I got a frozen holiday turkey from the
company which I loaded into the back of my car before I drove home.

I forgot it was in the car...

For two days....

Luckily, it wasn't a very warm November.

But it did look sort of green when I finally remembered it was there and
took it inside.


 I already knew I had a cousin connection with Joseph Kimball's
family, but I didn't realize just how much that connection was at

Because of earlier encounters with Dunham cousin grave sites in the
Mt Vernon Cemetery, I was able to determine that  Joseph Edward
Kimball's wife was Susan Ford Dunham, the daughter of Brigadier
General Henry Dunham, whom I've posted about here. I was also
able to find out the Kimball's had two other children besides John
Hermann Kimball but very little about their childrens' lives:

Anna Dunham Kimball b1Apr 1873, married Edwin Brown

John Hermann Kimball b 18Feb 1875, d.28Jul 1896, m.14Aug 1895
Blanche Lousie Wilber from Rockland Ma. They had one daughter
who apparently did not survive infancy because I can find no record
of her  as part of Blanches's family after she remarried a Frederick
Loud in 1899.

Josephine M Kimball b. 28Apr 1876

I found out more about Joseph Kimball's post Civil War career and as
is the case with much of the Dunham history in Abington, it revolves
around the shoe industry. This is from History of Essex County, 
Massachusetts: with biographical sketches ...Volume 1 edited by\
Duane Hamilton Hurd  (1888) p 645-646:

"Mr. Kimball was in the rudiments of his trade when the war broke out,
and When he returned from the conflict he returned to his trade, and
associated himself with his brother in Abington, in the manufacture of
tack and nail machinery for boot and shoe manufacturing, and they
were enabled so to improve them that they gained an enviable reputation
at home and in foreign countries. Their reputation was such that a 
powerful combination of tack manufacturers to control these goods in
the United States paid them a considerable sum in cash, with the sole 
right to manufacture their machines and no others.

In 1876 and 1877 Mr. Kimball perfected and patented a nailing machine.
This aroused a powerful antagonist,—the McKay Metalic Fastening 
Company. A hard struggle ensued. His brother retired from the firm. At
last the McKay Company offered, on the score of economy, to purchase
the surrender of his patents rather than expend more money in litigation. 
Just then, very opportunely, Mr. James E. Maynadier, a patent lawyer, 
took the case, cleared the patents, and was instrumental in establishing 
a company with a capital of twenty-five thousand dollars to utilize them. 
The capital was soon increased to fifty thousand dollars, then to one 
hundred thousand dollars, and then to one hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars, which is now paying good dividends. Mr. Kimball received 
twenty thousand dollars for his invention and held stock in the company.
Ere long appeared a fastening called the " Estabrook and Wire-clinching 
screw," which was cheap and possessed other merits, but had to be 
worked by hand. Mr. Kimball invented machinery to make it a success. 

He then removed to Milford.
Within the last two years he has invented an improved metalic fastening
and all the new machinery for its manufacture. This is now his main product.
Lastly he has invented a machine for sole-fastening, upon which is placed 
a simple coil of threaded wire from which at each revolution of the machine
a clinching screw is completed, automatically governed in length to conform 
exactly to the thickness of the material to be fastened together at the exact
point necessary to be fastened, inserted in the material and securely riveted. 
By this machine, within a period of about fifteen seconds every fastening is
made, inserted and riveted, necessary to fasten the sole to a boot or shoe. 
The machine is on trial, with apparent prospect of success."

The reason there was such a long entry for a Plymouth County resident in
an Essex County history is that Joseph Edward Kimball was the son of
David Tenney Kimball, a prominent Ipswich clergyman. And it was in the
entry for the Rev. Kimball that I found a surprising bit of information:
his wife was named Dolly Varnum Coburn.

I have Coburn ancestry. Could there be a connection there?

There is. Like myself, Dolly Coburn was descended from Edward 
Colborne and his wife Hannah. And to add even further to the common
ancestry, Joseph and I share another common ancestor, Richard Kimball
of Ipswich, Ma.

So not only had I found a Dunham cousin's final resting place, I had
discovered I was a cousin twice over to her husband!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Just a reminder, folks! There's only five days until the deadline(counting
today). Please remember to send me the link to your blogpost once
you've published it.

If you haven't seen them already, you can read the rules to the challenge

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Last winter while driving through Mt Vernon Cemetery here in Abington
I took a picture of this monument right next to the road. It was right
after a February snowstorm.

I managed to get a closeup shot of the inscription on the front (west) side:

The inscription reads:

Captain Joseph E Kimball
Born in Ipswich, Mass Jun 12, 1839.
Died in Brockton, Mass, Feb 22, 1896.
A Faithful Citizen Soldier,
Who Served During The Union War
In The First Mass. Infantry Regt. And
In The 37th And 116th U.S. Colored Regts.

He Had Part In Thirty-Seven
Battles, Including  Those Of
Bull Run, Yorktown,
Williamsburg, Fair Oaks,
Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg,
Petersburg And Appomatox;
And At New Market Heights
Was Breveted For
Gallant Conduct.

I had to wait until late March to get shots of the other three sides.
This is the south facing side:.

This inscription reads:
He Fought
For Love Of County
Not Of Arms;
And, With The Country Saved,
He Left The Arts Of War
For Those Of Peace
And To His Record  As
A Good Soldier
Added That Of
A Good Citizen
"One Who Never Turned His Back,
But Marched Breast Forward;
Never Doubted Clouds Would Break;
Never Dreamed, Tho'  Right Were Worsted,
Wrong Would Triumph...
Held We fall To Rise,
Are Baffled To Fight Better,
Sleep To Wake."

 The north side has no inscription but holds insignias of Kimball's
military service

And the eastern side held a surprise:

It reads:

Ellen F Janes Kimball
Apr. 18, 1849-
Nov. 15, 1869
Susan Dunham Kimball,
May 20, 1848,-
Mar.8 1879
John Herman Kimball
Feb, 18 1875,-
Jul. 28, 1896.
Yes, I'd found another Dunham.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I've written here before about my 8x great grandfather the Reverend
James Keith of Bridgewater, Plymouth, Ma. Apparently he was a
friend and colleague of the famous Cotton Mather, who gave this sermon
on the occasion of my ancestor's death. I found it in a free Google
edition of "New-England historical and genealogical register, Volume 
19, page 245:

On The Death or Rev. James Keith, From The Text

*' Alas, The Angel of the Church of BRIDGWATER has this Last Week
heard that Voice from Heaven unto him, Come up hither! And he's flown!
A Desirable Man, if any among us were worthy to be Esteemed so !
Yea, you now know, whom I had in my Eye, while I was describing, A
Man Greatly Beloved: It was HE who Satt, for my Pencil to take the
Features from him! The Desireable and very Venerable JAMES KEITH,
who Preached his First Sermon in the Place where I am now* Standing,
more then Fifty Years ago, and sweetly Entertained - us again a Few
Months ago, is this Last Week Expired: That Silver Trumpet has done
Sounding. And it were a Fault in me, if I should not in this Place take
Notice of a Man who had so much of GOD in Him, and who deserves
so much to be had in Everlasting Remembrance." .... "Discharging
both Publickly and Privately, the Work of his Ministry, even to the Last,
and for Seven Years after he had passed thro' a Jubilee." ....
"He was the First Pastor of Bridgwater;" .... "'Twas then a Sett of Pious
and Praying People: A Town that stood in a Land of Unwalled ' Villages,
when there were Armies of Bloody Indians, destroying round about them,
not very long after their KEITH was come to be, their Decus ae Tutamen;
a Glory and a Defence unto them. It was Remarkable that tho' the Town
was often Assaulted by formidable Troops of Salvages, yet in all the sharp
Assaults it never lost so much as one of its Inhabitants. They wanted not
for Solicitations to desert their Dwellings; But having a KEITH to animate
them, they Resolved, that they would keep their Stations; and Stand still
to see the Salvation of God. Once the Indians began to Fire the Town;
but, they had a KEITH, with his Faith, to Turn to Flight the Armies of the
Aliens. The People with a noble Courage issued forth from their Garrisons,
to Fight the Enemy. But God at the same time Fought for them, with a
Storm of Thunder and Lightning and Rain, whereby a considerable part
of their Houses were preserved. 0 Man Greatly Beloved! Of whom it
might be said Cui Militat Aether!—After that Memorable Time, the Town
went on, Prospering and Flourishing under the Care of their Faithful
Shepherd; until anon they became Two Bands; Their Pastor did
generously Approve and Assist, the Peaceable Swarming of a New
Assembly from him; and on the Day when they First Met in their New
Edifice, he preached unto them, that Savoury Sermon, which was
afterwards Published under the Title of, A Case of Prayer, handled
on a Day of Prayer. A Sermon worthy to be their Perpetual Monitor.
And, which Two Years before his Death, he Concludes with minding them,
This Exhortation is given you, by your Aged Pastor, who hath served
you in the Gospel now full Fifty-Four years, and I hope, by the Grace
of God in some measure of Sincerity, tho' attended with much Weakness,
great Infirmities, and manifold Temptations."