Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every
week on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For
this prompt I've tried to concentrate on ancestors I haven't researched as much
as I have others in my family tree. For Week 17, the post is about 9x great grandfather John Cheney.

I love Google ebooks! I've found so much there over the years about various ancestors.
This is from genealogist and author Ellery Bicknell Crane:

John Cheney (1), the immigrant ancestor of George Washington Cheney, of Winchendon, Massachusetts, was born In England. Rev. John Eliot, the Indian Apostle, who 
was his pastor at Roxbury, wrote: "John Cheney he came into the land in the yeare 
1635. he brought 4 children Mary, Martha, John, Daniel. Sarah, his fifth child, 
was borne last month of the same year 1635 cald February. He removed from our 
church to Newbury the end of the next summer 1636. Martha Cheney was the wife
of John Cheney."

He was received into the Newbury Church from Roxbury. He was fined with 

other citizens for absence at the town meeting, April 21, 1638, but later his fine 
was remitted on account of his having a reasonable excuse. He had a good house 
lot in the old town, also plenty of good land along the river and shore. He received 
a grant of three acres, June 19, 1638, in the meadow at the west end of the great 
swamp. Numerous other lots were granted. He was on the grand jury April 27, 
1648. He was so interested in the contest for governor between Sir Harry Vane 
and John Winthrop that he and others came from Newbury to Cambridge on foot 
to take the freeman's oath, so that they could vote for Winthrop. That was a forty 
mile walk each way. No wonder Winthrop won the election. He was admitted
a freeman May 17. 1637. He became a very prominent citizen. He was selectman 

several times. He died July 28, 1666. He wrote his will June 5, 1666. His wife 
died about 16S4. Their children were: Mary, born in England, 1627, married, 
September 3, 1645, William Lawes, of Rowley; Martha, born in England, 1629. 
married (first ) Anthony Sadler; (second) Thomas Burkby, of Ipswich; John, born
in England, 1631; Daniel, born in England. 1633; Sarah, born in Roxbury. February 
25, 1635-36, married, December 23, 1652. Joseph Plummer. of Newbury; Peter, 
born in Newbury, 1638; Lydia, born in Newbury, 1639, married. November 12, 
1657, John Kenrick, of Ipswich; Hannah, born November 16, 1642, married, 
November 16, 1659, Richard Smith, Jr., of Ipswich; Nathaniel, born at Newbury, 
January 12, 1647, never married; Elizabeth, born at Newbury, January 12, 1647, 
married Stephen Cross, of Ipswich.-p231

Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 4 (Google eBook) Lewis Publishing Company, 1907 - Worcester County (Mass.)

That part about John being involved in the election between John Winthrop and Sir Henry Vane is very interesting. I wonder if I can find out more.

To be continued.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For this prompt
I've tried to concentrate on ancestors I haven't researched as much as I have others in
my family tree. But I ran across some new interesting stories about my 7x great grandfather Samuel Dunham Sr. (1651-1718) of Plymouth Colony. So they will be
the subject of my Week 16 post.

I've written before about the Dunham men and the court records I'd found of some of
their shenanigans, but I'd found no evidence of Samuel Sr. having broken any laws.
Well, today I discovered that while he hadn't broken any civil laws, he seems to have strayed a bit off the straight and narrow as far as the Church was concerned. I found
two instances in the Googlebook edition of Plymouth Church Records, 1620-1859,
Part 1 .The first is from 1683:

June, 17: Samuel Dunham senior was called forth to manifest his Repentance publickly in order to his Reconciliation with the church, his speech was psenitentiall & well tending to satisfaction, but one Brother alleadged some matter of scruple upon his spirit as to the sincerity of his Repentance, intimating he had both spoken & done something inconsistent therewith, upon which it was concluded to respite the issue of the matter a fortnight longer.

June, 27: at the conference-meeting, it was propounded to the church concerning Sam: Dunham; sundry of the Bretheren spake charitably concerning him that Brother who before had spoken in publick, said he should rest in the act of the church:

July, 1: Samuel Dunham senior was Reconciled to the church
. p252

While the first incident played out over the course of a few weeks, the second took nearly
a year befored it was resolved, starting in 1689:

Nov: 20: the church stayed after the Lecture After prayer by the Pastor the Elders then declared matter of offence against Brother Samuel Dunham, partly in that he had taken the Name of God in vaine before many witnesses, in [o]ften saying those words, the curse of God is upon the head & pluck with many other unsavoury speeches; partly by intemperance in drinking which sister Jackson testifyed against him before [t]he Elders to his face, as to the next day after the sacrament in October last; others of the church then testifyed, that it was commonly reported of him, & they had divers times seene him disguised with drinke; said offender though he spake some good words yet not soe as to satisfy the church, & therefore by an universall vote of the church he was laid under Admonition & not to come to the Lords supper till he had manifested his Repentance for his inordinate walking by a reformed conversation, the Elder then concluded with prayer.p267

And it appears that's where matters stood until September of 1690:

Sep: 8: The church met at the Pastors house, after prayer performed by the Pastor, the Elder propounded to the church the desires of Samuel Dunham to be reconciled to the church, he being called to manifest his Repentance before the church, did expresse himselfe humbly & penitently, some bretheren1 Testifyed that of late they had observed some amendment of his conversation, the Issue was, by the vote of the bretheren he was accepted againe to communion with us.p270

Plymouth Church Records, 1620-1859, Part 1 (Google eBook) First Church of Christ (Plymouth, Mass.), Plymouth (Mass.). First Church  Colonial Society of New England 1920

I need to see if there's any mention of my other Plymouth area ancestors in this book!

Monday, April 28, 2014


I learned several new things from analyzing the will and probate record of my 7x
great grandfather Andrew Mitchell:

1. He mentions his wife Abiah in the will. Since I descend from his marriage to
Abigail Atwood I thought at first this was she, but then I realized she had died some
twenty years before Andrew's death. A search of the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts website turned up a marriage of an Andrew Mitchell to the widow Abiah(Norton) Haseltine on 12Apr 1714 in Bradford, Ma. Andrew had a second
wife I hadn't known about!

2. Andrew owned a saw mill, which he bequeathed to four of his sons in this part of his will:

Thirdly, I give and bequeath unto my four sons viz: Andrew & James, William and
John my Saw Mill together with the priviledge of the stream, & all other rights &
priviledges goes to the Same belonging to be equally divided between them. I
also give unto the said four sons the farm which I bought of Joatham Hendricks to
be owbed betwixt them in the following manner viz: Andrew to have Seventy
Acres, James fifty & William & John fortyacres each and if the said farm more then
two hundred acres then the remainder is to be divided in the same proportion &
if it is containing less it is also to be divided in the same proportion, the premises
above mentioned I give to my said four sons & to their heirs & assigns in fee
simple forever.

After Andrew's death the court appointed arbitrators who divided the land up. This
was the share allotted to my 6x great grandfather Andrew Mitchell Jr:

The Second Lot to Andrew Mitchell & His Heirs being about ninety eight acres
be the same more or less bounding as follows with/ viz: beginning at the black
oak tree aforesaid & thence easterly about ninety-six pols to a black oak tree
marked thence northerly across the farme to a Stake & Stone by land of Amos
Baily's thence westerly fower pols to a stump being a  bound of Baily's Land
thence northerly by Baily's Land to a Stump by Spiket Road thence Westerly
about forty eight pols to a Stake & Stone aforesd being a bound of Willm
Mitchels thence Southerly by William Mitchels Lot to the bound first mentioned

3. I discovered two of Andrew's children I hadn't known about before, William
and Susannah, because of the Will.

Once again, proof of the value of wills and probate files in filling in missing
information about an ancestor!

Saturday, April 26, 2014


It's time for this year's edition of the American Civil War Genealogy Blog
Challenge. This year, I've picked a submission deadline of August 2nd to
honor the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama, a naval campaign during which
David Farragut said "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead". It began on
2Aug, 1864.

This is how you can participate:

Did you have ancestors in America during the Civil War? If so, where were they
and what were their circumstances? How did the Civil War affect them and
their family? Did the men enlist and did they perish in battle or die of illness?
On which side did they fight, or did you have relatives fighting on BOTH sides?
How did the women left at home cope, or did any of them find ways to help
the war effort? Were your ancestors living as slaves on Southern plantations
and if so when were they freed?  Or were they freemen of color who enlisted
to fight?

Have you visited a Civil War battlefield or monument to those who fought?
It could be connected to your family history, or just one that you've visited
at some point.

If your ancestors had not emigrated to America as yet, what was their life
like around the time of the Civil War?

The 150 year celebration of the Civil War is a great source for those of us
blogging about our family history. So, let's do a little research over the coming
weeks between now and August 2nd. Find out the answers to the questions
I asked and write about them. Or if you think of another topic to do with your
family history and the Civil War, write about that. Send me the link when you
publish it on your blog and I'll post all the links here on August 15th.


Welcome to "The Second Genea-Bloggers' Just Make Up Some Lyrics
Challenge " These were the rules:

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.

Recently I've started to think of this as a genealogy version of "America's
Got Talent", only I call it "Geneabloggers Have Talent". The bloggers who
took part in the Challenge prove that with their wit and sense of humor. It's
not easy coming up with genealogy lyrics to a song but the participants came
up with  posts that made me laugh and sing along.(although I did the singing
silently in my head, so I wouldn't scare my neighbors.) So, ladies and
gentlemen, grab your popcorn and favorite beverage, sit back, read, and enjoy
the show. Then please leave comments on each blog to let the bloggers know
how much you appreciated their songs!  

First up is Dorene of the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay cleverly reworks
the classic French folk song "Frere Jacques" to honor members of her Dad's
family. Check it out at her Second Great Genealogy `Just Make Up Some 
Genealogy Lyrics' Challenge! post. 

Remember Tommy James & the Shondells? I do (ah, the music of my youth!) 
and so does Jenny Lanctot over at Are My Roots Showing? She sets her song
lyrics to the music of  "Draggin' the Line" in Just Make Up the Lyrics Challenge: 
Maternal Line  

 I have to be honest: John Newmark's entry is my favorite. Why? Well, imagine
Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins doing the classic song
"Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious" Can you see that number with all the 
singers and dancers? Ok. Now change the name of the song to the genealogy
themed "NewmarkCruvantFeinsteinLichtmanAdlerDeutschAndDenyer". It
makes me smile just typing that. Read his Surname Saturday: Genealogy Filk 
at his TransylvanianDutch blog

The next entry takes us from Hollywood to Broadway. Heather Wilkinson 
Rojo's song lyrics are set to the classic song "Somewhere" from West Side
Story. Again as I read her lyrics I could envision it as a Broadway stage
production.  Go to Heather's Nutfield Genealogy blog, read her The
GeneaBloggers "Just Make Up Some Lyrics Challenge" and see what I 

Back during the first Lyrics Challenge I had two ideas for a genealogy 
themed song, one of which was based on "End of  The Line" by the
Traveling Wilburys but I went with another song based on a song by the
Moody Blues. Then I lost the lyrics for the Wilburys' song, so I had to
redo it from scratch. You can read the result at Just Make Up The Lyrics:
"On My Paternal Line"

That concludes our "Geneabloggers Have Talent" show. As I said earlier
please leave comments on each blog to let them know how much you enjoyed
their post.

And my thanks to all that took part in "The Second Genea-Bloggers' Just Make
Up Some Lyrics Challenge "

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For this prompt
I've tried to concentrate on ancestors I haven't researched as much as I have others in
my family tree. So for Week 15 my subject is Andrew Mitchell. my 7x great grandfather.

What I already know about Andrew is that he was born in Charlestown, Ma. around
1662, the son of Thomas Mitchell and Mary Moulton. He married Abigail Atwood  in
Charlestown on 12 Nov 1686 and they proceeded to have a family of ten children, five
boys and five girls. Their fifth child and oldest son was my 6x great grandfather Andrew
Mitchell, Jr. At some point after the birth of their eighth child in September 1699 they
left Charlestown and moved to the town of Haverhill, Ma. Abigail died there on 12 Dec 1714. Andrew lived on until 25 Nov 1736.

My descent from Andrew Mitchell & Abigail Atwood  to my grandparents is as

Andrew Mitchell & Abigail Atwood
Andrew Mitchell Jr.& Hannah Ayer
Abigail Mitchell & Jonathan Barker Jr.
Jonathan Barker 3rd & Abigail Swan
Nathaniel Barker & Huldah Hastings
Amos Hasting Barker &  Betsey Jane Moore     Nathaniel Swan Barker & Lucy Coburn
Frank Wesley Barker & Charlotte Lovenia Barker
Cora Berthella Barker& Floyd E West Sr.  

Whenever I have relatives from colonial Charlestown, I look them up in Roger Thompson's excellent book From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692 (NEHGS , Boston, Ma. 2012). On p.399 I found a story about how an
Andrew Mitchell had badly beaten his servant Consider Sampson in 1690. The year would fall in the right time period before the Mitchell's left Charlestown so it's
probably my ancestor.

I also was able to find Andrew's Will & Probate file over on the FamilySearch. I'll discuss the provisions in the next post, but the file also contained an interesting
statement from Joshua Bayley, who was Andrew Mitchell's doctor in his final illness:

Honrd Sr I had the care of old Mr. Micthel the whole time of his last illness- at ye first
visit I judged his distemper would prove mortall & on ye Saturdy night when his will
was made I was sent for in haste & was informed by ye messenger yt it was believed
he would dy before morning, but it being verry stormy & late in ye night I could not
go, knowing yt I could do him no good-at all times when I was with him I tho't him in
his right mind-  I am (worthy sir) ye servt  to command-
Joshua Bayley
Haverll Novye 30th 1736

Dr. Bayley was, it seems, a very pragmatic physician.

To be continued.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Today is the 239th Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington  & Concord which
started the American Revolution on 19Apr 1775. While the traditional
reenactments of the battles will take place today, they are celebrated in
Massachusetts on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April, when the Boston
Marathon is run.

These are our colonial ancestors from our Dad' s family lines for whom I have
so far been able to discover records.

Jonathan Barker Jr. My 4x great grandfather
Was a Minuteman from Methuen Ma with rank of Sergeant.
He responded to Lexington and Concord with his sons
Served in Captain Samuel Johnson's Company in
Colonel Titcomb's Regiment for 2 months in 1777 in Rhode
Island and then with Nathaniel Gage's Company in Colonel
Jacob Gerrish's guards from Dec 1777 tol April 1778 guarding
the captured troops of General Burgoyne.

Jonathan Barker 3rd  My 5x great grandfather
Enlisted on 19 Apr 1775 in Continental Army, Capt. John
Davis' Company, Col. James Frye's Regiment, in the
Massachusetts line for 8 months in Cambridge, Ma. At the
conclusion of the term, he reenlisted for another 3 months in
Capt John Allen's Company, Colonel John Waldron's Regiment,
General Sullivan's Brigade in the New Hampshire Brigade at
Charlestown, Ma. He then enlisted a third time in June 1778
at Methuen, Ma., joining Captain Samuel Carr's Company, Col.
James Weston's Regiment, in General Lerned's Brigade at
White Plains, N.Y. and serving for another 9 months.

John Ames   My 5x great grandfather
Was a Minuteman under Capt. Asa Parker on April 18th,
1775. He then enlisted in the Continental Army under Captain
Oliver Parker, Col. William Prescott's Regiment and
in the Brigade that was commanded in turn by Generals
Putnam, Lee, and Washington and served for 8 1/2 months.

Asa Barrows    My 4x great grandfather

A member of the militia from Middleborough , Ma. (south of
Boston) in the Company of Captain Joshua Benson, in Colonel
Cotton's Regiment, and General William Heath's Brigade for
8 months during the siege of Boston. In December 1776 he
joined a militia Company commanded by Captain Joshua
Perkins and marched to Barrington, R.I. and was stationed
there for 6 weeks. In July 1780 he again enlisted, this time
in a militia company commanded by Captain Perez Churchill
that marched to Tiverton, R.I. .

Moses Coburn  My 4x great grandfather
Moses Coburn got into the War late and by reason of being
"hired by a certain class of men in the then town of Dunstable
to go into the Continental Army in the summer of 1781."
When he reached Phillipsburgh in New York he was placed in
Captain Benjamin Pike's Company, in the Regiment of the
Massachusetts line commanded by Lt. Colonel Calvin Smith in
which he served for nearly two years until it was broken up.
He then transferred to the Company of Judah Alden in the
Regiment commanded by Colonel Sprouts until his discharge
in 1783.

Samuel Haskell   My 5x great grandfather
Samuel served in Captain Joseph Elliott's Company in Colonel
William Turner's Regiment and then under Captain Hezekiah
Whitney in Colonel Josiah Whitney's Regiment.

Amos Hastings   My 5x great grandfather
Amos  responded to the Lexington Alarm as part of
Captain Richard Ayer's Company and Colonel William
Johnson's Regiment. He later served in Captain Timothy
Eaton's Company in Colonel Edward Wigglesworth's Regiment
and was at the taking of the British General Burgoyne at

Elisha Houghton   5x great grandfather
Enlisted at Harvard Ma as a Private in May of 1777 in the
Massachusetts militia and was at the Battles of Bunker Hill
and Stillwater. He then enlisted for three years in the infantry
company commanded by Captain Joshua Brown in Colonel
Timothy Bigelow's 15th Regiment of the Massachusetts line.
and took part in the Battles of Monmouth and Newport and
was at Valley Forge. He twice was promoted to Sergeant and
twice was busted back down to the ranks.

Amos Upton    My 5x great grandfather
Responded to the Lexington Alarm and marched there from
his home in Reading. He later joined the militia company
commanded by Captain Asa Prince as an orderly sergeant
and then enlisted for eight months in the Continental Army
under Colonel Mansfield. He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
He was discharged in October of 1775.

John Griffith  My 5x great grandfather
Enlisted in 1781 as a Matross (he swabbed out the barrel of
the cannons after they fired, or so I've been told) in Captain
William Treadwell's Company in Colonel John Crane's
Artillery Regiment.

Reuben Packard   My 5x great grandfather
A Sergeant in Captain Josiah Hayden's Company in Colonel
Bailey's militia. They marched to Lexington at news of the
Alarm. He also responded several more times as a Minuteman
for a total of nearly 8 months duty.

Jonathan Abbott   My 5x great grandfather
Served as a Sergeant in the Militia under Captain Henry
Abbott and responded to the Lexington Alarm

Samuel Stowe  My 5x great grandfather
Minuteman from Sherborn, Ma. Served in Capt. Benjamin Bullard's
Company in Col. Asa Whitcomb's 5th Massachusetts Bay
Provincial Regiment.

Besides those direct ancestors, these other relatives fought
in the Revolution:

Moses Barrows, brother to Asa Barrows.

Samuel, Jesse, and Benjamin Barker, sons of Jonathan
Barker, Jr. and brothers to Jonathan Barker 3rd.

James Swan, brother in law to Jonathan Barker.

Friday, April 18, 2014


((I first posted this back in 2012 for the 237th anniversary. I'm posting
it again a day early for the 239th. Many of my ancestors answered
the alarm on 19Apr 1775 and I'll republish a list of their names tomorrow.)) 

We've all heard about the "shot heard round the world"
fired at Concord, but there's more to the poem. So, in honor of the
239th anniversary of the Battles of Concord and Lexington, here's
Ralph Waldo Emerson's  "Concord Hymn":

Concord Hymn
Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


It'a another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver over at the
Genea-Musings blog. This week has to do with sources and citations and these
are the rules:

 Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Have you done a good job of citing your sources in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How are you doing?  How many source citations do you have, and how many people are in your tree?  What is the sources to persons ratio?

2)  Which master source (e.g., 1900 U.S. census, Find A Grave, specific book, etc.) do you have the most citations for?  How many?  How did you figure this out?

3)  Tell us in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or on Facebook or Google+ in a post.  Be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post on this blog post.

So I hope I've done this right:

I post my research primarily on and then download it to my RootsMagic6
database on my hard drive. My last download  was in November, 2013. On that  I have 30,582  people with 78516 citations from 509 sources. Like Randy, I used a Source List
Report. Mine ended up at 2242 pages and these are the sources with the highest number
of citations:

1930 Federal Census: 8344 citations.

1910 Federal Census: 7623 citations

1920 Federal Census: 7240 citations

1940 Federal Census: 5811 citations

1880 Federal Census: 4039 citations

Social Security Death Index: 3578 citations

The Ancestors & Descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood & Florilla (Dunham) Ellingwood: 3509 citations

The Ellinwood (Ellenwood/Ellingwood) Family 1635-1963
: 2468 citations

1860 Federal Census: 1508 citations

1850 Federal Census:1261 citations.
Two of these are genealogy books about my Ellingwood ancestors. I spent the
last two years adding to my tree and double-checking the information from the
books. The rest are all from There's a lot of citations from
FamilySearch and Find a Grave but these are the ones with the highest number.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


(Today is the 325th Anniversary of 8x great grandfather Stephen Greenleaf Jr.
reporting a conversation involving a William Sargent. At the time I wrote this 
back in June 2009 I thought it was my 9x great grandfather William Sargent,
but he had died in 1675. I now believe it refers to his son, also named William,
my 8x great granduncle, so the mystery is, I think, solved.))

Stephen Greenleaf, Sr. had come to the Bay Colony with his father Edmund Greenleaf
and settled in Newbury, Essex Co. Ma. On 13Nov 1651 he married Elizabeth Coffin,
daughter of Tristram Coffin and Dionis Stevens and his first son, Stephen Greenleaf,
Jr. was born 15Aug 1652.

Stephen Jr. is most often referred to as Captain Greenleaf in the family genealogy and
is termed a "great Indian fighter." I've found several references to his having had a
prominent role in a battle in 1690 in Wells, Maine but as yet I haven't found any
account of the event anywhere else online. However, I have found several documents
dealing with his military career.

The first of these seems to be a report of a conversation he had or overheard with a man
named William Sargeant(Sargent) of Amesbury. This took place during the campaign in
Maine of 1689:

"Testimony of S. Greenleafe Junr
The testimony of Stephen Greenleaf Jun. That on the 8th of Aprill he heard Wm Sargeant
of Ames bury who came lately from the Indians (among whom he had bin a season) to
affirme these things to be told by the Indians.

That the Gouernour had agreed with three nations of Indians besides the Mowhakes to
come downe vpon the English & on the agree mt had given them some money & some coats,

That the Penicook Indians had no designe for warre, but they being in combination with the mowhakes he thought they would be ruled by them, & do as they did.

That he thought that euery day that it was neglected it was too long, & he was affraid that
there would be bloud shed.

That he had done no hurt agt the English, & he was glad he went no farther then Mr Hinks
his house with the post letters, & mr Hinks stopt him,

Divers other words were spoken, but this as farre as he remembers was the substance of
what was spoken
Taken on oath Aprill 9th 1689. before me Jon Woodbridge J. P".

James Phinney Baxter, History of the State of Maine Maine Historical Society
Portland, Me. 1890 pp472-473

I think the "Gouernor" refers to the French Governor of Quebec.

Now what struck me about this testimony was the name of the person that it concerns:
William Sargeant of Amesbury. One of my ancestors is William Sargent of Amesbury and
now I'm wondering if this is him. And if it is, what was he doing spending a season among
the Indians? Noting the April 8th date, then Sargeant had spent the winter, perhaps
trapping or trading for fur with the tribes .

I've found no answers to this as yet. So now I have a new family mystery to solve!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. For Week 14 the subject is my 7x great grandmother Mary Tilden.

Like most of the ancestors I've researched for this series, Mary Tilden was mostly a mystery to me other than some basic information. She was born in Scituate, Ma. on 7Apr 1668. Her parents were Stephen Tilden and Hannah Little. On 3 Jan 1692 she married my 7x great grandfather James Thomas, and I'm descended from their  eldest son John Thomas. I had even less information about her parents, so I set about finding more.

What I found was another Mayflower ancestor connection.

I discovered that Hannah Little was the daughter of Thomas Little and Ann Warren. Ann
was the daughter of  Mayflower passenger  Richard Warren and his wife Elizabeth (LNU).
This is the line of descent down to my grandparents Floyd E West and Cora Bertha Barker:

Richard Warren & Elizabeth (LNU)
Ann Warren & Thomas Little
Hannah Little & Stephen Tilden
Mary Tilden & James Thomas
John Thomas & Abigail Dunham
Mary Thomas & John Dunham
James Dunham  & Cynthia Packard
James Thomas Dunahm & Sally Houghton
Florilla Dunham & Asa Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Philip J West
Floyd E West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker

The irony is I already had a Warren connection from another of his daughters.

Richard Warren & Elizabeth (LNU)
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
Philip J West & Clara Ellingwood
Floyd E West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker

I need to do more digging on the Tilden, Little, and Thomas families!


There's a total of eight pages of testimony in Thomas Robbin's case against my
ancestor William Pinson for verbal and physical abuse. I've picked out some
passages from them

Rebecca Bligh. aged about forty-three years, testified that she had often come into
the house of her father Robbins where she heard her mother complain of the abuse by
William Pynson by his frequent bawling and railing in the house. Her mother told her
that she would rather die than live in such a place where there was continual scolding
and such contention and disturbance in the family, said Pynson usurping such authority
over them. Sworn, Feb.14 , 1684-85 before John Hathorne, assistant.
Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Volume IX Published and Copyrighted by the Essex Institute 1975 
From  John Bligh Jr, grandson of Thomas Robbins tyme some Indians being
there drinking Pynsons wife came in & fetcht away ye skillett, reproueing him for
doeing so, he said he would rather drinkwith them then with her for he said he was
sure that Peter ye Indians squaw was handsomer then shee..
. p482

Thomas Robbins aged about sixty-eight years, testified that three years ago, the
night before Thanksgiving, Pynson threatened to have his own wife whipped and
deponent objected to  his treating his cousin, Pynson's wife, in such a manner and struck him on the head with his shoe, although his hands were lame.Pynson through

 the shoe into the fire and tried to throw him in also.... He ordered his wife to kill some cocks before he went into the woods and when he came home and found them, he cursed her until she cried bitterly and said if he didn't kill the other two cocks before he slept, he would cut his own throat."But as yet he hath neither cutt his own throate nor killed ye Cocks" p483

George Thomas, aged about forty-eight years, testified that when Robbins lay very sick
upon a low bed, he was a witness to the writing and Robbins was not capapble of
knowing what he did, and had to be helped in guiding his hand. Sworn June 29 1685
before John Hathorne, assistant
. p484

Once again the question was raised whether the document giving William Pinson control
of Thomas Robbins' estate was legitimate. And what of the Blighs? In that land transaction
Robbins had stated that his niece Rebecca Pinson was his only heir, yet it seems he had
a daughter and grandson as well.

So, what was the final verdict given in the case against William Pinson, who celebrated
Christmas, drank with Indians, who behaved abominably to his wife and her elderly
uncle and aunt, and who may have tricked an old sick man into signing over all his

William Pinson, presented for cursing and swearing, was admonished, it not being
proved that it occurred within the year. Tho. Robbins declared he went in fear of his
life and court sentenced  Pinson to give bond for good behavior

I have to admit, I was astonished by this. What did the Court know that could possibly
justify letting off William Pinson so lightly? This is not the first time I wish that there had
been some sort of commentary included that explains the ruling in a case.

But still, it's a fascination story. And I love that aside about "But as yet he hath neither cutt his own throate nor killed ye Cocks"

Monday, April 07, 2014


The deadline for The Second Geneabloggers Just Make Up Some Lyrics Challenge
is only a week away. Here's a reminder about the rules:

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 April 15th. I'll publish the final list of links here on  April

I've already had some great responses and I'm hoping to see more before
next week!

Saturday, April 05, 2014


The previous statement from Thomas Robbins appears to have been a request for
the Court to hear his case against my ancestor William Pinson. When the case was
actually heard on 30June 1685, he went into a little more detail in his accusations.
First, a few observations:

-Notice how many times William Pinson's last name is spelled differently in the petition.

- I wish I knew what the rule was in Puritan times as to when the letter "v" was to be written as the letter "u". I don't know how many times I typed "v" and had to change it
while doing this transcription(of another transcription)

Here's Thomas Robbins' petition:

Petition of Thomas Robbins June 30, 1685, to Salem Court "whom sence of ye greate afflction he now doth& hath a Long Tyme undergon both himself & his wife in ye howse where I live with William Pincen of wch seuerallof my Friends & neighbors haue bin ey witnesses unto & ye great grieuance that I labor under with this Pynson compells me to trouble this honored Court with a declaration of ye same unto you in wch ye seuerall euidences herewith presented you will sufficiently make manifest unto you how grossely I am abused by him ; as I hope ye honors will find cause not to Judge me Blame worthy in this my Complaint against ye gd Pynson but on ye contrary be solicitious  for me & poore wife to direct unto a way for or help & redress. I would not be ouer tedious in excerising yor patience with too Long a rehearsall of matters agt him but referr to ye euidences sworne: This Pynson in  ye tyme of my greate sickness when to all peoples apprehension about me neer my dissolution & uinsensible of what I did, obtained from me an Instrument of conveyance of my estate unto him,wch I was humbly Judge of noe more value than if a dead man if it was possible had don it ye said writeing being not made by my knowledge understanding or approbation neither was it made in my howse or hearing & so doe hope that ye will Judge the thing to be Fraudently obtained from  me & besides manifest proofe is against him that he hath not onely attempted to murder me in a Barbarous manner by throweing me on ye Fire ; & other horrid & absurd abuses to me & my poore [wife] at Seurall other Tymes both by word & deed but& also in selling & disposeing of my estate contrary to my allowance or consent; wch absolutely hath broken & Forfeited his pretended Interest to my estate & morour as for ye Instrument of Gift wchby that manner he obtained from me since I came to see it ; I find therein mentioned according to conditions as a Bond given me; whereas Indeed that wch he termed a Bond is noe&nbsp Bond as may appeare to ye honord Court & when I asked him for it he tooke it  to me & bid me doe what I would with it he cared not for it--now ye honord  Court may please to think that if I had bin Rational & had taken a Bond from him, whether or noe I should have Left it with him to have kept for me."

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Volume IX Published and Copyrighted by the Essex Institute 1975

Now, this puts another spin on things. Besides accusing William Pinson of physically
and verbally abusing him, Thomas Robbins is now adding the claim that the document which gave William control of the Robbins estate was fraudulently obtained while Thomas was ill and not capable of making such a decision.

I'll have some of the testimony in the case next.

To be continued.

Friday, April 04, 2014


The third court record involving William Pinson is not very pleasant to read. It seems my
8x great grandfather was not a nice person, according to the testimony of Thomas Robbins
and others before the Essex County Court in Salem. The case took place in June 1685. I
had some trouble finding the records, but luckily genealogy friend Genj Composer
located Vol IX on the University of Virginia's Salem Witch Trials website.

Five years earlier Thomas Robbins  had signed over all his property to his nephew by
marriage, William Pinson, in exchange for William' s promise to provide food, clothing
and shelter to Robbins and Robbins' wife. Apparently, he failed miserably:

"June 1686
Thomas Robbins of Salem v. William Pinson of Salem. Foer xuesing, swearing, and
reproachfully speaking speaking of persons and abusing him by throwing him in
the fire. *

*William Pinson's bond for good behavior, dated July 4, 1685, and giving his house and
land  for security, the said land being eleven acres, bounded by Mr. John Clifford on the west, land of Jacob Allen on the north, Mrs. Hollinworth on the east and by the sea on 

the south. Owned in court.

Thomas Robbin's request, dated Jan.10, 1684-5, of the Worsh. John Hathorne, Esq.:
Under ye sence of greate grievance which I haue Just cause to complaine of against
William Pynson. The concerne between us being not unknowne to ye most of ye
Inhabitants of this Towne of Salem. First I declare against him that he hath forfeited
his bond in not prouiding for me & my wifeaccording to the Couenenant, not prouiding
this winter nor other tymes before since he hath bin in ye enjoyment of my Estate
neither cloathing nor drink or severall other things necessary & suitable for ye age of
such people as myself & my aged wife but on ye contrary hath not only much neglected
us in this respect but shamefully abuses us both in word & deed This Pyson hath
notwithstanding taken care of his owne belly  as in getting fresh meat & strong liquor
for himself but wee ye poore Ancient people might have starved for all his care & regard
of us & whereas he made out of my orchard about 15 or 16 barrels of syder: he hath in
a most profuse &Lauish manner wasted & consumed it for about a month or six weeks
agoe so that now not any to be had in ye howse & not aboue one peck of wheate
brought into ye house for neer upon a Twelve month & this peck was brought at
Christmas Last for him & his friends to make merry withall & for my apparrell I am in
such a condition as I am ashamed to relate & hath threatened me that this weeke
he will dispose of of me too as Benj.Fuller can Testifie: & also said that I should be
in hell before Long my wife will owne ye relation aforesaid & to ye grief of her
heart desires that her condition may be considered."-p478-479
Records and Files
of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Volume IX Published and Copyrighted by
the Essex Institute 1975

Two things about this excerpt:
- From the description of the land William Pinson gave up for security I now know
William's land was somewhere along the coast in Salem.

- I knew already that that the Puritans didn't usually celebrate Christmas. So when
I saw the testimony from Thomas Robbins' that Pinson and his friends had celebrated
Christmas I looked into it. After the Restoration of the Stuart kings in England the law
that punished anyone celebrating Christmas was repealed in 1681. Still, most colonists
held to the Puritan view of the holiday, and the story of William Pinson "making merry"
was not going to help his defense against his father-in law's accusations.

To be continued. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014


Fellow geneablogger Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued the 52
Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Basically, we have to post something every week
on a different ancestor, whether a story, picture, or research problem. I'm not done
with my Week 11 ancestor William Pinson yet and I'll return to him in the next post.
B ut for Week 13, my subject is my about my 5x great grandfather Samuel Haskell
This won't be a terribly long post. It concerns an item in his Oxford County Maine
Probate File which I found on FamilySearch. 

Samuel Haskell was born in Harvard, Worcester County Ma. to Samuel Haskell,Sr.
and Sybil Willard on12 Jun 1749. Twenty one years later he married his fourth
cousin Ruth Safford (they were both descendants of William Haskell and Elinor
Cook) on  6 Dec 1770. They had twelve children, the last of whom was born in
1799, and sometime between then and 1810 the family moved from Harvard up
to Gorham, Maine. By 1820 they were in Waterford, Maine, where Samuel died
sometime before 18Jan 1826 which is the earliest dated document in the Probate
File. I'm not sure why it took ten years for the estate to finally be settled. Samuel
died in debt and there are several court orders that the estate be sold over the
course of that decade.Eventually an auction was held, and one of the items on
the list of what was sold caught my attention.

An auction was held on 8 Sept 1834 and the items fill two pages and part of a
third. Here's the image I found on FamilySearch for that page:

The first two items on the page are:
"One bottle of pepper sauce      .17  Eunice  Haskell
Four bottles                               .17     Do       Do "

Eunice Haskell was one of Samuel and Ruth's children. The "Do" under her
name stands for "ditto". When I read what Eunice bought from her parents'
estate on that page I wondered why those two things. Ruth Haskell had died a
year after Samuel, so if Eunice bought the pepper sauce to eat and it was seven
years old, I'm not sure it would still be edible. Maybe it was something Eunice
herself had made since then on the premises since she was single and perhaps she
had stayed on at the family home after her parents died. Those other four bottles
she bought must have been empty, since there's no indication on the list that
they contained anything. Was Eunice going to make more pepper sauce and needed
those jars?

It's not a big question, just one of those things I run across in the Probate Records
that makes me wonder.