Tuesday, July 29, 2014


On the same day that Stephen Webster brought my ancestor Robert Swan to court
over stolen wheat,  there was a second court case involving the two men. Apparently
Webster didn't take the theft of his wheat very well. From the Essex County Court records:

Stephen Webster was fined for speaking reproachful words to Robert Swan.*

*Robert Swan's complaint to the Worshipful Mr. Bradstreete against Stephen Webster : For saying that he would be the death of him, and for saying that Swan was a weak man and he could drive a dozen such as he before him through the town; also for threatening to burn said Swan's barn, which might be disastrous to himself, wife and children, for his dwelling house was very near the barn, etc. Elizabath Whiticker and Samuell Gile, jr., deposed that the same day that Robert Swan was charged with taking away the wheat, Stephen Webster said that if it had not been for Goody Swan, he would have knocked Robert in the head, etc. Sworn, Sept. 25, 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

Barthellme Heth deposed that Stephen Webster came to him with some neighbors to ask counsel, and soon after Robert Swan came for the same purpose. Webster desired counsel before his father Emiry and John Griffen, etc. Sworn in court. Abigale, wife of John Remington, deposed that being abroad in a hemp yard, she saw Webster go to her brother Swan's, and her sister Swan go with him to the barn. Webster said to Swan, "art thou a church Member, and dare to doe lyes," with which he stabbed at him with the fork he had in his hand, making a mark on his breast. Webster stood on the rails that were set up on the outside of the barn to fence in the mow, etc. Sworn, Sept. 22, 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

Robertt Swan deposed that they at first agreed about the wheat and shook hands and later Webster told him that he had played him a scurvy trick, sometimes he had put two sheafs together and Joseph Leigh, for many offences, was sentenced to pay a fine, to be severely whipped and bound to good behavior. He was to be imprisoned until the fine was paid, and upon his petition, the corporal punishment was changed to a fine and a fortnight's imprisonment.* again only one and a half. This he had done by taking some wheat out of the sheaf, putting it at the end of the band, drawing it up to the heads and twisting it together and made the band longer. Deponent told him that it was horrible wickedness for him to make deponent appear guilty when he was guilty himself, and he said it was good policy to use means to keep himself out of snares, etc. Elizabeth (her mark) Swan, wife of Robert Swan, deposed concerning the assault in the barn. She took the pitchfork from the men, and Webster told Swan that he would be the death of him if he hanged for it, etc. Sworn, 10 :6 :1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

Elizabeth (her mark) Swan, daughter of Robert Swan, deposed. John Griffen deposed that being at the house of his father Sherred, etc. 

 p277  Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1662-1667 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, 1913 

And that's all there is. I hope that whatever Stephen Webster was fined offset the
treble damages 7x great grandfather Swan had to pay. Reading this, I could
picture the two men in the barn, Webster poking at my ancestor with the pitchfork
until Robert's wife Elizabeth (Acey)Swan marched in to take the pitchfork away
before something serious happened between the two fools.

I love these Essex County court records. They give me a glimpse of what my
ancestors did and said. In this case, it painted a picture of a day in Robert Swan's
life that could have ended badly.

Monday, July 28, 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, This week I'm writing about my 7x great grandfather
Robert Swan's dispute with one of his neighbors in Haverhill, Ma. 

The story unfolds in the records of an Essex County, Ma. court session held at Ipswich
on September 26, 1665 :

Robert Swan, complained of by Stephen Webster for stealing wheat, was ordered to pay treble damages.*

*Stephen Webster deposed that upon Aug. 4, 1665, he and Robert Swan were in company with some of their neighbors, and they tried to agree about the wheat, etc. Zeackriah Whitt, aged about twenty-three years, deposed that he was employed to shock his master Webster's wheat, which grew upon land near to Robert Swann's house, and the last day they were reaping said wheat, Joseph Johnson was helping him. The next morning much of the wheat was gone, etc. He also mowed wheat for Swan near his orchard. Sworn, 10 :6 : 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

John Heasellton, sr., testified that he and his son Samuell plowed the land for Steven Webster, which land adjoined the little river near the saw mill, etc. Sworn, Sept. 25, 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

John Griffen, aged about twenty-four years, deposed that Swan told him that he had the wheat in exchange, etc.

Joseph Johnson, aged twenty-seven years, deposed that he worked upon the land that Steven Webster sold to Robert Swan, etc. Sworn, 10 : 6 : 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

Samuell Heazellton deposed. Samuell Gilde (also Guill), aged about sixteen years, deposed that his master Swan's cart, etc. Sworn in court. John and Joseph Johnson deposed. Sworn in court. Thomas Davis deposed that part of the land was sown with "silpy" and the other part with wheat, etc. Sworn, Sept. 22, 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

Edward (his mark) Brummidge deposed that Steven Webster's lot was near Abraham Whittiker's house, etc. Sworn, Sept. 22, 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

John Hazeltine and Stephen Kent, sr., deposed that Samuell Guile, jr., etc. Sworn, Sept. 25, 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

Jno. Griffin, aged about twenty-four years, deposed. Sworn, 10 : 6 : 1665, before Simon Bradstreete.f

-pp276-277  Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1662-1667 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, 1913

As usual when I find one of these things, there is the unanswered question of
exactly how much money was the "treble damages" Robert Swan had to pay?

But it didn't end there. Like all the best of these colonial court cases, there was
a counter suit against Stephen Webster. I'll go into what my ancestor accused him
of doing in the next part.

To be continued.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


((First posted in January 2008. I've done a little editing of the 

When journalists talk about a possible “bird flu” epidemic, the
historical event they draw parallels to is the Great Influenza
outbreak of 1918. It first appeared near Fort Riley Kansas in
January and by March had reached New York. Soldiers in crowded
barracks fell victim to it easily and troop movements helped spread
it quickly.

And in the midst of this my grandfather enlisted in the Army in April,

Then on 8 Sept. 1918 the first case of a new, more virulent strain was
reported at Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts. By the end of the month
there were 14,000 cases of the illness and over 700 deaths attributed to it.
Camp Devens was placed under quarantine but the whole state of Massachusetts
was already swept by the disease as the figures on this site  show. My
grandfather was one the troops assigned to a medical detachment working
at the Camp Hospital.

Camp Devens’ hospital surely was not meant to deal with such a
catastrophic event and the accounts I’ve read while horrific must
pale in comparison to what my grandfather must have seen and
experienced. I wonder what he must have thought as he went
about his duties at the hospital? Growing up he must have heard
about the diptheria outbreak that had caused the deaths of six
relatives forty years before. Now he was in the midst of
something much worse where hundreds could die in a single night.
Did he wonder when he himself might begin to show symptoms
and end up a patient himself?

But he survived and was given a furlough at the end of November.
From what I’ve read, the epidemic began and expanded quickly
but subsided within a month and a half. By the end of October it
was over for the most part and by November the authorities must
have felt it was safe enough to allow Private West a furlough to
visit home in early December.

I can’t imagine they would have allowed it if he’d been stricken
with pneumonia during the height of the epidemic, so my guess is
that he came down with it sometime after he returned to
Camp Devens. The Army doctors must have felt the damage to his
lungs was sufficient to keep him from his duty as a hospital
orderly and so my grandfather was given an honorable discharge
on 12Mar 1919, less than a year after he'd enlisted.

Some soldiers in World War 1 saw hell on a battlefield.

Others, such as my grandfather, saw another sort of hell in
hospital wards full of comrades racked with the Spanish Influenza.

I used a variety of sources researching this post. One of them is
“Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army During
World War I” by Carol R. Byerly, (NYU Press, 2005) which you
can preview at GoogleBooks.

Friday, July 25, 2014


(First posted in December 2007) 

An earlier post was on the Enlistment document of my
grandfather Floyd Earl West Sr. Thanks to my Aunt Dot I have
a copy of it and also of his Discharge. The second line with his rank
is smudged here but by holding the paper up before a light I could
make out most of the writing. Also, I’m not sure if the
commandant’s last name is correct but it is the best guess I
could come up with in trying to read it.

I’m grateful my to Aunt Dot for giving me these copies and for
all the other items she’s sent along! I don’t know how difficult it
might be to obtain these elsewhere, but the information on them
is invaluable to someone researching their family history and

“Honorable Discharge from the United States Army
This is to certify that Floyd E. West
Private First Class Hospital Detachment

DISCHARGED from the military service of the United States by
reason of Pursuant to W. D. Cir.I77 A.G. O. Nov.21/1918.

Said Floyd E. West was born in South Paris, in the State of
Maine. When enlisted he was 25 years of age and by occupation
a Farmer. He had Blue eyes, Brown hair, Medium complexion,
and was 5 feet 5 1/2 inches in height.

Given under my hand at Camp Devens Mass. this twelfth day of
March, one thousand nine hundred and nineteen.
A. O. Davis(?)
Lt. Col. M.C. U.S.A.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Continuing with posts about my grandfather Floyd E West's WW1 service:

There's not much more information on these images but it does tell me that
Pop was back on base on December 6, 1918.  The form is signed by
Capt. John E Tracy who was commanding the soldiers of the medical

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I first blogged about my grandfather's WW1 furlough papers back in 2007 but didn't discuss their content. So in commemoration of the start of WW1,I'm doing so now.
These are furlough papers for my grandfather Floyd E West, issued while he was serving at Camp Devens, Ma. during World War 1. It was granted on Nov. 29 1918 and on the
front side gives his rank as "Private 1st C Det Med Dep Base Hospital. The date he
was expected to report back is smudged and unreadable.

On the back side, there is a section on Pay and Rations I don't really understand, but
looking at the two dates in December I think he was supposed to be back from his
visit to Upton, Maine by December 10, 1918.

Lastly is the physical description, which says he is 25 years old, 5ft 5 1/2 inches tall
with "medium" complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. One of the things I was struck
by was that his signature was very much like that of my Dad, Floyd E West, Jr! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


In observance of the start of World War 1, this week I'll be reposting a series I did back in 2007 on my grandfather Floyd E West Sr's World War 1 service. This was posted on 17Dec 2007.

I mentioned back in July that Aunt Dot and I exchanged some
family research at my nephew Paul’s wedding. One of the items
she gave me was her childhood memories of my Dad. Another
item was a photocopy of my Grandfather West’s WW1 discharge
and his enlistment record as shown above.

I think the two papers were folded together which would explain
the dark lines across the pages. In the transcription below, I’ve
put a question mark after any entry I’m not certain about. I’ve
also italicized the handwritten information.

I received an email from my cousin Diana tonight as I was typing
this and in it she passed along information from Aunt Dot that
Pop was an orderly at the Camp Devens base hospital, that he
was only in for a short period before contracting double
pneumonia and that he was shipped home after his recovery.

I’ll have more to say on that after I’ve posted the transcription
of his discharge form.

In my reply to Diana, I remarked that today I realized that
between the service records and the memoir that Aunt Dot
gave me earlier this year I have learned more about Pop than
I ever knew before, and much more than I know about my
other grandfather!

Name: West, Floyd E. #2722093 Grade: Private First Class

Enlisted, or Inducted, Apr.29, 1918 , at So. Paris, Me.

Serving in First enlistment period at date of discharge.

Prior service:* none

Noncommissioned officer: none(?)

Marksmanship, gunner qualification or rating: not armed

Horsemanship: not mounted(?)

Battles, engagements, skirmishes, expeditions: (left blank)

Knowledge of any vocation: Farmer

Wounds received in service: none

Physical condition when discharged: Good

Typhoid prophylaxis completed: ---------------

Paratyphoid prophylaxis completed: June 27/18

Married or single : Single

Character: Excellent

Remarks: No A.W.O.L. or absences under G.O. 45/1914.
This soldier entitled to travel pay.

Signature of soldier: Floyd E. West

John Burnette (?)1st St. M.C. U.S.A.Commanding Detachment

Friday, July 18, 2014


Just a reminder for the  Fourth Annual American Civil War Blogpost
Challenge that the submission deadline is August 2nd to honor the Battle
of Mobile Bay, Alabama, that began on  2Aug, 1864.

These are some ideas you could write about:

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 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. This week my subject is my 10x great grandfather
Thomas Taylor.

Up until now I had no information about Thomas Taylor ither than the fact his wife
was named Elizabeth and that they were the parents of my ancestor, the exotically
named Seabred Taylor. I took note of the anniversary Seabred's death (14Jul 1714)
yesterday as part of my daily On This Date post on Facebook. I decided to see what
I could discover on the internet about Thomas. Regrettably, most of the hits I found
on Googlebooks were "Snippet" views. I did find this, though, in a family genealogy
of another family descended from him:

Thomas1 Taylor was b. about 1620 and first appears in New England at Charlestown where his wife Elizabeth was admitted to the First Church 8 Jan. 1638/9. He lived in Watertown, 1641-1649. He purchased a house and land in Reading (the part now Wakefield) of Sara, the daughter of Ralph Roote who received it by gift from Edward Whitfield of Reading and the General Court confirmed his title to it, 19 Oct. 1649. (Massachusetts Bay Records, 2: 283 and 3: 181.) His wife Elizabeth d. at Reading, 18 Jan. 1650. He called himself 36 yrs. of age in 1655/6 and d. at Reading, 29 Jan. 1690/1. His son (1) Seabred Taylor, b. at Watertown, 11 March 1642. (2) Thomas2 Taylor, Jr., b. before 1650; d. at Reading, 4 April 1691. (3) Benoni Taylor, d. at Reading, 18 Feb. 1650. The father was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 26 May 1647. His Watertown homestall he sold to Justinian Holden of Cambridge, 9 Nov. 1660.
 Descendants of Thomas Wellman of Lynn, Massachusetts  By Joshua Wyman Wellman, George Walter Chamberlain, Arthur Holbrook Wellman

So now I at least know he lived and died in Reading, Ma, and I now have a death
date that I verified at the Early Vital Records of Massachusetts website.

I discovered something else while Googling the family. As I said, I'm descended
from Seabred Taylor. I found this short entry:

According to the law establishing the Superior Court, it sat at Charlestown for Middlesex, on the 31st of January, 1693. Present, as appears by the record, all the justices.. The grand jury being sworn refused bills upon several presentments for witchcraft, and returned indictments against five only ; and these were called up and tried in the following order :—

Mary Toothaker, whose indictment has already been transcribed into these letters.

Mary Taylor, wife of Seabred Taylor of Reading. She was indicted for covenanting with the devil, and by writing her name upon a piece of birch bark in confirmation of said covenant.

Sarah Cole, wife of John Cole of Lynn ; indicted for afflicting one Mary Brown of Reading, on the 6th of September, 1692.

Lydia Dastin, of Reading. Indicted for afflicting Mary Marshall of Maiden, in May, the same year.

Sarah Dastin, of Reading ; indicted for tormenting Elizabeth Weston, a young woman of the same town.

Historical Letters on the First Charter of Massachusetts Government (Google eBook) by Abel Cushing  J. N. Bang, printer, 1839 - Massachusetts

So I have another accused witch in my family tree!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


There's about two weeks left until the submissions deadline for the first
Geneablogger's First World War Challenge. You can submit links to older
posts if you've already written about it. But if you haven't, here's some ideas
that might help:

Where your ancestors were in 1914, and what effect the war would have
on their families?

Did any of them see military action? Were any family members killed? Do you have any
photographs of them in uniform?

Did the War force your ancestors to leave their homes? Was it the reason they emigrated to another country? Where did they go?

Write a blogpost on any of the above, or something else about  World War 1 and your family. When it's posted, send me the link. If you have already written a blogpost that you'd like to use, then send me the link to that post.

 The deadline for submissions will be July29th, 2014. I'll publish the list of links here a week later on August 5th.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


 ((Today is the 290th anniversary of the death of my ancestor John Ames. First
    posted 9Jul 2012))

During the period of the colonial New England Indian Wars, summer was the
season when raids and casualties increased on both sides. As a consequence,
I've several ancestors who died violently in the summer months. One such was
my 8x great grandfather John Ames of Groton, Ma. John was no stranger to
deaths caused by the wars: his wife was Priscilla Kimball whose father
been killed when she was a child and who had been taken captive. So John
probably took precautions but it didn't save him. The incident was described by
the historian Samuel Abbott Green in his book Groton in the Indian Wars.(He
quotes several sources which excerpts I've boldfaced since Green omits
the quotations marks for some of them):.

"It was on Thursday, July 9, 1724, that John Ames was shot by an Indian, one of
a small party that attacked his garrison in the northwesterly part of the town.
Ames lived on the north side of the Nashua River, a short distance below the
Hollingsworth paper-mills. He is said to be the last person killed by an Indian
within the township. The Indian himself was immediately afterward shot by
Jacob Ames, one of John's sons. "The Boston Gazette," July 13, 1724, thus refers
to the event: —

A Man was kill'd last Week at Groton, by the Indians, and 't is suppos'd one 

Indian was kill'd by one of our Men in the Garrison; the Indians left their 
Packs, 5 in number, which were taken and secur'd by the English.

In the Gazette of July 27, it is said that " An Indian Scalp was brought to Town 

last Week from Groton."

"The New England Courant," July 13, 1724, reports that "Last week the Indians
kill'd a Man at Groton, and had one of their own Men very much wounded."
The same newspaper, in its issue of July 27, says that "The Scalp of an Indian
lately kill'd at Groton is brought to Town."

"The Boston News Letter," July 16, 1724, gives the following version: —

From Groton we are inform'd, That 5 Indians came into that Place, and kill'd
one Man, upon which one of our Men shot out of the Garrison and kill'd an
Indian and got his Scalp in order to bring to Town, and have likewise taken
the Indian Packs.

The same paper, of July 30, says that "An Indian Scalp from Groton was brought
in here last Week."

These accounts, taken in connection with Jacob Ames's petition, found in the
printed Journal of the' House of Representatives for November 20, 1724, and
herewith given, show conclusively that they relate to the assault in which
John Ames was killed. It is equally certain that Penhallow, in his History, refers
to the same attack when he speaks of the damage done at Groton in the
summer of 1724.

A Petition of Jacob Ames, shewing that he was one of the Weekly Scouts near
the Garrisons on the Westerly part of the Town of Groton; and on the Ninth Day
of July last, when it was the Petitioners Week to be on Duty, a Number of 

Indians appeared at the Garrison of the Petitioners Father John Ames, and 
killed him at the Gate, and then rush'd violently into the Garrison to surprise 
the People there. And the Petitioner did with Courage and Resolution by 
himself defend the Garrison,  and beat off the Indians, Slew one of them and 
Scalp'd him; praying, That altho' it happened to be his Week to be on Duty, 
that this Court would take the Premises  into their wise and serious 
Consideration, and grant what other Allowance more than the Establishment 
by Law, shall to them seem meet, for his aforesaid Service.  Read, and in 
Answer to this Petition. Resolved, That over and above the Fifteen rounds 
due to the Petitioner by Law, for recovering the said Scalp, and the good
Services done this Province thereby, the Sum of Fifteen Pounds be allowed 

and Paid out of the Publick Treasury to the said Jacob Ames for his good 
Service as aforesaid.

Sent up for Concurrence.

Mr. Butler, in his History, gives the following version of this affair, which was
gathered largely from grandchildren of the Ezra Farnsworth mentioned in it. 

The account was taken down in writing more than a hundred years after the
occurrence of the event, which will explain any inaccuracies due to tradition.
Mr. Butler refers the assault to a period much later than the actual fact: —

`An Indian had been seen, for several days, lurking about the town, it was
conjectured, upon some ill design. Mr. Ames, who lived on the intervale, on 

the west side of Nashua river, now owned by John Boynton, Esq., went into
his pasture to catch his horse. Discovering the Indian, he ran for his house; 
the Indian pursued and shot him as he entered his gate. The dead body 
prevented the gate's closing, as it would otherwise have done of itself, and 
the Indian pressed in to enter the house, where Ames had a son and daughter. 
The son seized his gun, and shot at him, as he entered the gate. The ball, 
striking the latch of the door, split, and one part of it wounded the Indian, 
but not severely. As the son attempted to close the door against the enemy, 
after the shot, the Indian thrust his foot in, and prevented. The son called 
to his sister to bring his father's gun from the bedside, and at the same 
time striking the Indian's foot with the breach of his gun, compelled him 
to withdraw it, and closed the door. While the Indian was in the act of 
reloading his gun, the young man found means to shoot through a 
crevice and killed him. Two men, at work about a mile distant in a 
mill, Ezra and Benjamin Farnsworth, hearing the reports of the guns,
and suspecting the cause thereof, were soon at the place, and found 

the bodies of Ames and the Indian both weltering in their blood. This 
is the last man killed by an Indian within the bounds of Groton. 
(Pages no, 111.)'

Mr. Butler says, in his History (page 100), that "in the summer of 1723,

one man was killed at Groton." I am inclined to think that this allusion 
is to John Ames, as I can find no other authority for the statement.

(Groton During the Indian Wars
Samuel Abbott Green pp131-133).

John was the son of accused witch Rebecca Blake Eames. The family didn't
seem to have much luck in those early days but fortunately it improved in
later generations.

Tuesday, July 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
this prompt I've tried to concentrate on ancestors I haven't researched as much
as I have others in my family tree. Since I recently posted about the death of my
ancestor Gershom Flagg, I thought for this week's post I'd cover his father, and my
10x great grandfather Thomas Flagg.

Ellery Bicknell Crane has this to say about Thomas:

Thomas Flagg came to this country with Richard Carver in 1637, embarking at Scratby, Norfolk, and was settled at Watertown as early as 1641. He had a homestall of six acres, also twenty acres originally granted July 25, 1636, to John Rose. Flagg was prominent 111 town affairs. He was selectman from 1671 to 1676, in 1678, 1681 and from 1685 to 1687. He was lieutenant of the military company. His petition dated April 4, 1659, shows that he lost his left eye by a gunshot wound. His wife Mary was born in England about 1619. Flagg died February 6, 1697-98. His will was dated March 5, 1697, and proved February 16, 1697-98. He bequeathed to his wife Mary; sons Michael, Thomas, Eleazer, Allen and Benjamin; daughters Mary and Elizabeth Bigelow and Rebecca Cooke; grandchildren John Flagg and the heirs of deceased son Gershom. The widow's will was proved April 21, 1703. The children of Thomas and Mary Flagg: 1. Gershom, born at Watertown, April 16, 1641, tanner at Woburn in 1668, lieutenant in King William's war and killed by Indians on the shore of Wheelwright's pond, July 6, 1690. Married, 1668, Hannah Leppingwell. 2. John, born June 14, 1643, resided at Watertown; married, 1670, Mary Gale. 3. Bartholomew, born at Watertown, February 23, 1644-45, served in Captain Samuel Moseley's company in King Philip's wer, 1675. 4. Thomas, born April 28, 1646, resided at Watertown and died 1719; married, 1667-68, Rebecca Dix. 5. William, born 164S, killed at Lancaster, August 22, 1675, while on guard duty in King Philip's war. 6. Michael, born March 23, 1650-51, one of the first proprietors of Worcester in 1674 at the first attempted settlement, soldier in King Philip's war; married Mary Bigelow and (second) Mary (Lawrence) Karle. 7. Eleazer, born May 14, 1653, see forward. 8. Elizabeth, born March 22, 1654-55, died August 9, 1729; married, 1676, Joshua Bigelow. 9. Mary, born January 14, 1656-57, died September 7, 1770; married, 1674, Samuel Bigelow. 10. Rebecca, born September 5, 1660, died 1721; married, 1679, Deacon Stephen Cook. II. Benjamin, born June 25, 1662, resided in Worcester, coming at the third settlement; married, 1689, Experience Child. 12. Allen, born May 16, 1665, died November, 1711; married, 1684-85, Sarah Ball.

Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 3 (Google eBook) p381

When I was first starting work on my family tree I found some claims that Thomas' wife's
full name was Mary Gershom; hence the reason their oldest son was named Gershom Flagg. But I've found no evidence so far to back up that theory. Also, I've seen the name spelled as Flegg.


I'm finally getting around to the latest Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy
Seaver's Genea-Musings blog: 

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What was your father's mother's name?

2) What is your father's mother's patrilineal line? That is, her father's father's father's ... back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

3) Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father's mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that  patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.

4)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, or in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook or Google Plus post.

Ok, here goes! 
1)My Dad's mother was Cora Berthella Barker, born 27 Oct 1899 at Bethel Me., died June 1987 at Errol, Coos, NH.

2) She was descended on both her patrilineal and matrilineal side from immigrant
ancestor Richard Barker who died at Andover Ma on 18Mar 1693. Here's the patrilineal
line of descent:

3)Cora had a half brother and three brothers:
    -Henry L Barker (1891-1969), the half brother, had a son Robert G Barker (1922-?)
    -Brother Frank W Barker  (1910-1979) had no children I can find record of as yet,
    -Brother Earl H Barker died in infancy in 1903.
    -Youngest brother Harry H. Barker (1905-1967) had one son, Percy Barker (1939-
      1985) for whom I've found no record of marriage or children.

Oh well, out of luck!

Sunday, July 06, 2014


((First posted on 21Jul 2009. I'm reposting it since today is the 324 anniversary
of the Battle of Wheelwright Pond)) 

My 9x great grandfather Gershom Flagg was born in Watertown, Ma. in 1641 but
by 1689 he was residing in Woburn, Middlesex, Ma. That year he was appointed
Lieutenant in a company commanded by Captain Noah Wiswall(Wiswell) which
was sent off to Maine as part of the expedition under the joint command of Benjamin
Church and my ancestor Jeremiah Swain.

There are two different accounts of what sort of company made up Captain Wiswall's
command. One says it was comprised of militiamen infantry, but the other version
says it was made up of friendly Indians hostile to the Maine tribes. Apparently, there
were some who were not all that hostile, as this story from Daniel Neal's "History 
ofNew-England Vol 2" (p80) relates:

"Befides, their Motions were difcovered to the Enemy by fome Indian Auxiliaries, 
whobeing fent out with Lieutenant Flag to get Intelligence of the Enemy, confulted
togetherin their wn Language at Winnopiffeag, and obliging the Lieutenant to 
return with buttwo Indians, nineteen of them ftaid in thofe Parts eleven Days 
without an Englifhman in their Company ; in which Time they found out the Enemy, 
lay with them two Nights,and told them every thing they knew of the Numbers, 
Motions and Defigns of the Englifh: Upon which they retired into their inacceffible 
Woods and Swamps, and appeared no more in a Body while the Army was in thofe 
Parts... "

It was perhaps then inevitable that matters turned out as they did on 6Jul 1690 at
Wheelwright Pond near Lee, New Hampshire (pp95-96) :

"All the open Country was fo infefted with Parties of the Enemy at this Time, that 
it was hardly fafe for a Man to ftir out of his Houfe, or follow his Bufinels in the 
Field. A Council of War was therefore called at Portfmoutb, which ordered Captain 
Wifwel and CaptainFloyd with a large Body of Men to fcour the Woods as far as 
Cafco. They marched out of Quochecho on the 4th of July, withe above 100 Men, 
and on the 6th came up with a large Party of the Enemy at Wheelwright-Pond.
It was obferved, that there were feveral French Soldiers mix'd with thefe Indians, 
to difcipline and inftruct them in a regular Way of Fighting .The Engagement
lafted feveral Hours, but Victory declared at laft for the Enemy, Captain Wifwel, 
Lieutenant Flag, Serjeant Walker, with fifteen of their Men, being killed, and a 
great many more wounded. When Wifwel fell, Captain Floyd retreated with the 
Remainder of the Army, in the beft Manner he could, leaving his wounded Men
behind him-, but next Morning Captain Convers, with twenty Men, being fent 
out towardsthe Place of Battle, found feven of the wounded Englifh yet alive, 
and brought them back to the Camp. The Indians flufhed with this Victory, 
made a Defcent upon Amefbury, furprized Captain Foot, and tortured him to 
death ; but the Townfmen taking the Alarm, fecured themfelves in their Fort: 
However, the Enemy killed three Perfons, burnt three or four Houies, deftroyed 
their Cattle, and then retired..."

July seems not to have been the best month for many of my ancestors..

Friday, July 04, 2014


 I first published this list a few years back, but in honor of the 4th
of July I'm publishing it again. We know about Washington and
Knox and Lafayette, but we should never forget that it was the 
unknown citizens who served under them who fought and bled
to win us all our freedom. Some of them were my ancestors.

The italicized names are those whose Pension Files I've found.

Jonathan Barker Jr.
Was a Minuteman from Methuen Ma with the rank of Sergeant. He
was at Lexington and Concord with his sons Jonathan (see below)
and Samuel. 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' Company in Colonel Jacob Gerrish's
guards from Dec 1777 until April 1778 guarding the captured
troops of General Burgoyne.

Jonathan Barker 3rd

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
Was a Minuteman under Capt. Asa Parker on April 19th, 1775. He
subsequently 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
 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
 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
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
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 Ticonderoga.

Elisha Houghton
Enlisted at Harvard Ma as a Private in May of 1777in 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 down to the ranks.

Amos Upton
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 and was discharged in October
of 1775.

John Griffith
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
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 Abbot
Served as a Sergeant in the Militia under Captain Henry Abbott
and responded to the Lexington Alarm

Samuel Stowe 

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 3rd.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Here's the image of Moses Coburn's will and my transcription of it.

I Moses Coburn of Newry in the County of Oxford and the State of Maine, being
desirous to make a distribution of my estate in a manner different from what the law
would make it, declare the following to be my last will and testament,
First, I give and bequeath unto my beloved son, Lot Spaulding Coburn four beds, and the bedding belonging to the said beds; now in use by myself & family; also one chest with two drawers and one trunk; together with all the chairs & one table now in use of
Myself & family; also three bedsteads & one loom now use in said family;also all the
crockery ware knives & forks, together with all the house goods & utensils; now in use
of said family;also one parlour stove; also all the money due to me--from pension of
the United States if any there shall be after my decease; also one cow which I now own.
Second I give & bequeath unto my beloved Wesley B Coburn all my wearing apparel,
all the above named property to be held & possessed as above named--
I hereby nominate & appoint Lot Spaulding Coburn my son, Executor of this my last will & testament In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this twelfth day
of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & fortysix.
Signed and sealed, by the said Moses Coburn, and by him declared to be his last will &
testament, & we & each of in his presence & at the same time subscribe our names
as witnesses.
Joel Foster
John Brown
Louisa A Brown

My first thought is that Moses was much better off at the end of his life than when he
applied for his pension nearly thirty years earlier. I have to again wonder if that $ 135
in arrears pension money was issued as a lump sum because that would have made
him a moderately wealthy man.

Next, there are those whose names are not mentioned in the will. There's no mention
of his wife, my 4x great grandmother Esther (Spaulding) Coburn. Nor is there any
mention of his other children, including oldest son Moses Jr. I'll have to check and
see what I can find out about them and where they were at the time Moses made his will.

Next post, I'll discuss the inventory of the estate,.

To be continued,.