Sunday, December 26, 2021


 It's become a Geneablogger tradition to join our friend footnoteMaven in the annual Blog Caroling Event, when geneabloggers post their favorite Christmas carols. 

This year I'm sharing "I Saw Three Ships" because it was sung by one of Mom's favorite singers, Nat King Cole. Mom loved playing records on the stereo console when we were kids and Christmas time she's load up albums and sing along. (Although I don't remember he singingalong to this one.)

You can hear Nat King Cole sing the song here.

"I Saw Three Ships"

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning
On Christmas Day in the morning

And what was in those ships all three
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three
On Christmas Day in the morning?
On Christmas Day in the morning

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there
On Christmas Day in the morning

And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing
On Christmas Day in the morning

Then let us all rejoice again
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day
Then let us all rejoice again
On Christmas Day in the morning
On Christmas Day in the morning

Thursday, December 23, 2021


 Originally posted in 2007

You know that part of the movie A Christmas Story where
the family goes out to buy the tree and the parents have a little
argument over it? Well, I laugh every time I see it because
like so much in that film it echoes my childhood.

Every Christmas when I was younger either we’d go shopping
for a tree or Dad would buy one on his way home from work.
Now as regular readers of this blog know by now, my Dad was
from Maine. But even more than that, he had experience in trees.
He’d helped his father cutting down trees, and he’d worked for a
landscaper in the Boston area when he’d first come home from
the war. Mom would remind Dad of his experience every year
when the tree was fixed into the tree stand, the rope cut from
the branches and the inevitable big empty space was discovered.
Usually the problem was solved by rotating the tree so the empty
spot was in the back facing the wall. The lights were strung(and
here we differed from the film. We never blew out the fuses.),
then the garlands, the ornaments, and the icicles. Finally the
angel went up on top of the tree and we were all set. With
judicious watering the tree would last us until around “Little
Christmas” at which time it would be undecorated and deposited
curbside to await the dump truck.

Of course our tree paled in comparison to the giant my Mom’s
Uncle Tommy and Aunt Francis had in their home down in
Milton. It was so big they cut the top off and the branches didn’t
taper at the top. They were all the same size: large. I could
never believe they'd gotten that big a tree into the house in the
first place!

Then the first artificial Christmas trees hit the market and Mom
began vowing she was going to get one as she vacuumed up pine
needles from the rug. Eventually we did but that provided us
with new challenges, such as assembling the tree.

As we all grew older the prospect of trying to get the tree
together became less enchanting and so it too was replaced, this
time by a small ceramic musical tree that was lit from within by
a light bulb. I used that tree myself for several years after Mom
died although I felt no great urge to wind it up for the music. It
lasted until a few years back when I dropped it and the base

Its replacement is a small artificial tree that I bought at work with
my employee discount along with a garland. Last year some
friends sent me some snowmen ornaments for it. I haven’t put it
up yet but think I will this weekend. It fits on top of the tv.

And at some point over the holidays I’ll see that scene from A
Christmas Story again and grin.

2009 update: I bought a small string of battery powered lights
to add to my tree last week!

2010 update: I lost my Christmas stuff in my move last April so
I'll be picking it up another one at work soon.

2011 update
I bought another teeny Christmas tree with lights and ornaments
at Borders. Since the company closed, it will remind me of my
store when I set it out each year.

2012 update
I haven't put up my teeny Christmas tree yet but plan to do it this weekend.

2013 Update
I'll be putting the tree out tomorrow. I may have to buy a new string of
lights this year since some of the teeny weeny bulbs may have died last year.

2014 Update
I haven't put the teeny Christmas tree up yet again. I think I will do
it tomorrow, though.

2015 Update
The teeny Christmas tree will go up this weekend as soon as I decide 
where it will go this year.   


2018 Update:
I still have the teeny Christmas tree which I haven't put up yet.. I may spring for maybe a few of those electric candles for my apartment window, though.

2019 Update: 
I'll probably put the teeny tree up this coming weekend.

2020 Update:My windows are being replaced this week so I'll put the tree out after the mayhem is over. 

2021 Update:

I bought a new foot tall  tree and will add the ornaments to it tomorrow. 





Wednesday, December 22, 2021


((Originally posted in 2007))

 I don’t get a lot of Christmas cards, mostly because I don’t send
out a lot myself. I get some from the family and a few from friends
but since I’m not much of a social animal there’s no more than perhaps
a half dozen each year sitting atop my tv.

In years past the amount of cardage fluctuated. When I
was a kid there were a lot of cards, usually taped to the
door frames or sitting atop the end tables in the living room.

When we moved to Abington they were displayed across the
mantel piece or taped around the edges of the mirror above it.
The years when my folks were actively involved in the VFW
brought the highest number of season’s greetings. Mom would
spend a few hours herself signing and addressing cards to be
sent out. But as she and her generation of family and friends
grew older the flood of Christmas cards dwindled. Several years
Mom even had some unused cards left over when she finished.

I tend not to like sending “mushy” cards so I usually try to find
something funny. Although this year I may be giving people a
look at a certain dancing elf via e-mail!

2010 Update: I'm going to see what sort of selection we have at
the store tomorrow and hopefully find something funny, although
last year I sent out cards that were more "New England-y"

2011 Update Since Borders has closed I'm going to have to take
a long walk over to Target soon to get some boxed cards!

2012 Update I'm waiting for my box card order from B&N
to arrive.

2013 Update I haven't bought any Christmas cards yet. I'm also
trying to figure out what to do with the leftover cards from the
last few years.

2014 Update:
I'll probably buy my cards this weekend. I don't really start thinking
about Christmas cards until right about now, although I've already
received one this holiday season. 

The past few years I've taken to displaying the incoming cards on my
bookcase, as in this photo from a  few years ago:

2015 Update
I still have several boxes of leftover Christmas cards from previous years, so this year
I'm going to send those instead of buying a new box.

2016 Update: 
I was a bad boy again this year and never sent out any cards.And I feel a bit guilty as
I received a bit more than usual:

 2019 Update: I received a few cards so far this year,, and I actually sent out mine earlier than in past years so hopefully they have arrived at their destinations  before the holidays.

2020 Update: I sent some cards out today (8th Dec), and have already received a few. I might take a photo of them if more come in.

2021 Update: I sent mine out a bit late (last week). Hopefully they make it in time for Chrismas. Here's the cards I've received.


Monday, December 20, 2021


 ((First published in December, 2007))

I don’t recall many holiday parties from my earlier childhood. In our family folks were too busy working or shopping at Christmas time. And when we lived in Dorchester the apartments weren’t
really big enough to hold large parties in, although there might have been one or two. If so, they would have followed the rules of other adult parties my folks had: after saying hello to the adults,
my sister and I would be sent off to our beds to eventually fall asleep while listening to the adults
in the other room laughing at Rusty Warren records. We wondered what "roll me over in the clover" meant.

As an adult, most of my Christmas party experience has been at work, including one at a now
defunct toy chain warehouse(more on that job later) when I was in my early twenties. It snowed
when I left for home. My car at the time was an Olds 98 and being in a hurry to get home, I didn’t completely clean the rear windshield. I backed up, turning the car around….

…and smashed my rear windshield by backing the car up under a tractor trailer box front end as
if it were a big rig hooking up.

The good news was, my Dad worked in the auto glass repair business.

The bad news was I had to call him and tell him what I’d done.

It was an …umm…interesting conversation.

2013 Update: I think this is my favorite out of all the things I've posted every year about past Christmases. I remember the windshield incident with a smile now but at the time I was a nervous wreck waiting for Dad's reaction, especially since I'd had a few highballs at the Christmas party which probably had a lot to do with my backing into the trailer. I also had to drive the car home 
with no rear windshield in a snowstorm and I was worried I'd get pulled over by the police. When 
I got home we covered the broken window with something, probably a cut open garbage bag and masking tape, and a few days later Dad found a replacement at Goldy's, a local junkyard. 

Most of all, I remember Dad getting out of his car when he drove up to the  Child World warehouse, taking a puff on his cigarette, and  giving me The Look before asking me "How the hell did you manage to do that?"


Sunday, December 19, 2021


(originally published in Dec. 2007)

My family was fortunate in that we never lived in the sort of place
where Christmas outdoor decorations becomes a blood sport.
Yes, people strung lights in their shrubbery or along their house
gutters but there was never anyone determined to turn their
front yard into the North Pole’s Southern Branch Office.

Now for light shows back then you went to someplace religious,
like Our Lady of La Sallette Shrine in North Attleboro or the local
cemetery with it’s entrance lit up, or even just cruised a stretch
of highway to look at the neighborhood lights that might be seen
from a distance as you drove by.

We didn’t really have outside lights ourselves until we left Boston
for Abington. Up until then the only lights other than on our
Christmas tree were the electric candles we put on windowsills.
But at the house Dad did the obligatory shrubbery and gutter
displays as well as one other spot: the apple tree in the front yard.

Dad had experience both with wiring and tree climbing so putting
a string of lights up in a small apple tree was a piece of cake. It
was the taking down part that didn’t seem to work at least for
the tree. One year, long after the other outside lights were down
and packed away, the lights still were hanging in the apple tree.
I’m not sure exactly when he took them down but I do know it
was well after Spring had sprung. I think they were even plugged
in one or two nights. I don’t know the reasons why they were
still there: my Dad’s sense of humor, perhaps? Or maybe an
instance where Dad’s Maine stubbornness and the Irish
stubbornness of my Mom brought about some impasse on the issue?

On my way home the other night from work I noticed at least
three of those large hot air snow globe scenes on front lawns.

Those families must have big electricity bills!

2010 Update: As I discovered in 2008, the apple tree  in
the front yard of the house is long gone. But a news report
the other night made me think of Dad. The holiday
lighting ceremony at Braintree has been postponed a week
because squirrels had eaten through the wires.

The lights had been left up all year since last Christmas!

2011 Update: The big snowstorms last winter had one
interesting effect. Some of the homes with heavily
decorated outside yards remained that way until
the snow melted. One home in particular had an inflatable
Santa and other decorations buried under snow drifts
and you could  just see the tops of them as you drove by
the house. I think they were there until mid-March!

2013 Update: It's a bit early yet apparently for the lights
to go up for Christmas around here. I don't work anymore
and haven't driven around much after dark so I haven't
seen any houses lit up yet. I did, however, spot two of
those big inflatable figures on someone's front lawn yesterday

2014 Update
 I'm not sure there be many houses lit up this year, or that they
will be many elaborate displays. The electric companies in the
New England area have raised their rates over 30% and that
may be too much for many people to afford to put up Christmas

2015 Update
There's only a few homes along the main streets in the area that have put up
their outside lights so far this year. But there are some in specific neighborhoods
and I've noticed word gets out via Facebook on where the best displays are to take
your kids to see them.

2016 Update:
Since my retirement I don't drive much after dark any more, so I haven't seen
any houses decorated so far. But there's a contest for best decorations going on,
and a Christmas Tree lighting going on at Island Grove as well,

2018 Update: 
There's a really good Christmas display over on Lake Street by Island Grove that gets a lot of  visitors every year. It looks like a lot of work to put together. But unfortunately some unusually high winds knocked over the big Christmas tree at Island Grove after it was lit just the week before.

Sunday, November 21, 2021


  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.:

Allerton #1 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 #2 through Barker Line

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.

My Warren ancestry comes through my Ames line

Warren #1 Through Ames 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.

Warren #2 Through Dunham Line:

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 Dunham & Sally Houghton
Florilla Dunham & Asa Ellingwood
Clara Ellingwood & Philip J West
Floyd E West Sr & Cora Bertha Barker

Thursday, November 18, 2021


 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 three lines come down through my Ellingwood ancestry from
Stephen Hopkins, Thomas Rogers, and James Chilton.

Hopkins Line
Stephen Hopkins and Mary____
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 & Alice Cosford
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
James 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

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


  ((Oddly enough, both my parents occasionally would quote a line or two from Riley's
two most famous poems. This is the one Dad would quote. I first posted this on 13Oct 2012)) 

We had the first frost of the fall season in parts of New England and it put me in mind 
how Dad would  sometimes recite "When the frost is on the pumpkin...". That's the only part of
the poem he'd say. I think he must have had to recite it in school when he was a kid and that's all
he remembered.

Reading it just now I had to grin at the line about the turkey since I've now had experiences with
a loud, "struttin" turkey here in my own backyard!

 "When the Frost is on the Punkin"
                          James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,   
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,   
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,   
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;   
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,         
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,   
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.   
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere   
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—   
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,   
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;   
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze   
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days   
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.   
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,   
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;   
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still   
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;   
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;   
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—   
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.   
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps   
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;   
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through   
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...   
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be   
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—   
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—   
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Thursday, November 04, 2021



4 Nov 1700 6x great grandfather John Thomas was born at Duxbury, Ma.


4 Nov 1611 11x great grandparents Isaac Allerton & Mary Norris were married at Leiden, Holland.

4 Nov 1658 8x great grandparents John Carver & Millicent Ford were married at Duxbury, Ma.



3 Nov 1673 7x great grandfather Eleazer Rogers was born at Eastham, Ma.

3 Nov 1650 8x great grandfather Nathaniel Wilder was born in Charlestown, Ma.

3 Nov 1657 7x great grandmother Ruth Knowles was born at Plymouth, Ma.


3 Nov 1693 8x great grandparents John Ames & Priscilla Kimball were married at Bradford, Ma.


3 Nov 1683 9x great grandfather John Emery died at Newbury, Ma

Saturday, October 30, 2021


 ((First posted on October, 2011))

When we were small our Mom occasionally would recite this poem and would tickle us when she reached the "Gobble-uns 'll git you ef you don't watch out!" part. Then when I was in the third grade at the Frank V.Thompson school in Dorchester I read the poem in our English text book. Years later I used to post it every Halloween on an email list for a fantasy role playing group. So it's a sort of Halloween tradition for me.

Anyway, it's the best Halloween poem I know. Enjoy.

And `ware th' Gobble-uns!

Little Orphant Annie

by James Whitcomb Riley.

LITTLE Orphant Annie ’s come to our house to stay,   
An’ wash the cups and saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,   
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,   
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;   
An’ all us other children, when the supper things is done,         
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun   
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ’at Annie tells about,   
An’ the Gobble-uns ’at gits you   
        Ef you   

Onc’t they was a little boy would n’t say his pray’rs—   
An’ when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,   
His mammy heerd him holler, an’ his daddy heerd him bawl,           
An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he was n’t there at all!   
An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,   
An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’wheres, I guess;   
But all they ever found was thist his pants an’ roundabout!   
An’ the Gobble-uns ’ll git you           
        Ef you   

An’ one time a little girl ’ud allus laugh an’ grin,         
An’ make fun of ever’ one, an’ all her blood-an’-kin;   
An’ onc’t when they was “company,” an’ ole folks was there,   
She mocked ’em an’ shocked ’em, an’ said she did n’t care!   
An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,   
They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,          
An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ’fore she knowed what she ’s about!   
An’ the Gobble-uns ’ll git you   
        Ef you   

An’ little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,   
An’ the lampwick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!   
An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,   
An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is allsquenched away,—        
You better mind yer parents, and yer teachers fond and dear,   
An’ churish them ’at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,   
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ’at clusters all about,   
Er the Gobble-uns ’ll git you   
        Ef you           

Thursday, October 28, 2021


 On This Date:

28 Oct 1681 7x great grandmother Sarah Stevens was born at Andover, Ma.
28 Oct 1653 7x great grandmother Sarah Learned was born at Chelmsford, Ma.
28 Oct 1819 3x great grandparents John Ellingwood & Rachel Barrows were married at Woodstock, Me.
28Oct 1600 10x great grandparents John Maverick & Mary Gye were married at Islington, Devonshire, England
28 Oct 1735 9x great grandmother Mary (Loker) Prescott died at Groton, Ma.

Sunday, October 24, 2021


 On This Date:

24 Oct 1744 5x great grandmother Edith Upton was born at North Reading, Ma.
24 Oct 1697 6x great grandfather Richard Kelley was born at Newbury, Ma.
24 Oct 1768 5x great grandparents John Bancroft & Mary Walton were married at Lynn, Ma.
24 Oct 1643 9x great grandparents James Converse & Anne Long were married at Woburn, Ma.
24 Oct 1689 7x great grandparents John Carver & Mary Barnes were married at Plymouth, Ma.
24 Oct 1694 8x great grandmther Elizabeth (Stream) Packard died at Bridgewater, Ma.
24 Oct 1728 8x great grandmother Priscilla (Kimball) Ames died at Groton, Ma.
24 Oct 1657 9x great grandfather Thomas Moulton died at Charlestown, Ma.

Saturday, October 23, 2021


 On This Day:
23 Oct 1728 5x great grandfather Jonathan Barker Jr. was born at Andover, Ma.

23 Oct 1676 8x great grandparents Stephen Greenleaf  & Elizabeth Gerrish were married at Newbury, Ma.

23 Oct 1667 9x great grandfather Thomas WIlder died at Lancaster, Ma.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021



On This Date:
20 Oct 1640 8x great grandfather John Hayward was born at Concord, Ma.
20 Oct 1663 7x great grandfather Joseph Dow was born at Hampton, NH
20 Oct 1717 6x great grandfather Amos Upton was born at Salem, Ma.
20 Oct 1650 9x great grandparents Daniel Poor & Mary Farnum were married at Boston, Ma.
20 Oct 1688 9x great grandmother Mary (Gawkroger)Prescott died at Lancaster, Ma.
20 Oct 1748 7x great grandfather John Hawkes died at Lynn, Ma.



On This Date:
19 Oct 1748 5x great grandmother Meriah Peirce was born at Harvard, Ma.
19 Oct 1630 10x great grandfather Samuel Skelton took the Oath of Freemen at Salem, Ma.
19 Oct 1924 grandparents Edward F White Sr and Agnes McFarland were married at Boston, Ma.
19 Oct 1677 8x great grandfather Edward Bangs died at Eastham, M

Saturday, October 16, 2021


On This Date:
16 Oct 1676 6x great grandmother Patience Simmons was born at Duxbury, Ma.
16 Oct 1672 7x great grandfather Thomas Safford was born at Ipswich, Ma.
16 Oct 1898 great grandparents Frank W Barker & Charlotte L Barker were married at Gorham, NH (They were 1st cousins)
16 Oct 1705 8x great grandmother Susannah (Edson) Keith died at West Bridgewater, Ma.

Friday, October 15, 2021


 On This Date:

15 Oct 1663 7x great grandfather  Joseph Wright was born at Chelmsford, Ma.
15 Oct 1753 4x great grandmother Hannah Crowell was born at Yarmouth, Ma.

15 Oct 1728 &x great grandfather John Crowe died at Yarmouth , Ma



On This Date:
14 Oct 1663 10x great grandparents Jonathan Johnson & Mary Newton were married at Marlborough, Ma.
14Oct 1710 9x great grandmother Elizabeth (Holt) Farnham/Farnum, died in Andover, Ma.



On This Date:
13 Oct 1750 5x great grandparents Jonathan Barker & Abigail Mitchell were married at Haverhill. Ma.
13 Oct 1616 9x great grandparents Michael Metcalf & Sarah Elwyn were married at Waynham, England
13 Oct 1743 8x great grandfather Stephen Greenleaf died at Newbury, Ma
13 Oct 1746 &x great grandfather Robert Woodbury died at Beverly, Ma.
13 Oct 1771 6x great grandfather Samuel Haskell died at Harvard, Ma.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021



On This Date
12 Oct 1682 10x great grandfather Robert Adams died at Newbury, Ma.
12 Oct 1708 8x great grandmother Elizabeth (Jackson) West died at Beverly, Ma.
12 Oct 1639 11x great grandmother Isabella (Drake) Smith died at Watertown, Ma.


On This Day:

11 Oct 1670 8x great grandfather John Ames Sr. was born  at Andover, Ma.

11 Oct 1680 8x great grandparents Ephraim Stevens & Sarah Abbott were married at Andover, Ma.

Saturday, October 09, 2021



On This Date: 
9Oct 1639 9x great grandparents Richard Willis & Amy Glass were married at Bridgewater, Ma.
9 Oct 1685 8x great grandparents Ralph Farnham & Mary Sterling were married at Andover, Ma.

Friday, October 08, 2021



The photo is of the Elusive John Cutter West.

On This Date:
8 Oct 1802 3x great grandfather John Cutter West was born at (supposedly) Plymouth, Ma.
8 Oct 1739 6x great grandparents Jonathan Abbott & Martha Lovejoy were married at Andover, Ma.
8 Oct 1665 8x great grandparents Daniel Cheney & Sarah Bailey were married at Newburyport, Ma.
8 Oct 1715 8x great grandfather Thomas Tarbell died at Lexington, Ma.
May be an image of 1 person


Big list today
7 Oct 1621 8x great grandfather Nathaniel Stow was baptized at Biddenden, Kent, England
7 Oct 1898 grandmother Agnes McFarland was born in Boston, Ma.
7 Oct 1676 7x great grandfather Daniel Pierce was born at Woburn, Ma.
7 Oct 1712 7x great grandparents Stephen Greenleaf & Mary Mackres were married at Newburyport, Ma.
7 Oct 1698 7x great grandparents Thomas Safford & Eleanor Cheney were married at Ipswich, Ma.
7 Oct 1666 9x great grandfather Thomas Pierce died at Charlestown, Ma.
7 Oct 1688 9x great grandmother Elizabeth (Kendall) Eaton died at Reading, Ma.
7 Oct 1662 10 great grandfather Stephen Gates died at Lancaster, Ma.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2021


 On This Date:

4 Oct 1696 6x great grandmother Mary Carver was born at Plymouth, Ma.
4 Oct 1664 8x great grandmother Mary (Faunce) Harlow died at Plymouth, Ma.

Sunday, October 03, 2021



On This Date:
3 Oct 1742 5x great grandfather Amos Upton Jr. was born at Reading,Ma
3 Dec 1643 7x great grandmother Patience Barstow was born in Dedham, Ma.
3 Oct 1759 5x great grandparents Reuben Packard & Anne Perkins were married at North Bridgewater (now Brockton), Ma.
3 Oct 1803 4x great grandparents Stephen Moore & Miliie Davis were married at Waterford, Me.
3 Oct 1614 9x great grandparents Robert Long & Sarah Taylor were married at St. Albans, Herfordshire, England.
3 Oct 1689 9x great grandfather Edward Phelps died at Andover, Ma.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021



On This Date:
29 Sep 1657 9x great grandparents William Green & Mary Crispe were married at Groton, Ma.
29 Sep 1684 7x great grandparents John White & Eunice Wilder were married at Lancaster, Ma.
29 Sep 1648 8x great grandfather Lot Conant died at Beverly, Ma.
29 Sep 1856 5x great grandfather Joshua Greenleaf died at Mercer, Me.
29 Sep 1843 4x great grandmother Sally(Bancroft)Upton died at Albany, Oxford, Me.
29 Sep 1674 8x great grandmother Elizabeth(Walton)Conant died at Beverly, Ma.



On This Date:
28 Sep 1669 7x great grandfather Samuel Ayer was born at Haverhill Ma.
28 Sep 1673 8x great grandfather John Bumpus was born at Scituate, Ma.
28 Sep 1655 9x great grandmother Esther Ware was born at Dedham, Ma.
28 Sep 16539x great grandmother Mary Loker was born at Sudbury, Ma.
28 Sep 1721 6x great grandparents Richard Kelley & Susannah Hoyt were married at Newbury, Ma.
28 Sep 1659 9x great grandparents Samuel Woods & Alice Rushton were married at Cambridge, Ma
28 Sep 1730 6x great grandfather Amasa Dow died at Seabrook, NH.

Monday, September 27, 2021



On This Date:

27 Sep 1678 9x great grandparents Benjamin Rockwood & Judith Ellis were married at Medfield, Ma.
27 Sep 1660 9x great grandmother Mary (Wright) Sabin died at Rehoboth, Ma.
27 Sep 1730 7x great grandfather Joseph Keith died at West Bridgewater, Ma.

Friday, September 24, 2021



On This Date:
24 Sep 1609 10x great grandfather George Giddings was baptized at Clapford, Bedfordshire, England
24 Sep 1737 5x great grandfather Lot Spaulding was born at Chelmsford, Ma.
24 Sep 1734 7x great grandparents Daniel Boyden & Mehitabel Man were married at Dedham, Ma.
24 Sep 1678 8x great grandparents John Bancroft & Elizabeth Eaton were married at Lynn, Ma.
24 Sep 1723 7x great grandparents Samuel Griffeth & Eleanor Estey were married at Rochester, Ma.
24 Sep 1778 5x great grandmother Mary (Spaulding) Nutting died at Chelmsford, Ma.
24 Sep 1662 9x great grandfather John Whitcomb died at Lancaster, Ma

Thursday, September 23, 2021



One of those ironic days:my 5x great grandmother dying on the same day as my 3x great grandparents are marrying. They were from different sides of Dad's family so they wouldn't have known each other.
On This Date:
23 Sep 1868 great grandfather Philip John West was born in Upton, Me.
23 Sep 1827 3x great grandparents John Cutter West & Arvilla Ames were married at Sumner, Me.
23 Sep 1827 5x great grandmother Ruth(Safford) Haskell died at Waterford, Me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021



My only direct ancestor in our family to be executed for witchcraft died on this date in Salem, Ma.
On This Date:
22 Sep 1765 4x great grandmother Nancy Swan was born at Methuen, Ma.
22 Sep 1692 9x great grandmother Mary (Towne) Estey was executed as a witch in Salem Ma.
22 Sep 1679 9x great grandfather Robert Page died at Hampton, NH.
22 Sep 1654 8x great grandfather Simon Willard was appointed to lead an expedition against the Niantic Indians who were led by their sachem Ninigret

Monday, September 20, 2021



On This Date:
20 Sep 1684 6x great grandmother Mary Barrett was born at Chelmsford, Ma.
20 Sep 1675 7x great grandmother Hannah Challis was born at Salisbury, Ma.
20 Sep 1654 8x great grandmother Elizabeth Gerrish was born at Newbury, Ma.
20 Sep 1870 2x great grandparents Patrick J White & Mary Powers were married at Boston, Ma.
20 Sep 1657 10x great grandmother Hannah (Carter) Green died at Woburn, Ma.

Thursday, September 16, 2021



On This Date:
16 Sep 1663 7x great grandfather Nathaniel Stow was born at Concord, Ma.
16 Sep 1672 8x great grandmother Martha Ward was born at Salem, Ma.
16 Sep 1687 7x great grandfather Mark Haskell was born at Gloucester, Ma.
16 Sep 1769 4x great grandmother Esther Spaulding was born at Pelham, NH
16 Sep 1684 7x great grandparents John Wetherbee & Lydia Moore married at Stow, Ma.
16 Sep 1676 10x great grandmother Dionis (Stevens) Coffindied at Nantucket, Ma.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


 On This Date:
14 Sep 1697 8x great grandfather Isaac Morse was born at Sherborn, Ma.
14 Sep 1711 5x great grandmother Deborah Barrows was born at Plymouth, Ma.

Monday, September 13, 2021



8 ancestors got married and another one was killed by Indians.
On This Date:
13 Sep 1674 6x great grandfather Joshua Swan was born at Methuen, Ma.
13 Sep 1735 6x great grandparents John Safford & Martha Haskell were married at Ipswich, Ma.
13 Sep 1764 6x great grandparents Hezekiah Boyden & Elizabeth Green were married at Worcester, Ma.
13 Sep 1666 10x great grandparents Thomas Larkin & Elizabeth Remington were married at Charlestown, Ma.
13 Sep 1657 9x great grandparents Robert Thornton & Mary Dowling were married in Boston, Ma.
13 Sep 1850 4x great grandfather Asa Barrows died at Woodstock, Me.
13 Sep 1692 9x great grandfather James Blood died at Groton, Ma., killed by Indians.

Sunday, September 12, 2021


 On This Day:
12 Sep 1771 5x great grandmother Hannah Williamson was born at Pownalborough, Me.

12 Sep 1633 9x great grandparents John Barnes & Mary Plummer were married at Plymouth, Ma.

12 Sep 1655 10x great grandmother Remember (Allerton) Maverick died Marblehead, Ma.
12 Sep 1706 8x great grandfather Thomas Sawyer died at Lancaster, Ma.
12 Sep 1725 7x great grandfather John White died at Lancaster, Ma.
12 Sep 1715 7x great grandmother Abigail Dexter died at Yarmouth, Ma.

Friday, September 10, 2021


 On This Date:
10 Sep 1778 4x great grandparents Amos Hastings & Elizabeth Wiley were married at Haverhill, Ma.

10 Sep 1694 8x great grandfather Daniel Cheney died at Newbury, Ma
10 Sep 1696 8x great grandfather Samuel Davis died at Haverhill, Ma.
10 Sep 1731 8x great grandfather Eleazer Green died at Groton, Ma.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021


On This Date:
8 Sep 1662 8x great grandmother Elizabeth Eaton was born at Reading, Ma.
8 Sep 1651 9x great grandfather Benjamin Rockwood was born at Medfield, Ma.
 8 Sep 1624 10x great grandparents George Bunker & Judith Major were married at Odell, Bedfordshire, England

8 Sep 1677 9x great grandfather Thomas Low died at Ipswich, Ma.
8 Sep 1684 9x great grandfather Elias Maverick died at Charlestown, Ma.
8 Sep 1691 8x great grandfather Mark Haskell died at Gloucester, Ma.


Friday, September 03, 2021


 On This Day:
3 Sep 1691  6x great grandfather John Hastings was born at Haverhill, Ma
3 Sep 1707 6x great grandmother Abigail Thorne was born at Salisbury, Ma.
3 Sep 1734 9x great grandmother Esther (Ware) Man died at Wrentham, Ma.

Thursday, September 02, 2021


On this date in family history:

2 Sep 1691 6x great grandfather John Hastings was born at Haverhill, Ma.
2 Sep 1688 8x great grandfather John Adams was born at Lexington, Ma.

2 Sep 1939 great grandfather Edward J White died at Boston, Ma.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021



On This Date in Family History:
1 Sep 1791 4x great grandmother Amata Greenleaf was born at Mercer, Me.
1 Sep 1687 7x great grandfather Jonathan Abbott was born at Andover, Ma.
1 Sep 1713 7x great grandmother Mehitabel Man was born at Wrentham, Ma.
1 Sep 1655 8x great grandparents Thomas Mitchell & Mary Moulton were married at Malden, Ma.
1 Sep 1638 10x great grandparents Joseph Morse & Hannah Phillips were married at Dedham, Ma.
1 Sep 1709 8x great grandfather Thomas Mitchell died at Charlestown, Ma
1 Sep 1746 8x great grandmother Abigail (Stanley) Estey died at Topsfield Ma

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 In 1862 the last of three children and two grandchildren of John Cutter West and Arvilla (Ames)  died during a diphtheria outbreak in  Letter B Plantation in Oxford County Maine. It started with the death of their daughter in law Orpha Viette Reynolds West who died on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31st, 1861. She was 19 years old, and she was the first wife of my 2x great grandfather Jonathan Phelps West. They'd been married two months.

Then Jonathan and Arvilla's younger children began to die:

David Pingree West died on Jan. 17th , 1862. He was eight years old, the youngest of the
eleven children, and was mentally handicapped.

Ruth Ellen West died on Jan. 26th. She was ten.

16 year old Arvilla Electa West died on Feb. 6th.

Older brother Asa Atwood West had married and started his own family on his
farm in neighboring Andover, Maine. He lost two children to the outbreak:

8 year old Arvilla died on Feb. 18th.

2 year old Anna Pearl on Feb. 20th.

I don't know if the rest of the older sons and daughters came down with diphtheria as
well, but if they did they recovered because they all lived into the 20th century. Jonathan
Phelps West remarried which is why I am here telling this story. John Cutter West died on
July 24 1862 at age 60. Whether his death was caused by poor health after diphtheria
I do not know.

Emil Behring discovered a vaccine for diphtheria in 1913.

And every time I read an argument against childhood vaccination shots, I think of my 3x
great grandmother Arvilla West, and how grateful she'd have been for something that
might have saved her children and grandchildren.

Friday, August 06, 2021


((First posted in 2912))


Recently has been posting online  the Maine State
Archives Collections 1790-1966, including the  Court Records. So I
began searching them for any cases that might involve my ancestors,
which is how I found the following case involving my 3x great grandfather
John Cutter West:

Adams et al v West No.604

John M. Adams  George F .Shepley  and Asa W. F. Clap all of Portland in the
County of Cumberland gentleman doing business at said under the firm name
and style of Proprietors Eastern Argus Plaintiffs v. John West of Upton in the
County of Oxford Yeoman Defendant-In a plea of the case for that the said
Defendant at Letter B to wit at said Paris on the day of the purchase of this
writ being indebted to the Plantiffs in  the sum of Ten dollars and Sixty
three cents according to the account annexed in consideration thereof
there and then promised the Plaintiffs to pay them that sum on demand.~

And also for that the said Defendant at Letter B to wit at said Paris on the
twenty-seventh day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight-
hundred and fifty-seven by his promisery note of that date by him signed
for value received promised one John Appleton & Co. to pay them or bearer
the sum of Twenty-four dollars  on demand and interest, and the said John
Appleton and Company thereafterwards on the same day transferred and
delivered the said note then and still unpaid to the Plaintiff who thereby
became the lawful bearer thereof; by reason whereof the Defendant
became liable, and in consideration thereof, then and there, promised
the Plaintiff to pay him the contents of the said note according to the terms

Yet the said Defendant, though requested, has not paid the same, but
neglects so to do, to the damage of the said Plaintiffs (as they say) the
sum of
Seventy-five dollars. This action was entered at the present term
when the Plaintiffs appeared but the Defendant though called to come
into Court,does not appear, but makes default.

It is therefore considered by the court that the said Plaintiffs recover
against the said Defendant the sum of
Forty-one dollars and eleven cents
debt or damage, and costs of suit, taxed at
Ten dollars and Eighty-one

Execution issued, November 27, 1861~
Supreme Judicial Court records vol 09 Nov 1861-Nov 1862

So apparently my ancestor John Cutter West initially borrowed  $10.63
from John Appleton and agreed to pay him back $24 which seems steep
interest. Then Appleton sold my ancestor's  promisory note to the Eastern
Argus Company. (which seems sort of shady to me.) This took place on
May 27th, 1857 and the debt remained unpaid  by November of 1861
when the owners of the Eastern Argus Company brought the debt to
court. John West didn't appear to answer the suit against him so he lost
by default.

The Court Records aren't indexed yet so I browsed through Vol9 until
I found this and as I did I saw case after similar case. They were
so common that they are recorded on a form, the top being blank
where the particulars of the case are written and the judgement written
in the blanks of the preprinted section on the bottom.(I've used my
usual boldface font to denote the preprinted part.)

Oxford County Maine is in the western part of the state and the primary
industries there in the nineteenth century were farming and logging.
It was not uncommon in those days for farmers to borrow money to
buy seed or equipment and pay the money back after harvesting their
crops. But if the weather was bad or some other disaster befell them
they might not be able to pay off the debt right away. I believe that
must have been the case with my ancestor.

I don't know when or if John Cutter West paid off the note.The court
decision was handed down in November of 1861. Shortly after that
a diphtheria epidemic broke out and John would lose three children,
three grandchildren, and a daughter-in-law to the disease by the end
of February 1862. John himself died the following June.. If John
didn't pay off the debt himself, then my 2x great grandfather
Jonathan Phelps West probably did.

So the next time you are worrying abut how you are going to pay the
bills, look at it as something you probably have in common with your

Saturday, July 31, 2021



John Cutter West

Continuing the story, my ancestor John C West was lost on a frozen lake in Maine
in a snowstorm with his friends Enoch Abbott and  Joseph Chase. When Chase
decided to lay down and take a nap, my 3x great grandfather took drastic measures:

"West applied the brad, then laid his
goad the length of his back, at the same
time in  peremptory tones commanding
him to get up and walk or he would take
his pelt. Chase with a temper at fever
heat leaped from his recumbent position
and for a few minutes a fierce fisticuff
ensued. Chase was by this time well
roused and after due explanations peace
was restored and they resumed their

They soon came to more fresh tracks
when West ordered  halt,  "Now," said
he "we have all this time been playing
fool We are beyond a doubt traveling
in a circle like all bewildered people.
These cattle know their way and can
keep their course much better than we
can. Now I propose to turn them loose
and let them take the lead. They are
tired and hungry and will make the near-
est habitation." All agreed and the poor
tired creatures were soon set at liberty.
The master ox belonging to West with
a low cow bossy call to the others start-
ed off followed by the entire herd.

As it proved the ox knew best. On
they plodded for a half hour or more,
when the leader began toi low and quick-
en his pace.  "Good!" exclaimed West,
"we are near some habitation. Old Star
never tells lies."

Anon they found themselves in Joe
Stone's dooryard. Joe hearing the low
of the oxen came out to bid then wel-
come. The house though small would
accommodate the men but how about
the oxen. A small log hovel for his cow
was all the out-house he possessed. A
stack of hay stood near the hovel to
which the oxen made way. Joe
came out, mounted the hove, thence the
haystack, undid the fastenings at the
top and completely buried the oxen in
hay. "There." said he, " they are all
right for to-night, now for supper."

After a hearty supper of moose and
deer steak, they looked to their oxen to
find them all resting on the soft hay,
each ox beside his mate. Next morning
the cattle made their way to the sleds,
were yoked and sped for home."

Friday, July 30, 2021


 ((First posted in 2007))

I've posted about this incident before but never actually transcribed the article
until now. It's about my3x great grandfather and two friends, Enoch Abbott and
Joseph Chase lost in a snowstorm in northwestern Maine. As we just weathered
the Blizzard of 2015 here in Massachusetts, I thought this was appropriate:

Oxford County Advertiser, Friday, February 3, 1905

The Value of a Compass
by Mark Tapley

We have often admonished people
 who frequent the unbroken forests, espec-
ially those unaccustomed to hunting and
camping,  of the safety in having a pocket
compass, which can be obtained at the
cost of a few cents, and may ofttimes
save the possessor much trouble and
even save a life. We are cognizant of sev-
eral instances where people even old
foresters have become bewildered, in
which case they can always travel in a circle,
and were saved by the instinct of domes-
tic animals, which is seldom at fault.

It was some sixty years ago, before
the Berlin Mills Company monopolized
the timber throughout the Lake country,
that Enoch Abbott, John West, and  Jo-
seph Chase, three prominent citizens of
Upton, then known as Letter B, started
one fine winter's morning each with two
pairs of stalwart oxen laden with hay
and bound for the loggers' camp sit-
uated on the Swift Diamond stream, a
tributary of the Magalloway river. The
sledding was fine and the teams in good
heart. They arrived at their destination
and disposed of their loads before noon.

At one o'clock they started for home
but long before they reached the lake
the sky became overcast and soon devel-
oped into a a thick northeasterly snow
storm. The old track was soon obscured
and the blinding storm completely ob-
scured the distant shore. But on they
drove thinking to reach the opposite
shore before dark. Every few minutes
fresh tracks were discerned in the dim
twilight. These they thought to be part
of the old track leading off the lake.
This would give the fresh courage and
serve to quicken their pace. Darkness
came on and still no signs of land.

Chase began to lag behind but finally
caught up with his sled, threw himself
down complaining of drowsiness and
concluded to take a nap. The others
well knew this to betoken the sleep that
knows no waking, so they combined to
rouse him if possible. But shaking and
warning  of the impending danger was of
no avail. So like the old man with the
saucy boy in the apple tree they resorted
to force.

To be continued, like all good cliffhangers.

Monday, July 26, 2021


 (The following was originally posted back in 2012 under the title "A New Clue In Deed")


More and more records are coming online that are of use to genealogists and
family historians. The other night cousin Chris Dunham sent me an email to let
me know about the Oxford County Eastern District Registry of Deeds website.
Oxford County Maine is where my West and associated families moved to from
Massachusetts back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Chris also included the following image. 

As Chris wrote:
"I'm not sure how deeply you've delved into Oxford County deeds, but I found
a record showing that John C. West lived in Boston before coming to Canton
and marrying Arvilla Ames.

I've attached the deed from book 36, page 540, by which Elisha Turner of Peru
sold to "John West of Boston City, State of Massachusetts, Blacksmith," and Elisha
W. Thomas of Minot, blacksmith, land in Canton with a blacksmith shop on it on
16 Jan. 1827.

In book 35, page 474, Elisha W. Turner of Canton quitclaims his share of this 

property to "John West of Canton in the County of Oxford aforesaid Blacksmith" 
on 17 May 1827.

This shows that John settled in Canton in the late winter or spring of 1827—at least
four months before marrying Arvilla. Just to establish that this was the same John
West (the records don't always give his middle initial), a deed on page 542 of book
36 has John C. West of Canton, blacksmith, selling to John B. Douglas of Letter B
the same land and blacksmith shop in Canton. This was on 9 Dec. 1831. The deed 

has his wife Arvilla relinquishing her right of dower in the property."

Now this is the first time I've seen any document that has John Cutter West living
anywhere in Massachusetts other than Plymouth.  I don't know yet if John was related
somehow to either Turner or Thomas but how else would he know two blacksmiths
from Maine when he was living in Boston? The only other answer I can think of is
that perhaps they were apprentices together with another blacksmith and they decided
to set themselves up in business together in Maine.  Perhaps if I find an answer I can
break down the John Cutter West brick wall.

I went to the website and found quite a few records concerning my West family. Most
of them involve my 2x great granduncles Hiram F and Asa A West, but there are others
with transactions made by my 2x great grandmother Louisa A Richardson West and 3x
great grandmother Arvilla Ames West.  I checked this afternoon and there are also
many records involving my Ellingwood family, and I've still Richardson, Coburn, Ames,
and Barker lines to search for as well. It costs .50 cents to download a record but I plan
to go through them before I select what I want. I've already got 7 records for the sum
of $3.50!

Thanks, Chris for help and the heads up!

BTW,if you have Maine roots, be sure to visit Chris' Maine Genealogy Network page!