Wednesday, February 17, 2021


 My sister Cheryl and I have a plan to photograph covered bridges and lighthouses as a way to get out and about during these Covid-19 days. We wear our masks and social distance from others, and because of travel restrictions we are limited to just Massachusetts at the moment. But it's a few hours out of her house and my apartment and we enjoy each other's company

We started last fall and so far we've seen more lighthouses than bridges. We took five weeks off because of the weather and the holidays, but last week we rode up to the north of Boston and visited lighthouses in two towns, Newburyport and Salem. Both  towns are places where our ancestors lived.

Newburyport Front Range Lighthouse  was our first stop and here it became evident that winter was going to make photographing it a bit difficult. When we found a parking lot with a view of it our view was partially blocked by a snow bank.

From a Google search I found out the Front Range light is a bit squat. So maybe we can get back in the warmer weather and get a better view.


We'd passed  by a brick building with a square tower attached to it when we'd entered the parking lot. Cheryl thought it looked like a lighthouse, so we took some photos.


 When we got home Cheryl looked it up online and discovered it was indeed the Newburyport Rear Range Lighthouse. It's maintained by the Lighthouse Preservation Society, and you can make reservations to dine at the top of the lighthouse. You can find out about that at the Society's website.

Next, we moved on to Salem.


Sunday, February 14, 2021


((This was first posted on 7Jul 2008. It's a nice story with probably a
little truth to it, but true or not it makes a good Valentine's Day story)).

I mentioned in my previous post about John Prescott that
there is a romantic (and probably romanticized) story about
his son Jonas Prescott's courtship of Mary Loker. I've found it
recounted in several different books on Google Books, and
while I'm not entirely sure it's true, it does make for another
interesting family tale.

The story is that Jonas and Mary fell in love but her parents
John Loker and Mary Draper had other plans for their
daughter. They wanted her to marry a lawyer, a man of
prospects, not the son of a blacksmith who was following his
father in the family trade and they forbade Mary from any
more contact with Jonas. One version told by Caleb Butler in
"The History of the Town of Groton" says the Lokers even
went so far as to install gratings on the windows of her room
and would lock her inside if Jonas was nearby. But even this
drastic measure didn't stand in the way of love:

"He (Jonas) took opportunities when the cold wind blew
and the
pelting storm raged when no listener could overhear
the soft
whispering of true lovers to place himself beneath
her grated window and
there enjoy sweet communion
with his dearly beloved ."

But eventually Mary's parents found out about this trickery.
Perhaps Jonas' idea of a whisper in a storm was a bit too loud?
At any rate, Mary's parents next decided to send her away to
a secluded village so Jonas could not find her while they looked
for a more suitable prospect for Mary's hand in marriage.
They sent her off to the small frontier town of Chockset which
is now Sterling, Massachusetts.

Jonas searched for Mary until one day while traveling near
Chockset he met some men of his own age and asked if they
knew of any pretty girls in the area. They told him there was
a quilting and a dance that night in Chockset and invited him
to come along.

You can see where this is going, I bet!

Jonas found Mary Loker and they continued to meet in secret
for some time until her parents once more found them out.
Mary's stubborn insistence that she would never marry any
man but Jonas Prescott at last forced her parents to give in,
although they did so with the angry condition that they would
provide no dowry for the bride. Legend says that the young
couple set up their household with so few essentials that
Mary used a large hollowed out pumpkin shell for a washpot!

I'm a bit skeptical about that pumpkin part but I think the
opposition of the Lokers to Jonas Prescott pressing his suit for
their daughter might have some truth to it. After all, although
Jonas' father John was well off, he was not exactly in the good
graces of the Puritan government, and the Lokers might have
had their hearts set on young Mary marrying someone who
could eventually rise to a position of power. Ironically, the
Prescotts eventually became one of Massachusetts' most
distinguished families.

I am descended from Elizabeth Prescott b 23Jan 1676,
d. 18Mar 1744.

She married Eleazer Green about 1694 or 1695. Their daughter
Elizabeth married John Ames(Eames), and their descendant
Arvilla Ames married my ancestor John Cutter West

Saturday, February 06, 2021



It's the 42nd anniversary of the Blizzard of `78. I was house sitting in Abington for my sister and brother in law who were on a trip in Maine at the time. The Blizzard started in NY on Feb 5 but didn't hit this part of Mass. until midmorning on the the 6th. I was a garment worker at Collegetown in Avon at the time and they sent us home around noon, I think. My usual route home was a straight shot down Rte 139 east through Holbrook and it usually took about 15-30 minutes depending on the traffic. But on that day it was backed up from the hill at Holbrook Square. The road was already slippery and cars were having trouble getting traction. I was driving a Chevy pickup back then which my Dad had advised me to fill the truck bed with sand. So when I got to the hill I moved slowly and there was enough weight in the truck to give me traction. I passed several cars who were stuck. Still, the ride back to the house took over an hour in the driving snow.
That's the most vivid memory I have of the whole thing. I remember there was no electricity for a day or so but the house had a fireplace and I cooked hot dogs there. I walked to the convenience store in North Abington Center and bought some milk and junk food. When the power came back on I ate dinner one night with my brother in law's Mom who lived next door and shoveled her car out for her. Most of the rest of the next few days have faded in my memory. My sister and brother in law came home and I went home to Marshfield. 
Oddly enough, my memory of the April Fool's Day Blizzard of 1997 is mostly about driving home from work in Taunton in that storm.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

ONCE MORE INTO THE GENE POOL is out with new Ethnicity Estimates and once again mine shows changes. 


This time the pie chart shows three larger segments and two smaller. They break down like this:





At one point I had four smaller segments but the ones for Spain and Norway have vanished.  I admit that  only two percent for Germanic Europe puzzles me since my Mom had German grandparents. But The large segments for English, Scots and Irish ancestry jives with the paper trail for my family history.
What's new is the additional classifications of my New England settler ancestors:




Again, the locales match up with what I know about my family and the documents I have found over the years.

While the Ethnicity Estimates are always interesting, I don't take them as the final word and view them as a helpful tool