Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The day was also hot in terms of discoveries and accomplishments. I started by visiting Scituate harbor and walking the rocks near the lighthouse. The ocean was a bit rough but smelled of salt and seaweed. I would have stayed longer but, you guessed it, it was hot.
I found the Men of Kent cemetery in Scituate (early settlers were from Kent, England). Here was the grave of Rev. Jeremiah Cushing (7gg), one of Scituate's early ministers. He graduated from Harvard in 1676 (the college was established to provide the new world with ministers). His wife was located across the cemetery nex to her second husband. Her stone reads: "Here lyes the body of Hannah Barker wife to John Barker formerly the wife of Mr. Jeremiah Cushing, departed this life May the 30th 1710 in the 46th year of her age." This is very typical wording. At least she was called wife and not "relict" as many of the women are.
I then drove to Hingham, MA. In Hingham 60 years ago, my father asked for my mother's hand in marriage. If only he would have realized he had the support (albeit in the ground) from 8 generations of Cushings and Lorings in Hingham, he might have been less nervous. I made my way to the historical society where they had a fabulous history of the town with many of the early settler genealogies. The Cushing and Loring lines now go back 9-10 generations with their voyages to America in 1634 and 1638. In addition, several Cushing and Loring homes still exist. The town placed plaques on the homes with the name of the original inhabitant and the date built. They then provide a map so you can locate the homes. For us, this included Daniel Cushing's home at 209 Main Street, built in 1690. The homes are wonderfully care for and you can picture what the town must have looked like 325 years ago.
Then it was on to Attleboro, MA (just outside Providence, RI). I had two cemeteries to find - one huge and one tiny. I couldn't find either. Fiona (the GPS lady) gave up in Attleboro, spending the afternoon in total confusion muttering to herself. I finally asked a policeman who was sitting outside a cemetery in which I had no interest. He informed me that I was in S. Attleboro. He gave me directions to N. Attleboro and the large cemetery. He had never heard of the small one. I arrived at Mt. Hope Cemetery about 3:30 and was overwhelmed. This facility is 20-30 acres and more than 4,000 graves. I was looking for 2 - Oliver and Mary Blackinton. What I did know was that the stones had been moved from the Old Kirk Cemetery in the mid-1800s to make room for train tracks. My assumption was that there would be a grouping of the old stones that had been moved, distinctive in shape and material from newer ones. I was right. There were groups of old stones - all over the cemetery mixed in with all the new ones. Finally on the west fence, I found our gggggg grandparents. I also found their son Oliver Jr. who died one year before his father. As it turns out (revisiting the wills and probate records), Oliver Jr was the insolvent one noted in the blog a few days ago. It was his father who left everyone with generous legacies (both estates were probated at nearly the same time). Oliver Jr's untimely death and lack of solvency may explain why Oliver Sr. made such specific legacies to grandchildren. Some were probably Oliver Jr's children.
OK - 4 graves down, 2 to do. Examining the paper map, I figured I had nothing to lose so headed north looking for a particular confluence of streets. Suddenly, there was the Old Hatch Burying ground on a small peninsula of land three steps up from the sidewalk. This cemetery only had about 40 graves - including Pentecost Blackinton and his wife Rebeccah (parents of Oliver) and Penecost's mother Mary. It is amazing how long lived many of our relatives were - 78, 88,93.
A side note - Pam Baker asked me about the stones since some seem so well preserved. Most of the gravestones are, amazingly, original. Slate provides the best engraving surface and are very durable but it has a tendency to split over the years. Most of the stones from the 1600s and 1700s are slate so survive. Granite is the most durable but didn't come into common use until the 1800s. Forget marble - the engraving just washes away. That being said, today it appeared that Oliver's stone was probably original but his wife's was definitely a replacement (not the high quality carving). The original was probably damaged when the stones were moved. Pentecost, Mary, Rebeccah, Jeremiah, and Hannah's stones were obviously original and worn around the edges.
Finally, I drove through (and around via Fiona) Providence, RI during rush hour, making Mystic, CT about 6:30. I am tired but it was a good day. Probably off to Stonington tomorrow morning before conference calls with clients in the afternoon.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Finally, I will make my way to Mystic, CT for this week and the Labor Day weekend. My motel room will have to do triple duty as a base for some fun time on the beach, some Peabody and Coats searching in Stonington, and some paid work. Yes, my Minnesota clients can't live without me so I have a couple of grants to write in the next 3 weeks. Good for the pocketbook and my ever present need to learn balance in my life.
Cynthia and Doug have been marvelous hosts. Hopefully, I haven't worn out my welcome. There is much more family information to be mined in the Boston area.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
My day of research was a mixed bag. Made some good confirmations on the Richardson family but struck out on anything new for Tukey origins. I have a real mess going with the Doles and Brocklebacks (new family members as of this week). The two families marry in the 1700s but I am having problems aligning the Rowley and Newbury vital statistics records to the probate and land records. Can't decide if there are 3 generations of Samuel Doles after William Dole and before Sarah or just two, one of whom married twice. Also if Mary Brockleback married in 1684 then she can't have been born in 1707 - duh - I hate gaps in the records or just that fact that I can't locate the correct records.
Robinsons are split between MA and ME plus there are a lot of them. No luck finding all the correct links from John. NO luck at all finding Cries although there are quite a few Rayners (Jane Rayner Crie's middle name) north of Boston. I'm just unable to hook up the right connection.
I will be sorry to leave the NEHGS behind but I need a couple of days to let things gel. Tomorrow is a chore day with set up for the cemeteries I want to visit in Hingham and Scituate on Tuesday. Doug, Cynthia and I had a nice dinner out tonight. The glass of wine I had has made me sleepy so I think I will snag my book and crash. Night all!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Back to the Blackintons. Our first ancestor in the line is now Pentecost Blackinton, Sr. He was probably born in the mid-1600s. He died in 1715. His will plus a land deed nicely name is wife (Mary) and 3 children (Pentecost Jr, Benjamin, and Elizabeth). His son, Pentecost Jr., must have been born in the latter quarter of the 17th century since he was married by 1717 and died in 1744. Upon his death, his wife Rebeccah is left with sons Pentecost III, George and John, daughters Rebeccah, Anne, and Mary and 3 sons under the age of 14 requiring a guardian - Othaniell, Peter and Oliver. There seems to be a fair amount of land amassed as there are a plethora of land transactions throughout Pentecost Jr's life and so the family survives.
Oliver overcomes a chaotic childhood and marries Mary Whipple in the 1750s. He dies in 1810. He leaves a generous will in which he names his beloved wife Mary, son Oliver, grandchildren Charlotte, Eliza, Esther, Caroline, Ellis and Samuel, and a daughter - yes! - Olive Richardson. It is so nice that he includes her married name. Now although he has provided handsomely for everyone, he is insolvent and can't pay his bills. Letters go out to creditors including 2 Richardsons - members of his daughter's family-in-law.
For the moment, the story ends here. since both Oliver and Olive were adults when Oliver Sr dies, I imagine they took care of their mother for the last 10 years of her life. Who knows if the grandchildren ever received any inheritance bu most of them would also have been adults by 1810. George Richardson (son of Henry R and Olive B) and wife Lovicy Robbins would likely have been in Maine at this point before making their way to Michigan in the 1830s.
One more day of research remains at the NEHGS before my visit to Boston ends Tuesday morning. I know I won't get everything finished. I will definitely need a return trip!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Deeds and quasi-probate information pushed the Dole lineage back 3 generations. Samuel Jr was tied to Samuel Sr., Samuel Sr to his widowed mother Mary and deceased father William plus Mary names her father in an additional document - Samuel Brocklebanks. Yea!!
On the Dodge side, I firmly nailed down the Phineas-John-Phineas-Wm Bradford lineage through probate records. There are lots of Phineases and Johns so to straighten them out and clearly identify who belongs to whom through a combination of records is very satisfying.
Tomorrow and Saturday will be more of the same. At least the 4 day monsoon is over so I walked to the train and library in sunshine before disappearing into the microfilm cave. Off to bed - I am tired.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Samuel Dole's will is one of the very pleasant ones to read. here are some inventory evaluations that you should enjoy. The spelling is theirs, not mine.)
- funeral charges 83.45
- soal leather and calfskin 4.25
- one ox waggon 26.00
- 2 ox sleds 7.00
- chissels 2.20
- 8 pair pillow cases 7.00
- suit of curtains 3.00
- 3 yards of low cloth .50
- 32 table cloths 49.00
- 34 chairs 21.86 (don't we wish we had a few of these now)
- 2 pair brass headed fire shovel and tongs 1.75
- 5 pair linen sheets 35.00
- 51 plates 2.49
- tar and barrel .59
- spooling wheel, swift, shuttles, temples and blocks 2.00
- payment of the bond and letter of guardianship for his minor child 1.10 (cheap lawyer)
Plus 3 more pages of household goods, debts and real estate. Obviously Mr. Dole was well off. We also discover his wife's name is Hanna, he has a son James, and 3 daughters (including our Sarah who marries Wm Bradford Dodge), and the will is being probated on May 24, 1808.
A more difficult document to read is an agreement of Indenture. In this paper, Mathew Soley and Henry Phillips agree that Mathew will pay the value of $150 pounds to pay off a purchase of land. Henry's wife Mary is in agreement with this document. There is more than a page of great explanation about fields, bulls, pump yards, upper and lower parts of the chimney and a multitude of other contingencies that will take me a week to decipher. In addition, the two families agree to create a permanent path to Samuel Ward's Alley that they all can use for the carrying of wood and such without regard to which yard they have to cross. Each family will own half the arbor bordering the path. Date: 20 June 1675. Very interesting but a lot of wok to get one confirmation that Henry's wife's name is Mary.
More of such fun tomorrow!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I arrived at the NEHGS at 9:25 prepared to locate and read an article that Barbara Shea had seen referenced to and that I had on my list of "search fors" from this spring. The article was by Gilbert Titcomb written about 20 years ago on the origins and parents of John Tukey. Finally, I thought, we will get some answers. Instead we have soap opera.
At the opening curtain we find Smith and Thankfull Woodward being married in June 1691, in Dorchester, MA. Little Sarah Woodward arrives in Sept. of the same year. Over the years, the Woodward family grows to include Thankfull (1693), Mary (1695), Deliverance (1697), Abigaill (1699), Hannah (1700), John (1702), Submit (1704), and Joseph (1709). All the children with strange names are girls. (We have town and church records for all of these blessings).
Act 2 - it is 1710 and Sarah marries Ebenezer Scott. They have three daughters - Sarah, Anna, and Mary. Ebenezer, exhausted by the effort, dies in 1717. Needing someone to care for her and the girls, Sarah marries for the second time - to John Tookey in 1718. (We have records for the children's births, Ebenezer's death and Sarah's 2nd marriage). Now there is a hole because we find that Sarah marries a 3rd time in Dec. 1724. Mr. Titcomb and others assume that a) John Tookey died by 1724 and b) that Sarah had a son - John Tookey/Tukey Jr about 1722. Please note that there are NO records of his birth or baptism and NO probate records for John's death - but researchers so far seem to be able to make the leap of faith that both the death and birth happened.
In Act 3, Sarah marries husband #3 - William Weeks. There is a marriage record for them in Dorchester, MA and Sarah is listed as "Sarah Weeks" in her father's will. In Dec. of 1727, William and Sarah moved to Chebeague Island, ME and then to Portland/Falmouth, ME in 1744 - magically the year in which John Tukey also arrives (presumably with his mother and step-father) in Portland. Meanwhile, William and Sarah have added little William, Lemuel, Abigail, Esther and Ann to the growing family.
Amazingly, the Weeks family purchased half a lot of land in Falmouth from - you guessed it - Benjamin Sweetser. Thus the two families lived next door to each other. Conveniently (for our readers), William Weeks dies in 1749 as does Constance Row - Benjamin Sweetser's wife. Between the two families there are at least 15 children so the obvious solution is - Sarah marries for the 4th time to - Benjamin Sweetser. Thus Benjamin's daughter Abigail and Sarah's son John (whom we have not proven she had) were step siblings and eventually married. And as the curtain comes down on "As the Stomach Turns" - this makes our ever popular Sarah John's mother AND mother-in-law.
I agree with Mr. Titcomb, the logic is there and Sarah probably is John's mother and therefore John probably was born in Massachusetts - but I would really like to find a birth records. Can't wait for tomorrow.
Monday, August 23, 2010
It was interesting to find out how much contact the Pilgrims had with:
a) the Native Americans - many of whom spoke English because there had been ongoing contact with vessels since 1500. In fact, the Pilgrims built their village on top of a former Wampanoague village that had been decimated by European diseases.
b) Fisherman from England. I pictured the Pilgrims stuck in Massachusetts alone for years on end. No - the fishing areas near Great Britain had been fished out so vessels regularly came to America to fish. This regular contact gave the Pilgrims a regular method for communicating with their investors in England.
c) Representatives from Jamestown regularly came up to visit the Pilgrims, exchanging knowledge and political strategies. Who knew???
I also found out the 17th/18th century definition of yeoman. In several of our ancestors' wills, they refer to themselves as yeoman. For me, this has always indicated a working person so it didn't make sense that someone would indicate this distinction in a will. As it turns out, a yeoman is a land owner. This was a huge status symbol and accomplishment for the new emigrants who, in a class society like England, would never have the opportunity to be more than a tenant. - Lots of other little details, but I won't bore you.
Below are two photos of the Plymouth Plantation Meeting House. This facility served as the seat for governance with church pews and pulpit on first floor and housed the canons for defence on the second floor. In one building - it is a interesting juxtaposition of government-religion-military all under one roof. I will keep any references to George Bush to myself.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Doug and I took off about 11:15 for Rockport, a lovely small town north of Salem. Doug and Cynthia used to take their girls there to play on the sand beaches and climb the rock boulder jetties. We just went for the ambiance and the views. We had a good seafood lunch then drove north of town to Halibut Point State Park. The park is on the site of an old granite quarry next to the ocean. There is a half mile walking path around the rim with various informational points. The views to the ocean were fabulous. Even in the rain you could see to southern Maine.
We then headed to Beverly and the cemetery site I couldn't find on Friday. I had done some exploring on Google Maps and had a better idea of the access point. We found a narrow blacktopped driveway between houses off Dodge Row and sure enough - there was the small Dodge Row Cemetery sitting in a field. Only 84 graves but still mowed and maintained. It obviously began its life as a family plot on farm land.
Poor Doug was a really good sport helping search for Phineas and Martha Edwards Dodge (grandparents of the Phineas and Lucy Dodge located in the Rowley Cemetery on Friday). The rain came down harder but he gamely read names and wandered into the bushes for a few obscure stones. Obviously, the non-Dodges or poorer relations were relegated to the exterior. We finally found the stones we were looking for. We had to scrape a lot of lichen off of Martha's stone but it was there and readable. Ah the joys of having a genealogist come to visit.
We took pictures of several more stones just because they were old and we KNOW they are related - just don't know how. Then home, an eclectic dinner with Emily and nap for Doug who has to go back out at 9:45 to retrieve Cynthia after her week long Vancouver conference.
Tomorrow I am off to Plymouth!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The wills and assorted documents are a wealth of information. Here are some tidbits from Benjamin Sr.:
- He gives his two best friends each a pair of gloves.
- His wife Abigail is to have the hall and small parlor of the house, the cellar, 1/2 the household goods, all the plate and month, all the cows, and part of the orchard.
- His sons Benjamin and Samuel are to split the farm.
- His grandson Joseph receives 1/2 acre of pasture plus 10 pounds on his 20th ad 22nd birthdays - 18 years hence.
- His daughter Abigail is to receive 50 pounds (paid by her brothers) and 50 pounds in 6 years (again paid by the brothers). She also gets 13 of the household goods.
- Benjamin, Samuel and Seth (sons) receive 5 pounds per year.
- Wigglesworth (the youngest son) gets 80 pounds paid by the older brothers.
- The sons in law, Stimpson and Wheeler, are to receive 10 shillings year.
- The sons may split his clothing among them. The sons and his wife may split the books among themselves. Anything leftover is to be offered to his friends (named in the will).
- His children are directed to live in love and peace and dutifully love their mother. If not, their inheritance is reduced by half.
- Abigail (wife), Benjamin and Seth are name executors.
You can see by the naming of people how the probate documents are fabulous for tying the various generations together.
Benjamin II's will goes into great detail about his estate (valued abou 1500 pounds). Holdings include the homestead, horses, barns and 30 acres; plows, axes and other tools; 19 acres of marshlands; 7 acres of woodland bounded by Mystick River and north of Charlestown Rocks (now prime Charlestown/Boston real estate); etc., etc.
Lots more work and translation to do. I will be at it again on Saturday and next week.
Meanwhile, tomorrow I head for cemeteries. The city is opening the Phipps graveyard in Charlestown for me at 9am. Then off to Bevery and Rowley for various Dodge family members, the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Swansea for the Blackintons, and Walnut Hill in Newbury for Samuel Dole if I make it that far!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
By 1650 -
The Richardons and Blackintons were populating Attleborough, MA
The Sweetsers and highly involved in governing Charlestown, MA.
The Dodges were in Salem coping with the Puritans and, eventually, the witch hysteria.
The Cushings and Lorings helped move Hingham, England to Mass. and establish the town of the same name - where Mom and Dad were engaged!
The Coates and Peabodys were focused on the success of Stonington, CT.
350 years of American history into which were are interwoven.
100 years later, the family is expanding.
The Tukeys and Sweetsers are headlong into the development of Portland, ME while the Robinsons had already been there for 50 years.
I need to fill in the Robbins, Chicks, Cries, and Burdicks but otherwise, I am pleased with all that I have found and corroborated.
A bright nugget - I found the grave site location for Rev. William Bradford Dodge's parents! One more link in the quest to discover whether we are REALLY related to Gov. Bradford. :-)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I headed through the doors of the NEHGS at 9:30 this morning. They have a brochure to orient you to the collections on each of the 6 floors. I headed for the reading room and the stacks. The building is lovely and there were quite a few people doing similar work.
I wanted to answer the question of whether John Tukey was born in England or Mass. However, there are no passenger lists for the time period so ascertaining whether he came in 1744 will be difficult. I find no records in the Boston area for a birth, marriage or death of any John Tukey/Tuckey, Tookie or anyone else by that name. There was a John Tukey here in the late 1600s but he was single and died at age 20 with no children. So I put that problem aside and moved to the next goal - having 10 generations of VERIFIED ancestors on each of the lines (unless they go out of the country - I will tackle these separately).
I spent most of the day filling in blanks in terms of vital statistics and locations. I need these before I go to the electronic records tomorrow and/or Thursday to comb through wills and probates. It is amazing to find books of vital statistics for each town in Mass from 1600 forward. I also hope to make a list of cemeteries to visit on Friday and Sunday using the death records and cemetery listings as guidelines.
All for now. The weather remains great and I have conquered the train and subway system so the regular world is good.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I took one of the on/off trollies and began the day's adventures. ...........
I wrote a long blog but have lost it twice and am too tired to write it again. Know that I had a good time. Saw the Old State House, the marketplace, Trinity and Old North Churches, the public library, Bunker Hill, and Paul Revere's house before climbing back on the train. More tomorrow.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I had a fantastic day in Salem, MA. The traffic was messy getting there but once parked, this is an easy town to navigate. I must say the National Park Service does a great job. They have a lovely Visitors Center next to the parking garage. They can recommend several options of how to see the town. Most exciting from a navigation standpoint, they have a map with a red tour line drawn for a walking tour and then HAVE A RED LINE PAINTED ON THE SIDEWALKS. What a concept!
I took off for the waterfront. Again, the Park Service offers daily tours. One tour is of the waterfront, Friendship (a late 1700s merchant sailor), and the Customs House. The second tour is of two homes (late 1600s/early 1700s). Total cost - $5.00 Best bargain ever.
The tours answered several questions. First, Henry Tukey (Stephen's son who was buried with him) died in Batavia. I didn't know where that was. It turns out to be the old name for Jakarta, Java. Thus it is more likely that Henry is just memorialized on his father's tombstone which explains how they can have death dates 5 years apart.
Second, the ship in the photo had 20 regular sails and could accommodate up to 10 additional small sails. The average crew was only 18-22 men. Impressive. Three, up to 98% of individuals in Massachusetts in the early days were literate. Literacy was defined as reading. Writing was considered a man's necessity if he was engaged in business (versus a skilled laborer, etc.). Women as well as men were schooled in reading - so they could read the Bible. So... although I thought our ancestors (e.g., Hannah and Stephen Tukey) because they couldn't sign their names, they may in fact have been able to read. Four - large barrels were used to store goods aboard ship and in warehouses. Many of the barrels have wooden "hoops" holding the staves together rather than metal. The hoops were made of soft wood which the bugs would eat through. When the softwood hoops fell apart, they were replaced with new ones before the bugs started on the oak barrel.
The Narbonne house (owned by the Park Service) was the type owned be a man of moderate means. The architecture is "first period" and has two floors in front sloping to one in back (for the kitchen). According to Maine records this is the type of house John Tukey build. Just thought I would show you an example.
In Between these tours, I tours the 7 Gables Home. Very well restored and even has a secret staircase around the chimney. This was an easy go for kids. Those of us who were taller and had hips had to think small. The gardens were truly lovely, looking out on the harbor.
Finally, I had to pay homage to the witch trials. The town has created a Witch Trial Memorial. next to the old burying ground they put enclosed an area with stone walls. Then they cantileavered stones out from the wall, one for each individual executed. The stones are engraved with the name of the individual, their death date and the method of execution. It was very nice - and the busiest cemetery I have ever seen.
Friday, August 13, 2010
After doing laundry, I took US route 1 south from Portland towards the Massachusetts border. Slow going with all the traffic in the towns but the countryside was lovely and beats taking the interstate. I do love New England architecture. It is just my favorite.
Along this back route there are HUNDREDS of antique stores. I guarantee you that the ancestors of our family and everyone else's you know couldn't possible have had the quantity of possessions purported to be "antique." I did succumb when I got to Gloucester and went into a jumble/antique store. Some things were very organized, some were just boxes of stuff. One box was filled with nothing but old (1870-1930) family photos. Everything resembling what I have been cherishing and documenting for the last two months was just thrown in a box to be sold. No one will ever know who these people are. UGH! The box also contained a hodgepodge of files. Business receipts, letters, stock certificates from long dead companies, etc. I salvaged a small book on the civil war that was in tatters and several letters and a ship's manifest from the late 1700s. They have nothing to do with our family but will be useful in showing young family members the type of paper and writing I have been looking at during my journey. Plus is made my soul feel better to rescue these documents.
Gloucester's harbor is glorious - large and deep with endless sky and puffy clouds. Nice to think that some of our whaling relatives walked its banks. Earlier I had a few minutes on Plum Island (wrong turn) where the ocean resembled what I remember from summers on Long Island.
Tonight I am in Wakefield, MA. I will get some work done over the next two days and venture east to Salem and the witches.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
My next reality check was when I went to the copy room. Here you use a computer to pull up a scanned copy of the deed by volume and page number. You can request a printed copy of any page - @ $1.50 per page. I swallowed hard and decided this was my once in a lifetime trip and when else was I going to copy these records. I felt a bit like putting my credit card in a slot machine and gambling for hours. $100 later .... here are some of the highlights.
1. George Richardson, a merchant, moved his family to Michgan in 1837. In 1840, there is a series of sales of real estate and property to his cousin/brother Elisha. George did retain some timber rights but had obviously decided that the move to Michgan was permanent.
2. Benjamin Sweetser III got into some sort of argument/legal hassle with his father, Benjamin Jr. B III took his father to court and won a judgment for $1,050.93 (this was in 1806). His father had to have his lands and property valued plus take out a loan for $181. The cash and land went to Benjamin III. There were some later transactions involving his mother as well. - not nice.
3. Several land deeds connected John Tukey and Abigail Sweetser Tukey directly to Benjamin III, establishing the spousal and father-daughter relationship.
4. I found out that Stephen Tukey was a blacksmith.
5. We were able to directly connect Ezekial Cushing to his sons Jeremiah and Loring plus many other members of the family.
6. In land transactions, Hannah Cushing Tukey is often listed as wife of Stephen Tukey, in her own right. Which I take to mean she was considered as able to participate in business transactions on her own, without the signature of her husband. Forward thinking for the early 1800s.
Many other interesting tidbits as land changed hands, people lived and died, the community developed. For Mainers - there are some interesting land dealings with property on Cushing Island in Casco Bay. Obviously, none of us ended up with this choice property.
I finished about 1:30 - dying for food and liquids. I then spent a couple of hours at the Maine History Library but with no particular luck. Tomorrow I will leave my nest at Falmouth Inn and head towards Salem, MA for a couple of tourist days before descending on Cynthia and Doug Sunday.
Thanks for all the great phone calls and emails!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
It took three hours with the microfilm to go through the index for land transactions between 1647 and 1768. After a 15 minute break, I went back to the actual records, using the index notations to figure out the volume and page number of each record. You need to realize that these records are copies of hand 250 year old, handwritten documents, filmed in the 1950s and very scratched. Translating/reading them is onerous, although very interesting. I made many copies. We now have 12-15 deeds for Benjamin Sweetser III, some of which mention his wife, Constance Row. We also have two deeds that reference his son Wiggglesworth Sweetser (I know - be glad you aren't stuck with that name but it is a very concrete way of tying Abigail Wigglesworth to Benjamin Sweetser Sr). We also have a number of deeds/land transfers for Ezekiel Cushing and his wife (their granddaughter Hannah married Stephen Tukey).
By 4pm I was cooked. Took a lovely winding route home. Tomorrow I am up early to hit deeds post-1765 at the Cumberland County Courthouse. Then will make one more pass at the MHS library.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Barbara joined me about 11 and tackled digging for Richardsons. She uncovered a file of letters from Lovicy Robbins Richardson (GGGG grandmother on the Coats-Davenport side). Lovicy and her husband were born in Maine and moved to Michigan. I had tried to find them in Moscow, Michigan with no luck although I did find their graves in Jamestown, MI. The letters were written by Lovicy to her parents and siblings between 1808 and 1849. We finally have names for her parents - Asa and Abigail Robbins and know that, like the Richardsons, they were originally from Mass. Here is a bit from her May 20, 1840 letter about their trip from Maine to Michigan.
" I wrote you of he particular occurances of our pleasant journey excepting that one of our horses was lame and we had to take a canal boat. At ___, the horse got better, we rode in the waggon aggain from Side Canal near Lake Nide? to Buffalo whence we came in a steamboat to Detroit in two days and two nights. .... We road in our waggon the rest of the way. In two days more we arrived at Raisin where we found our children [Note: several adult children had already moved to Michigan.]. ...George and all the boys has been smart all the spring. They have got a good fence all round his Lot acres. They put up a good barn frame. Got four acres of wheat up 5 or 6 inches." [she also mentions digging a well, raising corn, potatoes, beans, parsnips and turnips].
Interesting news and daily life - all were a great find. You could also see when, over the course of 40 years, writing changed from quills to metal nibs as the writing becomes much more even.
The second great find was locating a copy of John Tukey's first land purchase. Here is some of that deed:
"for and in consideration of the Sum of Six pounds of Lawful money ... [for] a certain Lot or Parcel of Land lying and being in the said Town of Falmouth in that part thereof commonly called the Neck containing One Eighth Part of an Acre Bounded as followeth beginning at a Stake standing on the North Westerly Side of Back Street at the Southern most Corner of William Weeks's Land thence adjoining said Street South Westerly three Rods to Stake from the Two aforesaid Stakes to extend the same Width of three rods North Westerly adjoining the South Western most Line of the said William Weeks and title this said Eighth part of an Acre be made up ..."
I'm not sure the convoluted legalese has changed much since May 16, 1753 - just the spellings and the use of Rods. However, we know that John had arrived and was working in Falmouth Neck and had saved enough money to buy land on which to build his home for his family. The other benefit to this deed is that it names his wife Abigail, providing another concrete lineage link. Tomorrow I will look for other deeds.
Monday, August 9, 2010
1. Stephen H. Tukey (GG grandfather) had a first marriage of 10 years before he married Julia Crie Dodge. He also had a child who died at age 7. (Who knew? - was not in any previous records.) Was this part of his motivation for moving to New York after his second marriage? Who were his connectors in the new location?
2. Can I locate a will for Abigail Sweetser Tukey?
3. Can I locate land deeds for Ezekiel Cushing who was here in the early 1700s? Ditto for John Tukey, Benjamin Sweetser?
4. Can we find any records of the Richardsons, Dodges, or Cries through land or vital records - no luck so far?
5. Are there ship's records for the Southwark Captain'd by a John Tuckey in 1702? Is there any connection with our John Tuckey/Tukey?
OK - these are my starting points for this week as well as reading the remaining files of Nathan Goold. I think I will sic Barbara on the Richardson search - I found some additional leads in my file that may help. The library opens tomorrow at 10.......
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
In the file I found 3 letters from Stephen H. Tukey (gg grandfather). He provided lots of information that he had copied from his mother's bible (which went from Maine to California and back with Stephen's brother Francis) and from his grandmother's bible (which was burned in the Portland fire of 1866). The information filled in some gaps with his brothers and sisters and also revealed that there were several Tukeys in Boston and at least one in New York, both places that he moved to after leaving Portland which may have provided connections in those cities.
From Stephen's letter and those of M.M. Tukey, we learn that the original John probably had a brother by the name of William. Also, the immigration from England was to Malden, MA where John worked as a shipwright before moving to Portland. The librarian informed me that it would have been unlikely for a ship in 1744 to come directly from England, so I need to look for John in Massachusetts. [As a side light, there is a John Tuckey who was a ship master sailing between England and Jamaica in 1702. This gives me a ship's name to track down since passenger records are listed by ship, not by date.] Several other letters support the original name as being Tuckey, including the following from Stephen:
"When making those visits back to Portland it was my pleasure to call upon Uncle William and his daughter Mrs. Sarah Chase.. On one occasion she brought from the closet a large pitcher which had the name of Tuckey on it. She told me it was part of a set of ware manufactured for the Tuckey's and brought to this country by John. That Tuckey was the original way of spelling it but when he came to this country he dropped the 'c'."
This set included a punch bowl and cups and was mentioned by other family members. Of course there is also another family crest involved in this - not the one we have from grandpa Tukey. Also with Rufus Tukey's descendants are the cannon ball that landed in William Tukey's bedroom when Mowat attacked Portland in 1775 (obviously it didn't disappear in the Portland fire), some grapeshot and a spike that belonged to Tallyrand. Great family stories - who knows if they are true.
An interesting sidelight. Nathan Goold wrote and heard back from a John Tukey in Port Townsend, WA. This John Tukey left Portland at an early age and sailed around the horn in 1852. He came to Puget Sound in 1853 and stayed. His letter was hard to read. It was several pages but only about 3 sentences - very run on. He talks about serving in the militia and fighting Indians and that he has a life he loves that is much better than that in Maine.
Lots more interesting tidbits but I won't bore you. More tomorrow.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Yesterday, Barbara rescued me about 4pm and we went into Portland for a movie. Not a great movie but the theater was air conditioned. We then walked around the port district and she took me to a GREAT jewelry store where everything is hand designed. I just couldn't choose so I took a catalog. From there we went to a funky Irish pub - something I would have never found or tried on my own. Yummy food and good Irish music - both canned and live.
Today, after 9 hours at the computer and the grants finally accepted with 20 minutes to spare, I drove into Portland and returned to the infamous STORE. Bottom line, 90% of my Christmas shopping is done and I feel very pleased with myself. :-)
Tomorrow I finally get back to the Maine Historical Society. Can't wait. I keep waking up in the middle of the night to make notes on things to research. I hope to have great stuff to share tomorrow night.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
4. Other sources revealed: John Tukey purportedly was born in Malden, MA not England (per Willis' History of Portland in 1856). More investigation needed. Found a listing for Jeremiah Cushing (Hannah's father) on the 1760 tax roles. First time I have found him. I also located great citations for Sweetser genealogy from 1554 to Abigail in 1730 - directly from the pastor in Tring, England and Massachusetts records - Yippee!!
Tomorrow I will tackle another box of Goold records (plus federal grants, a movie with Barbara and dinner out). A good day.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Otherwise, the day has been one of ordeals.
Grants times three, editing minutia,
Now District 20 is calling with even more issues.
I will work in the morning but then I will flee.
The History Society at 10:00 I will be.
Diaries and maps, old writing and dust.
Fusty old records are a definite must!
The money is welcome to pay down my bills
but I really did want time away from the thrills
of designing and finagling and juggling the world.
Just give me time to find the ancestral pearls!