Thanks to a lead about the birthplace of my great great grandfather Edward Baldwin, I have managed to discover a great deal of the Baldwin genealogy. But I wanted to be sure that the link between the people I knew and the rather well-documented family I found was real. Since my last post on finding the Baldwin line, I have managed to prove that this is the correct line.
Following up on a Lead
Miles Edward Baldwin, Sr was born in Belmont, New York around 1863. His father was named Edward Baldwin, from Massachusetts.
When I discovered that Edward was from Townsend, Massachusetts, I used the standard Baldwin genealogy and other methods to narrow down Edward’s origin to one family.
The family I found was Eli and Polly (Spaulding) Baldwin. Eli died at age 29 in 1833. Polly passed away at age 33, in 1839. This resulted in guardianship records, which showed that custody of Polly’s two children, Edward and Catherine, went to her brother, John Spaulding. This obituary is from the (Amherst, New Hampshire) Farmer’s Cabinet, 20 September 1833.
Since the guardianship records showed that John Spaulding had already been housing the family for five weeks at the time of death, and since 33 year old Polly had made a will, I suspect Polly had a serious illness that led to her death.
John Spaulding did not seem to have custody all the way to adulthood. By 1850, 17-year-old Catherine was living with her aunt, Harriet Spaulding. I cannot find Edward Baldwin in the 1850 census at all. I pick up with Edward’s life in 1860 in Belmont, New York, and 1863 or so when he became the father of my great grandfather, Mile Edward Baldwin.
How to be sure these two stories are connected with the same Edward Baldwin?
Looking at the Aunts and Uncles of Edward Baldwin
I turned to all the aunts and uncles of young Edward and Catherine, of which there are a total of 19 (children of Abiel and Lucy (Gassett) Baldwin, and Isaac and Lucy (Emery) Spaulding – one side note: of the 11 Baldwin siblings, the 8th was optimistically named “Finis” Baldwin; Finis ended up with 2 younger siblings, “Alpha” and “Henry”). The Spauldings figured more prominently in the documents I found than the Baldwins. Another connection that was hard to ignore is that Edward had 2 children and named them “Miles” and “Harriet”, the names of two of the Spaulding siblings.
An initial examination of all 19 siblings did not provide any actual proof of Edward’s relationship to them. But two of the Spauldings, Miles and Harriet, died childless, and Miles was in fact a wealthy physician in nearby Groton. It occurred to me that Miles or Harriet may have mentioned Edward in their wills; this possibility was made more interesting by the chance that Edward had already passed away before 1896 and 1907, when they died. The standard Baldwin genealogy, from 1881, lists Edward as deceased (The Baldwin Genealogy, from 1500-1881 by Charles Candee Baldwin, p. 717). So could Miles or Harriet have mentioned my great grandfather, Miles Edward, or his sister, Harriet? That would be even better for my purposes.
There was an initial trip to the Middlesex Probate Court in Cambridge, Massachusetts to order the probate records of Miles, Harriet, John, and Daniel Spaulding. Then came the day, last week, when the records were in and I was able to see them.
And Then I Found It
The intestate records of John and Daniel were not helpful. But Harriet and Miles’ probate records provided me with the evidence I needed.
- Harriet Spaulding included Miles Edward and young Harriet in her will (probate record from 1907) – note, Miles Edward is referred to as Edward here, I believe he was usually called “Eddie” - and note, young Hattie was married to Eugene Clapp:
- Miles Spaulding’s probate records include in his list of heirs-at-law from 1896:
- Edward M. Baldwin, Newton, Mass., grandnephew
- Harriet Clapp, Readville, Mass., grandniece
These match the locations of my great grandfather and his sister. Now I can continue to learn about the Baldwin and Spaulding ancestors from Townsend, Mass. So far, Edward Baldwin seems to be the great-grandson of four Revolutionary War soldiers. I’m sure my grandfather didn’t know this; several generations of early deaths and moving around had closed the door on the Baldwin history for us.
What Else Was in the Wills?
The probate records held a few surprises for me.
Miles Spaulding provided for his widow and several relatives and made many gifts, for distribution after the widow’s death:
- Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass., $500
- Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama, $1000
- French-American College of Springfield, Mass., $5000 (I believe today this is American International College)
- American Seaman’s Friend Society, New York, $1000
- Congregational Sabbath-School and Publishing Society of Boston, $4000
- American Missionary Association of New York, residuary legatee
- Congregational Home Missionary Society of New York for “mountain work among the white people”, residuary legatee
- American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions of Boston, residuary legatee
Harriet Newell Spaulding, a single woman, left a legacy to her church (the Orthodox Congregational Church of Townsend) and a few other religious causes. She mentioned Miles Edward and young Hattie and one or two other relatives. The remainder of her estate was set aside for use by her nephew, Wayland Spaulding, a minister living in New York City who apparently dedicated his life to serving the needy. By 1910, there was a desire to sell her real estate in Townsend and use the proceeds for this charitable work. A list of the names and locations of her possible heirs was included in that petition, and since they failed to object, the property was sold. They are:
- Nancy S. Gilson, 164 Melvin Street, Cleveland, Ohio, sister
- Randall Spaulding, MontClair, N.J., nephew
- Wayland Spaulding, 411 W 115th Street, New York City, nephew
- Hannah C. Guise, Gold Hill, Colo., niece
- Doliver S. Spaulding, Mansfield, Mass., nephew
- Francis W. Spaulding, ” , nephew
- Martha A. Bartlett, ” , niece
- Marshall D. Spaulding, San Diego, Cal, nephew
- Mary S. Duff, Newcomerstown, Ohio, niece
- Ella Jenvey, 601 Ann St., Parkersburg, W. Virg., niece
- Sarah Fuller, Albia, Iowa, niece
- Isaac Spaulding, Virginia Street, Marietta, Ohio, nephew
- Harriet N. Congrove, ” , grand-niece
- Elsie Hale, ” , grand-niece
- Pearl Brabham, Fort Street, Marietta, Ohio, grand-niece
- Florence Hale, unknown, grand-niece
- John Ebert Hale, Crooksville, Ohio, grand-nephew
- George P. Parker, East Pepperell, Mass., grand-nephew
But Wait, There’s a Picture!
Amazingly the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. owns an ambrotype of Harriet Newell Spaulding.
To see the ambrotype on the AAS website (I don’t have the rights to reproduce it here), follow this link AND SCROLL DOWN TO SPAULDING:
I feel fairly certain we are looking at my ggg-Aunt Harriet for the following reasons:
- the picture is from Townsend, Mass
- the person who gave it to the AAS is named Bartlett (Harriet had a married niece named Martha A. Bartlett; John’s daughter)
- Harriet had no direct descendants to treasure the photo
- the picture looks right for a woman who would have been 38 in 1860.
We don’t even have a picture of the younger Aunt Harriet, who was named for her. This is wonderful. If you are not entering your ancestor’s names into Google and selecting “Images” from the side menu, look at what you’re missing!
The post you are reading is located at: http://wp.me/p1JmJS-D0
Tuskegee photograph CREDIT: “Faculty of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, at Tuskegee, Alabama, seated and standing on steps in front of building.” March 1897. Booker T. Washington Collection, Prints and Photograph Division of the Library of Congress.