About two years ago I posted my top 10 problems and that post actually led to the solution of one of those problems.  So I am trying here, again, and my list today is somewhat different, due to progress made in several areas.

1. Catherine Young (Bennett) (Baldwin) Ross (1832? – 1907).  The first “gap” in my mother’s family tree is for the parents of my gg-grandmother, Catherine Young (Bennett) (Baldwin) Ross, known as “Grandma Ross” to my grandfather.  Grandma Ross took my grandfather in for a while after his mother died and his father was busy with other things.  He knew about her three marriages because he scrawled all the names on the back of this picture – he was descended from her second husband, Edward Baldwin.

Catherine was born in Surrey, England, possibly 04 Jun 1832.  The borders of Surrey were altered around that time, making this extra-difficult.  Her father’s name may be William B and her mother, Catherine (from her death record).  In the 1900 census she gave her immigration year as 1843; the 1905 census says 1840.  Searching English census records, ship passenger lists and American records has turned up a few speculative possibilities but nothing that seems to fit together.  My earliest record for her is an 1860 census record with her second husband at Belmont in western New York; eventually she had four children, William Blackstone Bennett, Anna Jean Bennett, Harriet Elizabeth Baldwin and Miles Edward Baldwin.  I have found no trace of any member of her original family.

My latest research track:

  • try and pin down her elusive first husband, William Bennett, who was born in Massachusetts.  I suspect she was divorced rather than widowed.
  • Keep investigating the idea that her first marriage might have taken place in Massachusetts, and even the divorce could have happened there.  It did not happen in Allegany County, New York.
  • Keep pursuing possible clues from DNA.
Catherine Baldwin, circa 1900 in Providence, RI, in her 60's.

Catherine Baldwin, circa 1900 on Marshall Street, Providence, R.I. around 1900.

2. Sarah Arnold (1776? – 1861?).  Having confirmed my relationship to Sarah’s husband, Jesse Andrews, I now need to move on to determine which part of the large Arnold family in Warwick Sarah’s father, Joseph Arnold, is from.  That name is pulled from Sarah’s 1795 marriage record in Warwick, Rhode Island.  Sarah is, as far as I can tell, not mentioned in The Arnold Memorial or other books published about the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds, which probably means that she was not mentioned in any local birth or probate records (although I continue to check).  A Joseph Arnold is sometimes noted nearby Jesse and Sarah in census records. 

This would be an ideal common-name problem for me to tackle because I have good access to many records. No excuses!

My latest research track:

  • make my own documentation of all possible Joseph Arnolds, using vital, probate and land records in Warwick and East Greenwich.
  • try to pin down any further details of the neighbor Joseph Arnold, including nearby possible grown children.
  • Explore Joseph Arnold more widely in court, military and cemetery records.
  • I do not know the names of most of Sarah’s children, but continue to try and find those names, possibly in Norwich, Connecticut, as hints to her family.
One of several pages of Joseph Arnold deeds indexed at Warwick City Hall.  Note the "S.D." and "S.W." indicating "Son of D" and "Son of W".  Not every deed has that, of course.

One of several pages of Joseph Arnold deeds indexed at Warwick City Hall. Note the “S.D.” and “S.W.” indicating “Son of D” and “Son of W”. Not every deed has that, of course. That would be too easy.

3. James Lawrence (1807-1882).  My 4x-great grandfather James Lawrence was born in England in 1807, and his father’s name may have been James.  In 1835, he married Ann Shortridge (Shortriggs) in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  The next twenty years found them in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Connecticut before ending up in Providence by 1860 with several of their almost-grown children.  According to the 1865 census, he was a machinist.  If I could learn more about James’ origins, it might help me to verify my complicated relationship to the Lawrences through DNA testing.

My latest research track:

  • Keep looking for ship passenger records and court naturalization records for James.
  • Other than birthplaces listed by his children years later, I am having trouble pursuing him across the eastern U.S. through the 1830’s – 1850’s, although I do have an 1850 census record for them in Virginia.  Try finding clues from that for further research.
  • Learn more about Dorchester resources such as directories, businesses, and immigrant populations there.
Places fo birth:  England, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island.  My father was right.  My mother DOES descend from a long line of gypsies.

Places of birth for James’ children, from the 1865 census: England, South Carolina, North Carolina, Connecticut, Rhode Island.

4. Jessie Ruth MacLeod Murdock (1861-1936).  Thanks to a helpful cousin who saw my blog post, I learned about a 1954 local genealogy book written by the nephew of my brick-wall gg-grandmother back in Pictou, Nova Scotia. That was a great moment, but imagine my surprise as I obtained the book and saw her listed as “adopted” – a sentiment I do not believe she shared.  Although I now know more about my gg-grandmother Jessie’s early life in Pictou, Nova Scotia, I continue to know nothing about her mother, Rachel, and her relationship to the people who may have adopted her, William and Mary MacLeod.  Jessie came to the U.S. around 1881, according to the 1900 and 1905 census.  I can find no evidence of her journey or any relatives coming with her.  She married Louis Murdock in 1883, making me wonder if she was related to Louis’ adopted father, William Murdock, also from Pictou.  There are some Rachel’s in the Murdock family.

My latest research track:

  • investigate land and probate records of the Murdocks in Pictou through microfilm at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society library in Boston.
  • see if the name of her third daughter – Jessie Ellen – can be matched with any people from Pictou.
  • naturalization records
The MacLean farm which became the home of William and Mary (MacLean) Murdock, from page 192

The farm in Lorne, Pictou, where Jessie MacLeod spent her teen years, from page 192, The Pioneers and Churches.

5. Lydia Minor (1787-1849). Now that I have solved the Andrews problem, I plan to move one generation back to the Lydia Minor problem.  She married Russell Lamphere in Norwich, Connecticut in May, 1807 “At Preston”, as reported by the announcement in the Norwich Courier. Lydia and Russell had seven boys and seven girls in Norwich Falls, Connecticut.  No vital records for the marriage, the children, or Lydia’s death has been found.  A Norwich Courier notice indicates she died 18 January 1849.

Russell was from Westerly, Rhode Island, and at age 32 in 1808 his father’s probate papers said he was “late of Westerly now residing in Norwich”, however census and town records show him moving between Westerly and Norwich several times.  So the marriage at Preston could be because she was from Preston, or perhaps they were both originally Westerly residents.

Lydia’s 1849 death notice gives her age as 62, making her birth (if true) around 1787.  There was a Lydia Minor born to Jerusha Peabody and Ludowick Minor in nearby Stonington, Connecticut in 1787, however, I am pursuing another person that may be THAT Lydia.

My latest research track:

  • Examine deeds and probate for a potential “Minor” family in Westerly and Preston
  • Look for probate for Lodowick Minor at Stonington.
  • Keep pursuing the possible sister for Lydia, Eliza.
A quote from Lydia's 80 year old son, William, from the Norwich Bulletin, 12 Sep 1898, reminiscing with a friend about his mother.  Sent to me by a kind researcher in Norwich.

A quote from Lydia’s 80 year old son, William, from the Norwich Bulletin, 12 Sep 1898, reminiscing with a friend about his mother. The article later makes it clear both families had 14 children each, in Lydia’s case, 7 boys and 7 girls.  Sent to me by a kind researcher in Norwich.

 6. Maria Shipley Martin (1848? – ?).  Maria or Mariah Shipley Martin, my gg-grandmother, has a fascinating family tree that includes immigrants from Scotland and England who came to Nova Scotia in the 1700’s.  So she is one of those mystery ancestors whose origins are well known, but she disappears from records after 1892, when her daughter got married at her home in Milton, Massachusetts.  I suspect, by that time, she was separated from her husband, but I have never found any further record of her.  Massachusetts was pretty strict about death records so perhaps she had gone with a relative to another state before her death, or perhaps she did, indeed, divorce and remarry.  My family had no knowledge of this branch, so I have found the stories of her children Bessie (my great grandmother), Clara, Hazel and Daisy, but I have found very little about Minnie, May, and John Anderson Martin.

My latest research track:

  • keep looking for a divorce record in several counties.  Look further for a second marriage in Massachusetts.
  • Look for her death record at the NEHGS library in Boston.
  • Try Milton, Mass. city directories.
  • Try naturalization records.
A book of her grandson's sayings and some fabric scraps, put together by Maria's daughters in 1898 after the death of daughter Bessie.

A book of her grandson’s Teddy’s sayings and some fabric scraps, put together by Maria’s daughters in 1898 after the death of daughter Bessie.

7.  Nancy (——-) Lamphere (1752?-1833). Nancy may be a Tefft, but I have no confidence in that so I am open to all names.  She married Daniel Lamphere around 1774 and had six children.  The only records I have for her are her husband’s probate in 1808 (and later), a number of Westerly deeds that she is mentioned in, and the birth records of her children in Westerly. She may have died around 1833.  If she was living next to her son Russell Lamphere in 1810 (perhaps in her third of the house), then apparently she was sometimes called Anne, an obvious variant that I haven’t been using very much.  

My latest research track:

  • Explore middle names that were used by Nancy’s children for their own offspring.
  • Do a thorough review of all the neighbors from early census records, and also those mentioned in the deeds.
  • Look at the spouses of her children for possible connections.
Transcription of Nancy's mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon.  So, Nancy was not able to write her name.

Transcription of Nancy’s mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon. So, Nancy was not able to write her name.

8. Rachel Smith (1734? – ?).   I estimate that my 7th great grandmother Rachel was born around 1735 (based on first child born mid-1750’s), and signed a deed in 1768.  She may have been a Smith.  She married Thomas Arnold around 1754 and they had 5 children that I know of: Lucy, Asa, Catherine, Aaron, and Philadelphia. My most recent clue is that Thomas Arnold purchased some property from John and Mary Smith very early on in Smithfield.  The children ended up in Cumberland, but the story of Thomas and Rachel seems to end around 1775 and although the children stayed in Cumberland, I can find no further trace of Thomas and Rachel – perhaps they died young.  Truly, this one may never be solved which, of course, just seems like a fun challenge.

My latest research track:

  • Pursue the early, local Smiths
  • Keep looking for the exact John and Mary Smith that sold land to Thomas Arnold, following clues in the deed, which I now have.
  • Try looking at town council records for Smithfield.


Smithfield records, held in Central Falls, will probably be the best source of Rachel's family.

Smithfield records, held in Central Falls, will probably be the best source of Rachel’s family.

9. James Anderson (1748?-1796).  With the help of some fellow researchers I know so much about my 5x-great grandfather James Anderson of Fells Point, Baltimore, later Chester, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.  Usually, knowing this much should have led, long ago, to knowing about his origins, but not so in this case.  His original family and place of birth remain a mystery.

My latest research track:

  • My cousins and I are focusing on DNA at this point.
  • Of the latest clues uncovered here and there, the ones that seem the most realistic are for other, earlier Anderson privateers off the coast of Maryland.  I may be able to explore those clues further in Maryland court records online, or at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  • Think about how to acquire further records which may be held in England.

New York No 759. These are to Certify that Capt James Anderson was by a Majority of Votes regualrly admitted a Member of the New York Marine Society at a Meeting held the 11th day of June A.D. 1781 Given under my hand and the Seal of the Society this 11th day of June - Annoque Domini 1781.  Geo. Fowler Sec. [illegible] President.

New York No 759. These are to Certify that Capt James Anderson was by a Majority of Votes regualrly admitted a Member of the New York Marine Society at a Meeting held the 11th day of June A.D. 1781 Given under my hand and the Seal of the Society this 11th day of June – Annoque Domini 1781. Geo. Fowler Sec. [illegible] President.

10. Nathaniel Brown (1741? – 1798).  The last one is from my neglected line of Haydens/Parmenters, a closely intermarried family in Sudbury, Massachusetts that has not been that difficult to trace.  Nathaniel Brown married Elinor Hayden in 1761 in Sudbury and was “of Framingham” but I know the neighborhood where my ancestors lived was right on the border between Sudbury and Framingham, so he may have been very close by.  Nathaniel and Elinor had 11 children, and he died rather young in 1798.  There is a strong theory that he is the son of Thomas Brown and Abigail Cheney, originally of Cambridge, but no real proof.  And Brown was a common name in early Sudbury so anything is possible.  Deeds and probate have not solved this yet.

My latest research track:

  • Keep looking through probate records for local possible fathers of Nathaniel, to see if they mention him
  • Go through Nathaniel’s earliest land transactions more carefully.  He took over the farm of Elinor’s father, so the transactions are not that revealing.  Could he have been a cousin?  How did he have money for a purchase?
  • Learn more about the early history of Sudbury and the place of the Browns in it.
An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters, in a line more closely related to Midge's husband than to mine.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

An early Sudbury house built by the Parmenters.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

In closing

It’s possible I wrote this so I could choose my next project.  Still not sure which it will be.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/10/17/my-top-ten-genea-mysteries/

I recently pinned down the family of Hannah Andrews, my ggg-grandmother.  I thought I would give an account here of how that happened.

My relationship to Hannah Andrews (counting up from my grandmother):

  • Hannah Andrews (1819 – 1878), my 3rd great grandmother
  • Emma Luella Lamphere (1857 – 1927), daughter of Hannah Andrews
  • Russell Earl Darling (1883 – 1959), son of Emma Luella Lamphere
  • Edna May Darling (1905 – 1999), my grandmother, daughter of Russell Earl Darling

I have documented Hannah previously in On Poverty, Records, and Chicken ThievesThe Brick Wall Stories: A Theory on Hannah Andrews and The Brick Wall Stories: Hannah Andrews.  I have listed a lot of sources there, so I won’t do that today – just my thought process as I went through this for the last 4 years.  Future work on these lines will bring up more documentation.

The story of Hannah Andrews

Hannah’s youngest child was my gg-grandmother Emma Luella Lamphere.  I had to trace Emma’s scattered history back a ways to even find Hannah.  Emma had been born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (and that was as far back as our vague family recollections went), but thanks to census records I began to realize her parents were from southern New England, and I found them and their Connecticut-born older children in some basic Connecticut sources.  I knew Hannah’s name from her marriage to Russell Lamphere recorded at Norwich, Connecticut in 1838.  Hannah Andrews, of Ashford, Connecticut.

Norwich Town 11 June 1838 Russell Lamphere of Norwich and Hannah Andrews of Ashford entered in the marriage relation before me .  Joel R. Arnold, Pastor of the Congl Church Colchester.  Received July 5, 1878.  Simeon [?] Town Clerk

Norwich Town 11 June 1838 Russell Lamphere of Norwich and Hannah Andrews of Ashford entered in the marriage relation before me . Joel R. Arnold, Pastor of the Congl Church Colchester. Received July 5, 1838. Simeon [Thomas?] Town Clerk

Hannah married Russell Lamphere and had four children in the industrial areas of Norwich Falls and Greenville, Connecticut: William H. (b. 1840), Sarah E. (b. 1843), Charles C. (b. 1844), and Caroline M (b. 1847).  In the 1850 census Russell is listed as a “Machinist” with property worth $700; really not a bad level of prosperity considering he was one of 14 children and would likely have received nothing from his father at that point.

During the early years of her marriage, Hannah often lived near or with an “Alden Andrews“, a farmer a year or two older than her, who married twice and became the father of a number of children.  Later in the 1880’s (after Hannah’s death), one of Alden’s sons lived in Russell’s household and was working in the mill with Russell.  This, as well as the fact that Alden named his first son Russell, is how I knew early on that Alden and Hannah were siblings.

Russell Lamphere was an ambitious man who took his family from the booming mill town of Norwich, Connecticut and headed south to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to start a business around 1852.  The south was anxious to process more of their own cotton and not depend on northern industries so much; I can only assume that this may have been part of his motivation. I wonder how they made the trip?   The Lampheres were not used to traveling – Russell’s brother William reported in his 80’s that he had never left their county in Connecticut – I wonder if the trip was by water, with an inland journey by carriage?  A younger sister or cousin of Russell, and her new husband, also found their way to Tuscaloosa, but otherwise, they went alone.

Hannah and Russell’s last child, Emma was born in 1854 in Alabama, and, lacking birth records, there could have been other children who did not survive.  I learned from Tuscaloosa newspapers (In Which I Stoop to Buying Microfilm) that Russell’s business partner died around 1860, and Russell opened a metalworking shop in downtown Tuscaloosa.  I am still uncertain what the original business was.

The business Russell advertised after the death of his partner.

The business Russell advertised in 1861 after the death of his partner.

Other than a family memory that things didn’t go well with the business because of the Civil War, and that it was unsafe after the war, no one really knows how it all went for them.  Hannah raised her young children and, presumably, watched them become quite southern, during divisive times.  The Tuscaloosa newspapers of the 1860’s were full of bitter, hateful reporting leading up to the Civil War.  How was that atmosphere for Russell and Hannah?  Were they conflicted?  The sons were grown by the time the war broke out. Charles definitely served in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier and stayed in the South for the rest of his life, and I believe William died in 1912 in Tuscaloosa.  In both cases I am basing this on how they named their children and some claims about being born in Connecticut.  There had been some letters from a civil war soldier among my family’s possessions, now lost – I suspect these were from Charles or William to their parents.  I’m sure the well being of her family and the safety of her sons placed Hannah squarely on the southern side of this conflict.

Towards the end of her life Hannah suffered from a “long and painful illness.”  She may have been ill when the 1870 census taker came around to a room in a boarding house shared by Emma and her father in Meridian, Mississippi (A Story Just Like Russell Lamphere’s). I have not found any other family member in the 1870 census. Where were Hannah and her daughters Sarah and Caroline? Could their absence have something to do with Hannah’s illness?

Hannah's daughter Emma Lamphere Darling , 1857-1927.  Emma, her daughter and granddaughter were tall and thin, with long, narrow faces and a sort of stateliness. My guess would be, Hannah looked something like that.

Hannah’s daughter Emma Lamphere Darling , 1857-1927. Emma, her daughter and granddaughter were tall and thin, with long, narrow faces and a sort of stateliness. My guess would be, Hannah looked something like that.

Between 1870 and 1875, Russell and Hannah moved the family up to Johnston, Rhode Island, just outside of Providence, where Russell was a “Manufacturer of Cotton Goods” according the the Rhode Island state census.  The west side of Providence, and Johnston, were filled with many textile manufacturing operations, large and small, at that time.  Daughters Sarah and Emma were living with them.  I have never determined what happened to Caroline, but she may have come north with the family since Russell’s obituary, much later, mentions a daughter in Eden Park, Cranston, who could not possibly be the other two daughters.  After leaving the south, it’s likely Hannah never saw her two sons again, although I can’t be sure of that.

Hannah died in 1878 in Providence, of gall stones.  She is buried in an unmarked grave at Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, likely a plot purchased by her husband in happier times.

from The Providence Daily Journal, June 25, 1878.

from The Providence Daily Journal, June 25, 1878.

Within the next year or two, her daughters Emma and Sarah married, and her husband remarried.  Was her illness another long, sad note in the difficult times this family faced?  Or was it actually relatively brief?  Did it impact how the business venture in Johnston went?  The family had moved on to Providence by the time of her death, where by 1880 Russell was an overseer in a large mill, obviously not his own.  It’s sad to think of them burying her far away (and Russell followed her, a couple of decades later), and probably thinking, for years, that they would put up a headstone, a plan that never came to fruition.

Section 6, Plot 9, "R & W Lamphere" at Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, Connecticut

Section 6, Plot 9, “R & W Lamphere” at Yantic Cemetery, Norwich, Connecticut

Who were the Andrews? 

At first, I thought it would be easy to discover the Andrews of Ashford, Connecticut, and learn about Hannah’s origins.  Ashford is a little town in rural northeastern Connecticut, well north of Norwich. I knew Hannah’s story was a little bit complicated, because sometimes she and Alden, or their children, reported them being born in Massachusetts, sometimes Connecticut.  Her Providence death records reported her parents as Jesse and Sarah Andrews (Alden’s 1873 death record lists a father, Jesse, only), and her birth place as Coventry, Connecticut. Nothing much came of the Coventry clue, so I moved back to a more contemporary record.  Knowing she was “of Ashford” in 1838, I checked the 1840 census records.

No Jesse Andrews in the 1840 census.  In 1830, Jesse Andrews was living in Ashford. His household showed only a man, 60-70, and a woman, 50-60.  Next to him was a “Benjamin Andrews”, also in a household of 2, a younger man and woman.  The 1820 census for Ashford showed Jesse Andrews in a bustling household of 11; a male over 45, a female 26 – 44, and 8 of the occupants were 16 or under.  One person was engaged in Agriculture and 5 in Manufactures.  The 1810 and prior census records showed no Jesse Andrews anywhere in Windham County.  I readily admit, I was confused.  How could that lonely household of 2 in 1830 have been the family of Hannah and her brother Alden, who would have been around 11 and 13 that year?

Ashford, from Connecticut Historical Collections by J.W. Barber, New Haven, 1836, p. 417.

Ashford, from Connecticut Historical Collections by J.W. Barber, New Haven, 1836, p. 417.

I set about hunting every Jesse Andrews I could, in New England.  One was married to “Sarah” and they lived their lives in Montague, Massachusetts.  The trouble was, in the years when Hannah and Alden could have been born, they were busy having several other children, and they raised a large family and never left Montague.  They were never in Ashford.

The only other Jesse Andrews that married a “Sarah” was a 1795 marriage record in Warwick, Rhode Island, for Jesse Andrews and “Sally Arnold.” Surely, that was too early for children born in 1817 and 1819.  And, of all the Connecticut and Massachusetts references I had seen, no mention was ever made of Rhode Island.

A visit to Ashford showed no vital or probate records for any of the people I knew, or any likely Andrews.  On another trip I went to Eastford, an offshoot of Ashford, again, nothing.

Key Fact #1

The one thing my Ashford visit turned up was a deed from Jesse Andrews to Alden Andrews in January, 1838 for the purchase of a 50 acre tract of land in southeastern Ashford.

It was good and bad news.  The names were unusual enough, and the year was the exact year that tied her family to Ashford, 1838, so I had to accept that this was Hannah’s family.  That was great, I had found them.  What was bad was the poor documentation and subsequent disappearance of Andrews from Ashford.  In the only other deed for Jesse, he (“of Ashford”) purchased the same property, with a mortgage, in 1832.  Alden lost the property by 1840, and was in Springfield, Massachusetts when he married for the first time.  I suspect Jesse was dead by 1840.

And here things sat for quite a while.  I pursued a line of Andrews that came from Ipswich, Massachusetts to Preston, Connecticut for quite a long time, and some Andrews from the Hartford area.  Alden’s name is unusual enough that I felt, for sure, I would find it.  I didn’t.

About a year and a half ago I began again my hunt for Jesse and Sarah, and this Benjamin Andrews who was a neighbor.

Key Fact #2

It’s almost hard to say why this clue was so big, but as I searched census records I finally noticed that there was an 1850 census record in Eastford for Benjamin Andrews, who was a 41 year old recent widower with two children, and a woman named Sarah Andrews, 74 and both Benjamin and Sarah reported being born in Rhode Island. 

Suddenly, it all made sense.  Benjamin was another son of Jesse Andrews, and Sarah was his mother, who was by then a widow.  If they came from Rhode Island, she could be the “Sally Arnold” who married Jesse Andrews in 1795.  Benjamin could have been born in Rhode Island around 1809.  Jesse and Sarah could have been the older couple in Ashford in 1830.  Sarah’s age when Hannah was born in 1819 could have been, say, 44.  Not completely crazy.

I visited the Connecticut State Library around this time, and learned that Sarah continued to live with Benjamin, during his second marriage, until she disappeared from the Norwich city directories about 1862.  No death or probate records, and that was too bad because I was hoping to find a death record that gave Sarah’s maiden name.  None turned up.  Benjamin himself developed quite a criminal record towards the end of his life and spent time in prison.

I began studying the Warwick Jesse and Sarah Andrews in earnest.  I learned several things:

  • Jesse was the son of Phillip Andrews, according to his marriage record and a manuscript I found at the Rhode Island Historical Society.  This rather obscure Andrews family descended from a North Kingstown, Rhode Island founder – one of the Fones purchasers – John Andrews (sometimes McAndrews).  Jesse had a grandmother named Hannah.
  • Jesse’s part of this family was not well documented, but he and one brother, Christopher, had detailed marriage records that have survived.
  • Phillip, the father, had an active military career in the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution.  He was sometimes in the company of a Benjamin Andrews. The name of his wife is unknown. He died before 1795 when he was “dec’d” on Jesse’s marriage record. No probate.
East Greenwich Town Hall, formerly the Kent County Courthouse.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

East Greenwich Town Hall, formerly the Kent County Courthouse. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

  • Since I knew from the marriage record that Sally’s father was Joseph Arnold (an extremely common name in that place and time) I noted that Jesse often lived next to a Joseph Arnold, and also another neighbor named Freelove Andrews, possibly Jesse’s widowed mother, whose name is unknown.
  • Jesse’s brother Christopher left Rhode Island in the late 1700’s for Pittstown, Rensselaer, New York.  He became the father of numerous children and he and his children are quite well documented.
  • Jesse had a Seaman’s Protection Certificate issued in 1798 and served on the Brig Fanny out of Providence in 1799.
  • Jesse purchased a small house and lot at the corner of Main and Montrose Streets in East Greenwich in 1797.  He sold it by 1800 and was at that time listed as “Yeoman alias Mariner.”  His wife “Sarah” signed one of the deeds, showing that “Sally” was indeed a “Sarah.”

Jesse appeared with a growing family in the 1800 and 1810 census in Warwick, then disappeared.  Not really knowing Sarah’s exact Arnold family and possible connections, I did an extensive census match-up between Warwick in 1810 and Ashford in 1820 to see if anyone might have accompanied them (A Census of the Census and 9 Other Things I Tried).  Nothing came of that.

Key Fact #3

All of this was helpful, but didn’t prove that the family in Warwick was the same as the family in Ashford.  Then I decided to get some DNA testing done on both my parents. 

Mom’s test came up with dozens of close matches to either Christopher Andrews (Jesse’s brother) or other Andrews of Warwick and East Greenwich, as well as the local families they tended to intermarry with – Sweets, Mattisons, Arnolds, Greenes.  Mom has no other connections in this part of Rhode Island.  It can really only come from Hannah Andrews.  I’m going to continue testing with other companies, but I’m accepting this evidence at this point.

The Old Randall Holden House, from History of Warwick by Fuller.  Randall Holden is a possible ancestor, depending on the exact Arnold line I may discover for Sarah.

The Old Randall Holden House, from History of Warwick by Fuller. Randall Holden is a possible ancestor, depending on the exact Arnold line I may discover for Sarah.

Things I still don’t know

  • Hannah and Russell were married by a Rev. Joel R. Arnold of the Colchester Conn. church, a popular preacher who didn’t stay long.  Now I am wondering if he is related to Sarah.  Duh.  Arnold.  That’s just occurring to me.
  • What happened between 1810 and 1820?  If they were in Massachusetts, where?  I find no evidence in deeds, many of which are actually online.  I see other relatives heading to Vermont or New York, but I never see anyone else going to Massachusetts.  Nearby Massachusetts should be a possibility (just north of Ashford, maybe) but I can’t find any record.  Perhaps Jesse’s mother died, and he had a small inheritance, and went elsewhere to buy land.  But I can’t find it.  I read Warwick town records for this decade, thinking they may have thrown him out, or paid him for something, but no luck.
  • The name Alden - where did that come from?  None of these Arnolds or Andrews had Mayflower roots.
  • Sarah Arnold’s parents will have to be discovered among the early Warwick Arnolds.  Her birth was not recorded, so she may have been in a family that migrated from one town to another, perhaps recording only part of their family.  My biggest clue is the proximity of Joseph Arnold to Jesse Andrews in the census records.
  • While I don’t think there are marked graves for Jesse and Sarah, I at least would like to find some notice of their deaths.
  • I have a theory that the missing children for Jesse and Sarah Andrews in the 1830 Ashford census may have headed south to Norwich, with their older siblings, to work in mills or do piecework at home.  Hannah could really only have met Russell in Norwich.
  • There were many other children in the Warwick 1810 census whose names are not known to me – what became of them?  I see little clear evidence in Warwick, Ashford, or Norwich.
  • It is embarrassing that I only have first name/middle initials for 4 of Hannah’s 5 children.  I normally do much better than that. In Sarah’s case, I sought out her grave and cemetery records, and I certainly sought and sometimes found marriage and death records for all.  If any of their descendants read this, please, let me know if you know one.
  • Now that I have the DNA bug, I’m a little curious about what the DNA of Alden’s descendants might tell us.  I don’t know any of them, but for his oldest son Russell, in particular, I have a lot of leads.

In the meantime, yay.  I found my ancestors right in my own backyard. Much more research will follow.

In summary

Hannah saw a lot in her 59 years.  She was born in a town that was new to her family, moved at least once or twice, and may have been part of the workforce at an early age.  I suspect when she met her husband he seemed far above her in station, and I am quite sure he was a very smart man, a sort of self-educated engineer.  Not much transpired after marriage that was easy or particularly successful, but I have in mind a version of her life where she admires her smart and ambitious husband, is appreciated for her willingness to follow him south, weathers very difficult times during the war, tends her children until, at the end, they must tend her, and is sincerely mourned. Rest in peace.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/09/30/hannah-andrews-brick-wall/

East Greenwich, from Picturesque Rhode Island. P245

East Greenwich, from Picturesque Rhode Island. P245

This week I had the opportunity to visit the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  The massive library consists of three buildings: the Jefferson Building, the Adams Building, and the Madison Building.  I took the Metro to the Capital South stop on the Blue Line.   It was only about 2 blocks up from there.  Parking, and even driving, looked completely impossible – the local streets seemed closed off, with police at every intersection.  That looked like a permanent state of affairs to me, but I could be wrong.

The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, across from the Capital building.

The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, across from the Capital building.

I wanted to visit the stunning Jefferson Building, and then get a research card and look at a manuscript in the Madison Building.  I had a backup plan if there was more time – a list of books I had found in the online card catalog, saved, emailed to myself, and printed.  Books from the stacks at the Library of Congress must be requested; one cannot roam the stacks. The old Genealogy Room is now gone; users should request the materials from the Main Reading Room.  This isn’t my favorite way of doing things, so I thought I would prefer to go for a manuscript.

Main entrance of the Jefferson Building.  The exit is in the back.

Main entrance of the Jefferson Building. The exit is in the back.

The Jefferson Building

The Jefferson Building with its famous Main Reading Room is incredibly beautiful.  I don’t know when I’ve been so overwhelmed by a building.  It was inspiring, and deserved a longer visit.  I hung by some of the tours, listening in.  I’ll have to take one of those someday.

The main entryway is several stories tall with marble staircases.

The Jefferson Building. The main entryway is several stories tall with marble staircases.

I walked through the Jefferson Building, visited the gift shop on my way out and purchased a sale book of old Massachusetts maps for $12, and then walked across the street to the more modern Madison Building.

A closer view of one of the marble staircases.

A closer view of one of the marble staircases in the Jefferson Building.

The Reader’s Registration

I visited the Reader’s Registration office in the Madison Building (LM-140) to request my registration card.  I had previously registered online for the card through the link on this page which was not really necessary but I hoped it would speed things up on site.  The card was cute. It will be good for two years.  Then, I went up to the sixth floor (yellow/red sections of the huge building) and found, with some difficulty, the cafeteria.  I had lunch, and it was quite peaceful in there until right about 12, when it got very busy.

Some details of the Main Reading Room.  I could have gained access once I had my research card, but didn't have enough time.

Some details of the Main Reading Room. I could have gained access once I had my research card, but didn’t have enough time.

The manuscript

I went to the Manuscripts Room on the first floor of the Madison Building. There were lockers, and very little could be brought in, but my tablet was ok, and they had wifi, which was helpful. I also brought my camera in to take pictures of the documents. I stored my other gear in the locker they gave me.

I had previously dropped them an email to inquire if the manuscript set I wanted had to be pre-ordered for remote retrieval.  They said that it should be available without advance planning.

The manuscript I had selected from the online catalog was:

Rhode Island General Assembly records, 1653-1747
Creator Rhode Island. General Assembly.
Extent 24 items ; 6 containers ; 2 linear feet
Summary Minutes, acts, and proceedings of Rhode Island’s colonial legislature sitting in various towns.
Finding Aid: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms009023
LC Online Catalog record: http://lccn.loc.gov/mm83085753

The Madison Building

The Madison Building, Library of Congress.

Since the files had not been microfilmed, they let me use the originals.  I was mystified about the origins and provenance of the old, handwritten sets of Rhode Island General Assembly records.  The earliest records were in three bound and restored volumes; the later three were archival folders with loose papers or loosely sewn booklets.  As I read through them I realized where they came from.  Early in Rhode Island history, there was no state capital exactly; the state government often met at Newport but also floated from place to place regularly.  As the minutes of government business were written, it would be ordered that extra copies be made and filed with the main towns – usually at least Providence, Portsmouth, Newport and Warwick.  Many of the pages I saw in this archive were marked “Portsmouth.”

A sample page of the manuscript of Rhode Island General Assembly records, hhh

A sample page of the manuscript of Rhode Island General Assembly records.  The writing is fairly uniform within each section, and VERY small, to save paper, I presume.

I focused on finding three items relating to my 8x-great grandfather John McAndrews / Andrews:

  1. His freeman status, 1671
  2. His part in the Pettaquamscutt Purchase, mentioned in the General Assembly 1671
  3. A General Assembly act to lessen a criminal sentence he received, in 1679.
At the manuscript reading area in the Madison Building.

At the manuscript reading area in the Madison Building.

Sadly, I tried hard but didn’t find the 1671 records, and I think this is because the version I was reading was incomplete.  I did find the 1679 record.  What astonished me was that I have seen mentions of this item several times, and seen it in a compiled genealogy at the Rhode Island Historical Society.  I NEVER knew what the crime was, but I do now:

[Volume 2, unpaginated:  At a Genl Assembly held for the Collony at Newport the 29th of October 1679]  Voted Upon the petition of John Mackandrews, alias Andrews to this Genl Assembly that they would be pleased to remit the sentence of the Genl Court of Tryalls against him, the Reasons contained in the said petition, Being the Great infirmity of his Body the Great infirmity of his Body [<–good sign that this was a copy] and the smallness of his Estate which said Reasons being to us made apparent, and alsoe there being no Evidence against him but the womans accusation and his incapassety to maintain his family, Upon the consideration thereof this Assembly doe remitt, and take off the Corporal punishment due to him the said John Mackandrew by the law of this Collony, and alsoe five pounds of the pecunery [muled?] or fine due by the law aforesaid: And alsoe this Assembly doe hereby further order that the Recorder shall grant forth Execution for the Remainder of the fine due by the law, until the Genl Assembly give order for it : Hoping that this our Clemency and good will, will not in any Wise encourage him nor any others to offend against law in the like manner.

No complete or well researched work has been done on John Andrews and I would like to solve the mystery of his arrival in Rhode Island, possibly from Scotland, his whereabouts before his arrival in North Kingstown, and of his marriage(s) and children.

My purchase at the gift shop.   Massachusetts: Mapping the Bay State Through History

My purchase at the gift shop. Massachusetts: Mapping the Bay State Through History

Records of the Colony of Rhode Island

Most of what I looked at should be contained in the printed books “The Records of the Colony of Rhode Island” but apparently I had missed some of the John Andrews items previously.  I enjoyed perusing the 6 volumes/boxes, I was excited to find my item as it was originally written (or at least copied), and I am newly dedicated to using the Records of the Colony of Rhode Island. Any time I see a reference to an act by the government, I am going to check out the record myself and not rely on someone else’s summary.

I will have to save the list of books to be pulled from the stacks for another trip.  But I enjoyed my visit to the library and I would love to go back.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/09/25/library-of-congress/

This early seal with an anchor was evidently meant to mark this as an official copy.  It appears many times in the volumes.

This early seal with an anchor (from a restored, bound page) was evidently meant to mark this as an official copy. It appears many times in the volumes.

This is my first post on a few DNA-related things I’ve been doing.  I began a little DNA testing about 6 months ago, and I’ve found it confusing, bewildering, and totally awesome.  I’ll report my adventures here from time to time, but for advice on DNA, better look elsewhere.  Here are some helpful sources from people who are knowledgeable:

I have been involved in four tests.

Y-DNA – Family Tree DNA – a cousin

This 37-marker test of the Y or male chromosome was taken by a cousin named Anderson who is directly descended from my ggggg-grandfather James Anderson of Baltimore, and later of Chester, Nova Scotia.  Two things are holding us back from benefiting from this test:

  1. many of our fellow test-takers seem to have some mystery in their direct male line, and their known first ancestor is more recent in time than James Anderson.
  2. Anderson is a common, and I mean common, name.  There is an Anderson project, so that’s good, but we can’t make much out of our matches there.  We do not have a lot of close matches, only one Anderson and a few Dagliesh/Douglas families.

I am glad we have this test recorded, but I think we need to try some other strategies.

MtDNA – Family Tree DNA – me

This is a test of the kind of DNA that goes from a woman to her children, but only can be passed on again by her daughters, not her sons, so over a long period of time is transmitted through a direct female line.  I took this test because my direct maternal line does present a problem.  My grandmother’s grandmother Jessie MacLeod Murdock came to Rhode Island from Pictou, Nova Scotia, but her background before that is murky, particularly regarding her mother, Rachel (last name unknown).  I thought if I could at least find out about Rachel’s origins that might help me.

Louis and Jessie Murdock in 1933 on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, with their three daughters, the husbands, three grandchildren and twin great-grand-daughters, my mom and her sister.

Louis and Jessie Murdock in 1933 on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, (Jessie short, in the center) with their three daughters, the husbands, three grandchildren and twin great-grand-daughters, my mom and her sister.

When the results came back, they looked good, since I had several “0” matches (meaning no mutations different than mine) and many “1’s”.  However, there were two serious problems:

  1. many of the testers who showed up in the list knew very little about their maternal family tree or submitted no tree at all or seemed not to understand that for this test, most distant direct maternal ancestor should be listed, not the overall most distant ancestor.
  2. Of the matches where I COULD see direct maternal info, I was surprised at the wide range of origins.  Germany, England, Russia, Ireland, Holland, and early U.S. settlers were represented.  Doesn’t clarify things much.  Clearly, we have some kind of strong MtDNA which has not changed in hundreds or should I say thousands of years.

So all in all, no help for me here although I suppose I have ruled out Native American origins, which were a possibility.

Autosomal DNA – Ancestry DNA – my father

Autosomal DNA is the bulk of one’s DNA, some of it being acquired from the mother, and some from the father.  This test was of my father’s autosomal DNA.

Of all the tests, this one definitely led to the closest cousins.  My father’s grandparents, Torquil and Sarah MacLean, had 11 children and dozens of grandchildren.  So of course I have many second cousins in this line, and my father’s test matched with one of them, a woman about my age in Utah.  I hope to get to meet her someday.  There were many other third and fourth cousins, with names and locations familiar to me from my father’s Cape Breton family tree, although currently most of the descendants are living all over Canada and the U.S.

My father’s four grandparents were from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, with Scottish origins in the Lewis and Harris regions on the western islands.  So I was a little taken aback, at first, to see Dad’s ancestry come up as 54% Ireland and 41% Great Britain.  But on closer inspection, I could see Scotland is included in those two designations.  Looking at the shapes on the map, BOTH locations covered portions of Scotland, with the north western islands of Scotland representing the most remote coverage of each area.  So it made sense; it easily could represent his Scottish roots.

Dad's ethnicity report from Ancestry DNA show that his two main areas both include Scotland.  No big surprise there.

Dad’s ethnicity report from Ancestry DNA show that his two main areas – Ireland and Great Britain –  both include Scotland. No big surprise there. Graphic from Ancestry DNA.

Autosomal DNA – Ancestry DNA – my mother

My first surprise with Ancestry DNA is that when they alerted me that results were in, and I looked, there was almost nothing there.  Oh well, I thought, that’s not so good.  But surprisingly, a few days later I looked again and there was far more to see.  And then I looked again two days after that, and there was even more.  Apparently, the data must be present for a while before the matching starts to show.

Mom was 99% European, mostly British with some Irish, but I suppose some of the British/Irish originates in Scotland.

This is where we shout from the rooftops that DNA testing is better than dusty old archives any day (with apologies to dusty old archives, who were my first love).  Once mom’s results really started rolling in, I saw close matches with ties to the Andrews, Sweet, and Matteson families of North Kingstown/East Greenwich/Warwick, Rhode Island.  Two of the matches actually showed up as third cousins, I am guessing because they, and my mom, had multiple ties to those families (I have heard that multiple lines of descent can exaggerate the closeness of the genetic link between two people).  Genealogy happy dance.  Evidence (but not proof, at this point) that my Andrews family IS the same as the Jesse Andrews and Sally Arnold who married in Warwick in 1795.  More on this to come.

[Andrews], Jess, of Phillip, and Sally Arnold, of Joseph; m. by James Jerrauld, Justice, Feb 22, 1795.

[Andrews], Jesse, of Phillip, and Sally Arnold, of Joseph; m. by James Jerrauld, Justice, Feb 22, 1795.

Other “matched” people at the fourth cousin level showed up pretty clearly in other spots on my tree, and it felt GREAT to see some scientific evidence backing up my carefully-grown family trees.  And as I keep thinking about it, clearly I can keep scouring the many matches that turned up for links to other problem areas.

This will take a lot more work to really figure out, and as I start to think this through I realize it will take a new way of researching.  Usually, ANY connection is a clue to be followed up on, but with DNA, only a direct link between generations will produce the matches I am seeing.  It’s a new way to approach research, and everything that comes next is really a new road for me.  A lot to learn. My goal is to prove that those matches did not come from some other connection.

Meanwhile, I talked two very nice fifth cousins descended from mom’s Nova Scotia ancestors into taking some extra tests I had.  If they are related to my mom, both would be rather significant for me since they come from branches where I’m not sure if there was an adoption, or not.  A bit of matching wouldn’t tell me exactly what I need to know, but could encourage me to keep looking.

I uploaded results to the free site GEDMatch.com, to see what additional matches I might find, and to try some of their other utilities, to get more from my results.  More to come on that.

In other news

Mom and Dad do not appear to be related to each other.  There was a possibility, since they both descend from MacLeods of Nova Scotia/Scotland, but GEDMatch did not find genetic ties.

Next Steps

I would like to begin a systematic testing of my parents and other relatives on the Family Tree DNA Family Finder test. That test allows you to pinpoint the specific DNA sections that match other people.  I am hoping a sale comes up soon.  This may end up including my Y-DNA testing cousins.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/09/16/dna-and-me/



This is a story about comparing Charles C. Baldwin’s 1881 Baldwin Genealogy to original documents (photographed and appearing on the web) relating to David Baldwin (1734-1824), and questioning the conclusions drawn by the author.  Lately, I find myself increasingly able to discern what sources were used to reach conclusions in unsourced books and articles, and to re-analyze those sources myself and perhaps reach different conclusions.  After doing this several times, it becomes second nature.  I hope.

My goal was to learn more about the life of David Baldwin, my fifth great grandfather (in the line of Billerica Baldwins he is: David4, Joseph3, Thomas2, John1).  My grandfather is descended from David Baldwin in the following way:  Miles Edward Baldwin — Miles Edward Baldwin — Edward Baldwin — Eli Baldwin — Abiel Baldwin — David Baldwin.

This is what The Baldwin Genealogy has to say about David Baldwin (p. 698-699):

83. DAVID 4 Joseph 3 Thomas 2 b. about 1734, probably in Billerica.
His father settled in Townsend, and he in Pepperel, Mass.
His will, dated 1802, was proved May 2, 1824, by consent of heirs.

205. David. George H. can’t find out about him.
206. Abiel.+
207. Abel. George H. says, three sons and two daus. , of whom one dau. is
living in 1876.
208. Abigail, m. Elias Boutell.
209. Amy, after 1802 and before 1824, m. Hezekiah Wines, and had three sons,
of whom two are living in 1876.
210. Elizabeth, m. Abijah Jewett.
211. Hannah, m., after 1802 and before 1824, Thomas Holder.
212. Eliza (not in will), m. Thomas H. Bailey.
213. Lucy.
214. Silvia (not in will of 1802), m. Boutell.

He lived in Pepperel, near the Townsend line.

The Townsend Historical Society, 2012.  Photo by Diane Boumenot

The Townsend Historical Society, 2012. Photo by Diane Boumenot

David’s early life

David’s parents were Joseph Baldwin (1702-1747) and Esther Manning (1703-1740). Joseph and Esther were first cousins. The page of Townsend, Massachusetts births which contained their children has been missing from the record book for over a century (per Henry C. Hallowell’s Vital Records of Townsend, Massachusetts (Boston, NEHGS, 1992, page 203)) so I am still piecing that together.  Their oldest son, Ebenezer, was “from his Childhood Deprived of his Eyesight in a Great Measure” according to Townsend town selectmen (see probate #836, p. 19). The Selectmen felt that Ebenezer was not provided for adequately in his father’s will, and might become a charge to the town.  David’s siblings also included Joseph, Thomas, Reuben and Abel, plus a half sister Thankful (died young).  David was six when his mother died, and 13 when his father died.  David’s father Joseph also left behind his second wife, Thankful Prescott Baldwin.  The inventory showed a well-stocked house and farm in Townsend, including some books, with more farm animals than I normally see.

Probate records for Joseph Baldwin (#836, #837, #838, #839, Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database,  AmericanAncestors.org) show that David and his brother Abel went to the custody of two uncles in Billerica, John Baldwin and David Baldwin.  David and Abel shared the inheritance of a second farm in Townsend, part of the “Mount Grace” area.  I’m not sure how the boys fared, but the guardian of the two older brothers made a special request to the judge to purchase clothes for the older boys who, “by reson of there father’s long illness were exceeding bear ont [barren?] for cloathing”.  Perhaps the stepmother was overwhelmed by caring for the sick husband.  It’s not really clear to me whether fabric was usually manufactured at home in the 1740’s, or purchased.

signatures of Davids uncles and guardians John Baldwin and David Baldwin, in Joseph Baldwin's probate packet.

signatures and seals of David’s uncles John Baldwin and David Baldwin, in Joseph Baldwin’s probate packet.

David “of Pepperell” married my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth Boynton (1743-1777) in 1769 and Elizabeth Blood (1743-1790) in 1778, according to Henry C. Hallowell’s Vital Records of Townsend, Massachusetts (Boston, NEHGS, 1992).  He was the father of 9 children.  David may have served in the Revolutionary War, but there were several cousins by that name, so I’m unsure.  I see no evidence that he married a third time.

Deeds for David Baldwin

Looking through the large file of Middlesex County probate records on familysearch.org I had a hard time distinguishing David Baldwin, yeoman, with others of the same description.  I believe these may refer to him:

  • 1763 deed for 3 acres in Billerica, sold by David to Jonathan French, recorded in 1777
  • 1770 deed for a purchase in western Pepperell that David made from Simion Gilson, recorded in 1798
  • 1776 deed for a purchase from Jonathan Shepley in western Pepperell, recorded in 1798

Cambridge is a long way off, and it’s possible that Pepperell residents needed to file deeds there.  Or, there could be some other reason for the delays, and some event in 1798 that prompted the eventual filings.

These deeds would support David’s Billerica-to-Pepperell path that I read about in the Baldwin genealogy (The Baldwin Genealogy, from 1500 to 1881 by Charles Candee Baldwin, Cleveland: 1881, p. 698-699) but I didn’t get much further information from them. I don’t see deeds late in life or after death that reflect transfers to the children.  I eliminated the other David Baldwin deeds for one reason or another, but I may be missing something.

David Baldwin’s children

The Pepperell birth records (Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, Pepperell, Book A, p48, from Ancestry.com, image 447 of 1148) show the list of children of David and his first and second wives.

David's children were David, Elizabeth (died young), Abigail, Abiel, Elizabeth, Amy, Abel, Hannah, and Lucy.

David’s children were David, Elizabeth (died young), Abigail, Abiel, Elizabeth, Amy, Abel, [another record intervenes] Hannah, and Lucy.

I was interested to see that another record book from the Pepperell set shows the same family again in a cleaned up, more obviously transcribed page in Book B (Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, Pepperell, Book B, p29, from Ancestry.com, image 552 of 1148).  I noticed that this version omits or smudges the “2nd” after the name of the second Elizabeth; a noteworthy difference if someone was not aware there were two wives named Elizabeth.

David's children were David, Elizabeth (died Young), Abigail, Abiel, Elizabeth, Amy, Abel, Hannah, and Lucy.

The second appearance of the list in the Pepperell records

David had the following children:

with first wife Elizabeth Boynton, 1743-1777

  • David Baldwin, b. 1770
  • Elizabeth Baldwin, b. 1772
  • Abigail Baldwin, b. 1774
  • Abiel Baldwin, b. 1776

with second wife Elizabeth Blood, 1743-1790

  • Elizabeth Baldwin, b. 1779
  • Amy Baldwin, b. 1781
  • Abel Baldwin, b. 1782
  • Hannah Baldwin, b. 1784
  • Lucy Baldwin, b. 1786

Probate records online

What got this search started were blog posts by Randy Seaver and Bill West about some probate records recently made available online.  The probate records of Middlesex County, Massachusetts have been placed on the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  To have the packets online is a huge improvement over traveling to East Cambridge, Mass.  I just go to the search screen on AmericanAncestors.org (requires NEHGS membership] and use the record set “Middlesex County, MAIndex to Probate Records and (once I know the number from the index) Probate File Papers.

David Baldwin’s will, 1802

David Baldwin (1734-1824) was a yeoman of Pepperell, Massachusetts.  Since his second wife Elizabeth had died in 1790, David was a widower in 1802 when he made the will, and when it was proved in the 1824.  No mention was made in the will of any wife, and the estate was divided among the children.

David lived to be an old man, dying in Pepperell at age 89.  I found the 1802 will of David Baldwin (#812, Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database.  AmericanAncestors.org).

The will, transcribed:

In the name of God Amen this second day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and two I, David Baldwin of Pepperell in the county of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts husbandman now of sound mind and memory thanks to God therefore, but calling to mind the frailty and mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do for avoiding controversies after my decease make and ordain this my last will and testament.

Principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God who gave it, and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my executor hereafter named, nothing doubting but at the general Resurection I shall Receive the same again by the power of God, and as touching such worldly goods and estate where with it has pleased God to bless me with in this life I give and dispose of in manner following

First I order all my just debts and funeral charges to be paid by my executor here after named

I give and bequeath onto my oldest son David Baldwin Junior the sum of one dollar which together with what he has before received makes up his sole share of my estate.

I give unto my second son Abiel Baldwin all my farming and husbandry tools of every kind, also my house together with the one half of all my wearing apparel.

I give unto my third son Abel Baldwin the other half of my wearing apparel.

I give unto my daughter Abigail now wife of Elias Boutell the sum of one dollar .

I give unto my daughter Amy Baldwin the sum of one dollar.

I give unto my daughter Elizabeth now the wife of Abijah Jewett the sum of one dollar.

I give unto my daughter Hannah Baldwin the sum of one dollar.

I give unto my daughter Lucy Baldwin the sum of one dollar.

all which sums I order to be paid unto them by my executor in one year after my decease.

And I further give unto my said three daughters Amy Hannah, and Lucy all my household furniture of all kinds for ever.

See next page

And all the remainder of my estate which may consist of money, notes of hand, and live stock. I do hereby order that the same be equally divided and shared between my son Abiel, and Abel, and my daughters Abigail, Elizabeth, Amy, Hannah, and Lucy.

And I do hereby nominate and appoint my said son Abel Baldwin soul executor to this my last will and testament.

In testimony whereof I the said David Baldwin have here unto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.

David Baldwin

now signed sealed and published by the said David Baldwin to be his last will and testament in presence of us

Edmond Blood

Jonathan Blood

Joseph Heald

Of David’s 9 children, the first Elizabeth had died at age 1, and all others were living in 1802.

Guardianship of David Baldwin, 1821

In 1821, when David was 86, some family members appealed to the court of probate for a guardianship to be established for David Baldwin of Pepperell (#811, Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871. Online database.  AmericanAncestors.org).

Whereas Hezekiah Winn & others, your friends and children, have represented to the judge of said court, that you are a non compos mentis person & incapable of taking care of yourself and prayed that a guardian may be appointed to you as the Law directs.

The guardianship was established and an inventory taken totaling $902.  The inventory showed a minimal, rustic set of belongings, such as an old man living alone might have used. No indication was ever given for the nature of the disorder.  Although, perhaps “Eight Cyder Barrels” was a clue.  John Walton of Pepperell, Esquire, was appointed guardian, and Walter Fiske, Yeoman, and Hezekiah Winn, Yeoman, as sureties.

Family members in 1821

Signatures on the guardianship papers, 1821

Signatures on the guardianship papers, 1821

The signatures on the guardianship record give some indication of the fate of the children by 1802:

  • Hezekiah Winn
  • Amy [Winn?]
  • Abijah Jewett
  • Elizabeth Jewett
  • Abel Baldwin
  • Thos Holden
  • Hannah Holden
  • Lucy Baldwin
  • Elias Bouttell, for Eliza and David B. Bouttell
  • Sylvia Bouttell
  • David Baldwin Jun

Family members in 1824

Signatures of heirs in probate record, 1824.

Signatures of heirs in probate record, 1824.

These family members signed the probate papers in 1824:

  • David Baldwin
  • Abiel Baldwin
  • Abijah Jewett in right of Elizabeth my wife
  • Hezekiah Winn in right of Amy my wife
  • Thomas Holden in right of Hannah my wife
  • Thomas H. Bailey in right of Eliza my wife
  • Lucy Baldwin
  • Sylvia Boutell

It’s interesting that Abel signed the guardianship in 1821, and Abiel signed the probate in 1824.  Otherwise, the other five are the same.

Where the book was wrong

Comparing what I saw in the probate and vital records to David Baldwin’s entry (page 698-699)  in The Baldwin Genealogy by Charles Candee Baldwin showed me a lot about the author’s methods.  In the fairly brief entry for David and his family (in green), the following errors/omissions were made:

[first of all, names are not in birth order]

205. David. George H. can’t find out about him. David ended up owning a large farm in nearby Fitchburg, in Worcester County.  I found an 1830 probate packet for him, #2861, in the Worcester County probate records on FamilySearch.org.  The record of the children of his two marriages, to Abigail and, later, Edah Putnam, is found on pages 228 and 227 of Fitchburg Town Records, Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records on Ancestry.com.  I base my conclusion on him naming a son Abel and the presence of 5 family members among his creditors mentioned in the probate records.
206. Abiel.+  page 707 details my 4th great grandfather Abiel’s life. OK.
207. Abel. George H. says, three sons and two daus. , of whom one dau. is living in 1876.  OK. I believe Abel died 1855.
208. Abigail, m. Elias Boutell.  OK.
209. Amy, after 1802 and before 1824, m. Hezekiah Wines, and had three sons, of whom two are living in 1876.  Amy married Hezekiah Winn.  She died in 1846 in Pepperell.
210. Elizabeth, m. Abijah Jewett.  He left off the first Elizabeth, but this may have been intentional.
211. Hannah, m., after 1802 and before 1824, Thomas Holder.  She married Thomas Holden.
212. Eliza (not in will), m. Thomas H. Bailey. Eliza Boutell Bailey was a granddaughter, not a daughter; the daughter of Abigail.
213. Lucy.  It’s possible Lucy never married; she was still single in 1824.
214. Silvia (not in will of 1802), m. Boutell.  Sylvia Boutell was a granddaughter, not a daughter; the daughter of Abigail.

I believe most of the problem stems from the fact that the author, or the mysterious “George H.” (never explained in the book) only used the probate record #812, and missed probate #811, as well as the Pepperell vital records.

And that’s the story of how I was able to make my own analysis of David Baldwin’s family, using the book details only as suggestions.

The judge

Anyone who reads Middlesex probate records from the first half of the nineteenth century is familiar with the name Judge Fay.  I have seen it many times.  It occurred to me to look into his history a little bit.

Judge Samuel Phillips Prescott Fay

Judge Samuel Phillips Prescott Fay

Judge Samuel Phillips Prescott Fay (1766-1856) served as a Middlesex “probate of wills” judge from 1821 – 1856, and also as a trustee of Harvard College and Grand Master of the Masons. From some old Boston families, I assumed he would have had a portrait or photograph taken of himself.  Sure enough, I found his likeness on page 193 of Ancient Middlesex with Brief Biographical Sketches by Levi S. Gould (Somerville, 1905).   For years I had pictured the judge as if he were Lionel Barrymore playing Judge Hardy in the original Andy Hardy movie “A Family Affair” but in fact he was even kinder looking than that.  It’s funny to think of him knowing generations of my family members.

Things I learned

  • At first, I only found and read David’s after-death probate.  It was only when I saw a dollar total carried over from “his guardian” that I realized there had been guardianship papers in a different record.  Then, I downloaded that document, too (just one number prior).  Much head-smacking and a solemn vow to always look a couple of records forward, and back.
  • Even finding a handwritten set of birth records for a family does not mean there’s not a more original version elsewhere in the records.  One set looked neat, all in the same hand, and obviously transcribed, which tipped me off to try and find an earlier set.  Turns out, the transcription had an important omission.
  • I haven’t mentioned a Sons of the American Revolution record that I found for David Baldwin mentioning his son, David, which was very unreliable, but from that I DID find the name of David Junior’s second wife, and that helped me distinguish among many David Baldwins in northern Massachusetts and find the probate record with the evidence.  Even in a bad compiled source, one thing might be right.
  • At first I was doubtful that the Fitchburg probate record was for the David Baldwin Junior I was looking for because the farm was so large and worth so much money, and he owned a church pew. Seemed like he couldn’t be my David Baldwin’s son.   Then I saw the list of debts to be settled (about half the value of the estate) and I started to believe.  Is that wrong?  I need to remember that some of my ancestors went to church, probably, and in 1800 even a modest gift from a father to his oldest son could be turned into something substantial.
  • The author assumed, if the husband signed probate and his wife didn’t sign, that she must have passed away.  Legally, that’s a bad assumption since the daughter’s share would have gone to her CHILDREN, not her husband. I wonder how many authors were unaware of the way the law affected the records they were using?

The Middlesex probate records were from:  Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871. Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.) Accessed 9/1/2014.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/09/12/where-theres-a-will/


This is the second in an occasional series of articles transcribed directly from The Narragansett Historical Register, a Rhode Island treasure now mostly forgotten.  Published by James Newell Arnold between 1882 and 1891, the magazine was devoted to Rhode Island history and genealogy.  No longer under copyright, the articles can continue to enlighten us.  If the article below makes you curious, check out the full issues and index pages here.

Narragansett Historical Register logo

Notes on Quidnessett

by “Quidnessett”

Doing this transcription brought an immediate benefit to me – the site of “John Andrew’s house” is mentioned.  My possible ancestor, John Andrews, was an early resident of the Quidnessett area (name in green, below).  While I’m still trying to determine if Jesse Andrews of Ashford, Connecticut, 1820, is the same Jesse Andrews that was John Andrews’ great-great grandson, this location is a fascinating detail that I could pinpoint using Beers maps from the 1880’s.  Two articles were published on Quidnessett and appear below.  Maybe you will find an ancestor here, or learn more about the early settlement of the area. The text is rather random and scattered, so I wonder if it was the reminiscences of an elderly person.  Note: except for the Quidnessett map, all illustrations are my addition, they were not present in the original articles. Footnotes have been recorded in place.

[Transcribed here from The Narragansett Historical Register, Volume 1, No. 4, April, 1883 (Published by the Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Hamilton, R.I.), p. 305-311.]


THE old Quidnessett territory, situated in the northeastern part of North Kingstown, was for many years a prominent part of the town.

In early times it could boast of two saw mills, and one or two grist mills. The latter are still receiving the patronage of the region about them. Considerable trade was carried on from the Greene’s, George, and Allen’s Harbor with Newport, Providence, and Bristol.

The old sloop, called the “Two Brothers,” from the forge mill and anchor works, and Allen’s sloop, called the “Sea Flower,” carried on quite a trade at those towns. These two old craft were worn out in their service, and were supplanted by the “Emily Ann” and “Lucy Ann.” When the Greene’s retired from business, and John Allen died, the trade at those places nearly went down.

June 11th, 1659, the Indian Sachem Coquinoquant, of the Narragansett Country, whose love and friendship for the English was so great, made a deed of gift to Major Humphrey, Atherton & Company — consisting of John Winthrop, Governor of Connecticut; Richard Smith, Sen., and Richard Smith, Jun., of Cocumscussuc, traders ; Lieut. William Hudson, of Boston ; Amos Richardson, trader, and John Tinker, of Nashaway, trader. [*Potter’s Narragansett, p.58]

Afterwards a deed of confirmation was given signed by Quissucquansh, Scultop, and Quequaquomit.[*Colonial Records, Vol.1, p. 464]

It seems to have been variously called. The natives called it Aquitawaset ; the English, Quidnessett. In the deed of confirmation it was indifferently called Wyapumsett, Muscacouage, Cocumcossuck, and the like, if we modernize it.

Map of Pettaquamscutt Purchase from Thomas Hazard Son of Robt calld College Tom, 1893, frontis.

Map of Pettaquamscutt Purchase from Thomas Hazard Son of Robt calld College Tom, 1893, frontis.

It is bounded on the north by the Potowomut River. It assumes that name at the Hunts Bridge, and runs to Pojack Point, at the Narragansett Bay.

The lower part of it was at one time called ” Waud’s Cove,” at another time, ” Greene’s River.”

It is bounded on the west by the “Pequot Path,” or ” Post Road,” leading to Cocumsquissut Brook, just south of Smith’s house, or better known as the Updike house.  Then it is bounded southerly by the Cocumscussett, or Wickford Harbor, and easterly by the Narragansett Bay.

What was sold to Richard Smith and his son, in 1639, was not included in the transfer.

The Smiths were the first white people that settled in the Narragansett Country, and the block house they built was in the extreme southwest corner of the Quidnessett teritory, which is about six miles long and three broad, making about eighteen or twenty square miles. Roger Williams says in defense of Smith’s title : ” That he left fair possession in Glostershire and came to Taunton, in Plymouth Colony, and thence to Narragansett Country, where he settled and put up in the thickest of the barbarians ye first English house among them.” [*Potter’s Narragansett, p.166]

By the marriage of Smith’s daughter into the Updike family, this estate, by will, was given by her father, Richard Smith, Sen.; it took that name, and so continued till it went by purchase into the hands of Capt. Joseph Congdon, in 1813.

Seven and eight years after Richard Smith, Sen.’s, settlement in Quidnessett, Roger Williams, and one Wilcox, built trading houses about one mile north, and carried on business from 1646, or ‘47, til 1651, when Williams sold out to Smith his trading house, his two big guns, and a small island near Smith’s house, which had been lent him by Canonicus a little before his death. He sold out to raise funds to defray his expenses to England for the second charter.

Richard Smith Block-House at Cocumsmussuc, constructed by Richard Smith Junior about 1680 from the materials of the old garrison house.  From Providence in Colonial Times, 1912, p46.

Richard Smith Block-House at Cocumsmussuc, constructed by Richard Smith Junior about 1680 from the materials of the old garrison house. From Providence in Colonial Times, 1912, p46.

King Charles I was about to be dethroned and Cromwell installed as Protector. For three years was Roger Williams away from his family and home on this mission.

John Clarke, of Newport, was his colleague, and remained the whole time, till the charter was granted in 1663.

This trading house of William’s, tradition says, stood where Wm. G. Madison’s north barn now stands.

It was Judge Sherman’s opinion, and Judge Brayton coincided with him, that Canonicus and Miantonomy resided nearby, opposite on Fones’ purchase, within twenty or thirty rods of the “Devil’s foot-tracks,” in a northerly direction.

Here is where Roger Williams wrote the famous Cocumssquisset letters to Gov. Winthrop and Major Mason.

Near this place have been exhumed Indian skeletons and relics. On the Updike farm is a cemetery where are as many as seventy-five or eighty graves with headstones, called the “Indian burying ground.” On the opposite side of the road is another. It was not the custom of the Indians to designate the resting place of their dead by stones.

Richard Smith and the Updikes were interred not far from the first place mentioned. The next year after the deeds of Quidnessett were given, several of the citizens of Newport, Portsmouth, Providence, and Warwick, to get the lands of the Narragansett Country out of the hands of the Plymouth and Connecticut Colonies, came on and purchased farms on the bay and the Potowumut River, extending over half of the Quidnessett territory. They were some of the most prominent men of those towns.

Thomas, and John Gould, Henry Fowler, John Hulls, Robert Carr, Thomas Hart, Francis Brinley, Walter Couningreve, Thomas Nichols, and sons, Henry Tibbett’s, Samuel Waite, Nicholas Spink, Capt. John Cranston, Robert Wescott, John Sanford, Edward Thurston, John Greene, and son, Valentine Wightman ; these were the first settlers, and soon after a second class bought in the south part of the district : John Eldred, William Dyre, Arthur Aylesworth, John Allen, and Henry Reynolds. John Greene and son owned more acres than any others for several years. John Greene was the son of John Greene, the physician of Salesbury, England, who was one of Roger Williams friends of the second arrival. John the second was in office in the colony the most of his life ; was ten years Deputy Governor. John Cranston was Governor two years and died in office. Governor William Greene and Governor Waud owned said estate in Quidnessett.

First Meeting-House in Salem, where Roger Williams is said to have preached, from Our Country's Story by Eva March Tappan, p. 74

First Meeting-House in Salem, where Roger Williams is said to have preached, from Our Country’s Story by Eva March Tappan, p. 74

To strengthen her position, the Connecticut colony laid claim to Potowomut and Muscachuage, or Muskachuge, as far as Cowesett., afterwards embracing all of Greenwich, which was laid out and organized into a town in 1677. The small territory, Potowomut Neck, under the Sagamore Tucomanan, lies between Greenwich Harbor and this river. It is an integral part of Warwick, though detached from it. In the mortgage deed given to Major Atherton & Co., it was claimed to Cowesett, including Potowomut and Muscachuge. This latter place was between Cowesett and the upper part of Quidnessett.

During the strife between the Colonies (which Professor Greene says lasted twenty years), the Connecticut Colony did not only claim the Narragansett Country, but a part of Kent County. The Quidnessett people speaking for Narragansett, or the “Kings Province,” as it was styled, were very assiduous in their endeavors to inhabit every part of it.

Capt. John Tallcott, and John Banks were commissioned by the Connecticut Colony on the vacant lands in the Kings Province, reported that:

“We received a letter from Major Cranston, at Narragansett, that himself with six others of the assistants belonging to Rhode Island, as we were informed by his messengers, and that with them were come forty men to be settled in plantationwise at Elizabeth Springs, north of Mr. Gould’s, about three miles toward Boston, and answer was returned to the said letter.
Your humble servants.
“John Tallcott, “”John Banks.”
“June 10, 1677.” [*Colonial Records, Vol. II, p. 597]

The Elizabeth Springs referred to are at the head of Greenwich Cove. Previous to the above date it was called ” Muskachuage Cove.”

The first spring is opposite Capt. Spencer’s house, the second at the foot of the railroad bridge, the third a few rods west, and the fourth was under the post road, where the old Muskachuage bridge used to be. This road was called the ” Boston road.”

Warwick Neck, at the entrance to Cowesett Bay from Narragansett Bay, Its Historic and Romantic Associations, p34.

Warwick Neck, at the entrance to Cowesett Bay from Narragansett Bay, Its Historic and Romantic Associations, p34.

These springs were about three miles from the place where Mr. Thomas Gould then lived, on the Mount farm. They were called ” Elizabeth Springs ” in honor of Roger William’s wife. By what rule it is difficult to tell, as her name was Mary.

Tallcott and Banks must have been much discouraged when Major Cranston wrote them about what numbers had flocked to that locality to settle ” plantation wise.” Their report to Connecticut gave but little hope that the Narragansett Country will finally be a part of her coveted domain.

Muskachuge was as much a territory as Cowesett, or Apponaug, only not so extensive. It was bounded on the north by Cowesett, Division street in Greenwich, and the continuation west forms the dividing line between Greenwich and Warwick.

The north line of ” Fones’ Purchase” commenced at a rock on the River Passatuthonsu, the river above “Hunt’s Bridge,” on the ” Post Road,” running straight north to a river running into the Muskachuge Cove. Then the line follows the road easterly to the Potowomut River, as high as salt water. The ford where people crossed the river was at Greene’s forge mill, and was passable only at low water. Before the dam was built it flowed up as high as Thomas Hill’s house, a little west of it. From this point the line ran partly in a southwesterly direction straight to John Andrew’s house on the “Post Road,” thence to the Devil’s foot rocks.

Samuel Austin’s house is near the place where Andrew‘s house stood. Hon. George A. Brayton left among his papers the original map of the Potowomut District on which are dotted the houses of the first settlers who inhabited that fertile region. It extended as far west as Hunt’s Bridge.

Greene Memorial House, at Apponaug.  from Narragasett Bay, it's Historic and Romantic Associations, 1904, p. 43

Greene Memorial House, at Apponaug. There are a couple of early Greene families, so I’m not sure the Greenes referred to here are the ancestors of General Nathanael Greene. From Narragansett Bay, Its Historic and Romantic Associations, 1904, p. 43

In 1680, Warwick and Kings Towne both claimed it.

The first bridge over the Potowomut river at the ford was built from the duty on imported slaves brought into Newport and sold in 1715. The streets of that place were paved from the same source at the same time.

We well remember the old Anchor Forge of the memorable Greene family, the bellows and famous trip hammer made to strike the heated iron by a revolution of an immense wheel turned by water power, then five stalwart men who struck the battered iron till it was wrought into an anchor that would weigh when completed eighteen or twenty hundred pounds.

There was an old corn and wheat mill with wheels sixteen or eighteen feet in diameter running two sets of stones, and last not least, Christopher and Elisha Greene (brothers), one in charge of the mills, and the other of the anchor works. Though quite small in the last days of that ancient old mill, I can call to mind these venerable old men as though it was but yesterday I saw them. The old Narragansett pacer that carried me and my “grist” to that renowned place have often fed my mind with youthful visions of the romantic place. Often the bushel and a half of corn to be ground for “Johnny cake meal,” challenged all the strength Uncle Christopher and I had to get it from old Grimes’ back, and the hopper two flights of stairs above.

A Narragansett pacer, from American Horses and Horse Breeding, 1895

A Narragansett pacer, from American Horses and Horse Breeding, 1895

The old flat-bottomed sloop, “Two Brothers,” mastered by Wickes Hill, Daniel Mitchell, and Benj’n Gardiner, and the “Emily Ann,” built at the forge mill for Judge Greene, mastered by Benjamin Gardiner and Henry Reynolds.

early map of Quidnesset from Narragansett Historical Register, volume 5, p 62.

early map of Quidnesset from Narragansett Historical Register, volume 5, p 62.


[Transcribed here from The Narragansett Historical Register, Volume 5, No. 1, July, 1886 (Published by the Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Hamilton, R.I.), p. 61-66.]

THE plat of the territory presented us by the editor of the Narragansett Historical Register, which we are permitted to exhibit to our readers, is a very exact picture of that part of North Kingstown commonly called ” Quidnessett Neck.”

There are but few portions of that ancient town that can boast of better farms, or more eligibly situated, than those on the Narragansett Bay and Potowomut River. The Gould’s Mt, farm, laying on the bay and Quidnessett harbor, (now known as Allen’s harbor) was undoubtedly the first piece of land bought of Maj. Atheton, &c, after the settlement of the Smith’s.

Thomas Gould made the first purchase in 1661, as can be shown by a plat now extant. It has been handed down through five generations. It was commenced by him at that date and ended by his grandnephew, Thomas Gould, in 1837 ; one hundred and seventy-six years to his death. From that purchase to 1666, as many as twenty persons bought on the Bay, Potowomut River, and the “Pequot Path,” or “Post Road,” as far south as the ” Devil’s foot.”

Thomas Gould became early in life a prominent man in the colony, and was repeatedly elected an assistant or deputy in the Colonial Assembly from Kingstown.

When the General Court met at his house, by adjournment from Pettaquamscut, May 18, 1671, he was elected Conservator of the Peace and sub-tenant. The court was held to engage the people in that locality to adhere to the Crown of England and the Rhode Island Colony. Some were disaffected and clung to Connecticut.

The Smith’s held sometimes to one, then the other, and the question who owns the Narragansett country? harassed the people from 1639 to 1703, when the matter was settled and the Rhode Island Colony was triumphant ; and the Narragansett Country comprised, as it does now, Washington county.

The Glebe - a parsonage, from Narragansett Pier, R.I., page 37.

The Glebe – a parsonage, from Narragansett Pier, R.I., page 37.

Thomas Gould, James Reynolds, George Tibbetts, and some others were arrested and taken to Hartford and confined in prison for adhering to Rhode Island.

They sent a petition to the Colonial Assembly at the May Session, 1677, for instruction, assistance and advice. The Assembly “having seriously considered the matter,” ” voted unanimously that they would vindicate their cause, and if they suffer in their persons, or estates, this Colony will stand by them, assist them and relieve, by all lawful ways and means.”—E. R. Potter, 197.

This occurred early in May when seed time was near at hand, and they could not afford to lose it, so they compromised the matter by a promise that they would adhere to Connecticut Colony, and on that ground they were released under an oath to return to their homes in Quidnessett, but that greedy little Colony forbade them yielding to any other power or State.

Thomas Gould was the second son of Jeremiah Gould who came from Dorchester, England, to Newport, R. 1., in 1637. He was born about 1623. He was married to a daughter of William Baulston, of Newport, in 1655. They had no children, and he gave his farm to Daniel, Jr., his brother’s son, who went to live with his uncle soon after he was married. Daniel married Mary, daughter of Walter and Hannah Clark. They had two sons, Jeremiah and Daniel; Jeremiah inherited the Quidnessett farms, by will. He was a distinguished man — was 24 years in the Colonial Assembly—three times elected speaker of the House—was a justice of the Interior Court of Common Pleas—was a very prominent member of the Society of Friends—eighteen years he was clerk of the monthly meeting. Owing to ill-health he was obliged to retire from office two or three years before his death.

Nearby birthplace of Gilbert Stewart, from Narragansett Pier, R.I., page 36.

Nearby birthplace of Gilbert Stewart, from Narragansett Pier, R.I., page 36.

For many years in his political life the Friends had full control of the Colonial Government of Rhode Island. He made his will and divided his effects among his numerous family, and departed this life July 7, 1740.

He married Elizabeth Ward, daughter of Thomas Ward, of Newport. They had seven daughters, and one son, Daniel, who married Mary Fry, daughter of Thomas Fry, of Frenchtown, East Greenwich.

Daniel was a very promising young man. He was elected to the lower house of the General Assembly in 1745, and died while in office. He left with his wife one daughter, Mary, who married John Allen, (afterwards Judge Allen), and one son, Thomas, who lived in celibacy, and died in 1836, aged 92 years.

The farm stood in the name of the Goulds 175—in the Goulds and Aliens 200 years.

Early it took the name of “Mount Farm ” from a large clump of rocks towering 40 or 50 feet above tide water, 5 or 6 rods from the shore, running N. E. and S. W. an eighth of a mile long, and nearly the same in width. Among the rocks grew large trees, walnuts, oaks, locust and cedar, barberries, buckthorn, amasadutrious vine, ivy, and clematis. It formed a lair for cattle to lodge in nights before barns were built.

It was a noted place for clam bakes long before the watering places were thought of in Rhode Island.

The view from the top of the mount upon the Narragansett Bay—its islands, villages and cities are delightful to those who are fond of gazing upon the sublime and the beautiful.

Thomas Gould, 1st, imported the first barberries in this country. He planted and cultivated a hedge about his house. In time the birds spread the seed till all Rhode Island was supplied, and Connecticut as far as the river. Soon after some man in Plymouth, Mass., imported them in the same way, and they have spread extensively in every direction in that State. Many years ago it was believed they were poisonous to rye, and a law was enacted requiring every farmer to destroy them, but in spite of the law they have lived near a hundred and seventy years on that farm ; except at the Mount they have nearly disappeared.

The hawthorn, the buckthorn, and the primbush were imported from England early in the settlement of the country. All of them were grown on the Mt. farm, but the woodman’s axe destroyed them long ago.

Thomas Gould built him a log house to begin with, and after a few years he built a frame house, one story high, and as the families increased in numbers, additions were put on one end till the house became one hundred feet long. It was found more convenient to build on the end than above stairs. Daniel Gould enlarged it when his family was increased, and Jeremiah enlarged it when his family was increased, but in 1766 it became untenantable and was abandoned. Soon it fell down.

The chimney stood till 1791 or 1792 when it was pulled down. The lime used in the mortar was made of shells from the shore nearby, and was very strong. The mortar is seen on the stones in a wall nearby to this day.

The Goulds carried on a lucrative trade with Newport from the earliest settlement of Quidnessett ; grain, mutton, beef, and poultry, and such other commodities as were demanded from time to time.

Cattle, sheep and horses were introduced as early and as fast as they could be had. Boats of large dimensions were built to accommodate trade between Newport and Quidnessett harbor early in Thomas Gould’s day, and he accommodated his neighbors as well as himself.

The north part of this territory was thickly settled by 1666, and in 1671 the Dyers, Eldreds, John, Viall, Lodowick, and Richard Updike made their appearance.

Viall was of Boston, and married Richard Smith’s daughter. He lived in Quidnessett but a short time.

“Seconiquonset Point,” a prominent place in the south-east part of Quidnessett, was changed to “Quonset ” by the English. The British ship, Armada, went ashore on the north side of that point in 1780, loaded with supplies for the British army and navy.

Indian Rock, Narragansett Pier from Picturesque Rhode Island, page 292.

Indian Rock, Narragansett Pier from Picturesque Rhode Island, page 292.

There don’t appear to have been any Indian name for the N. E. point of Quidnessett unless it was Potowomut, but some years later a name was accidentally made for it that is very quaint and answers every purpose quite as well. “Pojack,” or ” Poorjack,” had its origin with some clam diggers who resorted to that place to get clams, when one of them had an uneasy horse that got loose and set out to swim across the river to Marsh Point on the opposite side. His owner dropped his hoe and ran to catch him while he was floundering in the mud, repeatedly muttering, ” Whoa, Poor-Jack.” By dint of effort and the help at hand, the poor horse was turned about and got to the shore so badly frightened he never attempted it again.

The word poor was easily changed to Po, and prefixed to Jack, making ” Pojack.” This name was so called anterior to the Revolutionary war, as Capt. Josiah Gribbs was ordered to march his company around from Warwick Neck to “Pojack Point,” meaning Gould’s hill, just above the house. That occurred in 1779 when the British were in the Bay.

Spink’s rocks, just outside of Allen’s harbor, was a rocky place made notable by the capture of William Spencer and John Allen in 1779.

“Calf-pasture,” (” Lyon’s Tongue,”) was another place made famous by the British trading with the Tories and semi-tories of Quidnessett. Capt. Mat. Manchester was one of the latter class.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/09/07/notes-on-quidnesset

Samuel Gorton's leather breeches from Narragansett Bay, it Historic and Romastic Association, p37. Came across Warwick founder Samuel's Gorton's pants while researching this article.  I wonder where these are now.

Samuel Gorton’s leather breeches from Narragansett Bay, in Historic and Romantic Association, p37.  Came across Warwick founder Samuel’s Gorton’s pants while researching this article.  “Now in the possession of Mrs. Sam Clarke.” I wonder where these are now?

This is the story of putting together some clues about the Murdocks of Pictou, Nova Scotia and developing a solid idea of who the family was.

In my continuing search for Rachel, the mother of my great great grandmother Jessie Ruth (MacLeod) Murdock, I have been investigating an idea that she was in fact related to her father-in-law, William Murdock.  Both were from Pictou, Nova Scotia, and I am finding very little other evidence of how or why a single young woman came to Providence from Pictou.  I have previously described the MacLeod family that had adopted her in Pictou, and my investigation of the Murdocks’ surprising lives in Providence.

Now, it’s time to trace the Murdocks back to New Glasgow, Pictou, Nova Scotia.

The town of Pictou is not far from New Glasgow.  Lorne, where Jessie MacLeod grew up, is beyond the edge of this map, south of New Glasgow, and slightly to the west.

Some Murdock farms are shown on this 1864 map of Pictou County, just north of the town of Pictou.  The town of Pictou is not far from New Glasgow. Lorne, where Jessie MacLeod lived as a teenager, is beyond the edge of this map, south of New Glasgow, and slightly to the west.  Map courtesy of novastory.ca.

Pictou, Nova Scotia

I knew that New Glasgow was the city that the Murdocks came from because it was often listed as a birthplace for the Murdock children and it was on Eliza Murdock’s death record.  From my prior research on the Murdocks I knew that the family consisted of:

  • William Murdock, shoemaker, later expressman and farmer, born 25 Dec 1825 in Pictou, died 1890.  According to his Providence marriage record (to second wife, Maggie) and his death record, his parents were Robert and Mary.
  • his wife Eliza Coghill, (or Cogill, Caghill, Cahill) Murdock, born approx 1832 in Nova Scotia, died 1864 in Providence.   She had a possible brother nearby in Providence, Daniel Coghill.
  • Their children:
    • Mary Tanner Murdock, 1849-1899
    • Martha M Murdock, 1852-1940
    • Annie Murdock, 1856-1876
    • Jessie McIntosh Murdock, 1859-1919
    • Emma Scott Murdock, 1861-1865.
  • William’s second wife Maggie Lawrence
  • Their children:
    • Louis Rufus Murdock (from Maggie’s family, not the son of William Murdock)
    • William Clark Murdock

Thanks to the children’s names I clearly had some helpful evidence to pursue in Pictou records.  The websites www.NovaStory.ca, Pictou County GenWeb and The Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia were helpful in my search for sources on the Pictou area.  I quickly realized there was not going to be much previously compiled work on the Murdocks or Coghills/Cahills for me to look at.  I was building the evidence myself.

Looking at books

Several books provided some further clues but no real answers.

  • History of the County of Pictou by Rev. George Patterson, 1877 (I have the Mika Studio reprint, 1972) and its typescript index by Robert Kennedy (published by the Pictou Academy Educational Foundation, 1975) mention William Murdoch (someone too old to be MY William Murdock) twice: once, in a map of the town of Pictou circa 1793, and again, in a list of money owed in 1803 for the building of a bridge in Pictou.
Plan of the town of Pictou, 1793, from History of the County of Pictou by Patterson, p. 160.

Plan of the town of Pictou, 1793, from History of the County of Pictou by Patterson, p. 160.

  • Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County by Thomas Miller (Halifax: A & W Mackinlay, 1873) describes a Logan family among the first settlers of Truro in Colchester County.  Janet Logan came from Londonderry, Ireland to Nova Scotia in 1760, with five adult children.  Her oldest son was John, married to Mary, and John and Mary’s second daughter was Janet Logan, born in Truro, 1770.  Janet married William Murdoch from p. 121: “They resided for a time in a house which stood near her father’s and afterwards removed to Pictou Town, where they spent the remainder of their days.  They had four sons: ”
    • William Murdoch
    • Rev. John L Murdoch
    • James Murdoch
    • Robert Murdoch  (father of my William Murdock)
Rev. John L Murdock, from Pictonians at Home and Abroad, p. 34.

Rev. John L Murdock, uncle of William Murdock, from Pictonians at Home and Abroad, p. 34.

  • Pictonians at Home and Abroad by Rev. J. P. MacPhie (Boston: Pinkham Press, 1914) recounts on page 34 the story of Pictou Academy, begun in the 1810’s, with rigorous educational programs.  John L. Murdock trained for the ministry there, and was later awarded an M.A. degree from the University of Glasgow (p. 34 & 35).  He served as a Presbyterian minister in Windsor, Nova Scotia for many years.
  • Scotland Farewell: The Story of the People of the Hector by Donald McKay (Toronto: Natural Heritage, 2001) gives us one more insight.  Describing again the formation of the Pictou Academy and its brilliant founders, he characterizes John L Murdock:

“… Such were McCullough’s standards that no one was surprised when John Logan Murdock, whose father was a shoemaker, went to Glasgow University in Scotland with three classmates to study for the Master of Arts degree and all four were awarded M.A.’s without need of further study.” – Scotland Farewell, p. 203

These clues go together something like this:

  1. My William Murdock of New Glasgow and Providence (1825-1890), shoemaker
  2. – son of Robert Murdock of Pictou Town (1802-1868)
  3. – — son of William Murdock of Truro and Pictou Town, shoemaker.

Looking at deeds

I was able to see some deeds on microfilm at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

The first was badly written and reproduced, but shows the children and widow of the elder William Murdock, who died in 1830.   “This indenture made the seventeenth day of January … 1831 … between Robert Murdoch of Pictou … Blacksmith … and Mary his wife of the one part & James Murdoch of Pictou … Tinsmith of the other part.”    William Murdock, James Murdock, and “Mrs. Murdoch the said Robert’s Mother” (also called Mrs. Jane Murdock in other spots) are abutters.

– Nova Scotia, Pictou County Land Records.  Deeds, v. 13-14, 1829-1831. Volume 14, p. 341-343.

In the 1855 deed, Robert, blacksmith, had purchased some land at auction from the estate of Ann Freeman. In this one his wife was recorded as Janet, which matches the second marriage record I have found.  On the next page, a deed is recorded selling this same property to Richard Clark Murdock, blacksmith (would be his son, brother of the younger William Murdock).  James McIntosh is a witness.

– Nova Scotia, Pictou County Land Records.  Deeds, v. 39-40, 1854-1855.  Volume 40, p. 258-260.

There are many more deeds to explore, but these begin to help me match up all the various pieces of data I am finding.

Add some poetry

You truly never know where you will find an answer to a family history puzzle.  In this case, I found it in a book of poetry.  This lead originally came to me from Mitch Scharoff, a fellow Murdock researcher.  He was pretty sure about the links to my William Murdock (in fact he tipped me off to most of the books mentioned here), but the names are pretty common and I wanted to prove this for myself.  It was only when I put the book information together with the names, above, and the deeds, above, that it brought the whole solution into clarity.  Mitch was right, and he and I are fifth cousins once removed.

A Complete Work of Robert Murdoch, P.L.P., containing his Poems, Songs, Toasts and Epigrams, with a sketch of the Life of the Poet from his school days up to the time of the publication of this work. (Halifax, N.S.: W.M. McNab, 1890).

Robert Murdock, Jr, poet and brother of William Murdock.

Robert Murdock, Jr, poet and brother of William Murdock.

While I knew Robert Murdock was the name of William’s father, I could recognize right away that this author/poet was too recent to be him.  In his “Life of the Author” he gave the following sketchy facts:

  • “my father was the youngest son of William Murdoch, who was drowned off Pictou Island when out fishing”
  • “My mother was the daughter of the late Thomas and Rachel Tanner, who emigrated to this country in the year 1819, from Brandon, County Cork, Ireland.”
  • “My birth dates back to 26th Nov., 1836.”
  • “In the year 1847 my mother died, leaving me and two sisters, the eldest a young woman and the other a mere child of five or six years.”
  • [around 1854] “My father married Janet Gordon, of Gairloch”
  • [I] “eloped with a fine girl, Ann, daughter of the late Angus and Abigal Kell … on 17th of April, 1859, by whom I became the father of twelve children …”
  • “My brother, Richard Clarke [Murdock]
  • “my present wife, Maria J, daughter of George Langill.”

I would draw a couple of conclusions from this:

  • He omits his mother’s, father’s and sisters’ names.
  • When he says his mother left him and two sisters, I believe he meant AT HOME.  Later, he specifically mentions another brother, Richard Clarke Murdoch.
  • The name of his grandmother Rachel jumped out at me, since I am trying to find out if William’s family could contain a younger Rachel.
  • The name of his grandfather, William, seemed like another possible link to my William Murdock.
  • There was a passage about his younger sister that seemed poignant:

… my father got married to Janet Gordon, of Gairloch, and I can, with the greatest truth and pleasure, say that she was one of the best stepmothers that was ever put over orphan children ; my mother, I say with truth, never treated me nor my little sister better. I firmly believe had she been more harsh and severe it would have been better for us both ; but it was not her nature, she being always of a quiet disposition.

  • This quote, above, seems like something you might say, looking back after many years, about a sister who had a baby while unmarried, which is what I suspect Rachel’s situation was.
The town of Pictou 50 years after William Murdock left - 1914.  From

The town of Pictou 50 years after William Murdock left – 1914. From Pictonians at Home and Abroad.

Some things I missed

  • The oldest daughter was Mary Tanner Murdoch, and I knew William’s mother was Mary, but I did not instantly suspect that his mother was Mary Tanner.
  • Mitch gave the basic outline of this to me about a year ago.  Not sure why it took me so long to find a little more backup and examine the whole thing.

Next Steps

  • Find the children of each of William Murdock’s siblings, to see if Rachel is among them, or look for any links from the Murdocks to the MacLeods.
  • Look for a will or probate record for William Murdock’s widow, Maggie (Lawrence) (Murdock) Knight who died in Providence, Rhode Island in 1921.
  • Follow up with the Public Archives of Nova Scotia on a court case I found in The Journal of Historical Geography 30 p. 70-86 footnote 91 (Katie Pickles, Locating widows in mid-nineteenth century Pictou County, Nova Scotia): PANS RG 39 C Vol. 2 #16 Queen v. Murdoch, July 23, 1862.
  •  Follow up on a note in Ancestry.com tree Laprise Family Tree, owner rllaprise, “Marriage William Murdock/Ann Harris 1828 7 Aug   (Pictou, Nova Scotia) Colonial Patriot newspaper, 13th Aug. 1828 issue.”
  • Look at Pictou deeds for further information about the earlier William Murdock and any possible parentage.
  • follow up on 1855 deed witness James McIntosh, since I am wondering why one of William’s daughters has the middle name McIntosh.
 The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/08/24/names-deed-poetry-book/
View of New Glasgow from the East River, 1916, from Nova Scotia's Industrial Center.

View of New Glasgow from the East River, 1916, from Nova Scotia’s Industrial Center, p. 94-95.  It is quite industrial at this point, and in 1860, when William Murdock came to Rhode Island, it was already showing the beginnings of this build up.


Rhode Island Roots is the journal of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society.  It is published four times per year and in the last decade, an extra volume of record transcriptions has also been made available annually to RIGS members.  Edited by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, with Michael F. Dwyer currently serving as Assistant Editor, Linda Mathew editing the special records volumes, and Geri Clarke producing an annual index of names, Rhode Island Roots is a high quality journal that targets a compact location.  We who are researching are extremely lucky to have it.

I tried something recently that worked out quite well.  Knowing I would be on an airplane all day, I took with me, instead of my usual paperbacks, only several genealogy journals.  These included Rhode Island Roots and a few other journals.  With nothing else to do, I read every word, from cover to cover. I thought I had been reading them previously, but from editor’s introductions to lists, articles, footnotes and book reviews, it was Rhode Island Roots that surprised me the most.  I had been missing a lot.

Rhode Island Roots, March, 2014

Rhode Island Roots, March, 2014

Why I think Rhode Island Roots is important

In my opinion there are three reasons to carefully read each issue of Rhode Island Roots from cover to cover:

  • There may be some direct evidence related to your ancestors, for instance they could be mentioned by name in a transcribed list, as a relative of a family being studied, or involved in an event or story under discussion.  I think everyone understands this.  Rhode Island Roots provides an index at the end of each year.  I suspect this is the most common use of journals, and that’s unfortunate.
  • Reading well-edited genealogical journals is the best way to learn.  How did the researcher find evidence?  What were the sources?  How did the argument progress, and was it convincing?  Did the writer rely on vital records (hardly likely in early Rhode Island!) or did he or she assemble other direct and indirect evidence into a solid case? To what extent would you agree that a reasonably exhaustive search was done, and how was possible counter-evidence treated?  It would take me several readings of an article to really know any of these answers.  And then, I often find myself wondering how I could assemble clues to solve my own research problems.  What I am writing here is not new, it is standard advice that any aspiring genealogist will hear often.
  • Every step taken by the writer is a lesson in local research.  For Rhode Island Roots in particular, there is not an article or item that is worth skipping, because the state is too small for that.  Where did the writer turn for evidence?  What repositories?  What books, databases, records, manuscripts, and journals?  How did they seem to evaluate the content they were finding?  What migration patterns are seen?  What laws or local events impacted lives?  What evidence was found for various types of activities – seafaring, farming, trades, adoption, immigration, holidays, divorce, crime, education, burial?  What type of evidence was available for each town, and where was it found?

5 things I learned from reading Rhode Island Roots

  • East Greenwich soldier Phillip Andrew (potentially my 5th great-grandfather if I ever get this solved) appears in a list of French and Indian War soldiers at Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York, recorded in a journal by Beriah Hopkins in 1762.  Most likely, this manuscript was not available to Howard M. Chapin when he compiled Rhode Island in the Colonial Wars (1918; reprinted Clearfield, 2010), so it’s interesting to have another source of information about the local soldiers in Philip’s unit, and some of their experiences.    ( — Ensign Beriah Hopkins His Book by Rachel Peirce, Rhode Island Roots, 40:1, March, 2014, p. 24-35).
  • In a story about Warwick families, while examining footnotes, I learned that, in addition to the cemetery office records I’ve already used, one can find deeds for North Burial Ground plots recorded at the Providence City Archives.   ( — A Line of Descent from Ambrose Taylor, Chairmaker of Warwick, Rhode Island by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, Rhode Island Roots, 40:1, September, 2013, p. 113-133.)
  • We always think of finding records and reports on our ancestors, but all of our hard work is for nothing if we don’t know how to analyze what we find. I wish every aspiring genealogist who has ever uncovered a compiled genealogy book or article mentioning their ancestor could read Notes on Thomas Ward of Newport by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG.  Put the webinars away for a bit and focus on this amazing analysis of research on the well-known Ward family of Newport by leading genealogists over the last 200 years. It is helping me be a more critical reader.  ( — Notes on Thomas Ward of Newport by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, Rhode Island Roots, 38:3, September, 2012, p. 148-164.)
  • An excellent overview of all Warwick, Rhode Island records by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg is very useful.  She talks about the existence of various types of early records, what has been complied and published, and where they can be found.   ( — Warwick, Rhode Island Records in 1776 by Cherry Fletcher Bamburg, FASG, Rhode Island Roots, 39:4, December, 2013, p. 203-205).
  • If you haven’t read “Aunt Hat” and the Bigamy King by Rachel Peirce, run, don’t walk, to find it.  It’s a thoughtful retelling of a difficult story, and while I’m not sure most of us will find a story quite this sensational in our own families, every genealogist struggles with how to tell difficult truths.    ( — “Aunt Hat” and the Bigamy King by Rachel Peirce, Rhode Island Roots, 39:3, September, 2013, p. 135-150).

How to subscribe

Membership for the Rhode Island Genealogical Society runs on a calendar year system, January – December.

New Englnad Historic Genealogical Society library oin Boston.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston. Photo by Diane Boumenot.

How to access older issues

Older issues of the journal are accessible from the New England Historic Genealogical Society website.  This page on the RIGS website leads to that.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/08/20/reading-rhode-island-roots/


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