My great-great grandmother Jessie Ruth (MacLeod) Murdock was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia around 1861.  She came to the United States as a teenager and married, in 1883, Louis Rufus Murdock, my great-great-grandfather.  They had three daughters of which my great grandmother, Eva Louise (Murdock) Darling, was the oldest.

gr-gr-grandparents, Louis and Jessie Ruth (MacLeod) Murdock

Louis and Jessie Ruth (MacLeod) Murdock. I assume this is around the time of their wedding, 1883.

Jessie Ruth MacLeod Murdock

Jessie and her husband Louis present some special challenges for the family historian.  Lewis was always known to be adopted, in Providence, R.I., by William and Maggie (Lawrence) Murdock.  And Jessie, although known to be from Pictou, was hard to research, and I had no evidence about what might have brought her to New England.  Her father was listed on her marriage record as William MacLeod, and her mother, as Rachel. Although I was unable to find such a family in Pictou, I discovered that William Murdock, Louis’ adopted father, was from Pictou.  That seemed like it might be too much of a coincidence, but still, I couldn’t make much of it, because the name William Murdock is about as hard to pin down in Nova Scotia as William MacLeod was.

My first big break came in 2012 when a 5th cousin on the MacLeod side contacted me to let me know about a family history book published by Jessie’s nephew, in Pictou, in 1958.  That post is here.   But imagine my surprise when the book claimed that Jessie was adopted by William MacLeod and his wife, Mary.  And yet, since she was pretty clear on her marriage record that William MacLeod was her father, and Rachel her mother, and since she had been missing from William and Mary’s 1871 Canadian census record in Hopewell, Pictou (when she would have been around 10 years old) I can only assume she was related to these people in some way, and perhaps she had spent her early life with her mother, Rachel, before arriving in the William and Mary MacLeod family, for whatever reason.  William and Mary lived and died in Pictou and never relocated to the U.S.  So clearly, Jessie had other connections somehow, somewhere.

Lewis and Jessie Murdock. c 1930

Lewis and Jessie Murdock. c 1930

The strategy for researching Jessie

This is an unusual case where I think my best bet for unlocking Jessie’s story is through her father in law.  I wonder where William Murdock was from in Pictou, and if he had any relations named Rachel.  No birth place or point of origin has surfaced in my direct research on him.  So I am going to try and locate all his children, hoping that their c1900-1920 death records will give some additional information.

Ironically, I do not believe I am related to William Murdock at all through his adopted son, Louis.  I have a theory that Louis may be Maggie (Lawrence) Murdock’s relation showhow, but that’s a story for another day.

Learning more about William Murdock

William Murdock was born on Christmas day, 1822, perhaps in Pictou, Nova Scotia, the son of Robert and Mary Murdock.  He married Maggie Lawrence in Providence in 1865.   He was a shoemaker, but later worked as an expressman, and finally, in 1880 purchased a small farm in Seekonk, Massachusetts.  Looking at the 1870 census record, you can see William and Maggie with 3 children – Annie (11), Louis (7) and William (3).  Only William Jr. was born after the marriage, and since Louis always said he was adopted, I wondered if the couple had married a little late in life and adopted two children, and also gave birth to one.

This is a family photo of, I believe, William and Maggie Murdock's farmhouse in Seekonk, Mass.  My great grandmother was born there.

This is a family photo of, I believe, William and Maggie Murdock’s modest farmhouse in Seekonk, Mass. My great grandmother was born there.

There were several William Murdock families in the Rhode Island area around this time, and it took many, many clues before I put together that William had another marriage before marrying Maggie.

The second Jessie Murdock

My first solid clue about other children in William’s household came when I discovered the 1875 R.I. state census record for William Murdock.  The three children I knew about were there, plus another, Jessie.  Jessie was given as a 15 year old daughter in the Murdock family, born in Nova Scotia.  It occurred to me briefly to wonder if she was my great-great grandmother, a cousin perhaps, arrived to live with the family from Nova Scotia and misclassified as a daughter.

Three records made me realize that there was indeed a Jessie who was William’s daughter, and there was an earlier family:

  • I finally found the 1860 census record for the family, which was mis-indexed in Ancestry.com as “Mondock”.  The parents are William and Eliza Murdock.  There are four daughters:  Mary (11), Martha(8), Anna(4), and Jessie(5/12).  They were all, even the baby, born in Nova Scotia.  If accurate, that gave a good indication of a recent arrival in the U.S.
  • Once I had the children’s names to search for, I quickly located an immigration document on Ancestry.com. It was in the U.S., Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959 (Rhode Island, Providence).  On June 19, 1860, William (occupation Shoemaker), Eliza, Mary, Martha, Ann and Jessie Murdock arrived in Providence, Rhode Island on the Brig Diamond of the Deep from Pictou, Nova Scotia.

    Part of deed selling share of William Murdock property to widow Maggie in 1891.

    Part of deed selling share of William Murdock property to widow Maggie in 1891.

  • Since the Massachusetts Land Records collection came online on FamilySearch (unindexed, but browsable) I have been pulling some out and filing them on my computer.   So when I reviewed my Murdock files I realized that a deed that had been hard to understand 6 months ago was now very clear.  In 1891 the widow, Maggie, was given, for the price of one dollar, the other half of William Murdock’s property in Seekonk, Massachusetts (see my post on finding that property, here).  The sellers were Peter King, his wife Martha King, Alick Holmes, his wife Jessie Holmes, Mary Foster (all of Newport, R.I), and William C. Murdock.  The property described was identical to, and referred to, the deed I had found for William’s purchase.  Angus MacLeod was a witness.

William Murdock’s first and second families

So I now had evidence of William Murdock’s six children and two wives.  With the evidence already mentioned in hand I thought I could quickly find some details of their lives, looking for middle names and especially death dates so I could find their death records at the Rhode Island State Archives, looking for their exact birthplace in Nova Scotia.  However, this was not quick, because their lives were absolutely fascinating.

His wives

  • William’s first wife Eliza (Coghill) married him in Nova Scotia and they had four children by the time they came to Rhode Island in 1860.  They settled in Providence, where William pursued his occupation, shoemaking.  Eliza died in 1864 in Providence, of consumption.
  • Margaret A. (Lawrence) Murdock, known as Maggie, was William’s second wife, married in 1865.  Reportedly born in the south around 1838, the daughter of English immigrants, Margaret was living with her parents in Providence in the 1865 Rhode Island census, and when she married William shortly thereafter the marriage record listed her as “divorced”.  Margaret and William were married until his death in 1890.  After that, Margaret married once again, in 1898, to Seekonk neighbor Jeremiah Johnson Knight, a 68 year old man whose second wife had died, leaving him with a couple of young children.  They were only married two years before his death, and during that time he may have been ill.  Maggie lived until 1921.

His children with Eliza

Mary Tanner Murdock

Born in 1849, oldest daughter Mary was 11 when the family arrived in Providence.  She would have been 15 when her mother died.  She married young, to Theodore W. Foster.  Theodore was a talented and hard working entrepreneur, with an interest in the manufacture of jewelry, a growing industry in Rhode Island.  Theodore and Mary settled in Pawtucket, and soon he was able to start his own manufacturing company, with some partners: White, Foster & Co., later Foster & Bailey.  By 1899 he bought the partners out and renamed the company Theodore W. Foster & Bro. Co.  The company, at 100 Chestnut Street (pictured here, at the Providence City Archives) was a major manufacturer of silver giftware such as jewelry, trays, pins, shoe horns, vanity sets, and desk accessories. Along the way Theodore, always the inventor, secured dozens of patents, and instituted a cleaner and safer work environment.  His beautiful products can still be purchased, as antiques, on the web.

The Jewelers Circular, August 10, 1898, p.2

The Jewelers Circular, August 10, 1898, p.2

Mary, Theodore and their family of five children enjoyed growing wealth and prominence. And then something very strange happened. The family moved to Providence, and attended the Methodist Church on Chestnut Street.  The couple was very friendly with the handsome minister, Rev. Charles L. Goodell, and his wife, Louella.  Theodore was director of the Sunday School.  When Mr. Goodell was assigned to his next church, the Trinity Methodist Church on Broad Street, the Fosters obtained a pew and switched their membership there.  In 1886, newspapers in the eastern U.S. were reporting that Mary was being sued for divorce by Theodore, on the grounds of her affair with the minister.  In fact both couples filed for divorce and the cases were heard in the Rhode Island Supreme Court during the same week in 1887; Theodore Foster obtained his divorce, but Louella Goodell, wife of the minister, faced counter-claims of infidelity and her divorce was denied at that time.  The Methodist church exonerated Rev. Goodell and he did not lose his job.

In that parish was Mrs. Mary T Foster, a preposessing lady, whose husband, Theodore W. Foster, is of the manufacturing jewelry firm of Foster & Bailey.  Mrs. Foster lived in elegant style at the corner of High and Brigham Street, her house being richly furnished throughout with every comfort at command. She had a most interesting family of children, lovable and attractive, and many an envious eye was turned toward their carriage as it rolled along toward the Chestnut Street church Sunday mornings. The Goodells and Fosters became very intimate, as Mr Foster was superintendent of the Sunday School and Mrs. Foster was prominent in church work, and between the two families of bond of friendship appeared to have been formed … — Boston Herald, September 2, 1886, p.5.

A home at the corner of Bridgham and Westminster (formerly High) Streets, Providence.  Any 1880's houses from the other three sides of the intersection are now gone.

A home at the corner of Bridgham and Westminster (formerly High) Streets, Providence. Any 1880′s houses from the other corners of the intersection are now gone.  This could have been the Fosters’ home, or not.  Photo by Diane Boumenot.

Mr Foster took the stand and told of his wife’s confession in a broken voice, and with tears running down his cheeks. His wife’s confession was that one day in the vestry of the church Goodell took her by the hand, retained his gaze, and almost seemed to magnetize her. A few days later he came to the house, kissed her hand, and then placing his arm around her waist, asked her to be his sister, as he never had had a sister. The next advance and the first direct overture, was when he came to her house, told her that she did not love her husband and that he did not love his wife. Therefore they were in the eyes of Heaven married. The remainder of the testimony was too indecent for publication.  — Cleveland Leader, December 16, 1886, p.2

One day Mr. Foster told his story to the newspapers.  “My wife”, said he, “began to act queerly. She seemed disturbed, and said that she had a confession to make. With amazement I heard her story. She told me that she had been unfaithful to her marriage vows, giving the name of Dr. Goodell, my pastor and my bosom friend, as her paramour. I was thunderstruck. I took her face in my two hands and begged her to say no more then. Mary, said I, let me think … let me think over it. From that hour she ceased to be my trusted wife and companion. She besought me piteously to condone her sin, but I told her that henceforth she might occupy  our residence, but we must be as strangers.”  — New York Herald, December 19, 1886, p. 8.

Theodore remarried in 1894. I am unsure of what became of Mary after her divorce.  There is some evidence she went to her sister in Newport, and may have remained there since she was “of Newport” when she signed the 1891 deed, above.    The Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project has Mary T. Murdock Foster, 1848-1899 buried in the North Burial Ground, Providence, but I will be checking her death record at the R.I. State Archives.

Martha M.  Murdock

Born in 1852, Martha arrived in Providence at the age of 8.  In 1878 she married Peter King, a Scottish immigrant who was a rising clerk at The Boston Store in Providence.  Around this time Peter King and a fellow clerk, Angus MacLeod (also a Scottish immigrant, from Lewis) decided on Newport, Rhode Island as a suitable spot to open a dry goods store of their own.  They named it The Boston Store, (see a photo of the store here) but I suspect there was no real connection to the original Boston Store in Providence.  The King-MacLeod partnership thrived, encompassing the popular and growing department store as well as some other interests.  The Boston Store was, eventually, located at 153-157 Thames Street, Newport.  Peter King and Angus MacLeod (who was witness to the deed, above) became financial leaders in the Newport community, chairing the boards of many leading institutions and participating widely in church, hospital, political and fraternal activities. Martha and Peter had nine children, and sent many of them to college, and several of the boys pursued business interests begun by their father.  They owned a beautiful Victorian house at 10 Kay Street, Newport, near Touro Street and the Hotel Viking.  Peter died in 1932 and Martha passed away in 1940.

A view of Kay Street, c1905, from Newport and its Points of Interest, page 21.

A view of Kay Street, Newport,  c1905, from Newport and Its Points of Interest, page 21.

Annie Murdock

Annie was born in Nova Scotia around 1855 and arrived in Providence at the age of 5.  In the 1865 R.I. State Census, at age 9, she and Jessie Murdock were living on Mountain Street near Atwells Avenue in Providence, in the home of Daniel and Hannah Coghill, both age 37, and Thomas A Coghill, age 17.  All household members were born in Nova Scotia.  Since Coghill was their mother Eliza’s name I can only assume the two sisters were staying with relatives after their mother’s death in 1864.  Annie appeared in the 1870 and 1875 census records with William and Maggie.  By 1875 she was 19, but not working, which is a little unusual – many daughters in my family at that time clerked in stores, or packed jewelry.  In 06 May 1876 this item appeared in the Providence Evening Press:  “DIED.  MURDOCK – In this city, 6th instant, Annie Murdock, daughter of William and Elizabeth Murdock, in the 21st year of her age.  — Funeral on Monday, at 2 o’clock, from 192 Clifford Street.  -  Nova Scotia papers please copy.”  The Providence death record gives the age as 20, and the mother as Eliza.

Jessie McIntosh Murdock

Jessie was an infant when the family arrived in Providence in 1860; in fact her birth in Nova Scotia was so recent that the parents entered it on the birth records of Providence (found on FamilySearch.org).  The town cited was “New Glasgow” in Pictou.    In 1875 Jessie was living with William and Maggie on Spruce Street in Providence.  In January 1880 she married Alexander McIntyre Holmes, a wheelwright, originally of Prince Edward Island.  By the 1900 census the family had six children. They spent their married life in Newport and in 1919, when Jessie died, the family resided at 9 Newport Avenue, Newport.

his children with Maggie

Louis Rufus Murdock

My great-great grandfather Louis believed himself to be adopted.  Born 29 July 1863 in Providence, I have seen some evidence that he may have been in Maggie’s household before she married William Murdock.  Now that I know William had all those children, and that two children were cared for by relatives during the period between his marriages, I am skeptical that William and Maggie would have decided to adopt.  I think Louis was Maggie’s child either by birth or adoption through some sort of family connection.  Louis married Jessie Ruth MacLeod from Pictou in 1883, and they had three daughters. Louis worked for 50 years as a machinist at Brown & Sharpe, a machinery company in Providence.  I have no idea what his relationships were among these relatives mentioned here.  Since Maggie Lawrence’s father was a machinist, I suspect Louis got his start in life from that grandfather.

Louis Murdock as a young man

Louis Murdock as a young man

I found it a little hurtful that in the list of heirs who sold their portion of William Murdock’s estate back to Maggie, Louis was not mentioned, but the other four living heirs were.  At first glance that makes it seem as if William made no pretense of being a true adopted father.  But of course there are many other possibilities – Louis was provided for in a different way, or perhaps if there was no will, there were legal reasons why only the other offspring were considered heirs. This possibly provides support to the idea that Louis was more closely connected to Maggie, rather than to William, and had come to the new marriage as Maggie’s adopted child.   Whatever the truth may have been, I do get the impression that Louis had a happy life and was a friend to all.  He died in 1949 in Providence.

William Clark Murdock

William and Maggie Lawrence had one child after their marriage, William Clark Murdock, born 1868.  William Clark, a silversmith, married Susan Lydia Fairchild in Seekonk in 1894.  They had three sons and divorced shortly after 1900. William must have been fond of his brother, Louis, because he named his third son after him, Louis Rufus Murdock, born 1898.  In 1910 William Clark was living at 101 Mitchell Street in Providence (the address today is an older, nondescript, narrow 2 family house on a small lot near Elmwood & Potters Ave.) with his mother and a boarder. His son Earl Forrest Murdock graduated from high school in 1913, and from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1915 (according to Earl’s obituary in the Springfield, Mass. Union-News, 21 Nov 1992; Earl lived a long life in Franklin County, Mass. and left many descendants).   In 1915, the state census showed William Clark living with sons Earle and Louis, and with niece (brother Louis’ daughter) Chris, and her husband, Charles Faulkenburg.   In 1920, he was still on Mitchell Street with his mother and sons Earl and Louis.   In 1920, his son Louis was employed as a student in a dental office.  In 1930 William Clark was running a boarding house on rented property on Beacon Street in Providence, with son Louis living with him, no employment listed.  Sadly, the younger Louis spent the 1930′s as an inmate in the Rhode Island State Hospital for Mental Diseases at Sockanosset in Cranston. William Clark Murdock died in 1933.

The third Jessie Murdock

There is one more Jessie Murdock, who was Jessie and Louis Murdock’s daughter Jessie Ellen Murdock, born 23 December 1889 in Providence.  Jessie, known to my mother as Aunt Jay, married Alonzo Daniel Billington (Uncle Lon) in 1911.  They had no children, and Jessie died too young in 1939.

Jessie Ellen Murdock Billington, 1889-1939.

Jessie Ellen Murdock Billington, 1889-1939.

Next steps

  • I’m not sure if I have checked well enough for a probate record for William Murdock.
  • I would like to see Jeremiah Johnson Knight’s (Maggie’s third husband) probate records.  I wonder where his children went after his death.
  • A visit to the R.I. State Archives may reveal the remaining middle names and I am hoping  to see a place of birth on several death records to really feel confident that I know where the family was from (possibly New Glasgow in Pictou).
  • With all this new information, move on to the Nova Scotia portion of the research. Knowing, now, of a possible sibling for Eliza Coghill Murdock will help. A possible cousin in the Murdock line (Mitch) has shared some research with me which may be very useful once I know where they were from in Pictou.
  • I think the next post on this subject will be about William’s parents, Robert and Mary Murdock, and Eliza Coghill’s family, and any connections I can find to a Rachel who might be Jessie MacLeod Murdock’s mother.
  • Head south with my research and explore the early life of Maggie Lawrence.  There is evidence they lived in several southern states before arriving in Rhode Island; perhaps their lives were disrupted by the civil war.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/02/02/the-two-jessie-murdocks/


First of all let me say I am no expert on the Rhode Island Arnolds.  But until you find one, here is what I know about them.  Of all the email I get, a good 25% contains questions about the Arnolds, so I’m putting some thoughts down here.

There are two original Rhode Island Arnold families:

  • The Smithfield Arnolds (Thomas Arnold).  Early descendants tend to be in Providence or north of Providence.
  • the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds (William Arnold). Early descendants tend to be south of Providence.

I am descended from the Smithfield Arnolds, with a possible unproven connection to the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds.

My Smithfield Arnold line of descent is:  my grandmother Edna May Darling – her father Russell Earl Darling (1883-1959) – Addison Parmenter Darling (1856-1933) – Ellis Aldrich Darling (1824-1883) – Nancy Ann Aldrich (1800-1879) – Marcy Ballou (1778 – ?) – Lucy Arnold (c1755 – ?) - Thomas Arnold (1733-1798) – Thomas Arnold (1705-1765) – Richard Arnold (1660-1745) – Richard Arnold (1643-1710) – Thomas Arnold (1600 – 1674).

The Eleazer Arnold House in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Am I a descendant?

The Eleazer Arnold House in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Photo by Diane Boumenot

Let’s start with the Smithfield Arnolds

Descendants of Thomas Arnold of Smithfield, Rhode Island are in luck, because some excellent work has been done on this line by noted genealogist Richard H. Benson, The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island (2009).  If you are tracing your genealogy and you think you are descended in this family, you should own this book, or at the very least, borrow it through interlibrary-loan at your local library and study it carefully.

Eleazer Arnold House, side view

Eleazer Arnold House, side view. Photo by Diane Boumenot

Benson begins with a review of the misconception that William and Thomas were brothers, or otherwise closely related.  That idea is based on a rather spectacular failure in 1870′s genealogy – a genealogist was hired to do research in England, and returned with an appealing and mostly faked report.  This misinformation was repeated for a couple decades, then disproved. My recommendation to anyone researching Arnolds in Rhode Island is to treat the two families separately, and ignore any implication – in older, otherwise dependable works – that there was a relationship.

He goes on to provide documentation of the first five generations of the Thomas Arnold descendants, with an extensive bibliography.  In many cases names of the 6th generations are given.  Some of the more famous descendants include:

  • Welcome Arnold (1745-1798), Providence merchant and possible conspirator in the 1772 burning of the schooner Gaspee
  • jurists Thomas Arnold (my 7x-great grandfather; see his grave here) (1705-1765) and his son Peleg Arnold
  • Eleazer Arnold (1651 – 1722), son of the original settler Thomas, whose large “Splendid Mansion” house survives today in Lincoln (formerly Smithfield), Rhode Island and is known as the Eleazer Arnold House.

Eleazer Arnold and others helped to build an early Quaker meeting house nearby.  The first few generations of this family tended to be Quakers.

Plaque in front of the Eleazer Arnold House

Plaque in front of the Eleazer Arnold House. Photo by Diane Boumenot

And now, the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds

William Arnold was a contemporary of Roger Williams, and settled in an area south of Providence, along the bay, called Pawtuxet (now part of Warwick and Cranston).  Unlike many early English  settlers, he actually brought documentation with him of his family’s vital records back in England.  So genealogically speaking, the family was off to a good start.

William prospered, and accumulated significant property.  There is more about William’s life on Wikipedia.  His son Benedict became the first Governor of the State of Rhode Island.  Proud, perhaps, of that name, there were an additional four succeeding generations in a direct line that carried the name, leading to Benedict Arnold, born 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut.

Our own Benedict Arnold

I suppose, rightly or wrongly, most Americans do not feel sympathetic to Benedict Arnold, the American Revolutionary War military officer who became discontented with his lot and transferred his allegiance to the British, and fought on the other side.  As familiar as the name is today, and as despised as it is, I think feelings ran even higher in the 19th century.

Benedict Arnold, as an American Colonel. London : Published by Thos. Hart, 1776.  Courtesy of Library of Congress LC-USZ62-39570.

Benedict Arnold, as an American Colonel. London : Published by Thos. Hart, 1776. Courtesy of Library of Congress LC-USZ62-39570.

This leads me to the reason I personally am very angry with Benedict Arnold.  In the 19th century, Rhode Island was the home of one of New England’s leading genealogists, a pioneer in the field, the person responsible for a great deal of the early work on Rhode Island vital records and cemetery transcription.  James Newell Arnold founded a genealogy journal, The Narragansett Historical Register, produced the 21-volume Vital Record of Rhode Island, and performed some similar work in nearby states.

Why didn’t James N. Arnold produce a definitive genealogy of the Arnolds, including the William Arnold descendants? I mean, the index cards were probably sitting right there in his undoubtedly crowded and dusty genealogy study.   I have only begun to explore his manuscripts, but there certainly was no published compiled genealogy.  I have a suspicion that he might have neglected this because he didn’t want to admit his kinship with Benedict Arnold.  My suspicion is based on a remark of his that I read years ago and failed to record (I had no idea I was related to the Arnolds then) claiming that Benedict was absolutely not descended from any Rhode Island Arnolds.  Although I suppose it’s possible he was fascinated with collecting and editing information, not so much with analyzing and compiling it.  I wonder if I will ever figure this out?

For a slight indication of the spirit of denial, this is from the index of my digital copy of the 1935 book “The Arnold Memorial” by Elisha Stephen Arnold (marked as a “Genealogical Society of Utah” copy).

from the index of The Arnold Memorial - page 132 is crossed out

from the index of The Arnold Memorial last name Arnold, first name Benedict – page 132 is crossed out

Which Benedict Arnold appears on page 132?

The description of Benedict Arnold in The Arnold Memorial

The description of Benedict Arnold in The Arnold Memorial

The page ends with a list of his children.  It’s a bizarre rendition of the life of traitor Benedict Arnold which, I should think, fooled no one.  I wonder if the crossed-out index entry was meant to deny that this Benedict belonged in this lineage, or to simply express displeasure at his existence.

What we do have on the William Arnold descendants

So, lacking the truly good work we could have had from James N. Arnold, we must turn instead to a variety of inadequate compiled genealogies on the William Arnold descendants.  They are listed at the bottom of this page.

The books tend to focus on the wealthier descendants – perhaps that is by necessity, since Warwick vital records are far more complete among well to do families, and there are more probate and real estate records for such families, or perhaps it is somewhat intentional.  Because of that original documentation by William Arnold and a few generations of his descendants, the early genealogy is quite complete.  It’s the later generations that get spotty.

If you are studying Arnolds

In each of the two Arnold families, there was of course a great deal of intermarriage with the other early local settlers in that region.  For the Smithfield Arnolds, this means the Comstocks, Smiths, Ballous, Whipples, Steeres, Aldriches, Buffums, Manns, and Inmans.  If you descend from these Arnolds, you have interesting ancestors in the other lines, too.  Remember that what was originally Smithfield is now Smithfield, North Smithfield, Lincoln, Greeneville, Cumberland, and Woonsocket.  My Arnold ancestors lived at one point in Union Village, North Smithfield, and some of their graves are at the Union Cemetery.

Union Cemetery, North Smithfield, R.I.  Photo by Diane Boumenot

Union Cemetery, North Smithfield, R.I. Photo by Diane Boumenot

For the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds, there was intermarriage with the Greenes, Gortons, Holdens, Wickes, Westcotts, Rhodes, and Carpenters.  Settlement of Warwick spread quickly to the south and west of Pawtuxet and eventually the towns of West Warwick and Coventry were split off. Cranston was nearby on the north and East Greenwich on the south.  Certainly, for descendants, a visit to the village of Pawtuxet is in order, plus the Warwick Historical Society which is located up the road in the John Waterman Arnold House.

In the beginning, Warwick and Smithfield held  agricultural settlements which grew out of Providence, with accompanying forges, grain mills, etc.  But around 1800 small textile mills began to spring up around Rhode Island’s rivers and streams.   Both locations were impacted, resulting in mill towns like Woonsocket and West Warwick.  Although there is less manufacturing going on in those locations today, many of Rhode Island’s towns show remnants of many overlapping historical eras – several centuries of growth and change.  Surprisingly, even the late 1600′s era can be glimpsed from time to time along the bay, in rural areas like northern Cumberland and western Coventry, in historic cities such as Newport, and in the many small historic sites such as Smith’s Castle in North Kingstown.

If you have a mystery in this line, you are welcome to leave  a query here in the comments. Perhaps someone else will have an answer.  But please also use the sources I’ve listed below and the “Free Rhode Island Resources” link up top to see what you can find, as well as many other research strategies. Perhaps you could add a few sources that you know of in the comments.  The Arnolds are not easy to research; there are a LOT of them, and many other early families in other states.  Good luck!!

Some sources for the Smithfield Arnolds

Benson, Richard H.  The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009.   Available for sale on the NEHGS web site.

“Eleazer Arnold” by William Greene Roelker in Rhode Island History, vol. 11, no. 3, (July, 1952) p. 81 (picture of the house on cover).  Available on this Rhode Island Historical society web page.

Greene, Welcome Arnold.  “Notes on Genealogy of the Arnold Family.”  Providence: typescript, c1840 – 1914.  Located at Knight Memorial Library; paper copy available at New England Historic Genealogical Society Library, Boston.

Richardson, E.  History of Woonsocket.  Woonsocket, R.I., 1876.  Link opens the Archive.org pdf download. 

“Some Arnolds of Smithfield, R.I”. by H. Minot Pitmann in Rhode Island History, vol. 13, no. 4, (October, 1954) p. 111.  Includes a correction to the “Eleazer Arnold” article.  Available on this Rhode Island Historical society web page.

Benedict Arnold Tavern, Warwick, demolished 1840.  From page 144, Fuller's History of Warwick, R.I.

Benedict Arnold Tavern, Warwick, demolished 1840. From page 144, Fuller’s History of Warwick, R.I.

Some sources for the Pawtuxet/Warwick Arnolds

Arnold, Charles Robbins. The William Arnold Outline: a list of persons surnamed Arnold, descendants of William Arnold of Providence and Pawtuxet, Rhode Island.  1983.  [link goes to FamilySearch screen for the book]

Arnold, Elisha Stephen.   The Arnold Memorial: William Arnold of Providence and Pawtuxet, 1587-1675 and a genealogy of his descendants.  Rutland, VT: The Tuttle Publishing Co., 1935.  [link goes to FamilySearch screen for the book]

Arnold, Ethan L.  An Arnold Family Record, 323 years in America: a record of some of the descendants of William Arnold and his son, Governor Benedict Arnold of Rhode Island, and his grandson, Benedict Arnold, Junior: 1635-1958.  Salem, Mass.:  Higginson Book Co., 1997.  [link goes to FamilySearch screen for the book]

Arnold, W.H. (William Hendrick).  The Arnold Family.  reprint Salem, Mass.: Higginson Book Co., 2002.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/01/24/meet-the-arnolds/


In my search for more information about Nancy, wife of Daniel Lamphere (c1740 – 1808) , I decided to explore each of their children’s lives.  I also examined the children from Daniel’s first marriage, since the circumstances of its ending are still unknown to me, and I thought if I learned more about them it might explain something about how Daniel and Nancy’s relationship began.  Daniel and Nancy are my grandmother Edna Darling’s ggg-grandparents from Westerly, Rhode Island.

I discovered Daniel’s children in this post, and examined Nancy’s supposed Tefft ancestry in this post.   I decided now to reexamine each of the 15 children individually.

A murder mystery

I didn’t get too far.  Imagine my surprise when I immediately found myself deep into a murder mystery.  This is the story of that mystery, but it’s also a story about sources of information.

One of the first children born to Daniel and Eunice Lamphere was George Lamphere, on 31 March 1761, according to the Westerly birth records.  The original Lamphere immigrant (gg-grandfather to George) was named George (c1638 – 1731) and there are many descendants with that name.  I knew from my initial exploration of Daniel’s descendants that George and his siblings from the first marriage left Westerly for northern New England and New York.   George was residing in Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont in 1810 when he gave a power of attorney during the settlement of his father’s property.

I saw that George married Delight Hilliard on May 2, 1782 in Shirley Bucknum’s Lanphere Family Research Aid.  George’s family is #92 on page 19.  They “removed from Westerly to Norwich by certificate 7 Mar 1783 (TCP 4/6: 465)” meaning they were given a certificate saying that their home was Westerly, which would ensure they would be allowed to maintain a home in their new location.  I have not yet been to Westerly to check the town council records volume 4/6 for that myself. I did find the marriage recorded in the Bozrah, Connecticut records by Barbour.

An old building in Windsor, from Vermont, the Unspoiled Land (1915) p37

An old building in Windsor, from Vermont, the Unspoiled Land (1915) p37

The first sign of the murder

Then I saw a strange note for George in Lanphere Family Research Aid:

Newspaper dated 29 Nov 1806, Windsor, VT:  “Mrs George L Lamphere died under suspicious circumstances from which her husband and mother were arrested & committed to jail” (RI VR 14 p37)”.

Her source was Arnold’s Vital Records of Rhode Island, vol. 14, p. 37.  A look at that entry shows that James Arnold abstracted the information from the Providence Gazette of November 29, 1806.  This is the Gazette article, from GenealogyBank.com:

In Windsor (Vt.) Mrs. Lamphere, wife of George L.  Having died on Sunday, she was buried on Monday; but suspicions arising, her body was taken up some days after, and examined by a jury of physicians, who reported that she came to her death by blows received on her left side and across her back; that those blows were probably given by her husband, and that his mother was accessory thereto.  They were both committed to Woodstock gaol.

A search brought up numerous other, similar newspaper entries from around New England, as paper after paper copied the Vermont story.  The nearest local paper in Windsor, Vermont revealed a few more details.

The Windsor Post Boy of November 11, 1806 mentioned:

she had been under the care of a Physician several days, and a part of the time was supposed delirious.  Her complaints were so singular, that she was suspected to have died by poison or violence; her body by permission of her relations, was on Tuesday taken from the grave and examined by nine Doctors

The September 5, 1807 Rutland Herald (v. XIII, issue 36, p.3) gave the outcome of the trial:

Important Trial – On Wednesday last, before the Supreme Court at Woodstock, came on the Trial of Mrs Ewing and George Lanphear, of this town, on an Indictment for MURDER committed on the body of Mrs. Lanphear (wife of the latter;) and after an impartial trial, which continued for four days, the charge was given to the Jury by His Honor Judge Tyler; – who, after a consultation of three hours, returned a Verdict NOT GUILTY.  — Windsor paper, Aug 31.

Royalton Village and brick store from History of Royalton

Royalton Village and brick store from History of Royalton

There are some good examples in here of how evidence can be skewed or overlooked:

  • the article repeated in various papers specifies “Mrs. Lamphere, wife of George L.”  But the Providence Gazette retelling of the story uses “Mrs George L. Lamphere.”  The Gazette is making an assumption.
  • A similar mistake was made by Arnold in his abstract of the death record from the Providence Gazette: “her husband and mother were arrested” but in fact the Providence Gazette had clearly stated “her husband, and that his mother was accessory thereto.”  And frankly, to even put the abstract into his volume suggested that the individuals had Rhode Island origins – something that he could not have been sure of.
  • George Lamphere lived in Royalton, Vermont, located in Windsor County.  I could find no newspapers for Royalton (a small town) so looked in Windsor County.  But for a while, I overlooked this clue: the Windsor Post-Boy stated that she “was interred in the West-Parish of this town” – if I had thought this through earlier I would have realized the paper was referring to the TOWN of Windsor and so the wife could not have been buried in Royalton.  I was checking each town on the map, and I would have known Windsor was too far away to be a likely burial spot. Also, some stories gave a dateline of “Windsor, Vermont.” Of course that meant a town, not a county.
  • Nowhere in these newspaper reports is the first name of the wife mentioned.

The fact that strongly supported the story

As I read more notes online (repeating over and over that this couple was George and Delight Lamphere) and as I eventually saw the original court record (see below), I became aware that the accused murderer’s mother was named Eunice.  That was also the name of my George Lamphere’s mother, although I had been uncertain as to her fate (Eunice’s husband Daniel remarried about 3 years after his and Eunice’s last recorded child).  The newspapers mentioned “Mrs. Ewing” but I quickly found an 1804 marriage in Windsor, Vermont of Eunice Lamphear and William Ewing.  This made me wonder if Daniel and Eunice had gotten a divorce, and she had eventually accompanied her son up to Vermont. In fact, another of Eunice’s children, Eunice, was also living in Royalton with her husband, Eliphalet Davis.  I checked with the Rhode Island Judicial Records Center, but no divorce for Eunice and Daniel was found, but I have never found a death record for Eunice either.

Tavern image from History of Royalton

Tavern image from History of Royalton

Looking around online

Over a period of weeks I explored sources both contemporary to the event – like newspapers, census records, and vital records – and more recently compiled sources, like family genealogies, online notes, and lists.

The Barbour vital records for Bozrah, Connecticut (just next to Norwich, where George and Delight had gone in 1783) reported the marriage and five births for George and Delight between 1783 and 1791: Jesse, David, George, Erastus, and Daniel.

The History of Royalton, Vermont with Family Genealogies 1769-1911 by Evelyn M. Wood Lovejoy (Burlington: 1911), (volume 1 and volume 2 are online) has a brief entry for the George and Delight Lamphere family on page 847, in which son George is noted, birth date unknown, and the births of Daniel, William, Eunice, Jeremiah, Sally, and Sidney are reported between 1796 and 1806.  The book also mentions a David, Erastus, and Jesse, about whom nothing was known, but I was able to easily see that those names matched the children born in Bozrah.  It was noted that the family, living on Broad Brook, Royalton, seemed to have a presence in Royalton from 1793 until around 1820 only.

I was rather shocked to find (in the Mayflower Descendant, vol. 51 (2002): p. 95, accessed on AmericanAncestors.org) an article “William Hillard of Duxbury, Massachusetts” by Victor Grant Hillard Jr. which repeats the story of Delight being murdered (which is not uncommon to find) but takes it a step further and states, on page 123, that Delight’s mother, Victoria, was living 29 Nov 1806 when jailed for the murder of her daughter Delight.  The source cited was the garbled Arnold abstract of the Gazette death notice.  It’s a good illustration of how indexing, abstracting, and retelling can change the story – and how important it is to check other sources.

But for once, it was actually the comments, queries and notes online that helped the most.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that although the story of George Lamphere murdering Delight was repeated often online, some commenters took issue with this story and cited sources to argue that the story should not be attached to the George Lamphere who married Delight Hilliard. I usually ignore random genealogy information posted online because it is usually unsupported. But in this case there were serious comments, evidence and reasons.  In particular, “calliecute” on Ancestry.com left a comment on someone else’s tree that contained two excellent pieces of evidence:

  • details of the graves of both Daniel and Delight, in New York State, c 1830
  • a mention of the trial record, which she cited as “WINDSOR SUPREME COURT DOCKET VOL 3 P28 – AUGUST TERM 1807″ which names the wife as “Amelia.”  Prior to seeing this, I had barely begun pouring over court record guides to figure out Vermont court records – this note assured me a record existed.
Old schoolhouse from History of Royalton

Old schoolhouse from History of Royalton

The facts that disproved the story

An email to the Vermont Archives (see Windsor County on this page) brought me a quick reply with a two page summary of the case, which was the only surviving record (Windsor County Supreme Court, January 1807 – January 1818 (vol. 3) p 28 – 29).  I am very grateful for their help.  Here is the pdf document of The State vs. Eunice and George Lanphier, August Term, 1807: WindsorSC_v3_p28 as sent to me by the archives.  Here is a pdf of my transcription: Windsor County Supreme Court.  The archives staff said it was a public record and I was welcome to post it.  If anyone is wondering, I transcribed the Windsor County jurors as Isaac Tower, Theophilus Bates, Leonard Walker, Junice Parker, John Parker, Arnold Wheeler, Leonard Richardson, Amos Horner, John Billings, Moses Davis, Prince Haskell, and Thomas Hodgkins.

I thought from what I saw online that the court record would name the wife as “Amelia.”   And sure enough, the wife was named Amelia. That does not disprove anything, really, since Delight could have died and George remarried, although it certainly eliminates Delight as being the victim.

Another important piece of evidence didn’t strike me until I went through the timeline of this story.  According to the book History of Royalton, Vermont (linked above), Daniel and Delight’s last child, Sidney, was born December 12, 1806.  Ancestry.com has images of a card file for Vermont Vital Records, 1720 – 1908.  Sidney’s card appears below.  So not only was Delight alive in December of 1806, but she and Daniel were still married and having children.  I would not say this is absolutely conclusive proof of anything, but it goes far to prove that Daniel was unlikely to have married and murdered Amelia by the date of the assault, October 25, 1806.

Ancestry.com - Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 card 2910 of 4095.

Ancestry.com – Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 card 2910 of 4095.

Lastly, and again I would like to thank Ancestry.com user calliecute for this information, George and Delight Lamphere are buried in Riverside Cemetery in Pierrepont, St. Lawrence County, New York.  Because of spelling variations, the Lamphere name is hard to find online and so various compilations of records have been built, including the Lamphear Genealogy Web Site on Rootweb.  There I found some lists of New York graves for Lampheres, including this page which lists St. Lawrence County graves.  To quote the information on that page, provided by volunteers Alice Rosenburger and Bob Lamphear:

LANPHEAR, George died August 19, 1832 at 71y, 4m, 18d
LANPHEAR, Delight (wife of George) died July 24, 1831 at 77y 11m 5d

This is definitely the George and Delight I’ve been studying.  Calculating back George’s birth date puts it one day off from the recorded Westerly birth date of March 31, 1761.  Delight’s age at death does not seem to match the date of her birth recorded in the Barbour volume for Stonington, Connecticut (p. 191):  August 18, 1764. The age on the grave marker suggests a birth date of August 19, 1753 – one day and 11 years off.  That would suggest she was 77, and her husband 70, at the time of her death – something that would be very unusual in that era.   I suspect the gravestone may have been hard to read; perhaps it said she was 66.

Also, the markers noted in that cemetery included other family members – Hiram, son of Sidney Lamphear, and Eliza Ann and Zerah, daughters of Erastus Lamphear.

Broad Brook area in the southern corner of Royalton; 1782 map of the initial Royalton land allotments - Daniel Lamphere was not there yet.

Broad Brook area in the southern corner of Royalton; 1782 map of the initial Royalton land allotments – Daniel Lamphere was not there yet.

I am not finding census records to back up this move to New York, but George may not have been the head of a household later in life.  I did find evidence that he was trying to move as early as 1805 – an 1805 ad by him, in the Windsor Post-Boy, offering his farm for sale:

Said farm contains upwards of 100 acres of excellent land, 40 acres under good improvement with a young and thrifty Orchard, well watered.  Wood easily brought to the door for use – and Mills handy – 25 cattle can now be kept thro the year on said farm … 500 dollars in Cash, and the remainder in neat stock and horses.  –George Lamphear, Royalton, February 13, 1805.

My conclusion is George and Delight Lamphere should no longer be considered as a part of the murder story.  Sadly, that doesn’t really solve anything.

The crime itself

Apparently any record of the evidence presented at trial is no longer available.  So we don’t know what the jury was told, other than the words of the indictment.  I wonder why she was under a doctor’s care and yet the concerns arose by what she said, not by what that doctor saw.  I wonder why her body had to be exhumed to find the evidence of a lethal beating.  I suspect, but don’t know, there were no other suspects.  I am not knowledgeable about the legal system of the time (although I follow The Legal Genealogist faithfully!) and don’t want to assume I know the law – I am wondering if beating her was really no crime?  Wouldn’t the handkerchief about the throat seem to clearly indicate an intent to murder her?

I don’t think I will easily forget the grim details in the court record:

Eunice & George did then & there feloniously, willfully and with malice prepense strike, knock down, and with great force & violence beat and kick the said Amelia Lanphier upon the back, the left side, the neck, and the Loins of her the said Amelia, and did also, then & there feloniously, willfully, and with malice prepense bind a Handkerchief around the neck and throat of her the said Amelia, and thereby with great force and violence, did squeeze and press the neck & throat of her the said Amelia …

the said Amelia, from the said twenty fifth day of October until the first day of November in the year last aforesaid at Windsor aforesaid, did languish, and languishing did live and on the same first day of November in the year last aforesaid at Windsor aforesaid, the said Amelia died of the several mortal strokes, bruises & hurts, and so the Jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do say, that the said Eunice & George, her the said Amelia in the manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, willfully, and with malice prepense, did kill, and murder …

from the original court file - see pdf link, above

from the original court file – see pdf link, above

The brutality, and the agonizing days of pain which ended in her death are a terrible legacy for Amelia, whoever she was.  One senses this was not the first episode of violence in this household, if two family members were conspirators in it. We are only hearing one part of this story (accurate or not) in the indictment but if it was true, ultimately there was no justice for Amelia.  She went to her grave, perhaps leaving beloved children behind, and (if she was murdered by these family members), the murderers went on with their lives after a brief jail stint.  There is nothing to be done about that, but at the very least she should NOT be remembered as a different person altogether.

I hope that genealogists can do that for her.  If anyone puts her identity together, I would like to know.

In conclusion

In this research, I found good evidence where I least expected it, and bad information in places that should have been more reliable.  I also noted some subtle errors introduced by abstracting.  This has been a great reminder of the importance of examining all sources for information, and checking each fact as thoroughly as possible, even those that appear to be substantiated.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/01/03/evidence-to-solve-a-murder/

p 42-Vermont, the unspoiled land

Connecticut River Valley from Vermont, the Unspoiled Land, p. 42

Some background

I made some good progress this year with the Lampheres when I found some Westerly, Rhode Island deeds that showed that my ggggg-grandfather, Daniel Lamphere, had two families of children, the first with wife Eunice (possibly Wise) beginning in 1759, and a subsequent set of children after 1775 with second wife Nancy (possibly Tefft) (the story of that is here).  The Westerly vital record books show both of these families (vol. 3, page 100 and vol. 4, page 67 – both indexed in Arnold’s Vital Records of Rhode Island, vol. 5, Westerly Births & Deaths section, p. 111 & 112) and on first glance one would think these were two different Daniel Lampheres.  Neither wedding – to Eunice or to Nancy – has surviving documentation, although the marriages are real enough, per the birth records, and Daniel’s last land records which name Nancy as his widow, and name both sets of children as belonging to him.

Knowing there was only one Daniel Lamphere, and suspecting (not completely proven yet) that his correct place in the fourth generation of  the Westerly Lampheres was Daniel4, Daniel3, John2, George1, I turned my attention to the identity of Daniel’s second wife, Nancy, who is my ggggg-grandmother.  Nancy was identified tentatively as a Tefft in the usual Lamphere resources (see details below).  Nancy is related to my grandmother in the following way:

Nancy, likely born around 1750, was my grandmother's ggg-grandmother

Nancy, likely born around 1750, was my grandmother’s ggg-grandmother

Learning more about Nancy

This is the convoluted problem with Nancy:

  1. Several unreliable sources suggest her name may be Tefft
  2. She became Daniel’s widow in late 1808 and by her right of thirds, held onto one third of the Westerly, R.I. farm which I have tentatively located (see blog post here).
  3. Although I have no documentation of the wedding, their first child, my gggg-grandfather Russell Lamphere, was born December 2, 1776, and five additional children by 1792.

    To Mr. Daniel Lanphear and Nancy, his wife, RUSSELL their eldest son born December the 2d AD -- 1776

    To Mr. Daniel Lanphear and Nancy, his wife, RUSSELL their eldest son born December the 2d AD — 1776. The other children were Marcy, William, Nancy, Triphena,and Daniel.

  4. There was a neighbor to the Lamphere property over a period of many years named John Tefft.
  5. A Partial Record of the Descendants of John Tefft by Maria E Maxon Tefft (Buffalo: Peter Paul Book Company, 1896) presents, on page 30, a John Tefft family featuring a daughter, Anna (for which Nancy would be a nickname), who married Daniel Lamphere.  Surprisingly, Anna was born in 1790 (and Arnold’s Vital Records of R.I., vol. 5, Westerly, p. 138 shows the same birth dates) .  Since my ggggg-grandmother Nancy married by 1776, the person in the book is about a generation off.
  6. The book A Partial Record reports some information about John Tefft’s property: “The Tefft homestead was built in 1739, and is situated one mile and a half from the busy part of Westerly, R.I. and is owned by William R. and Walter Frazier, great great grandsons of John Tefft.”  I turned to my map of the Lamphere property location, as well as a Beers 1870 map from this page on historicmapworks.com, which shows a “Wm Frazier” and “Frazier”.  That location definitely borders the Lamphere property.
  7. John Tefft’s will is abstracted in the Rhode Island Genealogical Register, v. 9, page 54 (Westerly, R.I. Probate vol. 2 1811-1821, p. 347-348).  The will was proved 28 Feb 1820, and mentions many of the same children, and their spouses, reported in A Partial Record, including daughter Anna Lanphere, wife of Daniel Lanphere.

With so much to back up the John Tefft family whose daughter, Anna, born 1790, married Daniel Lanphere, I have to conclude that there was a real Anna Tefft, daughter of the neighbor John Tefft, who married a Daniel Lanphere.  But it is clear that is NOT MY ggggg-grandfather Daniel Lanphere, but must be some later Daniel Lanphere.

Transcription of Nancy's mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon.

Transcription of Nancy’s mark on the 1817 deed to Nathan F. Dixon.

Looking at other Daniel Lanpheres

My Daniel Lanphere had two sons “Daniel” named in the Westerly birth records, one born in 1768 in the earlier family and the other in 1792 in the later family. This seems strange since there is no indication that the elder one was dead before the later one was born.

A Daniel Lamphere had an 1812 probate record in Westerly, abstracted in Rhode Island Genealogical Record naming three minor children, Daniel, Sophronia, and Pamelia, who chose Lemuel Vose as their guardian (Lemuel’s brother was married to a Mary Lamphere, connection unknown).  I am not finding a marriage record nor have I read the original probate record yet, (The Lanphere Family Research Aid mentions that a wife, Elizabeth, is named in the will), but Nancy, born in 1790, is very unlikely to have been the wife here, she would be a little too young.

There are other Daniel Lampheres.  There is a Daniel Lamphere, died 1854, buried in the Joshua/Lemuel Vose Lot in Westerly, near his two wives:  Nancy Ann, died 1832, and Fanny, died 1838.  Surely, that is the Daniel that was taken in as a child by Lemuel Vose in 1812.  I can find no last name for Nancy Ann – could she be Anna Tefft?

Looking at census records for Westerly, Rhode Island:

  • 1810:  no Daniel Lamphere head of household
  • 1820:  one Daniel Lamphere, household of a couple with three children
  • 1830:  one Daniel Lamphere, a household of 12
1810 Federal Census, Westerly, R.I., showing cousin Nathan Lamphere, cousin John Crandall, son Russell Lamphere (who may have been managing property but was usually living in Connecticut), and Anne Lamphere.  It seems likely that this was Nancy.

1810 Federal Census, Westerly, R.I., showing cousin Nathan Lamphere, cousin John Crandall, son Russell Lamphere (who may have been managing property but was usually living in Connecticut), and Anne Lamphere. It seems likely that this Anne was Nancy.  Courtesy of Ancestry.com, page 3 of 7 in Westerly.

My conclusions about Nancy Tefft

All along, I suspected that the Tefft books were simply placing my Nancy Tefft in the wrong generation, somehow.  But now, with evidence to substantiate what the book says, I am starting to think that A Partial Record is right about Nancy Tefft. She married a Daniel Lamphere, just not MY Daniel Lamphere.

But the bigger question is, how does this change my research:

  • Is the whole “Nancy Tefft” idea that I see mentioned over and over as my Daniel Lamphere’s wife a simple error based on the Tefft books, possibly encouraged by the neighboring properties, but really my ggggg-grandmother has a completely different surname?
  • Could there actually be two generations of Nancy Tefft/Daniel Lamphere marriages?
  • If her surname is not Tefft, how will I find other possibilities?

I think I have explored all of her deeds, and I am unable to find a death record, and probate for her seems unlikely since she essentially deeded her third of the farm to Nathan F. Dixon in 1817.  Based on the census, she seems to have lived past 1830.

All in all, the details in the book looked shoddy to me, but they turned out to be reliable enough that they are truly pointing in another direction.  Now I am left with a completely undocumented wife … essentially, starting over with her.

Next steps

  • Considering that I truly have no idea what her name is, look for new possibilities.  I have taken the Tefft suggestion much too seriously.  I will not even use it as a tentative name in the database anymore.
  • Keep searching for death, probate, subsequent deeds, census or burial info for Nancy.
  • Find out what happened to the first wife, Eunice – continue the search for a divorce record at the Rhode Island Judicial Archives, or death information for Eunice in other places.
  • Continue to explore the stories of each of the 15 children listed in the Westerly birth records for Daniel Lamphere.
westerly 7th day baptist

Old Seventh Day Baptist Church, Westerly. Some Lampheres were originally members, but there is no evidence that Daniel and Nancy were.


Westerly vital records are transcribed in James Arnold’s Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850, which can all be found here – Westerly is in the second half of volume 5.

http://www.Findagrave.com, Vose Lot, also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Westerly #023.

- The Lampheres

The NEHGS articles, available to members on the NEHGS website, http://www.americanancestors.org, or in many genealogically-oriented libraries, are the standard source for Lamphere generations one through three:

  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 153 (April 1999): 131-140.
  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 2.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 159 (October 2005): 333-340.
  • Scott Andrew Bartley. “George Lanphear of Westerly, Rhode Island and his Descendants, Part 3.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register 160 (January 2006): 47-59.

The Ancestry of Harry E. Figgie, Jr., of Cleveland, Ohio by Patricia Law Hatcher.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2007.

Two sources commonly accessed by Lanphere researchers should be used with caution, since they are drafts only and contain many known errors and omissions:

  • The Lanphere Family Research Aid by Shirley (McElroy) Bucknum.  The Genealogical Society of Portland, Oregon, 1979, plus rev., 1981.  The author states there is no copyright on the book, so that it can be shared.  I will try to take better pictures of the booklet in the future and put it online, in the meantime, try this link to an archived pdf copy.
  • The Lanphere and Related Families Genealogy by Edward Everett Lanphere.  Typewritten manuscript, 1970.  This is present in many genealogical library collections, but is also available at this link for subscribers to Ancestry.com.  The main section, starting on page 1, is called “The Lanphere Line”.  Googling that term may produce other online copies.

Tefft Ancestry- The Teffts

A Partial Record of the Descendants of John Tefft by Maria E Maxon Tefft Buffalo: Peter Paul Book Company, 1896.

The Tefft Ancestry, Comprising Many Hitherto Unpublished Records of Descendants of John Tefft of Portsmouth, Rhode Island by Charles H. W. Stocking.  Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1904.

The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John Osborne Austin – add. by G. Andrews Moriarty.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978.  Teffts are on p. 392-393.  Covers early generations only.

Sypher, Francis J.  “Ancestry of William Tefft of Herkimer and Oneida Counties”, The New York Biographical and Genealogical Record, v. 139 (2008) p. 95-102.

Hatcher, Pat.  “Peter Tefft and Occam’s Razor”, The New York Biographical and Genealogical Record, v. 139 (2008) p. 103-108.

Mathew, Linda L. “John Tefft and his Children: A Colonial Generation Gap?”, Rhode Island Roots, v. 18 1992, p. 76-80.

The Descendants of John Tefft (1614-1676) compiled by Rachel Saul Tefft.  Reprinted by Higginson Book Company, Salem, Massachusetts, 1997.  Accessed at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The post you are reading is located at: http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/12/30/when-good-evidence-turns-bad/


Recently, in Washington, DC, I had an opportunity to spend a day at the Library of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  The library is located with the DAR Headquarters at 1776 D Street NW, very close to the White House.  I am not a member, but had heard this was one of the great genealogy libraries.  For convenience, I took a cab over, but I walked the six blocks to the Metro when I left.

I prepared for the trip in several ways:

The DAR Library is located at 1776 D Street NW in Washington DC

The DAR Library is located at 1776 D Street NW in Washington DC

Looking more closely at the DAR Genealogy Guide tabs online, there are many interesting sections where research can be started from home:

Knowing I couldn’t manage to pursue everything in one day, I planned to concentrate on three things:

  • the opportunity to see (but not reproduce) DAR applications for my Patriot ancestors (normally those cost $10 for a copy)
  • looking at various records in the well-known GRC reports, which contain the work of many, many DAR member over the years who compiled local public and private records.  These are often unique and not easily available elsewhere.
  • Looking at books on locations and family names.
The Library is housed with DAR Headquarters, Museum, and Constitution Hall.

The Library is housed with DAR Headquarters, Museum, and Constitution Hall.

At the entrance, I went through a security check and explained that I was going to the library. The inside of the Administration building is interesting, although I skipped the historic rooms and displays.  It was decorated for the holidays, and lots of members turned out as the day went on for what was, I believe, an event that evening.

The entrance leads you into the security area for the building.

The entrance leads you into the security area for the building.

I found the entrance for the library and once inside, paid $6.00 for a full day’s nonmember admission.  I also paid $15 for a camera pass so that I could record the book pages I found, which is my usual procedure.  I don’t begrudge research facilities these charges; any repository you go to has operating and collections costs which far, far outweigh the fees collected.

Once you go through the security area, you can enter the library.

Once you go through the security area, you can enter the library.

I had told my friend Barbara Poole of the Life From the Roots blog that I would be visiting; she lives in New England now but formerly worked at the DAR Headquarters.  She introduced me, by email, to the Director of the library, Eric G. Grundset.  I met Mr. Grundset during my visit and we had a nice chat.  He is working on an interesting project, and once it’s done I’ll be passing that info on to readers here.

The library is a grand and lovely setting for research.

The library is a grand and lovely setting for research.

The library reading room itself is spectacular.  Gorgeous and stately, it’s like being inside a wedding cake.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and my pictures do not do it justice.

I perused the book stacks for some items I had seen in the catalog from home.  I pulled some books and went through them, and took some photographs.

It cost $6 for a full day admittance (for non-members).

It cost $6 for a full day admittance (for non-members).

Next, I talked to the librarian about the GRC (Genealogical Records Committee) books that I had searched for from home.  In the library, those tend not to be available onsite anymore, but have been indexed and scanned and are available in the Seimes Technology Center.  I headed there, searched for some GRC items and, when I found them, was able to click through to the actual pages and look at them.  This would not be available from home.

The Seimes Technology Center offers access to membership applications and various databases.

The Seimes Technology Center offers access to membership applications and various databases.

In the Seimes Technology Center, I also looked up numerous ancestors to see if anyone had ever submitted an application for them as a Patriot.  I was interested to see the sources that were given and also to look at the descendants as evidence for some marriages.  There were four or five, and some unsuccessful searches.  One, in particular, on the Darling side, I plan to look into further.  Most of the rest I was pretty familiar with, particularly from my visit to the Sons of the American Revolution Library in Louisville, KY.

I spent time at a study table photographing pages from books.  A camera pass, to do this, cost me $15.

I spent time at a study table photographing pages from books. A camera pass, to do this, cost me $15.

Back in the reading room, I looked through a variety of county records and came across a huge collection of Maryland County land and church record indices.  I thought these could be very helpful for my questions about my Loyalist ancestor James Anderson.  Unbeknownst to the Daughters, and with silent apologies to them, I spent the last hour or two researching Loyalist James Anderson, who owned property near Fort Cumberland, Maryland in the mid to late 1770′s.  No luck, but I was happy I had the chance to try.

The book stacks are extensive.

The book stacks are extensive.

I loved my opportunity to get to know the library.  Now that I am more familiar with it, I think, if I ever have another visit, I will look into the DAR Analytical Card Index a bit more, which serves as an index to many materials in the library, and plan to research using some manuscripts.  There would be much, much more to do at the library, many more questions to ask, and many more collections to explore.

The post you are reading is located at:   http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/12/06/a-visit-to-the-DAR-library

Photos by Diane Boumenot.  White House illustration from The Presidents from 1776 to 1900 and the History of the White House (New York Life Insurance Company, 1900), p. 57 (unnumbered).

As the holiday season approaches, it’s a good time for genealogists to let loved ones know about the fabulous gift possibilities that are out there.  Here are my top 50 choices, but check out the comments, too, where I’m sure others will leave good ideas.  Here we go!

On the road

  • 1. Some sort of rolling briefcase, for conferences or town hall visits.  Not too crazy big, in case it needs to fit into a locker.
  • 2. A canvas or quilted bag, with zipper and inside pockets, for carrying notebooks, camera and supplies.


  • 3. Cocoon Grid-It keeps small electronics together when traveling (also available on Amazon)
  • 4. TableTote – a portable laptop stand for use at microfilm machines, or anywhere a temporary workspace is needed.  It folds completely.
  • 5. No genealogy trip is complete without cute business cards to exchange with the other researchers.  Print the last names of the family lines being researched on the back.

Office items

  • 6. Clip board.  I use a green print one from Staples the most because it is incredibly light weight.  A clipboard, a pad, and a pencil can be brought into most archives, even if nothing else can, and a clipboard serves as a writing surface when at a microfilm machine or library.
  • 7. If you want to get all You’ve-Got-Mail, a bouquet of newly sharpened Mirado Black Warrior pencils and a pencil sharpener would be nice.  Also a wooden ruler, desk scissors, highlighters, and White Pearl erasers.
  • 8. Genealogists spend a lot of time at their desks.  How about a comfortable desk chair?
  • 9. Bookends are getting harder to find.  A clerk at Staples actually didn’t know what they were.  Try The Container Store.
  • 10. Special markers for genealogists.

2013-11-27 22_05_06-Amazon.com_ Brother PT-70SR Personal Handheld Labeler with special time & date f

  • 11. Personal handheld labeler from Brother to label shelves, drawers, binders and folders.  Genealogists always imagine they’re about to get organized.  So they love stuff like this.
  • 12. For the genealogist who serves as the family archivist (which is all genealogists), archival supplies from Gaylord are always popular.


  • 13. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Second Edition, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, Genealogical Pub. Co., 2009.
  • 14. Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, McGraw Hill Education, 2014.
  • 15. Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, 2013, available through the National Genealogical Society.
  • 16. Try finding a history book, or even a movie, about something the genealogist is researching now.  Did he or she just find a Civil War soldier?  A California gold miner?  A Mayflower ancestor?  Even better, read and discuss it together.
  • 17. Genealogists enjoy reading Family Tree Magazine.  This is an especially good choice for beginners, and another recommendation for beginners would be the book “Family Tree Problem Solver” by Marcia Hoffmann Rising, available here.
  • 18. I always thought Ancestors of American Presidents, Second Ed, 2009, by Gary Boyd Roberts, was a really fun book.  I’m only related to boring Presidents, though.


Computers and Electronics

  • 20. Software
  • 21. Kindle owners might like an Amazon gift card. Actually, any genealogist might like one. 
  • 22. Paid subscriptions to online genealogy sites like GenealogyBank.com, Fold3.com, and Ancestry.com probably need to be selected by the genealogist, but a homemade gift card offering to cover one would be good.
  • 23. USB flash drives.  8gb or 16gb should be fine.  Try finding ones where the cover is not a separate piece.

EyeFi - 3

  • 24. Eye-Fi camera memory card to auto-upload from camera to computer (try Amazon.com for a full variety).
  • 25. Camera digital memory cards.
  • 26. A Canon CanoScan 9000F flatbed scanner is very useful for genealogists that are trying to digitize records and photos at home.
  • 27. The portable battery-operated scanner called Flip-Pal is a favorite with genealogists who go to relatives’ homes, reunions or other places and need to scan pictures.  No computer is needed on site; the scans are stored on a memory card.  There are package offers available which support the National Genealogical Society.
  • 28. Eneloop rechargable batteries by Sanyo, size AA, with a charger and case, would be good for a person who already has a Flip-Pal.  Try Amazon or other retailers.
  • 29. For genealogists that listen to webinars, participate in Google+ Hangouts, or listen to podcasts, these Microsoft LifeChat headphones are popular for $21.00.


Shopping local and small business

  • 30. Local genealogy societies welcome members who are looking for ancestors in all parts of the world, not just locally.  Around here, Rhode Island Genealogical Society membership is just $25 per year for 2014.
  • 31. I love the work of the Gravestone Girls.  I have a refrigerator magnet.
  • 32. Shop locally for antique or old looking picture frames for old photos.
  • 33. There are some genealogy publishers we would like to support – Heritage Books has a coupon code for 50% off Dec. 2 – 6, 2013.
  • 34. Try your local historical society.  Perhaps they have a membership, event or materials that might be helpful to a genealogist.


Homemade gifts

  • 35. A box of family letters, scrapbooks, pictures, or mementos that the genealogist hasn’t managed to get hold of yet.
  • 36. Research an ancestor or story the genealogist is not working on, and surprise them with a little report.  They will love it!
  • 37. Paint the inside of old mason jars, insert a paper or plastic cup as a liner, for use as desk accessories.
  • 38. Offer to explore cemeteries together, of the genealogist’s choosing.  Pack a sandwich and a camera!
  • 39. Most genealogists have subscriptions, and would like magazine holders.  The pink print ones are from the Vera Bradley Outlet; the black ones are from Staples. It would be possible for a creative person to make some cute ones; there are plenty of instructions online.


For those with Rhode Island ancestors

  • 40. The Rhode Island Historical Society has a bookstore at the John Brown House, and online, offering my favorite print of Providence ever, President Street by Joseph Partridge, 1822.  Only $15.
  • 41. For those researching New England and New York (and other U.S. locations), The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston offers a lot of online member benefits and discounts for $79.95 per year – see gift memberships here.
  • 42. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, by John Osborne Austin (with additions and corrections by G. Andrews Moriarty). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969.  This can be purchased new for $65 or perhaps purchased used for less.  It maps the first three generations of many early Rhode Island families.
  • 43. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Rhode Island.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1990.  $20.50.  Lists heads of families in Rhode island, 1790, with brief data.
  • 44. Look over the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Book & Gift Catalog. I am very excited about Elements of Genealogical Analysis by Robert Charles Anderson (coming in January 2014).  (hopefully my family has read down this far).
  • 45. Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, 5th edition, ed. by Michael J. Leclerc and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Publishing Company, 2012.  Helps for locating record types by location.
  • 46. New Englanders in the 1600′s, Expanded Edition by Martin E. Hollick, 2012, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Publishing Company. This book offers a bibliographic summary of genealogical work published 1980-2010 on certain early New England settlers.

Just for Fun

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/11/29/50-gifts-for-genealogists-this-christmas


My ggggg-grandfather James Anderson was a Loyalist who moved to Chester, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia around 1783.  The Chester records indicate that he was from Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the names, birth dates, and birth places of his four children (born in Baltimore, New York, and Chester).  I am descended from James Anderson in the following way:  his son John Secomb Anderson, John’s daughter Margaret (Anderson) Martin, her son Marston Martin, his daughter Bessie Blanche (Martin) Baldwin, and her son Miles E. Baldwin, who was my grandfather, born in Massachusetts.

I reviewed what was known about James Anderson of Baltimore, in a blog post called “A Question of Loyalty.”  We know the James Anderson in Chester who filed a Loyalist claim (detailed in that post) owned a house in the Fells Point section of Baltimore.   Since then, a lot of interesting information has surfaced, thanks to collaboration with some smart and hardworking fourth cousins who are also tracing James’ story.  What we have uncovered makes his story far more complex than any of us thought.

082A Privateer

Towards the beginning of the conflict, James was some sort of privateer and took the Patriot’s oath.  We found an example of an auction of a ship and its contents, right at James’ house on the Baltimore waterfront, in Maryland Journal, Tuesday, February 11, 1777 [from the book Naval Documents of the American Revolution, vol. 7, Part 8, p. 1173  (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1976)].

Baltimore, February 11, 1777

By Virtue of a Decree of the Honourable Court of Admiralty for the State of Maryland, on Tuesday the 18th Instant, at 10 o’Clock in the Forenoon, at the House of James Anderson, Fell’s Point, will be Sold, by Public Vendue, for Ready Money,

The Brigantine Mary-Ann, with her Tackle, Apparel and Furniture, as she came from Sea; a fine Vessel, Burthen 200 Tons, well found and fitted.  An Inventory will be produced at the Place of Sale — Same Day will be Sold a Quantity of Mahogany and Logwood, the Cargo on board said Brigantine.

– David Stewart, Marshall

Evidence of the Patriot turned Tory

Some new information found by my cousin Bonnie Anderson Lord was from a doctoral thesis written by Richard D. Pougher, University of Maine: “Averse … to Remaining Idle Spectators:” the Emergence of Loyalist Privateering During the American Revolution, 1775-1778, Vol. 1, p.110.   James Anderson of Fells Point, Baltimore “willingly [took] the rebel oath, he willingly joined their forces and was made a lieutenant on a galley.” He was “given his own command” but ultimately “proceeded to sail his vessel to New York and deliver her to the British. When next heard from, he commanded a loyalist privateer.”  One of the cousins, Pat Hagan,  discussed our research with Dr. Pougher and received some further advice about sources.

Using the Footnotes

Following the leads in footnote 85 of Chapter 3, “Averse … to Remaining Idle Spectators:”, I found further information.

From the Pennsylvania Gazette, September 6, 1780 page 3 [Accessible-Archives.com:  accessed 1 Nov 2013]

Several of the enemy’s small privateers and whaleboats have lately infested Chesapeak-bay, and captured a number of small craft, some of them richly laden; but by late letters from Virginia we learn, that a sloop of ten guns decoyed and took one of their whale boats rowing 36 oars; after taking out the prisoners they manned the boat from the sloop, and proceeded down the Bay to the place where these picaroons [pirates] rendezvoused, and took six more boats, with a sloop of ten guns; among them is a barge with 25 men, commanded by the noted Jemmy Anderson, late of Fell’s-point.

the noted Jemmy Anderson

a barge with 25 men, commanded by the noted Jemmy Anderson, late of Fell’s Point

Charged with high treason

The second footnote led us to the story of James’ capture and imprisonment in Virginia.  This is recorded in a letter from the state of Maryland to Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia.  Since this will probably be the only time I find a letter about a direct ancestor written to a future American President, I’m going to enjoy that.  High treason and all.

From volume 43 of the Journal and Correspondence of the State Council of Maryland, October 27, 1779 – November 13, 1780.  [section dated Sept 13, 1780; p 289-290]:

Council to His Excy Govr. Jefferson.  [Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia in 1780 - James Anderson had been sent to a prison in Richmond]

Sir We have received Information that a certain James Anderson, a Subject of this State, was captured in one of the Barges or Gallies which have, for some Time past, infested our Bay and interrupted our Trade, by Capt Yellott & Folger and carried into the the State of Virginia, and is now confined at Richmond. Anderson, before and since our Governmt was formed, lived on Fell’s Point in Baltimore Town, took the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity to the State prescribed by Law, was appointed and commissioned a Lieutenant in one of our Gallies, and from his Activity and apparent Zeal, was always reputed a Friend to America and entrusted with the Command of a Vessel owned by some Gentlemen in Baltimore which he carried to New York; he is well acquainted with our Bay and has committed great Depredations on the Property of our Inhabitants.

The above Recapitulation of Facts renders it unnecessary to suggest to your Excellency that the said Anderson cannot be deemed a Prisoner of War and exchangeable, though he may hold a Commission from the Enemy and was taken in one of their Vessels, because he was a Subject of this State, took the Oath of Allegiance as such, and no subsequent Act by him can dissolve the Obligation he was under to the State, and therefore was, at the Time he received his Commission and must now be considered a Subject of this State and amenable to its Laws for any Offence committed against the Peace and Government thereof. We do charge the said Anderson with High Treason against the State and solicit you to cause him to be sent to us, under a Sufficient Guard in Order to take his Trial at our General Court, which will be held on the second Tuesday in October next and to transmit what Testimony you may have against him. We shall take Care that every Expence incurred thereby shall be reimbursed, as soon as it is ascertained.      [Council Colo. George Dashiell]

Thomas Jefferson, by Rembrandt Peale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Jefferson, by Rembrandt Peale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From volume 43 of the Journal and Correspondence of the State Council of Maryland, October 27, 1779 – November 13, 1780.  [section dated Sept 19, 1780; p. 295-296]:

[Council to John Sterrett Esqr]

Sir Commander Barron from the State of Virginia, is just arrived here, … The Commodore has brought up the Barge in which Anderson was taken, and thinks, if she was properly fitted, she would be very serviceable and, in Conjunction with the State Boats, be sufficient to attack the Enemy’s Barges & Whale Boats, and that the Barge would be particularly useful in expelling them from the Creeks & other Places of Concealment …

Finding court records

Maryland has a significant quantity of historical records online, but I was unable to find any collection that might contain “his Trial at our General Court” mentioned in the letter to Jefferson. So I turned to:

  • The Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Third Edition, ed. by Alice Eichholz.
  • Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas by Christina K. Schaefer (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1998).  If you can find the record set you want, it actually gives you FamilySearch microfilm numbers.  For the states, it covers the period before the United States government was in place.

I learned a lot about Maryland records, and in the end I decided that the large set of digitized volumes, online, may hold a lot of the “court” records I am looking for.

“Both a Pirate & a spie”

This week cousin Bonnie made a discovery that was pretty startling.  On the Maryland State Archives site, there were affidavits taken in 1781 from several individuals about an “Anderson” that ring very true for our James.

First of all, below, I repeat the first paragraph of the record, in which the writer laments the easy distribution of certificates that allow “Traitors” to travel freely.  Apparently James impressed the magistrate so favorably that he was actually asked to carry a letter to the governor!

But the real clue in this paragraph is the mention of Capt. Yellot as the one who caught James.  This matches the name in the 1780 record about James’ extradition to Maryland (see above), where Fell’s Point is mentioned.  I’m quite sure this is our James Anderson.

Mr John Mackall a Majestrate of St Marys I think Deserves Censure. His administring the Oath of Allegiance, & Granting a Certificate to Anderson, Gave Colour for His application to Colo Barnes, whom I am willing to suppose, was Influenc’d only, by that Plausable Appearance of His being a Good Subject, to Grant Him a Pass & Give Him the Letter which He carried to your Excellency. These several Circumstances together, Occasion’d His Passing thro this County without Interruption — & had He not spoke freely to Heathman & Ogg, in Confidence of security, having restor’d to them their Vessell, wth a Complement of Salt, & they afterwards Devulg’d it, so that it came to Capt. Yellot, who was going Immediately to Annapolis, He Anderson, might probably have PasStd unmolested to the Enemys Lines at New York. Magistrates & Officers Ought to be Extreamly Caution to whom they administer Oaths, or Grant Passes; otherwise, whatever Laws may be Enacted, it will be very Difficult, Nay almost Impossible, to Detect Traitors & Spies when Passing thro: the Country, as I believe they frequently have Done without the least Notice.

Apparently Anderson encountered several men that, six months earlier, he had stolen a barge of tobacco from, offering them a share if they swore allegiance to the British and accompanied him to New York. He may, later, have returned the barge to them.   Each appeared in court and made a statement about the encounter.

[Willm Fitzhugh, Calvert County, to Gov. Lee.] July 18, 1781.

… It appears Clearly that Anderson is both a Pirate & a spie.  He was acting in the Enemys Barges when they murder’d Burn’d & Plunder’d Particularly at Lower Marlbro the 8th Day of Apl last, He was also a Principal man, at the taking of several Vessels Loaded with Tobo in the mouth of Patuxt in December last besides what is mention’d in Your Excellency’s Letter to me on that Subject. He Has also traveled through the Country under two Names, & Different pretences & told various falsehoods & shew’d a Commission from the Enemy &c &c.

… The Deposition of Thomas Heathman aged about thirty six years being duly sworn … saidth That on Friday 29th June last he fell in Company with a Man at Hunting Town who called himself Anderson dressed in a country Cotten kersey coat light sandy hair grey eyes and being asked by Col Joseph Wilkinson if he ever saw this person before & where. The deponents answers he believes him to be same person that captured him in Patuxent River a few days before Christmas last as one of Ridley’s Crew in a Barge, That he told this deponent that he was one of the persons in the Barge with Robinson at Lower Marlbro, That if this deponant had gone with them to N. York he would have been considered as Owner & had the Vessell & half the Cargoe given to him, … That he said he had a Brother arrived in Phila. who commanded a Ship or vessell called the Holker & that he want’d to go there to see what his brother would do for him as he had now deserted from the English the cause of which was his killing a Man in a duel, That he told this deponent he was chased in a Vessell from Bilboa into St. Mary’s River …

I've been fascinated for a while with The Pirates Own Book by Charles Ellms, 1837.  I guess now I know why.

Lately, I am very drawn to the book The Pirates Own Book by Charles Ellms, 1837.  Now, I guess I know why.

… The Deposition of Alexander Ogg aged about thirty six years … deposeth & saith That on Friday the 29th June last a Man who called himself Anderson carrying his hand a white wintry made kersey Coat striped trowsers a handsome bristol Stone freemason Broach in the breast of shirt a black silk barcelona handkerchief about his neck and asked this deponent if he kept Tavern who answered in the Affirmative & the Man called for Grog he told this deponant he had brought in from Bilboa a fine parcell of Arms Viz. 2800 Stand and the vessell was chased by two English Frigates from point look out up the River Potowmack & that he had run into Britons Bay where he had delivd them safe to Col. Richard Barnes whose pass he said he had This deponent then went about his business and after sometime on his return into the house he saw Mr Thomas Heathman & the above Anderson siting near together Heathman reading a printed paper which he is satisfied was an English Commission & that Anderson had a letter directed to his Exy Thos Sim Lee. Mr Heathman adressed this deponent this is the Man that took our Tobacco in Patuxt a few days before Christmas, this deponent demanded of Heathman if he did not know this Man who answered yes he now recollected him but did not know him at first Anderson then said to Heathman it was the best Tobo ever carried to N. York and had you staid with the vessell & gone to N. York you would have shared sixty pounds hard money for that was each man share

Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1781, vol. 47, p. 355-359.

In Nova Scotia

Whatever the trial and subsequent activities in the Revolutionary War may have been, ultimately James Anderson and family settled in Chester, Nova Scotia by the mid-1780′s.  They had four children, including a son, John Secomb Anderson, my gggg-grandfather.  John Secomb Anderson has several descendants who are pursuing the history of this family today.

Early poll tax records in Chester:

list at least one James Anderson, occupation Seaman, but it’s not possible yet to be sure this is him.  When son John Secomb Anderson died in 1869, his death record stated that his father was James Anderson, Sailor.  John’s death record can be found at   https://www.novascotiagenealogy.com/  by searching for this:  John A Anderson, died 1869 in Kentville, Kings County.

The treasure chest

OK it’s not exactly a treasure chest, but this chest IS full of family treasures, and according to the family in Nova Scotia, had once belonged to James Anderson and was his “sea chest”.  A few documents belonging to James have actually been preserved in this chest, and the rest are various family documents from later periods, safely stored away.  It’s a amazing that the family managed to save this.

James Anderson's sea chest, which contains a few of his documents and many later family papers. Photo by Pat Hagan.

James Anderson’s sea chest, which contains a few of his documents and many later family papers. Photo by Pat Hagan.

One document from the chest is James’ certificate from the New York Marine Society, 1781.

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 regularly 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.

The most important seems to be the certification from Masonic Lodge No. 9, Nova Scotia.  The wording on this certificate appears to be standard for the fraternal organization, and is dated 24 June 1791.

James Anderson Mason document

James Anderson Masonic document, 24 June, 1791. Photo by Pat Hagan.

What’s on the reverse of the certificate makes it so valuable.

The Masonic document, with writing on the back

The Masonic document, with writing on the back “Died in the West Indies, July, 1796.”  Photo by Pat Hagan.

This note - “Died in the West Indies July 1796″ -  is the only death information we have for James.  There is a marriage record for a “Mary Anderson, widow”  and Josiah Marvin in Chester in 1797.  Recently, cousin Pat found a death record for a “Captain Anderson” in St. James, Jamaica, September 11, 1796.  We are looking into that.

In conclusion

Many of James’ descendants are curious about his origins.  I can find no records from early Baltimore that make it appear likely that James Anderson was born there.  Where was he from, and who were his parents?  Were any of the possible brothers named so far in various documents really his brother?  I wonder if I can find an origin for one of them?

What caused James Anderson to turn to the Tories, after taking the Patriot oath in Baltimore?  If he broke with the British during the war, why/how did he submit a Loyalist claim later in Nova Scotia?  Did he see any actual service, or was he a privateer during most of the war?  Did he continue a seafaring life after relocating to Nova Scotia?  Does the 1796 death record refer to him, and what caused his death?

The post you are reading is located at:  onerhodeislandfamily.com/2013/11/21/james-anderson-both-a-pirate/

Ship illustration, and chest illustration, below, from Dover.  Pirate’s Own Book (illustration of Captain Avery, page 29) available on Google books.



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