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Recently, I began looking at the Arnolds and Smiths from North Providence and Smithfield, Rhode Island again. I am looking for Rachel, the wife of Thomas Arnold (1733 – ?).  I have written previously about Thomas and Rachel in A Hint from an Angell and The Brick Wall Stories, Lucy Arnold, Part 4.  I estimate that Rachel was born around 1735 (based on first child born mid-1750’s), and signed a deed in 1768.  She may have been a Smith.  Based on the naming of her children, she may have had a Lucy, Asa, Aaron, Catherine, Philadelphia or Marcy in her family. I am related to Rachel (Smith?) in the following way:

Rachel (Smith?) (? – ?)    7th great grandmother
- Lucy Arnold (? – ?)
- Marcy Ballou (1778 – ?)
- Nancy Ann Aldrich (1800 – 1879)
- Ellis Aldrich Darling (1824 – 1883)
- Addison Parmenter Darling (1856 – 1933)
- Russell Earl Darling (1883 – 1959)
- Edna May Darling (1905 – 1999)  (My grandmother)

The search

Up until this point, I have concentrated on some good compiled sources on the Smithfield Arnolds (investigating the sources noted in footnotes), and some Smithfield deeds for Thomas Arnold, as well as all the usual sources one might pursue for this period.

I have always been uncomfortable with how Thomas Arnold’s story seems to stop around 1776, and decided to pursue the history of each of his children, to see if I could find evidence of his subsequent life and a possible move away from Smithfield.  There is no evidence that Thomas ever served in the military.

Ultimately, my goals are also to determine if Thomas had dealings or proximity with Rachel’s family, and to find as many links as I can to Smiths, or any family that could be Rachel’s family.

Cumberland Cemetery (CU003), Dexter Street.

Cumberland Cemetery (CU003), Dexter Street, Cumberland, R.I.

Rachel’s children

Richard Benson’s book (see below) gives some information on the children of Thomas and Rachel Arnold.  Lacking birth records for the children, he lists six possible children, gleaned from other sources, such as their marriage records, and records his sources and additional details in the footnotes, p. 242-243.

  • Lucy Arnold married Richard Ballou around 1777.  They had the following children recorded in Cumberland (Arnold, volume 3, p. 78): Marcy, Arnold, Lydia, Augustice, Thomas, Richard, Lucy, Willard, Polly Arnold.
Phylia Collar, wife of Hezekiah Collar, died September 15, 1845. The stone leaning up against hers is Pardon Newell.

Phylia Collar, wife of Hezekiah Collar, died September 15, 1845 Aged 80 years 6 mo. The stone leaning up against hers is for Pardon Newell.  I don’t know who that is.

  • Asa Arnold  1755 -?.  Asa Arnold appeared in the federal census of 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820 and 1830 in Smithfield, however I doubt that’s him. Two reasons:
    • There is another Asa Arnold (son of Rufus Arnold and Ruth Eddy) who married Patience Read in Smithfield in 1797 and later moved to Painted Post, New York. That Asa had a daughter Dianna born around 1800 (same as Aaron, below) who married Paris Wheelock in Smithfield in 1818.  Sometime after that, much of that family departed for Painted Post. Asa and Patience were buried in Corning, New York according to FindaGrave.com. So they were in Smithfield for most of those years.
    • The marriage of “Asa Arnold of Smithfield, R. I., & widow Sarah Jacobs, Sept 14, 1788″ appears in the Middletown, Connecticut section of this book:  Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, Sixth Book, p. 109.  Although the 1790 federal census record on Ancestry.com has some fading on the relevant page, “Asa Amasa Arnold” seems to be living there.  A petition for divorce by Sarah, wife of Asa [Amasa] Arnold was filed in 1803; the papers are indexed in this volume from the Connecticut State Library, including a marriage certificate.  I will be following up. The 1790 census shows an extra male under 16, and 3 extra females in the household; the 1800 census shows only the couple.  Based on the bad behavior I noted in the divorce records, it’s hard to believe Thomas and Rachel ever came to live with Asa in Connecticut.  After the divorce, Asa’s whereabouts are unknown to me, but he may have returned to Rhode Island.  I do not know the names of children, if any.
  • Catherine Arnold  1757 – ?, married 1777 Joseph Razee (1748-1814), son of Joseph, of Cumberland.  According to Arnold’s Vital Records of R.I., vol. 3, p. 118, they had the following children in Cumberland between 1778 and 1788: Lucina, Rachel, Eunice, Aaron, William and Asa.   There is a Joseph Razey buried in the Ballou Cemetery on Mendon Road in Cumberland, according to FindAGrave.  I have not yet found information about Catherine’s death or burial.
  • Aaron Arnold  c1759 – 4 Jan 1829.  Married his first cousin Amy Eddy in 1799.  Served in the Revolutionary War (see below).  Arnold records children Dianna, 1799, Nancy, 1801, Peleg, 1803, Clarinda, 1807, and Sally, 1814.  Received a military pension beginning 1818.  In April, 1825 the R.I. General Assembly received a petition from Aaron Arnold of Smithfield for the benefit of the act entitled “an act for the relief of insolvent debtors” (Rhode-Island American (Providence, RI) XVII:60, p.4; April 26, 1825).  Died in Slatersville, R.I., 1829 “formerly of Cumberland.”
  • Philadelphia Arnold (1765-1845) married Hezekiah Caller (son of Jonathan) in 1794.  See notes, below.  An examination of the federal census records for Cumberland in 1800 shows the adult couple with a boy and girl, each under 10.  In 1810, the household consists of the two adults and a teenage girl.  Hezekiah and Phylia Collar are buried in Cumberland Cemetery (CU003).  It is south of the area where the Ballous and Aldriches lived.  I do not know the names of children, if any.
  • Lavina Arnold. Benson included this name because of a Quaker church record of Lavina “daughter of Thomas”.  I’m not as convinced that any Quaker was part of this immediate family (and this name was not included in Welcome A. Greene’s manuscript, see below), and there were other Thomas Arnolds, but I will pursue the lead.

Expanding my knowledge through Revolutionary War pension files

I found a Revolutionary War pension file for Hezekiah, which led me to the version of his name used there, Hezekiah Collar (pension S-21138, Rhode Island, Fold3.com).  From that (through FindAGrave.com), I found his grave in the Cumberland Cemetery with his wife “Phylia.”  Using the extremely helpful Google Map of Rhode Island cemeteries, I located Cumberland Historic Cemetery 003, and visited there.  Knowing from the pension file that Hezekiah reported himself as growing up impoverished, and that he substituted for others drafted during the war (something that usually involved a payment, so it was done by those needing money) there is no reason to think he inherited land in that particular area. I wonder if he purchased land in Cumberland – perhaps as a result of his Revolutionary War activities.

Aaron Arnold served in the Revolutionary War as a seaman, and was on the Providence when it went to France. He was captured in South Carolina and imprisoned by the British for eight months in the Bahamas, 1780.  The pension file says that he received a military pension beginning 1818.   He died in Slatersville, R.I., 1829 “formerly of Cumberland”.

Joseph Razee is hard to distinguish from his cousin of the same name (son of Benjamin) although the pension file in Fold3 definitely refers to the cousin. But the service records could be for both.  So I am not yet sure if Joseph served in the war.

The Ballou Cemetery, Cumberland Historic Cemetery 009, Mendon Road.  The graves pictured are of some Carpenters.

The Ballou Cemetery, Cumberland Historic Cemetery 009, Mendon Road. The graves pictured are of some Carpenters.

Visiting cemeteries

In my visits to the cemeteries pictured here, I looked around for Smith graves nearby.  That was productive in the case of Cumberland Cemetery (CU003), Dexter Street, Cumberland, R.I., pictured toward the top of this post, where the Collars were buried.  The neighborhood and the other graves had a familiar feel, like I was related to most of the people there.

When I arrived at the Ballou Cemetery in Cumberland (CU009, intersection of Mendon Road and Scott) to find the graves of Joseph Razee and his wife Catherine, nothing felt familiar.  The names seemed strange and the nearby roads and landmarks were not significant to me. When I found the grave, it was for Joseph Razee, next to his wife, Mary.  So that didn’t seem right.  The gravestone gave a death date of May 8, 1814 (age 66, so born around 1748).  There was a Revolutionary War marker by the grave. I returned home to look at the vital records a little more closely.

Joseph Razee marriage entries in Cumberland portion of Arnold VR, vol. 3, p. 54.

Joseph Razee marriage entries in Cumberland portion of Arnold VR, vol. 3, p. 54.

  • I had been confused in the cemetery,but looking at theJosephRazee marriages made me think that perhaps this really WAS the right Joseph.  There were three marriages:
    • Joseph, 3d, of Joseph, of Cumberland, and Katherine Arnold, of Thomas, of Smithfield: m. by Stephen Arnold, Justice, May 18, 1777 (this was my Joseph).
    • Joseph, of Benjamin, dec., of Cumberland, and Molly Nichols, of Samuel, of North Kingstown: m. by Elder Abner Ballou, Aug. 9, 1781 (this was the other Joseph, of the pension record).
    • Joseph, Jr., of Joseph and Mary Razee, of David: m. by Isaac Razee, Justice, Aug. 18, 1808 (who was this?).
  • So the question is, who was the Joseph in marriage number 3? Did Joseph in marriage 1 lose his wife and acquire a wife named Mary in 1808 (who may have been his first cousin), who later filed for the pension in 1843?  The Fold3 pension record had a statement from the widow that she was called Mary, but had been called Molly earlier in life – so, that widow really seemed to be the one in marriage record two, not the third marriage.
The wrong Joseph Razee, 1748-1814, Revolutionary War veteran.

In Memory of Mr. Jospeh Razey, Jr, who died May 8, 1814, in the 66th year …

  • Arnold VR, volume 19 “Providence Phenix – Deaths” reports a Joseph Arnold died at Cumberland Dec. 8, 1816, age 70.  That Joseph would have been born around 1746.  The Joseph Razee who died in 1816 is buried in Peck Cemetery (CU019, Abbott Run Valley Road, Cumberland).

That means that the grave I saw at Ballou Cemetery - pictured above – very likely WAS my Joseph.  Next question – was it marked with a Revolutionary War marker because someone knows that he served, or because some well meaning person made a presumption that he was the other Joseph Razee?

So I suspect marriage record #3 DOES refer to this couple in Ballou Cemetery, especially since my Joseph did not, according to the Cumberland records, have a son named Joseph.  I know nothing about Catherine Arnold Razee’s death or burial.  I checked the Revolutionary War pension file one more time to find the exact death date of the wrong Joseph Razee  – and it was Dec 8 1816. Therefore, this Ballou Cemetery grave is for MY Joseph Razee.

Mary Razey

Mary Raze, wife of Joseph Raze, Born Jan 15, 1750  Died Jan 20, 1820  AEt. 70

On a whim I visited the Peck Cemetery anyway, to visit the other Joseph Razee’s grave, because I like to see things for myself. I was surprised to discover his marker was near some Collar graves.  Perhaps just a coincidence. There were Arnolds there too.  The marker was in tough shape, and had no flag next to it to mark a Revolutionary War soldier.  But the stone was almost unreadable, so perhaps that was to be expected.

The Razee section of Peck Cemetery, Cumberland Historic Cemetery 19, Abbot Run Valley Road.

The Razee section of Peck Cemetery, Cumberland Historic Cemetery 19, Abbot Run Valley Road – note, Joseph Razee’s marker is just to the left of this row.

Summarizing the cemetery experiences

While I have spent a lot of energy finding Joseph Razee, I still am no closer to knowing the fate of Catherine Arnold after her children were born.

I feel badly because, all in all, I have to conclude the Revolutionary War marker is on the wrong grave, or at least on the grave of the Joseph who served far less.  It should be on the Peck Cemetery Joseph Razee grave, pictured below (note: there is a far better picture of it on FindAGrave in which the medallion is still present).  I checked out the NSSAR Patriot & Grave Record.  Both Joseph Razees are entered as having marked graves, and apparently no membership applications have been submitted by their descendants.

In Memory of Mr. Joseph Razee who departed this life

In Memory of Mr. Joseph Raze who departed this life Dec 8, 1816 in the 70th year ….

Looking at books and journals

Later, I tracked down some Smiths (from the cemeteries) in some usual Smith sources (see list, below).  While not, in the end, leading me specifically to an answer, I am beginning to know much more about the many connections between the Arnolds and the Smiths, and to distinguish the various branches of the Smiths and Arnolds.  Benson’s The Arnold Family (see below), Richardson’s History of Woonsocket (see below) and the John Smith articles by Farnham (see below) are making a lot more sense to me as I recognize many of the individuals named.

Looking at maps and locations

When I encountered, for probably the fourth time, the 1748 list of Smithfield Highway Districts (Richardson’s History of Woonsocket, page 64-68), I realized that the physical descriptions of each area are now very recognizable to me.  Previously, I was mostly trying to examine names.  I would estimate that Rachel was about 14 years old in 1748, and her father could easily have still been alive, or if not, her mother or brother could have owned property.  So I am planning a more detailed analysis of that list, and, as luck would have it, I have also stumbled upon an 1806 geographically-sorted Smithfield list that I will place on the blog at a later date.

As I drove home from these Cumberland cemeteries, I passed through historic areas of Smithfield and North Providence – historic homes, Great Road, Old Louisquisset – and began to get a clearer view of the generation after generation march from Providence north.  Thomas and Rachel’s children headed north into Cumberland – and perhaps Thomas and Rachel went with them as they got older.

The three cemeteries mentioned here in eastern Cumberland - fromthe northeast corner of Rhode Island on the 1875 Rand map.

The three cemeteries mentioned here in eastern Cumberland – from the northeast corner of Rhode Island on the 1875 Rand map.

Looking at my own documentation

Revisiting my chart of Thomas Arnold’s deeds recorded in Smithfield, the names now seem more familiar, and the John and Mary Smith who sold Thomas his first piece of land seem like a HUGE clue, that I am having trouble tracing.  I think the time has come to visit the old Smithfield records at Central Falls, Rhode Island and examine these deeds in person (I had previously captured them from microfilm), along with any probate records I can find.  The deeds show that Thomas Arnold sold the farm he lived on in 1772, and the deeds appear to end completely around 1776, when his children were quite young.  Daughters Lucy and Catherine married around 1777; did the remnants of the family follow one of them?

It’s like they disappeared.  I have managed to convince myself that none of Thomas Arnold and Rachel Smith’s children left northern Rhode Island, with the possible exception of son Asa.  As I visited cemeteries and town halls it occurred to me that only the early portions of this story were happening in Smithfield – the later portions were all in Cumberland.  The two most likely possibilities are that Thomas and Rachel died quite young, in Smithfield, or they moved in with one of their sons or daughters in Cumberland.

Next Steps

  • Analyze each census record for the children to see if there are extra adults in the household.
  • I will also be tracing the John and Mary Smith mentioned in the Smithfield deed of 1764.
  • It is difficult to trace Rachel since she was born in the early 1730’s and the Smithfield records only begin in 1730.  It occurs to me to try the earlier Providence records.  I may go to the Providence City Archives for that.
  • Knowing Rachel’s first name (the SMITH is a bit speculative, based on what the books say) I have the idea that if I locate the vital records for THOMAS’ parents, whether they be in Smithfield records or in Providence, I should look around for Rachel’s family nearby.

Sources for Revolutionary War pension information

 – Arnold’s Vital Records of R.I., Volume 12 We don’t think of military pensions as vital records, but of course they are filled with just that – in some cases, the only surviving proof of a marriage or death.  Arnold’s volume 12 contains several useful indices of Revolutionary War information:

  • Cowell’s “Spirit of ’76,” Index to,
  • Rhode Island Officers of The Revolution, Killed, Died Of Disease or Pensioned
  • Rhode Island Pensioners, Census of 1820,
  • Rhode Island Pensioners, Census of 1835,
  • Rhode Island Pensioners, Census of 1840

 – Cowell’s Spirit of 76 in Rhode Island I picked up a used copy of this book last year, I think, after using it at the Allen County Public Library.  But what I didn’t realize until I started reading dozens of pension files is that author Benjamin Cowell was instrumental in processing many of the Rhode Island federal pension claims.  James N. Arnold described him in his introduction to the Spirit of 76 index which appears in volume 12 of Vital Record of the of Rhode Island 1636-1850:

Judge Benjamin Cowell, the author of this work, which was published by him in 1850, was born in Wrentham, Mass., in 1781, and died in Providence, R. 1., May 6, 1863. He graduated from Brown University in the class of 1803. He studied law and settled in Providence. For a long term he was pension attorney for this district. During this long term he became acquainted with many of the old soldiers and he could, from his large mass of anecdote and collections, have produced several very interesting volumes. The partial list he published was perhaps an afterthought with him in late life for, had he commenced with his first practice with the object 1n view of publishing later, he would have had an immense manuscript which to-day would be priceless.

- Fold3.com (a paid subscription site) is a terrific source for Revolutionary War information. 

Helpful sources for the Smithfield Arnolds/Smiths/Ballous

  • Angell, Frank C.  Annals of Centerdale in the town of North Providence, Rhode Island.  Central Falls, R.I.: Frank C. Angell, 1909.
  • Arnold, Welcome
  • Ballou, Adin. An Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballous in America Providence: E.L. Freeman & Son, 1888.
  • Bamburg, Cherry Fletcher. “Amy (Smith) Russell and Her Family.”Rhode Island Roots  37, No. 2 (June, 2011): 57-78.
  • Bartlett, John R. (arranged by).  Census of the Inhabitants of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations … 1774.  Providence: Knowles, Anthony & Co., 1858.
  • Benson, Richard H.  The Arnold Family of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  Boston: Newbury Street Press, 2009.
  • Cowell, Benjamin. Spirit of 76 in Rhode Island, or, Sketches of the Efforts of the Government and People in the War of the Revolution.  Boston: A.J. Wright, 1850.
  • Farnham, Charles William. “John Smith, The Miller, of Providence, Rhode Island – Some of His Descendants” in Genealogies of Rhode Island Families From Rhode Island Periodicals, volume II, p. 1 – 150.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983 [originally appeared in the 1960's as a series of articles in Rhode Island History, v. 20 - 24].
  • Greene, Welcome A (1795-1870) Notes on the Genealogy of the Arnold Family.  Manuscript C5859, New England Historic Genealogical Society Library, Boston.  Thomas Arnold is person 6114.
  • Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 – Rhode Island.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1977.
  • Richardson, E. History of Woonsocket.  Woonsocket: S.S. Foss, 1876.  
  • Sanborn, Melinda Lutz. “Smithfield, Rhode Island Death Records Culled from Probate.”  New England Historic Genealogical Register, October 1992, p. 343-351.
  • “Smithfield 1778 Tax List” a series of articles in Rhode Island Roots (a periodical from the Rhode Island Genealogical Society), 1995-1997.
  • Steere, Thomas. History of the Town of Smithfield.  Providence: E.L. Freeman, 1881.

For further information on the various Arnold families in Rhode Island, see my post Meet the Arnolds.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/07/04/pensions-cemeteries-patriots/

I recently decided to replace my laptop because it had a few issues, and I wanted to make it our backup or guest computer.  I was able to replace the laptop and connect it to two larger monitors (that I already owned) for under $400.

Technology is moving along so quickly, I decided that in future I will replace my laptop every three years.  Therefore, I didn’t want to spend much.

I wanted several things:

  • Windows 7.  I like it, and I’m putting off a big change until next time.
  • A small laptop with a screen under 13 inches.  I don’t bring the laptop many places (I tend to use a tablet for that) but if I want to pack it, I would like it to fit easily in a carry-on bag, and not weigh too much.
  • low price.

I chose an Acer Aspire V5-131 with Windows 7.  The price was around $350.  My plan was to use the laptop with two monitors, and a wireless keyboard and mouse.  Once everything was set up, I would only touch the laptop to turn it on and off, and I would have two large screens to work on.  The keyboard and mouse were the Logitech Wireless Desktop MK320 Combo ($23.99).

The laptop barely shows behind the two monitors, and its screen is black.

After the setup was complete, the laptop barely shows behind the two monitors, and its screen was black.  This is actually my old wireless mouse, pictured, but a mouse did come with the keyboard.

The monitors

No need to purchase monitors, because I had two.  One was a $79 Acer monitor I purchased 2 years ago.  It’s about 19 inches.  The other is a Samsung 24 inch monitor that I bought last year on Black Friday for $99, quite a good deal.

The first monitor plugs into the video slot.

The first monitor plugs into the video slot.

To hook up the first monitor: I simply plugged it into a power outlet, then plugged the video cable that came with it into the laptop.  To make the screen active, I went to:

Control Panel –> Hardware and Sound –> Connect to a Projector.

Control Panel

Control Panel

If I were only adding one monitor:   On the screen that comes up, if I had wanted to use the laptop screen plus one monitor, I would choose Extend.  When I was using Extend this way, the laptop was “display 1″ and the monitor was to the right, as “display 2″.  During the two years I used this, I raised the laptop up so visually the screen was even with the monitor, and I added an external keyboard at table level, since now the laptop keyboard was too high off the table.  I have to give fellow blogger Carol A. Bowen Stevens some credit for that idea; we consulted each other on Facebook around the time we both were setting up workstations.

The video plug from the second monitor gos into the adapter, then into the HDMI slot.

The video plug from the second monitor goes into the adapter, then into the HDMI slot.  Note the HDMI slot has a funny shape – it isn’t a USB port.

To hook up the second monitor:  This was the part it took me a while to figure out (in fact, I bought the wrong adapter the first time around).

The monitor comes with a video cable.  But you have no place to plug that in.  The answer is to get an adapter and plug it into the HDMI slot on your laptop.  The adapter I got was an Active HDMI to VGA Adapter for $19.99.

To install it, I plugged the second monitor into a power outlet.  Using the video cable that came with the monitor, I plugged that into the adapter, then plugged the adapter into the HDMI slot on the laptop.  I made the screen active:

Control Panel –> Hardware and Sound –> Connect to a Projector.

Screen Resolution settings also allow you to see the settings for each monitor unit, including #1 the original laptop screen, which is now black.

Screen Resolution settings also allow you to see the settings for each monitor unit, including the two monitors and #1 the original laptop screen, which is now black.

On the screen that comes up, I choose Projector Only.  This turned off the screen on my laptop and activated the two monitor screens.  Luckily, the screens came up for me arranged in the proper order, otherwise I would have to have adjusted the display 1 and display 2 settings.  To check out or adjust settings, go to:

Control Panel –> Appearance and Personalization –> Display –> Connect to an External Display

To change the screen resolution, go to:

Control Panel –> Appearance and Personalization –> Adjust screen resolution

All in all, I am happy with my new laptop and my two screens.  Someday soon I may change the 19 inch for a 24 inch, to match the larger one.  But for now, I’m happy with it.  If I want to take the laptop out of the room, I’ll just unplug these two monitors.  Despite all the settings, if I unplug both monitors, the black screen of the laptop comes back to life.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/07/01/two-monitors-laptop/

The two monitor plugs after setup.

The two monitor plugs after setup.

 

First of all let me say, I do expect to pay for services that help me with my genealogy.  To scan documents and make them searchable and viewable on a website involves expenses which I expect to contribute to. To maintain and staff buildings with roomfuls of books and documents that I might need is not free.  To move genealogy forward, and help us to gain access to the best work, and improve our own, certain organizations need to exist, and I would like to support them.

Here is a summary of what I pay for on a regular basis.

  • Ancestry.com.  Ancestry.com has a lot of records, and even the brief index records have tipped me off to records I should investigate elsewhere.  I keep a tree on Ancestry.  I sometimes pay for a U.S. subscription, and sometimes for a Worldwide subscription.  One thing I do not do on Ancestry is pay any attention to the other trees.  Just turn all that off – you’ll feel much better.  If I ever do look at an individual on another tree, it is just to see if they have any sources listed that might help me.  99 times out of 100 they don’t.  I can access Ancestry.com through my cell phone app, meaning I can see my information at any time.
  • Family Tree Maker software.  I keep this updated and currently have version 2014.  It synchs automatically with my Ancestry tree, meaning all the valuable documents I’ve attached to my tree in Ancestry also move to my computer, on their own.  If I ended my Ancestry subscription tomorrow, I would always have what I’ve found so far, right on my computer.  baby-mom from Abroad
  • Fold3.com.  I love Fold3 and use it mostly for U.S. military records.  I also like the city directories, and I sometimes use Fold3 for an alternative index to U.S. federal census records if I am having trouble finding something, although they only have 1860 and 1900-1930.  They allow you to directly attach a document to a person in your Ancestry tree.  That is especially useful for situations of distant relatives where I’m probably not going to save the entire record anyway.
  • AmericanAncestors.org, the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  What can I say about NEHGS membership.  They had me at “The Great Migration” series of books, where you can find reliable information on those who arrived in New England from Europe between 1620 and 1635.  Reading the Register when it comes in the mail is an education.  The website is very helpful, and contains access to all this, plus additional outside databases.  The website is useful to me for searching among many genealogical journals.  Visiting the library in Boston is a wonderful and helpful experience.
  • GenealogyBank.com (newspapers and more searchable, online). Newspapers have told me so many interesting things that I would never have known. My favorite discovery so far is competing ads in 1802 by my 5th great-grandparents disowning each other, one of my first finds. Whenever I subscribe to something like a newspaper site, I read the renewal details carefully and learn, in advance, how I would be able to unsubscribe.  If they make it clear they will never refund a fee, even one made without my consent, I move on.  I trust GenealogyBank.com and have had no problems. As I recall, they give me a discount because I have an Ancestry subscription.  children-hoop from Abroad
  • Rhode Island Historical Society membership.  Historical societies in the areas where you are researching are important and they always need support.
  • The National Genealogical Society.  I enjoy getting the Quarterly and feeling like my membership is contributing to the future of genealogy.
  • Rhode Island Genealogical Society.    It is important to me to belong to the group which has the best interests of Rhode Island genealogy as its core mission.  Rhode Island Roots is an important publication, and they publish excellent books, too.
  • Evernote Premium (online notebook). I keep research documents and files on my computer, but Evernote holds an increasing amount of my genea-details, like to-do lists for each repository, details about all these subscriptions, helpful things like blank census records, details about every repository and cemetery I might ever visit, research notes for each family, results of DNA tests, and conference syllabi.  So, I want to support Evernote and get the best features.  I also access all this on my cell phone through the app.
  • Dropbox.com (online document backup).  All documents on my computer are stored in one folder that is synched with Dropbox.  Anywhere that I have access to the internet, I can access all my documents.  All of them.  Books, maps, notes, pictures, screen shots, anything.  The free account is too small; I use a paid account.  If my computer ended up in Narragansett Bay tomorrow, all my work would be safe.  swans- from Abroad
  • FamilySearch Center microfilm rentals.  I use these more and more.  Someday fairly soon, these films will all be online. Until then, for $7.50, I get to use the exact record book I need (if they have it), no matter where in the world it came from.  I prefer to see the original record books, but will settle for this kind of copy if I have to, and find it preferable (and cheaper) than ordering new certificates transcribed by a clerk (mostly because I like to see everything else on the page, or a couple of pages, and like to do my own deciphering of difficult handwriting).  I save the pages I find on a flash drive and take them home for storage on my computer.
  • Mocavo.com.  Mocavo and I have an on-again, off-again relationship. Right now it’s on.  It is best at what it always was, a site for searching the web and getting only historically and genealogically relevant search results.  I love getting these automatically in my in-box.  If your ancestors could possibly be mentioned in old books, genealogies, directories, or other printed matter, this is the site for you.
  • FindMyPast.com.  Since discovering some more recent English ancestors, I have started subscribing briefly to FindMyPast once in a while.  I don’t do enough to make it worthwhile all the time.

train-ride from Abroad

I notice the trend now is that every major site wants to hold your full tree, help you match with others, and have you save everything right there.  Realistically, we can’t do such a thing on 4 or 5 different sites. Can we?  Sounds exhausting.  One thing I avoid, so far, on these sites is the temptation to upload a whole tree (except on Ancestry.com).  I may, in the future, try this on Mocavo or FindMyPast, to see what “hints” come up for individuals, as long as I can keep the tree private, and delete it later (since I won’t be updating it). (Commenters here and on Facebook have alerted me that the FamilySearch tree won’t be working that way).

This list is longer than I thought it would be.  If you find other memberships or subscriptions worth paying for, and want to point them out here in the comments, please do.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/06/22/what-i-pay-for/

The illustrations are from the book “Abroad” by Thomas Crane and Ellen Elizabeth Houghton (London: Marcus Ward & Co, 1884?)

Abroad _ Crane

 

Since my post last year about research in early Rhode Island records “A Research List for 1650-1750 in Rhode Island”, I have had several questions sent to me about my 7th great grandmother Elizabeth Phillips and her possible father, Joseph Phillips of Providence.  Another possibility for Elizabeth’s father is Joshua Phillips of Sutton, Mass.  There are several other Phillips intermarried with the Ballous, so when I actually research this I may find the answer fairly easily.  But for those in the Providence branch of the Phillips, there are serious questions.

My grandmother is descended from Elizabeth Phillips in the following way:

Elizabeth Phillips (1709 – 1755) m. John Ballou
- Richard Ballou (1751 – 1824)
- Marcy Ballou (1778 – )
- Nancy Ann Aldrich (1800 – 1879)
- Ellis Aldrich Darling (1824 – 1883)
- Addison Parmenter Darling (1856 – 1933)
- Russell Earl Darling (1883 – 1959)
- Edna May Darling (1905 – 1999)
The controversy
The great question is about Joseph’s parents.  Barbara and Michael Phillips of Newport and Providence are reported in Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island (on page 152 of the 1978 version published by Genealogical Publishing Co.) as having six children:
  • John
  • William
  • James
  • Richard
  • Joseph
  • Alice

However, some disagree with Austin’s conclusion that Joseph belongs in this family.  A correspondent mentioned to me that there were probate documents at the Providence City Hall that might provide some evidence one way or the other.  Apparently, some of these descendants are involved in a Y-DNA project and they are getting some results that conflict with Austin’s list.

Index to the Providence probate records

Index to the Providence probate records

The probate documents

I had a chance to visit the Providence City Archives recently and I was able to photograph two early Phillips probate documents.  I should stress that these were the only two early Phillips documents in the published index (pictured above) however I suspect there could be other records of deeds, wills, inventories, and administrations scattered elsewhere in Providence records.  Or not.  So, this is all I found today but there could be more out there.

1719 – Bond of Mrs. Elizabeth Phillips.  Document A180, Probate Records, Providence
First of all let me say, being a bond, this was one of those documents that actually stays with the government (not a copy), and so what I saw at the Archives was the actual piece of paper signed (her mark) and sealed in 1719 by, Elizabeth (Malavery) Phillips, who could be my 8x great grandmother.  It is the oldest document I’ve personally seen of that nature.  Amazing.

1719 Bond of Elizabeth Phillips

1719 Bond of Elizabeth Phillips. Clicking through will open it and allow you to enlarge.

Text of the bond of Elizabeth Phillips:

Know all men by these presents that I Elizabeth Phillips of Providence in the colony of Rhoad Island and Providence Plantations in New England, widdow, am holden and firmly doo stand bound unto the Towne Council of Providence above sd in the sum of two hundred and ten pounds and 10 shillings in Current money of New England to be paid unto the sd Towne Council [thereto?] certaine attorney or successors in sd office. To the which payment well and truly to be made and don I bind my self my heirs Executors and administrators firmly by these presents sealed with my seale dated this 5th day off October in the sixth yeare of his Majestyes Reign George King of Great Britain &c: anno Dom 1719–

The condition of this obligation is such that whereas the Towne Councill above sd hath granted administration unto the above bounded Elizabeth Philips — upon the movable Estate of her deceased husband Joseph Phillips as pr an Instrument bareing date [Even?] with those presents Referenced there unto being had will appear : therefore of the said Elizabeth Phillips – doth from time to time and at all times hereafter faithfully honestly and truly perform the trust reposed in her concerning her sd administration and Render an account of her proceedings there in unto the said town [Town Cill?] or their successors in sd office when legally called there unto and in all things relating the promises behave her self as an Executrix ought to doe : without fraud or deceit : then this obligation shall be void or Else the same to stand and remain in full force effect and virtue.

Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of us –

Richard Waterman Jr,

Nathan Waterman

—  Elizabeth Phillips

her mark

I have not analyzed this document yet, but a few things jump out at me:

  • Joseph Phillips “her deceased husband” had died by 1719
  • Who were Richard Waterman Jun and Nathan Waterman?  Were they just probate officers?
  • Elizabeth lived in Providence
  • she was granted administration “As pr an Instrument … ” – I wonder if I can find the will. If so, other relatives could be named there.
  • Elizabeth was unable to write her name.

1721 – Bond of Mial Phillips 1721-2, Document A199, Probate Records, Providence

There are two bonds in this file, one from Mial Phillips in the amount of 100 pounds, and the other for approximately two-thirds of that amount, in which Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter have some responsibility.  Other than those details the bonds are very similar.  Here is the first one:

Top of the first bond from Mial Phillips

Top of the first bond of Mial Phillips. Clicking through will open and allow you to enlarge.

bottom of first bond of Mial Phillips

bottom of first bond of Mial Phillips

transcription of the bond of Mial Phillips:

Know all men by the presence that I Mial Phillips of the Town of Providence in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Yeoman I am holden and firmly do stand bound unto Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter both of Providence aforesaid; yeoman; in the : sum of : one hundred pounds Current money of New England : to be paid unto the said Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter their heirs Executors and administrators – To the which payment well and truly to be made and done I bind myself my Heirs Executors and administrators firmly by the presents sealed with my seale  Dated this 26 day of february anno Dom 1721/2 and in the Eighth year of his majestyes Reign George King of Greate Brittan &c: -

The condition of this obligation is such that where as the above named Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter became bound sureties for the above Bounden Mial Phillips his true and faithful performeance of his administration Granted him by the Town Councill of Providence above sd upon the Moveable estate of his brother John Phillips : deceased as pr a bond or obligation from under the hands and seales of the said Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter bareing date [Even?] with these presents : may appeare there fore if the said Mial Phillips his heirs Executors or administrators shall and doe from time to time and att all times forever here after [same?] and Keepe the said Richard Phillips and Benjamin Potter theire Heirs Executors and administrators harmless and indemnified from all and any Cost Charge and trouble that shall or may here after arise and accrow by Reason of the above mentioned bond or obligation : then this obligation shall be void : but in default there of the same to stand and Remain in full force effect and virtue.

Signed sealed and delivered

In the presence of us

John Whipple

Hope Angel

Mial phillips

I have a few thoughts about this document, to be explored in the future:

  • Clearly, Mial is meant to be the name Michael.
  • Who is Benjamin Potter?
  • “estate of his brother John Phillips” – Michael is the brother of John
  • Michael is called a “yeoman” “of … Providence”
  • I don’t think the document specifically calls Richard Phillips a brother to the other two, but it seems likely.
  • If, as indicated in the 1719 bond, Joseph Phillips is dead, he naturally wouldn’t be named in this 1721/2 document.  I’m not sure much is proven here with regard to that.
  • By mentioning a brother Michael, alive in 1721/2 (the FATHER Michael died in the 1680’s) this document either disagrees with Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island or was signed by siblings from a succeeding generation.

I have already left a few research notes in my post “A Research List for 1650-1750 in Rhode Island.”  I would investigate all of Torrey’s references and any journal articles I could find, as well as a more thorough search of the Providence City Archives for further documents, like deeds or wills.  There are Newport and North Kingstown connections for the Phillips, and those should be investigated.  Of course, in my case I would start with the Joshua Phillips of Sutton idea, and pin down the other Phillips intermarriages with my branch of the Ballous.

The additional bond from probate file A199 which pretty much duplicates the Mial Phillips bond, above, I post here for completeness (no transcription):

Top of he second of the Mial Phillips bond documents.

Top of the second of the Mial Phillips bond documents.  Clicking through will open and allow you to enlarge.

The bottom of the second Mial Phillips bond.

The bottom of the second Mial Phillips bond.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/06/12/phillips-probate-records/

A good day

Elizabeth Malavery Phillips’ mark

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

Narragansett Historical Register logo

The Yellow Fever in Providence, 1800

by A.H.

[Transcribed here from The Narragansett Historical Register, Volume 3, No. 1, July, 1884 (Published by the Narragansett Historical Publishing Company, Hamilton, R.I.), p. 136-138.]

Dr. E. M. SNOW, in an elaborate article printed in the Providence Journal in June, 1857, and re-printed in the Journal of September 23d, 1878, after detailing incidents connected with the prevalence of the disease in 1779, at which time there were 36 deaths reported, most of which occurred at the south end of the town and all south of Williams street, goes on to say that ” in the summer of the year 1800 the yellow fever seemed to be confidently expected in Providence, and an order was issued by the Town Council respecting the removal of nuisances on the 12th of May. As early as the 22d of June a vessel arrived from Jamaica with cases of yellow fever on board, which were sent to the hospital. Other infected vessels arrived in June and July, but no case occurred among the inhabitants until the 15th of August. The first case was a Mrs. Taylor, who lived on the west side of Wickenden street, a little north of the present location of the Providence Tool Company. She died on the 20th of August.”

An old paper found among the effects of Joel Metcalf, Esq., who died November 26th, 1834, and who was a member of the Town Council in the year 1800, contains a list of the names of those who were attacked by the disease, noting the date of attack, date of removal to the hospital of those that were sent there, and date of the death of those who did not recover, which is here presented.     -A. H.

Names    /     Taken Sick    /   Removed to Hospital   /   Deaths and Recoveries

1 Mrs. Taylor                     August 15.            ………….             d. Aug. 21.

2 Elizabeth Whiting            ” 15                    .…………..            Rec.

3 Joseph Tillinghast, son of John    ” 16.      …………….         d. Aug.22.

4 Mrs, Luther                August 16.                 ……………         d. Aug 21

5 Joseph Cooke              ” 16.                      ……………..              Rec.

6 Mrs. Earle                       ” 17.                     ……………..             d. Aug 23

7 Sweet Luther                  ” 18.                  ……………..              Rec.

8 Miss Dunn, a child         ” 18.               ……………..              Rec.

9 Miss Warner                    “ 18.                ……………..               Rec.

10 Patrick Morriss             ” 18.                  ……………..            d. Aug 23

11 Jeremiah B. Howell        ” 19.              ……………..            Rec.

12 Rebekah Carr                  ” 19.                    ……………..            d. Aug 23

13 Jonathan Eddy               ” 19.                     ……………..           d. Aug 25

14 Jeremiah Whiting         ” 19.                   ……………..              Rec.

15 Mrs. Atkins                    ” 20.                   Aug 21                     Rec.

16 Charles Tillinghast            ” 21.                 ……………..          Rec.

17 Wife of Charles Tillinghast     ” 21.        …………….         d. Aug 26

18 Nancy Briggs                  ” 22.                       Aug. 22                   Rec.

19 Richard Hinman          ” 22.                          “ 23                     d. Aug 25

20 Lucretia Pearce             ” 22.                       “ 22                     d. “ 26

21 Mrs. Bogman                ” 26.                          “24                    d. Sept. 1

22 Mary Whiting                ” 26.                         “24                    Rec.

23 Patience Greatrix        ” 27.                       ” 28                     Rec.

24 Jos. Arnold                     ” 27.                        …………….       d. Aug. 31

25 Thos. Mitchell               ” 27.                          Aug. 29           Rec.

26 Mrs. Bird                        ” 27.                        ………………        Rec.

27 Amey Read                   ” 27.                          Aug. 23            d. Sept. 1

28 Lucy Libby                     ” 29.                          Sept. 3              Rec.

29 Hannah Fuller, wife of John    ” 29.          Sept. 3              Rec.

30 Mrs. Newell                   Sept. 1.                      ” 3                   Rec.

31 Mrs. Sheldon, wife of John    Aug. 31.      ……………..         d. Sept. 7

32 Betsey Stokes               Sept. 5.                     Sept. 7                 d. “ 11

33 Prince Burrill                      ” 5.                       Sept. 7                 d. “ 12

34 Wife of Prince Burrill         ” 5.                         Sept. 7               Rec.

35 Ruth Curtis                          “ 7.                           “ 8                 d. Sept. 11

36 Mrs. Warner, wife of John    ” 6.              …………….              d. “ 10

37 Stephen Ashton                 ” 6.                    …………….              d. “ 8

38 Amey Tillinghast               ” 4.                   …………….              Rec.

39 Mrs. Warner, wife of Samuel    ” 8.          Sept. 9                  d. Sept. 13

40 Nancy Blinn                    ” 4.                         …………….              Rec.

41 Edward Luther              …………..               …………….             d. Sept. 12

42 Edward Dickens               ” 8.                       Sept. 13                d. “ 15

43 Phebe Hull                        ” 8.                         …………….           d. “ 13

44 Mrs. Dickens                    ” 11.                       …………….            d. “ 16

45 William Olney, son of David   ” 11.          …………….            Rec.

46 Mrs. Pearce                     ” 13.                       …………….            d. Sept. 17

47 Mrs. Dickens, widow         ” 8.                   …………….            d. “ 14

48 Sally Hull                        ” 14.                      Sept. 14               d. “ 17

49 Polly Godfrey                 ” 12.                      …………….           d. “ 20

50 Eliza Dickens                  ” 15.                       Sept. 15               Rec.

51 Moses, negro                  ” 13.                      Sept. 13               Rec.

52 Mary Tillinghast             ” 13.                   …………….             d. Sept. 17

53 Sarah Gibbs, negro          ” 16.                   Sept. 16                Rec.

54 Mary Fields                     ” 17.                       Sept. 17               d. Sept. 20

55 Child of E. Congdon       ” 17.                   …………….             d. “ 21

56 Child ” ”                            ” 17.                       …………….             d. “ 23

57 Mrs. Brown, widow          ” 14.                   Sept. 18             d. “ 19

58 James Temple                    Sept 17         ……………..          d. Sept. 19

59 Daniel Bucklin                    ” 12                 ……………..           Rec.

60 Ephraim Congdon              ” 18              Sept 19                Rec.

61 Mrs. Mitchel                     ” 18                 Sept. 18              d. Sept. 20

62 Sally Howe                        ” 15                     “   17                Rec.

63 Jabez Bucklin                    ” 19                     “ 19                  d. Sept. 26

64 Provy Brown‘s wife          ” 16             ……………..          d. “ 19

65 Mrs. Davis, wife of John      ” 16         ……………..          d. “ 23

66 John Stokes                         ” 19              ……………..         d. “ 21

67 Lydia Eveleth                   ” 18                ……………..         d. “ 22

68 Betsey Huntington            ” 22              Sept. 22           Rec.

69 Rebecca Luther                ” 22                ……………..         d. Oct. 1

70 Amey Godfrey                  ” 22               ……………..     d. Sept. 27

71 John Warner                      ” 21              ……………..     d. “ 26

72 Mary Stokes                     ” 22                  Sept. 22           Rec.

73 Mrs. Tillinghast, wife of John     ” 22      ……………..     d. “ 26

74 Nancy Newfield                   ” 23                   Sept. 24         d. “ 27

75 Violet Cook                 ” 20                    ……………..     d. “ 28

76 John Sheldon                   ” 23                   Sept. 24         d. “ 27

77 Daniel Pearce                ” 24             ……………..     d. “ 25

78 Sally Waters                    ” 23                   Sept. 24         d. “ 28

79 Nancy Waters                  ” 23                 Sept. 24     Rec

80 Phoebe Sisco                    ”   25              Sept. 25       Rec.

81 Mrs. Congdon                   ”   26              Sept. 29       Rec.

82 Henry Faulknan                  Oct. 1         ……………..     Rec.

83 Joshua Harding                  ” 3.               ……………..     d. Oct.–

84 Piney                                 ” 7                        Oct. 8               Rec.

85 Thomas Savin                …………….         ……………..     d. Sept. 26

86 Joshua Penneman       …………….          ……………..     d. Oct. 20

 

Number of deaths …52         Recoveries…..34 – 36

Sick at hospital…….27       Out of do. …..49

Died at “ …………18         Out of do. ……34-52

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2014/06/08/yellow-fever-providence/old tavern in Providence

 

 

I recently read a book about genealogical research that I highly recommend:  Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George C. Morgan and Drew Smith (New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2014).

I guess it’s no secret that I am fascinated by the process of things – HOW they are done.  Many genealogy books focus on why, or where, and I get that, but how-to is what really resonates with me.  In addition to plenty of practical suggestions, the book is also sprinkled with interesting examples to illustrate their strategies.

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques

Everything about this book seemed to speak directly to me.  It is not a beginner’s book, and yet, could profitably be read by anyone wanting to advance from the level of beginner.  If you are doing some things in a more sophisticated way than you used to, and are wondering what other methods you might profitably employ, I think you will find this book helpful.

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques follows an easy to understand theme of breaking down brick walls by many methods – dismantling them, going around them, etc. As they emphasize in the last chapter, it’s not about tricks to help you hurdle over the hard work of research, it’s about how to approach your problems sensibly with the best possibility of ending up with a proven and correct result.

I think I can best create an impression of the book by giving several examples of how it will influence my research:

  • Have I really, really started over from the beginning of the Andrews research, to see if I come to the same result?  As I began again, I realized I had never re-started from the beginning (the most recent and well-documented things) but rather, I had been reviewing small sections of my work.
  • Am I searching creatively enough, and reading the specifics of each record set before utilizing it?
  • Am I sharing problems effectively with others?  The blog is only one method for that. I’m not discussing problems with my fellow researchers very much, and I’ve never pursued the idea of explaining a research problem to a non-genealogist, just to get their impressions and thoughts (well let’s be honest here, I’m not sure friends and family would be up for that, but one could try).
  • Their explanation of the mtDNA test (which I recently became involved with) is the clearest I’ve read, and I will refer back to it when I get my results.
  • I’m pretty good about research to-do lists, but not so good about turning those to-do’s into research logs, so I know the details of what I tried and when.  The book has some encouraging tips for that.
  • I’m going to review their tools section for any software I might want to add.  While I read about new products from time to time, it’s nice to have reviews in one place where I can find them.
  • For people new to online crowdsourcing (that is, connecting with strangers who have, or can easily get, information you need), the tips are very clear and helpful.  I especially like “The Etiquette of Online Forums” about how to post a question online.
  • Because they mention so many types of records, I often found myself racing to, say, the FamilySearch microfilm collection to see if certain kinds of records were captured from certain locations.

I definitely recommend this book for those who are aspiring to approach their problems in a more comprehensive (and successful!) way.

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/05/19/advanced-genealogy-a-book-review

Dover 257

Learning more about the Aldriches

Recently, I have been learning more about Asa Aldrich of Cumberland, Rhode Island and nearby Sheldonville (West Wrentham), Massachusetts.

This recent curiosity began over the past year as I have corresponded a bit with a small group of volunteers who are documenting some cemeteries that my Aldrich and Darling ancestors are buried in, particularly the Sheldonville Cemetery.  The cemetery is in back of a house that has a historic marker for my 5x great grandfather, Nathan Aldrich, in the Sheldonville village in Wrentham.

When I mentioned Nathan Aldrich’s house in an email, one of the volunteers told me something very interesting.  She gave me the address of another house very near to Nathan’s on West Street that had belonged to Asa Aldrich, Nathan’s father.  He is my 6x great grandfather.  She kindly copied the entries for both houses that she found in a booklet by the Wrentham Historical Commission, A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts, 1993.  She was sure that the public library had a copy.

This is the story of how that small collaboration led to a lot of new information for me.

A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts

A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts

Reviewing what I know about Asa Aldrich

I am descended from Asa Aldrich in the following way:

My grandmother Edna Darling is a descendant of Asa Aldrich.

My grandmother Edna Darling is a descendant of Asa Aldrich.

Here is what I knew about Asa Aldrich:

  • Asa Aldrich was born 10 May 1744 in Mendon, Massachusetts (1).   He was the first child born to Jonathan Aldrich and Patience (Gaskill) Aldrich (2).  On his father’s side, he descended from George Aldrich and Fernando Thayer (among the original settlers of Mendon, Massachusetts), and on his mother’s, from early Salem and Ipswich families.  Provided Southwick, Salem’s Quaker daughter who was immortalized in the Whittier poem “Cassandra Southwick” was Asa’s great-great grandmother.
  • He married Lucy Haskell in 1770, daughter of Abner Haskell and Grace (Slack) Haskell.  (Lucy had a twin brother, Comfort Haskell, who served in the Revolutionary War in some Rhode Island militias, and his widow was granted a pension in 1849.  I had not seen many such pensions originating in Rhode Island, and I realized as I read the 57 pages on Fold3.com that many officers and friends were mentioned there. Note to self – any pension record from the town of an ancestor is worth reading, particularly if the ancestor served but left few records. In this case, there is no evidence that Asa served in the war.)
  • Asa and Lucy had two sons recorded in Wrentham, Nathaniel in 1771 and Nathan in 1773 (3).  The other children were recorded in Asa’a probate record, 1826, and in various deeds:  Abigail (Aldrich) Barnes, David Aldrich, Amey (Aldrich) Hancock, Amos Aldrich, and Samuel Aldrich.

And here is what I am learning by consulting new sources:

  • A Suffolk County deed from 1772.  It occurred to me that since Norfolk County deeds, online at FamilySearch, begin in 1793, there must be earlier deeds in a parent county.  That would be Suffolk.  There were some deeds from prior generations there, and a 1772 deed for Asa, who purchased 74 acres from Thomas Jenks of Cumberland, R.I.  The southern bound of the land “borders Hathaway’s” which, based on my previous mappings for Richard Ballou’s property, puts the southern end in Cumberland, R.I.  It’s bound to the West by “Indian Meadow Road” which I believe may be today’s Burnt Swamp Road.  I believe this property was the basis for various gifts of land Asa later gave most of his sons.
The intersection of Burnt Swamp Road (which begins in Cumberland, R.I.) and West Street in Sheldonville.

The intersection of Burnt Swamp Road (which begins in Cumberland, R.I.) and West Street in Sheldonville. This picture was taken in front of the house with the Nathan Aldrich, 1841 plaque.

  • 1782 Rhode Island census lists Asa in Cumberland with a household of six, apparently in neighborhood order, amidst relatives that I am familiar with.
  • 1788, Asa was serving as an overseer of the poor in Cumberland, Rhode Island.  I first learned about this in Unwelcome Americans: Living on the Margin in Early New England by Ruth Wallis Herndon (5).  On the library trip, described below, I found several notes from the town records about Asa’s activities looking after the poor.
  • This one made me laugh.  Asa only appears once in the Records of the Colony of Rhode Island.

[October, 1790].  Whereas, it appears to this Assembly, that Asa Aldrich, an inhabitant of the town of Cumberland, in this state, hath been deemed by the select men of Wrentham, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, an inhabitant of that town, and in consequence thereof hath been greatly vexed and oppressed.

It is therefore voted and resolved, that His Excellency the Governor, be requested to write to his Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts, representing the state of this matter, and desiring that the select men and inhabitants of the said town of Wrentham, may be directed to surcease all proceedings against the said Asa Aldrich, until the line between said commonwealth and this state, in that part, be settled.  (Volume 10, page 397).

I got a chuckle after years of confusion about whether Asa and his sons really lived in Cumberland or Wrentham, to find that the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts were likewise befuddled over 230 years ago.  I’m not feeling so stupid now.

In a situation like this, you always ask yourself whether the person stayed in one spot, but the county/state lines changed.  I now think Asa may have moved, living first on the Rhode Island end of his property, but later in life, on the Massachusetts side.

  • Sheldonville Baptist Church:  I had seen in Mrs. Sprague’s manuscript about Cumberland (4) in the Rhode Island Historical Society Library that the Aldriches were Baptists.  Several of my direct line were married by Justices of the Peace, but I know that in 1873 Asa’a great granddaughter Abby Darling married Julius Mead at the Sheldonville Baptist Church.  When I visited Sheldonville, there was the church itself, within view of the houses my ancestors lived in.  How involved were they?  I need to explore this further.
  • 1790 census.  After the additional research I’ve done in maps, graves, and other records, when I look at the 1790 census it immediately jumps out at me that Asa is next to his father in law, Abner Haskell, and his wife’s twin brother, Comfort Haskell.  Since there are still some Haskells located on the 1838 Cumberland map given to me by John Tew (see his blog post here for how to get the map), that further clarifies the location of Asa’s house as being on the western edge of Sumner Brown Road.

    Sheldonville, 1888 map showing the location of the cemetery, Nathan's former house, and Asa'a former house.

    Sheldonville, 1888 map showing the location of the cemetery on Burnt Swamp Road, Nathan’s former house, and Asa’a former house.

  • Asa’s house in Sheldonville.  Thanks to my contacts at Find A Grave, I was alerted to Asa’s house in Sheldonville, and drove up to see it, see below.
  • Asa and Lucy’s graves.  I also found, thanks to the entries of those same volunteers of the West Wrentham Cemetery, Asa and Lucy’s graves, see below.
  • Asa’s 1826 probate situation is complicated since it seems to have been processed both in Wrentham, Mass and Cumberland, R.I. , and involved a dispute that I cannot really understand.  I am still gathering the complete documents.

A trip to Sheldonville

I visited the West Wrentham Cemetery recently to look for the graves of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich.  There were pictures on Find A Grave, of rounded gray markers with the small shoulders rather common for the early 1800’s.  I thought I could find them easily, but as I looked around I realized most of the graves looked exactly like that.

West Wrentham Cemetery

West Wrentham Cemetery.

I finally found them, over to one side.  Asa and Lucy have matching stones, surrounded by names I’m not familiar with.  But in other parts of the cemetery, I spotted many members of Lucy’s family.  Over the course of this particular search I grew much more familiar with all the siblings and spouses.  Looking at early maps, cemeteries, and town notes now, I am starting to recognize most of Sheldonville’s early population.

Graves of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich

Graves of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich.

The Fiske Public Library, Wrentham

As I prepared from home to visit the Fiske Public Library to see the Guide to Historic Wrentham I didn’t note anything special on the website.  The day of my visit, I found the library down a side street, parked and entered, and inquired about the booklet.  I was quite surprised when the librarian asked if I was looking for the Genealogy Room.  Well, sure I was.  That sounded good.

Fiske Public  Library, Wrentham

Fiske Public Library, Wrentham

The Genealogy Room was an attractive, quiet space lined with books.  There was a microfilm reader and a small collection of useful microfilm.  I photographed the boxes of microfilm so I would have the titles.

The Genealogy Room at the library, donated by the Ross Family.

The Genealogy Room at the library, donated by the Ross Family.

One very notable feature of the collection was the Wrentham Historical Society MacDougald Collection, a large set of binders covering one wall, containing a huge variety of information about historic Wrentham.  I looked through 10 or 20 of the binders; they are well indexed and hold notes, lists, clippings, abstracts, letters, and copies of all sorts of documentation such as cemetery records, maps, family history, and town business.

A few of the many binders of the MacDougald Collection

A few of the many binders of the MacDougald Collection

I photographed so many pages, particularly of the cemetery plot information and the abstracts of town business (sorted by name), that I went through the two camera batteries I had and started on my phone camera.

One interesting item that I found in the “Aldrich” pages was a study of Asa and Lucy’s son Amos Aldrich, one of the first boat builders in Sheldonville, an area known for boat building.

Another thing I learned, in my reading of the Guide to Historic Wrentham, was that Asa’s son Nathan Aldrich, my 5x-great grandfather, was “a local farmer and builder, who built many houses in Sheldonville”.  Two that still exist today are 57 Hancock Street, c1840, and 63 Burnt Swamp Road.  I had usually seen him described as a farmer, but like many New England farmers he clearly pursued other work as well.  At last, a detail about my ancestors that my husband, the woodworker, might appreciate.

Asa’s house

The volunteers told me about the book A Guide to Historic Wrentham, Massachusetts.  Perusing the book at the library gave me the following information about 995 West Street:

[Simple Georgian - 1816]: This house with gable end to the street and entrance on the side has retained its old corner trim, cornice, cornice returns, doorframe and fine proportions.  There is a shed dormer on the rear and the usual center chimney.

The first owner was Asa Aldrich; the second was his son, Nathan.  Subsequent owners were boat builders, Charles Follett in 1859 and Charles J. Farmer by the turn of the century.

Asa Aldrich's house in Sheldonville, from rather late in life, 1814.

Asa Aldrich’s house in Sheldonville, from rather late in his life, 1816.

If Asa was the original owner, I have to wonder if Nathan built this house, in fact it resembles other houses pictured in the Historic Wrentham booklet.

In conclusion

It meant a lot to me to find another house of my ancestors, particularly one almost 200 years old.  If, according to the booklet, Nathan Aldrich lived in this house later in life (from the deeds I can see that he sold the house with the plaque to his son William in the 1840’s, and William ultimately sold it and moved away) then this one could be the house where Nathan was enumerated in 1850 and 1860, with his grandson Ellis Aldrich Darling, my 3x-great grandfather, and his family, and where my great-great grandfather Addison Parmenter Darling was born in 1856.  Addison left Sheldonville in 1872, as a teenager, to learn silver engraving with his new brother-in-law in the city of Providence.  Many years later, my great grandmother asked my folks to take a drive with her up to Sheldonville, to see if she could spot the house where her father-in-law had been born, but she couldn’t pick it out.

Now, perhaps we’ve found it.

Notes

(1)  Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Vital and Town Records, 1620-1988 , database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com, accessed 19 May 2014), entry for Asa Aldrich (Mendon, Births, p. 80).

(2)  Aldrich, Ralph Ernest.  The Aldrich Family Genealogy : Descendants of George Aldrich of Mendon, Mass. Part E: Jacob. National Aldrich Association, 1998.  

(3)  Vital Records of Wrentham, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850. Boston:  1910. Volume 1, Births.  Entry for Nathan and Nathaniel Aldrich, page 11.

(4)  Sprague, Mrs. Abigail.  Unpublished notes, History of Cumberland.  c 1890-1906.  Rhode Island Historical Society MSS 1023.    Box 1, folder 43: Hathaway Mills neighborhood.   Box 2, folder 32: Aldrich family.   Box 2, folder 40:  Ballou.

(5) Herndon, Ruth Wallis. Unwelcome Americans (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).

The post you are reading is located at:  http://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2016/05/14/sources-for-asa-aldrich/

sheldonville post cardColor photos by Diane Boumenot, 2014.

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