Archive for the ‘Spaulding’ Category

This week, I received a surprising gift from someone who found “Wayland Spaulding” mentioned on my blog.  She had purchased a box of stuff at an auction, and found a sort of day book or list that had belonged to Wayland Spaulding.  From what she saw on my blog she thought it was the same person, and asked me if I’d like to have it.  I said sure.  She sent me a small journal with some small loose papers and cards between the pages. Apparently some had been found in the journal and others were found in the box.  Yup, it was really neat.

The journal sent to me this week, with loose papers.

The journal sent to me this week, with loose papers.

The Spauldings and me

I came to know the children of my 5x grandparents Isaac and Lucy (Emery) Spaulding of Townsend, Massachusetts quite well over the years as I tried to locate my great-great grandfather Edward Baldwin in the 1850 census.  He was a 17-year-old orphan and surely, I thought, family had taken him in.  My efforts to pin down each of Edward’s (gulp) 19 aunts and uncles resulted in about a year of stalking; I know these people well.  I also wrote about proving Edward’s relationship with them here.  Edward’s son was my great-grandfather Miles Edward Baldwin and his grandson was my grandfather, Miles Edward Baldwin Jr.  Edward’s parents, who both died young, were Eli Baldwin (1804-1833) and Polly Spaulding Baldwin (1806-1839).

While many mysteries remain about Edward, I found that he came from such an interesting family.  All four of his great grandfathers – David Baldwin, Reuben Gassett, Benjamin Spaulding, and John Emery – served in the Massachusetts militia; several were serving during the “Lexington Alarm” in 1775. They marched from Townsend down to Lexington at the start of the Revolutionary War.  The Spauldings were the most interesting – a long line of teachers, and several Spauldings played important roles in the American Revolution.

Three years ago, I was surprised to find letters from my 4x great-grandmother Polly Spaulding Baldwin and my 5x great-grandmother Lucy Emery Spaulding that had made their way (many decades after they were written) out to Gold Hill, Colorado, an early mining town, and were now in the archives of the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History in Boulder.  That story is in How to Use NUCMC to Perform a Miracle.

Those letters were part of a larger set of family correspondence with Polly Spaulding’s niece Hannah Spaulding Guise.  And that is how I became more intimately acquainted with the children of Polly’s brother Daniel Spaulding: Hannah, Randall, and Wayland Spaulding

The title page shows that this may be the 7th in a series of journals; the others are not found.

The title page shows that this may be the 7th in a series of journals; the others are not found.

Wayland Spaulding

Wayland’s father Daniel Spaulding (1814-1901) was a local fixture in Townsend, Massachusetts and keeper of his father Isaac’s family farm south of the Harbor, where two of his sisters also lived most of their lives.  He married Lucy Wyer Clement in 1837. According to Daniel’s obituary, he was a “farmer, cooper and carpenter.”  With only an ordinary education, he was determined to educate his children more fully. Randall and Wayland both graduated from Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, and from Yale College.  His daughter Hannah became a teacher and moved to Colorado, his son Randall a school superintendent with a national reputation, and Wayland became a Congregational minister.

Wayland during his Yale years, and later in life. From Biographical Record of the Class of 1874 in Yale College: Part Fourth, 1874-1909, page 195. (New Haven, Tuttle, 1912).

Wayland during his Yale years, and later in life. From Biographical Record of the Class of 1874 in Yale College: Part Fourth, 1874-1909, page 195. (New Haven, Tuttle, 1912).

During his years at Yale, Wayland boarded with a local minister’s family, the Pecks, and married their daughter Mary Mead Peck soon after graduation in 1874.  Despite his father’s efforts Wayland was $2100 in debt at the time of his graduation.  He was offered the headship of a private school and accepted the job, and he and Mary lived simply and soon paid off the debts.  At that point Wayland decided to enter the ministry and graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1884.

Wayland and Mary had only one child, Leila Clement Spaulding, born 23 Aug 1878.  From the letters I saw from Colorado, and this little journal, it seems clear that Leila was the light of their lives.  Her little sayings were recorded on some slips of paper, and every reference to her reflects a picture of an intelligent, thoughtful young woman and smiling, doting parents.

Leila's wedding announcement. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Branch for Local History of the Boulder Public Library.

Leila’s wedding announcement. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Branch for Local History of the Boulder Public Library.

Leila, remarkably, graduated from Vassar College in 1899, received a Masters from Columbia University in 1901, and a PhD from Columbia in 1911 in Greek and Latin.  She received a Fellowship for study in Athens during her graduate school years and also taught Greek at Vassar, then art and architecture at Bryn Mawr College.  In 1911, she took a position as Assistant Professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.  She taught there for three years, then left her position at the time of her marriage and there is no evidence that she taught again.  Leila married Edward Winans Kent on 22 Jul 1914 in New York City.  They had no children, and Edward also had no children from his first, long marriage to Anna E. Brown (divorced 1912).  Edward, older than Leila, retired from real estate in 1921 and they moved to Lake Hamilton, Florida and enjoyed some travel.

Leila and Edward were living in Colorado Springs in 1917 when her father’s health began to fail, and this day book records events from 1917-1918:  his increasing illness, Leila’s invitation for her parents to move into her home in Colorado Springs, their move from New York City to Colorado, and their life in Colorado. Activities included some tutoring employment in Classics for Wayland, something he had done since leaving the ministry.  For some reason, despite failing health, Wayland was determined to repair his son-in-law’s Columbia bicycle and go out riding.  After a ride on a particularly windy day, Wayland had trouble breathing for several days, and the journal stopped on April 9, 1918.  Wayland died April 17, 1918.

Campus View, 1906. from Colorado College, 1874-1949 by Charlie Brown Hershey, 1949, page follows 120.

Campus View, 1906. from Colorado College, 1874-1949 by Charlie Brown Hershey, 1949, page follows 120.

The rest of the book

And this is where the book gets really interesting.  With about 75% of the book unused, and with Wayland’s widow Mary staying on in Leila’s home until her death in 1928, it’s clear that Mary spent some time recording family history information in the book for Leila’s sake.  She recorded some childhood memories, and she explained the various episodes of their marriage as they moved from place to place, with Wayland taking new church positions.

Towards the back, Wayland seems to have built a sort of timeline for the years of their marriage, perhaps by using the other six journals that I don’t have.  The dates were so exact, he was definitely not writing it from memory.  Some of the notes were very sweet: Grampa Spaulding sending a violin to Leila, Leila’s address at the Vassar commencement, buying a new parlor carpet.  Even, in 1904, “Fra Diavolo” gone to “Kitty Heaven.”

There was some genealogy in the midst of this.  A slip of paper details the earliest settlement in America of their Clement ancestors.  The back of a bible title page records all of Mary’s church memberships.  A list of Wayland’s church positions is pasted to the front of the day book.

The note about the Revolutionary War links, pasted into the binding of the book.

The note about the Revolutionary War links, pasted into the binding of the book.

And then, we’re at the Battle of Bunker Hill

Two tiny slips of paper are randomly pasted into the binding of the timeline section.  With writing scrawled on both sides it was hard for me, at first, to know which side was being saved.  Then I realized it was Revolutionary War recollections, perhaps noted in an earlier journal, and saved here for Leila’s possible use.  Edward Kent’s first wife had been a prominent D.A.R. member in Colorado Springs; perhaps Leila’s loyal parents thought she may want to hold her own in that world someday.

It reads as follows:

Leila C. Spauldings line = Leila, Wayland, Daniel, Daniel’s mother = Lucy Emery. Her father, John Emery, was in battle, Bunker Hill.  At order “fire” his musket did not go.  The British leaped over breastworks + Americ-s [?].  Not wishing to lose his shot – he turned, aimed at a red-coat who was just mounting ridge.  The man plunged head-long, doubtless killed.  This account was told to Dan’l Spaulding by his grandfather, the John Emery who did shooting.  This proves [?] direct Revolutionary line.

I know quite a bit about John Emery’s service, but have only found one mention of him at the Battle of Bunker Hill (testimony of Jedediah Jewett in John Emery’s widow’s pension file).  His service at Lexington in subsequent weeks is better documented.  Although these words “prove” nothing, I suspect they are true because of the testimony.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, from the New Eclectic History of the United States by M.E. Tahlheimer, 1890, p. 140.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, from the New Eclectic History of the United States by M.E. Tahlheimer, 1890, p. 140.

But it was so interesting to hear an actual recollection from John Emery, who was Leila’s 2x-great grandfather and my 5x-great grandfather.  Such a distant time; we don’t often think of those Massachusetts Minutemen sharing their memories with their grandchildren, but of course they did. We don’t always think of someone finding an old notebook and bothering to look for someone who will value it, but of course they do.  And this story, today, is why. Thank you all.


On Daniel Spaulding:

“Townsend.  Death of Daniel Spaulding.”  The Fitchburg Sentinel [Fitchburg, Mass.] (21 November 1901): 10.  Image copy.  Ancestry.com : 2016.

Spalding, Samuel J.  Spalding Memorial: A Genealogical History of Edward Spalding of Massachusetts Bay and his Descendants. Boston: Alfred Mudge, 1872.  Image copy.  Hathitrust.org.  http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008650976  : 2016.

On Wayland Spaulding: 

“Wayland Spaulding, B.A. 1874.”  Bulletin of Yale University: Obituary Records of Yale Graduates 1915-1920 16: 11 (August, 1920) : 637-639.  Image copy.  Mocavo.comhttp://www.mocavo.com/Obituary-Record-of-Yale-Graduates-1915-1920-Volume-1915-1920/397676/652#651 : 2016.

A General Catalog of the Trustees, Teachers and Students of Lawrence Academy, Groton, Massachusetts, from the time of its Incorporation 1793-1893.  Groton, Mass: 1893.  Image copy.  Hathitrust.org.  http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008650976  : 2016.

On Leila Spaulding:

Hershey, Charlie Brown.  Colorado College, 1874-1949 (Colorado Springs: 1952). Image copy.  Hathitrust.org.  http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.b4572983?urlappend=%3Bseq=137  : 2016.

Varnell, Hannah and Robert D. Loevy. “A History of Gender at Colorado College.”  Robert D. Loevy, editor.  A Colorado College Reader: 255-256.  https://faculty1.coloradocollege.edu/~bloevy/ccreader/ : 2016.

“Wedding of Vassar Woman. Miss Leila Clement Spaulding Becomes Bride of Edward Winans Kent.”  Poughkeepsie Eagle [Poughkeepsie, N.Y.] (04 August 1914): 5.  Image copy.  NYS Historic Newspapershttp://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn91066542/1914-08-04/ed-1/seq-5/  :  2016

On 1912 Edward Kent divorce:

“New of Local Courts.”  Colorado Springs Gazette Issue 11685, (10 September 1912): 12.  Image copy.  GenealogyBank.comhttp://www.genealogybank.com/  : 2016.

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From the Kingston, Ontario Official Program, Queen's Birthday, 1895, p. 31.

From the Kingston, Ontario Official Program, Queen’s Birthday, 1895, p. 31.

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I have many saved searches on EBay in the hope that some documents or photos may turn up, concerning my ancestors.  Every day, I receive in email any results of the saved search that might have turned up in the past 24 hours.  I have searches for family names, towns, (and in the case of common names, sometimes a combination of the two) and also books I am looking for.

Recently, my search for Townsend, Massachusetts turned up some historic documents with my ancestor’s name on them.   I didn’t manage to buy the documents but I did keep copies of them.

They concerned Benjamin Spaulding.

Benjamin Spaulding is my grandfather's ggg-grandfather

Benjamin Spaulding is my grandfather’s ggg-grandfather. Chart by FamilyTreeMaker 2012.

Benjamin Spaulding, 1743-1832

The Spalding Memorial: A Genealogical History of Edward Spalding of Massachusetts Bay and his Descendants (by Samuel J. Spalding. Boston: Aldred Mudge, 1872) describes Benjamin as follows :

[p. 108] Lieut. Benjamin (Isaac4, Andrew2, Andrew2, Edward1) b. Aug 14, 1743, in Townsend, Ms. ; d. May 27, 1832, aged 89, in Townsend, Ms., where he resided, and where all his children were born.  He was successful in school-teaching, which occupation was followed by three of his daughters …

According to The Spalding Memorial Benjamin Spaulding had ten children:  Benjamin b. 1767, Peter b. 1769, Mary b. 1771 (m. Peter Lawrence), David b. 1773, Joel b. 1775, Abel b. 1777, Isaac b. 1779, Sarah b. 1782 (m. Peter Shumway), Ephraim b. 1786, Nancy b. 1789 (m. Cushing Wilder).  Only three were daughters, so according to the book all pursued teaching at some point.

“Lieut.” Benjamin Spaulding served in the Revolutionary War.  Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolution, vol. XIV, p. 686  shows that he served 18 days in Col. William Prescott’s Regiment of Massachusetts Minutemen, for the Lexington Alarm.  I have not discovered any further information about his service, but at some point in his life people apparently referred to him as “Lieutenant.”

The documents

I have recorded the contents of the documents, which I am transcribing here although I cannot utilize the pictures since the photographer (the eBay seller) owns those.  There was no provenance indicated at all for the documents so I don’t know how they came to be placed on EBay.

1.  1787 Military List, Townsend

Common Wealth of Massachusetts  Middlesex

To Josiah Burge one of the Copl of the South Company in Townshend Greetting – you are Hereby Required in the Name of the said Common Wealth forthwith to notify and warn all the men whose names are in the List herewith Committed to you that they assemble and meet at the Training field by the Meetting house in said town upon Tusday the Twenty third day of this Instant at one of the Clock in the afternoon in order to Chuse a Captain and Compleat the Company with officers agreeable to orders from Col. Wright —————-

hereof fail not and make due return of this warrant with your doings thereon as you will answer your default under the penelty of the Law in that behalf made and provided  Dated at Townshend the Eleventh day of October in the year of our Lord 1787

Benjn Spaulding Lieut.

A picture, possibly of Benjamin's grandson Daniel Spaulding, who remained in Townsend on the family property (man in white shirt).  Daniels's daughter became a teacher and moved to Gold Hill Colorado, where this picture was among her family documents.  Children and other man unknown.

A picture, possibly of Benjamin’s grandson Daniel Spaulding (man in white shirt), son of Isaac, who remained in Townsend on the family property. Daniel’s daughter Hannah became a teacher and moved to Gold Hill, Colorado, where this picture was among her family documents. Children and other man unknown. Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History of the Boulder Public Library.


2. List of names, evidently associated with document 1.  Each name has an X between the first and last name.  Almost every name has a mark before it.  Some names have a mark after them that looks like “Vn.” I am not sure what that is but have repeated it here.    

Column 1:

  • Timothy Fessenden
  • James Giles  Vn.
  • Thos Sever  Vn.
  • Peter Adams
  • Abel Adams
  • Stephen Bruce
  • Jonathan Bailey
  • Abra Ball
  • Jacob Bachelor
  • Elias Boutwell
  • David Bachelor
  • Eliphalet Bailey
  • James Clarke
  • Amos W Dix
  • Jabez Green
  • Lotan Green
  • Francis Goodridge
  • Leonard Green
  • Isaac Giles
  • Daniel Hoult
  • Jona. Hoult
  • Isaac Lewis
  • Silas Lawrence
  • Peter Manning
  • Peter Rumril
  • Isaac Spaulding
  • Benja. Spaulding Vn.
  • Jona. Spaulding
  • Nathl. Shattuck
  • Joel Spaulding
  • Uriah Searl
  • John Searl
  • Josiah Sawtell
  • Azeriah Sherwin
  • Solomon Stevens
  • Ebenr. Tufts
  • Isaac Wallis Vn.
  • John Wesson

Column 2:

  • Moses Burge
  • Eliab Gowen
  • James Searl
  • Jonas Clarke
  • [crossed out] Ada?? Hill
  • Wm. Livingston
  • Nathan Gepson
  • Thos. Barret
  • John Conant
  • Ezekiel Perham
  • Salome Sherwin
  • Wm. Parker
  • Joseph Blood
  • Thos. Hindal
  • Reubin Stevens
  • Gardner Conant
  • Abel Keys
  • [the lower half of the second column repeats the first ten names from Column 1, in a sloppier hand, with “yes” written after Giles and Sever – perhaps the meaning of the Vn symbol – ???]
Benjamin's great grandson Randall Spaulding (son of Daniel) who became the superintendent of Schools of Montclair, New Jersey in the late 1800's.  Picture from Brewer's Directory of School Superindentents and Normal Principals, Chicago, 1907.

Benjamin’s great grandson Randall Spaulding (son of Daniel) who became the Superintendent of Schools of Montclair, New Jersey in the late 1800’s.

3. School payment list.  This paper appears to be two sheets, side by side.  Each had previously been folded.  They appear to be similar lists, from different years.

We the Subscribers Promise and Engage to Lieut Benjn. Spaulding each of us according to the Number of Children we send to School to pay him for the School Mistress Bord for the term of Six Months at three Shillings & Eleven pence per Week to be paid in grain at Cash price ——-

April 24th 1792 ——-

Names _______________ No. Children

  • Benja. Spaulding —————————2  – 0  – 7 – 1 – 1/2
  • Daniel Clarke ——————————-2  – 0  – 7 – 1 – 1/2
  • Ephraim Warren  [Jr.??]  —————–2  – 0  – 7 – 1 – 1/2
  • Peter Manning  —————————–1 – 0 – 3 – 6 – 1/2
  • Life Baldwin  ———————————2  – 0  – 7 – 1 – 1/2
  • Daniel Conant  —————————-2  – 0  – 7 – 1 – 1/2
  • Samuel Searls ——————————-1 – 0 – 3 – 6 – 1/2
  • John Conant  ——————————-2  – 0  – 7 – 1 – 1/2
  • Nathan Carlton  ————————– 1 – 0 – 3 – 6 – 1/2
  • Deborah Stary  ——————————1 – 0 – 3 – 6 – 1/2
  • Jonathan Peirce  ————————– 1 – 0 – 3 – 6 – 1/2
  • Sarah Clarke for 3 months from June 22   1 – 0 – 2 – 1 – 1/2
  • Andrew Searls  ——————————1 – 0 – 0 – 3/4
  • Jno. Emory ———————————-  0 – 0 – 4 – 1/2
  • Stevin Potter [??]  —————————1 – 0 – 3 – 6 – 1/2

We the Subscribers Promise & Engage to Lieut Benjn. Spaulding Each of us according to the Number of Children we send to School provided the Sd. Spaulding bords the Mistress the above Sd Term to be paid in grain at Cash pri[??]

Sept 13th 1791

Name   ———————————- No – Children  [there is another number cut off at the end of each line]

  • Life Baldwin  —       1  —-
  • Peter Manning       1  —-
  • Nathan Carlton      1  —-
  • Eph. Warren Jun.      3 ——
  • Oliver Procter Jun      1  —-
  • Daniel Clark      2  ——-
  • John Conant      2  ————
  • Jonathan Peirce     1  ——-
  • Daniel Conant       2  ———
  • Benjn. Spaulding      2 ———-

Why this is helpful

It was fun to find this evidence that Benjamin Spaulding was indeed a teacher.  If the “Mistress” was a daughter of his, in 1791, that would have to be daughter Mary.  It was also nice to see more evidence that Benjamin was referred to as “Lieut.”

It also occurred to me that this content would be helpful to other family researchers.  I have no evidence of the provenance or authenticity of these, but they certainly look authentic in the pictures.

In Memory of Lieut. Benjamin Spaulding who died May 27, 1832, aged 89.

In Memory of Lieut. Benjamin Spaulding who died May 27, 1832, aged 89. Old Burying Ground, Townsend, Massachusetts.

Using EBay

To get started with saved searches on EBay, start a login, and do a Search for something.  Try not to limit by category, since there are many interesting categories for genealogists:

  • Collectibles includes postcards, historical memorabilia, photographic images, and paper
  • Books including nonfiction
  • Antiques includes maps, atlases and globes
  • Everything Else includes genealogy

For instance, instead of saving a general search for Townsend (which would have too many results) I have it set to search every category for Townsend Massachusetts.

To save the search, at the top of the column of results, look for a star and “Save Search”.  A box comes up allowing you to name the search and showing you that by default, you are set to receive a daily email of any new results.  You can turn that off if you like, and just save the search query to use now and then.  But I think the emails work very well, and if you make your search specific enough, don’t have to produce lots of unwanted results.  When the emails arrive, they provide a link to each listing (up to a maximum of 12).

I have many searches that produce no emails; they remain in my account on the chance that something might turn up someday.

Some of my saved searches from eBay

Some of my saved searches from eBay

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The story of finding Spaulding family artifacts at the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History of the Boulder Public Library is told in my post “How to Use NUCMC to Perform a Miracle”.

Randall Spaulding’s picture courtesy of Rootsweb “Photographs & Biographies of Select School Superintendents, 1907.”

Benjamin Spaulding’s grave photographed by Diane Boumenot.

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Thanks to Randy Seaver’s recent blog post, I learned about a new set of documents released on the FamilySearch.org website – Massachusetts Land Records 1620-1986.

I really couldn’t believe my luck.  The collection includes deeds and mortgages from all counties of Massachusetts.  Available years vary by county.  According to the website there are 5,766,135 images.  Yup, over 5 million.  And, it’s free.

However, this collection is not yet digitally indexed.  That means you must select the county you want, and select an index volume for a certain time period, look there for a name, note the book and page, and then move on to open that book (actually, it’s like opening a roll of microfilm) and find the page.  It’s just like using Family History Library microfilm, except of course that this is free, and you are using it conveniently from your own computer, where you can easily save the documents you find.

Using the Index

I decided to start with some Townsend, Massachusetts deeds to see if I could learn more about the life of my mysterious  ggg-grandfather, Eli Baldwin, who died in 1833 at the age of 29.  When his young widow made a will and died, six years later, her probate record did not mention any real estate.

I clicked “Browse the 5,700,000 records” – then selected Middlesex County:

Choosing Middlesex County

Choosing the GRANTEE Index for the years I want:

Choosing the GRANTEE Index for the years I want

I found only one entry for Eli Baldwin here in the 1800-1835 Grantee Index:

I found only one entry for Eli Baldwin here in the 1800-1835 Grantee Index.

I copied the entry with Snip-It, started a Word document, pasted it in, and typed a heading to indicate where I found the index entry.  In looked at Grantee and Grantor indices and only found two deeds for Eli.  My Word document looked like this:

word list

Looking at the Purchase Deed

Of course, I have no idea if this is my Eli Baldwin.  The index styles vary from county to county, but in Middlesex, towns are not listed in the index.  You have to go by name only, and find the town on the deed itself.

Back on the Middlesex County page, I pulled up volume 283 from the Deed books.  I found page 478 by guessing, and checking the page numbers that came up.

The first deed was for a purchase by Eli Baldwin in 1827 (recorded 1828) Book 283, p. 478-9:

Know all men by these presents that I Abigail Durant of Concord in the County of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts widow in consideration of three hundred dollars paid me by Eli Baldwin of Townsend in said county carpenter the receipt hereof I hereby acknowledge do hereby give grant sell and convey unto the said Eli Baldwin his heirs and assigns the following parcels of real estate situated in said Townsend to wit so much of the real estate whereof Isaac Durant late of Townsend died as was assigned to me as dower in said estate the reversion therein was conveyed to me by Henry Hoar administrator to said Estate by deed dated June 11 1825 and for a particular description of said premises reference may be had to said deed and to the Report of the Commissioners who assigned said dower and to the record thereof in the Probate Office in said County and also one eighth of an acre of land be the same more or less and has thereon a barn the other half thereof was and is a part of said dower and the said eighth of an acre is bounded as follows to wit on the west or southwest by said dower on the south or southeast by the road leading from the harbor to Lunenburg and on all other points on land late of Wallis Little deceased with all the privileges and apurtanances thereto belonging …  the twentieth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven … in the presence of Luther Lawrence and Henry Hoar … before me Luther Lawrence Justice of the Peace. — Middlesex Co. Oct 7, 1828.

Sure enough, the property was in Townsend.  Eli was listed as a carpenter.  Since I have a record that Eli made coffins and was paid by the town (2), this is really fitting my Eli Baldwin.  Another clue is that the land was on the road from “the harbor” (that is, near Harbor Pond) to Lunenburg, which is near the area I have identified for Eli’s in-laws, Isaac and Lucy Spaulding.

The location (map below courtesy of Google Maps) might be the road I have marked in red.  In an 1875 map, there is a “J. Durant” nearby (which could be the remaining Durant property, since the widow was only selling a portion of her dower).

townsend map

Eli married Polly Spaulding in Townsend on 28 May 1829.  Daughter Catherine was born in 1831 (birth registered in Shirley (1)) and son Edward (my gg-grandfather, birth date from 1860 census only) in 1833.  The property purchased may just be a workshop, or a workshop and home, but only a barn is specifically mentioned.

I would say at this point, the deeds are very likely to be my Eli Baldwin, but I don’t think it is proved.

Looking at the Sale Deed

In 1831 Eli and Polly sold the property.  Polly’s presence on this deed makes me now quite certain that this is my family.  It’s sad to think of them selling the property, when I have no record of a subsequent purchase, and Eli died in 1833.   Book 307, p. 531-2:


Know all men by these presents that I Eli Baldwin of Townsend in the County of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Carpenter, of Townsend,  in consideration of one hundred dollars paid by James L. Walton of said Townsend, Esquire, the receipt whereof I hereby acknowledge do hereby give grant sell and convey unto the said James L. Walton his Heirs and Assigns the following parcels of Real Estate situated in said Townsend Harbor, so called, and bounded as follows, to wit: The first piece containing one eighth of an acre more or less with a part of a house on the same, bounded southerly on the road, Westerly, Northerly and Easterly on land and house of James Wilson, Esquire.  The second piece contains one acre more or less, and bounded Southerly on the road Westerly on land of Joseph Stearns, Northerly on the Mill Pond, Easterly on land of James Wilson, Esquire. – The last described piece has a barn on the same, meaning by this deed to convey all the real estate conveyed to me by Abigail Durant by her deed dated the twentieth day of June A.D. 1827 and recorded in the Registry of Deeds for the County of Middlesex Book 283, Page 478 for a particular description reference may be had to said deed.  – the above Real Estate is subject to a Mortgage deed to said Abigail Durant for the sum of two hundred dollars, about the twenty eighth day of October A.D. 1827 or whenever the same may be dated.  …  In witness whereof the said Eli Baldwin and Polly wife of the said Eli in token of her full release of dower in said premises have hereunto set our seals this twenty eighth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty one.  …  Eli Baldwin (seal)  Polly Baldwin (seal)  [Witness] Paul Gerrish, Asa W. Baldwin.  [October 29, 1831]

"The Mill Pond at Townsend  Harbor, Townsend, Massachusetts" from an old postcard

“The Mill Pond at Townsend Harbor, Townsend, Massachusetts” from an old postcard

I expect that the witnesses Paul Gerrish and Asa W. Baldwin are significant, although I don’t yet know who they are.  I am not familiar with the Durants, but I expect we have no connection to the buyer, James L. Walton.

Now I can see there was part of a house included in the property, and that there was a mortgage.  This must have been where Eli brought his bride Polly after their marriage in 1829. The property was sold in October, 1831 and their first child, Catherine, was born in late December, 1831, in Shirley(1).  Shirley is the next town, just south; I wonder if they were with family, or renting. Perhaps a child would not have fit into the living arrangement on the property described in these deeds.  These deeds have moved my understand of Eli and Polly’s brief and perhaps troubled marriage further along.

Next Steps

  • Investigate all names mentioned on the deeds and compare them to the probate records I have.  I recognize the name Paul Gerrish but I cannot find it in Edward or Polly’s probate records.
  • Compare the property boundaries further to any existing maps; look at the probate record cited for the Durants for a further description.
  • Look at the many Spaulding deeds to learn more of their exact location and story; Polly grew up nearby.
  • Investigate (Eli’s father) Abiel Baldwin’s  deeds.
  • Continue to explore Middlesex County deeds and also many deeds in Norfolk County (Wrentham).
  • Save the deeds used to my own files.


(1) Vital Records of Shirley Massachusetts to the Year 1850. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1918. p. 14 “Baldwin, —-, d. Eli, Dec 29, 1831, B.R.”

(2) Hallowell, Henry C., ed.  Vital Records of Townsend, Massachusetts, Town Records to 1850 with Marriage Intentions to 1873 and Cemetery Inscriptions.  Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1992, p. 464.

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"The Falls, Harbor Pond, Townsend, Massachusetts" from an old postcard.

“The Falls, Harbor Pond, Townsend, Massachusetts” from an old postcard.

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While preparing for a business trip to Louisville, Kentucky, I was surprised to discover that the Sons of the American Revolution Library was just down the street from my hotel.  I have recently found some evidence that individuals in my “new” lines of my grandfather’s Baldwin and Spaulding ancestors served as Massachusetts Minutemen during the Revolutionary War, and I was eager to see if I could learn more.

Sons of the American Revolution Library, 809 W Main St, Louisville

The Library

The Library moved two years ago to a location on West Main Street’s “Museum Row” – a neighborhood filled with museums, school buses, families, and a surprising amount of statuary.   If you are ever looking for the library, it’s impossible to miss because it’s right across the street from the Louisville Slugger factory and museum and there is a giant, and I mean giant, baseball bat in front of that building.  So, look for the giant bat.  Eventually, the SAR hopes to fill the rest of the building they’re in with a museum of their own.  I think that’s a wonderful idea.

As I said, you can’t miss it

I emailed the head of the library, Michael Christian, in advance to make sure the library would be open during normal hours that week and to ask him if he would mind if I took some pictures.  He said it was fine.

I managed to visit the library on Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning.  Admission is $5 for non-members.  The receptionist was very nice and showed me a locker for my belongings.  I brought in only a notebook and my camera.  Inside, I met Mr. Christian and he gave me a tour and we talked about the research I was doing.

The books are neatly arranged on two floors

The library did not disappoint.  It’s quite new, of course, but above and beyond that it has a clean, orderly, uncluttered atmosphere unusual in a genealogy library.  The collection of books is focused on American history, genealogy, and local history. Many sets of books that I had seen elsewhere just looked better at the SAR Library thanks, I suspect, to a significant amount of re-binding which kept the books in excellent shape.  Pretty much all areas of the country are covered but I never ventured past the New England section.  There were compiled military indexes, such as the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War.

The Rhode Island section of the local history books

There were far more family genealogies than I expected.  I welcomed the chance to find something privately published that I may not have seen before; there could be clues in such a book.  That didn’t really happen, except for one manuscript about the Lampheres that I had previously only seen online.

There were some resources available on the computers, and I looked up SAR applications related to people in my family.  I found four that I wanted to see, and the microfilm was brought to me.  The microfilm equipment was quite nice, by the way.  I paid for the pages I printed.

What I Found

My grandfather Miles Baldwin had a grandfather named Edward Baldwin.  The people on the list below are Edward Baldwin’s great-grandfathers from northern Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  This is what I have seen about my Massachusetts Militia ancestors:

John Emery (1753-1828) of Townsend, Mass.  From SAR application #55064:

  • Private in Captain James Hosley’s company of minute men, Col. William Prescott’s regiment, who marched to Cambridge on the alarm of April 19, 1775.  Service, 9 days. [note:  on that date, the Battles of Lexington and Concord began the Revolutionary War; called by Emerson “the shot heard round the world.”]
  • Private in Captain Henry Farwell’s Company, Col. William Prescott’s regiment, enlisted April 25, 1775.  Service, 98 days.
  • Private in Capt. Zachariah Fitch’s company, Col. Samuel Brewer’s regiment, enlisted August 23, 1776, discharged September 30, 1776.  Service, one month, nine days.
  • Corporal in Capt. John Minot’s Company, Col Josiah Whitney’s regiment; arrived at Rhode Island May 10, 1777; discharged July 9, 1777, service, two months, ten days.
  • No address given, but the company was raised in Townsend and nearby towns,  Third Corporal in Capt. Aaron Jewett’s company, Col. Job Cushing’s regiment, enlisted July 27, 1777; discharged August 29, 1777.  Service, one month, 10 days.
  • Private in Capt. James Hosley’s company of volunteers, Col. Jonathan Reed’s regiment, enlisted September 26, 1777; discharged November 2, 1777.  Service, one month, 15 days.

Benjamin Spaulding (1743-1832) of Townsend, Mass.  (page 108 of  The Spalding Memorial by Samuel Spalding, the standard Spaulding/Spalding genealogy, mentions that he was a school teacher, and three of his daughters also followed that profession).  From Mass. Soldiers & Sailors of the RW, vol. 14, p. 686:

  • Sergeant, Capt James Hosley’s co of Minutemen, Colonel William Prescott’s regt., which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, to Cambridge; discharged May 4, 1775; service, 18 days, reported returned home.

David Baldwin (1734-1824) of Billerica, Townsend and Pepperell, Mass.  Appears in SAR application #87616:

  • Private, Capt. William Greenleaf’s co., Col. Job Cushing’s Regt.; enlisted Sept 3, 1777, discharged Nov 22, 1777, service, 3 mos. 7 days.  Roll dated Lancaster.  Private, Mass. Militia.

Reuben Gashet/Gasset/Gaschet (1754-1822) of Hopkinton, Westborough and Townsend, Mass.  From Mass. Soldiers & Sailors of the RW, vol. 6, p. 304-5:

  • Private, Capt. Seth Morse’s co., Major Genl Ward’s regt., which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775; service, 5 1/2 days
  • Private, Capt Moses Wheelock’s co., Col. Jonathan Ward’s regt.; muster roll dated Aug 1, 1775; enlisted April 24, 1775; service 3 mos. 15 days, also, company return [probably Oct. 1775]
Next Steps
  • Continue to search and evaluate the Mass. Soldiers and Sailors volumes (which are available online), where most of the data used in these SAR applications is from.  Chart the regiments and units mentioned.
  • Follow up on another source mentioned in a SAR #15669 concerning John Emery:  “Rev. Rolls, Mass. Archives, vol. 12, p. 115, vol. 19, p. 177.”  The Massachusetts State Archives is located in Dorchester.
  • Many pre-1970 SAR applications are now found on Ancestry.com so I can continue to access them.
  • Likewise Ancestry.com also houses some Revolutionary War rolls and I will continue to explore them.
  • Mr. Christian made a good suggestion about exploring town histories that include military information.  One such book that I have used is Sawtelle’s History of the Town of Townsend.
  • I believe the only soldier mentioned here who got a pension (it went to his widow) was John Emery.  I will continue to investigate pension records on Fold3.com and other places.
  • Continue reading two books that are throwing a lot of light on this subject:  “1776” by David McCullough and “The Minutemen and Their World” by Robert A. Gross.

Just a little more proof and this guy will be my ancestor!

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drawing from Edward Eggleston A First Book in American History (New York: American Book Company, 1889) 117

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Thanks to a lead about the birthplace of my great great grandfather Edward Baldwin, I have managed to discover a great deal of the Baldwin genealogy.  But I wanted to be sure that the link between the people I knew and the rather well-documented family I found was real.   Since my last post on finding the Baldwin line, I have managed to prove that this is the correct line.

Miles Edward Baldwin Sr, 1863-1926

Following up on a Lead

Miles Edward Baldwin, Sr was born in Belmont, New York around 1863.  His father was named Edward Baldwin, from Massachusetts.

When I discovered that Edward was from Townsend, Massachusetts, I used the standard Baldwin genealogy and other methods to narrow down Edward’s origin to one family.

The family I found was Eli and Polly (Spaulding) Baldwin.  Eli died at age 29 in 1833.  Polly passed away at age 33, in 1839.  This resulted in guardianship records, which showed that custody of Polly’s two children, Edward and Catherine, went to her brother, John Spaulding.  This obituary is from the (Amherst, New Hampshire) Farmer’s Cabinet, 20 September 1833.

Polly (Spaulding) Baldwin, 1806-1833

Since the guardianship records showed that John Spaulding had already been housing the family for five weeks at the time of death, and since 33 year old Polly had made a will, I suspect Polly had a serious illness that led to her death.

John Spaulding did not seem to have custody all the way to adulthood.  By 1850, 17-year-old Catherine was living with her aunt, Harriet Spaulding.  I cannot find Edward Baldwin in the 1850 census at all. I pick up with Edward’s life in 1860 in Belmont, New York, and 1863 or so when he became the father of my great grandfather, Mile Edward Baldwin.

How to be sure these two stories are connected with the same Edward Baldwin?

Looking at the Aunts and Uncles of Edward Baldwin

I turned to all the aunts and uncles of young Edward and Catherine, of which there are a total of 19 (children of Abiel and Lucy (Gassett) Baldwin, and Isaac and Lucy (Emery) Spaulding – one side note: of the 11 Baldwin siblings, the 8th was optimistically named “Finis” Baldwin; Finis ended up with 2 younger siblings, “Alpha” and “Henry”).   The Spauldings figured more prominently in the documents I found than the Baldwins.  Another connection that was hard to ignore is that Edward had 2 children and named them “Miles” and “Harriet”, the names of two of the Spaulding siblings.

An initial examination of all 19 siblings did not provide any actual proof of Edward’s relationship to them.  But two of the Spauldings, Miles and Harriet, died childless, and Miles was in fact a wealthy physician in nearby Groton.  It occurred to me that Miles or Harriet may have mentioned Edward in their wills; this possibility was made more interesting by the chance that Edward had already passed away before 1896 and 1907, when they died.  The standard Baldwin genealogy, from 1881, lists Edward as deceased (The Baldwin Genealogy, from 1500-1881 by Charles Candee Baldwin, p. 717).  So could Miles or Harriet have mentioned my great grandfather, Miles Edward, or his sister, Harriet?  That would be even better for my purposes.

There was an initial trip to the Middlesex Probate Court in Cambridge, Massachusetts to order the probate records of Miles, Harriet, John, and Daniel Spaulding.  Then came the day, last week, when the records were in and I was able to see them.

And Then I Found It

The intestate records of John and Daniel were not helpful. But Harriet and Miles’ probate records provided me with the evidence I needed.

  • Harriet Spaulding included Miles Edward and young Harriet in her will (probate record from 1907) – note, Miles Edward is referred to as Edward here, I believe he was usually called “Eddie” –  and note, young Hattie was married to Eugene Clapp:

Harriet’s will mentions Miles Edward and young Hattie

  • Miles Spaulding’s probate records include in his list of heirs-at-law from 1896:
    • Edward M. Baldwin, Newton, Mass., grandnephew
    • Harriet Clapp, Readville, Mass., grandniece

These match the locations of my great grandfather and his sister.  Now I can continue to learn about the Baldwin and Spaulding ancestors from Townsend, Mass.  So far, Edward Baldwin seems to be the great-grandson of four Revolutionary War soldiers.  I’m sure my grandfather didn’t know this; several generations of early deaths and moving around had closed the door on the Baldwin history for us.

What Else Was in the Wills?

The probate records held a few surprises for me.

Miles Spaulding provided for his widow and several relatives and made many gifts, for distribution after the widow’s death:

  • Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass., $500
  • Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama, $1000
  • French-American College of Springfield, Mass., $5000 (I believe today this is American International College)
  • American Seaman’s Friend Society, New York, $1000
  • Congregational Sabbath-School and Publishing Society of Boston, $4000
  • American Missionary Association of New York, residuary legatee
  • Congregational Home Missionary Society of New York for “mountain work among the white people”, residuary legatee
  • American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions of Boston, residuary legatee

Tuskegee Faculty, 1897

Harriet Newell Spaulding, a single woman, left a legacy to her church (the Orthodox Congregational Church of Townsend) and a few other religious causes.  She mentioned Miles Edward and young Hattie and one or two other relatives. The remainder of her estate was set aside for use by her nephew, Wayland Spaulding, a minister living in New York City who apparently dedicated his life to serving the needy.   By 1910, there was a desire to sell her real estate in Townsend and use the proceeds for this charitable work.  A list of the names and locations of her possible heirs was included in that petition, and since they failed to object, the property was sold. They are:

  • Nancy S. Gilson, 164 Melvin Street, Cleveland, Ohio, sister
  • Randall Spaulding, MontClair, N.J., nephew
  • Wayland Spaulding, 411 W 115th Street, New York City, nephew
  • Hannah C. Guise, Gold Hill, Colo., niece
  • Doliver S. Spaulding, Mansfield, Mass., nephew
  • Francis W. Spaulding, ” , nephew
  • Martha A. Bartlett, ” , niece
  • Marshall D. Spaulding, San Diego, Cal, nephew
  • Mary S. Duff, Newcomerstown, Ohio, niece
  • Ella Jenvey, 601 Ann St., Parkersburg, W. Virg., niece
  • Sarah Fuller, Albia, Iowa, niece
  • Isaac Spaulding, Virginia Street, Marietta, Ohio, nephew
  • Harriet N. Congrove, ” , grand-niece
  • Elsie Hale, ” , grand-niece
  • Pearl Brabham, Fort Street, Marietta, Ohio, grand-niece
  • Florence Hale, unknown, grand-niece
  • John Ebert Hale, Crooksville, Ohio, grand-nephew
  • George P. Parker, East Pepperell, Mass., grand-nephew

But Wait, There’s a Picture!

Amazingly the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. owns an ambrotype of Harriet Newell Spaulding.

To see the ambrotype on the AAS website (I don’t have the rights to reproduce it here), follow this link AND SCROLL DOWN TO SPAULDING:


I feel fairly certain we are looking at my ggg-Aunt Harriet for the following reasons:

  • the picture is from Townsend, Mass
  • the person who gave it to the AAS is named Bartlett (Harriet had a married niece named Martha A. Bartlett; John’s daughter)
  • Harriet had no direct descendants to treasure the photo
  • the picture looks right for a woman who would have been 38 in 1860.

We don’t even have a picture of the younger Aunt Harriet, who was named for her.  This is wonderful.  If you are not entering your ancestor’s names into Google and selecting “Images” from the side menu, look at what you’re missing!

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Tuskegee photograph  CREDIT: “Faculty of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, at Tuskegee, Alabama, seated and standing on steps in front of building.” March 1897. Booker T. Washington Collection, Prints and Photograph Division of the Library of Congress.

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