Saturday, November 22, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ COGSWELL of Ipswich and Essex, Massachusetts

Cogswell's Grant, Essex, Massachusetts
John Cogswell arrived in New England with his family aboard the Angel Gabriel in 1635.  This is the famous ship, part of the Winthrop Fleet, that shipwrecked at Pemaquid Point in Maine on its way to Massachusetts from England.  You can read more about the Angel Gabriel HERE .  John Cogswell, and most of the passengers on the Angel Gabriel, made their way to Ipswich, Massachusetts where he was granted 300 acres of land in the part of Ipswich known as Chebacco.

In the 1650s John Cogswell, Jr. went to England and his visit was recorded by relatives in Wiltshire and in a letter from London dated 30 March 1653 [NEHGR 15: 177].   He died on the return voyage in September 1653.  I have seen references of his dying of injuries from a snake bite, but no solid proof.  Why would there be a snake on the ship?  

Cogswell Grant was originally 300 acres in what is now Essex, Massachusetts. It is now a historic house museum on 165 acres along the Essex River. The house was purchased by Bertram and Nina Little in 1937, and donated to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now known as Historic New England.  Bertram Little was the president of the Society for many years.  The home standing on this property was built in 1728 by Jonathan Cogswell, Jr.

Among the more famous COGSWELL descendants are Lady Diana Spencer, mother of Princes William and Henry of England (so they are all Cogswell descendants!); Presidents John Adams,  John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge; Margaret Mead, Tennessee Williams, Oliver Wendall Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Julia Ward Howe.

What is amazing is that this lineage begins and ends in Essex, Massachusetts.  John Cogswell was one of the first settlers in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich in the 1630s, which became the town of Essex, Massachusetts.  All the generations below lived in Ipswich and Essex, including my own mother, who was born in Ipswich.  John Cogswell's mother-in-law was named Phyllis, and he named one of his daughters Phyllis, and this name was passed on for several generations.  My mother's name is Phyllis, too. 

My COGSWELL genealogy:

Generation 1: John Cogswell, son of Edward Cogswell and Alice Unknown, born about 1592 in Westbury, Leigh, Wiltshire, England, died 29 December 1669 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 10 September 1615 in Westbury Leigh to Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of Reverend William Thompson and Phillis Unknown.  She was born about 1598, and died 2 June 1676 in Ipswich.  Twelve children.

Lineage A:

Generation 2: John Cogswell, born about 1622 and died 27 September 1653 on a ship returning to America from England; married to Unknown.  Three children.

Generation 3: John Cogswell, born 1650 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, died 1724; married on 22 July 1674 in Ipswich to Margaret Gifford, daughter of John Gifford and Margaret Temple.  Six children.

Generation 4: John Cogswell, born 6 September 1683 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, died 3 May 1719 in Ipswich; married in 1708 to Sarah Brown, daughter of John Brown.  She died on 15 July 1752.  Four children.

Generation 5: Martha Cogswell,  born on 1 January 1719 in the Chebacco Parish, and died 23 December 1809 in Ipswich; married on 1 March 1747/48 in Ipswich to John Andrews, son of John Andrews and Elizabeth Wallis.  He was born in 1717 in Ipswich and died 3 May 1779 in Ipswich.

Generation 6: James Andrews, born 13 November 1763 in the Chebacco Parish, died 19 October 1857 in Essex (the former Chebacco Parish), Massachusetts;  married on 15 July 1788 in Ipswich to Lucy Presson, daughter of William Presson and Abigail Sargent.  She was born in May 1763 in Gloucester and died 5 September 1852 in Essex.  Ten children.

Generation 7:  Orpha Andrews, born 3 Feb 1804 in the Chebacco Parish, died 20 April 1869 in Peabody, Massachusetts; married on 28 October 1824 in Essex to Joseph Allen, son of Joseph Allen and Judith Burnham.  He was born 31 July 1801 in the Chebacco Parish and died 2 August 1894 in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Six children.

Generation 8: Joseph Gilman Allen m. Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 9:  Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Linage B:

Generation 2:  Sarah Cogswell, born about 1645 in Ipswich, died 24 January 1733 in Ipswich; married about 1663 to Simon Tuthill/Tuttle, son of John Tuthill and Joan Antrobus.  He was born about 1637 in Ipswich and died 11 January 1691 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Twelve children.

Generation 3:  John Tuthill m. Martha Ward
Generation 4: Martha Tuthill m. Mark Haskell
Generation 5: Lucy Haskell m. Jabez Treadwell
Generation 6: Nathaniel Treadwell m. Mary Hovey
Generation 7: Jabez Treadwell m. Betsey Jillings Homan
Generation 8: Eliza Ann Treadwell m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 9: Abijah Franklin Hitchings m.  Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 10: Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (see above)

For the truly curious:

Cogswell’s Grant website

There is a sketch of John Cogswell and his children at the Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume II, C- F, pages 137 – 140.

The Cogswells in America, by E. O. Jameson, 1884

Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines, by Mary Walton Ferris, 1943, Volume 1, pages 188 – 189
Cogswell Family Association

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, November 21, 2014

Photo Friday ~ Stone Arch Bridge, Stoddard, New Hampshire

Stone arch bridges built completely without mortar were commonly built in the Contoocook region of New Hampshire.  Many still survive, like this one along the side of Route 9 in Stoddard near the townline of Antrim. 

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Proclamation 2014, Concord, New Hampshire

On Wednesday, November 12, 2014, Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire signed the Thanksgiving Proclamation at the statehouse in Concord.  This was sponsored by the New Hampshire Mayflower Society, and members of the board were present at the ceremony.  

Thank you to Priscilla E. Theberge for the photograph of Gov. Hassan reading the proclamation.  And thank you to the office of Gov. Hassan for the group photograph at the top of this post.

New Hampshire Society of Mayflower Descendants

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Schoolbook

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too!

Today's weather vane is from somewhere in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #183? Scroll down to see the answer!

This weathervane was spotted on top of the Town of Hooksett Town Offices, on Main Street, Hooksett, New Hampshire.  It is a two dimensional book, appropriate for a former elementary school building.  This building was the former Village School.

The Old Hooksett Town Hall, built in 1828, was closed in 2008, and the town offices moved to this building.  Hooksett currently has three public school buildings, and the high school students attend classes in Manchester.  Hooksett is currently considering agreements with other towns, as well as looking into building their own high school building.

The Town of Hooksett website  

Hooksett, New Hampshire School District, SAU 15  

Click here to see the entire collection of Weathervane Wednesday posts! 

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ James Bonaparte THORNTON of Merrimack, New Hampshire

The Thornton Cemetery in Merrimack, New Hampshire is the burial site of Dr. Matthew Thornton, signer of the Declaration of Independence and many members of his family.  Dr. Thornton had five children, four grew to adulthood and had descendants.  James Thornton lived across the street in the tavern, and several of his children had unusually interesting lives.  His son James Bonaparte Thornton, born 11 May 1800 in Merrimack,  was a lawyer in New Hampshire, as well as member of the House of Representatives in 1829 and 1830, and was a comptroller of the US Treasury under President Jackson.  He was appointed to be charge d’affaires at Callao  in Peru in 1836, but died there in 1838.  He was married to Sophia Shepard of Litchfield, Connecticut and had two children – Mary Parker Thornton and James Shepard Thornton, naval officer in the Mexican War and the Civil War.

to the memory of
Son of James & grandson
of Hon. Mathew Thornton,
Born at Thorntons Ferry
A.D. 1800 After honorably
filling various posts under
the state and national gov-
ernment, he died at Callao,
A.D. 1838, while representing
the United States as charge
D. affaires to Peru.
    His remains were remov-
ed to this spot by his son and
Interred A.D. 1871.
A memory of his merits still lives
Where he once lived and records his praise.

For more information on the Thornton Family:

The Family of James Thornton, Father of Hon. Matthew Thornton, by Charles Thornton Adams, New York: 1905 – available to read online at

Matthew Thornton’s Family and Descendants at New Hampshire Search Roots by Janice Webster Brown

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Top Ten Genea-Mysteries

Several other genealogy bloggers have posted their top genea-mysteries, and have even been led to solutions to some of their top brickwalls through these posts.  Among these bloggers are Diane Boumenot ,  Lorine McGinnis Schulze ,  Brian Massey  .  and Barbara Poole  (who will actually pay $100 for information leading to breaking through her brick wall ancestors). 

If you know some of these mystery ancestors, or if you think there might be a cousin connection, please contact me! 

Here are my Top 10 brick walls:

1. Who is James Phillips?  He was born about 1792, probably in Rowley, Massachusetts (his death record says he was “a native of Rowley”).  He died 5 April 1820 in Topsfield, Massachusetts.   On 6 August 1815 he married Sarah Cree in Topsfield.  They had two children, Sarah, born about 1816 and Hannah, my 3rd great grandmother, born about 1821, both born in in Topsfield.  Were there other children?  Who were James’s parents?  Sarah was previously married to John W. Ham, who died before 1814, and had a daughter, Lucinda Ham, born 27 August 1809 in Topsfield. 

2.  Who is Hannah Smith?  She married my 5th great grandfather, Stephen Cree, on 27 February 1787 in Holden, Massachusetts.  Stephen was born in Topsfield in 1760 and died there in 1821.  All five of their children were born in Topsfield.  Did they elope to be married in Holden, or was Hannah a resident of Holden? Who were her parents?  One clue is in the book Early Massachusetts Marriages Prior to 1800 Worcester County, Southborough, page 72 “Stephen Cree & Mrs. Hannah Smith February 27, 2787”  What is this reference to Southborough?

3. Who is the Mary Hovey who married Nathaniel Treadwell on 17 July 1786 in Ipswich, Massachusetts?  These are my 5th great grandparents.  This is a Mayflower lineage back to Isaac Allerton, but none of the paperwork ever submitted with this couple names her parents. I left it blank and my application was accepted.  I have no birth date for her or place of birth.  She had five children with Nathaniel Treadwell, and she died on 15 January 1832 in Ipswich.  Nathaniel was a Revolutionary War Patriot.

4. What are the origins of Benjamin Gardner, born about 1720 probably in Boston, and died 7 June 1797 in Salem, Massachusetts?  This is my 6th great grandfather, and much has been written about him in Salem records, and in the diaries of Rev. William Bentley who mentioned his wives and his children, and his brother, but Benjamin still remains a mystery.  He was married twice, first to Sarah Randall on 10 October 1751 in Boston at the West Church.  They had three children, including my 5th great grandmother, Mary Gardner born in Boston.  Sarah died in 1781 in Salem, and he remarried to Mary Briers (widow  of Michael Ferguson and John Bassett) on 2 November 1782 in Salem.   Benjamin was a ropemaker in Salem, a partner to Josiah Gaines.  He had a brother, Thomas Gardner, who died on 22 September 1789 in Boston.

5. Benjamin Gardner’s (above #4) wife was Sarah Randall, my 6th great grandmother.  Her parents were Stephen Randall and Sarah Cannon, married 16 January 1728 in Boston.  Who was Stephen Randall?  He died sometime before 18 May 1742 when his widow Sarah was made guardian to Andros Randall, age 4, “deceased, mariner”.  Sarah must have died before March 1749/50 when a John Hill was made guardian to Andrus Randall, age 11, “son of Stephen, mariner & Sarah, both deceased.  Sarah Cannon’s parents were Andros Cannon and Sarah Bridge, married in Boston on 3 August 1711. 

6.  Who is Nancy Thompson (about 1804 – 1847), my 4x great grandmother? She married Jonathan Batchelder on 11 February 1822 in Belmont, New Hampshire.  Her children’s marriage and death records say she was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire.  There are several Thompson families in Gilmanton and Belmont (contiguous towns) but no record of Nancy/Ann/Hannah Thompson.  Jonathan Batchelder died in the Concord State Assylum.   His wife, Nancy Batchelder, was granted guardianship of their children in 1847.  No further trace of Nancy can be found in the New Hampshire vital records or census records.  Did she remarry and change her name?

7.  Who is Elizabeth Lambert (about 1775 – 1834), my 5x great grandmother? She married Owen Jones, a native of Wales and son of a British customs officer, on 11 May 1793 at the Second Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts.  They lived in the North End, and had six daughters all described as debutantes and all married very well.  I’m hoping she is from a well-connected, wealthy family in Boston who left lots of good records, but so far I cannot find her parents or lineage.  There were many Lambert/Lombard/Lumbard/Lamport families in Boston at this time, and I have searched them all for Elizabeth.   One clue-  Elizabeth had a sister, Sarah, who married John Darke/Dargue on 1 December 1793 in Boston.  Elizabeth (Lambert) Jones named her first daughter Sarah Dargue Jones in her honor.  The sister Sarah (Lambert) Dargue died on 3 September 1796.  No parents listed.  Another clue – Elizabeth Lambert was probably born at about the time of the siege of Boston during the American Revolution (many residents fled the city), so she may have been born elsewhere in New England.

8.  Who is Margaret Welch (about 1796 – 1860), my 4x great grandmother?  Her death record in Chichester, New Hampshire does not name her parents or place of birth.  She married Richard Locke on 21 October 1823 in Chichester.  Her children’s marriage and death records say she was born in Kittery, Maine.  Census records say she was born in Maine.  I haven't found her in vital records or in any compiled genealogy. 

9.  Who is Elizabeth, wife of William Homan (baptized 25 July 1725 in Marblehead, Massachusetts)?  She is my 6x great grandmother.  She married William Homan on 5 January 1758 in Marblehead and had only one child, Thomas Homan, born about 1758 (my 5x great grandfather).  Who were her parents? Did she have other children or did she die young? This woman is a complete mystery to me, and so is this whole family!

10.  Who is Thomas Jillings (died 1801 in Newbury), my 5x great grandfather?  He married Hannah Mirick on 18 November 1725 in Newbury and had seven children with her.  Hannah was born in Charlestown in 1702 and died in 1754 in New bury.  If he was born around the same time as her he would have been nearly 100 years old at the time of his death.  Jillings is an unusual name, but I can’t find his origins, parents or any ancestors.  Is Jillings a misspelling or corruption of some other surname?

Click here for a previous post from 2012 of my Top Ten Brickwall Problem Ancestors

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ BEAMSLEY of Boston

Although my Beamsley lineage daughters out in the second generation, there is a lot of information about William Beamsley, the immigrant ancestor, to be found in books and archives.  He arrived in Boston in 1632, and was admitted to the Boston church on 5 April 1635.  He was admitted as a freeman on 25 May 1636. The Boston records show him serving many civil roles such as constable, fenceviewer, water bailey, highway surveyor, and he was admitted to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery company in 1656/57.

About 1632 William Beamsley married Anne Unknown, probably in England, and his six children were all born in Boston.  Around 1645 he married a widow and had another child, and took in her children (three of his step children are named in Beamsley’s will).

Beamsley owned much land he had acquired over time in Boston. This was all described in his will.  His daughters are all named with their husbands in a deed dated 1668 which sold his house and land to Key Alsop of Boston.  [“Ann Woodward with Ezekiell Woodward her present husband, Grace Graves with Samuell Graves her present husband, Mercy Wilborne alias Peterson with Andrew Peterson her present husband, Hannah Beamsley alias Perkins with Abraham Perkins her present husband, Elizabeth Page with Edward Page her present husband, Mary Roberson alias Dennis with Thomas Dennis her present husband, [and] Edward Bushnell all formerly of Boston” Suffolk Deeds 5:519- 522]  note: Elizabeth and Mary are step daughters.

I descend from the daughter Ann (Beamsley) Woodward named above, and from two of Ann’s daughters- Margaret (Woodward)  Andrews and Prudence (Woodward) Marshall.

For more information on William Beamsley:

The Ancestry of Margaret Brooks Thelfall, by John Brooks Threlfall, Madison, Wisconsin: 1985, unpaginated, see ancestor number 390.

Fifty Great Migration Colonists to New England & Their Origins, by John Brooks Threlfall, Madison, Wisconsin: 1990, pages 13 – 16.

Great Migration Begins,  by Robert Charles Anderson, NEHGS, Boston, Massachusetts: 2001, Volume 1, pages 139 – 142.

My Beamsley lineage:

Generation 1: William Beamsley, born about 1605 probably in Lincolnshire, England, died 29 September 1658 in Boston, Massachusetts;  married first about 1632 in England to Anne Unknown who died between 1643 and 1645; married second  about 1645 to Martha Hallor, widow of Edward Bushnell, who died before 16 November 1668. Six children with Anne, one child with Martha.

Generation 2:  Anne Beamsley, born 13 February 1632/33 in Boston, died about 1679 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married in January 1650 in Boston to Ezekiel Woodward as his first of three wives.  They had nine children together, and I descend from two daughters.

Lineage A:
Generation 3:  Margaret Woodward m. William Andrews

Lineage A1:
Generation 4:  John Andrews m. Elizabeth Story
Generation 5:  Abigail Andrews m.  Jeremiah Burnham
Generation 6:   Abigail Burnham m. Isaac Allen
Generation 7:   Joseph Allen m. Judith Burnham
Generation 8:   Joseph Allen m.  Orpha Andrews
Generation 9:   Joseph Gilman Allen m.  Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 10:  Joseph Elmer Allen m.  Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage A2:
Generation 4:  Rachel Andrews m. Zachariah Story
Generation 5:  Deborah Story m. Westley Burnham

Generation A2a:
Generation 6:  Westley Burnham m. Molly Woodbury
Generation 7: Henry Burnham m. Sally Poland
Generation 8: Sarah Ann Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 9:  Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen (see above)

Generation A2b:
Generation 6:  Sarah Burnham m. Abner Poland
Generation 7:   Sally Poland m. Henry Burnham (see above)

Lineage B:
Generation 3:  Prudence Woodward m. Benjamin Marshall
Generation 4: Benjamin Marshall m. Bethiah Goodhue
Generation 5:  Elizabeth Marshall m. David Burnham
Generation 6:  Amos Burnham m. Sarah Giddings
Generation 7:  Judith Burnham m. Joseph Allen (see above)

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Melinda Wilkinson, the Runaway Bride

Melinda George married Jonathan Wilkinson on New Year’s Day 1828 in Gilford, New Hampshire.  Jonathan was the son of Benning Wilkinson, a founder of the Center Harbor, New Hampshire and a Revolutionary War veteran. 

I haven’t found any children for this marriage, nor death records for either Melinda or Jonathan.  They seemed to have disappeared from the records. And so I began to search deeds, probate, military and newspaper records.  When I turned to searching newspapers, I found this very interesting 1832 notice with

from GenealogyBank, Nw Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire),
Monday, 6 February 1832, Volume 2, Issue 136, page 4

Apparently, these notices are not unusual in old newspapers.  Along with lost horses, runaway seamen, runaway apprentices and disinherited sons, you can easily find notices of runaway wives. 

Legally, a wife was the property of her husband, and she owned nothing.  Most wives left without taking anything, not even their children.  There must have been something very wrong with the situation for a woman to leave her children behind.  If she took them, they legally belonged to the husband.   Because of these laws, some widows refused to remarry.  However, a widow with young children would probably remarry quickly for the protections and financial stability of a husband.

Marriage was a contract.  If a woman bought or sold anything, it belonged to her husband. These notices usually contained language, like this one, stating that the husband would no longer honor any of her debts or contracts.   This was a clause that prevented the runaway from obtaining employment or purchases, in an attempt to have her return home.  Anyone who assisted the fugitive wife risked a lawsuit for damages.

Marcia Schmidt Blaine of Plymouth State University has been touring New Hampshire lecturing on these newspaper notices with her lecture “Runaway Wives: When Colonial Marriages Failed”.  She is sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  You can find one of her lectures on their website calendar at

I have no further information on Jonathan and Melinda Wilkinson.  But I do know that their story, whatever it is, must be very interesting!

 For the truly curious:

An interesting list of “Runaway Wife” notices from New York 1754 – 1774

A blog post dating from 2013 about runaway wife notices from the “Housesandbooks” blog

A book by Maureen Taylor, Runaways, Deserters and Notorious Villains from Rhode Island Newspapers, Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1994.

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo