Saturday, April 19, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ LEACH of Salem, Beverly, and Manchester, Massachusetts


Lawrence Leach was born in England in 1589 and died in Salem, Massachusetts in 1662.  He was one of the “Old Planters”, who came to Cape Ann before Roger Conant and Endicott settled Salem. His farm and land are located in what is now the city of Beverly.  Governor Craddock wrote a letter  to John Endicott in 1629: “We desire you to take notice of one Lawrence Leech who we haue found a painfull & carefull, man, and we doubt not butt hee will continue his diligence; let him haue deserving respect.”

Lawrence’s son, Robert, my 9th great grandfather, settled in Manchester, Massachusetts.  He was given land by his father in 1639, and he died intestate with a wife, Alice, and two sons before June 1674 according to Essex Quartly Court records.  According to Robert Charles Anderson in his sketch of Robert Leach in The Great Migration Begins: “In 1924 F. Phelps Leach published a genealogy of this family which claimed ten children for the immigrant [Lawrence Leach].  This author inserted in to the family of Lawrence Leach many persons of the same name from all parts of New England (and even some from old England) who could not have been his children.  The Robert each presented in this volume as son of Lawrence is a chimaera, created by mixing records for Robert Leach of Charlestown and Robert Leach of Manchester, the later of who was the son of the immigrant.”

Estate of Robert Leach of Manchester

This writing is to inform the Court, that though Robert Leach late of Manchester died without perfecting his will, yet sometime beofre he died he declared in the presence of some neighbors as witness that his mind was "that after some legacies as follows were paid to his daughters, that is to say to his maried daughters: Sara and Elizabeth, fiue pounds apeece, to his daughter mary ten pounds & to his two youngest daughters: Bethia and Abigaile eight pounds apeece, that then his whole remaining estate should be left with his beloved wife, Alce Leach, & his two sons Samuell & Robert Leach to be equally proportioned amongst them.

"This is farther to certifie, that although this was the last will and testament of the aforesaid Robert Leach, yett upon farther consideration, Alce Leach the widdow & her two sones Samuell & Robert Leach have agreed within ourselves freely & Joyntly together, tomake an adition to these legacies out of our owne estates, as to the two eldest daughters, Sara & Elizabeth what they received from theire father, as theire portions, with the lagacies given them by theire father, in his last will & testamt: as aboue written, & the adition made there vunto by their mothr Alce Leach the widdow, & their brothers Samuell & Robt Leach is to amount to fifteene pounds appeece, to each of them they being married haveing received som portion alreddy with that then receiued & the legacies due by theire fathers last will & testament, with the adition made by theire mother, & brethren doth make up fifteen pounds apeece to Sara & Elizabeth, for the rest of the daughters, Mary, Bethiah, & Abigaile what theire father left hem as legacies in his last will & testament & the adition made by the widdow Alce Leach there mother, & Samuel & Robt: there brothers, comes to fifteene pounds apeece, to each of them: Mary, Bethiah & Abigiale.

            "This farther to informe the Honrd Court wt is agreed upon within ourselves, alce Leach the widdow & her two sons Saml & Robt Leach, that Samuel and Robert Leach taking into consideration theire mothers condition, shee being left a widdow, wee haue consulted together for her comfortable subsisting, for som way to continue her maintenance in this her condition, And that ye widdow Alce Leach with her free consent hauing resigned her interest in said estate as left by her husband Robert Leach, in his last will & testament, the which her interest shee hath, resigned up to her sons Samuell & Robert Leach, upon condition as followeth, That Samll:& Robt Leach haue taken that whole estate, as left by our father Robt Leach late deceased in Manchester, upon the resignement of the widdow alce Leach our mother, haueing resigned up her interet in that estate soe left by our father into our hands in consideration wheareof wee the aforsd Samuell & Robert Leach, haue engaged to pay to our mother, the widdow Alce Leach, ten pounds by the yeare in such pay may be for her use & shee stands in need of, & the house left by our father where shee now lives with the stuff now belonging thereto is to remaine to her out of this esat: soe that the yearly pay ingaged by her sons to be pd her with the house & household stuff, is to maine to her if shee continue in a widdowes condition, but if shee marry then all the whole estate fals into the hands of her sons: Samuell & Robert Leach they to continue or ramaine ingage to paye, but fiue pounds by the yeare to there mother Alce Leach duering her lifetime.

            "It is further to certifie that Samuell & Robert Leach doe freely consent that theire mother Alce leach the widdow shall reserve to herself out of the estate afore mentioned, shee to reserve to herselfe twenty pounds, without any exception made of condtions, only that when she dyes, shee to bequeath it to her children according as ashe please, vnto whome to bestow it vupon as legacies from herselfe.

            "To that is heare agreed upon as afore mentined wee the pties aforesaid doe sett our hands."

Alce (her U mark) Leach, Samll (his S mark) Leach, Robt. Leach
Witness: Sam: Friend, John Elathorpe, this 29 June 1674
Allowed by the court 1: 5m: 1674 and the saide Alce, widow and the two sons Samuell and Robert Leach appointed administrators.

Essex County Probate Records, vol. 301, pp. 51 - 53

My Leach genealogy:

Generation 1: Lawrence Leach, born about 1593 in England, died before 24 June 1662 in Beverly or Salem, Massachusetts; marriedto Elizabeth Unknown.  She died about 1674 in Beverly. 

Generation 2: Robert Leach, born about 1615, died before June 1674 in Manchester; married Alice Unknown. Four children.

Generation 3: Samuel Leach, born about 1653 in Manchester, died 14 October 1696; married first about 1672 to Arabella Norman, daughter of John Norman and Arabella Baldwin. She died 8 May 1681 in Manchester.  Three children. He married second Hannah Norman, her sister.

Generation 4: Catherine Leach, born 1 October 1680 in Manchester, died 1711; married 28 October 1696 to Joseph Allen, son of Samuel Allen and Sarah Tuck.  He was born 26 June 1672 in Manchester, died 17 August 1727 in Manchester.  Seven children.

Generation 5: William Allen m. Mary Ingalls
Generation 6: Isaac Allen m. Abigail Burnham
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)

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The URL for this post is
http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/04/surname-saturday-leach-of-salem-beverly.html

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


Friday, April 18, 2014

Eyewitness to the Battle of Lexington, 19 April 1775

The Munroe Tavern, Lexington, Massachusetts

This is the deposition of William Munroe made 7 March 1825, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  He was a second cousin to my ancestor, Andrew Munroe.   There were nine Munroe men present at the Battle of Lexington, and two of the eight men killed at the village green were Munroes.   The Jonas Parker mentioned in this deposition was married to Andrew Munroe’s younger sister, Lucy.   William Munroe (1742 – 1827) was the sergeant of the Lexington militia and an innkeeper.  He died on 30 October 1827, just two years after making his statement:

“I, William Munroe, of Lexington, on oath do testify, that I acted as orderly sergeant in the company commanded by Captain Parker, on the 19th of April, 1775; that early in the evening of the 18th of the same April, I was informed by Solomon Brown, who had just returned from Boston, that he had seen nine British officers on the road, traveling leisurely, sometimes before and sometimes behind him; that he had discovered, by the occasional blowing aside of their top coats that they were armed. On learning this, I supposed they had some design upon Hancock and Adams, who were then at the house of the Reverend Mr. Clarke, and immediately assembled a guard of eight men, with their arms to guard the house. About midnight, Colonel Paul Revere rode up the road and requested admittance. I told him that the family had just retired, and had requested, that they might not be disturbed by any noise about the house. "Noise!" said he, "you'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out." We then permitted him to pass. Soon after, Mr. Lincoln came. These gentlemen came different routes, Revere came over the ferry to Charlestown, and Lincoln over the neck through Roxbury; and both brought letters from Dr. Warren in Boston to Hancock and Adams, stating that a large body of British troops had left Boston, and were on their march to Lexington. On this, it was thought advisable, that Hancock and Adams should withdraw to some distant part of the town. To this Hancock consented with great reluctance, and said, as he went off. "If I had my musket, I would never turn my back upon these troops." I however conducted them to the north part of town, and then returned to the meeting-house, where I arrived at about two o'clock on the morning of the 19th. On the arrival of Colonel Paul Revere, the alarm had been given, and, on my return, I found Captain Parker and his militia company paraded on the common, a little in the rear of the meeting-house. About this time, one of our messengers, who had been sent toward Cambridge to get information of the movement of the regulars, returned and reported, that he could not learn, that there were any troops on the road from Boston to Lexington, which raised some doubt as to their coming, and Captain Parker dismissed his company, with orders to assemble again at the beat of the drum. Between day-light and sun-rise Captain Thaddeus Bowman rode up and informed, that the regulars were near. The drum was then ordered to be beat, and I was commanded by Captain Parker to parade the company, which I accordingly did, in two ranks, a few rods northerly of the meeting-house.

When the British troops had arrived within about a hundred rods of the meeting-house, as I was afterwards told by a prisoner, which we took, "they heard our drum, and supposing it to be a challenge, they were ordered to load their muskets, and to move at double quick time." They came up almost upon a run. Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn rode up some rods in advance of their troops, and within a few rods of our company, and exclaimed, "Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!" and immediately fired his pistol. Pitcairn then advanced with his troops, and finding we did not disperse, they being within four rods of us, he brought his sword down with great force, and said to his men, "Fire, damn you, fire!" The front platoon, consisting of eight or nine, then fired, without killing or wounding any of our men. They immediately gave a second fire, when our company began to retreat, and as I left that field, I saw a person firing at the British troops from Buckman's back door, which was near our left, where I was parading the men when I retreated. I was afterward told, of the truth of which I have no doubt, that same person after firing from the back door, went to the front of Buckman's house, and fired there. How many of our company fired before they retreated, I can not say; but I am confident some of them did. When the British troops came up, I saw Jonas Parker standing in the ranks, with his balls and flints in his hat, on the ground, between his feet, and heard him declare, that he would never run. He was shot down at the second fire of the British, and, when I left, I saw him struggling on the ground, attempting to load his gun, which I have no doubt he had once discharged at the British. As he lay on the ground, they ran him through with the bayonet. In the course of the day, I was on the ground where the British troops were when they first heard our drum beat, which was one hundred rods below the meeting-house, and saw the ends of a large number, I should judge two hundred, of cartridges which they had dropped, when they charged their pieces. About noon I was at the north part of the town, at the house Mr. Simmonds, where I saw the late Colonel Baldwin, who informed me, that he had the custody of some prisoners, that had been put under his charge, and requested to know of me what should be done with them. I gave my opinion, that they should be sent to that part of Woburn, now Burlington, or to Chelmsford. On the return of the British troops from Concord, they stopped at my tavern house in Lexington, and dressed their wounds. I had left my house in care of a lame man, by the name of Raymond, who supplied them with whatever the house afforded, and afterwards, when he was leaving the house, he was shot by the regulars, and found dead within a few rods of the house.”

(signed) William Munroe

Here is William Munroe's obituary 15 November 1827 in the Pittsfield Sun, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 

"Death of another Revolutionary Hero

Died, at Lexington, on Monday the 29th ult [i.e., of last month], Col. WILLIAM MUNROE, aged 86 — Col. M. was orderly sergeant in the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775, the commencement of the revolutionary war.—

On the night of the 18th previous, when several British officers were seen proceeding on horseback towards the town, with the supposed intention of arresting John Hancock and Samuel Adams, Col. M. commanded the sergeant’s guard, stationed for their protection at the house where those proscribed patriots were residents in Lexington. On the receipt of intelligence that 800 British troops were secretly marching the same route, Messrs. Hancock and Adams were persuaded to retire to Woburn, and Col. M. with his party joined the Lexington company, who were immediately after attacked, before sunrise of the 19th, by the whole British force, and about 20 of the Lexington militia killed or wounded.—

The company were ordered by their commander to disperse; and the British troops proceeded to Concord, where they destroyed the provincial stores. Their triumph, however, was of short continuance; the British guard of 100 men, stationed about a mile beyond Concord village, at the North Bridge, were attacked by the militia of Concord and the neighboring towns, and forced to retire upon their main body, leaving two killed, and the same number wounded. About two hours afterward, when the British commenced their return march to Boston, they were again assaulted by the militia until they arrived at Lexington, where they were waylaid and harassed by the Lexington company, and would probably soon have been forced to surrender, had they not been reinforced by Lord Percy’s brigade of 1500 men.—

They were, however, beaten back to Boston. Col. M. participated with his company in the events of the day, leaving the care of his public house [shown above] in the superintendance of a neighbor, whom the British killed on their retreat.

Till within a year or two past, like Cincinnatus, Col. M. labored on his farm.—On the occasion of the visit of Lafayette to Lexington, three years since, arm in arm these aged veterans reconnoitered the field of battle, previous to the delivery of the address to Lafayette from the Lexington committee; and he assisted at the laying the foundation stone of the Bunker Hill Monument on the 17th June 1825.

Col. M. has been ever esteemed by his fellow townsmen as well as by strangers, for his urbanity of manners and hospitality. As a member of the legislature and in municipal stations, he was respected for information, judgement and rectitude; and as a military officer, from a subaltern to a colonel, to which grade he rose, he was distinguished as an able tactician.

It is productive of a melancholy and heartfelt sensation, to follow to the grave “the house appointed for all the living,” one after another, those vast vestiges of “the times that tried men’s souls.” It seems like tearing from us our “household gods;” like removing the “ancient landmarks” of our nation’s birth; the objects of all that is venerable and sacred, till scarcely one is left to tell the tale of revolutionary prowess. But the consolation is, that they are gathered “like a shock of corn fully ripe,” blessed with the grateful recollections of their enfranchised countrymen, full of honors and good works, to a better and happier state of existence.

His funeral was attended by a large concourse of relations and friends."

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Five Weathervane Stamps

Every Wednesday for more than two and a half years Vincent and I have been posting photographs of weather vanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weather vanes. If you know an interesting weather vane, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Today's weather vanes were found in a New England museum, as well as on a recent series of US postage stamps.

Do you know the location of weather vanes #147, #148, #149, #150, and #151? Scroll down to see the answer....







On 20 January 2012 the US Postal Service held a ceremony at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont to celebrate the release of five postage stamps featuring some examples from their weather vane collection.  One of these stamps was the centaur featured last week (click HERE to see the centaur), and the others are all shown above.  This display is currently at the Stage Coach Gallery at the Shelburne Museum.

This is not the first time weather vanes have been on postage stamps.  Here are some others...

1974 Eagle Weather Vane Airmail Stamp

1998 H Rate ( 1 cent) Stamp

1974 Christmas Stamp
The Weather Vane from atop Mount Vernon,
George Washington's estate home

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


The Shelburne Museum - www.shelburnemuseum.org 

The USPS Issues Weather Vane Stamps http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2012/pr12_010.htm


Silhouettes in the Sky: The Art of the Weathervane, by Jean M. Burks, The Shelburne Museum, 2006 [available at the main gift shop at the Shelburne Museum - this is the only book on their collection of weather vanes]


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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Sarah Sargent and Mary March, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

These tombstones were photographed at the Point of Graves, Portsmouth, New Hampshire



Here lies Interred
the Body of
Mrs. MARY MARCH
Relict of
Dctr. CLEMENT MARCH
who Departed this Life
April 7  1759
AEatis 80



Here lies Interred the Body of
Mrs. SARAH SARGENT
who Departed this Life
August 21st 1771
AEtat 74
In honor of & Filial Respect
& Affection to her Memory
this Stone is here Placed
by her Children.
The Memory of the just is Blessed.




Sarah Pierce was the daughter of Captain Joshua Pierce and Elizabeth Hall (the sister of Mary Hall March).  This aunt and her niece were buried side by side, and the stones look like they were made by the same carver. It is interesting that both women were married to doctors. 

Sarah first married John Winslow and had three children with him before he died in 1731.  She married second to Dr. Nathaniel Sargent.  

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The URL for this post is:
http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/04/tombstone-tuesday-sarah-sargent-and.html 

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ NORMAN of Salem, Massachusetts


According to Sidney Perley’s History of Salem, “Old Goodman Norman and his son” were already at Salem before Governor Endicott arrived in 1628.  My 10th great grandfather, Richard Norman (1580-1653) arrived at Cape Anne, Massachusetts with the Dorchester Company in 1624, as part of a fishing fleet.  Some of these fishermen returned to England, and others stayed with Roger Conant at Naumkeag (now Salem, Massachusetts).  Richard and his son, John, were considered “Old Planters”.  His wife and daughter-in-law were members of the Puritan church in 1637, after Winthrop Fleet arrival. 

Richard Norman was a shipwright, and also a fisherman.  There is a sketch of his life in The Great Migration Begins.  He was married, but the name of his wife is unknown.   He was granted twenty acres of land in Salem in 1636.  In the 1637 division of marshland he was given ¾ of an acre.  The next year he was granted another twenty acres “that was Mr. Thorndeck’s”.  In 1653 he deeded his son, Richard Norman, his house and 10 acres “in Marvelheade upon Derbe Fort side” along with his rights to cow commons.

My NORMAN genealogy:

Generation 1: Richard Norman, born about 1580 in England, died 22 April 1653 in Marblehead, Massachusetts; married and five children.

Lineage A:

Generation 2: Alice Norman, born in England, died 8 March 1632 in Salem, Massachusetts; married about 1629 to William Allen.  He was born 1602 in England and died 30 January 1678 in Manchester, Massachusetts.

Generation 3: Samuel Allen m. Sarah Tuck

Lineage i
Generation 4: Joseph Allen m. Catherine Leach
Generation 5: William Allen m. Mary Ingalls
Generation 6: Isaac Allen m. Abigail Burnham
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 ii
Generation 5: Alice Allen m. Daniel Williams
Generation 6: Ruth Williams m. Moses Platts
Generation 7: Sarah Platts m. George Southwick
Generation 8: Mary Southwick m. Robert Wilson
Generation 9: Mercy F. Wilson m. Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 10: Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 11: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 12: Donald Munroe Wilkinson  m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Lineage B:
Generation 2: John Norman,  born about 1612 in England, died about 1673 in Manchester, Massachusetts; married about 1629 in Salem to Arabella Baldwin, daughter of Sylvester Baldwin and Sarah Astwood.  She was born about 1613 in England and died 23 November 1679 in Salem. Nine children.

Generation 3: Arabella Norman, born 13 February 1644 in Salem, died 8 May 1681 in Manchester; married about 1672 in Manchester to Samuel Leach.  He was the son of Robert Leach and Alice Alls.  He was born about 1653 in Manchester and died 14 October 1696.  Three children.

Generation 4: Catherine Leach m. Joseph Allen (see above)

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The URL for this post is
http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/03/surname-saturday-norman-of-salem.html 

Copyright ©2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


Friday, April 11, 2014

Rev. James McGregor (1677 - 1729) of Nutfield, New Hampshire to be honored in Aghadowey, Northern Ireland

Richard Holmes, Derry Town Historian,
thanks to the Union Leader newspaper

A Press Release by Rick Holmes, the Town Historian of Derry, New Hampshire:

Blue Plaque Presentation, 2014

On July 28, 2014 the Rev. James McGregor (1677-1729) of Derry, NH will be honored with a “Blue Plaque” memorial in Aghadowey, Northern Ireland. Rev. McGregor was the leader of the pioneers that in 1719 settled the Nutfield grant in Southern New Hampshire -- now the towns of Derry, Londonderry, Windham as well as portions of Manchester, Hudson, Salem, and Pelham. The Encyclopedia of Irish History in America has called McGregor “the Moses of the Scotch Irish in America.” The plaque will be put up by the Ulster History Circle, with funding from the Ulster-Scots Agency.

The exact particulars of the ceremony on July 28th are still being developed. Derry’s Town Historian Rick Holmes has been invited to take part in the unveiling of the plaque. It is hoped that others from the area can join him at this unique honor being offered to the founder of Derry, Londonderry and Windham by the people of Northern Ireland. We are possibly the only town in America to have its founder so officially honored “across the pond.” 
  

History of the Blue Plaque Scheme

The original “Blue Plaque” scheme was started in London in 1867 with the goal of installing permanent signs in public places ‘to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event.” Examples of such commemorated sites include the homes of such luminaries as Charles Dickens, Napoleon III, Sigmund Freud, Benjamin Franklin and Lord Byron and even several buildings associated with the Beatles. The popularity of these plaques in London led to similar programs being run across the United Kingdom and now even in Paris, Rome, Oslo and Dublin.

 Since 1983 the Blue Plaque program in Northern Ireland has been under the administration of the Ulster History Circle. The circle is a wholly voluntary organization that relies on local councils, businesses, individuals, and organizations to fund the plaques. To this date they have erected over 170 plaques throughout the 5345 square miles of Northern Ireland. The Ulster History Circle has also recently installed one plaque in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.

Most of the plaques in Northern Ireland honor individuals who, while having distinguished careers, are likely unknown to most Americans. There are however a number which have established world-wide fame. Among these are:
      Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1899) writer of the hymn All Things Bright and 
         Beautiful
      Samuel Beckett (1906-1999) playwright and Nobel Laureate
      John Dunlop (1840-1921) inventor of the pneumatic tire
      C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) author of the Narnia stories
      Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) inventor of wireless communication
      Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) King of Scots
      Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) scientist
      Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) author of Gulliver’s Travels
      Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) author and wit
Only 2 other Blue Plaques from the History Circle recognize Ulster-born individuals who are chiefly associated with America; one is for the Rev. Francis Makemie (1657-1708,) the “father of Presbyterianism” in America. His plaque is near his birthplace in Ramelton, County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. The other is at the town of Strabane, NI in honor of Ezekiel J. Donnell (1822-1896,) an “industrialist, polemicist and philanthropist” of New York City

Background on Rev. James McGregor:

James McGregor was likely born in Northern Ireland (Ulster,) circa 1677 of Scottish ancestry; some believe he was the cousin of the famous Rob Roy McGregor. As a 12 year old boy he was trapped in the city of Londonderry during the 105 day long siege of the city by the forces of King James II in 1689. It is said that McGregor was standing on the tower of the city’s cathedral and was the first to signal the starving people of the city that a rescue boat had broke through the Jacobite blockade. In 1701 he became the pastor of a small Presbyterian church in Aghadowey and soon became known as the village’s peacemaker. In 1710 the synod gave him the privilege to preach in the Gaelic language.

 During the 2nd decade of the 18th century times began to grow tough for the Scots in Ireland. The British government issued a number of edicts favoring the Anglican Church which was the established (official) church. No longer were Presbyterians allowed to hold office, teach or to conduct most civil ceremonies such as marriages and funerals. Economic laws hurt the Ulster Scots in making a living by selling linen, their chief source of income. Rents on English owned lands were also on the rise. Soon there was a fever for emigration throughout Ulster. While for decades Presbyterian Scots and Ulster Scots had been immigrating to the British colonies in America, the first to do in a big way was Rev. McGregor
                        
 In 1718 Rev. James McGregor and the major part of his congregation set sail for America on the brigantine Robert. This group consisted of perhaps 200 souls, representing 3 or 4 generations of Ulster’s history. They were primarily from16 families and ranged in age from babes-in-arms to an elderly couple nearly ninety years old. A few were landed local gentry but most were poor tenants of crown land. All were willing to follow the charismatic McGregor 3000 miles west to start a new Ulster in America. All shared the faith that their God and their pastor would lead them safely across 3000 miles of open ocean, despite the dangers of fierce storms and cut-throat pirates. Setting out, they truly believed with the Apostle Paul, “If God is for us who can be against us?”

 Each adult was aware that in the New World there was the possibility of Indian attacks, starvation, and disease. They were to become “strangers in a strange land.” Each knew that for the first time in their life, they would be without any kith or kin to give them comfort. They also knew that they would likely never see their Ulster friends again or walk the familiar green hills of the Bann Valley. They were giving up everything they had known to start a new life in the American wilderness. Despite these dangers the 16 families were united in their willingness to follow McGregor to America.   

Arriving in New England they found they were unwelcomed by the Puritans of Boston. Despite this hostility the 16 families stayed united behind pastor McGregor. They had come too far to turn back. Soon they were diverted to Maine where they suffered through a long, cold winter. Returning south in the spring they heard about an unoccupied piece of land in the province of New Hampshire that had been previously named Nutfield. In 1719 McGregor persuaded the Royal Governor to give the Ulster pioneers the 144 square mile wilderness grant. This thickly forested land was many miles from any other community…. or even from roads. Here in Nutfield they could establish their village on a hill; their new Ulster would be where they could be culturally Scots, raise their families, weave linen and worship in their own kirk. Beside their faith and culture, the Nutfield Pioneers also brought potatoes to North America. In the common field in 1719 they planted what is commonly recognized as the first crop of pradies in North America.

 By the end of the first year the Nutfield colony was judged a success. Under McGregor the community soon built a meeting house, church and a school. Nearly every house was soon spinning and weaving linen that quickly became known as the best in America. In 1722 Nutfield was incorporated as a town and took as it’s the official name: Londonderry.
                                                                                                  
The news of the success of Londonderry soon spread back to Ulster and thousands were inspired to follow McGregor across the Atlantic to the New World. Many Ulster Scots during the 1720’s came initially to “Londonderry in New England” before settling in other places which still had cheap land. There are dozens of towns in Canada and America which were founded by ex pats from McGregor’s town; some even named their new towns “Londonderry” after the town in New Hampshire. Rev. James McGregor died in 1729; he was only 52 years old. He is buried underneath an impressive red sandstone grave stone in the Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry, directly behind the site of the church he founded in 1719. One additional matter of interest is that genealogical research has proven that the  Rev. James McGregor is the great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather of Secretary of State John Kerry.

 Notes:

1. Each year the Ulster History Circle receives many nominations for Blue Plaques. The basic criterion for approving the selection is that individuals to be honored must:
 ·         Be dead for 20 years or, if less, have passed the centenary of their birth;
 ·         Be associated with the province of Ulster through birth, education, work or vocation;
 ·         Have made a significant contribution to the development or delivery of education, industry, commerce, science, arts and literature, politics, international affairs or other calling anywhere in the world.
  
    2. The term “scheme” is Brit-speak for “plan” or “proposal.”

     3. The American term “Scotch Irish” is never used in the UK. The preferred phrase is     
        “Ulster Scots.”
     4.  During the 18th century the proper name McGregor was spelled in several
           different ways such as “MacGregor”, “Macgregor,” “McGregor” Mcgregor and
           “M’Gregor”  as well as having those 5 variant spellings having an “e” as the   
           last letter. IE “McGregore.” 
           


Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Forster Flag, 1775


The Forster Flag, 1775

Over the past few years I have blogged several posts about my cousin's long renovation project of the Israel Forster house.  You can read some of the posts at this link HERE.  A few months ago she told me that an interesting artifact from the house was up for auction.  It would be fun to bid on this object and return it to the Forster house, but unfortunately this was expected to sell for millions of dollars!

The Forster Flag was created in 1775.  It is red, with seven white stripes on one side, and six white stripes on the reverse.  This flag was carried by the men of Manchester, Massachusetts when they answered the Lexington alarm on 19 April 1775.  According to oral tradition, it was created from a flag from a British ship. The flag was flown by Captain Samuel Forster of Manchester, and preserved in his family for two centuries. For a long time it was kept at the Israel Forster house, built in 1804, in the center of Manchester.  In 1975 it was acquired by the Flag Heritage Foundation in Winchester, Massachusetts.


The Israel Forster House, Manchester, MA

The Doyle Auction House in New York City auctioned off the Forster Flag yesterday.  The proceeds from the auction were being donated to the Whitney Flag Research Center Collection in the Dolph Brisco Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

And the big news?  Who won the auction and how much did they pay?

At this auction of priceless historical items, a Babylonian cuneiform clay cylinder was sold for a record setting $605,000.  Other items included a full multi volume set of Birds of America illustrated by John James Audobon and Reverend Cotton Mather's book Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Several Witches Lately Executed in New England  published one year after the Salem witch hysteria in 1693 (sold for $8,750).  These are very historic items at impressive sales prices.

I called the Doyle Auction house in New York City at 3 pm yesterday, well after the morning auction.  I was told that the flag remains UNSOLD.  I don't know if this means there were no bidders, or if a reserve price was set and never met.  According to an article at Fortune magazine's website, the University of Texas at Austin was holding out for a minimum reserve (see this link:  http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2014/04/03/texas-holdem-a-university-bets-big-on-a-high-profile-auction/ )

The story is apparently not finished!



US Flag stamps, 2000
The Forster Flag is in the top row, 
second from the right


Pre-auction press release by the Doyle auction house:
http://www.doylenewyork.com/content/more.asp?id=317 

A story about the flag from the Gloucester Times, 8 April 2014 (before the auction)
http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x1445030495/Manchester-flag-could-fetch-3M

A story about the Forster Flag from the Brisco Center for American History
http://www.cah.utexas.edu/news/press_release.php?press=forster_flag

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The URL for this post is
http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-forster-flag-1775.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ National Wildlife Refuge

Every Wednesday for more than two years Vincent and I have been photographing weather vanes located in or near the Nutfield area (Londonderry, Derry, Windham and Manchester, New Hampshire).  Today's weather vane was photographed by a reader and permission given to post it as a featured weather vane for my blog.  If you know an interesting or historical weather vane, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Do you know the location of weather vane #146?  Scroll down to see the answer...





Today's weather vane was spotted by reader Gerry Savard.  It was seen atop the visitor's center at the Perk River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, Massachusetts.  I know that Gerry is a birding fanatic, as well as a locally known genealogist.  He was here at Plum Island in Newburyport photographing the snowy owls and other wildlife this winter. Gerry also provided a photo of another weather vane last year, an antique fire engine seen at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

This weathervane is a three dimentional replica of the symbol for the National Wildlife Refuges.  You may have seen this symbol on signage, maps and brochures.



Plum Island is on the Atlantic flyway, a pathway for migrating birds on the East Coast of the United States and Canada.  It is a fantastic place to spot migrating birds, as well as a beautiful coastal barrier island of dunes and salt marshes.

The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge website http://www.fws.gov/refuge/parker_river/

Click this link to view a historic Parker River visitor guide written by conservationist Rachel Carson in 1947
http://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_5/NWRS/North_Zone/Parker_River_Complex/Parker_River/ConservationInAction.pdf 

Click here to see the entire series of Weathervane Wednesday blog posts

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The URL for this post is
http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/04/weathervane-wednesday-national-wildlife.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo