Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Mayflower Ancestors

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours! 

It is Thanksgiving tomorrow, and a day when many people remember their ancestors who were present at that first meager harvest feast in the Plymouth Colony in 1621.  Many other bloggers were posting their Mayflower lineages, and I decided to join in.  I don't do this to brag or boast, but to find any possible cousin connections among my readers.  If you find one of these names in your family tree, please let me know!  Leave a comment or email me at

Here are my own lineages in alphabetical order with Mayflower passengers in bold:

Isaac Allerton (abt 1586 – 1659)and Mary Norris (1587 – 1621- she died during the first winter on Cape Cod)
Remember Allerton (abt 1614 – 1656) and Moses Maverick
Abigail Maverick and Samuel Ward
Martha Ward and John Tuthill
Martha Tuthill and Mark Haskell
Lucy Haskell and Jabez Treadwell
Nathaniel Treadwell and Mary Hovey
Jabez Treadwell and Betsey Jillings Homan
Eliza Ann Treadwell and Abijah Hitchings
Abijah Franklin Hitchings and Hannah Eliza Lewis
Arthur Treadwell Hitchings and Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

Edward Doty (abt 1599 – 1635) and Faith Clark
Desire Doty and Alexander Standish
Desire Standish and Nathan Weston
Nathan Weston and Hannah Everson
Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements
Matilda Weston and Joseph Edwin Healey
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

John Tilley (abt 1571- 1620) and Joan Hurst (abt 1568 – 1621) both died the first winter orphaning their 15 year old daughter, Elizabeth Tilley (1607 – 1687) who later married  John Howland (1592 – 1673)
Hope Howland and John Chipman
Hannah Chipman and Thomas Huckins
Hope Huckins and Benjamin Hamblin
Hannah Hamblin and Jonathan Crosby
Ebenezer Crosby and Elizabeth Robinson
Rebecca Crosby and Comfort Haley
Joseph Edwin Healey and Matilda Weston
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

John Tilley (abt 1571- 1620) and Joan Hurst (abt 1568 – 1621) parents of Elizabeth Tilley (1607 – 1687) and John Howland (1592 – 1673)
Desire Howland and John Gorham
Desire Gorham and John Hawes
Elizabeth Hawes and Thomas Daggett
Elizabeth Daggett and John Butler
Keziah Butler and Samuel Osborn
Samuel Osborn and Sarah Wass
Sarah Osborn and Charles Skinner
Ann Skinner and Thomas Ratchford Lyons
Isabella Lyons and Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Caleb Rand Bill and Ann Margaret Bollman
Isabella Lyons Bill and Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Donald Munroe Wilkinson and Bertha Louise Roberts (my paternal grandparents)

George Soule ( abt 1593 – 1680) and Mary Beckett
John Soule and Rebecca Simonson
 Rebecca Soule and Edmund Weston
Nathan Weston and Desire Standish
Nathan Weston and Hannah Everson
Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements
Matilda Weston and Joseph Edwin Healey
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

Captain Myles Standish (abt 1584 – 1656) and Barbara Unknown
Alexander Standish and Desire Doty
Desire Standish and Nathan Weston
Nathan Weston and Hannah Everson
Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements
Matilda Weston and Joseph Edwin Healey
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

For information about Mayflower passengers online see Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History at

For information about the Mayflower Society see

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Weathervane Wednesday ~ The Oldest Building in this Town

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 a town in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #184? Scroll down to see the answer!

This weathervane is located on top of the bell tower of the Old Town Hall on Main Street, Hooksett, New Hampshire.  It is a filigree banner, probably copper like the cupola on which it sits.  This building was constructed in 1828 and it is the oldest in Hooksett.  It has served as the town hall, a court house, and as a police station.  This building survived the flood of 1936 and the Hurricane of 1938.

The Old Hooksett Town Hall is known for its tower and the tin ceiling on the first floor.  The Hooksett Historical Society, which is located next door in the Prescott library building (built in 1909) is applying for a grant from New Hampshire through the conservation license plate program to preserve the building.

Did you know that every time you buy a conservation license plate from the State of New Hampshire (the plates with the moose on the left side) you are funding projects through the Division of Historical Resources?   All funded properties must be publicly owned, and all projects must adhere to standards.  Please see this webpage for more information: :   

The Hooksett, New Hampshire Historical Society  

"Moose Plates", the New Hampshire Heritage and Conservation Program:

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


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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Samuel Steel, Derry, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at Forest Hills Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire



According to Rick Holmes, the town historian of Derry, New Hampshire, the rhyming scheme in this epitaph doesn't appear to rhyme unless you use a Scots accent.  In Scots, "die" rhymes with "be", pronounced "dee".  The Scots Irish dialect was alive in Londonderry and Derry, New Hampshire for many generations, as evidenced by the poetry of Windham's Rustic Bard, Robert Dinsmoor (1757 - 1828).  

This tombstone is decorated with the primitive geometric designs seen all over the 18th century section of Forest Hill Cemetery's Scots Irish settlers graves.  Some of these can be attributed to stone carver John Wright (1702 - 1775).  Whenever I see these geometric symbols on gravestones they remind me of Celtic knots. Here we see a primitive hour glass and a pair of crossed bones mixed in with the geometric patterns.

Samuel Steel was married to Janet Morrison, daughter of Charter James Morrison. 

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, November 24, 2014

Where are the Pilgrims?

I spent some time on Sunday afternoon searching for something to watch on TV related to Thanksgiving.  There were a plethora of cooking shows, with hints on roasting the perfect turkey.  But I was looking for something historical that mentioned the Plymouth settlers.  The only thing I found was the very inaccurate 1952 movie “Plymouth Adventure” starring Spencer Tracy.  And it was on the TCM channel by subscription only.  (So I couldn’t watch)  – Sigh –

Earlier I had gone to several stores looking for a Thanksgiving greeting card.  I really wanted one with a depiction of a Plymouth pilgrim, since it was for one of my Mayflower cousins from the NH Society.  After looking at over 100 cards, I gave up.  There were pumpkins, cornucopias, and autumn leaves but not a single pilgrim.  There was not even a historically inaccurate one with buckles on his hat.  – pout  –

Earlier I had gone looking for some Thanksgiving decorations.  I have a set of beautifully made pilgrim figures with historically accurate costumes, bought at Plimoth Plantation several years ago.  But we have recently moved and I can‘t find where they were packed away.  After much searching, I gave up on decorating for Thanksgiving 2014.  There was nothing out there, just a lot of Christmas stuff, and a few Halloween decorations offered on sale at 75% off.  Where are all the Thanksgiving decorations?   - groan  –

To top this all off, a friend recently showed me her fourth grader’s history book.  This is the year that most students learn about local history and American history.  There was no mention of the Plymouth settlement.  In fact, the book started at about the time of the American Revolution!  No mention of the Native Americans, no colonial settlement, no immigration to the New World?  In what context can you study the American Revolution without understanding the events that led up to the conflict?  - tearing hair out –


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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

The Kingston, New Hampshire Throat Distemper Pandemic of 1735

On November 13th, on the WMUR TV show “New Hampshire Chronicle” historian Fritz Wetherbee told a scary tale about the “Kingston Pandemic” of 1735 - 1736.  According to Fritz, there is a legend that in 1735 a Mr. Clough of Kingston, New Hampshire butchered a pig that had died of a throat ailment, and that Mr. Clough himself soon died of what was then known as “throat distemper” (what we now call diphtheria).  I don’t know if the story about Clough’s pig is true or not, but the pandemic was absolutely true, and has been well documented.

In 1735 - 1736 the town of Kingston suffered a pandemic of throat distemper and lost 150 children, most under the age of 10.  The disease spread to the seacoast and to Massachusetts.   In Hampton Falls twenty families lost all of their children, and 1/6 of the entire population perished.   Almost 1,200 people in fifteen different towns in the state of New Hampshire were dead by 1737.

Throat distemper raged again in New England several times over the next century. There were several terrible pandemics in which many children were lost.  I looked through my own family tree for victims and expected to find a few families that lost a few children.  What I found was truly chilling.

Instead of losing a child here, and a child there, I found entire families devastated by throat distemper. I found so many examples that I decided to only list those who lost more than two family members – and there were many that fit this description.  And not all were children.

BILL – Phillip Bill (1629 – 1689), my 7th great grandfather, lived in New London, Connecticut and died of throat distemper on 8 July 1689, the same day as his six year old daughter, Margaret.  This left his widow, Hannah Waite, with six children to care for.  She remarried to Samuel Bucknall in 1696.  This incident preceded the pandemic of 1735.

CHOATE – John Choate (1697 – 1765), my 7th great grand uncle, lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  According to town records he “lost all his children during the prevalence of throat distemper in 1735”.  I had no idea how many children he lost until I looked in the records.  Two children died early before the pandemic, and then he lost all five surviving children in 1735-1736.  A cause of death was not listed, but the town records about throat distemper filled in the blanks for me.  What a tragedy!

HOLGATE – James Holgate (1692 – 1756) and his wife Jemima Rideout of Haverhill lost five children, too, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, to throat distemper.  James is the stepson of my 8th great aunt, Magdalen Dunnell.  Haverhill was a hotbed of diphtheria cases during the pandemic, and lost a total of 256 children during 1735 – 1736!  An unbelievable number of deaths for a town that was very small at this time period.

LANE- Samuel Lane (1698 – 1776) and Elizabeth Blake (b. 1699), my 7th great grandparents, lost three children in one day, 2 August 1735 in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.  Abigail, Samuel and Elizabeth all died of throat distemper, leaving only two children behind.  The Lanes went on to have two more children and named them Abigail and Samuel.   I descend from this second Samuel Lane (1741 – 1822), who was my 6th great grandfather. A total of 214 people in Hampton Falls died of diphtheria this year, 96 of them were under age ten.

LOCKE- John Locke (1683 – 1774) lost his wife Sarah, and four children to throat distemper in 1736 in the seacoast town of Rye, New Hampshire.  He was left with only one living child (two had previously died as infants). This surviving child was my 6th great grandfather, Richard Locke (1720 – 1804). 

SHATSWELL – Richard Shatswell (died 1772) and his wife Mary Treadwell (1702 – 1787), my 2nd cousin 8 generations removed, lived in Ipswich and lost three of their four children during the throat distemper pandemic in October and November of 1736.   They had only one more child after this disease took their young children. 

Possibly there were more deaths in my family tree due to the throat distemper pandemic of 1735 - 1740, but sometimes young children were not recorded, and usually the cause of death was not recorded.  It takes looking at town and church records, and reading the accounts of the epidemic to trace which lives were lost to this disease. 

This is not all ancient history.  You would be surprised to learn that diseases like diphtheria (throat distemper), pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus are making a comeback because people have stopped vaccinating their children, and adults have stopped receiving their boosters.  This is the DPT vaccine your children should get as infants, but for many misguided reasons it has become “unpopular”.  Now children can catch these horrible diseases, and die, just like these poor children did in colonial New England. And it was entirely preventable.

One of the more famous diphtheria pandemics in the past 100 years was the 1925 outbreak in Nome, Alaska when teams of sled dogs relayed medications to the stricken town.  This was the race that inspired the Iditarod, and Balto, the hero dog of the serum run to Nome, has been honored by a statue in New York’s Central Park, and an animated movie.

The elderly who have not kept their boosters up to date, and unvaccinated children are at the most risk from dying of complications of a modern diphtheria pandemic.  Unvaccinated adults can pass on these diseases to infants who have not yet been vaccinated.  During the 1990s in the Soviet Union over 150,000 people were sickened with diphtheria, and over 5,000 died.  Yes, it can happen in modern times, too.  You can imagine the horror of losing one family member, but now you can see that in some cases all the children and even spouses were taken, too.   These colonial era families could not prevent their children from taking ill .  We have to learn from history that these diseases are not gone.  They still linger, and still terrorize.   And we can prevent children and adults from dying needlessly.

For the truly curious:

History in Focus: Diphtheria Epidemic by Dean Merchant, (courtesy of the Hampton Union, Friday, June 27, 2008) on the Lane Memorial Library of Hampton, New Hampshire website:

The “Throat Distempter” of 1735 – 1740, by Ernest Caulfield, click here to view the PDF file:

History of Kingston NH 1694 – 1994 online, see page V-1 for the throat distemper pandemic:

A new UpWorthy infographic on pre-vaccine morbidity rates

Here is a list of epidemics and pandemics in the US from 1616 to the present.  I found this by Googling "New England" epidemic list.   I'm sure that you can find similar lists on line by Googling locations and the words pandemic or epidemic:


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Copyright ©2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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