Showing posts with label Ingalls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ingalls. Show all posts

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ Eaton of England, and of Reading and Haverhill, Massachusetts

UPDATE – 16 May 2014 Eaton information

Thanks to a reader who prefers to remain anonymous, there is was additional information on the Eaton family available in the journal The American Genealogist, Volume 68, page 48.  This article “The English Origin of John1 Eaton (1590 – 1668) of Salisbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts” by Douglas Richardson describes how John Eaton was not brother, nor close kin, to William Eaton.  See below for the updated information. 


William Eaton and Jane Hussey, his wife, lived in Dover, England at the close of the sixteenth century.  They had six children, including a son, John who went to the Massachusetts colony and settled in Haverhill on the Merrimack River.  A few years later, two grandsons, sons of John’s brother Peter, joined him in Massachusetts and settled in the town of Reading.

John, my 9th great grandfather, was first recorded in Colchester, now the town of Salisbury, Massachusetts on “ye 26th of ye 6th mo., 1640” when he was granted “2 acres, more or less, for his house lott, lying between the house lotts of Mr. Samuel Hall and Ralfe Blesdale [Blaisdell].” He next bought land in Haverhill on 25 November 1646 from Rev. Nathaniel Ward of Ipswich.  John Eaton was a cooper, and farmed much land and accumulated many acres in Haverhill.  He spent the rest of his life in Haverhill, and left a will dated 6 August 1660 and probated 13 2m 1669 [April] which mentions “present wife” [not by name], sons Thomas and John, daughters Browne, Davis and Ingalls.  My 8th great grandmother was Ruth Eaton who married Samuel Ingalls in 1656.

Estate of John Eaton of Haverhill
Essex Probate Docket # 8520 and 8499

In the name of God, Amen. The sixth day of August in yeyeare of Lord God oone thousand six hundred sixty & eight I John Eaton of Haverhill in the County of Norfolk in New England, being of whole minde, & in good & pfect remembrance, doc make & ordaine this to be my last wil and testament concerneing my outward estate n manner & forme following;

that is to say First I will that all such debts & dutyes as I owe of right or of conscience to any pson or psons, & my funerall expences be paid by my Executors hereafter named without any contradiction or delay.

I give unto my present wife the use of my now dwelling house &orchard dureing her naturall life, & such other things according as is exprest in a writeing committed to the keepeing of Henry Palmer & whereas ye deed writeing mentions a Cow which shee is to have after my decease in case that I have not a cow at my death, I will my son Thomas Eaton shall pay unter her five pounds or procure her a good Cow. I give her also six bushells of corne & one of my best swine. I giver herr also the remainder of what is due to me from John Todd being about eighteen shillings

I bequeath unto my son John Eaton my biggest silver spoone, a brasse candlestick, & my bible. I give my son John also all my liveing in Salisbury provided that he ever claime any thing for what he paid for me to any person or persons upon the aacct. whatsoever. I give him also my second division of Upland & all my share of meadow in the west meadow wh meadow & upland lyeth in the Towne of Haverhill in Norfolk I give my now dwelling house & orchard after the decease of my present wife.I give him also my shop tooles, with beetle & wedges, long Saw & grindestone, & my part of the plow & cart wth their present furniture.

I give to my son Thomas the use of my tillage land yt is now up in my ox-common Lott during ye life of my wife paying to my wife the sum of twelve shillings p annum. I give him also the use of ye sd commmon Lott for the sowing & gathering in of two cropps after the death of my wife. whereas ther is mention of a Cow to be given to my wife at my death, my will is, that in case I have no Cow then my son Thomas upon consideration of what I give to him shall make good said Cow or five pounds as aforesaid otherwise he shall pay as foloweth.

To my Daughter Browne forty shillings, To my daughter Davis forty shillings & to my daughter Ingalls forty shilling which assumes shall be paid with n two years after my death.
I give my son Thomas also my other silver spoone and my spitt.

I give and bequeath to Thomas Eaton the son of my son John Eaton all the land that is in my possesion in ye great plaine & four acres lying without the said plaine fence & my East meadow; & I give him also my Ox- common Lott which he shall have delivered up to him by my son Thomas two yeares after the death of my wife: & he ye gd Thomas my granchild shall in consideration of my plaine Lott pay six shillings yearly to my wife so long as shee live.

I leave unto my grandchildren John Davis & John Ingalls all my third division of upland to be equally divided betwixt them.

I give to the sd John Davis my grandchild all my share of meadow lying upon my son James Davis" meadow being my third division of meadow I give to ye sd John Ingalls my grandchild my second division of meadow lying upon a branch of spiggott meadow joyneing to mead of my son Thomas. I give to my grandchild Thomas Eaton" son Thomas my little gunn. I give to my son John Eaton the priveledge & rights of one cow-common; I give to my grandchild Thomas Eaton the son of John Eaton ye priviledge & right of two cow-commons; I give to my grandchild John Davis ye rights of one cow-common. I give that calfe that my son James Davis hath of mine to keepe to Hester Davis.

I will that the five pounds worth in corne that is in the hands of my son Browne be disposed of as followeth, Viz. twenty shillings; & to my daughter Browne three pounds to my daughter Davis twenty shillings; and to my daughter Ingalls twenty shillings. I give to my son Thomas that halfe of an ox that is between him & me.

I give my brasse, peuter, bedding & household stuff ye is not formerly disposed of to my three daughters Ann, Elizabeth and Ruth to be equally devided among them;

I will that my executors will pay twenty shillings to my daughter Ruth Ingalls more than what is above mentioned.

I give to my son John Eaton my fourth division of upland when it shall be layed out in consideration of what charge so ever he hath bene at upon any occasion of mine.

I constitute & appoint my son Thomas Eaton and George Browne to be Executors of this my last Will & Testament.

In Witnesse to this writeing as my last will & testament I here unto sett my hand & scale the day, month & yeare first mentioned.

John (his E mark) Eaton (seal)
Witness: Nathll Saltonstall
James his (mark) Davis, Sr.
Henry Palmer

Proved in Salisbury court, 13:2m:1669 by Mr. Natl. Saltonstall, and Tho. Eaton accepted the executorship.

Henry Palmer attested in Salisbury court, Apr. 12, 1669. that he with Capt. Saltonstall and James Davis, Sr. were witness to this will and that it was committed to his care until John Eaton's death.

John’s brother Peter had two sons, William and Jonas, who came to Reading, Massachusetts.  Jonas is my 8th great grandfather, and he arrived as William’s servant.  He lived in the part of Reading, known as Cowdrey’s Hill, but now the town of Wakefield, Massachusetts.  He bought land in 1643, and he and his wife, Grace, were admitted to the church in Reading on 29 September 1648.  Jonas died in 1674 and his widow remarried to Henry Silsbee of Lynn. 

Jonas’s son, Jonathan, is my 7th great grandfather.  He was granted land in 1677 on the condition that he stay as a resident in Reading as a shoemaker.  He served in the militia as a lieutenant and was a selectman for Reading.  His son, Noah, my 6th great grandfather, inherited the homestead on Cowdrey’s Hill, where he lived until he died in 1770.  His daughter, Katherine, my 5th great grandmother, married John Emerson in Reading and they left and settled in Ashby, Townsend and finally in Hancock, New Hampshire where they are buried.  That was four generations of Eatons in my lineage living in Reading, Massachusetts.

My uncle Robert Munroe Wilkinson (1927 – 2005) married Shirley Marion Eaton, the 5th great granddaughter of Noah Eaton (1704 – 1770) mentioned above.  She is not only my aunt, but she is also my 6th cousin twice removed.  Auntie Shirley was born in Wakefield, where the Eatons have always lived since coming to the Massachusetts colony in the 1630s or 40s.

My EATON genealogy:

Generation 1:  William Eaton, born about 1540 in Rowington, Warwick, England, died before 1584; married about 1569 in Dover, Kent, England to Jane Hussey, daughter of Thomas Hussey and Bridget Bowes.  She was born about 1547 and died on 29 December 1584 in Dover, Kent, England.  Six children, and I descend from two sons, Peter and John. [correction, I descend from son Peter]

Generation 2: Peter Eaton, born about 1572 in Staple, Kent, England; died before 1631 in England; married on 28 Jan 1603 in Dover to Elizabeth Patterson. 

Generation 3: Jonas Eaton, born 23 October 1617 in Staple, Kent, died about 25 February 1673 in Reading, Massachusetts; married about 1642 to Grace Unknown. 

Generation 4: Jonathan Eaton, born 8 December 1655 in Reading, died 8 July 1743 in Reading; married on 2 April 1691 in Reading to Mary, possibly Mary Cowdry.

Generation 5: Noah Eaton, born 26 January 1704 in Reading, died in 1770 in Reading; married on 21 December 1726 to Phebe Lilley, daughter of John Lilley and Hannah Bassett.  She was born 21 February 1706 in Woburn, Massachusetts, died 1786 in Reading.

Generation 6: Katherine Eaton, born 19 December 1744 in Reading, died 21 January 1809 in Hancock, New Hampshire; married 20 December 1764 in Reading to John Emerson, son of Brown Emerson and Sarah Townsend.  He was baptized 5 April 1739 in South Reading, Massachusetts and died 14 November 1809 in Hancock, New Hampshire. 

Generation 7:  Romanus Emerson m. Jemima Burnham
Generation 8: George Emerson m. Mary Esther Younger
Generation 9: Mary Katherine Emerson m. George E. Batchelder
Generation 10: Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

From a separate Eaton family  [UPDATED]:

Generation 1: John Eaton, baptized 26 December 1590 at Hatton, Warwickshire, England, died 29 October 1668 in Haverhill, Massachusetts; married about 1620 in England to Ann Unkown.  She was born about 1599 and died 5 February 1660 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He married second on 20 November 1661 in Haverhill to Phebe Unknown, widow of Thomas Dow. Eleven children

Generation 2: Ruth Eaton, born about 12 Feb 1637 in Hatton, Warwickshire, England and died before 1716 in Massachusetts; married 9 December 1656 in Ipswich, Massachusetts to Samuel Ingalls, son of Samuel Ingalls and Ann Tripp.  He was born about 1632 in England and died 30 August 1717 in Ipswich.

Generation 3: Joseph Ingalls m. Sarah Thompson
Generation 4: Mary Ingalls m. William Allen
Generation 5: Isaac Allen m. Abigail Burnham
Generation 6: Joseph Allen m. Judith Burnham
Generation 7: Joseph Allen m. Orpha Andrews
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)

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ THOMSON / THOMPSON of Scotland and Ipswich, Massachusetts

Alexander Thompson was one of Cromwell’s Scots prisoners of war sent to New England to be sold into servitude. These men from Scotland were fighting for the crown in the English civil war.  The captured men were marched to London and loaded on prison ships or taken to America.   I have also covered another ancestor, William MUNROE, who was also a prisoner on board the John and Sara, listed along with Alexander Thompson on list dated 11 November 1651.  These Scots from the John and Sara and other ships were sold on the docks as indentured servants.

We don’t know where Alexander Thompson served as a servant, but sometime after his period of indenture he settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts and married Deliverance Haggett in 1662.  She was the daughter of Henry Haggett of Wenham, Massachusetts.   In1667 there was a complaint filed against John Clerk of Wenham by Alexander and Deliverance Tomson.  While Clerk was visiting their home he tried to kiss Deliverance.  (Essex Quarterly Court Records 3:438)

Thompson’s will was dated 21 November 1693 and proved in April 1696.  He left all his estate to his wife as long as she remained a widow, and then two thirds of his real estate went to his son David, and one third to younger son John.  The two brothers were to pay five pounds to all the other siblings.

My Thompson genealogy:

Generation 1: Alexander Thompson, born about 1636 in Scotland, died about April 1696 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 19 September 1662 in Ipswich, Massachusetts to Deliverance Haggett, the daughter of Henry Haggett and Ann Unknown.  She was born about 1643 in Ipswich.

Generation 2: Sarah Thompson, born about 1671 in Ipswich; married 3 January 1704 in Ipswich to Joseph Ingalls, son of Samuel Ingalls and Ruth Eaton.  He was born 23 December 1666 in Ipswich, and died in 1724. Five children.

Generation 3: Mary Ingalls m. William Allen
Generation 4: Isaac Allen m. Abigail Burnham
Generation 5: Joseph Allen m. Judith Burnham
Generation 6: Joseph Allen m. Orpha Andrews
Generation 7: Joseph Gilman Allen m. Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 8: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 9: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

For more information:

A list of the prisoners aboard the John and Sara

Scottish Prisoners of War blog by Teresa Hamilton-Pepper Rust

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ INGALLS of Lynn, Massachusetts

Edmund Ingalls was born in Lincolnshire, England and settled at Lynn, Massachusetts at a place known as Ingalls Pond.  He arrived in the company of Governor John Endicott in 1629 with his brother, Francis Ingalls.  He died when a bridge broke over the Saugus River in 1648, and he fell with his horse into the water and was drowned.  The General Court paid one hundred pounds to his children for their loss.  Their petition read “The humble petition of Robert Ingalls with the rest of his brethren and sisters, being eight in number, humbly showeth, that whereas your poor petitioners father hath been deprived of life by the insufficiency of Lynne Bridge, so called, to the great impoverishing of your poor petitioners mother and themselves, and there being a Court order that any person so dying through such insufficiency of any bridge in the countrye, that there should be an hundred pounds forfeit to the next heir, may it therefore please this honorable Court to take your poore petitioners case into consideration.”

Edmund Ingalls is the 8th great grandfather of children’s book author Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the Little House series. A good source for information on this family is Ingalls Genealogy by Dr. Charles Burleigh, 1903, and also Ingalls Genealogy by Dr. Walter Renton Ingalls, 1933.   I descend from two of Edmund Ingalls sons, Robert and Samuel, and from his daughter Elizabeth.  I think this is the only ancestor I have from whom I descend from three siblings. 

The last will and testament of Edmund Ingalls:

I, Edmund Ingalls of Lynn, being of perfect memory commit my soul unto God, my body to the grave and difpose of my earthly goods in this wife.
Firftly, I make my wife Ann Ingalls, sole executor, leaving my houfe and houfelot, togather with my stock of cattle and corn, to her, Likewife I leave Katherine Shipper with my wife.

Item, I bequeath to Robert my sonne & heir four pound to be payd in two years time by my wife, either in cattle or corn Likewife I bequeath to him or to his heirs, my houfe & houfelot after the deceafe of my wife.

Likewife I bequeath to Elizabeth my daughter, twenty shillings to be payd by my wife in a Heifer calf in two years time after my deceafe.
Likewife to my daughter Faith, wife to Andrew Allen, I bequeath two yearling calves, and inform my wife to pay him forty shillings debt in a years time after my deceafe.

Likewife to my sonne John, I bequeath the houfe & ground that was Jeremy fitts, lying by the meeting houfe, only out of it the sd John is to pay within four years, four pounds to my sonne Samuel, and the ground to be his security, further I leave with said John, that three Acres of land he had in England fully to pofsefs and enjoy.

Likewife, I give to Sarah, my daughter, wife of William Bitnar my two ewes.

Likewise, to Henry my sonne, I give the Houfe that I bought of Goodman West, and six Acres of ground, lying by it, and three Acres of Marsh ground lying at Rumley Marsh, and this the sd Henry shall pofsefs in two years after my deceafe, Only out of this the sd Henry shall pay to my sonne Samuel, four pounds within two years after he enters upon it.

Likewife I bequeath to Samuel my sonne, eight pounds to be difcharged as above, in the premifes.

Laftly, I leave with Mary the Heifer calf that she enjoyed and leave her to my wife for future dowry.

Finally, I appoint Francis Ingalls, my brother & Francis Dane, my sonne in law, overfeers of my will, and order that thofe things that have no particular exemption in the will mentioned, be taken away after my deceafe and entreat my overfeers to be helpful to my wife in ordering her matters.

Witness: William Morton, Francis Dane, Francis Ingols
Proved 14:9:1648 by Francis Ingalls, and 27:4:1649 by William Morton.

Essex Co. Quarterly Court Files, vol. 1, leaf 103

My Ingalls genealogy:

Generation 1: Edmund Ingalls, son of Robert Ingalls and Elizabeth Unknown,  born 17 June 1586 in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, England, died 16 September 1648 in Lynn, Massachusetts; married about 1618 in England to Ann Tripp.  She was born about 1600 in Skirbeck,  and died about 1649 in Massachusetts.  Nine children.

Lineage A:

Generation 2: Elizabeth Ingalls, baptized on 28 February 1619 in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, England, died 9 June 1676 in Andover, Massachusetts;  married about 1639 to the Reverend Francis Dane, son of John Dane and Frances Bowyer.  He was born 20 November 1615 in Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire, England and died 17 February 1697 in Andover.  

Generation 3: Hannah Dane m. William Goodhue
Generation 4: Bethiah Goodhue m. Benjamin Marshall
Generation 5: Elizabeth Marshall m. David Burnham
Generation 6: Amos Burnham m. Sarah Giddings
Generation 7: Judith Burnham m. Joseph Allen
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 B:

Generation 2: Robert Ingalls, born about 1621 in England, died 3 January 1698 in Lynn; married about 1646 to Sarah Harker, daughter of William Harker and Elizabeth Unknown.  She was born abut 1625 and died 8 April 1696. Eight children.

Generation 3: Nathaniel Ingalls, born about 1660 in Lynn, died about 1736; married to Anne Collins, daughter of Joseph Collins and Sarah Hires.  Ten children.

Generation 4: Hannah Ingalls, born about 1713, died before 15 April 1798; married June 1735 in Lynn to Daniel Hitchings, son of Daniel Hitchings and Susannah Townsend.  He was born 19 October 1709 in Lynn, and died 25 April 1760 in Lynn. Twelve children.

Generation 5: Abijah Hitchings m. Mary Gardner
Generation 6: Abijah Hitchings m. Mary Cloutman
Generation 7: Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 8: Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9: Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

Lineage C:

Generation 2: Samuel Ingalls, born about 1632 in England, died 30 August 1717 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married 9 December 1656 in Ipswich to Ruth Eaton, daughter of John Eaton and Ann Crossman.  She was baptized 12 February 1637 in Hatton, Warwickshire, England and died before 1716 in Massachusetts. Nine chlldren.

Generation 3: Joseph Ingalls, born 23 December 1666 in Ipswich, died 1724 in Gloucester, Massachusetts; married 3 January 1704 in Ipswich to Sarah Thompson, daughter of Alexander Thompson and Deliverance Haggett.  She was born about 1671 in Ipswich.  Five children.

Generation 4: Mary Ingalls, born 1716 in Gloucester, died 27 December 1796 in Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, Massachusetts; married 12 January 1738 in the Chebacco Parish Church, Ipswich to William Allen, son of Joseph Allen and Catherine Leach. He was born 21 May 1711 in Manchester, died 10 June 1785 in Chebacco Parish.  Nine children.

Generation 5: Isaac Allen m. Abigail Burnham
Generation 6: Joseph Allen m. Judith Burnham
Generation 7: Joseph Allen m. Orpha Andrews
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)

The URL for this post is 

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Stephen Morse and Abigail Ingalls

This tombstone was photographed at the Village Cemetery of Chester, New Hampshire.

died Mar 6, 1807 AE 83

died May 18, 1806 AE 79

died Sept. 1830 AE 78

died Nov. 11, 1816 AE 70

Stephen Morse, son of Captain Abel Morse and Grace Parker, was born 16 Feb 1723 in Newbury, Massachusetts, and died on 6 March 1807 in Chester, New Hampshire; he married Abigail Ingalls, daughter of Samuel Ingalls and Mary Watts.  She was born in 1725 and died on 18 May 1806 in Chester, New Hampshire. They had ten children:

1. Samuel b. 1750 m. Sarah Webster
2. Abigail b. 1752 d. unmarried Sept. 1830 (above)
3. Gilbert b. 1754 m. Elizabeth Bell
4. Jonathan b. 2 March 1757 m. Abiah Worth
5. Theodore b. 1759
6. Ebenezer b. 1761
7. Stephen b. 1761
8. Ada b. 1766, d. unmarried 11 November 1816 (above)
9. Isaac b. 26 May 1769 m. Nancy Worthen
10. Peter Morse b. 1774 m. Sarah Brown

I am related to Stephen Morse and his wife, Abigail Ingalls.  Anthony Morse (1606 - 1686) of Salisbury, Massachusetts is my 9th great grandfather and my common ancestor with Stephen Morse.  Edmund Ingalls (1586 - 1648) of Lynn, Massachusetts is my 9th great grandfather, and my common ancestor with Abigail Ingalls.  I descend from THREE of Edmund Ingalls's nine children! (Elizabeth (1619 - 1676), Robert (1621 - 1698), Samuel (1632 - 1717) ).  Edmund Ingalls is also the ancestor of the famous children's book author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, October 8, 2012

Town Criers

Do you have an ancestor who was a town crier?  Did you know that some towns still have town criers?  We have seen quite a few, and after bumping into town criers in places as far away as St. George, Bermuda and La Conner, Washington, I decided to look into this phenomenon.  What were all these folks doing dressed up as town criers in the year 2012?

A town crier is the person who makes public announcements ordered by a court or by the government.  Usually they carry a bell, or shout “Hear ye!” or “Oyez!”   In some countries they carry a drum or a gong.  There were town criers in medieval England, and in colonial America.  Some towns continued the tradition into the 20th century.  There is still an official town crier in Mariemont, Cincinnati, Ohio and in St. George, Bermuda.  You can look for town criers in New England town records, and in old newspaper archives. 

The St. George, Bermuda Town Crier welcoming a cruise ship from Gates Fort

The town crier in St. George has to be my favorite town crier.  When the NCL cruise ship Majesty used to sail from Boston to St. George, he would greet the ship from the Gates Fort as it squeezed through the cut into the harbor.  St. George is the third oldest English town in the New World, after St. John’s Newfoundland and Jamestown, Virginia.  It was founded by settlers shipwrecked on their way to Jamestown.  The town retains many colonial features familiar to New Englanders, such as a town square complete with stocks and a dunking chair.  It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The St. George town crier greeted the Majesty passengers with Red Sox Scores and news from Boston every day the ship was in port.  

Gates Fort seen from the deck of the
Norwegian Cruise ship Majesty

Unfortunately, the NCL cruise line retired the Majesty and the new ships are too big to fit through the cut into St. George harbor.  Boston passengers miss the town crier welcome to Bermuda very much!

There are still town crier guilds around the world.  Most of these participants are re-enactors or employees at living history museums.  They hold competitions for the best shout or the best costume.  We ran into the 2005 Town Crier competition while we were visiting La Conner, Washington in 2005, and we were amazed at how seriously these folks take their town crier business.  The costumes were stunning, and the shouts were both historic and often amusing!

Participants in the 2005 Town Crier Competition
seen in La Conner, Washington

More participants in the 2005 Town Crier Competition

A search of my personal genealogy files found a few men who had been appointed or elected to be town criers.  One is Thomas Driver, born 1687, who was paid 40 shillings to be the bell ringer in Lynn, Massachusetts.  He was my first cousin, 9 generations removed, son of William Driver and Mary Glover.  Not only is he my cousin in the GLOVER lineage, but he married Mary Ingalls, daughter of Stephen Ingalls and Dinah Elson, my 2nd cousin, 8 generations removed on my INGALLS lineage.

The tradition of the town crier is carried on by many newspapers with the name “Town Crier” or by pubs with the name “Bell in Hand” (aren’t pubs the best place to learn the local news and gossip?)   In Boston the Bell in Hand Tavern on 45 Union Street touts itself as America’s oldest tavern, established in 1795. It was owned by Jimmy Wilson, who was Boston’s town crier for fifty years. 

Click here for a page about Thomas Driver, from page 88 of the Driver Family compiled genealogy by Harriet Ruth Waters Cooke:

The American Guild of Town Criers

The North American Town Crier Championships

The Ancient and Honourable Guild to Town Criers

The Bell in Hand Tavern, Boston

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Five Kernels of Corn for Thanksgiving

NOTE: This post was updated within hours of originally being published.  Please see

When the Mayflower landed at what is now Provincetown on Cape Cod, it was already late in the autumn.  On 15 November 1620, a few days after landfall, an expedition led by Myles Standish discovered a buried cache of corn at a place they assumed was abandoned. The Englishmen took most of the corn.  Later in 1621 when the colonists made their first contact with the Wampanoag people, they were reminded of the theft of corn.  There was an exchange of gifts, and a peace treaty was established.
Although the corn was stolen, it sustained the colonists over the first winter in the New World.  Each was given only a few kernels as a ration.  Other food was hunted and gathered, without much luck.  In the winter of 1620 the English colonists suffered the "Great Sickness" and 50 out of the 102 passengers died.

This same corn was used as seed when the Wampanoag man named Squanto helped them plant their first crops in 1621.   This crop thrived and gave hope to the new colony.  There was much to celebrate in the first autumn feast.   Many descendants of the Mayflower passengers still tell the tale of the corn, and pass on the story of how it was rationed to the survivors that first winter.  Every Thanksgiving they put a few kernels on each plate to remember their ancestors.

In the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder this tradition was explained, with a scene showing Laura and Mary carefully chewing three kernels before eating their dinner. The Ingalls family originated in Lynn, Massachusetts, and passed on the tradition even as they migrated westward.   Lately I have seen this poem on the internet, and it was passed around at one of the New Hampshire Mayflower Society luncheons one November a few years ago.    I don't know the author.
Five Kernels

The first winter in Plymouth was very cold
And hunger abounded as the year unrolled.
Some days each only had five kernels of corn.
Their lives were becoming sad and forlorn. 

But then spring came and their harvest grew.
The pilgrims began to thrive and their spirits did too.
But they never forgot the bleak times after they did abate
So on Thanksgiving they'd put five kernels on each plate.

The first kernel reminded them of the autumn beauty.
The second one of the freedom that they held dearly.
The third reminded of their love and care for each other
And the fourth was for dear friends like the Indian brother.

The fifth kernel reminded of God's love and care for all.
So as you prepare and celebrate Thanksgiving this fall,
Remember to put five little kernels on each dinner plate
To honor the pilgrims and give thanks for our good fate.

If you would like to continue this tradition, don't use popcorn kernels (you'll break your teeth!).  You can purchase dried roasted sweet corn in bags at your local market.  If you have trouble finding this corn locally you can purchase it on Amazon or The Great American Spice Company on the internet.  Be careful because you if you order from Amazon you need to buy 12 bags (an entire case).  What would the Pilgrims have thought!   Place the kernels on each plate along with a copy of the poem, or a short version of the story of the Mayflower passengers first winter.


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Furniture Label leads to some old Ancestors!

My grandfather's sister, Janet Wilkinson Blades (1898 - 1981) owned this pretty little sewing table at her home in Beverly, Massachusetts.  I blogged about this house at this link last year  where I told the tale of how Janet, in her declining years, gave away all her furniture and possession from this 1676 era home.  Several pieces of furniture were taken to her retirement apartment in Beverly, and after her death in 1981 these few pieces were divided up amongst family members.  I have a small bedroom rocking chair from Auntie Janet, and my mother has this little sewing table.

Last week Mom was cleaning drawers, and took one and turned it upside down to empty the contents onto the bed when she saw, for the first time, this label pasted onto the bottom.  Isn't it funny how something she owned for thirty years can yield up clues to it's past?

I'm proud to say that Mom, who is not the most computer literate person in the family, Googled the name of "C. Dodge" and the word "Manchester".  Her Google search led to finding the website for the Winterthur Museum which held the papers for the Cyrus Dodge Furniture Company.  The Winterthur Museum is in Delaware, but their online archive gave her many clues to the origins of this little sewing table.   Mom called me immediately with all her news.

Over the weekend we visited Mom and took these photos.  I also took some time to look at what Mom uncovered on Google.  Dodge is a name that comes up a lot in my family tree, since the original Dodge immigrant ancestors were brothers who immigrated to Beverly in the 1600's.  There are many, many Dodge marriages in our genealogy.  Cyrus Dodge (1814 - 1887) was a descendant of this same Dodge family.  

In reading the Wintherthur records, I saw that Cyrus Dodge was an apprentice to John Perry Allen.  This Allen furniture builder built a mill to saw veneers on the creek right across from where my aunt lives now in Manchester-by-the-Sea, and very close to where my cousins are rennovating the Forster Leach House.  In fact, John Perry Allen's son was named George Forster Allen!  Well, my Mom is an Allen with roots in Manchester, and with a little digging I found that John Perry Allen was a cousin!

                            William Allen (1602 - 1678)
                             m1st. Alice Norman
                            Samuel Allen (1633 - abt 1700)
                            m. Sarah Tuck
Joseph Allen ( 1672 - 1727)          Jonathan Allen (1684 - 1768)
m1st. Catherine Leach                   m. Mary Pierce
                |                                                |
William Allen (1711 - 1785)          Jacob Allen (1721 - 1805)
m. Mary Ingalls                              m. Mary Tarring
                |                                                |
Isaac Allen (b. 1740 - ?)                Nathan Allen (1768 - 1837)
m. Abigail Burnham                        m. Elizabeth Perry
                |                                                |
Joseph Allen (1776 - 1861)            John Perry Allen (1795 - 1875)
m. Judith Burnham                          m. Ruth Allen (2nd cousins)
Joseph Allen (1801 - 1894)
m. Orpha Andrews
Joseph Gilman Allen (1830 - 1908)
m. Sarah Burnham Mears
Joseph Elmer Allen (1870 - 1932)
m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Stanley Elmer Allen (1904 - 1982)
m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings
        My Mother
(born one town over in Ipswich, Massachusetts!)

Now I just have to send my photos to Winterthur Museum to see if they can help me to date the little sewing table.  The C. Dodge Furniture company was operated between 1841 and 1965, which is a very long time!  It would be nice to see if it dates from before Janet's wedding in 1927, for it possibly belonged to her mother, Isabella Lyons (Bill) Wilkinson (1863 - 1935), or her grandmother, Phebe Cross (Munroe) Wilkinson (1830 - 1895).   


For more information:

The C. Dodge Furniture Company Papers at the Winterthur Museum

Manchester, Massachusetts Vital Records

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, by William Richard Cutter, 1908, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland,  Volume I, pages 240 - 248 about the Allens of Manchester, Massachusetts (available on Google Book Search)

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Excerpts from Rev. William Bentley's Diary

Reverend William Bentley of Salem, Massachusetts
portrait by Frothingham at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Diary of Adolph Gaetz of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia here, and wrote about how I found many clues to my ancestors' Lunenburg lives in this book. Another diary, available in book form in many libraries, is the diary of Reverend William Bentley of Salem, Massachusetts.

Rev. Bentley (1759 -1819) was minister of Salem's Second Congregational Church from 1783 until the end of his life. He kept eleven volumes of diaries and journals, which were condensed and published in a three volume set. There is also a separate index available for his diary, with many surnames listed.

In this book I was able to find many Salem ancestors, some were described as the Reverend's close friends. Here are a few excerpts that helped me further my genealogical research. They were good clues, and some of them have led to primary source citations in vital records, and others remain elusive to me (so far!).

The Diary of William Bentley, D. D. By William Bentley, Joseph Gilbert Waters, Marguerite Dalrymple, Alice G. Waters, Essex Institute

From Volume I,
page 20 April 4, 1785 "Visited with Abijah Hitchins, wife, children"

page 83 "Novr. 23, Abijah Hitchins and wife, death of the youngest child. One of the family sick" (this child is not in the vital records.)

page 365 "Jan 30, 1792, Abijah Hitchins raising a pent house and out house back of his dwelling house, Beckett Street." (I wish I knew the number for that house! We've gone up and down Beckett Street, looking at each house!)

page 399 "Oct. 7, 1792. Abijah Hitchings and wife for her delivery" (this is the second wife, Sarah Gardner, who gave birth to Cynthia Hitchings on 7 October 1792 (Salem VRs) )

From Volume II
page 464 "Oct. 1795 - Mr. Hitchens is adding and repairing Renew's eastern end of a house in Derby Street, between Turner and Cromwell Sts, South side of the street." (Apparently he was a housewright. This is strange to me since Abijah Hitchings is listed as a hatter in other records. )

page 265 "15 April 1798 Sunday- Abijah Hitchens & wife, d. of his mother Hitchens, age 82, of Lynn. She was an Ingalls." (His mother was Hannah Ingalls, daughter of Nathaniel Ingalls and Anne Collins of Lynn, Massachusetts. Her death was also in the Vital Records).

Note: Rev. Bentley, and the vital records, have used many spellings for this family surname: Hitchens, Hichens, Hitchins, Hitchings, etc. Abijah Hitchings is my 5x great grandfather (1753-1826). He married first Sarah Gardner, and second Mary Gardner, two sisters, daughters of Benjamin Gardner and Sarah Randall of Salem and Boston.

For more information: about Rev. William Bentley

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo