Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday- The Allen Family Plot

The Allen Family Plot
Spring Street Cemetery, Essex, Massachusetts
The Allen Family Plot in Essex is distinguished by the huge letter "A" right near the front wall along Spring Street. The top of the large monument is marked with Masonic Symbols, with the mason's square mirroring the shape of the letter "A." My great grandfather Joseph Elmer Allen was a Mason, and died at the Massachusetts Masonic Home in Shrewsbury in 1932. The plot is full of his descendants (including his wife, Carrie Maude Batchelder, children Stanley Elmer (my grandfather), Franklin Sherman, and his brother Warren Sherman, and their wives) Nearby are his parents and ancestors, in other parts of this cemetery, and down the street in the Old Burial Ground behind the Essex Shipbuilding Museum.
Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Westford Knight

The roadside monument to the Westford Kight

The Westford Knight: Myth or Reality?

In mid September Dan Brown’s new book, “The Lost Symbol”, was released and again we were all up until all hours of the night reading his thriller. Brown’s books are such page turners that you don’t want to put them down until his hero, Robert Langdon, has solved the crime using ancient symbols and mythology. Of course, the History Channel and PBS have followed up with a spate of TV specials on the Knights Templar, Masonic Rituals and other conspiracies. We are all mystified by the ancient symbols in his books.

So we decided to set off to see the Westford Knight, fueled by a late night TV show on the History Channel. The carving of the Westford Knight was uncovered in Massachusetts the 1700’s, and is said to be the effigy of a 14th century knight, supposedly Sir James Gunn. Sir Gunn was a companion of Prince Henry Sinclair, whom some thought traveled to the New World in 1398. An examination of the sword and shield on the carving claimed it to be a rendering of the coat of arms of the Clann Gunn of Scotland.

Professor David Schafer of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard examined the effigy and concluded that only the sword section of the carving is definitely a medieval punch carved drawing, and that the rest was just glacial scratches. In medieval Europe drawings were first rendered on paper, and then with sharp tool, punched through to mark the stone beneath. This still doesn’t answer how a medieval sword came to be carved along a well traveled Indian path in Westford, Massachusetts in 1398.

There was also another medieval carving found in Westford, which can be seen at the Westford Museum. It is a stone covered with similar markings to the Westford Knight, depicting a 14th century ship and trail markings, consistent with the medieval style. Some think that this stone depicts the “knorr” which brought Sinclair and his company to the New World, one hundred years before the voyage of Columbus. The markings also match runes found in Newfoundland, Newport, Rhode Island and other places along our New England coastline.

David Brody, a Westford resident, has just published his fourth novel, “Cabal of the Westford Knight” and if you Google his name you can find several book signing dates in our local area. He claims to have original material, not similar to the “Da Vinci” book or other novels. Dan Brown’s newest book, “The Lost Symbol” mentions the Sinclair family, and the Rossyln Chapel which featured in the last scene of the “Da Vinci Code” movie was founded by William Sinclair, Prince Henry Sinclair’s ancestor. No similarity, ‘eh?

Just to make things more interesting, one of the founding New Hampshire families in the seacoast area was the Sinclair or Sinkler family, descendants of the same St. Clair family of Europe. More mysterious connections? So, with our imaginations piqued, while we photographed the Westford Knight, in a light rain, on a Sunday afternoon, we were not alone. Several other carloads of the curious were also there. The photographs do not reveal much, and I’m sure that on a sunny day, the markings would be even less visible. I was amused by the wording on an accompanying stone, which stated “Prince Henry, First Sinclair of Orkney, born in Scotland, made a voyage of discovery to North America in 1398.” Not “supposedly made a voyage” or “is thought to have made a voyage.” I think the truth lies somewhere in between the inscription and the History Channel.

You can see for yourself whether or not you think this is truth or myth. From Londonderry, take Rt. 3 out of Nashua and over the Massachusetts border to exit 33 for Groton Road in Westford. Go left to Depot Road, and turn left again. In about two miles park at the Abbot Elementary School on your left and walk further down Depot road, past two houses to the stone marker on the left side of Depot Road. Can you solve the mystery, just like Robert Langdon?

Further information on the Westford Knight is available at the Westford Museum and at the J. V. Fletcher Library in Westford. You can also visit www.westford.com/museum and click on “The Westford Knight.”
Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - Benjamin Franklin's Chest? or Pope Valuables Chest?

The Plimoth Plantation Reproduction of the Pope Chest

a detail of the workmanship inside the reproduced Pope Chest
copying the simple techniques used in the original chest
reproduction at the Plimoth Plantation Craft Center

This is my first contribution to Treasure Chest Thursday at GeneaBloggers, and I couldn’t resist the theme. There was a treasure chest beyond compare in my family tree, but unfortunately it wasn’t in my own attic. The distant cousins who cashed in on this treasure chest really have contributed not only to their own bank accounts, but to a great museum collection and to the living history at Plimoth Plantation.

Bethshua Folger and Joseph Pope were married in 1679 in Salem Village, now Danvers, Massachusetts. Joseph Pope paid a tax of four shilling, putting him in the top quarter of all the tax payers in Salem Village. His gravestone was described as a “pretentious stone of slate” by Jasper Marsh (Historical Collections of the Danvers Historical Society, Volume 10, page 93). Mr. and Mrs. Pope were central characters in the witchcraft trials, too. Joseph testified that he heard John Proctor (popularly known as the main character in “The Crucible”) say he would “Drive the Divell out” of one of the accused. Bethshua (also known as Bathsheba) claimed to be afflicted by the defendants, and during Martha Corey’s trial she threw her shoe and struck Corey in the head.

Joseph and Bethshua also owned a “valuables cabinet” made for them by the Salem Symonds furniture shop. Its provenance is impeccable, since it stayed in the same family for over three hundred years, and it is engraved with the initials JP and BF with the date 1679. It was passed along in the family as the “Franklin Chest” because of the fact that Bethshua’s sister, Abiah, was Benjamin Franklin’s mother. This myth helped to preserve the chest, which in my opinion is quite ugly. It might have been trashed or lost if not for the ongoing myth of a connection to Benjamin Franklin. It traveled around New England with the descendants, finally settling in Cape Cod until the family finally decided to auction it off.

On January 20, 2000 Christie’s Auction sold the Pope Valuable Chest to the Peabody Essex Museum for a record breaking $2,422,500.00 As descendants of the Pope family, but very distant cousins of the final owners of the chest, we all waited until it went on display at PEM, not ever having seen the chest before. The curator emailed me when it was catalogued, cleaned and ready for the public, and we all rushed down to Salem for the big reveal.

I was shocked to see how tiny it was, not really a piece of furniture but the size of a silverware chest. It was cracked, and the boards in the back were loose and warped. It had been painted garish colors that had faded, but were still visible. Except for it’s interesting family history, it’s the sort of thing I wouldn’t pick up at a tag sale, let alone pay millions for at an auction.

Since the auction, I’ve come to love the chest. We visit it often at the Peabody Essex Museum, and even though it sits in a gallery with other more beautiful and exotic treasures from around the world it has become one of my favorite exhibits. At first it was displayed with a wonderful video describing it’s provenance and the famous auction, but now it sits alone with just a small tag describing it as an early American Salem antique. It has come home to Salem.

As an example of early American furniture, the Plimoth Plantation has permission for its artisans in the Crafts Center to reproduce the Pope Valuables Chest. They built the first two reproductions for the two siblings who auctioned off the chest, and now they have other samples on display at the museum in Plymouth. A wood carver explained to me the reasons why it represented a typical chest of the period, and typical techniques of the time, and the authentic paint schemes of the colonial era. I still think it’s simple, ugly and garish, but I also love it for the wonderful family connections!

Pope Lineage

Gen. 1. Joseph Pope, b. 1606 in probably Yorkshire, England, d. 1667 in Salem, Massachusetts; married first to Damaris (?); married second to Gertrude Shattuck. Eight children with his first wife.

Gen. 2. Joseph Pope, b. about 27 Oct 1650 in Salem, d. Feb 1711/12 in Salem; married in 1679 in Salem Village to Bethshua Folger, daughter of Peter Folger and Mary Morrill, b. about 1650 on Nantucket Island. Joseph and Bethshua are my 7x Great Grandparents. They had nine children, and I descend from their daughter Jerusha Pope (1695 - 1781) who married George Flint in 1713.


Folger Lineage

Gen. 1. John Folger, b. about 1590 in Diss, Norwich, Norfolk, England, d. about 1660 on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; married before 1618 in England to Meribah Gibbs, daughter of John Gibbs and Alice Elmy, b. about 1595, d. about 1635. Five children.

Gen. 2. Peter Folger, b. 1617 in Norfolk, England, d. 1690 in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard; married on 23 Jun. 1644 in Watertown, Massachusetts to Mary Morrill, b. about 1623 in England and d. 1704 on Nantucket. Twelve children.

Gen. 3. Bethshua Folger (see above)

Also Abiah Folger, b. 15 Aug. 1667 on Nantucket, d. 18 May 1752 in Boston; married on 25 Nov. 1689 at the Old South Church, Boston to Josiah Franklin, b. 23 Dec. 1657 in Ecton, Northamptonshire, England, d. 16 Jan 1744/45 in Boston. Abiah and Josiah Franklin are buried at the Granary Burial Ground in Boston, with a large monolith donated by their son, the statesman Benjamin Franklin.

The URL for this post is
Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 21, 2009

Buried at a Mall?

The sign behind the liquor store,
leading to the Wilson Family Burial Plot in Danvers, Massachusetts

Robert Wilson, died June 4, 1797 in Danvers (now Peabody)
Buried at a Mall?

Robert Wilson, 3rd died in 1797 in what was then part of Danvers, Massachusetts, at a farm which no longer exists, and the family plot is now located in Peabody, behind the Kappy’s Liquor Store. The Wilson family wouldn’t recognize this land. Where the farm stood is now the cloverleaf intersection of routes 114 and 128, and the North Shore Mall.

Robert Wilson served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain Samuel Epe’s Company, under Colonel Pickering’s regiment of Danvers. He marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 to Lexington for a service of two days. He was a potter of some renown, being from a family of potters who produced an unusual black glaze. He died fairly young (aged 50), and his wife, Sarah (Felton) Wilson, isn’t buried with him, but across the street at the Felton Family plot. She died in 1836, surviving him by about forty years, but never remarrying.

The attempt to find the Wilson Family Cemetery was not easy. I was told to park at Kappy’s Liquor Store to find it, but I didn’t know that I would have to park BEHIND the story, near the dumptsters, where there was a very steep drop covered with weeds. The Peabody Historical Society has placed a very nice sign here, but it isn’t visible from the road. Neither is the cemetery visible from the road. Only after climbing down the steep embankment can you see the stone wall and the gravestones. Down there, in the deep chasm behind Kappy’s and the embankments of Rt. 128, you can see nothing but trees and gravestones. It is how it must have appeared before modern times, and before backhoes changed the landscape.

The Wilson Homestead stood near 141 Andover Street (Rt. 114), and it no longer exists. Actually, the street is just a conglomeration of strip malls, chain restaurants, stores and parking lots. Nothing older than about 1950 seems to exist.

The first potting Wilsons were Robert, Jr. and his brother Joseph, who went to Dedham (also famous for its pottery) and to Providence, Rhode Island. Robert Wilson 3rd and his brother Job were potters, too. Robert 3rd served as administrator to his father’s will in 1793, when two- thirds of the Wilson land and the potting business was sold to Isaac Wilson 3rd, another brother. The three Wilsons ran the business together, but both Robert and Job died before 1800. Isaac died in 1809 and the Wilson black glazed pottery business ended.

I imagine that the black glazed pottery must have contained lead or some other poison, to kill all the Wilsons so early, but the death records at the time do not list a cause. I’m descended of Robert’s son, another Robert Wilson, who died in 1803 at the very young age of 27! Again, the records, and the gravestones give no cause of death, so I’m free to let my imagination run wild.

In the next generation, Mercy Wilson, born in 1803 just a few months before her father’s death, lived to the ripe age of 80, dying in 1883. Phew! It couldn’t have been something genetic killing the Wilsons, it must have been the pottery! At least that is my theory… and I’m sticking to it!

And so, I photographed all the Wilsons in the quiet little cemetery in the gully in Peabody. Quiet because the trees, embankments and steep inclines muffled the traffic of routes 114 and 128, even though a large cloverleaf interchange was located just yards away. All those generations of Robert Wilsons were found, recorded and digitally saved.

However, one more Wilson mystery remains. Across the street, behind the North Shore Mall, lies the grave of Jonathan Wilson, undisturbed by the back door of Macy’s. He has another historical marker located near his grave, and the flag carefully placed there by the local DAR chapter, because this Jonathan Wilson was also a veteran of the Revolution. I haven’t been able to place him among the branches of the Wilson Family Tree, but I’m working on it!

The Wilson Family Tree
Gen. 1. Robert Wilson b. about 1630 in England, died 18 sep 1675 in Deerfield, Massachusetts at the Bloody Brook Massacre, m. 1. Deborah Buffum 12 Aug 1658 in Marblehead, Massachusetts and m. 2. Anna Trask about 1674.
Gen. 2. Robert Wilson b. about 1663 in Salem, d. before 17 Jan 1716/7 in Salem, m. Elizabeth Cook about 1685.
Gen. 3. Isaac Wilson b. about 1691 in Salem m. Mary Stone on 9 Jan. 1717/8 in Salem
Gen. 4. Robert Wilson b. about 1724 in Salem, d. before 10 July 1782 in Danvers, m. Elizabeth Southwick on 26 May 1744, in Salem. This Robert Wilson was a farmer.
Gen. 5. Robert Wilson, b. about 1746, d. 4 Jun 1797 in Danvers, m. Sarah Felton on 23 Mar. 1775 in Danvers. This Robert Wilson was a potter.
Gen. 6. Robert Wilson, b. 5 Sep. 1776 in Danvers, d. 9 Nov. 1803 in Danvers, m. Mary Southwick on 8 May 1800 in Danvers.
Gen. 7. Mercy F. Wilson b. 17 Jun 1803 in Peabody, d. 9 Oct 1883 in Peabody, m. Aaron Wilkinson on 23 Jun 1829 in Danvers. This is the end of my Wilson line. Phew! Too many Robert Wilsons! Mercy (Wilson) and Aaron Wilkinson were my 3x great grandparents.  I descend for their son named (what else!) Robert Wilson Wilkinson!

UPDATE -  After recent renovations and additions to the North Shore mall, the Wilson graves near the Macy's entrance were relocated to a nearby Revolutionary War monument on the corner of Washington and Sewall Streets.

To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Buried at a Mall?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 21, 2009, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/09/buried-at-mall.html: accessed [access date]). 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness in Nutfield

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness in Nutfield

I’ve been a volunteer for RAOGK.com for many years. I usually look up obituaries on the Derry News microfilm, and I’ve done some photographing of gravestones all over Derry and Londonderry. Sometimes I’m asked to photograph homesteads, such as the Anderson farmhouse on Mammoth road, and the Morrison house which is now our Historical Society on Pillsbury Road. The Morrison descendant who contacted me was thrilled to find out that the Londonderry Historical Society had all kinds of records on his family and his ancestral home.

I’ve also asked for a few favors with other RAOGK volunteers, especially in Nova Scotia or upper parts of Maine that are just too far to drive to conveniently. Several Dutch researchers in the Netherlands were pleasantly surprised when I mentioned the RAOGK network to them. I met these Dutch researchers at a library in Boston, and they later wrote me that I saved them months of work and a trip to Seattle. It wasn’t really me; it was some kind soul in Washington State who saved the day for them! I still hope those Hollanders reciprocated by joining the network as volunteers.

The usual Nutfield request is for a Scots Irish immigrant in the 1700’s who was reported to have “passed through” Londonderry. Perhaps a child or two was born here, and the descendants are searching for clues. For example: “If and when it’s convenient, could you confirm the dates of death for Hezekiah Wetherbee and his wife Grace (Baker) Wetherbee? They lived in Londonderry, and I believe they both died between 1860 and 1870. It would be nice to know which cemetery they\'re buried in, as well.”

Thank goodness that our local Londonderry Boy Scouts and several Eagle Scouts have done surveys of our cemeteries, because the local vital records are very incomplete. There were no death records for Wetherbees in the "Vital Records of Londonderry, NH", by Daniel Gage Annis, published in Manchester, NH, Granite State Publishing Company, 1914. However, I did find the following under the marriages:

Hezekiah and Grace Baker ----- (Parents of William B. Wetherbee)
William B and Sarah Elizabeth Corning May 3, 1862

Please notice there is no date recorded for Hezekiah and Grace Wetherbee’s marriage.

Under Births:
Capt. Hezekiah b. May 18, 1786 and Grace Baker b. Sept. 9, 1786
Susan A., Jan 9, 1825
John H., Sept. 16, 1827
William B., Sept 1829

In the library I found a survey of Londonderry’s Sunnyside Cemetery done by a Boy Scout Troop about 10 years ago. Sunnyside Cemetery is located on Rt. 128 (Mammoth Road, north of the common):

Grace B., 2/9/1865 78y 5m stone #177
Hezekiah, Capt 3/18/1869 82y 10m stone #178
Sarah E., 12/4/1888 48 y stone #180
Susan A, 9/10/1864 39 y 8m stone #176
Wm. B., 9/11/1884 55y stone #180

This was fun, but the best part of all was when I received the email response, and in this case: “Thank you so much for researching the Wetherbees for me: the data you found was exactly what I was hoping for. It's a very kind thing that you do…”

Someone searching for relatives in Derry once asked me to look up records on a shoe factory worker from the 1920’s. The census pointed to an address where the house was still standing, and I was able to photograph it while it was being renovated. It was absolutely fascinating to watch this process for him, like an episode of “This Old House.” The response was: “Please forgive my delay in thanking you for the great effort you went to photographing the house at 3 Highland Ct for me! I have been able to contact several cousins since we last spoke who are descended from the gentleman that I was searching and we have started a correspondence. Thanks so very much for your generosity and I am sure that you will be greatly rewarded for your kindness to others.”

This reward has already happened many, many times over with all the wonderful acts of kindness granted to me by other volunteers all over New England through RAOGK, Rootsweb and Facebook. Good things come to those who ask.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) is a web service that relies on the kindness of its volunteers. Since 1999 it has grown to an international service with over 4300 contributors and a volunteer staff of eight. Over 71,000 requests were handled in 2007. All requests are handled for free except for fees for actual costs such as photocopying, postage and gas (never for their time and labor). Founders Bridgett and Doc Schneider of Lincoln, Nebraska state that they now have volunteers in 39 countries.

I have friends who have worked on their own family trees for several years, and then have thought of becoming professional genealogists. By taking on a few RAOGK for a few months you will quickly find out if it is still fun to research in the archives for someone else’s family, or if you prefer to just do your own relatives. Those of you out there in cyberspace who have the time to read genealogy blogs and are working on your own family trees might want to think about joining the ranks of the RAOGK volunteers. Not only will it sharpen your own research skills, but you will find that the warm fuzzies you will receive are well worth the time.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tracing your Minister Ancestors

A photo of the Rev. I. E. Bill
from page 45 of the "The Bills of Billtown" Genealogy
by Harry Bill, of Billtown, Nova Scotia

I’ve found quite a few ministers in my family tree. I can only come to the conclusion that ministers’ children marry ministers’ children, because this pattern repeated itself from the 1600s on down to the 19th century. Perhaps it was a class distinction. Ministers were educated, yet poor, so their children tended to marry teachers and other ministers instead of lawyers and businessmen? Perhaps it was due to the fact that they led a stricter upbringing than the other young adults in their communities? This is just my theory, but it held true for at least two centuries for several branches of my family tree.

Finding a minister in the family tree can open up lots of information to the family genealogist. Just Googling all the variations of your ancestor’s name can bring up many results. Try “Rev. John * Smith” or “Reverend * Smith” or “Rev. * Smith DD”, etc. in regular Google or in Google Books. I’ve found sermons, weddings, funerals, news clippings, and obituaries this way. Contact the historical society of your ancestor’s hometown to find out church denomination, and then contact the main headquarters of that church for more information. A search of local newspapers of the era can also lead to lots of stories and clues.

Most ministers, but not all, tended to go to institutions of higher education. Some of the Puritan ministers who came over with John Winthrop’s fleet in the 1630’s went to Cambridge and Oxford, and that is a great place to look for personal family information. Harvard was founded as a place to instruct these ministers in the New World. You can contact the colleges and universities in your ancestors’ area to find out if they attended, and what record might be available.

Sometimes someone in your family tree will just “see the light” and become a minister out of the blue. This is what happened to my ancestor Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, who was the son of Asahel Bill, a Connecticut farmer who relocated to Nova Scotia during the planter movement of the 1760s. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill was the youngest of eleven children, born in 1805 in “Billtown”, Nova Scotia. During his youth he experienced a religious conversion to the Baptist faith. He was uneducated beyond grade school, yet went on to be one of the founders of Acadia College in 1831, and was later granted an honorary Doctorate of Theology.

Whilst researching Rev. I. E. Bill, I knew only that he was a Baptist minister from the Maritime Provinces. I used some compiled genealogies on the Bill family to fill out some of the details on his life, and then I contacted the Canadian Baptist Society. They gave me copies of some of his sermons, and I found out that he had traveled all over the East Coast of Canada and the United States, and had written for a Baptist newspaper.

Upon finding out his connection with Acadia College, I contacted the college archives and received a large envelope with copies and news clippings about his activities, photographs, sermons and life. The college also had a copy of his personal journal, and a biography written by one of his sons! This was a gold mine for a genealogist! You can be sure that I wrote a nice donation check to the Acadia library in lieu of regular copy charges. The journal outlined how he made his conversion to being a Baptist, how he met and wooed his first wife, and his early preaching in Canada.

The lineage of Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill:

Gen. 1. John Bill, b. abt 1598, d. 21 Jan 1637/38 at Boston; married about 1612 in England to Dorothy Tuttle, daughter of Symon Tuttle an Isabel Wells, b. about 1592 in England, d. about Dec. 1638 in Boston. Many of the Bills in this family are buried at Copp’s Hill Burial Ground, near the Old North Church in Boston. They lived at “Bill’s Farms” which is now part of Winthrop and Chelsea, visible from across the harbor from the Copp’s Hill Burial Ground.

Gen. 2. Philip Bill, b. Apr. 1629 in Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England, d. 8 Jul. 1689 in New London, Connecticut; married on 8 Jul 1689 to Hannah Waite, daughter of Samuel Waite and Mary Ward, b. abt 1625 probably in Finchingfield, Essex, England, d. 1709 in Groton, Connecticut. Philip settled first in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and then at “Pulling Point” which is now Chelsea, and finally at New London Connecticut. He died of “throat distemper” on the same day as his daughter Margaret.

Gen. 3. Samuel Bill, b. about 1665 near Boston, Massachusetts, d. 27 Jan. 1729/30 in Groton, Connecticut; married to Mercy Houghton, daughter of Richard Houghton and Catherine (?), b. about 1669 in Groton, Connecticut.

Gen. 4. Ebenezer Bill, b. 14 Dec 1695 in Groton, Connecticut, d. 23 May 1788 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia; married on 8 Sep. 1726 in Lebanon, Connecticut to Patience Ingraham, daughter of William Ingraham and Elizabeth Chesebrough, b. 2 Apr. 1706 in Stonington, Connecticut, d. Oct. 1770 in Groton, Connecticut. Ebenezer Bill removed to Nova Scotia upon the removal of the “French Neutrals” after the French and Indian War.

Gen. 5. Asahel Bill, b. 7 Apr. 1748 in Lebanon, Connecticut, d. 10 Nov. 1814 in Billtown, Nova Scotia; married on 18 Jun 1778 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia to Mary Rand, daughter of Caleb Rand and Mary Mayhew, born 1758, d. 19 Feb. 1845 in Billtown. Asahel Bill’s large tract of land in Cornwallis was called “Billtown” in the fertile Annapolis Valley.

Gen. 6. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, b. 19 Feb. 1805 in Billtown, Nova Scotia, d. 4 Aug. 1891 in St. Martin’s, New Brunswick; married 1st on 20 April 1826 in Nova Scotia to Isabella Lyons, daughter of Thomas Ratchford Lyons and Ann Skinner, b. 28 Jan 1806 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, d. Apr. 1872 in Carleton, New Brunswick; married 2nd on 14 May 1873 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Mrs. Susan L. (Nichols) Dove, daughter of John Nichols and Margaret (?), b. Dec. 1825 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, d. 25 May 1904 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Rev. I. E. Bill and Isabella had five children born in Billtown, and the eldest son died whilst a student at Acadia, and the youngest son went on to become a Baptist minister, too.

See my blog post on Sept. 1, 2009 for a continuation of this line through Rev. Bill’s son, the music Professor Caleb Rand Bill (not to be confused with his cousin, the Canadian Senator Caleb Rand Bill.)


To City/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tracing your Minister Ancestors", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 15, 2009, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/09/tracing-your-minister-ancestors.html: accessed [access date]). 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Parker and Kimballs of Londonderry

Reverend Parker Road is located off Shasta,
not too far from the Parker cellar holes
in the Musquash Conservation Area

Kimball Road is located up near the Londonderry Golf Course,
abutting Musquash Conservation Land
This story was inspired by the post "The Historic Musquash" by Kathy Wagner at the Londonderry website http://www.londonderrynh.net/?p=12227   on August 4, 2009.

The Rev. Edward Parker wrote the “History of Londonderry”, which was published posthumously in 1851 by his son, Edward P. Parker. A lot has changed since those times, as you can tell from the posting on August 4, 2009 at http://www.londonderrynh.net/ by Kathy Wagner, about the Parker cellar holes in the Musquash Conservation Area. It is hard to imagine that this thickly wooded part of Londonderry was once cleared as farmland, but early photographs of Londonderry show it was almost completely denuded of trees. The reforesting of New Hampshire is perhaps the most interesting thing to happen here since the 1920’s, besides the near quadrupling of our population.

However, upon Googling the Parker names I found that Kathy Wagner had also published a story about the Parker cellar holes at historiclondonderry.com, which is a test site. In this story she mentions the Kimball family previously owning the land. The Reverend Parker’s wife was Mehitable Kimball, part of a very large extended family in Rockingham County, New Hampshire and Essex County, Massachusetts. This family was founded by Richard Kimball and his wife, Ursula Scott, who settled in Watertown and then at Ipswich, Massachusetts. Richard and Ursula are in my family tree, so it was easy to find the link to Londonderry from this clue.

Being a popular name, there are many Parker books available, and some unrelated Parker families in Middlesex County can make sorting out the Parkers very confusing. The Parker family tree can be found in the book “Some New Hampshire Descendants of James Parker of Woburn”, written in 1980 by F. N. Craig, and available at the library at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. I found the lineage of Rev. Edward L. Parker on http://www.ancestry.com/ , and the Leach Library in Londonderry has free access to this website, which usually requires a subscription.

The Kimball family tree can be found in the book, “History of the Kimball Family in America, from 1634 to 1897” written in 1897 by Leonard Allison Morrison and Stephen Paschall Sharples. The family tree has been traced back to the 1300s, about three hundred years before Richard and Ursula arrived in America. The NEHGS library in Boston has 57 books about Kimballs on its shelves, and more in the manuscripts and books about allied families. Leonard Allison Morrison also wrote books about the Armstrong family of Windham, the Dinsmoors of Nutfield, and the Morrisons of Londonderry. The Kimball family tree is also on line at http://www.kimballfamily.com/ which is run by the Kimball Family Association.

The Kimball Family Association is having its annual reunion on Sept. 19th, 2009 in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Please see the website for more information.

Parker Lineage:

Gen. 1. John Parker, born about 1585 in Great Burstead, England and died after 1630 in Massachusetts; married to Anna or Joanna (?)

Gen. 2. Captain James Parker, born about 1617 in England and died about 12 Jul. 1700 in Groton, Massachusetts; married on 23 May 1643 in Woburn, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Long, daughter of Robert Long and Sarah Taylor, born about 1621 in Hertfordshire, England, and died about 1691 in Woburn.

Gen. 3. Josiah Parker, born about 1655 in Groton, and died on 26 Jul. 1731 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; married on 8 May 1678 in Chelmsford to Elizabeth Saxton, daughter of Thomas Saxton and Ann Copp, born on 8 Jun. 1661 in Groton, died on 12 Dec 1766 in Groton.

Gen. 4. Rev. Thomas Parker, born Dec. 1700 in Groton, died on 18 Mar 1765 in Dracut; married on 1 Jan 1719/20 in Chelmsford to Lydia Richardson, daughter of Jonathan Richardson and Elizabeth Bates, born on 14 Jul 1702 in Groton, and died on 25 Sep. 1787 in Dracut. Rev. Thomas Parker was the pastor at Dracut for 44 years. Reverend Parker graduated Harvard College in 1718.

Gen. 5. Dr. Jonathan Parker, born on 17 Jul 1743 in Dracut, died in 24 Sep. 1791 in Litchfield; married on 11 Apr. 1767 in Kingston, New Hampshire to Dorothy (Dolly) Coffin, daughter of Peter Coffin and Dorothy Gookin, born on 21 Mar 1744/45. Dr. Jonathan Parker graduated Harvard College in 1762. They had ten children, including a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Abishai Alden on 11 Oct 1833. Abishai was a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins- both Mayflower passengers. Edward L. Parker was the youngest child.

Gen. 6. Rev. Edward Lutwyche Parker, born on 28 Jul. 1785 in Litchfield, and died 14 Jul. 1850 in Derry; married 1811 to Mehitable Kimball, daughter of Stephen Kimball and Betty Wilson of Hanover, born on 25 Jan. 1782 in Concord, New Hampshire. Reverend Edward L. Parker graduated Dartmouth College, and he was ordained in 1810. His interesting name was from Edward Goldstone Lutwyche, who lived in Merrimack, New Hampshire yet fled to Halifax, Nova Scotia during the Revolution as a loyalist. He was a good neighbor, who never returned to New Hampshire, but was well loved by the people of this area. His property in Merrimack was confiscated, but was known as “Lutwyche’s Ferry” for many years. Children: Caroline, Harriet, Edward Pinkerton, Charles and Frank

Kimball Family lineage:

Gen. 1. Richard Kimball and Ursula Scott (my 11x great grandparents). They were married on 23 Oct. 1615 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, England, and traveled to America on the “Elizabeth” in 1634. They settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Gen. 2. Benjamin Kimball, born on 12 May 1637 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and died on 11 Jun. 1696 in Bradford, Massachusetts; married in Apr. 1661 in Salisbury to Mercy Hazeltine, daughter of Robert Hazeltine and Ann Langley, born on 16 Oct. 1642 in Rowley, Massachusetts and died on 5 Jan. 1706/7 in Bradford.

Gen. 3 Richard Kimball, born on 3 Dec. 1664 and died on 10 Jan. 1710/11; married on 6 Sep. 1692 to Mehitable Day, daughter of John Day and Sarah Pingree, born on 26 Jan. 1668/9 in Ipswich, Massachusetts and died on 21 Jan. 1731/2. After Richard’s death, Mehitable remarried to his cousin, another Richard Kimball, son of Thomas Kimball and Mary Smith, her first husband’s cousin. She was the wife of two Richard Kimballs, and had both a son and a step-son named Richard Kimball!

Gen. 4. Stephen Kimball, born on 13 Feb. 1707/8 in Bradford, and died in 1756; married on 6 Dec. 1736 to Hannah Perley of Boxford, Massachusetts. Stephen Kimball was a cordwainer (shoemaker).

Gen. 5. Stephen Kimball, born 30 Oct. 1746 in Bradford, and died 4 Mar 1807 in Hanover, New Hampshire; married Betty Wilson of Exeter, New Hampshire. His children were born in Concord, New Hampshire. Stephen Kimball was a farmer at Bradford, Concord and Hanover, New Hampshire, where he helped to found the Congregational Church at Dartmouth College in 1805.

Gen. 6. Mehitable Kimball married Rev. Edward L. Parker (see above)

This post was also available, with the complete "Memoir for Rev. Edward Lutwyche Parker" by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, from the book “The History of Londonderry, comrising the towns of Derry and Londonderry, N.H.” , published 1851, and transcribed onto the following website


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Parker and Kimballs of Londonderry", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 11, 2009, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/09/parker-and-kimballs-of-londonderry.html: accessed [access date])

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

H. P. Hood, Derry's Famous Milk Man

Chen's Chinese Restaurant in Derry, on Broadway,
originally the Hood Family homestead

The famous Hood's Milk Bottle,
now located at the Children's Museum in Boston
Harvey Perley Hood

My uncle worked for the H. P. Hood Dairy from the 1950s until the 1990s. Uncle Bob lived in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. If you lived there in the 1970s until about 2004 you might remember Bob Wilkinson passing out “Hoodsie” ice creams in the Fourth of July Parade, or supplying the Hoods whipped cream for the Lions “Red, White and Blue Breakfast” on Tuck’s Point. In a strange coincidence, the Hood family owned a large summer mansion in Manchester-by-the-Sea, at the far end of Singing Beach. In an even stranger coincidence, the H. P. Hood blimp crashed into the woods of Manchester-by-the-Sea in 2006, not long after Uncle Bob passed away. But the Hood family is most famous for their dairy farm in Derry, New Hampshire.

Harvey Perley Hood was born in 1823 in Chelsea, Vermont, but removed to Boston to work before starting his dairy business. According to Hood’s archives, Mr. Hood started his dairy in Derry because the country air improved his health. He started the company in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1846, and removed to Derry at the time he married, in 1850. At first he drove his milk to Charlestown by wagon, and then implemented the milk train, which carried the milk twice a day to the Charletown plant, which is still visible off Rt. 93.

The Hood home is now Chen’s Chinese Restaurant, across from the Hoodkroft Golf Course, on East Broadway in Derry. This building is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Hood name is all over Derry; Hood Plaza being where the dairy cows once grazed, and Hood Middle School on Hood Road was named for Gilbert H. Hood, Harvey’s descendant. That land was once a pasture for thousands of dairy cows. Traffic used to stop on Broadway each morning as the cows were moved from one field to another for grazing.

You can see photos of the Hood dairy farms in books such as “Derry Revisited” by Richard Holmes, the Derry town historian, published by Arcadia Published in 2005. You can see exhibits also at the Derry Museum of History http://www.derrymuseum.org/ Derry is no longer home to any dairy production, but Londonderry still reigns as the headquarters of Stonyfield Yogurt http://www.stonyfield.com/

Historic New England has the manuscript collection of the Hood Dairy's business records and other items, please see this link http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/collections-access/collection-object/capobject?refd=CC001

The Hood Family Tree:

Gen. 1. John Hood, b. about 1600 in England, resided in Lynn, Massachusetts, married to Ann (?)

Gen. 2. Richard Hood, b. abt 1625 at Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England, d. 12 Sep. 1695 in Lynn; married about 1653 to Mary Newhall, daughter of Anthony Newhall and Mary White.
Gen. 3. Nathaniel Hood, b. 9 June 1669 at Lynn, d. 30 Oct 1748 at Topsfield, Massachusetts; married on 16 Oct. 1706 at Topsfield to Joanna Dwinnell, daughter of Michael Dwinnell and Mary (?)

Gen. 4. Nathan Hood, b. about 1701 in Topsfield, d. 4 May 1792; married on 6 Mar. 1730/1 in Rowley, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Palmer

Gen. 5. Nathan Hood, b. 10 Jan. 1739/40 in Topsfield, d. 23 Mar. 1772; married on 17 Feb. 1763 to Mary Perkins

Gen. 6. Enos Hood, b. 26 May 1767 at Chelsea, Vermont, d. 23 Apr. 1845 at Salem, Massachusetts; married on 29 Sep. 1791 to Gillen Lane.

Gen. 7. Harvey Hood, b. 1 June 1798 at Chelsea, Vermont, d. 18 Sep. 1879 at Chelsea; married on 23 Sep. 1821 to Rebecca Smith.

Gen. 8. Harvey Perley Hood, b. 6 Jan 1823 at Chelsea, Vermont, d. 17 June 1900 at Derry, New Hampshire; married on 5 May 1850 to Caroline Laura Corwin, daughter of John Corwin and Clarissa Thompson.


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "H. P. Hood, Derry's Famous Milk Man", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 8, 2009, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/09/h-p-hood-derrys-famous-milk-man.html: accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Mass Grave at Monte Costajan

A photo of Moises and Anacleta Rojo with their children,
but Moises's face was pasted in after the Spanish Civil War

The Church of St. Nicolas de Bari,
in the village of Sinovas, Burgos, Spain

A photo of the mass grave found at Monte Costajan,
during excavations near Aranda de Duero

Sometimes modern history can be more interesting than something that happened in the 1600s. And events of the 20th century certainly have more impact on us than the doings of our Mayflower forebears. However, recent history can be painful, and even hard to write about.

My father-in-law was born in Spain, and grew up during the Spanish Civil War. Any civil war is a horrible experience. If you watched Ken Burns’ PBS special, you know the emotions of hearing about brother versus brother, cousin versus cousin, neighbor versus neighbor. This war in Spain was no different, and when my father-in-law was only about four or five years old, in 1936, his father was arrested along with a large group of other men from the area and imprisoned in the wine cellars beneath the town of Aranda de Duero, in Burgos.

When I was first married, we took a trip to Aranda to visit relatives, and it was my first trip to Spain. No one mentioned the civil war, and the extended family took me on a tour of the wine cellars. The farmers in the area, including family members, store the wine beneath the city, and it is a popular tourist attraction. I remember that I barely spoke Spanish, but after a few tastes of wine I was chatting up the grandmother, the aunties and all the cousins! No one seemed to be bothered by the fact that similar wine cellars had been used as prisons during a recent war.

Even on subsequent trips to Spain, and visits with my father-in-law here in New Hampshire, no one spoke about Moises Rojo, the farmer captured during the Spanish Civil War. Over 25 years of marriage, I’ve learned small facts: he was executed and buried in a mass grave, or his wife was still placing flowers in the forest at Monte Costajan where the execution was supposed to take place, or that his son was given to the care of the Jesuit fathers- who took him to South America for an education away from the Civil War. I didn’t even know that Moises’s wife had remarried until we attended her funeral in Madrid in 1998, and she was buried next to the second husband at the Almudena Cemetery.

Later, on trips years later, I was able to trace the Rojo Family back to the mid 1700s with help from parish records from the 11th century church in the village of Sinovas, outside of Aranda de Duero. Cousins would tell us the story about the mass executions during the war, and my husband would translate these for me. Then, about five years ago, when I Googled the words “Monte Costajan” images of the recently uncovered graves appeared on my computer monitor.

81 bodies were found, and the researchers at the University of Burgos had catalogued each one with surprising detail. They measured the approximate height of each man, listed the approximate age, and described the clothing, coins and buttons. Most were wearing the rubber soled cloth shoes still worn by farmers in the area, and were between 20 and 35 years old, except for one boy about 16 years old. Executed by Francists, the head wounds were detailed and the positions of the bodies look, well, like something out of the archeological excavations of an ancient Roman war zone. It’s hard to remember that these men were the fathers and grandfathers of living people.

I’ve heard stories about the silence surrounding this execution. About weddings taking place now and how the old women in the village won’t tell the bride and groom that their grandfathers were on opposite sides of this event. About families that don’t want to help identify the bodies. About families who have moved away from Aranda, away from Burgos, or away from Spain to escape the memories.

As a genealogist I found it hard to understand the silence. I’m hungry for any detail surrounding my family history. However, many decades, many centuries separate me from the uglier details of my family tree. I grew up in the Salem, Massachusetts area, and no relatives ever mentioned the witch trials in our background, even though we are descended of several victims, a judge, a jailor, and many witnesses for and against the accused. I wondered why grandchildren of the witchcraft trial victims would marry grandchildren of those who accused them. Now I realize that this same shameful silence probably existed in Massachusetts in the decades after the witch hysteria. Is this an endless cycle, repeated through the years, and around the world?

In the 1990s someone proposed a plaque for the New Hampshire Statehouse, memorializing the Americans who fought in the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" during the Spanish Civil War. The idea was squelched by those who didn't want to remember that some US citizens were on the Socialist side of the war. The plaque was never installed, and most New Hampshire citizens will never know about our part in in this war in Spain. But my father-in-law remembers being a poor little orphan boy in Spain, getting food from American and Italian foreign soldiers. He did pass along this small part of his story....

The Rojo Family Tree:

Gen. 1. (the records probably go further back in Sinovas, but this is my starting point, many of the previous records disappeared during the Napoleonic Wars) Manuel Rojo b. about 1750 m. Juanna Arauzo in Sinovas, Burgos, Spain.

Gen. 2. Tomas Rojo b. 7 Mar 1783 in Sinovas; married to Narcisa Palomo, daughter of Blas Palomo and Maria Gomez

Gen. 3. Manuel Rojo, b. 27 May 1818 in Sinovas; married on 7 Oct 1844 in Sinovas to Andrea Penacoba, daughter of Eusebio Penacoba and Candida Alameda

Gen. 4. Higinio Rojo b. bef 19 Aug. 1860 in Sinovas; married on 27 Nov. 1884 in Sinovas to Brigida Torres, daughter of Gregorio Torres and Justa Pena

Gen. 5. Moises Rojo, b. 25 Nov. 1902 in Sinovas, executed in 1936 at Monte Costaj├ín, near Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Spain; married to Anacleta Benito in Quemada, Burgos, Spain. Anacleta was the daughter of Gregorio Benito and Jacoba Alvaro, b. on 26 Apr. 1909 in Quemada, d. 30 Dec. 1998 in Aranda de Duero. Moises and Anacleta were my husband’s grandparents.

UPDATE  2013  - Please read about the reburial of the bodies found at Monte Costajan

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Value of Posting Brick Walls on Genealogical Bulletin Boards

My uncle, Joseph G. (Buddy) Allen, in Dordrect, Holland
visiting with Hogerzeil relatives immediately after World War II.

My great grandmother, Florence Etta Hoogerzeil,
born in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1871, daughter of Peter Hoogerzeil, Jr.
The Hoogerzeils of Holland and Massachusetts....

In previous blog posts I’ve mentioned that I’ve been posting on genealogical bulletin boards for more than fifteen years. When all else fails, and you are stuck on finding a clue (we call it a "brick wall") it can be invaluable to post your problem on ancestry.com, rootsweb or anyother on line resource. Sometimes I’ve received answers right away that help me to find the clues for primary sources to prove a lineage, and sometimes it takes years for someone to reply. Some brick walls postings are still waiting for the right person to read them. I’m sure that someday most of my mysteries will be solved, and I’m willing to wait.

In August 2009 I wrote about how a posting on a Batchelder family bulletin board lead to someone mailing me an account book for a farmer in Chichester, New Hampshire. In July 2009 I wrote how the curator of Washington Place in Honolulu, Hawaii (now the Governor’s residence) sent me copies of letters to help prove a mysterious family myth. About ten years ago someone in the Netherlands helped me to make a connection between a sailor in Beverly, Massachusetts to a sea-faring family in Dordrecht, Holland. This will be the story of my Hoogerzeil ancestors.

Erik Kon, a researcher in the Netherlands, saw a posting I made on line about Peter Hoogerzeil of Beverly, Massachusetts of “Dort, Holland.” He had been doing research on the Hogerzeil family, which stretched back to the 1600s as a family of whalers and sea captains. It turned out that the surname “Hogerzeil” was a completely made up name by Captain Ocker Bruins Hoogerseijl. Traditionally in Holland, the names were patronymics. Captain Ocker Bruin’s son Michiel should have been named Michiel Ockers, but they broke tradition by using the name “Hoogerseijl” [high sails] in honor of the family occupation. Thus, as far as we can now tell, anyone in the world with the name Hogerszeil/Hoogerzeil or its variations are members of this same family.

Previously, all I knew was that Peter Hoogerzeil had been a young stowaway, on a ship full of hemp from Rotterdam, bound for the ropeworks at Salem, Massachusetts. He must have charmed the captain of the ship, because he ended up marrying his daughter! The census records at Beverly list him as a mariner, caulker and engraver. Peter, Jr., born in Beverly, was also a sailor, and an inventor and owner of a shipping company. My uncle, a grandson of Peter Hoogerzeil, Jr., visited the Hogerzeil’s of Dordrect as a soldier serving in the newly freed Netherlands immediately following World War II.

With Erik’s help, I’ve put together a lineage for this family, which shows how the Beverly, Massachusetts Hoogerzeils came to America. All this would never have been possible without one little posting on a bulletin board!

The Hoogerzeil/Hogerzeil Lineage:

Gen. 1. Arijen Bruynen married to Aeltie Jacobs.

Gen. 2. Bruin Arijens, d. before Aug. 1667; married to Annetje Ockers, daughter of Ocker Joppense Stierman and Neeltie Gerrits.

Gen. 3. Ocker Bruins Hoogerseijl, b. 18 Oct. 1663 at Krimpen aan de Lek, Holland, d. 27 Jan 1748/9 at Krimpen aan de Lak; married in 1695 to Lijbeth van’t Hof. Ocker Hoogerseijl was the commander of a whaling ship from 1720 to 1730.

Gen. 4. Michiel Ockers Hogerzeijl, b. 18 Jul 1696, d. 25 May 1779 at Krimpen aan de Lek, Holland; married on 25 Jan 1738/9 at Dordrect, Holland to Lijbeth Schouten, daughter of Simons Jans Shouten and Agnietje Engeldr van Thiel. Michiel Ockers Hogerzeijl was the captain of a whaling ship from 1729 to 1759.

Gen. 5. Simon Machielszoon Hoogerzeijl, b. 2 Jun 1743 at Krimpen aan de Lek, Holland, d. 24 Feb. 1814 at Dordrecht, Holland; married on 30 Sep. 1764 at Krimpen aan de Lek to Anna Ooms, daughter of Adam Adriaans Ooms and Anna van der Ham. Simon Hoogerzeijl was the captain of a whaling ship from 1771 to 1802.

Gen. 6. Simon Hogerseijl, b. 7 Jul 1776 at Neiuwpoort, Holland, d. 15 May, 1829 at S'Gravendeel, Holland; married on 5 Sep. 1799 at Dordrecht to Lissa Van Epenhuizen, daughter of Pieter Van Epenhuizen and Margrieta Koolhallder.  Simon was also a captain of a whaling ship.  

Gen. 7. Peter Hoogerzeil, b. 28 Oct 1803 at Dordrect, d. 12 May 1889 at Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 30 Dec. 1828 at Beverly to Eunice Stone, daughter of Capt. Josiah Stone and Susanna Hix. Peter and Susanna had six children, all born in Beverly, and they are my 3x great grandparents.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

John Lennox, Innkeeper at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

The Lennox Inn, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Today's Innkeeper, Robert Cram, and the tavern room

The house across the street, where John Lennox actually lived....

The Lennox Inn, a bed and breakfast, is located at 69 Fox Street in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Lunenburg is a pretty town on the coast, famous for being the berth of the “Bluenose” schooner, found on the Canadian dime. The United Nations has designated the entire town of Lunenburg as a World Heritage Site. The Lennox Inn is the oldest continuously operating inn in Canada, built in 1791 by John Lennox, a Scots immigrant. There is some evidence that it was built by Andreas Jung, and sold to Mr. Lennox for a tavern. This must have caused some concern, for the Lutheran church is still located directly across the street.

From the website http://www.lenoxinn.com/ you can see that this historic building has been lovingly restored and preserved, saved from demolition in 1991 by the current owner, Robert Cram. It is a step back in time to visit or stay here.

John Lennox was born about 1765 in Scotland, and he died on 1 Oct. 1817 in Lunenburg. He married Ann Margaret, the daughter of German immigrants, on 19 Mar. 1797 at St. John’s Anglican Church. Their first child, Ann Barbara, was born several years previous to the wedding. His will left property to his wife, Anna Margaret (Schupp), son William and daughters Anna Barbara, Isabella, Sarah and Lucy, omitting son Louis.

In one of the four large upstairs guest rooms, the name of John Lennox was uncovered on a pine panel. This pencil autograph is still visible above the fireplace. Robert Cram also found a receipt for wine and rum, complete with John Lennox’s name, between the floor joists of the attic during the restoration. The first floor of the Inn is set up for daily breakfast, but the original tavern can be imagined since the wooden bar is still installed in one corner. It still has the wooden cage over the bar, just like one I once saw at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Several years ago we planned a family vacation to Nova Scotia, and I was excited to book two nights at the Lennox Inn. We were the only occupants, so at night it was spooky to hear the creaking and groaning of the old building, and we half expected to see the ghost of our ancestor, John Lennox. Innkeeper Cram assured me that John Lennox probably never lived there in the Inn, because his personal residence was across the street in a smaller house.

Flagon and Trencher Society - for descendants of Colonial innkeepers  http://www.flagonandtrencher.org

The LENNOX lineage:

Gen. 1. John Lennox b. about 1765 in Scotland, d. 1 Oct. 1817 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; married on 19 Mar 1797 at St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg to Ann Margareta Schupp, daughter of Johan Justinas Schupp and Anna Margareta Finck, b. 18 Sep 1773 in Lunenburg.

  • 1. Ann Barbara, b. 30 Dec. 1793 in Lunenburg; married about 24 Aug. 1813 in Lunenburg to Thomas Humphreville Chamberlain.
    2. William Lennox, b. 8 Jun 1799 in Lunenburg, d. 15 Apr. 1822 in Lunenburg
    3. Louis Lennox, (not mentioned in his father’s will) b. 1 Jun. 1801 in Lunenburg, d. 14 Jul 1901 in Lunenburg
    4. Isabella Lennox, b. 7 Oct 1803 in Lunenburg; married on 25 May 1830 at the Zion Lutheran Church, Lunenburg to Caspar Arenberg
    5. Sarah Elizabeth Lennox, b. 16 Feb. 1805 in Lunenburg; married to Bremner Frederick Bollman.
    6. Lucy Catherine Lennox, b. 14 Mar 1807 in Lunenburg, d. 13 Dec. 1869 in Lunenburg; married to George Oxner.

Gen. 2. Bremner Frederick Bollman and Sarah Elizabeth Lennox. He was the son of Dr. Johann Daniel Bollman and Jane Bremner. Dr. Bollman was a surgeon from Hammersleben, Saxony, Germany, who arrived in the New World as a Hessian mercenary serving under Baron Riedesel’s Regiment. He settled in Lunenburg, a mostly German town. Jane Bremner was the daughter of Scots immigrants Robert and Margaret (Stewart) Bremner. Bremener Frederick Bollman was born on 25 Feb. 1802 and died on 15 Dec 1838 in Lunenburg. Sarah remarried to Martin Ernst.

  • 1. Jane Sarah Bollman, b. 9 May 1833 in Lunenburg; married on 26 Jan. 1850 at St. James Anglican Church in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia to George James Lowe.
    2. Ann Margaret Bollman, b. 11 Sep 1835 in Lunenburg; married Caleb Rand Bill on 7 June. 1858 in Lunenburg.
    3. James Daniel Bollman, b. 11 Jun 1836 in Lunenburg
Gen. 3. Ann Margaret Bollman and Caleb Rand Bill. An excerpt was found in the Diary of Adolphus Gaetz of Lunenburg: June 1858 Monday 7th- "Married at 12 o'clock noon, at the house of Mrs. Trider, under whose care the Bride had been brought up, Mr. C. R. Bill, formerly at teacher of vocal music in this place, to Miss Annie Bolman, daughter of the late Bremner Bolman. At 2 o'clock the married couple started on their way to New Brunswick, they were escorted as far as Mahone Bay by several young men and maidens who had been at the wedding. The above were married by the father of the Groom, Rev'd I. E. Bill, baptist preacher, at St. John, New Brunswick, who came here for the purpose." Caleb Bill was a music professor, and he and his bride lived at St. John’s, New Brunswick; Houlton, Maine; Watertown, Massachusetts and Salem, Massachusetts. They had nine children, all musically talented. Professor Bill and his wife, Annie, were my great, great grandparents.

The URL for this post is
Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo