Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blog Caroling - Christmas in Boston

I first heard this song several years ago when my daughter was rowing for the Simmons Crew team. I was driving several team members home from Thanksgiving at our house in New Hampshire, and we heard this song on WODS radio. I almost drove off the Zakim Bridge because it made my glasses steam up with emotion.

Later I found out that the songwriter, James Melody, wrote the song when he was homesick for Boston whilst in New York City. Even the tune sounds like a Ballad written by Massachusetts's own James Taylor. I'll print the lyrics below, but you'll have to imagine the tune.... To me, Christmas in Boston is very special. It reminds me of softly falling snow and gaslit cobblestone streets. It reminds me of the bells ringing at the Old North Church. It reminds me of my college years in Harvard Square and shopping in the slush. Now my daughter is living in Back Bay, enjoying Christmas in her fourth floor starving artist garret- and I'm so jealous!

Christmas In Boston

Fa la la la La la la
Fa la la la La la la

Skating in circles on Boston Common
There maybe four seasons
But tonight it’s snow
The ducks are lined up outside the Public Garden
They’re getting excited to see the show

Through the clouds, a sleigh was sighted
As traffic crawled through town
In the air were reindeer flying
Guess who’s back in town

Ho ho ho
And fa la la
It’s a Massachusetts Christmas
Wherever you are
Fa la la and ho ho Holy night
It’s Christmas in Boston tonight

There’s wise men in Cambridge
Angels at Mass General
Mary and Joseph will do just fine
A star in the heavens
Gabriel’s sonnet
Good news for Boston
And all mankind

And In the air the snow kept falling
A peaceful melody
Joy and cheer on our toboggan
You could hear the people sing

Ho ho ho
And fa la la
It’s a Massachusetts Christmas
Wherever you are
Fa la la and ho ho Holy night
It’s Christmas in Boston tonight

A Blogging Connection!

A package arrived in the mail last month from the Cogswell Family Association, along with a very nice letter and a copy of their latest newsletter. This journal is published three times a year, and it was filled with news, stories, photos and histories. I help edit the New Hampshire Mayflower Society newsletter, but our little journal is not much compared to this valuable little gem. Malcolm Cogswell sent me this nice package; he is the editor of the newsletter. He had read my blog posting in November about the shipwreck of the “Angel Gabriel” and thus sent me the journal, and some more information about the shipwreck, as well as an invitation by the Cogswell Family Historian to add my lineage to their data base.

I thought this was not only an extremely kind gesture, but it was also evidence of the power of blogging about genealogy. Previously I had relied on sending snail mail or email to the folks who had genealogical websites, or perhaps posting information and brickwall conundrums on genealogical bulletin boards. I usually found distant cousin relationships, good clues to expand the family tree, and sometimes brickwall breakthroughs- but they often took many months or sometimes many years to receive answers. This is one of the fastest replies I have ever had to good genealogical information!

Malcolm sent me the April 2008 issue, which had some updated information on the shipwreck of the “Angel Gabriel” in Pemaquid, Maine on August 15, 1635. The hurricane which caused the disaster is thought to be a strong Category 4 hurricane, according to a recent analysis by the Atmospheric Oceanic Meteorological Laboratory. It also caused severe damage at Plymouth (houses blown down), and at Dorchester (from accounts by John Winthrop). It was the same storm that sank the “Watch and Wait” and shipwrecked Anthony Thacher and his wife on the island off Gloucester still known today as Thacher’s Island. It was a storm that touched the lives of many New Englanders, from Massachusetts to Maine.

See my blog about the shipwreck here.

Thanks to Malcolm Cogswell and the Cogswell Family Association!

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Order of the First Families of New Hampshire

A new lineage society was founded on October 19, 2009, The Order of the First Families of New Hampshire. Their purpose and objectives are explained at a new website at and membership is being extended to anyone “aged 18 or older who can document their lineage descent from an ancestor who was a resident, owned land, or was the chief proprietor of a business between 1622 and 1680 within the boundaries of present day New Hampshire.”

The website lists a lengthy list of known residents who resided in New Hampshire prior to 1680, and if you think you have an ancestor not listed, they will be happy to add to the list. There are over 300 names listed (or I would have copied them here!) from Walter Abbott (Portsmouth, 1645) to Thomas Young (Dover, 1669).

Several of the founding officers listed are names I recognize from other lineage societies, such as Judith Haddock Swan (the Corresponding Secretary General), who is currently also the Governor General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants; J. Michael Phelps, who is the Counselor General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants; and Fay Charpentier-Ford, who began the Carpenter Collection at the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) National Library in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Order of the First Families of New Hampshire also has a presence at Facebook, so you can look up more information and join discussions at this site. You can link to the website from Facebook, and send a message to Kimberly Nagy, the registrar, for a membership application.

Order of the First Families of New Hampshire website

UDATED  5 May 2023
New URL for the First Families of New Hampshire  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Order of the First Families of New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 15, 2009, ( accessed [access date]). 

Pinkertons Buried at Valley Cemetery, Londonderry

I recently received a request from "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness" to photograph a Pinkerton tombstone at the Valley Cemetery in Londonderry. I went ahead and photographed all the Pinkertons I could find, and I have kept them on file. I thought I would show a few here, and if anyone is interested in another Pinkerton family gravestone, please contact me for a copy of a photo. There were over 20 different Pinkerton stones here at the Valley Cemetery, as well as various other siblings, cousins, etc. who married into other Londonderry families.


Ensign John Pinkerton, d. 1821

James, son of John and Mary, d. 1803

Children of Deacon John Pinkerson and Mary,
Jedediah, d. 1799 and Sarah, d. 1818

Elder John Pinkerton, d. 1829
his daughter, Eliza Dickey, d. 1825 at Constable, NY

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent Calendar- Holiday Travel to Spain

Three generations at Plaza Mayor, Madrid

My husband is the only member of his family in the United States. Everyone else lives in Madrid, Spain- parents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Every few years we travel to Madrid from New Hampshire, to celebrate the holidays, and the first time we did this I had only been married about five months! It was my first Christmas away from New England, and yes, I was terribly homesick. But I quickly learned that in most of the world Christmas goes on without snow, presents or Santa Claus. Actually, I love a Christmas that was just church, family and a traditional dinner, especially if that dinner is Spanish food!

In Spain, Christmas starts at Christmas and goes on until January 6th, which is the twelve days we sing about here, but seeem to forget about. In that time period the special days are Christmas Eve, Christmas, the feast of the innocents (the day Herod slew the babies, but it's celebrated with costumes and tricks, like Halloween), New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Three Kings Day. It's a two week period of parties, family and lots fun!

New Year's Eve in Madrid

When my daughter was little we used to bring her Christmas stocking to Madrid, so we could have Santa, and then stay long enough for her to have presents from the Three King's, too, which is the day the children in Spain recieve their gifts on January 6th. She had the best of both worlds that way! She learned Spanish Christmas carols and to enjoy lamb for Christmas dinner, with tapas at the pub in the afternoon. She grew up learning a traditional New England Christmas and what it was like in Europe, too. The best part of all this was that she got to meet her great grandparents, who have all passed away since then, and I hope she will always remember those Christmases when we were four generations together.

Please see my post on December 2, 2009 for a recipe for Three King's Cake.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Calendar - The Christmas Book Tradition

In our house, very often the first Christmas decoration would be the Advent calendar, and this would signal my daughter to run to the bookshelf to grab all the Christmas books. We clean off the coffee table and pile them all up. We read them at night, often aloud to each other, right up until Christmas, or, as you might know, all the way up until January 6th (Twelfth Night? Epiphany? Three Kings Day? “Fiesta de los Reyes?”)

We’ve gathered quite a pile of Christmas books over the years, and I don’t think I’ve bought a single one of them. They’ve all been given as gifts, with a Christmas theme. You probably own some of them, too! Try putting them all in a pile by the Christmas tree, or by that big, comfy chair by the fireplace and see if you can start a new holiday tradition.

Some of our Christmas books are old, like a copy of Seuss’s “Grinch” from when I was a girl, as well as my old copy of the “Night before Christmas” which we always save for Christmas Eve. My grandmother had given me a picture book of Norman Vincent’s Peale’s nativity story, too, and I cherish it because she had carefully cut out an angel from a Christmas greeting card for a bookplate, and signed it “To Heather, from Grammy and Papa, 1968.”

There is one book that I could never read without weeping. It’s an illustrated version of Laura Ingalls Wilders’ tale of the night Mr. Edwards brought the Ingalls girls their gifts from Santa. This is the story of how he bravely crossed the prairie, and a raging flood, to bring them their simple gifts of a tin cup, a peppermint stick and a penny. Another weeper is the “Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. I’m fogging up my glasses now just thinking about them!

Do you remember that “Gnomes” book from the 1980s? I’ve got one of the originals. “The Christmas Box” was a best seller in the 1990s. These are mingled with several versions of “Rudolph” and the “Nutcracker.” Up here in New Hampshire, our Tomi De Paola has made several Christmas picture books. The Befana story and “The Clown of God” are among his best holiday classics.

There are lots of classic children’s books in our pile. We have a picture book from my secret Santa at my college dorm- the illustrated version of the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” complete with the background history of the newspaper editorial. We have an illustrated “Christmas Carol” by Dickens, and “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg. There is even “The Jolly Christmas Postman” pop up from when my daughter was a toddler, and a Narnia advent calendar we reuse every year. Both of these have survived years of little fingers opening doors and pulling tabs.

I’m a book lover, but I seldom reread most of my books. However, these books have been read and reread every winter for many, many years. The best part is turning off the TV and reading them aloud together. Some go back to my childhood, and others are modern classics. I’m sure that you remember every story I mentioned above, and my pile of Christmas books contains many more. I invite you to grab a Christmas book and start reading…

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Samuel Eliot Morison’s Nutfield Connection

My daughter lives in Back Bay, Boston. It’s a lovely neighborhood for walking, and my favorite section has always been the Commonwealth Mall. It’s a green oasis in the city, a long avenue divided by a green park dotted with statuary of famous Bostonians. I had never examined these statues up close until recently, when I noticed that all the statues seemed to be literary figures. One of my favorite statues is that of Samuel Eliot Morison.

Morison was a famous Boston Brahmin, an Admiral, and most famously, a Harvard professor of history. However, his statue shows him wearing casual clothing, perched on the edge of a rock in a pose that looks as if he were gazing out to sea. Since he was very famous for his books on maritime history, it seems appropriate. His most famous books were about New Hampshire’s own John Paul Jones (John Paul Jones, 1960), the 1952 edition of the Mayflower Pilgrims,  and Christopher Columbus (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, 1943). He was a sailor, as well as a scholar, and earned two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Being very outspoken and fairly old fashioned for the twentieth century, he was criticized for justifying slavery, and parents often boycotted some of the textbooks he co-authored. The elementary schoolbook “Growth of the American Republic” was criticized since its first publication in 1944, but changes were not made to its racial distortions until 1962. Morison is also well known for being the last professor to ride a horse to the Harvard campus. FDR was so impressed with his book on Columbus that he allowed Morison to join the Navy as a historian, where he wrote his fifteen volume set “History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II”. I supposed this was equivalent to today’s “embedded journalists” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I began to wonder about the name Morison when examining the statue, and since Londonderry has a plethora of Morrisons in its history, I soon found a match in the good professor’s family tree. He was indeed a descendant of some of the original Nutfield settlers, and also a descendant of U. S. Senator Harrison Otis Gray, of Boston.

The Morison lineage:

Gen. 1: John Morison born 1628 in Aberdeen, Scotland, died 16 Feb 1736 in Londonderry, New Hampshire; married to Unknown. He immigrated to America between 1720 and 1723 with his brothers James and Halbert, and settled in Nutfield (Londonderry, New Hampshire.) He married secondly to Jeanette Steele.

Gen. 2: John Morison born 1678 in Ireland, died 14 Jun 1776 in Peterborough, New Hampshire; married to Margaret Wallace, born 1687, died 18 April 1769.

Gen. 3: Thomas Morison, born about 1710 in Ireland, died on 23 November 1797 in Peterborough, New Hampshire; married on 2 October 1739 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts to Mary Smith, born in 1712, died on 29 November 1799.

Gen. 4: Robert Morison, born on 29 November 1744 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, died on 13 February 1826; married to Elizabeth Holmes, daughter of Nathaniel Holmes and Elizabeth Moor, born on 23 June 1754 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, died on 17 May 1808 in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Gen. 5: Nathaniel Morison, born 9 Oct 1779 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, died 11 September 1819 in Natchez, Mississippi; married on 13 September 1804 to Mary Ann Hopkins, daughter of John Hopkins and Isabella Reid, born 1781 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, died 27 August 1848 in Medina, Michigan.

Gen. 6: Nathaniel Holmes Morison, born 14 Dec 1815 at Peterborough, New Hampshire; married to Sidney Buchanan Browne.

Gen. 7: John Holmes Morison, born Jan 1856 in Baltimore, Maryland, died 1911; married 26 Jun 1886 in Boston to Emily Marshall Eliot, daughter of Samuel Eliot and Emily Marshall Otis, born 14 Feb 1857 at Roxbury, Massachusetts, died in 1925.

Gen. 8: Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, born 9 July 1887 at Boston, Massachusetts, died 15 May 1976; married to Elizabeth Shaw Greene, and second to Priscilla B. Shekelford.


Several other books by Samuel Eliot Morison:

“The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, Federalist”, 1765–1848 (1913)
“The Story of Mount Desert Island” (1960)
“Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647” editor (1952)
“Samuel De Champlain: Father of New France” (1972)

For more information:

“The History of the Morison or Morrison Family,“ by Leonard Allison Morrison and Frederick William Thomas, Boston, Mass: A. Williams & Co, 1880.

The URL for this post is

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Samuel Eliot Morison's Nutfield Connection", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 10, 2009, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Flying Santa- Edward Rowe Snow

Last year I saw a TV newscast about the work of Edward Rowe Snow and the Flying Santa program in New England. It was a service provided by Wiggins Airways, and every time I pass by the Manchester Airport and see the Wiggins sign, I think of the Flying Santas – even in the heat of summer!

Since colonial times the New England lighthouses were manned by families, and in 1929 William Wincapaw started a tradition of dropping presents from Santa from planes to children of lighthouse keepers. In the footage I saw on the television special, most of these lighthouses were on isolated islands or other inaccessible points of land. Over the years the program was expanded to more lighthouses and Coast Guard stations. Edward Rowe Snow participated in the program for more than forty years as a pilot.

Edward Rowe Snow is a familiar name to New England Yankees. He attended Harvard, and studied under historian Samuel Eliot Morrison, who was a maritime expert. Snow wrote over 100 books on the maritime history of New England, with subjects as wide as pirates to ship wrecks. There is a boat named for him plying the waters of Boston Harbor, and providing ferry service to George’s Island and the state parks. He was a driving force behind saving Fort Warren, on George’s Island as part of the state park system. He led ghost story tours of the Civil War fort, and used to tell the story of the “Lady in Black”, which I think of every time we are in the dark tunnels there!

Snow served as a Flying Santa from 1936 to 1980, and some years he brought his little girl, Dolly, along for the rides to help drop the packages to the children waiting below. She loved to see the faces of the island children when her father buzzed the lighthouses. When a memorial to Snow was established in 2000, a granite marker was placed at the pavilion for tourists on George’s Island, and the plaque reads “Author, historian, and ‘Flying Santa’ to lighthouse keepers, Edward Rowe Snow was the president of the Society for the Preservation of Fort Warren and led the fight to preserve the fort as a public park. The presence of Edward and his wife, Anna-Myrle, will always be felt on George’s Island.” Dolly Snow Bicknell, his daughter, was part of the memorial committee.

At the dedication of the memorial marker Seamond Ponsart Roberts read a letter about how when she was little, Snow dropped a gift from Santa on Cuttyhunk Island, where her father was lighthouse keeper. Inside the package, the doll broke during the fall from the plane. The next year Snow personally rented a helicopter and handed her a new doll. She wrote, “He is my Flying Santa, a man I’ll love forever. I know this because I know he cared very much for people and gave of himself. I hope this will be a big part of what people remember him for when they see this monument to Edward Rowe Snow.”

Eventually, lighthouses became automated and children were no longer living on the isolated islands off New England. Now helicopters provide the flights as a tradition to Coast Guard stations as a gift of thanks for the work performed by these brave men and women. Edward Rowe Snow’s tradition is still alive, and being carried on by George Morgan and the Friends of the Flying Santa.

I learned about Edward Rowe Snow because I had a Civil War ancestor who served six months as a guard at Fort Warren on George’s Island, when it was a prisoner of war camp. We enjoyed several Civil War reenactments and encampments on George’s Island, and my daughter (she is now 22 years old!) used to love exploring the tunnels of Fort Warren and searching for the Lady in Black when she was little. Only later did I find out that one of my favorite historians was also the “Flying Santa!”

Also, when you visit the Boston Harbor islands, you are onboard a ferry named "The Edward Rowe Snow"!

A Mayflower Lineage:                 (Updated and corrected 19 September 2014)

Gen 1: Nicholas Snow, born 25 January 1598 in England, died 15 November 1676; married to Constance Hopkins, daughter of Mayflower Passenger Stephen Hopkins and Constance Dudley, born before 11 May 1606 and died October 1677.

Gen 2: John Snow, born about 1638 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, died 1692 in Eastham, Massachusetts; married 19 September 1667 to Mary Smalley, born 1647.

Gen. 3: John Snow, born 3 May 1678; married to Elizabeth Ridley

Gen 4: Isaac Snow, born 11 February 1713/4 in Eastham, died 15 February 1799; married to Apphia Atwood

Gen 5: Reverend Elisha Snow, born 26 March 1739, died 30 January 1832; married on 6 December 1759 at Cape Elizabeth, Maine to Betsey Jordan.

Gen. 6: Elisha Snow, born 29 May 1769, died 20 January 1843;  married Nancy McKown as his second wife.

Gen. 7: Larkin Snow, born 27 September 1799 in Maine, died on 19 October 1861; married Alice Small

Gen. 8: George L. Snow, born in 1828 in Rockland, Maine, died 1891 in Rockland; married to Lucy Ann Snow (also descended from Nicolas Snow, common line through Isaac Snow (above), she descended from Elisha's (1739 -1832) brother Robert- so they were 2nd cousins).

Gen. 9. Edward Sumpter Snow, born 26 April 1861 in Rockland, Maine  and Alice Rowe

Gen. 9: Edward Rowe Snow, born 22 August 1902 in Winthrop, Massachusetts, died 10 April 1982; married on 8 July 1932 to Anna-Myrl Haegg. One daughter, Dorothy (Dolly) Caroline Snow. He is buried in Marshfield, Plymouth County, Massachusetts and his grave can be seen at #7295384 Snow’s gravestone is beautifully engraved with a lighthouse!


For more information:
The History of the Flying Santa program (including a cute photo of little Seamond Ponsart and Santa Snow!)  
This article from the archives of ‘Lighthouse Digest’ has the letter from Seamond Ponsart Roberts.   
Historic Nantucket Magazine, from the Nantucket Historical Association, Winter 2008, Volume 57, No. 1, page 18, an article entitled “Flying Santa: Edward Rowe Snow and the Romance of History”
Santa tells about the Flying Santa Program  
A story written by Seamond Ponsart Roberts herself about her beloved Santa Snow


To Cite/Link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Flying Santa - Edward Rowe Snow", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 9, 2009, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas in Hawai'i 1858

A recent Christmas Tree at
Washington Place, Honolulu
My great aunt (sister to my 4x great grandmother) was Mary Lambert Jones. She was born in Boston in 1803, married a sea captain, and removed to Chittenango, New York where her children were born. On April 23, 1837, aboard the bark “Jones” she arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii with her husband, Captain John Dominis, and their little boy, John Owen Dominis. They had left two daughters in New York at school. Her brother-in-law, Robert W. Holt preceded her to Hawaii, but her sister, Ann Marie, had died in Boston, and her own two young daughters died in New York before joining up with the rest of the family.

Captain Dominis was a trader who had traveled from Europe to North America, from Alaska, and to China. He wanted to build the finest house in the Pacific for his wife and family. She wanted a house in the New England style, and he wanted to furnish it with imported pieces from China. Windows, doors and trim work were imported from Boston, from the workshop of a great uncle Enoch Snelling, a North End glazier (married to another Jones sister). In 1846 Capt. Dominis left for a voyage to China to buy her items for the new house, and his ship disappeared. He was never heard from again.

Mrs. Dominis moved into the house in 1847 and, because of her reduced circumstances, she had to rent out rooms to dignitaries and visiting Americans. One boarder, Commissioner Anthony Ten Eyck, suggested the name “Washington Place” for her mansion, since it looked like the first president’s home at Mount Vernon. King Kamehameha III said "it has pleased His Majesty the King to ... command that they retain that name in all time coming." And so the name has remained as Washington Place for Aunt Mary’s house.

In 1862 her son moved his new bride into his mother’s home at Washington Place. Her name was Lydia Kamaka‘eha Paki. After her mother-in-law’s death in 1889, Mrs. John Owen Dominis was also known as Princess Lili’uokalani, who became the Queen and last monarch of Hawai’i in 1891. Washington Place was her home during her monarchy, and since 1921 it has become the home of the Hawaiian Governors. It is now a museum in Honolulu, open to the public for tours.

Washington Place is a much beloved landmark in Honolulu, but it is also famous for being one of the first places where Christmas was celebrated in Hawai’i. The New England missionaries in Hawai’i were descendants of Puritans. In the Calvinist tradition Christmas was not celebrated, especially not with Christmas trees and parties. But Aunt Mary was not a missionary, and she was the daughter of a Welsh immigrant to Boston.  On Christmas Eve in 1858 Mary Dominis brought 100 children to Washington Place to see her Christmas tree and Santa delivered gifts to each child. The Christmas tree was an imported Douglas fir. The children were later sent home and the parents held a grand ball and dinner. The missionaries frowned on her display, but it was the beginning of a Victorian Christmas tradition in Hawaii. Four years later, in 1862, the same year that John Owen Dominis married his royal bride, King Kamehameha IV proclaimed Christmas a national holiday in the Kingdom of Hawai’i. The current curator of Washington Place, Corinne Chun, said that Mary Dominis’s Christmas tree may have been the first Christmas tree in Hawai’i.

In 1863 there was another Victorian era style Christmas celebration at the home of Elizabeth Holt Aldrich, the daughter of Robert W. Holt, and niece of Mary Dominis. It is described in a series of articles written for the Honolulu Star Bulletin named “The Fabulous Holts.” Article number 17 is titled “An Aldrich Christmas” and it outlines how Elizabeth Aldrich had a Christmas tree arranged by building a wooden form and decorating it with maile and fern wreaths. Colored candles, toys and dolls were hung on the tree. There were 18 different dollies dressed in handmade outfits. According to the article “Thirty-eight children and forty adults attended the Aldrich party at 7 p.m. Christmas. The children let out many squeals of delight when the parlor folding doors were opened to display the lighted tree. Elizabeth Aldrich took Puritan Maria Rice to attend Episcopalian Christmas Eve services and the two hour high church service on Christmas day. Maria Rice thought the lighted candles and singing were beautiful.” Maria Rice was the wife of missionary William Harrison Rice who had come to Hawai’i in the ninth missionary company.

I recently received a very fun email from a distant cousin in Hawai’i, a Holt descendant. We were comparing notes on how we celebrated Christmas- she in the warm Pacific and me here in chilly New Hampshire. She said that the cousins and whole family had a large outdoor party, and last year they counted 108 people for dinner, and more arrived for additional celebrating later in the evening. I guess Christmas is a tradition that is still going strong in Hawai’i! Maybe someday I can experience a Hawaiian Christmas!


Jones/Dominis Family Tree

Gen. 1: Owen Jones, born about 1735 in Wales, died 28 February 1798; married to Anne (maiden name unknown) served as a customs inspector for some time in Boston where his daughter, Anne was born in 1769.  My 6th great grandparents.

Gen. 2. Owen Jones, born about 1768 in Wales, died 22 April 1850 in Dorchester, Massachusetts; married on 11 May 1793 at the 2nd Baptist Church in Boston to Elizabeth Lambert, born about 1775 in Boston, died on 6 February 1834 in Boston. Eight children.  My 5th great grandparents.

Gen. 3: Mary Lambert Jones, born 3 August 1803 in Boston, died 25 April 1889 in Honolulu, Hawaii; married on 9 October 1824 in Boston to Captain John Dominis, born in Trieste (now Slovenia) and died in 1846 at sea. Three children.  Mary is my 4th great aunt, sister to my 4th great grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger (about 1799 - 1828).

Gen. 4: Governor John Owen Dominis, born on 10 March 1832 in Chittenango, New York, died on 27 August 1891 at Washington Place, Honolulu, Hawaii; married on 16 September 1862 in Honolulu to Lydia Kamekeha Lili’uokalani, daughter of Caesar Kaluaiku Kapa'akea and Analea Keohokalole, born on 2 September 1838 and died on 11 November 1917 at Washington Place, Honolulu, Hawaii. They had no children. John O. Dominis also had a relationship with Mary Purdy Aimoku, and one son.

Gen. 5: John Owen Aimoku Dominis, born 9 January 1883 in Honolulu, died on 7 July 1917 in Honolulu; married on 27 June 1911 in Honolulu to Sybil Francis McInerny, daughter of Edward Aylett McInerney and Rose Kapuakomela Wond. Three children.



“Hawaiian Annual for 1921” by Thomas G. Thrum, Honolulu, 1920 (see pages 59 – 60 for information on the first Christmas party)

Honolulu Star Bulletin “The Fabulous Holts” (date unknown) Official Website of the Hawai’i Governor’s office  The Washington Place Foundation

See my blog post on July 27, 2009 for more information on the Jones family of Boston

The photo is courtesy of the Hawaiian Star Bulletin, 2002, showing the Christmas Tree at Washington Place for the annual Holiday public tour.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Christmas in Hawai'i 1858", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 7, 2009,  ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reverend William Morrison House

Robert Pothier holds his scale model of the
Reverend Morrison House

Old beams joined with new handmade beams
on the floor of the reconstructed house

Back in 2004 at the Londonderry town meeting, the taxpayers approved $150,000 to dismantle, relocate and reassemble the Reverend William Morrison House. In 2007 it was disassembled from its site on Gilcreast Road and put into storage. Then, this September, 2009, the First Period Colonial renovators of Kingston, New Hampshire, led by Robert L. Pothier, began the painstaking task of reassembling the house originally build in 1725. It is considered to be the oldest house in Londonderry. The house is being erected on the grounds of the Londonderry Historical Society on Pillsbury Road. This two acre parcel was originally owned by Charter David Morrison about 1726.

When the Londonderry Historical Society was started in 1956, it was due to the loss of the Ocean Born Mary House. Mary Wilson’s house was dismantled and removed to --- Rhode Island. The Society realized that Londonderry’s history would continue to be lost if the citizens did not get involved in retaining their heritage. The society has been instrumental in continuing this crusade in the last few years as our barns have been dismantled, and our stone walls have begun to mysteriously disappear.

In July two foundations were dug and poured on the site behind the current Morrison House museum by Domain Development of Londonderry. One is where the Reverend Morrison house is being built, and the other will be for an antique carriage house. Moved from 42 Litchfield Road, the 19th century carriage shed was donated by Jeff Poitras, and has been stored in the Parmenter Barn on the Historical Society grounds. It was part of the Reynolds Homestead, and will house a one-horse carriage, a racing sulky, and a sleigh owned by the Historical Society. The carriage was owned by Benjamin Adams of Derry. Along with the carriage the Molly Reid Chapter of the DAR in Derry also donated a boy’s vest worn by Edmund Adams of Derry/Londonderry.

The Rev. Morrison House will be rebuilt by Pothier from the original beams, only replacing those that are beyond repair. Posts, floors and rafters are being repaired, if possible for the project. Windows and chimneys are expensive to re-create, and the Historical Society is fundraising for the reconstruction. Pothier wants the frame finished by January, when it will be covered for the winter. He has been working up to 48 hours a week on the project.

Mr. Pothier is a very amiable craftsman. I love when people who ply the traditional trades like to stop and explain their craft. He not only carefully explained his renovations, he pulled out a cardboard model he built showing how the house will look when completed. He also had a big notebook bull of photos of other projects similar to the Rev. Morrison house. Soon, he hopes to have all this posted on his website, along with some photos of the current renovation. He carefully documented each individual timber and joint with digital photography.

To see the ongoing project, drop by the property owned by the Historical Society. It is located on Pillsbury Road, in front of the Moose Hill Kindgergarten, behind the Morrison House (the house seen in the title of my blog "Nutfield Genealogy" at the top of this page.)

Morrison Trivia:

1. The Lion’s Hall on Mammoth Road is Rev. William Morrison’s original Meeting House!
2. There are five Morrisons listed on the original Nutfield charter in 1719.
3. Rev. William Morrison is not part of the original Morison families. He was born in Scotland, died March 9, 1818 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He was ordained the minister of the West Parish in 1783 and served for 35 years.

Further Information:

History of Londonderry by Rev. E. L. Parker, 1851

The History of the Morison or Morrison Family by Leonard Allison Morrison, Frederick W. L. Thomas, A. Williams & Co., Boston, Mass: 1880 The website for the restoration company renovating the Rev. Morrison House The website for the Londonderry Historical Society

The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, December 4, 2009

Robert Frost, Derry Resident

The Robert Frost Farm, Derry, NH 

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California, taught school in Massachusetts, and died in Vermont, yet he will forever be loved as a New Hampshire Poet. He lived in New Hampshire between 1895 and 1938. His first book was title “North of Boston” and his fifth book was titled “New Hampshire”. As another nod to his Derry residence, Frost’s eighth book was titled “West Running Brook” after the stream near his farmstead. This fame has caused a collection of things in town to be named “West Running Brook Middle School” or “West Running Brook Lane” besides the actual brook.
There is also a Frost Road nearby, and a restaurant named “Promises to Keep.” 

The land around his farmhouse contains the pasture, country roads and stonewalls found in his poems. Anyone reading Frost’s poetry is reading about Derry, New Hampshire. Despite being born in San Francisco, his roots run deep in New Hampshire. Anyone from Londonderry or Derry would recognize the places his ancestors lived, for they are all within an hour drive of our towns: Wells, Kittery, Andover, Penacook, Kingston, New Castle, etc. 

When Robert Frost returned to his father’s home in Derry, he was returning to his roots. The first Frost of his lineage sailed aboard the Wulfrana from Plimoth, Devonshire, England in June 1634 to arrive at Little Harbor, Maine, and first settled in Kittery. The first few generations of Frosts were merchants, marrying wives from the upper class families such as the Pepperells. Another Frost ancestor married the daughter of a prominent Essex County minister. However, the subsequent Frosts seemed to be farmers, removing from Maine to Massachusetts to eke out a living in our harsh New England climate. 

The poet Frost attended Dartmouth College for only two months, and later attended Harvard College for two years but never finished his degree. At about the time of his marriage his grandfather in Derry died leaving him his farm. It was here that he produced many of the first poems that made him famous. He taught at Pinkerton Academy, before finally removing to Plymouth, New Hampshire to teach at the Normal School (now Plymouth State University.) 

After removing to Scotland and England in he returned to New Hampshire to live in Franconia from 1915. His home in the notch remained a summer house until 1938, but he spent most of this time period teaching in Massachusetts, Vermont and Michigan. In 1940 he bought at home in South Miami, and spent his winters there for the rest of his life instead of in New Hampshire. 

Frost loved to read free form poets such as Ezra Pound, but he only wrote traditional poems with rhyming schemes. However, his love of the New England dialect is reflected in his poetry, and his mother’s Scottish accent can be heard in the rhythms of the poems. My favorite poem “The Pasture Spring” is an unlikely love poem, with the speaker sounding just like my own laconic grandfather. I don’t think I ever heard him say “I love you” but the line “I shan’t be gone long, you come, too” could have been Grampy's voice. 

Robert E. Lee Frost, the Pulitzer Prize winner, receiver of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Poet Laureate of the United States was named after the Southern Confederate General. He taught at Lawrence High School, which was my first teaching job, too! We share a love of writing, residence in Nutfield, and several colonial ancestors... 


Gen. 1. Nicholas Frost, b. 1592 in Tiverton, Devonshire, England, d. 1663; married in Jan 1629/30 to Bertha Cadwalla, b. 14 Feb 1609/10 in Tavistock, Devonshire, England, d. 4 Jul 1650 at Sturgeon Creek, Kittery, Maine. 

Gen. 2. Charles Frost, b. 30 Jul 1631 in Tiverton, d. 4 Jul 1697 in Berwick, Maine; married before 1664 to Mary Bowles, daughter of Joseph Bowles and Mary Howell, b. 4 Jan 1640/1 in Wells, Maine, d. 11 Nov. 1704 in Kittery, Maine. 

Gen. 3. John Frost, b. 1 Mar 1681/2 in Kittery, Maine, d. 25 Feb. 1732/3 in New Castle, New Hampshire; married on 4 Sep. 1702 to Mary Pepperell, daughter of William Pepperell and Margery Bray, b. 3 Sep. 1685 in Kittery, d. 18 Apr 1766. 

Gen. 4. William Frost, b. 20 Aug. 1705 in New Castle, d. 17 Sep. 1778 in New Castle; married 24 Nov. 1750 in Salem, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Prescott, daughter of Benjamin Prescott and Elizabeth Higginson, b. 15 Sep. 1721 in Danvers, Massachusetts, d. 22 Mar 1759 in New Castle. 

Gen. 5. William Frost, b. 15 Nov. 1754 in Andover, Massachusetts, d. 28 Sep. 1836 in Andover; married Dec. 1777 in Danvers, Massachusetts to Sarah Holt, daughter of Reverend Nathan Holt of Danvers and Sarah Abbott, b. 29 Oct. 1758 in Andover, Massachusetts, d. 17 Sep. 1841 in Danvers. 

Gen. 6. Samuel Abbott Frost, b. 11 Jun. 1795 in Andover, d. 11 Jan. 1848 in Brentwood, New Hampshire; married 18 Oct. 1821 in Eden, Maine to Mary Blunt, b. 26 Jun 1787 in Portsmouth, d. 14 Jan. 1875 in Nashua, New Hampshire. 

Gen. 7. William Prescott Frost b. 11 Jul. 1823 in Eden, Maine, d. 10 Jul. 1901; married 27 Sep. 1846 in Kingston to Judith Colcord, daughter of Daniel Colcord and Mary Woodman, b. 23 Jun. 1820 in Kingston, d. 21 Aug. 1893 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. 

Gen. 8. William Prescott Frost, b. 27 Dec. 1850 in Kingston, d. 5 May 1885 in San Francisco, California; married 18 Mar 1874 in Lewistown, Pennsylvania to Isabelle Moody, daughter of Capt. John Moody and Amelia Christie, b. 16 Sep. 1844 in Alloa, Scotland, d. 21 Nov. 1900 in Pennacook, New Hampshire. 

Gen. 9. Robert Edward Lee Frost, b. 26 Mar 1874 in San Francisco, California, d. 29 Jan 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts; married in 1895 to Elinor Miriam White 



 “Frost Family In England and America, with Special Reference to Edmund Frost” by Thomas Gold Frost, Buffalo, Russell Print. Co., 1909 

 And from Gary Boyd Roberts, “Notable Kin: Royal Scions in Northern New England: Some Notable Descendants of Joseph Bolles, Elder William Wentworth, and/or Rev. Samuel Dudley,” NEHGS Nexus 11 (1994): 106. 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Robert Frost, Derry Resident", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 4, 2009, ( accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rev. John Smith Emerson

Missionary from Chester, New Hampshire to Hawaii

The Liliuokalani Church

Many famous New England missionaries voyaged thousands of miles to introduce Christianity to the Hawaiian Islands. Their story was made famous in James Michener’s book “Hawaii” which was made into a classic movie starring Max von Sydow and Julie Andrews as the minister and his wife. Among these missionaries were Hiram Bingham, Levi Chamberlain and Richard Armstrong. Several members of my extended family passed through Hawaii at this time, some staying and some returning to New England, for mission work, captaining trading ships and serving aboard whalers.

My great grandmother was an Emerson, and this family was well known for large numbers of clergymen. From near Nutfield I found Rev. John Smith Emerson of Chester, New Hampshire, who went to Oahu on a mission, and interacted with some of my other distant relatives over his years in Hawaii. He was born in 1800 and was a graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Seminary. He married Ursula Sophia Newell in 1831, after serving for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

The Emersons traveled on the New Bedford whaling ship “Averick” and arrived in Honolulu on 17 May 1832, and their group was known as the Fifth Company of American Missionaries. They served at the Congregational Church at Haleiwa, Waialua, Oahu until 1864. He traveled back to the United States to earn a degree as a medical doctor, and returned to his work with the native Hawaiian people. Over his lifetime he baptized almost 1,200 people. Rev. Emerson is remembered for authoring a Hawaiian English dictionary with Rev. Artemas Bishop.

Ursula Newell
Mrs. Emerson, Ursula, was the typical helpmate of a foreign missionary. I can’t imagine starting married life aboard a ship bound for a faraway Pacific island. Their first church was a grass shack that could hold about 2000 congregants. She attended the sick and served as a teacher. She raised eight children in Hawaii, and the boys were educated in the United States. One son, Nathaniel Bright Emerson, served in the civil war, became a doctor at Harvard Medical School, and returned to Hawaii, with a wife, to work with the leper colonies.

The first missionaries arrived in Hawaii on March 30, 1820, and within two generations 90% of the population was literate. They created a written version of the Hawaiian native language, and published bibles and newspapers for the people. At the Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu, there is the original printing press on display, along with a New England style house that was brought in numbered pieces and re-assembled by the missionary families.

The church the Emerson’s founded is now known as the Queen Liliuokalani Church in Haleiwa, Oahu. It is the third structure on the site built in 1890, after the original grass hut built by the first congregation. Queen Liliuokalani worshiped here when she stayed in Haleiwa, her vacation residence, and the current building was named in her honor. There is a clock on the back wall of the church with the twelve letters of her name on the face in place of the numbers. Reverend and Mrs. Emerson are buried in the churchyard with two of their sons.

The Emerson Genealogy:

Generation 1: Michael Emerson, born 6 April 1627 in Howsham, Cadney, Lincolnshire, England, died on 18 Jul 1709 in Haverhill, Massachusetts; married on 11 April 1657 in Haverhill to Hannah Webster, daughter of John Webster and Mary Shatswell, born 23 December 1635 in Ipswich, Massachusetts and died on 3 February 1706/7.

Generation 2: Jonathan Emerson, born on 9 March 1669/1670 in Haverhill, died on 19 August 1736; married on 15 June 1699 in Haverhill to Hannah Day, born on 16 January 1678/79 in Ipswich.

Generation 3: Samuel Emerson, born on 8 January 1706/7 in Haverhill, died on 26 September 1793 in Chester, New Hampshire; married on 26 November 1754 in Chester to Dolly Sanborn, daughter of Samuel Sanborn and Elizabeth Folsum, born on 3 May 1721 in Kingston, New Hampshire and died on 25 March 1804 in Chester.

Generation 4: John Emerson, born on 13 August 1757 in Chester; married on 25 December 1783 to Elizabeth French, daughter of Nathaniel French and Elizabeth Colcord, born on 10 December 1761 in Chester.

Generation 5: John Smith Emerson, born on 28 February 1800 in Chester, died on 26 March 1867 in Waialua, Oahu, Hawaii; married on 25 October 1831 to Ursula Sophia Newell, daughter of Gad Newell and Sophia Clapp, born on 27 September 1806 in Nelson, New Hampshire and died on 24 November 1888 in Waialua. Eight Children born in Hawaii.



"The pilgrims of Hawaii: their own story of their pilgrimage from New England" by Orramel Hinckley Gulick, Fleming H. Revell company, 1918 The Mission Houses Museum and Library website The website for the Protestant church in Haleiwa, United Church of Christ

The portrait of Ursula Sophia Newell is from


Click on this link to read about my visit to the Lili'uokalani Church in Waialua and the graves of the Emerson family at this link

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar - Three Kings Bread

Three Kings Bread
“Roscon de Reyes”

The foods your family eats at Christmas, or any other holiday, are passed along from family traditions. My husband is from Spain, and I learned about Three Kings Bread on my first married Christmas in Madrid. It’s served on Three Kings Day, which is January 6th (Twelfth Night), the day the children in Spain receive their gifts from the Magi. Traditionally there was no Santa Claus in Spain, and the department stores usually have three thrones for the three kings instead of St. Nick. In Madrid, there is a huge parade the day the Kings arrive, and the children put out a box of hay for the camels, instead of a carrot for Rudolf.

I loved the tradition of the Three Kings Day, so we started celebrating this with my New England Yankee family every January 6th. They all loved it, too, and we always make the Three Kings Bread and have our big family holiday party. It works out well because not only did I marry a Spaniard, my cousin married a wonderful woman from Mexico. If you live in a town with many Mexican immigrants, you might be able to buy a “Roscon de Reyes”, but here in New Hampshire there are no such bakeries! We have had to make our own roscones for parties on January 6th.

This is a photo taken at the 2002 Three Kings Party. We used to celebrate my Dad’s birthday and his brother, Robert’s, birthday at the party because Uncle Robert was a New Year’s baby and Dad’s birthday was January 3rd. I cherish this photo because Dad died later that same year, and Uncle Robert died in 2005. We used the Roscon de Reyes as their birthday cake several times over the years. A Spanish tradition meets up with Yankee ingenuity (or frugality?) We just stuck birthday candles in the roscon and celebrated all the special days in one.

A small prize, usually a porcelain figure of the baby Jesus, is hidden inside the bread. In Madrid, the breads bought in bakeries can have a prize of any porcelain figure- animals, storybook figures, or cartoon characters. In some places, the prize is simply a dried bean! All the kids (and young at heart) want to eat multiple pieces of cake until finally someone finds the prize!

According to differing traditions from different regions, the person who finds the prize in the cake receives an honor such as:

1. King for the Day (make a paper crown and celebrate)
2. Prize finder holds the next party on Candlemas (usually February 2nd)
3. Prize finder pays for the cake!

The following recipe is modified because my recipe is all in Spanish and metric measurements! You can Google many other variations on the recipe, too. While checking out the Google results I learned that the “roscones” originally were circular cakes with surprises inside offered to the God Janus in Roman times (Janus is the origin of our name for the month of January.) Wow, the things you can learn from Google!


Three Kings Bread Recipe
Prep Time: 3 hours, including time for the bread to rise
Cook Time: 30 minutes


• 4 cups unbleached flour
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 pkgs yeast
• 2/3 cup mixed lukewarm milk and water (of equal parts)
• 6 Tbsp butter
• 6 Tbsp sugar
• grated rind of 1 lemon
• grated rind of 1 orange
• raisins and chopped walnuts
• 2 eggs
• 1 Tbsp brandy
• 1 Tbsp water
• 1 egg white, lightly beaten
• candied fruit pieces, cherries, oranges, etc. and nuts


• Sift flour and salt together. Make a hole in the center of the flour.   Stir and dissolve the dry yeast in the lukewarm milk-water mixture.  Once dissolved, pour the dissolved yeast into the center of the flour. Stir in just enough flour from around the bowl to make a thick batter.

• Cover bowl and leave in a warm place, away from any draft. 
• In bowl, use a hand mixer or whisk to beat together the butter and sugar.  Put grated orange and lemon rinds, eggs, brandy and water in flour mixture.  Beat flour mixture until it is elastic and smooth.  Beat in butter-sugar mixture and mix until the dough is smooth.  Add some raisins and walnuts.
• Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.  This will take approximately 1.5 hours. Once dough has doubled, punch dough down.  Knead for 2-3 minutes.

• Grease a large baking sheet with shortening.

• With a rolling pin, roll dough into a long rectangle, 2 feet long.  Then roll the dough on the long side into a sausage shape. Place the dough onto baking sheet and connect the ends together in a ring.

• Cover and leave in a warm place and allow to double in size. This will take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.

• Beat the egg white in a bowl and brush the top of the cake.  Decorate the ring with the candied fruit pieces and nuts.  Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack before serving.  Hide a dry bean or a tiny ceramic figurine in the cake in a small slit on the bottom of the loaf.  Decorate with icing and more fruit and nuts. 

My daughter in Madrid, about 14 years ago, visiting with one of the Three Kings before January 6th. Is it Gazpar, Balthazar or Melchior?

To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Advent Calendar - Three Kings Bread", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 2, 2009, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar- The Christmas Tree

The Allen Family, Hamilton, Massachusetts

This photo was taken in the mid 1950s, judging by the babies and their birthdays. This is my Mom's family in Hamilton, Massachusetts with my Nana's famous tinsel Christmas tree. The large family dwarfs the tree. There were four generations in this photo, my Mom's seven siblings, and lots of memories. We all remember the tinsel, and it was replaced a few years later with one of those silver Christmas trees so famous in the 1960s. Great Aunt Eunice, my grandparents, one aunt and one uncle from this photo have already passed away.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo