Friday, January 29, 2010

George Peabody Merit Scholarship Medals

1879 set of Dickens inscribed by the Peabody Scholarship Committee
Sometimes I Google the names of ancestors and wait to see what happens next. I usually know their vital statistics, such as birth, marriage or death records, and I often know their children, or their parent’s names. However, I want to know the stories that might come up in obscure books or newspapers, or their mentions in town records, annual reports, and church bulletins. You never know what you’ll find.

Imagine my surprise when I found the name of my great grandfather on a list of George Peabody Merit Scholarships recipients in the 1879 graduating class of Peabody High School. George Peabody was a famous resident of Massachusetts, and when South Danvers broke off from Danvers, the citizens named their new town after him- Peabody, Massachusetts.

George Peabody (1795 – 1869) was an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. In 1851 he found a company called “George Peabody and Company”, and later went into business with Junius Spencer Morgan to form “Peabody, Morgan and Company.” Peabody retired in 1864, and firm was renamed “J. S. Morgan” and later “J.P. Morgan” after his son. The international bank JPMorgan Chase traces its roots back to Peabody’s original business. Peabody was the only American ever buried inside Winchester Cathedral in London. He was later re-interred at the Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts. One of his philanthropic ventures was this lasting Scholarship, which is still awarded by the city of Peabody, Massachusetts.

I found a website by the Peabody Public Schools that lists each group of Peabody Scholars. Apparently the first award was in 1855. Albert Munroe Wilkinson, my great grandfather, won the award in 1879. Albert’s elder brother, Robert Henry, was also a recipient in 1873. Robert’s future wife, Eliza Harris Poor, won the scholarship in 1871. In 1885, a cousin named Rosetta Mary Munroe won the medal. Another distant cousin, Alice Hubbard Munroe, won in 1913 and her brother Allan Breed Munroe in 1917. Other Wilkinsons won the award in 1941, 1958, and 1974 (perhaps distant cousins?).

From School Committee Report on Peabody Prizes - "...determined that a suitable medal shall be awarded and presented to every pupil who shall pass three years, - constituting the entire course, - in either of these schools (Peabody and Holten), and whose attendance, deportment, and advancement shall have been uniformly satisfactory to the teachers and committee. The die, from which the medals are to be struck, will soon be completed, and the following individuals, who have accomplished the amount required, will be entitled to a "Peabody Medal," and will receive the same at an early day. It is hoped that each and all, thus favored, will feel a strong and sincere determination to have their subsequent deportment and standing in life such as will do them credit, and thus honor the Peabody Medal and the generous friend to whose liberality and thoughtfulness they are indebted for this act of encouragement. By habits of industry and perseverance, by acts of kindness, by manly and upright deportment, and by fidelity in all of life's relations and duties, they will best their appreciation of the gift and the giver."

I don’t know what happened to Albert’s medal, but I do know he also received a set of Dickens books from the Peabody School Committee. When my Dad passed away in 2002 my Mom sorted out his books, and gave me a boxful, including a set of Dickens. Months later I noticed that the inside of the books were inscribed to Albert, my Dad’s grandfather, from the Peabody School Committee. Now I know the full story!

Albert Munroe Wilkinson was in the 1886 Peabody City Directory and he is listed as a bookkeeper at Thomas Proctor's, boarding with his mother at 14 Elm Street in Peabody. He is listed in the Salem City Directory as a bookkeeper at 9 Webster Street, living at 15 Stevens St. in Peabody, Massachusetts. After his marriage to Isabella Lyons Bill they lived on Loring Avenue in Salem. Albert died fairly young at age 47 due to "shock following the removal of gall stones, about 12 hours" signed Dr. Benjamin E. Sibley on his death certificate on 12 May 1908 at Corey Hill Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts. My Dad never knew his grandfather, because of his early death, and I wish I could have told Dad the story of the George Peabody Merit Scholarship.

The Wilkinson Lineage:

Generation 1. Thomas Wilkinson, born about 1690 in England, died before 1739; married August 1715 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Elizabeth Caverly, daughter of William Caverly and Mary Abbott, born about 1696 in Portsmouth, married second 27 Nov 1739 to Philip Jewell.

Generation 2. James Wilkinson, born about 1730, probably in Berwick, Maine, died between 1795 and 1805 in Berwick; married first about 1753 to Hannah Mead, daughter of Thomas Mead and Hannah Stilson, born 9 August 1730 in Wakefield, New Hampshire, died before 1759; married second to Mary Unknown.

Generation 3. William Wilkinson, died after 1840; married 7 February 1788 in South Berwick to Mercy Nason, daughter of Richard Nason and Mary Thompson, born about 1764 in Kittery, Maine.

Generation 4. Aaron Wilkinson, born 22 February 1802 in South Berwick, died 25 November 1879 in Peabody, Massachusetts; married 23 June 1829 to Mercy F. Wilson, daughter of Robert Wilson and Mary Southwick, born 17 June 1803 in South Danvers, died 9 October 1883 in Peabody.

Generation 5. Robert Wilson Wilkinson, born 26 May 1830 in Salem, Massachusetts, died 23 March 1874 in Peabody; married 24 November 1853 in Danvers, Massachusetts to Phebe Cross Munroe, daughter of Luther Simonds Munroe and Olive Flint. Three sons:

1. Robert Henry Wilkinson*, born 14 January 1855 in South Danvers, died 22 September 1884 in Peabody; married 18 April 1883 in Peabody to Eliza Harris Poor*, daughter of Nathan Holt Poor and Abigail Morrill.

2. Walter Wilkinson, born 3 November 1856 in South Danvers, died 2 April 1858 in South Danvers.

3. Albert Munroe Wilkinson*, born 7 November 1860 in Danvers, died 12 May 1908 in Brookline, Massachusetts; married 18 October 1894 in Salem to Isabella Lyons Bill, daughter of Caleb Rand Bill and Ann Margaret Bollman.

*denotes Peabody Merit Medal Scholars

For more information:

A list of the George Peabody Merit Medal Scholars

The History of the George Peabody Merit Scholar Program

“George Peabody: A Biography” by Franklin Parker, Vanderbilt University Press, 1995 The website of the Peabody, Massachusetts Historical Society


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "George Peabody Merit Scholarship Medals", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 29, 2010, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28, 1986

Christa McAuliffe
(1948 – 1986)

Back in BC (before children) I was a teacher of technology. I had taken computer classes in high school, however, back in the 1970s we had counselors who still encouraged girls to go into traditional careers, like teaching, instead of engineering and computer programming. So, upon graduation I went into teaching. Fortunately, I went to Lesley College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which not only gave me the chance to hang around with MIT students (and marry one!), Lesley had a vision of teaching teachers to use computers in their classrooms.

I found this was quite timely. In 1982 Cambridge elementary school principals were being given PCs and no one knew what to do with them. No one even knew how to turn one on! After several student teaching experiences, principals heard that I was computer literate. Then they heard that I actually had lesson plans for students, and in-service workshops to teach teachers. I was so popular for teaching workshops my senior year, I had to farm out jobs I couldn’t fulfill to other undergraduates. Those were the days!

And then in 1984 President Ronald Reagan announced a “Teacher in Space Program” and I eagerly asked for the application. I was a graduate student living in New Hampshire and still commuting to Cambridge and the Lesley campus. I had no real classroom experience (just hours and hours of part time experience). Thus, I was disappointed to read that there was a minimum requirement of three years teaching experience to apply for the program. I put away the application, and that was that… but not the end of the story…

Finally I found a full time teaching position, integrating computers into a language arts program in a Massachusetts school system. I heard that a teacher in New Hampshire had won the spot on the space shuttle scheduled for early 1986. I was on the board of the NH-ACES (New Hampshire Association for Computer Education Statewide). We were busy trying to convince school boards and teachers that technology had a place in the classroom. Time passed and I almost forgot about the Teacher in Space.

Before I knew it, it was launch day for local teacher Christa McAuliffe, January 28, 1986. I had finished teaching a computer class at a junior high, and I ran back to the high school for a meeting with the superintendent. When I got to the central office, everyone was watching a TV in the corner. Instead of a meeting, we watched the space shuttle Challenger fall from the sky. I was glad I hadn’t stayed to watch it with the kids at the junior high school. We all wept.

Right after school I had to drive to Concord, New Hampshire for a NH-ACES meeting. I knew that a board member was the principal of the Kimball School where we usually met, and he had a class of third grade students at the launch at Cape Canaveral. One of them was Scott, Christa’s little boy. Upon arriving at the Kimball School parking lot, I was met by an official looking man dressed in black, with an earpiece and a badge. He told me the school was cordoned off to visitors and the NH-ACES meeting had been moved to another school in Concord. I later learned that the third graders were being rushed back from Florida to the Kimball School at that same time as our meeting.

I remember driving home on Rt. 93 that winter night, after the meeting. On January 28, 1986 the clear, dark sky was bright with stars and the radio was full of reports from NASA. I watched to see if a school bus full of third graders was driving north as I drove south towards Londonderry. It seemed to be a very long drive home.

We dedicated our next NH-ACES conference to Christa, and her husband Steven McAuliffe was our keynote speaker. Efforts went into building a planetarium in Concord, in her honor, and it is now a New Hampshire landmark attraction. Steven became a judge, son Scott grew up to be a teacher, too, of marine biology, and a younger daughter, I heard, was studying early childhood education.

There has been a Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference every year now in New Hampshire since 1986. The conference motto is still a quote from Christa: “I touch the future, I teach.” NH-ACES are no longer a group, since we obviously no longer have to convince schools to use computers. The new group is called NHSTE (the NH branch of the International Society for Technology in Education). I haven’t been involved since my daughter was born and I “retired” from the classroom.

I never met Christa, but I remember her story… It is now part of history. Her legacy lives on through her memory, through the New Hampshire programs in her honor, and through her children.


Sharon Christa Corrigan, daughter of Edward Christopher Corrigan and Grace Mary George, b. 2 September 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts, died 28 January 1986 off Cape Canaveral, Florida, buried at Blossom Hill Cemetery, Concord, New Hampshire; married in 1970 to Steven J. McAuliffe, two children: Scott and Caroline. Her unusual, but very pretty gravestone may be seen at

Helpful websites:

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Concord, New Hampshire

McAuliffe Technology Conference

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Hampshire loses a World Record

Scientists confirmed this week that the highest recorded wind ever recorded was Cyclone Olivia in April, 1996, at Barrow Island, Australia. The team at the World Meteorological Organization "came to its conclusion after an extensive review and evaluation of instrumental, phenomenological and statistical data." The wind was clocked at 253.5 mph.

It broke the previous world record held by the Mount Washington Observatory in April 1934. Mount Washington is New Hampshire’s highest peak at 6,288 feet. It’s the highest mountain in the northern Appalachians. It is famous for having the worst weather in the region. It’s had some of the most extreme weather on the planet- even in the summer! The only time I ever went to the top, I could barely see four feet in front of me because of fog and mist (in August).

The Mount Washington wind speed record of 231 mph remains the highest in the Northern and Western Hemispheres. Not a world record. Boo hoo… It was bound to happen someday!

Giovanni da Verrazano first saw Mount Washington from the Atlantic Ocean in 1524. The first white man to climb it was Darby Field in 1642. It’s not particularly high, being just 6,288 feet, but the weather is atrocious, being at the epicenter of three major weather systems. The average temperature is below freezing, at 27.2 degrees Fahrenheit. It is within one days drive of nearly 70 million people, so it is tempting for many novice climbers. However, it is also the deadliest mountain in the United States. Over 135 people have lost their lives on Mount Washington since 1849. More deaths than Denali (Mount McKinley) the tallest mountain in North America.

The best book I read about Mount Washington was “Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire” by Nicolas Howe. It profiles 22 of the 135 unlucky hikers who found tragedy on Mount Washington. It is more chilling than John Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air” (about the illfated trek up Mount Everest) because any of these deaths could be you or your neighbor. The last person who died on Mount Washington was Manchester’s Dr. Wieslaw Walczak, and educated man who was a very experienced hiker.

It’s been a tough year for Mount Washington. Nin the cat, mascot of the scientists at the Mount Washington Weather Observatory and unofficial greeter to all the hikers and tourists to the summit, passed away on July 14, 2009. He was immortalized in post cards, and in a children’s book “Cat in the Clouds”, written by a former weather observer at Mount Washington.

This photo of Nin is from the Mt. Washington website (see below)

For more information: “Say It Ain’t So- Mount Washington Wind Speed Record Broken” by Ernest Burden, January 26, 2010 The website of the weather observatory on Mount Washington. Click on Multimedia, then Photos, then “creatures of comfort” to see the cats of the Mount Washington Weather Observatory.

“Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire” by Nicolas Howe, Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 2009

“Among the Clouds: Work, Wit & Wild Weather at the Mount Washington Weather Observatory” by Eric Pinder, Alpine Books, 2008

“Cat in the Clouds” by Eric Pinder, The History Press, 2009


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- "my glass is... what!"

Tombstone of James Ewins,
buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry in 1781

Perhaps the carver had a bit too much grog?
There are two typos ("carvos?") on this stone,
but he could only fix one mistake:

"Rede^em your hours
My glass is Rum
And so must yours"


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday - "My glass is... what!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 26, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hutchinson Family- The Saga Continues

Oh, the power of the blog strikes again!

A friend saw my blogs about the Hutchinson family, and sent me to the Revels website see the scheduled performance of Hutchinson family songs and history!

The Revels is a community organization that brings historic music to life. They have an annual Christmas Revels show that celebrates folk music, and performances throughout the year. There are Pub Sings in the Boston area, which evolved out of cast members wanting to share folk music, colonial drinking songs, sea chanteys, etc. But most exciting is that they will perform the music of the Hutchinson family on March 7, 2010 in Watertown, Massachusetts!

See the link for more about this performance titled “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight!” after one of the Hutchinson family’s most famous songs. I blogged about the history of this 19th century singing family on January 8th and January 11th. They were most famous for singing about abolition, suffrage, emancipation and the Civil War.

The Hutchinson family of Milford, New Hampshire lived so long ago there are no recordings of their voices. We can only appreciate their contributions to civil rights and history through memoirs, biographies and groups like the Revels, who continue to bring their music to today’s audiences. Thanks Dan and Molly for notifying me!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Coach Stop Restaurant and Tavern

There is a large colonial style restaurant at The Crossroads in Londonderry. It was built in 1810 by a Dr. Watson, with 12 rooms and 9 fireplaces. It was a building always used for public entertainment and as a restaurant, starting as a stagecoach stop on both lines from Boston to Concord, and from Nashua to Exeter. We live nearby, and we were recently surprised to see a new sign and a new name go up on the building.

For a while this place was also known as Shepard Tavern after a distant relation to Astronaut Alan Shepard. C. B. Knowles, another owner of the building charged $1.50 per day for meals and lodging. The Plummer’s Tavern, as it was later known, was operated by John and Anne Griffin for five years. When we moved to Londonderry more than 25 years ago, it was known as the William Gregg House, even though the Revolutionary War Colonel Gregg never lived here. In 1990 it had become the Homestead Restaurant, owned by the McDonough Family, who also own the Homestead Restaurant in Bristol, and Fratello’s Italian restaurant in the Manchester Millyard. In 2010, Steve McDonough took sole ownership of the restaurant now known as the “Coach Stop Restaurant and Tavern”, which is a name that echoes its origins as a colonial public house. The Londonderry planning board recently gave him permission to park a full sized coach on the lawn in front of the restaurant!

Mammoth Road was built in 1831. It carried three lines of daily stage coaches, and a large number of cargo and passenger wagons every year. The markets in Lowell and Boston were mostly supplied from this road. The Great Mammoth Road name came from the large amount of vehicles, drawing traffic away from all other roads. This was significantly changed when the Concord and Nashua Railroad opened in 1838, but the name Mammoth Road stuck. It is still the main north-south road in Londonderry.

Route 102 was known as “Old Dunstable” Road, which was the old name for Nashua. Today it is also known as Nashua Road. It was the main road from Nashua east to Exeter and the seacoast. Remember that Exeter was one of our first state capitals (during the Revolution when the provincial records were seized from the Royal Governor in Portsmouth). The crossroads of these two roads was the perfect place for a coach stop. Horses were exchanged here, as well as the mail, rooms, drinks and libations for the travelers. Route 102 is the main east-west road in Londonderry and Derry.

Although the building has changed hands many times, and it’s name, too, it still remains a colonial style house, serving meals and refreshments to the public. There is entertainment upstairs in the lounge. Marks from the old circular bar can still be seen on the wide pine flooring in the northwest room of the first floor. The waitresses will still point out the “Parson’s Cupboard” above the fireplace where the best liquors were stored. The wait staff even says that there is a ghost that appears occasionally on the staircase and in the room above the tavern room. A ghost seems to be de rigueur for New England colonial style restaurants. Even with a new name, let’s hope the ghost stayed!

For more information:

“The History of Rockingham County, New Hampshire” by Charles A. Hazlett, Richmond Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, 1915

“Londonderry, New Hampshire Vital Records, 1722 – 1910” by Daniel Gage Annis, Manchester, New York, 1914

“The History of Londonderry: Comprising the Towns of Derry and Londonderry, New Hampshire” by Rev. Edward L. Parker, Perkins and Whipple, 1851

The Coach Stop Restaurant and Tavern website at

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nutfield Trivia

One hundred four years and two days ago:

from The Portsmouth, Herald, Portsmouth, NH 20 Jan 1906


Big Boiler Explosion On Friday


$10,000 Loss In The Rockingham County Town


Londonderry, N. H., Jan. 19.--A boiler connected with the Annis grain and lumber mills plant at North Londonderry exploded today, wrecking the boiler and the engine house, and damaging both the grain mill and the wood working factory, besides causing injuries to Justin Sanborn, the engineer.

The boiler was one of two which are used in operating the mill. It burst with a report which was heard for a long distance, and was thought at first to have been an earthquake.

The concussion practically demolished the brick boiler house and threw the second boiler out of place. Flying debris also knocked off portions of the ends of the wood mill and the grain mill, between which the boiler was located.

The plant was compelled to shut down and it will be practically idle, it is believed, for about six weeks, until repairs can be effected. [sic]

The total damage is placed at about $10,000.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Unexpected Blog Story

William Wetmore Story- American Sculptor (1819 -1895)

Yesterday I posted a photo of the “Weeping Angel” or “Angel of Grief” on my blog for Tombstone Tuesday. All year I’ve been thinking about posting this photo, since it is beautiful, but I always had other genealogy stories to blog. Yesterday, I wanted to do another story, but we’ve been having a two day snowstorm here in Londonderry, and I couldn’t get outside to take the photo I wanted to blog about. I was snowbound again today, and then this story fell into my lap…

I received a few emails about the “Weeping Angel” photo. I’m not surprised because the sculpture of the Angel is very striking. Any photo of this tomb would look great! The Angel graces the tomb of Maria Hooper in Hingham, Massachusetts. One of the email messages I received was from John Hooper Dean, a descendant of Mrs. Hooper, asking permission to post my photo on his website and Facebook page.

We began an email conversation back and forth as this gentleman read my blog. He asked me about genealogy, and he was very interested in learning more about the family history of William Wetmore Story, the sculptor. By coincidence, I had done a little research last night on William Story, because I was wondering if he was related to the Chebacco Parish, Essex County, Massachusetts Story family. It turns out that the sculptor’s Story family was from Boston, and unrelated. But I was glad that I kept my research notes for John Hooper Dean.

John had been moved by a poem written about a Story daughter, Caroline, who had died at age six. The poem was lovely, and I’ll print it below. The sculptor’s father, Joseph Story, had written the poem, having lost five of his seven children in childhood. Two of those little children were named Caroline. I was able to find four generations of this family online, with help from the NEHGS vital records data base, several books from my library and other books available on the Google Book search, I could see that Joseph’s father, Elisha Story, had sixteen children including another Caroline who doesn’t appear to have survived childhood either!

A little bit of history, a little bit of fine art, and a little bit of literature… The sculptor had probably experienced his parent’s grief at the loss of his five siblings. He was born the same year that the second Caroline died. It is no small wonder that his sculpture is so realistic.

This was an interesting, unexpected bit of research for a snowy day!


For Caroline
By Joseph Story

Sweet, patient sufferer, gone at last
To a far happier shore,
All thy sick hours of pain are past,
Thy earthly anguish o'er.

And yet, if aught or fair or bright
Might hope to linger here,
Long, long had shone thy modest light,
And never caused a tear.

In temper how serene and meek!
How touching every grace!
The smile that played upon thy cheek
Might warm an angel's face.

A heart, how full of filial love!
How delicate, how good!
Thy feelings served intent to prove
The bliss of gratitude.

So quiet and so sweet they death,
It seemed a holy sleep,--
Scarce heard, scarce felt, thy parting breath
Then silence fixed and deep

Who can the utter wretchedness
Of such a scene portray,
When the last look, the last caress
Is felt, and dies away?

I kissed thy faded lips and cheek,
And bent my knees in prayer;
Bent--but there was no voice to speak,
It choked in still despair.

Ah! never, never, from my heart
Thine image, child, shall flee--
'T’is soothing from the world to part,
'T’is bliss to think on thee.

Gen. 1. William Wetmore Story, son of Joseph Story and Sarah Waldo Wetmore, sculptor
b. 12 Feb 1819 at Marblehead
d. 7 Oct 1895 Vallambroso, Italy (Wikipedia)
m. 31 Oct 1843 to Emelyn Eldridge b. abt 1820 , d. 1895 age 74, in Rome, Italy
1.) Thomas Waldo Story b. 1855 d. 1915
2.) Julian Russell Story b. 1857 d. 1919
3.) Edith Marion Story (the Marchesa Peruzzi de’ Medici) b. 1844 d. 1907

Gen. 2. Joseph Story, son of Dr. Elisha Story and Mehitable Pedrick
b. 18 Sep 1779 Marblehead, bap. 26 Sep 1779 Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
d. 10 Sep 1845, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
buried Mt. Auburn Cemetery (statue sculpted by his son)
m. 1. 9 Dec 1804 to Mary F. Lynde Oliver d. 22 June 1805,
d. of Rev. Thomas Fitch Oliver and Sarah Pynchon
m. 2. 28 Aug 1808 at Boston to Sarah Waldo Wetmore, daughter of Judge William Wetmore, born 24 May 1784 at Salem, d. 22 Aug 1855 at Boston
Seven children:
1. Caroline b. June 1810, died Feb. 28, 1811
2. Joseph, b. June 1811, d. 19 Oct 1815
3. Caroline Wetmore, b. 4 Apr 1813, d. 1 April 1819
4. Mary, b. 9 April 1814, d. 28 Mar 1815
5. Mary Oliver, b. 10 Mar 1817, d. 28 Apr 1848
6. William Wetmore Story
7. Louisa, b. May 1821, d. May 10 1831

(children listed in Genealogical and Personal Memoir Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Vol. 1, by William Richard Cutter, pages 30-32 for the Story family.)

Gen. 3. Dr. Elisha Story , son of William Story, participated in the Boston Tea Party
b. 3 Dec 1743 at Boston
d. 27 aug 1805, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
m. 1. Pub. At Boston 14 May 1767, Ruth Ruddock, b. at Boston 5 Mar 1745/6, d. 21 Mar 1778 Marblehead (Marblehead VR) (d. the late John Ruddock, Esq, a. 32 y GR) and Tabitha Drinker
m. 2 Mehitable Pedrick, 29 Nov. 1778, Marblehead (Marblehead VR), d. of John Pedrick and Mehitable Stacy of Marblehead.
Children by first wife:
1. John
2. Tabitha, married 4 Nov 1792 to Nathaniel King Devereaux of Marblehead
3. Abiel, d. 12 Dec 1829, m. 2 Feb 1799 to Huldah Clough
4. Elisha
5. William, m. 6 Aug. 1797 to Betsey Patten
Children by second wife:
6. Joseph, b. 18 Sep 1779
7. Isaac bap. 2 Mar 1783 Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
8. Betsey, bap. 5 Dec 1784 Marblehead (Marblehead VR), m. Capt. Joseph White
9. Charlotte, bap. 19 Oct 1788, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)m. John Forrester
10. Carolina, bap 31 Oct 1790, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
11. Horace Culen, bap 4 Nov 1792, Marblehead (Marblehead VR), Horace C., died at New Orleans, rec. 1 Sep 1823, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
12. Franklin Howard, bap 22 Mar 1795, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
13. Frederick Washington, b. 5 Apr 1797, Marblehead (Marblehead VR)
14. Eloisa Adelina, bap. 20 Oct 1799, Marblehead, (Marblehead VR) m. John Tucker Mansfield
15. Hitty m. Capt. William Fettyplace
16. Harriet, m. Capt. Stephen White

Gen. 4. William Story, son of Elisha Story
b. 25 April 1720 at Boston, d. 24 Nov 1799 at Marblehead
m. 1. 13 Aug. 1741 Elizabeth Marion
m. 2. 11 April 1747, Joanna Appleton
m. 3. 29 Feb. 1776 Abigail Marshall

Click here to see the first blog post about the "Angel of Grief" statue in Hingham, Massachusetts: 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The Unexpected Blog Story", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 20, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Angel of Grief

In the fall of 2008 I attended the Mayflower Congress in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We signed up for a tour of the area called "In the Footsteps of the Pilgrims." I took this photo at the Hingham, Massachusetts Cemetery behind the Old Ship Church. It is a memorial sculpture on the Maria Hooper grave, and is known locally as the “Angel of Grief.”

When I went to Google to look up “Angel of Grief” I found that the Hooper monument is a copy of an 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story, over his own grave in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. He originally named it “The Angel of Grief Weeping at the Dismantled Altar of Life.” It was a very popular Victorian memorial, and was copied in a style known as the “Weeping Angel.” At Wikipedia there is a listing of at least twelve replicas in the United States, including three in Texas.

A map of the Hingham Cemetery (#17 is the Angel of Grief”)

Wikipedia story of the Angel of Grief

Our Weeping Angel Foundation by John Hooper Dean, great great grandson of Maria Hooper of Hingham. Click on “Why weeping angel” for a history of the sculpture.

UPDATE:   A few days after this story posted online, I learned more about this statue from a reader!  Click here for a second blog post: 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday- Angel of Grief", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 19, 2010, ( accessed [access date]).

Monday, January 18, 2010

An Afternoon with

I had computer problems earlier this year. My computer had a lot of memory, but my Family Tree Maker 2006 file was getting very large. My computer crashed several times, and I became a back up fanatic because I was afraid of damaging my file and losing everything. The Family Tree Maker database was taking forever to close down or backup. It wasn’t fun to sit and wait every night to see if it would back up or not. Eventually, I had my computer overhauled, with a new 1.5 terabit hard drive, more memory, etc. and, finally, things seem to be running smoothly.

Last year I was investigating perhaps switching to another type of genealogy software. I had many recommendations, but since I’ve used Family Tree Maker for about twelve years, I admit I was stuck in a rut. So, instead of something totally new, I had ordered the newest version of Family Tree Maker 2009 in the fall. When the storage and memory problems started, I never installed it on the computer. So yesterday, after the big computer overhaul, I decided to give it a try…

I went through the install wizard. The software came up and everything looked OK. The program asked me if I’d like to start a new file or import an old file. I hit import, found my data file, started the process of converting it for the new software and… – a Big Ugly Red X appeared and a message that the data was damaged! Arhhhgg!

I tried a second time, and a third, then I looked on the Ancestry website for help. I had no luck (of course!) trying to find the answer on the website, after frantically searching for an hour. I tried the FAQs, the online help, the bulletin boards…. Finally, I called the 800 number in a panic! Was my file damaged? Where did my family tree go! The operator calmly had me try again so I could read him the error message. He must have had good kharma because suddenly the file began to slowly import. My file is over 550,000 KB, so I sat there (for 58 minutes, ten seconds) until everything imported into the new version of Family Tree Maker. I finally said goodbye to the operator, and he was nice enough to send me several emails with more information on large importing files.

So far, so good, and this version of Family Tree Maker 2009 is a nice improvement. I experimented with resolving some relationship issues (attaching children to new sets of parents, figuring out kinship reports, detaching some children from families, etc.) and I like the new way to record sources. I am still working on figuring out all the features… I should have ordered the 2010 version that recently came out in advertisements.

What was interesting to me was the page that came up at the end of all this (Yes, it did import OK and it looks great!) Hubby is an aero astro engineer from MIT, and he likes numbers, so he’ll be impressed when he sees this! I had never seen these figures before:

FTW Import Report

91,116 individuals* (see note below)

42,215 families (I don’t know what constitutes a family, but this is interesting…)
3,823 sources (Good, I knew there were a lot of sources! I’m patting myself on the back.)

854 multi media records (these are photos, scanned images, etc)

137, 204 records (I’ve no clue what this is…)

0 errors (Thank God!)

Time elapsed was 58:10:668 (to move the old file into the new software)

* This obviously isn’t a family tree anymore, just a huge genealogical database. I have entered many Mayflower families 5 generation reports here, only because they all seem to be inter-related and I find this extremely interesting to play with on the computer. Every time I find a new cousin they seem to go back to one of these families, so my file is big. I also have a huge number of people named Wilkinson, from my surname project linking all the Wilkinsons from northern New England. So far, 90% of the Wilkinsons in the records have fit into my database. Also, everyone in Essex County seems to be related, so I keep entering cousins, siblings, inlaws, outlaws… It always works out because whenever one of my 37 first cousins married, Bingo, I’ve been able to tell most of them how they were already related to their new spouses! I’m not just “collecting names”, I’m recording all the data, sources and stories to show how all these families interrelate. After 30 years, that is a lot of stories! I hope the computer doesn’t have another meltdown!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, January 15, 2010

Derry Public Library

Since Nutfield was both the towns of Derry and Londonderry, I can’t miss giving you information on the holdings at the Derry Public Library. Last week, I blogged about the genealogy resources in Londonderry at the Leach Public Library. Today it’s Derry’s turn! If you are researching a Nutfield family, you might also consider the resources in Windham, New Hampshire. Most of Windham was formerly part of Nutfield.

The public library in Derry is located at 64 East Broadway, between the Masonic Temple and MacGregor park. You can speak with a reference librarian at 603-432-6140, FAX your questions at 603-432-6128, or email at . The website is . The Derry library opened first in 1905, but was expanded in 1990 with a new collection triple the previous size. Computers, internet, microfilm readers and reference librarians are available for you use during regular library hours. The card catalog is available on line.

The vital records (births, marriages and deaths) from annual town reports have been extracted and are available at the reference librarian’s desk. This will save you from searching through many years of books! Bound copies of many nearby towns’ vital records and histories are available, too.

There is a guide to Forest Hill Cemetery, the only municipal cemetery in Derry. There are many Derry histories on the shelves, including all the newer books by Derry’s town historian, Richard Holmes. Local genealogy books include the Adams, Kilburn, Graham, Pettingell, Ward, Richardson, Dunlap, Eaton, Hawes, Thorndike, families. See the card catalog for more. There is also a folder of Alan Shepard family papers.

Available on microfilm are the Sanborn Insurance Maps for Derry (1921-1950) and Derry Depot (1887-1902), The Union Leader and the Derry News newspapers (great for obituaries back to 1881!)

On line resources through the Derry Library are, Heritage Quest, NEHGS database, as well as other reference data bases. There are limited computers, available on a first come, first serve basis.

Other local resources are:

The Derry Museum of History

Rockingham County Register of Deeds- official records back to 1643, deeds, mortgages, liens,etc., physical address: 10 Rt. 125, Brentwood, NH 03833, mailing address: PO Box 896, Kingston, NH 03848

Peabody Funeral Home Obituaries

The Nesmith Library, Windham’s Public Library,

Windham Historical Society, PO Box 441, Windham, New Hampshire

Windham, New Hampshire Town Museum-

See my blog on January 4, 2010 for the Leach Library Genealogical Resources (Londonderry)

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Levi Younger, Mariner and Prisoner of War

During the War of 1812, Britain imposed its power over the newly minted United States of America and thus impressed thousands of American soldiers into British service. The Royal Navy had 175 ships of the line and 600 ships overall, requiring 140,000 sailors. Volunteers alone were not enough to recruit enough seamen. New England lost many fishermen, sailors and mariners to forced labor or imprisonment.

Levi Younger was a Gloucester sailor. Like many men from Gloucester, Massachusetts, the members of his family were fishermen and seamen. There are many Youngers and other cousins listed as “Lost at sea” or who died on voyages in the Gloucester vital records. I often think of the famous fisherman statue when I read about this side of my family tree, or of the wives and sweethearts left behind. However, Levi not only survived many adventures at sea, he survived long enough to have two wives!

Levi was born in 1786 in Gloucester, son of Levi, Sr. who was a sailor, and who was also captured during the American Revolution by the British Navy and served time aboard the prison ship “Favorite” in New York harbor. He was exchanged for a seaman named James Price. I’ve read horrible stories about the deaths and disease on the prison ships in New York, and I’m grateful that he survived.

Levi, Jr., was a young man, only 14 years old when he was first issued a certificate of protection on 20 February 1801. It describes him as “Levi Younger, age 14, of Gloucester, Mass, light complexion, was issued a certificate of protection #649” He reapplied in 1809 and 1815, as far as I can see, in the records. These certificates were granted by Congress in 1796 to maintain a record of all personnel serving at sea, vouching for citizenship and giving identifying information such as height or eye color. The purpose of these certificates was to discourage impressments, and they were issued at the custom house in Gloucester.

However, the next records I found were in the “Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States” with a letter issued in 1812 requesting the names of some sailors who had been imprisoned. The return letter from Mr. Beasley, Wimpole St., London, on Oct. 21, 1812 states “Sir: Agreeably to the request contained in your letter of the 19th instatnt, I now transmit to you a list of impressed American seamen on board British ships of war, who, having heard of the war, offered to give themselves up as prisoners, and for so doing, or for refusing to do so service have been punished...” The letter goes on to list many sailors, including “...Thomas W. Marshall, Peter Lazette, Edward Whittle Banks, and Levi Younger, on board the Royal William, gave themselves up as prisoners and were in consequence thereof put into close confinement for eight days."

Levi married on 23 October 1816 to Catherine Plummer Jones, and seems to have removed to Boston. He had at least two children before his young wife passed away in 1828. His sister Mary adopted his daughter, who was raised in Boston. He remarried to a woman named Margaret from New Castle, New Hampshire. He was living in Love Lane, later called Tileston Street in Boston’s North End, near his first wife’s family. In the 1850 Boston City Directory he was living at 238 Hanover Street, which is now the main street in the North End (where all the best Italian restaurants are located!) In the 1855 Boston City Directory he is living at 38 Charter Street, which is near Snelling Place, (his brother in law was from the Snelling family.) In the Boston death records it states “December 8, 1858, Levi Younger, age 72 years, 7 months, 7 days, died in Boston, of Old Age, male, married, born in Gloucester, son of Levi and Mary”

The Younger Genealogy:

Gen. 1: William Younger married on 6 March 1749/50 in Gloucester to Lucy Foster, daughter of Benjamin Foster and Susanna Andrews, born 15 June 1723 in Gloucester.

Gen. 2: Levi Younger, born 7 Feburary 1756 in Gloucester, died intestate before 4 Feb 1806 in Gloucester; married on 17 June 1784 in Gloucester to Mary Wotten, daughter of John Wotten and Mary Hall, born on 15 August 1755.

Gen. 3: Levi Younger, Jr., born on 1 May 1786 in Gloucester; died on 8 December 1858 in Boston; married on 23 October 1816 in Boston to Catherine Plummer Jones, daughter of Owen Jones and Elizabeth Lambert, born about 1700 in Boston, died on 2 May 1828 in Boston. Two children:

1.) Levi Younger, born about 1820 and died on 10 August 1827 in Boston

2.) Mary Esther Younger, born 17 February 1826 in Boston; married on 11 August 1845 in Boston to George Emerson, son of Romanus Emerson and Jemima Burnham, born 11 July 1817 in South Boston, died 11 January 1890 in Dorchester. Mary Esther was adopted in 1828 by her father's sister, Mary Younger, who was married to David Harris. In some records she is known as Esther Harris.

For more information:

Stimpson’s Boston Directories, available at local libraries or at this online searchable database at

“The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States" Thirteenth Congress, first and second sessions, May 24, 1813 to April 18, 1814 inclusive, compiled from authentic materials, Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1854, page 2267

Seamans Certificates of Protection are available at the National Archives and also on There is also a database at the Mystic Seaport website 

The URL for this post is
Copyright (c) 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My Nana, Gertrude Matilda Hitchings
(taken in Hamilton, Massachusetts probably about 1925)
I was inspired by the snow falling today outside the window as I was sitting at my computer.

Lafayette visits Derry, New Hampshire

In New Hampshire we have a Lafayette Social Club in Manchester, started by the French Canadians, and a Lafayette Road along the seacoast, otherwise known as Rt. 1. There is a Mount Lafayette in the White Mountains, which rises 5,260 feet from the side of Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch. All of these were named in honor of General Lafayette, the French hero of the American Revolution. He made an extremely popular, triumphal tour of New Hampshire in 1824-25, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

General or Marquis de La Fayette, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier (6 September 1757 -20 May 1834) was a very young man, only age 19, during the Revolutionary War. He was handsome, popular and served with distinction. He was also the first person to be granted honorary United States citizenship. He is buried in the Picpus Cemetery in Paris, under dirt taken from Bunker Hill. He had the honor of laying the cornerstone for the monument at Bunker Hill.

Upon his return visit to New England he was given an honorary degree from Harvard and Boston gave his a portrait of Washington. He visited every state but Georgia. He was greeted by mobs and hailed as a hero, at a time when all the other founding fathers and Revolutionary era Generals had already passed away. No pop star today can match the crowds he drew as he visited over 400 towns on this tour.

General Lafayette came to Derry on September 1, 1824 on his way to Boston (which was really out of the way since he was coming from Portsmouth!). He stayed with General Elias Haskett Derby at his house on Lane Road. On his way to Boston he drank from a spring in Windham, which was afterwards named Lafayette Spring. In 1990 this famous spring was bulldozed by developers.

And then on June 21, 1825 Lafayette returned to Derry. He was accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, and be entertained by the young ladies at the Adams Female Academy on Lane Road. General Derby was going to attend and greet his old friend. He had a meal at Derry’s Redman tavern (which later became the home of the milk Baron, H.P. Hood, and is now Chen’s Chinese Restaurant) before moving on to Pembroke to stay with Major Caleb Stark, the son of Derry’s famous General John Stark. He went home to France in September, and died nine years later. It was his last trip to the United States.

Derry Lawyer, Alan Hoffman, is a “Lafayetteophile” and he has been gathering information on the General, and all his travels in the New World, as well as his stops in Derry. For two years he translated Levasseur’s “Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825” from the original French. Hoffman lives in Londonderry. He has translated the original 1,130 page book into a 572 page book with a 27 page index and maps.

In my family tree I don’t recall anyone meeting Lafayette, either during the war or during his return tour of the United States. But perhaps some of them did, for several members of the family tree were prominent in the building of the Bunker Hill Monument. The cornerstone was laid by Lafayette on June 17, 1825 and Daniel Webster addressed the crowd of 100,000 including 190 elderly veterans of the battle. My first cousin 5 x removed was Nathaniel G. Snelling, who was a member of the Bunker Hill Monument Association. Another cousin on this side of the family was William Lingham, who died in 1873 in Roxbury, and he was the senior Captain of the Massachusetts Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company at the laying of the cornerstone ceremony.

Alan Hoffman will speak at NEHGS on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 6PM on “Lafayette, Symbol of Franco-American Friendship”. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Click here for my blog on H. P. Hood from September 2009, which has a photo of the Hood homestead, formerly known as Redman's Tavern, where Lafayette dined.

For more information:

“Lafayette in America” by August Levasseur, Lafayette Press, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2006

“Nutfield Rambles” by Richard Holmes, Peter E. Randall Publisher, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2007, pages 71-75 for the story of Lafayette in Derry

“Lafayette’s Travels Not Lost in Translation: Londonderry Lawyer Obsessed with Life of Revolutionary War Hero” by Susan Laurent, The Eagle Tribune, July 12, 2007

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hampton, New Hampshire Cemetery Brouhaha

This news story is for anyone out there with roots in the New Hampshire Seacoast. Hampton has more colonial era cemeteries than any other seacoast town. Hampton was originally the “Plantation of Winnacunnet” one of four New Hampshire towns originally chartered by Massachusetts. It was founded in 1638 by my ancestor, Reverend Stephen Bachiler. The original boundaries now include Seabrook, Kensington, Danville, Kingston, Sandown, North Hampton and Hampton Falls. Original settlers include surnames like Leavitt, Dearborn, Merrill, Moulton, Sanborn, Batchiler/Batchelder, and many others.

From the website accessed January 12, 2010

Petition to eliminate cemetery trustees
Warrant article stems from issue on availability of burial information

By Patrick Cronin
January 12, 2010 2:00 AM

HAMPTON — A volunteer on the town's Historical Society is putting forth a petition warrant article to voters in March asking them to eliminate the Trustees of the Cemetery in Hampton.

Martha Williams said she believes the town would be better served by putting the town manager in charge of its cemeteries rather than the three-member elected board.
"I just want to put forth the article and the let voters decide," Williams said. "Right now there is no accountability and (the trustees) can do whatever they want."

The warrant article comes at a time when the Historical Society and the Cemetery Trustees have butted heads regarding the records of burials at the High Street Cemetery.

Society members have offered to computerize the records for free because they say they have received a lot of requests from researchers and relatives interested in genealogy. However, they claim the trustees have been resistant to that proposal.

While the trustees — Richard Bateman, Matt Shaw and Thomas Harrington — voted to allow the society to copy the information back in November, they only decided to release information about those interred in Section A of the cemetery. Trustees took a vote that sections B, C and D would not be made available until after the new year.

"I just don't understand what the big deal is," Williams said. "It doesn't make sense why they would be so hesitant to release the information that is public."

She also said the trustees have been less than honest with the society.

"First, we asked about mapping the cemetery and they said there was no money to do that," Williams said. "Then we find out they already have a map of the cemetery.

"When we asked to copy their files, they said we couldn't because there was no heat in the cemetery building, then we find out there was heat," she said. "I just don't understand why we are getting the runaround."

Cemetery Superintendent Dan Kenny said he is against eliminating the trustees who he calls the "selectmen of the cemetery."

He said the reason why the trustees didn't want to release all of the information at once is because they wanted to see if the town attorney could put the trustees and the Historical Society's verbal agreement into writing.

The trustees agreed to allow the society to put the records on computer as long as they didn't give out information to people who wish to remain anonymous. The trustees, he said, were concerned about possible vandalism.

"I'm really upset about this," Kenny said. "The person who is sponsoring this is not even a lot owner. They are doing this to further their personal agenda."

Williams said she has no personal agenda.

"To be honest, I never thought about the cemeteries until I started this," Williams said. "All we wanted to do was help them, and they were nothing but obstructionist. I thought, 'What is going on here?'"

While the trustees said the remaining information would be made available in January, Williams said they have yet to receive it.

"I have called them, but they haven't returned my phone calls," Williams said.

An Indian without a Nose

The story of John Locke, Rye, New Hampshire

John Locke was baptized at London’s White Chapel on 16 September 1627, as the son of Thomas Locke and Christina French. In 1916 Arthur H. Locke published “A History and Genealogy of Captain John Locke of Portsmouth and Rye, New Hampshire and his descendants.” In this book it is theorized that his brother Nathaniel was baptized there at White Chapel on 11 November 1629, and they both removed to New Hampshire.

John Locke settled in Dover, and then New Castle, and then finally in the part of Hampton that is now Rye, New Hampshire. According to tradition, he framed the first meeting house in Portsmouth about 1654. This church was removed in 1750, and it stood on South Mill Bridge.

According to the Hampton records "John Locke Senior was killed by the Heathen in his lott at work upon 26 August 1696." And on 1 January 1801, Reverend Porter of Rye said in a public address "In 1694 John Locke being at Locke's Neck was ambushed and killed by the Indians as he was reaping grain in his field." The spot where this happened is along the seashore, and can be seen by turning off Ocean Boulevard onto Locke Road. The Locke Burial Ground is there, with John and Elizabeth Locke and several generations of Lockes. There is a marker on a granite post, labeled 1934, and a memorial roadside marker, which now reads:

“Locke’s Neck- named for Captain John Locke who settled here before 1665 with his wife, Elizabeth Berry, born in London in 1627. He landed in Portsmouth ca. 1644 and according to tradition framed the first meeting house there about 1654. As Captain of militia he was noted for his defensive actions against hostile Indians. He was killed here August 26, 1696 by Indians as he worked in his fields with only a sickle for defense. His sons and grandsons were instrumental in the creation of the parish of Rye in 1726.

This area has been called Joselyn’s Neck, Locke’s Neck and Straw’s Point. In 1978 Rye’s annual town meeting officially named this area Locke’s Neck in honor of that pioneer family.
Erected by the Locke Family Association, 1984”

The best part of the story is not from the archives, nor the memorial markers, but is an anecdote from the Locke genealogy (which means that the best part is probably a myth!) According to the family myth, when the Indians ran up to scalp Locke, he summoned his last breath to cut off the nose of one of the Indians. This has spawned several versions of the ending to the story. One said that a son met an Indian without a nose while out hunting, who told him “Old Locke cut it off” and the son thus murdered the Indian. Another version said that a grandson met an Indian who was “rendered talkative by liquor” who boasted of killing Captain Locke, so the grandson killed him and tossed him down a well.

In the New Hampshire Historical Society Museum, in Eagle Square, Concord, New Hampshire, John Locke’s famous hand sickle, which he was supposedly using as he reaped grain on that fateful day in 1696, is on display in a glass case. The very obliging curator of the museum, Doug Copely, told me that as a descendant, he could also take Captain John Locke’s sword out of storage and show it to me. He also said that although it may be myth, the docents tell the tale of Captain Locke and the Indians to visiting children at the museum. Both items were donated in 1890 by George Locke of Manchester, New Hampshire. I’m sure that many generations of school children have been thrilled by this bloody story and have carefully examined the sickle for any signs of gore. I know that my daughter did!

Locke Genealogy:

Generation 1: Thomas Locke, born about 1600 in Yorkshire, England, d. 14 August 1628, London, England; married on 26 July 1624 in London, England to Christina French.

Generation 2: John Locke, born in 1627 in England, died on 26 August 1696 in Rye, New Hampshire; married about 1652 to Elizabeth Berry. Eleven children:

1. John Locke, b. 1654; married to Elizabeth Unknown (my ancestor)
2. Elizabeth Locke, b. 1656; married to Nehemiah Berry
3. Nathaniel Locke, b. 1661; married to Dorothy Blake
4. Edward Locke , b. 1663; married to Hannah Jenness
5. Tryphena Locke, b. 1666; married to John Webster
6. Rebecca Locke, b. 1670
7. Mary Locke, b. 1675; married to William Hepworth
8. William Locke, b. 17 April 1677; married to Hannah Knowles
9. James Locke, b. 1678; married to Hannah Philbrick
10. Joseph Locke, b. 1679; married to Salome White
11. Alice Locke

For more information:

“A History and Genealogy of Captain John Locke, 1627 – 1696” by Arthur H. Locke, A. M., 1916, The Rumford Press, Concord, New Hampshire

“History of the town of Rye, New Hampshire: from its Discovery and Settlement to December 31, 1903” by Langdon Brown Parsons, 1905, Rumford Press, Concord, New Hampshire (page 251 -2 for the story of Locke’s murder)

The Locke Family Association

New Hampshire Historical Society Museum


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "An Indian Without A Nose", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 12, 2010, ( accessed [access date]).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Win a Mayflower Scholarship!

The 2010 New Hampshire Mayflower Society Memorial Scholarships are available to any college student (undergraduate or graduate) or high school senior. You don’t need to be a member of the Mayflower Society, but members and relatives of members will receive preference.

This is one of the few Mayflower scholarships in the USA awarded to non-members. Applicants must be able to attend the award ceremony, in person, on May 8th, 2010 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is expected that at least two to four scholarships of $500 to $1000 will be awarded in May 2010.

Applications and Instructions are available at the website , and applications and all required paperwork is due strictly before March 31, 2010. They may be mailed to:

Heather Rojo
NH Mayflower Scholarship Committee Chair
71 Old Nashua Road, Apt. 45
Londonderry, NH 03053

Or you may email Heather Rojo at for more information and further instructions. The New Hampshire Mayflower Society may also be found on Facebook.

Please remember that first consideration is given to members and immediate family members of the NH Mayflower Society (defined as members, junior members, siblings, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren). Applicants with no affiliation to the NH Mayflower Society are also invited to apply. The requirement to attend the spring meeting may be waived at the discretion of the NH Mayflower Governor due to such issues as travel distance, illness, or death in the family. Should the recipient receive a waiver from the Governor due to a hardship, a letter from the recipient to the Society must be submitted to be read at the meeting, as well as a photograph of the recipient for display. In such cases, parents or relatives may attend the award ceremony to accept the award on the recipient’s behalf.

(photograph from Plimoth Plantation, 2008)

The Illiterate Colonel

Joshua Burnham of Milford, New Hampshire

Last week I blogged about Colonel Joshua Burnham, and the fine mansion house he built in Milford, New Hampshire. His house was later sold to the Hutchinson family. Because of their fame as singers, I’ve been able to find many documents about my ancestor the Colonel. You would think that as a Revolutionary War officer, and as someone wealthy enough to build a large estate, he would have left documents for me, the future genealogist, to uncover. But that is not the case with Joshua Burnham.

In my family tree I can count eleven Joshua Burnhams. The Burnham family goes back in time to the Thomas Burnham who arrived on the “Planter” and he settled in Ipswich. Colonel Joshua Burnham was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1754, and he married Jemima Wyman in 1779. He removed to Milford, New Hampshire as a young man, before the start of the American Revolutionary War.

Colonel Burnham first served as a private in the New Hampshire Militia at Milford, under Captain Josiah Crosby and Colonel James Read. He enlisted in April 1775 (probably at the time of the Lexington alarm) was at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He also served in New York, Philadelphia and Canada, and was discharged after four years, lame in one of his ankles. In 1819 he was issued a veteran’s pension. He signed his name, but other people wrote out his application for him. These records were available through the National Archives, and are not unusual. But there was more about Joshua Burnham that I found later.

I went over to Milford to look in the town library’s genealogy room, to see if there was more information about the Burnham family. Milford isn’t far from Londonderry, and I was able to chat up the librarians and town clerk at the town hall. Everyone told me that the Burnham house was still standing, and the family graveyard was nearby. This was good news! And the library had tons of Hutchinson family information, which turned out to be helpful in my Burnham search.

The land where he built his house was originally his father’s land in 1772. The Colonel Burnham house was originally built as a hotel, on the road to Lyndeborough. His plans for the house may have been influenced by some of the mansion houses he saw down South during the War. The ceilings were 13 feet high and there is a front to back hallway with doors at both the front and back of the house, which is not a traditional New England design. He didn’t have enough money to go into the hotel business, so he sold it to Jesse Hutchinson who finished it as a family home for his large family (sixteen children!) It is still standing on North River Road, privately owned, and is known locally as Colonel Burnham’s Tavern.

Colonel Burnham moved into “a little red house on the hill” for his retirement years. He was a frequent visitor to the Hutchinson homestead, and was offered free access to the apple orchards. According to John Wallace Hutchinson in his book “The Story of the Hutchinsons”: “…this honorable old gentleman would be seen going and coming with his pockets full, and they were pockets! They were like bags, and he could carry almost half a peck in each one. He would come over, fill his pockets, and then trudge along towards home.” The Hutchinson family named one of their sons Joshua in his honor.

The Hutchinson family eventually became quite famous and removed to Lynn, Massachusetts. The old homestead in New Hampshire became a summer retreat. The Hutchinsons were celebrities, and friends of P. T. Barnum, he was invited to the house and General Tom Thumb drove his small coach and ponies “through the front door, which is nearly four feet wide, and then down the wide (twelve foot) hallway in which there is a steamboat staircase.” (from the Milford Town History) This sounds like a typical P. T. Barnum publicity stunt! The Hutchinson family sold the house in 1949.

Also from John Wallace Hutchinson: “In those early days among the pioneers, education was sometimes neglected. The colonel, though passing through seven years of renown as a discreet officer, could not write his own name, and while in business kept his accounts by characters. For instance, having sold cheese to a person, he would make a mark of that portion of cheese that that man received. His funeral was the first that I had ever witnessed, and the impression was depressingly suggestive. He died at the age of ninety-three; and engraved as an epitaph upon his tombstone, were these words composed by Brother Joshua:
“’Soldier of the Revolution, zealous in his country's cause,
Faithful to the constitution and obedient to its laws.’”

Thus I was able to obtain a wonderful portrait of Joshua Burnham, not by his own words, but in the biographies and memoirs of a completely different family- the Hutchinsons.

My Burnham Lineage:

Generation 1: Thomas Burnham, born about 1623 in England; died on 19 June 1694 in the Chebacco Parish, Ipswich, Massachusetts; married in June 1645 to Mary Lawrence, daughter of Thomas Lawrence and Joan Antrobus, died 27 March 1715 in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Generation 2: John Burnham, born about 1648, died 12 January 1703/4 in the Chebacco Parish; married on 6 June 1668 to Elizabeth Wells, daughter of Thomas Wells and Abigail Warner, born 31 July 1646 in Ipswich, died 9 June 1731.

Generation 3: Thomas Burnham, born 30 September 1673 in Ipswich, died 16 December 1748; married on 30 September 1700 in Ipswich to Susannah Boardman, born 1681, died 1748.

Generation 4: Stephen Burnham, born about 1715 in the Chebacco Parish, died about 1790 probably in Milford, New Hampshire; married on 16 August 1735 in Ipswich to Mary Andrews, daughter of Thomas Andrews and Mary Smith, born about 1712 in Ipswich.

Generation 5: Joshua Burnham, born 26 January 1754 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, died 7 June 1835 in Milford; married on 21 January 1779 to Jemima Wyman, daughter of Increase Wyman and Catherine Unknown, born on 10 February 1757 in Billerica, Massachusetts, died on 6 September 1843 in South Boston, Massachusetts.

Generation 6: Jemima Burnham, born 9 May 1783 in Milford, died on 5 August 1868 at 88 Emerson St., South Boston; married on 22 November 1810 in Boston to Romanus Emerson, son of John Emerson and Katherine Eaton, born 1 September 1782 in Townsend, Massachusetts, died 10 October 1852 in South Boston.

From here my lineage follows the Emerson surname…
For more information:

“Old Houses of Milford” compiled in a notebook for Wadleigh Memorial Library, Milford, New Hampshire

“The Story of the Hutchinsons” by John Wallace Hutchinson, 1896 (see pages 8 – 10 for the information on Colonel Joshua Burnham)

“The History of Milford” by George A. Ramsdell, Rumford Press, Concord, New Hampshire, 1901, page 783

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Update May 18, 2010

A reader sent me the following information "I was researching my ancestor Stephen Clark of Epping New Hampshire, when I came across your story about Col. Burnham, who was in the Revolutionary War. He seems to be the only Col. so I concluded that he was the one you were calling, "Illiterate." I have proof that he wasn't. My copier doesn't scan good enough to be able to e-mail the page that I copied last summer when researching at the DAR library in Washingon, DC.

It is page 242 in the State of New Hampshire "Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War 1775-1777." Hammond, editor. 1885
It reads:

"[Winter Hill Companies, December, 1775.]
Col. Burnhams report of the Company's recruited in New Hampshire
To the Hon. the Committee of Safety In the Colony of New Hampshire.
Return of the Companies of New Hampshire Militia in the Continental Army December 1775--"

This is followed by a table listing all the towns by name with the higher ranking officers names from each town and a count of all of the lower ranking officers and soldiers.

This doesn't look like something an illiterate person could have been able to do or been able to put his name on, if he were illiterate and couldn't verify the accuracy of the info himself."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Happy 101 Award

Thank you to Ruth Himan for awarding me the "Happy 101" Award this morning. It's nice to know folks I never even met are reading my blog, especially another genea-blogger. Ruth is the author at She is in Southern California and I am in New Hampshire. Isn't the internet fun?

Thus, According to the rules of the award I have to:
1. List the ten (10) things that make you happy and then
2. Pass the award to ten (10) more bloggers

Things that make me happy
(this is easy, it doesn't take much to make me happy!):
1. Hubbie
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Sunny days in winter
5. Rainy days in the summer
6. when my cat purrs
7. a nice glass of wine
8. Genealogy day trips around New England
9. Chinese food
10. serendipity

And I nominate the following blogs
(this is harder to do, there are lots of deserving blogs...):
1. Anthony Vaver at
2. The American Antiquarian Society at
(this is where I started my genealogy research 30 years ago)
3. Barbara Poole at
4. Dean Dexter at (my Mayflower cousin)
5. Roxanne Saucier at
6. Massachusetts Humanities Council at
7. Maggie McLean at
9. Peter M. at
10. The Longwood Symphony Orchestra at

Thanks again Ruth!
PS Thanks also to Bill West, from who also nominated me for the award!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Hutchinson Family Singers of Milford, New Hampshire

My 5x great grandfather, Colonel Joshua Burnham, built a fine home in Milford, New Hampshire in 1824. He sold the home to fund his retirement, and it was purchased by Jesse Hutchinson to house his large family. The children and grandchildren used it as a summer home until the mid 1900’s. It still stands in Milford, and is down the street from a small cemetery where Colonel Burnham, and many members of the Hutchinson family, is buried.

It turns out that the Hutchinson family was quite famous. The first famous protest singers began their career in the mid 1800’s in the small town of Milford, New Hampshire. They sang about social issues such as abolition, temperance, woman’s suffrage and the civil war. There were thirteen Hutchinson siblings, and at one time or another all of them were part of the singing group. The biggest New Hampshire musical group that you’ve never heard of!

Originally known as the “Tribe of Jesse” when they first performed locally, they became known as the Hutchinson Family Singers. By 1841, the brother Jesse (1813-1853) became the manager of a quartet of four siblings, Judson (1817-1859), John (1821-1908), Asa (1823-1884) and Abby (1829-1892). They traveled throughout New England, and after performing in New York City in 1842 they made a tour of Great Britain in 1845/6. After the death of Judson, they split into the “Tribe of Jesse” and the “Tribe of John”, both under the name of the Hutchinson Family Singers. The two Hutchinson groups, including children and even grandchildren, performed until almost 1890. Later, the Hutchinson Family removed to Lynn, Massachusetts, where they lived near Frederick Douglass’s home. They traveled with him on his lecture tours.

Some of their songs have lasted until today such as “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground” and “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight”, followed by the New Hampshire favorite, “The Old Granite State.“ The "Old Granite State" gives a name list of the singing siblings. During their lifetimes, their most famous song was “Get off the Track” sung to the tune of “Old Dan Tucker.” They also popularized the spiritual “Let My People Go” which they learned from Harriet Tubman.

I have often wondered about the relationship between the Burnham family and the Hutchinsons. Both families were not native to Milford, New Hampshire, but they were from Essex County, Massachusetts. My Burnhams lived in the town of Essex, and there are still Burnhams living there. My uncle married a Hutchinson descendant. There are lots of possibilities to investigate here....

click here for a previous blog about Colonel Burnham's home in Milford

For more information:

“Singing for Freedom: The Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth Century Culture of Reform” by Scott Gac, by Yale University Press, 2007 “The Hutchinson Family Singers” on NPR, June 6, 2007 (commentary by Scott Gac, and also a link to hear the broadcast)

“Harps in the Wind: The Story of the Singing Hutchinsons” by Carol Brink, New York, 1947

“The Hutchinson Family: or the Descendants of Barnard Hutchinson of Cowlan, England” by Perley Derby, Essex Institute Press, Salem, Massachusetts, 1870

The Old Granite State
by Jesse Hutchinson, Jr.

We have come from the mountains, we have come from the mountains
We have come from the mountains of the Old Granite State.
We're a band of brothers, we're a band of brothers
We're a band of brothers and we live among the hills
With a band of music, with a band of music
With a band of music we are passing 'round the world.

We have left our aged parents, we have left our aged parents
We have left our aged parents in the Old Granite State.
We obtained their blessing, we obtained their blessing
We obtained their blessing and we bless them in return.
Good old fashioned singers, good old fashioned singers
Good old fashioned singers they can make the air resound.

Yes while the air is ringing with their wild mountain singing
We the news to you are bringing from the Old Granite State.
'Tis the Tribe of Jesse, 'Tis the Tribe of Jesse
'Tis the Tribe of Jesse and their several names we sing.

David, Noah, Andrew, Zephy, Caleb, Joshua, Jess, and Benjy,
Judson, Rhoda, John and Asa, and Abby are our names.
We're the Sons of Mary of the Tribe of Jesse
And we now address ye with our native mountain song.

Liberty is our motto, liberty is our motto
Equal liberty is our motto in the Old Granite State.
We despise oppression, we despise oppression
We despise oppression and we cannot be enslaved.

Yes we're friends of emancipation and we'll sing the proclamation
'Til it echoes through our nation from the Old Granite State
That the Tribe of Jesse, that the Tribe of Jesse
That the Tribe of Jesse are the friends of equal rights.

Like our sires before us, we will swell the chorus
Till the heavens aura shall resound the loud huzzah
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

Like our sires before us, we will swell the chorus
Till the heavens aura shall resound the loud huzzah!


More blog posts about the Hutchinson Family Singers


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The Hutchinson Family Singers of Milford, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 1, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What does a genealogist read on vacation?

I decided to go technology free for two weeks while on vacation over Christmas, and it was great to get back into the reading habit. Now I know why it’s so hard to find time to finish a book lately, between life and the lures of Facebook, email, blogging, genealogy files, RAOGK, etc. etc. So, I took several books with me on vacation, several to finish and others I started and finished while on the beach. It was quite relaxing, being “unplugged” for two weeks.

1.) “The Hemings of Monticello: An American Family” by Annette Gordon-Reed, 2008 I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, after reading another book about Sally Hemings. It’s sat on my bedside table holding up several other books for a while. I love a book that starts and ends with lots of genealogy charts! You all know the story, but Gordon-Reed gives you all the details and more since she is both a historian and legal scholar.

2.) “The Angel Gabriel: The Elusive English Galleon” by Warren C. Riess, 2001 I picked up this autographed copy of the book at the gift shop at Pemaquid, Maine, where the shipwreck of the Angel Gabriel occurred. I had perused it before to pull out genealogical tidbits for my files, but this time I read it cover to cover. It was a real page turner for me since I’m the descendant of several survivors, but it would be equally interesting to any genealogist, marine historian or treasure hunter. Riess is a marine archeologist, searching for the wreck near Pemaquid.

3.) “I’ll Tell You the Story” by Fritz Wetherbee, 2006- Fritz is my all time favorite voice of New Hampshire, and this is a collection of interesting historical stories taken from his bits on WMUR TVs “New Hampshire Chronicle.” He gave me several ideas for blogs amongst these stories, which I must research genealogically, so my copy is bursting with post it notes and slips of paper with notes. This is the type of book that makes you laugh and all the other people on the beach or on the plane think you’ve gone nutty!

4.) “Here I Shall Die Ashore”, by Caleb Johnson, 2007- This was by far my very favorite book of the bunch, and one I started to re-read on the plane when I had finished everything else in my carryon bag. It is the story of Stephen Hopkins. He was a 1609 castaway on Bermuda, a Jamestown survivor, had his character written into a Shakespeare play (Stefano of “The Tempest”), a Mayflower passenger and survivor of the first winter in Plymouth, etc. etc. This guy did it all! As an experienced adventurer he was chosen out of all the Pilgrims to present the Sachem Massasoit gifts of friendship that lead to the fifty year peace between the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag nation. This is a must read for genealogists and colonial American history buffs. Hopkins’ story would make a great action adventure movie!

Unfinished Reading: “Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America’s First Spy” by M. William Phelps, and my third reading of “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott since I was in high school.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NEHGS and Ancestry.Com Family History Day 2010 in Boston

I’m putting this on my blog because I’m so excited. An entire day of Family History classes and information with the New England Historic Genealogical Society and for $30 including parking! My daughter lives in this neighborhood of Boston, and I can tell you that I’ve paid more than $30 just to park here, so this is heavenly. Maybe I’ll even get to see my daughter on top of all this!

I just received the email announcing this event on Saturday, February 20, 2010 from 8 AM to 4PM at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

Just link here to find out more information. Or email

Daisy the Cow –

This is the last cow story…at least for now!

George Barlow emigrated from England and arrived at Sandwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, by around 1657. He became a constable, and marshall for Sandwich, Barnstable and Yarmouth. This was the era of Massachusetts purging the Quakers from their borders, and the constable was responsible for upholding the right to fine Quakers. George Barlow had the right to take goods in exchange for fines, and the right to keep ten percent as his fee.

Henry C. Kittredge wrote of George Barlow: "It was his habit to take not what would be most valuable to the authorities, but what would be most poignantly missed by the Quaker families." He tells the story of Priscilla Allen, whose husband was driven out of town, leaving her and the children with only a cow. The marshall took the cow, all the corn in the house, a bag of meal that had been given by neighbors, and her only copper cooking kettle. Kittredge further wrote that George Barlow had, "so far as can be discovered from contemporary authorities, not a single good trait."

From Stratton’s “Plymouth Colony” he writes “In a case of 5 March 1660/1, Barlow himself was fined twenty shillings for cruelty to Benjamin Allen, making him sit in the stocks at Sandwich for most of the night without cause, and ‘for other wronges done by him unto said Allin.’ Allen was a Quaker, but nonetheless the court protected him…” and “In May 1665 Barlow was accused of ‘attempting the chastity of Abigaill, the wife of Jonathan Pratt, by alluring words and actes of force…’”

George Barlow married a Mrs. Jane Besse, widow to Anthony Besse, with whom she had eight children. It seems that the Barlows marriage was quite tragic, probably since he was a mean spirited man. According to a Plymouth Colony Court record of March 4, 1661/2, Dorcas, Ann, and Mary Besse were before the Court for "crewell and unnatural practice toward their father-in-law George Barlow." (Father-in-law meant step father in those days.) The 1662 records show that Daisy, the cow, had been taken by George Barlow, and the court ordered that Daisy be returned to his step-daughter Jane Besse.

George Barlow named only four children in his will, two from his first wife and two from his second wife. He was mean spirited even to these children, for in his will, which was dated August 4, 1684, and proved on October 31, 1684, he gave only five shillings each to Aaron and Moses, adding "that is all I give them." To his wife Jane and their sons John and Nathan he gave his land which amounted to about eight acres, his house, his farm stock and equipment, and his "household stuffe."

I am not a direct descendant of George Barlow, but many Barlows intermarried with distant cousins in my family tree. He would make a great Blacksheep ancestor! Look at all the records he left for us to uncover in Massachusetts!

I found him mentioned in the records of John Howland, Jr. born 24 February 1627, son of Mayflower passengers John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. I’m descended of two of his sisters, Desire, who married John Gorham, and of the sister Hope, who married John Chipman. It seems that John Howland, Jr., was sympathetic to the plight of the Quakers and he was opposed to George Barlow.

Another ancestor, William Bassett, born 1624 in Plymouth, was fined ten pounds “for spreading false reports of the marshall.” He succeeded George Barlow as the constable, about 1661, in the town of Sandwich. This William Bassett was the father of William Bassett III, who attended Harvard College and became a superior court judge of Massachusetts 1710-1715, and served as Chief Marshall of Plymouth. Hopefully he was a more just and fair man than his predecessor, George Barlow!

For more information see:

“Plymouth Colony, its History and People, 1620-1691” by Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Ancestry Publishing, 1986 (see pages 93 and 99 for the stories of George Barlow, available at Google Books)

“Cape Cod and Its People and Their History” by Henry Crocker Kittredge, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930

Looking for more cow stories?

Cow story #1 Have a Cow, Win a Wife!

Cow story #2 Another Cow, a Salmon and Sam Adams

Cow Story #3 Moooore Cows in the Family Tree

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo