Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Romanus Emerson, In His Own Words- Part 4

From The Boston Investigator, 20 October 1852, Issue 25, Col. A

“The following Address, prepared by Mr. EMERSON, he intended to have read at his funeral, but it was prohibited. His other request, to have the Address printed, we were able to comply with, and here present it, verbatim. It will be approved or condemned according to the religious opinions of those into whose hands it may fall. We see it in the plain, good sense, kind feelings, and excellent advice which we often heard him express both in public and private.

Boston, June 17, 1849

To my nearest relatives who may be my survivors
To all who are relatives or friends who may be survivors

Being in good health and sound mind, calm and composed, I do hereby, in pursuance of a long a settled intention, request, order, and direct that at the time of my decease, funeral, or burial, or at any time thereafter, there shall be no funeral sermon or religious discourse delivered at any place on the day of my decease, either by the consent or request of the forenamed relatives or friends. Also, no priest or minister of the Gospel or pious religion of any kind be allowed to speak, address, or exhort at any time during any part of the funeral ceremonies. And further- that honest, liberal, free-thinking men be allowed to take charge of the order of proceedings, -in pursuance of the advice and request of my nearest relatives, my survivors. All which I soberly and seriously enjoin.

Whereas it is a fact, that daily experience and observation corroborate, that all who are born must have thought it most fit and proper that I should write my own funeral address, inasmuch as I am decidedly opposed to the services of a clergyman of any denomination at my own funeral; and also, that I may leave to my survivors my own sentiments in regard to the order of Nature and what is commonly called Theology.

I consider that death and decomposition leave us just where we were before we were born; that there is no identity to any of mankind after death and decomposition; that mankind were formed from the elements, composed of the elements, and as certainly returned to the elements; that there is no part or parcel of thecreature man that survives his decomposition.

This, I consider to be the inflexible, unalterable universal order of Nature. To this, mankind must all arrive, without a single exception, whether their imaginations are wrought up to a high pitch, in anticipation of future bliss beyond the grave, or whether their reason and philosophy confine their speculations to this world and the system to which it belongs. “In this there is no discharge.”
I consider Theology, so called, a system of deceit and fraud, whereby one class of citizens obtain a rich living by exciting the hopes and fears of their fellow beings in regard to a place of happiness and a place of misery somewhere away from this globe or world we inhabit; and also, in regard to beings or existences not material, nondescripts, residing nowhere and yet everywhere present.

Also, said Theology maintains that one of their wonderful beings has written a book called the Bible that mankind are bound to believe what that Bible says, upon the penalty of eternal damnation.

Out of this Theology, whether Christian, Mohametan, or HIndoo, have arisen all those belligerent and contending sects, who have in turn destroyed each other and even desolated the fair face of Nature.

The morality of said book, the Bible, I believe will not compare, as a whole, with the writings of the ancient philosophers. Let every one impartially examine both, and render his own verdict.

My friends and relatives are hereby exhorted to reject every system of Theology which may be offered for their acceptance, as tending only to distract the mind and lead it away from humanity. To do as you would wish to be done unto, and to love your neighbor as yourself, is better than all the religious systems of the world put together. As one who speaks to you from the grave, I exhort you to live peaceably with all mankind; view the whole human family as a universal brotherhood; maintain inflexibly, on every occasion, the truth; and set it down as an invariable consequent, that deception and fraud work their own ruin and give no peace and comfort to the mind.

The individual interest of each is advanced in proportion as each advances the good of the whole. Seek, therefore, to establish and perpetuate a rational, practical and useful education for the masses, so that no child shall be without a competent education for the transaction of any business in the ordinary concerns of life. And as children are not responsible for their birth, or the time and place of their birth, or the circumstances which may surround them, the generations who conduct the affairs of the world for the time being are responsible and should give to every child, however poor it may be, a good, rational and practical education. Furthermore, as many children are left without relatives to protect the, the State should establish institutions which should feed, clothe, and educate them so that they may be equal to their fellows of the same generation.

Nothing will elevate the masses, and raise them to their proper position in the world, but an equal education for one and for all. Nothing, to my mind, is of so vast importance as this, for the well-being of society and the good of the world. Nothing but this will preserve the free institutions of these United States from decay and corruption. This being done, free institutions will grow and flourish and improve with their age, and root out the evils which through ignorance they may labor under.

N.B.- This, my funeral address, is to be read at my funeral by a liberal minded, well disposed free thinker, and either he or some other liberalist may address the audience as occasion may serve; and this, my funeral address, I wish to have published, after my decease, in as many of the newspapers of the day as choose to do it.

And furthermore, I order that my grave-clothes shall be of the most common and cheap kind, and my coffin of pine and of the most ordinary sort.
In testimony whereof, I subscribe my name in my own hand-writing,

Click here to see Part 1 of this story

Click here to see Part 2

Click here to see Part 3

Continued tomorrow with more about Romanus Emerson, my 4x great grandfather, written by the “Infidels” themselves.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Romanus Emerson, buried in a Christian Cemetery, whether he liked it or not!

Part 3

Yesterday I posted two stories about Romanus Emerson, the avowed atheist, whose funeral was celebrated at the Hawes Place Church by the Reverend Capen, and then buried in the Hawes Burial Ground. We went to South Boston to find Romanus’s grave, but I was surprised when I was met with a locked gate. I had never before been locked out of a cemetery!

When Romanus Emerson removed to South Boston in 1810, there were only six houses in the village. It had been annexed as part of Boston in 1804. The main street was a winding cowpath, known as the “Old Road” and it was renamed Emerson Street in honor of Romanus Emerson. His neighbors were the DeLuces, Briggs, and Harringtons. Later, in 1857, a grid of streets named as numbers in one direction and letter of the alphabet were imposed on top of Emerson Street. After Romanus’s death it became the famous neighborhood of brick and brownstone style townhouses now the center of the Irish Community in Boston.

It was an interesting adventure, even though we didn’t find Romanus’s stone (perhaps it was him playing a joke on us, since he didn’t want a stone and a cemetery burial?) The cemetery is right on Emerson Street, and next to the Hawes School. His sons attended the Hawes School, which specialized in music education, and his daughter Louisa was a teacher there. The school is now a condominium. The Hawes Place Church must have been located nearby, but it doesn’t seem to have survived.

We will have to call the City of Boston sometime and arrange to see the inside of the Hawes Burial Ground.

Click here to see Part 1

Click here to see Part 2

Continued tomorrow with more about Romanus Emerson

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, March 29, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- Romanus Emerson, died an Infidel, 1852. – Part 2

click on image to enlarge
The Hawes Burial ground,
Where they gave the Infidel a Christian Burial

Abner Kneeland (1774-1884) was a former Universalist minister, turned atheist, who started the Boston Investigator newspaper in 1830. Its motto was “Truth, perseverance, union, justice- the means; happiness- the end. Hear all sides- then decide”. There were several atheistic societies in Boston at this time, including the “First Society of Free Thinkers” and the “Boston Infidel Society.” Kneeland was prosecuted for blasphemy in Massachusetts in 1838, and served sixty days in prison.

The Boston Infidel Society is listed in some 1800s Boston directories, right in between The Boston Free Dispensary for Diseases of the Skin and Eye and The Boston Lying In Hospital. Its members were prominent men of New England. When the first abolitionists came to Boston, and the churches wouldn’t allow them in as lecturers, the Infidel Society gave William Lloyd Garrison permission to use their Julian Hall three times. Eventually, the Boston public accepted this group, but the Infidels still seemed to be considered as a fringe set of liberals.

It was in the Boston Investigator that I found many references to my 4x great grandfather, Romanus Emerson. His wife, my great grandmother Jemima (Burnham) Emerson, was a lifelong member of the South Baptist Church of Boston. Romanus was a well respected citizen of South Boston, mentioned many times in the history of Boston, and even had a street named after him. Remember that his own cousin, Ralph Waldo Emerson of Concord, had his own doubts as a Unitarian clergyman and later in life he turned from his faith into a transcendentalist. Strangely, the most interesting stories I found about Romanus Emerson were printed in the Boston Investigator: a candid obituary, the news story reporting on his funeral in Boston, and some letters to the editor by his fellow “Infidels”. It seems that Jemima and the rest of the Emerson clan, of whom many were prominent clergymen, didn’t follow Romanus’s last wishes for a non religious funeral.

From The Boston Investigator, 20 October 1852, Issue 25, Col. A

“Romanus Emerson, His Funeral Address:

We noticed briefly in our last the death of ROMANUS EMERSON, Esq., one of those rare men who possess the esteem and confidence of all who know them, and who go down to their graves amid great sadness and regret. Mr. Emerson was one of a class of men of which happily the ranks of the Liberalists are not unfruitful. He was a self made man- commencing life a mechanic, without wealth or other adventitious aid, but by the exercise of the sterling virtues of industry, integrity and honesty, he arrived at comparative opulence; but, unlike many, he did not reserve the accumulations of his industry for a display of posthumous liberality in the endowment of a college or church.

A worker in the ranks of the “toiling millions,” he saw the evils entailed upon them by a false social organization and a lack of knowledge, and devoted his talents, time and means to the removal of those evils, to the dissemination of correct information, to the elevation of the standard of intelligence, to the advocacy of just and liberal sentiments and opinions on all subjects, and to reducing to practice the schemes devised for the promotion of the best interests of his fellow men. For the advancement of these high objects his purse was open, his best exertions over freely given. There was no exclusiveness in him. The welfare of the whole human family was embraced in his practical philanthropy.

We hold him up to the public eye, not for the mere purpose of speaking his eulogy, but as a bright example – at once an incitement to emulation and as encouragement to perseverance; for ROMANUS EMERSON was a friend and benefactor of his race, an inflexible Republican, an undismayed Free Enquirer, a devout worshipper at the crystal shrine of TRUTH, and HONEST MAN.

The ceremonies at his funeral were performed at the Hawes Place Church, by the Rev. Mr. Capen, in the presence of a large audience; and not withstanding the impropriety of religious ceremonies on the occasion, as MR. EMERSON had expressly forbidden them, yet we must give Mr. Capen the credit of paying a high tribute to Mr. E’s character as a man and a citizen. He had been a neighbor for thirty years, and in all the domestic and social relations of his life he was irreproachable- strictly honest in his dealings, exemplary in all his habits, and of that remarkable mildness and equanimity of temper that was never ruffled even under the most exciting circumstances. To all these elevated and ennobling traits of character, which alone make a man excellent and worthy of our admiration, Mr. Capen bore honorable testimony, and it gives us no little pleasure to mention this unexpected manifestation of clerical liberality and kind feeling. Nor ought we to except here, his good intentions when, speaking of Mr. EMERSON’s unbelief of religion, he thought him mistaken, while he admitted his sincerity; though in the very character which he gave of the deceased, the preacher demonstrated the erroneousness of his own conclusion and the truthfulness and beauty of the immortal lines of Pope:-

“For modes of faith, let graceless zealots fight-
His can’t be wrong, whose LIFE is in the right.”

After the ceremonies in the church were concluded, a long procession followed the remains of MR. EMERSON to their last resting place; and we believe we only speak the general opinion when we declare, that very seldom if ever has the grave closed over a better man.”

For Part 1 click here

Continued Wednesday with Part 3 where he was buried in a Christian cemetery 

and Part 4 the Funeral Address written by Romanus Emerson himself!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Amanuensis Monday-  Romanus Emerson, died an Infidel, 1852. – Part 2", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 29, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Madness Monday - The “Odd” Romanus Emerson, Part 1

Boston Society considered Romanus Emerson (1782 – 1852) peculiar, odd and eccentric because he had developed into an atheist later in life. Boston can be described as progressive and liberal, but also exceedingly traditional, which goes for opinions today as well as in the antebellum days. The snide tone of this next excerpt certainly describes the situation! According to the History of South Boston by Thomas C. Simonds, Page 275-6

“Romanus Emerson [My 4x great grandfather] His early studies were directed with a view to the Christian ministry. But owing to an impediment in his speech, he left his studies…Mr. Emerson lived at South Boston more than forty years. He came here in 1810 and kept a small grocery store in addition to his trade… He was an industrious citizen, frugal and temperate in his manner of life….He was forward in every movement for social reform, and took a deep interest in the moral progress of society… He had great command of his temper, and could not easily be provoked to violent anger or resentment…."

Mr. Emerson possessed strong reasoning powers, and was an original and independent thinker. But here was something peculiar in the structure of his mind- a defect, perhaps it should be called, [italics mine] which sometimes led him to singular conclusions, of which he was unusually tenacious. For he had a pride of opinion, which he did not easily yield, when he had once made up his mind. He was especially singular in his views of religion. Till late in his life, he had most rigidly adhered to the opinions usually styled orthodox, and in the Baptist denomination. From various causes, becoming dissatisfied with these, and most unjustly attributing all the wrongs that have arisen from the mistakes and abuses of religion, to pure religion itself, his mind swung to the opposite extreme. He openly renounced all religious opinions whatever, and died deliberately holding to his speculative unbelief… He died on the 10th of October, 1852, at the age of 70 years."


Boston Investigator, 20 October 1852, Issue 25, Col. A

“The following obituary notice of Mr. EMERSON is copied from the South Boston Gazette:-

The death of Father EMERSON, an old resident of the Ward, demands more than a passing notice. We have gathered the following events in his life, from a reliable source. ROMANUS EMERSON was born in Hancock, New Hampshire, September 1st, 1782. Besides one sister, he had three brothers, Orthodox ministers, that survive him, - Rev. Dr. Brown Emerson of Salem, Rev. Reuben Emerson of Reading, both older than he, and Rev. Noah Emerson of Holliston, younger. He was educated for the ministry and entered college with his brothers, but owing to an impediment in his speech, he gave it up and learned the Carpenter’s trade. He came to South Boston in 1809, was married in 1810, and has therefore resided here 43 years, engaged as West India Goods Dealer, and at his trade. When he came here the spot on which he settled (near the Hawes Place Meeting House) was the village, consisting of only six houses, and the only place settled. He paid 3 cents a foot for land, while near the Bridge he could have it for ½ of a cent. We mention this to show the increase in real estate.

He has left a wife and six children. He has been Fence Viewer since 1822, and was a member of the Common Council in 1843, was an original pew owner and member of the Hawes Place Society, and continued so to his death. As a man, he was strictly honest, always to be relied on in business transactions, an excellent neighbor, a good citizen, a firm unyielding friend of temperance, and had been for 18 years. He formerly sold liquor, had a license, but seeing its evil he gave it up in 1834. In politics – a Jeffersonian Democrat, repeatedly a candidate for office by that party. In 1848 he became a Free Soiler, as firm and unyielding as he had previously been Democratic. In religion,- he was in former years a strict Baptist, an active, praying, faithful member of the Baptist church. In 1834 he read Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason; this, with other causes, changed his views, and he asked and received his honorable discharge from the Baptist church; then went to the extreme point the other way. His views, to which he has adhered 18 years, and in the full faith of which he died, were- that there was no God, except a God of Nature; that death is an eternal sleep, that when he died that was the end of him- annihilation.

He gave full directions as to his funeral; that he should be put in a pine coffin and buried in the burying ground at the Point, which was done; and also left an address to be read at his funeral by Horace Seaver, Esq. Editor of the Investigator. After consultation of his friends with Mr. Seaver* it was deemed best that he should be buried from the Hawes Place Meeting House, and Rev. Lemuel Capen deliver an Address and make a prayer, which was done on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock. The funeral was attended by a large number of relatives and friends. The Address of Mr. Capen dwelt on the life and character of the deceased.

Mr. Emerson has left a Will. He gave to the Infidel Society five hundred dollars, but as they are not known to the law, it is doubtful whether they can receive it. The rest of his property goes to his wife and children.

The complaint causing his death was general debility of the system- consumption of the blood, caused by advancing old age. He had been failing about one year and six months; he retained all his mental faculties to the last, and though at times in great distress, died calmly without a struggle.”


Click here to see Part 2
Continued tomorrow with more on Romanus Emerson


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adams Female Academy, 1824, Derry, New Hampshire

As I blogged about last fall, Jacob Adams bequeathed $4,000 to start a school for girls in Derry in 1824 “to be located within one hundred rods of the East Parish meeting house in Londonderry.” It was one of the first all female schools in New England. The first principal of the school was Zilpah Banister, and Mary Lyon was her assistant. Students came from all over New England, and there were over 100 girls attending. At the 50th anniversary of the school in 1873, Mrs. Bannister attended for the first time since leaving the school forty seven years earlier. Former students include Ellen Louisa Tucker, the first wife of Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as other daughters of prominent New England families.

In 1886 the Adams Female Academy merged with Pinkerton Academy, and became a co-education institution. The Adams School became a public elementary school, and astronaut Alan Shepard was a student in the early 20th century. Pinkerton Academy is a private school dating from 1814, and it is still operating as the public high school for the towns of Derry, Hampstead and Chester. It operated as a boarding school until 1948. Because of its tuition agreement contracts with several towns it is now the largest independent academy in the United States, serving over 3,400 students.

The Adams Female Academy building still stands in East Derry, New Hampshire. It is well known for its Rufus Porter Murals, which were discovered recently, removed and auctioned in 2007. The murals were removed in thirteen panels and sold in two lots. The house is now privately owned, and it is not open for tours.

Zilpah P. Grant Banister (1794- 1874) was educated at the Byfield Female Seminary in Massachusetts, and she taught at several schools until arriving at Derry in 1824 as the founding principal of the Adams Female Academy. In 1828 she was asked to form a new Female Seminary at Ipswich, Massachusetts, where she remained until she retired in 1839. In 1841 she married William B. Banister. She spent the rest of her life in Newburyport, Massachusetts but was an active promoter of women’s education.

Mary Lyon (1797- 1849), was educated at the Sanderson Academy and also at the Byfield Female Seminary, where she met Zilpah Grant and became her assistant at Derry and at Ipswich. She established the Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts, which is now Wheaton College. Two years, in 1837, and later she established the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which is now Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, famous as one of the “Seven Sisters” to the Ivy League Colleges. She was the first president of Mount Holyoke for twelve years. It is the oldest woman’s college in the United States which was established from its inception as a woman’s college!

The records of the Adams Academy are now kept at the Mount Holyoke College Archives in South Hadley, Massachusetts under the call letters of MS 0503 in the Manuscript Collection. They include catalogues of teachers and students, minutes from trustee meetings, student compositions, and photographs. Zilpah Banister’s papers are also at the Mount Holyoke Archives under the call letters MS 0506. Mary Lyon’s papers are also at Mount Holyoke, including over 27 feet of her own letters and papers, family papers, portraits, and other material written about her life under the call number MS 0500.

My previous blog posts about Adams Female Academy:

January 13, 2010 Lafayette Visits Derry, New Hampshire
The story of General Lafayette's visit to Derry in 1824 and his stop at the Adams Female Academy.

November 2, 2009 Mill Girls from Derry and Londonderry
The story of Eliza Adams, one of Mary Lyons’ Derry students

For more information:
A biography of Mary Lyon from the Mount Holyoke College Website

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not-So- Wordless Wednesday- 1st Motorcycle Cop in Massachusetts

Byron A. Bullock, born 21 February 1883. He was on the police force of Manchester, Massachusetts, and he rode the first police motorcycle in the state. He is my aunt Shirley Eaton Wilkinson's grandfather. The Bullocks have lived in Essex County since the original immigrant ancestor, Henry Bullock (c. 1595 -1663) came to Salem in the ship "Abigail" in 1635.

Is there a motorcycle expert out there who can tell us what year this photo was taken?

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday – Mt. Auburn Cemetery

The Simon Wilkinson Family Plot
Mt. Auburn Cemetery,
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Stones cold to the touch
Like a hand after
The soul has left a body

Cold wind on your
Cheek as you pass
Through the quiet

Why is everything about death so cold?

A pocket of warmth
And a stumble into the sun.
A ray of light hits your face

And then you realize
You probably weren’t
As cold as you thought.

------- by Catalina Rojo, written at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, March 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- A 1681 Letter

I read about Amanuensis Monday in Randy Seaver’s blog “GeneaMusings”, and he read about it on John Newmark’s genealogy blog “TransylvanianDutch. Amanuensis: a person employed to take dictation or to copy manuscripts.

The Whipple House, Ipswich, Massachusetts
built about 1638
Letter from Sarah Whipple Goodhue 1681

Sarah was the daughter of Elder John Whipple of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and appears to have been very nicely educated for her time. Her letter and poetry are beautifully written, especially for a woman on her deathbed. Something about the pregnancy must have signaled to Sarah that she would not survive. I am descended of the daughter Mary in the poem. Sarah was my 9 x great grandmother.

Joseph Goodhue remarried to the widow Rachel Todd in 1684 and had three more children. He married third to the widow Mercy Clarke, and had another son.


Dear and loving Husband, If it should please the Lord to make a sudden change in thy family, the which I know not how soon it may be, and I am fearful of it. Therefore in a few words I would declare something of my mind, lest afterwards I should have no opportunity. I cannot but sympathize and pity thy condition seeing thou has a great family of children and some of them small, and if it should please the Lord to add to thy number one more or two, be not discouraged, although it should please the Lord to deprive thee of thy weak help which is so near and dear unto thee. Trust in the living God, who will be an help to the helpless, and a father to the motherless.

My desire is, that if thou art so contented, to dispose of two or three of my children. If it please the Lord that I should be delivered of a living child, son or daughter, my desire is that my father and mother should have it, if they please; I freely bequeath and give it to them.

And also my desire is that my cousin Symond Stacy should have John, if he please. I freely bequeath and give to him for his own if thou art willing. And also my desire is that my cousin Catharine Whipple should have Susannah, which is an hearty girl, and will quickly be helpful to her, and she may be helpful to the child, to bring her up. These, or either of these I durst trust their care under God, for the faithful discharge of that which may be for my children's good and comfort, and I hope to thy satisfaction. Therefore, if they be willing to take them, and to deal well by them, answer my desire I pray thee, thou has been willing to answer my request formerly, and I hope now thou wilt, this being the last, so far as I know.

Honored and most loving father and mother, I cannot tell how to express your fatherly and motherly love towards me and mine. It hath been so great and in several kinds, for the which, in a poor requital, I give you hearty and humble thanks, yet trusting in God that he will enable you to be a father and mother to the motherless. Be not troubled for the loss of an unworthy daughter, but rejoice in the grace of God that there is hope of rejoicing together hereafter in the place of everlasting joy and blessedness.

Brothers and sisters all, hearken and hear the voice of the Lord, that by his sudden providence doth call aloud on you to prepare yourselves for that swift and sudden messenger of death; that no one of you may be found without a wedding garment; a part and portion in Jesus Christ; the assurance of the love of God, which will enable you to leave this world, and all your relations, though never so near and dear for the everlasting enjoyment of the great and glorious God, if you do fear him in truth.

The Private Society to which, while here, I did belong, if God by his providence come amongst you, and begin by death to break you, be not discouraged, but be strong in repenting, faith and prayers, with the lively repeatal of God's counsels declared unto you by his faithful messengers. I pray, each for another, and with one another, that so in these threatening times of storms and trouble you may be found more precious than gold tried in the fire. Think not a few hours time in your approaches to God misspent, but consider seriously with yourselves to what end God lent to you any time at all. This surely I can through grace now say: that of the time that there I spent, through the blessing of God, I have no cause to repent, no not in the least.

O my children all, which in pains and care have cost me dear, unto you I call to come and take what portion your dying mother will bestow upon you; many times by experience it hath been found that the dying words of parents have left a living impression upon the breasts of children. O my children be sure to set the fear of God before your eyes; consider what you are by nature, miserable sinners, utterly lost and undone; and that there is no way and means whereby you can come out of this miserable estate, but by the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ. He died a reproachful death that every poor humbled and true repenting sinner, by faith on God through him, might have everlasting life. O my children, the best counsel a poor dying mother can give you is to get a part and portion in the Lord Jesus Christ that will hold when all these things fail. O let the Lord Jesus Christ be precious in your sight.

O children, neighbors and friends, I hope I can by experience truly say that Christ is the best, most precious, most durable portion that all or any of you can set your hearts' delight upon. I forever desire to bless and praise the Lord that he hath opened mine eyes to see the emptiness of these things and mine own, and to behold the fullness and riches of grace that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. To that end, my children, I do not only counsel you, but in the fear of the Lord I charge you all to read God's Word, and pray unto the Lord that he would be pleased to give you hearts and wisdom to improve the great and many privileges that the Lord is at present pleased to afford unto you; improve your youthful days unto God's service, your health and strength whilst it lasteth, for you know not how soon your health may be turned into sickness, your strength into weakness, and your lives into death; as death cuts the tree of your life down, so will it lie; as death leaveth you, so judgment will find you out. Therefore be persuaded to agree with your adversary quickly, whilst you are in the way of these precious opportunities; be sure to improve the lively dispensations of the Gospel; give good attention unto sermons preached in publick, and to sermons repeated in private.

Endeavor to learn your father's hand, that you may read over those precious sermons that he hath taken pains to write and keep from the mouths of God's lively messengers, and in them there are lively messages. I can, through the blessing of God, along with them say, that they have been lively unto me; and if you improve them aright, why not to all of you! God upbraideth none of the seed of Jacob that seek his face in truth. My children, be encouraged in this work, you are in the bond of the covenant; although you may be breakers of covenant, yet God is a merciful keeper of covenant.

Endeavor as you grow up to own and renew your covenant, and rest not if God give you life, but so labour to improve all the advantages that God is pleased to afford you, that you may be fit to enjoy the Lord Jesus Christ in all his ordinances. What hath the Lord Jesus given himself for you? if you will lay hold of him by true faith and repentance. And what will you be backward to accept of his gracious and free offers, and not to keep in remembrance his death and sufferings, and to strengthen your weak faith. I thank the Lord in some measure I have found that ordinance a life-making ordinance unto my soul. Oh, the smiles and loving embraces that they miss of that hold off and will not be in such near relation unto their Head and Saviour. The Lord grant that Christ may be your portions all.

My children, one or two words I have to say more: In the first place, be sure to carry well to your father; obey him, love him, follow his instructions and example, be ruled by him, take his advice, and have a care of grieving him. For I must testify the truth unto you, and I may call some of you to testify against yourselves, that your father hath been loving, kind, tender-hearted towards you all, both for your temporal and spiritual good.

You that are grown up cannot but see how careful your father is when he cometh home from his work to take the young ones up into his wearied arms; by his loving carriage and care towards those, you may behold as in a glass, his tender care and love to you every one as you grow up. I can safely say, that his love was so to you all, that I cannot say which is the child that he doth love the best. But further I may testify unto you, that this is not all that your father hath been doing for you, and that some of you may bear me witness that he hath given you many instructions, which hath been to the end your souls might enjoy happiness; he hath reproved you often for your evils, laying before you the ill event that would happen unto you if you did not walk in God's ways, and give your minds to do his will, to keep holy his Sabbaths, to attend unto hearing it preached with a desire to profit by it, and declaring unto you this way that he had experienced to get good by it; that was to pray unto the Lord for his blessing with and upon it, that it might soak into the heart and find entertainment there; and that you should meditate upon it; and he hath told you meditation was as the key to open the door to let you in, or that into your heart, that you might find the sweetness of God's word.

Furthermore, my children be encouraged in this work. Your father hath put up many prayers with ardent desires and tears to God on behalf of you all; which if you walk with God, I hope you will find gracious answers and showers of blessing from those bottled tears for you. O carry it well to your father, that he may yet be encouraged to be doing and pleading for your welfare. Consider that the Scriptures holdeth forth many blessings to such children that obey their parents in the Lord, but there are curses threatened to the disobedient.

My children, in your life and conversation live godly, walk soberly, modestly and innocently; be diligent, and be not hasty to follow new fashions, and the pride of life, that now too much abound. Let not pride betray the good of your immortal souls.

And if it please the Lord you live to match yourselves, and to make your choice: Be sure you choose such as first do seek the kingdom of heaven.

My first, as thy name is Joseph,
Labor so in knowledge to increase
As to be freed from the guilt of thy sins
And enjoy eternal peace.

Mary, labor to be so arrayed
With the hidden man of the heart
That with Mary thou mayest find
Thou hast chosen the better part.

William thou hadst that name
For thy grandfather's sake,
Labor so to tread in his steps
As over sin conquest thou mayest make.

Sarah, Sarah's daughter thou shalt be
If thou continuest in doing well.
Labor so in holiness among the daughters to walk
As that thou mayest excel.

So my children all, if I must be gone
I with tears bid you all--Farewell.
The Lord bless you all.

Now dear husband, I can do no less than to turn unto thee; and if I could I would naturally mourn with thee.

And in a poor requital of all thy kindness, if I could, I would speak some things of comfort to thee, whilst thou dost mourn for me. A tender hearted, affectionate, and entire loving husband thou hast been to me several ways. If I should but speak of what I have found as these outward things; I being but weakly natured in all my burthens thou has willingly with me sympathized and cheerfully thou hast helped me bear them, which although I was but weak-natured, and so the more unable to go through those troubles in my way, yet thou hast by thy cheerful love to me helped me forward in a cheerful frame of spirit.

But when I come to speak or consider in thy place, thy great pains and care for the good of my soul; this twenty years experience of thy love to me in this kind hath so enstamped it upon my mind, that I do think that there never was a man more truly kind to a woman. I desire forever to bless and praise the Lord, that in mercy to my soul, he by his providence ordered that I should live with thee in such a relation; therefore, dear husband, be comforted in this (although God by his providence break that relation between us, that he gave being to at first), that in thy place thou has been a man of knowledge to discharge to God and my soul that scripture commanded duty, which by the effects in me wrought through the grace of God, thou mayest behold with comfort our prayers not hindered, but a gracious answer from the Lord, which is of great price and reward. Although my being gone be thy loss, yet I trust, in and through Jesus Christ, it will be my gain.

Was it not to this end that the Lord was pleased to enable thee and give thee in heart to take (as an instrument) so much pains for his glory and my eternal good, and that it might be thy comfort. As all thy reading of scriptures and writing of sermons, and repeating of them over to me, that although I was necessarily often absent from the public worship of God, yet by thy pains and care to the good of my soul, it was brought home unto me. And blessed by the Lord who hath set home by the operation of his spirit, so many repeatals of precious sermons and prayers and tears for me and with me for my eternal good. And now let it be thy comfort under all; go on and persevere in believing in God and praying fervently unto God. Let not thy affectionate heart become hard, and thy tears dried away; and certainly the Lord will render a double portion of blessing upon thee and thine.

If thou couldst ask me a reason why I thus declare myself, I can answer no other but this, that I have had of late a strong persuasion upon my mind, that by sudden death I should be surprised, either at my travail, or soon after it; the Lord fit me for himself.

Although I could be very willing to enjoy thy company and my children longer, yet if it be the will of the Lord that I must not, I hope I can say cheerfully "The will of the Lord be done." This hath been often my desire and prayer.

Further, if thou couldst ask me why I did not discover some of these particulars of my mind to thee before, my answer is, because I knew that thou wert tender hearted towards me, and therefore I would not create thee needless trouble.

Oh, dear husband, dearest of all my bosom friends, if by sudden death I must part from thee, let not thy trouble and cares that are on thee make thee to turn aside from the right way:

O dear heart, if I must leave thee and thine here behind,
Of my natural affection here is my heart and hand.

Be courageous, and on the living God bear up thy heart in so great a breach as this.


Dear husband, if by sudden death I am taken away from thee, there is unfolded among thy papers something that I have to say to thee and others.

July 14, 1681.


For the truly curious:

You can read the “Valedictory of Sarah Goodhue Whipple” at the website

Or in the book, History and Genealogy of the Goodhue Family in England and America , by Jonathan E. Goodhue, E. R. Andrews, Rochester, N.Y.: 1891 pp. 293-297.

My WHIPPLE lineage:

My GOODHUE lineage:  


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Amanuensis Monday- A 1681 Letter", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 22, 2010, ( accessed [access date]).  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Big Week for Carnivals of Genealogy

I have never before participated in a blogging carnival, and this past week three of my blog posts were in three different carnivals. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing here on line, and what is a “Blogging Carnival?” It seems that a carnival is a blogging community event containing blog posts on particular topics. Bloggers volunteer to host and moderate these events, which bring together many bloggers from all over. It was fun to join in, and especially fun reading the other stories and receiving feedback from new readers.

The first carnival posted on line was on 17 March 2010 for St. Patrick’s Day, the 3rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Blog Parade at the blog “Small Leaved Shamrock”. It was also known as the 18th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture. Not having any Irish ancestors, I decided to blog about the Scots-Irish settlers of Londonderry, New Hampshire and some events circling around religion, the Catholic and Presbyterian churches of our town and of our namesake town in Northern Ireland. There were fifteen participants in this carnival, from the United States, Canada and Australia. You can read the carnival at

The second carnival posted on 18 March 2010 was the 91st Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: Women’s History Month. This one had a little slant to it as participants were requested to submit a timeline for the ancestor outlined in their blog post. Strangely, all the participants in this COG were women. There were twenty contributors, and you can read them all at Jasia’s blog “Creative Gene”

The third on line event I participated in was the 1st Annual Carnival of African American Genealogy: Restore My Name, hosted by Lucky Daniels. It posted on 19 March 2010. I was moved to participate in this by several heartfelt posts Lucky made over the past month, and I was happy to see that there were twenty five participants in this carnival. You can see this carnival at Lucky’s blog “Our Georgia Roots” at

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, March 19, 2010

Princess Ka'iulani Movie Update

The movie about Princess Ka’iulani of Hawaii, which I blogged about last fall is set to be released on May 14, 2010. Originally titled, “Barbarian Princess”, it appears to have been renamed “Princess Kaiulani.” It stars Q’orianka Kilcher, who previously starred as Pocahontas in “The New World” released in 2005. Barry Pepper (“Flags of Our Fathers”) costars. It is the story of Queen Lilioukalani’s heir and very young niece, who attempts to maintain Hawaii’s independence against the threat of American annexation.

The official theatrical trailer can be seen at at

After seeing my blog last fall, Melloney Cunnell of Matador Pictures in London emailed me to say she didn’t know which theaters would be showing the film. In February the U.S. firm Roadside Attractions purchased the rights to distribute the film in 2010. I’m afraid it might only be a limited release, shown in art theaters for a short run, and I might miss it. It was not shown at Cannes.

The showings in Honolulu last October 2009 during the Hawaii International Film Festival were sold out, even as the protests raged as it was shown under the original derogatory title “Barbarian Princess”. Ka’iulani is still a much beloved figure in Hawaiian history, even though her story is virtually unknown here in the United States.

According to Hawaiian friends who saw the premiere of “Princess Kaiulani”, the movie includes scenes of her education in England, her return trip to the America upon hearing of Queen Lili’uokalani’s arrest, and scenes of her trip to Boston before she returned to Hawaii. I know that Ka’iulani visited MIT, where her guardian’s son was attending classes. I hope this is part of the movie, since my husband is an MIT graduate. I also hope that the family connections to Boston are part of the story line.

Interestingly, the ’Iolani Palace posted this on their Facebook page 11 March 2010:
This is official media statement from the Friends of 'Iolani Palace explaining why filming was allowed at 'Iolani Palace: "The Friends of Iolani Palace decided to allow Princess Productions, LLC to film a drama about the life of Princess Kaiulani in order to educate the general public about the history of Hawaii and the Palace. The Friends believe that this is consistent with our mission statement, to share this wonderful historic treasure with the world. The film will also bring the story of the Hawaiian monarchy to a global audience, and encourage moviegoers to visit Iolani Palace and learn more about the history of Hawaii."

This disclaimer appears at the end of the film when they roll the credits: "The Friends of 'Iolani Palace does not vouch for the historical accuracy of persons and events depicted in the film."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Londonderry School District Number Eight

I recently explored the Internet Archive website at This website provides free books, moving images (from film and video), audio and text images. From their home page “The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.” It is full of scanned images and primary source documents that are a genealogist’s dream!

I put the word LONDONDERRY into the search box and I found the 1908 book “School District Number Eight” at Here you can page through the book, left or right, and even download the book or print it out. It is only 60 pages, but it loaded with lots of good Londonderry trivia, including names and other genealogical gems.

School House number 8 was located on Bartley Hill Road. A District Number Eight Old Home Association of former teachers, pupils and residents was formed, and on August 24, 1906 about twenty five people showed up at a meeting in the schoolhouse to consider writing up the history of the school, and to have a celebration. Adults paid 25 cents, children 10 cents to belong to the association.

According to this little booklet, the first schoolhouse in this district was built in 1794 as Number 17 in Londonderry, until the town of Derry broke off in 1829. The author Daniel Gage Annis lists some historical facts, such as in 1800 it was voted that every pupil should bring 4 feet of wood to school, or in 1812 it was voted to give the school 40 cents for a “pale and mug.” In 1829 it was voted to sell the stove ashes to give the scholars “some refreshments- No rum brought into school.”

In 1839 $25 was raised to buy a new stove. In 1856 $1000 was voted to build a new schoolhouse, and in 1858 $136 was voted to finish the school house, with another $100 voted for outbuildings (an outhouse? Woodshed?) In 1894 the cost per scholar was $10.63 and there were 26 children. Compare this to this month’s town meeting where the 2010-2011 school budget is expected to be $63,472,328.00, for nearly 5300 students.

Also included in the booklet are lists of teachers, board members and donors. There is a short chapter on the history of the Adams Fund, which came from the estate of Mr. Edmund Adams, a resident of the school district. He formed this fund out of the sale of two shares of Manchester and Lawrence Railroad stock in 1870. His sons were students in the district, one becoming a graduate of Dartmouth, a grandson graduating from Harvard, and a granddaughter graduating from Johns Hopkins.

At the end of the booklet, there is a chapter describing the celebration of the Old Home Association for the school on August 21, 1907. There are several letters of regret from former teachers and students, which are interesting to read. They include the names and their 1907 addresses, mostly out of state.

If you would like to examine the original copy of this book, it is available at the Londonderry Leach library, filed under HIS REF 974.2b LON, School district number eight, Londonderry, New Hampshire. Concord, N.H: Rumford Printing, 1908.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Patricks and Bridgets - Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today I’m listing some of the Patricks and Bridgets found in my family tree…. There are not too many since I have few ancestors of Irish or Scots-Irish heritage, although Bridget was a surprisingly popular name in Puritan New England. Patrick and Bridget are the patron saints of Ireland. 


My brother in law is a Patrick, although he reports to me that his heritage is Welsh. 

My first cousin married a doctor with the middle name FitzPatrick, and they gave their son the name Patrick as a middle name. 

Patrick Lyons, my 6th great grandfather, was born about 1790 probably in Northern Ireland, died 1815 in Connecticut, my 6x great grandfather. It is my guess that he was Scots Irish. 


Brigida Torres (Spanish for Bridget) is my husband’s great grandmother, born 1865 in Spain

Bridget White, born about 1581 in Sutton, Nottinghamshire, England, is my 10 x great grandmother. She married the Reverend John Robinson, pastor to the Pilgrims (the Separatists) in Leyden, Holland. They also had a daughter, Bridget Robinson, who was born in 1608 in Amsterdam, and married John Greenwood. 

Bridget Playfer, died when hung as a witch on 10 June 1692 in Salem, is my 9x great grandmother. She is usually known by her third husband’s surname as Bridget Bishop. 

Bridget Weymouth, born about 1664 in Berwick, Maine, was my 7x great grandmother, married to John Nason. 

Bridget Nason, baptized on 31 May 1736 in South Berwick, Maine was sister to my 5x great grandfather Richard Nason (grandchildren of Bridget and John). 

Bridget Bill, born 14 December 1727 in Lebanon, Connecticut, was the sister to my 4x great grandfather Asahel Bill. 

Bridget Chesebrough, who married Joseph Minor in 1709, in Massachusetts, is my first cousin 8 generations removed. 


To Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Patricks and Bridgets - Happy St. Patrick's Day!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 17, 2010, (

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- A Leg Cemetery?

Leg Cemetery, Sterling, Massachusetts

I don't know if Leg is a surname, or perhaps the cemetery is only for body parts? I giggle everytime I pass by this cemetery located on Redemption Rock road. One famous person buried here is Robert B. Thomas (1766 - 1846), publisher of the Old Farmer's Almanac. He taught school in Sterling.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, March 15, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- A Letter from a Proud Grandpapa

  • I read about Amanuensis Monday in Randy Seaver’s blog “GeneaMusings”, and he read about it on John Newmark’s genealogy blog “TransylvanianDutch”. Amanuensis: a person employed to take dictation or to copy manuscripts.

Michiel Ockers Hogerzeijl was the captain of a whaling ship from 1729 to 1759. He lived in Holland and hunted for whales off the coast of Greenland. His father, Ocker Bruins Hoogerseijl, was also a commander of a whaling ship from 1720 to 1730. There is a Hogerzeil Street in the town of Krimpen aan de Lek, Holland, where they lived. In the 1970s the village decided to name the streets after people and items related to whaling, which had been an important industry in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I always thought of sea captains as a tough bunch of old salts. This letter from Michiel to his daughter-in-law proves me wrong. It was written upon the occasion of his hearing she had given birth to his grandson, Adam Hogerzeil, on 4 August 1766 in Niewpoort, Holland. Adam was the brother to my ancestor, Simon Hogerzeil (1776-1829), who was also a whaling sea captain. Adam Hogerziel died at sea in 1788, age 22, whilst on a sea voyage with his father. He was not buried at sea, but put into a barrel of brandy for the return home, where he was buried in the church, Hervomde Kerk, Nieuwpoort, Holland.

Translated Letter from Michiel Ockersz Hogerzeil to his daughter in law, Anna Ooms.

Dear and honorable daughter Anna Ooms.
I have received your very pleasant letter of the 4th of this month with great joy, wishing that God will give you a speedy recovery. I wish you much blessing with your son (and hope) that you will enjoy much happiness of it, that God the Holy Spirit will guide him in growing up and will then admit him in his eternal glory. With us here everything is still well, glory to God. We are eagerly waiting for good news from Greenland but there is not much hope. This list mentions your father for one fish, Ocker for one fish, uncle Jurry (her uncle Jurriaan Ooms) not known. The Davis Strait is also bad, the list mentions 24 whales and one caselot (sperm whale) caught by the Hollanders in the Davis Strait and Jan Pieterse Bos has stayed over, so that 31 ships have 24 fish. Our Lijssie (his wife, Elisabeth Schouten) intends to come next Tuesday in 8 days, to see you as well as your son if all is well. With this, after loving greetings to you my dear daughter and mother Ooms and uncle Van der Zijde, Mr. Bunnik and wife, and all my good friends,

your father
Michiel Ockersz Hogerzeil

the newborn a dozen kisses to be given for me
Krimpen aan de Lek 7 August 1766

Michiel Ockers Hogerzeil, son of Ocker Bruins Hoogerseijl, born 18 Jul 1696, died 25 May 1779 at Krimpen aan de Lek, Holland; married on 25 Jan 1738/9 at Dordrect, Holland to Lijbeth Schouten, daughter of Simons Jans Shouten and Agnietje Engldr van Thiel. Four Children:

1. Ocker Hoogerzeijl, born 14 August 1740, died about 2 September 1794; married on 9 November 1759 to Maria de Vos
2. Simon Machielszoon Hoogerzeijl, born 2 June 1743, died 24 Feb 1814; married on 30 September 1764 to Anna Ooms, my 5x great grandmother, and the recipient of this letter. Simon was also a commander of a whaling ship from 1771 to 1802.
3. Elisabeth Hoogerzeijl, born 1 August 1745, died 21 November 1802; married on 4 November 1770 to Arie Weggeman
4. Johannes Hoogerzeijl, born 21 November 1752, died 21 September 1821; married on 4 October 1776 to Neeltje Schenk

For a complete Hoogerzeil lineage see my posting from 2 September 2009,
The photo above was taken at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan.


Copyright 2010, Heather W. Rojo

Friday, March 12, 2010

Horace Greeley remembers Londonderry

In his autobiography, “Recollections of a Busy Life”, Horace Greeley remembers his childhood in Nutfield. His parents’ families were from Londonderry, and he used to spend his summers with his grandparents to attend school. On page 23 through 28 he compares the dour Presbyterian and Congregational services with the lively country life of Londonderry’s common people. Weddings were celebrated with liquor, musket shootings and lots of dancing. Drinking was common, even at wakes and funeral, which he attributed to the Celtic ancestors of the Nutfield settlers. He also describes the first New England potatoes grown and eaten by the Nutfielders, and the Scottish flax grown and woven into linens. Games of strength, rather than skill or wit, such as wrestling and boxing were common, as well as house raisings and corn husking.

In the second chapter he waxes poetically on the old warriors of Scots-Irish Londonderry, such as John Stark, George Reed, and Dr. Matthew Thornton. In the third chapter he describes his Greeley and Woodburn forbears, and their homes in Nutfield (now Londonderry) and Nottingham West (now the town of Hudson). This is the part of Londonderry where I live, close to the Hudson border, and a short walk from a small dirt road now called “Greeley Road.” I don’t know if they lived there or just nearby. Sanford Greeley owned the land along Route 102 near the Lithia Water Spring, and in September 1887 Horace Greeley was featured in an advertisement for the product.

Horace Greeley was born and raised in Amherst, New Hampshire in 1811. He forfeited a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy and went to be a printer’s apprentice in Vermont. He removed later to New York City, and founded the weekly New Yorker and later the New York Tribune which made him the most important editor of his times. He was a reformer, abolitionist, and promoted Lincoln’s Republican Party. When he rebelled against the corrupt administration of Ulysses S. Grant, he ran for president in 1872 for the Liberal Republican party, yet lost. He became quite mad, and died soon after died on November 29, 1872 before all the electoral votes could be counted.

Greeley is most famous for his quote “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” He supported homesteading laws and agrarian reforms. He always wrote about the common, working class and independent American spirit. Was this due to his Scots-Irish ancestry? Distaste for authority, and a love of frugality, argument and debate? Was life in his childhood Londonderry so wild that it inspired him, or not wild enough- thus creating a romantic images of a Western frontier?

Horace Greeley’s family tree:

Generation 1: Horace Greeley, born 3 February 1811 at Amherst, New Hampshire, died 29 November 1872 in Pleasantville, New York; married on 5 July 1836 in Warrenton, North Carolina to Mary Young Cheney.

Generation 2: Zaccheus Greeley, born 12 March 1782 at Londonderry (now Hudson), New Hampshire, died on 18 December 1868 in Wayne Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania; married 1807 in Londonderry to Mary Woodburn, daughter of David Woodburn and Margaret Clark, born 1788 in Londonderry, died 1855 in Wayne Township.

Generation 3: Zaccheus Greeley born on 27 November 1753 in Hudson, New Hampshire, died June 1846 in Londonderry; married in 1766 to Hester Senter, daughter of Samuel Senter and Susan Taylor, born 1755 in Hudson, died in September 1826.

David Woodburn married to Margaret Clark, granddaughter of “Ocean Born Mary”, daughter of John Clark.

Generation 4: Ezekiel Greeley, born 21 October 1725 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, died on 21 January 1793 in Hudson; married about 1747 to Esther Lovell, daughter of Zaccheus Lovell and Esther Unknown, born about 1747 in Hudson.

Samuel Senter, born on 31 January 1720/1 in Londonderry, died on 10 July 1775; married in 1741 to Susan Taylor, born in 1723 in Londonderry, died in 1795, buried in the Senter Burying Ground, Hudson, near the Londonderry border.

Generation 5: Benjamin Greeley, born on 28 February 1699/00 in Haverhill, died on 22 February 1785 in Haverhill; married first 1 January 1722/23 in Haverhill to Ruth Whittier, daughter of Joseph Whittier and Mary Peaslee, born on 31 July 1702 in Haverhill, died 4 December 1745 in Haverhill of childbirth. Married second to Hannah Poor.

Generation 6: Joseph Greeley, born on 5 February 1651/2 in Salisbury, Massachusetts, died on 7 March 1745 in Hudson; married on 5 February 1694/5 in Haverhill to Martha Wilford, daughter of Gilbert Wilford and Mary Dow.

Generation 7: Andrew Greele, born 1617 in Nottinghamshire, England, died on 30 June 1697 in Salisbury; married in 1643 in Salisbury to Mary Moyse, daughter of Joseph Moyse and Hannah Folcord.

For more information:

Recollections of a Busy Life, by Horace Greeley and Robert Dale Owen, Boston: H. A. Brown & Co., 1868.

Greeley Genealogy, by George Hiram Greeley, Boston: 1905.

The Life of Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune, by James Parton, New York: Mason Brothers, 1855.

Vital Records of Londonderry, by Daniel Gage Annis, Manchester, NH: 1914

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Town Meeting Update

Last month I blogged about our Londonderry town meetings in my post

Little did I know that in Korea, several producers were also putting together a story about democracy, governance and Londonderry’s town meetings! The footage can be see through a link at the website Londonderry Hometown Online News, at the post “Government and Governance Londonderry”

This Korean television production has been broken into several short videos, all in the Korean language, and with Korean subtitles. However, the people interviewed are all Londonderry citizens speaking in English. After the brief introduction it is easy to follow along. These folks are all my neighbors here in town.

In my opinion, the New England town meeting is the purest form of democracy available in the United States, maybe even in the world. Where else does every citizen have the right to give their opinion, influence the local government and put forward their suggestions . Every citizen can become directly involved with the process of governance.

Our annual Londonderry town meeting takes place this Saturday, March 13th, 2010, at the Londonderry High School on Mammoth Road.

St. Patrick’s Day in Londonderry, New Hampshire

Statue of St. Bridget
Given by the Londonderry Presbyterian Church
to St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church

Londonderry has been a sister city to Londonderry in Northern Ireland for many years. The original Nutfield settlers fled the violence in Northern Ireland in 1718, and where it still occasionally erupts today. I remember when we first lived here (over 25 years ago), the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland were particularly bad. Teens from each city (Northern Ireland and New Hampshire) would spend time visiting back and forth across the Atlantic to promote peace and understanding. When the Irish teens came to New Hampshire, the first thing that surprised them was that St. Mark’s Parish (a Catholic Community) was meeting in the Presbyterian Church sanctuary because they hadn’t completed building their new church. Since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, things seem to have improved and there have been no more teen exchanges.  Is that a good thing? 

I’m sure that the New Hampshire teens found many things to surprise them when they got to Northern Ireland, but I will always remember how St. Mark’s became a bridge between the Catholic and Protestant communities. I’m a protestant married to a catholic, and I never really thought about our differences. We’ve always gone to each other’s religious services, and shared our traditions. When the St. Mark’s church was completed the people of the Londonderry Presbyterian church gave a statue of St. Bridget for the new foyer. St. Bridget of Kildare is the patroness of Ireland (along with Saints Patrick and Columba.) She holds a miniature version of the church in her hand. It stands as a symbol of the friendship between the Presbyterian community and the Roman Catholic parish.

There is a second set of statues inside St. Mark’s church that has a deep meaning to me. It’s the grouping of statues forming the Holy Family above the sanctuary doors. You don’t see them until you turn around to leave after celebrating mass. Mary, Joseph and Jesus are wearing yellow armbands marked with Stars of David. It is a solemn reminder that all Christian religions came from the Jewish faith, and that Jesus was raised in a Jewish family. We had our daughter baptized at St. Mark’s and my both my protestant family and my husband’s catholic family remarked on this piece of art. It reminded everyone that our similarities are more important than our differences.

Recently the Londonderry Presbyterian Church underwent a schism, and half the members broke off to form a more conservative congregation. The community was divided over theological issues, and there was a lawsuit over which group would continue to own the historic building built in 1837. This reminded me of the original split between Londonderry and Derry, which was over the request for the people in the rural western half of Nutfield to have a meeting house closer to their farms. In this case, the new Presbyterian congregation will be building their house of worship on 15 acres of land directly adjacent to the older church.

Our Londonderry High School marching band has been invited for many years to march in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, as well as in Manchester and other local communities. Our marching band is always cheered on in New York with standing ovations. They have marched in the Beijing Olympics, three Rose Bowl parades and other national parades. But the Irish have a place in their hearts for the suffering of their brothers and sisters in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

So, on this day when people of Irish Heritage remember the “Old Sod,” I’m thinking that there are many who are grateful to be here in New Hampshire, where the things that they are still fighting about in the Old Country don’t matter anymore. Here we celebrate our lives together, whether we are Irish or not, or whether we worship together or not.

For more information: The Londonderry Presbyterian Church, the oldest church in Londonderry, member of the Presbyterian Church USA. The new congregation is the Orchard Christian Fellowship Church, with a website They are currently meeting at the Matthew Thornton School for religious services. St. Mark’s Parish in Londonderry, the second Roman Catholic parish in Londonderry. The first Catholic church in Londonderry was St. Jude’s at still located in North Londonderry.


This post was written for the 3rd Annual Irish Heritage Blog Carnival at

To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "St. Patrick’s Day in Londonderry, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 11, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Granny D.’s life celebrated today in New Hampshire’s Capitol

I consider myself a political junkie only once every four years when the nation’s first primary hits New Hampshire like a whirlwind. I’ve met politicians by accident and by design in coffee shops, fairs, apple orchards, and other everyday places. Londonderry’s Old Home Day, and Derry’s MaryAnn’s Diner seem to be a destination spot for presidential hopefuls. Most of these wanna-bes have gone on to obscurity, but some have become quite memorable characters. A few of these wanna-bes have even become president of the United States!

Surrounding all the hoopla are other characters. Once every four years TV personalities come to New Hampshire, and of course they are reporting the news. Some New Hampshire residents try to take advantage of the media and press crunch to push their own agendas. And residents, like Granny D., have used the press to bring change.

Granny D. was Doris Haddock. She was born in Laconia, New Hampshire on 24 January 1910 and died yesterday, 9 March 2010, just after her 100th birthday. In the years 1999 and 2000 she spent fourteen months walking across the United States advancing her cause of campaign finance reform. In 2004, at age 94, she even ran as a challenger to the incumbent senator Republican Judd Gregg. You can read her obituaries on line, and on Wikipedia and other websites.

This morning Governor John Lynch made a statement about Granny D. from the statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire. “Granny D was a true New Hampshire treasure, embodying the spirit that makes this such a great state. Granny D proved to us all that one person really can make a difference. Granny D’s passion and commitment inspired tens of thousands of Americans to get involved and push for change to the campaign finance system.” Republican and Democratic politicians both praised her, including former Governor Sununu and U.S. representative Paul Hodes.

Granny D. not only defied convention by doing all this in her golden years (she was nearly 90 when she began her famous walk) but she is symbolic of the New Hampshire spirit. “Live Free or Die!” And Granny D. certainly tried to live by this motto.

My favorite Granny D. quote: "I want to plant a few more seeds here and there before they plant me."

A collection of NH primary political buttons

For more information on Granny D.,
AKA Ethel Doris (Rollins) Haddock:

Wikipedia Granny D.

BBC story on Granny D.

Foster’s Daily Democrat (a Dover, New Hampshire newspaper) on Granny D.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Not so Wordless Wednesday- Maple Syrup Season

Buckets collecting maple sap,
a sure sign of spring in Londonderry!

Hank Peterson's Sugar House on Peabody Row

New Hampshire Maple Weekend is March 27th and 28th this year! Over 65 sugar houses will be open to observe, participate and taste! It is expected to be a wonderful maple season this year, due to the generous rains of last July and August when the trees were building their sugar reserves.

Every spring as the sap in the maple trees begins to thaw, it moves up to the tree branches to feed the budding leaves. This happens when the temperatures are below freezing at night, and in the 40s during the day. As the sap flows up and down, from roots to branch tips, the local people of New Hampshire take advantage. Between mid-February to mid-April, they drill taps in small holes in the maple trunks, and draw out the sap.

The length of sap season depends on the weather. A hot spell can end the process of the sap running up and back down to the roots. Too much snow makes it difficult to collect the sap from buckets or tanks out in the forest (a nice stand of maples is called a “sugarbush”). An ice storm, which breaks branches and weakens the trees, can mean that the tree needs a year to recover before being tapped. To fight off an insect infestation, some maples produce a bitter acid, giving the sap a bad taste. But some years are perfect, and produce a full six week run of sap!

The Native Americans first discovered the sap dripping from the trunk of any maple with a hole in the bark. I can remember, as a child, licking the trees after my father pruned branches, for that sweet flavor of the sap. Originally the Native Americans used the sweet sap as a substitute for water when cooking, which left the meat with a sweet flavor. It took the cast iron pots of the colonists to produce the thick syrup, which required a hot fire and lots of evaporating.

The collected sap is boiled in evaporators over wood fires. The steam rising from the “Sugar Houses” signals the process, as the sap evaporates down to golden maple syrup. Forty gallons of sap become about one gallon of maple syrup. This process is called “sugaring off.” The first sap of the season produces Grade A Light Amber, which is the most expensive. Grade A medium Amber has a richer maple flavor. Grade A Dark Amber occurs at the end of the season, with a very dark flavor and robust taste. Grade B is the syrup at the end of the run, used in cooking like molasses. I prefer the darker ambers on my pancakes, and Grade B for baking beans and Indian pudding- two old Yankee recipes!

The New Hampshire Maples Producers Association is in the process of opening a NH Maple Museum in Bethlehem, on the Rocks Estate. Some space was donated, and the displays are currently being completed. The plan is to open March 2010 for the duration of the maple season. There are 1,000 taps on the property, and visitors can sample syrup and maple syrup products. There will be demonstrations of Native American, Colonial and backyard boiling methods of “sugaring off.”

Locally, Hank Peterson is our maple producer here in Londonderry. There are also many families in town producing their own syrup, as evidenced by the sap buckets that appear every late winter in the dooryards. Hank is a past president of the NH Maple Producers, and is still a member of the board. Peterson’s sugarhouse is open for tours when you see the steam coming from the roof, but watch out for the groups of local school children also visiting. Everyone gets a tour and a plastic spoon of sap or syrup to taste!

For more information:

UPDATE March 19 -20, 2011 NH Maple Festival

The NH Maple Museum

New Hampshire Maple Producers
March 19 - 20, 2011 is NH Maple Producer's Open House Weekend

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - A visit to the Rebecca Nurse Homestead

After hanging as witches, the bodies of the 19 accused victims were denied burial in consecrated ground. Their corpses were thrown into a crevice on Gallows Hill in Salem. Some of the bodies were secretly removed by family members, at great risk. Two of those bodies that were secretly reinterred were Rebecca (Towne) Nurse and George Jacobs. No one knows were Rebecca was buried, it was kept secret by the Nurse family. They later erected a cenotaph in her honor at the family burial site.

George Jacob's body was reinterred here in 1992, on the 300th anniversary of his death by hanging in Salem. His body was found on his homestead in another part of Danvers, Massachusetts. George Jacobs is my 9x great grandfather.

The back of the George Jacob's grave marker

The door of the Nurse homestead, with a beautiful sundial

click on images to enlarge

A Testimonial for Rebecca Nurse at her trial for witchcraft. Rebecca Nurse is my 9th Great Grand Aunt. This is where many brave friends and neighbors signed their names proclaiming her as innocent. I am descended from her brother, Edward Towne. In my opinion, the families of the accused victims must have been close, they shared many generations of intermarriage and fellowship after the witchcraft hysteria.

See my blog post more information on the Towne family members who lived in Londonderry, New Hampshire

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo