Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Wilkinsons buried at Rochester, New Hampshire

Old Rochester Cemetery, South Side of Franklin Street, Rochester, New Hampshire
Photographed by Michael Nason

Isaiah N. Wilkinson b. 28 Nov. 1824 in Rochester
son of William H. Wilkinson and Joanna Varney
d. 27 Jan 1905 in Rochester
m. 28 June 1855 in Lebanon, Maine to
Lucy Dennett Hayes b. 23 Jan 1831 in Rochester
daughter of Ezra hayes and Rachel Corson
d. 13 April 1921

Harriett Ann Wilkinson, b. 4 Aug 1869
daughter of Isaiah and Lucy (above)
d. 2 Nov. 1961 in Rochester
m. 30 Dec. 1900 in Rochester to
Thomas Herbert Roberts b. 10 Sep 1853
son of William Jones Roberts and Ellen Hyde
d. 19 Apr. 1929 in Rochester

William Henry Wilkinson  b. 12 Sep 1849 in Rochester
son of William H. Wilkinson and Mary Lord
d. 24 Jan. 1926 in Rochester
m. 16 Dec. 1872 in Conway, New Hampshire to
Josephine Chase b. Jul 1853 in Albany, New Hampshire
daughter of John Chase and Nancy Berry
d. 11 Jan. 1942 in Rochester

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 30, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - A letter from 1867

Catherine Y. Lee was the daughter of Laura Williams Jones and John Lee of Boston. She was born about 1835 and married Lorenzo Virgil Morse on 2 March 1857 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Laura is the sister to my 4x great grandmother Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger, and the Kate (Catherine) who wrote the letter is probably her namesake. I'd love to find a document that tells me what her middle initial "Y" stood for.

Kate wrote this letter to her Aunt Mary (Jones) Dominis in Hawaii, and it is obvious she had never met Mary. Because they had never met, she gives a great deal of genealogical information, much to my delight! The Morse’s were very successful grocers in Omaha, Nebraska, and I found much information about Mr. L. V. Morse in the city directories, newspapers and other sources.

You can see that Kate kept the family tradition of naming her own daughters after her mother's sisters.  Here she has named her daughters Annie and Mary, and later another daughter Kittie (Catherine) was born about 1875.   Before I found this letter in the Hawaii archives, I thought that Mary Dominis was the only family member to leave Boston.  Now I have found this and other letters that show how the family scattered across the United States.  This letter also describes the hardships the family faced during the Civil War.  It is quite a bit of American history!


Dear Aunt,

Doubtless you will be
greatly surprised to receive a letter
from one of your nieces who never
seen you, but I have had a very
great desire to see both you and
cousin John and to hear from you.
I am your sister Laura’s daughter
Kate. Was married eight years since
to Mr. L. V. Morse of Massachusetts.
We have had two children, one named
Mary who died four years ago, our
little girl living is nearly three years
and a half, her name is Annie.
You perceive we have kept up the
family names.
My husband is in the
grocery business in this city.
Omaha is the capitol of Nebraska
and is situated on the western side
of the Missouri River, number fifteen
thousand inhabitants and is increas-
ing in wealth and population very fast.
We have three national banks,
churches of every denomination and
some fine first class hotels and last
but not least it is the terminus

of the great Union Pacific Railroad
of which doubtless you are aware
extends to California now. The
track is laid to Summit, Cal.
The first “China Mail” passed over this
Route last week. Now you see, I
Feel, Aunt, quite near you as it
Is only two thousand miles from
Omaha to California.
We have been from Massachusetts
Over two years, and I have not
seen one of the family since.

When we first married we went
to Tennesee, and intended to make
that our permanent home, but the
War, which broke out in ’62 shooed
us from home, we left all, and
came away penniless, leaving fifteen
thousand dollars there because my
husband would not desert the
Union. I need not describe to you
Our flight or its consequences.
You often hear from William, no
Doubt, and know a good deal about us all.
And my dear Aunt, I hope you
will at least answer my letter and
though we know nothing of each
other personally let us establish
 relationship by our letters. I
wish you would send me you photo
graph and we will return the com
-pliments. I forgot to tell you, I am
at present, preceptress in our finest

school in Omaha.
Write us all about your country
and how you live, to be sure we
read all this in journals but we
cannot rely upon the statements.
A letter from you would give me
the greatest pleasure. My husband
joins with me in love to you
and our cousin. I hope this
will find you enjoying the greatest
of blessings, good health, and
may a speedy answer be returned.

From you aff[ectionate] Niece

Kate L. Morse

P.S. When you write
Omaha, Douglass Co.,

Please see my blog post http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/08/amanuensis-monday-1870-letter-from.html for an 1870 letter from Laura Williams (Jones) Lee to her sister Mary (Jones) Dominis in Hawaii. 

Source for the letter: Hawaii State Archives, Queen Liliuokalani Collection, M-93, Box 11, Folder 91, Letter from Kate Lee Morse to Mary Dominis, December 1867.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cemetery Vandalism in Lewiston, Maine

-  First I heard about the vandalism here  http://www.wmur.com/news/24702851/detail.html
and here

- Then a "feel good" story about cleaning up the cemetery  http://www.wmur.com/news/24735553/detail.html

- Finally, they caught the bad guys!  Yippee!  Throw the book at 'em!
and also

Follow Friday- A list of good stuff on the Internet!

I usually don’t do a post for “Follow Friday” but here goes a whole list of non-genealogy resources perfect for the genealogist….

J. Dennis Robinson’s Seacoast History Blog, “Living With the Past”. It’s New Hampshire, it’s history, it’s about the seacoast region- a triple good time! http://www.seacoastnh.com/Today/Seacoast_History_Blog/

The American Antiquarian Society has a blog. This archive located in Worcester, Massachusetts is the first library I ever used for genealogy research, back in the dark ages before computers, before cell phones, before GPS. I used to ride my bike to get there. Now they have a blog- welcome to the 21st century! http://pastispresent.org/

The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities sponsors http://www.massmoments.org/ a “what happened on this day in Massachusetts history?” sort of website. It’s the sort of website that I check every morning before writing or reading other blogs. Sometimes it has even inspired a blog from me.

Anthony Vaver’s blog “Early American Crime” is described as “An exploration of the social and cultural history of crime and punishment in colonial America and the early United States”. It is also a fun website about our blacksheep ancestors. http://www.earlyamericancrime.com/

J. L Bell is a historian who writes a daily blog on Massachusetts history. "Boston 1775" is full of good posts that sometimes are week long (or longer) serials as he explores some subjects in great detail. Bell is a professional, too, having consulted for the National Park service and the PBS series History Detectives. http://boston1775.blogspot.com/

“The History of American Women Blog” by Maggie MacLean has a right column index of all the women she has profiled in categories like Loyalist Women, Quaker Women, Wives of Signers of the Declaration, etc. She has written great biographies on hundreds of women at http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/ complete with photographs, sources and links to other websites.

“Your Great Grandmother’s Table: Scotch Irish Foodways” by M. M. Drymon is not only fun for those with Scots Irish ancestry, but fun for anyone interested in early American life. http://scotchirishfood.blogspot.com/


Not everything I read is related to New England…

The Iolani Palace Insider” is a fascinating blog by the staff at Iolani Palace in Honolulu. Photos and stories document the ongoing restoration of the palace that was stripped of its grandeur. Now, artifacts that were once auctioned off or thrown out are slowly being returned to the Palace, and others are being re-created from antique photographs and documentation. Currently drapes for the music room are being painstakingly handmade by experts brought over from the mainland. http://iolanipalaceinsider.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

September 2010 Genealogy and Local History Events

Upcoming Events in September

Portsmouth Portraits: A Walking Tour
Friday, September 10, 1-4PM
Governor John Langdon House and Rundlett-May House
Portsmouth, NH 603-436-3206
Tour grand homes to see the family portraits and hear the stories. Free

Granite State Sacrifice during the American Civil War
Thursday, September 7, 7 PM
Londonderry, NH, Leach Public Library 603-432-1132
Sponsored by the Londonderry Historical Society, author Steven Closs will present his two books on the Civil War, and discuss the soldiers of New Hampshire, and in particular twelve fallen soldiers from Londonderry. Free.

Londonderry Art on the Common
Saturday, September 11th, 10 AM – 4PM
Over 50 local artists display and sell fine art, mixed media and photography on the Londonderry Town Common. See http://londonderryculture.org/wordpress  for details

Jackson Hill Cider Day
Saturday, September 11, Noon – 4PM
ackson House, Portsmouth, NH 603-436-3205
All ages will enjoy children’s crafts, music, spinning demonstrations, cider pressing, crafts and refreshments for sale. The house is open for tours. Free to members of Historic New England, $6 for non-members.

September 17 and 18
Two day festival including a spaghetti supper, talent show, annual breakfast, entertainment, vendors, food and fun. See http://www.derryfest.com/ for details

Fairy House Tours
Saturday and Sunday, September 18 and 19, 2010 Noon – 4PM
Governor John Langdon House
Portsmouth, NH 603-436-3205
Search the gardens for tiny fairy houses created by local artists and children, hidden in wooded areas, under trees, and in the landscaping at the historic Langdon House. $10 adults/$4 children in advance. $15 adults and $5 children on the days of the tour. This is a very popular annual event!

Vintage Baseball Triple Header
Sunday, September 26, 11 AM- 4PM
Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm
Newbury, Massachusetts 978-462-2634
The Essex Baseball Club will play other regional clubs using 1861 baseball rules. Bring blankets and lawn chairs, no reserved seating. Free to members of Historic New England, $3 for non-members.

Runaway Wives: When Colonial Marriages Failed
Tuesday, September 28, 7PM
First Baptist Church
188 Deerfield Road (Rt. 43)
Candia, NH
Contact: Ron Thomas 603-483-8189
Through newspaper ads for runaway wives, husbands chased down women. Read about the economic and social barriers to runaway wives. Presented by Marcia Schmidt Blaine, Plymouth State University.

Family Reunions

Wyman Family Reunion
September 12, 2010
Woburn Historical Society, 7 Mishawum Road, Woburn, Massachusetts
Descendants of Francis Wyman - http://www.wyman.org/ for more information

Old Planters Reunion and Balch Family Meeting
September 24-26, 2010
Beverly, Massachusetts
All descendants of Beverly, Massachusetts’s 17th century families are invited, as well as those interested in history, for a variety of programs, tours and research opportunities. For more information see http://www.beverlyhistory.org/OPR%20program%20final.pdf

Caverly Family Reunion:
25 September 2010, Bow Lake Grange, Strafford, NH,
Descendants of William Caverly and Mary Abbott of Portsmouth, NH

Towne Family Reunion:
23 -25 September 2010, Omaha, Nebraska
Descendants of William Towne and Joanna Blessing of Salem, Massachusetts

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Imprisonment Quilt

The Imprisonment Quilt

Perhaps the most historic quilt ever made in American History is the quilt made by a queen. A queen in American history? Well, once upon a time there was a Kingdom of Hawaii, with a beautiful palace more high tech than any in Europe or America. There were Kings and Princesses. They had a beautiful, peaceful island nation and political ties with the crowned heads of Asia and Europe. Queen Lili’uokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii was its last sovereign, and she was deposed and arrested and held as a prisoner at Iolani Palace for six months. During this time she made a famous Victorian style crazy quilt known as the “Imprisonment Quilt”

In 1893, when the ex-queen was implicated in the attempted counter revolution they imprisoned her in a corner room. She was unjustly arrested. Although the other rooms at Iolani Palace are opulent and well appointed, this one room contains only a bare metal bed and a chair. The windows are still furnished with the frosted glass installed to prevent her from looking out the window. It is spartan and definitely "not royal". The one wonderful feature of this room is the display of the famous quilt.

Queen Lili’uokalani was allowed to have one lady in waiting during her imprisonment, but she was not allowed to choose her companion. A woman was chosen every day to sit with her, and to help her pass the time the ladies would sew. She started with four small pieces of scrap material, and the other ladies would ask if they could add to the quilt. Over time hundreds of pieces of ribbons and cloth were put together in the quilt. It is covered with silk embroidery, of symbols of the Hawaiian Kingdom, names of supporters, the Queen’s biography and even a family tree.

Queen Lili'uokalani

As a palace treasure, the quilt is displayed in the Imprisonment Room at Iolani Palace under Plexiglas. We were not allowed to photograph it during our tour of the palace, but I have a photograph of a poster that was on display in the Royal Barracks behind the palace. I was lucky enough to be on the tour with a distant cousin, who pointed out her great grandfather’s name, Ernest Renkin, on one of the quilt squares. Her great grandmother was one of the ladies chosen to be a companion to the Queen during her imprisonment.

There are mysterious symbols embroidered in silk all over the quilt. These include a clock with its hands set at 8:27, a fork and knife, a turtle, a Chinese gentleman with a parasol, a key, a pair of pliers, symbols of Freemasonry, etc. Her brother, King Kalakua, and her husband, John Owen Dominis, my first cousin 4x removed, was a 33rd degree Mason. A small book, The Queen’s Quilt, describes each square on the quilt, many of the names and symbols. This book is available through the Palace gift shop at http://www.iolanipalace.org/ or through bookstores and on-line at Amazon.com.


There is a second type of famous quilt in Hawaiian history. In 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown, the flag of the Kingdom was outlawed. Women began to sew quilts incorporating the old flag and other symbols of royalty. Scraps of the old flags were often used. Today they are valuable possessions known as “My Beloved Flag”.
A Hawaiian woman displays her flag quilt

Quilting is a very popular hobby in Hawaii. The missionaries who arrived from New England in the 1820s taught quilting to the local women, and it spread in popularity. There are many quilt shops, exhibits, galleries and museums. The women of Hawaii have developed their own style of quilting, which is often using just one or two colors on a white background, usually stylized flowers and leaves. It is very distinctive and popular with tourists as locally made souvenirs; in full sized quilts, pot holders, bags and other smaller gifts.

For more information:

The Queen’s Quilt, by Rhoda E. A. Hackler and Loretta G. H. Woodard, 2004, Friends of Iolani Palace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dl3boyzSsM A Hawaiian TV news story on the Imprisonment Quilt, and the story of one of the names on the quilt.

Note:  Queen Lilioukalani married, my first cousin five generations removed, John Owen Dominis (1832 - 1891).  His mother, Mary Lambert (Jones) (1803 - 1889) and my 4th great grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger (about 1799 - 1828) were sisters.


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Treasure Chest Thursday - The Imprisonment Quilt", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 26, 2010, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/08/treasure-chest-thursday-imprisonment.html: accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday- Martín Sisters, 1920's Spain

The three daughters of Manuel Martín (abt 1880 - 1971) and Josefa Rivero (1884-1937) lived in Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain. Long ago, someone wrote on the photograph and labeled the girls 1, 2, and 3.

1. The youngest daughter, María Consuelo Martín, was born 11 November 1908 and died on 29 April 2001 in Madrid. She married Jose Garcia on 8 September 1933 in Villar de Ciervo. Consuelo is my husband's maternal grandmother.

2. María Joaquína Martín, the eldest child, was born on 21 December 1904 and died on 25 October 1989 in Barcelona. She married Nicanor Zato on 29 September 1928 in Villar de Ciervo.

3. Luisa Antonia Martín, born 13 June 1906 and died on 4 March 2004 in Madrid. She married Joaquín García, brother to Jose (her sister's husband) on 18 September 1930 in Villar de Ciervo. Both García brothers were officers in the Guardia Civil.

There was also a brother, Nicolás, not in this photograph. It appears to have been taken some time before 1920. Joaquina is holding an umbrella, and Consuelo and Luisa appear to be holding closed Spanish fans. When we were first married I met both Consuelo and Tia Luisa in Madrid. The nice thing is that my daughter also met her great grandmother and "Tia Luisa" in Spain, which is a memory I hope she will always treasure.

For a photo of Villar de Ciervo, see my post from March 3, 2010 http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/03/not-so-wordless-wednesday-villar-de.html

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Old Burial Ground, Marblehead, Massachusetts

The Burial Ground is on top of a rocky hill near the harbor.

General Glover's grave was easy to find and well marked
He was the brother to my 7x great grandfather, Daniel Glover (1735 - Abt 1790)
We didn't find a grave for Daniel. They were sons of Jonathan Glover and Tabitha Bacon.
John Glover is famous for saving George Washington's troops at the
battle of Brooklyn Heights by having his Marblehead men row the troops to safety
across the East River to Manhattan. He was also instrumental in the famous row
across the Delaware River on Christmas Eve.
Big hero with a modest grave.

The grave of General Glover's wife,
Hannah Gale (1733 - 1778)
daughter of John and Susannah Gale of Marblehead.

Abigail Burnham (1726 - 1787)
first wife of Jonathan Glover (1731- 1797)
daughter of Job Burnham and Hannah Martin of Scarboro, Maine
Jonathan was another brother to my ancestor, Daniel Glover
He was wealthy and owned a three story home "The Eagle House" in Marblehead.
He rode to church in a yellow coach with two black coachmen.
John Singleton Copely painted his portrait. He was a Colonel in the Marblehead Militia.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 23, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- A 1870 letter from Massachusetts to Hawaii

This letter was such a genealogical treasure! It is one of the many letters from relative in the Boston area written to Mary Dominis in Honolulu. I found it amongst the boxes of letters in the Hawaii State Archives, but only recently transcribed this gem. At the time this was written, Laura was almost sixty years old, and she hadn’t seen her sister for over twenty five years.

Bridgewater Sept 10 1870

My Dear Sister,

Perhaps you have got out
of patience waiting an answer to your very
kind letter that I received some time ago
and I was surprised when I took up your
letter to see the date and to think I have
neglected it so long! Well I hope you will
excuse me this time for I am always so
busy this time a year that I do think
of much else but my work.
I suppose you have seen Mr. Treadway before
this time since his return and he has told
just how I look what sort of a place
Bridgewater is. I hope you have got well over
your sickness and enjoying good health.
I think your old cook must have been
pretty faithfull to have served you so
long and his wife to take such good care
of you and your house. It would be pretty
hard finding such ones this way I guess

they like their Mistress pretty well to
stay with her so long! You say you are
puzzled to know about my girls. You remem
ber I had three girls, the oldest was named
Laura Agnes she has always been called
Agnes she married a man by the name of
Wheeler he is a hard working man, she
has got a excellent husband. She has five
children four girls and a boy. Her oldest girl named Laura
is eighteen year old in March the next named Ellen is 16 in April
the next named Katie is 11 years old next month now the boy named Robert
is 8 years old the next the youngest her name is Mary is two years
My next girl was named Catharine we call
her Kate she is married to a man by
the name of Morse they live out west in Omaha Neb
Her husband keeps a store there, she has one
girl her name is Anna 7 years old you have the picture of her
They are doing very well out their she has got
A good husband also. My next girl was named
Mary Ann she died when she was 10 years old
Then I had three boys, William, John, Thomas,
John Boy has been with me since his

Father died, he was five years old then he
is now twenty! He is a clerk in William’s
store. Thomas is a shoe maker lives in a
town called Abington, he has a wife and
two children he has to work pretty hard to
get a living and not much at that
So here is the name of my family. Agnes’s
husband has been very miserable for over 8
months so that he has not been able to work
and the two oldest girls has been to work in
a Tack factory this summer and helped
support the family now their father think he
will be able to go to work soon if he can get
any to do it is awfull dull times here for a man to
get a living, I have not heard from Sister
Agnes nor the Snellings this summer for I
seldom go down to Boston and I do not hear
anything unless I do go their you ask if Agnes
is so very poor I will tell you what I
think but never ?? it to no one, they like
to live pretty genteel and the boy dresses very
nice and like for Aggy to dress the same

and when I was their last they told me Aggie
earned eleven dollars a week when she worked
steady they pay a great deal about four
hundred a year and Agnes will live in a
nice house! Well Mr. Hart does no
work all winter, only in the house and
Agnes does only the work of ther family
and they are sorely depending on the boy
unless Mr. Hart saves anything in summer.
He has good pay, that is all I know about them
You would not think they was poor to see
them! So now judge for yourself but for
the love of money do not even hint one word
that I write you for I find that Agnes is kind
of jealous now that you write to me. You
known Agnes always had a good way of pleading
poverty. I never tell how poor I am for William
provides me a good comfortable home but I feel
that I should work when I can get it to do, for
I dislike to go to him every time I want money
Although he never would refuse me. Anna his wife
sends her very best love to you and your family and
ays she would like to come and make you a visit if she
could get William started but his business is all he thinks


He also sends lots of love to you all.
I suppose John’s wife Lydia has lost her grand
Mother, I believe I see her death in the paper
Queen Dowager what was the matter
with her did she die of old age? Does John
think of coming this way this fall
You must excuse the girls sending you their
pictures this time as they have such a hard
time this summer they will not be so put
to it for money if their father gets to work
I have a picture of William I will send
you he has been a promised me a better
one to send you, but his promise is like pye
crust made to brake This is pretty good of him
You see I have wrote you a good long
letter for waiting so long hopeing this will
find you enjoying the best of health also
John and his wife my very best love to them
Also a great deal for yourself!
With much love from all my family

From you affect[ionate] Sister
L. W. Lee, Bridgewater
Plymouth County


In this letter I learned the following new facts.

• Confirmed that Laura Williams (Jones) Lee was the sister to Mary Lambert (Jones) Dominis.

• Confirmed the names of Laura’s six children.

• One of Laura’s daughters was named Catharine Y. Lee. Could she be named for her sister, Catharine (Jones) Younger? (Catharine was my 4x great grandmother)

• Confirmed naming patterns in the Jones family. The six sisters were Sarah, Catharine, Mary, Laura, Ann Marie and Agnes- all repeated in the grandchildren and nieces, except for the name Ellen and one Mary Ann (not Ann Marie).

• The Hart, Morse and Wheeler families were all found in the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Massachusetts. Previously, I only knew of the son William Lee, the publisher of Queen Lili’uokalani’s autobiography “business is all he thinks of”. The other son Thomas Lee was also found in the 1870 census. Son John Lee is still a mystery, he lives with mother Laura in 1870 and then I cannot trace him (yet) in the 1880 census.

• In the Wheeler family (daughter Laura Agnes Lee), she named her daughters Laura, Ellen, Kate and Mary – all Jones sister names but Ellen

• Was Ellen named for another relative?

• Laura included a nice mention of Lydia (Lili’uokalani) as Mary’s daughter-in-law

• Who is Mr. Treadway?

Source for the letter: Hawaii State Archives, Queen Liliuokalani Collection, M-93, Box 11, Folder 91, Letter from Laura W. Lee to Mary Dominis, 10 September 1870.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Curator for the Derry History Museum

Karen Blandford Anderson has been named the new curator of the Derry History Museum, located at the Adams Memorial Building on Broadway. Longtime Derry historian, Richard Holmes, left the position earlier this year. Derry's museum features 300 years of local history and exhibits.  The museum will re-open again this fall with a new exhibit featuring Nikki Tilroe, a famed Derry puppeteer who performed with Shari Lewis and Jim Henson.

Derry History Museum http://derrymuseum.org/

Derry News, August 18, 2010- http://www.derrynews.com/local/x1836251551/Derry-resident-is-new-museum-curator

Londonderry Old Home Day 2010- Weaving Demonstration

The Morrison House Museum is located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
On Old Home it is open for tours, and outside there are many
demonstrations of blacksmithing, basket weaving, fur tanning and
a re-enactment of a colonial era encampment

I donated my table top loom to the Historical Society.
Kate Kilgus had it all warped and ready for Old Home Day.
Visitors were allowed to weave the shuttle back and forth
to produce a co-operatively made piece of cloth.

Kate Kilgus "The Nutfield Weaver"
and David Colglazier, Treasurer of the Londonderry Historical Society

Everyone who visited the Morrison House Museum enjoyed participating or asking questions.
Kate and I were surprised by the large number of visitors.

The children were especially fascinated with using a loom to weave!

By the end of the afternoon we made about 18" of cloth!
The Londonderry 4th Graders will continue weaving during their
classroom field trips to the Morrison House Museum.

from the Londonderry Historical Society website http://www.londonderryhistory.org/
"The use of flax started in Ireland, and eventually linen making became the basic industry of early Londonderry. The Patterson Homestead (c.1729, destroyed by fire) manufactured and sold Londonderry Linen, which was considered to be the best in New England. Londonderry linen is claimed to have been worn by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Because many people attempted to sell linen under the pretense that it was manufactured in Londonderry, the House of Representatives drew up an act to have a seal affixed to all linen manufactured in Londonderry in 1731 and by 1768, New Hampshire produced 25,000 yards of linen cloth annually."

Kate Kilgus "The Nutfield Weaver" donated her time, expertise and materials to this weaving demonstration for Old Home Day. You can see her shop at http://www.nutfieldweaver.com/ or read her blog at http://nutfieldweaver.blogspot.com/

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Londonderry Old Home Day 2010- Colonial Re-enactor Photos

At the Londonderry Historical Society's Morrison House Museum
colonial re-enactors set up camp

The historic barn with re-enactors

lunchtime for hungry colonists

The cannon went off every hour on the half hour

Londonderry kids were recruited into the provincial army,
and drilled on proper form

The highlight of the afternoon was the shooting of the cannon,
popular with big and little kids of all ages!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, August 20, 2010

Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire

Trolley parks were common in our area of New England from the late 1800’s to 1900’s. In Manchester, Pine Island Park was located along the Merrimack River. In Hudson, Benson’s Animal Farm became a small zoo, and then an amusement park. In Salem, Canobie Lake Park opened in 1902. It was run by the Hudson, Pelham and Salem Railways as a way to increase their business. It was a botanical garden with canoeing, picnicking, dancing and a penny arcade. A trolley station deposited visitors in the middle of all the fun.

Even today, Canobie Lake Park is known as a beautiful garden in a park like setting, even though it has grown into an amusement park over the years. This is part of the charm that attracts visitors of all ages, not just young people, to the park. Older people stroll the gardens, cruise on the lake, ride the original 1902 “Canobie Express” railroad, and enjoy the century old merry-go-round. Local businesses still host company outings in the picnic grounds for all employees. It is still possible to see peacocks wandering around the gardens, a remnant of the old petting zoo at the park. Thrill rides attract teens and there is a large “Kiddie Land” for the smallest patrons.

By the 1920s the automobile put the trolley lines out of favor. In 1929 the trolleys and the park went out of business. Soon after, in 1932, it was re-opened and more rides were added, including the roller coaster that is now known as the “Yankee Cannonball.” The Dancehall hosted big name entertainers like Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and Guy Lombardo. The park thrived and expanded.

By the end of the big band era this owner had died, and new owners expanded the park considerably into the amusement park you see today. More rides, attractions and arcades were added. Sonny and Cher, as well as Aerosmith, are some of the entertainers who have held concerts in this era. More thrill rides were added, some from other parks that have closed in New England, and there are now 85 rides at Canobie Lake Park, including the Kiddie Land. Fireworks are still part of the tradition, every Saturday night over the lake. The Canobie Queen "steamboat" no longer cruises along the lake, and I hope they bring her back soon for nostalgia's sake.

The 1902 "Canobie Express" is still chugging along at Canobie Lake Park!

The official website for Canobie Lake Park http://www.canobie.com/

The “unofficial” websites for Canobie Lake Park http://www.canobiefan.com/ and http://nellsstuff.homestead.com/canobie.html

http://www.canobieballroom.com/ a website with stories of the Big Band era at Canobie

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday- Robert Frost and the Tree at his Window

Yesterday, I wrote a post here showing an unusual object. When I asked if anyone could guess what it was, reader Carol left the closest guess of "historic tree" under the comments.

When Robert Frost lived at his farmhouse on Rt. 28 in Derry, there was a sugar maple outside his kitchen window. He wrote a poem about it as he sat at the kitchen table. Over time the tree grew very large, and threatened the roof of the house. After the winter of 2006, a limb fell and arborists discovered a rotten trunk. In September 2007 it was cut down, at a ceremony attended by Frost family descendants, admirers of his poetry, and curious townspeople. A new maple was planted in its place.

When I visit the Frost farm, I pause at the pasture or by the stone walls and think “Is this the field from the Pasture poem?” or “Is this the stonewall from that poem?” Even driving around town I wonder which road was “less traveled” or which woods he was “stopping by on a snowy evening”? It's interesting to think that so many of these landmarks still survive around Derry.

The wood from the tree was divided up amongst several local wood carvers and artisans, to make bowls, boards, boxes and little wooden trees to be sold as a fund-raiser for the Frost Farm. Of course, at my recent visit to the Frost Farm, I saw these wooden crafted items and couldn’t resist. Now I own a piece of local and literary history. You can read about my visit at this post http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/08/sentimental-sunday-dropping-by-robert.html

I hid a little copy of the poem in the hidden drawer. I'm sure that Robert Frost would approve.

Tree at My Window

By Robert Frost

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.
Vague dream-head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.
But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.
That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

For more information

http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/12/robert-frost-derry-resident.html my first blog post about Robert Frost, including his Frost lineage. He is also a Mayflower descendant!

Lawrence Eagle Tribune, September 30, 2007, “Robert Frost Tree Felled to Protect Historic Farm”, by Eric Parry, http://www.eagletribune.com/nhnews/x1876394653/Robert-Frost-tree-felled-to-protect-historic-farm

http://fcfpens.com/RobertFrostMaple/index.html wooden pens made from the historic Frost tree

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 7, 2007, “The Tree at his Window”, by David M. Shribman, http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07280/823250-372.stm


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Treasure Chest Thursday-  Robert Frost and the Tree at his Window", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 19, 2010, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/08/treasure-chest-thursday-robert-frost.html: accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Agricultural Fairs

Photo of the 1983 Topsfield Fair
"A Journey Down Old U.S. 1," December 1984, National Geographic magazine

The Essex County Agricultural Fair takes place every fall in Topsfield, Massachusetts. According to the official website http://www.topsfieldfair.org/ it is the oldest agricultural fair in America. The Essex Agricultural Society was granted a charter on June 12, 1818 to sponsor a fair. The first family member I know of who participated in this fair was Phebe Upton Munroe, born 15 Feb 1803 in Danvers, Massachusetts, married William Cross on 25 December 1828, and died on 6 December 1891. According to the Salem Gazette, 6 October 1835, volume XIII, issue 80, page 2 “Premiums and Gratuities awarded at the annual exhibition of the Essex Agricultural Society, in Danvers, on Wednesday last:.....Mrs Phebe U. Cross, Danvers, wrought counterpane, gratuity $4". Phebe was the sister to my 3x great grandfather, Luther Simonds Munroe. A counterpane is a bedspread.

The next mention of the fair in my family tree was of Nathaniel Felton, a farmer who lived upon his father's place on Mt. Pleasant, Danvers. He was Captain of the Danvers Company from 1814 to 1817 and rose to the rank of Colonel. They lived in a house that sat between the two Felton houses now preserved by the Peabody Historical Society. He received premiums on his prize winning butter at the Essex County Agricultural Fairs almost every year from 1842 to 1853. Nathaniel Felton was born 6 October 1791 and died on 15 November 1865.

Charles B. Allen was born 15 January 1814 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, d. 1900 in Wenham, Massachusetts. Reported on 10 October 1873 in the Cape Ann Advertiser newspaper "Mr. Charles Allen won a prize for his grapes at the Essex Agricultural Fair." Charles Allen was the brother to my 4x great grandfather, Joseph Allen.

Sarah Elizabeth Gowen, born on 29 April 1840 in West Newbury, Massachusetts married on 25 Dec 1938 to Henry Wilkinson. In 1886 Sarah earned a .50 gratuity for Mexican work at the Essex Agricultural Society Fair, in the display of "Fancy work and works of art." (source: "Transactions for the year 1886 of the Essex Agricultural Society." ) Henry was a brother to my great great grandfather, Robert Wilson Wilkinson. I have no idea what “Mexican work” refers to, probably some sort of sewing?

Another Wilkinson cousin participated in the Topsfield Fair more recently. Raymond A. Wilkinson was born in 1935 in Peabody, and died on 10 Sept 2006 in Lynn, Massachusetts. Part of his obituary read “In his spare time, he was quite the outdoor enthusiast and enjoyed reading and spending time with his family and friends. He loved his dogs and volunteering his time at the Topsfield Fair in the rabbit and cavy building, where he served as building superintendent for the Essex County Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association.“

I remember attending the Topsfield Fair many times when I was growing up in Essex County, Massachusetts. I even took my daughter there when she was about seven or eight years old. We live in New Hampshire, and used to regularly attend the Rochester Fair for about ten years because it had a youth exhibit hall for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. I was a troop leader, and used to bring all the exhibits from the girls in Londonderry. My own daughter and I would exhibit, too, and we won enough ribbons over the years to stuff two large shoe boxes. We would participate in canning, sewing, and other handicrafts, but my husband and daughter were prizewinning photographers. I don’t think our awards at the Rochester Fair ever were mentioned in the local papers. Our descendants won’t know about our participation history from any documents, but they might find the shoe boxes of ribbons in our attic!

Prize winning photos 2003 Rochester Fair
(left and right my daughter, middle my husband)

The Rochester, NH Fair Grounds Exhibit Building
Photo taken during the 2000 fair, Grand Prize winner at 2001 fair


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wordless Wednesday- What is it?

No, it's not a piece of firewood! It's something very historical from the Nutfield area (Londonderry, Derry or Windham, New Hampshire)
You can post your guesses here or email them to me....
See tomorrow's post for answers!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Brewsters at Valley Cemetery, Londonderry, NH

Some recent photos taken for RAOGK.com

Margaret Brewster, consort of Elder David Brewster,
Who Departed this life Aug. 28, 1819, age 47

Here lies interred the body of Mrs. Jane Brewster, consort of Elder David Brewster,
Who departed this life Feb. 14, 1849, aged 56
[note:  her maiden name was Pinkerton]

For more photos of Valley Cemetery see this website http://www.familypage.org/valley/valley.htm

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 16, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- Lines from a Diary

Dr. Bolman's House in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

from the Diary of Adolphus Gaetz, page 41

June 1858 Monday 7th- "Married at 12 o'clock noon, at the house of Mrs. Trider, under whose care the Bride had been brought up, Mr. C. R. Bill, formerly at teacher of vocal music in this place, to Miss Annie Bolman, daughter of the late Bremner Bolman. At 2 o'clock the married couple started on their way to New Brunswick, they were escorted as far as Mahone Bay by several young men and maidens who had been at the wedding. The above were married by the father of the Groom, Rev'd I. E. Bill, baptist preacher, at St. John, New Brunswick, who came here for the purpose."

In 2007 I went to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia for the first time, to see where my ancestors lived. The Bolman family of Lunenburg is descended from Dr. Johann Daniel Bolman, a Hessian surgeon captured at the Battle of Saratoga, and never returned to Germany. He settled in Lunenburg, married a widow of German descent, and entered Nova Scotia politics.
A published copy of Adolphus Gaetz's diary was in my room at the Lennox Inn, the Lunenburg B&B where I stayed (owned and operated by another ancestor, John Lennox, in the early 1800s). As soon as I picked up the book and perused the names inside, I noted this passage mentioned my great great grandparents, Annie Bolman and Caleb Rand Bill. She was the granddaughter of Dr. Bolman.
An advertisement from Salem, Massachusetts
for a photography studio to restore old photos
The couple depicted is Annie and Caleb Bill

When I returned home from Nova Scotia I found another copy of Gaetz's diary at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston. Only a snippet view is available on line at Google Books, but it is also in the card catalog at Ancestry.com and can be read or browsed online. The diary is full of references to Lunenburg families, and other goings on in Nova Scotia. Adolphus Gaetz wrote his diary from 1855 to 1873. He noted births, deaths, marriages, politics and other historical events in great detail. It is surprisingly easy and fun to read, as well as a wonderful genealogical treasure trove. I was able to find many references to ancestors in 19th century Lunenburg.

Adolphus Gaetz was born 13 May 1804 in Werheim, Germany, and immigrated to Lunenburg in 1832. He had a dry goods shop, was registrar of probate and county treasurer. He married Lucy Dorothea Zwicker in 1834, the granddaughter of German immigrant to Nova Scotia Johann Peter Zwicker. He died on 12 April 1873.

Sources for Adolphus Gaetz’s Diary:

The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz, edited by Charles Bruce Ferguson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1965

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canns/lunenburg/gaetz.html website listing deaths mentioned in Adolphus Gaetz’s diary

Ancestry.com. The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Fergusson, Charles B.. The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz. Halifax, N. S.: 1965.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Internet Searches v. A Real Library

Now, I’ve read Martin Hollick’s reasons for his not liking Google Book Search at his blog Slovak Yankee. His examples are reasonable and I understand his frustrations, especially since I worked in a library for four years. However, sometimes, to me, there is nothing as valuable as Google Book Search, but with a caveat. For example, just a few days ago I was transcribing a letter from the Hawaii State Archives written by Henry Wilson to John Owen Dominis in Honolulu in 1848. I know a lot about John Dominis, but who is Henry Wilson? My only clues were that the letter was written aboard the ship “Preble” en route to Canton, China. Even the curator of Washington Place, the Dominis home in Honolulu, couldn’t tell me much about Henry Wilson.

I first Googled “Henry Wilson” and, of course, there were a zillion hits. So I entered “Henry Wilson” “Preble” “China” and relevant hits began to appear. When I changed from a Google Web search to a Google Book Search, Bingo! There were several books from the US Navy, the US Government, etc. all with information about Henry Wilson, the purser on board the USS Preble, as part of a Naval expedition to China and the Far East in 1848. I found depositions, crew lists, biographies, and other information about Henry Wilson in two minutes. If I had been at my local library, or even at the Library of Congress, I wouldn’t have known where to start looking. Now, armed with these clues from the internet, I can approach a traditional library or archive for more information. That is the caveat. Google Book Search got me started, now I can continue with some real research at a real repository.

Remember, there are lots of schmucks out there doing research at 10:30 at night in their PJs, who aren’t near any good libraries. That’s me. Right now. In my pink jammies, fuzzy slippers and glass of wine. 10:30 at night and I wanted to wrap up this letter transcription project before midnight. Now I have a USS Preble crew list and I can name that person whose name looked like McG---- in Wilson’s 1848 handwriting, or that port that looked like W--- Island because of two minutes time at Google Book Search.

On Wednesday I posted a story on how I used the internet to find out more about Peter Hoogerzeil, my 2x great grandfather http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/08/not-so-wordless-wednesday-peter.html   In this case, since Peter was an inventor, I used the internet to investigate his patents. The caveat is that not all the information was online, but it was a good place to start. Using the internet indexes was much simpler than using the book indexes at the Boston Public Library. However, in the end, I needed the Boston Public Library to actually look at many of his patent records. You would, too, for patents before 1976.

Without the internet, some of my biggest breakthroughs would never have happened. A series of stories I did in April on Romanus Emerson all came about because of a story I found in an internet newspaper database. http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/03/madness-monday-odd-romanus-emerson-part.html   I never thought of looking for Romanus there because I thought he was just an average New England yeoman, with no life events worth looking for in the newspapers. After finding the initial clue on line, or course I hit the library and archives for more information. I’ve written about ten blog posts on Romanus Emerson, and I have enough other interesting information now to fill a book on just this one man.

Because of the internet, bulletin boards, Google Book Search and other online databases I’ve had contact with cousins and complete strangers. In the story http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/02/missionary-to-new-zealand.html Missionary to New Zealand, a complete stranger in Australia told me what happened to my 2x great grandfather’s brother during a gold rush (it wasn’t mission work!). In the story http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/08/mystery-of-jonathan-batchelder.html The Mystery of Jonathan Batchelder, a complete stranger read my bulletin board posting and mailed me an ancestors account book dated 1847, which gave me clues to his death in an insane asylum. Stranger yet, in my post http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/10/jabez-treadwells-will.html another complete stranger mailed me the 1781 will of Jabez Treadwell. An original folded up into an manila envelope! There are a dozen more stories like this in my notes, and I’m working on putting them on my blog as fast as I can.

Regular readers of my blog will now that I have an ongoing research project on the connection between the Jones sisters of Boston and the Kingdom of Hawaii. In my very first blog post on 27 July 2009, “Hawaii- The Boston Connection to a Royal Lineage” http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/07/hawaii-boston-connection-to-royal.html I explain how for years I had been writing to the archives and curators in Honolulu for information on the Joneses. Finally a new curator at Washington Place saw my post on line and mailed me copies of several letters, and I broke through my brick wall. This has been an ongoing project that not only led to many blog posts and a research trip to Hawaii, but also to a collaboration with Leah Allen “The Internet Genealogist” and her connection with the Mott sisters who also boarded at Washington Place. You can check out those blog posts by hitting “Hawaii” or “Dominis” in the labels listed in the right hand column of my blog. There are too many to list here.

Of course, us regular schmucks sitting at home doing internet genealogy research in our PJs can’t be complacent. In every example I gave above, my clues from the internet were followed up with real old-fashioned research at libraries and archives. However, which library? Which archive? What federal, state or local agency? Those answers came from the internet.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, August 13, 2010

Londonderry’s Bandstand Needs a Band-Aid

click here to read "Londonderry’s Bandstand Needs a Band-Aid"

The latest story from the Londonderry Online News website about the bandstand on the common. Hopefully the work won't interfere with Old Home Day, but it is sorely needed. I remember being up on stage 23 years ago for the Old Home Day baby contest, and up there with the Girl Scouts for various events over the years. Most of New Hampshire's historic town commons have band stands, like this one.

Follow Friday- New Hampshire State Papers in the Archives

This blog post is seriously out of date.  I have UPDATED information at this new link:
February 22, 2016

If your ancestors lived in Colonial New England, or if you suspect that your ancestors lived in New England any time up until 1800, then you must have used the New Hampshire State Papers for your genealogical research. I first came across this wonderful resource years ago (before the internet) at the Portsmouth Atheneum library. Now, when I run across a new name in the family tree, I can go to the NH State Papers online at the website for the State Archives.

The NH State Papers were published in forty volumes between 1867 and 1943. The website has an index to names about 2070 pages long. The project has been made available on microfilm and CD-ROM to libraries and repositories worldwide. The first seven volumes are sometimes referred to as The Provincial Papers. Their contents include town papers, the Revolutionary Rolls, town charters, probate and court records.

http://www.sos.nh.gov/archives/nhstatepapers.html The New Hampshire State Papers page at the NH Archives and Records Management website.

Other online links to the NH State Papers:

http://www.library.unh.edu/diglib/bookshelf/NHPapers/ An additional website from the University of New Hampshire, with a descriptive list of the contents of all forty volumes of the NH State and Provincial Papers.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vtwindha/nhsp/index.htm Rootsweb’s PDF index to the NH State Papers

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Londonderry's Old Home Day

Ever since we arrived in Londonderry more than 25 years ago, we look forward to Old Home Day. This year the five days of Old Home Day start on Wednesday, August 18 and run through Sunday August 22. The most popular day, of course, is Saturday August 21, 2010. The day starts early with the 5K road race, followed by the parade, the baby contest, the colonial encampment by the Morrison House Museum, and of course the common will be crowded with local organizations selling homemade food, games for the kids, and neighbors greeting old friends. The whole day is topped off with a concert and fireworks!

Londonderry Old Home Day circa 1920s

According to the Londonderry Hometown Online News at http://www.londonderrynh.net/, over 15,000 people attend Londonderry’s Old Home Day each year. This is a testament to good old fashioned fun. Not to be competitive, but our Old Home Day is usually held the same weekend as Hudson’s celebration (this year Hudson is celebrating one week early). Hudson is located just next door. In fact, their fairgrounds at Alvirne are closer to our own house than Londonderry’s fiesta on the town common. But, we like the old fashioned flavor of Londonderry’s Old Home Days over Hudson’s. No traveling carnival rides, no commercial food vendors (except for the ice cream truck), no questionable games of chance. At our Old Home Days all the games have to be free to all kids- and the few for adults are fundraisers for local organizations. The food, snacks and beverages are all homemade and sponsored by the Boy Scouts, churches, sports teams and civil groups. Don’t miss the Lion’s BBQ!

2009 Old Home Day Parade in Londonderry, NH

Historically, Old Home Day is an important part of New Hampshire culture. In 1899 New Hampshire Governor Frank Rollins proclaimed the first Old Home Day on the third Saturday in August to bring people back home who had moved to the big cities and out of state for employment or for easier farming out West. There are only about ten communities in New Hampshire that have faithfully carried on the Old Home Day tradition of the third Saturday in August.

Why was this so important? Look at the population schedules below. You can see that with the opening of the West to farming, the Civil War, and employment in the big cities of Boston and other states, people left New Hampshire in droves for a long time period. New Hampshire was one of six states to also show a percentage population decrease in 2008 due to the economy. They seem to be following Horace Greely’s advice to “Go West, young man!” (Greeley had Londonderry roots, too!)

New Hampshire v. total US Population
1860 326,073- NH 31,443,321- USA
1870 318,300 39,818,499 NH decreased 2.5%, US increased 22.6%
1880 346,991 50,155,783 NH increased 9%, US increased 30.2%
1890 376,530 62,947,714 NH increased 8.5%,
1900 411,588 76,212,168 NH increased 9.3%, US increased 21%

2010 New Hampshire Old Home Days on the third Saturday in August

All other NH Old Home Days can be found at http://www.nhlibertycalendar.org/oldhome.php

For more information:

http://www.oldhomeday.com/ the website for Londonderry’s Old Home Day

http://www.census.gov/ for my population statistics


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo