Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Pranks in Derry, 2010

A Civil War Monument appears like the "Headless Horseman"
Halloween 2010

In front of the historic First Church,
 in East Derry, New Hampshire
founded by the original Nutfield Proprietors in the 1720s
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, October 30, 2010

November 2010 History Events

November2010 History Events - Selected events happening in the Londonderry/Derry area

A Life In Context: Telling Your Story
November 2, 6PM, Derry Public Library, 64 E. Broadway, Derry, New Hampshire
Professional Archivist, Melissa Mannon and professional organizer Sue West team up to present a program about deciding what to keep and what to let go of when it comes to telling the story of your family history. Registration requested, FREE. 603-432-6140

Breakfast with George Washington
November 6, 10AM or 11AM (two seatings), 1 Governor’s Lane, Exeter, NH
George Washington visited Folsom Tavern on November 4, 1789. He is returning to have a special flapjack breakfast with children’s crafts, adult trivia game and a child friendly tour of the American Independence Museum. Reservations are necessary, sign up online at $10 adults, $8 children, under 4 free. Phone 603-772-2622

A Tribute to Sarah Josepha Hale
November 6, 1PM, Chateau Restaurant, Manchester, New Hampshire
Sharon Wood portrays Ann Wyman Blake of West Cambridge, Massachusetts, who talks about Sarah Josepha Hale, writer, editor, and suffragette. FREE! Sponsored by the NH Humanities Council.

Frost Farm Hyla Brook Reading
November 11, 6:30 to 8:30 Robert Frost Farm, Route 28, Derry, New Hampshire
Featured poet Todd Hearon. FREE. For information email Robert Crawford at or

Preserving your Prized Possessions
November 14, 1 PM to 4PM, Currier Art Museum, Manchester, New Hampshire
How to care for that heirloom silver? How to store family photographs? Bring in one object and get the answers from the experts. Advance registration required by November 8, call 603-669-6144. $10 members, $14 non-members.

An Informal History of Beer in the Granite State
November 16, 7PM Brookline Public Library, 16 Main St., Brookline, New Hampshire
Glenn A. Knoblock presents a history of beer and ale brewing from Colonial Days to modern brewing and brew pubs. Includes illustrations evidential of society’s changing attitudes toward beer and alcohol consumption over the years. FREE! Sponsored by the NH Humanities Council

The 17th Annual Winter Holiday Stroll
November 27, 5 -10 PM in downtown Nashua, New Hampshire
Over 25 venues will host a variety of performances, as well as entertainment in the street. Food will be served outside of Main Street restaurants, and a new beer garden will be located on High Street. Locations available for dropping off canned goods, diapers, and new unwrapped toys for local charities. Most events are FREE! Check the website for complete details

Friday, October 29, 2010

Some Spooky New England Tales for Halloween!

My neighbor's annual Halloween display!
Here are some links to spooky stories I have posted in the past year!

A ghost seen in an old burial ground in Londonderry, New Hampshire

Bodies are stolen from a graveyard in Essex, Massachusetts in 1819

The Civil War era "Lady in Black" can be seen at Fort Warren, on George's Island in Boston Harbor

Two local restaurants, in colonial buildings, have resident ghosts

Romance, pirates and the ghost of a pirate in Henniker, New Hampshire

Tammy Younger (1753-1829), the witch of Dogtown in Gloucester, Massachusetts

The 1875 murder of schoolgirl Josie Langmaid in Pembroke, New Hampshire

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween! The Story of the Willey Family of Crawford Notch

Crawford Notch State Park October 2010
The Site of the Willey House
Many writers, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, have told the sad story of the Willey Family of Crawford Notch. The tragedy was also included in songs, poems and paintings of the time period. This remote mountain pass was used by Native Americans, who told Timothy Nash its whereabouts. He is generally credited with its discovery in 1771. The first permanent settlers in the notch were the Abel Crawford family in 1792, on land originally granted to Nash.

In 1825 Samuel Willey, Jr. of Bartlett, New Hampshire built a small house in Crawford Notch at the foot of what is now called Mt. Willey. He brought his wife and five children to live there. On 28 August 1826 there was an extended drought, followed by heavy rain. The Saco River, which has its headwaters in Crawford Notch, rose 20 feet overnight. Two days later, friends came to the valley and were horrified to find the house unharmed, but the surrounding slopes littered with landslide and avalanche boulders. A large ledge above the house had divided the landslide, which passed around the house. The bodies of the Willey parents and two children were found, and three other children remained missing.

Poets and writers have dreamed up many versions of scary tales about what happened the day of the tragedy. Did the family flee the house when they heard the landslide? Were they escaping the flood when caught by an avalanche? Were they warned ahead of time? The house stood untouched, with a bible on the table and a dog still inside.

The Willey house stood as an inn to travelers until 1898 when it burned to the ground. Its site is marked by a large boulder with a bronze plaque. As a child we used to camp nearby, and my Dad would tell the story of the Willey family in his best Halloween voice. We would get the shivers standing there looking at the park and historical marker. We were there just two weeks ago to see the Fall foliage and visit the site. I still get the shivers even today!

1971, my sister and I at Crawford Notch
(the hills still bear the marks of the landslide 150 years before)
Willey Family Lineage (Thanks to Sue and Rick Willey, please see below)

Generation 1. Thomas Willey was born 1617 in Lincolnshire or Lancashire, England, died September 1681 in Oyster River (now Durham), New Hampshire; married Margaret Geaffit, born about 1615 in England.

Generation 2. John Willey, born between 1655 and 1656 in Oyster River, died 10 Sept 1770 in Oyster River; married Alice Dorcas about 1688.

Generation 3. Samuel Willey, born 1693 in Dover, New Hampshire; married about 1715 to Sarah Stevenson, daughter of Bartholomew Stevenson and Mary Clark.

Generation 4. Samuel Willey, born before 6 March 1719/20; married 16 June 1749 to Sarah Glazier.

Generation 5. Captain Samuel Willey, born 31 January 1753 in Lee, New Hampshire, died 14 June 1844; married on 23 October 1782 to Betsey Glazier, born 1 January 1761, and died 7 April 1844 in Conway, New Hampshire.

Generation 6. Samuel Willey, born 31 March 1788, died on 28 March 1826 in Crawford Notch Avalanche; married to Polly Lovejoy, born 1791, died on 28 March 1826, daughter of Jeremiah Lovejoy and Elizabeth Spring. (Polly had a royal ancestral lineage from King Edward III of England through her ancestor Edward Carleton of Rowley, Massachusetts, see Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists who came to New England between 1623 and 1650, by Frederick Lewis Weis, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988 ).

For more information:

The story of the Willey Family from the NH State Park’s Website (scroll down under History)

The Ambitious Guest” a short story from Twice Told Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1837

The Story of the Willey Family”, brochure by the New Hampshire State Parks (from Crawford Notch State Park, picked up in October 2010 at the gift shop, free)

This link has a beautiful painting by Thomas Cole of Crawford Notch “A View of the Mountain Pass Called the Notch of the White Mountains”, 1839, an excerpt from Hawthorne’s version of the tale, and also a passage from Cole’s journal, 1828, just two years after the incident.

The New Hampshire Willey Family Tree, by Sue and Rick Willey

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not so Wordless Wednesday- A Halloween Pot?

Regular readers of this blog know my ancestry is from Salem. This pot has a lot of family history, but its not from Massachusetts.

We brought this pot all the way from La Bouza, a village in the province of Salamanca, Spain. About fifteen years ago my husband's great aunt, Maria Ascension Garcia, moved from the ancestral village of La Bouza to a retirement home in the city of Salamanca. We went to visit the home where my husband's grandfather had lived, and it had been in the family for many generations. There were a few items left there, and we filled a suitcase with momentos like photo albums, a family bible, and among them was this pot.

Today, we would never be able to bring a cast iron pot in a suitcase! First of all, now there are strict weight limits on baggage. If you suitcase weighs more than 50 pounds on Iberia Airlines, you are assessed a fine of 60 Euros (more than $80!) It would never pass through security either, because on an X-ray machine it would look like one of Wiley Coyote's Acme bombs in the old Road Runner cartoons. We were lucky to have moved it when we did, in pre September 11th days.

Now this little pot sits on my hearth, except on Halloween when I move it to a more prominent place to display it or perhaps fill it up with treats. There is only one mark on the pot, and it is the word GRESTUMA which is a monastery in Portugal. Since La Bouza is on the border of Portugal, and myhusband's great grandmother, the mother of Tia Ascencion and his grandfather, was from Portugal, this is a clue to its origins. A Portuguese pot, residing in Spain and now in New Hampshire. A little pot that took a long journey!

A photograph of ancestors from La Bouza, Spain
unfortunately it was unlabeled, who are these men?

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Towne Family Burial Ground, Londonderry, Part 2

died April 16, 1836
AEt 74
his wife died
March 10, 1837
AEt 75

wife of
Age 7?
Sept ??
???? [broken]

wife of
Jan. 16. 1800
June 14. 1893
Dau. of Moses &
Charlotte U. Towne
blessed are the ?? in heart
for they shall see God

To the memory of
Who died
July 17, 1841
AEt. 41

Sacred to the
memory of
wife of
Cap. Joseph W.
Formily of Boston
who died Sep. 22. 1851
AE. 71

Died July 23, ???

Died Oct. 15, 1851
Aged 76 y'r. 7 mo's

This is a perfect post for Halloween week because there is nothing spookier than a cemetery almost in your own backyard! I posted four more gravestones from this cemetery last month. This is the last group of photographs. There were about eleven standing gravestones in this cemetery. The rest of the stones were fallen, broken or illegible. Otherwise, the little cemetery was in very nice shape, and well mowed and tended. It is one of only two private cemeteries in Londonderry, the other one being the Kendall Burial Ground.

Click here to see Towne Family Burial Ground, Londonderry, Part One

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, October 25, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- More from Rev. Bill's Memoirs

Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill (1805-1891)

Last week on Amanuensis Monday I posted the first part of Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill's memoirs. I'll be posting a little bit every Monday for the next few weeks. Last week's post included a bit of Bill genealogy, starting in England and Boston. This branch of the Bills were living in Lebanon, Connecticut before immigrating to Nova Scotia. Their settlement is known as "Billtown", part of Cornwallis outside of Wolfeville. His immediate ancestors (grandparents and parent) are described here. These are all good clues to the family tree, but fortunately I already knew the Bill lineage from the book written by Ledyard Bill in 1867, The History of the Bill Family . Next week I'll include more from this memoir about Reverend Bill's young adulthood and conversion to the Baptist faith. There are only a few words I was not able to transcribe.

"The Provincial Branch of the Family
...By this brief reference ?? ?? ancestors in the old world and their rise and progress in the new we have prepared the way to that of those who gave us a favored birth on Nova Scotia soil. We belong to the sixth generation of Bills on this continent, and to the second generation in Nova Scotia. My grandfather’s Christian name was Ebenezer and my Grandmother’s maiden name was Ingraham. Being the youngest of the family may parents kindly honored me by giving me the names of both grandparents. The modern mode of spelling my first name leaves out the ah and hence we have Ingram instead of Ingraham. My father’s name was Asahel Bill. He was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, April 7th 1740 and removed with his father to Nova Scotia about 1755 where he was subsequently united in marriage to Mary Rand, a native of that province. Happy in their marriage life and full of youthful aspiration and vigor they selected for their future home a magnificent tract of land of several hundred acres in the center of the township of Cornwallis. This district was subsequently in honor of my father, called Billtown. The value of the tract selected was greatly influenced by a block of intervals of not less than a hundred acres of surprising fertility. From the ample products of this fruitful homestead our parents were not only able to supply the physical and mental necessities of a large family but to accumulate what was then considered a most valuable property which was ultimately divided between their three sons John M., Caleb R., and Ingram E. and four daughters Sarah, Rebecca, Mary and Levinia. Our parents were trained religiously in the doctrine and practice of the Presbyterian faith, but by a careful study of the word of God they changed their views regarding the subjects and mode of Christian baptism, and embraced Baptist sentiment and participated largely in the revival influence experienced under the ministrations of the Mannings, Hardings, Crandals and others of that class. Their hearts and their home were open at all times to extend to these servants of God and their ??? the rites of a truly Christian hospitality. In that home of peace and Christian love the gospel was frequently proclaimed by Gods chosen interpreter with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and there united prayers were offered such as God delights to hear and answer. The change in my mother’s views regarding ordinances did not prevent her from teaching her children the summary of doctrine contained in the Westminster catechism. So thoroughly did she instruct them in these fragmental verities of the Christian faith that as they grew to years of understanding they formed no difficulty in giving a good reason for the faith which they cherished. Thorough catechistical instruction coming from parental lips to children made their fostering care produce impressions and connections not easily e??. Hence the obligations resting upon parents to apply themselves carefully and prayerfully to the religious culture of those that God has given them."


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Amanuensis Monday- More from Rev. Bill's Memoirs", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 25, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24th

My 4th birthday, me and my sister way back when!

 October 24th, it's my birthday, but these things also happened on this day....

1260- The Cathedral of Chartres is dedicated

1788- Birthday of Sarah Josepha Hale- poet, editor of the "Godey's Ladies Book" and supporter of a national Thanksgiving Day

1850 -The first national convention for women’s rights ended on. Over 1,000 delegates from 11 states heard speakers demand the right to vote, own property, and study higher education. Speakers included Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth.

1929- “Black Thursday” stock market crash

1901- Anna E. Taylor survived going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

1945- The United Nations became official on this day, according to its charter. UN Day

2003- The last Concorde landed in London, ending an era in aviation history.

2008- “Bloody Friday” stock decline, heralding the recent economic recession

Some other family members born on October 24th

1770, Abigail Adams, born in Newington, New Hampshire, married George Nutter

1832 Juba Howe Allen, born in Lebanon, New Hampshire

1750- Lydia Allen, married John French
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, October 23, 2010

First Mission to Hawaii- left Boston on 23 October 1819

The harbor at Kona, Hawaii
and the Moku'aikaua Church founded by the First Missionary Company
Today’s blog post was inspired by the website “Mass Moments” which is written by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. Every morning it is the first thing I read on line. It’s a “what happened on this date in history?” sort of website. I love seeing the stories from the past, and most of them impacted the lives of my own Massachusetts ancestors.

On this day, 23 October, in 1819 the first Congregationalist missionaries left Boston for Hawaii. This was a pleasant bit of trivia to me personally because I had so many members of my own family go to Hawaii from New England, as sea captains, politicians, traders and a few missionaries. In the past I had read about the missionary companies that arrived in Hawaii, partly because I grew up in Holden, Massachusetts, which sent the Reverend Samuel Chenery Damon (1815 – 1885) as part of the Eleventh ABCFM company. My own church, the First Congregational Church of Holden, was his sponsor. When I visited the Dominis family plot at the Oahu Cemetery, the Damons were interred in the very next plot!

The missionaries were sent from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). In Hawaii, each group of missionaries is known by their arrival. The First Missionary Company, which arrived on 30 March 1820 aboard the “Thaddeus” included the following:

- Reverend Hiram Bingham (1789 – 1869), his grandson Hiram Bingham III was the Hawaiian born explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in 1911
- Reverend Asa Thurston (1787 – 1868), wife Lucy Goodale, (His grandson Lorrin A. Thurston led the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii)
- Reverend Samuel Ruggles (1795 – 1871)
- Elisha Loomis (1799-1836) and wife, first printer in Hawaii
- Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Chamberlain and 5 children
- Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Holman
- Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Whitney
- Four Hawaiians – Thomas Hope, William Kanui, John Honolii, George Tamoril

There were also Catholic and Russian Orthodox missions in Hawaii. The Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu strives to keep the memory of these brave men and women alive. An original wooden house brought in pieces from Boston in 1821 sits on their property. They also have a print shop with a printing press to show how the missionaries and native Hawaiians together produced the first bibles and other books printed in native Hawaiian.

The Mission Houses Museum also produced the famous blog The Thaddeus Journal in which one blog post was written for each day a journal entry was written on board the ship from 1819-1820 during the voyage from Boston to Hawaii. It is another example of the “what happened on this date in history?” genre. The original journal was kept by Hiram Bingham, Asa Thurston and Elisha Loomis. One blog post was written from 20 Oct 2009- 4 April 2010. Please click on this link to read this project

Another member of my family tree, Reverend John Smith Emerson of Chester, New Hampshire, was part of the Fifth ABCFM company on board the New Bedford whaler Averick, and arrived in Honolulu on May 1832. You can read about his life at this post

For more information:

Mass Moments 23 October 2010

Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu

The pilgrims of Hawaii: their own story of their pilgrimage from New England by Orramel Hinckley Gulick, Fleming H. Revell company, 1918

Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula by Nathaniel B. Emerson , Charles E. Tuttle Publishing. Place of Publication: Rutland, VT. Publication Year: 1965 (written by the son of Rev. J. S. Emerson)

The website for the Moku'aikaua Church, in Kona, Hawaii
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, October 22, 2010

Seven to Save

The First Parish Church, Derry, NH,
was named to the "Seven to Save" list in 2009
For five years the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance has named landmarks around the Granite State on its “Seven to Save” list. The newest list was published on 19 October 2010, and includes many early 20th century structures. New Hampshire landmarks can make the list by being of historic significance, as well as being currently threatened with destruction.

1. Colonial Theater, Laconia, built in 1914

2. Mill Pond Dam, Durham, built in 1913- a dam has been on this site since the 1670s.

3. Odd Fellows Hall, Warner, built in 1893

4. Pulpit Rock Tower, Rye, built in WWII

5. The Print Shop at the Mt. Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, built in 1902

6. Brown Company, R&D Buildings, Berlin, built in 1915

7. Historic Windows, Statewide- being replaced because of misinformation about energy savings.

Since the list started in 2006, over half the listed landmarks are now out of danger. The list doesn’t grant any funds, but it spreads information and helps spur fundraising efforts towards restoration, preservation and conservation efforts in New Hampshire. There are nomination forms for historic buildings on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s website at

The addition of historic windows on this list is a change of pace for the NH Preservation Alliance. They would like homeowners and restorers to reconsider abandoning old wooden windows. They say that they can be restored and made efficient, and will last for more than twenty years, unlike modern highly energy efficient windows which need to be replaced much sooner. Some storm windows are eligible for tax credits, too. All in all, the wooden, repairable windows are a “greener” choice for homeowners.

It seems the whole idea of this "Seven to Save" campaign is to get folks to think out of the box about preservation. I love the windows idea. I know that several friends have preserved the wooden windows in their older homes, and installed inside and outside storms instead of replacement windows. Last year the Preservation Alliance named the 70 foot ski jump at the Gunstock ski area to the list, an old, yet historic piece of property that has led to several grants and programs to not only preserve the structure, but to also improve community awareness and youth participation in ski jumping.

For more information: the 2010 “Seven to Save” announcement by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

In 2009 the First Parish Church in Derry, founded by the original Scots Irish Settlers of Nutfield, was named to the “Seven to Save List”. I wrote about this at my post on 1 November 2009, which you can read at this link On the first list in 2006 the Derry Upper Village Hall Meetinghouse was also listed, which is located across the street from the First Parish Church.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rosetta Munroe Spencer

This is a post for the Second Great American Local Poem Genealogy Challenge sponsored by Bill West at his blog “West in New England”.
The cover of a 1900 Outlook children's magazine
as seen on e-Bay

What's In a Birthday?
(originally published in the "Outlook Illustrated Magazine" 2 January 1897, page 272)
By Rosetta Munroe Spencer

Monday is the day we wash.
If all the clothes get dry,
We iron them on Tuesday
Then fold and put them by.
On Wednesday mamma makes her calls,
But Thursday afternoons
She stays at home and lets our Jane
Go visit the Muldoons.

We always sweep on Friday,
And give the rugs a shake,
And dust and mop the morning long;
But Saturdays we bake,
And that's the reason why I think
That Saturday's the best;
But mamma chooses Sunday.
For that's the day of rest.

Now, I was wondering last night,
When I was tucked in bed,
If people born on Monday
Out to earn their daily bread
By washing clothes; but then I soon
Remembered brother Will
Was born on Monday, and he says
He's going to run a mill.

Ned says he heard the baker's boy,
Around the corner say,
The reason he's a baker-
He was born on Saturday.
Perhaps because on Wednesday
My papa's birthday falls
Is the reason he's a doctor,
And makes so many calls.

On Thursday was my mamma born
At home she has to stay
To see that everything goes well.
But brother Ned's birthday
On Friday comes- the day we sweep;
And just to sweep the snow,
From off the steps makes Ned so cross,
He hates to sweep, I know.

But mamma says if Ned will sweep
The cobwebs from his brain,
And study more and frolic less,
His rightful place he'll gain
When he's a man; but brother Will
Must wash his hands so neat
That Monday's never be ashamed
If she and Will should meet.

Sweet baby Bess may sleep and rest,
For she's a Sunday child
Now I was born on Tuesday-
My own dear mother smiled,
And said she hoped hereafter,
When she tried my hair to curl,
That I'd iron out my forehead
And be a pleasant girl.

Rosetta Mary (Munroe) Spencer was the daughter of Luther Simonds Munroe and Emily Louise Wiley. She was born on 22 March 1868 in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Her father was the nephew and namesake of my 3x great grandfather Luther Simonds Munroe ((1805 – 1851) of Danvers, Massachusetts. Rosetta married the Reverend George Hazelton Spencer in 1892, and they had six children. According to census records, they lived in Newton, Everett and Boston, Massachusetts.

Her husband, Rev. Spencer, graduated from the Montpelier Seminary in Vermont in 1890 and Boston University School of Theology in 1890. He was a pastor at Methuen, Massachusetts; Somersworth, New Hampshire; Newton, Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts; Everett Massachusetts; and Cambridge, Massachusetts according to the 1916 “Who’s Who in American Methodism”. I was able to find a history of the Greenwood Memorial Church in Boston online, and it listed Rev. George Hazelton Spencer as the pastor from 1917-1919.

I found many poems by Rosetta Spencer in online copies of the children’s magazine “Outlook Illustrated Magazine”. I also found her name and poetry in the “Bostonia” journal by Boston University during the same time period. Her mother was the subject of a blog post earlier this year, because a wool quilted coverlet by Emily Wiley Munroe was on display at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, and also featured in the book, Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth.

For more information:

Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth, by Lynne Zacek Bassett, editor, University Press of New England, 2009

The New England Quilt Museum

My blog posts about Emily Wiley Munroe’s Quilt

And also

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not so Wordless Wednesday - Hebridean Scots in Quebec

The Six MacDermid Sisters of Marsboro, Quebec
photographed in Massachusetts in the 1920s
My grandmother's brother, Uncle Horace Warren Roberts, married Katherine Bella MacDermid on 23 June 1920 in Beverly, Massachusetts. My grandmother's family had only arrived in America from Leeds, Yorkshire in 1915, and this must have been a jolly wedding. Great Aunt Katie was well loved, and just mentioning her name to my family brings lots of comments about what a nice, wonderful person she had been. My earliest memory of her was her wonderful Scots accent, and how much I wanted to name my daughter Katie!

The MacDermid/MacDearmid family had originated in Scotland, and the first to arrive in the New World was Auntie Katie's great grandfather Donald MacDearmid. He made his new home in Marsboro, Frontenac County, Quebec, which was a very Hebridean Scots settlement. Most of the original settlers came from the Isle of Lewis. They were unprepared for the harsh life in Quebec, and within a few generations most of the Hebridean settlers had removed to New England or Montreal for a better life. But for a few generations they kept their culture, language, and music alive in Marsboro.

Generation 1. Donald MacDearmid, born about 1802 in Grimsay (Griomasaigh), North Uist, Scotland; married Marion Smith, Born aoubt 1811 in Tarbert, Isle of Harris, Scotland. Five children. He arrived in Quebec about 1865.

Generation 2. Neil MacDearmid, born about 1838 in North Uist, died 17 January 1903 in Marsboro; married Catherine MacDonald. Five children.

Generation 3. Charles Colt MacDearmid, born 19 November 1863 in Scotland, died 30 August 1939 in Marsboro; married in Marsboro on 30 May 1894 to Mary Ross, born 8 February 1873 at Geocrab, Isle of Harris, Scotland. Eleven children, including the six daughters in the photograph above, all born in Marsboro:

1. John MacDermid, born 17 March 1895; married Mary Morrison
2. Katherine Bella MacDermid, born 23 March 1896, died 30 December 1978 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married Horace Warren Roberts (my great aunt and uncle)
3. Neil MacDermid, born 30 January 1898, died 18 May 1904 in Marsboro
4. Mary MacDermid, born 10 July 1900, died January 1900 in Beverly; married Alexander D. Stewart
5. Marion MacDermid, born 4 August 1902, died 28 December 1980 in Salem, Massachusetts; married Louis V. Maglio.
6. Neil A. MacDermid, born 19 June 1904, died 11 December 1974 in Brookline, Massachusetts; married Jeanette (maiden name unknown)
7. Annabelle MacDermid, born 28 July 1906, died 7 September 1999; married Bertram A. Russell*
8. Dolena MacDermid, born 20 December 1908, married Crosby Gray Grant
9. Annie MacDermid, born 21 January 1911, died 1 January 1997 in Beverly, married Walter Akerson
10. Samuel MacDermid, born 9 June 1913, died 18 March 1999 in Beverly; married Alice M. Pitman
11. Alexander C. MacDermid, born 9 August 1915, died 13 November 1992; married Mary K. Baginski

*Auntie Katie (MacDermid) Roberts is my father's aunt. Bertram A. Russell and Annabelle MacDermid had a son, Bertram A. Russell, Jr. who married Priscilla Allen, my mother's first cousin!

For more information:

Oatmeal and the Catechism: Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Quebec, by Margaret Bennett, Birlinn Ltd, Edinborough, Scotland, 2003 (available to view in its entirety on Google Books) The website for the Hebridean Scots of the Province of Quebec (history and genealogy- including a large database of people from the years 1800-1910) The Echo Vale Cemetery in Marsboro, with a listing of the Scots settlers buried there. Many MacDermid/MacDearmid internments.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- West Tisbury Burial Ground (Martha's Vineyard)

Memento Mori
In Memory of
Mr. Bartlet Allen who
departed this Life
Oct. ye 28 1781 Aged
27 Years & 11 Months

In Memory of
decease'd Jan 5th 1798
Aged 74 Years & 6 Mo
Son of
Sd. JOSEPH & PATIENCE his wife
deceas'd in Auxcayes, Hispanola
Feby 15, 1797 Aged 35 Years
This Monument is jointly erected.

In Memory of
Mrs. PATIENCE widow of
Mr. Joseph Allen
who died
Feby 13, 1817
in her 89 th year

April 15 1852
AE 87 y'rs. 3 mo's.
& 7 d'ys.
We are passing away

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- Reverend I. E. Bill’s Memoirs

Ten years ago a distant cousin sent me a photo copy of Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill’s memoirs. He was my 3x great grandfather, who had a grade school education, never attended Divinity School, yet became a Baptist preacher who spoke all over Canada, the Eastern United States and England. The original journal is in the archives at Acadia University in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia. He was part of the original committee of Baptist ministers who founded Acadia College in 1839, and they later granted Rev. Bill an honorary doctorate. I’ve transcribed his memoirs, and will post in several parts over the next few Amanuensis Mondays.

a photograph of Reverend I. E. Bill
from the Bill Genealogy by Harry Bill

 Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, son of Asahel Bill and Mary Rand, born 19 February 1805 at Billtown, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, died on 4 August 1891 at St. Martin’s, New Brunswick; married on 20 April 1826 to Isabella Lyons, daughter of Thomas Ratchford Lyons and Ann Skinner. Five children born in Billtown.

1. Asahel Bill, born 14 May 1827 and died 20 July 1848 shortly after graduating from Acadia College.
2. Mary Anne Bill, born 27 April 1829, died 17 November 1865; married on 14 September 1851 to Thomas McHenry
3. Edward Manning Bill, born 27 March 1831, died on 18 December 1904 in Boston, Massachusetts; married on 6 June 1857 to Charlotte Grace in Australia. Please see my blog post for more information on E. M. Bill, who lived for a while in Australia.
4. Caleb Rand Bill, born 30 May 1833, died on 30 December 1902 in Salem, Massachusetts; married on 7 June 1858 to Ann Margaret Bollman in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Please see my blog post for more information on Caleb R. Bill, my 2x great grandfather, the music professor at Salem, Massachusetts.
5. Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill, Jr., born 8 April 1836, died after 1887; married on 23 November 1871 to Eleanor Pike in Maidstone, Kent, England.

See my blog post for more information on the Bill family lineage.

For my BILL lineage, see this link:  


"A Personal Sketch
By the Reverend I. E. Bill

Having been mercifully preserved amid manifold dangers and temptations by sea by land, at home and abroad, for more than half a century in the ministry of the gospel of the blessed Lord, it is deeply pressed upon my soul as a solemn duty which I owe to my covenant God and Father to record his wondrous goodness and rich grace as made manifest in what I have seen, heard and experienced during these years of protracted ministerial service. Not indeed that self may be exalted but that Christ the Saviour may be glorified and his church benefit. A few paragraphs regarding my ancestry will not be inappropriate.

In a history of the Bill Family edited by Mr. Ledyard Bill of Connecticut and published in 1869, I find the Bill ancestry traced back to 1490. The first name in the list is Dr. Thomas Bill, a physician of great eminence, and an attendant of the Princess Elisabeth in 1549. He took the degree of M. D. at the celebrated university founded by the Emperor Charlemagne at Paria in Italy. He was one of the physicians to Henry VIII and Edward the VI and from these sovereigns received distinguished honors.

William Bill L.L.D was another distinguished name in the annals of Britain. He was born in Hartfordshire England about 1505. Subsequently as a literary man he was elevated to very high positions one of which was master of St. John’s College and soon after he became vice chancellor of the university. In 1551 he was appointed Master of Trinity College, and became one of the Kings Sir Chaplains. He had with many others high in office to suffer bitter persecution under the cruel reign of Mary and was compelled to go into retirement for safety, but on the secession of Queen Elisabeth he was restored to his former honors and became Fellow to the famed Eton College. He was also appointed a member of the Royal Ecclesiastical Commission, consisting of the distinguished Bishop Cramer and others, to revise the calendar of sermons and homilies to be used in the church service throughout the year. On the 15th of June 1560 he was installed Dean of West Minster being the first incumbent of that office.

He died on the 15 of July 1561, and was interred on the 20th of that month in the Chapel of St. Benedict in Westminster Abbey where there is an altar tomb having thereon a brass with an outline portrait of the deceased with an inscription round the verge noting the honors conferred upon this eminent man. It seems that no other person ever held at the same time the three important positions of Master of Trinity, Provost of Eaton and Dean of Westminster.

Having thus briefly noted two prominent members of English ancestry we ?? on to say that the first mention of any of the Bill family in America is found in the ancient records of the town of Boston, where says Ledyard Bill in his history, we read John Bill died Nov 10 1638. The writer of the history assumes for good reasons that John Bill and his wife arrived in the New World prior to 1635. They had sons and daughters, who in their turn married, multiplied and passed into other generations. These are very sketched by the author of the history giving names, dates, marriages, births, callings, positions, professions, offices, residences, purchases, sales, deeds, and deaths ?? of our relatives in America for eight generations.

Before proceeding with our own parentage justice demands that we should make a panning reference to our cousins, whose ancestors adopted the teachings of the American revolution and who pledged their fortunes and their lives to the cause of freedom from what they regarded as British tyranny of the darkest shade, many of these were men of high ???, of bold adventure and of brave instincts they believed they were right and rushed with others to the mighty conflict determined to conquer or to die. We have the result; a nation was born that is now mighty in its numerical strength, boundless in its resources of material wealth. Rich in its political institutions, enriched in its agencies for mental and religious cultures, and filled with the treasures of learning and of a God given Christianity. A nation whose ships traverse very sea, and whose commerce extends to all the towns and cities of the world. A nation that has given birth to intellectual giants in all realms of thought, invention and progress, and whose statesmen, generals, poets, orators, theologians, ministers and missionaries take rank with the greatest and the best of nations.

We have seen that the Bill family was of British origin, and that English blood courses in the veins of its numerous generations, but what is America to day in all its high and noble instincts, but the expansion and growth of British blood, language, energy, ???, education, intelligence, freedom, and Christianity on this broad American continent. It is the daughter of the grand old mother struggling by her side for the diffusion of light, liberty and salvation among all nations, peoples, and ?? for the ushering in of that age of gold when the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth. We have therefore no political quarrels with our cousins across the lines, but heartily offer the prayer God bless them and their nation and prosper them in every good word and work!..."

This is part one of his memoir
For part two, posted on 25 October 2010, click this link:

For part three, posted on 1 November 2010, click this link:


To Cite/Link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Amanuensis Monday- Reverend I. E. Bill’s Memoirs", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 18, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Caverly Family Portraits

Charles and Comfort Caverly Family and Cat
by Joseph H. Davis, ink and watercolor, 1836
Joseph H. Davis (1804-1845) was an itinerant painter in rural New Hampshire and Maine from 1832 througth the 1840s. His paintings are ink and watercolor on paper. He is called the “left-handed painter” because he signed at least one portrait with that name. In 2006 an 1836 watercolor by Joseph H. Davis of Asa and Susannah Caverly sold for $76,375 at a Skinner auction. The watercolor of Charles and Comfort Caverly sold for $127,000 in August 2006 at Northeast Auctions in Manchester, New Hampshire to art dealer David Wheatcroft.

The Charles Caverly and Comfort Boodey lineage:

Generation 1. William Caverly, married Mary Abbott, daughter of Walter Abbott and Sarah Steward, and widow of Thomas Guptill. She married a third time to Leonard Drown, 4 November 1707 in Boston, Massachusetts to her sister Elizabeth’s widowed husband.  William Caverly and Mary Abbott are my 7th great grandparents.

1. Moses (see below)
2. Elizabeth Caverly, born about 1696 married Thomas Wilkinson (my 6th great grandparents)

Generation 2. Moses Caverly married on 30 January 1714 in Portsmouth to Margaret Cotton, daughter of John Cotton and Sarah Hearle. He removed to Barrington in 1746.

1. William
2. Moses (see below)
3. John
4. Thomas
5. Hannah
6. Nathaniel

Generation 3. Moses Caverly, born 1719 in Portsmouth, died 17 March 1795 in Barrington, New Hampshire; married in 1741 to Hannah Johnson, died in 1802. He was a merchant, barber and hairdresser in Portsmouth until about 1754 when he removed to Barrington.

1. Charles, born 15 June 1741
2. Philip, born 17 March 1745 (see below)
3. John, born 25 June 1747, died young
4. Hannah, born 12 January 1749
5. John, born May 11, 1752
6. Abigail, born 11 June 1754
7. William, born 2 February 1757, died young
8. Charles, born 15 December 1760

Generation 4. Philip Caverly, son of Moses and ???, born 17 March 1745 at Portsmouth, died 1 April 1813; married to Bridget Pendergast, born 24 Feb 1745, and died 28 April 1818

1. Moses, born 3 April 1771
2. Samuel, born 23 June 1773
3. Stephen, born 18 May 1775, died 15 September 1778
4. John, born 7 November 1777
5. Polly, born 2 July 1779
6. Edmund, born 15 January 1781
7. Stephen, born 28 October 1782
8. Charles, born 27 September 1784 (see below)
9. Solomon, born 11 February 1778.

Generation 5. Charles Caverly, son of Philip Caverly and Bridget Pendergast, born 27 September 1784 in Strafford, died 6 June 1872; married Comfort Boodey, born 10 February 1791 in Strafford, and died 30 March 1876. Charles was a blacksmith in Strafford, New Hampshire and served in the legislature in 1845 and 1846.

1. Eliza J. born 1 November 1812, d. 3 March 1826
2. Joseph B., born 21 April 1815
3. Leonard W., born 7 November 1818
4. Charles H., born 26 May 1823
5. Cyrus G., born 25 November 18125
6. Isaac L., born 31 May 1835, died 31 January 1864 (in the portrait with his parents)


Genealogy of the Caverly Family, by Robert Boodey Caverly, 1879, reprint by Higginson

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, October 14, 2010

History in my own Backyard!

The Boyd Farm painting in the Morrison House
Last August, on Old Home Day, I was helping out in the Londonderry Historical Society's Morrison House Museum. I sat in the dining room for several hours, helping with a weaving demonstration. My husband snapped a few photos of the weaving, and then he also snapped a few photos of artifacts inside the museum. Later he asked me if I had noticed the painting behind our table. I had to laugh when I turned around to look. It was a painting of the house that used to stand our own backyard!

The Boyd Dairy Farm is now the Rolling Meadows Condominiums, built over forty years ago. It is an open area of about sixty acres, bordered by forest land and surrounding three good sized ponds. I had blogged about this land last year at the post
The photo above was taken yesterday, of the same piece of property. The old homestead and attached barn are no longer standing. Boyd Road, on the right, is still there, and so is the pond. Many trees have grown up along the edge of the pond. The modern townhouses sit just about where the homestead was, and if you walk along the road you can still see a stone wall. In the back, the hill is still covered with dark green pine trees. Just a little bit further up the road you will find our maintenance shed, which used to be the calving shed when this was all a dairy farm. The original painting was probably done before 1950, and you can see the changes in the landscape.

There are a few paragraphs about the Boyd family in the book Early Londonderry: Tidbits and Sketches, Volume II, by the Londonderry Historical Society, pages 136 -7. Before becoming condominiums in the 1960s, the land was known as the Thomas Boyd estate, and then owned by the Harrington family. The Harringtons built a newer, modern home on Boyd Road, but I'm not sure which one house might be the Harrington House.

This is the link to the post I did for Old Home Day...
If you look close you can see the painting right behind us as we are weaving!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday- Dublin, New Hampshire

Last week we took the little red convertible for a ride to Vermont. It was a beautiful fall day, and the foliage was just beginning to show its autumn colors. To get there, we passed through many picturesque towns in New Hampshire, including Dublin. Although it had been laid out as a land grant earlier, it was settled in 1760 by Scots-Irish settlers, just like Londonderry, Derry and Antrim, New Hampshire. These are just some of the towns given names to reflect their Scots-Irish heritage.

Although it is a tiny little town, Dublin is famous as the home of the Dubin Prep School, and the home of Yankee Publishing (Yankee magazine, the Old Farmer's Almanac, and countless other books on New England life and culture). It is a summer community for many families, with summer cottages along Dublin Lake, which is at the base of Mount Monadnock. Mark Twain summered here for two years in a row.

The community blackboard on the Yankee Publishing building

Just because I'm nosy, I looked up the name on the community blackboard, and you can find the obituary here at the New York times archives (click on the photo above to enlarge it). Mrs. Nitzburg was obviously a well known and much loved summer resident of Dublin.

Dublin Public Library

For more information: The website for Dublin, New Hampshire


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Not So Wordless Wednesday- Dublin, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 13 October 2010, ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Some Allens at Spring Street Cemetery, Essex, Massachusetts

Alden Gaston Allen, born 6 September 1873, in Essex
died 22 July 1896 in Essex, unmarried

Albert Willard Allen, born 23 December 1878, in Essex
died 25 Mar 1903 in Beverly (was married to Lillian M. Dorsett in 1900)
Buried at Lot 283

Alden and Albert were brothers to my great grandfather, Joseph Elmer Allen (1870-1932)

Gilman P. Allen, born 25 October 1809 in Ipswich
died 11 April 1892 in Essex

Elizabeth Collins, born 28 February 1819 in Newbury
died 20 May 1888 in Essex (married to Gilman in 1840)

Leveritt Perkins (Gilman's son in law), born 22 December 1839 in Essex
died 28 September 1881 in Essex

Elizabeth C., (daughter of Gilman and Elizabeth Collins, 2nd wife)
born about 1841
died 1911
Buried at Lot 127

Gilman P. Allen was a brother to my 3x great grandfather, Joseph Allen (1801 - 1894)

Follow this link for a story posted last year about the large Allen family Plot, Lot 456,  with my grandparents,  great grandparents and other Allens at the Spring Street Cemetery in Essex, Massachusetts

Spring Street Cemetery, Essex , Massachusetts
Coordinates      Latitude 24.6373692 24° 38' 14" N

                    Longitude -70.7799953 70° 46' 47" W
Operated by the Town of Essex Cemetery Department (978) 768-6262
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, October 11, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - A Horrific Accident!

My 7x great grandfather, George Flint, lived in what is now Reading, Massachusetts. It was considered a frontier town, on the edge of the wilderness, when he settled there in about 1682. He built a garrison house, for his family and to protect his neighbors.

From “Genealogical History of the Town of Reading, Massachusetts”, pages 72-3.

“Tradition says that his was the first framed house in the Precinct, and that it was early used as a garrison house in the Precinct, while there were hostile Indians in the Colony. Another circumstance connected with this family is, that on a certain Sabbath all the family were absent at church (five miles distant) but two daughters of Sergt. Flint, who were left at home in charge of the house. During their absence, one of the daughters took a pistol, and aiming it at the other, said: "Suppose you were an Indian, how easily I could shoot you!" At that moment the pistol went off and lodged its contents in the shoulder of her sister, which crippled her for life. Mary, the wounded daughter, is listed as a cripple in her father's will. Sergt. Flint was selectmen of the town and a very influential citizen.”

Grandfather, Nathaniel Putnam also gave Mary Flint a double portion in his will “because she hath a lame arm”. Mary Flint never married. It is unknown which sister caused the accident, or how old the girls were when this horrific accident happened.

This story is also repeated in “New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial” by William Richard Cutter, Volume II, page 1384; in “The Vermont Historical Gazeteer” Volume II, page 1024, 1871, in the article “Deacon Samuel Flint” by Mrs. Mary A. Flint Keyes; and also in “Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire”, Volume II, page 629, by the Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1908.

The Flint Family:

Generation 1. Thomas Flint, born about 1603 in Wales, died 15 April 1663 in Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts; married in Salem about 1644 to Ann (maiden name unknown), who died 1710. She remarried after Thomas’s death to John Southwick, who is my 9x great Grandfather in a different lineage. Thomas Flint is my 8x great grandfather.

Generation 2. George Flint, born 6 January 1652 in Salem, died 23 June 1720 in the North Precinct (now Reading, Massachusetts); married in Salem on 2 March 1679 to Elizabeth Putnam, daughter of Nathaniel Putnam and Elizabeth Hutchinson, born 11 August 1662 in Salem, died 6 March 1697 in Salem Village. George is my 7x great grandfather, and his brother Thomas is also my 7x great grandfather. George remarried after Elizabeth’s death to Susannah Gardner on 2 March 1699, she was the granddaughter of Thomas Gardner and Margaret Frier, my 9x great grandparents in another lineage.

Elizabeth’s second cousin, Thomas Putnam married Ann Carr in Salem in 1678. She was the infamous “Ann Putnam” who was the most outspoken witness against her neighbors in the 1692 witch trials. Ann Putnam, Jr. was one of the “afflicted” teen aged witnesses against many Salem citizens. She begged for forgiveness in 1706 and read a confession in front of the Salem Village congregation.


1. Elizabeth Flint, born 19 August 1685, married Ebenezer Damon

2. George Flint, born 1 April 1686, married Jerusha Pope (my 6x great grandparents)

3. Anna Flint, born 18 April 1687, married Jonathan Parker (he was the grandson of Thomas Kendal and Rebecca Payne, my 9x great grandparents in another lineage)

4. Ebenezer Flint, born 16 December 1689, married Tabitha Burnap

5. Nathaniel Flint, born 21 Oct 1690, died young

6. Mary Flint, born November 1691(the crippled child)

7. Mercy Flint, born 7 October 1692, married Benjamin Damon (brother to Ebenezer above)

8. Nathaniel Flint, born January 1694, married Mary Stearns

9. Hannah Flint, born 12 February 1695, married John Hunt

10. John Flint, born 4 March 1696, died young

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sentimental Sunday- Autumn in New Hampshire

These apples are huge! They didn't seem affected by the drought in Londonderry

Mack's Apples, Londonderry

Kendall Pond, Londonderry

The Saco River near Conway, New Hampshire

Silver Cascade, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo