Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weathervane Wednesday - Another rooster

I've been collecting photographs of the many, many weather vanes in the Nutfield area (Derry and Londonderry, New Hampshire).  If you want a challenge, I'll post the locations at the bottom of the page so you can scroll down far enough to see the photo, but not the location, and try to guess where you may have seen these lovely weathervanes.

Do you know the location of weather vane #19?

This weathervane is located near the intersection of Hardy and Hovey Road in Londonderry, New Hampshire.  It is atop an unusual barn that is constructed partly of fieldstones. 

Although most people think of the traditional rooster weather vane, this is only the second version of a crowing rooster I've seen in Londonderry.  It seems that the running horse theme is the most popular weather vane in Londonderry.  Still, the rooster remains the stereotypical weather vane in most people's minds, and in fact, in England it is so common that weather vanes are known as "weather cocks".

Click here to see the other weather vanes in this series

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Benjamin Allen Monument

This monument was photographed at the Old Burial Ground in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. 

died Sept. 24, 1865
Aged 63 yrs. 6 mos.
His wife
died March 11, 1900
aged 95 yrs
daughter of
B.L. and H. L. Allen
died June 9, 1826
aged 11 mos.
Captain Benjamin Leach Allen
(1803 - 1865)

Allen Family Tree:

Generation 1: William Allen m. Alice Norman (my 9x great grandparents)

Generation 2: Samuel Allen m. Sarah Tuck (my 8x great grandparents)

Generation 3: Jonathan Allen m. Mary Pierce (my 7th great grand uncle and aunt)

Generation 4: Azariah Allen m. Lydia Hooper

Generation 5: Azariah Allen m. Sarah Leach

Generation 6:  John Allen m. Ruth Leach

Generation 7:  Benjamin Leach Allen m. Hannah Lee Forster, daughter of Israel Forster and Hannah Lee (my 4th cousin 5x removed)

A very interesting blog post at "American Miniature Portraits" of the painting of Benjamin Leach Allen, and a sampler by Hannah Lee Forster

See my three blog posts about the 1804 Israel Forster House in Manchester:

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, November 28, 2011

Healy Square, Beverly – Revisited

In genealogy sometimes we have to prune branches off the family tree.  When the evidence points to another person, or when other sources prove your research was wrong, you sadly have to follow the new branch to a new set of ancestors.  History is history, and you can't rewrite history.  Here is a case that is similar.  I had the correct ancestor, but the story didn’t quite match up…

On November 11th, Veteran’s Day, I was honored to attend a rededication ceremony in Beverly, Massachusetts when a new sign was erected to honor my ancestor, Joseph Edwin Healey for his Civil War Service.   He was killed in action in the battle at St. Charles, Arkansas when the USS Mound City exploded in June 1862.  I was surprised when the city contacted me, because I was born in Beverly, where my family had lived since long before Joseph Healey’s time, and some family members still live there.  No one had heard of Healey Square being named for our 3x great grandfather. 
US Naval Historical Center Photo #: NH 59057
I was grateful to the Beverly city engineer Mike Collins for researching the story.  It proved how Joseph Healey had died out of state during the war, and made him a true Civil War hero.  Jerry Guilebbe, the Beverly Veteran’s Service agent confirmed all the paperwork.   He was the only Healey from Beverly, Massachusetts killed in action.  The story ran in the Salem News at this link and here on my blog at these two links: and 

11 November 2011
This is the photo that raised the attention of the correct Healey Family
(notice that the old sign did not have a first name?)
Two weeks later Mike Collins sent me an apologetic email saying that since the Healey Square story ran in the Salem News, the family of veteran Frederick D. Healey had come forward.   Their ancestor had served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  He had been honored with the sign at Healey Square, which previously had been a sign reading “F. D. Healey Square”.  They had photographs of the ceremony in 1976 to prove that the sign originally had their ancestor’s name. 
Lois Healey, wife of Veteran Frederick D. Healey
from the 29 November 2011 Salem News Story
As I stated in my first paragraph, you have to accept primary source evidence, even if it means pruning your family tree or changing your family stories.  History is history.   This is what I’ve learned this month:


1. Healey Square will again be marked “Frederick D. Healey Square” to honor the correct Veteran
2. Thank goodness for newspapers and photographs as evidence. 
3. Beverly will be naming a NEW SQUARE for Joseph Edwin Healey to honor his heroism in the Civil War.  Yippee!  And it will be near his old house on Bartlett Street.
4.  Maybe the two Healey veterans are cousins?  I can’t wait to find out...


I can't think of any cons....

Please see this link for a new story which ran today in the Salem News about the mixup with the Healey Square signage.

Stay tuned as we wait for a second rededication ceremony in Beverly soon!

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Simple Gifts Genealogy Blog Hop- Project #4

Simple Gifts Genealogy Blog Hop Post #7
Project #4   Photo Jewelry

Here is another photo gift idea for your Flip-Pal from my creative daughter.  She scanned in family photos and inserted them in to jewelry for Christmas gifts.   The first project she completed was this charm bracelet for my Mom, her grandmother.  What grandmother wouldn’t love this?
a stretchy photo bracelet
from Memory Maker for about $16
("gold" versions are 80% off for November 2011)

The hardest part of this project was shrinking the photos to fit.  My daughter used plain paper in the printer over and over to find the correct size to fit each little locket in the bracelet before doing a final print on photo paper.  Then each little tiny photo had to be cut out, but the manufacturer provided templates for cutting, so the final photos all fit perfectly.  If you buy a locket or charm be sure it has a template!

Some companies will insert the photos or etch the photos right into the jewelry.  You have to scan and upload your selected photos to their website first.

Cost                     ***      (can be expensive, but see below for a Walmart link)
Difficulty             *           (very easy,  scan, print, cut and insert into jewelry)
Wow Factor        *****   (looks great, nice gift idea for anyone on your list! )

Where to buy photo jewelry:

Sells jewelry and also has an online tool to shrink your photos to fit into the jewelry, very handy!  They offer deals of the day, too and other discounts coupon codes.  They also have a holiday or event category to help you find jewelry ideas for Mother’s Day, Weddings, Administrative Professionals Day as well as Christmas and the December gift giving holidays.

Photo charms for Pandora Bracelets

For the budget minded go to and click on “Clothing and Jewelry” in the right hand column.   There you will find lots of jewelry choices including sterling silver charms, bracelets, and keychains.  You will need to create an account and download your photos to an online album.

Also, check at for photo jewelry

Best of all choices!  Your local jeweler or craftsperson can easily make a charm to fit an existing bracelet or to wear on a chain as a pendant.   You might know one in town or meet one at a craft show.   Ask your friends for a recommendation, too.

Disclaimer-  I was chosen by Flip-Pal to participate as a blogger in the Simple Gifts Genealogy Blog Hop event, and I received a Flip-Pal scanner to use and evaluate.    I was not compensated by any of the photo jewelry companies listed above.

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surname Saturday - Hodson


Nicholas Hodson AKA Hodsdon first appears in the records of Hingham, Massachusetts when he was granted a house lot in 1636.   About 1639 he married Esther Wines, who was a cousin of a Charlestown, Massachusetts resident with the fantastic Puritan name of “Faintnot Wines” (don’t you love it!).    Faintnot Wines left legacies to Esther’s five living children in his will in 1664.  Esther is possibly a daughter of Thomas Wincoll and Ann Fleming?

About 1650 Nicholas Hodson and other families left Hingham for Cambridge Hill, which is now the city of Newton, Massachusetts.  By 1656 he was living in Kittery, Maine.    The first record where he appeared in Maine was in 1655 when he was absent from a meeting.  In 1659 he and several others were ordered to Boston for entertaining Quakers.  It is interesting that my other ancestors Anthony Emery and Richard Nason were also among those ordered to Boston .

There is a deed for his homestead, which was passed on to his son Benoni, and then to grandson Timothy, dated 17 May 1828 which notes “Reserving and excepting from this conveyance one eighth of an acre on the homestead first above mentioned, which has been heretofore used as a place of burial by our ancestors.”  This may be where Nicholas Hodson and his wife Elizabeth are buried. There was a man named Nicholas Hodson killed by Indians in 1704, but I don’t know if he is the same man, or a relative.

The Hodson Genealogy:

Generation 1:  Nicholas Hodson, born in England, died in Wells, Maine; married first about 1639 to Esther Wines,  who died on 29 November 1647 in Hingham, Massachusetts; married second to Elizabeth Wincoll, daughter of John Wincoll and Elizabeth Unknown, also widow of John Needham.   Six children by first wife, and six more by second wife.
1.  Esther Hodson, born 20 September 1640 (see below)
2. Mehitable Hodson, born November 1641, married Peter Welcome
3. Jeremiah Hodson, born 6 September 1643, married Anne Thwaits
4. Israel Hodson, born before 19 July 1646; married Ann Thompson
5. Elizabeth Hodson, born before 19 July 1646, probably died young
6.  Benoni Hodson, born before 29 November 1647; married Abigail Curtis
7.  Sarah Hodson, married John Morrell
8. Timothy Hodson, married Hannah Unknown, who married second Joseph Smith
9. John Hodson, married Rebecca Unknown
10. Joseph Hodson, married Tabitha Raynes
11. Lucy Hodson, married George Vickers
12. Hannah Hodson, married Nicholas Smith

Generation 2:  Esther Hodson, born 20 September 1640 in Hingham, Massachusetts, died 11 March 1723 in Kittery, Maine; married on 25 December 1663 in Dover, New Hampshire to Edward Weymouth.  Six children.

Generation 3. Mehitable Weymouth m. William Stacy
Generation 4. Mary Stacy m. John Thompson
Generation 5. Mary Thompson m. Richard Nason
Generation 6. Mercy Nason m. William Wilkinson
Generation 7. Aaron Wilkinson m. Mercy F. Wilson
Generation 9. Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 10. Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill     
Generation 11. Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

It is difficult to follow the Hodson descendants, since the name changed spelling so many times.  The most usual spellings are HODSON, HODSDON, HODSDEN, HOGDSON,  or even HODGDON  but other variations can be found in the Maine and New Hampshire vital records and probate.   Town histories have been very helpful in helping me trace this line, such as Old Eliot by Willis, page 146 – 147, and Old Kittery and Her Families by Everett Stackpole, page 123 and also pages 529-530 (available to read online at Google Books).

There is a book from 1904 named Genealogy of the Descendants of Nicholas Hodsdon-Hodgdon of Hingham, Mass and Kittery, Maine 1635 – 1904 by Andrew Jackson Hodgdon, available to read online at  (Library of Congress) and at

There is a short sketch of Nicholas Hodson in the book A Tenth Generation Yankee from Maine by Nettie Gove Nicholson.   There is also a sketch in The Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England by Savage, Volume II, page 440.   See also The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, by Davis, Libbey and Noyes, on page 343.

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Most Memorable Thanksgiving

When we were first married we invited my in-laws to come to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.  They lived in Spain, but had lived in New York for a while when my husband was little, so it wasn’t their first experience with Thanksgiving.   They used to celebrate Thanksgiving with their coworkers from the United Nations and other Hispanic families.  This year there would be language barriers but they were looking forward their first traditional New England dinner with my family. 

"The First Thanksgiving in Plymouth" by Brownscombe
However, our dinner would turn out a bit differently....

We set out from New Hampshire in a snowstorm, which was alarming enough, but the storm only worsened as we drove along to my parent’s house in Massachusetts.  When we arrived there was a full house containing my grandmother, my sister, neighbors, my parents plus all of us.  Everyone settled down to chat and share a glass of wine (a case of Spanish wine supplied by Hubby and Father-in-law) when the power went out.  My mother began to panic, since the dinner was only half cooked.  It didn’t bother the rest of us, as we munched on cheese and crackers and lit a fire in the fireplace.

Time passed.  We opened another bottle.  In the gloom my grandmother began to chat with my Spanish mother-in-law.  More time passed.  The snow stopped falling

We opened a third bottle of wine.  Mom was still panicking over the turkey and fixings.  More time passed.  We were still in the dark, but everyone was having a great time.  We searched the basement pantry and found boxes of crackers, jars of pickles and a canned ham (just in case the lights didn’t come back up).   Dad considered firing up the grill to finish cooking the turkey.

With the next bottle of wine my Father-in-law began speaking in English to my family.  Even my Dad began to speak Spanish for the first time in his life.  More wine.  More time passed.  We piled blankets on my grandmother to keep her warm.  Hubby set out for the other side of town with Mom’s turkey (the friends over there had lights and had just removed their turkey from the oven, and were keeping stove warm for us to finish roasting our turkey). 

Time passed.  Another bottle of Spanish wine.  The neighbors were singing Thanksgiving hymns in chorus as we began to open cans to set the table with cold food.   Everyone toasted in both English and Spanish.  My grandmother said it was the best Thanksgiving she had ever been to in 80 years.  We all applauded (except for Mom who was still worried about her turkey).

Another bottle, and suddenly Hubby arrived just after dark with a turkey that filled the house with a familiar aroma.  Everyone staggered to the table just as the lights came back on.  What a feast!  Potato chips, pickles, canned ham, roast turkey, hot and cold side dishes!   Conversation flowed in two languages, and there was laughter as everyone dug in for dinner.   It was a very non-traditional meal, but who cared since we were having a wonderful time.  Another toast with another bottle of Spanish wine.

I don’t remember driving home to New Hampshire, but I do know it wasn’t me behind the wheel. 

Hubby’s parents still talk fondly about that Thanksgiving.  They tell everyone in Spain how a traditional Thanksgiving is celebrated in Massachusetts, at least from their point of view.  It’s a good thing my mother isn’t there to hear the story!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Most Memorable Thanksgiving", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 24, 2011, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weathervane Wednesday - A Daschund?

I've been collecting photographs of the many, many weather vanes in the Nutfield area (Derry and Londonderry, New Hampshire).   If you want a challenge, I'll post the locations at the bottom of the page so you can scroll down far enough to see the photo, but not the location, and try to guess where you may have seen these lovely weather vanes.

Do you know the location of weather vane #18?

Coco, the featured star of this blog post!
This weather vane is located on private property in Londonderry, on top of a storage shed in my friend's backyard.  It represents their little pet dog, Coco.  If you know a daschund named Coco in Londonderry, then you know where this weather vane is located!


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - A Daschund?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 23, 2011, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors

The Mayflower II
at berth in Plymouth, MA

Happy Thanksgiving!

It seems that folks are taking time to post their Mayflower lines on blogs this week as a new meme for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This will be a fun way to compare lineages and find new cousins!

Robert Burnett

Midge Frazel

Sarah Greenleaf

Elizabeth Handler

Charles Hansen  

Scott Jangro
and also


Karen K   and also at

Polly Kimmitt

Michael Maglio

Reba Mc

Barbara Poole
her Alden lineage in detail
her Mullins

Randy Seaver
and also
and also
and also
and finally

Denise Spurlock 

Betty Huber Tartas

Erica Voolich

Anita Cramer Wells

Bill West  and also two more lines at 

Here are my own lineages in alphabetical order with Mayflower passengers in bold:

Isaac Allerton(abt 1586 – 1659)and Mary Norris (1587 – 1621-died during  the “starving time” in the first winter on Cape Cod)
Remember Allerton (abt 1614 – 1656) and Moses Maverick
Abigail Maverick and Samuel Ward
Martha Ward and John Tuthill
Martha Tuthill and Mark Haskell
Lucy Haskell and Jabez Treadwell
Nathaniel Treadwell and Mary Hovey
Jabez Treadwell and Betsey Jillings Homan
Eliza Ann Treadwell and Abijah Hitchings
Abijah Franklin Hitchings and Hannah Eliza Lewis
Arthur Treadwell Hitchings and Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

Edward Doty (abt 1599 – 1635) and Faith Clark
Desire Doty and Alexander Standish
Desire Standish and Nathan Weston
Nathan Weston and Hannah Everson
Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements
Matilda Weston and Joseph Edwin Healey
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

John Tilley (abt 1571- 1620) and Joan Hurst (abt 1568 – 1621) both died in “starving time”
Elizabeth Tilley (1607 – 1687) and John Howland (1592 – 1673)
Hope Howland and John Chipman
Hannah Chipman and Thomas Huckins
Hope Huckins and Benjamin Hamblin
Hannah Hamblin and Jonathan Crosby
Ebenezer Crosby and Elizabeth Robinson
Rebecca Crosby and Comfort Haley
Joseph Edwin Healey and Matilda Weston
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

John Tilley (abt 1571- 1620) and Joan Hurst (abt 1568 – 1621) both died in “starving time”
Elizabeth Tilley (1607 – 1687) and John Howland (1592 – 1673)
Desire Howland and John Gorham
Desire Gorham and John Hawes
Elizabeth Hawes and Thomas Daggett
Elizabeth Daggett and John Butler
Keziah Butler and Samuel Osborn
Samuel Osborn and Sarah Wass
Sarah Osborn and Charles Skinner
Ann Skinner and Thomas Ratchford Lyons
Isabella Lyons and Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Caleb Rand Bill and Ann Margaret Bollman
Isabella Lyons Bill and Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Donald Munroe Wilkinson and Bertha Louise Roberts (my paternal grandparents)

George Soule ( abt 1593 – 1680) and Mary Beckett
John Soule and Rebecca Simonson
 Rebecca Soule and Edmund Weston
Nathan Weston and Desire Standish
Nathan Weston and Hannah Everson
Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements
Matilda Weston and Joseph Edwin Healey
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

Captain Myles Standish (abt 1584 – 1656) and Barbara Unknown
Alexander Standish and Desire Doty
Desire Standish and Nathan Weston
Nathan Weston and Hannah Everson
Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements
Matilda Weston and Joseph Edwin Healey
Mary Etta Healey and Peter Hoogerzeil
Florence Etta Hoogerzeil and Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Gertrude Matilda Hitchings and Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

For information about Mayflower passengers online see Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History at

For information about the Mayflower Society see


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Mayflower Passenger Ancestors", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 22, 2011, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tombstone Tuesday - Ewins Family

These gravestones were photographed at the Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry, New Hampshire.  They are located near the Old Settlers gravestones area behind the First Parish Church.

JAN 6TH 1742

glass is Rum
Redem           And
your hours        so must you

THIS Monument is Erected
In memory of Mr. JAMES
EWINS & Mrs AGNES his wife
She died Jan. 6th 1742
in the 27th year of her age
He departed this Life June
the 26th 1781 aged 70
Years and 10 months

closeup of the carver's mistakes

James Ewins and
Mrs. Agnes his 1st wife
Because of the two mistakes on the top of this headstone, especially the word "Rum", this headstone has appeared in many books like "Believe It or Not" and compilations of funny epitaphs such as Last Laughs: Funny Tombstone Quotes and Famous Last Words, by Kathleen E. Miller, Sterling Publishing Company, 2006.   I previously blogged about this infamous carving mistake at this link:


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday - Ewins Family", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 22, 2011, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flip-Pal Simple Gifts Project #3

Simple Gifts Genealogy Blog Hop Post #6
Project #3
This year's calendar
hanging in my kitchen cupboard

Every Thanksgiving weekend my husband spends time putting together our Christmas card and our annual family calendar.  He's been doing this for years, probably ever since we bought our first PC.  He doesn't use any special greeting card software or calendar generator.  You can do this project, too, with a little planning and a scanner.  He usually distributes the calendars at our annual family Three Kings Day Party in January, so he adds a January page to each calendar for the next year.

family photographs, documents, tickets, etc. for the project
your Flip-Pal scanner
greeting card printer paper (available at your local office supply)
OR  matte photo paper for the calendar project
lots of extra printer ink!

Holiday Cards

Step 1:   First scan all the photos you plan on using for the card or calendar.

Step 2:   Using MicroSoft Power Point, or Apple's Keynote or similar software,  arrange your photos on two pages  (Cover and inside)   Add a greeting and room for everyone to sign the card

Step 3:   Print out using the greeting card paper.  The hard part is flipping the paper and then reprinting the other side so that the inside message isn't upside down.  Practice this on a few sheets of regular paper until you get it right!

Hint: You can personalize your message and make it bilingual or even trilingual!  You can't buy THAT in any store!

Our 2010 Holiday Card
with our Hawaii vacation on the front!

You can see that we have photos
on the inside of the card, too!
It's your personal card.  Personalize it!


Step 1:  Again, start by scanning all the photos and documents you need

Step 2:  Create a file for the calendar pages.  Make a grid for the calendar pages, and then make 12 copies of this page.  Start with page 1 and label it with JANUARY and then label with holidays (use last year's calendar) and family birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, etc.   This is what makes your family calendar personal!  You can save this file and re-use it every year.

Step 3.  Make another file for the top photos.  This will be the 12 large images to display above the calendar pages.  Label them January - December.  It's nice to show photos that go along with the theme for the month (Perhaps there was a June wedding last year? a family photo taken in November for Thanksgiving? etc.)

Step 4:  Print out one file with the matte photo paper.  Use matte paper so folks can write appointments on the calendar (its impossible with glossy photo paper).  Flip the pages over and insert them back into the printer and print out the second file.  Again, you should practice this on regular paper so the calendar comes out with the correct pages on the correct months.  When you are finished you will have 13 pages for your calendar.

Step 5: Stop by at your local office store or stationers and have the calendars bound with plastic comb binding.  Ask them to also punch a hole in each calendar for hanging on the kitchen wall.   This usually costs just a few dollars for each calendar.

After the first year, this project is easier since you have already developed the grid for each month.  Don't forget to re-number your calendar pages for next year, some holiday dates are moveable and next year is a leap year!

Cost               ***      (not too bad, unless your printer eats a lot of ink)
Difficulty        ***      (not hard, unless you have to learn Power Point first!)
Wow Factor   *****  (you'll be a big hit with your family!)

Disclaimer - I was chosen by Flip-Pal to participate as a blogger in the Simple Gifts Genealogy Blog Hop event, and I received a Flip-Pal scanner to use and evaluate.

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Five Kernels of Corn- An Update

This morning I posted a story about the old "Five Kernels of Corn" tradition at this link  or you can scroll down to my previous post if you are at my home page.  This story is an old tradition in New England of serving five kernels of corn before the Thanksgiving dinner to remember the suffering of the Mayflower passengers during the winter of 1620-1, when half of their company died of deprivation and sickness.

Apparently, just like Plymouth Rock and Longfellow's poem "The Courtship of Myles Standish", this is another myth made famous sometime after the American Revolution.  American History mixed with sentimental ancestor devotion mixed with mythology has produced many tales about the first years of the Plymouth Colony.   I had posted a link to my blog post on the Facebook group "General Society of Mayflower Descendants".  Within a few hours, my Mayflower cousin Ginny Mucciaccio related to me how the story of the Five Kernels was brought up at yesterday's Compact Day luncheon of the Massachusetts Mayflower Society.   Governor Gilmore asked Jim Baker, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Assistants, and Richard Pickering, their guest speaker and former Plimoth Plantation staff member, to explain the story.  Both declined since it was a myth.

Jim Baker sent this excerpt from a pamphlet published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the 1950s.  It debunks the myth and explains the history of how it came to become popular.  It is interesting to read how a myth is started, and why it becomes popular.   I know this tradition will be repeated all over Thanksgiving tables this Thursday, and although it is a fun tradition, it is equally important to know the real story.

"After the corn planting in the spring of 1623, the scant supply remaining until the following harvest, when pooled and divided, permitted a ration, according to tradition, of only five kernals of corn per day per person. Nevertheless, still other demands arose and even this slender supply became exausted before the next harvest. Thus came about the memorable ‘starving time’. The suffering became intense. Strong men fell exhausted at their work. However, it is recorded that not one succombed [sic]. Their great faith, and indomnible will to survive, carried them through to the next harvest, and the well-earned years of plenty ahead."

From Jim Baker:

However, this never happened. There is no mention of the supposed division in any of the contemporary sources, nor is there any reason to believe that the colonial leaders would actually issue a daily corn ration of five kernals, which was not enough to be of any nutritional benefit. Instead, they simply ran out at the end of the spring season in April when the planted what they had put aside as seed. As J. A. Goodwin (1888) observed concerning the tradition, "the story rests on no foundation, and is opposed to common-sense." 1

Similarly, the effect of the suffering may be exaggerated. Bradford simply notes they were very badly supplied and lacked corn entirely for two or three months, being reduced to living on water, fish, shellfish, ground nuts and a few water fowl, and "now and then a deer." 2 As this was a healthy if highly unsatisfactory diet to the colonists, no one died or "succombed." Winslow does mention that he had seen "... some seasons at noon I have seen men stagger by reason of faintness for want of food", yet he does not give a specific date for this. As he then continues "...yet ere night, by the good providence and blessing of God, we have enjoyed such plenty as though the windows of heaven had been opened unto us.", 3 the use of the phrase may be more a general comment that a specific description.

Just as Plymouth Rock came to symbolize the heroic and providential nature of the Mayflower voyage, some icon was required to celebrate the Plymouth colonists’ courageous perseverance through their suffering and deprivation. The five kernals were adopted to point this moral at some point after the American Revolution. Their appearance is first recorded at the 1820 Forefathers’ Day dinner when the five symbolic parched corns was placed on each plate to remind the diners of "the time in 1623, when that was the proportion allowed to each individual on account of scarcity." 4

The story was related by subsequent writers such as Frances Baylies (1866) 5 and Joseph Banvard (1851)6 , but after the Bradford manuscript had been found and published and no evidence for the tradition was discovered, the Five Kernals myth gradually faded from public memory, and is seldom referred to today.
Another reference to five kernals of corn occurs in quite a different context. The Harlow Old Fort House (ca. 1677) Museum in Plymouth has been holding an annual juvenile pageant called "The Corn Planting" each May since before 1928. 7 A group of costumed school children enact a short re-enactment of the planting of corn by Squanto and the colonists which is witnessed by other students from local schools.

As part of this tradition, the hills of corn are each supplied with five kernals of corn, and the following rhyme is recited:
Five kernals of corn in a row
One for the blackbird, one for the crow,
One for the cutworm and two to grow. 8
JWB 12/14/98

1. Godwin, John A. The Pilgrim Republic. Boston: Ticknor & Co., 1888, p. 242.
2. Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation. S.E. Morison, ed. NY: Knopf, 1970, p. 123
3. Winslow, Edward. "Good Newes from New England" in Alexander Young. Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1844, pp. 354-554. Thacher, James. History of Plymouth. Boston: Marsh, Capon & Lyon, 1832, p. 248.

5. Frances Baylies. An Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth Boston: Wiggin & Lunt 1866, p. 121
6. Joseph Banvard. Plymouth and the Pilgrims, Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1851, p. 136
7. Barker, Amy H. A History of the Plymouth Antiquarian Society
. Plymouth: Plymouth Antiquarian Society, 1959.
8. Plimoth Colony Cook Book . Sally Erath, ed. Plymouth: Plymouth: Antiquarian Society, 1981, p. 41

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Five Kernels of Corn for Thanksgiving

NOTE: This post was updated within hours of originally being published.  Please see

When the Mayflower landed at what is now Provincetown on Cape Cod, it was already late in the autumn.  On 15 November 1620, a few days after landfall, an expedition led by Myles Standish discovered a buried cache of corn at a place they assumed was abandoned. The Englishmen took most of the corn.  Later in 1621 when the colonists made their first contact with the Wampanoag people, they were reminded of the theft of corn.  There was an exchange of gifts, and a peace treaty was established.
Although the corn was stolen, it sustained the colonists over the first winter in the New World.  Each was given only a few kernels as a ration.  Other food was hunted and gathered, without much luck.  In the winter of 1620 the English colonists suffered the "Great Sickness" and 50 out of the 102 passengers died.

This same corn was used as seed when the Wampanoag man named Squanto helped them plant their first crops in 1621.   This crop thrived and gave hope to the new colony.  There was much to celebrate in the first autumn feast.   Many descendants of the Mayflower passengers still tell the tale of the corn, and pass on the story of how it was rationed to the survivors that first winter.  Every Thanksgiving they put a few kernels on each plate to remember their ancestors.

In the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder this tradition was explained, with a scene showing Laura and Mary carefully chewing three kernels before eating their dinner. The Ingalls family originated in Lynn, Massachusetts, and passed on the tradition even as they migrated westward.   Lately I have seen this poem on the internet, and it was passed around at one of the New Hampshire Mayflower Society luncheons one November a few years ago.    I don't know the author.
Five Kernels

The first winter in Plymouth was very cold
And hunger abounded as the year unrolled.
Some days each only had five kernels of corn.
Their lives were becoming sad and forlorn. 

But then spring came and their harvest grew.
The pilgrims began to thrive and their spirits did too.
But they never forgot the bleak times after they did abate
So on Thanksgiving they'd put five kernels on each plate.

The first kernel reminded them of the autumn beauty.
The second one of the freedom that they held dearly.
The third reminded of their love and care for each other
And the fourth was for dear friends like the Indian brother.

The fifth kernel reminded of God's love and care for all.
So as you prepare and celebrate Thanksgiving this fall,
Remember to put five little kernels on each dinner plate
To honor the pilgrims and give thanks for our good fate.

If you would like to continue this tradition, don't use popcorn kernels (you'll break your teeth!).  You can purchase dried roasted sweet corn in bags at your local market.  If you have trouble finding this corn locally you can purchase it on Amazon or The Great American Spice Company on the internet.  Be careful because you if you order from Amazon you need to buy 12 bags (an entire case).  What would the Pilgrims have thought!   Place the kernels on each plate along with a copy of the poem, or a short version of the story of the Mayflower passengers first winter.


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Surname Saturday - Weymouth


There were several New England immigrants named Edward Weymouth in the early 1600s. One lived in Boston by 1633, A father, son and grandson all named Edward Weymouth lived in the Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  Another Edward Weymouth lived in Kittery and also in what is now the town of Eliot, Maine, near the New Hampshire border river, the Piscataqua.  This last Edward Weymouth is my ancestor.
KIttery, Maine in 1872
There are scarce records of Edward Weymouth in Maine, except for two records where he was acting in very anti-social matters.  The first was in found in Sewel’s History of the Quaker’s, Volume 1, page 566. "then one Edward Weymouth took Mary [Tomkins] by her arm and dragged her on her back over the stumps of trees down a very steep hill, by which she was much bruised and often died away."  In the second incident in 1669 he was in court "for cursing and swearing and wicked wishes to his wife."

Edward Weymouth was a tailor, taxed in Dover in 1662, granted land in Kittery, Maine in 1671.  His house was burned by the Indians in 1677. 

I have lineages from two daughters of Edward Weymouth…

The Weymouth Genealogy:

Generation 1:  Edward Weymouth, born about 1637 In England, died 1719 near Eliot, Maine; married on 25 December 1663 in Dover, New Hampshire to Esther Hodson, daughter of Nicholas Hodson and Esther Wines.  She was born 20 September 1640 in Hingham, Massachusetts, and died 11 March 1723 in Kittery, Maine.  Six children.

1. Mehitable Weymouth,  born 1669 in Kittery, (see below)
2. Timothy Weymouth, born 1675 in Kittery, married Patience Stone abut 1702
3. Ichabod
4. Benjamin
5. Nicholas
6. Bridget, (see below)

Generation 2: Mehitable Weymouth, born about 1669 in Kittery, died 13 January 1753 in Berwick, Maine; married on 25 May 1685 in Kittery to William Stacy, son of Thomas Stacy and Susannah Worcester.  He was born 21 April 1656 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and died 5 March 1706 in Kittery.  Seven Children.

Generation 3. Mary Stacy m. John Thompson

Generation 4: Mary Thompson m. Richard Nason

Generation 5: Mercy Nason m. William Wilkinson

Generation 6: Aaron Wilkinson m. Mercy F. Wilson

Generation 7: Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe

Generation 8: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill

Generation 9: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Lineage 2

Generation 2:  Bridget Weymouth married 7 October 1697 in Kittery to John Nason, son of Richard Nason and Sarah Baker.  He was born about 1640 in Berwick, and died 1719 in Dover, New Hampshire.  Three Children.  He was first married to Hannah Heard, daughter of John Heard and Elizabeth Hull, who are my 8x great grandparents in another lineage, and parents of Mercy Ham (below).

Generation 3: Richard Nason m. Mercy Ham

Generation 4: Richard Nason m. Mary Thompson (follow lineage above)

Edward Weymouth and his descendants are mentioned in several books:  The History of Wells and Kennebunk by Edward Bourne, page 159,  The Genealogical Dictionary of New England by Savage, Volume 7, page 129, The Dictionary of Old Kittery and her Families by Stackpole,  and in an article in the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, Volume 9, page 57.

A good online resource is Don Weymouth’s website “Research of D. G. Weymouth” at   He is very willing to answer email and to share information if you have a Weymouth ancestor descended of Edward of Eliot, Maine.  Don's email is or his mailing address is 119 Winthrop Lane, Holden, Mass. 01520 


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo