Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weathervane Wednesday ~ a Telephone?

I had thought I had run out of weathervanes to photograph in the area, and when I announced this on my blog two weeks ago many email messages flooded in with some good tips.  Several readers told me about this great weathervane.

Do you know where weathervane #32 is located?  Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

This very large weathervane is located on the cupola above the Bellweather Community Credit Union on Daniel Webster Highway in Manchester, New Hampshire.  This is my first Manchester weathervane to be featured here at Nutfield Genealogy's Weathervane Wednesday.  This part of Manchester was originally known as Derryfield, and was broken off from Nutfield.  When Derry and Londonderry separated into two towns, Derryfield became it's own town in 1751 and was later named Manchester in 1810. 

The Bellweather Community Credit Union website

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Searching the 1940 Census for Famous People? How about Rosie the Riveter?

In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s both of my grandfathers worked at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation in Beverly, Massachusetts. One worked there until the 1960s, after 40 years there as a glazier.   Three of my four great grandfathers worked at “The Shoe”, and lots of uncles, cousins and in-laws.  Even my Dad worked there as a security guard in the 1950s when he was a college student.  I expect to see some of these men listed in the 1940 census when the records are made public in April 2012.   All these relatives were men, until World War II started.  Then my grandmother became a "Rosie the Riveter", and went to work in the factory.

This was quite a new thing for Grammy, although she had worked hard since she was 12 years old growing up in England.   But it was new for women to work on the factory floor at “The Shoe” and at many other manufacturers across New England, and across the United States.  But the factories were re-tooled to produce war supplies, and someone had to run the machines when all the men were called to war. 

My grandmother, Bertha Louise Roberts, was born in 1897 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, and came to America in 1915 with her family.  She married my grandfather, Donald Munroe Wilkinson, in 1926, and had three sons.  My father was the baby, and when Pearl Harbor was attacked he was seven years old.  I don’t know when Grammy began to work at “The Shoe”, but since Dad was in school and old enough, she went to work.

In her own words:
Because there was a war going on and I had to go in as a matron, and I worked as a matron for a while and then I got transferred down to the sheet metal department.  I worked there on the night shift.  It wasn't too easy though because I would work from eleven to seven in the morning.  I got a ride back and forth but it wasn't too good for me health wise and I was sick after a while.  I had my veins stripped in my legs and ... they were stripped. [a treatment for varicose veins] And I had to walk as soon as I could after they were stripped.  So I went back to work soon after that and my boss let me go to the tool department and do errands for him so I could walk.” [transcribed from an audio tape of Bertha Wilkinson recorded in the 1970s.]

At that time the matron was a woman working in the factories that watched out for the welfare of the female workers, and supervised the lady’s washrooms and dressing rooms.  There was much hostility shown towards the women who came to work in the factories, and there were no laws against sexual harassment.  Some women had never worn pants, and changed into them only for work, never wanting to be seen on the street in slacks.

Factory jobs for women paid more than traditional female jobs, but still less than men on the same jobs. They took the jobs out of patriotism, or for independence, or out of boredom while their husbands were away. During the war there were 2 million women working in defense plants, more than 10 percent of all women working, and millions more worked in other traditional jobs vacated by men at war.  Less than a quarter of these women had two years experience in the workforce. Nearly all these women were unemployed when the war ended.

I can imagine Grammy as a matron, but it is still hard for me to believe she worked in the sheet metal shop.  Although she was much younger then, I still can’t imagine her making munitions or parts for war machinery!  This is a fascinating part of her life I never really discussed with her. Grammy passed away in 1990.

How would you know if your ancestor or family member worked as a “Rosie” during World War II?  Since the war happened between the censuses, her occupation wouldn’t show up there. Perhaps the factory or occupation your grandfather or great grandfather held in the 1940 census will give you a clue?  Did your grandmother take over in the family store or family business?  Did she fill in at your grandfather’s job when he was drafted?  You can try looking at tax records for extra income earned between 1942 and 1945 by women in your family.  A town history or historical society can tell you if there was a 1945 defense plant, or a factory retooled for defense supplies in your grandparents hometown found in the 1940 census.  Letters, journals, and oral histories are the best way to tell if your grandmother or great aunts worked as a “Rosie” since these women’s names were rarely recorded anywhere else.


World War II, by Carol J. Schneider and Dorothy Schneider, New York: Facts on File Press, 2003, pages 103 – 105.

Rosie the Riveter: Women Working during World War II

Our Mother’s War: American Women at Home and at the Front during World War II, by Emily Yellen, New York: Free Press, 2004

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tombstone Tuesday ~ James Burnham, Windham, New Hampshire

These gravestones were photographed at the Cemetery on the Plain, Windham, New Hampshire.

October 17, 1874
Aged 69 yrs

Wife of
James Burnham

January 26, 1892
Aged 80 yrs.

Aug. 5, 1869
Aged 23.
The Lord is my light and my salvation
whom shall I fear; the Lord is the
strength of my life; of who shall
I be afraid

Apr. 12, 1901
Aged 61 yrs, 9 ms
& 1 day.

From the History of Windham in New Hampshire, 1719 - 1883, a Scotch settlement (commonly called Scotch Irish), embracing nearly one third of the ancient settlement and historic township of Londonderry, NH, with the History and Genealogy of its First Settlers and their Descendants, by Leonard A. Morrison, Cupples, Upham & Co: Boston, Mass, 1883, pages 363- 364.

"James [Burnham], b. November 29, 1805; d. Oct. 17, 1874.  He was a member of the company at West Windham.  For many years he lived near Fessenden's Mills, being employed there.  He was a quiet man, a member of the church, and respected.  He m. Nov. 24, 1836, Lucy Ann Taylor, b. in Belfast, Me., March 20, 1812 and now resides in Windham.


1. Laura Wolcott, b. June 6, 1838; m. Jan. 22, 1864, James A. Webster; res. Chicago; 1 ch., Edith G.
2. Walter J. b. June 15, 1010; was a soldier in the First Regiment N.H. Volunteers, and in the Fiftieth Regiment Mass. Volunteers; res. Lowell.  He owned the R. B. Jackson place, and sold to John Wilson, Nove. 26, 1876.  He m. Oct. 1862, Mary Abbie, dau. of John Wilson, b. July 10, 1846.  Has a family
3. Abby S. b. June 11, 1842
4. Isadore b. April 6, 1844; m. Horace Anderson; d. June 2, 1876 (See Anderson Family)
5. Emily S b. June 1 1846; d. Aug. 5, 1869
6. Cornelia J b. Aug. 30 1847; d. May 7, 1879
7. Edward b. in Hooksett, Nov. 11, 1848; m. June 23, 1879, Mary Mcgee, of Chicago; 2 ch.; res. Chicago; dealer in hair goods
8. Warren, b. in Manchester, Sept. 14, 1850; m. Sept. 24, 1870, Lizzie Fish; d. Jan 20, 1880.  He m. 2d, Nov. 29, 1880, Abbie Butterfield; res. Windham; 1 ch.
9. Alice b. Sept. 1, 1852; m. Robert Morse, and d. July 3, 1876"

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Treadwell of Ipswich, Massachusetts

Thomas Treadwell, the immigrant, arrived in New England on board the Hopewell  in the second voayage of 1635 with his wife and infant son, Thomas.   He lived first at Dorchester Neck, Massachusetts.  He was admitted a freeman in Ipswich in 1638 and bought “Treadwell Island.”  There is a Treadwell/Tredwell family from Long Island believed to be descended of a brother of Thomas Treadwell, but this has not been confirmed.

“Estate of Thomas Treadwell, Sr. of Ipswich
This 1st of June 1671 This is to mak knowne that I Thomas Tredwell Senior of Ipswich being at this presnt by gods prowidenc in perfit memory though Weak in body do mak this my last Will and Testament wherein I do giue to my son Thomas Tredwell the Illand he now dwells in With the medows and Aportenences belonging to them also I giue half my cominag belonging to my house to him and his for euer Also I giue to him the thirty pound he has of min in his hand and at his mothers death I will giue to Thomas Ten pound to be paid him by his brother Nathaniell out of that which I giue to him and if that the half Cominag wch I giue to Thomas will not stand my Will is that between them [do] purchas on to it and When my son Nathaniell has injoyed my lott at Plum Illand five year I giue it to my son Thomas for euer and in consideration of what I do giue my son Thomas I will that he pay to my wif during her lif three pound a year Toward her maintenance and if he faile of it he shall forfeit ten pound for euery year he failes also I will that my son Thomas to mow and mak and bring hom A load of Crick thach a year so long as she liues Also I giue to my son Nathaniell my house and barn my upland and medows belonging to it and the other half of the cominage only my wife so long as liues is to inioy half of the improued ground and my son Nathaniell is to tend it for her and to bring it hom and is to haue half of her shar for his paines and my son Nathaniell is to maintain all the fences and to pay all Comon Charges and to keep the hous and barren in repair also my Wif to haue the benefit of the keeping of four Cows and six sheep vpon the pasture also the Winttering fiue head of Cattle and sixe sheep to mow and make the hay and bring it into his Barren and to tend thes fiue head and sixe sheep as his owne and this so long as she liues and my Wif to hau her firwood out of the pastur and her dwelling in the hous her lif also I giue to my son Nathaniell After my  wif has chosen her four cows half of the rest of my cattle [and of the hors kind in Thomas hand] and if Nathaniell faile of any thing he is to do for my Wif my wil is that he shal forfet ten pound euery year he failes also I giue to my wife all my household goods to be at her own disposing and if my Wif hau amind to remou herself to any of her other children that Nathaniell is to Allow her the worth of her shar in Corne and haye and my Wif is not to bring in my sister Bachellor to molest the familye Also I giue to my daughter Mary fifteen pound and my daughter Ester fifteen pound and Martha fifteen pound and I make my Wif my Execcetrix of this my will only I joyn my son [nathaniell] to be Asistant to her in it and I mak my louing friends Theophilus Wilson and John Layton my overseers of it and Decon Knoulton in witness wherof I set to my hand the day abou written
Thomas [his T T mark] Tredwell
Witness: Theophilus Wilson, John Lighton
Proved in Ipswich court Sept. 26, 1671 by the witnesses.”
Essex County Probate Files, Docket 28, 115

There is not much material about the early Treadwells in books and articles.   There is a book Thomas Treadwell of Ipswich, Massachusetts and some of his Descendants, by William A. Robbins in the catalog at available at Family History Centers on microfilm #1486614 and also at, but strangely it is not available at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. 

There is a short sketch of Thomas Treadwell in the Genealogical Dictionary of New England by James Savage, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969, Volume IV, page 325.  The Ipswich and Salem Vital Records have most of the births, baptisms, marriages and deaths from my lineage.   There is another very accurate sketch of the descendants of Thomas Treadwell in the book History of Newfields, New Hampshire, 1638 – 1911, by James Hill Fitts,  Concord, NH, 1912, pages 659 – 661.

See for a passenger list of the second voyage of the ship Hopewell in the autumn of 1635.

For spelling variations, check Tredwell, Treadle, Treddle, Treedle and Threadwell. 

I have two Treadwell lineages below:

Generation 1:  Thomas Treadwell, baptized on 4 December 1603 at St. Anne’s, Epwell, Oxfordshire, England and he died 8 June 1671 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married about 1633 in England to Mary Taylor, daughter of Samuel Taylor, born about 1605 in London, died 1 December 1685 in Ipswich. Five children:
1.  Thomas, baptized 15 July 1634 at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, married Sarah Titcomb
2.  Mary, born 29 September 1636 in Ipswich, married John Gaines
3.  Nathaniel (see below)
4.  Esther, born 21 March 1641 in Ipswich, married Daniel Hovey
5.  Martha, born 16 March 1643 in Ipswich, married Robert Cross

Generation 2: Nathaniel Treadwell, born 13 March 1637 in Ipswich, died 11 January 1726; married on 19 June 1661 in Ipswich to Abigail Wells, daughter of Thomas Wells and Abigail Warner.  She died on 16 June 1667. Seven children:
1.  Abigail, born 2 February 1663
2.  Mary, (see below)
3.  Nathaniel, born 15 January 1668
4.  Hannah, born 7 February 1670, married John Adams
5.  Thomas, born 25 May 1670, died 1672
6.  Sarah, born 15 August 1674, married John Swett
7.  Nathaniel, (see below)

Generation 3: Mary Treadwell, born 22 October 1665 in Ipswich, died on 6 January 1722 in Salem, Massachusetts; married on 28 January 1684/5 in Salem Village to Samuel Stone, son of Robert Stone and Sarah Shaflin, born on 23 January 1657 in Salem, died 6 January 1723 in Salem.  Eleven Children.

Generation 4. Mary Stone married Isaac Wilson
Generation 5. Robert Wilson married Elizabeth Southwick
Generation 6. Robert Wilson married Sarah Felton
Generation 7. Robert Wilson married Mary Southwick
Generation 8. Mercy F. Wilson married Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 9. Robert Wilson Wilkinson married Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 10. Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 11. Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Generation 3: Nathaniel Treadwell, born 13 June 1677 at Ipswich, died 17 August 1723 in Ipswich; married before 1698 to Hannah Unknown.  Seven children born in Ipswich:
1.  Jacob, born 24 January 1699, married Sarah Cotton
2. Nathaniel, born 10 September 1700, married Mercy Smith
3. Charles, born May 1705, married Mary Kelly
4. Nathan, born 7 March 1707, died before 1711
5. Hannah, born 25 September 1709, married John Smith
6. Nathan, born 7 October 1711, died before 1723
7. Jabez (see below)

Generation 4.  Jabez Treadwell, born 9 August 1713 in Ipswich, died 22 December 1780 in Ipswich; married on 20 November 1736 in Ipswich to Lucy Haskell, daughter of Mark Haskell and Martha Tuthill, born on 21 May 1715 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, died 21 September 1789 in Ipswich.   See this link for a story about Jabez and his will.   Eleven children born in Ipswich:
1.  Jabez,  baptized 21 October 1739; married Elizabeth Burnham
2. William, baptized 12 March 1737
3. Lucy, baptized 21 December 1740
4. Hannah, born 3 January 1743; married Aaron Perkins
5. Sarah, baptized 2 February 1746; married Michael Kinsman
6. Samuel, baptized 11 October 1747; married Mary Burnham
7. William, baptized 14 January 1749, married Mary Unknown
8. Nathaniel (see below)
9. Martha, baptized 9 May 1756
10. Elizabeth, baptized 26 March 1758
11. Daniel, baptized 3 January 1759

Generation 5.  Nathaniel Treadwell, baptized on 28 October 1753 in Ipswich, died on 2 January 1822 in Ipswich; married on 17 July 1786 in Ipswich to Mary Hovey.  Five children born in Ipswich:
1.  Nathaniel, born 23 April 1787; married Elizabeth Smith
2. Jabez (see below)
3. John, born 20 November 1790, married Clarinda Newmarch
4. Samuel, born 24 April 1793, died before 1833
5. William, born 16 January 1797; married Dorothy Jackman

Generation 6. Jabez Treadwell, born on 17 October 1788 in Ipswich, died on 4 November 1840 in Salem; married on 17 October 1811 in Marblehead, Massachusetts to Betsey Jillings Homan, daughter of Thomas Homan and Tabitha Glover, baptized on 14 October 1792 at the Unitarian Church in Marblehead, died on 6 April 1874. Seven children born in Salem:
1.  Eliza Ann, (see below)
2.  Malvina, baptized on 20 November 1814, married David Hart
3. Mary Hovey, born 16 October 1816, married John Wills
4. Jabez, born 11 November 1818
5. Sarah Ellen, born 10 July 1821, married John Learock
6. Caroline F.,  born 1822, married Andrew Tucker Chipman
7.  William H., born 9 April 1827

Generation 7. Eliza Ann Treadwell, born 27 August 1812 in Salem, died 31 January 1896 in Salem; married on 4 December 1836 in Salem to Abijah Hitchings, son of Abijah Hitchings and Mary Cloutman, born on 18 January 1809 in Salem, died 18 January 1864 in Salem.

Generation 8.  Abijah Franklin Hitchings married Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9. Arthur Treadwell Hitchings married Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings married Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yes, I’m a closet 1940s Music Fan! Are you?

The 1930 US Federal Census asked if each household had a radio.  This is a fun thing to look up when you are researching your ancestors in the 1930s.  On the 1940 census households weren’t asked about radios, but you can tell from history books that this was the “Golden Age” of radio.  There were radio shows based on comedies, mysteries, drama and music.  There were variety hours hosted by stars from Hollywood.  By the 1950 census, television would be making its first transmissions into houses across America.

Several years ago I bought a “demonstrator model” car.   It came “as is” with XM satellite radio.  I wasn’t going to renew the six month free subscription, but at the end of the six months I had fallen in love with channel 4 which plays music from the 1940s.  I was happy to send in a check for the next year, and the next year, and the next…

Can you blame me?  As a historian and genealogist I find the 1940s music station endlessly fascinating.  I was born in the 1960s, when Rock and Roll ruled the airwaves.   When I listen to the 40s channel I hear World War II songs, and recordings of Bob Hope entertaining the troops, but also music of a bygone time.   There are Latin beat songs about vacationing in Cuba (I wish!) played by Desi Arnaz long before he was Lucy’s husband.  Folk music in the 1940s was played by Lead Belly, Pete Seeger and the Weavers, and was gaining In popularity before they were hushed in the 50s when the Red Scare called some of these musicians subversives.

I especially love the songs my father, uncle and grandmother sang from the 1940s.  All of them have now passed away.  It is always poignant to hear “Mairzy Doats” in my car now, because that was the one my Dad would sing at the top of his voice in our old station wagon when I was a kid.  My Uncle Bob knew all the lyrics to “Der Fuehrer’s Face”, even though it seemed slightly naughty to us kids because of the rude noise (I think you would call it a raspberry or a Bronx cheer) that accompanied each chorus.  My grandmother would sing “I love you a Bushel and Peck” .

One of my favorite stories about my Dad is from his only trip to England.  They visited a World War II British airbase and my Dad broke into “On a Wing and Prayer” and had the whole tour bus singing along with him.  The Americans all sang “White Cliffs of Dover” and “There’ll always be an England”, much to the delight of their British bus driver. All these wartime songs were from the 1940s. This is a story I'll pass along to my descendants!

Do you have memories of folks in your family tree singing some of the whacky songs from the 1940s such as “Boogy Woogie Bugle Boy” or “Chickery Chick”?   The classic “I’m My Own Grandpa” was first recorded in 1947, and should be the official anthem for genealogists.

My favorite thing about the 1940s music is that it was beginning to break the color barrier.  Before this time period, there was a definite market for white listeners and a separate music genre for people of color.  But in the 1940s everyone listened to the Mills Brothers sing “Glow Worm”, ballads by Nat King Cole or the blues performed by Louis Armstrong.  After swing music ushered in Rock and Roll in the late 1940s, the color barrier was broken down even further by groups playing each other’s music.  By the 1950s, Elvis Presley had fused black and white music together into Rock, and by the 1960s music was no longer seen as “black” or “white”.

I can also hit channel 82 and listen to the Classic Radio Shows like Jack Benny, Burns and Allen or The Shadow, and I’m back in the Golden Age of radio again!

The 1940 census doesn't ask about radios, but it will include some new questions such as:

Was this person employed in emergency work (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc)?  Remember this was still the Great Depression era.
Is this person seeking work?
Income for the twelve months of 1939 
Residence in 1935 (great question to track migration patterns in families!)
There is also a supplemental section where two people on each page are asked an additional list of questions, hopefully one of those two people is from your ancestral family! 


If you don’t have satellite radio, here are some links to 1940s music:

Music of Your Life on the internet at

The UK 1940s Radio Station, complete with music and old commercials

Old Time Radio shows (Comedy, Detective, Mystery or Drama)

Click here to find out more about the 1940 US Federal Census release on 2 April 2012 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Great Woolen Factory Fire, 1834

Image from  The Fireman’s Own Book: containing accounts of fires throughout the United States, by George P. Little, Boston: Dillingham and Bragg, page 83. 

American Railroad Journal and Advocate of Internal Improvements, Saturday, August 16, 1834, Volume III, No. 32,  Page 509

click to enlarge

Eastern Argus, newspaper, Maine, August 11, 1834, page 3
[also found reprinted in the Spectator, New York, August 14, 1834, and in the Connecticut Herald, August 19, 1834]

Extract from a letter from a gentleman in South
Berwick to a gentleman in this town dated

We are all in confusion in this neighborhood, in con-
sequence of the fire which yesterday afternoon con-
summed Salmon Falls Factory.  Nearly the whole
establishment lays in ruins.  The loss is from 3 to
$400, 000. Hundreds are thrown out of employment.
The fire took In the picking room from the wool. Two
Or three girls are missing- we expect they were con-
summed in the flames – four jumped from the windows
of the 4th story and were much injured – but it is hoped
they will recover.  We shall all seriously feel the
                The Portsmouth Journal adds – The building where
the fire originated in consumed leaving nothing but the
walls.  A part of the offices in front, and a house and
store on the opposite side of the street were also
                Col. Peirce, the agent, was in Boston when the fire
took place.
                The raw materials, and the finished goods were
saved.  Loss estimated at $180,000, a part of which
is insured.
                Gentlemen from Salmon-Falls, last evening, furnish
us with the following list of killed and wounded:-
                Mary Nowell, of York, killed by a fall.
                Lydia Varney, of Elliot, burned to death.
                Harriet Hastings of Wells, do
                --------- Thomson, leg broken.
                Sarah Nowell, of Portsmouth; Mary Jane Leavitt,
 of Acton, Me; and Mehitable Wilkinson, more or less
                One gentleman fell from a house-top but escaped
with slight injury.”


The Mehitable Wilkinson mentioned above is my first cousin 5 generations removed.  Her father James G. Wilkinson (1753 – 1827) was the brother of my 5x great grandfather, James Wilkinson (abt 1730 – abt 1800).   Mehitable was born 18 September 1791 in Alton, New Hampshire, and she died 18 November 1839 in Eaton, New Hampshire, just a few years after the fire.  I don't know the extent of her injuries.  Mehitable never married.   Many of the Wilkinsons lived near Salmon Falls, in both New Hampshire and in South Berwick, Maine.

Salmon Falls is part of Rollinsford, New Hampshire.  It is located on the Salmon River, a tributary of the Piscataqua River which forms the border with Maine.   In 1823 the village was founded when the Salmon Falls Manufacturing Company incorporated a woolen mill using the power of the Salmon River falls.   After the 1834 fire, the company rebuilt a cotton mill in its place.   The cotton mill lasted until 1927.  The mill buildings sat empty for years, and then later in the twentieth century the brick building s became converted studio space for artists, artisans, and small businesses.  My favorite local pottery is produced there at the Salmon Falls Stoneware Company.

Salmon Falls Stoneware Company

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weathervane Wednesday - A very old landmark

This week's weather vane is very old, and can be seen on the town website   It is located in a very central location.  If you live in Lononderry you have passed it many times.

As a challenge, I publish the locations at the bottom of the post so you can see the photo first.  After you guess you can scroll down to the bottom to see the location.

Do you know the location of weather vane #31?

This old weathervane is located on the top of the Londonderry Presbyterian Church, on the town common, at the intersection of Pillsbury and Mammoth Roads.  The Presbyterian Church here originated in 1719 with the congregation Rev. James MacGregor gathered on the shores of Beaver Lake, and preached under the nut tree.   A church was built in what is now Derry, New Hampshire and is now the First Church in East Derry.  There was a schism in 1740, and the church divided into an East Parish and a West Parish (which is now the town of Londonderry).  The current Presbyterian church building in Londonderry was built in 1837.

The Londonderry Presbyterian Church website

Click here to see the other weather vanes I have featured in this series.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday ~ John Senter, Hudson, New Hampshire

These gravestones were photographed at the Senter Cemetery, Hudson, New Hampshire.  It is located on the corner of Derry and Robinson Road at USGS Nashua North Quadrangle, E30311, N474278, Zone 19 (42° 48' 51"N, 71° 24' 30"W)

The unusual green quartz boulder on the left
has a bronze plaque that reads:

1765 AGED 67 YEARS

I'm not a Senter descendant, but this cemetery is right around the corner from me, and I've always wanted to explore it.  It's only a small family burial ground, but there are many surnames on the gravestones inside.  John was one of the original proprietors of Londonderry (Nutfield)  in 1719.

There is a book, John Senter and Jean Foster Descendants, circa 1693 - 2005, by John G. Senter, compiled by Geary M. Senter, Nashua, NH, 2005.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Anderson Farm

There were several Anderson farms in Londonderry.  One was located on Nashua Road, now known as Route 102, approximately where the Apple tree Mall and Hess Gas station are today.  The other, still standing, is on Mammoth Road near the Windham border, on the corner of Bockes Road.  Across the street, on the corner of Chase Road, is a monument to the Anderson family and it lists the names of the men who owned the land over the years. 

The Anderson family lived in Londonderry since the 1720s.   Obviously this house was built much later.   Several years ago the huge barn that outsized the house was removed, and a parcel of land behind the house was developed into several smaller house lots.  There was an older salt box style house on the other side of Mammoth Road, too. 

The Anderson Genealogy:

Generation 1: The first immigrant from Northern Ireland to Londonderry was James Anderson, who settled east of the turnpike in the Double Range of what is now Derry, New Hampshire. 

Generation 2: His son, Samuel, mentioned above, was born abut 1730 and married Martha Craig.  He lived on the present Anderson farm on Beaver Brook in the southern part of Londonderry. 

Generation 3: Samuel, Jr., born about 1755 was a soldier in the American Revolution and had only one child, David. 

Generation 4: David Anderson was born in Londonderry about 1780 and married Rebecca Davidson.   All of David, Jr.’s children died of spotted fever except for Francis born in 1807. 

Generation 5: Francis Davidson Anderson married Jane Davidson, and lived on the homestead. He was a representative in the New Hampshire legislature in 1850.  Francis Anderson built the big house which still stands today in 1830, and various features such as the porch and the round tower were added later.

Generation 6: William H. Anderson was born 12 January 1836 and died in Lowell on 14 April 1902.  He graduated from Yale University in 1859 and became a lawyer.  He married Mary Hine of Springfield, Massachusetts.  They had one surviving child.

Generation 7:  Frances Welton Anderson was born 20 December 1877 in Lowell.  She married Dr. E. J. Gillette of Waterbury, Connecticut.  The Gillettes summered in an old saltbox house across Mammoth Road and behind the monument.  The big house and farm passed into the hands of a family named Clark.
This monument is on the corners of
Chase and Mammoth Road, on the Windham border
The Anderson Farm
First Settled in 1720
Saml. Anderson 1720 -1794
His son Saml. 1794 – 1796
His son David 1796- 1819
His son Frank D. 1819 – 1866
His son Wm. H. 1866

For more information:

Londonderry, by the Londonderry Historical Society, Acadia Publishing Company, 2004, page 128 has an old photo of the Anderson farm.

A sketch of William H. Anderson in History of Lowell and its People, by Frederick William Coburn, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1920, Volume 2, page 77 – 79.

Early Londonderry: Tidbits and Historical Sketches, compiled by the Londonderry Historical Society, 1968, Volume III, for a sketch of the Anderson family and the farm see pages 105 – 109.

UPDATE 27 January 2013

New information from Nancy Britts, an Anderson descendant. 

Source:  History of Acworth with the Proceedings of the Centennial Anniversary, Genealogical
         Records and Register of Farms by Rev. J. L. Merrill, Town of Acworth, 1869, page 180
    James Anderson was one of the first sixteen settlers of Londonderry.
    SAMUEL ANDERSON, his grandchild, whose father's name was Robert, settled in Acworth, 1793,
married Anna Alexander.
    SAMUEL ANDERSON, his nephew and son of David, came to Acworth in 1795, married Jane Campbell
- children
I.,    Anna
II.,   David C., married Martha L. Brigham (see Brigham family) - children
    1,    Mary E.
    2,    Walter H.,  died young
    3,    Emma E.
    4,    George W.
    5,    Alice L.
III.,    Horace, married first, Lucinda Blanchard; married second, Isa Dora Burnham, residence
Windham - children
    1,    Samuel H.
IV.,    Milon, married Lucy M. Weston, residence Windham.
V.,    Sarah J., married Charles Abbot, residence Windsor, Vermont - children
    1, Jennie S.
Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Shaflin of Salem, Massachusetts


Michael Shaflin was a tailor from Salisbury, Wiltshire, England who came to America on board the ship "James" in 1635.  He settled first in Charlestown, Massachusetts and was in Salem by 1636. He was constable in Salem in 1645.  He was married first to an Elizabeth, and then to Alice Temple, the widow of George Booth.  The Booths had two daughters, Alice and Elizabeth, who testified against their neighbors (John Willard, Elizabeth and John Proctor, and Giles Corey) during the witchtrials of 1692.  There was a Lawrence Shaflin in the court records, but I cannot place him in this family due to the lack of records.

He made this depostion in 1685:

Deposition of Michael Shaflin, aged about 80 years
"I this deponent doe testifie & saye yt about 33 years agoe, when William King was wooinge of my daughtr Katherine, to her her to wife and I understanding that his mother Doritha King widdow & relict unto William King Senr had a claime of two shillings p weeke for some tyme of her son William, whereupon I made a demurr In giving my consent to the matche.  And the sd Doritha seeing how it was & how resolved wth mee, did freely aquit & discharge her sd son William King of ye sd dew of two shillings p weeke as aforesd apon weh I gave my consent for ye sd William King to marry wth my sd daughtr July ye 1st 1685 before ye Court at Salem"  [Essex County Registry of Deeds and Probate]

He is often listed in court records and lived near several known Quaker families: King, Stone, etc. but it is unknown if he was an early Quaker. On 1 July 1646 he was presented to court for withdrawing a child from baptism.  His will in 1686 names his daughters Katherine King and Sarah Stone, and also names his wife Alice.

My Shaflin lineage:

Generation 1:  Michael Shaflin, born about 1605 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England and died 12 December 1686 in Salem, Massachusetts; married first Elizabeth Unknown; married second after 1682 to Alice Temple, widow of George Booth.  Two known daughters (the name Shaflin doesn't appear in other records in New England, except for the mysterious Lawrence Shaflin mentioned above):

1.  Sarah Shaflin (see below)
2.  Katherine Shaflin, died 17 December 1718; married William King

Generation 2: Sarah Shaflin, died 22 August 1708 in Salem,; married Robert Stone. Four children.

Generation 3:  Samuel Stone married Mary Treadwell
Generation 4:  Mary Stone married Isaac Wilson
Generation 5. Robert Wilson married Elizabeth Southwick
Generation 6.  Robert Wilson married Sarah Felton
Generation 7. Robert Wilson married Mary Southwick
Generation 8. Mercy F. Wilson married Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 9. Robert Wilson Wilkinson married Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 10. Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 11. Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

For more information:

The Genealogical Dictionary of New England, by James Savage, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969, page 58 for a sketch on  Michael Shaflin.

History of Salem, by Sidney Perley, Salem, Volume III, p. 73 and other mentions

New England Marriages Prior to 1700, by Clarence Almon Torrey, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011, Volume II, page 1354

Passenger list of the ship "James" 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pirate Thomas Tew ~ Guest Post

The Genealogical Mystery of Thomas Tew, 
the Rhode Island Pirate
Copyright 2012, John D. Tew

The meeting between Thomas Tew and the Royal Governor
of New York, Benjamin Fletcher, as imagined by American
 illustrator Howard Pyle (1853 – 1911) 
from the Time-Life Seafarers volume, The Pirates (p. 68).

            When Heather’s Nutfield Genealogy blog became the first “Featured Blog” in The Weekly Genealogist newsletter of NEHGS, I took a gander and found, to my surprise, a November 4, 2011 piece on the Rhode Island Pirate, Thomas Tew.  It is rare enough to find information on my Rhode Island Tew family, but anything potentially relating to the genealogy of Thomas Tew, the pirate, always grabs my immediate attention.  It was the possibility of being related to a pirate that first sparked my interest in family history back in the early 60s when I was not yet a teenager.  I recall how I discovered Ol’ Thomas was from Newport, Rhode Island and how I became really excited because I knew I was a direct descendant of Richard Tew and his wife, Mary (Clarke) Tew, who came to Newport from Maidford, Northamptonshire, England.  I have ever since been on the lookout for anything that might confirm a family relationship to an actual and hugely successful pirate.

          Heather mentioned the possibility of Ol’ Thomas being the brother of her ancestor, Seaborn Tew, and so I immediately contacted her to ask about any source material she might have.  We corresponded on the subject and the result was her very kind invitation to provide a guest piece about Thomas Tew, the pirate, for her blog.

            The BLUF (“bottom line up front) is that I am sorry to report after literally decades of searching many leads about Thomas Tew’s parentage and possible descendants, I cannot confirm for Heather or myself any relationship to Thomas Tew.  But then, as presented below, others might be closer to descent from Ol’ Thomas than I or anyone else with the last name Tew.  A summary of a partial collection of references to Thomas Tew and his family history will demonstrate why.

Much has been written about Thomas Tew and his brief but fabulously profitable exploits as a pirate.  The most consistent and salient points are worth brief mention.
            •  He lived in Newport, Rhode Island. 
            •  In 1693-94 he had one of the most successful pirating voyages in history and returned with booty worth more than £100,000 [approximately $16,168,000 today].  Each crew member’s share was worth about $195,157 in today’s dollars.
            •  He obtained a privateering commission from the corrupt Royal Governor of New York, Benjamin Fletcher.
            •  He died on the voyage of his ship, Amity, to the Red Sea in September 1695 during an attempt to board another Indian merchantman.
This 150 pound painted metal chest is said to have belonged to Thomas Tew.
It is located in St. Augustine, Florida at the Pirate & Treasure Museum.

There is no authoritative or definitive genealogy for Thomas Tew the pirate, but various writers about pirates have opined on the family history of Thomas Tew.  In almost all cases the explanation is brief and frustratingly lacking in specific source citations for assertions about Ol’ Thomas’s parentage and progeny.

            »   The Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (James Savage, 1860-62) states that Richard Tew, son and heir of Henry Tew, came to Rhode Island with his wife, Mary Clark, in 1640.  Mary gave birth to their daughter on June 4, 1640 during the voyage from England.  The baby was appropriately named Seaborn. According to Savage, Richard and Mary had two additional children after arriving in Rhode Island – daughters Elnathan and Mary and “perhaps others.” Savage mentions no sons.

»   John Osborne Austin states in his One Hundred And Sixty Allied Families      (1893), “There was a Thomas Tew [described as the privateer turned pirate],who was perhaps brother of Henry [the Deputy Governor of Rhode Island in 1714].” BUT, Austin names only four children of the parents of Deputy Governor Henry Tew.  In agreement with Savage, Austin states that Henry’s parents, Richard Tew and Mary (Clarke) Tew, came to Rhode Island from Maidford, Northamptonshire, England in 1640.  Austin names their children as: Seaborn, born during the voyage in 1640; her sisters Elnathan and Mary, born in 1644 and 1647 respectively; and Seaborn’s only identified brother, the future Deputy Governor, Henry, born in 1654.

            »   Austin further states equivocally, “There was a Henry Tew of Boston, mariner, who died in 1712 . . . It becomes a matter of conjecture whether this Henry Tew was not a son of Thomas the pirate, and a nephew of Deputy Governor Henry Tew, of Newport.”

            »   The Time-Life series, The Seafarers: THE PIRATES (1978), tells the story of Thomas Tew, but without any specific source citations for the genealogical “facts” in the narrative.  It is stated that in April 1694 Tew docked his ship, the Amity,  “in his native Newport, Rhode Island.”  Thomas is described there upon his return from his 15-month voyage to the Indian Ocean and back as “a man of modest reputation, suddenly the cynosure of all eyes, lionized by the gentry in their handsome frame houses on the hill overlooking the harbor.” Following the reception in Newport, it is said that, “Tew and his family traveled to New York.  There he was feted and dined by the Royal Governor,Colonel Benjamin Fletcher. . . Mrs. Tew and the two Tew daughters attended gala functions at the Governor’s mansion, dressed in rich silks from    the Orient and glittering with diamond jewelry that the captain had brought back with him.  The Tews, in short, were the cream of East Coast society, prominent  (if recently arrived) members of a colonial aristocracy of wealth and accomplishment.”  There is not a single mention of any children other than two unnamed daughters – and no mention of Thomas’s parentage.

            »    A 1995 book by British writer David Cordingly, “the world’s foremost expert on pirates,” continues the narrative that Thomas Tew had only daughters.  Mr. Cordingly states authoritatively,  “As far as can be gleaned from the meager information on the subject, very few of the pirate   captains had wives and families.  Henry Morgan was married but had no children. Captain Kidd had a wife and two daughters who lived in New York.  Thomas Tew was married and also had two daughters.”  (Under The Black Flag --- The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates, p. 71.)  There are no specific citations to the meager information supporting this statement about Ol’ Thomas.

»   Citing to S.C. Hill’s “Notes on Piracy in Eastern Waters” in Indian Antiquary  (Jan. 1923 – Oct. 1928), the author Alexander Boyd Hawes writes of the lineage of the pirate Thomas Tew, “[He] came from a respected Rhode Island family.  Richard Tew, native of England, settled early in Newport.  He was named in the Colony’s Charter of 1663.  His son Henry became Deputy Governor of the Colony in 1714.  The pirate Thomas Tew was probably son of an earlier Thomas, a mariner who lived in Newport and was probably     Richard’s brother.  So the pirate was probably Richard’s nephew and Henry’s cousin.”  (Off Soundings – Aspects of the Maritime History of Rhode Island, p.23)

            »   And finally, without citation to any specific source for the assertion, author Douglas R. Burgess, Jr. stated flatly in his 2009 book The Pirates’ Pact – The Secret Alliance Between History’s Most Notorious Buccaneers and Colonial America, “Thomas Tew was a gentleman.  His grandfather was Richard Tew, a Northampton man who settled in Newport, Rhode Island in 1640 and soon   became an administrator for the colony.”  Since most genealogical sources assign only four children to Richard Tew and his wife Mary -- and only one of  them was a son, the future Deputy Governor of Colonial Rhode Island, Henry Tew – this author is asserting the pirate Thomas Tew was the son of the one time Deputy Governor of Rhode Island!  I have never seen any source document to support this assertion. 

As the above examples demonstrate, the information available on the lineage of Thomas Tew the pirate is far from consistent and so far lacks any specific, hard sources for the various assertions in writings on genealogy or about pirates.  Various claims are made about the parentage of Thomas.  He is at times the brother of Henry Tew, the Rhode Island Deputy Governor, or at other times Henry’s son.  And then still at other times he is the son of a brother of Richard Tew who is also named Thomas. [1]   The one repeated assertion seems to be that the pirate had two daughters.  Only one conjectural reference is made to a son of Ol’ Thomas and that is Austin’s question about whether the Boston mariner, Henry Tew could be a son of the pirate Thomas Tew.  So, until some reliable evidence comes to light to support the existence of a son of Thomas Tew the pirate, the bad news for those of us bearing the surname Tew is that if Thomas Tew only had daughters he would have, as some in genealogy say, "daughtered out" and no one living today with the last name Tew would be descended from him -- unless a female descendant later reacquired the last name Tew via marriage to a male Tew.  
This is a bottle of Thomas Tew Rum
produced by the Newport Distilling Company,
Middletown, Rhode Island

[1]   One problem with this particular assertion is that available evidence only supports a single brother of Richard Tew of Maidford, England who immigrated to Rhode Island in 1640.  According to Austin, Richard Tew had only one brother that he mentioned in his Will --  “John Tew of Towcester County of Northampton, doctor of physick.”  To date, I am unaware of any other reliable reference to another brother of Richard Tew, let alone one named Thomas.


John D. Tew was born in Providence, Rhode Island and at various times has lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  He is a New Englander at heart even though he currently resides in Loudoun County, Virginia. He has been researching his family history off and on over the last several decades as his education and work pursuits would allow. His principal lines of interest are currently Tew, Carpenter, Cooke, Shearman,Freeman and Hasselbaum -- all of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

I invited John to write a guest post for my blog as a response to his comments and our on-going email discussions on the post I did last year on Thomas Tew the pirate at this link:


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo and John Tew