Monday, April 16, 2012

Amanuensis Monday ~ Longevity in the Family

Click to enlarge the image

Found in the Salem Register, 2 November 1865,

“LONGEVITY.  There were living in one street
(Federal) in this city, on the 18th ult., twelve
men upwards of 80 years of age.  The death of Mr.
George Nichols, whose death was recorded last
week, at the age of 87, has reduced the number to
eleven, viz:-
Messrs. John Dike    82       John Norris           82
Ebenezer Dodge       85        William Phelps    82
Josiah Dewing           83       John Read             82
John S. Felton           80        William Roberts  82 
Robert Gould            83         George H. Smith 86
Joshua Loring            84
The two oldest men now living in Salem, are
Messrs. Epes Cogswell, who will be 90 years of
age in November, and Abijah Hitchings, who will
be 90 in December.- Obs.”

The Abijah Hitchings in the news clipping is my 4x Great Grandfather.  He died on 26 July 1868 in Salem, Massachusetts, when he was 93 years old!  This is on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family.  There are some very long lived people on this side of the family.  Here are some examples:

Reverend Stephen Bachiler, born 1561 and died on 31 October 1656 in London, England.  He was my 11x Great Grandfather.  He lived to be 95 years old.  He came to America in 1632 when he was 71 years old, and had churches in Lynn and Newbury, Massachusetts, and  also at Hampton, New Hampshire.  He had four wives, too, and returned to England sometime before his death.  This is an extremely long and prosperous life for someone born in the 16th century!

Daniel Hitchings, my 8x Great Grandfather and the 2x Great Grandfather of the Abijah Hitchings in the news clipping, was born in 1632 and died on 15 April 1731 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  He was about 99 years old when he died. 

My Grandmother, Gertrude Matilda (Hitchings) Allen, was born 1 August 1805 in Beverly, Massachusetts and died on 3 November 2001 in Peabody, Massachusetts.  She was 96 years old when she died.  She had seven children, 29 grandchildren and over 60 great grandchildren and who knows how many great great grandchildren (we’re still counting!)

Muriel (Herrick) Karolides, my grandmother’s first cousin, is still living in Danvers, Massachusetts and she was born in 1913.  Next year she will celebrate her 100th birthday!

The news clipping was found on 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo 


  1. Your grandmother Hitchings who was born in 1805 and died in 2001 would be about 195 years old. Do I detect a typo somewhere?

  2. Anonymous, yes, definitely at typo. She was born in 1905. Thanks!

  3. Ok, Heather, I have to tell husband is a descendent of Stephen Bachiler as well. He is descended through Stephen's daughter, Anne, who married into the Samborne/Sanborn family of New Hampshire. We need to get in touch!

  4. Shelley, that is quite interesting because today I received an email from my cousin's mother-in-law describing her Sanborn ancestors. I still live in Rockingham County, and I have Batchelder and Sanborn neighbors, and the phone book is full of both names, too!

  5. Hi Heather-- this entry is a good reminder that, even though average lifespans were shorter in previous centuries, that doesn't mean that people didn't live to be as old as they do today-- that lower average was due to high infant and child mortality.

    Rev. Stephen Bachelder was my 10th great-grandfather 3 times (that I know of). Interesting man, and yes, very long lived!