Monday, May 14, 2012

The Count Rumford House

By a bit of serendipity, my daughter lives in Burlington, Massachusetts near the Woburn town line.  This is where many of our ancestors lived in the 1600s and 1700s.  Soon she is moving to a new apartment in a new city, but recently she called me on the cell phone with some exciting news.  After living in this area for two years and usually using the same gas station, she happened to look across the street and notice a historic house.  She recognized the name from some of my stories.  I guess she was paying attention!

This is the Count Rumford House, where Benjamin Thompson was born born in 1753 in Woburn, Massachusetts.  His mother and my 5x great grandfather were siblings, which makes him my first cousin 7 generations removed.  Benjamin Thompson was a brilliant engineer and mathematician, but he was a Loyalist and fled to England.  He was made a Count in Germany for his contributions to the development of arms for the Hapsburg government, which explains why a country boy from Woburn earned a title.

click to enlarge

Generation 1: William Simonds, born about 1612 in Winchester, Hampshire, England and died 7 June 1672 in Woburn, Massachusetts, married first to Judith Phippen on 18 January 1644 in Woburn.  Twelve children.

Generation 2: James Simonds, born 1 November 1658 in Woburn, died 15 September 1717 in Woburn; married first on 29 December 1685 in Woburn to Susannah Blodgett, daughter of Samuel Bloggett and Ruth Eggleton. Six children.

Generation 3. James Simonds, Jr., born on 1 November 1686 in Woburn, died 30 June 1775 in Woburn; married on 17 June 1714 in Woburn to Mary Fowle, daughter of James Fowle and Mary Richardson. Nine children including these two below...

Generation 4. Caleb Simonds, my 6x great grandfather, born 27 August 1720 in Woburn, died 4 January 1811 in Woburn; he had four wives, and my 6x great grandmother is his first wife, Susanna Converse married on 26 March 1746 in Woburn.  She was the daughter of Robert Convers and Mary Sawyer.

also generation 4: Ruth Simonds, born 10 October 1730 in Woburn, married on 30 May 1752 in Woburn to Benjamin Thompson her first husband, son of Ebenezer Thompson and Hannah Converse.  Ruth and Benjamin Thompson were the parents of "Count Rumford", Benjamin Thompson, born 26 March 1753 in Woburn and died 21 August 1814 in Auteuil, near Paris, France.  He was married to Sarah Walker in November 1772, the daughter of Reverend Timothy Walker of Rumford (now Concord, New Hampshire). He was also married to Anne Marie Pierrette Paulze in 1804 in Paris, the widow of scientist Antoine Lavoisier.   He had a daughter, Sophia Thompson, born in 1798 with the Countess Baumgarten, and a son who died young by a French woman named Victoire.

The Count Rumford House is open seasonally for tours:


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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