Saturday, June 29, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ MAYHEW of Martha's Vineyard


1657    1901

More than twenty years ago my sister moved to Martha’s Vineyard and married a lobsterman.  At the wedding her best friend, a Mayhew descendant, showed me the plaque in the church that said it had been founded by Reverend Thomas Mayhew in the 1600s. I have met many Mayhew descendants since then, including Katherine Mayhew, the genealogy expert at the Martha’s Vineyard historical society.  So, I was flabbergasted to learn that I was also a descendant of the same Mayhew family! (And my sister was quite impressed.)

Thomas Mayhew was baptized at Tisbury, England and left with the Great Migration in 1631 to come to Massachusetts.  He first settled in Medford, and then became the governor of the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  He led a settlement there in 1641 with his son, Thomas, Jr. The Mayhews were very successful at establishing friendly relations with the Wampanoags on the island.  Even when King Phillip’s war was raging in the rest of New England, the Wampanoags remained allies with the settlers on Martha’s Vineyard.

The son, Reverend Thomas Mayhew was one of the most successful Christian missionaries in New England.  He established towns of praying Indians, schools, and churches.  In 1657 Reverend Thomas Mayhew went to England for an appeal for missionary funds, and his ship was never seen again and presumed lost.  The Elder Mayhew carried out his son’s ministries to the Wampanoag for the next 25 years.

The grandson, John Mayhew, carried on the mission after his grandfather’s death in 1682.  He died early at age 37 in 1688.  His wife was Elizabeth Hilliard of Hampton, New Hampshire. Her aunt, Deborah (Parkhurst) Smith, is also my 10th great grandmother. A great grandson, Experience Mayhew, became the first person to translate the Lords' prayer into the  Wampanoag language.  He published several books in the Wampanoag language (Psalms and the Gospel of John) and was a Congregational minister. He wrote the book Indian Converts in 1727 about his Experiences (no pun intended).

For more Mayhew information:

Great Migration Begins, by Richard Charles Anderson, Boston: NEHGS, 1995, Volume II, pages 1243 – 1246

Divided we Stand: Watertown, Massachusetts, by Roger Thompson, Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001

The History of Martha's Vineyard by Dr. Charles Banks, Volume III Family Genealogies: pp. 298 - 328 (the Mayhews) also can be seen online at

Martha's Vineyard Historical Society You can send genealogy queries at, address your query to (who else?) Katherine Mayhew!

My Mayhew genealogy:

Generation 1: Matthew Mayhew, son of Thomas Mayhew and Alice Waterman, born about 1550, died about 1614, married on 2 October in Tisbury, Wiltshire, England to Alice Barter, daughter of Edward Barter and his wife, Edith.

Generation 2: Governor Thomas Mayhew, born about 1593 and died 25 March 1682 in Tisbury, on the island of Martha's Vineyard; married first about 1620 in England to Abigail Parkhurst; married second about 1634 in England to Jane Gallion. I am descended of two children, by Abigail - Thomas and Hannah who married Thomas Daggett/Doggett.

Line A:

Generation 3: Reverend Thomas Mayhew born about 1620 in England, died about November 1657 at sea on a voyage to England; married to Jane Unknown. Six children. I am descended of two children, John (see below) and Jedediah Mayhew who married Benjamin Smith.

Generation 4: Reverend John Mayhew, born about 1652 in Edgartown on the island of Martha's Vineyard, died on 2 February 1689 in Chilmark, on the island of Martha's Vineyard; married in 1672 at Tisbury to Elizabeth Hilliard, born 22 January 1654 in Hampton, New Hampshire, died 1746 in Chilmark, daughter of Emmanuel Hilliard and Elizabeth Parkhurst. Five children.

Generation 5: John Mayhew, born 1676 in Chilmark, died 3 March 1736 in Chilmark; married on 27 November 1700 in Chilmark to Mehitable Higgins, daughter of Owen Higgins and Seaborn Tew. Seven children.

Generation 6: John Mayhew, born 1701 died on 16 January 1790; married on 29 October 1730 in Falmouth, Massachusetts to Ruth Davis, born 5 July 1705 in Falmouth, died 16 Jan 1790 in Chilmark, daughter of Benjamin Davis and Mary Robinson (a descendant of Reverend John Robinson of the Pilgrims). Five children.

Generation 7: Mary Mayhew, born 22 May 1734 on Martha's Vineyard, died in Nova Scotia; married Caleb Rand, born 10 January 1730 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, died 25 September 1776 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, son of Caleb Rand and Katherine Kettell. Eleven Children.

Generation 8: Mary Rand m. Asahel Bill
Generation 9: Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill m. Isabella Lyons
Generation 10: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 11: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 12: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Line B: 

Generation 3:  Hannah, born 15 June 1635 and died 7 February 1723 in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard; married on 23 September 1657 in Edgartown to Thomas Daggett as his third wife.  She had eleven children.

Generation 4:  Thomas Daggett m. Elizabeth Hawes
Generation 5: Elizabeth Daggett m. John Butler
Generation 6: Keziah Butler m. Samuel Osborn
Generation 7: Samuel Osborn m. Sarah Wass
Generation 8: Sarah Osborn m. Charles Skinner
Generation 9: Ann Skinner m. Thomas Ratchford Lyons
Generation 10: Isabella Lyons m. Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Generation 11: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 12: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 13: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Line C: 

Generation 4: Jedediah Mayhew, born 1656 and died 6 January 1736 in Edgartown; married Benjamin Smith, son of John Smith and Susannah Hinckley.  He was born 7 January 1658 and died 4 July 1720.  Eight children.

Generation 5:  Jedediah Smith m. Reverend Samuel Osborn, yet he had an illegitimate son by Mercy Norton.  This child is my  8th great grandfather, Samuel Osborn, Jr., the husband of Keziah Butler (see generation 6 above in Line B)   Yes, this is quite a story- the minister's illegitimate child, but I'm saving it for another blog post! 

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Photo from an Unidentified Newsclipping

"HEATHER DIANE WILKINSON is the ten-month-old daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. John Wilkinson of 1 Kernwood avenue, Beverly.  Her
father is employed by the Travelers Insurance Company in Boston.
Her grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Allen of Hamilton and...."

I found this news clipping in some papers. It's a photo of me as a baby.

I have no idea what newspaper it is from, but it must be from Beverly, Massachusetts since that is where I grew up.

I have no idea of the date, except that it must be in the late summer of 1962 since it states I was ten months old in the caption.

I have no idea why this photo was in the newspaper.  It's not attached to any particular story, or news, or announcement.  The caption seems to be cut off since it mentions my maternal ALLEN grandparents in Hamilton. and then the word "and" and the caption ends before mentioning my paternal WILKINSON grandparents.  Did people used to post family photos in the newspaper just for fun, like we do at Facebook nowadays?

Questions... questions....

I like this little news clipping  because it reminds me of the apartment where I lived before we moved to my great grandparents and grandparents house on Dearborn Avenue in Beverly.  That was a house my great grandfather John Peter Bowden Roberts bought soon after arriving in Massachusetts after immigrating from Leeds, Yorkshire, England.  I lived there until I was about 7 years old.  I often forget that I lived on Kernwood Avenue in an apartment.

I also like this news clipping because I remember that when I was growing up my mother had this same photograph, colorized, hanging in her bedroom.  The little baby dress was pink.  Over time it was replaced with other photographs of me and my sister as we grew older.

This news clipping also reminds me that my Dad worked for the Travelers Insurance Company in Boston when I was very small.  He used to ride the train from Beverly to Boston.  The Travelers building was one of the tallest in Boston when I was growing up, and now it doesn't even exist. It used to be in the financial district of Boston, and visible when we were driving on the elevated South-East Expressway.  That road doesn't exist anymore, either, having been replaced by the tunnel known as "The Big Dig".

The Travelers Insurance symbol was a red umbrella.  There was a silhouette of a red umbrella at the top of the Travelers building in Boston.  Yes, Dad used to have several of those red umbrellas.  We had them around the house for years after he changed jobs to the North Western Mutual Insurance company and we moved to the town of Holden in central Massachusetts.  One year I had a red raincoat, and my mom let me use one of those matching Traveler's red umbrellas to walk to elementary school.

Memories... memories...

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Flash Blog Mob

Earlier today I chatted with several other genealogy bloggers online about's decision to drop their "old search" for the "new search".   After venting our opinions together, we decided that perhaps we should share our opinions through our blogs.   We're calling this our "Flash Blog Mob".  Genealogy bloggers will be joining in all weekend, and I'll be adding their posts to the list down at the bottom of this page.  Before I wrote my post,  I first wrote to the Facebook page. And then I received this reply:

A message to me from via their Facebook page…

"Hello Heather, We are consolidating the two search experiences on the site and will be taking features from both our old and new search experiences and add a few new features into a single search experience. As we consolidate, our old search experience will no longer exist as a stand-alone or separate experience. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us regarding the old search here: As a side note, many of the tools you use and are comfortable with in our Old Search experience are currently available in the primary search experience. This article provides more information:"


This week I was stuck at home waiting for repair people.  Don’t you hate that chore?  Stuck at home, waiting for hours because the repair people won’t give you an exact appointment time.  Then, since of course the appliance is “unfixable”, you end up again waiting all day because the delivery people won’t give you an appointed time for  delivery of the new fridge.  Then the new appliance is a lemon, right out of the box (don’t ask- it’s a long story), so again we have a repair person waiting day, followed by another delivery day when they decide “You need a new fridge”.  Of course I need a new fridge!  I needed one a week ago!

Thus, I was stuck at home.  And I put this time towards learning what’ I’ve avoided for several years.  I learned the ins and outs of’s “new search”.  Of course, it’s been around for several years so it’s hardly a “new search”.  But I’m a creature of habit, and I like the old one.  I liked being able to search without even looking at what I was doing since I’d been searching this way for ten years (or maybe even more).  I liked the simplicity of not even thinking about it, just getting predictable results.

However, all good things must come to an end.  I was an early adopter of Facebook, using my husband’s MIT email address back in 2005 to see what it was all about.  If you could step back in time to see it then, you wouldn’t recognize it as what you see today as Facebook.  And how many times has it changed since then? It’s changed dozens of times, without any announcements most of the time, and with most of us screaming and complaining.  But we’re all still on Facebook (most of us) and we’ve figured out the ins and outs, and how to make it work for us…

And so, when many people got an email message this week (I still haven’t received mine), it was time to either complain, reflect, submit, or get to work learning the new system.  Things change.  Not just Facebook, and Ancestry, blog readers or genealogy data bases… how many iterations of Windows have you lived through? How many types of word processors have you learned since the 1980s? How many cell phones have you owned in your life? I remember when going online involved dialing the phone and then putting the phone receiver into a cradle and letting it connect with the computer.  ? How many versions of your internet browser have you had since then?

So I got to work.  I learned how to use “new search”.  I learned how to live with it.  As you can see from the message I received from Ancestry above, you can fill out the surveys, give your opinions, “share your thoughts”, but you still have to learn the “new search”.

In the meantime…    I’m not just learning's "new search",  I'm also seriously learning how to use MyHeritage, FindMyPast, Mocavo and FamilySearch and others.  I’ve bought some premium subscriptions to some of these.  Because if I’m going to be forced to change, it better be worth it.  My kitchen can hold only one fridge at a time, lemon or working model. My computer can hold multiple subscriptions to many databases online.  I can try them all, keep the good ones and drop the lemons. It might mean dropping for something better.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated by Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast or FamilySearch in any way for this blog post. I have purchased my own subscriptions to some of these websites (excluding FamilySearch, which is FREE).  I was given a subscription to Mocavo last year to review, and I still have that gift subscription. I am not an affiliate or vendor for these products.

Other thoughts from the blogosphere…

Jan Brown at “Cow Hampshire”

Bill West “West in New England”

Thomas MacEntee “GeneaBloggers”

Valerie Craft  “Begin with Craft”

Randy Seaver "Geneamusings"  27 June
and also 28 June

John Newmark "Transylvanian Dutch"

Dick Eastman "Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter"
June 27
June 28
July 2

And some opinions posted earlier

Michael Hait  “Planting the Seeds” June 2012

Ancestry Insider  13 January 2013
and 7 June 2013

Dear Myrtle  23 April 2013

Manly/Manley Family Tree DNA Project 19 May 2013

and some who posted later....

Liz Loveland "My Adventures in Genealogy"  July 8

And just for fun...

Thomas MacEntee "50 Shades of Genealogy"

Randy Seaver "GeneaMusings"

UPDATE 28 JUNE 2013 by Thomas MacEntee at "Geneabloggers"
a reply from

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

July Genealogy and Local History Event Calendar

Local Genealogy Club Meetings

Barrington, NH Genealogy Club, meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm at the Barrington Public Library, 105 Ramsdell Lane, Barrington, NH  or email Wendy at

Chelmsford Genealogy Club, at the Chelmsford, MA Public Library, first Tuesday night of the month at 7PM in the McCarthy Meeting Room, contact Judy Sylvia 978-256-5521

Genealogy Roundtable, at the Derry Public Library, 64 East Broadway, Derry, NH  every first Tuesday of the Month, at 1 – 2:30 PM.  Contact: 603-432-6140 for more information.

Greater Lowell Genealogy Club meets at the Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell, MA 10AM to 1PM once a month. 

Hudson Genealogy Club, at the Rogers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road, Hudson, NH  every 2nd Friday of the Month, at 1:30 PM contact 603-886-6030 for more information.  (on summer hiatus until September)

Meredith NH, Genealogy Club

Newton, NH Genealogy Club- Gale Library, Newton, NH, 603-382-4691, 3PM on the third Wednesday of the month. 

North Hampton, NH Genealogy Club, at the North Hampton Public Library, 237A Atlantic Avenue, North Hampton NH 603-964-6326

Rye Genealogy Club, at the Rye Public Library, first Tuesday of the month at 2PM.

RISE Genealogy Group at the Nashua Public Library, Hunt Room, on the first Friday of the month at 1pm  (Rivier College Institute for Senior Education, see )

Southborough, MA Genealogy Club, at the Southborough Library, 25 Main Street, Southborough, MA  508-485-5031 or   Third Thursday of the Month.  See the website for a schedule

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, meets third Monday of the month at the Shrewsbury Public Library, contact George C. Brown at 508-841-8531 or


June 29, 10:30 - 11:30am The Mobile Genealogist:  Part 1, Using Dropbox and Evernote at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 - 101 Newbury Street, Boston.  Staff member Alice Kane introduces these helpful technology tools for information storage, organization and note-taking. To reserve your space call 617-226-1226 or email

July 5,  10am to 5pm, Free Fun Friday at the Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St, Salem, Massachusetts,  sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

July 6 and 7, Saturday and Sunday, Native Heritage Weekend at the Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire,   See the website for directions and a schedule of events.

July 9, 2pm Everything you wanted to know about Genealogy (but were afraid to ask), at the National Archives on 380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, Mass. 781-663-0126.  This is intended for novice family historians, and one of the most popular workshops.  After the lecture the public is invited to stay and use the resources of the National Archives, and will be assisted by the archives staff.  To register email

July 12, 9:30am to 4:30pm Free Fun Friday at the Pilgrim Hall Museum, 75 Court Street, Plymouth, Massachusetts sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

July 18, 6pm Everything you wanted to know about Genealogy (but were afraid to ask) at NARA Waltham - see July 9

July 19, 9am to 5pm, Free Fun Friday at the JFK Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.
July 20, Saturday, Massachusetts Genealogical Council Annual Seminar at Holy Cross College, Hogan Center, Worcester, Massachusetts featuring Judy G. Russell, CG, CGL “The Legal Genealogist” 8:30am to 4:30pm. 

July 20, Saturday, 5:30 – 8:30pm,  Baking in the William Brewster House, Plimoth Plantation Museum, Plymouth, MA,  Make dough for cheate bread- a 17th century wholegrain loaf and bake it in a wood fired oven.  The workshop includes recipes, instruction and starter to continue making bread at home.  Limited to 8 participants.  Pre-registration required, $75 non-members, $60 members.  To register, call 508-746-1622 ext. 8359 or email

July 22, Monday,6pm , Digging into Derry: Genealogy Research, Derry Public Library, Derry, NH  contact Sherry Bailey 603-432-6140 or for more information.  Presented by former Derry reference librarian Christine Sharbrough and current reference librarian Eric Stern.  Registration requested. 

July 23, Tuesday, 7pm to 9pm, Genetic Genealogy: Adding DNA to your Toolkit, at the Nashua, NH Public Library, 2 Court Street,  Michael Maglio will introduce you to genetic genealogy, which uses DNA testing to tell just how closely we are related.  Learn about your deep ancestry or break a brick wall in your genealogy research. Free to the public, 603-589-4600.

July 26, 10am to 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the Higgins Armory Museum, 10 Barber Avenue, Worcester, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

July 26, 9am to 5pm, Free Fun Friday at NEHGS, at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, NEHGS will open its doors FREE to visitors all day long.  Children’s events, 20 minute introduction to genealogy talks, and tours. Larger groups please call 617-226-1200 for accommodations.

July 26 and 27, 2013, Friday and Saturday, The 25th Reunion of the Felton FamilyAssociation, at the Felton Family homesteads (Nathaniel Felton, Sr. and Jr. houses built 1650) at Brooksby Farm, Peabody, Massachusetts.  Please contact Mary Kay Felton for itinerary, hotel information, etc. at or see the website

July 27, Saturday, 9am to 4:30pm Star Island Excursion with Historic New England, discover the fascinating history of the Isles of Shoals.  Take a boat through Portsmouth Harbor and eight miles out to Star Island for a historic walking tour.  Lunch at the Oceanic Hotel.  Lunch and boat included. $60 members/ $70 non members.  Registration required 603-4326-3225.  Another tour will run on August 7, 2013.

July 30, Sunday, all day, Independence Festival, at the American Independence Museum in Exeter, New Hampshire, celebrating the July 16, 1776 reading of the Declaration of Independence to the people of Exeter -  (this copy of the Declaration is on display inside the museum)  See the website for the schedule   FREE for events on the festival grounds, $7 admission to the museum.

July 31, Wednesday, 6:30pm, Digging into Derry: Forest Hill Cemetery, at the Derry Public Library, Derry, NH, contact Sherry Bailey at 432-6140 or for more information.  Presented by TJ Culane of the Friends of the Forest Hill Cemetery. 

August 2, 10am to 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the Wenham Museum, 132 Main Street, Wenham, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 4 – 9, 2013, The 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Boston Park Plaza Hotel.  See the website for more information.

August 5, Monday, 6:30pm Digging into Derry: The Portrait of Elizabeth McGregor, contact Sherry Bailey at 432-6140 or for more information, Karen Blandford-Anderson of the Derry Museum of History will discuss the portrait of Elizabeth McGregor, daughter of Molly and General Reid, and the great-great-great granddaughter of Staff Faithful. Hear about the family and hw the portrait was returned to Derry.

August 7, 9am to 4:30pm Star Island Excursion with Historic New England, discover the fascinating history of the Isles of Shoals.  Take a boat through Portsmouth Harbor and eight miles out to Star Island for a historic walking tour.  Lunch at the Oceanic Hotel.  Lunch and boat included. $60 members/ $70 non members.  Registration required 603-4326-3225.

August 16, 10am to 6pm, Free Fun Friday at the USS Constitution Museum, Bldg. 5 Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 17, 10:30 - 11:30am The Mobile Genealogist:  Part II, Imaging on the Go at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 - 101 Newbury Street, Boston.  Staff member Alice Kane introduces these helpful technology tools including digital cameras and the Flip-Pal scanner for recording documents. To reserve your space call 617-226-1226 or email

August 23, 9am to 5pm,  Free Fun Friday at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.
August 23, 10 am to 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard, Massachusetts sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum will be FREE all day.

August 24 and 25, Saturday and Sunday, Revolutionary War Weekend at the Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, New Hampshire,  The Fortified village will be open for tours, sutlers will sell trade goods, and there will be a muster and battle re-enactment.  See the website for the schedule of events.

August 30, 9am – 5pm, Free Fun Friday at Plimoth Plantation, 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, the museum, grist mill and Mayflower II (open until 7pm) will be FREE all day.

September 21, Saturday, Wyman Family Association Meeting and Reunion, at the Francis Wyman House, built in 1666, at 56 Francis Wyman Road,  Burlington, Mass., see for more information

September 28, Saturday, American Canadian Genealogical Society’s 40th Anniversary Celebration.  Speakers will be Dick Eastman, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, Joe Manning. Stay tuned for details.

October 19, 2013, Family History Day, LDS church, Concord, New Hampshire


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Genealogical Connection!

UPDATED August 3, 2018 (see below)

Are you wondering why I started my Weathervane Wednesday series?
What have weather vanes to do with genealogy?

Shem Drowne (1683 – 1774) is my first cousin 8 generations removed.  He is most famous as the artisan who made the grasshopper weather vane atop of Boston’s Faneuil Hall.  This is a beloved landmark in Boston, and is reproduced on souvenirs, Christmas ornaments, jewelry, postcards and you-name-it.  However, he was by trade a tinsmith.  He produced ordinary objects out of tin for household use, cups, pails, lanterns.  The stuff no one particularly remembers.  If it weren't for his giant grasshopper, we wouldn't know much about Shem Drowne the tradesman.

Weather vane #101
The famous grasshopper above Boston's Faneuil Hall

Besides the weather vane at Faneuil Hall, the famous grasshopper, there are other well-known weather vanes around Boston attributed to Shem Drowne.   Nathaniel Hawthorne used Shem Drown as the main character in his story “Drowne’s Wooden Image” in his book Mosses from an Old Manse.  In this book, Hawthorne styled Drowne as a carver of figureheads and ornamental wooden decorations.  However, Shem Drowne never made a  wooden pump head, like the image of the mythical Admiral Vernon in the book.
Drowne’s  other  weather vanes are the Indian Chief now on display at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the weather cock on top of the Congregational Church in Cambridge.  He also made the banner shaped weathervane on the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston.

How do we know that Shem Drowne made the famous grasshopper?  In 1852 the weather vane was removed for repair.  Inside there was a slip of paper, barely legible, which read:
May 25, 1742
To my Brethren and Fellow Grasshoppers
Fell in y'e year 1755 Nov 15th day from y'e Market by a great Earthquake ... sing ... sett a ... by my old Master above.
Again Like to have Met with my Utter Ruin by Fire, but hopping Timely from my Publick Situation came of with Broken bones, and much Bruised, Cured and again fixed....
Old Master's Son Thomas Drowne June 28th, 1763. And Although I now promise to Play ... Discharge my Office, yet I shall vary as ye wind.  
From the Boston Daily Advertiser, December 2, 1852

The Drowne family lived in Kittery, Maine, where Shem was born in 1683.  His father, Leonard Drowne, an immigrant from England, was a shipbuilder.  He moved his family from Kittery, Maine to the safety of Boston during the French and Indian War.  Leonard is buried at the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in the North End.   It was here, in the North End, that Shem Drowne began his trade as a tinsmith.  He was also a deacon at the First Baptist Church, where many of my other ancestors belonged, and can be found in the marriage and church records at this same time period.

The Drowne genealogy:

Generation 1:  Leonard Drown, born about 1646 in Penyn, Cornwall, England, died 31 October 1729 in Boston; married first about 1675 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Elizabeth Abbott, daughter of Walter Abbott and Sarah Steward (my 8x great grandparents).  She was born about 1652 in Portsmouth, died on 5 May 1704.  Leonard and Elizabeth had nine children.  He married second to Mary Abbott, sister of Elizabeth, on 4 November 1707 in Boston.  Mary was the widow of William Caverly and also the widow of Thomas Guptill.   Mary is my 7th great grandmother, through her daughter Elizabeth Caverly, who is my 6x great grandmother.  See the chart below if you are confused!

This makes Leonard Drown both my 7th great grand uncle by marriage, and also my Step 7th great grandfather.  

Generation 2:  Shem Drowne, born 4 December 1683 at Sturgeon Creek, Kittery, Maine, died 13 January 1774 in Boston; married on 18 September 1712 in Boston to Katherine Clarke, daughter of Timothy Clark and Sarah Richardson.  She was born 6 April 1687 in Boston, died 21 April 1754.

Also in Generation 2:  Mary Drowne, sister to Shem, born about 1693, died 24 January 1732; married on 24 April 1712 to James Kettle my 7th great grand uncle, brother to Jonathan Kettle (1681 – 1764) my 7th great grandfather.   That makes Mary Drowne my 7th great aunt by marriage, as well as my first cousin 8 generations removed.

                                Walter Abbott m. Sarah Steward
           I                                                                  I
Elizabeth Abbott m. Leonard Drown  m. Mary Abbott m. William Caverly
          I                                                                                        I
Shem Drowne m. Katherine Clarke                Elizabeth Caverly m. Thomas Wilkinson
                                                                         James Wilkinson m. Hannah Mead
                                                                          William Wilkinson m. Mercy Nason
                                                                          Aaron Wilkinson m. Mercy F. Wilson
                                                                         Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Munroe
                                                                         Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Bill
                                (my grandparents) Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Roberts

For more information see Yankee Weathervanes by Myrna Kaye, New York:  E.P. Dutton and Co., 1975

To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Genealogical Connection!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 26, 2013, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Hannah Cotton, Derry, New Hampshire

 This ledger style tombstone was photographed at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire.

wife of
and daughter of
Joseph & Sally
of Deerfield, NH
April 15, 1838
aged 44 years
Let me go for songs seraphic
Now seem calling from the sky:
Tis the welcome of the angels
Which e'en now are hov'ring nigh
Let me go, they wait to bear me
To the mansions of the blest;
Where the spirit worn and weary
Finds at last its long sought rest.

This is a wonderful early Victorian era stone, with the finger pointing up to the angel in flight.  The carvings are very deeply engraved, and have survived being face up in the New Hampshire weather.  

I had trouble deciphering the epitaph on this tombstone, so I Googled the first line.  One of the search results was from Google Book Search.  The book is The Christian Pioneer, a Monthly Magazine,  London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., edited by J. F. Winks, Volume II, 1848.  This poem by William Baxter was found on page 30.  I have pasted the poem below:

Another book which came up in the search results was A Manual of American Literature, by John Seely Hart, page 369. "Rev. William Baxter, 1820 -------, of New Lisbon, Ohio, has published some poems of great merit.  Mr. Baxter was born in Leeds, England, and emigrated with his parents to the United States in the year 1828.  He received his education at Bethany College, Virginia, graduating in 1845.  After leaving College he engaged in the ministry.  He preached one year in Pittsburgh, Pa., three years in Port Gibson, Miss., seven years at Woodville, Miss., next at Baton Rouge, La, then at Fayetteville, Ark., at which place he also occupied the position of President of Arkansas College.  The college was broken up and destroyed in the war. In 1863 he came to Cincinnati, and remained there between two and three years, preaching and engaged in literary labors.... His hymn called Let Me Go has found its way into at least a dozen hymn-books and collections of sacred music."

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum

This weekend we wandered up to Allenstown, New Hampshire to visit Bear Brook State Park. There is a small museum complex there with a CCC museum, a Snow Mobile Museum, and a currently closed Family Camping Museum.  The entire complex used to be a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp between 1935 and 1942.  It is one of the most perfectly preserved CCC camps in the USA, with most of the buildings still standing and in very nice shape. There is also a modern Ameri Corps camp on the other side of Bear Brook State Park, where today's college students performs some of the same duties as their forebears did in the CCC during the Great Depression.

The CCC was developed as a temporary agency to provide work relief.  Over 3 million young men participated in the CCC during the nine years it operated, building roads, state and national parks, reforestation efforts and forest fire fighting in 48 states, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  The young men received $30 a month, of which $25 was sent home to their families. By 1942 these same young men were being drafted into service for World War II, and work relief was no longer needed, so Congress permanently closed the program.

If you have ancestors or family members who served in the CCC, the records of their service are kept in St. Louis at the National Archives annex.  The Richard Diehl CCC Museum in Allenstown has hundreds of photographs, lists of names of men, artifacts and a small library of books with information on the CCC, the Bear Brook Camp, other camps in New Hampshire and across New England.  The building was once the mess hall, and you can wander around to look at the other buildings, which were mostly barracks. 

1935- 1942
The Bear Brook Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Camp was one of 28 work camps established in 
N.H. between 1933 and 1942. President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt started the program after the Depression 
to put young unemployed men to work in
conservation.  From 1925 to 1938 the 1123rd Co. CCC
was here; later this was one of four CCC camps in
the state to employ World War I veterans.  bear
Brook was the last active CCC camp in N. H. and was
given to the state in 1943.  It was listed in the 
National Register of Historic Places in 1992 as
one of the country's most intact CCC camps.

A typical bed from a CCC barrack, with a footlocker
owned by CCC alumni, Robert Ellis, of company 2130

Actual dishes and items from the CCC mess hall

This collage of fading photographs was propped in a window of the CCC Museum.
These photos are curling at the edges, fragile and yet the faces of the young men are still visible.
This museum, and others like it, need some help with archival preservation techniques. 

One of the large fieldstone fireplaces in one of the barrack buildings, 
now being used as the Snow Mobile Museum.  
This was the only heat for the young men during the cold New Hampshire winters. 

At the beach nearby the museum is a statue to the CCC workers

Across from the CCC worker statue is a pavillion overlooking the swimming pond.
In the 1930s the CCC workers dug out a three foot brook,
 built a dam, and developed the pond for recreation.
The fieldstone pavillion is a testament to their workmanship eighty years later! 

My mother's cousin, Waldo Emerson Cooper (1913 - 1976) served in the CCC starting in 1935.  He was born in Westborough, Massachusetts, and died in Los Angeles, California.  I don't know where he served in the CCC, but it might have been in New Hampshire where there were many forestry programs and state parks being built.   He enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1944, like so many other young men of his age. The family lost track of him over the years, but I was able to find his death listed in the California Death Index at   It would be quite a genealogy adventure to write to the National Archives to read more about his service in the CCC.

** This post is the first in a series I think I will call "20th Century Americana".  These are things I find around New England from the recent past, but they are now history since we are now in the 21st century.  Not many of these things are currently being preserved or saved, but they are part of history and family history.  I thought the Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Allenstown was a good place to start.

For more information:

Bear Brook State Park:

A listing of CCC Museums across the USA:

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ BELL of Charlestown, Massachusetts


Abraham Bell, a Charlestown "waterman",
was reported to have drowned in 1662 in at least one source I found.

Abraham Bell is an ancestor with a fleetingly short story.  There are only small clues to his life in the early New England records.  In James Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England there is this fleeting entry:

“BELL, ABRAHAM, New Haven 1639, rem a. 1647 to Charlestown, d. early in 1663. Admin. Of his est.  £154.. 1. 1. was giv. to his w. Catharine, who. D. 29 Aug. 1692, aged 68.  I see no ch. But Isaac, bapt. At C. 12 Oct. 1662.”

I found a reference on page 9 of of The Bell Family in America by William M. Clemons, New York, 1913 available online at

Abraham Bell, waterman, was in New Haven
in 1643 and came to Charlestown in 1647. He
married Katharine Waffe, widow, who died
August 29, 1692, aged sixty-nine. It appears
by the town records that he was cast away
31 Dec, found 4th [Jan.], buried 7th [1662-3].''
His children were: Hannah married Samuel
Bignall, 1669; Mary, born about December 25,
1653, married John Hands; Abraham, died Janu-
ary 16, 1656-7 ; Abraham, born November 17, 1657 ;
Dorothy married Samuel Cutler, 1681 ; Isaac, born
October 10, 1661, or 1662.

There was also a reference to Abraham Bell in The Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History by Nahum Cutler, Greenfield, Massachusetts: Press of E. A. Hall & Co., 1889, pages 512 and 513, in the sections about the Samuel Cutler who married Abraham’s daughter, Dorothy Bell.  Using all these clues I was able to find vital records, land records, and the inventory of his estate in documents from New Haven, Connecticut and Charlestown, Massachusetts. From this I could piece together a story about my 9th great grandfather, Abraham Bell.  There is no evidence he was related to Francis Bell, the early settler at New Haven, who died on 8 January 1690 in Stamford, Connecticut.  I never found the town records that told the story of his drowning in 1662/3 mentioned in the Bell compiled genealogy.


Generation 1:  Abraham Bell, died about 31 December 1662 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, married to Katherine Bullfinch, widow of John Waffe.  She was born about 1624 and died in 1692 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Six children.

Generation 2: Mary Bell, born 25 December 1653 in Charlestown, married about 1677 to John Hands, son of Mark Hands and Mary Shattuck.

Generation 3: Katherine Hands m. Jonathan Kettell
Generation 4: Katherine Kettell m. Caleb Rand
Generation 5: Caleb Rand m. Mary Mayhew
Generation 6: Mary Rand m. Asahel Bill
Generation 7: Ingraham Ebenezer Bill m. Isabella Lyons
Generation 8: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 9: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 10: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

For more information on Abraham Bell:

The Bell Family in America by William M. Clemons, New York, 1913 available online at
Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, by James Savage

The Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History by Nahum Cutler, Greenfield, Massachusetts: Press of E. A. Hall & Co., 1889, pages 512 and 513


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo