Monday, September 30, 2013

Have you ever seen a "Rogers Group"?

The Millyard Museum, Manchester, New Hampshire
display of "Rogers Groups" and biographical information
on the sculptor John Rogers 

When I was in high school, I worked as a page at the Gale Free Public Library in Holden, Massachusetts.  This was an old stone building with two floors, and the children’s room was in the basement.  I had to run up and down the huge staircases to run errands for the librarians.  Halfway up the grand staircase to the upstairs reference room, there was a landing with a large window and several sculptures on the ledge.  I didn't know it at the time, but they were plaster statues known as “Rogers Groups”. 

One of these sculptural groups was a statue of the figures of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, two Mayflower passengers.  It always made me pause to stop and look at the details.  John stood with his tall Puritan hat in his hands, looking nervous, as he asked Priscilla if she would marry Myles Standish.  She looked coy as she worked on a spinning wheel.  The words “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” were on the base.  Over the years since then, I have seen many copies of this same sculpture in other places, and many others called “Rogers Groups”.
"Why Don't You Speak For Yourself, John?"
photo from the New York Historical Society
Museum and Library website

I recently found out more about the artist John Rogers.  He was born in Salem, Massachusetts and at age 20, in 1850, he started working in the Amoskeag Millyard in Manchester, New Hampshire.  He dreamt of becoming an artist, and would mold small models in his boarding house dining room.   He finally went to Europe to study art and in 1863 started his own company in New York City to produce inexpensive plaster versions of his sculptures. 

Rogers Groups are usually formed out of two or three or more human figures, telling a story from popular literature, popular culture or history.  They were mass produced by the thousands for over thirty years.  You can find them on eBay, in antique stores, or maybe in your attic.  There are about 85 different patented groups.  They originally sold for about $14 each. Your ancestors may have had one in their parlor, or you might even have one in your attic.

My favorite place to see Rogers Groups is at the Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, Vermont. There are a few dozen on display, up above the store shelving, near the ceiling level.  Not many shoppers spend time looking at them, but I certainly do every time I am there!  Vrest Orton, who established the Vermont Country Store, wrote a book about his collection and the statues in 1968. 

There is a large bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln by John Rogers in the courtyard at Manchester Central High School in Manchester, New Hampshire.  It is one of only a few monumental sculptures by John Rogers, and it was erected in 1876. It was placed on a pedestal in 1910.  The small plaster version mass produced by the Rogers factory is one of the few “groups” with only one figure.  The school was established in 1846, and is New Hampshire’s oldest public high school.

For more information:

The Rogers Family Papers, 1614 – 1950 (bulk 1831 – 1950) are kept at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, under MS 523   You can find a nice link to the story of John Rogers at this URL by the New York Historical Society.   

This website has a photo with information on every John Rogers Group of statuary ever published.

The Famous Rogers Groups, by Vrest Orton, published by the Vermont Country Store, Rockingham, VT, 1968.  Available for sale at  and it is also available to read online at  at this link: (no illustrations for the online version) This book is a chronological checklist of over 80 popular sculptures.

John Rogers Statuary by Paul and Meta Bleier, Schiffer Publishers, 2nd edition, 2001.  This book chronicles every group with photographs, size, patent number or design date and stories.

John Rogers, The People’s Sculptor, by David H. Wallace, Wesleyan University Press, 1967.

(I noticed his mother was a Derby, which led me to look up at his Salem ancestry)

Generation 1: Roger Derby, b. 1643 in Chard, Somersetshire, England, d. 26 September 1698 Salem, m. 23 August 1668 in Topsham, Devonshire, England to Lucretia Hilman

Generation 2: Richard Derby, b. 25 July 1679 Ipswich, d. 25 July 1715 Salem, m. 25 Feb 1702 in Salem to Martha Haskett

Generation 3: Richard Derby b. 16 September 1712 Salem, d. 1783 Salem, m. 3 Feb 1734 in Salem to Mary Hodges

Generation 4: Elias Haskett Derby b. 16 August 1739 Salem, d. 8 September 1799 m. 23 April 1761 in Salem to Elizabeth Crowninshield b. 1736 Salem

Generation 5: John Derby b. 9 May 1767 Salem, Massachusetts, d. 25 November 1831 Salem, m 12 December 1801 in Salem to Eleanor Coffin b. 22 July 1779 in Portland, Maine.

Generation 6: Sarah Ellen Derby b. 6 May 1805, Salem, Massachusetts m. 5 June 1827 in Boston to John Rogers b. about 1802, d. 15 June 1884 in Boston

Generation 7:  John Rogers, born 30 October 1829 in Salem, Massachusetts, died 26 July  1904 at New Canaan, Connecticut  m. 28 April 1865 in New York City to Harriet Moore Francis b. 18 August 1841 in New York City, New York, died 1927.

UPDATE 30 September 2013 2:45pm
The Epsom, New Hampshire Historical Society Blog has a nice post about John Roger's "The Council of War" statuette at their museum:


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Copyright (c) 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ DRAPER of Roxbury, Massachusetts

1832 map of Roxbury, Massachusetts
from the Jamaica Plain Hstorical Society 

It is not known when the James Draper first arrived in Massachusetts. In the history books he is nicknamed James “The Puritan” Draper, or sometimes James “The First” or “The Emigrant” Draper.  His oldest daughter, Miriam, was born in Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England on 7 February 1647.   His next daughter, Susanna,  was recorded in Roxbury in 1650.  James Draper and Marie Stansfield were married on 21 April 1646 in Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England.  He had several children born in Dedham between 1663 and 1668, and the last two children were born again in Roxbury.  James died in Roxbury on 13 July 1697.

At some point in 1654 James was named as a proprietor for the new town of Lancaster, Massachusetts but he remained in Roxbury and never lived there.  He owned several looms, and was a clothier in both England and Massachusetts.   James Draper was a large landowner in Roxbury, which was a separate town, but now is a neighborhood of Boston.  There are quite a few records of the Draper family in the Roxbury town records.

Marrian or Marie Draper’s gravestone is one of the oldest in the Westerly Burying Gound in Roxbury.  The epitaph reads “Here lyes ye body of Mrs. Marrian Draper, wife of Mr. James Draper, aged about 77 years.   Jan 1697”.   Click HERE to see a photo of this stone at  She came to America with her younger sister, Abigail, who married Samuel May of Boston on 7 May 1654.

Some DRAPER resources:

The Drapers in America, by Thomas Waln-Morgan Draper, New York: Polhemus Printing Company, 1892 (available to read or download online at

“The English Genealogy of James Draper”, The American Genealogist, Volume XV, pages 237 to 242.
There is no mention of James Draper in The Great Migration series, nor in the book New Englanders in the 1600s by Martin Hollick.

The Town Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1647 – 1730: Being Volume One of the Original, by Robert J. Dunkle, edited by Ann S. Lainhart, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1997.

My Draper Genealogy:

Generation 1: James Draper, son of William Draper and Grace Mitchell, born 28 July 1622 in Heptonstall, Halifax, Yorkshire, England, died 13 July 1687 in Roxbury, Massachusetts; married on 21 April 1646 in Heptonstall to Marie Stansfield, daughter of Gideon Stansfield and Grace Eastwood.  She was born on 27 November 1625 in Heptonstall, and died between 1700 and 1701 in Roxbury.  Nine children.

Generation 2: Moses Draper,  born 15 September 1663 in Dedham, Massachusetts, died 14 August 1693 in Boston, Massachusetts; married on 7 July 1685 in Roxbury to Hannah Chandler, daughter of John Chandler and Elizabeth Douglas.  She was born 18 September 1669 in Roxbury, and died 9 June 1692 in Roxbury.  Two children.  Moses married second to Mary Thacher.

Generation 3: Hannah Draper, born 8 April 1686 in Roxbury, died 11 July 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut; married before 1704 to Samuel Gore, son of Samuel Gore and Elizabeth Weld.  He was born 20 October 1681 in Roxbury, and died 27 May 1756 in Norwich, Connecticut.  Nine children.

Generation 4:  Moses Gore m. Desire Burris
Generation 5:  Desire Gore m. Thomas Ratchford
Generation 6:  Elizabeth Ratchford m. David Lyons
Generation 7:  Thomas Ratchford Lyons m. Ann Skinner
Generation 8:  Isabella Lyons m. Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Generation 9: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 10: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 11:  Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)


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Copyright (c) 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, September 27, 2013

October 2013 Genealogy and Local History Event Calendar

Local Genealogy Club Meetings

Amesbury, MA – A new genealogy club has started, every last Monday of the month.  No registration, come to as many meetings as you would like.  For info contact Margie Walker, Local History Librarian, Amesbury Public Library, Amesbury, MA  978-388-8148 or

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 7pm to 8:15pm in the downstairs meeting room.  Contact: Alan Howard at 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.  

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

Wednesday Night Jewish Genealogy, Every 3rd Monday and Wednesday at NEHGS, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

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.

September 28, Saturday, New Hampshire Historical Society Museum will offer free admission as part of the 9th annual Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.  Visitors must present a Museum Day ticket to gain free admission for two.  9:30 am to 5pm at 6 Eagle Square, Concord, New Hampshire.  For more information visit  Regular admission is $5.50 adults, $4.50 seniors, $3 children 6 -18, $17 family maximum.  Call 603-228-6688 for more information.

September 30, Monday, 7:30pm Runaway Wives: When Colonial Marriages Failed, at the Riverwoods, 7 Riverwoods Drive, Exeter, New Hampshire, 603-658-3049, A lecture exploring how 18th century wives tired of the marriage contract could run, but they could not hide. FREE and open to the public.

October 1, Tuesday, 2pm, Webinar: Beyond Using Archival Collections for Genealogical Research, presented by the Vermont Historical Society Librarians Paul Carnahan and Marjorie Strong present an array of “hidden” resources at the Leahy Library that can be used by genealogists to advance their research.  These resources will be useful for advanced genealogists who have exhausted the standard sources available online.  Participants will be able to give feedback to guide the content of this webinar and ask questions about their own pressing genealogical questions.  Registration link: for more information 802-828-2190 or

October 1, Tuesday, 2pm What's Not Online: Researching Family History Using the Original Records of the National Archives, at the National Archives Waltham, Massachusetts facility at 380 Trapelo Road, Free to the public

October 2, Wednesday, 7pm, New Hampshire Cemeteries and Gravestones, at the First Baptist Church, 122 Main Street, Plaistow, New Hampshire, Free to the public, Learn more about these deeply personal works of art and the craftsmen who carved them with Glenn Knoblock.  Learn how to read the stone "pages" that give insight in the the vast genealogical book of New Hampshire. Contact Jean Latham 60-382-5843 for more information. 

October 2, Wednesday, 7pm, The Capital Crime of Witchcraft: What Primary Sources Tell Us, at the Lee Safety Complex, 20 George Bennet Rd, Lee, New Hampshire.  Margo Burns explores an array of prosecutions in 17th century New England, using facsimilies of primary source manuscripts including arrest warrents, indictments of formal charges and death warrants.  For more information contact the Lee Public Library at 603-659-2626. Free to the Public

October 5, Saturday, 9am, Walking Tour of a Mile of Mills, by the Millyard Museum, meet at the PSNH Parking Lot, Commercial Street, Manchester, NH, walk the millyard followed by lunch in the Millyard Museum.  $20 general public, $15 Manchester Historic Association members, Children under 12 are free.  Pre-registration required, see the website

October 5, Sunday, 2pm, Mary Todd Lincoln: An Unconventional Woman, at the Tuck Museum, 40 Park Avenue, Hampton, New Hampshire,  Sally Mummey portrays Mary Lincoln and shares stories of her life, love, triumphs and challenges, during the tumultuous years of the Civil War. Contact Betty Moore 603-926-2543 for more information. Free to the public.

October 7, 21 and 28, Mondays, from 1:30 to 3:30pm Constructing Your Family History, by the Education Committee of the Cape Cod Genealogy Society, at the Barnstable Senior Center on Route 28 in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  Registration is $25 for the entire series and can be done through the Senior Center by calling Susan Griffin at 508-862-4761 by the deadline of September 29th.  Inquiries to David Martin at

October 7, Monday, 6:30pm New Hampshire Cemeteries and Gravestones, at the the Congregational Church of Amherst, 7 Church St, Amherst, New Hampshire, Free to the public, Learn more about these deeply personal works of art and the craftsmen who carved them with Glenn Knoblock.  Learn how to read the stone "pages" that give insight in the the vast genealogical book of New Hampshire. Contact Neil Benner 603-315-8413 for more information. 

October 7, Monday, 7pm Using Census Reports, a free genealogy workshop taught by Seema-Jayne Kenney of Mass Researchers.  Part 2 of a 4 part series, held at the Norfolk Public Library.  Separate registration is required for each workshop via the website 

October 8, Tuesday, 7pm, The Other Side of the Midnight Ride:  A Visit with Rachel Revere, at the Salem Historical Museum, 310 Main St., Salem, New Hampshire.  Joan Gatturna presents a living history program and the remarkeable story of tea, trouble, and revolution by the woman who rode through life with Paul Revere. Free to the public.  Contact Ann LeClair 603-893-6783 for more information. 

October 9, Wednesday, 2:30pm Introduction to Genealogical Databases, at the Manchester Public Library Main Branch, Winchell Room, Free to the public
October 11 and 12, Polish Genealogical Conference, at Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut.  $80 early bird, $90 late registration, single day admission also available.  For info see

October 15, Tuesday, 7pm, Witches, Pop Culture and the Past, at the Amherst Town Library, 14 Main Street, Amherst, New Hampshire.  Free to the public, Robin DeRosa explains that when Salem tells its witch stories, history, tourism and performance collide, and "truth", both moral and macabre, vies with spooky thrills for its authentic place in history.  Contact Ruslyn Vear for more info at 603-673-2288. 

October 16, Wednesday, 6pm Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary Era Women and the Radical Men they Married, by author Nancy Rubin Stuart, at the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library. Free to the public.  See for more information.

October 16, Wednesday, 1:30pm, Putting Human Faces on the Textile Industry: The Workers of the Amsokeag Manufacturing Company, at the Kimball-Jenkins Estate, 266 N. Main Street, Concord, New Hampshire. Free to the public.  Robert Perreault sheds light on how people from a variety of European countries as well as from French Canada made the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society, and how that change affected families, cultures, the nature of work, and relationships among workers themselves. Contact Carole Elliott for for information at 603-764-9888. 

October 19, 2013, Saturday, 8:45 am – 1pm, Family History Day “Update Your Family History Toolbox”, LDS church, 90 Clinton St, Concord, New Hampshire.  This 6th annual conference is FREE to the public, recommended for ages 12 and over.  For more information contact Martha Methot  603-668-2958. Registration at EventBrite online   You will have a choice of four class sessions, 50 minutes each, from a large conference schedule. 

October 19, Saturday, 1pm – 5pm, Open House to Benefit the Hollis Hisotrical Society, 19 Main Street, Hollis, New Hampshire, across from the Wheeler House Museum.Visit the recently restored Whiting/Poole/Hackett House.  Nine rooms available for the tour after a boiler explosion in 2008 damaged much of the main floor. 603-465-3935, Tickets at $20 per person may be purchased ahead of time. 

October 20, Sunday, 1:30pm Walking Tour – The Way Manchester’s Original City Plan Worked, at the Manchester Historic Association’s Research Center, 129 Amherst Street, Manchester, NH, $10 General public, $5 MHA members, children under 12 free, pre-registration required, see the website

October 20, Sunday, 3pm Witches, Pop Culture and the Past, at the Congregation Ahavas Achim, 84 Hastings Avenue, Keene, New Hampshire.  Free to the public, Robin DeRosa explains that when Salem tells its witch stories, history, tourism and performance collide, and "truth", both moral and macabre, vies with spooky thrills for its authentic place in history. Contact Robert Gewanter at 603-355-1585 for more information. 

October 22, Tuesday, 4pm, New Hampshire History Week Celebration, at the New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park Street, Concord, New Hampshire.  Free to the Public.  Organizers will unveil a new New Hampshire in the Civil War primary source website at this event. 

October 22, Tuesday, 6:30pm  A Soldier’s Mother Tells her Story, Brookline Public Library, 16 Main Street, Brookline, New Hampshire, with Sharon Wood portraying Betsey Phelps, FREE and open to the public.  Contact Erin Kennedy at 603-673-3330 for more information.

October 26, Saturday, 10am, All About Genealogy Blogging, by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, at the Nevins Library, 305 Broadway, Methuen, MA, with New England genealogy bloggers Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, Marian Pierre-Louis, Bill West, Cynthia Shenette and Heather Rojo.  FREE and open to the public. 

October 26, Saturday, 1:30 - 4pm, Annual Genealogy Discovery Day 2013 sponsored by the Chelmsford Genealogy Club at the Chelmsford Public Library, 25 Boston Road, Chelmsford, Massachusetts.  Volunteers with genealogical research skills will be on hand to provide free genealogy consultations for attendees. Discover the best free websites, watch demonstrations of genealogy tools, bring what you know and watch your family tree grow.  Free to the public.  For more information contact Judy at or visit 

October 28, Monday, 7pm, New Hampshire Cemeteries and Gravestones, at the the Griffin Free Public Library, 22 Hooksett Road, Auburn, New Hampshire, Free to the public, Learn more about these deeply personal works of art and the craftsmen who carved them with Glenn Knoblock.  Learn how to read the stone "pages" that give insight in the the vast genealogical book of New Hampshire. Contact Ricky Sirois for more info at 603-483-5374. 

October 30, Wednesday, 6pm The Last Muster: Photographs of the Revolutionary War Generation, by author Maureen Taylor, at the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library. Free to the public.  See for more information.

Future Events:
November 4, Monday, 7pm Writing Your Family History, a free genealogy workshop taught by Seema-Jayne Kenney of Mass Researchers.  Part 2 of a 4 part series, held at the Norfolk Public Library.  Separate registration is required for each workshop via the website

November 6, Wednesday, 12:30pm, Susan B. Anthony, the Invincible! at the Windham Town Hall (upstairs), 3 Lowell Road, Windham, New Hampshire, Free to the Public, Sally Matson portrays Susan B. Anthony in this living history program. Contact Polly Chervincky at 603-883-2932 for more information. 

November 7, Thursday, Our National Thanksgiving: With Thanks to President Lincoln & Mrs. Hale, portrayed by Steve and Sharon Wood as Lincoln & Hale, at the Ridge at Riverwoods, 10 White Oak Drive, Exeter, New Hampshire, FREE and open to the public, contact 603-658-1510 for more information.

November 7, Thursday, noon – 1pm, Native Foods, a “Lunch & Learn” lecture at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Free for members, $8 non-members.  Carol Wynne, the Wampanoag Foodways Manager at Plimoth Plantation will discuss Wampanoag foods and how they were grown, used and stored in the 17th century.  Bring a lunch or buy one at the Patuxet CafĂ©.  Please pre-register here

November 10, Sunday, 2pm Our National Thanksgiving: With Thanks to President Lincoln & Mrs. Hale, portrayed by Steve and Sharon Wood as Lincoln & Hale, at the Deerfield Community Church, 15 Church Street, Deerfield, New Hampshire, FREE and open to the public, contact Jeanne Menard at 603-463-9869 for more information.

November 12, Tuesday, 10am, Using at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass. A FREE lecture to learn more about the NEHGS website with over 200 million searchable names covering New England, New York and other areas of family research back to 1620

November 12, Tuesday, 6:30pm Our National Thanksgiving: With Thanks to President Lincoln & Mrs. Hale, portrayed by Steve and Sharon Wood as Lincoln & Hale, at the Deerfield Community Church, 15 Church Street, Deerfield, New Hampshire, FREE and open to the public, contact 603-362-5234 for more information.

November 15, Friday, 9am- 12noon, Preserving and Identifying Family Photographs with Maureen Taylor, at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library at 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.  This is a half day seminar to learn techniques for identifying important historical and genealogical information in family photos, and how to preserve photos from daguerreotypes to digital images.  Personal consultations available after the seminar for an additional fee.  $50 per person, space is limited, see the web site to register.

November 18, Monday, 7pm Using the Internet for Genealogy, a free genealogy workshop taught by Seema-Jayne Kenney of Mass Researchers.  Part 2 of a 4 part series, held at the Norfolk Public Library.  Separate registration is required for each workshop via the website

November 20, Wednesday, 6pm, Finding and Using Colonial Records in Genealgical Research, by genealogist Barbara Jean Matthews, at the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library. Free to the public, See for more information.

December 4, 6pm, A Recipe for Wellbeing: Health and Illness in Colonial New England, by genealogical speaker Lori Lynn Price at the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library, Free to the public. Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library. Free to the public.  See for more information.

December 7, Pearl Harbor Day at Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts.  Commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a brief ceremony at 12:55pm- the exact hour of the Japanese strike.  The service includes a wreath casting with remarks. Open to the public.

(never too early to plan ahead!)

Tickets are now on sale at Plimoth Plantation for the annual Harvest Dinner with the Pilgrims.  The 2013 dates are Saturdays October 13 – November 23rd, Sunday November 24, Wednesday November 27, Friday November 29 and Saturday November 30.  Tickets go fast!  For reservations and more information please see the webpage:

Also, there is a Thanksgiving Day Buffet on Thursday, November 28th, at four seatings, and a traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th at several seatings.  See this webpage for reservations and more information:

Tickets are also on sale for Thanksgiving at Old Sturbridge Village.  The Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet and the more traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bullard Tavern like at Plymouth, tickets sell out fast and there are limited seatings.


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Copyright (c) 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gorham Dummer Gilman (1822 – 1909), Consul General to Hawaii

Gorham D. Gilman was born in Hallowell, Maine.  He went to sea in 1840 and ended up in business in Hawaii.  In 1845 Gorham D. Gilman of Boston visited the home of Konia and Paki at Lahaina, Maui.  They were the hanai (foster) parents of Lydia, the future Princess and Queen Lili’uokalani.  He left Hawaii upon the news of the gold rush in California, but returned to Hawaii until 1861.  He went back to Boston and entered the wholesale drug business with his brothers until his death in 1909.  He was a state senator from Massachusetts, and the Consul General to Hawaiian in 1893.

I found several letters from Gorham Gilman and his wife, Adelaide, to Queen Lili’uokalani and her husband John Owen Dominis in the Hawaii State Archives.  I’m sure that they had Boston in common, and struck up a friendship.  The letters mention the Queen’s visit to Boston in 1887, when they came to see members of the Jones, Snelling, Emerson and Lee families on the way to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in London.   Gorham often wrote in the Hawaiian language, and signed his name “Kilimana” (the Hawaiian version of GILMAN).

John Owen Dominis is my first cousin, many generations removed. His mother and my 4x great grandmother were sisters in Boston (Jones).  To read more about this relationships you can search my blog for the surnames DOMINIS and JONES or use the keywords in the right hand column.  This blog contains many letters written back and forth between Boston and Honolulu in the 1800s. 

After seeing these letters, and learning of his connection with New England, especially New Hampshire and Boston, I was inspired to learn more about the Honorable Gorham Dummer Gilman and to write this blog post.

This letter was found in the Hawaii State Archives
from G. D. Gliman to Lili'uokalani
(translation below)

Boston April 22, 1885
Her Highness, the next Sovereign, the esteemed,
Greetings to you,
My good friend of years past. My companion of blissful days...
A close friend of Lahaina
Greetings to you.
How are these salutations to you?
About the first- it's the consequence of your majesty and deportment before royalty of the lands of this earth.
About the second- it's the result of thinking about a house in Nuuanu-the Young Chief's school. The place - Haleakala- the hospitality of Hale Kamani and the peaceful evenings above Lahaina.  perhaps you're astonished at me for reminiscing about that time.  Not angry I hope.  Perhaps it's just something new recognized from the memory of days and years long past.
I love you for sending me the songs and photographs.  I'm fortunate in receiving them as I've so wanted these things.  Sometimes if I go spread the word about things pertaining to Hawaii, I take those things to make it known to the sight and knowledge of the people there.  Perhaps you're laughing a great deal while reading this letter and you and your associates are amused by my mistakes (and maybe my boldness) in writing this.  Our friend W. F. A. said to write in the Hawaiian language and so I wrote.  I'm not used to it as I haven't written in the Hawaiian alphabet for so many years.  If you accept this letter I'm sending, embarrassed over the many mistakes, please write me pardoning my mistakes.  I want so much to travel again and meet with the companions of the past.  The love persists- it's true.  Give my regards to your husband and mother. 
Farewell your Highness.  Love the land.  Good-by.
G. D. Kilimana
A close friend won't be forgotten.  Farewell to the one gone to the heavens. He was loved.  Too bad about "A". 

Another letter signed "Kilimana"


From the Mission Houses Museum archives online
The Friend, Volume LXVI, Number 11, 1 November 1909 Edition 01 — A TRIBUTE TO THE HON. GORHAM D. GILMAN. 


The Boston Evening Transcript of Oct. 4 devoted an entire column to the life record of her distinguished citizen, the lamented Gorham D. Gilman. From this we quote the references to Mr. Gilman 's relations with Hawaii: "Mr. Gilman went to Honolulu, and there, in 1841, he began a clerkship for a business firm and at once began to learn the language of the country. "He made the acquaintance of King Kamehameha III., and of four kings who succeeded him, including King Kalakaua, also Queen Kapiolani and the present dethroned Queen Liliuokalani. Mr. Gilman received from these various royal personages many decorations and gifts: His mastery of the native language was so easily accomplished that he became very proficient, and his translation of an Important United States Government treaty was accepted officially, In preference to that of a man of far greater experience. "At the first news in 1848 of the discovery of gold in California, Mr. Gilman left Hawaii for the United States . His association there with the other seekers after wealth entitled him to membership in the organization of California pioneers, and in later years he was vice president of that association. Returning to Hawaii in the spring of 1849, Mr. Gilman continued as a merchant there until 1861, when he returned to the United States. He moved with his family to Newton in 1865, having established the drug business in Boston with his brothers, John A. and Samuel K. Gilman. He bought a residence on Baldwin street, which he continued to occupy up to the time of his death. "Soon after moving there Mr. Gilman took an active part in local affairs. His house became the meeting place of leaders of the Republican party thereabout. An earnest worker in Eliot Congregational Church, Mr. Gilman was early identified with that religious body. In the Sunday school he was for more than a quarter of a century leader of a Bible class. When the Newton Y.M.C.A. was founded thirty-two years ago Mr. Gilman was prominent in the movement. He was its second president and occupied the chair for three years. He originated the plan of distributing Thanksgiving dinners to the poor under the association's auspices, which was followed successfully for many years. "When Newton became a city In 1874 he was one of those who strongly opposed the idea. It was his belief that it could better be divided into two towns, one to be called Newton and the other Nonantum. He was always a firm believer in the town form of government, although later he became a member of the City Government, serving as councilman and alderman. He declined reelection, but later was the successful candidate for representative, being in the Legislature two terms, 1889 and 1890. The next two years he was elected to the State Senate, retiring from that body just before he became Hawaiian Consul in 1893. During his service in the Legislature Mr. Gilman was Instrumental in securing the passage of a measure prohibiting railroads from issuing passes to members of the Legislature, and ordering the publishing of monthly statements of the expenses of the committee permitted to travel. "His appointment to the position of Consul General at the overthrow of the monarchy was due in part to his long residence in Hawaii and his intimate acquaintance with the principals on the field of political strife in the islands. When he lived there his home was visited by many distinguished travelers. "When Queen Kapioiani visited Boston in 1887, Mr. Gilman was resident interpreter for the royal party. The acknowledgements of the King and Queen Mr. Gilman received In the form of royal decorations sent him by the King. His services as Consul General In New England terminated with the annexation In 1901. He had probably the largest collections of books pertaining to Hawaii In this part of the country, and his library was a museum of Hawaiian curiosities, paintings and photographs. ..

"He was prominent In the Hawaiian Club of Boston and was the oldest member of the Twentieth Century Club and belonged also to the Massachusetts Society of Sons of the American Revolution."


Generation 1:  Edward Gilman, born about 1587 in Caston, Norfolk, England, died before 10 April 1665 in Exeter, New Hampshire, who came to Boston on the Diligent in 1638 with his wife, three sons, two daughters and two servants; married Mary Clark on 3 June 1614 in Hingham, Norfolk, England.

Generation 2:  Moses Gilman, born 11 March 1630 in Hingham, Norfolk, England, died 6 August 1702; married in 1658 in Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Hersey, daughter of William Hersey and Elizabeth Croade. 

Generation 3:  Jeremiah Gilman, born 31 August 1660 in Newmarket (now Exeter), New Hampshire; married on 30 July 1685 in Exeter to Mary Wiggin, daughter of Andrew Wiggin and Hannah Bradstreet.

Generation 4:  Benjamin Gilman, born 1695 and died 1760; married Elizabeth Thing, daughter of Samuel Thing and Abigail Gilman.

Generation 5:  Jonathan Gilman, born 25 December 1720 in Brentwood, New Hampshire, died 28 March 1801 in Sandwich; married 1 December 1746 in Brentwood to Mehitable Kimball. She was born 17 June 1727 in Exeter, New Hampshire and died 23 April 1817.  (Mehitable Kimball is my 2nd cousin 8 generations removed)

Generation 6:  Samuel Gilman, born 14 March 1752, died 29 August 1838 in Exeter, New Hampshire; married Martha Kinsman, the daughter of John Kinsman and Hannah Burnham, born in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1752, and died 19 October 1809 in Exeter, New Hampshire.  (John Kinsman is my 2nd cousin 8 generations removed,  and Hannah Burnham is my 2nd cousin 7 generations removed).

Generation 7:  Gorham Dummer, son of Nathaniel Dummer and Mary Kilton, private Mass. Militia, Commissary of Prisoners, Revolutionary War.

Generation 8:  Samuel Kinsman Dummer, born in Exeter, New Hampshire,  married on 25 April 1821 to Lucy Gorham Dummer.  Judge Samuel K. Gilman died 26 December 1882, Mrs. Lucy Dummer was born 20 August 1805 at Hallowell, and died 14 August 1875.  She was the daughter of Gorham Dummer and Sarah Abbot.

Generation 9:  Gorham Dummer Gilman, son of Samuel Kinsman Gilman and Lucy Gorham Dummer,  born 29 May 1822 in Hallowell, Maine, and died on 3 October 1909  in Newton Corner, Massachusetts.   Married first on 5 October 1864 in Rhode Island to Lizzie A. Field; married second to Adelaide L. Sears on 6 May 1874 in Newton, MA.  She was born 12 February 1840 in Boston, daughter of Ebenezer Sears and Eliza Fair Crease. 

See the book Old Hallowell on the Kennebec by Emma Huntington Nason- both the Gilman family and the Rev. Daniel Dole, missionary to Hawaii, were from Hallowell, Maine. Another son of Hallowell, Rev. Dr. Elias Bond left Hallowell in 1840 with his wife and went to Kohala, Hawaii as missionaries.

A book by Gorham Dummer Gilman, Journal of a Canoe Voyage along the Kauai Palis, 1908. 

The Hawaiian Historical Society has the journals, letters and notes of Gorham Dummer Gilman concerning his travels in the Hawaiian islands 1843 – 1848, see this link:

The photographs above are letters from the Hawaii State Archives, Queen Lil'uokalani Collections, M-93, Box 11, Folder 69, "Letters to Queen 1883 - 1889". 


The URL for this post is
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Sailboat and a World War II Relict

Every Wednesday for more than two years I've been posting photographs of weathervanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weathervanes. Today's weathervane can be seen in somewhere on the New Hampshire coast. Have fun guessing where you may have seen this weather vane.

Do you know the location of weather vane #117? Scroll down to see the answer....

Today's weather vane can be seen on Ocean Boulevard in Rye, New Hampshire.  It is a wonderful three dimensional sailboat, complete with a sail, on top of a private residence.  It was hard to spot this dark weather vane against the winter brown trees, and would be much easier to see in the summer again green foliage.  It is right across the street from the rocky beaches and a wonderful view of the Isles of Shoals.  Sailboats and other ships, boats and kayaks can be seen going by from here, so the choice of weather vane is perfect for this location.

Behind the weather vane is a tall concrete tower.  This tower was originally named Base Station #142, but is now known as Pulpit Rock Tower.   This is a 73 foot look out tower built in 1942 during World War II to protect Portsmouth Harbor, which was (and still is) a military ship building area. There were more than a dozen of these towers around the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor, defended by Fort Dearborn (located where Odiorne Point State Park is now located).

Click here to see the entire collection of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

Pulpit Rock Tower

A video of the 2010 Open House Tour of Pulpit Rock Tower

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to get on The Genealogy Roadshow

I've tried twice to be on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow.  As a WGBH member, I receive a newsletter and emails telling me when the show is near New England.  There is a lottery for audience members, so no matter how wonderful your antique items are, you still have to go through the first obstacle of the lottery.  I've never made it that far. Too bad, PBS, I have some great antiques with great stories!

When my daughter was in high school we also applied for the PBS Colonial House TV series, and I panicked when the producers liked our application and called us back.  They called and emailed me several times, and I finally decided that I didn't want to be part of living in the early 17th century.  Life involved hauling water, chopping wood and sleeping on the floor.  Yes, I love my Pilgrim ancestors, but I also love that they lived that life already for me and I don’t have to.  Ever. Thank you, ancestors.

Last night the first episode of The Genealogy Roadshow aired on PBS.  It was a fun, fast paced show and the reviews on social media are very positive. People are already asking me “How do I get on Genealogy Roadshow?”  This is what I found:

Back in April 2013 there was a casting call for The Genealogy Roadshow by PBS.  Participants were asked to email with interesting family mysteries.  This post listed the cities of Austin, Detroit, Nashville and San Francisco.  This was spread around by news outlets and genealogy bloggers.  From these submissions, the lucky few were chosen and their stories were researched.
Click here to see a sample online casting call post:

Big Mountain Productions is the Irish company that produced the original Genealogy Roadshow in the UK.   According to their Facebook page, they are involved with “creating & making factual/entertainment & entertainment formats.”  Besides Facebook, you can follow them on Twitter (@_BigMountain )and YouTube

All four episodes of the 2013 season of The Genealogy Roadshow have already been cast, researched and recorded.  Hopefully the series will be renewed by PBS for a second season.  Keep your eyes peeled for announcements of a second set of shows, and for subsequent announcements of the cities to be involved and the casting calls.  Hopefully they will not resort to a lottery system, like the wildly popular Antiques Roadshow. 

Good luck!


The Genealogy Roadshow website 
Casting application page for The Genealogy Roadshow

UPDATE- 3 October 2013 blog post from a Genealogy Roadshow insider, Jean Wilcox Hibben on "Basic Guidelines to Select Genealogy Roadshow Stories" at this link: 


The URL for this post is
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Anderson Children, Windham, New Hampshire

This gravestone was photographed at the Cemetery on the Plain, Windham, New Hampshire

ERECTED in the memory of five children
of Mr. James Anderson & Mrs. 

Mr. Samuel
died Febry 10
in ye 24 yr
of his age

Mr. John
died Febry ye 18
in ye 22 yr
of his age

Miss Janny
died Febry ye 25
in ye 19 yr
of his age 


David Anderson
died Oct. ye 4 1776
in ye 2 yr of his 

James Anderson
died Sept ye 24 1776
in ye 2 yr of his

This very sad tombstone shows that the first three children listed all died in the month of February 1793, and the set of two year olds (twins?) died in the fall of 1776.   All their children died young! 

Perhaps the stone originally commemorated the first three children, and the second two were added. This is my theory since there are three portraits in the top of the stone, and the first three names are under each one? 

We will never know, will we? 

From History of Windham in New Hampshire (Rockingham County) 1719 - 1883, by Leonard A. Morrison, page 308:
"James (3), m. Nancy or Agnes Armstrong; they were the first occupants of the James Armstrong, now W. C. Armstrong farm in Windham.  They had children; all died in infancy or youth.  They gave the farm to John Armstrong, for taking care of them in their old age.
1. Samuel (4), b. Oct. 13, 1769; d. Feb. 10, 1793, ae. 24 years.
2. John (4), b. March 31, 1771; d. Feb. 18 1793, ae. 22 Years.
3. David (4). b. 1774; d. Oct 4, 1776, ae. 2 years
4. James (4), b. 1774; d. Sept 24, 1776, ae 2 years" 

Note that the daughter Janny is not mentioned in the History of Windham.  I estimate she was born about 1774.  The father, James Anderson, was the son of David Anderson and "Miss Wilson", and the grandson of the first James Anderson in Windham, who lived in the Double Range. He was one of the first sixteen settlers in Nutfield in 1719.  


The URL for this post is
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 23, 2013

Searles Castle, Windham, New Hampshire

There are lots of houses built to look like castles or European manors in New England.  The one closest to me is the Searles Castle in Windham, New Hampshire.  It was built by Edward Francis Searles (1841 – 1920) and completed in 1915.  He was an interior decorator (not unlike the house Beauport, built by interior decorator Henry Davis Sleeper in 1907) who researched his genealogy back to the Harcourt family of England.  He told his architect to build it as a 1/4 copy of Stanton Harcourt Manor in Oxon, England. 

Edward F. Searles married a wealthy widow, Mary Frances Sherwood Hopkins, in 1887.  He was only 47 years old and she was 67, and had inherited 61 million dollars from her first husband, the railroad millionaire Mark Hopkins.  She died a short four years later in 1891, and then Searles built his castles in Windham and Salem, New Hampshire and Methuen, Massachusetts.   Most of the stone was quarried locally, and it cost about $1,250,000 to construct.  The castle in Windham was his summer residence, and his main house was a larger mansion in Methuen.

When Searles died in 1920 he left the Windham castle to his secretary, Arthur T. Walker.  He died in 1927 and left the castle to his siblings, who sold it to a family in Methuen, Massachusetts.  They sold it to the Sisters of Mercy in 1952.  It was a catholic school, Castle Junior College, for twenty five years until it fell into disrepair and the classes moved to a more modern part of the convent.  The castle was closed, and in 1991 fund raisers were held for its restoration.

Since the refurbishment, the castle has been rented out for functions and public events, with the money going back towards its maintenance and upkeep, and for the Sisters of Mercy’s charities.  Many weddings and parties are held on the castle grounds, and the photographs of these events are fantastic.  You can see the photos at the Searles Castle Facebook page or website.

Searles also built the nearby Searles School and Chapel, which is used by the town of Windham for meetings.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There is also a Searles Castle in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, commissioned by Mary Hopkins, Searles in 1888.  It is now the John Dewey Academy.    The Searles Castle in Methuen, Massachusetts is now owned by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and the Stillwater Manor in Salem, New Hampshire was the original guest house for the larger castle.   Many miles of stone walls, turrets and gates still exist today in Methuen, Salem and Windham.   The Searles mausoleum is on private land in Methuen.  Searles donated schools, churches, monuments, a library and many other buildings to the town of Methuen during his lifetime, most in the same Tudor style as his castle in Windham.

Interior views of the Searles Castle,
contributed by reader Neil DeLuca of Derry, NH


Generation  1:  Samuel Searles married Elizabeth Tyng

Generation  2:  James Searles 1773 – 1857 married Abigail Duren 8 April 1793 in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

Generation 3:  Jesse Gould Searles  born 25 February 1805 in Nashua, New Hampshire, died 1844; married to Sarah Littlefield

Generation  4:   Edward Francis Searles born 3 July 1841 in Methuen, Massachusetts, died on 6 August 1920 in Methuen, Massachusetts; married on 7 November 1887 in New York City to Mary Frances Sherwood, widow of Mark Hopkins.  She was born 8 March 1818 in New York City, died 25 July 1891 in Methuen, daughter of William Sherwood and Lydia Ann Kellogg.  No children.

For more information:

Searles Castle, Windham, NH

Find A Grave biography of Edward F. Searles, memorial #21449399

The Life Story of Edward F. Searles, by Ray Fremmer, Andrew M. Ellison, and Robert DeLage, 1948 at Archives. Org

A blog post about the Sisters of Mercy mausoleum on the grounds of Searles Castle:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Searles Castle, Windham, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 23, 2013, ( accessed [access date]).